Our lives between the covers of the Raging Twenties

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March 11, 2021

By Pepe Escobar – posted with permission and first posted at Asia Times

I have a new book out, Raging Twenties: Great Power Politics Meets Techno-Feudalism. For those who don’t use Amazon, here is a mini-guide on how to order and buy the book.

The Triumph of Death, fresco by an unknown artist, housed in a palazzo in Palermo. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

The journey of a book finding its readers is always an idiosyncratic, mysterious and fascinating process. To set the scene, permit me a short presentation drawn from the book’s introduction.

The Raging Twenties started with a murder: a missile strike on General Soleimani at Baghdad airport on January 3. Almost simultaneously, that geopolitical lethality was amplified when a virus trained its microscopic missiles on all of humankind.

Ever since, it’s been as if time had stood still – or imploded. We cannot even begin to imagine the consequences of the anthropological rupture caused by SARS-CoV-2.

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Throughout the process, language has been metastasizing, yielding a whole new basket of concepts. Circuit breaker. Biosecurity. Negative feedback loops. State of exception. Necropolitics. New brutalism. Hybrid neofascism. New viral paradigm.

This new terminology collates to the lineaments of a new regime, actually a hybrid mode of production: turbo-capitalism re-engineered as rentier capitalism 2.0, where Silicon Valley behemoths take the place of estates, and also of the state. That is the “techno-feudal” option, as defined by economist Cedric Durand.

Squeezed and intoxicated by information performing the role of a dominatrix, we have been presented with a new map of Dystopia – packaged as a “new normal” featuring cognitive dissonance, a bio-security paradigm, the inevitability of virtual work, social distancing as a political program, info-surveillance and triumphant trans-humanism.

A sanitary shock was superimposed over the ongoing economic shock – where financialization always takes precedence over the real economy.

But then the glimpse of a rosy future was offered towards more “inclusive “capitalism, in the form of a Great Reset, designed by a tiny plutocratic oligarchy duly self-appointed as Saviors.

All of these themes evolve along the 25 small chapters of this book, interacting with the larger geopolitical chessboard.

SARS-CoV-2 accelerated what was already a swing of the power center of the world toward Asia.

Since World War II, a great deal of the planet has lived as cogs of a tributary system, with the hegemon constantly transferring wealth and influence to itself – via what analyst Ray McGovern describes as the SS (security state) enforcing the will of the MICIMATT (Military-Industrial-Congressional-Intelligence-Media-Academia-Think-Tank) complex.

This world-system is irretrievably fading out – especially due to the interpolations of the Russia-China strategic partnership. And that’s the other overarching theme of this book.

As a proposal to escape our excess hyper-reality show, this book does not offer recipes, but trails: configurations where there’s no master plan, but multiple entryways and multiple possibilities.

These trails are networked to the narrative of a possible, emerging new configuration, in the anchoring essay titled Eurasia, The Hegemon and the Three Sovereigns.

In a running dialogue, you will have Michel Foucault talking to Lao Tzu, Marcus Aurelius talking to Vladimir Putin, philosophy talking to geoeconomics – all the while attempting to defuse the toxic interaction of the New Great Depression and variations of Cold War 2.0.

With the exception of the anchoring essay, this is a series of columns, arranged chronologically, originally published here by Asia Times and also by Consortium News/Washington D.C., and Strategic Culture/Moscow, widely republished and translated across the Global South.

They come from a global nomad. Since the mid 1990s I have lived and worked between (mostly) East and West. With the exception of the first two months of 2020, I spent the bulk of the Raging Twenties in Asia, in Buddhist land.

So you will feel that the scent of these words is inescapably Buddhist, but in many aspects even more Daoist and Confucianist. In Asia we learn that the Dao transcends everything as it provides serenity. There’s much we can learn from Daoist humanism, no metaphysics necessary.

The year 2021 may be even fiercer than 2020. Yet nothing condemns us to be lost in a wilderness of mirrors while, as Pound writes:

a tawdry cheapness / shall reign throughout our days.

The hidden “secret” of this book may be actually a yearning – that we’re able to muster our inner strength and choose a Daoist trail to ride the whale.


Pepe Escobar’s new book is Raging Twenties: Great Power Politics Meets Techno-Feudalism.

 Follow him on Telegram.

UK Column: Gilad Atzmon discusses Israel: A Guinea Pig Nation

 BY GILAD ATZMON

Israel’s covid death doubled since it started its vaccination ‘experiment.’ ‘Silent Birth’ (leida ilemet) is now common in Israel. It refers to babies dying in the womb from Covid 19 or Covid related complications. In this interview with UKC’s David Scott I look into the Israeli mass vaccination campaign, we discuss the most problematic issues some prefer to push under the carpet.

David Scott on Youtube: Israel has adopted the Covid Lockdown policies with a severity unmatched internationally. They have pushed vaccination at a rate that leaves even the United Kingdom far behind. Gilad Atzmon, joins me to discuss the effects of this policy, the statistics coming out of Israel and the questions we should be asking.

For further reading:

  1. Guinea Pigs United (9/1/2020)
  2. In the WW3 In Which We Live (19/1/2020)
  3. A Brief Examination of Some Facts Related to Mass Vaccination (30/1/2020)
  4. Israel’s Third Lockdown- a Spectacle of Failure (7/2/2020)
  5. Bibi, Pfizer and the Election (20/2/2020)
  6. The Israeli Mutant, the IDF prophecy and the Reality on the Ground (25/2/2020)
  7. The Vaxi-Nation – People like no one else (2/3/2020)

The Vaxi-Nation – People like no one else

 BY GILAD ATZMON

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By Gilad Atzmon

PM Netanyahu announced on Sunday that Israel is set to “purchase or produce 36 million vaccines in the next year.”

If you wonder why a nation of 9 million people that already gave half of its population two doses of the Pfizer vaccines needs 36 million vaccines, the answer is devastating:  the mass vaccination campaign may help Netanyahu to secure his victory in the coming election but its long term impact on the nation’s health is ‘unknown,’ to say the least. To be slightly more realistic, it may be catastrophic. During the press conference Netanyahu admitted, “the vaccines we have, no one knows how long they last…We need to prepare for the worst scenario. The worst scenario is that we have to vaccinate (twice) every half year.” That would mean acquiring as many as 36 million vaccines, assuming that all 9 million Israelis require two doses every six months.  

For one reason or another, the Israeli regime has managed to reduce a particularly healthy nation that saw very little deaths in the first Covid-19 wave (about 30 people altogether in between 1st March and 1st June) into a ‘Vaxi-Nation’: people who are dependent on a constant supply of life-sustaining mRNA substances.  

Netanyahu also predicted that “the entire world will compete for those vaccines …I am again determined to bring Israel to the top of the list.”  He vowed to make the Jewish state into a “vaccine empire.

 The truth of the matter is that Covid-19 and the way it is being handled in Israel brings to light every problematic aspect in Jewish Diaspora life, culture and attitude which Early Zionism vowed to eradicate or at least to amend.

Zionism’s ideological forefathers promised to make Jews “people like all other people.” Zionism swore to bond the new Hebrews with nature. The early Zionist thinkers were repulsed by the Diaspora Jewish ghetto life and culture. They looked  to establish a harmonious relationship between the new Israelites and their environment. This is the mantra that led the early Zionists to seek redemption through Labour and in particular by means of agricultural life.

In 2021 not much is left out of that precious search for an authentic bond with nature. The contemporary Israelites (or at least their leaders) do not trust nature or the ability of the Israeli people to bond harmoniously  with their own bodies. The contemporary Israelites are actually tormented by nature and especially the viruses that come with it. Instead of searching for peaceful terms with Covid, the Israelis are recruited as ‘a nation’ to join an all-out ‘war of annihilation’ against the little menace.

In its fight against Covid-19, Israel has repeated every mistake it made throughout its short history. Instead of seeking coexistence, it aims at annihilation. Israel doesn’t just protect its elders and the vulnerable while investing in natural herd immunity, it plans to vaccinate the entire population including children and pregnant women up to four times a year. And like in their war against countless enemies, Israel fights the little Corona monster ‘by way of deception’ a.k.a mRNA inoculation. They insist on tricking the little viral menace but so far, they have only managed to trick themselves on a colossal scale. In the last 8 weeks of Pfizer mass vaccination, Israel doubled the number of Covid-19 deaths it had accumulated throughout the previous 10 months of the pandemic. It is hard to imagine a bigger blunder. Although the Israeli experiment is presented to the world as a ‘success’ by the compromised media, in Israel mainstream outlets are not convinced by the success of the Pfizer experiment, especially considering that the ‘R number’ is back at 1 and likely to rise further. 

Zionist founding fathers (such as A.D Gordon, Dov Ber Borchov, Katznelson and even David Ben Gurion ) believed that transforming Diaspora Jews into authentic Israelites wasn’t just a possibility but an essential existential transition. Zionism offered the Jews a new beginning. Many Jews, including my European family and even myself, were excited by this spiritual offering. Many Jews left the Ghetto behind, they made Aliya and became agricultural workers in new collective societies known as Kibbutzim. At this stage, those Israelis who openly oppose the Pfizer/Netanyahu ‘experiment’ and are fighting authoritarian state interference with  their private and intimate health affairs are probably the last real Zionists. Unlike Netanyahu, who claims to be an ardent nationalist, those Israeli dissenters insist to reconcile with nature and be people ‘like all other people.’ 

Zionism as an ideological ethos didn’t survive for much time. It didn’t take too long before some Jewish dissidents were brave enough to admit that Zionism didn’t solve what it identified as the ‘Jewish problem,’ it instead just moved it to a new location. The first Israelis quickly developed animosity towards the indigenous people of the land who quickly became the new Goyim du Jour. This animosity evolved in less than two generations into a conflict with the entire region that is known as the “Israeli-Arab Conflict.” While Zionism was determined to crash the Ghetto walls, Israel has surrounded itself by walls higher than any ghetto’s in Jewish history.

Yet, the Israeli Arab conflict is not exactly a local or a regional battle between two remote foes; it has quickly morphed into global chaos. It’s no coincidence that America, Britain and France have found themselves more than once fighting Zionist imperialist wars in the region. It isn’t a secret that America is invested in the conflict and practically operates on behalf of Israel as a remote subservient colony. If Herzl had a dream to diminish the influence of Jews on world politics, AIPAC in the USA, the CFI in the UK, the CRIFF in France prove the opposite. As I am writing these words Israel and its lobby are invested in pulling the world into a conflict with Iran. It isn’t hard to see that Israel is also investing a huge effort in pulling the world to follow its suicidal path in its war against Covid by means of global mass vaccination and green passport policies.

Zionism promised to make the ‘timid Diaspora Jew’ into a fearless warrior. Israel’s early military victories (1948, 1956, 1967, and even 1973) conveyed the image that such a transformation was indeed possible.  But the Israeli army hasn’t won a single battle for decades. The Israelis aren’t the warriors they promised to become. On the contrary, the Israeli approach to Covid reveals that Israelis are once again as timid as their Diaspora ancestors. They are enthusiastically buying into the Pre-Traumatic Stress Disorder (Pre-TSD) that made Jewish history into a chain of horrific disasters. The Israelis, like their Diaspora ancestors, are tormented by a phantasy of a future annihilation. They act upon it and actually make such an imaginary destructive scenario into the reality in which they live.   

As far as I can tell, the Israeli Pfizer “experiment” encapsulates the total defeat of the Zionist dream. The Israelis admit to the world and more importantly, to themselves, that this promised bond with nature, authenticity and the Biblical epic narrative didn’t happen after all.  If Zionism vowed to make Jews people like all other people, the Vaxi-Nation are actually people like no one else. All the rest of us must do at this stage is to make sure that this is how things stay. We must defy any attempt to make us join the ‘Vaxi-Nation’. We must invest  instead in learning how  to live in peace and harmony with our neighbours and more particularly with the universe.

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Hot off the Press: Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla admits Israel is the ‘world’s lab.’

 BY GILAD ATZMON

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By Gilad Atzmon

If Israelis are confused by the fact that their government treats them like laboratory pets, if they wonder why their freedom to travel, to socialise or even earn a living have evaporated, Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla produced a genuine answer yesterday. In an interview on NBC Bourla said:  

“I believe Israel has become the world’s lab right now because they are using only our vaccine at this state and they have vaccinated a very big part of their population, so we can study both economy and health indices.” 

I have no issue with medical experiments involving humans if the participants are fully aware of all possible circumstances and considerations involved in their consent. This didn’t happen in Israel. By means of ‘green passports,’ the government practically threatens to penalise anyone reluctant to participate in a ‘lab’ experiment for a giant pharmaceutical company with a very problematic record.  

The results of this Pfizer-Israeli experiment aren’t necessarily encouraging. Though it may be possible, as some studies suggest, that most vaccinated people have at least short-term protection from Covid-19, no one can deny the astonishing fact that in just 8 weeks of mass vaccination the total number of Covid-19 deaths in the Jewish State almost doubled from the number accumulated in the prior ten months.

Since Israel morphed into a nation of Guinea pigs, a virus that used to prey on the elderly and those with severe health issues has now changed its nature completely.  After just 2 months of a ‘successful’ mass vaccination campaign, 76% of new Covid-19 cases are under 39. Only 5.5% are over 60. 40% of critical patients are under 60. The country has also detected a sharp rise in Covid-19 cases amongst pregnant women, with more than a few in critical condition. In the last few weeks, new-born Covid-19 cases saw a large 1300% spike (from 400 cases in under two-year-olds on November 20 to 5,800 in February 2021).

The evidence collected in Israel points at a close correlation between mass vaccination, cases and deaths. This correlation points at the possibility that it is the vaccinated who actually spread the virus or even a range of mutants that are responsible for the radical shift in symptoms above.

When CEO Bourla was asked by NBC whether one could infect others after receiving two doses of the vaccine, Bourla admitted:

“It is something that needs to be confirmed, and the real-world data that we are getting from Israel and other studies will help us understand this better.”

If CEO Bourla isn’t sure whether his ‘vaccine’ prevents the spreading of the disease, why is he selling it around the world? Why should any government allow this substance being used until all necessary precautions have been taken?  Furthermore, in the light of the emerging concern that the vaccinated can spread the disease (which CEO Bourla doesn’t deny), what is the meaning of the ‘green passport’? I guess that such a document could be easily replaced by a ‘gullible certificate’ awarded to those who were foolish enough to turn themselves in.  

But Bourla doesn’t have to wait much longer for the ‘results’ from his ‘lab.’ I can provide him with the most relevant numbers assuming that either he or anyone else in Pfizer can read basic graphs. Every country that fell into the mass-vaccination trap has seen a similar unprecedented spike in cases and death.

The following collection graphs point at the undeniable correlation between mass vaccination and an exponential surge in Covid-19 cases and deaths. The spike in cases is often detected just 2-3 days after the launch of the mass vaccination campaign.  

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At the time Israel vaccinated itself, it was witnessing a sharp exponential rise in morbidity and death. Palestine, literally the same land, saw its number of cases and deaths plummeting

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Bourla and PM Netanyahu should make an intellectual effort and explain to us how it’s possible that in Gaza, an open-air prison and one of the most densely populated pieces of land on this planet, the numbers of Covid-19 cases are minimal and without a ‘vaccine.’   

But Palestine is not alone, as the situation in Jordan is similar. While Israel saw its Covid-19 death figures breaking through the roof, Jordan’s Covid-19 deaths from mid-November onwards look like a slippery slope.

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Britain went through a similar, if not identical, tragic experience. It launched a mass vaccination campaign on 7 December just to see its numbers of Covid-19 cases and deaths rising like never before.

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At the time, Britain saw its NHS crumbling, while the kingdom’s neighbours that were slow to make a decision on vaccination saw their Covid-19 numbers dropping rapidly.

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I am obviously not the only one who sees that something went dramatically wrong in Israel. A group of dissenting researchers who looked into the numbers involved with the current Pfizer Israeli experiment published a detailed study two week ago.  “We conclude” they wrote, “that the Pfizer vaccines, for the elderly, killed during the 5-week vaccination period about 40 times more people than the disease itself would have killed, and about 260 times more people than the disease among the younger age class.”

 Based on the Pfizer/Israeli ‘laboratory’ experiment, I drew the following sarcastic conclusion: If you catch coronavirus you may die, but if you follow the Pfizer path, not only do you have a 95% chance to survive on top of the 99.98%  provided by Covid-19, you may also kill some other people on the way.

The Israeli Mutant, the IDF prophecy and the Reality on the Ground

 BY GILAD ATZMON

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By Gilad Atzmon

As of writing this article, 75.4% of Israel’s new Covid-19 cases are under 39. Only 5.5% were over 60. Only 59.9% of critical patients are over 60 years old. 40% are under 60. The country has also detected a sharp rise in Covid-19 cases amongst pregnant women. Many are in hospital, with 8 currently in critical condition.

In Israel, cases in new-born Covid-19 have seen a significant 1300% spike (from 400 cases in under two-year-olds on November 20 to 5,800 in February 2021).

Israel’s Covid-19 cases per capita spiked sharply and were amongst the highest in the world (if not the highest) during the first month of the ‘successful’ mass vaccination campaign. Within two months of intensive inoculation with the Pfizer vaccine, Israel managed to double the number of deaths it accumulated in the prior ten months of the pandemic. We are talking about 2, 700 Israeli citizens, a similar number to the amount of IDF soldiers who died in the Yom Kippur war, supposedly the most traumatizing event in modern Israeli history.

When I presented these numbers to UK Column’s David Scott just two days ago his reaction was direct and lucid: “what you describe here is, really, a new disease.”  I am afraid that Scott was correct. This is exactly what we see in Israel.

Yesterday I watched Ynet’s live discussion with Professor Nachman Ash, the Israeli ‘Covid-19 chief.’ During the online discussion, Prof. Ash attempted to address Israelis’ concerns regarding the Covid-19 situation and the impact of the Pfizer vaccine. Surprisingly (or not), Ash struggled to address most of the questions for obvious reasons. Nobody, including Prof. Ash, knows the answers to most of the crucial questions regarding Covid-19 and the so-called ‘vaccines’.

No one knows how effective the Pfizer substance is going to be in the long term. No one knows how Covid-19 may evolve in the near future. No one knows whether Israelis are about to face a mass ADE (Antibody-dependent enhancement) surge, though hopefully not. What we do know for certain is that the Israeli medical specialists who air such legitimate concerns are subject to some insane abuse and harassment. They can easily lose their medical license for life. Dr Avshalom Karmel, who was brave enough to warn his fellow citizens about the possible consequences of the vaccine, reported in a tweet yesterday: “The Ministry of Health is threatening me, the director of my hospital scolded me…” Is this how we supposed to treat medical professionals in a ‘free’ society?

 I listened to the live interview with Professor Ash even though he had really nothing to offer, but then came the question I was waiting for. One Israeli asked Prof. Ash “for how long are you going to hide the fact that we are dealing with an ‘Israeli Mutant’?” The Ynet presenter referred to the question as ‘conspiratorial,’ however Ash admitted that “we are detecting many mutants.” I couldn’t hear a categorical denial.

The truth of the matter is that a discussion about an “Israeli mutant” has been circulating for a while. Back in late January, the IDF’s Intelligence warned that an Israeli Covid-19 mutant is a likely possibility. On 24 January Times of Israel reported that “a military-led task force has warned of the potential emergence of a mutated Israeli variant of the coronavirus resistant to vaccines” and “mass rollout of vaccine amid ongoing outbreak may put ‘evolutionary pressure’ on the coronavirus…”

Examining current Israeli policy suggests the possibility that AMAN (IDF Intelligence) was spot on in its prediction. Judging by the unique and novel symptoms that are associated with Covid-19 in the Jewish State, we are dealing with a disease with novel characteristics. It attacks the young and the pregnant, it gave up on the elderly and vulnerable. The more Israel lowers the age of the vaccinated, the younger the cases, and those cases are growing exponentially. 

It is hard to ignore the possibility  that the success of the mass vaccination campaign is Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s election card. If the campaign proves to be a success by the eve of election day, Bibi is expected to win. Yet, if mass vaccination unveils itself as a disastrous, reckless and politically motivated adventure that has put the entire Israeli population at risk, not only would his political future be destroyed, he would probably see the criminal case against him expanding substantially, and not just in Israel.

I am not in any position to verify whether AMAN’s prophecy regarding the possible emergence of an Israeli mutant has fulfilled itself, but I can try to analyse Israel’s current policies in the light of such a concerning possible development.

