Wednesday, 22 November 2017

Hundreds of Palestinians on the brink of expulsion: ‘We just want to live’

Three hundred Palestinians have been ordered to leave their homes and take with them all their belongings within the next eight days. Where are they supposed to go? The military order provides no answers. In the meantime, they wait for the rain that refuses to come.
Members of the Daragma family stand next to a cinder block built outside their tent, which declares the area an open-fire zone, and this is forbidden for entry. (Keren Manor/
Members of the Daragma family stand next to a cinder block built outside their tent, which declares the area an open-fire zone, and this is forbidden for entry. (Keren Manor/
They are about to be expelled from their homes but every person I met on our visit to the community of Ein al-Hilweh in the Jordan Valley asked us if there was news of rain. The farmers and shepherds in Ein al-Hilweh and in the neighboring village of Umm Jamal are worried. It is the middle of November, and without water, their herds of cattle, sheep, chicken and other animals are beginning to die of hunger. There is no water to drink. The dry earth does not provide food for pasture. The small community, which is not connected to running water, depends on rain to grow the crops that provide the little food off of which they and their livestock survive.
Because Israel has designated most of the land in the Jordan Valley as as military firing zones, nature preserves, or security areas for settlements, the villagers are forbidden from going almost anywhere; they risk the confiscation of their tractors and livestock by the army if they do. They are forbidden to approach the springs closest to their homes because of the presence of soldiers and the settlers.
Ein Al-Hilweh, Jordan Valley, November 16, 2017. (Keren Manor/
Ein Al-Hilweh, Jordan Valley, November 16, 2017. (Keren Manor/

The absurdity of the situation reached its peak, the villagers recount, with the construction of a water pipe by Mekorot, Israel’s national water company, that runs next to the village and provides water to the settlements in the area. The pipe leaks, but if the villagers dare to approach it with their flocks, they risk their livelihood being confiscated by the army. In the reality of the occupation, better to waste water than quench the thirst of the wrong population.
The Palestinians are left with two options: to suffer dehydration or pay NIS 120 (nearly $35) for four cubic meters of water from the nearby villages of Bardala or Ein al-Beida—almost five times what the residents of the settlements pay, and 15 times what Israeli farmers pay for a cubic meter of water for agricultural use.
“It is difficult to make a living from livestock. The situation here is difficult,” said one of the members of the Daragma family, with whom we toured the area. How do people survive? we asked. “Many work in the settlements in the Jordan Valley, mainly in the date groves, for NIS 50-70 ($14-20) for eight hours of work a day.”
Ein Al-Hilweh, Jordan Valley, November 16, 2017. Three hundred people and 5,000 animals from two Palestinian communities in the Jordan Valley are facing immediate expulsion. (
Ein Al-Hilweh, Jordan Valley, November 16, 2017. Three hundred people and 5,000 animals from two Palestinian communities in the Jordan Valley are facing immediate expulsion. (

But the gaunt cattle, the starving livestock, the water shortage, and the lack of money are not the only worries of the Daragma family. On Thursday, November 9, soldiers arrived in the village and left on the side of the road, by the homes of the villages’ families, an order “relating to unpermitted structures.” Attached to the order was an aerial photo with the areas of the villages of Ein-al Hilweh and the neighboring Umm Jamal demarcated on the photo. Thirty families live in the demarcated area—300 people in total, with 5,000 animals, as of the date the evacuation order was issued.
The order, signed on November 1 by Roni Noma, commander of IDF forces in the West Bank, instructs all the residents of the area to remove their property from the area with eight days of the orders’ signing—but how does it work out if the order was placed on the side of the road eight days after being signed? It doesn’t.
The Daragma family has lived in the area since 1967, and before that lived not far away. They show us the document signed by the Jordanian government with the name of their grandfather listed as owner of the land. The rest of the territory covered by the evacuation order, 550 dunam in total, is either privately owned Palestinian land or owned by the Catholic Church. Where are the people supposed to go when they are expelled? Neither the order nor the Israeli government give an answer.
Qadri Daragma, one of the 300 residents of Ein al-Hilweh and Umm Jamal who are facing expulsion. (Keren Manor/
Qadri Daragma, one of the 300 residents of Ein al-Hilweh and Umm Jamal who are facing expulsion. (Keren Manor/

