Nikki Haley Slams Human Rights Council as ‘Greatest Failure’ of the UN
U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley said Wednesday the United Nations’ Human Rights Council is the “greatest failure” of the international organization given its continued support to dictatorial regimes and entrenched bias against Israel.
“The Human Rights Council has provided cover, not condemnation, for the world’s most inhumane regimes,” Haley said in remarks at the Heritage Foundation in Washington, D.C.
“It has been a bully pulpit for human rights violators. The Human Rights Council has been not a place of conscious, but a place of politics. It has focused its attention unfairly and relentlessly on Israel. Meanwhile, it has ignored the misery inflicted by regimes in Venezuela, Cuba, Zimbabwe, and China.”
Haley doubled down on the Trump administration’s decision last month to withdraw the United States from the council amid what she viewed as a “chronic” anti-Israel bias that led to over 68 condemnations of the Jewish state over a 10-year period versus just six for Iran. She also accused the council of allowing notorious human rights abusers as members.
She cited the council’s acceptance of the Democratic Republic of Congo as a member in October even as mass graves were being uncovered there, and its unwillingness to confront habitual human rights abuses in Cuba, Iran, and Venezuela.
She said American participation was the “last shred of credibility” the council had.
“It has taken the idea of human dignity—the idea that’s at the center of our national creed and the birthright of every human being—and it has reduced it to just another instrument of international politics and that is a great tragedy,” Haley said.
.@NikkiHaley rips @Amnesty & @KenRoth‘s Human Rights Watch for siding with #Russia & #China in opposing reform of corrupt #UNHRC. Opposition “comes from their institutional comforts. They have big staffs & lots of relationships with UN bureaucracy. Change is threatening to them.” pic.twitter.com/gHUo2TsS3q
— UN Watch (@UNWatch) July 18, 2018
Khaled Abu Toameh: Why Iran Supports Palestinian Terror Groups
The Iranian general did not offer to build the Palestinians a hospital or a school. Nor did he offer to provide financial aid to create projects that would give jobs to unemployed Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. His message to the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip: Iran will give you as much money and weapons as you need as long as you are committed to the jihad (holy war) against Israel and the “big Satan,” the US.
The same Hamas that is telling UN representatives that it wants to improve the living conditions of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip is the one that is reaching out its hand to Iran to receive funds and weapons.
Now, someone needs to step in and stop Iran from setting foot in the Gaza Strip and using the Palestinians as cannon fodder in Tehran’s campaign against the US and Israel. How might someone do that? It is not so complicated. Any international aid to the Gaza Strip must be conditioned on ending Iran’s destructive effort to recruit Palestinians groups as its soldiers. It is that simple.
An employee of a European pro-Palestinian NGO called Temporary International Presence in Hebron (TIPH) was filmed puncturing the tire of a vehicle that belongs to a Jewish resident of Hebron, according to a police report.
A nearby security camera in the area captured the incident last year. The footage was subsequently turned over to the district police, which determined that a TIPH activist in uniform emerged from a vehicle emblazoned with the organization’s markings and proceeded to puncture one of the vehicle’s tires.
According to Haaretz, the police report described the entire incident, which included two accomplices standing watch as the suspect damaged the vehicle, which belonged to a Jewish resident of Hebron named Nili Dvorah.
Dvorah explained to the police that the incident represented the third time her car’s tires had been punctured in a one week period.
TIPH operates in the Hebron area and is staffed by individuals from Italy, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland and Turkey who “enjoy diplomatic immunity” and “cannot be detained or arrested,” according to the organization’s website.
Last Friday, a TIPH “observer” was caught on video slapping a 10-year-old Jewish resident of Hebron so hard that he knocked the boy’s skullcap off of his head.
Several Palestinians decided to donate money to the establishment of a synagogue in memory of the late Reuven Schmerling, who was stabbed to death in October 2017 by two terrorists.
Schmerling, was murdered on the day he was supposed to celebrate his 70th birthday with his family, by two Palestinians at a coal storehouse belonging to his family in the Kafr Qasim industrial zone. He was ambushed and attacked with a knife, a pickax and a fan.
His family decided to commemorate his name and establish a synagogue in Schmerling’s hometown of Elkana, and had launched a campaign to raise funds for the project.
A few days ago they received an unusual donation: a Palestinian businessman from the Gaza Strip, who met Reuven through work, donated several thousand shekels to the campaign.
The Palestinian, who due to personal safety concerns decided to remain anonymous, described the victim as a noble, good man.
