PA pressure censors criticism of Gaza water management

Water rights advocates and hydrology experts say PA’s plan for large-scale desalination in Gaza may only make Palestinians more vulnerable.

A paper arguing that Israel’s theft of Palestinian resources would be “legitimized” by the construction of a seawater desalination project in Gaza has been removed from the website of an alliance of anti-poverty and environmental groups because of pressure from the Palestinian Authority and the international children’s fund UNICEF.

On 9 March, Emergency Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (EWASH) — a coalition of organizations working across the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip — issued a note to say the paper had been “prematurely released.”

Strong pressure

A source close to EWASH has informed The Electronic Intifada that the coalition’s steering committee unilaterally removed the paper due to strong pressure from the Palestinian Authority and UNICEF.

The Palestinian Water Authority (PWA) is an “observing member” of EWASH, while UNICEF is represented on its steering committee, alongside Oxfam, the Palestinian Hydrology Group and another Palestinian organization, the Ma’an Development Center.

According to a well-placed source, the PWA, UNICEF, and officials from the Union for the Mediterranean — all of whom are in the process of collecting funding for desalination projects in Gaza — brought immense pressure on the steering committee to remove the paper.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, the source said that “the steering committee only really noticed it after it was published and saw that it could cause a major problem for them.”

Threat to funding

The source noted the paper was seen as a threat to obtaining funding for UNICEF’s desalination projects.

UNICEF and the European Union recently held a launch ceremony for a desalination plant for southern Gaza. The EU has allocated 10 million euros ($14 million) to the project.

A protest gathered outside the ceremony, with some people holding signs that read “Water has to be free to cross borders.”

EWASH was founded in 2002 to help promote Palestinian water rights. According to my sources, in 2013 some of its member organizations concluded that the Palestinian Water Authority was no longer a reliable advocate for Palestinians’ water rights that are, in fact, based on international law.

The position paper on seawater desalination was the first expression of this opposition to the PWA’s strategy.

The paper listed a number of problems with building large-scale seawater desalination plants — the course of action the Palestinian Water Authority has pursued to address the insufficiency of water available to Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.

It emphasized that such projects signal an accommodation to Israel’s ongoing control of Palestinian water resources and continual denial of Palestinian water rights — denying Palestinians in Gaza equitable access to the Mountain Aquifer under the West Bank and a larger share of the Coastal Aquifer along Gaza’s coast.

Dangerously dependent

The paper also argued that desalination increases the isolation of Gaza from the West Bank, and makes people in Gaza dangerously dependent on a facility that is difficult to repair and vulnerable to demolition in the case of Israeli bombings.

The paper had been endorsed by 12 EWASH member groups and 11 other organizations, including the Ma’an Development Center, the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights and theUnion of Agricultural Work Committees.

Josie Shields-Stromsness works for the Middle East Children’s Alliance (MECA), an EWASH member which was a signatory to the position paper. Shields-Stromsness, who is based in Bethlehem, told The Electronic Intifada that she received no notification that the paper was going to be withdrawn, and did not receive any explanation as to why it was taken down until 24 March, after several EWASH members requested an explanation. (MECA has also funded a desalination plant in Gaza but has contended that desalination is “not a substitute for demanding Palestinian water rights.”)

Shields-Stromsness — like other members of EWASH — had been left to speculate why the position paper was removed.

On 24 March, Ayman Rabi of the Palestinian Hydrology Group, sent an email to EWASH members, seen by The Electronic Intifada.

In it, he acknowledged the “heated discussion” regarding the position paper, but insisted that it was withdrawn because “the statement was signed by 12 organizations out of 27 which is not even 50 percent and the steering committee didn’t endorse the publication of the paper.”

Rabi added: “We acknowledge that we should have sent this message earlier in order not to create further confusion among the members, but under the stress of other commitments especially on my side since I had to leave abroad, this came late.”

