Sana’a Airport in Yemen within Military Fire Range

A Yemeni loyalist forces' tank patrols highway in the Red Sea port town of Mocha.

A Yemeni loyalist forces’ tank patrols highway in the Red Sea port town of Mocha

Aden, Taiz- Yemeni armed forces continue advancing across all battlefronts taking place at the insurgency-held enclave, Sana’a. Pro-government forces have recorded a considerable push into Sana’a’s Nihm district, local sources said.

The Sana’a airport is now brought into military fire-range, said Popular Resistance Abdullah al Sahndaqi told Asharq Al-Awsat. Houthi-led militias have been exploiting the Sana’a airport against the international community.

In exchange of allowing aid planes to land at the airport, militias want to have the green light on resuming ‘civil’ flights at the airport.

Renewed fighting in Nihm is both fierce and intense, al Shandaqi said.

“Pro-government forces have liberated strategic mountains overlooking the areas Harshafa and Daboua,” added al Shandaqi.

“At least 16 insurgency militants have been killed, and dozens wounded .. another seven were arrested, ” he said.

The Popular Resistance spokesman explained that the areas brought into government control oversees Sana’a’s eastern gates and will greatly aid in future endeavors to free the capital from insurgency hold.

Iran-aligned militants continue to record losses amidst a substantial lowering of morale. Aided by the Saudi-led Arab Coalition forces, the Yemeni National Army and Popular Resistance succeeded in weakening insurgency, chiefly composed of Iran-backed Houthi and Saleh militias, in a number of the Yemeni directorates. Dissent continues to grow louder among the Yemeni tribes against these militias.

Yemeni tribes revealed that Houhti and Saleh militias have come to enforce foreign agendas seeking to destroy Yemen.

Political analysts said that these facts have made the tribes to withdraw fighters from the troops of coup militias while the Houhti and ousted Saleh militias are forcing students to join their ranks.

Taiz, one of the key battlegrounds on which national forces have pushed through, have come under repeated rebel fire.

A medical source at the city’s Al-Rawda hospital told AFP that seven civilians were also wounded by the insurgency’s mortar fire.

A loyalist military source said that the rockets struck one after the other in the city’s Al-Nour district.

The National Army and the Popular Resistance have made a significant progress on seven fronts under the air support of the Arab coalition.

(Source / 22.01.2017)

Khudari: Gaza reconstruction slow, 60% of homes still damaged

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Jamal al-Khudari, head of the Popular Committee against the Siege, said that Gaza reconstruction process is very slow, revealing that 60% of the Palestinian homes damaged in the Israeli 2014 offensive on Gaza Strip are still in ruins and that 60,000 Palestinians are still homeless.

In a statement on Sunday, Khudari said that “the mechanism of entering raw materials into Gaza Strip does not meet the needs of residents whose homes are damaged nor the needs of the private sector, educational institutions, and development projects”.

He called for lifting the siege on Gaza immediately and forever, and asked the donor countries to abide by their pledges to fund Gaza reconstruction projects.

(Source / 22.01.2017)

Barghouthi: A state-minus means turning Palestine into apartheid “Bantustans”

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Secretary General of the Palestine National Initiative (PNI), Dr. Mustafa Al-Barghouthi, on Sunday said that the statements of Israeli minister of army, Avigdor Lieberman saying that it is impossible to find a solution with the Palestinians, are true, since Israel does not want peace but rather wants surrender.

Al-Barghouthi  statements to PNN came after Israeli transportation miniter, Yisrael Katz, proposed a plan to annex the major West Bank settlements, including Ma’ale Adumim, in coordination with the US government.

The plan proposes that in exchange, Israel builds an artificial island and a harbor in front of the Gaza Strip shoreline, tracks from the Arabian Peninsula to the Mediterranean Sea, and allows unrestricted construction in Jerusalem and the West Bank for the general public.

Barghouthi, in a phone call, told PNN that such plan must be “resisted” by all means possible.

On Netanyahu’s offer of a “minus-state”, Barghouthi said that this means turning the West Bank into isolated cantons on less than 40% of the occupied territory, turning it into homelands (the Bantustans which were established by the Apartheid Government, were areas to which the majority of the Blacks population was moved to prevent them from living in the urban areas of South Africa.)

Barghouthi added that Palestinians do not want only a name of a state, but rather a country that has its own sovereighnty, borders, and not living under an apartheid state that continues occupation.