“Reuven had a pure heart. He loved everyone, I met him in the 1990s, when I used to import goods from China. He was a good man. What they did to him is horrific. If more people were like Reuven, peace would have been achieved a long ago,” said the businessman.
The Lod District Court on Thursday sentenced two West Bank Palestinians to life in prison for murdering their Israeli boss in a terror attack last year.
Yousef Kamil and Mohammed Abu al-Rub stabbed and beat Reuven Schmerling to death in his coal warehouset located in the northern Arab Israeli city of Kafr Kassem last October.
The indictment against Kamil and al-Rub said the pair decided to “carry out an attack for nationalistic reasons and cause the death of Jews.” Prosecutors said Kamil and al-Rub’s attack was premeditated, with both seeking revenge for their friend who was killed a year earlier attempting to carry out an attack.
They were convicted by the Lod court in March after taking a plea bargain.
At Thursday’s sentencing, the judge also ordered Kamil and al-Rub to pay Schmerling’s family NIS 258,000 in compensation.
Outside the courtroom, Schmerling’s daughter, Idit, praised the judge for imposing the maximum sentence on her father’s killers. She said her family could now focus their efforts on building a synagogue in memory of her father in their settlement of Elkana.
The Palestinian Authority is once again verbally attacking Palestinian Media Watch for the damage PMW is causing them in Israel and internationally. This time, PA TV told its viewers that PMW “is an extremist Zionist NGO” that “runs propaganda campaigns against the Palestinian leadership.”
In describing what PMW does to collect its material, they said “former intelligence officers in the occupation army who work at PMW… work around the clock in order to monitor the Palestinian media outlets… They even watch cooking programs on PA TV.”
Earlier this year the PA Ministry of Information attacked PMW saying the “wild incitement campaign that Palestinian Media Watch is waging against the radio station The Voice of Palestine, projects on the other.” The Information Ministry said “the repeated claims of the Israeli center [PMW] are part of the deceptive Zionist discourse.”
[PA Ministry of Information website, Jan. 24, 2018, emphasis added]
The director general of official Palestinian radio also attacked PMW earlier this year:
“Director-General of The Voice of Palestine Bassam Daghlas said that ‘The incitement campaign that the Israeli center Palestinian Media Watch is waging against The Voice of Palestine radio station is not the first case, as it has been subject to similar attacks in the past.'” [Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Jan. 25, 2018]
The IDF carried out an airstrike on a group of Palestinians launching incendiary balloons into Israel from the southern Gaza Strip on Thursday, with the drone strike reportedly killing one person and wounding two others.
In a statement, the IDF said the Palestinians were members of the Hamas terrorist organization that rules the Strip. A short time later, the army said Gazans fired two mortar shells at Israeli security forces patrolling the Gaza security fence in the area, causing no casualties.
“Our aircraft carried out an attack on a terror cell launching incendiary balloons near to a Hamas post in southern Gaza,” the army said, adding that it would continue to step up its campaign against the balloon and kite launchers.
The Hamas-run Health ministry said 22-year-old Abdel Karim Radwan was killed and two others were injured by the Israeli drone strike in the Khan Younis area. Hamas confirmed he was a member of their armed wing.
Over the last few months, Palestinians in Gaza have flown thousands of kites and balloons attached to incendiary devices that have set off hundreds of fires in farm lands and nature reserves along the border with Gaza, destroying tens of thousands of acres.
There were 11 fires caused in Israel on Thursday by the arson devices.
A projectile was fired from the Gaza Strip at southern Israel on Thursday afternoon, causing neither damage nor injury, shortly after a clash at the volatile border.
In response, an IDF tank shelled a nearby Hamas observation post, east of the city of Rafah, the army said.
The projectile attack set off sirens throughout the Eshkol region, east of Gaza, at 4:45 p.m., sending thousands of residents scrambling to bomb shelters, as they have repeatedly in recent weeks.
Around the same time, Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman held a “situational assessment” meeting about the current tensions in the Gaza Strip with members of the Israeli security establishment this afternoon, his office said.
The projectile landed in an open field next to a cowshed in one of the communities of the largely agrarian Eshkol region, a spokesperson for the local government said. It was not immediately clear if it was a rocket or a mortar shell.
Stand With Us: Is the IDF indiscriminately Bombing Gaza?
