Israeli military vehicles found outside the Temple Walls carrying out sabotage operations: Revelation 11

Nine Israeli military vehicles found in Gaza Strip carrying out sabotage operations

January 18, 2022

Nine Israeli military vehicles were found north of the town of Beit Lahia in the Gaza Strip on Tuesday, according to the Palestinian News Agency WAFA. 

WAFA said that the military vehicles were carrying out combing and sabotage operations in the area, noting that seven other vehicles were found carrying out similar activities east of Khuza’a, south of the Gaza Strip.

According to eyewitnesses on Monday, Israeli bulldozers moved into these areas amid sweeping operations and intermittent shooting, but no injuries were recorded.

Meanwhile, Israeli Occupation Forces arrested three Palestinians from Hebron.

Security sources told WAFA that the occupation forces stormed Hebron and arrested a young man and a 57-year-old Palestinian from the town of Al-Shuyoukh after searching their homes. 

Muhammad Awad, a media activist in the town of Beit Ummar, north of Hebron, told WAFA that Israeli forces stormed the town and arrested former mayor Farhan Musa Hussein Alqam as well.

Israeli forces also raided several neighbourhoods in the city of Hebron and set up military checkpoints to stop and search vehicles and check citizens’ cards, obstructing citizens’ movement.

Soldiers Invade Palestinian Farmland Outside the Temple Walls: Revelation 11

 JAN 18, 2022

Several Israeli military vehicles invaded, on Tuesday morning, Palestinian farmlands in the northern and southern parts of the Gaza Strip.

Eyewitnesses said several military vehicles, including bulldozers, advanced dozens of meters into farmlands in Khuza’a town, east of Khan Younis, in the southern part of the Gaza Strip, and bulldozed sections near the fence.

In addition, several vehicles invaded farmlands near Beit Lahia, in the northern part of the coastal regions, and bulldozed sectioned near the fence.

It is worth mentioning that, on Monday, the soldiers carried a similar invasion into farmlands in Beit Lahia, while Israeli navy ships attacked Palestinian fishing boats near the shore of Gaza city.

The army frequently attacks farmersshepherds, workers, and fishermen across the eastern parts of the coastal region and in Palestinian territorial waters, leading to dozens of casualties, including fatalities, in addition to preventing the Palestinians from tending to their lands and from fishing to provide for their families.

In March of this last year 2021, the Palestinian Interior Ministry in Gaza said Israeli mines were responsible for an explosion that led to the death of three fishermen.

Israeli Navy Attacks Palestinian Fishing Boats Outside the Temple Walls: Revelation 11

Israeli Navy Attacks Palestinian Fishing Boats In Gaza

Israeli navy ships attacked, Monday several Palestinian fishing boats near the shore of Gaza city, in the besieged coastal region.

Eyewitnesses said the navy fired many live rounds at the boats, in addition to using water cannons, causing damage; no injuries were reported.

One of the fishermen said the boats were only three nautical miles from the Sudaniyya shore, northwest of Gaza city when the navy attacked them.

He added that the fishermen had to return to the shore without being able to fish and provide for their families, in fear of further assaults.

The army frequently attacks farmersshepherds, workers, and fishermen across the eastern parts of the coastal region and in Palestinian territorial waters, leading to dozens of casualties, including fatalities, in addition to preventing the Palestinians from tending to their lands and from fishing to provide for their families.

In March of this last year 2021, the Palestinian Interior Ministry in Gaza said Israeli mines were responsible for an explosion that led to the death of three fishermen.

Attack Against Babylon the Great Again

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)

Rocket attack targets military base housing US occupation troops in eastern Syria

Sunday, 16 January 2022 6:59 AM  [ Last Update: Sunday, 16 January 2022 10:26 AM ]

A US soldier looks on while an AH-64 Apache assault helicopter flies above during a patrol by the Suwaydiyah oil fields in Hasakah province, northeastern Syria, on February 13, 2021. (Photo by AFP)

Several rockets have reportedly hit a military facility housing US occupation forces in Syria’s oil-producing eastern province of Dayr al-Zawr.

Local source, speaking on condition of anonymity, told the Arabic service of Turkey’s official Anadolu news agency that ‏the projectiles landed in the vicinity of the US-controlled al-Omar oil field late on Saturday, causing a fire.

The sources added that American forces stationed at the field put out the fire, and responded with missile strikes.

There were no immediate reports of serious injuries and the extent of damage caused.

US military drones also flew over the field following the attack. So far, no group has claimed responsibility.

The development came hours after several unmanned aerial vehicles reportedly targeted an Iraqi air base hosting occupying US military forces and warplanes north of the capital, Baghdad.Drones attack Balad Air Base hosting US troops near Iraqi capitalCombat drones target Balad Air Base, which houses US occupation forces near the Iraqi capital Baghdad.

Angry locals prevent US convoy from entering Hasakah village

Meanwhile, residents of a village in Syria’s northeastern province of Hasakah intercepted a US military convoy attempting to pass through their community and forced it to turn back.

