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Netanyahu faces Israeli parliament over protests

Posted by Admin on August 16, 2011

http://news.yahoo.com/netanyahu-faces-israeli-parliament-over-protests-230255945.html

By Allyn Fisher-Ilan | Reuters – 10 hrs ago

Israeli activists take part in a protest calling for social justice, including lower property prices in Israel, at the southern city of Be'er Sheva

Israeli activists take part in a protest calling for social justice, including lower property prices in Israel, at the southern city of Be'er Sheva August 13, 2011. REUTERS/Amir Cohen

JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, under fire for his government’s handling of a month-long surge of protests against high living costs, faces a special debate in parliament on Tuesday.

Parliament has been recalled from its summer recess to consider the crisis, for once focused on social and economic issues rather than Israel’s conflict with the Palestinians or its Arab neighbors.

A motion introduced by the centrist Kadima party, one of four on the assembly’s charged agenda, targets “government imperviousness” and “foot-dragging” by Netanyahu’s right-wing coalition in addressing demands to cut taxes and housing prices.

Netanyahu has named a team of experts to look into possible reforms but he and financial officials have cautioned against any expansion of the state budget, wary of signs the economy is weakening due partly to a spreading global financial crisis.

“We are experiencing great turbulence,” Netanyahu told a parliamentary finance panel on Monday, adding: “We want to deal with both these problems — to relieve the cost of living and reduce gaps.” He also promised “substantial changes.”

Efforts by Netanyahu’s government to address protesters’ grievances seemed further complicated on Monday when an alternative panel of university professors stepped forward pledging to help protesters meet their goals. [nL6E7JD08N]

The Israeli protests, a rare sustained outburst of anger over domestic policies, have drawn hundreds of thousands to the streets since mid-July, when dozens first camped out on a Tel Aviv boulevard to complain of soaring rents, supermarket prices and taxes.

Soon a so-called middle-class revolt gathered momentum and spread to other cities, spawning several mass rallies.

More than 70,000 protesters thronged the centers of a dozen towns and cities across Israel on Saturday. Upwards of 250,000 demonstrated in the business capital of Tel Aviv last week.

Analysts say the unrest seems to pose no immediate political threat to Netanyahu’s two-and-a-half-year-old government.

But some officials say the controversy could inflame tensions in his coalition and result in national elections being held ahead of a scheduled 2013.

The parliamentary debate on petitions filed by four opposition parties will be an opportunity to air differences, but Netanyahu appears likely to win any votes held.

(Editing by Alistair Lyon)

Posted in Economic Upheavals, Geo-Politics | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Greece stops Gaza-bound boat, immobilizes flotilla

Posted by Admin on July 8, 2011

http://news.yahoo.com/greece-stops-gaza-bound-boat-immobilizes-flotilla-112948472.html

By Renee Maltezou | Reuters – Thu, Jul 7, 2011

ATHENS (Reuters) – The Greek coastguard intercepted a small French boat with Pro-Palestinian activists aboard on Thursday, the third flotilla ship to be prevented from sailing to Gaza to challenge an Israeli blockade.

Greece, just over a year after nine people were killed when Israeli marines stormed a pro-Palestinian flotilla, imposed a ban on all Gaza-bound ships saying it feared for the safety of the activists who are now trying to find a way to set sail.

The boat with about 10 activists aboard, including French politicians, an MEP and a journalist, sailed from Corsica. Activists had said it was in international waters waiting to join the rest of the flotilla, now confined in Greek ports.

The “Dignity” was detected in the early morning near the southern Greek island of Crete as it was refueling at sea and was towed to the port of Sitia for checks, the coastguard said.

“We are still checking their papers. We haven’t spotted any problem so far. They have not disclosed their destination, maybe because they have not decided yet,” said a coastguard official in Crete, on condition of anonymity.

There were no arrests, activists and the coastguard said.

The 10-ship flotilla, with about 350 passengers, was supposed to take drugs, food and building materials to Gaza by the end of June, but a priority was to challenge the blockade.

But the chances that they will reach their destination has faded due to the vigilance of the Greek coastguard which has intercepted three of their ships so far and is closely watching the other seven, moored in ports across Greece.

“WE CAN’T MOVE”

“We are still waiting. We know that the days are going by but we are waiting to see what will happen. So far, we can’t move,” said Dimitris Plionis, one of the activists.

On Friday, the Greek coastguard intercepted the U.S. ship “Audacity of Hope” just a short while after it set sail from Piraeus port, and arrested its captain. Three days later, armed coastguards boarded the Canadian ship “Tahrir” which set sail from Crete and escorted it back. Three people were detained.

Although all four detainees were freed, they face charges for defying the Greek ban, which can only be lifted if the Greek Citizen Protection Ministry issues a new order. Nine ships are being confined in Greek ports and all 10 are accounted for.

Israel says its blockade of Gaza is aimed at stopping weapons from reaching the enclave’s rulers, Hamas — an Islamist group that is branded a terrorist group by some Western nations.

In an effort to calm the activists, Greece offered to ferry the aid to Gaza in cooperation with the United Nations. The activists turned the offer down saying this was “insufficient” as their mission was also about the rights of the Palestinian people and not just about aid.

“It is an offer that is always on the table and is still on the table,” said Greek Foreign Minister Stavros Lambrinides on Thursday in Vienna.

(Additional reporting by Angeliki Koutantou in Athens and Michael Shields in Vienna, editing by Peter Millership)

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Lebanon-Israel Tensions Rise over Offshore Oil and Gas

Posted by Admin on April 6, 2011

Map showing the Blue Line demarcation line bet...

Black Gold and Crisis Borders

http://news.yahoo.com/s/time/20110406/wl_time/08599206118700

By NICHOLAS BLANFORD / BEIRUT Nicholas Blanford / Beirut 24 mins ago

For most countries, the existence of a massive fossil-fuel deposit within its sovereign territory would be gratefully welcomed as an economic windfall. But the delight in Israel at the recent giant gas discovery off its northern coastline is tempered by the knowledge that it could provide the spark to ignite the next war between the Jewish state and its mortal foe to the north, Lebanon‘s militant Shi’ite Hizballah.

The stakes are enormous. Both Lebanon and Israel currently have little or no oil or gas deposits, and are dependent on neighboring countries for importing fuel and power. Israel presently relies on Egypt for most of its gas, but the durability of that arrangement has been cast into doubt following the ouster of Hosni Mubarak‘s regime. The Egyptian pipeline supplying gas to Israel and Jordan was blown up in January and only began operating again last week. (See TIME’s video “Israel’s Lonesome Doves.”)

