Afrasianet - Home
 
     
Thursday, 21 June 2018 10:01
 

FacebookTwitterRSS Feed
 

 
 
 

 
 


Afrasianet - Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and Jordan’s King Abdullah II met in Istanbul, Turkey a first between the heads of the two countries in last 15 years, Tasnim news agency reported May 19.


The two leaders held a short meeting May 18 on the sidelines of an emergency session of Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in Istanbul about the recent developments in the Gaza Strip.‎


The last similar meeting occurred in 2003, during the King Abdullah’s visit to Tehran, the first visit by a Jordanian monarch to Iran since the 1979 Islamic Revolution, where he held meetings with Iranian officials, including Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and President Mohammad Khatami.


Relations between Amman and Tehran have been tepid for decades, reaching their lowest level during the Iraq-Iran War in the 1980s, although some experts believe that there was a willingness by Jordan to improve ties after the election of Rouhani as Iran’s president in 2013.


When Iranian protesters attacked the Saudi Embassy in Tehran in January 2016, Jordan did not sever ties with Iran but recalled its ambassador instead.


Earlier in January, king Abdullah accused Iran of meddling in a number of Arab countries’ affairs including Syria, Iraq, Yemen, and Lebanon.


In response, Iran’s Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qassemi slammed the Jordanian king’s allegations against Tehran and its regional role, saying such a stance runs counter to the realities on the ground and to the people’s call for peace and security.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Demonstrations come days before culmination of Palestinian protests timed to coincide with move of US embassy to Jerusalem


Afrasianet - Thousands of people rallied in Turkey and Jordan on Friday to protest against the decision to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem and to mark the 70th anniversary of what Palestinians call their “nakba,” or catastrophe of Israel’s founding.


In Jordan, the rally organized by the Muslim Brotherhood took place before a large stage with a view of the Dead Sea and the West Bank. Jordanian, Palestinian, and green Muslim Brotherhood flags flew over the crowd of some 7,000.


One man walked onto the stage with an effigy of US President Donald Trump dangling from a noose.


Get The Times of Israel's Daily Edition by email and never miss our top stories Free Sign Up


In Istanbul, several thousand people marched with Palestinian and Turkish flags. Many carried signs reading “Palestinian belongs to the Palestinians” and “Al-Quds belongs to Muslims.”


The protest comes ahead of the anniversary next week that will be marked by mass demonstrations along the Gaza border, the culmination of a month of protest that has also focused on anger at the US decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and move their embassy to the city.


The embassy ceremony will take place on May 14, the anniversary of Israel’s founding according to the civil calendar. Israel marked its Independence Day last month, according to the Hebrew calendar.


Trump’s decision caused outrage in the Arab and Muslim world and sparked the weekly protests along the Israel-Gaza border.


On Friday, around 15,000 Palestinians took part in protests along the border with Israel, in the last weekly “March of Return” before next week’s Nakba Day events on May 14 and 15, when demonstrations are expected to reach their peak.


It was the seventh weekly protest, and a preview of what is expected to be a much larger border rally on Monday and Tuesday. The Hamas-encouraged demonstrations are ostensibly aimed to protest the decade-long Israeli-Egyptian blockade, imposed after the terror group seized power in Gaza in 2007, and to assert Palestinian demands for millions to “return” to lost properties in what is now Israel.


Israel says, however, that the terror group uses the protests as a cover for attacks at the border and attempts to breach it.


An Islamist terror group which seeks to destroy Israel, Hamas violently took control of Gaza from Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah in 2007, two years after Israel withdrew its military and civilian presence from the Strip. Israel and Egypt maintain a security blockade of Gaza. Israel says this is vital to prevent Hamas — which has fought three rounds of conflict against Israel since seizing Gaza, firing thousands of rockets into Israel and digging dozens of attack tunnels under the border — from importing weaponry.


Earlier this week, Hamas’s leader in Gaza Yahya Sinwar said he hoped that hundreds of thousands of Palestinians would breach the border fence from Gaza into Israel during next week’s protests.


Sinwar said the mass protest would be “decisive,” and vowed that he and other top officials were “ready to die” in a campaign to end the blockade.


In recent Fridays, Palestinian protesters have burned tires along the fence, hurled stones at Israeli troops and flown incendiary kites over dry fields on the Israeli side of the border. Some of the protesters, mainly youths, brandished wire cutters, a popular tool in weekly attempts to cut through the border fence.


According to the Hamas health ministry, around 50 Palestinians have been killed since protests and clashes began along the Gaza border on March 30 and hundreds of others have been wounded from gunfire. Israel says it only opens fire when necessary to stop infiltrations, damage to the fence, and attacks.


Hamas acknowledged that five of its terrorists were among the fatalities after the first Friday demonstration, but has since refrained for acknowledging whether its men are among the dead. Israel has identified other fatalities as members of terrorist groups.


Israel says it only opens fire when necessary to stop infiltrations, damage to the fence and attacks.


Though they were initially planned as non-violent demonstrations, the protests were co-opted by the Hamas terror group, which rules Gaza and whose leaders have said their goal is to erase the border and “liberate Palestine.”


