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‘Iraq will not join any military alliance, position on Palestine firm’

MEMO | July 16, 2022

Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi has announced that the Jeddah conference in Saudi Arabia “will not witness the discussion of normalisation with Israel” and stressed that discussion on the topic is an attempt to confuse Iraq’s restoration of its role in the region.

The prime minister’s media office disclosed in a statement on Friday, posted on Twitter, that: “Iraq’s position is firm and clear on the Palestinian issue and is not open for discussion.”

The media office added that Iraq could not be a foundation to threaten any neighbouring country.

The prime minister stressed that Baghdad would not allow any party to use Iraq as a base to threaten neighbours or create problems by using Iraqi lands.

Al-Kadhimi expressed that they are in dire need of wisdom, patience, reconciliation and restoring confidence for the sake of Iraq and Iraqis. He mentioned that his government’s motto from day one has been “Iraq first” and that they will continue to adopt this approach in order to serve the people.

Moreover, Al-Kadhimi stated during a press conference held in Baghdad before travelling to Jeddah: “Iraq has not and will not be, neither today nor tomorrow, in any military axis or alliance, and the national interest is the goal of these meetings.”

“Today we are responding to an invitation extended to Iraq to participate in the Jeddah conference, which will be attended by the Gulf Cooperation Council countries, the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, the Arab Republic of Egypt, in addition to the United States.”

Regarding his upcoming meeting with US President Joe Biden, the prime minister made it clear that he will discuss with the US what they agreed on in the strategic agreement, such as revitalising agreements in the field of education, culture, health and other areas that reflect on the economic role.

July 16, 2022 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Wars for Israel | , , , , , | 2 Comments

Israel Reportedly Seeks US Go-Ahead to Provide Arab Gulf States With Laser Weaponry

Bennett expressed hope that the system would come online by 2023

Samizdat – 28.06.2022

Last week, Israel’s defense minister announced that Tel Aviv was working on a ‘Middle East Air Defense Alliance’ with Arab governments, but provided no details. On Sunday, US media reported that Washington brokered a secret meeting in the spring of top Israeli and Arab military officials to discuss regional air defense coordination against Iran.

Israeli officials are planning to ask US President Joe Biden for his formal blessing to provide an Iron Beam laser-based air defense system to Gulf Arab states including the United Arab Emirates and possibly Saudi Arabia, Israel’s Channel 12 has reported.

The unsourced Hebrew-language report, cited by the Times of Israel, indicated the delivery of the system to the Gulf countries would assist with the US-led push to ramp up air defense cooperation between Tel Aviv and a loose regional coalition including Egypt, Jordan, Bahrain, the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

The Jewish State does not have formal diplomatic relations with the latter two country, and Riyadh has repeatedly stated that it would not establish formal ties with Israel until the Palestinian question and the creation of a Palestinian state was settled.

On Sunday, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing US and Middle Eastern sources, that the Pentagon had organized a hush-hush meeting in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt in March to discuss ways to improve air defense cooperation against Iranian ballistic missiles and drones. The meeting was said to have been chaired by then-US Central Command chief Frank McKenzie, and attended by top military commanders from Israel and the Arab countries who were invited.

Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz, who announced the formation of a regional anti-Iranian air defense alliance last week, appeared to signal the veracity of WSJ’s reporting on Monday, saying Israel was “building” a “wide partnership with additional countries in the region to ensure a secure, stable and prosperous Middle East,” and that “among other things, this also includes aerial defense.”

“We will strengthen this, as a stable Middle East is an international, regional and Israeli interest of the highest order,” Gantz said.

Iran’s military also appeared to issue an indirect response to WSJ’s report, with Armed Forces Chief of Staff Mohammad Bagheri warning Monday that Tehran “will not tolerate” the threats posed by Israel and its cooperation with CENTCOM, and “will definitely react to them.”

Israel has long touted the purported advanced capabilities of its so-called ‘Iron Beam’ laser-based air defense system, a prototype of which was unveiled last year. Earlier this month, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said the “game-changer” weapon would shift the balance in Israel’s favor, with the estimated $2 in electricity required per burst to intercept enemy rockets just a drop in the bucket compared to the tens of thousands of dollars a rocket might cost. Bennett expressed hope that the system would come online by 2023.

Last week, Breaking Defense reported that Israel would ask Biden for more money for Iron Beam’s development, on top of the $3.3 billion in annual US subsidies already received by the Israeli military and defense establishment. The outlet’s sources indicated that Israel will likely ask the US president to shell out about $300 million in additional cash.

