Rising Antisemitism Outside the Temple Walls: Revelation 11

By Yoni Weissכ”א שבט תשפ”ב

Streaks of light are seen as the Iron Dome antimissile system intercepts rockets launched from the Gaza Strip toward Israel, as seen from Ashkelon, May 12, 2021. (REUTERS/Amir Cohen/File Photo)YERUSHALAYIM – 

The coronavirus pandemic led to a rise in antisemitism around the world in 2021, according to a report by the Diaspora Ministry that will be presented to the government on Sunday, ahead of International Holocaust Remembrance Day on Jan. 27.

This report points to a link between rising antisemitism and the pandemic, seeing a rise in conspiratorial rhetoric, painting Jews as profiting from vaccines and exploiting the crisis to strengthen their grip on governments and the world economy.

The report further shows that the pandemic brought about a trend of trivialization of the Holocaust, both by public figures and social media users, with repeated comparisons between health restrictions and the antisemitic discrimination and violence in Nazi Germany.

Many anti-vax protesters around the world have brandished the yellow badge to signify persecution by the authorities.

The report also shows that the past year has seen an upsurge in antisemitic incidents around the world, in part due to the escalation in the Gaza Strip last May, which saw an outburst of anti-Jewish hatred on social media.

In total, in 2021, the Diaspora Ministry’s monitoring system identified 3.5 million antisemitic posts in various languages.

In its report, the ministry says there is a correlation between violent speech on social media and violent actions in the public sphere against Jews, who are seen as collectively responsible for Israel’s actions.

The last chance before the explosion outside the Temple Walls: Revelation 11

The last chance before the explosion’

The year 2021 was a bloody one even by the usually gory standards of the long-running Israel-Palestine conflict. Data from the United Nations shows that violence in the West Bank reached a five-year peak,” with at least 79 Palestinians and three Israelis killed in a series of attacks, bombings, and confrontations. In the other Palestinian territory of Gaza, over 230 Palestinians were killed during the devastating 11-day war between Israel and Hamas in May 2021, while 12 people died in Israel – not to mention injuries and losses of property. Last year was the deadliest since 2014 and an ominous sign of what is to come.

With no formal peace process underway since talks last broke off over seven years ago, and frustration and anger building up amid zero hope on the horizon for a lasting diplomatic solution, the situation can be labeled as a tenuous tinderbox that can ignite at any moment in another bout of fighting and clashes. UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Tor Wennesland has warned that, “if left unaddressed, the festering conflict drivers will drag us into yet another destructive and bloody round of violence.” 

In a clear recognition that matters could slip out of hand and repeat more deadly cycles of tit-for-tat attacks, Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas met in late December 2021 in the town of Rosh HaAyin. It was notably “the first time the Palestinian leader held talks with a senior Israeli official in Israel since 2010,” a step necessitated by what Gantz described as “deepening security coordination and preventing terror and violence – for the well-being of both Israelis and Palestinians.” Palestinian Civil Affairs Minister Hussein al-Sheikh labeled this dialogue as “the last chance before the explosion and finding ourselves at a dead end.”

Political contradictions

But even as the Gantz-Abbas meeting triggered a wave of international optimism that it may be the first step for reviving a dialogue process and bringing the two sides back to the table to work out a formula on the world’s most intractable conflicts, a political firestorm broke out in Israel. Housing Minister Ze’ev Elkin, representing the conservative New Hope party, thundered in disapproval that “I wouldn’t have invited to my home someone who pays salaries to murderers of Israelis and also wants to put senior IDF [Israel Defense Forces] officers in prison in The Hague [at the International Criminal Court].” Livid cabinet ministers were quoted as grumbling that Gantz’s initiative “doesn’t contribute to the stability of the government.”

Whose Israel and whose Palestine? Extremists are running amok as leaderships fail

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, who heads an unwieldy and ideologically fragmented eight-party coalition government, and whose right-wing Yamina party is closely associated with hawkish Jewish settlers opposed to yielding even one inch of the biblical Judea and Samaria (corresponding to today’s West Bank), was left in a precarious position and had to admit that Gantz hosted Abbas after his approval. To cover his back, though, Bennett clarified that the purpose of the talks was limited to improving security coordination and economic interactions, not to restart the peace process.

