Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein was born April 28, 1937 and died December 30, 2006. He was the fifth President of Iraq, holding that position from July 16, 1979 until 9 April 2003. He was one of the leading members of the revolutionary Arab Socialist Ba’ath Party, and afterward, the Baghdad-based Ba’ath Party and its regional organization Ba’ath Party, Iraq Region, which advocated ba’athism, an ideological marriage of Arab nationalism with Arab socialism. (Patricia Ramos, july 2013)
"The national security of America and the security of the world could be attained if the American leaders [..] become rational, if America disengages itself from its evil alliance with Zionism, which has been scheming to exploit the world and plunge it in blood and darkness, by using America and some Western countries. What the American peoples need mostly is someone who tells them the truth, courageously and honestly as it is.
They don’t need fanfares and cheerleaders, if they want to take a lesson from the (sept. 11) event so as to reach a real awakening, in spite of the enormity of the event that hit America.
But the world, including the rulers of America, should say all this to the American peoples, so as to have the courage to tell the truth and act according to what is right and not what to is wrong and unjust, to undertake their responsibilities in fairness and justice, and by recourse to reason..."
Saddam Hussein, INA 15-9-2002
"The despot thinks he is just as God... What a nadir and mean fate!
The despot, as represented in this age, in our day, imagines he can enslave the people..
But they were born free. They were freed by God’s will through prophets and messengers, to be slaves only to Him and not to anyone of the people." Saddam Hussein, Iraq Daily 4-3-2003
A person with a God Complex may refuse to admit the possibility of their error or failure, even in the face of irrefutable evidence, intractable problems or difficult or impossible tasks.
The person is also highly dogmatic in their views, meaning the person speaks of their personal opinions as though they are unquestionably correct.
Someone with a god complex may exhibit no regard for the conventions and demands of society, and may request special consideration or privileges.
"...To be a human being among human beings, and remain one forever, no matter what misfortunes befall, not to become depressed, and not to falter - this is what life is, herein lies its task." Fyodor Dostoevsky (to his brother Mikhail, Dec. 22, 1849)
“All mankind is from Adam and Eve. An Arab has no superiority over a non-Arab nor a non-Arab has any superiority over an Arab; also a white has no superiority over black nor a black has any superiority over white except by piety and good action. Learn that every Muslim is a brother to every Muslim and that the Muslims constitute one brotherhood. Nothing shall be legitimate to a Muslim which belongs to a fellow Muslim unless it was given freely and willingly.
“Do not therefore do injustice to yourselves. Remember one day you will meet Allah and answer your deeds. So beware, do not astray from the path of righteousness after I am gone." Prophet Muhammad, Last Sermon
“Human beings are members of a whole,
In creation of one essence and soul.
If one member is afflicted with pain,
Other members uneasy will remain.
If you have no sympathy for human pain,
The name of human you can not retain.”
(Persian poet & humanist, born in Shiraz, Iran, c. 1210)
Israel needs to stop being an ideology and start being a nation. A nation of all of its citizens, all with equal national, civil and religious rights.
After 70 years, only partial justice and restoration is possible for the Palestinian people. Whatever constitutional arrangements are arrived at, equality should be the guiding principle at work.
As for Zionism let’s ditch it and move on. 'It’s time to place it in a glass cabinet and put it in a museum in a room marked: ‘Dead Ends & False Messiahs’.
There is no “Judaeo-Christian heritage.”
"The practices under which Jesus was raised in Galilee were anathema to Judaic orthodoxy. One might discern the seedbed of Christianity and the teachings of Jesus within “Galilee of the Gentiles” and why his teachings were regarded with outrage by the Pharisaic priesthood. One can also discern why there has been such a hatred of Christianity and Jesus in the rabbinical teachings of the Talmud and elsewhere.
The phenomenon of such an oddity as “Christian Zionism” is for Zionists and the Orthodox rabbinate (which should not be confounded with Reform Judaism) nothing more than the equivalent of a “shabbez goy,” a Gentile hired by Orthodox Jews to undertake menial tasks on the Sabbath. “Judaeo-Christianity” only exists in the minds of craven Gentiles who embrace delusional creeds, or who wish to further their careers by making the correct noises to the right people.
(Kerry R Bolton, Foreign Policy Journal, May 29, 2018)
Choseness is what binds Zionists together.
To be chosen is to see oneself as an exceptional creation. It entails blindness to otherness. It is a form of impunity. To be chosen often involves a near or total lack of empathy. Such lack is often defined in terms of acute narcissism and psychopathy....
I know well that Zionism was born to emancipate Diaspora Jews from their exceptionalist cultural traits and to make them ‘people like all other people.’
Like an early Zionist, I would have liked to see Jews liberate themselves from the choseness prison, but I accept that such a shift can not occur in the form of a collective or political movement. The escape from choseness to the ordinary must be an individual struggle, a surrender to self-contempt that eventually matures into a genuine search for peace and harmony with the universe, with the soil and with one’s neighbours. (Gilad Atzmon, 24-6-2019)
"Holism is the most fundamental discovery of 20th century science. It is a discovery of every science from astrophysics to quantum physics to environmental science to psychology to anthropology.
It is the discovery that the entire universe is an integral whole, and that the basic organizational principle of the universe is the field principle: the universe consists of fields within fields, levels of wholeness and integration that mirror in fundamental ways, and integrate with, the ultimate, cosmic whole...." "For many thinkers and religious teachers throughout this history, holism was the dominant thought, and the harmony that it implies has most often been understood to encompass cosmic, civilizational, and personal dimensions. Jesus, Mohammed, Buddha, Lord Krishna, Lao Tzu, and Confucius all give us visions of transformative harmony, a transformative harmony that derives from a deep relation to the holism of the cosmos."
About political holism
Political holism is based on the recognition that "we" are all members of a single whole. There's no "they," even though "we" are not all alike. Because "we" are all part of the whole, and therefore interdependent, we benefit from cooperating with each other. Political holism is a way of thinking about human cultures and nations as interdependent. Political holists search for solutions other than war to settle international disagreements. Their model of the world is one in which cooperation and negotiation, even with the enemy, even with the weak, promotes political stability more than warfare.
In an overpopulated world with planet-wide environmental problems, the development of weapons of mass destruction has rendered war obsolete as an effective means to resolve disputes.
Political dualists consider political holists unpatriotic for questioning the necessity to defeat "them." In times of impending war, political dualists tend to measure patriotism by the intensity of one's hostility to the country's immediate enemy. Naturally, they would view as disloyalty any suggestion that the enemy is not evil, any call for cooperation with the enemy, any criticism of one's own country.
To political dualists, cooperation with the enemy means capitulation, relinquishment of the nation's position of dominance. At its extreme, political dualism is essentially tribalism. (Betty Craige, 16-8-1997)
Desmond Tutu & Ubuntu
"A person with Ubuntu is open and available to others, affirming of others, does not feel threatened that others are able and good, based from a proper self-assurance that comes from knowing that he or she belongs in a greater whole and is diminished when others are humiliated or diminished, when others are tortured or oppressed."
"We think of ourselves far too frequently as just individuals, separated from one another, whereas you are connected and what you do affects the whole World.
When you do well, it spreads out; it is for the whole of humanity." (Ubuntu info)
In an interview to Israel’s Kan channel, Israel State Security Cabinet member Zeev Elkin said he was unenthusiastic about the House of Representatives’ recent decision on Israel, because the decision expressed support for establishment of a Palestinian state.
"A Palestinian state is not the solution," Elkin said. “It is instead the root of the problem. And therefore I am not enthusiastic about this decision".
Elkin explained that since the resolution incorporated two-state solution language, supporting establishment of a new Palestinian-Arab area with statehood status, he had refrained from issuing any statement of support for the resolution...
Elkin is a member of Israel’s ruling party, the Likud. The Likud as well as Israel’s traditional/Orthodox right wing parties, strongly oppose establishment of a Palestinian state in the area between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea. These parties enjoy a majority in the Israeli electorate.
Some although not all parties in the Israeli left still support establishment of a Palestinian state.
The Israeli right has long argued, no additional Arab state need be established within the over-populated mandatory Land of Israel, nestled between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean.
This area alone was recognized as the sole homeland of the Jewish people by the international community responsive to the Balfour Declaration, the Israeli Right points out. Elkin serves on the Government of Israel’s State Security Cabinet and is also Minister of Jerusalem Affairs.
There is nothing the Israel Right loves more than adopting the criticism of its rivals on the Left in order to justify its rule.
Strangely, this criticism has turned into a main aspect of the language settlers use when describing their “coexistence” with the Palestinians in the occupied territories.
Their argument goes as such: while Tel Aviv is a bubble where rich, liberal Jews love Arabs in theory only, in the West Bank we truly see the Palestinians as humans and as neighbors. The Left fantasizes about peace agreements with people it doesn’t even know, but the Right’s version of coexistence includes real people — who are sometimes filled with hate and sometimes are not, who work and live together but want to keep their own culture, and who see each other as equals.
Sounds great, doesn’t it? Except that if the first part of the argument has some grounding in reality, the second part is simply absurd. In fact, all it does is evince the grotesque lack of awareness brought on by the Right’s intoxication with power. The Right’s imagined coexistence in the occupied territories is uncannily similar to the kind whites dreamed of in Rhodesia. That is, we can get our cars fixed for cheap, and they can come work for us, bereft of any rights. In the meantime, they can continue living in their crowded cities and squalid refugee camps.
It is true that Jews and Palestinians live amongst each other in the West Bank, but we must also say a word about the way in which they cross paths: Palestinians must travel on dilapidated roads, behind walls and barbed wire, and are crowded into checkpoints like cattle.
Settlers, on the other hand, live in pleasant communities, traveling in new cars on nice highways, angry at every little inconvenience caused by that other pesky nation that lives here. The ability to ignore all these may be a human quality, but it is certainly not something to be proud of for its “authenticity.”
A few years ago, I wrote a piece for Haaretz about the leaders of the Israeli Right who believe in a democratic, one-state solution...
Today there is no viable movement for annexing the West Bank and granting citizens to its Palestinian residents.
In fact, there is no worldview that accepts the very notion of Palestinian rights; there is no pilot for partnership or coexistence in any major West Bank city; not a single interfaith initiative; and no Israeli alternative to the two-state model or the corrupt, violent Palestinian Authority.
At most there are a few commercial initiatives or joint environmental struggles, and a handful of settlers — praiseworthy as they may be — who take part in movements for change.
Herein lies the difference between the Right and the liberal Left, and even some parts of the political center. When the latter two are elected to lead the country, they at least try to promote the two-state agenda that they talk about.
Under Yitzhak Rabin, there was a tangible change in the rights of Israel’s Palestinian citizens, such that despite all the criticism, there was some correlation between words and deeds. But the Right has been in power these past years, and the religious Zionists have become its dominant group. So where is the alternative? Where is the coexistence, or even the symbolic first step toward one?
These interest the Right inasmuch as they can be used to discredit its political rivals, and the only equality they are willing to offer Palestinians is the one between a prison guard and his prisoner.
Taliban spokesman Mohammed Suhail Shaheen says that the US and Taliban are “getting close” on the peace deal in Afghanistan, and that an agreement could be concluded soon if the US makes a “reasonable and convincing proposal.”
Both sides have indicated strong progress in the Doha talks. This upbeat comment from the Taliban comes a day after a joint US-Afghan statement agreeing to work to speed up the peace effort. The broad basis for the deal is the US withdrawing from Afghanistan and the Taliban agreeing to keep ISIS and al-Qaeda out of the country.
A power-sharing agreement between the Afghan government and Taliban, which is likely to be a top priority.
There has been hope for some time that the deal could be reached before Afghanistan’s September election. It seems possible that such a deal could still be reached in that time-frame.
Direct talks between the Taliban and an Afghan negotiating team that will include top government officials will take place after the United States concludes its own "agreements" with the group, according to the US special envoy for Afghanistan.
The comments by Zalmay Khalilzad on Sunday came after Abdul Salam Rahimi, Afghanistan's state minister for peace affairs, said that a 15-member government delegation would meet the Taliban within the next fortnight in Europe, without elaborating.. "Intra-Afghan talks will start only after a foreign force withdrawal is announced," said Suhail Shaheen, a spokesman for the Taliban's political office in Qatar.
The Taliban has been holding peace talks with the US for nearly a year, but refused to meet with the government, viewing it as a US puppet.
The eighth round of US-Taliban talks will take place next week in Qatar's capital, Doha, aiming to end the near 18-year military involvement of the US in Afghanistan.
Washington has said it wants to see a deal inked by September 1, but any deal requires the Taliban to talk to Kabul.
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo agreed in a telephone conversation on Wednesday that "now is the time to accelerate efforts to reach a negotiated end to the war in Afghanistan..."