“The relations between the US and Israel are solid. The issues that will be on the table during the visit are of utmost importance to both the US and Israel. I’m confident that the talks will be fruitful to both sides,” a senior defense source told the outlet.

During his trip to the Middle East next month, Biden is expected to tour an Israeli airbase and get a firsthand look at the prototype laser weapons being developed by Israeli defense giants Rafael and Elbit Systems.

Lasers for use against aircraft, missiles, drones, ships, and ground equipment have been on the drawing board of weapons developers since the Cold War, with engineers spending decades mulling over the prospects of replacing conventional missile and shell projectiles with the futuristic beam pulse. But energy-directed weapons have long faced what have previously been deemed unsolvable issues, such as the immense amounts of power required to operate them, as well as interaction between combat lasers and natural phenomena such as rain, fog, smog or dust, all of which dissipates their strength.

Last month, US weapons maker Raytheon reported that its own laser weapon, fitted aboard an Army Stryker vehicle, had successfully downed incoming mortar rounds in testing.

June 28, 2022 Posted by | Militarism | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Israel, Egypt and EU sign gas export deal

Samizdat | June 15, 2022

Egypt, Israel, and the European Union have signed a deal to boost shipments of liquified natural gas (LNG) to EU member states, Sky News Arabia reported on Wednesday. Brussels hopes the agreement will help it to reduce energy dependence on Russia.

“The deal will see Israel sending more gas via Egypt, which has facilities to liquify it for export by sea,” European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen said at a joint news conference alongside the Egyptian and Israeli energy ministers.

In 2021, the EU imported some 40% of its gas from Russia. The heavy reliance on energy purchases from the country makes it difficult for the bloc to expand its Ukraine-related sanctions.

The gas destined for European consumers is expected to go from Israel via a pipeline directly to Egypt’s LNG terminal on the Mediterranean coast before being loaded onto tankers and shipped north to the European market.

Some Israeli gas is already being sent by pipeline to liquefaction plants in Egypt, where it is liquefied and re-exported. Israel reportedly operates two gas fields off its Mediterranean coast holding an estimated 690 billion cubic meters of natural gas combined, while a third offshore rig is in the works.

Egypt is also a gas producer, but its exports have been limited by rising domestic demand. At the same time, the country’s large-scale natural gas facilities on the Mediterranean have remained mostly inactive since the country’s 2011 uprising that led to the overthrow of then-President Hosni Mubarak.

The Egyptian government has modernized the facilities in recent years and has ambitions to become a regional energy hub.

June 15, 2022 Posted by | Aletho News | , , | Leave a comment

Ex-Louvre director charged in Egyptian artifacts trafficking case

Press TV – May 28, 2022

The former president of the Louvre museum in Paris has been charged with fraud in acquisition of archaeological treasures that may have been taken out of Egypt during the Arab Spring uprisings.

Jean-Luc Martinez who ran the Paris Louvre, the most visited museum in the world, from 2013-21 was charged this week after he was taken in by police for questioning, a French judicial source told Agence France-Presse.

Martinez, who now serves as an ambassador for international cooperation in the field of heritage, stepped down as the Louvre’s president last year.

He was charged with fraud and “concealing the origin of criminally obtained works by false endorsement,” according to a French judicial source.

Martinez, who has denied any wrongdoing, is also accused of neglecting fake certificates of origin for the pieces.

The case, which threatens to embarrass the French culture ministry and ministry for foreign affairs, was opened in July 2018, two years after the Louvre Abu Dhabi bought a rare pink granite stele depicting the pharaoh Tutankhamun and four other ancient works for €8m (£6.8m).

French investigators suspect that hundreds of artifacts were pillaged during the public uprising in Middle-East that engulfed several Middle Eastern countries in the early 2010s.

These were then believed to have been sold to galleries and museums that did not ask too many questions about previous ownership, nor look closely enough at potential incoherence in the works’ certificates of origin.

Several countries are thought to have been affected by artifacts being pillaged, including Egypt, Libya, Yemen and Syria.

Another prized Egyptian work, the gilded coffin of the priest Nedjemankh, which was bought by the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York in 2017, was at the center of a separate inquiry by New York prosecutors.

The Met, however, said it had been the victim of false statements and fake documentation, and that the coffin would be returned to Egypt.

May 28, 2022 Posted by | Corruption, Deception | , , | Leave a comment

Israel offers Arab state the opportunity to tackle Iran together

RT | February 15, 2022

Since Israel and Bahrain both view Iran as a threat, they could team up and counter Tehran together, Israeli prime minister Naftali Bennett said on his landmark visit to the Gulf monarchy.

