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Israel hopes to wipe out Hezbollah by destroying Syrian regime


Hezbollah is like a red bull to the Israelis, and now Israel hopes to annihilate it by completely weakening Syrian regime, Middle East expert and historian Tariq Ali told RT.

RT: Foreign media reported over the weekend that Israel was behind the attack on Russian missiles in Latakia, what motivation do you think could be for Israel in it?

Tariq Ali: Its motivation, as always, is to show the Arabs, both inside Israel and outside, look this is how tough we are, we can hit any target in the Middle East that we want and no one can do anything about it. That was the aim. The attack on Latakia by the Israelis, if it was them, and the American sources are saying it was, and Israel hasn’t denied it. They haven’t confirmed it but they haven’t denied it. Informal sources in the Israeli press are saying that it was an attack designed to immobilize Russian anti-ship missiles that have been given to Syria. Well, that is an open breach of a country’s sovereignty which the Israelis have done in the past and which they carry on doing. This is a country which is above the law, or considers itself above the law, and it’s United States’ master and European friends will do nothing to stop it.

RT: But it’s obvious that Israel has no right to breach any country’s sovereignty.

AFP PhotoTA: Of course, they have no right but they’ve occupied sovereign states, they’ve taken chances on their territory in the case of Lebanon for many years. Hezbollah is like a red bull to the Israelis. It attacks, and the Israelis haven’t been able to wipe it out though they’ve tried. They are now hoping to do it by completely weakening or destroying the Syrian regime. It’s Hezbollah which is at the center of Israeli interest. It is the only group in the Arab world for a very long time which has actually inflicted some blows on Israel, first forcing them to withdraw from Lebanon, and then resisting one of their big attacks and invasions of the same country. So that is what they would like to do, but I think Hezbollah is probably the best armed and the best led liberation movement in the region. So it’s not going to be as easy as their match.

RT: Do you think the US knew beforehand about the Latakia attack?

TA: Virtually everything Israel does is coordinated with the US. You have very close links between the IDF and the Pentagon, this is hardly a secret; their intelligence services collaborate and help each other. So I have very little doubt the Israelis inform the US that they were going to attack Latakia, and the US registered it. Whether they said go ahead and do it formally, I don’t know, most probably they did. This is how Israel functions and the Americans never yet attempted to stop it.

RT: Do you think Israel could go as far as to provide actual help to Syrian rebels?

TA: The Israelis are pursuing their own agenda, they always do. However, they are not dumb, the people in Jerusalem. They know that by doing this and further weakening the regime the Syrian state could break up or be completely destroyed. So they are not unaware of what is happening in that country and indirectly I’d say yes, they are providing help to the rebels.

AFP PhotoRT: Are you surprised to learn that Syrian troops allegedly seized chemical weapons belonging to rebels?

TA: No, if it turns out to be true, and I don’t know whether it is or not, it wouldn’t surprise me at all. It’s very clear that the sections of the rebel leadership have been desperate for western military intervention and prepared to go a long way to achieve it. I remember before or just after this sarin gas attack, media emblazoned it across their front pages in some European countries to put pressure on Washington. The fact that Washington then pulled back from going beyond what they’re already doing indicates that they were not convinced. I think the Russian UN ambassador was absolutely right: the West has no proof that sarin gas was being used by the Syrian state. So if the latest claim from the Syrians is true, it’s very serious indeed.

RT: Then the US has to react to that.

TA: No, Washington doesn’t need to react at all. Double standards prevail in international diplomacy, there are very few norms. If it’s not in the interest of the US and its European Union allies to react they won’t react at all. They will not treat the rebels in the same way as they are treating the Syrian state.

RT: A FSA commander has recently been killed by radicals on his own side, now we’re hearing allegations that the rebels are using chemical weapons, surely this has got to change the stance of the West and the US towards supporting the rebels now, hasn’t it?