The Israeli military has faced international and domestic criticism over its use of live fire, with the United Nations and European Union calling for an independent investigation rejected by Israel.


Israel says Hamas uses the marches as cover for terrorist attacks.


Israel has repeatedly expressed concern over the possibility of a mass breach of the Gaza fence, in which Palestinians would stream across with terrorists among them, wreaking havoc. Sinwar has vowed in the past that protesters would “breach the borders and pray at Al-Aqsa,” referring to the major Muslim shrine in Jerusalem.


Sinwar was freed in a prisoner swap with Israel in 2011 and was elected as the movement’s Gaza chief in 2017.


Hamas has said if the protests “don’t achieve their goals,” they will continue.


At previous peace talks, the Palestinians have always demanded, along with sovereignty in the West Bank, Gaza, East Jerusalem and the Old City, a “right of return” to Israel for Palestinian refugees who left or were forced out of Israel when it was established. The Palestinians demand this right not only for those of the hundreds of thousands of refugees who are still alive — a figure estimated in the low tens of thousands — but also for their descendants, who number in the millions.


No Israeli government would ever be likely to accept this demand, since it would spell the end of Israel as a Jewish-majority state. Israel’s position has generally been that Palestinian refugees and their descendants would become citizens of a Palestinian state at the culmination of the peace process, just as Jews who fled or were forced out of Middle Eastern countries by hostile governments became citizens of Israel.


12 May 2018
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Amman - Afrasianet - The controversies sparked by US president Donald Trump to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and the ensuing reactions by Palestinian leaders in Ramallah and Gaza was the theme of a talk “The Trump Administration and Jerusalem”, conducted last Saturday by Rashid Khalidi at the Columbia Global Centres in Amman.


Khalidi, who taught at the Lebanese University, the American University in Beirut and the University of Chicago is currently a professor of Modern Arab Studies at Columbia University in New York.


“We should no longer be surprised or shocked by anything done by Donald Trump,” the scholar began, noting that Trump carried out the "most sweeping change" in the US policy on Palestine since 1947.


We are actually witnessing "a revolution" in the US policy towards Palestine, Khalidi stated.


Following a brief outline of Trump’s foreign policy, including that of the Middle East, the scholar said: "If you pay any attention to what has been happening in the United States, you’ll have noticed that there’s been no coherence in the policies of this administration towards any foreign policy issue, whether it has to do with Russia, China, Korea, trade, or the Middle East.”


It is because this administration has been characterised by, a deep division between the hard-line, erratic and very unconventional inclinations of the president and his closest advisers on the one hand, and the deeply conservative orientations of the major governmental branches and the individuals leading this bureaucracy on the other hand, Khalidi outlined.


"Looking carefully at the second group, you’ll find people who emerged from military and intelligence services, including Secretary of Defence General James Mattis, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson [now gone], White House Chief of Staff General John Kelly and former national security adviser H.R. McMaster. Three of the four are retired military officers, two of them are former Marines,” Khalidi underlined.


After firing Tillerson and McMaster, and with Kelly also on the exit door, Trump is replacing them with hardliners, the professor said.


Those establishment figures are opposed to by a group of ideologues, most of them foreign policy neophytes, neoconservatives dedicated to stalking the ultra-nationalistic inclinations of people who voted for Trump in November 2016, he claimed.


According to the scholar, Pompeo, Bolton and Haley belong to a group of radical ideologues and ardent Zionists.


"The US have been a status quo power preserving traditional alliances, as every president since WWII has attempted to maintain the US alliances and avoid adventurousness and excessive involvement in further armed conflicts," Khalidi said.


The gap between these two groups is most visible regarding the US/Middle East policy since Trump became president, he emphasised, adding that Trump personally intervened on the Palestinian issue against the advice of prominent bureaucracy members. "He did it to a much greater extent than any other president since Harry Truman," the scholar stressed.


"Everything related to Israel is not related to the foreign policy, it's essentially a matter of domestic policy," he highlighted, saying that Truman's decision to support partition and recognise Israel was met with opposition from all his advisers.


People whom Trump appointed to lead negotiations on the final status of East Jerusalem and Palestine — David Freidman and Jason Greenblatt — are not experienced diplomats, but "they are committed far-right Zionists who are long-term financial supporters of Israeli settler projects", according to Khalidi.


Moreover, the decision to move the US embassy to Jerusalem was ideologically motivated, driven by domestic considerations and largely by ideology rather than a foreign policy decision, he claimed.


"How should Palestinians respond to this seismic shift in the position of the US?," Khalidi asked.


As the weaker side, Palestinians cannot afford to be divided and must present a unified front, he stressed, saying: "There should be a redefinition of what Palestinian people want. There are new realities on the ground, new challenges, new threats and a new regional environment in 2018."


Furthermore, one necessary change of the Palestinian political discourse is to acknowledge that diplomatic strategy followed by PLO has been” fatally flowed”; the second is that the US cannot be a mediator and honest broker as it cannot be a neutral party, Khalidi underscored.


"United States will continue with this subversive approach unless and until the Palestinian national movement undertakes both mass, unarmed resistance and dedicated grassroots political and informational work outside of Palestine, especially inside the United States," Khalidi stressed.  


