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Remembering Israel’s 2014 attack on Gaza’s universities

The Islamic University of Gaza was damaged after it was bombed by Israeli warplanes early on Saturday in western Gaza, on 2 August, 2014 [Mustafa Hassona/Anadolu Agency]

The Islamic University of Gaza was damaged after it was bombed by Israeli warplanes early on Saturday, 2 August, 2014 [Mustafa Hassona/Anadolu Agency]
MEMO | August 4, 2020

What 

Six years ago, Israeli occupation forces targeted the Islamic University of Gaza (IUG) in one of the deadliest military offensives against the two million Palestinians living within the besieged enclave. The conflict left 2,251 people dead, with more than 11,000 wounded, according to Palestinian and UN sources. A further half a million Palestinians were displaced. Six years on, the UN has complied an extensive report on the scale of destruction to Gaza’s higher education facilities during the 50-day onslaught which began 8 July 2014.

Where

The occupied Gaza Strip

When 

2 August 2014

What happened 

At the height of the 2014 onslaught on Gaza, Israel shelled kindergartens, primary and secondary schools, UN run education facilities and several higher education centres. A UN report found that the centres of learning were directly targeted during the deadly attack on the besieged population. Over 2,251 Palestinians were killed, 500 of whom were children.

Israel’s military offensive on the Gaza Strip took place against the backdrop of a second Palestinian unity government being formed in early June by the Islamic Resistance Movement — Hamas — in the Gaza Strip and the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank. Threatened by the reconciliation between the two main Palestinian factions, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned that the PA had to choose between peace with Hamas or peace with Israel.

Ten days later, on 12 June, three Israeli settlers went missing in the West Bank, an incident for which Israel blamed Hamas, despite providing no evidence to back the allegation. Netanyahu also stated that the kidnapping proved that the unity pact between the Palestinian factions could not be endorsed. In the aftermath of the abduction, Israel launched a crackdown on alleged Hamas associates in the West Bank, triggering a cycle of events which led to the Zionist state launching a full scale military invasion of Gaza dubbed “Operative Protective Edge”.

What happened next?

The Islamic University of Gaza, which has nearly 20,000 students was targeted along with dozens of other higher education institutions (HEIs). A UN school was also targeted during the bombings prompting outrage from the international community – including the US, which said it was “appalled” by the “disgraceful” shelling of the UN run school. Sparking some of the harshest language ever to be directed against the Zionist state, Washington called the attack “totally unacceptable and totally indefensible”.

Student deaths, caused by disproportionate Israeli shelling, made up more than a quarter – or 27.4 per cent – of total civilian deaths incurred in Gaza. In total, 407 students from 20 out of 26 HEI’s were killed. While male students accounted for the highest number of deaths, a total of 38 female students also lost their lives, 15 of whom were studying at the IUG and ten at Al-Quds Open University. With 95 fatalities, IUG also suffered the heaviest male deaths; followed by Al-Aqsa (49 deaths) and Al-Quds Open University (44 deaths).

Of the 626 students that were injured, 286 suffered “shrapnel wounds, including fractures”. A further 235 incurred “shrapnel wounds, other wounds & fractures, including burns” according to the UN report.

Israel’s bombardment caused extensive damages to the homes of students. Pupils at 23 out of 26 HEIs had their homes destroyed. A total of 7,169 students – or 7.5 per cent of the student population at all HEIs – were affected in this manner. The worst affected were enrolled at Al-Azhar University, where 3,932 pupils – 66 per cent of all students at the institution – lost their homes.

Five IUG staff members made up a total of nine academics and administrative staff that were killed in four HEIs. Another 21 suffered injuries. The homes of 393 staff were destroyed in the bombings, including 31 that belonged to teachers at the IUG.

Large-scale damage and destruction to HEI buildings, facilities and equipment during the bombardment totalled more than $16 million. While the total cost of the damage and destruction to Gaza’s homes and infrastructure has been estimated at $7.8 billion.

The stark and shocking details of the destruction was uncovered in the UN report. It shows how HEIs were attacked by Israeli drone strikes, high explosive anti-tank weapons, and direct and indirect air strikes. Such indiscriminate attack, concluded the report, deliberately placed students and lecturers on the front line of the conflict and left many sites littered with explosive remnants of war. Given the level of damage at some sites, students and staff could face ongoing and serious risks to their safety.

The UN urged the international community to protect Gaza’s HEIs and safeguard the right to education for its besieged population guaranteed under international law.

August 4, 2020 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , | 2 Comments

Israeli duplicity about 2014 invasion ‘Operation Brothers Keeper’

Operation Brothers Keeper, an Israeli initiative supposedly launched to rescue three Jewish Israeli teenagers who had been kidnapped.
By Kathryn Shihadah | If Americans Knew | July 15, 2020

“Operation Brothers Keeper” has a nice ring to it, but the name represents months of duplicity by Israeli leaders, not only toward their own people, but toward the world, in order to perpetrate injustices on the people of Palestine.

The summer of 2014, when Operation Brothers Keeper emerged, was an exceptionally violent season in a decades-long stretch of violence in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories – a conflict defined by the Palestinian struggle for self-determination and against confiscation of their land; a conflict that has consistently seen many times more Palestinian casualties than Israelis.

Palestinians took to the streets that summer for much the same reason they always had: to struggle against oppression. The Israeli military came out to defend Israel’s status as oppressors.

Some context

Operation Brothers Keeper (OBK) was an invasion of the Palestinian West Bank, launched after the kidnapping of three Jewish Israeli teenagers. (This presaged its massive July invasion of Gaza, “Operation Protective Edge.”)

Perhaps, in the Israeli consciousness, the West Bank invasion was an isolated event – but for Palestinians, OBK was another in a long line of oppressive tactics within a framework of illegal occupation and injustice.