Key to the tensions over the potential gas bonanza is that the maritime border between Israel and Lebanon has never been delineated because the two states are still technically at war.

The two gas fields off the northern Israel coast – Tamar and Leviathan – contain an estimated 8.4 trillion cu. ft. (238 billion cu m) and 16 trillion cu. ft. (453 billion cu m), respectively, sufficient to satisfy Israel’s energy needs for the next half-century. What remains unknown is if the fields stretch into Lebanon’s territorial waters. Even if neither of them do, Tamar and Leviathan are part of much bigger potential oil and gas reserves in the eastern Mediterranean. Last year, the U.S. Geological Survey estimated that the Levant Basin Province, encompassing parts of Israel, Lebanon, Syria and Cyprus, could contain as much as 122 trillion cu. ft. (3.4 trillion cu m) of gas and 1.7 billion barrels of recoverable oil. (For comparison, Libya has gas reserves of 53 trillion cu. ft. [1.5 trillion cu m] and oil reserves of 60 billion barrels.)

The Israelis have a head start in the race to extract gas, having awarded the concessions to a joint U.S.-Israeli firm. Tamar is expected to go online in 2012 and Leviathan three years later. (See “Does Libya’s Oil Industry Reflect Its Fate?”)

The upheaval in Egypt has “awakened old fears among Israelis that their power supply rests in the hands of potentially hostile neighbors,” says Gal Luft, the executive director of the Institute for the Analysis of Global Security in Potomac, Md. “This jolt will force Israel to move much more expeditiously toward developing its own newly discovered fields in order to achieve energy independence.”

Meanwhile, Lebanon is moving on its interests as well. Last August, the country’s parliament approved a long-awaited draft bill on gas-and-oil exploration. Lebanon also is pursuing arrangements with neighbors Syria and Cyprus to delineate their respective maritime exclusive economic zones. Representatives of energy companies are already in Beirut lobbying for potentially lucrative oil-and-gas concessions. The prospect of oil and gas beneath Lebanon’s coastal waters could have immense benefits for a country with one of the highest debt rates in the world, around $52 billion, or 147% of gross domestic product. But progress has slowed down because of the collapse of the government in January and the delay in the formation of a new Cabinet due to political bickering.

“Oil exploration is the victim of the current political vacuum,” Nabih Berri, the parliamentary Speaker, said last week, noting that Lebanon’s three neighbors – Israel, Syria and Cyprus – were forging ahead with agreements on oil-and-gas surveys. (See pictures of life under Hamas in Gaza.)

Beirut has asked the U.N. to help mark a temporary sea boundary between Lebanon and Israel, a maritime equivalent of the “blue line” established by the U.N. in 2000, which corresponds to Lebanon’s southern land border. The U.N. has agreed to assist and the Israelis are studying the proposal. But the U.N. faces a potentially thankless task. The demarcation of the blue line 11 years ago was mired in mutual distrust and wrangling with neither the Lebanese nor Israelis willing to concede an inch of territory to the other. Without goodwill from both sides, the maritime boundary could be even more difficult to define given the complicated geography of the coastline.

Some have described the dispute over the gas fields along the Lebanon-Israel border as another Shebaa Farms, a reference to a small unpopulated mountainside along Lebanon’s southern border that is occupied by Israel but claimed by Lebanon. The Shebaa Farms has been a periodic flash point between Hizballah and Israel. But a foreign diplomat in Beirut said that parallels between the Shebaa Farms and the offshore gas fields are misplaced. “Forget the Shebaa Farms,” the diplomat says, “That was created as a point of tension between Lebanon and Israel.” The practicalities of energy needs, however, mean that the Lebanese will approach the gas fields practically – not politically. “The Lebanese are not being difficult [over the maritime boundary] because they have real economic interests here,” he says. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t a potential for friction. He adds, “Unless there is a pragmatic arrangement, you could have a confrontation.”

It is perhaps no surprise then that the sudden interest in the potential fossil-fuel wealth off the Israeli and Lebanese coastline has turned the Mediterranean into a potential new theater of conflict between the Israelis and Hizballah. The Lebanese group already boasts an amphibious warfare unit trained in underwater sabotage and coastal infiltrations. Hizballah’s ability to target shipping – and possibly offshore oil-and-gas platforms – was demonstrated in the monthlong war with Israel in 2006 when the militants came close to sinking an Israeli naval vessel with an Iranian version of the Chinese C-802 missile. Hizballah fighters have since hinted that they have acquired larger antiship missiles with double the 72-mile (116 km) range of the C-802 variant. Last year, Hizballah chief Sheik Hassan Nasrallah warned that his organization now possesses the ability to target shipping along the entire length of Israel’s coastline. (See pictures of 60 years of Israel.)

In January, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu described the offshore gas fields as a “strategic objective that Israel’s enemies will try to undermine” and vowed that “Israel will defend its resources.” Last month, the Israeli navy reportedly presented to the government a maritime-security plan costing between $40 million and $70 million to defend the gas fields.

Upping the ante even further, Nasrallah promised last week that if Israel threatens future Lebanese plans to tap its oil and gas reserves, “only the Resistance [Hizballah] would force Israel and the world to respect Lebanon’s right.”

Then there is the recent passage of two Iranian navy vessels in the Mediterranean and the subsequent discovery last week by the Israeli navy of a smuggled consignment of arms and ammunition that included six C-704 antiship missiles believed destined for Hamas in the Gaza Strip. The missiles, though smaller than the C-802, could target Israeli shipping off Gaza as well as Israel’s Yam Tethys oil rig off the coast of Ashkelon. Citing the Iranian vessels and smuggled antiship missiles, security analyst Luft said, “Such activities could present real threats to exploration activities off Israel.” The potential oil and gas fields off the Lebanese and Israeli coasts look set not only to become a potential long-term source of wealth – but also a source of conflict in the years ahead.

Watch a video about the gas shortage in Iraq.

See TIME’s Pictures of the Week.

View this article on Time.com

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Egypt crisis: Israel faces danger in every direction

Posted by Admin on February 2, 2011

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/israel/8296776/Egypt-crisis-Israel-faces-danger-in-every-direction.html

The Egyptian crisis is ringing alarm bells in Jerusalem, writes David Horovitz.

Protesters take part in an anti-Mubarak protest at Tahrir square in Cairo

Protesters take part in an anti-Mubarak protest at Tahrir square in Cairo

The Middle East is in ferment at the moment – but despite the general excitement, the outcome could be a grim one for Israel, and for the West more generally.