Major shifts are already taken place in key sectors of the US public opinion regarding Palestinian question among the younger generation, among blacks and Puerto Ricans, among other minorities, among Arab Americans and Muslim Americans, and also, very importantly, within the considerable segments of Jewish American community, professor concluded.


May 08, 2018

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Afrasianet - Dismayed European allies sought to salvage the international nuclear pact with Iran on Wednesday after U.S. President Donald Trump pulled the United States out of the landmark accord, while Tehran poured scorn on the U.S. leader.


"The deal is not dead. There's an American withdrawal from the deal but the deal is still there," French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said.


Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who had backed the deal only reluctantly and remained suspicious of Washington, accused Trump of lying, adding: "Mr. Trump, I tell you on behalf of the Iranian people: You've made a mistake."


French President Emmanuel Macron was due to speak later in the day to his Iranian counterpart Hassan Rouhani, Le Drian said. Iran also signaled its willingness to talk.


Trump announced on Tuesday he would reimpose U.S. economic sanctions on Iran to undermine what he called "a horrible, one-sided deal that should have never, ever been made."


 Merkel, British PM Theresa May and French President Emmanuel Macron at Brexit talks on October 19, 2017 in Brussels, Belgium.


The 2015 agreement, worked out by the United States, five other world powers and Iran, lifted sanctions on Iran in exchange for limits on its nuclear program. The fruit of more than a decade of diplomacy, the pact was designed to prevent Iran obtaining a nuclear bomb.


Trump complained that the deal, the signature foreign policy achievement of his Democratic predecessor, Barack Obama, did not address Iran's ballistic missile program, its nuclear activities beyond 2025 or its role in conflicts in Yemen and Syria.


His decision raises the risk of deepening conflicts in the Middle East, puts the United States at odds with European diplomatic and business interests, and casts uncertainty over global oil supplies. Oil prices rose more than 2 percent on Wednesday, with Brent hitting a 3-1/2-year high.


It could also strengthen the hand of hardliners at the expense of reformers in Iran's political scene.


'Region deserves better'


France's Le Drian said Iran was honoring its commitments under the accord.


"The region deserves better than further destabilization provoked by American withdrawal. So we want to adhere to it and see to it that Iran does too, that Iran behaves with restraint," he told French radio station RTL.


The European Union said it would remain committed to the deal and would ensure sanctions on Iran remain lifted, as long as Tehran meets its commitments. German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said it was "totally unclear what the U.S. envisages as an alternative to the deal."


France and others were well aware that there were concerns about issues other than nuclear capability, but they could be addressed without ditching the nuclear deal, Le Drian said.


Macron's contact with Rouhani will be followed by meetings next week, probably on Monday, involving the Iranians and European counterparts from France, Britain, and Germany.


Russia has also said it remains committed to the deal; the Russian and German foreign ministers were also due to meet in Moscow, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko said.


The prospects of saving the deal depend in large measure on whether international companies are willing and able still to do business with Iran despite the U.S. sanctions.


Le Drian said meetings would also be held with firms including oil giant Total and others with major business and economic stakes in the region.


In a harbinger of what could be in store, Trump's new ambassador to Germany said German businesses should halt their activities in Iran immediately.


French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said the United States should not consider itself the world's "economic policeman"


European companies including carmaker PSA, plane manufacturer Airbus, and engineering group Siemens said they were keeping a close eye on the situation.


On his official website, Khamenei said Trump's announcement of his decision had been "silly and superficial," adding: "He had maybe more than 10 lies in his comments."


'Death to America!'


Lawmakers in parliament burned a U.S. flag and a symbolic copy of the deal, known officially as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), and chanted "Death to America!"


President Hassan Rouhani, a reformist who had hoped that the deal would boost living standards in Iran, struck a more pragmatic tone in a televised speech, saying Iran would negotiate with European countries, China and Russia.


"If at the end of this short period we conclude that we can fully benefit from the JCPOA with the cooperation of all countries, the deal will remain," he said.


Trump's decision adds to the strain on the transatlantic alliance since he took office 16 months ago. One by one, European leaders came to Washington and tried to meet his demands, while pleading with him to preserve the deal.


The Trump administration kept the door open to negotiating another deal with allies, but it is far from clear whether the Europeans would pursue that option or be able to convince Iran to accept it.


The leaders of Britain, Germany, and France, signatories to the deal along with China and Russia, said in a joint statement that Trump's decision was a cause for "regret and concern."


China's foreign ministry said Beijing would defend the deal and urged parties "to assume a responsible attitude."


A Western diplomat was more pointed.


"It announces sanctions for which the first victims will be Trump's European allies," the diplomat said, adding that it was clear Trump did not care about the alliance.


Abandoning the pact was one of the most consequential decisions of Trump's "America First" policy, which has led him to quit the global Paris climate accord, come close to a trade war with China and pull out of an Asian-Pacific trade deal.


It also appeared to reflect the growing influence within the administration of Iran hawks such as new National Security Adviser John Bolton and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who arrived in Pyongyang on Wednesday to prepare for a summit that Trump hopes will secure North Korea's denuclearization.


