Middle East Israel seizes 400 hectares of West Bank land – AlJazeera

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US official describes as “counterproductive” Israeli announcement to appropriate land, said to be largest in 30 years.

AlJazeera

The United States has urged Israel to reverse its decision to seize nearly 400 hectares of land in the occupied West Bank, a move anti-settlement activists termed the largest land grab in 30 years.

Israel announced the massive land appropriation on Sunday in the Etzion settlement bloc near Bethlehem just days after Gaza ceasefire.

A Palestinian official said the latest land grab by Israel would cause only more friction after the Gaza war that left more than 2,000 Palestinians dead and over 10,000 injured.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, called on Israel to cancel the appropriation. “This decision will lead to more instability. This will only inflame the situation after the war in Gaza,” presidential spokesman Abu Rdainah said.

A US State Department official called the announcement as “counterproductive to Israel’s stated goal of a negotiated two-state solution with the Palestinians”.

“We urge the government of Israel to reverse this decision,” the official said in Washington.

Peace Now group, which opposes Israeli settlement activities in the West Bank, territory the Palestinians seek for a state, said the appropriation was meant to turn a site where 10 families now live adjacent to a Jewish seminary into a permanent settlement.

International criticism

Construction of a major settlement at the location, known as “Gevaot”, has been mooted by Israel since 2000. Last year, the government invited bids for the building of 1,000 housing units at the site.

Peace Now said the land seizure was the largest announced by Israel in the West Bank since the 1980s and that anyone with ownership claims had 45 days to appeal. A local Palestinian mayor said Palestinians owned the tracts and harvested olive trees on them.

Israel has come under international criticism over its settlement activities, which most countries regard as illegal under international law and a major obstacle to the creation of a viable Palestinian state in any future peace deal.

Israel has said construction at Gevaot would not constitute the establishment of a new settlement because the site is officially designated a neighbourhood of an existing one, Alon Shvut, several kilometres down the road.

About 500,000 Israelis live among 2.4 million Palestinians in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, territory that Israel captured in the 1967 Middle East war.

 

Breaking News: 25 August, 2014

Armed anti-goverment fighters walk in front of garages set ablaze by what locals say was recent shelling by Ukrainian forces in Donetsk August 23, 2014 (Reuters / Maxim Shemetov)

Armed anti-goverment fighters walk in front of garages set ablaze by what locals say was recent shelling by Ukrainian forces in Donetsk August 23, 2014 (Reuters / Maxim Shemetov)

Friday, August 22

Artillery attack destroys roof and walls of Donetsk museum

An artillery attack destroyed the roof and walls of the Donetsk Regional Museum of Local History on Thursday. (Xinhua/Alexander Ermochenko)

 

Monday, August 25

18:00 GMT:

The Crimean Telegraph newspaper said that two of its journalists have gone missing in the warzone in Donetsk Region of Ukraine on August 24.  “Yesterday, in the area of the ‘anti-terrorist operation’ not far from the city of Donetsk reporter Evgenia Korolyova and photographer Maksim Vasilenko were removed from their bus by Right Sector [radical movement] representatives,” the paper said.  “Korolyova was allowed to make one phone call, but couldn’t speak freely as it was obvious that “people, who controlled her every word, were with her,” the Crimean Telegraph added.  “When asked if she felt a real threat to her life, Evgenia said ‘no’, but confirmed that they were detained not as ordinary Crimean citizens, but as journalists,” the newspaper said.

15:58 GMT:

The distribution of humanitarian aid from Russia has started in the besieged city of Lugansk in southeastern Ukraine, with 12 issuing points opening in the city on Monday.

The minimum package handed out to residents includes rice, buckwheat and sugar, three canned meats, a packet of tea and 10 liters of water.

