Israeli bombs and rhetoric are dropped on both Palestine and Kashmir

Netanyahu and Modi: Kashmir and Palestine are punchbags for their occupiers – Cartoon

By Yvonne Ridley

While Israel is still dodging questions about why it has been secretly arming the genocidal Myanmar military regime during its ethnic cleansing operations against Rohingya Muslims, it has emerged that the Zionist war machine is also at the heart of the rising tensions between India and Pakistan.

Earlier this week, Pakistan announced that its air force had shot down two Indian Air Force fighter jets over the disputed border region of Kashmir; India confirmed the loss of one aircraft after videos emerged in Pakistan of one of its captured pilots. The incident on Wednesday came after India launched its own air strikes over disputed Kashmiri territory.

Israeli-made bombs were used by India against Pakistan on Tuesday. Indian Mirage fighter jets were armed with Spice 2000 smart missiles sold to New Delhi by Israel as part of one of the largest weapons deal in the Zionist state’s history. Even the rhetoric used by India to explain and justify its pre-dawn raid could have been scripted by Tel Aviv; maybe the bombs came with their own propaganda instruction booklet as an optional extra.

OPINION: Kashmir and Palestine are punchbags for their occupiers

Israel is now India’s main arms supplier, with deals worth around a billion dollars a year. Over the past two years, the allies have conducted joint drills and frequent exchange visits between senior officers. Among the items sold by Israel to nuclear-armed India are radar systems and ammunition, as well as air-to-ground missiles which have been tried and tested on Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip during three military offensives and numerous armed incursions over the past decade.

Addressing the media this week, Indian Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale said that the air force had targeted Jaish-e-Mohammad training camps in a “pre-emptive strike”, after intelligence indicated that a terrorist attack was being planned. Gokhale offered no evidence of this, but relied on the sort of textbook excuses that we have become used to hearing from Israel justifying its attacks on unarmed Palestinians.

Using heavily loaded Islamophobic language of a nature often adopted by Israel, the minister said that his country is fighting “Islamic terrorism”; he even called the targeting of Balakot a “pre-emptive manoeuvre”. The influential Times of India says that this can only mean that New Delhi is changing its defence doctrine from “defensive defence to active defence”. The latter is the same doctrine to which Israel subscribes, something not lost on the newspaper’s leader writer.

Urging caution, an editorial stated: “A country like Israel doesn’t care about the moral high ground because, again, it perceives an existential threat. But if India wants to pursue active defence and have the moral high ground at the same time, then it would need to diplomatically isolate Pakistan as a pariah state. And that means convincing all other countries that Pakistan is a threat to the international order.”

OPINION: Kashmir from Nehru to Modi; what’s changed?

This is also a strategy adopted by Tel Aviv as it works tirelessly to isolate Palestine on the international stage with its powerful political and coercive lobbying. However, Pakistan is not Palestine. China is already supporting Pakistan economically, and Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman recently signed deals worth $20 billion with Prime Minister Imran Khan in Islamabad.

After Tuesday’s air strike, Pakistan said that there were no casualties, whereas India insisted that its missiles killed “a very large number” of militants. Since the two states often issue contradictory statements, it’s very difficult to get to the truth of the matter although the use of hate speech — again, something embraced full on by Israel — was in evidence.

The Rohingya Muslims were demonised beyond recognition by the military regime in Myanmar, which bandied around terms like “Islamic terrorists” to justify its own ethnic cleansing programme against the minority group, mirroring Israel’s justifications for its murderous activities in Gaza against Palestinian civilians. Such hate speech was also heard in India as political leaders talked about “Muslim terrorist operations”.

While Israel continues to remain coy about the arms it has sold to the regime in Myanmar for use against the Rohingya Muslims, the deals between Israel and India are boasted about openly by both sides. Moreover, there are very real fears about the escalating tensions between Pakistan and India, which are both nuclear powers (as, of course, is Israel).

