The US launched a cyber-attack on Iranian weapons systems on Thursday as President Trump pulled out of air strikes on the country, US reports say. Both the Washington Post and AP news agency said the cyber-attack had disabled the systems. The New York Times said it was intended to take the systems offline for a period of time.*
01/18/2020 Philip Giraldi, a former counter-terrorism specialist and military intelligence officer of the CIA, penned a piece in the American Herald Tribune speculating that the U.S. launched several cyber-attacks, one on an Iranian missile defense system, and another on the transponder of the doomed Ukrainian plane.
Giraldi explains the Iranian missile operator experienced extreme “jamming” and Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752’s transponder was switched off several minutes before the two Russian made Tor missiles were launched.
“The shutdown of the transponder, which would have automatically signaled to the operator and Tor electronics that the plane was civilian, instead automatically indicated that it was hostile. The operator, having been particularly briefed on the possibility of incoming American cruise missiles, then fired,” he said.
Giraldi said the Tor missile system used by Iran is vulnerable to being hacked or “spoofed,” and at the same moment, Flight 752’s transponder was taken offline “to create an aviation accident that would be attributed to the Iranian government.”
The Pentagon has reportedly developed technologies that can trick enemy radars with false and deceptively moving targets, he said.
“The same technology can, of course, be used to alter or even mask the transponder on a civilian airliner in such a fashion as to send false information about identity and location. The United States has the cyber and electronic warfare capability to both jam and alter signals relating to both airliner transponders and to the Iranian air defenses. Israel presumably has the same ability,” Giraldi said.
Iran made the claim Wednesday that “enemy sabotage” cannot be ruled out in the downing of the plane.
Iranian Brigadier General Ali Abdollahi suggested the U.S. hacked missile defense systems to make it appear Flight 752 was an incoming missile.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani also accused the U.S. of being responsible for the downing of the plane, saying that:
“The root of all sorrows goes back to America… this cannot be a reason for us not to look into all the root causes.”
He added that:
“One cannot believe that a passenger plane is struck near an international airport while flying in a [commercial] flight channel,” after previously saying that IRGC commanders were not the only ones involved in the plane downing, noting that “There were others, too.”
The Iranian parliament also stated that “we are in powerful confrontation with the criminal U.S. and do not allow a mistake… to pave the ground for misusing the issue by the enemies.”
Giraldi concludes by saying electronic warfare by the U.S. to bring down a civilian jet and blame it on Iran “suggests a premeditated and carefully planned event” to create a false flag for the next world war.
For over fifty years, Israel has been producing nuclear weapons at the Dimona plant, built with the help mainly of France and the United States. It is not subject to inspections because Israel, the only nuclear power in the Middle East, does not adhere to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, which Iran signed fifty years ago.
Iran is not respecting the nuclear agreements » (Il Tempo), Iran withdraws from the nuclear agreements – a step towards the atomic bomb » (Corriere della Sera), « Iran is preparing atomic bombs – goodbye to the nuclear agreement » (Libero) .
This is the way that almost all of the media have presented Iran’s decision, after the assassination of General Soleimani ordered by President Trump, to no longer accept the limitations on the enrichment of uranium planned in 2015 by the 5+1Group (United States, France, the United Kingdom, Russia, China, plus Germany).
So these organs of « information » are obviously in no doubt as to the source of the nuclear threat in the Middle East.
They are forgetting that it was President Trump, in 2018, who withdrew the USA from the agreement, which Israël had described as « the surrender of the West to the Axis of Evil guided by Iran ».
They do not say a word about the fact that there is only one nuclear power in the Middle East – Israël – which is not submitted to any form of control because it does not adhere to the Non-Proliferation Treaty, which is, however, signed by Iran.
Israel is above being questioned or signing commitments.
The Israëli arsenal, shielded by a dense cloak of secrecy and omertà, is estimated at between 80 and 400 nuclear warheads, plus sufficient plutonium to build hundreds of others.
Israël certainly also produces tritium, a radioactive gas with which it is building new generation nuclear weapons.
Among these are mini-nukes and neutron bombs which, since they cause minimal radioactive contamination, would be more adapted to targets close to Israël.
The Israëli nuclear warheads are ready for launching on ballistic missiles which, with the Jericho 3, have a range of 8 to 9,000 kilometres.
Germany supplied Israël (in the form of a gift or for knock-down prices) with four Dolphin submarines modified for launching Popeye Turbo nuclear missiles, with a range of approximately 1,500 kilometres.
