Iran Seeks Help from Smaller Horn (Daniel 8)

Iran’s President Rouhani seeks Iraqi help to mitigate US sanctions


Iranian President Hassan Rouhani (L) was welcomed by his Iraqi counterpart, Barham Saleh

Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani has begun his first official visit to Iraq since taking office five years ago.

After meeting his Iraqi counterpart, Mr Rouhani said he wanted deeper political and economic ties between their states, which fought a bloody war in the 1980s.

He noted that Iran had come to Iraq’s aid in recent years when it was threatened by the Islamic State group.

Iranian officials see Iraq as a way to mitigate the US sanctions reinstated by President Donald Trump last year.

Mr Trump’s decision, made after he abandoned a 2015 nuclear deal, has led to a sharp downturn in Iran’s economy, pushing the value of its currency to record lows, quadrupling its annual inflation rate, and driving away foreign investors.

Europe creates pay system for Iran trade

US sanctions on Iran come into force

Iranians describe impact of US sanctions

What has Iran’s president said?

Mr Rouhani began his three-day visit to Iraq with a visit to the shrine of Shia Muslim Imam Moussa al-Kadhim in northern Baghdad. He was then greeted by his Iraqi counterpart, Barham Saleh, at the presidential palace.

At a joint news conference, Mr Rouhani said: “We want to forge very close relations with Iraq. We do not seek to be allied against others, but rather seek to invite other regional states to our alliance as well.”


Mr Rouhani visited the shrine of Imam Moussa al-Kadhim in Baghdad

He pointed out that Iran had stood by Iraq in “difficult” times – a reference to its training and arming of thousands of Iraqi Shia paramilitary fighters who have helped drive Islamic State (IS) militants out of the large parts of Iraq they seized in 2014.

Mr Saleh said he agreed with the “necessity of enhancing trade” and “setting up related economic infrastructure between our countries and peoples”.

Iran’s president later held talks with Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi, whose governing coalition includes Shia parties with deep links to Tehran.

Before leaving Tehran, Mr Rouhani said Iraq’s ties with Iran could not be compared to its links with an “occupying country” like the US that was “hated in the region”.

The US, which invaded Iraq in 2003 to overthrow President Saddam Hussein, has sent thousands of troops to the country to advise and assist security personnel battling IS. But it and Iran back opposing sides of the conflicts in Syria and Yemen.

How much trade already takes place?

A senior Iranian official accompanying the president told Reuters news agency that Iraq was “another channel for Iran to bypass America’s unjust sanctions” and that his trip to Baghdad would “provide opportunities for Iran’s economy”.

Economic ties between the neighbours are already extensive.


Household appliances and air conditioners are major Iranian exports to Iraq

In the 12 months up to March 2018, Iraq imported about $6bn (£4.6bn) of goods from Iran, including food, agricultural products, household appliances, air conditioners and car parts. Iraq paid another $6bn to Iran for natural gas, petroleum products and electricity.

Mr Rouhani has said he wants to increase bilateral trade from $12bn to $20bn annually. However, Iraq has faced pressure from the US to stop doing business with Iran.

Iraq discontinued crude oil swaps with Iran in October and did not receive an exemption when a new wave of sanctions came into effect the following month. It was, though, reportedly granted a limited waiver to give it time to find alternative supplies of electricity.

Have Iran-Iraq ties always been good?

No. Under Saddam – who was a Sunni – Iraqi forces invaded Iran in 1980, sparking an eight-year war that left a million people dead and devastated both countries.

Bilateral relations only began to improve after Saddam was toppled and an Iraqi government led by Shia parties – many of them backed by Iran – came to power.

Iran later armed Shia militants who attacked US forces in Iraq to press them to withdraw and targeted Sunnis in a brutal sectarian conflict.

In last year’s elections in Iraq, parties linked to Iran-backed paramilitary groups won the second largest number of seats in parliament. But the largest number went to a bloc led by the Shia cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, who opposes US and Iranian influence.

