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  1. #1
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    Israel land grab law 'ends hope of two-state solution' (OP)


    Salaam

    With Trump in power, Netanyahu has a free hand.


    Israel land grab law 'ends hope of two-state solution'


    Land grab law 'allows theft, stalls peace process'

    Law that retroactively legalises settler homes on private Palestinian land widely condemned as legitimising theft.


    Israel's land grab law that retroactively legalises thousands of settlement homes in the occupied West Bank legitimises theft, violates international law and ends the prospect of a two-state solution, according to politicians, legal experts and human rights groups.

    The so-called "Regulation Bill" instantly drew wide condemnation as it was voted in by members of the Knesset late on Monday with a 60 to 52 majority.

    The law applies to about 4,000 settlement homes in the West Bank for which settlers could prove ignorance that they had built on privately owned Palestinian land and had received encouragement from the Israeli state to do so.

    Three Israeli NGOs - Peace Now, Yesh Din and the Association for Civil Rights in Israel - and numerous Palestinians said they intend to petition the Supreme Court to cancel the law.

    UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said on Tuesday in a statement: "This bill is in contravention of international law and will have far reaching legal consequences for Israel."

    The EU's foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said in a statement that the bloc "condemns" the law and urges against its implementation "to avoid measures that further raise tensions and endanger the prospects for a peaceful solution to the conflict".

    Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said the law was an aggression against the Palestinian people.

    "That bill is contrary to international law," Abbas said following a meeting with French President Francois Hollande in Paris. "This is an aggression against our people that we will be opposing in international organisations.

    "What we want is peace ... but what Israel does is to work toward one state based on apartheid."

    Hollande called on Israel to go back on the law, saying it would "pave the way for an annexation, de-facto, of the occupied territories, which would be contrary to the two-state solution".

    Hours before Abbas' meeting with Hollande, Saeb Erekat, secretary general of the Palestinian Liberation Organisation, told the Associated Press news agency that the law puts "the last nail in the coffin of the two-state solution".

    Calling the move "theft", Erekat said the ruling showed "the Israeli government trying to legalise looting Palestinian land".

    The Arab League also accused Israel of "stealing the land" from Palestinians.

    "The law in question is only a cover for stealing the land and appropriating the property of Palestinians," said the head of the Cairo-based organisation, Ahmed Aboul Gheit.

    Palestinian owners will be compensated financially or with other land, but cannot negotiate their terms.

    The law is a continuation of "Israeli policies aimed at eliminating any possibility of a two-state solution and the establishment of an independent Palestinian state", Aboul Gheit said.

    Jordan, one of the few Arab states to have diplomatic ties with Israel, also denounced what it called "a provocative law likely to kill any hope of a two-state solution".

    According to the UN envoy for the Middle East peace process, Nickolay Mladenov, the law crosses a "very thick red line" towards annexation of the occupied West Bank, and sets a "very dangerous precedent".

    Speaking to the AFP news agency, he said: "This is the first time the Israeli Knesset legislates in the occupied Palestinian lands and particularly on property issues."

    He also raised the possibility the law could open Israel up to potential prosecution at the International Criminal Court, a threat Israel's own top government lawyer, attorney general Avichai Mandelblit, has also warned of.

    Mladenov called for strong international condemnation of the legislation but declined to criticise the US after President Donald Trump's administration refused to comment on it.

    Trump is more sympathetic to Israel's settlement policies than previous US presidents; the Israeli government has approved plans to build thousands of new homes on occupied territory since the far-right leader settled into the White House.

    "I think that is a very preliminary statement," Mladenov said. "Obviously they do need to consult, this is a new administration that has just come into office and they should be given the time and the space to find their policies."

    White House spokesman Sean Spicer said the US was likely to discuss the law with Netanyahu when the Israeli prime minister visits on February 15, but did not comment further in a press briefing on Tuesday.

    David Harris, head of AJC, the global Jewish advocacy organisation, said that "Israel's High Court can and should reverse this misguided legislation" ahead of Netanyahu's meeting with Trump in February.

    That was also the message from Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman, who said last week: "The chance that it will be struck down by the Supreme Court is 100 percent."

    'Against all international laws'

    International law considers all settlements to be illegal, but Israel distinguishes between those it sanctions and those it does not, dubbed outposts.

    A Palestinian Cabinet minister also called on the international community for support.

    "Nobody can legalise the theft of the Palestinian lands. Building settlements is a crime, building settlements is against all international laws," said Palestinian Tourism and Antiquities Minister Rula Maayaa. "I think it is time now for the international community to act concretely to stop the Israelis from these crimes."

    Nabil Abu Rdeneh, a spokesman for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, called the law "unacceptable" and urged the international community to act immediately.

    "This is an escalation that would only lead to more instability and chaos," Rdeneh said.

    Palestinians want the occupied West Bank, east Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip - territories Israel occupied in the 1967 Middle East war - for their future state.

    The international community views settlements as illegal and an obstacle to reaching peace.

    Shortly before leaving office, US President Barack Obama allowed the UN Security Council to pass a resolution declaring settlements illegal.

    Tobias Ellwood, Britain's Middle East minister, also condemned the land grab bill, saying it "is of great concern that the bill paves the way for significant growth in settlements deep in the West Bank".

    Yuval Shany, an international law professor at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, said the law violates basic rights, interferes with property rights and is discriminatory because it regulates only the transfer of land from Palestinians to Jews.

    http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2017/02/israel-land-grab-law-ends-hope-state-solution-170207143602924.html
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  2. #241
    Junon's Avatar
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    Re: Israel land grab law 'ends hope of two-state solution'

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    Salaam

    Another update. Trump cuts funding to the UN in response to the vote.

    US ambassador hails $285m cut in funding for UN as 'big step in the right direction'

    ‘We will no longer let the generosity of the American people be taken advantage of or remain unchecked’


    The United States government has claimed to have negotiated a significant cut to the United Nations budget. The US Mission to the UN said the 2018/19 budget would be slashed by over $285m (£213m) and reductions would also be made to the UN’s management and support functions. But the announcement did not make clear what effect the budget reduction will have on the US contribution. Nikki Haley, the US ambassador to the UN, said the “inefficiency and overspending” of the organisation is well-known.

    “We will no longer let the generosity of the American people be taken advantage of or remain unchecked,” she said.

    “This historic reduction in spending – in addition to many other moves toward a more efficient and accountable UN – is a big step in the right direction.

    “While we are pleased with the results of this year’s budget negotiations, you can be sure we’ll continue to look at ways to increase the UN’s efficiency‎ while protecting our interests.”

    It comes after Donald Trump threatened to cut off aid to any country in the UN that voted against his decision to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. “Let them vote against us,” the US President said. “We’ll save a lot. We don’t care.”
    Ms Haley sent letters to over 180 countries warning them Washington would be taking the names of those who voted against the US.

    The UN General Assembly went on to vote overwhelmingly to denounce Mr Trump’s decision. The nonbinding resolution declaring the US decision on Jerusalem “null and void” was approved 128-9. It reaffirmed what has been the UN’s stand on the divided holy city since 1967: Jerusalem’s final status must be decided in direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians. The Trump administration made it clear the vote would have no effect on its plan to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-politics/us-cut-un-funding-285m-donald-trump-nikki-haley-jerusalem-a8128426.html

    - - - Updated - - -

    Salaam

    Another update

    Jerusalem latest: Donald Trump to have new Israeli train station near Western Wall named after him

    Transportation minister hails US President's 'historic and brave decision' to recognise Jerusalem as Israel's capital


    A new train station close to the Western Wall in Jerusalem is to be named after Donald Trump, Israel’s Transportation Minister has announced. Yisrael Katz said the stop, which will be called the “Donald John Trump, Western Wall” station, was a tribute to the US President’s decision to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Mr Katz told the Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper: “The Western Wall is the holiest place for the Jewish people, and I decided to call the train station that leads to it after President Trump following his historic and brave decision to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of the State of Israel.”

    The announcement comes weeks after Mr Trump ordered the State Department to begin the process of moving the US embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem and recognise the latter as the country’s capital.

