The Biden administration has repeatedly called on Israel not to expand settlements in land Palestinians claim. But Israel’s new government has said it will continue settlement activity. It sees other issues, especially Iran’s nuclear program, as being at the top of the agenda with the U.S.
Hanna Bisharat built his house in Jerusalem in 1926 for his large family (pictured in black and white). After they were expelled during the Nakba, Golda Meir, the PM of Israel who declared “there were no such thing as Palestinians” stole this home and used it as her residence. pic.twitter.com/suuD3yxxoC
30 Palestinian shop owners in central Israel, lands occupied in 1948, recently received eviction orders from the Israeli Regional Committee for Planning and Building, Arab 48 news reported Tuesday.
The owners of the shops, located in Qalansuwa and Taybeh cities, were handed eviction notices under the pretext of building on residential plots of land, not for use as commercial property.
The committee gave shop owners, Palestinian citizens of Israel, 30 days to evacuate their stores or be fined 600,000 shekels ($186,811 US).
Palestinians responded to the bigotry and violence of settlers under the protection of armed Israeli soldiers by rallying in the streets and trying to prevent the settlers from accessing Damascus Gate.
Did you know that Palestinians in Jerusalem are mere “residents” in our ancestral city and that our “permits” to stay on our land can be revoked for, say, “breaching allegiance” to the regime that is systematically displacing our people and destroying our lives?
Exhibit A: https://t.co/Y1RiZpIOdg
This was originally developed by Israel Military Industries for Israel’s Eitan armored fighting vehicle and D9 armored bulldozer.
That means that like most other Israeli weapons it was almost certainly tested on Palestinians first.
The Netherlands is rewarding Israel for killing dozens of Palestinian children in the Gaza Strip last May.
That’s the only reasonable conclusion after the North European monarchy announced a new “security cooperation” agreement with the apartheid state.
Hans Docter, the Dutch ambassador in Tel Aviv, signed the pact with Israeli defense minister Benny Gantz last week.
It provides a “framework for collaboration” between the two countries’ militaries, according to the Dutch defense ministry.
The tightening Dutch embrace of Israel appears to be a repeat of how the Netherlands for decades fostered close ties with South Africa’s white supremacist regime.
Gantz has twice perpetrated major massacres of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, as army chief of staff in 2014, and as defense minister earlier this year, when he vowed that “no person, area or neighborhood in Gaza is immune.”
In the single deadliest attack, on residential buildings in Gaza City’s al-Wihda street on 16 May, Israeli bombing killed at least 44 people, including 18 children.
Multiple generations of multiple families were obliterated.
A civil lawsuit against Gantz for the killing of the family of Palestinian-Dutch citizen Ismail Ziada in 2014 is still winding its way through Dutch courts.
Indeed, the Eitan armored vehicle is undergoing an “upgrade” based on “lessons” Israel learned from Israel’s 2014 invasion of Gaza, which killed 2,200 Palestinians including more than 550 children.
The D9 armored bulldozer, made by Caterpillar, has long been notorious for how Israel uses it to destroy Palestinian homes and land and to perpetrate extrajudicial executions as part of the Israeli army’s so-called “pressure cooker procedure.”
The Dutch army will now benefit from innovations arising from the commission of such crimes.
Along with Luxembourg and Belgium, the Netherlands signed a $150 million contract in 2015 for Elbit to supply their soldiers with “smart vests.”
It’s no wonder senior Elbit executive Elad Aharonson calls the Netherlands a “key market.”
The Dutch government has not allowed its arms trade with an apartheid regime to interfere with its propaganda about how the land of tulips, clogs and windmills promotes international “peace” and “justice.”
Embracing South African apartheid
Contrary to its self-image as a modern and tolerant democracy, the Netherlands has always had a horrifying human rights record, including centuries of colonial atrocities in Indonesia lasting well into the 20th century.
Successive Dutch governments spent decades shielding South Africa’s apartheid regime from international pressure and calls from the Dutch public for sanctions.
Until the early 1980s, the Dutch state paid its white citizens to emigrate to South Africa, a policy initially adopted to alleviate economic pressure at home following World War II.
But subsidies for Dutch citizens to enjoy a segregated life of settler-colonial privilege at the expense of Black South Africans continued for decades even though objections to the morality of this policy had been raised at least since the 1950s.
This was only a part of the Netherlands’ conscious embrace of apartheid South Africa, which included academic and scientific exchanges and the 1953 signing of a “cultural accord” that was only finally abrogated in 1981.
But some public figures in the country are calling on their government to stop buying arms from Israel – weapons that are typically advertised as “fully battle-proven.”
The Dutch purchases support “an industry that has grown at the expense of the Palestinian population that has been living under Israeli occupation for decades,” two former goverment ministers and a former ambassador wrote in a joint op-ed in the newspaper De Volkskrant after the latest weapons deals were signed.
They note that Israel has been a big supplier of weapons to other regimes that have committed atrocities, including Rwanda during the 1994 genocide, Myanmar and South Sudan.
Arms purchases “from ‘decent’ countries like the Netherlands” have made Israel one of world’s biggest arms exporters per capita, the former Dutch politicians add.
But there is of course nothing decent about the Netherlands and its European Union peers who continue to hector the world about “human rights” while aiding, abetting and profiting from Israel’s crimes.
The Dutch defense ministry also announced that alongside the cooperation pact, the Netherlands signed a “status of forces agreement” with Israel.
This “regulates the legal status of soldiers residing on the territory of the other party, such as during military missions,” the ministry said.
Dutch forces do take part in UN peacekeeping missions, for example in the occupied Syrian Golan Heights and on the border with Lebanon.
But these would presumably be covered by agreements or conventions between the UN and local parties.
A likely motivation for the status of forces agreement is Israel’s need to bolster the impunity of its military personnel wherever they are.
The text of the Israeli-Dutch agreement does not appear to have been published, but precedents may be instructive: The 2012 status of forces agreement between the Netherlands and the United States, for instance, gives the US exclusive jurisdiction in virtually all cases of alleged crimes by American personnel stationed in Aruba, Sint Maarten and other Dutch colonies in the Caribbean.
Another clue comes from the 2015 Israel-Greece status of forces agreement which reportedly “offers legal defenses to both militaries while training in each other’s respective countries.”
At that time, it was noted that the only other country with which Israel already had such an agreement was the United States.
This indicates that the Netherlands is going out of its way to warmly embrace – and reward – Israel’s military by signing a status of forces pact now.
Dutch lawmakers and the public concerned about their country’s deepening complicity with Israel’s regime of occupation, apartheid and settler-colonialism need to absorb the lessons of the past and raise their voices.
History shows that the Dutch state will never relinquish its deep attachment to racist and colonialist policies unless it is compelled to do so.
Dublin’s ‘Open House’ architectural festival has shamefully lent its name to an event sponsored by the Israeli Embassy in Ireland.
