JPost Editorial: A flawed ICC
The International Criminal Court has proved yet again not only that it is hopelessly ineffectual, but that it is run by people who lack context and tend to do more harm than good, despite all their lofty intentions.
On Sunday, the day after Syrian President Bashar Assad reportedly deployed chemical weapons against innocent civilians, including little children, ICC Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda found the time to issue a statement warning Israel, of all countries, that its attempts to defend itself by preventing tens of thousands of Gazans – including many who were armed Hamas terrorists – from rushing its border with the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip might constitute war crimes.
Inexplicably, the ICC and its legal bureaucrats throw legal formalism by the wayside in the name of the higher goal of bashing Israel, while they hide behind legal formalism when questioned about their silence on the atrocities being committed by the Assad regime or by other autocrats and strongmen.
That Israel is not a signatory of the ICC’s 1998 Rome Statute and therefore not under the ICC’s jurisdiction has been conveniently ignored by the ICC, which opened investigations into the 2014 Operation Protective Edge. But when the ICC is taken to task for failing to act against Syria or rogue leaders of other countries, it absolves itself by sighting its lack of jurisdiction.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’s repeated attempts, together with dozens of other UN member states, to get the UN Security Council to refer the Syrian conflict to the ICC have been cynically blocked by Russia and China, permanent members of the UNSC. Meanwhile, the ICC finds ways to single out Israel for investigation and criticism.
That the Palestinians cannot be a signatory to the Rome Statute because, according to ICC rules, only states can be signatories and Palestinians do not have statehood – as they constantly remind the world – has also been excused by the ICC, and the Palestinians were granted membership in 2015.
The ICC even ignores the fact that the Gaza Strip is run by Hamas – defined as a terrorist organization by the European Union, the US, Egypt, Jordan and other countries – and is not the formal representative of the Palestinian people.
The Israeli army on Tuesday said a soldier who shot a Palestinian suspect near the Gaza border in a recently circulated video behaved appropriately, but criticized the soldier who filmed and cheered the incident for violating military values.
The army said the cameraman, who was not part of the unit serving on the border, would face a disciplinary hearing. The initial result of the investigation into the video has been handed over to the Military Advocate General Corps, which will consider criminal charges.
According to the army’s initial investigation, the video was filmed on December 22 during a violent demonstration along the Gaza border, near the Israeli community of Kibbutz Kissufim.
The army said the Palestinian who was shot was one of the people “suspected of organizing and leading” the violence along the border, which included the throwing of rocks and Molotov cocktails.
The military maintained that the sharpshooter behaved appropriately, firing one bullet as the suspect approached the fence after ignoring warnings and calls to halt. The army also refuted a claim heard in the video that the suspect was shot in the head, saying he was wounded in the leg.
A day after a video showing Israeli soldiers cheering after the shooting of a Palestinian protester in Gaza, which went viral on social media, the IDF released the findings of their initial investigation of the incident. The IDF Spokesperson’s statement said the sniper fire was used as a means of last resort after non-lethal crowd dispersal measures failed.
“The video, which was filmed on December 22 near the Kisufim border crossing, shows a small portion of the IDF’s handling of a violent protest that included rock hurling and attempts to sabotage the fence,” the IDF Spokesperson said.
The video, which went viral on social media, calls to mind the video of Israeli soldier Elor Azaria shooting a Palestinian assailant in the head after he was incapacitated after an attempted stabbing in Hebron two years ago. After that video surfaced, the army was quick to condemn the killing and launched a murder investigation into the case. Azaria was eventually convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to 18 months in prison, but the case and its impact on Israeli society and its backing of soldiers placed in combat situations, continues to reverberate.
The video came out at a time when snipers, with orders to shoot to kill, are being used extensively along the Gaza border in order to prevent attempts by Palestinians to breach or sabotage the border fence. For the last two weeks, thousands of Palestinians have been taking part in mass protests calling for their right of return to Israel. Thirty-two Palestinians, several of them with terrorist backgrounds, have been killed since the protests began, while the IDF says it is using legal force to prevent breach of sovereignty and harm to soldiers.
Once a full operational investigation of the incident is complete, the IDF’s recommendation will be passed on to military prosecution. The soldiers who filmed and unlawfully distributed the videos will be disciplined according to regular procedures, the army said.
The statement also said that the cheering and swearing heard from the soldiers does not abide by the IDF’s code of conduct or meet the IDF’s expectations of its soldiers.