Brace Yourselves for the Sixth Seal (Revelation 6)

Brace Yourselves, New Yorkers, You’re Due for a Major Quake

A couple of hundred thousand years ago, an M 7.2 earthquake shook what is now New Hampshire. Just a few thousand years ago, an M 7.5 quake ruptured just off the coast of Massachusetts. And then there’s New York.

Since the first western settlers arrived there, the state has witnessed 200 quakes of magnitude 2.0 or greater, making it the third most seismically active state east of the Mississippi (Tennessee and South Carolina are ranked numbers one and two, respectively). About once a century, New York has also experienced an M 5.0 quake capable of doing real damage.

The most recent one near New York City occurred in August of 1884. Centered off Long Island’s Rockaway Beach, it was felt over 70,000 square miles. It also opened enormous crevices near the Brooklyn reservoir and knocked down chimneys and cracked walls in Pennsylvania and Connecticut. Police on the Brooklyn Bridge said it swayed “as if struck by a hurricane” and worried the bridge’s towers would collapse. Meanwhile, residents throughout New York and New Jersey reported sounds that varied from explosions to loud rumblings, sometimes to comic effect. At the funeral of Lewis Ingler, a small group of mourners were watching as the priest began to pray. The quake cracked an enormous mirror behind the casket and knocked off a display of flowers that had been resting on top of it. When it began to shake the casket’s silver handles, the mourners decided the unholy return of Lewis Ingler was more than they could take and began flinging themselves out windows and doors.

Not all stories were so light. Two people died during the quake, both allegedly of fright. Out at sea, the captain of the brig Alice felt a heavy lurch that threw him and his crew, followed by a shaking that lasted nearly a minute. He was certain he had hit a wreck and was taking on water.

A day after the quake, the editors of The New York Times sought to allay readers’ fear. The quake, they said, was an unexpected fluke never to be repeated and not worth anyone’s attention: “History and the researches of scientific men indicate that great seismic disturbances occur only within geographical limits that are now well defined,” they wrote in an editorial. “The northeastern portion of the United States . . . is not within those limits.” The editors then went on to scoff at the histrionics displayed by New York residents when confronted by the quake: “They do not stop to reason or to recall the fact that earthquakes here are harmless phenomena. They only know that the solid earth, to whose immovability they have always turned with confidence when everything else seemed transitory, uncertain, and deceptive, is trembling and in motion, and the tremor ceases long before their disturbed minds become tranquil.”

That’s the kind of thing that drives Columbia’s Heather Savage nuts.

New York, she says, is positively vivisected by faults. Most of them fall into two groups—those running northeast and those running northwest. Combined they create a brittle grid underlying much of Manhattan.

Across town, Charles Merguerian has been studying these faults the old‐fashioned way: by getting down and dirty underground. He’s spent the past forty years sloshing through some of the city’s muckiest places: basements and foundations, sewers and tunnels, sometimes as deep as 750 feet belowground. His tools down there consist primarily of a pair of muck boots, a bright blue hard hat, and a pickax. In public presentations, he claims he is also ably abetted by an assistant hamster named Hammie, who maintains his own website, which includes, among other things, photos of the rodent taking down Godzilla.

That’s just one example why, if you were going to cast a sitcom starring two geophysicists, you’d want Savage and Merguerian to play the leading roles. Merguerian is as eccentric and flamboyant as Savage is earnest and understated. In his press materials, the former promises to arrive at lectures “fully clothed.” Photos of his “lab” depict a dingy porta‐john in an abandoned subway tunnel. He actively maintains an archive of vintage Chinese fireworks labels at least as extensive as his list of publications, and his professional website includes a discography of blues tunes particularly suitable for earthquakes. He calls female science writers “sweetheart” and somehow manages to do so in a way that kind of makes them like it (although they remain nevertheless somewhat embarrassed to admit it).

