The Palestinian Authority Faces Two Options; Fight Israel or Fight Palestinians

23 Sep 23:47

Source: Al Mayadeen English

Robert Inlakesh 

The recent arrests came as a shock to Nablus locals, who took to the streets in order to protest the decision of the PA to target the Palestinian resistance.

    Violent clashes between Palestinian demonstrators and the Palestinian Authority (PA)’s security forces, this Monday, resulted in the death of a 53-year-old and represented a turning point in the relationship between the PA and the newly formed resistance factions inside the occupied West Bank.

    On Monday evening the PA’s Preventative Security Service arrested two Palestinian resistance fighters wanted by “Israel”, Musab Shtayyeh and Ameed Tabila, in the city of Nablus. Musab Shtayyeh, the most prominent of the two, had evaded multiple Israeli arrest campaigns since June of last year. Shtayyeh also managed to escape an Israeli assassination attempt on July 24, which left three other Palestinian resistance fighters dead, after “Israel” had stormed the city of Nablus with hundreds of military personnel, including special forces units.

    The arrests came as a shock to Nablus locals, who took to the streets in order to protest the decision of the PA to target the Palestinian resistance. In both Nablus and Jenin, the two locations where Palestinian armed groups have been the most active, armed fighters took to the streets to make announcements condemning the PA’s actions. Although the resistance forces in Nablus clearly stated that their guns were not aimed at anyone but the occupation, they stressed that their patience should not be tested. 

    It didn’t take long before young people took to the streets to burn tires in central Nablus and chanted in support of Shtayyeh and Tabila, to which the PA security forces responded with gunfire and tear gas. Palestinian resistance fighters also fired back towards the PA forces and it was later declared that a 53-year-old civilian had been shot and killed, the incident was blamed on the Palestinian Authority.

    The images coming out of the West Bank have been striking; young men hurling stones at militarized vehicles, as Western-trained forces fire tear gas and bullets back, except this time the militarised force is not Israeli, it calls itself the Palestinian. To add insult to injury, it has emerged that the PA took the decision to carry out its arrest campaign based upon a request given by the Israeli occupation regime. Hussein al-Sheikh, the Secretary General of the PA’s executive committee, seems to be the source of the order given to carry out the arrests.

    Right now, the PA has been put into its usual defensive mode, where it attempts to justify its actions and bids to convince Palestinians that its ‘Security coordination’ efforts are in the best interest of the Palestinian people, something that Palestinians see through. All of the explanations and excuses in the world will fail to cover up what took place this Monday. Just as was the case last year, when the PA’s security forces brutally beat the beloved activist, Nizar Banat, to death, after pulling him out of his home in front of his family. According to Amnesty International, it’s clear at this time that the PA failed to ensure accountability for the assassination of Nizar Banat and so it should come as no surprise that PA forces are sliding down a slippery slope into chaos.

    Just as the United States and its NATO allies have failed to adjust their mindsets to the current era, so too has the leadership of the Palestinian Authority. We must recognise that we are now witnessing the era in which the expression of a new Palestinian generation is being felt; armed resistance factions are rising, an armed resistance populated – primarily – by young people between the ages of 18-25. When we break down what this means; it suggests that today’s resistance fighters in the West Bank were only small children when the Second Intifada was happening. The fighters in Jenin and Nablus today, fit into a trend that began emerging in the early to mid 80’s, when Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) cadres would organise themselves with modest means to fight the occupation. 

    The Palestinian resistance in the West Bank do not remember what it felt like to see the resistance crushed, during “Israel’s” brutal ‘operation defensive shield’ of 2002, they are not afraid and believe in victory. The biggest problem they now face however, began in 2002, following ‘operation defensive shield’; that is the CIA’s dismantling and reformation of the Palestinian Authority’s security forces. Nobody likes to talk about this, but it is true and cannot be disputed, at the behest of Israeli, EU and US interests, the PA’s security forces were transformed into a Western-Jordanian trained and equipped “anti-terrorism” task force, designed to do the heavy lifting for the Israeli occupation army.

    Since the end of the Second Intifada, in 2007, we haven’t seen the energized armed struggle that we see today in the West Bank and so the PA’s forces have been capable of performing their duties, with little to no pushback. However, it has been way too long since the Oslo Agreements and the rhetoric of the Zionist entity has transitioned back to that which it maintained during the 1970’s, regarding Palestinian self governance. Palestinians don’t see any hope for change and the PA is not making any progress whatsoever towards achieving any form of Palestinian statehood. The Palestinian bourgeoisie of Ramallah are happy living in their imaginary fantasy world and the PA has now absorbed the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO). There has been no national elections since 2006 and the non-economy of the West Bank, which is completely controlled by the Zionist entity and Jordanian regime, is getting worse for the poorest in society.

    The PA is now beginning to face its worst nightmare, the ultimatum that we all knew was coming at some point; they can turn their guns on the Zionist entity, or they can turn their guns on the Palestinian resistance and face the end of their power as we know it. There is no more standing in the middle, attempting to please the West by collaborating with the Israeli occupation forces on “security coordination” and playing the game of condemning Zionist atrocities, whilst begging on their knees for peace. The next chapter is going to be violent, now it is on those within that Fatah Party leadership to decide where the PA is heading and what side of the violence they are going to be on, because asking for peace talks is not going to solve today’s issues. 

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

    From stones to missiles: Evolution of the Palestinian resistance forms and methods

    13 Jul 2022

    Source: Al Mayadeen English

    The Palestinian resistance is now on the rise. With every passing day, its military capabilities are increasing steadily, and pledging more sacrifices and efforts.

    From stones to missiles: Evolution of the Palestinian resistance forms and methods

    After “Israel” invaded Lebanon in 1982, the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) was forced into yet another exile. PLO’s forces were stationed in far–away Arab capitals (Yemen and Algeria) and the PLO headquarters were moved to Tunisia. This major development resulted in a general decline in resistance activities inside and outside of occupied Palestine. The shock lasted for a few years during which “Israel”, backed by the US, tried to capitalize on its military achievement to turn it into a political triumph, hence the (Saudi) Arab Initiative for Peace in1982, the rapprochement between the PLO leadership and the Egyptian regime, and the increased activities of the collaborationist “villages’ leagues” in occupied Palestine.

    That period of lull and uncertainty ended in 1987, when the first uprising (in Arabic: Intifada) erupted. The heroic military operation against the Israeli army, using gliders, launched from Southern Lebanon, was very inspiring to the Palestinian people under occupation and revived the belief in resistance and revolution. The Intifada was very widespread among the masses, far exceeding the framework of the Palestinian organizations. Popular struggle against occupation; demonstrations, strikes, and closures, was its main feature. Brave young people confronting the heavily-armed Israeli troops and throwing stones at them, attracted the eyes of the world. Stone became the symbol of the Intifada. The Stone Revolution was actually a popular invention, considering the lack of support, the absence of infrastructure for armed struggle, and the state of encirclement imposed by “Israel” on the Palestinian people.

    The Dark Nineties

    After the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in 1990 and the subsequent Gulf war, the first phase of the Intifada ended. The PLO got engaged in extensive series of public and secretive negotiations with “Israel”, that resulted in the “Oslo Agreement” in 1993 and the formation of the “Palestinian Authority” in the major cities of Gaza and the West Bank. As for the Palestinian struggle and resistance, the nineties were very bad years! The “Palestinian Authority (PA)” joined “Israel” in its battle against anybody who plans for, or even thinks of, fighting the Israeli forces. That happened under the banner of “security coordination” according to the terms of the infamous Oslo Agreement. Life became very difficult, if not impossible, for the real freedom fighters, especially in the environment of fake peace that took over the whole region. Jordan joined in and signed the “Wadi Araba Treaty” with 

    “Israel”, and with Egypt already having its “Camp David Accords” with “Israel”, the prospects for armed struggle against the Israeli occupation became gloomy. With Iraq defeated and isolated, Libya under sanctions, and Algeria in internal turmoil, Syria was pushed by the Arab League to join the negotiations process in the middle east – sponsored by the Clinton administration in the US (though it maintained its political stance towards the Palestinian cause and did not sign any bilateral deal with “Israel”).  The only country in the middle east that maintained its support for the Palestinian right to liberation via armed struggle and remained vocal in its opposition to the so-called “peace process”, was Iran. But Iran at that time was very busy in major internal rebuilding after the eight-year destructive war with Iraq (1980 – 1988). Iran’s focus was on helping the Lebanese resistance to liberate the Southern part of the country – still under Israeli occupation.

    Under these circumstances, popular and mass resistance actions were no longer possible, so the Palestinian revolutionaries turned to other methods targeting the Israeli occupation, particularly explosive devices and booby traps, individual attacks, and martyrdom operations carried out by small groups and orchestrated by a few individuals – planners. However, by the end of the nineties, “Israel” – with real contribution from the Palestinian Authority – was able to eliminate the active masterminds of that kind of armed resistance, and things in Palestine appeared as if the Israel-PA partnership is working.

    The Second Intifada

    In the year 2000, negotiations between PLO’s Yasser Arafat and Israel’s Ehud Barak reached a deadlock and collapsed. Arafat failed to get anything tangible or meaningful in return for his years-long cooperation. In the meantime, scenes came from Southern Lebanon of the humiliating and disgraceful Israeli withdrawal under the strikes of Lebanese armed resistance.

    Pragmatic in nature, Yasser Arafat decided to use the armed struggle as a means of pressurizing the Israelis. He had done that repeatedly in the past, while in Lebanon. Arafat hinted to his aides to bypass the security coordination with “Israel” and he relied on the Palestinian guerilla fighters. It didn’t take long for the second Intifada to break out. It quickly turned into a wave of strong and impactful martyrdom operations against “Israel”, the biggest of which was in the town of Netanya where 30 Israelis were killed on 27 March 2002.  

    Despite the large scale of the Israeli invasion of the PA territories, the massacre in the Jenin refugees camp, and the encirclement of Yasser Arafat in his headquarter, the Palestinian revolutionary spirit didn’t weaken, especially in the Gaza strip. Arafat passed away in 2004 and his successor, Mahmoud Abbas, was much less charismatic and powerful. In 2005, “Israel” came to the conclusion that the Gaza strip was a “lost cause” and decided to unilaterally withdraw its forces from there. The net result of these developments was a stronger presence of the armed resistance organizations in Gaza, particularly Al-Qassam group, the military wing of the (Islamic) Hamas movement, which started working almost openly.

    Build up of Palestinian Military Capabilities

    2007 was a landmark. Hamas movement managed to expel the security apparatus of the PA and imposed its control all over the Gaza strip. Since then, the “golden era” of the armed Palestinian resistance began. The fighting groups, particularly Al-Qassam and “Saraya Al-Quds”, were inspired by the Hezbollah struggle against “Israel” in Lebanon, and gradually started moving in the direction of military professionalism, with brigades and hierarchy. They quickly established links to Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, headed by Hajj Qassem Soleimani, and to Hezbollah in Lebanon. For its part, “Israel” traced and thwarted several attempts to stop smuggling weapons from Iran to Gaza via the Red Sea, Sudan and Sinai. It also assassinated Hamas’ military wing liaison officer, Mahmoud Al-Mabhouh in Dubai. Hosni Mubarak’s Egypt, in turn, arrested the Hezbollah commander, Sami Shehab, in charge of channeling military aid to Gaza in 2009. Despite all that, and the very complicated logistics situation, it was evident that significant technical and financial support did reach Gaza and enabled the resistance movements to start with a “local production” program for military tools and means, though simple and limited. 

    With the repeated Israeli attacks and encounters, the Palestinian resistance movements gained substantial military experience and became more effective. In 2014, the Palestinian armed resistance launched rockets that landed inside “Israel”, though with limited precision and range. “Israel” was getting very worried about the developments in Gaza and tried its best to eliminate the scientific and qualified personnel of the resistance in Gaza. “Israel” actually managed to assassinate senior leaders from the Palestinian military wings responsible in particular for the missiles programs, notably among them was Baha’ Abul Atta of Saraya Al-Quds, and before him Ahmad Al-Ja’abari, the deputy commander of Al-Qassam brigades. But the momentum gained by the resistance movements in Gaza didn’t vanish. On the contrary, military wings became even stronger and their work became systematic – not dependent on specific persons. When the Americans assassinated Hajj Qassem Suleimani early in 2020, the role that he played in building the Palestinian military capabilities came into public. The leaders of all armed wings of the Palestinian movements spoke very warmly of him and expressed their gratitude for his help and leadership. On the Palestinian front, Hajj Qassem cared for one thing only: unity against the Zionist entity (Israel). He whole-heartedly believed that Zionist injustice in Palestine will have to come to an end, sooner or later. 

    During Saif Al-Quds Battle

    In the last encounter of 2021, known as Saif Al-Quds, the much-improved military capabilities of the Palestinian military wings came into display. Within a few days, thousands of missiles were successfully launched from Gaza and reached their targets deep inside “Israel”. The Palestinian movements also formed a joint operation and command room to coordinate activities and responses. The Israeli army, and its “Iron Dome” defense system, failed to down the Palestinian rockets. “Israel” didn’t dare to carry out ground operations in Gaza and was no longer able to sustain prolonged military operations due to the internal turmoil caused by the Palestinian missiles which practically “froze” the Israeli economy for days. A state of deterrence was established with “Israel” as if it were between two armies. That was a remarkable success for the Palestinian resistance. The days when the Israeli army was able to wander in Gaza without expecting a damaging response were long gone. The Palestinian resistance was able to impose new realities on the ground. It’s a new era, that of the “missile” resistance. No more knives or stones throwing. 

    The Palestinian resistance is now on the rise. With every passing day, its military capabilities are increasing steadily, and pledging more sacrifices and efforts. The new generation in Palestine is more determined than ever before to liberate its country. And it’s not over yet.

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

    Hussam AbdelKareem 

    ‘Watani’: A Kanafanian Song in the Time of National Crisis (VIDEO)

    July 13, 2022

    Late Palestinian intellectual Ghassan Kanafani. (Photo: via as-Safir)

    By Haidar Eid

    Bodies fall, but not the idea. (Ghassan Kanafani)

    The 50th anniversary of the assassination of Ghassan Kanafani coincides with the passing of 15 years of the Fatah-Hamas rift, instigated by the Bush administration in 2007 and which has led to the formation of two local, opposing administrations by the two parties in the 1967 occupied territories.

    The clashes between the two parties created a new reality on the ground, the brunt of which has been paid, mainly, by the 2.4 million residents of the besieged Gaza Strip, and has led to one of the worst national crises Palestinians have had since the emergence of the contemporary Palestinian revolution and the formation of the PLO.

    What would Ghassan Kanafani have said?! This song is an attempt to address this question.

    The song is written and performed by Haidar Eid.

    Nai: Ismail Harazeen

    Oud: Mohammed Oukasha

    Graphic Design: Alaa Samir

    Lyrics:

    Oh, WATANY (MY HOMELAND)

    Patience and steadfastness

    And forgiveness for what we have done

    WATANY!

    You are the throbbing heart

    You are the throbbing HEART

    You are the soul

    The soul

    THE SOUL

    And the soul is dear (to the heart)

    And so TRANSCENDENTAL

    Hamas’ return ticket to Damascus won’t come cheap

    The Palestinian resistance movement’s complicated relationship with Syria is headed for a reset, but it won’t be on their terms.

    July 06 2022

    Photo Credit: The Cradle

    Despite excited media reports of a Hamas-Syria rapprochement, nothing is finalized: the Palestinian resistance movement has much more to prove still.

    By The Cradle’s Palestine Correspondent

    On 21 June, two unnamed Hamas sources told Reuters that the Palestinian resistance movement had decided to restore ties with Damascus following a decade-long rift after Hamas expressed support for the Syrian opposition.

    The news caused a row, and it seems that this may have been the purpose behind its leak.

    Shortly after the report, dozens of websites, satellite channels and media commentators in Turkey, Qatar, and the UK who are sympathetic to the Muslim Brotherhood – the political Islamist group to which Hamas belongs ideologically – distanced themselves from Hamas, which has neither confirmed nor denied the reports.

