Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein was born April 28, 1937 and died December 30, 2006. He was the fifth President of Iraq, holding that position from July 16, 1979 until 9 April 2003. He was one of the leading members of the revolutionary Arab Socialist Ba’ath Party, and afterward, the Baghdad-based Ba’ath Party and its regional organization Ba’ath Party, Iraq Region, which advocated ba’athism, an ideological marriage of Arab nationalism with Arab socialism. (Patricia Ramos, july 2013)
"The national security of America and the security of the world could be attained if the American leaders [..] become rational, if America disengages itself from its evil alliance with Zionism, which has been scheming to exploit the world and plunge it in blood and darkness, by using America and some Western countries. What the American peoples need mostly is someone who tells them the truth, courageously and honestly as it is.
They don’t need fanfares and cheerleaders, if they want to take a lesson from the (sept. 11) event so as to reach a real awakening, in spite of the enormity of the event that hit America.
But the world, including the rulers of America, should say all this to the American peoples, so as to have the courage to tell the truth and act according to what is right and not what to is wrong and unjust, to undertake their responsibilities in fairness and justice, and by recourse to reason..."
Saddam Hussein, INA 15-9-2002
"The despot thinks he is just as God... What a nadir and mean fate!
The despot, as represented in this age, in our day, imagines he can enslave the people..
But they were born free. They were freed by God’s will through prophets and messengers, to be slaves only to Him and not to anyone of the people." Saddam Hussein, Iraq Daily 4-3-2003
A person with a God Complex may refuse to admit the possibility of their error or failure, even in the face of irrefutable evidence, intractable problems or difficult or impossible tasks.
The person is also highly dogmatic in their views, meaning the person speaks of their personal opinions as though they are unquestionably correct.
Someone with a god complex may exhibit no regard for the conventions and demands of society, and may request special consideration or privileges.
"...To be a human being among human beings, and remain one forever, no matter what misfortunes befall, not to become depressed, and not to falter - this is what life is, herein lies its task." Fyodor Dostoevsky (to his brother Mikhail, Dec. 22, 1849)
“All mankind is from Adam and Eve. An Arab has no superiority over a non-Arab nor a non-Arab has any superiority over an Arab; also a white has no superiority over black nor a black has any superiority over white except by piety and good action. Learn that every Muslim is a brother to every Muslim and that the Muslims constitute one brotherhood. Nothing shall be legitimate to a Muslim which belongs to a fellow Muslim unless it was given freely and willingly.
“Do not therefore do injustice to yourselves. Remember one day you will meet Allah and answer your deeds. So beware, do not astray from the path of righteousness after I am gone." Prophet Muhammad, Last Sermon
“Human beings are members of a whole,
In creation of one essence and soul.
If one member is afflicted with pain,
Other members uneasy will remain.
If you have no sympathy for human pain,
The name of human you can not retain.”
(Persian poet & humanist, born in Shiraz, Iran, c. 1210)
Israel needs to stop being an ideology and start being a nation. A nation of all of its citizens, all with equal national, civil and religious rights.
After 70 years, only partial justice and restoration is possible for the Palestinian people. Whatever constitutional arrangements are arrived at, equality should be the guiding principle at work.
As for Zionism let’s ditch it and move on. 'It’s time to place it in a glass cabinet and put it in a museum in a room marked: ‘Dead Ends & False Messiahs’.
There is no “Judaeo-Christian heritage.”
"The practices under which Jesus was raised in Galilee were anathema to Judaic orthodoxy. One might discern the seedbed of Christianity and the teachings of Jesus within “Galilee of the Gentiles” and why his teachings were regarded with outrage by the Pharisaic priesthood. One can also discern why there has been such a hatred of Christianity and Jesus in the rabbinical teachings of the Talmud and elsewhere.
The phenomenon of such an oddity as “Christian Zionism” is for Zionists and the Orthodox rabbinate (which should not be confounded with Reform Judaism) nothing more than the equivalent of a “shabbez goy,” a Gentile hired by Orthodox Jews to undertake menial tasks on the Sabbath. “Judaeo-Christianity” only exists in the minds of craven Gentiles who embrace delusional creeds, or who wish to further their careers by making the correct noises to the right people.
(Kerry R Bolton, Foreign Policy Journal, May 29, 2018)
"Holism is the most fundamental discovery of 20th century science. It is a discovery of every science from astrophysics to quantum physics to environmental science to psychology to anthropology.
It is the discovery that the entire universe is an integral whole, and that the basic organizational principle of the universe is the field principle: the universe consists of fields within fields, levels of wholeness and integration that mirror in fundamental ways, and integrate with, the ultimate, cosmic whole...." "For many thinkers and religious teachers throughout this history, holism was the dominant thought, and the harmony that it implies has most often been understood to encompass cosmic, civilizational, and personal dimensions. Jesus, Mohammed, Buddha, Lord Krishna, Lao Tzu, and Confucius all give us visions of transformative harmony, a transformative harmony that derives from a deep relation to the holism of the cosmos."
About political holism
Political holism is based on the recognition that "we" are all members of a single whole. There's no "they," even though "we" are not all alike. Because "we" are all part of the whole, and therefore interdependent, we benefit from cooperating with each other. Political holism is a way of thinking about human cultures and nations as interdependent. Political holists search for solutions other than war to settle international disagreements. Their model of the world is one in which cooperation and negotiation, even with the enemy, even with the weak, promotes political stability more than warfare.
In an overpopulated world with planet-wide environmental problems, the development of weapons of mass destruction has rendered war obsolete as an effective means to resolve disputes.
Political dualists consider political holists unpatriotic for questioning the necessity to defeat "them." In times of impending war, political dualists tend to measure patriotism by the intensity of one's hostility to the country's immediate enemy. Naturally, they would view as disloyalty any suggestion that the enemy is not evil, any call for cooperation with the enemy, any criticism of one's own country.
To political dualists, cooperation with the enemy means capitulation, relinquishment of the nation's position of dominance. At its extreme, political dualism is essentially tribalism. (Betty Craige, 16-8-1997)
Desmond Tutu & Ubuntu
"A person with Ubuntu is open and available to others, affirming of others, does not feel threatened that others are able and good, based from a proper self-assurance that comes from knowing that he or she belongs in a greater whole and is diminished when others are humiliated or diminished, when others are tortured or oppressed."
"We think of ourselves far too frequently as just individuals, separated from one another, whereas you are connected and what you do affects the whole World.
When you do well, it spreads out; it is for the whole of humanity." (Ubuntu info)
“Donald Trump is undermining the rules-based international order.” The Economist’s headline last summer summarized a common refrain within America’s foreign policy establishment...
Trump is certainly hostile to what he sometimes refers to as “globalism”: multilateralism, free trade agreements, international institutions, and any international legal regime that could impose constraints on U.S. power. He is antagonistic toward allies and treaties, withdrawing the U.S. from the Paris climate agreement, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), the Iran nuclear deal, the Intermediate Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF), the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), and the UN Human Rights Council.
But those excoriating Trump for his disregard for rules and norms rarely mention similar, routine violations of this rules-based order by his predecessors.
The pundits, practitioners, and politicians that make up the foreign policy establishment have rarely respected the non-interventionist principles at the core of the United Nations, an institution exemplifying the liberal rules-based international order that the United States helped establish following World War II.