India claims that its air strike was a response to a suicide bombing in the disputed land of Kashmir, a region often described as the “forgotten Palestine” because of the parallels drawn between the plight of the Palestinians and Kashmiris. While New Delhi blamed Islamabad for the Pulwama attack in which 46 members of the armed forces died, Pakistan’s Imran Khan refuted the allegations strongly and asked for evidence. So far, none has been forthcoming; instead, India launched an Israeli-style pre-emptive strike which has ratcheted-up tensions in the already volatile region. The 14 February attack was the worst on Indian forces since the start of the 1989 insurgency in Kashmir and came as Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is embroiled in an election campaign.

Pakistan’s military spokesman, Major Gen Asif Ghafoor, confirmed that Indian aircraft crossed into the Muzafarabad sector of Pakistani-controlled Kashmir. He added that they released their Israeli-supplied payload “in haste” near Balakot as the Pakistan Air Force scrambled its own fighters.

READ: Nakba Day solidarity sit-in at Kashmir University

Kashmir is split between India and Pakistan but claimed by both in its entirety; it has been the cause of two wars between neighbours. A third war was fought in 1979 over East Pakistan, which gained independence with the help of India and became Bangladesh. The people of Kashmir were promised a plebiscite to decide their future, but this has never been forthcoming.

It seems that the right-wing Zionism and its racist tendencies espoused by Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud Party is finding a sympathetic ear among the right-wing Hindu nationalists in Modi’s BJP. Both push the narrative that they are victims of Islamic terrorism and have a superior claim to the land that they occupy. As Zionist nationalism finds common ground with Hindu nationalism the biggest losers will be ordinary Palestinians and Kashmiris who have both suffered decades of occupation, hardship and pain. The international community has basically sat back and done nothing about occupied Palestine and Kashmir, allowing both Israel and India to act with apparent impunity. How much longer is this shameful injustice going to last?

(Source / 28.02.2019)

Khalida Jarrar freed from Israeli prison after 20 months of administrative detention

28 February 2019  

Palestinian national leader, parliamentarian, feminist and leftist Khalida Jarrar was released from Israeli prison early Thursday morning, 28 February 2019, after 20 months of imprisonment without charge or trial under administrative detention. In an interview (video below with English subtitles) given immediately after her release, Jarrar said that “the prisoners are an integral part of the Palestinian people’s movement, and their message is always unity.”

She highlighted the conditions of Palestinian women prisoners as well as their role in the prisoners’ movement, urging attention to the conditions that they face in Damon prison after their transfer from HaSharon prison.

This video, with an interview by journalist Ali Samoudi, was filmed immediately after her release:

Jarrar’s family was told that she would be released from the Jalameh checkpoint around 12 noon, but instead she was released in the early morning at the Salem checkpoint west of Jenin. From there, she will visit the gravesite of her father in Nablus, who died during her imprisonment. She will be received at the Catholic Hall in Ramallah for a reception on Thursday night, to be followed by further receptions on Friday and Saturday evenings.

Jarrar’s daughter Yafa said on social media that the shifting of the time and place of her release was a deliberate attempt by the Israeli occupation to minimize celebrations of her release. “Israeli occupation forces just released Mom at 4:00 am (Jerusalem time) this morning at Salem checkpoint near Jenin, which is contrary to what they have informed us. Mom was informed that she would be release at 12:30 pm at Al-jalameh checkpoint near Nablus. Instead, they released Mom in the very early hours at a different location and let her walk free by herself in the middle of no where. In spite of Israel’s attempts to disrupt her reception, Mom is FREE!” she noted.

Jarrar has been imprisoned since 2 July 2017, held without charge or trial under administrative detention. Her administrative detention order was renewed four times, most recently on 25 October. Over 275 organizations, political parties and social movements around the world joined in a collective call for her release.

This is not the first time that Jarrar has been imprisoned by the Israeli occupation; her arrest in 2017 came only 13 months after she was released from Israeli prison after serving a 15-month sentence for her public political activity. After being arrested in 2015, she was ordered to administrative detention; in response to public outrage, she was transferred to the military courts for a bogus trial. During this most recent 20 months in prison, she remained jailed with no charges and no trial the entire time.

