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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

Libyan war escalates as regional powers attempt to gain stronger influence

By Paul Antonopoulos | June 1, 2020

Alarms are sounding in Europe as Turkey, Russia and Arab states could potentially agree on shared influence in Libya, and therefore the entirety of the eastern Mediterranean, according to some experts. This comes as European states have no influence over the war in Libya despite it occurring on its southern doorstep and Turkey, Russia and Arab states continue to gain influence.

The direct intervention of Turkey in Libya, who has sent its own intelligence officers, military advisers and thousands of Syrian jihadists to support the Muslim Brotherhood Government of National Accords (GNA), based in Tripoli and led by the ethnic Turk Fayez al-Sarraj, has limited further gains by the Libyan National Army (LNA). The mobilization of thousands of Turkish and Syrian jihadists and the massive shipment of weapons to Tripoli has slowed down the offensive of the LNA, led by Field Marshal Khalifa Belqasim Haftar. Haftar was proclaimed on April 27 as the only leader of the country, in which most of the international community found to be a provocative move as they believe it limited the likelihood of a political settlement to the conflict.

Confident of his past military superiority and assured in the determination that the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Egypt have to counter Turkey’s efforts to create hegemony in the Eastern Mediterranean, Haftar continues to ignore calls for a political solution to the war. Sarraj also ignores such calls confident in the backing he has from Turkey.

Russia also condemned Haftar’s offensive and called for negotiations on peace. However, the U.S. claims that Russian fighter jets arrived in Libya to protect the withdrawal of volunteers from the Russian Wagner group in a decision agreed upon with Ankara, something that Moscow denies. Both Europe and the U.S. fear that Russia may obtain the use of a naval base in eastern Libya, that the LNA securely controls, in the future.

Despite these potentialities, it is unlikely the war between GNA-backed jihadists and the LNA will come to a conclusion anytime soon, unless there is a drastic change caused by external forces. Turkey in the midst of an economic crisis is unwilling to use the full force of its military in Libya and is rather acting as a conduit between the GNA and Qatari-funded but Turkish-trained Syrian jihadists. Egypt is contemplating using its military in Libya to “fight against Libyan extremists and terrorists supported by Turkey.” This too could be a game changer since Egypt has the means, logistics and capabilities to successfully intervene in Libya in favour of the LNA.

France has also not hidden away with its support for Haftar, finding him to be a leader that would advance French interests in the Mediterranean that is in direct conflict with Turkey. The GNA has also signed a memorandum with the Muslim Brotherhood government to cut through Greece’s maritime space for the exploitation of gas in that area of ​​the Mediterranean, forcing Greece to get embroiled in the Libyan mess. Meanwhile, Italy has backed the GNA while Germany is trying to act as referee, showing once again there is no common European position.

The European ‘Irini’ (meaning peace in Greek) operation is committed to prevent maritime-bound arms delivery to Libya, i.e. Turkish arms to Libya. This is a maritime surveillance operation to enforce the United Nations-imposed arms embargo on Libya, but in reality, it has not prevented Turkey’s deliveries to the GNA while Egypt continues to supply the LNA over the land border.

The situation shows that the European Union is unable to establish itself as a main actor in a conflict that brings together strategic political and economic interests a few nautical miles from its southern coast. With the U.S. realistically absent, Turkey backing the GNA and Russia and the Arab + Greece alliance backing the LNA, these are the main protagonists.

In Paris, and seeing the failure of his diplomacy parallel to the EU, the Foreign Minister, Jean-Yves Le Drian, warns about the “Syrianization of Libya,” while spokesman of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s gloats: “France and other European countries supporting Haftar are on the wrong side of history.” Seen in this light, the balancing role Russia can play in Libya to contain Ankara could even be positive for Europeans.

However, the main reason that shared influence will not be agreed upon is because the GNA-Turkish deal to steal Greece’s maritime space relies on a supposed share maritime space between Libya and Turkey. And therein lays the problem – it is the LNA, who has rejected the memorandum, that controls the eastern Libyan coast that supposedly shares a maritime border with Turkey. So long as the LNA controls eastern Libya, Turkey will always strive for a GNA victory to legitimize the memorandum. Once again, the European Union remains divided on Libya, despite the Muslim Brotherhood government aiming to carve out the maritime space of a member state.

Paul Antonopoulos is an independent geopolitical analyst.

June 1, 2020 Posted by | Militarism | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Israeli minister: Israel to discuss with US reported Sinai peacekeeper cutback plan

MEMO | May 8, 2020

Israel said on Friday it would discuss with its closest ally the United States a newspaper report that the US-led peacekeeping force in the Egyptian Sinai may be scaled back, calling its nearly four-decade-old presence “important”, Reuters reports.

US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper is pushing to pull out some American troops from the international peacekeeping force it heads in the Sinai Peninsula, the Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday, citing current and former US officials.

The reduction would come as Egypt battles an Islamist insurgency in the desert peninsula, where the US-led Multinational Force and Observers (MFO) has been since the early 1980s, following Egypt’s peace deal with Israel in 1979.