When the IDF struck a Hamas training site in response to 200+ rockets being fired at Israel, a terror site which they placed next to a mosque, the mosque was lightly damaged – and tragically two Palestinians playing nearby were killed. Hamas reacted by claiming Israel bombed a children’s park…but reality, and even Hamas videos, paint a different picture that prove the IDF was right. Once again, Hamas is exposed for cynically using the people of Gaza, even placing toys post air strike to elicit condemnation of Israel.
Senior Hamas Official Fathi Hammad: We Will Cleanse Palestine of the Filth of the Jews, Heal the Nation of the Jewish Cancer; Netanyahu, Lieberman, We Are Coming to Chop Off Your Heads! pic.twitter.com/PCs9fOgbYF
— MEMRI (@MEMRIReports) July 19, 2018
The United Nations General Assembly issued a resolution Monday condemning Israeli farmers for damaging Palestinian flaming kites, which Gazans have been sending over the border into southern Israel, causing millions of dollars in damages to Israel’s agricultural economy. According to the United Nations, the kites are often damaged upon impact before the Israeli fields burst into flames.
“In a typical case of disproportionate Israeli aggression, Israeli farmers are now using their gigantic fields of various agricultural products to destroy significantly smaller Palestinian kites which float their way. These Zionist farmers have the audacity to cultivate fields creating a hard landing ground for these kites, thus causing unspeakable harm to Palestinian property”, the resolution states. “Such damage not only leads to a significant financial cost for Palestinian kite owners and makers, but also emotional trauma and widespread concern amongst both the kite owning and non-kite owning population of Gaza.”
Israel, in response, has suggested the Palestinians “simply stop sending flaming kites over and then there could be peace”. The UN resolution’s backers, however, said such an idea was “laughable and entirely unrealistic”, stressing that “it is the farms that are the real barrier to peace here.”
The Knesset overnight Wednesday-Thursday passed into law the contentious nation-state bill that for the first time enshrines Israel as “the national home of the Jewish people” in its quasi-constitutional Basic Laws.
Lawmakers approved the bill in its second and third readings overnight, with 62 voting in favor, 55 opposed and two abstaining, after hours of heated debate in the Knesset chamber.
Similar to a constitution, the Basic Laws underpin Israel’s legal system and are more difficult to repeal than regular laws. The nation-state bill, proponents say, puts Jewish values and democratic values on equal footing. Critics, however, say the law effectively discriminates against Israel’s Arabs and other minority communities.
The law also declares that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel, sets the Hebrew calendar as the official calendar of the state, and recognizes Independence Day, days of remembrance and Jewish holidays. One clause of the bill downgrades the Arabic language from official to “special” standing, but also cryptically stipulates that “this clause does not harm the status given to the Arabic language before this law came into effect.” Read the full text of the law here.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the Knesset plenum on July 18, 2018 (Hadas Parush/Flash90 )
Upon its passage, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hailed the new law as “a pivotal moment in the annals of Zionism and the State of Israel.”
— Eugene Kontorovich (@EVKontorovich) July 19, 2018
Top Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat panned a new Israeli Basic Law on Thursday that enshrines Israel as the national home of the Jewish people, contending that it “legalizes apartheid.”
Early Thursday morning, the Knesset passed the law, which has been dubbed “the nation-state Law,” with 62 lawmakers voting in favor, 55 opposed and two abstaining, after hours of heated debate in the Knesset chamber.
“The ‘Jewish Nation-State’ [law] officially legalizes apartheid and legally defines Israel as an apartheid system,” Erekat tweeted from the PLO Negotiation Affairs Department account. “[It is] a dangerous and racist law par excellence. It denies the Arab citizens their right to self-determination to instead be determined by the Jewish population.”
Similar to a constitution, the Basic Laws underpin Israel’s legal system and are more difficult to repeal than regular laws.
The nation-state law declares that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel, sets the Hebrew calendar as the official calendar of the state, and recognizes Independence Day, days of remembrance and Jewish holidays. One clause of the law downgrades the Arabic language from official to “special” standing, but also cryptically stipulates that “this clause does not harm the status given to the Arabic language before this law came into effect.”
Israel’s newly passed nation state law has been the subject of some intense debate and has polarized opinion both within the Knesset and outside.
It is not HonestReporting’s intention to take a position on this law. We do, however, expect the media to report accurately on the issues, something that Sky News has failed to do through selective omission and distorted facts.
The bill enshrines Hebrew as the only official language of the state, stripping Arabic of that status…
What Sky News fails to inform its audience is that while Arabic may no longer be an official language, it still has “special” standing, and the bill states: “this clause does not harm the status given to the Arabic language before this law came into effect.”
