THE SHAMEFUL UN ‘LIST OF SHAME’: EQUATING BETWEEN THE ISRAELI PERPETRATOR AND THE PALESTINIAN VICTIM

JULY 20TH, 2022

Source

By Ramzy Baroud

We regret we failed to protect you. This was part of a statement issued by United Nations human rights experts on July 14, urging the Israeli government to release Palestinian prisoner Ahmad Manasra. Only 14 years old at the time of his arrest and torture by Israeli forces, Manasra is now 20 years old. His case is a representation of Israel’s overall inhumane treatment of Palestinian children.

The experts’ statement was forceful and heartfelt. It accused Israel of depriving young Manasra “of his childhood, family environment, protection and all the rights he should have been guaranteed as a child.” It referred to the case as ‘haunting’, considering Manasra’s “deteriorating mental conditions”. The statement went further, declaring that “this case … is a stain on all of us as part of the international human rights community”.

Condemning Israel for its ill-treatment of Palestinian children, whether those under siege in war-stricken Gaza, or under military occupation and apartheid in the rest of the occupied territories in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, is commonplace.

Yet, somehow, Israel was still spared a spot on the unflattering list, issued annually by the United Nations Secretary-General, naming and shaming governments and groups that commit grave violations against children and minors anywhere in the world.

Oddly, the report does recognize Israel’s horrific record of violating children’s rights in Palestine. It details some of these violations, which UN workers have directly verified. This includes “2,934 grave violations against 1,208 Palestinian children” in the year 2021 alone. However, the report equates between Israel’s record, one of the most dismal in the world, and that of Palestinians, namely the fact that 9 Israeli children were impacted by Palestinian violence in that whole year.

Though the deliberate harming of a single child is regrettable regardless of the circumstances or the perpetrator, it is mind-boggling that the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres found it appropriate to equate the systematic violations carried out by the Israeli military as a matter of course and the 9 Israeli minors harmed by Palestinian armed groups, whether intentionally or not.

To deal with the obvious discrepancy between Palestinian and Israeli child victims, the UN report lumped together all categories to distract from the identity of the perpetrator, thus lessening the focus on the Israeli crimes. For example, the report states that a total of 88 children were killed throughout Palestine, of whom 69 were killed in Gaza and 17 in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. However, the report breaks down these murders in such a way that conflates Palestinian and Israeli children as if purposely trying to confuse the reader. When read carefully, one discovers that all of these killings were carried out by Israeli forces, except for two.

More, the report uses the same logic to break down the number of children maimed in the conflict, though of the 1,128 maimed children, only 7 were Israelis. Of the remainder, 661 were maimed in Gaza and 464 in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem.

The report goes on to blame “armed Palestinian groups” for some of the Palestinian casualties, who were allegedly injured as a result of “accidents involving children who were near to military training exercises”. Assuming that this is the case, accidents of this nature cannot be considered “grave violations” as they are, by the UN’s own definition, accidental.

The confusing breakdown of these numbers, however, was itself not accidental, as it allowed Guterres the space to declare that “should the situation repeat itself in 2022, without meaningful improvement, Israel should be listed.”

Worse, Guterres’ report went further to reassure the Israelis that they are on the right track by stating that “so far this year, we have not witnessed a similar number of violations”, as if to suggest that the right-wing Israeli government of Naftali Bennett and Yair Lapid has purposely changed its policies regarding the targeting of Palestinian children. Of course, there is no evidence of this whatsoever.

On June 27, Defense for Children International-Palestine (DCIP) reported that Israel “had been intensifying its aggression” against children in the West Bank and East Jerusalem since the beginning of 2022. DCIP confirmed that as many as 15 Palestinian children were killed by Israeli forces in the first six months of 2022, almost the same number killed in the same regions throughout the entirety of the previous year. This number includes 5 children in the occupied city of Jenin alone. Israel even targeted journalists who attempted to report on these violations, including Palestinian journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, who was killed on May 11, and Ali Samoudi, who was shot in the back on the very same day.

Much more can be said, of course, about the besiegement of hundreds of thousands of children in the Gaza Strip, known as the ‘world’s largest open-air prison’, and many more in the occupied West Bank. The lack of basic human rights, including life-saving medicine and, in the case of Gaza, clean water, hardly suggests any measurable improvement in Israel’s track record as far as Palestinian children’s rights are concerned.

If you think that the UN report is a step in the right direction, think again. 2014 was one of the most tragic years for Palestinian children where, according to a previous UN report, 557 children were killed and 4,249 were injured, the vast majority of whom were targeted during the Israeli war on Gaza. Human Rights Watch stated that the number of killed Palestinians “was the third-highest in the world that year”. Still, Israel was not blacklisted on the UN ‘List of Shame’. The clear message here is that Israel may target Palestinian children as it pleases, as there will be no legal, political or moral accountability for its actions.

This is not what Palestinians are expecting from the United Nations, an organization that supposedly exists to end armed conflicts and bring about peace and security for all. For now, the message emanating from the world’s largest international institution to Manasra and the rest of Palestine’s children will remain unchanged: “We regret we failed to protect you.”

WHO IS BIDEN WORKING FOR? ON ISRAEL VISIT, “ZIONIST” BIDEN WHITEWASHES ISRAEL’S CRIMES

JULY 15TH, 2022

By Miko Peled

Source

Upon his arrival at Ben Gurion Airport, which sits on the lands of the occupied Palestinian city of El-Lyd, President Joe Biden repeated his age-old mantra, “You don’t have to be a Jew to be a Zionist.” Indeed you do not. To be a Zionist, you only need to be a racist, a supporter of the hate-filled, violent, intolerant apartheid regime that has been occupying Palestine since 1948. You need to believe that people who are not Palestinians have a right to Palestine and to its resources. To be a Zionist, you don’t need to be Jewish, you just need to repeat the absurd claim that the Bible gives all Jewish people around the world the right to kill people because they are Palestinians who want to return to their homes and their land.

In a nauseating show of hypocrisy, President Biden, Israeli President Yitzhak Hertzog, and Prime Minister Lapid spoke of peace, justice, and human rights as the shared values of the United States and the State of Israel. This was less than twenty-four hours after John Bolton admitted to orchestrating coup d’états in countries around the world. This is also after Israeli military, and political figures openly talked about assassinating Iranian scientists and officials.

The values shared by Israel and the United States are clearly represented in the fact that President Biden is visiting a country that only recently assassinated the American-Palestinian journalist Shireen Abu-Akleh and is keeping silent about it. The president of the United States is in Israel, meeting with heads of the Israeli state, and yet rather than using the full force of his position – which is considerable – to demand accountability, he says and does nothing.

American journalist Jamal Khashoggi. The murders of Khashoggi and that of Shireen Abu Akleh are not the only crimes committed by the two regimes for which Biden is showing love, but these two were well publicized and involve U.S. nationals, so one would think he would act or at least speak out.

A BAD DEAL

U.S. support for Israel is a bad deal for the American taxpayers. $3.8 billion dollars of American taxpayers’ money gets sent to Israel at the beginning of each year. And with the exception of the military-industrial complex, Americans get little out of this.

American citizens who wish to travel to Palestine, particularly if they have an Arab name or family there, are subjected to harassment by the Israeli authorities. This harassment takes place at Tel-Aviv airport, where the authorities are notoriously racist, anti-Arab and anti-Muslim. The harassment can last for many hours and often results in refusal of entry into the country. U.S. citizens are not protected from the inhumane interrogation process that takes place at the airport on the way in, and they are not protected by their U.S. citizenship when they leave the country.

A U.S. passport does not even protect Americans from being shot and killed by Israeli forces. Rachel Corrie and Shireen Abu-Akleh, both citizens of the United States, were killed in broad daylight. They were wearing safety equipment, they were well identified as non-combatant civilians, and they were both butchered in plain sight. Washington made no effort to bring the criminals to justice.

Joe Biden in Israel

Another U.S. citizen who died at the hand of IDF soldiers is Omar Abdalmajeed As’ad. He died on January 12 after he was arrested by IDF troops. According to a report in The Jerusalem Post, the seventy-eight-year-old As’ad “was arrested, handcuffed, blindfolded and gagged,” after which the soldiers left. Also, according to the Post report, “the soldiers did not call for medical assistance and left him there believing that he had fallen asleep.” Although several members of congress did issue statements, no real action was taken to hold Israel accountable.

Where was the U.S. government to protect him? Where was the demand to investigate and bring the culprits to justice? and where are the sanctions against the State of Israel, which shows no regard for the lives of Palestinians?

The Israeli human-rights organization B’Tselem commented that: “The army’s announcement regarding the death of Omar Assad is adorned with empty words about ‘moral failure’ – concluding, as expected, with the faintest of rebukes…In fact, the fundamental moral failure is that of Israel’s senior echelons, leading a regime of Jewish supremacy, one in which the human life of Palestinians has no value.”

NO DEMOCRACY, NO STABILITY

Contrary to what is said about Israel, it is neither a democracy nor an island of stability. It has been several years since Israel has been able to function as a state. This is due to the fact that there has not been a government with a stable majority in place. Elections are held over and over again, and even though the results are predictably the same, no stable government is formed. The election results have been consistent, clearly showing what Israeli voters want, namely, they are in favor of a strong, ultra-right-wing government led by racists like Benjamin Netanyahu, who was indicted for corruption, and war criminal generals like Benny Gantz.

Neither the corruption nor the war crimes seem to have any impact on the voters, and these people are elected over and over again. The only thing that changes are the partnerships between the politicians who rarely last very long and the new generals that join the political arena. The one thing that remains constant in Israeli politics is Benjamin Netanyahu. He and his loyal Likud Party followers are the only stable, consistent element in Israeli politics.

WHO IS JOE BIDEN WORKING FOR?

Judging by his performance, Joe Biden is working for AIPAC and not for the American people. He hit every note, shook every hand and repeated his mantras, clearly trying to please his donors back home. According to reports, he even made sure to tell Benjamin Netanyahu that he likes him. His interview on Israeli television included a commitment to keep the Iranian Revolutionary Guard on the list of terrorist organizations and even to attack Iran if that was what it took to prevent it from developing nuclear weapons. That is not what his constituents in the U.S. want, but it is what Israel and AIPAC expect of him.

‘US-Backed ‘Israeli’ Whitewash’: US Probe into Abu Akleh Assassination Draws Wide Condemnation

July 5, 2022

By Staff, Agencies

A US probe into the killing of Palestinian journalist Shireen Abu Akleh that seeks to give the Zionist occupation forces a clean chit for the murder, unlike other independent investigations, has drawn wide condemnation from human rights advocates, including the Hebrew leading human rights group B’Tselem, as well as Palestinian officials.

Abu Akleh, a veteran reporter for the Qatar-based Al Jazeera network, was assassinated in cold blood by ‘Israeli’ occupation forces in May while covering their raid at the Jenin refugee camp in the occupied West Bank.

Her tragic death sent shockwaves across the region, drawing widespread condemnation and outrage against the occupying regime.

The US State Department on Monday claimed that the US Security Coordinator [USSC] had concluded that Abu Akleh was likely killed by “unintentional” gunfire from ‘Israeli’ positions, but said the independent investigators could not make a “definitive conclusion” on the origin of the bullet that struck her.

B’Tselem denounced the US probe as a “US-backed ‘Israeli’ whitewash.”

“All investigations published so far conclude that ‘Israel’ is responsible for the killing of journalist Shireen Abu Akleh,” the group said in a tweet on Monday.

The previous findings by the Associated Press, CNN, New York Times, and Washington Post, as well as the office of the UN human rights chief, have established the fact that the veteran scribe was murdered by ‘Israeli’ troops.

Abu Akleh’s family has expressed its disappointment over the conclusions of the US investigation, but vowed to keep fighting for justice.

“With respect to today’s announcement by the State Department — on July 4, no less — that a test of the spent round that killed Shireen Abu Akleh, an American citizen, was inconclusive as to the origin of the gun that fired it, we are incredulous,” the family said in a statement on Monday.

“To say that this investigation, with its total lack of transparency, undefined goals, and support for ‘Israel’s’ overall position is a disappointment would be an understatement,” the statement read.

The findings of the US probe come as the Zionist military said that ‘Israeli’ experts rather than American ones examined the bullet extracted from Abu Akleh that was handed over by Palestinian officials to US officials.

US “representatives were present throughout the entire process,” the Zionist military claimed.

Palestinian officials maintain that the Zionist regime cannot be trusted to conduct a fair and transparent probe into the killing.

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Angry Palestinian responses to the US State Department’s statements regarding the murder of journalist Shireen Abu Akleh

EVERY BULLET HAS A NAME: IMPUNITY FOR ISRAELI CRIMES AGAINST PALESTINIAN HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS

JULY 1ST, 2022

Source

By Miko Peled

When Ahed Tamimi tried to defend herself and her home from an armed Israeli officer she became an international heroine. Images of her were plastered everywhere and she was named a “Lioness.” As she candidly admits in her soon to be published memoir (co-written with Dena Takruri) she did not want, nor did she seek this fame. She just wanted to go to school and play soccer.

What Ahed’s story demonstrates is that we have forsaken the Palestinian people. Even Palestinian children are left alone to defend themselves with their bare hands against a vicious occupation force that sends soldiers and officers who are armed to the teeth to attack Palestinians in their homes and are never held accountable for their crimes.

WHO DEFENDS PALESTINIANS?

The answer is no one. When Palestinians risk their lives as they do regularly in their heroic efforts to stay alive and resist oppression, there is no one that stands between them and the Israeli war machine. Ahed Tamimi was recently targeted again. However, the bullet intended for her hit her cousin, who was standing next to her. The soldiers actually called her by name.

Then we saw the same thing in the case of Shireen Abu Akleh, a well-known and respected journalist. Shireen was assassinated in broad daylight. There was no accountability at all, from the shooters to the decision makers who gave the orders. We have come to learn that when Palestinians are targeted we can expect no arrests or serious investigation.

Noted activist Issa Amro is another example. He is thankfully still alive, but there is no certainty that he will be tomorrow. In the city of Hebron where Issa lives and works, soldiers and settlers surround him as he stands in the front line trying to free himself, his city and indeed his country from their brutality. The Old City of Hebron is perhaps one of the most dangerous places to be a Palestinian. Issa is well known for his commitment and dedication to resistance, albeit a dedicatedly unarmed resistance. The soldiers and the settlers recognize him and he is in constant danger.

Issa has been detained, arrested, beaten and dragged to military court enough times to fill the pages of a thick memoir. A new escalation in his persecution seems to have begun in the summer of 2022. In a matter of weeks, his house has been raided several times and he was detained and harassed by soldiers who handcuffed and blindfolded him, keeping him like that for hours.

DEFENDING THE DEFENDERS

People often use the term “for no reason,” when speaking about their unjust harassment, detention, arrest and killing by Israeli forces. However, this term is misleading. In the case of Issa Amro, as in the case of Shireen Abu Akleh, Ahed Tamimi and countless others, there is an excellent reason. The motive for the killing of Shireen and the constant brutal assault on people like Issa is that they have a voice that is heard around the world. Israel is terrified and when an armed bully is scared, it reacts with violence.

Another aspect of Issa Amro’s case is that he was designated a “human rights defender” by the United Nations in 2010. The U.S. State Department followed suit in 2011, as did the European Union in 2013. A 2016 Amnesty International report entitled “Israeli Government Must Cease Intimidation of Human Rights Defenders, Protect Them From Attacks,” lists Issa and several others as human rights defenders and details the ways in which the Israeli government regularly harasses them. Since the report came out, six years have passed and nothing is being done to see to it that these defenders are protected. The question that needs to be answered without delay is, who defends the defenders when they are attacked brutally and with impunity by Israel?

EVERY BULLET HAS A NAME

How far back do we need to go in order to demonstrate how Israel gets away with murder? From its very founding moment, Israeli forces have been murdering Palestinians with impunity. Raids on homes and arrests and detention of political activists have been part of the daily life of Palestinians from the very beginning of the Apartheid regime in 1948.

Israel targets people and then executes its plan whether it is to detain, arrest, or otherwise harass them. In some cases, their targets are shot and killed. When they kill a well-known Palestinian, we hear about it, talk about it and then move on until we hear of another name. Each one of these Palestinians had a bullet with their name on it and it was just a question of time until that bullet found its mark. Unless the supply of bullets to Israel is brought to an end, the killing of Palestinians will continue uninterrupted.

International organizations that claim to stand for the rights of the oppressed need to have their feet on the ground. Like soldiers, they must have people there to stand in the midst so that Palestinians are protected. With all due respect, the designation of a human rights defender may help but it does not guarantee the lives or even the safety of those who carry it. Any organization, governmental or non-governmental that claims to have the interests of the oppressed on its agenda needs to stand in front of Israeli soldiers as they harass and endanger the lives of Palestinians.

NOT ALL SOLDIERS WEAR A UNIFORM

Indeed, some soldiers wear suits. In capitals around the world, representatives of the state of Israel walk around in suits. But they are no less violent and racist than the soldiers in uniform in Hebron or the settlers in El-Lyd or the Yoav unit of the Israeli police that operate in the Naqab. They are all equally dedicated to the destruction of Palestine and to the preservation at all costs of the Apartheid regime.

The soldiers in suits walk through the halls of governments, the offices of big corporations, and the headquarters of NGOs to ensure that the Apartheid regime’s interests are protected. So far the evidence shows that their work is rewarded and their interests are protected.

What is also clear is that the lives of Palestinians, be they unarmed activists or fighters, be they children, women, men, or the elderly, are only worth the price of the bullet that carries their name. And while we will talk and write about the next Palestinian who is killed for a few days, their children will remain orphans for life.

‘Israel’ murders young Palestinian in Jenin Camp

June 30, 2022

Source: Agencies

By Al Mayadeen English 

Muhammad Maher Marei succumbed to the serious wounds that he sustained by Israeli occupation forces during their storming of the neighborhood of Jenin at dawn today.

Young Palestinian martyr Muhammad Maher Marei

Israeli occupation forces (IOF) directly opened live fire at young Palestinian Muhammad Maher Marei, 25, during a raid on Jenin Camp at dawn today.

The director of Khalil Suleiman Governmental Hospital confirmed to local Palestinian media that the young man from Jenin camp died as a result of being shot by occupation forces at dawn during confrontations in the city.

Using excessive force, the IOF arrested two young men, Yahya Yousef Al-Jaafar and Ahmed Asaad Nabhan, after raiding the homes of their relatives in Al-Marah neighborhood in Jenin.

Simultaneously, Palestinians participated in a mass rally in protest of the Israeli violations through Jenin’s neighborhoods.

Protesters held the body of the martyr on their shoulders and chanted slogans condemning the occupation’s crimes and its ongoing aggression against Jenin.

They also called for national Palestinian unity and the continuation of the struggle against the Israeli enemy.

The Israeli occupation forces have been actively storming Jenin Camp, aiming clearly at killing Palestinians and arresting others who, in turn, are confronting the occupation forces.

This is happening as Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennet has recently given a green light for killing Palestinians.

“There are not and will not be limited for this war. We are granting full freedom of action to the army, the Shin Bet [domestic intelligence agency], and all security forces,” Bennet said last April.

Since the beginning of 2022, the IOF killed more than 70 Palestinians, 27 of them from Jenin and its camp including Palestinian journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, who was covering an Israeli raid in Jenin.

The assassination of Shireen Abu Akleh

When talking about Jenin, the name of Shireen Abu Akleh, famed Al Jazeera journalist and veteran reporter, comes to mind. Shireen was murdered on May 11 when Israeli occupation forces storming the Jenin refugee camp, north of the West Bank, shot her with a live bullet to the head as she was covering the events of the storming.

Read more: Forensic analysis proves IOF deliberately killed Shireen Abu Akleh

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If the media can probe Shireen Abu Akleh’s death, why not the murder of other Palestinians?

23 June 2022

Jonathan Cook is an award-winning independent journalist and author [ MORE ]

An Israeli sniper shot the Al-Jazeera journalist, according to four US news organisations. But the only investigation the Biden administration will heed is an Israeli one

Middle East Eye – 22 Jun 2022

The New York Times published this week the conclusion of its investigation into the killing of the Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh.

It was the fourth major US news organisation to look in detail at what happened to Abu Akleh during an Israeli army raid into the Palestinian city of Jenin last month. 

The New York Times found a high probability she had been killed by an Israeli sniper, confirming the findings of earlier investigations by the Associated Press, CNN and the Washington Post. Like the other publications, the Times based its findings on video footage, witness testimonies and acoustic analysis. 

“The bullet that killed Ms Abu Akleh was fired from the approximate location of the Israeli military convoy [in Jenin], most likely by a soldier from an elite unit,” the Times concluded. A total of 16 shots were fired at the group of journalists that included Abu Akleh.

Last month, CNN said the evidence it unearthed suggested the veteran Al Jazeera journalist had been killed in a “targeted attack by Israeli forces”. Similar conclusions have been reached by human rights groups that have studied the evidence, including Israel’s respected occupation watchdog, B’Tselem. 

A major blow

These probes are a major blow to Israel, coming from reputed media organisations that are usually seen as highly sympathetic to Israel rather than the Palestinians. 

They have kept the killing of the journalist in the headlines when Israel had hoped interest would quickly wane – as is the case with the overwhelming majority of Palestinian deaths.

The investigations have made it much harder for Israel to obscure both its responsibility for Abu Akleh’s killing and the intention behind it. The bullet that killed her was fired with the apparent goal of executing her, hitting a narrow, exposed area of flesh between her helmet and a flak jacket marked “Press”. 

