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Israeli Forces Destroy Irrigation Ponds in Jordan Valley

Palestine Chronicle | August 6, 2020

Israeli occupation forces today destroyed irrigation ponds in the al-Jiftlik village, located near Jericho in the Jordan Valley, said a local municipal source.

Mayor of al-Jiftlik, Ahmad Abu Ghanem, said the Israeli occupation destroyed three ponds that were used to irrigate 70 dunums of village land, filling them with debris to discontinue their use.

Yesterday, Israeli forces uprooted and seized some 100 palm trees in the village.

Israel has severely restricted Palestinian access to water in the area, particularly the 23 underground wells used for agriculture. Local water springs are susceptible to dryness and depletion as a result of Israel’s control over water.

The Israeli water company, Mekorot, has depleted the wells and has been granted a monopoly on the drilling, restoration, distribution and selling of Palestinian water. In contrast, Palestinians have been forbidden from constructing new wells or restoring existing ones.

August 6, 2020 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , | 1 Comment

Something Rotten at The Heart of UK Government

The smell of pro-Israel bias in the Foreign Office is overpowering

By Stuart Littlewood | American Herald Tribune | August 6, 2020

As George Washington put it,“a passionate attachment of one nation for another produces a variety of evils”. He warned that sympathy for the favourite nation encourages the illusion of common interest where none really exists, risks participation in its quarrels and wars, and involves“concessions to the favourite nation of privileges denied to others which is apt doubly to injure the nation making the concessions by unnecessarily parting with what ought to have been retained… And it gives to ambitious, corrupted, or deluded citizens (who devote themselves to the favourite nation) facility to betray or sacrifice the interests of their own country.”

So a month ago I asked my MP Alister Jack: “If Netanyahu proceeds with his sickening annexation what will you say in Cabinet, please, about the need for real consequences such as sanctions? And will you speak up to ensure UK trade deals with Israel do not facilitate its territorial expansionism?”

It was a reasonable question which he has chosen to ignore. Jack is Secretary of State for Scotland in the UK Government and would be wise to have no ‘passionate attachments’ to foreign powers.  Netanyahu didn’t carry out his threatened land grab on 1 July but might yet do so. Jack’s silence is therefore unacceptable and I’d like to know whether the person who represents me in Parliament aligns himself with the Israeli regime’s evil intent.

Meanwhile, a pro-Palestinian activist, exasperated by the UK Foreign Office constantly repeating the same old mantra excusing its inaction over Israel’s illegal and brutal occupation of Palestine, has received the same old half-baked reply but with a warning that they will not be corresponding with her again. The FO’s letter followed the familiar let’s-duck-the-issue formula.

  • In line with international law, and relevant Security Council resolutions, notably Resolutions 242 and 497, we do not recognize Israel’s sovereignty over the territories occupied by Israel since June 1967, including the Golan Heights, and we do not consider them part of the territory of the State of Israel.

Okay. But when is Britain, a key player in the founding of the United Nations and with a permanent seat on the Security Council, going to do something about it?

  • The two-state solution is the only viable long-term solution. It is the only way to permanently end the Arab-Israeli conflict, preserve Israel’s Jewish and democratic identity and realise Palestinian national aspirations.

The “only way”? Israel’s “democratic identity”, when it’s a deeply unpleasant ethnocracy? Why does Britain persist with these fantasies?

  • We are firmly opposed to sanctions. We believe that imposing sanctions or boycotts on Israel or supporting anti-Israeli boycotts would not support our efforts to progress the peace process and achieve a negotiated solution.

But you’ll cheerfully slap Iran, for example, with sanctions for no good reason…. except to please Israel and its bitch, the US, which is what all this is really about. Civil society has resorted to BDS (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions) in the absence of any real diplomatic pressure from the so-called ‘great powers’. It’s the only non-violent language Israel understands. And it’s beginning to work. Get behind it.

We’re told that Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab spent the summer of 1998 working for one of the PLO’s chief negotiators on the Oslo peace accords, a doomed initiative begun in 1993 to create a form of interim governance and framework for a final treaty by the end of 1998. So Mr. Raab was there at a time when the two sides had been faffing about in the name of peace for 5 years and getting nowhere.

In October of 1998 the US, desperate to keep the charade going, held a summit at Maryland’s Wye River Plantation at which Clinton with Yasser Arafat, Benjamin Netanyahu, and senior negotiators produced the Wye River Memorandum. Not that this did much good either. But Raab must have learned a lot about Israeli perversity, not to mention America’s shortcomings as an honest broker.

Before entering Parliament Raab joined the Foreign Office and worked at The Hague bringing war criminals to justice, then became an adviser on the Arab-Israeli conflict. As reported in Jewish News:

he welcomed Trump’s so-called peace plan saying: “Only the leaders of Israel and the Palestinian territories can determine whether these proposals can meet the needs and aspirations of the people they represent. We encourage them to give these plans genuine and fair consideration, and explore whether they might prove a first step on the road back to negotiations.” But it’s debatable whether the leaders on either side represent anyone but themselves and their own warped interests.

Raab’s boss Boris Johnson said of it: “It is a two-state solution. It would ensure that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel and of the Palestinian people….”  But the Trump Plan relegates the Palestinian capital to the outskirts of East Jerusalem keeping the rest of Jerusalem, including the sublime and ancient walled city (which is officially Palestinian territory), under Israeli control. That is perhaps the cruellest part of the Trump/Netanyahu swindle.