    At the time, he said: “Today we finally acknowledge the obvious: that Jerusalem is Israel’s capital. This is nothing more or less than a recognition of reality. It is also the right thing to do. It’s something that has to be done.”

    The move was criticised by much of the international community amid fears it will harm the prospects of peace, but was backed by most Israeli leaders. Mr Trump became the first sitting US president to visit the Western Wall when he travelled to Jerusalem in May. One of the holiest sites in Judaism, the wall is the only remaining part of the of the Second Jewish Temple that was destroyed in 70AD. It is also considered important in Islam as the place where the Prophet Muhammad is said to have tethered his horse, Buraq.

    The planned train station will be at one end of a new 3km tunnel stretching from HaUma station on the outskirts of Jerusalem to the Cardo in the heart of the city’s ancient Jewish Quarter, close to the Western Wall. The new line is expected to cost more than £500m and, if approved, would take four years to build. It is likely to face strong opposition from Palestinians and much of the international community because the route will go through East Jerusalem, which is not legally recognised as Israeli territory by the international community. The area is heavily disputed, having been recaptured by Israel during the Six Day War in 1967.

    Because the track will pass under Jerusalem’s historic Old City, construction work could also be delayed if sites of archaeological interest are discovered during excavations. Mr Katz said he had ordered government officials to make the new line his department’s top priority. It will form an extension to the high-speed rail line between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv that has been under construction since 2001 and is due to open next year.

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/jerusalem-latest-news-donald-trump-western-wall-train-station-israel-new-named-capital-decision-a8129791.html

    - - - Updated - - -

    Salaam

    Ah yes, they would rather submit to the Zionists and Western powers.

    UAE diplomat says Arabs won’t be led by Turkey

    Emirati minister calls for rallying around ‘Arab axis’ of Saudi Arabia and Egypt to ward off Turkey and Iran

    A senior UAE diplomat said on Wednesday that the Arab world would not be led by Turkey, the Gulf state’s first comment on Ankara since a quarrel broke out last week over a retweet by the Emirati foreign minister that President Tayyip Erdogan called an insult. Anwar Gargash, minister of state for foreign affairs of UAE, said there is a need to rally around the “Arab axis” of Saudi Arabia and Egypt to ward off regional powers that wish to expand their influence at the expense of the Arab World.

    “The Arab world will not be led by Tehran or Ankara,” he wrote on his official Twitter page.

    Last week, Turkey summoned the charge d’affaires at the UAE embassy in Ankara, after UAE Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahayan shared a tweet that accused Turkish troops of looting the holy city of Medina a century ago.

    ‘Officials in some countries who lack respect for boundaries, historical knowledge and diplomatic etiquette cannot overshadow the brotherhood that links us to Arab people,’ Erdogan tweeted last week (Twitter)

    Erdogan himself lashed out: “Some impertinent man sinks low and goes as far as accusing our ancestors of thievery … What spoiled this man? He was spoiled by oil, by the money he has,” the Turkish leader said at an awards ceremony.

    Turkey’s state-run Anadolu newspaper reported on Saturday that Turkey planned to rename the street where the UAE embassy is located in Ankara after Fakhreddin Pasha, the commander of the Ottoman Turkish troops at Medina in 1916.

    Medina, the holiest site in Islam after Mecca, is in what is now Saudi Arabia. Fakhreddin Pasha held Medina for more than two years of siege by the British-backed forces of Sharif Hussein, who revolted against the Ottoman empire during the First World War.

    “Officials in some countries who lack respect for boundaries, historical knowledge and diplomatic etiquette cannot overshadow the brotherhood that links us to Arab people,” Erdogan tweeted in Arabic last week in an apparent reference to the UAE foreign minister.

    The UAE sees itself as a bulwark against political forms of Islam, and views Erdogan’s ruling AK party as a supporter of groups like the Muslim Brotherhood. Abu Dhabi has also been accused of being involved in a failed coup against Erdogan last year. Moreover, the UAE and Saudi Arabia have led a blockade against Qatar, a major ally of Turkey. Ankara has established a military base in Qatar as part of a joint-defence agreement. Shutting down that base is one of 13 demands by the UAE, Saudi, Bahrain and Egypt to lift their sanctions against Qatar.

    https://www.middleeastobserver.org/2017/12/28/uae-diplomat-says-arabs-wont-be-led-by-turkey/

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  4. #242
    Junon's Avatar
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    Re: Israel land grab law 'ends hope of two-state solution'

    Salaam

    Another update. This is important but speaking out and protesting is not enough.

    Message from Turkish protester about Muslims defending Al-Aqsa



    Shaykh Asrar Rasid: “We will never leave Masjid Al-Aqsa”



    - - - Updated - - -

    Salaam

    Another update

    NBA website changes Palestine definition after Israeli minister's letter

    NBA deletes phrase ‘occupied’ after Miri Regev says it is at odds with Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital


    Israel’s far-right sports and culture minister has taken credit for the US National Basketball Association’s decision to remove the description “occupied” from its depiction of Palestine on its website, despite the fact that the phrase describes the internationally recognised legal status of the Palestinian territories.

    The NBA’s site originally listed “occupied Palestine territories” and at time of writing had deleted the word “occupied” at the instance of two Israeli ministers, one of whom suggested they were in fact part of Israel.

    The row over the inclusion of the words in a pop-up menu provided by a third party in an online poll of favourite players is the latest example of the lengths Israeli ministers will go to challenge the accepted legal definition of Palestine’s status.

    In a letter to the NBA commissioner, Adam Silver, the sports minister, Miri Regev, called the Palestinian territories “an imaginary ‘state’” and said the listing was not in line with Donald Trump’s recent recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

    “I view the inclusion of ‘Occupied Palestine’ in the list of countries appearing on your official website as legitimizing the division of the State of Israel and as gross and blatant interference, in contrast to the official position of the American administration and the declarations of President Donald Trump, who just recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel,” wrote Regev.

    The NBA’s president of social responsibility, Kathy Behrens, told Israel National News that country listings were provided by a third party. “We do not produce the country listings for NBA.com, and as soon as we became aware of it the site was updated. We apologise for this oversight, and have corrected it,” Behrens said.

    Palestinians seek east Jerusalem, captured by Israel from Jordan in the 1967 six-day war, as the capital of their future state. Israel claims the whole city as its capital.

    Regev thanked Silver on Friday for removing the words. She said: “Israel’s lands are not occupied; therefore what was written was false and should have been deleted.”

    Regev’s position is starkly at odds with mainstream international opinion and that of the UN, which refers to the West Bank and Gaza as occupied.

    Both the United Nations security council and the international court of justice regard the West Bank, Gaza and Western Golan Heights as territory that is occupied by Israel under international law.

    Israel’s deputy minister of foreign affairs, Tzipi Hotovely, had also called on the NBA to take action. “This week, US ambassador Friedman called for the cessation of the use of the term ‘occupied’ in regard to Judea and Samaria, and an important sports league such as the NBA should respect this view,” said Hotovely.

    Hotovely was referring to a reported claim in the Israeli media – sharply disputed by the US state department – that Friedman had called for the dropping of the term “occupied”.

    Regev is no stranger to interposing herself in disputes with sporting organisations whose views do not accord with her own. Last month she threatened to pull support for the Giro d’Italia bike race after organisers described a section of the route as going through “west Jerusalem”.

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/dec/29/israel-sports-minister-forces-nba-website-to-remove-palestine-occupied-jerusalem-trump

  5. #243
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    Re: Israel land grab law 'ends hope of two-state solution'

    Why any nation would want to be in the UN to begin with has always utterly baffled me. Not only does it cost $$$ to be in the UN, it is also an organization that undermines regional cultures, customs, and legal jurisdictions and replaces all these extremely important things with internationalist cultural and legal dogmas. Furthermore, the UN is also merely a paper tiger anyway and will never intervene whenever a big powerful nation invades a small nation. They ONLY intervene when an invading aggressor is a relatively small nation, and even then sometimes they won't act, particularly if the invading nation happens to be more politically in line with the UN's overall mind-set than the country being invaded. The UN is really just a carefully disguised organization of globalist Marxists whose intentions are ultimately to overthrow national sovereignty and impose an anti-religious feminist one world totalitarian government.

