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Hamas: the US has told Arab states to stop supporting the PA

MEMO | October 19, 2020

A senior Hamas official has claimed that the US has told a number of Arab states to stop giving financial support to the Palestinian Authority, Al-Aqsa TV reported on Sunday. According to Saleh Al-Arouri, a number of states have been asked to put pressure on Fatah, which controls the PA, in order to pull out of any reconciliation with Hamas.

The Deputy Head of the Hamas Political Bureau added that these countries are those which sponsored the US deal of the century. He stressed, however, that Hamas is committed to the Palestinian understandings reached in Istanbul and would never backtrack on them.

Al-Arouri also revealed that the US had offered to talk with Hamas over the so-called “deal”, but Hamas refused because Washington’s intention was to split the national Palestinian stance and threaten the PLO leadership.

In July, the former Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal said that the best way to undermine the Israeli annexation plans “is to change the function of the PA” from serving the Israeli occupation to confronting it. He stressed that if such a change was not made, the PA should be dissolved after discussions with the different Palestinian factions and reaching an agreement on a replacement in order not to end up in chaos.

October 19, 2020 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Solidarity and Activism | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Israel sets its sights on the Red Sea and Bab El-Mandeb

Dr Adnan Abu Amer | MEMO | October 6, 2020

Day after day, the magnitude of the Israeli benefits from normalisation with the Gulf become clearer, especially on the military and strategic levels. The latest benefit is talk about establishing Israeli military bases in the Gulf, the Red Sea and Bab El-Mandab, or benefiting from the Emirati bases scattered in these areas, and the military benefits for Israel brought about by controlling these international seaports.

The Emirati-Israeli agreement included many clauses with security and military aspects, which stipulate bilateral cooperation in these areas, and their commitment to take important measures to prevent the use of their territories to carry out a hostile or “terrorist” attack targeting the other party, and that each side will not support any hostile operations in the territory of the other party. It also stipulates bilateral security coordination and strengthening the military security relationship.

These carefully worded texts have increased the assumptions regarding the possibility of Israel benefitting from the Emirati military bases in the region, whether in the Gulf, Bab El-Mandab, or the Red Sea. This may lead to the establishment of Israeli military base in the Emirates, as well as its use of Emirati waters, and the possibility that it will continue down this path to increase its foothold in Socotra, the Bab El-Mandab Strait and Djibouti.

It is worth noting that the possibility of establishing Israeli military bases in the Gulf, or Israel benefiting from the Emirati military bases, is not easy, but very dangerous. This is because as much as it may give hope to the Gulf states, and the UAE in particular, to defend itself against the threat of any imagined attack from Iran, it, at the same time, exposes it to danger. This is because the fulfilment of this premise means that Israel can strike Iranian targets in the Gulf waters, or in the heart of Iran itself, which will be matched by Iran targeting these Israeli bases in the Gulf.

The agreement allows Israel to get geographically closer to Iran and allows it to improve ties with the Gulf which is a strategic area in terms of trade and oil.

Iran will not stand idly by and remain silent regarding the Emirati-Israeli move, which means the situation in the Gulf region is likely to grow tense and suffer. Iran is present everywhere through the Revolutionary Guard and its sleeping armed cells.

Security of maritime navigation in the Gulf is a purely Israeli interest within the strategy of “curbing the Iranian threat” and strengthening the relationship with the Gulf states, former Israeli Foreign Minister, Yisrael Katz, has said.

Israel aims to gain control over the most important sea straits in the region, which belong to the Emirati and Saudi bases, which enhances the expansion of Israel’s military and strategic influence.

A document by the Israeli Ministry of Intelligence revealed that the agreement with Abu Dhabi paves the way for intensifying military cooperation between them in the Red Sea. This is because it is interested in expanding security cooperation in the region, leading to strengthening the military alliance between them. This includes intensive Israeli military movement, especially through the countries of the Horn of Africa, most notably Ethiopia, at a time when Israeli arms companies are seeking to increase their exports to the Emirates.

US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, announced that the UAE and Israel had agreed to build a security and military alliance against Iran to protect American interests and the Middle East, and to increase security and intelligence cooperation to confront what he referred to as “terrorism”.

But Israel has not left Yemen out of its view, the country offers a gateway to the Bab El-Mandab Strait. Tel Aviv aims to crack down on the Palestinian resistance to prevent it from receiving the weapons that reach it from Iran through the Red Sea, reaching the Sinai, and then the Gaza Strip.

