• Israel’s big lie revealed: Deported asylum seekers in Uganda lament broken promises and a grim future

    Haaretz met with deported asylum seekers who were left with no papers or work permits; they can’t even enter refugee camps as they have no status. One option is to risk death and head for Europe
    By Uzi Dann (Kampala, Uganda) Mar 04, 2018

    KAMPALA, Uganda – It’s around noon in Uganda’s capital Kampala. The streets are bustling and traffic is heavy. Meles looks out of place, and he certainly feels it. “I don’t have a future here,” he tells Haaretz. “I have no hope, no job. My life is ruined.”
    He’s a relative newcomer here. He has been here for around two and a half months and says it’s just a matter of time until he’s on the road again. “I’m already 31 and prefer to try my luck elsewhere rather than live this way, God willing,” he says, pointing upward and not at the two crosses on his chest. “This time I’ll be lucky.”
    The last time he tried his luck nearly a decade ago he deserted his unlimited military service in the Eritrean army and started walking north. Ultimately he reached Israel, where he lived for more than seven and a half years, from the beginning of 2010 until last November. Then he was forced to “leave voluntarily.”

    In addition to the threat of prison if he didn’t leave, there was the $3,500 that Israel gave and the laissez-passer document, ensuring him legal status in a third country and the right to work. There were also verbal assurances that things would be all right – that he’d be able to make a living and integrate into his new country.
    Soon after Meles landed at Uganda’s Entebbe Airport, he discovered there wasn’t much substance to the assurances, not even a way to contact the government clerk who sent him there. And regarding the documents, someone in Uganda was there to take them away from him as soon as he landed.
    Haaretz on the ground in Uganda - דלג

    Haaretz has heard this story repeatedly from former asylum seekers in Israel who went to Rwanda (and from there took a circuitous path to neighboring Uganda), and from those whose airplane ticket took them straight to Entebbe. Haaretz met with more than 15 of them in Kampala and spoke with several others by phone. No Israeli official contacted them once they had left Israel, or took any interest in them once they had reached Africa.
    Meles has no documents and no job, and has no status in Uganda letting him work. He has spent some of the $3,500, and it looks like the rest will be gone soon. He regrets that he didn’t opt for the Holot detention center in the south.

    Meles in Kampala. Uzi Dan
    “It would be better to be in jail in Israel, where at least I would get food,” he says, adding that he advises asylum seekers still in Israel not to accept the offer of passage to a third country.
    Meles’ Hebrew is excellent, an indication that he adjusted well during his seven and a half years in Israel. He worked three years for one employer and four years for another, the owner of a grocery store near Tel Aviv’s Carmel Market. From the very beginning he tried to obtain legal status in Israel.
    When he arrived at the Saharonim detention facility in 2010, he gave details about his travails. He repeated them a month later when he left Saharonim and was granted a temporary visa. And he repeated them five years later when he submitted an asylum request. Like many others, he never received an answer on his request, but around that time he was told that his residence visa would not be renewed.

    https://seenthis.net/messages/673864 via Nouvelles d’Orient

  • Need a North Korean Missile ? Call the Cairo Embassy - The New York Times


    CAIRO — On an island in the Suez Canal, a towering AK-47 rifle, its muzzle and bayonet pointed skyward, symbolizes one of Egypt’s most enduring alliances. Decades ago, North Korea presented it to Egypt to commemorate the 1973 war against Israel, when North Korean pilots fought and died on the Egyptian side.

    But now the statue has come to signify another aspect of Egypt’s ties to North Korea: a furtive trade in illegal weapons that has upset President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi’s otherwise cozy relationship with the United States, set off a painful cut in military aid and drawn unremitting scrutiny from United Nations inspectors.

    Egypt has purchased North Korean weapons and allowed North Korean diplomats to use their Cairo embassy as a base for military sales across the region, American and United Nations officials say. Those transactions earned vital hard cash for North Korea, but they violated international sanctions and drew the ire of Egypt’s main military patron, the United States, which cut or suspended $291 million in military aid in August.

    Tensions may bubble up again in the coming weeks with the publication of a United Nations report that contains new information about the cargo of a rusty North Korean freighter intercepted off the coast of Egypt in 2016. The ship was carrying 30,000 rocket-propelled grenades worth an estimated $26 million.

    The report, due to be released this month, identifies the customer for the weapons as an arm of the Arab Organization for Industrialization, Egypt’s main state weapons conglomerate. Mr. Sisi heads the committee that oversees the group.

    Continue reading the main story

    Trump Announces Harsh New Sanctions Against North Korea FEB. 23, 2018

    Visiting Egypt, Tillerson Is Silent on Its Wave of Repression FEB. 12, 2018

    U.S. Slaps Egypt on Human Rights Record and Ties to North Korea AUG. 22, 2017

    Trump Shifts Course on Egypt, Praising Its Authoritarian Leader APRIL 3, 2017
    Egypt has previously denied being the intended recipient of the weapons, or breaching international sanctions. In response to questions about the United Nations finding, the State Information Service said this past week: “The relevant Egyptian authorities have undertaken all the necessary measures in relation to the North Korean ship in full transparency and under the supervision” of United Nations officials.

    https://seenthis.net/messages/673872 via Nouvelles d’Orient

  • Border cops filmed throwing stun grenade at Palestinian couple with baby | The Times of #Israel

    L’"armée la plus morale au monde" en action.


    Quant à la “#frontière” de “Times of Israel” c’est seulement si le droit international est ignoré.

    (((YousefMunayyer))) on Twitter: “Burin of course is no where near a border, these are henchmen of an occupying army”

    https://seenthis.net/messages/673668 via Kassem

  • USA Are Foreign-Influenced Social Media Campaigns Part of the New Political Playbook? - Pacific Standard

    On the first day of November of 2017, the Senate Judiciary Committee grilled contrite representatives from Facebook, Twitter, and Google about their companies’ roles in the Russian meddling during the 2016 presidential election. The senators spent nearly three hours chastising the social media platforms for their dereliction. In between the grandstanding, the senators expressed genuine concern about how foreign nations used these platforms, and whether media companies would be able to stop the next country from copying the Russian scheme. But even as lawmakers reflect on the Russian interference, new foreign influence campaigns are already underway.

    This time, rather than trying to choose a president, the campaigns sought to affect President Donald Trump and America’s reaction to the Qatar diplomatic crisis, which began on June 5th, when Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Egypt cut diplomatic ties with Qatar and established an air, sea, and land blockade around the country.

    https://seenthis.net/messages/673376 via Nouvelles d’Orient

  • First, Israeli troops shot a Palestinian armed with a chunk of metal. Then, they beat him to death

    IDF sources maintain the soldiers didn’t notice a bullet had hit Yasin al-Saradih, and thus proceeded to ram him with their rifles, kick him in the head and drag him away

    Gideon Levy and Alex Levac Mar 01, 2018

    Yasin al-Saradih’s doomsday weapon is now lying in the yard of his home on Dmitry Medvedev Street in Jericho, draped with Palestinian and Fatah flags. It is the rim of a car wheel with a pipe coming up from its center. Altogether, 25 kilos of iron, which the proprietor of the bicycle store on Moskobiya Street in the center of town usually puts outside on the street to hold a parking place for his clients. Saradih, who was 36 years old, hoisted the device onto his shoulders and ran toward the Israel Defense Forces soldiers who had invaded his city in the middle of the night, between Wednesday and Thursday last week. Soldiers raid Jericho, the most tranquil town in the occupied territories, almost every night on a pretext of “carrying out arrests.”
    The same pattern was repeated last week: A few dozen soldiers from the religiously observant Lavi Battalion had entered the city center – perhaps to demonstrate a presence, perhaps to maintain operational vigilance, perhaps to haze local residents or maybe as part of their training. As far as is known, they didn’t arrest anyone. They only killed Saradih, the first fatality inflicted here by the IDF in almost 15 years.
    If quiet Jericho can be ignited, too, then why not? The access road to the city is now littered with stones and scorched tires, between the casino and the hotel, two silent monuments to former dreams of peace – “Jericho first.”
    skip - Btselem Jericho
    Btselem Jericho - דלג

    The footage from the security camera that documented the events on Moskobiya Street does not make for easy watching. Saradih is seen running along the street, the tire rim on his shoulders. A soldier steps out of an alley and shoots him from point-blank range. Saradih collapses immediately after the shot, and then soldiers swarm around him, and beat and kick him all over his body. This one kicks him, another rams him with his rifle butt – they’re venting their anger, the soldiers from Lavi, the battalion that ostensibly stands for morality and lofty values.

