Yair Lapid Meets Mansour Abbas in Bid to Reach Coalition Agreement

March 29, 2021

Israeli opposition leader Yair Lapid on Sunday met with Head of the Ra’am Party Mansour Abbas to discuss forming a coalition government, Israeli media reported.

Abbas, according to Ynet News, presented his movement’s demands to Lapid. The demands included scrapping the Nation-State Law, having the freedom to vote on pro-LGBT bills, freezing the Kaminitz Law, recognizing unrecognized Arab towns in the Negev, and fighting crime among the Arab community in Israel.

Both Abbas and Lapid issued brief statements following their meeting, stating that they had agreed to continue their communications.

Following Tuesday’s election, Ra’am has emerged as a kingmaker as both Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Lapid’s Yesh Atid lacked enough seats in the Knesset to enable either party to form a coalition government.

Right-wing pro-Netanyahu hardliners, including Head of the Fascist Religious Zionism Party Bezalel Smotrich, have rejected joining a coalition including Arab MKs or reliant on an Arab party.

This also came following a Likud meeting with Abbas, during which they discussed prospects of the latter’s participation in a Likud-led government.

Ynet News reported that Abbas met with Lapid after realizing that joining a right-wing government may not be a viable option, pointing out that his meeting with Lapid came after several postponements.

The bloc consisting of Likud and its pro-right-wing parties have 59 seats out of 120. The left-wing, along with the anti-Netanyahu parties, has 57. Abbas, the current kingmaker, has five seats.

(MEMO, PC, Social Media)

Faced with ICC Investigation, Apartheid Israel Asserts Moral Superiority Over The Victims of Its Terror

Having created enemies by its own criminal behavior, Israel then claims the right to protect itself from the very people it alienated through these criminal acts.

Source

March 29th, 2021

By Miko Peled

Israel ICC Feature photo

TEL AVIV, ISRAEL — Israel’s army chief of staff, General Aviv Kochavi, recently commented on the International Criminal Court (ICC) decision to investigate Israel for war crimes. In his speech, General Kochavi said:

There is a moral abyss that exists between us and our enemies. They do everything in order to target civilians; we do everything to prevent hurting their civilians. They rejoice when our civilians are killed; we investigate when theirs are killed.”

Sounds like a pretty good opening statement for his defense once the trial at The Hague commences. The only problem is, none of what he said is true.

As these words are being written, Israel is in the process of figuring out the results of its fourth elections in two years. These elections mark what could be the final step in a political strategy that would make Machiavelli proud. This strategy is one that was planned and executed brilliantly by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and that brought about the total disintegration of his opposition. 

All that is left of those who ran against him are tiny fragments. The hungry politicians who lead these fragments cannot possibly compete with Netanyahu’s domestic political acumen. 

Similarly, no Israeli politician is able to compete with Netanyahu’s gravitas in the international arena. This is something that was clearly demonstrated by the recent visit to Tel-Aviv by the Danish prime minister, Mette Frederiksen, and the Austrian chancellor, Sebastian Kurz, to discuss cooperation among the three countries.

“A moral abyss”

The speech given by the Israeli army chief represents a righteous indignation that is typical of Israeli officials. He says that “a moral abyss” exists between Israel and its enemies, and that is a very interesting choice of words. One might think it is self-defeating for the Israeli military and political officials to bring up morality. And yet, here is yet another general who made a career of killing civilians and maintaining a brutal military regime claiming moral superiority.

In truth, a moral abyss does exist between Israel and the Palestinian people. A quick comparison shows the following: From its very founding, Israel had invested billions of dollars in developing and maintaining its military; Palestinians have never had as much as a tank, much less a military force.

For decades Palestinians have been searching for ways to make Palestine peaceful again. Palestinians had suggested establishing a secular democracy with equal rights. When that was rejected, they had agreed to end their resistance and recognized the State of Israel. Then the Palestinian Liberation Organization entered negotiations with Israel and accepted that all it would receive was a small Palestinian State on less than one-quarter of historic Palestine.

When this proved to be impossible, the Palestinians initiated a peaceful, dedicated, and morally just campaign of boycott, divestment, and sanction against the State of Israel. The demands set out by this call are all remedial and are all rooted in international law.

During these same decades, Israel had been engaged in dispossession, land theft, and violence. Palestinians are targeted by Israel regardless of their status or geographic location. Be they citizens of Israel, residents of the West Bank or Gaza, internally displaced, or refugees in camps outside of Palestine, Palestinians are living without rights — pushed off of their lands, prevented from access to basic resources like water, roads, and health care — and are killed on a daily basis.

Israel will not even provide Palestinians with a Covid vaccine. So yes, General Kochavi is right about the moral chasm. However, he and his army have nothing to be proud of.

“Our enemies”

One constantly hears that Israel is surrounded by enemies and that therefore it has no choice but to maintain a strong military force and strike whenever and wherever it sees a threat.

This is not unlike criminals who steal and are then afraid of retribution from their victims or the authorities. The criminals are constantly in need of more weapons, more recruits, and they must always hit first in order to strike fear into their potential enemies.The Anti-Semitic Birth of the Zionist State: A History of Israel’s Self-Hating FoundersSelf-Hating Jews: Miko Peled dives into the history of Zionism and its founder’s prosperity for racism and their disdain for non-secular JewsMintPress News Miko Peled | Mar 24

The Anti-Semitic Birth of the Zionist State: A History of Israel’s Self-Hating FoundersSelf-Hating Jews: Miko Peled dives into the history of Zionism and its founder’s prosperity for racism and their disdain for non-secular JewsMintPress News Miko Peled | Mar 24

The State of Israel was established by acts that constitute crimes. Killing, mass displacement of a civilian population, theft of property and money, and the creation of an apartheid regime. Israel then built a military force that to this day continues to terrorize Palestinians and occasionally its neighboring countries, referring to them all as “enemies.”

One could argue, and indeed should argue, that Israel created enemies by its own criminal behavior. Then Israel feels it has the right to protect itself from the very people it alienated through criminal acts.

The State of Israel was established by acts that constitute crimes. Killing, mass displacement of a civilian population, theft of property and money, and the creation of an apartheid regime. Israel then built a military force that to this day continues to terrorize Palestinians and occasionally its neighboring countries, referring to them all as “enemies.”

One could argue, and indeed should argue, that Israel created enemies by its own criminal behavior. Then Israel feels it has the right to protect itself from the very people it alienated through criminal acts.

They rejoice

Driving south from Jerusalem towards Gaza, one reaches an intersection just north of the first entry point into Gaza, called Erez. Then you drive down a road that goes along the Gaza Strip just east. At one intersection there is a gas station and a dirt road that winds from behind the gas station and up a sandy hill.

At the top of the hill, there are a few trees — one can see the Mediterranean from there, and also Gaza City. When Israel drops bombs on Gaza one can see the smoke and hear the explosions from that spot. Someone dragged up a couch and a few chairs, turning this spot into a favorite for Israelis who enjoy the spectacle.

A Danish news report shows Israelis watching the 2009 bombing of Gaza. TV2 Denmark | YouTube

In fact, a piece in the British paper The Guardian describes the place and the scene during the 2014 assault on Gaza: “People drink, snack and pose for selfies against a background of explosions as Palestinian death toll mounts in ongoing offensive.”

It goes on, describing what I too personally witnessed:

A group of men huddle around a shisha pipe. Nearly all hold up smartphones to record the explosions or to pose grinning, perhaps with thumbs up, for selfies against a backdrop of black smoke…Some bring their children.”

“We investigate”

Kochavi claimed the army investigates, though clearly Israel’s investigations of its own crimes are few, far between, and rarely end up with the violators being held accountable.

“We do everything to prevent killing their civilians,” he says, which should make us wonder in what world General Kochavi lives. Israel not only does not do anything to prevent the death of civilians but for decades has been targeting civilians in both Palestine and Lebanon. This is obvious because, as stated earlier, Palestinians have never had an army.

As the world wonders what the next Netanyahu government will look like, it is clear that Palestinians will continue to live in fear of Israeli terrorism. One has to wonder at what point the world is likely to end the destruction of Palestine and its people by Israel.

Feature photo | Palestinians block Israeli soldiers targeting peaceful protesters near a Jewish settlement Beqa’ot in Jordan Valley in the West Bank, Feb. 29, 2020. Majdi Mohammed | AP

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

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

مركز ثقل العالم ينتقل شرقاً… وطهران مركز تقاطع التاريخ والجغرافيا The center of gravity of the world is moving east … and Tehran is the center of the intersection of history and geography

** Please scroll down for the English Machine translation **

محمد صادق الحسيني

ثمّة حدث بنيويّ على مستوى العالم في طريقه للوقوع من شأنه تغيير شكل وجوهر خريطة التحالفات وموازين القوى العالميّة.

وهو يؤسّس لمرحلة جديدة من التحوّلات والتحديات تتراجع فيها قوى فيما تصعد أخرى لتشكيل جغرافيا آخر الزمان أو ما يُسمّى لدى الأيديولوجيين جغرافياً عصر الظهور…

قوى تقليدية كبرى تتراجع وتضمر فيما قوى جديدة ستأخذ محلّ الصدارة في عالم مليء بالمفاجآت…

في العام 2002 وفي أوج تدافع العالم وتشابكاته بين مَن يدعو لصراع الحضارات (هانتينغتون) ومَن يدعو للحوار بين الحضارات (محمد خاتمي) يقوم الرئيس الصيني بزيارة إلى إيران هي الأولى له بعد الثورة الإسلامية ليعبّر عن تضامنه مع التيار الإيراني المعتدل والعقلاني مقابل الغرب المتوحّش الذي كان يريد الانتقام من كل ما هو غير أميركيّ، بما فيه اوروبا التي كانت بدأت تصفها معاهد الدراسات الأميركية بانها جزء من النصف المظلم من العالم وتحضر لصعود نظرية (نهاية التاريخ) لفوكو ياما، ويتوّج لقاءه بالإمام السيد علي الخامنئي…

يومها كان الخامنئي يعدّ لورقة سمّاها في ما بعد الخطوة الثانية للنهضة الإيرانية الصاعدة… وساعتها بالذات رأى الامام الخامنئي بان اللحظة مناسبة ليقترح على الرئيس الصيني تحالفاً استراتيجياً ضد العنجهيّة والتوحّش الأميركي المتفاقمين…

في تلك السنة اعتذر الرئيس الصيني قبول العرض موضحاً ان بلاده لم تنهِ بعد استعداداتها لعمل كهذا، وهي بحاجة لتنضج ورقتها الخاصة بها في المواجهة ضد أميركا أولاً ومن ثم لكل حادث حديث…

عاد الرجل إلى بكين من دون ان تحدث الزيارة تحوّلاً مهماً في علاقات البلدين عدا انطباعاً لافتاً لديه بوجود جرأة عالية لدى إيران على النظام الدولي التقليدي الذي كان يئن منه العالم واعتقاد راسخ بان لدى الإمام ما يقوله… لينهمك في ما كان يعدّه حزبه من منظومة تحدّ للإمبراطورية الأميركية عرفت في ما بعد بمبادرة «حزام واحد طريق واحد» القاضية بإخراج أميركا تدريجياً وبالاقتصاد وليس بالمواجهة العسكرية عن تصدّر المشهد الدولي للعالم كما نقل لنا السفير المخضرم يومها لي شينتاغ. لكنه لما عاد الى طهران في العام 2016 أي بعد 14 عاماً في ظلّ ظروف دولية اعتبرها مؤاتية وهي خروج إيران من حصار دولي منهك، ونضوج منظومة مبادرته الاقتصادية المعروفة بطريق الحرير، كان هذه المرة هو المبادر في عرض التحالف على الإمام السيد علي الخامنئي…

لعلّ المتابعين والمحللين والباحثين يذكرون انّ موضوع عقد اتفاقيه استراتيجية، بين جمهورية الصين الشعبية والجمهورية الإسلامية الإيرانية، إنما طرح لأول مرة في ذلك الوقت بالذات وأخذ يخضع للبحث والدراسة والتمحيص، من قبل الطرفين، اي منذ شهر 1/2016، حيث طرح هذا المشروع على بساط البحث، أي مباشرة بهد انتهاء الرئيس الصيني شي جين بينغ الى طهران في ذلك التاريخ، حيث جاء في بيان مشترك، صدر عن محادثات الرئيسين، بينغ وروحاني، «أن البلدين قد اتفقا على إجراء مفاوضات لعقد اتفاق تعاون موسّع لمدة 25 سنة»، ينص على تعاون واستثمارات في مجالات مختلفة لا سيما النقل والموانئ والطاقة والصناعة والخدمات».

أيّ انّ هذه الاتفاقية الاستراتيجية، التي تم توقيعها يوم السبت الماضي في طهران، من قبل وزيري خارجية البلدين وانغ يي ومحمد جواد ظريف، ليست وليدة اللحظة وإنما هي نتيجةً لدراسات وأبحاث معمقة، نظراً لطبيعتها الاستراتيجية، التي ستسفر عنها نتائج هامة، في المجالين الاقتصادي والسياسي، وعلى صعيد العالم أجمع، وليس فقط على صعيد العلاقات الثنائية بين البلدين، او على علاقتهما بدول الإقليم فقط، وذلك للأسباب التالية:

ـ أولا: الحجم الهائل للاستثمارات المتبادلة، التي سيتم الاتفاق عليها في هذه الاتفاقية، والتي ستصل الى 600 مليار دولار، خلال العقد الثاني من القرن الحالي. حسب ما كتبته صحيفة «بتروليوم ايكونوميست»، في شهر 9/2019، حيث أوضحت بأنّ الصين ستستثمر ما مجموعه 280 مليار دولار في صناعة النفط والغاز الإيرانية، إضافة الى استثمار 120 مليار دولار في قطاع النقل وبناء مطارات وموانئ الى جانب مبالغ كبيرة أخرى لم يعلن عنها حتى الآن، في مجالات أخرى .

أما صحيفة «نيويورك تايمز» الأميركية فقد نشرت في شهر 7/2020، أن هذه الاتفاقية هي عبارة عن شراكة اقتصادية وأمنية كاملة وأنها لن تقتصر على مجال دون غيره، اذ ان من بين المجالات الهامة، التي سيجري تطويرها في إيران، هو مجال البنى التحتية للجيل الخامس في شبكات الاتصالات (G5)، الى جانب تجهيز البنى التحتية لتشغيل نظام تحديد المواقع العالمي الصيني الجديد (ليكون بديلاً عن نظاكم: جي بي إس المستخدم حالياً).

ـ ثانيا: الطبيعة الشمولية أو الشاملة لهذه الاتفاقية، التي تغطي قطاعات الاقتصاد الإيراني الاساسية، مما يجعلها أقرب إلى خطة إنجاز للبنى التحتية اللازمة لتنفيذ جزء هام من مشروع الصين العملاق، حزام واحد طريق واحد، الأمر الذي يجعل هذه الاتفاقية أقرب الى قاعدة انطلاق، لتعزيز وتسريع الخطوات التالية، المرتبطة بتنفيذ هذا المشروع الصيني، خاصة باتجاه دول آسيوية عديدة محيطة بإيران، من خلال إنشاء شبكات سكك حديدية تربط هذه الدول مع الموانئ الإيرانية، إلى جانب الدول الأفريقية والأوروبية، من خلال الطرق التجارية التي تربط الموانئ الإيرانية عبر التاريخ بأفريقيا وآسيا، انطلاقاً من شمال المحيط الهندي ومضيق هرمز والبحر الأحمر (وهذا ما يفسّر مشروع الحرب الأميركية الإسرائيلية السعودية على اليمن بالمناسبة).

ـ ثالثا: إنّ هذه الاتفاقية الاستراتيجية سوف توفر لإيران عمقاً استراتيجياً هاماً وشريكًا دولياً يسارع الخطى للتربع على عرش العالم، اقتصادياً وسياسياً وعسكرياً، الامر الذي سيساعد إيران بقوة على تجاوز التأثيرات السلبية للعقوبات الأميركية، الاقتصادية والمالية، عليها، كما سيساعدها في الاستغناء عن الشركات الأوروبية المختلفة التخصصات والتي تخلت عن السوق الإيرانية خضوعاً للأوامر الأميركية.

اي انّ البدء بتنفيذ هذه الاتفاقات سوف ينعش الاقتصاد الإيراني بشكل كبير جداً، مما سيدفع بإيران الى مزيد من التقدم المعرفي والعلمي والتكنولوجي والصناعي، الأمر الذي سينعكس إيجاباً على حياة ملايين الإيرانيين الذين فرضت عليهم عقوبات قاسية حرمتهم من الاستفادة من ثروات بلادهم ونالت من مستوى حياتهم وزادت من معاناتهم ليس لسبب إلا لأنهم قرّروا رفض الهيمنة الأميركية على مقدرات بلادهم، التي قرّروا ان تكون تحت سيادتهم وفي خدمة شعبهم وليس في خدمة الشركات الأميركية والأوروبية المتعددة الجنسيات.

ـ رابعا: كما أنّ من الضرورة بمكان النظر الى هذه الاتفاقية من منطلق توقيت توقيعها، الذي يجري الآن، اي بعد مرور سنة على المبادرة الاستراتيجية الصينية، الخاصة بـ «الشرق الاوسط»، والتي طرحت في اجتماعات الدورة التاسعة لمنتدى التعاون العربي الصيني، التي عقدت في شهر تموز 2020 وأهم ما جاء في تلك المبادرة يومها :

الدعوة للاحترام المتبادل، الالتزام بالعدالة والإنصاف، تحقيق عدم انتشار الاسلحة النووية، العمل سوياً على تحقيق الامن الجماعي، وتسريع وتيرة التنمية والتعاون. وقد اتبع وزير الخارجية الصيني وانغ يي، الذي مثل بلاده في الاجتماع المشار إليه اعلاه، يومها طرح هذه المبادرة بتصريحات زادت من وضوحها وأكدت أهميتها، عندما قال خلال الاجتماع: «لا يجوز للمجتمع الدولي اتخاذ قرارات بشأن منطقة «الشرق الأوسط» بدلاً عن شعوب المنطقة». وتابع قائلاً: «إنّ الجانب الصينيّ يدعم بكل ثبات جهود دول «الشرق الأوسط» في الدفاع عن سيادتها واستقلالها وسلامة أراضيها… وأن الصين ترفض أي تدخل في الشؤون الداخلية لدول المنطقة مهما كانت الحجة».

وهذا يعني بشكل واضح جداً أن الصين ستدعم دول المنطقة، وعلى رأسها إيران، في التصدّي للعبث الأميركي الأوروبي فيها والمستمر منذ عشر سنوات، سواءٌ في سورية او العراق او ليبيا او اليمن او فلسطين المحتلة، التي تم تشريد شعبها وإقامة كيان الاحتلال الاسرائيلي على ارضه المغتصبة منذ عام 1948.

ولم يقف الوزير الصيني عند هذه التوضيحات وإنما أضاف وقتها ما هو أهمّ وأعمق لكلامه هذا، حيث قال: «إنّ الصين كعضو دائم في مجلس الأمن الدولي، وبلد كبير مسؤول، قد أصبحت (أيّ الصين) قوة محافظةً ومدافعةً ومساهمة بشكل حازم في النظام الدولي القائم (الراهن) والسلام والتنمية في «الشرق الاوسط».

وعلى الرغم من أنّ هذا الكلام ليس في حاجة للتفسير إلا انّ من الضروري التأكيد على أن الصين تكون قد أعلنت، من خلال هذا الكلام، أنها باتت قطباً اساسياً، ان لم تكن القطب الأساسي، في معالجة المشاكل الدولية والوقوف في وجه سياسات «الهيمنة الغربية وفرض الأمر الواقع بالقوة»، ما يعني انّ مثل هذه الأزمنة الرجعية والإمبريالية قد ولَّت الى غير رجعة.

ـ خامسا: كما لا بدّ من الإشارة الى ان هذه الاتفاقية سوف تفتح آفاقًا جديدةً، على كلّ المستويات، لكلّ من العراق وسورية ولبنان، للانخراط بشكل فعّال، في مشروع طريق واحد وحزام واحد الصيني العملاق، مما سيؤدي الى نهضة اقتصادية عملاقة في تلك البلدان. ويوسّع بالتالي مجالات التعاون بين الصين والدول العربية جميعها، التي قال عنها وزير الخارجية الصيني، في الاجتماع المذكور أعلاه، أنها أهم شريك تجاري دولي في العالم.

وعلى الرغم من أن إيران ليست دولة عربية إلا أنها، وبحكم الكثير من الأسباب والعوامل، جزء أساسيّ، لا بل قوةً إقليميةً كبرى، في منطقة غرب آسيا، الامر الذي يعني أننا أمام تشكل كتلة اقتصاديةٍ كبرى، يزيد عدد سكانها على 500 مليون نسمة وتمتلك ثروات هائلةً، يمكن ان تستثمر بالتعاون الإيجابي مع الصين، في تحقيق ازدهار شامل لشعوب المنطقة، على الرغم من بعض العقبات الموجودة حالياً، بسبب السياسات غير المدروسة لبعض الدول العربية، والتي لن توصل الى اية نتيجة ايجابية لشعوبنا، خاصةً أن هذه السياسات المتبعة من بعض حكامها، التابعة لواشنطن وتل ابيب، قد شكلت رأس حربةٍ لهجوم مضاد للمشروع الصيني طريق واحد وحزام واحد، وبتمويل من هذه السلطات الرجعية.