This is not the first time that Palestinian families in the Jordan family have faced expulsion, but it is the first time the army has used this kind of order, called a “Demarcation Order,” against Palestinians. The order was first articulated in 2003, ironically, to be used against illegal Jewish outposts. The use of this kind of order against Palestinians allows for a quicker expulsion, a wider applicability, and is more expedient when it comes to dealing with Israeli bureaucracy—because it applies to entire communities without requiring detailed inspection of all the structures in an area, which has been the Civil Administration’s practice up until now.
A Jordanian document showing proof that the land on which Ein Al-Hilweh was built belongs to the Daragma family. (

At a time when the government is busy legalizing formerly illegal outposts and legislating the systematic theft of Palestinian land, it is hardly surprising that the laws meant to enforce legal building in the occupied territories  serve one population and not another. The settlement of Maskiot, established in 2006 for settlers removed from the Gaza Strip, overlooks the villages that stand to be evacuated. To the north and south of these villages there still proudly stand two illegal Jewish outposts—Givat Slait and Um Zuka, which continue to expand despite the orders to halt construction and their residents’ tendency to abuse the Palestinian shepherds.
“The people here are not interested in politics. They just want to live,” one of the Daragma family members said to us. Unfortunately, politics determines the conditions of living—especially if you are a Palestinian.
Just a few days earlier, the same kind of order, also signed by General Roni Noma, was issued against the community of Jabal al-Baba, located in the E1 area between Jerusalem and Jericho. It seems the army has found a substitute to the demolition orders issued by the Civil Administration, which apply to specific structures, as a means to expel entire communities.
More than 1,300 Israelis have signed an online petition created by Zazim that calls on President Rivilin to stop the injustice and the expulsion of the 300 hundred residents of Umm Jamal and Ein al-Hilweh from their homes.
Executive Director of B’Tselem Hagai El-Ad said, “with the orders of the IDF commander in the West Bank in the Jordan Valley and Jabal al Baba we are witnessing a new stage in Israel’s violent process to remove Palestinians from Area C. In the Jordan Valley, in East Jerusalem, in the South Hebron Hills, the fact cannot be ignored: forced expulsion constitutes a war crime.”

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Debate: The end of Daesh and its caliphate

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President Aoun on Independence Eve: Nation That Defeats ‘Israel’ & Terror Cannot Be Violated : PM Hariri’s Resignation on Hold after Talks with President

Lebanese President Michel Aoun

Lebanon’s President Michel Aoun addressed the nation Tuesday on the eve of Lebanon’s 74th independence anniversary, stressing that all the Lebanese must cooperate to protect the country’s sovereignty and stability.
“The sovereignty of the nation that defeated ‘Israel’ and the takfiri terror can never be violated.”
President Aoun considered that the crisis of the Prime Minister Saad Hariri had to do with the national dignity, wondering “whether we should have neglected it.”
Aoun called on the Lebanese to preserve their national unity and prevent stirring seditions among their segments, urging the armed forces to be always ready to defend the country.
The Lebanese president also said that the Arab countries must deal with Lebanon wisely, calling on the Arab League to stick to its principles by saving the people, sovereignty and independence of its member states.
President Aoun further urged the international community to contribute to Lebanon’s stability and to admit a just policy in approaching the world’s causes.
Source: Al-Manar Website

PM Hariri’s Resignation on Hold after Talks with President

22-11-2017 | 13:21
Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri temporarily put his resignation on hold following a request by President Michel Aoun for him to reconsider the decision.