    However, comments made by the head of the Political Bureau of Hamas, Ismail Haniyeh, has added credence to these claims.

    In a speech before the National Islamic Conference in Beirut, on 25 June, Haniyeh said, “The time has come after ten years to make historic reconciliations in the Islamic nation.”

    “What is happening in the region today is very dangerous as Israel is paving the way through military and security alliances to fight Iran, Hezbollah and Hamas,” he added.

    So how accurate are the reports about “high-profile” secret meetings between Hamas and the Syrians? Is there a relationship between Haniyeh’s visit to Beirut and the timing of these revelations?

    The heavy legacy of Khaled Meshaal

    When Hamas left Syria over a decade ago, the office of Khaled Meshaal, who was the head of the movement’s Political Bureau at the time, justified the decision as stemming from “moral premises.”

    They contended that the Hamas movement stands with the people in deciding who will rule them, saying “even if the ruler supports our right, we will not support his falsehood.” This reverberated within the movement, and the majority of its popular base supported “Syrian revolution” in the face of “the regime that is slaughtering its people.”

    That was back in 2011, when the so-called Arab Spring helped sweep the Muslim Brotherhood (MB or Ikhwan) and its affiliates into power in Egypt and Tunisia, and paved the way for the MB-aligned Syrian armed opposition to take control of the outskirts of Damascus. .

    But only four years later (2015), the picture was completely reversed: Egypt’s Mohammed Morsi was ousted in a Gulf-backed military coup; Tunisian President Kais Saied turned against the Brotherhood’s Ennahda party and removed it completely from the political scene. And Damascus gradually regained control over the vital parts of Syria.

    In the wider region, the regime of Omar Al-Bashir fell in Sudan, and the Muslim Brotherhood’s influence in Libya, Yemen, Jordan and Kuwait was severely diminished.

    New leadership, a new direction

    It was inevitable that these significant region-wide changes would also transform Hamas’ leadership to reflect the new political scene. In 2017, Ismail Haniyeh was appointed head of the Political Bureau, while that same year, Yahya Al-Sinwar, who was released from Israeli prisons in 2011, became the leader of the movement in Gaza.

    Seen as a hawk, Sinwar relies on the absolute support of the movement’s military arm, the Al-Qassam Brigades, and as such, introduced a new political approach to Hamas’ regional relations.

    Although Sinwar’s first move was to reorganize relations with Cairo after a four-year estrangement, by far his most important change was to revive Hamas’ relations with the Axis of Resistance, making it the movement’s top foreign policy priority.

    Within a few years, the Hamas leader in Gaza had re-established full relations with Iran and Hezbollah, but its return to Damascus still remains the biggest obstacle.

    In order to thaw the ice with Syria, Iran mediated first, followed by Hezbollah, Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), and more recently, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP). This deadlock was not broken until after the Hamas operation “Sword of Jerusalem” in May 2021.

    Testing the waters

    In that same month, Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad responded to a greeting from Al Qassam Brigades, conveyed by the Secretary General of PIJ Ziad Al-Nakhaleh, with a corresponding greeting. After that, contacts began to increase between Syrian officials and Hamas leaders.

    Syrian sources informed The Cradle that a year ago it was decided to “reduce security measures against a number of Hamas members in Syria, release a number of detainees, and reveal the fate of other missing persons.”

    But that didn’t achieve normalcy between Syria and Hamas either. There are those within the latter, it appears, who continue to sabotage progress made with Damascus.

    To understand the dynamics of this particular relationship – present and its future – it is necessary to review its stages throughout the years.

    From Amman to Damascus

    Hamas began paving the way for its relationship with Syria in the early 1990s through visits made by its official Musa Abu Marzouk. In 1992, Mustafa Al-Ledawi was appointed as the head of an unofficial office for the Hamas in Damascus.

    The great leap occurred with the visit of the founder of Hamas, the late Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, to Damascus in 1998. This official visit, and the warm reception accorded Yassin, constituted a huge breakthrough in relations, after which the late President Hafez Al-Assad authorized Hamas’ official presence in Syria, providing it with political and security facilities and logistical and material support.

    Despite previous bad blood between Damascus and the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood, notably in regard to the Hama massacre in 1982, there were several prudent reasons for the Syrian government and Hamas to collaborate.

    One reason can be traced to the rivalry between Hafez Assad and the late Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) Chairman Yasser Arafat, who sided with the late Iraqi President Saddam Hussein in the Gulf War (1990–91) after Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait on 2 August, 1990.

    On 21 November, 1999, a plane carrying Hamas’ then-political bureau chief Khaled Meshaal landed at Damascus airport, after being expelled from Jordan and refused a reception by many Arab capitals.

    Since then, a number of political bureau members relocated to Damascus, and Hamas’ activities in Syria intensified. Between 2000 and 2010, the relationship further strengthened over several events, including the 2003 US invasion of Iraq, the 2005 withdrawal of the Syrian army from Lebanon, the 2006 July war between Israel and Hezbollah, and most importantly, the Israeli aggression against Gaza in 2008.

    Syrian support

    Hamas official Mahmoud Al-Zahar, who was interviewed by The Cradle in Gaza, talks about an important detail that the media did not mention at the time. When Hamas formed its first government in Gaza in 2007, in which Zahar was foreign minister, “Syria was the only Arab country that recognized the diplomatic red passport issued from Gaza.”

    Zahar says: “The Syrian leadership gave us everything. On my first visit to Damascus, we were able to solve the problem of hundreds of Palestinian refugees stuck on the Syrian-Iraqi borders, and Syria adopted the Palestinian calling code (+970), and expressed its willingness to provide support to the elected Palestinian government. For that, it faced an Arab, international, and American war.”

    Today, Zahar is the designated official tasked by Sinwar to revive the relationship with Damascus. This was confirmed by sources in Hamas, who said that he traveled to Mecca for the Hajj pilgrimage, and may head from there to Damascus.

    These details are meaningful: it means Egypt is spared the censure of allowing Zahar to travel to Syria, and would avoid an awkward situation for Cairo in front of the US, Israelis and Gulf Arabs.

    From Damascus to Doha and Ankara

    The Syrian crisis that erupted in March 2011 put Hamas in a unique bind of its own making. Fellow Palestinian Islamists in PIJ, for example, did not take a radical position on the “revolution” from 2011 to 2017, and were content with maintaining their offices in Damascus, although its political and military leadership relocated to Beirut due to deteriorating security conditions.

    On the other hand, Hamas issued its first statement regarding the Syrian crisis on 2 April, 2011, in which it affirmed its support for the Syrian people and leadership, and considered that “Syria’s internal affairs concern the brothers in Syria… We hope to overcome the current circumstances in order to achieve the aspirations of the Syrian people, and preserve Syria’s stability and its internal cohesion, and strengthening its role in the line of confrontation and opposition.”

    This wishy-washy statement did not hide the hostile stance of the movement’s members and elites, who all adopted the anti-Syrian narrative. On 5 November, 2011, the Syrian security forces stormed the offices of Hamas, confiscated its assets, and shuttered them.

    In early 2012, Meshaal traveled to Doha, Qatar, before holding a scheduled meeting with Bashar Al-Assad. Hamas declared that the meeting “will not be useful.”

    Hamas and the opposition

    On 8 December, 2012, the movement burned bridges with Damascus when Meshaal and Haniyeh raised the flag of the “Syrian revolution” during a celebration marking the movement’s launch in the Gaza Strip in front of tens of thousands of their supporters.

    In a parade held during the celebration, a number of members of the Al-Qassam Brigades wore the opposition flag on their backs.

    The Syrian government’s reaction was no less restrained. Assad accused Hamas of actively participating in the war against the Syrian state by supporting Al Qaeda’s Syrian affiliate Jabhat Al-Nusra, and by providing instructions to opposition factions on ways to dig tunnels and fortify them to withstand aerial bombardment.

    Other opposition militant groups such as Bait Al-Maqdis, Faylaq Al-Rahman and Army of Huda announced that they were affiliated with Hamas.

    Once an Ikhwani, always an Ikhwani

    In 2016, Assad said in an interview with Syrian newspaper Al-Watan: “We supported Hamas not because they are Muslim Brotherhood, but rather we supported them on the grounds that they are resistance. In the end, it was proven that the Ikhwani (member of Muslim Brotherhood) is Ikhwani wherever he puts himself, and from the inside remains a terrorist and hypocrite.”

    All this may seem a thing of the past, but it still affects the formation of a new relationship between the two parties, especially after the return of turncoat Meshaal and his team a year ago to important leadership positions in Hamas.

    Although the majority of the movement’s leadership has changed, the old legacy of Meshaal still weighs heavily on everyone, especially in Damascus. There are many in Syria who still warn the “wound is open;” that Hamas has not yet closed it, but rather wants a “free return.”

    Understanding Hamas’ structure

    Before explaining Hamas’ recent decision to restore ties with Syria, it is necessary to know how the movement is run to ensure representation and accountability. Hamas has a Shura Council of 15 members, chosen in elections in which cadres of certain organizational ranks participate.

    These cadres choose their representatives in the local advisory councils from different regions (West Bank, Gaza, Jerusalem, territories occupied in 1948, and prisons). As for members of Hamas’ base, they elect their representatives in the General Consultative Council, which in turn elects the Political Bureau.

    Despite this ‘healthy democracy,’ the position on Syria produced two contradictory currents:

    The first current is led by Meshaal, who was head of the Political Bureau until 2017. It includes Ahmed Youssef, a former adviser to Haniyeh, and Nayef Rajoub, one of the most prominent leaders of Hamas in the West Bank.

    The second current has no specific leader, but Zahar was the public face before Sinwar joined him.

    Between these two viewpoints, Ismail Haniyeh and Musa Abu Marzouk maintain a state of ‘pragmatism’ by taking a middle position between the Qatar-Turkey axis and the Axis of Resistance.

    Although the decision to leave Syria was taken with the full approval of the members of the Shura Council and members of the Political Bureau, the entire burden of the decision was placed on Meshaal. The man, who was a personal friend of Assad and Secretary General of Hezbollah Hassan Nasrallah, became blacklisted by the Axis of Resistance.

    Meshaal’s influence

    All prior efforts to restore relations between Hamas and Syria were a “waste of time” as long as Meshaal was at the helm of the movement. This was not only the opinion of the Syrians, but of many Iranians as well.

    In 2015, for example, when there were media reports about efforts to restore Hamas-Syrian relations, the Iranian Tabnak website (supervised by General Mohsen Rezaei, a leader in the Revolutionary Guards and currently one of the advisors to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei) launched a scathing attack against Meshaal.

    At that time, Meshaal had refused to visit Tehran if he was not received at the highest levels – that is – to meet specifically with Khamenei. The Tabnak website wrote: “Meshaal and the Hamas leaders lined up two years ago on the side of the international terrorists in Syria… They are now setting conditions for the restoration of relations between Hamas and Iran as if Iran did not have any conditions.”

    Since that time, Meshaal and his team have remained staunchly reluctant to even talk about restoring relations with Damascus. In addition to their loyalty (to some extent) to Turkey and Qatar, they were aware that reviving relations would weaken their organizational position within Hamas, and contribute to increasing the influence of their rivals.

    On the other hand, these rivals remained weak until 2017, as Meshaal managed to marginalize Mahmoud Al-Zahar who did not receive any influential positions.

    Re-joining the Resistance Axis

    The formation of the new Political Bureau meant there were now a large number of officials who were not involved in any public positions on the Syrian crisis – such as Sinwar, Saleh Al-Arouri, and Osama Hamdan, who maintained a balanced relationship with all parties.

    Zahar told The Cradle that Sinwar was “convinced” of his theses about the shape of the “last battle with Israel.” He added: “I spoke with Abu Ibrahim (Sinwar) for a long time about restoring the bond with the components of the nation that have hostility to Israel, specifically Hezbollah, Syria and Iran, and this is the pillar of Hamas’ foreign policy in the future.”

    Nevertheless, Zahar believes that Damascus “will refuse to deal with the movement’s leadership, which took the lead during the war.” But it is likely that the Syrians will accept to deal with him personally, which he will seek during his forthcoming visit.

    What’s Next?

    Well-informed sources in Hamas revealed to The Cradle that the movement’s Political Bureau met this month and made the decision to return to Syria, despite Meshaal’s objection.

    The resolution has two aims: first, to build a resistance front in the “ring countries” surrounding Palestine; and second, to establish a maritime line of communication between Gaza and the port of Latakia, in Syria.

    The sources also revealed that Jamil Mezher, who was recently elected deputy secretary general of the PFLP, conveyed a message from Sinwar to the Syrian leadership calling for the restoration of relations between the two parties.

    After his visit to Damascus, Mezher met with Haniyeh in Beirut to discuss the results. Haniyeh also met Nasrallah, as well as Ziad Al-Nakhaleh in an expanded meeting of the leaderships of Hamas and the PIJ in the Lebanese capital. All these events took place in one week.

    According to Hamas sources, Haniyeh informed Nasrallah that the movement has unanimously taken an official decision to restore relations with Damascus. The two sides also discussed the demarcation of the maritime border between Lebanon and Israel.

    The sources confirm that “Hamas is ready to simultaneously target gas-stealing platforms from the Gaza sea, in the event that Hezbollah targets an exploration and extraction vessel in the Karish field.”

    Hamas sources, as well as an informed Syrian source, however, deny holding any recent new meetings between the two parties. The Syrian source reveals that meetings sponsored by Islamic Jihad were held last year.

    What does Syria stand to gain?

    On the other hand, Damascus has its reasons for postponing the return of this relationship. Of course, internal reasons can be overlooked if Bashar Al-Assad himself makes the decision.

    But it is the current regional situation and the re-formation of alliances that worries the Syrian leadership the most.

    It is true that Assad the son, like his father, has learned the ropes in dealing with the MB, but now he has no need for a new headache caused by the return of Hamas. There is no great benefit from this return except in one case: the normalization of Syrian relations with Turkey, Qatar, or both.

    On Syria’s terms

    Only in this scenario, can bridges be re-built with Hamas. But the conditions for this are currently immature, as this normalization will be at the expense of Syria’s relationship with its ally Russia, whether in the issue of gas supplies to Europe or stopping the military operation that Ankara is threatening against Kurdish terrorists in northern Syria.

    Syria, which has already improved its relations with the UAE, and is currently working to improve its relations with Saudi Arabia and Jordan, will not include a “losing card” in its stack of cards now.

    It will also not compete with Egypt over a file – the relationship with Hamas – which Cairo considers its monopoly in the region.

    Also, Damascus is not in the midst of a clash of any kind with the Palestinian Authority and the Fatah movement, which took advantage of the exit of Hamas to consolidate their position in the Syrian capital and improve their relationship with Assad.

    However, when news broke about the possible resumption of Hamas-Syrian relations, this time Damascus did not launch an attack on the movement and did not comment negatively on the news of the rapprochement and the restoration of the relations – as it did previously.

    There is no doubt that the battle of the “Sword of Jerusalem” and the presence of a new leadership in Hamas’ Political Bureau has thawed the ice significantly. But the answer to when full rapprochement will be achieved is a decision likely to be made between Assad and Nasrallah.

    The views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of The Cradle.

    Algeria: 60 years of endless support for the Palestinian cause

    July 5, 2022

    Source: Al Mayadeen Net + Agencies

    By Ahmad Karakira 

    Algeria has always demonstrated unconditional support for the country of Palestine and the Palestinian cause, which dates back to fighting “Israel” and helping Egypt claim back Sinai in the 1973 October War.

    Algeria’s unconditional support for the Palestinian cause

    On July 5, 1962, after 132 years of French colonialism, Algeria declared its independence. The Evian agreements of March 18, 1962, ended the war between France and the Algerian National Liberation Army (ALN), and a referendum of self-determination took place on the first of July, 1962.

    The results of the referendum came in favor of transferring power from the French to the Algerian authorities on July 3, ending decades of occupation, settler colonialism, and massacres.

    The date – July 5 – was deliberately chosen by the Algerian government in reference to July 5, 1830, when the city of Algiers was occupied by France.