1. Israel mounts incredible pressure on every Israeli to take the vaccine. By means of a ‘green passport’ it plans to dramatically limit the freedoms of the unvaccinated and their ability to earn a living. Netanyahu vowed on the 24th of February that, by the 10th of April, every Israeli would be vaccinated. This can obviously be interpreted by some as Bibi’s ‘genuine concern’ for the health of his people. A more cynical explanation is that Bibi now understands that, if there is an Israeli strain triggered by the mass vaccination campaign, the only way to fight it is to vaccinate every living Israeli hopping that the vaccine may reduce illness and death as various studies suggest.

2. Israel’s International airports, seaports and border crossings remain locked indefinitely. Some Israelis may be able to fly in, but nobody can leave the country. One may wonder why Israelis (or even just the vaccinated) aren’t allowed to leave. One possible explanation is that Israel insists on preventing the leak of a potentially unique Covid-19 strain out of the country. Why doesn’t Israel allow its large community of vaccinated to travel? One possibility is that Israel acknowledges that the vaccinated may be spreading the strain. You may even push it and wonder why Israel cares about spreading a mutant? I don’t know if Israel cares or not, but I know that they have an election in less than a month. Bibi will do whatever it takes to maintain the image of a ground-breaking success in the fight against Covid-19. The Israelis who have been the Guinea pigs in this experiment are asked to keep in line for at least one more month.  

3. We learn from different Israeli sources that some issues regarding Israeli Covid-19 policy, including discussions within the Governmental Corona Cabinet, are now subject to 30-year confidentiality laws. In Israel, only matters that are related to national security (such as IDF and Mossad secret operations) enjoy such ‘confidentiality’ status. What is it that the Israeli government and its Prime Minister insist on hiding from his people and the world and why? 

There is a growing number of studies that originating in Israel that refer to the vaccine as over 90% successful in preventing the disease and in reducing illness. Yesterday a new study ‘confirmed’ that Pfizer’s vaccine “performed as well in the real world as it did in the clinical trial that led to its use.”

I myself do not have any doubt that the vaccine could be successful in the short term in protecting those who are willing to take it. But I also can’t turn a blind eye to the scary correlation between mass vaccination and exponential rise in Covid-19 cases and deaths that can be detected in every country that engaged in mass vaccination. I cannot turn a blind eye to the undeniable fact that rapid mass vaccination in Israel correlates with a radical shift in the symptoms of Covid-19 to the point that it appears as a ‘new disease all together.’

I therefore ask every responsible person and government to look at the Israeli case with caution and to examine the shift in symptoms as a crucial hazardous event.

If IDF’s AMAN was correct in its warning and Israel is struggling with its own unique strain, then Israel should come clean and announce to the world that this is the case. This is what China and Britain did. This is what California has just done. This is exactly what we expect from a responsible nation, but Bibi may prefer to keep his cards close to his chest. If this is the case, he may have two paths to choose from.  One is to lock the country and to prevent the spread of the Israeli variant before the election. The other is to encourage other countries and reckless governments to follow the Israeli path so they eventually develop lethal mutants of their own. 

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Weekly Report on Israeli Human Rights Violations in the Occupied Palestine (11-17 February 2021)

 February 18, 2021

Weekly Report on Israeli Human Rights Violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (11-17 January 2021)

Israeli Human Rights Violations in the Occupied Palestine

11 – 17 February 2021

  • Palestinian woman dies of heart attack during violent IOF raid into her house in Nablus
  • IOF excessive use of force in the West Bank and occupied East Jerusalem: 19 Palestinians wounded
  • Two IOF incursions into eastern Gaza, and two shootings reported at fishing boats western Gaza Strip
  • In 106 IOF incursions into the West Bank, including occupied East Jerusalem: 71 civilians arrested, including 13 children and a woman
  • IOF delivers 20 demolition notices to houses in Nablus and Bethlehem; 5 buildings were self-demolished in occupied East Jerusalem and evacuation notices served to several buildings in the city
  • Settler-attacks: settlers kidnap a Palestinian man in Tulkarm, and attack civilian homes and vehicles in Nablus and Ramallah
  • IOF hinder the entry of Covid-19 vaccines into the Gaza Strip for two days
  • IOF established 69 temporary military checkpoints in the West Bank and arrested 13 Palestinian civilians on said checkpoints

Summary           

Israeli occupation forces (IOF) continued to commit crimes and multi-layered violations against Palestinian civilians and their properties, including raids into Palestinian cities that are characterized with excessive use of force, assault, abuse and attacks on civilians that are mostly conducted after midnight and in the early morning hours. Additionally, IOF conducted widescale demolition operations; and served demolition and cease-construction notices, mostly in the northern Jordan valleys, eastern West Bank. Settler attacks continued this week, particularly attacks on civilian houses and vehicles in Nablus.

Also, the Israeli occupation authorities stalled the entry of 2,000 Covid-19 vaccines into the Gaza Strip for two days. The vaccines were sent by the Ministry of Health in Ramallah.

This week, PCHR documented 199 violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law (IHL) by IOF and settlers in the oPt.

IOF shooting and violation of right to bodily integrity:

On 17 February 2021, 67-year-old Rahma Khalil Abu-Ahour, from Abu Nujaym village in eastern Bethlehem, died of a heart attack she suffered during an IOF raid into her nephew’s house where she was visiting. Additionally, IOF shot and injured 19 civilians in its attacks on peaceful protests in the West Bank: 4 at a protest in Beit Dajan – Nablus; 9 others at two protests in Kafr Qaddum – Qalqilya; and 6 by Salfit’s northern entrance.

In the Gaza Strip, two IOF shootings were reported on agricultural lands eastern Gaza Strip, and twice at fishing boats off Gaza’s northern shore.

IOF incursions and arrests of Palestinian civilians: IOF carried out 106 incursions into the West Bank, including occupied East Jerusalem. Those incursions included raids of civilian houses and shootings, enticing fear among civilians, and attacking many of them. During this week’s incursions, 71 Palestinians were arrested, including 13 children and a woman.

In the Gaza Strip, IOF conducted 2 limited incursions into eastern Khan Younis and Northern Gaza.

Demolitions:

PCHR documented 12 incidents:

  • Nablus: 11 demolition notices served (4 houses, 6 barracks and water tank) in central Jordan valleys; and 13 demolition notices (houses) in Yatma.
  • Hebron: barracks served demolition notice in Halhul.
  • Bethlehem: 3 houses served demolition notices in al-Khader.
  • East Jerusalem:
  • 5 self-demolitions: an external room overlooking the al-Aqsa Mosque; an apartment in Sur Baher; 2 barracks in Silwan; an apartment building in Shu’afat.
  • IOF served an apartment building an evacuation order in Silwan.
  • An Israeli court rejected the appeal of 4 families to annul the evacuation order issued against their homes in Sheikh Jarrah.
  • A house was demolished in Ras al-Amud.
  • Metal fence surrounding a plot of land in Jabel Mukaber removed.

Settler-attacks: PCHR fieldworkers reported and documented 8 settler-violence incidents:

  • Hebron: shepherds and a Palestinian family assaulted in eastern Yatta
  • Nablus: assault on civilians and worshippers in Khan al-Laban; a farmer was also assaulted in the area. A bus and civilian houses were assaulted in Asira al-Qibliya and Qusra. Also, a car was set on fire.
  • Tulkarm: civilian was kidnapped while at his land; IOF later released him.
  • Ramallah: assaults on the vehicles of Palestinian workers parked near “Shilo” settlement, which is established on the lands of Turmus Ayya in northeastern Ramallah.

 Israeli closure policy and restrictions on freedom of movement:

The Gaza Strip still suffers the worst closure in the history of the Israeli occupation of the oPt as it has entered the 14th consecutive year, without any improvement to the movement of persons and goods, humanitarian conditions and bearing catastrophic consequences on all aspects of life.

Meanwhile, IOF continued to divide the West Bank into separate cantons with key roads blocked by the Israeli occupation since the Second Intifada and with temporary and permanent checkpoints, where civilian movement is restricted, and they are subject to arrest.

Shooting and other Violations of the Right to Life and Bodily Integrity

  • At approximately 01:30 on Thursday, 11 February 2021, IOF moved into Ramallah in the center of the West Bank. Meanwhile, Palestinian young men gathered and threw stones at IOF, who responded with teargas canisters to disperse them. As a result, many civilians suffocated due to teargas inhalation and received treatment on the spot.
  • At approximately 11:00 on Friday, 12 February 2021, a peaceful protest took off in front of Beit Dajan village council, east of Nablus, north of the West Bank, at the call of the villagers and with the participation of the National Action Factions in Nablus, towards lands under the threat of confiscation, east of the village. The protestors raised Palestinian flags and chanted slogans against the Israeli occupation, settlers, annexation wall and deal of the century. When the protestors arrived at the area, they found a large number of Israeli soldiers awaiting them. The protestors chanted slogans again against the Israeli occupation and settlers. IOF immediately suppressed the protest and fired live and rubber bullets, sound bombs and tear gas canisters at the protestors. As a result, 4 protestors were shot with live bullets and taken to Rafidia hospital for treatment. Also, many protestors suffocated due to teargas inhalation and received treatment on the spot.
  • At approximately 12:30 on Friday, 12 February 2021, IOF stationed at the northern entrance to Kafr Qaddum village, north of Qalqilya, suppressed a peaceful protest organized by dozens of Palestinian young men. IOF chased Palestinian young men gathered in the area, clashed with them and fired live and sponge bullets, sound bombs and teargas canisters at them. As a result, 8 protestors were wounded; one was wounded in his face while the rest wounded in their lower limbs.
  • At approximately 13:00, IOF stationed at the northern entrance to Salfit, suppressed a peaceful protest organized by dozens of Palestinian young men against lands under the threat of confiscation in favor of settlement projects. IOF chased Palestinians gathered in the area, clashed with them, and fired rubber bullets, sound bombs and teargas canisters at them. As a result, 6 civilians were directly hit with teargas canisters.
  • At approximately 14:30 on Saturday, 13 February 2021, IOF stationed at the northern entrance to Kafr Qaddum village, north of Qalqilya, suppressed a peaceful protest organized by dozens of Palestinian young men. IOF chased Palestinian young men gathered in the area, clashed with them and fired live and sponge bullets, sound bombs and teargas canisters at them. As a result, an 18-year-old male was wounded with a sponge grenade in his thigh.
  • At approximately 20:00, IOF moved into al-Tur neighborhood, east of occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City, and stationed in al-Khelwa neighborhood. IOF established military checkpoints at the neighborhood entrances, searched Palestinian civilians and checked their IDs. During which, a number of Palestinian young men gathered and threw stones, Molotov Cocktails and fireworks at IOF, who chased the protestors in the neighborhood and fired heavy rubber bullets and teargas canisters at them. As a result, dozens of Palestinians suffocated due to teargas inhalation. Also, IOF arrested Mohammed Hatem Abu al-Hawa (19) and withdrew later.
  • At approximately 20:00, Israeli gunboats stationed off Waha Shore, northwest of Beit Lahia, and off al-Sudaniyia Shore, west of Jabalia refugee camp, north of the Gaza Strip, chased Palestinian fishing boats sailing within 3 nautical miles, opened heavy fire around them until 21:30, causing fear among the fishermen and forcing them to flee. No casualties were reported.
  • At approximately 20:00 on Sunday, 13 February 2021, IOF backed by military vehicles moved into Ras Karkar village, northwest of Ramallah, stationed in several areas and checked civilians’ IDs. IOF deployed between residential houses and patrolled the area, causing fear among the villagers and forcing the shop owners to close at gunpoint. Meanwhile, a number of Palestinian young men gathered and threw stones and empty bottles at IOF, who chased the stone-throwers and fired sound bombs and teargas canisters at them. As a result, many stone-throwers suffocated due to teargas inhalation. At 22:00, IOF withdrew towards the village’s main entrance and established a military checkpoint there.
  • At approximately 09:00 on Monday, 15 February 2021, Israeli gunboats stationed off al-Sudaniyia Shore, west of Jabalia refugee camp, north of the Gaza Strip, chased Palestinian fishing boats sailing within 3 nautical miles, opened heavy fire around them, causing fear among the fishermen and forcing them to flee. No casualties were reported.

Incursions and arrests

Thursday, 11 February 2021:

  • At approximately 00:30, IOF moved into Jalqamus village, southeast of Jenin, north of the West Bank. They raided and searched two houses belonging to Abdul Baset Abed al-Hajj (48) and Abdul Rahim Sami Suleiman al-Hajj (40) and arrested them.
  • At approximately 01:00, IOF moved into Beit Ummar, north of Hebron. They raided and searched several houses and arrested (8) civilians; Mohammed Hamdi Abu Maria (50), Saqer Mahmoud Abu Maria (46), Ayesh Naser Ikhlaiel (26), Lo’ay Shehda ‘Alqam (35), Mohammed Sameer Abu Maria (20), Abdullah Mohammed Ikhlaiel (20), Mohammed Bassam al-‘Allama (20), and Issa Hashem Bahr (22).
  • At approximately 01:30, IOF moved into al-Jalamah village, southeast of Jenin. They raided and searched two houses belonging to Mahmoud Anis Sha’ban (35) and Mohammed Ali Yehya (22) and arrested them.
  • At approximately 02:00, IOF moved into Shu’afat refugee camp, northeast of the occupied East Jerusalem. They raided and searched Yasine Taha’s (27) house and arrested them.
  • Around the same time, IOF moved into Balata refugee camp, east of Nablus. They raided and searched several houses and arrested Islam Emad Hashash (17).
  • At approximately 02:30, IOF moved into Jenin refugee camp, west of Jenin. They raided and searched Mohammed As’ad Abu Khalifa’s (40) house and arrested him.
  • At approximately 03:00, IOF moved into al-Bireh, and stationed at al-Jinan neighborhood. They raided and searched several houses and arrested Nadeem Saleem Ghaith (22).
  • At approximately 03:30, IOF moved into Deir Nidham village, northwest of Ramallah. They raided and searched several houses and arrested Naser Saqer al-Soufi (18), and Musallam Dawoud Yehya (19).
  • At approximately 12:30, IOF arrested Ra’fat Na’eem Abu Akr (53), from al-Doha, west of Bethlehem, while present in one of the Khader village’s streets, south of the city.
  • At approximately 21:00, IOF moved into Waheed Eid Shabana (52), from al-Tur neighborhood, east of the occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City, while present in Salah al-Dein street in the city center. IOF claimed that his presence in that area was not legal due to holding the West Bank ID card, and he was taken to al-Bareed police center until they returned him to the West Bank on the morning of the next day.

Shabana’s wife, an Israeli ID holder, said that her husband grew up, educated, and lived in Jerusalem, but his father moved to live in Ramallah in the 80s due to arresting Waheed when he was only 14. She added that her husband returned to Jerusalem after spending 4-years in the Israeli prisons, despite losing his right to obtain the Jerusalem ID card. After they got married he applied to the competent authorities to obtain unification four times, but his requests were rejected for security reasons. Shabana’s wife stated that she and her husband were arrested in June 2020, and they were mistreated and insulted at “Oz” police center in Jerusalem, as they stayed outside waiting their turns in the cold weather, then she was released without being investigated but Waheed was taken to al-Zaytouna military checkpoint. However, she mentioned that her husband was prevented to live between his sons, ages between 23-13, and from living in the city that he grew in, in addition to preventing him from his work and livelihood under the pretext of the illegal residence.

  • At approximately 23:30, IOF moved into Ein al-Beida village in the northern valleys, east of Tubas. They raided and searched several houses and arrested Maram Hikmat Abu Mutarea’ (28).
  • IOF carried out (15) incursions in Zeita, Attil, Nur Shams refugee camp, Tulkarm refugee camp, Tulkarm, and Kafr al-Dik villages, east of Salfit; Zababdeh, Arranah, and Umm al-Tut villages, southeast of Jenin; Tell, Badhan, and Sebastia in Nablus governorate; Dura, Samu, and Arrub refugee camp, in Hebron governorate. No arrests were reported.

Friday, 12 February 2021:

  • At approximately 13:00, IOF arrested Mohammed Monthir Atiya (20) and Mohammed Ahmed Atiya (19), from al-Isawiya village, northeast of the occupied East Jerusalem, while present in Damascus Gate area in the occupied city, after finishing the Friday prayers in the Aqsa Mosque. IOF took them to al-Bareed police center in Salah al-Dein street.
  • At approximately 14:00, IOF stationed at al-Jib military checkpoint, northwest of the occupied East Jerusalem, arrested Laith Eid Barakat (29) and his brother Ahmed (27), from al-Nabi Samwil village, while passing through the checkpoint. It should be noted that the village is surrounded by the annexation wall, and its residents can pass to Jerusalem and the West Bank only through al-Jib checkpoint, and no one is allowed to pass through it despite being registered on the checkpoint passers’ list.
  • At approximately 02:50, IOF moved into al-Shuhada village, southeast of Jenin. They raided and searched Rabea Fadel Wishahi‘s (32) house and arrested him.
  • At approximately 19:00, IOF arrested Ahmed Abdul Hafiz Atiya (17), while heading to a medical center in the Isawiya village, northeast of the occupied East Jerusalem, to receive treatment. IOF took him to al-Bareed police center in Salah al-Dein street.
  • At approximately 23:00, IOF severely beaten and arrested Sufian Ahmed Abu Nab (20), causing wounds and bruises that required taking him to hospital while he was under arrest.
  • IOF carried out (11) incursions in Azzun and Kafr Thulth villages, east of Qalqilya; Qabatiya, southeast of Jenin; Arraba and Kafr Ra’i, southwest of Jenin; Sanur, Bir al-Basha, and al-Jalamah, southeast of Jenin; Nablus, Tall, and Huwwarah in Nablus governorate. No arrests were reported.

Saturday, 13 February 2021

  • IOF carried out (5) incursions in Ya’bad, southwest of Jenin; Azmut, northeast of Nablus; Sa’ir, Dura, and Nuba villages in Hebron governorate. No arrests were reported.

Sunday, 14 February 2021:

  • At approximately 03:00, IOF moved into al-Tur neighborhood, east of the occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City. They raided and searched two houses belonging to Mohammed Ashraf Sbeitan (16) and Mohammed Samer Abu al-Hawa (16) and arrested them.
  • At approximately 15:00, IOF moved into Shu’afat neighborhood, north of the occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City. They raided and searched several houses belonging to Abu Khudair’s family and arrested (4) children; Saif Waleed Abu Khudair (16), his brother Mohammed (17), and their cousins, Abdul Rahman Abu Khudair (16) and Mohammed Emad Abu Khudair (17).
  • At approximately 19:00, IOF moved into Bab Huta neighborhood, one of the occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City’s neighborhoods. They raided and searched Majd Khaled Sharifa’s (20) house and handed him a summons to refer to the Israeli Intelligence Services at Moscovia Detention Centre. It should be noted that Sharifa was accused of throwing stones at the settlers’ cars and arrested on 18 June 2017, when he was 16, and spent 11-months in the Israeli prisons.
  • IOF carried out (8) incursions in Zububa and Jalamah, southeast of Jenin; Deir Sharaf, west of Nablus; Izbat Shufa, southeast of Tulkarm; Fawwar refugee camp, Dhahiriya, Beit Ummar, and Sa’ir villages in Hebron. No arrests were reported.