Because Jerusalem/Al-Quds is immensely holy to all three Abrahamic faiths, the UN proposed that it should be a corpus separatum – an internationally-governed open access city free from Israeli or Palestinian control. What could be more sensible than that?

In the Global Britain debate on 3 February Raab boasted that Britain will be an even stronger force for good in the world. “Our guiding lights will remain the values of democracy, human rights and the international rule of law”. Whereupon Alistair Carmichael (LibDem) asked: “If the concept of a global Britain is to have any meaning and value, surely it must have respect for human rights and international rules-based order at its heart. With that in mind, will the Foreign Secretary reconsider the unqualified support he gave to President Trump last week in respect of the so-called peace plan for Palestine? Will the right hon. Gentleman repudiate the proposed annexation of the West Bank and at long last support the recognition of a Palestinian state?”

Raab replied:

“The one thing that the plan put forward by the US included was a recognition of and commitment to a two-state solution. We have been absolutely clear that that is the only way in which the conflict can be resolved…. Rather than just rejecting the plan, it is important that we try to bring the parties together around the negotiating table. That is the only path to peace and to a two-state solution.”

Then Foreign Office minister Lord Ahmad, in a debate on the Israel-Palestine conflict in March, said: “The UK Government have made it clear that, before taking part in any peaceful negotiations on the two-state solution, any party at the negotiating table needs to agree the right of Israel to exist.” But what about Palestine’s right to exist? Lord Ahmad must know that he’s talking about the fate of his Muslim brothers and sisters, not to mention the Christian communities there. On the basis of what he says, wouldn’t the UK Government’s continuing refusal to recognise a Palestinian state bar us from the peace process?

Evil Intent

Raab, by now, ought to be extremely skeptical of any two-state solution given the many irreversible facts on the ground that Israel has been allowed to create with impunity. And he would know better than most how many times the sides have come to the table for lopsided ‘negotiations’ and how the Israelis never honour the agreements they make.

And what would a two state solution look like? Yeah, too messy to describe. So why keep pushing it as the only answer? Netanyahu has said repeatedly that there will be no Palestinian state during his tenure as Israel’s prime minister. Furthermore there’s no prospect of Israel willingly giving up the Palestinian territory it illegally occupied and effectively annexed in 1967 and which must be returned if Palestinians are ever to enjoy their universal right to freedom and independence. Netanyahu has declared: “We will not withdraw from one inch…. There will be no more uprooting of settlements in the land of Israel…. This is the inheritance of our ancestors. This is our land…. We are here to stay forever.” Read his lips.

The question is: what ancestral links do he and his partners-in-crime have to the biblical land of Israel? Zionist leaders before Netanyahu broadcast their fraudulent claims to the land and bragged about their evil plan to seize it. It has been well advertised and, to a large extent, already implemented. Even if Netanyahu wanted a two-state solution he would be opposed by his own party and the others making up his ruling coalition, virtually all of which stand against Palestinians having a state of their own.

Those paying attention have known that the idea of a two-state solution by negotiation has been dead for 20 years and the only purpose in still talking about it is to perpetuate the status quo and buy time for Israel to complete its creeping annexation.

The British Government’s pledge to Lord Rothschild and the Zionist Federation on 2 November 1917, signed by Lord Balfour, was simply this:

“His Majesty’s Government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.”

A national home, not a state. And no harm to the rights of non-Jews. Britain’s failure to uphold that bit leaves a disgusting stain of cowardice and corruption on the UK.

The fate of Israel/Palestine is not a matter for meddlesome nations with vested interests seeking to override UN resolutions and re-shape the Middle East to suit themselves.  It is for the International Court of Justice to decide on the basis of international law. But we never hear about law and justice from the UK Government, or the US administration, in relation to the Holy Land. Why is that, Mr Raab? Don’t we believe in it any more? Or are we too stupid to respect it, too morally bankrupt to pursue it, too yellow to enforce it? When will the penny finally drop that you can’t have lasting peace without justice?

Talk is cheap when you have no intention of following up with action. It has become a sacred tradition to post pro-Israel stooges to key positions in the UK administration, especially the Foreign Office, to prevent any rocking of the boat. Raab’s predecessors suffered the same paralysis. Alistair Burt, a product of the Israel lobby, was not about to transform himself into a man of action for peace. He’d been an officer of the Conservative Friends of Israel. The then prime minister, David “I’m-a-Zionist” Cameron, proclaimed: “In me you have a Prime Minister whose belief in Israel is indestructible.” What a disgraceful pledge for the prime minister of a mainly Christian country to make to a lawless, racist entity that respects nobody’s human rights Christian or Muslim, continually defies international law and shoots children for amusement (see ‘The methodical shooting of boys at work in Gaza by snipers of the Israeli Occupation Force’ by surgeon David Halpin and reports on the use of dum-dum and other soft-nose or ‘exploding’ rounds by Israeli snipers). But Cameron is not the only one to have done so. It has become a regular appeasement ritual.

Should we recognise Palestine or un-recognise Israel?

The Conservatives, then as now, chose to spew their infatuation with the Israeli regime all over the British nation and the Arab world. In a speech to the Board of Jewish Deputies, Burt recalled how he had worked from the age of fifteen for an MP who was a president of the Board and a founder of the Conservative Friends of Israel, and how this “had a lasting effect upon me, and on my interests in Parliament…. Israel is an important strategic partner and friend for the UK and we share a number of important shared objectives across a broad range of policy areas.”

Can anyone think of a single objective they’d wish to share with those people? Many of us are tired of being told by the Government and senior politicians that “the UK is a close friend of Israel”.We don’t believe Israel has a friend in the world outside the Westminster and Washington bubbles and the US Bible Belt.

