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Informed sources: Raid on Israeli-managed vessel was retaliation for Israeli raid on Syria

Press TV – July 30, 2021

Informed sources have told Al-Alam television that an attack on an Israeli-managed petroleum products tanker off the coast of Oman in the Arabian Sea that killed two crew members was in response to an Israeli missile attack on Syria that killed two resistance forces.

The Mercer Street, a Liberian-flagged, Japanese-owned ship, came under attack about 152 nautical miles (280 km) northeast of the Omani port of Duqm on Thursday, according to the United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO), which provides maritime security information.

In a statement on Friday, Zodiac Maritime, the Israeli-owned firm managing the oil tanker, claimed that two crewmen, a Briton and a Romanian, had been killed in the assault.

“Details of the incident are still being established and an investigation into the incident is currently underway. We continue to work closely with the UKMTO and other relevant authorities,” London-based Zodiac said on its website.

It also said it was “not aware of harm to any other personnel” than the British and Romanian crewmen who were allegedly killed.

According to Refinitiv ship tracking, the medium-size tanker was headed to Fujairah, a port and oil terminal in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), from Tanzania. Earlier on Friday, the firm described the incident as suspected piracy, but the UKMTO categorized it as not piracy-related.

The company said the vessel was now sailing under the control of its crew and on its own power to a safe location with a US naval escort.

In recent months, several other Israeli ships have come under apparent attacks on various maritime routes across the world. Earlier in the month, a fire broke out on an Israeli-owned cargo ship after it was struck by an “unidentified weapon” in the northern Indian Ocean. Lebanon’s al-Mayadeen television network said the Israeli vessel had been on route to the coast of the UAE when it was attacked.

Back in February, an Israeli-owned ship was hit by an explosion in the sea of Oman. In April, another Israeli ship came under attack off the coast of the UAE.

The attacks come against a backdrop of the Israeli regime’s various assaults on cargo ships across the Persian Gulf region and elsewhere.

July 30, 2021 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , | 2 Comments

Another Israeli Spy Story: When Will It End?

By Philip Giraldi | Strategic Culture Foundation | July 29, 2021

It is perhaps not necessary to point out how the mainstream media in the United States as well as in Europe and Oceania persist in ignoring or otherwise covering up stories that make the Israelis look bad. Recent accounts of the slaughter of children and mostly civilians in Gaza by Israeli planes, missiles and artillery consistently try to depict the conflict as warfare between two comparable opponents, ignoring the enormous disparity in the military force available to the two sides. Israel has a modern army, air force and navy while Hamas has nothing but some small arms as well as improvised rockets and incendiary balloons.

The reluctance to criticize Israeli behavior is largely attributable to the power of the Zionist lobbies in the respective countries but it is also at least in part due to the complicity of Western governments in conniving at the Jewish state’s actions in its own region. The persistence in Israeli demands for war against Iran, preferable fought by the United States, was clear again this past week when the new government in Jerusalem declared that it would be increasing its military budget in anticipation of war with the Islamic Republic. Perhaps not surprisingly, the U.S. Congress also has several bills pending that would increase military assistance to Israel by a factor of three.

Aside from their overwhelming affection for the Jewish state, politicians and talking heads in Washington have always sought to have an enemy to explain why the foreign and national security policies have been such failures. Russia was so designated during the long years of the Cold War and more recently both the White House and Congress have begun to warn that it is China that is seeking to confront democratic norms and “export its authoritarian model.”

Given all of that, there must have been shock in a number of newsrooms when it turned out that the guilty party behind an explosive spy story that was revealed recently appears to be none other than America’s “closest ally and best friend.” It seems that a private Israeli surveillance plus security firm consisting of former cyberwarfare military and intelligence officers and having close ties to the Benjamin Netanyahu government has been selling advanced spyware to at least 45 governments. The sales are in theory restricted for use only in terrorism and criminal cases, but somehow the resource has instead been routinely used against journalists, political activists, business executives, and politicians. Saudi Arabia, for example, used the spyware to track dissident journal Jamal Khashoggi, who was murdered by Saudi agents in Istanbul in 2018.

And even though the software has been regularly used against U.S. government officials and journalists, it appears that the Biden Administration has been aware of its capabilities and has done nothing to stop it. In its own defense, the Israeli company NSO that developed the spyware has claimed, implausibly, that it can no longer be used to hack U.S. phones. That assertion was debunked by former NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, who tweeted “NSO’s claim that it is ‘technologically impossible’ to spy on American phone numbers is a bald-faced lie: a exploit that works against Macron’s iPhone will work the same on Biden’s iPhone. Any code written to prohibit targeting a country can also be unwritten. It’s a fig leaf.”