And the various probes have highlighted once again how unwilling Israel is to hold its soldiers to account for committing crimes if the victim is Palestinian. 

Instead, Israel has had to twist and turn in defending its failure to identify the culprit. It initially refused to investigate, claiming a Palestinian gunman, not one of its soldiers, shot Abu Akleh during the military raid.  

All the media investigations show that to be untrue. 

Then Israel suggested that she might have been hit by the crossfire from an Israeli soldier being fired on by Palestinian gunmen. But all the investigations have shown that Palestinian fighters were nowhere near Abu Akleh when she was shot. She was, however, clearly visible to a unit of Israeli soldiers. 

More recently, Israel has tried to shift the blame onto the Palestinian Authority, saying it has not cooperated by handing over the bullet that killed Abu Akleh or by agreeing to hold a joint investigation. As ever, Israel behaves as if the party accused of the crime should be the one to oversee the investigation.

The Palestinian Authority rightly refuses requests for cooperation, arguing that they are being made in bad faith. Israel would exploit any joint investigation to concoct “a new lie, a new narrative”, the PA observes. 

A meaningful question

In reality, Israel already knows exactly which of its snipers pulled the trigger. The only meaningful question at this stage is, why? Was the shooting committed by a hot-headed soldier, or was it an execution carried out on orders from above? Was the intention to target Abu Akleh specifically, or did it not matter which of the group of journalists she was among was hit? 

Israel, however, isn’t the only party discomfited by the media’s repeated investigations.

They have also served to embarrass Joe Biden’s administration. Antony Blinken, the US secretary of state, has called for an “independent, credible investigation”, while his department has underscored the need for a “thorough and independent investigation”. 

The New York Times and the other major media outlets have all proved that just such an investigation can be carried out. And yet the silence from the US administration at their shared findings is deafening. 

There are two further, possibly less obvious conclusions the rest of us should draw from these efforts to identify who was responsible for killing Abu Akleh. 

The first relates to the exceptional nature of the investigations conducted by the US media. Concern at the killing of a Palestinian is far from the norm. In this case, it appears to have been prompted by an unusual coincidence of facts: that Abu Akleh was a high-profile, internationally respected journalist and that she had US citizenship. 

In other words, she was seen not just as any ordinary Palestinian, or even as a Palestinian journalist, but as one of the western media’s own. 

Total impunity

In murdering Abu Akleh, Israel reminded journalists at the New York Times, AP, CNN and the Washington Post that the lives of their correspondents covering Israel and Palestine are in more danger than they possibly appreciate. In killing her, Israel crossed a red line for the western media – one premised on self-interest and self-preservation. 

There are parallels with the media’s special treatment of the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi – and for similar reasons. Khashoggi, who was working for the Washington Post, was murdered and his body dismembered during a visit to the Saudi embassy in Turkey

As with Israel, Saudi Arabia‘s leadership has an appalling human rights record and is not hesitant to jail and kill its opponents. But Khashoggi’s murder provoked unprecedented outrage from the media – outrage that Saudi Arabia’s many other victims have never warranted.

The fact is the US media could have conducted similar investigations into any number of Palestinian deaths at the hands of the Israeli security services, not just Abu Akleh’s, and they would have reached similar conclusions. But they have consistently avoided doing so.

There is a danger inherent in focusing exclusively on Abu Akleh’s killing, just as there was with focusing exclusively on Khashoggi’s. Each has the effect of making it look as though their deaths are exceptional events requiring exceptional investigation – when they are each an example of a longstanding pattern of regime lawlessness and human rights abuses.

The special focus subtly reinforces too the impression that Palestinian accounts of Israeli abuses, even when the supporting evidence is overwhelming, cannot be trusted. 

The veteran Israeli journalist Gideon Levy has run a weekly column, the Twilight Zone, in the Haaretz newspaper for years in which he investigates the killing or serious wounding of Palestinians – often people whose names have never appeared in the western media. 

Invariably he finds that Israel’s military lies – sometimes flagrantly – about the circumstances in which Palestinians have been killed, or it initiates an inconclusive, stone-walling investigation. 

The lies are needed because the truth would show something consistently ugly about Israel’s decades of military occupation: that Israeli soldiers often kill unarmed Palestinians in cold blood; or that they recklessly shoot Palestinian bystanders; or that they execute armed Palestinian fighters when no one’s life is in danger.

The common thread in Levy’s reports is the complete impunity of Israeli soldiers, whatever their actions.

Pilloried in public

But there is a further conclusion to be drawn. Blinken and the Biden administration keep insisting on a thorough, independent, credible and transparent investigation, and say it is important to “follow the facts, wherever they lead”.

But who do they expect to carry out such an investigation? 

The White House, of course, reflexively discounts the findings of the Palestinian Authority’s investigation that Abu Akleh was deliberately shot by Israeli soldiers. It acts as if the investigations conducted by these four large media organisations do not qualify. Meanwhile, the administration itself shows precisely zero interest in conducting an investigation, despite pressure from Congress to involve the FBI. 

Would Blinken prefer that the United Nations take on the task? Presumably not, given how the US and Israel responded to the last major independent investigation by the UN, one into Israel’s month-long attack on Gaza at the end of 2008. Israel refused to cooperate. 

Richard Goldstone, a distinguished South African jurist, led a panel of experts who concluded that Israel had committed a series of war crimes during its attack, known as Cast Lead, as had Palestinian militias. 

The UN panel’s report found that Israel had adopted a policy that intentionally targeted Palestinian civilians, the vast majority of the 1,400 Palestinians killed in Cast Lead. 

Both the US and Israel worked strenuously to bury the report. Goldstone, who is Jewish, found himself publicly shamed and isolated by Jewish communities in the US and South Africa. He was even barred from attending his grandson’s bar mitzvah. Eventually, he appeared to succumb to the pressure campaign, expressing regret over the report. 

No one in Washington came to Goldstone’s defence over the UN’s thorough, independent, credible and transparent investigation. Quite the reverse: he was publicly pilloried. The US administration thereby sent a message to other experts that investigating “independently” and “credibly” is certain only to bring ignominy on their heads if it exposes Israel’s war crimes. 

Israel’s hands ‘tied’

Or maybe Blinken would prefer that the International Criminal Court at the Hague investigate. 

And yet the US demonstrated the degree to which it appreciates full, independent, credible and transparent investigations by that body two years ago, when the ICC tried to turn the spotlight on to US war crimes in Afghanistan and Israel’s in the occupied Palestinian territories. 

In response, Biden’s predecessor, Donald Trump, imposed sanctions on the court, denying staff entry to the US and threatening to seize its assets. The threat extended to anyone offering “material support” to the court – language more normally used in the context of terrorism.  

The reality, as all parties understand, is that only an investigation overseen by Israel could ever count as “thorough, independent, credible and transparent” to the US. 

The subtext is that an investigation cannot hope to reach the bar of “credible, independent and transparent”, as far as Washington is concerned, until the Palestinian Authority agrees to hold a joint inquiry with Israel.

But both Israel and the US know full well that the Palestinian leadership will never agree to such “cooperation” – because Israel’s role would not be to arrive at the truth but to engineer a cover-up. 

The demand for a “credible, independent and transparent” investigation is the US administration’s code for an investigation that will never take place. It is the diplomatic equivalent of the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

But more importantly, it is the kind of impossible investigation that, conveniently for the US and Israel, they can blame the PA for obstructing. As long as the Palestinians refuse to “cooperate”, Israel’s hands are supposedly tied. 

Abu Akleh’s murder has not just revealed the fact that Israeli soldiers kill Palestinians, any Palestinian, with impunity. 

It has revealed too that the Biden administration is not troubled by the killing, or by the impunity of the soldier who executed her. All that bothers the White House is the irritant of having to create the impression it cares about the truth and the impression that Israel is doing its best to investigate. 

Until the matter can be swept aside, it will be a little harder for each to get on with business as usual: for the US to give Israel full-throated financial, diplomatic and military support; and for Israel to continue its incremental, decades-long work of seizing control of the Palestinians’ entire, historic homeland.

But at least for each of them, with Abu Akleh gone, there is one less fearless witness to expose quite how hollow their moral posturing is.

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COGNITIVE WARFARE: ISRAEL TARGETS JOURNALISTS WHO THREATEN ITS REALITY-CREATION TACTICS

JUNE 23RD, 2022

Source

TODD PIERCE

They were shooting directly at the journalists: New evidence suggests Shireen Abu Akleh was killed in targeted attack by Israeli forces”. Thus read a CNN headline on May 26, 2022, for an article describing what may have been a “targeted killing,” – that is, assassination – of Al Jazeera journalist Shirleen Abu Akleh, a 51-year-old highly esteemed Palestinian-American journalist who had covered Israeli repression of the Palestinian population for about 25 years before she was killed.

With this killing and its aftermath, one knows that it is all hands on deck for an Israeli government cognitive campaign in the perpetual cognitive war Israel wages against the world, as will be explained below.

According to the CNN article, Abu Akleh was killed by a bullet to the head at around 6:30 a.m. on May 11, while standing with a group of journalists near the entrance of Jenin refugee camp as they covered an Israeli raid. “We stood in front of the Israeli military vehicles for about five to ten minutes before we made moves to ensure they saw us. And this is a habit of ours as journalists; we move as a group and we stand in front of them so they know we are journalists, and then we start moving,” a Palestinian reporter, Shatha Hanaysha, told CNN, describing their cautious approach toward the Israeli army convoy before the gunfire began.

Video recordings of the surrounding area showed the killing shots could have come only from the Israeli soldiers in specially designed “sniper” vehicles that were in direct line-of-fire positions to Abu Akleh that morning. Eyewitnesses told CNN that they “believed Israeli forces on the same street fired deliberately on the reporters in a targeted attack. All of the journalists were wearing protective blue vests that identified them as members of the news media.”

“LAWFUL TARGETS” IN A “COGNITIVE WAR”

The “blue vests” might have been what ensured the journalists would be targeted by Israeli forces, if Israeli forces see journalists as “lawful targets” in the war they continue to wage against the Palestinians, in what is in fact a continuation of the 1967 War. That is, an unrelenting military occupation in violation of international law, which constitutes a continuation of the “war.” And the evidence shows Israeli military/intel forces do see journalists as “lawful targets,” as part of the “Cognitive War” they wage against the Palestinians, but more particularly against the global population in an attempt to legitimize their military oppression of the Palestinians in their ongoing effort of “population expulsion” of the Palestinians from Palestinian territory. As Benjamin Netanyahu’s father, Benzion, proclaimed shortly before he died, this is the objective of Israel Zionists like him.

In fact, while Abu Akleh was the only journalist killed that day by Israeli forces, she wasn’t the only Palestinian journalist shot. A group of four Palestinian reporters was fired upon as well, with one also injured in the gunfire. That was not because Israeli forces had an obstructed view; footage showed a direct line of sight between the reporters and the Israeli convoy. That only one of the four was hit, besides Abu Akleh, is probably taken by military superiors as a sign that their marksmanship must be improved.

A firearms expert told CNN: “The relatively tight grouping of the rounds indicate Shireen was intentionally targeted with aimed shots and not the victim of random or stray fire.”

But an indication of how the Israeli military sees journalists, other than “reliable” Israeli press, was revealed on the day of the shooting by an Israeli military spokesperson, Ran Kochav. Kochav told Army Radio that Abu Akleh had been “filming and working for a media outlet amidst armed Palestinians. They’re armed with cameras, if you’ll permit me to say so.” And if they are “armed,” they are “lawful targets” in “war.”

In fact, the killing of journalists has been openly called for in the “flagship publication” of the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs, The Journal of International Security Affairs, by retired U.S. Army Officer Ralph Peters. The odious 2009 article – potentially a war crime in itself – stated: “Although it seems unthinkable now, future wars may require censorship, news blackouts, and, ultimately, military attacks on the partisan media.”

THE POWER OF “COGNITIVE WARFARE”

The Israeli military said it was conducting an investigation into the killing of Abu Akleh, and added, “assertions regarding the source of the fire that killed Ms. Abu Akleh must be carefully made and backed by hard evidence. This is what the IDF is striving to achieve.” In fact, obfuscating that is what the IDF and its Cognitive Warfare component must be seen as “striving to achieve” – at least if Israeli Cognitive War theorists, one of whom is quoted at length below, are to be believed.

Leaving it to those few journalists who report honestly to provide more facts on this assassination – as Abu Akleh would have, giving motive to Israeli forces to particularly target her with lethal fire – “Cognitive Warfare” should be explained further.

The best source for understanding the concept is Israel’s own doctrinal statements about the “cognitive domain” of warfare. A clue to that was presented when an Israeli lawyer filed a lawsuit alleging that “Israel’s Ministry of Strategic Affairs [is] carrying out a global propaganda campaign on behalf of the Israeli government that violates human rights and is acting without authority to do so… Attorney Schachar Ben Meir’s petition demands that the High Court of Justice order a halt to the activities carried out by the Ministry of Strategic Affairs, headed by Gilad Erdan.”

The substance of the claim was that the Israeli government had approved the payment of NIS 128 million ($38 million) to a private organization called Kela-Shlomo to carry out “mass consciousness activities” within the framework of what the Ministry of Strategic Affairs calls “extra-governmental discourse.” That is, publication of government propaganda on social networks and newspapers often carried out through private businesses and non-profit organizations operating in Israel and abroad.

But to determine the correct “messages” to promote or counter requires “surveilling citizens and conducting illegal operations intended to influence and manipulate public opinion.” That is what constitutes “mass consciousness activities” – a fascist type of governmental activity if there ever was one, but “updated” to utilize “private contractors” to conduct operations, in addition to governmental military/intel assets. This explains the proliferation of “private Israeli intelligence/influence” firms.

THE MUSINGS OF A COGNITIVE WARFARE THEORIST

The current Minister of Diaspora Affairs, Nachman Shai, who in the past was a spokesperson for the Israeli military, explained and promoted the higher level to which cognitive warfare has been taken from its origins as mere “propaganda” or “hasbara,” in his book “Hearts and Minds: Israel and the Battle for Public Opinion.”

He explained that, in the expected 21st-century wars of Israel and the United States, the “principal effort will be the battle for consciousness.” He explained further:

[There] are various terms to describe the battle for consciousness. In Britain, it is called the fight for hearts and minds. The U.S. military uses the expressions psychological warfare, perception management, influence management, and information operation. The idea speaks about consciousness: the strategy of limited conflict is to win a decision of consciousness in the society with the help of military means. The battle is for the society’s consciousness and for national resilience.”

Furthermore, according to Shai: “Consciousness is not a natural and inherent concept but rather a structured process, continually shaped by interested parties and by those who wield wealth and power.” How this is done in its current terminology is described in a publication of the Israeli “Institute for National Security Studies” entitled: “The Cognitive Campaign: Strategic and Intelligence Perspectives.” Its Preface states:

It is important to distinguish between cognition and the cognitive campaign. Cognition is the set of insights that an individual or individuals have regarding the surrounding reality and the way they want to shape it, derived from the set of the values and beliefs through which they examine and interpret their environment and work to confront its inherent challenges, and even to change it. In contrast, the cognitive campaign involves the actions and tools that entities that are part of a certain campaign framework use to influence the cognition of target audiences or to prevent influence on them. The purpose of  the cognitive campaign is to cause target audiences to adopt the perception of reality held by the side wielding the effort, so that it can more easily advance the strategic and/or operational objectives that it sees as critical. The cognitive campaign can be negative, that is, prevent the development of undesirable cognitive states, or positive, with an attempt to produce the desired cognition.

That the “cognitive campaign can be negative, that is, prevent the development of undesirable cognitive states,” is why Julian Assange has been imprisoned for years now, with no likelihood he will ever be freed by the U.S. government and why Edward Snowden was forced to take refuge in a foreign country to avoid the same fate. The U.S. must silence them and other dissidents, lest an “undesirable cognitive state” develops in the U.S. population – as one eventually developed over the Vietnam War, and eventually forced the U.S. out of Vietnam.

Thus it is reasonable to believe that is why Israel has targeted so many journalists over the last couple of decades – as has the U.S. It would be foolish and/or naïve not to believe that when retired military officers openly call for “targeted killings” of journalists, that they aren’t already being targeted!

MAKING OUR OWN REALITY

When Karl Rove was alleged to have said how the United States is now “an empire, we make our own reality,” he was not just making a hubristic statement. Rather, it can be seen as an indication that he was aware of how powerful a “cognitive campaign” is. In fact, such campaigns were always how the CIA conducted post-World War II coups, and it can be speculated that “cognitive campaigns” were introduced into U.S. political campaigns by Arthur Finkelstein and his “Six-Party Theory” in the 1972 Nixon campaign, down to the 2016 Trump campaign, based upon cognitive warfare principles drawn from CIA coups and the Israeli military occupation.

The authors of “The Cognitive Campaign: Strategic and Intelligence Perspectives” wrote:

The cognitive campaign is not new, and it is an inseparable aspect of every strategic and military conflict. In recent years, this struggle has played a much more important role than in past conflicts; at times it takes place without a direct military context and is not even led by military bodies. The cognitive campaign is a continuous campaign; thus, its prominence is greater in the period between wars (as a part of the “campaign between wars).”

In fact, as these authors know, there is no such thing as “between wars” in Israel or the United States, with both countries in “Perpetual War” regardless of the level of aggressive kinetic war they are waging at any given moment.

Carl von Clausewitz wrote in “On War” that two different motives make men fight one another: hostile feelings and hostile intentions. Inciting those “feelings” is done by both Israel and the U.S. continuously, by multifarious networks to “condition” their populations with “hostile feelings and hostile intentions.” As has been done in the U.S. to incite hatred of Russia, China, Iran, et al., so that a war with either one, or all, can explode at any moment. Israel does the same against Iran and the Palestinians. Mission Accomplished!

Three Palestinians killed in a raid on Jenin camp

June 17, 2022

Source: Agencies

By Al Mayadeen English 

Israeli occupation forces kill three Palestinians in Jenin which has been targeted in the occupation’s latest wave of violence.

The three martyrs are Laith Abu Sorour, Youssef Salah, and Baraa Al-Halhouh from Jenin camp.

Three Palestinian youths were murdered and another eight wounded during an Israeli raid on Jenin refugee camp in the occupied West Bank.

The Palestinian health ministry reported that the three martyrs are Laith Abu Sorour, Youssef Salah, and Baraa Al-Halhouh from Jenin camp.

Local witnesses said that Israeli occupation forces (IOF) have opened fire at four Palestinian young men while they were in a vehicle during a military raid into the occupied West Bank camp of Jenin.

Simultaneously, confrontations were renewed after the IOF brutally stormed the refugee camp and fired live ammunition and tear gas bombs at civilians there.

It is worth noting that the occupation forces have been actively storming Jenin and its camp, aiming clearly at killing Palestinians and arresting others who, in turn, are confronting the occupation forces.

This is happening as Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennet has recently given a green light for killing Palestinians. 

“There are not and will not be limited for this war. We are granting full freedom of action to the army, the Shin Bet [domestic intelligence agency], and all security forces,” Bennet said last April.

Since the beginning of 2022, IOF killed at least 70 Palestinians,  27 of them from Jenin and its camp.

Shireen Abu Akleh

When talking about Jenin, the name of Shireen Abu Akleh, famed Al Jazeera journalist and veteran reporter, comes to mind. Shireen was murdered on May 11 when Israeli occupation forces storming the Jenin refugee camp, north of the West Bank, shot her with a live bullet to the head as she was covering the events of the storming.

The Washington Post has lately published a detailed examination of the deliberate murder of Shireen Abu Akleh by Israeli Occupation Forces.

Read more: 

Blinken claims US will “follow facts” on Shireen Abu Akleh murder

June 8 2022

Source: Agencies

By Al Mayadeen English 

The US Secretary of State claims the US is looking for an independent and credible investigation for the murder of Palestinian-US journalist Shireen Abu Akleh.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken claimed Tuesday that the US will pursue accountability over the murder of Palestinian-US journalist Shireen Abu Akleh wherever facts lead.

Appearing at a forum for student journalists on the sidelines of a Latin America summit in Los Angeles, Blinken was confronted by a question on why there have been “absolutely no repercussions” for the Israeli occupation.

“I’m sorry, with respect, they have not yet been established,” Blinken said of the facts behind the case.

“We are looking for an independent, credible investigation. When that investigation happens, we will follow the facts, wherever they lead. It’s as straightforward as that,” he claimed.

The US Secretary of State said, “I deplore the loss of Shireen. She was a remarkable journalist, an American citizen.”

It is noteworthy that Palestine’s Attorney General Akram Al-Khatib had announced that an Israeli soldier shot and hit Abu Akleh, clarifying that the bullet hit her directly in the head.

CNN report, quoting witnesses, also said that the Palestinian-US journalist appeared to have been killed in a targeted attack by Israeli occupation forces.

In the same context, Yousef Jamal Al-Rantisi, a forensic expert and manager of the Gaza Center for Human Rights, released a forensic analysis of the evidence related to Abu Akleh’s murder, which concludes that she was deliberately shot and killed by Israeli occupation forces.

The Israeli occupation has angrily denied murdering Abu Akleh while asking the Palestinians to take part in a joint probe.

Dozens of lawmakers from Blinken’s Democratic Party have called on the FBI to lead an investigation to seek an impartial finding into the journalist’s murder.

Palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs filed a report to the International Criminal Court regarding the brutal murder of Abu Akleh.

