Examples of continuous Israeli harassment vs Palestinians

angelburst29

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
Before leaving the White House, former US President Barack Obama proposed a new initiative on the Palestinian-Israeli settlement, thus shifting the solution of the problem to the Trump administration.

24.09.2018 - Lavrov reveals Why Russia Turned Down Obama's 2016 Palestine Proposition
Lavrov Reveals Why Russia Turned Down Obama's 2016 Palestine Proposition

In 2016 Russia did not support the initiative of the former US administration on a Palestinian-Israeli settlement, considering that it would have substantially complicated the situation, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov stated before leaving for New York to participate in the UN General Assembly, where, among other topics, the Palestinian-Israeli settlement will be discussed.

"At the end of 2016, when the outgoing Obama administration began to promote decisions on the Palestinian-Israeli settlement in the UN Security Council, more precisely, imposing 'artificial' parameters and the outcome of negotiations predetermining the sides, Russia did not support this initiative of the United States, considering that it would inevitably lead to a situation 'on the ground' significantly aggravated and without real impact," Lavrov said.

The minister explained that "it would be counterproductive." "And during a long telephone conversation at the end of December with the US secretary of state, we clarified the Russian position, which was also taken into account at the request of [Prime Minister of Israel] Benjamin Netanyahu," he noted.

According to the Russian foreign minister, Moscow noted that it did not want the outgoing administration to slam the door and create problems for subsequent efforts in this direction.

At the end of December 2016, Lavrov, in a conversation with then US Secretary of State John Kerry, stressed the need to create conditions for direct negotiations between the leaders of Israel and Palestine and warned against bringing the domestic American agenda into the work of the "Quartet on the Middle East" and the UN Security Council, pointing out the harmfulness of attempts to use these platforms for infighting between Democrats and Republicans.

Almost at the same time, the Obama administration promoted an agenda relating to various aspects of settlements and the 1967 borders that was uncomfortable for Tel Aviv and which ultimately aggravated relations between the two countries. Experts regarded this to be pre-election maneuvers.
 

angelburst29

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
Friday Oct. 5, 2018 - Israel's Prime Minister questioned again in corruption probe
Israel's prime minister questioned again in corruption probe | Reuters

Israeli police questioned Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for the 12th time on Friday in connection with a long-running corruption investigation.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s wife, Sara, appeared in court on Sunday for the first hearing in the fraud trial against her, in which she is alleged to have misused state funds in ordering catered meals.

October 7, 2018 - Wife of Israeli Prime Minister goes on Trial for Fraud
Wife of Israeli prime minister goes on trial for fraud | Reuters

According to the indictment, Sara Netanyahu, along with a government employee, fraudulently obtained from the state more than $100,000 for hundreds of meals supplied by restaurants, bypassing regulations that prohibit the practice if a cook is employed at home.

Netanyahu denies any wrongdoing. :headbanger:

She was charged in June with fraud and breach of trust and of aggravated fraudulent receipt of goods. If convicted, Sara Netanyahu could face up to five years in prison.

Looking tense, Netanyahu made no comment to reporters who had packed the tiny courtroom. She sat on a bench behind her lawyers.

“Can we ask them to move the cameras away?”, she asked the lawyer for the other defendant, who replied: “You’re used to it.”

“Not like this,” Netanyahu answered. She shook her head as the prosecutor described the gravity of her case.

The session, however, dealt mainly with procedural matters. The judge set a meeting with the prosecutors and the defendants’ lawyers for Nov. 13 in which he said he hoped all sides could narrow their differences “or even resolve the case”.

But a settlement at this stage appears remote because the prosecutors would likely demand Netanyahu plead guilty, something her lawyer has ruled out. She was not asked at the hearing to enter a plea.

Netanyahu’s lawyers contend the indictment does not hold up because the regulations for ordering meals were legally invalid and a household employee had requisitioned the food despite Netanyahu’s protestations.

The prime minister, who himself is embroiled in corruption investigations, has called the allegations against his wife absurd and unfounded.

Sara Netanyahu, 59, has inspired a multitude of headlines in the past over what family spokesmen call an undeserved reputation for imperiousness.

In 2017 the Netanyahus won a libel suit against an Israeli journalist who said Sara once kicked her husband out of their car during an argument. In 2016, a Jerusalem labor court ruled that she had insulted and raged at household staff in the prime minister’s official residence.

So far, Sara’s present legal woes have not politically damaged her husband, now in his fourth term as Israel’s leader and riding high in opinion polls despite the allegations against him.

Accusations he has made against the Israeli media of orchestrating a politically motivated witch-hunt against him and his wife appear to have struck a chord with his right-wing voter base, which has rallied in support of the 68-year-old leader.


07.10.2018 - Scandal du Jour: Tel Aviv PM Netanyahu's Wife Sara begins Trail for Fraud
Scandal du Jour: Tel Aviv PM Netanyahu’s Wife Sara Begins Trial for Fraud

As the scandals and legal trials dogging Israel’s first family continue unabated, the prime minister’s wife, Sara Netanyahu, began her own trial on Sunday for fraud and breach of trust.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's wife, Sara Netanyahu, on Sunday showed up in court to begin her trial for fraud and breach of trust, in a continuing saga of the multiple scandals involving her husband and family.

In another of her several appearances in court over the past several years, Mrs. Netanyahu did not speak, prior to the judge ejecting members of the press.

Allegations against Tel Aviv's first lady include blowing some $100,000 of the state's money on famous chefs to cater for the couple and their family at their official residence, although a full-time chef is already on the payroll.

Mr. and Mrs. Netanyahu — as Israel's preeminent power couple — are also accused of demanding expensive French champagne and Cuban cigars from associates as a means of greasing the wheels of favoritism in Tel Aviv.

In recordings from police investigations leaked to the press, the PM's wife was heard to curse her kitchen staff and complain about the quality of the food at the official residence.

The Israeli prime minister's wife has been previously accused of abusive behavior and over-the-top spending. A court ruled in 2016 that she had abused one of her housekeepers, and was fined a reported $42,000.

Former employees of Sara Netanyahu have noted many instances of mistreatment, and have accused her of finding creative ways to make the government pay for her extremely expensive tastes.

Tel Aviv Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu suggested that the allegations against his wife are "baseless and delusional," cited by the Guardian.

In the words of her indictment, Mrs. Netanyahu actively sought "to circumvent the rules and conditions" surrounding the logistics of the Israeli PM's official residence "in order to fraudulently obtain state funding for various expenses for the accused and her family that were not supposed to be financed in this manner."

Lawyers for Netanyahu argued previously that she was oblivious about household regulations — a claim shown by legal experts as unlikely, given her long tenure in the public eye and at the top levels of government.

Sara Netanyahu could be facing up to five years of jail time if she is convicted, although pundits and observers of Tel Aviv political culture suggest that she will at most be inconvenienced and receive a judicial rebuke, something that could only hurt her pride, not her bottom line, according to the Guardian.

The Israeli first lady's trial is only one of many facing their family, as opponents and members of the media increasingly portray the Netanyahu administration as being out of touch with Israeli citizens on the street.

Police in Tel Aviv on Friday questioned the Israeli PM over a period of hours in a separate ongoing investigation into widespread accusations of corruption by the 68-year-old politician, including selling influence for good press to Israeli telecom giant Bezeq and accepting expensive gifts from wealthy power brokers in exchange for favorable regulatory treatment.
 

angelburst29

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
Oct. 11, 2018 - US Navy returns to Israeli Port in sign of 'deep alliance'
U.S. Navy returns to Israeli port in sign of 'deep alliance' | Reuters



U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman tour USS Ross, during a ceremony marking the 243rd anniversary of the U.S. Navy aboard the guided-missile destroyer, at the Ashdod port, Israel October 11, 2018. Heidi Levine/Pool via REUTERS

A U.S. Navy warship has docked in the southern Israeli port of Ashdod, the first such visit there in almost 20 years, in what officials from both sides hailed as a sign of their strong ties in the face of shared adversaries like Iran.

Foreign navies generally prefer northern Haifa as their Israeli port of call, so the destroyer USS Ross’s arrival at Ashdod potentially signaled Washington’s interest in broadened berthing options for its Mediterranean Sixth Fleet.

“This visit has significance. It symbolizes the deep alliance between Israel and the United States,” said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, speaking from the deck of the USS Ross, together with his wife and the U.S. ambassador to Israel.

“We are determined to defend ourselves against the Iranian military entrenchment in Syria,” Netanyahu said. “President Trump gave full support to this policy of ours, and the fact that this destroyer is visiting here today is an expression of that support.”

Netanyahu and his wife toured the ship, shaking hands with officers and sailors, and then took part in a ceremony onboard.

U.S. Sixth Fleet spokesman Commander Kyle Raines said in a statement to Reuters the port visit “reinforces the strong and enduring partnership between our two nations”.

Both Haifa and Ashdod face shelling threats - the former, from Hezbollah rockets in Lebanon and the latter from Palestinian rockets from the Gaza Strip.

In his statement, Raines did not refer to any such threat specifically, but said: “We conduct extensive analysis of all port facilities and communities where our ships pull into and have the ability to adjust our force protection measures as necessary to ensure the safety of our sailors.”


October 11, 2018 - Israeli Military says examining F-35's after US flaw finding
Israeli military says examining F-35s after U.S. flaw finding | Reuters

Israel’s military said on Thursday it was testing its fleet of F-35 fighters after receiving findings from U.S. investigators that a different model of the plane had a fuel systems flaw.