فها هو الرئيس الاميركي، جو بايدن، يقترح خلال حديثه الهاتفي مع رئيس الوزراء البريطاني بوريس جونسون قبل يوم فقط من زيارة الموفد الصيني لطهران، التفكير في إنشاء ما سماه «بديل ديموقراطي» لمشروع «طريق واحد حزام واحد» الصيني. ايّ انّ بايدن قد أعلن عن مشروع تخريبي للتعاون الصيني الإيراني ومن ثم تعاون الصين مع الدول العربية.

وهنا أيضاً من الضروري بمكان فهم ما اعلنت عنه الامارات العربية المتحدة، من استثمار 10 مليارات دولار في مشاريع اقتصادية مختلفة في الكيان الصهيوني، وذلك قبل أيام معدودة من جولة الوزير الصينيّ للمنطقة، على أنه خطوة أولى على طريق مسار تخريبي إماراتي، بالتعاون مع الكيان الصهيوني، لإلحاق الضرر بالمصالح الاستراتيجية لكلّ من الصين والدول التي تتعاون معها.

ومن هنا أيضاً فإنّ البعض يعتقد بقوّة، بأنه لا بدّ للصين من أن تعيد النظر في سياساتها الاستثمارية، في كلّ من تل ابيب وابو ظبي، خاصة انّ ولي عهد ابو ظبي هو من وقف شخصياً وراء تحريض وزير خارجية ترامب، مايك بومبيو، على تحذير تل أبيب بشدّة من الموافقة على تسليم إدارة ميناء حيفا لشركة موانئ صينية، كما انه هو نفسه الذي حرّض نتن ياهو، عبر دوائر يهودية معينة في الولايات المتحدة (رجل الأعمال اليهودي الاميركي رون لاودَر كمثال) على منع مشاركة الشركات الصينية، في مناقصة لبناء محطة توليد كهرباء، في منطقة بئر السبع، والتي بلغت تكاليف إقامتها ملياراً ونصف المليار دولار!

إنه التنين الصيني الذي يتقدم بخطى ثابتة ومحسوبة بدقة في منطقة نفوذ تاريخية للولايات المتحدة الأميركية ويلاحقها بفطنة عالية وبقدر وهي تتراجع القهقرى يوماً بعد يوم وتحزم حقائبها مغادرة بلادنا بما فيها خيار ستصل اليه في يوم قريب واشنطن وهو التفكير جدياً بإغلاق قاعدتها المتقدمة في المنطقة وهي «إسرائيل» التي باتت تشكل مع الزمن عبئاً ثقيلاً على كاهلها…

وبهذا نكون قد دخلنا بالفعل عملية انتقال مركز ثقل العالم شرقاً مع ظهور قوى إقليمية وأقطاب عالمية مهمة في المسرح الدولي تكاد تكون فيه إيران بيضة القبان في ميزان معادلاته الجديدة في التاريخ كما في الجغرافيا.

بعدنا طيبين قولوا الله…

فيديوات ذات صلة

مقالات ذات صلة

The center of gravity of the world is moving east … and Tehran is the center of the intersection of history and geography

Iran – China: Brzezinski’s nightmare

Mohammed Sadiq Al-Husseini

A global structural event is on its way to being transformed into a map of alliances and the balance of global power.

It establishes a new phase of transformations and challenges in which forces are retreating while others are ascending o form the geography of the end of time or the so-called the age of the Savior’s appearance…

Major traditional powers are retreating while new powers will take the lead in a world full of surprises…

In 2002, at the height of the global scramble and entanglement between advocates of a clash of civilizations (Huntington) and advocates of dialogue between civilizations (Muhammad Khatami), the Chinese president paid a visit to Iran, his first after the Islamic revolution, to express his solidarity with the moderate and rational Iranian current in exchange for the Wild West, which wanted revenge on all that is un-American, including Europe, which was described by American studies as part of the dark half of the world and preparing for the rise of Fukuyama’s theory (the end of history), culminated in his meeting with Imam Ali Khamenei…

At that time, Khamenei was preparing a paper that he later called the second step of the rising Iranian renaissance … And at that very moment, he saw that the moment was appropriate to propose to the Chinese president a strategic alliance against the escalating American arrogance and brutality …

In that year, the Chinese president apologized to accept the offer, explaining that his country had not completed its preparations for a confrontation with America

The man returned to Beijing without making a significant shift in the relations of the two countries (with remarkable impression that Iran had a high boldness in the traditional international system from which the world was moaning, and a firm belief that the imam had something to say) to get involved in what his party was preparing to challenge the the American Empire with was later known as “One Belt, One Road” initiative to gradually drive America out, by economy, and not the military confrontation, at the forefront of the international scene of the world, as Veteran Ambassador Li Chintag conveyed to us at the time. But when he returned to Tehran in 2016, that is, after 14 years under international conditions, which he considered favorable, namely Iran’s exit from an exhausted international blockade, and the maturity of the system of his economic initiative known as the Silk Road, this time he was the initiator of presenting the alliance to Imam Ali Khamenei

Perhaps observers, analysts and researchers will mention that the subject of a strategic agreement between China and Iran, was presented for the first time at that particular time and was subject to research, study and scrutiny by both parties, that is, since 1/2016, when this project was presented. The discussion, started immediately after the end of the Chinese President Xi Jinping to Tehran on that date, as it was stated in a joint statement issued by the two presidents, Ping and Rouhani, that the two countries have agreed to conduct negotiations to conclude an expanded cooperation agreement for a period of 25 years, in various fields, especially transport, ports, energy, industry and services.

This strategic agreement, which was signed last Saturday in Tehran by the foreign ministers of the two countries, Wang Yi and Muhammad Javad Zarif, is not a product of the moment, but rather the result of in-depth studies and research, given its strategic nature, which will yield important results, in the economic and political fields. And at the level of the whole world, and not only at the level of bilateral relations between the two countries, or their relationship with the countries of the region only, for the following reasons:

This strategic agreement, which was signed last Saturday in Tehran by the foreign ministers of the two countries, Wang Yi and Muhammad Javad Zarif, is not a product of the moment, but rather the result of in-depth studies and research, given its strategic nature, which will yield important results, in the economic and political fields. And at the level of the whole world, and not only at the level of bilateral relations between the two countries, or their relationship with the countries of the region only, for the following reasons:

First: The huge volume of mutual investments that will be agreed upon in this agreement, which will reach $ 600 billion, during the second decade of this century. According to what was written by the newspaper «Petroleum Economist», in the month of 9/2019, where it indicated that China will invest a total of 280 billion dollars in the Iranian oil and gas industry, in addition to investing 120 billion dollars in the transport sector and building airports and ports in addition to other large sums that have not been announced. Reported so far, in other areas.

As for The New York Times ( 7/2020), the agreement is a complete economic and security partnership and will not be limited to one area alone. Among the important areas that will be developed in Iran is the field of infrastructure. For the fifth generation in communications networks (G5), in addition to preparing the infrastructure to operate the new Chinese global positioning system (to be an alternative to your system: GPS currently used).

Second: The comprehensive nature of this agreement, which covers the basic sectors of the Iranian economy, which makes it closer to a plan for the completion of the necessary infrastructure to implement an important part of the giant China project, one belt, one road, which makes this agreement closer to a starting base, to strengthen and accelerate the next steps related to the implementation of this Chinese project, especially towards many Asian countries surrounding Iran, through the establishment of railway networks linking these countries with Iranian ports, as well as African and European countries, through trade routes linking Iranian ports throughout history with Africa and Asia. From the north of the Indian Ocean, the Strait of Hormuz and the Red Sea (this is what explains the US-Israeli-Saudi war project on Yemen, by the way).

Third: This strategic agreement will provide Iran with an important strategic depth and an international partner that accelerates the pace to ascend the throne of the world, economically, politically and militarily. The specialties that were abandoned from the Iranian market in compliance with American orders.

The start of the implementation of these agreements will greatly revitalize the Iranian economy, which will push Iran to further knowledge, scientific, technological and industrial progress, which will positively affect the lives of millions of Iranians who have been imposed harsh sanctions that have prevented them from benefiting from the wealth of their country and have compromised their lives and increased their suffering for no reason other than their decision to reject the American hegemony over the capabilities of their country, which they decided to be under their sovereignty and in the service of their people and not in the service of American and European multinational companies.

Fourth: It is also necessary to look at this agreement in terms of the timing of its signing, which is taking place now, that is, one year after the Chinese strategic initiative for “the Middle East”, which was presented at the meetings of the ninth session of the Arab-Chinese Cooperation Forum, which was held in July 2020 and the most important things that came in that initiative on that day:

Calling for mutual respect, commitment to justice and equity, achieving non-proliferation of nuclear weapons, working together to achieve collective security, and accelerating the pace of development and cooperation. Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, who represented his country in the afore mentioned meeting, followed the day to present this initiative with statements that increased its clarity and emphasized its importance, when he said during the meeting: “The international community should not take decisions regarding the” Middle East “region instead of the peoples of the region. ». He added, “The Chinese side firmly supports the efforts of the” Middle East “countries in defending their sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity … and that China rejects any interference in the internal affairs of the countries of the region, regardless of the argument.”

This means very clearly that China will support the countries of the region, foremost of which is Iran, in confronting American and European tampering with it that has been going on for ten years, whether in Syria, Iraq, Libya, Yemen or occupied Palestine, whose people have been displaced and the Israeli occupation entity has been established on its usurped land. Since 1948.

The Chinese minister did not stop at these clarifications, but added what is more important and deeper, as he said: “China, as a permanent member of the UN Security Council and a responsible large country, has become a conservative force, defending and contributing decisively to the existing (current) international order ,peace, and development in the “Middle East”

Although this talk does not need to be explained, it is necessary to emphasize that China has announced, through these words, that it has become a major pole, if not the main pole, in dealing with international problems and standing in the face of “Western hegemony and imposing the status quo by force », which means that such reactionary and imperial times are over forever.

Fifthly: It must also be noted that this agreement will open new horizons, at all levels, for Iraq, Syria and Lebanon, to effectively engage in the One Road and One Giant Chinese Belt project, which will lead to a giant economic renaissance in those countries. Consequently, it expands the areas of cooperation between China and all Arab countries, which the Chinese Foreign Minister said, in the afore mentioned meeting, that it is the most important international trade partner in the world.

Although Iran is not an Arab country, it is, by virtue of many reasons and factors, an essential part, and indeed a major regional power, in the West Asia region, which means that we are facing the formation of a major economic bloc, whose population exceeds 500 million people and possesses wealth. It can invest in positive cooperation with China, in achieving comprehensive prosperity for the peoples of the region, despite some obstacles that currently exist, due to the ill-considered policies of rulers of some Arab countries, affiliated with Washington and Tel Aviv, acting as the spearhead of a counterattack on Chinese project, One Road, One Belt, funded by these reactionary authorities.

Here is the US President, Joe Biden, proposing, during his telephone conversation with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, just a day before the Chinese envoy’s visit to Tehran, to consider establishing what he called a “democratic alternative” to the Chinese “one road, one belt” project. In other words, Biden announced a sabotage project for Chinese-Iranian cooperation, and then China’s cooperation with Arab countries.

Here, too, it is necessary to understand what the UAE announced, investing $ 10 billion in various economic projects in the Zionist entity, a few days before the Chinese minister’s tour to the region, as a first step on the path of Emirati sabotage, in cooperation with the Zionist entity to harm the strategic interests of both China and the countries that cooperate with it.

From here also, some strongly believe that China must reconsider its investment policies, in both Tel Aviv and Abu Dhabi, especially since it was the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi who personally stood behind the incitement of Mike Pompeo, to warn Tal Aviv strongly against handing over the administration of Haifa Port to a Chinese port company, and it is the same who incited Yahoo, through certain Jewish circles in the United States (American Jewish businessman Ron Lauder, as an example) to prevent Chinese companies from participating in a tender to build a power plant In the Beersheba region, whose construction costs amounted to one and a half billion dollars.

It is the Chinese dragon that is advancing steadily and precisely in a historical area of ​​influence of the USA and is pursuing it with high acumen and as much as it retreats day after day and packs its bags to leave our country, including an option that will arrive soon in Washington, which is thinking seriously about closing its advanced base in the region, which is «Israel »Which has become with time a heavy burden on its shoulders.

Thus, we have already entered the process of moving the center of gravity of the world to the east, with the emergence of regional powers and important global poles in the international stage in which Iran is almost the egg in the balance of its new equations in history as well as in geography.

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JOE BIDEN’S HEARTFELT ILLOGIC ABOUT ISRAEL

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

by Lawrence Davidson

Part I—Stale Foreign Policy

Almost everyone in the West who is not a fan of Donald Trump—and if they are a fan, their sanity is to be doubted— assumes that U.S. President Joe Biden is now helping to save both the United States and the world. In some categories such as climate change, environmental regulation, economic reform favoring the poor and middle class, equal rights and, of course, combating the Covid-19 virus, they might have a point.

Nonetheless, it really saddens me to say that, at least in this author’s opinion, President Biden is not “the sharpest tack in the box.” That is, he is not the smartest guy in Washington, D.C. On the other hand, Joe has a strong point. He has the good fortune to have drawn together some very strong and progressive advisers on the domestic side of the political equation. It would also seem that, unlike his predecessor, Biden has the capability to actually listen to these people. He also has accommodated himself to the pressure put forth by true progressives such as Bernie Sanders.

The one exception to this wealth of good advice is on the other half of the job, in the area of foreign policy, in particular foreign policy toward the Middle East, and specifically policy toward the country of Israel. Here is where Joe has difficulty thinking straight and is out of luck with his chosen advisers.

To wit Andrew Bacevich of the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft:

“Beneath a veneer of gender and racial diversity, the Biden national security team consists of seasoned operatives who earned their spurs in Washington long before Donald Trump showed up to spoil the party. So, if you’re looking for fresh faces at the departments of state or defense, the National Security Council or the various intelligence agencies, you’ll have to search pretty hard. Ditto, if you’re looking for fresh insights. In Washington, members of the foreign policy establishment recite stale bromides, even as they divert attention from a dead past to which they remain devoted.”

Part II—Analytical Shortcomings Nos. 1 and 1A: Policy Formulation toward Israel and the Palestinians

In the field of U.S.-Israeli relations, there are two areas where President Biden’s analytical shortcomings show themselves.

(1) The inability to formulate foreign policy that takes into account the behavior of the object of that policy.

President Biden says “my commitment to Israel is completely unshakable. As president, I’m going to continue our security assistance … and maintain Israel’s qualitative military edge. I’m not going to place conditions for the security assistance.” Essentially, this position abdicates U.S. national interests in favor of Israeli interests.

Here is a metaphor for such blind commitment. Think of how one adjusts attitudes toward friendships held over time. If you had a friend (we will refer to this friend as male) who, for whatever reason, evolved into a robber, would you give him a gun every year on his birthday? Would you do that because you remember he was a battered child and you think the arsenal you provide will make him feel secure and, hopefully, lead him to give up his criminal behavior? Or maybe you think he needs the gun because he lives in a bad neighborhood?

Biden believes that “Israelis wake up every morning facing an existential threat. That’s why we always have to be adamant that Israel must be able to defend itself.” But this is just a long-obsolete rationalization for spoiling your friend, who turns out to be head of the strongest gang on the block.

In the meantime, Biden points fingers at his predecessor for adopting exactly the same stance toward the Saudi Kingdom. Biden complained that “Donald Trump has given the government of Saudi Arabia a blank check to pursue a disastrous set of policies.”

(1A) The reverse side of this coin entails Joe Biden’s uninformed attitude toward the Palestinians. These are people who allegedly pose an “existential” threat to Israeli lives.

“The Palestinians need to end incitement in the West Bank and rocket attacks in Gaza. … No matter what legitimate disagreement they may have with Israel, it’s never a justification for terrorism.”

The truth is that it is the Palestinians who are under the “existential threat” and it is the Israelis who exercise massive violence against them, more often than not of a terroristic nature. When Palestinians resist Israeli oppression they are labeled terrorists, they are killed and their infrastructure is destroyed. When they do not resist, more and more of their land is taken. Volunteers must come from Europe to the West Bank so that farmers can harvest their olives without getting shot by Israeli settlers.  Gaza is under blockade, not able to obtain basic supplies or vaccines. It should come as no surprise that “the death tolls in the Israel-Palestine conflict are lopsided, with Palestinians far more likely to be killed than Israelis. According to the Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem, which has compiled month-to-month fatality records, looking at the figures since 2005, 23 out of every 24 conflict deaths have been Palestinian.”

Biden also insists that the Palestinian Authority should “acknowledge, flat-out, Israel’s right to exist—period–-as an independent Jewish state and guarantee the borders.” Actually, the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) did so in 1993. The Palestinian Authority suspended recognition in 2018 due to incessant theft of Palestinian land by Israel.

It appears that Joe Biden takes none of these facts into consideration. Is it because he does not know them? Such ignorance is certainly possible, though for a U.S. president it would be inexcusable. More likely, he has heard the Palestinian side, but cannot interpret it objectively because he is ideologically committed to the Israeli worldview.

President Biden has declared that “I am a Zionist. You don’t have to be a Jew to be a Zionist.” Commitment to Zionism is commitment to an ideology. Seeing the world on the basis of an ideology—any ideology—must distort your understanding. Thus, Biden’s view of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict becomes as lopsided as the conflict’s death toll.

Part III—Analytical Shortcoming No. 2: The BDS Movement

President Biden’s personal refusal to adjust U.S. policy to confront even those aspects of Israeli behavior he says he opposes—settlement activity and threats of annexation—carries over into his personal opposition to the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) Movement against Israel, active both in the U.S. and Europe. Just as his reasoning is often faulty when refusing to match policy to Israeli behavior, it is also faulty as to his opposition to BDS.

On the one hand, “Joe Biden will protect the constitutional right of our citizens to free speech.” On the other, the president “has been unequivocal in condemning calls in the United States to boycott, divest from, and sanction Israel.” In other words, Americans can say it, but in this case, Joe ain’t listening.

According to the president, “the BDS movement singles out Israel—home to millions of Jews—in a way that is inconsistent with the treatment of other nations, and it too often veers into anti-Semitism.”

It is obvious that in the case of the BDS campaign, Israel is “singled out.” However, this is not unusual or “inconsistent with the treatment of other nations.” It is quite consistent. Cuban Americans single out Cuba. Other groups single out China, or Russia, or Myanmar and the like. Does the president dismiss these defenders of human rights because of their single-country focus? Of course not. Thus, he is being a hypocrite when singling out BDS.

In the case of Israel, those involved in BDS are mostly victims of Israeli oppression (Palestinians) or Jews who are utterly disgusted with what the Zionists are doing in their name. Israeli actions, particularly in the Occupied Territories, are in clear violation of international law and human rights declarations, and this gives the BDS a solid legal grounding. So what is Biden complaining about? Nothing that he has seriously thought through. And, when pushed on this, he falls back on the charge of anti-Semitism. Yet, the suggestion that the BDS movement is anti-Semitic is just a red herring.

Here is another quite legitimate justification for Americans, and others in the West, to “single out” Israel for attention by supporting BDS. Israel is indeed unique in that through its agents—Zionist lobbies—it is powerful enough to divert the debate over the aims of foreign policy in relation to much of the Middle East. That is, these agents of a foreign power divert the debate away from what is in the best interests of the U.S. or this or that Western nation, toward the question what is in the best interest of Zionist Israel. As a result, billions of dollars, pounds, euros and other resources have been diverted into making Israel a supremely powerful apartheid state.

Can President Biden understand these arguments? No more than any other self-proclaimed Zionist. As a Zionist he must, if he is to stay ideologically consistent, let Israel off the hook for its crimes. Sometimes this blinkered way of thinking creates embarrassingly contorted positions.

Consider this emotional proclamation made by then Senator Joe Biden at the AIPAC (American Israel Public Affairs Committee) Policy Conference, on March 20, 2016.

“Singling out Israel, [either at the UN or by BDS] is wrong! It’s wrong! I know it’s not popular to say, but it’s wrong, because as the Jewish people know better than any other people, any action that marginalizes one ethnic and religious group imperils us all. It’s incumbent upon us, all of us, that we stand up against those who traffic in pernicious stereotypes, who seek to scare and divide us for political gain, because the future belongs to the bridge builders, not the wall builders.”

Let’s unpack this declaration. We start with the sentence “the Jewish people know better than any other people, any action that marginalizes one ethnic and religious group imperils us all.” It is correct that, given their history, many Jews should recognize Biden’s statement as true. But all those who are Zionists will make an exception for Israel. They must do so in order to avoid outright contradiction. Why so? Because Israel has posited both its identity and its security on the “marginalization of one ethnic and religious group,” namely, Palestinians. Maybe President Biden senses that there is some inconsistency here, but being a Zionist he dismisses it as justified. Addressing an AIPAC audience, of course, meant no one challenged him.