It’s Merguerian’s boots‐on‐the‐ground approach that has provided much of the information we need to understand just what’s going on underneath Gotham. By his count, Merguerian has walked the entire island of Manhattan: every street, every alley. He’s been in most of the tunnels there, too. His favorite one by far is the newest water tunnel in western Queens. Over the course of 150 days, Merguerian mapped all five miles of it. And that mapping has done much to inform what we know about seismicity in New York.

Most importantly, he says, it provided the first definitive proof of just how many faults really lie below the surface there. And as the city continues to excavate its subterranean limits, Merguerian is committed to following closely behind. It’s a messy business.

Down below the city, Merguerian encounters muck of every flavor and variety. He power‐washes what he can and relies upon a diver’s halogen flashlight and a digital camera with a very, very good flash to make up the difference. And through this process, Merguerian has found thousands of faults, some of which were big enough to alter the course of the Bronx River after the last ice age.

His is a tricky kind of detective work. The center of a fault is primarily pulverized rock. For these New York faults, that gouge was the very first thing to be swept away by passing glaciers. To do his work, then, he’s primarily looking for what geologists call “offsets”—places where the types of rock don’t line up with one another. That kind of irregularity shows signs of movement over time—clear evidence of a fault.

Merguerian has found a lot of them underneath New York City.

These faults, he says, do a lot to explain the geological history of Manhattan and the surrounding area. They were created millions of years ago, when what is now the East Coast was the site of a violent subduction zone not unlike those present now in the Pacific’s Ring of Fire.

Each time that occurred, the land currently known as the Mid‐Atlantic underwent an accordion effect as it was violently folded into itself again and again. The process created immense mountains that have eroded over time and been further scoured by glaciers. What remains is a hodgepodge of geological conditions ranging from solid bedrock to glacial till to brittle rock still bearing the cracks of the collision. And, says Merguerian, any one of them could cause an earthquake.

You don’t have to follow him belowground to find these fractures. Even with all the development in our most built‐up metropolis, evidence of these faults can be found everywhere—from 42nd Street to Greenwich Village. But if you want the starkest example of all, hop the 1 train at Times Square and head uptown to Harlem. Not far from where the Columbia University bus collects people for the trip to the Lamont‐Doherty Earth Observatory, the subway tracks seem to pop out of the ground onto a trestle bridge before dropping back down to earth. That, however, is just an illusion. What actually happens there is that the ground drops out below the train at the site of one of New York’s largest faults. It’s known by geologists in the region as the Manhattanville or 125th Street Fault, and it runs all the way across the top of Central Park and, eventually, underneath Long Island City. Geologists have known about the fault since 1939, when the city undertook a massive subway mapping project, but it wasn’t until recently that they confirmed its potential for a significant quake.

In our lifetimes, a series of small earthquakes have been recorded on the Manhattanville Fault including, most recently, one on October 27, 2001. Its epicenter was located around 55th and 8th—directly beneath the original Original Soupman restaurant, owned by restaurateur Ali Yeganeh, the inspiration for Seinfeld’s Soup Nazi. That fact delighted sitcom fans across the country, though few Manhattanites were in any mood to appreciate it.

The October 2001 quake itself was small—about M 2.6—but the effect on residents there was significant. Just six weeks prior, the city had been rocked by the 9/11 terrorist attacks that brought down the World Trade Center towers. The team at Lamont‐Doherty has maintained a seismic network in the region since the ’70s. They registered the collapse of the first tower at M 2.1. Half an hour later, the second tower crumbled with even more force and registered M 2.3. In a city still shocked by that catastrophe, the early‐morning October quake—several times greater than the collapse of either tower—jolted millions of residents awake with both reminders of the tragedy and fear of yet another attack. 9‐1‐1 calls overwhelmed dispatchers and first responders with reports of shaking buildings and questions about safety in the city. For seismologists, though, that little quake was less about foreign threats to our soil and more about the possibility of larger tremors to come.

Remember: The Big Apple has experienced an M 5.0 quake about every hundred years. The last one was that 1884 event. And that, says Merguerian, means the city is overdue. Just how overdue?