In the past few weeks, we have seen a president ousted in Tunisia. We’ve seen protests in Yemen. We’ve seen Iran essentially take control of Lebanon, where its proxy, Hizbollah, has ousted a relatively pro-Western prime minister and inserted its own candidate. We’ve seen the King of Jordan rush to sack his cabinet amid escalating protests. We’ve seen reports that similar demonstrations are planned for Syria, where the president, Bashar Assad, will find it far harder to get away with gunning down the crowds than his father did in 1982. And most dramatically, we are seeing the regime in Egypt – the largest, most important Arab country – totter, as President Mubarak faces unprecedented popular protest, and the likelihood that he will have to step down sooner rather than later.

It is tempting to be smug. Egypt’s blink-of-an-eye descent into instability underlines afresh the uniqueness of Israel, that embattled sliver of enlightened land in a largely dictatorial region. Those who like to characterise it as the root of all the Middle East’s problems look particularly foolish: the people on the streets aren’t enraged by Israel, but because their countries are so unlike Israel, so lacking in the freedoms and economic opportunities that both Israeli Jews and Israeli Arabs take
for granted.

Yet the country is deeply concerned. The main worry is over a repeat of the events in Iran a little over 30 years ago, when popular protest ousted the Shah, only to see him replaced by a far more dangerous, corrupt, misogynist and intolerant regime. Iran is plainly delighted by what is unfolding. With peerless hypocrisy, a government that mowed down its own people less than two years ago is encouraging the same spirit of protest in Egypt. Its allies in the Muslim Brotherhood are well placed to fill any leadership vacuum – and, for all the group’s dubious claims to be relatively moderate, it embraces leadership figures deeply hostile to Israel and to the West. The Muslim Brotherhood, it should not be forgotten, gave birth to Hamas, the terrorist group which now runs Gaza, after killing hundreds in its takeover.

The danger for the Egyptians is that, when the protests are over, their brave efforts will have replaced Mubarak not with a leadership more committed to freedom and democracy, but quite the reverse. Yet for Israelis, it underlines the challenges we face when it comes to peacemaking.

Our country, it is often forgotten, is 1/800th of the size of the Arab world, only nine miles wide at its narrowest point. We are not some territorial superpower that can afford not to care if there is hostility all around: we desperately need normalised relations with our neighbours. But if we do a lousy deal, with a regime that is either unstable or not genuinely committed to reconciliation, the consequences could be fatal.

Israelis, I believe, would make almost any territorial compromise in the cause of genuine peace.
But where both the Palestinians and the Syrians are concerned, we’re far from certain that we have a dependable partner. And as the Egyptian experience is demonstrating, even our most concrete certainties can turn fluid overnight.

For half of Israel’s lifespan, our alliance with Egypt has been central to our foreign policy and military strategy. To achieve it, we relinquished every last inch of the Sinai desert – and, until this weekend, we scarcely had a reason to question that decision. Yes, it’s been a cold peace: there’s been no profound acceptance of Israel among ordinary Egyptians, or the country’s media and professional guilds. Yet Egypt under Mubarak has been less critical of Israel than most other Arab states, gradually intensifying the effort to prevent the smuggling of missiles, rockets and other weaponry into Hamas-controlled Gaza. The absence of war on our Egyptian border has also freed our strained military forces to focus on other, more threatening frontiers.

Over the past two years, as Turkey has moved out of the Western orbit, our other vital regional alliance has slipped away. Now Egypt could also be lost – at a time when Iran and its nuclear ambitions cast an ever greater shadow over the region, and over Israel’s future.

But perhaps the most profound concern is over the reversal of momentum that the Egyptian protests could come to represent. For a generation, Israel has been trying to widen the circle of normalisation – to win acceptance as a state among states. We made peace with Egypt, then with Jordan. We built ties with Morocco and the Gulf. We have reached out to the Syrians and Palestinians.

Now, for the first time in more than 30 years, we see that momentum reversing. We wonder whether Egypt will continue to constitute a stable partner. We worry about the potential for instability in Jordan. We see that all our borders are now “in play” – that the Israel Defence Forces must overhaul their strategy to meet the possibility of dangers in every direction.

We had hoped that the Israeli-Egyptian peace treaty of 1979 would come to be the defining event of the modern era. Now, we fear that our world will be defined by another event from that year: Iran’s dismal Islamic revolution.

David Horovitz is editor-in-chief of ‘The Jerusalem Post’

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US-Saudi arms deal ripples from Iran to Israel

Posted by Admin on October 21, 2010

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – As American and Saudi officials spent months quietly hammering out a wish list for a mammoth sale of American warplanes and other weapons to the oil-rich kingdom, leaders in Iran were busy publicly displaying their advances in missiles, naval craft and air power.

In one memorable bit of political theater, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad stood under a cascade of glitter in August to unveil a drone bomber — dubbed the “ambassador of death” — that he claimed would keep foes in the region “paralyzed” on their bases.

The response by Washington and its cornerstone Arab ally, Saudi Arabia, moved a step ahead Wednesday. The Obama administrationnotified Congress of plans to sell as many as 84 new F-15 fighter jets, helicopters and other gear with an estimated $60 billion price tag.

The proposed deal — one of the biggest single U.S. arms sales — is clearly aimed at countering Iran’s rising military might and efforts to expand its influence.

But it ties together other significant narratives in the region, including an apparent retooling of Israeli policies to tacitly support a stronger, American-armed Saudi Arabia because of common worries about Iran.

It also reinforces the Gulf as the Pentagon’s front-line military network against Iran even as the U.S. sandwiches the Islamic republic with troops and bases in Iraq and Afghanistan.

“In this way, Saudi Arabia does become some sort of buffer between Israel and Iran,” said Pieter Wezeman, a senior researcher at the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, a Swedish think tank that tracks arms sales.

Israel has made no diplomatic rumblings over the proposed Saudi deal — a marked contrast to almost automatic objections decades ago to Pentagon pacts with Arab nations. It’s widely seen as an acknowledgment that Israel’s worries over Iran and its nuclear program far outweigh any small shifts in the Israel-Arab balance of power.

Israel is moving toward a policy of “pick your fights,” said Efraim Inbar, director of the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies at Bar Ilan University near Tel Aviv.

“After all,” he added, “Saudi Arabia is not such a big threat to us.”

