#AGAIN! LAW on ILLEGAL SETTLEMENTS/TRANSFER OWN POPULATION IN OCCUPIED TERRITORIES:

Constitute a #WARCRIME:

Rule 130.
States may not deport or transfer parts of their own civilian population into a territory they occupy.
Summary

State practice establishes this rule as a norm of customary international law applicable in international armed conflicts.
International armed conflicts

The prohibition on deporting or transferring parts of a State’s own civilian population into the territory it occupies is set forth in the Fourth Geneva Convention.[1]

It is a grave breach of Additional Protocol I.[2]

Under the Statute of the International Criminal Court, “the transfer, directly or indirectly, by the Occupying Power of parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies” constitutes a ▶▶▶▶ war crime in international armed conflicts.[3]

Many military manuals prohibit the deportation or transfer by a party to the conflict of parts of its civilian population into the territory it occupies.[4]

This rule is included in the legislation of numerous States.[5]

Official statements and reported practice also support the prohibition on transferring one’s own civilian population into occupied territory.[6]

Attempts to alter the demographic composition of an occupied territory have been condemned by the UN Security Council.[7]

In 1992, it called for the cessation of attempts to change the ethnic composition of the population, anywhere in the former Yugoslavia.[8]

Similarly, the UN General Assembly and UN Commission on Human Rights have condemned settlement practices.[9]

According to the final report of the UN Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights Dimensions of Population Transfer, including the Implantation of Settlers and Settlements, “the implantation of settlers” is unlawful and engages State responsibility and the criminal responsibility of individuals.[10]

In 1981, the 24th International Conference of the Red Cross reaffirmed that “settlements in occupied territory are incompatible with article 27 and 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention”.[11]

In the Case of the Major War Criminals in 1946, the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg found two of the accused guilty of attempting the “Germanization” of occupied territories.[12]

[1] Fourth Geneva Convention, Article 49, sixth paragraph (cited in Vol. II, Ch. 38, § 334).

[2] Additional Protocol I, Article 85(4)(a) (adopted by consensus) (ibid., § 335).

[3] ICC Statute, Article 8(2)(b)(viii) (ibid., § 336).

[4] See, e.g., the military manuals of Argentina (ibid., §§ 346–347), Australia (ibid., § 348), Canada (ibid., § 349), Croatia (ibid., § 350), Hungary (ibid., § 351), Italy (ibid., § 352), Netherlands (ibid., § 353), New Zealand (ibid., § 354), Spain (ibid., § 355), Sweden (ibid., § 357), Switzerland (ibid., § 357), United Kingdom (ibid., § 358) and United States (ibid., § 359).

[5] See, e.g., the legislation of Armenia (ibid., § 361), Australia (ibid., §§ 362–363), Azerbaijan (ibid., §§ 364–365), Bangladesh (ibid., § 366), Belarus (ibid., § 367), Belgium (ibid., § 368), Bosnia and Herzegovina (ibid., § 369), Canada (ibid., §§ 371–372), Congo (ibid., § 373), Cook Islands (ibid., § 374), Croatia (ibid., § 375), Cyprus (ibid., § 376), Czech Republic (ibid., § 377), Germany (ibid., § 379), Georgia (ibid., § 380), Ireland (ibid., § 381), Mali (ibid., § 384), Republic of Moldova (ibid., § 385), Netherlands (ibid., § 386), New Zealand (ibid., §§ 387–388), Niger (ibid., § 390), Norway (ibid., § 391), Slovakia (ibid., § 392), Slovenia (ibid., § 393), Spain (ibid., § 394), Tajikistan (ibid., § 395), United Kingdom (ibid., §§ 397–398), Yugoslavia (ibid., § 399) and Zimbabwe (ibid., § 400); see also the draft legislation of Argentina (ibid., § 360), Burundi (ibid., § 370), Jordan (ibid., § 382), Lebanon (ibid., § 383) and Trinidad and Tobago (ibid., § 396).

[6] See, e.g., the statements of Kuwait (ibid., § 405) and United States (ibid., §§ 406–407) and the reported practice of Egypt (ibid., § 402) and France (ibid., § 403).

[7] See, e.g., UN Security Council, Res. 446 , 452 and 476 (ibid., § 408), Res. 465 (ibid., § 409) and Res. 677 (ibid., § 410).

[8] UN Security Council, Res. 752 (ibid., § 411).