“Gee whiz!” He laughs when I pose this question. “That’s the holy grail of seismicity, isn’t it?”

He says all we can do to answer that question is “take the pulse of what’s gone on in recorded history.” To really have an answer, we’d need to have about ten times as much data as we do today. But from what he’s seen, the faults below New York are very much alive.

“These guys are loaded,” he tells me.

He says he is also concerned about new studies of a previously unknown fault zone known as the Ramapo that runs not far from the city. Savage shares his concerns. They both think it’s capable of an M 6.0 quake or even higher—maybe even a 7.0. If and when, though, is really anybody’s guess.

“We literally have no idea what’s happening in our backyard,” says Savage.

What we do know is that these quakes have the potential to do more damage than similar ones out West, mostly because they are occurring on far harder rock capable of propagating waves much farther. And because these quakes occur in places with higher population densities, these eastern events can affect a lot more people. Take the 2011 Virginia quake: Although it was only a moderate one, more Americans felt it than any other one in our nation’s history.

That’s the thing about the East Coast: Its earthquake hazard may be lower than that of the West Coast, but the total effect of any given quake is much higher. Disaster specialists talk about this in terms of risk, and they make sense of it with an equation that multiplies the potential hazard of an event by the cost of damage and the number of people harmed. When you take all of those factors into account, the earthquake risk in New York is much greater than, say, that in Alaska or Hawaii or even a lot of the area around the San Andreas Fault.

Merguerian has been sounding the alarm about earthquake risk in the city since the ’90s. He admits he hasn’t gotten much of a response. He says that when he first proposed the idea of seismic risk in New York City, his fellow scientists “booed and threw vegetables” at him. He volunteered his services to the city’s Office of Emergency Management but says his original offer also fell on deaf ears.

“So I backed away gently and went back to academia.”

Today, he says, the city isn’t much more responsive, but he’s getting a much better response from his peers.

He’s glad for that, he says, but it’s not enough. If anything, the events of 9/11, along with the devastation caused in 2012 by Superstorm Sandy, should tell us just how bad it could be there.

He and Savage agree that what makes the risk most troubling is just how little we know about it. When it comes right down to it, intraplate faults are the least understood. Some scientists think they might be caused by mantle flow deep below the earth’s crust. Others think they might be related to gravitational energy. Still others think quakes occurring there might be caused by the force of the Atlantic ridge as it pushes outward. Then again, it could be because the land is springing back after being compressed thousands of years ago by glaciers (a phenomenon geologists refer to as seismic rebound).

“We just have no consciousness towards earthquakes in the eastern United States,” says Merguerian. “And that’s a big mistake.”

Adapted from Quakeland: On the Road to America’s Next Devastating Earthquake by Kathryn Miles, published by Dutton, an imprint of Penguin Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House, LLC. Copyright © 2017 by Kathryn Miles.

Babylon the Great to Build the Saudi Nuclear Horn

US still discussing nuclear technology sales with Saudi Arabia

Energy secretary Rick Perry says preventing weapons proliferation is a priority

Rick Perry, the US energy secretary, says the country’s interest in non-proliferation would make it a better supplier of nuclear technology to Saudi Arabia than Russia or China ©