AFP Photo 

TA: I should hope so. Certainly, public opinion in the US and in Britain is opposed by a fairly convincing majority to any western intervention in Syria. In senior politicians, including conservative politicians in Britain, have said very clearly that they are not going to support any such venture. Whether President Obama will decide now – he’s been very hesitant till now to go for this – remains to be seen. I’d have thought that the chances for the western military intervention on the Libyan model are becoming more and more remote but I can be wrong.

RT: Let’s just put western interest aside. What about the friend of Syria saying that Lebanon and Iran should not be involved and yet the Gulf Arab states are clearly involved in this.

TA: Well, it’s absolutely true what you say. Both the Saudis and the Qataris have been involved. Both in Egypt by way of backing their favorite horses in that particular race, and in Syria very openly by arming the Salafi groups and the more moderate Jihadi groups. So there’s no doubt that this is indirect military intervention, clearly green-lighted by the US because without their approval it’s very unlikely that these things would be happening. I think that the Gulf States have got American approval to help. Whether they will continue to get this approval remains to be seen.

(Source / 15.07.2013)

Prisoners in Gilboa Prison join Anger Strike against Prawer Plan

prawer-planPalestinian prisoners in Gilboa prison announced their participation in the July 15 Anger Strike, a general strike of Palestinians in the ’48 occupied areas, against the Prawer Plan, which will displace up to 40,000 Palestinian Bedouins and destroy their villages.

Addameer reported that the prisoners of Gilboa prison had issued a statement on the strike.

Their statement reads as follows:

On Monday, July 15, when a general strike was announced inside the occupied lands of 1948 to reject the Prawer Plan, which confiscates the lands of the Negev (Naqab) and the displacement of the Bedouin, called by the Higher Follow-Up Committee in the ’48 areas.

We have decided in Gilboa prison to join the national strike within the prison, refusing to hold events on Monday and closing prison facilities, recognizing that we are profoundly connected to all of the struggles of our people and our homeland, in defense of our identity, our belonging, our land and our memory.

(Source / 15.07.2013)

RT source: Israeli strike on Syria was carried out from Turkish base

Israel used a Turkish military base to launch one of its recent airstrikes against Syria from the sea, a reliable source told RT. Israel has been under scrutiny since last week, when it was reported to be responsible for a July 5 depot attack in Latakia.

News that Turkey assisted Israel in attacking another Muslim state could result in serious turmoil for Ankara, once the information is confirmed.

“Our source is telling us that Israeli planes left a military base inside Turkey and approached Latakia from the sea to make sure that they stayed out of Syrian airspace so that they cannot become a legitimate target for the Syrian air force,” RT’s Paula Slier reports.

In response, Turkey has denied that Israel has used its base to strike Syria.

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu told the media that existing reports of the incident are“absolutely wrong” and those who spread such rumors are in “act of betrayal.”

“Turkey will neither be a part nor a partner of such ‘attacks.’ The ones who claim this want to damage Turkey’s power and reputation,” he added.

Responding to RT’s request for comment, the Turkish embassy in Moscow has said: “We officially inform that this allegation is definitely not true.”

Israel has also declined to comment to RT and refused to confirm or deny the information.

The Israeli PM’s office told RT that they “will not be taking part in your broadcast,” while an IDF spokesperson renewed the stance that the military is “not commenting on this issue.”

Relations between Turkey and Israel were strained until March 2013, as a result of a flotilla incident which happened more than three years ago. In protest against Israel’s refusal to apologize, Turkey expelled the Israeli ambassador and severed military ties.

The two agreed to normalize their relationship after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahuapologized to Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Ankara has been known for its assistance to foreign-backed militants, allowing them to train on Turkish territory before infiltrating into Syria.

Shortly after the July 5 airstrike, the Free Syrian Army said that rebels were not responsible for the attack, which destroyed Yakhont anti-ship missiles being stored there.

It was not the FSA that targeted this,” Qassem Saadeddine, FSA’s Supreme Military Council spokesman told Reuters. “It is not an attack that was carried out by rebels.”


A general view of the port of Syria's Mediterranean city of Latakia (Reuters / Khaled Al Hariri)A general view of the port of Syria’s Mediterranean city of Latakia

The FSA suggested the attack “was either by air raid or long-range missiles fired from boats in the Mediterranean.”