And Israel does not come out of the current American arms bazaar empty handed. Earlier this month, it signed a deal to purchase 20 F-35 stealth fighters that could possibly reach Iran undetected by radar. Israel has an option for 75 more.

“This equipment is primarily to give (Israel) a better feeling facing the Iranian threat. It is not related to Israeli-Arab relations,” said Inbar. “Ironically, in the current situation, Saudi Arabia is in the same strategic boat as Israel is in facing the Iranian threat.”

Besides the new fighters for Saudi Arabia, the U.S. plans to upgrade an additional 70 of the kingdom’s existing F-15s. State Department and Pentagon officials told lawmakers the sales also will include 190 helicopters, including Apaches and Black Hawks, as well as an array of missiles, bombs, delivery systems and accessories such as night-vision goggles and radar warning systems.

Congress has 30 days to block the deal, which was first revealed in September but has been in negotiations for months. U.S. officials say they aren’t expecting significant opposition.

Iran, meanwhile, has concentrated on its missile arsenal overseen by the powerful Revolutionary Guard. Its solid-fuel Sajjil missile has a reported range of more than 1,250 miles (2,000 kilometers) — within range of Israel and all main U.S. bases in the region.

Iran’s navy has staged war games in the Gulf and announced major additions to its fleet, including three Iranian-built submarines designed to operate in the Gulf’s shallow waters.

It marks the Gulf as a buyer’s market for arms, led by the U.S. as the dominant Western military power from Kuwait to Oman. Throughout the Gulf, Washington counts on access to Arab allies’ air bases, logistics hubs and the Bahrain headquarters of America’s naval powerhouse in the region — the U.S. 5th Fleet.

A report last month by the U.S. General Accountability Office said Washington approved $22 billion worth of military equipment transfers to the six Gulf Arab states between fiscal 2005 and 2009 through a Pentagon-managed program.

More than half was earmarked for Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, including a $6.5 billion deal in 2009 for the UAE to buy the Patriot missile defense system.

The UAE agreement was the largest single arms approval during the five-year period — but is dwarfed by the proposed Saudi deal.

The researcher Wezeman said Iran is clearly the top perceived threat for the Gulf Arabs, but there are background concerns about Iraq’s stability and the unrest in neighboring Yemen that includes Shiite Hawthi rebels and Islamic extremists linked to al-Qaida. The Saudi military was drawn into rare fighting in northern Yemen starting late last year, using airstrikes and artillery to battle a Hawthi rebellion that was spilling across the border.

“Of course it’s against Iran. Of course it’s against Yemen,” said Wezeman. “You can read between the lines … but there are not any official statements about it.”

Wezeman’s group issued a report this month that estimates the eight nations ringing the Gulf — including rivals Iran and Saudi Arabia — accounted for 10 percent of all conventional weapons imports between 2005-2009.

The appetite was on display earlier this month when envoys from more than 50 U.S. defense and aerospace firms held talks in Abu Dhabi, where they were welcomed by the UAE’s minister of foreign trade at an opulent hotel on the shores of the Gulf.

As the American defense budget tightens, the Gulf’s deep pockets beckon.

“This is a critical time for our companies abroad as the U.S. defense budget continues to face pressures at home,” said a statement from Lawrence Farrell, head of the National Defense Industrial Association based outside Washington.

Jane Kinninmont, a Middle East and Africa specialist at the Economist Intelligence Unit, said concerns over Iran are the primary motivation for the Saudi arms expansion. But she wonders how much the untested Gulf forces rattle Iranian commanders who are almost all veterans of the 1980-88 war with Iraq.

“I would not be surprised if the Iranians are pretty cynical about the armies here,” she said during an interview in Dubai. “To put it bluntly, they’ve fought a war.”

___

Associated Press Writers Mark Lavie and Aron Heller in Jerusalem, and Matthew Lee in Washington contributed to this report.

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Israeli Attack on Flotilla Sparks Wave of International Protests

Posted by Admin on June 2, 2010

by: Nora Barrows-Friedman, t r u t h o u t | Report

photo
This protest in Madrid, Spain, is one of many worldwide that are expressing outrage against Israel’s raid on humanitarian flotillas headed for Gaza. (Photo: Carlos Barbudo)

Rami al-Meghari watched the news unfold from live video feeds monitoring international waters 65km off the coast of the Gaza Strip Monday morning, one of Gaza’s 1.5 million residents anticipating a shipment of wheelchairs, prefabricated homes, crayons, raw construction supplies, dental surgery equipment and reams of paper brought by international humanitarian activists on board a flotilla of boats.

However, the flotilla was intercepted and attacked by Israeli naval commando units, flanked by armed speedboats and helicopters. Soldiers climbed on board the Turkish-owned Mavi Marmara ship and opened fire with live ammunition, killing at least 19 people and wounding 60, according to the latest reports.

A journalist living in Gaza’s Meghazi refugee camp, al-Meghari tells Truthout that the attack was a devastating blow to the Palestinian people in Gaza – who have suffered through a three-year-long blockade as Israel forbids the entry of essential goods and humanitarian supplies, including medicines. He says he was horrified at what took place on the ship. “I am in absolute sorrow for the human loss,” he said.

From the occupied Gaza Strip to the San Francisco Bay Area, global reaction in protest of the Israeli military’s attack on the flotilla has been swift. Outraged by Israel’s attack on the flotilla, and fueled by international news headlines and internet-based information swapping through sites such as Twitter and Facebook, tens of thousands of people across the world have taken to the streets in sustained anger against Israeli policies and the actions of its military toward the humanitarian aid flotilla, while the United Nations and the Turkish government work to impose diplomatic pressure.

Palestinians in the occupied West Bank launched demonstrations against the Israeli military immediately following the attack, but the protests were quickly dispersed and banned by the Palestinian Authority’s security forces. Earlier in the day, Israeli forces shot a young American journalist in the face with a tear gas grenade during a women-led demonstration at the Qalandiya checkpoint between Ramallah and Jerusalem. There were also protests inside the old city in occupied East Jerusalem, while others demonstrated outside Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s house in the Western side of the city.

In the Palestinian city of Umm al-Fahem in northern Israel, Palestinian youth burned tires as Israeli forces attempted to lock down areas of the city. Elsewhere, Israeli and Palestinian protesters descended on the city of Ashdod, where detention camps had been set up by the military to hold those arrested from the flotilla and to where some of the ships on the flotilla were being towed. Protesters in Haifa and other northern Israeli cities also joined the day of action.