And Burt’s stance on Palestinian independence was always puzzling. I remember him saying that we would not recognise a Palestinian state unless it emerged from a peace deal with Israel. London “could not recognise a state that does not have a capital, and doesn’t have borders.” He’d been talking earlier about a Palestinian state based on 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital, which is understood to be the legal position. Even Hamas agrees to that. So why had Burt suddenly lost the plot? And where did he suppose Israel’s borders are? Where the UN drew them in the 1947 Partition Plan? Has Israel ever declared its borders? Is Israel ever within them? Is Israel where Israel ought to be? If not, how could he or Mr Raab or anyone else in the Government possibly recognise Israel let alone align themselves with it? And where did Burt suppose the offshore borders of Palestine, Lebanon and Israel ran in relation to the huge reserves of marine gas and oil in the Levantine Basin? Israel is intent on stealing the lot. The question for many years has been: will Gaza ever get a whiff of its own gas?

“We are looking forward to recognising a Palestinian state at the end of the negotiations on settlements….” But Israel’s illegal squats, or ‘settlements’, are classed as war crimes. Since when did Her Majesty’s Government approve of negotiating with the perpetrators of such crimes? Besides, the Holy Land’s status was ruled upon long ago. International law has spoken. But instead of enforcing the law and upholding justice Mr Burt and his Government still pushed for more lopsided talks. Like Raab is doing today.

The “passionate attachment” that’s utterly inappropriate

The danger of inappropriate ‘friendships’ with foreign regimes became blazingly obvious in December 2009 when three of Israel’s vilest – Ehud Barak, Tzipi Livni and retired general Doron Almog – cancelled engagements in London for fear of ‘having their collar felt’.

They complained bitterly to David Miliband, the Foreign Secretary at the time, who promised that UK laws on ‘universal jurisdiction’ would be changed and asked Prime Minister Gordon Brown and Justice Minister Jack Straw for urgent action. A general election intervened and ousted Miliband from the Foreign Office, but the grovelling promise was eagerly taken up by his replacement, William Hague, another fanatical ‘friend of Israel’. Hague declared that a situation where foreign politicians like Mrs Livni could be threatened with arrest in the UK was “completely unacceptable…. We will put it right through legislation…. and I phoned Mrs Livni amongst others to tell her about that and received a very warm welcome for our proposals.”

Oh bravo, Mr Hague! Never mind that the arrest warrants in question were issued to answer well-founded criminal charges. Never mind that all States that are party to the Geneva Conventions are under a binding obligation to seek out those suspected of having committed grave breaches of the Conventions and bring them, regardless of nationality, to justice. And never mind that there must be no hiding place for those suspected of crimes against humanity and war crimes. The UK Government didn’t give a toss about such piffling principles. And still doesn’t.

Private arrest warrants were necessary because the Government itself was in the habit of shirking its duty under the Fourth 1949 Geneva Convention and deliberately dithering until the birds had flown. Bringing a private prosecution for a criminal offence, said Lord Wilberforce, is “a valuable constitutional safeguard against inertia or partiality on the part of the authority”. Lord Diplock, another respected Lord of Appeal, called it “a useful safeguard against capricious, corrupt or biased failure or refusal of those authorities to prosecute offenders against the criminal law”. And the beauty of the private warrant was that it could be issued speedily.

The Foreign Office’s move to scupper this was even more deplorable when you consider that Tzipi Livni was largely responsible for the terror that brought death and destruction to Gaza’s civilians during the blitzkrieg known as Operation Cast Lead. Showing no remorse, and with the blood of 1,400 dead Gazans (including 320 children and 109 women) on her hands and thousands more horribly maimed, Livni’s office issued a statement saying she was proud of it. Speaking later at a conference at Tel Aviv’s Institute for Security Studies, she said: “I would today take the same decisions.”

Nevertheless the British government of the day was happy to undermine our justice system in order to make the UK a safe haven for the likes of her.

By 2015, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu felt untouchable enough to say that if he was returned to power, a Palestinian state would not be established because handing back territory would threaten Israel’s security.

And in August 2017 he announced that Israel would keep the West Bank permanently and there would be no more uprooting of squatter ‘settlements’: “We are here to stay forever…. This is the inheritance of our ancestors. This is our land.”

Saying it again and again doesn’t make it so. The true inheritors are the Palestinian peoples who have been there since the days when Jerusalem was a Canaanite city.

August 6, 2020 Posted by | Corruption, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , | Leave a comment

Iran’s Judiciary head urges international action against US sanctions on Lebanon after massive blast

Press TV – August 5, 2020

Iran’s Judiciary Chief Ebrahim Raeisi has called on the international community to take action to help lift US sanctions against Lebanon to prevent a humanitarian catastrophe in the wake of a recent massive explosion that ravaged the country’s capital Beirut.

The Iranian official on Wednesday offered his condolences to the Lebanese government and nation over the tragic explosion in Beirut, and said the damage to an important part of Beirut’s economic infrastructure and its consequences have doubled the tragedy for the people of the country.

The necessary action today, while maintaining national coherence and vigilance against acts by enemies of the Lebanese nation and government aimed at invoking sedition and division, is to immediately address the basic needs of the Lebanese people, whose supply has been disrupted as a result of this incident, Raeisi added.

He said this painful incident took place at a time when the wounds caused by the Israeli occupation and its repeated acts of aggression against the Lebanese people have not yet healed, coupled with Washington’s brutal sanctions against Beirut.