Monday, 15 February 2021:

  • At approximately 02:00, IOF moved into Balata al-Balad village, east of Nablus. They raided and searched Hatem Mawhoob Dweikat’s (22) house and arrested him.
  • Around the same time, IOF moved into al-Ram village, north of the occupied East Jerusalem. They raided and searched several houses and arrested (3) civilians; the photojournalist Saif al-Dein al-Qawasmi (19), Zuhair Ahmed al-Hinnawi (22), and Wissam Ra’ed al-Hinnawi (19), and released them after several hours. It should be noted that Wissam is a former prisoner, and he was injured with a rubber bullet in his left eye during clashes with the Israeli soldiers several years ago.
  • Around the same time, IOF moved into a village north of Hebron governorate. They raided and searched Abu Danhash’s house and arrested Oday Issam Abu Danhash (22), and his brother Qusai (25).
  • Around the same time, IOF moved into Fawwar refugee camp, south of Hebron, and stationed in the center of the camp. They raided and searched two houses and arrested Mohammed Jameel Nassar (19) and Assem Wael Awadallah (18).
  • At approximately 02:20, IOF moved into Qabatiya, southeast of Jenin. They raided and searched Mazen Seitan Abu al-Rab’s (21) house and arrested him.
  • At approximately 02:30, IOF reinforced with several military vehicles moved into Surda, north of Ramallah. They raided and searched Qusai Alaa’ Bazzar’s (18) house and arrested him.
  • At approximately 02:50, IOF moved into Araqah village, west of Jenin. They raided and searched several houses and arrested (3) children; Mahdi Saleh Yehya (15), Oday Tamim Yehya (15), and Shukry Hasan Lotfi (15).
  • At approximately 02:50, IOF moved into Azzun, east of Qalqilya. They raided and searched Saleem Mohammed Badwan’s (48) farm and arrested him along with his son (22).
  • At approximately 03:30, IOF moved into Aida refugee camp, north of Bethlehem. They raided and searched Tareq Mahmoud Abu Srour’s (23) house and arrested him.
  • At approximately 04:00, IOF moved into Deir Nidham village, northwest of Ramallah. They raided and searched several houses and arrested (3) civilians; Ibrahim Ahmed al-Tamimi (21), Obay Saleh al-Tamimi (20), and Abdul Rahman Mohammed al-Tamimi (18).
  • At approximately 08:20, IOF reinforced with several military vehicles moved 50-squaremeters to the west of the border fence, east of Jabalia, north of the Gaza Strip. They leveled and combed lands that were previously leveled amidst Israeli sporadic shooting. At approximately 10:00, IOF withdrew, and no casualties were reported.
  • At approximately 16:00, IOF arrested Ahmed Subhi al-Sous (22), from Fawwar refugee camp, south of Hebron, while passing through a temporary military checkpoint established at the entrance of the camp.
  • At approximately 23:00, IOF reinforced with dozens of military vehicles moved into Ras Karkar village, northwest of Ramallah. They raided Sufian Abdullah Abu Fukhaida’s house in the eastern side of the village, evicted its residents and seized the house, and got on the top of the house and prevented anyone from entering it. Meanwhile, people of the village gathered, and quarrels occurred between them and the Israeli soldiers to withdraw from the house. At approximately 02:15, they withdrew and headed to a three-stories house which is under destruction belonging to Hamdi Fadel Samhan, as they stuck the Israeli flag on the top of the house and turned it into a military barrack.

Tuesday, 16 February 2021:

  • At approximately 01:00, IOF moved into Dura, southwest of Hebron. They raided and searched two houses belonging to Rami Ahmed Abu Zneid (37) and Wael Abdul Aziz Abu Zneid (46). No arrests were reported.
  • Around the same time, IOF moved into Yatta, south of Hebron, and stationed in al-Karmel area. They raided and searched two houses belonging to Sami Issa Shatat (44) and Hatem Mahmoud Makhamra (49). No arrests were reported.
  • At approximately 02:00, IOF moved into Nablus. They raided and searched several houses and arrested Yaser Dawoud Mansour (54), a member of Hamas Movement in the dissolved legislative council, and Adnan Ahed Asfour (58), a leader in Hamas Movement.
  • Around the same time, IOF infantry units reinforced with several military vehicles moved into Silwad, northeast of Ramallah. They deployed and stormed dozens of houses and arrested (19) civilians, including 2 children, and underwent to field investigation for three consecutive hours and half, before releasing 14 of them. IOF kept three young men and two children under arrest and took them to an unknown destination. The arrestees are: Mohammed Abdul Hameed Awwad (16), Ahmed Yousef Ayyad (17), Mahdi Abdul Qader Hammad (19), Tareq Ziyad Hamed (28), and Mohannad Sameer al-Tawil (20), who is a former prisoner.
  • Around the same time, IOF reinforced with several military vehicles moved into Ramallah, and stationed in Kadoura refugee camp adjacent to the city. They raided and searched Ra’fat Shihda Abu Shaqra’s (25) house and arrested him.
  • At approximately 03:00, IOF moved into Salem village, southeast of Nablus. They raided and searched several houses and arrested Shadi Ghassan Jabara (30).
  • Around the same time, IOF moved into Rujeib village, southeast of Nablus. They raided and searched several houses and arrested Eyad Ahmed Rawajba (32).
  • Around the same time, IOF moved into the southern side of Hebron. They raided and searched al-Ja’bari’s houses and arrested (3) civilians; Mos’ab Omar al-Ja’bari (19), Ammar Mahmoud al-Ja’bari (52), and his son Emad (22).
  • At approximately 23:30, IOF stationed at Checkpoint 300, north of Bethlehem, arrested Akram Emran al-Atrash (25), while passing through the checkpoint back from his work in Israel to his home in al-Dheisha refugee camp, south of Bethlehem.
  • IOF carried out (4) incursions in Rujeib, Urif, southeast of Nablus; Beit Kahil and Fawwar refugee camp in Hebron. No arrests were reported.

Wednesday, 17 February 2021:

  • At approximately 03:00, IOF moved into Qalandiya refugee camp, north of the occupied East Jerusalem. They raided and searched two houses belonging to Mohammed Mostafa Abu Romouz (21) and Mohammed Maher Mutair (23) and arrested them.
  • At approximately 08:00, IOF reinforced with several military vehicles and bulldozers 50-meters to the east of al-Fukhkhari village, east of Khan Yunis. They leveled and combed lands along the border fence amidst Israeli sporadic shooting which continued for hours before deploying again inside the abovementioned fence.

 Settlement Expansion and settler violence in the West Bank, including occupied East Jerusalem

Demolition and Confiscation of Civilian Property

  • At approximately 09:00 on 11 February 2021, IOF accompanied with an Israeli Civil Administration SUV moved into ‘Ein Shebli in the Central Jordan Valleys, northeast of Nablus. The Civil Administration officer notified 4 houses, 6 barracks and a water tank with demolition under the pretext of unlicensed construction in Area C.
No.NameNotified Facility
1-Shehdah ‘Abed Rabboh Abu al-Kabbash5 barracks; each is 200 sqms
2-Nabil Mohammed ShtayyahAn under-construction house (80 sqms)
3-Aisha Mohammad ShtayyahAn under-construction house (100 sqms)
4-Nizam Khader ShtayyahA 60-sqm barrack
5-Shukri ShtayyahAn under-construction house (100 sqms)
6-Moussa Ka’abnahAn under-construction house (100 sqms) and 5 barracks; each is 120 sqms
7-Ministry of AgricultureA 500-cbm water tank established 10 years ago
  • At approximately 10:00, IOF backed by military vehicles and accompanied with an Israeli Civil Administration vehicle moved into northern Halhoul, north of Hebron. The Civil Administration officer handed Khairy ‘Abdel Qader al-Herbawi military order no. (1797) relevant to the demolition of a tinplate and steel barrack built on an area of 20 sqms.  The demolition notice was issued allegedly for building in Area C and gives al-Herbawi only 96 hours from the date he received the notice.  Al-Herbawi was supposed to graze sheep in that barrack as he owns 8 dunums in the area.
  • On Thursday afternoon, IOF handed 3 Palestinians 3 demolition notices in al-Khader village, south of Bethlehem, allegedly for having no license. The Coordinator of al-Khader Colonization and Wall Resistance Commission, Ahmed Salah, said that Isma’il Mohammed Mousa, ‘Ali Salim Mousa and his son Ahmed were handed demolition notices for their houses in Abu Soud area, west of the village, allegedly for unlicensed construction, after Beit El Court rejected their appeal against the demolition decision.  Salah added that Mousa Family has suffered a lot due to the ongoing IOF campaign for years against them.  He said that Ismail’s Mousa’s house (70 sqms) shelters 7 persons, was demolished in 2014. The houses of ‘Ali Salim Mousa and his son, Khaled, are 80 sqms each.  Salah added that ‘Ali Mousa’s house was demolished four times within the last ten years under the pretext of unlicensed construction and for its location approximate to the annexation wall.  Salah also said that the houses of ‘Ali Mousa’s other sons, Mohammed and Ahmed, are threatened of demolition, which renders 20 persons  under the threat of losing their houses and becoming displaced.  It should be noted that Abu Soud area is adjacent to the bypass road around the village and is considered the only outlet for urbanization in the western side of al-Khader village.
  • On Friday morning, 12 February 2021, Abu Hedwan Family self-demolished an outside room built of steel and shed cloth and overlooking al-Aqsa Mosque, pursuant to the Israeli Municipality’s decision issued under the pretext of unlicensed construction. Mohammed Abu Hedwan, one of the family members, said that the room was built few years ago in the Dung Gate (Magharba) neighborhood in Silwan village, south of occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City.  He said that it was not covered in the beginning but later roofed with shed cloth to protect it from rain.  Abu Hedwan explained that the family built the room so that all its members gather inside as their houses are very narrow and small.  He added that the Israeli Municipality sent them a notice to demolish the room and threatened them last week either to demolish it themselves or the Israeli Municipality crews will do and fine them with the demolition fees.  Abu Wahdan also said that the room is 90 sqms near al-Aqsa Mosque, 70 members of Abu Hedwan family benefited from it by using it as a family council to receive guests.
  • On Saturday afternoon, 13 February 2021, Nemer Khalil Nemer self-demolished his residential apartment in Sur Baher neighborhood, south of occupied East Jerusalem, pursuant to the Israeli Municipality’s decision under the pretext of unlicensed construction. The house’s owner, Nemer Khalil Nemer, said that the apartment was built in 2015 on an area of 85 sqms, and he recently started repairing it so that his son, Jihad, and wife live in it.  However, the Israeli Municipality issued a decision to demolish it and gave him until Monday morning to implement the decision.  Nemer said that he was forced to implement the demolition decision and collect the rubble to spare himself the demolition fees imposed by the Israeli Municipality.
  • At approximately 10:00 on Sunday, 14 February 2021, IOF accompanied with an Israeli Civil Administration SUV moved into Yatma village, southeast of Nablus. The Civil Administration officer notified 13 houses of the demolition in Hazouret As-Sha’b, Khelet Qudeiri and Zaytoun Jabarin area, west of the village, under the pretext of illegal construction in Area C.

Those affected were as follows:

No.NameNotified FacilityNumber of Family MembersNotes
1-Anwar Yousif Moti’a NajjarUnder construction house (120 sqms) 
2-Mo’in ‘Abdel Qader Najjar2-storey house and a roof (each floor is 150 sqms while the roof is 70 sqms)Ready
3-Mohammed Mahmoud Muti’a ‘Najjar2-storey house; each floor is 130 sqmsReady
4-Ahmed Nabih Tawfiq NajjarA 160-sqm houseReady
5-Mohammed Amjad Najjar2-sotey house (150 sqms)Under construction
6-Yahiya Wajih Najjar2-stoey house; each floor is 170 sqms7, including 4 childrenInhabited
7-Ahmed ‘Adnan Ahmed Sanobar2-storey houseUnder construction
8-Iyad ‘Ata Abu Baker2-storey house; each floor is 170 sqms6, including 3 childrenInhabited
9-Mus’ab ‘Ata Abu Baker2-storey house; each floor is 150 sqms3, including 1 childInhabited
10-Anas Mohammed Farah Najjar2-storey house; each floor is 150 sqms6, including 4 childreninhabited
11-Nidal Ahmed ‘Abdel Fattah Sanobar2-storey house; each floor is 140 sqms6, including 2 childrenInhabited
12-Mohammed Mahmoud farah Najjar2-storey house; each floor is 130 sqmsUnder construction
13-Yazid Mohammed Khudeir2-storey house; each floor is 130 sqms8, including 4 childreninhabited
  • On Sunday morning, 14 February 2021, ‘Awadallah family continued the demolition of their 2-storey residential building in Sho’afat neighborhood, north of occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City, pursuant to the Israeli Municipality’s decision allegedly for unlicensed construction.

Jihad ‘Awadallah stated that his family’s residential building was built 20 years ago, and its construction cost nearly half a million shekels. He added that the building comprised two apartments, each with an area of ​​120 sqms; one of them was uninhabited while the other was for his brother Mohammad and his family after he prepared it and paid more than 100,000 shekels to live in it.  However, he had to leave it a while ago, after the Israeli municipality had haunted the family via courts and imposing fines of more than 120,000 shekels. ‘Awadallah added that at the end of last year, the Israeli court issued its final decision to demolish the building and gave them until 05 January 2021, to implement the decision.  As a result, the family had to demolish part of the building at the time, and today it resumes the demolition with the help of workers and vehicles, which cost them around 70,000 Shekels.

  • On Sunday afternoon, 14 February 2021, the Israeli occupation authorities handed Batn al-Hawa Families’ lawyer in Silwan village, south of occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City, a decision by the Israeli Magistrate Court to vacate a residential building belonging to Younis Shehadah and his sons in favor of Ateret Cohanim Jewish organization.

Ibrahim Shehadah, Younis Shehadah’s son, said that he was surprised with the Magistrate Court’s decision to vacate his family’s building comprised of 5 residential apartments and give them till next July to implement it.  Shehadah said that his father presented all the papers to the court that prove he has lived in the building since before 1967.  He added that “all the allegations are void and fake, and we will resort to the courts to refute them although we know that the Israeli judiciary will not bring us justice,” emphasizing they would stay at their home and stick to it.  Ibrahim also said that his father has not received the eviction decision yet, but their lawyer, Yazid Qe’awar, has it.  He added that his father and siblings live in the residential building comprised of 5 apartments in Batn al-Hawa neighborhood.  It should be noted that Younis Shehadah (83), his wife and children, Yousif, Mohammed, ‘Ali and ‘Alaa and their families of 22 members live in the building.

Head of Batn al-Hawa Neighborhood Committee, Zuhair al-Rajabi, said that 9 families out of 87 families have so far received eviction decisions from the Israeli courts from, indicating that most of them have filed appeals to the decisions, and others are waiting for the responses to their appeals. It is noteworthy that the families that received eviction decisions in Batn Al-Hawa neighborhood are: Dweik, Shweiki, ‘Awad Jaber al-Rajabi, ‘Odah, Jawad Abu Nab, ‘Abd Jaber al-Rajabi, Selm Ghaith, Rushdi Abu Ramouz and Shehadeh. The eviction decisions issued by the Israeli courts against the Palestinian families in favor of “Ateret Cohanim” settlement association came under the pretext of the land on which the houses are built belonged to the Yemeni Jews in 1892. Al-Rajabi indicated that the Israeli courts stated issuing eviction decisions against the residents of Batn al-Hawa neighborhood in 2015. The number of residents at risk of eviction ranges from 850 to 1000. He added that the Neighborhood Committee, in cooperation with human rights organizations, filed a case before the Israeli court against the “Ateret Cohanim” settlement association. The committee also filed a request to the Palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs to stop the political evacuation decisions supported by the Israeli government, which aims to displace about 1,000 Palestinians.

  • On Monday afternoon, 15 February 2021, the Israeli District Court rejected the appeal filed by 4 Palestinian families from Karam al-Ja’ouni area in Sheikh Jarrah, north of occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City, demanding the court to stop evacuation of their houses in favor of Israeli settlers, who claim their ownership of the land, where the houses are built.

The families’ lawyer, Sami Irshayed, said that the Israeli District Court rejected the appeal filed against the decision of the Magistrate Court to evict the families of Iskafi, Kurd, Ja’ouni and Al-Qasem from their houses in favor of settlers, and the families were given until 02 May to implement the eviction decisions.  The families’ lawyer, Sami Irshayed, added that Israeli bodies claimed ownership of the land where the families’ properties are built in the “Karam al-Ja’ouni” neighborhood in Sheikh Jarrah, and it was registered in 1972.  Thus, the Magistrate Court issued an eviction decision against the aforementioned families last October, and the families filed an appeal to the District Court which was rejected on Monday. The families intend to go to the Supreme Court to file another appeal. Lawyer Irshayed explained that the residents of the “Karam al-Ja’ouni neighborhood” in Sheikh Jarrah have lived in their houses since 1956, upon an agreement between the Jordanian government represented by the “Ministry of Construction and Development” and UNRWA, to provide residences for 28 refugee families in Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood, in exchange for giving up their UNRWA relief cards, and one of the conditions was to pay a symbolic rent, provided that the property will be authorized for housing after 3 years, but this has not been done.  Several years following the occupation of Jerusalem, the Israeli authorities began to pursue the residents of Sheikh Jarrah and demand that they vacate their houses under the pretext of “ownership of the land.”

  • At approximately 07:00 on Tuesday, 16 February 2021, Israeli Municipality bulldozers demolished a house built of bricks and fortified tinplate in Ras Kabsah area in Ras al-Amud neighborhood, east of occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City, under the pretext of building without a license.

The houseowner, Jihad Hasan Abu Romouz (40), said that he was surprised with IOF surrounding his house on Tuesday morning, ordering him and his children to leave and vacate the house contents.  He added that IOF did not allow him to take all his house contents and demolished it on the furniture, rendering him and his family homeless, without any prior warning in light of this cold rainy weather.  Abu Romouz said that he built the house last November with 2 rooms of bricks and a barrack of steel and fortified tinplate that included a living room, kitchen and toilet on an area of 90 sqms.  Jihad Abu Romouz lived in the house with his wife and 2 sons, Mohammed (12) and Qosay (10).  Abu Romouz added that the Israeli Municipality bulldozers demolished last August a 90-sqm house and re-demolished it on Tuesday morning under the pretext of building without a license although the Israeli Municipality refused to give him a license to build the area.

  • At approximately 11:00, the Israeli Municipality bulldozers removed an iron fence surrounding a 55-sqm land in Deir As-Sanah in Jabal Mukaber village, southeast of occupied East Jerusalem, and damaged construction materials belonging to Amjad Talab.

Amjad Talab said that he set cement foundations on an area of 25 sqms to build a house, but the Israeli Municipality handed him a demolition decision and forced him to destroy it a month and a half ago.  Talab also said that the Municipality bulldozers raided his land in the morning and removed the fence and steel angles surrounding it in addition destroying bricks, cement and sand that were in the place.

Settler attacks on Palestinian civilians and their property

  • At approximately 09:00 on Friday, 12 February 2021, a group of settlers from “Karmiel” settlement established on Palestinian lands confiscated from eastern Yatta, south of Hebron, moved into Sedet al-Tha’lah area near the settlement. The settlers attempted to attack shepherds with their sheep in their lands.  IOF intervened after the shepherds refused to leave.  The settlers attempted to attack the family of Mahmoud Mohamad Shonaran who lives in one of the caves in the area.  It should be noted that the Israeli authorities declared the area state lands under the jurisdiction of the State of Israel; the Palestinian landowners filed a complaint before the Israeli Supreme Court to restore their ownership.
  • At approximately 12:00 on Friday, settlers under IOF’s protection attacked worshippers while performing Friday Prayer in the Ottoman Khan threatened to be confiscated in eastern al-Laban village, southeast of Nablus. IOF fired teargas canisters at the worshippers; as a result, many suffocated due to tear gas inhalation and were treated on the spot.
  • At approximately 16:20, a group of settlers chased Mohammed Nabil Kattanah, from An-Nazla al-Gharbiya village, north of Tulkarm, while being in his land namely al-Mughraqah in the eastern side of the village and kidnapped him to “Hermesh” settlement. IOF released him at 18:30 following the Israeli Military Liaison’s intervention.
  • At approximately 16:55 on Saturday, 13 February 2021, settlers from “Yitsahar” settlement in eastern ‘Asiret al-Qabaliyah, southeast of Nablus, under IOF’s protection threw stones at Palestinian houses. The local residents confronted the settlers and IOF, who fired teargas canisters at them.  As a result, a number of them suffocated due to teargas inhalation.
  • Around the same time, settlers from “Esh Kodesh” settlement established in eastern Qusra village, southeast of Nablus, under IOF’s protection, threw stones at Palestinian houses. The local residents confronted the settlers and IOF, who fired teargas canisters at them.  As a result, a number of them suffocated due to teargas inhalation and were treated on the spot.  The settlers burnt tires of a car belonging to ‘Awad Mahmoud Ahmed ‘Odah.
  • At approximately 16:30 on Sunday, 14 February 2021, a group of settlers from “Yitzahar” settlement established on southeastern lands of Nablus threw stones at a public transport bus belonging to Bisan Busses Company at ‘Asira al-Qibliya village in al-Hawouz area. As a result, the bus sustained damage, but no injuries were reported among its passengers, noting that the bus was driven by Naser Mousa ‘Abdel ‘Aziz ‘As’ous (51) from Burin village and carries 15 passengers.
  • At approximately 23:30 on Moday, 15 February 2021, settlers from “Levona” settlement established on Al-Laban As-Sharqiya village lands, southeast of Nablus, threw stones at Salah Majed Samih Daraghmah (27) while he was planting olive seedlings in his land, south of the village, and beat him up. As a result, he sustained bruises all over his body and was taken to Rafida Governmental Hospital in Nablus for treatment.
  • At approximately 09:00 on Tuesday, 16 February 2021, a group of settlers from “Shilo” settlement established on Turmus Ayya village, northeast of Ramallah, attacked the buses carrying Palestinian workers parked near the settlement and punctured their tires.