Poroshenko warns of ‘detailed Plan B’ if Ukraine ceasefire fails

If his current proposal for a truce, which came into force on Friday, fails to bring results, Ukraine’s newly elected president Petro Poroshenko warns he has an alternative “detailed plan” of regaining control over south-eastern Ukraine.  “Peaceful scenario – it is our plan A,” Poroshenko said in a statement on his website. “But those who expect to use the peace talks only to gain time to regroup, should know that we have a detailed plan B. I am not going to talk about it now, because I believe that our peace plan will work.”  Poroshenko claims the ceasefire is designed to enable local self-defence militias to lay down their arms and flee the country, or be destroyed. He also, while drafting the plan with Kiev-appointed governors of the defiant regions, rejected any possibility of negotiations with representatives of anti-Kiev forces.

 

US, NATO to blame for Libyan unrest – Moscow

The current turmoil in Libya is a direct consequence of the interference of the US and its NATO allies, the Russian Foreign Ministry said. “We can say that the political process of creating a modern state in Libya on the ruins of the Muammar Gaddafi regime ousted in 2011 has finally come to a standstill,” the ministry said. The Libyans are now paying for Western involvement with “lives of thousands of civilians and social economic infrastructure of the state lost during bloody civil strife,” it added. Over the weekend, the Islamists seized the airport in the Libyan capital, Tripoli, and proclaimed their own government.

15:03

Pentagon’s second test of hypersonic missile fails after takeoff

The Pentagon’s second test of an advanced hypersonic weapon failed shortly after takeoff early on Monday, the Washington Free Beacon said. “Due to an anomaly, the test was terminated near the launch pad shortly after liftoff to ensure public safety,” the Pentagon said in a statement. No injuries to any personnel were reported after the test was carried out from the Kodiak Launch Complex on Kodiak Island off the southern Alaskan coast. The weapon is a key part of the Pentagon’s strategic program of building arms that can attack any point on earth in 30 minutes.

14:22

2 killed, several injured in explosion at Illinois recycling plant

Two people were killed and more were injured after an explosion at a recycling plant in southern Illinois, Granite City police said. The bomb squad has been sent to the Totall Metal Recycling plant, AP said, citing local television. More explosions, perhaps from live ammunition rounds, are feared. More than 160 people work at the plant, which recycles everything from computers to automobiles. The company also indicated that it deals with the ammunition industry.

13:56

Omar al-Hasi appointed as PM after Libya’s ex-parliament reconvenes

Libya’s previous parliament reconvened on Monday to elect Islamist-backed Omar al-Hasi as prime minister, Reuters quoted a parliamentary spokesman as saying. Islamists had a strong representation in the former legislature, whose term ended with national elections in June. It has refused to acknowledge the legitimacy of its successor parliament, where liberals and federalists dominate.

11:07

At least 16 people killed by Israel air strikes on Gaza

Israeli air strikes pounded Gaza on Sunday, killing at least 16 people, AFP said. One of the strikes killed Hamas financial official Mohammed al-Ghul as he was traveling by car in Gaza City, Israel’s army and Gaza medics said. A later strike on northern Gaza reportedly killed a mother and four children from the same family, and the day’s death toll reached at least 16, including six children.

10:36

Syria govt ready to cooperate in anti-terror fight – FM

The Syrian government is ready to cooperate with international and regional efforts to fight terror, Reuters quoted the Syrian foreign minister, Walid al-Moualem, as saying on Monday. Asked if Syria was ready to cooperate with the US and Britain, he said: “They are welcome.” However, the minister warned in that case the efforts must be coordinated with Damascus. Moualem, speaking on Syrian state TV, also condemned the killing of US journalist James Foley, who was executed by the Islamic State.

07:45

French PM Valls presents govt resignation to president

France’s Prime Minister Manuel Valls presented the resignation of his government to the president on Monday, Reuters reported. Francois Hollande’s office said a new government would be formed on Tuesday in line with the direction the president “has defined for our country.” The resignation comes a day after leftist Economy Minister Arnaud Montebourg called for new economic policies and questioned Germany’s “obsession” with budgetary rigor.

