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Netanyahu Threatens to Deploy Israeli Navy to Enforce US Oil Sanctions on Iran

Sputnik – March 7, 2019

Earlier, despite threats to bring Tehran’s crude oil exports down “to zero,” Washington granted ‘temporary waivers’ on Iranian oil to major importers including China, India, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Greece, and Turkey, as well as Taiwan. Unless they are renewed, these waivers may expire in May.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has threatened to deploy the Israeli Navy to help tackle suspected Iranian efforts to smuggle out oil via maritime routes to skirt US sanctions.

“Iran is trying to circumvent the sanctions through covert oil smuggling over maritime routes, and to the extent that these attempts widen, the Navy will have a more important role in blocking these Iranian actions,” Netanyahu said, speaking to graduates of the Israeli Naval Academy in Haifa on Wednesday, according to the Jerusalem Post.

“I call on the entire international community to stop Iran’s attempts to circumvent the sanctions by sea, and of course, by [other] means,” Netanyahu added.

The prime minister did not clarify how the Israeli Navy, whose fleet consists mostly of coastal patrol ships, missile boats, corvettes and support ships, would tackle the suspected Iranian oil smuggling, or whether Israeli efforts would include preparedness for direct armed confrontation at sea. At present, the Israeli Navy operates primarily in the Mediterranean Sea, as well as the Gulf of Aqaba and the Red Sea.

Boarding merchant vessels in international waters without the flag state’s permission is illegal under the Convention on the High Seas, and may be interpreted as an act of aggression.

Tehran has repeatedly warned that it may resort to closing the Strait of Hormuz, a key strategic waterway through which roughly 20 percent of the world’s oil passes, if it is provoked into doing so and its oil exports interfered with. Oil exports are a vital lifeline for Iran’s economy, with the country exporting some $40.1 billion of crude oil in 2017, contributing to nearly 5 percent of total world supplies.

March 7, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Militarism, War Crimes | , , , | 13 Comments

Can Netanyahu Risk A “Battle Of Missiles” With Syria?

By Elijah J. Magnier | American Herald Tribune | March 2, 2019

It was the eleventh and the most important meeting between the Russian President Vladimir Putin and the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The Israeli visitor heard clearly from his host that Moscow has no leverage to ask Iran to leave or to stop the flow of weapons to Damascus and that Iran will remain in Syria and that Russia has no say over the Syrian-Iranian relationship. Moscow informed Tel Aviv about “Damascus’s determination to respond to any future bombing and that Russia doesn’t see itself concerned”.

According to well-informed sources in Damascus, “the few hours of the visit of President Bashar al-Assad to Tehran were enough to send messages in all directions. The first message was the fact that the visit took place just before Netanyahu’s scheduled meeting with Putin. The second message was to display the robust cemented relationship between Iran and Syria, immune from any outside interference from the US or Russia and that Syria has the sovereign right to choose its strategic partners. The secretive nature of the visit – not even Russia was informed in advance – speaks volumes about the Syrian-Iranian relationship”.

“Russia exerted pressure on President Obama to prevent the US from bombing Damascus on the false flag pretext of chemical weapons and set up its military apparatus in Syria in 2015. Russia helped Syria to victory, imposed a political dialogue, and protected Syria in the international arena, speeding up the return of refugees (the US wanted to use the refugees in a failed attempt to gain concessions that it could not obtain by war). Moreover, Russia is putting pressure on many countries to contribute to the reconstruction of Syria and to resume diplomatic relations with Damascus. Russia is a strategic ally but exerts no power of control over the central government”, said the source.

The strategic relationship between Tehran and Damascus started – under the “Axis of the Resistance” – long before the war. In 2011, Iran rushed to support the central government to prevent the US-EU-Arab “regime-change” plan. It thwarted the transformation of Syria into Islamic Emirates ruled by Takfiri jihadists. Tehran offered oil, financial and military support to Syria throughout its seven years of war and rejected any proposition, even by Russia, to change President Assad for any other Syrian personality, as repeatedly proposed by the US.

Russia enjoys an excellent relationship with Israel and intends to maintain that relationship. Iran, on the other hand, is ready to wage war against Israel if Netanyahu ever decides to bomb significant strategic objectives in Syria. The head of Iran’s National Security Council, Admiral Ali Shamkhani, said Iran will respond by hitting Israeli targets if Israel bombs Syria. The same warning was delivered by Syria’s Ambassador to the UN, who recently warned that his country will retaliate if Damascus is bombed.

Since these last warnings, Israel has refrained from violating Syria sovereignty (except for one insignificant artillery bombing against an empty position in south Syria). Iranian officials in Syria had a curt response to their Russian counterparts who asked to have details on the locations of their military deployment in Syria. Iranians told the Russian military to inform Israel that the Iranian positions have been integrated with those of the Syrian army all over Syrian territory, and that any bombing of the Syrian army will hit Iranian advisors.

Iran in effect asked Russia to inform Israel that any future Israeli attack will trigger a retaliatory response, since the presence of Iranian advisors in the Levant is at the official request of the Syrian government. It is legitimate for all allied forces, if under attack, to respond with the similar firepower against any future aggression.