“Considering the cruel and inhumane sanctions imposed by the criminal US regime against the Lebanese people in recent months, which constitute a serious obstacle to addressing the essential needs of the Lebanese people, efforts to immediately lift these sanctions in order to prevent a humanitarian catastrophe must be on the agenda of the governments having friendly ties with Lebanon as well as the international community,” the Iranian Judiciary chief noted.

He added that the Iranian Judiciary’s High Council for Human Rights will put on the agenda taking legal action to remove these pressures and defend the rights of the Lebanese people.

Hundreds of individuals and entities have been sanctioned by the US in Lebanon, with the list focusing mainly on those with ties to the Hezbollah resistance movement. The list, however, includes a wide range of targets, from pharmaceutical companies, religious organizations and community outreach groups to banks and trading importer/exporters.

Observers say that the US sanctions on Lebanon have deteriorated the already struggling economy of the Arab country.

Rouhani tasks Iranian Red Crescent Society with sending aid to Lebanon

President Hassan Rouhani on Wednesday tasked the Iranian Red Crescent Society with sending humanitarian aid to Lebanon.

In remarks at a Wednesday cabinet meeting, Rouhani assigned the Iranian Red Crescent Society to immediately send humanitarian aid to Lebanon, including medical and health supplies.

Zarif: Iran sending field hospital to Lebanon to assist with disaster relief

Separately, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said in a tweet on Wednesday that Iran was sending a field hospital and medicines to Lebanon to contribute to relief operations.

“Reiterated #Iran‘s strong and steadfast solidarity with people of Lebanon in call with FM Wehbeh,” read part of the tweet, adding, ” Iran is sending field hospital & medicine to assist with disaster relief.” ” Iran stands with Lebanon,” it concluded.

Iran’s top cmdrscmdr., and defense minister sympathize with Lebanese

Separately, the chief commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC), Major General Hossein Salami, Chairman of the Chiefs of Staff of Iranian Armed Forces Major General Mohammad Baqeri and Army Commander Major General Abdolrahim Mousavi also commiserated with the Lebanese nation, government and army as well as Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah on the tragic incident and expressed readiness to render assistance to the nation.

Also, Iranian Defense Minister Brigadier General Amir Hatami, in a phone conversation with his Lebanese counterpart, voiced Tehran’s readiness to send medical equipment and staff to Beirut.

Tehran to turn off Milad Tower lights in solidarity with Beirut

Following the tragic explosion in Beirut and the death of dozens of citizens of this city, the lights of Milad Tower, the sixth tallest tower in the world, will be turned off tonight at 9 p.m local time (0430 GMT) on Wednesday, August 6, as a sign of sympathy of the Iranian people with the Lebanese people.

The blast that rocked the Lebanese capital has so far killed at least 100 people and injured more than 4,000 others.

President Michel Aoun said the blast was caused by 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate stored unsafely in a warehouse.

Lebanon has announced three days of mourning.

August 5, 2020 Posted by | Economics, Wars for Israel | , , , | Leave a comment

End Canada Israel Free Trade Agreement

By Yves Engler · August 4, 2020

On Sunday a demonstration is planned in Montréal against the Canada Israel Free Trade Agreement (CIFTA). Under the banner “Against Israel’s annexation of the Jordan Valley. No to the Canada Israel Free Trade Agreement!”, the march is seeking to politicize CIFTA amidst Israel’s plan to formally annex parts of the West Bank.

The march follows an open letter released last month by over 100 Montréal artists and activists calling for the cancellation of CIFTA.

Signed in 1997, CIFTA was Canada’s fourth free trade agreement and first outside the Western hemisphere (US, NAFTA and Chile). In an implicit recognition of the occupation, the free trade agreement includes the West Bank as a place where Israel’s custom laws are applied. Canada’s trade agreement is based on the areas Israel maintains territorial control over, not on internationally recognized borders. The European Union’s trade agreement with Israel, on the other hand, explicitly excludes products from territory Israel captured in the 1967 war and occupies against international law.

The Liberals “modernized” Canada’s FTA with Israel. International trade minister Jim Carr boasted the new accord “strengthens bilateral ties between Canada and Israel.” Liberal MPs on Parliament’s Standing Committee on International Trade rejected an NDP amendment to the trade accord’s legislation stipulating its implementation “shall be based on respect for human rights and international law.” They also rejected an NDP amendment to the deal that would have required distinct labels on products originating from “Palestinian territory that has been illegally occupied since 1967.”

In July 2019 Palestine Liberation Organization Executive Committee member Hanan Ashrawi wrote, “the Palestinian leadership calls on the Canadian government to act in accordance with Canadian and international laws and amend, without delay, the Canada-Israel Free Trade Agreement Implementation Act (Bill C-85), which affords products originating from illegal Israeli settlements tariff free status, in flagrant violation of Canada’s obligations under international law, including the Fourth Geneva Convention, and United Nations Security Council resolutions, including resolution 2334 (2016).”

In July 2017 the federal government said its FTA with Israel trumped Canada’s Food and Drugs Act after the Canadian Food Inspection Agency called for accurate labelling of wines produced in the occupied West Bank. After David Kattenburg repeatedly complained about inaccurate labels on two wines sold in Ontario, the CFIA notified the Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO) that it “would not be acceptable and would be considered misleading” to declare wines produced in the Occupied Palestinian Territories as “products of Israel”. Quoting from longstanding official Canadian policy, CFIA noted that “the government of Canada does not recognize Israel’s sovereignty over the territories occupied in 1967.” In response to pressure from the Israeli embassy, Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs and B’nai Brith, the government announced that it was all a mistake made by a low level CFIA official and that the Canada-Israel FTA governed the labelling of such wine, not CFIA rules. “We did not fully consider the Canada-Israel Free Trade Agreement,” a terse CFIA statement explained. “These wines adhere to the Agreement and therefore we can confirm that the products in question can be sold as currently labeled.”