“We will fight Iran and its followers in the region night and day. We will aid our friends in strengthening peace, security, and stability, whenever we are asked to do so,” Bennett pledged in an interview with the Bahraini state-linked Al-Ayyam outlet on Tuesday.

The PM blamed Tehran of striving to “destroy moderate states” in the Gulf region in order to replace them with “bloodthirsty terrorist groups.”

When asked about the possibility of creating an alliance to resist Iranian influence, which could include Israel, Bahrain, and some other Arab nations, he gave a positive response: “We all understand that we face the same challenges, so why not work together to tackle them?”

Bennet, who became the first Israeli prime minister ever to visit Bahrain, assured the journalists that “Israel is a strong and reliable country.”

The idea of such a block was first floated by Israeli general Tal Kelman last year. According to Kelman, who heads the IDF’s Strategy and Third Circle Directorate, “the moderate axis” of Israel, Bahrain, the UAE, Jordan, Egypt and others should resist “the radical axis” of Iran and what he called its “proxies” in Lebanon, Syria, Yemen, and Iraq.

Israel and Bahrain normalized relations in late 2020 as part of the so-called Abraham Accords, a US-backed drive to improve ties between the Jewish state and some Arab countries after decades of strife.

Bahrain is a small island nation of around 1.5 million. The majority of its population is Shia Muslims, but the country is being run by a Sunni monarchy. The rulers in Manama have been concerned by Tehran’s activities as Iran, which is located less than 800 kilometers (497 miles) away, often faces accusations from its rivals of supporting Shia groups in other countries.

February 15, 2022 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Militarism | , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Israel Was First Nation to Skyjack A Civilian Airliner

By Donald Neff | Washington Report on Middle East Affairs | November/December 1994, Pages 71-72

It was 40 years ago that Israel conducted the first skyjacking of a civilian airliner. On Dec. 12, 1954, Israeli warplanes forced a Syrian Airways Dakota passenger craft carrying four passengers and five crewmen to land at Lydda airport inside Israel.1 The passengers were interrogated for two days before international protests, including strong complaints from Washington, finally convinced Israel to release the plane and its passengers.2

Moshe Sharett, who as Israel’s foreign minister had to explain the incident to the international community, was privately appalled by it. He recorded in his diary: “I have no reason to doubt the truth of the factual affirmation of the U.S. State Department that our action was without precedent in the history of international practice. What shocks and worries me is the narrow-mindedness and the short-sightedness of our military leaders. They seem to presume that the state of Israel may—or even must—behave in the realm of international relations according to the laws of the jungle.”3

The purpose of the unprecedented skyjacking, according to Sharett, was Chief of Staff Moshe Dayan’s ambition “to get hostages in order to obtain the release of our prisoners in Damascus.”4 The reference was to an incident that had occurred four days earlier. Five Israeli soldiers were captured retrieving tapping devices on Syrian telephone lines on the Golan Heights inside Syria. Israel expressed outrage at the imprisonment of the soldiers but Syria refused to release them. 5

Israeli passions were riled even further the next month when one of the Israeli soldiers, Uri Ilan, son of a former Mapam member of parliament, committed suicide in jail on Jan. 13, 1955. Although the Israeli press loudly charged Syria with torture, an examination by the United Nations showed “no signs of physical ill-treatment.”6

But still Syria refused to release the prisoners, pointing out that Israel was holding Syrian civilians prisoner. The impasse contributed to an even graver incident toward the end of the year. On Dec. 11, 1955, Israel sent two paratroop battalions backed by artillery and mortar batteries under the command of Ariel Sharon, later Israel’s defense minister, against Syrian military posts at Buteiha Farm and Koursi near the northeast shore of Lake Tiberias.

It was Israel’s largest military raid inside Syria up to that time and resulted in 56 Syrian deaths, including three women, and nine wounded. Significantly Israel also took 30 prisoners, whom it later used as hostages to exchange for the four Israelis held by Syria.The United States expressed its “shock” at the raid and supported a resolution by the United Nations Security Council that unanimously condemned Israel for its “flagrant violation” of the armistice agreement.8

French Ambassador to the U.N. Herv Alphand observed that the condemnation resolution of Israel was “the strongest ever passed by the council.”It was the fifth time the council had condemned, censured, called on and otherwise passed resolutions critical of Israel.