Sky News, however, implies something far more insidious.
Arabs living in Israel – descendants of those who stayed after many were expelled from historic Palestine in 1948…
Sky News stresses that many Arabs “were expelled” in 1948. In fact, the Palestinians left their homes in 1947-49 for a variety of reasons. Thousands of wealthy Arabs left in anticipation of a war, thousands more responded to Arab leaders’ calls to get out of the way of the advancing armies, a handful were expelled, but most simply fled to avoid being caught in the cross fire of a battle.
The BBC did not bother to inform its audiences of the fact that many communities composed of people belonging to religious and ethnic groups such as Bedouin, Druze, Circassians, Christians and Muslims also exist in Israel.
The BBC’s report promotes comment on the story from three sources: members of the ‘Joint List’, the Israeli prime minister and an anti-Zionist foreign funded political NGO.
“Israeli Arab MPs condemned the legislation but Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praised it as a “defining moment”. […]
Arab MP Ahmed Tibi said the bill’s passing represented the “death of democracy”.
Adalah, an Arab rights non-governmental orgnisation, said the law was an attempt to advance “ethnic superiority by promoting racist policies”.”
With the report providing no comparison between this legislation and similar laws and constitutions in other countries, the view of the story that BBC audiences are intended to take away is of course amply clear.BBC WS ‘Newshour’ inaccurately portrays Israeli legislation
First of all the legislation which passed its third reading in the Knesset on July 17th is an amendment to an existing law – the 1953 Law of State Education. The legislation adds a clause to the second section of that law in which the objectives of state education are defined. The new clause adds the objective “to educate to significant service in the Israel Defence Force or to civilian national service…” and goes on to state:
“The minister [of education] will establish rules in order to prevent activity in an educational institution on the part of an individual or organization who is not part of the educational system whose activity grossly contradicts the mission of the state educational system outlined in sub-clause (a) and rules to prevent activity in an educational institution of an outside party which initiates legal processes outside Israel against IDF soldiers for activity that they undertook as part of their service.”
Obviously the reference to “the minister” does not mean merely the current minister named by Razia Iqbal and the amendment does not relate to “groups critical of the government” as she inaccurately claims.
Razia Iqbal then went on to introduce MK Sharren Haskel who was allowed to say six sentences before Iqbal jumped in with the following portrayal of a foreign funded political NGO regularly quoted and promoted in BBC content:
Iqbal: “Let’s deal with one of the organisations that’s going to be affected by this law – it’s called ‘Breaking the Silence’ and it’s made up of Israeli citizens, veteran combatants, who have served in the IDF and they endeavor to stimulate public debate and going into schools and talking about what life is like for a soldier working in the occupied territories, they want to convey that as an issue of debating, so why is it that you are stopping that from taking place?”
Iqbal of course did not clarify to BBC audiences that much if not most of the activity of ‘Breaking the Silence’ takes place outside Israel and is not designed to “stimulate public debate”. When her interviewee noted that information promoted by the NGO has been proven false, Iqbal interrupted her.
Since the 1970s, American governments have sporadically pressured Jerusalem to negotiate the return of the Golan to Syria in exchange for peace. Had Israel given up this territory, Iranian forces would now be preparing to establish themselves on its strategically advantageous high ground. Michael Doran, testifying before the House of Representatives, argues that for this and other reasons, Congress should recognize Israeli sovereignty over the Golan. (Video is available at the link below.)
Between 1949 and 1967, [the period during which Syria held the Golan], thousands of clashes erupted [there]. By contrast, ever since Israel took control of the Golan Heights in June 1967, they have served as a natural buffer between the two belligerents. The last 70 years serve as a laboratory of real life, and the results [of the experiment conducted therein] are incontrovertible: when in the hands of Syria, the Golan Heights promoted conflict. When in the hands of Israel, they have promoted stability. . . .
From the outbreak of the [Syrian] civil war, Iran and Russia have worked aggressively to shape the conflict so as to serve their interests. The influence of Iran is particularly worrisome because, in the division of labor between Moscow and Tehran, Russia provides the air power while Iran provides much of the ground forces. . . . Thanks to Iran’s newfound ground presence [in Syria], it is well on the way to completing a so-called “land bridge” stretching from Tehran to Beirut. There can be no doubt that a major aim of the land bridge is to increase the military pressure on Israel (and Jordan, too). . . .
