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Israel conducts Nazi-style ethnic cleansing: Analyst

The Israeli regime is carrying out large-scale Nazi-style ethnic cleansing in the occupied West Bank by destroying the Palestinian properties, an analyst tellsPress TV.

“In my opinion, this type of large-scale ethnic cleansing is nothing more than what I would call…Israeli style and I think that in its inhumanity and in its callous displacement of indigenous population, I would call it Nazi-like in its extreme disregard for human life for the rule of law,” Bruce Katz said on Friday.

He said the Zionist regime is pushing ahead with its “brazen continuation of ethnic cleansing which has really gone on since 1948.”

On Wednesday, the United Nations denounced Israel for demolition of Palestinian homes and displacement of their residents in the West Bank.

Katz said the Israeli actions are stalling the move towards peace in the Middle East. “I think that there can be no advancement toward any peace process in the Middle East unless there is a regime change in Israel,” he added.

Rights groups say Tel Aviv’s demolitions are aimed at grabbing more land for construction of illegal settlements and launching military projects in the occupied Palestinian territories.

Katz described the Israeli regime as an “illegitimate one,” saying Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “is wreaking havoc in Israel as well where the level of poverty has increased drastically under his rule.”

The presence and continued expansion of Israeli settlements in occupied Palestine has created a major obstacle for the efforts made to establish peace in the Middle East.

The Israeli regime has recently announced plans to build about 5,000 more illegal settlement units on the occupied Palestinian land.

More than half a million Israelis live in over 120 illegal settlements built since Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and East al-Quds in 1967.

(Source / 13.12.2013)

U.S. drone strike kills 13 in Yemen

People gather at the site of a drone strike on the road between Yafe and Radfan districts of the southern Yemeni province of Lahj August 11, 2013.

Missiles fired by a U.S. drone slammed into a convoy of vehicles traveling to a wedding party in central Yemen on Thursday, killing at least 13 people, Yemeni security officials said.

The officials said the attack took place in the city of Radda, the capital of Bayda province, and left charred bodies and burnt out cars on the road. The city, a stronghold of al-Qaida militants, witnessed deadly clashes early last year between armed tribesmen backed by the military and al-Qaida gunmen in an attempt to drive them out of the city.

There were no immediate details on who was killed in the strike, and there were conflicting reports about whether there were militants traveling with the wedding convoy.

A military official said initial information indicated the drone mistook the wedding party for an al-Qaida convoy. He said tribesmen known to the villagers were among the dead.

One of the three security officials, however, said al-Qaeda militants were suspected to have been traveling with the wedding convoy.

While the U.S. acknowledges its drone program in Yemen, it does not usually talk about individual strikes.

If further investigations determine that the victims were all civilians, the attack could fuel an outburst of anger against the United States and the government in Sanaa among a Yemeni public already opposed to the U.S. drone strikes.

Civilian deaths have bred resentments on a local level, sometimes undermining U.S. efforts to turn the public against the militants. The backlash in Yemen is still not as large as in Pakistan, where there is heavy pressure on the government to force limits on strikes – but public calls for a halt to strikes are starting to emerge.

In October, two U.N. human rights investigators called for more transparency from the United States and other countries about their drone programs, saying their secrecy is the biggest obstacle to determining the civilian toll of such strikes.

The missile attacks in Yemen are part of a joint U.S.-Yemeni campaign against al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, which Washington has called the most dangerous branch of the global terrorist network.

Thursday’s drone strike is the second since a massive car bombing and coordinated assault on Yemen’s military headquarters killed 56 people, including foreigners. al-Qaeda claimed responsibility for the attack, saying it was retaliation for U.S. drone strikes that have killed dozens of the group’s leaders.

Security forces in the Yemeni capital boosted their presence Thursday, setting up checkpoints across the city and sealing off the road to the president’s residence, in response to what the Interior Ministry called threats of “terrorist plots” targeting vital institutions and government buildings.

(Source / 12.12.2013)

In broad daylight, a Saudi-Israeli alliance

 

Asa WinstanleyThe alliance between the apartheid state of Israel and the absolutist monarchy of the Saudi royal dictatorship is no longer merely tacit.