In other words, the government publicly proclaimed that the FTA trumps Canada’s consumer protections. But, this was little more than a pretext to avoid a conflict with B’nai B’rith, Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs and Israeli officials, according to Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives Trade and Investment Research Project director Scott Sinclair. “This trade-related rationale does not stand up to scrutiny,” Sinclair wrote. “The Canadian government, the CFIA and the LCBO are well within their legal and trade treaty rights to insist that products from the occupied territories be clearly labeled as such. There is nothing in the CIFTA that prevents this. The decision to reverse the CFIA’s ruling was political. The whole trade argument is a red herring, simply an excuse to provide cover for the CFIA to backtrack under pressure.”

If the Canadian government does indeed support a rules-based international order as Prime Minister Trudeau has proclaimed then the Canada Israel Free Trade Agreement should be scrapped.

August 4, 2020 Posted by | Economics, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation, War Crimes | , , , , | 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

Apartheid or one state: Has Jordan broken a political taboo?

By Ramzy Baroud | MEMO | August 4, 2020

What will it take for the idea of a two-state solution, which was hardly practical to begin with, to be completely abandoned?

Every realistic assessment of the situation on the ground indicates, with palpable clarity, that there can never be a viable Palestinian state in parts of the West Bank and Gaza.

Politically, the idea is also untenable. Those who are still marketing the ‘two-state solution’, less enthusiastically now as compared with the euphoria of twenty years ago, are paralyzed in the face of the Israeli-American onslaught on any attempt at making ‘Palestine’ a tangible reality.

The Palestinian Authority of Mahmoud Abbas is still busy compiling more symbolic recognitions of a state that, at best, exists in the dusty files of the United Nations. Arabs and Europeans, too, still speak of a two-state, rhetoric that is never followed with practical steps that may enforce international law and hold Israel accountable to it.

The fate of Palestine seems to be entirely dependent on the aggressive and violent actions of Israel alone – not only through the policies of Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, but all previous Israeli governments.

This trajectory of aggression and violence is likely to continue for as long as Israel is held hostage to the ideology of Zionism which remains committed to territorial, colonial expansion and the ethnic cleansing of the indigenous population.

These two factors – colonialism and ethnic cleansing – can never coexist with the principles of justice and peace. For Zionism to remain relevant, Israel and Palestine must remain in the throes of a protracted, interminable war.

Therefore, it was encouraging to read comments made by Jordanian Prime Minister, Omar Razzaz, in an interview with the British Guardian newspaper on July 21.

“You close the door to the two-state solution, I could very well look at this positively, if we’re clearly opening the door to a one-state democratic solution,” Razzaz said.

Razzaz was referring specifically in the context of Netanyahu’s decision to annex nearly a third of the West Bank and the Jordan Valley. The senior Jordanian official referred to Israel’s annexation policies as the “ushering in (of) a new apartheid state.”

An apartheid state was, practically, ushered in a long time ago. Israel’s so-called Nation-State Law of 2018 merely confirmed an existing reality.

Protest poster in London against Israel's Nation State Law [Apaimages]

Protest poster in London against Israel’s Nation State Law [Apaimages]

The Law left no doubt regarding Israel’s exclusionist ‘Jewish identity’, formulated at the expense of the Palestinian people, their historic rights in Palestine and the internationally-enshrined Right of Return for Palestinian refugees.

On July 29, the Israeli Knesset (parliament) callously rejected a draft amendment to make the unmistakably racist Nation-State Law slightly less racist. The amendment had called for the inclusion of a clause that guarantees equality for all of Israel’s citizens, regardless of race, religion or ethnicity.

In its current form, Israel represents the very essence of apartheid.

Razzaz knows this, as do many politicians and leaders throughout the Middle East, in Europe and across the world. Unlike his counterparts elsewhere, however, the Jordanian Prime Minister had the courage to imagine a future in Palestine and Israel that is not inundated by empty clichés of ‘solutions’ that were never fair, to begin with.

Razzaz’s positive and upbeat tone of words is notable.

“I challenge anybody from Israel to say yes, let’s end the two-state solution, it’s not viable,” he said. “But let’s work together on a one-state democratic solution. That, I think, we will look at very favorably. But closing one and wishful thinking about the other is just self-deception.”

Other Arab officials, prior to Razzaz, alluded to the one-state possibility, but largely in a negative context. Palestinian Authority officials, in particular, have waved this card before, often threatening Israel that, if illegal settlement expansion was not frozen, for example, Palestinians would have no alternative but to demand a one state.

What Razzaz is saying is quite different, if not radical, as Jordan, which signed a peace agreement with Israel in 1994, has remained the most visible Arab advocate for the two-state solution for many years. Razzaz’s words bring that ‘self-deception’ to an end.

Of course, political necessity will compel Jordan, and others, to continue to pay lip service to a political ‘solution’ that will, unlikely, ever materialize. Israelis and Palestinians are now conjoined in such a way that physical separation between Palestinian Arabs and Israeli Jews is impossible. Additionally, speaking of a two-state solution while Israel is cementing a one apartheid state reality is a waste of precious time that should be used to foster equality, accountability and a just peace.

