Bennett adopts new tactics to release Israeli soldiers held in Gaza

Politician of Israel's Jewish Home party, Naftali Bennett seen after a swearing-in at the Israeli Prime Minister's Office on March 18, 2013 in Jerusalem [David Vaaknin-Pool/Getty Images]

Politician of Israel’s Jewish Home party, Naftali Bennett seen after a swearing-in at the Israeli Prime Minister’s Office on March 18, 2013 in Jerusalem 

Israeli Defence Minister Naftali Bennett has said that he is using new tactics to release Israeli soldiers held in the Gaza Strip, Safa news agency reported on Wednesday.

They are said to be very different to those used by his predecessors.

“We are holding the bodies of terrorists and we capture Hamas members who cross the border, in order to increase the pain of the other side,” the minister explained. “That’s part of the change that I started.”

He added that he uses a carrot and stick policy with Gaza. “We use a tactic of reward and punishment. If it is quiet it will be good for them, if it is not quiet, it will be bad for them.”

Explaining this further, he pointed out, “When there is quiet there are merchants, imports and exports, a fishing zone, and we do not attack them. When there are balloons, we close it all and bomb their bases and rocket factories.”

Bennett said that he “personally approves every target” and promised to make no room for “discussions”.

Observers noted that the right-wing minister didn’t put any of his policy into the context of the ongoing military occupation and blockade, against which the people of Palestine have a legitimate right to resist.

READ: Shin Bet reportedly slams defence minister for giving ‘green light to Jewish terror’

(Source / 20.02.2020) 

US’ Sanders: ‘We cannot ignore the needs of the Palestinian people’

US Senator Bernie Sanders delivers a speech during his first presidential campaign rally at Brooklyn College in New York, US, 2 March 2019 
 [Atılgan Özdil/Anadolu Agency]

US Senator Bernie Sanders delivers a speech during his first presidential campaign rally at Brooklyn College in New York, US, 2 March 2019

US presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders said support for Israel was possible without backing its “racist” government, and the needs of Palestinians must not be ignored.

In a Town Hall meeting hosted by US news channel CNN, Sanders was asked what Israel-US policy would look like under his administration.

He said: “To be for the Israeli people and to be for peace in the Middle East does not mean that we have to support right wing racist governments that currently exist in Israel.”

“What American foreign policy has got to be about in the Middle East, bringing the Israelis bringing the Palestinians together under the banner of justice. We could do it, we have the wealth to do it.”

It cannot just simply be that we’re just pro-Israel and we ignore the needs of the Palestinian people.

People for Bernie @People4Bernie  

.@BernieSanders on #CNNTownHall: “To be for the Israeli people and to be for peace in the Middle East does not mean that we have to support right wing racist governments that currently exist in Israel…

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He went on to speak about the situation in Gaza, citing recent statistics stating youth unemployment now stands at 70 per cent, and no one is able to leave the besieged Strip.

He continued by saying he felt strongly about it, citing his Jewish heritage and the long history of persecution Jews have faced as his reason.

READ: The Israel lobby is mobilising to stop Bernie Sanders

Sanders has previously stated that he finds Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government racist and right wing.

He has been repeatedly attacked for his critical stance on Israel’s foreign policy and treatment of the Palestinians.

Israeli politicians have expressed fear that Sanders could win the nomination and go on to beat incumbent President Donald Trump, with Israeli MK Yair Lapid saying Israel would be in “big trouble” if the Democratic Party won the presidency.

Sanders is currently leading the Democratic primaries, with double digit leads in some states as his opponents trail.

READ: Trump lied to us about Yemen war, says Sanders

(Source / 20.02.2020) 

Palestine to take legal action against Amazon

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos in Istanbul, Turkey on 2 October 2019 [Arif Hüdaverdi Yaman/Anadolu Agency]

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos in Istanbul, Turkey on 2 October 2019

The Palestinian Authority (PA) announced yesterday that it is to take legal action against Amazon over its discrimination against Palestinians, Wafa news agency reported.

According to Wafa, the PA’s Ministry of National Economy said Amazon favours illegal Jewish settlers in the occupied Palestinian territories over the indigenous Palestinian population.

In November, Amazon started providing a free shipping service to Israeli settlers in the occupied West Bank while Palestinians living in their towns and villages near the illegal settlements have to pay fees of over $24.

Amazon said it would make shipping free for Palestinians if they list their country as Israel.

The ministry sent legal notices to the company calling on it to immediately stop this policy or face legal accountability before international courts.

UN expert: Saudi crown prince behind hack on Amazon CEO

 (Source / 20.02.2020) 

Israel turns its effort from Hamas, Hezbollah to Iran

Israeli Education Minister, Naftali Bennett [File photo]

Israeli Defence Minister Naftali Bennett has said that Israel is turning all its efforts towards Iran and reducing its efforts against Hezbollah and Hamas, Israel National News reported yesterday.

