Video analysis undermines Israeli claims about Umm al-Hiran ‘attack’

Demolitions by the Israeli forces leave Palestinian families homeless in East Jerusalem [file photo]

Demolitions by the Israeli forces leave Palestinian families homeless in East Jerusalem

An investigation of footage recorded in Umm al-Hiran during this week’s violent demolition raid has undermined authorities’ claims about the circumstances surrounding the killing of local resident Yaqoub al-Qian, whose car hit and killed a police officer.

Israeli police immediately insisted that a terrorist ‘car-ramming’ attack had taken place, and al-Qian, a well-respected teacher and father, was in some way connected to Daesh. No evidence to substantiate these claims have yet been produced.

In a video produced by Activestills and Forensic Architecture, the sequence of events is analysed comparing footage shot by activists and police drone footage of the same incident.

“By synchronizing the clips and photos taken on the ground, while at the same time layering the sound from the Activestills video over the silent police tape, the investigators were able to determine that police opened fire on Abu al-Qian’s car before he sped up.”

In an additional disturbing finding, the video shows that “after the car has stopped completely, a final gunshot is heard. According to Forensic Architecture and Activestills, this is what Israeli security forces term a ‘verification killing’ — shooting to kill an already incapacitated individual.”

(Source / 20.01.2017)

Tunisia’s Salvation Front requests financial and media support from the UAE

Central Bank of UAE

One of the founders of the Salvation Front and former leader in Nida Tunis Party has requested financial support from the United Arab Emirates in order to counter the Ennahda Movement. The request by Rida Belhaj has been revealed in the minutes of his meeting inside the UAE embassy in Tunis with a senior diplomat. The meeting, Arabi21 has reported, took place at the embassy during the first week of January at Belhaj’s request.

According to the minutes, Belhaj told the UAE official that Nida Tunis Party is completely finished and that it is no longer possible to revive it as a united entity. The sole remaining intact party is Ennahda, said Belhaj; it is the “prime political force” in Tunisia.

Furthermore, he explained, Ennahda is more than likely to win the forthcoming elections convincingly if “nothing is done to contain the situation.” A new political force that is capable of striking a balance with Ennahda in the Tunisian political landscape is needed, he claimed, noting that the Salvation Front, which was established by several parties — the most important of which are the Tunisia Project Party under the leadership of Muhsin Marzuq and the Free National Union under the leadership of Salim Riyahi — is the only political front that is able to strike this sought-after balance.

“The Front is the only political body in Tunisia that may interact positively with the UAE’s regional policies in the region,” suggested Belhaj, “particularly within Libya.” He asked for the UAE to provide financial and media support for the Salvation Front. Although Riyahi is known to be wealthy, Belhaj stressed that the parties within the Front have financial difficulties.

The other members of the Salvation Front, announced earlier this month, are the Socialist Party, the Democratic National Action and the Constants.

(Source / 20.01.2017)

Belgium to arrest former Israeli FM for “war crimes”

Image of former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Israel, Tzipi Livni [file photo]

Image of former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Israel, Tzipi Livni [file photo]

A Belgian court has ordered the arrest of the former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Israel, Tzipi Livni, when she steps off the plane on her arrival in the Belgian capital Brussels on 23 January, official EU sources revealed on Thursday.

On 23 June 2010, a group of victims filed a complaint in Belgium to the Federal Prosecutor against certain Israeli civilian and military officials at the time, including Tzipi Livni, for war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in the Gaza Strip, according to Palestinian News Network (PNN).

The Federal Prosecutor’s Office confirmed that Livni would be intercepted by the Federal Judicial Police during her stay in Belgium to be heard and questioned following the complaint lodged against her and that it would ensure the necessary follow-up to this case.

Livni was the Israeli Minister of Foreign Affairs at the time of the Israeli military operation  “Cast Lead” in the Gaza Strip, which took place from 27 December 2008 to 18 January 2009. She is scheduled to arrive in Brussels on 23 January to participate in a conference in the European Parliament.