06:47

Japan to name criteria before offering unapproved Ebola drug

Japan could offer an unapproved drug under certain circumstances to help treat the deadly Ebola virus, Reuters said. “Medical professionals could make a request for T-705 in an emergency even before a decision by the World Health Organization (WHO),” Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said. “In that case, we would like to respond under certain criteria.” Tokyo will cooperate with the WHO and is ready to make an international contribution. Japan’s Fujifilm Holdings Corp and US’s MediVector are in talks with the US Food and Drug Administration to submit an application to expand the use of the influenza drug T-705, or favipiravir, as a treatment for Ebola.

06:19

At least 10 killed in India temple stampede

At least 10 people were killed and scores injured in a stampede at a Hindu temple in central India, AFP reported. As hundreds of pilgrims were gathering early at a holy hill in the Chitrakoot area of Madhya Pradesh state, some fell down, sparking panic. A stampede broke out around 5:30 local time, “where five women and five men have died,” police said. The incident took place at Kamtanath Pahad temple on Kamadgiri hill in Chitrakoot, about 520km from state capital Bhopal, when some Hindu devotees were reportedly rolling on the ground as part of rituals for the full moon day of Somvati Amavasya to honor Lord Shiva.

Roger Waters’ (Pink Floyd) Song for Gaza

“Over the new year 2009-2010, an international group of 1500 men and women from 42 nations went to Egypt to join a Freedom March to Gaza. They did this to protest the current blockade of Gaza. To protest the fact that the people of Gaza live in a virtual prison. To protest the fact that a year after the terror attack by Israeli armed forces destroyed most of their homes, hospitals, schools, and other public buildings, they have no possibility to rebuild because their borders are closed. The would be Freedom Marchers wanted to peacefully draw attention to the predicament of the Palestinian population of Gaza. The Egyptian government, (funded to the tune of $2.1 billion a year, by us, the US tax payers), would not allow the marchers to approach Gaza. How lame is that? And how predictable! I live in the USA and during this time Dec 25th 2009-Jan3rd 2010 I saw no reference to Gaza or the Freedom March or the multi national protesters gathered there. Anyway I was moved, in the circumstances, to record a new version of” We shall overcome”.It seems appropriate.
Roger Waters

Roger Waters UN Address – Nov 29, 2012

Roger Waters, speaking on behalf of the Russell Tribunal, delivers a very nicely put speech in front of delegates on International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. This day also marks an important development in the Palestinians’ bid to statehood as they are now recognized as a non-member observer state. Hopefully the world sees both sides of the story and that both conflicting parties go into negotiations towards a two-state peaceful solution and put an end this long and dragged out conflict. Enough is enough!

US Congressional Black Caucus Endorses Israeli Apartheid and Current War Crimes in Gaza

By Bruce A. Dixon
Global Research, August 04, 2014
Black Agenda Report 30 July 2014

Region: Middle East & North Africa, USA
Theme: Crimes against Humanity
In-depth Report: PALESTINE

jeffries_endorses_apartheidOnly 2 of over 40 Congressional Black Caucus members voted against legitimizing the 2009 Israeli massacre of 1400 mostly civilians in Gaza, with seven CBC members abstaining. Last week, with the Gaza death toll climbing toward 1,000 not a single CBC member could be bothered to lift a voice against Israel’s genocidal assault of the moment or its ongoing apartheid state in general. Black America should hang our collective heads in shame.

Back in the 1970s, when the Congressional Black Caucus began calling itself “the conscience of the Congress,” that was almost literally true. CBC members could be relied upon not just to reliably vote for raising wages and expenditures on housing, health care and education, but to keep the issues of full employment and opposition to unjust war near the front of their public agendas.

By the late 1980s, a gaggle of former CBC staffers had moved through the revolving doors of elite affirmative action to become corporate lobbyists, with the same ethics and table manners as their white colleagues, but with black faces. Thanks in large part to their efforts, by 2000 a tsunami of corporate cash began filling up the coffers of incumbent CBC members, their black replacements, or in the cases of Alabama’s Earl Hilliard and Georgia’s Cynthia McKinney, their black opponents.

Only a single member of the CBC, Rep. Barabra Lee opposed President Bush’s blank check for invading anywhere he pleased in Septermber of 2001, and by the 2003 invasion of Iraq, four CBC members, some of them swimming in donations from military contractors, raced down to the White House to have their pictures taken with Bush as the bombs were about to explode over Baghdad.