Netanyahu seems willing to bomb Syria. Nevertheless, if Iran and Syria stand by their promised response, he will not be able to stop the precision missiles ready to be launched against Israel. The Israeli Prime Minister is not aiming to dislodge Iran from Syria, an objective he knows to be impossible. Neither can he aspire to destroy Syria’s military capacity because Russia continues to supply Damascus with highly sophisticated weapons. His only  plausible objective is an electoral one, with the goal of escaping imminent indictment for bribery charges related to corruption. A second term may postpone his indictment and prolong his immunity.

However, if the Israeli Prime Minister decides to bomb Syria, his decision will have a boomerang effect, especially if Syrian missiles hit deadly targets in the heart of Israel. Will Netanyahu take the risk and bomb his political future? It is his decision.

March 2, 2019 Posted by | Corruption, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Militarism | , , , | 1 Comment

War on Al-Aqsa: What price for Netanyahu’s victory

By Ramzy Baroud | MEMO | February 26, 2019

On 18 February, members of extremist Jewish groups raided the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in Occupied Al-Quds (Jerusalem). They clashed with Palestinian worshippers, as the settlers attempted to shut down the gate of Al-Aqsa itself.

The clashes involved the Israeli army and police as well, who opened fire and brutally assaulted Palestinians, leading to scores of injuries.

On February 19, the Israeli army carried out the unusual step of shutting down Al-Rahma Gate, which leads to a section of the Al-Aqsa compound that has, itself, been shut down by the Israeli army since 2003.

The provocative decision to seal the gate was made in advance, and the lock and key have the fingerprints of Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu.

It is quite typical for Israeli politicians to carry out confrontational measures against Palestinians shortly before general elections are due. The nature of these measures is determined by the kind of political constituency that Israeli leaders aim to appease.

However, a war on Gaza, at least for now, is too risky an option for Netanyahu as it would take place too close to the April 9 elections date. Moreover, a botched Israeli attack on the Strip on November 11 caused Netanyahu a major embarrassment, forcing him to shelve the Gaza option for now.

That said, if the Israeli Prime Minister’s political standing grows too desperate in the coming weeks, a Gaza war may, once again, be placed on the table.

Indeed, the political union between Benny Gantz and Yair Lapid, which was declared on February 21, has certainly upped the ante for Netanyahu who has assumed that his election victory is a foretold conclusion.

Gantz and Lapid merged their two parties into one election list called Kahol Lavan (“Blue and White”), the single most serious electoral challenge for Netanyahu in years.

For the time being, Netanyahu has decided to appeal to the most messianic religious segments of Israeli society to keep his challengers at bay. This should come as no surprise as the religious, ultra-national far right has been the backbone of the Israeli leader’s coalitions for a decade.

Weeks before the Gantz and Lapid union, Netanyahu had taken several measures to show signs of goodwill towards his religious constituency.

One such overture was made on January 28, when Netanyahu ordered the UN unarmed international observers to leave the Occupied Palestinian city of Al-Khalil, where a few hundred armed Jewish settlers have been a constant source of violence. The Jewish settlers of Qiryat Arba’a live under the protection of a massive Israeli army contingent. Both groups have worked together to terrorise the Palestinian inhabitants of the city for many years.

Israeli soldiers clash with Palestinian protesters during a protest after Israeli soldiers shot Palestinian who allegedly attempted knife attack in Hebron, West Bank on September 19, 2016.

Israeli soldier fires at Palestinian protesters in Hebron, Sept. 2016 [Anadolu]

A joint statement issued by several humanitarian organisations, including Oxfam, Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) and Save the Children warned of the terrible fate awaiting the Palestinian community as a result of Netanyahu’s decision in Al-Khalil.

“Hundreds of civilians, including children, will see their safety put at risk by the withdrawal of international observers deployed in the city of Hebron,” the statement read.

True to form, attacks by Jewish settlers followed, as media and rights group reports point to a surge of violence against Palestinian civilians in the city.

By unleashing the wrath of Jewish settlers in Al-Khalil, Netanyahu wanted to communicate to his supporters that he remains committed to their settlement project, an unworthy cause that violates international law and comes at the price of protracted human suffering.

Similarly, the Israeli decision to shut down Al-Rahma Gate on February 19 was a pre-calculated move, aimed at uniting the entirety of the Israeli right, including the most extremist of all religious and settler groups behind Netanyahu’s leadership in the coming elections.

A trend began a few weeks earlier. On January 9, the Palestinian Ministry of Endowment documented a sharp increase of Israeli violations, involving the Israeli army and Jewish settlers at holy Palestinian sites throughout December. According to the Organization, over 100 such violations were reported, including 30 different incursions into Al-Aqsa itself.

raid on Al-Aqsa on January 7 involved more than the usual suspects but was led by Israeli Agriculture Minister and a strong ally of Netanyahu, Uri Ariel.

This type of politically-motivated and highly militarised ‘visits’ to Al-Aqsa are reminiscent of the infamous ‘visit’ by late Israeli right-wing leader, Ariel Sharon in September 2000. At the time, Sharon wanted to increase his chances of becoming Israel’s next prime minister, and to ensure that his arch-rival (then, interestingly enough, the very Benjamin Netanyahu) did not win the Likud Party nomination. The gambit worked. Sharon sparked the Second Palestinian Uprising (2000-05), leading to the deaths of thousands and, of course, securing his seat at the helm of Israeli politics for years.