Washington is training Syrian militants in the U.S.-controlled zone in the central province of Homs, while U.S. companies are pilfering oil from the country, chief of the Russian General Staff's Main Operations Directorate Sergei Rudskoy said Monday.
"In the 55-km area around al-Tanf, U.S. instructors are training a large armed unit, Magavir al-Saura, and a number of small militant groups for the so-called Army of Arab Tribes," Rudskoy said at a news briefing.
"The total number of militants reaches 2,700 people," he said.
Part of the militants trained at al-Tanf in the remote southeastern countryside of Homs are being transferred by U.S. Air Force helicopters to the east bank of the Euphrates and territories controlled by Syrian government troops, according to the senior Russian officer. They are tasked with sabotage, destruction of oil and gas infrastructure and launching terrorist attacks against government forces, he said.
Moreover, the United States is busy with plundering the oil facilities and deposits on the east bank of the Euphrates belonging to the Syrian government, Rudskoy said.
He said, the number of employees of U.S. private military companies at the hydrocarbon facilities in the region has increased to over 3,500 people.
A significant part of the proceeds from the smuggling of oil is spent on the maintenance of the illegal armed groups, bribing the sheikhs of Arab tribal unions and fomenting anti-government sentiments, Rudskoy said.
"In exchange for help in smuggling oil, the United States is arming to the teeth both Kurdish and Arabian forces, which then apply it against each other, worsening the situation in the war-torn region," Rudskoy said. The U.S. military claimed that it would maintain a force at al-Tanf to bolster local forces against Islamic State (IS).
Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi on Monday described as a “positive signal” a call by Riyadh for talks with Tehran, calling on all Muslim countries to set aside their differences to move forward.
“We regard this move as a positive signal and our reaction to any positive signal would be positive,” Mousavi said during a press conference in Tehran.
He also lauded the United Arab Emirates’ decision to pull its forces out of Yemen as a good step in reducing regional tensions, saying Iran would help as much as it can in this path.
Asked about the implications of Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif’s nuclear offer to the U.S. in return for lifting of sanctions, Mousavi said Iran has said on numerous occasions that talks are possible “only if we could get some tangible and practical results out of it.”
Zarif, on a recent visit to New York, noted that in 2023, under the JCPOA, Iran’s parliament, the Majlis, was supposed to ratify the Additional Protocol to the NPT, a voluntary agreement that allows IAEA inspectors extensive access in Iran to ensure the country does not have a covert nuclear weapons program.
As part of the JCPOA, Iran already observes the protocol. Ratification by the Majlis would make it a more permanent commitment.
“If Trump wants more for more, we can ratify the Additional Protocol and he can lift the sanctions he set,” Zarif said. “He has said that he will take any measure to Congress – fine. Lift the sanctions and you’ll have the Additional Protocol sooner than 2023.”
For the last month, the foreign policy establishment has been abuzz over the new kid on the block: the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft, named for John Quincy Adams.
Adams, along with our first president George Washington, warned of foreign entanglements and the urge to go abroad in “search of monsters to destroy,” lest America’s fundamental policy “insensibly change from liberty to force…. She might become the dictatress of the world. She would be no longer the ruler of her own spirit….”
Quincy will stand apart from [other organisations] in two significant ways: it is drawing its intellectual and political firepower from both the anti-war Left and the realist and restraint Right.
And it is poised to support a new “responsible statecraft,” one that challenges the conditions of endless war, including persistent American militarism here and abroad, the military industrial complex, and a doctrine that worships primacy and a liberal world order over peace and the sovereignty of other nations.
Quincy, which is rolling out its statement of principles this week (its official launch will be in the fall), is the brainchild of Trita Parsi, former head of the National Iranian-American Council, who saw an opening to bring together Left and Right academics, activists, and media disenchanted by both sides’ pro-war proclivities.
Together with Vietnam veteran and former Boston University professor Andrew Bacevich, the Carnegie Endowment’s Suzanne DiMaggio, Columbia University’s Stephen Wertheim, and investigative journalist Eli Clifton, the group wants to serve as a counterweight to both liberal interventionists like the Brookings Institution and Council on Foreign Relations, and the war hawks and neoconservatives of the Heritage Foundation and Foundation for Defense of Democracies.
According to the group’s new statement of principles, “responsible statecraft” 1) serves the public interest, 2) engages the world, 3) builds a peaceful world, 4) abhors war, and 5) is democratic. They’ve already taken hits from both sides of the establishment, dismissed brusquely as naive, or worse, isolationist...
The fact that Quincy will be funded by both George Soros on the Left and the Charles Koch Foundation on the Right has brought some rebuke from unfriendlies and even some friendlies. The former hate on one or the other powerful billionaire, while the latter are wary of Soros’ intentions...
Andrew Bacevich and Trita Parsi expanded on this further in a recent Q&A with TAC.
- TAC: Quincy’s principles—and thus it’s name—are rooted in the mission of “responsible statecraft.” Can you give me a sense of what that means in practical terms?
- AB: Its abiding qualities are realism, restraint, prudence, and vigorous engagement. While the QI is not anti-military, we are wary of war except when all other alternatives have been exhausted.
In a fundamental sense, the purpose of the QI is to educate the American people and their leaders regarding the Blob’s shortcomings, exposing the deficiencies of old ideas and proposing new ones to take their place.
TAC: There has been much ado about your two primary funders—Charles Koch and George Soros. What do you say to critics who suggest you will be tied to/limited by their agendas?
AB: Our funding sources are not confined to Koch and Soros and we will continue to broaden our support base. It’s not for me to speak for Koch or Soros. But my guess is they decided to support the QI because they support our principles. They too believe in policies based on realism, restraint, prudence, and vigorous engagement.
TAC: Critics say that Washington leaders, once in office, are “mugged by reality,” suggesting that the idea of rolling back military interventions and avoiding others sounds good on paper but presidents like Barack Obama had no choice, that this is all about protecting interests and hard-nosed realism. The alternative is a bit naive. How do you respond?
AB: Choices are available if our leaders have the creativity to recognize them and the gumption to pursue them. Obama’s patient and resolute pursuit of the Iran nuclear deal affirms this possibility. The QI will expose the “we have no choice” argument as false. We will identify and promote choice, thereby freeing U.S. policy from outmoded habits and stale routines.
Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu visited the Israeli town of Efrat, promising that "no settler will be evicted." "What you are doing here is eternal," Netanyahu told Efrat's residents during a visit to the town's new boardwalk.
"From here, we see the past, present, and future. I have made a commitment that you are proving. At the end of the day, no town and no settler will be uprooted. We're done with that." "Efrat will continue to grow and prosper, always.
"Efrat and Gush Etzion are Jerusalem's southern gate. I have had the great merit to build Judea and Samaria and to connect Gush Etzion to Jerusalem. I am committed to it. We stood up to enormous pressure and an complex international front, and we succeeded...."
The boardwalk overlooks Efrat's newer neighborhoods, built with Netanyahu's support.
Over the past few years, a total of 1057 new housing units were approved in Efrat, alongside schools, preschools, and infrastructure. Approximately 600 of the housing units are already populated, and the rest are expected to be ready within two years, and another 8250 are being planned.
A grand 750 million shekels are being invested in expanding the road connecting Gush Etzion to Jerusalem.
Towards the end of the event, Efrat Council Head Oded Revivi unveiled the boardwalk's new sign, which bears dedication to Netanyahu: "Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu builds and is a loyal partner of Efrat, the capital of Gush Etzion, from which Jerusalem, Israel's capital, is visible."
Gush Etzion is a cluster of Jewish settlements located in the Judaean Mountains, directly south of Jerusalem and Bethlehem in the West Bank. As of 2011, Gush Etzion consisted of 22 settlements with a population of 70,000. The international community considers Israeli settlements in the West Bank illegal under international law. (Wikipedia info)
WASHINGTON: The United States on Wednesday imposed sanctions on Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, the US Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control said on its website.
The Treasury Department said it was imposing sanctions on Zarif for acting on behalf of Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
“Javad Zarif implements the reckless agenda of Iran’s Supreme Leader, and is the regime’s primary spokesperson around the world,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a statement.
Tensions have risen between the United States and Iran following US President Donald Trump’s withdrawal last year from a 2015 international nuclear accord with Tehran.
"Knowing the enemy and its methods is [an] important factor. We should not forget about the existence of a spiteful enemy. .. We should not make a mistake in knowing the main enemy, who in the present time is global arrogance and the criminal Zionist network. For decades, the oppressed Palestinian nation has been receiving strikes as a result of the crimes of the Zionist regime and its supporters.
In the countries of Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq, terrorism - which originates from the policies of global arrogance and its agents in the region - has ruined the lives of the people." Syria has come under the attack of arrogant powers and their regional agents because of supporting anti-Zionist orientations and it has experienced a bloody civil war.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has responded to US sanctions imposed on him by saying "thank you for considering me such a huge threat to your agenda".
Iran's Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi said in a tweet that the US has sanctioned Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif because they feared his negotiating skills.
"The peak of stupidity and inconsistency of America's leaders is at a point where they don't recognize Dr. Zarif as being influential in Iran's policy but with the ultimate ignorance they sanction him!" Mousavi said.
"The Americans have a strong fear of the logic of Dr. Zarif and his negotiating skills".
Rouhani: "They have started doing childish things"
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Thursday slammed fresh US sanctions targeting his country's foreign minister as "childish" and a barrier to diplomacy.
The financial sanctions imposed on Javad Zarif were announced by US President Donald Trump on Wednesday as part of an escalating campaign to pressure the Islamic Republic.
"They have started doing childish things," Rouhani said in a speech in the western city of Tabriz, in Azerbaijan province.
"Every day they claim: 'We want to negotiate with Iran, without any pre-conditions'. and then they put sanctions on the country's foreign minister," he said.
Zarif, a relative moderate within Iran's clerically overseen political system, was an architect of the nuclear deal, which offered Iran sanctions relief in exchange for internationally-monitored limits on its nuclear program. (The New Arab, 1-8-2019)
Iran and Syria are set to establish three joint factories that will supply the country with vital staples such as anti-cancer medicine, baby formula and cars.
Representatives of Syrian and Iranian businesses held talks on Tuesday in Damascus to set up three companies before the upcoming Eid al-Adha (Muslim sacrifice rituals) August 12.
“We are moving from consumption products sector towards industrial sector to achieve a solid period for the Syrian industry,” said Amin Nahhas, secretary of Syria-Iran joint economic committee, on the sidelines of the meetings held at Sheraton Hotel in the Syrian capital.
“We are considering establishing very modern industries in construction, health, medicine, milk sectors to break the unjust coercive measures imposed on Syria,” added Nahhas. The Syria-Iran joint economic committee was formed in January in a bid to pave the way for the creation of Syria-Iran joint chamber of commerce. Iran is keen on dominating Syria’s reconstruction market as Damascus moves to rebuild itself.
Commander of Iran’s Border Police Brigadier General Qassem Rezaei shaking hands with his Emirati counterpart Brigadier General Mohammad Ali Mesbah al Ahbabi. (Press TV)
We have seen quite a policy shift in Abu Dhabi towards Iran in recent weeks. The recent escalation of tensions has caused a major strategic rethink. The UAE has realised that Iran is more resolved and determined to fight back when cornered than had previously been expected.
The ambiguous response from US President Donald Trump to the recent tanker attacks and the downing of a drone suggested to Abu Dhabi that it may have to bear the main burden of the conflict if things were to escalate further. Since June, a few high-level delegations from the UAE have flown to Iran, without an official statement from Abu Dhabi.
The delegations discussed regional policy with a focus on Yemen and Syria, as well as maritime border security, airspace security and trade. The ultimate message from Abu Dhabi to Tehran is: “We are not interested in conflict.”. The unpredictability and ambiguity of the Trump administration on Iran has worried Abu Dhabi, and there seems to be a consensus that while for the US this might be a game with few direct consequences, the UAE - and other Gulf countries - would be on the frontlines of any war. The UAE is Iran’s most important trading partner in the Gulf.. Ultimately, Abu Dhabi is scared that a confrontation with Iran could undermine everything the UAE has built up over the years, in terms of trade, business relationships, tourism and political leverage.
TRT World, 31-7-2019: “I think UAE is reassessing its foriegn policy. UAE’s exit from Yemen and its rapprochement with Iran are two signs,” Foad Izadi, Political Science Professor at Tehran University, told TRT World.
“They realise relying on the Saudis and Trump is not very safe in the long run.”
“Until today, despite new US sanctions on Iran, the UAE maintains very deep trade relations with Iran, importing steel and metal products, and allowing Iranians to launder money in the UAE, mostly Dubai, in breach of US sanctions.”
Zvi Yehezkeli, News 13's analyst for Arab issues, spoke to 103 FM Radio about the mysterious attacks in Iraq and Syria, which he believes will continue.