Hariri Aoun

“I presented my resignation to President Aoun today and he urged me to wait” for more dialogue and “I showed responsiveness to this hope,” Hariri said following his meeting with Aoun in Beirut on Wednesday.
He also underlined his commitment to cooperation with Aoun.
Hariri stunned the entire nation on November 4, when he announced his resignation in a statement broadcast from Saudi Arabia and plunged his homeland into a new political crisis.
Back then, top Lebanese officials accused Saudi Arabia of forcing his resignation and detaining him in the kingdom for days before letting him leave.
Hariti finally returned home late on Tuesday after visits to France, Cyprus and Egypt.
Earlier today, Hariri along with President Aoun and Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri attended a military parade to mark the country’s Independence Day, which brought an end to the French mandate over the country 74 years ago.
After the parade, Hariri attended a meeting with Aoun and Berri.
Before his return, Hariri promised to explain his views on the crisis in the country.
He cited many reasons, including the security situation in Lebanon, for his sudden decision. He also said that he sensed a plot being hatched against his life.
Meanwhile, analysts consider that Hariri, a close Riyadh ally, was forced by his Saudi patron to resign as he refused to adopt a confrontational approach against Hezbollah, a powerful political party which is part of the Hariri-led coalition government.
After days of confusion about Hariri’s situation in Saudi Arabia, the Lebanese premier and his wife arrived in the French capital, Paris, on Saturday, but two of his children stayed behind in Riyadh.
In Paris, Hariri held talks with French President Emmanuel Macron, who invited the Lebanese politician to the European country in an attempt to lower the tensions that erupted after his abrupt resignation.
Source: News Agencies, Edited by website team
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“Russia’s past, America’s future? Jews Admit The Bolshevik Revolution Was A Jewish Plot Against Christian Russia” is locked Russia’s past, America’s future? Jews Admit The Bolshevik Revolution Was A Jewish Plot Against Christian Russia


ED-NOTE – Something to think about: Czar comes from Caesar and the last Russian dynasty was named the ROMANov.

J.POST – Moses led the Jews out of Egypt, Stalin led them out of the Politburo,” whispered veterans of the Bolshevik Revolution, as winter 1927 approached the Moscow River’s banks.

The revolution that erupted 100 years ago this week was turning on its heroes, as Joseph Stalin was purging the late Vladimir Lenin’s protégés, confidants and aides. The expulsion those days of Leon Trotsky from the Communist Party was but the beginning of an anti-Jewish assault that would continue intermittently until Stalin’s death.

The revolution’s Jewish leaders would vanish much sooner than the communism for which they fought, but many Russians – to this day – still see the revolution as a Jewish plot.

Lenin’s deputies Lev Kamenev (originally Rozenfeld) and Grigory Zinoviev (born Hirsch Apfelbaum) and his treasurer Grigori Sokolnikov (Girsh Yankelevich Brilliant) were all Jews, as were Karl Radek (Sobelsohn), co-writer of the Soviet Constitution, Maxim Litvinov (Meir Henoch Wallach-Finkelstein), foreign minister of the USSR until his removal so Stalin could pact with Hitler.

This is, of course, besides Trotsky himself, builder of the Red Army and the only Soviet who served as both foreign and defense minister.

Most proverbially, a Jew – Yakov Sverdlov – oversaw the nighttime execution of Czar Nikolai, Empress Alexandra, and their five children.

Jewish revolutionaries were prominent beyond Russia as well.

In Germany, philosopher-economist Rosa Luxemburg led an abortive revolution in 1919 before being caught, clubbed, shot dead and dumped in a canal. In Hungary, Bela Kun – originally Kohn – led a short-lived communist coup several months after Luxemburg’s murder.

In Romania, Ana Pauker – originally Hebrew teacher Hannah Rabinsohn, and later the world’s first woman foreign minister – effectively ran the country for Stalin, before falling from grace and spending her last years under house arrest. In Czechoslovakia, Rudolf Slansky was the second-most powerful figure before his public trial and execution alongside 11 other senior Jewish communists. In Poland, two of the three Stalinists who led its transition to communism – Hilary Minc, who collectivized its economy, and Jakub Berman, who headed its secret police – were Jews.

The revolution, in short, was so crowded with Jews that one had to wonder whether “the Jews” were inherently revolutionary.

A century on, it is clear they were not.

TODAY’S JEWS are a conservative lot.

Jews are now overwhelmingly academics, bankers, businesspeople, lawyers, doctors, journalists, literati and politicians, who do not encourage their children to join the proletariat. Yes, many Jews give the poor much charity and also back assorted social-democratic political formations, but on the whole the Jews are now in the business of preserving the social-political order, rather than turning it on its head.

In Israel, an unabashedly bourgeois society that once was devoutly socialist is worshiping private enterprise, individualism and hedonism, as the prime minister the people keep reelecting smokes cigars and prides himself in having slashed social spending, sold public companies, and set the market forces loose. Jews have not been seen challenging the moneyed elite since revolution’s return in 1968 as a caricature, when Mark Rudd (Rudnitsky) and David Shapiro starred in the student takeover of Columbia University’s Low Library while Daniel “the Red” Cohn-Bendit led student unrest in France.