Would Americans ever consciously choose to place Iranian soldiers on the Golan Heights, so that they could peer down their riflescopes at Jewish civilians below? Is there any American interest that would be served by allowing Iran to have direct access to the Sea of Galilee, Israel’s primary water reservoir? Would it ever be wise to place Iranian troops [where they could] serve as a wedge between Jordan and Israel? The answer to all of these questions, obviously, is no. And the clearest way to send that message to the world is to pass a law recognizing Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights.
House Republicans said Tuesday that the need for the United States to recognize Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights has become more urgent now that Iran has solidified its foothold in Syria.
Rep. Doug Lamborn (R., Colo.) said that since the 1967 United Nations Resolution 242, which does not recognize the Golan Heights as official Israeli territory but allows Israel to maintain a military presence there, the situation in the Golan Heights has changed drastically due to the ongoing conflict in Syria.
“With Iran’s involvement in the Syrian civil war and Iran’s stated intentions to find ways to annihilate Israel, their ability to harm Israel, at least, has changed due to their proximity now to the Golan Heights and their involvement in Syria,” Rep. Lamborn said.
Michael Doran, senior fellow at the Hudson Institute, said the decline of U.S. involvement in the Middle East, Iran’s rise to power in the region, and the deterioration of Syria are all indications of a changing situation in the Golan Heights.
“The entity that was in Syria when UN Resolution 242 was issued is no longer there,” Doran said. “When we’re negotiating with the Assad regime now, behind it is Iran [and Russia.] This is not an entity like Egypt that can make a guarantee about the borders of Syria that we can rely on in any serious respect.”
In an article published July 15, 2018 in the Saudi government daily Al-Yawm, Saudi journalist Sukina Meshekhis called on the Arab countries to take bold steps, including certain concessions, in order to advance peace with Israel. She wrote that peace is a supreme human aim for which all peoples yearn, but that in order to achieve it there is a need for concessions and sacrifices. Noting that throughout history there have been many conflicts among various countries, she stated that all of them eventually ended, no matter how terrible they were. The Arabs have missed too many opportunities to make peace with Israel, and this is stopping them from developing and advancing, she said, adding that this is why she is calling on them to leverage the agreements that some Arab countries have signed with Israel – the Egypt-Israel Camp David Accords, the Israel-Jordan peace treaty, and the Oslo Accords – into an opening for promoting a comprehensive peace. She added that the collective interest of the Arabs today “requires rapprochement and understandings with Israel,” and therefore they must be more pragmatic.
This is not the first article in the Saudi press favoring improved relations with Israel. In several of recent reports, MEMRI has noted the increased number of Saudi intellectuals, journalists, and commentators expressing public support for Israel and even calling for peace and normalization with it.
It can be said that Hamas has more than mere “ties” to the Muslim Brotherhood. In fact, its own documents point out that the Muslim Brotherhood has been intrinsically tied to Hamas and the entire Palestinian situation since as early as 1948.
Rather than “helping our enemies attract more recruits,” targeting the Muslim Brotherhood would weaken those organizations.
The greater point about the Muslim Brotherhood is that in its quest for domination, it is either violent or not yet violent. For this reason it should be designated as a terrorist entity.
President Donald Trump broke new ground on Wednesday by publicly confronting Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan over an American pastor who Trump says is being held “hostage” in a Turkish jail.
“A total disgrace that Turkey will not release a respected U.S. Pastor, Andrew Brunson, from prison. He has been held hostage far too long,” Trump tweeted. “[Erdogan] should do something to free this wonderful Christian husband & father. He has done nothing wrong, and his family needs him!”
Trump’s tweet comes after a Turkish court refused earlier on Wednesday to release Brunson from jail, where he has been held since October 2016 on flimsy charges that he aided terrorist organizations.
Brunson, who operated Christian churches in Turkey for 23 years, has been accused of helping supporters of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and Fethullah Gulen, a Muslim cleric who is living in exile in Pennsylvania.
Erdogan has called on the U.S. to extradite Gulen. The Turkish leader claims that Gulen, his former ally, masterminded a failed July 15, 2016 coup attempt against the Turkish government. Erdogan has led a crackdown on Turkish society, universities and the media as part of an effort to root out Gulen supporters. Tens of thousands have been arrested or fired as part of the purge.
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, a nationalist whose policies have raised concerns among Jews in his country in the past, said on a visit to Israel on Thursday they should feel safe under his government.