According to Syria’s official news agency SANA, residents in Salehiyeh Harb village, which lies near the city of Qamishli, and Syrian government forces blocked the convoy on Saturday evening, making it turn around and head back in the direction it came from.

The US military has stationed forces and equipment in eastern and northeastern Syria, with the Pentagon claiming that the deployment is aimed at preventing the oilfields in the area from falling into the hands of Daesh terrorists.Syrian army forces block US occupation troops in Hasakah, force them to turn backSyrian army troops intercept a US military convoy in the country’s northeastern province of Hasakah, and forced it to retreat.

Damascus, however, says the unlawful deployment is meant to plunder the country’s resources.

Former US president Donald Trump admitted on several occasions that American forces were in Syria for its oil.

Turkish military base in northern Iraq under attack 

Separately, a number of rockets targeted a military base in Iraq’s northern province of Nineveh, where Turkish military forces are engaged in on-and-off operations against positions of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) militant group in the semi-autonomous Kurdistan region.

Sabereen News reported that three rockets were launched at Zilkan base in northern Iraq’s Bashiqa region late on Saturday.

The report added that Turkish occupation forces responded to the attack with a volley of artillery rounds.

Shortly afterwards, four other rockets slammed in the Turkish-occupied military base.Turkish forces seize northern Iraq village as they continue anti-PKK operationsTurkish military forces wrest control over a village in Iraq’s semi-autonomous Kurdistan region as they continue their operations against PKK militants.

Iraq and Turkey have been locked in a dispute over Ankara’s military activities in Kurdistan region. The Baghdad government has repeatedly called on the Turkish government to stop violations of Iraqi sovereignty.

Militants of the PKK — designated as a terrorist group by Turkey, the United States and European Union — regularly clash with Turkish forces in the Kurdish-dominated southeast of Turkey attached to northern Iraq.

A shaky ceasefire between the PKK and the Turkish government collapsed in July 2015. Attacks on Turkish security forces have soared ever since.

More than 40,000 people have been killed during the three-decade conflict between Turkey and the autonomy-seeking militant group.

There WILL NOT be ‘lasting peace’ between Israel and Palestine: Revelation 11

Israeli forces seen in front of the Dome of the Rock, within the Al Aqsa Mosque Compound in Jerusalem on September 10, 2021 [Mostafa Alkharouf/Anadolu Agency]

Will there be ‘lasting peace’ between Israel and Palestine?

Sayid Marcos TenórioJanuary 4, 2022

Israeli forces seen in front of the Dome of the Rock, within the Al Aqsa Mosque Compound in Jerusalem on September 10, 2021 [Mostafa Alkharouf/Anadolu Agency]HajjSayidJanuary 15, 2022 at 2:24 pm 

Clashes between Israelis and Palestinians are nothing new. These episodes have been happening since the Zionist militias started the Nakba in 1948 with the violent expulsion of more than 750,000 Palestinians and the destruction of more than 140 towns and villages. This ethnic cleansing campaign made way for the Ashkenazi, Khazar and Sephardi Jews, displaced from Europe, to settle in historical Palestine.

The episodes of direct confrontations in May 2021 between Palestinian resistance forces and Israel reignited the debate on the legitimacy of each and the effectiveness of a lasting peace agreement between the two parties. As usual, the mainstream media lavishly trumpeted the chant about “Israel’s right to defend itself”, while continuing to treat resistance forces, especially the Islamic Resistance Movement Hamas, as responsible for aggression and “terrorism”.

In January 2020, former US President Donald Trump, without the participation of Palestinians, announced an arrangement termed the “deal of the century“. Trump’s proposition was a unilateral initiative arising from pressure from the US Jewish lobby aimed at continuing the annexations of Palestinian territories and recognising and legalising the crimes that the Jewish state has been committing since 1948. What appeared to be an alternative to “lasting peace” was, in fact, a macabre plan to end Palestine as a nation.

The colonialist plan did not end after the self-proclamation of the Jewish state nor with the massacre perpetrated during the so-called Six-Day War, or with the occupation of the Gaza Strip, Sinai (Egypt) and the Golan Heights (Syria). Israel continues to carry out the process of complete Judaisation of Palestine in all fields, adopting legislation such as the Basic Law of the Nation-State passed by the Knesset on 19 July, 2018, through which it legally became an exclusive state for Jews.

As can be seen, the goal of the Israeli occupation is the complete destruction of Palestine so that there is finally the establishment of a state of Jewish supremacy in the occupied territories, without defined borders and in permanent expansion. The intention is to transform what is left of Palestine into small islands of land as if it were a mini-state – pulverised, surrounded and suffocated by the occupier on all sides.

A new Hamas programme was approved in 2017 and called the General Document of Principles and Policies. It asserts that the establishment of the so-called “State of Israel” based on unilateral decisions is completely “illegal, infringes the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, and goes against their will and the will of the Nation,”[1]as it is a violation of human rights and the right to self-determination.