    The amount of money the USA gives the UN is mind blowing, and Trump's decision to reduce that amount is analogous to removing one single gold coin from a large barrel of gold coins, so it's a miniscule reduction anyway.

  6. #244
    Junon's Avatar
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    Re: Israel land grab law 'ends hope of two-state solution'

    Salaam

    Another update

    The Coming Collapse of Zionism in America



    - - - Updated - - -

    Another reminder, his latest book on the Israel Palestine conflict will be released very soon



    The Gaza Strip is among the most densely populated places in the world. More than two-thirds of its inhabitants are refugees, and more than half are under eighteen years of age. Since 2004, Israel has launched eight devastating “operations” against Gaza’s largely defenseless population. Thousands have perished, and tens of thousands have been left homeless. In the meantime, Israel has subjected Gaza to a merciless illegal blockade.

    What has befallen Gaza is a man-made humanitarian disaster.

    Based on scores of human rights reports, Norman G. Finkelstein's new book presents a meticulously researched inquest into Gaza’s martyrdom. He shows that although Israel has justified its assaults in the name of self-defense, in fact these actions constituted flagrant violations of international law.

    But Finkelstein also documents that the guardians of international law—from Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch to the UN Human Rights Council—ultimately failed Gaza. One of his most disturbing conclusions is that, after Judge Richard Goldstone's humiliating retraction of his UN report, human rights organizations succumbed to the Israeli juggernaut.

    Finkelstein’s magnum opus is both a monument to Gaza’s martyrs and an act of resistance against the forgetfulness of history.


    Salaam

    Another update

    More than 300 Muslim Scholars Issue a Statement Forbidding Normalization with 'Israel’

    On Monday, more than 300 Muslim scholars met during a conference in Istanbul to sign the "Covenant of the Muslim Scholars" to end the growing wave of normalization with Israel. The conference’s statement confirmed that “Islamic Sharia bans normalization with Israel because of the dangers it poses to the Palestinian cause and the resistance” The Covenant was signed by 300 Muslim Scholars from different countries, including Turkey, Syria, Palestine, Egypt, Iraq, Malaysia and Mauritania, calling for an end to normalization with Israel.

    The Covenant stated that "normalization with the Zionist entity (Israel) is forbidden according to Sharia, because it contradicts the requirements of faith and its obligations which is based on loyalty to the believers and their mandatory support”

    And that "all attempts to undermine the Palestinian cause through the resettlement of [Palestinian] refugees, or the Judaization of holy sites (especially in occupied Jerusalem) do not establish any legitimacy for the Zionist entity and does not change its description as occupation and aggression." According to the Covenant, "resistance to normalization stems from the Muslim Ummah's strategy for the liberation of Palestine, whereas normalization threatens the resistance project, weakens its roots in the hearts of Muslims, and undermine the Palestinian cause."

    The Covenant calls on "intellectuals, scientists, scholars, and opinion leaders, individuals and institutions, to form a public opinion in their countries against normalization with the occupation and to call for resistance."

    http://www.ikhwanweb.com/article.php?id=32885
    Last edited by Junon; 01-01-2018 at 10:40 PM.

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  8. #245
    Junon's Avatar
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    Re: Israel land grab law 'ends hope of two-state solution'

    Salaam

    Another update

    Palestinians are watching Saudi Arabia closely




    Palestinians have been carefully watching Saudi Arabia drawing closer to Israel.

    The past few months have seen not only a flood of Saudi statements on social media supporting normalisation with Israel (some saying that Saudi is "more important" than Palestine and others apparently dreaming of Israel becoming Saudi's top vacationing spot), but also a flurry of diplomatic activity between Riyadh and Tel Aviv. Saudi and Israeli political leadership agree on a number of issues, the most important of which is the need to curb Iran's growing influence and to keep the US engaged in the Middle East. Pursuing these common interests, the Saudis and the Israelis have intensified their efforts for a formal normalisation of relations.

    In June 2017, Anwar Eshki, former Saudi general and current head of the Middle East Center for Strategic and Legal Studies, said that Saudi Arabia would accept normalisation with Israel if it, in turn, accepted the Arab peace initiative. He also said that if Saudi Arabia did so, the rest of the Islamic world would follow suit.

    In October, former head of Saudi intelligence Prince Turki al-Faisal took part in a forum in New York with the former head of Mossad, Efraim Halevy.

    In November, Israeli Chief of Staff General Gadi Eizenkot had an interview with Saudi website Elaph. The same month, the Israeli minister of communications, Ayoub Kara, invited Saudi Mufti Abdulaziz Al Sheikh to visit Tel Aviv.

    In early December, the New York Times published details of an alleged Saudi proposal for a Palestinian state on parts of the West Bank and the Jerusalem village of Abu Dees as its capital. Just a few days later, US President Donald Trump declared officially that the US is recognising Jerusalem as the capital of the Israeli state. At the time of the declaration, a delegation from a Washington pro-Israeli think-tank was in Riyadh meeting with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who demonstrated that he didn't "want to talk about Jerusalem".

    And while Riyadh and Tel Aviv have been engaged in public and secret overtures, they have also been pushing the Palestinian political leadership into a corner. In November, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas made a sudden visit to Riyadh and returned visibly perturbed. Rumours in Ramallah had it that the Saudis had pressed him to accept their plan for Palestine, and that this was likely tied to an agreement between US presidential envoys Jared Kushner and Jason Greenblatt and the Saudi crown prince, reached during their unannounced meeting at the end of October.

    Then, in December, after Trump's announcement on Jerusalem, Mohamed Ashtieh, member of the Fatah Central Committee, said that unnamed Arab countries had refused to hold an Arab summit about Jerusalem. It was also rumoured that Saudi Arabia and Egypt were pressuring Abbas not to attend the Organisation for Islamic Cooperation summit in Turkey. Abbas resisted this pressure and attended the summit and followed it with a visit to Qatar, which Saudi Arabia is currently imposing a blockade on.

    By now, Palestinians have no illusions about what Saudi Arabia is pushing for. It is clear to all of us that Riyadh is not working for a just peace solution and an end to Israeli occupation of Palestinian land. Unsurprisingly, Palestinian social media has exploded in anger at Saudi actions; Twitter, for example, has seen a popular hashtag "Normalisation is betrayal" emerge. Some have called for burning pictures of the Saudi king; others have said Saudis calling for normalisation are "Zionists in Arab clothes".

    The anger also spread beyond social media, with portraits of Saudi King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman being torn at a Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine rally, amid chants like "King Salman sold Jerusalem!"

    The image of Saudi Arabia and its allies has suffered immensely within Palestine. A survey conducted by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research in Gaza and the West Bank showed that 82 percent of Palestinians do not trust the Saudis would defend their rights, and 75 percent and 70 percent do not trust, respectively, the UAE and Egypt - both major Saudi allies. What the Saudis are not factoring in, in their foreign policy calculations, is that Palestinians will resist any attempt for an unjust settlement. There is enough mistrust towards Riyadh already and whatever peace initiative comes out of its negotiations with the US and Israel will be outright rejected.

    Even if the Palestinian leadership is pressed into concessions, people on the ground will continue their resistance. The Saudi plan will eventually crumble, as will Saudi Arabia's reputation in the Middle East and beyond.

    The region has already been through two intifadas and an Arab Spring. Arab youth have proven that they can face off with local regimes and superpowers. They will not accept more injustice, and heavy-handed repression would only inflame their anger.