Complying with deal


Iran denies long-held Western suspicions that it tried in the past to develop atomic weapons and says its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes.


U.N. inspectors say Iran has not broken the nuclear deal and senior U.S. officials themselves have said several times that Iran is in technical compliance with the pact.


Renewing sanctions would make it much harder for Iran to sell its oil abroad or use the international banking system.


Iran is the third-largest member of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and pumps about 3.8 million barrels per day of crude, or just under 4 percent of global supply. China, India, Japan, and South Korea buy most of its 2.5 million bpd of exports.


The U.S. Treasury says sanctions related to Iran's energy, auto, and financial sectors will be reimposed in three and six months.


U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said a license for Boeing to sell passenger jets to Iran will be revoked, scuttling a $38 billion deal. The ban will also hit Europe's Airbus, whose planes contain U.S.-made parts.


Trump said the nuclear agreement did not prevent Iran from cheating and continuing to pursue nuclear weapons.


"It is clear to me that we cannot prevent an Iranian nuclear bomb under the decaying and rotten structure of the current agreement," he said. "The Iran deal is defective at its core."


Trump said he was willing to negotiate a new deal with Iran, but Iran has already ruled that out.


Iran's growing military and political power in Yemen, Syria, Lebanon, and Iraq worries the United States, Israel, and Washington's Gulf Arab allies such as Saudi Arabia.


Among the few nations to welcome Trump's decision were Israel and Saudi Arabia, Iran's arch-foes in the Middle East.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


ANKARA (Reuters) - Afrasianet - More than a million Turks piled onto social media to call time on President Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday, making the word “Tamam” (“Enough”) a trending topic worldwide after he promised to step down if the people wanted it.


 “If one day our nation says ‘enough’, then we will step aside,” he said in a speech in parliament.


The most popular - and divisive - politician in recent Turkish history, Erdogan has ruled for 15 years, overseeing a period of sharp economic growth and a widespread crackdown against his opponents. Last month he declared snap elections for June 24, bringing the polls forward by more than a year.


Soon after the speech, the #Tamam hashtag swept across Turkish-language Twitter, then became a global trending topic.


“We want democracy so we say #enough to Erdogan. Please leave your seat, you did insane things to our country and people. Enough,” said one user.


“You will not step aside quietly. You will give account for the things you did. Enough!” said another.


Erdogan’s rivals in the presidential polls also jumped in, with the “Tamam” tweets from three of his main opponents together garnering more than 10,000 retweets.


“Time is up. Enough!” tweeted Muharrem Ince, the candidate of the main opposition CHP.


Social media has become the primary platform for opposition against the government in Turkey, where traditional media is saturated with coverage of Erdogan and his ministers. Erdogan’s speeches, usually two or three a day, are all broadcast live on major channels, while opposition parties get little to no coverage.


“VERY STRANGE”


The “Tamam” tweets also provided a rare moment of opposition unity with all major parties, including the pro-Kurdish opposition uniting behind the hashtag. Pro-Kurdish politicians and Turkish nationalists rarely find common ground.


“Enough: It’s very strange that Erdogan has offered the opposition a uniting slogan,” tweeted journalist Rusen Cakir.


The government, however, dismissed the social media wave, which had accumulated close to 1.5 million posts by Tuesday night, saying the posts were sent by online bots associated with Kurdish PKK militants and Fethullah Gulen, the U.S.-based Muslim cleric blamed by Ankara for a 2016 failed coup attempt.


“Most are being sent from countries where the FETO and PKK are active. Most are bot accounts. We can also understand Greece, but what about those inside (Turkey),” said Mahir Unal, spokesman for Erdogan’s ruling AK Party.


FETO is an acronym for Gulen’s network of supporters.


“The keyboard heroes who don’t know what the ballot boxes mean, we will see each other on the night of June 24,” Unal wrote on Twitter.


Several people also took to the streets across Istanbul, some spelling out “TAMAM” with candles on pavements and roads. In the Kadikoy district, 10 demonstrators were detained, but later released after questioning, local media said.


Rights groups and Turkey’s Western allies have criticized Ankara for its deteriorating record on civil rights and have voiced concerns that the NATO member is sliding further into authoritarianism under Erdogan.


The government rejects such criticism and says its security measures are necessary due to the threats it faces.


After the June election, Turkey will switch to a powerful, executive presidential system that was narrowly approved in a referendum last year.
 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Afrasianet - By * Ramzy Baroud - The international community should not stand by watching Israel continue its crimes against the Palestinians with impunity.


What is taking place in Palestine is not a ‘conflict’. We readily utilize the term but, in fact, the word ‘conflict’ is misleading. It equates between oppressed Palestinians and Israel, a military power that stands in violation of numerous United Nations Resolutions.


It is these ambiguous terminologies that allow the likes of United States UN Ambassador, Nikki Haley, to champion Israel’s ‘right to defend itself’, as if the militarily occupied and colonized Palestinians are the ones threatening the security of their occupier and tormentor.


In fact, this is precisely what Haley has done to counter a draft UN Security Council Resolution presented by Kuwait to provide a minimum degree of protection for Palestinians. Haley vetoed the draft, thus continuing a grim legacy of US defense of Israel, despite the latter’s ongoing violence against Palestinians.