“The greatest change that’s happening now is that we are toning down the tactical wars against Hamas and Hezbollah, so that we can turn most of our energy to Iran itself,” Bennett told 103 FM Israeli Radio.

He added: “Instead of fighting with Hezbollah and Hamas, we are turning our military, economic and diplomatic efforts to weakening Iran, because it is the head of the snake.”

Bennett said that Israel is removing Iran from Syria and that “Iran is becoming weaker and maybe we can prevent a third war in Lebanon.”

Iran: Arab countries opened door for ‘Deal of the Century’

(Source / 20.02.2020) 

Soldiers Abduct Two Sibling Children In Beit Jala

Israeli soldiers abducted, on Wednesday evening, two sibling children from Beit Jala city, west of Bethlehem, south of occupied East Jerusalem in the West Bank.

Media sources said the soldiers invaded Beit Jala before storming and ransacking the family home of the two children, causing excessive damage, and abducted them.

They added that the two children have been identified as Mansour Saleh Faraj, 12, and his brother Montaser, 13.

(Source / 20.02.2020) 

Commission of Detainees’ Affairs Calls for Release of Dying Prisoner

The Israeli occupation authorities transferred Palestinian prisoner suffering from cancer, Muwaffaq Arouq, 77, from Barzilai Medical Center, back to al-Ramleh prison clinic, despite his deteriorated health condition.

Commission of Detainees’ Affairs said in a statement, on Wednesday, that Arouq was transferred from Barzilai Medical Center, a 617-bed hospital in Ashkelon, southern Israel, just two weeks after undergoing abdominal surgery to remove a tumor.

Arouq, detained by Israeli forces in 2003, is serving a 30 year sentence, and is one of the oldest Palestinian prisoners in Israeli prisons, Alray reports.

The commission warned of the aggravated health condition of prisoner, stating that Arouq is in need of urgent specialized medical care, calling for his immediate release from Israeli jail.

(Source / 20.02.2020) 

Archbishop Hanna: “We Urge All Churches Globally To Reject Deal Of The Century”

Archbishop of Sebastia Diocese Of the Greek Orthodox Church in occupied Jerusalem, Attallah Hanna, welcomed a delegation of the World Council of Churches at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and the adjacent cathedral, and urged them, along with all churches, to denounce the so-called “Deal of the Century” and the ongoing historical injustice inflicted on the Palestinian people in their occupied homeland.

Archbishop Hanna called on the World Council of Churches to take clear Christian standards, based on the holy bible, humanity, morality, and dignity, to stand firm against this so-called deal, and not to surrender to pressure from the Zionist lobby which is acting against basic the principles of justice and freedom.

“What is the benefit of having a World Council of Churches if it becomes a political organization serving certain interests against the other, and if it continues to be hesitant about taking obvious stances against occupation, oppression, and injustice targeting the Palestinian people,” Archbishop Hanna said, “We are calling for clear positions, for churches around the world to work on protecting human rights, and on helping our people live in their own sovereign independent state.”

“Do not listen to those who keep talking about balanced stances, because for us, there is no space here for such a position while we continue to see people getting killed, targeted, oppressed and made homeless, in addition to being treated as strangers in their own homeland,” he added.

“We call on the World Council of Churches to act, as we all expect, on defending dignity, justice, and humanity in Palestine, in Syria, in Iraq as well as even part of the world,” Archbishop Hanna concluded.

(Source / 20.02.2020) 

‘ISRAEL’ ARRESTS TEENAGER, HOLDS TWO JOURNALISTS IN WEST BANK

Occupied Palestine (QNN)- The Israeli army on Wednesday arrested a Palestinian teenager near the Ibrahimi mosque in Hebron and held two journalists in northern Ramallah.

The Prisoners Information bureau stated that Israeli forces arrested Yazan Jabari (17 years old) near the Ibrahimi mosque and sent him on a military jeep to an interrogation center.

Journalist Alaa Rimawi stated that the Israeli army held him along with journalist Muhammad Awad while they were working in the village of Turmus Ayya in northern Ramallah. They were both released after an hour, he added.

Israeli forces had arrested seven Palestinians as well from the West Bank and Jerusalem, including the Director of Education in Qalqilya, Saleh Yaseen (57 years old), from the village of Bedya in Salfit. Yaseer=n is also a father of a martyr.

(Source / 20.02.2020) 

The Israel lobby is mobilising to stop Bernie Sanders

Neither Corbyn nor Sanders are communists or radicals. Neither has an anti-Zionist platform

By Asa Winstanley 

Like what it did with the Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn in Britain, pro-Israel lobby is doing its best to bring down Bernie Sanders in the United States. All of this just because they support Palestinian rights!


In September 2016, the Jewish Labour Movement in Britain held a small barbecue to establish a new youth wing. Thanks to the fact that an undercover journalist from Al Jazeera was among the tiny handful of attendees, we know in quite some detail what was said at the event.