The surprise revelation of the Israeli activity came not from a government counter-intelligence agency, but rather from a group of 17 international media organizations that formed a consortium to investigate a data leak relating to hacked telephones. The group included major news outlets that had apparently been targeted using the Pegasus hacking spyware developed by the NSO Group, which was primarily designed to penetrate the security features of smartphones. One former cybersecurity engineer from the U.S. intelligence community described Pegasus as an “eloquently nasty” tool that could be used to “spy on almost the entire world population.” The spyware “can be installed remotely on a targeted person’s smartphone without requiring them to take any action such as clicking on a link or answering a call. Once installed, it allows clients to take complete control of the device, including accessing messages from encrypted messaging apps like WhatsApp and Signal, and turning on the microphone and camera.” It can also reveal the phone’s location.

The software was designed with a backdoor which allowed NSO to monitor the surveillances and it is presumed that the information was also shared with Israeli intelligence. By one estimate 50,000 smartphones were accessed worldwide, including 10 prime ministers, three presidents including Emmanuel Macron of France, a king, foreign ministers and assorted journalists and government officials both in the U.S. and elsewhere.

A more cautious estimate from the Washington Postwhich participated in the investigation, states only that “1,000 people spread across 50 different countries were identified as having numbers on the list, among them are ‘several Arab royal family members, at least 65 business executives, 85 human rights activists, 189 journalists, and more than 600 politicians and government officials.’ This includes Robert Malley, the Biden administration’s lead Iran negotiator, and journalists for CNN, the Associated Press, the Wall Street Journal, and the New York Times.” Other news agencies that were hacked by Pegasus include Agence France-Presse, Al Jazeera, France 24, Radio Free Europe, Mediapart, El País, the Associated Press, Le Monde, Bloomberg, the Economist, Reuters and Voice of America.

Some are inevitably wondering why the Biden White House has been silent about NSO. It has not identified the Israeli firm as a threat to national security and made demands to the Israeli government that it intercede with NSO and shut down the use of Pegasus until some international regulation of the use of hacking software can be developed. Part of the explanation for the reluctance might be that Biden’s senior adviser Anita Dunn’s consulting firm SKDKickerbocker was hired by NSO in 2019 to provide “public relations” advice to improve the company’s image.

The reluctance, of course, also derives from the fact that Israel is involved, but those with longer memories of the Jewish state’s record in stealing American secrets should not be surprised by this latest venture. Israeli-recruited U.S. Navy analyst Jonathan Pollard was, for example, the most damaging spy in U.S. history. And Israel has, in fact, a long history of stealing U.S. technology and military secrets to include sharing them with countries that Washington has regarded as enemies, including China and Russia.

Israel always features prominently in the annual FBI report called Foreign Economic Collection and Industrial Espionage. The 2005 report states: “Israel has an active program to gather proprietary information within the United States, these collection activities are primarily directed at obtaining information on military systems and advanced computing applications that can be used in Israel’s sizeable armaments industry.” It adds that: “Israel recruits spies, uses electronic methods, and carries out computer intrusion to gain the information.” A 1996 Defense Investigative Service report noted that: “Israel has great success stealing technology by exploiting the numerous co-production projects that it has with the Pentagon.” It says: “Placing Israeli nationals in key industries is a technique utilized with great success.” A General Accounting Office (GAO) examination of espionage directed against American defense and security industries described how: “Israeli citizens residing in the U.S. had stolen sensitive technology to manufacture artillery gun tubes, obtain classified plans for reconnaissance systems, and pass sensitive aerospace designs to unauthorized users.” The GAO concluded that: “Israel conducts,” and this is a quote, “conducts the most aggressive espionage operation against the United States of any U.S. ally.” More recently, FBI counterintelligence officer John Cole has reported how many cases of Israeli espionage are dropped under orders from the Justice Department. He has provided a conservative estimate of 125 viable investigations into Israeli espionage — involving both American citizens and Israelis — that were stopped due to political pressure.

So Israel gets yet another pass on its spying against the United States. Indeed, the Biden Administration has yet to definitively comment on the latest impropriety. One wonders when the penny will drop and the American people will rise up and say “enough is enough.”

July 29, 2021 Posted by | Corruption, Deception, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , | 3 Comments

Keir Starmer to deliver keynote speech at pro-Israel group event

Press TV – July 28, 2021

Labor Party leader, Keir Starmer, has reportedly agreed to give the keynote speech at the annual Labor Friends of Israel (LFI) lunch event.

Starmer’s decision is another indication of the Labor leader’s embrace of the expansive Zionist lobby in the UK.

The LFI event is set to take place in November at an undisclosed location in central London.

Starmer’s decision means this will be the first time a Labor leader has addressed the LFI’s lunch event since Ed Miliband delivered a keynote speech in 2014.

Relations between LFI and the previous Labor leader, Jeremy Corbyn, were frosty as influential members of the pro-Zionist group consistently accused Corbyn of anti-Semitism.

By contrast, relations between LFI – in addition to the broader Zionist apparatus in the UK – and the current Labor leader is excellent not least because Starmer has been at pains to embrace the pro-Israel lobby.

Meanwhile, the Labor Party’s reputation with British Muslim communities has plummeted as more and more evidence emerges of deeply-ingrained Islamophobia in the party.