Asked to comment on the report in an interview with Tel Aviv radio station 102 FM, Israeli Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz said “the international force in Sinai is important, and (the) American participation in it is important.

“Certainly, the issue will be raised between us and the Americans,” said Steinitz, a member of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s security cabinet.

The US and Egyptian embassies in Israel did not immediately respond to requests for comment, nor did the MFO’s office in Israel.

According to its website, the MFO has 1,156 military personnel from the United States and 12 other countries covering an area of more than 10,000 square kilometres (3,860 square miles) in the Sinai. Some 454 of the personnel are American.

But the size of the force has decreased by over 30 per cent since 2015, according to data from its website.

During that time, Israel has agreed to an easing in demilitarisation in the Sinai so that Egypt can carry out anti-insurgency sweeps, typically in the northern end of the peninsula where small-scale attacks are common.

Cairo sees the MFO as part of a relationship with Israel that, while unpopular with many Egyptians, has brought it billions of dollars in U.S. defence aid, sweetening the foreign-enforced demilitarisation of their sovereign Sinai territory.

For the Israelis, the MFO offers strategic reassurance, recalling that in 2013 Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi toppled an elected Islamist government hostile to its neighbour.

May 8, 2020 Posted by | Wars for Israel | , , | 2 Comments

Netanyahu between the Nakba Arabs and the Arabs who are a joke

By Wael Qandil | Al-Arabi Al-Jadeed | February 21, 2020

The Arabs agreed in 1948 on the decision to form combat groups against the Zionist colonisation of the land of Palestine, which was known as the Nakba. Exactly 72 years later, the Arabs seem closer to form a united combat force to fight those rejecting the Zionist colonisation of Palestine.

It does not seem that the joke recently posted by a sarcastic Twitter activist about Saudi Arabia’s condemnation of the Palestinian people’s actions against the Israeli occupation will remain a joke for long, as all of the facts and indications say that the Arab capitals are very close to taking measures against those who refuse normalisation and the “deal of the century”. The Arab leaders’ patience is running out with the Palestinian resistance factions, who are disturbing the relationship between these leaders and Israel.

Matters rushing in this direction is not a new phenomena. It was announced and put into effect at least five years ago and many are competing to serve this. They are not ashamed to voice their approval of Israel’s leadership in the region and the first to voice this was General Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi, who is loved and supported by all Zionists, especially their rabbis and generals.

More than four years ago, the right-wing Zionist newspaper Makor Rishon revealed that Al-Sisi confirmed, before the leaders of the American Jewish organisations, his admiration for Netanyahu’s personality and leadership capabilities. The newspaper’s correspondent, Zvika Klein, wrote that the leaders of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organisations in the United States informed Netanyahu during their meeting with him, on the side-lines of a meeting organised by the committee in occupied Jerusalem, that Al-Sisi told them that Netanyahu is “a leader with great powers that help him not only lead his country, but also could propel the region – even the world – forward.”

Well, here is the ruling general of the oldest Arab sister stripping his country of leadership of the region and giving it to Israel/Netanyahu to succeed him. Following in his footsteps is Mohammad Bin Salman, Saudi crown prince, who learned from Al-Sisi how to reach power through Israel. The story begins with hosting Trump and his family in Riyadh in order to establish the “moderate” alliance, the idea of which was proposed, formulated and developed years ago by Benjamin Netanyahu. Trump then leaves Saudi Arabia with more than $450 billion and lands in occupied Jerusalem wearing a skullcap.

In 2018, in anticipation of Saudi Arabia’s hosting of the Dhahran Summit, the Saudi crown prince held an interview with America’s Atlantic magazine, in which he announced a vision completely aligned with Israel’s for the Middle East according to extremist rabbis, violent generals and the Knesset hawks and doves. He spread his free kisses and gifts by stating that he was surrounded by enemies except for Israel and the so-called “axis of moderation” made up of the four parties that besieged Qatar. He said: “We are in an area not surrounded by Mexico, Canada, the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. We have ISIS, Al-Qaeda and Hamas and Hezbollah and the Iranian regime, and even pirates.”

This insight took a practical form when Al-Riyadh newspaper, the mouthpiece of the government, stated, before the summit opening: “Today, the Arabs have no choice but to reconcile with Israel, to sign a comprehensive peace agreement, to devote themselves to confronting the Iranian project in the region and its nuclear program, and to put an end to its interference in Arab affairs. This is an option that cannot be delayed with any justification, even [accusations of] bargaining with and auctioning the Palestinian cause, because Iran poses a direct threat to all.”

Thus, without vagueness, and very early on, the capitals of the two largest Arab countries delivered the badge and cloak of leadership to Israel, until we reached a stage where Benjamin Netanyahu was authorised, alone, to speak about the pilgrimage trips from Israel to Saudi airports, promising that the Israelis will fly in the skies of Saudi Arabia soon. It is at this same stage that the Egyptian military man may find himself entrusted with the war against the Palestinian people, if the gas pipeline from the occupation to Egypt is damaged or endangered, when an uprising breaks out in the areas the pipeline passes through.

What misery awaits a nation that clashes with itself over who will serve its enemy more?