Under pressure from within his own party, and desperate to ensure that his contradiction-filled coalition government does not collapse, Bennett had previously dissociated himself from any revival of peace negotiations with the Palestinians:

“My perception is different than that of the defense minister, although we work in harmony. I oppose a Palestinian state and I think it would be a grave mistake to import the failed Gaza model of Hamas which shoots rockets at us, and turn the entire West Bank to that. I see no logic in meeting Abbas when he’s suing our soldiers in the Hague and accuses our commanders of war crimes. In my opinion, the Palestinian Authority is a failed entity.”

At the other corner of the spectrum in the coalition government is Foreign Minister Yair Lapid, the leader of the centrist Yesh Atid, who thinks that Israel has no option but to revive the peace process with the Palestinians. Citing an “intelligence-based assessment” that campaigns for international ostracization and designation of Israel as an ‘apartheid state’ could fructify in 2022, Lapid has publicly advocated a moderate stance:

“Without diplomatic dialogue with the Palestinians, this [the threat of Israel being designated an apartheid state] will only grow more severe. We need to be cautious of a situation in which the world says the Palestinians are promoting diplomatic talks and Israel is refusing. The claim that Israel is an apartheid state is a disgusting lie. These are a group of anti-Semites, but I don’t take them lightly.”

Still, such is the shaky political environment in Israel that Lapid, who is supposed to take over by rotation from Bennett and become the next prime minister in 2023, has been forced to assure his detractors that he would keep aside his own beliefs and stay away from dialogue with the Palestinians to preserve the coalition:

“Even after a coalition rotation, I will remain with the same people and the same disagreements … I plan to stand behind the agreement I made with my partners. There is no reason for me to delude the Palestinians and open a diplomatic process that doesn’t have a coalition behind it … That would damage our credibility, which is important.”

Social polarization

When the foremost liberal politician in Israel has to hold his horses despite being cognizant of the blowback effect of the unstable status quo with the Palestinians, it shows how difficult the road ahead is for any diplomatic path forward. The obstacles come not only from the mood of the political class in Israel, where the mainstream discourse is largely ‘securitized’ and based on fear of granting any concessions to the Palestinians, but also from increasing social polarization. 

‘New generation is capable of leading a new Intifada’

An opinion poll in December 2021 suggested that a slim majority of Israelis are in favor of a direct meeting between Prime Minister Bennett and President Abbas, and that 49% of Israelis even want their government to have “direct, open talks” with Hamas – an entity designated a terrorist organization by the governments of Israel, the United States, and the European Union.

But such barometers of what Israeli people want are deceptive and not indicative of policy-making, because the country’s electoral math is divided up according to vote banks. Former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who was ousted from power in June 2021 after failing to cobble together yet another right-wing coalition in the Israeli Knesset, remains a formidable force. There is a clear pattern of Bennett and other rightists in the current coalition wanting to outdo Netanyahu and demonstrate an even tougher approach to crushing terrorism by Palestinian jihadists and expanding illegal Jewish settlements in the West Bank and Jerusalem. Any concession by Lapid or Gantz that crosses the red lines set by this overarching rightist milieu could plunge Israel into more uncertainty and chaos, following four inconclusive general elections since April 2019.

Former US President Donald Trump’s remarksthat “I don’t think Bibi [Netanyahu’s nickname] ever wanted to make peace” with the Palestinians, and that “he just tapped us along. Just tap, tap, tap,” reveal the crux of the matter. Barring a few left-liberals, the Israeli body politic is invested only in managing the Palestinian problem in terms of stopping terrorist attacks or throwing a few economic sops at President Abbas’ moribund and unpopular Palestinian Authority, not in resolving the conflict per se.

Israeli military changes open-fire rules

The much-talked-about ‘two-state solution’ of an independent Palestinian state coexisting beside the state of Israel, which was put forward as the final goalpost after the 1993 Oslo Accords, has lost traction amid a steady increase in what Israeli security officials themselves admit is a surge in Jewish extremism and ultra-nationalism. 

In an August 2021 opinion poll, only 39.7% of Israelis favored the two-state solution. Most tellingly, within the group clinging to the fading dream of a two-state solution, just 33.8% were Jewish Israelis, while 68.8% were Israeli Arabs (citizens of Israel, most of whom consider themselves Palestinians and identify with their stateless kin living in the West Bank and Gaza).