Paying a reciprocal visit to Israel a year after hosting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Budapest, Orbán reaffirmed that Hungary maintains a policy of “zero tolerance” for anti-Semitism.
“All of the Jewish citizens in Hungary are under the protection of the government,” Orbán said in remarks to reporters in Hungarian. “We are proud that in Hungary, self-identifying Jews, who celebrate and preserve Jewish tradition can feel safe.”
Last year, Orbán raised concerns among Hungary’s Jewish community when he praised the country’s interwar leader Miklos Horthy, a Hitler ally, and used an image of Jewish U.S. financier George Soros in an anti-immigration billboard campaign.
The World Jewish Congress estimates the Jewish population in Hungary at between 75,000 and 100,000.
Orbán met with Netanyahu in Jerusalem on Thursday. Ahead of their meeting, Netanyahu said he and Orbán understood the “threat posed by radical Islam is real and can threaten Europe, ourselves and our Arab neighbors.”
“We are on the frontline defending Europe,” he said.
Antisemitism in western Europe is on the rise, while it is declining in eastern Europe, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban said Thursday morning before meeting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at his office in Jerusalem as part of his Israel trip.
Orban added that he is willing to work together with Israel in the struggle against antisemitism which, he said, includes harsh statements against Israel.
“I want to tell you that in Hungary there is no tolerance for antisemitism, and all Jews in Hungary are protected by the government,” he emphasized. “We are proud that in Hungary those who declare themselves Jews and live a Jewish lifestyle can feel secure.”
Orban also noted that that the Hungarian government has done a great deal to build Jewish culture in the country, including refurbishing synagogues, preserving cemeteries and investing in education.
Two Palestinian families on Thursday demolished the homes they had lived in for nearly two decades, saying they would rather destroy them than face the prospect of Israeli settlers moving in.
Within two hours, two mechanical diggers smashed through the ceilings, walls and floors of the two buildings in Beit Hanina, a village on the outskirts of east Jerusalem.
Jihad Shawamreh, 50, a taxi driver, said that he built his six-room house in 2000 and that his ex-wife Fawzia, their six children and other relatives lived there until Thursday.
The demolition was the culmination of a lengthy legal battle. Israel’s Supreme Court ruled in January that the land on which the homes were constructed had been under Jewish ownership since 1974 and that documents presented by the Palestinian families to support their claims had been forged.
The families argued they had bought the plots in good faith and believed they were the rightful owners.
“I built (my house) with my own hands. It is where I brought up my children. This is where they grew up,” Shawamreh said, as the Hyundai digger went to work.
“We took down the houses for fear of seeing settlers move in, and having to see them inside the house.”
The European Union expects Israel to reconsider its decision to relocate the West Bank Bedouin herding village of Khan al-Ahmar, EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said on Wednesday.
“The developments in the Palestinian community of Khan al-Ahmar (Abu al-Helu) in the occupied West Bank continue to have our full attention,” Mogherini said.
IDF demolitions of illegal modular Palestinian and Bedouin structures in the West Bank, including those funded by the EU, have been a source of tension between the 28 European member states and Israel. The EU has also expressed its dismay that Israel has granted only a few building permits for Palestinians and Bedouin in Area C of the West Bank.
Khan al-Ahmar was illegally built on state land. Its pending demolition has garnered international attention.
Mogherini’s statement Wednesday is the second one the EU has issued on the matter just this month.
“The EU Foreign Affairs Council has systematically highlighted the plight of Bedouin communities, including the risk of forced transfer from the wider E1 area,” Mogherini said.
“The consequences of a demolition of this community and the displacement of its residents, including children, against their will, would be very serious,” Mogherini said.
The Palestinians are protesting the U.S. refusal to grant visas to six experts from the Palestinian Prime Minister’s Office to come to the United Nations to present a report on Palestinian implementation of U.N. goals for 2030.
Palestinian Ambassador to the U.N. Riyad Mansour, told reporters Wednesday that Israel “complicated the matter” by refusing to allow several of the experts to travel from Ramallah to Jerusalem where the U.S. Consulate is located to check on their visas.
“We condemn this action,” Mansour said.
He said it violates the U.N. agreement with the United States as the host country of the world organization, which requires the U.S. to facilitate U.N. work and allow delegates to attend U.N. meetings.
Mansour said he plans to send a letter of protest to the General Assembly committee dealing with host country relations.
The U.S. Mission to the U.N. said it was looking into the complaint. Israel’s U.N. Mission did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment.