Article 2(4) of the UN Charter says “All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state…”
According to the Charter, which American post-war planners helped write, the use of force is illegal and illegitimate unless at least one of two prerequisites are met: first, that force is used in self-defense; second, that the UN Security Council authorizes it.
This prohibition against war is not some trivial aspiration. Non-intervention is the centerpiece of international law and the United Nations has repeatedly sought to underline its significance.
In 1965, the General Assembly declared “No state or group of states has the right to intervene, directly or indirectly, for any reason whatever, in the internal or external affairs of any state.”
Again in 1970, it unanimously reaffirmedthe illegality of “armed intervention and all other forms of interference or attempted threats.”
In 1981, the General Assembly further specified that the Charter’s “principle of non-intervention and non-interference” prohibited “any … form of intervention and interference, overt or covert, directed at another State or group of States, or any act of military, political or economic interference in the internal affairs of another State.”
The United States is currently engaged in active military hostilities in at least seven countries, namely Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, Libya, and Niger.
That tally doesn’t include drone strikes in Pakistan, combat operations in Kenya, Cameroon, and Central African Republic, or other interventions of unknown magnitude. The true number might be closer to 14 countries. The White House is also explicitly threatening U.S. military action to change the regime in Venezuela and against Iran for a host of spurious reasons. Not one of these cases meets the prerequisites for legal military intervention (a plausible self-defense case can be made for the war in Afghanistan, but it expired a long time ago).
No other state in the international system uses force more than the U.S. has.
Throughout the Cold War, the United States used military means to interfere in other countries about twice as often as did the Soviet Union. This doesn’t include interventions below the threshold of military action: from 1946 to 2000, Washington meddled in foreign elections more than 80 times (compared to 36 by the Soviet Union or Russia over the same period).
Covert operations to overthrow democratically elected governments, as in Iran, Guatemala, and Chile, were a stapleof U.S. conduct in this period, and according to the Rand Corporation, “the number and scale of U.S. military interventions rose rapidly in the aftermath of the Cold War.” The Congressional Research Service lists more than 200 individual U.S. military interventions from 1989 to 2018, a rate that no other country even comes close to matching.
Washington often appeals to international law to justify military action against despots who commit atrocities, as it did when it secured UN Security Council approval in 2011 to bomb Libya. But even there, when the initial use of force was authorized, the Obama administration rapidly exceeded the mandate of the resolution by pursuing what amounted to a regime-change strategy.
And such appeals to humanitarianism are highly selective: U.S. military power has also been used to assist Saudi Arabia, one of the world’s most regressive authoritarian regimes, commit war crimes and keep an impoverished and largely defenseless population in Yemen under siege.
The political establishment in Washington has always accepted this unique role for the United States. We’re the policeman of the world. We enforce the rules and therefore assert the right to violate them, even as we (often violently) deny others that same prerogative.
Saving the liberal order means adhering to the UN Charter’s prohibition on the use of force except in self-defense or unless authorized by the Security Council.
It means rolling back our global military footprint and adopting a more restrained foreign policy that at least approximates the manner in which we expect other nations to behave.
It means recognizing that the United States is not exempt from the rules and norms it often punishes others for transgressing, and it means acknowledging that the foreign policy establishment has done at least as much damage to the rules-based order as has President Trump.
"vital national security intererests"
John Glaser is director of foreign policy studies at the Cato Institute. His research interests include grand strategy, U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East, the rise of China, and the role of status and prestige motivations in international politics.
Iran's President Hassan Rouhani has inaugurated four new phases of the huge offshore South Pars gas field in a move, which has been seen as a clear sign of the failure of US sanctions against the country.
During an inaugural ceremony in the southern coastal city of Kangan on Sunday, Iran's president officially launched phases 13, 22, 23, and 24 of South Pars gas field, noting that despite all the US pressures on the Iranian nation, especially through the imposition of unilateral economic sanctions, Iranians remain steadfast and resistant and continue to progress.
“Americans did not want us to inaugurate any important projects during the current year, but we made all projects operational on schedule,” Rouhani said.
“Today is a very auspicious day for the Iranian nation, which has dealt strong blows to enemies, because they thought that by imposing sanctions, they would be able to stop all our plans and advances,” Rouhani added...
Elsewhere in his remarks, Rouhani said, "Enemies thought that they would mount such economic pressure on [the Iranian] people that our people would bend the knee in front of superpowers. However, this great and history making nation has demonstrated its steadfastness and resistance at all junctures of its history, especially during the current year, which is nearly finished.”
Noting that “the sanctions imposed by the United States against Iran are sanctions against humanity,” Iran's chief executive emphasized that what Americans are doing against Iran is a crime against humanity, but “America will never achieve its goals.”
“Before being an economic war, sanctions are a psychological war through which America is trying to make the Iranians pessimistic about their future … and make them think that as time goes by, their conditions will deteriorate,” Rouhani said.
Saying that production of gasoline in Iran has been doubled since the inauguration of his administration, Rouhani said, “During recent rounds of sanctions, we saw that the United States did not even think about imposing gasoline sanctions on Iran, because it knew that Iran has become self-sufficient in gasoline production. Today, we are also self-sufficient in producing diesel fuel and gas.”
According to a report by IRNA, Phase 13 of South Pars gas field has four offshore platforms, 38 wells and four 90-kilometer pipelines, and has been completely designed and made operational by Iranian experts.
South Pars Phases 22, 23 and 24 consist of four offshore platforms, 38 wells and three pipelines, which have been completely designed and made operational using Iranian equipment. They will transfer two billion cubic feet of gas to onshore facilities.
On the whole, the four phases are to produce 56 million cubic meters of gas, 77,000 barrels of condensate and 400 tonnes of sulfur per day in addition to annual production of 1.5 million tonnes of liquefied gas and one million tonnes of ethane. The daily value of their products has been estimated at 30 billion dollars.
The Syrian war was not only a military, geographical and economic campaign but also a ‘cultural’ war, ‘systematically targeting’ Syrian sites and heritage, according to the wife of Syrian President Bashar Al Assad, Asma al-Assad, who was speaking in Tekkiye Mosque complex in Damascus on Saturday.
Al-Assad made the comments on the side-lines of ‘Shadows’, an event held to celebrate the inclusion of shadow play as the first Syrian element in the List of UNESCO’s intangible cultural heritage.
“It’s a war against identity, belonging and roots but also on cultural heritage. It’s clear that it is a systematic targeting of heritage and the destruction of sites during these eight years of war,” said the Syrian First Lady.
Assistant Culture Minister Tawfik al-Imam stressed the importance of preserving Syria’s cultural heritage in light of the methodical war that is targeting Syria with the aim of destroying its civilization and culture.
In turn, Secretary General of the Syria Trust for Development Faris Kallas talked about Syria’s tangible and intangible heritage, as well as the role of cultural, governmental, and non-governmental organizations in drawing international attention to Syrian heritage and reviving it.
islamic right-wing extremism
Al-Kindi Hospital before the war was the best clinic in the Middle East. Bandits surrounded al-Kindi and the Syrian Army was besieged about a year. In 2013 Aleppo was in critical condition. In December the terrorists took the hospital only after the explosion of several suicide bombers in trucks with a huge amount of explosives. Al-Kindi was a prominent individual and a versatile genius in the History of the medieval Islamic Golden Age. He was known as the “Father of Islamic Philosophy”. (aboutislam.net)
Israel's Supreme Court banned on Sunday Kahanist leader Michael Ben Ari from running in the April 9 general election and reversed the disqualification of Arab joint slate Balad-United Arab List and Ofer Cassif, a member of political alliance Hadash-Ta'al. Earlier this month, the Central Election Committee disqualified the Balad-United Arab List and Cassif, opposing the opinion of Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit.