Closure policy and restrictions on freedom of movement of persons and goods:

The Gaza Strip still suffers the worst closure in the history of the Israeli occupation of the oPt as it has entered the 14th consecutive year, without any improvement to the movement of persons and goods, humanitarian conditions and bearing catastrophic consequences on all aspects of life.

On Monday, 15 February 2021, Israeli authorities denied the entry of 2000 doses of Coronavirus vaccine into the Gaza Strip. These doses were sent from the Palestinian Ministry of Health (MOH) in Ramallah, but Israeli authorities refused its entry as the political leadership in Israel had not yet approved the Palestinian Authority’s request to transfer the vaccine to Gaza. The Palestinian Minister of Health, Dr. May Al-Kailah emphasized in a press statement that the Israeli authorities prevented the entry of 2000 doses of Russia’s Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine into the Gaza Strip. IOF allowed the entry of the vaccines on Wednesday.

The West Bank:

In addition to 108 permanent checkpoints and closed roads, this week witnessed the establishment of more temporary checkpoints that restrict the goods and individuals 62 temporary checkpoints, where they searched Palestinians’ vehicles, checked their IDs and arrested 2 of them. IOF closed many roads with cement cubes, metal detector gates and sand berms and tightened their measures against individuals’ movement at military permanent checkpoints.

Ramallah:

  • On Friday, 12 February 2021, IOF established a checkpoint at the entrance to Nabi Salih village.
  • On Saturday, 13 February 2021, IOF established 2 checkpoints at the entrance to Nabi Salih village and near “Halamish” settlement, northeast of the city.
  • On Sunday, 14 February 2021, IOF established 4 checkpoints on a road connecting between Ni’lin and Shuqba villages, at Ras Karkar village’s intersection, at the entrance to Nabi Salih village, and at the entrance to Deir Nidham village.
  • On Monday, 15 February 2021, IOF established 2 checkpoints at the entrances to Nabi Salih and Silwad villages.
  • On Tuesday, 16 February 2021, IOF established a checkpoint near ‘Atara village, north of the city.

Jericho:

  • On Monday, 15 February 2021, IOF established a checkpoint near “Ma’aleh Ephraim” settlement, north of the city.
  • On Tuesday, 02 February 2021, IOF established a checkpoint at the northern entrance to Jericho.

Bethlehem:

  • On Thursday, 11 February 2021, IOF established 2 checkpoints at the northern entrance to Tuqu village and at the western entrance to Beit Fajjar village, south of the city.
  • On Friday, 12 February 2021, IOF established 2 checkpoints at the northern entrance to Tuqu village and near al-Nashnash intersection, south of Bethlehem.
  • On Saturday, 13 February 2021, IOF established a checkpoint near al-Nashnash intersection, south of Bethlehem.
  • On Sunday, 14 February 2021, IOF established 3 checkpoints at the western entrance to Tuqu village, at the entrance to Za’atara village and near al-Nashnash intersection, south of Bethlehem.
  • On Monday, 15 February 2021, IOF established 3 checkpoints at the northern and western entrances to Tuqu village, at the western entrance to Beit Fajjar village and near Al-Khader village entrance, south of the city.
  • On Tuesday, 16 February 2021, IOF established 3 checkpoints at the entrance to Beit Jala village, at the western entrance to Tuqu village and near Dar Salah Bridge, east of the city.
  • On Wednesday, 17 February 2021, IOF established a checkpoint near al-Nashnash intersection, south of Bethlehem.

Nablus:

  • On Thursday, 11 February 2021, IOF established 2 checkpoints at Beita village intersection and on Madama village’s bridge, southeast of Nablus.
  • On Friday, 12 February 2021, IOF established a checkpoint at al-Moraba’a intersection, which connects between Nablus’ eastern and southern villages.
  • On Sunday, 14 February 2021, IOF established a checkpoint at the entrance to An-Nassariya village, northeast of Nablus.

Hebron:

  • On Thursday, 11 February 2021, IOF established 4 checkpoints at the entrances to Yatta city, Idhna village, at the southern entrance to Hebron, and at the entrance to Fawwar refugee camp
  • On Friday, 12 February 2021, IOF established 5 checkpoints at the entrances to Beit Awwa and Idhna village, at the northern entrance to Halhul city, at the western entrance to Hebron, and at the entrance to Jalael village.
  • On Saturday, 13 February 2021, IOF established 4 checkpoints at the entrances to Al-Arroub refugee camp, and at the entrances to Surif, Beit Awwa and Tarrama villages.
  • On Sunday, 14 February 2021, IOF established 2 checkpoints at the southern entrance to Hebron and at the northern entrance to Halhul city.
  • On Monday, 15 February 2021, IOF established 3 checkpoints at the entrances to Beit Awwa and Idhna villages, and at the eastern entrance to Dura City. Beit Ummar village, at the northern entrance to Halhul city, at the southern entrance to Yatta, and at the eastern entrance to Dura village.
  • On Tuesday, 16 February 2021, IOF established 2 checkpoints at the entrances to Beit Ummar and Ash-Shuyukh villages.

Qalqilya:

  • On Friday, 12 February 2021, IOF established a checkpoint at the southern entrance to the city.
  • On Tuesday, 16 February 2021, IOF established 5 checkpoints at the entrances to Azzun, Izbat al-Tabib and Jit villages, and at the eastern and southern entrances to the city.

Salfit:

  • On Friday, 12 February 2021, IOF established a checkpoint at the northern entrance to Salfit.
  • On Saturday, 13 February 2021, IOF established 3 checkpoints at the entrances to Kifl Haris and Kafr ad-Dik villages, at the entrance to Salfit.
  • On Tuesday, 16 February 2021, IOF established a checkpoint at the northern entrance to Salfit.

The Ukraine’s many ticking time bombs

THE SAKER • FEBRUARY 23, 2021

While the Ukraine has mostly been out of the news, there were bigger stories out there, things have gone disastrously wrong under “Ze” (Zelenskii) and the Ukraine is now looking at several time bombs which could explode at any minute. Here is a partial list of problems which the Ze administration will have to deal with in 2021: (in no particular order)

  1. The strengthening of the internal opposition to Ze’s rule
  2. The COVID pandemic, the vaccine scandal and the crumbling Ukrainian infrastructure
  3. The crackdown on free speech
  4. The persecution of opponents inside and even outside the Ukraine
  5. The (limited) rise of (putatively pro-Russian) OPZZh party
  6. The sharp rise in European rhetoric against Russia which the Ze admin will want to match and cater to
  7. The hardening of the positions of the LDNR
  8. A further increase in US/NATO saber rattling and provocations
  9. The regime in Kiev openly planning for a war against Russia

Still, before looking at each one of these threats, I think that we need to first look at what the Zelenskii presidency has meant to the Ukraine. To make a long story short, many (most?) Ukrainians are now realizing two things: first Zelenskii made many promises and kept none of them and, second, Zelenskii is even worse than Poroshenko (which is hard to believe or even imagine, but such is the sad truth). Early on, it did appear that Zelenskii might bring some real “change we can believe in”, the main one being that he would take action against the various Nazi death squads and open real negotiations with the Donbass. Neither of those actually happened. Zelenskii is clearly terrified of the political and military power of the nationalists and far from forcing the Ukronazis to abide by the rule of law, Ze comprehensively caved in to their agenda.

It is not my purpose today to analyse in detail what Zelenskii did or did not do, I will simply summarize it all by saying that Zelenskii was all talk and no action. Literally, he has completely neglected the many crises which have plagued the Ukraine since the so-called “revolution of dignity”. What he did do is preside over a sharp increase in the scope and magnitude of suppression of free speech (more about that below). He also tightened laws against the Russian language. And, of course, Ukrainian Su-27s escorted US B-1Bs along the border between Russia and the Ukraine (makes me wonder if these Ukrainian pilots have any honor or dignity left! But no, they are just servants, that’s all, meek servants of their overseas masters). These are just a few examples of purely political actions which are “for show only” but which do absolutely nothing to actually address any real problem.

A perfect example of this “all talk no action” approach was how Ze dealt with the COVID pandemic in the Ukraine. First, opposition leader Viktor Medvedchuk and Vladimir Putin met in Moscow and came up with a plan to help the Ukraine deal with the COVID pandemic: Russia would hand over her vaccine-development technologies to the Ukraine’s only advanced pharmaceutical company which could then produce Sputnik-V for the needs of the Ukrainian population first, and then for export. Considering that neither the EU nor the US has any inclination to offer vaccines to the Ukraine, and considering that the Ukraine has zero chances of developing its own vaccine, this solution would seem a no-brainer. But not in the ugly Banderastan the Ukronazis created on the ashes of the real Ukraine. Instead, the Ukrainian authorities announced that they would be getting their vaccines from China. There were only two problems with this “solution”: 1) the Chinese vaccine is only about 50%+ effective and 2) the money allocated to this purchase was immediately stolen and has now disappeared (it is being investigated, of course, but we all know how such “investigations” end). However, with all the hysterical anti-Russian propaganda of the Ukrainian Nazis, it was quite unthinkable for them to accept anything Russian publicly, including a vaccine (away from the public eye, the Ukraine still purchases a lot of things from Russia, including energy). Russia is, after all, a fake “Rus” populated by Ugro-Mongols (not “pure Slavs” like the Ukrainians imagine themselves to be), it is “Putin’s Mordor” and, last but not least, Russia is the official “aggressor-country”, how can a proud Ukie nationalist accept *anything* from this demonic country, even if this saves his life?

Besides, Ze personally explained that Sputnik-V has not been properly tested and that he did now want to turn the Ukrainian people into “guinea pigs” (apparently, he and his advisors are too dumb to read The Lancet; either that, or they don’t mind their own people dying as long as the priorities of political discourse are upheld). As a result, while normal Ukrainians are denied any possibility of vaccination, wealthy Ukrainians are already organizing special trips to Russia to get vaccinated (US diplomats in Moscow are also getting the Russian vaccine).

As a result of this kind of ideology-driven “policies”, the Ukraine is now begging the West for any vaccine (even the clearly dangerous ones!). In response, the US gave the Ukraine a refrigerator (presumably to keep any future vaccines properly refrigerated). As for the Ukrainian medical infrastructure it is, just like the rest of the Ukraine’s infrastructure, in shambles. In fact, it was in shambles long before the COVID pandemic. All the pandemic did was to make things worse and reveal the truth to the rest of the world.

Furthermore, the COVID pandemic is hardly the only medical crisis facing the Ukraine: with a crumbling infrastructure, demoralized, demotivated and underpaid Ukrainian MDs who work in terrible conditions (many have emigrated, many to Russia, by the way), and no funds to deal with anything (the Ukraine is broke and is barely keeping one nostril above water by means of western loans). This situation is similar to the one Russia faced in the 90s during the “blessed times of democracy and freedom”, as seen by the West, and the “nightmare of the 90s”, as seen by most Russians.

It would not be honest to say that Ze did not try to deal with these problems at all. He did something: he ordered a massive crackdown against the opposition. These measures included banning, by executive order, the last three (rather moderate) opposition TV channels, by charging a Ukrainian blogger who lives in Spain with, I kid you not, “high treason” and by imposing sanctions on several opposition figures, beginning by Medvedchuk. And just to clarify – none of this was done legally or even in a vaguely lawful manner (how can a country impose sanctions on its own citizens? And without any judicial review!) . As expected, the US Embassy in Kiev gave these repressive measures their full and enthusiastic support. After all, according to Uncle Shmuel, this is all about “countering Russian disinformation”. In sharp contrast, the Ukranian public immediately understood what this meant (the Russian language Internet has also been blocked in the Ukronazi Banderastan, as are Russian social networks, books, art, music, etc.).

Like the typical imperial satrap that he is, Ze now rules almost exclusively by executive orders, always backed by the “muscle” of the Ukrainian “security services” (which, in reality, are the typical kind of absolutely corrupt third world “secret police” which the regular citizens are fearful of, but which those connected to the regime can always use as their personal terror squads; the Ukie “SBU” really reminds me of the kind of death squads I remember from Latin America in the 70s and 80s, say like this one).

Of course, the main reason for this crackdown on free speech can be found in the dramatic loss of popularity of Ze himself, but also because the arguments of the opposition are now becoming more popular, giving the opposition a sense of confidence. Alas, this confidence might not be warranted.

Let’s take the most famous Ukrainian opposition party, the “Opposition Platform for Life” abbreviated (in Russian) “OPZZh”. In the 2019 elections the OPZZh did very well, it came in as the 2nd party in the Rada after the “People’s Servant” party of Ze. That is true. But what is often forgotten is that OPZZh came in 2nd with only 13.05% of the vote and, even more importantly, the OPZZh has already “maxed out” its electoral potential. Why? Because this party is perceived by most Ukrainians as being pro-Russian and most Ukrainians are not pro-Russian at all. Many decades of anti-Russian and nationalist propaganda, from the Krushchev years up to today, combined with a massive and sustained Ukronazi propaganda aired by western radio stations and media, all have left their devastating impact on the self-perception and ethos of the Ukrainian people. This is especially true since the Ukraine lost both Crimea and the Donbass, which were strongholds of anti-Nazi political opposition to the Ukronazi regime. I just don’t see regions like Lvov, Ivano-Frankovsk or Zhitomir ever giving a majority vote to the OPZZh, even if southern and eastern regions might. So while the OPZZh might get some more votes (say, in the southern regions of the Ukraine), it will probably never be enough to turn this self-described opposition party into a ruling one.

There used to be an alliance of opposition parties called “Opposition Block” which brought together various opposition movements and parties. Now its members have gone either to the OPZZh or founded their own sub-groups (like the 2019 version of the Opposition Block). The former Party of Regions has dissolved in abject shame, its clueless leaders mostly in exile, but a few strong and outspoken opposition figures did come from it, including Elena Bondarenko and Elena Lukash. I should also mention the name of Vadim Rabinovich, a very outspoken and articulate politician (whose main political liability is his Israeli passport).

All-in-all, there are definitely some interesting political figures in the opposition, but they do not, in my opinion, represent a viable option for the Kremlin and, frankly, they aren’t much of an option for the Ukraine either.

Still, for the Kremlin to put all its political eggs into the OPZZh basket does, to some degree, make sense. Why? Well, for one thing, OPZZh is the only major political force in the Ukraine willing to openly talk with the Kremlin. So you can say that the only option is by definition also the best one. But while Putin and the Russians are going through all the right motions with the Ukrainian opposition figures, I strongly suspect that the Kremlin knows what the real score is, and that this score looks very grim indeed. Simply put: there is no personality in the Ukraine capable of rallying enough people to finally kick Ze and his gang out of power. Why? Mostly because the Ukraine is ideologically and morally bankrupt. Well, financially, too, of course. But the main problem is that the only people with a vision for the future of the Ukraine are the Nazis. Nobody else is offering any halfway credible vision for the future of the Ukraine. Of course, this makes sense because the tragic truth is that the Ukraine has no future. None whatsoever. After all, it is an artificial country, created by Lenin and Khrushchev, whose national identity is solely based on hatred (see here and here) and whose constituent parts have mutually exclusive ideologies, beliefs and views.

It is quite remarkable that while under Poroshenko’s rule the opposition was persecuted both legally and illegally (unpunished murders of political dissidents happened in large numbers, nobody in the “democratic West” had anything to say about them!), Ze has actually gone one step further: he is clearly determined to declare that the entire opposition is composed not of Ukrainian opponents, but of traitors to the Ukraine, “Putin agents” and secret supporters of the “Russian world”. Hence, the latest series of crackdowns, lawsuits and administrative persecutions.

As always, the West only makes things worse. How? Well, since Biden won stole the US presidential election, the US-run comprador ruling classes in Europe are scrambling to show that they are just as anti-Russian as the new administration. That, in turn, encourages the regime in Kiev to show more anti-Russian aggression (in whatever form, does not really matter). This “change of tone” is immediately noticed in the Donbass and results in an escalation of the political rhetoric (and military “incidents”) in the LDNR. That, in turn, impacts the Russian political scene and resulted in things like the trip of Margarita Simonian, the editor-in-chief of the television news network RT and of the state-owned international news agency Rossiya Segodnya, to Donetsk were she publicly declared “Russia, mother, take the Donbass back home!” (“Россия, матушка, забери Донбасс домой!”). Of course, she insisted that this was her private opinion and that she was not speaking in any official capacity, which is true. But what is also true is that Simonian is a popular figure in Russia, and her words were immediately discussed on all the talkshows, VK, blogs and all the major TV channels. Everybody understands that while she was speaking in her own name, she was acutely aware of, shall we say, the “mood” in the Kremlin (and of the Russian street!) and that her saying that now will have a noticeable impact on the Russian political discourse, both the official onе and on the Russian Internet (Runet). This is a potentially very dangerous sequence:

  1. The US ups its anti-Russian rhetoric.
  2. The Europeans immediately follow suit and also escalate.
  3. The Ukronazis also immediately follow suit and also escalate.
  4. The LDNR republics warn of escalation and increase pressure on Russia.
  5. The Russians react to all of the above and harden both their rhetoric and actions.
  6. The West feels like it has to show its military power, but can only do so symbolically.
  7. Russia uses actual military capabilities to oppose western symbolic actions.
  8. The West accuses Russia of military escalation.
  9. The Russians officially declare that the West is 1) non-agreement capable (old argument) and 2) hypocritical beyond words.
  10. The West then uses its “soft” (political) power to harass Russia, only further making things worse (see #1 above)

This is exactly the kind of open-ended escalation which can result in a major cataclysm. As for Ukronazis politicians, they flood the air with triumphant declarations about their “new” missile “Neptune” which they could use to destroy the Crimean Bridge (see here or here for a good laugh!). Of course, the Russians know that the “new” Neptune missile is just a modernization of the old, 1980s era, Soviet Kh-35 missile, a subsonic missile with a 145kg (320lbs) warhead. The original Kh-35 had a 130km (70nmi) range, which was bumped up to 300km (160nmi) in Russia in 2015. The “new” Neptune also has a 300km range. In plain English this means three things: 1) the Russian air defenses can easily shoot down this slow flying missile 2) a 145kg warhead can’t do any meaningful damage to a huge structure like the Crimea Bridge and 3) Kiev is still up to no good and dreams of a reconquista.

But that is not all! Kiev is also promising to 1) build a new naval base not only on the Black Sea coast, but also on the Sea of Azov and 2) they are now working with the UK to build up these capabilities. Best of all, the western and Ukrainian propaganda outlets are open declaring that this is a strategy to defeat Russia (for a good laugh, read this). The truth is this: nevermind the Sea of Azov, the entire Black Sea is now a de facto “Russian lake” and Russia has the means to destroy any ship sailing the Black Sea within minutes, everybody knows that, at least anybody with any military background. In case of conflict, the survival time of these two Ukrainian bases would be counted not even in minutes, but in seconds. Deploying any force so near to the Russian border is basically suicidal.

One more example of the kind of insanity which has taken over the Ukraine with Ze in power: believe it or not, but the Ze administration has explained that the Ukraine gave NATO the “authorization” to overfly Crimea. Again, this is such a self-evidently stupid idea that I won’t discuss it on its merits. All I want you to do is imagine hearing all that crazy stuff if you were a Russian decision maker: would you simply ignore these nutcases or would you take the needed measures to make sure that none of that ever happens. Even Lavrov recently quoted the famous Roman wisdom “si vis pacem, para bellum” which, considering that Lavrov is most definitely a “moderate” tells you all you need to know about Russian responses to all this insanity.

The sad truth is that Ze’s Ukraine is no more viable than Poroshenko’s was. In fact, I would argue that the Ukraine is cracking at all its seams and that the only solution left just to delay, but not prevent, a Somalia-like style collapse is to import everything from abroad: from the EU, of course, but also from Russia (especially energy) which continues to provide the Ukraine with energy, even if this is rarely advertised (especially in the Ukraine). The Ukrainian energy sector is in ruins, as is the Ukrainian agricultural sector (the “agrarian superpower” promise also failed to deliver; it reminds me of Krushchev’s “corn crusade”…). None of that is ever reported in the West (for a good laugh, see herehere or here) except buried deeply in some reports like this rare admission “The informal sector in Ukraine is estimated to account for a third of the country’s GDP, and GDP per capita (at purchasing power parity) is only 20% of the EU average”.