This event, entitled ‘Postcards of our City’ which is due to be launched on at 6.30pm Thursday 4th October in Dublin Civic Trust (4 Castle St, Dublin 2), is the latest attempt by the Israeli state to use ‘cultural propaganda’ to whitewash its human rights abuses and war crimes against the Palestinian people.
Those attending will be invited by the Israeli Embassy to send postcards to “random” residents of Tel Aviv.
In response, the Ireland-Palestine Solidarity Campaign (IPSC) will be organising a peaceful ‘Postcards for Palestine’ event outside, to remind those attending that far from “emerging from the sand dunes” – as the Israeli Embassy invitation to the event proclaims – Tel Aviv itself is, in part, built over the remains of four Palestinian villages – Sheikh Muwannis, Jammusin, Salame and Summeil which were ethnically cleaned by Israeli-Zionist military forces in the 1948 Nakba (‘Catastrophe’).
To this day, the Israeli state maintains a policy of home demolition and settlement building in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. We will be inviting people to send postcards of solidarity to refugee families from the four depopulated Palestinian villages, denied their right of return to their homeland.
South Dublin councillors have voted to boycott all Israeli goods on the back of the country’s ‘murderous campaign’ against Palestine.
The motion was forwarded by Tallaght Centreal Sinn Fein Cllr Cathal King at the full South Dublin County Council meeting, which was held virtually on Monday evening.
In his motion, Cllr King called on his fellow councilors to write letters to to the Department of the Taoiseach, all other Local Authorities in the state and Retail Ireland calling on the Irish and International Supermarkets to join the Boycott of all Israeli Goods as a “response to the current and never ending murderous campaign against the Palestinian people including thousands of innocent men, women and children.”
Before the vote, Cllr King described the “unacceptable deaths of men, women and children” that occurred during the outbreak of violence in the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict in May.
After some debate, the motion was supported by his fellow Sinn Fein councillors Cllr Louise Dunne and Cllr Derren Ó Brádaigh.
The motion was eventually passed by 19 votes to 13 with only two abstentions.
Taking to social media after the vote, Cllr King said that he was “delighted” to see the motion passed.
He wrote on Facebook: “Was delighted to get my Boycott ALL Israeli goods motion passed at tonight’s Full Council meeting after submitting it following Israel’s murderous incursion into the Palestinian Territories last May.
“We’ve previously had expel the Israeli ambassador motions passed but got angry letters back to me and Louise from the ambassador calling us terrorists and terrorist sympathizers.”
Cllr King said that he believed the only way to change Israel’s actions is by “hitting them in their pockets where it hurts.”
“Everything else has failed so far. So let’s try this- it worked with the similar apartheid regime in South Africa when those brave Dublin Dunne’s stores women refused to handle apartheid goods.
“This is the same idea. We can’t let the slaughter continue without trying new things. Thanks to my comrades and other colleagues for their support- it is so very much appreciated,” concluded Cllr King.
The Zionist Narrative Is Arguably Responsible For The Welcoming And Forgiving Attitude The Entire World Has Towards The Horrendous, Unforgivable Crimes Committed By Israel Since Its Founding In 1948.
In order to prevent the next massacre by Israel, a state that seems to have an insatiable thirst for Palestinian blood, we have to reverse the narrative and delegitimize Zionism.
Palestine – As these words were being written, the final two Palestinian freedom prisoners who escaped from Gilboa Prison were caught by the Israeli authorities.
Palestine is still reacting to this courageous escape and the consequent re-capture of the six political prisoners who escaped and defied the entire Israeli security apparatus.
However, even though they managed to free themselves from this high-security prison, they found a world that doesn’t care.
The rest of the world did not step up to save these brave men and did not provide them with sanctuary, and so they were caught.
One of the great tragedies of Palestine is that almost every day there is a commemoration of one massacre or another, the death of a child or destruction of a home or village, leading one to think that the Palestinian narrative is one of death and destruction, which is what Israel wants people to think.
But the truth is that this is not the case.
The Palestinian narrative is one of a glorious history with periods of great sadness and tragedy.
It is the Zionist story that is full of killing, stealing and destruction and not, as they try to sell it, one of creation and growth.
September 16, 2021, marked 39 years since the massacres at Sabra and Shatila refugee camps in Lebanon.
As people remember and mourn the thousands of unarmed civilians who were butchered and the countless who survived suffering terrible injuries and emotional scars, we must also remember the man that stood behind this bloodbath.
This was a man whose complicity even the Israeli authorities could not ignore, the former general and renowned war criminal Ariel Sharon.
And although he was momentarily penalized and banished from politics, he very quickly returned, and for a quarter of a century, he was the most powerful and influential man in Israeli politics.
At the end of the day, it is all about the narrative, and we know all too well that Israel has done an outstanding job of erasing the Palestinian narrative and injecting its own mythical, false narrative in its place.
In the media, in movies, in literature, in public education, and in politics the false Zionist narrative rules supreme and we who oppose racism and violence are faced with an enormous task as we engage in the work of reversing the narrative – a task without which it is hard to imagine Palestine ever becoming free.
Over the last 100 years, the Zionist movement managed to take the truly incredible history of Palestine and turn it into a historical footnote, replacing it with a mythical story that relies heavily on a Protestant-Zionist, literal reading of the Old Testament, which allowed them to create what is known as “return history.”
In other words, the Zionist version of the history of Palestine creates the impression that the Jews returned to their ancient homeland after 2,000 years, making it an unprecedented historical event that overshadows anything else that occurred in Palestine over that bimillennial span.
The Zionist narrative is designed to turn the ancient history of Palestine into a small, unimportant story that cannot be compared with the grandeur of the narrative that is presented by the Old Testament.
This is highlighted when Israeli politicians like the current prime minister, Naftali Bennett, refer to the Bible as the source of legitimacy for Israel.
A Four Thousand-Year History
Thanks to the historian Nur Masalha, we now know that the name Palestine goes back close to 4,000 years.
We know that the name Palestine was used in Egyptian sources going back to the Bronze Age, more than 1,000 BCE.
Later, the name was used by the Assyrians in inscriptions from that era.
The Greek historian Herodotus, who lived in the 5th century BCE and who is considered to be the father of history as we know it, visited the country and referred to it as Palestine.
The Greek scientist and philosopher Aristotle also refers to Palestine by name in his writings.
The cities of Lyd, Ramle, and Yaffa all had remarkable histories, as did the cities of Akka, Haifa, and, of course, Nablus, Gaza, and Al-Quds-Jerusalem.
Throughout the Muslim rule of Palestine, cities grew, cultures flourished, economic conditions and trade with Europe allowed people to prosper.