That same day, a petition against Ben Ari, the chairman of the far-right Otzma Yehudit party, failed to pass the committee, which approved him to run in the election.
In response to Ben Ari’s disqualification, Benny Gantz [Blue & White party] said: “It’s good that there are judges in Jerusalem.”
Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked [New Right] said in response to the decisions: “The judges of the High Court have turned themselves into a political factor. Their decision to disqualify Ben Ari and authorize parties that support terror is a blatant and erroneous intervention in Israeli democracy. Tomorrow I will publish my plan for the completion of a judicial revolution in my next term.” Michael Ben Ari [Otzma Yehudit] said in response that "there is a legal junta that seeks to take over our lives. It's not a democracy."
The Union of Right-Wing Parties, of which the Kahanist Otzma Yehudit is part, said the ruling was a “disgrace” and promising to “stop the irresponsible legal activism of the Supreme Court.” They added: “This is the theater of absurd,” saying that Cassif and Tibi, the head of Ta’al, support terror.
Ofer Cassif [Hadash-Ta'al] said he was “happy justice has been served,” adding that this was a “shameful political attempt by the Kahanists sponsored by Netanyahu.” Balad-United Arab List said after the court’s decision that it is only the public that will decide whether they are “worthy of our trust.” Ayman Odeh, Chairman of the Hadash party, said in response: “The attempt to silence Arab slates is a racist and abhorrent effort by those who are afraid of Arab-Jewish cooperation..."
Times of Israel, 18-3: The extremist Otzma Yehudit party issued a new series of demands to its partners in the upcoming elections after the High Court of Justice on Sunday barred the leader of the party Michael Ben Ari from running for parliament. It wants another party member, Baruch Marzel, to be promised a ministerial position in the next coalition, and Itamar Ben Gvir, Ben Ari’s deputy, to head a key Knesset committee.
The New Right Party led by Naftali Bennett and Ayelet Shaked launched a new campaign Sunday ahead of the upcoming election, vowing to defeat both the Hamas terror group and the High Court of Justice.
“My mission and that of Ayelet Shaked is clear: to release the IDF from the High Court of Justice so that the IDF can defeat Hamas,” Bennett said at a press conference at Tel Aviv’s Beit Sokolov.
The education minister and New Right co-leader asserted, “The time has come to honestly state that the High Court of Justice is tying the hands of IDF soldiers who are trying to defeat terror.” “In order to defeat Hamas, we must release the IDF from (the restraint of) the High Court of Justice,” he said.
The campaign slogan — “Shaked will defeat the High Court of Justice, Bennett will defeat Hamas” — also suggested that the outgoing justice minister, who hopes to retain the position after the upcoming elections, will be chiefly responsible with limiting the High Court’s say on matters of security. Bennett, for his part, has demanded the position of defense minister.
Recent opinion polls have predicted the New Right party will receive 6-7 seats in the April 9 election.
Ayelet Shaked spraying herself with "Fascism" perfume
Shaked is mocking her leftist detractors, who are pointing to her fascist traits...
Most of Shaked’s references in the parody video are directly addressed at the judiciary and the supreme court: “A judiciary revolution”, “appointment of judges, “reigning in the Supreme Court”.
Shaked was furious two days ago, when the High Court ruled in favor of Palestinian-Israeli parties Balad-UAL, as well as Ofer Cassif of the Hadash-Ta’al, allowing them to run despite ban from Elections Committee, while barring Jewish Power leader Michael Ben Ari from running due to racism.
Shaked responded: “The judges of the High Court have turned themselves into a political factor. Their decision to disqualify Ben Ari and authorize parties that support terror is a blatant and erroneous intervention in Israeli democracy. Tomorrow I will publish my plan for the completion of a judicial revolution in my next term.”
Criticism of Israel was once confined to the margins of the Jewish-American community. But now activists say dissent is 'bigger and louder' than ever before. Sophie Edelhart says that for the longest time, she didn’t want to go anywhere near the topic of Israel and Palestine.
As a young Jewish woman growing up in San Francisco, her education was a curious mix of religious Jewish education and the liberal politics of California.
Much of the discussion about Israel as a consequence focused on “diplomacy”, careful talk of “both sides”, and the idea that a “two-state solution” would bring peace to Palestine-Israel. The conflict, she says, was always described to her as “complicated” and never by the naked truth: Israel was an occupying state.
“I would always try to rationalise and explain Israeli occupation by trying to add ‘nuance' to every conversation.
But a growing discomfort with the way in which the conflict was being discussed in her community led Edelhart to seek out Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP), the two-decade-old Jewish-American organisation that works relentlessly against bigotry, oppression and for an end to the Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands. Edelhart found the organisation to be pursuing a type of justice she had always associated with her Jewish values.
But it was an event held by the JVP during her first year studying history at New York’s Columbia University in 2016 that forced her out of a comfort zone.
After hearing Palestinians speak about their experiences in the occupied territories she remembers thinking to herself: “There is no way I can defend this. There is no moral grounding to stand on here..."
“I soon realised that at some point, one has to take a stance and acknowledge that something is not right, and actually very wrong... that nuance is actually a form of violence if it hides the truth,” says Edelhart, who is now a JVP organiser. Edelhart’s move from liberal Zionism to anti-Zionist sentiment mirrors what observers describe as a generational shift among Jewish Americans who are increasingly turning their backs on the expectation of unconditional support for Israel.
Jewish Americans, numbering around six million, are fundamentally diverse in religious and political opinion, but the perception of a steadfast commitment to Israel is on the wane.
The sidelining of non-Orthodox Jews (who make up the majority of American Jews) in religious life in Israel and the passing of the Nation State law, that grants Jews supremacy over non-Jewish Israeli citizens, has only added to the growing divide.
“The perception of the conflict has changed. You have young Jews who have no memory of the Six-Day War or the 1973 war.” says Dov Waxman, professor of political science, international affairs, and Israel studies at Northeastern University in Boston.
“And I think it is to do with shifts within the Jewish community; the chronological distance from the Holocaust and less of a perception that Israel is a safe haven for Jews that once motivated the unconditional support for Israel.”
Evangelical Protestants in the United States continue to overwhelmingly support their president, according to a new analysis of Pew Research Center survey data. Jews and Muslims, on the other hand, are less approving.
The report – which evaluated the center’s latest polling in January 2019 – found that 69% of Evangelical Protestants say they approve of the way US President Donald Trump is handling his job as president. This represents a drop from 78% in the president’s earliest days, but according to the center, it is in-line with other recent polls.
In contrast – looking at the period of Trump’s presidency overall – about half of Mormons (52%) approve of his job performance, while smaller shares of Jews (24%) and Muslims (18%) say the same.
The center cannot reliably analyze data from a single survey because of the limitations of sample size, so these numbers combine results from 11 Pew Research Center polls conducted between February 2017 and January 2019.