Yasser Murtaja, the Palestinian journalist who was shot dead by Israeli soldiers during protests along the Gaza border on Friday, was actually a Hamas activist, security officials told Israeli news site Walla!.
According the the report published Tuesday morning, Murtaja had been an officer in the Hamas security apparatus in Gaza for years.
“We are dealing with someone who was active in the security apparatus’s work on a daily basis and did much to help them,” the unnamed defense officials said.
The report noted that in 2015, Murtaja had attempted to bring a drone into Gaza to aid in Hamas’s intelligence gathering. The sources told Walla! that Murtaja was constantly in contact with senior officials in Hamas’s internal security mechanism and many of those officials attended his funeral.
Amb. Alan Baker: The Events along the Border with Gaza
New Condemnations and Court Cases
Regrettably, the various international political bodies that function on the basis of automatic, political majority voting, including those ostensibly engaged in human rights, will take advantage of this “golden opportunity.” They will adopt a new spate of condemnatory resolutions against Israel, calling for international inquiries and legal proceedings against Israeli leaders and soldiers.
The predictable, routine nature and open hypocrisy of such resolutions will work against any credibility or seriousness – both of the organizations that adopt them, as well as of the content of the resolutions themselves.
Finally, we will probably see the usual, highly publicized, and indignant march of Palestinian representatives to The Hague offices of the International Criminal Court (ICC), with a new set of complaints against Israeli leaders and soldiers, in the mistaken belief that the ICC is the Palestinians’ own “back-yard” tribunal for bashing Israel. But this is highly doubtful and even imaginary since the Palestinians will not be able to fulfill the ICC Statute requirement of gravity and seriousness as to merit the Court’s taking up these complaints.
Despite the obvious and transparent hypocrisy of the international community, Israel’s army routinely investigates every situation of the use of live fire, takes the appropriate action, and draws the necessary conclusions. One would assume that even the hypocrisy of the international community cannot ignore this factor.
Elliott Abrams: Gaza and Jerusalem
Citizens of Gaza have plenty to protest about, starting with misrule by Hamas and the terrible economic situation in which so many Gazans find themselves. Hamas tends to react by seeking more violence, attacking Israel with rockets or with this kind of dangerous clash at the border. Of course none of that helps Gazans. Egypt and Saudi Arabia have actually made a constructive proposal: in exchange for a decision by Hamas to avoid any more such border violence, the Rafah crossing between Egypt and Gaza would be opened. Egypt has often kept Rafah closed, sometimes to punish Hamas for suspected collusion with terrorists in Sinai, sometimes at the behest of the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah (which wants to be in control of the crossing).
The Saudi and Egyptian proposal marks out a sensible path forward. Misery in Gaza is not in Israel’s interest. It is as likely to strengthen as to weaken Hamas. The lack of electricity means sewage goes untreated, and when it enters the Mediterranean contaminated waters can spread north to Israel’s ports and beaches. A lack of medical supplies and working hospitals could even some day lead to an epidemic that can cross into Israel, as the Israeli journalist Nahum Barnea has pointed out. The Trump administration understands this point perfectly well, which is why it convened a conference on Gaza in March. Israel, Jordan, Egypt, the UAE, Bahrain, Oman, and Qatar were among the attendees, who also included the EU and eight European countries, Canada, and Japan. Notice who’s missing? The Palestinian Authority, which refused to attend. Misery in Gaza is not President Abbas’s real concern.
U.S. Middle East negotiator Jason Greenblatt said at the conference that politics should be put aside in the search for “realistic and practical solutions” that do not “put the security of Israelis and Egyptians at risk” and “do not inadvertently empower Hamas, which bears responsibility for Gaza’s suffering.”
That’s the right approach, and one the Saudis and Egyptians understand. Perhaps it will be impossible to make progress, but the effort should be pursued—for practical as well as humanitarian reasons.
As with the Arab protests against President Trump’s Jerusalem decision, protests about Gaza are not large and will probably disappear soon. But the problem that Gaza represents to Israel and Egypt will not, so these efforts to figure out a way to avoid more misery without strengthening Hamas should go forward. The Palestinian Authority does not like them and Hamas presumably has very mixed views of them. But for the rest of the world, this path rather than the standard denunciations of Israel and unbalanced UN resolutions makes far more sense.