Hamas has declared that it will not recognise Israel or anything that happened in Palestine in terms of occupation. This includes the construction of colonial settlements, the Judaisation of historical and sacred places and the change in characteristics or falsification of historical and cultural facts. It understands that Palestinian rights over their land and places will never lapse.

The Hamas programme rejects a lasting solution other than the liberation of Palestine “from the river to the sea”, without compromising its rejection of Israel and without abandoning any rights of the Palestinians. It agrees with the establishment of a Palestinian state along the borders of 4 June, 1967, with Jerusalem as its capital and the return of refugees and displaced people from their homes, from which they have been expelled since 1948.

The leadership of Hamas has declared that it is committed to the re-establishment of relations and joint actions by Palestinian organisations based on pluralism, democracy, national partnership, acceptance of the other and the adoption of dialogue. The aim is to strengthen the unity to meet the aspirational needs of the Palestinian people, as occurred in the historic meeting of 5 September, 2020, when the main Palestinian forces came together for a joint initiative to contest the Israeli occupation.

Some insist on the thesis of the alleged attempt by Hamas to delegitimise the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO). However, the movement shows the recognition of the organisation in its programme, stating that it is a reference for the Palestinian people that needs to be preserved, developed and rebuilt on a democratic basis, inside and outside Palestine, to ensure the participation of all forces fighting to protect the rights of Palestinians.

While Palestinians seek solutions to end the colonial apartheid of the “Jewish state”, Zionist leaders deny, by all means, the most elementary rights of Palestinians. This can be seen in the statements of the current premier, Naftali Bennett, who said in 2018 that he “wouldn’t give an inch of land to the Arabs” and told US magazine The New Yorker in 2013: “I will do everything in my power so that they never have their own state.”

For these and other reasons, Palestinians do not trust the Zionists. They do not comply with agreements, such as the Oslo Accords, which have become a dead letter without recognising the right of existence of the Palestinian state. After Oslo, Israel accelerated the expansion of the occupation, the creation of Jewish colonial settlements, the confiscation of land, the creation of quotas for exports to the Israeli market and control on the import of agricultural machinery and tools, which ended up ruining Palestinian agriculture.

Despite this, there are still those who advocate the recognition of Israel by the Palestinian resistance as a pre-condition for the existence of “lasting peace agreements”. There are also those who support normalisation to take effect when it is known that this arrangement is ineffective for the simple realisation that Israel will not stop the occupation at a negotiating table. Such rhetoric serves the interests of the Israeli occupation, which is aware of its inability to win new battles against the Palestinian resistance.

To accept the occupier’s reality is to annihilate the dream of freedom and liberation, betraying the martyrs and those who fought long and hard for freedom, self-determination and dignity. This would betray the principles of legitimate resistance to achieve what is enshrined in international law and the Charter of the United Nations.

[1]TENÓRIO, Sayid Marcos. Palestina: Do mito da terra prometido à terra da resistência. 1st ed. São Paulo: Anita Garibaldi, IBRASPAL, 2019. P. 382.

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.

Nuclear weapons outside the temple walls: Revelation 11

It is time for Israel to come clean about its nuclear weapons

Yet again, Covid-19 has led to the postponement of the 10th Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference, which was originally scheduled for 2020, the 50th anniversary of the treaty going into effect. The meeting of the state parties to the treaty is now delayed until this coming August. The treaty is the most important in the badly shredded network of arms control agreements that were drawn up in the Cold War and post-Cold War eras to prevent nuclear war and to set the world on the path to abolition of nuclear weapons.

The NPT is the one treaty to which the historic, or legacy, nuclear powers (China, France, the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom and the United States) all belong. All have opposed the 2017 Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons that explicitly aims for the abolition of nuclear weapons. But non-nuclear states largely support the TPNW, as they believe the legacy states have abused the NPT to defend their own interests and, particularly in the last decade, to evade their own commitments to nuclear disarmament.

Israel can longer justify its evasiveness about its nuclear status, and its aggressive policies toward other potential nuclear states have made it a destabilizing force.

Non-nuclear states also perceive legacy states as playing favorites with certain nations outside the NPT, including Israel. In today’s nuclear landscape, however, Israel can no longer justify its evasiveness about its nuclear status, and its aggressive policies toward potential nuclear states among its regional rivals have made it a destabilizing force, constraining progress toward disarmament. It is time for Israel to come clean about its nuclear capacity and to join the international system of arms control.

While the TPNW establishes a duty for member states to try to universalize the treaty, the NPT has no such requirement. Its members seem content to sustain the status quo with a divide between the legacy nuclear states and non-nuclear states, with four nuclear-armed states outside the treaty (Pakistan, India and North Korea, in addition to Israel). In recent years, however, the bipolar balance of power between the United States and the former Soviet Union that sustained the treaty, with lesser powers in subordinate roles, has evolved dramatically.