‘Israeli’ Occupation Committed 148 Violations against Palestinian Journalists in May

June 2, 2022 

By Staff, Agencies

As many as 148 rights violations by the ‘Israeli’ occupation regime against Palestinian journalists were recorded in the occupied Palestinian territories last month, an Arab NGO documented the violations, as cited by Anadolu Agency.

In a statement on Wednesday, the Journalists Support Committee said the month of May witnessed a surge in attacks on Palestinian journalists by ‘Israeli’ occupation forces and settlers.

It termed the attacks as “an attempt to prevent Palestinian journalists from covering ‘Israeli’ assaults against Palestinians and their holy sites.”

According to the NGO, the ‘Israeli’ violations varied from kidnapping, intimidation, shooting, verbal and physical assaults to car-ramming incidents.

It said 11 journalists were kidnapped by ‘Israeli’ occupation forces in the occupied West Bank during May, while the custody of five others was extended without trial.

“‘Israeli’ forces, in collaboration with settlers, disrupted the work of 61 journalists and media institutions while covering ‘Israeli’ violations in the cities of al-Quds, al-Khalil, and Jenin,” it added.

The NGO also noted that the social media accounts of 11 Palestinian journalists were suspended for alleged violations of publication rules.

Last month, Al Jazeera journalist, Shireen Abu Akleh, 51, was shot dead while covering an ‘Israeli’ military raid in the occupied West Bank city of Jenin.

Palestinian officials and her employer, Al Jazeera, said she was killed by ‘Israeli’ forces.

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The Nakba, administrative detention, Jenin and Shireen Abu Akleh

1 Jun 2022

Source: Al Mayadeen English

Fra Hughes 

What do these four separate events have in common?

The Nakba, administrative detention, Jenin and Shireen Abu Akleh

The Nakba as many people are already aware refers to the mass expulsion of ethnic Palestinians from their homes towns and villages in 1948.

Over 750 000 old men, young women mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters, fled for their lives, under the threat of annihilation and ethnic genocide from the forces of the newly created “Israel”.

“Israel” was born into the bloodied hands of Zionist terrorism, the Irgun, Stern gangs, and Haganah.

Terrorist groups murdered, maimed mutilated, and raped Palestinians as part of their campaign to create the colonial regime of “Israel” in the land depleted of its indigenous population.

Europeans who were not born in Palestine carried out a wave of ethnic cleansing and a campaign of murder to replace the indigenous population with a nonindigenous invasion of European Jewish and Zionist colonial carpet baggers, who stole farms, occupied homes and robbed the national wealth and resources of Palestine for their own selfish gain.

They not only stole the land, but they stole the lives, the future, the dreams and the aspirations of a nation and its people, forcing 8 million Palestinians to live in exile, many still surviving in refugee camps, and two open-air defacto prison camps, incarcerating the remaining Palestinians living under illegal military occupation.

The ‘Nakba’ is the name given to the Catastrophe that befell the Palestinian people in 1948.

That ongoing catastrophe continues today as illegal Israeli settlements are built on land stolen by the apartheid regime in the occupied territories.

The theft of homes in Al-Khalil and Sheik Jarrah, combined with the recent Israeli Court decision to expel 1000 Palestinians from their homes in order to plant trees on top of their land, proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that the ethnic cleansing house by house,  dunum by dunum, continue apace and is indeed Israeli state policy 

The remodeling of Palestine into “Israel” continues.

Add to this the cultural appropriation of Palestinian culture and food, and we have nearly the complete expropriation of most things that are Palestinian into a hybrid “Israel” society.

Even the holy Al-Aqsa Mosque in occupied Al-Quds (Jerusalem) is under constant assault by Israeli occupation forces and illegal settlers, who wish to take and ultimately destroy the mosque, the third most holy site in Islam, in order to build the fabled Temple Mount on the site, of which “Israel” archaeologists have found no historical evidence.

All this violence, death, destruction, and regional conflict were delivered by the US, Britain, and the UN.

They gave away 52% of Palestine on the 14th of May, 1948.

They gave it to the armed militant Zionist gangs who were designated as terrorists at that time.

“Israel” was built on terrorism and continues to exist through its use of terrorism, illegal occupation, siege, bombings, warships, F16 aircraft, attack helicopters, nuclear submarines, extrajudicial murders, spies, and collaborators.

Palestinians have paid the ultimate price for European antisemitism from 19th-century Czarist Russia to Hitler’s 20th-century Germany.

Palestinian are paying the price for crimes they did not commit.

The riots in Al-Quds in 1926 prove Zionist intentions to colonize Palestine long before the second world war.

The primary resistance to this military occupation of Palestinian homes, towns, lands, and villages by Zionists was the use of armed resistance. 

Although Palestine had no army, navy, or airforce, with most of the civilian population having been disarmed by the British occupation prior to partition, the people tried valiantly to defend themselves.

As part of the occupation’s oppressive control of Palestinians today, the use of administrative detention, also known as internment without trial, used by the British during the British Mandate laws, has no legal basis in international law.

It is used to disrupt peaceful opposition to the ongoing illegal Israeli occupation as a blunt tool of repression.

No charges are brought against the plaintiff.

Secret evidence may be produced for the non-jury, trial judge to peruse.

This secret evidence, if it even exists, is not made available to the defense, and universally the victim of this miscarriage of justice is carted off to jail for periods of 6 months at a time. 

This can be extended at the whim of the court upon expiry.

Some Palestinians have served concurrent periods of administrative detention leading to between 10 and 15 years of incarceration.

No formal charges are presented, no trial by jury, no evidence provided in open court to be challenged by the defense, just a nod and a wink between the state enforcement branch of government and the state judiciary branch of government, and you’re locked up.

A whole society and government based on the continued exploitation and ethnic cleansing of Palestinians, in order to allow Zionists to steal their homes and their land.

This is all carried out under the protection of the IOF.

Palestinians are subject to military law and military courts while illegal Israeli settlers are subject to civil law and civil courts. 

Administrative detention, controlled movement, extrajudicial murder, house demolitions, live bullets rubber bullets, batons, tear gas, bombs, and missiles are the order of the day in the arsenal of the repressive apartheid regime to be used as necessary against the Palestinian people.

While the UN passed resolution 194 allowing Palestinians who fled the ethnic cleansing of 1948 to return to Palestine, “Israel” consistently refuses to comply.

Any Jew not born in Palestine can immigrate there from Russia, America, France, Ukraine, Britain, or indeed from any part of the globe and be given land or homes that have been stolen from the indigenous people?

Palestinians have the right under international law to resist the illegal occupation of the West Bank and Gaza by ‘ Any Means Necessary’ this includes the right to armed self-defense.

Jenin is one of the many refugee camps that are to be found in the West Bank, Gaza, Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan, Syria, and indeed all over West Asia.

Many of its inhabitants are refugees from the expulsions of 1948 and again in 1967 when the Israeli militarily occupied the West Bank and Gaza.

A refugee camp filled with the nightmares of occupation and the dreams of returning to their homes and land.

A place where the spirit of freedom shines bright amidst the darkness of oppression. 

The only response to the overwhelming and complete control of their society, and as a reaction to the continued Israeli military brutality and provocations, was to use their very bodies in an act of desperation to remind the world and Israeli society they refuse to be treated like this, they chose to resist 

Recently we have witnessed Israeli provocations at Al Aqsa,

The beatings and arrests inside the mosque combined with the firing of tear gas at peaceful worshippers, the brutality shown towards the old men, young women, and girls near Damascus Gate and the apparent shoot to kill policy being used by the IOF against unarmed civilians, has enraged Palestinian civil society and roused the resistance into action

Many children, young men, and even mothers have been murdered by the IOF.

A death sentence is a price for resisting the illegal occupation with a stone.

Jenin is not alone in continuing to resist the occupation, every Palestinian – except those who profit from the occupation or collaborate with it – demands peace, justice and dignity for Palestine.

Shireen Abu Akleh died as she lived exposing Israeli violations of international law, its war crimes, its brutality and its viciousness.

The hierarchy of victimhood, which is so well defined in the West, can also be found in Israeli coverage of the occupation.

Palestinians are “terrorists”.

Israelis are “peace-loving people who just want to live in safety.”

The reality is most likely the reverse of this narrative.

Why was Shireen assassinated?

Well, its quite simple really, from the expulsion of 750,000 Palestinians during the Nakba which is commemorated every May 15, the day after “Israel” was created and the ethnic cleansing began in earnest, through Administrative detention, used to repress legitimate dissent and opposition to the occupation, to the abandonment of Palestinians to the refugee camps in order to control them, it is the broadcasters, journalists, photographers and eyewitnesses that the occupation also wants to control.

They want to control not only what Palestinians are allowed to do in their own country in their homes on their land and even in their mosques but they want to control what you and I outside of Palestine are allowed to see and hear.

Targeted assassination of journalists is as much a tool in the arsenal of the apartheid regime as ethnic cleansing house demolitions, Administrative detention, controlled movement, and murder.

Shireen was executed because she exposed the truth to the world of the brutality of “Israel”s continuing illegal occupation

She reported on house demolitions, peaceful protests, military house raids, and on the excesses of the Israeli Courts

She was a thorn in their side.

According to the Palestinian Union of Journalists 55 journalists have been murdered, executed by the IOF in Palestine from 2000 and many many more injured.

The press is regularly attacked, cameras are broken and journalists are assaulted.

There is no freedom in Palestine from the brutality of the repressive military occupation for any indigenous person.

Indeed international solidarity activists are also under threat, while walking children to school like the ecumenical accompaniers in Al-Khalil, to Rachel Corrie and Tom Hurndell both International Solidarity members murdered by the Israeli regime.

There is a linear line that goes from 1901 through to 2022 that joins land, acquisition, ethnic cleansing, race riots, the partition of Palestine, the 1948 and 1967 Israeli wars of aggression, the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza, and the murder of Shireen Abu Akleh.

It’s called Zionism.

It is a cancer that has invaded the body politics and society of WestAsia if not treated it will destroy the host.

The opinions mentioned in this article do not necessarily reflect the opinion of Al mayadeen, but rather express the opinion of its writer exclusively.

THE ASSASSINATION OF SHIREEN ABU AKLEH: WHO GAVE THE ORDER?

MAY 23RD, 2022

By Miko Peled

Source

JENIN, OCCUPIED PALESTINE – Israel’s announcement that it will not pursue an investigation into the killing of famed Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh was not surprising. The specific reasons it gave to justify the decision make little difference. However, one thing is certain: It is highly unlikely that the killing of a journalist like Shireen Abu Akleh was the decision of a lone soldier or a commander on the ground.

Abu Akleh was well known and well respected. She was clearly identifiable as a non-combatant and a journalist who posed no threat to Israeli forces. She had been in similar situations before and knew how to take the necessary precautions, including wearing a helmet and a bulletproof vest. She had to be shot by a well-trained sniper, and their identity must be known to the Israeli authorities.

There had to have been an order or, at the minimum, approval given by the highest levels of the Israeli defense apparatus, as high as the minister of defense or even the prime minister, before the sniper could execute this assassination. Then, in a pretty transparent attempt to cover up the assassination, Israel pretended to want to conduct an investigation and demanded that the Palestinian Authority, which conducted the autopsy, hand over the bullet that killed Abu Akleh.

Quoting an Israeli military official, The Times of Israel reported that “[t]he Israeli military has identified a soldier’s rifle that may have killed Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh.” However, it continues to claim that “it cannot be certain unless the Palestinians turn over the bullet for analysis.” The attempt to deceive is ever-so-obvious in this statement. Since it had to have been a sniper who aimed and then took the shot, there can be no doubt who pulled the trigger.

PALESTINIAN MILITANTS?

The British paper The Guardian recently wrote, “Abu Aqleh [sic] was killed during an arrest raid by an Israeli commando unit on Palestinian militants.” Statements like this demonstrate the larger problem. The Israeli commando raids have no justification and are responsible for countless deaths of Palestinian civilians. Framing Palestinian fighters – defenders of their camp, their city and their people – as “militants,” and the Israeli invaders as “commandos,” immediately places the blame on the Palestinians and justifies the Israeli attack, thus justifying every Israeli raid.

Palestinian youth aim weapons
Palestinian youth aim weapons at occupying Israeli troops in Jenin, May 13, 2022. Majdi Mohammed | AP

This framing, typical in the media, allows the constant, never-ending killing of young Palestinians by Israel to go on uninterrupted. It begs the question: How many Palestinians need to die before the reporting is honest and Israel is forced to stop the killing?

Every so often, an event causes people to lift their heads and acknowledge that Israel went too far and that maybe something needs to be done. When Shireen Abu Akleh was murdered, there was a moment like that. When, a few days after the killing, her funeral procession was brutally attacked by Israeli forces, that was another such moment. But these moments are few and far between.

And these moments, even when they do come, do not last very long and yield no real results. Sometimes a letter is sent by a member of U.S. Congress; sometimes a few statements are made demanding an investigation into what took place. Then people move on and forget, and the flow of Palestinian blood – mostly young, promising men – continues unabated.

The roll of names of young Palestinians killed by Israel is too long to list; and, besides, by the time you try to write it down, more are added. The ages vary, but many are under 21. The images of weeping parents and siblings – sometimes a wife and a child, if they were old enough to marry – continue to flow as though this were some unavoidable, unpreventable curse.

In an open and frank interview I recently conducted with veteran Israeli journalist Gideon Levy, he speaks of his frustration with the Israeli media and the Israeli audiences that consume it. “The media doesn’t want to report, and the consumers don’t want to know,” Levy passionately exclaimed.

TOEING THE LINE

When the Israeli press report on a killing, they never fail to toe the government line, so the Palestinian is always a terrorist or part of a violent riot. He or they, as the case may be, had to be dealt with, and the courageous Israeli fighters did so. From time to time, to demonstrate just how professional the Israeli forces are, they are shown in action. Images are shown of these forces entering a refugee camp, which, as of late, they have often been doing, particularly in the northern part of the West Bank.

Israel brings in several battalions of commando units, Shabak secret-police units, or anti-terrorist forces, all heavily armed and wearing the best communication and protection equipment in the world, and equipped with unlimited amounts of ammunition. Israeli forces also have the best-trained medics, the finest first-aid capabilities, and helicopters ready to evacuate an injured soldier speedily. Once evacuated, an injured Israeli soldier receives the finest medical care in modern, well-equipped facilities.

Israeli raid
Israeli forces raid a home in Jenin, May 13, 2022, the day of Abu Akleh’s funeral. Majdi Mohammed | AP

All of this to face a few young Palestinians armed with little more than M-16s. The Palestinians have no helmets, no bulletproof vests, possess limited amounts of ammunition, and risk a very high possibility of getting injured or killed. A Palestinian wounded in battle does not have access to the same level of emergency medical care as the Israeli forces. Not even remotely. Palestinian ambulances, if they can even make it to the scene, are poorly equipped, and medical facilities are far and are rarely equipped well enough to deal with severe injuries.

LIFE GOES ON

On the Israeli side, life goes on as though nothing significant happened. Watching the news makes Israeli society numb. Clashes, Palestinians killed, the coalition government facing yet another crisis, Netanyahu may or may not be close to returning to the prime minister’s chair; who knows. From time to time, an Israeli settler or an officer is killed, their name is mentioned in the news, and people cry for a few days and forget. Settlements are being built – so many thousands in the Naqab, thousands more in east Jerusalem – and people of Msafer Yota in the South Hebron Hills are being forced off of their lands, but this is all normal, nothing to worry about. Israelis travel overseas for vacation and go out to cafes and restaurants — new ones open daily. One has to try them all.

‘Israeli’ Regime Claims ‘No Suspicion of Crime’ in Killing of Palestinian Journo Shireen Abu Akleh

May 24, 2022

By Staff, Agencies

There has been “no suspicion of crime” in the killing of Palestinian journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, the Tel Aviv regime claimed two weeks after ‘Israeli’ forces shot dead the veteran reporter in the occupied West Bank.

Abu Akleh, a veteran of the Qatar-based Al Jazeera network’s Arabic service, was shot in the head on May 11, when she was reporting on an ‘Israeli’ raid on the Jenin refugee camp.

Her tragic death sent shockwaves across the region, drawing global condemnation. The United Nations and the European Union, among others, called for a full investigation into what has been described as a deliberate killing “in cold blood.”

On Monday, the Zionist regime’s Military Advocate Yifat Tomer-Yerushalmi claimed in a statement that “Given that Ms. Abu Akleh was killed in the midst of an active combat zone, there can be no immediate suspicion of criminal activity absent further evidence.”

Tomer-Yerushalmi, whose comments will definitely infuriate Palestinians, will ultimately be responsible for determining whether any individual ‘Israeli’ occupation soldier will face disciplinary action over the fatal shooting.

She alleged that the Tel Aviv regime does not yet know whether the journalist was killed by stray Palestinian gunfire or by an ‘Israeli’ bullet aimed at an armed Palestinian, meaning that she does not consider the intentionally targeting Abu Akleh by ‘Israeli’ troopers even as a possibility.

The military “is taking every effort to examine the circumstances of the incident in order to understand how Ms. Abu Akleh was killed,” Tomer-Yerushalmi went on to claim.

Eyewitnesses and journalists who were with Abu Akleh on the day she was shot described the shooting as a “deliberate attempt” to kill journalists.

Shatha Hanaysha, a news correspondent and an eyewitness to the shootings, said they were not caught up in crossfire with Palestinian fighters like the ‘Israeli’ army claimed, stressing, “It was an ‘Israeli’ sniper” that shot at them.

“We made ourselves visible to the soldiers who were stationed hundreds of meters away from us. We remained still for around 10 minutes to make sure they knew we were there as journalists,” she wrote in a blow-by-blow account of the shooting incident.

As no warning shots were fired, the journalists, all wearing press helmet and body armor, felt safe enough to move towards the camp, Hanaysha further explained. However, “Out of nowhere, we heard the first gunshot.”

Soon after the assassination, Zionist Prime Minister Naftali Bennett also claimed at first that “it appears likely that armed Palestinians — who were firing indiscriminately at the time — were responsible for the death of the journalist.”

However, the latest footage, which was filmed by a Jenin resident, shows quiet moments, with no sounds of fighting between ‘Israeli’ forces and Palestinians, confirming that Abu Akleh was shot dead by ‘Israeli’ snipers on purpose, and not accidentally by a stray bullet as Tomer-Yerushalmi trying to suggest.

Nasrallah: The blood of journalist Shireen Abu Akleh is on the hands of Arab leaders

May 23, 2022

Source: video.moqawama.org

Translation: resistancenews.com

Transcript:

[…] Before I address the specific issues of this meeting and our upcoming (electoral) battle in two days, let me spend a few minutes on the crime perpetrated by the soldiers of the Zionist occupation that led to the martyrdom of journalist Shireen Abu Akleh.

On the one hand, Shireen Abu Akleh was a witness to the crimes of the enemy for many years, as well as a witness to the oppression of the Palestinian people and the daily crimes, massacres, aggressions and violations that they suffer, both in terms of the (oppressed) population and the (desecrated) holy places. And today, she has become the oppressed martyr, the victim of one of these crimes. She is therefore both the witness (chaahid) and the oppressed martyr (chahiid) [in Arabic as in the Greek root of this word, “martyr” has the double meaning of witness and martyr, designating a person who died to attest to the truth of religion].

On the other hand, such is the true face of this enemy. Such is his bestiality which has never changed one iota. From the massacres of Deir Yassin (in 1948) to all the massacres in Palestine, to the massacres in Lebanon, in Qana, Sohmor and the other villages, to the massacre of the Egyptian soldiers trapped in Sinai, etc., etc., etc. This is the true identity of Israel, its essence and nature: monstrosity, tyranny, arrogance, bloodshed, and, in the depths of history, the murder of the Prophets [mentioned by the Bible and the Quran]. Nothing has changed, nothing at all.

Those who should feel ashamed, humiliated and degraded in the first place are (all Arab-Muslims who) normalize with the enemy, be it regimes, governments, elites and particular individuals who try to persuade our peoples that Israel is an entity whose existence is natural (and irrevocable), an obvious choice, a well-established and developed State with which one can coexist in peace. The first thing that came to my mind as I watched this martyr and her blood on TV is that her blood is on the hands of the (Arab-Muslim) leaders and elites who normalize their relations with Israel. This blood is on their face, on their cheeks, on their temples, on their lips and on their hands.

The message of this (tragic) event, O my brothers and sisters, is very strong, both for the Palestinian people, the Arab, Muslim (and Christian) peoples and the whole world. Unfortunately, some have been quick to try to shift the debate on this dangerous crime perpetrated by the enemy, turning it into a debate on Shireen Abu Akleh’s religion and her religious affiliation. I declare to you that the strongest message in the martyrdom of this oppressed woman is that she is a Christian. The strongest message in the martyrdom of this oppressed woman is that she is a Christian. This message declares to all that Israel, the temporary usurping entity, has attacked both Muslims and Christians, both the Palestinian people and the peoples of the region, and has killed, oppressed, expelled, imprisoned and destroyed the homes of both Muslims and Christians. Israel, the usurping occupying entity, has attacked both Muslim and Christian holy places. And just a few days ago, during the month of Ramadan, we saw the aggressive Zionist behavior against Muslim worshippers praying on Friday at Al-Aqsa Mosque, and against Christians during the Great Saturday of Holy Fire at the Basilica of the Resurrection (Church of the Holy Sepulchre).

The message of Shireen Abu Akleh’s martyrdom states that all are in danger (against Israel), whether it is their lives, their blood, their children, their property, their homes, their future and their Muslim and Christian holy places. The message states that this racist entity… Today, the only entity on the face of the earth that openly declares its segregationist (Apartheid) regime is Israel.