Colonel Richard Kemp Channel 13 8th April 2018
Great line from @COLRICHARDKEMP on @StandWithUs live video from Gaza/Israel border and worth remembering and repeating time and time again:
“It (Hamas) are the only army – if we can call them an army – that have sought the death of their own people rather then to protect them!”
— SussexFriendsIsrael (@SussexFriends) April 9, 2018
The Moloch worshippers were at it again, this time burning tires at Israel’s gates. How inventive from a people who can do nothing else – yet gain friendship from the adoring Left.
Or is it that some people are simply attracted to evil?
So we learn that the Parkland shooter who murdered 17 Florida high schoolers keeps getting fan mail – welcome to love as a mental disorder.
Typical is this one as cited by The Denver Post: “Your eyes are beautiful and the freckles on your face make you so handsome.” Which sounds like love letters from Bernie Sanders and Geraldo Rivera to the Palestinian Arabs who tried and keep trying to crash Israel’s borders with weapons in their fists and murder in their hearts.
Over the weekend, more rioting, more dead; exactly as they want it for the cameras and the headlines…though not the swastikas.
That symbol, which on Friday they flew with their flags, they’d rather keep hushed – and most of the media obliged. So this isn’t about land and it wasn’t about land when their Founding Father, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin al-Husseini, met with Hitler to share likeminded plans for the Jews. This was about genocide…and so it is to this day.
Now the Mufti’s offspring come in waves with elaborate sympathy and support for them from a gallery of useful idiots.
Mother Brings Three-Month-Old Baby to Gaza “Return March,” Declares: We Will March to Our Villages – Martyrs in the Millions https://t.co/qCoMZBAt2z
— MEMRI (@MEMRIReports) April 10, 2018
Thousands of people took part in a march of solidarity with the residents of the Gaza Strip in the Israeli Arab city of Sakhnin in the Lower Galilee over the weekend.
The march followed a second week of deadly clashes between Palestinians and Israeli forces at the Gaza border, where thousands of demonstrators gathered at the border to protest against an Israeli blockade.
Among the 2,000 people that attended the protest at Sakhnin’s Martyrs’ Square were lawmakers from Israel’s Joint Arab List, left-wing activists as well as public officials from the Israeli Arab sector.
Protesters waved Palestinian flags and shouted, “Heroic residents of Gaza, you rest and we will continue the martyrs’ struggle.”
Participants also held up pictures of Gazan journalist Yasser Almurtaga, who was killed by IDF gunfire on Friday. Media watchdog group Reporters Without Borders has accused Israel of deliberately targeting Almurtega. The Israel Defense Forces are investigating the incident.
According to the Higher Arab Monitoring Committee, which organized the rally in Sakhnin, similar events in support of Gaza’s residents are to be expected at major intersections and roads every weekend.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas says that unless he gets full control over the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip, including the group’s weapons, he will “not be responsible for what goes on” there.
Abbas’ comments late Sunday dealt another blow to months of U.S.-backed Egyptian efforts to negotiate a deal that would sideline Hamas and enable Abbas’ Palestinian Authority government to return to Gaza.
Hamas seized the Gaza Strip from forces loyal to Abbas in a violent takeover in 2007.
Recent talks between Abbas and his rivals failed, mainly because Hamas refuses to disarm.
The comments come as tensions rise on the Gaza-Israel border, with Hamas leading mass riots to try to break the Israeli-Egyptian border blockade.
Abbas told leaders of his Fatah movement that he had informed Egypt of his demands and was waiting to hear back.
The Ramallah-based Palestinian leadership has taken a public stance in support of Palestinians who have been protesting for more than two weeks on the Gazan side of the border between Israel and the Gaza Strip.
The Palestinian leadership, including Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, has condemned Israel for shooting dead 32 Gazans and has pushed for a UN Security Council resolution criticizing the Israeli army’s use of force against them.
However, despite the Palestinian leadership’s public expressions of solidarity with thousands of Gazan protesters, it privately stands in opposition to the ongoing demonstrations.
The protests, which have been dubbed “the Great March of Return” and have received major backing from Hamas, started in the border region between Israel and Gaza on March 30 and are slated to last until May 15.
While the IDF has described the protests as “violent riots,” asserting protesters have thrown Molotov cocktails and rocks at its security forces, as well as opened fire on them and tried to enter Israel’s territory, several international and local human rights groups have accused the Israeli military of using excessive force against “unarmed protesters.”