Silent, and with the capacity to remain under water for a week, the Dolphins are cruising in the Eastern Mediterranean, the Red Sea and the Persian Gulf, ready on twenty-four hour alert for a nuclear attack.
The United States, which have already supplied Israël with more than 350 F-15 and F-16 fighter-bombers, are currently delivering at least 75 F-35 fighters, which also have both conventional and nuclear capacity.
The first squadron of Israëli F-35’s became operational in December 2017.
Israël Aerospace Industries produce wing components which make the F-35’s invisible to radar. With this technology, which will also be applied to Italian F-35’s, Israël is potentiating the attack capacities of its nuclear forces.
Extract from a mail by the ex-Joint Chief of Staff, then US Secretary of Defense, Colin Powell
Israël, with 200 nuclear weapons permanently aimed at Iran, as was indicated by ex-US Secretary of State Colin Powell in 2015 , is determined to maintain its monopoly of the Bomb in the Middle East, by preventing Iran from developing a civil nuclear programme which might one day enable the construction of nuclear weapons, a capacity which is today possessed by dozens of countries throughout the world.
In the cycle of the exploitation of uranium, there is no clear line between civil and military use of fissile material.
In order to block the Iranian nuclear programme, Israël is determined to use whatever means it can. The assassination of four Iranian nuclear scientists between 2010 and 2012 was most probably the work of Mossad.
Israëli nuclear forces are integrated in NATO’s electronic system, in the framework of the « Individual Cooperation Programme » with Israël, a country which is not a member of the Alliance, but has a permanent mission at the Alliance’s headquarters in Brussels.
According to the plan tested during the USA-Israël exercise Juniper Cobra 2018, US forces would arrive via Europe (especially from bases in Italy) to support Israël in a war against Iran , a war which could start with an Israëli attack on Iranian nuclear sites, like the one made on the Iranian site of Osiraq.
The Jerusalem Post confirms that Israël possesses non-nuclear anti-bunker bombs, which can be used particularly with the F-35’s, able to hit the Iranian nuclear site at Fordow.
But Iran, although it has no nuclear weapons, has a military riposte capacity, which Yugoslavia, Iraq and Libya did not possess at the moment of the attacks by the USA and NATO. In this case, Israël could use a nuclear weapon by triggering a chain reaction causing unforeseeable results.
The landmark decision was met with hostility in Tel-Aviv. Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, dismissed the court’s decision, stating that it had no jurisdiction to investigate in the Palestinian Territories.
To disrupt the court’s investigation, Israel threatened to prevent ICC officials from entering the occupied territories; a move that would mirror its treatment of United Nations investigators, also prevented from entering the region.
Further attack on the ICC ensued. Netanyahu denounced the court’s decision as “pure anti-Semitism,” during a candle-lighting ceremony marking the start of the eight-day Hanukkah holiday, last month.
“New edicts are being cast against the Jewish people – anti-Semitic edicts by the International Criminal Court telling us that we, the Jews, standing here next to this wall … in this city, in this country, have no right to live here and that by doing so, we are committing a war crime,” asserted the Israeli prime minister.
Some Israeli journalists published articles highlighting her past as a senior official in the Gambian government, where she served under a brutal dictator, in an apparent effort to sully her reputation.
This week chief ICC prosecutor, Bensouda, dismissed the accusation, in an interview with The Times of Israel. “This is a particularly regrettable accusation that is without merit,” stressed Bensouda.
Bensouda explained that she expected to face attempts to undermine her credibility through “character assassination” in the same way that witnesses are discredited and undermined during a legal case.
“I, along with my office, execute our mandate under the Rome Statute with utmost independence, objectivity, fairness and professional integrity.
We will continue to meet our responsibilities as required by the Rome Statute without fear or favour,” she added.
Bensouda is the latest in a growing list of people to face the charge of anti-Semitism. Last week a Jewish teacher in a New York school was fired for expressing remarks critical of Israel.
150 people signed a letter in defense of the teacher, in which it was claimed that the controversy around her firing was another instance in the “weaponisation of anti-Semitism” which “is the subject of a pitched battle within Jewish communities.”
Their concerns were echoed in December by the author of a controversial definition of anti-Semitism, who spoke out over its misuse and warned of its “chilling effect” on free speech. US attorney, Kenneth Stern, who drafted the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) “working definition of antisemitism,” warned that “right-wing Jews were weaponizing” it to supress criticism of Israel.