The military, on Twitter, stopped short of saying the Israeli F-35s had been grounded, describing them as remaining on operational standby.

A Pentagon spokesperson said earlier Thursday that all U.S. and international F-35 fighter jets made by Lockheed Martin Co had been grounded so that fuel tubes can be examined.

Israel’s military said its air force chief “decided to exercise extreme caution” and test all the F-35s, “even though this was not the model used by the Israeli Air Force and that no failures have been found in the planes.”

It said it expected the examination to last a few days, after which the F-35s would return to full operation.


Thu Oct 11, 2018 - US Military Grounds Its Entire Fleet of F-35 Fighter Jets in Wake of South Carolina Crash
Farsnews

The entire fleet of F-35 fighter jets has been grounded to inspect the aircraft for suspected faulty fuel tubes, according to the US military. The decision comes in the wake of a Marine Corps’ F-35B crash in South Carolina last month.

The grounding order affects all variants of the advanced fighter jets, including the Air Force’s F-35A and the Navy’s F-35C. The engines of the aircraft will be checked for suspected faulty tubes and replacements made where necessary, RT reported.

The military say that the inspection process is expected to take up to 48 hours.

The decision comes amid the investigation into the September 28 crash, which happened after the F-35B’s take-off from an air station in Beaufort.

“The primary goal following any mishap is the prevention of future incidents,” Joe DellaVedova, a spokesman with the Pentagon’s Joint Program Office, which oversees the F-35, said, adding that “we will take every measure to ensure safe operations while we deliver, sustain and modernize the F-35 for the warfighter and our defense partners”.

Foreign operators of the F-35, such as Britain or Israel, are also grounding their fighter jets for inspection, according to the JPO statement.

The South Carolina crash – the first ever for the 5th-generation plane – ironically happened just a day after an F-35B successfully completed a mission in Afghanistan, an event that was reported by the Pentagon as a major milestone for the program. Luckily, the pilot of the crashed aircraft ejected and landed safely.

Problems have been surrounding the expensive Lockheed Martin-produced aircraft for years. Touted as an unprecedentedly advanced fighting machine, combining stealth capabilities with vast sensor dataflow and integration with other weapon systems, it has notorious for being riddled with hundreds of “deficiencies”, even as the aircraft was drawing closer to going into full-scale production. Those include dozens of serious drawbacks that could potentially be life-threatening.

The issues partially stem from the decision to design three different variants for different branches of the armed forces. The program is estimated to have a lifetime cost of over $1.5 trillion.


October 11, 2018 - Israel says it has destroyed a Gaza Tunnel built by militants
Israel says it has destroyed a Gaza tunnel built by militants | Reuters

Israel destroyed a cross-border tunnel on Thursday running from the Gaza Strip into Israeli territory, which it said was dug by the Palestinian Hamas group with the aim of carrying out attacks.

There was no immediate comment from Hamas, which has fought three wars with Israel in the past decade and is the dominant Palestinian armed force in Gaza, where an Israeli security fence runs along the frontier.

“In the past few hours our forces have neutralised a terrorist attack tunnel belonging to the Hamas terrorist organisation, which penetrated Israel from the central Gaza Strip,” a military statement said.

Israeli military spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Jonathan Conricus told reporters on a conference call that the tunnel, which he said was the 15th detected and destroyed in the last year, ran 200 meters into Israeli territory.

Earlier on Thursday, the army said rocket alert sirens that had sounded in Israeli communities near the border with the Gaza Strip were a false alarm.

Palestinian gunmen used tunnels to blindside Israeli forces during the 2014 Gaza war. Israel has since been developing detection technologies and laying down an underground wall which will remove the threat posed to Israel by these tunnel by 2019.

Tensions at the Israel-Gaza border have remained high after a brief eruption of fighting that included Palestinian rocket attacks and Israeli air strikes ended in August.

Palestinians have been mounting weekly protests at the border which have included attempts to breach a security fence. Israeli troops have killed at least 195 Palestinians and wounded thousands since the protests began in March, Gaza medics say, and one Israeli soldier has been killed by a Gaza sniper.

Citing security reasons, Israel and Egypt maintain tight restrictions on their borders with Gaza, a policy that has deepened economic hardship in the territory of two million Palestinians.

The Gaza protesters have called for the blockade to be lifted and also demand a return to lands that Palestinian families fled or were driven from on Israel’s founding in 1948.

Egyptian efforts to mediate a long-term ceasefire between Hamas and Israel has so far shown little progress.

As part of a U.N.-backed effort to alleviate hardship in Gaza, Qatar has donated fuel to provide for Gaza’s power plant for six months. Delivery of the fuel began earlier this week.

Doha has also announced a $150 million emergency aid package for Gaza.


Thu Oct 11, 2018 - Netanyahu Reportedly Said Trump Won't Ease Pressure on "Reckless" Erdogan
Farsnews

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu held a meeting with Greek and Cypriot foreign ministers, Nikos Kotzias and Nikos Christodoulides last month to discuss a wide array of issues, including a joint East-Med gas pipeline, deepening of cooperation and other regional issues.

According to a report by Hebrew-language Channel 10, citing Israeli officials with knowledge of the situation, Netanyahu told the foreign ministers of Greece and Cyprus last month that he was “pessimistic” about Turkey’s future under “reckless” President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

While discussing the laying of a joint Israel-Cyprus-Greece East-Med gas pipeline, Netanyahu allegedly warned the diplomats that the Turkish president might disrupt their natural gas drilling operations in the Mediterranean.

“Erdogan is unpredictable and reckless. We’re worried and watching to see if he does something in the region [about the gas]… I’m pessimistic,” Netanyahu purportedly said.

The Israeli prime minister allegedly referred to a diplomatic row between Ankara and Tel Aviv in May, when Turkey ordered Israel’s ambassador to leave the country, while Israel hit back by announcing the expulsion of the Turkish consul in Jerusalem.

According to Channel 10, Netanyahu stated that the spat had halted bilateral intelligence coordination between the two nations:

“Turkey wanted to advance reconciliation with Israel two years ago because of the situation in Syria. Now [after the removal of the Israeli ambassador to Ankara] there isn’t even intelligence cooperation with Turkey on Syria,” Netanyahu reportedly said.

The report claimed that Netanyahu raised the issue of an economic crisis in Turkey, alleging that the situation would deteriorate due to decisions made by Erdogan.

He purportedly proceeded to tell the Cypriot and Greek colleagues that he didn’t believe that relations between Ankara and Washington, marred by the continuing detention of US pastor Andrew Brunson accused of terrorism in Turkey, would improve after the midterm elections in the United States.

“Erdogan is making economic decisions that make no sense. The situation there is getting worse. […] Trump won’t ease up pressure,” he reportedly told the foreign ministers, adding that he had agreed to help the two countries put their relations back on track.

According to Channel 10’s report, Netanyahu also weighed in on Turkey’s deal with the United States to purchase F-35 fighter jets, while having bought S-400 air defense missile systems from Russia.

“It’s an oxymoron that a member of NATO has [Russian] S-400 missiles. I’m worried about them having F-35 planes,” he reportedly said.

Currently, Israel is the only country in the Middle East to possess the US F-35s.

The Israeli prime minister, who has on numerous occasions been engaged in a war of words with the Turkish president, ostensibly said that Turkey was “becoming undemocratic” under Erdogan and allegedly made a reference to his controversial comments about Netanyahu.

“Turkey is becoming undemocratic. Erdogan calls me ‘Hitler’ every two weeks. Its’s a systematic problem – I don’t see light at the end of the tunnel,” he added.

In July, Erdogan and Netanyahu clashed over new legislation defining Israel as a Jewish state, with the Turkish president saying that “Hitler’s spirit” was resurgent among some Israeli officials.

“The Israeli administration’s view to identify those ancient lands as belonging to Jews alone is no different from Hitler’s obsession with the Aryan race. The Hitler spirit, which dragged the world into a major disaster, has risen again among some Israeli officials,” he said at a meeting with lawmakers from his Justice and Development Party.

Netanyahu, for his part, retaliated by claiming that Turkey was becoming a “dark dictatorship”.

“The fact that the great ‘democrat’ Erdogan is attacking the nation state law is the greatest compliment for this law. Turkey, under Erdogan’s rule, is becoming a dark dictatorship…” the Israeli prime minister hit back.

Relations between Israel and Turkey have been strained since the beginning of the Palestinians’ Great Return March in the Gaza Strip, which rapidly turned violent, climaxing on the day of the opening of the US Embassy in Jerusalem. As a result of clashes between the Palestinians and the Israeli Defense Forces on May 14, at least 60 protesters were killed and over 2,400 injured.


Wed Oct 10, 2018 - Report: US Upgrading F-35s Amid S-300 Delivery to Syria
Farsnews

The Pentagon’s decision to conduct addition tests for its F-35 stealth fighter means that it is not so sure about the plane’s invisibility to Russia’s S-300 missiles, according to a report.

“The fact that the Americans tried to make the plane invisible does not mean that it really is. And it’s not for nothing that the Pentagon suddenly announced the need for additional F-35 tests, recently. This is clear evidence that the US themselves do not believe in the competence of F-35 against the S-300 air defense systems,” the Indian newspaper EurAsian Times wrote.