After recent diplomatic moves to cool tensions with Iran by the administration of US President Barack Obama, the Saudi royals seem to be engaging in a collective freak-out.

It’s a display we haven’t seen since the heady days of early 2011. Back then it seemed that every day in the Israeli press there were new reports of collective Zionist freak-outs over the impending departure of their favourite Arab dictator Hosni Mubarak.

In a friendly interview with former Israeli prison guard Jeffrey Goldberg last month, Prince al-Waleed bin Talal was blunt.

He criticised the Obama administration for its promise of (only very mild) easing of sanctions against Iran: “Iran is a huge threat … especially against the Sunnis. The threat is from Persia, not from Israel”.

This is the same man who boasts to the western press about Jordan, Palestine and Yemen being “under our hegemony,” with the rule of his chequebook. Put aside that hypocrisy, as well as the open sectarian agitation for the moment and note how brazen this alliance now is.

The Israeli and and Saudi regimes find themselves in the same trench across the region.

Hassan Nasrallah recently accused the Saudis of being behind the bombing of the Iranian embassy in Lebanon. This was unusually frank language for the Hizballah leader, who normally masks such criticisms with veiled references – “some Arab states”.

The spate of car bombs against mostly Shia Muslim targets in Lebanon this year are in all likelihood a Saudi attempt to goad Hizballah into a sectarian war – something it has so far resisted.

Israeli spies are operating in Syria under the cover of the civil war. There have been many signs of this, but the latest came Sunday in Seymour Hersh’s explosive new article about the Obama administration’s use of politicized intelligence – a deception that almost led to an American war on Syria this year.

In the piece Hersh mentions in passing that evidence of chemical weapons use was gathered “with the help of an Israeli agent”.

On Sunday, the anonymous Saudi Twitter activist (who has over 1.2 million online followers) known as “Mujtahidd” claimed that Saudi spy chief Prince Bandar bin Sultan had met with his Israeli opposite number in Vienna last month. The identity of Mujtahidd is unknown, so this claim must be treated with some scepticism. But the tweeter does have something of a track record, and seems to have insider knowledge.

According to Mujtahidd, the two spy chiefs mainly discussed Iran, Syria and the Muslim Brotherhood. This fits in well with al-Waleed’s stated agenda, and with the well-known influence the Saudis wield in the region. The al-Saud family reportedly gave $5 billion to the generals of Egypt’s coup regime, for example. Prince Bandar is often suspected to be the funder behind recent bombings in Lebanon.

A mutual fear and loathing of the prospect of peace with Iran has brought the Wahhabist regime and the Zionist regime together in an alliance of convenience. Both will continue to push the Americans to start or fund wars against their regional enemies.

While the two states are very different in some ways, something Israel and Saudi Arabia both share is sectarian hatred. Indeed, in Israel, sectarianism was fundamental to the establishment of the state, established on the ruins of Palestine in 1948.

While the Saudi royals continue to wield unchecked power in the region, the hope for real democratic change in the Arab world seems remote. That the permanent counter-revolution represented by Israel and Saudi Arabia should now be so open does not come as much of a surprise.

If America and Britain were really serious about “democracy promotion” they would cut all ties with both of these oppressive states.

(Source / 12.12.2013)

Mona Qa’adan’s trial postponed for tenth time

mona-kaadanThe trial of Palestinian political prisoner Mona Qa’adan, 42, from Jenin, was postponed for the tenth time on December 9, postponed until December 19 with no reason given by the Salem military court.

Qa’adan, who previously served three and one-half year in Israeli prisons, was re-arrested on November 13, 2012 after her release from occupation prisons in October 2011 as part of the prisoner exchange agreement. Since her arrest, she has been denied family visits, even from family members with permits for visitation.

Former prisoner Tareq Qa’adan, the brother of Mona, told Ahrar center for human rights that it was the tenth time the Israeli military courts rescheduled the trial of his sister. While Tareq was imprisoned, Mona engaged in solidarity hunger strikes to support his demands.