Maps show Palestinian loss of land from Israel’s 1948 creation through the present

In the early 20th century, massive Jewish immigration had caused concern among the indigenous Palestinians in the land; by 1948, 750,000 Palestinians were forced from their homes and land, most to never return as it became part of a new Jewish state. 1967 saw the occupation of all remaining Palestinian territories; 2008-9 had witnessed Israel’s devastating invasion of Gaza that killed 1,400 Palestinians (and 9 Israelis). In between these events, Israel had kept the Palestinian people under constant oppression – and the Palestinian people had resisted.

In late 2012, Israel had invaded the Palestinian Gaza Strip in a conflict that lasted 8 days before a ceasefire was put in place.

At that time, Israel promised to end its attacks on Gaza by land, sea, and air, stop assassinations of Gazan officials, and lift its blockade of Gaza, then in its 5th year; Hamas leaders in Gaza vowed to end rocket fire toward Israel (rockets that had killed 21 Israelis in 12 years).

Gaza held up its end of the deal: throughout 2013, rockets from Gaza were few and far between, and just one Israeli was killed in the vicinity. (5 more Israelis were killed elsewhere.)

Israel did not keep its promises: its military invaded Gaza and shot at Palestinian farmers and fishermen; the blockade remained in place, keeping food, medicine, and other staples out of the hands of those who needed them desperately.  (Read here about the “period of calm” during the first 3 months after the 2012 ceasefire, during which Israelis experienced calm, but Palestinians were attacked on a daily basis.)

Nine Gazans were killed in 2013, over 30 other Palestinians were killed elsewhere. In the first 5 months of 2014 – before the Israeli teens were kidnapped – dozens of Palestinians, some of them teens, and 2 Israelis, were killed.

The Israeli blockade of Gaza remained in place (it is still in place today).

Kidnapping

On June 12th, the three Israelis, aged 16 – 19, were kidnapped while hitchhiking.

All three were yeshiva (Jewish religious school) students, and would have almost certainly become soldiers in the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF). Israel practices universal conscription of both males and females at age 18 – although it is possible to delay or even avoid military service by continuing religious education after high school, as was likely the case with the older kidnapping victim. (Go here to read about religious extremism in some Israeli yeshivot.)

One of the teens called an emergency number for help. Along with his voice, the call also recorded shouting in Arabic and several gunshots.

Several hours later, parents of one of the boys reported him missing, at which point the police began to make the connection with the emergency call, which they originally believed to be a prank.

Netanyahu at press conference with DM Moshe Ya’alon during Operation Brothers Keeper (AFP)

Deception and brutality

The Forward reports that the Israeli government “had known almost from the beginning that the boys were dead. It maintained the fiction that it hoped to find them alive as a pretext to dismantle Hamas’ West Bank operations.”

The prime suspects, Palestinians, were identified within hours of the incident, and known to be rogue, with “a reputation for attacking Israeli civilian targets” and regularly acting “counter to the policies being advocated by [Hamas].” Their family disclosed within a day of the kidnapping that the men had disappeared.

Instead of broadcasting photos of the suspects and preparing the country for the inevitable locating of bodies rather than hostages, Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu immediately imposed a gag order on the media.

Even the parents of the kidnapped teens were led to believe that the boys were still alive.

Publicly, Netanyahu consistently claimed that he knew “for a fact” that Hamas was behind the kidnapping – in fact, at no point did any evidence point to Hamas’ participation in the incident; its leaders consistently denied involvement.

Meanwhile, ironically, the Israeli police cautioned the public against “spreading rumors on social media.”

On June 15th, Netanyahu launched Operation Brothers Keeper, characterizing it as a “hostage rescue operation.” Behind the scenes, however, he commissioned 2,500 Israeli soldiers, plus special forces, on a rampage through the West Bank in search not of hostages, but of Hamas members. According to The Nation :

Israel arrested approximately 800 Palestinians without charge or trial, killed nine civilians and raided nearly 1,300 residential, commercial and public buildings.

The operation kept 300,000 Palestinians under curfew; movement was restricted for another 600,000 – a form of illegal collective punishment.

A Palestinian woman cries in her home after a raid by Israeli troops as part of Operation Brothers Keeper, Sunday, June 22,2014. (AP Photo/Nasser Ishtayeh)

As far as Israeli citizens knew, the killers could be anyone, anywhere; the vast majority were therefore supportive of whatever measures their leaders chose to take. All over Israel, and in Jewish communities around the world, rallies and prayer meetings sought – in vain – the boys’ safe return – even while the Israeli government knew they were already dead.

In Gaza – where Hamas is the duly elected governing party – Hamas leaders watched as Israel used them as a pretext for the spate of arrests. Hamas had restrained itself and other resistance factions since the end of the 2012 conflict, waiting for Israel to fulfill its promise to end the blockade. But now, Israel was blaming Hamas for the kidnappings, re-arresting Hamas prisoners who had been freed, and maintaining the blockade. Hamas began allowing rockets to fly out of Gaza again.

United Nations

On June 17th, the Israeli Ambassador to the UN, Ron Prosor, spoke to the Security Council. In his speech, he blamed Hamas for the kidnapping (without proof) and demanded international pressure on Hamas to release the boys. Prosor displayed the hashtag that Israel and its partisans all over the world were using to draw attention to the fabricated crisis: #BringBackOurBoys.

On June 21st, Netanyahu repeated his canard to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon: “the information in Israel’s hands unequivocally indicates that Hamas is responsible for the abduction of the youths”; Netanyahu went on to falsely link the Palestinian resistance with ISIS when he said “we are witnessing the unrestrained brutality of Islamic terrorism, both in Israel and around us.”