We move on to the next sentence. “It is incumbent that all of us to stand up against those who traffic in pernicious stereotypes.” When Israeli leaders and Zionists such as Joe Biden constantly refer to Palestinians who resist Israeli oppression as “terrorists,” they too are “trafficking in pernicious stereotypes.” It is a safe guess that Biden does not realize this.

Next sentence, “It is incumbent that all of us that stand up against those who … seek to scare and divide us for political gain.” I cannot think of a more apt description of what the Zionist/Israeli aim is here in the United States and the West in general—to scare us away from the defense of Palestinian rights and divide us when it comes to legitimate criticism of Israeli behavior, all done for political gain in the form of maintaining an extraordinary level of financial and military support of an apartheid state.

Finally, the last statement, “because the future belongs to the bridge builders, not the wall builders.” It is amazing that, given his immediate audience, Biden made this statement with a straight face. For he was addressing those infamous for building a wall that divides and isolates.

Essentially, this entire declaration by Joe Biden attributes to BDS all the negative characteristics that Israel in fact displays. As a self-declared, true-believer Zionist, he does this without any recognition of the deep irony his declaration contains.

Part III—Conclusion

How much history does Joe Biden, or his foreign policy advisers, know? For instance, do they know the history of Lyndon Johnson’s presidency? Lyndon Johnson could have gone down in U.S. history as a remarkably successful and progressive leader. He could have done this on the basis of his championing civil rights. But he was destroyed by the Vietnam War—a war fought by the U.S. because of ideological imperatives.

President Biden may well be faced with the same choices. He probably could go down in U.S. history as the 21st century’s first truly great president for all those reasons listed at the beginning of this essay. But these achievements may be diminished by adherence to obsolete and dangerous foreign policies in the Middle East. If he follows his current trajectory he will bury the 2015 Iran agreement—one of the most promising diplomatic achievements of the 21st century. He may linger on in that “forever war” in Afghanistan. He will let both the Israelis and the Saudis off the hook for their past and future abominations. And, he will sustain Israeli dominance in the region even as that country confirms itself as a rightist, racist threat to human rights and international law. Through all of this Joe Biden may lose his moment in history.

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NO TIME FOR ISRAEL TO CELEBRATE ELECTION “VICTORY”

South Front

Israel had no time to enjoy the successful election and Benjamin Netanyahu’s slim victory when Iran reportedly reminded Israel of itself.

On March 25th, while sailing from Tanzania to India, the Israeli-flagged ship “Lori” was allegedly struck by missiles in the Gulf of Oman.

Tehran was immediately accused, and the strike only caused material losses, but no casualties. Photographs of the damaged hull of the ship were shared on Twitter, but little else in the way of evidence.

This alleged incident is the third in a presumed exchange.It began on February 26th, when the Israeli-flagged MV HELIOS RAY suffered a number of explosions, in the Gulf of Oman. It was blamed on Iran.

Then, on March 11th, an explosion struck the Iranian-owned SHAHR E KORD off the coast of Syria. Tehran called it a terrorist attack, but not specifically blaming Tel Aviv.

On Syrian soil, approximately 15 unidentified gunmen attacked posts of the Syrian Arab Army’s 5th Corps and Iranian-backed forces in southern Raqqa, according to the Eye of the Euphrates. They infiltrated the government-controlled area in southern Raqqa with three trucks. The unknown militants abandoned their vehicles and attacked the position near the village of Maksar. At least 9 Syrian and Iranian-backed fighters were killed, and 6 others were captured.

In northern Syria, the situation is becoming increasingly chaotic. Despite a Russian-Turkish agreement to open humanitarian crossings in Idlib, but no such luck.

Ankara immediately denied agreeing to anything of the sort, and even if it didn’t, militants blocked the crossings.

Syrian authorities reopened the Saraqib and Abu Zindain crossings on March 25th. However, both remained blocked by the al-Qaeda-affiliated Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS).

Turkish Forces in the fashion of how they impose the ceasefire agreement in Greater Idlib undertook no action in assisting the opening of the crossings.

In Iraq, the situation is stacked even more against the U.S. and its allies. On March 25th, five US supply convoys were attacked in different parts of Iraq. Three of the attacks were carried out by pro-Iranian groups, while two are still unclaimed.

These attacks continue to be non-lethal and rather cause only material damage.

These groups, as well as all other Iranian allies are a part of the unofficial Axis of Resistance. Yemen’s Ansar Allah are as well a part of it.

In recent days, the Houthis (as Ansar Allah is more commonly known) were accused by Saudi Arabia of being cowards.

While that accusation was sinking in, Riyadh’s forces targeted al-Hudaydah with heavy artillery.

This is explicitly prohibited under a ceasefire agreement, and still violations take place almost hourly. The Saudi-led coalition continues its heavy airstrike activity, and is being steadily pushed back on the ground by the Houthis.

More retaliatory actions are likely expected by Israel, the U.S. and Saudi Arabia in the coming days and weeks, since the Iranian-aligned bloc seems to be making progress.

In Depth of CIA’s Report on American-‘Israeli’ Geographic Perspective on South Lebanon Border في العمق: تقرير وكالة المخابرات المركزية حول المنظور الجغرافي الأمريكي “الإسرائيلي” على حدود جنوب لبنان

In Depth of CIA’s Report on American-‘Israeli’ Geographic Perspective on South Lebanon Border

CIA’s Report made in January 1986, and became available to be published in 2011.

By Staff

The Central Intelligence Agency’s [CIA] report on the decision regarding the occupied southern Lebanon border was made in January 1986, and became available to be published in 2011.

Access to many pages of the recently circulated sanitized copy of the report was denied from the source, as the CIA still considers ‘sensitive.’

‘Israel’s’ ‘Security Zone’, a buffer that runs from the coast to the Golan Heights and extends 5 to 20 kilometers into Lebanon, is the subject of this research paper. The entire explanation circulates around it.

Excerpt from the report as shown as the following:

The ‘security zone’ covers about 800 square kilometers, nearly half of Lebanon south of Sidon. Long neglected by Lebanon’s central government, the south’s poor agrarian economy has been further disrupted by the 1982 invasion and its aftermath. About 1 10,000 of the approximately 250,000 residents in the south live in the ‘security zone’, according to ‘Israeli’ press reporting. Nearly half of the 1 10,000 are Shiite, although there are areas of although there are areas of Christian, Sunni, and Druze concentrations, according to the CIA paper.

The report, which states that Palestinians were the main target of the ‘Israeli’ 1978 and 1982 invasions of Lebanon, explains how the ‘Israeli’ occupation forces began construction activities within its much-needed ‘security zone’ almost immediately following its 1978 invasion.

Since 1982, the predominant changes have involved improving and building new access and border patrol roads, adding and repositioning fixed ‘defensive’ and observation positions, and building new military support facilities. At the southern edge of the security zone, along the 1949 Armistice Demarcation Line, the ‘Israelis’ are building up their border security strip, which includes concertina wire, a security fence, a dragged strip—bare earth groomed to reveal the tracks of intruders—and a patrol road. In several places the border security strip crosses into Lebanese territory to take advantage of favorable terrain or to create a buffer near ‘Israeli’ settlements.

“Tel Aviv is aware that the ‘Israeli’ occupation further radicalizes this religiously diverse area [Lebanon] and contributes to its chronic instability,” the report admits.

If ‘Israel’ eventually makes a “final” withdrawal, the ‘defensive’ role of the border security strip will become more important, the report adds. “Although the threat of retaliation for any cross-border ‘attacks’ and possible assurances from Lebanese leaders and Syria would be important considerations in ‘Israel’s’ post withdrawal ‘defensive’ policy.”

The present ‘Israeli’-created ‘security zone’ in southern Lebanon owes its existence to ‘Israel’s’ desire for a secure northern border and has evolved from the security arrangements ‘Israel’ established following its 1978 invasion of Lebanon.

Today, an assortment of groups willing to engage ‘Israel’ in limited military encounters operate in and through southern Lebanon…To reach the ‘Israeli’ border, or to maximize their prospects of hitting ‘Israel’ with rockets, these groups must infiltrate through the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon [UNIFIL] area of operation—not a difficult task in the ‘Israeli’ view—and the ‘Israeli’ security zone.

This research paper analyzes the transportation network, water resources, and population makeup in the security zone and the changes that have occurred in the local economy and are occurring in the ‘Israeli’ infrastructure within the security zone and along the border.

Translation

في العمق: تقرير وكالة المخابرات المركزية حول المنظور الجغرافي الأمريكي “الإسرائيلي” على حدود جنوب لبنان

تقرير وكالة الاستخبارات المركزية حول القرار المتعلق بالحدود المحتلة في جنوب لبنان تم في يناير/كانون الثاني 1986،  وأصبح متاحاً للنشر في عام 2011.

وقد تم رفض الوصول إلى العديد من صفحات النسخة المطهرة من التقرير التي تم تعميمها مؤخرًا من المصدر، حيث لا تزال وكالة الاستخبارات المركزية تعتبرها “حساسة”.

“المنطقة الأمنية” الإسرائيلية، وهي منطقة عازلة تمتد من الساحل إلى مرتفعات الجولان وتمتد من 5 إلى 20 كيلومترا  في لبنان، هي موضوع هذه الورقة البحثية. التفسير بأكمله يدور حوله.

مقتطف من التقرير كما هو مبين على النحو التالي:

وتغطي “المنطقة الأمنية” حوالي 800 كيلومترمربع، أي ما يقرب من نصف مساحة لبنان جنوب صيدا. وقد تعرض الاقتصاد الزراعي الفقير في الجنوب، الذي أهمله طويلاً من قبل الحكومة المركزية اللبنانية، إلى مزيد من الاضطراب بسبب غزو عام 1982 وما تلاه. ويعيش نحو 10 آلاف شخص من سكان الجنوب البالغ عددهم نحو 250 ألف نسمة في ‘المنطقة الأمنية’، بحسب تقارير صحافية ‘إسرائيلية’. ووفقاً لورقة وكالة الاستخبارات المركزية الأميركية (سي آي إيه) فإن ما يقرب من نصف الـ 10 آلاف من الشيعة هم من الشيعة، على الرغم من وجود مناطق على الرغم من وجود مناطق تمركز مسيحية وسنية ودروزية.

ويوضح التقرير، الذي يذكر أن الفلسطينيين كانوا الهدف الرئيسي لغزو لبنان “الإسرائيلي” في عام 1978 و1982، كيف بدأت قوات الاحتلال “الإسرائيلية” أنشطة البناء داخل “المنطقة الأمنية” التي تشتد الحاجة إليها بعد غزوها عام 1978.

ومنذ عام 1982، شملت التغييرات الرئيسية تحسين وبناء طرق جديدة للوصول ودوريات الحدود، وإضافة مواقع “دفاعية” ومراقبة ثابتة وإعادة تحديد مواقعها، وبناء مرافق دعم عسكرية جديدة. على الحافة الجنوبية للمنطقة الأمنية، على طول خط الهدنة عام 1949، يقوم “الإسرائيليون” ببناء شريط أمن الحدود، الذي يشمل سلك كونسيرتينا، وسور أمني، وشريط جرّ – أرض عارية تم إعدادها للكشف عن مسارات الدخلاء – وطريق دورية. في عدة أماكن يعبر الشريط الأمني الحدودي إلى الأراضي اللبنانية للاستفادة من التضاريس المواتية  أو لإنشاء حاجز بالقرب من المستوطنات “الإسرائيلية”.

ويعترف التقرير بأن “تل أبيب تدرك أن الاحتلال الإسرائيلي يزيد من تطرف هذه المنطقة [اللبنانية] المتنوعة دينياً ويساهم في عدم استقرارها المزمن”.

ويضيف التقرير أنه إذا ما تم انسحاب “إسرائيل” “النهائي”، فإن الدور “الدفاعي” لشريط أمن الحدود سيصبح أكثر أهمية. “على الرغم من أن التهديد بالانتقام من أيهجمات عبر الحدود والتأكيدات المحتملة من القادة اللبنانيين وسوريا سيكونان اعتبارات مهمة في سياسة “إسرائيل” “الدفاعية” بعد الانسحاب”.

إن “المنطقة الأمنية” الحالية التي أنشأتها إسرائيل في جنوب لبنان تدين بوجودها لرغبة “إسرائيل” في تأمين الحدود الشمالية، وقد تطورت من الترتيبات الأمنية “الإسرائيلية” التي أنشئت في أعقاب غزوها للبنان عام 1978.

واليوم، تعمل مجموعة متنوعة من الجماعات الراغبة في الاشتباك مع “إسرائيل” في مواجهات عسكرية محدودة في جنوب لبنان وعبره… للوصول إلى الحدود “الإسرائيلية”، أو لتعظيم احتمالات ضرب “إسرائيل” بالصواريخ، يجب أن تتسلل هذه الجماعات عبر منطقة عمليات قوة الأمم المتحدة المؤقتة في لبنان ،وهي مهمة ليست صعبة في نظر “إسرائيل” والمنطقة الأمنية “الإسرائيلية”.

يحلل هذا البحث شبكة النقل والموارد المائية والتركيبة السكانية في المنطقة الأمنية والتغيرات التي حدثت في الاقتصاد المحلي، وتحدث في البنية التحتية “الإسرائيلية” داخل المنطقة الأمنية وعلى طول الحدود.

Netanyahu May Reach End of His Political Life Soon: Israeli Opposition to Nominate Lapid for Premiership

 March 26, 2021

Zionist PM Benjamin Netanyahu

The Zionist prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, is facing a major challenge, which may lead him to the end of his political life, in light of the reslts of the public elections.

Netanyahu, whose coalition won 52 Knesset seats, is in need of allying with Yamina Party, represented by 7 MKs, and United Arab List (UAL), which includes 4 MKs. On the other hand, the opposition, which has secured 57 Knesset seats, is in need of allying with either Yamina Party or the Arab bloc.

Opposition Leader Yair Lapid, whose centrist Yesh Atid finishing as the second-largest party, is expected to be his coalition’s candidate for premiership.

Being the fourth public election, the Israeli vote indicates a major stalemate which is mainly attributed to the leadership crisis in the occupation entity.

Source: Al-Manar English Website

Zionist Circles: Political Deadlock May Last for Years

Zionist Circles: Political Deadlock May Last for Years

 March 25, 2021

Political circles pointed to long-term stalemate in the Zionist entity as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his rivals are away from securing majority in the Knesset elections.

As vote counting nears its end in the occupation regime, preliminary results show that neither Netanyahu nor his rivals managed to 61 seats in the 120-seat parliament, the number needed to form a new government.

Netanyahu’s bloc has reportedly secured 59 seats in the parliament, while his rivals secured 57 seats, media reports said, noting that Mansour Abbas, leader of the United Arab List (UAL), has secured 4 seats.

Commenting on the initial results, Zionist analysts expected that the deadlock may last for a long time in the Zionist entity.

“The only way to ensure stability is Netanyahu’s success to form a government after securing the 61-seat majority needed in the Knesset. The new government must have a clear vision, and this requires other players in the political scene who are in Netanyahu’s rival bloc,” Daphna Liel, Israeli Channel 12’s political reporter said in a talk show broadcast on the Israeli TV network on Wednesday.

“Elsewhere, we are likely to stay in politically unstable situation,” the Israeli reported added, as cited by Al-Manar’s reporter of Hebrew affairs Ahmad Ammar.

“I think that the question now is whether Netanyahu will manage to form a government with 61-seat majority,” Yaron Dekel political commentator told the Israeli talk show.

“And the most important question here: Will this government withstand? Netanyahu couldn’t hold out with such formation in the past,” he noted.

Source: Al-Manar English Website

US, Israel, EU election farces or ‘Allies of sovereignty’ – Iran, China, Russia?

Friday, 26 March 2021 2:02 PM  [ Last Update: Friday, 26 March 2021 2:02 PM ]

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
US, Israel & EU election farces or the ‘Allies of Sovereignty’ – Iran, China & Russia?
(Ramin Mazaheri is the chief correspondent in Paris for Press TV and has lived in France since 2009. He has been a daily newspaper reporter in the US, and has reported from Iran, Cuba, Egypt, Tunisia, South Korea and elsewhere. He is the author of ‘Socialism’s Ignored Success: Iranian Islamic Socialism’ as well as ‘I’ll Ruin Everything You Are: Ending Western Propaganda on Red China’, which is also available in simplified and traditional Chinese.)

By Ramin Mazaheri and cross-posted with PressTV

Mazaheri is the chief correspondent in Paris for Press TV.

Too bad the elections for European Parliament aren’t this year – we could have enjoyed all three tones of the chord of “liberal (aristocratic) democracy”.

The United States, the European Union and Israel – the triumvirate which dominates half the world and thinks it has the moral and intellectual right to rule the other half – obviously have incredibly flawed, domestically-denigrated and politically feckless elections. As time goes on the world can only be increasingly attracted to innovative alternative political models because this trio is so endemically dysfunctional.

In Israel voters just chose between the war criminal Benjamin Netanyahu or those who claim to be the colonizers who are the “sane” alternative. This election sham will likely need to be repeated for the fifth time in two years, but only a few thick Westerners ever claimed Israel is a democracy, anyway.

Thirty years after the United States penned the structures of the European Union – in a rush of Cold War euphoria and arrogance – there may not be elections which are as meaningless and uninteresting to the actual voting public as those for EU Parliament.

The United States’ recent election was as bad as anyone could have expected, and Americans themselves expected the worst more often than anyone. So I don’t know why France-raised US Secretary of State Antony Blinken thought the last months and years of American carnage and discontent would go unnoticed abroad?

When Blinken assumed a Parisian pose of oblivious nonchalance at the first China-US summit and tried to shame China for not being Western enough, China was ready: his counterpart, Yang Jiechi, delivered an impromptu, blistering, 17-minute critique of America which was redolent of Mao’s era.

In short, Yang’s rebuttal contained well-known and totally accurate critiques of America’s capitalist-imperialist and liberal democratic structures. From “massacring the people of other countries” to the obvious “slaughtering” of African-Americans and beyond, Yang listed a poisonous cornucopia of the inevitable social evils which arise from such outdated social structures.

China’s standing up to the new administration in Washington – and at the very first opportunity – will mark a sea change in geopolitical affairs. China knew it was going to be targeted – as a welcoming gift Biden placed sanctions on two dozen Chinese officials just prior to the landing of their diplomats – and they eagerly responded with, “Let’s fight – ideologically – because it’s clear you don’t have a solid leg to stand on anymore.”

Out with the ‘Axis of Evil’ and in with the ‘Allies of Sovereignty’

Yang’s speech clearly ends the era of the “Axis of Evil”, declared by George W. Bush in his 2002 state of the union address, which put Iran, Iraq and North Korea at the top of the list for allegedly being sponsors of terrorism. However, the actual policy of America was: whoever was not “with us” was an evil entity for being “against us”, and thus Bush II essentially declared at the point of a spear that it was now a unipolar world.

In a new column titled “Welcome to shocked & awed 21st century geopolitics” indispensable global journalist Pepe Escobar agreed that China’s hour-long diplomatic give-and-take meant that “21st century geopolitics will never be the same again”. He also noted that the unified, unbowed response to Yang’s speech by Iran, China and Russia amounted to an open “triple slap on the (US) hegemon” with a dueling glove.

So what is it which unifies this Asian triumvirate?

It’s a group whose essential demand is something which resonates universally, and which was the only logical and inevitable retort to those (the US, EU & Israel) who insist on a unipolar world: it’s an “alliance of sovereignty”, i.e. the right to resist a unipolar world where domestic affairs cannot be decided locally. The fundamental basis of this stance is anti-imperialism.

Sovereignty is what France denies to Africa, what the Monroe Doctrine still denies to Latin America, what Israel denies to the Middle East and what – it’s often poorly understood – Brussels denies to the southern and eastern members of its own bloc. Sovereignty is an essential demand in a world full of nations but it’s an illegitimate demand and even seditious blasphemy to assert, as Yang did, that, “Neither the United States itself nor the Western world represent international public opinion.”

Let the US and Israel continue to wave the bloody flag of World War II and perhaps dub Iran, Russia and China the “Axis of Evil II” all they want: As the Yellow Vests, Brexit and Trump illustrate, many of their own subjects are already painfully aware that national sovereignty is a human right which has become unbearably stifled in favor of 1%-er capitalist globalization.

The roles of the ‘Allies of Sovereignty’ get more and more openly declared

Obviously, once China gets involved militarily then it’s all over – there will be a global victory for sovereignty.

Russia got involved militarily in Syria — the US lacked the diplomatic credibility for a repeat of the Iraq & Afghanistan invasions, and they lacked the military supremacy, and they also blinked because they have lost faith in their own cause — and they were able to assure the sovereignty of Syria.