(Source / 22.01.2017)

Committee to fund reconstruction of Palestinian homes demolished in Israel

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Israeli forces demolish homes in Bedouin community of Umm al-Hiran on Jan. 18

BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — Leaders from the Palestinian citizens of Israel community have reportedly vowed to raise funds in order to rebuild dozens of homes which were demolished by Israeli authorities this month in the central Israeli city of Qalansawe and in Umm al-Hiran in the southern Negev region.

The High Follow-Up Committee for Arab Citizens of Israel announced it would raise the funds required to rebuild the homes, Israeli news site Ynet reported, a day after the committee held a rally attended by thousands in the city of Arara in northern Israel in protest of the demolitions, particularly after Israeli police shot and killed an Umm al-Hiran resident during an evacuation raid on Wednesday.
The committee also said protests would continue to take place in Palestinian cities, towns, and villages throughout Israel, and that on Monday a protest convoy would drive from various Palestinian towns to the Israeli prime minister’s office in Jerusalem, where a protest rally would be held, according to the report.
According to Ynet, the committee had successfully raised funds in the past to rebuild homes demolished by Israeli authorities, due to its “large network of support in Qatar, Turkey, and other Arab and Muslim countries,” as well as its support from the European Union.
Meanwhile, Israeli news outlet Arab 48 reported that as of Sunday, Israeli authorities were still withholding the body of Yaqoub Abu al-Qian, who was shot and killed in widely contested circumstances during clashes between Israeli police and protesters ahead of demolitions in Umm al-Hiran.
While numerous eyewitnesses have insisted Abu al-Qian was posing no threat to anyone when Israeli police opened fire at his vehicle, causing him to lose control of the car and ram into officers, Israeli authorities have claimed the local math teacher was carrying out a deliberate terrorist attack in the incident that left one policeman killed.
Due to the allegations, Israel has imposed a number of preconditions on Abu al-Qian’s family to release his body, as part of the state’s policy of withholding bodies of alleged attackers on the grounds that their funerals become sites of “incitement” against Israel.
The family has refused the preconditions for the funeral, which reportedly included limiting attendants to the funeral to 50, holding it at night, and launching it from his mother’s home in the village of Hura, instead of the ruins of his home in Umm al-Hiran.
In the wake of the demolitions in Umm al-Hiran and in Qalansawe earlier this month, Bethlehem-based NGO BADIL argued in a report  that the “oppressive measures” were part of the same Israeli policy of forcible displacement carried out against Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem.
“While 2016 witnessed a record number of home demolitions by Israel in the (occupied Palestinian territory), with 1,089 Palestinian-owned structures being demolished displacing 1,593 Palestinians, this increase has also taken place inside Israel itself,” the group said.
“All these oppressive measures by the Israeli authorities on both sides of the Green Line represent different manifestations of the same policy. In Umm al-Hiran the pretext was its status as an ‘unrecognized’ village; in Qalansawe, Susiya, and Jabal al-Mukabbir they were administrative home demolitions due to lack of building permits, with Jabal al-Mukabbir facing punitive home demolitions as well.”
BADIL went on to argue that “Israel is using different tactics that serve the same purpose of realizing the Zionist goal of ‘maximum amount of land with minimum number of Palestinians.’”
The report further argued that the recent demolitions in Umm al-Hiran and Qalansawe laid bare “connections between the oppressive Israeli policies against Palestinians living in both the (occupied Palestinian territory) and Israel.”
BADIL cautioned that the international community “rarely stressed” the forcible population transfer of Palestinians in both areas, despite the “daily manifestations” of the displacement of Palestinians, regardless of their status as residents of the occupied West Bank or East Jerusalem or citizens of Israel.
The group demanded that the international community and relevant United Nations agencies “scrutinize Israel’s policies and practices of forced displacement and dispossession of Palestinians on both sides of the Green Line, and to take necessary action in order to put an end to these ongoing violations of the basic rights of Palestinians and central tenets of international law.”
(Source / 22.01.2017)

UNESCO: ISIS’s Destruction of Famous Monument in Palmyra a “War Crime”

UNESCO condemned ISIS’s destruction of the most famous monuments in the ancient city of Palmyra, the Tetrapylon, and the facade of its Roman Theatre two days ago.

UNESCO Director General Irina Bokova said in a statement that the destruction of the UNESCO world heritage site constituted “a new war crime and an immense loss for the Syrian people and for humanity.”

Satellite imagery showed the Tetrapylon largely destroyed, with only four of 16 columns still standing and the stone platform apparently covered in rubble.