[9] See, e.g., UN General Assembly, Res. 36/147 C, 37/88 C, 38/79 D, 39/95 D and 40/161 D (ibid., § 412) and Res. 54/78 (ibid., § 405); UN Commission on Human Rights, Res. 2001/7 (ibid., § 413).

[10] UN Sub-Commission on Human Rights, Final report of the Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights Dimensions of Population Transfer, including the Implantation of Settlers and Settlements (ibid., § 415).

[11] 24th International Conference of the Red Cross, Res. III (ibid., § 419).

[12] International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg, Case of the Major War Criminals, Judgement (ibid., § 421).

(www.twitlonger.com / 30.11.2012)

Bahrain Congratulates the Palestinian People

 

New York, Nov. 30. (BNA) – The Kingdom of Bahrain has congratulated the brotherly Palestinian people on the UN General Assembly’s resolution granting Palestinian a non-Member Observer State status, affirming that the adoption of the decision by a overwhelming majority reflects the International Community’s solidarity with the Palestinian people and support for its struggle to achieve its inalienable rights of being free and establishing an independent state with Jerusalem as its capital.
In a statement to the General Assembly, the Kingdom’s Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador Jamel Fares Al-Ruae highlighted HM the King’s address to the world marking International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People in which he said that the occasion was “a remainder to the whole world of the UN’s permanent responsibility towards the Palestinian people and the need to resolve its just cause peacefully, fairly and comprehensively within international legitimacy, adding that the occasion is an opportunity for the International Community to renew its commitments to lifting the injustice that has been inflicted on the Palestinian people since 1948.”

Al-Ruwaie also cited HM the King’s assertion that the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People “reflects the International Community’s commitment to continuously supporting the Palestinian people in its just struggle to get its legitimate indivisible rights through ending the atrocious Israeli occupation of its territories and establishing its independent state, with Jerusalem as its Capital.”

The kingdom of Bahrain was among the first countries which backed the Palestinian request to be granted a non-Member Observer State status at the United Nations.

It also expressed hope that the UN Security Council approves the request submitted by Palestine on September 23rd, 2011 to be recognized as a full-member state at the UN, calling for the need to resume peace negotiations as soon as possible, in accordance with the concerned UN Security Council’s resolutions, the Madrid Peace Conference, the Road Map, the Arab Peace Initiative and the vision based a two-state solution in order to reach a deal on all pending issues.

It also called upon the International Community and UN agencies to continue supporting the Palestinian people in order to be able to establish its sovereign independent state as soon as possible.

(www.bna.bh / 30.11.2012)

Clashes continue in flashpoint Tunisia town

Political instability mounts as police continue crackdown against protesters calling for improved economic conditions.

Demonstrations against the violent crackdown in Siliana were also held in the capital, Tunis
Violent clashes have continued in the Tunisian town of Siliana, where a police crackdown on protests has left hundreds of people wounded this week, as political instability in the north African country mounts.

Policemen, backed by armoured cars, fired warning shots and tear gas at hundreds of protesters on Friday evening.

The demonstrators hurled rocks and petrol bombs at the security forces, erecting barricades in the town centre and setting some structures on fire.

Thousands had taken to the streets of the impoverished town earlier – demanding the governor’s resignation and financial aid in a fourth straight day of unrest – where the authorities have been battling to maintain order.

A representative of the UGTT, Tunisia’s main trade union, which had called Friday’s demonstration, unsuccessfully urged the protesters to disperse, and appeals for calm from the government were also ignored.

The authorities were unable provide details on the number of people wounded in the latest clashes.

More than 300 people have been wounded in the town, 120km southwest of Tunis, the capital, since Tuesday, when the protesters first took to the streets.

Early on Friday, a “symbolic” march a few kilometres towards Tunis drew a crowd of thousands, who took part on foot, in cars and on motorcycles, chanting: “With our souls and our blood we sacrifice for Siliana.”

‘Excessive force’

Protesters told the AFP news agency they would continue their agitation until governor Ahmed Ezzine Mahjoubi steps down, police repression ends and a development programme for the region is put in place.

Precarious living conditions, widespread unemployment and police brutality were driving factors behind the revolution that toppled former president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.

Amnesty International and the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay both called on the authorities to end the use of “excessive force” against the protesters in Siliana.

Demonstrations took place in Tunis and Kef, west of the capital, in support of the protesters in Siliana.