The reality of the collapse of the Ukraine is so serious that the international community has decided to provide COVID vaccines to the Ukraine through the COVAX program which Wikipedia defines as “the financing instrument that will support the participation of 92 low- and middle-income economies to access to COVID-19 vaccine funded by donors”. In fact, the decision has been made that the Ukraine will be amongst the first countries to benefit from this international aid program. Okay, in plain English this means this: since the Ukraine cannot produce a vaccine, and since the Ukraine has no money to purchase vaccines abroad, and since the epidemiological situation in the Ukraine (and in all the other poor countries) represents a real danger for developed and wealthy countries too, it only makes sense for the rich to inoculate the poor, if only to avoid being contaminated by them (yet another case of self-interest masquerading as charity).

The richer countries will have no option but to pay for the costs to inoculate those people who live in failed states and other indigent countries. Yet, even Ze himself had to admit that even this will not be enough. It sure looks to me like the US will peddle its worst vaccines (Pfizer) to the Ukrainians and still make a profit. Some opponents of the regime, like Anatolii Sharii (the blogger living in Spain and accused of “high treason”) suggested to do with the Russian vaccines what the Ukraine has already done with Russian energy: don’t buy it from Russia but, instead, let Russia sell her vaccines (Russia is the only country in the world with 3 tested and fully approved vaccines) to the EU which then can re-sell it to the Ukraine, thereby obfuscating the “aggressor-nation” origin of the vaccine from the public eye. This technique, called a “reverse”, is what the EU and the regime in Kiev came up with to avoid admitting the absolutely inadmissible fact that the Ukraine still only exists because Russia allows it to (if Russia was to cut off all ties with the Ukraine the latter would quickly collapse, if only because of a lack of energy).

But no country can live by “reversing” everything. Not only are “reversed” goods more expensive than the original ones (transportation costs money), but it’s not like the EU has enough energy or vaccines for itself. And while the Europeans have lied to the Ukrainians about pretty much everything and made innumerable promises about how the Ukraine will become “the next Germany” in the EU, the sad reality is that nobody in the EU gives a damn about the Ukraine and the Ukrainian people. EU politicians don’t even care about their own people, why should they care about anybody except themselves anyway? Remember, this is the “new EU” where the only truly “European values” left are greed, power and psychopathic hypocrisy. From now on when you think Europe, don’t think Henry Dunant (the founder of the Red Cross movement, long before Clara Barton who only founded the American Red Cross 18 years later) or J.S. Bach, but think Conchita Wurst: that is the new, Woke, face of Europe.

In fact, I would even argue that the *only* country in the world where people still *truly* care about the Ukraine and the Ukrainian people remains Russia. This idea is, of course, 100% pure crimethink which nobody in the West will ever admit to it. Sadly, there are plenty of signs indicating that the traditional love the Russian people had for the Ukraine is quickly being replaced by a strong sense of disgust.

In this highly unfavorable backdrop it is now also becoming increasingly impossible for the Ukrainian propaganda machine to conceal the scope and magnitude of the deep crisis affecting the country: the quickening pace of the collapse of the Ukrainian infrastructure is simply impossible to conceal. And does one conceal stuff like the severe shortages in goods and services? Or how do you conceal an electricity outage?

Conclusion:

The Ukraine is facing a range of major problems which are unlikely to remain contained to the territory of the Ukraine. Things like crime, or a pandemic, or the rule of the mob are very hard to contain. Sooner or later these inevitably bleed over the border to the neighboring country which then, in turn, has to face the same threats. In theory, Russia, the US and the EU could get together and agree on an international rescue plan, but since the US and EU consider that they are playing a zero sum game against Russia, no western politician will ever openly advocate for a real collaboration with Putin’s Mordor. Putin recently declared that “why does everything revolve around the Nord Stream — 2? They want to make Russia pay for their geopolitical project “Ukraine”, that’s all. In fact, everything is quite primitive, everything is simple, we have long understood this, but this is the world in which we live”. Needless to say, Russia won’t agree to foot the bill for this disastrous experiment russophobic ethnogenesis, if only because she simply does not have the kind of reserves to pay for such a huge program. At most, Russia will continue to help the Donbass, and even in this case Russia (or the LDNR republics) could consider demanding reparations from Kiev and its western sponsors. Again, knowing how western arbitration courts work, that won’t happen either.

I don’t think that anybody seriously believes that the Donbass or Crimea will ever agree to return under Kiev’s rule, not de facto and not de jure. That is a given. Neither do I believe that the rump Ukraine is a viable entity. The only conclusion I can come to is this: a breakup of the Ukraine might be inevitable. In fact, such a breakup might even be desirable for all parties (except the russophobic warmongering ruling classes of the AngloZionist Empire who want to destroy Russia at any and all cost).

Chinese President Xi Shared His Vision Of Win-Win Ties With America

By Andrew Korybko

Source

Chinese President Xi Shared His Vision Of Win-Win Ties With America

here are two main arguments in favor of President Biden responding positively to his Chinese counterpart’s suggestions other than the most obvious one that it’s simply the right thing to do in the interests of global stability.

Chinese President Xi Jinping and US President Joe Biden had their first phone call last week since the latter was inaugurated last month. The Chinese leader used this opportunity to share his vision for win-win ties with America. He emphasized their common goals in containing the COVID-19 pandemic, assisting the global economic recovery, combating climate change, and ensuring regional stability. President Xi also suggested reestablishing dialogue mechanisms to this end and cooperating more closely on a whole range of other issues such as financial, law enforcement, and military ones among others.

One of the most important highlights of their conversation was President Xi reminding his American counterpart that Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Xinjiang are China’s internal affairs and that the US must respect them accordingly. The US has been meddling in these issues over the past few years, so it’s important that it changes its behavior for the better in order for relations with China to finally improve. Provided that President Biden listens to President Xi’s advice, then both countries can focus on the boundless possibilities for win-win cooperation between them.

There are two main arguments in favor of President Biden responding positively to these suggestions other than the most obvious one that it’s simply the right thing to do in the interests of global stability. First, America is beset with numerous domestic problems at the moment which require the new administration’s full attention. It mustn’t remain distracted by following in former President Trump’s footsteps in trying to “contain” China since that would be a serious neglect of its responsibility to address issues as urgent as the COVID-19 crisis, America’s economic recovery, and the recent disturbing rise in domestic extremism.

Second, while President Biden provocatively spoke about his expectations for a continued so-called “extreme competition” between his country and China during a recent speech, he also added that he’ll seek to focus on what he described as the “international rules of the road”. This might be a euphemism for resorting to multilateral means in pursuit of advancing his predecessor’s goal of “containing” China, but it could also suggest a much-needed and long-overdue rethinking about the present trajectory of bilateral relations. Should that be the case, then it might result in a renewed impetus to comprehensively regulate their relations.

If the US starts by respecting China’s internal interests per President Xi’s advice, then it would go a long way towards getting ties back on track. The previously discussed possibilities for expanding upon what the Chinese leader described as “the most important development in international relations over the past half century or more”, the restoration and growth of China-US relations, would then be unlocked and the entire global community would benefit as a result of them working more closely together in pursuit of shared interests. Some competition might continue to exist, but it wouldn’t be “extreme” and could therefore be managed.

For example, the US-led Quad might come to take on less of a military nature and instead focus more on economic and political cooperation, ideally in a way that doesn’t imply any negative intent towards China. In that scenario, the Quad might even become a useful platform for managing China-US relations in the region, especially if its Australian and Japanese partners help facilitate talks on the eventual incorporation of China and the US into a larger trade bloc between them all. This could come about because of Canberra and Tokyo’s joint inclusion in two regional economic organizations.

They’re members of both the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP). China and the US have signaled interested in joining the first-mentioned while Beijing is already part of the second. The US also has a free trade pact with Australia and recently reached an economic deal with Japan in 2019. This creates the perfect backdrop for Australia and Japan to help bring China and the US closer on the economic front upon any rapprochement between them. That’s the most promising scenario that China and the US should work towards in the future.

Syria Denies Reports on Secret Covid Vaccine Article in Prisoners Exchange Deal with the ‘Israeli’ Entity

Syria Denies Reports on Secret Covid Vaccine Article in Prisoners Exchange Deal with the ‘Israeli’ Entity

By SANA, Translated by Staff

Syrian source denied media reports on a secret article in the prisoners’ exchange operation with the Zionist entity through which three Syrian detainees were liberated from ‘Israeli’ prisons.

The source, as cited by state-run SANA new agency, affirmed that spreading such fabricated information about a secret article related to obtaining Covid vaccines from the occupation authorities aims at defaming the operation through which the Syrian detainees were liberated from ‘Israeli’ occupation prisons, as well as defaming the humanitarian and patriotic aspects of the operation.

The same source also recalled that Syria was clear in its deal that led to the liberation of three nationals, adding that the media outlets that are spreading such information want to polish the ‘Israeli’ occupation’s image and grant it humanitarian characteristics it already lacks as it is the entity that occupies Arab lands, displace their people and continues committing crimes against the Palestinian, Syrian, and Lebanese peoples.

Syrian captives Muhammad Ahmad Hussein and Tariq Ghasab al-Obeidan of Quneitra province were released Thursday from the ‘Israeli’ occupation prisons.

The step comes as part of Syria’s efforts to liberate its citizens from the Zionist occupation regime’s prisons.

State-run SANA news agency cited informed sources as confirming the completion of the exchange operation that began a day earlier through Russian mediation, with the two Syrian captives being freed and returning to their hometown in Quneitra province.

The day before, captive Nihal al-Maqt was liberated as part of the same operation that included the release of an ‘Israeli’ girl who had mistakenly entered the Syrian territories in Quneitra region, and was arrested by the competent Syrian authorities.

Is a Revolutionary Movement Developing in Europe? Rejecting the Lockdown and the Mask

By Dr. Paul Craig Roberts and Klaus Madersba

Global Research, February 16, 2021

All Global Research articles can be read in 27 languages by activating the “Translate Website” drop down menu on the top banner of our home page (Desktop version).

***

US media provides little news of Europe.  What is provided is strictly “narrated.”  Consequently, Americans are unaware of what seems to be a spontaneous, leaderless, popular uprising against mandated lockdowns and masks.

There are large demonstrations in Germany, and they have spread to Vienna and to Copenhagen.  The people have more sense than the public authorities and reject the Covid mandates. 

In The Netherlands, the Hague Court has ruled that the Covid curfew has no legal basis and “is a far-reaching violation of the right to freedom of movement and privacy and limits, among other things, the right to freedom of assembly and demonstration.” See this.  

Klaus Madersbacher, proprietor of the antikrieg.com website, thinks that Germans are associating the fear-based campaign that is asserting new government controls over people’s lives and activities with an American hegemonic agenda. He believes that it is a revolutionary mass movement that should now become organized under leadership in order to achieve the independence of countries and their peoples.  

One wonders if insouciant Americans are capable of a revolutionary temperament or whether the only protests Americans will witness are the Establishment-funded Antifa and BLM riots that loot and burn private businesses.

Here is Madersbacher’s analysis of what he is witnessing.

*

A New Revolutionary mass movement 

by Klaus Madersbacher

QUERDENKEN is a revolutionary mass movement directed against the US-controlled German regime, similar in essence to the revolution of the Iranian people in 1978 against the US-run dictatorship of the Shah in Iran. It should be emphasized that the Iranian revolution was a peaceful revolution in the course of which the Iranian security forces refused to fight against their own people. The same type of revolutionary movement seems to be emerging in countries under the dominance of the United States of America.

Instead of serving their own people, European regimes serve the interests of Washington, which seems driven to obtain supremacy over the world for material reasons and also as a way out of the economic crisis in which it finds itself.

The theater with and around the coronavirus is staged with the explicit intention of distraction and of creating fear and a climate of general insecurity that leads to control measures that enable hegemonic power, perhaps resulting in a “global reset” that serves the interest of the few at the expense of the many. 

It is against these measures that the Germans and neighboring nations are rising up in an unprecedented and unforeseen readiness to defend themselves as a people and a society.

I read the protests of the last several months as clear expressions that the German people are no longer willing to submit to puppet governments that fail to represent the interests of the people.

Germans and Europeans are used as support for Washington/NATO’s push against Russia and Asia, which is clearly against European interests. If spontaneous cooperation is achieved among European peoples, Washington’s aspirations are defeated, and representative governments will form in place of Washington’s puppet states.  

Since the ruling European governments are neither willing nor able to represent the interests of their peoples, they have lost the confidence of the people and forfeited the right to remain in power. Constitutionally prescribed steps can be followed as far as possible to remove them from office.

First steps /measures

As a first step, a revolutionary council should be elected consisting of two or three members per federal state. 

The revolutionary council will accept no guidance from the EU, Washington, or any agreements that limit the exercise of national sovereignty. 

Existing governmental and financial institutions will continue in operation, but the revolutionary council will reestablish all civil liberties, such as freedom of movement, freedom of income, freedom of expression, freedom of assembly and freedom of travel. The institutional structure of government will then be thoughtfully reconstructed to be consistent with human rights and national wellbeing. 

The Covid control measures will be revoked.

The campaign of fear will be halted, and open public discussion by independent medical and scientific experts will be used to determine reasonable measures to protect the population from Covid.

Layoffs, terminations & repossessions resulting from Covid ordinances will be reversed.

Fines and penalties collected under Covid ordinances will be repaid, and court judgments against citizens under Covid ordinances will be reversed.

The Iranian Revolution against the Shah shows that revolutionary mass movements can be peaceful. To reconstruct the state to serve the people, a constitutional requirement is required that permits the passage of no law that cannot be proved in open discussion to serve the people over organized interests.  To protect the people’s interest, schooling will be used to support the ethos that honor, not material interests or service to ambition, is the basis for government service.

These idealistic aims will never be fully achieved, but their conscious cultivation can preserve the freedom of European peoples.

*

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Dr. Paul Craig Roberts writes on his blog site, PCR Institute for Political Economy, where this article was originally published. He is a frequent contributor to Global Research.

COLLECTIVE HYSTERIA: WESTERN LEADERS WORK TO ALTER THE DEFINITION OF REALITY

09.02.2021

Alastair Crooke

U.S. leaders seek to suggest that America still has the power to alter ‘reality’ to fit to its own exceptionalist myth.

U.S. leaders seek to suggest that America still has the power to alter ‘reality’ to fit to its own exceptionalist myth.

President Putin in 2007 (at Munich) challenged the West: ‘We didn’t. You did; You continuously attack Russia; but we shall not bend’. The audience sniggered. Now, speaking at (a virtual) Davos this last month, after an absence of twelve years from that forum, President Putin held up a mirror to the key ‘influencers’ of the West: ‘See what you have become in the interim; Look at yourself, and be worried’.

This was not so much a be-gloved slap, prefacing duel-by-weapons-of-choice, but an earnest caution. At its’ bottom is a warning that the socio-economic dynamics set into motion by the western zero-interest, debt-led model have not just thrown swaths of society under the economic bus, but rather, that the internal socio-economic catastrophe is being widely vented at external ‘others’. That is, projected psychically abroad, in a lust to fight imaginary demons.

Italy in the 1400s had experienced psychological stresses somewhat similar to todays’ – the upending old ‘myths’, old cultural ties and sources of social cohesion, triggered by the gathering storm of Reformation and Scientific Enlightenment. The new leaders insisted to put old values and the ethos of ‘continuity’ to the auto da fé bonfires of sceptical rationalism’s shiny, new culture. There was then, no China to blame, but the witch and Satan hysteria of that era – a mass collective hysteria – led to some ten thousand Europeans being ‘cancelled’: they were burned alive for clinging to ancient ways (judged to be denials of ‘Truth’). Ultimately the Inquisition was instantiated to condemn and punish heresy.

Last week, President Putin noted at Davos:

“This [crisis in the economic models], in turn, is causing today a sharp polarisation of public views, provoking the growth of populism, right- and left-wing radicalism and other extremes … All this is inevitably affecting the nature of international relations, and is not making them more stable or predictable. International institutions are becoming weaker, regional conflicts are emerging one after another, and the system of global security is deteriorating … the differences are leading to a downward spiral”.

“The situation could take an unexpected and uncontrollable turn – unless we do something to prevent this. There is a chance that we will face a formidable break-down in global development, which will be fought as a war of all, against all … And attempts to deal with contradictions through the appointment of internal and external enemies [to scapegoat] the negative demographic consequences of the ongoing social crisis and the crisis of values, could result in humanity losing entire civilisational and cultural continents”.

The existing model, Putin explained, seems to have inverted ‘means and ends’ – Means (as in the Great Re-set’s emphasis on technological – even trans human – instrumentation of the economy) seem to have taken primacy over humans as its Ends.

Yes, globalisation may have lifted billions out of poverty, yet as Putin points out, “it has led to significant imbalances in global socioeconomic development, and these are a direct result of the policy pursued in the 1980s, which was often vulgar or dogmatic”. It has made “economic stimulation with traditional methods, through an increase in private loans virtually impossible. The so-called quantitative easing is only increasing the bubble of the value of financial assets and deepening the social divide. The widening gap between the real and virtual economies … presents a very real threat and is fraught with serious and unpredictable shocks …”.

“Hopes that it will be possible to reboot the old growth model are connected with rapid technological development. Indeed, during the past 20 years we have created a foundation for the so-called Fourth Industrial Revolution based on the wide use of AI and automation and robotics. However, this process is leading to new structural changes, I am thinking in particular of the labour market. This means that very many people could lose their jobs unless the state takes effective measures to prevent this. Most of these people are from the so-called middle class, which is the basis of any modern society.”

Putin points out that these flaws, inherent within the western growth model, and the ‘turn’ to Big Tech as salvation, were not specifically caused by the pandemic. The latter nonetheless, has pulled the mask from the face of the economic model, and also exacerbated its noxious symptoms:

The coronavirus pandemic … which became a serious challenge for humankind, only spurred and accelerated the structural changes, the conditions for which had been created long ago. Needless to say, there are no direct parallels in history. However, some experts – and I respect their opinion – compare the current situation to the 1930s [the Great Depression]”.

Putin hints, but does not say explicitly, that that the pandemic, by aggravating the socio-economic stress, precisely has contributed to the general hysteria (and polarisation) – and the hunt for external enemies (i.e. such as the ‘CCP virus’).

Putin notes a further contributing factor:

“Modern technological giants, especially digital companies, have started playing an increasing role in the life of society. Much is being said about this now, especially regarding the events that took place during the election campaign in the U.S. They are not just some economic giants. In some areas, they are de facto competing with states. Their audiences consist of billions of users that pass a considerable part of their lives in these eco systems. In the opinion of these companies, their monopoly is optimal for organising technological and business processes. Maybe so – but society is wondering whether such monopolism meets public interests”.

Putin here alludes to something more troubling – the failure of the system-model to deliver on the promise of prosperity and opportunity ‘for all’, and specifically for the less advantaged in society. Can this flaw not be said to be directly related to the rise of Tech soft totalitarianism? Since the systemic nature of the failure cannot be admitted, is it then so surprising there has been a resort to big Tech enforcement of its more favourable version of reality (i.e. one that insists that the systemic failures all derive, rather, from historic racism and injustices, and they will not countenance any dissent from this narrative)?

The core idea here – the response to civic, socio-economic anger – is that a combination of unparalleled monetary injection, radical positive discrimination prioritising non-white identities, plus access to élite oligarchic Tech expertise, will solve most of society’s problems. This is pure ideology. But, unable to deal directly with the evidence of systematic failings and economic ‘rigging’ (that being far too sensitive an issue), western leaders work instead to alter the definition of reality. When you are attempting to extend a make-believe economy by printing more and more debt, in spite of its failed history, it is no wonder you have to silence dissent.

Those then, that do not embrace the propaganda that big Tech and the corporate media relentlessly push, need to be de-platformed, and pushed to the fringes of society. In a striking echo of that earlier Italian era of psychic tensions, the New York Times is now asking for the Biden administration to appoint a “Reality Czar” who will be given authority to deal with “misinformation” and “extremism” (shades of the Inquisition)?

Putin’s speech was a withering de-construction (polite, and very measured) of where we stand – and why. Did his audience hear? And will President Putin’s call for a return to the ‘classic’ economic model; to the real economy; to job creation; comfortable living standards, and education with opportunity for the young, have any impact?

Probably not, unfortunately. One only has to note the European ‘hysteria’ for the quick return to absolute ‘normal’ – to everything being ‘just as it was before’ – and above all, to ‘our summer holidays’. Again Putin alludes, but does not say it: The pandemic has exposed the brittleness, the friability, of European society. It finds hardship impossible to endure (even by those well insulated from the true hardships, which have been real, but only for some: “Worse than WW2, this pandemic”, one veteran said to me this morning!). The space for true (and urgent) structural reforms is disappearingly small.