Why, then, were the Jews of 1917 so unsettled, and why are today’s so sedate?  Very simple.

Until 1917 Russian Jewry was abused. All the lands to their west had abolished all anti-Jewish laws, policies and directives, but the czars continued to cage the Jews in the Pale of Settlement, limit their access to higher education, block their freedom of travel, association and speech, and occasionally also encourage pogroms. The Jews were provoked, and the revolution was their counterattack.

Revolutionary Jews wanted to belong, and some of them wanted to make everyone belong – everywhere and immediately. It was a utopian urge that makes one suspect Trotsky et al. remained infected by the messianic bug of the Judaism they had vowed to shed.

Whatever its cause, that urge is gone.

THERE WAS, of course, an alternative idea, one that promised to make the Jews belong in a different way, an idea that in 1920 was juxtaposed with Bolshevism by none other than a typically insightful and visionary Winston Churchill: the Zionist idea.

“The struggle which is now beginning between the Zionist and Bolshevik Jews is little less than a struggle for the soul of the Jewish people,” he wrote in the Illustrated Sunday Herald, after noting “the part played in the creation of Bolshevism and in the actual bringing about of the Russian Revolution by these international and for the most part atheistical Jews,” a role that “probably outweighs all others.”

“If, as may well happen, there should be created in our own lifetime by the banks of the Jordan a Jewish State… which might comprise three or four millions of Jews,” he now assessed, “an event would have occurred in the history of the world which would, from every point of view, be beneficial.”

It was certainly beneficial for Russia’s Jews, whose descendants eventually flocked in droves to the Jewish state, so much so that Jerusalem alone is today home to more Jews than all of Russia.

Russian Jewry went to the Jewish state because here they would be free to study what they wish, live where they please, rise as high as they could climb, and even become defense minister, speaker of the Knesset and chairman of the Jewish Agency. They knew they would belong.

The Jews who set out to redeem not their nation but all mankind ended up clubbed like Rosa Luxemburg, hanged like Rudolf Slansky, stabbed with an icepick like Trotsky, or shot by a firing squad like Bela Kun. Much as they refused to admit this to the bitter end – they did not belong.

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خيارات الحريري

خيارات الحريري

ناصر قنديل

نوفمبر 21, 2017

– عندما يقول موشي يعالون وزير الحرب السابق في كيان الاحتلال إنّ ما قاله بيان وزراء الخارجية العرب هو نسخة باللغة العربية لما تقوله «إسرائيل» باللغة العبرية، على الرئيس سعد الحريري المستقيل العائد إلى لبنان أو عن استقالته، التفكير ملياً بالخيارات التي ينوي اللجوء إليها، قبل أن ينطق الكلمة الأولى في لقائه مع رئيس الجمهورية، لأنها سترسم مساراً جديداً له، أكثر مما سترسم مساراً جديداً للبلد، فقد أبرأ الجميع ذمّتهم تجاهه بمواقف التضامن بوجه ما تعرّض له من إهانة يرفض الاعتراف بها، على يد أصدقائه السعوديين، كما أبرأوا ذمّتهم تجاه الحرص على التوافق الذي أنتج التسوية التي جاءت به إلى رئاسة الحكومة بالتزامن مع انتخاب العماد ميشال عون رئيساً للجمهورية.

– من المفيد للحريري أن ينتبه إلى أنّ التسوية المتصلة بربط النزاع حول الخلافات تجاه الخيارات الإقليمية، لا يغيّر فيها اتهام تافه كالذي يوجّه لحزب الله بقصف الرياض. أما الحديث عن وصف حزب الله بالإرهاب فكلام آخر، لا ينطق به غير «الإسرائيليين» ويستنطقون به الأميركيين، وتورّط لبناني بقوله يجعل بقاءه رئيساً للحكومة مستحيلاً، كما يجعل تسميته مجدّداً لرئاسة الحكومة إذا استقال مستحيلاً أيضاً، ومن المفيد أن يعلم الحريري وأن يُخبره الذين عاشوا مرحلة ما بين الاجتياح «الإسرائيلي» واتفاق الطائف، أنّ السعودية كانت مع نظام أمين الجميّل تضع ثقلها لإسقاط المقاومة، وأنّ متفجرة بئر العبد التي وضعها بندر بن سلطان باعترافات وليم كايسي مدير «سي أي آي» عام 1983، كانت استهدافاً لخيار المقاومة بـ»الإرهاب»، وأنه يكفي المقاومة وحزب الله في مقدّمة أحزابها، ما قالته الفصائل الفلسطينية بالإجماع عن توافقها، رغم خلافاتها الكثيرة، لأيّ محاولة لتوصيف طليعة المقاومة العربية لـ»إسرائيل» بالإرهاب.