Last year’s LFI lunch event was cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic and associated lockdown. The 2019 event was also postponed due to the UK general election.

In 2018, the current Israeli President, Issac Herzog, addressed the LFI lunch event in his capacity as chairman of the Jewish Agency.

July 28, 2021 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , | 10 Comments

Syrian air defense units intercept Israeli missiles near Damascus, thwarting THIRD raid in a week – Russian MoD

RT | July 26, 2021

The Syrian military has intercepted two missiles fired by Israeli fighter jets at Damascus suburb of Sayyidah Zaynab over the weekend, successfully thwarting the third such airstrike in a week, using Russian-made air defense systems.

The airstrike was carried out from outside the Syrian airspace, around 5:40am Sunday morning, when two Israeli F-16 jets fired two guided missiles, targeting unspecified facilities in the town of Set (Sayyidah) Zaynab some 10km south of Damascus.

Syrian air defense units – equipped with Russian-made Buk-M2E systems – successfully intercepted both of them, the head of the Russian Reconciliation Center for Syria, Rear Admiral Vadim Kulit, said in a daily briefing.

On Wednesday night, two Israeli F-16 jets fired four guided missiles from Lebanese airspace at Syria’s Homs province. All of them were shot down, also using Russian-made Buk-M2Es.

On Monday night, four Israeli jets penetrated Syrian airspace through the area of At-Tanf on the Jordanian border, controlled by the US military, and fired eight missiles into Aleppo province. Seven of them were reportedly shot down by Buk-M2 and Pantsir-S systems, but the remaining one struck a scientific research facility in the town of Safira.

While Israeli officials rarely acknowledge such raids, Israel Defense Forces (IDF) warplanes routinely rained down missiles on Syrian territory over the past years, under the pretext of self-defense against the “Iranian threat.”

Damascus has always protested the repeated attacks as blatant acts of aggression, while Russia, Turkey and Iran recently jointly condemned Israeli raids as violations of sovereignty and international humanitarian laws.

July 25, 2021 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation, War Crimes | , , , , , | 6 Comments

The African Union is self-destructing by letting Israel have observer status

By Dr Mustafa Mheta | MEMO | July 23, 2021

The Israeli Foreign Ministry announced yesterday that it has regained its observer status at the African Union. Until 2002, the colonial state was an observer member of the Organisation of African Unity, until the latter was dissolved and replaced by the African Union.

Who has decided to readmit Israel to the AU as an observer state? We know those responsible very well, because ever since they came to power in the continental body they have made some very unpopular decisions of no benefit to Africa and its people. Instead, they have sold us all to the highest bidder.

One day they will be exposed as traitors because Africa and its states have been born out of the struggles against slavery and colonialism; we don’t need to associate ourselves with colonial states such as the Zionist entity. In days gone by our kings and chiefs sold us for a teaspoon of sugar and a shiny mirror. Today our leaders are selling us again to the descendants of the same imperialists wearing democratic cloaks to hide their colonialist intentions.

Is there any difference between these modern African leaders and those who sold us into colonial slavery? Quite simply, none at all. They are the people who allow imperialists and Zionists to have access to our continent’s natural resources in exchange for spyware technology and weapons to enable their continuing grip on power.

When former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi spearheaded the formation of the African Union in 2002, he made sure that Zionist Israel was sidelined. Little did he know that his African brothers would go on to betray him and his anti-colonialist legacy.

Israel is a racist, apartheid state, so why should it have observer status at the AU? Before any such readmission was even considered, the union should have demanded that the Zionist state complies with the many UN resolutions hanging over it. It was a perfect opportunity to put pressure on Israel to withdraw from all Arab land that it occupies — Lebanese, Syrian and Palestinian alike — and facilitate the independence of the State of Palestine.

The AU needs to wake up to what Israel is capable of doing. Just this week, Britain’s Guardian newspaper has reported that an Israeli company has developed and sold Pegasus spyware to a number of governments, including some in Africa, and that at least fourteen world leaders (among many activists, journalists and human rights campaigners), including South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, have been targeted by the technology.

This is just one example of what befriending Israel means. One of the African leaders said to be implicated in such use of the Pegasus technology is Paul Kagame of Rwanda. He is a well-known friend of Israel and his relations with many of his neighbours in Africa are strained. Such relations are going to be tested even further after the Pegasus leak.

Kagame is known for pursuing his political opponents wherever they might be, and assassinating them. His relationship with the South African government is tense for that very reason. He also has problems with President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda, who accuses him of espionage using the very same Pegasus spyware. The government of Burundi is also complaining about Kagame for doing the same thing.

Rwanda recently deployed its troops to northern Mozambique and a fierce war of words has since erupted within the ruling FRELIMO party in Maputo. Given the Pegasus situation, how can the Southern African Development Community, of which Mozambique is part, trust the Rwandan military working alongside its forces? This arrangement could go very wrong. It is impossible to fight alongside those who are spying on you.