It is no surprise that out of the 80 vetoes exercised by the US at the UNSC, the majority were unleashed to protect Israel. The first such veto for Israel’s sake was in September 1972 and the latest, used by Haley was on June 1.


Before it was put to the vote, the Kuwaiti draft was revised three times in order to ‘water it down’. Initially, it called for the protection of the Palestinian people from Israeli violence.


The final draft merely called for “The consideration of measures to guarantee the safety and protection of the Palestinian civilian population in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including in the Gaza Strip.”


Still, Haley found the language “grossly one-sided.”


The near consensus in support of the Kuwait draft was met with complete rejection of Haley’s own draft resolution which demanded Palestinian groups cease “all violent provocative actions” in Gaza.


The ‘provocative actions’ being referred to in Haley’s draft is the mass mobilization by tens of thousands of Palestinians in Gaza, who have been peacefully protesting for weeks, hoping that their protests will place the Israeli siege on Gaza back on the UN agenda.


Haley’s counter draft resolution did not garner a single vote in favor, save that of Haley’s own. But such humiliation at the international stage is hardly of essence to the US, which has wagered its international reputation and foreign policy to protect Israel at any cost, even from unarmed observers whose job is merely to report on what they see on the ground.


The last such ‘force’ was that of 60—later increased to 90—members of the Temporary International Presence in Hebron (TIPH).


TIPH was established in May 1996 and has filed many reports on the situation in the Occupied Palestinian city, especially in Area H-2, a small part of the city that is controlled by the Israeli army to protect some of the most violent illegal Jewish settlers.


Jan Kristensen, a retired lieutenant colonel of the Norwegian army who headed TIPH had these words to say, following the completion of his one-year mission in Hebron in 2004:


“The activity of the settlers and the army in the H-2 area of Hebron is creating an irreversible situation. In a sense, cleansing is being carried out. In other words, if the situation continues for another few years, the result will be that no Palestinians will remain there.”


One can only imagine what has befallen Hebron since then. The army and Jewish settlers have become so emboldened to the extent that they execute Palestinians in cold blood with little or no consequence.


One such episode became particularly famous, for it was caught on camera. On March 24, 2015, an Israeli soldier carried out a routine operation by shooting in the head an incapacitated Palestinian.


The execution of Abd al-Fattah al-Sharif, 21, was filmed by Imad Abushamsiya. The viral video caused Israel massive embarrassment, forcing it to hold a sham trial in which the Israeli soldier who killed al-Sharif received a light sentence; he was later released to a reception fit for heroes.


Abushamsiya, who filmed the murder, however, was harassed by both the Israeli army and police and received numerous death threats.


The Israeli practice of punishing the messenger is not new. The mother of Ahed Tamimi, Nariman, who filmed her teenage daughter confronting armed Israeli soldiers was also detained and sentenced.


Israel has practically punished Palestinians for recording their own subjugation by Israeli troops while, at the same time, empowering these very soldiers to do as they please; it is now in the process of turning this everyday reality into actual law.


A bill at the Israeli Knesset was put forward late May that prohibits “photographing and documenting (Israeli occupation) soldiers”, and criminalizing “anyone who filmed, photographed and/or recorded soldiers in the course of their duty.”


The bill, which is supported by Israeli Defense Minister, Avigdor Lieberman, demands a five-year imprisonment term for violators.


The bill practically means that any form of monitoring of Israeli soldiers is a criminal act. If this is not a call for perpetual war crimes, what is?


Just to be sure, a second bill is proposing to give immunity to soldiers suspected of criminal activities during military operations.


The bill is promoted by deputy Defense Minister, Eli Ben Dahan, and is garnering support at the Knesset.


“The truth is that Ben Dahan’s bill is entirely redundant,” wrote Orly Noy in the Israeli 972 Magazine.


Noy cited a recent report by the Israeli human rights organization ‘Yesh Din’ which shows that “soldiers who allegedly commit crimes against the Palestinian population in the Occupied Territories enjoy near-full immunity.”


Now, Palestinians are more vulnerable than ever before, and Israel, with the help of its American enablers, is more brazen than ever.


This tragedy cannot continue. The international community and civil society organizations,—independent of the US government and its shameful vetoes—must undertake the legal and moral responsibility to monitor Israeli action and to provide meaningful protection for Palestinians.


Israel should not have free reign to abuse Palestinians at will, and the international community should not stand by and watch the bloody spectacle as it continues to unfold.

 

 

* Ramzy Baroud

 

 


Ramzy Baroud is a journalist, author and editor of Palestine Chronicle. His latest book is The Last Earth: A Palestinian Story (Pluto Press, London). Baroud has a Ph.D. in Palestine Studies from the University of Exeter and is a Non-Resident Scholar at Orfalea Center for Global and International Studies, University of California Santa Barbara. His website is www.ramzybaroud.net. | Jun 13, 2018
 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Afrasianet - The UK is “complicit in the violence” committed by Israel against Palestinians by not halting its arms sales to Tel Aviv, War on Want has claimed. It comes after London voted against a UN resolution condemning the Gaza killings.