– يستطيع الحريري أن يطلب نصوصاً أكثر تفصيلاً للتسوية، تتضمّن عدم وقوف لبنان كدولة في أيّ محور إقليمي، لكن عليه إدراك أنّ كلّ نصّ عن إيران يقابله نصّ عن السعودية بالتلميح أو بالتصريح، فلبنان لن يكون شريكاً في أيّ مواجهة إيرانية سعودية كلام مقبول، وهو من ضمن التسوية أما أن يكون شريكاً للسعودية بوجه إيران فتلك خطيئة لن يرتكبها لبنان كرمى لعيون ضمان عودة الحريري لرئاسة الحكومة. ويستطيع الحريري أن يعتبر انسحاب حزب الله قريباً من العراق كافياً إذا أراد البحث عن الوفاق الوطني، طالما أن لا وجود لحزب الله في اليمن والبحرين والكويت، وطالما أنّ الوجود في سورية خاضع لمعادلات معقدة تتصل بحاجات الحرب على الإرهاب وهي لم تنته وتهدّد أمن لبنان، وبعدم منح «إسرائيل» أرباحاً مجانية تحقق مطالبها، وكذلك بموقف الشرعية السورية، وحتى عندما لا يجد حزب الله سبباً للبقاء في سورية فلن يكون مقبولاً أن يفعل ذلك في سياق بازار سعودي «إسرائيلي» واضح فيه البيع والشراء.

– على الرئيس الحريري أن يختار بين أن يلعب دوراً تسووياً لامتصاص الاحتقان السعودي المفتعل، وعندها سيجد التعاون في إيجاد المخارج التي لا تمنح «إسرائيل» مكاسب، أو أن يكون الوصي على تطبيق سياسة سعودية مرسومة لإرضاء «إسرائيل» في لبنان، من ضمن جدول الالتزامات المتبادلة بين أطراف الحلف الجديد، وعلى خياره سيتقرّر كيفية التعامل معه، فليس ثمة مسؤول لا بديل عنه، بل ثمة كرامة وطنية وشخصية يجب أن تبقى معادلتها، لا بديل عنها.

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israeli demolition of entire Palestinian villages continues with no end in sight

Israeli demolition of entire Palestinian villages continues with no end in sight (includes videos)
Image of Israeli forces demolishing the Bedouin village of Al-Araqeeb for the 111th time in August 2017
Stories keep pouring in of Israel demolishing Palestinian villages; many of the buildings destroyed were donated by EU organizations; schools have been razed; residents are often required to pay tens of thousands of dollars for the destruction of their own homes; nearly 160,000 Bedouins live in “unrecognized” villages built before 1948 that Israel has designated “illegal” and threatens with demolition. Below are three reports, followed by videos and documentaries about previous demolitions:

Israel Demolishes Al-Araqeeb Village For 121st Time

from IMEMC News
The Israeli army demolished, Thursday, the Bedouin village of al-Arakib, in the Negev desert, for the 121st time, rendering all families homeless, yet again. The village was demolished 121 times, while the latest demolition before this one was carried out on October 25.
The village has been under constant invasions and demolitions; its inhabitants have land deeds and receipts of paid taxes dating back to Ottoman times, but the Israeli authorities do not accept these as valid.
The Maan News Agency has reported that, in August of this year, an Israeli court ordered six villagers to pay 262.000 Shekels (approximately $74,508), in addition to 100,000 Shekels ($28,440) for the expenses of its state’s attorney.
The figures above are only for the August demolition, in addition to all accumulated costs of the ongoing Israeli demolitions and destruction of the village since 2010, with a cumulative cost of approximately 1,902,607 Shekels (541,000 USD).
There are 35 Bedouin villages that are not recognized by Israel; nearly 160,000 Bedouins live in “unrecognized” villages in the Negev, built before 1948, but remain “illegal” under Israeli law and face constant threat of demolition and displacement.
In 2005, Israel approved the so-called “Negev Development Plan,” aimed at building shopping centers and tourist areas, but at the same time displacing around some 65.000 Bedouins living in what Israel refers to as “unrecognized villages.”
The plan calls for annexing more than 700,000 Dunams (185329 acres) and displacing the residents by demolishing 14 villages in the area. Al-Arakib village is one of the most impacted “unrecognized villages” in the Negev.
All unrecognized villages in the Negev are under continuing Israeli attacks and violations, as Tel Aviv does not recognize the residents’ right to live on the land — land they inhabited before the 1948 creation of the state of Israel in historic Palestine.