“Unacceptable”

But Shields-Stromsness doesn’t find this explanation satisfying. “This is the first time I’ve heard of the steering committee being able to remove a paper,” she said.

“I find it really upsetting that there has been no communication that it was removed. That is a lack of transparency that is unacceptable in coalition work.”

UNICEF has already installed thirteen small water desalination units in Gaza, according to its spokesperson Catherine Weibel.

In email correspondence with The Electronic Intifada, Weibel stated: “UNICEF believes that children and their families should not go thirsty in Gaza, where more than 90 percent of the aquifer is contaminated with high levels of chlorides and nitrates.”

She added, “UNICEF’s approach is aimed at a sustainable humanitarian approach and is in line with the strategy of the Palestinian Water Authority (PWA).”

“A desalination facility is currently the only feasible long-term alternative with large impact that can supply Gazans with an adequate supply of drinking water, which is why this strategy was adopted by the Palestinian Water Authority (PWA).”

When asked about UNICEF’s opinion on the removal of the paper from the website, Weibel declined to comment.

A second source who wished to remain anonymous, a former EWASH member, said: “Desalination is another victory of the Israeli policy that threatens future negotiation on water rights. Desalination itself makes us more vulnerable, dependent and socially and environmentally fragile than before. Additionally, water must take its right position as a major political and public concern, for which all sectors of society should be involved in the decision-making process.”

The PWA did not respond to requests for comment.

In the early 1990s three pilot desalination plants were built in Gaza: one in Deir El-Balahand two in Khan Younis. However, the PA’s enthusiastic embrace of desalination would only come more than twenty years later.

The PA’s drift toward desalination — and other technical solutions to a largely politically manufactured water crisis in Gaza — can be traced in the Palestine Papers, a large collection of leaked PA documents dating from 1999 to 2010.

Israel’s “Trojan horse”

In 2007, for example, the Palestine Liberation Organization’s negotiations support unit drew up a document on “core issues.”

It stated: “The Palestinians will not be drawn into a further round of minimal concessions by Israel, of small additional shared water volumes or in particular the provision of water from desalination, the Israeli Trojan horse.”

The following year, Saeb Erekat, the PA’s lead negotiator, got into a quarrel with Israeli officials who argued that “pragmatic solutions” were required for the provision of water to Palestinians, rather than full respect for international law.

Erekat replied: “The pragmatic solution is that it is the day after and I am a state. You want to limit my arms, navy, air force — I accept that. But you are not going to limit my dignity under any circumstances. You are not going to limit my sovereign rights on water, territory, whatever.”

But in 2011, the PA published a paper on “emergency technical assistance” for Gaza’s water supply. It recommended that “short-term low-volume desalination should be introduced without delay.”

And in 2012, a joint paper from the PWA and the European Investment Bank — a European Union insitution — suggested there was a “need” for seawater desalination in Gaza.

Although the question of providing clean and safe water to Palestinians should be guided by human rights, the PA appears to have accepted that it can be addressed by technical fixes that leave Israel’s control of Palestinian water resources unchallenged.

(Source / 25.03.2014)

Syrian Coalition: Iran Tries To Defuse Tension between Assad Regime and Turkey

Louay Safi, spokesman for the Syrian Coalition, said that “Iran is still committed to keeping Assad in power, as it tries to defuse the tension between the Assad regime and Turkey to prevent a direct military confrontation between the two sides after Turkey shot down a Syrian jet fighter near the Syrian-Turkish border.” Safi also said that Iran fears a Nato-led military intervention on the side of Turkey in case a military confrontation broke out between Turkey and the Assad regime. “The Assad regime cannot seal victory in the battlefield without the direct support of terrorist Hezbollah’s militiamen and other foreign militias. It also uses its aerial superiority to weaken opposition-held areas as it does not have enough manpower to prevail on the ground. Hadi Al Bahra, member of the political committee, calls on the international community to neutralize the Assad regime or at least to prevent it from using warplanes and put an end to the indiscriminate aerial bombardment of innocent civilians, using internationally banned weapons such as cluster bombs and explosive barrels. Furthermore, Bahra said that the Assad regime has been killing the Syrian people with its air force and using conventional and non-conventional weapons, and it must be immediately deterred to avoid further loss of life after hundreds of thousands of Syrian civilians lost their lives for the sake of freedom and dignity. In a similar vein, Louay Safi stated that “there is a political battle being fought by the Syrian Coalition. Some Arab countries are still supporting the criminal Assad regime and are trying to hinder giving Syria’s seat in the Arab League to the Syrian Coalition. However, the Syrian Coalition will be present in the Arab summit and its head, Ahmad Jarba, will deliver a speech tomorrow, as we continue our diplomatic, political and military struggle on all fronts to defeat the Assad regime.”
(Source: Syrian Coalition / 25.03.2014)