As long as the most important provisions of the Emirati-Israeli agreement are related to security and military relations, Israel will work to exploit the agreement to increase its influence in the Gulf. Meanwhile, the UAE is looking for control in the Gulf with the support of the US and Israel, so there is joint Israeli and Emirati work in Yemen to establish joint military bases and areas of influence, specifically on the island of Socotra, which would allow it to completely control the path that passes from India to the West, and penetrates into Africa, which is a strategic location for Israel.

October 6, 2020 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation, Militarism | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Arrest of Hamas co-founder by Israeli security forces denounced as attempt to undermine Palestinian reconciliation

RT | October 2, 2020

Israeli security forces have arrested senior Hamas leader Hassan Youssef. The two rival Palestinian groups, Hamas and Fatah, have both condemned the move as being politically-charged and a bid to ruin their reconciliation talks.

Youssef was taken at his home in Ramallah in the occupied West Bank on Friday morning. While Israeli authorities have not provided any official information about the move, local media reported that the Hamas co-founder was detained over alleged “renewed” activity by the group.

After helping to found Hamas in the late 1980s, Youssef was repeatedly arrested by the Israeli authorities and spent years behind bars. Hamas has always maintained he was only involved in its political activities, and not associated with its military wing.His arrest was condemned by both Hamas and its rival, Fatah. Hamas claimed the arrest was a politically-motivated move, designed to destabilize the ongoing reconciliation process between the two groups.

“We hereby affirm that the arrest of Sheikh Hassan Youssef by the occupation will not stop the path of unity for which he worked for the past two months,” Hamas said in a statement.

Fatah has voiced a similar opinion on Youssef’s arrest, with the group’s Secretary-General Jibril Rajoub accusing Tel Aviv of “tampering” with the reconciliation talks and attempting to “influence the achievement of national unity.”

“This arrest is a continuation of the occupation’s approach to arresting dozens of our Palestinian people every day, and a continuation of the continuous aggression against our people for decades,” Rajoub stated.

October 2, 2020 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , | 3 Comments

Remembering Israel’s botched attempt to assassinate Khaled Meshaal

MEMO | September 25, 2020

What: On 25 September, 1997, Israelis from the Mossad spy agency attempted to assassinate Palestinian political leader Khaled Meshaal in Amman, the capital of Jordan. The brazen attempt on the life of the then 41-year-old head of the Hamas Political Bureau sparked a diplomatic row which threatened to wreck the newly-signed peace deal between Jordan and Israel. The crisis ended with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu making a number of humiliating concessions.

Where: Amman, Jordan.

When: 25 September, 1997.

What happened?

In an attempt to cripple the Palestinian resistance movement Hamas, Netanyahu, then in his first term as prime minister, authorised the assassination of Meshaal. The little-known Palestinian leader was born in 1956 in Silwad, which was then in the Jordanian administered West Bank. In 1967, Meshaal’s family and 300,000 other Palestinians were expelled from their homes by Israeli occupation forces in a second wave of ethnic cleaning that came to be known as the Naksa (Setback). Netanyahu is said to have personally picked Meshaal from a number of Hamas operatives for Mossad agents to kill. The attempt on Meshaal’s life came in the wake of a series of suicide bombings in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.

A six-member Mossad team arrived in Amman a week before the assassination using false Canadian passports. The plan was clear: kill the exiled Hamas leader using a lethal toxin without leaving any trace of the killers. The idea was that after the toxin had been administered covertly, Meshaal would go about the rest of his day as normal and then, when tiredness overcame him, he would take a nap, never to wake up again; he was expected to die within 48 hours.

On the morning of the assassination attempt, two of the six agents moved into position to deliver a lethal dose of toxin — identified later as fentanyl — as Meshaal entered his office. The other four Israeli agents are said to have been deployed around the block either as drivers or as lookouts.

The Mossad agents delivered the toxin using an aerosol device and fled from the scene. One of Meshaal’s bodyguards gave chase and managed to apprehend the assassins after some hand to hand combat. Their capture was to have major ramifications.

Khaled Meshaal, leader of Hamas political bureau

What happened next?

Hours after the arrest of the two agents by the Jordanian authorities, the Israelis hatched a plan to diffuse the situation. With the diplomatic consequence of his actions dawning on Netanyahu, he attempted to conceal the botched assassination attempt from the rest of the world. He dispatched Mossad head Danni Yatom to plead with King Hussain of Jordan for the agents’ release. Yatom’s pre-emptive disclosure and plea for help from the Jordanian monarch exploded in Israel’s face, sparking a diplomatic crisis with the Hashemite Kingdom, which had normalised relations with the Zionist state three years earlier.

