Israel freezes ties with UN rights chief after publication of blacklist

United Nations, February 14 (RHC)-- Israel has suspended its ties with UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet in an angry reaction to her office’s publication of a long-anticipated list of over 100 firms active in settlements built on occupied Palestinian land.

Israeli foreign minister Israel Katz’s office announced that he had ordered “exceptional and harsh measure” in response to Bachelet’s office “serving the BDS campaign,” referring to the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement —an international campaign promoting various forms of boycott against the Tel Aviv regime until it meets its obligations under international law.  It also noted that the Israeli foreign minister intends to protect the companies operating in the occupied territories.

Earlier, the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) released a list of 112 companies that conduct business in Israeli settlements across the West Bank.   Of the entities listed, 94 are domiciled in the occupied lands and 18 in the U.S., France, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Thailand and the UK.

The database took almost four years to complete, after being mandated in a resolution passed by the UN Human Rights Council in 2016.  The resolution urged the OHCHR to produce a “database for all businesses engaged in specific activities related to Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territory.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu rejected the UN list as the work of a “biased and uninfluential body.”  “Instead of dealing with human rights, this body is trying to blacken Israel’s name. We reject any such attempt in the strongest terms and with disgust,” he said in a statement. “Whoever boycotts us will be boycotted.”

Palestinian officials, however, welcomed the release of the settlement blacklist.  In a post on his Facebook page, Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammed Shtayyeh said that his country would “pursue” the firms included in the UN list.  “We will pursue the companies listed in the report legally through international legal institutions and through the courts in their countries for their role in violating human rights,” he said.

He also called for the companies operating in the West Bank to immediately close their offices and branches there, saying they violated international law and UN resolutions.

“We will demand compensation for illegally using our occupied lands and for engaging in economic activity in our lands without submitting to Palestinian laws and paying taxes,” Shtayyeh added, suggesting that the companies could move to areas controlled by the Palestinian Authority to avoid potential retribution.

Moreover, Secretary General of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) Saeb Erekat called the UN list a boon to the credibility of the UN Human Rights Council “in the face of the fierce attack and the intense pressure that the Trump administration places on these institutions.”

“While this list does not include all the companies profiting from Israel’s illegal colonial-settlement enterprise in occupied Palestine, it’s a crucial first step to restore hope in multilateralism and international law,” he said in a statement.

The list, he emphasized, “should serve as a reminder to the international community on the importance of strengthening the tools to implement international law at a time when the illegality of Israeli settlements is being challenged.”

Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki also hailed the release of the list as “a victory for international law.”  In a statement posted on the ministry’s Facebook page, he urged the UN Human Rights Council member states to study the list and instruct the companies cited on it to terminate their activities in the Israeli settlements.

Similarly, Human Rights Watch stressed that the database helps businesses end “complicity in rights abuses” and “should put all companies on notice.”  The blacklist “should put all companies on notice: to do business with illegal settlements is to aid in the commission of war crimes,” said HRW’s Deputy Executive Director for Advocacy Bruno Stagno.

Saeed Abu Ali, Arab League assistant secretary general for Palestine and the occupied Arab territories, described the UN list as an important step towards supporting the Palestinians’ rights against the crimes committed by the occupying regime, especially the construction of settlements.  He further called on the international community to devise a mechanism to punish Israel and oblige the regime to respect international law.

More than 600,000 Israelis live in over 230 settlements built since the 1967 Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and East Jerusalem al-Quds.

Emboldened by US President Donald Trump’s all-out support, Israel has stepped up its settlement construction activities in defiance of United Nations Security Council Resolution 2334, which pronounced settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem al-Quds “a flagrant violation under international law.”

Most of the international community regards the Israeli settler units in the occupied lands as illegal.

Edited by Ed Newman
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Bolivia's coup government reestablishes diplomatic relations with Israel

La Paz, February 5 (RHC)-- Bolivia’s de-facto government has announced it will re-establish diplomatic relations with Israel after 11 years.  “Israel returns to Bolivia and Bolivia returns to Israel,” Israel’s Ambassador to the United Nations Danny Danon announced, while the confirmation was made official after coup leader Jeanine Añez met in La Paz with Israel’s Ambassador to Peru Asaf Ichilevich.

Exiled President Evo Morales, currently a political refugee in Argentina, broke off relations with the Jewish state after the Gaza Massacre, a three-week Israeli offensive against the besieged strip that began on December 27, 2008 and ended nearly a month later on January 18, 2009, which resulted in the death of over 1,400 Palestinians, including 333 children.

Evo Morales said that Israel is a terrorist state and repealed a migratory agreement and visa waiver.  However, Añez’s government has returned to align the Andean nation with Washington’s dictates. 

On January 23rd, U.S. Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs David Hale announced that the U.S. government will send an ambassador to Bolivia for the first time in more than a decade to "restore normal relations."

A day later, Bolivia's coup government headed by Añez suspended diplomatic relations with Cuba adding to the U.S.’s pressure against the island. 