Iran is the most involved militarily: they take the most risks and remain the most at risk of assaults – this is perhaps the price to be paid for earning the partnership of those two much larger regions, both of which are big enough to be continents. Revolutionary Iran has won many regional countries if not outright sovereignty then at least temporary reprieves, measures of peace and, that most essential ingredient, hope. Iran deranges the West the most: there is no logical reason for Iran to be included with these two much larger powers except for the fact that Iran obviously punches way above its weight solely via decades of advanced political modernity, social merit and intelligent redistribution of its natural economic resources.

China and Russia are in a conundrum which was made clear in both Yang’s remarks and by Russia’s official response, which said that Moscow’s relationship with the EU, “has been destroyed by unilateral decisions made from Brussels”: China and Russia are trying to uphold a rights-based system of international law with a triumvirate who has no respect for it.

The United Nations – the fulcrum of this system – is totally irrelevant to Americans. Given the “you’re either with us or against us” worldview they openly declared – with all the subsequent violations of international law via illegal sanctions, via Guantanamo Bay, via pulling out of treaties like the JCPOA, etc. – Moscow and Beijing should have realized that “only unilateral decisions” has been the Western worldview for many years. The West will never say what China and Russia apparently want to hear: “You’re either with the United Nations or against us.”

Contrarily, Iran has far fewer expectations that the UN is an impartial body. Going back to the chemical weapons atrocities by Iraq more than three decades ago, Iran sees it is quite necessary to take risks because the “international community” – dominated by Western interests and democracy-gutting vetoes – so often don’t come to save the innocent until after the bullets have flown.

What is the “international community”? To many – like the US – it is nothing. To others – like China, Russia and France – it is worth saving and using, and largely because they can get enough of what they want. To many others – like Iran and countless other nations – it is not useful without major reforms first. But these analyses are all moot:

The concept of national “sovereignty” can and must exist before, during and after any discussion of how, what, who, where or when this “international community” is formally arranged – refusal to recognize this necessarily implies some sort of one-state/unipolar world. 

“Sovereignty” needs allies today, but the situation of “sovereignty” is not as dire as it was in 2002, (although a Yellow Vest will certainly disagree). In case the new Biden administration was wondering they now know: Beijing is not about to side with the Western triumvirate (or, more accurately, their 1% class) over their own sovereignty.

If pushed like Russia was in Syria, Beijing may even fight to protect the sovereignty of certain other nations, such as Iran. 

Geopolitics moves much slower than the average person may think, but for a plethora of enormous reasons which go far beyond a debate in Alaska – four years of the curtain-lifting outsider Donald Trump, the “no strings attached for bankers” fiscal policy disasters of QE and ZIRP, an unregulated private high finance sector, the disputed election of Joe Biden, the atrocious Great Lockdown decisions of the West, etc. – the unilateral world ordered by the West has wilted. What we now have is two camps which contain half the world.

What’s key to grasp is that what is truly “up for grabs” is the other half: Latin America and Africa. For centuries they have had no sovereignty – and the plunder of their wealth is what led to the West’s current success – and restoring it is the inevitable goal of the “Allies of Sovereignty”.

Were the Western triumvirate (and we can include a fourth note to that chord: many of the key members of the 54-nation English Commonwealth) not so bloody capitalist-imperialist they would be working to maintain the current status quo between China and the West which has been, ultimately, mutually-beneficial for both groups for several decades.

However, Beijing said the new administration of Joe Biden came to the first Sino-US summit to emit “a strong smell of gunpowder and drama” – China was clearly unimpressed, and they clearly know who their real allies are.

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


Press TV’s website can also be accessed at the following alternate addresses:

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IRANIAN MISSILES REPORTEDLY HIT ISRAELI-OWNED CARGO SHIP IN ARABIAN SEA (PHOTOS)

South Front

 25.03.2021

Iranian Missiles Reportedly Hit Israeli-Owned Cargo Ship in Arabian Sea (Photos)

On March 25, Iranian missiles hit an Israeli-owned cargo ship as she was sailing in the Arabian Sea, according to the Israeli media.

The ship, identified by some observers as “LORI,” was sailing from Tanzania to India, when she came under attack. The missile strike caused material losses. However, no casualties were reported.

The incident was reported to Israel’s security establishment as well as to the owners of the cargo ship, the Haifa-based XT Management which is chaired by Israeli Udi Angel.

This was not the first alleged attack on an Israeli ship near Iran’s waters. On February 26, the Israeli-owned MV HELIOS RAY experienced a number of explosions while sailing in the Sea of Oman. Israel claimed that the vessel was attacked by Iranian forces. However, Tehran denied these claims.

Later on March 11, an explosion rocked an Iranian-owned ship named SHAHR E KORD off the shores of Syria. Tehran said that the incident was a “terrorist attack”.

The new attack in the Arabian Sea will likely lead to more tensions between Israel and Iran, who appear to be engaged in a covert naval war. A recent report by the Wall Street Journal revealed that Israel targeted over a dozen Iranian ships bound for Syria in the last two years. Most of the targeted vessels were carrying oil.

MORE ON THIS TOPIC:

Israel election: The triumph of Kahanism

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

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

Richard Silverstein

24 March 2021 15:13 UTC |

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

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

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

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

Collapse of Blue and White

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

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

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

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

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

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

Extreme nationalist views

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

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

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

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

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

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

Breaking with precedent

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

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

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

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

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

Flirting with terrorists

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Probe into the Israeli Vaccine Policy and its Outcome is beyond Damning.

 BY GILAD ATZMON

CP SIDE EFFECTS.jpg

Report by Gilad Atzmon

In Israel yesterday, an independent legal body that calls itself the Civilian Probe (CP)* published its finding regarding the catastrophic impact of the Pfizer vaccine on the nation.

In their report, which they submitted to the Attorney General and the Health Minister, the committee listed a chain of critical legal and ethical failures that point at a possible attempt to mislead not just Israelis but also the entire world. Since the beginning of January I have been reporting on an undeniable correlation between vaccinations, cases and deaths (here , here, here and here ). The CP confirms my suspicions but their study also presents alarming medical findings regarding the scale of lethal side effects.  

In the document the CP points at a government attempt to conceal its dealing with Pfizer. The document states that “the Pfizer-Israel agreement is suffocated with redacted segments, consequently, it is not possible to analyze it legally and/or fully grasp Its implications as far as public health is concerned… This concealment casts a heavy shadow over anyone who took part in the (Israeli/Pfizer) negotiations…”

The CP then continues arguing that “in order to generate demand (amongst the people) for the vaccine, the government and the Ministry of Health have launched an unprecedented aggressive campaign, aiming to make Israelis rush to ‘get vaccinated.’ During that campaign all the basic rules of medical caution and ethics were disregarded, and with them also key guidelines formed after WWII regarding participation in medical trials (the Nuremberg Code). Instead of transparent and clear explanations, the public was misled by repeated official statements that the (Pfizer vaccine) has been ‘approved by the FDA’ after passing ‘rigorous tests.’”

The CP is accusing the state of Israel of intentionally reckless conduct… “Monitoring systems that enable the detection of side effects are a basic and critical condition for granting a permission for mass use of any new medicine, certainly when a mass operation of treatment that is defined as experimental is given to millions, and especially when this treatment is given to an entire country…”.

But Israel failed to set such a monitoring system.

“On the one hand, the state did not inform the citizens that Pfizer’s vaccine is in experimental stages that have not yet been completed, and that at this stage they are actually taking part in the experiment. On the other hand, the state did not maintain transparent and open control and monitoring systems for the public. As a result, there is a serious concern that this critical and negligent omission stems from: (a) the fear that such disclosure could interfere with the fulfilment of the objectives that may be implied by the Israel-Pfizer agreement or (b) the fear of diminishing demand for the exceptional number of vaccines that were purchased by Israel in advance, and / or (c) the fear of revealing unflattering results of the ‘experiment’ being carried out in Israel.” 

The CP is brave to admit that the lack of a monitoring system isn’t just a potential crime against the Israeli people, it may also be a crime against the rest of the world (i.e., humanity):


“In the absence of a transparent monitoring system that reports on side effects, not only have the Israeli government and the Ministry of Health failed citizens by providing them with misleading information, the Israeli government have failed both Pfizer and the rest of the world awaiting the results of the (so called) ‘real world experiment’ (that is taking place in Israel).”

To remove any doubt, the CP alerts the Israeli Attorney General to the possible criminal act implied by Israel’s vaccine policy.

“This is an alleged deception, suspiciously criminal, which should be thoroughly examined before the Attorney General allows the Israeli government to continue the alleged campaign of deception of Israel’s citizens and the (rest of the) world.”

The CP extended their study well beyond the legal realm, as it also attempts to fill the wide hole created by the State’s lack of a monitoring system.

“What do we learn from the facts on the ground?” the CP report asks. “An examination of mortality data published by the government shows that there is a correlation between number of vaccinations and the number of deaths. The excess mortality is noticeable among people up to 70 and also among adults over the age of 70, and remains even after offsetting the deaths attributed to Corona. In the population over the age of 70 – in January 2021 an excess mortality of 19.5% was observed compared to October 2020 – the month when the corona data were highest, and 22.4% compared to January 2020. In the younger population – an excess mortality of 7% was observed in January 2021 compared to the month October 2020 – the month in which the corona death numbers were the highest, and 7% compared to January 2020. It should be noted that this trend continues in the following month as well.”

As mentioned above I have been writing about the devastating correlation between vaccines and deaths since early January. In Britain and the USA, we detect identical correlation between mass vaccination and death. However, far more problematic is the realm of side effects, something which governments, the WHO, the corrupted pharmaceutical industry, and of course social media giants attempt to suppress in the most Orwellian manner. The Israeli CP seems to have produced the first robust report on Pfizer’s vaccine side effects. They published a table of their findings, which they summarize here:

“As one can detect looking at the table – there are close to 200 deaths, and this – only by examining about 800 reports of cases of serious side effects. As mentioned, the CP is still working on analyzing side effects and we have hundreds of additional reports that are subject to analysis. Our study so far indicates that about 25% of deaths are from people under the age of 60. About 15% of them are under 50 years old. 7 of the deceased are at young ages – below age 30. Also, the study identified 27 cases of heart problems in people under the age of 60, of which 24 cases are among young people aged 17-30.  Regarding the issues to do with female medical complications (including labor-complication, delayed menstruation or irregular menstruation, etc.) – it should be noted that the committee has about 200 additional reports that have not yet been included in the final list of our findings.”

For many years, I doubted whether there was a force in the middle east that could face, let alone defeat, Israel. I am pretty convinced now that with Netanyahu at the helm and Pfizer taking care of the nation’s wellbeing, Israel doesn’t really need enemies. However, every world citizen who is concerned about the future of humanity should be alarmed by the CP’s findings and particularly by the desperate and relentless attempts to suppress free academic, scientific and ethical discussion about Covid, the so-called ‘vaccines’ or anything else.

*To read the CP report click here

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Weekly Report on Israeli Human Rights Violations in Palestine (11-17 March 2021)

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

Israeli Human Rights Violations in Palestine

11 – 17 March 2021

  • IOF excessive use of force in the West Bank and occupied East Jerusalem: 23 Palestinians wounded, including 3 children and Palestinian minister
  • One Palestinian sustained wounds after an explosive device left by IOF detonated in the central Jordan valleys
  • Three IOF shootings reported at agricultural areas (east) and three others on fishing boats in Gaza sea
  • In 138 IOF incursions into the West Bank, including occupied East Jerusalem: 71 civilians arrested, including 12 children and 2 sisters
  • IOF arrest a child attempting to cross the Gaza border fence
  • IOF conducted limited incursion into eastern Central Gaza
  • 5 commercial facilities and 4 houses demolished (2 self-demolished ) in occupied east Jerusalem
  • Israeli decision to confiscate 50 dunums in Bethlehem and demolish 15 tents in Khirbet Tana
  • Settler-attacks: attacks on civilians and attempts to confiscate lands in Salfit, Hebron and Nablus
  • IOF established 55 temporary military checkpoints in the West Bank and arrested 3 Palestinian civilians on said checkpoints

Summary

Israeli occupation forces (IOF) continued to commit crimes and multi-layered violations against Palestinian civilians and their properties, including raids into Palestinian cities that are characterized with excessive use of force, assault, abuse and attacks on civilians that are mostly conducted after midnight and in the early morning hours. Even more, IOF continued its demolition operations and delivery of cease-construction and demolition notices in the West Bank, including occupied East Jerusalem. PCHR documented 228 violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law (IHL) by IOF and settlers in the oPt.

IOF shooting and violation of right to bodily integrity:

IOF shot and injured 23 civilians (including 3 children and a minister) in its excessive use of force against civilians in the West Bank: 11 were wounded in clashed during IOF demolition of buildings in Kafr ‘Aqab, occupied east Jerusalem; 3 during IOF incursion into Dheisha refugee camp, Bethlehem; 5, including Minister of Labor Nasri Abu-Jash (54) who sustained to bullets in the abdomen and back in IOF suppression of a peaceful protest in Nablus; another civilian was wounded in Nablus 2 children in al-Jalazone refugee camp, Ramallah; and another civilian was shot near he annexation wall in Qalqilya. Dozens of others suffocated due to tear gas inhalation.  Also, one civilian was wounded after an explosive device left by IOF detonated in central Jordan valleys.

In the Gaza Strip, 5 IOF shootings were reported on agricultural lands eastern Gaza; and 3 at fishing boats in the Gaza sea.

IOF incursions and arrests of Palestinian civilians: IOF carried out 138 incursions into the West Bank, including occupied East Jerusalem. Those incursions included raids of civilian houses and shootings, enticing fear among civilians, and attacking many of them. During this week’s incursions, 71 Palestinians were arrested, including 12 children and 2 sisters.

In the Gaza Strip, IOF conducted one limited incursion into eastern Central Gaza and arrested a child attempting to cross the Gaza Border.

Demolitions:

PCHR documented 14 incidents:

  • East Jerusalem: house gate demolished in Isawiya; shop and two houses self-demolished in Silwan; 4 barracks dismantled (2 used as residences and 2 used as shops) in az-Za’ayyem; shop and warehouse demolished and several business owners received demolition notices in Kafr ‘Aqab.
  • Bethlehem: ratification of Israeli decision to confiscate 50 dunums from Husan and Nahalin villages; 4 agricultural rooms demolished in Beit Ta’mir; and 4 dunums razed in al-Makhrour area.
  • Hebron: room and barracks demolished eastern Halhul; and agricultural room dismantled eastern Yatta.
  • Nablus: 15 tents (residential and for sheep) demolished in Khirbet Tana.
  • Ramallah: n15 dunums razed in Ras Karkar.
  • Jericho: 4 residential barracks demolished.

Settler-attacks: PCHR fieldworkers reported and documented 5 attacks:

  • Salfit: rioting in Kifl Haris.
  • Hebron: civilians assaulted in Yatta and road constructed in a 25-dunum land in eastern Hebron in prelude to its confiscation.
  • Nablus: Palestinian lands assaulted in Jalud as well as an under-construction house in Burin.

Israeli closure policy and restrictions on freedom of movement:            

The Gaza Strip still suffers the worst closure in the history of the Israeli occupation of the oPt as it has entered the 14th consecutive year, without any improvement to the movement of persons and goods, humanitarian conditions and bearing catastrophic consequences on all aspects of life. The United Nations confirmed that the Gaza conditions are worsening, with deteriorating health, power, and water services. The UN emphasized that the Gaza Strip requires immense efforts in the housing and education sectors and to create job opportunities.

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

  1. Shooting and other Violations of the Right to Life and Bodily Integrity
  • At approximately 04:00 on Thursday, 11 March 2021, an Israeli military force accompanied with dozens of Israeli soldiers and Special Forces Unit moved into Dheisheh refugee camp, south of Bethlehem. They raided and searched houses, blew up its doors, frightened its inhabitants, and arrested Khader ‘Abed al-Jabbar al-Hasanat (44). During which, a group of Palestinian young men gathered in the camp’s eastern neighborhood and threw stones and Molotov Cocktails at IOF, who attacked the protestors, chased them on the camp’s streets and fired live bullets and heavy sound bombs at them. As a result, 3 protestors were shot with live bullets.
  • At approximately 09:30, IOF stationed along the Gaza’s border fence with Israel, east of Deir al-Balah city in the center of the Gaza Strip, and east of Gaza Valley (Juhor al-Deek) village, southeast of Gaza City, opened fire at agricultural lands; no causalities were reported.
  • At approximately 11:00 on Friday, 12 March 2021, a peaceful protest took off in front of Beit Dajan village council, east of Nablus, north of the West Bank, at the call of the villagers and with the participation of the National Action Factions in Nablus, towards lands under the threat of confiscation, east of the village. The protestors raised Palestinian flags and chanted slogans against the Israeli occupation and settlers. When the protestors arrived at the area, they found a large number of Israeli soldiers awaiting them. The protestors chanted slogans again against the Israeli occupation and settlers. IOF immediately suppressed the protest and fired live and rubber bullets, sound bombs and tear gas canisters at the protestors. As a result, 5 civilians, including a child, were wounded. The wounded civilians were as follows:
  1. A child was shot with a Two-Two bullet in his left foot.
  2. Minister of Labor Nasri Khalil Saleem Abu Jash (54) was shot with 2 rubber bullets in his abdomen and back.
  3. 26-year-old male was shot with 2 live bullets in his feet.
  4. 60-year-old elderly was shot with 2 rubber bullets in his feet.
  5. 30-year-old male was shot with 2 rubber bullets in his feet.

All of the wounded civilians were taken to Rafidia hospital for treatment. Also, many protestors suffocated due to teargas inhalation and received treatment on the spot.

  • Following the Friday prayer, on 12 March 2021, IOF suppressed hundreds of Palestinian worshipers gathered in al-Ghazlay yard in al-Asbat Gate area. IOF beat and pushed the worshipers while they were getting out of al-Aqsa Mosque in occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City and fired sound bombs at them. During which, IOF arrested Omar Basem Zaghir (22) after severely beating him. It should be noted that IOF imposed a cordon on the Old City in the morning, established dozens of military checkpoints at al-Aqsa Mosque gates, checked Palestinian worshipers’ IDs, prevented 321 persons living in the West Bank from performing prayers at the mosque, and arrested 4 civilians under the pretext of entering Jerusalem without permits. Among the arrestees were: ‘Abed al-Raheem al-Sa’idi and Ahmed Abu ‘Asem, from Tulkarm.
  • At approximately 06:00 on Saturday. 13 March 2021, IOF stationed near the annexation wall, at Bereen Gate, southwest of Qalqilya, fired teargas canisters at Palestinian workers, who attempted to enter Israel for working. As a result, a 26-year-old male, from Beita village in southern Nablus, was hit with a teargas canister in his head and taken to a governmental hospital in the city for treatment. He was then referred to Istishari Arab Hospital.
  • At approximately 15:05 on Saturday, 13 March 2021, Israeli gunboats stationed off Waha Shore and off al-Soudaniyia Shore, northwest of Beit Lahia, north of the Gaza Strip, chased Palestinian fishing boats sailing within 3 nautical miles and fired live bullets and sound bombs around them, causing fear among the fishermen and forcing them to flee. No casualties were reported.
  • At approximately 16:10, settlers from “Givat Ronim” settlement outpost established in southeastern of Nablus, and under IOF protection, attacked Montaser Nafi’ Mansour’s under-construction house located in the eastern side of Burin village. The settlers demolished the house walls before the villagers’ arrival. Meanwhile, clashes erupted between the villagers and settlers and continued for an hour. During which, IOF fired live bullets, sound bombs and teargas canisters to disperse the villagers. As a result, a 19-year-old male was shot with a live bullet in his left thigh and below his abdomen and taken to Rafidia Governmental Hospital in Nablus.
  • At approximately 08:00 on Sunday, 14 March 2021, Israeli gunboats stationed off Waha Shore, northwest of Beit Lahia, north of the Gaza Strip, chased Palestinian fishing boats sailing within 3 nautical miles and opened heavy fire around them, causing fear among the fishermen and forcing them to flee. No casualties were reported.
  • At approximately 09:00, IOF attacked Nabil Saqer ‘Obad, from Kifl Haris village, north of Salfit, adjacent to “Ariel” settlement, north of the city. ‘Obaid said that while he was heading to his work and walking on the street, Israeli soldiers shouted at him, saboteur stop! They pointed their guns at him and ordered him to stop. He added that he stopped and Israeli soldiers stationed behind trees approached him. Meanwhile, the soldiers pushed him to the ground and an Israeli soldier kicked him at his head and asked him, where is the knife? ‘Obaid told the soldier that his is not a saboteur and he is a worker waiting his employer to go with him to work. IOF confiscated ‘Obaid’s cell phone and called his employer to make sure that he is really waiting him. They released him later.
  • At approximately 13:00, IOF stationed along the Gaza’s border fence with Israel, east of Khan Yunis, opened fire at agricultural lands, east of al-Qarara village, east of Khan Yunis; no casualties were reported.
  • At approximately 14:00, IOF stationed at military site no(16), north of Beit Hanoun, north of the Gaza Strip, opened heavy fire at Palestinian shepherds who approached the fence, causing fear among them and forcing them to flee. No casualties were reported.
  • At approximately 20:30, IOF moved into Qaryut village, southeast of Nablus, and fired heavy sound bombs and teargas canisters at residential houses. Meanwhile, 3 paramedics namely ‘Abed al-Raheem Mahmoud Falah Hamdan, Bashar Mu’amer Qaryuti and Mo’tasem Mefleh Ahmed Badawi drove a vehicle with Red Crescent plate and headed to help civilians, who suffocated due to teargas inhalation. The paramedics provided help for Kasab and ‘Awad Rateb families. When the paramedics got out of Rateb’s house, they found that IOF broke the vehicle’s rear window. The paramedic Bashar Mu’amer Qaryuti said to PCHR’s fieldworker that:

“At approximately 20:30 on Sunday, 14 March 2021, while I was at my duty in the Palestinian Red crescent office in the center of  Qaryut village, southeast of Nablus, along with my colleagues ‘Abed al-Raheem Mahmoud Falah Hamdan and Mo’tasem Mefleh Ahmed Badawi, we knew that IOF moved into the village and they fired teargas canisters at residential houses. We immediately got into the PRCS vehicle and headed to Kasab family’s house, where we provided aid for 6 persons. After that, we headed to ‘Awad Rateb’s house and found 4 soldiers stood in front of the house. We managed to enter the house and provide help of its inhabitants. When we got out of the house, we found the vehicle’s rear window was broken. We asked neighbors and they told us that IOF broke the window and flee towards ‘Ali settlement. We phoned the Palestinian Liaison office and told them about what happened.”  