This inhuman, tyrannical regime against all human beings (non-Jews) will never change one iota, because this is its real identity and essence. No matter what the normalizers do, and no matter what it may do in demonstrations of hypocrisy, its bestial and criminal nature will always drive it to perpetrate such mistakes and acts of imbecility that will (reveal its true face and) destroy all its efforts to appear as a normal State (with a human face).

We hope that the blood of Shireen Abu Akleh, and the blood of the men and women, young, adults and children of Palestine will awaken the dead and withered consciences, and cause all the good and dignity that remains in this (Arab & Muslim) Community, both among Muslims and Christians, to rise up.

Allow me also today to extend my condolences to the families of the martyrs in Nubl and Al-Zahra of the local defense forces attached to the Syrian Arab Army who saw more than 10 martyrs fall today in a brazen and open attack by the terrorist armed groups in northern Aleppo.

I ask God the Most High to grant their families the strength to endure this loss and console their pain. […]

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From Nakba 74 and Beyond: Solidarity is Ongoing

May 19, 2022

Thousands of Palestinians throughout the besieged Gaza Strip commemorate the 74th anniversary of the Palestinian Nakba. (Photo: Mahmoud Ajjour, The Palestine Chronicle)

By Benay Blend

On Nakba Day 2022, thousands of people around the world marked the 74th anniversary of the “catastrophe” of 1948 that saw nearly 800,000 Palestinians expelled from their homes as Zionists established the illegal state of Israel. Demonstrators also demanded justice for the slain Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh who was assassinated by Israeli forces in Jenin within the Occupied Palestinian Territory.

Appropriately, on May 15, poet and activist Remi Kanazi tweeted: “Why solidarity matters. It’s Nakba Day. Other communities are in pain and dealing with supremacist forces. If we don’t fight against all systems of domination and build with each other,” he warned, “the oppression we face will never truly end, even if we think it does.”

 As if in answer, an Azov-insignia wearing teen carried out a mass shooting at a supermarket in Buffalo, New York. Because 11 out of the 13 victims were black, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the police have labeled the murders a “hate crime.”

The problem with this label is that it implies that the crime was an act of a lone individual acting on racist impulses. The solution, many believe, is gun control. Both assumptions are mere band-aids on the problem. Whether a member of an organized group or not, this man was not a lone shooter, but rather part of a larger Nazi movement.

As Benjamin Norton noted, the shooter was wearing the same “black sun” Nazi symbol used by Ukraine’s neo-Nazi Azov militia, which NATO is arming and training. According to an Al Jazeera report, Ukraine has emerged as an international center for the far right around the world. There Azov has been active in training men who want combat experience and share a fascist ideology.

The soldier who murdered Abu Akleh also acted as a member of a particular society, writes  scholar/activist Steven Salaita, doing “exactly what Israeli soldiers do.” Indeed, over the past two decades the Zionist state has murdered approximately fifty journalists, making Abu Akleh’s death not an aberration, a mistake, but rather a matter of policy.

The colonizer, concludes Salaita, perpetuates violence “because of colonization.” In the end, it is “the only way he knows how to be a good citizen” while maintaining a “meaningful existence” for himself.

Just as few shooters act alone, but rather as products of their worldview, so do those who successfully work for social justice do so in community. Mourning the assassination of her compatriot, Gaza-based Palestinian journalist Wafa Aludaini writes that Abu Akleh was a household name in local homes because she documented Israeli crimes.

In her own words, Abu Akleh attests to her close connection to community: “I chose journalism,” she explained, because she wanted to be “close to the people. It might not be easy to change reality,” she continued, “but at least I could bring their voice to the world.”

Writing is a solitary endeavor, but the formation of ideas is not. In the introduction of These Chains Will Be Broken: Palestinian Stories of Struggle and Defiance in Israeli Prisons (2020), Ramzy Baroud, activist/journalist/writer and editor of this collection, declares that “because Palestinian resistance is a collective experience, the writing of this book has also been a collective effort. It is our attempt to reclaim the narrative of our people,” he continues, “to liberate it from the suffocating confines of political, media and academic discourse and take it into the heart of resistance.”

Palestine solidarity by its very definition is also a communal effort, the work of many groups of individuals whose histories are likely different but whose goals for the future intersect with those of all colonized peoples around the world.

My own involvement began around 1980 with a Muslim/Jewish dialogue group organized by fellow grad students at the University of New Mexico. Since then, my activism has evolved away from conversations that by their very nature involve a power gap to direct involvement/writing that attempts to place Palestinians at the center. At the present time my activist work involves membership in the recently organized Albuquerque chapter of Samidoun: Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network. As a writer, I’ve also learned that very little happens in a vacuum; formulation of ideas requires a give and take between people of similar, and sometimes different, persuasion. From all those years I’ve learned the importance of being part of an organization.

Solidarity means maintaining unanimity no matter where the media directs our attention. “Empathy’s endurance,” writes Onyesonwu Chatoyer, organizer for the All African People’s Revolutionary Party—Southwest, makes possible “a better and more just way of living” that is “within our capacity” to rebuild. At the present time, however, our inner lives are being “weaponized and manipulated,” especially among the “disorganized and unconscious” elements of our society.

In his preface to Our Vision for Liberation: Engaged Palestinian Leaders and Intellectuals Speak Out (2022), Ramzy Baroud defines the parameters of the struggle. “Solidarity that is not guided by authentic Palestinian voices is simply futile,” Baroud declares, “it cannot effectively mobilize what is essential: their purpose” (p. xviii).

The collection’s chapters are a testament to the ability of Palestinians—and by extension all people who are engaged in freedom struggles—to liberate themselves. Reflecting on “The International Struggle on Behalf of Palestine,” co-editor Ilan Pappé shares three major truths that he has learned during his decades-long involvement in the solidarity campaign. First, solidarity for an Israeli Jew means moving away from Zionism and its “comfort zone”; second, winning the trust of the Palestinian people remains crucial; and finally, trying to influence others to follow the same path is hard (p. 411).

In an interview with Asantewaa Nkrumah-Turé, organizer with Black Alliance for Peace Philadelphia, Margaret Kimberly led the conversation in a way that resonates well with Baroud’s and Pappe’s interpretation of solidarity. Nkrumah-Turé began by speaking of her experience on a panel at the recent Al-Awda Conference in New York. There she tied her anti-imperialist work to Palestine solidarity, commitments that she traced back to the long history of Black support for the Palestinian struggle,

For example, Nkrumah-Turé mentioned her late brother Kwame Turé who came out against Zionism during his involvement with the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). In this way her trajectory is different than Pappé in that she did not have to leave Zionism in order to oppose it.

Like Baroud and Pappé, Nkrumah-Turé acknowledges other groups who have come to share her position. For example, she salutes Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) for what she believes must have been a “difficult move” when they came out with a public statement denouncing Zionism.

Finally, she addresses what Pappé calls the “tension between effort and tangible results” (pp. 411,412), losing hope due to the lack of significant changes on the ground. In answer, both highlight the importance of looking to the future. For Pappé, the solution is asking if we “have done enough for the cause,” and for Nkrumah-Turé, a similar response: developing the kind of courage to stay in the fight for the long haul.

For me, it is helpful to consider all of the activists mentioned in this article, along with the contributors to Our Vision for Liberation, as the energy who provide sumud (steadfastness) and inspiration for the future struggle.

– Benay Blend earned her doctorate in American Studies from the University of New Mexico. Her scholarly works include Douglas Vakoch and Sam Mickey, Eds. (2017), “’Neither Homeland Nor Exile are Words’: ‘Situated Knowledge’ in the Works of Palestinian and Native American Writers”. She contributed this article to The Palestine Chronicle.

Briefing by Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova, Moscow, May 18, 2022 (Extensive)

May 20, 2022

https://www.mid.ru/en/foreign_policy/news/1813888/

Table of contents

  1. Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov to attend BRICS Foreign Ministers’ meeting
  2. Sergey Lavrov’s participation in the 100 Questions for the Leader project at the Yevgeny Primakov Gymnasium
  3. Update on Ukraine
  4. Involving minors in Ukrainian nationalist formations
  5. Statement by Western leaders accusing Russia of cyberattacks against the Ukrainian communications infrastructure
  6. EU allegations of Russia’s “responsibility” for global food insecurity
  7. Biological warfare research in Ukraine
  8. Closing Canada’s CBC bureau in Moscow
  9. Situation at the JCPOA reactivation talks
  10. The situation in the Republic of Moldova
  11. Russia’s stance on Cyprus settlement
  12. Growing terrorist activity in Burkina Faso and neighbouring countries
  13. Desecration of Soviet military graves in Gdansk
  14. Desecrating a memorial to Generalissimo Alexander Suvorov’s comrades who died when crossing the Alps in 1799, in the Shollenen Gorge (Switzerland)
  15. 13th International Economic Summit Russia – Islamic World: KazanSummit 2022
  16. 2nd Kostomarov Forum
  17. Eurasian Economic Forum in Bishkek

Answers to media questions:

  1. Russia’s withdrawal from the Council of the Baltic Sea States
  2. The transportation of grain from Ukraine
  3. The death of Al Jazeera journalist
  4. Calls for “regime change” in Russia
  5. Ukraine’s decision to nationalise Russian banks’ property
  6. Russia’s reaction to Finland and Sweden’s decision to join NATO
  7. Mass shooting in the United States
  8. Russian diplomats working in new conditions
  9. Russia’s reaction to the Western embargo on Russian energy exports
  10. Finland’s economic losses
  11. The future of Ukrainian militants who surrendered at Azovstal
  12. Situation with individuals detained in Ukraine
  13. Russia’s stand on NATO membership for Ukraine and Finland
  14. Russia’s response measures to Finland’s NATO membership
  15. Exchange of prisoners in Ukraine
  16. The possibility of Russia-Ukraine talks
  17. Trilateral working group
  18. Meeting of the Armenian-Azerbaijani commission on border delimitation and border security
  19. Acts of vandalism in Nagorno-Karabakh
  20. CSTO response to developments in Afghanistan
  21. Escalation in the Gorno-Badakhshan autonomous region of Tajikistan

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov to attend BRICS Foreign Ministers’ meeting

On May 19, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov will attend a meeting of the Foreign Ministers of the BRICS countries via videoconference.

The ministers will review global and regional issues, as well as the problems of maintaining peace and security and settling acute international conflicts. They will focus on coordinating the approaches of the BRICS nations at key multilateral platforms and intensifying cooperation in countering new challenges and threats.

The ministers will review the BRICS strategic partnership in three key areas – political, economic and humanitarian – in the context of preparing for the upcoming 14th summit of the association.

At the initiative of the Chinese Presidency in the Council of Foreign Ministers, a separate session will take place in BRICS-plus format with the participation of the foreign ministers from a number of developing nations.

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Sergey Lavrov’s participation in the 100 Questions for the Leader project at the Yevgeny Primakov Gymnasium

On May 23, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov will meet with students at the autonomous non-profit general education organisation Yevgeny Primakov Regional Gymnasium as part of the 100 Questions for the Leader project.

The project represents a special format for trustworthy conversations held by students with famous politicians and outstanding representatives of science, art and sports. It provides a priceless experience for direct dialogue between the rising generation and today’s leaders.

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Update on Ukraine

The special military operation continues in Ukraine. As Russian leaders have said more than once, it is going according to plan, and new territories are being freed from the Nazis every day.

The Ukrainian military personnel and militants in Azov nationalist units that entrenched themselves in the underground bunkers of the Azovstal Plant, began to surrender in Mariupol this week. According to the Russian Defence Ministry, 959 Ukrainian nationalists, including 51 with severe wounds, have laid down their arms over two days. They receive medical aid at the Novoazovsk hospital in the DPR, and the rest were sent to a pretrial detention centre in Yelenovka in the suburbs of Donetsk. Indicatively, on May 17, this centre was shelled by the Armed Forces of Ukraine with multiple launch rocket systems (MLRSs). The Kiev regime has always treated its citizens like this, and this case was no exception.

Russian leaders had repeatedly stated that resistance was senseless and announced the opening of humanitarian corridors for militants and Ukrainian military personnel to leave the Azovstal Plant after laying down their arms. They were urged to stop the hostilities. In the meantime, the Kiev regime was doing all it could to prevent civilians, military personnel and militants from leaving the plant. Why? They were brainwashing the public.

It was Russia that urged the UN to look into this situation and persuade the Kiev regime to let people walk out. Later, Russia organised humanitarian corridors in cooperation with the UN and the International Committee of the Red Cross. I would like to emphasise that the initiative on announcing and opening these corridors was ours.

The wounded troops are provided with professional medical help. This fact is being turned upside down and misrepresented in the Ukrainian and international media. Remember the footage showing how the militants and the Armed Forces of Ukraine treat POWs in Ukraine? Everyone saw it. It horrified many, others pretended not to have seen it. Russian POWs were shot to death by militants from the nationalist units that became part of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.

Russia has adopted a different approach. You see footage showing professional help being provided to the wounded [Ukrainian troops]. It is not being provided “for show.” It is provided to real individuals regardless of their background. Humanitarian law is not just something we abide by; it is of fundamental importance for us. No one should have any doubt about this.

According to Ukrainian POWs, the military leadership of Ukraine forbids the troops to retreat or surrender. Their key goal is to destroy as much civilian infrastructure as possible in order to leave behind uninhabitable ruins and make it hard to restore peaceful life. This is not our messaging, but the testimony received from the Ukrainian side over the past weeks.

The nationalists, who have long been using the tactics of ISIS terrorists, do not hesitate to use kindergartens, schools and hospitals as ammunition depots and strongholds. They are not hiding this. They take pictures inside preschools or with preschool buildings in the background to show how they fight there. The civilians are not allowed to evacuate. They are forcing people to leave their apartments so that they can set up firing positions there. They are driving people to basements that are used by militants or as weapons depots. The other day, Ukrainian nationalists began to bring in ammunition and deployed air defence systems on the grounds of the Odessa film studio. The territorial defence force militants go door-to-door in order to identify residents who do not accept the nationalist way of thinking. They are taken away to unknown locations and there’s no information about the fate of many of them.

Earlier, the Zaporozhye administration banned the evacuation of civilians under the pretext of security. All attempts by the citizens to leave the city in private vehicles and on foot are stopped by the territorial defence militants at checkpoints. Those who resist are subjected to physical violence. Their vehicles are seized and they are sent back on foot.

On May 16, Ukrainian nationalists used the Smerch MLRS to attack Kherson’s residential areas. There are no Russian troops in Kherson, which the Ukrainian side is well aware of. This means they specifically targeted civilians in retaliation for supporting Russia’s actions. This is yet another war crime committed by the Kiev regime. Fortunately, all 10 missiles have been intercepted by Russian air defence systems.

Unfortunately, we do not see the international organisations, Western countries or their media respond to the criminal methods used by the Armed Forces of Ukraine. To be sure, it’s because there is no response. Moreover, the Western countries continue massive arms supplies to the Kiev regime. We consider this as direct support for neo-Nazis and an effort to make the fighting last as long as possible. We cannot ignore the fact that Western weapons are used to kill Russian troops and shell Russian territory.

Arms deliveries are running into the billions of dollars which is comparable to military budgets of large states. The United States, Great Britain, France, Canada, Poland and the Baltic countries are doing the most to arm Kiev. Washington alone sent $3.8 billion worth of military equipment to the Kiev regime which is close to the military budgets of Austria, Portugal and Finland. The US Congress is considering a proposal to provide another $40 billion in “aid”, including about $25 billion worth of military equipment. This is half the military budget of Germany and France. I would like to draw the attention of the US public not so much to the size, which is comparable with the military budgets of other countries, as to the needs of the American people. They can put these funds to good use. If this money were sent as subsidies, aid, or sponsorship related in some way to humanitarian aid, one would understand it. But money is being sent to the Kiev regime for it to kill and to continue this phase of the crisis.

More and more weapons abandoned by the Armed Forces of Ukraine are becoming the spoils of war for the People’s Militia of the Donetsk and Lugansk people’s republics and the Armed Forces of Russia. These include Javelin and NLAW ATGMs, Starstreak and Stinger MANPADS, Bayraktar drones, Switchblade loitering munitions, Skynet Longbow EW systems, CAESAR and PzH 2000s self-propelled and M777 towed howitzers.

EU, US and UK officials keep saying that “victory must be achieved on the battlefield,” that “Russia must sustain a strategic defeat” and “cannot be allowed to win.” All these statements, in addition to the trade and economic blockade that has in effect been imposed on our country and the hybrid war unleashed against it, prove once again that the Western countries are waging war against Russia in Ukraine and that Ukraine itself and its citizens are an expendable resource for them. Our Chinese partners used the expression “cannon fodder.”

In their information war, the Western countries resort to outright lies. They are trying to accuse our country of creating a global food shortage. We commented on this many times. Each time we cite facts, figures and other information that cannot be refuted. But nobody is trying to refute them. Western-spread lies are not supposed to be refuted. They are too absurd to comment on. It is forgotten that crisis phenomena in the world food market are linked with the West’s accumulated mistakes and miscalculations in macroeconomic, energy and agricultural policy. The coronavirus pandemic has contributed as well. In the middle of 2020, Executive Director of the UN World Food Programme David Beasley warned about the threat of “famines of biblical proportions.” Unilateral Western sanctions exacerbated this trend. So, millions of people will have to go hungry because of the geopolitical ambitions, egotism and stupidity of the collective West.

At the same time, we are seeing a striving of the Western curators to take out of Ukraine everything that may be of some value. This is also a repetition of history of 80 years ago. Hundreds of grain carriers are crossing the Ukrainian border on the way to Europe. The Kiev regime has organised massive daily exports of agricultural products to Europe in exchange for weapons by road and rail, as well as by river on the Danube to Romania via the port of Ismail.

Think of what is happening. Against the backdrop of statements by the collective West about the imminent famine (the Kiev regime is supposed to trust the West), the leaders of Ukraine are getting rid of food products. Ukrainian citizens need them now. The Armed Forces of Ukraine also need them since the Kiev regime is not going to stop hostilities. However, food products are being sent abroad instead. Where to? To NATO countries. The Ukrainians receive weapons in exchange for these products so that they can continue killing themselves. This is not Nazism. This are even more terrifying maniacal ideas that are even worse than the misanthropic concepts applied to the population of Ukraine, Russia and the rest of the former USSR in the middle of the 20th century.

These are tremendous amounts of grain, maize, oil crops and livestock animals. On May 10 of this year, US President Joseph Biden said that Washington was thinking about ways of exporting from Ukraine 20 million tonnes of grain, supposedly with a view to reducing prices in the world markets. You know how much the United States and the White House care about the needs of hungry people in Africa and Asia, how much they want all people in the world to live a better life, eat well and be wealthier. We know this bewitching American pacifism and striving to do good for everyone. But this is not the case. This is about robbing Ukraine, its citizens and military of the last things they have. Washington obviously is not concerned about what the Ukrainians will be left with after this feast. Ukrainian citizens did not believe us 10 years ago and five years ago. Maybe it’s time to wise up. To realise that they are being deprived of the last things they have. Food products, grain – the results of their labour – are being taken out of the country. When we were in school and university, we were told that the fascists and Nazis hauled away Ukrainian natural soil by railway and this was presented as the supreme manifestation of their hatred for Soviet citizens. Now the logic is even more gruesome – Ukrainian citizens are being deprived of the fruits of their labour at a time when their country is engaged in hostilities.

For our part, we are paying close attention to the humanitarian situation in the liberated areas and facilitating the restoration of peaceful life. Russian military are clearing Ukrainian mines in cities and farming lands. People in the DPR, LPR and a number of regions in Ukraine have already been supplied with 20,000 tonnes of basic necessities, food products, medications and medical devices.

We regret that the United States, Britain and several European countries are supporting and sponsoring those who are preaching in Ukraine the ideas of aggressive nationalism and neo-Nazism. They continue supplying the Kiev regime with arms and robbing the Ukrainian people. However, these efforts will not change the situation.

As the Russian leaders said more than once, Russia will achieve the goals of its military operation on denazifying and demilitarising Ukraine, defending the DPR and the LPR and removing the threats to its own security.

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Involving minors in Ukrainian nationalist formations

As the nationalist formations of Ukraine continue to be driven out of Donbass, new facts have come to light which confirm the involvement of children in these hate-crazed units. We have repeatedly stated that right-wing radical organisations operating under the patronage of the Kiev regime have systematically spread extremism among minors in order to embed the ideas of militant nationalism in Ukrainian society.

Neo-Nazis from Azov began large-scale recruitment of children back in 2015 when, upon the initiative of the National Corps leader Andrey Biletsky, they set up the Youth Corps’ “children’s camps.” In 2015, they took in children aged 9 to 18 and since 2016, 7 to 18.

A military youth wing called National Squads was formed at the National Corps in 2018. Hundreds of young people over the age of 14 joined it. The instructors from Azov taught them how to fight the “enemies of Ukraine,” including with firearms.

The specialised Youth Corps’ needs are covered by the Ukrainian state budget. Does that sound familiar? In 2019, organisations associated with the National Corps received $17,000 to hold events for children and youth. We see it. And we know what kind of values people with Azov insignia on their sleeves and nationalist and neo-Nazi symbols are teaching ​​young people. There are training camps for teenagers such as Azovets, Bukovynets, and Dnepryanin in different parts of the country. Teenagers were lured through social media and messengers.