    Then they drag Saradih into the alley, like a carcass in the market. One of them continues kicking him in the head. A lynching, there’s no other word for it. Finally the soldiers are seen putting him in a military vehicle. It’s not clear how long he lay there without being given any medical aid. He may have bled to death in the vehicle.
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    This week we visited the spot where it all happened, together with Aref Daraghmeh, a field researcher for the Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem, who arrived at the site a few hours after the killing. He says that no bloodstains were visible at the scene of the event. Perhaps that’s why the IDF claimed initially that Saradih died from tear gas fired by the soldiers. The autopsy, however, showed that he died from a gunshot – or possibly from the combination of being shot, undergoing a vicious beating and not being given medical assistance in time. The Military Police are still investigating.

    Sources in the IDF told us this week that the soldiers maintain that they didn’t know a bullet had struck their victim (even though he’d been shot from close to zero range and immediately fell to the ground), and that’s why they kicked and punched him all over. The army medical team that examined Saradih also failed to notice the gunshot wound, the sources reported.
    It’s odd: The autopsy performed at the Institute of Forensic Medicine in Abu Kabir, Tel Aviv – whose results were not officially publicized – revealed an entry wound and an exit wound caused by a bullet, and also bloodstains on the victim’s hip and lower abdomen, as well as on his clothes.
    The army, however, stated that he died from tear gas inhalation. The soldiers also claimed that Saradih tried to snatch the weapon of one of them after he was shot, though there is no support for this in the video footage. They also say they found a knife on him.
    The IDF Spokesperson’s Unit issued the following statement to Haaretz this week: “In the wake of the incident, and because the terrorist died after he had already been detained by IDF soldiers, a Military Police investigation has been launched, in which framework the circumstances of his death are being examined. An autopsy was also performed on the terrorist’s body. In parallel, a full operational debriefing of the event is continuing.”

    Yasin al-Saradih
    When the troops reached Jericho, after 1 A.M. on Thursday, a few dozen young people – about 50, according to the IDF – confronted them and began throwing stones. Only a few dozen meters separate the site of the deadly incident and the Jericho police station. But as usual, as per the occupier’s demand, Palestinian police officers were compelled to remain out of sight inside the station until things calmed down and the soldiers had gone.
    A second tire rim stood on the road in front of the bike shop this week, to ensure a parking place for customers. Nearby booths were buckling under the abundance of the fruits and vegetables that paint the streets in a panoply of colors, a uniquely Jericho sight.
    Before the soldiers killed Saradih, they entered the house at the far end of the same alley from which they burst out. This is the ornate, colorful home of five Barahama siblings – four sisters and their brother, all of them unmarried – and their father, Mahmoud, who’s 86. A few big white, mangy street dogs roam about in the yard.
    The brother, Mohammed, arrived home after midnight that Thursday morning, and made himself a cup of coffee, Hanan, one of the sisters, tells us this week when we visit. They heard noise and then the troops arrived and entered the house, it’s not clear why. Some members of the household were sleeping. Mohammed asked the soldiers not to make noise, because their father is very ill. The soldiers searched the house and left. Naturally, they didn’t explain to anyone what they were looking for and why they appeared so late at night. “The soldiers themselves don’t know why,” one local resident suggests.
    A few minutes after the soldiers departed, Mohammed saw them standing over someone who was lying on the ground at the other end of the alley. He and his sisters didn’t realize that it was their cousin, Yasin Saradih. They hadn’t heard the shot.
    Medvedev Street. Opposite the victim’s home is the Russian museum that was dedicated by the prime minister of Russia, Dmitry Medvedev, when he visited the city, on November 11, 2016. The street’s name, previously Al-Jumeisi (Sycamore), was changed in honor the dignitary’s visit. A mourning notice for Yasin Saradih, who lived on the street, has now been affixed to the marble plaque commemorating the dedication. On the other side of the street is a branch of the Cairo Amman Bank.
    A magnificent, ancient sycamore stands at the end of Medvedev Street, in the center of a well-tended lawn. In the absence of any other passers-by, a souvenir hawker tries desperately to interest us in the story of this amazing tree. Biblical tradition has it that this is the very same tree that Jericho tax collector Zacchaeus, who was a short man, climbed up in order to see Jesus when the latter passed throughthe city. Zacchaeus was hated in the city, because he was thought to be a collaborator with its Roman occupiers, but to everyone’s astonishment Jesus chose to stay in his house, the Book of Luke (chapter 19) relates.
    Three palm trees grace the tiled courtyard of the one-story house where the bereaved family is now sitting in a circle, on plastic chairs. Their grief at the loss of Yasin is compounded by the fact that Israel has to date refused to return the body. No one can explain what prompted Yasin to hoist the tire rim onto his shoulders and run toward the soldiers. He had never been arrested. A promising soccer player on the local Al-Hilal team, his career was cut short by two incidents in which he was shot in the leg by Israeli soldiers, once in 2000 and again in 2004. The large memorial poster that hangs in the courtyard shows him in the team’s red uniform. Despite his wounds, he remained an active member of the club. During the past few years, Yasin had worked for a relative who has a store that sells dates. He never married.
    The bereaved mother, Subbaiah, is 70. She has one surviving son and seven daughters; Yasin was the youngest. Her eyes are dry, she shows no outward emotion. But when we ask if she’s seen the video footage, she breaks into bitter tears. She watched the footage once, later on the same day Yasin was killed, but has not been able to bring herself to view it again. It broke her heart to see the soldiers beating her son as he lay helpless on the ground. She initially thought the soldiers had arrested him and taken him away. No one told her at first that her son was dead.
    Dawn broke and he still hadn’t returned. At 6 A.M., Subbaiah went to the home of her cousins the Barahamas, to find out what happened to Yasin. He’ll be back, they told her, he’ll be back: The soldiers took him. It wasn’t until that afternoon, 12 hours after the soldiers killed Yasin, that she learned the horrific truth, from a relative. Her son Ismail says he had already heard what happened at 7 A.M., when he was at work, but didn’t dare tell his mother.
    On the last evening of his life, Yasin was in good spirits, Subbaiah recalls. He went to friends around 8 o’clock to watch a soccer game on television, as he often did. She never saw him again. What made him charge at the soldiers? That will probably never be known. His mother still cannot grasp why the soldiers kicked him and why they didn’t summon an ambulance to take him to the hospital.

    https://seenthis.net/messages/673359 via Nouvelles d’Orient

  • Myriam Benraad « La connotation guerrière du jihad est apparue tardivement »

    La construction d’un Orient a répondu au besoin que les Occidentaux avaient de construire leur propre identité. La démarche est aujourd’hui la même pour les jihadistes, qui se construisent comme Orientaux face à l’Occident. Ils ont besoin de caricaturer les Occidentaux, comme les orientalistes ont caricaturé leurs ancêtres. Le fantasme de l’Occident n’est ici que le miroir du fantasme de l’Orient. Daech propose aux jeunes une vision orientalisée d’eux-mêmes, en particulier parmi certains convertis, et de leurs origines pour ceux issus de l’immigration. Ainsi, les jihadistes s’« auto-orientalisent » : ils s’habillent comme ils imaginent qu’étaient vêtus les combattants des premiers siècles de l’islam. Or, dans le même temps, ces militants s’identifient au monde hypermoderne et hypercapitaliste qui les entoure, à la « société du spectacle » et aux nouvelles technologies qui les ont façonnés.

    https://seenthis.net/messages/673246 via Nidal

  • Who are ‘the forces of evil’ controlling Egypt’s media? | MadaMasr

    There are “forces of evil” that control Egypt’s media outlets, according to a Wednesday statement issued by Public Prosecutor Nabil Sadek. To protect “national security” and prevent “spreading fear throughout society,” Sadek instructed public prosecutors and regulators to monitor media outlets and arrest anyone who disseminates or broadcasts false news.