According to EurAsian Times, the F-35 Lightning II was developed with an eye to defeating the S-300 system the US already had access to. As soon as Iran began to negotiate with Russia about buying the S-300, Israel reportedly paid Greece a lot of money to get access to these systems to study them. Besides, the Americans bought parts of the complex through Belarus.

However, the S-300 system the Americans obtained “was put into service back in 1978 and the difference between modern technology and the one in 1978 is enormous”, the website noted.

Commenting on the S-300 deliveries to Syria, EurAsian Times concluded that they will “seriously increase the Syrian air defense, but only in one region, since it was announced that only four SAM systems were being delivered.

The Israeli air force is large enough and well equipped to withstand such protection. But the risk of losses, in this case, will be much higher.

Israel’s Regional Cooperation Minister Tzachi Hanegbi said earlier this month that the S-300’s capabilities have long been factored in Israel’s strategic planning.

The former general director of the main design bureau of the Almaz-Antei concern, Igor Ashurbeili, said that part of the S-300 technology had been stolen by the United States.

At the same time, the Pentagon announced that full-scale combat tests of fifth-generation F-35 Lightning II fighters would begin in November, and not in September, as earlier planned due to Lockheed Martin’s failure to upgrade the plane’s computer software on time.

In all, Israel is to receive 50 F-35A Lightning II fighter jets from the United States, which, after an upgrade, will be renamed F-35I Adir. Currently, Israel has eight such aircraft.

The S-300PM system, supplied to Syria, is based on the S-300PS complex, which entered service in Russia in 1993.

The upgraded system is capable of destroying aircraft and hypersonic cruise missiles at a distance of up to 200 kilometers (124 miles).

Moscow has supplied batteries of advanced S-300 air defense missiles to Syria to protect Russian troops deployed in the war-torn Arab country in the wake of the recent downing of a Russian reconnaissance plane during an Israeli airstrike in Lattakia.
 

sToRmR1dR

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
UN Approves Resolution Granting Palestine More Rights as G77 Chair

The UN General Assembly (UNGA) overwhelmingly approved a resolution to give the state of Palestine more rights as the new chair of the Group of 77 (G77) developing nations, the UN press office said in a statement.

"The General Assembly decided today to provide additional rights and privileges of participation to the State of Palestine when it assumes its position as chair of the ‘Group of 77’ developing nations," the release said on Tuesday. "The Assembly set out those terms in a resolution (document A/73/L.5) adopted by a recorded vote of 146 in favor to 3 against (Australia, Israel, United States), with 15 abstentions."

The new authorities include the right to make statements, submit proposals and introduce them on behalf of the G77, among others, the release added.

Representatives of Israel and the United States took the floor at the UNGA before the vote and voiced their opposition to the resolution, according to the release.

The G77 was established in 1964 by seventy-seven developing countries at a UN conference in Geneva. According to the G77’s website, the group aims to allow developing countries to articulate collective economic interests and boost their leverage within the UN system.


Israel conducts airstrikes, shuts down checkpoints in retaliation for rocket fire from Gaza

Six people were reported injured overnight in a rocket attack from Gaza and Israel’s retaliatory airstrikes. Israel also shut down border checkpoints and imposed more restrictions on fishing off the Gaza coast in response.

The Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) said it conducted airstrikes in Gaza on Wednesday after a rocket attack on the Israeli city of Be’er Sheva. One of the rockets that came from the Palestinian side landed near a house, causing some damage and injuring three people, Israel Radio reported, citing medical officials.


The IDF retaliation targeted eight locations in Gaza. According to Palestinian health officials, three people were injured in Rafah by an Israeli airstrike. The IDF claimed that its airstrikes prevented a new rocket attack on Israeli territory.

Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman ordered the closure of two Gaza border checkpoints and enforce a smaller-than-regular three-nautical-mile limit for Palestinian fishing boats in response to the rocket fire.

The latest escalation in tensions comes after months of Palestinian protests on the Gaza border, which prompt the IDF to engage the rioters with deadly force. More than 204 Palestinians have been killed and over 22,000 others injured by Israeli forces since the Great March of Return began on March 30.

On Tuesday, Lieberman noted that Tel Aviv is "not prepared to accept the level of violence" witnessed every week. He also urged the cabinet to authorize a military campaign against Hamas in Gaza to put end to violence.

The last major Israeli intrusion into Gaza began in July 2014, when the IDF launched Operation Protective Edge with the stated aim of halting rocket attacks on Israeli territory. The seven-week long conflict is estimated to have claimed over 2,100 Palestinian lives, with another 10,000 injured in the offensive.

Israeli bombardment of the Gaza Strip has also caused widespread damage to homes and infrastructure. For its part Israel lost seven of its soldiers and five civilians from Hamas rocket fire. Another 469 IDF soldiers and 261 Israeli civilians were injured.


Israel Says It Thwarts Second Rocket Attack From Gaza After Exchange of Fire

Overnight, tensions on the Gaza-Israel border flared up with rockets from the self-governing Palestinian territory hitting the southern Israeli city of Beersheba. The IDF responded to the attack with air raids against targets in the Gaza Strip and restricted fishing areas and closed all the checkpoints along the joint border.

The Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) have announced they thwarted an attack by a "terrorist squad" from the Gaza Strip on the Hof Ashkelon Regional Council hours after a similar attack of the southern Israeli city of Beersheba. The military explained in a tweet that the prevented launch had nonetheless triggered sirens in the country's south, indicating possible new shelling from the Gaza Strip.



This comes as Israel has moved to shut down all checkpoints on the border with the region and restricted areas for Gazan fishermen in response to rocket fire from the Gaza Strip.

The Israel Air Force has attacked 20 "military targets" in the Gaza Strip in response to Palestinian rocket shelling, according to Army spokesman Jonathan Conricus.

Overnight, Israeli fighter jets began attacking targets in the Gaza Strip in response to rocket fire from the territory.

The Israeli army registered a rocket launch from the Gaza Strip that resulted in a siren in the city of Beersheba going off. Israeli police said that the rocket had damaged a residential house in the city.

"In response to the rockets fired from #Gaza at #Israel overnight, IDF fighter jets have started attacking terror targets in Gaza," the IDF wrote on its Twitter page.

There are no reports of any Palestinians having been killed by the Israeli airstrikes.
 

sToRmR1dR

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
US Envoy to UN: 'Palestinians are not UN Member State or Any State at All'

The State of Palestine remains unrecognized by numerous UN members and holds non-member observer status at the organization since November 2012. The US is one of roughly 50 states that refuse to recognize Palestine, demanding it engage in negotiations with Israel to achieve a lasting peace.

In a statement on October 16, US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley slammed a recent decision by the UN General Assembly to allow Palestine to chair the coalition Group of 77. The partially-recognized state will lead the UN-based coalition of developing nations starting in January 2019.

In her statement Haley noted that the US had voted against the decision because it considers such a move harmful to achieving peace between the Palestinians and Israelis. She also recalled that the State of Palestine is not a full member to the UN and is not recognized by all of its member states, including the US.

"The Palestinians are not a UN Member State or any state at all. […] Today's UN mistake undermines the prospects for peace by encouraging the illusion held by some Palestinian leaders that they can advance their goals without direct peace negotiations," Haley said.

The US envoy added that Palestine is not "eligible to be admitted as a UN Member State."

Washington has been a consistent critic of the Palestinians over their methods of reaching a lasting peace with Israel. The US opposed the designation of the partially-recognized state as a UN non-member observer in 2012.

The Group of 77, a coalition of developing countries at the UN that was founded in 1964 and now includes 134 states has announced that it has chosen the State of Palestine as its chair starting in 2019. The coalition is currently led by Egypt.


Israel seeking escalation to justify future attack: Activist

Israel tries to provoke Palestinians to conduct retaliatory attacks in order to justify any future attack on the besieged people in the Gaza Strip, says a commentator.

Kamel Hawwash, with the Palestinian solidarity campaign, told Press TV on Wednesday that “they (the Israeli authorities) are goading the Palestinians in Gaza in particular Hamas into some sort of retaliatory action, which they would then use to justify in front of their allies as [the Israelis are] attacking the Palestinians in Gaza in self-defense.”

“Israel is the occupier and the side that has laid siege to two million people for now almost 12 years.”

However, Hawwash noted, Palestinians “are not looking for an escalation” and they are determined to continue their protest against the Israeli siege and also their denial of the right to return to their homes.
 

angelburst29

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
The forced evacuation of the village of Khan al-Ahmar Bedouin in the occupied West Bank will be delayed until further notice, Israel said.

Sun Oct 21, 2018 - Israel Postpones Evacuation of West Bank Palestinian Village Khan al-Ahmar
Farsnews

The government is holding off exhausting negotiations and proposals received from various sources, including some in the past few days, people in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office said, MEE reported.

Security forces have said in recent days that they are ready to evacuate the village and are waiting for instructions to do so.

Regavim, a pro-settler Israeli NGO that had initially pushed the plan for displacement of the Bedouin, issued a statement lamenting the decision and calling it capitulation to the Palestinian Authority.

Walid Assaf, head of the National Committee to Resist the Wall and Settlements, speaking at a news conference in the protest tent at the village said, “We don't trust the Israeli decision to freeze the demolition of Khan al-Ahmar and we will continue our protests to protect the area.”

Israel's High Court of Justice on 5 September rejected petitions filed by village residents, paving the way for the eviction of the community and demolition of the entire village.