    The seven-year war between the French occupier and the Algerian resistance left around one million Algerian martyrs on the path of Algeria’s freedom and liberation.

    Endless stories about heroic epic battles by the Algerian resistance against Western colonialism can be recounted on the 60th anniversary of Algeria’s independence.

    However, this piece aims to shed light on Algeria’s endless support for Palestine, the Palestinian cause, and fellow Arab states against all forms of oppression and occupation since the north African country gained its liberation through resistance.

    “We are with Palestinians, be they the oppressed or the oppressors”

    To begin with, Palestinians supported the Algerian Revolution from 1954-1962 and showed solidarity through organizing fundraisers for Algeria.

    Despite some Arab states shamefully signing normalization agreements with the Israeli occupation in exchange for some benefits, Algeria has strongly opposed such deals, considering normalization with the occupation as a betrayal to the Arabs and the Palestinian cause.

    In the early 1970s, former Algerian President Houari Boumediene said his famous phrase, “We are with Palestinians, be they the oppressed or the oppressors.”

    It is noteworthy that similar to the official Algerian stance on Palestine, Algerians, according to the Center for Middle Eastern Studies, oppose normalizing ties with the Israeli occupation with a 99% rate.

    One would wonder about the secret behind Algeria’s unconditional support for the Palestinian cause.

    Historically, Algeria has always been advocating the Palestinian cause and supporting fellow Arab states against the Israeli occupation.

    In fact, after only five years of gaining its liberation from the French occupation, Algeria supported the Arab allies against “Israel” by sending troops and aircrafts to fight alongside the Arab states in the 1967 Six-Day War.

    The Algerian army also played an important role during the 1973 October war.

    Significantly, when Egypt signed the Camp David Agreement and established ties with the Israeli occupation, Algeria severed its ties with Egypt.

    In addition, Algeria established close relations with the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), providing it with weapons, training its fighters during the 70s, and helping the PLO obtain observer status in the UN in 1974.

    After the former US President Donald Trump’s administration, the UAE, and “Israel” revealed the so-called “Abraham Accords” in August, current Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune stressed his country’s deep commitment to the Palestinian cause, affirming that Algeria deems Palestine as a sacred cause.

    Algiers also harshly criticized the normalizing states (the UAE, Bahrain, Morocco, and Sudan). It also paid the price for its anti-normalization stance, as the US acknowledged the Moroccan sovereignty over Western Sahara after years of unresolved disputes and unachievable status.

    In trying to understand the reason behind Algeria’s official and popular support for the Palestinian cause, Sami Hamdi, the Editor-in-Chief of the International Interest magazine, explained that “Algerians feel a deep resonance with the Palestinians who have been colonized for some 82 years and believe that whatever the difficulties, resistance will eventually succeed.”

    In the same context, TRT had quoted Jalel Harchaoui, a Senior Fellow at the Geneva-based Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime, as saying that Algeria’s “somewhat exceptional history makes resistance against colonial powers writ large a narrative crucially central to the Algerian state as we know it.”

    Algeria’s participation in the 1973 October War

    Aiming to restore the lands that “Israel” occupied during the 1967 Six-Day War – Sinai in Egypt and the Golan Heights in Syria – on October 6, 1973, Cairo and Damascus launched an attack on the Zionist entity. The war coincided with the holy month of Ramadan.

    During that time, Algeria played a significant role in providing Egypt and Syria with Soviet weapons and bringing in troops to the Egyptian front to fight the Israeli occupation, despite its then-instable economic situation as a result of the pre-independence era of French colonialism.

    In fact, then-Algerian President Houari Boumedienne reportedly flew to Moscow to secure military aid for the Egyptians and the Syrians.

    In a reiteration of its role in supporting anti-colonialist movements, Algeria sent more than 2,100 troops, 815 non-commissioned officers, and 192 officers to Sinai. It also sent 96 tanks and over 50 fighters and bomber aircraft to Egypt, according to the Egyptian authorities.

    Algiers also participated in the oil embargo imposed by the Arab members of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) on the US over its support of the Israeli occupation during the war, which led to significant price hikes around the world.

    On October 17, Arab oil producers decided to increase the price of oil by 17% and cut oil production by 5%, vowing to “maintain the same rate of reduction each month thereafter until the Israeli forces are fully withdrawn from all Arab territories occupied during the June 1967 War, and the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people are restored.”

    Sharon underestimated the power of Algerian forces

    In the context of the 1973 October War, the former Chief of Staff of the Israeli occupation forces, David Eliezer, acknowledged in his released diaries that “Israel” lost this war as a result of the arrogance of then-Major General Ariel Sharon, who underestimated the power of the Algerian forces and thought that they wouldn’t stand a chance against the IOF forces, thinking that they would flee as soon as they set their eyes on Israeli tanks.

    Eliezer said that 900 IOF soldiers were killed and 172 tanks were destroyed in just one day during the war.

    On his part, the former Israeli Security Minister Moshe Dayan revealed that all the intelligence information showed that Algerians did not have weapons capable of intercepting the Israeli forces.

    Dayan also said the Israelis received intelligence about a state of division between the Egyptians and the Algerians. The Israelis were surprised by the Algerian forces downing a giant US Lockheed C-5 Galaxy aircraft by a missile, which frightened the US Staff and frustrated the Nixon administration.

    The former Israeli minister said the Egyptian forces deceived the Israeli forces, making them believe that the strategic Al-Adabiya port was not fortified enough. However, the Algerian forces were in charge of protecting the port.

    One cannot but hail the role of Algeria in supporting the Palestinian cause and anti-colonial liberation movements, whether on the official or popular level. Despite the geographical distances separating Palestine from Algeria, Algerians believe that the two countries share the same pain, torture, grief, sorrow, and hopefully the same liberation to be achieved in the near future.

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    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.

    التطبيع الرسمي فلسطينياً وأردنياً: قراءة في مقدمات الاتفاقات “الإبراهيمية”

    الثلاثاء 17 أيار 2022

    المصدر

    إبراهيم علوش 

    التطبيع لا ينجح إن لم تضمن “إسرائيل” قطع شرايين الحياة عن الدول المطبِّعة، إن هي قررت تغيير رأيها.

    تسلسل الاتفاقات والمعاهدات زمنياً مهمّ جداً، لأنه يدخلنا في الأبعاد الإقليمية للتطبيع مع العدو الصهيوني.

    يتيح مرور عقود على توقيع المعاهدات والاتفاقات مع العدو الصهيوني سجلاً زمنياً طويلاً نسبياً لتقييم أثرها ومسارها وصيرورتها، بدءاً من اتفاقات كامب ديفيد التي وُقِّعت عام 1978، ومعاهدة السلام المصرية – الإسرائيلية التي وُقِّعت عام 1979، ودخلت حيز التنفيذ عام 1980، حتى معاهدة وادي عربة، أو معاهدة السلام الأردنية – الإسرائيلية، التي وُقِّعت عام 1994، والتي سبقها “إعلان واشنطن” بثلاثة أشهر بالضبط، والذي نص على إنهاء حالة العداء والبدء بمفاوضات لتوقيع معاهدة بين الأردن والكيان الصهيوني.

    سبقت معاهدة وادي عربة عام 1994 اتفاقية أوسلو التي وُقعت عام 1993، وتأسست بناءً عليها قانونياً “السلطة الفلسطينية” عام 1994. وتبعت اتفاق أوسلو اتفاقات متعدّدة، مثل اتفاق أوسلو – 2 (يسمى أيضاً اتفاق طابا) عام 1995، والذي قسم الضفة الغربية إلى المناطق “أ”، و”ب”، و”ج”.  

    وكان اتفاق أوسلو – 2 جاء تتويجاً لاتفاق “غزة – أريحا” عام 1994، الذي قضى بانسحاب “إسرائيلي” جزئي من أريحا وغزة لتأسيس السلطة الفلسطينية، وما يسمى برتوكول باريس عام 1994 أيضاً، والذي “نظم” علاقة السلطة الفلسطينية اقتصادياً بالكيان الصهيوني، وكلاهما (اتفاق غزة – أريحا، وبرتوكول باريس) أصبح جزءاً من اتفاق أوسع، هو أوسلو – 2.  

    ثم جاء اتفاق الخليل عام 1997 الذي أعطى الاحتلال الصهيوني 20% من مدينة الخليل H2. ثم جاء اتفاق “واي ريفر” عام 1998 الذي كرس مؤسسة التنسيق الأمني رسمياً مع “إسرائيل” والولايات الولايات المتحدة الأميركية، كما كرس دور “السلطة الفلسطينية” في محاربة “الإرهاب” ضد العدو الصهيوني.  ثم جاء “اتفاق واي ريفر الثاني” عام 1999 ، والذي فسر بعض نقاط اتفاق “واي ريفر” الأول، ويسمى أيضاً اتفاق شرم الشيخ، وكان الاتفاق الأول مع نتنياهو والثاني مع إيهود باراك، وبعده جاء اتفاق تنظيم المعابر (معابر السلطة الفلسطينية) عام 2005.

    يُضاف إلى تلك الحزمة من الاتفاقات المتناسلة البيانات المشتركة (كما في أنابوليس عام 2007)، وسلسلة اللقاءات التفاوضية مثل كامب ديفيد عام 2000، و”خريطة السلام” عام 2002، و36 جلسة تفاوضية بين محمود عباس وإيهود أولمرت بين عامي 2007 و2009، والمفاوضات المباشرة عام 2010 تحت وعد من إدارة أوباما بإيجاد “دويلة فلسطينية” خلال عام واحد، ثم محادثات تسيبي ليفني وصائب عريقات في الفترة 2013-2014… إلخ. 

    ولا يشمل ما سبق عشرات المبادرات الموازية لـ”السلام”، مثل اتفاقية جنيف غير الرسمية بين ياسر عبد ربه ويوسي بيلين عام 2003 لتأسيس “سلام دائم”، وخطة الحاخام بنيامين إيلون للسلام، والتي جرى طرحها وترويجها بين عامي 2002 و2008، والتي تقوم على تجنيس الفلسطينيين في الضفة الغربية بالجنسية الأردنية، والسماح لهم بالبقاء ضيوفاً في الضفة الغربية بعد ضمها إلى “إسرائيل”، وخطة “إسرائيل الثنائية القومية” التي طرحها إدوارد سعيد ابتداءً، وتبناها عزمي بشارة وروّجها بقوة… إلخ.

    كل ما سبق مهمّ لأن كثرة العناوين والمبادرات والجلسات التفاوضية وامتدادها عبر عقود، هو أمر مثير للاهتمام بمقدار ما هو مثير للملل، لأنه يقول كثيراً عن انعدام جدوى تلك الاتفاقات والمفاوضات، ولاسيما في ضوء ما تمخضت عنه على الأرض من تزايدٍ للاستيطان وتغولٍ لمشروع التهويد وتطرفٍ متصاعدٍ في المشهد السياسي الإسرائيلي وضلالة الحالمين بـ”حل سياسي للصراع”.

    معاهدة كامب ديفيد: الخطيئة الأصلية في السياسة العربية

    كذلك، فإن تسلسل الاتفاقات والمعاهدات زمنياً مهمّ جداً، لأنه يدخلنا في الأبعاد الإقليمية للتطبيع مع العدو الصهيوني. فمعاهدة السلام المصرية – الإسرائيلية عام 1979 أخرجت مصر من حلبة الصراع العربي – الصهيوني، ولاسيما أن المادة السادسة من تلك المعاهدة تنص حرفياً على أن الأحكام الواردة فيها تُعَدّ ملزمة ونافذة في حال تعارضها مع أي التزامات أخرى (مثل معاهدة الدفاع العربي المشترك لعام 1950 مثلاً؟!)، وهو ما ساهم في تحجيم دور مصر الإقليمي فعلياً باعتبارها الشقيق العربي الكبير، وأكبر الدول العربية المحيطة بفلسطين، وهو ما يعني موضوعياً فتح الباب للتمدد الإسرائيلي إقليمياً، وكان من عواقب ذلك غزو لبنان واحتلاله عام 1982.

    بعد معاهدة السلام مع مصر وقرار الجامعة العربية مقاطعتها ونقل مقر الجامعة العربية من مصر إلى تونس، راح النظام الرسمي العربي يدخل أكثر فأكثر في صيرورة اختلال التوازن والتفسخ والصراعات الداخلية، وكان ذلك كله نتيجة طبيعية لتحييد مصر سياسياً من جانب العدو الصهيوني، وتوهمها أنها يمكن أن تقتنص السلام والازدهار في مصر بمفردها إذا نأت بنفسها عما يجري في محيطها.

    العبرة هنا أن تقسيم الوطن العربي إلى دولٍ وسياساتٍ قُطريةٍ متنابذة ليس تاريخاً قديماً أو مشكلة عقائدية يتداولها القوميون العرب فحسب، بل تحمل تجزئة الوطن العربي دلالاتٍ جغرافيةً – سياسيةً عميقةً وراهنةً. وبالتالي، فإن إزالة عمود مركزي، مثل مصر، من معادلة الصراع، كان يفترض بها أن تؤدي إلى انهيار الأقطار الأخرى كأحجار الدومينو، لولا المقاومة والرفض في الشارعين العربي والفلسطيني من جهة، وحالة الصمود والتصدي التي نشأت على الصعيد الرسمي العربي في مواجهة مشروع كامب ديفيد من جهة أخرى. وثبت، بعد عقودٍ من التجربة، أن هذا ليس خطاباً ديماغوجياً أو “لغة خشبية”، كما يهذر البعض، بل إنه يشكل قيمة جغرافية – سياسية ملموسة كحائط صد أعاق الانجراف والانهيار في الوضع العربي على مدى عقود، وإن كان العدو انتقل سياسياً إلى حالة الهجوم. 

    بعد التجربة المصرية في السلام مع العدو الصهيوني، برزت عقدة “السلام الشامل” في مقابل “السلام المنفرد”، والتي أعاقت المشروع الأميركي للإسراع قدماً في فرض مسلسل المعاهدات والتطبيع على الصعيد الرسمي العربي، على الرغم من سعي المحور الخليجي لفرض مبادرة الأمير فهد في القمة العربية في فاس في تشرين الثاني/نوفمبر 1981، والتي رفضتها سوريا آنذاك وأفشلتها (عن وجه حق، وإدراك ووعي تامّين لما تعنيه من تجريفٍ للوضع العربي وإلحاقٍ له بصيرورة كامب ديفيد من خلال الاعتراف الرسمي العربي جماعياً بحق الكيان الصهيوني في الوجود، على أساس مبدئي على الأقل). 

    بعد العدوان الصهيوني على لبنان عام 1982 وعقابيله، انعقدت قمة عربية استثنائية في فاس مجدداً في أيلول/سبتمبر 1982، أُقرت فيها مبادرة الأمير فهد رسمياً، والتي أصبحت تعرف بعدها بمقررات قمة فاس 1982، وهي تعادل، بالنسبة إلى الجامعة العربية، برنامج “النقاط العشر” بالنسبة إلى منظمة التحرير الفلسطينية، كما سيأتي.

    المدخل الفلسطيني لتعميم مشروع كامب ديفيد عربياً

    كانت العقدة المركزية في الإصرار على “السلام المنفرد” هي القضية الفلسطينية والمسؤولية العربية إزاءها، مع أن القصة ليست قصة مسؤولية إزاء القضية الفلسطينية، بمقدار ما هي قصة مسؤولية إزاء الذات في مواجهة خطر المشروع الصهيوني على المنطقة برمتها. ولنا عودة إلى تلك النقطة، لكن كان لا بد من “فرط” العقدة المركزية، المتمثّلة بالموقف الرسمي الفلسطيني؛ أي موقف منظمة التحرير الفلسطينية، من أجل تعميم مشروع كامب ديفيد على كل الأقطار العربية، وصولاً إلى الاتفاقيات المسماة “إبراهيمية”.