Rebels described massive blasts, saying that the firepower exceeded the capability of weapons available to the opposition. They speculated that the attack was launched with the use of modern military weapons, like those which may be possessed by Israel.

On Saturday, US officials speaking on condition of anonymity also revealed Israel’s involvement with the explosions. They did not provide details on the extent of the damage or the number of missiles struck.

At the same time, Britain’s Sunday Times cited its Middle East intelligence sources who reported that a contingent of 50 Russian-made Yakhont P-800 anti-ship missiles were targeted and destroyed. However, the newspaper claimed that Israeli submarines carried out the attack rather than the Air Force.

Netanyahu hesitated to comment on reports when speaking to CBS-TV’s “Face the Nation” on Sunday.

“My policy is to prevent the transfer of dangerous weapons to Hezbollah in Lebanon and other terror groups as well. And we stand by that policy,” the PM said. “And I’m not in the habit of saying what we did or didn’t do,” he added.

If the recent airstrikes are proven to have been carried out by Israel, the July 5 strike will be the fourth known Israeli air attack against targets in Syria this year. The previous three attacks targeted an area near Damascus on January 30, May 3, and May 5.


Photo reportedly showing the explosions hitting Damascus suburb of Jamraya on May 3Photo reportedly showing the explosions hitting Damascus suburb of Jamraya on May 3

In late January, an airstrike hit a weapons convoy that carried Russian-made SA-17 surface-to-air missiles, marking the first incursion by Israel into Syrian airspace in six years.

In May, Israeli warplanes conducted two days of airstrikes, targeting a shipment from Iran of Fateh-110 missiles. Such missiles have the capability to strike Tel Aviv from southern Lebanon.

Middle East expert and historian, Tariq Ali told RT that Israel continues to attack Syria to get square with Hezbollah.

“Hezbollah is like a red [rag to a] bull to Israelis and Israelis haven’t been able to wipe it out, though they tried many times. Now they are hoping they can do it by weakening or completely destroying the Syrian regime. Indirectly they are providing help to the rebels,” Ali said. “Israel is a country that considers itself above the law.”

(Source / 15.07.2013)

Israel: New Pressure on Asylum Seekers to Leave

  • It doesn’t matter how Israel dresses this up, this is using the threat of prolonged detention to force Eritrean and Sudanese nationals to give up their asylum claims. Israel should end its unlawful detention policy and release all asylum seekers while their claims are fairly examined.
Israeli authorities are using new procedures to pressure at least 1,400 Eritrean andSudanese asylum seekers, some detained for over a year, to return to their countries, Human Rights Watch said. Under international law, asylum seekers should be detained only in exceptional circumstances, their claims should be fairly examined and they should never be forced or pressured to return to a country where they face a serious risk of persecution.

Recent guidelines instruct Israeli officials on how to interview detainees while filming them about whether they wish to give up their asylum claims and return to their home countries. Detainees are told that if they do not agree to be sent home, they face years in detention. On July 14, 2013, 14 Eritreans detained for many months left Israel for Eritrea via Istanbul. Some of the group told the UN refugee agency they would “do anything to get out of prison.”

“It doesn’t matter how Israel dresses this up, this is using the threat of prolonged detention to force Eritrean and Sudanese nationals to give up their asylum claims,” said Gerry Simpson, senior refugee researcher at Human Rights Watch. “Israel should end its unlawful detention policy and release all asylum seekers while their claims are fairly examined.”

Worldwide, some 80 percent of Eritrean asylum seekers are granted some form of protection because of credible fears of persecution relating to punishment for evading indefinite military service in Eritrea and other widespread human rights abuses. Under Sudanese law, anyone who has visited Israel faces up to 10 years in prison. Sudanese officials have said the courts will apply the law.

The 14 who left Israel on July 14 are part of a group of 20 detained Eritrean asylum seekers who in early July signed papers agreeing to return to Eritrea, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). Israeli officials took them to the Eritrean Embassy in Tel Aviv, which issued them travel documents.