    An unjust settlement will not bring peace.

    https://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/palestinians-watching-saudi-arabia-closely-171231125232104.html

  9. #246
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    Re: Israel land grab law 'ends hope of two-state solution'

    Excerpt:

    http://theartnewspaper.com/news/muslim-leaders-across-the-middle-east-work-with-israeli-rabbis-to-keep-the-peace



    Muslim leaders across the Middle East work with Israeli rabbis to keep the peace
    Interfaith network says that its efforts are more difficult—and urgent—since President Trump’s declaration on Jerusalem’s status
    LAUREN GELFOND FELDINGER


    1st January 2018 10:50 GMT

    Sheikh Raed Bader and Rabbi Michael Melchior: key figures in the religious peace network ALF/UNAOC
    A remarkable alliance of Israeli orthodox rabbis and Muslim religious leaders in the Middle East is mediating behind the scenes following the anger and violence sparked by President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital last month.


    As demonstrations continue throughout the region, Israeli forces clashing with Palestinian protesters and Israeli air strikes following rockets fired from Gaza have left at least a dozen Palestinians dead and hundreds injured.


    The US Jerusalem declaration has also emboldened Arab calls to boycott associations with Israelis. But these Muslim and Jewish religious scholars remain dedicated to non-violent strategies for securing rights and security for both Israelis and Palestinians and to “stop people killing”, Sheikh Imad Falogi, a former Hamas leader in Gaza, tells The Art Newspaper.


    The covert interfaith efforts, which religious leaders describe as a “religious peace network”, began in the early 1990s and spread across Israel, the West Bank and Gaza, focusing especially on maintaining the peace in Jerusalem and its holy sites. In 2002, the senior Egyptian mufti Mohammed Sayed Tantawi joined several Holy Land religious leaders and the Archbishop of Canterbury to sign the Alexandria Declaration, a set of shared religious principles for non-violence.


    Today the coalition includes a growing number of Muslim scholars in almost every Arab country; the network stretches from the North African Arab states to Middle Eastern countries, including Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Iraq. Some Muslim leaders have met with Israeli orthodox rabbis in Spain, Italy, Norway and Turkey. While they primarily focus on improving Jewish-Muslim relations, they also maintain close connections with church leaders from Jerusalem, Israel and the West Bank. The Pope is kept apprised of their work, they say.


    Despite anger with the US declaration that it will move its embassy to Jerusalem and with Israel over Palestinian rights, “big” numbers of Islamic leaders in the Middle East and around the world want to work with these Israeli rabbis “for a real peace and political and community rights”, Falogi says. Religious leaders must play a role, he explains, because they can achieve results better and faster than politicians as they have “more power in the Middle East”.


    Falogi also says that the rabbis he sees as his allies have studied the Quran, as he has studied the Christian Bible and Jewish holy texts. “The rabbis in this network understand us—our religion and rights—better than the politicians.”


    Equality not separation
    Avi Gisser, an Israeli orthodox rabbi who heads the West Bank settlement of Ofra and is chair of Israel’s national religious education council, has deep respect for his Islamic partners. “I teach in the Jewish religious community that we need to build our life together, Jew and Arab, Jewish and Muslim; there must be equality, not separation,” he says. Gisser also now teaches on Islam and Palestinian rights, and advocates for interfaith connections for “security and to fight terror”.


    “It is dangerous to talk to rabbis but I’m convinced it is good for the two sides,” says the Islamic law scholar, Ali Sartawi, who served as a Hamas-affiliated minister of justice in the 2007 Palestinian government. “We can’t build peace with the political side only. I don’t have any problems with Jewish people on the Israeli side. I respect the Jewish religion. But if fundamentalists grow on both sides, I will be afraid.”


    “Of course there are extremist Jews and Arabs who don’t like [this alliance],” Gisser says. “But in the general population there is a lot of will for closer relations.” Earlier this year, when Sheikh Abdallah Nimer Darwish, the co-founder of the Islamic Movement in Israel who also helped to set up the religious peace network, died, Gisser visited the mourning tent and was invited to speak. “They accepted me,” he says.
    Last edited by Singularity; 01-02-2018 at 02:50 AM.

  10. #247
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    Re: Israel land grab law 'ends hope of two-state solution'

    Salaam

    Another update

    Annexation of Jerusalem is speeding up.

    Israel passes law to prevent ceding control of Jerusalem
    Move shows resurgent confidence of Netanyahu’s rightwing government


    Israel’s parliament passed a law on Tuesday that bars ceding any part of Jerusalem to a foreign power without the approval of a supermajority of lawmakers, a move that threatens to further hinder prospects of peace between Israel and the Palestinians.

    The amendment to the Jerusalem Basic Law prevents the relinquishing of any municipal territory in the city without the endorsement of at least 81 of the Knesset’s 120 lawmakers. It also allows the government to separate areas of the city — such as majority Palestinian neighbourhoods — from the Jerusalem municipality, but requires those new administrations to remain under Israeli sovereignty.

    Israel considers the whole of Jerusalem to be its united capital, while the Palestinians see East Jerusalem, which Israel captured in the 1967 war and subsequently annexed, as the capital of a future state. Most of the international community does not recognise Israeli sovereignty over East Jerusalem.

    The bill approved by Israeli lawmakers was toned down compared with previous versions, and can be repealed with a simple majority of 61 parliamentarians, making it a largely symbolic gesture.

    A 2014 law already requires a supermajority in parliament or a national referendum for Israel to ratify an agreement that stipulates the conceding of territory under Israeli law, namely East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights.

    The office of Mahmoud Abbas, president of the Palestinian National Authority, seethed over the Knesset’s approval of the law, issuing a statement on Tuesday calling it “tantamount to a declaration of war” against the Palestinian people.

    The law passed on Tuesday had been long in the legislative pipeline, but came swiftly on the heels of a resolution by the ruling Likud party’s central committee on Sunday calling for the annexation of Israeli settlements in the West Bank.

    The resolution by the advisory body is non-binding for Likud lawmakers, but the central committee’s unanimous vote serves as a barometer of party opinion. Together, the Likud party resolution and the Jerusalem law are seen as a sign of the resurgent confidence of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s rightwing government in advancing a hawkish agenda.

    Palestinians believe Mr Netanyahu’s party has been emboldened by US President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital last month. Mr Abbas said the Likud party resolution could not have been be taken “without the full support of the US administration”.

    Although the White House specified that “the specific boundaries of Israeli sovereignty in Jerusalem were subject to final status negotiations between the parties”, Mr Trump’s proclamation in December infuriated not only Palestinians but much of the Arab world. Palestinian leaders said it proved the US could no longer be seen as an impartial mediator.

    It unclear what impact the new Israeli law on the city will have on the already distant hopes of a peace agreement.

    https://www.ft.com/content/3d852c56-efb9-11e7-ac08-07c3086a2625

    - - - Updated - - -

    Salaam

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  11. #248
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    Re: Israel land grab law 'ends hope of two-state solution'

    Salaam

    Trump being his usual thuggish self.


    Trump threatens to cut US aid to Palestinians to force peace talks

    President says US gets ‘no appreciation or respect’ from Palestinian Authority after it recognised Jerusalem as Israel’s capital


    Donald Trump on Tuesday appeared to threaten to cut off US aid money to the Palestinian Authority, saying they were no longer willing to negotiate.

    Trump, in a pair of tweets, said the US paid “the Palestinians HUNDRED [sic] OF MILLIONS OF DOLLARS a year and get no appreciation or respect. They don’t even want to negotiate a long overdue … peace treaty with Israel.”

    He added: “We have taken Jerusalem, the toughest part of the negotiation, off the table, but Israel, for that, would have had to pay more. But with the Palestinians no longer willing to talk peace, why should we make any of these massive future payments to them?”

    Trump infuriated many in the Middle East when he announced late last year the US would consider Jerusalem the capital of Israel and move its embassy there.

    Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas said the announcement destroyed Trump’s credibility as a Middle East peace broker, calling the decision “a declaration of withdrawal from the role it has played in the peace process”.

    Tuesday’s tweets mark a tacit admission by Trump that his decision to move the US embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem had thrown a wrench into his administration’s plans to restart the peace process between Israelis and Palestinians. Trump gave son-in-law Jared Kushner the task of restarting the effort, and brought his former attorney, Jason Greenblatt, into the White House to lead the negotiations, which he had dubbed “the ultimate deal”.