The internal schism between Jews and Arabs within Israel has widened significantly, mirroring the internecine feud between Hamas and Abbas’ Fatah faction in the Palestinian territories. These two trends further hamper any progress in relaunching diplomatic efforts. While there never were monolithic unanimous categories of ‘Israel’ and ‘Palestine’, the parallel processes of disaggregation of national identities and widespread public cynicism about the intentions and performance of the ruling classes on both sides have created a huge credibility vacuum.

International negotiations can only succeed when there are two willing and coherent parties, each with domestic legitimacy and social consensus behind them. Neither Israel nor the Palestinian Authority has such a solid footing in their respective home bases.

‘Separate peace’ without Palestine

Another factor deterring any move by Israel for peace with the Palestinians is what can be called the ‘outside in’ approach Jerusalem has adopted to the Middle East as a whole. The Abraham Accords, facilitated by Israel’s principal international backer the US, wherein four Arab countries – the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Morocco, and Sudan – formally recognized Israel and established diplomatic relations with it, have given Israel a sense of vindication without having to redress Palestinian grievances.

As Prime Minister Bennett put it in December, during his historic first ever visit to the UAE after the normalization of relations, there is“great optimism that this example, of ties between the two countries, will be a cornerstone for a wide-ranging network of ties throughout the region.” The Middle East has indeed traveled a long way from the 1967 consensus among Arab nations of the ‘Three Nos’ – “no peace with Israel, no recognition of Israel, no negotiations with it.” Israel is no longer persona non grata among many Sunni Arab countries, which have adjusted their national interests to do pragmatic quid pro quo deals with the militarily superior and economically vibrant Zionist state instead of resisting it.

Understandably, Palestinians have lambastedthe Trump administration-brokered Abraham Accords as unpardonable betrayals and treacherous stabs in the back of Palestinians by their fellow Arabs. But unlike in 1979 – when Egypt recognized Israel in return for the Sinai Peninsula without gaining any concessions on behalf of Palestinians, resulting in a torrent of Islamist anger that scalped the life of President Anwar Sadat – the chorus of outrage against the Abraham Accords has been muted in the proverbially radical ‘Arab street’. Apparently, many in the Muslim world are fatigued and tired of carrying the burdensome cross of the Israel-Palestine dispute on their shoulders and want to move on.

The international marginalization of the Palestinian cause, which once used to fire up the entire Middle East and mobilize leftist firebrands worldwide, has given Israeli elites confidence that they can have their cake and eat it too. As seen from Jerusalem, if the broader Arab-Israeli conflict is melting away, why care about the narrower Palestinian-Israeli conflict?

The Iran diversion 

An interlinked development which has pushed resolution of the Palestinian question to the backburner is the ‘Iran threat’, which has reorganized coalitions and alignments in the region. Because Iran remains the leading power in the ‘axis of resistance’ against Israel and the US – a grouping which includes Syria, the Lebanese Hezbollah, Iraqi and Yemeni militants – Jerusalem views Tehran as its main national security challenge and enemy number one.

The laser-like focus that Israel, the US, Saudi Arabia, and other Sunni Arab states have kept on Iran’s nuclear programme and the ‘malign activities’ of Iran’s proxies are to an extent based on actual threat assessments and security incidents. But the Iran-phobia discourse also serves a political purpose of shoving the Palestinian problem under the carpet as a far less important matter or even a bygone concern of an earlier era that deserves no fresh diplomatic push.

Mowing the grass forever?

Palestinian gunned down in Jerusalem after stabbing Orthodox Jewish man (VIDEO)

If Israel keeps kicking the can down the road and indefinitely sustaining the status quo of militarily occupying the West Bank (home to about 2.8 million Palestinians) and laying siege to Gaza (containing over 1.8 million Palestinians), even as frustration and desperation rise in these territories, is it not a recipe for wave after wave of uprisings, outbursts, and violence that could spill over into Israel itself, as was the case during the 2021 Israel-Hamas mini war? President Abbas’ repeated postponement of elections (Palestinian territories have not voted for their top leaders since 2006) and the rage that emanates from powerlessness and joblessness among Palestinians (average age of 20 years) could boomerang sharply on Israel. 

Foreign Minister Lapid, who has expressedworries about whether Israel can remain Jewish and democratic if it permanently denies Palestinians their rights, has acknowledged that Israel’s government cannot afford to neglect the Palestinian issue “forever and ever.”