As of late June, UNHCR reported that almost 2,000 African nationals were in detention in Israel, including 1,075 Eritreans – all but 28 of whom had lodged asylum claims – and 625 Sudanese – at least half of whom had claimed asylum. UNHCR says that the authorities have rejected about 30 Eritrean asylum applications and reached no decision on the rest.

The detainees have little hope of being released because of restrictive and unlawful Israeli asylum laws and policies. On February 25, UNHCR told the Israeli newspaper Haaretz that an “agreement to return to Eritrea under a jail ultimatum cannot be considered voluntary by any criterion.”

According to refugee rights activists, in late June, more than 300 detained Eritrean asylum seekers went on hunger strike for about a week in Israel’s Saharonim Detention Center to protest their prolonged detention. Some left in ambulances, and their condition is unknown. Israeli news reports said that prison officials acknowledged transferring detainees to other parts of the facility and to prisons in an effort to end the strike.

On June 27, Israel’s attorney general approved the new procedures, which he said aimed to document “the free will of infiltrators” who are in detention in Israel, and who wish to return to their home countries of Eritrea and Sudan. The procedures cover all Eritreans and Sudanese nationals detained under Israel’s recently amended Prevention of Infiltration Law, also known as the Anti-Infiltration Law.

The procedures authorize Border Control officers to record video interviews in which they ask detainees requesting to leave Israel “open ended questions” to clarify whether they are “aware of the situation” in their countries of origin. If the detainee has claimed asylum, the officers should explain that the person may“freeze” the asylum claim and agree in writing to return to the country of origin.

An official who believes the detainee’s request does not “express free will” can determine that the detainee should remain in detention. The procedure states that a detainee can retract a decision to return home at any point, but that the person will return to detention.

“The Israeli authorities are doing everything they can to present blackmail of asylum seekers as lawful procedure,” Simpson said. “No matter how many laws and regulations the authorities adopt, detainees agreeing to return to countries they fled do so because prolonged detention has broken their resolve.”

International law prohibits refoulement – the forced return to a serious risk of persecution. Human Rights Watch said Israel violates the refoulement prohibition if Eritrean or other asylum seekers “choose” to return to their country after Israeli authorities threaten prolonged or indefinite detention as the only alternative. The 1951 Refugee Convention bars such return “in any manner whatsoever” to places where a person would face a serious risk of persecution.

UNHCR guidelines on detention say asylum seekers should be detained only “as a last resort,” as a strictly necessary and proportionate measure to achieve a legitimate legal purpose, and that countries should detain a person for expulsion only after the person’s asylum claim has been finally determined and rejected. Detention is permitted only briefly to establish a person’s identity, or for longer periods if it is the only way to achieve broader aims such as protecting national security or public health.

On July 1, Israeli authorities also adopted new rules expanding their powers to detain Eritreans and Sudanese nationals living in Tel Aviv and other cities.

“Every few months, the Israeli authorities adopt new laws and procedures to detain as many Eritrean and Sudanese nationals as possible to then force them out of the country,” Simpson said. “Israel’s aim is crystal clear: use the threat of long-term detention to thwart thousands, and possibly tens of thousands, of asylum claims.”

The New “Voluntary Returns Procedure”
Israel’s new procedures governing how officials should document an asylum seeker’s wish to return to his or her country of origin aim to justify unlawful pressure on detained asylum seekers – who by definition fear persecution in their home country – to return home.

Until recently, Israel had no formal procedure to handle cases in which Eritrean and Sudanese detainees said they wished to leave Israel. The attorney general announced that his office would develop a “voluntary returns procedure” after the media criticized the Israeli authorities following a case in early March, when an Eritrean detainee reportedly agreed to fly from Israel to Uganda, but was then forced to fly to Egypt. In Egypt, he decided to return to Eritrea rather than face renewed detention on return to Israel.