Dhaher Al-Umar, who ruled over large parts of Palestine during the 18th century, is seen as the founding father of Palestinian modernity and, according to Nur Maslaha, he was the most influential figure in the modern orientation of Palestine towards the Mediterranean.
During his reign in Palestine, there were agricultural and technical innovations introduced that “benefited the majority of Palestinian peasantry.”
Thanks to Dhaher Al-Umar, there was considerable growth in the export of cotton, olive oil, wheat and soap.
Other, lesser-known parts of Palestine also flourished throughout history, such as the Palestinian town of Khalasa, which was founded by the Nabatean Arabs in the fourth century and then depopulated by the Zionist militia in 1948.
It was known to be on what is called the “Arab incense route” and, according to Nur Masalha, under Arab-Islamic rule, the town, which sits just southwest of the city of Bi’r Al-Saba, was a major urban center.
According to Mansur Nasasra, the Palestinian Bedouin in the Naqab had a very profitable export of barley to England for the production of beer.
Aerial photos from the early British occupation of Palestine also show large tracts of cultivated land in the Naqab.
These lands are now mostly depopulated and the Palestinian Bedouin in the Naqab are prohibited from cultivating their ancestral lands.
All of this stands in the face of Zionist claims that they came to a barren land and made it bloom.
The Zionist narrative is arguably responsible for the welcoming and forgiving attitude the entire world has towards the horrendous, unforgivable crimes committed by Israel since its founding in 1948.
In order to prevent the next massacre by Israel, a state that seems to have an insatiable thirst for Palestinian blood, we have to reverse the narrative and delegitimize Zionism.
“People simply disappeared, always during the night (cover). Your name was removed from the registers, every record of everything you had ever done was wiped out, your one-time existence was denied and then forgotten. You were abolished, annihilated: vaporized was the usual word.” – George Orwell, 1984, Book 1, Chapter 1
Israel is an imperial outpost, an extension of Wall Street and the City of London in the Middle East. That’s the origin of “Israel.”
The Israeli Municipality of Jerusalem demolished one of the oldest Muslim graveyards in the occupied holy city on Sunday, the official Palestinian news agency WAFA reported.
The head of the Committee for the Preservation of Islamic Cemeteries in Jerusalem, Mustafa Abu Zahra, told WAFA that the Jerusalem Municipality’s teams, accompanied by a bulldozer, destroyed a grave from the Al Yousifieh Cemetery, and scattered the bones.
He added that among the graves demolished were those of Muslims who were martyred in the conflicts between 1948 and 1967, and that Israel will face legal action in response to the municipality’s actions.
Palestinians clash with Jerusalem Police after human remains unearthed: Several human bones were found during construction work near a large Muslim graveyard, after which many Palestinian residents rushed to the area to protest https://t.co/z2T3vhNOWc Haaretz pic.twitter.com/epHCpaUJQZ
According to WAFA, Palestinians who were present in the area blocked the bulldozer from destroying the graves further and forced it out of the area.
Abu Zahra called on all Jerusalemites to “unite in order to protect Jerusalem’s landmarks from the Israeli occupation’s oppression”.
Palestinians clash with Jerusalem Police after human remains unearthed: Several human bones were found during construction work near a large Muslim graveyard, after which many Palestinian residents rushed to the area to protest https://t.co/z2T3vhNOWc Haaretz pic.twitter.com/epHCpaUJQZ
The European Jews who are not even Semitic peoples scream anti-antisemitism when their graves sights are desecrated meanwhile the Jews themselves create a so called “anti-semitic” narrative.
The cemetery, located next to the wall surrounding the Old City, is one of the oldest Muslim graveyards in occupied Jerusalem and is about 4,000 square metres.
The demolition is part of the Israeli occupation authorities’ plan to build a “Biblical garden path” inside the cemetery which contains the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, as well as many ancient and modern graves.
“The massacre was not only justified, but there would not have been a state of Israel without the victory at Deir Yassin.” (New York Jewish Newsletter in October 1960)
700,000 men women and children were terrorized and driven from their homes. The Jewish extremists accomplished this by mass murder, torture and terror.
The Zionist narrative is designed to turn the ancient history of Palestine into a small, unimportant story that cannot be compared with the grandeur of the narrative that is presented by the Old Testament. This is highlighted when Israeli politicians like the current prime minister, Naftali Bennett, refer to the Bible as the source of legitimacy for Israel.
Many of the buildings which remained intact after the Jewish terrorist attack, have been incorporated into the hospital, and can be seen to the present day.
The massacre site is exactly 2000 feet away from Israel’s holocaust museum Yad Vashem, and visitors will actually look out at the massacre site as they leave the museum.
It is a typical act of Jewish chutzpah to locate a memorial to their suffering on a site which overlooks the place where they inflicted so much suffering and misery on other people.
The siting of Yad Vashem on a site which overlooks Deir Yassin is symbolic of the way that Jewish Supremacists treat all other people on earth: first, by inflicting injury upon other people, and then claiming that they are the ones who actually suffered and who, alone among all people, deserve sympathy.
An Israeli Knesset member lashed out at Palestinian parliamentarians on Wednesday, saying the first terrorist of Israel should have “finished the job” of expelling them from their homeland.
“You’re only here by mistake, because Ben-Gurion didn’t finish the job, didn’t throw you out in ’48. I have no dialogue with you at all,” shouted Bezalel Smotrich, the leader of the Religious Zionist Party and close to former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
He called the Palestinian Knesset Members “enemies and terrorist supporters.”
David Ben-Gurion was the primary national founder of Israel, which was founded in 1948 when tens of thousands of Palestinians were evicted from their homes and made refugees in neighboring countries.
There are roughly 1,890,000 Palestinians with Israeli citizenship, around 20.95 percent of the total population.
Smotrich said Israel should remain a “Jewish and democratic state.”
The Arab Joint List MK Aida Touma-Sliman slammed Smotrich’s “fascist” remarks.
“We are subject to this fascist filth almost every day in the Knesset,” said Touma-Sliman.
The Patriarchs and Heads of Churches in Jerusalem today condemned the city’s Israeli Magistrate Court’s decision to allow Jews to pray “silently” in Al-Haram Al-Sharif, which houses Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock, the third holiest site in Islam, considering the decision as an offense on the sole rights of Muslims in the entire compound.
In a statement issued today, the Patriarchs and Heads of Churches stated that such a decision affects the exclusive right of Muslims to their Holy Sanctuary and that the Churches of Jerusalem and their parishioners stand by their Muslim brothers and sisters in this injustice that has befallen upon them.
The Patriarchs and Heads of Churches also affirmed that the Islamic Waqf Department of the Jordanian Ministry of Islamic Affairs, Waqf, and Holy Sanctuaries is the only entity with the right to administer Al-Haram Al-Sharif and to allow or not to allow visits to it.