Egypt’s mass death sentences breach global rights law, says U.N.

The sentences were handed down on Monday after a trial that lasted just two days, sparking an international outcry.

Egypt’s mass sentencing to death of 529 alleged supporters of ousted president Mohammad Mursi is a breach of international human rights law, the United Nations said Tuesday.

“The astounding number of people sentenced to death in this case is unprecedented in recent history. The mass imposition of the death penalty after a trial that was rife with procedural irregularities is in breach of international human rights law,” said Rupert Coville, spokesman for the UN high commissioner for human rights.

The sentences were handed down on Monday after a trial that lasted just two days, sparking an international outcry and sending a chill through opponents of Egypt’s military-installed regime, which has placed more than 2,000 alleged Islamists on mass trials since the army overthrew Mursi in July.

“A death sentence may only be imposed after proceedings that meet the highest level of respect for fair trial and due process standards. A mass trial of 529 people conducted over just two days cannot possibly have met even the most basic requirements for a fair trial,” Coville told reporters.

“The exact charges against each defendant are unclear as they were not read out in court,” said Colville.

Lawyers said they had insufficient access to the defendants and that the court did not consider relevant evidence presented by the defense, he said.

Sources at the trial spotlighted other procedural irregularities including the judge’s failure to call on each defendant by name or verify their legal representation, and not bringing some 50 of the defendants to court even though they were in custody.

The defendants were convicted of various charges, including membership of an unlawful organization, Mursi’s Muslim Brotherhood movement, incitement to violence, vandalism, unlawful gathering and the killing of one police officer.

Under international rights law, the death penalty may be imposed only for the “most serious crimes”, like murder or intentional killing and “membership of a political group or participation in demonstrations certainly do not meet the threshold of ‘most serious crimes,'” Colville said.

The same court that had handed down the sentences, in the southern province of Minya, on Tuesday began the trial of 700 more alleged supporters of Mursi, including the leader of the Muslim Brotherhood.

(Source / 25.03.2014)

Refugee camps in Rakhine state in dire need of help

United Nations representatives have observed improvements in the refugee camps in various parts of Myanmar’s Rakhine state. But residents say the camps are still in dire need of fuel and medical care.

A child at an Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camp in Sittwe, capital of Myanmar’s western Rakhine state.  

RAKHINE: United Nations representatives have observed improvements in the refugee camps in various parts of Myanmar’s Rakhine state.

Rohingya children living in camps for internally displaced people in Rakhine now have better shelter and education.

But they say the camps are still in dire need of fuel and medical care.

Maung Hla Myint, a resident at the Rohingya and Internally Displaced Persons camp, said: “We are refugees. We’re not happy to stay here.

“We hope that the authorities can satisfy our desire to return home. There are a lot of difficulties here.”

Major General Maung Maung Ohn, the deputy borders affairs minister and secretary, said: “They requested for bigger rooms, cooking wood and schools. We will cooperate with the UNDP and UNHCR.

“The government has the proper funding and if necessary we’ll use that for both Begali and Rakhine IDP camps.”

Thousands of residents have been living at the camp for at least a year, and their numbers are growing.