The future course for the western economies is obvious – one only has to observe the return of (former Fed head) Janet Yellen to the U.S. Treasury; of (former IMF head) Christine Lagarde to the ECB and (former ECB head) Mario Draghi as PM in Italy, to understand that a full blown ‘reflation trade’ is underway.

And as for Putin’s caution about “attempts to deal with contradictions through the appointment of internal and external enemies [to scapegoat] the negative demographic consequences of the ongoing social crisis”, this looks no more promising than the financial scene.

Recently, an anonymous former U.S. government official wrote a paper of policy recommendations on China. The Atlantic Council and Politico both published versions of the piece, and they agreed to keep the author’s identity under wraps for reasons known only to them. The Atlantic Council claims that anonymity was necessary because of “the extraordinary significance of the author’s insights and recommendations”. It is not clear however, why they find these insights and recommendations to be so extraordinary – the paper simply is yet another blueprint for regime change (in this case, a coup against the CCP).

Quite possibly, the door to a peaceful resolution of U.S. tensions with China already is closed. China’s intention always has been peacefully, through economic integration, to re-absorb Taiwan into China. It is committed to that. But it seems from Biden Administration statements that it is equally committed to exacerbating the Taiwan autonomy issue sufficiently so that Beijing has no other option, but to annex Taiwan by force (a last resort for Beijing). In the pages of mainstream U.S. media, experts ostensibly regret this, yet nonetheless conclude that America will again ‘be obliged’ to intervene, in order to stop ‘an aggressor state’ from occupying a democratic, American ally.

Again in the context of the U.S. internal tensions, this is more about the fragility of the U.S. psyche at a moment of potential Thucydides’ angst, than of China posing any real threat to America. China will overtake the U.S. economically, at some point. U.S. leaders seek to suggest that America still has the power to alter ‘reality’ to fit to its own exceptionalist myth.

President Putin of course, knows all this, but at least no one can now complain, ‘We were not warned’.

Canada’s mandatory Covid-19 hotel stays are not ‘internment camps’ but they are costly forced detention

Image result for eva k bartlett gaza
Eva Bartlett is an independent writer and rights activist with extensive experience in Syria and in the Gaza Strip, where she lived a cumulative three years (from late 2008 to early 2013). She documented the 2008/9 and 2012 Israeli war crimes and attacks on Gaza while riding in ambulances and reporting from hospitals. In 2017, she was short-listed for the prestigious Martha Gellhorn Prize for Journalism. The award rightly was given to the amazing journalist, the late Robert Parry [see his work on Consortium News]. In March 2017, she was awarded “International Journalism Award for International Reporting” granted by the Mexican Journalists’ Press Club (founded in 1951). Co-recipients included: John Pilger and political analyst Thierry Meyssan. She was also the first recipient of the Serena Shim award, an honour shared with many excellent journalists since. https://serenashimaward.org/laureates/ Since April 2014, she has visited Syria 14 times, the last time being from March to late September, 2020. All of her writings and videos on which can be found here: https://ingaza.wordpress.com/syria/syria-my-published-articles-from-and-on-syria-2014-2017/ and here: https://www.youtube.com/user/InGazaUpdates/videos A more detailed account of her activism and writings can be found here: https://ingaza.wordpress.co

-by Eva K Bartlett

Feb 10, 2021, RT.com

Since at least October 2020, some Canadians have been concerned about rumours of Covid-19 “internment camps.” In reality, there may be no barbed wire or gun turrets, but a number of travellers have experienced detention firsthand.

Last October, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was asked about this. His reply didn’t address the specific claim at hand, instead he spoke generally of “noise and harmful misinformation on the Internet,” and bizarrely urged people to resist “people who would sow chaos within our communities and our democracy.” (I shudder to think which foreign interference he imagined.)Earlier that month, Ontario member of provincial parliament (MPP) Randy Hillier had asked the province’s legislature about potential “internment camps,” referring to a federal government call for expressions of interest regarding “quarantine/isolation camps throughout every province and every territory in Canada.”

These camps fall under Canada’s Quarantine Act (2005), which specifies that the country can“designate any place in Canada as a quarantine facility.”

So fears of “being confined as a prisoner,” the standard definition of “internment,” can be laid to rest, right?

Well, while a temporary, mandatory, expensive hotel stay certainly isn’t the same as being kept in an internment camp, it is the 2021 plan for travellers flying to Canada, even if they “test negative” for Covid-19.

And many are rightly complaining that it is unlawful and goes against Canadians’ rights, including that those whisked away to secret locations are not given the right to legal counsel, much less right to contact families/friends.

At the end of January 2021, Canada decided to suspend flights to/from Mexico and Caribbean countries, and, effective February 3, implemented the three night stay-at-your-own-expense (or do jail time) hotel quarantine policy for travellers entering Canada with “positive tests” (or the “wrong” negative one). These rules were extended to travellers flying from the US, Central and South America as well.

Trudeau, on January 29, said the cost was expected to be more than Can$2000 (US$1575).

Further, as noted in the government’s news release on these measures, a violation of the quarantine instructions “is also an offence under the Quarantine Act and could lead to serious penalties, including six months in prison and/or $750,000 in fines.”

Whereas until recently it was enough to provide a negative coronavirus test, now travellers to Canada must provide specifically a “negative COVID-19 molecular (PCR) test” or do hotel time at their own expense until receiving such a result.These new measures have already been trialled on passengers who have recently flown to Canada.

In one instance on January 30, a panicked mother (Rebekah McDonald) spoke of her son being taken away to a quarantine facility, saying, “They won’t let me talk to him. They won’t let me see him. They won’t tell me where he’s going.”

As it later turned out, while the son had complied and done a Covid-19 test (two, actually, the antigen and the PCR), he only had the paperwork for the former, and unbeknownst to him, Canada demanded the latter.

He and others likewise sent to hotel prison could be forgiven for missing the January 7, 2021 Transport Canada update specifying that antigen tests would not be accepted. Just two months prior, Government Canada listed antigen tests as a test for Covid-19. In Ontario some days later, a passenger (Steve Duesing) also arriving with a negative test was shuttled to an approved quarantine hotel, apparently itself isolated from the public, with a “detention centre feel to it,” to wait for the Government Canada approved test results.

More recently, another passenger (Neil McCullough) subject to Canada’s arbitrary and draconian new rules spent 11 days in hotel isolation, because paperwork for his test didn’t list the clinic’s address.In the latter case, there was an additional element of totalitarianism: according to McCullough, he and the woman in the next room he tried to speak with were allegedly both informed by the security guard that their quarantine period “would restart” if they didn’t stop talking about their experiences.

Rules for thee, but not…

The government paints its measures as precautions to limit the “spread” of Covid-19, but when numerous government officials themselves have repeatedly violated the regulations, it is clear that they don’t believe in the need for such rules.

This is not about “public safety,” but is about control of the populace.

Patty Hadju, Canada’s minister of health, is quoted as valiantly saying:

“No one should be travelling right now. Each of us has a part in keeping our communities safe, and that means avoiding non-essential travel, which can put you, your loved ones, and your community at risk.”

However, let’s recall that Hadju three times in April 2020 flew “between Ottawa and her home in Thunder Bay,” at a time when she advocated that “now is not the time for gatherings with family and friends. Connect with others with a phone call or video chat instead.”

And actually, she did more of the same in the following months, amounting to at least 11 flights.

The PM himself violated “the rules” over Easter last year, when he took his family, staff and a motorcade across provincial lines to the summer residence (after telling Canadians to suck it up and stay home).

Time will tell if the PM, health minister, and cohorts in positions of authority also violate these newest measures.

Legal action against Trudeau government

The Government Canada page on the new mandate notes that travellers will need to do the PCR test on arrival to Canada (in addition to having already just done it in order to arrive in Canada in the first place). So, according to this logic (and I use that term lightly), even if one has jumped through the absurd 2020 hoops and adapted to the early 2021 hoops, they’ll still need to do expensive hotel time upon arrival in Canada.

In any case, since the PCR test being pushed by Government Canada has long been shown to be unreliable and generate false positives, it thus becomes quite plausible that Canada’s preference of that test is because it will generate more “cases” and thus rack up fear of the pandemic.

An aside: The $2000+ for the three-night stay at government-approved hotels goes towards, Government Canada says, the test, the stay, and “all associated costs for food, cleaning and security.”

And although stays at hotels near airports are never cheap, in this case the food seems to be bordering on prison fare. A photo of Duesing’s Radisson meal shows a skimpy sandwich in a styrofoam container.

On February 3, the Justice Centre For Constitutional Freedoms published an update that it is “preparing to file legal action imminently,” regarding Government Canada’s mandatory hotel quarantine, noting they had “received hundreds of emails” since Canada announced the new travel measures.The Canadian Civil Liberties Association views these measures as an affront against civilians’ rights:

“The quarantine rules will almost certainly impact those who travel to care for ill relatives or attend funerals, those who travel to receive specialized medical care, and those who have health conditions that will make isolating in a hotel a particularly challenging and potentially dangerous proposition.”

In a follow-up video on February 3, McDonald reflected on the lack of accountability for her son’s detention, with no means to speak to anyone to ask for information or help.

Likewise, McCullough was met with vagueness during his unlawful detention of 11 days.

“When I asked the health nurse who I could call, they just answered, ‘the department of health’ … I had no rights. No one to call, no one was accountable, no option to do anything but go along.”

While Canada’s forced quarantine at travellers’ expense program has been temporarily paused, it is allegedly scheduled to rebegin in the weeks after February 14.

So yes, while these stories of being forcibly locked away with no access to lawyers are happening in hotels and not internment camps, the people being locked up aren’t citizens living under the shining democracy of Trudeau’s fantasy world.

Canadians are right to be worried about what comes next, including potentially outsourcing the 11 federally run (non-hotel) quarantine sites to a “third party service provider.”

As with the government’s other totalitarian Covid-19 policies, Canadians have no say in the matter, as their lives become increasingly controlled, and destroyed, by these policies.

Joe Biden Adopts a Trump Approach to Iran

Lawrence Davidson is professor of history emeritus at West Chester University in Pennsylvania. He has been publishing his analyses of topics in U.S. domestic and foreign policy, international and humanitarian law and Israel/Zionist practices and policies since 2010.

An Analysis () by Lawrence Davidson

9 February 2021

Part I—Joe Biden, the Good Stuff

All right! Let’s hear it for Joe Biden! Our new president is leading us in the direction of domestic sanity, and there are even hints of progressive potential in his evolving agenda. Under his leadership, we might soon master the Covid-19 plague and dig ourselves out of our near-depression economic straits. This is terrific!

Some good news when it comes to foreign policy as well. You’ll remember that in Trump’s determination to “make “American great again” (MAGA), the former president decided that international organizations and cooperation were impediments to national greatness. Thus, he systematically withdrew from a number of alignments and also scorned international law. This approach appears to have been part of a MAGA scheme to subvert international order. Its nihilistic undertones were highlighted by the creepy leaders who seemed to warm Trump’s heart. He found men such as the Saudi Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman, along with a long list of dictators ranging from Rodrigo Duterte in Philippines to Abdel Fattah el-Sisi inEgypt, to be really congenial. There was also Trump’s warm admiration for the Russian leader Vladimir Putin. 

President Biden has saved us from this sort of delinquency. He is now operating under new and saner marching orders: “diplomacy is back” and multilateralism is in. The U.S. has recommitted to the international effort to slow down global warming and has rejoined the World Health Organization. Biden has ended all participation in the immoral Yemen civil war and, so it is reported, told the Russians to keep their invasive cyber-fingers to themselves. 

At this point you might have the urge to celebrate what appears to be a full 180-degree turn from Donald Trump’s demented worldview. But hold on, that is not quite the case. Sadly, but perhaps not surprisingly, it appears that a residual lawlessness can be found in at least one the Biden’s foreign policies. We can recognize it in the game he is playing with Iran. 

Part II—Scuttling the JCPOA

Recall that in 2015 then-President Obama invested a lot of political capital, not to mention putting forth a remarkable display of good sense, in helping to negotiate a multilateral agreement with Iran. This is known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), and it was multilateral because it included not just the U.S. and Iran but also the permanent members of the United Nations Security Council: the United States, the United Kingdom, Russia, France, and China as well as Germany (collectively referred to as the P5+1). Basically, the agreement stated that, under a regime of international monitoring, Iran would forgo any development of nuclear weapons and convert its nuclear facilities to peacetime pursuits. In exchange, the P5+1 would lift all nuclear-related economic sanctions, freeing up tens of billions of dollars in oil revenue and the release of frozen assets. It was a rare display of effective diplomacy and it worked—until Obama’s successor, Donald Trump, unilaterally scuttled the deal. 

Trump withdrew from the agreement in early May 2018. By January 2020 he had increased the number of Iran-related sanctions to over one thousand. In 2019, Trump was suggesting that if Iran wanted to enter into new negotiations with the U.S., he would consider lifting some of the sanctions. Iran refused to begin the negotiating process over again with Trump. On 15 January 2021, five days before leaving office, Trump added new sanctions. Why did he display such maliciousness? Besides a bizarre hatred for anything Obama had achieved, and the disdain for international cooperation which supposedly stood in the way of his MAGA fantasies, there are other factors. Trump is a truly amoral schemer (we might think of him as a modern-day lawless Borgia). And so he almost naturally fell in with amoral regimes with active domestic lobbies in the U.S. (such as Saudi Arabia and Israel), as well as a “pay to play” approach for the votes and donations of Americans who have a grudge against or fear of Iran. Here we can name not only the Zionists, but also the wealthy Iranians who took refuge in the U.S. after Iran’s 1979 revolution. Many of these are Iranian monarchists who want to see regime change in Iran through the return of a shah (king).

Under the circumstances, the Iranian government reaction has been understandable: they see themselves as the aggrieved party. They had negotiated the JCPOA in good faith. They had met the conditions of the agreement to the satisfaction of international monitors. The other side had failed to respond as promised. Not only had the U.S. broke the agreement without cause, but it had then blackmailed its European allies into breaking their commitments under the agreement. This was done by the Trump administration declaring that any party that broke Washington’s sanctions against Iran would themselves be sanctioned.

After a year or so, Iran, noting that it was the only party paying attention to the deal and that the sanctions still applied, began to slowly back away from the nuclear agreement’s provisions. However, it was not until January 2020 that the Iranians announced they would no longer limit their number of centrifuges and thus their capacity to enrich uranium. Even then it was not the obscene number of American sanctions or the gross failure of the Europeans to abide by their promises that finally “broke the camel’s back.” It was Trump’s ordering of the murder of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani in Baghdad on 3 January 2020—essentially an act of war, and certainly one in violation of international law.

Part III—Joe Biden, the Bad Stuff

Now Trump is gone and we have Joe Biden, who, by the way, has not done the right thing and affirmed that his administration would rejoin the Iran nuclear deal. Instead he declared that “I will offer Tehran a credible path back to diplomacy. If Iran returns to strict compliance with the nuclear deal, the United States would rejoin the agreement as a starting point for follow-on negotiations” (my emphasis). Later he said that the subsequent negotiations would involve the Islamic Republic’s “violations of human rights and Iran’s role in the regional conflicts.” On its face, this is not an invitation to return to a stabilizing status quo ante, or even a supposed “credible path back to diplomacy.” It is a take-it-or-leave-it demand. This position is remarkably similar to that of Trump posturing for new negotiations back in 2019. And since, as of 7 February 2021, Biden has refused to lift sanctions on Iran—has refused to cease driving that country into poverty—these are no longer Trump’s sanctions. Biden now owns this horror show. Here are some of Biden’s fatal steps.

It was about nine days into the new administration that Biden’s officials began to reference foreign policy and Iran. First appeared Jake Sullivan, Biden’s national security adviser, who told the U.S. Institute of Peace that “a critical early priority has to be to deal with what is an escalating nuclear crisis as they [Iran] move closer and closer to having enough fissile material for a weapon.” One wonders if Sullivan got his start in advertising, because his description is a purposeful mischaracterization of the situation. The descriptor “escalating nuclear crisis” is a woeful exaggeration. If there is any “crisis” at all, it is because Washington has failed to meet its commitments under the 2015 agreement. The Iranians have repeatedly made it clear that they have no interest in nuclear weapons. And, one can imagine the only thing that could change their mind is an existential outside threat. To date, the only ones that pose such threats are allies of the U.S.: Israel and Saudi Arabia.

Then stepped up Tony Blinken, Biden’s new secretary of state, to continue the new administration’s maneuvers. To wit, Blinken stated “Tehran must resume complying with the 2015 Iran nuclear deal before Washington would do so.” This sort of statement is a rather childish, you-go-first challenge. Blinken then explained that if Iran returns to the deal, Washington would seek to build what Blinken called a “longer and stronger agreement” that would deal with other “deeply problematic” issues. He did not name these, but Biden for his part has drawn attention to Iran’s development of ballistic missiles and its support for proxy forces in countries such as Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Yemen.

It took the Iranians no time at all to recognize this gambit for what it is, an effort to enlarge restrictions on Iranian military capacity beyond the scope of the original 2015 agreement. Almost immediately, Iran’s foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, responded that the U.S. position was not practical and will not happen and then added in an op-ed in Foreign Affairs,“once a party leaves an agreement, then that party has no authority demanding others’ compliance to that agreement.”

The Iranians did come back with a more doable proposal to deal with the “who goes first” dilemma. Teheran proposed a timed, mutual U.S. and Iranian return to the original agreement. In an interview with CNN, the Iranian foreign minister said “both countries should synchronize their JCPOA-related moves under the supervision of the European Union”—in other words, achieve the goal with a step-by-step coordinated process. The Biden administration said no to Zarif’s offer, and sane minds, noting the rejection, could hear eerie Trump-like snickering in the surrounding ether. 

Part IV—Conclusion

We have already asked why Trump decided to act in such a malicious manner toward Iran. Now we can ask why Joe Biden has decided to mimic his predecessor and continue a callous, hard-line approach to that same country. As it turns out, the answer is not all that different. Biden is subject to the same lobby pressure from groups to which he has a demonstrated sympathy. Among these are some of the well known suspects mentioned above, but first and foremost are Israel and its Zionist supporters (a rundown of these can be found in a full-page ad in the 5 February 2021 New York Times). 

We can also add one other grouping to this list—various civil rights organizations who would use the moment to pressure Teheran to increase the level of civil liberties allowed in the country. However, as Behrooz Ghamari Tabriz, writing in  Counterpunch notes, “It is a hard sell for those who are genuinely concerned with the question of human rights to ask the American government to be the agent of that change. So long as our government supports the region’s most oppressive regimes, it is hard to imagine that it has any moral authority or political capital to spend on issues of human rights in Iran.”

It is hard to know what exactly is going on inside Joe Biden’s head on this issue. We can assume that it is nothing really analytical. His administration’s actions have, so far, run counter to the other precedents he is laying down in the areas of international cooperation and leadership. They also go against logic. One can imagine no better way to move the Iranians toward nuclear weapons capability than the policies now being pursued. Until Biden acts, in terms of Iran, in the interests of achievable nuclear restraint and stability, that is in the real interests of the country he leads, rather than this or that interest group, he will carry around the residual chains of Donald Trump’s miserable legacy. 

The Israeli intelligence assessment confirms: Hezbollah is determined to defend and respond التقدير الاستخباري الإسرائيلي يقرّ: حزب الله مصمّم على الدفاع والرد

التقدير الاستخباري الإسرائيلي يقرّ:  حزب الله مصمّم على الدفاع والرد
(مروان طحطح)

Al-Akhbar

Ali Haidar

Thursday, February 11, 2021

It is clear that the annual Israeli intelligence assessment — specifically those relating to Hezbollah — is only a fraction of the size and details of the estimate, which usually deals with the picture of reality, the situation, the threats and opportunities involved, possible scenarios, to the intelligence recommendations of the political level that have never been mentioned about Hezbollah. However, Israeli media reports quoted what censorship allowed to be published, about the effects of the economic and health crisis and the extent to which it affects the will of Israel’s enemies, and Hezbollah’s determination to respond in the face of any attacks, through the intelligence assessment of the possibility of “combat days”, between the enemy army and Hezbollah, in a reference to the exclusion of war, while the parties will exchange strikes deliberately and precisely, with the aim of trying to strengthen the ability of both sides to strengthen its deterrence. Although the estimate acknowledged that developments in the region in the tenure of former U.S. President Donald Trump did not curb the growing capabilities of Israel’s enemies, he was careful to repeat the talk of precision missiles, as the greatest threat to Israel’s national security.