People in Egypt and Jordan took part in similar protests as thousands across the region demanded that their governments sever diplomatic and political ties with Israel. Lebanese demonstrators surrounded the UN headquarters in Beirut to condemn Israel’s policies and the violent attack against the flotilla.

In Turkey, thousands of protesters attempted to storm the Israeli embassy in Istanbul right after the killings. Later in the day, Turkish government officials categorized Israel’s attack as “state terrorism” and withdrew its ambassador to Israel as thousands of protesters hit the streets in spontaneous demonstrations demanding justice for those killed in the attack and for Palestinians in Gaza.

In Canada, protests were planned at Israeli embassies and Federal buildings in an “emergency response” to Israel’s aggressions. Seven thousand Swedish demonstrators hit the streets of Stockholm as the Swedish government summoned its Israeli ambassador, condemning the attack as “completely unacceptable” and demanding clarification by the Israeli government. Sweden had several of its citizens on board the ships.

Meanwhile, across the US, pro-justice activists took to the streets in anger and anguish over the killings. Protesters organized in New York City’s Times Square, and in Houston, Cleveland and Seattle, among other cities. University of Chicago freshman Sami Kishawi tells Truthout he joined a massive demonstration in downtown Chicago on Monday afternoon. “I will remain open and willing to participate in dialogue that will reveal to the public the grim reality of the oppression of the Palestinian people,” he said.

In the Bay Area, activists protested outside Israeli embassy in downtown San Francisco. Oakland resident Amir Qureshi told Truthout that he joined the protests in solidarity with the more than 600 activists on the flotilla, and is taking part in other actions as well, including countering some of the Israeli propaganda that’s filtered down inside the US corporate media and calling US representatives in Congress. “Ordinary unarmed global civilians from more than a dozen countries have the courage to take on Israel’s navy in support of the besieged population of Gaza and even give our lives in doing so,” Qureshi said. “Such global solidarity shows the power of people and how it can affect global causes.”

At the same time, condemnation of Israel’s attacks have come from global leaders and icons of civil rights and justice. The Elders – a contingent of past and present world leaders and Nobel laureates, including Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Nelson Mandela and Jimmy Carter – released a press statement on Monday declaring Israel’s attack as “completely inexcusable.”

“This tragic incident should draw the world’s attention to the terrible suffering of Gaza’s 1.5 million people, half of whom are children under the age of 18,” The Elders’ statement said.

Back in Gaza, locally-based civil society groups sent out a press statement urging the international community to take direct action against Israeli policies. They wrote:

<blockquote>”We Gaza based Palestinian Civil Society Organizations and International activists call on the international community and civil society to pressure their governments and Israel to cease the abductions and killings in Israel’s attacks against the Gaza Freedom Flotilla sailing for Gaza, and begin a global response to hold Israel accountable for the murder of foreign civilians at sea and illegal piracy of civilian vessels carrying humanitarian aid for Gaza.

“We salute the courage of all those who have organized this aid intervention and demand a safe passage through to Gaza for the 750 people of conscience from 40 different countries including 35 international politicians intent on breaking the Israeli-Egyptian blockade. We offer our sincerest condolences to family and friends who have lost loved ones in the attack.

“… The people of Gaza are not dependent people, but self sufficient people doing what they can to retain some dignity in life in the wake of this colossal man-made devastation that deprives so many of a basic start in life or minimal aspirations for the future.

“We, from Gaza, call on you to demonstrate and support the courageous men and women who went on the Flotilla, many now murdered on a humanitarian aid mission. We insist on severance of diplomatic ties with Israel, trials for war crimes and the International protection of the civilians of Gaza. We call on you to join the growing international boycott, divestment and sanction campaign of a country proving again to be so violent and yet so unchallenged. Join the growing critical mass around the world with a commitment to the day when Palestinians are entitled to the same rights as any other people, when the siege is lifted, the occupation is over and the 6 million Palestinian refugees are finally granted justice.”</blockquote>

From Gaza’s Meghazi refugee camp, al-Meghari said of Israel’s actions Monday morning, “violence only breeds violence. And as long as Israeli repression remains in place, Palestinian and pro-justice people around the world will keep up their resistance to that repression.”

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Obama Must Ask Netanyahu the Right Questions

Posted by Admin on June 2, 2010

by: Ira Chernus, t r u t h o u t | Op-Ed

photo
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. (Photo: Moshe Milner GPO / IsraelMFA)

Debate rages around the world about the Israeli attack on the humanitarian flotilla headed to Gaza. And it should rage. As Martin Luther King Jr., said, an injustice to one is an injustice to all.

But the debate that matters most – the one that will decide the fate of Palestinians and Israelis alike – is going on inside the Oval Office. If Barack Obama ever decides that the Israelis absolutely must end the occupation of the West Bank and the blockade of Gaza, he’ll demand and get a settlement. Then, both peoples can start living in peace, sooner than most Americans think.

If Obama continues waffling and lets the Israelis maintain the status quo, the conflict will continue, and so will the insecurity it inflicts on both sides.

Obama must understand that perfectly well as he prepares for the delayed visit of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. He must know that he could make the conversation a genuine turning point in US policy, if he wants to. The agenda he sets for that conversation is crucial.

So far, the indications are not promising. In a brief phone talk with Netanyahu just hours after the brutal attack at sea, Obama merely “expressed the importance of learning all the facts and circumstances around this morning’s tragic events as soon as possible,” the White Housesaid.

No, Mr. President, that’s the wrong way to begin. It avoids the real issue – which is just what the Israeli leader wants. He’d love to see the world debating about “all the facts and circumstances.” He’d love to treat the whole terrible disaster at sea as if it were a schoolyard scrap: He hit me first. No, he hit me first. Liar! No, you’re a liar!

Netanyahu and the Israeli government would be happy to drag that argument out because it gives them a double victory. They get to play their favorite role – the victim of threats to their very existence – while distracting the Obama administration from the issue that really matters: the Israeli domination of Gaza and the West Bank.

As long as that domination continues, whether in the form of occupation or blockade, it makes a peace settlement impossible. And that seems to be precisely what the Israeli government aims for – or certainly at least itspowerful right wing, which has Netanyahu in its power. Instead of pursuing peace, Israeli leaders want to pursue a public relations effort at damage control, which comes down to image control.

So, they’re happy to have everyone – especially in the Oval Office – scrutinizing all the video footage and eyewitness accounts to figure out exactly what happened on the Mavi Marmara, minute by minute. The battle of competing images and interpretations could go on for months, even years. As long as the world is distracted by that battle, it will bring any chance of a meaningful peace process to a grinding halt.