Regime forces also have targeted monuments. According to the Syrian Network for Human Rights (SNHR), regime forces targeted 16 archaeological sites in 2016, including four museums. Regime forces have most recently bombed a Roman temple built near a water spring in the village of Ayn Alfija in the Wadi Barada valley northwest of Damascus.

The Syrian Coalition stressed that the Assad regime and the ISIS extremist group continued to target Syria’s infrastructure and cultural heritage. The brutal onslaught on Aleppo by the Assad regime and its allies in late 2016 led to the destruction of over more than 150 archaeological sites, ancient buildings, and famous landmarks, most notably the Old Souk in central Aleppo.

The Coalition called upon UNESCO and international bodies concerned with the protection of world heritage sites to protect what remained of Syria’s historical monuments from attacks by the Assad regime and ISIS.

(Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Office + Agencies / 22.01.2017)

Report: Palestinian teen dies in Gaza after Israel denies him access to hospital

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Palestinians walk through the Erez border crossing with Israel as they cross into Gaza on June 9, 2010

BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — A 17-year-old Palestinian died last week after Israeli authorities refused to allow him to leave the besieged Gaza Strip to undergo treatment for a congenital heart defect, the Gaza-based al-Mezan Center for Human Rights said in a report on Sunday.

Israeli authorities had denied Ahmad Hassan Shubeir from Gaza City, permission to cross into Israel to receive life-saving medical treatment from a hospital after the teen “refused to serve as a collaborator for the Israeli authorities, a coercive measure regularly employed on Palestinian patients in need of permits,” according to the center.
After being repeatedly denied permission by Israel to cross, despite securing a number of appointments at Israeli hospitals as his health declined, Ahmad died at approximately 4 a.m. on Jan. 14.
Ahmad’s father told al-Mezan that his son had been suffering from a congenital heart defect since birth. The father said that he accompanied Ahmad several times to Israeli hospitals, including Tel Hashomer Hospital, Schneider Children’s Medical Center, as well as al-Makassed Hospital in the occupied West Bank, and that Ahmad’s condition remained relatively stable throughout the treatment.
After Ahmad fell into a critical condition, his family applied for a crossing permit in February 2016 with supporting medical documents attached.
According to the report, Israeli authorities responded to the request by attempted to blackmail and coerce Ahmad’s mother into cooperating with the authorities in exchange for her child’s permit during an interview at the Erez crossing.
Though she refused, authorities ultimately allowed her and Ahmad to pass after being held several hours.
A subsequent permit request in September received no reply from authorities, and after the family obtained a new hospital appointment, the applied again in October, again without reply.
In November, Israeli authorities replied to another permit application with a refusal.
“The Israeli security services then summoned Ahmad for an interview at the crossing; during the interrogation, he was pressured to serve as a collaborator for the Israeli authorities in exchange for his permit. The child refused and was denied a permit,” al-Mezan’s report continued.
Finally, the family again obtained an appointment at a hospital for Jan. 30, 2017, as Ahmad’s health continued to decline. He died two weeks before the appointment.
“Al-Mezan strongly condemns Israel’s ill-treatment of Palestinian patients of Gaza and expresses remorse at the death of Ahmad Shubeir,” they wrote in their report.
The group warned of the continued “abuse” of critically ill Palestinian patients sealed inside the enclave, where health care services are crippled due to Israel’s ongoing blockade of the small territory that will enter its tenth year this coming June.
“The denial of adequate medical care, which amounts to ill-treatment, is in violation of treaty and customary international law, and amounts to a prohibited collective punishment,” al-Mezan stressed, noting that the Israeli hospitals Palestinians are attempting to reach are in close proximity to Gaza.
According to the center, 2016 represented a steep decrease in the number of permits granted to Palestinian patients wishing to pass through the Erez crossing: In 2015, 77.66 percent of patients were granted access, whereas 61 percent were granted in 2016.
Israeli authorities have also expanded the age group of those subjected to increased security checks from 16 to 35 years old to 16 to 55 years old, “which subsequently expanded waiting times and resulted in increased rejection of permits.”
Between 50 and 60 percent of the patients who were refused permits in 2016 by Israeli authorities were people with cancer, with al-Mezan noting a trend that developed over the year, “whereby cancer patients were granted up to three permits, but not more, resulting in unfinished cancer treatment, and greatly diminished effectiveness of cancer care.”
Furthermore, Palestinians who were finally granted permits were nevertheless subjected to measures that al-Mezan said amounted to “cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment,” including long-waiting periods, intense interrogations, invasive searches, blackmail, and coercion, all of which that were greatly strenuous for the sick patients who were not given sufficient rest amid the procedures.
The center further noted that obtaining a permit did not even guarantee a successful crossing for Gazans, reporting that Israeli forces arrested at least nine patients in addition to five Palestinians accompanying patients at the Erez crossing in 2015 and 2016.
(Source / 22.01.2017)

Abu Marzouk slams Trump for his attitudes towards Palestine

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Mousa Abu Marzouk, member of Hamas Political bureau, slammed the new US President Donald Trump for his attitudes towards the Palestinian affair saying that “It doesn’t serve stability in the region and encourages Israelis to pursue more extreme practices against the Palestinian people”.