Israel insisted the raid was simply in retaliation for Syrian troops firing at an Israeli patrol boat on Lake Tiberias the previous day, in which there had been no casualties. But the explanation was widely disbelieved. Canadian General E.L.M. Burns, the chief of staff of the United Nations Truce Supervisory Organization, bluntly wrote:

“No one with any knowledge of military affairs would believe that such an elaborate, coordinated attack had not been planned well before, and probably rehearsed. Certainly it was not improvised in a few hours…. The reasons given by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ statement were only an excuse, and not a very good one.”10

In fact, like most major actions in the Middle East, there was far more than just retaliation behind the raid. At the time, it was widely suspected that Israel’s main motive in launching the heavy attack was primarily to punish Syria for keeping the four Israeli soldiers prisoners. But it turned out that was just one of the reasons. Israeli historian Benny Morris reports that primarily the attack was meant as a provocation to goad Egypt into attacking Israel and thus start a war. “This,” wrote Morris, “was the thinking behind the strike.”11

The timing was dictated by two events during the previous three months: Egypt and Syria had signed a mutual defense pact on Oct. 20, 1955, and on Sept. 27 Egypt had announced its historic “Czech” arms deal, shocking Israel by the fact that Egypt was about to start receiving massive quantities of Soviet weapons. In the event, Egypt did not respond to the attack on the Golan and Israel had to wait nearly another year before taking on itself the burden of attacking Egypt to start a war.

ANOTHER MOTIVE

There was also another motive behind the attack. It had to do with Israel’s long- term policy to establish exclusive control over Lake Tiberias, the biblical Sea of Galilee, which lay within Israeli territory, and the three demilitarized zones (DMZs) that lay along the Israeli-Syrian frontier in the Jordan Valley.

Palestinians and Syrians insisted on fishing in the lake and were a constant source of friction, especially during mid-November to mid-April, which marked the official fishing season. Israel denied Arabs had any rights to fish there, citing the fact that the Mandate governments over Palestine and Syria had agreed in the 1920s that the frontier followed the east shore of the lake at a distance set back 10 meters parallel to the water.

However, the Arabs countered that under Anglo-French agreements of Feb. 3, 1922, June 23, 1923 and Feb. 2, 1926, Syrians were given “the same fishing and navigation rights on Lakes Huleh and Tiberias… as the inhabitants of Palestine” and also the right to “enjoy grazing, watering and cultivations rights” and to “cross the frontier freely.”12

Nonetheless, Israel insisted on keeping Arab fishermen away from the lake, by force if necessary. It further lacerated relations with Syria by chasing Palestinian farmers out of the DMZs near the lake in violation of the truce of 1949, which held the farmers should be allowed to remain. Israel’s forceful takeover of the DMZs left the Palestinian farmers and fishermen denied access to their fields or fishing grounds embittered and angry. A later UNTSO chief of staff, Norwegian General Odd Bull, who served during the 1960s, wrote:

“I imagine that a number of those evicted settled somewhere in the Golan Heights and that their children have watched the land that had been in their families for hundreds of years being cultivated by Israeli farmers. From time to time they opened fire on these farmers. That, of course, was a violation of the armistice agreement, though I could not help thinking that in similar circumstances Norwegian peasants would almost certainly have acted in the same way. In the course of time all the Arab villages [in the DMZs] disappeared.”13

So too did the Arab fishermen. In 1967 Israel conquered the whole area, including the Golan Heights, and chased out all of the Arabs. It is Israel’s continuing occupation of this land that today remains the major impediment to peace between Israel and Syria.

Recommended Reading:

Bull, Odd, War and Peace in the Middle East: The Experiences and Views of a U.N. Observer, London, Leo Cooper, 1976.

Burns, Lt. Gen. E. L. M., Between Arab and Israeli, New York, Ivan Obolensky, 1962.

Chomsky, Noam, The Fateful Triangle, Boston, South End Press, 1983.

*Chomsky, Noam, Pirates & Emperors: International Terrorism in the Real World, Brattleboro, VT, Amana Books, 1986.

Khouri, Fred J., The Arab-Israeli Dilemma, Syracuse, NY, Syracuse University Press, 1985.

Morris, Benny, The Birth of the Palestine Refugee Problem, New York, Cambridge University Press, 1987.

Morris, Benny, Israel’s Border Wars: 1949-1956, Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1993.

*Neff, Donald, Warriors at Suez: Eisenhower Takes America Into the Middle East, Brattleboro, VT, Amana Books, 1988.