By the 109th Congress of 2005-2006 the CBC’s political compass had been decisively reset. 2005 was the year of Katrina. For decades there had been predictions that whenever “the big one” hit New Orleans, a city where a majority of residents didn’t even own cars, thousands or tens of thousands would perish. I lived in Chicago and read those predictions in the papers there several times during the 80s and 90s. Katrina ultimately proved to be the excuse for authorities to permanently expel more than a hundred thousand African Americans, mostly renters but also entire neighborhoods of black homeowners and black owned local businesses as well. As the highest ranking black politicians in the nation, the Congressional Black Caucus could have demanded and held federal hearings on every aspect of the Katrina disaster and its aftermath, ensuring a real public debate on how the region would be rebuilt and for whom.

But House Democrats were focused narrowly on winning the 2006 election, and in their political calculus, having Democrats identified as the party of black people was not a winning strategy. Democratic House leader Nancy Pelosi forbade the Congressional Black Caucus from demanding or holding hearings. Only Georgia’s Cynthia McKinney defied her, and was forced to partner with House Republicans for the hearings to take place at all. The only CBC member Pelosi allowed to take part in the Katrina hearings was the lazy and corrupt “Dollar Bill” Jefferson who nominally represented black New Orleans. The rest of the supposedly powerful and influential CBC, from its deans Conyers and Rangel on down stayed away.

If they were still the conscience of the Congress the CBC would have called together some of the nation’s black civil engineers, architects, urban planners and others to articulate a vision of a rebuilt Gulf Coast for the people who lived there before. Instead the vision of the Heritage Foundation prevailed. A hundred thousand black New Orleans residents were deported to the four corners of the continental US, their public school system privatized, their rental apartments razed, their health care systems shut down, and the water, electric and gas grids not reactivated for the entire sections of town where they once lived. Thanks to the hands-off attitude of the CBC, President Bush was even able to exclude all journalists from the teams which recovered bodies or the places where remains were assembled, so there is no independent verification of the government’s suspiciously small count of fatalities.

That was when Democrats were still the minority in Congress. We’re always told how important it is for Democrats to gain or maintain control of the House. They got that in the 2006 elections, and Democrats have had the White House since the 2008 election as well, though they handed the House back at the end of 2010. Has all that extra power made them bolder in the pursuit of justice? Sadly, no.

Israel’s vicious apartheid regime celebrated Barack Obama’s 2009 inauguration with the massacre of 1400 people in Gaza, mostly civilians, and the destruction of a great part of the enclave’s infrastructure, down to chicken farms and water systems. The new Congress called it righteous self-defense, with 390 yeas, 5 nays and 22 “present”. The CBC was 2 of those nays, Gwen Moore (WI) and Maxine Waters (CA), and 7 of the “presents”, Edwards (MD), Ellison (MN), Johnson (GA), Lee (TX), Payne (NJ), Kilpatrick (MI), and Watson (CA).

This month, as the civilian death toll in the latest Israeli criminal orgy of collective punishment mounted toward 1,000, the US House passed a nearly identical resolution, calling this massacre legitimate “self-defense” as well. This time the House vote, including that of the Congressional Black Caucus wasunanimous. Not a single member of the CBC, despite their much heralded brand of standing for civil rights and against apartheid here and around the world, bothered to publicly question the racist ethnocracy that is the Israeli state. After signing the blank check with the rest of their colleagues, CBC members Conyers (MI), Lee (CA), Johnson (GA) and Ellison (MN) tried to cover their shame with a letter to Secretary of State Kerry urging a cease-fire, something which Kerry claims to have been doing anyway.

All CBC members absolutely know that Israel is an apartheid society, with one set of laws applying to Jews, a second to Israeli Arabs and a third to Palestinians. Congressional Black Caucus members know that Israel requires different colored license plates for non-Jews so their vehicles can be profiled at a distance, and Jewish-only roads between settlements carved from the villages of Palestinians and watched voer by military garrisons. They know that Israel refuses to recognize mixed marriages, or even marriages between Palestinians in Gaza and those on the West Bank. Black members of Congress know what an ethnocracy is, and even though they claim to have opposed it in South Africa and here at home, they choose to endorse it in Israel, out of greed and subservience.