In a press statement on Sunday, the Hamas leader Abu Marzouk said that Trump’s intention to relocate the US Embassy to Occupied Jerusalem constitutes an extra danger.

Trump’s statement in this regard, however, would not necessary be turned into real actions especially when it comes in the early stages of the inauguration, Abu Marzouk opined. He took the statements of the US former president Barak Obama on achieving peace in the Middle East as an example.

(Source / 22.01.2017)

Moroccans warn of upshots of transferring US embassy to Jerusalem

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Moroccan activists warned against underway attempts by the newly-sworn in US President Donald Trump to relocate the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Occupied Jerusalem.

Head of the Moroccan Observatory against Normalization with Israel, Ahmad Oihaman, urged all Arab and Islamic countries to take urgent action as regards Trump’s intents to transfer the US embassy to Occupied Jerusalem.

The observatory warned of the explosive fallouts of such a “dangerous move,” urging the international community and the concerned human rights institutions to take up their responsibilities vis-à-vis the decision.

Coordinator for the Moroccan Initiative for Support and Victory, Aziz Hanawi, also called for an urgent reaction as regards the move, warning of the hazardous upshots of such a projected step.

He held the Muslims, Arabs, and the UN responsible for regional and international repercussions of the US attempts to relocate the embassy to Occupied Jerusalem.

Abdul Kader al-Alami, chairman of the National Action Group to Support Iraq and Palestine, said the decision to transfer the embassy makes part of the US biased anti-Palestine stance.

“At a time when the world has been seeking a fairer solution to the Palestinian cause, Trump comes out with a new tactic aimed at imposing a new fait accompli on the ground,” the activist further stated.

Newly-sworn in Trump promised during his electoral campaign to relocate the US embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Occupied Jerusalem, in a move that contravenes US long-standing policy.

(Source / 22.01.2017)

Putin Threatens Israel & Saudi Arabia with Tactical Nuclear Response to Syrian Ground Invasion

A source close to Russian President Vladimir Putin has informed award-winning journalist Robert Parry that Putin has warned Israel that any attempted ground invasion of Syria will be met with the defensive use of tactical nuclear weapons on the battlefield.
A tactical nuclear weapon also known as non-strategic nuclear weapon refers to a nuclear weapon which is designed to be used on a battlefield in military situations. These differ from strategic nuclear weapons, which refers to weapons that are much larger in destructive power and are typically delivered by ICBM or SLBM missiles (though there are some that are air-dropped).