    However, it is unclear whom Sadek was referring to in his statement. And in the absence of clarity, media regulators and lawyers are left to speculate whether the term “forces of evil” is confined to the spat with the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) over the critical report titled “The Shadow Over Egypt” on human rights violations in Egypt during President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s first term in office, or if it signals the beginning of a broader wave of future legal prosecution targeting journalists in the coming period in Egypt.

    https://seenthis.net/messages/673346 via Nouvelles d’Orient

  • The War on Yemen and the Credulous Western Embrace of Mohammed bin Salman | The American Conservative


    David Ignatius ably writes down whatever Mohammed bin Salman (MbS) tells him in a new column. This is the only mention that the war on Yemen receives:

    He described ambitious plans to mobilize Yemeni tribes against the Houthis and their Iranian backers in Yemen, a war that has dragged on longer than the Saudis hoped.

    Whenever MbS is interviewed by Western reporters and pundits, the subject of Yemen comes up rarely and the countless crimes committed by the Saudis and their allies are never mentioned. It is bad enough that one of the architects of a disastrous war supported by our government is never forced to answer for the war crimes committed by his military and other coalition forces, but it is even worse when the interviewer makes no attempt to put the crown prince’s statements in context. Readers should know that MbS is responsible for a war that has plunged another country into the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, and they should be aware that the Saudi-led coalition has committed numerous war crimes by bombing civilian targets and inflicts cruel collective punishment on millions of people through its blockade. Given the paltry coverage that Yemen usually receives in the U.S., most of Ignatius’ readers probably don’t know this. If MbS’ interlocutors aren’t willing to challenge him about this directly, they ought to be bringing it up in whatever they end up writing about the conversation. The war on Yemen hasn’t just “dragged on longer than the Saudis hoped.” It has been a complete failure in achieving any of its stated goals, and that failure reflects very poorly on the unqualified, reckless defense minister (i.e., MbS) who has overseen the debacle.

    It is possible that there could be some news value in uncritically restating the things that a foreign leader says to you, but there doesn’t seem to be any of that here. MbS spins his power grabs and reckless foreign policy decisions to Ignatius, and the columnist gamely relays that spin to us. On the “anti-corruption putsch,” Ignatius tells us that MbS told him that “shock therapy” was required. The fact that MbS’s arbitrary shakedown has frightened foreign investors and undermined his own economic agenda goes unmentioned. We are later informed that the “crown prince said he had been unfairly criticized for pressuring Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri to resign,” but of course he would say that.

    Treating Saudi royals with kid gloves is nothing new in American media, but I have been struck by how positive the coverage of Mohammed bin Salman has been when his record has been almost entirely destructive and destabilizing. Were he not the Saudi heir and already de facto ruler of a U.S. client state, he could not hope to buy the friendly coverage that he is freely given in a number of American publications. That would be embarrassing enough at any time, but when the authoritarian ruler in question is also presiding over one of the great crimes of the century it is inexcusable.

    https://seenthis.net/messages/673145 via Nouvelles d’Orient

  • As Elections Near, Egypt Finds a New Target : Foreign News Media - The New York Times


    CAIRO — Egypt’s chief prosecutor delivered a withering broadside against the news media on Wednesday, blaming the “forces of evil” for negative coverage and instructing his staff to take legal action against outlets deemed to be undermining Egypt’s security.

    The remarks by the prosecutor, Nabil Sadek, were the latest escalation of a draconian crackdown on civil liberties before a presidential election in March that has become fraught with tension even though President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi faces no real opposition.

    In comments that appeared aimed at the foreign news media, Mr. Sadek accused outlets of spreading false news “to disturb the public order and terrorize society.” A day earlier, Egypt had called for a boycott of the BBC over a documentary that aired last week detailing torture and illegal abductions by Egyptian security forces.

    Local news coverage has been dominated in recent days by a wave of government-driven outrage over the documentary. Although the documentary contained abuse accusations already widely documented by human rights groups, it was denounced as propaganda spread by the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood.

    The State Information Service, which oversees the foreign media, said the BBC film was inaccurate because a young woman featured in the documentary later told a local television station that she had not been harmed.

    Her mother said on Tuesday that the woman had been coerced into giving a false statement to the local station. A day later, the mother was reported to have been arrested.

    The BBC said in a statement: “We stand by the integrity of our reporting teams.”

    While Mr. Sisi has long treated Egyptian news outlets harshly, jailing dozens of reporters and blocking about 500 websites, he has generally spared foreign reporters the worst measures. That appears to have changed with the presidential election campaign.

    A long list of rules announced by the national election commission in February seeks to dictate the questions journalists can ask voters, prohibits them from using photographs or headlines “not related to the topic” and forbids them from making “any observations about the voting process.”

    “These rules made me laugh, and scared the hell out of me at the same time,” said Gamal Eid, a leading lawyer and human rights activist. “The rules are purposefully vague so they can decide to let their friends go, and punish their critics. It seems tailor-made for the foreign media.”

    https://seenthis.net/messages/673089 via Nouvelles d’Orient

  • Egypt : State Information Service slams BBC report on ‘repression in Egypt’ | MadaMasr

    Egypt’s State Information Services (SIS) criticized the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) for publishing a report on the state of political and social rights in Egypt in a statement released on Saturday.

    SIS’ criticism of the London-based media organization constitutes the most recent example in what has become the government authority’s routine practice of discrediting foreign media outlets’ Egypt coverage.

    On February 23, the BBC published a five-part report on on social, political, and human rights during President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s first term in office, which will come to an end this year following the upcoming presidential election slated for March.

    The report by journalist Orla Guerin, titled “The Shadow Over Egypt,” details stories of torture, forced disappearances and activist arrests, as told through the eyes of victims’ family members, lawyers and human rights activists. Guerin’s report was accompanied by a short documentary on the same subject titled Crushing Dissent in Egypt, which aired on BBC World and BBC News Channel on February 24 and 25.

    https://seenthis.net/messages/672802 via Nouvelles d’Orient

  • Egypt Companions to the Israeli gas deal : Noble and Delek in talks to acquire East Mediterranean Gas pipeline | MadaMasr

    Sources close to the gas deal signed between Dolphinus Holdings, which is partly owned by Egyptian businessman Alaa Arafa, and Delek and Noble Energy, the lead partners managing Israel’s largest gas fields, say the latter companies are in talks with East Mediterranean Gas company (EMG) shareholders over acquisition of the company.

    The deal would give Delek and Noble a controlling share of EMG, the company that owns the natural gas pipeline running from Egypt to Israel, and would facilitate the use of the pipeline to transport the gas allocated for export in the deal signed last week.