It’s a fact that wherever Israel goes and is welcomed, problems of this nature tend to arise. Countries are destabilised and turn on each other. It’s the old colonial tactic of divide and rule, playing one side off against another while pretending to be friends of both.

The Israel observer status move is the second serious blunder made by the AU recently. The first was to allow Morocco to return to the fold before withdrawing its forces from occupied Western Sahara.

With the Zionist entity involved in the AU, we can expect the continent to be destabilised even further. Africa simply cannot afford or allow that to happen. The AU must, as a matter of urgency, rescind the decision about Israel’s status unless and until it complies with all UN resolutions concerning its withdrawal from all occupied territories and facilitate Palestinian independence. If the colonial-occupation state refuses to do so, then formal relations between Tel Aviv and the African Union should be off the agenda.

July 23, 2021 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular | , , | 4 Comments

Jews enlist US govt to intervene in Chile as Palestinian-descendant rises to presidential election frontrunner

By Eric Striker | National Justice | July 15, 2021

Jews in America are demanding the United States intervene in Chile’s internal politics in the run up to their presidential election next November.

Daniel Jadue, a descendant of Palestinian refugees and member of the Chilean Communist Party, is currently the frontrunner in polls. Jadue is an unapologetic anti-Zionist who has in the past directly confronted the Jewish power structure of his country.

Gerardo Gorodischer, president of Chilean Jewish lobby, has successfully recruited Democrats and Republicans in the US Congress to call on Secretary of State Antony Blinken — a Jew himself — to meddle in Chile’s internal affairs and prevent Jadue from becoming president.

Jadue has in the past called attention to Jewish control of the media in his country. Last year, he was listed as one of the top 10 anti-Semites in the world by the Simon Wiesenthal Center after he passed a strict Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) law as mayor of the city of Recoleta. He is currently supporting a law in the parliament that would make Chile the first nation in the world to officially institute a total boycott of Israel.

With 400,000 descendants, Chile is home to the world’s largest Palestinian diaspora outside of the Middle East. Chilean-Palestinians are overwhelmingly Christians who were forced to flee their homeland after being ethnically cleansed by Israel. Chile’s Jewish population is much smaller, currently estimated at 150,000 people. Jews in the country have started immigrating to Israel in larger than usual numbers out of fear of Jadue potentially becoming the nation’s next leader.

So far, Jewish attempts at “Corbyning” Jadue have failed. Complaints from Zionist organizations in Latin America and the US to stop Jadue have largely been ignored by the local population. Their trump card appears to be using the United States to intimidate the Chilean government with threats of economic retaliation or more.

In her letter to Blinken, Democratic congresswoman Debbie Wasserman-Schultz made a collective racial attack on the entire Chilean Palestinian community for protesting against Israel’s attacks on Arabs last May:

“Militant leaders of the 400,000-strong Chilean Palestinian community, and their partners, from a variety of political parties, were quite aggressive during and after the Gaza crisis, burning Israeli and U.S. flags, brandishing Nazi symbols and accusing Israel of apartheid and Chilean Jews of controlling the media. This dangerous climate has been intensifying for many years and has already affected Chile’s social fabric despite alarms sounded by the local Jewish community and U.S. Jewish organizations like the American Jewish Committee.”

The billionaire neo-conservative president of Chile, Sebastián Piñera, also received the letter. His allies in the parliament have started grilling Jadue over his 1983 high school yearbook entry, where he declared himself an “anti-Semite” and vowed revenge against Jews for what they did to his family. Jadue, a 54-years-old man, responded by making fun of Chilean conservatives asking him to “clarify” comments he made as a teenager as the country suffers through an economic crisis.

Jews have been encountering resistance from all across the political spectrum and diverse countries in recent months. Earlier this month, Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko gave a speech suggesting that Jews use the “Holocaust” to intimidate and control people. Yesterday in Poland, local nationalists crashed a Jewish ceremony racially defaming Poles as genocidal killers.

July 16, 2021 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Solidarity and Activism, Timeless or most popular | , , , , | 9 Comments

Facebook removes Gaza-based Shehab News Agency from platform

MEMO | July 14, 2021

Facebook yesterday removed the page of the Palestinian Shehab News Agency from its platform.

News Director at Shehab, Hossam Al-Zayegh, described Facebook’s action as a new violation of freedom of opinion and expression guaranteed by international law.

“Deleting our page is a reprehensible and condemned action which aims to fight Palestinian content under the pretext of violating standards and inciting violence,” he added.

“Facebook overlooks incitement and violation of society’s standards by Israelis or Israeli political news sites or associations while preventing the publication of the Palestinian response to these provocations and incitement,” Al-Zayegh said, explaining that the agency had more than 7.5 million followers on Facebook.

The Palestinian Journalist Bloc condemned thew social media platform’s action, described it as “arbitrary and unjust”.

In 2020, the Echo Social Center documented 1,200 violations of Palestinian digital content on social media platforms.