With regards to other Christian groups, the center found that around 48% of mainline Protestants approve of the president as well as around 44% of Catholics. Religiously unaffiliated Americans – agnostics and atheists, for example – consistently express low support for Trump, ranging from 17% to 27% across the polls that the center has conducted since the president assumed office.
Writing for Americans, unless for their entertainment, is a challenging undertaking.
One reason is that many, especially of the younger generations, no longer have a concept of objective truth. For them “truth” is simply a bias reflecting one’s race, gender, upbringing or predisposition. Emotion overwhelms fact...
Another reason is that many Americans confuse an explanation with a justification. An explanation of an event is seen as a justification of the event. For example, if one provides an explanation of slavery the assumption is that the writer approves of slavery.
A defense of a disapproved category is taken as a demonstration of your own unworthiness. For example, if you defend white people from the propagandistic accusations leveled at them by Identity Politics, you are a “white supremist.”
Yet another reason is that some races and genders have succeeded in defining any criticism of themselves as an expression of bias. For example, criticism of Israel’s mistreatment of the Palestinians or of the Israel Lobby’s power makes one an “anti-semite.”
Similarly, if you criticize a black person, you are a racist and your argument is dismissed as an expression of your bias. If you criticize a woman, you are a misogynist, and your criticism of a woman proves it. If you express skepticism of false flag events, you are dismissed as a “conspiracy theorist.”
Another reason is that American patriots regard criticism of US policies, especially wars, as anti-American and as taking the side of the enemy against one’s own country.
To prevent a recurrence of the Vietnam war protests, when Washington invaded Afghanistan and Iraq the Bush regime came up with the slogan, “Support the Troops.” If you criticized the wars, you weren’t supporting the troops and were aligning yourself with the enemy: “You are with us or against us.”
When President Trump met with President Putin, CIA director John Brennan accused Trump of treason. When US Representative Tulsi Gabbard met with Assad of Syria, she was accused of supporting dictatorship. In a world such as this, honest ordinary language is risky as many are not attending to the cogency of the analysis but looking for indications of racism and sexism. Exposure of government deceptions gets one branded “anti-American” with the result that people cling more tightly to the lie that deceives them.
It has always been the case that readers look for writers who reinforce their beliefs by telling them what they want to hear. The king kills the messenger who brings unwanted news.
Consequently there are few messengers. The result is a dysfunctional democracy in which the agendas of those who control explanations dominate.
Iranian Maj.-Gen. Mohammad Baqeri met with his Iraqi counterpart and Syrian Defense Minister Ali Abdullah Ayyoub to discuss opposition to the US role in Syria on Monday. In what Iranian media called a “tripartite” meeting, the three held a joint press conference in Damascus.
Syrian President Bashar Assad hosted the Iranians and Iraqis in Damascus to show off not only Syria’s return to the region as a stable country after eight years of civil war, but also to stress that Iraq and Iran were now stronger allies of Syria than in the past. “We have shown our unity in this war and fighting together against enemies,” Assad said, according to Iran’s Tasnim news.
In addition, the Iranians stressed that they want to pressure the US to leave Syria. Baqeri stressed that uninvited “foreign forces” must leave the country. He said that as long as the Syrian government asks Iran to continue to help it fight, the Iranians will stay. The goal is to “preserve national sovereignty and territorial integrity of Syria,” and the three countries will continue to work to “defeat terrorists.”
Iraq plans to open a vital border crossing with Syria in the coming days, allowing for the increased flow of goods to Syria from Iran along a route the U.S. worries would ease Tehran’s transport of weapons to its allies.
The reopening of the border in al-Qaim, which Iraq closed in 2013 as it hunted al Qaeda militants, will boost trade links between Syria and Iraq and help their war-shattered economies.
The Iraqi army’s chief of staff, Gen. Othman al-Ghanmi, made the announcement alongside his counterpart from Iran and Syria’s defense minister, in a rare public appearance together that indicates growing ties among the three Middle East neighbors... Iraq, Syria and Iran have differing foreign-policy agendas but are united in the fight against extremist groups Islamic State and al Qaeda. The three officials reiterated that the security of their respective countries is interconnected...
Opening the border would be another step in Syria’s normalization of ties with its Arab neighbors after Jordan reopened its border last year, and the United Arab Emirates reopened its Damascus embassy.
For Iran, the border opening could help ease land transportation to Damascus, opening more opportunities for Tehran as it tries to offset economic pressure from U.S. sanctions. Mohammad Bagheri, chief of staff of Iran’s armed forces, said the border is a top priority for Tehran for transportation of goods and Shiite pilgrims.
“Whether military goods would be included depends on the three country’s decisions and the talks between their leaders,” he added. “But it would be anything authorized under international rights and laws.”
President Donald Trump said Thursday that it's time for the United States to recognize Israel's control over the disputed Golan Heights, an announcement that signals a shift in U.S. policy and comes ahead of the Israeli prime minister's planned visit next week to the White House.
The administration has been considering recognizing Israel's sovereignty over the Golan, which Israel captured from Syria in 1967. Last week, in its annual human rights report, the State Department dropped the phrase "Israeli-occupied'' from the Golan Heights section, instead calling it ``Israeli-controlled.'' "After 52 years it is time for the United States to fully recognize Israel's Sovereignty over the Golan Heights, which is of critical strategic and security importance to the State of Israel and Regional Stability!'', Trump tweeted.
Minutes later, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tweeted his appreciation.
"At a time when Iran seeks to use Syria as a platform to destroy Israel, President Trump boldly recognizes Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights. Thank you President Trump!''
"You could imagine what would have happened if Israel were not in the Golan," the Israeli prime minister said. "You would have Iran on the shores of the Sea of Galilee." Richard Haass, a former senior State Department official who is president of the Council on Foreign Relations, said in a tweet he strongly disagreed with Trump's Golan decision. He said the move violates UN Security Council resolution 242, "which rules out acquiring territory by war and serves Israel as it says all states have right 2 live in peace."
In addition to its policies toward the Palestinians, the U.S. has taken a hard line toward Iran, much to Netanyahu's delight.
Trump's announcement came as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is in Jerusalem, lauding warm ties with Israel and promising to step up pressure on Iran. Pompeo's words gave a public boost to the Israeli leader at the height of a tight re-election campaign. Netanyahu is to be in Washington for two days next week _ two weeks before Israel's April 9 ballot.
Standing together in Jerusalem Thursday, neither Netanyahu nor Pompeo mentioned the heated Israeli election campaign. But Netanyahu, facing a tough challenge from a popular former military chief and reeling from a series of corruption allegations, has repeatedly sought to focus attention on his foreign policy record and strong ties with Trump.
Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu on Thursday emphasized the fundamental importance of states' territorial integrity under international law, criticizing U.S. President Donald Trump's remarks that the United States should recognize Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights, an area seized from Syria and annexed in a move never recognized by the international community. "Attempts by the U.S. to legitimize Israel's actions against international law will only lead to more violence and pain in the region," Çavuşoğlu wrote in a tweet. "Turkey supports Syria's territorial integrity," he added.
Presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalın also condemned the preposterous claim. "The territorial integrity of countries is protected under int'l law," Kalın said in a tweet.
"DonaldTrump attempts to legitimate Israel's illegal actions towards Golan Heights mean nothing but supporting Israel's policy of occupation and deepening the conflict in the region," Kalın added.
Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qassemi, in a statement on Friday, categorically condemned the recent remarks by US President Donald Trump on the Golan Heights of Syria occupied by Israel, reiterating that Tel Aviv has no sovereignty over Arab lands. Personal and rash decisions of Trump will lead the critical region of the Middle East into successive crises, Qassemi highlighted, in a statement today where he vehemently denounced the recent remarks by US President Donald Trump on the occupied Golan Heights.
Israel, as an occupying regime, does not have sovereignty over any Arab and Islamic lands, and its aggressions and occupations should be stopped immediately, Qassemi said, noting that according to the UN Security Council resolution, Golan is part of the Syrian soil. “There is no other solution to this than to end the occupation," the Iranian diplomat stressed. The interventionist decision of the US president on the issue of Golan does not change the nature of Syria’s sovereignty over the region, and furthermore, it clearly proves the failure of compromising policies while at the same time ratifying the right path of the Resistance Front against the aggressive and expansionist nature of the United States and the Zionist regime, the senior diplomat added.
Referring to Trump’s violations of numerous UNSC resolutions and international laws, Qassemi reminded that the US president's policies are "dangerous" for all the world and especially for the Middles East.
Syria condemned in the strongest terms irresponsible statements made by the US president on the occupied Syrian Golan, which confirms the United States blind bias to the Zionist occupation entity, stressing that these statements will never change the fact that the Golan was and will always be a Syrian Arab territory.
An official source at Foreign and Expatriates Ministry told SANA in a statement on Friday that the US stance towards the occupied Syrian Golan clearly reflects its contempt for international legitimacy and its flagrant violation of international resolutions, especially UNSC Resolution No. 497 of 1981, which categorically rejects the decision of the Israeli occupation government and its arbitrary measures regarding the Golan and considers it null ,void and has no legal effect.
The source continued to say that it is obvious to the whole world that the USA with its reckless policy, governed by a mentality of domination and arrogance, has become a main factor for tension at the international arena that is threatening the international peace and stability, which requires a serious stance by the world to put an end to the US arrogance and to reconsider the international legitimacy as well as to preserve peace, security and stability in the world.
Every week, a group of wives of Republican lawmakers in Washington DC meet on Capitol Hill for a Bible study session.
The group recently had a special guest, who came in all the way from Samaria [occupied West-Bank] to deliver a crash-course on biblical geography and the history of the Land of Israel.
Yossi Dagan, the chief of the Samaria Regional Council, highlighted prominent biblical sites in Samaria during the meeting, discussing such places as Mount Gerizim, Mount Ebal and the site of the Altar of Joshua, the Joseph’s Tomb, and Elon Moreh.
“These places which we read about in the Bible,” said Dagan, “these are the places that people want Israel to surrender in any future peace deal.” Dagan’s visit to Capitol Hill is part of the Samaria Regional Council’s campaign against the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has said it is "possible" that President Donald Trump was sent by God to save the Jewish people from Iran.
In an interview with the Christian Broadcasting Network during a high-profile trip to Israel, he said it was his faith that made him believe that.
He also praised US efforts to "make sure that this democracy in the Middle East, that this Jewish state, remains".
The comments came on a Jewish holiday celebrating rescue from genocide. The holiday, Purim, commemorates the rescue of the Jewish people by Queen Esther from the Persians, as the interviewer noted to Mr Pompeo.
He was asked if "President Trump right now has been sort of raised for such a time as this, just like Queen Esther, to help save the Jewish people from an Iranian menace".
"As a Christian, I certainly believe that's possible," said Mr Pompeo, a former Kansas senator and CIA director. "I am confident that the Lord is at work here," he added.
In recent days, Mr Trump has accused his Democratic rivals of being "anti-Israel" and "anti-Jewish".
Israel’s April election has at times felt like it might be Benjamin Netanyahu’s last. But the prime minister cannot be counted out. He has survived 13 years in office, and he now has a Trump card up his sleeve.
Netanyahu will use that card on Monday when he arrives in Washington to bask at the White House in the warmth of his relationship with Donald Trump, whose popularity has soared in Israel as it has sagged almost everywhere else in the world.
Even before the Israeli prime minister’s arrival, Trump bestowed an electoral gift, declaring US readiness to endorse Israeli sovereignty of the Golan Heights, a plateau Israel captured from Syria and occupied more than half a century ago. Accepting the annexation of conquered land is unprecedented in modern US history and runs counter to the founding principles of the United Nations.
The US secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, was on hand in Jerusalem to celebrate with Netanyahu when Trump tweeted out his decision on Thursday. Pompeo, an evangelical Christian, helped amplify Netanyahu’s tendency to frame the current political moment as an echo of biblical episodes when the very survival of the Jews was at stake...
The shared theological – frequently apocalyptic – language, has helped bond an alliance with American evangelicals which is key to Netanyahu’s clout in US politics.
Pompeo underlined the symbolism of that coalition by visiting the Western Wall in Jerusalem with Netanyahu, becoming the first senior US official to visit the contested Old City accompanied by an Israeli counterpart.
One of the major questions hanging over Netanyahu’s visit to Washington is whether the promised recognition of Israel’s possession of the Golan Heights, could lay the groundwork for an even more consequential move: approval of Israeli rule over of the West Bank.
“Trump is seeking to dismantle the parameters underpinning the peace process until now,” said Khaled Elgindy, non-resident fellow at the Centre for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution.
“To overturn that is pretty radical, especially if you are not replacing it with anything meaningful. What they are doing is legitimising Israeli-made realities on the ground.”
Elgindy added: “if Netanyahu wins, the right are going to be even more emboldened. They are going to say the door is wide open.”
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has published a video of his visit to Israel on his Twitter page, which omits Muslim shrines in Jerusalem but includes a model of the Third Temple there.
The footage shows Pompeo visiting the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and the Western Wall in Jerusalem, which is followed by a model of the Third Temple.
Some Jewish groups want to erect the structure on the Temple Mount and have triggered concerns that Muslim sites such as the Dome of the Rock and Al-Aqsa mosque would be affected. Most Jewish-Orthodox scholars believe that the Third Temple will be rebuilt by the Jewish Messiah; an event that some believe may herald the end of the world.
In Pompeo’s video, the Third Temple model is accompanied by his mentioning US President Donald Trump’s recent decision to recognise Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights; the occupied land was described by Pompeo as “hard-fought real estate” and an “important place”.
Several Democratic presidential candidates will skip the American Israel Public Affairs Committee's policy conference this year after a prominent progressive group called on them to boycott the event.
Sens. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., Kamala Harris, D-Calif., and Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., will all ditch the conference, the Associated Press reported, and a spokesman for former Rep. Beto O’Rourke, D-Texas, told NBC News that he also will not attend.
Pete Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Indiana, will not be going, The Jewish Week reported, and former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julian Castro also won't show, according to HuffPost.
Former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz, who is considering running for president as an independent, will also skip the conference, the Associated Press reported. Josh Orton, a policy director for Sanders, told NBC News that the senator is "concerned about the platform AIPAC is providing for leaders who have expressed bigotry and oppose a two-state solution.”
The candidates' decisions to skip the prominent pro-Israel lobbying group’s conference come one day after liberal group MoveOn.org called on all 2020 presidential candidates to steer clear of the event.