Rokach, Livia, Israel’s Sacred Terrorism: A Study Based on Moshe Sharett’s Personal Diary and Other Documents, Belmont, MA, Association of Arab-American University Graduates, Inc., 1980.

Von Horn, Carl, Soldiering for Peace, New York, David McKay Company, Inc., 1967.

Notes:

New York Times, 12/13/54.

2 Associated Press, New York Times, 12/15/54.

3 Rokach, Israel’s Sacred Terrorism, pp. 20-21. For an analysis of Sharett’s lengthy diaries, see “Secrets of State: An Analysis of the Diaries of Moshe Sharett,” Journal of Palestine Studies, Autumn 1980, pp. 35-57.

4 Chomsky, Pirates and Emperors, p. 84.

5 Morris, Israel’s Border Wars, p. 366.

6 Burns, Between Arab and Israeli, p. 109.

Ibid., p. 108; Morris, Israel’s Border Wars, p. 366n.

8 Resolution 111. The text is in Tomeh, George J., United Nations Resolutions on Palestine and the Arab-Israeli Conflict: 1947-1974, Washington, DC, Institute for Palestine Studies, 1975, p. 137; the text of the U.S. statement is in Boudreault, Jody and Eric Fortin, U.S. Official Statements: The Golan Heights, Washington, DC, Institute for Palestine Studies, 1993, pp. 27-28.

9 Neff, Warriors for Jerusalem, 118.

10 Burns, Between Arab and Israeli , p. 108.

11 Morris, Israel’s Border Wars, p. 364.

12 Khouri, The Arab-Israeli Dilemma, p. 194.

13 Bull, War and Peace in the Middle East, pp. 50-51.

*Available through the AET Book Club

Donald Neff is author of the Warriors trilogy on U.S.-Middle East relations and of the unpublished Middle East Handbook, a chronological data bank of significant events affecting U.S. policy and the Middle East on which this article is based. His books are available through the AET Book Club.

July 19, 2021 Posted by | Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , | 1 Comment

Hamas welcomes Turkish-Egyptian detente

Ismail Haneyya
Palestine Information Center – April 1, 2021

ISTANBUL – Head of Hamas’s political bureau Ismail Haneyya has welcomed the Turkish-Egyptian rapprochement, expressing confidence that any cooperation between Ankara and Cairo will be in the interest of the Palestinian people and their national cause.

Haneyya made the remarks in an interview conducted by Anadolu Agency after he visited its headquarters in Istanbul.

“We welcome the Turkish-Egyptian rapprochement, and we believe that more understandings between them and between Arab and Islamic countries will have a positive impact on us in Palestine as well as on the Arab countries,” the Hamas political chief said.

“There are historically known central states in the region that play strategic roles, such as Egypt, Turkey, Iran and Saudi Arabia, so any understanding and rapprochement between them will be in the interests of the peoples in the region and the Palestinian cause,” he added.

As for the upcoming Palestinian elections, Haneyya affirmed that his Movement is committed to forming a national consensus government even if it scored a victory in the legislative elections slated for next May.

“Hamas is participating in the elections on the basis of partnership and not with the aim of defeating others. It does not want to dominate the Palestinian political system,” he underlined.

He described the upcoming elections as an important opportunity to improve the current Palestinian conditions and end 15 years of national division.

April 1, 2021 Posted by | Solidarity and Activism | , , , , | Leave a comment

Arab regimes seek to field Israeli-backed Dahlan for Palestinian elections

Press TV – February 7, 2021

Several Arab states are reportedly putting pressure on Palestinian political factions to reinstate exiled former Fatah strongman Mohammed Dahlan and field him against Hamas in the upcoming elections.

Sources told Arabic Post news website on Saturday that the UAE, Egypt and Jordan are trying to compel Fatah, Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas to reinstate the Israeli-backed Dahlan and his supporters.

Abbas dismissed Dahlan from the movement in 2011 and stripped the 58-year-old of all his merits, after which he fled to the United Arab Emirates.

Last September, US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman set off an uproar after suggesting Washington was considering supporting Dahlan to overthrow Abbas as the next Palestinian Authority chief.

Dahlan was sentenced in absentia to three years in prison in 2016 by a Palestinian court for corruption, and ordered to repay $16 million, according to his lawyers.

Dahlan once led a coup against the elected Hamas government in Gaza in 2007. The plan was a massive failure which saw Hamas rout out Dahlan’s forces in a matter of days in the summer of 2007.