The Patriarchs and Heads of Churches of the Holy City also indicated that they view this unjust decision and its dangerous repercussions with the utmost seriousness regarding Al-Haram Al-Sharif, the Holy City, and the existing historical and legal status-quo in Jerusalem.
Israel razes Muslim grave in East Jerusalem cemetery
The Israeli municipality of West Jerusalem today infringed on the centuries-old al-Yousifieh Islamic cemetery in occupied East Jerusalem, according to Mustafa Abu Zahra, caretaker of the Islamic cemeteries in the holy city.
He said that a municipality occupation bulldozer today destroyed one of the graves and the bones were scattered.
Palestinians who were present in the area blocked the work of the bulldozer and forced it out of the area.
The Israeli municipality intends to build a park at the location of the cemetery, a step that has angered many residents of East Jerusalem who have loved ones buried in that cemetery.
In Early December 2020, a municipality bulldozer demolished the cemetery’s stone wall, a week after demolishing its stairway.
Jerusalem: pious Jew spits on Christians again
Christians in Jerusalem want Jews to stop spitting on them
A few weeks ago, a senior Greek Orthodox clergyman in Israel attended a meeting at a government office in Jerusalem’s Givat Shaul quarter. When he returned to his car, an elderly man wearing a skullcap came and knocked on the window. When the clergyman let the window down, the passerby spat in his face.
The clergyman prefered not to lodge a complaint with the police and told an acquaintance that he was used to being spat at by Jews. Many Jerusalem clergy have been subjected to abuse of this kind. For the most part, they ignore it but sometimes they cannot.
On Sunday, a fracas developed when a yeshiva student spat at the cross being carried by the Armenian Archbishop during a procession near the Holy Sepulchre in the Old City. The archbishop’s 17th-century cross was broken during the brawl and he slapped the yeshiva student.
I am worried about the Palestinians more than ever now.
According to observers, Bennett is a devout Zionist who can not hide his racist, fascist, and ultra-radical views.
“I have slain countless Arabs on my own throughout my life, and I have no problem continuing to slaughter them,” he famously stated.
He revolutionized Israeli politics when he was in command of the “Jewish House,” an extreme right-wing organization, in 2012.
He succeeded in getting into the Knesset [Israel’s parliament] after making an inflammatory and hateful speech about the Palestinian crisis.
Bennett made virulent anti-Palestinian remarks in 2013, claiming that “Palestinian terrorists” should be killed rather than released.
He went on to say that the West Bank is not occupied since there has never been a Palestinian state there and that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is unsolvable.
He is a staunch opponent of establishing a Palestinian state.
“I will do all I can to ensure that Palestinians never have a state of their own,” Naftali Bennett said in 2012.
Bennett is considered an extreme Jew, despite the fact that he disregards Jewish religious laws, especially when it comes to controversial subjects such as the LGBT community in Israel.
Bennett also advocated for a “Cold War” between Israel and Iran, claiming that Tehran was responsible for “70 percent of Israel’s security concerns.”
In reaction to the assassination of the renowned Iranian scientist, Martyr Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, Bennett claimed that he did not know who was responsible, but that “the world is a safer place without him [Martyr Fakhrizadeh].”
During his campaign a few months ago, he vowed to expel Iranian forces from Syria within a year and turn Syria into a “Vietnam” for Tehran.
In conclusion, one can only say that despite Bennett’s psychological unpredictability and unstable nature, he may be expected to have an ignominious fate similar to that of Benjamin Netanyahu.
Instead of killing an ISIS suicide bomber, the United States had slaughtered 10 civilians: Zemari Ahmadi, a longtime worker for a U.S. aid group; three of his children, Zamir, 20, Faisal, 16, and Farzad, 10; Ahmadi’s cousin Naser, 30; three children of Ahmadi’s brother Romal, Arwin, 7, Benyamin, 6, and Hayat, 2; and two 3-year-old girls, Malika and Somaya.
The names of the dead from the Kabul strike are as important as they are rare.
So many civilians have been obliterated, incinerated, or — as in the August 29th attack — “shredded” in America’s forever wars.
Who in the United States remembers them?
Who here ever knew of them in the first place?
Twenty years after 9/11, with the Afghan War declared over, combat in Iraq set to conclude, and President Joe Biden announcing the end of “an era of major military operations to remake other countries,” who will give their deaths another thought?
Americans have been killing civilians since before there was a United States.
There’s little hope of Americans ever truly coming to terms with the Pequot or Haitian or Vietnamese blood on their hands.
But before the forever wars slip from the news and the dead slide into the memory hole that holds several centuries worth of corpses, it’s worth spending a few minutes thinking about Zemari Ahmadi, Benyamin, Hayat, Malika, Somaya, and all the civilians who were going about their lives until the U.S. military ended them.
Names Remembered and Names Forgotten
Over the last 20 years, the United States has conducted more than 93,300 air strikes — in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Pakistan, Somalia, Syria, and Yemen — that killed between 22,679 and 48,308 civilians, according to figures recently released by Airwars, a U.K.-based airstrike monitoring group.
The total number of civilians who have died from direct violence in America’s wars since 9/11 tops out at 364,000 to 387,000, according to Brown University’s Costs of War Project.
Who were those nearly 400,000 people?
There’s Malana. In 2019, at age 25, she had just given birth to a son, when her health began to deteriorate.
Her relatives were driving her to a clinic in Afghanistan’s Khost Province when their vehicle was attacked by a U.S. drone, killing Malana and four others.
And Gul Mudin. He was wounded by a grenade and shot with a rifle, one of at least three civilians murdered by a U.S. Army “kill team” in Kandahar Province in 2010.
Then there was Gulalai, one of seven people, including three women — two of them pregnant — who were shot and killed in a February 12, 2010, raid by Special Operations forces in Afghanistan’s Paktia Province.
And there were the eight men, three women, and four children — Abdul Rashid as well as Abdul Rahman, Asadullah, Hayatullah, Mohamadullah, Osman, Tahira, Nadia, Khatima, Jundullah, Soheil, Amir, and two men, ages 25 and 36 respectively, named Abdul Waheed — who were killed in a September 7, 2013, drone strike on Rashid’s red Toyota pickup in Afghanistan.
And between 2013 and 2020, in seven separate U.S. attacks in Yemen — six drone strikes and one raid — 36 members of the al Ameri and al Taisy families were slaughtered.
Those names we know. Or knew, if only barely and fleetingly.
Then there are the countless anonymous victims like the three civilians in a blue Kia van killed by Marines in Iraq in 2003.
“Two bodies were slumped over in the front seats; they were men in street clothes and had no weapons that I could see.
In the back seat, a woman in a black chador had fallen to the floor; she was dead, too,” wrote Peter Maass in the New York Times Magazine in 2003.
Years later, at the Intercept, he painted an even more vivid picture of the “blue van, with its tires shot out and its windows shattered by bullets, its interior stained with blood and smelling of death, with flies feasting on already-rotting flesh.”