This means that in its 52nd year, the NPT, with its current membership, is less useful as a framework for nuclear disarmament than it was only a decade ago. New realities include the fact that China is vying to become a nuclear superpower on par with the United States and Russia by modernizing its nuclear arsenal. Also, North Korea has become a powerful rogue state, developing a variety of weapons and delivery systems, challenging the United States, and threatening America’s East Asian allies of South Korea and Japan.

The bipolar balance of power between the United States and the former Soviet Union that sustained the treaty, with lesser powers in subordinate roles, has evolved dramatically.

As for Israel, it remains the sole (though undeclared) possessor of nuclear weapons in the Middle East and seems determined to remain so. Securing its nuclear superiority has become the driving force of its strategic policy. After bombing nuclear reactors in Iraq and Syria, it has reportedly conducted assassinations of nuclear scientists and sabotage operations, and it encouraged the Trump administration’s withdrawal from the 2015 international agreement designed to deny Iran the potential for developing its own bomb. Senior Israeli aides now regard those moves as a mistake because the Iranian program has shown surprising resilience. The situation in Iran is also a reminder that in a multipolar nuclear world, with major actors outside the NPT, that treaty fails to provide the nuclear peace it once promised.

Some arms control proponents hope that if the historic superpowers, the United States and Russia, can make progress toward bilateral disarmament, China may be induced to join a trilateral arms control treaty. And South Koreans hope that a declaration of peace followed by a treaty to formally end the Korean War will entice North Korea along the path to denuclearization, a formula the North has sometimes advocated itself. As for the regional rivals India and Pakistan, both of which are threatened by China, a trilateral treaty among the superpowers might well persuade them to pursue disarmament in some form as well.

Among the principal outliers to the NPT, only Israel remains without a path toward nuclear arms control and non-nuclear peace.

Historically, Israel has maintained a policy of opacity about its nuclear arms. But the circumstances around this strategy have changed dramatically. First, Israel is no longer surrounded by Arab enemies. After the Abraham Accords in 2020, it has treaties with many of the states in the region and collaborative relations with the regional heavyweight, Saudi Arabia. Second, Israel is the dominant military power in the region with exceptional technological advantages, particularly in cyberwarfare. As a result, its citizen army no longer puts it at a disadvantage. Third, even the narrow confines of its borders are not the potential weakness they once were: Israel has effective control of the West Bank, and—in defiance of the Oslo Accords and international law—it has enlarged its colonization of that area, securing the presence of a growing population of Israeli settlers there.

Its main regional enemy remains Iran. The chances of normalized relations with Iran are difficult to determine without diplomatic probes. With the fall of Benjamin Netanyahu, however, Israeli elites now openly regret opposing the Iranian nuclear disarmament agreement, and they rue how the former prime minister supported the Trump administration’s decision to withdraw from the agreement. My own informed sources say that under the new coalition government, Israeli intelligence and military officials are closer to their American colleagues, and they support a renewal of the Iranian agreement.

Israeli elites now openly regret opposing the Iranian nuclear disarmament agreement.

If the agreement is renewed and the threat of an Iranian nuclear weapon disappears from the scene, the major historic reasons for Israel’s policy of strategic nuclear ambiguity will no longer be salient. There would be an opportunity to go public about its nuclear standing and its nuclear policies, and so enter into international arms control and disarmament agreements—including the NPT.

Why should Israel, or any other outlier nuclear-armed state, join the NPT? For one, it is the keystone agreement of the international arms control regime. The legacy nuclear powers already belong to it, and they regard it as the principal vehicle for nuclear disarmament. By contrast, none are state parties to the TPNW, and they actively oppose it. Second, the NPT envisages gradual progress toward disarmament preceded by various measures of arms control. Countries like Israel, whose defense policies rely on nuclear deterrence and even the possible use of nuclear weapons, will understandably be more comfortable with the NPT than the TPNW, which requires the abolition of nuclear arsenals in a shorter time frame.

A possible obstacle to Israel’s joining the NPT is the fact that the conferees of the treaty and the United Nations General Assembly support a Middle East Nuclear Weapons Free Zone. Such zones already exist in Latin America, Africa, Central Asia, Mongolia, Southeast Asia, the South Pacific and Antarctica. They are a principal means under the NPT for extending the treaty’s Article VI commitments to make progress toward global nuclear disarmament.

The United States has repeatedly run interference to prevent the implementation of the Middle East Nuclear Weapons Free Zone so as not to inconvenience or embarrass Israel. But if a renewed deal with Iran prevents the further development of a nuclear weapons program there, Israel will no longer have reason to object to the formation of a nuclear-free zone by its neighbors. Indeed, the region would be far safer for Israel if nearby countries were to renounce nuclear weapons. The world, moreover, would be safer still if the Israeli nuclear arsenal came out of the shadows and committed to international supervision in the same way that the arsenals of the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council are today.