The growing number of residents has caused additional problems, such as insufficient food supply and inadequate healthcare.

And without any jobs, it is hard for the camp’s residents to think about their future.

The Rohingyas are not allowed to leave the camp grounds to look for work.

The Myanmar government said it is for their own protection, as the ethnic Rakhine people do not welcome them.

But UN representatives who visited the camps hope this will change soon.

Bertrand Bainvel, representative of the UN Children’s Fund and the UN Delegation team leader, said: “(We hope the Rohingyas will be allowed to work) so that they can access livelihoods, get access to income and reduce their dependency on aid.

“Living in camps is not conducive to people, and it also creates additional tension on the ground since they require a lot of resources which could be invested somewhere else.”

The UN assistance has been welcomed by both the government and residents, but some point out that the UN needs to be more mindful of the cultural and ethnic sensitivities in Rakhine.

Major General Maung Maung Ohn said: “Even though they’re doing a good job, their assistance is not meeting the expectations of the people. That’s why there’s a problem.

“In the future, if they conduct their activities by keeping in mind the feelings of the locals, their activities will be successful.”

The UN says it will work on the issue together with international non-governmental organisations (NGOs).

It adds that it hopes to work with the government to develop a concrete plan to better assist camp residents.

(Source / 25.03.2014)

Cairo court to hold third hearing for Al-Jazeera journalists

Al Jazeera logoAl-Jazeera staff have been subjected to harassment and equipment confiscation since the military coup against the first freely elected Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi.

The Cairo Criminal Court is to hold the third hearing session for 20 Egyptians, including four Al-Jazeera journalists, in what has been called “the Mariott Information Cell”.

Egyptian authorities arrested three Al-Jazeera English journalists from the hotel where they lived in Cairo in December 29, 2013. They were reporting the events unfolding in Egypt.

Al-Jazeera Arabic’s Abdullah Al-Shami was arrested in August 14, 2013, when the Rabaa protest was violently dispersed. He was arrested from the scene of Rabaa incidents. He has been on hunger strike for four weeks.

Al-Jazeera staff have been subjected to harassment and equipment confiscation since the military coup against the first freely elected Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi.

On the same day that the Rabaa and Al-Nahda protests in Cairo were violently dispersed, Egyptian military forces broke into Al-Jazeera English channel’s office in Cario and detained 28 staff members for several hours and confiscated equipment.

Egyptian media has accused Al-Jazeera of increasing hostility in Egypt especially during the June 30 revolution.

(Source / 25.03.2014)

Palestinian factions call for strategy of resistance

Barghuti: “Popular resistance and demanding the international community to make Israel accountable are the alternatives to negotiations” / photo: Demonstration in Hebron, ArchiveBarghuti: “Popular resistance and demanding the international community to make Israel accountable are the alternatives to negotiations”

Palestinian negotiators find themselves between a rock and a hard place as the April deadline for the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations approaches with no substantial achievement to be shown. While U.S. mediators press to extend the negotiation period, Palestinian political forces call to opt out and embrace resistance.

According to Ma’an News, reporting information disclosed by a Palestinian official under condition of anonymity, during a recent meeting with the U.S. President Barack Obama, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas agreed to extend peace negotiations if Israel pledged to freeze settlement construction and release more prisoners.

The official added that Abbas sees in the upcoming release of prisoners a test for Israel. So far, 78 of the 104 Palestinian veteran prisoners to be released have been freed in three groups, with the final 26 scheduled for release on March 29. However, recent statements by Israeli officials have cast doubt on whether the prisoners will be released on time, if at all.

On the other hand, there is a growing Palestinian consensus to end negotiations with Israel. During a visit to Jenin, Sunday, to pay condolences following the death of 22-year-old Hamza Abul Heija who was killed Saturday, General Secretary of the Palestine National Initiative Mustafa Al-Barghouthi called on the Palestinian Authority to withdraw from the negotiations with Israel.