Ordinary Palestinians, too are beginning to realize the futility of the two-state paradigm. According to a February poll conducted by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research, 61% of all Palestinians no longer believe that ‘a two-state solution’ is viable. The same poll suggests that 37% support the idea of a single state solution. Judging by previous poll numbers, it seems that, before long, the majority of Palestinians will embrace the latter as the most rational and achievable objective.

It will take time because the establishment of an independent Palestinian state has been the only rallying cry by the Palestinian leadership for nearly three decades.

However, even prior to the 1960s, the Palestinian national movement adopted a political strategy that was predicated on the establishment of a one democratic state for Christians, Muslims and Jews. Alas, political expediency impelled late Palestinian leader, Yasser Arafat and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) to shift tactics, settling for a Palestinian state that would, in theory, be incrementally established in disconnected parts of the occupied territories – Gaza, Jericho, Area A, B, and so on.

Even the latter idea, which was most unfair to Palestinians, was still rejected by Israel, and Netanyahu’s latest annexation scheme is proving to be the final nail of the two-state coffin.

Since the two-state solution is no longer workable, Palestine and Israel are now left with one of two options: a protracted, racist and violent apartheid or coexistence in a modern, democratic, and secular state, for all of its people.

The democratic and sustainable choice should be obvious, even to politicians.

August 4, 2020 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular | , , | Leave a comment

Austrians protest government cooperation with Israel in cyber drills

By Homa Lezgee | Press TV | August 4, 2020

Vienna – Protesters in Vienna are demanding an immediate end to Austria’s military cooperation with the Israeli regime.

The slogan of protesters gathered outside the American embassy in Vienna is “No to Austrian subordination to US/Israeli interests.”

They say the Austrian government’s decision to involve its intelligence forces in cyber maneuvers with Israel is meant to serve the interests of the US and Israel despite concerns it could lead to mass surveillance of the Austrian population.

Not much is known about the maneuvers, reportedly involving the Israeli military, the German Armed Forces, and units from Austria and Switzerland, during which cyber attacks would be simulated and countered.

Protesters also condemned the Austrian government for refusing to vote against Israel’s recent illegal annexation plans.

Pro-Palestinian groups in Austria, such as the Palestine Solidarity Platform, and the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement (BDS) have been facing increasing government restrictions amid allegations of promoting anti-Semitism, an accusation they say is being used to misrepresent their goal of opposing Israeli occupation and aggression.

August 4, 2020 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Deception, Militarism | , , , , , | 1 Comment

PLO: “Israel is Implementing its Annexation Scheme on the Ground Without any Deterrence.”

By Ali Salam | IMEMC | August 3, 2020

European diplomats signed a letter denouncing Israel’s plans to begin construction on the E1 project in occupied East Jerusalem, the Palestinian WAFA News Agency reported.

Executive Member of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) pressured EU officials to act on its words, and force Israel to abandon its plans.

A European Union (EU) representative, with 15 ambassadors, recently submitted a letter in opposition to the Israeli Foreign Ministry, regarding its intention to start building in E1 area, east of occupied Jerusalem.

“We welcome the protest letter… however, we believe that the EU, as well as the governments of these 15 states (including Germany, France, Italy, and Spain) should… deter Israel from persisting on the path of illegality, impunity, and de facto annexation.” Dr. Hanan Ashrawi said.

“While the international community is concerned with the ‘possibility’ of annexation, Israel is implementing its scheme on the ground without any deterrence,” she continued, “This includes the siege and ethnic cleansing of Silwan, Al-‘Isawiya, and Wadi Al-Joz (Palestinian neighborhoods in East Jerusalem) by way of home demolitions and systemic violence.”

Dr. Ashrawi pressed that states “must not allow Israel to persist in this cynical ruse. The principle of accountability is undermined and rendered irrelevant when international actors insist on giving Israel a free pass on egregious violations of Palestinian rights and international law.”

August 3, 2020 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Progressive Hypocrite | , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Jewish fanatics attack Palestinian family in al-Khalil city

Israeli soldiers arrest members of the victimized family

Palestine Information Center – August 2, 2020

AL-KHALIL – A horde of extremist Jewish settlers on Saturday evening assaulted, under military protection, the family of Palestinian activist Imad Abu Shamshiya in Tel Rumeida neighborhood in al-Khalil city, south of the West Bank.

According to local sources, a group of settlers attacked the house of anti-settlement activist Abu Shamshiya before Israeli soldiers intervened in favor of the settlers and rounded up his wife, his daughter Arwa and his son Awni.

The house of Abu Shamshiya is located near the illegal settlement of Ramat Yeshai, which was built on annexed land near an Israeli military checkpoint.

The house and family of Abu Shamsiya had been exposed to attacks by settlers and soldiers several times before in an attempt to force them to leave the area.

August 2, 2020 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , | 3 Comments

Occupation forces obstruct pipe-construction works near Tubas

Palestinian Media Center | August 2, 2020

Israeli occupation forces obstructed works for the construction of a water pipe Saturday in the village of Atouf, near the town of Tubas in the northeast of the occupied West Bank, according to local sources.

Mayor of the village, Abdullah Besharat, told WAFA that the Israeli occupation army ordered the driver of a bulldozer working on the site to briefly stop the works.

He added that the project aims at providing potable water to dozens of livestock and cattle breeders in Atouf and neighboring villages.

August 2, 2020 Posted by | Economics, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , | 3 Comments

US cannot disarm Lebanon’s Hezbollah through sanctions: Russian ambassador to Beirut

Press TV – August 1, 2020

The Russian ambassador to Beirut says US officials are under the illusion that they can disarm the Lebanese Hezbollah resistance movement through sanctions.