    On Twitter, Trump also issued a threat to cut off foreign aid to an unspecified list of countries.

    “It’s not only Pakistan that we pay billions of dollars to for nothing, but also many other countries, and others,” Trump tweeted, appearing to reference a 1 January tweet lambasting Pakistan for failing to do enough to combat terror groups while taking US aid. “No more!” Trump had tweeted on Monday.

    US leaders of both parties have long utilised foreign assistance dollars, a minor percentage of the overall budget, to promote American interests abroad, alleviate humanitarian crises and support oppressed peoples.

    Trump’s envoy to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, foreshadowed Trump’s warning earlier on Tuesday at the security council. Haley said the president did not want to give any more funds “until the Palestinians are willing to come back to the negotiation table”.

    “We still very much want to have a peace process. Nothing changes with that. The Palestinians now have to show they want to come to the table,” Haley said. “As of now, they’re not coming to the table, but they ask for aid. We’re not giving the aid. We’re going to make sure that they come to the table.”

    Trump’s Middle East peace team had held meetings with Israeli, Palestinian and Arab leaders for nearly a year before an expected peace proposal.

    But by recognising Israel’s claim to Jerusalem, Trump was seen by the Palestinians as siding with Israel on the most sensitive issue in the conflict. The Palestinians seek east Jerusalem, which Israel captured in 1967, for their capital.

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/jan/03/trump-threatens-cut-aid-palestinians-peace-talks

  12. #249
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    Re: Israel land grab law 'ends hope of two-state solution'

    Salaam

    Another update

    I pray that the US cuts off aid to the Palestinians

    Like many other Palestinians, I pray and implore God that Donald Trump makes good on his threat to cut off the Palestinian Authority’s $300 million annual grant — and also that the European donors follow suit, writes veteran Arab journalist Abdel Bari Atwan.

    For that would mean the collapse of the PA and the Oslo accords that brought it into being in exchange for ceding 80% of Palestine’s territory and recognising the Israeli state.

    Trump took a leaf out of the book of some of the Arab Gulf states on Tuesday night when he took to Twitter to accuse the Palestinians of ingratitude and insubordination.

    “We pay the Palestinians HUNDRED OF MILLIONS OF DOLLARS a year and get no appreciation or respect. They don’t even want to negotiate a long overdue,” he declared. “With the Palestinians no longer willing to talk peace, why should we make any of these massive future payments to them?”

    This is something of an inversion of Trump’s policy towards the Gulf states. From them, he has been demanding hundreds of billions of dollars in return for their military protection. From the Palestinians and the PA, he is demanding “concessions” over Jerusalem and the West Bank in exchange for a paltry $300 million per year. A more shameless act of blackmail is hard to imagine.

    Trump excels at this extortionist method of doing business and knows no other way of operating. It is all about deal-making and profit-taking with no regard to morality or values, international law, political considerations or the minimal rights of others. Either submit to the dictates of Netanyahu – as conveyed by Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner – or else.

    Pacifying the Palestinians

    US aid to the PA is aimed at pacifying the Palestinian people and bribing them to abandon all forms of resistance to the Occupation by preoccupying them with seeking to improve their living conditions under the rubric of “economic peace,” while deluging their ruling elite in Ramallah with loans, mortgages, flashy cars and other trappings of luxury.

    Living conditions for the majority of Palestinians were much better before the advent of the PA and the signing of the Oslo Accords. They were not more prosperous in material terms, but they upheld the concept of “bread and dignity,” and launched a popular uprising that gained the respect of the entire world, laid bare the inhuman practices of the Occupation and put into question the very existence of an Israeli state.

    That is why Western neo-colonialist minds devised a lifeline for it in the form of the Oslo Acords.

    PA spokespersons have said that they will not submit to blackmail and that Jerusalem is not for sale, for however many billions of dollars. These are commendable words. But what really matters is the practical actions that the PA takes to counter these two stances: Israel’s, in passing legislation aimed at the ceding of any inch of Jerusalem or the West Bank settlements in any future peace deal; and Washington’s, in recognising the conquest and annexation of the Holy City as the Occupation state’s capital.

    The one step the PA has taken is to invite the Palestine Central Council (PCC) to convene next week to devise a response to Netanyahu and Trump’s blackmail. Its spokesmen – such as chief negotiator Saeb Erekat – have also urged countries to move their PA-accredited embassies to East Jerusalem, as though they have a choice in the matter or would be free to do so. What kind of deficient thinking is this?

    The PCC is supposed to be the intermediary body between the Palestine National Council (the Palestinian parliament-in-exile) and the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO). The latter’s mandate expired two decades ago, and the majority of its component factions – with the exception of Fatah and the Popular and Democratic Fronts (PFLP and DFLP) – long ago ceased to have any meaningful following among the Palestinian public.

    Around half of the PCC’s membership has gone to meet its maker, and the other half are waiting their turn and are well past retirement age. Critical views are rarely aired, and are unwelcome on the occasions when they are, for no voice can be allowed to rise above that of the anointed leader Mahmoud Abbas.

    Around a year ago, the PCC – meeting in the PA compound in Ramallah – took a headline-grabbing decision to halt security cooperation with Israel. The move was greeted with loud applause, as delegates congratulated each other on the PLO’s act of reassertion and on the resultant reversion to resistance to the occupation. But that decision remains a piece of paper in Abbas’ desk. Its practical impact was zero.

    Declining US influence


    The Palestinian people long ago lost confidence in the PA and its institutions and leadership.

    They have been reduced to relying on Trump and his decisions to arouse them from the comatose condition that has afflicted them since the signing of the Oslo Accords in 1993, and to rid them of the PA that has been humiliating, subjugating and selling them illusions for the past 20 years.

    Again, we reiterate that we fervently hope that Trump does not back down from his threats, and goes ahead and cuts off his poisoned chalice of aid to the PA.

    That could deal a death blow to the US’ influence in the Middle East and perhaps the entire Islamic world, and signal the start of a new phase in which the Palestinians find their feet again and reunite around a platform of resistance and self-respect, under a different leadership capable of shouldering the historic responsibility.

    https://5pillarsuk.com/2018/01/07/i-pray-that-the-us-cuts-off-aid-to-the-palestinians/

    - - - Updated - - -

    Salaam

    Another update

    Egypt hosts 'told to convince viewers' over Jerusalem

    A report by the New York Times has said that while Egypt's government was publicly condemning a US decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel's capital, a state intelligence officer was asking influential TV hosts in the country to persuade their viewers to accept it.

    The newspaper reported on Saturday that it had obtained audio recordings in which Ashraf al-Kholi, the intelligence officer, can be heard telling the hosts that Egypt, like its "Arab brothers, are denouncing this matter", but that "after that, this thing will become a reality".

    "Palestinians can't resist and we don't want to go to war," added Kholi, according to the New York Times. "We have enough on our plate as you know."

    The country's state Information Service' says the hosts deny reports that an intelligence officer had spoken to them.

    It also says the article does not provide evidence that Ashraf al-Kholi is an officer with Egypt's Intelligence and it re-iterated that it's stance on Jerusalem has not changed.

    US President Donald Trump recognised Jerusalem as Israel's capital on December 6 and said that he was beginning the process of moving the US embassy to the city.

    The move prompted widespread condemnation from many leaders throughout the Middle East, including Egypt, as well as the United Nations.

    On Sunday, Egypt denied the newspaper's report that it had asked local media to play down opposition to Trump's decision.

    'How is Jerusalem different from Ramallah?'

    According to the New York Times, Kholi made the phone calls to three well-known Egyptian talk show hosts, as well as an Egyptian actress.

    Kholi reportedly suggested to the hosts that the Palestinians should be happy with the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah, home to the Palestinian Authority.

    "How is Jerusalem different from Ramallah, really?" Kholi said in the four recordings, according to the New York Times.

    "Concessions are a must and if we reach a concession whereby Jerusalem will be - Ramallah will be the capital of Palestine, to end the war and so no one else dies, then we would go for it."