    The source, who spoke to Mada Masr on condition of anonymity, says that a decision has been made to begin technical alterations to the pipeline to reverse its flow and allow operators to import gas into Egypt instead of having the country export gas to Israel, which was the previous arrangement according to a deal signed in 2008. 

    The pipeline was the target of successive militant attacks after 2011. In 2012, the Egyptian Natural Gas Holding Company (EGAS) terminated its contract with Israel. The state-owned company attributed the decision to a breach of contract by EMG for delayed gas payments.

    https://seenthis.net/messages/672803 via Nouvelles d’Orient

  • Report says U.S. officials are concerned that Israel and others attempted to manipulate Kushner

    Israel, China, the UAE and Mexico tried to sway Kushner to promote their interests, a report claims amid news that Trump’s son-in-law and adviser was stripped of his interim security clearance

    Amir Tibon (Washington) Feb 28, 2018

    WASHINGTON– Officials in the U.S. government and intelligence community are concerned that foreign governments, including the Israeli government, were trying to “manipulate” Jared Kushner, President Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, according to a report published on Tuesday by the Washington Post. The report stated that officials from Israel, China, the UAE and Mexico had all discussed how they can use Kushner’s business interests to influence his foreign policy work in the White House.
    According to the report, Trump’s National Security Adviser, General H.R. McMaster, “learned that Kushner had contacts with foreign officials that he did not coordinate through the National Security Council or officially report.” It also stated that “Officials in the White House were concerned that Kushner was ’naive and being tricked’ in conversations with foreign officials - some of whom said they wanted to deal only with Kushner directly and not more experienced personnel”.
    Top secret downgrade
    The report comes amidst tensions in the White House over the issue of Kushner’s access to top secret intelligence. Politico reported on Tuesday that White House Chief of Staff John Kelly has decided to strip Kushner of his access to certain areas of sensitive intelligence, in light of the fact that Kushner has failed to obtain permanent security clearance from the U.S. intelligence community.
    The Washington Post report concerning foreign governments’ alleged attempt to influence the senior White House aide could be seen as a possible explanation for Kushner’s difficulties in receiving his security clearance.
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    A lawyer representing Kushner said in reply to the report: “We will not respond substantively to unnamed sources peddling second-hand hearsay with rank speculation that continue to leak inaccurate information.”

    A spokesperson for the White said that General McMaster has “the highest regard” for Kushner and that both of them work closely together on foreign policy issues.
    The Israeli Embassy in Washington refused to comment.
    The report did not contain details about the alleged attempts by the foreign governments, including the Israeli government, to “manipulate” Kushner based on his business interests.
    One of Kushner’s main areas of responsibility in the White House is leading the administration’s Middle East peace team, which is working on an Israeli-Palestinian peace plan.

    https://seenthis.net/messages/672805 via Nouvelles d’Orient

  • After pressure from settlers, Israeli army bars anti-occupation group from Jewish part of Hebron

    The army says the new restrictions are temporary and that a meeting with Breaking the Silence will be held, but the group says no such meeting has been set

    Yotam Berger Feb 26, 2018 1

    The Israeli army has blocked activists from the anti-occupation army veterans’ group Breaking the Silence from entering the Jewish settlement in the West Bank city of Hebron to conduct tours. On Thursday, soldiers prevented a group from visiting the Tomb of the Patriarchs in the city. The army said restrictions on the tours were only temporary.
    There is no barrier at the entrance to the city’s Jewish settlement in the Tel Rumeida neighborhood. Soldiers approached members of the organization in the street and ordered them to leave the city. The soldiers said the order prohibiting entry to the city’s Jewish community was issued by Judea Brigade commander Col. Itzik Cohen, who did not specify a time limit for the order.

    https://seenthis.net/messages/672184 via Nouvelles d’Orient

  • #Israël et territoires palestiniens occupés 2017/2018 | Amnesty International

    Le mois de juin a marqué les 50 ans d’occupation des territoires palestiniens par Israël et le début de la 11e année de son #blocus illégal de la bande de #Gaza, véritable sanction collective imposée aux quelque 2 millions d’habitants, qui vivent dans une situation d’urgence humanitaire croissante. Les autorités israéliennes ont intensifié l’extension des #colonies et des infrastructures qui y sont liées dans toute la #Cisjordanie, y compris à #Jérusalem-Est, et sévèrement restreint la #liberté de circulation des #Palestiniens. Les forces de sécurité israéliennes ont tué illégalement des #civils palestiniens, dont des #enfants, et placé illégalement en détention en Israël des milliers de Palestiniens des territoires occupés. Plusieurs centaines d’entre eux ont ainsi été maintenus en détention administrative sans inculpation ni jugement. La #torture et les autres mauvais traitements restaient une pratique courante contre les détenus, y compris #mineurs, et ce en toute #impunité. Israël a continué de démolir des habitations palestiniennes en Cisjordanie et dans des villages palestiniens situés en Israël, et d’en expulser de force les habitants. Des objecteurs de conscience au service militaire ont été emprisonnés. Plusieurs milliers de demandeurs d’asile africains étaient menacés d’expulsion.


    https://seenthis.net/messages/672074 via Kassem

  • Church of Holy Sepulchre crisis: Israel burns its bridges with the Christian world

    Decision makers have continually ignored the political, religious and diplomatic sensitivities when trying to solve problems that concern Jerusalem’s Christian community

    Nir Hasson Feb 26, 2018

    The Church of the Holy Sepulchre in the Old City of Jerusalem is a place that runs to the beat of the Middle Ages and according to an uncompromising series of rules set in the mid-19th century. One of the unwritten traditions is a continual dispute between the three churches that run it: Catholic, Greek Orthodox and Armenian.
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    Knowing all this, the incident that occurred on Sunday was a historic event. The heads of three communities, the Greek Orthodox patriarch, the Armenian patriarch and the Catholic custodian of the Holy Land, met at the entrance to the church. They cleared the place of tourists and had the heavy doors shut. Large signs, printed up ahead of time, were hung outside with images of the church’s two enemies: Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat and Knesset member Rachel Azaria of Kulanu. At the top was written, “Enough is Enough.”
    The protest came in response to two recent major steps. One was Barkat’s decision to end the municipal tax exemption for church-owned properties in Jerusalem and to put liens on the churches’ bank accounts for the tax debts. The second was a bill sponsored by Azaria that would allow the expropriation of lands sold by churches to private buyers. It was on Sunday’s agenda for a Knesset committee that decides whether or not the governing coalition will support legislation.

    Worshippers kneel and pray in front of the closed doors of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem’s Old City, February 25, 2018.\ AMIR COHEN/ REUTERS
    The churches’ action on Sunday shows that they are in an impossible situation, with pressure from all sides: Israel, their Palestinian faithful, church institutions, pilgrims and their sponsor countries (Jordan, Greece, Armenia and the Vatican). Decision makers continually ignore the political, religious and diplomatic sensitivities when they try to solve problems that concern the churches.
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    According to the churches, the agreement that had allowed the churches not to pay municipal taxes existed since Ottoman times, and British, Jordanian and Israeli governments have all honored it. They say the move to collect the taxes is part of Barkat’s fight against the national government and Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon over the city’s budget. Meanwhile, the mayor maintains that the agreement on taxes only applies to houses of worship and not commercial properties owned by the churches.

    Between the taxes and the legislation put forward by Azaria, it’s the latter that has church leaders worried the most. According to the proposed law, the government would be able to expropriate land that had been church-owned and was sold to private real estate companies. The law discriminates against the churches compared to other institutions or private citizens. (A relevant question is what Israel would say if such a move was taken in another country for synagogue-owned property.) Furthermore, it would be applied retroactively.
    The law would force the churches to pay for the failures of the Jewish National Fund and the Israel Lands Administration. To understand their missteps, one must look no further than the land deal in Jerusalem’s Rehavia neighborhood, which was developed in the first half of the 20th century. At the time, churches leased lands in Rehavia and other neighborhoods to the JNF for 99 years.