The Syrian regime has regained control over nearly 2/3 of the country. The regime’s assault in the south essentially put an end to the 2017 de-escalation agreement in the southwest provinces.
In principle, Israel is not opposed to Syrian moves to recapture these areas as long as certain conditions are met. They include the immediate withdrawal of Iran’s military presence and other Shia proxies such as Hizbullah that are present in the south. It appears that Russia is willing to accept this Israeli demand. However, it remains to be seen to what extent the Russians can actually deliver on this pledge.
Israel has argued that it is not enough to distance Iranian forces from the south, and seeks to have them excluded from all of Syria. According to Israeli Intelligence, Iran is working toward turning the whole of Syria into another military front with Israel, including military air and naval elements, proxy Shiite “legions,” and a huge arsenal of rockets to complement Hizbullah’s 120,000 rockets in Lebanon. Accordingly, Israel has been targeting Iranian military capabilities that have been introduced into Syria.
On this issue, while Russia has publicly agreed that in the long-term, Iranian forces should be excluded from Syria, it believes that this is unrealistic at present. With the war not yet over, Russia still needs Iranian forces.
At the same time, Russia has turned a blind eye to Israeli initiatives targeting Iran and its proxies in Syria, as long as Israeli actions do not endanger Russian troops or assets or target the Assad regime.
An additional Israeli condition is the full implementation of the 1974 Separation of Forces Agreement, which was reached following the 1973 Yom Kippur war. This established a buffer zone between Syrian and Israeli military forces (about 80 km. long and between 0.5 and 10 km. wide), as well as additional areas with limitations on troops and weapons on both sides. At the July 16 Helsinki summit, Putin noted that he and Trump agreed on the need to fully implement the 1974 agreement so as to ensure Israel’s security.
Recently, the Syrian army and the forces that back it, with the support of the Russians, managed to take control of a large part of the Dar’a governorate in southern Syria. This occurred following a military campaign against Syrian opposition factions that began on June 19, 2018. The very fact that this offensive took place in that area, as well as the participation of the Russian forces in it, constitute a violation of the de-escalation agreement in southwestern Syria that was signed by Russia, the United States, and Jordan in November 2017.
Before the operation was launched, calls were increasing for the withdrawal from southern Syria of Iranian forces, Hizbullah, and the other Shi’ite militias subordinate to Iran. Israel and Jordan were the main voices warning against the Iranian presence there, due to concern about its proximity to their borders, and the U.S. cautioned against it as well. Intensive consultations took place among the U.S., Russia, Jordan and Israel, and according to reports, the parties arrived at agreements about the withdrawal of the Iranian and Shi’ite forces from southern Syria. At one point, senior Russian officials, headed by Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, spoke about an imminent withdrawal of the non-Syrian armed forces from the southern border.
However, it appears that once again Russia violated understandings that had been reached. From many reports published in the Syrian media, especially on Syrian opposition websites and on social networks, it emerges that the pro-Iranian Shi’ite militias have not only remained in southern Syria, but have even strengthened their presence there – and that Russia is aware of this. Several of the Shi’ite militias even announced their presence themselves on social media, posting photographs of their operatives in the region. One of the photographs showed the commander of a Shi’ite militia in southern Syria standing beside a Russian officer.
In addition, numerous reports indicate that the Iranian forces, Hizbullah, and the Shi’ite militias participated in the fighting in southern Syria dressed in Syrian army uniforms so as to disguise their presence there. This casts doubt on all future understandings that may be achieved between the international and regional players with respect to the presence of Iranian forces and their supporters on the borders with Israel and Jordan.
In his July 15, 2018 column in the Syrian daily Al-Watan, which is close to the Assad regime, Firas ‘Aziz Al-Dib took the unusual line of criticizing Iran, a major Syria ally, for statements made by senior Iranian official Ali Akbar Velayati. Velayati, an international affairs advisor to Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, boasted in a July 13 lecture that the Assad regime would have fallen in weeks had it not been for the Iranian intervention in the Syria war.
Observing that “exaggerated” claims of this sort have rarely been heard from such a senior Iranian official close to Iran’s Supreme Leader, Al-Dib rejected Velayati’s assertion, noting that in the first two years of the war Syria fought the rebels alone, with no help from any of its allies. He also directed a barbed comment at Iran, stating that some Syria allies did not support Syria at first and refused to believe its version of the reality in Syria. He added that in the past, Iran even drew close to Syria’s enemies, Qatar and Turkey, who support the Syrian rebels. In addition, Al-Dib took umbrage at the fact that Velayati had referred to the “Assad government” rather than the “Syrian government,” and asked how the Iranian presence in Syria, which is limited to military advisors, could have possibly prevented the country’s collapse. Finally, Al-Dib stressed that nobody had the right to take credit for Syria’s steadfastness in the war.