While the Israelis tried frantically to keep a lid on the botched plot, Meshaal’s health deteriorated. The toxin had done its job and within 48 hours he would be dead. King Hussain warned Israel that if the Hamas leader died, the Mossad agents would be hanged as murderers. The King had gone out on a limb to sign a peace treaty with Israel against the wishes of his people, so he called US President Bill Clinton to enlist his support. It was said that US anger was such that no one within the normally pro-Israel White House was willing to make Netanyahu’s case for him. “This man is impossible,” Clinton is reported to have said upon hearing that the Israeli Prime Minister had authorised the assassination attempt with little regard for Jordanian sovereignty, and thus endangered the fragile peace treaty.

Having been stonewalled by Netanyahu for the antidote to the toxin at the first time of asking, an angry King Hussein relayed his message through Clinton, insisting that the Israelis must deliver a vial of the antidote, which was the only way to save Meshaal’s life. “If Meshaal dies, the peace treaty dies with him,” he insisted. With the US applying pressure, Israel had no choice but to comply. A light aircraft delivered the antidote.

The indignity for Netanyahu did not end there. The two Mossad agents were still under arrest facing a death sentence and the Israeli Embassy in Amman, in which the other four members of the six man Mossad team had taken refuge, was surrounded by Jordanian security forces. In exchange for allowing them to leave Jordan, King Hussain was determined to exact a heavy price. He demanded a prisoner exchange, which was agreed.

Under the deal, Israel released the ailing Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, the quadriplegic founder and spiritual leader of Hamas who was one of the most notable Palestinians in its prisons, along with 70 other Palestinian prisoners.

Meshaal was saved with just hours to spare. His reputation grew within the Palestinian resistance movement as “the man who wouldn’t die”. He became the leader of Hamas when Israel assassinated Yassin in 2004.

Meanwhile, a chastened Netanyahu was forced to apologise. His act of contrition came two days later when he arrived in Amman to pledge that Israel would not make another attempt on Meshaal’s life. This was not the end for the humiliated Israeli Prime Minister. He lost his bid for re-election in 1999, after which he retired temporarily from politics.

September 25, 2020 Posted by | Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , | 2 Comments

Hamas recycles shells from British ships sunk off Gaza during WWI

MEMO | September 15, 2020

The military wing of the Palestinian Islamic Resistance Movement has apparently recycled shells found on the wrecks of British warships which were sunk off the coast of Gaza during World War One.

In a documentary film broadcast on Sunday, Al Jazeera revealed that Al-Qassam Brigades could in such a way overcome the consequences of the Israeli-led siege imposed on Gaza, which are in part intended to undermine its ability to manufacture weapons.

The internationally-backed siege has been in place for over 14 years. During this time, Israel has carried out three major offensives that have together killed thousands of Palestinians, wounded tens of thousands more and devastated the civilian infrastructure in the coastal territory.

For the first time, Hamas allowed its arms factories to be filmed. The documentary showed Hamas operatives recycling shells found in two sunken Royal Navy warships. The explosive in the shells was tested and, found to be still useable, was fitted into the warheads of Al-Qassam’s own rockets.

“Unfortunately, Hamas got there before us,” said Israeli TV reporter Nir Dvori on Tuesday, referring to the shells on the warships. “The Israeli army siege on Gaza made it difficult for Hamas to get metal and explosives to produce rockets. This pushed it to look for these materials in unconventional locations. Hamas marine personnel found these materials on board the warships.”

According to former sailor Rami Sidnai, the Israeli navy has been looking for the two British ships secretly. “Security issues prevented us from reaching them. Unfortunately, Hamas found them before us.”

Moreover, the documentary, produced by Palestinian journalist Tamer Al-Mishal, revealed how Al-Qassam fighters found a massive network of pipes installed before the Israeli disengagement from Gaza in 2005. The pipes were said to have been used to steal fresh water from the aquifer under the Gaza Strip. Al-Qassam promptly disassembled the network, extracted the pipes and used them to make rocket casings.

Additional explosives were removed from “hundreds” of unexploded Israel munitions after the 2014 military offensive against the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.

Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh spoke on camera about regional and international pressure imposed on the movement to give up its arms and end its resistance to the Israeli occupation of Palestine. “Hamas gave no pledge to any mediator related to the development of resistance arms,” he insisted.