Barghouthi said the negotiations help Israel to cover up its crimes, and pointed to the fact that 54 Palestinians have been killed since the latest round of talks began.

He stressed that popular resistance and demanding the international community to make Israel accountable are the alternatives to negotiations.

Similarly, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) called for an urgent national conference that would adopt a unified strategy for Palestinian struggle. The PFLP said the unified national strategy of resistance would serve as an alternative to the frivolous negotiations with Israel.

Hamas hailed the PFLP call, and Dr. Mousa Abu Marzouk, a member of Hamas’ political bureau, said on his Facebook page that the call deserves to be heeded.

(Source / 25.03.2014)

Let Gaza breathe

There are cities, states and whole regions that are fated to never stay out of the news for too long—and I don’t mean local, everyday news, but important, sometimes earth-shattering news. These are the places with conflicts that have no hope of being resolved anytime soon.

Gaza is one of those hotspots. Earlier this month, on March 12, Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman called for the “reoccupation” of Gaza in retaliation against Palestinian Islamic Jihad firing a number of rockets into Israeli territory.

Speaking on Israel’s Channel 2 television, Lieberman said: “Following an attack like this—a barrage of more than 50 rockets—there is no alternative to full reoccupation of the entire Gaza Strip.”

A global precedent

That was not the first time an Israeli official had flapped his mouth about the threat of reoccupation. But still, we must ask the Palestinian leadership a question: was Lieberman’s statement nothing more than meaningless, empty chin-wagging? Probably most people would respond with an easy “yes,” but we must take into account the rising tensions on the international stage, particularly after Russia officially annexed Crimea.

In this global political climate, the rockets of the Al-Quds Brigade could become the excuse Tel Aviv needs—the excuse it has long awaited—to prove that this time, Lieberman’s threat was not merely for local consumption.

The first international problem that may have a bearing on the Gaza situation is clearly the growing tension between Russia and the West, and the looming possibility that crisis could become a military one. But we must also take a close look at the events in Syria and their repercussions for Lebanon, Iraq and Jordan, as well as the domestic situation in Egypt, to understand that international circumstances may allow Israel to reoccupy Palestinian territory if it so desires.

If this were to happen, the first and last actions on the international stage would probably be nothing more than a denunciation here and a condemnation there.

Palestinian leaders fail their people

It is more painful to say, clearly and frankly, that the Palestinians have failed to preserve the independence they achieved. It is difficult to acknowledge that the Palestinian side did not know how to build on the land it acquired or how to keep working to achieve more. In fact, Palestinian leaders showed their worst side as their public face, letting the world watch while they carried on absurd arguments about things such as the allocation of ministerial portfolios and who exactly was responsible for security.

This quickly evolved into what we saw in the summer of 2006—a year after the Israeli withdrawal from Gaza—when there were gunfights, arrests and divisions. The youth truly believed they had built a state, and they were attacking each other to take control of that state.

When will the time be right for the Gaza Strip and its people to breathe? Are they destined to have their fate remain in the hands of others—of those responsible for the missile attacks and closed border crossings and those preoccupied with negotiating a framework to guide negotiations?

Bakir Oweida

In reality, the belief in this illusory “state” and the spread of administrative corruption and financial disarray was present long before 2006. Indeed, it dates back to the Palestinian Authority’s return to Gaza after it had been headquartered in Tunisia.

As I write this article, there is a copy of the front page of this newspaper from November 2, 1996, hanging in a frame above my desk. On the front page is an image of a child who looks like a victim of the famine in the Horn of Africa—but he is from Gaza.

The caption says he weighs three kilograms less than he should. It was one of the most striking pictures that accompanied a series of investigative articles I wrote while on assignment in the Strip. On another, the caption reads: “Children live on bread and tea . . . Newborns are dying of malnutrition.”

One of the headlines in that series was: “Young men plead for jobs as depression spreads like wildfire.” A key reason for that terrible situation was that Israel had closed its border crossings to workers residing in the Gaza Strip.