“Disarming Hezbollah is the primary purpose of US sanctions… I do not think that such a goal would be achieved through this method. The United States will not manage to force Hezbollah into laying down its weapons. This is an illusion,” Zasypkin said in an exclusive interview with Beirut-based Arabic-language al-Mayadeen television news network on Friday.

In late October 2018, US President Donald Trump’s administration imposed a new round of sanctions on Hezbollah, targeting individuals and international organizations that do business with the group.

“Over the past year, we have levied the highest sanctions ever imposed on Hezbollah, in a single year, by far. Just a few moments ago, I signed legislation imposing even more hard-hitting sanctions on Hezbollah to further starve them of their funds. And they are starving for them,” Trump said during an event in Washington, DC, that marked the 35th anniversary of an attack on US marine barracks in the Lebanese capital of Beirut.

Zasypkin added, “We (Russia) have made efforts in Syria. This is not only beneficial to Syria, but also to Lebanon as it protects the country against the potential threat of terrorism. If terrorism prevails in Syria, it will be easy for thousands of terrorists to cross into Lebanon, and this would lead to the partitioning of the country.”

He noted that Iran plays a positive role in the Middle East region, condemning the recent harassment of an Iranian passenger plane flying from Tehran to Beirut by two US fighter jets over Syria.

“Americans are creating problems and violating international law. The goal is to create tensions and reestablish their presence, role and influence,” the Russian diplomat said.

He went on to say that the balance of power in Syria is changing. “Over the past four years, the balance of power had been in the interest of terrorists. The ensuing terrorism allowed outsiders, including the US-led coalition, to come into play.”

“I think Americans have numerous problems there (in Syria), but al-Tanf region is still under their control. They are clinging to the area in order to have influence. Their main goal is to sever ties between Iran and Syria,” Zasypkin pointed out.

He noted that Moscow honors the principle of non-interference in Syria’s domestic affairs, lauding “close relations” between Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Syrian counterpart Bashar al-Assad as well as military forces of the two countries.

Zasypkin said Russian and Syrian institutions are closely cooperating with each other in various fields, including combat against terrorism, maintenance, reconstruction and humanitarian activities.

Elsewhere in his remarks, the Russian ambassador pointed to the recent rafts of economic sanctions against Syria under the so-called Caesar Act.

“The United States has used the leverage of sanctions for decades against Russia, Venezuela, Cuba and Iran. The essence of the idea has been to starve people in those countries in a way that they would ultimately turn against their own ruling systems. The scheme is now being applied to all countries,” Zasypkin highlighted.

He added, “Caesar Act is broad and comprehensive, and affects other parties since Syria has been under sanctions for a long time. Foreign companies are now targeted by the ruling. It is a preemptive battle against the possibility of restoration of ties between Syria and Western or Arab parties.”

August 1, 2020 Posted by | Subjugation - Torture, War Crimes, Wars for Israel | , , , , , , | 16 Comments

Lebanon-Israel border fire: Scandal or victory for Tel Aviv?

Photo: Fear of Hezbollah Pushes Israeli Artillery to Bombard Israeli Military Site
Middle East Observer | July 31, 2020

Description:

Senior Lebanese political analyst Anees Naqqash provides his analysis of the recent flareup on the Lebanese-Israeli border, an incident which is becoming the subject of many questions, theories and debates.

In this interview on Al-Manar TV, Naqqash says something ‘very strange and major’ occurred in this incident, and perhaps the ambiguity will be removed in the future. However, the senior analyst, who is closely-tied to Hezbollah, affirmed that the events at the border were a ‘major scandal for the entire state of Israel’.

Here’s the necessary context:

For days Israeli forces had been on high alert on the Lebanese border after Tel Aviv understood that a Hezbollah reprisal attack was imminent after the Lebanese group announced that one of its cadres (namely Ali Kamil Mohsen) had been killed by an Israeli airstrike near Damascus International Airport.

On the 27th of July, 2020, a military incident occurred at the border between Lebanon and Israel. Much debate ensued regarding what actually occurred. As the apparent cross-border fire unfolded on that Monday afternoon at the Shebaa Farms border region, Israeli media reported the developing situation minute by minute, albeit with contradictory accounts. Meanwhile, Hezbollah remained silent, while Lebanese media outlets like Al Mayadeen TV largely relayed Israeli media’s breaking news reports.

The final account that Israeli media and officials generally settled on hours later was this: the Israeli army had thwarted a Hezbollah infiltration attempt into Israeli-controlled territory, and that the army remains alert for any future attempts to breach the border.

Thereafter, when the dust had settled, Hezbollah issued a statement denying Israeli media reports that a Hezbollah infiltration attempt was foiled, and asserted that all the fire that was opened was carried out unilaterally by the Israelis. Hezbollah unequivocally asserted that there were no ‘clashes’, nor exchange of cross-border fire, nor ‘martyrs’ that fell from its side, but rather ‘terrified and anxious’ Israeli forces ‘firing at each other’.

The Hezbollah statement also assured that the reprisal for Israel’s killing of Ali Kamil Mohsen, one of its cadres in Syria, is undoubtedly coming.