In a fast-changing geostrategic environment, the NPT would be a far more effective instrument of international security and nuclear stability if the state parties were to reach out to include outlier nuclear-armed states, including Israel, in their number. In the Middle East, Israel possesses unparalleled military superiority, and with aggressive tactics against possible rivals, it has ensured its exclusive nuclear hegemony. Under these conditions, it is time for Israel to be open about its nuclear arms, to join in global arrangements for preventing nuclear war, and, along with the NPT legacy states, to travel the path toward nuclear disarmament.

The Russian Horn Prepares to invade Europe

Russian invasion of Ukraine ‘inevitable and imminent’

‘Only president Putin knows what he is going to do next, but next week would seem pivotal’

1 hour ago

Russian invasion of Ukraine is “inevitable and imminent”, a Conservative MP claimed last night.

It comes after suggestions from US officials that Russia had prepositioned a group of operatives to conduct a false-flag operation to justify invading Ukraine.

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said that the Kremlin was laying the groundwork for an attack through a social media disinformation campaign framing Kiev as the aggressor.

Speaking on Friday, Tobias Ellwood, chairman of the Commons defence committee, said: “I am afraid an invasion by Russian forces is inevitable and imminent and we have allowed this to happen.

“We had the opportunity to place sufficient military hardware and personnel in Ukraine to make president Putin think twice about invading but we failed to do so.”

He added: “Only president Putin knows what he is going to do next, but next week would seem pivotal.

“He has negotiated himself into a corner and after Nato refused to bow to his threats seemingly only one option remains.”

Tweeting on Saturday, foreign secretary Liz Truss, who alongside other Nato members condemned Russia’s military build-up on the Ukraine border, has called on Moscow to “halt its aggression.”

She said: “Russia is waging a disinformation campaign intended to destabilise and justify an invasion of its sovereign neighbour Ukraine.

“Russia must halt its aggression, deescalate and engage in meaningful talks.”

On Friday, Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov said Moscow would not wait indefinitely for a Western response to its demands that both the US and Nato guarantee that the military alliance will not expand eastwards. He said he expects a written answer next week.

He added Nato’s deployments and drills near Russia’s borders pose a security challenge that must be addressed immediately.

“We have run out of patience,” Mr Lavrov said at a news conference. “The West has been driven by hubris and has exacerbated tensions in violation of its obligations and common sense.”

Yesterday, the Russian ministry of defence shared footage of tanks and weapons being loaded onto trains. Moscow described the exercise as being part of an inspection drill to test long-distance artillery.

“This is likely cover for the units being moved towards Ukraine,” Rob Lee, a US-based military analyst, said.

On the same day, a major cyberattack was launched on Ukraine – targeting more than a dozen government websites – with suspected Russian hackers sending a warning to Ukrainians to “be afraid and expect the worst”.

“As a result of a massive hacking attack, the websites of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and a number of other government agencies are temporarily down. Our specialists are already working on restoring the work of IT systems,” a Ukrainian foreign ministry spokesperson said on Friday.

On Friday morning, Josep Borrell, the EU’s top diplomat, condemned the cyberattack and said the bloc would support Kiev. 

“We are going to mobilise all our resources to help Ukraine to tackle this cyberattack. Sadly, we knew it could happen,” he told reporters at a gathering of EU foreign leaders in Brest, France.”

“It’s difficult to say [who is behind it]. I can’t blame anybody as I have no proof, but we can imagine,” he added.

The Chinese Nuclear horn continues to grow Daniel 7

Spectators wave Chinese flags as military vehicles carrying DF-41 nuclear ballistic missiles roll during a parade to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the founding of Communist China in Beijing on Oct. 1, 2019. 

China pledges to continue to ‘modernize’ nuclear arsenal, calls on US, Russia to make greater cuts

China says it will agree to reduce nuclear warheads once the US and Russia ‘drastically’ diminish stockpiles

January 04, 2022

China on Tuesday said it would keep modernizing its nuclear program in the name of “safety” but called on the United States and Russia to make greater cuts to their arsenal stockpiles. 

“China will continue to modernize its nuclear arsenal for reliability and safety issues,” Fu Cong, director-general of the Foreign Ministry’s arms control department said Tuesday, first reported the South China Morning Post

Fu Cong, the director general of the Foreign Ministry's arms control department, attends a press conference on nuclear arms control in Beijing, China, Tuesday, Jan. 4, 2022. 

Fu’s comments come one day after the five states recognized under the 1968 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) — the U.S., Russia, France, the United Kingdom and China, who are also the five permanent members (P5) of the UN Security Council — issued a joint pledge to lower the risk of nuclear war.    

The P5 affirmed that “nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought” and that “nuclear weapons — for as long as they continue to exist — should serve defensive purposes, deter aggression, and prevent war.”

While the U.N. permanent member nations hold the greatest number of nuclear arsenals, nations like India, Pakistan, Israel and North Korea have known stockpiles as well.

The U.S. and Russia have been working to reduce their nuclear stockpiles since the end of the Cold War when there were roughly 60,000 nuclear weapons between the two superpowers.

According to data from the Arms Control Association, Russia has the largest nuclear arsenals in the world with more than 6,255 warheads on hand. The U.S. comes in second with 5,550 warheads.