    كان يوجد داخل منظمة التحرير الفلسطينية، منذ بداية السبعينيات (وبعض الكتّاب والمعاصرين لتلك المرحلة يقول إنه وُجد منذ نهاية الستينيات) تيارٌ يرى ضرورة التفاهم مع “إسرائيل” والإدارة الأميركية لتأسيس “دولة فلسطينية” وفق حدود عام 1967.  أبرز رموز ذلك التيار، في ذلك الوقت، كان ياسر عرفات ومَن حوله في قيادة المنظمة والجبهة الديمقراطية لتحرير فلسطين.  

    جاء الانقلاب الرسمي في موقف منظمة التحرير الفلسطينية في المجلس الوطني الفلسطيني في القاهرة عام 1974، والذي أقر ما يسمى “برنامج النقاط العشر”، والذي مثّل نقطة التحول الجوهرية في برنامج التحرير إلى برنامج تأسيس “سلطة وطنية فلسطينية على أي جزء يتم تحريره من فلسطين”. ومنذ ذلك الوقت، بدأ الانجراف الرسمي الفلسطيني في اتجاه تأسيس الدويلة مع التخلي بالتدريج عن الشروط والضوابط التي وُضعت لها، فالمهم هو تثبيت “المبدأ”، وبعد ذلك تتم زحزحة الشروط والضوابط باللتدريج بفعل عوامل النحت والتعرية السياسيَّين، وكانت تلك هي الرحلة التسووية التي قادت قيادة منظمة التحرير الفلسطينية إلى أوسلو وما تلاها.

    جرت المصادقة فوراً على هذا التوجه التسووي في مقررات القمة العربية المنعقدة في الرباط عام 1974: “إن قادة الدول العربية يؤكدون حق الشعب الفسطيني في إقامة سلطة وطنية مستقلة بقيادة منظمة التحرير الفلسطينية، بصفتها الممثل الشرعي الوحيد للشعب الفلسطيني، على كل أرض يتم تحريرها”، والعبرة تكمن في تمرير خطاب “سلطة وطنية فلسطينية على كل أرض…”.

    للتاريخ، لم يصوّت إلّا ثلاثة أعضاء في المجلس الوطني الفلسطيني عام 1974 ضد برنامج النقاط العشر، أحدهم ناجي علوش (أبو إبراهيم)، والثاني محمد داوود عودة (أبو داوود)، والثالث سعيد حمامي (الذي عدّه متشدداً أكثر من اللزوم لأنه ربطه آنذاك بشروط صعبة!). 

    شكلت مفاوضات جنيف بعد حرب أكتوبر عام 1973، واعتقاد قيادة منظمة التحرير أنها “على وشك” أن تتمخض عن “دويلة فلسطينية” بموافقة أميركية – إسرائيلية، خلفيةَ الانجراف الرسمي الفلسطيني نحو وَهْم المشروع التسووي.   

    لكنّ صيرورة مشروع كامب ديفيد هي الصلح المنفرد، وبالتالي نشأت مشكلة “الصلح المنفرد” في مقابل “السلام الشامل”، فكان لا بد من تذليل تلك العقبة عبر إقامة صلح منفرد مع منظمة التحرير ذاتها من أجل نزع الذريعة من أيدي رافضي “الصلح المنفرد”.

    كان ذلك يتطلب “إعادة تأهيل” منظمة التحرير الفلسطينية ذاتها على نحو يتوافق مع متطلبات الطرف الأميركي – الصهيوني. وأدت حرب لبنان عام 1982، فيما أدت إليه، إلى إخراج منظمة التحرير الفلسطينية من لبنان. وفي الأعوام التي تلت، أشرفت قيادة منظمة التحرير الفلسطينية على ورشة كبرى لإعادة صياغة العقل السياسي الفلسطيني في اتجاه قبول دولة ضمن حدود عام 1967، وصولاً إلى “إعلان استقلال” وهمي في المجلس الوطني الفلسطيني في الجزائر عام 1988، تم الاحتفاء به كثيراً، كان من صاغه الشاعر محمود درويش، ووافقت عليه كل التنظيمات المنضوية في منظمة التحرير وقتها.

    جاء الوصول إلى اتفاقية أوسلو بعدها عام 1993 تحصيلاً حاصلاً لتراكمات النهج التسووي، لأن البحث عن دويلة وعن “السلام” و”الازدهار” بالتفاهم مع “إسرائيل” والإدارة الأميركية، بعيداً عن “الشعارات الفارغة”، وعن العرب “الذين تخلوا عنا”، كما شاع في الخطاب السياسي الفلسطيني آنذاك، هو المعنى الحقيقي لشعار “يا وحدنا” الذي رفعه ياسر عرفات، كما أنه لا يزال المآل الحقيقي لكل من يرفع شعار “يا وحدنا” في أي قُطر عربي: التفاهم مع “إسرائيل”.. فالحس القُطري ليس مشروعاً نهضوياً للقطر، بل هو مشروع تسييد الكيان الصهيوني على المنطقة، وبالتالي تدمير القطر ذاته وتفكيكه.

    لكنّ تيار البحث عن “الذات القُطرية” في الحالة الفلسطينية بالذات، وتحقيقها في “دويلة”، بعد التخلي عن مشروع التحرير، بالتفاهم مع الطرف الأميركي -الصهيوني، هو مكسب كبير لمشروع كامب ديفيد (الصلح المنفرد)، لأنه يجرح صدقية من رفضوه باسم “السلام العادل والشامل”. وما دام أصحاب القضية الرسميين ساروا في ركبه، فإنه لا تبقى لغيرهم ذريعة، باستثناء موقف أصحاب العلاقة وأولياء الدم: الشعب العربي، من مسألة التطبيع. ولا تزال هذه هي أهم جبهة في مقاومة التطبيع اليوم.  

    صيرورة التطبيع على الصعيد الرسمي الأردني

    بعد توقيع اتفاقية أوسلو، بات استكمال كسر حلقة دول الطوق مرهوناً بموقف سوريا ولبنان، لأن العلاقات التطبيعية بين النظام الأردني والعدو الصهيوني أقدم من أوسلو، بل أقدم من كامب ديفيد ومن أي مفاوضات بعد حرب أكتوبر 1973. وبحسب مقالة في صحيفة “واشنطن بوست” الأميركية للصحافيين الإسرائيليين، يوسي ميلمان ودان رفيف، في الـ27 من أيلول/ سبتمبر 1987، فإن الملك حسين بن طلال أرسل رسالة عام 1963 إلى رئيس الوزراء الإسرائيلي آنذاك، ليفي أشكول، فأرسل أشكول مدير مكتبه الخاص من أجل لقاء الملك في لندن في منزل طبيب الملك حسين الشخصي، اليهودي إيمانويل هربرت، في شهر أيلول/سبتمبر 1963. 

    في عام 2014 نشر الكاتب الإسرائيلي يوسي ميلمان بعض المعلومات، وردت في صحيفة “معاريف” الإسرائيلية، تتعلق بعلاقة الملك حسين التاريخية بالساسة الإسرائيليين وجهاز الموساد. وورد ضمن المعلومات أن “إسرائيل” أنقذت حياة الملك حسين عدة مرات، إحداها – يقول ميلمان إنه كان شاهداً عليها – كانت بداية “لمواجهة سوريا حين استجابت “إسرائيل” لمساعدته بتركيز قوات من الجيش مكّنته من مهاجمة سوريا التي كانت تنوي مساعدة الفلسطينيين في أيلول/ سبتمبر 1970″.

    وتحدث الكاتب عن “مئتي ساعة من المكالمات أو المحادثات للملك مع الزعماء الإسرائيليين، وأن رؤساء الموساد أحبّوا لقاء الملك، وهو ما تم في مقر الموساد في إسرائيل، وفي قصر الملك في عمّان، وفي القارب الملكي في ميناء العقبة، وفي منازل خاصة في لندن وباريس”.

    وبحسب الكاتب، فإن “اللقاء الأول تم عام 1963 بين الملك حسين ويعقوب هرتسوغ، الذي كان آنذاك نائب مدير مكتب رئيس الحكومة، في منزل طبيب في لندن، بهدف تنسيق المواقف وفحص إمكان وجود تعاون سري”.

    وفي هذا اللقاء – يزعم الكاتب – “جدد الملك حسين، بتأخير 16 عاماً، العلاقة التي كانت بين جده الملك عبد الله الأول بالصهيونية، بحيث أقام عبد الله الأول هذه العلاقات في الثلاثينيات من القرن العشرين”.

    وليس الأمر في حاجة إلى كثير من التمحيص، إذ إن قصة العلاقات القديمة بين العدو الصهيوني والملك حسين وردت بالتفصيل في كتاب “أسد الأردن: حياة الملك حسين في الحرب والسلام”، بالإنكليزية، للكاتب الإسرائيلي آفي شلايم عام 2009.  واسم الكتاب بالإنكليزية هو Lion of Jordan: The Life of King Hussein in War and Peace.

    باختصار، لا تحتاج قصة الوصول إلى معاهدة وادي عربة إلى تحليل سياسي أو تاريخي مفصّل، مثل الحالتين المصرية والفلسطينية، اللتين مرّ كلٌّ منها في نقطة انقلابٍ ما، من الناصرية إلى الساداتية في حالة مصر، ومن ثقب إبرة “برنامج النقاط العشر” في الحالة الفلسطينية، وإنما هي حالة إخراجِ السر إلى العلن بعد أن أتاحت اتفاقية أوسلو ذاتها ذلك، وكان الأمر “مطبوخاً” أصلاً على الصعيد الرسمي الأردني.  

    العِبْرة هي أن اتفاقية أوسلو ذاتها أتاحت الصلح المنفرد للنظام الأردني، بكسرها محظور “السلام الشامل” الرسمي العربي، على نحو يجعل التطبيع “الإبراهيمي” اليوم تحصيلاً حاصلاً، لولا أن معاهدات دول الطوق لم تكتمل بتوقيع مثيلاتها من جانب سوريا ولبنان. وكان يُفترض، على ما يبدو، أن تكتمل في دول الطوق أولاً، وهذا أحد أهم أسباب الحرب المستمرة على سوريا، وعلى المقاومة في لبنان، وتورط الطرف الأميركي – الصهيوني المباشر فيها.

    التطبيع يمأسس لإلحاق الأردن بالفضاء الصهيوني

    لكن فيما يتعلق بعواقب وادي عربة، لا بمقدماتها الواضحة، يجب أن نذكر أنها كرست قانونياً صيغتين أساسيتين للعلاقة الأردنية – الإسرائيلية:

    –       أولاً: السعي لتحقيق تكامل إقليمي، تبلور في خمس عشرة مادة من أصل ثلاثين تتألف منها المعاهدة، غطت كل أوجه الحياة بين الطرفين، مدنياً واقتصادياً.

    –       ثانياً: السعي لتحقيق تنسيق رفيع المستوى، أمنياً وسياسياً، أصبح الأردن الرسمي عبره ملزماً بالتعاون ضد أي شكل من أشكال العداء لـ”إسرائيل”، حتى لو كان ذلك على مستوى التحريض اللفظي فحسب، كما جاء مثلاً في المادة الحادية عشرة من تلك المعاهدة.

    –       ونضيف أن المادتين الخامسة والعشرين والسادسة والعشرين، من معاهدة وادي عربة، نصّتا على أنها تسمو على كل ما عداها تماماً كما في معاهدة السلام المصرية – الإسرائيلية.

    غير أن ذلك كله لم يُعفِ النظام الأردني من دفع ثمن كبير، بعد أن بات من الواضح أن مشروع ضم الضفة الغربية، في ظل “صفقة القرن”، يعني تصدير “المشكلة الفلسطينية” سياسياً إلى الأردن، وحلها على حساب ذاته القُطرية. وبذلك، فإن الاتفاقيات “الإبراهيمية”، كابنة شرعية للاتفاقيات ما قبل “الإبراهيمية”، انقلبت على أمها، وهذا طبيعي، لأن التفاهم مع العدو الصهيوني يعني تفاقم الصراعات العربية الداخلية. لقد دخلت السلطة في فلسطين والأردن في ترتيبات مع العدو تؤدي إلى تجاوزهما، ولولا أن البلاد تدفع ثمن التطبيع، لقلنا: على نفسها جنت براقش!

    اتخذ التطبيع في الأردن، بحكم كونه دولة طرفية، وامتلاكه أطول حدودٍ مع العدو الصهيوني، وثقل التأثير الغربي فيه، وفقدان نظامه تراثاً استقلالياً وطنياً (في مقابل تراث وطني استقلالي عريق لشعبه)، صيغةً أكثر طغياناً مما اتخذه في مصر كدولة مركزية، تفصلها صحراء سيناء عن “دولة” العدو، وتملك إرثاً ناصرياً، وتملك قبله إرث دولة مركزية عريقة، على الرغم من استخزاء الأنظمة التي حكمت مصر بعد جمال عبد الناصر للطرف الأميركي – الصهيوني.

    فُرِض التطبيع في الأردن بالقوة في كثيرٍ من الحالات، كما قُمِعت الاحتجاجات ضده في كثيرٍ من الحالات الأخرى، مثل اعتصام “جك” السلمي ضد السفارة الصهيونية في عمان، وهو أطول اعتصام في تاريخ الأردن، واستمر أسبوعياً منذ نهاية أيار/مايو 2010 حتى بداية عام 2016، وتم سحقه بالقوة في النهاية. 

    وتكريساً لفكرة التكامل الإقليمي، جرى في عز الحرب على سوريا تحويل مرفأ حيفا إلى بوابة تصدير واستيراد، عبر الأردن، إلى الدول العربية. وكتبت صحيفة “جيروزاليم بوست”، في تقرير لها في الـ21 من شباط/ فبراير 2016، تحت عنوان “ارتفاع ضخم في المنتوجات الأوروبية المارة عبر إسرائيل إلى الدول العربية”، أن المنتوجات التركية والبلغارية بصورة خاصة تأتي على متن عبّارات تحمل شاحنات أو في حاويات إلى ميناء حيفا، ليتم شحنها براً إمّا إلى الأردن، وإمّا عبر الأردن إلى العراق والدول الخليجية، وأن عدد الشاحنات التي نقلت منتوجات تركية وبلغارية عبر الكيان بلغ نحو 13 ألفاً في عام 2015، دفع كلٌّ منها رسوماً إل العدو الصهيوني عند دخوله فلسطين العربية المحتلة وخروجه منها، وأن عدد تلك الشاحنات ارتفع بمقدار 25% عن عام 2014، إذ بلغت آنذاك 10.300 شاحنة. وهو ما يشكل، في رأينا المكتوب والمنشور، أهم عائق في فتح الحدود البرية على مصاريعها مع سوريا من جانب قوى الشد العكسي المستفيدة من مرفأ حيفا، في الأردن وخارجه.    

    وفي شهر تشرين أول/أكتوبر 2016، أعلن الكيان الصهيوني تدشين خط سكة حديد بيسان – حيفا بتكلفة مليار دولار، الذي كان جزءاً من سكة حديد الحجاز قبل ذلك بقرنٍ ونيف. وقال بوعز تسفرير، المدير العام لشركة قطارات “إسرائيل”، بمناسبة التدشين وقتها، “إن خط قطار حيفا – بيسان سوف يربط ميناء حيفا بجسر (الشيخ حسين)، الواقع في منطقة الأغوار الشمالية، ثم سوف يواصل مسيره إلى الأردن، حيث مدينة إربد وصولاً إلى العاصمة عمَّان. وهو سيكون أيضاً قطاراً لشحن البضائع، وسوف يخدم سكان منطقة وادي الأردن، ويعزّز حركة التجارة لميناء حيفا، كما سيتم تعزيز عمل خط القطار الجديد خلال الأعوام المقبلة”. 