President Abbas announced in a decree last month that the 2021 general elections will include legislative elections being held on May 22, presidential elections on July 31 and the Palestinian National Council elections on August 31.

Leaders of 14 Palestinian political factions, including Hamas and Fatah, are scheduled to start a comprehensive national dialog in the Egyptian capital of Cairo on February 8, aiming to reach an agreement on the mechanism for holding the general elections in Palestine.

February 7, 2021 Posted by | Corruption, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Egypt: 320 trillion cubic feet of gas discovered in Eastern Mediterranean

MEMO | September 23, 2020

The Egyptian Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources, Tariq El-Molla, yesterday revealed that 320 trillion cubic feet of gas were discovered in the Eastern Mediterranean region which could turn the area into a global centre for the gas industry.

The seven member states of the East Mediterranean Gas Forum, Egypt, Israel, Cyprus, Greece, Jordan, Italy and the Palestinian National Authority, yesterday officially turned the alliance into a regional organisation headquartered in Cairo.

Speaking at the launching ceremony, El-Molla said the United States wants to join the forum as an observer while France wishes to join as a full member.

The Egyptian Ministry of Petroleum said in a statement that the forum aims to establish a regional market for gas, rationalise the cost of infrastructure and offer competitive prices.

The forum was launched in January 2019 to reinforce cooperation among member states.

However, a spokesman for the Turkish Foreign Ministry, Hami Aksoy, described the forum as an anti-Ankara bloc, adding that transforming it into a regional organisation is “far from reality”.

September 23, 2020 Posted by | Economics | , , , , | 1 Comment

Normalisation with Israel means RIP international law, it’s been nice knowing you

By Ibrahim Hewitt | MEMO | September 12, 2020

The news that Bahrain has followed the UAE, Jordan and Egypt into Israel’s criminal embrace was no surprise; nor will it be shocking to hear that Saudi Arabia is following suit, as it almost certainly will. The raising of the Israeli flag in Riyadh will happen sooner rather than later. The groundwork for this has already been prepared by what passes for a government in the Saudi capital, with Sheikh Abdul Rahman Al-Sudais, a state-controlled Imam in Makkah, doing a 180 degree U-turn on peace with Israel in a recent sermon.

These deals have been written in the blood of the people of occupied Palestine. Recognition of the colonial state of Israel is acceptance of the ethnic cleansing of 750,000 Palestinians by the nascent state and its terrorist militias in and around 1948, and the subsequent death and destruction that the “Israel Defence Forces” have rained down on Palestinians ever since. It is also the acceptance of the death of international law, which surely has no place left to hide if the world accepts what is going on in the name of “peace” in the Middle East.

Once again, the Palestinians are the fall guys in all of this, but what should they do? What can they do? It is tempting to think that they have been backed into a corner and will now be expected to roll over and die, metaphorically or literally; or possibly both. The fact is, though, that they still have some cards to play, but it will require a major shift in the strategy that has dominated Palestinian politics for more than a quarter of a century.

The rot started when the Palestine Liberation Organisation under Yasser Arafat gave up on “liberation” as a goal and signed the Oslo Accords. Palestine and its people have paid a heavy price ever since, with their leaders making concession after concession while Israel has conceded nothing. On the contrary, the occupation has become even more entrenched during the farce of “negotiations” which have now been on hold for years.

Is there any other place in the world where the victims of criminal activity have been told to negotiate with the criminals in order for justice to be served? Or where justice has never actually been on the agenda of such talks because it would expose the criminals and their allies for what they really are?

Is there any other conflict in the world where the aggressors claim “self-defence” every time they bomb civilians “back to the stone age”, and where this is accepted by the international community even though an occupation state has no such legitimate claim under international law? Or where the legitimate right to resist military occupation by every means at your disposal is regarded as “terrorism”, as it is when you are a Palestinian resisting Israel’s brutal occupation of your land?

We can and should argue that the Palestinian Authority hasn’t got a leg to stand on with complaints about the UAE and now Bahrain doing a deal with Israel, for the simple reason that not only has it been happy to rely on support from Egypt and Jordan for decades, both of which have peace treaties with the Zionist state, but it has also continued to protect Israel and Israelis through its “security cooperation” with Tel Aviv. This cooperation — a euphemism for collaboration — has been described as “sacred” by PA President Mahmoud Abbas, probably because he knows that his Palestinian No Authority Whatsoever was created to serve Israel’s interests, not the interests of the people of occupied Palestine, and is funded accordingly. No collaboration, no funds.