Israel’s hopes that the spread of Corona and the economic crisis that Lebanon is facing have not succeeded as a constraint on Hezbollah’s will to perpetuate and reinforce the deterrence equation that provided Lebanon with an umbrella of protection and strategic security, and the same concept applies to more than one regional arena that is hostile to Israel. The failure of this bet was evident in the annual intelligence assessment for the current year, upon acknowledging that all the challenges and difficulties did not harm “the will and capabilities of Israel’s enemies to act against them,” to confirm Israeli media reports that the assessment formed in the army and intelligence confirms that all of this did not harm “neither the capabilities nor the preparations. » This was also preceded by the army chief of staff, Aviv Kohavi, in his speech to the National Security Research Institute conference at the beginning of this year, that “missiles do not get sick, and the second party can decide at any time to operate them.”

Nevertheless, it seems clear that one of the most important characteristics of Hezbollah’s accomplishments is not only that it was able to impose field and strategic facts … It has also succeeded in making the enemy’s institutions of appreciation and decision aware of the institutions of appreciation and decision, which has been reflected in their perception, understanding and appreciation of reality and the threats and constraints involved. Threats and restraints restrictions. After more than six months have passed since the martyrdom of one of his resistance fighters in Syria, the intelligence assessment acknowledged that Hezbollah still has the determination and resolve to respond to the enemy’s army. This indicates Hezbollah’s keenness to curb any thinking of the enemy’s leaders in the persistence of attacks, and the ease of targeting its resistance fighters in Syria or Lebanon.

This statement by the intelligence establishment comes at a time when Lebanon is suffering from worsening economic, social and health crises.    

Precision missiles remain the most visible threat at the enemy’s decision-making table.

The head of military intelligence, Major General Tamir  Hayman,noted that “although the economies of the Middle East are deteriorating and [suffering] from the Corona epidemic, the effort to build force in the region has not been affected.” In previous days, the Israeli army’s “estimates” that Hezbollah now possessed hundreds of precision rockets were leaked to the Israeli media.

But as is customary in all arenas,the enemy blames the resistance forces, ignoring the fact that Hezbollah is in a position to defend Lebanon’s sovereignty and security.

التقدير الاستخباري الإسرائيلي يقرّ: حزب الله مصمّم على الدفاع والرد

التقدير الاستخباري الإسرائيلي يقرّ:  حزب الله مصمّم على الدفاع والرد

الأخبار

علي حيدر

 الخميس 11 شباط 2021

من الواضح أن ما تم السماح بعرضه في وسائل الإعلام من التقدير الاستخباري الإسرائيلي السنوي – وتحديداً ما يتعلق منه بحزب الله – ليس إلّا جزءاً يسيراً من حجم التقدير وتفاصيله التي عادة ما تتناول صورة الواقع والوضع وما تنطوي عليه من تهديدات وفرص، مروراً باستشراف السيناريوات المرجّحة والمحتمّلة والممكنة، وصولاً إلى التوصيات التي تقدّمها الاستخبارات للمستوى السياسي والتي لم تتم الإشارة إليها مطلقاً بشأن حزب الله. مع ذلك، فقد اقتبست التقارير الإعلامية الإسرائيلية ما سمحت الرقابة بنشره، حول مفاعيل الأزمة الاقتصادية والصحية ومدى تأثيرها على إرادة أعداء إسرائيل، وتصميم حزب الله على الردّ في مواجهة أيّ اعتداءات، مروراً بتقدير الاستخبارات إزاء إمكانية نشوب «أيام قتالية»، بين جيش العدو وحزب الله، في إشارة إلى استبعاد الحرب، وفي الوقت نفسه أن الطرفين سيتبادلان الضربات بشكل مدروس ومضبوط، بهدف محاولة كلّ من الطرفين تعزيز قدرة ردعه. ومع أن التقدير أقرّ بأن المستجدات التي شهدتها المنطقة في ولاية الرئيس الأميركي السابق دونالد ترامب، لم تؤدِّ إلى كبح تعاظم قدرات أعداء «إسرائيل»، إلّا أنه حرص على تكرار الحديث عن الصواريخ الدقيقة، باعتبارها التهديد الأكبر على الأمن القومي الإسرائيلي.

لم تنجح آمال «إسرائيل» بأن يشكّل انتشار كورونا والأزمة الاقتصادية التي يواجهها لبنان قيداً على إرادة حزب الله في تكريس وتعزيز معادلة الردع التي وفّرت للبنان مظلة حماية وأمن استراتيجي، والمفهوم نفسه ينسحب على أكثر من ساحة إقليمية تعادي إسرائيل. تجلّى فشل هذا الرهان في التقدير الاستخباري السنوي، للعام الجاري، لدى الإقرار بأنّ كل التحديات والصعوبات لم تضرّ «بإرادة وقدرات أعداء إسرائيل للعمل ضدها»، ليؤكّد تقارير إعلامية إسرائيلية بأن التقدير المتشكّل في الجيش والاستخبارات يؤكّد أنّ كلّ ذلك لم يضر «لا بالقدرات ولا بالاستعدادات». وسبقت ذلك أيضاً إشارة رئيس أركان الجيش أفيف كوخافي، في كلمته أمام مؤتمر معهد أبحاث الأمن القومي مطلع السنة الجارية، إلى أن «الصواريخ لا تمرض، ويمكن في أي وقت أن يقرّر الطرف الثاني تشغيلها».

مع ذلك، يبدو واضحاً أن من أهم ما يميز إنجازات حزب الله، ليس حصراً أنه استطاع أن يفرض وقائع ميدانية واستراتيجية… بل أنه نجح أيضاً في كيّ وعي مؤسّسات التقدير والقرار لدى العدو، وهو ما انعكس في نظرتهم وفهمهم وتقديراتهم للواقع وما ينطوي عليه من تهديدات وقيود كابحة. فبعد مضي أكثر من ستة أشهر على استشهاد أحد مقاوميه في سوريا، أقرّ التقدير الاستخباري بأنّ حزب الله لا يزال يملك التصميم والعزم للردّ على جيش العدو. وهو ما يؤشّر إلى حرص حزب الله على كبح أيّ تفكير لدى قادة العدو في التمادي في الاعتداءات، واستسهال استهداف مقاوميه في سوريا أو لبنان.

يأتي هذا الإقرار من قِبل المؤسسة الاستخبارية في الوقت الذي يعاني فيه لبنان من أزمات اقتصادية واجتماعية وصحّية متفاقمة. حضرت بعض تفاصيله في ما تم نشره من التقدير. وهذه الأزمات كان يُفترض بحسب الرهانات الإسرائيلية أن تشكل قيداً على حزب الله، وبالتالي تبلور فرصة تؤدّي إلى اتّساع هامش اعتداءات العدو. لكن تصميم حزب الله وعزمه على المواجهة بدّدا هذا الأمل والرهان.

لا تزال الصواريخ الدقيقة تمثّل التهديد الأكثر حضوراً على طاولة صنّاع القرار لدى العدو


وقد لفت رئيس الاستخبارات العسكرية، اللواء تامير هايمن، إلى أنه «رغم أن اقتصادات الشرق الأوسط في حالة تدهور و[تعاني من] وباء كورونا، لكن لم يتضرر مجهود بناء القوة في المنطقة». وضمن هذا الإطار لا تزال الصواريخ الدقيقة، كما في السنوات الماضية، تمثّل التهديد الأكثر حضوراً على طاولة صنّاع القرار في كيان العدو، وعلى رأس أولويات أجهزة الاستخبارات والجيش. واتّسمت مقاربة التقدير لهذا التحدي في السنة الحالية، بكونها نسخة مطابقة للمبادئ التي حكمت تقديرات السنوات السابقة، عبر الحفاظ على صياغة مُحدَّدة يبدو أنها تهدف إلى إخفاء المعطيات الجدية. وفي الأيام السابقة، تسرّبت إلى الإعلام الإسرائيلي «تقديرات» جيش الاحتلال بأن حزب الله بات يملك مئات الصواريخ الدقيقة. لكن التقدير الاستخباري لم يجارِ هذه التسريبات التي تتقاطع مع ما ألمح إليه الأمين العام لحزب الله السيد حسن نصر الله. وهو أمر قد يكون مفهوماً في بعض خلفيّاته باعتباره جزءاً من سياسة تعتيم مدروسة لها سياقاتها ورهاناتها وأهدافها المتّصلة بالساحتَين الداخلية الإسرائيلية والإقليمية – الردعية.
وتناول التقدير الاستخباري سيناريو جولة «أيام قتالية» على الحدود مع لبنان، في أعقاب رد حزب الله. ولكن كما هي العادة في كل الساحات، يلقي العدوّ بالمسؤولية على قوى المقاومة، متجاهلاً حقيقة أن حزب الله هو في موقع المدافع والرد عن سيادة لبنان وأمنه. لكن هذا النوع من المقاربة يكشف عن أن مسعى العدو الأساسي يكمن في التأسيس لمعادلة ينفّذ فيها اعتداءاته من دون أن يتلقى ردوداً رادعة. وهو ما لم ينجح في تحقيقه حتى الآن.

Mass Manipulation – How it Works

Mass Manipulation – How it Works

February 07, 2021

by Robert Cialdini and Peter Koenig for the Saker Blog

Have you ever wondered how a herd of sheep is driven to their slaughterhouse? Manipulation of minds is a well-studied science, has been applied already for centuries, but is getting ever more sophisticated. For example, the many poignant assertions, Joseph Goebbels, Hitlers Minister of Propaganda (1933 to 1945), included, “if you repeat a lie often enough it becomes the truth”; or “if you make people believe in the threat of an enemy, they’ll do your bidding”– and “divide and polarize them, destroy their solidarity, and they follow your command”.

Today we have become more sophisticated. While fear is still the weapon of choice – imagine an invisible enemy that everybody is scared of – we have digitally observant media, algorithms and robots that focus on your thinking, how you react and deal with social media, or what websites you consult, and where and what you shop. This is just to mention a few points of information. Today there are on average about 200 such data to be electronically computed, so as to sway your opinion and to make you believe the most flagrant lies.

You may recognize what covid is doing to you and at what state of manipulation we are – how close to the slaughterhouse are we? The seven stages below synthesize the book ‘Influence, The Power of Persuasion’, by Robert Cialdini.

Hypnotherapists have been noticing blatant hypnosis and Neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) techniques being used by the government and state-controlled media. NPL is a psychological approach that involves analyzing strategies used by successful individuals and applying them to reach a personal goal. It relates thoughts, language, and patterns of behavior learned through experience to specific outcomes.

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Israel’s Third Lockdown- a Spectacle of Failure

 BY GILAD ATZMON

3rd lockdown.jpg

“Your destroyers and wreckers depart from you” (Isaiah 49:17)

by Gilad Atzmon

Earlier this week, The New York Times praised the Israeli mass vaccination experiment. “In the most extensive real-world test so far, Israel has demonstrated that a robust coronavirus vaccination program can have a quick and powerful impact, showing the world a plausible way out of the pandemic. Cases of Covid-19 and hospitalizations dropped dramatically among people who were vaccinated within just a few weeks… early data suggests that the vaccines are working nearly as well in practice as they did in clinical trials.”

For one reason or another, the Israeli media is not as enthusiastic as the NY Times. On the penultimate day of Israel’s third lockdown, the most read Israeli online outlet, Ynet, carried the following headline: Spectacle of Failure: Third Lockdown Compared to Previous Ones.

The article unveiled the hopelessness and duplicitous nature of Israel’s COVID strategy and politics. Ynet points out that, despite the baseless promises made by the government and its prime minister, after six weeks in lockdown the situation didn’t improve at all. Despite Israel leading the world mass vaccination experiment, its COVID transmission rate is among the worst in the Western world.

The Ynet article stresses that “tomorrow at 7:00 AM the third lockdown will end, a month and a half after it was imposed – and the COVID data is much worse today compared with the situation at the beginning… at the point of departure of the third lockdown at the end of December, the rate of positive tests was 4.9%, the number of critical hospitalized patients was then 949, the number of verified cases was 4,010. Prior to the tightening of the lockdown, on January 8, the positive rate was 6.6%, the number of critical patients – 949, and the number of verified cases – 7,644.

At the peak of the third lockdown, the rate of positive cases reached 10.2%, the number of seriously ill patients climbed to 1,203 and the daily number of COVID diagnoses reached 10,114. Since then, the numbers have dropped by just a little. On Tuesday, the positive rate was 8.9%, the number of patients was 1,101 and the number of verified cases was 7,183. Even the R number, which determines whether the epidemic is spreading, has risen again to 1 in recent days.”

The combined number of vaccinated Israelis and those who recovered from COVID in the past should have provided Israel with a relatively strong herd immunity, enough to defeat the virus or at least reduce its reproduction rate. But the facts on the ground suggest the complete opposite. The transmission rate in Israel is higher than pretty much anywhere else. In fact the troubling correlation between mass vaccination and illness suggests that the more you vaccinate, the more COVID cases you find.

As if this is not enough, not more than two cities are castigated as ‘COVID green cities.’ One of those cities is Rahat, a Palestinian Bedouin municipality where the vaccination campaign is generally ignored. The Israelis can also see that amongst the COVID green communities, the Israeli Arab villages and towns are vastly overrepresented. Again, this may have something to do with their general defiance of the vaccine. In short, if we learn something from the ‘Israeli experiment’ it may be possible to conclude that the less you vaccinate, the more healthy your community is as a whole.     

Considering the validated fact that the vaccinated are proved to be relatively immune at least at the present time, the only explanation (I can think of)  for spike of cases, deaths and mutants in mass vaccinated states is the horrifying possibility that the vaccinated are actually spreading the virus and especially its mutants (particularly the British one). This possibility must be investigated. It is supported by established data collected in mass vaccinating countries, such as the UAE, USA, Britain and Portugal. Shortly after a mass vaccination campaign is launched, we detect a sharp exponential rise in cases and, tragically, deaths to follow.  

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The evolutionary theory that may lead to such a scenario is also far from being too complicated: struggling to survive, the virus mutates and then attacks those who are relatively unprotected (the unvaccinated). I explored the possibility of a conflict between the ‘vaccinated’ and the ‘unvaccinated’ three weeks ago. At the time, some Israeli scientists hypothesised a possible horrific scenario in which the vaccinated are identified as spreaders of some lethal mutants and are pushed into isolation.

In Israel, the IDF’s intelligence (AMAN) also runs an independent COVID research unit that estimates the risks imposed by the situation and evaluates relevant strategies. Earlier today AMAN published its warning that in the “coming weeks a sharp rise in cases is expected following the end of the lockdown and the rapid spread of the British mutant.” AMAN stressed that  “more than ever, personal responsibility and adherence to the guidelines are required.”

With its decision to voluntarily make itself Pfizer’s testing ground, the Israelis are providing us with some invaluable understanding of the vaccine and the risks that are involved in COVID mass vaccination. If, for instance, we notice in the coming weeks that the IDF’s intelligence was wrong in its prediction and there is no significant change in the number of cases or deaths, we may be able to conclude that it isn’t social distancing that spreads the disease (in its current state) but probably the vaccine itself. If morbidity is reduced and case numbers drop, we may even be able to look into the possibility that social integration actually reduces transmission. If the number of cases rises sharply as the IDF predicts, we may be able to conclude that the vaccine had a very little impact on Israel’s herd immunity. In fact, the campaign was a spectacle of failure.

There are now estimates that 50% of Israelis do not believe in the vaccine and the rationale behind it. Israeli vaccination centers are currently empty despite pressure mounted by the government and municipalities on citizens to get themselves ‘protected.’ Many Israelis believe that the national vaccine campaign is there to serve PM Netanyahu political goal: a victorious image that would win him the next election and may save him from his current legal complications.

Those who are familiar with Jewish history should be aware of the role and prominence of the collective suicidal narratives that have shaped Jewish history in the past. The Old Testament points out to the Hebrews that “your destroyers and wreckers depart from you” (Isaiah 49:17). Most Jews tend to attribute this Godly observation to Jewish dissenters, but Jewish history may instead suggest that it is the Jewish accepted leaders, both political, spiritual and religious, who often led their people on the most disastrous and tragic paths.

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WHO: Very Unlikely Lab Leak Caused COVID Outbreak, Animal Source Still Unidentified

WHO: Very Unlikely Lab Leak Caused COVID Outbreak, Animal Source Still Unidentified

By Staff, Agencies

The original animal carrier of COVID-19 has not yet been identified, WHO said during a press conference in China’s Wuhan on Tuesday.

According to Liang Wannian, a Chinese expert from Tsinghua University, bats and pangolins have been ruled out as the animal reservoir for COVID-19.

“Coronaviruses most highly related to SARS-CoV-2 are to be found in bats and pangolins, suggesting they could be the reservoir of the virus that causes COVID-19, on the basis of high similarity and sequences between the standard viruses and SARS-CoV-2. However, the viruses identified so far from neither of these species are sufficiently similar to SARS-CoV-2 to serve as direct progenitor of the SARS-CoV-2,” Liang said at a press conference of the World Health Organization’s expert team.

However, Peter Ben Embarek, a WHO expert specializing in food safety, said the investigation to identify the origins of the coronavirus points to a natural reservoir in bats, although it’s unlikely that they were in Wuhan. 

There is no evidence of COVID-19 circulation in any animal species in China in late 2019, Embarek added.

“It has not been possible to pinpoint any animal species as a potential reservoir for this disease, and they indicate that currently and also back in 2019 it does not look like there was circulation of the virus in any animal species in the country,” the expert said.

He also said that the COVID-19 outbreak was most likely caused by introduction through intermediary host species, while a laboratory leak is extremely unlikely to have triggered the outbreak.

“We identified four main hypotheses or groups of hypotheses on how the virus could have been introduced in the human population: direct zoonotic spillover; introduction through intermediary host species; food chain, frozen food products, surface transmission; and finally a laboratory-related incident…Our initial findings suggest that introduction through an intermediary host species is the most likely passway and one that will require more studies and more specific targeted research … The findings suggest that a laboratory incident hypothesis is extremely unlikely to explain the introduction of the virus into the human population,” Ben Embarek said .

According to Liang, there is no evidence of COVID-19 was circulating in Wuhan before December 2019, and that the death rate did not rise in Wuhan and other cities in the Hubei province from July- December 2019.

“During the period of July to December 2019, we have conducted a review of the surveillance data on … mortality in Wuhan city and the rest of the Hubei province. It produced little evidence of substantial unexpected fluctuations in mortality that might suggest the occurrence of the transmission of the SARS-CoV-2. There is no indication of the transmission of the SARS-CoV-2 in the population in the period before December 2019. There is not enough evidence to determine whether SARS-CoV-2 had spread in Wuhan before December 2019,” Liang said.

The expert added, however, that the virus that causes COVID-19 may have been circulating in other regions before it was identified in the central Chinese city of Wuhan at the end of 2019.

COVID-19 was discovered outside China’s Huanan seafood market back in December 2019, Liang said.

“While some of the early cases had an association with the Huanan seafood market, others were associated with other markets, and other cases had no markets association at all. It is likely that the Huanan seafood market acted as a focus for transmission of the virus, but there are also transmissions appearing to have the occurrence elsewhere in Wuhan at the same time. This is our basic judgment, it is not possible on the basis of the current information to determine how SARS-CoV-2 was introduced into the Huanan market,” the expert concluded.

On 31 December 2019, WHO China reported an outbreak of the previously unknown virus in Wuhan. Evidence suggested that the outbreak was associated with exposure in a local seafood market. On 12 January, China shared the genetic sequence of the novel coronavirus with the WHO. Despite the fact that China imposed a strict lockdown in Wuhan and other regions of the country, the COVID-19 infection spread, eventually being called a pandemic by WHO on 11 March.

Israel leading Scientist Admits: “The vaccine may not be as effective as we thought.”

 BY GILAD ATZMON

jerusalem.jpg

Introduction by GA: Israel struggles to understand its chaotic COVID-19 situation. The country voluntarily decided to mass vaccinate itself. Israel is clearly winning in the vaccination contest, yet the numbers of COVID-19 cases and deaths aren’t encouraging to say the least. As for this morning, Israel’s R number is back at 1. The Times of Israel produced a grim audit yesterday; despite Israel vaccinating almost a third of its population “Israel has been reporting some 7,000 new infections a day, one of the highest rates in the developed world. Nearly 5,000 people have died, more than a quarter of them in January alone.”