The US is still in talks with Saudi Arabia about a possible deal to sell it civil nuclear technology, as part of a strategy to boost US exports while helping to curb greenhouse gas emissions, energy secretary Rick Perry has said. Speaking at the CERAWeek energy conference in Houston, Mr Perry told the Financial Times that the talks were making progress “closer to one mile an hour than to Mach 1.2”, but said the US was working on a deal to support the kingdom’s plan to develop a nuclear power industry. He added that one priority for the US would be to ensure any deal did not contribute to the proliferation of nuclear weapons, saying that would be a greater risk if Saudi Arabia chose to buy its technology from Russia or China. “We’re still making progress, we’re still talking,” Mr Perry said. “Our intent is for them to be our partner as they build their nuclear energy.” The Trump administration’s moves towards a nuclear deal with Saudi Arabia raised concerns highlighted in a report from Democrats in Congress last month, which said whistleblowers had warned of “chaos, dysfunction and backbiting” in the White House and “conflicts of interest” for some former officials. Both Republicans and Democrats have expressed concerns about allowing Saudi Arabia to buy US nuclear technology. However, Mr Perry argued that the US interest in non-proliferation of nuclear weapons would make it a better supplier than other countries that have also made proposals for selling technology to Saudi Arabia, including Russia and China. “I make the argument to the leadership of Saudi Arabia that to send the right message to the world, you want to be working with someone who is a very strong proponent of non-proliferation,” he said. “China and Russia are not necessarily in that camp.” He indicated that he supported a plan for Saudi Arabia similar to the programme adopted by the neighbouring United Arab Emirates, which bought reactors from Kepco of South Korea that are now under construction. The UAE is not enriching its own uranium to fuel the reactors, a process that could allow it to develop nuclear weapons, but is instead buying fuel from international suppliers. Mr Perry said the administration’s support for nuclear exports was part of its strategy of encouraging sales of US technology and commodities that could reduce greenhouse gas emissions. “You really can’t be serious about the climate and be against nuclear power,” he said. President Donald Trump is withdrawing the US from the Paris climate agreement, and has frequently expressed scepticism about the science of climate change. But Mr Perry said the US was developing and selling technologies that would give the world “some real options” for cutting emissions. “Whether it’s carbon capture, whether it’s nuclear, whether it’s battery storage — all of those are ways that the US is going to have a real influence and a positive influence on the climate,” he said. He added that US energy-related carbon dioxide emissions had fallen since 2007, in part because of the shift in power generation away from coal and towards gas unlocked by the shale revolution. “We’re less about signing agreements than we are about results,” he said. “And our results are not debatable; they’re real, they’re substantial.” Ted Halstead of the Climate Leadership Council, a group backed by many large companies that supports a carbon tax for the US, said the widespread enthusiasm for the Green New Deal — a radical plan for tackling the threat of climate change proposed by congressional Democrats — was forcing Republicans to address the issue. “Simply put, the Republican party is haemorrhaging young people,” he said. “Republicans are on the losing side of this issue, [and] you can’t be a competitive party without the next generation of voters.”

Babylon the Great Measures the Holy City (Revelation 11:1)

Image result for golan  heights militaryIn first, U.S. drops ‘occupied’ from report on West Bank, Gaza and Golan Heights

Amir Tibon and Noa Landau (Washington) Mar 13, 2019 5:35 PM

WASHINGTON – The U.S. State Department referred to the Golan Heights as “Israeli-controlled territory” in its annual human rights report for 2018. This is a change compared to the language used by previous administrations, which referred to the area as “occupied territory.”A separate section on the West Bank and Gaza Strip, areas that Israel captured along with the Golan Heights during the Six-Day War in 1967, also did not refer to those territories as being “occupied” or under “occupation.” In last year’s State Department report on human rights, the administration dropped the term “occupied territories” from the headline, but referred to the Golan Heights and the West Bank as “occupied” inside the text itself. The main change in this year’s report is the scrubbing of the word “occupied” from the text itself.

U.S. Palestinian mission in Jerusalem shuts down

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A State Department source said on Wednesday that, “Our policy on Golan has not changed. We retitled the HRR to refer to the commonly used geographic names of the area the report covers.”

Israel effectively annexed the Golan Heights, which is populated largely by Druze communities, after capturing it in 1967. The international community does not recognize Israeli sovereignty over the area, but the ongoing conflict in Syria has complicated the matter of ownership. Assad-aligned forces, including Hezbollah and Iran-backed militias, regularly clash with rebel forces on the Syrian side of the de-facto border. The United Nations Disengagement Observer Force oversees the cease-fire line.

On Monday, Republican Senator Lindsey Graham visited the Golan Heights alongside Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman and revealed plans to work toward American recognition of the Golan Heights as part of Israel.