- Last week, you said Israel should continue attacking Iranian bases in Iraq and Syria, and that's what happened. What's next? What will the next developments in the conflict with Iran be?
- "It will continue, because we're not talking about specific attacks. We're talking about a country inching towards Israel's border, a country backed by a country with reserves - Syria and Iraq, which is behind Syria. It's a country with a Shiite messianic vision to come and defeat all Sunnis in the area, and they won't stop, so the attacks in Iraq are attacks at the eleventh hour. Israel saw the entrenchment and did it the moment they moved missiles which can attack Israel into Iran. The moment Iran has weapons which shift the balance, Israel attacks."
- Will the Israeli attacks continue?
- "As long as the Iranians are trying to move weapons to these areas. And because and in accordance with that, it can happen in Iraq also. And I wouldn't be surprised if it happens in other places where the Iranians are. It could also happen in Yemen. I'm looking at Qasem Soleimani, who heads the terror arm of the Revolutionary Guards and who is in Iraq, and at how he prepared for Israel to continue attacking - he evacuated bases, he hid weapons..."
- Meaning that the Iranians are preparing for Israel's next attacks.
- "Certainly. They feel frustrated and helpless, because they can't reach us...
- You mentioned Qasem Soleimani. Isn't it time Israel or an emissary eliminated him? He's the snake pulling all the strings.
- "It's time. Soleimani is a person with charisma... If he's not around, Israel will have it much easier.
The question of his elimination has been raised a few times, by the Americans and by Israel - I don't know why a decision hasn't been made.
If you ask me, quality eliminations could be carried out on only two people - Hassan Nasrallah and Qasem Soleimani. Nasrallah is hiding, Soleimani is still out there."
- So you would suggest eliminating Qasem Soleimani?
- "If they would ask me, I would say yes.
Zvi Yehezkeli is an Israeli journalist, who has become 'Torah-observant' [ultra-orthodox] in recent years. He is a member of the Gush Etzion settlers community, a group of settlements located in the [occupied] West-Bank.
When Israel captured the territory during the Six Day War in 1967, a new wave of young, religious Zionist idealists, led by a charismatic paratrooper called Hannan Porat, ventured into the West Bank and began to build. Today, the bloc has a combined population of about 63,000.
Read also: Meet the settlers,
A journey through the West Bank
By Jake Wallis Simons, The Telegraph
THERE ARE three central dilemmas that inhabit the public discourse in Israel – civil, socioeconomic and diplomatic. On all three we’re paralyzed. The way out of the paralysis is to find the compromises that lead to action.
1. The first dilemma is life in a “Jewish-Democratic state.” It’s a complex project – morally, socially, practically and legally. Without Judaism we won’t have a community to belong to; without civil rights it won’t be a community worth belonging to. If one of the two options wins, we all lose.
We will fight with all our might against the possibility of a halachic, theocratic state but equally we will fight against the idea of a “state of all its citizens” which removes the Jewish identity.
To create the right balance, we’re committed to a series of smart compromises: a different formulation of the nation-state bill; a Supreme Court override bill that doesn’t destroy the authority of the court; writing a constitution that will bridge between the different parts of Israeli society.
The aim of the debate isn’t the victory of one philosophy over the other, but the creation of a balance that allows us to live together – secular and religious, Left and Right, Jews and Arabs.
2. The second dilemma is the balance between a free market economy and our commitment to a country that cares for all its citizens.
Capitalism isn’t a just system, but it’s the only efficient one. Social justice is evidently good, but only if it isn’t a code name for jealousy and attempts to limit the success of others. For the economy to succeed, the state needs to interfere as little as possible...
Capitalism may seem cold and harsh, but only it can create the resources a country needs. Without those resources, a country can’t afford security, healthcare, education and welfare.
Instead of headlines and slogans, we need to navigate carefully between options and needs.
When are problems created? When the government brings extraneous interests into the equation. When it transfers billions of shekels to extortionists and extremists, the free market ceases to be free, and welfare ceases to be fair.
3. The third dilemma is the diplomatic one. The State of Israel is navigating between a dangerous present and a dangerous future.
On the one hand we must never give up on the principle that Israel’s security remains in Israeli hands. We don’t trust anyone else, and certainly not the Palestinians.
On the other hand, if we don’t separate from them, the time will come (and it isn’t that far off) when they will say, “We get it; you won’t give us a state, so let us vote and be citizens.” If we say yes, we’ll no longer be a Jewish state; and if we say no, we’ll no longer be a democracy. We need to avoid irreversible steps in Judea and Samaria that will prevent us from separating from the Palestinians in the future, and to do all we can to create a regional conference (with the Saudis, Egyptians, Jordanians and Gulf states) to restart the diplomatic process.
In the past two years we have missed an incredible opportunity in Donald Trump. We have in the White House a leader who will give us his full support for an initiative. Instead of taking advantage of that fact, the government of Israel has done nothing. Extremists and populists sell us an illusion that as the ideology is purer and more confrontational, it is also stronger and more authentic. They describe the Center as tepid, slow and lifeless.
The opposite is true. The Center is flexible; the extremes are rigid. The Center knows how to compromise; the extremes know only how to become entrenched. That’s why the Center can change reality, while the extremes can only argue with it.
I am Russian. That’s how I feel and therefore, that’s what I am. I was born in Russia, in the Soviet Union – in what was and still is a stunningly beautiful city on the Neva River called Leningrad... My Russia is a Russia of principles, of justice and courage. My grandparents fought for such a nation, and half of my relatives died, defending it. In the past, during those few terrible years when Russia was enchanted with the North American and European cheap glitter and lies, we found ourselves, unfortunately, far apart...
‘My country’, my abstract, imaginary but nevertheless beloved homeland, got humiliated, robbed and almost destroyed by political and market fundamentalists in Washington, London, Paris.
After the demolition of the Soviet Union, the life expectancy of Russian people dropped to sub-Saharan African levels... Russia was shaken, stripped of its essence, and stepped on. The West gave nothing, it only took. And once the Soviet internationalism was out of the way, the United States, U.K. and France began the unbridled plunder of the world: Iraq, Serbia, Libya…
For several years, I looked in despair at how Russia was collapsing, losing its dignity... And how the West was laughing at it... I felt deep scorn for the naiveté of Gorbachev, and right after that, for the perverted destructive servility of Yeltsin. For the sake of its own people and the world, Russia had no right to be weak; so much depended on it.
I wrote about it, about what I was witnessing, but Russia was not ready for me then...
Eventually, majority of people understood. The government changed. Pride returned.
The dark days of humiliation did not last long. Russia, indignant and righteous, once again got up from its knees, and confronted the Western usurpers and imperialism. It regained its soul, its compassion, and its great culture.
From that very moment, I regained my Motherland. This was the Russia that I knew, respected and loved..
And a big, tough ideological fight it has been, since the moment that Russia began defending its interests and its people, as well as billions of oppressed human beings all around the world! I do not expect Russia or China to be ‘perfect’. I do not believe in perfection. I only want them to be human. And human they are. And they behave as such...
"I never saw my choice as some sacrifice. It is great privilege, an honor, to fight colonialist West. I confront it, particularly its brainwashing narrative, on all continents, and in all corners of the world. It is great fight and I love fighting it.
I often feel betrayed, even abandoned, by some of my comrades, I sometimes fall from exhaustion, or injury. But I never regret embarking on this path. It is my obligation to fight for better, socialist world. I never see it as a sacrifice." (How I became a revolutionary: André Vltchek, Pravda, 12-6-2018)
The "oligarchs" are a tiny group of entrepreneurs who exploited the disintegration of the Soviet system to loot the treasures of the state and to amass plunder amounting to hundreds of billions of dollars. In order to safeguard the perpetuation of their business, they took control of the state. Six out of the seven are Jews.
In the first years of post-Soviet Russian capitalism they were the bold and nimble ones who knew how to exploit the economic anarchy in order to acquire enormous possessions for a hundredth or a thousandth of their value: oil, natural gas, nickel and other minerals. They used every possible trick, including cheating, bribery and murder. Every one of them had a small private army... In practice, the oligarchs ruled Russia....
In the end, there was a reaction: Vladimir Putin, the taciturn and tough ex-KGB operative, assumed power, took control of the media, put one of the oligarchs (Mikhail Khodorkovsky) in prison and caused the others to flee...
These facts must alarm everybody who cares about democracy--in Israel, Russia, the United States and elsewhere. Oligarchy and democracy are incompatible.
As a Russian commentator in the TV series said about the new Russian democracy: "They have turned a virgin into a whore."
Uri Avnery (10 September 1923 – 20 August 2018) was an Israeli writer, politician, and founder of the Gush peace movement.
Israeli social media users post hundreds of memes and posts comparing the prime minister to North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un after 40 members of his party signed 'unity petition' affirming Netanyahu 'is the only Likud candidate for prime minister'
On Sunday, some 40 Likud members signed the petition, saying they will only accept Netanyahu as the party’s candidate for prime minister, “regardless of the election results.”
Likud later issued an official statement affirming that Netanyahu “is the only Likud candidate for prime minister — and there will be no other candidate.”
Among those mocking the prime minister was Alon Pinkas who served as Consul General of Israel in New York City. He posted an image of Netanyahu that’s reminiscent of North Korean propaganda posters, with a caption: “Thank you to everyone who signed, I love you.”
Lampooning the Likud party for forcing its candidates in the upcoming elections to sign a pledge of unequivocal support for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, activists from the Labor party placed a placard in central Tel Aviv on Monday for passersby to vow loyalty to human beings...
“The Likud party pledges to Bibi, we pledge to human beings,” read the Labor statement...
Among the signatories were leader Amir Peretz, who said that his party was committed to ousting Netanyahu.“They pledge not to replace Bibi, we pledge to replace him and his ways,” he said.
“Netanyahu prefers to pay the price of the conflict and not the political price of a solution so as not to upset the messianic extreme right that he depends on for his continued rule, and for his freedom,” added Peretz.
Likud’s scramble Sunday to force its candidates to affirm their allegiance to Netanyahu came after Avigdor Liberman outlined a scenario in which Netanyahu could be ousted as head of the ruling party if he rejected Liberman’s proposed unity government between Likud, Yisrael Beytenu and Blue and White.
On Sunday evening, at an event with Likud members in the southern resort city of Eilat, Benjamon Netanyahu alleged, “They really want to destroy democracy, because they have a shady plot.
“What is the shady plot? Lapid, Liberman, a few others, they have a shady plot. I wouldn’t be surprised if it is also some of us from the right as well,” he continued.
“What’s the plan? They want to fulfill their ambition to be prime ministers, but they have a problem because the public is choosing Likud.”
The short answer is: yes, of course. Zionism has been Leninist, social-democratic, liberal, secular, pacifist, anti-imperialist, proletarian, even, until this became impossible, binational. It has also been militaristic, authoritarian, bourgeois, racist, religious, messianic, imperialist, and neofascist.... What is left-wing Zionism? Domestically, being left-wing in Israel is pretty much the same as being left-wing anywhere else: it means supporting workers’ rights, ethnic and gender equality, a fair distribution of wealth, the rule of law, and democratic political participation for all. In foreign affairs, left-wing Zionism is the support for a viable, independent Palestinian state alongside an Israeli one.
The difference between left-wing and right-wing Zionists is that leftists view Israel’s occupation of the West Bank as the tragic, self-inflicted negation of Zionism, while rightists regard it as Zionism’s jubilant culmination.
In its early decades Israel combined socialist, or social-democratic, politics with democratic freedoms.
As Fred Halliday wrote, until 1967 “Israel enjoyed enormous authority, not so much as a close ally of the west, which at that time it was not . . . but as the site of an experiment in socialist economics and living.”
But Israel has changed. Like so many countries, including the United States, Israel’s economic structure has gravitated over the last several decades toward neoliberalism and grossly increased inequality...
Politically, there has been a horrific rise in racism and Jewish terrorism against Palestinians, a steep decline in secularism and recognition of the secular state’s authority, and enactment of ominous laws restricting dissent. Developments on the foreign front have been nothing short of disastrous... Perhaps worst of all, for many Israelis the occupation has been “normalized.”
The Haredi community was up in arms Monday after Blue and White No. 2 Yair Lapid tweeted a satirical campaign video portraying senior ultra-Orthodox politicians as venal and corrupt, demanding large sums of money in exchange for pledging loyalty to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
The clip, which poked fun at the Likud party for forcing its candidates in the upcoming elections to sign loyalty oaths, portrayed a fictional group chat in popular messaging service WhatsApp in which the leaders of several small parties are asked to swear to support the candidacy of “Benjamin Netanyahu, the first of his name, messenger of God, leader of the right and father of dragons.”