(Source / 12.12.2013)

Prisoner visits canceled due to clashes in Israeli jail

RAMALLAH (Ma’an) — Family visits for Palestinian detainees in Israel’s Megiddo jail were canceled on Wednesday after clashes broke out between prisoners and Israeli prison guards.

Relatives of prisoners told Ma’an that their visits were canceled due to the clashes, with witnesses saying that Israeli guards fired tear gas into prison courtyards.

Israeli media reported that detainees began throwing objects at guards and set a laundry room on fire in protest against the transfer of two inmates from a wing of the jail.

Three detainees were injured during the clashes.

Palestinian detainee Arafat Jaradat died in Megiddo jail in February after being allegedly tortured during an interrogation by Israeli forces.

There are around 5,000 Palestinian detainees in Israeli jails.

The transfer of detainees to jails within an occupying power’s territory is illegal under international law.

(Source / 11.12.2013)

Charity condemns Israeli role in UK drone project

War on Want claims technology to be used in Watchkeeper drones has been field tested in attacks on Gaza
Hermes 450 drone

An Elbit Systems Hermes 450 drone.

A campaigning charity has criticised the UK’s deal with an Israeli firm to develop a new drone, Watchkeeper, which the charity claims has been “field tested” in attacks on Gaza that left many Palestinians dead.

War on Want, an anti-poverty charity that also campaigns for justice for Palestine, called for an embargo by the European Union on arms trade with Israel, a move that would end collaboration between Thales UK and Israel’s Elbit Systems, one of the world’s leading manufacturers of unmanned aircraft.

The Ministry of Defence has awarded a succession of contracts for the long-delayed Watchkeeper project, now totalling nearly £1bn, to a joint venture between Elbit and Thales UK to build 54 drones. After a series of technical problems, Watchkeeper finally received its “statement of type design assurance” in October from the Military Aviation Authority, giving the MoD the green light for airworthiness and safety tests.

The joint venture, UAV Tactical Systems, will oversee the Watchkeeper programme with work subcontracted to a number of other British companies. The design and technology of Watchkeeper is based on Elbit’s Hermes 450 model, which Israel has used extensively over Gaza. British forces have used unarmed Hermes drones in Afghanistan.

In a 23-page report (pdf) published on Wednesday, War on Want refers to reports of armed Israeli UAVs killing Palestinians in Gaza. About 800 Palestinians have been reported killed in Israeli raids by drones between 2006 and 2011, the charity claims, citing the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights. However, it is not known whether the strikes were by Elbit drones or by other Israeli unmanned weapons systems or aircraft.

War on Want’s senior campaigns officer Rafeef Ziadah said: “By supporting the arms trade with Israeli companies, the British government is sending a clear message of approval for Israel’s aggression against the Palestinian people. The European Union is sending a similar message through its research funding for Israeli arms companies. It is high time both the UK and the EU ended their support for Israel’s violations of international law.”

The charity’s report also says the previous Labour government rejected Israeli assurances that UK arms would not be deployed against civilians in Palestinian territory, but there were now 381 extant British arms licences to Israel, worth £7.8bn.

A MoD spokesperson told the Guardian: “Watchkeeper is an unarmed, remotely piloted air system that will provide ground troops with vital surveillance, reconnaissance and intelligence that will help save military and civilian lives. There is no intention to arm Watchkeeper, which like all the UK’s unmanned air systems will be operated by highly trained pilots.”

Elbit Systems said it had no comment to make.

This week the Guardian reported that new guidance published by UK Trade and Investment, which promotes British businesses in foreign markets, stated there were “clear risks” related to economic and financial activities in West Bank settlements, and it did not encourage or offer support to such activity.

The guidance said: “Financial transactions, investments, purchases, procurements as well as other economic activities (including in services like tourism) in Israeli settlements or benefiting Israeli settlements, entail legal and economic risks stemming from the fact that the Israeli settlements, according to international law, are built on occupied land and are not recognised as a legitimate part of Israel’s territory.”