Legal rights centre Adalah revealed in 2018 that social media giants are collaborating with Israeli authorities to censor user content.

In 2018, the Israeli Ministry of Justice said that Facebook has responded to about 85 percent of Israel’s requests to remove, block and provide data on Palestinian content on the site throughout 2017.

July 14, 2021 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Full Spectrum Dominance | , | 2 Comments

The Fight to Save Lifta, the Last Remaining Palestinian Village

By Jessica Buxbaum | MintPress News | July 9, 2021

Yacoub Odeh is 81 years old but he can still remember his childhood in the Palestinian village of Lifta as if it were yesterday. Children playing together in the gardens, swimming in the pools and laying in the grass.

Today, Lifta remains as a frozen time capsule. While the residents were expelled during Israel’s 1948 ethnic cleansing campaign (Nakba), the ruins of their homes still stand. These ruins carved into the lush hillside are perceived as a symbol of the Palestinians’ right of return. This is the only town Israel did not demolish after the Nakba, but a government plan may soon change that.

In May, the Israel Lands Authority (ILA), the government agency in charge of managing public lands, issued a new tender for construction in Lifta. The development scheme, known as Plan 6036, seeks to build 259 housing units along with a commercial and business space and a luxury hotel on top of and around the existing houses. Daphna Golan-Agnon, a law professor at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and part of the Save Lifta Coalition’s board, explained that while the homes may not be demolished, “the village will disappear behind walls of concrete needed to hold new construction.”

The bid was supposed to be held on July 4, but significant public opposition delayed it to July 29.

The ruins in Lifta, a Palestinian village ethnically cleased in 1948. Liebe Blekh | MintPress News

Attempts to demolish Lifta have been ongoing for years. The ILA first published a tender for Plan 6036 in 2010 after the Israeli state approved the construction plan for Lifta in 2006. A 2012 Jerusalem District Court ruling found Plan 6036 insufficient and requested amending it in accordance with a conservation survey on Lifta from the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA).

The IAA survey was completed in 2017 and found that Plan 6036 could not be executed without making significant adjustments in order to preserve the ancient village. Plan 270b was drawn up to fit the survey’s findings but in 2017 the Local Planning and Building Committee of Jerusalem temporarily halted the initiative for further examination.

The recent ILA announcement was met with hundreds of letters to Jerusalem’s mayor rejecting the sale. When reached for comment, the Municipality of Jerusalem told MintPress News that it “wasn’t informed about the publication of this tender and didn’t approve it. The mayor of Jerusalem asked all the relevant authorities to reconsider the construction plan.” The Israel Lands Council, which operates the ILA, did not respond to a request for comment.

‘In one hour, we became refugees’

Lifta’s strategic location at the edge of Jerusalem has made it a prime target for land grabs. Acting as a suburb of Jerusalem, Lifta’s placement next to the Jerusalem-Jaffa Highway makes for an easy trip to the Mediterranean while still being tied to the city of Jerusalem.

Lifta, often referred to as the entrance to Jerusalem, was a wealthy, agricultural community supported by olive presses and flour mills and situated atop the Wadi al-Shami spring. Homes made of limestone were cut into the hillside and Lifta’s roads wended through the valley.

Prior to the 1948 Nakba, Zionist militias like the Haganah saw seizing Lifta as necessary to cement Jewish control over all of Palestine. According to the Haganah Historical Archives, “[s]ecuring the western exit of the city [of Jerusalem] entailed the eviction of Arabs.”  Israeli historian Benny Morris said the Haganah fired the first shots in 1947, setting off the mass expulsion of Lifta’s 2,960 residents.

In December 1947, the Haganah killed a Palestinian business owner in Lifta. Later that month, one of Lifta’s two coffeehouses was ambushed with gunfire and grenades. The attack killed six and wounded seven. Two months into 1948, the Jewish Agency chairman and future first prime minister of Israel, David Ben-Gurion, boasted of the ethnic cleansing’s success, telling his political party members: “From your entry into Jerusalem through Lifta — Romema, through Mahane Yehuda, King George Street and Mea She’arim — there are no strangers. One hundred percent Jews.“

Odeh, head of the Lifta Cultural Heritage Protection Commission, was 8-years-old when Lifta came under siege by Zionist forces.

Yacoub Odeh, Nakba survivor and head of the Lifta Cultural Heritage Protection Commission. Liebe Blekh | MintPress News

“I remember one day my mother was preparing the fire to heat our room, and then [the Zionist miltiias] began to shoot. My brothers began to cry, ‘Mama, mama! They’re shooting us!’ My mom took us inside the room in the corner and under a table to protect us,” Odeh said, recalling two stories of Lifta — the town’s beauty and charm and then its tragic fall.

“There is the beautiful life and then began the miserable life because of the occupation.”

Toward the end of February 1948, Odeh’s father put him, his siblings and his mother into a truck heading to Ramallah to escape the violence in Lifta. Odeh’s father stayed behind to defend the village from the Zionist gangs.