    One of the calls was made to host Azmi Megahed, who confirmed the conversation with Kholi to the New York Times.

    Another call was allegedly with Mofid Fawzy, who the newspaper said denied that a conversation with Kholi had taken place. A third call was reportedly with Saeed Hassaseen, a TV host and member of parliament, who the New York Times said backed out of an interview on the issue. The fourth call was with Egyptian singer and actress Yousra, who could not be reached, the newspaper said.

    According to the New York Times, Kholi called the reaction to the US Jerusalem decision "dangerous" and an "intifada issue".

    "An intifada would not serve Egypt's national security interests because an intifada would revive the Islamists and Hamas," Kholi said.

    In a statement on Sunday, Egypt's "State Information Service" refuted the New York Times report, saying two TV hosts mentioned in it no longer present any shows, while the two others mentioned in the stories had denied receiving any call.

    It added that alleged leaks should not be a source of information on Egypt's stance on international issues.

    "Egypt's positions are conveyed by the president, the foreign minister and in official statements," it said.

    https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2018/01/egypt-hosts-told-convince-viewers-jerusalem-180106181342706.html

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  14. #250
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    Re: Israel land grab law 'ends hope of two-state solution'

    Salaam

    Another update on Jerusalem.



    Update on the situation on Gaza



    And finally on Bibi

    Last edited by Junon; 01-14-2018 at 02:08 AM.

  15. #251
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    Re: Israel land grab law 'ends hope of two-state solution'

    Salaam

    Another update

    Iran's supreme leader: Saudis betrayed Muslim world

    Iran's supreme leader has said Saudi Arabia's alignment with the United States and Israel is "certainly a betrayal" of the Muslims.

    Ayatollah Ali Khamenei made the remark at a conference attended by parliamentary representatives from Islamic countries on Tuesday in Tehran, according to a statement published on his official website.

    Discussing the recent US recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, he said the Holy City was "undoubtedly" the capital of Palestine, adding that Washington's move "won't bear results".

    According to the statement, Khamenei also accused Saudi Arabia of helping the US and the "Zionists".

    "This is certainly a betrayal of the Islamic Ummah and the Muslim World," he said.

    In another part of his speech, he said: "We're ready to act brotherly even with those among the Muslims who were once openly hostile to Iran.

    "The world of Islam, with such a large population and plenty of facilities, can certainly create a great power within the world and become influential through unity.

    "Such warmongering among the world of Islam must be stopped and we should not allow that a safe haven be created for the Zionist regime."

    Regional rivals

    Iran, the leading Shia Muslim power, and Sunni Muslim Saudi Arabia, a key US ally, are rivals for influence in the Middle East where they support opposing sides in Yemen, Syria, Iraq and Lebanon.

    US President Donald Trump said on a visit to Jerusalem last year that a shared concern about Iran was driving many Arab states closer to Israel.

    An Israeli cabinet minister said in November that Israel had covert contacts with Saudi Arabia amid common concerns over Iran.

    Iran does not recognise the state of Israel.

    https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2018/01/iran-supreme-leader-saudis-betrayed-muslim-world-180117084331188.html

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    Re: Israel land grab law 'ends hope of two-state solution'

    That feeling when you realize that a Shia heretic is a better Amir al-Muminin than any Sunni leader.
    | Likes muslimah_B liked this post

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    Re: Israel land grab law 'ends hope of two-state solution'

    Salaam

    Another update

    Top Egyptian imam doubles down on refusal to meet Pence

    Al-Azhar head says meeting US vice president during his Middle East trip would 'tear up my identity,' warns recognizing Israel's capital will fuel terror

    A top Egyptian imam is insisting he will not meet with US Vice President Mike Pence during his upcoming visit to Cairo, due to the “rash and uncalculated” American recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
    In an interview with CNN Thursday, Ahmed al-Tayeb, the grand iman of al-Azhar, said meeting Pence would “tear up my identity” and come across as “contradictory in front of people.”

    In the wake of US President Donald Trump’s declaration, Tayeb cancelled a planned meeting with Pence, who will be in Egypt, Jordan and Israel in the coming days. The US vice president had been set to visit the region in December, but his trip was rescheduled amid Congress’s efforts to pass tax reform.

    Tayeb, who has urged Trump to reverse his decision, called the recognition an “aggression toward people, countries, cultures and civilizations,” and said it would “feed terrorism in the region.

    “Decisions like this one nurture terrorism, create it and propel it forward to act and express itself in methods we all reject,” he told CNN. “When terrorism rises again, the East and West will drown in seas of blood.”

    In addition to Tayeb, Pope Tawadros II, the head of Egypt’s Coptic Church, also announced last month he would not meet with Pence in protest of the Jerusalem declaration.

    Pence is scheduled to land in Cairo Saturday to meet with Egypt’s President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi. On Sunday, he will head to Amman to meet with King Abdullah II of Jordan, before traveling to Israel.

    Both Egypt and Jordan, which are close US allies, have vehemently criticized the Trump administration’s recent moves on Jerusalem.

    Pence will not travel to Ramallah or meet with Palestinian Authority officials while he is in the region, due to the PA’s decision to boycott the US administration over Trump’s move.

    Already tense relations between Washington and Ramallah continued to deteriorate when the administration vowed to cut or suspend funding to the Palestinian Authority. On Sunday, PA President Mahmoud Abbas delivered a fiery speech denouncing Trump and rejecting his administration’s bid to broker a peace deal with Israel.

    On Tuesday, the US State Department announced that it was withholding $65 million to the United Nations relief agency for Palestinians known as UNRWA, a move the Palestinians condemned vociferously. The State Department said Thursday it will hold up another $45 million in food aid for UNRWA.

    https://www.timesofisrael.com/top-egyptian-imam-doubles-down-on-refusal-to-meet-pence-over-jerusalem/

  18. #254
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    Re: Israel land grab law 'ends hope of two-state solution'

    Yeah Trump should cut ALL "aid" around the world. There is a lot of poverty in the USA and you can't make America great again by giving away money and food etc. Still sending billions to Israel, what a traitor! Just another lying Zionist Neo Con.

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    Re: Israel land grab law 'ends hope of two-state solution'

    Quote Originally Posted by Futuwwa View Post
    That feeling when you realize that a Shia heretic is a better Amir al-Muminin than any Sunni leader.
    Iran is not so much better than Saudi. Saudis try to influence sunnis and they influence shi’is in the war torn muslim lands. They blame them with being an ally of America but they are an ally of Russia which is another power causing mischief in the same muslim lands.
    Israel land grab law 'ends hope of two-state solution'

    “Either seem as you are or be as you seem” Rumi

  21. #256
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    Re: Israel land grab law 'ends hope of two-state solution'

    Quote Originally Posted by Karl View Post
    Yeah Trump should cut ALL "aid" around the world. There is a lot of poverty in the USA and you can't make America great again by giving away money and food etc. Still sending billions to Israel, what a traitor! Just another lying Zionist Neo Con.
    You are right he should cutoff Palestinian aid they need to fend for themselves and not rely on foreign backers that will ultimately influence them the 'two-state' solution is an insult to this Ummah and to Arabs and Muslims this is the land of Sham this is the land of Al-Aqsa not the land of colonization and 'settling' for anything less than the best. Thank God Trump cut off Palestine "aid" isn't aid when it is used as ransom and like handcuffs restraining the Palestinians.

    They should be ashamed for even taking aid in the first place.

  22. #257
    Junon's Avatar
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    Re: Israel land grab law 'ends hope of two-state solution'

    Salaam


    Arab MPs ejected after protesting Pence Knesset speech


    Palestinian members of the Israeli parliament have been forcibly removed from the chamber after staging a protest at the start of US Vice President Mike Pence's speech.

    Pence's visit in Israel, the last leg of a regional tour, was boycotted by Palestinian leaders following US President Donald Trump's decision last month to declare Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

    On Monday, he became the first US vice president to speak at the Israeli Knesset, but his speech was initially interrupted by a group of politicians with the Joint Arab List alliance who voiced their anger over Washington's controversial move.