Edited by Ed Newman
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Thousands of Palestinians hold protests against Deal of the Century

Thousands of Palestinians held numerous demonstrations on the first Friday following the announcement of the so-called "Deal of the Century" promoted by the U.S. President Donald Trump.

From Gaza to the West Bank, people protested energetically against what they called "an apartheid proposal" that will not resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

In the streets of Aman, the capital of Jordan, the "Deal of the Century Disaster" also generated vehement protests in front of the U.S. embassy, ​​where protesters said Palestine is a religious and historical heritage, which cannot be canceled by agreements among politicians.

In Sanaa, the capital of Yemen, thousands of outraged people took to the streets to denounce that some Arab countries collaborated with the United States and Israel in the elaboration of a plan aimed at depriving Palestinians of their fundamental rights.

Through its "peace proposal," the U.S. expects other countries to recognize Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank, all of which are illegal under international law.  Also, Trump's idea seeks to prevent the return of Palestinian refugees to currently occupied territories.

On Friday, Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan whipped some Arab countries for keeping silent about the supposed "peace plan" and said they betray their own people and all humanity.

"Saudi Arabia is silent.  When will you make your voice heard?  Oman, Bahrain -- the same.  The Abu Dhabi government applauds.  Shame!  Shame!,” he said and asked the Christian world to confront the U.S. plan because "Christians are also entitled to Jerusalem."

The proposal to leave this holy city “to the bloody clutches of Israel is not just oppression for Muslims and Christians who live there.  It is also the greatest evil that can be done to humankind.”  On Wednesday, Erdogan said that Trump's plan will not serve for peace. Besides legitimizing the Israeli occupation, it does not take into account the rights of the Palestinian population.​​​​​​​

Historically, Palestine has aspired to have its capital in East Jerusalem.  According to the current US proposal, however, such capital would be located only in a part of East Jerusalem, which would be in the area east and north of the current security barrier.

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Cuban Foreign Ministers blasts Trump´s "Deal of the Century" for the Middle East

Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla rejected the wrongfully named "Deal of the Century," exposed by the U.S. President Donald Trump, which supports the Israeli intervention in Palestinian territory.

"I reject biased and deceitful U.S. peace program that consecrates Israeli occupation and violates the inalienable right of Palestinians to have their state within the pre-1967 borders, with East Jerusalem as it's capital; and the return of refugees," Rodriguez wrote on Twitter.

The minister's statements follow Trump's proposal on Tuesday for the creation of a Palestinian State with its capital in East Jerusalem, thus recognizing the territories occupied by Israel, as part of its Middle East peace plan.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas called Trump's plan a conspiracy and said that the rights of his people are not for sale.

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Palestinian Leaders Taking Steps to Topple Trump's 'Peace Plan'

"The U.S. Deal of the Century wants to erase the Palestinian people's self-determination and deprive them of establishing their independent state with East Jerusalem as its capital,"

The Palestinian Authority has prepared a series of plans to topple the announced U.S. Middle East peace plan, also known as the Deal of the Century, a senior Palestinian official said Wednesday.

RELATED: Thousands of Palestinians Protest Against Trump’s Deal

Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki told reporters in Ramallah that one of the first steps "is to hold a meeting for the Arab League's foreign ministers in Cairo on Saturday."

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas will attend the meeting and "will ask the Arab states to back the Palestinian position in confronting the U.S. pressure and dictations," al-Maliki said.

"The U.S. Deal of the Century wants to erase the Palestinian people's self-determination and deprive them of establishing their independent state with East Jerusalem as its capital," he added.

The Palestinian minister said his office also wrote to the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation to ask it to hold a ministerial meeting on Monday.

Abbas will also participate in the summit of the African Union scheduled for April in Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa, al-Maliki revealed.

The Palestinian Authority is also prepared to call on the UN Security Council, the UN General Assembly and its Human Rights Council to convene to debate the U.S. plan, he noted.

In addition, a high-ranking Palestinian ministerial delegation is scheduled to hold a series of meetings with the EU officials in Brussels to topple the U.S. peace plan, according to al-Maliki.

Meanwhile, Saeb Erekat, secretary general of Palestine Liberation Organization Executive Committee, said U.S. President Donald Trump and his advisors "copied and pasted the ideas of (Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin) Netanyahu and the leaders of the Israeli settlers."

They "didn't write one single letter of the Deal of the Century," noted Erekat, a veteran peace negotiator for 30 years.

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Israeli PM Netanyahu officially indicted over corruption charges after he withdraws immunity bid

Israel’s attorney general has submitted an indictment against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over three corruption cases after he withdrew his request to be granted immunity against prosecution.

The indictment was filed by Avichai Mandelblit to the Jerusalem District Court on Tuesday, paving the way for Netanyahu’s trial.

The move became possible after the PM officially stopped seeking parliamentary immunity from prosecution earlier that day. The parliament was due to convene on Tuesday to vote on the formation of a committee to discuss Netanyahu’s request.