“Working with Senator [Ted] Cruz, I will start an effort to recognize the Golan as part of the State of Israel now and forever,” Graham said.

“Israel occupied this territory by fighting for its survival,” the senator added. This territory was taken by military force because it was used as a launching point to attack the State of Israel. This territory has a rich Jewish history.”

Graham also asked to whom the stretch of territory would be returned if Israel were to give it up. “Who do you give it back to, Assad?” Senator Graham said, noting that Iran and Russia are deeply invested in the territory. “Russia? I believe not.”

Graham said he would speak to President Donald Trump on the matter of recognizing the territory as Israeli.

Reuters contributed to this report. 

Environmentalist Recognizing the Bowls of Wrath? (Revelation 16)

Despite their incessant drumbeat about global warming, mainstream media knows climate doomsday is not imminent and are probably uncomfortable when doomsayers like Congresswoman Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) say, “The world will end in 12 years” unless we do something, drastic, now.But they are well aware that political catastrophes could cause much greater harm to humanity—not in the far distant future, but within months, weeks, or even a single day.That’s why climate change and the “Green New Deal” finally disappeared from headlines this week, trumped by news of more immediate threats.The Return of Nuclear War as an Imminent Threat

With the end of the Cold War, the risk of nuclear war has receded from many people’s fears. Certainly the likelihood of a major nuclear exchange between the United States and the Soviet Union, or now Russia, has declined since the nervous 1960s and 1970s.

But the threat is reviving in the form of rogue nuclear states.

North Korea is the most notorious. President Donald Trump’s second meeting with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un, which ended with no agreement when Trump refused Kim’s demand that sanctions be lifted, occupied headlines worldwide. Even climate-alarmist CNN abandoned climate change headlines to focus on the historic meeting in Vietnam.

Meanwhile, two weeks ago, India and Pakistan were on the verge of war. The reason? A surgical strike by India’s Air Force on a terrorist camp inside Pakistan, and Pakistan’s response to it.

As many as 16 Indian Air Force fighter jets using 2200 pounds of laser-guided bombs in a 30-minute air raid demolished the camp. It was the same camp (not far from the infamous Abbottabad, where American forces found and killed Osama Bin Laden) from which terrorists launched an attack earlier in February in Jammu & Kashmir, killing around 40 Indian paramilitary forces.

In response, Pakistani fighter jets engaged in air combat with Indian fighters. One jet from each country was shot down. The Indian pilot was captured by Pakistan’s army after he was ejected. Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan told his parliament on Thursday that the pilot would be released as a “peace gesture.”

But tensions remained high. Pakistan closed its entire airspace to commercial traffic. India closed its northern airspace temporarily.Thousands of flights were affected worldwide. Thai Airways cancelled most of its overnight flights to Europe, and all flights normally routed through Pakistani airspace were re-routed.

Both India and Pakistan are nuclear armed, and with volatile leadership in both states, the dangers from a possible nuclear conflict far exceed those touted by climate fear mongers at the United Nations and the leftist environmentalists who support them.

Political Bombshells Overshadow Climate Alarm

While American media focused on testimony by Michael Cohen, headed for prison for lying to Congress, former Canadian Attorney General Jody Wilson-Raybould dropped what could be the biggest bombshell in Canadian political history—with a possible major impact on Canadian climate and energy policy.

The Star reported, “Wilson-Raybould said she was the target of ‘veiled threats’ and a ‘consistent and sustained’ effort by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his senior officials to politically interfere in criminal charges against [engineering company] SNC-Lavalin,” which serves the oil and gas, nuclear, mining and metallurgical, and clean power industries.

If confirmed, this could be a criminal offense. Opposition party leader Andrew Scheer called for an immediate investigation and formally asked Trudeau to resign. The scandal could become a deciding factor in Canada’s upcoming election, joining many Canadians’s dislike for carbon taxes Trudeau’s party has imposed.