Netanyahu, ever studious and resourceful, has, indeed, mastered the art of political manipulation as his mentor and, once again, Al-Aqsa is the platform for this sinister Israeli politicking.

Netanyahu’s decision to strike an alliance with Otzma Yehudit (Jewish Power) – the rebranded party of the extremist late Meir Kahane – further demonstrates how the current surge of violence around the holy Palestinian sites is a pre-calculated political move by Netanyahu and his government.

The fact that Netanyahu would bring into his future coalition groups that are the ideological mutation of the Jewish Defense League – which is classified as ‘terrorist organisation’’ by the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) speaks volumes about the changing relationship between the US and Israel. Thanks to Washington’s blind support of Israel, Netanyahu feels politically triumphant and invincible, even above US’ laws.

However, to achieve his pathetic dream of being Israel’s longest serving Prime Minister, Netanyahu should be wary of the bloody consequences that his reckless action is sure to yield. Indeed, Netanyahu may be provoking the kind of violence that is much bigger than his ability to contain.

Al-Aqsa Mosque has served not only as a religious symbol for Palestinians but a national symbol as well, representing their coveted freedom and serving as a source of hope and unity throughout generations.

While the blood of Palestinians is irrelevant in Netanyahu’s quest for political dominance, the international community should take immediate measures to prevent what could become an Israeli-induced bloodbath in the coming weeks.

February 26, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Militarism, War Crimes | , , , , | Leave a comment

The Denial of Taxes to the PA is an Ominous Sign of Netanyahu’s Grand Plan

By Jonathan Cook | The National | February 25, 2019

Israel’s decision to withhold part of the taxes it collects on behalf of the Palestinian Authority and plunge it deeper into crisis starkly illustrates the hypocrisies and deceptions at the core of the two governments’ relationship.

Under the terms of what are now the quarter century-old Oslo accords, Israel is responsible for collecting about $200 million each month in taxes, which it is supposed to pass on to the PA, the Palestinian government-in-waiting in the West Bank.

The money belongs to the Palestinians but Israel has temporarily withheld it on several occasions in the past as a stick with which to beat the Palestinian leadership into line.

On this occasion, however, the stakes are far higher.

Last week Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu belatedly implemented a law passed last summer that requires his officials to retain part of the taxes owed to the Palestinians – those that the PA transfers to political prisoners’ families as a monthly stipend.

It echoes the Taylor Force Act, a law passed by the US Congress in 2016, that denies American economic aid to the PA until it stops sending those same stipends to 35,000 families of prisoners and those killed and maimed by the Israeli army.

The PA has tried to avert that threat by channelling the payments through a separate body, the Palestine Liberation Organisation.

Israel and Washington regard the prisoners simply as terrorists. But most Palestinians view them as heroes, those who have paid the highest price in the struggle for national liberation.

The Palestinian public no more believes the families should be abandoned for their sacrifices than Irish republicans turned their backs on those who fought British rule or black South Africans forsook those who battled apartheid.

Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas called Israel’s actions “robbery” and said he would rather cut funding for health and education than for the prisoners and their families. “They are the most respected and appreciated part of the Palestinian people,” he declared.

Then he played his ace card. He said he would refuse all tax money from Israel until the full sum was reinstated.

That risks plunging the PA into financial meltdown and – most importantly for Israel – might ultimately lead to the disbanding of the Palestinian security services. Their job has long been to act as a security contractor, keeping order on Israel’s behalf in the West Bank.

The security forces hoovered up a massive 20 per cent of the PA’s $5.8 billion state budget last year.

The PA is already reeling from a series of hammer blows to the Palestinian economy. They include Donald Trump’s decision to cut all funding to UNRWA, the refugee agency for Palestinians, and to hospitals in Israeli-occupied East Jerusalem.

In addition, Mr Abbas reportedly declined $60m in annual US aid for his security services last month for fear of exposing the PA to legal action. A new congressional measure makes aid recipients like the PA subject to American anti-terrorism laws.

But the current stand-off between Mr Netanyahu and Mr Abbas lays bare the duplicity of the situation for all to see.

The PA leader may say the prisoners are the most cherished Palestinian constituency but he also describes his security services’ co-ordination with Israel as “sacred”.

The security services’ role is to assist the Israeli army in foiling Palestinian attacks and in arresting the very Palestinians he extols. Mr Abbas cannot realistically hold true to both positions at the same time.

Mr Netanyahu, on the other hand, has nothing to gain from harming the Palestinian security services, which the Israeli army relies on.

The decision to withhold taxes was taken chiefly to boost his popularity as rival right-wing parties compete for who appears the most hawkish before April’s general election.

Paradoxically, in withholding the PA’s tax money, Mr Netanyahu is punishing Mr Abbas, his supposed peace partner, while showing a preference for Hamas, Mr Abbas’s arch rival in Gaza.

Although Israel categorises Hamas as a terror organisation, Mr Netanyahu has been allowing extra funds into Gaza from Qatar to alleviate the enclave’s dire conditions.