More than 120 Palestinians, taking part in the Great Return March which kicked off two months ago on the Gaza Strip, were killed by Israel Defence Forces (IDF), with thousands more injured.


Israel’s use of live ammunition against the largely unarmed protestors earned widespread condemnation by international human rights organizations and accusations it violated international law as it targeted people posing no imminent threat.


The UK nonetheless failed to back a UN resolution which condemned Israel’s “use of any excessive, disproportionate and indiscriminate force” against the demonstrators.


Ryvka Barnard, senior campaigns officer for War on Want, told The Independent: “In abstaining from this vote, the UK government has yet again refused to commit to the protection of Palestinians’ human rights as they are targeted with the brutal and unlawful use of force by the Israeli military.”


Despite the killings and multiple accusations that Israel is breaking international laws, in part due to the the blockade of Gaza, UK arms sales to Israel have reached a record high.


According to Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) defense contractors made at least £221 million ($294 million) last year from deals with Tel Aviv, a significant increase compared to £86 million ($114 million) in 2016.


Barnard said: “But make no mistake, the UK is not sitting aside and remaining neutral. While the world calls for violent attacks on Palestinians to end, the UK government continues to approve arms exports to Israel, making it complicit in the violence.”


The resolution at the UN General Assembly passed with 120 votes in favor, eight against and 45 abstentions.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Afrasianet - US President Donald Trump is looking to impose a 10 percent tariff on another $200 billion-worth of Chinese goods, after Beijing imposed reciprocal tariffs on US imports, as part of an expanding trade war with Washington.


In a statement released by the White House on Monday, Trump cited Beijing’s decision to respond to US tariffs on $50 billion-worth of Chinese imports, imposed earlier, as his reason to escalate the conflict.


 “China apparently has no intention of changing its unfair practices related to the acquisition of American intellectual property and technology,” Trump said. “Rather than altering those practices, it is now threatening US companies, workers and farmers who have done nothing wrong.”


The new US tariff will be imposed if China goes ahead and implements its new tariff on American goods, announced last week, the White House said, adding that trade between the two countries “must be much more equitable.” China is currently running a $376 billion surplus in trade with the US, according to the White House.


If Beijing choses to continue its tit-for-tat tariff policy with the US, Washington will impose further tariffs on imports from China in addition to the $200 billion announced, the statement warned.


Responding to the news, the Chinese commerce ministry said Beijing will retaliate by imposing similar penalties on American goods, if Washington delivers on its threat.


“The United States has initiated a trade war and violated market regulations, and is harming the interests of not just the people of China and the US, but of the world,” the Chinese ministry said in a statement.


As late as May 20, US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin was saying the trade war with China was “on hold” and that negotiations with Beijing were ongoing. Last week, however, the Trump administration announced tariffs on 1,102 separate categories of Chinese products, to go into effect on July 6.


China responded by setting a 25 percent tariff on 545 American products, worth $50 billion, in agriculture products, cars, and seafood. Another 114 product categories, including chemicals, medical equipment and energy industry products, will be “announced later,” the Chinese state news agency Xinhua reported.


China is not the only country facing the prospect of a trade war with the US. The Trump administration, in its pursuit of the “America first” policy, has recently levied tariffs on imports of aluminum and steel from the EU, Canada and Mexico, angering their leaders and making for a very chilly G7 summit in Canada earlier this month.


French President Emmanuel Macron called the tariffs “not only criminal, but a mistake,” adding, “Economic nationalism leads to war.” He also hinted that the remaining countries of the G7 combined are a bigger market than the US and “we don’t mind being six, if needs be.”


Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called the tariffs “totally unacceptable” and an “affront” to Canada, describing the announcement from Washington as “a turning point in the Canada-US relationship.”


“We have to believe that, at some point, common sense will prevail. But we see no sign of that in the US action today," he said on May 31, announcing retaliatory duties on US imports.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Afrasianet - Israeli jets struck nine targets belonging to the Islamist Hamas group in the northern Gaza Strip early on Monday in response to incendiary kites and balloons Palestinians sent from the territory that have damaged Israeli property, the military said.


“The strikes were conducted in response to arson and explosive kites and balloons that have been launched into Israel. These are terrorist acts that endanger Israeli residents living in southern Israel and damage extensive areas in Israeli territory,” said the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit in a statement.


Sirens also sounded in Israeli areas near the Gaza Strip at daybreak and the army said three rockets had been launched towards Israeli territory but one fell short in the Gaza Strip. No casualties were reported from the rockets or air strikes.


In recent weeks, Palestinians have sent kites dangling coal embers or burning rags across the Gaza border to set fire to arid farmland and forests, others have carried small explosive devices in a new tactic that has caused extensive damage.


The Israeli military has fired warning shots from the air and destroyed property belonging to the kite launchers but has refrained from targeting them. Some Israeli ministers have called for those launchers to be targeted directly.


Israel has drafted in civilian drone enthusiasts as army reservists, instructing them to fly their remote-controlled aircraft into the kites, an Israeli general said, but an effective means to stop the kites has yet to be found.