    A protest sign hangs outside of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, in Jerusalem, February 25, 2018.Mahmoud Illean/AP
    In the Rehavia sale, which is rocking the lives of 1,300 families, a private company bought the lease rights to 500 dunams (125 acres) of land in the heart of Jerusalem for 200 years for only 78 million shekels ($22.3 million). If the government had acted in a smarter fashion, it could easily have bought the rights to this land for a similar amount – small change considering the size of the area and its importance. It could have made part of the money back from residents and businesses extending their leases. But those in charge didn’t act, paving the way for private developers to enter the picture.
    Once the 99-year lease is over, instead of having the JNF renew it almost automatically for a symbolic fee, the land will be transferred to the private company. Residents who live in buildings affected by the sale will need negotiate with private developers over what will happen to their homes, which have already lost as much as half of their value.
    If the law passes, no one will want to do business with the churches, because who wants to buy land that can be expropriated tomorrow?
    Anyone dealing with this law – including those who drafted it – knows very well that it has no chance of passing at the Knesset in its present form. It violates so many constitutional principles that it is a perfect case for being annulled by the Supreme Court. The law is intended to be a threat for real estate developers and speculators, so they reach a deal with the government. But in the meantime, the question is whether this is the way Israel wants to communicate with the Christian world.

    https://seenthis.net/messages/672186 via Nouvelles d’Orient

  • Jérusalem : les églises chrétiennes ferment le Saint-Sépulcre
    Par RFI Publié le 25-02-2018
    avec notre correspondante à Jérusalem, Marine Vlahovic

    C’est un fait rare. Les églises chrétiennes ont annoncé à la mi journée ce dimanche la fermeture du Saint Sépulcre à Jérusalem pour protester contre des mesures fiscales souhaité par la municpalité de Jérusalem. Celle-ci leur réclame 200 millions de dollars pour leurs biens non-cultuels. L’Eglise orthodoxe grecque, catholique et arménienne ont donc décidé de fermer les portes du lieu saint pour dénoncer une campagne anti-chrétienne de la part des autorités israéliennes.

    https://seenthis.net/messages/672067 via Loutre

  • Palestine-Israël : limites éthiques et politiques du combat nationaliste | Leïla Farsakh

    À l’occasion du centième anniversaire de la déclaration Balfour, Leila Farksakh réexamine l’histoire de la lutte palestinienne pour l’autodétermination et son rapport avec la présence juive. Elle avance, pour l’étape actuelle, des solutions originales qui permettent à la fois de dépasser les limites éthiques et politiques du combat nationaliste et de créer un État où serait garanti, selon la formule de Hannah Arendt, « le droit d’avoir des droits ». La mort du projet d’État palestinien plonge le mouvement (...) Source : Orient XXI

    https://seenthis.net/messages/671960 via Rezo

  • Egypte : La dignité ne s’achète pas, mon fils. | Terrorismes, guérillas, stratégie et autres activités humaines

    Lors de ma première mission au Caire, il y a très longtemps, un de nos officiers sur place me dit, alors que je découvrais la ville et le pays : « Et surtout, tu ne vas jamais seul dans un commissariat. Tu n’es pas certain d’en ressortir. » Et il aouta, inquiétant : « On ne sait pas ce qui se passe dans les commissariats égyptiens. » Je n’ai pas oublié cette remarque, et tous ceux qui travaillent sur l’Egypte et/ou qui y ont vécu savent bien à quel point la police y est détestée et redoutée. Après la révolution, d’ailleurs, l’armée prit soin de la retirer des rues après de nombreux incidents. Le tour de passe-passe que s’apprêtaient à réaliser les généraux ne pouvait alors risquer d’être gâché par le comportement des policiers et la soif de vengeance de la population qu’il attisait.

    Evitant avec une grande habileté l’écueil d’un film réquisitoire, genre qui accouche régulièrement d’œuvre lourdes et démonstratives, le cinéaste suédois Tarik Saleh a choisi de parler de cette Egypte corrompue dans un film, The Nile Hilton Incident, sorti en France en 2017 sous un titre à la référence transparente : Le Caire confidentiel.

    Le film, tourné en grande partie au Maroc (pour d’évidentes raisons politiques), présente une intrigue policière fleurant bon Raymond Chandler. L’enquête sur l’assassinat d’une chanteuse dans un hôtel de luxe du Caire est l’occasion pour le réalisateur et scénariste de présenter l’Egypte à la veille de la révolution et de montrer l’ampleur et la profondeur de la corruption. Comme dans les classiques du roman noir, auquel Tarik Saleh rend un hommage plus qu’appuyé, il est question ici de flics pourris et piégés, de manœuvres politiques tordues et de femmes fatales, Hania Amar remplaçant Kim Bassinger. On ne cesse de penser, en particulier, au chef d’œuvre de James Ellroy, L.A. Confidential, sorti en 1990 chez Rivages, puis à sa magistrale adaptation au cinéma par Curtis Hanson, en 1997.

    https://seenthis.net/messages/671710 via Nouvelles d’Orient

  • On the massacre’s anniversary last year, Amnesty International slammed Israel for maintaining “severe and discriminatory restrictions on movement” that were imposed on Palestinian residents of Hebron after the massacre, while allowing Israeli settlers free access.

    Photo: Children hold a candlelight vigil in memory of the 29 Palestinians who were massacred in 1994 by an American settler in Hebron’s Ibrahimi Mosque.

    Martyrs are not numbers —> Killed in the mosque : http://www.popflock.com/learn?s=Cave_of_the_Patriarchs_Massacre

    https://seenthis.net/messages/671708 via Palestine | فلسطين

  • Saudi Arabia’s millennial crown prince is looking vulnerable - Business Insider


    Crown prince Mohammed bin Salman’s stewardship of the throne is being questioned.
    Foreign investors were spooked by the recent crackdown on the Saudi elite.
    Investors are worried that potential partners could fall victim to another corruption purge.
    Mohammed bin Salman’s consolidation of power is believed to have alienated many in the royal family.

    As the heir to the Saudi throne, Mohammed bin Salman prepares to head off on a round of visits to western capitals to promote investment in the kingdom, his ambitious economic plans and even his grip on power are being increasingly questioned.

    There are big doubts over foreign investors’ willingness to back him in the wake of his recent shakedown of the Saudi elite; much debate about the amount of money he actually managed to raise; and suggestions that the episode, part of efforts to consolidate power, could backfire.

    MbS, as the Crown Prince is known, has sought to draw a line under the recent detention of several hundred royals and prominent businessmen in Riyadh’s Ritz-Carlton Hotel, where they were reportedly forced to sign over assets in return for their freedom.

    Most of the detainees have now been released.

    https://seenthis.net/messages/671707 via Nouvelles d’Orient

  • Les étranges fréquentations antisémites de la droite israélienne

    Depuis plusieurs années, Benjamin Netanyahou et le Likoud n’hésitent plus à franchir ce qui était autrefois une ligne rouge évidente : la proximité avec des dirigeants et des partis politiques européens et américains flirtant avec la xénophobie et le rejet des juifs.

    C’était sans doute le symbole de trop. Le symbole trop évident d’une collusion qui aurait été jugée encore impensable il y a une quinzaine d’années en Israël : celle de la droite nationaliste israélienne avec la mouvance antisémite. Début septembre 2017, Yair Netanyahou, le fils du premier ministre, désireux de défendre son père contre diverses accusations, postait sur Facebook une caricature qui montrait le milliardaire George Soros en train de manipuler une créature reptilienne dirigeant une figure au nez crochu qui, elle-même, tire les ficelles de l’ancien chef de gouvernement travailliste Ehud Barak et de deux autres citoyens israéliens.