Further, there is something richly ironic about Mr Netanyahu rebuking the PA for rewarding Palestinian “terrorists” in the same week he negotiated a deal to assist bringing Otzma Yehudit, or Jewish Power party, into the Israeli parliament.

The party is Israel’s version of the Ku Klux Klan, disciples of the late rabbi Meir Kahane, whose virulently anti-Arab Kach party was outlawed 25 years ago as a terror organisation.

So appalling is the prospect of this unholy alliance that even pro-Israel lobbies like the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) and the American Jewish Committee felt compelled to issue statements condemning Jewish Power as “racist and reprehensible”.

Mr Netanyahu believes the extra votes Jewish Power will attract to the right in the election will ensure he has the support necessary to build a coalition that can keep him in power.

But there is another glaring flaw in Mr Netanyahu’s tax grab.

If Mr Abbas’s coffers run low, he will simply send even less money to Gaza, which is already being choked by Israel’s lengthy blockade.

That would intensify the unrest in Gaza, which could lead to rocket attacks into Israel and even larger mass protests by Palestinians at the perimeter fence encaging them.

At the same time, if things remain unresolved, an already fragile PA will move closer to collapse and Hamas might then be poised to fill the void left in the West Bank.

Loss of power for Mr Abbas, combined with loss of a security contractor for Mr Netanyahu, appear to make this confrontation mutually self-destructive – unless Mr Netanyahu and the right have another card up their sleeve.

Hani Al Masri, a Palestinian policy analyst, has wondered whether Mr Netanyahu is setting the stage for US President Donald Trump to introduce his long-awaited “peace deal” after the election.

Much of Mr Netanyahu’s coalition is keen to annex Palestinian areas outside the main West Bank cities, destroying any hope of a Palestinian state ever emerging. Mr Trump might be amenable.

In this scenario, argues Mr Al Masri, Israel would aim to “end what remains of the PA’s political role, preserving only its administrative and security role”. It would be reduced to bin collections and law enforcement.

Should the PA reject the process of being hollowed out, Israel and the US would then look for an alternative, such as rule by local warlords in each Palestinian city and expanded powers for Israeli military rulers in the West Bank.

The denial of taxes to the PA may not yet presage its demise. But it points to a future in which Palestinian self-rule is likely to become an ever-more distant prospect.

February 25, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , , | 3 Comments

Poland summons Israeli ambassador over Netanyahu’s Holocaust comments

Press TV – February 15, 2019

Poland has called in Israel’s ambassador to Warsaw, threatening to scuttle an upcoming summit in Israel, after the regime’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appeared to accuse the European country of collaborating with the Nazi Germany in carrying out the Holocaust.

The Israeli premier, who had participated in a US-sponsored Middle East conference in the Polish capital on Thursday, landed back late Friday but created a short-lived spat with the Polish government when he appeared to implicate Poles in the Holocaust.

However, a correction note issued by The Jerusalem Post alleviated the concerns of Warsaw that had been infuriated by the paper’s initial report, which quoted Netanyahu as saying on Thursday that “Poles cooperated with the Germans” in the Holocaust.

Furthermore, the Israeli regime’s foreign ministry in a statement on Friday called the whole story a mere misunderstanding originated from the Israeli paper’s misquotation.

“The prime minister’s comments concerning Poland were misquoted by The Jerusalem Post, which quickly issued a correction clarifying that an error had been made in the editing of the article,” it said.

Nonetheless, Poland’s Foreign Ministry summoned Israeli Ambassador Anna Azari to Warsaw for a dressing down over the issue.

Before being summoned, Azari made clear that Netanyahu’s comments had been misquoted.

“I was present during the prime minister’s briefing and he didn’t say that the Polish nation collaborated with the Nazis, he only said that no person was sued for speaking about those Poles who did cooperate with them,” she said in a Friday statement sent to Polish authorities.

Prior to Azari’s statement, Polish President Andrzej Duda had even suggested that the Visegrad Group summit due next week in Israel between Netanyahu and four central European counterparts could be reconsidered “in spite of the previous arrangements” if the Israeli premier had said what was originally reported.

Duda further said that he was even prepared to make his own country the location of the summit as Israel was no longer a good place for the meeting.

Later on Friday, Netanyahu’s office issued a second statement saying that he “spoke of Poles and not the Polish people or the country of Poland.” In its first statement, his office had said he had been misquoted by The Jerusalem Post.

It seemed that the correction note and clarifications finally convinced the Polish government, which said late on Friday that Netanyahu’s statements had been misquoted and misunderstood by the media, thereby ending the spat.

The sensitivities are high in Poland over the issue of its actions during the Holocaust.

February 15, 2019 Posted by | Aletho News | , | 1 Comment

Israel and Arab nations discuss ‘common interests of war with Iran’ – Netanyahu

RT | February 13, 2019

Israel and Arab countries are in talks “in order to advance the common interest of war with Iran”, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said, although the translation from Hebrew was later downgraded to mere “struggle.”

The promise of a major conflict in the Middle East was floated by the Israeli leader during his trip to Warsaw.

“From here I am going to a meeting with 60 foreign ministers and envoys of countries from around the world against Iran,” Netanyahu said as quoted by Jerusalem Post.