However, according to Dore Gold, a former Israeli Ambassador to the UN and advisor to Benjamin Netanyahu, “If we are ever going to develop peaceful relations between Israel and Palestinian groups in Gaza… dismantling Hamas’s infrastructure must be part of any potential deal in order to be feasible.”

Former Israeli General and National Security Advisor Yaakov Amidror conceded that the Palestinians have succeeded in building their [military] capabilities. “Today, they have ability to build weapon systems, mainly long-distance rockets. They have something very notable and have improved their domestic production. They learn all the time and improve their abilities. We exert many efforts to know about these abilities in order to neutralise them whenever we can.”

According to Ami Ayalon, the former head of Israel’s Shin Bet internal security agency, “After at least two Israeli offensives on Gaza, the result is that it could not disarm Gaza on its own and should not. It will be a disaster if we attempt to disarm Hamas by ourselves.” He added his belief that Hamas is “stronger” than before. “The issue is complicated. We have to make a new political reality, otherwise Hamas is getting stronger.”

September 15, 2020 Posted by | Aletho News | , , | 2 Comments

Ceasefire Understanding Reached between Hamas, Zionist Entity

Al-Manar – September 1, 2020

Hamas Palestinian Resistance group said it accepted a ceasefire agreement with the Zionist entity on Monday night, ending a nearly month-long round of tensions along the Gaza border.

After talks with Qatari envoy Mohammed El-Emadi, “an understanding was reached to rein in the latest escalation and end [Israeli] aggression against our people”, the office of Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar said on Monday.

The announcement came after three weeks of tensions that saw Israeli strikes on the besieged enclave and the launch of hundreds of explosives-laden and incendiary balloons were launched toward the occupied territories.

According to Hamas, the new understanding includes “a number of projects that serve our people in the Gaza Strip and would help them cope with the outbreak of the coronavirus.”

The Israeli regime, on his part, did not explicitly confirm the existence of a deal, but in a tacit acknowledgment said it would fully reopen the fishing zone off the coast of the Strip and the enclave’s border crossings beginning Tuesday.

“This decision will be tested on the ground: If Hamas, which is responsible for all actions that are taken in the Gaza Strip, will fail to meet its obligations, Israel will act accordingly,” the Zionist entity’s military liaison to the Palestinians said in a statement.

The occupation army has carried out attacks on Gaza almost daily since August 6 in what it says is a response to the airborne incendiary devices and, less frequently, rockets launched into the occupied territories.

September 1, 2020 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , | 3 Comments

Turkey reboots Arab Spring with Palestinian resistance

By M. K. BHADRAKUMAR | Indian Punchline | August 26, 2020

Turkey has made its first move on the regional chessboard after the recent deal between the UAE and Israel, when on August 22, President Recep Erdogan received in Istanbul a high-level delegation of the Palestinian resistance group Hamas, including its leader Ismail Haniyeh and deputy leader Saleh al-Arouri.

Also present at the meeting held behind closed doors at Istanbul’s Vahdettin Palace were the head of Turkey’s intelligence service, Hakan Fidan and two key aides of Erdogan — the communications director Fahrettin Altun and the presidential spokesman, Ibrahim Kalin.

The symbolism of the event is profound. The US state department has designated Ismail Haniyeh and Saleh al-Arouri as terrorists and has placed a $5 million bounty on their heads. And, of course, Turkey’s links with Hamas has been a sore point with Israel and it strained the traditionally close relations between the two countries to near breaking point in the recent decade.

Meanwhile, Hamas is an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood with which Turkey’s ruling Islamist party has ideological affinity but which the Emirati regime regards as existential enemy.

To be sure, Erdogan has made a calculated move after reading the tea leaves that one of the objectives behind the US-sponsored deal between the UAE and Israel is the creation of a new regional order even as American retrenchment from the region may have already begun in the Middle East.

Erdogan estimates that the main target of the UAE-Israel deal is Turkey. He had spotted the UAE as an active participant in the US-led failed coup attempt in 2016 aimed at overthrowing his government. He is also acutely conscious that the US, Israel and the UAE are aligned with the separatist Kurdish groups.

Turkey and the UAE are promoting opposite sides in the Libyan conflict and recently, the UAE has begun cozying up to Greece against the backdrop of rising tensions between Greece and Turkey in the Eastern Mediterranean. (UAE fighter jets are currently participating in a training exercise in Greece.)