Eyewitnesses are saying that neo-Nazis from Azov do not limit themselves to “children’s camps” and have expanded their group by bringing aboard minor orphans which fact is corroborated by the situation at the Piligrim orphanage in Mariupol. Azov worked closely with the children from this orphanage training them in combat, including sharp shooting, during eight years beginning in 2014. Reportedly, in 2014, children from Piligrim helped the Ukrainian army dig trenches outside Mariupol and build checkpoints later in October. Residents of Mariupol say that during the events of February-April 2022, the Respublika Piligrim Children’s Rehabilitation Centre was the headquarters of the territorial defence, where militants from Azov and other radical groups were based. There’s video evidence showing that teenagers from Piligrim took part in the hostilities on the side of the neo-Nazis, and also set fire to civilian homes.

“The neo-Nazi Ukrainian group Azov-operated Piligrim orphanage in Mariupol is a prototype of Ukraine that the Nazis wanted to build and what it would inevitably become if it were not for the special operation by the Russian Armed Forces,” Alexey Selivanov, former (until 2014) Advisor to the Defence Minister of Ukraine and Deputy Head of the Main Directorate of the Interior Ministry for the Zaporozhye Region, said. This is what someone who served in the Armed Forces of Ukraine had to say.

According to Selivanov, Piligrim can stand in for all of Ukraine, and the orphanage, in which children were converted into militants, is a clear confirmation of the fact that something drastic had to be done with this Ukrainian project.

These facts clearly show that Ukraine violated its obligations under the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child concerning the involvement of children in armed conflicts. When ratifying this international treaty in 2005, Ukraine declared that the minimum age for voluntary (on a contract basis) enlistment into national armed forces was 19.

We call upon relevant international organisations, such as the UN and the OSCE, as well as the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General on Children and Armed Conflict, to pay special attention to Kiev’s involvement of children in criminal neo-Nazi organisations and spreading of radical ideas among minors.

There is no need to pretend that in a surge of patriotism these children went to the barricades in February 2022. They have been trained to make war for many years. And the militants of the nationalist battalions are the ones who did it.

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Statement by Western leaders accusing Russia of cyberattacks against the Ukrainian communications infrastructure

The West continues its attempts to portray Russia as a cyber-aggressor. We perceive the recent statements, made on May 10, 2022, by foreign policy agencies of the United States, the United Kingdom and their allies in precisely this context. These statements accuse Russia of launching cyberattacks against the Ukrainian communications infrastructure in February 2022. Predictably, they did not provide any evidence. As usual, they follow their favourite “highly likely” logic.

Western capitals think of themselves as supreme rulers of cyberspace. They rubberstamp accusations that have nothing to do with reality. They probably believe that they will also get away with this anti-Russia provocation. They think all states will perceive this propaganda as a sufficient reason for bringing to account culprits arbitrarily appointed by the US administration. After depleting the potential of sanctions, they are now resorting to other ploys from their rich cinematographic legacy, including promises to pay handsomely anyone who will testify in favour of Washington’s allegations.

Obviously, the policy of intimidation and deception is called on to camouflage the futile US attempts to impose its own perception of an international political order, to conceal its own flaws regarding protection of personal data, the right to privacy and inability to maintain constructive cooperation between specialised agencies to thwart illegal activities in the IT sphere.  Consequently, they want to continue their long-term digital dictate against the public at home and in other countries and to plunder their intellectual resources with the help of companies and agencies affiliated with security services.

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EU allegations of Russia’s “responsibility” for global food insecurity

The EU, the United States and their supporters have unleashed a campaign accusing Russia of provoking a global food crisis. The main thesis is that Moscow’s actions in Ukraine, including the “blocking” of the Ukrainian grain exports via Black Sea ports, are leading to food shortages and hunger in the world’s poorest countries. We know how the “collective West” is “helping” these countries. They are considering ways to turn ordinary countries into poorest states (by transporting grain to their own countries), and they never or hardly ever think about the poorest countries.

As usual, Brussels is deceiving the international community by openly distorting the reasons for the current situation. The EU is openly trying to use the allegation of Russia’s “responsibility” for the deteriorating global food security to convince other countries to support the anti-Russia policies of the West. They simply tell the countries that have a neutral and balanced position that there is a dire shortage of food in their region and that this situation can be remedied if these countries assume the anti-Russia position. They ask them to sign certain documents, vote the “right way” or make a required statement, saying that this will ensure food supplies. It’s a staple of the genre, not a new invention. At the same time, Brussels is using open blackmail, offering food for loyalty.  It has not yet stooped to heavy-handed interference, but this approach cannot be ruled out in the ideological and political spheres. Countries are being forced to make a choice, and this is being done with media assistance.

Meanwhile, the EU has done nothing to prevent the “Ukrainian crisis” and continues to send weapons to Kiev, which makes it responsible for tensions on the global food market. There are numerous indications of this.

The EU has openly declared a total trade and economic war on Russia. We know that Washington actually pressured the EU into doing this, which the United States has openly admitted and trumpeted. The EU politicians who are advocating and shouting about new sanctions are comfortable with the fact that Russia is a global leader in the supply of basic agricultural products, which have no or very few alternatives, such as grain, barley, sunflower seeds and feed crops, as well as mineral fertilisers, a major share of which are exported to the low-income countries that are facing food shortages. The EU politicians do not care about this, because nobody has ever called them to account.

The disruption of trade, logistics and financial chains and, consequently, a sharp rise in food prices throughout the world are a direct result of the irresponsible adoption of even more anti-Russia restrictions and threats of increased sanctions pressure on Russia. Russia’s bank settlements and flights to and from EU countries have been blocked. Isn’t this a direct cause of the situation on the food market? Only those who live in a vacuum can think so. Brussels has adopted unprecedented restrictions on Russian fertiliser exports and individual sanctions on major Russian fertiliser producers and exporters. The declared goal of this policy is to undermine Russia’s economy, including agriculture, which moved into top gear over the past years. Blinded by their hatred for Russia, nobody stopped to think about the consequences for the countries which traditionally depend on our supplies. When they became aware of what happened, they attempted to shift the blame on Russia. It’s crossing the line beyond good and evil.

Cynically claiming to be concerned about humanitarian matters, Brussels is rushing to offer its help. They simply love to create problem and then break their brains over them. The question is who should tackle the current problem. The so-called “solidarity lanes” plan to improve EU-Ukraine connectivity for grain export, which the European Commission presented the other day, is nothing other than requisitioning. Actually, Brussels has declared a full-scale mobilisation campaign to remove the available Ukrainian grain to the EU. When Ukraine, prompted by the West, shouted about the Holodomor, when grain was taken from producers in a bad harvest year, and presented it as the genocide of Ukrainians, the West applauded and looked for other pretexts to accuse Russia of unimaginable sins. What will it do now? It has announced that “hungry times” are coming. Why are they trying to remove the last remaining grain stocks from Ukraine? This is impossible, but it’s a fact. This is requisitioning.

The EU plan provides for creating alternative lanes to export Ukrainian agricultural produce to the EU and other countries, because the sea route has been blocked through Kiev’s fault. The EU will ease the formalities, expedite the sending of additional freight rolling stock, vessels and lorries to the Ukrainian border for transporting grain, transfer mobile grain loaders, make rail slots available for these exports, and suspend customs duties on Ukrainian exports for a year. Is this a licence to take advantage of Ukraine’s situation? To grab what you can lay your hands on? That’s rich!

Brussels views the large-scale transportation of grain from Ukraine as part of its “fundamental geostrategic goal.” The EU intends to achieve it even though international experts believe that Ukraine’s grain harvest will be much smaller this year. They expect problems in Ukraine, and yet they are taking away its last grain stocks. To present this as a noble act, Brussels has announced that it is guided above all by a desire to protect the world from Russia, which allegedly wants to take advantage of the global insecurity problem it presumably created in the first place, and to “steal” Ukraine’s share on the global market, so as to gain geopolitical weight in its confrontation with the West by supplying food to the most vulnerable poor countries. This is inhuman. We would like to tell our EU neighbours that this is not our but their methods.

The soaring prices of grain, feed crops and fertilisers, not to mention energy, and the unprofitability of farming and fishing businesses were a major concern for the EU member states long before the current crisis. Take a look at your own statements, reports and television shows. In late March 2022, a regular EU summit adopted a decision on the need to ensure food affordability in the member states. Several weeks later, the European Commission presented a detailed initiative on the urgent transportation of 20 million tonnes of Ukrainian grain, which can seriously undermine the food security of Ukraine. However, Brussels, which is being guided by “the worse for Ukraine, the better for the West” principle, is not concerned about that.

We urge the international community not to rise to Western provocations, to accept reality and to rely on facts, since the West is willing to use the global food security problems, which it itself is actively creating and which did not appear yesterday, to attain its time-serving political interests. This is a historical fact. The “collective West” is accusing us because it is “highly likely” that we did it because we “always did it.” They say that we “always” did it, but they are not providing examples, let alone any proof. The West is plundering Ukraine now, just as the colonial West plundered other countries in the past, taking whatever it needed. It is doing exactly the same now.

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Biological warfare research in Ukraine

The Russian Federation has obtained materials indicating that biological laboratories in Ukraine operating with support from the Pentagon’s Defence Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) and its affiliated companies – Black and Veatch and CH2M Hill – engaged in biological warfare research in violation of Articles I and IV of the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production and Stockpiling of Bacteriological (Biological) and Toxin Weapons and on their Destruction (BTWC).

The laboratories conducted research into dangerous and highly dangerous pathogens in the interests of the Pentagon’s National Centre for Medical Intelligence, with the BSL-3 Central Reference Laboratory based at Ukraine’s Mechnikov Anti-Plague Research Institute in Odessa playing the key role in these programmes.

The following research centres were also actively involved in their implementation:

– State Scientific and Research Institute of Laboratory Diagnostics and Veterinary and Sanitary Expertise,  Institute of Veterinary Medicine of the Academy of Agrarian Sciences, and the Central Sanitary and Epidemiological Station of the Ukrainian Ministry of Health in Kiev;

– Research Institute of Epidemiology and Hygiene of the Ukrainian Ministry of Health, State Laboratory of Veterinary Medicine, and Regional Centre for Disease Control and Prevention of the Ukrainian Ministry of Health in Lvov;

– State Regional Laboratory of Veterinary Medicine in Dnepr;

– Regional Centre for Disease Control and Prevention in Kherson;

– Sanitary and Epidemiological Station Laboratory in Ternopol;

– Transcarpathian Regional Laboratory Centre of the Ukrainian Ministry of Health in Uzhgorod;

– Regional Laboratory Centre of the Ukrainian Ministry of Health in Vinnitsa;

– National Scientific Centre Institute of Experimental and Clinical Veterinary Medicine in Kharkov.

Thirty Ukrainian laboratories in 14 cities were involved in full-scale biological warfare research in Ukraine. The registration card of the relevant programme was signed by Deputy State Secretary of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine Viktor Polishchuk.  The legal framework was provided by the Agreement between the Department of Defenсe of the United States of America and the Ministry of Health of Ukraine Concerning Cooperation in the Area of Prevention of Proliferation of Technology, Pathogens and Expertise That Could be Used in the Development of Biological Weapons.   The RC determined the commissioner of the work – the Pentagon’s Defence Threat Reduction Agency – and a list of biological facilities.

The employees working with dangerous pathogens in Ukraine were US citizens who had diplomatic immunity. The group included biological weapons experts; they established contacts with Ukrainians, who were previously involved in Soviet biological warfare programmes. For example, Project UP-8 studying the Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever and Hantaviruses is evidence that all serious high-hazard research was directly supervised by US specialists.

The documents obtained allow us to state that the Ukrainian biological laboratories (including divisions of the Central Sanitary and Epidemiological Directorate of the Ukrainian Defence Ministry) engaged in activities aimed at enhancing the pathogenic properties of agents inducing plague, anthrax, tularaemia, cholera, and other deadly diseases, using synthetic biology methods.

On February 24, 2022, the Ukrainian Health Ministry publicly issued instructions to immediately dispose of the reserves of dangerous and especially dangerous pathogens stored at biological facilities, which proves that the Kiev regime did try to sweep any traces of these operations under the carpet. The review of the disposal statements confirmed that these facilities worked with the plague, anthrax, leptospirosis, and brucellosis agents. In the Lvov laboratory alone, they destroyed 232 containers of leptospirosis agents, 30 of tularemia, 10 of brucellosis, and 5 containing plague pathogens, and in total, over 320 containers. This inventory, coupled with the excessive quantity of pathogens, demonstrates that we are dealing here with biological weapons programmes carried out in violation of Article 1 of the BWC.

We also obtained evidence that two biological laboratories in Mariupol were working with the Pentagon. The preliminary review of the remaining documents showed that Mariupol served as a regional hub for collecting and classifying cholera agents. The selected strains were then transferred to the Public Health Centre in Kiev, which then forwarded these biological samples to the United States. Carried out since 2014, this activity is evidenced by statements confirming the transfer of the strains. Why did it start in 2014? The reason lies in the anti-constitutional coup. It upended Ukraine’s independence in making decisions, and overseeing and analysing activities of this kind. People from the United States, Canada and other NATO countries flocked to Ukraine to take charge of the main domestic, foreign policy and economic activity and everything related to defence, military and strategic affairs, etc.

A statement was discovered in a sanitary and epidemiological laboratory. Dated February 25, 2022, it provides for the disposal of a collection of pathogenic microorganisms, demonstrating that the facility worked with cholera, tularemia, and anthrax agents.

In the rush to dispose of the inventory, part of it remained in this veterinary laboratory. The fact that it contained agents that are not typically found in livestock, such as typhoid, paratyphoid, and gas gangrene, is quite perplexing. This could mean that this laboratory, too, took part in the biological weapons programme.

We have every reason to assert that the DTRA focused its operations in Ukraine on collecting strains of dangerous microorganisms and exporting them to the United States, as well as studying naturally occurring agents in this region, which can be transmitted to people, with the aim of potentially using them in biological weapons. In 2020, two mobile laboratories arrived in Donbass in order to collect biological samples from the local population, primarily in the country’s eastern regions, and study them. Black and Veatch acted as DTRA’s contractor in this project.

It was with DTRA’s support that the laboratories in Kiev, Kharkov and Odessa in Ukraine took part in the UP-4 project before 2020 to study the transmission of especially dangerous infections (highly pathogenic influenza A H5N1, which has a mortality rate of over 50 percent for humans, as well as the Newcastle Disease, which affects poultry) by wild birds migrating between Ukraine, Russia and other Eastern European countries.

In addition, the documents we obtained show that the United States planned to work on bird, bat and reptile pathogens in Ukraine this year, followed by a study of whether they could transmit the African swine fever and anthrax (P-781, UP-2, UP-9, UP-10 projects). This was a system-wide research effort carried out since at least 2009 and controlled directly by US specialists as part of projects P-382, P-444 and P-568. DTRA’s office head at the US embassy in Kiev was among those overseeing this activity.

One of the goals of the UP-2 project consisted of locating places where animal carcasses had been buried and collecting soil samples from burial sites of cattle infected with anthrax. The epidemiological situation in Ukraine as far as anthrax was concerned was quite positive, which begs the question: What was the Pentagon actually looking for? I would like to remind all geography buffs out there in NATO (we saw incredible people who thought that the Baltic and the Black seas form one big lake) that the United States does not share a border with Ukraine. Even if they want to find one, it is still not there. Attempts by the Pentagon to present this as a national security concern are groundless and do not hold water. But what was the Pentagon doing in the Ukrainian biological laboratories in the first place? The fact that the US military biologists were so keen to study disease-transmitting insects near cattle burial sites was not a coincidence, since during the 2016 anthrax outbreak in Russia there were cases where flies, including horseflies, transmitted the disease.

In addition, the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation discovered three drones, equipped with 30-litre containers and sprays, in the Kherson Region on March 9, 2022. In late April 2022, they discovered 10 more devices of this kind near Kakhovka, after Russia released documents demonstrating Ukraine’s attempts to obtain drones equipped with sprays from the maker of the Bayraktars.

More than 4,000 people took part in studies under project UP-8. According to the Bulgarian media, some 20 Ukrainian soldiers died and 200 were hospitalised in the Kharkov laboratory alone during the experiments. The United States cannot carry out this activity on its own territory, so its military carry it out abroad. Where? Where they can, where there are no laws, where there is nobody to implement or enforce the law. This happened to be Ukraine.

It is an established fact that potentially dangerous biological agents were tested on the most vulnerable social group – patients at Kharkov’s regional psychiatric hospital No. 3. We have evidence describing in detail the Pentagon’s inhuman experiments with Ukrainian citizens at psychiatric hospital No. 1 (Strelechye, Kharkov Region).

The research results on the spread of dangerous deadly diseases like cholera, smallpox, anthrax, and botulinum toxins, were sent to military biological centres in the United States. These include the US Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases, Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, Naval Medical Research Centre, as well as US Army Biological Warfare Laboratories at Fort Detrick, which used to be the key facilities in the US biological weapons programme. The US virologists focused on analysing the obtained samples to identify gene mutations in the agents and assess their virulence, pathogenic power and resistance to treatment.

Incidentally, about 2,000 blood serum samples taken from Ukrainian citizens of predominantly Slavic ethnic background have been sent to the United States, the United Kingdom and Germany. More than 140 containers with bat ectoparasites such as fleas and ticks have been transferred to Germany.

The programmes were financed either directly under DTRA contracts with private American companies (mainly СН2М Hill) as part of the Defence Department’s project to counter especially dangerous pathogens in Ukraine until 2024, or through the Science and Technology Centre in Ukraine. Overall, more than $1.5 billion has been allocated for the implementation of bioprojects over the past 10 years. In particular, the Rosemont Seneca investment fund with financial resources of at least $2.4 billion has been involved in financing this activity. At the same time, it has been found to be closely linked with the main Pentagon contractors, including Metabiota, which, along with Black and Veatch, is the main equipment supplier for Pentagon’s biolabs across the world.

According to reports, DTRA informed the Pentagon in early March that the facilities in Ukraine used by US biological research programmes were a growing danger for European countries due to the hostilities on Ukrainian territory.

Worse still, the experiments with dangerous and highly dangerous pathogens carried out in Ukraine in the interests of the Pentagon had long been attracting attention from Ukrainian nationalist groups. In case of a military defeat, the nationalists could use those materials to implement the so-called scorched earth tactic, which was an additional threat.

Furthermore, during the special military operation, Russia obtained materials that evidenced the deliberate use, in 2020, of a multidrug-resistant tuberculosis pathogen to infect the population, including minors, in the Slavyanoserbsky District of the LPR by distributing flyers that looked like counterfeit banknotes. According to the Lugansk Republican Sanitary and Epidemiological Station report, “… the banknotes have most likely been infected artificially because the sample contains extremely dangerous strains in a concentration that can ensure infection and the development of the tuberculosis process.” The chief physician of the Lugansk Republican TB Prevention Centre has confirmed in a letter that “there are all signs of deliberate, man-made contamination of flyers with highly pathogenic biomaterial.” Do you know what they are testing the Ukrainians’ samples for in the EU? Tuberculosis. Why? Because they know what NATO agencies have been doing there.

DTRA has proposed to the Pentagon chiefs to take additional measures to monitor the epidemiological situation in Ukraine and neighbouring European countries. In case of any infection outbreaks, the recommendation is to immediately accuse the Russian Armed Forces of “attacking research and medical institutions,” or blame “Russian sabotage groups.” They have already established the necessary communication channels with the Pentagon’s partners in Hungary, Poland, Romania and Slovakia.

According to available information, DTRA demanded that the Ukrainian ministries of defence and health ensure the guaranteed destruction of all remaining materials from the bio-research projects in Ukraine. The people who are now in the EU countries, many of them suffering from tuberculosis, are not victims of airstrikes on Ukrainian research centres used by the Pentagon. They weren’t subjected to any of that. They are just carriers. Because the United States has been carrying out that activity on the territory of the country where they lived. DTRA was afraid the international community would interpret the information about the results of their experiments as a violation of the BTWC by the United States. Most of the documents have been removed from the labs in Kiev, Odessa and Kharkov to the Research Institute of Epidemiology and Hygiene and American diplomatic institutions in Lvov.

The materials obtained by the Russian Federation suggest an unambiguous conclusion that private American companies affiliated with the Pentagon had been supporting the development of bioweapons in labs on the territory of Ukraine in the immediate vicinity of Russia. The urgent destruction of especially dangerous pathogens was required to prevent the discovery of violations of Articles 1 and 4 of the BTWC. This has confirmed the validity of Russia’s repeated claims, in the context of the implementation of the BTWC, about the biological warfare activities the United States and its allies have been conducting in post-Soviet countries.

We are preparing to invoke the mechanisms of Articles 5 and 6 of the BTWC, according to which the states parties must consult one another and cooperate in solving any problems that may arise in relation to the purpose of the Convention or the implementation of its provisions, as well as cooperate in any investigation of possible violations of BTWC obligations.

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Closing Canada’s CBC bureau in Moscow 

With deep regret we continue to note blatant attacks on Russian media in the countries of the “collective West.” They call themselves civilised, developed democracies. Among recent examples is Canada’s ban on the Russian television channels RT and RT France. We said that we would respond. The response would be symmetrical, similar, proportional, it does not matter. But it would be adequate.

We have repeatedly warned that such unilateral restrictive measures that defy the principles of freedom of speech and hinder the work of the Russian media will not be left unanswered. Everybody must realise that our response is inevitable and will happen following any such incident.