Khan Al-Ahmar is located in the occupied West Bank near Route 1, which connects occupied East Jerusalem to the Jordan valley. The village is near the illegal Israeli settlement of Kfar Adumim.

The residents of Khan Al-Ahmar are from the Jahalin tribe, a Bedouin family expelled from the Naqab desert - also referred to as the Negev - during the 1948 Arab-Israeli war. The Jahalin then settled on the Eastern slopes of Jerusalem.

The Khan al-Ahmar community comprises of about 35 families whose makeshift homes and schools, mostly made of corrugated metal and wood, have been demolished by the Israeli army several times in past years.


Mon Oct 22, 2018 - ‘Netanyahu’s Time Is Over’ – Former Israeli PM Olmert Calls for Revival of 2008 Peace Plan
Farsnews

“There is no question in my mind that Netanyahu’s time is over. He’s gone,” Olmert told TV channel i24NEWS on Friday, explaining that the current PM lacks “moral courage” to introduce a settlement, similar to the one the government laid out ten years ago.

Olmert, who governed Israel from 2006 to 2009, offered nearly complete withdrawal of the Israeli forces from the West Bank and the Arab-populated East Jerusalem, with placing its Old City under international trusteeship.
He also proposed the Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas to allow Israel to keep a small portion of the Palestinian land, containing major Jewish settlements. In return, Tel Aviv was to cede roughly the same amount of land to the Palestinian Authority.
Palestinian leadership rejected the plan back then, but Olmert believes that if such a deal would reappear of the table today, things would be completely different. He is “certain” that the Palestinians will sign off to the same model now.

“I know Palestinians. Many of them think that their failure to sign an agreement with me towards the end of 2008 was a historic mistake,” the former Kadima party leader said. He added that the only ones opposing such a deal would be “extremists” like Netanyahu and his allies who reject the solution.

Ehud Olmert is a controversial figure in Israeli politics. He was given a six-year prison sentence for graft and bribery but was released on parole last year, after serving just 16 months. In mid-2000s, he championed the unilateral disengagement from Gaza – the idea loathed by the current government, which says that pulling out of Gaza exposed Israel to terrorist threats. During his TV interview, Olmert insisted that withdrawing from Gaza was the right call.

It is wrong to “exaggerate” the hazards coming from the missiles, launched by Hamas from Gaza, Olmert stated.

According to the former Prime Minister, it is crucial for Tel Aviv to “separate from the Palestinians” and have borders “recognized by the international community.” A deal with Palestinians would “dramatically change the environment” in the Middle East, and will allow Israel to flourish, Olmert concluded.


Mon Oct 22, 2018 - Israeli Army Raids Tulkarm Neighborhood in Pursuit of Alleged Attacker, Harasses Residents
Farsnews

Israeli soldiers raided in the early Monday hours Shweikeh neighborhood of the Northern West Bank city of Tulkarm in pursuit of a Palestinian resident of the neighborhood who allegedly attacked and killed two Israelis in the illegal West Bank settlement of Burkan two weeks ago, according to local reports.

They said soldiers raided the area the family of Ashraf Naalweh, the alleged attacker, lives, threw stun grenade and tear gas at random and raided homes of Naalweh relatives while interrogating them, WAFA reported.

Youths threw stones at the soldiers, who fire tear gas and stun grenades at the youths and at the neighborhood causing panic and suffocation.

Soldiers also raided an apartment building, searched the various apartments and interrogated dwellers before leaving it. They also raided a print shop and searched it.

They also searched open fields in the city using dogs before leaving the neighborhood and the city three hours later.

The army has been conducting wide scale manhunt for Naalweh, who was able to flee the scene after the purported attack. His parents and sisters were detained and interrogated several times and their home is regularly raided, searched and ransacked.
 

angelburst29

The Living Force
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Wednesday 24 October 2018 - Coptic monks beaten by Israeli police at Jerusalem's Church of the Holy Sepulchre
Coptic monks beaten by Israeli police at Jerusalem's Church of the Holy Sepulchre

Monks were staging sit-down protest over Israeli-led restoration of disputed al-Sultan monastery which they say favours Ethiopian monks.


A Coptic monk being arrested by Israeli military forces in Jerusalem (Screengrab)

Tens of Coptic monks were beaten by Israeli military police on Wednesday during a protest over the contested al-Sultan monastery on the site of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the head of Jerusalem's Coptic Church told Middle East Eye.

The monks were staging a sit-down protest in the plaza of the church in Jerusalem's Old City to oppose Israeli-led restoration works at the site which they say favour Ethiopian monks living in the monastery.

One monk, Macarius Orshalemy, was dragged and pinned to the ground by the military police at the protest, while others were struck with batons as they sought to obstruct workers from Israel's Antiquity Authority moving restoration materials and tools inside.

Orshalemy was released half an hour after the Coptic Church asked the Egyptian embassy in Tel Aviv to interfere, Coptic Bishop Anba Antonius told MEE.

"The Israelis are carrying out a restoration in the Coptic church's property without our consent, and in favour of the Ethiopian monks. That's why we were protesting and tried to prevent them," Antonius said.

47-year dispute

The al-Sultan monastery sits on top of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, and it is currently controlled and managed by the Ethiopian Church in Jerusalem, despite an Israeli high court ruling in 1971 that affirmed the Egyptian Coptic Church's ownership over the monastery.

Antonius said that the Coptic Church would go to court to stop the Israeli-led restoration inside al-Sultan and ask for the high court decision to be implemented.

"We have 23 property documents issued since 1680 and until 1961 by the Ottoman Empire and some by Jordan, that proves our ownership of al-Sultan monastery. The high court decision said that a committee should be formed to study these documents, but after 47 years no committee was formed," Antonius said.



A Coptic Christian monk walks past a cross on the roof of the Church of the Holy Sepulture in Jerusalem's Old City, October 2018. (AFP)
In 1970, the Israeli authorities broke into Al-Sultan and kicked out the Coptic monks. They changed the door locks and gave the keys to Ethiopian monks who were already living in the monastery.

Antonius said that this was a "retaliation" against Egypt which fought against Israel in the 1967 Middle Eastern war when Israel occupied the West Bank including the Old City of Jerusalem.

Known as Deir es-Sultan by local people, the monastery has several rooms for monks and two chapels: the Chapel of the Angel and the Chapel of the Four Beasts.

In September 2017, the ceiling of the Angel chapel collapsed after a restoration work in a property above it, which belongs to the Greek Orthodox church, went wrong.

The Angel chapel, a pilgrimage and tourist site on the ninth station of the cross, was shut down for safety reasons by Israeli authorities.

Antonius said that the Coptic church signed a contract with a construction firm to restore the chapel's ceiling, but the Israeli government refused to issue a permit for the restoration works.

"[Israel's prime minister Benjamin] Netanyahu himself issued the order to forcibly restore the chapel a week ago, I have been told by [David Azulai] the minister of religious services," Antonius said.

"They refused to let us renovate and repair the chapel inside the monastery in order to show that we don't have any relation with the place and that it belongs to the Ethiopian monks."

Antonius said that the Israeli government was playing a "political game" through the church properties by supporting the control of the Ethiopian Church over al-Sultan.

"Israel is strengthening the Ethiopian monks over the Coptics monks in the monastery, and this is happening because the ties between Egypt and Israel are weaker than Ethiopia and Israel," he said.

MEE contacted the Ethiopian Church in Jerusalem for a comment but had not received a response at the time of publication.

'We welcomed them'
Antonius said the Coptic claim to al-Sultan dated back to the seventh century when Abd al-Malik ibn Marwan, an Umayyad caliph who built Jerusalem's Dome of the Rock mosque, donated the monastery to the denomination's monks.

"We were here since then, although we don't have the documents that go back to the seventh century, we still have an ownership document as old as 1680," he said.

In the 17th century, Ethiopian monks entered al-Sultan after heavy taxes by Ottoman authorities forced them to sell their properties to the Armenian and Catholic churches.

"The Armenians and the Catholics kicked them out from the properties after they bought them. They were displaced and had nowhere to go. They came to us and we welcomed them in our monastery," Antonious said.

"Now you have more than 15 Ethiopian monks in the monastery and just one Coptic. They don't have one document to prove their ownership and we are not allowed to enter the monastery, even me, the Bishop of the Coptic Church is prevented from praying there."
 

angelburst29

The Living Force
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October 28, 2018 - Israel’ Approves 20,000 Settlement Units in Eastern Jerusalem
Israel’ Approves 20,000 Settlement Units in Eastern Jerusalem


Israeli settlement

The Israeli occupation government has approved the construction of more than 20,000 new housing units in the Israeli settlement of Maale Adumim, east of Al-Quds (Jerusalem).

Sources cited a comprehensive development agreement between the Israeli Ministry of Construction and Housing and the Maale Adumim Municipality to build thousands of housing units in the Zionist settlement over the coming years.

The Israeli Minister of Construction and Housing, Yoav Galant, said “We welcome the signing of the comprehensive agreement that will lead to the development and substantial increase in the population of Maale Adumim.”


October 27, 2018 - Islamic Jihad Announces Gaza Ceasefire following Egypt Mediation
Islamic Jihad Announces Gaza Ceasefire following Egypt Mediation

Palestinian resistance group Islamic Jihad announced reaching an agreement on a ceasefire in Gaza following the flare-up between the Israeli occupation and resistance factions in the besieged groups on Friday and Saturday.