China ranks a distant third with 350 nuclear warheads.

Department of Defense report in November found that China may be ramping up its nuclear capabilities and could have 700 nuclear warheads by 2027 and reach 1,000 warheads by 2030. 

China’s arms control director general denied the report Tuesday and said the country’s nuclear force could not be determined by satellite photos.

“On the assertions made by U.S. officials that China is expanding dramatically its nuclear capabilities, first, let me say that this is untrue,” Fu said.

Fu reiterated China’s stance that Beijing will not enter into an agreement with Washington or the Kremlin to reduce its nuclear warhead capabilities until the U.S. and Russia have drastically diminished their stockpiles. 

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Fu Cong, center, the director general of the Foreign Ministry’s arms control department, attends a press conference on nuclear arms control in Beijing, China, Tuesday, Jan. 4, 2022.  (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)

“We will be happy to join if they have reduced to our level,” Fu said. 

“The two superpowers need to … drastically reduce their nuclear capabilities to a level comparable to the level of China, and for that matter to the level of France and the U.K., so that other nuclear states can join in this process,” he added. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Israel escalates war on all fronts outside the Temple Walls: Revelation 11

An explosion caused by Israeli airstrikes is seen in the town of Khan Younis, southern Gaza Strip, Sunday Jan, 2, 2022. (AP Photo/Yousef Masoud)

Israel escalates war on all fronts against Palestinians

Jean Shaoul

Human rights organisation B’Tselem has highlighted the massive increase in Israel’s attacks against the Palestinians in 2021, the deadliest year since Israel’s criminal assault on Gaza in 2014.

According to B’Tselem, Israel’s security forces killed 313 Palestinians in the Palestinian territories it has illegally occupied since the 1967 Arab Israeli war: 236 in the Gaza Strip, almost all during the 11-day assault in May, and 77 in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Another six were killed either at the hands of soldiers or armed settlers. A further 25 Palestinians in Gaza were killed by rockets fired at Israel that landed within Gaza, while it was unclear whether another eight were killed by Israeli forces or Palestinian rocket fire. In the West Bank, Israel’s de facto subcontractors, the Palestinian Authority (PA) security forces, killed two Palestinians during their arrest.

Of the 232 Palestinians killed by the military during the May assault on Gaza, at least 137 were non-combatants, including 53 minors and 38 women, many of whom were killed during the criminal bombardment of densely populated areas, a consistent feature of Israel’s operations. While senior Israeli officials claim that lethal fire is used as a “last resort” in accordance with Israeli and international law, this is clearly routine with no one held accountable.

B’Tselem investigated 336 incidents of settler violence, up from 251 in 2020, that resulted in at least eight Palestinian civilian deaths, including two minors, at the hands of security forces or settlers that occurred during the weeks of protests against the establishment of the illegal Eviatar outpost on Palestinian land. Violence was not simply a case of a few unruly settlers out of control, but a strategy aimed at taking over more and more Palestinian land with the full support of the military and the government.

Following an agreement with the government in June, the 50 settlers at Eviatar agreed to leave and allow Israeli troops to establish a base in the area, while the defence ministry studied land claims to assess whether to recognise a future settlement.

Since then, Israeli soldiers have prevented Palestinian farmers from accessing hundreds of dunams (one dunam is equal to one quarter of an acre) of their own land, blocked agricultural roads and repeatedly damaged them. On July 9, soldiers fired on Palestinian protesters, injuring nearly 400 people, making it clear that that the settlement will get government approval.

Civilian deaths and Israel’s rules of engagement

As well as killing and wounding Palestinian protesters, soldiers killed at least 36 Palestinians, including four minors and five women, accused of attacking or attempting to attack Israeli security forces or civilians with a car, knife, firearm or even stones. B’Tselem cited two of the most egregious examples of such unlawful shootings: the killing of Osama Mansur, who was not endangering the soldiers’ lives and was mistakenly suspected of trying to run them over; and of Fahmeyeh al-Hrub, 60, who was moving slowly towards the soldiers who killed her.

Together with right-wing settler groups’ demands that the military stop “tying the hands” of Israeli soldiers in the West Ban, citing such attacks provides the context for last month’s decision of the military, which has for years granted its soldiers near-total immunity and little legal accountability, to revise its Rules of Engagement (RoE) in relation to its open-fire policies in the occupied West Bank. Under the new rules, Israeli soldiers may shoot, even kill, fleeing Palestinians, including children, for allegedly throwing rocks at Israeli “civilian” cars, even when they no longer pose any danger. By “civilians,” the new army manual means the armed settlers who have taken over land in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem and killed and wounded numerous Palestinians over the decades. The new RoE do not apply to armed settlers that assault or attempt to assault soldiers.

The security forces now have carte blanche to shoot-to-kill, without any fear of retribution in the courts since they are acting in accordance with the army’s manual of operations. This enables Israel to plead in any investigation into human rights violations and war crimes in the occupied territories by the International Criminal Court that no war crimes have taken place, since the killing of Palestinians have been carried out in accordance with Israel’s military code and judicial system.