In a May 13 court hearing, the state attorney said that in the previous year, Israel had “voluntarily deported” 534 Sudanese nationals who had been in detention, and 1,500 who had not been detained, through a third country. UNHCR says that in addition to the group of 20 Eritreans who agreed to leave, on July 10 its staff spoke with seven Sudanese men, including some from Darfur, detained at the Ktsiot Detention Center who said they had agreed to return to Sudan because “they preferred to take a risk and not to stay indefinitely in prison” in Israel.

Expanding Detention of Asylum Seekers
Over the past few years, hundreds of the Eritreans reached Israel after surviving kidnapping in Sudan and Egypt and widespread torture by criminal gangs in Egypt’s Sinai desert. The majority of those in detention, including Sudanese nationals, entered Israel in or after June 2012 and were detained on arrival under Israel’s Anti-Infiltration Law, which allows the authorities to detain anyone irregularly entering Israel.

Israeli authorities have also used a September 2012 regulation to arrest and detain people under the Anti-Infiltration Law, mostly Eritrean and Sudanese nationals who have been living in Israel for several years.

The September 2012 regulation allows the authorities to detain and deport any “infiltrator” suspected of offenses “endangering national security or the public peace,” even without formal charges or convictions. Under the regulations, immigration officials may order the detention and deportation of three categories of people:

  • Those police are holding on suspicion of having committed an offense, but whom police intend to release “because there is not enough evidence to try [them] in court or due to lack of public interest” in prosecuting them;
  • Those suspected at any point of having committed an offense and whose cases have been closed due to a lack of evidence or public interest and who were released before the 2012 regulations came into effect; and
  • Those convicted of any criminal offense who have served their sentences, whether before or after the 2012 regulations went into effect.

UNHCR officials in Israel and Israeli groups working with refugees say that many of those detained under the regulation were suspected of minor offenses, such as low-grade assault charges or possession of stolen goods such as mobile phones.

On July 1, Israel’s Population and Immigration Authority amended the 2012 regulations and expanded the definition of suspected offenses on the basis of which Israeli authorities can arrest and detain people in these categories. The amended regulations say that immigration officials may order the detention and deportation of someone to whom an offense is “attributed” that “causes real harm to the public order,” including “low-level property offenses (examples are cell phone and bicycle theft), offenses of forgery (including specifically the forgery of visas and permits), as well as offenses of violence (threats at the low level and regular assault offenses).”

On July 9, the Israeli daily Maariv reported that the Israeli authorities had arrested 500 “foreign nationals from Africa” under the September 2012 and the July 1 procedures and that an unnamed “senior official in the Immigration and Population Authority” had said the law allows the authorities “to detain foreign subjects in administrative detention until at least January 2015. In parallel we are allowing those who were arrested for light criminal offenses to be arrested and to leave the country.” The official added that he expected “the number [of detainees] will grow by hundreds [more] in the coming days.”

Pressure on Eritreans and Sudanese Not in Detention
About 50,000 other Eritrean and Sudanese nationals live in Tel Aviv and a few thousand live in other cities. Israel has informally suspended their deportation, but senior officials have repeatedly threatened to deport them without officially clarifying whether they would first be allowed to claim asylum. In early March, the Israeli media reported that the interior minister said he planned to detain all “infiltrators” – which Israeli law defines as anyone who irregularly enters Israel and which includes the 50,000 Eritreans and Sudanese – and to deport them to a still-to-be-identified third country.

On July 10, the Tel Aviv municipality closed down 10 unlicensed businesses belonging to “migrants,” the Ynet news website reported. A refugee activist who witnessed some of the closures told Human Rights Watch that it “was a humiliating process with officials with dogs and horses kicking out the owners and taking away their belongings in trucks.”

(Source / 15.07.2013)

Take Action: 75 days of strike. Abdullah Barghouthi in health crisis. Implement the demands of Jordanian hunger strikers!


jordanstrikeFive Palestinian political prisoners with Jordanian nationality being held in Israeli prisons are entering their 75th day of hunger strike, and facing a severe health crisis. Take action today to join in their demands for justice.