“A comprehensive ceasefire agreement was reached which came into force immediately in exchange for a halt to the Israeli aggression,” Islamic Jihad spokesman Dawoud Shihab told AFP.

He noted that the agreement was reached following mediation efforts by Egypt.

Earlier, occupation army announced it had hit more than 80 targets across Gaza after six Palestinian were killed by Israeli fire on Friday along the Gaza border and in the West Bank. The Palestinian resistance was retaliating by launching rockets on occupied territories.


October, 27, 2018 - Israeli Airstrikes Hit Indonesian-Funded Hospital, Residential Areas in Gaza Strip (+Video)
Israeli Airstrikes Hit Indonesian-Funded Hospital, Residential Areas in Gaza Strip (+Video) - Tasnim News Agency

The structure was levelled while nearby residential buildings and an Indonesian-funded hospital were partially damaged too.

Emergency personnel were present at the site to help clear away the rubble and put out fires caused by the attack.

A total of 80 strikes were carried out by Israeli air force.
 

angelburst29

The Living Force
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October 27, 2018 - AUB Students Addressing Hebrew University Adviser: Israel’s Legitimacy Isn’t Subject of Debate!
AUB Students Addressing Hebrew University Adviser: Israel’s Legitimacy Isn’t Subject of Debate!

Al-Akhbar Newspaper - English translation

The students of the American University of Beirut believe that Israel’s legitimacy isn’t a subject of debate. It has no right to exist; it’s a colonial entity. Amid this conflict in particular, there are only two parties. It’s either a supporter of Palestinians’ right to exercise resistance and regain complete sovereignty over their land, or a supporter to the Israeli occupation.

This is the key message that the students wanted to convey to the American researcher at Oxford University and the adviser of the Department of Philosophy at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jeff McMahon, who was hosted by the Department of Philosophy at the American University of Beirut few days ago to give a lecture about “reviewing war ethics”.

The opponents who decided to attend the lecture and protest in there, after failing to cancel it, were really provoked when McMahon described the principle of boycotting in Zionist institutions as a collective punishment. He also called for listening to Israeli academics, as some figures oppose Israeli policies and stand up to them. The opposing students said that “those words are not enough reason to host such people in our university. Being an academic who is directly connected to an Israeli institution and a direct contributor to legitimizing the Zionist entity, the guest Jeff McMahon is not welcomed here. Our problem has always been in having Israel as a colonial entity. Our problem does not lie in the practices of the Israeli government as McMahon and others claim.”

The students suggested that Israeli authorities promote this battle “either for the purpose of normalization or to give the impression that it’s a tolerant, civilized entity. In fact, these figures pose no threat or challenge to the hegemony of the Israeli entity.”

“Equating the acts of Hamas, the resistance of oppressed people, with the acts of oppressors doesn’t conform to Article 51 of the Charter of the United Nations which preserves the right of the oppressed to resist.

Therefore, we cannot refer to resistors as terrorists or equate them with the Israeli colonial forces, which do not defend themselves but practice merciless persecutions and commit horrible murders,” said the students addressing McMahon.

“The students have decisively opposed hosting academics who are directly connected to colonialists in Lebanon that has always stood at the forefront of the conflict against Israel and has spared no effort to sacrifice its sons in this struggle. As we witness an academic and cultural boycott of Israel in the west, it is our duty as students to be leaders of this movement in the university.” (Thumbs-UP!)


November 4, 2018 - Israeli Minister Heads to Oman, to Promote Rail Line from ‘Israel’ to Gulf
Israeli Minister Heads to Oman, to Promote Rail Line from ‘Israel’ to Gulf

Israeli Transportation and Intelligence Minister Yisrael Katz heads to Oman on Sunday to push for a regional rail line that will link Haifa with Jordan, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States, Israeli media reported.

“The initiative called “Tracks for Regional Peace” is aimed at connecting the Mediterranean Sea and the Arabian Gulf (the Persian Gulf) by rail via Israel as a land bridge and Jordan as a regional transportation hub,” Katz’s office said last week.

Katz is expected to present the plan when he addresses a regional transportation conference, called the IRU World Congress, which will convene is Muscat from November 6th to 8th.

According to his office, “This is the first time an Israeli Minister has been formally invited to participate in an international conference in Oman.”

“The invitation reflects the strengthening ties between the two countries,” the statement said

Katz’s visit follows a surprise trip Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made on October 26th, when he met Sultan Qaboos bin Said Al Said.
 

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November 4, 2018 - Jordan says Israel wants to discuss Border Land Deals
Jordan says Israel wants to discuss border land deals | Reuters

Jordan said on Sunday Israel had asked for consultations on a special land deal agreed in their peace treaty that the Jordanian government wants to end.

Under the peace treaty, two border areas were recognized to be under Jordanian sovereignty but gave Israel special provisions to use the land and allow Israelis free access.

Jordan formally notified Israel two weeks ago it would not renew the 25-year deal over Baquora where the Yarmouk River flows into the Jordan River and in the Ghumar area in the southern Wadi Araba desert where Israeli farmers have large plantations.

Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi told Reuters after the decision the kingdom was waiting for Israel to invoke a provision in the peace treaty to hold consultations after giving notice before the deadline.

Petra state news agency quoted government spokeswoman Jumana Ghunaimat as saying Jordan had received the Israeli request but did not say when the discussions would begin.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu acknowledged Jordan’s move and said his country sought to enter negotiations on the possibility of extending the arrangement.

The 25-year special regime would be automatically renewed unless either of the parties notified the other a year before expiry that it wished to terminate the agreement.

Safadi said the deal, which was signed in November 1994, had been conceived as a temporary arrangement from the start. The kingdom had contemplated the move for a while before the Nov. 10 deadline.

King Abdullah, who stressed the territories were Jordanian lands and would remain so, said the move was made in the “national interest” at a period of regional turmoil.

Jordan is one of only two Arab states that has a peace treaty with Israel and the two countries have a long history of close security ties. But the treaty is unpopular in Jordan where pro-Palestinian sentiment is widespread.


Sun Nov 04, 2018 - Popular Uprising against Israeli Forces Reported again in Syria's Occupied Golan
Farsnews



Residents in Israeli-occupied Golan in Syria's Quneitra province held a sit-in and opposed an Israeli plan for the Judaization of their region, Syria's state news agency reported on Sunday.

SANA said that Syrians in the occupied Golan held a sit-in in the small town of Majdal Shams to declare their opposition to any Israeli plan for Judaization of the Golan, including election for a local council.

It further said that the protestors underlined their adherence to their Syrian identity, vowing to continue uprising against Israeli forces to free the occupied Golan.

In the meantime, people gathered in Ein al-Tinah region in Quneitra province and declared their full support for the occupied Golan's resident, opposing the Israeli-planned election for a local council.

The protestors further condemned any Israeli move to stir a gap among residents of Majdal Shams, Baqa’atha, Ma’sdah and Ein Daqnah regions in occupied Golan.

On Tuesday, a number of Syrian protesters were arrested in the occupied Golan Heights region, following a wide-scale demonstration against the ongoing Israeli municipal elections.

According to a report from the Damascus Now publication, several Syrians were arrested by the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) inside the Golan Heights town of Majdal Shams.

The arrests reportedly took place after protesters from the nearby towns of Baqa’atha and Ma’sdah joined the demonstration in Majdal Shams.

Furthermore, Damascus Now reported that an explosion was heard near Majdal Shams after a land mine was detonated; they blamed the Israeli Defense Forces for planting the mine.

The Israeli Defense Forces did not comment on the current demonstrations in the Golan Heights, despite several reports from the Syrian government.

The Golan Heights was captured by the Israeli Defense Forces during the brief Six-Day War that was fought in June of 1967.

Since Israel began their occupation of the Golan Heights, the United Nations has passed two major resolutions (Res. 242 and 497), which calls on Israel to withdraw from the area and recognizes Syria’s right to the territory.


Sun Nov 04, 2018 - Israeli Settlers Assault, Injure Two Palestinians in Hebron
Farsnews

A father and his son were injured after they were attacked by extremist Israeli settlers in Tal Rumeida neighborhood in Hebron city, in the Southern West Bank.

Dozens of Jewish settlers from the illegal settlements of Ramat Yeshai and Beit Hadasa attacked many homes in Tell Rumeida and Shuhadaa Street in the city, terrorized their residents and pelted rocks at them, WAFA reported.

A local citizen, Emad Abu Shamseya and his son, Saleh, 12 years old, were injured in the foot and hand respectively after being pelted by rocks.

Last month, a 48-year-old Palestinian mother of eight was killed when Israeli settlers threw rocks at the car she was in with her husband south of Nablus.

The woman, Aisha Muhammad Rabi, was hit in the head by a stone thrown at the car she was in on a road south of Nablus. Her husband was moderately injured.
 

c.a.

The Living Force
FOTCM Member

Hollywood stars raise record $60m for Israel army
November 6, 2018 at 1:45 pm
Hollywood celebrities raised a record breaking $60 million for the Israeli military at the Friends of the Israel Defence Forces (FIDF) annual gala last week.

This year’s sold-out Western Region event at the Beverly Hilton Hotel welcomed more than 1,200 supporters of Israel, including prominent actors and singers like Ashton Kutcher, Pharrell Williams, Gerard Butler, and Katharine McPhee.“We are thrilled that so many members of our community, including major Hollywood figures, are coming together to help us support the brave men and women of the [Israeli army].” said FIDF National Board Member and Chairman of the event, Haim Saban. “Standing behind these heroes is one of my greatest honours in my life.”

