Cuba condemns Israel’s plan to annex Jordan Valley

Cuba voiced concern over the latest developments in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, with the announcement by Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, to apply Israeli sovereignty to the Jordan Valley and the north of the Dead Sea in the occupied West Bank.

In a statement, Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs, Anayansi Rodriguez Camejo said that the action elicits the island’s strongest condemnation as it constitutes another serious violation of international law and of the purposes and principles of the UN Charter and threatens to stimulate a new escalation against the Palestinian people, nullifying the possibility of any international effort for peace.

The diplomat reiterated Cuba’s unrestricted support for a comprehensive, just and lasting solution to the Palestinian cause on the basis of the creation of two states, allowing Palestinians the right to self-determination and to an independent and sovereign state on the pre-1967 borders, with East Jerusalem as its capital.

In that regard, Vice minister Rodriguez called on the United Nations Security Council to fulfil its Charter responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security.

  • Published in Cuba

Hezbollah chief says all Israeli forces at risk in case of new attack on Lebanon

Beirut, September 3 (RHC)-- The leader of the Lebanese Hezbollah movement has warned Israel against any future attacks on Lebanon saying that in case of such attack all Israeli forces will be at risk.

Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah made the remarks in a televised speech on Monday, saying that Sunday’s operation by Hezbollah fighters in which an armored Israeli vehicle was hit, was meant to send the message to Israel that “if you attack, then all your border and forces will be at risk.”

Hezbollah’s Sunday attack came in response to an Israeli air raid last week that killed two of its fighters in Syria, as well as an Israeli drone attack on southern Beirut, which saw the deployed aircraft crashing into the movement’s media offices.

According to the Lebanese resistance movement, the missiles launched from Lebanon destroyed an armored personnel carrier in Avivim, killing or wounding those inside it. The Israeli military, however, alleged the attack did not lead to any casualties while adding that it had fired 100 shells into Lebanon in return.

“We thank god [for this victory],” he said, and also expressed gratitude towards the group’s fighters and commanders, who spent eight consecutive days carrying out the operation.

Nasrallah added that the through the latest operation against the Israeli forces, the resistance group broke the "biggest red line" by targeting forces across the border and inside the occupied territories.

Further explaining the difference between the Sunday response and Hezbollah’s previous countermeasures against Israel, Nasrallah said the movement would previously only target Israelis inside the Shebaa Farms, which the regime has occupied from Lebanon since 1948.

The movement resorted to the reaction as it “does not want to squander the triumph it achieved [against Israel] during the 33-Day War,” Nasrallah said. He was pointing to a wholesale war the regime launched against Lebanon in 2006, after which it was forced to withdraw under pressure from Hezbollah’s surprising defensive maneuverability.

“[From now on,] mark September 1, 2019 (the date of the retaliation) as it coincides with the onset of a new stage in [our] support for Lebanon’s borders,” Nasrallah told Tel Aviv.

As a result of Hezbollah’s response, Israel has taken all of its forces and military vehicles away from Lebanon’s border, and stopped patrolling near the frontier. “The Zionists have deserted our frontlines, meaning they have beaten a retreat,” he said.

Earlier on Monday, the Arabic-language al-Manar satellite television station affiliated with the Lebanese Hezbollah resistance movement aired new footage of a recent attack on Israeli positions in the occupied territories.

The footage showed Hezbollah fighters firing two missiles at the Israeli military vehicle, sending it up in flames and apparently fully destroying it.   Nasrallah underlined that the operation came despite ongoing Tel Aviv threats, asserting that the warnings scare neither the movement, nor the Lebanese authorities.

“Israelis should know this that what happened was a result of [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu’s folly,” Nasrallah stated.

Observers say the Israeli drone incursions into Lebanon, which coincided with the regime’s similar acts of aggression against Iraq and Syria, were a stunt ordered by Netanyahu to provoke retaliation from the targeted countries, thus upping the Israeli premier’s chances of victory in the upcoming elections by portraying Israel in a vulnerable light.

The Hezbollah chief also repeated his earlier warning that the group would be targeting Israeli drones potentially transgressing into the country’s airspace.

The retaliatory strike also served to avenge Hezbollah on the death of two of its members at the hands of Israel in Syria, where the group carries out counterterrorism operations at Damascus’ request, Nasrallah concluded.

Edited by Ed Newman
  • Published in World

Palestinians slam Netanyahu for pledging settlement annexation

Ramallah, September 3 (RHC)-- Palestinian leaders have slammed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for pledging annexation of all illegal Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank. 

Nabil Abu Rudeineh, a spokesman for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said that Nehru’s reiteration of annexation pledge was a  "continuation of attempts to create an unacceptable fait accompli."  He added that the move would "not lead to any peace, security or stability.”