Click to Tweet Now: ACT NOW: Abdullah Barghouthi and Jordanian hunger strikers in health crisis on 75th day of strike. Demand justice: http://wp.me/p2cx3f-Hu 

Abdullah Barghouthi, Mohammad Rimawi, Muneer Mar’i, Alaa Hammad, and Hamza Othman al-Dabbas launched their hunger strike on May 2, 2013. All carry Jordanian citizenship, and together issued three demands:

1. That they be released from Israeli prisons and serve their sentences in Jordanian prisons according to the Wadi Araba Agreement between Jordan and Israel. This agreement was previously applied to the case of prisoner Sultan Al-Ajouli, who was transferred to Jordanian custody in accordance with the agreement.

2. That the Occupation disclose the whereabouts of missing Jordanian prisoners, of which there are 20.

3. That the Occupation remove martyrs from the ‘numbered graves’, where prisoners who died in custody are currently kept in nameless graves.

Their health has worsened progressively. Abdullah Barghouthi is currently held in Afula hospital, while Rimawi, Mar’i, Hammad and Othman al-Dabbas are held in the Ramle prison clinic. All are shackled, hand and foot, to their hospital beds. Abdullah Barghouthi has been physically assaulted on multiple occasions by his jailers, and is now in a severe health crisis.

abdullahbarghouthiHe is no longer able to receive injections in his arms due to inflammation, and is taking only water. He is suffering from kidney, liver and other diseases, reported lawyer Jawad Boulos on July 13. These reports followed updates on July 10 that Barghouthi was suffering severe inflammations throughout his body. The Palestinian Prisoners’ Society also released a statement in which Barghouthi said “his hunger strike would end only on or under the Jordanian soil.” Barghouthi has been consistently suffering severe headaches and shivering throughout his body.

Hunger striking prisoners Muneer Mar’i, Mohammad Rimawi, and Ala’a Hammad were transferred to the Ramle prison clinic from Soroka Hospital on July 14. Hamza Othman al-Dabbas remained at Ramle clinic. Each of the prisoners have lost over 18 kilograms of weight and must use wheelchairs to move. Rimawi is being denied critical medicine for his heart disease because he refuses to end his hunger strike.

The families of the hunger strikers have called for action. Protests have taken place in London, throughout all areas of occupied Palestine, including ’48 Palestine, Ramallah, Gaza, and Nablus; and over 70 protests in Jordan. Take action today:


1. Sign a letter demanding the Israeli state immediately implement the demands of the Jordanian hunger strikers. Tell the Israeli Prison Services that the world is watching! Click here to sign..

2. Join a protest or demonstration outside an Israeli consulate for Palestinian prisoners. Join one or announce your own. Organizing an event, action or forum on Palestinian prisoners on your city or campus? Use this form to contact us and we will post the event widely. If you need suggestions, materials or speakers for your event, please contact us at samidoun@samidoun.ca. 

3. Contact your government officials and demand an end to international silence and complicity with the repression of Palestinian political prisoners. In Canada, Call the office of John Baird, Foreign Minister, and demand an end to Canadian support for Israel and justice for Palestinian prisoners, at : 613-990-7720; Email: bairdj@parl.gc.ca. In the US, call the office of Elizabeth Jones, Acting Assistant Secretary of State for Near East Affairs (1.202.647.7209). Demand that Elizabeth Jones bring this issue urgently to his counterparts in Israel.

Contact Israeli Officials in solidarity with the demands of Jordanian hunger strikers Abdullah Barghouthi, Mohammad Rimawi, Muneer Mar’i, Hamza Othman al-Dabbas and Alaa Hammad

It is urgent that Israeli officials hear that the ongoing hunger strikes of Jordanian prisoners Abdullah Barghouthi, Mohammad Rimawi, Muneer Mar’i, Hamza Othman al-Dabbas and Alaa Hammad are being followed around the world. As they enter their 75th day of hunger strike, tell the Israelis that people around the world join in their demands and are monitoring the situation of Palestinian prisoners and hold the Israeli officials responsible for their lives. Use this form to send a letter of protest to Israeli officials.