The event featured a programme that told the 70-year history of Israel through the accounts of soldiers and the military’s various campaigns against the Palestinians.

READ: $6m to build new illegal settlement in Hebron

It also included several contributions from former and current Israeli soldiers.

Last year, FIDF raised $53.8 million at the same event; contributions have been increasing annually for the past three years. In 2015 the gala raised $31 million, half of this year’s total.

According to a press release by the organisation, the funds raised will be used to “provide much-needed and well-deserved services such as academic scholarships to combat veterans, financial assistance for soldiers in need … crucial aid for wounded veterans and the families of fallen soldiers, weeks of rest and recuperation for entire IDF units, as well as educational, cultural, and recreational facilities.”

READ: Israel’s $72m war chest to fight BDS comes to Brussels

Last month, the FIDF’s New York event raised $32 million for members of Israel’s occupation forces, attended by many of the city’s most prominent business people and philanthropists.

Among the biggest donors to the gala were Or Lachayal – an organisation which works to “strengthen the Jewish identity of the Israeli army” – which pledged $2.5 million and Nefesh B’Nefesh – which promotes Jewish immigration to Israel – which pledged $1.3 million.


Fran Drescher, Ashton Kutcher and Gerard Butler attend Friends of The Israel Defense Forces (FIDF) Western Region Gala at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on 1 November, 2018 in Beverly Hills, California [Shahar Azran/Getty Images]

FIDF has a long history of fundraising for Israel’s occupation forces; it operates 20 offices across the United States and Panama, according to its own website.

Support for the army from US organisations and the US government has been a cornerstone of Israel’s ability to continue its ongoing occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip. In October, the largest ever US military aid package to Israel – worth $38 billion over a ten year period – entered into force.



PressTV-Over 20 Gazans injured in sea protest against Israeli siege
Tue Nov 6, 2018 07:25AM / Video
Over 20 Palestinians have been injured by Israeli forces on the seashore in the northern Gaza Strip when clashes broke out during a demonstration against Tel Aviv’s decade-long maritime blockade on the coastal enclave.

On Monday, Israeli forces fired tear gas and live ammunition at the crowd during the protest which was held in support of a new flotilla titled ‘Freedom Ship 15’ that set sail from the port of Gaza in an attempt to break the Israeli siege .

Nearly 40 fishing boats reportedly joined the flotilla, which was organized by Gaza’s National Committee for Breaking the Siege. The flotilla sailed to the northern coastal border of the Gaza Strip, but was reportedly forced to return to shore by Israeli forces.

Tensions have been running high near the fence separating the besieged Gaza Strip from the occupied territories since March 30, which marked the start of a series of protests dubbed “The Great March of Return.” Palestinian protesters demand the right to return for those driven out of their homeland.

Organizers of Monday’s protest rally said “the march of return will not stop until the fulfillment of all its goals, first and foremost the lifting of the siege completely from the Gaza Strip and end the suffering of two million besieged Palestinians.”

More than 180 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces since late March. Nearly 20,000 Palestinians have also sustained injuries.

The Gaza clashes reached their peak on May 14, on the eve of the 70th anniversary of Nakba Day (Day of Catastrophe), which coincided this year with the US embassy relocation from Tel Aviv to occupied East Jerusalem al-Quds.

The Gaza Strip has been under an Israeli siege since June 2007. The blockade has caused a decline in the standards of living as well as unprecedented levels of unemployment and unrelenting poverty.

The Israeli regime denies about 1.8 million people in Gaza their basic rights, such as freedom of movement, jobs with proper wages as well as adequate healthcare and education.

PressTV-'Bolsonaro anti-Palestine policy imitates Trump'
Published on Nov 5, 2018 / 3:52
 

c.a.

The Living Force
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The gatekeeper of Israeli democracy and rule of law
READ IN: עברית Mazal Mualem November 9, 2018


The Knesset's Education and Culture Committee held a session on Nov. 6 on the “loyalty in culture” law, which would allow the culture minister to defund programs deemed to reject Israel’s symbols. Before the Knesset's second and third readings of the bill, Deputy Attorney General Dina Zilber had the opportunity to address the committee, delivering a carefully crafted speech that the media dubbed “The Country Has Changed.” It was, in fact, a social, political and legal manifesto against the government. More than a simple legal opinion expressing reservations about Culture Minister Miri Regev’s proposed law, Zilber’s address was intended to send shock waves through the system, to protest the government and to feature on the media’s agenda.

Zilber has prior experience with events like this. She was therefore fully aware that her remarks would be filmed and otherwise recorded. With her statement, she appeared to want her admonition to reverberate beyond the Knesset committee’s chambers.

“These are not easy times,” she said, delivering her lucid message in a soft, stable voice. “They bring with them not just new laws, but even new words: governance, loyalty, overriding. We see confrontational dialogue, the wounding and scarring of our shared social fabric, labeling and branding — who is for us and who is against us.”

The debate in which Zilber participated took place one day after the Knesset approved the first reading of the so-called loyalty in culture law. This controversial legislation aims to allow the Culture Ministry to deny government support to cultural institutions for a variety of reasons, including but not limited to denying Israel’s existence as a Jewish and democratic state, incitement to racism, support for terrorism, desecrating the flag, marking the anniversary of Israel’s independence as a day of mourning (i.e., the Palestinians' Nakba Day), and so on.

The law lies on a continuum of right-wing, nationalist legislation characteristic of the current government. Other such legislation includes laws to weaken the legal system, in particular the Supreme Court. To the latter end, the Knesset is debating an override clause that targets the court, allowing the legislature to override its rulings declaring laws unconstitutional.

Since the formation of the current right-wing government after the 2015 elections, Zilber and many of her colleagues at the Justice Ministry have found themselves torn between their obligation to represent the government and their desire to defend the old democratic order as they knew it. In the case of the culture law, both Zilber and Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit have expressed reservations and ultimately came to oppose it. Mandelblit withdrew his pointed opposition to the law after a series of amendments, but he still believes it is fraught with problems.

At the Nov. 6 committee meeting, Zilber presented the position of the Attorney General's Office. “Culture means freedom of imagination and beauty,” she said. “It means a multiplicity of voices and courage and defiance and candidness. It means freedom of expression that is not sycophantic and that is not constantly adapting itself so as to meet the test of governmental norms.”

Zilber did not simply make do with the offering of a legal opinion. She also mourned a country in the process of change.

That was all Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked needed to launch a personal attack against Zilber, who seems to have been marked as a target even before she delivered her speech. That same day, Shaked demanded that Zilber be fired, claiming that she had violated professional norms by expressing personal opinions.

Zilber’s colleagues at the Justice Ministry were quick to back her up, even calling an emergency meeting. Meanwhile, Mandelblit announced that he has no intention of firing Zilber. As a result, the two camps are now locked in a face-off pitting the left and the legal establishment against the ideological and anti-institutional right (which although in power, projects an underdog stance against state institutions). The tempest has yet to subside.

Zilber is one of the most powerful women at the Justice Ministry. She is a public servant charged with defending the government’s positions and legislative initiatives, even when they run counter to her personal beliefs and worldview. Over the past few years, she has found herself disagreeing with the government on more than one occasion.

In 2017, she was relieved of the authority to deal with issues pertaining to West Bank settlements after her position on budgets for the Settlement Division came under criticism from the political right and the settler movement. Nevertheless, refusing to back down, Zilber has continued to present views that veer from the official positions taken by Shaked. She has often been critical and at times defiant.

Zilber opposed Shaked when the justice minister tried to advance a bill that would have given ministers the right to select the legal advisers for their ministries, the problem being that it could lead to the positions being open only to those who express loyalty to the minister and not to the law per se. Both Zilber and Mandelblit voiced their opposition, arguing that it would infringe on legal advisers’ independence and turn their positions into a part of larger political games.

Zilber’s remarks in the Knesset were like a bombshell launched into an already volatile environment. She basically raised the banner of revolt on behalf of the legal system, whose members feel like they are being trampled by Shaked and the government at large. As a result of the ensuing tempest, Zilber has become an icon of the left and within the legal system (even though she comes from a Revisionist, i.e., right-wing, family). She is a symbol of an establishment revolt against the brute force employed by Shaked to further her own agenda.

Meanwhile, Shaked needs Zilber as a punching bag. As far as Shaked’s electorate is concerned, Zilber represents the legal system's predatory approach toward them. While Shaked failed to have Zilber fired, she has been waging an incessant campaign against her since Nov. 6, using interviews and social networks to broadcast that Zilber went beyond her official role and that she is welcome to resign if what she wants is a career in politics.

For Shaked, her campaign against Zilber wins her points from the right. That is what Naftali Bennett, chairman of her party, HaBayit HaYehudi, appeared to suggest when in an interview on Army Radio he called Zilber's speech “more appropriate to a demonstration by the left.” He added, “It makes no sense to have legal advisers becoming politicians.”

Yet, despite these personal attacks, Zilber is in no way a victim. She is a focused, strong and intelligent woman with a worldview of her own and an agenda. It is possible that she felt a sense of urgency, or perhaps even a sense of mission, to stop the state from heading in the direction it is currently going, or as she says, “changing.” She knew that there would be political implications to her comments and that they would not be passed over quietly. She took a calculated risk, knowing that Shaked would have a hard time firing her.