“The [Palestinian leadership] does not like the protests in Gaza because they feel that Hamas is taking advantage of them for their political gain,” Mohammed Daraghmeh, a West Bank-based Palestinian journalist, told The Jerusalem Post in a phone call.
PA official about terrorists: They are “more honorable than all of us… We bow before them”
The protests along the border between the Gaza Strip and Israel will continue until they achieve their goals and the Palestinians return to all of Palestine, Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh vowed on Monday.
Hamas, he said, will not recognize Israel and will not make any concessions. He added that the demonstrations, in which the Palestinians say at least 30 Gazans have been killed, have catapulted the Palestinian issue back to the center of the international stage.
“Palestine and Jerusalem belong to us,” Haniyeh declared, urging Palestinians to preserve the “peacefulness” of the protests. “We will break the walls of the blockade, remove the occupation entity and return to all of Palestine.”
He was standing in front of a billboard with pictures of pacifist icons Nelson Mandela, Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King, with quotes from them on marching to freedom.
The Palestinian Authority has paid salaries to its West Bank employees this month, but not those in the Gaza Strip, officials said Monday, amid an ongoing split with the strip’s Islamist rulers, terror group Hamas.
It was not immediately clear why the salaries had not been paid and if the delay was temporary, but it comes as relations between the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority and Hamas are at rock bottom. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has been vowing to step up sanctions against Hamas.
“Salaries were paid into banks in the West Bank and not in Gaza,” Arif Abu Jarad, head of the union representing PA employees in the Gaza Strip, told AFP.
“There is a state of anger among staff in the strip,” he added, saying they were having emergency meetings against this “terrible crime.”
A source in the finance ministry in Ramallah, speaking on condition of anonymity, confirmed the salaries had been paid in the West Bank, but not Gaza.
He refused to give more details on the decision.
Employees in Gaza waited in vain for salaries at banks, an AFP photographer said.
Update: Following communication from CAMERA, the Associate Press has commendably replaced its photo that misleadingly suggested Israeli responsibility for the Douma attack.
According to an Associated Press headline this morning, Israel is being blamed for a pre-dawn strike on a Syrian military base. The large photo AP opted to use alongside that headline, though, is of young Syrian victims of an earlier chemical attack presumed to be carried out by the Syrian regime.
As a result of AP’s egregiously misleading photo choice, the casual reader is likely to assume, wrongly, that these children are the victims of the airstrike blamed on Israel.
AP Photo Misleads on Israel and Syria
CAMERA has contacted Associated Press journalists to urge the wire service to replace the misleading photograph, and also notified AP on Twitter.
As has been noted here recently, BBC reports on the events along the border between Israel and the Gaza Strip since March 30th have repeatedly quoted and promoted Palestinian casualty figures provided by the “health ministry” without clarifying that it is controlled by Hamas – the terror group co-organising the ‘Great Return March’ – and thus obviously not an impartial or reliable source.
Moreover, in addition to there being nothing to suggest that the figures had been confirmed by the BBC itself before they were published and aired, audiences were not informed of that lack of independent verification.
There is of course nothing novel about the BBC unquestioningly promoting statistics supplied by the Hamas terror organisation: after all, it did exactly that during the summer 2014 conflict between Israel and Hamas.
Not only did the BBC fail to independently verify the casualty figures and civilian/combatant casualty ratios which it presented to its audiences during that conflict but – despite there also being no publicly available evidence of any such verification having been carried out after the conflict ended – it continued to quote and promote unverified data sourced from interested parties and has even defended its own use of statistics provided by a terrorist organisation.
Another week, another Israel bashing session at the United Nations.
Following the Hamas-led riots at the Israel-Gaza border on Friday that resulted in at least 16 dead, the U.N. Security Council responded by drafting a resolution calling for the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) to be investigated for the various Palestinian deaths. The resolution was vetoed by the United States, but the fact that the U.N. yet again put the blame on Israel instead of on the terror group Hamas, who are using civilians as human shields in an attempt to wage a war with Israel, is disgraceful.
This is par for the course for the Israel-hating U.N. On March 23, the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) passed a resolution calling for an arms embargo against Israel due to the Jewish state’s so-called “occupation” of East Jerusalem. The UNHRC has a bad habit of denouncing Israel at least once a week, the same UNHRC that consists of countries like Venezuela, China and Cuba, which aren’t exactly halcyons of human rights.