On Friday, the streets of the town were littered with stones and the charred remains of barricades from previous unrest.

“We will undertake a symbolic march to show the determination of the people against [economic] marginalisation,” Nejib
Sebti, the UGTT regional secretary-general, told AFP earlier, urging the crowd to march “quietly and peacefully”.

“We are ready for dialogue but without the presence of the governor,” Sebti added.

Police criticised

Hamadi Jebali, the country’s prime minister, has refused to sack Mahjoubi, and also rejected calls for his own resignation.

Protesters say they are also angry about police violence during the protests, with some of them treated for shotgun wounds.

“This is what the Ennahda [the ruling party] police did to me,” said a man showing injuries to his legs and hips.

Amnesty called for an immediate investigation into claims that shotguns and other firearms were used against them.

Jebali has promised an investigation into the violence, which he said was threatening the country’s fledgling democracy as it approaches the second anniversary of the revolution triggered on December 17, 2010.

“We will investigate the possible excessive use of force and the origins of the violence,” while demanding accountability from those responsible for “this catastrophe,” Jebali said on Thursday.

He also accused secular liberals and religious Salafis of harming the country’s economy and international image through their conflict with one another.

The prime minister on Thursday accused opposition parties of sowing disorder and called for the violence in the northern city of Siliana to end.

President criticises government

On Friday, Moncef Marzouki, the president, said in a national address that the government had failed to deal with the crisis adequately, and urged the constituent assembly to quickly ratify a new constitution so that fresh elections could be held by the summer of next year.

The violence in Siliana comes as clashes, strikes and attacks by Salafists have multiplied across Tunisia, plunging the country into a political impasse.

Much of the country’s interior suffers from a chronic lack of development and has seen rising discontent over the government’s failure to raise living standards.

Al Jazeera’s Hashem Ahelbarra, reporting from Tunis, said: “People [are] becoming very disillusioned with the government because of its failure to tackle problems.

“Unemployment is on the rise, and so is poverty. People are asking the government to provide some answers to their demands.”

“People who took to the streets in Siliana come from the same deprived regions that were disadvantaged during the last five decades.

“And they are saying that this government, which is supposed to be coming from the will of the people … is failing us.

“They have been using the same slogans they used against Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.”

(www.aljazeera.com / 30.11.2012)

VS veroordelen plan bouw nederzettingen Israël

JERUZALEM – De Verenigde Staten hebben vrijdag het voornemen van Israël om 3000 huizen te gaan bouwen op de Westelijke Jordaanoever veroordeeld.

Volgens Washingtron zal dit plan averechts werken en wordt het alleen maar moeilijker om de vredesbesprekingen te hervatten.

Israël zei eerder vrijdag 3000 huizen te willen bouwen voor kolonisten op de Westelijke Jordaanoever inclusief Oost-Jeruzalem. De bouw is een reactie op de erkenning door de Verenigde Naties van Palestina als waarnemersstaat, aldus een Israëlische functionaris. Israël was hier fel tegen.

De Palestijnen wijzen de Israëlische bouwlust fel af. ”Het is een daad van agressie van Israël tegen een andere staat en de wereld moet haar verantwoordelijkheid nemen”,’ aldus de PLO.

Stoppen

De Palestijnse president Mahmud Abbas riep Israël ook op te stoppen met het bouwen van huizen in bezette gebieden en om vredesbesprekingen te beginnen. ”Ik heb duizenden keren gezegd dat we er klaar voor zijn om de onderhandelingen te hervatten”, zei hij in New York.

”We stellen geen voorwaarde maar er zijn zeker 15 VN-resoluties die bouwactiviteiten als illegaal bestempelen en als een obstakel voor vrede dat moet worden verwijderd.”

Volgens de Israëlische media zijn er huizen gepland in een omstreden gebied, een smalle corridor tussen Oost-Jeruzalem en de joodse nederzetting Maaleh Adumim. De Palestijnen willen Oost-Jeruzalem als hoofdstad.

Tegen uitbreiding

Ze zijn fel tegen uitbreiding van het 5 kilometer oostelijker gelegen Maaleh Adumim, omdat de Westelijke Jordaanoever dan wordt afgesloten van Oost-Jeruzalem. Veel hardliners binnen de Israëlische regering zijn voorstander van een dergelijke uitbreiding. De VS zeiden al eerder hier fel tegen te zijn.