Israel’s soldiers and police have become judge, jury and executioner, free of all restraint.

Demolitions

Israeli authorities demolished 295 residential buildings in the West Bank and in East Jerusalem, the highest number since 2016, making 895 Palestinians, 463 of them children, homeless; in addition to 548 non-residential buildings, including warehouses, agricultural structures, cisterns, businesses and public structures, the highest number since 2012.

Israel uses the Emergency Statutes of 1945, left over from the British Mandate, in the occupied territories to claim these demolitions were a matter of “law enforcement” as the homes and structures were built without permits. In the 1950s Menachem Begin, leader of the Irgun terrorist gang and future Likud prime minister, deemed this legislation when used against Jews as “worse than the Nazi legislation.”

The use of these laws serves to block almost all Palestinian development in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, while greenlighting settlement expansion. The Palestinians have no option but to build without a licence, providing the pretext for the Israeli authorities to issue demolition orders.

Last month, Menachem Mazuz, a former attorney general and judge in Israel’s highest court, told Ha’aretz that he considers house demolitions as collective punishment, illegal and immoral, as well as ineffective. His frustration over the issue was a major reason for his leaving the court in 2020, some five years before his tenure expired.

Arrests, imprisonment and administrative detention

A report by several Palestinian organisations, including the Commission of Detainees Affairs, the Palestinian Prisoner Society (PPS), Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association, and Wadi Hilweh Information Center, revealed that the Israeli army had arrested nearly 8,000 Palestinians in 2021, including more than 1,300 minors and 184 women.

There were around 4,600 prisoners and detainees, including 34 women and a girl and about 160 children and minors, in Israeli jails. Some 547 prisoners were serving life sentences. According to the Palestinian News and Information Agency (WAFA), Israel holds 10 journalists in its prisons, while 384 Israeli violations against journalists in the West Bank were registered in 2021.

Addameer said that there about 500, including nine members of the Palestinian Legislative Council and four minors, in administrative detention—open-ended detention by the military authorities based on secret evidence without charge or trial. This is a practice that Michael Lynk, the United Nations human rights expert monitoring the occupied territories, has called “an anathema in any democratic society that follows the rule of law.”

Last month, Israeli military officials, concerned that the death of 40-year-old Hisham Abu Hawash—who had been on hunger strike for four months to protest his open-ended detention—would spark civil unrest in the West Bank and Gaza, suspended his detention saying his failing health meant he no longer posed a danger to the state.

Nearly 600 prisoners were sick, including several with cancer. On Tuesday, rallies took place in the West Bank in a show of solidarity with Palestinian prisoners in Israel, with calls to free Nasser Abu Hamid, battling cancer in detention. Qadura Fares, the head of the PPS, a prisoners’ rights advocacy group, said that Israel “is practicing slow killing” of Palestinian prisoners through “medical negligence.”

Russia Threatens Babylon the Great: Revelation 16

A senior Russian diplomat has refused to rule out a Russian military deployment to Cuba and Venezuela if tensions with the United States over Ukraine and NATO’s expansion in Eastern Europe mountBy VLADIMIR ISACHENKOV and MATTHEW LEE Associated PressJanuary 13, 2022, 2:22 PM• 7 min read

High-stakes discussions between US and RussiaThe first round of crisis talks between Russia and the U.S. over Ukraine and NATO expan…Read MoreThe Associated Press

MOSCOW — Russia raised the stakes Thursday in its dispute with the West over Ukraine and NATO’s expansion when a top diplomat refused to rule out a military deployment to Cuba and Venezuela if tensions with the United States escalate.

“It all depends on the action by our U.S. counterparts,” the minister said in an interview with Russian television network RTVI, citing Russian President Vladimir Putin’s warning that Moscow could take unspecified “military-technical measures” if the U.S. and its allies fail to heed its demands.

U.S. national security adviser Jake Sullivan dismissed the statements about a possible Russian deployment to Cuba and Venezuela as “bluster in the public commentary.”

Ryabkov led a Russian delegation in talks with the U.S. on Monday. The negotiations in Geneva and a related NATO-Russia meeting in Brussels took place in response to a significant Russian troop buildup near Ukraine that the West fears might be a prelude to an invasion.

Russia, which annexed Ukraine’s Crimea Peninsula in 2014, has denied having plans to attack the neighboring country. The Kremlin reacted to the suggestion by accusing NATO of threatening its territory and demanding that the military alliance never embrace Ukraine or any other ex-Soviet nations as new members.

Washington and its allies firmly rejected the demand this week as a nonstarter, but the NATO and Russian delegations agreed to leave the door open to further talks on arms control and other issues intended to reduce the potential for hostilities.

Speaking to reporters in Washington, Sullivan said that “allied unity and transatlantic solidarity were on full display and they remain on full display” during this week’s talks with Russia, which he described as “frank and direct.”