Then there are the reported anti-Semitic Facebook posts from United Nations Refugee and Works Agency (UNRWA) teachers, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) declaring the Jewish holy sites in Jerusalem and Hebron as belonging to the Palestinians… the list goes on and on.
The statistics prove it too: CNN’s Jake Tapper pointed out in December that the U.N. General Assembly adopted 97 resolutions that singled out a specific country from 2012-15. The number that singled out Israel: 83.
Culture Minister Miri Regev (Likud) on Monday ripped into Meretz leader Tamar Zandberg for objecting to the participation of the Honduran president in Israel’s 70th anniversary events.
She spoke ahead of the Foreign Ministry’s official announcement that Honduras President Juan Orlando Hernandez had canceled his visit amid the political controversy surrounding the festivities.
“The Foreign Ministry regrets his not coming and welcomes the friendship between the two countries,” the ministry said on Monday afternoon.
Speaking to reporters at Mount Herzl upon outlining the final preparations for the Independence Day torch-lighting ceremony, Regev branded the opposition criticism “childish,” and linked the lawmakers to Israel boycott movements.
Regev announced last week that Hernandez would be the first foreign leader to take part in the annual torch-lighting ceremony, to be held on Jerusalem’s Mount Herzl on April 18, alongside parades, dancing, music and fireworks.
Hernandez’s involvement in the ceremony was criticized by many, including left-wing Meretz party head Zandberg who said that the Central American nation was a corrupt human rights violator and that having him at the ceremony would dishonor Israel.
“Honduras is one of the most corrupt and dangerous countries in the world for its citizens,” Zandberg wrote. “According to reports, the civil police, the military police and the Honduran army were involved in recent years in series human rights violations, harassment, torture, and extrajudicial killings” of anybody who opposed the regime, she wrote, singling out journalists, opposition figures, environmentalists, land rights activists and human rights activists.
Ramadan Shalah, the secretary-general of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror group, has reportedly been in a coma for the past few weeks amid fears that he may have been poisoned.
On Tuesday, however, the group denied that Shalah had been the target of an assassination attempt, saying his illness was the result of “natural causes.”
“Shalah is suffering from a natural illness and we wish him speedy recovery,” said Ahmed Al Mudalal, a senior Islamic Jihad official. He did not say what Shalah was suffering from. Also, he would neither confirm nor deny the reports stating Shalah was in a coma.
Shalah, 60, was transferred from Damascus, where he lives, to a hospital in Beirut after suffering a series of heart attacks, a source close to the group told the Palestinian Quds Press news agency.
Shalah has been unconscious since undergoing surgery at the Beirut hospital, the report said.
The Syrian government’s chemical attack on civilians in the rebel-held suburb of Douma this weekend is the complete responsibility of the war criminal Bashar Assad, his Russian bedfellows, and his Iranian bankers. However, the fact that President Trump had announced that the U.S. is nearly finished its mission to defeat ISIS (which is questionable) and wants to leave Syria quickly may have encouraged the others to speed up their efforts to divide Syria’s corpse.
An independent country for only two years longer than the State of Israel, Syria has reverted to its prior status as space across which the competing interests of bigger empires and armies are played out. President Trump claims to be uninterested in who rules Damascus — which is wise of him — but the aggressive partition of Syrian territory by Russia, Iran, Turkey and ISIS has security implications for the United States and our regional allies that cannot be ignored.
Syria — as land — has had many masters:
- Persia’s Cyrus the Great beginning in 539 BCE.
- Macedonia’s Alexander the Great in 333-332 BCE.
- Rome’s Pompey the Great captured it in 64 BCE.
- The Byzantine Empire in 395 CE.
- The Muslims arrived in the mid-7th century — the Umayyad and Abbasid Caliphates, the Ayyubid, Zingid and Hamdanid Dynasties.
- Crusader states followed by Assassins, Mamluks, and Mongols until the Ottoman Empire conquered the space in 1516 CE.
- The French after WWI.
- The only ever independent Syria was established in 1946.
Today, Russia claims that the Syrian government controls 85% of the country, but although it can (with cover from its allies) drop poison chemicals on civilians in much of the country, Damascus does not and cannot govern 85% of anything.
A day after Russia accused Israel of attacking the T4 airbase in Syria, Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov summoned Israel’s Ambassador to Russia Gary Koren to the Foreign Minister to discuss the matter, TASS reported on Tuesday.