The secretary-general of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) Saeb Erekat said, "Those who claim concern after every Israeli settlement announcement should face reality: Israel's PM is announcing further annexation of occupied territory.”

"Enough impunity: There's an international responsibility to impose sanctions on Israel after decades of systematic crimes," he added.

Netanyahu told an audience at West Bank settlement Sunday that he would annex all illegal settlements.  "With the help of God we will apply Jewish sovereignty to all communities, as part of the [biblical] Land of Israel, and as part of the state of Israel," he said. 

More than 400,000 Israelis live in the illegal settlements in West Bank and around 20,000 live in occupied East Jerusalem.   The prime minister’s comments come amid Israel’s elections due for Sept. 17. After elections in April, Netanyahu’s Likud Party could not secure enough support to form a government coalition and another snap election was called.

According to the polls, the prime minister is running in a very close race with his main rival Benny Gantz from the centrist Blue and White party.  In addition to that, his far-right Likud party needs to come out with a decisive lead in the ballot or Israeli President Reuven Rivlin might decide to appoint another candidate to form a ruling coalition.  It is in this context that he is seeking to draw support from the voters of the right-wing parties close to the influential settlement movement.

Edited by Ed Newman
  • Published in World

Iran’s Determination is Annoying for the U.S.

Teheran’s government has refuted —one by one— all the lies spread by the U.S. and its cohorts in the Middle East region. Some other nations in Europe, whose goal is to please Donald Trump’s wishes, have also gotten on that bandwagon of lies.

In this sense, the U.K. could not achieve its goal of disturbing the work of the Iranian government. Therefore, Great Britain had to free an illegally held Iranian oil tanker, which would result in the end in a greater political and economic damage for London.

Everything has been staged by the Empire especially by executing harassment tactics in the Hormuz Strait and along the Persian Gulf, all rejected by Iranian authorities, who deployed short-and-medium range missiles to respond any possible aggression from the British Royal Navy and Israel, or the continued presence of American drones. One of them was shot down while flying over Iran’s international water.

There have been no peaceful days lately. But the determination we mentioned before helped European allies of the U.S. to convince Washington to honor the nuclear treaty with Iran.

In this regard, it is important to highlight the outstanding combat readiness of the Iranian Army, the Guardians of the Revolution, and Senior Military Officers that showed they knew how to handle tough situations, conscious of Iran’s military muscle to face U.S. and Israel armies.

All these take place under Trump’s sick obsession to sanction everything that opposes the American interests. Iran is one of them. Other pressuring tactic is to insist several nations in Europe to buy the expensive gas produced by the U.S. instead of that sold by Russia.

From every perspective, it is alarming that the crisis unit in Washington has put the world on the verge of a bloodbath by demonizing not only Iran, but also Venezuela, Syria, the Palestine people, and raising tension with Russian and China while avoiding the multipolarization of the world aiming at increasing the profits of its arms industry, essential for the establishment in that country.

REASONS FOR A NONSENSE

Iran’s determination is what has stopped the Empire’ predation quest, lured by the gas and oil wells located in the Persian nation.

Plundering the oil and dividing the country could be even as lucrative as the continued threat to set fire to the region, raising the prices and delaying the breakdown of another fraud: the fracking.

This would provide the oil needed to “make America great again” at the expense of an environmental damage that they do not care about, nor those dead people because of cancer, nor the exorbitant debts that the Federal Reserve will cover up with its magical money-making machine.

But the attack clearly aims to undermine the regional security as Iran has been the mainstay of a very volatile region, and remains a retaining wall for the balkanization of Syria and Irak. And that is another reason why Iran plays an annoying role for the U.S. and its dominance projects.

The thing is that Iran has a geo-strategic position of great impact and stands as a military, economic, scientific, and technological counterbalance against the few elites in Israel and the abuses of the Saudi monarchy.

If we take a deeper look, we are facing the power of some people opposed to the world who break alliances and friends, and certainly, destroy themselves. There is no country in the world more devastated than the U.S. itself.

Translated by Sergio A. Paneque Díaz/CubaSi Translation Staff

Israel bombs Palestinian location in Gaza Strip

Ramallah, August 26 (Prensa Latina) Israeli warplanes bombed the city of Beit Lahia, in the north of the besieged Gaza Strip, local authorities said.

Officials confirmed that F-16 aircraft attacked a site near the village of Um Nuseir, north of Beit Lahia, completely destroying the site and causing damage to nearby civilian homes, although no casualties were reported.

The Israeli Army said the operation was carried out in retaliation for rockets fired the day before from Gaza into southern Israel.

The Palestinian Authority further reported that Israeli warplanes bombed a site belonging to a Palestinian organization in Lebanon, near the Syrian border.