The JLM’s then chairperson Jeremy Newmark stated that a year earlier, in September 2015, he and a small group of associates had met in a cafe and planned on “re-forming the JLM to do something with it”. That something was “utilising the rights and privileges” that the Jewish Labour Movement “enjoys as a socialist society” within Britain’s Labour Party. This plan to reconstitute the JLM came against the backdrop of what Newmark said was “the rise of Jeremy Corbyn” in Britain and “Bernie Sanders in the States.”

In private, speaking to his small cadre of young Zionist activists, Newmark admitted implicitly what he would not do in public: the JLM had been a dead organisation before left-winger Jeremy Corbyn unexpectedly became Labour leader in September 2015.

In close coordination with the Israeli Embassy in London, the JLM was re-founded just as Corbyn rose to prominence. It was a political weapon against the left-wing, pro-Palestinian grassroots base of the Labour Party.

For years as a stalwart of Britain’s pro-Israel, anti-Palestine lobby, Newmark understood well that the popular movements behind both Corbyn and Sanders were going to be more critical of Israel than ever before. There was, therefore, a pressing need to smash these movements on both sides of the Atlantic.

The JLM and the wider pro-Israel lobby played a key role in doing just that. Over the course of four years, Corbyn was beaten down, vilified, delegitimised, demonised and finally defeated in the General Election in December.

The lobby and the Zionist movement as a whole were in the vanguard of the counterrevolutionary movement of the British establishment, the media and the Labour right-wing to remove Corbyn as party leader. Now, the pro-Israel lobby is attempting to repeat this feat in the US against would-be Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders.

In the US, as it was in Britain, another ageing, flawed left-wing leadership candidate backed by a massive popular movement is attempting to shift the political climate irreversibly and win an election from the left of centre. Neither Corbyn nor Sanders are communists or radicals. Neither has an anti-Zionist platform. Indeed, Sanders has described himself on more than one occasion as “100 per cent pro-Israel”.

However, both have discussed the possibility of very slightly easing the flow of Western military aid to Israel. Even this slight deviation from decades of social democratic parties’ unquestioned support for Zionism, though, is unacceptable to the pro-Israel lobby.

That is why an ostensibly Democratic group is the first to spend major lobbyist money attacking the leading candidate in the primary race to be the Democratic candidate for US president. That group calls itself “Democratic Majority for Israel”, although you wouldn’t know it from the election advertisements that it has been running ahead of key primary votes.

The TV ads state merely that they have been “Paid for by DMFI”, and their theme has nothing to do with Israel. They instead attack Sanders as “unelectable” and cast doubts over the state of his health. The group has reportedly ploughed roughly a million dollars into the adverts.

Exactly who is funding Democratic Majority for Israel remains unclear, but the group has very clear links with AIPAC, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, probably the most influential and well-funded of pro-Israel, anti-Palestine groups in the US. AIPAC has also waded clumsily into the war against Sanders, launching a disgustingly racist attack against the Senator’s allies Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar, the first Muslim women to enter Congress.

In a short series of Facebook ads, AIPAC accused “radicals in the Democratic Party” of “anti-Semitic and anti-Israel policies”. The ads featured the images of Tlaib, Omar and their colleague Betty McCollum. All three lawmakers have campaigned for a bill against Israel’s abusive imprisonment of Palestinian children.

A petition connected to the ads stated outrageously that the three lawmakers’ work was “maybe more sinister” than ISIS, the terrorist group which calls itself Islamic State. Despite AIPAC’s lies about anti-Semitism, it is clear that the lobby’s real concern is to protect Israel’s ability to torture and imprison Palestinian children with complete impunity.

The ads backfired, though, and AIPAC was forced to apologise. McCollum rejected their apology, calling AIPAC a “hate group” which is “weaponising anti-Semitism”.

So far, the pro-Israel lobby has yet to attack Sanders directly with anti-Semitism smears. But you can be sure that it is something that will happen, despite the fact that he is a Jew himself.

It is worth remembering that the attacks against Corbyn for supposed anti-Semitism did not start with direct accusations; it was all about guilt by association to begin with. Many of those so accused were themselves Jewish.

The only way to beat these lies is to completely and utterly reject them, loudly and forcefully. McCollum’s pushback is an encouraging sign. To ensure victory, the wider movement must sustain this stance uncompromisingly in the weeks, months and years ahead.

(Source / 20.02.2020) 

Israeli Occupation Forces Displace Two Elderly Sisters In West Bank

Photos File

Photos File

The Israeli occupation forces (IOF) on Wednesday displaced two elderly women after seizing a prefabricated house belonging to them in Birin village, east of Yatta town in al-Khalil.

Local official Rateb al-Jabour reported that Israeli soldiers confiscated a mobile house accommodating two elderly sisters identified as Husn (85) and Zina (65) Saud.

The sisters were given the house as humanitarian assistance by Ein Shams Charity in Yatta town.

(Source / 20.02.2020)