According to the report, Bogdanov said that this conversation was needed to prevent further escalation and to look for ways to normalize the situation.
The Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem did not comment on the matter.
Bogdanov said the situation in Gaza will also be discussed.
On Tuesday, the Russian Foreign Ministry issued a statement condemning Israel’s actions on the Gaza-Israel border, and blaming it of an indiscriminate use of force.
This is not the first time Koren has been summoned to the foreign ministry following alleged Israeli attacks in Syria.
Israel does not acknowledge or confirm the attack in Syria at the T4 base near the city of Homs. At the same time, it seems that the US and Russia have completely shattered Israel’s ability to deny the action. While the public debate and the struggle for national interests and prestige are increasingly heated between Trump and Putin, they may also have implications for Israel’s security.
Russian dominance in the Middle East during the presidencies of Obama and Trump, and especially Moscow’s involvement and control in Syria, radically influences Israel’s security interests. Between the close alliance with the United States and the joint coordination mechanism with the Russians, Israel needs to find a very delicate balance with the superpowers, who yesterday, as it seems, chose to use Israel as a pawn to convey messages to one another. In the end, it came down to the Americans being happy to let the Russians know through the media that they, in fact, were informed by the Israelis ahead of the attack.
As for the target of the attack, it appears that it was an Iranian drone base. This is supported by reports from Syria and information from the previous Israeli attack on the exact same base against an Iranian command center after the interception of a drone that penetrated Israel. If Israel is indeed behind the attack, it can be assumed that the possibility that the Russians would be angry at the attack and the finger would be pointed at Israel were taken into account right from the beginning, out of fear of a response from the Syrian side. Despite the timing, right after the chemical weapon attack by the Assad regime in the city of Douma, this is not an act of reprisal, and it can be assumed that the strike had a different operational objective.
But it can not be ignored that, at least in terms of legitimizing it internationally, an attack on Syria the day after the chemical attack is not perceived as an aggression. It is quite possible that the timing of the strike was influenced by the circumstances and perhaps the decision-making process to carry out the attack was accelerated by it.
Beyond the confrontation between Russia and the United States, the main story in the northern arena is the direct confrontation between Israel and Iran on Syrian soil. There is no more shadow war or contest through agents. The confrontation between Israel and Iran, it seems, is turning into a limited direct military confrontation. It is impossible to ignore the fact that within two months, in at least two known incidents, Iranian fighters and officers were killed by an action attributed to the Israeli Air Force. It seems that in light of the continued Iranian consolidation in Syria, Israel has decided to remove the gloves.
Arab social media users on Monday lauded Israel following a reported airstrike on a Syrian air base that killed 14 people, including Iranian military personnel.
Syria and allies Iran and Russia accused Israel of bombing the T4 airbase in Homs – an area that has been targeted by the Israeli Air Force in the past – but no official Israeli source has corroborated the reports.
In stark contrast to the condemnations and warnings against Israel by officials in Syria, Russia and Iran, many ordinary Arabs used social media to urge Israel to continue bombing Syrian-Iranian weapons positions across the war-torn country.
After learning of Saturday night’s suspected chemical attack on the rebel-held Syrian town of Douma and seeing the shocking images of the victims, many of whom were children, many in the Arab world took to Facebook, Twitter and other online platforms to encourage Israel to continue raiding Syrian President Bashar Assad’s arsenals.
“We must tell the truth, Israel is the only state that punishes Assad for the massacres he carries out,” Khadr Abu al-Heij, a Palestinian living in Sweden, wrote on Al-Jazeera’s popular comments portal.
“This is a shameful embarrassment for the Arab states. While Arab leaders just talk and say how horrible the massacre in Syria is, Israel keeps quiet and acts. Arabs, Syrians, Lebanese – who is the real enemy of the Arabs? Israel, or Iran that conquered Syria unopposed?” he wrote.
President Donald Trump condemned the recent chemical attack on Syrian civilians by the Syrian government as a “heinous attack” on Monday.
“I would like to begin by condemning the heinous attack on innocent Syrians with banned chemical weapons,” Trump said. “It was an atrocious attack. It was horrible. You don’t see things like that as bad as the news is around the world, you just don’t see those images.”
A reported chemical weapons attack by the Assad regime against a rebel-held suburb of Damascus occurred Saturday, leaving dozens dead.