Ziadah, who is on the national committee of the Palestinian boycott, divestment and sanctions movement, seized on the guidance, saying: “The UK government has realised that its condemnations of illegal settlements are falling on deaf ears, and has started to address the huge amount of economic support that the illegal settlements receive from UK businesses.”

(Source / 11.12.2013)

Soldiers Kidnap Two Palestinian In Gaza

[Wednesday December 11, 2013] Israeli sources have reported that the army kidnapped two Palestinians who crossed the “border fence” between the Gaza Strip and Israel.

File - Image By PNN
The sources said that the two were unarmed, and likely tried to enter Israeli searching for work.

The two have been moved to an interrogation facility in an Israeli settlement close to the border with the besieged and impoverished Gaza Strip.

There have been dozens of similar incidents as the Gaza Strip remains under strict Israeli siege, despite Israeli claims of easing it, and allowing a limited number of trucks carrying urgently needed supplies into the coastal region.

It is worth mentioning that dozens of Palestinians have been killed or wounded, and dozens have been kidnapped, for approaching the border fence area, while most of them were working in Palestinian lands close to the border, and did not even come near the fence.

Israeli considers Palestinians lands close to the border fence to be a “no-man zone”, and anyone who enters it is subject to direct army fire without a warning.

(Source / 11.12.2013)

41 Palestinian civilians displaced in the Jordan Valley area on eve of expected storm

Initial information indicates that the Israeli authorities demolished today 30 Palestinian-owned structures, including 11 residential structures, in five Area C communities, on the grounds they lacked building permits. Forty-one (41) people, including 24 children, have been displaced as a result, several for the second time this year. Preliminary information on each incident is included below.

Twelve of the structures were international donor-funded assistance, including six tents that were provided in response to previous demolitions in the past month. Several of the communities have been engaged in protracted legal processes to ‘legalize’ the status of their structures and prevent demolition.

Today’s demolitions are particularly concerning given the impending winter storm projected to hit the area in the coming days. They follow the Israeli authorities’ demolition of 29 other structures, including eight residential structures, in the Jordan Valley area this month, which resulted in the displacement of 31 people, including 19 children, and otherwise affected 90 people, including 60 children.  So far this year, 70 per cent of Area C demolitions and nearly 80 per cent of related displacement, has occurred in Jordan Valley communities.

  • Fasayil al Fauqa (Jericho):  Demolition of three structures, including two animal barracks and one fodder storage room, affecting two registered refugee families, comprising 14 people, including eight children. 
  • Jiftlik Abu al ‘Ajaj (Jericho): Demolition of 10 structures, including four residential structures, displacing two registered refugee families comprising 15 people, including eight children. (Among the demolished structures were three inhabited donor-funded tents that were provided as temporary, post-demolition shelter assistance following the demolition of a house and an animal barracks in the community on 20 November 2013 that displaced one of the families. Also demolished were 1 external toilet, 1 tent shade used a sitting area and kitchen, 1 tent, provided by the Palestinian Ministry of Local Government (MLG) used as shelter for newborn sheep, 2 other animal structures, and 1 fence (24 metres long).
  • Al Farisiyeh (Jericho): Demolition of seven structures, including four residential structures, displacing 12 people, including six children. These families were previously displaced on 3 December 2013.
    (Among the demolished structures were three international donor-funded tents provided as temporary, post-demolition assistance following the 3 December demolitions. Community reports that a 43-year-old woman suffering from cancer was physically assaulted and injured by Israeli forces during the demolitions and transferred to hospital for medical care.)
  • Khirbet Yarza (Tubas): Demolition of four structures, including one residential structure, displacing two people and otherwise affecting six children.
    (This family was displaced earlier this year following demolitions in the community. Three of the structures are reportedly donor-funded structures. Khirbet Yarza is located in an area declared closed by the Israeli military for training, or “firing zone”.
  • Ein al Hilweh (Tubas): Demolition of six structures, including two residential structures, displacing one family comprising 12 people, including 10 children.
    (Also demolished was 1 external kitchen, 1 storage room and 2 animal pens.)

