Bolton and Netanyahu killed 2005 Iran talks, ‘lured’ Trump into shredding 2015 deal - Iranian FM

National Security Advisor John Bolton and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu scuppered a 2005 nuclear agreement between Iran and the west, and did the same with President Trump, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said.

“Bolton & Netanyahu killed Paris agreement between E3 & Iran in '05 by insisting on zero enrichment,” Zarif tweeted on Tuesday. “Result? Iran increased its enrichment 100 fold by 2012.”

Referring to Bolton and Netanyahu as the “B Team,” Zarif then said that “they’ve lured Donald Trump into killing JCPOA w/the same delusion,” referring to the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or Iran Nuclear Deal.

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Iran stepped up its uranium enrichment on Monday, going beyond the JCPOA-mandated cap of 3.67 percent purification level, in response to the US’ unilateral withdrawal from the JCPOA last year, and application of biting economic sanctions on Iran. The step-up in enrichment was also carried out as a response to the JCPOA’s European signatories' failure to live up to their trade obligations with Iran under the deal.

Prior to Trump’s withdrawal from the deal, Netanyahu had pressured his American counterpart to abandon the deal, calling it a “historic mistake” and accusing Tehran of cheating on the deal - with the aid of a theatrical slideshow. In the run-up to the US withdrawal last year, Bolton, a longtime Iran war-hawk, called the deal a scam and promised regime change in the Islamic Republic by the year’s end.

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A similar situation played out in 2005. After reaching an agreement with Germany, France and Britain, Iran agreed to suspend all uranium enrichment and to fully cooperate with inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Though the US remained absent from negotiations, Washington then lobbied its European allies to demand that Iran have no uranium enrichment facilities on its own soil, under any circumstances. 

Hardliners within Iran considered the diktat unacceptable, and newly-elected president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad abandoned the deal and resumed enrichment the following year. “We do not humble ourselves in the poisoned atmosphere created by foreign sources,” he said in his inauguration speech in August 2005.

As a result, an IAEA report in 2012 claimed that Iran had produced around 190 kilograms of 20-percent-enriched uranium – enough for a single nuclear warhead if further enriched. “Once you get to 20 percent,” Middle East analyst Paul Heroux told RT, “you’re basically 99 precent of the way” to weapons-grade uranium.

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After passing the 3.67 percent enrichment threshold on Monday, a spokesman for Iran’s nuclear agency threatened to once again up enrichment to 20 percent and to reactivate centrifuges that had lain dormant since the 2015 deal was signed. 

With the events of 2005 playing out again, Heroux cautioned that further sanctions and military action are out of the question for the west. 

“You can’t eliminate the knowledge Iran has,” he said. “You can’t bomb Iran’s knowledge out of existence. The right way is to go back to the negotiating table with Iran, and we’re probably going to get a worse deal.”

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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

Gaza-Israel Hostilities Flare with Rocket Attacks, Air Strikes

The Palestinian Education Ministry said it was evacuating schools in areas under Israeli bombardment.

A wave of Israeli air strikes killed one Palestinian in Gaza Strip Saturday. Imad Nseir, 22, was killed in Beit Hanoun after Israeli planes targeted multiple areas of the enclave.

The attacks came just hours after Isreali security forces killed at least two Palestinians and injured another 51 during Friday's weekly Great March of Return protests, medics and security sources there said. ​​​​​​Another two Palestinians were killed in an air raid on the central Gaza Strip Friday.

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On Saturday, Israel hit the occupied and blockaded Gaza Strip with air strikes and tank fire, targetting about five different sites of Palestinian resistance, Middle East Monitor reported. About 150 rockets were launched from Gaza toward Israel though no deaths were tallied, according to security forces who spoke to Al Jazeera.

The Israeli military said its forces had carried out attacks against more than 30 targets belonging to Hamas. A small armed group in Gaza, The Protectors of Al Aqsa, said one of its men was killed in an air strike Saturday.

The Gaza Health Ministry said six Palestinians were wounded. Across the border, rocket sirens sent Israelis running to shelters, and the Magen David Adom ambulance service said one woman was seriously wounded by shrapnel in the city of Kiryat Gat. Many of the missiles were intercepted by the Iron Dome, the Israeli military said.

The flare-up comes days before Muslims begin the holy month of Ramadan and Israelis celebrate their Independence Day.