On June 23rd, the U.N. Security Council attempted unsuccessfully to pass a resolution condemning the kidnapping of the Israeli teens: some countries wanted to add strong language condemning Israel’s violent security sweep; the US insisted that it would not sign any statement that included a reference to Israeli actions.

On June 24th, the mother of one of the kidnapped boys addressed the U.N. Human Rights Council (UNHRC), pleading for international assistance in bringing the boys back. (Her trip was paid for by UN Watch, a group that monitors what it calls “the continuing discriminatory treatment of Israel in the UN system” and pushes for “the removal of UN personnel who are considered critical of Israel.”)

In the same UNHRC session, many delegates and representatives from human rights organizations criticized Israel’s human rights record, especially its recent crackdown.

Then IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz visits soldiers as they take part in Operation Brothers Keeper to locate three kidnapped Israeli teens, June 24, 2014. (IDF Spokesperson/Flash90)

Kidnapped boys’ bodies found

On June 30th, 15 days after the Israeli leadership started its deceptive “campaign” to bring the boys back alive, the bodies were located ten minutes away from where they had last been seen.

The discovery was made not by the thousands of Israeli military or police – they were as much as 130 miles away, still ransacking Palestinian homes and arresting Palestinians – but by a volunteer search party.

The shallow grave was on the property of one of the suspects, whose identity had also been known for weeks, and whose property should have been considered suspect.

Within hours, Israeli forces demolished the family homes of the two suspects, an illegal but common practice in Israel.

The next day, July 1st, a funeral was held for the three teens. PM Netanyahu eulogized,

A deep and wide moral abyss separates us from our enemies. They sanctify death while we sanctify life. They sanctify cruelty while we sanctify compassion. This is the secret of our strength; it is the foundation of our unity.

This fraudulent profession of Israeli innocence flew in the face of facts that Mr. Netanyahu surely knew: the Israeli army had killed 19 Palestinians in the first quarter of 2014, and more in May and June. (Before the deaths of the three teens, two Israelis had been killed in 2014.)

Netanyahu’s eulogy also ignored the fact that Palestinians – specifically, Hamas – had been relatively subdued since 2012. As The Forward stated in “How Politics and Lies Triggered an Unintended War,” “The staged agony of the kidnap search created, probably unintentionally, what amounts to a mass, worldwide attack of post-traumatic stress flashback.”

Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) reported that late on July 1st, after the bodies were found, several Palestinians were killed. Israeli settlers also started constructing  two new illegal outposts. Some settlers (and politicians) believe “the settlement enterprise is the most appropriate response to Palestinian terror… Our enemies will incite and we will establish” – not making the connection that building on stolen Palestinian land is incitement itself.

Incitement

From the moment the bodies of the missing teens were discovered, Israeli leaders incited their people to revenge, as described by Electronic Intifada :

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu led the pack, calling the killers of the youths “human animals” and stating “Hamas is responsible. Hamas will pay.”

Former Israeli lawmaker Michael Ben-Ari posted a video and a statement…”We are living in a “jungle,” Ben-Ari said, calling Palestinian children “little terrorists”…

(Elsewhere, Ben-Ari called on Israel to “kill terrorists in public hangings.”)

Housing minister Uri Ariel called for the extrajudicial executions of leaders of Hamas and for Israel to “start a wave of construction in the settlements in response to the murder of the abductees”…

Tzipi Hotovely, another Likud lawmaker and deputy minister, wrote that “Israel must declare a war of annihilation of Hamas, which is responsible for the murder, and return to the assassination policy.”

Economy minister Naftali Bennett, leader of the ultra-anti-Palestinian Jewish Home party, declared “Murderers of children and those who direct them cannot be forgiven. Now is a time for actions, not words.”

With this highly visible incitement, it came as no surprise that after the funeral, crowds of Israelis – including young children – chanted “Death to the Arabs.” Mobs marched through the streets, attacking Palestinians as they went.

Mohammad Abukhdeir was killed by Jewish Israelis on July 2, 2014. (Facebook)

Revenge killing

On July 2nd, a Palestinian teenager named Mohammad Abukhdeir was kidnapped and burned alive near Jerusalem.

At first, Israel’s leaders imposed another gag order; meanwhile, Israeli police started rumors that Abukhdeir had been killed by his own family for being gay.

It wasn’t long before the truth had to come out: the torture/murder had been committed by three Jewish Israelis – two of them teenagers themselves. They eventually faced trial and in 2016 received sentences from 21 years to life. Their family homes were not demolished.

PM Netanyahu’s condolences to the Abukhdeir family condemned the murder and promised justice; then he went on to address his constituents, again claiming Israeli innocence:

I know that in our society, the society of Israel, there is no place for such murderers. And that’s the difference between us and our neighbors. They consider murderers to be heroes. They name public squares after them. We don’t. [editor’s note: this is false.] We condemn them and we put them on trial and we’ll put them in prison.

Al Jazeera reminded its readers that Abukhdeir’s abduction was not an isolated incident: “for Palestinians, the detention of their children, running into thousands, is experienced as kidnapping at an Israeli-state level.” The vast majority of these events – which frequently include torture – go unpunished.

In 2014, Israel’s military kidnapped 6,059 Palestinians. A spokesman for the Palestinian Commission of Detainees and Ex-Detainees stated on December 29th, 2014,

“There hasn’t been a single day that did not witness the abduction of Palestinians. On average, the army has kidnapped 505 Palestinians each month; approximately 17 a day.”

Since 1967, Israel has detained more than 50,000 Palestinian children; the Palestinian government has never detained an Israeli child. Additionally, a total of over 2,400 Palestinian children and 139 Israeli children have been killed since 2000.