    قبل التطبيع “الإبراهيمي” المعلن بأعوام، في 3/2/2017 تحديداً، نشرت وسائل الإعلام تصريحات لوزير المواصلات الصهيوني، يسرائيل كاتس، آنذاك، يقول فيها إنه يدفع في اتجاه تعزيز تبادل المعلومات بين الكيان الصهيوني والدول الخليجية، بسبب ما لذلك من تأثير إيجابي “في خطة التواصل البريّ المزمع إنشاؤها من إسرائيل مع دول الخليج”. كما أشار إلى أنّه، بصفته أيضاً وزيراً للمواصلات، يعمل على الدفع قُدُماً في هذا الاتجاه، وهناك “موافقة من رئيس الحكومة الإسرائيليّة بنيامين نتنياهو، على توسعة خط القطار بين إسرائيل والأردن، ليصل إلى المملكة العربيّة السعوديّة”، مُعتبراً أنّ “الأردن سيكون حلقة الوصل بين إسرائيل ودول الخليج في قضية السكك الحديديّة التي تربط بينهما”.  

    وكان رشح، في صيف عام 2015، أن “الإدارة المدنية” للضفة الغربية، والتابعة للجيش الصهيوني، قرّرت المصادقة على مخطط لمدّ شبكة سكك حديدية في جميع أنحاء الضفة الغربية، وأن المخطط يشمل 473 كيلومتراً من السكك الحديدية، و30 محطة قطار في 11 خط سكة حديدية، “يتجاهل الحدود السياسية القائمة”، بحيث ستربط السكك الحديدية بين المدن الفلسطينية، كما ستربط هذه المدن بالمدن في “إسرائيل”، وبالأردن و”سوريا أيضاً”، “وستخدم جميع سكان المنطقة”. وبسبب الطبيعة الجبلية للضفة، فإن المخطط يشمل عشرات الجسور والأنفاق، بحسب مواقع متعددة عبر الإنترنت.

    ليس الأردن والسلطة الفلسطينية، إذاً، إلّا منطقتين طرفيتين تمثّلان موطئ قدم للوصول إلى العراق وسوريا والدول الخليجية. وبالتالي، فإن مشروع “الكونفدرالية الثلاثية” (بين الأردن والدويلة الفلسطينية والكيان الصهيوني)، والذي يبرز بين الفينة والأخرى، ليس إلّا صيغة سياسية لتسهيل التغلغل الصهيوني في المشرق العربي.  

    أسست معاهدة وادي عربة قاعدة لربط البنية التحتية في الأردن بالكيان الصهيوني من خلال عدد من المشاريع، مثل اتفاقية الغاز مع العدو الصهيوني بقيمة 10 مليارات دولار لمدة 15 عاماً لتوليد الكهرباء عام 2016، والتي أصدرت المحكمة الدستورية قراراً في أيار/مايو 2020 أنها لا يمكن أن تُلغى على الرغم من الاحتجاجات، ولا حاجة إلى عرضها على مجلس النواب… ومن تلك الاتفاقيات أيضاً مشروع قناة البحرين (الميت – الأحمر) لتحلية المياه وإنقاذ البحر الميت، بسبب سرقة “إسرائيل” مياه نهر الأردن، والذي لم يتم إعلان صيغة نهائية له بعد.. وهناك أيضاً المناطق الصناعية المؤهلة Qualified Industrial Zones (QIZ’s) والتي يتم بموجبها التصدير إلى الولايات المتحدة منذ التسعينيات من دون جمرك ما دام يوجد فيها مُدخل “إسرائيلي”، وأغلبية الشركات والعمالة فيها غير أردنية أصلاً.. ناهيك بتقارير كثيرة عن تطوير وادي الأردن ومشاريع مناطق حرة وصناعية ثلاثية مع السلطة الفلسطينية.

    التطبيع لا ينجح إن لم تضمن “إسرائيل” روافع تمكّنها من قطع الكهرباء والماء والحياة الاقتصادية عن الدول المطبّعة إن هي قررت تغيير رأيها.  فلا أمان للكيان الصهيوني مع رأي شعبي عربي يمكن أن يمارس ضغوطاً تدفع في اتجاه وقف التطبيع. لذلك، فإن النموذج الأردني لإنتاج الكهرباء بغاز فلسطيني مسروق يضع كل مواطن أمام خيار صعب: إمّا أن يقبل التكامل الإقليمي مع “إسرائيل”، وإمّا أن يقبل العيش بلا كهرباء وماء واقتصاد… إلخ. ثم يقال له: إن شئت ألّا تطبّع، فلا تطبِّعْ!  

    وستكون لنا عودة إلى البعد الاقتصادي للتطبيع، في مقالات مقبلة، إن شاء الله.

    إن الآراء المذكورة في هذه المقالة لا تعبّر بالضرورة عن رأي الميادين وإنما تعبّر عن رأي صاحبها حصراً

    Hamas Calls for “Unified Command” Against “Israel”, Urges PLO to Abolish Oslo Accords

    May 14, 2022

    By Staff, Agencies

    In response to the cold-blooded killing of journalist Shireen Abu Akleh by “Israeli” Occupation Forces [IOF], the Palestinian resistance movement Hamas has called for a unified command against the occupying regime.

    In his remarks late on Friday, Ismail Haniyeh, the head of the Gaza-based resistance movement’s political bureau, urged the “speedy formation” of the command to lead the struggle against the “Israeli” entity.

    The call came two days after 51-year-old Abu Akleh was brutally murdered while covering an “Israeli” military raid on the Jenin refugee camp in the northern part of the occupied West Bank.

    The long-time Al-Jazeera Arabic journalist, who shot to fame while covering the second Palestinian Intifada between 2000 and 2005, was accompanying a group of local journalists when she was targeted.

    Haniyeh said the Palestinian liberation struggle is going through a “new stage,” which demands the adoption of “incisive and strategic decisions”.

    He said the unified command will be tasked with directing the resistance against the apartheid regime.

    Formation of the unified front is indispensable in the light of the regime’s “bestiality,” which manifested itself in the “assassination of the daughter of Palestine,” Haniyeh said, referring to Abu Akleh.

    The Hamas leader said Palestinians need to get their act together in the face of Tel Aviv’s unbridled aggression, advocating unity between different Palestinian political groups.

    He cited examples of “Israeli” aggression such as the increase in settlement construction activities across the occupied territories, assaulting Palestinian worshippers at the al-Aqsa Mosque compound in the holy occupied city of al-Quds, the longstanding and crippling siege of Gaza, detention of thousands of Palestinians, and denying them the right to return to their homeland.

    Haniyeh called on the West Bank-headquartered Palestinian Authority [PA] to end its cooperation with the regime in Tel Aviv and scrap the so-called Oslo Accords, which were signed in 1993 and marked the first time the “Israeli” regime and the Palestine Liberation Organization [PLO] recognized each other.

    The Oslo Accords were signed in the White House but named after Norway’s capital city, where the secret back-channel dialogue took place.

    The Hamas leader urged the PA to withdraw its “recognition of ‘Israel’,” stop its “security cooperation” with Tel Aviv, “and concentrate on the resistance’s comprehensive plan for confronting the occupier.”

    Pertinently, it came on the eve of Nakba Day, [the Day of Catastrophe], when in 1948 hundreds of thousands of Palestinians were forcibly evicted from their homeland and the “Israeli” entity came into existence as an illegal and illegitimate entity.

    As Ramadan Ends, Israeli Provocations Seem Aimed at a Religious War

    Posted by INTERNATIONALIST 360° 

    Jessica Buxbaum

    “Israel uses this month [of Ramadan] to humiliate Palestinians, as much as they can. Especially at the doors of al-Aqsa Mosque, knowing how much this situation is sensitive for Palestinians.” – Younes Arar, PLO Colonization and Wall Resistance Commission

    OCCUPIED EAST JERUSALEM, PALESTINE — On the last Friday of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, at least 42 Palestinians were injured when Israeli police raided al-Aqsa Mosque Compound in occupied East Jerusalem, the Palestine Red Crescent Society (PRCS) said. With nearly 300 Palestininians injured in the last two weeks at al-Aqsa compound, this year’s Ramadan in Palestine has been marked by bloodshed once again.

    Since the start of Ramadan on April 2, human rights organizations have monitored a significant increase in violence against Palestinians. Palestinian human rights organization Al-Haq has documented a worrying trend “in killings, excessive use of force, settler colonial violence, attacks on holy sites and worshippers, and collective punishment measures against Palestinians, including widespread raids, arbitrary arrests, and movement restrictions.”

    According to Al-Haq’s information, the Israeli army has killed 17 Palestinians in the occupied West Bank in April. Since Al-Haq’s publication, Israeli forces fatally shot 18-year-old Ahmad Fathi Masad in the head during a raid on the Jenin refugee camp this week.

    Uptick in religious violations

    Israeli police raids on al-Aqsa compound have become routine this month, with the PRCS noting the majority of injuries were to the upper areas of the body. Israeli forces have used rubber-coated steel bullets, tear gas, pepper spray and stun grenades against Palestinian worshippers at al-Aqsa.

    In recent weeks, Israeli forces have also broken the iconic stained-glass windows of al-Qibli Mosque, the main mosque in the compound, and have attacked Palestinian journalists, children, women and the elderly at the holy site.

    Palestinian Authority (PA) Minister for Religious Endowments Sheikh Hatem al-Bakri told MintPress News that Israel’s actions at al-Aqsa compound are in violation of international regulations, UNESCO resolutions and religious traditions.

    In 2016, UNESCO, the UN’s world heritage organization, adopted a resolution decrying Israeli violations at al-Aqsa including restricting access to Muslim worship and storming of the compound by Israeli forces and extremists.

    “Israel is not respecting religious treaties at all, instead using their privilege of power to enact these policies,” al-Bakri said, emphasizing how the Jordanian Ministry of Waqf has full jurisdiction over the holy site. “And because of our weaknesses, we cannot run any military confrontation with Israel. We have to just witness what’s happening.”

    Israeli police are not the only ones violating the sanctity of al-Aqsa. This month, the Jewish festival of Passover coincided with Ramadan. Jewish extremists used the holiday season to storm the compound and pray at the site more frequently. On April 17, Israeli forces shut Ibrahimi Mosque in the West Bank city of Hebron to Muslim worshippers for two days. That following Tuesday, hundreds of Jewish settlers stormed the mosque to perform Talmudic rituals in celebration of Passover. The Israeli army also erected military barricades surrounding the area of the mosque to facilitate the settlers’ movement. The director of the mosque, Ghassan Al-Rajabi, said the closure was a continuation of “Zionist authorities’ attempts to dominate and occupy the mosque.”

    In 1994, Israeli settler Baruch Goldstein killed 29 Muslim worshippers at Ibrahimi Mosque during Ramadan. Following the massacre, Israel divided the holy site into Muslim and Jewish sections, with Muslim access cut to 40%.

    Last year, Israel authorities initiated excavation works at the mosque in order to install an elevator there. A Palestinian petition against the settler project was rejected by Israel’s Supreme Court on the grounds the elevator’s purpose is to ensure greater disability access. However, Palestinans stress the plan isn’t humanitarian in its purpose, instead giving cover for an attempt to confiscate land and further Judaize the mosque.

    Sheikh al-Bakri, who is also a preacher at Ibrahimi Mosque, said Israel’s tightened security measures around the religious site suggest a more sinister intention. “Israel has been trying to control that site through converting it from a place for worshipers to a military zone,” al-Bakri said. “All of the events that have been happening around that site make us believe that Israel is trying to turn the Muslim praying side into a synagogue.”

    April saw an escalation against Palestinian Muslim and Christian worship as well. According to documentation from the Jerusalem Governorate, on April 23 Israeli forces prevented hundreds of Palestinian Christians from reaching the Church of Holy Sepulcher to celebrate the “Holy Fire” ceremony on the eve of Orthodox Easter.

    Minister al-Bakri said Israeli violations against some mosques in Jerusalem have occurred this Ramadan, but emphasized the main offenses against Islam have been at the al-Aqsa and Ibrahimi mosques.

    “If Israel is violating these two big sites, then they can violate every site in the country,” al-Bakri said. “And we keep saying that if Israel is violating al-Aqsa, it’s violating every single Palestinian.”

    Israel seeking a religious war

    As the end of Ramadan nears, Israeli police have banned non-Muslims from entering al-Aqsa compound for the last ten days of Ramadan. According to Jerusalem Governorate statistics, about 3,670 Jewish settlers invaded al-Aqsa Compound during the Passover holiday.

    Amid the spike in Jews praying at the site, Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid asserted Israel is committed to maintaining the status quo at al-Aqsa Compound.

    “Muslims pray on the Temple Mount [what Israel calls al-Aqsa Compound], non-Muslims only visit. There is no change, there will be no change,” Lapid said during a press conference.

    Yet Jordan, which has custodianship over the site, disagreed. The Jordanian Foreign Ministry warned in a statement that Israel is taking “targeted steps to change the historical and legal situation in the blessed al-Aqsa Mosque/Al-Haram Al-Sharif,” specifically condemning Israeli forces for raiding the area and allowing Jews to pray at al-Aqsa Compound.

    Jewish extremists often argue that denying Jewish prayer at al-Aqsa Compound is an obstruction of freedom of worship, given the area is deemed the holiest site in Judaism.

    “Al-Aqsa is only for Muslims,” PA Deputy Governor of Jerusalem Abdullah Siam told MintPress News, in response to accusations of religious discrimination. He suggested the current status quo has pushed Israel to take the site through force.

    Al-Bakri also agreed that al-Aqsa is strictly for Muslim worship.

    But Jewish extremists who spout claims of religious discrimination ignore the stark political element at play, Israeli journalist and activist Haggai Matar said. “[T]here are no equals in Israel-Palestine,” Matar wrote in +972 Magazine. “[I]t is Israel that has created a system of apartheid wherein … Jewish supremacy over Palestinians is guaranteed, maintained, and entrenched by law and by force.”

    Just before the start of Ramadan, Israeli parliament member and leader of the far-right Jewish Power Party Itamar Ben-Gvir toured al-Aqsa Compound, escorted by police. This wasn’t his first incursion, and Minister al-Bakri said such provocative, politically-charged tours are how the Israeli government attempts to stabilize its fragile coalition. “Through these practices, [the government is] trying to get political acquisitions,” al-Bakri said. “The government of [Prime Minister] Naftali Bennett is weak, and in order for them to keep going, they have to encourage settlers to do more raids so as to win from that situation.”

    Yet ultimately, Israel’s ongoing violations against Muslim worship, al-Bakri said, are “leading the area to a religious war between Islam and Judaism.” “We always say that our main problem is not with Judaism as a religion, but with the occupation,” al-Bakri said. “Although Israel has been using Judaism to shape its occupation.”

    Ramadan violence on repeat

    As they were last year, tensions in Palestine have been at a maximum high during Ramadan.

    In May 2021, violence erupted into a war between Israel and Hamas, the Islamic faction governing Gaza. Israel’s 10-day assault on the besieged Gaza Strip left 256 Palestinians dead, including 66 children. Media pundits and experts have feared this Ramadan may reach last year’s deadly levels.

    For Minister al-Bakri, the atmosphere in Palestine is always volatile during Ramadan because Israel encourages a kind of self-fulfilling prophecy. “Three months ago, Israel started talking in the media about a potential escalation, while the Palestinians hoped for a quiet month,” al-Bakri said, highlighting the number of Palestinians killed recently as meeting Israeli predictions. “Israel has been preparing the area for a potential problem by repeating these crisis slogans.”

    Younes Arar, director of international and public relations and media for the Palestinian Liberation Organization’s Colonization and Wall Resistance Commission, suggested the large number of Palestinians flocking to Jerusalem during Ramadan is part of why the holy month is a tense time — emphasizing how the restrictions on freedom of movement add to the provocations. “Israel uses this month to humiliate Palestinians, as much as they can,” Arar said. “Especially at the doors of al-Aqsa Mosque, knowing how much this situation is sensitive for Palestinians.”

    Blatant Display of Hypocrisy

    2 May 2022

    Source: Al Mayadeen

    Samia Nasir-Khoury 

    Despite regularly calling for peace, the Israeli occupation’s actions speak otherwise. From the non-stop aggressions it continues to commit against the Palestinian people to the refusal to make the slightest concession, the occupation seems to understand only the language of force.