“We were only wearing the clothing we had on because we are coming back tomorrow. We are coming back. Now we just want to be far from the shooting.” Odeh took a deep sigh and said, “In one hour, we became refugees.”

Today, 55 buildings out of approximately 450 remain in Lifta, including a club, mosque, cemetery and school, which now operates as a school for Israeli Jews. Liftawi refugees are estimated at around 30,000 and live in Jerusalem, the Occupied West Bank and the Diaspora. Most of the homes are empty, but a few are occupied by Israeli settlers. According to Zochrot, the Israeli nonprofit seeking to raise awareness of the Nakba, the “settlements of Mey Niftoach and Giv’at Sha’ul were built on village lands and now have become parts of the suburbs of Jerusalem.”

Saving Lifta

The Save Lifta Coalition orchestrated the campaign to the mayor and has been organizing since 2010 against Plan 6036. The organization spent five years working with scholars, activists, conservation specialists and higher education professionals to develop an alternative to 6036.

Their proposal aims to “expand the area of the national park and turn the village into a natural urban space for the adjacent neighborhoods,” while preserving Lifta’s cultural landscape.

The World Monuments Fund added Lifta to its list of endangered sites in 2018 and UNESCO added the village to its tentative list of world heritage sites.

‘Not something we can discuss now’

When asked about the plan’s responsibility regarding the right of return for Palestinians, Golan-Agnon said, “our plan is a plan to save Lifta as it is for the future generations to decide upon its fate.” She explained:

Many of us [in the coalition] do think there should be a right of return for Palestinians but we know it’s not something we can discuss now. So we say, it’s beautiful, keep it open, and then one day there can be a decision about what happens and who’s coming.

Dana Amawi’s grandmother grew up in Lifta and was expelled from the village in 1948. Now the family lives in Amman, Jordan. The 20-year-old said she was shaken to her core upon hearing the news of the sale. “Lifta symbolized a tiny, very small bit of hope that maybe we will be able to return to it,” Amawi told MintPress. “And now to think that other people might live in the house that I have the right to be in, it’s very sad.”

A Palestinian woman holds a partially eaten fig picked from a tree in Lifta. Liebe Blekh | MintPress News

Amawi said that her grandmother fell ill after learning of the auction. “She got sick. She had a fever and she was really, really sad because to her, this is where she grew up. This is where her earliest memories are and this is where she has the right to be,” Amawi said.

Stone houses like the one Odeh spent his early childhood in now crumble from neglect. The walls are sprayed with graffiti and piles of trash line the floors. On Shabbat (the Jewish sabbath), you’ll often find Israelis bathing in the spring’s waters.

Aseel AlBajeh, advocacy officer and legal researcher at the Palestinian human rights organization Al-Haq, visited Lifta in 2018. Her grandmother, who lives in Ramallah, is from Lifta. “It was a painful experience,” AlBajeh said of her time in Lifta. “I wasn’t sure if I wanted to come back to Lifta in this situation.”

‘You are here as a visitor’

During her visit, AlBajeh tried recalling her grandmother’s memories of a flourishing Lifta, but she said those stories were disrupted by the fact that she’s only in Lifta because of a permit she received from the Israeli government to enter 1948-occupied Palestine or modern-day Israel from the West Bank. “You are here as a visitor. It’s like it’s not a place where you belong, or this is what [the Israeli government] intends for refugees to feel like,” AlBajeh said. “Settlers were swimming in the spring of the village and they were blasting loud music, and it also disrupted my ability to even imagine Lifta as Palestinian.”

Israeli settlers in Lifta hold a middle finger to a group of Palestinian children. Blekh | MintPress News

To help her reclaim Lifta, AlBajeh took a small piece of the village’s remains during her visit. She collected a broken tile painted with traditional designs from one of the house’s floors, knowing this might be the last physical object she can have of Lifta.

“Lifta is a witness of what happened during the Nakba,” AlBajeh said, explaining:

We have this connection as Palestinians, and when we see the cactus plants, we connect this as evidence that displacement happened here. And if you go to Lifta, you’ll see the huge amount of cactus. So even if the houses remain and [Israel] tries to remove the cactus, it’s still painful… It’s not about the stones or about the trees. It’s about the whole identity of Lifta and the Palestinian history, which we still connect to. “

‘We were kings in our village’

Odeh’s memories paint Lifta as an idyllic place, an oasis carved into the steep slopes of Jerusalem where life was carefree and bountiful. “We were kings in our village,” Odeh said. “Everything we need, we had — a life so simple. We didn’t need cinema or computers, no, everything we needed came from our land.”

But the minute Odeh and his family became refugees, their resources became scarce. “At that time there were no charitable associations or agencies ready to help,” Odeh recalled. “You know what Nakba means? Nakba does not mean to destroy homes. No, Nakba means to destroy the life — economic life, social life, educational life, political life. They destroyed our life.”