(Source / 20.01.2017)

Palestinian presidency condemns Israeli bill to annex Maale Adumim


BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — Spokesman for Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas Friday condemned recent news that Israel’s ultra-right Minister of Education from the Jewish Home party, Naftali Bennett plans to introduce a bill to the Knesset, Israel’s parliament, on Sunday to annex Maale Adumim, one of Israel’s largest illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank.According to Israeli media, the bill is expected to be introduced just two days following the official inauguration of US President Donald Trump, when Israeli officials have publicly stated they will more easily advance plans to expand Israeli settlements and consolidate Israeli annexation of occupied East Jerusalem and other parts of the West Bank.

“Any Israeli decision regarding annexing the settlement of Ma’ale Adumim will be looked at as dangerous escalation and will not be accepted,” Nabil Abu Rudeineh, spokesman for Abbas was quoted by Palestinian news agency Wafa as saying.
“This step will end any connection to any peace process, particularly if it is accompanied by moving the US embassy to Jerusalem,” said Abu Rudeineh. “This measure will lead to a new phase that cannot be controlled.”
The fate of Jerusalem has been a focal point of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict for decades, with numerous tensions arising over Israeli threats regarding the status of non-Jewish religious sites in the city, and the “Judaization” of East Jerusalem through settlement construction and mass demolitions of Palestinian homes.
Trump’s campaign promise of moving the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem has been met with applause by right-wing Israeli officials and strongly condemned by Palestinians and the international community.
“We again warn against any step that violates United Nations resolutions, particularly the recent Security Council resolution which considered settlements illegitimate in all the territories occupied in 1967, including East Jerusalem” Rudeineh said, referring to an anti-settlement resolution that passed in the UNSC last month, sparking outrage among Israeli officials.
“If Israel crosses this red line, then all red lines will be ruptured,” he added. “There will be no peace and no stability without the creation of an independent (Palestinian) state on the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital.”
Maale Adumim is the third largest settlement in population size, encompassing a large swath of land deep inside the occupied West Bank. Many Israelis consider it an Israeli suburban city of Jerusalem, despite it being located on occupied Palestinian territory in contravention of international law.
Calls to annex the massive settlement — to pave the way for the annexation of the majority of the occupied West Bank — have gained momentum among Israel’s lawmakers and ministers following the passage of a UN resolution condemning Israeli settlements and reaffirming their clear illegality.
Bennett reacted to the UN Security Council’s resolution by calling on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to rescind his support for the two-state solution and the creation of a Palestinian state, which Bennett perceives to be a security threat to the state of Israel.
“No resolution can change the fact that this land, Jerusalem, is our capital. And no people can be a conqueror in their own land. That’s why this resolution, like many of the earlier resolutions, will be thrown into the dustbin of history,” Bennett said.
Following the election of Donald Trump as the next US president, Bennett said that a Trump presidency would mark the end of a push for the establishment of an independent Palestinian state.
“This is the position of the President-elect, as written in his platform, and it should be our policy, plain and simple. The era of a Palestinian state is over,” he said.
Netanyahu has warned Bennett and Israeli politicians not to make public declarations related to annexation for fear that the calls would spark further action by the international community and the outgoing Obama administration; the US allowed Resolution 2334 to pass by not vetoing it at the Security Council, with US Secretary of State John Kerry defending the move in a blistering speech further condemning Israeli actions in the occupied territory.
Kerry criticized Netanyahu for publicly claiming to advocate a two-state solution while simultaneously championing settlement policy to appeal to an increasingly right-wing government and Israeli public.
“His current coalition is the most right-wing in Israeli history, with an agenda driven by its most extreme elements,” Kerry said. “The result is that policies of this government — which the prime minister himself just described as ‘more committed to settlements than any in Israel’s history’ — are leading in the opposite direction, toward one state,” Kerry said.
While members of the international community have rested the solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict on the discontinuation of illegal Israeli settlements and the establishment of a two-state solution, Israeli leaders have instead shifted further to the right, with more than 50 percent of the ministers in the current Israeli government having publicly stated they are opposed to a Palestinian state.
A number of Palestinian activists have criticized the two-state solution as unsustainable and unlikely to bring durable peace, proposing instead a binational state with equal rights for Israelis and Palestinians.
(Source / 20.01.2017)

Jewish Leaders Calls For Pro-Israel ‘Infiltrators’ To Be Banned From UK Campuses

Clashes between pro-Israeli and pro-Palestinian activists on university campuses have provoked concern among Jewish community leaders.