Israel To Displace Entire Palestinian Communities Near Occupied Jerusalem

from IMEMC News
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has decided to displace and remove dozens of Palestinian Bedouin families living in their communities around occupied East Jerusalem, after deeming their dwellings as “illegal,” to replace them with colonists.
His decision was made after meeting with representatives of the so-called “Jerusalem Belt Forum,” which is actively involved in displacing the Palestinians and replacing them with Israeli colonist settlers, in direct violation of International Law.
The group aims at removing the Palestinians, their residences and dwellings, near Maale Adumim colonies, and held their meeting with Netanyahu, on Thursday evening.
Israeli National News has reported that the meeting was also attended by officials of Netanyahu’s office, in addition to Boaz Ido, who is a board member “Jerusalem Belt Forum,” the head of the Benyamin Regional Council of Settlements, Roni Snir, the head of Gush Katif Council, Danny Tirza, Field Coordinator Yaniv Aharoni, and Kfar Adumim resident and ‘social activist’ Avichai Shurshan.
The group presented Netanyahu with what they called “activities and achievements,” in addition to maps and aerial photographs of constructions in Bedouin communities, financed by the European Union.
The indigenous Palestinians in that area live in tents, mobile homes and several structures, in the area between Maale Adumim and Mitzpe Yeriho colonies.
Israeli Ynet News said that Netanyahu ordered the removal of what was described as “illegal outposts,” and to relocate the inhabitant in Abu Dis town, near Jerusalem, and Jericho.
The Arabs48 news website has reported that Israel is trying to displace what is left of the Bedouin communities in occupied Jerusalem to build and expand its illegal colonies, and link Maale Adumim with Jerusalem.
Israeli National News has reported that Netanyahu ordered his office, the police and the military to increase their deployment and enforcement, and to ensure the removal of the Palestinian communities, dubbed as “illegal outposts.”
On its part, the “Jerusalem Belt Forum” said after the meeting with Netanyahu that they “congratulate him for his willingness to resolve the problems presented to him, regarding the illegal construction carried out by European Funding,” referring to EU projects that tries to help in creating basic infrastructure and to improve the lives of the communities.
It is worth mentioning that the so-called “Jerusalem Belt Forum,” a heavily financed group active in the illegal construction and expansion of Israeli colonies, has been conducting various campaigns to stop what it refers to as “illegal Palestinian constructions,” and to remove the Bedouin committees to “house them in a Bedouin village near Jericho.
Bedouins living around Jerusalem, reside in Area C of the occupied West Bank, and are protected inhabitants under International Law, International Humanitarian Law, and all related protocols and agreements, but are constantly displaced, similar to what is happening in the Negev.
Israel’s colonies in the occupied West Bank, including in and around occupied East Jerusalem, are illegal under International Law and the Fourth Geneva Convention.
On Friday at dawn, Netanyahu ordered the army to remove all Bedouin Palestinians living in their communities, close to Road #1, leading to the Dead Sea.
The army also handed eviction orders to the Bedouin families in Jabal al-Baba area, near al-‘Ezariyya, east of Jerusalem, ordering them to leave dwellings they inhabited for more than fifty years, after they were displaced from the Negev.
Arabs48 quoted resident Atallah al-Jahalin stating that he was born there 43 years ago, in the same dwelling were 57 families, half of them children, reside.