Those three civilians in Iraq were all too typical of the many anonymous dead of this country’s forever wars — the man shot for carrying a flashlight in an “offensive” manner; the children killed by an “errant” rocket; the man slain by “warning shots”; the three women and one man “machine-gunned” to death; and the men, women and children reduced to “charred meat” in an American bombing.
Who were the 11 Afghans — four of them children — who died in a 2004 helicopter attack, or the “dozen or more” civilians killed in 2010 during a nighttime raid by U.S. troops in that same country?
And what were the names of Mohanned Tadfi’s mother, brother, sister-in-law, and seven nieces and nephews killed in the U.S. bombing that flattened the city of Raqqa, Syria, in 2017?
Often, the U.S. military had no idea whom they were killing.
This country frequently carried out “signature strikes” that executed unknown people due to suspicious behavior.
So often, Americans killed such individuals for little or no reason — like holding a weapon in places where, as in this country, firearms were ubiquitous — and then counted them as enemy dead.
An investigation by Connecting Vets found that during a 2019 air campaign in Afghanistan’s Helmand province, for example, the threshold for an attack “could be met by as little as a person using or even touching a radio” or if an Afghan carrying “commercially bought two-way radios stepped into a home, the entire building would sometimes be leveled by a drone strike.”
In other words, nearly nine out of 10 people slain in those “targeted” killings were not the intended targets. So, who were they?
Even if targeting was ordinarily more accurate than during Operation Haymaker, U.S. policy has consistently adhered to the dictum that “military-age males” killed in airstrikes should automatically be classified as combatants unless proven innocent.
In addition to killing people for spurious reasons, the U.S. also opted for allies who would prove at least as bad as, if not worse than, those they were fighting.
For two decades, such American-taxpayer-funded warlords and militiamen murdered, raped, or shook-down the very people this country was supposedly protecting.
And, of course, no one knows the names of all those killed by such allies who were being advised, trained, armed, and funded by the United States.
Who, for instance, were the two men tied to the rear fender of a Toyota pickup truck in southeastern Afghanistan in 2012 by members of an Afghan militia backed by U.S. Special Operations forces?
They were, wrote reporter Anand Gopal, dragged “along six miles of rock-studded road” until they were dead.
Then their “bodies were left decomposing for days, a warning to anyone who thought of disobeying Azizullah,” the U.S.-allied local commander.
Or what about the 12 boys gunned down by CIA-backed militiamen at a madrassa in the Afghan village of Omar Khail?
Or the six boys similarly slain at a school in nearby Dadow Khail?
Or any of the dead from 10 raids in 2018 and 2019 by that same militia, which summarily executed at least 51 civilians, including boys as young as eight years old, few of whom, wrote reporter Andrew Quilty, appeared “to have had any formal relationship with the Taliban”?
How many reporters’ notebooks are filled with the unpublished names of just such victims? Or counts of those killed? Or the stories of their deaths? And how many of those who were murdered never received even a mention in an article anywhere?
As I noted then, that nation was one of the largest recipients of American security aid in West Africa, even though the State Department admitted that U.S.-backed forces were implicated in a litany of human-rights abuses, including extrajudicial killings.
What never made it into the piece was any mention of three men who were executed in two separate attacks.
On May 22, 2019, uniformed Burkinabe troops arrived in the village of Konga and took two brothers, aged 38 and 25, away in the middle of the night.
The next day, a relative found them on the side of the road, bound and executed. Most of the family fled the area.
“The Army came back a week later,” a relative told me.
“My uncle was the only one in our family who stayed. He was shot in broad daylight.”
Such deaths are ubiquitous but aren’t even factored into the 360,000-plus civilian deaths counted by the Costs of War project, which offers no estimate for those killed in America’s “smaller war zones.”
Build the Wall!
We live in a world filled with monuments celebrating lives and deaths, trailblazers and memorable events, heroes and villains.
Vietnam itself has no shortage of monuments of its own.
Many are Soviet-style memorials to those who died defeating the United States and reuniting their country.
Others are seldom-seen, tiny memorials to massacres perpetrated by the Americans and their allies.
No one knows how many similar cenotaphs exist in Iraq, Syria, Yemen, and other forever-war countries, but in 2017, journalist Emran Feroz found just such a memorial in Afghanistan’s Wardak Province — a remembrance of five civilians slain in drone strikes during 2013 and 2014.
In 2018, after then-President Trump signed a bill approving the construction of a Global War on Terrorism Memorial, Peter Maass proposed, even if only half-seriously, that the bullet-riddled blue Kia van he saw in Iraq should be placed on a pedestal on the National Mall.
“If we start building monuments that focus our attention on the pitiless killing of civilians in our wars,” he wrote, “maybe we would have fewer wars to fight and less reason to build these monuments.”
A blue Kia on the National Mall would be a good starting point.
But if we’re ever to grasp the meaning of the post-9/11 wars and all the conflicts that set the stage for them, however, we may need a wall as well — one that starts at the Kia and heads west.
It would, of course, be immense.
The Vietnam Veterans Memorial spans a total of 400 feet. The celebrated Vietnam War photographer Philip Jones Griffiths observed that a wall for the Vietnamese dead, counting combatants, of the American War would be nine miles long.
The Vietnam Veterans Memorial is arrayed in a unique chronological format, but the Civilian Deaths Memorial could begin with anyone.
The last civilians killed by the United States as part of its 2001 to 2021 Afghan War – Zemari Ahmadi, Zamir, Faisal, Farzad, Naser, Arwin, Benyamin, Hayat, Malika, and Somaya – could lead it off.
Then maybe Abdul Rashid and the 14 passengers from his red pick-up truck.
Then maybe Ngo Thi Sau, Cao Muoi, Cao Thi Thong, Tran Cong Chau Em, Nguyen Thi Nhi, Cao Thi Tu, Le Thi Chuyen, Dang Thi Doi, Ngo Thi Chiec, Tran Thi Song, Nguyen Thi Mot, Nguyen Thi Hai, Nguyen Thi Ba, Nguyen Thi Bon, Ho Thi Tho, Vo Thi Hoan, Pham Thi Sau, Dinh Van Xuan, Dinh Van Ba, Tran Cong Viet, Nguyen Thi Nham, Ngo Quang Duong, Duong Thi Hien, Pham Thi Kha, Huynh Van Binh, Huynh Thi Bay, Huynh Thi Ty, Le Van Van, Le Thi Trinh, Le Thi Duong, and Le Vo Danh and her unborn child, all slaughtered in the tiny South Vietnamese village of Phi Phu by U.S. troops (without any of the attention accorded to the My Lai massacre).
They could be followed by the names of, or placeholders for, the remaining two million Vietnamese civilian dead and by countless Cambodians, Laotians, Afghans, Iraqis, Somalis, and Yemenis.