“What is important about this meeting – and this meeting is not in secret, because there are many of those – is that this is an open meeting with representatives of leading Arab countries, that are sitting down together with Israel in order to advance the common interest of war with Iran.”

The Israeli PM is in the Polish capital to take part in a two-day international forum on the Middle East, which starts on Wednesday. Representatives from the United States and the European Union are in attendance in addition to Netanyahu and ministers from Gulf kingdoms. The EU representation at the event however is less than impressive, with heavyweights Germany and France choosing not to send their foreign ministers.

The US delegation is headed by Vice President Mike Pence, who is accompanied by vocal Iran hawk Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Jared Kushner, President Trump’s son-in-law and advisor. The Anti-Iranian goals of Israel and the US are apparently dominating the agenda of the forum.

“We’re trying to expand the number of nations who are engaged and have a stake in the future of a peaceful and prosperous Middle East,” Brian Hook, the State Department’s special representative for Iran, told Reuters.

The EU is on a shaky ground vis-a-vis Iran as it’s member Poland hosts the meeting. The Europeans are attempting to resist the push for confrontation with Iran coming from Washington, hoping to salvage the 2015 nuclear deal with Tehran. The Iranians still stick to the terms of the agreement even after US scrapped it under the Trump administration, but the promise of lucrative business opportunities with the EU, which was a major part of the incentive for Tehran to accept the deal, are nowhere near to materializing under the threat of American sanctions.

“Today, the Iranian people see some European countries as cunning and untrustworthy along with the criminal America. The government of the Islamic Republic must carefully preserve its boundaries with them,” Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei warned ahead of the gathering in Warsaw.

Israel and Iran are already engaged in a proxy war in Syria, where Israeli military regularly attack what they call Iranian military targets encroaching on Israel. Building on the foundation of common hostility with Iran, the Jewish state also entered cozy relations with Saudi Arabia and its Gulf supporters over the past decade.

Whether the regular exchange of threats grows into an open shooting war in the Middle East, as Netanyahu seems to be promising, is anyone’s guess.

February 13, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Wars for Israel | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Fiasco In Islington, Part 2

Gilad Atzmon
By Richard Hugus | December 26, 2018

More facts have come to light in the case of Gilad Atzmon and his banning by the Islington Town Council from performing at a jazz concert on December 21, 2018. The original scenario was that one  e-mail from one person calling Atzmon an antisemite somehow persuaded the Islington council to take the drastic step of removing Atzmon from a town-owned venue. Many who heard the story felt this was a rash decision which would surely be reversed when the facts were brought to light. But the Council voted to uphold its decision and Atzmon was indeed not allowed to play.

Now it appears that the single complainant – Martin Rankoff –  was not just an anonymous fan of Israel but the UK director of Likud-Herut. Herut (or ‘freedom’) was Israel’s founding nationalist party from 1948 until it later merged with Likud. It is a militant and extreme Zionist organization whose roots go in a straight line from Ze’ev Jabotinsky and Menachem Begin up to Benjamin Netanyahu today. Jabotinsky and Begin helped form the Irgun terrorists in 1937. Irgun committed notorious massacres in Palestine leading up to and during the Nakba (or ‘catastrophe’) of 1947-1948. These include the bombing of the King David Hotel  in Jerusalem in 1946, killing 91 people, and the massacre at Deir Yassin  in 1948 in which 254 unarmed Palestinian villagers were brutally murdered as an incentive for other Palestinians to leave. On its web site Likud-Herut UK lists Jabotinsky and Begin as “visionaries.” Likud-Herut is a member of the World Zionist Organization and the Zionist Federation of the UK  who believe in “the inalienable right of all Jews to live and settle in all parts of the Land of Israel.”

In a letter to the New York Times in 1948 Albert Einstein, Hannah Arendt, and others compared Herut to the Nazis and Fascists who had just been defeated in World War II. Referring to this letter, Ramzy Baroud recently wrote, “the ‘Nazi and Fascist’ mentality that defined Herut in 1948 now defines the most powerful ruling class in Israel. Israel’s leaders speak openly of genocide and murder, yet they celebrate and promote Israel as if an icon of civilization, democracy and human rights.”

The history of Herut and Likud tells us a great deal about who the people are who complained about Atzmon to Islington Town Council. When Atzmon moved to appeal his being banned, formidable opponents again appeared in the form of the Simkins Law firm, one of the most expensive law practices in Britain, with  not one but two partners at Simkins being put on the case. These are Gideon Benaim and Tom Iverson. Benaim recently became well known in Britain for winning an invasion of privacy suit against the BBC on behalf of pop singer Cliff Richard, who said he spent £3.4m ($4.3 million) on the case. Clearly, representation by Simkins doesn’t come cheap. Also listed in Benaim’s resumé as a client is the Las Vegas Sands Corporation which likely has no problem with Simkins’ fees either. The Sands casino is owned by billionaire Sheldon Adelson, who, as it happens, is a primary sponsor of the Likud Party in Israel, led by Benjamin Netanyahu. Adelson owns the newspaper Israel Hayom, a mouthpiece for Netanyahu and Likud.