    Ever since the partition plan of Palestine on November 29, 1947, and the immediate recognition of “Israel” by the United States of America, “Israel” has had the unwavering support of the USA

    The sight of the Ukrainian refugees evoked very sad memories of our own eviction from Palestine, which ceased to exist in 1948.  Not only because of the eviction but because of the massacres and the razing of hundreds of villages and reducing leading cities into ghost towns, which took place at the time, so as to obliterate the history of our country, some of which were only made public many years later on by the Israeli new historians.  It was a  historical event known as “the Nakba” (Catastrophe), which turned out to be an ongoing Nakba to this day, as Israel, the occupying power,  continues to deprive the Palestinians of their right of return according to the UN GA  resolution 194  on December 11, 1948, and refuses to withdraw from the rest of the Palestinian territory occupied in 1967 according to UN Security Council resolution 242 on November 22, 1967, over and above tits daily violations of Palestinian human rights.

    I am not going to dwell on the political atmosphere, and the role of the USA and NATO in provoking that war, but it had hardly started when the cry for sanctions on Russia was loud and clear.  However,  never did the international community come up with the word “sanctions” regarding “Israel”, despite its brutal measures against the Palestinians as well as its flouting of UN resolutions for the last seven decades. It is high time “Israel” realizes that it will never feel secure while it continues to kill, confiscate, and deprive the Palestinians and the prisoners of their freedom and their basic human rights.  Furthermore, it allows the settlers to terrorize the Palestinians in their towns, in their fields, vineyards, and olive groves, as well as in their holy places, all under the protection of the Israeli police force.  In fact, three renowned organizations monitoring the region, Amnesty International, B’Tselem, and Human Rights Watch came to the conclusion in their reports recently,  that “Israel” is an apartheid state.  Of course, “Israel” refuted their reports and labeled them as anti-Semitic. Ironic indeed when one of them is an Israeli organization.

    It is unreasonable to forget two facts.  One pertaining to the Oslo Accords, and the other pertaining to the Arab Countries  The Oslo Accords signed between the PLO and Israel on September 13, 1993, gave us the impression at the beginning that they were going to bring about a  new dawn of hope for peace and liberation, especially after seeing the Israeli army withdraw from the Palestinian towns occupied in 1967.  However, it did not take long to expose the loopholes in these accords, especially when the basic issues like al-Quds, borders, as well as refugees, and the building of illegal settlements were deferred to the last stage of negotiations, over a period of five years. This turned out to be an open-ended period of five-times-five that stopped abruptly with the incursion of the Israeli prime minister, Ariel Sharon, to Al-Aqsa mosque which led to the Second Intifada. That gave “Israel” the excuse to end all the negotiations. The following years gave “Israel” the opportunity to create a new reality on the ground as its settlements mushroomed all over the occupied Palestinian territories.  Over and above, the issue of security for Israel was to be coordinated with the new Palestinian Authority.  This certainly seemed to be a unique situation when the occupied had to coordinate security matters with the occupiers. The absurdity of these two items alone showed that those accords were never studied thoroughly and scrutinized by the PLO before they signed them and recognized “Israel” as a state in the region, whereas Israel never committed itself to recognizing a Palestinian state as it signed those accords with the PLO.

    The second fact is the stand of the Arab countries who despite their rhetoric were never able to bring about the pressure to end the occupation. However, all the Arab countries endorsed the Saudi initiative  made by Prince Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz, crown prince of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabic during the Arab summit meeting in Beirut in 2002 in which the prince presented his initiative calling for “full Israeli withdrawal from all the Arab territories occupied since June 1967, in implementation of Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338, reaffirmed by the Madrid Conference of 1991 and the land-for-peace principle, and ‘Israel’s’ acceptance of an independent Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital, in return for the establishment of normal relations in the context of a comprehensive peace with Israel.”

    Had “Israel” been sincere about peace it would have jumped at the Saudi initiative, but it seems that “Israel” cannot survive in times of peace.  However, peace with the Gulf countries was offered to “Israel” on a silver platter. Those countries who signed the “Abrahamic Accords” had no war with “Israel”, nor did they share borders with “Israel”.  Once again a colonial power, the USA, during the Trump presidency, was able to drive a wedge among the Arab countries, and seduce those Gulf countries into a peace agreement with Israel claiming to have common security interests.

    Ever since the partition plan of Palestine on November 29, 1947, and the immediate recognition of “Israel” by the United States of America, “Israel” has had the unwavering support of the USA. This has been a major factor in Israel’s flouting of all UN resolutions regarding Palestine without any sanctions. The most we have heard from the USA and the European countries is “concern” about the  clashes and the demolishing of Palestinian homes, and that “the settlements are not conducive to peace.” 

    Unfortunately, during these times,  the vested interests of the powerful forces, and their hegemony over-rules the principle of the common good and the welfare of all people, whereby they coerce the weaker people by blackmailing them, supposedly to guarantee their survival. And of course whoever dared to defy those powers had no chance to survive.  

    The brutality of the Israeli police while storming the Al-Aqsa mosque and limiting and violently blocking Palestinian Christians in particular from worshiping in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in the old city of al-Quds (Jerusalem), the holiest of Christian sites is beyond imagination. “Israel” wants to turn the Palestinian struggle into a religious war whereas it is not, and it has never been so. Nonetheless, with the support of the colonial powers, they have turned the whole region into a fertile ground for religious extremism.

    However desperate the situation is, we cannot afford to lose hope, and we will not lose hope because justice is on our side. Furthermore, we hope our Palestinian struggle will become an example of steadfastness, “Sumud” and a guiding force in the struggle of all oppressed people.

    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 a regional war over Al-Aqsa Mosque revive The Palestinian cause?

    27 Apr 2022

    Source: Al Mayadeen

    Robert Inlakesh 

    “Israel” has, for long, not had to worry about the Arab and Islamic nations attacking it to liberate their own lands, as well as those of the Palestinians, today we are growing closer to a new equation.

    At this point, a multi-front war with “Israel” will completely change the equation in the struggle for the liberation of Palestine.

    Violent Israeli incursions into the al-Aqsa Mosque compound, during the Holy Month of Ramadan, threaten a renewed round of violence in the Palestinian occupied territories and perhaps beyond. Why is the regional dimension to the Palestinian question being left out of Western analyses and what difference will another ‘Arab-Israeli’ war make?

    Last May, the ‘Joint Room’ of armed resistance factions in the Gaza Strip launched Seif al-Quds (Sword of Jerusalem), a military operation to defend the al-Aqsa Mosque, after it had been repeatedly desecrated and its worshippers attacked, leading to an embarrassing set back to the Israeli regime. The 11-day war, as it is now called, spelled massive death and destruction in the Gaza Strip. Roughly 270 Palestinians were killed and at least 14 Israelis (the number of soldiers killed is still unconfirmed), clearly showing the suffering on the Palestinian side to have been much greater. However, the symbolic victories won during the battle with “Israel”, not only launched from Gaza but everywhere inside occupied Palestine, left the Israeli regime begging for a ceasefire.

    The battle of Seif al-Quds represents an important marker in the history of modern Palestinian armed struggle, emerging as a symbolic driver of the armed struggle much like the battle of Karameh. The battle of Karameh, which took place in 1968, when PLO [Palestine Liberation Organization] aligned forces and the Jordanian military fought the Israeli regime, was not a conventional military victory over “Israel” for the PLO, but instead proved “Israel” to be beatable. Prior to this battle, in which Jordanian and Palestinian forces still suffered heavy losses, the Fidayeen operations did not carry as much symbolic weight and provided a light at the end of the tunnel for Palestinians. The battle of Karameh however, proved that Israeli military vehicles could be destroyed and their military could be fought for over 15 hours and not achieve a decisive military victory over a dedicated Arab fighting force.

    Up until May of 2021, it was generally thought that the armed factions in Gaza could not outwit their Israeli opponents and any war would produce the same results as previous battles. That being, massive death, and destruction in Gaza, combined with the besieged territory’s isolation from all other fronts. The battle of Seif al-Quds flipped this way of thinking on its head and sent a strong message regionally. There then emerged a full unified militarized force inside the Gaza Strip that could unite the Palestinian people, outwit its Israeli opposition and provide an alternative path for the Palestinian movement. 

    What made the victory, led by Hamas, so important, was its ability to transform the way the Arab and Islamic nations view the Palestinian cause and the battle having signified the re-birth of the armed struggle as the principal means through which liberation is to be achieved. The Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) had abandoned the armed struggle altogether by the end of the second Intifada, instead of pursuing fruitless dialogue with “Israel”, whilst committing itself to “security coordination”, which benefitted “Tel Aviv” solely. The Palestinian Authority (PA), as of earlier this year, officially absorbed the PLO into itself. This means that instead of the PA being an offshoot of the PLO, the roles are now reversed.

    The Arab Peace Initiative of 2002, was for long the consensus position of the Arab Regimes; that normalization comes only as the result of a withdrawal from the territories occupied in 1967 and the formation of a Palestinian State, with “East Jerusalem” as its Capital. The Trump-era “Abraham Accords”, which saw Sudan, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Morocco, join Jordan and Egypt in normalizing ties with “Israel” and spelled the death of the Arab Peace Initiative. The Palestinian Authority (PA) has no regional powers behind it, meaning no leverage over “Israel” that it can use to force through a so-called two-State solution. The PA does not even possess any symbolic power through mass support from the Arab and Islamic world, on top of this it continues to prevent democratic elections.

    Although the Palestinian cause had for long been the central issue of the Arab and Islamic world, the wars of aggression against Iraq, Libya, Syria, and other countries in the region took much of the attention that had been placed on the Palestinian issue in the past. Now, despite the suffering throughout the region, Palestine is again at the top of the agenda, however, there is still work that must be done in order to push towards the protection of Holy sites, revolution, and eventual liberation. 

    The Palestinian Authority in the West Bank is the primary hindrance to a new Intifada, this PA is slowly weakening and is displaying its inability to control many areas, the most obvious case being in Jenin camp. The Israeli occupation forces receive the bulk of their intelligence on the activities of Palestinians, deriving their control, from the PA. Right now there seems to be an ongoing battle inside the ruling Fatah Party – which runs the PA – for the very soul of the organization and there are two possible conclusions to this phase of PA rule in the West Bank; the complete collapse of the PA, or a new Fatah leadership which will pursue a more hostile stance against “Israel”. In either case, “Israel” will be put in an extremely difficult position in the West Bank.

    A Regional Front Against ‘Israel’

    Following the battle of Sayf al-Quds last year, the Secretary-General of Hezbollah, Seyyed Hassan Nasrallah, announced that he sought to form a multinational force which would transform any battle over al-Quds into a regional war with “Israel”. Later, groups from within the Iraqi Popular Mobilization Units (PMU), Yemen’s Ansarallah, as well as the Palestinian factions, all signed on to this mission. 

    In Western media, the reporting on the repeated attacks on worshippers at the al-Aqsa Mosque compound has not only been littered with lies to protect the image of the Israeli forces but has also left out the possible regional response that such attacks could trigger. It seems that this piece of the puzzle has not yet been factored into the Western analysis, which will only go as far as looking into the possible reaction of Hamas and Islamic Jihad from Gaza. 

    In a multinational ‘Quds Day’ conference, broadcast on Tuesday, we saw the emergence again of the regional axis that pledges to take on “Israel” and defeat its aggression against al-Quds. Key to this conference were leaders of resistance factions from Lebanon, Yemen, Iraq, and Palestine, which all spoke of a regional coalition that will use armed struggle to liberate al-Quds. The Palestinian issue “cannot be resolved at the negotiation table,” said Hamas leader, Ismail Haniyeh, whilst Hezbollah’s Sayed Hassan Nasrallah announced that his patry would be on the front lines of the fight for al-Quds. The issue of Arab normalization was also a central issue addressed during the conference, indicating that the coalition of resistance Parties is seeking to send the region a message through armed struggle.

    At this point, a multi-front war with “Israel” will completely change the equation in the struggle for the liberation of Palestine. If Lebanon, Yemen, and Iraq become involved in a battle, alongside the Palestinians, this will completely transform the issue and force the international community to take the Palestinian struggle seriously. Most importantly, however, the Arab and Islamic leaderships – which operate outside the resistance coalition – will have to reconsider their roles in the conflict if such a war breaks out. The only missing piece in this picture is Syria, if Damascus takes advantage of the situation and launches an offensive in the Golan Heights, this will force countries regionally to re-engage with the Syrian government and will give Syria a central role in seeking a solution for Palestine, tying the fate of its occupied territory to those of the Palestinians. 

    “Israel” has, for long, not had to worry about the Arab and Islamic nations attacking it to liberate their own lands, as well as those of the Palestinians, today we are growing closer to a new equation. The obstacles ahead are; who will be the accepted Palestinian representatives internationally? How to bring the region into a multi-faceted confrontation with “Israel”? And how to strive for the full initiation of a Third Intifada? If these questions can be answered, the Palestinian cause will not only be the central issue regionally, it will possess much greater power for liberating Palestine than ever before.

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

    ‘Israel’s’ Rational Enemy: Hezbollah, An ’Army’ Whose Surprises Never End

    April 21, 2022

    By Staff | Haaretz

    In a lengthy article for Haaretz, Amos Harel cited the outgoing commander of the 91st Galilee Division of the ‘Israeli’ military as saying: “As the division commander who lives the front here on a daily basis, I constantly assume that there could be surprises and that Hezbollah might make an unexpected move.”

    Next week, Brig. Gen. Shlomi Binder will conclude his tour of duty in the occupied northern border sector. He has been serving in his post for two years and eight months.

    Binder says the main change that has occurred on the border in recent years relates to the arrival of the Radwan Unit, Hezbollah’s elite force, and its deployment in southern Lebanon, after years in which they garnered experience in the Syrian war.

    “They have tools they didn’t have in 2006, notably an attack plan and capability in our territory,” he says, adding that they have expanded the firepower aimed at our front and they have improved their defensive capability in the face of an ‘Israeli’ military’s maneuver.

    One of the blatant signs of the transition from guerrilla status to an army is the development of broad offensive formations, and not only point-specific offense or defense, Binder explains. “That is not necessarily bad for us. The more of an army they become and create permanent patterns, the more they generate targets for attack by us.”

    At the end of the last war, there was a clear inclination in the ‘Israeli’ military to magnify Hezbollah’s combat capabilities and especially the fighting spirit of its troops, Binder says: “They know how to work with an envelope of intelligence, firepower and other means, as they did during the fighting in Syria. Our principal threat reference for many years is Hezbollah. We are planning, training and thinking about that.”

    Still, the ‘Israeli’ military finds it difficult to define for itself the essence of victory in a confrontation with an enemy that is not exactly an army. “In the first Lebanon war, in 1982, ‘Israeli’ forces reached Beirut, but withdrew in a despondent atmosphere, despite the fact that Yasser Arafat and PLO officials left. In 2006, against Hezbollah, they advanced only 10 to 15 kilometers and left Lebanon with the sense of a frustrating stalemate. That is a problem the high command continues to contemplate, but it’s clear that the tendency today is more to degrade the enemy’s assets than to seize territory and hold it for the long term.”

    The goal, Binder says, will be “to finish when Hezbollah has sustained a mortal blow. We will try to reduce significantly their arsenal of all types, to strike at commanders and fighters. The hope is that it will lead to deterrence of many years.”

    “Hezbollah,” the outgoing general says, “has a great deal of advanced weaponry. It won’t be possible to portray them as an impoverished army that is just taking a beating.”

    For years, he continues, ‘Israel’ made a mistake by describing its enemies not only as extremists motivated by ideological and religious hate for ‘Israel’, but also as irrational. That approach, regarding Hezbollah, and in the past two years has been voiced quite a bit even with regard to decisions made by Hamas’ leader in the Gaza Strip, Yahya Sinwar.

    Binder says that Hezbollah Secretary General, His Eminence Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah “is rational, but not necessarily with our rationality. Is he sane and judicious in making his decisions? In my opinion, yes. The question is whether that leads to expected decisions from our point of view – and the answer is: not always. I have a certain cognitive difficulty in trying to understand him: I am an ‘Israeli’, not a Lebanese Shiite.”