  • At approximately 08:30 on Monday, 15 March 2021, IOF stationed along the Gaza’s border fence with Israel, east of Khan Yunis, opened fire at agricultural lands, east of Khuzaʽa village, east of Khan Yunis; no casualties were reported.
  • At approximately 10:35, Israeli gunboats stationed off Waha Shore, northwest of Beit Lahia, north of the Gaza Strip, chased Palestinian fishing boats sailing within 3 nautical miles and opened heavy fire around them, causing fear among the fishermen and forcing them to flee. No casualties were reported.
  • At approximately 20:30, IOF stationed at a military watchtower established near “Beit El” settlement, near Jalazone refugee camp, north of Ramallah, fired live bullets at two children, who were present near the entrance to al-Yasmin neighborhood, adjacent to the mentioned settlement, under the pretext of throwing stones. As a result, the 16-year-old child was shot with a rubber bullet in his leg and the 15-year-old child was shot with a rubber bullet in his foot. Both of them were taken to Palestine Medical Complex in Ramallah for treatment. This coincided with IOF incursion into the neighborhood, as they raided and searched houses and confiscated the recording device of the surveillance cameras.
  • At approximately 09:30 on Tuesday, 16 March 2021, IOF stationed along the Gaza’s border fence with Israel, east of Khan Yunis, opened fire at agricultural lands, east of Khuzaʽa village; no casualties were reported.
  • On the same day, 11 civilians were shot with rubber bullets, while 31 others suffocated due to teargas inhalation during the IOF incursion into al-Matar neighborhood in Kafr ‘Aqab village, north of occupied East Jerusalem. IOF also demolished a shop and a store, levelled plot of land and delivered several notices for shops’ owners.
  • At approximately 10:00 on Wednesday, 14 March 2021, ‘Ali Mousa Jahaleen Abu Dahok (18), from Deir Hajla village in eastern Jericho, sustained critical wounds due to the explosion of an object of Israeli military remnants. According to PCHR’s investigations, Abu Dahok was wounded while breeding sheep in central valley area, near the Jordanian border, east of the city. Abu Dahok sustained deep wounds in his feet and taken to Arab Society Hospital in Bethlehem.
  1. Incursions and arrests

Thursday, 11 March 2021:

  • At approximately 01:00, IOF moved into Harmala village, east of Bethlehem. They raided and searched Na’eem Asakra’s house and handed his two sons, Emad (27) and Eyad (22), summonses to refer to the Israeli Intelligence Services in “Gush Etzion” settlement, south of the city.
  • At approximately 02:30, IOF moved into Azza refugee camp, north of Bethlehem. They raided and searched Nadeem al-Azza’s (25) house and arrested him.
  • At approximately 02:30, IOF moved into Dura, southwest of Hebron. They raided and searched Ahmed Moneef Qazzaz’s (24) house and arrested him.
  • Around the same time, IOF moved into Beit Ulla, west of Hebron. They raided and searched Hussam Hami Fawargha’s (26) house and arrested him.
  • At approximately 04:00, IOF moved into Sa’ir, north of Hebron. They raided and searched a house belonging to Jaradat family, and arrested Safa’ Hazem Jaradat (24), and her sister, Amany (21).
  • At approximately 09:00, IOF moved into al-Sawahira al-Sharqiya village, east of the occupied East Jerusalem. They raided and searched Izz al-Dein Mohammed Mashahera’s (23) house and arrested him.
  • At approximately 14:00, IOF stationed at Alsilsila Gate, one of the Aqsa Mosque’s Gates, and arrested Khaled Riyad al-Issawi (38), head of the preaching and guidance department at the Aqsa Mosque, after ending the Isra’ and Mi’raj prayers. IOF took him to one of the police centers in the city and released him on the next day on condition that banning his entry to the Aqsa Mosque for a week.
  • At approximately 21:00, Israeli Intelligence Services handed the Jerusalem Affairs Minister, Adnan Adel Tawfiq Ghaith (46), two military decisions after summonsing him to al-Maskobiya police center. First decision is renewing his ban from leaving his residence place in Silwan and preventing him from moving and being present inside the occupied Jerusalem. The other decision is banning any communication with dozens of officials and activists including the Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas.

It should be noted that Ghaith was arrested and interrogated several times since being issued as a governor, and several military decisions, renewable every 6-month, were issued against him, such as imposing the house arrested into his place of residence in Silwan; preventing him from communicating with specific figures; banning his entry to the West Bank; banning him from holding or presenting any activities or conferences inside Jerusalem; and providing financial aids for institutions.

  • IOF carried out an incursion in Kifl Haris, north of Salfit. No arrests were reported.

Friday, 12 March 2021:

  • At approximately 19:00, IOF arrested Abdul Rahim Rami al-Khaldi (17), from al-Bureij camp, while attempting to pass the border fence with Israel, east of the camp.
  • Abdul Rahim’s father, Rami al-Khaldi (born in 1974), said that at approximately 14:30, on Friday, his son got out of the house, so they noticed his absence and started asking their relatives about him. At approximately 12:30 on Saturday, Rami received a phone call from the Israeli police to inform him that his son is under arrest and he will be presented before the Court of Ashkelon.
  • At approximately 19:30, IOF arrested Ehab Abu Sneina (23) and Shadi ‘Amira (21), after getting out of the Aqsa Mosque, and took them to one of the police centers in the city. IOF released them on bail of 1000-NIS and banning their entry to the Aqsa Mosque for 15-days.
  • IOF carried out (4) incursions in Azzun, east of Qalqilya, Halhul, Yatta, and Beit ‘Amra villages in Hebron. No arrests were reported.

Saturday, 13 March 2021:

  • At approximately 03:00, IOF moved into Husan, west of Bethlehem. They raided and searched Mohammed Younis Hamamera’s (23) house and arrested him.
  • At approximately 03:30, IOF moved into Beit Furik village, northeast of Nablus. They raided and searched several houses and arrested Ahmed Tawfiq Nasasera (47).
  • At approximately 22:00, IOF moved into Zububa, west of Jenin, stationed at the entrance of the village, and arrested two high-school students; Mohammed Hasan Za’al (18) and Ahmed Mohammed Atatera (18).
  • IOF carried out an incursion in Silwad, northeast of Ramallah governorate. No arrests were reported.

Sunday, 14 March 2021:

  • At approximately 01:00, IOF moved into Silwan, south of the occupied East Jerusalem. They raided and searched Mohammed Mostafa Rweidy’s (21) house and arrested him.
  • At approximately 02:00, IOF moved into Isawiya village, northeast the occupied East Jerusalem. They raided and searched several houses and arrested (3) civilians, claiming that they attacked settlers’ vehicle and caused damages in the vehicle and the driver was injured. The arrestees are: Aziz Ghassan Alian (18), Lo’ay Abed Alian (20), and Mohammed Abed Alian (22).
  • At approximately 02:00, IOF moved into Yatta, south of Hebron governorate, and stationed in al-Karmel area. They raided and searched five house and arrested (5) civilians; Yehya Saleh al-‘Amro (37), who was released 15-days ago, Eisa Khaled al-‘Amour (33), Qusai Khaled al-‘Amour (32), Eisa Mohammed al-‘Amour (35), and Fadi Bader al-‘Amour (33).
  • At approximately 03:00, IOF moved into Beit Ummar, north of Hebron. They raided and searched two houses and arrested Majdi Mershed Za’aqiq (17), and Mohanad Yousef ‘Alqam (20).
  • At approximately 05:00, IOF moved into al-Tur neighborhood, east of the occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City. They raided and searched Ibrahim Khaled al-Haniti’s (18) house and arrested him.
  • At approximately 06:00, IOF moved into Teqoa, west of Bethlehem. They raided and searched Mohammed Ali Sabbah’s (23) house and handed him a summons to refer to the Israeli Intelligence Services.
  • At approximately 09:00, IOF moved into Silwan, south of the occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City. They raided and searched two houses belonging to Mohammed Ali al-Ghoul (17) and Qais Mahmoud Hassouna (17) and handed them summonses to refer to the Israeli Intelligence Services.
  • At approximately 11:00, IOF detained Nader Samer Ibdah (23), a driver from Marda village, north of Salfit, while driving to Salfit. IOF detained everyone in the vehicle, handcuffed Ibdah, and released them at approximately 23:30.
  • At approximately 12:00, Abdul Rahman al-Bashiti (16) surrendered himself to the Israeli occupation jail, to complete the legal measures against him. His family stated that their son is under house arrest and has been banned from entering his place of residence since January, and that Abdul Rahman was arrested and interrogated for 3 weeks, despite suffering from diabetes, and he was released on conditions that included the ban on returning to his home, which led him to stay in Beit Hanina away from his family.
  • It should be noted that al-Bashiti family frequently subjected to arrests and violence, as their old son, Hisham (20), was arrested when he was only 13, and he was arrested several months ago on charge of throwing stones at the Israeli soldiers. Hatem (18), was arrested and summonsed dozens of times with his brother Abdul Rahman (16), wo was arrested up to 20-times during 2020, despite suffering from diabetes and deteriorating his health condition inside detentions and during investigations.
  • At approximately 13:00, IOF moved into Hizma, northeast of the occupied East Jerusalem. They raided and searched Salah al-Dein Osama Salah al-Dein’s (15) house and arrested him.
  • At approximately 17:00, IOF moved into Batin al-Hawa neighborhood, south of the occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City. They raided and searched Yousef Rebhi al-Rajabi’s (24) house and arrested him.
  • At approximately 19:00, a big occupying force along with dozens of Israeli soldiers and Special Forces stormed Shu’afat refugee camp, east of the occupied East Jerusalem, and stationed at the main street. Dozens of young men gathered and threw stones, empty bottles and cocktail Molotov at the Israeli soldiers and vehicles, who indiscriminately responded with rubber bullets and teargas canisters, chased the prosecutors, and arrested (3) civilians; Mohammed Abed al-Haq (16), Mahmoud Hamdan (17), and Wael ‘Arrar (21).
  • At approximately 21:15, IOF stationed at Mevo Dotan military checkpoint, southwest of Jenin, arrested Ameen Ashab Zakarna (23), from Qabatiya, southeast of Jenin. IOF took him to an unknown destination.
  • IOF carried out (4) incursions in Aroub refugee camp, Halhul, Beit Awwa, and Taffuh villages in Hebron. No arrests were reported.

Monday, 15 March 2021:

  • At approximately 01:00, IOF moved into Aroub refugee camp, north of Hebron. They raided and searched two houses and arrested Emad Mahmoud al-Jondi (19), and Anas Yasser Abbad (20).
  • At approximately 01:10, IOF moved into Deir al-Ghusun village, north of Tulkarm. They raided and searched Fo’ad Mohammed Bani Saleh’s (22) house and arrested him.
  • At approximately 01:20, IOF moved into Tulkarm. They raided and searched two houses belonging to Fares Samer Fattouh (22) and Ahmed Issam ‘Ateiwi (28) and arrested them.
  • At approximately 02:20, IOF moved into Anabta village, east of Tulkarm. They raided and searched Ra’ed Adel Hammad’s (27) house and arrested him.
  • At approximately 05:10. IOF moved into Birzeit, north of Ramallah. They raided and searched several houses and arrested Mohammed Najeeb al-Shahbour (26).
  • At approximately 05:20, IOF moved into Jalazone refugee camp, north of Ramallah. They raided and searched ‘Ahed Riyad al-Tirawi’s (25) house and arrested him.
  • At approximately 12:00, IOF stationed at Kifl Haris, north of Salfit, arrested Palestine TV crew, while shooting a program about Ariel Rotary in Kifl Haris. IOF ordered them to delete they taken pictures, end shooting, and leave the location. IOF released them after an hour.
  • At approximately 19:30, IOF stationed at Huwwarah military checkpoint, south of Nablus, arrested Yousef Jihad Owda (35), from Kafr Thulth. IOF took him to an unknown destination.
  • IOF carried out (4) incursions in Kafr al-Dik, west of Salfit; Kafr Ni’ma, west of Ramallah governorate; Samu and Yatta, in Hebron. No arrests were reported.

Tuesday, 16 March 2021:

  • At approximately 02:30, IOF moved into Qabatiya, southeast of Jenin. They raided and searched several houses and arrested Ahmed Lo’ay Manasra (19).
  • At approximately 03:20, IOF moved into Kifl Haris, north of Salfit. They raided and searched several houses and arrested (3) civilians; Mohammed Ra’ed al-Qaq (17), Hamza Marwan Bouziya (22), and Hamad Abdul Aziz al-As’ad (24).
  • At approximately 03:30, IOF moved into Qarawat Bani Zeid, northwest of Ramallah. They raided and searched two houses belonging to Saoud Mohammed ‘Arrar (30) and Wajdi Shujei’ ‘Arrar (33) and arrested them.
  • At approximately 04:00, IOF moved into al-Khadir village, south of Bethlehem. They raided and searched Mahmoud Mohammed Salah’s (28) house and arrested him.
  • At approximately 06:00, IOF moved into Isawiya village, northeast the occupied East Jerusalem. They raided and searched several houses and arrested Ali Sufian Obaid (17), and Mohammed Mahran Dirbas (14).
  • At approximately 07:30, IOF and 6 military bulldozers moved 100-meters to the west of the border fence, east of al-Bureij, then to the south of the border fence, east of al-Maghazi. They leveled and combed lands and redeployed at approximately 15:40.
  • At approximately 13:00, Abdullah Amjad Obaid (16), from al-Isawiya, surrendered himself to the Israeli prisons to serve his sentence of 2-months. His family stated that the Israeli Authorities sentenced Abdullah of 2 months of the actual arrest, despite the fact that he was under the house arrest 4-months ago.
  • At approximately 16:00, IOF moved into al-Wad neighborhood, one of the occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City’s neighborhoods. They raided and searched Eisa al-Firawi’s (20) house and arrested him.
  • IOF carried out (5) incursions in Jenin, Awarta and Qaryut, southeast of Nablus; Ramin, south of Tulkarm; and Biddya, west of Salfit. No arrests were reported.

Wednesday, 17 March 2021:

  • At approximately 02:00, IOF moved into Jamma’in, southeast of Nablus. They raided and searched several houses and arrested Jamal Ibrahim Abu Amr (22).
  • Around the same time, IOF moved into Karkafeh area in Bethlehem. They raided and searched Abdullah Abdul Naser Salhab (31) and Abdul Rahim Faraj Salhab (39) and arrested them.
  • At approximately 03:30, IOF moved into Teqoa, east of Bethlehem. They raided and searched several houses and arrested (3) civilians, including a child; Ma’moun Ibrahim al-‘Amour (16), Ammar Yaser al-‘Amour (20), and Mo’taz Khader al-‘Amour (22).
  • At approximately 04:00, IOF moved into Ein al-Sultan refugee camp, west of Jericho. They raided and searched the house of the former prisoner, Hamza Ahmed Irmilah (28), and arrested him. IOF released him later.
  • At approximately 10:00, IOF moved into Isawiya village, northeast the occupied East Jerusalem. They raided and searched two houses belonging to Fadi Abdullah Mahmoud (32) and Anwar Sami Obaid (23) and arrested them.
  • IOF carried out (3) incursions in Beit Ummar, Beit Ulla, and Deir al-Asal al-Tahta in Hebron. No arrests were reported.

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

Demolition and Confiscation of Civilian Property

  • At approximately 11:00 on Thursday, 14 March 2021, IOF moved into al-‘Issawiya village, northeast of occupied East Jerusalem, to demolish the main gate and tin plates of what was left from the rubble of ‘Alian family houses that were demolished by IOF 3 weeks ago.

‘Alian Family said that they were surprised with IOF surrounding the land and starting to demolish the main gate which was left from their houses’ rubble.  The Israeli Municipality vehicles removed the iron gate and tin plates from the land and left the area.  They added that IOF handed their son Fadi a notice to remove the rubble of their building that was demolished by the Israeli Municipality bulldozers on 22 February, within 10 days or they family will be fined.  It should be noted that IOF stormed the land many times; the last was on 04 March when they demolished a tent sheltering the family and established on their houses’ rubble for the second time within 10 days.  ‘Alian Family previously stated that the decision to demolish the family building, which included 2 floors and sheltered 20 family members, including 12 children, under the pretext of unlicensed construction, was a political decision par excellence, especially since their son, Fadi, previously received several calls from the Israeli Intelligence threatening him to demolish his family building if he continued to work as the Head of the Guard Unit in the mosque. The family added that Fadi was arrested several times and teased him lately until they demolished the family’s 360-sqm building, which was established more than 10 years ago under the pretext of unlicensed construction.

  • On Thursday as well, Israel Supreme Council for Planning and Building of the Israeli Civil Administration ratified a decision to confiscate 50 dunums from Husan and Nahalin villages, western Bethlehem, and to change their agricultural nature for the expansion of “Beitar Illit” settlement, established on Palestinian lands western Bethlehem.

Hasan Brejiyeh, director of the Wall and Colonization Resistance office in Bethlehem, stated that the targeted lands are plots 3 and 4 in Nahalin and Husan. He added that the land to be confiscated will be used for opening settler-only roads and building new housing units for the Israeli settler population.  Breijyeh stressed that this decision is extremely dangerous as it asserts the occupation authorities’ intent to confiscate additional Palestinian owned-lands for the above-mentioned settlement.

  • In the afternoon, Mohammed Hasan Ja’afrah self-demolished his commercial facility located in al-Jeser area between the Municipalities of Silwan and Jabal Mukaber, southeast of occupied East Jerusalem, pursuant to an Israeli Municipality’s decision under the pretext of unlicensed construction.

Mohammed Ja’afrah said that his commercial facility is a restaurant built 20 years ago on an area of 55 sqms.  He added that he received the first demolition notice 3 years ago, and 3 hearings were held in the Israeli court in this regard under the pretext of unlicensed construction. He said that the court imposed on him in the third hearing in 2019 a construction fine of 40,000 shekels and he is still paying it.  He pointed out that the court issued a decision last December to demolish the restaurant, but his lawyer could appeal the decision and postpone the demolition until the beginning of March.  He said that he received a call today morning from the Israeli police to inform him to self-demolish the restaurant before 10:00 on Monday or they will bring the bulldozers to carry out the demolition and fine him with thousands of shekels.  It should be noted that the Israeli Municipality forced Ja’afrah last August to self-demolish his under-construction 100-sqm house in al-Farouq neighborhood in Jabal Mukaber.

  • On the same afternoon as well, Ahmed ‘Issa Hijazi self-demolished his house in ‘Ein al-Lozeh neighborhood in Silwan village, south of occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City, pursuant to the Israeli Municipality’s decision, under the pretext of unlicensed construction. Ahmed Hijazi stated that the Israeli police raided his house this morning and ordered him to self-demolish his house before 10:00 on Monday or they fine him with demolition costs, between 100,000 to 150,000 shekels, forcing him to take the furniture out of the house and then self-demolished it.  He added that he built his house in 2014 to make it wider so it could be enough for his big family of 14 members, including 3 children.  He built 3 bedrooms, a living room and its facilities on an area of 90 sqms.  Hijazi said that the Israeli Municipality imposed on him in 2019 a construction fine of 25,000 shekels.  He added that the court issued a month ago a decision to demolish his house under the pretext of failing to fulfill the geometric requirements.  His lawyer filed an appeal to the Magistrate and District Courts but in vain.
  • At approximately 09:00 on Monday, 15 March 2021, IOF, accompanied by several military vehicles and a civil administration vehicle, moved into Wad al-Shunaar, Halhul and commenced demolishing a 15sqm room and a 30sqm tin-plated barracks allegedly for unlicensed construction, both properties of Khairy A. Hirbawey. IOF had served Hirbawy military order no. 1779 on 08 February 2021, giving him 96 hours to conduct the demolition.
  • On Monday evening, IOF demolished 4 agricultural rooms in Beit Ta’mir, east Bethlehem, allegedly for non-licensing. Hasan Brejiyeh, director of the Wall and Colonization Resistance office in Bethlehem, stated that IOF demolished 4 agricultural room in Beit Ta’mir, owned by: Ibrahim A. Mubarak; Haroun I. Mahamid; Suliman A. al-Wahsh; and Hasem I. Mohammed. IOF confiscated their contents allegedly for non-licensing. It should be noted that the demolition was not preceded by any notice or warning.