At the same time, however, there was a sudden and unusual prosperity among the minority in Gaza who were close to the ruling elite following the return of Palestinian officials from Tunisia.

It has become clear that Gaza is paying for the weaknesses of the administrative and foreign policies implemented by everyone who has led the Gaza Strip from the Oslo Accords of the mid-1990s until today. How much longer will this situation continue?

Gaza is suffocating

The Gaza Strip is being suffocated by its 1.5 million inhabitants, who must squeeze into an area unfit to host even a quarter of that number. When will the time be right for the Gaza Strip and its people to breathe? Are they destined to have their fate remain in the hands of others—of those responsible for the missile attacks and closed border crossings and those preoccupied with negotiating a framework to guide negotiations?

What is this? Who is trying to sell what, and to whom? In theory, this is an open market where the customer is always right, but most people in this part of the world have grown sick and tired of the merchants and their false merchandise. Their situation is clear and simple: they want a good life, as is their right and as other human beings want.

They want even a quarter of the rights and amenities enjoyed by their neighbors in the Gush Katif Israeli settlement in Gaza, where electricity and water flow without interruption while the Palestinians of Gaza drown in thirst and darkness.

I know others have made similar calls before, but I will repeat them, addressing the entire world and, most importantly, the Palestinian leaders who are at each other’s throats. Please, let Gaza breathe.

What happens in Gaza will also happen to all Palestinian cities and villages until the long-awaited dream of an independent state has been achieved.

(Source / 25.03.2014)

Israel building more inside Palestine than inside its own borders

Steep drop in new construction in center of country and around Tel Aviv where demand for housing is higher.

bulldozer2

The Israel Lands Authority published tenders for land to build some 3,050 residential units in the first quarter but only 45 units are in the center of the country and 55% are in the West Bank or East Jerusalem.

The land sales reflect an annual pace of 12,000 new units, which is considered very low and casts serious doubt on the government’s ability to meet its housing-supply targets for this year, especially in areas of high demand near the center of the country. This is particularly embarrassing for the ILA and the Housing and Construction Ministry, which set optimistic new-construction targets for 2014.

The sole land tender in the center of Israel was for 126 units in Tel Mond northeast of Tel Aviv.

But since January 1, land for some 700 units was sold for construction in West Bank settlements, around 23% of the total. Another 966 units, or 31.5%, were in Jerusalem.

All the units marketed for new construction in Jerusalem were in neighborhoods over the Green Line that were annexed to the capital after 1967 – Pisgat Ze’ev, Ramot, Ramat Shlomo and Neveh Yaakov – based on an analysis by the TheMarker of the figures released by the ILA.

All told, some 55% of all new tenders conducted by the ILA were for land over the Green Line.

Also in the first quarter, the ILA published tenders for building 411 homes in the south, or 13.5% of the total. The tenders were for land in Netivot, Be’er Sheva and Dimona. In the north, the ILA tendered land for 538 units, or 17.6% of the total, with almost half of them, 268, in a project for rental apartments in Haifa.

The figures point to a trend in building in the West Bank under Housing Minister Uri Ariel, who is also chairman of the ILA’s council and the minister who oversees the ILA.

The new figures are similar to those released at the beginning of the month on housing starts last year, which showed a rise in starts but a steep drop in new construction in the center of the country and Tel Aviv, where the number tumbled 50%.

Jerusalem also stood out for its large number of starts – 3,430 in the first three months of the year. In the West Bank the figure was 2,534, a 124% increase from the same time in 2013.

The ILA defended the latest sales, saying the figures did not include the sale of land exempt from tenders and that total marketing of land came to some 4,000 residential units.

The Housing Ministry promised that the sale of state land for housing this year would be significantly higher than in 2013, when it reached the equivalent of 38,000 housing units.

“Traditionally, at the beginning of the year the quantity of sales is lower, while at the end of the year it rises and reaches its peak with all the sales that have come to fruition – and that is what will happen in 2014,” the ministry said.