Translation by MEMO.

February 21, 2020 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , , , | Leave a comment

The US bought Sisi for $9bn, but the Egyptian people cannot be swayed

By Amelia Smith | MEMO | February 9, 2020

When Trump announced Jerusalem was Israel’s undivided capital under his so-called “deal of the century”, the Egyptian public questioned whether Al-Sisi had a hand in preparing the plan. His support, after all, came just half an hour after the announcement.

Officially, Egypt supports the establishment of a Palestinian state on its pre-1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital. According to Mada Masr, Al-Sisi’s statement originally included a sentence to that effect, but in a later draft it was removed, after it had passed through the president’s office for review.

Since he came to power, Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi’s rule has been decidedly anti-Palestinian. When Egypt’s military overthrew Mohamed Morsi on 3 July 2013, one of the first things the generals did was close the Rafah Crossing and deport Palestinians arriving in the country through Cairo Airport.

But in some respects the Egyptian dictator has tried to maintain nominal respect for the Egyptian position. In 2017, it was Egypt which filed a draft resolution rescinding Trump’s declaration that Jerusalem was Israel’s capital amid the global outrage that followed his announcement.

The price for Egypt’s new position was $9 billion, the amount promised at the economic workshop for the deal of the century in Bahrain last summer. It’s a big chunk of money for Egypt, given the dire straits it has found itself in under Al-Sisi’s mismanagement of the economy, and should provide some generous bonuses for the ruling generals, who we know through the whistleblower Mohamed Ali are getting rich through corruption and at the expense of their own people.

For its part, Israel has achieved political and economic gains it never imagined could be possible. This has been described as the golden age of Israeli-Egyptian relations symbolised by the transfer of Tiran and Sanafir islands to Saudi Arabia, which opened up the Straits of Tiran to Israel, and compounded by security cooperation between the Egyptian and Israeli army in Sinai.

As Yehya Okail, a former MP in Sinai, once told me:

Hosni Mubarak was a treasure to Israel, however Sisi is much more than that. Israel never imagined that it would be served by anyone in the history of Egypt as Sisi has done.

Trump’s plan proposes “cross-border services” including building desalination and power plants next to the Egypt-Gaza frontier. Observers have long talked about the US’ plans to build infrastructure projects in the Sinai Peninsula where Palestinians can work.

As Al-Sisi laid the groundwork for these projects, Sinai’s indigenous population, the Bedouin, have felt the plans acutely. The government has razed homes and obliterated fertile farmland, offering Sinawis no compensation for their loss. All of this has taken place under a protracted “war on terror” in Sinai authorities have been fighting for years now. As well as being accused of systematic war crimes, the army is no closer to defeating the estimated 1,000 militants there.

With Trump’s announcement, Egypt has another excuse to ramp up security in Sinai, which is already suffocating under a curfew and restrictions on goods entering the peninsula. No one knows better than the people of Sinai that increased security in the peninsula is a pretext for increased repression. At the beginning of the week, Egypt arrested 32 women from a prominent North Sinai tribe.

Reports reveal high level military and intelligence leaders have demanded security forces be on high alert in anticipation of events in Gaza, including the claim that Palestinians will storm the border and make their way deep into Egyptian territory. With this, Egypt has flipped the narrative on its head to persuade the public it is Palestinians that want to flood Sinai, not that it is preparing to give its own land up at the behest of Israel and the US.

It’s not just in Sinai that people will feel the reverberations of Trump’s deal. Dual Palestinian-Egyptian national Ramy Shaath, the general coordinator of BDS Egypt who was imprisoned for speaking out about Egypt’s participation in the Bahrain workshop, and his colleague Mohamed El-Massry, are both imprisoned as part of the regime’s crackdown on pro-Palestinian solidarity. Their sentences and conditions could be negatively affected by the announcement and its aftermath.

Whilst the Egyptian regime has made a significant shift in its official position, in the long-term convincing its people isn’t so easy, as is evident from the public outcry in January, not just over the government’s official response to the deal of the century, but also because last month was when Israel began transporting natural gas to Egypt under a $15 billion deal.

In an attempt to change hearts and minds, Egypt intelligence sent round a WhatsApp to top media editors with instructions on how to report on the announcement. It asked them to refer to the US proposal as a “peace plan”, rather than the more negatively-viewed deal of the century, it said was viewed as an American-driven project to secure Israel’s interests. Editors were told not to address or focus on religious or national elements of the plan or to ask Al-Azhar for its view on the matter. It also asked journalists to emphasise the historical and pivotal role of Egypt on the Palestinian issue.

Attempts to control the narrative are widespread. One source in Sinai told me that two people were arrested in Arish around Christmas over Facebook posts about Israel, another researcher said that only high-ranking officers in the Egyptian army know they are cooperating with Israel in Sinai. These incidents show how entrenched pro-Palestinian sentiment is in Egypt, and how insecure the regime is. But it won’t stop Trump’s “favourite dictator”, as he presses ahead with the deal of the century to his benefit and to the detriment of his own people.

February 9, 2020 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , , , | 1 Comment