In the video, Shas chairman Aryeh Deri responds by saying, “You want me to sign? Give another trillion shekels for the yeshivas” while United Torah Judaism chairman Yaakov Litzman says, “I want all the money in Israel.”
“Anti-Semitism — there is no other word,” Deri responded to the video on Twitter. Litzman likewise called the ad anti-Semitic, declaring that it had crossed a “red line”... Lapid responded quickly: “I’m not impressed that they scream ‘hate, hate’ every time someone criticizes them.
This is not anti-Semitism. We will continue to fight for Israel as a Jewish, democratic, free and liberal state.” He said that what he described as the humorous clip was part of legitimate political campaigning.
Yesh Atid (“there is a future") is a political party founded by Yair Lapid in 2012.
Yesh Atid portrays itself as a centrist political party with the slogan “We believe that Israel is a democratic, Jewish state in the spirit of the visions of the prophets of Israel.”
Young Yair Lapid: Jew? OK. Orthodoxy? Not my kind of thing...
Yesh Atid became the first Israeli political party to form an “Anglo women’s division,” on February 29, 2016, in an effort to attract new voters. The Anglo women’s division will focus on women’s issues, as well as female representation in government.
Yesh Atid is in favor of:
• Creating greater religious pluralism, diversity and equality between Jews and all movements of Judaism within Israel by instituting public funding by the state for the non-Orthodox movements within Judaism, such as the Reform, Conservative, Reconstructionist and Humanistic movements, similar to the public funding of the Orthodox Chief Rabbinate by the state.
• Allowing non-Orthodox movements to perform religious conversions and weddings, and have their conversions and weddings accepted as legitimate by the state.
• Instituting civil marriage in Israel, including between same-sex couples.
• Enact a constitution to regulate tense relations between population groups in Israel.
• Renewing peace negotiations with the Palestinians and halting construction in Israeli settlements.
"God," a Hasidic master remarked, "does not say that 'it was good' after creating man; this indicates that man was not finished."
It is man himself, guided by God's word as voiced by the Torah and the Prophets, who can develop his inherent nature in the process of history.
The essence of human evolution lies in man's emergence from the incestuous ties to blood and soil into independence and freedom.
Man, the prisoner of nature, becomes free by becoming fully human
In the biblical and later Jewish view, freedom and independence are the goals of human development, and the aim of human action is the constant process of liberating oneself from the shackles that bind man to the past, to nature, to the clan, to idols...
Authoritarian or Humanistic?
In his book Psychoanalysis and Religion Erich Fromm draws a distinction between two types of religion: authoritarian (being a slave of idols, projection of God in man-made things) and humanistic (fighting idols, finding God in yourself). He writes:
“The essential element in authoritarian religion and in the authoritarian religious experience is the surrender to a power transcending man. The main virtue of this type of religion is obedience, its cardinal sin is disobedience..."
“Humanistic religion, on the contrary, is centered around man and his strength. Man must develop his power of reason in order to understand himself, his relationship to his fellow men and his position in the universe.
"Religious experience in this kind of religion is the experience of oneness with the All, based on one’s relatedness to the world as it is grasped with thought and with love."
The European Union condemned Israel for approving the construction of homes for Jews in [the occupied West Bank].
“Israeli authorities have approved the advancement of well over 2,000 housing units in illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank.
The European Union's position on Israeli settlement policy in the occupied Palestinian territory is clear and remains unchanged: all settlement activity is illegal under international law and it erodes the viability of the two-state solution and the prospects for a lasting peace,” said the EU spokesperson in a statement.
“The EU will continue to support a resumption of a meaningful process towards a negotiated two-state solution, the only realistic and viable way to fulfil the legitimate aspirations of both parties,” concluded the spokesperson.
Fifty-two years after the occupation of 1967, the Settlers have realized their goal in its entirety. Their victory is complete. The settlers have won.
The time has arrived to admit it. With the aid of all of the Israeli governments who gave in to the craziness and arm-twisting of the settlers, and with the aid of the unbelievable indifference of Israeli public opinion, together with the weakness of the left and the collapse of the peace camp after the second intifada, combined with the lack of action on the part of the international community, the settler movement grew and gained strength.
The settler population has tripled since the Oslo Accords were signed. It has now reached a critical mass, its declared goal, after which there is no turning back. There is no need to have a million settlers; the 800,000 we have today including East Jerusalem are enough to change the reality on the ground and make it irreversible.
The next step must be to recognize the new reality that’s been created, understand that it is irreversible and draw the necessary political conclusions from that. It is not easy to admit failure. Nor is it easy to recognize that the solution you have supported has become a futile solution lacking any possibility of being realized.
Also, for the Palestinian Authority (PA) it will be very hard to acknowledge this change. But the change has already occurred.
Clinging to yesterday’s solution, which has become irrelevant, will only waste precious time, particularly the time of those living under the occupation. The sooner the world understands there is no point in talking about two states, the better it will be. It will then be possible to focus on the alternative.
The alternative to the two-state solution is, naturally, a one-state solution.
This state has already existed for 52 years, since the 1967 war. The time has come to recognize that as well. The occupation is here to stay, as are the settlements. And the Green Line has been erased a long time ago, whether we like it or not. We are no longer talking about a temporary situation, and it is doubtful if it ever was or was ever intended to be. Whoever speaks of the occupation as a passing phenomenon does not know the reality and facts on the ground.
Go out to the West Bank, see the Jewish settlements on every hill, and then say if that is what a temporary reality looks like. Pay attention to the traffic on the roads, the construction, the infrastructure of bypass roads that have been specially constructed to make the occupation permanent and to enable the settlements to thrive undisturbed...
That’s what one state looks like, not the infrastructure for two states. That’s what one state looks like with two regimes, a liberal democratic one in Israel, which includes a discriminatory regime toward the Palestinian citizens of the state and a South African-style apartheid regime in the West Bank.
Even the Gaza Strip is part of this one state; it is a gigantic cage in the backyard, the biggest prison in the world with a so-called separate and independent leadership of prisoners with wardens located outside the walls.
The one state has been here for quite a while. The fate of all the human beings living between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea is determined in the government buildings in Jerusalem and the security buildings in Tel Aviv. That’s what one state with one government looks like, period.
Regime Change - “One Man One Vote”
The only struggle that remains to be carried out now is the struggle over the nature of the regime in this one state, which today includes a military dictatorship over part of the area, the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT). The struggle to find a solution to the Palestinian problem should be focused on changing the regime. “One Man One Vote” — that’s the understandable slogan, which is still considered unmentionable in Israel and throughout the world.
Anyone who raises it is accused of being “anti-Semitic” and wanting “to destroy the state of Israel.” But that is what the struggle must focus on: equal rights for all.
[Israeli] Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is pledging that he will establish a right-wing [ultra-orthodox] government after the elections and will not form a unity government with the left.
In a column published in the Israel Hayom newspaper, Netanyahu wrote, "My commitment is clear: To establish a strong right-wing government after the elections....”
“This is my commitment to Likud voters. There will be no unity government,” the Prime Minister stressed.
"The choice that Israel faces in the coming elections is one: Who will be the next prime minister of Israel? Will there be a weak and inexperienced left-wing government headed by Yair Lapid and Benny Gantz, or a strong right-wing government headed by the Likud under my leadership?" In order for a right-wing government to be established, continued Netanyahu, right-wing voters must wake up from their apathy.
"Avigdor Liberman stated in an interview with Army Radio last Sunday that he would recommend Benny Gantz as Prime Minister. We must not repeat the mistake of the last election, in which right-wing voters lost seven seats to parties that did not pass the electoral threshold.”
A former media executive—he once headed communications for CBS News—and a veteran Republican operative, Jeff Ballabon has worked for roughly two decades to turn Orthodox Jewry into a mature political force allied with the Republican Party.
Now, under Trump, that alliance has begun to pay big dividends—not only on Israel, long a focus of Orthodox politics, but on domestic issues as well.
Indeed, never before has Orthodox Jewry, and the Jewish right more broadly, had such access to a president.
With this increased power and influence has also come a change in political style—one that Ballabon’s comments in March, as well as his Twitter feed at all times, exemplify.
Angry, vitriolic, even vulgar, contemptuous of “political correctness” and unafraid to traffic in racist tropes, this is Jewish politics in a new key—and Ballabon wants to be a leading composer.
His transformation from behind-the-scenes campaigner to aspiring movement leader reflects the emergence of an assertive, aggressive Orthodox Jewish right that has already reshaped American politics—as well as intra-communal Jewish politics—and could continue to for years to come.
Ballabon’s path from political fixer to Trump proxy maps the Republican Party’s trajectory from the “compassionate conservatism” of the George W. Bush era to the gleeful cruelty of Trump.
In the 1990s and early 2000s, Ballabon cultivated close ties with the Christian Right, then at the apex of its power, which he identified as both a potential model for a new Jewish politics and a more natural partner for Orthodox Jewry than liberals in the Democratic Party, which was (and remains) the political home for the majority of American Jews.
After Bush’s victory in 2000, Ballabon became, as the right-wing Jewish paper The Algemeiner put it, the administration’s “unofficial liaison to Orthodox Jews.”
Today, Ballabon has become one of President Trump’s most prominent Jewish surrogates, making regular appearances on various Fox News shows and weighing in on Jewish-related matters as an authentic, kippah-wearing spokesman. (Ballabon comes from a non-hasidic Haredi, or ultra-Orthodox, community.)
To be sure, Ballabon represents a real constituency. As many evangelicals and other conservative Christians have become staunch supporters of Trump despite his manifest ungodliness, so, too, have many Orthodox Jews. While the majority of American Jews lean liberal and loathe the president —71% said they disapprove of his conduct in a March Gallup poll— Trump has enjoyed high levels of support among the Orthodox through much of his presidency, hovering around a 70% approval rating.
In the 2016 election, Trump only won 18% of the borough of Brooklyn, but he won every Orthodox neighborhood/
Though few in number, Orthodox Jews have become a reliable and visible pillar of support for a widely unpopular president.
Trump has proven a reliable, if unconventional, vessel for realizing the Orthodox right’s political agenda—in particular when it comes to Israel. Trump’s agenda also serves the interests of the Orthodox right on domestic issues, from expanding school choice to subsidize religious education...
“Jewish people are leaving the Democratic Party. We saw a lot of anti Israel policies start under the Obama Administration, and it got worsts & worse. There is anti-Semitism in the Democratic Party. They don’t care about Israel or the Jewish people.” Elizabeth Pipko, Jexodus.
Ballabon and his fellow frum soldiers have embraced not only the president’s policies, but also his political style.
In retrospect, David Friedman’s description of the liberal “pro-Israel, pro-peace” lobby J Street’s supporters as “far worse than kapos” was a harbinger of a more combative and vitriolic Jewish politics. The most frequent targets of this vitriol are Arabs, Muslims, and Palestinians, as well as prominent African American leaders who criticize Israel.
Lately, the Orthodox right has also shown little restraint in criticizing other Jews—in particular, those on the left. Cartoonist Eli Valley (a Jewish Currents contributing writer) and the Jewish anti-Zionist organization Jewish Voice for Peace are, for Ballabon, not only “worse than kapos” but “malshinim ”— literally, “informers,” meaning Jews who denounced other Jews to non-Jewish rulers.
This is a grave designation that historically has implied excommunication, exclusion from ritual participation, and even denial of a Jewish burial.
The clearest recent sign of the fragmentation of Jewish intra-communal politics was a White House meeting in April for Jewish leaders that excluded the Anti-Defamation League, as well as the leaders of three of the four major Jewish denominations—the Reform, Conservative, and Reconstructionist movements, to which the majority of the American Jews belong. The groups that did make the cut were for the most part Orthodox ones—the Orthodox Union, the Haredi Agudat Israel, Chabad Lubavitch, the National Council of Young Israel, and the Coalition for Jewish Values— or right-wing Zionist and pro-Israel organizations, including AIPAC, ZOA, the Republican Jewish Coalition, and the Alpha Epsilon Pi fraternity.
For the Orthodox right, liberal and secular Jews are barely Jews. Their religious identity is “enervated.” Their religion, as Ballabon wrote of Rabbi Jill Jacobs, “is progressivism, not Judaism.”
The views of such Jews—which might well be considered heretical—need not be taken into consideration by the truly Jewish community, bound by religious law.
That the vast majority of American Jews identify as liberals, politically and religiously, changes nothing. The Orthodox right has appointed itself the sole authentic representative of American Jews’ interests.
Herzl: "We are a modern nation"
Vladimir (Zeev) Jabotinski, 22/10/1919: "In the national home we will announce that those Jews who have on themselves the rust of Gulles, and deny to shave off their beards and payos will be 2nd class citizens and will not have the right to vote."