The US State Department has lashed out at Erdogan for his meeting with Hamas leaders. But within hours, Ankara hit back. In a furious rejoinder, the Turkish Foreign Ministry rebuked Washington for questioning the legitimacy of Hamas, “which has come to power in Gaza through democratic elections and which constitutes an important reality of the region.”

Alluding to the US policies, the Turkish statement went on to say, “Moreover, a country which openly supports the PKK, that features on their list of terrorist organisations and hosts the ringleader of the FETO (group led by Islamist preacher Fetullah Gulen) has no right whatsoever to say anything to third countries on this subject.”

Lamenting that the US “has isolated itself from the realities of our region,” the Turkish statement urged the US to change course and “sincerely work towards the resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict on the basis of international law, justice and equity by pursuing balanced policies, instead of using its power and influence in the region to serve the interests of Israel rather exclusively.”

To be sure, Erdogan has a game plan in defiantly flaunting his relationship with Hamas at this juncture. In the Turkish reckoning, the UAE-Israel agreement, with US backing, aims to create new facts on the ground in the Middle East, which takes the form of unimpeded telecoms, travel and recognition between Israel and its richest Gulf neighbours, but completely bypassing the Palestinian problem and blithely assuming that it is a matter of time before the Palestinian leadership would wave the white flag of surrender.

On the contrary, Turkey shares the assessment of most independent regional observers (and perceptive western analysts) that the Palestinians who have held out for seven decades are in no mood to surrender abandoning their political rights. Indeed, the Palestinian popular resistance is showing no signs of fatigue. The Palestinian leaders have used very strong language to condemn the UAE regime. The wave of anger is fuelled by a deep sense of betrayal by prince Mohammed bin Zayed.

This anger is prompting Fatah and Hamas, who have been bitter rivals since the 2007 civil war in Gaza, to close ranks and discuss the need for joint political action. Mahmud Abbas who was unwilling to accept any partners in the governance of Palestine is today open to working with Hamas. Last week, Jibril Rajoub, general secretary of Fatah, shared a platform with Saleh Arouri, deputy head of Hamas, signalling that the rapprochement is gaining momentum.

If the Emirati calculation was to promote exiled Palestinian leader Mohammed Dahlan (who lives in Abu Dhabi) as the next Palestinian President in a near future with the backing of Arab states and Israel, that project has crash-landed. Dahlan can no longer exploit the rivalry between Fatah and Hamas. The effigies of Dahlan and Emirati crown prince bin Zayed were burned side by side in Ramallah last week.

Turkey senses a potential breakthrough in regional politics insofar as the Arab population at large shares the anger and resentment of the Palestinian people at the betrayal by bin Zayed. According to the Arab Opinion Index conducted by the Arab Center for Research and Policy Studies in Doha, if 84 percent of Arab opinion had opposed any diplomatic recognition of Israel in 2011, that has since increased to 87 percent by 2018.

In this turbulent regional milieu, Erdogan hopes to bring about a fusion between the Arab world’s sympathy and support for the demands of the Palestinians for sovereignty and their own search for democracy and liberation from their autocratic rulers. This has been his dream project all along — creation of a New Middle East that gets rid of the medieval oligarchies and replaces them with representative rule based on democratic principles and empowerment of the people.

In the downstream of the Emirati ruler’s deal with Israel, Erdogan strides like a Colossus on the Arab street and his meeting with the leadership of Hamas in Istanbul proclaims a common struggle against the despots and oligarchs who suppress democracy and have exercised cruel tyranny over their people across the region. In Erdogan’s calculus, bin Zayed’s contempt for Arab democracy and Netanyahu’s trampling of Palestinian rights are two sides of the same coin.

Erdogan visualises that the UAE-Israel agreement is built on sand and it is bound to crumble under the weight of the latent contradictions that are bound to surge in the wake of the expected decline in the US’ regional influence and prestige and amidst the birth pangs of the new-post-oil economy in the regional states.

Has Israel bitten off more than it could chew? David Hearst, editor-in-chief of the Middle East Eye wrote last week, “Whereas before, Israeli leaders could pretend to be bystanders to the turmoil of dictatorship in the Arab world, this (accord with UAE) now ties the Jewish state to maintaining the autocracy and repression around it. They cannot pretend to be the victims of a “tough neighbourhood”. They are its main pillar. This accord is virtual reality. It will be blown away by a new popular revolt not just in Palestine but across the Arab world. This revolt may already have started.”

August 26, 2020 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , , | Leave a comment

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.


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July 16, 2020 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, False Flag Terrorism, 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