In this regard, a decision has been made to respond to Canada’s actions, namely, to close the Moscow bureau of CBC, the Canadian state television of radio broadcasting corporation, including cancelling the accreditations and Russian visas of its journalists.

Unfortunately, it is blatantly clear that the official Ottawa is pursuing an openly Russophobic course. It is understandable. Who had been steering the country’s foreign policy for many years? A person with roots going back to mid-20th century collaborationism. It is clear why they turn a blind eye to neo-Nazism in Ukraine: they were the ones who encouraged it. In addition to direct political, military and financial support of the Kiev regime, the attacks on dissenting views and media censorship have been part of their Russophobic course. Any alternate point of view is always dubbed the Kremlin’s disinformation.

Ottawa’s anti-Russia policy is reflected in the most negative way in the actions of Canada’s state television and radio. In fact, CBC has transformed into the voice of propaganda that distributes fake news and questionable information regarding Russia, consigning journalist ethnics and even elementary rules of decorum to oblivion. We would have put up with that. We did for many years; we ignored or disavowed fake information, disclosed and refuted it. But there have been actual restrictions against Russian media. So, we respond in kind.

Once again, we emphasise that Moscow’s retaliation measures towards the hostile actions of the Trudeau’s government are not aimed against the people of Canada, who our country traditionally respects. The problem is with Canada’s ruling elite and the media that serve it. They are deliberately destroying Russia-Canada relations to the detriment of its own national interests.

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Situation at the JCPOA reactivation talks

Despite a certain lull at the talks in Vienna, the countries, parties to the nuclear deal, as well as US representatives, continue to exert vigorous efforts, while searching for the most effective and mutually acceptable way of resuming the full-fledged implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) under its initial parameters. All the concerned parties realise that there is no alternative to the nuclear deal.

The parties to the negotiating process continue to maintain their contacts. Enrique Mora, Deputy Secretary-General of the European External Action Service and Coordinator of the Joint Commission of the JCPOA, visited Tehran last week. European and Iranian colleagues positively assess the meetings that took place during this visit, and note incipient progress. This instils a certain hope that we have taken one more step towards our main goal, namely ensuring the full-fledged reactivation of the JCPOA.

In turn, we intend to continue doing everything possible to ensure the positive outcome of the talks in Vienna, which require wholehearted efforts from all the participants, including Iran, the United States and European countries. This is our firm and objective position. We are urging all healthy forces to use their energy to preserve the JCPOA and restore the calibrated balance of interests on which it hinges.

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The situation in the Republic of Moldova

We have noted a number of events in Moldova that are a cause for concern.

On May 11, 2022, Moldova’s TV-8 television channel broadcast a Skype interview with Leonid Volkov, a member of the Russian opposition. He is a person of interest in criminal cases that have been opened in Russia, and arrest warrants have been issued for him in CIS member states under the Agreement on Interstate Search for People of December 10, 2010, of which the Republic of Moldova is a party. At the same time, the country stipulates tough broadcasting restrictions for Russian media outlets, claiming “unbalanced” information content provision. Has Moldova banned CNN or BBC broadcasts? Has it banned the websites of the New York Times, the Washington Post and the Financial Times? Or do they provide completely balanced information content?

On May 13, 2022, the Moldova Post said it was temporarily suspending the delivery of all letters and parcels to the Russian Federation, citing “technical reasons.” Over 220,000 Russian citizens now live in Moldova, and Moldovan diaspora in Russia has more than 200,000 members. The Moldova Post’s decision infringes upon the right of Russian and Moldovan residents to maintain business, cultural, humanitarian and personal contacts.

The above-mentioned actions of official Chisinau, as well as some of its other actions and statements, make one doubt that the country’s leadership is really committed to the Republic’s neutral status, to honouring the rights and interests of its residents, as well as to maintaining pragmatic and mutually beneficial partnership with Russia.  I know that Chisinau reacts sensitively to our statements, but we are no less sensitive to their actions.

Although the Moldovan authorities did not announce this, various national agencies are applying Western anti-Russian sanctions in the banking sphere and during the re-export of Russian goods. With the connivance of the Moldovan authorities, protesters have been staging daily anti-Russia rallies near the Russian Embassy in Chisinau for almost 60 days, and these rallies hamper the normal work of the diplomatic mission. A recent outrageous ban on using St George ribbons in the Republic caused a public outcry in Russia and Moldova.

We are once again urging the Moldovan party to refrain from actions that are detrimental to relations with Russia and not to follow in the wake of forces striving to involve the Republic of Moldova in the anti-Russia campaign. This negatively affects the citizens of our countries, in particular.

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Russia’s stance on Cyprus settlement

Once again, we are seeing certain media outlets spreading rumours that Russia is changing its principled stance on the Cyprus settlement. These provocative rumours have nothing to do with reality and pursue just one goal: to discredit our country and its foreign policy.

We have never questioned the principles of the peaceful solution to the Cyprus issue. We continue to consistently support a solution in line with international law and UN Security Council resolutions, which provide for creating a bicommunal bizonal federation with common international identity, sovereignty and citizenship.

Once again, our approach to the situation in Cyprus is widely known and remains unchanged concerning all aspects, including the UN Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFYCIP), which plays an exceptionally important stabilising role in the current environment of uncertainty. We believe it is important to continue the operation of UNFYCIP as it was important to appoint a UN Secretary-General Special Representative in charge of the settlement that reports to the UN Security Council.

I would like to note for Cypriot media that we are always ready to comment on any leaks they may get to prevent misinformation on their pages.

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Growing terrorist activity in Burkina Faso and neighbouring countries

We are concerned about significantly intensified extremist activity in Burkina Faso and increasingly frequent cases of the extremists crossing over to the neighbouring countries.

In particular, on May 14‒16, 2022, a series of attacks on gendarmerie posts and self-defence groups, as well as attacks on a column of civilians near the border with Benin took place in the northern and eastern regions of Burkina Faso. The attacks resulted in more than 40 victims, including among civilians.

Earlier, in the early hours of May 11, 2011, as a result of a large-scale attack from the northern territory of Burkina Faso targeting an advance outpost of the Togolese armed forces, eight members of the military were killed and 13 sustained injuries of different severity levels. This was the first terrorist attack with casualties in the history of the state.

We strongly condemn these crimes and extend our condolences to the loved ones of those killed and wish speedy recovery to the injured.

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Desecration of Soviet military graves in Gdansk

We were outraged by an act of vandalism committed on May 11, 2022, in Gdansk, where perpetrators tore out and damaged 20 stars on the memorials to Soviet liberators on the graves of the Red Army soldiers killed while liberating the city.

The nature of this heinous act is absolutely clear: insulting the memory of the dead is now an integral part of Polish political provocateurs’ arsenal. This latest incident is not a random occasion but part of a deliberate campaign pursued by official Warsaw to disparage everything that is sacred for the people of Russia and those who fought against the brown plague.

Sadly, regular reports on criminal and immoral acts against the Soviet military legacy in Poland have long become ordinary news indicating that Polish officials have unleashed a Russophobic campaign. Recently, Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki publicly confessed to his hatred of everything Russian thus revealing the nature of Warsaw’s policy against our country. Or is it just his personal opinion?

We can confidently say that Warsaw, neglecting all moral and international legal norms, has embarked on a course of state-supported vandalism against the memory of Soviet soldiers who gave their lives to save Poland from extermination by Nazis.

We want to remind any frenzied Russophobes that all their barbaric acts and dirty pillaging will not destroy the truth about the Victory. We will not allow it.

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Desecrating a memorial to Generalissimo Alexander Suvorov’s comrades who died when crossing the Alps in 1799, in the Shollenen Gorge (Switzerland)

On May 15, 2022, unidentified individuals desecrated the memorial to Generalissimo Alexander Suvorov’s comrades who died while crossing the Alps in 1799, in the Shollenen Gorge in Switzerland. The memorial cross and inscription were splashed with paint. What did Suvorov do to offend them?

We are deeply outraged by this horrendous act of vandalism. The incident demonstrates the level of culture in Switzerland. It has nothing to do with us. It has everything to do with you and those who stand behind this kind of campaigns, condone them and fail to search for or covers for the perpetrators.

We sent a protest note to the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs of the Swiss Confederation demanding that it takes urgent measures to rectify the damage caused, find and prosecute the guilty and ensure proper security of the memorial.

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13th International Economic Summit Russia – Islamic World: KazanSummit 2022

On May 19‒21, 2022, the 13th International Economic Summit Russia – Islamic World: KazanSummit 2022 will take place in Kazan. The event is held under the aegis of the Russia – Islamic World Strategic Vision Group, chaired by President of the Republic of Tatarstan Rustam Minnikhanov.

KazanSummit is a well-established platform for presenting the Russian Federation’s economic opportunities and investment potential to its partners from Islamic countries. It serves as a modern dialogue platform for building new connections between representatives of international organisations, financial institutions and government bodies, embassies, and the senior managers of major Russian and foreign companies. Several events are scheduled on the sidelines of this year’s summit, including Russia Halal Expo 2022, the Machine Engineering Cluster Forum, World Halal Day and festivities marking the 1,100th anniversary of Volga Bulgaria’s adoption of Islam.

Deputy Foreign Minister and Special Presidential Representative for the Middle East Mikhail Bodganov and Ambassador-at-Large Konstantin Shuvalov will take part on behalf of the Russian Foreign Ministry.

The 6th OIC Young Diplomats’ Forum (hereinafter the “forum”) will also take place during the summit, to be attended by representatives of the Russian Foreign Ministry’s Council of Young Diplomats, as well as invited guests and experts.

The forum will focus on issues of indivisible security, prospects for cooperation with OIC countries, countering new challenges and threats, and the role of young diplomats from the Islamic world in forming a major foreign political agenda. The International Association of Young Diplomats will hold its first induction ceremony.

The forum has been held since 2015, with more than 160 representatives of the OIC foreign ministries and agencies attending over the years. The forum is organised by the Russian Foreign Ministry’s Council of Young Diplomats, the Government of the Republic of Tatarstan and the Academy of Youth Diplomacy public organisation.

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2nd Kostomarov Forum

One of our country’s priorities on the foreign humanitarian track is supporting and promoting the Russian language abroad. The Kostomarov Forum, organised by the Alexander Pushkin State Institute of the Russian Language, significantly contributes to developing international cooperation in this area.

This year, the forum will be held on May 24‒25 and will focus on the role of the Russian language and its functioning in the new conditions created by the information revolution and technological breakthrough of recent decades.

The forum programme includes a presentation of the Pushkin Institute’s research paper, 2021 Russian Language World Index, a panel discussion on preparations for the Year of the Russian Language as a Language of Interethnic Communication Across the CIS, to be held in 2023. The Cyril and Methodius Readings research and practice conference will comprise 30 sessions on sharing experience in linguistics, literature studies, teaching Russian as a foreign language, and social sciences and humanities. A roundtable meeting on the history and modern issues concerning the Cyrillic alphabet will be held. The detailed programme is available on the forum’s website.

Russian and foreign scholars, teachers, literature researchers and journalists, as well as representatives of government bodies, professional and public associations and business organisations are expected to attend.

The forum’s working language is Russian. The event will be held in the hybrid format. Sessions will also be streamed online on its website.

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Eurasian Economic Forum in Bishkek

On May 26, Bishkek will host the Eurasian Economic Forum. Its topic will be ‘Eurasian economic integration at the time of global change. New investment opportunities.’

We expect the forum to serve as a networking platform where businesses, government agencies, academia and experts can discuss the key matters on the development agenda of the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU), promoting entrepreneurship across its space and green energy, as well as strengthening region-to-region ties and cooperation.

The forum’s main programme includes six panel discussions covering the strategic prospects for Eurasian integration, ensuring economic stability for EAEU member states, manufacturing, agriculture, energy, and transport infrastructure, the digital agenda, as well as new areas of cooperation for the EAEU.

You can register for the forum and explore its programme on its website. You can also follow its online stream.

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Answers to media questions:

Question: Russia withdrew from the Baltic Sea Parliamentary Conference, citing the lack of dialogue. What is your assessment of the diplomatic contacts in this region?

Maria Zakharova: Let me draw your attention to the statement that we made yesterday announcing Russia’s withdrawal from the Council of the Baltic Sea States.

The situation within the Council of the Baltic Sea States (CBSS) has been deteriorating. NATO and EU countries within CBSS rejected equal dialogue and the principles that lie at the very foundation of this regional structure in the Baltic, consistently striving to turn it into a tool of their anti-Russia policy. Illegal and discriminatory decisions have been made in violation of the consensus rule. Russia has been suspended from further participation in the Council’s activities and projects, and Belarus, which has an observer status within the Council, was also suspended.

The CBSS has been riddled with contradictions for a long time now, and we pointed out many of them. You can find this in our briefings, statements and comments. Our former partners sought to politicise the Council’s activity by promoting their own ideology-driven agenda. Russia, in turn, focused on practical cooperation, prioritising stable socioeconomic development for the Baltic region. Unfortunately, the destructive logic of the other side prevailed.

The Western countries – to call them what they are – monopolised the Council for the sake of their momentary interests and they want to make it work against Russia’s interests. They project extra-regional issues onto the Baltic, pressure those who are interested in continuing full and unabridged cooperation, threatening to undermine everything that has been achieved over the past years, as well as regional stability. On May 25, 2022, Kristiansand, Norway, is expected to host the CBSS Ministerial Session without Russia. They de facto stole our contribution to the CBSS budget and refuse to return it, citing sanctions.

We don’t see any prospects for putting the Council back on track. Instead, it is sinking deeper and deeper into Russophobia and lies. We believe staying in the CBSS would be unreasonable and counterproductive for our country. Russia will not participate in turning this organisation into yet another platform for subversion and Western self-admiration.

In response to these hostile acts, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov sent a message to CBSS ministers, the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, as well as the Council’s Secretariat in Stockholm to notify them of Russia’s withdrawal from this organisation. At the same time, the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation took the decision to leave the Baltic Sea Parliamentary Conference.

Ending Russia’s CBSS membership will not affect its regional presence. Attempts to expel our country from the Baltic are doomed to failure. We will continue working with responsible partners and hold events on the key issues on the development agenda of the Baltic region that we all share, as well as to defend and promote the interests of our compatriots.

The current situation within the CBSS rests on the conscience of those who undermined the very foundations of this organisation.

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Question: The United States, the EU and UN have stated they are willing to assist in the removal of grain from Ukraine. Have they discussed these initiatives with Russia?

Maria Zakharova: The EU member states were seriously concerned over the rapid rise in the prices of grain, fodder and fertilisers, let alone energy prices, even before the current crisis, as well as the unprofitability of private farming and fishing. All of this was put in black and white. The EU summit held in late March passed the decision on the need to guarantee, under the existing circumstances, the affordability of food in the EU member countries.  A few weeks later, the European Commission came up with a detailed initiative to this effect (I spoke about it earlier today).

We urge the international community not to succumb to provocations. I have no information confirming that the initiatives I have mentioned were in any manner discussed with Russia.

Question: What can you say about the murder of Al Jazeera’s Shireen Abu Akleh?

Maria Zakharova: This tragedy has stirred up the entire Arab world. Few people remain indifferent to it. The Palestinian journalist was killed in the line of duty as she was selflessly covering an Israeli raid on the refugee camp in Jenin on the West Bank.

Yesterday, while meeting in Moscow with Secretary of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO), member of the Fatah Central Committee and Head of the General Authority for Civil Affairs Hussein al-Sheikh, Sergey Lavrov expressed condolences on the death of Shireen Abu Akleh and voiced his support of the Palestinian demand to hold an unbiased investigation into her death.

We should focus separately on the outrage that occurred during her funeral, when the military assaulted the people carrying the body and accompanying the funeral procession. I can tell you honestly that I have never seen anything like that.

As for a response to what was going on at the funeral from related international institutions… Were they there?

I would like to note that the lack of progress in the settlement of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and the stalemate in the negotiating process repeatedly explode into fierce standoffs that leave in their wake numerous victims among peaceful civilians, including women and children. These tragedies could be avoided by achieving mutually acceptable compromises regarding the final status via a direct dialogue based on the generally recognised international legal framework of Middle East settlement that provides for the creation of an independent Palestinian state. The Russian leaders have repeatedly spoken about this.

Question: How will the Russian Foreign Ministry respond to the Lithuanian Foreign Minister’s call for a regime change in Russia? 

Maria Zakharova: This is an attempt to interfere in Russia’s internal affairs and destroy what remains of our bilateral relations. He is trying to curry favour with his overseas masters.

Mr Landsbergis, who lives in a state that tramples underfoot the basic human rights and freedoms, has clearly forgotten that the Russian President is elected by the people. This has nothing to do with his personal views or his country’s position. But the pathological hatred that he feels for Russia is blurring his vision and depriving him of the last of his reason. Consequently, he can’t see the obvious. This is Russophobia, pure and simple.

Let us take a look at the people who make these statements. We always comment only on statements. But who makes them? They are made by people who have Russophobia in their blood. It is inherited as a specific “legacy” or, possibly, a genetic trait.

I have a lot to say about the Landsbergis regime. They are a dynasty. Let me give you just a few widely available facts. You will understand who I am talking about. All materials are from open sources. They are also available in the archives.

Suffice it to recall the great-grandfather of the current Lithuanian foreign minister, Vytautas Landsbergis-Zemkalnis, who in 1941was the utilities minister in the Ambrazevicius-Brazaitis Government that collaborated with the Nazis. Landsbergis was directly involved in the effort to create concentration camps all over Lithuania, including in Kaunas. He was the Landsbergises regime’s great-grandfather. It was there, at Fort Nine, that on October 29, 1941, the Nazis committed a heinous crime, executing 9,200 Jews, including 4,273 children.

Landsbergis-Zemkalnis also collaborated with Gestapo, the German secret police. After the war, he fled to Australia (which also does not notice neo-Nazism in today’s Ukraine, but has introduced all sorts of sanctions against Russian citizens) but was granted the right to return to the Lithuanian Soviet Socialist Republic in 1959 after he contributed information about other Nazi fugitives to the Soviet security bodies.

The foreign minister’s grandfather, Professor of the Vilnius Philharmonic Society Vytautas Landsbergis, continued the family tradition of conformism and change of political position. He actively collaborated with the USSR secret services: at their recommendation he was appointed the leader of the movement of the Lithuanian intellectuals in support of the perestroika (Sajudis). At his will, it later transformed into a separatist movement for the withdrawal of Lithuania from the USSR. So much for the family.

Vytautas Petkevicius, Landsbergis’s colleague at the Sajudis action group, wrote the following about this grey eminence of Lithuanian politics: “From the very first days, Landsbergis sought to turn the organisation into his pocket political party, with membership, party cards and membership fees.”  In all evidence, he was motivated by his knowledge of the best totalitarian practices. Later he started mixing up Sajudis money with his own. This was something in the liberal economy genre. Still later, contributions from compatriots became this gentleman’s personal money box, a source of payments to his allies, extras for participating in rallies, and funds for foreign travel. The same pocket ate up one million dollars collected by Canadians for Lithuanian orphans and a Norwegian donation to the Lithuanian people. But Landsbergis again managed to get himself out of the mess, declaring that he had created a fund bearing his name.

Autocracy pales in comparison with the Baltic democracies and their representatives. If you only knew how Baltic officials start cringing when you come to citing facts from their biographies or those of their relatives who have directly influenced their civil service promotion or career advancement.  Do you know how much they dislike it? But why are you so embarrassed about it? These are the facts of your biography, and you should be proud of them. We didn’t invent anything. We have just facts and quotes. And you have disproved nothing. So, take it and sign for it.

Question: Could you comment on the Ukrainian authorities’ recent decision to nationalise the property of Russia’s banks VEB and Sberbank?

Maria Zakharova: The Kiev regime stopped caring about the norms and principles of international law and the Ukrainian Constitution long ago, both with regard to its own citizens and those of other states. It is hardly surprising that, on May 12, 2022, the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine approved the executive order of President Vladimir Zelensky on the so-called enforced confiscation of Russian property in the country. In effect, this amounts to a brazen theft of assets owned by subsidiaries of Russia’s Sberbank and the State Development Corporation of Russia VEB.RF located in Ukraine. These assets are worth $860 million. This is a continuation of the same logic. However, no one in Kiev has any misgivings about the fact that the nationalised subsidiary banks also manage the money of Ukrainian citizens and legal entities, and that the Ukrainian authorities are simply robbing them.

This unconstitutional escapade of the Kiev regime replicates the worst actions of this kind by Washington, Brussels and London. Let them call it whatever they like. In reality, this is banal theft.

Question: The President of Finland described Vladimir Putin’s response to his country joining NATO as surprisingly calm. How does this calm Russian response tally with the Deputy Foreign Minister’s statement that Russia will not simply reconcile itself to the accession of Finland and Sweden to NATO?

Maria Zakharova: This was how the Finnish party perceived reality. You should ask them why they got this impression and whether it was correct. This is their perception. Let’s not confuse things. Everyone has a right to perceive things the way he or she sees fit.

The Russian party has set forth its position regarding the accession of Finland and Sweden to NATO. We have published our arguments and statements.

Every state has a sovereign right to choose specific options to ensure its national security. However, no one should ensure its own security at the expense of other countries’ security.

The Russian Federation will respond, and the content of its countermeasures, including military-technical elements, will largely depend on specific NATO membership terms for Finland and Sweden, including the deployment of foreign military bases and strike weapons systems on their territory. Our response will feature less words and more actual steps.

Question: An 18-year-old neo-Nazi who shot at a crowd in the United States sported the insignia of the Azov battalion. Can you comment on this coincidence?