Israeli warplanes carried out the attack on the headquarters of the Palestine Liberation Front - General Command (PFLP-GC) in the city of Qusaya in eastern Lebanon.

  • Published in World

Israel bars entry to US politicians Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib

Donald Trump had said letting in high-profile pair would ‘show great weakness’

Israel has announced it will block the US congresswomen Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib from entering the country after public pressure from Donald Trump.

“It’s unacceptable to allow the entrance to the country of those who wish to harm the state of Israel,” the country’s interior ministry said.

Omar and Tlaib, who have been outspokenly critical of Israel’s treatment of Palestinians, had planned to visit Palestine and Jerusalem next week.

There had been vigorous speculation in the past few weeks that the Israeli government might bar the two women, who are among the four Democrats who Trump said last month should go back to the countries they “originally came from”. Three were born in the US and one, Omar, moved there as a child.

Shortly before the Israeli announcement, Trump said allowing the women to enter “would show great weakness”. It was not immediately clear if the Israeli government made its final decision before or after Trump’s comments.

“They hate Israel & all Jewish people, & there is nothing that can be said or done to change their minds … They are a disgrace!” Trump wrote on Twitter.

The ban prompted strong rebukes from Palestinian, Israeli and US politicians, civil society groups and former diplomats.

The Democratic presidential hopeful Elizabeth Warren said before the announcement that barring elected officials for their political views would be a shameful and unprecedented move by Israel.

Bernie Sanders, another Democratic contender, said the ban was “a sign of enormous disrespect to these elected leaders, to the United States Congress and to the principles of democracy”.

Israel passed a law in 2017 that allows the government to deport people who support a boycott of Israel or Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank. The measure, widely condemned as anti-democratic and anti-free speech, was designed to combat the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement.

Omar and Tlaib have said they support the use of boycotts to pressure governments, including Israel’s, on rights abuses. They have sought to pass a resolution in the House of Representatives championing the right to participate in them.

'She went back with me': Ilhan Omar posts photos with Pelosi in Ghana

The Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, accused the two women of aiming to use their trip to “strengthen the boycott against us and deny Israel’s legitimacy”.

Israel has used the BDS legislation to block entry to students and activists but also foreign officials, including French parliamentarians and members of the European parliament. It is not clear if a US member of congress has ever been barred before.

Ayman Odeh, who runs an Arab party in Israel, said the ban exposed “the true face of Israel’s occupation”. Referring to Tlaib, who is of Palestinian descent, he wrote on Twitter: “Israel has always banned Palestinians from their land and separated us from other Palestinians, but this time the Palestinian is a US congresswoman.”

The interior ministry said Tlaib could request a permit to enter on “humanitarian grounds for a personal visit with her family”, but approval was not guaranteed.

Omar and Tlaib were planning to see the Palestinian cities of Bethlehem, Hebron and Ramallah and to spend time in the disputed city of Jerusalem. They would have had to pass through Israeli security checks to enter both the West Bank and Jerusalem.

Alon Pinkas, formerly Israel’s consul in New York, said the country should “engage Omar and Tlaib, [and] show them where they are wrong or have a partial and skewed perception of reality.”

Israel’s ambassador to Washington, Ron Dermer, said last month that Israel would not deny entry to US lawmakers “out of respect for the US Congress and the great alliance between Israel and America”.

Nancy Pelosi, the speaker of the US House of Representatives, said the ban was “a sad reversal and is deeply disappointing”.

Trump, a close ally of Netanyahu, has sought to make political support for the Jewish state – long a consensus foreign policy for both major US parties – into a partisan issue, painting Democrats as anti-Israel. He has claimed, without evidence, that Omar and Tlaib “hate Israel, they hate our own country.”

David Brinn, the managing editor of the rightwing Jerusalem Post, wrote that a ban would be “shortsighted and deeply flawed”. He wrote: “A quashed trip is only going to further deepen the divide between Democrats and Israel – moving moderate Democrats away from a positive view of the country – and raise the spectre that Israel is behaving in something less than a democratic fashion.”

Omar and Tlaib make up half of a group of progressive minority ethnic congresswomen nicknamed the Squad, against whom Trump has lashed out with racist slurs. The other two members are Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ayanna Pressley.

Tlaib was born in Michigan to Palestinian parents. Omar is naturalised US citizen who arrived as a child refugee from Somalia. The pair were the first Muslim women elected to congress.

  • Published in World

‘Grave aggression’: Israel begins demolition of residential buildings in the West Bank

Israel has started demolishing 13 residential buildings in East Jerusalem’s Wadi Hummus for being too close to the separation barrier, even though the area falls under the Palestinian Authority’s administration.

Israel Defense Force soldiers were seen placing explosives in a building set for demolition after they arrived before dawn. Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan said 700 police and 200 soldiers were involved in the operation. They evacuated a family from one of the buildings and removed activists protesting the demolition. Construction vehicles smashed up a number of buildings.