(Source / 14.07.2013)

Samer al-Barq enters fourth year in administrative detention without charge or trial

Samer al-Barq is entering his fourth year in administrative detention, without charge or trial, said the Palestinian Prisoners Study Centre.

Al-Barq was transferred from Jordanian captivity to occupation forces at the Karama crossing on July 11, 2010, and immediately placed under administrative detention without charge, said Amina Tawil of the Centre. She said that he engaged in several hunger strikes demanding his release, for 30 days, 125 days, and 43 days. He was repeatedly promised that a deal would be arranged in which he would be deported to Egypt from which he would return to Pakistan, the country of his wife’s citizenship, but these promises were never fulfilled.

He suffered severe medical consequences of his hunger strike, dropping in weight from 93 to 72 kilograms, suffering kidney disease, high blood pressure and low blood sugar. His administrative detention was renewed again in late June for another six months.

Samer al-Barq’s story in many ways captures the transnational security alliances of the US and its allies. He was arrested in Pakistan and held for three months in a secret US detention facility in 2003, from which he was transferred to Jordan. He was held by Jordanian intelligence for four years and then released in January 28. He worked at a medical laboratory, and his wife travelled from Pakistan to join him. He was then re-arrested by Jordanian secret services and transferred to the Israelis. At no point has he been charged with or tried for any crime. During his imprisonment without charge or trial he has been interrogated by the US Federal Bureau of Investigation, among others.

(Source / 14.07.2013)

Israel lifts publication ban on the kidnapping of Wael abu Rida from Egypt

wael-aburidaIsraeli media reported on Wednesday, July 10, that Wael Abu Rida, a Palestinian from Gaza, was kidnapped by Israeli Mossad agents from Egypt, in the Sinai, a case first reported by Palestinian media on June 23, reaching international press on June 30. It was not until July 10, however, that an Israeli judge cleared news of the kidnapping for publication.

At the same time, the court extended Abu Rida’s detention for eight days. Judge Yuval Livadaro allowed the publication of some details in Israeli media, but extended the gag order of other details by 10 days.

The detainee’s wife, Amani Abu Rida, had reported to Ma’an that her husband disappeared during a visit to Egypt for medical treatment. The couple traveled together to Egypt on June 6. Wael Abu Rida suffers cerebral atrophy and sought treatment at a hospital in central Sinai, his wife said.

On June 21, Wael received a phone call and left without returning, his wife said.

The family later received a phone call from the International Committee of the Red Cross informing them that Wael was in Israeli custody, without giving any reason for the arrest. After the phone call, Amani returned to the Gaza Strip.

(Source / 14.07.2013)

Israel seeks removal of Palestinians: Ralph Schoenman

Interview with Ralph Schoenman

“…above all, the maintenance of the military capacity of the Israeli …[entity] is ultimately aimed at the removal of the Palestinian people from all aspects of their lives in Palestine and the surrounding area.”

Press TV has conducted an interview with Ralph Schoenman, author of the “Hidden History of Zionism”, about Israeli forces detaining a five-year-old Palestinian boy for allegedly throwing a stone at a settler’s car in the southern West Bank city of al-Khalil (Hebron).

What follows is an approximate transcription of the interview.

Press TV: Arresting a five-year old child, how is that even justifiable in any way, shape or form?

Schoenman: Well children have always been targeted in Palestine by the occupation forces and by in fact the Zionist apparatus itself from the inception of the colonization of Palestine. Children have been targets, children who merely take part in any sort of protest or who are rounded up indiscriminately in villages and in homes, a five year-old-child is arrested for supposedly throwing a stone speaks volumes to the nature of the occupation and the policies of destruction of the Palestinian people.

The basic fundamental objective of the Zionist …[entity] is to remove the Palestinian people from their land and from history by any and all means necessary.

Any act of resistance, any act of determination to stay on the ground and to protect and to preserve their heritage and their homeland is treated by the Israelis as an assault upon the Zionist project itself.

So children of course are no way immune from the brutality and repression of the Zionist …[entity].