Maria Zakharova: This is not the first mass shooting based on such hatred. It goes without saying that a comprehensive investigation should be conducted, including confirmation of the fact that the shooter used Nazi symbols, the so-called “black sun.”  We saw the video and think that an investigation must be held. This is important because a lot of unverified information is now circulating. Let’s be guided by the facts.

However, the very atmosphere of a deep public fissure in American society, as well as neglected problems of racism and institutionalised violence, due to free access to weapons, generate new manifestations of crime that are horrendous in terms of their scale and the ways they are carried out.

Regarding the link with Nazi symbols and Azov, which you have mentioned, this amounts to the flirtation of the US administration and its security services with neo-Nazis all over the world, with obvious consequences. They forget that all this will also spill over into the United States. In fact, this has already been happening for a long time. If they see nothing unusual in the fact that neo-Nazi ideas are spreading in “client” countries, then why should they be surprised that such symbols are actively used in various US states? The problem lies elsewhere. This isn’t just about symbols, it is about a revival. Many do not grasp the gist of this. We are talking about the actions that these symbols provoke. They explain a person’s planned future actions, and they are like a warning danger sign or a semaphore.  Many perceive this as an endorsement of such symbols and the related actions in the United States. This flirtation, which we have mentioned, leads to such tragic results.

Question: Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said at the 30th Assembly of the Council on Foreign and Defence Policy that “in the current environment, we are witnessing a serious shift in the mindsets of many of our comrades in all spheres of Russia’s life.” What effect is this having on the staff of the ministry’s central office, the embassies and consulates general?

Maria Zakharova: Like the rest of the country, we have rallied even closer together. Awareness of the historical shift underway in the world, which is life-changing for Russia, has given a fresh impetus to the resolve of our personnel to do their professional duties even more professionally and diligently.

Crises can catch you unawares, when you can’t think straight, feel at a loss and lose heart, or it can give you more inspiration. The latter is our case. We have rallied together and joined forces and efforts to attain the goals set for us by the nation.

The completely unprovoked outbreak of Russophobia in the West, the illegal trade and economic restrictions and the desire to demonise everything Russian have reinforced the belief of our staff and their families that truth, justice and moral probity are on the side of Russia and its people. They have found themselves at the forefront of the political stage, that’s for sure. You can’t imagine the situation they’re living in now and the actions that are being taken against them, from provocations and threats to open violence, psychological pressure and the creating of conditions that those behind these things believe will make their work impossible. We are proud of our people!

They have shown remarkable personality traits, such as comradeship and professionalism. I am referring both to our rank-and-file employees and to the senior officials in our foreign offices, as Sergey Lavrov pointed out.

We are reshuffling our personnel. Those who are returning home will be offered new positions. The relevant departments are regularly reporting on this to the minister.

As for foreign policy guidelines, we have redoubled efforts to strengthen our diplomacy on the eastern track and in Africa, Latin America and the CIS. The results will not be long in coming.

Question: Dmitry Birichevsky, director of the Department of Economic Cooperation at the ministry, noted recently that the EU’s decision to suspend Russian oil and gas imports would have an extremely negative effect on the European and global economies. What effect will this embargo have on Russia? What countermeasures can your ministry take?

Maria Zakharova: The physical volume of Russian hydrocarbon exports has decreased amid the foreign sanctions pressure. However, we believe that our export revenues will at least not decrease, due to rapidly rising oil and gas prices. The so-called embargo, which the EU is now considering, could send oil prices soaring.

Our obvious logical response in this event would be to reorient our oil and gas exports.  This is not an easy task. It will involve changing logistics routes, as well as legal and business matters. Russia is already reorienting its coal, oil and gas export infrastructure towards the East. It is worth noting that energy needs around the world, and especially in the Asia Pacific region, will be growing. We have no doubt about demand for Russian energy resources. The Foreign Ministry is helping Russian companies find counterparties, including in Asia Pacific.

Question: Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov has pointed out that joining NATO will not strengthen the security of Sweden and Finland. As for economic ties, Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin has made several other unfriendly moves towards Russia, notably regarding the nuclear power plant project with Rosatom. Maybe a picture of possible economic losses should be provided to Helsinki?

Maria Zakharova: Finland is aware of its economic losses because of the European sanctions and our response measures. We regard the decision taken by Finland’s Fennovoima to stop cooperating with Rosatom companies within the framework of the agreement on the construction of the Hanhikivi 1 Nuclear Power Plant as openly politicised. It is obvious that the decision to stop that commercial project was forced on the client by the Finnish authorities, who were pressured by their foreign partners. It is not a coincidence that the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, which is responsible for energy matters, hastily welcomed that decision, which it described as “principled and consistent.” We know very well where such instructions are issued.

Rosatom State Corporation put forth its position on that matter in a May 2 statement. It expressed disappointment at the decision of Fennovoima Oy, which was taken without any detailed consultation with the project’s shareholders, the largest of which is RAOS Voima, which has a 34 percent stake in the project. Rosatom concluded that it reserved the right to defend its interests in accordance with applicable contracts and laws.

Question: Can you provide any information about those who left Azovstal? We know of discussions on a possible exchange on the Ukrainian side. Is there any discussion underway in Russia? We heard that Russian lawmakers are considering reinstating the death penalty for these people. What is the real situation?

Maria Zakharova: This is the competence of the Russian Ministry of Defence. At the same time, we would like to note that all the wounded and seriously injured people and anyone who needs medical assistance has been receiving it. They are in the Novoazovsk hospital in the DPR. The rest have been placed in a pre-trial detention centre in Yelenovka, a suburb of Donetsk.

As for other issues, they will be resolved in due course. At this stage, the most important issue is the safe exit of everyone from Azovstal, and providing them with medical care, other necessary humanitarian assistance and accommodation.

As for other questions, we will certainly provide regular updates.

Question: Is an exchange being discussed?

Maria Zakharova: At this stage, the information I shared is all I have. I have nothing to add.

Our priority, the one we have been stating for three weeks, was their exit from Azovstal. We have persuaded people to come out every day, and made several announcements of humanitarian corridors for everyone including civilians, militants and military personnel of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. Only now has the Kiev regime allowed them to do so. At the moment, our priorities are their safe exit and the provision of assistance to them. This problem needs to be solved, and it is being solved now.

Question: What happens to those civilians who came out through the humanitarian corridors, but were stopped by the “filtering” procedure? Where are they being held? Will they be entitled to due legal procedure? What are the conditions of where they are kept?

Maria Zakharova: You mean the people who came out – when? Today? Who are exiting now? Those who needed medical assistance are receiving it, or have received it by now. I can check where the rest went, because this matter is the competence of the Russian Ministry of Defence. I promise to find this information. I’ll check and get back to you.

Question: Why does Russia consider Ukraine’s NATO membership and its cooperation with NATO such a big threat, while, according to Sergey Lavrov, Finland’s NATO membership does not have such great importance for Russia?

Maria Zakharova: I do not remember Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov saying it the way you quoted. Let me find the exact quote.

We have long insisted that any expansion of NATO has a bearing on, and significance in the context of global international and, in particular, European security. This was the security guarantees we demanded, because we have seen the alliance expand and reach our borders. You certainly understand the difference between the situations in Finland and Ukraine.

I don’t know, maybe you have some additional information about growing numbers of nationalist battalions in Finland, for example? Maybe dozens of Pentagon biological laboratories are deployed in Finland and experimenting with dangerous pathogens? I am unaware of any information about Finland being pumped full of the same types of weapons that have been supplied to Ukraine under contracts or without contracts to an area of an armed intra-Finnish conflict, but perhaps you know about it? I don’t know anything about it. This is just a brief overview of the differences between Finland and Ukraine in the last decade.

The developments in Ukraine followed a dramatic scenario due to blatant interference by Washington, with the anti-constitutional coup in Kiev being one of the strongest catalysts. Perhaps you have information on a similar revolution in Finland? I don’t know anything about it. This is why the two situations are different, in broad strokes.

The choice of ways to ensure national security is (this is our underlying approach) the sovereign right of each country, but at the same time, it should not be ensured at the expense of other states.

We have no other choice left but to take retaliatory measures. The specifics – including the military-technical aspect – will depend on the terms of Finland’s and Sweden’s NATO membership, including the deployment of foreign military bases and strike weapon systems on their territory.

As for the differences in our reactions to Finland joining NATO and Ukraine’s ambition to become a member of this military bloc, as the Russian side emphasised earlier, in particular, they stem from Kiev’s decision to include in its doctrinal documents its intention to return Crimea, a sovereign Russian territory, possibly by military means. Finland has no territorial claims to the Russian Federation. There are no documents where it would say it could use any means to return any Russian territory. This is another argument to add to the previous ones.

Question: What kind of military-technical measures does Russia plan to apply to Finland, and what might their timeframe be?

Maria Zakharova: It will be a surprise. A question is for the Defence Ministry. The corresponding decision will factor in the full scope of details and specifics of how Finland’s membership in NATO will unfold. The decision will be made based on all these parameters, and primarily, it will be up to the military.

Question: Is there any discussion on exchanging Azovstal prisoners for the Russian, DPR or LPR soldiers being held captive? We would also like to know something about the fate of Artyom Ryabovichev and Daniil Romanov from a DPR tank brigade. Some Russian journalists wrote about them. According to their reports, they have been prisoners since May 1. Ukrainian militants were torturing them on camera and posting the videos online. Earlier, Ukraine refused to exchange them, saying it would negotiate only with Russia rather than with the DPR. Is the Foreign Ministry aware of the fate of Ryabovichev and Romanov and are there plans to put them on the exchange lists?

Maria Zakharova: Normally, we join in when there are diplomatic relations. After February 24, when Kiev broke off diplomatic relations with Russia and closed the Russian foreign missions in Ukraine, the Russian Foreign Ministry lost its channels for dealing with issues like this. Nevertheless, during the special military operation, these problems are being handled by the Defence Ministry of Russia and Human Rights Commissioner Tatyana Moskalkova. The Foreign Ministry constantly informs them of any case of a Russian citizens being detained in Ukraine. All this information is being consolidated.

We are able to raise these issues at international venues. We put these questions to Kiev’s Western sponsors, drawing their attention to the Ukrainian neo-Nazis’ cruel and inhuman treatment of detained Russian soldiers and of People’s Militia fighters from the DPR and LPR. We demand that the standards of international humanitarian law be rigorously observed with respect to these men. We urge related international organisations, including the International Committee of the Red Cross, to take exhaustive measures for their protection, specifically to gain access to them and honestly inform the international community about the results. We hope these efforts will help us find out more about the fate of these two DPR servicemen.

Question: Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov went on record as saying that Moscow has information indicating that Ukraine lacks independence at the talks and that it is “guided” by London and Washington. He also said that Russia had received no concrete proposals on Ukraine from the West. Does this mean that Moscow is losing interest in direct negotiations with Ukraine and wants the “collective West” to join the process?

Maria Zakharova: We showed an interest and displayed a lot of patience, an interest in all types of talks, for eight years. We came up with many possible scenarios on how these talks could be conducted. Currently, everything is being decided primarily on the ground.

When Ukraine showed an interest and signaled a desire to hold talks with Russia, we responded. But they started doing all they could to drag out the talks. When there was interest on the Ukrainian side, it was supported by Russia. At this point – the Russian Foreign Ministry and other agencies have commented on this – the Kiev regime is doing everything it can to prevent the talks from being held in a normal negotiating format.

The West has always been behind the Kiev regime, both the current and previous authorities. A “Western hand” has always guided the pen that was allegedly held by any representatives from Kiev. There is nothing new here, no breakthrough.

Question: How would you assess the work of the trilateral working group engaged in unblocking regional economic ties and communications, which is co-chaired by the deputy prime ministers of Armenia, Russia and Azerbaijan? What stage is the process at now and when can we expect obvious results?

Maria Zakharova: We have high regard for the work of the Trilateral Working Group (TWG). The foreign ministers of Armenia and Azerbaijan gave similar assessments during their meeting with Sergey Lavrov on the sidelines of the CIS Foreign Ministers Council meeting in Dushanbe on May 12.

We believe that the unblocking of all transport and economic connections in the South Caucasus is one of the key goals in the context of the effort to normalise Armenian-Azerbaijani relations and, more broadly, to harmonise cooperation in the region.

The TWG co-chairs have regular meetings designed to work out solutions that will suit all sides. Last week, the Russian co-chair, Deputy Prime Minister Alexey Overchuk, visited Yerevan for talks with Prime Minister of Armenia Nikol Pashinyan. Among other things, the officials discussed how to open communications in the region. The co-chairs inform the media of the specific results of the joint work on an individual basis.

Question: Are there any clear agreements between Armenia and Azerbaijan regarding a possible meeting of the Commission on Border Delimitation and Security, where Russia is expected to provide advisory support?

Maria Zakharova: We are consistently advocating the creation of a bilateral commission for the delimitation of the Armenian-Azerbaijani border, with its subsequent demarcation with Russia’s advisory assistance. Simultaneously, as the trilateral statement from the November 26, 2021 Sochi summit stipulates, steps are to be taken to increase stability and security on the border between the two countries.

This matter was discussed during the trilateral meeting of foreign ministers in Dushanbe. Our partners said they were close to completing the formation of their national delegations. Russia has already built an expert team. We hope that in the near future, we could launch practical work on the delimitation of the Armenian-Azerbaijani border.

We would like to emphasise that Russia has unique expert potential in border delimitation and settlement of border disputes between post-Soviet countries. We will be happy to share our experience and practices with our Armenian and Azerbaijani friends as part of the commission.

Question: The Azerbaijani side continues to violate the ceasefire on the border. On May 7, at around 1.50 pm, the Azerbaijani Armed Forces fired from different calibre firearms at the Sotk gold mine, injuring one of the mine employees. How would you comment on the Azerbaijani side’s actions against the civilian population?

Maria Zakharova: We are confident that the expeditious launch of the commission on the delimitation of the Armenian-Azerbaijani border would effectively prevent any further border incidents. The commission could contribute to developing confidence-building mechanisms, including, for example, by creating contact groups to ensure stability in the border areas.

Question: Recent photos of the Armenian Holy Resurrection Church in Hadrut, a province controlled by the Azerbaijani side, on social media show that its cross has been dismantled and the Armenian inscriptions erased. How would you assess the acts of vandalism against Armenian cultural and religious sites in Nagorno-Karabakh?

Maria Zakharova: I have no information on this score. As Russian representatives have repeatedly emphasised, we call on both parties to preserve the region’s cultural and historical heritage, involving specialised international agencies including UNESCO, if necessary.

Question: The situation in Afghanistan and border security was one of the main issues at the CSTO summit in Moscow. What measures are planned to ensure the security of member countries within the framework of this organisation?

Maria Zakharova: The situation in the CSTO area of responsibility and in the immediate vicinity of our borders makes us be as vigilant as possible and ready, if necessary, to respond timely and appropriately to emerging threats to the security of member nations. This is a task of the organisation.

Pursuant to the instructions given by the leaders at the CSTO Extraordinary Summit on August 23, 2021, CSTO member states prepared proposals for joint response measures to challenges and threats from the territory of Afghanistan. The Russian Federation has proposed a number of specific measures through its foreign policy departments, including:

– Strengthening foreign policy coordination to ensure a unified position of CSTO member states on the political settlement in Afghanistan. Involving representatives of the CIS and SCO secretariats in the meetings of the Working Group on Afghanistan under the CSTO Foreign Ministers Council;

– Intensifying contacts between the CSTO and the United Nations Regional Centre for Preventive Diplomacy for Central Asia;

– Stepping up cooperation between the competent agencies and special services of CSTO member states in detecting and neutralising extremist and terrorist cells in the countries of the Organisation;

– Taking a range of preventive measures as part of the unscheduled operations Nayomnik (Mercenary), PROXY and Nelegal (Illegal Alien);

– Focusing Kanal (Channel), a CSTO’s anti-drug operation, on suppressing drug trafficking along the “northern route”;

– Implementing joint measures to counter subversive propaganda by terrorist organisations in cyberspace on the basis of the CSTO’s 2016 List of Additional Measures to Counter International Terrorism and Extremism;

– Increasing cooperation between the CSTO and the UN Counter-Terrorism Committee.

All these measures are being consistently implemented and serve to strengthen the security of all member states of the Organisation, as well as to maintain stability in the region as a whole.

Question: How does the Russian Federation view the escalating tensions in the Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Region of Tajikistan?

Maria Zakharova: We are concerned by the information provided by the official authorities of Tajikistan on the escalation of tensions in the Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Region, which, according to reports, was provoked by criminal elements and extremist sympathisers, who joined them. As a result, there were victims and casualties, including among Tajik law enforcement officers.

The Russian Embassy in Dushanbe is in constant contact with the country’s competent authorities. According to preliminary information, there are no Russian citizens among the victims.

The Tajik authorities promise to take the necessary measures to stabilise the situation and ensure the safety of Russian citizens who may be present on the scene.

Israeli Human Rights Violations in the Occupied Palestine Weekly Update (12- 18 May 2022)

19 05 2022

Violation of right to life and bodily integrity

Two Palestinians died of wounds they sustained by Israeli occupation forces’ (IOF) fire. Also, 143 civilians, including 5 children, a paramedic, and a journalist, were wounded while dozens of others suffocated and sustained bruises in IOF attacks in the West Bank, including occupied East Jerusalem. 

On 14 May 2022, a Palestinian succumbed to his rubber bullet injury by IOF during clashes at al-Aqsa Mosque yards in occupied East Jerusalem on 22 April.

On 15 May 2022, a Palestinian from Jenin Refugee Camp wounded by IOF’s fire succumbed to his wound at Rambam Hospital, noting that he sustained a bullet injury in the abdomen during IOF’s incursion into Jenin refugee camp on 13 May 2022 to arrest a wanted Palestinian, besiege his house and pound it with missiles. At the time, 12 Palestinians, including 3 children, were injured: 2 sustained serious injuries.

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

13 May: 33 Palestinians, including a photojournalist, were injured due to IOF’s suppression of mourners at journalist Shireen Abu ‘Akleh’s funeral in East Jerusalem. For further information here. On the same day, 2 Palestinians, including a child, were wounded with rubber bullets during IOF’s suppression of Kafr Qaddoum weekly protest in Qalqilya.

14 May: 3 Palestinians sustained rubber bullet wounds during IOF’s suppression of Kafr Qaddoum weekly protest in Qalqilya. On the same day, a Palestinian was injured by IOF’s fire and then arrested near al-Mahkama military checkpoint, northern al-Bireh, allegedly for throwing stones at a settlers’ car.

15 May: 20 Palestinians, including 2 children, were wounded in clashes after IOF suppressed a protest organized in commemoration of Palestinian Nakba near al-Mahkama military checkpoint, northern al-Bireh.  

16 May: 71 Palestinians, including a paramedic, were wounded while 35 others were arrested during IOF’s widespread operation to suppress thousands of Palestinian mourners in the funeral of Waleed al-Sharif, who died 2 days after he was injured.  Also, IOF assaulted journalists and obstructed work of 11 journalists.

17 May: a Palestinian with disability (suffering a mental disorder) was injured by IOF’s fire.  He was then arrested and taken to a hospital in Israel, claiming he attempted to attack soldiers according to a video published by IOF.

So far in 2022, IOF attacks killed 48 Palestinians, including 38 civilians: 10 children, 4 women (one was a journalist) and the rest were activists; 3 of them were assassinated. Also, 693 others were wounded in these attacks, including 68 children, 4 women, and 19 journalists all in the West Bank, except 7 fishermen in the Gaza Strip.

Settler-attacks on Palestinian civilians and their properties:

2 Palestinians, including a human rights defender, were wounded and 50 trees were cut during setters’ attacks in the West Bank.  Details are as follows:

12 May: under IOF’s protection, settlers attacked a human rights defender from Defense for Children Palestine and threw stones at his car on Jenin-Nablus Street near the entrance to evacuated Homish settlement, northwestern Nablus.  As a result, he sustained bruises and his car sustained damage.

13 May: settlers attacked a Palestinian in eastern Yatta in Hebron and smashed windows of al-Ghad al-‘Arabi Channel vehicle during IOF’s suppression of a peaceful protest in the area against an Israel plan to expel thousands of Palestinians from Masafer Yatta area.

18 May: settlers cut 50 olive trees in Yasouf village, eastern Salfit.

So far this year, settlers carried out 123 attacks on Palestinians and their properties in the West Bank.

Land razing, demolitions, confiscation, and settlement expansion

The Israeli occupation authorities demolished 2 houses, rendering a family of 5, including 3 children, homeless.  They also demolished a room and 4 agricultural facilities; IOF razed one dunum and took over 44.6 dunums in the West Bank, including occupied East Jerusalem.  Details are as follows:

On 13 May, IOF handed 2 notices to evacuate a 4.5-dunum land, western Bani Na’im village in Hebron, claiming it is state property. On the same day, IOF demolished a rainwater pool used for irrigation in Marj Na’ajah village, northern Jericho.

On 14 May, IOF forced a Palestinian to self-demolish his house in Sour Baher in occupied East Jerusalem for the second time under the pretext of unlicensed construction, rendering a family of 5 homeless.

On 15 May, IOF handed a house demolition notice, noting that a family of 4 was supposed to move to this 2-story house in western Samou’a village in Hebron.

On 16 May, IOF demolished an under-construction house, a wooden room, and 3 barracks for livestock in al-‘Issawiya village, northeastern occupied East Jerusalem, under the pretext of unlicensed construction.  On the same day, IOF handed 3 notices to demolish 3 barracks used for poultry in Umm ar-Rihan village, southwestern Jenin.