Israeli teens’ killers tracked down

On August 5th, one suspect in the kidnapping and killing of the Israeli teens was arrested.

On September 23rd, the primary suspects were surrounded by Israeli military forces in a building in Hebron. An IDF spokesperson later stated, “We opened fire, they returned fire and they were killed in the exchange.”

At that point, Operation Brothers Keeper was officially closed.

Stay tuned for “war”

On July 8th, the Israel launched an incursion into Gaza, which in 50 days would bring about the deaths of 73 Israelis (9% civilians) and 2,250 Palestinians (65% civilians, 501 children). This travesty will be discussed in an upcoming post.


RELATED READING:

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Remembering Mohammad Abukhdeir, 6 years on

The Staggering Cost of Israel to Americans: The Facts

Israeli airstrikes vs Palestinian rockets: Facts & Stats on air attacks

Trump-Kushner “Peace” Plan ignores elephants in the room: Israel created this mess

July 16, 2020 Posted by | False Flag Terrorism, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular | , , , | Leave a comment

Hamas slams Friedman over West Bank annexation remarks

Palestine Information Center – May 8, 2020

GAZA – Hamas’s spokesman Hazem Qasem on Friday strongly denounced recent statements by the US ambassador to Israel David Friedman in which he recognized Israel’s “right” to annex the West Bank settlements.

Qasem described Friedman’s statements as a “violation of the Palestinian people’s legitimate rights”.

Qasem said that Friedman’s remarks fall in line with the US administration policy of falsifying facts to serve the Israeli right wing’s vision.

He stressed that the Palestinian people are the real owners of the land and they will continue their legitimate struggle until they end the occupation and establish their independent state with Jerusalem as its capital.

In recent statements Friedman expressed the US readiness to recognize Israel’s sovereignty in the occupied West Bank and the Jordan Valley within the coming weeks.

Israel is expected to carry out the annexation plan on 1 July as agreed between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and head of Blue and White party Benny Gantz.

May 8, 2020 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Yemen’s Al-Houthi offers to exchange Saudi pilots for Hamas prisoners

MEMO | March 27, 2020

The leader of Yemen’s Houthi movement, Sayyid Abdulmalik Al-Houthi, has made an offer to release Saudi captives in exchange for members of the Palestinian resistance movement, Hamas, being held in Saudi Arabia.

“We are fully prepared to release one of the captured pilots along with four Saudi officers and soldiers,” Al-Houthi said in a televised speech on Al-Masirah. “This will be in exchange for the release of those from Hamas arrested in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.”

Last September, Saudi detained 81-year-old Dr Muhammad Saleh Al-Khodari, a prominent member of Hamas who has served as the movement’s officially-acknowledged representative in the Kingdom for 20 years. He was also the head of Hamas’s General Shura (Consultative) Council.

Earlier this month it was reported that the Saudis were preparing to prosecute Palestinians held in its prisons. Al-Khodari and his son, Hani, are among the detainees. Their arrests on “terrorism” charges are seen by some to be politically-motivated following Saudi Arabia’s increasing normalisation of relations with Israel under de facto ruler Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman.

Last week the Head of the Hamas Political Bureau, Ismail Haniyeh, urged King Salman Bin Abdulaziz to release the Palestinian prisoners, citing health concerns given the spread of coronavirus Covid-19.

Senior Hamas official Mahmoud Al-Zahar welcomed the proposal by the Houthis: “The initiative of the leader of Ansar Allah has pleased the hearts of all Palestinian resistance fighters,” he was reported as saying by Al Mayadeen.

A statement by Hamas also expressed appreciation for the solidarity and support shown by the Houthis: “We greatly appreciate the spirit of brotherhood and sympathy with the Palestinian people and support for their steadfastness and resistance. We express our thanks for this interest and this self-initiative.”

Speaking on the fifth-anniversary of the US-backed, Saudi-led coalition’s war on Yemen yesterday, Al-Houthi said, “Unfortunately, the regimes of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have presented [themselves] as worse than Israel.”

Al-Houthi also said that his movement is “ready for peace and stopping the war if the aggressor is serious about stopping the aggression and siege.” He vowed that the sixth year of the conflict will involve “advanced military capabilities” and will entail new surprises for the coalition. “The general evaluation and studies confirm that the economic losses of the Saudi regime are great and its ambitions have failed,” he added.

March 27, 2020 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Solidarity and Activism | , , , , | Leave a comment

Hamas condemns continued detention of Palestinian officials in Saudi Arabia

Press TV – March 9, 2020

A Hamas spokesman has condemned the continued detention and prosecution of Palestinian figures in Saudi Arabia over their support for the Palestinian resistance movement, urging Riyadh to immediately release them.

“The national and pan-Arabism duty requires honoring those people and not trying them in this way,” Hazim Qassim told Lebanon’s Arabic-language al-Mayadeen television on Sunday.

He added that Arab countries should reinforce the Palestinian cause and “not weaken its resistance with such trials”.

The spokesman said Hamas has contacted various parties to secure the release of Palestinian detainees in the kingdom, expressing hope that Saudi authorities would respond to those efforts and release the detainees.

His remarks came as a Saudi court on Sunday held the first hearing in the case of 68 Palestinian and Jordanian detainees.

According to al-Mayadeen, the detainees are charged with “supporting terrorism and financing it” and belonging to “a criminal terrorist entity”.

Senior Hamas official Muhammad al-Khudari and his son Hani, who were arrested last April, were among those who stood trial on Sunday.

Al-Khudari represented Hamas in Saudi Arabia between the mid-1990s and 2003. He has held other important positions in the Palestinian resistance movement as well.