Hamas said they would "continue to respond to the crimes by the occupation" and will not allow Palestinian blood to be shed," said spokesman Abdel-Latif al-Qanoua in a statement Saturday. He made no explicit claim that Hamas fired the rockets.

  • Published in World

Trump's 'Deal of the Century' to Not Include Palestinian State

“We believe we have a plan that is fair, realistic and implementable that will enable people to live better lives," a Trump administration official said on Sunday.

U.S. President Donald Trump's "Deal of the Century" to resolve the Arab-Israeli conflict will be absent of a Palestinian state, the Washington Post reported on Sunday.

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The Washington Post article said Trump's deal promises to improve the lives of Palestinians, but will not recognize a fully sovereign Palestinian state.

This peace deal is expected to be rolled out some time in late Spring or early Summer, which is two years after Trump and his son-in-law Jared Kushner announced that they had established a plan to resolve the Arab-Israeli conflict. 

The Washington Post article contends that the Trump peace deal will focus primarily on Israel's security interests and less on Arab territorial concerns. 

“We believe we have a plan that is fair, realistic and implementable that will enable people to live better lives,” a senior White House official said on Friday, as quoted by Israel's Arutz Sheva. “We looked at past efforts and solicited ideas from both sides and partners in the region with the recognition that what has been tried in the past has not worked. Thus, we have taken an unconventional approach founded on not hiding from reality, but instead speaking truth.”

The reason for the delay in releasing this peace plan is due to Trump's desire to wait for Israeli Prime Benjamin Netanyahu to form a new coalition in his govenrment, the Washington Post added.

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Palestinian Toddlers Burn to Death After Israeli Troops Block Fire Brigade

Two Palestinian children were killed in a fire accident after Israeli forces blocked the fire brigade from reaching the scene on time.

Two Palestinian children, four-year-old Wael Rajabi and his 18-month-old sister Malik, died in a fire after Israeli authorities blocked the fire brigade from reaching their home in time.

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They were from the Al-Salaymeh neighborhood of Hebron’s Old City in the occupied West Bank. One of them was reported dead in the fire, another child succumbed to the burns after receiving emergency treatment at the nearby Hebron government hospital.

Colonel Loai Arziqat, the local police spokesman confirmed the death of two children but did not elaborate on the whole situation.

According to local media reports, the emergency fire services were stopped by Israeli occupying forces. A video filmed at the scene shows that a fire engine trying to drive down a narrow street when it was stopped by a roadblock. The local residents pleaded to the Israeli soldiers to “open the gate quickly, for the children.”

A CHILD BURNED ALIVE➤ No Entry To Fire Fighting Crews A boy was burnt to death & his little sister suffered severe burns as the occupation forces BLOCKED a firefighting truck from reaching their burning house in Al-Salaymeh in

But they were unmoved. And eventually delayed the emergency service costing the lives of two children.

Israeli forces are known to restrict emergency services’ access to Palestinians.

According to Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP), citing the Palestine Red Crescent Society, since 2015, Israeli forces have obstructed ambulances 123 times. In addition, 105 ambulances were damaged and the Red Crescent teams in various locations were attacked 386 times.

According to the Fourth Geneva Convention, “The occupying power must ensure sufficient hygiene and public health standards, as well as the provision of food and medical care to the population under occupation… Personnel of the International Red Crescent Movement must be allowed to carry out their humanitarian activities.”

However, Israel has violated international law numerous times by not allowing Palestinians access to emergency services.

  • Published in World

‘They threatened us’: Award-winning ‘Gaza’ filmmakers faced censorship from Jewish groups

The director of a Goya Award-winning documentary ‘Gaza: A look into the eyes of barbarism’ says members of the Jewish community repeatedly used threats to get screenings scrapped in a bid to suppress the film.

“Israel uses its Jewish organizations which tried to censor our film… they tried to do it at various festivals and sometimes they succeeded, even when the film was already on the shortlist. We received many threats,” director Julio Perez told RT.

“We started planning to make this film after the last Israeli army invasion when lots of people in Gaza were killed.”

The film faced adversity from the beginning and the production crew had to beguile Israeli authorities just to gain access, under the pretense that they were conducting research into Gaza’s agricultural industry.

“That’s how we got there, but that wasn’t easy at all,” Perez explained. “The thing is, there’s a total legitimization of Israel’s actions and Israeli apartheid.”