Israeli forces deliver evacuation notices to 300 Palestinians in Bedouin village

BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — Israeli authorities on Friday reportedly distributed evacuation notices to all 300 Palestinian residents of the Bedouin village of Jabal al-Baba in the central occupied West Bank district of Jerusalem, according to official Palestinian Authority (PA)-owned Wafa news agency.
Wafa reported that staff from Israel’s civil administration, backed by Israeli army, reportedly stormed the village and ordered its residents to leave their homes.
Jabal Al-Baba, according to Wafa, consists of 100 buildings, 58 of which are houses, while the rest are structures used for agriculture. “Because the community is unrecognized, the people in Jabal al-Baba live without electricity and get water only from tanks filled by trucks,” Wafa said.
Israeli forces have demolished dozens of homes in Jabal al-Baba area, many of them built with assistance from the EU and humanitarian organizations, over the past few years.
In August, Israeli forces demolished a Kindergarten school in the village.
The hill is populated by some 55 Bedouin families who have inhabited the area for 65 years, and face constant threat of being expelled from their homes.
Some 90 Palestinian Bedouins, the majority of them children, were left homeless when Israeli forces disassembled EU-donated mobile homes in the Jabal al-Baba in May 2016.
Jabal al-Baba, like other Bedouin communities in the region, is under threat of forcible transfer by Israel for being located in the contentious “E1 corridor” set up by the Israeli government to link annexed East Jerusalem with the mega settlement of Maale Adumim.
Israeli authorities plan to build thousands of homes for Jewish-only settlements in E1, which would effectively divide the West Bank and make the creation of a contiguous Palestinian state — as envisaged by the two-state solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict — almost impossible.
Rights groups and Bedouin community members have sharply criticized Israel’s relocation plans for the Bedouin residing near the illegal Israeli settlement of Maale Adumim, claiming that the removal would displace indigenous Palestinians for the sake of expanding Israeli settlements across the occupied West Bank in violation of international law.

2016 video about Israel’s demolition of school in Bedouin village of Abu Nuwar 
2016 Video of Israel soldiers arresting people protesting demolition of their homes in Umm al-Hiran
2011 Documentary about Al Araqib (aka Al Araqeeb)
2007 Documentary:

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Recent Trip To Syria Discussed by Brandon Turbeville

American writer Brandon Turbeville has recently given an interview about a trip he made to Syria back in early October. In listening to his account I was struck by the rather marked similarities to my own impressions formed when I journeyed to Syria in 2014. Here is a bit of what he says:
“We did fly into Beiruit and traveled from Beirut into Syria…Lebanon is great, but there was a definitive shift in energy when you go into Syria. Syrian soldiers, who have been demonized in Western media, were extremely nice and polite and welcoming. When they found out that I was an American–because everybody in Syria is well aware of what the United States has done–they’re well aware that America supports terrorists; they’re well aware that Israel supports terrorists–even if Americans aren’t, the Syrians know full well. As an American they have every reason to be apprehensive about me, and possibly be not quite so nice, but that was not the case. And this was not just at check points, but whenever you met Syrian people on the street, they were the nicest, friendliest, most welcoming people I have ever met. There was not one ounce of hostility that I received from anyone for being American, for anything.”
While in Syria, Turbeville visited Damascus, Aleppo, Homs, and Tartus, as well as a number of smaller towns and villages. In the interview he explodes the myth of the “moderate rebels” while discussing other aspects of the war as well. All in all a quite engaging and informative discussion. Turbeville was interviewed on the Vin Armani show. You can go here to access a video showing just Turbeville’s segment on the show (a bit under 50 minutes), or go here to access the entire show, which runs just over two hours.

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Moscow Vetoes Security Council’s Resolution on Syria: Saving Credibility of United Nations