“Some of the sales have even been waiting for the plans for low-cost housing that have been developed. In light of their implementation in the coming months, significant and large sales will be available with an emphasis on areas of [high] demand.”

The ministry said this will let Israelis enjoy the benefits of plans to exempt new homes from value-added tax and the plan for setting low target prices for new homes in upcoming land tenders. By the end of the year the ministry plans to sell land for 1,850 homes in Modi’in, 3,000 in Rosh Ha’ayin, 2,000 in Kiryat Bialik, 3,000 in Harish and 2,000 in Kiryat Gat – all towns in the center of the country.

(Source / 25.03.2014)

PLO to lobby UN if prisoners not freed on time

A girl from the occupied West Bank waves the national flag as she and others wait close to the military prison of Ofer for the release of prisoners on Aug. 13, 2013
RAMALLAH (AFP) — Palestinian leaders on Tuesday threatened to renew their diplomatic push at the United Nations if Israel fails to free Palestinian prisoners as scheduled this weekend.

When US-sponsored Israeli-Palestinian peace resumed in July, President Mahmoud Abbas agreed that for their nine-month duration he would shelve efforts to use the UN’s November 2012 recognition of Palestine as a non-member observer to press for membership in international bodies where it could fight Israeli occupation.

In exchange for the diplomatic ceasefire Israel was to release 104 Palestinians imprisoned since before the 1993 Oslo peace accords between the sides.

It has so far freed 78 with the final batch due for release on March 29.

“We shall turn to the UN’s international organizations if Israel does not release the fourth and final group of prisoners,” said Yasser Abed Rabbo, secretary-general of the Palestine Liberation Organization’s executive committee.

“The release of the prisoners is in return for the freeze on seeking membership in international organizations,” he told official Voice of Palestine radio.

Israel wants the so-far inconclusive peace talks extended beyond their April 29 deadline and ministers have warned that should the Palestinians refuse, the remaining prisoners will not be freed.

“If Israel were to refuse to free the fourth batch it would have serious consequences, including initiatives at the United Nations,” former Palestinian negotiator Mohammed Shtayeh, said in a statement.

Israel particularly objects to the Palestinians’ demand for Arab Israelis or Palestinian residents of Israeli-annexed East Jerusalem convicted of militant acts to be included in the release, even though both groups were included in a 2011 swap of 1,027 Palestinian prisoners for captive soldier Gilad Shalit.

A senior Palestinian official told AFP on the condition of anonymity that in recent talks with US special envoy Martin Indyk, Abbas warned that if the April 29 talks deadline was not met “Israel would be in violation of agreements and (the Palestinians) would have the right to turn to the UN and to take any measures it deems necessary.”

(Source / 25.03.2014)

THE COLLAPSE OF THE TURKISH FRONT; ERDOGHAN HINTS AT ATTACK ON SYRIA; RUSSIA MOVES SHIPS TOWARD TURKEY

 

The effort to drag Syria into a shooting match with the Turkish Air Force failed when the latter fired at a Syrian Sukhoi bomber chasing fleeing rats across the border from Kasab in Syrian airspace, an area the rats cannot win. The Syrian government properly allowed the drama to play out and showed the downed pilot resting safely in an hospital on the coast where he declared his intention to go back to the front against the terrorist mercenary rats coming in from Erdoghan’s Turkey.

But, there’s more to all this. The campaign to reestablish a zone of influence inside Syria at the Armenian town of Kasab has failed.  Hundreds of Jabhat Al-Nusra and its allied groups lay dead like piles of compost for this year’s harvest.  Erdoghan’s provincial elections are also coming up on the 30th of March and it’s expected he’s going to be handed a disastrous defeat which will spell the end for him and his “Justice and Development Party”.  He has lost over 1,500 members over the last few months since the start of his personal Watergate.