    Assassination of Khalil al-Wazir (Abu Jihad) Commemorated in Gaza (PHOTOS)

    April 17, 2022

    Palestinians in Gaza commemorate the assassination of Palestinian leader Khalil al-Wazir by Israeli forces in 1988. (Photo: Mahmoud Ajjour, The Palestine Chronicle)

    By Palestine Chronicle Staff

    Palestinians in Gaza take part in a rally on Saturday, April 16, marking the 34th anniversary of the assassination of Palestinian leader Khalil al-Wazir by Israeli forces in Tunisia.

    Al-Wazir, better known by his nom de guerre Abu Jihad, was killed on April 16, 1988. Israel only admitted to his assassination in 2012, almost 25 years later.  

    Al-Wazir was a Palestinian leader and co-founder of the political party Fatah. 

    During his career, he was a member of the Palestine National Council, the Central Council of the PLO and the Higher Military Council of the Palestinian Revolution and deputy to the General Commander of the forces of the Palestinian Revolution.

    He was accused by Israel of being one of the main architects of the first popular Palestinian Intifada of 1987, which he supported until Israeli military unit Sayeret Matkal, led by Major Moshe Yaalon (who later became Minister of Defense), assassinated him at his house in the Sidi Bou Said neighborhood in Tunis.

    (All Photos: Mahmoud Ajjour, The Palestine Chronicle)

    Khalida Jarrar: PLO is ‘Hijacked, It Suffers from Hegemony, Exclusivity’

    March 10, 2022

    Palestinian political activist Khalida Jarrar. (Photo: via MEMO)

    Iconic Palestinian political activist Khalida Jarrar said that the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) “is hijacked and suffers from hegemony and exclusivity, in an interview with Al Resalah newspaper on Wednesday.

    The senior leader of the Democratic (Popular) Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) added that the PLO “needs reformation and rebuilding via an elected national council or a transitional one pending the election of a new one.”

    Jarrar stressed that the new national council “should lay down the foundations of a new strategy of the national struggle that includes all parties.”

    At the same time, she said that rebuilding the PLO based on its national program “will regain respect to it,” reiterating that the bost is the sole representative of the Palestinians.

    Jarrar also said that hegemony and exclusivity pushed many national figures to refuse to participate in the meetings of the PLO’s National Council as they believed that the PLO is in urgent need to be rescued from those who have hijacked it.

    (MEMO, PC, Social Media)

    Arafat was Killed by ‘Someone Close to Him’, Former Qatari PM Claims (VIDEO)

    February 22, 2022

    A painting dedicated to late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat. (Photo: Mahmoud Ajjour, The Palestine Chronicle)

    Former Qatari Prime Minister Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber Al Thani claimed in a recent interview with Kuwait’s Al-Qabas that Palestinian iconic leader Yasser Arafat was killed by someone close to him.

    Al Thani was asked whether he believed in claims that Arafat had been murdered. “They are not claims,” he said, “This is the truth”. He added that Arafat was “definitely” killed by “someone close to him”.

    Al Thani, who served as Qatar’s Foreign Minister and later as Prime Minister, said that several months before his death, Arafat took part in a meeting in Doha, which included a number of Palestinian Authority and Israeli officials. The meeting, hosted by Al Thani himself, was aimed at helping Arafat leave as he was placed under an Israeli siege in his Ramallah, West Bank, headquarters.

    However, according to Al Thani, soon after the meeting, both parties notified Qatar that talks were not necessary anymore. A few months later, the news of Arafat’s illness was communicated.

    Yasser Arafat, who was the Chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and subsequently the President of the Palestinian Authority (PA), died unexpectedly in November 2004, at the age of 75. The cause of death remains unknown, despite various claims that he was poisoned by Israel. 

    (Palestine Chronicle Staff)

    Lest We Forget: Palestinians Urge International Protection on Ibrahimi Mosque Massacre 28th Anniversary

    February 26, 2022

    By Staff, Agencies

    On the 28th anniversary of the 1994 Ibrahimi Mosque massacre, a leading Palestinian human rights organization called on the global community to provide international protection for the Palestinians and their holy sites under the ‘Israeli’ occupation.

    The Department of Human Rights and Civil Society in the Palestine Liberation Organization [PLO] made the plea in a statement on Friday, which marks the 1994 killing of some 30 Palestinian worshipers in Ibrahimi Mosque in the southern occupied West Bank city of al-Khalil, according to the Palestinian Ma’an news agency.

    “This day marks the 28th anniversary of the Ibrahimi Mosque massacre, which resulted in the martyrdom of 29 worshipers and the injury of 150 others inside the compound, [and] which was carried out by the terrorist Goldstein under the eyes and guards of the occupation soldiers,” the statement read, referring to American-born ‘Israeli’ settler Baruch Goldstein who committed the massacre.

    “Instead of punishing the criminal and those who protected him and provided him with coverage, the occupation forces punished the victims by imposing their control over the holy site and placing it at the settlers’ disposal,” the statement added.

    The department noted, “Since that date, Palestinians have been deprived of freedom of access to the Ibrahimi Mosque, the establishment of prayer there, and have been denied the call to prayer in the holy site most of the time, which is in line with the interests of the settlers and their attempts to Judaize the entire compound.”

    The organization denounced the measure as a violation of all international laws and agreements related to human rights and freedom of worshipers.

    The statement concluded by calling on the “international community to stand up to its responsibilities and provide international protection for the Palestinians and their holy sites under occupation.”

    The holy site in al-Khalil was split into a synagogue, known to Jews as the Cave of Patriarchs, and a mosque after Goldstein massacred 29 Palestinians inside the mosque in 1994. Since then, Muslim worshipers have been prevented from having access to the site during Jewish holidays.

    Al-Khalil is the biggest city in the West Bank, home to more than 200,000 Palestinians. About 1,000 Zionist settlers, who engage in frequent attacks on Palestinians, also live there under heavy military protection.

    مراهنةٌ صهيونيةٌ خاسرةٌ على المركزي الفلسطيني


    الاربعاء 23 شباط 2022

    المصدر: الميادين نت

    عمرو علان 

    جاء اجتماع المركزي ليُرتِّب مرحلة ما بعد محمود عباس، وليُسهِّل وصول رموز التعاون مع الاحتلال – على شاكلة ماجد فرج وحسين الشيخ – إلى قمَّة الهرم في سلطة أوسلو بعد غيابه.

    في البدء، كان القرار الفلسطيني المستقل. حُكي آنذاك: يحصل هذا الأمر حتى لا يقدّم النظام الرسمي العربي تنازلاتٍ للكيان الصهيوني من دون اعتبارٍ لأصحاب الحق الأصيل، فصار بعد ذلك شعار النظام الرسمي العربي: نقبل بما يقبل به الفلسطينيون. 

    يَخشَى الكيان الصهيوني على استقرار سلطة أوسلو بعد غياب عباس

    ومن دون الدخول في نقاشٍ حول وجاهة نظر من قال بفكرة القرار الفلسطيني المستقل، قامت بعد ذلك منظمة التحرير الفلسطينية، “الممثل الشرعي والوحيد” للشعب الفلسطيني، بالتوقيع على أوسلو، معترفةً بالكيان الغاصب، ومتنازلةً عن 87% من الأراضي العربية الفلسطينية المحتلة، وتاركةً في مهب الريح مصير ذاك الجزء من الشعب الفلسطيني الذي هُجِّر من دياره في العام 1948، وهي تنازلاتٌ ما كان ليجرؤ النظام الرسمي العربي على تقديمها، لتتوالى بعد ذلك حفلات الاعتراف العربية الرسمية بالكيان الغاصب، ولسان حالهم يقول: لن نكون ملكيين أكثر من الملك.

    وفي خضمّ هذا كلّه، كانت مساعي الهيمنة على قرار منظمة التحرير الفلسطينية مستمرةً من قبل حركة “فتح”، وكانت تُحقِّق تقدماً، لتُختزَل منظمة التحرير الفلسطينية في فصيلٍ فلسطينيٍ واحدٍ بدلاً من أن تكون ممثلاً للكلِّ الفلسطيني.

    وفي إثر دخول منظمة التحرير الفلسطينية مرحلة أوسلو – المقيتة الذكر – أُنشئت سلطة الحكم الذاتي المسماة السلطة الفلسطينية، ليدخل الوضع الفلسطيني مرحلة أخرى من الانحدار، حتى وصلنا إلى أن يتآمر على أبو عمار، زعيم حركة “فتح” ومؤسّسها، بعضٌ من بطانته، كي يغتاله الإسرائيلي بالسمّ، في جريمة اغتيالٍ تجاهلتها السلطة، مبرّئةً بذلك الإسرائيلي منها.

    بعدها، تولى محمود عباس رئاسة السلطة الفلسطينية، ليبدأ باختزال كلٍّ من منظمة التحرير الفلسطينية وحركة “فتح” ذاتها بسلطة أوسلو. وقد نجح في ذلك نجاحاً تحسده عليه كل الأنظمة العربية! فقد أجهز على ما كان قد بقي من منظمة التحرير الفلسطينية، وحوَّله فعلياً إلى مجرد اسمٍ ليس له كيانٌ حقيقيٌ في أرض الواقع، يستحضره كختمٍ متى احتاج إليه.

    ليس هذا فحسب، فقد نجح عباس في الانحدار بسلطة أوسلو إلى دركٍ تفوَّق فيه على فصائل السلام وروابط القرى مجتمعين، فما معنى أن يصير التخابر مع العدو من أجل حراسة المستوطنات في الضفة، وتأمين المغتصَبات في فلسطين 48، والسهر على أمن قُطعان المستوطنين فيهما وراحتهم، واجباً “مقدَّساً” عند محمود عباس وسلطة أوسلو؟

    واليوم، جاء اجتماع المجلس المركزي الفلسطيني الأخير الذي عُقِد في 6 شباط/فبراير 2022، ليشكّل سقطةً جديدةً في مسار هذا التدهور المستمر، فطامة الشعب الفلسطيني لا تنحصر في إصرار عباس على عقد اجتماع المركزي فحسب، رغم مقاطعة الأغلبية الفلسطينية له، إذ قاطعه كلٌ من حركتي “حماس” و”الجهاد الإسلامي” و”الجبهة الشعبية لتحرير فلسطين”، إضافةً إلى عدم رضا أجنحةٍ من حركة “فتح” ذاتها، بل كانت الطامة الكبرى في المغزى من عقد هذا الاجتماع، وفي مخرجاته التي كانت معروفةً مسبقاً.

    يَخشَى الكيان الصهيوني على استقرار سلطة أوسلو بعد غياب عباس، بسبب التجاذبات الحادة في أوساط حركة “فتح”، ولا سيّما بعد فقدان السلطة وفريق التنسيق الأمني فيها الكثير من شعبيتهما عقب معركة “سيف القدس”، وبسبب تغول السلطة في التعاون مع الاحتلال ضد المقاومين الفلسطينيين ومصالح الشعب الفلسطيني، ففي استمرار التنسيق الأمني مع الكيان الصهيوني مصلحةٌ عليا للاحتلال وحفظٌ لأمن المستوطنات والمستوطنين.

    وقد جاء اجتماع المركزي ليُرتِّب مرحلة ما بعد محمود عباس، وليُسهِّل وصول رموز التعاون مع الاحتلال – على شاكلة ماجد فرج وحسين الشيخ – إلى قمَّة الهرم في سلطة أوسلو بعد غيابه. حصل كل هذا برضا الاحتلال ومباركته، إذ عُيَّن حسين الشيخ، الأكثر التزاماً بنهج التنسيق الأمني، في منصب أمين سر اللجنة التنفيذية، ما يمهد الطريق أمامه لرئاسة سلطة أوسلو مستقبلاً. وهكذا، وصلنا إلى اختزال سلطة أوسلو أيضاً بفريق التنسيق الأمني، وتم ترتيب القيادة لمرحلة ما بعد محمود عباس برضا الاحتلال ومباركته!

    لكن ما غاب عن حسابات الصهاينة في رهانهم على مجموعة التنسيق الأمني هو وجود شعبٍ فلسطينيٍ حيّ ضاق ذرعاً بسلطةٍ باتت نسخةً مكررةً من جيش “لحد” بصورةٍ مفضوحةٍ. ولا أدلّ على وصول الشارع الفلسطيني إلى هذه الحالة إلا عمليات إطلاق النار التي قام بها مؤخراً مقاومون من كتائب شهداء الأقصى التابعة لحركة “فتح” ذاتها، ناهيك بفصائل المقاومة الفلسطينية المتمسكة بخيار المقاومة في الأساس.

    وكان البيان المشترك الَّذي صدر عقب اجتماع المجلس المركزي عن حركتي “حماس” و”الجهاد الإسلامي” و”الجبهة الشعبية لتحرير فلسطين”، والذي رفض الاعتراف بشرعية انعقاد المجلس المركزي وقراراته، ودعا إلى تشكيل قيادة موحدة للمقاومة الشعبية، مؤشراً على شكل المرحلة القادمة.

    وغاب كذلك عن حسابات الصهاينة تبدُل أحوال الإقليم، واختلال موازين القوى فيه لمصلحة حركات المقاومة العربية والإسلامية في عدة ساحاتٍ، وتراجع السطوة الأميركية في الإقليم والعالم عموماً، ما يشكِّل رافعةً لحركات المقاومة في الداخل الفلسطيني، ويجعل الرهان الإسرائيلي على استمرار سلطة أوسلو بما وصلت إليه رهاناً خاسراً.

    إن الآراء المذكورة في هذه المقالة لا تعبّر بالضرورة عن رأي الميادين وإنما تعبّر عن رأي صاحبها حصراً

    Normalization between Arabic countries and “Israel”: Proven record of failure

    16 Feb 2022

    Source: Al Mayadeen Net

    Hussam AbdelKareem 

    “Israel” knew that it would never settle in the Arab region unless it gets recognized by its people as a “normal state”.

    Normalization Between Arabic Countries and “Israel”: Proven Record of Failure

    An Advanced Outpost for Colonial Powers

    “Israel” had been created in 1948 as an advanced outpost for the colonial-imperial powers keen on dominating the Middle East region and keeping it under control. That’s the plain fact proven at different stages in recent history. And since the announcement of “Israel” as a state on the land of Palestine, it acted exactly like that: a militarized compound disguising in a state’s attire! In 1956 “Israel” was called to service by the then-great Britain and France when they decided to attack Egypt in an attempt to prevent it from liberating itself and nationalizing its Suez Canal. “Israel” joined the evil plot willingly and attacked Egypt without any provocation, showing to its old colonial masters that their investment was paying off. Later, when the British Empire was doomed to demise, “Israel” moved on and joined the camp of the rising star, America, which inherited the old lion. From the sixties of the last century onwards, “Israel” took part in the US’ global efforts in combating national liberation movements, communist-socialist regimes, and people’s revolutions.

    When “Israel” was announced in 1948, it was met with unanimous Arab rejection. All Arab nations, many of them still under British – French control, refused to recognize it. Absolutely no Arab felt “Israel” belonged to the region, not culturally nor politically. Nobody was ready to deal with it in any way. Arab People looked at it not as a neighbor but as a group of usurpers who took over Palestine by force and displaced its Arab brothers who became refugees. A solid barrier of rejection and contempt was surrounding “Israel” who stayed in the heart of the Arab region as a bastard state.      

    That’s why the normalization of relations with Arabic countries has always been of utmost importance for “Israel”. Even the smallest gesture from anywhere in the Arab world was being warmly welcomed by Israelis if they sense it could create a narrow crack in the rejection wall. “Israel” knew that it would never settle in the Arab region unless it gets recognized by its people as a “normal state”. “Israel” needed recognition more than anything else. “Israel” knew that no matter how strong its army is or how long its occupation of Palestinian lands lasts, it’s Arab recognition that gives it legitimacy and long-term future.

    Three Old Normalization Accords

    Before the new wave of Arab normalization with “Israel” in 2020, there were three normalization agreements between “Israel” and the Arabs:

    -Camp David peace treaty with Egypt (1979)

    -Oslo peace agreement with Palestine Liberation Organization (1993)

    -Wadi Araba peace treaty with Jordan (1994)

    Decades of formal normalization on three fronts resulted in nothing! It is true that written recognition from Arab governments was obtained by “Israel”. However, that can hardly be the real goal that “Israel” was after.