Theodor Herzl (diary): "The Rabbi's should be locked up in the Synagogues, the country has its own culture." "We are a modern nation and wish to be the most modern in the world..."
Theodor Herzl in 'Der Judenstaat', 1896:
Shall we end by having a theocracy? No, indeed. Faith unites us, knowledge gives us freedom. We shall therefore prevent any theocratic tendencies from coming to the fore on the part of our priesthood.
We shall keep our priests within the confines of their temples in the same way as we shall keep our professional army within the confines of their barracks.
Army and priesthood shall receive honors high as their valuable functions deserve. But they must not interfere in the administration of the State which confers distinction upon them, else they will conjure up difficulties without and within. Every man will be as free and undisturbed in his faith or his disbelief as he is in his nationality.
And if it should occur that men of other creeds and different nationalities come to live amongst us, we should accord them honorable protection and equality before the law. (Der Judenstaat 1896)
[Israeli] Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday panned a call by Transportation Minister Bezalel Smotrich for the implementation of religious law in Israel as “pure BS” [bull shit]
Netanyahu did so in English on Wednesday while speaking with a visiting delegation of Democrats from the US House of Representatives.
“A member of our coalition, not from the Likud but another party, has said that he would like Israel to be a halachic state,” Netanyahu said.
“Well, that is pure and utter nonsense. It’s pure BS and nothing can attest to that more than the recently appointed justice minister from the Likud,” he added, referring to Amir Ohana, Israel’s first ever openly gay minister.
Following Netanyahu’s speech to the Congress members, Smotrich hit back at the premier for criticizing him in his “polished and smooth English,” claiming his dream of a halachic state was shared by every religious Jew.
“Bibi didn’t only belittle me and my words, Bibi is belittling anyone who is a believing Jew,” he wrote on Facebook, using Netanyahu’s nickname.
Smotrich asserted Netanyahu’s considerations in condemning him were purely political and aimed at attracting secular votes ahead of general elections in September.
“Bibi wants to appeal today to a secular audience in order to peel away another seat or two and so now its comfortable [for him] to do so at Smotrich’s expense to prove how enlightened and progressive he is,” the transportation minister said.
However, Smotrich argued,”within a day or two Bibi will chase after religious voters, spread notices in Shabbat pamphlets and sectoral newspaper and promise mountains and hills.” [...]
In an opinion piece Wednesday in the pro-Netanyahu Israel Hayom daily, Netanyahu said he would not pursue a unity government but would instead form a strong right-wing one...
“I won’t violate the pact with the ultra-Orthodox,” Channel 12 news on Wednesday quoted Netanyahu saying, without citing a source. “We will stick [with the ultra-Orthodox parties] through fire and water,” he reportedly added.
The real fight in Israel’s re-run election next month is not between the right wing and a so-called “centre-left” but between two rival camps within the nationalist right, according to analysts.
The outcome may prove a moment of truth for the shrinking secular right as it comes up once again against an ever-more powerful camp that fuses religion with ultra-nationalism.
Will the secular right emerge with enough political weight to act as a power-broker in the post-election negotiations, or can the religious right form a government without any support from the secular parties? That is what the election will determine.
Netanyahu and the religious right hope to work in tandem to secure between them a narrow majority of seats to form a government without relying on the secular right-wing parties of either Lieberman or Gantz. Yossi Gurvitz, an Israeli journalist and researcher on religious extremism, said the rise of the religious right was an indication of wider shifts in Israeli society.
“Israel is getting more religious, and its religious parties are getting more extreme, while much of what’s left of Israeli society is becoming more militantly secular in response,” he told Middle East Eye. “Israel is polarising, and each is side is increasingly intolerant of the other.”
A poll of Israeli Jews last year by the liberal Haaretz newspaper highlighted Israeli society’s growing religiosity, which closely aligns with the rise of ultra-nationalism.
Some 54 percent of the Jewish public expressed a belief in God, with that figure rising to 78 percent among those describing themselves as on the right. An overwhelming majority of right-wing Israelis – 79 percent – view Jews as the chosen people, and a similar number, 74 percent, believe Israel exists by divine promise. Younger voters are markedly more religious than their grandparents – 64 percent compared to 22 percent. Exactly half of young Israelis reject the scientific theory of evolution, and 58 percent believe in life after death. Haaretz noted a clear correlation between Israeli youth’s growing religiosity and their embrace of right-wing views.
“If you think Israel is religious, conservative and hawkish enough as it is, wait for the fundamentalist theocracy that's lurking around the corner,” the paper’s analyst Chemi Shalev concluded.
The religious right itself is characterised by three main blocs. All believe that the occupied territories belong exclusively to the Jewish people, and are united in their unabashed support for the settlements and the entrenchment of the occupation.
Ariel Sharon 2005: "The Likud in its current format cannot lead Israel to its national aims..."
Likud has moved more firmly into the religious camp since 2005 when its then-leader, Ariel Sharon, pulled the last remaining settlers out of Gaza.
A backlash from the settlers effectively forced Sharon and his supporters out of Likud to create a short-lived secular faction called Kadima. “What was left behind in Likud was the hard right...”
The second bloc comprises two ultra-Orthodox parties, Shas and United Torah Judaism, which look to their respective chief rabbis for political direction.
Shas, observed Gurvitz, has blended its rigid belief in divine law with nationalism more easily than UTJ because of its long-held anti-Arab positions. A section of its followers serve in the army. Some also work, unlike most Ashkenazi ultra-Orthodox men, who devote themselves to studying the Torah.
The third bloc comprises various small far-right parties representing what are known in Israel as the national-religious camp – those who subscribe to the ideology of the settler community.
The camp has proved fractious, but its three main parties established an electoral coalition last week called United Right, which polls currently suggest may win up to 14 seats.
Rather than rejecting the state’s secular institutions, as the ultra-Orthodox tend to do, the settler parties have been working hard to infiltrate and gradually take them over, with some success in the case of the police, the courts, the education system and even the ruling Likud party.
They view themselves as in a culture war, trying to infuse Israel with a stronger Jewish identity.
The Electricity Ministry launched on Tuesday the urban and constructional works, preparing for the infrastructure of a power generation station at al-Rasteen village in Lattakia countryside ahead of handing over the site to MAPNA Group of Iran that will carry out the project.
The capacity of the station will be of 540 Mega Watt of ISO with carrying out the gas pipelines from Banyas station, with a total cost of 213 billion SYP.
Minister of electricity Zouheir Kharboutli, who announced the launching of the constructional works at the site of the project, said that it includes three groups, two of them gas and the third is steam, affirming that the station will support the electrical system in Syria.
MAPNA is a leading Iranian industrial group that within a period of no longer than two decades, has secured significant and remarkable achievements in the area of industry and technology winning a world class status in the global market.
An Iranian troupe is currently performing a stage adaptation of American composer Richard Rodgers’ musical “The Sound of Music” at Tehran’s Vahdat Hall. Hadi Qozzat is the director of the troupe, which will stage the musical until August 22. A choir composed of 80 vocalists, 50 musicians and 20 actor-singers under the baton of conductor Nassir Heidarian are collaborating on the project.
“The Sound of Music” tells the story of Maria, who takes a job as governess to a large family in Austria while she decides whether to become a nun.
She falls in love with the children, and eventually their widowed father, Captain von Trapp, who is ordered to accept a commission in the German navy, but he opposes the Nazis.
Maria, who brings love and music into the lives of the family, marries the captain, and together with the children, they decide on a plan to flee Austria and find a way to survive the loss of their homeland to the Nazis.
American filmmaker Robert Wise made a screen adaptation of the musical with the same name in 1965, starring Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer...
The eighth round of negotiations between the United States and the Taliban ended on Monday in the Qatari capital, Doha, with the group indicating that a peace agreement will be finalised and an announcement made in the coming weeks.
Following the conclusion of the talks that began on August 4, both sides said they would consult their respective leaderships on the next steps.
Since last year, the two sides have held discussions over a potential agreement that is focused on four key issues: a Taliban guarantee that it will not allow foreign armed groups and fighters to use Afghanistan as a launchpad to conduct attacks outside the country; the complete withdrawal of US and NATO forces; an intra-Afghan dialogue; and a permanent ceasefire.
A Taliban representative in Doha who is part of the negotiating team told Al Jazeera on Tuesday that a peace agreement was "near", without providing further details.
"This round of talks has been very productive and we are near to an agreement that will be finalised and hopefully announced in the next coming weeks," he said. Analysts say peace has never been closer in Afghanistan since the talks between the US and the Taliban began in 2018.
The Taliban, who was overthrown in 2001 by a US-led military coalition for sheltering al-Qaeda, the group blamed for the September 11, 2001 attacks in the US, has long demanded a complete withdrawal of foreign troops in order to "end the occupation" in Afghanistan.
About 14,000 US troops and around 17,000 troops from 39 NATO allies and partner countries are in Afghanistan in a non-combative role.
According to a report by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR), as of January 31 last year, 229 districts were under the Afghan government's control, which is about 56.3 percent of the total Afghan districts.
On the other hand, 59 districts, approximately 14.5 percent of all, were under the Taliban control.
The remaining 119 districts, about 29.2 percent, remain contested - controlled by neither the Afghan government nor the rebels.
Ayatollah Khamenei ['leader of the Islamic revolution'] received the spokesman of Yemen’s Ansarallah Movement Mohammad Abdul Salam and his entourage for a meeting on Tuesday.
In the meeting, Ayatollah Khamenei said that the Saudi and UAE coalition have committed big crimes in their aggression on Yemen. The Iranian leader said that the Saudi-led coalition seeks to partition Yemen along with religious and ethnic lines, stressing the need for firm support for preserving Yemen’s territorial integrity.
He also said that given the religious and ethnic diversity of Yemen, preserving its territorial integrity needs Yemeni-Yemeni dialogue.
Khamenei went on to condemn the western countries’ turning a blind eye on crimes in Yemen and Palestine, describing resistance as the only way ahead.
Expressing his gratitude for the support of the spiritual leader of the Islamic Republic for the oppressed nations, especially the oppressed Yemeni nation, Mohammad Abdul Salam said that the Yemeni nation’s resistance will continue until final victory.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has asserted settlements in the West Bank will be swept into “the dustbins of history” and contended that Palestinians are the original inhabitants of the region.
Abbas made the comments over the weekend in a strongly worded speech during the course of an extremely rare visit to a refugee camp in the West Bank days after Israeli officials pushed forward thousands of new settlement homes.
“Whatever homes they announce here or settlements there, they will all disappear, if God wills it. They will be in the dustbins of history and they will remember that this land is for its people, its residents and the Canaanites who were here 5,000 years ago. We are the Canaanites,” he added.
Fatah Central Committee member Abbas Zaki told The Times of Israel on Tuesday that the PA president’s comments were solely alluding to settlers in the West Bank. “He was only referring to them,” he said, adding that “all settlement homes are illegitimate and illegal, according to international law.”
Abbas’s reference to the Canaanites, an ancient people who predated the Israelites’ settling of Canaan, according to the Biblical narrative, came in response to recent comments by Netanyahu that Palestinians only recently arrived in the area, said Mohammed Odeh, an official in Abbas’s office.
“He was refuting Netanyahu’s claim that Palestinians don’t have deep roots in the land and stating that we have a long history here,” Odeh said in a phone call Tuesday.
In his remarks at Jalazone, Abbas also lashed out at the Hamas [resistance] group, which has long been at loggerheads with his Fatah party.
“Enough of this division. In whose interest is this division? It is in the interest of the enemy and Hamas’s leaders are working for the enemy,” he said.
Palestinians are the endogenous people of the Southern Land of Canaan and the Western Part of the Fertile Crescent, the area between the Mediterranean Sea and the River Jordan.
Key historical periods:
5000-1500 BC: Canaanites from Northern Iraq to the Sinai ("the fertile crescent") develop agricultural communities and city-states from cave dwellers hunters and gatherers. Phoenician Canaanites in the north develop commerce and shipping around the Mediterranean. Philistine (flst) canaanites develoip desert routes and commerse. Nebatean Canaanites build cities like Petra and BirSaba and 'Asqalan. 1500 BC-500 BC: Palestine is an amalgam of small kingdoms and tribal ruling groups representing multi-religious communities of Canaanites (Jebusites, Amurites, Nebateans, Hebrews, Phoenicians, Philistines).
The dominant language was Aramaic (most dominant); its local dialects of Arabic and Hebrew and Syriac developed their scripts from proto-Aramaic in Palestine. 500 BC-765 AD: Palestine remains an amalgam of small tribes and religions but now ruled by empires (Assyrian, Persian, Egyptian, Byzantine, Roman).