Mubarak Az-Zawahreh, Head of Beit Ta’mir Village Council, added that dozens of Palestinian civilians gathered to stop the demolition and the confiscation of materials used for agricultural purposes. They demanded IOF provide them proof and a list of confiscated items, but they were only given the confirmation from the solider in charge that they will be given these papers after the removal and confiscation is done. It should be noted that Beit Ta’mir and the adjacent Jib a-Theeb villages are subject to constant IOF demolitions at the request of settlers who want to confiscate the lands.

  • On Tuesday, 16 March 2021, IOF dismantled 4 barracks (2 used for residence and 2 for commercial purposes) in in az-Za’ayyem, eastern occupied east Jerusalem, and confiscated two containers near the village’s intersection.

Abdul-qader Klaib, az-Za’ayyem village council chairman, said that this is the second time IOF dismantled Murad and Imran Mohammed Zar’ey’s barracks (80sqm/each). IOF also confiscated two containers for:

  • Mohammed Abu-Ghalia, equipped with photography equipment and surveillance devices; and
  • Mohammed Saa’di, used as a gas station.
  • On Tuesday evening, 11 Palestinians sustained rubber bullets and 31 suffocated due to inhalation of tear gas during an IOF raid into al-Matar neighborhood in Kafr Aqab, occupied east Jerusalem. IOF demolished a shop, a warehouse and a land, and served multiple business owners demolition notices.

According to PCHR’s investigations, at approximately 14:00 IOF raided al-Matar neighborhood through a hole dug by a military bulldozer in the annexation wall surrounding it and commenced demolishing Sadiq al-Hatawy’s shop and warehouse and his land. IOF served other business owners demolition notices; these demolitions are in prelude to the construction of a sports complex and park for settlers on Palestinian-owned lands, according to Raed Hamdan, Media Officer at Kafr ‘Aqab Municipality. A group of young Palestinians gathered in the are and threw stones at the Israeli forces and military vehicles. IOF immediately responded violently, firing rubber bullets and tear gas canisters at them causing clashes that lasted until late evening where dozens sustained rubber bullets and suffocated due to tear gas inhalation. The Palestinian Red Crescent Society stated that 31 Palestinians suffocated due to tear gas inhalation; and 11 sustained rubber-bullet wounds – one in the head – during the IOF incursion into Kafr ‘Aqab.

  • In the evening, IOF razed Ramzi N. Qaisyeh’s lands in al-Makhrur area, western Bethlehem. According to Hasan Brejiyeh, director of the Wall and Colonization Resistance office in Bethlehem, IOF raided al-Makhrur after closing the area and commenced razing Qaisyeh’s 4-dunum land, uprooting trees and confiscating equipment. It should be noted that Qaisyeh’s land was previously raided by IOF in April 2020 and August 2019.
  • In the evening, Saif Abdul-Latif self-demolished his house in Silwan in execution of the Israeli Municipality decision allegedly for non-licensing. Abdul-Latif said that he started building his house 3 months ago, as he intended to get married and move there in four months. He added that the 50sqm house is still under construction; yet, the Israeli Municipality in the city persecuted him and insisted on demolishing the house immediately, which forced him to demolish it himself before the municipal crews who watched him conclude the demolition.
  • At approximately 11:00 on Wednesday, IOF, accompanied by the Civil Administration, workers and several construction vehicles, moved into Kibet Tana, northeastern Nablus, and demolished 15 tents. The tents, 35-40 sqm/each used as residence and sheep barns, belonged to 7 Palestinian farmers: Ibrahim Hanni; Hakam Nasasra; Hamdi Mlitat; Mirwan Khatatba; Bassam Nasasra; Hamoudeh Hanni and his brother Kamal. IOF alleged the demolition was for illegal presence in Area C.
  • At approximately 09:00 on Wednesday, 17 March 2020, IOF, accompanied by several military vehicles and construction vehicles as well as the Civil Administration, moved into Ras a-Zaytoun area in Ras Karkar, northwestern Ramallah. The dozer razed a 5-dunum land, uprooted 15 olive trees (aged between 5-7 years). This is the third IOF attack on this land, owned by Ni’man A. Nofal, allegedly to improve services for “Talmon” settlement, which is established on Palestinian-owned lands.
  • Around the same time, IOF reinforced with several military vehicles, Civil Administration vehicle, JCB bulldozer and two trucks moved into Arab al-Zayed Bedouin Community in An-Nuway’imah village, north of Jericho. They completely demolished 4 barracks, 60 square meters for each, for being unlicensed and located in Area C. the demolishing decision came with no prior warning on the morning of the same day.

The three barracks belonging to Abu Kharabish brothers:

  1. Nayef Salama Abu Kharabish, his 60-square meters barracks which is used as a shelter for 8 civilians; including 6 children and a woman, was demolished and confiscated.
  2. Fadi Salama Abu Kharabish, his two barracks (60 square meters for each), which are used for sheltering 3 civilians including a woman and a child, and the other one is used for grazing sheep, were demolished and confiscated.
  3. Ali Salama Abu Kharabish, his 60-square meters barracks which is used as a shelter for 8 civilians; including 6 children and a woman, was demolished and confiscated.
  • At approximately 10:00, IOF reinforced with several military vehicles and Civil Administration vehicle al-Fakhit area, east of Yatta, south of Hebron. The soldiers deployed in the area while the Civil Administration staff started demolishing agricultural tent owned by Fo’ad Fadel al-‘Amour (48), for being unlicensed.

Settler attacks on Palestinian civilians and their property

  • At approximately 01:00 on Thursday, 11 March 2021, a group of settlers raided Kifl Haris, northern Salfit, and started rioting in the streets, breaking properties and statues and trashing the streets.
  • At approximately 08:30, 13 March 2021, a group of settlers from “Mitzpe Yair” settlement outpost established on the Palestinian lands confiscated from eastern Yatta, south of Hebron, attacked Sa’id Mohammed ‘Alian ‘Awad (48) and his wife Reema ‘Awad (38) with stones and batons when the couple were with their 6 children and their relatives’ children in their plot of land in Sho’ab al-Butm, south of the settlement outpost. As a result, ‘Awad sustained fractures in the face and bruises all over his body while the windows of his car were smashed.

Reema Isma’il ‘Awad said to PCHR’s fieldworker that:

“At approximately 8:00, I went with my husband Sa’id ‘Awad (48) and my six children; the eldest is Sanad (15), along with other children of my in-laws, to picnic in our land in Sho’ab Al-Butm, where my husband, his brothers and his uncle own around 288 dunums overlooking “Mitzpe Yair” settlement from the northern side. The Israeli Supreme Court issued a decision that we own the land except for a small part, which is not settled yet. When we arrived at the land, there was a settler namely, Yusi, whom we know grazing his sheep amid the olive seedlings and winter crops. We went to tell the Israeli police, who asked us to take a video to prove that the settler is present in the land, so I started taking the video of the settler with his sheep, while my husband called the Israeli police and the popular committees in al-Masafer area in order to come to the land. A few minutes later, the settler made phone calls, and we saw a number of young settlers coming towards us from behind a caravan close to the settlement’s borders; a number of them were masked and carrying sticks. They approached us, and one of them hit me on my back with an iron bar in his hand and I fell on the ground.  He tried to take my cell phone with which I was taking the video to capture what was going on. My son, Sanad, tried to defend me and take away the settler who had attacked my husband and hit him on the head with an iron bar on his head and body.  My husband fell unconscious on the ground and the settler broke his cell phone. The rest of the settlers threw stones at us and our car; as a result, they broke the windshield and side windows. I started screaming at the settlers, who ran away. Few minutes later, three soldiers arrived, followed by Magen David Adom ambulances, which gave us first aid, while residents of the area arrived. We asked the soldiers to take my husband to an Israeli hospital, but they refused, claiming that the attack was by settlers and not by IOF.  Around an hour later, the Israeli police arrived.  The ambulances drove us to a place close to the “Susiya” settlement, where a Palestinian ambulance took us to the Hebron Governmental Hospital for treatment.  At approximately 22:00, doctors there decided to refer my husband to Al-Ahli Hospital, where he underwent a surgery for his jaw. My husband is still receiving treatment due to bruises in his face and the rest of his body, in addition to a fracture in his left jaw.”

  • At approximately 08:30 on Tuesday, 16 March 2021, a group of settles from “Kiryat Arba” settlement raided lands belonging to Jaber family in eastern Hebron. The settlers commenced construction of a road in prelude to confiscating the 25-dunum land. This occurred under the protection of several Israeli military forces to deter landowners from reaching the settlers. After Palestinian civilians intercepted the construction vehicles and several arguments with soldiers and settlers, the settlers withdrew. It should be noted that almost two months ago, settlers built a room in the above-mentioned land that was later demolished by the landowners.
  • Early on Wednesday, 17 March 2021, a group of settlers from “Ehyaa” settlement – established on Jalud village’s lands in eastern Nablus, attacked Palestinian lands in Jabal Sheikh Bashar, Area (B), land plot no. 6 and removed 40 olive seedlings belonging to Rajeh M. S. Hamoud.
  1. Closure policy and restrictions on freedom of movement of persons and goods:

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

The West Bank:

In addition to 108 permanent checkpoints and closed roads, this week witnessed the establishment of more temporary checkpoints that restrict the goods and individuals  55 temporary checkpoints, where they searched Palestinians’ vehicles, checked their IDs and arrested of them. IOF closed many roads with cement cubes, metal detector gates and sand berms and tightened their measures against individuals’ movement at military permanent checkpoints.

Jerusalem:

  • On Monday, 15 March 2021, IOF established 2 checkpoints at the entrance to Rafat village and at the entrance to Biddu village’s tunnel.
  • On Tuesday,16 March 2021, IOF established 2 checkpoints near Jab’ village’s intersection.  

Bethlehem:

  • On Thursday, 11 March 2021, IOF established a checkpoint near al-Nashnash intersection, south of the city.
  • On Saturday, 13 March 2021, IOF established 2 checkpoints at the eastern entrance to Beit Fajjar village and on Caritas Hospital Road, north of the city.
  • On Sunday, 14 March 2021, IOF established a checkpoint at the entrance to Beit Fajjar village, south of the city.
  • On Monday, 15 March 2021, IOF established a checkpoint at the entrance to Jannatah village.
  •  On Tuesday, 16 March 2021, IOF established 3 checkpoints at the northern entrance to Tuqu village, near al-Khader Cemetery and near al-Nashnash intersection, south of the city.
  • On Wednesday, 17 March 2021, IOF established a checkpoint at the entrance to Al-Maniya village, southeast of the city.

 Ramallah:

  • On Thursday, 11 March 2021, IOF established 2 checkpoints near ‘Atara village’s bridge and at the entrance to Nabi Salih village.
  • On Friday, 12 March 2021, IOF established a checkpoint at the main entrance to Nabi Salih village, northwest of the city.
  • On Saturday, 13 March 2021, IOF established 2 checkpoints near ‘Atara village’s bridge and at the eastern entrance to Al-Mughayyir village.
  • On Monday, 15 March 2021, IOF established 3 checkpoints at the entrances to Sinjil and ‘Aboud villages and at Rawabi city square, north of the city.
  • On Tuesday, 16 March 2021, IOF established 2 checkpoints near ‘Atara village’s bridge and at the entrance to Sinjil village.

Jericho:

  • On Thursday, 11 March 2021, IOF established a checkpoint at the southern entrance to Jericho.
  • On Sunday, 14 March 2021, IOF established 2 checkpoints at Al-Auja village’s intersection and at the southern entrance to Jericho.
  • On Monday, 15 March 2021, IOF established 2 checkpoints at the southern and northern entrances to Jericho.

Nablus:

  • On Tuesday, 16 March 2021, IOF established 2 checkpoints on Madama village’s bridge and near the intersection of Deir Sharaf village, west of the city.

Hebron:

  • On Thursday, 11 March  2021, IOF established 4 checkpoints at the entrance to Sa’ir village, at the western entrance to Hebron, at the northern entrance to Yatta city, and at the entrance to Fawwar refugee camp.
  • On Friday, 12 March 2021, IOF established 2 checkpoints at the northern entrance to Hebron and at the entrance to Idhna village.
  • At approximately 08:00, IOF closed with rocks and sand berms the entrance to Ma’een village, in order to prevent civilians’ access to bypass road 60 via their vehicles. The road closure came after notifying several houses to be demolished.
  • On Saturday, 13 March 2021, IOF established 2 checkpoints at the western entrance to Hebron and at the entrance to Idhna village.
  • On Sunday, 14 March 2021, IOF established 3 checkpoints at the southern entrance to Hebron, at the entrance to as-Samu village, and at the southern entrance to Bani Na’im village.
  • On Wednesday, 17 March 2021, IOF established 4 checkpoints at the entrance to Bani Na’im village, at the northern entrance to Hebron, at the northern entrance to Yatta city, and at the entrance to Al-Arroub refugee camp.

Qalqilya:

  • On Thursday, 11 March 2021, IOF established a checkpoint at the eastern entrance to the city.
  • On Friday, 12 March 2021, IOF established a checkpoint at the entrance to Azzun village, east of the city.
  • On Monday, 14 March 2021, IOF established 4 checkpoints at the entrances to Azzun, Jayyous, Izbat al-Tabib and Jit villages, north of the city.

Salfit:

  • On Thursday, 11 March 2021, IOF established 2 checkpoints at the northern entrance Salfit and at the entrance to Deir Ballut village, west of the city.
  • On Friday, 12 March 2021, IOF established a checkpoint at the western entrance to Deir Istiya village, north of Salfit.

عندما يقول السيّد كلمته !

د. عدنان منصور

يتوقف المرء ملياً في كلّ مرة يطلّ فيها الأمين العام لحزب الله السيّد حسن نصر الله، لتناول حدث ما في مناسبة من المناسبات. قد يختلف البعض مع السيّد في النظرة للأمور، وطرق العلاج للمسائل الشائكة التي يشهدها البلد أو المنطقة أو العالم، فهذا رأيه، إلا أنه لا يمكن لأيّ عاقل يتصف بالقليل من الحكمة والرصانة بالموضوعية والعقلانية، وببعد النظر، وهو يتابع السيّد عن قرب إلا أن يتوقف أمام حقائق لا يمكن تجاهلها، أو التحامل عليها نتيجة أحقاد البعض من هنا، أو كراهية البعض الآخر من هناك، أو بسبب مصالح فردية ومنافع ومكتسبات وامتيازات لفئة أو أفراد، أو جماعات استحكمت عقولها وتفكيرها وسلوكها الأهواء الطائفية، والنزعات الأصولية والمذهبية، والمناطقية المتطرفة.

تستمع الى السيّد بعقلك وروحك المتحرّر، فتجد فيه المسؤول الرفيع، والمقاوم الشهم، والزاهد المؤمن، ورجل الدولة الرفيع، والصادق الشريف، في زمن كثر فيه المنافقون والدجّالون، والمشعوذون، والمنحرفون، والمأجورون، والمرتمون في أحضان الخيانة والعمالة، والملوِّثون أياديهم بالمال الحرام ودماء المسحوقين. هو السيّد يا سادة، والد الشهيد، ورفيق الشهداء وحاضن الأحرار، هو التقي النقي، الذي يضع النقاط على الحروف بعقل متميّز ووجدان عالٍ وضمير حيّ قلّ نظيره، لا يبغي من ورائه مغنماً أو مكسباً، أو ربحاً، أو جاهاً أو منصباً، أو مالاً، أو زعامة كما يفعل تجار السياسة وبائعو الأوطان، ومذلّو الشعوب.

هو السيّد المؤمن بحق، والمدافع بحق، والمقاوم بحق، والرافض للظلم والفساد بحق، والناقم على حيتان الطبقة الفاجرة بحق، والمناهض بكلّ قوة للصوص المال وناهبي ثروات الشعب، والمطالِب بملاحقتهم ومحاكمتهم بحق.

لماذا يختزن البعض هذا الحقد الدفين وهذه الكراهية الشديدة، وهذا التعصّب الأعمى تجاه السيّد! ألأنكم أدمنتم على الفساد، أم لأنكم تكرهون الله وتكرهون الوطن وتكرهون أنفسكم، وتكرهون بناء الدولة القادرة المقتدرة، العادلة المقاومة لكلّ ظلم وعدوان وإرهاب! لماذا يكره البعض وجود مقاومة في بلد مهدّد دائماً من قوى الهيمنة والاحتلال! لماذا يشذّ البعض عن التمسك بكرامة وطنه وشعبه أسوة بالشعوب التي تحافظ على كرامتها ومقاومتها وعزّتها! هل عداء البعض من الطغمة السياسية الفاسدة للسيد، تأتي نتيجة فضحه لهم ومطالبته لهم بالإصلاح، وكشف عوراتهم السياسة والأخلاقية، وسلوكهم الإداري والوظيفي والمهني، وهذا ما يزعجهم، ويزعج حلفاءهم من الفاسدين الناهبين والسارقين للمال العام والخاص! لماذا يزعجكم ويضيق صدركم بمنطق السيّد وهو يطرح أمامكم كلّ الحلول العملية الواقعية، العادلة، وأنتم ترفضونها، لكونها تتعارض كلياً مع صفقاتكم، وأهدافكم، ونهجكم المقيت في السياسة والإدارة والحكم؟ هل سمعتم السيّد يدافع يوماً عن اللصوص الفاسدين تجار الهيكل! هل سمعتم مرة السيّد، يشيد بطائفة دون أخرى، او يسيء إلى فئة ويتبنّى أخرى! هل قال كلمته مرة، وخرجت عن الأصول واللياقات، والأخلاق، والتقاليد، والأعراف، والشعور الأخويّ والحسّ الوطني، والايمان الحقيقي بالله والشعب وكلّ الأحرار! هل وجدتم السيّد يوماً يستفزكم وهو يسكن قصراً، ويعيش ترف الدنيا وغرورها، كما يفعل الآخرون!

نعم السيّد بنظركم، وببصيرتكم العمياء مذنب! ألأنه حرّر الأرض من المحتلّ «الإسرائيلي»، وحرّر مناطق لبنانية من قوى الإرهاب الداعشيّة، وحافظ على وجود وكرامة كلّ الطوائف فيها، أم لأنه قدّم عشرات الشهداء من أجل حماية لبنان وشعبه ودرء الخطر عنه. نعم! السيّد مذنب

يا عمي البصيرة لأنه حافظ على أرض وطنكم وكرامة بلدكم وعزة شعبكم، ولم يلتفت إلى مصالحه الشخصية كما فعلتم، وتفعلون، ولم يغط عيوبكم وفجوركم ونهبكم كما تبتغون وتريدون !

السيّد مذنب، لأنه لم يركع لمحتلّ، ولم يستجدِ قوى التسلط والاستبداد، ولم يخضع لقراصنة العالم، ولم يقبل بالمساومة على حقوق شعبه وأمته، ولا بالابتزاز الرخيص، والعمالة المدفوعة الأجر.

فقليلاً من المنطق والحياء، والصدقية يا تجار الأوطان، وأنتم تتعاطون مع هامات مؤمنة تظلّ تسطع على جبين الوطن، وتبقى بينكم الأشرف والأصدق والأتقى والأعلم، والأنزه، والأنظف…

فإنْ كنتم تدمنون على المعارضة من أجل المعارضة، فعارضوا، وهذا شأنكم. وهي مسؤوليتكم أمام الشعب وأمام الديان، لكن عارضوا بشرف، ولا بحقد مسبق، ومنطق أعوج، بعيداً جداً، عن الإباء والكرامة! عارضوا لكن لا تعارضوا رهبة أو رغبة أو عبودية، وما أكثر العبيد وتجار الأوطان في زمن فقد فيه العملاء والخونة كلّ القيم ومقومات الأخلاق، والتحقوا بقطار الخنوع والذلّ والتبعية.

إنه السيّد، يا سادة، في زمن كثر فيه المنافقون، وقلّ فيه الرجال. عارضوا متى شئتم عارضوا، لكن لا تتحاملوا ولا تظلموا، ولا تحملوا سيوفكم المسمومة يميناً وشمالاً، فأنتم لستم أهلاً لها، وكونوا من الرجال ولا من أشباه الرجال، فبعدها لكلّ حادث حديث…

*وزير الخارجيّة والمغتربين الأسبق

ISRAEL IS BACK WITH AIRSTRIKES AS TURKEY SCRAMBLES TO SALVAGE SOME OIL IN SYRIA

South Front

As has become customary in recent weeks, after the relative success of the Axis of Resistance on battlefields across the Middle East, Israel delivered a reminder of its interest in Syria.