Upon reminiscing about Lifta, Odeh said his dream is to go back home:

I miss my childhood. Palestinian children have lost their childhood life to play like children, to go to the theater, to concerts, to football. No, until now we have house demolitions, we have arrests, we have land confiscation and killings. Every day we have events like these — if not my family, my neighborhood.”

July 12, 2021 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , | Leave a comment

Documents reveal US pressure on ex-Yemeni regime to agree on normalizing ties with Israel

Press TV – July 12, 2021

The interior ministry of Yemen’s National Salvation Government has released a series of confidential documents detailing the United States pressure on the administration of former Yemeni dictator, Ali Abdullah Saleh, to normalize relations with Israel and lift the blockade on products made in the Israeli occupied territories.

According to the documents, the US embassy in Sana’a had asked then-Yemeni authorities to end the economic embargo on Israeli goods, and not to participate in any activities deemed harmful to the Tel Aviv regime, the official Yemeni news agency Saba reported.

The papers expose the level of Washington’s and Tel Aviv’s discontent and frustration with the blockade, and how US officials left no stone unturned to force former Yemeni officials into opening the Arab country’s market to Israeli businesses and their products.

The former US ambassador to Yemen, Thomas C. Krajeski, called on Saleh’s regime to lift sanctions on companies with first-, second- or third-degree ties to Israel, which was not turned down by the Yemeni side.

Then-Yemeni foreign minister, Abu Bakr al-Qirbi, later told the US ambassador that the so-called embargo on US and Israeli goods was not actually being enforced.

The documents go on to reveal that the US embassy urged the Yemeni foreign ministry not to dispatch representatives to an anti-Israel event at the University of Damascus in Syria.

Moreover, the American diplomat described Yemen’s removal of boycott of Israeli products as the fundamental prerequisite for the Arab state’s membership in the World Trade Organization, and its access to free trade and international investment.

Last month, Spokesman for Yemen’s Armed Forces Brigadier General Yahya Saree announced that Yemeni security forces had arrested a man involved in espionage activities on behalf of Israel’s Mossad intelligence agency.

Saree said in a tweet at the time that more details on the matter will be provided in a documentary entitled “The Spy of Mossad in Yemen.”

The documentary will shed light on part of Israel’s intervention in the country and “the plan to target Yemen militarily, and other secrets revealed for the first time,” the senior Yemeni military figure pointed out.

The developments come as earlier reports said that Israel and the United Arab Emirates have been working to establish a spy base on Yemen’s strategically-located island of Socotra.

The UAE has also been accused of constructing an air base on the Mayyun Island, situated off the Yemeni coast in the Bab el-Mandeb.

Both activities have drawn strong condemnation from the Yemeni government, which has described them as violation of Yemen’s sovereignty and international law, especially following the illegally-run tours to Socotra from Abu Dhabi, some of which included Israeli tourists.

“The transfer of tourists to the Socotra Island reveals the plans and programs of the occupying UAE, which are in line with the Zionist schemes to dominate Yemeni islands as well as the steps towards normalization with the regime,” a statement read back then.

Yemen’s popular Ansaullah resistance movement has previously threatened to attack Israel if it was “involved in any action against Yemeni people.”

The Israeli regime took the threats seriously, and deployed its Iron Dome and Patriot missile systems around the southern city of Eilat early this year.

July 12, 2021 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation, Wars for Israel | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Israeli forces demolish water pond in northern Jordan Valley

WAFA – July 12, 2021

JORDAN VALLEY – Israeli forces today demolished a water pond near Bardala village in the northern Jordan Valley, according to sources.

Moataz Bsharat, an activist, told WAFA that the Israeli forces escorted a bulldozer to the village, where the heavy machinery tore down the 250-cubic-meter pond, which was used for agricultural purposes and belonged to Samer Sawaftah. The pool was a donation from the Ministry of Agriculture.

Meanwhile, Israeli forces seized a caravan, east of Yatta, south of Hebron.

Coordinator of the Popular Anti-Wall and Settlement Committees, Rateb Al-Jabour, stated that the Israeli forces seized a caravan used to serve as a physical and mental health clinic in Zweidin area, east of Yatta.

The clinic used to provide medical support and treatment to more than 1,200 residents of the area.

Under international law, driving residents of an occupied territory from their homes is considered forcible transfer of protected persons, which constitutes a war crime. But residents of Palestinian communities in the Jordan Valley are no strangers to such disruptive Israeli policies.

The valley, which is a fertile strip of land running west along the Jordan River, is home to about 65,000 Palestinians and makes up approximately 30% of the West Bank.

Since 1967, when the Israeli army occupied the West Bank, Israel has transferred at least 11,000 of its Jewish citizens to the Jordan Valley. Some of the settlements in which they live were built almost entirely on private Palestinian land.

The Israel military has also designated about 46 percent of the Jordan Valley as a closed military zone since the beginning of the occupation in June 1967, and has been utilizing the pretext of military drills to forcefully displace Palestinian families living there as part of a policy of ethnic cleansing and stifling Palestinian development in the area.