How is it possible that transmission in Israel is so high despite the ‘success’ of mass vaccination? Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu admitted this week that the “British mutation accounts for 80% of all cases in Israel.”  The most obvious question in that regard is how do we explain the successful Aliya of that esoteric mutant especially considering that air travel is almost non-existent? In my recent writings I pointed at a clear correlation between mass vaccination and mutants (here and here). I am obviously not the only one who detects such a parallel. Monitoring the Israeli MSM, I see the question repeating itself. However, the country’s medical establishment and politicians, together with internet giants, work hard to supress the question and silence those who dare to utter any dissent.   

Earlier this week I watched an Israeli news interview with the head of a COVID Ward in Tel Aviv’s biggest hospital. When asked about the spread of foreign mutants and the lack of improvement in cases and deaths despite large numbers being vaccinated, he was quick to answer, “why do you ask me, I am just a doctor.”   

Israel is once again in political turmoil with an upcoming election. The success of the vaccination campaign is now a sensitive political matter which will have a direct impact on Netanyahu’s fate. Israelis aren’t fools and many of them understand the parameters that determine the current situation. They grasp the possibility that they are subject to a political ploy, with their personal and communal health held hostage by a compromised political establishment.

In its desperate attempt to vaccinate the entire population, health services are offering vaccination to anyone aged 16 and above. But the Israelis are reluctant. According to Israeli reports the vaccination centers are empty. The more pressure mounted by the government (including threats to future employment and personal freedom), the more suspicious Israelis become. They can see that the COVID situation in Israeli-Arab communities is improving despite their defiance of the Pfizer/Israeli experiment, while some almost entirely vaccinated Jewish cities struggle with a relatively high number of cases. A brief examination of the Israeli COVID situation reveals that the number of cases and deaths grew exponentially since the beginning of mass vaccination and the third lockdown.  

In the light of the above, the following is a translation of a week-old Israeli MSM interview with Prof. Eran Segal, a leading Israeli scientist and computational biologist at the Weizmann Institute of Science.

In the interview, Prof. Segal thinks loudly about that which most Israeli scientists prefer to keep to themselves.

 “The vaccine may not be as effective as we thought, but we do not know it”

https://www.maariv.co.il/corona/corona-israel/Article-818246

Prof. Eran Segal of the Weizmann Institute commented on Gideon Oko’s (103FM 28/01/2021) program on the effectiveness of vaccines and the impact of the British mutant.  “We witness a virus that behaves differently”

The third (Israeli) Lockdown is in progress, the mass vaccination campaign continues, and yet there is no significant reduction in COVID-19’s cases and deaths.

Prof. Eran Segal from the Weizmann Institute spoke today (Thursday) with Gideon Oko on 103FM about the issue and commented on the effectiveness of vaccines and the impact of the British mutant on the data.

Would it be fair to say that we all expected a significant drop in numbers this week?

“True, I agree. We were on the rise last week, we estimated that this week we will see a change in the trend. I think we are seeing a change in the trend, that is, the R number has already dropped to the 0.9 region and we are 20% away from the peak in cases. However, the number of new critical patients has remained stable and we have also been stuck on the same number for two weeks.”

Do you know how to explain why this is so?

“When we discuss possible scenarios and theoretical models, some assumptions always come into play. We know what were our set of assumptions regarding the British mutant that slowed down our predicted progress.  We (also) took vaccines into account. The set of assumptions is incorrect. I mean, the vaccine may not be as effective as we thought, but we don’t know it for certain (yet).”

Could it be that the vaccine is less effective than we thought?

“I think it cannot be said, we have to wait and analyze the data.  We have to give it more time as we do not know yet the impact of the second dose. We do not expect to see its effect yet. In the meantime, it can be said that the impact of the vaccine isn’t exactly what we hoped for but this may be due to many mistakes in our interpretations.

There could be differences between those (populations) who take the vaccines. In the red COVID areas people are less likely to get vaccinated.”

Maybe that’s why Dr. Sharon Alrai-Price (The head of public health services at the Ministry of Health) said today that they are examining the possibility of giving a third dose of vaccine if it turns out that the vaccine in its current form is not effective against the South African mutation? Is that based on a hypothesis or knowledge?

“This is something preliminary. Pfizer announced that they were considering a third dose and that there might be an update to the vaccine that would also tackle the threat of the South African mutant more effectively. ‘There were reports from the UK that it may be possible that the South African mutant is more dangerous. It could be that the vaccine is still as effective as we thought, but the reason the number of serious patients is not decreasing at the rate we hoped could also stem from this assumption.’

Are we expected to face the same COVID measures in 2021?

“The Coronavirus will be here for a long time to come even if the vaccines turn out to be as effective as promised.”

We tend to believe that in March/April we will return to a certain normal routine.

“There is a lot of uncertainty but it is too early to say… there is no doubt that the British mutant (as well as other mutations) introduced an element of unpredictability, (but all of that may change) if the vaccine turns out to be effective after the second dose. At the moment we struggle with the vaccination of certain sectors. In the Arab sector we covered only 66% of aged 60 and above, 76% in the ultra-Orthodox sector. These numbers need to be raised.”

Do you expect to start to see a decline next week?

“We currently expect a decline because we are already seeing a drop in cases that will be followed by a decline in critically ill patients. Also, the impact of the vaccines are starting to be seen and we all hope they will indeed be effective.”

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The priorities of the US administration أولويات الإدارة الأميركيّة

**English Machine translation Please scroll down for the Arabic original version **

The priorities of the US administration

Saada Mustafa Arshid

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Untitled-104.png
*Palestinian politician residing in Jenin, occupied Palestine.

The rapidly developing Covid 19 virus continues to show the ability to transcend its nature as an epidemic threatening human health and life, but rather has become a political player, and an element of influence in the fields of economy, society and education, and it has played a major and important role in the recent US elections, and contributed to the success of the atmosphere Biden before Trump, who underestimated the virus at first, then failed to devise and implement policies to deal with it and reduce its multiple dangers that go beyond health, and in an exciting statement to the new US Secretary of Defence Lloyd Austin, in which he considered that one of the priorities of his ministry’s work is to work to combat the epidemic, which It has become a threat to US national security, that exposed the insecurities of the brightly looking regime, it was like an unexpected tsunami, removing powders from the true form of the ugly racist capitalist system.

The internal files on Biden’s agenda follow china and its South and East Sea, where China has geographical disputes with more than one of Washington’s allies, and there are U.S. fleets, where that rising and fast-growing dragon, which is the most serious threat to Global American supremacy. In Biden’s early days at the White House, he issued clear warnings to China of any expansionist intentions, and affirmed the support of his allies, who are threatened by Chinese growth and Chinese demands, led by Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and the Philippines, and the list goes on, but China responded to those warnings with the well-known eastern cold, Stressing that the issue of containing China is nothing but illusions, and in this file, the current administration does not deviate much from the late administration in its approach.

In this east, namely Yemen and Iran, that the Biden administration considers on its list of priorities, and they are the files of Yemen and Iran, and the US administration has approaches different from its predecessor in these two files. The Yemen war no longer tolerates the result of not achieving any of its goals and it does not seem that it will act except to achieve the opposite of those goals. On top of which is the strengthening of the Iranian position in the southwest of the Arabian Peninsula, and in a position that controls the Bab al-Mandab Strait, and nothing remains that the Saudi forces and their allies do except killing, demolition and harm, which has made their humanitarian and moral costs high without a strategic return worth such a cost. Moreover, the one who lit its fire (the alliance of Mohammed bin Zayed and Muhammad bin Salman) does not enjoy the respect and appreciation of the new administration, and Washington has issued reports that it is reviewing the decision of the previous administration that included the Houthis and their political framework (Ansar Allah group) on the lists of terrorism.


Iran, in turn, is showing remarkable activity, through the constant travel of its Foreign Minister and his visits to influential capitals, as well as in its wide military maneuvers, and in its demonstration of its strength on land, sea and air, in the field of drones and precision missiles, and in its successive revelations about the capabilities of its war industries despite the blockade it suffers and the suffocating economic hardship Iran is waiting for Washington to take the initiative, to revive the nuclear agreement that President Biden made an effort to accomplish, when he was former Vice President Obama.


Last Monday, the first practical indications of the US response appeared, through the statements of the Foreign Minister Blinkin to “NBC” that his country is ready to return to the agreement if Iran is ready for that, and he warned that Iran has become very close to the ability to manufacture important components that give it the ability. On the production of nuclear weapons, and preventing this from an American national security issue, but the demon of American details will try and must impose additional conditions, perhaps the most important of them, for Iran to deliver the uranium it enriched during the suspension of the agreement to the IAEA. In addition to the conditions that Iran is demanding until its discussion, Iran will not be in the process of discussing it, including Iran’s withdrawal from Syria, Iraq and Yemen, the disarmament of Hezbollah, the dismantling of Iranian missile systems, issues that the whole world has not been able to achieve for four decades of wars, blockades and sanctions, but the process of biting and fingering Tehran, but the finger-biting process between Tehran and Washington must come to an end, as each of them has the same desire and interest in reaching an agreement.

As for the rest of the files in our east, the new administration does not pay high attention to them, and does not include them in the list of priorities, as it has become typical crises, as it manages each crisis itself, and it does not have the character of urgency, and do not poses a danger, including what is happening in Iraq and Syria, where the Americans do no more than protect the Kurds (SDF) through 2,500 soldiers, and it is an old US policy of selling illusions by using the Kurds who are quick to respond, and who have always left losers, so they have always continued the game even if at the expense of their blood. Lebanon is mired in corruption and the issues of the governor of its central bank, and the crisis of the formation of the government, as well as in the Palestinian file, the crisis continues awaiting the Knesset elections next March, meanwhile the Palestinians are consuming time in electoral projects and national dialogues, which are supposed to rebuild the political system and restore unity to what remains of Palestine. It often ends with results that are inconsistent with optimism. The new US administration will not provide more than some money, reactivate the US Aid, open an office or a consulate, a visiting envoy to Ramallah, a guest delegation in Washington, but it may provide some verbal support, the official Palestinian exaggerates in his assessment, such as condemning the establishment of an outpost here, or the martyrdom of a Palestinian civilian at a checkpoint. there, It’s staying in the same square.

أولويات الإدارة الأميركيّة

سعادة مصطفى أرشيد

*سياسي فلسطيني مقيم في جنين – فلسطين المحتلة

لا يزال فايروس كوفيد 19 السريع التطوّر، يبدي القدرة على أنه تجاوز طبيعته كوباء يهدّد صحة الإنسان وحياته، وإنما أصبح لاعباً سياسياً، وعنصراً من عناصر التأثير في مجالات الاقتصاد والمجتمع والتعليم، وقد كان صاحب دور رئيس ومهمّ في الانتخابات الأميركية الأخيرة، وساهم في إنجاح جو بايدن أمام ترامب، الذي استخفّ بالفايروس في البداية، ثم فشل في اجتراح وتنفيذ سياسات للتعامل معه والحدّ من أخطاره المتعددة التي تتجاوز الصحة، وفي تصريح مثير لوزير الدفاع الأميركي الجديد لويد أوستن، اعتبر فيه أنّ من أولويات عمل وزارته، العمل على مكافحة الوباء، الذي بات من مهدّدات الأمن القومي الأميركي، وكاشفاً عورات النظام الزاهي المنظر، فقد كان أشبه بعاصفة تسونامي غير متوقعة، أزالت المساحيق عن الشكل الحقيقي للنظام الرأسمالي العنصري القبيح.

يلي الملفات الداخلية على أجندة بايدن، ملف الصين وبحرها الجنوبي والشرقي، حيث للصين منازعات جغرافية مع أكثر من دولة حليفة لواشنطن، وهناك تنتشر الأساطيل الأميركية، حيث يمكن محاصرة ذلك التنين الصاعد والسريع النمو، والذي يمثل التهديد الأخطر للتفوّق الأميركي العالمي، في أيام بايدن الأولى في البيت الأبيض، أطلق تحذيرات واضحة للصين من أية نيات توسعية، وأكد على دعم حلفائه، الذين يتهدّدهم التنامي الصيني والمطالبات الصينيّة، وعلى رأسهم اليابان وكوريا الجنوبية وتايوان والفلبين، والقائمة تطول، ولكن الصين ردّت على تلك التحذيرات بالبرود الشرقي المعروف، مؤكدة أنّ مسألة احتواء الصين ما هي إلا أوهام وفي هذا الملف لا تبتعد الإدارة الحالية كثيراً عن الإدارة الراحلة في مقاربتها.

في هذا الشرق، هناك ملفان تعتبرهما إدارة بايدن في قائمة أولوياتها، وهما ملفا اليمن وإيران، وللإدارة الأميركية مقاربات مختلفة عن سابقتها في هذين الملفين، فحرب اليمن، لم تعد تحتمل نتيجة عدم تحقيقها لأيّ من أهدافها ولا يبدو أنها ستفعل إلا على تحقيق عكس تلك الأهداف وعلى رأسها تعزيز التمركز الإيراني في جنوب غرب جزيرة العرب، وفي موقع مسيطر على مضيق باب المندب، ولم يبق من شيء تفعله القوات السعودية وحلفاؤها إلا القتل والهدم والأذى، مما جعل أكلافها الإنسانية والأخلاقية عالية من دون مقابل استراتيجي يستحق كلفة كهذه، وفوق ذلك فإنّ من أشعل نارها (تحالف محمد بن زايد ومحمد بن سلمان) لا يحظى بالاحترام والتقدير لدى الإدارة الجديدة، وقد صدر عن واشنطن ما يفيد بأنها تراجع قرار الإدارة السابقة الذي أدرج الحوثيين وإطارهم السياسي (جماعة أنصار الله) على قوائم الإرهاب.

إيران بدورها، تبدي نشاطاً ملحوظاً، وذلك عبر السفر الدائم لوزير خارجيتها وزياراته للعواصم المؤثرة، كما في مناوراتها العسكرية الواسعة، واستعراضها لقوتها في البر والبحر والجو وفي مجال الطائرات المسيّرة والصواريخ الدقيقة، وفي كشوفها المتلاحقة عن قدرات صناعاتها الحربية برغم الحصار الذي تعانيه والضائقة الاقتصادية الخانقة، وهي تنتظر أن تقوم واشنطن بالمبادرة، لإحياء الاتفاق النووي الذي سبق للرئيس بايدن أن بذل جهداً لإنجازه، عندما كان نائباً للرئيس الأسبق أوباما.

وقد ظهرت الاثنين الماضي أولى البوادر العملية للاستجابة الأميركية، وذلك عبر تصريحات وزير الخارجية بلينكين لـ «أن بي سي» بأنّ بلاده مستعدة للعودة للاتفاق إذا كانت إيران جاهزة لذلك، وحذر بأنّ إيران قد أصبحت على مسافة قريبة جداً من القدرة على صناعة مكونات مهمة تمنحها القدرة على إنتاج سلاح نووي، والحؤول دون ذلك قضية من قضايا الأمن القومي الأميركي، لكن شيطان التفاصيل الأميركية، سيحاول ولا بدّ فرض شروط إضافية، ربما أهمّها، أن تقوم إيران بتسليم اليورانيوم الذي خصّبته إبان توقف العمل بالاتفاق لوكالة الطاقة الذرية، وفي جعبة شيطان التفاصيل، ما تطالب به فرنسا من ضمّ دول خليجية للاتفاق، ومنها أيضاً سعي (إسرائيل) لأن تكون جزءاً من الاتفاق، إضافة إلى ما يتردّد على ألسنة سياسيّيها وأمنيّيها من شروط، لن تكون إيران بوارد حتى نقاشها، ومنها انسحاب إيران من سورية والعراق واليمن، ونزع سلاح حزب الله، وتفكيك المنظومات الصاروخية الإيرانية، وتلك مسائل لم يستطع العالم أجمع أن يحققها طيلة أربعة عقود من الحروب والحصار والعقوبات، لكن عملية عضّ الأصابع بين طهران وواشنطن لا بدّ لها أن تصل إلى نهايتها، فلكلّ منهما الرغبة والمصلحة ذاتهما في الوصول إلى اتفاق.

أما باقي الملفات في شرقنا، فلا تبدي الإدارة الجديدة اهتماماً عالياً بها، ولا تدرجها في قائمة أولوياتها، فهي قد أصبحت أزمات نمطية، حيث تدير كلّ أزمة نفسها بنفسها، وهي لا تحمل صفة الاستعجال، ولا ترتفع حرارتها بما يشكل خطراً، ومنها ما يجري في العراق وسورية، حيث لا يفعل الأميركي أكثر من حماية الأكراد (قسد) عبر 2500 عسكري وهي سياسة أميركية قديمة ببيع الأوهام عبر استعمال الأكراد سريعي الاستجابة، والذين طالما خرجوا خاسرين، فلطالما استمرأوا اللعبة حتى ولو على حساب دمائهم. أما لبنان فغارق في فساده وقضايا حاكم مصرفه المركزي، وأزمة تشكيل الحكومة، وكذلك في الملف الفلسطيني، فالأزمة تدير نفسها بانتظار المرحلة الأولى من ظهور معالم الرؤية، أيّ انتخابات الكنيست في آذار المقبل، فيما يقطع الفلسطيني الوقت في مشاريع انتخابية وحوارات وطنية، يُفترض أنها ستعيد بناء النظام السياسي وتعيد الوحدة لما تبقى من فلسطين، المشاريع التي جرّبها الفلسطيني مراراً، والتي تنطلق بتفاؤل وحميمية بين المتخاصمين الفلسطينيين، ولكنها غالباً ما تنتهي بنتائج لا تتفق مع التفاؤل، في حين لن تقدّم الإدارة الأميركية الجديدة في المنظور أكثر من بعض الأموال وإعادة تفعيل وكالة التنمية الأميركية (USAid)، فتح مكتب أو قنصلية، مبعوث زائر لرام الله، ووفد يحلّ ضيفاً في واشنطن، ولكنها قد تقدّم بعض الدعم اللفظي الذي قد يبالغ في تقديره الفلسطيني الرسمي، كإدانة إنشاء بؤرة استيطانية هنا، أو استشهاد مدني فلسطيني على حاجز هناك، بادعاء محاولة القيام بعملية طعن، انه البقاء في المربع ذاته.

Palestinian political activist and analyst Abdel Sattar Qassem dies of Covid-19

Qassem was born in the village of Deir al-Ghusun in 1948

Qassem, 72, had announced in January that he would be running as an independent candidate for the presidency in the upcoming Palestinian election

By MEE staff

Published date: 2 February 202

Prominent Palestinian academic and political activist Abdel Sattar Qassem died late on Monday aged 72 of Covid-19, his family said.

Qassem, a professor of political science at Al-Najah University in Nablus, was well known for his activism against the Israeli military occupation in the West Bank, as well as his criticism of the Palestinian Authority’s security coordination and the Oslo Accords of 1993, signed between Israel and the Palestinian Liberation Organisation (PLO).

He died at Al-Najah Hospital in the northern West Bank town of Nablus, where he was receiving treatment after contracting coronavirus two weeks ago.

As of Tuesday, 2,023 Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip have died of Covid-19 since the pandemic started in March, according to figures released by the PA Ministry of Health.

Qassem was born in the village of Deir al-Ghusun in 1948, near the town of Tulkarem in the present-day West Bank. He received a BA in political science from the American University in Cairo, followed by a master’s degree from Kansas State University, and a second master’s in economics and a PhD in political philosophy from the University of Missouri in 1977.

Early in January, Qassem announced that he would be running as an independent candidate for the presidency in planned PA elections in July. 

He did not reveal the names of candidates on his list for the legislative council election in May for fear of persecution and arrest by Israeli or PA security forces, according to Al-Watan Voice news.

Qassem has been arrested numerous times by Israeli authorities. After the Oslo Accords in 1993, the Palestinian Authority detained him for short periods for his harsh criticism of the PA’s security coordination with Israel.

Translation: Farewell Abdel Sattar Qassem

In August 2014, he survived a close-range assassination attempt in Nablus. Unknown gunmen attempted to shoot him from a driving vehicle, almost 200 metres away from his house, while he was on his way to a TV interview.

The PA arrested him once again in 2016, claiming that he had called for the execution of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas during a live show on the Gaza-based Al-Quds channel. Qassem denied the allegation, and he was later released.

He was a well-known prolific political commentator for several publications – including speaking to Middle East Eye for a number of stories – and was hosted on major Arab and Palestinian TV channels.

He authored several books about his days in the Israeli prison of the Negev, the Syrian-Palestinian leader Izz al-Din Al-Qassam’s revolt against the British mandate in the 1930s, and the fall of the Shah in the Iranian Revolution of 1979. 

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