"Whether it's supporting a candidate, fighting to pass legislation, or working to change our culture, MoveOn members are committed to an inclusive and progressive future. We envision a world marked by equality, sustainability, justice, and love. And we mobilize together to achieve it." (MoveOn Website)
“It’s no secret that that AIPAC has worked to hinder diplomatic efforts like the Iran deal, is undermining Palestinian self-determination, and inviting figures actively involved in human rights violations to its stage,” Iram Ali, campaign director for MoveOn's political action committee, said in a post on the group's website.
“We asked our members what they think so that we can make more informed decisions — and over 74% agreed that progressive presidential candidates should skip the AIPAC conference. This should also give a clear insight to 2020 candidates on where their base stands instead of prioritizing lobbying groups and policy people who rarely step outside of D.C.”
White evangelical Christians make up 76 percent of the overall evangelical population in the US, which itself is a quarter of the American electorate.
According to a Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI) poll conducted in late 2018, President Donald Trump enjoys an approval rating of 71 percent among white evangelicals. It is this demographic that remains among the most conservative with regards to immigration, demographic change, and climate change.
“These would be people who interpret the Bible almost literally,” said Donald Wagner, a professor of religion and Middle Eastern Studies at North Park University in Chicago.
There is no hard data, but some scholars, like Wagner, estimate that about 15 to 18 percent of US evangelicals are fundamentalist Christian Zionists.
Followers of Christian Zionism believe that the modern state of Israel is a manifestation of prophecies found in the Bible; the fate of the United States is by implication linked to that of Israel.
Senior members of Trump’s administration, including Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, have made no secret of their evangelical beliefs. But when it comes to the matter of Israel, the role of the Christian right is not as prominent in the national imagination.
“Christian Zionism is hardly discussed. In most analyses of US policy, it is given lip service but is not deeply investigated.
I see it as part of a bigger problem of underestimating radical conservatism in the USA,” Jonathan Brenneman, a Palestinian-American Christian working with the Mennonite Church USA, said.
“The pro-Israel bias of the US Congress, especially on the Republican side, is more due to Christian Zionism among evangelicals than it has to do with appealing to the Jewish community in the US. This is most clear in President Trump's policies,” he told MEE.
While AIPAC may be synonymous with the pro-Israeli lobby in the US, it is certainly not the only one. A vast cauldron of lobby groups, pushing a variety of objectives, from liberal Zionist to extreme right, continue to operate at the behest of Israeli interests.
But whereas AIPAC wields tremendous power, drawing politicians from Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton to address their annual summits, the organisation pales in comparison with the immense size of Christians United for Israel (CUFI).
While AIPAC is said to have 100,000 members, CUFI says it has over five million and describes itself as the largest pro-Israel organisation in the United States. It also claims to be the only Christian organisation working to transform millions of “pro-Israel Christians into an educated, empowered, and effective force for Israel”.
The organisation, founded in 2006 by John Hagee, says it has played a leading role “in efforts to curb Iran’s nuclear ambitions, hinder Hezbollah and Hamas’ war of terror against Israel, strengthen the Jewish state’s ability to defend itself, and defend Israel against the anti-Semitic BDS [Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions] movement”. Nikki Haley, the former US ambassador to the UN, described CUFI as the “tip of the spear” in the fight against worldwide anti-Israel sentiment.
Samantha Brotman, membership manager of Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP), the Jewish-American organisation that works against bigotry and for an end to the Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands, says that progressive Jewish organisations have not adequately tackled the influence of Christian Zionism.
“We need to be paying a lot more attention to Christian Zionism because a lot of our work, and rightly so, focuses on building an alternative Jewish community, and an alternative Jewish future beyond Zionism,” Brotman told MEE.
US President Donald Trump on Monday formally recognised Israeli sovereignty over the Israel-occupied Golan Heights, reversing decades of US policy.
Monday's decree formalised Trump's statement last week, saying it was time for the United States "to fully recognise" Israeli sovereignty over the Golan.
"This was a long time in the making," Trump said alongside Netanyahu in the White House.
"Today, aggressive action by Iran and terrorist groups in southern Syria, including Hezbollah, continue to make the Golan Heights a potential launching ground for attacks against Israel - very violent attacks," Trump said. "This should have been done numerous presidents ago."
Israel seized much of the Golan Heights from Syria during the 1967 Six-Day War and then effectively annexed it in 1981, a move that was never recognised by the international community. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is "clear that the status of Golan has not changed," UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said on Monday. "The UN's policy on Golan is reflected in the relevant resolutions of the Security Council and that policy has not changed..."
A UN Security Council resolution adopted unanimously by the 15-member body in 1981 declared that Israel's "decision to impose its laws, jurisdiction and administration in the occupied Syrian Golan Heights is null and void and without international legal effect". It also demanded Israel rescind its decision.
Syria’s Kurds warned Sunday that the thousands of foreign extremists they have detained in their fight against ISIS are a time-bomb the international community urgently needs to defuse.
Speaking a day after Kurdish-led forces announced the final demise of the extremists’ physical “caliphate”, the Kurdish administration’s top foreign affairs official Abdel Karim Omar warned that its foreign captives still pose a threat. “There are thousands of fighters, children and women and from 54 countries, not including Iraqis and Syrians, who are a serious burden and danger for us and for the international community,” Omar told AFP.
“Numbers increased massively during the last 20 days of the Baghouz operation,” he said, referring to the village by the Euphrates where diehard extremists made a bloody last stand.
iranian 2011-2012 cartoons
From 2011 onward, al Qaeda concentrated on building institutions throughout the greater Middle East. In 2014 Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi rejected Al Qaeda’s authority. When he declared a caliphate, he split the jihadist movement.
The fate of foreign ISIS fighters has become a major issue, as the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces closed in on the once-sprawling proto-state the [al-qaeda] extremists declared in 2014.
According to the SDF, 66,000 people left the last ISIS pocket since January, including 5,000 extremists and 24,000 of their relatives.
The assault was paused multiple times as the SDF opened humanitarian corridors for people evacuating the besieged enclave.
The droves of people scrambling out of Baghouz in recent weeks were screened by the SDF and dispatched to camps further north, where most are still held.
The Kurdish administration in northeastern Syria has warned it does not have capacity to detain so many people, let alone put them on trial. Many of the suspected extremists’ countries of origin are reluctant to take them back, due to potential security risks and a likely public backlash. Some have even withdrawn citizenship from their nationals detained in Syria.
“There has to be coordination between us and the international community to address this danger,” Abdel Karim Omar said.
“There are thousands of children who have been raised according to ISIS ideology,” he added. “If these children are not reeducated and reintegrated in their societies of origin, they are potential future terrorists.”
Israeli Education Minister Naftali Bennett (New Right) excoriated the European Union’s announcement Wednesday that it would not recognize Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights.
In a video statement Wednesday afternoon, Bennett said “Shame on you,” in response to a written statement by EU foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini.
Bennett also noted that the EU has refused to recognize Jerusalem – including western Jerusalem – as Israel’s capital.
“Minutes ago, the European Union announced that it will not recognize the Golan Heights as part of the State of Israel. We can add to that the fact that the European Union does not recognize Jerusalem as our capital. Shame on you.”
“The Golan Heights and Jerusalem and the Land of Israel have been the home of the Jewish people for thousands of years, before France was the home of the French and the UK the home of the British. We’ll continue to build our amazing country. And we’ll continue defending the free world from radical Islam even though you don’t deserve it.”