A still from the proceedings of the Board of Deputies meeting showing Jerry Lewis (Board of Deputies)

A still from the proceedings of the Board of Deputies meeting showing Jerry Lewis (Board of Deputies)

A Jewish rabbi has called for right-wing “infiltrators” on UK campuses to be banned, after an incident in at University College London in which a man attacked Islam as a “violent religion” at a pro-Palestine rally.

Jerry Lewis, deputy for Hampstead Synagogue, spoke at a board meeting of the Jewish Board of Deputies (BoD) and condemned provocations against students by ostensibly pro-Israel organisations.

“There are groups in our community who are coming to campuses who have got nothing to do with students, who are interfering with what’s going on at campus and putting our Jewish students at risk of their own safety and that must stop,” he said, in a statement to the BoD President Jonathan Arkush.

“I am now going to ask the President to intervene with those groups – one of whom I know is funded from Israel and I was told while I was in Israel, they’re doing these things to make sure they can justify the funding they get from Israel. It’s an utter utter disgrace and we’ve got to support our students properly by making sure they are not put at risk any longer on any campus anywhere.”

At the incident at UCL, which took place in October, Elliott Miller – national organiser for Student Rights, an offshoot of the neo-conservative Henry Jackson Society – is seen shouting at supporters of the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement during a demonstration agaisnt a speech by the former Israeli army officer Hen Mazzig.

“You treat them like shit. You don’t respect women,” he is heard shouting. “You don’t respect gays … It’s a violent religion. It’s a violent religion.”

Other UCL students testified to the pro-Palestinian activist site Electronic Intifada that they had been told to “go back to Syria” and “go back to Gaza” by pro-Israel activists.

Some media outlets, however, characterised the pro-Palestinian activists as acting in a “aggressive and violent” manner.

Lewis told the board meeting that pro-Israel groups participating in these counter-demonstrations had no place on the campus.

“Of course I decry any attacks undertaken by Palestinian students on Jewish students,” he said, referring to the allegations against the pro-Palestinian activists.

“But there was a provocation by infiltrators who’ve got nothing to do with campuses who should never have been on the campuses, allowed on the campuses and should be banned from campuses in future.”

In response, Arkush suggested that he was not sure if Lewis’ remarks were “particularly helpful” and said the pro-Palestinian demonstrators had been “violent and intimidatory”. However, he added that he was “clear” that he was “not in favour of outside groups going on to campuses.”

Student Rights later claimed that the pro-Palestinian activists had been “surrounded by assaults and racist chants” and had to be “escorted by the Metropolitan Police for our very physical safety.”

The Student Rights organisation was established in June 2009 with the aim of, in its own words, “supporting equality, democracy and freedom from extremism on university campuses.”

However, the organisation has been criticised by some as being “anti-Islam”. One former director, Raheem Kassam, later went on to work for the right-wing Breitbart news site and stood as a candidate for the leadership of the anti-immigration United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP).

Douglas Murray, associate director of Student Rights’ parent organisation the Henry Jackson Society, has also been criticised for making anti-Muslim remarks, including calling for “conditions for Muslims in Europe” to “be made harder across the board” and has suggested Europe is under threat from “Islamic fascism”.

Also on the board of Student Rights is Robert Halfon, a Conservative MP who is known for frequently campaigning on pro-Israel issues in the House of Commons.

Elliot Miller was contacted by Middle East Eye for comment, but had not responded at the time of publication. MEE also contacted the BoD but had also not received a response at the time of publication.

Campus battlegrounds

University campuses have long been a proxy battleground for the Israel-Palestine conflict with numerous student unions adding their support to the BDS campaign calling for an end to Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands.

The election of Muslim woman Malia Bouttia, an outspoken pro-Palestinian activist, to the Presidency of the National Union of Students has further provoked controversy.

Recent reports have indicated that some pro-Israeli officials have attempted to remove Bouttia from her position and have discussed how to do so with NUS activists.

In undercover footage filmed by the Al-Jazeera Investigations Unit, the reporter is heard discussing how to oust Bouttia from her position as NUS president with NUS vice president Richard Brooks, after he is introduced to him by former Israeli embassy political officer Shai Masot.

Brooks is heard to say that he was a key figure involved in attempts to remove Bouattia. He admits to organising a faction against Bouattia, telling the AJ reporter to “drop me a line whenever you want to have a conversation” if he wished to speak to any figures opposed to Bouattia.