Saudi Arabia’s repressive measures against the Palestinian resistance movement as well as those seeking to collect donations for people living in the Israeli-blockaded Gaza Strip come as the kingdom and Israel are believed to be planning to publicize their secret ties.

Gaza has been blockaded by the Israeli regime since 2007.

Last month, Saudi authorities launched a new campaign of “arbitrary” arrests against Palestinian expatriates on charges of supporting Hamas.

The Prisoners of Conscience, a non-governmental organization advocating human rights in Saudi Arabia, announced on February 12 that the kingdom had detained a number of Palestinians, including the relatives or children of those imprisoned last April for the same reason.

Over the past two years, Saudi authorities have deported more than 100 Palestinians from the kingdom, mostly on charges of supporting Hamas financially, politically, or through social networking sites.

March 9, 2020 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , , , | 6 Comments

The war scenario between Israel and Hezbollah

By Elijah J. Magnier – 24/02/2020

Notwithstanding the increase in power of the “Axis of the Resistance”, with its precision missiles and unrivalled accumulated warfare experience, the possibility of war is still on the table. The “Axis of the Resistance” is increasing its readiness based on the possibility that Israel may not tolerate the presence of such a serious threat on its northern borders and therefore act to remove it. However, in any future war, the “Axis of the Resistance” considers the consequences would be overwhelmingly devastating for both sides and on all levels if the rules of engagement are not respected. Notwithstanding Israel’s superior air firepower, its enemy Hezbollah has established its own tremendous firepower, and its experience in recent wars in Syria, Iraq and Yemen is an important asset.

Sources within the “Axis of the Resistance” believe the next battle between Hezbollah and Israel, if ever it takes place, would be “controlled and not sporadic, with a focus on specific military objectives without damaging the infrastructure, on both sides”.

The sources consider Gaza as a precedent. In Gaza Palestinians and Israelis have fought many recent battles that lasted only a few days in which the objectives bombed were purely military. This is a new rule of engagement (ROE) regulating conflict between the belligerents. When Israel hits a non-military target, the Palestinian resistance responds by hitting a similar non-military target in Israel. The lesson extracted from the new ROE between Israel and the Palestinians is that every time exchanges of bombing go out of control, both sides understand they have to bring it back to an acceptable and equitable level, to limit damage and keep such mutual attacks from targeting civilians.

The “Axis of the Resistance” therefore considers that the probability is high that the next battle would be limited to military objectives and kept under control. If one side increases the bombing, the other will follow. Otherwise, both sides have the capability to cause total destruction and go on to uncontrolled bombing. In the case of an out-of-control war, allies on both sides would become involved, which renders this scenario less likely.

Hezbollah in Lebanon is said to have over 150,000 missiles and rockets. Israel might suppose that a limited attack could destroy tens of thousands of Hezbollah’s missiles. Is it worth it? “From Israel’s view, Israel may think it is worth triggering a battle and destroying thousands of missiles, thinking that Israel has the possibility to prevent Hezbollah from re-arming itself. But even in this case, Israel doesn’t need to destroy villages or cities or the Lebanese infrastructure, instead, it will limit itself to selective targets within its bank of objectives. However, we strongly doubt Israel could succeed in limiting Hezbollah’s supply of missiles and advanced weapons. Many of these missiles no longer need to be close to the borders with Israel, but can be deployed on the Lebanese-Syrian borders in safe silos”, said the sources.

However, Israel should also expect, according to the same sources, that Hezbollah will respond by bombing significant Israeli military targets within its bank of objectives. “There is no need to bomb airports, power stations, chemical industries, harbours or any highly significant target if Israel doesn’t bomb any of these in Lebanon. But if necessary Hezbollah is prepared to imitate Israel by hitting back without hesitation indiscriminately and against high-value targets, at the cost of raising the level of confrontation to its maximum level. Hezbollah and Israel have a common language in warfare. If the bombing is limited, no side interprets the others’ actions as a sign of weakness”, said the sources.

“Hezbollah doesn’t want war and is doing everything to avoid it. This is why it responded in Moawad, in the suburb of Beirut, when Israeli armed drones failed to reach their objectives. By responding, Hezbollah actually prevented a war on a large scale because it is not possible to allow Israel to get away with any act of war in Lebanon, violating the ROE” said the sources.

Last September, Hezbollah targeted an Israeli vehicle in Avivim with a laser-guided missile in daylight after forcing the Israeli Army to hide for a week and retreat all forces behind civilians lines, imposing a new ROE. The Israeli army cleared the 120 km borders with Lebanon (5 km deep) to avoid Hezbollah’s revenge retaliation for violating the 2006 cessation of hostility’s agreement. Israel refrained from responding and swallowed the humiliation due to its awareness of Hezbollah’s readiness to start a devastating war if necessary.

Israeli officials used to threaten Hezbollah and Lebanon to take the country “back to the stone age”. This is indeed within the reach of Israel’s military capability. However, it is also within Hezbollah’s reach to bring Israel back to the stone age, if required. Hezbollah’s precision missiles can hit any bridge, airport, gasoline deposit containers, power stations, Haifa harbour, oil and gas rig platforms, any infrastructure and military and non-military objectives if Israel attempts to target similar objectives in Lebanon first. Hezbollah’s new missile capability is not new to Israel, who is observing the latest technology Iran’s allies are enjoying and “testing,” mainly in Yemen. The recent bombing of Saudi Arabia oil facilities and the downing of a Saudi Tornado in Yemen revealed that Iran’s HOT missiles are capable of downing jets at medium height and any helicopter violating Lebanese airspace.

Hezbollah’s latest version of the Fateh precision missile, the supersonic anti-ship missiles and the anti-air missiles can prevent Israel from using its navy, stopping any civilian ship from docking in Haifa, thwarting the use of Israeli Helicopters and precision bombing attacks- as in Iran’s latest confrontation with the US at Ayn al-Assad base in Iraq.