Approximately 6,200 Palestinians live in 38 communities in places earmarked for military use and have had to obtain permission from the Israeli authorities to enter and live in their communities.

In violation of international law, the Israeli military not only temporarily displaces the communities on a regular basis, but also confiscates their farmlands, demolishes their homes and infrastructure from time to time.

Besides undergoing temporary displacement, the Palestinian families living there face a myriad restrictions on access to resources and services. Meanwhile, Israel exploits the resources of the area and generates profit by allocating generous tracts of land and water resources for the benefit of settlers.

Israeli politicians have made it clear on several occasions that the highly strategic Jordan Valley would remain under their control in any eventuality.

July 12, 2021 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation, War Crimes | , , , , | 1 Comment

Israeli military isolated Mohammad, 17, in solitary confinement for 35 days

Defence for Children Palestine | July 6, 2021

Israeli forces detained 17-year-old Palestinian teenager Mohammad in solitary confinement for 35 days in total for interrogation purposes. In this video, he describes his experience at the hands of the Israeli military and shares the lasting effects his time in solitary confinement have had on his mental health.

Sign the petition to end solitary confinement: https://nwttac.dci-palestine.org/peti…

July 12, 2021 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture, Timeless or most popular, Video | , , , | 2 Comments

Top UN expert: “Israeli settlements do amount to a war crime”

Palestine Information Center – July 10, 2021

GENEVA – A high-level UN human rights expert has called for Jewish settlements to be classified as a war crime, urging the international community to hold Israel accountable for a practice it has long considered illegal.

Presenting his latest report to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, Michael Lynk, the UN special rapporteur on the rights situation in the occupied Palestinian territories, said he examined whether the Israeli settlements were in violation of the absolute prohibition against “settler implantation” in the 1998 Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court and concluded that “the Israeli settlements do amount to a war crime.”

Talking about the human rights situation in Palestine recently, he said that in east Jerusalem, Jewish settler groups sought to evict Palestinian families from their homes, pointing out that under the Fourth Geneva Convention, forcible transfer of a protected population was prohibited, and the occupying power is forbidden from applying its own laws to the occupied territory.

“I submit to you that this finding compels the international community … to make it clear to Israel that its illegal occupation, and its defiance of international law and international opinion, can and will no longer be cost-free,” Lynk told the Geneva rights council.

Lynk said Israel’s demolition of Bedouin tent dwellings in a village in the West Bank on Wednesday left residents without food or water in the heat of the Jordan Valley, calling it “both unlawful and heartless”.

“Progressive seizure of Palestinian lands together with the protection of the settlements is a further consolidation of Israel’s de facto annexation of the West Bank,” he said.

There are nearly 300 settlements in east Jerusalem and the West Bank, with more than 680,000 Jewish settlers, Lynk noted.

The settlements have become “the engine of Israel’s 54-year-old occupation, the longest in the modern world”, he added.

He stressed the need for international action, not just words, in order to resolve the situation in Palestine.

“As long as the international community criticizes Israel without seeking consequences and accountability, it is magical thinking to believe that the 54-year-old occupation will end and the Palestinians will finally realize their right to self-determination,” he said.

A few days ago, the Israeli occupation army blocked the delivery of aid to Palestinians whose homes were demolished in the northern Jordan Valley and asked a UN aid team to leave the area, UN humanitarians said on Thursday.

The razing of 27 residential and animal structures and water tanks on Wednesday in the Palestinian herding community of Humsa al-Bqai’a was the first of its kind since February, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said.

The Israeli army’s civil administration and forces also confiscated, among other things, food, milk for children, clothes, hygiene materials and toys during the demolition campaign.

The action involved 11 homes for about 70 people, including 36 children, the office said. Animals had no fodder and water as well.

Representatives of OCHA and humanitarian partners visited the community Wednesday evening, but the army on Thursday asked them to leave.

The community rejected a proposal from the Israeli army to move it to a different location, OCHA said, adding that the army moved the residents’ belongings to the proposed site.

Humanitarians said 11 structures donated as humanitarian aid in February following similar demolitions were destroyed or seized by the army during Wednesday’s raid.

“The repeated destruction of their homes and property, including assistance provided by the humanitarian community is having a devastating economic, social and traumatic impact on the community, particularly children,” OCHA warned.

UN secretary-general Antonio Guterres voiced his deep concern over the demolition of property in the herding community, Stephane Dujarric, the chief spokesman for Guterres, stated.

“He reiterates his call on the Israeli authorities to cease demolitions and seizures of Palestinian property in the occupied West Bank,” Dujarric added in a regular briefing.

“Such actions are contrary to international law and could undermine the chances for the establishment of a viable, contiguous Palestinian state,” he read a statement issued by Guterres.

July 10, 2021 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation, Subjugation - Torture, War Crimes | , , , | 1 Comment