The Israeli military oversaw the transfer of tons of food, thousands of liters of fuel, dozens of tents and medical equipment to the war-torn Syrian southwest over the past week, the military said Thursday, as dictator Bashar Assad’s forces bombarded the remaining opposition groups in the area and reportedly forced them to surrender.
“Over the past week, the 210th ‘Bashan’ Division led six special operations in a number of locations, in which humanitarian aid was transferred to Syrians in tent cities on the [Syrian] Golan Heights,” the army said in a statement.
According to the Israel Defense Forces, these shipments included: 72 tons of food, 70 tents, 9,000 liters of fuel, medicine and medical equipment, clothing and toys.
The military reiterated that Israel would continue to provide aid to the tens of thousands of displaced Syrians who have set up overflowing, under-resourced tent cities along the border, “which lack access to water, electricity, food sources and basic necessities,” but would not allow refugees to cross the border.
Israel has been providing humanitarian aid and medical care to Syrians living in the Quneitra and Daraa provinces in the country’s southwest since 2013. This practice stepped up and became formalized in 2016 under an IDF program known as Operation Good Neighbor. The full extent of the project was only revealed a year after it was founded.
These transfers of humanitarian aid and acceptance of injured Syrians into Israeli hospitals have stepped up in recent weeks, since the Assad regime’s offensive began on June 19, according to Israeli officials.
Israel has thus far treated some 5,000 Syrians, most of them injured in the civil war but also some with unrelated medical conditions, in field hospitals on the border and in public hospitals, mostly in northern Israel.
Israel also worked with international aid organizations to open a clinic along the border in 2017. Since its opening last year, the clinic has treated some 6,000 additional Syrian patients.
The IDF is monitoring the events transpiring in southern Syria closely and is prepared to distribute additional humanitarian aid to the displaced Syrians pic.twitter.com/WbXBRoCo7Q
— IDF (@IDFSpokesperson) July 19, 2018
Iran has denied that Israel stole thousands of secret documents from a Tehran warehouse relating to the Islamic Republic’s clandestine nuclear weapons program as “laughably absurd.”
Israel said the trove of documents seized by the Mossad in a daring January raid shows Iran had for years worked on developing nuclear weapons while lying to the international community, and that it has put plans in place to pursue such weapons in the future.
“Iran has always been clear that creating indiscriminate weapons of mass destruction is against what we stand for as a country, and the notion that Iran would abandon any kind of sensitive information in some random warehouse in Tehran is laughably absurd,” a spokesman for Tehran’s UN mission said.
“It’s almost as if they are trying to see what outlandish claims they can get a Western audience to believe.”
On Sunday the New York Times reported that the archive shows Iran’s weapons program “was almost certainly larger, more sophisticated and better organized” than was suspected, after US reporters were shown selected documents from the haul.
Twenty-four years ago, on July 18, 1994, a suicide bomber drove a vehicle full of explosives into the Jewish community centre of Buenos Aires, Argentina, killing 85 people and injuring hundreds more.
To this day, it remains the country’s deadliest bombing in history.
Though Western intelligence services have long believed Iran to be responsible for the attack, it has never been held fully accountable for its role in the bombing of the Asociación Mutual Israelita Argentina (AMIA).
In 2006, Argentine prosecutors formally accused the Iranian government of directing the attacks through its terrorist proxy, Hezbollah. One of the prosecutors, Alberto Nisman, was found dead in January 2015, the scene having been made to look like a suicide.
This type of insidious behaviour serves as a powerful reminder of why Canada should not normalize relations with the Islamist regime reigning in Tehran.
Since the Islamic Revolution of 1979, the regime has been at the forefront of international terrorism, with Israel and the Jewish community as its main targets. Through the Quds force, the military arm of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), Iran has cultivated and supported numerous terrorist groups abroad. Iran is a crucial ally to the murderous Assad regime in Syria, and supplies groups like Hamas and Hezbollah with weapons, funding, and training.
Iran’s Aggression Unveiled
Iran spends $7 Billion each year funding terrorist organizations and proxy militaries across the middle east, all this comes at the expense of the Iranian people, struggling with the poor economic conditions in Iran.
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