American businessman and investor Sheldon Adelson with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the ceremony of a laying of a cornerstone for new Medicine Faculty buildings at the Ariel University in the West Bank, on June 28, 2017. Photo by Ben Dori/Flash90

It now appears that Atzmon’s banning was not the result of a casual complaint; it was an intentional attack on a well-respected supporter of Palestinian human rights by the Likud organization, directly represented by Martin Rankoff. The attack was followed up by the hiring of a lawyer who has worked for Likud godfather Sheldon Adelson. The connection to these powerful forces may explain why Islington Town Council leader Richard Watts, without any delay or attempt at negotiation, took the step of going straight to a decision to hire an expensive law firm. This is while Islington is facing serious austerity and shortage of funds in its own operating budget. Islington has a population of about 206,000 people. This very month, 43 of those people were counted in one survey as homeless and sleeping on the streets.

Regarding the financial problems of his borough and others around London, Richard Watts, told The Independent in October 2018 :

“unprecedented” funding pressures and demand for adult and children’s social care and homelessness services was “pushing councils to the limit”.

“As a result less money is being spent on the other services that keep our communities running such as libraries, local roads, early intervention and local welfare support,” he added.

Yet, to Watts and his fellow councilors in Islington, backing partisans for a foreign country -Israel- took precedence over the pressing needs of the people whom they are supposed to represent. Either Watts was inexcusably careless with scarce town funds or a deal was made and he knew that he could depend on Likud-Herut to back him. Or, like politicians all across Europe and the US facing the power of the Israel lobby, he knew he couldn’t afford to say no.

According to Simkin’s web site, Gideon Benaim “has extensive expertise in the areas of defamation, privacy, harassment and copyright.” Perhaps it is not a coincidence that immediately after Islington brought in Simkins, identical statements from an unnamed Labour spokesman describing Atzmon as “a vile antisemite” appeared in both the BBC and The Guardian. Perhaps a lawyer experienced in defending people against defamation and harassment would also know how to perpetrate these things. Perhaps this was Benaim’s opening move. Character assassination is a common tactic in cases that have a weak legal foundation, such as this one, as it goes a long way to convicting the accused before their case ever reaches a courtroom.

The involvement of Likud-Herut in the attack on Gilad Atzmon, and Islington’s official backing of that attack, constitutes a monumental scandal. This wasn’t just a stupid mistake; it was a hit. It is an affront to reason that an an arch-racist organization like Likud, who from the beginning have stood for the removal of the people of Palestine from their own land by means of terror, murder, and forced expulsion, could possibly claim they they were defamed by someone pointing out these very crimes. There is a case of defamation here for sure – the defamation of Gilad Atzmon. For Zionists, defamation is nothing more than a tool to destroy opponents who can’t be dealt with by other means. We are long since tired of truth tellers being accused of antisemitism. We’re tired of national and local resources being used to prop up the criminal state of Israel. Coercion by advocates for Israel is at the center of this issue in Islington, as it is in many other towns and many other countries. For the sake of Palestine and our own sovereignty, it has to be called out and stopped.

To sign a petition in support of Gilad click here

Lodge a formal complaint with Islington Council: https://www.islington.gov.uk/contact-us/comments-and-complaints?status=inprogress

Email: assemblyhall@islington.gov.uk

Contact the Council: +4420 7527 2000

To support Gilad’s legal battles:  https://donorbox.org/gilad-needs-additional-support

Fiasco In Islington

December 26, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Full Spectrum Dominance, Solidarity and Activism, Video | , , , , | 1 Comment

Yair Netanyahu, Son of Israeli PM, Gets Brief Ban on Facebook

Palestine Chronicle | December 17, 2018

Facebook has briefly blocked the page of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu‘s son, Yair after he shared previously banned content calling for “all Muslims [to] leave” Israel.

In a message posted Thursday on his Facebook page, after the latest flare-up in violence saw at least five Palestinians and three Israelis, including two soldiers, killed in recent days, Yair Netanyahu had called for the expulsion of Palestinians.

The prime minister’s son wrote: “Do you know where there are no attacks? In Iceland and in Japan where coincidentally there are no Muslims.”

In another post, he wrote that there were only two possible solutions for peace, either “all Jews leave [Israel] or all Muslims leave”.

“I prefer the second option,” added the 27-year-old, who has faced criticism of being a grown man living in the prime minister’s residence despite having no official role and benefitting from a bodyguard, a driver, and other perks.

Facebook deleted Yair Netanyahu’s posts, in which he called for “avenging the deaths” of the two Israeli soldiers.

Yair Netanyahu, who shared a screenshot of the earlier post in violation of Facebook’s community rules, took to Twitter to criticize the social networking giant, calling it a “dictatorship of thought”.

Facebook blocked his account for 24 hours.

Palestinian journalists and activists have long accused social media platforms such as Facebook of double standards regarding the enforcement of their policies, as well as an imbalance in how they deal with censorship in the Israeli-Palestinian context.

Last year, a damning report by The Intercept said that Facebook is deleting content and blocking users at the orders of the Israeli and the US governments.

December 17, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, War Crimes | , , , | Leave a comment

Putin tells Netanyahu of need for ‘strict’ stability in Mideast

Press TV – December 9, 2018

Russian President Vladimir Putin has reminded Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of the need to maintain stability following the recent Israeli operations near the Lebanese border.