    Let’s elaborate:

    Egypt and Jordan are both sovereign independent states who were having occupied territories under Israeli control. So they had duty to restitute their lands from “Israel”. That, restitution the occupied land, was the basis for their peace treaties with “Israel”. The governments of Egypt and Jordan presented the matter to their people like that: we have to sign a peace treaty, we have to recognize “Israel” because there is no other way to get our lands back. We, as responsible governments, have to do that, but you, as people, as individuals, as society, have the freedom to make your own decision whether to normalize or not! And it seemed that logic was accepted by most of the people who “excused” their governments and took their own different path.

    After four decades of Egyptian normalization, and three decades of Jordan’s, there is no people-to-people relations, no social contacts established, no community initiatives between the sides. The public opinion in Egypt and Jordan is still very much against any dealings with the Israelis. Anyone who “dares” to announce friendly relations with Israelis will be socially isolated and abandoned, swiftly. Civil society, political parties, unions and associations, intellectuals, writers, artists, cinema and sports stars … etc. all refusing to have anything to do with “Israel”. Cultural and economic boycott. The relations between Egypt and Jordan from one side and “Israel” on the other, remain official and limited to political meetings and border security arrangements. This kind of “normalization” can hardly be satisfactory to the Zionists of “Israel”.

    The PLO is another story. Palestine is still under Israeli occupation. It’s neither liberated nor independent. Yasser Arafat wanted to have a base at home from which he may continue the struggle towards independence, so he signed an “interim” agreement. The Oslo Accord was supposed to be just a starting point and that’s what made Arafat accept all the unfair and un-advantageous terms imposed by Israelis. Well, Arafat was wrong, and the Israelis turned the “interim” agreement into an ever-lasting one! There are many relations between the Palestinians under occupation and “Israel” but that is, in no way, considered as “normalization” between the peoples. Matters related to borders crossing, transport of goods, water and electricity … are merely living conditions and requirements.

    The failure of the decades-long official normalization speaks volumes. “Israel” has not shown any real appreciation of Arab concerns and aspirations. In short, they wanted “peace and normalization” with Arabs as a token of surrender. Palestine land will have to remain under Israeli occupation and Palestinian refugees will have to remain away from home. 

    Will the new normalizers have better luck?

    In 2020 new Arab normalizers jumped in, under Trump’s patronage, and signed the so-called Abraham Accords (it is telling that the Biden administration keenly avoids the term “Abraham” and refers to the “normalization agreements” instead, intentionally ignoring the religious implications of the term). Unlike Egypt, Jordan and the PLO, the new Arab normalizers are very far away from “Israel”, thousands of miles away! Moreover, the UAE, Bahrain, Morocco and Sudan have no “bilateral” or direct conflict with “Israel” and are therefore under no pressure to conclude any deal with “Israel” whatsoever.

    The new normalizers were unable to use the “solving pressing problems” excuse to justify their rush towards “Israel” to their people (who were never consulted about the matter!). So they started talking about modernization, civilization and “peace in the region” and other similar broad ideas. They began a faked kind of “heart to heart” normalization that has an artificial element of passion and love towards “Israel” in it! Sudan in particular talked about improving the economy (lifting the US sanctions and getting World Bank loans) as an excuse.

    The new wave of normalization will not succeed, not because the signing parties don’t want that, but because there is no real basis for success in these deals. “Israel” is still the same old Zionist entity that Arabs know very well, and Al-Quds still under occupation, Palestinians still deprived of their homeland and “Israel” is still posing a constant threat to Arab nations. Even history tells us that the economic benefits of normalization won’t work! If anybody has doubt about that, a mere look at Egypt’s and Jordan’s economic hardships – after decades of normalization- will be enough to prove that: NORMALIZATION WON’T WORK.

    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 normalization of Palestinicide

    February 17, 2022

    Source: Al Mayadeen Net

    Susana Khalil

    The Zionist movement is currently the most powerful fascist movement in the world.

    Zionism, a movement of Indo-European lineage    

    The normalization of Palestinicide

    Zionism is a European movement that in 1948 succeeded in imposing a colonial regime in Palestine called “Israel”. The Arabs, from the logic, from the entelechy, saw and felt that this project was impossible, absurd, and even laughable. It was seen as a surrealist project, but today it transcends into hyperrealism.

    On the one hand, it is based on the falsification of history, under a fascinating mantle full of epic and epopee, all a charm of pirouettes, not only media, artistic and religious, but also in the intellectual and even academic field, that is, the Jewish People returning to their ancestral land after 2000 years… The Land that God promised to the Jews… 

    And while part of the world was and still is, under the spell of that mantra and nirvana of sublime love, “Israel”; Zionism founded its colonial regime on the basis of genocidal barbarism against the native Semitic population. Palestine at that time was comprised of 70% of a thriving peasant population, mostly literate and unarmed. A whole mega plan of terror, horror, cruelty, and terror was articulated against the native Palestinian people, who were also under British colonial rule. Explosions in popular markets, destruction of historical archives, destruction of crops, destruction of power plants, poisoning of water, destruction of infrastructures, looting of heritage relics, etc. Macabre massacres from village to village, in order to provoke people to flee and thus forge ethnic cleansing. More than 400 villages were razed to the ground. Palestinian peasants who found human Skulls when plowing the land. Colonial soldiers used to stab pregnant Palestinian women and bet on whether it was a dog or a bitch. Desperate Palestinians would ask for a missing relative and the colonial soldiers would throw an arm or leg of the relative they were looking for. 5% of the native population was killed and 80% were expelled from their homeland, this is known as Al-Nakba.

    Fauziah Khalil, a Palestinian peasant survivor of Al-Nakba, my mother, described the cruel genocides by recalling her uncle’s massacre: My uncle Hassan was killed by the colonial Israelis and they found his leg on the roof of the house…

    But in the face of this “cannibalism”, a typical aspect of colonialism, the trauma of the native Palestinian people, plus the infinite wound of the rest of the inbreeding, the Arab fraternity, the masterfully disinforming Western propaganda, where the victims become guilty: “Israel” surrounded by enemy Arabs, the anti-Jewish Arabs (although the greatest massacres of Jews and Christians were in Europe and by Europeans).

    To hide the colonization of Palestine, the occupiers disguise it as a religious conflict, an ancestral hatred between Jews and Muslims (although the great passages of the history of hatred were Jewish-Christian in the West).

    Decades later with the advent of the Internet, a great mass of the world begins to know the tragedy, pain, and trauma of the Palestinian people, but that does not necessarily mean that they know the inhuman colonial features that Palestinians are facing today in the XXI century.

    The Zionist movement is currently the most powerful fascist movement in the world. There is no more powerful entity today than international Zionism. It is a fascist movement. 

    The most despotic tyranny in the world is Saudi Arabia. Petro-tyranny, oil, the resource of contemporary civilization. But more than a tyranny it is a neo-colonial regime (a native caste in imperial service). In reality the Arab-Persian world is politically classified into: 1. Israeli colonialism; 2. Saudi neocolonialism; 3. Arab dictatorships (some pro and anti-imperialist).

    The instrumentalization of Peace: A sadistic instrumentalization of the extermination of the native Palestinian people

    The normalization with the colonial regime of “Israel” by some Gulf tyrannies is not entirely new, that was a public secret, but it is the Palestinian leadership itself who officializes this lethal normalization through the Oslo Accords. The years have shown the path to the slaughterhouse of the Palestinian people.

    Some neo-colonial Gulf petro-tyrannies, in their betrayal of the Palestinian people, are investing huge money in a new pedagogy, new schooling in favor of Zionist colonialism throughout the Arab world and peoples of Muslim confession.

    Some are even promoting Israeli colonialism in Islamic schools, just like the obscurantism of some evangelicals, in which they preach: Whoever does not defend “Israel” will burn in the flames of hell. That is happening today in our XXI century…

    At the same time, they see the Iranian government as the enemy of the Arab world and not Israeli colonialism.

    But on the other hand, the sadism of Arab public figures in recognizing Israeli colonial expansionist anachronism in the name of peace is abominable. The instrumentalization of peace as a tool for the extermination of the native Arab-Palestinian Semitic people; to disguise this barbarism as something romantic, bohemian, and for peace, is totally sadistic.

    Today the Palestinian struggle is in a very difficult reality, but it is in the most difficult moments that Revolutions also emerge. In 1982, the PLO, the Palestine Liberation Organization, fled Lebanon. The PLO was dying in Tunisia, and then the first Intifada flourished and revived the national liberation struggle.

    Let’s not get distracted by an attractive, tricky intellectuality that contributes to our Palestinicide. As native people we must abolish colonialism. Zionism lives on the power of ignorance and its sophisticated repression. It has falsified History, the West ignores and fears to address History. Let us not be afraid of Western fear. Let us unearth History in the face of this historicide. Let us liberate the West from its own fear, that goes through the liberation of Palestine. Otherwise, the Palestinicide would continue as well as the concatenated obscurantism, sadistically dressed up as wisdom, humanism and peace…

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

    Palestine in the face of Palestinicide

    15 Jan 2022

    Source: Al Mayadeen

    Susana Khalil

    Today, some Arab tyrannies, in order to perpetuate themselves in power, seek to submit to this colonial-imperial force, putting the Arab-Persian world at risk.

    Palestine in the face of “Palestinicide”

    Zionism is a European colonial movement. The English historian Keith Whitelam conceptualizes it as the continuation of Colonial Europe. In 1948, Zionism succeeded in imposing a colonial regime in Palestine called “Israel”. It is classic colonialism, but it differs from historical colonialism in that it does not come from a people, but from a movement that aromatically falsifies history and disguises itself as a people, i.e. the “Jewish people”. Jews, Muslims, and Christians are not peoples, they are religions, and it is sad to have to explain this, at this point in human history and to a supposedly enlightened, educated, and secular world.

    The West supposedly has to its credit a worthy history of fighting for secular values, which cost them blood. Secularism is today part of its identity and culture and is a sentiment, but it is inept and structurally ignorant to believe and feel that Jews are a people. To address this issue is to be discriminated against, even by pro-Palestinians. Beyond being a rotten Western taboo, it has its reckless consequences due to sophisticated totalitarian censorship, clear Western obscurantism.

    The ideologues of Zionism foresaw that in their colonial enterprise, the day the native achieves his independence, they, as colonizers who do not come from a people but from a movement that seeks to become a people, do not have a point of return as happened in classical colonialism, that they as Jews would return to their respective original homelands. That is why Zionist colonialism has as its nature the very end of that native people in order to settle and ensure the foundations of a “nation-state” called “Israel”. This principle not only remains in force but also advances. Today, some Arab tyrannies, in order to perpetuate themselves in power, seek to submit to this colonial-imperial force, putting the Arab-Persian world at risk.

    The colonial and expansionist regime of “Israel” withdrew from the Sinai territories in Egypt, conditioning and subjugating the Egyptian dictatorship. There is a false withdrawal from the Palestinian territories, conditioning and subjugating a caste of Palestinian traitors of the so-called Palestinian Authority. They maintain a military invasion in the Golan Heights in Syria. They unilaterally withdrew from South Lebanon, without conditioning and subjugating the Lebanese government or any Lebanese caste, and this exception is because they were overthrown by the Lebanese armed resistance of Hezbollah. The international Zionist lobby is the mastermind of the barbaric US imperial military invasion of Iraq, for the alleged establishment of democracy, and for the alleged weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. There will be no justice in the Arab-Persian world, except through the abolition of “Israel’s” colonial expansionist anachronism.

    The worst thing about the Oslo Accords is not Zionist colonialism that managed to infiltrate through the Palestinian Authority, but the “memoricide” exercised by that Palestinian Authority, erasing the essence or the raison d’être of what the cause of liberation of the native Palestinian people against the Israeli colonial yoke is. And this “memoricide” takes place when the armed struggle is abandoned, so people are encouraged to follow the “peaceful” approach of struggle, which already existed, that is to say, the cultural, legal, academic, political, financial, economic, media, intellectual, humanitarian, religious, artistic, culinary, and historical struggle, which already existed and must exist; it is vital and magical. But the point is that on the stage, in the peaceful universe, the raison d’être of the Palestinian Cause is censored, evaded. In fact, almost nobody talks about the PLO, the Palestine Liberation Organization, anymore.

    I do not remember the author of the phrase: “If you want peace, prepare for justice.” The Palestinian people are facing the most powerful fascist movement of our historical time. Zionism is neoliberal and non-neoliberal imperialism itself.

    Armed struggle is not easy and neither is it a guarantee for the liberation of historic Palestine. The peaceful struggle is not easy; it focuses on human rights, and in many cases, it does not address the essence of the Palestinian Cause. Both fronts are important, all fronts of struggle are important.

    From the peaceful stage, as a native Palestinian from the Diaspora, the daughter of peasant survivors of Al-Nakba, I fight against the colonial yoke of Israel, I fight for the National Liberation of my Palestinian people against a colonial force.

    From the peaceful scenario, does the colonial regime of “Israel” have the right to exist? From the noblest of my soul, I say no. The so-called Israeli population would become Palestinian. Just to raise this is outrageous. I do understand and comprehend the reaction of not understanding; comprehending and accepting the right of native people to decide for themselves. I understand the atheists of freedom and justice.

    Some might defend the existence of that colonial, imperial regime and anachronism and believe they have the right to do so, but what is not morally acceptable and constitutes an outrage to human dignity is censoring defending the others’ right to voice their rejection in the universe of debate. That is contrary to the free-thinking world.

    There are those who lovingly state, I support “Israel”, and to those I say, support it in your country. why don’t you give it your homeland? There must be a debate, and this is part of the human condition.

    I believe that we Palestinians must reposition ourselves, renaissance the root of our cause, be reiterative, not fall into distractions, and not submit to the reality of a contour or conjuncture. This implies intellectual courage and deep human fortitude in the face of so much censorship, fear, demonization, and threat. We must make our intellectual peaceful revolution. We must kick the table and be a rebellion of lucid intellectual light. Therein lies not only the beauty of the Palestinian Cause, but the beauty of being Palestinian.

    … More than an intellectual challenge, it is to liberate intellectual fear, for Zionism itself is an intellectual, academic, media, legal, historical, moral, aesthetic, religious, archeological, sociological and philosophical fraud.

    The Palestinian Liberation Cause is a direct cause for the protection of the Arab, Persian, and Kurdish world from Israeli expansionist colonialism. As I heard, it was said in the neighborhood of El Guarataro, in Venezuela, the liberation of Palestine is the liberation of the world.

    Let us free ourselves from the self-censorship that sets the trap for us. We must be strategic, intelligent, and subtle. We will not receive any subsidy, if we do so, we will be rejected, demonized.

    They operate an extermination plan against the Palestinian people; they not only colonized the homeland, but also its history, its cuisine, and its most popular artistic expression. And it is logical to say that, for example, they colonized the falafel and the embroidery. That is proof and sample that it is colonialism that does not come from a people, it needs to disguise itself as a people and take it from the native people. They are extermination modalities; they must expel Palestine from history.

    It is all about being honest, the world, yes, the world is at risk in the face of Zionism. The Palestinians have an appointment with history and it is to liberate today, in the 21st century, their people from the anachronistic and expansionist colonial regime of “Israel”. Likewise, the Palestinians have a debt with humanity itself and it is to extirpate Zionism, the most powerful fascism of our time, for this we need everybody in, which is the struggle of our time.

    Let me be riddled and demonized with the filthy and bastard accusation of the Zionist supremacy of anti-Semitism. Anyway, as Ernesto Guevara used to say, “How can my life matter if what is in danger is humanity.”

    Yes, the liberation of Palestine is the liberation of the world, that is to say, taking steps against imperial, colonial atrophy and barbarism synchronized by Zionism.

    The gloomy thing is that if we let the Palestinian people disappear, they will sadly exist in the echo of humanity as the cursed people, that by not liberating its noble cause, humanity remains in darkness. In this case, the outcome would be a cursed Palestinian, a traitor Arab.

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

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