Press TV: Mr. Schoenman, as you have just alluded as well, Palestinian children are languishing in Israeli prisons as well. This is a massive infringement of human rights and international law and yet the world remains silent as far as this goes. What do you make of that?

Schoenman: Well as you know the Zionist …[entity] is an instrument of imperialism, is funded by imperialism, is armed by imperialism and is the attack dog for the designs of the colonial imperial states upon the people of the region, their sovereignty, their self-determination, their control over their natural resources and their ability to resist to minion by imperial or others.

So Israel is funded, armed, sustained and maintained whether through… international institutions or through the constant arming of the nuclear arsenal of the Zionist …[entity] and above all, the maintenance of the military capacity of the Israeli …[entity] is ultimately aimed at the removal of the Palestinian people from all aspects of their lives in Palestine and the surrounding area.

It’s a continuing ongoing policy, all the pretext that are offered by various international bodies do not awe to that fundamental reality. It requires a struggle across the region and of course amongst the Palestinian people themselves reaching out to the settler population who is increasingly sick of permanent war being used as an instrument for destruction of a population and pitted against the people of the region for the removal of the Zionist … [entity] as the apartheid state of Africa was removed so the Zionist … [entity] must be removed in Palestine.

(Source / 14.07.2013)

Israel court jails top Hamas members for 30 months

Israel jails for 30 months 30 senior Hamas members.

An Israeli court said Sunday it has jailed for 30 months two senior Hamas members who took refuge inside Red Cross east Jerusalem offices for a year and a half.

The Jerusalem district court issued the sentence as part of a plea bargain in which former Palestinian minister for Jerusalem affairs Khaled Abu Arafeh and Hamas MP Mohammed Totah admitted to “membership of a terror organization” and staying in Israel without permits.

The two had barricaded themselves inside the offices of the International Committee of the Red Cross on July 1, 2010 and were arrested on January 23, 2012.

The ICRC compound is in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of occupied east Jerusalem.

According to police, the two men both had their Israeli identity cards revoked 18 months before their arrest, meaning they were not legally entitled to be in the city.

The 30-month jail sentences were issued on Thursday, but the court only distributed news of the decision to the media on Sunday.

Hamas has 74 members in the 132-seat Palestinian Authority Legislative Council, which is based in Ramallah. Twelve of them are now being held by Israel, including Totah.

(Source / 14.07.2013)

Report: Israel behind recent strike on missile depot in Syria’s Latakia

If the report is proven to be true, this would be the fourth Israeli strike in Syria in six months.

Israel was reportedly behind the strike in Syria’s Latakia last week, according to the U.S. sources speaking to CNN late Friday, who said the attack was targeting a missile depot.

The sources, speaking on condition of anonymity to the U.S. news network said the July 5 strike targeted Russian-made Yakhont missiles in the Syrian coastal city, which neighboring Israel believed pose a threat to its forces.

The sources said the Israeli Air Force had carried out the strike.

Qassem Saadeddine, spokesman for the Free Syrian Army’s Supreme Military Council, told Reuters last week, “it was not the FSA that targeted this; it is not an attack that was carried out by rebels.

“This attack was either by air raid or long-range missiles fired from boats in the Mediterranean,” he said.

According to Israel-based news site Ynews.net, “no comment was made by Israeli sources thus far.”

On July 6, the website reported that the warehouse that was targeted “was located in a military base some 20 km outside the city.”

In a statement that day, the London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said that “huge explosions shook the area where a large Syrian army base and weapons depots are located.”

If the report is proven to be true, this would be the fourth Israeli strike in Syria in six months, according to Haaretz newspaper.

In May, Israel confirmed it had launched an airstrike on Syria, confirming earlier U.S. media reports.

The air raid on Syria targeted a shipment of advanced missiles bound for Hezbollah fighters in neighboring Lebanon, Israeli officials said in a statement reported by Al Arabiya TV.

In January this year, Israel bombed a convoy in Syria, apparently hitting weapons destined for Hezbollah, according to diplomats, Syrian rebels and security sources in the region.

(Source / 13.07.2013)