The Civilian Wall could be built in a zig-zag fashion across the country with the land in its way — homes and businesses, parks and roadways — seized by eminent domain, making Americans care about civilian deaths in ways that news articles never could.
When you lose your home to a slab of granite that reads “Pequot adult, Pequot adult, Pequot child…” 500 times, you may actually take notice.
When you hear about renewed attacks in Iraq or drone strikes in Somalia or a Navy SEAL raid gone awry in Yemen and worry that the path of the wall might soon turn toward your town, you’re likely to pay far more attention to America’s conflicts abroad.
Obviously, a westward-traveling wall memorializing civilian carnage is a non-starter in this country, but the next time you hear some fleeting murmur about a family wiped out by a drone strike or read a passing news story about killings by a U.S.-backed militia, think about that imaginary wall and how, in a just world, it might be headed in your direction.
In the meantime, perhaps the best we can hope for is Maass’s proposal for that blue Kia on the Mall.
Perhaps it could be accompanied by the inscription found on a granite slab at the Heidefriedhof, a cemetery in Dresden, Germany, the site of a mass grave for civilians killed in a 1945 U.S. and British fire-bombing. It begins: “How many died? Who knows the number?”
The anniversary of the 9/11 attacks was marked by days of remembrances—for the courageous rescue workers of that moment, for the thousands murdered as the Twin Towers collapsed, for those who died in the Pentagon, or in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, fighting off the hijackers of the commercial jet they were in, as well as for those who fought in the forever wars that were America’s response to those Al Qaeda attacks.
For some, the memory of that horrific day included headshaking over the mistakes this country made in responding to it, mistakes we live with to this moment.
Among the more prominent heads being shaken over the wrongdoing that followed 9/11, and the failure to correct any of it, was that of Jane Harman, a Democrat from California, who was then in the House of Representatives.
former Congresswoman Jane Harman The Jewish Forward calls her a “pro-Israel stalwart,” and the Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA) reports, “Harman is beloved by the pro-Israel lobby and is a sure-bet appearance at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee’s annual policy conference.”
It would, in fact, put Congress in cold storage from then on, allowing the president to bypass it in deciding for years to come whom to attack and where, as long as he justified whatever he did by alluding to a distinctly imprecise term: terrorism.
So, too, Harman would vote for the Patriot Act, which would later be used to put in place massive warrantless surveillance policies, and then, a year later, for the Bush administration’s invasion of Iraq (based on the lie that Iraqi ruler Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction).
But on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the attacks, Harman offered a different message, one that couldn’t have been more appropriate or, generally speaking, rarer in this country—a message laced through and through with regret.
“[W]e went beyond the carefully tailored use of military force authorized by Congress,” she wrote remorsefully, referring to that 2001 authorization to use force against Al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden.
So, too, Harman railed against the decision, based on “cherry-picked intelligence,” to go to war in Iraq; the eternal use of drone strikes in the forever wars; as well as the creation of an offshore prison of injustice at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, and of CIA black sites around the world meant for the torture of prisoners from the war on terror.
The upshot, she concluded, was to create “more enemies than we destroyed.”
Such regrets and even apologies, while scarce, have not been utterly unknown in post-9/11-era Washington.
In March 2004, for example, Richard Clarke, the counterterrorism chief for the Bush White House, would publicly apologize to the American people for the administration’s failure to stop the 9/11 attacks.
“Your government failed you,” the former official told Congress and then proceeded to criticize the decision to go to war in Iraq as well.
Similarly, after years of staunchly defending the Iraq War, Senator John McCain would, in 2018, finally term it “a mistake, a very serious one,” adding, “I have to accept my share of the blame for it.
A year later, a PEW poll would find that a majority of veterans regretted their service in Afghanistan and Iraq, feeling that both wars were “not worth fighting.”
Recently, some more minor players in the post-9/11 era have apologized in unique ways for the roles they played.
For instance, Terry Albury, an FBI agent, would be convicted under the Espionage Act for leaking documents to the media, exposing the bureau’s policies of racial and religious profiling, as well as the staggering range of surveillance measures it conducted in the name of the war on terror.
Sent to prison for four years, Albury recently completed his sentence.
As Janet Reitman reported in The New York Times Magazine, feelings of guilt over the “human cost” of what he was involved in led to his act of revelation. It was, in other words, an apology in action.
As was the similar act of Daniel Hale, a former National Security Agency analyst who had worked at Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan helping to identify human targets for drone attacks.
He would receive a 45-month sentence under the Espionage Act for his leaks—documents he had obtained on such strikes while working as a private contractor after his government service.
As Hale would explain, he acted out of a feeling of intense remorse.
In his sentencing statement, he described watching “through a computer monitor when a sudden, terrifying flurry of Hellfire missiles came crashing down, splattering purple-colored crystal guts.”
His version of an apology-in-action came from his regret that he had continued on at his post even after witnessing the horrors of those endless killings, often of civilians.
“Nevertheless, in spite of my better instinct, I continued to follow orders.” Eventually, a drone attack on a woman and her two daughters led him over the brink.
“How could I possibly continue to believe that I am a good person, deserving of my life and the right to pursue happiness” was the way he put it and so he leaked his apology and is now serving his time.
“We Were Wrong, Plain and Simple”
Outside of government and the national security state, there have been others who struck a chord of atonement as well.
On the 20th anniversary of 9/11, for instance, Jameel Jaffer, once Deputy Legal Director of the ACLU and now head of the Knight First Amendment Institute, took “the opportunity to look inward.”
With some remorse, he reflected on the choices human-rights organizations had made in campaigning against the abuse and torture of war-on-terror prisoners.
Jaffer argued that their emphasis should have been less on the degradation of American “traditions and values” and more on the costs in terms of human suffering, on the “experience of the individuals harmed.”
In taking up the cases of individuals whose civil liberties had often been egregiously violated in the name of the war on terror, the ACLU revealed much about the damage to their clients.
Still, the desire to have done even more clearly haunts Jaffer. Concluding that we “substituted a debate about abstractions for a debate about prisoners’ specific experiences,” Jaffer asks, “[I]s it possible” that the chosen course of the NGOs “did something more than just bracket prisoners’ human rights—that it might have, even if only in a small way, contributed to their dehumanization as well?”
Jonathan Greenblatt, now head of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), spoke in a similarly rueful fashion about that organization’s decision to oppose plans for a Muslim community center in lower Manhattan, near Ground Zero—a plan that became known popularly as the “Ground Zero Mosque.”
As the 20th anniversary approached, he said bluntly, “We owe the Muslim community an apology.”
The intended center fell apart under intense public pressure that Greenblatt feels the ADL contributed to.
“[T]hrough deep reflection and conversation with many friends within the Muslim community,” he adds, “the real lesson is a simple one: we were wrong, plain and simple.”