Het Internationaal Gerechtshof in Den Haag, de hoogste juridische instantie in de wereld, stelde in 2004 al vast dat de Joodse nederzettingen in bezet Palestijns gebied illegaal zijn.

(www.nu.nl / 30.11.2012)

Analysis: The next stop for Palestinians could be global courts

The UN General Assembly’s overwhelming vote to recognize Palestine as a non-member state offers little prospect for greater clout in world politics but it could make a difference in the international courts.

The formal recognition of statehood, even without full UN membership, could be enough for the Palestinians to achieve membership at the Hague-based International Criminal Court, where member states have the power to refer for investigation alleged war crimes or crimes against humanity.

With its upgraded status at the UN, the Palestinians may now seek to apply to the ICC for membership and authority to file war-crimes charges against the Israeli government and its officials.

That threat of so-called “lawfare” has already prevented some Israeli civilian and military leaders from traveling abroad out of fear they’d be arrested as war criminals.

“Israelis are afraid of being hauled to The Hague,” said Robert Malley, the Middle East program director for the International Crisis Group.

The Palestinians have long planned to use non-membership statehood at the UN, once obtained, as a way to enter the ICC. One Palestinian negotiator, in talking to the International Crisis Group, called the strategy a “legal or diplomatic intifada” against Israel.

When President Mahmoud Abbas addressed the United Nations in September he specifically accused Israel of committing war crimes.

Israeli officials have said the country’s armed forces strictly adhere to international law and argue the true aim of Palestinians’ accusations is to isolate Israel.

Last spring, the ICC’s former chief prosecutor turned down a 2009 Palestinian request for prosecution of Israel’s actions in the 2008-2009 Gaza war with Hamas, specifically noting that Palestine was only a UN observer entity.

In September, the new ICC prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, said a General Assembly vote could make the difference.

“What we have also done is to leave the door open and to say that if this — if Palestine is able to pass over that (statehood) hurdle, of course, under the General Assembly, then we will revisit what the ICC can do,” Bensouda said during a talk in New York.

The Hague-based ICC is the one international venue where individuals can be criminally charged. All 117 countries that ratified the Rome Statute, which created the court, are bound to turn over suspects.

The United States and Israel have not joined the Rome Statute, but that would not prevent the Palestinians from pursing cases under the treaty. ICC arrest warrants and rulings carry geopolitical weight even when they can’t be enforced. An indictment of Libya’s Moammar Gadhafi last year helped mobilize international support for the rebels who opposed him.

Of course, if the Palestinians enter the legal battlefield, they, too, risk being accused and prosecuted in the venues where they’d try to target Israelis.

There is no guarantee for either side that the ICC prosecutor would follow through on charges. The ICC has procedural obstacles that could head off any prosecution there.

Some commentators argue that, like lawyers in any legal fight, both the Palestinians and Israelis have exaggerated the stakes in what’s more of a political and public-relations drama.

“The concern that something dramatic would change is overblown,” said Rosa Brooks, a professor of international law at Georgetown University who has also served in policy roles at the State and Defense departments.

And it’s important to remember that the ICC is a political organization as much as a legal one — cases are initiated by member governments and the UN Security Council — so geopolitical considerations can trump a strictly legal case.

(www.maannews.net / 30.11.2012)

November bloodiest month for journalists in Syria: activists

13 reporters and citizen journalists were killed in Syria during November; the deadliest month for journalists in the Arab country’s 20-month uprising. (Reuters)

13 reporters and citizen journalists were killed in Syria during November; the deadliest month for journalists in the Arab country’s 20-month uprising.

November was the bloodiest month for journalists in Syria in the 20-month uprising, with 13 reporters and citizen journalists killed, the pro-revolution Syrian Journalists Association announced on Friday.

“This is a clear and serious indication that journalists and media workers are being targeted, by Syrian regime forces as well as three killed at the hands of the armed opposition,” the SJA said.

Among those killed were Mustafa Kerman, who was fatally wounded in shelling in second city Aleppo on November 16.

“Mustafa was killed by a shell while filming a (Friday) protest in Bustan al-Qasr neighborhood,” a Facebook page dedicated to the young man said.

The following day, media activist Hassan Kaaka, was tortured to death in the Aleppo military intelligence branch, the SJA said, noting that two of his brothers had also been killed during the uprising.

On November 18, citizen journalist Mohammed al-Khaled was killed by the Namr battalion of the Diraa al-Shahbaa rebel brigade in Aleppo city.