Source: Al-Manar TV

Date: July 27,2020

Transcript:

Host:

Mr. Anees, let us return to the point raised by Mr. Hijazi (Al-Manar journalist) regarding the (various) scenarios. What are the potential scenarios that led the enemy entity (Israel) to this situation today? Is it truly the case that the huge (Israeli) confusion and tension (in anticipation of the promised Hezbollah reprisal), this idea (invoked initially by Nasrallah, that the Israelis ought to wait for the reprisal by) “standing on a leg and a half” , also after Hezbollah’s (media) statement, which we’re going to mention after a while, and I don’t know how much they’ll last standing on a leg and a half moving forward… what are the scenarios that led to this scene? Or is it truly a trick (by Israeli officials) aimed at getting rid of the burden of (Hezbollah’s promised) reprisal through any way possible, by say fabricating a story or scenario to reach this end?


Naqqash:

This scenario, in which (the Israelis purposefully) commit an attack against their own selves in order to prevent Hezbollah from responding by drawing a statement from Hezbollah (in which the Lebanese group can claim) that “We have retaliated and carried out our reprisal”, this (possibility) is abit unlikely, unless of course (the Israelis) are that stupid, But whoever knows Hezbollah well, knows that they won’t engage in such a game.

There’s something that I don’t know how we will reach one day, but something (in what occurred today) looks like the Ansariya operation (of 1997, which occurred at the Lebanese coastal town of Ansariya). When the Ansariya operation took place, Robert Fisk, the famous correspondent from The Independent, came to me and said, “Anees, my estimation of this operation is that it is impossible for it to have occurred in the manner in which it did.” In what sense (did Fisk mean)? (He meant that) Hezbollah (during the Ansariya operation) was awaiting the Israeli special forces in order to trap them, and these (Israeli special) forces do not move into action except by the command of the (Israeli) Prime Minister and (Israeli army’s) Chief of Staff, so this means complete secrecy, a large part of the (Israeli army) does not know about the movements (of these special forces).

Fisk continued, “So, I believe that Hezbollah was awaiting (the arrival of these forces at Ansariya), and there’s no way (this ambush could have occurred) except by (Hezbollah) having penetrated the Israeli (Chief of) Staff Command.” (Fisk) wasn’t joking at all. He said “my estimation”, and you know Fisk’s (journalistic) experience, he has extensive experience in the (Middle East) region for over 30 years. I replied to Fisk’s claim and told him, “No, I don’t think it required (Hezbollah) to penetrate the (Israeli Chief of) Staff Command. There’s something major that happened, maybe one day it will be clarified.”

What was the major thing (that was revealed later)? That an (Israeli) spy drone had been capturing images of an area (in the Lebanese town of) Ansariya, (Hezbollah) operatives (had intercepted this drone) and were collecting these images, which allowed them in turn to uncover the enemy’s intended target (i.e. Hezbollah anticipated where the Israeli special forces were intending to land and strike). They uncovered the enemy’s intended target via the enemy’s eye (in the sky). Through the enemy’s eye they prepared for them an ambush.

I believe the day will come when the major fact (behind today’s events) is revealed, because what happened today was very strange. It wasn’t merely a confused Israeli soldier who was firing a M16 or PKM, or even a single tank firing at an invisible target. Rather, it consisted of extremely heavy shelling from several (Israeli) sources of fire, all of which were targeting an (Israeli) military base, and this lasted for several minutes. The information was delivered to the (Israeli) prime minister and he (immediately) issued threats and assessed the (magnitude of the) situation. Something major occurred at this (military) site. I think that the enemy today is extremely confused to the maximum level possible. What happened to its forces? Who gave the order to open fire? What (is the nature of the) penetration that took place? What camouflage (tactics) were used?

During war, armies carry out spy missions, deception operations, I give him fake targets (to shoot at), and perhaps behind these fake targets his own forces could be stationed. All this occurs. What happened today? No one can say exactly what happened, but one thing could be said, “It is a scandal for the Zionist enemy and its army and its (entire) state as a (political) entity, because it is not just the (Israeli) Northern (Army) Command which is involved in this scandal, as I said in the beginning, from the Prime Minister, to the ‘Minister of War’, to the (local commanders) on the ground, all are embroiled in this scandal.

Something major has happened today, which is forcing (the Israelis) to reconsider their calculations. Great powers today are looking at this (Israeli) entity today and saying: something major has happened. This is an entity that cannot be relied upon (to achieve any military advances). This reminds us of reports written by great powers after 2006 which said that this army cannot win any (future) war, because its performance in 2006 was one of the worst performances, (a war waged against) only two thousand fighters from Hezbollah. Today the situation is (even) totally different in terms of (Hezbollah’s) numbers, equipment and weapons, but this is another issue. Yet the confusion that took place today, the scenario that caused a total collapse of the (Israeli) media and intelligence (apparatus), of the Chief of Staff, of the Prime Minister, to the (actual) Israeli base on the ground that bombarded the other military base.

Recently I received information that large plumes of smoke were rising from some (Israeli) bases. My estimates were that the enemy was evacuating from these bases and did not want (Hezbollah) to know that it had evacuated. This base (that was bombarded by Israel) was part of the scenario. Did the enemy evacuate this base in order to create this scenario? This would indicate the level of disgrace of the Zionist enemy, as it imagines Hezbollah would feel satisfied with this scenario and claim that it carried out this operation. It’s as if (the Israelis) are convincing themselves that (Hezbollah) might do such a thing. And this is impossible (Hezbollah would never do it) . As you heard today (the Israelis) saying: “What annoys us more is that Hezbollah did has not issued a statement yet.” And when the situation became clear, Hezbollah issued that very clear statement, and by doing so, revealed the weakness of the enemy, as it revealed Hezbollah had no hands in the clashes, and that the Israelis were clashing with themselves. Today there is a great defeat for the enemy at all levels, and this must be further closely studied.

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July 31, 2020 Posted by | Deception, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , | 2 Comments