On March 16th, Damascus’ air defense repelled a missile barrage, which was heading towards targets surrounding the Syrian capital.

A statement by the Syrian Arab Army said that the missiles had been launched from the direction of the occupied Golan Heights and targeted undisclosed positions around Damascus. Most of the missiles were reportedly intercepted and no casualties were observed. There was minimal damage.

Strikes such as these are commonplace and happen somewhat regularly, especially now in 2021, when Tel Aviv considers its interests under even more threat than usual due to the Biden Administration’s relative passivity towards Iran.

The Israeli strike was not the only attack on Damascus in recent days. On March 15th, Syrian security forces foiled a terrorist attack intended to target unspecified areas in Damascus. As a result, three terrorists were killed and three were arrested. All six were wearing explosive belts.

Separately, in what is likely a positive development for Damascus, Russian forces moved into an oil field and gas field in the northeast Raqqah governorate.

Russian military reinforcements alongside units from the Russian-backed Fifth Armored Division arrived at al-Thawra oil facility which produces around 2,000 bpd.

Earlier, on March 12th, Russian forces entered the Toueinane gas field, also in the same area.

This is a small, but notable shift highlighting a change in the balance of power in northern Syria. Since Russia is allied with Damascus, prior to that most of Syria’s oil went to the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces or various Turkish proxies.  Most of the oil still goes out of Syria, but this is a movement in another direction.

In addition, Russia’s Defense Ministry said that Turkish forces are carry out military movements and acts in Raqqa countryside in violation of a Memorandum of Understanding that Ankara signed with Moscow.

According to a statement, the Russian side is extremely worried about transporting military equipment affiliated to the Turkish armed forces and establishing fortifications and support points in the suburbs of Ain Issa.

This is an attempt at a Turkish response to recent shelling by the Syrian Arab Army in the area surrounding Aleppo, and other positions where Turkish proxies operate. Ankara can’t afford to lose access to all of its cheap oil, and as such needs to provide some semblance of resistance before losing access to it.

موسكو وحزب الله: تثبيت الانتصار السياسي بعد العسكري في سوريا

موسكو وحزب الله: تثبيت الانتصار السياسي بعد العسكري في سوريا
(أ ف ب )

الأخبار

فراس الشوفي

السبت 20 آذار 2021

زيارة وفد حزب الله لموسكو ليست «فتحاً مبيناً» ولا بهدف «الضغط على الحزب للانسحاب من سوريا»، إنّما بداية تواصل استراتيجي نابعٌ من أن حزب الله «طرف موثوق وقادر» بالنسبة إلى روسيا

حتى من قبل أن يطأ وفدُ حزب الله أرض مطار شيريميتييفو الدولي في موسكو، استنفرت دبلوماسية العدو الإسرائيلي وأجهزته العسكرية والأمنية، في حملة تقصٍ وتشويشٍ على الزيارة/ الحدث، رافقتها محاولات داخل روسيا للوبي الصهيوني وامتداداته، بهدف عرقلة الزيارة والتخفيف من مفاعيلها. وسريعاً، انتقل وزير الخارجية ورئيس أركان العدو السابق غابي أشكينازي إلى روسيا، للقاء رئيس الدبلوماسية سيرغي لافروف (يوم الأربعاء الماضي)، بعد يومٍ على لقاء لافروف مع وفد حزب الله، الذي ترأّسه رئيس كتلة الوفاء للمقاومة النائب محمّد رعد. زيارة وفد الحزب لموسكو كانت محور الاهتمام في زيارة أشكينازي، الذي على عكس غيره من قادة كيان العدوّ، يبتعد عن خوض انتخابات الكنيست المقبلة، فيما يضع بنيامين نتنياهو مسألة تجيير «الناخبين» من أصل روسي في فلسطين المحتلّة لمصلحته، على رأس جدول أعمال أي زيارة لموسكو.

منذ سنوات، تعمل «إسرائيل» والولايات المتّحدة الأميركية، على عزل حزب الله وشيطنته في الساحة العالميّة، بالعقوبات والحصار والحرب الإعلامية، من أقصى الشرق وأوروبا إلى أميركا اللاتينية. وتحديداً، منذ انفجار 4 آب 2020، ارتفع منسوب الهجوم على حزب الله. لكنّ الحزب، بدل أن ينكفئ، تحوّل إلى قوّة مؤثّرة، وطرفاً في التشاور والتواصل مع القوى الدوليّة. فكان اللقاء مع الرئيس الفرنسي إيمانويل ماكرون، ثمّ تلبية دعوة الدبلوماسية الروسية لزيارة موسكو، بغطاء من الرئيس فلاديمير بوتين.

على لسان الدبلوماسيين الروس، ومصادر مطّلعة على أجواء زيارة موسكو في بيروت، تصنّف الزيارة على قدرٍ عالٍ من الأهميّة، وخطوة أساسية لاتصال استراتيجي دائم في المستقبل. فهي في الشكل والمضمون واللقاءات، التي تنوّعت من لقاء فريق متابعة الشرق الأوسط الذي يقوده نائب لافروف ميخائيل بوغدانوف، يعاونه رئيس دائرة الشرق الأوسط في وزارة الخارجية ألكسندر كينشاك، إلى اللقاءات مع المجلس الفدرالي (مجلس الشيوخ) ولجنة العلاقات الخارجية في مجلس الدوما، حفلت بنقاشات موسّعة خرج بعدها المجتمعون بانطباعات إيجابية.

فمهما يكن ما يُبعد موسكو عن منظّمة عسكرية لا تحمل صفة دولة رسميّة كحزب الله، يكفي العداء الأميركي المتنامي للطرفين، لكي يزيل الحواجز، وأن تتماهى المصالح، ولا سيّما في ظلّ السّلوك الأميركي للإدارة الجديدة.

في موسكو، توصف الروابط الروسية اليوم مع إدارة الرئيس جو بايدن، بأنها «اتصالات الضرورة، لا علاقة طبيعية». بل إن الحذر والتوجّس من السلوك المستقبلي المفترض للديموقراطيين، يبدو طاغياً أكثر بأشواطٍ من «الممارسات المجنونة» للجمهوري دونالد ترامب. وجاء كلام بايدن بحقّ بوتين شخصيّاً، ليؤكّد المخاوف الروسية، من أن الإدارة الجديدة ستفعّل أسلحتها المعتادة، الإرهاب والعقوبات وتفجير الأوضاع في آسيا والبلقان والشرق، لمواجهة روسيا والصين وإيران وسوريا وحزب الله، وكل من يقف في وجه الرغبة الأميركية بقطبية أحاديّة لم تعد تجد مكانها المريح على الخريطة العالميّة.

أكثر من ذلك، يشعر الروس بأن الأميركيين يستعدّون مجدّداً لتسعير الساحات حيث يستطيعون بوجه موسكو كما بوجه بكّين، ويلوّحون لحلفائهم قبل أعدائهم، بالضغوط والتهويل، في أوروبا والخليج، من المستشارة الألمانية إنجيلا ميركل، إلى «الضحية» الأخيرة وليّ العهد السعودي محمد بن سلمان. فالرجل الأميركي المدلّل… يقف قرب المقصلة الأميركية، بانتظار أن يدفع فدية تفوق، أو توازي على الأقل، الفدية التي دفعها لترامب. كلّ هذا الضغط، يشجّع موسكو على توسيع هامش حركتها، مستفيدةً من قدرتها على الاتصال بالجميع، وبكلّ المتحاربين، لتأمين شبكة تواصل إقليمية، تخفّف من عنف التصعيد الأميركي.

حتى المفاوضات الأميركية ــــ الإيرانية المنتظرة، استبقها الإيرانيون برسالة من المرشد الأعلى للثورة الإسلامية علي خامنئي حملها رئيس البرلمان الإيراني محمد باقر قاليباف إلى بوتين، وردّ عليها بوتين بالمثل، وفحواها، أن مجموعة المفاوضات ليست «5 +1» بل «4 + 2»، في تأكيد على التنسيق الروسي ــــ الصيني الكامل، لدعم موقف إيران. وهذا الموقف يحمل في طيّاته تعاوناً اقتصادياً واسعاً، مع القرار الإيراني الضمني، بالتوقّف عن التعويل على سياسة الماضي ببيع الموارد للشرق وشراء السلع من الغرب، والتوجّه نحو تمتين الأسواق مع الشرق، في البيع والشراء.

من هنا، تأتي زيارة حزب الله، تتويجاً لتحوّلات دولية كبيرة، ولتجربة معمّدة بالتعاون في مكافحة الإرهاب طوال سنوات الحرب السوريّة، هذا التعاون بين سوريا وحلفائها الذي أنجز انتصاراً عسكريّاً، وأعاد موسكو بقوّة إلى الساحة الدولية وكسر أحاديّة حكمت العالم منذ انهيار الاتحاد السوفياتي.

يشعر الروس بأن الأميركيين يستعدّون مجدّداً لتسعير الساحات حيث يستطيعون بوجه موسكو وبكّين


«بالنسبة إلى موسكو، حزب الله هو طرف موثوق وقادر»، يقول مصدر وثيق الاطّلاع. أمّا ملفّات البحث، «فتناولت كل ما يخطر على البال من الملفّات المحليّة والإقليمية والدولية، لكن لسوريا الحصّة الأكبر من المناقشات».

في سوريا، تتطابق الرؤية الروسية مع موقف حزب الله، «يجب أن يتمّ تثبيت الانتصار السياسي كما حصل في الانتصار العسكري». وعلى هذا الأساس، فإن البحث في إنجاز أي تسوية سياسية في سوريا لا يتمّ قبل إعادة انتخاب الرئيس بشّار الأسد في الصيف المقبل، ودعم الدولة السورية والشعب السوري في مواجهة «قانون قيصر». وفي معلومات مصدر آخر، فإن موسكو تُعِدّ حزمة مساعدة من المفترض أن تصل تباعاً إلى سوريا من الآن وحتى الانتخابات الرئاسية. أما في ما بعد الانتخابات، «فلا يمكن أن يبقى الوضع على ما هو عليه، لا في إدلب والمناطق التي تحتلّها تركيا ولا في منطقة شرقي الفرات، ولا يمكن أن تبقى أهم الموارد السورية في أيدي قسد والأميركيين». طبعاً، كل الكلام عن رغبة روسية بانسحاب حزب الله من سوريا أكّدت الزيارة أنه وَهْم وتسويق إعلامي غربي وعربي وإسرائيلي ليس أكثر.
كذلك كرّر الروس أمام الوفد سخطهم على الانتهاكات الإسرائيلية للأجواء اللبنانية والاعتداء على سوريا، معتبرين أنها خرقٌ لسيادة دولتين ذات سيادة وأسباب لتوتير الشرق ومنع الاستقرار.

أمّا في لبنان، فنتائج الزيارة ظهرت سريعاً في بيروت، بلقاء السفير الروسي ألكسندر روداكوف بالوزير جبران باسيل، بعد حملة ضغوط وشائعات وضعت العرقلة في ملفّ تأليف الحكومة عند رئيس الجمهورية ميشال عون، ومحاولات تبرئة الرئيس المكلّف سعد الحريري من هذه العراقيل. ولقطع الشكّ باليقين، أصدرت السفارة الروسية أول من أمس بياناً حسمت فيه هذا الجدال، مؤكّدة عدم تدخّل موسكو في التفاصيل الداخلية.

يكفي العداء الأميركي المتنامي لموسكو وحزب الله لكي تزول الحواجز وتتماهى المصالح


ويخشى الروس فعلاً المحاولات الأميركية لزيادة الضغط على لبنان، بهدف تأجيج الاحتجاجات الشعبية وتعميم الفوضى في البلاد، وصولاً إلى إسقاط ما تبقّى من هيكل الدولة، بما يؤثّر عملياً على الساحة السورية ويعيد عقارب الساعة إلى الوراء.


وبدا موقف موسكو وحزب الله مشابهاً، في ما خصّ تكليف الحريري، على اعتبار أن الأخير يشكّل مفتاحاً لمنع المحاولات الأميركية من إعادة التوتّر الشيعي ــــ السّني في لبنان والإقليم، من دون أن يعني ذلك دعم الحريري على حساب عون، أو منحه هامشاً سياسيّاً في الحكومة يستطيع من خلاله تغيير التوازنات الداخلية على حساب حلفاء روسيا. وفيما يُنتظر تحرّك روسيّ فاعل تجاه الأزمة اللبنانية، يتفرّج الروس على المبادرة الفرنسية التي لم تحقّق أي تقدّمٍ حتى الآن، و«يضحكون»…
لم تغب طبعاً ساحات فلسطين والعراق واليمن عن النقاشات، فحيث لا يوجد الروس في مواجهة الأميركيين، يوجد الإيرانيون وحزب الله.

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Trade-Off looming on Syria and Yemen:

Trade-Off looming on Syria and Yemen:

March 16, 2021

By Ghassan Kadi for the Saker Blog

In the past few weeks much has happened in the area of diplomacy on the part of Russia. Russia is forging ahead after stepping up its presence in the Middle East in the past decade, taking a strong pro-active political role. Moscow during this period has been intent on consolidating its efforts in re-establishing itself as the key player in any political settlements in the Middle East. Ever since Kissinger in the late 1970’s pulled the rug out from underneath the feet of the USSR, striking a deal between Israel and Egypt, excluding the USSR and the rest of the Arab World, the political influence of Russia in the Middle East significantly waned until it came back with deciding force when Russia responded to the Syrian Government’s request for help in September 2015.

Lately, the economic crisis has deepened in Syria following the drastic Western sanctions. And specifically after the implementation of the Caesar’s Act, the Syrian currency took a huge tumble and the cost of living has soared to unprecedented levels. This left many cynics wondering and pondering what was Russia going to do in the face of the collapsed Syrian economy after having achieved an impressive military victory, taking its troops outside its former USSR borders for the first time and heralding the end of the single super power status of the USA.

To this effect, and on the diplomatic side, Russian FM Lavrov has recently visited Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the UAE for talks pertaining to an array of issues. The agenda issues that transpired to the media include trade, the Russian Sputnik V vaccine, as well as issues of global and regional security, albeit vague in details as what ‘security issues’ mean.

It appears that in these meetings, discussions included the return of Syria to the Arab League and the cost of reconstruction of Syria after ten years of war, a bill touted to exceed $Bn200. Expectations have existed for some time that the Arab Gulf states will fork out a huge chunk of this cost. As mentioned above, the bottom line here is that Russia’s military success in its operation in Syria needs to be followed by political success. Partly, this is achieved within the Astana talks which include Turkey and Iran. However, the very same Arab States instrumental in the ‘War on Syria’ are also instrumental in facilitating the return of Syria to the Arab League, the reconstruction efforts in Syria and the easing of sanctions. The Gulf states have always reiterated that there will no return of Syria to the Arab League for as long as Iranian forces remain on the ground. The UAE seemed more open than Saudi Arabia to the prospects of Syria’s return to the Arab League and financing the reconstruction process.

But why would the Gulf States, the same states that spent tens of billions of dollars in order to destroy Syria, be suddenly now interested in the reversal of the process? This is a fair question to ask.

Quite unexpectantly, and almost immediately after the return of Lavrov to Moscow, a top delegation of Hezbollah, headed by Mohamad Raad, was invited to Moscow for talks. Apparently, the visit was cloaked in a veil of secrecy in Russia and was not at all covered in Western media, even though it made news in Arabic mainstream media. It would be politically naïve to imagine that Lavrov’s visit to the Gulf has no relation to this. All issues in the Middle East are related to each other, including the war in Yemen.

To put it succinctly, the UAE had already stepped away from the Yemen war. However, Saudi Arabia remains bogged down in this travesty and seven years on, must have come to the humiliating and painful realization that it is a war it cannot win. This is where Iran and Hezbollah can have leverage in any direct or indirect negotiations with the Saudis, and Russia is the only arbitrator who is able to communicate with all parties involved.

All parties in the Middle East are looking for face-saving tradeoffs; at least partial and interim ones. The Saudis in particular are tired and exhausted,

In an interview given to Sputnik Arabic, one not widely reported in other media, not even Sputnik English, Raad praised the cooperation between Hezbollah and Russia, stating that ‘the invitation we received aims to reopen the dialogue about the next phase after having reached the achievements that serve the interests of the people of the region in the recent past’ .

This is Raad’s first visit to Moscow since 2011. Of that visit, I am not trying to speculate in hindsight of the purpose of it and the achievements of it. Furthermore, Hezbollah has not ever been party to any international dis-engagement or peace negotiations in the past, except for ones relating to exchange of prisoners. The economic demise of Syria and Lebanon, as well as the Saudi-Yemeni impasse, may well have placed Hezbollah in a position of participating in peace-deals negotiations this time.

I am neither referring to peace deals with Israel here, nor any deal involving disarmament. Hezbollah will not be prepared to negotiate disarming itself under any political settlement either today or in the foreseeable future, and Moscow is totally aware of this.

According to my analysis, the deal that Moscow is most likely to suggest is a mutual withdrawal of Iran and Hezbollah from Syria on one hand, and an end of the Saudi war on Yemen. It is simple, Saudi Arabia to leave Yemen and Iran/Hezbollah to leave Syria. I believe that Lavrov has already secured the Saudi acceptance of those terms, terms that will not only end the war in Yemen, but also the return of Syria to the Arab League and a possible easing of the Western economic sanctions on Syria. Had Lavrov not secured the Saudi assurance, he would not have invited Hezbollah for talks.

A deal of this nature can potentially end the criminal human tragedy in Yemen in a manner that will portray the Saudis as the real losers in the war, and this is where they need a face-saving trade-off in Syria. In Syria, they will be perceived as winners by securing an Iranian/Hezbollah exit. But most importantly perhaps for the Saudis, this will put an end to a very costly and humiliating war in Yemen, one which is beginning to draw criticism from some quarters of the international community, including alleged talk of America considering placing arms deal embargos on Saudi Arabia.

On the other hand, if Iran and Hezbollah end their presence in Syria, many sanctions are likely to be lifted and the severe economic pressure in Syria will be eased. Such a deal will be a humanitarian win for Syria and Yemen, a strategic win for Saudi Arabia and Iran, and a diplomatic win for Russia.

What will be in it for Hezbollah will largely depend on what Lavrov has put on the table, and it seems obvious that it is Hezbollah that will need more convincing than Iran, and this is why the talks are now with Hezbollah; not with Iranian officials. Perhaps the deal already has the tacit approval of Iranian officials.

It goes without saying; Israel will be watching these developments with keen interest. Israel wants Iran and Hezbollah out of Syria. But the trade-off deal I am talking about is not one in which Israel is a direct party.

What is known at this stage is that a meeting has already taken place between the Hezbollah delegation and Russian officials. As I write this, I am not aware if other meetings are to follow and or whether or not the Hezbollah delegation is back in Lebanon.

Was the 2011 Moscow visit of Raad a prelude for Hezbollah to enter Syria? Will the 2021 visit be prelude for Hezbollah to leave Syria? We don’t know. We may never find out the actual detailed outcome of the mysterious-but-not-so-mysterious current Hezbollah visit. It may not even end up with a press release, but in the next coming days, we will find out if a Syria-Yemen trade-off is indeed looming.

Terrorism is a Western industry to destabilize independent countries and plunder their wealth

Source

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For decades, Western countries, led by the United States, have been creating an appropriate climate for investment in terrorism and making it a means and pretext for waging wars.

After the attacks of September 11, 2001, Washington took advantage of the international circumstances that were formed after the attacks to form multiple alliances under the pretext of combating terrorism.

The US-led collation occupied Afghanistan and waged the wars and interventions against Iraq, Libya, Syria and other countries in the world.

Former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton published her book “Hard Choices” in 2016. In this book, Clinton admitted that “ the US administration established the terrorist organization ISIS in the region with the aim of destabilizing its countries”.

During his 2016 election campaign, former US President Donald Trump announced to a crowd of his supporters in Florida that former US President Barack Obama was the founder of “ISIS”.

A former employee of the US National Security Agency Edward Snowden, published documents in ‘The Intercept’ in 2014.

The document said that “the Institute of Intelligence and Special Tasks, in cooperation with British intelligence MI6, the Israeli Mossad and the US National Security Agency, paved the way for the emergence of the terrorist “ISIS” organization in the Middle East.”

Many press reports documented that ISIS was formed and its leaderships prepared in Bucca prison in southern Iraq, which was run by the American occupation forces after the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

Last September, the Gray Zone, an independent news website, revealed how Western intelligence manipulated Arab and international media outlets in order to create misleading media coverage about the situation in Syria and the war against it.

Last year, the British ‘Middle East Eye’ website leaked documents showing the involvement of the West in general and the British government in particular in supporting and financing terrorist organizations in Syria under the name of ‘moderate opposition’.