In an interview with Wattan TV, Jarrar noted the attacks of Israeli occupation minister of internal security and strategic affairs Gilad Erdan against the Palestinian prisoners. Erdan also directs the Israeli state’s global attacks on the BDS movement and Palestine solidarity campaigns internationally. “The situation of the women prisoners is not easy, especially after the Erdan decision to transfer them from the HaSharon prison to Damon prison as a punishment for them after a 63-day protest against the installation of surveillance cameras in the prison yard. This is part of an overall attack against the prisoners,” Jarrar said.

“The occupation is trying to transfer the prisoners to make them begin their struggle from a zero point, but the prisoners continue to maintain their unity and cohesion and demand a change in their circumstances. The prisoners’ rooms are filled with moisture, and the electrical installations are very dangerous because they are wet and prone to fires. There is a real danger and a complaint has been lodged with the prison administration,” Jarrar said. “In addition to the fact that the prison yards are full of cameras, there is no library for the prisoners and there is no kitchen. The prisoners have to cook inside the rooms filled with moisture.”

Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network salutes Khalida Jarrar and the Palestinian people upon her release. Her steadfastness, leadership and clarity of vision is an inspiration to people around the world struggling for freedom. As International Women’s Day approaches, we celebrate the liberation of Khalida Jarrar and pledge to intensify our efforts to free all of the Palestinian women and men jailed by the Israeli occupation. We congratulate Khalida Jarrar on her freedom and pledge to continue on her path of struggle until the freedom of every Palestinian political prisoner behind bars, and the freedom of Palestine.

(Source / 28.02.2019)

Israeli Officials Remove 41 Million NIS From Palestinian Authority Funding

27 Feb 10:35 PM

Palestinian officials on Wednesday announced that they will not accept the illegal confiscation of NIS 41,000,000 by Israeli officials.

This money was taken out of the tax funds that Israel collects for the Palestinian Authority. It is supposed to be transferred directly to the Palestinian Authority, according to the Oslo Accords of 1994.

Journalist Jonathan Cook writes:

Under the terms of what are now the quarter century-old Oslo accords, Israel is responsible for collecting about $200 million each month in taxes, which it is supposed to pass on to the PA, the Palestinian government-in-waiting in the West Bank.

The money belongs to the Palestinians but Israel has temporarily withheld it on several occasions in the past as a stick with which to beat the Palestinian leadership into line.

On this occasion, however, the stakes are far higher.

Last week Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu belatedly implemented a law passed last summer that requires his officials to retain part of the taxes owed to the Palestinians – those that the PA transfers to political prisoners’ families as a monthly stipend.

It echoes the Taylor Force Act, a law passed by the US Congress in 2016, that denies American economic aid to the PA until it stops sending those same stipends to 35,000 families of prisoners and those killed and maimed by the Israeli army.

The PA has tried to avert that threat by channeling the payments through a separate body, the Palestine Liberation Organization.

Israel and Washington regard the prisoners simply as terrorists. But most Palestinians view them as heroes, those who have paid the highest price in the struggle for national liberation.

The Palestinian public no more believes the families should be abandoned for their sacrifices than Irish republicans turned their backs on those who fought British rule or black South Africans forsook those who battled apartheid.

Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas called Israel’s actions “robbery” and said he would rather cut funding for health and education than for the prisoners and their families. “They are the most respected and appreciated part of the Palestinian people,” he declared.

Then he played his ace card. He said he would refuse all tax money from Israel until the full sum was reinstated.

That risks plunging the PA into financial meltdown and – most importantly for Israel – might ultimately lead to the disbanding of the Palestinian security services. Their job has long been to act as a security contractor, keeping order on Israel’s behalf in the West Bank.

The security forces hoovered up a massive 20 per cent of the PA’s $5.8 billion state budget last year.

The PA is already reeling from a series of hammer blows to the Palestinian economy. They include Donald Trump’s decision to cut all funding to UNRWA, the refugee agency for Palestinians, and to hospitals in Israeli-occupied East Jerusalem.

In addition, Abbas reportedly declined $60m in annual US aid for his security services last month for fear of exposing the PA to legal action. A new congressional measure makes aid recipients like the PA subject to American anti-terrorism laws.