However, Jewish fertility rates have overtaken those of Palestinians in recent years, relieving old fears of Jews becoming a demographic minority in Israel and the occupied territories. This shift, together with the ever-splintering socio-political identities within Israel which skew policymaking toward hardline positions, has weakened the argument that something must be done urgently to reconcile with Palestinians and try for peace.

Israel’s strategy of periodically ‘mowing the grass’, i.e. using superior military force to repel Palestinian jihadists while avoiding a final political solution, is presumably the only visible path, despite its inbuilt violence and terrible human and economic costs. Barring a grassroots generational shift in Israeli public attitudes and political culture or a wholesale capitulation by the dysfunctional Palestinian factions to accept a one-sided peace deal thrown at them, this perpetual war has only commas and no full stops. Sreeram Chaulia is a professor and dean at the Jindal School of International Affairs in Sonipat, India. His forthcoming book is ‘Crunch Time: Narendra Modi’s National Security Crises’.

Israeli forces target farmlands outside the Temple Walls: Revelation 11

Israeli forces target farmlands in Gaza Strip

GAZA, Friday, January 21, 2022 (WAFA) – Israeli forces today targeted farmlands east of the Deir al-Balah and Khan Younes cities in the besieged Gaza Strip, according to WAFA correspondent.

He said that Israeli soldiers stationed along the border opened intense machine gunfire and tear gas bombs towards farmers who attempted to access their land to inspect the damage to their winter crops following the recent stormy weather conditions east of the cities in the central and southern parts of the strip, spreading panic among them and forcing them to flee for their safety.

No injuries were reported though.

Fourteen years following the Israeli “disengagement” from Gaza, Israel has not actually disengaged from Gaza; it still maintains control of its land borders, access to the sea and airspace.

Two million Palestinians live the Gaza Strip, which has been subjected to a punishing and crippling Israeli blockade for 12 years and repeated onslaughts that have heavily damaged much of the enclave’s infrastructure.

Gaza’s 2-million population remains under “remote control” occupation and a strict siege, which has destroyed the local economy, strangled Palestinian livelihoods, plunged them into unprecedented rates of unemployment and poverty, and cut off from the rest of the occupied Palestinian territories and the wider world.

Gaza remains occupied territory, having no control over its borders, territorial waters or airspace. Meanwhile, Israel upholds very few of its responsibilities as the occupying power, failing to provide for the basic needs of Palestinian civilians living in the territory.

Every two in three Palestinians in Gaza is a refugee from lands inside what is now Israel. That government forbids them from exercising their right to return as enshrined in international law because they are not Jews.

Rocket launched from outside the Temple Walls: Revelation 11

 IRON DOME interceptors destroy rockets launched from the Gaza Strip toward Israel in the skies over Ashkelon in May. (photo credit: AMIR COHEN/REUTERS)

Rocket launched from Lebanon towards Israel – report

Rockets have been launched from both Gaza and Lebanon over the fast few months.

Unknown individuals in Lebanon launched a rocket towards Israel on Wednesday night, according to Lebanese media.

Islamic State militants attack prison in Syria’s al-Hasaka, US-backed SDF says

Army Radio reported that there was no indication that there had in fact been a rocket launch.

 Iron dome anti-missile system fires interception missiles as rockets fired from the Gaza Strip to Israel, in the southern Israeli city of Ashkelon, May 19, 2021.  (credit: OLIVIER FITOUSSI/FLASH90)

Iron dome anti-missile system fires interception missiles as rockets fired from the Gaza Strip to Israel, in the southern Israeli city of Ashkelon, May 19, 2021. (credit: OLIVIER FITOUSSI/FLASH90)

Other Lebanese outlets reported that an explosion was heard in the area from which the rocket was reportedly launched but that the source was unknown.

Over the last few months, Gaza fired multiple rockets towards Israel, claiming that they were mistakes and blaming other elements such as the weather.The last time this happened was at the beginning of January when two rockets were launched by Hamas. It was claimed that they were launched by lightning strikes. The rockets fell into the coast off Israeli’s center, and no one was hurt.

Before that, two rockets were fired over within a week of each other, and Hamas once again claimed that extreme weather was the causeThe last time rockets were launched from Lebanon toward Israel was in August. Hezbollah fired 20 rockets into Israel, 10 of which were intercepted and six fell inside Lebanon.

Lebanon is currently undergoing a severe period of instability amid a massive economic crisis, a severe fuel shortage and tensions in the political sector.

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.

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.

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.”