As we wrote in BAR back in 2012…

“Whatever its root cause, the current support of the black political class for Israel’s maintenance of a colonial settler state constitutes a massive, hypocritical hole in their collective souls. Most of the world backed our own struggle against Jim Crow, and we congratulated ourselves for contributing to the downfall of the old regime in South Africa. And now, when our turn comes round again, when the United States is the only government capable of restraining the vicious Israeli onslaught, just by the threat of its disapproval, its non-renewal of loan guarantees or weapons giveways or military contracts —- we are silent.

“For African Americans, our hypocrisy goes deeper and further than our leaders. It filters all the way down to ordinary people whose attachment to their First Black President is so uncritical that they decouple their FBP from any responsibility for his policies. Many Obama supporters say they oppose Israeli aggression and wring their hands wishing the president they voted for and hustled others into voting for would do something different. In the eyes of the rest of the world, as Margaret Kimberley points out, they are as guilty of abetting Israeli atrocities as the rabid partisans of AIPAC…”

What would one of our glittering and supposedly powerful members of the Congressional Black Caucus tell a child in Gaza today? What would they tell a parent whose children have been maimed or murdered, with weaponry probably designed and/or manufactured in the US?

Our nation is the armorer, financier and protector of Israel’s savage ethnocracy. We are all compromised, we are all implicated in its crimes. It’s time to call our black political class, and each other to account. In the coming week, Black Agenda Report will reach out to our friends and colleagues and try to find some new ways to do exactly that.

Bruce A. Dixon is managing editor at Black Agenda Report, and a state committee member of the GA Green Party. He lives and works near Marietta GA, and can be reached via this site’s contact page or at bruce.dixon(at)blackagendareport.com.

Articles by: Bruce A. Dixon

Disclaimer: The contents of this article are of sole responsibility of the author(s). The Centre for Research on Globalization will not be responsible for any inaccurate or incorrect statement in this article. The Center of Research on Globalization grants permission to cross-post original Global Research articles on community internet sites as long as the text & title are not modified. The source and the author’s copyright must be displayed. For publication of Global Research articles in print or other forms including commercial internet sites, contact: publications@globalresearch.ca

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Copyright © Bruce A. Dixon, Black Agenda Report, 2014

Western Sanctions Against Russia Illegal, Beyond National Jurisdiction – Russian Lawmaker

Topic: Sanctions Against Russia

Topic: Sanctions Against Russia

Topic: Sanctions Against Russia

MOSCOW, July 31 (RIA Novosti) – Western countries are going beyond their national jurisdiction by imposing sanctions against Russia, as such measures are illegal, Russia’s lower house speaker Sergei Naryshkin said Thursday.

“Such actions are illegal and thus void, and not only because they are unilateral. Apparently, some Western leaders, especially from overseas, imagine themselves judges when arbitrarily finding someone guilty and identifying responsibility for entire countries and nations,” the speaker said.

“They [Western leaders] do not mind that this issue is completely beyond their jurisdiction,” Naryshkin added.

The time of confrontations between empires has gone, but containment policies against Russia “and geopolitical ploys aimed at weakening it are still present. These are the real reasons behind the replication of cold war methods as well as various sanctions and black lists,” the parliamentarian concluded.

On Tuesday, the United States as well as the European Union announced new rounds of sanctions against Russia over Ukraine. Washington introduced sanctions on three more Russian banks, namely VTB, the country’s second-largest bank, the Bank of Moscow and Russian Agricultural Bank, as well as state-owned United Shipbuilding Corporation. The EU agreed on a new set of sectoral economic sanctions against Russia, which are to go into effect tomorrow, August 1.

Russia has repeatedly denied accusations that it was involved with the eastern Ukrainian militia and called the “language of sanctions” counterproductive.