“We stuck to our core premise of reciprocity,” the national security adviser said. “We were firm in our principles and clear about those areas where we can make progress and those areas that are non-starter.”

Sullivan noted that no further talks have been scheduled, but “we’re prepared to continue with diplomacy to advance security and stability in the Euro-Atlantic.”

“We’re equally prepared if Russia chooses a different path,” he added. “We continue to coordinate intensively with partners on severe economic measures in response to a further Russian invasion of Ukraine.”

Asked about Ryabkov keeping the door open to basing troops and equipment in Latin America, Sullivan responded: “I’m not going to respond to bluster in the public commentary.”

He noted that the issue wasn’t raised during this week’s talks and added that “if Russia were to move in that direction, we would deal with it decisively.”

Ryabkov last month compared the current tensions over Ukraine with the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis — when the Soviet Union deployed missiles to Cuba and the U.S. imposed a naval blockade of the island.

That crisis ended after U.S. President John F. Kennedy and Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev agreed that Moscow would withdraw its missiles in exchange for Washington’s pledge not to invade Cuba and the removal of U.S. missiles from Turkey.

Putin, in seeking to curtail the West’s military activity in Eastern Europe, has argued that NATO could use Ukrainian territory to deploy missiles capable of reaching Moscow in just five minutes. He warned that Russia could gain a similar capability by deploying warships armed with the latest Zircon hypersonic cruise missile in neutral waters.

Soon after his first election in 2000, Putin ordered the closure of a Soviet-built military surveillance facility in Cuba as he sought to improve ties with Washington. Moscow has intensified contacts with Cuba in recent years as tensions with the U.S. and its allies mounted.

In December 2018, Russia briefly dispatched a pair of its nuclear-capable Tu-160 bombers to Venezuela in a show of support for Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro amid Western pressure.

Ryabkov said a refusal by the U.S. and its allies to consider the key Russian demand for guarantees against the alliance’s expansion to Ukraine and other ex-Soviet nations makes it hard to discuss the confidence-building steps that Washington says it’s ready to negotiate.

“The U.S. wants to conduct a dialogue on some elements of the security situation … to ease the tensions and then continue the process of geopolitical and military development of the new territories, coming closer to Moscow,” he said. “We have nowhere to retreat.”

Ryabkov described U.S. and NATO military deployments and drills near Russia’s territory as extremely destabilizing. He said U.S. nuclear-capable strategic bombers flew just 15 kilometers (9 miles) from Russia’s border.

“We are constantly facing a provocative military pressure intended to test our strength,” he said, adding that he wondered how Americans would react “if our bombers fly within 15 kilometers off some U.S. bases on the East or the West Coast.”

The high-stakes diplomacy took place as an estimated 100,000 Russian troops with tanks and other heavy weapons are massed near Ukraine’s eastern border. On Thursday, Sullivan reiterated concerns that Moscow may be laying the groundwork for invading Ukraine by fabricating allegations that Kyiv is preparing to act against Russia.

He said the U.S. would be making public some of the reasons for that assessment in the coming days.

Earlier Thursday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov rebuffed the West’s calls for a troop pullback from areas near Ukraine.

“It’s hardly possible for NATO to dictate to us where we should move our armed forces on Russian territory,” he said.

Peskov said this week’s talks produced “some positive elements and nuances,” but he characterized them as unsuccessful overall.

“The talks were initiated to receive specific answers to concrete principal issues that were raised, and disagreements remained on those principal issues, which is bad,” Peskov said in a conference call with reporters.

He warned of a complete rupture in U.S.-Russia relations if proposed sanctions targeting Putin and other top civilian and military leaders are adopted. The measures, proposed by Senate Democrats, would also target leading leading Russian financial institutions if Moscow sends troops into Ukraine.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov likewise denounced the proposed sanctions as a reflection of U.S. “arrogance,” adding that Moscow expects a written response to its demands from the U.S. and NATO next week in order to mull further steps.

Tensions revolving around Ukraine and Russia’s demands on the West again appeared on the table at a Thursday meeting of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Vienna.

Polish Foreign Minister Zbigniew Rau, who assumed the position of the OSCE’s chairman-in-office, noted in his opening speech that “the risk of war in the OSCE area is now greater than ever before in the last 30 years.”

Russia seized the Crimean Peninsula after the ouster of Ukraine’s Moscow-friendly leader and in 2014 also threw its weight behind a separatist insurgency in eastern Ukraine. More than 14,000 people have been killed in nearly eight years of fighting between the Russia-backed rebels and Ukrainian forces.

Asked whether he’s worried about possible confrontation, U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said “it is absolutely essential that the dialogue that is taking place find a way allowing for de-escalation of tension … to avoid any kind of confrontation that will be a disaster for Europe and for the world.”

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Lee reported from Washington. Emily Schultheis in Vienna, Lorne Cook in Brussels, Edith M. Lederer at the United Nastions and Colleen Long in Washington contributed to this report.