Christianity develops under the Roman Empire in Palestine and becomes the predominant religion among the natives by 300 AD (some Judaic, Nazarene, Samaritans and others remained on the Abrahamic tradition). The Talmud ('Oral law') came more than 200-300 years after the New Testament (primarily evolved in Safad in Palestine and in Mesopotamia). There were no Talmudic Jews prior to the 2nd to third century AD.
Aramaic rose to prominence under the Neo-Assyrian Empire (911–605 BC), under whose influence Aramaic became a prestige language, and its use spread throughout most of Mesopotamia and the Levant.
At its height, variants of Aramaic were spoken all over in what is today Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Eastern Arabia, northern Arabia, southeastern and south central Turkey, and parts of northwest Iran. Aramaic was the language of Jesus, who spoke the Galilean dialect during his public ministry, as well as the language of large sections of the biblical books of Daniel and Ezra, and also one of the languages of the Talmud. (Wikipedia info)
Iranian refineries are currently producing 100 million liters of gasoline per day, and the country has not been importing the fuel since December 2018, the secretary general of the refining association said, boasting the country's self-sufficiency in the last 9 months.
“Private sector refineries have been very successful in meeting their objectives, as much so that the country has not imported even a litter of gasoline since December 2018,” said Nasser Ashouri, the Secretary General of the Association of Iranian Refineries, on Tuesday.
He added that the Persian Gulf Star Refinery (PGSR) is currently producing 45 million lpd of gasoline which, put together with the output from other refineries of the country, means that Iran is producing more than 100 million liters of gasoline per day, 10 to 20 million lpd more than its daily consumption. Earlier this month, Iran officially started exporting its home-made gasoline.
The cargo of Iran-produced gasoline which was exported to oversees on August 03 was the first shipment of the home-made product to foreign countries, marking Tehran’s entrance into the global market of the fuel as a seller for the first time in history.
Chief Executive of the Persian Gulf Star Refinery (PGSR) Mohammad Ali Dadvar broke the news, saying that the first gasoline produced in the Persian Gulf Star Refinery was exported overseas. He described the shipment very successful as it was sold dlrs. 20 above the market rate indicating high quality of the product.
Iran became self-sufficient in gasoline production back in February after the inauguration of the third phase of the PGSR in the Southern port city of Bandar Abbas. The Persian Gulf Star Refinery is the world’s largest gas condensate refinery and the first one in the Middle East.
Pointing to the inauguration of third phase of the gas condensate plant, known as the Persian Gulf Star Refinery in the southern city of Bandar Abbas, President Hassan Rouhani said in a cabinet session on Wednesday that the operation of three phases within two years is a great achievement and the symbol of Iranian nation’s capabilities and progress.
“Today, the refinery produces 36 million liters of Euro-5 gasoline each day; it also produces 14 million liters of Euro-5 gasoline in the refinery thanks to the opening of the plan to increase the quality of gasoline at Bandar Abbas refinery,” he added. Pointing to the fact that today Iran has achieved self-sufficiency in gasoline production, Rouhani said, “it is one of the achievements of current and previous governments during which gasoline production doubled and is going to reach 100 million liters till the end of current Iranian year (March 20). It indicates the government’s ability to withstand sanctions and pressures, Iranian nation’s resolve will win against the United States’ conspiracies, he added.
Benjamin (Bibi) Netanyahu acts the role of a lifeguard who is “ready for every scenario” and is able to hit back tennis and racket balls common on Israeli beaches, while telling his audience that “in the stormy waters of the Middle East, it’s vital that Israel be an island of stability.” Netanyahu, using a megaphone, instructs people that they are “on the Left” and they need to return “to the Right – it is much, much safer!”
The collapse of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s coalition following the April 9 elections should show Palestinian voters in Israel that they have a voice and can force the government to change.
The fall of the coalition has forced the scheduling of new elections, on Sept. 17, and this gives Palestinian voters in Israel a chance to flex their muscles. Imagine the changes that might have taken place if their vote had come out in full force in April. Only about half of Israel’s Palestinian voters participated in the election. As a result, the number of Arab representatives in the Israeli legislature’s 120-seat Knesset dropped from 13 to 10. If all of Israel’s Palestinian community voted, they could conceivably place 24 Arabs in the Knesset, significantly influencing change...
Netanyahu’s election stumble gives them one more chance to assert themselves. This opportunity is not only about helping to elect a more moderate Jewish leadership to govern Israel. It is about making a powerful statement that could awaken Israel’s near-comatose political Left, which is the last hope for a two-state solution.
It is about making a statement of self-respect. Voting in the next election is about telling the world that Palestinians do have rights....
Longtime Israeli columnist Gideon Levy told me recently that Palestinians living in Israel have been drifting further and further away from the lives of Palestinians living in the Occupied Territories.
It is a shocking admission and truth. The divisions within the Palestinian diaspora, the failures and the growing extremism have distanced the Palestinian cause from many, including their own people.
The self-anointed spokespeople for the Palestinian cause in the diaspora continue to spew failed rejectionist rhetoric. It is an activism that is incapable of conceiving an effective strategy to restore Palestinian rights.
The only way this spiraling deterioration can stop is if the Palestinians in Israel lift their apathetic heads out of the sand and vote to their maximum potential. There will be no end to Israel’s apartheid and racist policies if Palestinians fail to unite and speak with one unified voice that rejects racism and embraces peace.
Yuli Novak: "Our country is dominated by occupation, messianism, racism, ignorance, callousness, and violence."
With the Israeli right tearing itself apart and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s ever more frantic attempts to hold on to power, the Joint Arab List saw its chance and regrouped. Banding together under a renewed alliance, it is promising better results in the upcoming September election...
This could be a moment of great transformation in the struggle for equal rights and dignity in Israel.
From land polices to the right to commemorate their history, they face institutional discrimination that echoes America’s segregation laws and South African apartheid. Land ownership is just one example.
According to Israel’s basic laws — the country has no formal constitution — public land can be controlled only by the state, the Jewish National Fund (JNF) and the Development Authority. As per its own policy, the JNF leases land only to Jews.
Given that 93 percent of land in Israel is public and overseen by one of these entities, Palestinian citizens are effectively blocked from leasing the majority of land in their country.
There are myriad other laws that place the Palestinian population outside mainstream Israeli society and obstruct their full participation as citizens....
Now is the time for Palestinian citizens to make their voices heard and to tell the world what it is really like living in democratic Israel.
US Democrats are blasting Israel’s decision to ban two pro-Palestinian lawmakers, US Reps. Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar, from visiting the West Bank following pressure from President Donald Trump.
Key Democratic leaders who had previously clashed with Tlaib and Omar over their vocal support for the pro-Palestinian boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement wasted no time in publicly urging the Israelis to reverse course.
“The decision of the Israeli government to deny entry to Israel by two members of Congress is outrageous, regardless of their itinerary or their views,” House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., said in a statement...
House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Eliot Engel, D-N.Y., who had made a similar case to Israeli Ambassador Ron Dermer on Wednesday, also argued that "refusing entry to members of Congress looks like Israel closing itself off to criticism and dialogue.”
Under a 2017 law, the Israeli government can keep anyone who supports boycotts of Israel — or even boycotts of Israeli settlements — from entering the country. But Dermer had previously committed to allowing the two Muslim lawmakers to enter Israel and the West Bank “out of respect for the US Congress and the great alliance between Israel and America.”
That changed today after Trump tweeted, “It would show great weakness if Israel allowed Rep. Omar and Rep. Tlaib to visit.” He went on to accuse them of hating “Israel [and] all Jewish people,” adding that “there is nothing that can be said or done to change their minds.”
United States congresswomen Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar have called Israel's decision to bar them from entering the country before a planned visit to the occupied West Bank "a sign of weakness" and "an insult to democratic values". Tlaib, a 43-year-old Democrat of Palestinian heritage, reacted to the decision by posting a picture on Twitter of her grandmother who lives in the West Bank village of Beit Ur al-Fauqa, accompanied with the message: "I am who I am because of her".
"The decision by Israel to bar her granddaughter, a US Congresswoman, is a sign of weakness because the truth of what is happening to Palestinians is frightening."
For her part, Omar called Israel's decision "chilling", adding, however, that it came as no surprise given the policies of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, a close ally of US President Donald Trump who earlier on Thursday had called Israel to not let his two compatriots and congresswomen in.
Tlaib is the first Palestinian-American ever elected to the House of Representatives and Omar, the first Somali-American elected to Congress. They are also the first Muslim-American women elected to Congress.
"I have to tell you, you know, the laws are so horrendously stacked against us, because for years and years, they've been made to protect the criminal. Totally made to protect the criminal." (ABC News, 28-7-2017)
They announced months ago, after House Republicans and Democrats organised an annual junket to Israel under the auspices of the Israel Lobby, that they would make their visit to Palestine.
After a false start with the first sponsoring organisation, they joined with the Palestinian NGO Miftah to organise their visit, which was to begin this weekend.
However, as Axios reported, President Donald Trump started voicing his displeasure last week, kicking off a process which would eventually lead to blowing up the deal.
He reportedly told senior officials in his administration that Israel should bar the congresswomen because of their support for BDS and that he disagreed with Dermer's rationale for Israel to overlook its own law banning BDS supporters to let the two in. Trump said that if Omar and Tlaib wanted to boycott Israel "then Israel should boycott them", a source told Axios...
Though the list of Trump’s violations of diplomatic and political protocols is so long that we’re inured to their severity, we can’t underestimate how grave this case is. There is an international consensus on how diplomacy is conducted. If a foreign official wants to visit your country, you admit them as a matter of courtesy, because this is the treatment you expect for your own officials.
Even when leaders considered enemies of the US like Fidel Castro and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad came to address the United Nations, the US did not bar them entry. Not even Trump has dared violate this protocol.
Israel allows barred Congresswoman Tlaib visit
US congresswoman says no visit to West Bank
under 'oppressive' Israel conditions
AFP|BBC, Friday 16 Aug 2019
Israel's Interior Minister Aryeh Deri's office published what it said was Tlaib's written request, on congressional stationery.
In the letter, dated 15 august 2019, Tlaib said she will visit her Palestinian relatives," and specifically my grandmother, who is in her 90s and lives in Beit Ur al-Fouqa. She also said she would "respect any restrictions and "not promote boycotts" during her visit.
"Silencing me is not what my grandmother wants for me," she said on Friday. "It would kill a piece of me. I have decided that visiting my grandmother under these oppressive conditions stands against everything I believe in."
She said that winning her seat in Congress had given Palestinian people "hope that someone will finally speak the truth about the inhumane conditions".
US President Donald Trump slammed Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib on Friday night saying that now when she declined to come to Israel despite getting permission to do so from Interior Minister Aryeh Deri “the only real winner” is her grandmother...”:
"Rep. Tlaib wrote a letter to Israeli officials desperately wanting to visit her grandmother. Permission was quickly granted, whereupon Tlaib obnoxiously turned the approval down, a complete setup. The only real winner here is Tlaib’s grandmother. She doesn’t have to see her now!"
Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 16, 2019
Tlaib’s grandmother wishes ‘ruin’ on Trump
Times Of Israel, 17 August 2019
The Palestinian grandmother of US congresswoman Rashida Tlaib wished “ruin” on US President Donald Trump on Saturday after he mocked her relationship with her granddaughter on Twitter. “Trump tells me I should be happy Rashida is not coming,” Muftia Tlaib told Reuters. “May God ruin him.”
Muftia Tlaib, who is in her eighties, lives in the Israeli-occupied West Bank.
A trilateral meeting was held among Iran, Yemen's Ansarullah movement and the four European states of Britain, France, Germany and Italy in Tehran on Saturday to discuss ways to end the devastating war in Yemen and send immediate humanitarian aid to the country.
Senior Assistant to the Iranian foreign minister for Political Affairs Ali Asqar Khaji headed Iran's delegation while the Yemeni and European delegations were led by Ansaruallah Spokesman Mohammed Abdul Salam and the British, French, German and Italian envoys to Tehran, respectively.
During the meeting, the participants underscored the need for an immediate end to the war and finding of a political solution to the crisis in Yemen, and called for the dispatch of humanitarian aid to the country as soon as possible.
Yemen's new ambassador to Iran appointed
IRNA, Tehran, Aug 17, 2019
Yemen’s National Salvation Government, led by Ansarullah Movement, appointed on Saturday the country’s plenipotentiary ambassador to Iran. Ibrahim Mohammad al-Deilami was chosen to lead the Yemeni diplomatic mission in Iran.
Ansarullah Movement Leader Abdulmalek al-Houthi praised Iran’s clear and frank support for Yemen, stressing that his country is keen on re-establishing diplomatic ties with Iran.
“It will benefit the Yemeni nation to implement its previous accords with Iran. There were 70 agreements before the revolution,” he added.
An international law group has submitted new evidence to the UK government alleging that the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen has covered up evidence of its unlawful airstrikes on civilian targets.