But the current standoff between Netanyahu and Abbas lays bare the duplicity of the situation for all to see.

The PA leader may say the prisoners are the most cherished Palestinian constituency but he also describes his security services’ coordination with Israel as “sacred”.

The security services’ role is to assist the Israeli army in foiling Palestinian attacks and in arresting the very Palestinians he extols. Abbas cannot realistically hold true to both positions at the same time.

Netanyahu, on the other hand, has nothing to gain from harming the Palestinian security services, which the Israeli army relies on.

The decision to withhold taxes was taken chiefly to boost his popularity as rival right-wing parties compete for who appears the most hawkish before April’s general election.

Paradoxically, in withholding the PA’s tax money, Netanyahu is punishing Abbas, his supposed peace partner, while showing a preference for Hamas, Abbas’s arch rival in Gaza.

Although Israel categorizes Hamas as a terror organization, Netanyahu has been allowing extra funds into Gaza from Qatar to alleviate the enclave’s dire conditions.

Further, there is something richly ironic about Netanyahu rebuking the PA for rewarding Palestinian “terrorists” in the same week he negotiated a deal to assist bringing Otzma Yehudit, or Jewish Power party, into the Israeli parliament.

The party is Israel’s version of the Ku Klux Klan, disciples of the late rabbi Meir Kahane, whose virulently anti-Arab Kach party was outlawed 25 years ago as a terror organization.

So appalling is the prospect of this unholy alliance that even pro-Israel lobbies like the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) and the American Jewish Committee felt compelled to issue statements condemning Jewish Power as “racist and reprehensible”.

Netanyahu believes the extra votes Jewish Power will attract to the right in the election will ensure he has the support necessary to build a coalition that can keep him in power.

But there is another glaring flaw in Netanyahu’s tax grab.

If Abbas’s coffers run low, he will simply send even less money to Gaza, which is already being choked by Israel’s lengthy blockade.

That would intensify the unrest in Gaza, which could lead to rocket attacks into Israel and even larger mass protests by Palestinians at the perimeter fence encaging them.

At the same time, if things remain unresolved, an already fragile PA will move closer to collapse and Hamas might then be poised to fill the void left in the West Bank.

Loss of power for Abbas, combined with loss of a security contractor for Netanyahu, appear to make this confrontation mutually self-destructive – unless Netanyahu and the right have another card up their sleeve.

Hani Al Masri, a Palestinian policy analyst, has wondered whether Netanyahu is setting the stage for US President Donald Trump to introduce his long-awaited “peace deal” after the election.

Much of Netanyahu’s coalition is keen to annex Palestinian areas outside the main West Bank cities, destroying any hope of a Palestinian state ever emerging. Trump might be amenable.

In this scenario, argues Al Masri, Israel would aim to “end what remains of the PA’s political role, preserving only its administrative and security role”. It would be reduced to bin collections and law enforcement.

Should the PA reject the process of being hollowed out, Israel and the US would then look for an alternative, such as rule by local warlords in each Palestinian city and expanded powers for Israeli military rulers in the West Bank.

The denial of taxes to the PA may not yet presage its demise. But it points to a future in which Palestinian self-rule is likely to become an ever-more distant prospect.

(Source / 28.02.2019)

Nablus-area Road Sealed Off by Israeli Forces

28 Feb 6:11 AM

Israeli forces sealed off a road in southern Nablus City, in the northern occupied West Bank, on Wednesday.

Activist Youssef Deiriyeh told Ma’an News Agency that Israeli forces completely sealed off the Wadi al-Radem road, with dirt mounds, for the fifth time in a row.

Deiriyeh pointed out that the closure comes as a result to complaints of several Israeli settlers, living in the Yanoun area.

The Wadi al-Radem road serves several Palestinian agricultural roads, and leads to wide spaces that would soon be used for solar panels and substitute energy.

Palestinian communities are routinely subjected to arbitrary road closures by Israeli military forces for purported “security reasons,” an act which rights groups have denounced as amounting to collective punishment.