    Si Yair Netanyahou, du haut de ses 26 ans et de ses études en histoire, philosophie et relations internationales à l’université hébraïque de Jérusalem, n’avait pas décodé le caractère profondément antisémite du dessin qu’il promouvait, les experts en la matière ne s’y sont pas trompés. Ainsi l’ancien grand sorcier américain du Ku Klux Klan et négationniste notoire David Duke tweetait : « Bienvenue au club, Yair, c’est extraordinaire, waouh ! » Quant au fondateur du site néonazi Daily Stormer, Andrew Anglin, il écrivait : « Yair Netanyahou est un vrai frangin. Bientôt, il va appeler au gazage. »

    Mais ce faux pas de Yair Netanyahou qui, face au tollé provoqué en Israël et dans la communauté juive à travers le monde, avait retiré sa caricature au bout de quelques heures, ne surgit pas de nulle part. George Soros, d’origine juive hongroise, est un philanthrope qui finance nombre de mouvements et d’associations « libérales » (au sens économique et politique du terme). Il est par ailleurs opposé aux politiques d’annexion des territoires palestiniens par les Israéliens. Mais il est surtout devenu, depuis trois décennies, un des épouvantails favoris des sphères d’extrême droite sur la planète : la figure emblématique du riche juif qui cherche à influencer la marche du monde.

    Attention : dessin antisémite ! Yair Netanyahou ne l’avait visiblement pas décodé, et il s’est attiré les félicitations de néonazis notoires
    Cette caricature antisémite de Soros est un “mème” dans les différentes fachosphères, mais également au-delà, comme on a pu le constater début février 2018 quand le quotidien conservateur britannique le Daily Telegraph a fait sa une sur « L’homme qui a dévalisé la Banque d’Angleterre appuie un plan secret visant à faire dérailler le Brexit ». Ou comment chausser ses gros sabots bourrés de sous-entendus. C’est ce qu’a fait remarquer sur Twitter le rédacteur en chef du Jewish Chronicle et partisan du Brexit Stephen Pollard : « L’article du Telegraph est dégueulasse en raison de l’idée qu’il y a un “plan secret”. Soros est incroyablement transparent dans ce qu’il fait. On peut dire qu’on n’est pas d’accord avec lui, très bien. Mais l’idée d’un plan secret est exactement le thème utilisé en Hongrie et ailleurs précisément parce qu’il est juif. »

    Pollard fait référence à des affiches déployées en juillet 2017 en Hongrie dans laquelle le Fidesz, le parti du premier ministre Viktor Orban, utilisait Soros somme repoussoir avec des slogans du type : « 99 % des gens rejettent l’immigration illégale. Ne laissons pas Soros avoir le dernier mot. » La communauté juive de Hongrie avait immédiatement réagi en dénonçant l’antisémitisme latent d’une telle campagne ; l’ambassadeur d’Israël à Budapest avait exigé le retrait de cet affichage, avant d’être contredit par… son premier ministre, Benjamin Netanyahou qui avait rappelé qu’il était parfaitement légitime de critiquer Soros. Autrement dit, le chef du gouvernement israélien soutenait la liberté d’expression des amis politiques d’Orban (eux-mêmes peu portés sur cette notion) contre le sentiment éprouvé par de nombreux juifs européens.

    Que les idées professées et financées par George Soros déplaisent à Netanyahou est une chose, mais que celui-ci en fasse à son tour un épouvantail et qu’il accoure à la rescousse de ceux qui manient avec plus ou moins de subtilité les antiques métaphores antisémites est significatif. Le premier ministre israélien a d’ailleurs remis le couvert en accusant début février 2018 Soros de se trouver derrière les manifestations lui demandant de renoncer à l’expulsion de migrants et demandeurs d’asile africains. Il n’a apporté aucune preuve de cette affirmation et Soros l’a démenti. Ce qui a conduit le journaliste israélien de Haaretz Chemi Shalev à dénoncer la rhétorique du patron du Likoud : « En se focalisant sur le Soros juif, Netanyahou se positionne avec son parti épaule contre épaule avec les ordures antisémites. Pire, il salit Israël. »

    « Peut-être que les efforts persistants de son gouvernement pour assimiler l’opposition à ses politiques vis-à-vis des Palestiniens à un nouvel antisémitisme a fait oublier à Netanyahou que la figure historique de la détestation des juifs n’est pas le soldat israélien ou le colon juif, mais les juifs riches et cosmopolites comme Soros, qui étaient accusés de fomenter la souillure de la race aryenne ou la contamination du sang chrétien par le biais de l’invasion du pays par des réfugiés inférieurs et malveillants. L’État juif ne peut techniquement pas être accusé d’antisémitisme, mais quand Netanyahou accuse sans cesse Soros, il fait partie de ceux qui applaudissent cet antisémitisme. »

    https://seenthis.net/messages/670571 via Nouvelles d’Orient

    • Ce qui me fait rire -à moitié- c’est que RUSSIA TODAY TV France est parfaitement limpide aussi, quant à ses intentions de faire valoir le point de vue russe en France.. mais concernant RT, c’est une quasi guerre totale que lui livre notre « président » et sa cour, y compris les réseaux aux aguets de toute trace d’antisémitisme (jusqu’à la victimisation, si contre-productive) en France.

  • Vous connaissez cette chanson ?

    Rajiou Al-Talamza (Les étudiants sont de retour)
    Cheikh Imam avec Ahmad Fouad Najm - Egypte (1972)

    A un moment il dit :

    Les étudiants sont de retour, les roses des jardins
    Écoute Milos et regarde
    Maudit sois-tu, chien de traître
    Toi la voix de l’Amérique
    Toi l’Américain

    La question à l’intelligence collective de SeenThis étant bien sûr : qui est ce Mils, Milos ou Miles ???

    Une idée ? @gonzo m’en a soufflé une, mais j’attends les votres...

    #Musique #Musique_et_politique #Cheikh_Imam #Ahmad_Fouad_Najm #Egypte #USA #étudiants

    https://seenthis.net/messages/670511 via Dror@sinehebdo

  • Forget Islamist terrorism, ’Homeland’ homes in on a new threat - Television - Haaretz.com


    A few days after the first episode of “Homeland” aired in America in October 2011, the U.S. State Department placed a $10 million bounty on the head of Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
    A few days after season seven of “Homeland” premiered in February 2018, the U.S. Justice Department indicted 13 Russians for trying to subvert the 2016 presidential election.
    This tells you everything you need to know about why the latest season of “Homeland” is, to borrow a phrase from a certain political leader, “America first.”
    skip - Homeland Season 7
    Homeland Season 7 - דלג

    https://seenthis.net/messages/670577 via Nouvelles d’Orient

    • Cela nous rappelle « Plomb durci » (1200 morts), pile entre la Noël 2008 et l’investiture d’Obama le 20 janvier 2009. Nous ne savions pas qu’en fait, c’était en plus le « pilote » de la future série Homeland, diffusé en direct dans le monde entier. "Cela nous dit tout ce que nous avons besoin de savoir sur les raisons pour lesquelles la dernière saison de Haaretz (Homeland en hébreu, le pays) s’intitule, pour emprunter une phrase d’un homme politique bien connu "Israël d’abord" .

  • Putin’s Syrian dilemma: Back Israel or Iran?