The ADL had recommended that the center be built in a different location. Now, as Greenblatt sees it, an institution that “could have helped to heal our country as we nursed the wounds from the horror of 9/11” never came into being.
The irony here is that while a number of those Americans least responsible for the horrors of the last two decades have directly or indirectly placed a critical lens on their own actions (or lack thereof), the figures truly responsible said not an apologetic word.
Instead, there was what Jaffer has called an utter lack of “critical self-reflection” among those who launched, oversaw, commanded, or supported America’s forever wars.
Just ask yourself: When have any of the public officials who ensured the excesses of the war on terror reflected publicly on their mistakes or expressed the least sense of regret about them (no less offering actual apologies for them)?
Where are the generals whose reflections could help forestall future failed attempts at “nation-building” in countries like Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, or Somalia?
Where are the military contractors whose remorse led them to forsake profits for humanity?
Where are any voices of reflection or apology from the military-industrial complex including from the CEOs of the giant weapons makers who raked in fortunes off those two decades of war? Have any of them joined the small chorus of voices reflecting on the wrongs that we’ve done to ourselves as a nation and to others globally? Not on the recent 9/11 anniversary, that’s for sure.
Looking Over Your Shoulder or Into Your Heart?
What we still normally continue to hear instead is little short of a full-throated defense of their actions in overseeing those disastrous wars and other conflicts.
To this day, for instance, former Afghan and Iraq War commander David Petraeus speaks of this country’s “enormous accomplishments” in Afghanistan and continues to double down on the notion of nation-building.
He still insists that, globally speaking, Washington “generally has to lead” due to its “enormous preponderance of military capabilities,” including its skill in “advising, assisting, and enabling host nations’ forces with the armada of drones we now have, and an unequal[ed] ability to fuse intelligence.”
Similarly, Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster, national security adviser to Donald Trump, had a virtual melt down on MSNBC days before the anniversary, railing against what he considered President Biden’s mistaken decision to actually withdraw all American forces from Afghanistan.
“After we left Iraq,” he complained, “Al Qaeda morphed into ISIS, and we had to return.”
But it didn’t seem to cross his mind to question the initial ill-advised and falsely justified decision to invade and occupy that country in the first place.
And none of this is atypical.
We have repeatedly seen those who created the disastrous post-9/11 policies defend them no matter what the facts tell us.
As a lawyer in the Department of Justice’s Office of Legal Counsel, John Yoo, who wrote the infamous memos authorizing the torture of war-on-terror detainees under interrogation, followed up the 2011 killing of Osama bin Laden in Pakistan with a call for President Obama to “restart the interrogation program that helped lead us to bin Laden.”
As the Senate Torture Report on Interrogation would conclude several years later, the use of such brutal techniques of torture did not in fact lead the United States to bin Laden.
On the contrary, as NPR has summed it up, “The Senate Intelligence Committee came to the conclusion that those claims are overblown or downright lies.”
Among the unrepentant, of course, is George W. Bush, the man in the White House on 9/11 and the president who oversaw the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as the securitization of key American institutions and policies.
Bush proved defiant on the 20th anniversary.
The optics told it all. Speaking to a crowd at Shanksville, Pa., where that hijacked plane with 40 passengers and four terrorists crashed on 9/11, the former president was flanked by former vice president Dick Cheney.
His Machiavellian oversight of the worst excesses of the war on terror had, in fact, led directly to era-defining abrogations of laws and norms. But no apologies were forthcoming.
Instead, in his speech that day, Bush highlighted in a purely positive fashion the very policies his partnership with Cheney had spawned.
“The security measures incorporated into our lives are both sources of comfort and reminders of our vulnerability,” he said, giving a quiet nod of approval to policies that, if they were “comforting” in his estimation, also defied the rule of law, constitutional protections, and previously sacrosanct norms limiting presidential power.
Over the course of these 20 years, this country has had to face the hard lesson that accountability for the mistakes, miscalculations, and lawless policies of the war on terror has proven not just elusive, but inconceivable.
Typically, for instance, the Senate Torture Report, which documented in 6,000 mostly still-classified pages the brutal treatment of detainees at CIA black sites, did not lead to any officials involved being held accountable.
Nor has there been any accountability for going to war based upon that lie about Iraq’s supposed weapons of mass destruction.
Instead, for the most part, Washington has decided all these years later to continue in the direction outlined by President Obama during the week leading up to his 2009 inauguration.
“I don’t believe that anybody is above the law,” he said. “On the other hand, I also have a belief that we need to look forward as opposed to looking backwards.… I don’t want [CIA personnel and others to] suddenly feel like they’ve got to spend all their time looking over their shoulders and lawyering.”
Looking over their shoulders is one thing, looking into their own hearts quite another.
The recent deaths of former secretary of defense Donald Rumsfeld, who, among other horrors, supervised the building of Guantánamo and the use of brutal interrogation techniques there and elsewhere and of former CIA general counsel John Rizzo, who accepted the reasoning of Department of Justice lawyers when it came to authorizing torture for his agency, should remind us of one thing: America’s leaders, civilian and military, are unlikely to rethink their actions that were so very wrong in the war on terror.
Apologies are seemingly out of the question.
So, we should be thankful for the few figures who courageously breached the divide between self-righteous defensiveness when it came to the erosion of once-hallowed laws and norms and the kind of healing that the passage of time and the opportunity to reflect can yield.
Perhaps history, through the stories left behind, will prove more competent when it comes to acknowledging wrongdoing as the best way of looking forward.
Karen J. GreenbergKaren J. Greenberg is director of the Center on National Security at Fordham Law School. She is the author of The Least Worst Place: Guantanamo’s First 100 Days, Rogue Justice: The Making of the Security State, and most recently, Subtle Tools: The Dismantling of American Democracy from the War on Terror to Donald Trump.
The State of Israel has been accused of being a state-sponsor of terrorism, and also committing acts of state terrorism.
Several sovereign countries have at some point officially alleged that Israel is a proponent of state-sponsored terrorism, including Palestine, Bolivia, Iran, Lebanon,Saudi Arabia, Syria, Turkey,and Yemen.
Receiving Syrian President Bashar al-Assad at the Kremlin on 14 September 2021, President Putin stated that peace would not reign in that country as long as foreign forces are stationed there without authorization from either the United Nations or Syria.
His remarks alluded to Israel’s military presence, occupying the Syrian Golan, as well as the presence of US and Turkish troops in the Syrian governorate of Idlib.
Israel Bombs Syrian Cities in the Middle of the Night
At 11:00 pm local time, “the Israeli enemy carried out an air attack with missile bursts” directed against the outskirts of Damascus and Homs City, the Syrian news agency SANA reported.