(Source / 11.12.2013)

Israel seeking to sabotage Iran nuclear deal: Analyst

The logo of American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC)

The logo of American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC)
Israel is seeking to scuttle Iran’s nuclear deal with the world powers for fear of losing its position in the Middle East due to a likely rapprochement between Iran and the US, an analyst tells Press TV.

“Actually, behind the rhetoric about the Iran nuclear issue, what the Zionists really fear is that a general rapprochement between the US and Iran, made possible by a nuclear deal, could lead to realignment in the Middle East to the perceived detriment of Israel and also to the growth of Iran’s influence and power,” Yusuf Fernandez wrote in a column for Press TV on Tuesday.

He added that the “Zionist hawks” have so far failed to derail Iran’s groundbreaking deal with the powers despite all their “frantic activity.”

On November 24, Iran and Sextet of world powers — the US, Britain, France, Russia, China and Germany — reached an interim deal aimed at laying the groundwork for the resolution of the West’s decade-old dispute with Iran over its nuclear energy program.

In exchange for Tehran’s confidence-building measure to limit certain aspects of its nuclear activities, the six countries agreed to lift some of the existing sanctions against the Islamic Republic.

Fernandez further noted that “Israel’s agents in the US Congress” are making efforts to undermine the nuclear accord.

He said the agreement “has provoked a flurry of criticism” from a group of US congressmen who “are under the control of the Zionist lobby’s main organization, AIPAC.”

Fernandez noted that AIPAC is “promoting new sanctions legislation in order to sabotage a final deal.”

“Most US experts claim that Israel’s insistence on zero enrichment is ‘not an achievable objective’,” he wrote.

(Source / 10.12.2013)

PPS: “5000 Palestinians, Including 200 Children, Imprisoned By Israel”

[Wednesday, December 10, 2013] Marking The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (Adopted by the UN on December 10 1948), the Palestinian Prisoners Society (PPS) has reported that Israel is ongoing with its serious violations, and is currently holding captive more than 5000 Palestinians, including 200 minors and 15 women.

freedom_1.jpg

The PPS said that Israel continues to violate all related international agreements, including the Fourth Geneva Convention, by subjecting the detainees to cruel conditions, extreme torture and abuse, and holding them under terrible conditions.

It added that this year witnessed some of the largest violations against the detainees, as Israeli soldiers repeatedly broke into their rooms in different detention camps and prisons, and violently assaulted them, in addition to spraying them with gas and forcing dozens into solitary confinement.

The Society said that four Palestinian detainees died this year, three of them died in prison due to the lack of medical attention, and one died shortly after his release due to serious illness he suffered while in prison, and was never granted the urgently needed medical attention.

There are currently 1400 Palestinian detainees suffering with various health conditions, including 150 suffering with cancer, diabetes and other serious health issues.

Most of the detainees who suffer with serious health conditions are held at the Ramla Prison clinic that lacks basic supplies and specialized physicians.

The PPS further stated that, after Israel released veteran detainees held before the First Oslo Agreement of 1993, there are currently 53 veteran detainees still imprisoned, out of 104 detainees who spent at least 20 years in prison.

The PPS called on the International Community, and Human Rights groups, to act on holding Israel accountable for its crimes against the Palestinian people, especially against the detainees who are supposed to enjoy protection and adequate treatment.

Last month, the Israeli government said it was considering forcing Palestinian detainees from Jerusalem and Historic Palestine (1948) into exile, should they be freed under any agreement with the Palestinian Authority. The detainees have also been imprisoned since before the First Oslo Agreement.

Tel Aviv refused to release any of the 27 detainees during the first and second phases in which it released, back in mid-August 26 veteran detainees (14 from Gaza and 12 from the West bank, and in late October when it released 26 veteran detainees (21 from Gaza and five from the West Bank).

More veteran detainees are expected to be released on December 29 and on March 28 2014, as part of a mediated deal reached by the US to ensure the resumption of direct political talks.

Various Israeli officials of the Israeli Government of Benjamin Netanyahu have been calling for voiding the agreement.

(Source / 10.12.2013)