While Mandelblit has instructed Zilber to avoid appearing in the Knesset or before the government for now, she is already in a very different place. She has quite possibly branded herself as the only person to fearlessly stand up to Shaked and the other ministers and to defend herself and her colleagues as gatekeepers. That she is now a familiar face to the public will turn any attempt to harm her into a volatile media and political event. As such, it is not at all certain that Shaked won this round.


One Killed and 150 Injured By Israeli Sniper Fire In Gaza
DAMASCUS, SYRIA (1:00 P.M)- One man had been killed and two hundred injured, by Israeli Snipers, during Gaza demonstrations this Friday.

According to the ‘Gaza Ministry of Health’, one man has been killed and at 146 other have been injured, in Gaza. The violence by Israeli forces, was what the Israeli Military called a “response” to the ongoing ‘Great Return March’, along the Gaza-Israel separation fence.

Twenty-eight year old, Rami Qahman, was killed after sustaining a fatal gun-shot wound, at the hands of an Israeli Sniper. Rami Qahman was unarmed, when he was shot and killed to the east of Rafah (Southern Gaza).

This Friday’s murder comes as a “ceasefire agreement” has been reached, through the mediation of Egypt, between Hamas and Israel.

Snowden accuses Israeli cybersecurity firm of enabling Khashoggi murder (video)
2018-11-08
BEIRUT, LEBANON (6:30 A.M.) – US whistleblower Edward Snowden accused an Israeli cybersecurity firm of developing and selling surveillance software to Saudi Arabia, enabling the murder of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi, at a conference in Tel Aviv on Wednesday.

Snowden, who was speaking at the conference via video-link from an undisclosed location in Russia, claimed that Israeli company NSO Group had sold Saudi Arabia software that was used to bug the phone of one of Khashoggi’s friends.


He said that the role the firm and their software played in Khashoggi’s murder is “one of the major stories that’s not being written about.”

“They are the worst of the worst in selling these burglary tools that are being actively, currently used to violate the human rights of dissidents, opposition figures, activists, to some pretty bad players,” Snowden told his audience.


Jamal Khashoggi was murdered when he entered the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul in on 2 October 2018. The investigation into his death is still underway.

Israel, Qatar Agree on Sea Passage Between Cyprus and Gaza – Reports
(updated 18:51 10.11.2018) Sputnik
Reports on the sea passage from the Gaza Strip arrived amid speculations on a truce supposedly reached between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, although Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar earlier stated that they are clinching deals with anyone but Israel.

Qatar and Israel have agreed to set up a sea passage between Cyprus and the Gaza Strip, according to a Saturday report by the Lebanese newspaper Al-Akhbar. The route, which comes as part of talks aimed at promoting a Palestine-Israel deal, is expected to be monitored by international forces and supervised by Israeli security officers.

The report has it that the full physical presence is requested by the Israeli side, and Hamas has agreed to measures used at the Rafah crossing in the Gaza Strip since 2005, including cameras, computer networks and the presence of international inspectors.

Earlier, Gaza media outlets reported that Israel had agreed to allow Qatar to transfer funds to the Hamas government in the Gaza Strip to cover their civil servants’ salaries for six months, in order to prevent a humanitarian disaster “that will end up exploding in our faces,” a senior Israeli diplomatic source was cited as saying.

Qatar will finish paying the July salaries of Hamas officials on Saturday, the report said, adding that those who haven’t yet received their salaries increasingly claim they are part of Hamas’ military wing.

In addition, Israel reportedly agreed to allow an increase of exports from Gaza — including fruits, vegetables, furniture and clothes — during the first stage of the peace period.

On Friday, the vehicle of the Qatari ambassador was attacked with stones east of Gaza, prompting Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar and Ismail Haniyeh, head of the Hamas political wing and former prime minister of Gaza, apologized to the Qataris over the incident. Sinwar underscored at the time that they are reaching "understandings" with Qatar, Egypt and the United Nations, not Israel. Anyone who says that "there is a deal or understandings with the occupation does not tell the truth," Sinwar told a crowd at the weekly Gaza border protest.

Sinwar's statement appears to go against recent reports on advancements in Egyptian-mediated truce talks between Israel and the Palestinians, although last month he told Italian newspaper La Repubblica that he saw a "historic opportunity for change."

Last weekend, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas met with his Egyptian counterpart Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in Sharm El Sheikh. Following the meeting, Abbas reportedly agreed to the peace agreements in order to give Gazans some "breathing space," according to the newspaper Al Hayat.

The edition noted that Sisi had briefed Abbas on Egypt's efforts to achieve "calm" in the Gaza Strip and halt the ongoing confrontation between Hamas and the PA president's ruling Fatah faction, which controls the West Bank. However, the Jerusalem Post later cited a senior Palestinian Authority official as stating that he was unaware of Abbas accepting any such truce agreement.
 

angelburst29

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
The gatekeeper of Israeli democracy and rule of law
READ IN: עברית Mazal Mualem November 9, 2018

The Knesset's Education and Culture Committee held a session on Nov. 6 on the “loyalty in culture” law, which would allow the culture minister to defund programs deemed to reject Israel’s symbols. Before the Knesset's second and third readings of the bill, Deputy Attorney General Dina Zilber had the opportunity to address the committee, delivering a carefully crafted speech that the media dubbed “The Country Has Changed.” It was, in fact, a social, political and legal manifesto against the government. More than a simple legal opinion expressing reservations about Culture Minister Miri Regev’s proposed law, Zilber’s address was intended to send shock waves through the system, to protest the government and to feature on the media’s agenda.

Zilber has prior experience with events like this. She was therefore fully aware that her remarks would be filmed and otherwise recorded. With her statement, she appeared to want her admonition to reverberate beyond the Knesset committee’s chambers.

“These are not easy times,” she said, delivering her lucid message in a soft, stable voice. “They bring with them not just new laws, but even new words: governance, loyalty, overriding. We see confrontational dialogue, the wounding and scarring of our shared social fabric, labeling and branding — who is for us and who is against us.”

The debate in which Zilber participated took place one day after the Knesset approved the first reading of the so-called loyalty in culture law. This controversial legislation aims to allow the Culture Ministry to deny government support to cultural institutions for a variety of reasons, including but not limited to denying Israel’s existence as a Jewish and democratic state, incitement to racism, support for terrorism, desecrating the flag, marking the anniversary of Israel’s independence as a day of mourning (i.e., the Palestinians' Nakba Day), and so on.

The law lies on a continuum of right-wing, nationalist legislation characteristic of the current government. Other such legislation includes laws to weaken the legal system, in particular the Supreme Court. To the latter end, the Knesset is debating an override clause that targets the court, allowing the legislature to override its rulings declaring laws unconstitutional.

Since the formation of the current right-wing government after the 2015 elections, Zilber and many of her colleagues at the Justice Ministry have found themselves torn between their obligation to represent the government and their desire to defend the old democratic order as they knew it. In the case of the culture law, both Zilber and Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit have expressed reservations and ultimately came to oppose it. Mandelblit withdrew his pointed opposition to the law after a series of amendments, but he still believes it is fraught with problems.
This is the first time, that I have read anything on Dina Zilber and I see her, as a person of interest in the Political arena. Very brave women, if she standing up to the Knesset and the Culture Ministry? "Other such legislation includes laws to weaken the legal system, in particular the Supreme Court. To the latter end, the Knesset is debating an override clause that targets the court, allowing the legislature to override its rulings declaring laws unconstitutional."


Trouble in Paradise? I think, Lieberman eventually wants to take over Netanyahu's position, as prime Minister?
November 15, 2018 - Netanyahu faces snap Election Calls after Defense Minister quits
Netanyahu faces snap election calls after defense minister quits | Reuters


FILE PHOTO: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends an annual state memorial ceremony for Israel's first prime minister, David Ben Gurion, at his gravesite in Sde Boker, Israel November 14, 2018. REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun/File Photo

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu faced calls on Thursday from his coalition partners to hold an early election, a day after the defense minister's resignation left the government with a razor-thin majority.

Avigdor Lieberman quit on Wednesday over what he described as the government’s too-soft policy on cross-border violence with Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip.

The loss of the five seats of Lieberman’s Israel Beitenu faction leaves Netanyahu with control of just 61 of the 120 seats in parliament, raising the prospect that a scheduled November 2019 election would be brought forward.

Lieberman’s resignation takes effect 48 hours after being handed in, which he did early on Thursday. Each coalition partner will then have the power to bring down the government. To avert a crisis, Netanyahu has been holding talks with ministers in an effort to stabilize the government.

Israel’s Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon, who heads the centrist Kulanu party, said he told Netanyahu in their meeting that the responsible step to take would be to establish a new and stable government.

“The best thing for Israel’s citizens and economy is to hold an election as soon as possible,” Kahlon said in a statement. His call was echoed by Interior Minister Aryeh Deri who heads the ultra-Orthodox Shas faction.

Adding to the pressure, Israel’s Education Minister Naftali Bennett, who heads the far-right Jewish Home party, has demanded the defense brief by given to him.

Both Lieberman and Bennett, who compete with Netanyahu’s Likud for right-wing voters, have spoken in favor of harsh Israeli military action against Gaza’s dominant Hamas Islamists.

Israel has fought three wars in Gaza since Hamas took over the enclave in 2007.