Earlier on Wednesday, Mogherini’s office said it would not recognize the Golan as Israeli territory, describing the Heights as “occupied”.
“The position of the European Union as regards the status of the Golan Heights has not changed,” Mogherini’s office said.
“In line with the international law and UN Security Council resolutions 242 and 497, the European Union does not recognize Israeli sovereignty over the occupied Golan Heights.”
Israel captured the Golan Heights from Syria during the 1967 Six Day War, an annexed the area in 1981.
The Trump administration’s illegal and unilateral recognition of Israeli annexation of the Syrian Golan Heights is an unfortunate return to the international jungle of the 1930s and 1940s, when Hitler annexed the Sudetenland and Mussolini annexed Nice from France.
The United Nations charter was crafted after World War II in an attempt to create a more just world order. One of the things the UN sought to do was to make aggressive warfare illegal, and to make annexation of other countries’ territory equally illegal.
Article 2, 4 says: “All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations.”
Note that although the article does forbid aggressive warfare, it also is concerned to maintain the territorial integrity of existing states.
Trump and Netanyahu have violated that principle of maintaining the territorial integrity of nation states... Only when the other side has a powerful military (Egypt) or an effective guerrilla resistance (Hizbullah in Lebanon) do the Israelis relinquish any territory they have gobbled up.
So the Israelis keep making up exceptions to international law in an attempt to retain the ability to act like the aggressor states in WW II.
The argument being trotted out with regard to the Golan is that Israel conquered it as part of a defensive war, and annexing neighbors’ territory is all right if it is done after an aggressive war....
[However], the war Moshe Dayyan and other hawks launched in 1967 was not a defensive war but a preemptive one. Israel fired the first shots and went on the attack. Gen. Yitzhak Rabin thought it was a very bad idea and nearly had a nervous breakdown over it according to his memoirs. Egypt was not in a position to go to war because 100,000 of its best troops were bogged down in Yemen and the Soviets had warned Gamal Abdel Nasser that if he fired the first shot he would have to fight alone...
Abdel Nasser’s hands were tied, and Dayyan took advantage of his heated rhetoric to go to war when Egypt was in no position to do so.
Moshe Menuhin: "What I felt sixty years ago when I joined the Zionist movement is essentially what I feel today. I have joined this national movement because it was not called 'Jewish' nationalism but Zionism ... I believed that this nationalism would not go the way of all others - beginning with a great hope and then deteriorating, decaying, becoming a collective egoism, even daring, like Mussolini, to call itself a sacro egoismo as if collective egoism could be more sacred than the egoism of any
When we returned to Palestine, the decisive question was, do we want to come there as an ally, as a friend, as a brother, as a member of the coming community of the peoples of the Near East, or as the representative of colonialism and imperialism? The majority of the Jewish people preferred to learn from Hitler rather than from us . . . Hitler showed that history does not go the way of the spirit but the way of power, and if a people is powerful enough, it can kill with impunity . . . This is the situation that we had to fight...
I have always hoped that one day a miraculous reawakening of the Jew in Israel will take place... Somehow I dream and hope of compunction seizing the hearts of the Jewish people, and that the Jews will become again just Jews, not "Jewish" nationalists.
I still dream to this day of a regenerated Jewish spiritual and moral renaissance and a return to the true God of the people of Israel, away from the ideas of the modern Joshuas: Ben Gurion, Moshe Dayan, Menachem Begin, Golda Meir and company . .
As I come to the end of the road, past eighty years of age, Jewish questions torture me day and night: how can the scholarly, wise, old,
civilized, ethical and humane Jews lose their heads and their three thousand year old evolved and innate wisdom to embrace the materialistic
and bloody pagan ideals of predatory political nationalism? Will today's Zionist Israel awaken from yesterday's long dreams and schemes about a Great Jewish Empire, made safe by an ever militaristically subverted people, financed by ignorant and brain-washed Jews in the U.S.A., Canada and England?
Almost 20 Palestinian rights groups – both regional and international – urged the United Nations to protect Gazans who participate in the anniversary of the “Great March of Return” protests this coming Saturday.
In a letter sent to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Wednesday, the groups warned that Israel “will once again resort to lethal and other excessive force, including live ammunition, to suppress the protests”.
“We urge the UN to take meaningful action to prevent further unnecessary loss of life and injury by the Israeli occupying forces, which entails individual criminal responsibility and may amount to international crimes,” the letter read...
According to the letter, 197 Palestinians in Gaza have been killed by Israel since the protests began, which includes 42 children. More than 29,000 Palestinians have been wounded in the protests by Israel’s military and 1,200 of those injures include “complex limb injuries requiring multiple surgeries and long-term follow up”.
Since 30 March last year, thousands of Palestinians in the small coastal territory have demonstrated along the fence with Israel, demanding the implementation of Palestinian refugees’ right of return and an end to the crippling 11-year siege of Gaza.
While Israel has claimed that the protests have been orchestrated by Hamas, the de facto ruling party in Gaza, the organisers of the March have rejected these claims.
The UN General Assembly has denounced Israel’s use of force against the demonstrators as “excessive, disproportionate and indiscriminate”, while many rights groups slammed it as illegal, “horrifying” and “calculated”.
Rabbi Benny Elon passed away in 2017 at the age of 62. He was brought to rest at Jerusalem's Har HaMenuchot on Friday afternoon. Among those in attendance: Minister of Education Naftali Bennett, Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, Minister Yariv Levin, Deputy Defense Minister Eli Ben Dahan, Jewish Agency chairman Natan Sharansky, Knesset Members, rabbis, and other public figures. (Arutz Sheva info)
Hamas will be begging for a cease-fire, stated Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, commenting on the ideas presented by her co-chair in the New Right party Naftali Bennett for a victory over Hamas.
"The IDF is one of the best armies in the world," Shaked said in an interview with Army Radio on Thursday. "Daring creativity must be activated if Hamas wants to be deterred. I really think that when Bennett becomes defense minister, Hamas will beg for a cease-fire," she stated in an interview Thursday with Army Radio.
Bennett, who currently serves as Education Minister, made his presentation yesterday at the Maariv Security Conference.
Shaked also revealed her willingness to sit in a government with Blue and White party head Benny Gantz, but only in the context of a coalition government led by current Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
"It is clear that I will recommend Netanyahu [for Prime Minister]" Shaked told Army Radio. While she praised Gantz for his service as the IDF chief of staff from 2011 to 2015, but added that "in the private sector, he failed miserably and has no political experience." Shaked dismissed Gantz as "a leftist" while by contrast, her New Right party is staunchly against territorial compromise.
"My assessment is that after the elections [US President Donald] Trump will publish the peace plan, in the wake of which Netanyahu will invite Gantz to join the government and they will sit together," she stated
Elections are scheduled for April 9 with Gantz's Blue and White neck-and-neck in the polls with Netanyahu's Likud.
GAZA CITY, Palestinian Territories — The Gaza Strip run by Islamist movement Hamas is a poverty-stricken and overcrowded Palestinian coastal enclave under a crippling blockade by Israel and Egypt.
Here is some background:
One of the most densely populated places on the planet, Gaza has around 2 million people squeezed into a 362-square-kilometre strip of land on the Mediterranean's edge. Just 41 kilometres long and 12 kilometres at its widest, its land borders are with Israel and Egypt.