“He was executed by a firing squad for his repeated criticism of some members of the Free Syrian Army.”

Journalist Mohammed Quraytam, a peace activist, was killed in shelling on the town of Daraya outside Damascus on Thursday, according to the SJA.

“Quraytam was working with Aynab Baladi newspaper and was an important activist in the peaceful movement. He had been imprisoned in 2003 for his civil society activities in Daraya,” it said.

The association said 100 journalists and media activists have killed in Syria since the outbreak of the revolution.

Reporters Without Borders, said at least 15 journalists and 41 citizen journalists have been killed in connection with their work since the start of the conflict.

(english.alarabiya.net / 30.11.2012)

VIEW : Israel-Palestine conflict: Hamas upgraded to a partner of peace

The November agreement, unlike the previous deals, recognised Hamas as the only authority in Gaza and made it responsible for maintaining the ceasefire on behalf of other Palestinian factions
The eight days of bombings and drone strikes on Gaza and the rocket attacks to Israel ended with a ceasefire brokered by the mediation of the Egyptian president, Mohamed Morsi. The violence began on November 14 with the assassination of the Hamas leader, Ahmed Al-Jabari by the Israeli security forces. This was not the first time Israel resorted to targeted assassination. In 2004, Mohamed Yasin, the octogenarian leader and the founder of Hamas was killed. His successor Ratansi met the same fate a few years later.

The Hamas activists vowed to take revenge for the assassination of its leader and fired homemade rockets into south Israel. The rockets, though inaccurate, had a longer hitting range than the earlier models. Some of the rockets hit the suburbs of Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. Though most of the rockets fired by Hamas were intercepted by the Iron Dome system, built with the financial assistance of the United States, this created panic in the Israeli population. Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, threatened to launch a ground invasion into Gaza unless Hamas ceased firing rockets. This threat was meant for home consumption, as Mr Netanyahu knew that the ground invasion would have left the Israeli troops bleeding. Israel, several times in the past, made such an invasion into Palestine. It was able to inflict heavy casualties on Hamas and large-scale destruction of the infrastructure, but it could not wipe out Hamas, and its troops returned home bleeding. Netanyahu was also aware that Hamas was better prepared and equipped than four years ago, and the Israeli experience in ground offensives would not be rewarding. He was not willing to take a risk weeks prior to the general election due in January 2013.

President Morsi extended support to Hamas. The Egyptian prime minister, Tunisian foreign minister and the Prince of Qatar came and expressed solidarity with Hamas. The Turkish foreign minister led a delegation of OIC ministers to Gaza and voiced concern at the brutality of the Israeli army. Khaled Meshal, the Hamas leader based in Syria, visited a number of Muslim countries to seek their support and obtained the permission of the government of Qatar to set up an office in Doha. Hamas is no longer in isolation. It has succeeded in getting the support of many Muslim countries.

As the casualties increased, the international community mounted pressure on Israel to halt the offensive and allow humanitarian assistance into Gaza. Israel sent its senior officials to Cairo to negotiate a ceasefire. Mohamed Morsi negotiated the ceasefire with the representatives of both Hamas and Israel. Hillary Clinton, the US Secretary of State, flew to the Middle East in order to be involved in the talks. She might not have talked to Hamas officials but Israel did. Thus, the position of Israel and her allies of “no dialogue with Hamas”, ‘the terrorist organisation’, could not be sustained. The South African National Congress, Shin Fein and the PLO were branded as terrorist organisations by their adversaries too. However, in the end governments had to initiate dialogue with the so-called terrorists’ organisations in order to find a lasting peace solution. As per the agreement, “Israel should stop all hostilities in the Gaza Strip by land, sea and air, including incursions and targeting of individuals. All Palestinian factions shall stop all hostilities from the Gaza Strip against Israel, including rocket attacks and all attacks along the border. Opening the crossings, facilitating the movement of people and transfer of goods and refraining from restricting residents’ free movements, targeting residents in border areas and procedures of implementation shall be dealt with after 24 hours from the start of the ceasefire.”