Trump said the United States is monitoring the situation closely and he will be making major decisions about Syria within the next 24 to 48 hours.
“We are studying that situation extremely closely. We are meeting with our military and everybody else, and we’ll be making some major decisions over the next 24 to 48 hours,” Trump said. “We are very concerned. When a thing like that can happen, this is about humanity. We’re talking about humanity and it can’t be allowed to happen.”
Trump added that the U.S. is trying to get officials onto the scene to investigate what happened but noted the difficulty because of the opposition from the Syrian government.
U.S. United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley did not mince words Monday following a reported chemical weapons attack by Bashar al-Assad’s regime in Syria, condemning Assad as a “monster,” Iran and Russia as his shameless enablers, and the U.N. Security Council as impotent in its response to Assad’s atrocities.
It was only last Wednesday Haley slammed U.N. inction on Syria’s chemical weapons use, saying the world was “sliding backward” into a practice long condemned by the entire globe. Haley remarked it was a year ago that she held up pictures of dead Syrian children after a chemical attack and prayed she would never again have to do so.
“That day has come again,” she said.
Saturday’s attack on the rebel-held suburb of Douma—which Assad and Russia have denied responsibility for—has left dozens dead. President Donald Trump warned of a heavy price to pay and said nothing was off the table with regard to a potential military response.
Describing the horrific deaths and suffering of those affected in the attack, Haley said “only a monster does this.”
“Only a monster targets civilians and then ensures that there are no ambulances to transfer the wounded, no hospitals to save their lives, no doctors or medicine to ease their pain,” she said. “I could hold up pictures of all of this killing and suffering for the council to see, but what would be the point? The monster who was responsible for these attacks has no conscience.”
Syria Chemical Attack: ‘We cannot be seen to be weak in the face of this horrific, deliberate provocation’ says a former British Army Colonel Richard Kemp. It comes as US President @realDonaldTrump is expected to announce his stance on military action in the Middle East state. pic.twitter.com/e6EjWJfkBQ
— Good Morning Britain (@GMB) April 10, 2018
Iranian leaders are threatening to restart the country’s contested nuclear enrichment program in just a matter of days as the Trump administration and European allies scramble to address a range of flaws in the landmark nuclear accord ahead of a May deadline that could see the United States walk away from the accord, according to regional reports and administration insiders.
The head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization disclosed on Sunday that the Islamic Republic has maintained the ability to restart the full-scale enrichment of uranium—the key component in a nuclear weapon that was supposed to be removed from Iran as part of the nuclear agreement—in just four days.
Ali Akbar Salehi, head of Iran’s atomic work, claimed Iran could enrich uranium to 20 percent, which is more than enough to quickly reach the threshold to power a nuclear weapon, in just four days if the word is given by Iran’s hardline ruling regime.
The disclosure has roiled Trump administration insiders and nuclear experts who have been warning for months that Iran never fully disclosed the nature of its nuclear weapons work and progress as international leaders struggle to fix the deal by May, according to those who spoke to the Washington Free Beacon about the situation.
The Trump administration is pushing European allies to agree to a range of new strictures that would constrain Iran’s ongoing nuclear research, as well as its ballistic missile program, which has continued to progress unimpeded since the nuclear deal was locked in place.
In advance of Iran’s National Nuclear Technology Day, on April 9, this document focuses on a number of steps taken by the Iranian regime to maintain and further develop Iran’s nuclear capabilities – steps that deviate from the framework of the JCPOA nuclear deal, and that in some cases even blatantly violate it. This paper will address the following:
1. Iran’s intention to enrich uranium above the percentage permitted in JCPOA.
2. Leaving the plutonium core of the reactor at Arak unblocked and usable.
3. Iran’s refusal to allow International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspections at its military sites.
1. Iran Announces Decision “To Construct Naval Nuclear Propulsion” – While Naval Nuclear Propulsion Requires Uranium Enriched To 60%-90%
On December 13, 2016, just six months after the JCPOA was finalized, Iranian President Hassan Rohani sent a letter to Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) director Ali Akbar Salehi instructing him as follows: “As part of Iran’s nuclear program for peaceful purposes, and in the framework of Iran’s international commitments, the AEOI must formulate a plan to produce nuclear fuel for naval transportation, in cooperation with [Iran’s] scientific and research centers.” It should be noted that nuclear propulsion requires uranium enriched to 60%-90%.
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