“I asked the prime minister yesterday to appoint me defense minister to fulfill one goal only - that Israel start winning again,” Bennett said at a conference near Tel Aviv.

Jewish Home said on Wednesday that without the defense brief, there would be no point in keeping the government together.

However Bennett did not repeat this in his remarks on Thursday nor did he render an explicit ultimatum to Netanyahu, with whom he is due to meet on Friday.

It was unclear whether Netanyahu would opt for an early election.

Netanyahu is under investigation for corruption, and speculation has been rife that he may bring the ballot forward in order to win a renewed mandate before Israel’s attorney-general decides whether to indict him.

A poll published on Wednesday by Israel’s Hadashot television news showed Likud falling by one seat from 30 to 29 after months of surveys that have shown it gaining power. Only 17 percent of respondents were happy with Netanyahu’s Gaza policy.
 

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November 16, 2018 - Israel's Netanyahu takes over Defense job as Coalition falters
Israel's Netanyahu takes over defense job as coalition falters | Reuters


FILE PHOTO: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sits next to Israeli Education Minister Naftali Bennett during a session of the plenum of the Knesset, the Israeli Parliament, in Jerusalem, March 12, 2018. REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun/File Photo

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will take over the defense portfolio in his government after his defense minister resigned this week, a spokesman for his Likud Party said on Friday, fuelling speculation of an early election.

Earlier Netanyahu met with key coalition partner Naftali Bennett of the Jewish Home Party, who had sought the post for himself, but the two men emerged without an agreement.

Netanyahu’s right-wing coalition government was rocked by Avigdor Lieberman’s resignation on Wednesday in protest at a ceasefire reached between Israel and the Islamist group Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

Lieberman’s far-right Yisrael Beitenu party has quit the coalition and its five MPs have withdrawn support for the government.

After Bennett and Netanyahu’s meeting, a spokesman for the PM’s Likud Party said that for now Netanyahu would handle the defense portfolio himself.

The premier then spoke by phone with the rest of his coalition partners, urging them to “make every effort not to bring down the right-wing government” and to prevent the left from getting into power, the spokesman said.

A source close to Bennett said that after his meeting with Netanyahu “it became clear ... there was a need to go to elections as soon as possible with no possibility of continuing the current government.”

Israeli media reported that other coalition partners would oppose Bennett, who leads an ultra-nationalist, religious party, becoming defense minister.

An election date would be decided on Sunday, the source close to Bennett said. Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon, who heads the centrist Kulanu party, has also called for a vote to be held before the scheduled date next November.

Before the crisis Netanyahu’s coalition had 66 seats in the 120-seat parliament. The loss of Lieberman’s five has brought him down to a perilous 61. Losing Bennett’s eight means Netanyahu would lose his majority.

Opinion polls show that Netanyahu’s Likud would be likely to remain the dominant party after a parliamentary election.

Netanyahu, a conservative serving his fourth term as premier, is under investigation for corruption. Commentators say he may agree to bring the ballot forward in order to win a renewed mandate before the attorney-general decides whether to indict him.


November 16, 2018 - US to oppose U.N. Golan Resolution, wins Israeli praise
U.S. to oppose U.N. Golan resolution, wins Israeli praise | Reuters

The United States said it would oppose on Friday for the first time an annual resolution at the United Nations calling on Israel to rescind its authority in the occupied Golan Heights, drawing praise from Israeli officials.

The Golan Heights form a buffer between Israel and Syria of about 1,200 square km (460 square miles). Israel captured most of it from Syria in the 1967 Middle East war. It annexed the territory in 1981, a move not recognized internationally.

The United States has abstained in previous years on the annual “Occupied Syrian Golan” resolution, which declares Israel’s decision to impose its jurisdiction in the area “null and void”, but Washington’s U.N. envoy Nikki Haley said it would vote against the resolution in Friday’s vote.

“The United States will no longer abstain when the United Nations engages in its useless annual vote on the Golan Heights,” she said in a statement on Thursday.

“The resolution is plainly biased against Israel. Further, the atrocities the Syrian regime continues to commit prove its lack of fitness to govern anyone.”

Her comments came after the U.S. ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, said in September that he expected Israel to keep the Golan Heights in perpetuity, in an apparent nod towards its claim of sovereignty over the territory.

Since early in Donald Trump’s presidency, Israel has lobbied for formal U.S. endorsement of its control of the Golan. Trump has recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, breaking with other world powers, though his national security adviser John Bolton told Reuters in August a similar Golan move was not under discussion.

In the past two years, Trump has twice ordered U.S.-led air strikes against targets in Syria in response to what Washington called the use of chemical weapons against civilians by President Bashar al-Assad’s forces.

Israeli officials praised the U.S. move.

Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan called it “extremely important”, saying on Twitter that “no sane person can believe that it (the Golan) should be given to Assad & Iran”.

Tehran has supported Assad during the civil war and Israel has been warning against Iranian military entrenchment in Syria.

Israel has closely monitored the fighting in Syria, where just across the Golan frontier battles have raged in clear view.


November 15, 2018 - UN Palestinian Aid Agency narrows funding gap after Trump exit
U.N. Palestinian aid agency narrows funding gap after Trump exit | Reuters

The U.N. agency for Palestinian refugees has almost closed a funding gap caused by the loss of $300 million in U.S. contributions, its chief said on Tuesday.

The Trump administration pulled the bulk of U.S. funding of the U.N. Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) in January after a U.N. General Assembly vote rejected Washington’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

(Comment - Trump did not cut all of the funding - he cut the funding that was earmarked for "the Israeli Military" in patrolling the Israeli/Gaza Border. That's why this yearly Gala that C.a. Posted made a big deal - about collecting extra contributions. )

Hollywood stars raise record $60m for Israel army
November 6, 2018 at 1:45 pm
Hollywood celebrities raised a record breaking $60 million for the Israeli military at the Friends of the Israel Defense Forces (FIDF) annual gala last week.

This year’s sold-out Western Region event at the Beverly Hilton Hotel welcomed more than 1,200 supporters of Israel, including prominent actors and singers like Ashton Kutcher, Pharrell Williams, Gerard Butler, and Katharine McPhee.“We are thrilled that so many members of our community, including major Hollywood figures, are coming together to help us support the brave men and women of the [Israeli army].” said FIDF National Board Member and Chairman of the event, Haim Saban. “Standing behind these heroes is one of my greatest honours in my life.”

The event featured a programme that told the 70-year history of Israel through the accounts of soldiers and the military’s various campaigns against the Palestinians.
Since President Donald Trump’s move, the EU has become UNRWA’s largest single donor, Japan had increased its funding, and four Gulf countries - Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates - had contributed $200 million, according to UNRWA chief Pierre Kraehenbuehl.

He told reporters that the U.S. funding cut had made 2018 a very difficult year for UNRWA, which runs schools and clinics for 5.4 million Palestinians across the Middle East, including in Gaza and the West Bank.

It began 2018 with a shortfall of $146 million in its planned budget of $1.2 billion. That ballooned to $446 million after Trump’s cutback, forcing Kraehenbuehl to seek new funds from other countries and private sector donors.

“We decided not to sit back and complain but to reach out and launch a global campaign called ‘dignity is priceless’, and that really mobilized the international community,” he said.

“We have mobilized until now $382 million of additional funding, which means we brought the shortfall down to $64 million, and we are still in contact with a number of countries; we are hopeful that this shortfall will be brought down further in couple of weeks,” said Kraehenbuehl.

He added that it was at least good to have a greater geographical spread of donors more representative of the United Nations as a whole. But new donations would have to be stabilized to keep UNRWA funded next year and in future years.

“We’re not out of the woods (yet),” he said.

Trump’s endorsement in December of Israel’s claim to Jerusalem as its capital drew universal condemnation from Arab leaders and criticism around the world. It broke with decades of U.S. policy that the city’s status must be decided in peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians.


November 6, 2018 - Billionaire's Son held in Israeli Diamond smuggling case
Billionaire's son held in Israeli diamond smuggling case | Reuters


(The Nov. 6 story officially corrects to delete reference to one of the suspects in the case, in accordance with court order)

The son of Israeli billionaire diamond magnate Lev Leviev is among suspects arrested in Israel in connection with a diamond smuggling scheme, according to court documents released on Tuesday.

The case focuses on Leviev’s company, LLD Diamonds, a leading global manufacturer and marketer of polished diamonds, Police have said they expect to make more arrests, both in Israel and abroad.

Leviev’s son Zevulun is among six suspects accused of involvement in a smuggling operation that has brought about 300 million shekels’ ($80 million) worth of diamonds illegally into Israel since 2010, according to a transcript of a custody hearing held on Monday.

Israel is a world center for diamond cutting and polishing, with one of the biggest exchanges in the world, at Ramat Gan.

Lawyers representing Zevulun Leviev in a statement said the allegations against him were “baseless” and his arrest appeared to be a tactic to “illegitimately pressure his father”.

Lev Leviev, who was born in Uzbekistan and according to the court documents is currently believed to be in Russia, built his fortune in diamonds and property.

LLD said in a statement it had no knowledge of the alleged smuggling.

“Mr. Leviev and the companies in his control operate in accordance with the proper norms while adhering to the law. We hope that the matter will be clarified soon and the suspicions will be proven baseless,” it said.

Leviev also owns 48 percent of the real estate firm Africa Israel Investments , once one of Israel’s biggest conglomerates, whose business has struggled since a downturn in the Russian real estate market.
 
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