Across the Atlantic, Brexit has dominated news in Europe, and its environmental aspects have received little to no coverage compared with that given to its economic and developmental aspects.

There are endless examples from around the world of people beginning to realize the futility of climate alarmism and showing increasing concern for more serious matters like domestic tax rates, ethical leadership, energy, and economic development.

Nonetheless, expect the mainstream media to return to their obsession with climate alarmism. They’ve made it a habit.

Vijay Jayaraj (M.Sc., Environmental Science, University of East Anglia, England), Research Contributor for the Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation, lives in Chennai, India.

The World will NOT Listen to the Truth Outside the Temple Walls (Revelation 11)


The truth is out about Israel’s lethal actions in Gaza. Will the world listen?

Saeb Erekat

The UN’s damning verdict on the 2018 Gaza protests should prompt the international community into ending Israeli occupation

Tue 12 Mar 2019 08.42 EDT

UN investigation into the 2018 Gaza protests has concluded that Israeli officers and their leaders may have committed war crimes or crimes against humanity. The human rights council’s commission of inquiry found that soldiers intentionally used live ammunition against civilians, who included children, women, journalists, health workers and people with disabilities.

The figures are telling: more than 6,000 people injured by Israeli bullets, with 183 killed. Renowned human rights organisations such as Human Rights Watch, B’Tselem and Al-Haq had already denounced this policy, with B’Tselem calling on Israeli soldiers not to follow orders to shoot civilians. The people of Palestine still wonder whether such findings will be used by the international community to implement policy aimed at ending the Israeli occupation, or whether it will be business as usual.

UN says Israel’s killings at Gaza protests may amount to war crimes

The killing of Palestinian civilians during 2018 is part of a long list of ongoing Israeli crimes and violations. Israel, the occupying power, often denounces any reporting on its treatment of the people of Palestine – going as far as pushing for the expulsion of the representative of Human Rights Watch and refusing UN commissions of inquiry or special rapporteurs access to the occupied territories.

Israel has long been targeting Palestinian civil society organisations and human rights activists for exposing its ongoing policies of colonisation that deny the right of the Palestinian people to be free. Sadly, if members of the international community don’t act, the results of this commission of inquiry will eventually be added to other investigations – including the recently released EU report on Israeli settlement construction – and Israel will continue to violate international law and UN resolutions through the complicity of a number of UN member

The EU, Israel’s main trade partner, has a consistent position for ending Israel’s occupation of Palestine – reaffirmed in a statement from the Arab-EU summit at Sharm el-Sheikh last month. But Israel also knows that, among its main trade partners, and particularly within the EU, products coming from illegal colonial settlements in the occupied territory are not being labelled, let alone banned. And while Israeli settlers enjoy the benefit of visa-free entry to Europe, Palestinians living only a few metres away still require them. Indeed, none of the countries who claim to be concerned about “fairness” have taken any significant step towards holding Israel accountable for its decades-long crimes and violations.

What we see on the ground reflects a deep culture of impunity. We see international companies working in Israeli settlements; countries continuing to sell arms to Israel despite its repeated violations of international humanitarian law; an increase in settler tourism, which contributes to the illegal colonial-settlement enterprise. Alongside this, Israel’s theft of natural resources and effective control over all aspects of Palestinian life, including the population registry, clearly show how the Palestinian right to self-determination is violated on a daily basis.

Ten years after the first war on Gaza, Israel still plans endless brute force | Avi Shlaim

There is a legal and a moral responsibility for the international community to take decisive action towards respecting international law, UN resolutions and human rights in Palestine. This is most important now, while the Trump administration in the US is escalating its policies against our people. Among other steps, and in accordance with resolution 31/36, we have reiterated our call for the UN human rights commissioner to release the database of companies involved in the Israeli occupation.

There is now an opportunity to send the right message about the Israeli occupation in the upcoming human rights council discussions – and to take long-overdue steps towards a just and lasting peace by affirming the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people.

• Dr Saeb Erekat is secretary general of the Palestine Liberation Organisation