Parry’s background as a respected investigative journalist includes reporting on the Iran-Contra scandal for the Associated Press and Newsweek. In addition, he’s also received the George Polk award for reporting on intelligence matters, suggesting that this information should be treated as a credible warning.
Turkish-Saudi threats of a ground invasion have ratcheted up in the past month, as the finalization of a negotiated Syrian political settlement came closer to fruition, which would potentially usurp the group’s goal of regime change in Syria.
As Vice President Joe Biden pointed out during a speech at Harvard in 2014, that Israel and Saudi Arabia had “poured hundreds of millions of dollars and thousands of tons of weapons into anyone who would fight against [Syrian President Bashar al-] Assad,” going on to point out that “the people who were being supplied were Al Nusra and Al Qaeda and the extremist elements of jihadis coming from other parts of the world.”
According to the report, written by Parry, for Consortium News:
If Israel (with hundreds of thousands of troops massed near the Syrian border) and Saudi Arabia (with its sophisticated air force) follow through on threats and intervene militarily to save their rebel clients, who include Al Qaeda’s Nusra Front, from a powerful Russian-backed Syrian government offensive, then Russia will have to decide what to do to protect its 20,000 or so military personnel inside Syria.
A source close to Russian President Vladimir Putin told me that the Russians have warned Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan that Moscow is prepared to use tactical nuclear weapons if necessary to save their troops in the face of a Turkish-Saudi onslaught. Since Israel is a member of NATO, any such conflict could quickly escalate into a full-scale nuclear confrontation.
The Russian threat to use tactical nukes in the event of a joint Turkish-Saudi invasion should be taken extremely seriously given the duo’s recent failed attempts to garner U.S. support for a ground invasion under the guise of aiding refugees and assisting “moderate rebels.” In reality, this is simply a non-threatening label for the group’s preferred Islamic extremist organisations in the Syrian theatre of war.
Moscow’s warning comes on the heels of Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir telling CNN that Syrian President Assad must be removed “by force” if a diplomatic solution fails.
The reality in Syria is that the Russian intervention has decimated all insurgent groups on the ground and helped solidify the internationally recognised government’s control over the war-torn country, much to the chagrin of the Western-AngloZionist/GCC coalition actively supporting regime change.
Parry breaks down the recent posturing by the Turks, as he highlights the events that have led to the current crisis, writing:
Israel has left about 100 kilometers of its border open for various jihadist groups to bring in reinforcements and weapons while letting the Islamic State smuggle out oil for sale on the black market. Last fall, after Russia (and a reluctant United States) began bombing ISIS oil-truck convoys, Israel shot down a Russian bomber near Israel’s border, leading to the deaths of the pilot and a rescuer.
Now, as the Russian-backed Syrian army makes major gains against the Nusra-dominated rebels around Aleppo and encroaches on Islamic State territory near Raqqa – and as U.S.-backed Kurdish forces also advance against ISIS – Israel’s Erdogan has grown frantic over the prospects that his five-year project of aiding Syrian jihadists may be collapsing.
Amid this desperation, Israel has been urging President Obama to support a limited invasion of Syria to create a “safe zone,” supposedly to protect Syrian rebels and civilians in northern Syria. But that humanitarian-sounding plan may well be a cover for a more ambitious plan to march to Damascus and forcibly remove President Assad from power.
That is a goal shared by Israel, Saudi Arabia and other Sunni states along with Israel and America’s influential neoconservatives and their “liberal interventionist” sidekicks. For his part, Obama has called on Assad “to go” but has favored diplomatic negotiations to achieve that end. Russia has advocated a political settlement with free elections so the Syrian people can decide Assad’s future themselves.
There is an epic battle taking place for the heart of the international system between the West and the “Eurasian Sovereignists,” that is playing out in places like Ukraine and Syria as Western powers move to consolidate their position by toppling regimes deemed problematic for the intended paradigm of U.S. hegemony. States such as Israel and Saudi Arabia utilize the current international order to forward their interests by working to gain regional economic, military and cultural dominance (Sunni Islam) while acting in concert with their Western overlords.
The West wants Russia to be accepted as a subservient partner in the AngloZionist Empire, while the latter want to fully “sovereignize” Russia and then create a multi-polar international system with the help of China and the other BRICS countries.
If interventions into Syrian and Ukrainian politics were truly about democracy, freedom, and the rule of law, as feigned in the West, would they really be supporting Islamist extremist groups in Syria and neo-nazis in Ukraine?
Make no mistake that the potential for this conflict to spiral rapidly out of control and into a nuclear war type scenario is a clear and present danger. Obama would be wise to call in his Turkish-Saudi attack dogs and make clear that they will have no U.S. support in the event that they engage the Russians in Syria

(Source / 22.01.2017)

Israeli police quell massive Arab march in Ar’ara town

One journalist, two protestors injured in police violence

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Three Palestinians suffered injuries when Israeli policemen violently attacked “the march of anger” that was held on Saturday evening in Ar’ara town, northwest of the Green Line, in protest at the recent demolition of Palestinian homes.

According to Arab 48 website, more than 10,000 Palestinians participated in the march, which was called for by the High Follow-up Committee for Arab citizens of Israel and Arab parties and groups.

The march was staged to protest the racist demolition policy pursued by Israel against the Palestinians in general and the recent demolition of homes in Qalansuwa town in the Triangle and Umm Hiran village in the Negev in particular.

Photojournalist George Debs reportedly suffered an injury in his abdomen from a sponge-tipped bullet and two protesters were badly hurt during the police assault on the march.

During a rally held on the sidelines of the march, different speakers denounced what they described as Israel’s demolition crimes in Arab areas.

“This massive protest confirms our adherence to our right to live with dignity on our land. We have come here to give a thunderous cry against racism and against the killing practiced against us in cold blood,” Arab Knesset member Ayman Odeh stated in his speech.

“Living with dignity is our demand and right. This cry of ours is a cry of defiance against the demolition of our homes,” he added.

(Source / 22.01.2017)