The Israelis seem to have had something like that in mind when they set out to stop the Gaza flotilla. Their PR machine was in high gear before the flotilla even set sail. A sympathetic analyst in the conservative Jerusalem Post lamented the failure of the Israeli “diplomatic [read: PR] initiative aimed at explaining to the world why it planned to stop the ships.” As he noted, “stories were leaked by the government to the press about the Turkish Humanitarian Relief Foundation (IHH), the Turkish organization that is behind the flotilla, described as a ‘radical Islamic organization.'”

Within hours of the attack at sea, top Israeli leaders were holding press conferences touting the same unsubstantiated claims that the flotilla was led by violent supporters of international terrorist groups. “Gaza has become a base for terrorists backed by Iran,” said Netanyahu,  suggesting that this unsubstantiated claim somehow justified all that killing; it was simply “self-defense.”

Could it be just coincidence that so many Israeli military personnel, politicians and journalists all repeated the same strange charge that IDF soldiers were victims of “attempted lynching”? (Find it hereherehere,here and here, for example.) It’s more likely that the word “lynch” was cooked up in a PR office, well before the disaster at sea took place (probably by some flake who doesn’t know English well enough to know what the word really means).

The Israelis went to sea not only with 50 Border Guards as well as sailors, but also with embedded Israeli reporters. Prominent journalist Ron Ben-Yishai was apparently given permission for a scoop, the first direct report from scene, predictably sympathetic to the Israelis. (The other reporters’ dispatches were embargoed until they could be vetted by censors.) Back on land in Israel, one blogger reported hours after the event, the talking heads were already focusing only on “the threat to the soldiers lives and the insufficient force that was sent to take control over the Mavi Marmara.” The Israeli media allowed little doubt that their military personnel were the victims, not the perpetrators, of the attack.

Some skilled video producers went along on the mission, too. Shortly after the confrontation, they released slick footage, which does indeed seem to show Israeli troops descending onto the Mavi Marmara and immediately being brutally attacked. No doubt, Netanyahu will bring that film with him to the Oval Office and hope Obama watches every second of it. After all, the president says he wants to know “all the facts and circumstances.”

In the end, though, Netanyahu will tell him that only one fact really matters: Israel was justified because it was acting in self-defense. And, surely, he’ll remind Obama of Israel’s ultimate goal, the one he repeats at every opportunity: preventing another Holocaust. He’ll link the killing on the Mavi Marmara with the specter of the Holocaust, using the whole arsenal of weapons that his skilled PR experts have invented in their fertile imaginations.

He’ll try to keep the conversation focused on the one question that dominates Israeli political life: Weren’t the Israelis merely doing what they had to do to stop the next Holocaust? And, perhaps, even to save Western civilization against “radical Islamic forces,” according to ananalysis published hours after the attack by a prominent Israeli academic in one of his nation’s most popular newspapers. That will be a common response among many Jews, especially in Israel, but some here in the US, too.

Uri Avnery, the grand old man of the Israeli peace movement, summed it up most incisively, as usual, in a recent column titled “Hallelujah, the World is Against Us!” In recent years, he wrote, as Jews have escaped persecution and gained power, “a sense of unease, of disorientation, set in.” Many Jews “felt that something was out of order, that the well-known road signs were not working anymore…. That’s frightening,” and it makes many Jews suspicious. So, “without being conscious of it,” many Jews “do what we can to be hated again, to feel at home, on familiar ground…. We shall not rest until the world is anti-Semitic again, and we know how to behave. As the jolly song goes: ‘The entire world is against us, but what the hell.'”

If Obama, and the world, focus only on “all the facts and circumstances” about who did what during that tragic dawn at sea, it will give Israeli leaders another excuse to lead their people in singing their jolly song, perpetuating their cherished images of victimization. The more criticism they receive, the more most Israelis will be convinced that the worlds really is against them. And the more excuse that will give them to resist serious negotiations for peace.

This is not to deny the need for a full investigation. But it’s vital to put even the worst events in broader perspective. The US government has supported so many evils of the Israeli occupation and blockade because the Israeli PR machine has been so successful. It has managed to get the US mass media, most of the US public and, very possibly, their president to believe that the whole world just might be against Israel, that any Israeli violence might very well be justified self-defense against another Holocaust.

If Obama really wants to be the president who brings peace to the Middle East, he has to take a much broader view. When he asks Netanyahu for “all the facts and circumstances,” he must ask the big, crucial questions: By what right does Israel maintain its blockade of Gaza at all costs, despite all the human suffering it brings? By what right does Israel maintain its occupation of and settlements on the West Bank at all costs? Why does Israel resist the peace settlement that the rest of the world sees as fair and just? Why does Israel persist in such self-defeating policies, keeping its own people as well as its Palestinian neighbors locked in a vicious cycle of insecurity?

Even those who want to focus on the one terrible incident of violence at sea should be asking not who started the fighting, but by what right did the Israeli Navy steam into international waters and unilaterally declare a “naval blockade”? (Strangely, the Israeli PR machine put out video of that declaration, as if it somehow justified all the killing to come.) It’s all part of the same pattern: Israel making unilateral decisions that put intolerable restrictions on Palestinians’ lives.

That’s what the flotilla to Gaza was trying to shine a light on. Now, the light has grown much brighter, though it is encased in the dark shadow of mourning. But if we let it become a narrow pencil light, illuminating only the events of a few tragic hours, we will miss the larger picture at which the Obama administration should be looking: the injustices perpetuated by Israel over many tragic decades.

Those of us who want to see a just peace and a truly independent viable Palestinian state should do whatever we can to break through the fallacious stereotype of Israel as the eternal victim. If that image is discredited – if it no longer frames discussion of the Middle East conflict here in the US – the Obama administration can begin to explore new options for US policy.

Every time we persuade a friend, a neighbor, a relative, a co-worker to see Israel as a dominating power, not an endangered victim, we take a step closer to a just peace in the Middle East. That can be the most fitting memorial for the victims of Israeli bullets, who wanted only to bring humanitarian relief to Gaza.

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What does Israel fear from media coverage?

Posted by Admin on June 1, 2010

This video image released by the Turkish Aid group IHH Monday May 31, 2010 purports to show Israeli soldiers aiming a gun on the deck of a Turkish ship, part of an aid convoy heading to the Gaza Strip, after Israeli soldiers boarded the vessel in international waters off the Gaza coast.