The allegations will put pressure on the UK government as it prepares its response to a court order directing it to reconsider all existing British government licences to export arms to Saudi Arabia for use in Yemen.
A 288-page report submitted to the international trade secretary, Liz Truss, by the Global Legal Action Network (GLAN) and UK law firm Bindmans contains witness testimony as well as crater and bomb-fragment analysis from scores of strikes carried out by the coalition. It is the most comprehensive independent analysis of the Saudi bombing campaign compiled so far.
The report says the attacks appear to violate international humanitarian law by “targeting civilians and civilian infrastructure”. The evidence was largely compiled by Mwatana, an independent Yemeni human rights group.
In many cases, its evidence, gathered very soon after Saudi bomb strikes, directly contradicts the post-strike investigations conducted by the Saudi-led coalition.
GLAN’s director Gearóid Ó Cuinn said: “The UK government can either rely on discredited Saudi assurances or listen to those who have documented painstakingly the constant civilian deaths caused by coalition airstrikes.” Radhya Almutawakel, the chair of Mwatana for Human Rights, said: “The UK should have stopped selling arms to the Saudi coalition a long time ago. We hope this evidence helps them finally make the right decision.”
Saudi Arabia has accused the Houthi rebels it has been fighting in Yemen of using civilian buildings to hide from airstrikes, but even if this were correct international law requires such strikes to be proportionate and justified by the high military value of the identified target.
Erdogan, august 2019: "Turkey gains its power from unity, solidarity, and brotherhood".
In Islam, the role of Imam does not fall to a theologian, but like Christianity in Roman times, to the most powerful head of State.
The function of Caliphe has therefore become a political rather than a spiritual gamble. After having believed that the Caliphate of Daesh could offer Turkey the possibility of reclaiming its Ottoman splendour, President Erdoğan realised that, on the contrary, he risked hurling his country into a state of barbarism.
In 2014 Daesh [IS] considered – against the advice of Ayman al-Zahawiri, who had become the emir of Al-Qaïda – that it had imposed « Islamic » order and attained a perfect society in Rakka. It therefore had the lawful right to proclaim the Caliphate on 14 June 2014. For Ankara, the Caliphate provided the occasion to win back the spiritual power which had been lost over the whole of the Muslim world.
Logically, Islamist Turkey supported Daesh without reserve. Only Russia denounced this state of affairs, first during the G20 in Antalya (November 2015), then by five Intelligence reports which were handed to the United Nations Security Council between 29 January and 17 May 2016..
The military failure of the Caliphate facing the Syrian and Iraqi armies revealed to Turkey the worst possible image of itself.
There is no difference between Tamerlane’s hordes charging on Baghdad and the convoys of Toyotas taking Mosul. There is no difference either between the genocide of non-Muslims – including Armenian Christians – by Sultan Habdul Hamid II, followed by the young Turks, and that of the Yezedi Turks and the industrial-line decapitation of secular citizens. Within a few months, all of the work accomplished by Mustafa Kemal to abandon the barbarism of the «children of the steppe wolf» and construct a modern Turkey, was completely destroyed.
The way of the Muslim Brotherhood dragged the country into a dead end of horror and violence.
After having imagined itself as the « Protector » of the Brotherhood, the AKP was once again obliged to return to the separation of moralistic values and politics, in the wake of Atatürk. This was not a choice, but a vital necessity.
This is why, in his video message for the Aïd al-Adha, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan reminded his audience of the unitary character of the ritual, in memory of the Judeo-Christian-Muslim revelation of Abraham, then the Turkish military victories, and ended his speech with a curious appeal concerning road safety.
Ankara is turning carefully to a redefinition of its identity, no longer religious, but nationalist, no longer exclusive, but inclusive.
Deputy Foreign and Expatriates Minister Fayssal Mikdad stressed that when the war against Syria started in 2011, some inside and outside the country lost the “compass” and they believed that what is taking place is an “Arab spring” that would bring democracy and freedom to the Arab citizens as some leaders and countries in the region and outside the region were driven by this novel which proved to be just an “illusion.”
In an article published by Lebanese al-Binaa Newspaper on Saturday, Mikdad wondered why the so-called “Arab Spring” has not reached the countries which are in dire need for democracy and for the realization of human rights such as Saudi Arabia...
Syria’s enemies have pumped money to sell mercenaries to kill the Syrians, and when they failed, they encouraged killers and criminals from all around the world to come to Syria through the regime of the “Muslim Brothers” in Turkey, yet they failed in achieving their goals again, and Erdogan, who is aspiring to become the “Ottoman Caliph” failed despite of the financial support and promises provided to him and to the terrorist organizations by the West, Mikdad said.
He pointed out that those who commit crimes or encourage others to perpetrate atrocities in Syria, Iraq, Lebanon and in Libya or who support terrorists to commit crimes against the people and army in Egypt should be ashamed of what they are doing.
"Incredibly, the US and British media are pushing the line that the al-Qaeda fighters in Syria, known as al-Nusra, are really the Good Guys..." Justin Raimondo, 2-10-2015
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said that any peace plan for Afghanistan should involve the view of its nation and representatives.
“Any peace without the vote of the Afghan nation and their representatives is meaningless and surely it will not last,” he said on Sunday while receiving credentials of newly-appointed Afghan ambassador to Iran Abdulghafour Lival.
“Tehran supports Afghanistan’s national sovereignty and unity and is always ready to help establish lasting security and peace in the country,” Rouhani highlighted.
Tehran is ready to strengthen sustainable peace and security in Afghanistan, he said, adding, “Sustainable security will encourage Afghan immigrants to go back to their homeland and enhance trade relations and investment in both countries."
Stressing the need for unity among different ethnic and religious groups in Afghanistan, Rouhani said that “Shia and Sunni, and different religious groups must feel that they are members of a big family named Afghanistan."
At the same meeting, the new Ambassador of Afghanistan to Tehran Abdulghafour Lival presented his letter of credence to Rouhani and said, “the number of Afghan immigrants in Iran is higher than some other countries' population, and the Afghan government and nation appreciate the great Iranian nation’s hospitality."
Afghans in Iran - Wikipedia info:
Afghans in Iran are refugees and immigrants who fled Soviet–Afghan war, its ensuing civil war, and the U.S. war in Afghanistan. They include an unknown number of illegal migrant workers, as well as a smaller number of traders, exchanged students, diplomats, and tourists. According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, as of 2016 there were 951,142 registered Afghan citizens living in Iran...
In 2015, Iran's Ministry of Interior reported that the total number of Afghans in Iran could be as high as 3.5 million, which includes those who are registered by the UNHCR as refugees, visa holders, and those who entered the country illegally.
Afghans in Iran are under the care and protection of the UNHCR, and are provided time-limited legal status.
Iran's lengthy hosting of millions of Afghans has been praised by the UN's refugee agency, contrary to Tehran's image as sanctions-defiant. The UNHCR says Iranian generosity is an aspect "not told often enough."
The head of the UN refugee team in Iran, Sivanka Dhanapala, described Iran's four-decade hosting of Afghans - the fourth largest refugee population world-wide - as "exemplary." "In a world where you have multiple bad stories about hosting refugees, I think Iran is really a good news story," he said. World media coverage of Iran normally focuses on its nuclear ambitions and its deal with six powers reached in 2015.
In 2015, Iran's religious leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei ordered schools to take in all Afghan children, said Dhanapala - a move that left Iranian officials scrambling to erect extra classrooms.
More than 350,000 Afghan children benefited, including 48,000 young "undocumented" residents who enrolled at school for the first time, said the UNHCR.
More than 50 Iranian knowledge-based companies are slated to visit Chinese cities of Shenzhen and Shanghai in November 10-14, 2019, in a bid to develop ties with their counterparts and partners in the Far Eastern country.
An Iranian delegation, comprised of representative from 50 knowledge-based companies, and led by Vice-President for Science and Technology Sorena Sattari, is slated to visit China in November to improve mutual ties in the fields of science and technology.
China, as one of the main and strategic partners of Iran is a good chance for reinforcing cooperation on technology sector.
Iran’s trade with China majorly relies on exports of Iranian oil to China and imports of non-oil products from the country. Any improvement in ties with China relying on knowledge-based companies’ cooperation of the two countries can increase mutual trade of the two sides. Iran is to have a pavilion in (CHTF) 2019, reportedly, which is to be held in Shenzhen, south China's Guangdong Province, as pf November 13.
Late in last month, Director of the International Liaison Department of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China Song Tao, in a meeting with Sattari in Tehran, said that Iran and China have made huge advances in the fields of science and technology... "The importance that Iran gives to sciences and technology is considerable and appreciable,” Tao said in the meeting on July 29.
Former New York Assemblyman Dov Hikind called on Democratic leaders to condemn Congresswomen Ilhan Oman and Rashida Tlaib for sharing a cartoon drawn by a Holocaust denier.
"Omar and Tlaib have now committed the latest outrage, distributing cartoons from Carlos Latuff, an individual who participated in the Iranian competition on Holocaust denial, an individual responsible for mocking the memory of the Holocaust, mocking the memory of the six million, mocking the memory of my grandparents; uncles and aunts and children that were sent straight to the gas chamber, who were murdered by the Nazis," Hikind said in a video posted to Twitter.
"This cartoonist mocks the memory of the Holocaust, and two members of Congress, who have already indulged in vile anti-Semitism using language reminiscent of Goebbels in Nazi Germany are now using this cartoonist to spread their hate."
Yasmin Alibhai Brown, The Independent, 16 August 2015: "The overreactions of some extreme Zionists these days is tantamount to an attempt to censor all criticism of Israel’s political and military tactics.."
We Don't deny Holocaust, We are not Antisemite, But we have 3 important questions about Holocaust:
1-If the West doesn't know any limit for freedom of expression, why they don't they permit the researchers and historians to consider Holocaust?
2-Why should Palestinian oppressed people compensate Holocaust. The people that didn't have any role in world war II?
3- We are worried about other Holocausts, such as Atomic Holocaust, Holocaust in Iraq, Syria and Gaza...
Rich in natural resources, Iran is a vast country with sensitive geopolitics and hence always in the spotlight. The West has never ceased to directly or indirectly interfere with Iran's affairs.
The coup staged by the US in Iran on 19 August 1953, is a prominent example of West's interference.
Iran's National Consultative Assembly passed a law in December 1944 obliging the government to ask for the parliament's confirmation before negotiating with foreigners about crude oil.This was the first step to put an end to foreign, especially British dominance over Iranian oil reserves.
Discontented with the decision, the UK took the case to the international law tribunals in The Hague and the United Nations Security Council. In both international bodies, they were heavily defeated in the court by Iran's Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddegh.
Eventually, London and Washington decided to engineer a coup to reach their goals through other ways.
While Iran was trying to establish its control over its national resources through the nationalization of oil, the plot took place: Operation Ajax, well backed by the UK Secret Intelligence Service (SIS), better known as the MI6, and the US Central Intelligence Service (CIA). Operation Ajax is a black page in the book of UK and US interference in Iran, which will never be cleaned off Iranians' memories and pages of history.
August 19 (28th of the Iranian month of Mordad) is the anniversary of a tragic event that changed the social and political paths of contemporary Iran; on this day in 1953, the man that was a hero to Iranians and other freedom seekers of the world was removed from premiership during a jointly-hatched UK-US coup.
Mohammad Mosaddegh could draw a unanimous vote in favor of the nationalization of oil in Iran from the parliament. Supported by his nationalist party and religious groups led by Ayatollah Abolghasem Kashani, the democratically-elected Prime Minister Mosaddegh introduced in the bill to the parliament.
The law terminated the four-decade-long British control over Iran’s oil. Before that time, the Anglo Persian Oil Company exploited Iran’s crude and returned only a small fraction of its revenues to Iran.
Iran had to pay a price for the heroic nationalist move; the West embargoed Iranian oil for three years and finally overthrew Mossadegh, to pave the way for the return of US and UK oil companies to dominate Iran’s oil market once again.
As Mosaddeq was the one who nationalized the Iranian oil industry which resulted in the expulsion of the British from the rich prosperous field, the British and Americans eventually decided to topple him and they managed to do so in August 20, 1953.
On December 21, 1953, Mosaddegh was sentenced to death but his sentence was later commuted to three years' solitary confinement in a military prison.
He died on March 5, 1967, when he was still under house arrest in Ahmadabad, Alborz Province, west of Tehran.
Sayyid Abu l-Qāsim Kāshānī (b. 1885 - d. 1962) was an Iranian faqih and politician who campaigned against Britain in Iraq and had a role in the nationalization of the Iranian oil industry movment together with Mohammad Mosaddegh.