At least 125 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli troops during mass demonstrations along the Gaza border since March 30 and the men sending the kites over the fence believe they have found an effective new weapon.


Israel’s deadly tactics in confronting the weekly Friday protests have drawn international condemnation.


Palestinians say they are a popular outpouring of rage against Israel by people demanding the right to return to homes their families fled or were driven from on Israel’s founding 70 years ago.


Israel says the demonstrations are organized by the Islamist group Hamas that controls the Gaza Strip and denies Israel’s right to exist. Israel says Hamas has intentionally provoked the violence, a charge Hamas denies.


Around two million people live in Gaza, most of them the stateless descendants of refugees from what is now Israel. The territory has been controlled by Hamas for more than a decade, during which it has fought three wars against Israel.


Israel and Egypt maintain a blockade of the strip, citing security reasons, which has caused an economic crisis and collapse in living standards there over the past decade.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Afrasianet - Civilians are fleeing Hodeidah after hundreds were killed in the Saudi-led coalition’s bomb campaign to take the strategic Yemeni port from Houthi rebels. The death toll and the disruption of vital supply lines has alarmed the UN.


Over 4,000 families have fled the city since June 1, according to the latest report by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs  that describes people losing their entire livelihood after airstrikes destroyed their farms.


"The air attacks were extremely heavy and violent back there, hitting humans, trees and houses – everything," one of the displaced Yemenis told RT’s Ruptly video agency.


“A lot of people died – children and seniors” in the shelling of Hodeidah by the Saudi-led forces, another civilian added.


On Friday, AP reported that the number of casualties from the first three days of the operation stood at more than 280 people. But the death toll is feared to have grown as the coalition, which is seeking to reinstall the ousted government, continued to bomb Hodeidah on Saturday and Sunday, despite initial pledges to limit their bombing to the airport area, in what they call a “military and humanitarian operation” to “liberate the port of Hodeidah in western Yemen”.


On Saturday, the coalition announced that its backing has allowed the forces loyal to ousted Yemeni President Mansour Hadi to gain control of the airport outside Hodeidah.


“The military operations to liberate the city of Hodeida will not be stopped until we secure the city and its strategic port and that won’t last too long,” Sadek Dawad, the spokesman for the Republic Guards, told AP.


The Houthi rebels have denied the claims of the Saudi-led coalition, with Ahmed Taresh, who is in charge of Hodeida airport, telling SABA news agency that the facility has been completely destroyed by the airstrikes, but has not been surrendered to the enemy.


Ruptly footage from the outskirts of Hodeidah had shown plumes of black smoke coming from the airport, with sounds of explosion and intense fighting in the background.


The attempt by Sweden to pass a motion at the UN Security Council calling to end the fighting at Hodeidah was rejected on Friday, the US and UK blocking it. Both countries support the Saudi-led coalition and have faced harsh criticism for selling the weapons that are used against Yemeni civilians.


The Red Sea port of Hodeidah is of vital importance; it’s the main distribution point for humanitarian and commercial supplies arriving in Yemen, which is going through a massive humanitarian crisis. Riyadh and its allies have repeatedly tried to blockade the docks, saying that it was being used by Iran to smuggle arms to the Houthis.


Prior to the start of the coalition’s siege on Wednesday, the UN said that an attack on the densely populated port city may cost up to 250,000 civilian lives. It also warned that the operation could leave millions of Yemenis without the “food and basic supplies needed to prevent famine and a recurrence of a cholera epidemic.”


On Sunday, UN special envoy Martin Griffiths arrived in the Yemeni capital, Sanaa, in an attempt to broker a diplomatic solution to the crisis. The talks have been at “an advanced stage” for the United Nations to take over the administration of the port of Hodeidah, Lise Grande, UN humanitarian coordinator, said. Griffiths is expected to report to the UN Security Council on the results of the negotiations on Monday.


The Arab coalition has been waging a brutal military campaign in Yemen since March 2015, in an attempt to restore president Hadi to power. Three years of Saudi-led bombardment and a blockade of Yemen has led to a catastrophic situation in the country, with 22 million people, or 80 percent of the population, in need of humanitarian aid, while more than half of the country is left without basic medical services.


More than 5,500 people have been killed and over 9,000 injured as of the end of 2017, according to the UN, with Riyadh and its allies accused of indiscriminate bombings of civilian infrastructure in the country.
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Istanbul hosts historic meeting between Rouhani, King Abdullah ‎ ‎

  • Thousands rally in Turkey and Jordan to protest US embassy move

  • Trump created a revolution in US policy towards Palestine — scholar

  • Europeans scramble to save the Iran nuclear deal after Trump reneges

  • More than a million Turks say 'Enough' to Erdogan on social media

  • Beating the US ‘Veto’: Palestinians Need Urgent Protection from Israel

  • UK ‘complicit’ in killing Palestinians by selling arms to Israel - War on Want

  • Trump raises stakes in trade war with China, targets further $200bn-worth of imports with tariff

  • Israeli jets strike nine Gaza targets in response to ‘explosive kites, balloons’

  • Hundreds killed and thousands flee as Saudi-led forces bomb Yemeni port to ‘liberate’ it


Afrasianet - Gunmen fatally shot the mayor of Libya’s third-largest city, Misrata, late on Sunday, ambushing his car inside the city, security officials said.