Hezbollah’s missiles are unlikely to cause simple traumatic brain injuries – as per the Iranian missile at Ayn al Assad – when hitting targets in Israel in case of war. They can avoid missile interception systems. This increase of capability is a game-changer, and Hezbollah believes it is already decreasing the chances of war. Arming itself with precision missiles and armed drones and showing these capabilities to Israel is Hezbollah’s way to avert a war and protect the equation of deterrence.

In its 2020 security assessment, the Israeli Military Intelligence Directorate (Aman) unwisely evaluated the assassination of the Iranian Major General Qassem Soleimani as a “restraining factor”. Aman’s report, showing astonishing ignorance, stated that Soleimani was responsible for Hezbollah’s missile projects. This lack of understanding of the Hezbollah-Iran relationship and dynamic is quite surprising. Sayyed Ali Khamenei told Hezbollah’s leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah decades ago that he knows what he needs and what to do and doesn’t need to fall back on Iran. The IRGC and Hezbollah have set up a collaboration engine that won’t stop even if half of the IRGC leadership is killed. The possession of the feared Iranian precision missiles is no longer a secret: all Iran’s allies have these deployed, in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Yemen.

Yesterday is unlike today: the power of destruction now belongs to all parties, no longer to Israel alone. War is no longer an option. US/Israeli aggression will be limited to an economic war, so long as the “Axis of the Resistance” continues updating its warfare capability to maintain deterrence parity.

This article is translated free to many languages by volunteers so readers can enjoy the content.

Copyright © https://ejmagnier.com  2020  @ejmalrai

February 28, 2020 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Hamas: Israel’s aggressive mindset poses a threat to the entire region

Palestine Information Center – February 24, 2020

GAZA – The Hamas Movement has called for pooling the Arab nation’s efforts to confront the Israeli expansionist project in the region.

In a press release on Sunday night, Hamas spokesman Hazem Qasem said that Israel’s “bombing of resistance sites in Damascus vindicated further the Israeli government’s aggressive mentality that keeps targeting the Arab nation and posing a threat to their region.”

“This entails uniting and integrating the entire nation’s efforts in order to confront the Zionist expansionist project and put an end to its ongoing aggression and its existence on the Palestinian land,” spokesman Qasem added.

The spokesman also described Israel’s renewed aggression against the Gaza Strip and the Palestinian resistance’s response to its crimes as “an ongoing battle between an arrogant colonial power and a people striving to extract their freedom and live with dignity on their own land.”

“This battle is to be won by our people, the rightful owners of the land and history, while the passing colonist will not have a place on our Palestinian land,” he said.

February 24, 2020 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Solidarity and Activism | , , , , | Leave a comment

US-Palestinian intelligence talks focus on Abbas’ successor

By Dr Adnan Abu Amer | MEMO | February 24, 2020

Just two days after the announcement of the “deal of the century” in late January, Gina Haspel, director of the CIA, secretly arrived in Ramallah in the occupied West Bank, and met with Majed Faraj, head of the Palestinian Intelligence Service, and a number of senior Palestinian officials. They assured her that Palestinian-American security coordination would not be affected after the announcement of the deal.

This visit took place after Israel revealed it had thwarted an assassination attempt on Majed Faraj, at the order of Tawfik Tirawi, a member of the Fatah Central Committee and former head of the General Intelligence Service.

The CIA director’s visit came as a surprise, she could have sent one of her aides or summoned Majed Fatah to Washington. There are some who believe that the visit aimed to persuade the Palestinians to accept the deal of the century.

Perhaps the American security visit is related to the preparation for the succession of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, especially since the visit coincided with the revelation of the assassination attempt on Faraj.

Haspel’s visit came despite Abbas’ announcement that security relations with the Israelis and Americans were being cut, which raised big questions about his credibility.

The information received regarding Haspel’s meeting in Ramallah with Palestinian intelligence leaders indicates that the meetings lasted three days, with 16 officers from both sides participating to discuss in depth scenarios and plans to eliminate the Palestinian resistance system, in the Gaza Strip in particular. They also drew plans to ensure that no chaos occurs in the West Bank that causes the situation to explode in the face of Israel.

On the first day, the meetings discussed all the scenarios to deal with the Palestinian resistance, and the general objectives of each scenario. The second day was dedicated to discussing Palestinian intelligence preparations to implement these scenarios, and on the third day a general American-Palestinian debate was opened to discuss what was described as “creative ideas” to emerge from the crises.

In the end, the meetings concluded with several points, the most important of which is the necessity of progressing from containing Hamas to attacking it, by using the conflicts between the leaders inside Palestine and abroad, and inciting against its leader, Ismail Haniyeh’s visit to Tehran and his participation in Qassem Soleimani’s funeral. This constituted clear proof of the political failure to contain the movement, either by Israel or Egypt. Moreover, Hamas’ attempts to strengthen its relationship with Hezbollah and its failure to comply with the Egyptian conditions of not visiting Iran both serve the interest of the same conviction.

At the end of their meetings in Ramallah, the Palestinian and American security sides concluded that it is not possible to eradicate Hamas, because it has a wide popular base, and therefore a strategy must be worked on to weaken it. In this regard, a proposal was made by the Palestinian general intelligence calling for containing the movement and pushing it to be part of the political system in the context of the PLO, along with draining their sources of funding, in agreement with the US Treasury.