The November agreement, unlike the previous deals, recognised Hamas as the only authority in Gaza and made it responsible for maintaining the ceasefire on behalf of other Palestinian factions as well. This is indeed a de facto recognition of the legitimacy of Hamas. The agreement obliged the Israeli government to stop all hostilities, including incursions and targeting individuals, keep the crossings open and facilitate the movement of people and transfer of goods. These were the demands of the people under seige in Gaza and Hamas was able to force these on Israel. Hamas, therefore, has been able to make a better deal for its people and can claim credit for it. The Hamas-Israeli conflict and the process leading to the ceasefire undermined the role of President Mahmud Abbas. He depended on the United States and Israel for several years to take the peace process further but was let down by both. The United States did not pursue the peace process during the past 12 years and Israel continued the expansion of settlements. The number of settlers increased from 130,000 to over 640,000 since the peace deal was signed between Israel and Palestine. Mr Abbas will still lobby for Palestine statehood at the United Nations. The General Assembly is very likely to accord Palestine Non-member Observer State status. A few weeks ago, President Shimon Peres told CNN that Mahmud Abbas should not rush to the United Nations and give more time for the statehood. Palestinians have waited for for 60 years, this long period was apparently not enough for Shimon Peres. Although Palestine would not get the status of a full-fledged member, it could pave the way for her admission in other international organisations, including the International Criminal Court.

The president and the prime minister of Israel thanked President Obama for supporting Israel during this crisis. Shimon Peres admitted that the Iron Dome System could not have been developed without American financial assistance. Ehud Barak, the Israeli defence minister, characterised the military cooperation between the US and Israel during the recent years as unprecedented. As the crisis began, President Obama voiced his support to Israel and demanded that Hamas must stop shelling rockets into Israel. He remained silent on the assassination of the Hamas leader by Israel that sparked the violence. This confirmed that President Obama continues to pursue a biased policy towards Israel similar to his predecessor.

In June 2009, President Obama said in Cairo, “America’s strong bonds with Israel are well known. This bond is unbreakable. It is based upon cultural and historical ties, and the recognition that the aspiration for a Jewish homeland is rooted in a tragic history that cannot be denied. On the other hand, it is also undeniable that the Palestinian people — Muslims and Christians — have suffered in pursuit of a homeland. For more than 60 years, they have endured the pain of dislocation. They endure the daily humiliations — large and small — that come with occupation. So let there be no doubt: the situation for the Palestinian people is intolerable. America will not turn our backs on the legitimate Palestinian aspiration for dignity, opportunity, and a state of their own…The United States does not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlements.” The massive military assistance, unconditional diplomatic support to Israel and lack of peace initiatives during the past four years were in contrast to the pledge Mr Obama had made at the beginning of his presidency.

The United States had invested billions of dollars in uplifting Israel to its present position. Militarily it is the strongest country in the region. It has become belligerent and it prefers military solutions of political problems. The United States should now pursue a peace initiative based on what President Obama had outlined in Cairo at the beginning of his presidency and impress upon Israel that her security depends on co-existence with Palestine and not on a military buildup. This will be the road map for a lasting peace in the region.

(Abdur Rahman Chowdhury / www.dailytimes.com.pk / 30.11.2012)

Embroilment

Michael Doran is the Hertog Senior Fellow at the Saban Center at Brookings, a former senior director at the National Security Council and a former deputy assistant secretary of defense. Author of “Pan-Arabism before Nasser: Egyptian Power Politics and the Palestine Question,” Dr. Doran is currently writing a book on the Middle East strategy of President Eisenhower, who, like President Obama, contended with a region in the throes of revolutionary change.

Last year, he penned a seminal essay (PDF) in Foreign Affairs entitled “The Heirs of Nasser,” in which he argued that, much like Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser did in the 1950s, Iran’s strategy today would seek to turn the region’s upheaval to the disadvantage of the United States. In Egypt, Doran contended, Iran would look to incite violence against Israel through Hamas, with the aim of driving a wedge between Cairo and Washington. It was Nasser who had perfected this strategy, which, Doran explained, is known in Arabic as tawreet (“embroilment”). The recent war in Gaza between Israel and Hamas proved the prescience of Doran’s important essay.

I spoke to Dr. Doran about the Gaza war, Egypt, and more.

In your Foreign Affairs article, “The Heirs of Nasser,” you explained the concept of tawreet (“embroilment”). You defined tawreet as “goading [someone] to take actions against a third party that will result in political effects beneficial to you.” You then argued that the conditions are once again ripe for tawreet, especially in Egypt, “and that Iran would seek to embroil Cairo.” Do you see the recent conflagration in Gaza along those lines? Was this an attempt by Hamas, and perhaps behind it, Iran, to embroil Egypt? What was the calculus?