Abbas and his PLO-Fatah-PA cronies can complain as much as they like about “normalisation”, but they know that their words can only ever serve as rhetoric unless and until real changes are made. As my colleague at MEMO Motasem Dalloul wrote this week, such complaints are all for media consumption.

It is surely time for the PA to call it a day and dissolve itself. Abbas should step aside; his “ministers” should clear their desks; and the “Palestinian security apparatus” should be disbanded. Annexation is going to happen no matter what the PA or anyone else says or does, so let Israel declare its sovereignty over the whole of the occupied Palestinian territories. Such a move will still be illegal, if international law has any meaning left at all, and the status quo won’t really change as far as those living under occupation are concerned. Oppression is still oppression whether your jailers wear Israeli or Palestinian uniforms.

With no PA as its lapdog, Israel will have sole responsibility for security and the civilian infrastructure for everyone living within its as yet undeclared borders (alone amongst all UN member states, Israel has never said where its borders lie), Jews and Arabs alike. That will place a huge financial and logistical burden on Netanyahu and his increasingly far-right government, a burden which it is unlikely to be able to cope with if it wants to retain the mirage that it is “the only democracy in the Middle East”.

Not that Israel has ever really cared what the rest of the world thinks as long as its lobbyists are able to make Western governments dance to their tune. This has allowed Israel to act with impunity and treat international laws and conventions with contempt for more than 70 years, and its leaders have been and remain war criminals and guilty of crimes against humanity. And yet those ostensibly democratic governments in the West, for reasons known only to themselves, continue to declare their undying loyalty to what is, by any measure, a rogue state.

The guardians of international law at the UN are toothless and have acquiesced with Israel’s occupation and presence in the Middle East simply by not acknowledging that it is a settler-colonial state which rides roughshod over Palestinian rights, including the refugees’ right of return. UN agencies provide essential services to the refugees but have to labour under the constraint which has turned Palestine into a humanitarian rather than a political issue.

Moreover, the absurdity of the Security Council veto afforded to the post-World War Two nuclear states means that nothing will happen at the UN if any one of the US, Britain, Russia, China or France disagrees. The rest of the world can have opinions and even majority opinions but that tiny exclusive club will always carry the vote and then apply undue pressure on other countries to do as they are told.

The normalisation of Arab states, therefore, doesn’t really mean “peace” as we are being led to believe; it simply means that they too are displaying contempt for international law; that they too condone the Nakba and the Naksa; that they too condone the ongoing colonisation of Palestine and the oppression of its people; and that they too are bowing to Zionist hegemony in the region, and perhaps the rest of the world as well. Normalisation with Israel actually means RIP international law, it’s been nice knowing you.

September 12, 2020 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Morsi’s son killed by lethal injection: Lawyers

Abdullah Morsi, late son of Egypt’s former president Mohamed Morsi
Press TV – September 8, 2020

A law firm representing the family of Egypt’s late former president Mohamed Morsi concludes that the death of his youngest son, Abdullah, last year was caused by injection of a “lethal substance.”

“Information now disclosed appears to confirm that Abdullah was transported in his car a distance of more than 20 kilometers (12 miles) to a hospital after he took his last breath, as a result of having been injected with a lethal substance,” said a statement by the London-based Guernica 37 International Justice Chambers.

“He was not transferred to nearby hospitals, intentionally, until after he had died,” added the statement cited by the Middle East Eye (MEE) news and opinion website.

The Egyptian government claimed the 25-year-old had died of a heart attack while driving.

The law firm said, “It is quite clear that certain elements of the state were aware of this fact that is only now coming to light.”

Prior to his death, Abdullah had named several individuals, including current Interior Minister Mahmoud Tawfiq and Mohamed Shereen Fahmy, the judge who oversaw the Morsi’s trial, as “accomplices” in the “assassination of the martyr, President Morsi.”

The Egyptian leader died during a trial session at a court in the capital Cairo on June 18, 2019 after spending some six years behind bars, Egyptian authorities say.

Last month, the MEE quoted Morsi’s son Ahmed as saying that the ex-head of state and Abullah were both murdered in a state-sanctioned scheme.

Morsi became Egypt’s first democratically elected president in 2012, one year after a popular uprising led to the ouster of strongman Hosni Mubarak and ended his 30-year rule.

He was deposed in July 2013 in a military coup led by Egypt’s former army chief and current President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, and was immediately arrested.

The coup was followed by a hugely deadly crackdown on members and supporters of the country’s Muslim Brotherhood, to which Morsi used to be affiliated.