(Source / 28.02.2019)

Israeli Warplanes Attack Area of Khan Younis

28 Feb 6:26 AM

Israeli occupation warplanes attacked an area of Khan Younis city, in the southern Gaza Strip, on Wednesday.

Local sources reported that Israeli warplanes bombed a site belonging to Palestinian resistance, in the west of Khan Younis, in the night.

No injuries were reported, the sources added, according to Days of Palestine

(Source / 28.02.2019)

Palestinian Journalists Syndicate Denounces Israel’s Detention of Palestinian Journalist

28 Feb 6:00 PM

Palestinian photographer, Mustafa Kharouf, a resident of East Jerusalem, was arrested by Israeli police on January 22, 2019, and has been detained in Israel’s Givon Prison, and is facing expulsion to Jordan, for what Israel claims are “security concerns”, reported Anadolu.

The Palestinian Journalists Syndicate (PJS), in a statement on Wednesday, called the continued imprisonment of the Anadolu Agency photographer, a “blatant assault on his right to live and work in the city of Jerusalem, where he has been living and working for 20 years”.

The PJS appealed to the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and human rights groups to strive to apply “serious pressure on the occupying state [Israel] to prevent the implementation of this crime [deportation], which violates international laws and covenants”.

The arrest and detention of the photographer, is characterized by the PJS as “an attack on freedom of the press and freedom of movement”. 32 year old Kharouf was born in Algeria, to an Algerian mother, and a Palestinian father, moving to occupied East Jerusalem when he was 12.

Israeli authorities have long denied Kharouf a long term residency permit, however, Kharouf’s lawyer, Adi Lustigman, Kharouf is not a “citizen of any other country”, and “has no other place where he can legally be”. Lustigman told Anadolu, “this is unacceptable anywhere in the world, but unfortunately, many Palestinian families in East Jerusalem face similar problems”.

According to +972 Magazine, Khafour is married to a Jerusalemite, together they have a small child, living in East Jerusalem. In 2016, Kharouf “reached an agreement with the Interior Ministry to undergo a process of family unification”, which his criminal and security record was inspected.

On January 21, 2019, Kharouf’s lawyer was informed that the unification request was denied, an attempt to appeal was made, however, early the next morning Israeli police and Immigration inspectors raided Kharouf’s family home, and arrested Kharouf. The Interior Ministry “claimed it received recent ‘classified material’ from Shin Bet”, Israel’s Security Agency.

Kharouf’s superior, Turgut Alp Boyraz, at the Turkish news agency Anadolu stated at the tribunal on Feb. 19, 2019, called the allegations “baseless”.

(Source / 28.02.2019)

UN Says Israel Committed War Crimes While Responding to Gaza Protests, Israel Rejects Report

Israeli jeep fires tear-gas during clashes after Friday protests near the border between Israel and Gaza Strip

United Nations investigators said on Thursday Israeli security forces may have committed war crimes and crimes against humanity in killing 189 Palestinians and wounding more than 6,100 at weekly protests in Gaza last year, Reuters reported.

The independent panel said it had confidential information about those it believes to be responsible for the killings, including snipers and commanders.

“The Israeli security forces killed and maimed Palestinian demonstrators who did not pose an imminent threat of death or serious injury to others when they were shot, nor were they directly participating in hostilities,” it said in its report.

For its part, Israel rejected what the report stated, as acting Foreign Minister Israel Katz described it “another hostile, mendacious and slanted report against the State of Israel … No one can deny Israel the right of self-defense and the obligation to defend its citizens and borders from violent attacks.”

According to Reuters, the panel, led by Argentine legal expert Santiago Canton, said individual members of the Israeli security forces killed and gravely injured civilians who were “neither directly participating in hostilities nor posing an imminent threat”.

“Some of these violations may constitute war crimes or crimes against humanity and must be immediately investigated by Israel,” Canton said.

Thirty-five children, two journalists and three “clearly-marked” paramedics were among those killed by Israeli forces, in violation of international humanitarian law, it said.

In the ongoing border protests dubbed ‘The Great March of Return’, Gazans are calling for the right to return to lands from which their ancestors fled or were forced to flee.

(Source / 28.02.2019)