The New York Times, today:

A day after Israeli commandoes raided an aid flotilla seeking to breach the blockade of Gaza, Israel held hundreds of activists seized aboard the convoy on Tuesday . . . .Reuters reported thatIsrael was holding hundreds of activists incommunicado in and around the port city of Ashdod, refusing to permit journalists access to witnesses who might contradict Israel’s version of events.

Physically blocking journalists from reporting on their conduct is what Israel does (as well as others); recall this from The New York Times on January 6, 2009, regarding Israel’s war in Gaza:

Israel Puts Media Clamp on Gaza

Three times in recent days, a small group of foreign correspondents was told to appear at the border crossing to Gaza. The reporters were to be permitted in to cover firsthand the Israeli war on Hamas in keeping with a Supreme Court ruling against the two-month-old Israeli ban on foreign journalists entering Gaza.

Each time, they were turned back on security grounds, even as relief workers and other foreign citizens were permitted to cross the border. On Tuesday the reporters were told to not even bother going to the border.

And so for an 11th day of Israel’s war in Gaza, the several hundred journalists here to cover it waited in clusters away from direct contact with any fighting or Palestinian suffering, but with full access to Israeli political and military commentators eager to show them around southern Israel, where Hamas rockets have been terrorizing civilians. A slew of private groups financed mostly by Americans are helping guide the press around Israel.

Like all wars, this one is partly about public relations. But unlike any war in Israel’s history, in this one the government is seeking to entirely control the message and narrative for reasons both of politics and military strategy.

Isn’t it strange how Plucky, Democratic Israel goes to such extreme lengths to prevent any media coverage of what they do, any journalistic interference with their propaganda machine, in light of the fact that — as always — They Did Absolutely Nothing Wrong?  Is physically blocking the media from covering what happens the act of a government that is in the right?  Thomas Jefferson answered that question quite some time ago:

Our first object should therefore be, to leave open to him all the avenues of truth. The most effectual hitherto found, is freedom of the press. It is therefore, the first shut up by those who fear the investigation of their actions.

Israel is now not only detaining the victims of its aggression, but also threatening to prosecute and imprison them.  Israeli Internal Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch said yesterday:  “All those who lifted a hand against a soldier will be punished to the full extent of the law.”  So when Israel seizes ships in international waters and kills anyone who resists (and others standing near them), that is an act of noble, plucky self-defense.  But those who fail to submit completely to this lawless and barbarous act of aggression are the Real Criminals who will be prosecuted and imprisoned “to the fullest extent of the law.”  In other words, not only is Israel — which seized ships in international waters and killed civilians — the Real Victim, but the Real Criminals are those on the ship.  But doesn’t the victim of a crime usually want media coverage of what the criminal did?  How odd for the victim in this case to take such extreme steps to ensure that the world cannot hear from the witnesses.

* * * * *

Two other related points:  (1) as I noted yesterday, the real question for Americans is our own country’s responsibility for what Israel does; asvirtually the entire world vehemently condemns Israel’s conduct, the U.S. — as usual — acts to protect the Israelis at the U.N. and joins it in heaping blame on its victims; and (2) Robert Farley highlights a small though typical piece of false Israeli propaganda, this one from supreme propagandist Jeffrey Goldberg of The Atlantic, which pervades our discourse in unchallenged form.

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Interview: At Least 15 Dead After Israel Attacks Gaza-Bound Aid Flotilla

Posted by Admin on June 1, 2010

I interviewed Adam Shapiro, board member of the Free Gaza Movement, hours after the attack on the Free Gaza Freedom Flotilla.

Listen Here – Transcript below.

Israeli forces have attacked a flotilla of ships carrying humanitarian aid to the besieged Gaza strip. Dubbed the Freedom Flotilla, the ships were aiming to break Israel’s 3-year blockade of Gaza. At least 15 people were killed and dozens injured when Israeli troops attacked the lead ship in the convoy-the Turkish “Mavi Marmara”-early Monday morning. The attack happened in international waters, 75 miles off the coast of Israel and Gaza. We reached Adam Shapiro in New York a few hours after the attack. He’s a board member of the Free Gaza movement, one of the groups that coordinated the Freedom Flotilla. His wife Huwaida Arraf is the chairperson of the Free Gaza movement and is on the flotilla.

Just before being kidnapped by Israel, Huwaida Arraf, Free Gaza Movement chairperson and delegation co-coordinator on this voyage, stated that: “No one could possibly believe that our small boat constitutes any sort of threat to Israel. We carry medical and reconstruction supplies, and children’s toys. Our passengers include a Nobel peace prize laureate and a former U.S. congressperson. Our boat was searched and received a security clearance by Cypriot Port Authorities before we departed, and at no time did we ever approach Israeli waters.”

More information on the Israeli attack:

Live coverage from Al Jazeera English

FreeGaza.org

Witness Gaza

Follow #flotilla, @JamalDajani, @avinunu on Twitter for the latest updates.

TRANSCRIPT

Amy Goodman: This is Democracy Now!, I’m Amy Goodman. We have on the line with us Adam Shapiro. He is a board member of the Free Gaza Movement. Adam, we got word several hours ago that the Israeli military had attacked the Free Gaza Flotilla. We are speaking to you at about 3:30 AM Eastern Standard Time. Can you tell us what you understand has happened?


Adam Shapiro:
The Israelis launched a military operation involving about a thousand soldiers, using ships, using helicopters, and using airplanes to attack the flotilla of six ships – three passenger and three cargo ships, at approximately between 8 and 9 pm Eastern Standard Time. All the ships have been captured. One of the ships that we know for sure, which had a satellite communication ability, the large Turkish ship with about 600 passengers including members of Parliament from different countries, was attacked by Israeli soldiers using live ammunition. We now know that at least 14 people have been confirmed killed, and perhaps as many as 20 killed, with over 60 injured, and currently all the ships are being brought into the Israeli port of Haifa.

Amy Goodman: We are reading Israeli military reports that say when they boarded the Turkish ship, that they were attacked by sticks and knives. What do you understand has happened?

Adam Shapiro: Our people on the ship reported live as the soldiers came onto the ship, and reported that soldiers were opening fire as they were coming onto the ship, and they were descending from helicopters. So, our understanding is that the Israeli soldiers opened fire first. I have not seen or heard any thing else about – and there are many journalists on board that ship – anything else about our people, the passengers on that ship, posing any kind of threat. There was a live feed coming from the ship using satellite, video satellite, on satellite, that has been rebroadcast on CNN, on CNN Turk, on Al Jazeera, on Press TV, on numerous media outlets, not one image from this entire footage shows any of the passengers holding any kind of object that could be construed as a weapon. So, I mean, I am sure that the Israelis would like the world to believe that they were the ones being attacked as they assaulted these ships, but this is just Israeli spin.