The North African oil producer has been in chaos since the 2011 uprising that unseated Muammar Gaddafi, but Misrata, Libya’s biggest port, had been relative peaceful until now.


Gunmen chased the car of Mayor Mohamed Eshtewi after he left Misrata airport following his arrival on a plane from Turkey, a security official said, adding it was unclear who was behind it.


In October, a bomb exploded at the city’s court, killing about four people and wounding 40 others in an attack claimed by ISIS.


Misrata, almost 200 km east of Tripoli, is the gateway for food and other imports into Libya and the country’s only tax-free zone. It is one of the few places still frequented by foreign business people fearing poor security elsewhere.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Afrasianet - A rocket was launched from the northern Gaza Strip early Sunday morning, according to the Israeli Defense Force (IDF).


The rocket “exploded mid-air,” according to the IDF announcement posted on Twitter.


No one was injured in the alleged attack, the Israeli military said, without immediately providing any further details.


The alleged projectile was reportedly headed to the Ahskelon coastal region in southern Israel, the Times of Israel reported.


No rocket alert signal was activated as the explosion happened “relatively early” in its flight, Israeli media reported citing officials.


The incident comes amid escalating tensions in the region, with Israel beefing up its military presence in the West Bank.


At least three Israelis were killed and one other injured in a stabbing attack by a 20-year-old Palestinian in the West Bank settlement of Halamish Friday night.


Israel upped its security alert level and dispatched thousands of additional troops to the area following the deadly knife assault, local media reported citing an IDF official.


Late Friday, the president of the Palestinian Authority (PA), Mahmoud Abbas, announced that the PA was freezing all contacts with Israel over the Jerusalem holy site dispute and the violence over the past days.


Clashes have been raging for several days following Tel Aviv’s decision to install metal detectors at the Temple Mount (referred to by Muslims as the Haram al-Sharif ) in the Old City in Jerusalem. The site is sacred to both Jews and Muslims, with Abbas having called for the removal of unilaterally installed barriers for people to be able to “pray with dignity.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Afrasianet - The convoy of the Minister of Education of the National Unity Government, Osman Abdel Jalil, was subjected to heavy gunfire at "Gate 17" at the southern entrance to the city of Sabha on Monday while he was on his way to the city of Marzak.


The Ministry of Education said in a statement posted on its official Facebook page that "the group forced the minister's convoy to stop using arms and assaulted the minister and his companions with his hands, but the security team managed to remove the minister and the undersecretary from the danger zone, while the gunmen detained the rest of the team and forced them With the force of arms to stay in the place of detention for approximately one hour ".


The ministry, which did not specify the identity of the gunmen and did not publish pictures of the site of the attack, said that "the group was detained after the intervention of tribes Altabu who responded firmly to the militants and were able to secure the convoy of the minister and accompany him the rest of the trip."


The city of Sabha and the adjacent areas of southern Libya are characterized by a security breach resulting in repeated incidents of theft, assault and murder. They are controlled by armed groups, most of which are active in smuggling, especially smuggling of illegal immigrants and fuel.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Afrasianet - Riyadh - Saudi Arabia and its allies from the Gulf Arab states said on Monday that the deadline for the Qatari government to respond to its 13 demands, which ended Sunday night, was extended 48 hours at the request of Kuwait's emir, who is mediating the crisis.


Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt said in a joint statement issued by the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) that "in response to a request by Kuwait's Emir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah to extend the special deadline for the government of Qatar for 48 hours since the end of the 10-day deadline, The four states' response will be sent after examining the Qatari government's response and evaluating its response to the full list of demands. "


The four countries said in a statement that they agreed to extend the deadline "because of the Qatari government's assertion that it will send its official response to the list of claims addressed to it on Monday."


The extension came after Qatar implicitly rejected the demands of its neighbors to restore ties with it just hours before the 10-day deadline set for it to respond to its 13 demands.


Earlier this morning, the Emir of Kuwait will receive Qatar's Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdul Rahman Al-Thani, who will deliver a written message from Emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani.


The letter contains the response earlier prepared by Qatar on the list of collective claims submitted by Kuwait late last month.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Afrasianet - Eight people were wounded Monday morning in a shooting outside the Mercy Mosque in the southern French city of Avignon.


Two masked men, carrying a pistol and a gun, approached the mosque in a car before opening fire on worshipers as they left the building at about 10:30 am local time (2130 GMT).


According to the local media, four people were injured outside the mosque, in addition to four people from a family, including a seven-year-old girl, with shrapnel inside their house, about 50 meters from the site of the attack.


Two of the wounded were taken to the hospital, and the Public Prosecutor's Office suggested that the incident was the result of a dispute between the youths and not a terrorist act.


France is in a state of security alert after an attack on police in April and other bloody attacks in the months before.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
Every man can do what another man does !

 

Every Week

Trends

 

 
  feed-image  
   
   
 

Site Developers: SoftPages Technology

 

 

English  |  عربي

 

 

 

Afrasianet.net, all rights reserved. 2016