This conclusion, reached by Faraj’s men in the Palestinian intelligence services with their American counterparts, or rather their handlers, is related to what Hamas revealed in April 2019 about the details of a long-term plan prepared by the PA’s intelligence services to ignite an internal conflict in the Gaza Strip, in preparation for changing the political reality in Gaza. It is a plan directly supervised by Majed Faraj, which aims to create chaos and disrupt the masses in the Gaza Strip, as well as affect the harmony and coordination between Hamas, which manages the affairs in Gaza, and the rest of the Palestinian factions.

The American visit may also relate to asking Faraj and his security apparatus, which controls the West Bank, to maintain a state of security in it, and not to allow popular demonstrations and mass activities to take place that may spiral out of control to become confrontations with the Israeli army.

Faraj, 58, has been at the head of the Palestinian General Intelligence Service since 2009, and holds the rank of major general. He was born in the Dheisheh refugee camp in Bethlehem, in the south of the West Bank. He is considered the highest figure among the heads of the Palestinian security services, the only one who practices political activity, and the closest to Abbas. He is directly responsible for contact with the Israelis, participating actively in the negotiations between the Israelis and the Palestinians in 2014. He is well known to all international players, and is the main partner in the reconciliation talks with Hamas.

In coincidence with Haspel’s visit to Ramallah, the Israeli media revealed it had thwarted an attempt to assassinate Majed Faraj. This was met with official Palestinian silence, which may suggest the authenticity of the Israeli narrative, because it reveals the secret struggle over the succession of Abbas, who is turning 85.

The Palestinian Preventive Security Service arrested a cell of Fatah members who intended to target Faraj and his family. Some of its members were former Palestinian prisoners in Israeli prisons with links to Major General Tawfik Tirawi, a member of the Central Fatah Committee, and the former head of the Palestinian Intelligence Agency.

Tirawi is said to have good relations with Muhammad Dahlan, the dismissed Fatah official and the personal archenemy of Abbas and Faraj.

The Preventive Security Services located the weapons and explosives in possession of the members of the cell who planned to bomb Faraj’s private vehicles after following his family members.

Faraj is considered one of the people with a very high chance of his succeeding Abbas as president. The man in command of the intelligence definitely has American-Israeli acceptance, as well as acceptance from countries that are influential inside the Palestinian territories, particularly Egypt, Qatar, Turkey and Saudi Arabia, because everyone in Palestine is aware that any future president must be the result of regional and international understandings.

He has a strong network of relationships with senior CIA officers making him the main and likely favourite of Israel and the US due to his ability to provide adequate security in the West Bank, after his ability to eradicate Hamas, confiscate its weapons and limit its military influence. The group has already taken a hit in the West Bank due to Faraj’s efforts.

February 24, 2020 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Hamas delegation meets Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister

MEMO | February 20, 2020

A senior Hamas delegation has met with Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov in Doha, the capital of Qatar.

In a statement issued on Wednesday, the Islamic Resistance Movement said that its delegation was led by the head of its International Office, Mousa Abu Marzook, accompanied by Political Bureau member Sami Khater and the former leader of its Political Bureau, Khaled Meshaal, as well as its representative in Moscow.

The Hamas delegation briefed Bogdanov on the latest political developments in the Palestinian cause, including the US “deal of the century”.

They reiterated that the deal is targeting the Palestinian people, their legitimate right to return and the efforts to establish an independent and sovereign state, which is why it has been rejected not only by the movement, but also all segments of Palestinian society.

Bogdanov reaffirmed his country’s support for the Palestinian people and rejection of any “peace plan” rejected by them. Russia, he explained, is ready to provide support for the Palestinians in order to end the internal division and achieve the national unity that is the key to achieving their legitimate objectives.

Furthermore, the Russian official stressed that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict should be solved on the basis of international law, including UN General Assembly resolutions and the Arab Peace Initiative.

February 20, 2020 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation | , , , | 4 Comments

Saudi Arabia launches new campaign of arrests against Palestinian expats

MEMO | February 14, 2020

Saudi Arabia has launched a new campaign of arbitrary arrests against several Palestinian expatriates living in the kingdom for supporting the Islamic resistance movement, Hamas.

The Prisoners of Conscience Twitter account which monitors the conditions of prisoners in Saudi Arabia said it has received “confirmed information” that the Saudi authorities have launched a new campaign of arbitrary arrests against Palestinian ex-pats. It adds that a number of the Palestinians targeted in the new campaign are relatives or sons of Palestinians who had been arrested during the first campaign in April, last year for the same reason.

In April, last year the Saudi authorities launched a campaign of arrests against Palestinian ex-pats including a senior leader in Hamas movement, Muhammad al-Khudari, 81, and his eldest son Hani.

The Twitter account defended the Palestinian detainees saying that supporting the (Palestinian) resistance is not a crime that requires arrests and demanded the Saudi authorities “to immediately release all detainees from the last campaign, and stop the trials of those detained last year which will begin early next month”.

Earlier this month, the Twitter account said the Saudi prosecution accuses the Palestinian detainees of illegally transferring funds (to the Palestinian resistance factions) and establishing unlicensed organisations to defend Palestinian and Jordanian detainees in the kingdom.

The Palestinian detainees will be tried before the Saudi Specialized Criminal Court on March 8.

On September 6, 2019, the Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor said that Saudi Arabia is forcibly hiding 60 Palestinians.

February 14, 2020 Posted by | Civil Liberties | , , , | Leave a comment

Israel participation in Expo 2020 Dubai amounts to normalization: Hamas

Press TV – January 20, 2020

Palestinian Islamic resistance movement Hamas has censured Israel’s presence in the Expo 2020, which is to be hosted by the United Arab Emirates’ city of Dubai, as a form of normalization between the Persian Gulf state and the Tel Aviv regime.

Hamas spokesman Hazem Qassem, in a written statement released on Monday, slammed attempts by a number of Arab countries, particularly Persian Gulf littoral states, to bring out in the open their clandestine relations with the Israeli regime, calling on them to put an end to such efforts.