Erdoghan has been described by Turkish medical doctors as someone in a “fugue” state, unable to remember what he had done or what he had planned to do. He seems at sea, flailing his arms at enemies both real and imagined.  He appears, in our opinion, to be obsessed by the fact that Dr. Bashar Al-Assad will both outlast him and outlive him, which, for a an obdurate Islamist thug like Erdoghan is unacceptable.

Erdoghan talks about the tomb of Osman’s grandfather, Shah Sulayman, near Sirreen near the Euphrates, which is perceived by the Turkish Prime Minister as holy soil to be protected by Turkey even though the tomb lies in Syria. The threat by ISIS terrorists to destroy it is being used by Erdoghan’s group as some casus belli– an invasion of a sovereign country merely to save a long-dead ancestor’s grave from destruction or pillaging.  Ridiculous?  But, so is Erdoghan.  There have also been attacks on an honor guard still there as part of a claimed Turkish “easement”, if you will, or an “exclave”, to be protected as though it were official Turkish soil. Yawn.

But, the scheme has more components.  The Zionist Settler State is promoting a narrative parallel to Erdoghan’s.  A wounded terrorist rodent (see photo below) has written to Benny Mileikowski (fake name:Netanyahu), Zionist Entity Prime Minister, asking him to bomb Syria.  What will they think of next?  That’s right, folks,  Yediot Aharonot published the letter demanding the immediate bombing of the terrorist rat’s own country.  Is it possible these schemes are being hatched together?  And does anyone believe that the Saudi apes have their hairly digits in this fetid stew?

There’s not a one in this picture, among those standing,  who has one trace of indigenous blood.  They’re all from Slavic countries.

During 2011 and 2012, I methodically treated the soft targets in Turkey as a warning to General Necdet Ozel, the Turkish Chief of Staff.  I knew that Lt. Gen. Daawood Raajiha had a plan which he worked out when he was Chief of the Syrian General Staff that involved striking Turkey’s many hydroelectric dams on the Euphrates in the event a war with Turkey became inevitable.  While General Raajiha was murdered by Robert Ford’s thugs on July 18, 2012 along with other members of the Syrian command structure, the plan has survived and Syria now has even more ground-to-ground missiles than in 2012.

My, what a nice target. And there are many more on the Euphrates.

Erdoghan has to be careful. The NATO Treaty does not require member involvement if one of the members initiates a war of aggression against another country. Turkey has to make it look like it is being attacked by Syria. As our readers know, Damascus will not fall for that sleazy trick.  Dr. Assad is far too cautious and thoughtful to get ensnared in something so obvious.

But Erdoghan is desperate for a distraction.  He is focused on saving his legacy and preventing secularists like Kilicdaroghlu from rising to power and deracinating his miserable achievements.

And, yet, unless he can hook up his plan to the Zionist approach on the Golan and Jordan Fronts, he stands to lose everything.

استسلام 8 من الفارين في جبعدين.. وتدمير وكر بمن فيه من الإرهابيين في جبال مضايا

Nothing will galvanize the Syrian people like an attack for the despised Erdoghan and the even more hated Zionist Settler State.

LATAKIA:

بمشاركة شعبية وأهلية ورسمية.. تشييع الشهيد هلال الأسد في اللاذقية

Hilaal Al-Assad was laid to rest in his home town of Qardaaha yesterday after his body was carried from theZaahi Azraq Hospital in Latakia and taken to the area of Jabal Al-’Areen.  An eulogy was delivered by Dr. and Shaykh Ayman Zaytoon, the Chairman of the Institute of the Great Messenger.  He will be missed as a leader and patriot. RIP.

 

 

Checkpoint 45: Near Kasab, the SAA squelched an attempted infiltration again into this area.  According to Wael, SAA killed 62 rodents during the entire 24 hours.  Fighting is continuing.

Al-Nisr Mountain:  (Eagle Mountain). Large numbers of vermin laying dead here.  No details.

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Syria has shot down a spy balloon sent by the Turkish military. This news just came in.

 

 

 

 

(Source / 25.03.2014)