After the 1948-1949 Arab-Israeli war that followed the creation of the Israel, Gaza was put under Egypt's administration but not annexed. It was occupied by Israel during the June War in 1967.
The 1993 Oslo Accords established the Palestinian Authority that had control of two-thirds of Gaza, the remainder being occupied by high-security Jewish housing units and military areas. In 2005 Israel withdrew its soldiers and thousands of settlers, ending 38 years of occupation.
In 2006 Israel — which considers Hamas a "terrorist" group — imposed an air, land and sea blockade on Gaza, restricting the cross-border movement of people and goods following the capture of a soldier by Hamas militants on Israeli territory.
The blockade was tightened a year later after the Islamists ousted troops loyal to the rival Fateh faction of Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas.
The only entrance to Gaza not controlled by Israel is at Rafah on the Egyptian border, and has been almost completely closed since 2013.
The Gaza Strip has virtually no industry and suffers from a chronic lack of water and fuel, with almost no natural resources. About 53 per cent of the population is unemployed, this rising to 70 per cent of youngsters, and more than two-thirds depend on aid. One in two live under the poverty threshold.
More than 95 per cent of the territory's water is unfit for drinking due to overpumping of groundwater, and it suffers regular electricity cuts.
In October 2018 Qatar, under the auspices of the UN, sent Gaza $60 million to run its only power station.
Israel has carried out several military operations against Palestinian militants in Gaza, leaving thousands dead.
It launched a vast air offensive, "Operation Cast Lead", in December 2008 to stop Palestinian rocket fire into Israel. It ended with a ceasefire in January 2009 and 1,440 Palestinians and 13 Israelis dead.
In November 2012 "Operation Pillar of Defence" kicked off with a missile strike that killed top Hamas commander Ahmed Jaabari. In the ensuing eight-day flare-up, more than 170 Palestinians and six Israelis were killed.
In July 2014 Israel launched "Operation Protective Edge" to stop the rocket fire and destroy tunnels used for smuggling and the movement of militants. It lead to a war that left 2,251 dead on the Palestinian side and 74 on the Israeli side, most of them soldiers.
On March 30, 2018 Palestinians launched on the Gaza side of the barrier with Israel a massive protest to demand the right to return to homes in Israel from which they fled or were expelled in the late 1940s, after Israel was created.
The "Great March of Return", organised by civil society groups but backed by Hamas, has seen regular clashes, with at least 258 Palestinians killed by Israeli gunfire...
The UN envoy to Libya says corruption and fight over resources among rival factions is another progress in resolving the country's political turmoil.
Establishing national institutions in charge of a fair distribution of wealth is "the only solution for Libya," said Ghassan Salame to the Qatar-based Al-Jazeera TV late on Wednesday.
Libya is an oil-rich country, however, poverty is rampant in society.
Salame condemned corruption among Libya's political class that ignores "citizens who are poor and miserable.” It is "saddening to see them taking over the wealth, investing it overseas, and engaging in money laundering," he continued.
He spoke ahead of the April 14-16 National Conference, which he called a "crucial opportunity" to unite the country and chart a roadmap to elections and peace after years of division and chaos.
All Libyan factions are expected to attend this conference.
Libya slid into chaos after the 2011 uprising that toppled long-time ruler Muammar Gaddafi with rival administrations and militias fighting one another.
Flashback: Mu'ummar Gaddafi, 2011
gaddafi 2011: "my little brother obama wants to kill me"
For 40 years, or was it longer, I can’t remember, I did all I could to give people houses, hospitals, schools, and when they were hungry, I gave them food. I even made Benghazi into farmland from the desert,
I stood up to attacks from that cowboy Ronald Reagan, when he killed my adopted orphaned daughter, he was trying to kill me, instead he killed that poor innocent child. Then I helped my brothers and sisters from Africa with money for the African Union.
I did all I could to help people understand the concept of real democracy, where people’s committees ran our country. But that was never enough... They told Americans and other visitors, that they needed "democracy" and "freedom" never realizing it was a cut throat system, where the biggest dog eats the rest, but they were enchanted with those words, never realizing that in America, there was no free medicine, no free hospitals, no free housing, no free education and no free food, except when people had to beg or go to long lines to get soup.
No matter what I did, it was never enough for some, but for others, they knew I was the son of Gamal Abdel Nasser, the only true Arab and Muslim leader we’ve had since Salah-al-Deen, when he claimed the Suez Canal for his people, as I claimed Libya, for my people, it was his footsteps I tried to follow, to keep my people free from colonial domination... (Pravda, 2011/05/04)
The Secretary-General of the Arab League Ahmed Abou El-Gheit said on Friday that the United States' recognition of Israel's sovereignty over the Golan Heights would not change reality, adding that if occupation constitutes a crime then seeking legitimacy for it is a “major wrongdoing.”
Abou El-Gheit’s statements came during preparatory meetings of member states’ foreign ministers ahead of the 30th Arab League summit, which is scheduled to be held on Sunday in Tunisia.
He also said that the Palestinian cause will remain “the central Arab issue” despite the crises in the region. “Arabs have agreed on this principle at all summits and most recently at the Arab summit of Dammam in Saudi Arabia,” he said. He stressed the necessity of committing to the principle of maintaining the nation state in all Arab countries facing crises, like Syria, Libya and Yemen, in order to preserve their independence and territorial integrity against the threat of division.
Tunisian Foreign Minister Khemaies Jhinaoui said ahead of the preparatory meetings on Friday that his country is working on combining efforts with other Arab states to contain any repercussions from the US’s decision to recognise Israel's sovereignty over the occupied Syrian Golan Heights.
“We will work with the rest of brotherly Arab countries and the international community to contain all possible repercussions of this resolution in various international and regional platforms,” Jhinaoui stated.
In his opening speech during the ministerial session ahead of the Arab League Summit due to convene on Sunday in Tunisia, Saudi Minister of Foreign Affairs Dr. Ibrahim al-Assaf rejected US recognizing sovereignty of Israel over the Golan Heights. “The Kingdom rejects any measures that affect the historical status of Jerusalem,” he added.
“We [Saudi Arabia] support the territorial integrity of Syria and the political solution based on dialogue between the opposition and the regime.”
He further noted that the Kingdom wants to unify the Syrian opposition ahead of talks with the Syrian regime. He also reaffirmed his country’s support for UN efforts and UN envoys in Yemen, Syria and Libya.
As for the ongoing war in Yemen, the minister said: “we hold Iran fully responsible for what is happening in Yemen.” “We reject the interference of Iran and its militias in a number of Arab countries,” he added.
Iraq joined other Arab countries in rejecting the United States recognizing Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights on Friday ahead of Sunday's Arab League Summit.
"The Minister presented Iraq's firm stance on the Golan, which is a categorical rejection of the recognition of the sovereignty of the Zionist entity on the Golan Heights and that it is a blatant violation of international legitimacy and [UN] Security Council resolutions," read a statement from Foreign Minister Mohammed Ali al-Hakim on Friday. Washington justified the move by saying Israel needs to be able to defend against Iranian and Syrian threats to the area.
"[A] lack of Israel’s ability to defend that area would be to undermine Israeli security, and enhancing the Golan Heights is to enhance Israel’s security, which strengthens, frankly, our ability to partner with Israel to fight the common threats that we face," US Secretary of State deputy spokesperson Robert Palladino said during a press briefing on Tuesday.
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