    They shouted "Jerusalem is the capital of Palestine" and held up posters of the al-Aqsa Mosque compound before being thrown out by security.

    "We oppose the policies of Mr Trump. He is not only the enemy of Palestinians, he is the enemy of peace," Jamal Zahalka, a protesting MP, told Al Jazeera.

    "We stood up today to protest Pence's speech. He is an unwanted visitor to the region. We raised the slogan that Jerusalem is the capital of Palestine in response to Trump’s decision to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel."

    'A success'

    Al Jazeera's Harry Fawcett, reporting from West Jerusalem, said the Palestinian members of the Knesset had warned that they would protest against Pence's speech.

    "They wanted to do something big, something demonstrable in public," said Fawcett, adding that "they provided a very clear message of defiance and opposition towards the US position on Jerusalem".

    Despite being ejected, Zahalka said he considered the MPs' action a success.

    "Israeli security forces knew that we would protest. They attacked us in a savage way but this came in our favour because even though they assaulted us, the international media gave attention to this scene and recognised there is a voice in Jerusalem that says Jerusalem is the capital of Palestine."

    Later in his speech, Pence told Israeli parliamentarians that the US embassy in Israel will be moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem by the end of next year.

    https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2018/01/arab-mps-ejected-protesting-pence-knesset-speech-180122160854881.html


  23. #258
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    Re: Israel land grab law 'ends hope of two-state solution'

    Salaam

    Another update. Review of Norman Finklesteins latest book Gaza an inquest into its martyrdom.

    Norman Finkelstein’s new book on Gaza is a meticulous account of Israel’s crimes

    Norman Finkelstein has the moral gravity of an Old Testament prophet, the scrupulous attention to detail of a Talmudic scholar, and the mordant sense of humor of a Yiddish novelist. All these attributes are on display in Gaza: An Inquest into its Martyrdom, an indictment of Israel’s crimes in the overcrowded Palestinian territory from 2008 up to the present.

    The criminal pattern of Israel’s ongoing blockade, punctuated by murderous assaults against the civilian population of the beleaguered territory, will not be news to anyone who follows Israel/Palestine. But the cumulative impact of Finkelstein’s meticulously-documented 408-page chronicle is devastating, and it will leave the reader stunned that the worldwide reaction is so muted.

    Finkelstein does have one major new finding. He argues that the major international human rights organizations, after effectively denouncing Israel’s assault on Gaza in 2008-09, have since quieted down, to the point that Human Rights Watch issued only one feeble report after the biggest Israeli attack of all in 2014. Israel’s hasbara (propaganda), along with other kinds of pressure, is successfully whitewashing Israeli crimes.

    Finkelstein deals in turn with Operation Cast Lead (2008-09; 1400 Gazans dead, including 350 children); the assault on the Mavi Marmara ship that was bringing medical and other supplies to the territory (9 dead); the less well-known Operation Pillar of Defense (2012; 100 dead, 35 children); and the most savage attack to date, Operation Protective Edge (51 days in 2014; 2200 dead, 550 children). He points out that by contrast, a total of 86 Israelis died in all these assaults, and of the 73 Israeli casualties in the 2014 invasion, fully 67 were Israeli combatants.

    Throughout, Finkelstein thoroughly disproves Israel’s justification for its assaults, that they constituted “self-defense.” He points out that Hamas, the largest Palestinian political force in Gaza, did not start the regular hostilities; in fact, the organization showed growing signs of compromise with the reality of Israel, as Hamas’s policy was characterized by what Finkelstein calls “flagrant pragmatism.” Hamas also signed on to a 2014 agreement to end its feud with its rival, Fatah. Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, threatened by the specter of Palestinian unity, staged raids across the West Bank; Finkelstein explains that “the rampage was patently tailored to elicit a violent response from Hamas, so as to ‘prove’ it was a terrorist organization.”

    Netanyahu issued propaganda during the 2014 Protective Edge assault over what he called “terror tunnels” under the Gaza border, supposedly aimed at Israeli kindergartens. Finkelstein reminds us that in fact not one single attack through the tunnels targeted Israeli civilians. He also dismisses the Hamas rocket attacks on Israel, calling most of them “bottle rockets” or “fireworks,” nearly all of which landed harmlessly. He quotes the Hamas leader Khalid Meshal: “Our modest, home-made rockets are our cry of protest to the world.”

    Finkelstein also crushes the hasbara charge that Hamas and Gaza used civilian “human shields” during the fighting, which Israel and its apologists say partly excuses the high Palestinian civilian death toll. He finds that there is not a single credible piece of evidence for the human shield claim, nor is there any proof that Hamas hid weapons in mosques and schools.

    He is impatient with the tortured efforts by Israelis and others, including lawyers and ethics professors, to justify Israel’s criminal tactics. He explains that one such scholar, Professor Gerald Steinberg of Bar-Ilan University, said that “Israel had the moral right to flatten all of Gaza.” Finkelstein adds wryly, “Steinberg founded the university’s program on conflict resolution and management.”

    Finkelstein devotes considerable energy to the Goldstone Report, the 2009 mission sponsored by the UN Human Rights Council, which concluded that Operation Cast Lead was “designed to punish, humiliate and terrorize a civilian population.” He has scorn for Richard Goldstone’s eventual recantation of his own panel’s report, mixed with some understanding of the overwhelming pressure Israel brought to bear on the previously respected South African jurist. Finkelstein does show that hard facts still rebut Goldstone’s recantation.

    Israel’s 2010 assault on the Mavi Marmara is next, and Finkelstein demolishes Tel Aviv’s dishonest argument that its commandos were fighting for their lives during a desperate melee on board the ship. He asks how the ship’s passengers somehow “plotted and armed themselves to kill Israelis, but didn’t even manage to kill those in their custody, whereas the Israelis took every precaution and exercised every restraint not to kill anyone, but ended up killing nine people.” (Ultimately ten with the death of a Turkish man left in a coma.)

    In the book, Finkelstein relies heavily on Breaking the Silence, the truth-telling organization of former Israeli soldiers, and points out, “None of the hundreds of testimonies collected over more than a decade has ever been proven false. . .”

    His most original finding — and one of the most alarming — is that the mainstream international human rights organizations have been silencing themselves about Gaza. He writes that Human Rights Watch “just barely issued one report” after the 2014 Protective Edge attack, which was the deadliest assault so far. Amnesty International did somewhat better, but he goes on at great length to argue that Amnesty’s reports were so contorted as to constitute a “whitewash.” He also charges that B’Tselem, the most prominent Israeli human rights group, also “acquitted itself without distinction in its reporting on Gaza.”

    His conclusion is deeply pessimistic. He unsurprisingly dismisses the “peace process” as a fraud, and warns that Israel’s power and influence in growing, both in the Mideast and worldwide. “Meanwhile,” he concludes, “Palestine’s star is on the wane,” partly because “the cause of Palestine has now been eclipsed by the numberless humanitarian crises wracking the Middle East.” He predicts that Palestine “will be reduced to the minuscule weight of its demography and territory, and come more slowly to resemble the self-determination struggles in East Timor and Western Sahara.”

    Norman Finkelstein has been at the top of Hasbara Central’s Enemies List for more than 3 decades. Over the years, the pro-Israel forces have slandered him, tried to deprive him of his teaching career, and even sought to prevent him from publishing. He is unbowed, continuing to bear witness from his study in the far reaches of Brooklyn. The hasbarists will certainly try to discredit his new book on Gaza. They should be daunted by the fact that he has never once been successfully challenged on matters of fact and hard evidence. Never once.

    http://mondoweiss.net/2018/01/finkel...ulous-account/
    Last edited by Junon; 01-29-2018 at 12:10 AM.

  24. #259
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    Re: Israel land grab law 'ends hope of two-state solution'

    Salaam

    Another update

    Connecticut church’s interfaith group detained by Israel for holding Palestine flag

    https://videos.files.wordpress.com/O...li-army_hd.mp4

    They went to Jerusalem to walk in the footsteps of Jesus and to witness for themselves the sites of the Holy Land. They ended up seeing Israeli army soldiers carting them off to jail.