Doran: Yes, I assume that one of the motives behind Hamas’ escalation was an effort to shift the posture of Egypt, of President Morsi, so that it would be more supportive of Hamas and less cooperative with the United States and Israel. Provoking conflict with Israel was a means of appealing to Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood base, and Egyptian public opinion more generally, in an effort to pull him closer to Hamas.

Was it Hamas’ calculation alone, or did Tehran also push for it? No American observer has very precise knowledge regarding the extent of Tehran’s influence over Hamas. My working assumption is that the Iranians give Hamas the big arrow. Qassem Soleimani says, “We think some tension on the border would be advisable,” and then Hamas is left to translate this general advice into specific policies, determining the tactics and timing on its own.

The last report out of Israel on the bus bombing in Tel Aviv (which took place on the last day of the conflict) identified Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) as a co-conspirator with Hamas. If true, that is significant evidence of a more direct Iranian role in operations. PIJ is very closely aligned, almost controlled, by Iran, so it’s safe to assume that any operation conducted by PIJ was ordered or sanctioned by Tehran. The timing of that particular outrage suggests that PIJ, meaning Iran, was trying to generate an Israeli escalation in the form of a ground incursion.

Personally, I find the question, “Did Iran give the order?” very interesting.  But from a US policy perspective, the answer does not make much difference. For Washington, the strategically significant fact is that Hamas and Iran are still close, as evidenced, among other things, by the steady supply of rockets from Iran to Gaza. Therefore, it makes sense to treat Hamas’ escalation as a joint Iranian-Hamas effort to shift the posture of Egypt.

Many were worried that President Morsi would not be able to resist popular pressure to back Hamas. Were you surprised by Morsi’s stance, and how do you explain it?

Doran: No, I was not surprised. Hamas is an offshoot of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood. For Morsi, the strategic prize is control of Egypt. He approaches Gaza with one question in mind: Does conflict there help me with my key project? In the absence of strong evidence to the contrary, I don’t see how any leader in Cairo, regardless of ideological affinities, would see an unrestrained Hamas as a value to Egypt. Hamas is nothing but a headache for Morsi. It complicates his relationship with the United States, provides rivals in Egypt with a club to beat him with, and it makes governing the Sinai all that much more difficult. Morsi wants a Hamas that will follow his orders; Hamas wants independence. There’s an inherent tension in the relationship which will not be made any easier, and in some ways will be more difficult, by the fact that they are both affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood.

There’s a view today that holds that Hamas has “won” this latest bout. Definitions of this supposed victory vary, but advocates claim that Hamas has made undeniable gains. Do you agree?

Doran: No. What are Hamas’ gains? It gained a sense of accomplishment from having stayed in the fight until the end and having deterred Israel, at this stage, from a ground invasion. It aroused significant feelings of popular sympathy in the Arab world. It generated a slightly higher level of diplomatic engagement from states like Turkey, which already engage with it. And it probably won an incremental loosening of the blockade. None of these, in my mind, are tangible enough or significant enough to lay claim to victory in a war that inflicted significant losses. In addition, Hamas advertised its continued association with Iran to the world, thus alienating significant players, such as Saudi Arabia. And it gave Israel a prime opportunity to test and showcase its missile defense capabilities. On top of this, I strongly suspect that it failed to move Morsi, and probably alienated him. On this point, we’ll have to wait and see. All signs, however, suggest that Morsi is going to treat Hamas just like Mubarak did, but without the warm and fuzzy feeling.

Did Turkey’s bet on sponsoring Hamas succeed? Where does Turkey go from here?

Doran: While Morsi came out with an improved international stature, Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan appeared at best irrelevant and at worst un-statesmanlike. The limits of Turkey’s influence were exposed. The major external players in Gaza are Egypt and Iran. Turkey simply has no significant role to play. I suspect that many Turkish officials would like to normalize relations with Israel. The two countries share many interests, not least of which are common concerns regarding the conflict in Syria and the regional role of Iran. But Erdogan has made public demands against Israel from which he cannot walk away. He seeks both an apology for the deaths on the Mavi Marmara and an end to the blockade of Gaza. I don’t see Israel conceding on either of those anytime soon. So Erdogan and his foreign minister, Ahmet Davutoglu, are stuck playing cheerleader for Hamas yet getting nothing for it other than the domestic benefits. Those will atrophy as Turkey’s irrelevance to the real diplomacy becomes more apparent.