“Such a behavior encourages the Occupation to increase the level of its crimes against Palestinian people, and to step up its violations against the sanctities of our nation,” the statement added.

“The Zionist regime must remain the principal enemy of the [Palestinian] nation. The campaign against the regime and its policies, which aim to dent all opportunities for the nation’s awakening and development, must continue,” Qassem pointed out.

Israeli authorities are hoping to reach out to Arab peoples through participation in the Expo 2020 Dubai.

“To us, the added value is in the Arab and Muslim visitor,” Elazar Cohen, the Israeli foreign ministry’s point man for the expo, which is organized by the Paris-based Bureau International des Expositions (BIE), said on December 15 last year.

An auditorium below the pavilion will offer visitors an interactive multimedia experience, the ministry’s director general Yuval Rotem told AFP at the time.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has described the Israeli expo pavilion as part of “the continued progress of normalization with the Arab states,” alleging that building relations with Arab countries will push the Palestinians toward a ‘peace deal’ with the Israeli regime.

Israeli daily newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth reported on November 6 that the UAE is expected to allow tourists holding Israeli passports to take part in the expo.

“Israeli and the UAE’s authorities have been in talks for a while in order to allow those with Israeli passports to attend the expo in Dubai,” an unnamed source within the expo’s management team told the daily at the time, adding, “These talks are happening because both sides want to see the expo turn into the biggest exhibition in the world.”

Another source said the event in Dubai could be a great pilot run during which Israeli tourists would be allowed into the country, and it can be a signal that the UAE “might leave its doors open to Israeli tourists permanently.”

Israeli foreign minister, Israel Katz, told a ministerial meeting in Jerusalem al-Quds on August 6 last year that he was working toward “transparent normalization and signed agreements” with a number of Arab Persian Gulf littoral states.

Arab countries — except for Jordan and Egypt — have no formal relations with the Israeli regime.

Israel’s trade with Persian Gulf states is estimated to stand at about $1 billion annually, according to a study published by the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change in August 2018.

Jamal al-Suwaidi, founder of the Emirates Center for Strategic Studies and Research, told the British newspaper The Guardian in an interview in March that the Palestinian issue is no longer at the top of the agenda among the Arab Persian Gulf states.

“The Palestinian cause is no longer at the forefront of Arabs’ interests, as it used to be for long decades,” he said. “It has sharply lost priority in light of the challenges, threats and problems that face countries of the region.”

January 20, 2020 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , , , | Leave a comment

General Soleimani ‘martyr of Quds’: Hamas chief Haniyeh

Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh addresses a massive crowd of mourners during a funeral procession for General Qassem Soleimani in Tehran January 6, 2020. (Photo by Leader.ir)
Press TV – January 6, 2020

General Qassem Soleimani is a “martyr of Quds” for he devoted his life to supporting the Palestinian people’s struggle against Israel and his assassination by the United States is in many ways similar to crimes committed by the Israeli regime, says Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh.

General Soleimani, commander of the Quds Force of Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC), was assassinated in a US strike in Baghdad on Friday, alongside Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the deputy commander of Iraq’s pro-government Hashd al-Sha’abi forces.

A huge sea of mourners, streaming from all the adjoining streets, descended on the iconic Engelab Square in central Tehran early Monday morning and rallied to Azadi Tower in the capital’s west as they chanted “Death to America” and “Death to Israel.”

Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei led the prayers over the general’s coffin and the remains of his companions at Tehran University, his voice cracking several times with emotion which caused the massive crowd to weep.

Speaking at the funeral procession in Tehran on Monday, Haniyeh condemned the US strike, which was personally authorized by President Donald Trump.

“We have come to Iran to condole with Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Khamenei, the Iranian government and nation,” Haniyeh said.

“He [Gen. Soleimani] was the commander of the IRGC Quds Force and he is a martyr of Quds,” the Hamas official said.

Haniyeh also sent condolences to General Soleimani’s family and described him as one of the “flag-bearers of resistance against Zionist and American plots.”

Haniyeh said he was in Iran “to express our true and sincere feelings about a dear brother and a martyred commander – a commander who made many sacrifices for Palestine and the resistance until he achieved the position he has today.”

‘A crime similar to Zionist atrocities in Palestine’

Haniyeh said this “brutal crime” by the Americans is representative of the “criminal mentality” that is at work in the occupied Palestinian lands.

“The criminal mentality that led to Commander Soleimani’s assassination and martyrdom is the same mentality that drives the minds of the Zionist regime’s thugs, the same mentality and policy that assassinates and kills Palestinians every day,” he said.

He said Hamas owes its current prowess to General Soleimani’s wisdom. The Palestinian resistance, he said, won’t back away from combating Israel and the fight will continue “until we purge all enemies from the noble Quds.”

New Quds Force chief pledges vengeance

Brigadier General Esmail Qaani, who was named the new Quds commander by the Leader on Friday, said in a statement that Iran will no doubt avenge the assassination.

“Steps will be definitely taken” to avenge General Soleimani’s blood, which Qaani said has set in motion a series of steps that will lead to America’s expulsion from the region.

US ‘elimination’ from region only acceptable retribution

Brigadier General Amir Ali Hajizadeh, the commander of the IRGC’s Aerospace Division, echoed the remarks and said the only possible revenge for General Soleimani’s blood would be the total “elimination” of America from the region.

Launching a few missiles, destroying a base or even Trump’s death will not sufficiently avenge the blood of such a martyr, General Hajizadeh asserted, adding “the oppressed nations of the region will have to be rid of America’s evil.”

January 6, 2020 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation, War Crimes, Wars for Israel | , , , , , , | 2 Comments