Jewish organisations and leaders have warned of a rise in anti-semitism on university campuses.

Ruth Deech, Britain’s first higher education adjudicator and now a crossbench peer, told the Daily Telegraph in December that an atmosphere of hostility to Jewish students had become as such that there were “certain universities that you should avoid” mentioning the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) and the University of Manchester in particular.

However, her comments were criticised by the Union of Jewish Students who, while welcoming her recognition of the rise in anti-semitism on UK campuses, said her comments did not “fully portray the experiences of Jewish students” and warned they did a “disservice to the thousands who are able to freely express their Jewish identities in whichever way they choose.”

(Source / 20.01.2017)

Revolutionary Guard Spokesman Warns Dangers of Iran’s ‘Inner Enemies’


The IRGC spokesman, Ramezan Sharif

Iranian Revolutionary Guard Spokesman Ramezan Sharif warned from the spreading deprivation and corruption describing them as “Iran’s inner adversary” that could widen the rift between the people of Iran and the ruling authority.

Even though Sharif acknowledged the widespread poverty, corruption and deprivation, other officials saw it as appropriate to label Iran “the safest in the region, overcoming challenges on a daily basis,” Iran Tehran based Mehr news agency reported.

Sharif attempted dodging criticisms directed against national Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei on the unwarranted interference of his proxy bodies in government departments saying that it was only “Khamenei’s support and guidance that enabled the government to provide services to Iranian citizens.”

The IRGC spokesman held rivals plotting against national interest accountable to the popular discontent registered nationwide. He said that the schemes aim to drive a wedge between Iranians and local authorities. Sharif said that the people of Iran will be the core defense standing in the face of those conspiring “plans”.

Khamenei’s uncle Hassan Mirdamadi also relayed a message calling for his nephew to alter course before it is too late and end his reign, knowing that the nation’s best interest is at stake.

Mirdamadi demanded that Khamenei issues a release order for prisoners held captive for the sole reason that is their belief system, in addition to ending the house arrest of former presidential candidates and leaders of the «green movement» Mehdi Karroubi, Mir Hossein Mousavi and his wife Zahra Rahnavard before it is too late, reported ‘al-Kalima’ (Arabic for the Word) reformist website.

In his message Mirdamadi also criticized Khamenei’s unwarranted and controversial alteration in verse reading at the Rafsanjani funeral prayer last week.

(Source / 20.01.2017)

IOF arrests 4 Palestinians over alleged weapon possession


The Israeli occupation forces (IOF) arrested on Friday evening four Palestinian youths near Bani Na’im town to the east of al-Khalil city.

Radio Israel said that the Israeli soldiers found a weapon while searching the vehicle the four youths were riding.

The broadcast claimed that the Israeli soldiers stopped a “suspicious” Palestinian car for inspection and found a Kalashnikov rifle inside. The four Palestinians in the car were arrested and taken for interrogation, it added.

The IOF soldiers routinely set up abrupt checkpoints on the roads of the West Bank and search the Palestinian vehicles at will.

(Source / 20.01.2017)

5-year-old Palestinian girl seriously injured by Israeli gunfire


A five-year-old Palestinian girl was shot and injured when Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) opened their machinegun fire Friday evening at a group of people in Beit Lahia town, north of the Gaza Strip.

According to Quds Press, the child Rimas Hamdouna, 5, was deliberately shot and injured in her abdomen during the shooting.

She was immediately taken to hospital in very critical condition, the sources added.

Palestinians living along the border areas between the Palestinian enclave and Israel often come under fire from military forces in violation of a ceasefire agreement that ended Israel’s 2014 war on Gaza.

(Source / 20.01.2017)

Salah: House demolitions are terrorism


Sheikh Raed Salah, leader of the northern branch of the Islamic Movement in the 1948 occupied Palestinian territories (outlawed by Israel), warned on Friday the Israeli authorities that the escalation of Israeli measures against the Palestinians in the 1948 territories will generate an explosion, describing the demolition of Palestinian houses there as “terrorism”.

On the ruins of the demolished houses in Umm al-Hiran village in the Negev and in front of the house of martyr Yaqoub Abu al-Qiaan who was killed by the Israeli police, Sheikh Salah said in a Friday sermon that the Arab community in the 1948 Palestinian territories must act against the violations committed in the village and share in rebuilding the houses demolished by the Israeli authorities.