The Syrian air defenses responded to the attacks, intercepting most of the Israeli missiles. The Syrian authorities were assessing the damages caused by the strikes. The sounds of explosions were clearly heard in Damascus as the Syrian air defenses were responding to the attack.
The Israeli attack was the second to hit Syria within two days. Israel has repeatedly launched attacks at Syrian military sites under the pretext of targeting the sites where pro-Iran militias are located.
On Friday, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) reported that the Israeli attack killed at least four members of the Lebanese chii group Hizbula, which supports President Bashar al-Assad.
This happened in the Qara area, on the outskirts of Damascus, close to the border with Lebanon.
SOHR also indicated that the missile attack targeted weapons warehouses and military positions in Hizbula, with which it fought in a war on Lebanese territory in 2006.
On Tuesday, Syria accused Israel of attacking with missiles an area of the province of Quneitra.
Israel does not usually confirm these types of actions, which usually target positions of forces loyal to Al Assad and the Lebanese or Iranian Shiite militias, which are considered a threat by the occupiers of Palestine.
On April 6, the US did what was unthinkable for Israel: they took the first wary steps toward returning to talking to Iran.
Iran had been too smart to fall into the trap, and Israel’s attempts to provoke Iran into destroying its own chances of returning to the international community and to the international nuclear deal had so far failed.
Israeli Provocations; Iranian Patience
So far. So, Israel upped the provocation and made the provocation public to try to force Iran into retaliating and publicly acting against its interest.
On April 11, Israel once again sabotaged the Natanz nuclear facility when they detonated an explosion in the facility that shut down the power that runs the centrifuges that enrich the uranium.
On April 6, not coincidentally the same day the US tentatively returned to the nuclear talks, Israel attacked an Iranian military vessel in the Red Sea.
The ship broke into flames and smoke when a mine that had been attached to it exploded.
Still, Iran did not take the bait, Iran did not retaliate.
The ship was hit by what appears to be a drone that came from Lebanese waters.
This time three Syrians, including two crew members, were killed.
Such provocation is not a new Israeli strategy.
It goes back a long time.
When a country shows the maturity not to attack, Israel has often turned to provocation to try to purchase the attack.
Referring to war with Syria, Moshe Dayan, the head of the Israeli Defence Force, once confessed to a reporter, off the record, that Israel deliberately provoked Syria to attack.
He said that Israel would push further and further until Syria responded.
Dayan admitted that Israel had started “more than 80 percent” of the skirmishes with Syria.
Former Israeli Prime Minister Moshe Sharett once referred in his diary to “the long chain of false incidents and hostilities we have invented, and the many clashes we have provoked.” Sharett called this “the method of provocation and revenge.”
This time, the provocation wasn’t working.
Iran was still not taking the bait. Iran’s leaders refused to respond to Israel’s sabotage by engaging in retaliations that would simply sabotage their own efforts at squeezing out from under US sanctions and returning to the nuclear talks and to the international community.
Echoing Rouhani’s earlier words, Iranian foreign minister Javad Zarif continued to explain that the Israelis “want to take revenge because of our progress in the way to lift sanctions…We will not fall into their trap.”
The Talks Go On
Not only did Iran not respond, but they side stepped the Israeli attempt to sabotage the nuclear talks in Vienna by embarrassing the US, by making them look complicit in Israel’s attacks, or alienating Iran, by provoking them into aggression.
Despite concerns that the Natanz attack would trigger Iran’s temper and cause them to walk out of the nuclear discussions, Iran continued to show patience and kept their seat at the talks.
Though a positive result is not a sure thing, the Americans and the Iranians are still talking: at least indirectly.
Iranian President Hasan Rouhani has said, to the dismay of Israel, that “The negotiations have achieved 60 to 70 percent progress.” Rouhani says that they could “reach a conclusion in a little time.”
American sanctions continue to be a road block, and though the US disagrees with the percentage of progress, saying “we have more road ahead of us than in the rearview mirror,” their tone has changed, and even the US describes the talks as having been “positive.”
Israel has taken note of that tone change. Israeli officials told Israeli journalist Barak Ravid that Israeli national security adviser Meir Ben-Shabbat has accused the US of “not showing sufficient consideration of the Israeli government’s position during its Iran diplomacy.”
A high level Israeli delegation including all of Mossad chief Yossi Cohen, National Security Adviser Meir Ben-Shabbat and IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kohavi is heading to the White House with instructions from Netanyahu to focus on convincing the Biden administration of Israel’s objections to the US returning to the Iran nuclear deal.
When White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki was asked whether the Israeli delegation would have any effect on the US returning to the nuclear deal, she answered in one word: “No.” As the Israeli acts of sabotage did provoke Iran to retaliate, so they did not sabotage the nuclear talks.
The Israeli attacks also did not sabotage Iran’s civilian nuclear program.
Far from slowing it down, the attacks have sped it up.
As they did in the Obama negotiations, Iran is reversibly increasing their centrifuge capacity as leverage.
In response to the Israeli attack on the Natanz civilian nuclear facility, Iran escalated their program in two ways.
As promised when the Natanz nuclear facility was attacked, the damaged centrifuges have been replaced with more advanced versions.
Though the Israeli sabotage may have temporarily slowed Iranian enrichment, it ultimately accelerated it.
One of those cascades is reportedly enriching uranium to 60%: less than needed to produce a bomb but more than enough to make a statement.
America Rebukes Israel
Perhaps the most striking sign that Israel’s acts of sabotage have gone so far that, this time, they may be sabotaging themselves, rather than moving the States against the Iran talks, the attacks provoked the US to issue a rare rebuke of Israel.
The US informed Israel that they are displeased with the recent Israeli attacks and with Israel’s public boasting about those attacks, expressing concern that those acts could damage the new negotiations with Iran.
Dropping Demands: Has Israel Conceded Failure?
Israel may be seeing the forecast. Even Israel may be seeing the signs that this time they have sabotaged themselves.
Israeli officials have reportedly concluded that they will not be able to pressure the US to significantly strengthen the nuclear agreement.
So, they seem to be backing down on their key demands, including expanding the deal to include Iran’s ballistic missile program and support for Iranian allies like Hezbollah.
Israel seems now to be restricting their demands to the much weaker – and somewhat redundant – demand for greater International Atomic Energy Agency powers to inspect Iran’s nuclear sites.
Saudi Arabia Calls Iran
And in a sign that others may also be recognizing that Israeli attempts to sabotage the Iran nuclear deal have instead sabotaged Israel’s attempts to sabotage the Iran nuclear deal, there are reports of direct talks between Saudi Arabia and Iran having taken place on April 9 in Iraq. T
he talks reportedly involved senior officials.
The talks are potentially interesting because the last time Iraq mediated possible talks between Saudi Arabia and Iran, in January 2020, the Saudis were motivated, at least in part, by a recognition that they had not succeeded in pushing the US into a war with Iran.