Some now claim Hamas is “in play,” and there have even been some calls in the US to engage the Palestinian group, with Egyptian involvement. What do you think? 

Doran: Engaging Hamas at the current moment will have even less success than engaging the Assad regime had over the last decade. When Hamas drops its demand to destroy Israel, it will become a viable diplomatic partner for the United States.

(www.nowlebanon.com / 30.11.2012)

Israel Threatens To “Reoccupy’ West Bank

Israeli member of Knesset, Vice Prime Minister and Minister for Regional Development and the development of the Negev and Galilee, Silvan Shalom, threatened that Israel would reoccupy the West Bank in response to the Palestinian bid at the United Nations General Assembly that won the Palestinians a nonmember observer state status.

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During an interview with the Israeli Radio, Shalom, of the Likud Party of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, accused the Palestinian Authority (P.A.) in the occupied West Bank, of violating the Oslo Agreement, and said that heading to the UN effectively “voided the peace deal, an issue that allows Israel to conduct unilateral moves”.

The Palestine News Network (PNN) has reported that Shalom threatened that Israel would enforce its military control on the entire West Bank, and would link the Ma’ale Adumim (the biggest settlement bloc in the West Bank) with occupied East Jerusalem by confiscating large areas of Palestinian lands.

Shalom claimed that the Palestinians did not agree to return to the negotiation table despite “the fact that Netanyahu agreed to the two-state solution and froze the construction and expansion of settlements”.

On her part, Tzipi Livni, former Israeli Foreign Minister and the leader of the newly formed party “The Movement”, stated that the Palestinian Authority could have been prevented from heading to the United Nations General Assembly, should the government of Benjamin Netanyahu have changed its policies and negotiated with the Palestinians.

Israel and the United States were angered by the Palestinian move, and the Palestinian victory at the United Nations General Assembly, after 138 voted Yes for Palestine, while only nine countries said No, and 41 countries abstained.

The Palestinian Authority of Mahmoud Abbas in the West Bank said that it is not opposed to direct peace talks with Israel, but cannot resume the talks as along as Tel Aviv continues its violations, invasions, home demolitions, and its illegal settlement construction and expansion activities on Palestinian lands in the occupied West Bank, including in and around occupied East Jerusalem.

Israel never relinquished control of the West Bank, as the Palestinian Authority only “controls” main West Bank cities and some surrounding villages, but has not geographic contiguity, no control over borders or natural resources, and has no control on main areas of Palestinian lands in the West Bank.

The Israeli army also carries out repeated invasions and attacks, that also include the kidnapping of Palestinians, in areas that are under the “control of the P.A.”.

Silvan Shalom - Image By PNN

Silvan Shalom

(www.imemc.org / 30.11.2012)

Mannen die jihad wilden voeren in Syrië opgepakt in Rotterdam

 

 

Mannen die jihad wilden voeren in Syrië opgepakt in Rotterdam
Drie jonge moslims wilden naar Syrië.
De recherche heeft donderdag in Rotterdam drie vermoedelijk geradicaliseerde moslims opgepakt op verdenking van terrorisme. Ze zouden naar Syrië hebben willen reizen om daar deel te nemen aan de internationaal jihad, meldt het Openbaar Ministerie vrijdag. Het gaat om mannen van 22, 23 en 33 jaar. Bij het doorzoeken van hun woningen is beslag gelegd op messen, een zwaard en een kruisboog.

Verder trof de politie afscheidsbrieven, gepakte rugzakken met reisuitrusting en een grote hoeveelheid jihadistische documenten aan. Ook twee woningen van familieleden in Doesburg en Utrecht zijn doorzocht. De verdachten wilden al eerder naar Syrië reizen, maar hun vlucht naar Turkije werd uitgesteld.

Twee van hen stonden donderdagmiddag geboekt voor een vlucht van Brussel naar Turkije. Een van de mannen is volgens het OM vorige week getrouwd met een vrouw die hij niet eerder had ontmoet. Hij kende haar via internet en wilde samen met haar strijden voor de jihad.

Op een foto voor zijn bruid poseerde hij met een kalasjnikov. Hij schreef haar op internet dat hij hoopte dat ze samen zouden sterven en samen naar het paradijs zouden gaan.

(nieuws.marokko.nl / 30.11.2012)