In February 1954, Ayatollah Kashani wrote a letter to the Secretary General of the United Nations and criticized the suppression of freedom, censorship and show elections in Iran, accusing the government of inhuman actions, killing freedom-seeking people, innocent students of universities, workers in Abadan, imprisoning and exiling the opponents and hitting demonstrators.
Kashani also sent a letter to Mohammad Reza Pahlavi as "Your Majesty, Shah!", reproaching the Shah with respect to the government's illegal actions regarding the oil and elections, stating:
The responsibility of these actions carried out by the government is on your Majesty's shoulders, since in the current circumstances in which there is no Majlis, the head of the government is your Majesty's agent.
The letter irritated the palace and the government, and the government's spokesman mentioned him condescendingly as "Sayyid Kashi".
Ayatollah Kashani died on Shawwal 7, 1381/ March 14, 1962. His corpse was buried in the shrine of 'Abd al-'Azim al-Hasani. Different ceremonies were held throughout the country for his death.
On the day of his death, Ayatollah Gulpayigani, Ayatollah Mar'ashi Najafi, Ayatollah Khomeini and Ayatollah Zada Burujirdi held a mourning ceremony for him in the A'zam Mosque of Qom.
Commander of the Libyan National Army, Khalifa Haftar, vowed that his forces will defeat any “plot to build foreign bases that support and finance terrorism in Libya.”
In his first comments on the LNA’s destruction of a Turkish military base in Misrata city, he revealed that he personally oversaw the airstrikes against Turkish operations centers.
The LNA had destroyed on Sunday an under-construction Turkish base near the air force academy in Misrata, 200 kilometers east of Tripoli.
Addressing a press conference in the eastern city of Benghazi, LNA spokesman Ahmed al-Mismari displayed a map that showed before and after images of the construction of hangars housing Turkish drones in the city. He warned that allowing the completion of the construction would have deepened the crisis in Libya.
He also warned anyone against interfering in Libyan affairs in such “flagrant” ways, saying they will meet the same fate of the Turkish base “This strategic military action is directed towards Turkey and traitors, not Misrata or any other party,” Mismari clarified.
Addressing the Libyan people, he said: “We are fighting for you. We did not arrive from abroad. We are the people of Libya and this war is aimed against conspirators who are plotting against the country in Misrata and seeking to sell a peace of its precious land to Turkey.”
President Bashar al-Assad on Tuesday received a delegation from the Unified Russia party headed by Russian State Duma member Dmitry Sablin.
The two sides reviewed the developments of the war on terrorism in Syria, with Sablin and the delegation members congratulating President al-Assad on the victories achieved by the Syrian Arab Army against terrorists, particularly the recent victories in Idleb countryside.
President al-Assad said that the victories that have been achieved prove the determination of the Syrian people and army to continue fighting terrorism until every inch of Syrian territory is liberated, despite the continuing support provided to terrorists by several Western and regional sides, mainly Turkey, as recent battles in Idleb proved Ankara’s clear and unlimited support for terrorists.
President Vladimir Putin of Russia underlined Monday that his country will continue support to the Syrian army in the fight against terrorism, adding that terrorists seize the majority of Idleb province.
“Terrorists seize 90% of Idleb and they attack sites of the Syrian army and Hmeimem airbase,” Putin said at a press conference with his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron in Paris, affirming Russia is going ahead in its support for the Syrian army.
He added that the presence of terrorists in Idleb poses threat to other regions in the world...
The sentiment that there is a 'united Islamic front' standing up for the welfare of Muslims needs to be retired - nothing could be further from the truth."
In 2008 at the Arab League summit in Damascus the former Libyan leader Colonel Moammar Gaddafi warned Arab League leaders that their countries would be next after the capture and hanging of former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein.
Indeed, it was a chilling prophecy that predicted Gaddafi’s demise and brutal killing. He had said that Saddam had fought America’s war against Iran’s Khomeini and then the US turned on him, and now the whole Arab and Muslim world was just a joke that went from one disaster to another.
As Libya teeters from a catastrophic civil war between various Arab states backing different proxies, the role of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and Arab League stands in complete contrast to the pleas of various leaders of Muslim countries...
The latest illegal annexation of the disputed territory of Kashmir by India shows there is no such thing as a 'united Islamic front'.
Furthermore, the Arab League and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) have also resulted in more bickering rather than conflict resolution in the light of the 'Arab Spring' and the Gulf crisis between the Saudi led bloc against Qatar.
us & saudi arabia, supporting the islamic revolution in iraq
Saddam had warned before the invasion in 2003 that certain so-called Muslim and Arab neighbours were plotting to destroy Iraq.
In a BBC documentary earlier this year, senior American officials admitted that Iran helped the Americans and British give crucial intelligence that led to the invasion and overthrow of Saddam in Iraq.
So, all the much-vaunted slogans of various Arab countries and Iran of helping the ‘Muslim’ cause are in name only, given how they have all actively helped facilitate the invasion of other Muslim majority countries....
It leads to the basic argument that the premise for which the OIC and Arab League were formed has failed.
Farcical conferences are held each year, most of which turn into shouting matches or events where individual states boycott each other, for the very unity which they mean to enshrine.
Saddam and Gaddafi were far from angels, but they had a point on the idea of so-called Muslim or Arab unity.
It is quite clear the OIC and the Arab League are failures as they use the faith card when it suits them while looking the other way to war and persecution in Palestine, Kashmir and further afield.
The Libyan crisis has revealed the depth of contradictions in the behaviour of some regional and international powers.
While these powers claim that they seek a successful political settlement, they spill blood in the conflict through aiding armed gangs, providing them with military equipment, extremist elements and mercenaries in order to prolong the crisis.
At the same time, they are silent towards violations committed by the Government of National Accord (GNA) and the State Council and those standing behind them whether, states or currents allying themselves with cross-border terrorist groups.
When the Libyan National Army (LNA) intervened in order to crush terrorist militias and firmly end the Tripoli battle and open a path for a real settlement, criticisms were poured on it from parties that benefit from spreading tensions and conflict. The liberation of Tripoli succeeded in getting rid of a considerable chunk of the armed capabilities of the armed militias upon which the GNA relies, launching painful strikes on the Turkish operations room and drone launching centres in Misrata, Zuwara and Tripoli.
The nerves of the Muslim Brotherhood, which controls the State Council and holds the reins in the GNA headed by Fayez Al-Sarraj, was shaken after Egypt specified the basic determinants for a solution and came closer to points which were off-limits previously. Egypt has set strong signals to stop the looting of Libyan resources and the unfair distribution of wealth, warning against a lack of transparency in public expenditure, especially by the Central Bank and the National Oil Corporation.
The majority of Libyans have suffered from unfair practices and became certain that a significant portion of natural resource royalties was deducted to fund extremist groups and terrorist organisations. Such royalties were also used to bring mercenaries and pay the cost of weapons and equipment coming from Turkey, or with its knowledge.
It is high time to expose the actions of those who wish to prolong the crisis and work swiftly to put the brakes on persistent attempts to increase tensions.
Ankara backs the Islamist-rooted government in Tripoli, while LNA, which is supported by Turkey’s regional rivals Egypt, Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states, accuses Turkey of funding and arming Islamist factions in Libya fighting on the side of the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA).
Supporting the construction of a foreign country’s military base in Libya is treason against the country’s independence, the LNA Command General said. The reason the Turkish base was targeted was that Turkey continued its military support for the city of Misrata, which in turn is targeted by the LNA air force for contributing to the war effort against the operation to “liberate Tripoli from armed militia”. (Ahval News, 19-8-2019)
The UN envoy to Libya says corruption and fight over resources among rival factions is another progress in resolving the country's political turmoil.
Establishing national institutions in charge of a fair distribution of wealth is "the only solution for Libya," said Ghassan Salame to the Qatar-based Al-Jazeera TV late on Wednesday.
Libya is an oil-rich country, however, poverty is rampant in society.
Salame condemned corruption among Libya's political class that ignores "citizens who are poor and miserable.” It is "saddening to see them taking over the wealth, investing it overseas, and engaging in money laundering," he continued.
President Donald Trump on Tuesday criticized Jewish Americans who vote for Democrats, saying "it shows either a total lack of knowledge or great disloyalty."
Trump was speaking to the press in the Oval Office about two Democratic congresswomen barred from entering Israel over their involvement in the movement to end international support for the country because of its policies toward Palestinians.
"Five years ago, the concept of even talking about this -- even three years ago -- of cutting off aid to Israel because of two people that hate Israel and hate Jewish people -- I can't believe we're even having this conversation," Trump added. "Where has the Democratic Party gone? Where have they gone where they're defending these two people over the State of Israel?"
He added, "I think any Jewish people that vote for a Democrat -- it shows either a total lack of knowledge or great disloyalty."
Halie Soifer, executive director of the Jewish Democratic Council of America, called the comments "yet another example of Donald Trump continuing to weaponize and politicize anti-Semitism." J Street, a liberal advocacy group focused on reaching a resolution between Israel and the Palestinian territories, said in a statement, "It is dangerous and shameful for President Trump to attack the large majority of the American Jewish community as unintelligent and 'disloyal.' " The Republican Jewish Coalition defended Trump's statement on Tuesday, tweeting, "President Trump is right..."
Al-Azhar reemphasised its "firm position" regarding the Arab identity of Jerusalem, the capital of the Palestinian state, and its rejection of any attempts to change the identity of the Holy City with its Islamic and Christian heritage.
These comments were made in a statement issued on Thursday by Al-Azhar, the highest institution of Sunni Islamic learning, on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the burning of Al-Aqsa Mosque.
"We commemorate the painful anniversary of the arson attack on Al-Aqsa Mosque by Zionist extremists in one of the most heinous incidents of terrorism that have spread racism and hatred in the modern era," the statement said....
"This anniversary comes as the usurper entity continues its attempts to violate the sanctity of the third holiest religious site for Muslims, and to Judaise Jerusalem," Al-Azhar said.
"It also comes amid Israeli attacks on Islamic and Christian sanctities, the continuation of settlement expansion, the confiscation of land and violation of rights, and the violations of UN resolutions. And it is painful and shameful that all this happens amid complete silence from the international community, which amounts to collusion by some of its members." Al-Azhar renewed its "historic, literary and humanitarian commitment" to supporting the Palestinian people in their struggle against the occupation...
The morning of August 21, 1969, a fire engulfed the southeastern wing of the Al-Aqsa Mosque in the occupied al-Quds (‘Jerusalem’). The fire destroyed a 1000 year old precious and historic pulpit dating to the 12th Century. The damage done to the Mosque was restored to some extent with the contribution of $US 9 million by Jordan.
As the natural reaction would be, heated demonstrations took place in the Arab parts of al-Quds to condemn this heinous act.
The initial assumptions stated that an electrical fault became the cause of the fire but reports started spreading about Israelis responsible for it.
The next day brought to limelight another culprit, Dennis Michael Rohan, an Australian tourist who was termed responsible for the arson and was arrested on August 23
Rohan turned out to be a Protestant follower of the Church of God which is an evangelical sect. Rohan believed that the process of the second coming of Messiah will fasten with the burning of the Mosque.
Presented in front of the court, Rohan stated that he was acting as “the Lord’s emissary” following the divine instructions and also stated that his reason for trying to destruct Al-Aqsa Mosque was in order to give a chance to rebuild it as the Jewish Temple.
Despite repeated denials by Israelis, media and independent reports have repeatedly blamed Israel as a major force behind the Al-Aqsa fire.
Church of God statement: "We believe in the personal, visible, premillennial return of the Lord Jesus Christ to rule the nations on earth as King of kings and to continue His priestly office as Lord of lords. At that time, He will sit upon the throne of David. During His thousand-year reign upon the earth, He will restore all things and establish the Kingdom of God forever."
On 28 August 1969 a complaint was submitted to the United Nations Security Council by twenty-four Muslim countries in response to the Al Aqsa arson attempt. Mohammad El Farra of Jordan stated:
"Today, my delegation joins the 24 other members, representing 750 million adherents of the Muslim faith, which requested a meeting to consider another, more serious tragedy, namely of Al Aqsa Mosque, and the fire which severely damaged that historic Holy Place on the morning of 21 August 1969. The Israeli authorities introduced more than one explanation for the start of the fire and at last charged an Australian with the arson.
According to news that originated from Israel sources, the Australian suspect is a friend of Israel who was brought by the Jewish Agency to work for Israel.
The Jewish Agency arranged for the Australian to work in a Kibbutz for some months, so that he could learn the Hebrew language and acquire more of the Zionist teaching.
The report published in the Jerusalem Post [an Israeli newspaper] of 25 August 1969 concerning the life of this Australian in the Kibbutz and his dreams of building Solomon’s temple casts doubt on the case and adds to the fears and worries of the Muslims about their holy shrines; it also throws light on who is the criminal and who is the accomplice."
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