Thousands of Palestinians performed Friday prayer in Umm al-Hiran as a part of the activities held in protest against the Israeli crimes and attempts to displace Palestinians.

Raed Abu al-Qiaan, chairman of the local committee of the Negev, called in his speech after Friday prayer on the concerned authorities to increase their efforts toward the reconstruction of the destroyed houses as soon as possible and protect the village from the repeated Israeli attacks.

He called for a large-scale solidarity campaign with the village’s inhabitants and more visits to the protest tent set up on the ruins of the destroyed houses.

Abu al-Qiaan added, “We all know the great teacher Yaqoub Abu al-Qian who was known for his love and forgiveness, and witnessed how he was murdered in cold blood. Whatever the Israeli police claim, our just cause will triumph.”

For his part, Sheikh Osama al-Aqabi, leader of the Islamic Movement in the Negev, mourned martyr Yaqoub Abu al-Qiaan adding that he represents all Palestinians everywhere. He delivered a message to the Israeli authorities saying, “We are the owners of this land and these houses and we will not give up our rights.”


(Source / 20.01.2017)

Syrian Soldiers Allegedly Find Saudi Chemical Weapons In East Aleppo

The Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) reported that Syrian soldiers found chemical compounds in the recently evacuated areas of East Aleppo.

Chemical substances of a Saudi source left behind by the Syrian rebels in the Old City of Aleppo. (Photo: SANA)

Chemical substances of a Saudi source left behind by the Syrian rebels in the Old City of Aleppo

(ANALYSIS)– As the Syrian army continues to investigate the formerly ‘rebel held’ neighborhoods of East Aleppo, they have found stockpiles of possible chemical weapons agents produced by a Saudi Arabian company.

On Wednesday, the Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) reported that Syrian soldiers found chemical compounds in the recently evacuated areas of East Aleppo. The bags of chemicals reportedly include substances that could have been used for both making explosives and as chemical warfare agents.

Included in the stockpile were bags of both sulfur and chlorine as well as materials to make plastic granules for packing explosives. The chemicals were still in the original manufacturer’s packaging which apparently originated from the ‘Sachlo’ company, which is based in Riyadh.

This isn’t the first stockpile of toxic chemicals found in formerly terrorist held areas of Syria. Just last month another stockpile inside of a school in the Masaken Hanano neighborhood of Aleppo. It has also previously been confirmed that several groups, such as the Islamic State and Jabhat Fateh al-Sham (formerly al Nusra), have already used chemical agents to target civilians in the Aleppo province.

The imperialist powers behind the war in Syria haven’t been able to completely ignore these claims and even the UN had to send inspectors to former jihadist territory to investigate the use of chemical weapons. Although the US won’t wholly admit use of chemical weapons by their ‘rebel’ allies, it is well know that Western based security contractors were used to train these groups in the securing and handling of chemical weapons components and stockpiles. The US claims the reasoning of this program was to keep the weapons away from more radical groups but, even Secretary of State John Kerry has admitted (behind closed doors)  that many allied rebel groups have worked with terrorists known to use chemical agents.

In what seems like a possible response to these new revelations by the Syrian army, Western media began throwing around their own allegations of supposed proof of the use of Bashar Assad and his brother being tied directly to the use of chemical weapons. Yet, as with much of the previous ‘evidence’ against the Syrian government this is seemingly another loose accusation backed up by nothing.

The allegations stemmed from a Reuters piece published on Friday, which basically said that a Reuters reporter had heard about some solid evidence from someone. According to the article there was a list of commanders who authorized the use of chemical weapons that was “seen by Reuters but has not been made public.” Then the following paragraph is a single sentence which invalidates the entire piece, that reads “Reuters was unable to independently review the evidence or to verify it.”

The US doesn’t seem to care about this seeming lack of evidence and has used it to again ramp up economic warfare on the Syrian government. The Obama administration quietly sanctioned 18 Syrian officials over the weekend. According to White House national security council spokesman Ned Price, US officials “condemn in the strongest possible terms the Syrian regime’s use of chemical weapons,” but continue to fail to address the crimes committed by their “moderate” proxies.

(Source / 20.01.2017)