    It was frightening.

    “When you see those heavy guns and hear those heavy voices,” said Jhoufran Annababiar, one of five people detained. “When you see the madness on those soldiers’ faces.”

    “They wouldn’t talk to us and explain to us what was going on,” said Reza Mansoor, President of the Islamic Association of Greater Hartford and another person who was detained. “They just confiscated our passports, put five people in a corner, then kind of paraded us down the cobble streets.”

    Mansoor and 4 others were held for 7 hours — they are all Muslim.

    “We didn’t know what was going on,” he said. “We didn’t think that we had done anything wrong.”

    They were arrested when their group from the First Congregational Church of Old Lyme posed for a picture they took while hoisting the Palestinian flag in Jerusalem. There were a total of 29 people in the group, but only the five Muslims were detained.

    Church leaders say the annual trip is a chance to walk in the footsteps of Jesus, while exploring the Holy Land.

    “It is an opportunity to travel as a group of Christians, as a group of Muslims, as a group of Jews all travelling together, reminding ourselves of our common faith together, our common humanity,” said Steve Jungkite, the senior minister at the First Congregational Church of Old Lyme.

    What they saw happen to some in their own group was disturbing.

    “I was upset that it happened,” Jungkite said.

    They say they want to turn their anger into an educational moment. They say what happened to them is similar to what happens to the Palestinian people on a daily basis there.

    “There seems to be an escalation of the kind of discrimination that we witnessed,” Jungkite said.

    They hope that by sharing their story, they can help to bring justice and a better life in modern-day Jerusalem for Israelis and Palestinians.

    “I really wish for that land to live in peace again,” Jhoufran said.

    Now that they’re home, they say they are on a mission to do that by continuing to share their story. No one knew why the five members of the group were initially taken away and into Israeli custody.

    The trouble happened when the group stopped to pose for a picture in Jerusalem while hoisting the Palestinian flag. Eventually they were told that the Israeli soldiers thought they were trying to incite a riot.

    Members of the church group called the American embassy and the offices of Connecticut’s senators back here at home. A lawyer from Jerusalem was able to convince the authorities that the Connecticut group was not breaking any laws and they were released.

    They were held about two weeks ago and returned to Connecticut last week.

    https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20180128-connecticut-churchs-interfaith-group-detained-by-israel-for-holding-palestine-flag/

    - - - Updated - - -

    Salaam

    Hmmm Americans are asking questions there not meant to ask.


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  26. #260
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    Re: Israel land grab law 'ends hope of two-state solution'

    Salaam

    Another update

    Qatar welcomes head of Zionist Organization of America


    Morton Klein, the President of the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) visited Doha earlier this month at the invite of Qatar’s leader. News of the trip comes as Qatar’s foreign minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani said on Thursday that Doha welcomes such visits and has a “strong alliance” with the US and the Trump administration. Klein said he used the opportunity of the visit to tell Qatar’s emir Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani that his “speech on Jerusalem before the United Nations was wrong” and that “Jerusalem has been a Jewish city for thousands of years,” assuring The Jerusalem Post that he was “tough, very tough” with the emir.

    The emir “listened” as Klein criticized Qatari leaders for “anti-Israel speeches” and their stance on Jerusalem, The Jerusalem Post reported. The visit comes amid a public relations campaign by Qatar to salvage itself from regional isolation by reaching out to right-wing Americans and staunch supporters of Israel. Klein also told the emir that the Arab Peace Initiative, which Doha supports, “would be a total disaster.” But the emir said they’d have to disagree on this issue, according to Klein, citing the support for the proposal by some Israelis, including Shimon Peres, a former Israeli president, architect of the Oslo process and champion of illegal Israeli settlements in occupied territory.

    Klein said he was asked to speak to members of US Congress, but said he wouldn’t until he sees change. Klein met a number of government officials during his visit, he said, and some told him that if the US asked Doha to expel Hamas members from the emirate, they would “throw them out in a minute.”

    They also stressed that they no longer provide funds for the Muslim Brotherhood in hopes of being “part of the civilized world,” according to Klein.

    “Everyone is already going”

    In an apparent attempt to escape its regional isolation, Qatar hired a Washington lobbying firm to arrange meetings with major American Jewish groups for the emir while he was in the US for the annual United Nations General Assembly last September. Klein told the Israeli newspaper Haaretz that Qatar invited him to visit every month since then, but he refused every time because of the Gulf state’s “support for Hamas and the anti-Semitism being broadcast on Al Jazeera television.”

    He said he changed his mind when he saw other influential American Jewish individuals visiting, realizing that “they won’t be able to to use me for propaganda because everyone is already going, but I might use the visit to push them on these issues.”

    The Qatari government has been sponsoring numerous trips for right-wing American Zionists. These include Israel apologist and Harvard professor Alan Dershowitz, Christian Zionist and former governor of Arkansas Mike Huckabee, conservative radio host and Israel supporter John Batchelor, former Republican congressman Thaddeus McCotter, CEO of the Orthodox Union Kosher Division Rabbi Menachem Genack, the executive vice chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish organizations Malcolm Hoenlein, president of the American Jewish Congress Jack Rosen and the president of the Religious Zionists of America Martin Oliner.

    Most of these trips were paid for by the Qatari government.

    Documentary release still pending

    When asked about those visits, Qatar’s foreign minister told Haaretz that “all of them are welcome and we are building good relations with them.” He also talked about concerns regarding Al Jazeera – the Qatari broadcaster – and its coverage of Israel.

    “There were some complaints filed against Al Jazeera in the United Kingdom,” Sheikh Mohammad told Haaretz, referring to an investigative documentary exposing the extent of the Israel lobby’s influence on the UK government and Labour party.

    The complaints were all rejected by the UK’s broadcasting regulator in October, he noted.

    Al Jazeera has produced a similar investigation into the pro-Israel lobby in the US, but initially said it held up on broadcasting pending the UK complaints process.

    That the documentary still hasn’t aired has prompted some to speculate that politics is interfering, specifically Qatar’s push to burnish its image in the US and Israel.

    Israel rejects Qatar’s efforts

    Dershowitz, one of the Israel lobby’s most prominent US figures, wrote an article upon his return in which he reflected on numerous meetings with Qatari officials. He suggested, among other things, that Qatari-Israeli normalization is on the horizon.

    “I heard a lot of positive statements regarding Israel from Qatari leaders, as well as hints of commercial relationships between these isolated nations.”

    Meanwhile, a spokesperson at Israel’s embassy to the US told Haaretz that it does not support Qatar’s campaign to burnish its image through American supporters of Israel, even though Haaretz reported that some of those claimed to have received the blessing of Israeli officials.

    Klein claims he spoke to Israeli officials before his trip to Doha, telling The Jerusalem Post that “one said I shouldn’t go, but others said I should.” On 30 January, the first Inaugural US-Qatar Strategic Dialogue was held in Washington.

    US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and US Defense Secretary James Mattis co-hosted Qatari foreign minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani, and Qatari defense minister Khalid bin Mohammad al-Attiyah at the event.

    Mattis celebrated “excellent military-to-military relations” between the US and the emirate and both expressed their concern at the gulf crisis and isolation of Qatar.

    “As the Gulf dispute nears the eight-month mark, the United States remains as concerned today as we were at its outset,” Tillerson said.

    “This dispute has had direct negative consequences economically and militarily for those involved, as well as the United States.”

    The US, Tillerson continued, is keen that Gulf Cooperation Council countries present a united front that “bolsters our effectiveness on many fronts,” specifically counterterrorism as well as countering Iran’s “malign influence.”

    Bahrain has also reached out to Israel, while Saudi Arabia is reported to be looking to improve relations. Gulf countries appear motivated by an enmity toward Iran they share with Israel.

    https://electronicintifada.net/blogs/tamara-nassar/qatar-welcomes-head-zionist-organization-america

    More on Israel relations with Muslim states.

    On Egypt



    On Turkey

    | Likes Silas liked this post


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