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The initial proposal to screen the documentary film came from a local BDS group (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) which promotes non-violent resistance towards the state of Israel on behalf of Palestinians.

The film discusses, “The violation of human rights that they [the people of Gaza] suffer daily and the reality of the postwar blockade through which the population of the Gaza Strip attempts to survive” according to the blurb on Spain’s Goya Awards nominations page.

A recent episode saw a screening scheduled to take place in Madrid this Friday shelved following pressure from Jewish groups.

“They gave us serious motivation not to [screen it],” local priest Javier Baeza, of the San Carlos Borromeo community, told La Sexta. “They warned me very seriously: If I didn’t do it, they told me I would face the relevant canonical punishment.”

 

View image on Twitter View image on Twitter

San Carlos Borromeo @EntreBorromeos
Con tristeza os comunicamos la suspension por orden de @archimadrid de la proyección del documental "Gaza: una
mirada a los ojos de la barbarie"
"El fruto de la Justicia será la Paz" Isaias 32,17.

He added that “people from the Academy of Cinema” had told him that the film is “quite objective, not remotely vengeful.”

“It seems unlikely to us that the Academy would nominate something histrionic in nature.”

The local BDS chapter managed to find a secular alternative which couldn’t be pressured out of screening the film on Wednesday evening.

 

  • Published in Culture

Palestinian government submits resignation to president Mahmoud Abbas

Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah has submitted his resignation to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, complicating efforts at reconciliation with Gaza's Hamas rulers.

"The prime minister and his ministers welcome the Fatah Central Committee's decision to form a new government," said Palestinian Authority government spokesperson Yusuf al-Mahmoud in a statement. "Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah has placed his government at the disposal of the President of the Authority," he added, hinting at impending resignations within the cabinet.

We put our government at the disposal of President Mahmoud Abbas and we welcome the recommendations of the Fatah Central Committee to form a new government.

Hamdallah’s resignation came just days after Abbas asked him to step down, according to reports. The move will likely hamper an already delicate relationship with Gaza’s Hamas rules, but Abbas does not want Hamas to be excluded from the new government to be formed.

"We hope that all Palestinian factions will participate in this (new) government and I appeal to the Hamas movement to participate," he said.

Hamas officials, however, have described the move as an attempt to exclude the group from Palestinian politics.

"The announcement of the formation of a new government is a recognition of the tragedies and disasters caused by the government of al Hamdallah, and there is no legitimacy for any future government without national consensus," Sami Abu Zuhri, official spokesman for Hamas, wrote on Twitter.

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Hamdallah headed the national unity government formed in 2015 and led Fatah’s reconciliation efforts with Hamas, which has governed Gaza since 2007. The two groups signed an agreement two years ago which called for Abbas’ Palestinian Authority to gradually resume governance over Gaza.

Assuming Abbas accepts their resignations, Hamdallah and the other PA ministers will continue to serve until a new government is formed.

  • Published in World

Palestine to Apply For Full Membership at UN, Says Minister

Palestinian Foreign Affairs Minister will apply for Palestine's status as a full member of the United Nations. 

Palestinian Foreign Affairs and Expatriates Minister Riyad Malki announced Wednesday that the occupied country would initiate an application to gain full membership at the United Nations.

RELATED: UN: Palestinians Must Have Control Over Natural Resources

Malki said that he would initiate an application seeking to upgrade Palestine’s status from an observer state to a full member state.

He will submit the application to the U.N. Security Council during an upcoming visit to New York in January.

Malki is scheduled to make his visit to take on the role of Palestine’s position as chair of the Group of 77 developing countries and China for 2019.

To obtain a full member position, Palestine needs the votes of 15 member countries of the U.N. Security Council. But if one of the permanent members of the Security Council, namely, the United States, Russia, France, the United Kingdom, and China use their veto power, then the application will be rejected. The veto power can be used by the strongly pro-Israel U.S. administration which moved its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem earlier this year.

Malki will also highlight the increase in illegal expansion of Israel in the occupied West Bank where violent episodes have led to the deaths of four Palestinians and three Israeli soldiers.

Malki will demand that the U.N. Security Council implement Resolution 2334 and ask the International Criminal Court to start an investigation into Israel’s illegal settlement expansion.

The resolution says that the U.N. Secretary-General has to present a progress report on Israeli settlement activities every three months to the Security Council.

  • Published in World
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