The PM was in Washington for the release of US President Donald Trump's long-awaited Israel-Palestine 'peace plan' on Tuesday when the charges were filed in court. It is the first time a criminal indictment has ever been filed against a serving Israeli PM.

Netanyahu, who denies all allegations of corruption, argued that he “was not given due process,” while the outcome of the upcoming vote on his possible immunity was “pre-dictated without proper discussion.”

Also on Netanyahu withdraws hopeless bid for immunity hours before parliament session, leaving Gantz hanging in mid-air 280w, 320w, 460w, 540w, 768w, 980w, 1240w " style="background-image: url("");">

In Case 1000, Netanyahu is being accused of allegedly accepting gifts like cigars and champagne worth over $264,000 from Israeli film producer Arnon Milchan and Australian billionaire James Packer in exchange for “favors.”

Cases 2000 and 4000 deal with the PM allegedly attempting to buy positive press coverage from businessmen Arnon Mozes and Shaul Elovitch, who control Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper and news website Walla! respectively.

Regarding the accusations, Netanyahu argued that it is not illegal to accept gifts from friends, and denied having done anything wrong in exchange for them. The PM also rejected the accusation that he used his authority to benefit the mentioned media.

Despite the scandal, which has consumed Israeli politics for months, Netanyahu will still contest Israel's March 2 election — the third in less than a year after votes in April and September failed to produce a government.

Netanyahu’s main political rival, Kahol Lavan leader Benny Gantz, said in a statement on Tuesday that Israelis now face a “clear choice” and that “no one can run a state and at the same time manage three serious criminal cases for bribery, fraud and breach of trust.”


The Israeli PM is charged with fraud, bribery and breach of trust in three cases usually dubbed in the media as Case 1000, Case 2000, and Case 4000.

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Gazans rally against Washington's so-called Deal of the Century

Angry protesters marched in the Gaza Strip against Donald Trump’s so-called Deal of the Century.  They rallied in front of the United Nations Special Coordinator’s Office for the so-called Peace Process (UNSCO).

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his election challenger Blue and White party leader Benny Gantz flew to Washington Sunday for the presentation of what Trump himself has dubbed the "Deal of the Century."

The details of the deal have not been officially revealed, however, leaks suggest it would grant the Israeli regime full sovereignty over occupied Jerusalem al-Quds and the West Bank.

As they chanted slogans against the United States protesters in Gaza also burned an effigy of the U.S. president.  They also called for armed resistance to fight the so-called deal of the century.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has boycotted Washington since U.S. President Donald Trump recognized East Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in 2017.

The Islamic Jihad movement called for a united Palestinian stance to confront all Israeli and U.S. plots against the Palestinian people.  More protests will take place throughout Palestine in the coming days as anger continues to build up over what Palestinians have described as the plot of the century.

Palestinians view U.S. President Donald Trump's so-called deal of the century as a declaration of war against them.  They say they will use all forms of resistance against it.

Edited by Ed Newman
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Israeli Intelligence Involved in Killing of Soleimani: NBC

NBC said one Israeli informant at the Damascus International Airport confirmed that Soleimani had been on a nightime flight from the Syrian capital to Baghdad, which was used to tip off the CIA.

The Israeli intelligence played a role in the U.S.' assassination of Quds Force commander Qassem Soleimani on January 3rd, NBC News reported over the weekend.

RELATED: Pentagon Had No Evidence of Iran's Plan To Attack US Embassies

NBC News claimed, citing unnamed sources, that Israel's intelligence apparatus helped the U.S. stage the operation that led to the assassination of Qassem Soleimani and the Deputy Head of Iraq's Popular Mobilization Forces Abu Mahdi Al-Mohandes.

According to the NBC sources, Israeli intelligence provided the U.S. military command with key details on the matter, which later proved critical in the assassination of Soleimani in Baghdad.

NBC said one Israeli informant at the Damascus International Airport confirmed that Soleimani had been on a nightime flight from the Syrian capital to Baghdad, which was used to tip off the CIA.

The New York Times, in turn, reported that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke to U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo ahead of Soleimani’s killing, and that the Jewish state likely became Washington’s only ally which was in the know about the issue.   

In October, the Iranian news agency Tasnim cited the IRGC’s head of intelligence Hossein Taeb as saying that Israel and the West had collaborated to assassinate Soleimani in order to “trigger a religious war inside Iran”.                                                             

“Frustrated by their failure to upset security in Iran or to harm the IRGC military bases, the enemies had hatched an extensive plot to hit Maj.-Gen. Soleimani in his home province of Kerman,” Taeb claimed at the time.

Following the assassination of Qassem Soleimani, the Iranian Revolutionary Guards would respond by firing 22 missiles at the U.S. forces in Iraq. The attack, which was carried out on the night of Qassem Soleimani's burial, was considered a success by Tehran, despite claims by Washington that no military personnel were killed or wounded. 

Since the assassination, however, tensions between Iran and U.S. have been at a four-decade-long high, with Washington furthering the divide between the two countries by imposing more sanctions against Tehran.

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