On November 17, Russia vetoed a UN resolution that would extend the mandate of the Joint Investigative Mechanism, or JIM. The vote came one day after the Russian Federation blocked a US effort to extend the inquiry for one year.
As usual, it triggered accusations from the United States. US Ambassador Nikki Haley was fiery and acrimonious, telling the Security Council that the veto “shows us that Russia has no interest in finding common ground with the rest of this council to save the JIM.” “Russia will not agree to any mechanism that might shine a spotlight on the use of chemical weapons by its ally, the Syrian regime,” she said. “It’s as simple and sinful as that.”
The emotions were expected. Much has been said about the tactics of blaming Russia for each and everything going awry. It serves the purpose to better understand the issue and the reasons behind this particular move of Moscow.
The JIM is a joint investigative body of the UN and the international chemical weapons (CW) watchdog, the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons or OPCW. The Russia’s demand for major changes in the way the JIM operates is at the heart of the dispute. Moscow has been critical of the JIM’s findings that the Syrian government used chlorine gas in at least two attacks in 2014 and 2015 and used sarin in an aerial attack on Khan Shaykhun last April 4.
The Joint Investigative Mechanism (JIM) has released a report accusing Syria’s government for a sarin nerve gas attack last April on the town of Khan Shaykhun that killed more than 90 people and the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) extremist group for a mustard gas attack at Um Hosh in Aleppo in September 2016. The report says the “leadership panel is confident that the Syrian Arab Republic is responsible for the release of sarin at Khan Shaykhun,” the Syrian village.
The inspectors based their findings on “sufficient credible and reliable evidence” of Syrian aircraft that dropped munitions, the crater that was caused by the impact of the aerial bombing, interviews with victims, and their finding that sarin identified in the samples taken from Khan Shaykhun was most likely been made with a precursor (DF) from the original stockpile of the Syrian Arab Republic.
The conclusions have been made without an inspection team visiting the area! Nobody of those who prepared the report went to see what happened with their own eyes! UN chemical experts should have gone to the place and collected and analyzed the samples. They failed to do it but it did not stop them from coming to definite conclusions! Can such a report be considered as impartial? Certainly not, but the White House rushed to issue a statement blasting Syrian President Bashar Assad’s regime.
One does not have to go into details much to see the inconsistencies. Annex II (item 10) of the report states that the sarin incident occurred in Khan Shaykhun between 0630 and 0700 hours local time on 4 April 2017. Item 77 of Annex II states that “several hospitals appeared to have begun admitting casualties of the attack between 0640 and 0645 hours. The Mechanism received the medical records of 247 patients from Khan Shaykhun who had been admitted to various health-care facilities, including survivors and a number of victims who eventually died from exposure to a chemical agent. The admission times noted in the records range from 0600 to 1600 hours. Analysis of the records revealed that in 57 cases, patients had been admitted to five hospitals before the incident (at 0600, 0620 and 0640 hours). In 10 of those cases, patients appear to have been admitted to a hospital 125 km away from Khan Shaykhun at 0700 hours, while another 42 patients appear to have been admitted to a hospital 30 km away at 0700 hours.”
So, what the report actually states is that the patients had been admitted to hospitals before the air strike! The irregularity does strike the eye and it’s far from being the only one in the paper.
The video report used as “evidence” is also questioned. According to Theodore A. Postol, a professor emeritus of Science, Technology, and International Security at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the video was showing the three bomb plumes to be blowing to the east, in contradiction of the day’s weather reports and the supposed direction of a separate sarin cloud. That day the wind was going to the west. The location of the three bombing strikes didn’t match up with the supposed damage claimed to have detected from satellite photos of where the bombs purportedly struck. Rather than buildings being leveled by powerful bombs, the photos showed little or no apparent damage.
Al Qaeda (Jabhat al-Nusra) could have easily posted the video from an earlier bombing raid to provide “proof” of the April 4 strike. Actually, nobody knows when and where all the CW attack-related pictures and videos were taken. The UN report mentions White Helmets allegedly helping the victims but the pictures show they wore no gloves or protective equipment. If sarin gas were used, they would have become victims themselves.
The jihadist group had a good reason to stage the attack and blame it on the Syrian government as the Trump administration had announced that the Assad ouster was no longer the priority just a few days before. The US president said he had dropped the “Assad must go” slogan. The video showing the alleged April 4 chemical attack went viral. It could have been an attempt to change the US president’s stance. It worked. On the night of April 6/7, US military delivered a cruise missile strike at Syrian government forces. It’s an open secret that Al Qaeda and Islamic State (IS) have used CW. Even the New York Times admits that IS has used weapons of mass destruction.
There was no reason for President Assad to use chemical weapons. He was winning the war. The UN-brokered peace talks on Syria were to launch on April 4 – the day of the attack. No way could the Syrian government benefit from the use of CW. After all, the Syria gave up all its chemical weapons in 2013 and there has been no proof it has ever made an attempt to acquire the weapons of mass destruction since then.
The facts mentioned above lead to the conclusion that the JIM offered a decision prepared beforehand without taking the pain to conduct serious investigation. The draft resolution was nothing but an attempt to push through a guilty verdict and ensure that such rulings will be handed down in future when convenient. Evidently, the extension of the JIM mandate unchanged is unacceptable. It would undermine the credibility and standing of the United Nations – something Russia is trying to prevent.

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The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Blog!