On 17 May, Israeli municipality bulldozers razed a 1000-sqm land and demolished the surrounding steel fences in Shu’fat refugee camp, East Jerusalem.  On the same day, IOF handed military orders to seize 40 dunums in Wadi Fukin village, western Bethlehem, under the pretext that it is state property.

Since the beginning of 2022, IOF made 61 families homeless, a total of 343 persons, including 70 women and 169 children. This was the outcome of IOF demolition of 67 houses and 5 residential tents. IOF also demolished 43 other civilian objects, razed 243 dunums and delivered 64 notices of demolition, cease-construction, and evacuation.

IOF incursions and arrests of Palestinian civilians

IOF conducted 187 incursions into the West Bank, including occupied East Jerusalem. Those incursions included raids and searches of civilian houses and facilities and establishment of checkpoints. During this week’s incursions, 130 Palestinians were arrested, including 2 children and a woman; most of them were arrested in a widescale arrest operation during the funerals of Shireen Abu ‘Akleh and Walid al-Sharif in East Jerusalem.  Also, IOF conducted a limited incursion into eastern Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip.

So far in 2022, IOF conducted 3166 incursions into the West Bank, including occupied East Jerusalem, during which 2,296 Palestinians were arrested, including 226 children and 17 women. IOF also conducted 14 limited incursions into eastern Gaza Strip and arrested 40 Palestinians, including 25 fishermen, 13 persons attempting to enter Israel from the Gaza border area, and 3 travelers via Beit Hanoun “Erez” Crossing.

Closure policy and restrictions on freedom of movement

On 15 May 2022, the Israeli occupation authorities reopened Beit Hanoun “Erez” crossing, northern Gaza Strip, to Palestinian workers and permit holders from Gaza after it had been closed since 03 May.

Meanwhile, the Israeli occupation maintains its illegal and inhuman 15-year closure on the Gaza Strip. Details available in PCHR’s March 2022 monthly update on the Gaza crossings.

In the West Bank, including occupied East Jerusalem, IOF continues to impose restrictions on the freedom of movement. On top of its 108 permanent checkpoints, IOF established 110 temporary military checkpoints this week and arrested a Palestinian at those checkpoints.

So far in 2022, IOF established at least 1,516 checkpoints and arrested 90 Palestinians at those checkpoints.

“Israel”, the United States and the internationally accepted genocide

17 May 2022

Source: Al Mayadeen English

Atilio A. Boron 

How long will Washington’s double discourse last?

“Israel”, the United States and the internationally accepted genocide

Israeli government troops assassinated Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, 51, one of the leading figures of Al Jazeera TV network. Yet, Washington and the Western media and governments remain silent in complicity against this unspeakable crime, not only for the murder itself but also for the vicious attack on freedom of the press. Can you imagine how these governments and their dependent press would have reacted if this crime had been committed against a Venezuelan-American journalist in Venezuela? This news would have been the cover of all the newspapers in the West and the subject of all the radio and television programs, denouncing the brutality of the Maduro “regime”. But, since the crime was committed by the Israelis, what prevails is silence and concealment of the information. Again, the damn double standard of the empire!

Shireen Abu Akleh, was shot dead while covering an Israeli army incursion into the Jenin refugee camp in the occupied West Bank. A Palestinian colleague of the murdered journalist, Ali Samudi, was also attacked by Zionist bullets and was shot in the back, fortunately not causing fatal injuries. The “Israel” Defense Force confirmed that it carried out an operation Wednesday morning in the Jenin refugee camp, but denied that they have shot at journalists present at the scene. However, Israeli army sources assured that there was an exchange of fire on the ground and Defense Minister Benny Gantz himself told the foreign press at night that the army “was not sure how the journalist died. Maybe it was a Palestinian who shot her, the shot could also have come from our side, we are investigating,” Gantz said. Nevertheless, one of the photographers from the French news agency AFP said that Israeli forces were firing in the area and that he saw the body of the Al Jazeera reporter on the ground. In addition, he said that there were no armed Palestinians in the area.

Al Jazeera called on the international community to hold “Israel” responsible for the “intentional” death of the journalist. “In a flagrant murder that violates international laws and norms, the Israeli occupation forces cold-bloodedly murdered the Al Jazeera correspondent in the Palestinian territories,” the channel said. Qatari Foreign Minister Lolwah Al Khater said on Twitter that the correspondent was shot “in the face” and called the act “Israeli state terrorism.” For its part, the Palestinian National Authority (PNA), the autonomous Palestinian government based in the West Bank, described the journalist’s death as an “execution” and as part of the Israeli effort to hide the “truth” of its occupation of the West Bank. Unfortunately, it is very unlikely that these protests will find an echo in the Western press, completely controlled by US imperialism and its European lackeys.

Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid assured that his country wanted to join an “investigation into the sad death of the journalist Shireen Abu Akleh” and stressed that “journalists must be protected in conflict zones”, for which “Tel Aviv” has “the responsibility to get to the truth.” The US ambassador to the UN, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, called for the facts to be investigated by “both parties” in a transparent manner. In a completely hollow speech the diplomatic stressed that the “absolute priority” of the United States is “the protection of American citizens and journalists”, something blatantly false. Beautiful words, devoid of any substance because the United States and Western countries have been endorsing the genocidal policies of the state of “Israel” since 1948, and there is nothing to suggest that this policy will be changed in the near future, especially in the context of the Ukrainian war.

For its part, Amnesty International (AI) pointed out that the “increase in unlawful killings” in recent times is one more example of the need to put an end to “Israeli apartheid against the Palestinians.” In an unusually harsh public statement, the organization denounced what could be “extrajudicial executions” against Palestinians. It also said that “the murder” of the journalist “is a bloody reminder of the deadly system in which “Israel” locks up Palestinians. “Israel” is killing Palestinians left and right with impunity. How many more must die before the international community acts to hold “Israel” accountable?” questioned AI’s deputy director for the Middle East and North Africa, Saleh Higazi. This statement is in line with a recent declaration by Noam Chomsky, who accused the Israeli government of practicing genocidal policies in Gaza, the largest open-air prison in the world according to his words. The sad culmination of this policy followed by the neo-Nazi government of “Israel” was the scandalous repression that occurred during the funeral of Abu Akleh, which offends the most basic canons of human rights. However, despite these brutal transgressions and “Israel”‘s escalation of repression in recent weeks -in which at least 31 people were killed- the American government continues to monolithically support the slaughterers of the Palestinian people.

How long will Washington’s double discourse last? How is it that Biden, who claims to be recognized as a champion of human rights, supports a regime like the Israeli one that, since its foundation, has systematically violated the human, social and economic rights of the Palestinians stealing their land, destroying their houses and condemning them to a trickle-down genocide?

The opinions mentioned in this article do not necessarily reflect the opinion of Al mayadeen, but rather express the opinion of its writer exclusively.

The deeply buried roots of resistance

16 May 2022

Source: Al Mayadeen

Jeremy Salt 

Would they have attacked them had they been of a different ethno-religious background but were still occupiers?  Most certainly yes. These young men had no other motive to do what they did but they were Palestinian and that one word decided their fate.

Had Palestine been partitioned peacefully, even the ‘Jewish state’ would have had a population that was almost 50 percent non-Jewish against an ‘Arab state’ that was 100 per cent Palestinian

The  Palestinian village of Al Muzayri’a was located about 15 kilometers from Ramla.  The attraction was probably rich agricultural land close to a large market town with access to most of the facilities the villagers might need.  Roman and Byzantine ruins were the evidence of the site’s settled history before the long Muslim period of rule began in the 7th century.  Muslim rule was characterised by leaving things as they were as long as the  caliph’s or sultan’s subjects, Muslim, Christian or Jewish,  paid taxes and obeyed the law.  The comparison with the genocide and cultural destruction that followed European conquests is striking. Generally,  Christians and Jews flourished under Muslim rule with not even a remote parallel, in the case of the latter, with the murderous anti-semitism that has characterised European history since the adoption of Christianity.  Needless to say, as Europeans,  the zionist settler-colonists of Palestine used the same murderous tactics  against the indigenous people.  

In the 18th century, the Al Rumayh family from the Ramallah district moved to Al Muzayri’a. At the time it was a small village. Even by 1870 it only had 68 houses and a recorded population of 234 males,  although with women and children the entire population must have been considerably larger.  The census of 1922 showed a wholly Muslim population of 578, the census of 1931, 780, living in 186 houses.  In 1919 a school for boys had been opened, with a school for girls following some time later. 

In 1945, British records indicate,  Al Muzayri’a had a population of 1160,  most of whose food needs were met by the produce of its 10,822 dunums of land, including bananas,  citrus fruit, and cereal crops.  By 1948 the village had a population of 1346 living in 320 houses. Post-1945,  Zionist land acquisition, and settlement had resulted in the loss of 1450 dunums of land but the other 9042 remained the individual or collective property of Al Muzayri’a. The village was included in the territory allotted to the ‘Arab state’ in the UN’s 1947 partition plan. It violated the principle of self-determination and would never have passed but for White House threats to vulnerable African, Latin American, and even European governments.

In any case, partition was never more than a propaganda tool for the zionists. They had no intention of abiding by it. Had Palestine been partitioned peacefully, even the ‘Jewish state’ would have had a population that was almost 50 percent non-Jewish against an ‘Arab state’ that was 100 per cent Palestinian. The ‘Jewish state’ would have been a contradiction in terms and could only have been sustained by apartheid. The expulsion of Palestinians in 1948 and 1967 did not solve this fundamental zionist dilemma, as there are now at least as many Palestinians between the river and the sea as there are zionist colonists. The zionists are back to where they were in 1948,  except that the apartheid state has come into being and is recognised around the world for what it is.

The zionist “declaration of independence” of May 14, 1948,  was followed by a series of military operations aimed at seizing as much territory as possible irrespective of whether it had been allocated to the ‘Arab’ or the ‘Jewish’ state. Operation Dani, launched on July 9,  was largely directed against Ramla and Lydd,   but first surrounding villages had to be ‘cleared.’ On July 12,  Al Muzayri’a was stormed by zionist forces and its entire population was driven out. In The Edge of the Sword,  zionist ‘historian’ Netanel Lorch writes that mortar fire and aerial bombardment were alone sufficient on the first day of the operation to cause the ‘’flight’’ from many villages but those who did not flee were driven out anyway.  Throughout 1948  hundreds of towns, villages and hamlets were to share Al Musayri’a’s fate. The peak of Operation Dani was the ethnic cleansing of Lydd and Ramla, affected through terror, intimidation, and war crimes, including the massacre of 80-100 people taking shelter in the central Dahmash mosque. 

In 1949 two zionist settlements,  Nahalim and Mazor,  were built on Al Muzayri’a’s land.  Even by that time, only stone ruins were left of the village. In the 1990s the town of ‘Elad’ (‘’forever God’’) was built on the site and on May 5, 2022, as the zionists celebrated their ‘independence,’ two young Palestinians killed three people in a park.  

Since March 22, 19 people have been killed in this latest Palestinian ‘’wave of terror’’ as it was inevitably described in the zionist media. Israel has responded with threats to resume the murder of senior Hamas figures, along with hundreds of arrests and raids on the West Bank during which many  Palestinians have been killed. By May 9, 50 Palestinians had been killed so far in 2022, 49 on the West Bank or in the eastern part of occupied al-Quds and one in Gaza.  The dead included two men in their 80s,  two women aged 24 and 47, four boys aged 13,14, 16, and  17, four young men of 18, and two aged 19.  

On May 11, Palestinian-American Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, born in Al Quds,  was murdered while covering Palestinian resistance in Jenin. The zionist army chief’s claim that she could have been killed by Palestinian gunmen was described by other journalists on the scene as a complete lie. There were no militants anywhere near them.  Shireen’s producer, Ali Samoudi, who was wounded, said zionist soldiers close to the journalists had fired three shots at them.  The first missed,  the second wounded him in the back and the third hit Shireen in the head. Another journalist reaching out to help her said the soldiers did not stop firing even though she was on the ground and mortally wounded.  

In the hunt for the ‘Elad’ assailants, zionist forces also rounded up many West Bank Palestinians described as being in “Israel” ‘’illegally.’’ Such a concept is derisory where the zionist settler state is concerned. It has lived outside any laws except its own for more than 70 years. Its justice system is actually an injustice system, insofar as the Palestinians are concerned. Real justice stands on the side of all Palestinians,  pre-1967, and post-1967 as well as Palestinians living far from their homeland.   

The other issue here is resistance. The right of resistance to occupation is upheld under international law: there is no ‘right’ of occupation, only responsibility as a temporary consequence of war, with the occupier prohibited from settling civilians in occupied territory. It is not just the West and Gaza Strip that are ‘’occupied territories”. This is a fiction that suits the governments that gave Palestine to the zionists in the first place. The tactics used by the zionists in 1948 and 1967 were the same and have been used ever since. ‘Israel’ lives off rights it never had and could never have been bestowed upon it by a third party. Morally, ethically and legally, no right to live can be based on the destruction of another right to live.  In such cases, brute force always dictates the outcome.  

Peace with justice is the preferred option of any reasonable person. but zionism is not a reasonable doctrine. Despite their suffering at the hands of the zionists, the majority of  Palestinians went along with the 1990 Oslo agreements in good faith, only to realise within a few years that the negotiations were being deliberately stretched out by the zionists to consolidate their occupation: in other words, the continuation of war by other means. The duplicity of the previous four decades was simply being dressed up in new clothing.  It was at this point that the Palestinians returned to armed resistance in the form of the second intifada (in fact arguably the third, if the 1936 uprising is to be regarded as the first).

Throughout history how the Palestinians have reacted since 1918 is normal in the lives of an occupied people. Occupation is followed by resistance as naturally as night follows day. The occupier is not just the soldier or the military administrator but the occupier’s civilian population. The occupation turns them into targets as well and who is ultimately responsible if not the government that settled them on someone else’s land? Armed struggle is included in the internationally acknowledged right to resist occupation. The position was summed up on December 3, 1982, when the UN General Assembly passed resolution 37/43 reaffirming ‘’the legitimacy of the struggle of peoples for independence, territorial integrity, national unity and liberation from colonial and foreign domination and foreign occupation by all available means including armed struggle.’’  

Why did the two young Palestinians end the lives of three other human beings in ‘Elad,’ and why in the past few months have other Palestinians launched attacks on the settler population in Bir Saba, Al Quds, and other places? One mind cannot work out the tangled emotions in another mind but did Palestinians attack these settlers just because they were Jews, as the zionist media always claims,  or because they were seen as the occupiers of Palestinian land who happen to be Jewish?   

Would they have attacked them had they been of a different ethno-religious background but were still occupiers?  Most certainly yes. These young men had no other motive to do what they did but they were Palestinian and that one word decided their fate. They would have had the same normal interests, hopes, and aspirations of other young people around the world but the normality of their lives was occupation. Their capacity to do what they did was fuelled by the decades of  death and pain suffered  by every Palestinian family at the hands of the occupier. Al Muzayria and hundreds of other ethnically cleansed villages in 1948;  ‘Elad’, Bir Saba, and other places where settlers who have replaced the original inhabitants have been struck down in 2022;  cause and effect. 

The opinions mentioned in this article do not necessarily reflect the opinion of Al mayadeen, but rather express the opinion of its writer exclusively.

Will Shireen Abu Akleh’s Murder Mark a Turning Point in the Liberation of Palestine?

May 14th, 2022

Feature photo | Protesters hold candles and a photo of slain Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh in Haifa, Israel, May 11, 2022. Ariel Schalit | AP

This particular targeted killing of a journalist – not the first and sadly, probably not the last – touched us all. And the response of the Zionist establishment in occupied Jerusalem, as well as in Washington, is cold and full of excuses.

By Miko Peled

JERUSALEM – As I write these words, the world is trying to make sense of the brutal assassination of Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, who was targeted by Israeli forces while covering yet another Israeli assault on Jenin. Furthermore, Israeli forces have now attacked the funeral procession leading Shireen to her final resting place. One wonders why is anyone surprised.

How often have we seen innocent lives taken? How often have we seen the Israeli military attack funeral processions? And yet, for reasons that perhaps cannot be explained, awe, sadness, and despair have descended upon the world with this particular killing. This particular targeted killing of a journalist – not the first and sadly, probably not the last – touched us all. And the response of the Zionist establishment in occupied Jerusalem, as well as in Washington, is cold and full of excuses.

Israeli police attacks mourners carrying the casket of Shireen Abu Akleh during her funeral, May 13, 2022. Maya Levin | AP

On the same day the funeral procession of Shireen was taking place in Jerusalem, a memorial procession was taking place in the ancient city of Lyd. This procession was to commemorate the murder of Musa Hassuna.  It was a year ago in Lyd, as settler gangs were assaulting Palestinians in Lyd, that Musa Hassuna was murdered. This procession, besides being a memorial to the killing, was also a reminder that the Israeli authorities decided to close the case against the only suspects who were on the scene and who fired their weapons at the same place and the same time as Musa was killed. Sources in Lyd say that the Israeli minister of interior called the local DA to demand that they close the case on grounds of self-defense.

Of course, we are all well aware that Musa and Shireen, who were murdered one year apart, were not the only victims of Zionist violence. They are joined by countless others who, without cause or trial, were taken from their loved ones, from their people, and turned into martyrs for the cause. Sure enough, once again we are forced to look at reality in the face and accept that no one will save Palestine but us. No one else can free Palestine, no one can save Palestinians from the long, violent, heartless arm of the Zionist apartheid regime. Only a unity of purpose and an uncompromising pro-Palestinian, pro-justice, pro-liberation agenda can save Palestine and its people from bloodshed and destruction.

As it happens, I had just witnessed precisely such unity, albeit on a small scale. Anyone looking for an agenda on Palestine that is both progressive and unifying should have been in New York City in early May of 2022. Al-Awda New York held its “Rising to Return” conference at the People’s Forum in New York City on Mother’s Day weekend this year. The energy, the speakers, the volunteers, and even the vendors all provided an atmosphere of unity of purpose and unity of cause – the cause being the liberation of Palestine as well as the total rejection of Zionism and the Zionist apartheid state.

Signs of unity

Sitting side by side under posters displaying Che Guevara and T-shirts displaying the image of Thomas Sankara, as well as other fighters for justice, were Palestinians, American Jews, communists, secular and religious people, women wearing hijab, and ultra-orthodox rabbis. All were there to speak and listen but mostly to demonstrate support for the liberation of Palestine and the end to the apartheid regime in Palestine.

Shireen Abu Akleh

Mourners gather at the hospital where the body Shireen Abu Akleh was taken to her final resting place, May 13, 2022. Mahmoud Illean | AP

Contrary to the common misconception regarding the pro-Palestinian camp, a clear and uncompromising message regarding Palestine does have the capacity to unite people of different backgrounds, faiths, and even political affiliations. One is hard-pressed to think of any other issue on which all of these groups could find common ground. Yet Al-Awda New York – with its message of a free, decolonized Palestine – managed to do just that.

The misconception is that in order to present the Palestinian case, in order to achieve the goals of those of seek to free Palestine, we must go slow. “We must first crawl before we walk and run,” we are told. In other words, in order to achieve the liberation of Palestine, we must tread lightly so as not to upset anyone. This was never true and it is not true today.

Who is a Jew?

Too many people think that Jewish people who are orthodox and dress as ultra-orthodox are associated with settlers and right-wing Israeli politics. However, at the Al-Awda conference and in many, many other pro-Palestinian spaces we see ultra-orthodox Jewish people carrying Palestinian flags and calling for the “peaceful dismantlement of the Zionist state.” So the question that needs to be asked is which one of these groups – the racist, violent Settlers or the peace- and tolerance-promoting Jews – represents Judaism?

Revered rabbis from Jerusalem, London and New York have for decades demanded an end to the Zionist state and the liberation of Palestine and the Palestinian people. Young Yeshiva students in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Me’a Sha’arim, as well as in cities around the world, proudly carry the Palestinian flag as they march side by side with Palestinians.

So, clearly, the Zionist Jewish settlers may dress as orthodox Jews but in fact, they are violating the most sacred tenets of the Jewish faith.

Opposition

The opposition to the cause of justice has always been fierce and, in the case of Palestine, the Zionists have learned from other oppressors and refined their methods. This means that the struggle for justice and liberation in Palestine is challenging and demanding, and we who stand on the side of justice and liberation have to work harder and smarter than those who had to fight in other arenas.

We need to reclaim Palestine by teaching the world that what they wrongly refer to as Israel is Occupied Palestine. And that a glorious history was cut out from the curriculum and therefore they don’t know about the long impressive history of this land, which sits at a crucial crossroads uniting Asia, Africa, and Europe.

 Shireen Abu Akleh

Palestinians carry pictures of Shireen Abu Akleh in the West Bank city of Ramallah, May 11, 2022. Nasser Nasser | AP

We need to teach the world that whatever the Zionists had told them was a lie, and then we must be there and in no uncertain terms provide the truth. I was asked once in an interview what I miss about Israel. “This is not Israel,” I replied, “It is Palestine.” The interviewer was astonished: “How can you say that?” he asked me. “It was Palestine, it is Palestine and it will always be Palestine,” I responded. If we act without compromise it will be liberated.

Miko Peled is MintPress News contributing writer, published author and human rights activist born in Jerusalem. His latest books are”The General’s Son. Journey of an Israeli in Palestine,” and “Injustice, the Story of the Holy Land Foundation Five.”

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

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