The buildings are set on land that falls within Area A of the West Bank, which is administered by the Palestinian Authority, and the residents got permits from the PA to build there. 

However, the High Court ruled in favor of an Israeli Defense Ministry order to demolish 13 buildings because they are too close to the separation barrier, which Israel built around and inside the West Bank. The June decision has sparked fears that it will set a dangerous precedent for other homes in the PA-controlled area.

“Despite an order from the military commander, the residents there are making their own law, building. There are hundreds of illegal structures,” Erdan told Israel’s Army Radio, adding that there is “no sufficient governance there.”

Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh condemned the “grave aggression,” and said that a complaint would be made to the International Criminal Court. “This is a continuation of the forced displacement of the people of Jerusalem from their homes and lands – a war crime and a crime against humanity,” he said. 

Wadi Hummus is on the edge of Sur Baher in southeast Jerusalem, and falls outside the city’s municipal borders. When construction of the separation barrier began in 2003, Wadi Hummus was left on the Israeli side of the structure, even though it is part of the West Bank and under PA administration.

Three buildings now being taken down in this part of Sur Baher. The eight-story one in the foreground not being demolished yet, but Israeli soldiers inside and appear to be preparing explosives for it.

All That's Left: Anti-Occupation Collective

The IDF Central Command issued an injunction banning construction within 250 meters of the wall seven years ago, after many families from Sur Baher had begun building homes in Wadi Hummus with PA authorization. The residents say the order was not publicized, and that the area is the only place where they can expand their village as it is surrounded by the barrier and Israeli neighborhoods. The residents’ attorney Haitham Khatib has argued that the 250-meter limit does not apply to other areas in the city. 

UN humanitarian coordinator Jamie McGoldrick and other UN officials called on Israel to stop its demolition plans last week, and the EU said the policy “undermines the viability of the two-state solution and the prospect for a lasting peace.”

  • Published in World

US envoy smashes wall dug under Palestinian homes in E. Jerusalem with SLEDGEHAMMER

Top US diplomats, one responsible for Middle East peace efforts, were filmed frantically hammering a wall to finish a controversial Israeli tunnel running close to the most divisive holy sites in annexed East Jerusalem.

Ambassador David Friedman and Middle East peace envoy Jason Greenblatt, showed up on Sunday at the unveiling of what the Israelis call an underground “pilgrimage road” located right next to the contested Temple Mount.

The tunnel, excavated beneath the mostly Palestinian neighborhood of Silwan, was officially opened with the ceremonial smashing of a brick wall which served to replace the traditional ribbon-cutting. US ambassador Israel Friedman swung the first hammer.

President Trump's envoys "burst the way" to the historic site in Jerusalem...

 

Digging of the 350-meter “pilgrimage road,” promoted and funded by a local rightwing group, occurred disturbingly close to a highly-sensitive area of East Jerusalem’s Temple Mount, which houses a number of Jewish sites but also the Al-Aqsa Mosque and Dome of the Rock.

The dig had also started without the permission of the Silwan residents living overhead. It has been reported that some Palestinian families even had to leave their houses because of cracks and destruction caused by the excavations.

READ MORE: Israel could annex parts of West Bank in coming years – Netanyahu

Naturally, Palestinians have fiercely criticized the symbolism behind a US ambassador swinging a sledgehammer as an endorsement of occupation and colonial practices. That aside, the presence of the American officials at the bizarre ceremony raised suspicions that the US is helping Israel “Judaize” East Jerusalem.

Secretary General of the Palestine Liberation Organization, Saeb Erekat, called it a “disgrace” to US diplomacy and compared the American delegation to “extremist fanatic Israeli settlers.”

Greenblatt and Friedman are doing everything that would bring prosperity to the apartheid colonial settlement.

The Palestinian Foreign Ministry claimed that Friedman and Greenblatt were “faking history” for “colonial purpose.” The American actions are “blatant aggression against international law,” Chief Justice Mahmoud al-Habash said in a separate statement, calling on the international community to preserve the Palestinian heritage of the city.

Meanwhile, Greenblatt hit back at the “ludicrous” accusations, claiming on Twitter that archaeology has proven that Jerusalem belongs to the Jewish people: “We can’t ‘Judaize’ what history/archaeology show.”

Israel invaded and seized East Jerusalem – which was once under Jordanian custodianship – during the 1967 Six-Day War. The subsequent annexation wasn’t recognized by most countries, with the UN referring to East Jerusalem as an “Israeli-occupied territory.”

The status of East Jerusalem has been at the heart of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict for decades. Recently, the US added more fuel to the frequent flashpoint of violence by moving its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, triggering a wave of massive Palestinian protests in both the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

  • Published in World
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