    All of the Russian president’s achievements in Syria could come crashing down unless he answers this one fundamental question

    Anshel Pfeffer Feb 19, 2018

    Russian President Vladimir Putin thought he could succeed where the U.S.’s then-President Barack Obama failed. Pacify Syria, rescue the regime of his client, President Bashar Assad, and balance the conflicting interests of Iran and Israel in the war-torn country. All this he did with a relatively small investment: the deployment of a couple of dozen aircraft and 2,000 men. As foreign campaigns go, it was power projection on the cheap. The United States on a similar mission would have used a force 10 times the size – aircraft carrier groups and hundreds of fighter jets, aerial tankers and electronic warfare planes. Not to mention boots on the ground.
    To really understand Israel and the Middle East - subscribe to Haaretz
    But Russia could pull it off thanks to the cannon fodder supplied by Iran. Tens of thousands of Shi’ite mercenaries, mainly refugees from Afghanistan, propped up Assad’s failing battalions. Hezbollah fighters came from Lebanon to carry out the more difficult operations. Russia made do with small teams of special-force troops and, where more muscle was needed, its own mercenaries.
    It was a relatively small investment with few casualties and not, as some predicted two years ago, a rerun of the Soviet Union’s disastrous occupation of Afghanistan in the 1980s.

    President Vladimir Putin addressing Russian troops at Hemeimeem air base during a surprise visit to Damascus, December 12, 2017.Mikhail Klimentyev/AP
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    >> Iran and the Assad regime are drawing a line in Syria’s skies | Analysis <<

    With perfect timing, and taking advantage of the vacuum left by Obama’s decision not to get involved in Syria, Putin had put Russia back on the geopolitical map. He made a surprise visit to Damascus in December to declare: Mission accomplished. He should have learned from former U.S. President George W. Bush never to say that – because now everything is starting to fall apart for the Russians.

    A serviceman holds a portrait of Russian air force pilot Roman Fillipov, who was killed after his aircraft was shot down over rebel-held territory in Syria, February 8, 2018.\ HANDOUT/ REUTERS
    There was last month’s Sochi conference, where attempts to agree a political process for Syria’s future under Assad, with the usual farce of elections, failed even before the delegates arrived. Turkey has launched a large-scale incursion into northwestern Syria, in an attempt to prevent Kurdish YPG (People’s Protection Units) forces from establishing a military presence on its border. Meanwhile, the Turks are clashing with the Iranians as well, and as of Monday with regime forces too.
    Much more worrying for Russia is that in the east of the country, another Kurdish force – the Syrian Democratic Forces, which also includes Arab, Turkmen, Assyrian and Armenian forces – is widening its control of areas once held by the Islamic State. The SDF is now the only player in Syria with U.S. military support: During a clash 10 days ago between the SDF and regime forces working together with Russian mercenaries, the United States launched a devastating airstrike. The Kremlin still won’t acknowledge any casualties, but unofficial reports from Russia claim that as many as 200 Russian mercenaries died.
    And then last week there was the first direct confrontation between Israel and Iran.
    The Turkish front is less concerning for Putin, since it doesn’t directly threaten Russia’s main interests. The clashes in the northeast are a much larger problem as they are sending coffins back home to Russia – the last thing Putin needs before the presidential election in mid-March.
    For now at least, the Israeli-Iranian front may not directly put Russian personnel in the line of fire. But it is a much greater threat to the Assad regime itself. Damascus is close to the Israeli border and Assad, with Iranian encouragement, is trying to assert himself by firing anti-aircraft missiles at Israel Air Force planes.
    >> Delve deeper into the week’s news: Sign up to Chemi Shalev’s weekly roundup
    For the past two and a half years, the deal between Jerusalem and Moscow was simple: Israel allowed Russia to resupply Assad’s army and help the regime – through aerial bombardments of rebel-held areas, indiscriminately killing thousands of civilians – to retake large swaths of territory. Russia, meanwhile, turned a blind eye as Israel continued its periodic attacks on convoys and depots of Iranian-supplied weapons destined for Hezbollah. Russia collaborated with Iran in reviving the regime, while not intervening when Israel struck at Iran’s proxies.
    When Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu demanded that Russia prevent Iran’s forces from building permanent bases on Syrian soil, Putin tried to strike a compromise. Iran continued entrenching its Shi’ite militias, but at the same time didn’t come too close to the Israeli border or begin building large bases.

    Israeli soldiers in the northern Golan Heights after an Iranian drone penetrated Israeli airspace and was shot done, February 10, 2018.Gil Eliahu
    That balance can no longer hold. The decision by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) to send a drone into Israeli airspace in the early hours of Saturday February 10, followed by Israel’s retaliation against the Iranian command unit that launched the drone and the ensuing air battle between Israeli fighter jets and Syrian air defense batteries, was proof that Russia can no longer contain the interests of all the different sides within Syria.
    Putin has utilized “hybrid warfare” – a combination of military power, deniable proxies and cyberattacks – to destabilize neighboring countries like Georgia and Ukraine, which tried to get too close to the West. Relatively small investments for major gain.
    But just like Russian interference with the U.S. presidential election, where the Kremlin wanted only to undermine America’s democratic process but never actually believed it could help get Donald Trump elected, he may have gone too deep. What was supposed to be an exercise in troublemaking is, despite Trump’s reluctance, now a full-blown confrontation with the U.S. intelligence services.
    Managing a multitrack Middle East policy and engaging simultaneously with all of the regional players takes time, resources and, especially, experience. Until recently, the United States had the combination of seasoned diplomats, military and intelligence officers – with extensive contacts and time spent in the region – to maintain such a complex operation.
    Under President Trump, many of these professionals have left the administration, and there is no clear sense of direction from the White House for those remaining. But the lack of any real U.S. presence or policy doesn’t mean someone else can just come along and take over its traditional role.
    It’s not just that the Kremlin doesn’t have anything resembling this kind of network. Putin’s centralized way of doing business means that every decision goes through him in Moscow. This isn’t helping Russia keep a handle on evolving events on the ground, but it is an advantage for Netanyahu – who is currently the regional player with the best personal relationship with Putin.
    There are currently two schools of thought within the Israeli intelligence community. The skeptics believe Putin will not give up on his Shi’ite boots on the ground and will ultimately limit Israel’s freedom to operate in the skies above Syria – pushing Israel to make a difficult choice between sitting on the sidelines while Iran and Hezbollah build up their outposts or confronting Russia as well. The optimists believe Putin knows Israel has the power to jeopardize its achievements and threaten the Assad regime, and will therefore rein in the Iranians.
    Netanyahu’s team has been working closely with the Russian president for years, and the two leaders speak regularly on the phone and meet every few months. When they’re on their own, with just fellow Likud lawmaker Zeev Elkin to interpret, does Netanyahu openly threaten to destabilize the Assad regime? Probably not. The implied threat is enough.
    Putin will have to make the call on Israel or Iran soon – or risk losing all he has invested in Syria.

    https://seenthis.net/messages/670463 via Nouvelles d’Orient

  • Zeev Sternhell : « En Israël pousse un racisme proche du nazisme à ses débuts »

    Dans une tribune au « Monde », l’historien spécialiste du fascisme, face à la dérive du nationalisme israélien, se lance dans une comparaison entre le sort des juifs sous les nazis avant la seconde guerre mondiale et celui des Palestiniens en Israël aujourd’hui.