British writer Mark Curtis, who published these documents, said , that Britain began clandestine operations against Syria in early 2012, that is, since the start of the terrorist war against it.

Britain was closely involved in smuggling weapons shipments to terrorists, training and organizing them in a years-long process in cooperation with the United States and the Saudi regime.

O. al-Mohammad

Related Videos

‘I Didn’t Do Anything’: Excerpts from Dima al Wawi’s Story (VIDEO)

March 17, 2021

Dima al-Wawi and her parents at the Jabara checkpoint, where Israeli authorities released her after 75 days imprisonment. (Photo: Oren Ziv, via Activestills.org)

By Palestine Chronicle Staff

Dima Ismail Rashid al-Wawi was born on November 20, 2003, in the town of Halhul, north of Al-Khalil (Hebron) in the occupied West Bank. Her family earns its income mostly from farming a small piece of land located on the outskirts of the town.   

Halhul has been a constant target for Israeli army raids, as its residents have protested against the confiscation of much of their land to support the expansion of the illegal Jewish settlement of Karmei Tzur. Since 2000, the Israeli military has confiscated about 1,500 dunums (Approximately 371 acres) of land belonging to Halhul, which is subject to routine closures imposed by the Israeli army.

Dima has been witness to much of the violence and injustice meted out against her town, although her family tried to protect her and her siblings. On February 9, 2016, Dima was ‘arrested’ by an armed, illegal Jewish settler who claimed that the 12-year-old girl was trying to stab him. After weeks of interrogation by the Israeli army, a military court sentenced her to four and a half months in prison.

Throughout her interrogation, Dima kept telling Israeli officers: ‘Ma’miltish ish’, ‘I didn’t do anything.’

Below is an excerpt from Dima’s story published in Ramzy Baroud’s latest volume, THESE CHAINS WILL BE BROKEN: Palestinian Stories of Struggle and Defiance in Israeli Prisons (Clarity Press).

The audiobook edition of the book is set to be released by the same publisher later this year.

(The Palestine Chronicle)

Gaza has suffered the longest, most barbaric, lockdown in the world – I know, because I lived through three years of it

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

By Eva Bartlett 


March 8, 2021, RT.comWhile the rest of the world may rightly moan about the ways in which the miserable Covid-induced lockdowns have affected our lives, spare a thought for the 2 million Palestinians imprisoned in Israel’s brutal and illegal blockade.

“We’re all Palestinians now,” some say, as people around the world are under Covid-19 lockdown and rendered jobless. While the reference is apt, Palestinians in Gaza have been under the most severe lockdown in the world for 14 long years.

As 2021 has gone on, it has become increasingly clear that lockdowns are affecting people around the world in painful and deadly ways beyond the already awful effects of slashed incomes and isolation.

So imagine life where the lockdown isn’t for a period of weeks or months, but throughout the year, every year, with no end in sight, making life utterly unlivable.

That is life in the Gaza Strip, which although only 40 km long and 365 square km in size, is appropriately dubbed the world’s largest open-air prison.

And while there is absolutely no just reason for Israel’s imprisonment of two million people, it continues, year after year, in violation of Israel’s legal obligations under international law, as the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) notes.

It is collective punishment. As the UN reminded“No protected person may be punished for an offence he or she has not personally committed. Collective penalties and likewise all measures of intimidation or of terrorism are prohibited.”

Blockade brutality

The power outages, fuel and cooking gas shortages, dramatic food insecurity, stunted growth in children, 50 percent unemployment, and 96 percent undrinkable water have been Gaza’s reality for years.

Since 2012, the UN has warned that Gaza would become “unlivable” by 2020.

It was already unlivable when I first set foot in Gaza in November 2008. From then until March 2013, I lived a cumulative three years (and two wars) there, the latter half of that time in the humble home of a Palestinian family in central Gaza.

The power was out for 20-22 hours daily, mostly a result of the 2006 Israeli bombing of Gaza’s power plant, which was never fully reconstructed, thanks to the blockade that prevents the import of much-needed materials.

Picture a functioning hospital with dialysis machines, working ICUs, etc. Now imagine it with limited or no electricity, for 14 years, and after three wars. That’s Gaza.

And every year, due to the Israeli restrictions on imports, Gaza has less than a month’s supply of essential medicines (48 percent in 2019; 42 percent in January 2021). In December 2019, for example, 58 percent of chemotherapy drugs and 41 percent of kidney dialysis medicines were at zero stock.

Gaza’s lockdown has rendered vast numbers jobless, unable to travel, and prevented university graduates with scholarships abroad from completing their studies.

Exports have ground to a trickle. Formerly, Palestinians used to export not only the succulent strawberries grown in Gaza’s north but also many other goods including furniture, clothing, food products.

Imports are even more severely limited. When I arrived in 2008, only between 30-40 items (vs 4,000 before) were permitted entry to Gaza’s merchants.

Dangerous things like diapers, shoes, A4 paper, livestock, seeds, refrigerators, washing machines, fabrics, light bulbs, musical instruments, crayons, clothing… and much more, were explicitly banned entry.

As was, of course, building materials, desperately needed in Gaza as the population grew, and to rebuild destroyed homes, businesses and infrastructure.

Banning the entry of seeds and livestock seems like an attack on Palestinians’ food sources, deliberately causing starvation.

Indeed, at the time, near-starvation, according to the Gisha Legal Centre for Freedom of Movement, was the planThe security establishment had calculated the number of calories consumed by Gaza residents and used it to establish a ‘humanitarian minimum’, a bottom line to which it was possible to reduce food supply to Gaza without causing hunger or malnutrition…

Not quite dying of hunger, as the special adviser to numerous Israeli prime ministers, Dov Weissglass, said in 2006:

The idea is to put the Palestinians on a diet, but not to make them die of hunger.

As of November 2020, Israel continues strictly restricting imports to Gaza. The UN’s Relief Web noted“The Israeli authorities officially list 62 items as “dual-use items” which include hundreds of goods and basic materials. The items on the “dual-use goods” list are essential to the life of the population…”

Attacking the food providers

Israel also puts Palestinians “on a diet” by firing on and abducting farmers and fishers, destroying wells and cisterns, destroying or stealing fishing boats and burning or spraying chemicals on farmland.

During my time in Gaza, I documented Israeli live machine gun and sniper fire, routinely coming under fire myself, including for extended periods.

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Were Israeli soldiers targeting ‘terrorists’?  No, these were farm labourers and families, including the elderly and women. None posing any threat to Israel.

Israeli soldiers also target labourers and children collecting rubble and metal from demolished or bombed homes, transporting it, usually on donkey carts, to places where it can be sold for re-use in construction.

Israel maintains its gunning down of farmers and labourers is about ‘security,’ and has long ago imposed a ‘buffer zone’ on the Gaza side, supposedly 300 metres from the fence. But in my own experience with farmers on land 500 metres or more from the fence, Israeli soldiers still shoot to maim and kill.

Like the 20-year old deaf farmer I accompanied one February 2009 morning. As he and other labourers pushed their stalled pick-up truck, Israeli soldiers began sniping, shooting around me and hitting him in his ankle.

A few weeks prior, an Israeli soldier had shot the man’s cousin in the neck, killing him. An extended family of 16 people depended on the meagre income of these young farm labourers.

Or the 17-year old girl an Israeli soldier shot in the knee when, a month after the 2008/2009 war ended, she returned to her southeastern Gaza destroyed home to see what remained. This was 800 metres from the fence.

Or the 20-year old farm labourer shot in his chest while working on land beyond the ‘buffer zone’. The 16-year old working beside him died from the bullets to his chest.

Or the youth left paralyzed after being shot by an Israeli soldier. His crime? Sitting outside the home of an aunt he was visiting.

The ‘buffer zone‘ robs Palestinians of a third of Gaza’s agricultural land – the best and most fertile bits. Decades and Israeli bulldozers prior, this same area was rich in olive, nut and fruit trees, and a variety of grain, legumes and vegetable crops.

Nowadays, if Palestinians are lucky, they can plant low maintenance crops, hoping they don’t get burned, or bulldozed before harvesting, testimonies of which I’ve taken time and time again, and have witnessed while it happened.

A 2020 UN report noted that at the time Gaza’s fishers were allowed to access water eight nautical miles off the coast (less than half the 20-mile distance agreed on under the Oslo Accords).

However, from my experience working with fishers when the limit was just six miles, Israeli gunboats would target them even less than one mile off the coast, machine-gunning, shelling, water-cannoning or kidnapping the fishers and boats.

As a special bonus, the Israeli navy often adds a chemical to the spray which leaves the soaked victims stinking of excrement for days.

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The preventable stench

When travelling from central or southern Gaza on the coastal road, the shared taxi I was in would pass through Wadi Gaza, a slight valley which at times was overwhelmed by the stench of up to 90 million litres of raw and partially-treated sewage daily draining into the sea.

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Because Gaza cannot treat its sewage and is not allowed to import materials needed to maintain or improve its sewage holding tanks, the only solution is dumping it into the sea. Otherwise, the sewage holding pools overflow into residential areas.

In 2007, a sewage treatment reservoir’s wall ruptured, overflowing into a village, drowning five people, including two children.

*Beit Lahia sewage treatment plant (photo November 2008). This pool overflowed in March 2007, killing numerous living in the surrounding area below.

Less dramatic but still terrible, heavy rains combine with the sewage to flood streets, leaving people to wade through the foul water, and damaging homes of people that have neither the money nor means to rebuild.

When, in December 2013, massive flooding and sewage overflow ruined 400 homes, a UNRWA spokesperson said“Any normal community would struggle to recover from this disaster. But a community that has been subjected to one of the longest blockades in human history, whose public health system has been destroyed and where the risk of disease was already rife, must be freed from these man made constraints to deal with the impact of a natural calamity such as this.” 

That was over seven years ago, and nothing has changed.

End the lockdown

Protesting against the lockdown of Gaza, the “Great March of Return” from March 2018 to the end of 2019 saw 214 Palestinians killed by Israel, including 46 children, with 36,100 injured, including nearly 8,800 children, according to the UN.

Imagine the headlines were this in Russia or Syria.

As of January, the Rafah Crossing (the sole crossing controlled by Egypt, not Israel) remained closed. Over 7,000 Palestinians are registered to exit Gaza, and thousands are waiting to enter, the UN reported.

According to the UN, Gaza now gets 14 hours of power a day, the one improvement I’m aware of since my time living there.

The rest – the targeting farmers and fishers, the random Israeli bombings and psychological warfare, and most notably, the blockade – remains as per the many previous years.

Indeed, according to a March 3 statement by UNRWA’s Gaza director, conditions in Gaza have only gotten worse.

Conditions have become so bad that “the well-known definition of extreme or absolute poverty is no longer suitable, most of the Palestinian refugees in Gaza need help.”

Those under Covid-19 lockdowns now have experienced a mere fraction of what Palestinians in Gaza have endured for so long. I would hope that, as a result, more people might be moved to demand Israel end its 14-year lockdown of Gaza.

RELATED:

UN predictions fall short: Gaza uninhabitable today

Israeli tank and bulldozer invasion of Palestinian farmland

Dignified beyond losses:Palestinian farmers’ livelihoods destroyed by Israel

Homes and livelihoods destroyed by Israeli bulldozers

How israeli policies and attacks have ravaged Gaza’s agricultural sector

Israeli Navy Terrorism: Destroying Boats and Lives

Israeli naval abductions and shooting at Palestinian fishermen: it’s routine

stars and bombs: random israeli bombing a few hundred metres from home

Attack on Water Brings Sanitation Crisis

Gaza drives

Leaving Gaza: Egypt’s treatment of “undesirables”…or, that time I was locked underground in an Egyptian airport with dozens of other civilians

Iranian tankers and covert attacks

Iranian tankers and covert attacks

March 13, 2021

By Nat South for the Saker Blog

The WSJ published an exclusive article on covert Israeli targeting of Iranian ships and shipments going to Syria, going back several years. Here is the headline:

“WSJ News Exclusive | Israeli Strikes Target Iranian Oil Bound for Syria”

To shed some light on the matter and give some broader context to the WSJ exclusive, I produced a draft visual timeline of notable events, of maritime incidents occurring to Iranian ships or those connected to Iran in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Red Sea, as well as the timeline of some of the highly publicised sabotage attacks in the MEG / Arabian Sea / Gulf of Oman region.  The visual is not a complete list of the incidents but just an outline.

Figure 1 Figure 1 – Timeline of notable maritime incidents

Obviously, there is still chunks of data / information missing on particular events, given the numbers of attacks cited in the WSJ article, if the figure of at least 12 attack is a rough baseline to work from:

  • 3 in 2019
  • 6 in 2020
  • 3 (?) in 2021

The curious case of the oil spill

One ship that I did not specifically list is the Iranian connected, Panama flagged tanker ‘Emerald’, which the Israeli Environmental ministry recently accused of being the source of the catastrophic oil spill off the Eastern Med on the 16th of February, causing the worst environmental disaster in the country’s history. It is probable that this was not another targeted ship, although as it stands, Israel has not commented on the WSJ report.

It was certainly a little more than unusual for Israel to issue a news embargo on the name of the ship. The ‘Emerald’ had indeed headed to Syria from the Suez Canal, yet managed to carry out a Ship-to-Ship transfer, (STS), off Syria, without a hitch and also return to Suez without any noticeable traces of causing pollution. It sure gets weirder. Stalely, the West MSM went into a whirl reporting the ‘news’ about an Iranian linked ship, without even batting an eye to find out more about any evidence to actually prove the case.

It is rather strange and a bit more than a coincidence that this ‘bombshell’ revelation by the WSJ is made by US officials no less! But the WSJ alludes to an attack, that oddly matches the description of the incident suffered by the ‘Emerald’:

In an episode last month, suspected Israeli operatives attached a limpet mine to attack an Iranian vessel as it anchored near Lebanon to deliver Iran oil to Syria, according to the first shipping professional. Israel’s military declined to comment on the incident.

If it wasn’t the Emerald, judging from satellite imagery and maritime OSINT articles, then who was it?

The incident outlined in the WSJ may have been the straw that broke the camel’s back due to the consequences and repercussions of this attack. Did a situation get out of hand, so much so that it incurred Washington’s displeasure or was Washington rattled? There is certainly more to this story than a spate of attacks, as Washington officialdom seemed not to be too bothered about Israeli up to recently.

Commentary

The WSJ exclusive makes for an interesting shift in perspective on maritime murky goings on in the Middle East and clearly demonstrates the reckless hubris of Israeli military operations, (putting both feet at the same time in the mouth), that proved to have a much greater and significant consequence for the whole region. I would like to underline that such antagonistic attacks and retaliatory actions are ultimately self-fulfilling and self-perpetuating.

In light of this revelation of the clandestine operations, this raises questions regarding the series of sabotage attacks in the Arabian Sea back in 2019. A revaluation is also needed in order to understand the wider context of such strange attacks, as outlined back in an article in 2019, [1].

It is not surprising that Israel has carried out naval operations against ships carrying Iranian oil bound for Syria and also cargo ships suspected of circumventing weapons sanctions. This MO fits in with its overall posture towards Syria and Iran, principally in carrying out air strikes against what it sees as “Iranian regime” units operating in Syria and doing everything it can in order to weaken the Syrian government.

This highlights just the tip of the iceberg so to speak, in a barely concealed war against Iran. These Israeli operations are nevertheless a clear expansion of hostilities in the Mideast, so maybe Washington drew a line in the sand by allowing the officials to carry out limited “damage control”. Not that Washington will be able reign in such Israeli hubris.

Maritime incidents

Noticeably, the exclusive report came a day after an alleged attack on an Iranian containership far off the northern Israeli coast on the 10th March.  The ‘Shahr e Kord’ was heading to Syria, when a fire broke onboard, with several containers located on the bow damaged.  The ship did slow down and change course, (but eventually went to Baniyas, (next to the Russian naval base, so it may have been inspected by the Russian military). The ship operator, IRISL, called it “terrorist act” and provided this statement:

After an explosive object hit the hull, a brief fire broke out…which was immediately contained by the timely efforts of the captain and crew of the ship“.

It is noteworthy that many of the previous incidents have not been publicly acknowledged by Iranian authorities.

AIS screenshot

Image 1 – AIS track of Shahr E Kord 10th March 2021

A kite flying in the sky Description automatically generated with medium confidence

Image 2 – AIS screenshot of track at time of incident

There are comments suggesting that this was some kind of response to the attack on the Bahamian flagged but Israel-owned MV ‘Helios Ray’ RO-RO vehicle carrier in the Gulf of Oman, since the timing between the two is relatively close.  Having said that, it doesn’t make much sense in relation to the 2019 tanker attacks with limpet mines, with Iran blamed, because these happened before the suspected attacks on the Iranian tankers in the Red Sea. Unless… it is was a dry run.

Yet, surmising that the attack on the MV ‘Helios Ray’ could be equally considered as retaliatory operations, which Iranian ships got attacked beforehand?

One incident that stands out is the 2019 attack on the ‘Sabiti‘, as it fits into the pattern of a furtive attack which caused a 200+ km long oil spill in the Red Sea, as can be seen in this image. The National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) reported that it was struck by 2 rockets off the Saudi coast. Unlike those that took place in June 2019, this unusual and unidentified attack barely raised a whisper in the MSM, helpfully swept under the carpet under the cover of the Yemeni conflict.

The 2019 attacks in the Fujairah anchorage were strange, as was the attack on the MV ‘Helios Ray’ last month. The resulting damage was visually spectacular, but it was limited, and it did not cripple or sink the ships. Comments made regarding the placing of limpet mines under the waterline by naval divers are not incorrect in a historical context, but that doesn’t stop someone onboard a small boat from placing one just above the waterline, as a demonstration of a show of force, to prove a point.

The aftermath between these two events contrasted greatly with what happened to the laden tanker ‘Sabiti’ and also the ‘Kokura Courageous’ and ‘Altair’, with accompanying dramatic satellite images of oil spills and images of onboard fires.

Predictably, a series of attacks in the Red Sea and in the Arabian Sea continue to be seen by the US, KSA and other Gulf states, as being the handiwork of “Iranian-backed” groups, as this article suggests. As always is the case with these attacks, officials or authorities cite that it is either weapons that match an Iranian model or the use of technology with Iranian ties.

In what appears to be a new form and expanded re-run of the 80s ‘tanker wars”, now civilian mariners have to face the risk of limpet mines, explosion-laden drone boats, as well as sea mines, not to mention the risk of ship seizures from both the US (*) and Iran.

Interestingly, Israel has deployed one of its Dolphin-II Class submarine to the Red Sea. Although capable of deploying special forces, the recent photos of the submarine in Eilat does not show that it has the Special Operations Forces (SOF) hangar on it. That does not mean to say that Israel isn’t using its submarines to support such covert operations.

Russian Navy

According to this USNI article, the Russian Navy has been seen escorting an Iranian sailing in the Eastern Mediterranean tanker bound to Syria, in Oct 2020. To note that this coincides with a Russian Navy exercise near to Tartus, “to ensure the calm passage of civilian vessels”. Part of the exercise was to respond to a submarine attack on a merchant ship and also “to monitor the situation at depth and on the surface, and to create a safe area for the passage of merchant ships.”

Maybe a one-off exercise or the start of ad hoc escorts of tankers? Certainly, it indicates that Russia was aware of ships being targeted. Whether it is also the case that ships heading up the Red Sea also get escorted is not known, although at the time of writing this, the corvette ‘Stoiky’ made a port call to Oman, so there is a very limited Russian Navy presence in the area. The Project 22160 class large patrol ship ‘Dmitry Rogachev’, is currently forward deployed to Tartus, and it is ideally placed to carry out escort work and close-to-shore missions. Even closer to shore, is the deployment of the aptly designated anti-saboteur Grachanok class and the fast Raptor boats.

The concern over covert operations is hinted at several times, with a publicised joint Russian & Syrian exercises at Tartus that took place back in December, aimed at repelling an attack by saboteurs on the Russian base.

The outcome is that these exercises can equally apply to the nearby Baniyas terminal, where the Iranian oil is delivered since the undersea pipelines from the offshore mooring points suffered underwater damage from suspected limpet mines, (June 2019 , January 2020). Similarly, the naval exercise in October 2020 was also about responding to a potential threat of SOF “group of swimmers” that could have been deployed from a submarine.

Overall, both the covert attacks on merchant shipping and the sabotage of undersea pipelines are arguably significant incidents as they can have a catastrophic environmental consequence as well economic impact on a vital hub. It will remain to be seen whether the public disclosure made in the WSJ article will change anything, in all likelihood, these clandestine actions be just simply glossed over. It could raise the stakes even further, as Israel may well start overt naval operations. Lasty, it will remain to be seen how Iran will respond to this announcement and how the Russian naval posture in the region will evolve accordingly.

More information and analysis of this later as any details come to the fore.

NB (*) It turns out that the US actually seized a cargo of Iraqi oil, with a company owned by the Emirate of Fujairah claiming a stake of the cargo. Who needs enemies with ‘friends’ like that? So, the maverick global sheriff alleges, seizes, (should that be steals), without any qualms whatsoever and then gets it completely wrong.

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