September 8, 2020 Posted by | Civil Liberties | , | Leave a comment

Israel, UAE reach US-brokered agreement to establish full diplomatic ties

Press TV – August 13, 2020

Israel and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have reached a deal that will lead to a full normalization of diplomatic relations between the two sides, in an agreement that US President Donald Trump apparently helped broker.

Under the agreement announced on Thursday, Israel has allegedly agreed to suspend applying its own rule to further areas in the occupied West Bank and the strategic Jordan Valley that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had pledged to annex, senior White House officials told Reuters.

Trump, in a tweet, called the agreement a “HUGE breakthrough,” describing it as a “historic peace agreement between our two GREAT friends.”

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who spoke to reporters accompanying him on a trip to central European countries, said for his part that the agreement was an “enormous” step forward on the “right path.”

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also tweeted that the deal marked “a historic day.”

Abu Dhabi’s Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed said on Twitter on Thursday that an agreement had been reached on normalising relations between the two countries.

The deal, however, has elicited sharp negative reactions from various Palestinian groups as well as their supporters from across the world.

The Palestinian Islamic Jihad Movement reacted rapidly by condemning the deal between the UAE and Israel.

The movement noted that normalization of ties between Tel Aviv and Abu Dhabi was a sign of submission on the latter’s part without having any effect on reducing conflicts in the occupied Palestinian territories.

Islamic Jihad movement also noted that the deal will, on the other hand, further embolden the Israeli occupiers.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has issued a statement, calling for an urgent meeting of Palestinian leadership to be held on the Israel-UAE deal to discuss its consequences.

Meanwhile, senior Palestinian official Hanan Ashrawi accused the United Arab Emirates of “normalization” with Israel after Thursday’s announcement of the so-called peace deal.

Ashrawi, who is a member of the executive committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), said on Twitter, “The UAE has come out in the open on its secret dealings/normalization with Israel. Please don’t do us a favor. We are nobody’s fig leaf!”

Ashrawi also responded to Abu Dhabi’s crown prince’s tweet in a counter-tweet in which she reminded him of the sufferings of the Palestinian people at the hands of the Israeli occupiers.

May you never experience the agony of having your country stolen; may you never feel the pain of living in captivity under occupation; may you never witness the demolition of your home or murder of your loved ones. May you never be sold out by your “friends.” https://t.co/CBaNl1QQqx
— Hanan Ashrawi (@DrHananAshrawi) August 13, 2020

The spokesman for the Palestinian Islamic Resistance Movement, Hamas, Fauzi Barhum said the normalization of ties between the UAE and Israel is a reward for occupiers in return for their crimes and violations of Palestinian’s rights.

Sarah Leah Whitson, a pro-Palestinian activist, also took to Twitter to condemn the deal, saying it would not lead to any recognition of Palestinians’ rights.

“Israel won’t formally annex and exercise sovereignty over the land it has for all intents and purposes already annexed and exercises sovereignty over… ZERO for the rights of Palestinians,” she wrote.

The information minister of the Yemeni government in Sana’a also reacted by saying that the deal between the Israeli regime and the UAE was a show of defiance shown by the enemies of Islam to all Muslims.

Popular Resistance Committees, which is a coalition of a number of Palestinian groups, also reacted to the UAE-Israel deal by noting that the agreement reveals the high volume of conspiracies against the Palestinian people and their sanctities.

“This is like a poisonous dagger in the back of the Islamic Ummah,” the committees added.

Yemen’s Ansarullah movement has also vehemently slammed the deal as a provocative move.

Ansarullah’s spokesman Mohammed Abdul-Salam said the agreement brought to light what had been kept secret and proved that Zionist and American enemies will continue to destroy the region.

He added that this is not an anti-Iran deal alone, but is against the interests of the entire Arab and Islamic Ummah.

Meanwhile, deputy secretary general of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, Abu Ahmad Fuad, was quoted by al-Mayadeen news agency as saying that the UAE-Israel deal is a crime against the Palestinian people and their martyrs and will have no effect on the resistance front.

He added that the Palestinian people will continue to confront Israel’s daily attempts to annex more Palestinian territories.

“It is the Palestinian people who prevent further annexation of their lands by Israel, not the UAE and its leaders,” he said.

Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, however, welcomed the agreement, saying, “I followed with interest and appreciation the joint statement between the United States, United Arab Emirates and Israel … I value the efforts of those in charge of the deal to achieve prosperity and stability for our region.”

August 13, 2020 Posted by | Corruption, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , , , | Leave a comment