Speaking over the phone, Putin and Netanyahu discussed the Israeli operations, the Kremlin said in a statement on Sunday.

“The president of Russia stressed the importance of ensuring stability in the region,” the statement said.

Ties between Damascus and Tel Aviv have been strained since Russia’s delivery of the S-300 missile defense system to Syria following the September downing of a Russian spy aircraft during an Israeli airstrike.

Russia has blamed Israel for the incident, which killed 15 Russian crew members. The Defense Ministry has said Israeli jets used the Russian plane as cover to attack Syria.

In their late Saturday talks held at the initiative of Netanyahu, Putin told him that Israel must improve its military coordination with Russia, the Kremlin said.

The Russian leader also emphasized the importance of the upcoming talks between their military experts to examine the circumstances of the September incident.

Israel has recently deployed additional troops along Lebanon’s border under the pretext of “cutting off” Hezbollah tunnels near the occupied territories.

Netanyahu has boasted that the Israeli operation was “only a small piece of the big picture” of what he called efforts to ensure its security.

The operation has drawn rebuke and ridicule even from Israeli leaders, with opposition leader Tzipi Livni criticizing Netanyahu for overdramatizing the campaign “for political gain.”

“We are not now in a situation where our soldiers are behind enemy lines. We are talking about engineering activity …,” she said, accusing the Israeli premier of “blowing the incident out of proportion.”

Intelligence and transport minister Israel Katz said Friday that Israeli forces may need to go into Lebanon to deal with the alleged tunnels.

An Israeli incursion into Lebanon would likely spark a major confrontation with Hezbollah. The Lebanese resistance movement has warned that Israel would “regret” invading Lebanon.

In his talks with Netanyahu, Putin “stressed the importance of ensuring stability in the region in strict accordance with Resolution 1701 of the UN Security Council,” the Kremlin statement read.

He was referring to the 2006 UN Security Council resolution issued after the Second Lebanon War, the last major conflict between Israel and Hezbollah which ended with the victory of the Lebanese movement.

December 9, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , , | 2 Comments

Bethlehem Mayor: Netanyahu Statement on Palestinian Christians is Another Attempt at Distorting the Reality of Occupation

IMEMC News & Agencies – October 16, 2018

Mayor of Bethlehem, advocate Anton Salman said, in response to Sunday’s statements by Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Bethlehem and the situation of Palestinian Christians, that such a statement “is another Israeli attempt at distorting the reality of the Israeli occupation and particularly the effects that Israeli policies have had on the Palestinian Christian community since 1948.”

“If Mr. Netanyahu was concerned about the situation of Palestinian Christians, particularly in the Bethlehem area, he would return the 22,000 dunams of Bethlehem land illegally annexed to Israel for expansion of colonial settlements. He would dismantle the annexation wall that divides Bethlehem from Jerusalem, for the first time in 2000 years of Christianity, and would stop imposing restrictions to Palestinian movement, including the thousand of Palestinian Christians living in exile and whose return is impossible due to the Israeli control over the Palestinian population registry,” said the mayor in a statement issued by the Bethlehem municipality.

He continued, according to WAFA : “For example, in Jordan alone, a few kilometers away, there are at least 20,000 Palestinian Christians from the Bethlehem area that are denied family unification and even cannot enter the city, not even to celebrate Christmas, due to the Israeli military restrictions.

“We would like to remind Mr. Netanyahu that it was himself who supported the building of one of the most damaging colonial-settlements that surround Bethlehem, Jabal Abu Ghneim (Har Homa), and that, in 2015, he declared that by doing so he is preventing the connection between Bethlehem and Jerusalem.”

There are over 100,000 Israeli settlers surrounding Bethlehem from all sides, reducing the area of Palestinian control over Bethlehem to less than 13% of the district, and making it impossible to plan for the future of our city, said the statement.

Furthermore, it was Mr. Netanyahu who voiced objection to declaring the Church of the Nativity and the Pilgrimage route as a World Heritage site and his policies of harassment were behind the decision of the churches to close the church of the Holy Sepulcher for three days in Jerusalem in objection to church taxation policy, added the statement.

“His comment was also full of historical inaccuracies. It is shameful that while calling himself a ‘protector of Christianity’, he would use Christians as a tool for his Islamophobic talking points. The decrease in percentage of Christians in Bethlehem, as well as in the rest of Palestine, was provoked with the Nakba of 1948 and ongoing due to Israel’s colonial plans and policies that started in 1967.”

He said that this was also the case in West Jerusalem, from where a large Palestinian Christian community was expelled by Israel from Ein Karem, Talbiya, Qatamon, and other places. From 31,000 Christians in 1948, Jerusalem only has around 12,000 Christians today.

“We would like to advise Mr. Netanyahu to stop using Christians as a tool to pinkwash the occupation. The best he could do for a future of peace and coexistence, where the Christian community would thrive again, it is to respect his obligations under international law, including Security council resolutions 478 on Jerusalem and 2334 on settlements, dismantling illegal colonial-settlements and the annexation wall surrounding Bethlehem, including in the Cremisan Valley, fully end the occupation of Palestine and allow for the return of our people to their city. It is not the Palestinian government that prevents their return Mr. Netanyahu; It is your government.”