Amy Goodman: Adam Shapiro, what is the purpose of the Free Gaza Flotilla?

Adam Shapiro: The purpose of the Free Gaza Freedom Flotilla was to literally break the Israeli blockade that it is imposing on Gaza, a form of collective punishment of 1.5 million Palestinians who are trying to survive at this point, basically, especially after the Israeli attacks in December, 2008-January, 2009, in which much of Gaza was reduced to rubble, and has not been able to have been rebuilt, where Palestinians can’t get basic food and medicine in, to just survive with. And so, this effort was, yes, to deliver the goods and materials that Gaza, the Palestinians in Gaza need, but also to awaken the international community to the abuse that the Palestinians are suffering that has been regarded by the Goldstone Report, by many other reports and by human rights organizations, including the E.U. and other groups, calling this blockade and this siege criminal, as well as cruel and inhuman.

Amy Goodman: What is your response to what has happened in these last hours, to the Israeli military assault on the Free Gaza Flotilla?

Adam Shapiro: We have always been prepared that the Israelis might attack the ships and try, obviously, try to take control of them, and prevent us from reaching Gaza, but the opening of fire against unarmed civilians who pose no threat to Israel, is something, I think, it is absurd in a way that can’t even be described. We all remember what happened to Rachel Corrie in Gaza, standing in front of a home to protect it and being crushed and run over by a bulldozer driver. In this case, I think in a way, it is almost even worse, because Israel said that they were sending their best commandos on this mission, that they were sending their most professional soldiers, and so if these are their professional soldiers, and they opened fire, then we must assume, then, and I don’t think we are incorrect to assume, that they had orders to open fire, because I don’t think that soldiers operating in this way, if they were truly professional, and they were truly the best, well-trained commandos that Israel had, they would have no reason to shoot, unless they were ordered to do so.

And I really hope that the United States, the Europeans, and Turkey, and the other governments who had citizens on board press for an independent investigation, not an Israeli investigation, an independent investigation. This attack took place in international waters, not in Israeli waters.

Amy Goodman: Who was on the Turkish ship?

Adam Shapiro: On board the Turkish ship were over, approximately about 600 passengers. We had quite a large number of Turkish activists. Of course, the boat was secured in Turkey, and purchased by a Turkish organization, so many of their people were on board. We also had members of the European Parliament on board, we had members of Arab parliaments on board, including Egypt and Jordan, we had others activists who have been active in trying to raise the awareness of what’s happening to Palestinians in general and specifically in Gaza, and we had media. We had Al Jazeera on board, we had a couple of Turkish broadcasting channels on board, as well as other print and other forms of media on board.

Amy Goodman: Adam Shapiro, thank you for taking the time to talk to us.

Adam Shapiro: Thank you very much.

Amy Goodman: Adam Shapiro is a board member of the Free Gaza Movement.


Follow Amy Goodman on Twitter: www.twitter.com/democracynow

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India warned of the coming Israeli False-Flag operation

Posted by Admin on March 28, 2010

India warned of the coming Israeli False-Flag operation



Two Mumbai (India) political activists, Feroze Mithiborwala and Kishore Jagtap has warned Indian Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh, the Opposition Leader Sonia Gandhi and Union Minister of Home Affairs P. Chidambaram that Israel is planning to carry out a massive terrorist attack in India during the Indian Premeir League (IPL 3) games being played currently. The reason being to divert world’s attention from Israel which is being isolated more and more due to country’s Zionzai policies against the native Palestinian Muslims and Christians and its political and military confrontation with Islamic Iran, Lebanon and now its ‘godmother’, the United States.

” We believe the Israeli Mossad is likely to stage a false flag terror attack during the ongoing IPL 3. We say it with conviction and basis of studied & thoughtful analysis of the international political situation, rooted in history. The reason we say so is the explosive political situation that exists in the Occupied Territories across Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza. Moreover, the Israeli government has clearly indicated to Joe Biden, the visiting US Vice-President that Israel would carry on the policy of expanding the (illegal Jewish) settlements. This has been rightly taken as a grave slight by the Obama administration and has invited remonstration from the White House. Never since 1975 have we witnessed such vituperative discord between Tel Aviv and Washington and this has been stated by Israeli ambassador to the United States, Michael Oren…”

“Israel also carries on with the policy of extreme provocation as they continue to violate the very sanctity and sovereignity of the Haram-e-Sharif that houses the Masjid-e-Aqsa and the Dome of Rock, which are amongst Islam’s most sacred shrines. Thus we are witnessing the outbreak of the “Third Intifada”, which is being met by brutal Israeli repression. Fanatical and extremist Jewish Zionists and Christian Zionists Armageddonists’ are publically committed to the destruction of the two mosques and the construction of the Third Temple at the very site. A strong resonance of the Ram Jamma Bhoomi-Barbari Masjid crisis indeed, but with consequences that are fraught with danger and far too unimaginable for the world.”

“From the above it is apparent that Israel doesn’t want to negotiate a peaceful Two-State solution and is committed to annexation of all historical Palestine.”

“Another target in the aftermath of the false flag terrorist attack will be Iran and a major US-NATO military build-up has been and is currently underway in the Persian Gulf, as Iran is continued to be surrounded on all sides”.

London weekly, The Sunday Times, has reported that Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, during his visit this week to Washington will press Barack Obama to release the advanced weapons needed for a possible strike on Iran’s nuclear sites. Meanwhile, the shipment of the 387 US smart bunker-buster bombs have arrived at US military base Diego Garcia, near Yemen. US military sources have admitted that the shipment was destined for Israel which Washington promised to Tel Aviv as part of US annual military aid to Israel in 2008. The Zionist entity needs these bombs to destroy Iran’s underground nuclear facilities.

Paul Craig Roberts in his article, titled Expect a False Flag Terror Attack to Precede Invasion of Iran, wrote: “The next step will be a staged “terrorist attack,” a “false flag” operation as per Operation Northwoods, for which Iran will be blamed. As Iran and its leadership have already been demonized, the “false flag” attack will suffice to obtain US and European public support for bombing Iran. The bombing will include more than the nuclear facilities and will continue until the Iranians agree to regime change and the installation of a puppet government. The corrupt American media will present the new puppet as “freedom and democracy……. The U.S. population, it seems, is comprised of naifs whose lack of comprehension is bringing ruin to other lands.”

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