    LE MONDE | 18.02.2018 à 06h35 |

    En savoir plus sur http://www.lemonde.fr/idees/article/2018/02/18/zeev-sternhell-en-israel-pousse-un-racisme-proche-du-nazisme-a-ses-debuts_52

    Tribune. Je tente parfois d’imaginer comment essaiera d’expliquer notre époque l’historien qui vivra dans cinquante ou cent ans. A quel moment a-t-on commencé, se demandera-t-il sans doute, à comprendre en Israël que ce pays, devenu Etat constitué lors de la guerre d’indépendance de 1948, fondé sur les ruines du judaïsme européen et au prix du sang de 1 % de sa population, dont des milliers de combattants survivants de la Shoah, était devenu pour les non-juifs, sous sa domination, un monstre ? Quand, exactement, les Israéliens, au moins en partie, ont-ils compris que leur cruauté envers les non-juifs sous leur emprise en territoires occupés, leur détermination à briser les espoirs de liberté et d’indépendance des Palestiniens ou leur refus d’accorder l’asile aux réfugiés africains commençaient à saper la légitimité morale de leur existence nationale ?

    La réponse, dira peut-être l’historien, se trouve en microcosme dans les idées et les activités de deux importants députés de la majorité, Miki Zohar (Likoud) et Bezalel Smotrich (Le Foyer juif), fidèles représentants de la politique gouvernementale, récemment propulsés sur le devant de la scène. Mais ce qui est plus important encore, c’est le fait que cette même idéologie se trouve à la base des propositions de loi dites « fondamentales », c’est-à-dire constitutionnelles, que la ministre de la justice, Ayelet Shaked, avec l’assentiment empressé du premier ministre, Benyamin Nétanyahou, se propose de faire adopter rapidement par la Knesset.

    Shaked, numéro deux du parti de la droite religieuse nationaliste, en plus de son nationalisme extrême, représente à la perfection une idéologie politique selon laquelle une victoire électorale justifie la mainmise sur tous les organes de l’Etat et de la vie sociale, depuis l’administration jusqu’à la justice, en passant par la culture. Dans l’esprit de cette droite, la démocratie libérale n’est rien qu’un infantilisme. On conçoit facilement la signification d’une telle démarche pour un pays de tradition britannique qui ne possède pas de Constitution écrite, seulement des règles de comportement et une armature législative qu’une majorité simple suffit pour changer.

    L’élément le plus important de cette nouvelle jurisprudence est une législation dite « loi sur l’Etat-nation » : il s’agit d’un acte constitutionnel nationaliste dur, que le nationalisme intégral maurrassien d’antan n’aurait pas renié, que Mme Le Pen, aujourd’hui, n’oserait pas proposer, et que le nationalisme autoritaire et xénophobe polonais et hongrois accueillera avec satisfaction. Voilà donc les juifs qui oublient que leur sort, depuis la Révolution française, est lié à celui du libéralisme et des droits de l’homme, et qui produisent à leur tour un nationalisme où se reconnaissent facilement les plus durs des chauvinistes en Europe.

    L’impuissance de la gauche

    En effet, cette loi a pour objectif ouvertement déclaré de soumettre les valeurs universelles des Lumières, du libéralisme et des droits de l’homme aux valeurs particularistes du nationalisme juif. Elle obligera la Cour suprême, dont Shaked, de toute façon, s’emploie à réduire les prérogatives et à casser le caractère libéral traditionnel (en remplaçant autant que possible tous les juges qui partent à la retraite par des juristes proches d’elle), à rendre des verdicts toujours conformes à la lettre et à l’esprit de la nouvelle législation. Mais la ministre va plus loin encore : elle vient juste de déclarer que les droits de l’homme devront s’incliner devant la nécessité d’assurer une majorité juive. Mais puisque aucun danger ne guette cette majorité en Israël, où 80 % de la population est juive, il s’agit de préparer l’opinion publique à la situation nouvelle, qui se produira en cas de l’annexion des territoires palestiniens occupés souhaitée par le parti de la ministre : la population non-juive restera dépourvue du droit de vote.

    Grâce à l’impuissance de la gauche, cette législation servira de premier clou dans le cercueil de l’ancien Israël, celui dont il ne restera que la déclaration d’indépendance, comme une pièce de musée qui rappellera aux générations futures ce que notre pays aurait pu être si notre société ne s’était moralement décomposée en un demi-siècle d’occupation, de colonisation et d’apartheid dans les territoires conquis en 1967, et désormais occupés par quelque 300 000 colons. Aujourd’hui, la gauche n’est plus capable de faire front face à un nationalisme qui, dans sa version européenne, bien plus extrême que la nôtre, avait presque réussi à anéantir les juifs d’Europe. C’est pourquoi il convient de faire lire partout en Israël et dans le monde juif les deux entretiens faits par Ravit Hecht pour Haaretz (3 décembre 2016 et 28 octobre 2017) avec Smotrich et Zohar. On y voit comment pousse sous nos yeux, non pas un simple fascisme local, mais un racisme proche du nazisme à ses débuts.

    Comme toute idéologie, le racisme allemand, lui aussi, avait évolué, et, à l’origine, il ne s’en était pris qu’aux droits de l’homme et du citoyen des juifs. Il est possible que sans la seconde guerre mondiale, le « problème juif » se serait soldé par une émigration « volontaire » des juifs des territoires sous contrôle allemand. Après tout, pratiquement tous les juifs d’Allemagne et d’Autriche ont pu sortir à temps. Il n’est pas exclu que pour certains à droite, le même sort puisse être réservé aux Palestiniens. Il faudrait seulement qu’une occasion se présente, une bonne guerre par exemple, accompagnée d’une révolution en Jordanie, qui permettrait de refouler vers l’Est une majeure partie des habitants de la Cisjordanie occupée.

    Le spectre de l’apartheid

    Les Smotrich et les Zohar, disons-le bien, n’entendent pas s’attaquer physiquement aux Palestiniens, à condition, bien entendu, que ces derniers acceptent sans résistance l’hégémonie juive. Ils refusent simplement de reconnaître leurs droits de l’homme, leur droit à la liberté et à l’indépendance. Dans le même ordre d’idées, d’ores et déjà, en cas d’annexion officielle des territoires occupés, eux et leurs partis politiques annoncent sans complexe qu’ils refuseront aux Palestiniens la nationalité israélienne, y compris, évidemment, le droit de vote. En ce qui concerne la majorité au pouvoir, les Palestiniens sont condamnés pour l’éternité au statut de population occupée.

    La raison en est simple et clairement énoncée : les Arabes ne sont pas juifs, c’est pourquoi ils n’ont pas le droit de prétendre à la propriété d’une partie quelconque de la terre promise au peuple juif. Pour Smotrich, Shaked et Zohar, un juif de Brooklyn, qui n’a peut-être jamais mis les pieds sur cette terre, en est le propriétaire légitime, mais l’Arabe, qui y est né, comme ses ancêtres avant lui, est un étranger dont la présence est acceptée uniquement par la bonne volonté des juifs et leur humanité. Le Palestinien, nous dit Zohar, « n’a pas le droit à l’autodétermination car il n’est pas le propriétaire du sol. Je le veux comme résident et ceci du fait de mon honnêteté, il est né ici, il vit ici, je ne lui dirai pas de s’en aller. Je regrette de le dire mais [les Palestiniens] souffrent d’une lacune majeure : ils ne sont pas nés juifs ».

    Ce qui signifie que même si les Palestiniens décidaient de se convertir, commençaient à se faire pousser des papillotes et à étudier la Torah et le Talmud, cela ne leur servirait à rien. Pas plus qu’aux Soudanais et Erythréens et leurs enfants, qui sont israéliens à tous égards – langue, culture, socialisation. Il en était de même chez les nazis. Ensuite vient l’apartheid, qui, selon la plupart des « penseurs » de la droite, pourrait, sous certaines conditions, s’appliquer également aux Arabes citoyens israéliens depuis la fondation de l’Etat. Pour notre malheur, beaucoup d’Israéliens, qui ont honte de tant de leurs élus et honnissent leurs idées, pour toutes sortes de raisons, continuent à voter pour la droite.

    https://seenthis.net/messages/670131 via Nouvelles d’Orient