He said: “I would like to use this occasion to call upon the heads of the churches in Jerusalem as well as to the Holy See to raise their voices against the use of religion for political purposes. It cannot be tolerated anymore that the bible is used wrongfully in order to justify crimes and violations that go against the teachings of values spread by our lord Jesus Christ.”

October 15, 2018 Posted by | Deception, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Islamophobia, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , | 2 Comments

Russia says Iran’s presence in Syria none of Israel’s business

Press TV – October 12, 2018

A senior Russian official has dismissed the Israeli regime’s demand that Iran be forced out of Syria, saying that the issue is none of Tel Aviv’s business as it is Syria’s sovereign right to authorize Iranian forces on its soil.

“Syria is a member of the United Nations,” Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov said, adding that the Arab country “has equal rights” over its self-determination with Russia, the US and any other member of the UN.

“This is a sovereign country led by a legitimate government. It can agree on cooperation with any other country, including Iran, Russia, Israel,” he noted in an interview with the Israeli TV channel i24NEWS released Thursday night.

“That’s Syria’s sovereign right, and it’s not the business of a third party to intervene in these subjects of politics or policy of a sovereign country,” said Bogdanov, who is also President Vladimir Putin’s special envoy for the Middle East.

He went on to say that Moscow had already explained to Israel and the US that “this is a sovereign decision for Syria who should be on their territory.”

“They asked us and the Iranians to be there. The Iranians have said repeatedly on many levels that Syria asked them to help them in the fight against terrorists, and when Mr. Assad tells them that their mission is accomplished and they are no longer needed, they will leave Syria, just like us.”

Iran has been offering military advisory support to Syria at the request of the Damascus government, enabling its army to speed up its gains on various fronts against terror outfits.

However, over the past few years, Israel has frequently attacked military targets inside Syria in an attempt to prop up terrorist groups that have been suffering defeats at the hands of Syrian government forces.

In the latest Israeli airstrikes on Syria a few weeks ago, a Russian Il-20 plane was mistakenly shot down by Syrian air defenses in Latakia Province, northwestern Syria. The Syrian S-200 missile defense system was responding to a wave of strikes by four Israeli warplanes.

Moscow blamed Tel Aviv for the incident, which killed all 15 people on board, saying the Israeli warplanes had deliberately “created a dangerous situation” that led to the crash.

Shortly after the attack, Russia delivered a modern version of its S-300 missile defense system to Syria in a bid to prevent similar incidents in the future.

Plane crash changed rules of the game

In his interview with i24NEWS, Bogdanov underlined that the Israeli pilots’ fault in that incident totally changed the rules of the game.

“The rules of the game were violated when Israeli pilots used a Russian aircraft for cover, knowing how it threatened the Russian crew,” he noted.

“You can imagine what would have happened if 15 Israeli officers had been killed through our fault,” he said.

Netanyahu’s UN theatricals on Iran nuclear site

Elsewhere in his remarks, Bogdanov mocked Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s theatrical performance at the United Nations, in which he used placards with satellite pictures to make claims about a secret atomic warehouse in Tehran.

“It’s naive to think that only one country and only one secret service knows something that nobody else knows,” Bogdanov told i24NEWS, refuting allegations leveled by the Israeli PM about an atomic warehouse in Turquzabad, a village close to Tehran.

“It’s the work of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which is supposed to check this. It is a professional and serious organisation. It has authority and legitimacy,” he said, adding that the IAEA can inspect any site at any time under the agreement it has with Iran.

“To tell the whole world they have something, and show pictures, maybe some people like this and it helps him, maybe it’s intended to score points and for internal consumption,” Bogdanov noted.

“Speaking seriously… Israel should have taken a different approach and not worked with journalists and with what we call ‘megaphone diplomacy’,” he noted.

October 12, 2018 Posted by | Deception, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , , , | 2 Comments

Netanyahu wants to redraw map in the Golan, Russia says – go to the UNSC

RT | October 10, 2018

Recognizing the illegally-annexed Golan Heights as part of Israel would be a violation of UN Security Council resolutions, Russia’s foreign minister has said, in an apparent rebuke to an appeal made by Israel’s prime minister.

Changing the status of the Golan Heights would be a “direct violation” of United Nations Security Council resolutions which dictate the international community’s stance on the disputed territory, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov noted.

On Monday, Benjamin Netanyahu called on the international community to recognize Israel’s annexation of the Golan, Syrian territory seized by Israel fifty-one years ago.

“Israel on the Golan Heights is a fact that the international community must recognize and as long as it depends on me, the Golan Heights will always remain under Israeli sovereignty,” Netanyahu said during an inauguration of a synagogue in the Golan Heights.

In August, Netanyahu expressed hope that Washington would recognize Israel’s claim to the territory, but US National Security Advisor John Bolton insisted that “there’s no discussion of it, no decision within the US government.”

Israel seized part of the Golan Heights during the Six Day War of 1967. In 1981, Israel’s parliament, the Knesset, unilaterally proclaimed the occupied land to be part of the Jewish state. The declaration was swiftly declared illegal by the UN Security Council.

October 10, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation | , , , , | 10 Comments