My name is Yaakov Sharett. I am 92 years old. I happen to be my father’s son for which I am not responsible. So this is how it is.”
From Ukraine to Palestine
His grandfather, Jacob Shertok – the original family name – was one of the first Zionists to set foot in Palestine, leaving his home in Kherson, Ukraine, in 1882 after Russian pogroms.
“He had this dream of tilling the land. The big Zionist idea was going back to the land and leaving the superficial activities of Jews who had become remote from land,” he says.
“They thought that, little by little, more Jews would immigrate until they became a majority, and could demand a state, which they then called a ‘homeland’ to avoid controversy.”
I wonder what Yaakov’s grandfather thought would happen to the Arabs, who then comprised about 97 percent of the population, with Jews around 2 to 3 percent.
“I think he thought the more Jews that came, the more they’d bring prosperity and the Arabs would be happy. They didn’t realize people don’t live only on money. We would have to be the dominant power, but the Arabs would get used to it,” he says.
In case the Arabs didn’t bend the knee
Adding with a wistful smile: “Well, either they believed it or they wanted to believe it. My grandfather’s generation were dreamers. If they had been realists, they would not have come to Palestine in the first place.
It was never possible for a minority to replace a majority that had lived on this land for hundreds of years. It could never work,” he says.
Four years later, Jacob wished he hadn’t come, returning to Russia, not because of Palestinian hostility – Jewish numbers were still tiny – but because he couldn’t make a living here.
Many of the very early settlers in Palestine found working on the land far harder than they had ever imagined, often returning to Russia in despair.
But in 1902, after more pogroms, Jacob Sharett returned, this time with a family including Moshe, aged eight.
Palestinians were still – for the most part – welcoming to Jews as the threat of Zionism remained unclear. A member of the prosperous Husseini family, who was headed abroad, even offered Yaakov’s grandfather his house to rent in the village of Ein Siniya, now in the occupied West Bank.
For two years, grandfather Shertok lived there like an Arab grandee while his children attended a Palestinian kindergarten. “My father herded sheep, learned Arabic and generally lived like an Arab,” says Yaakov.
Psychology of the minority
But the Zionist plan was to live like Jews so before long, the family had moved to the fast-growing Jewish hub of Tel Aviv and Moshe was soon honing every skill – including studying Ottoman law in Istanbul – in order to further the Zionist project.
Thanks to the 1917 Balfour Declaration, which promised a Jewish homeland in Palestine and ushered in British colonial rule, plans for a full-blown Jewish state now seemed possible, and over the next two decades, Moshe Sharett helped design it, becoming a key figure in the Jewish Agency, the state’s government-in-waiting.
Central to the project was the creation of a Jewish majority and ownership of as much of the land as possible, to which end Sharett worked closely with his ally David Ben-Gurion. Immigration rose fast, and land was bought, usually from absentee Arab landlords.
‘My father and the rest still thought that most Arabs would sell their national honour for the food we would give them’
– Yaakov Sharett
The pace of change provoked the Palestinian revolt of 1936, brutally crushed by the British. In the light of that revolt, did the future prime minister ever question whether the Jewish state could work?
“No,” says Yaakov. The leadership were “still full of justifying their ideas of Zionism. You must remember that they all thought in terms of being Jewish and how they had been subjugated by majorities in the countries in which they had lived.
“My father said this: ‘Wherever there is a minority, every member has a stick and rucksack in his cupboard’. Psychologically, he realizes a bad day will come and he will have to leave.
So the priority was always to create a majority and shake off the psychology of the minority for ever.
“My father and the rest still thought that most Arabs would sell their national honour for the food we would give them. It was a nice dream, but at the cost of others.
And anyone who did not agree was a traitor.”
As a young teenager, in the early 1940s, Yaakov didn’t question his father’s outlook. Quite the contrary.
“I must say,” he continues, “when I was in the Zionist Youth Movement, we went around the Arab villages on foot and you saw an Arab village and learned its Hebrew name as in the Bible and you felt the time has not divided between you and it. I have never been religious, but this is what you felt.”
By 1939, World War Two had broken out and many young Israelis had joined the Jewish Brigade of the British Army, serving in Europe. The Jewish Brigade was an idea of Yaakov’s father, and as soon as he was old enough, Yaakov volunteered, joining up in 1944, aged 17. But a few months later – in April 1945 – the war was over and Yaakov was too late to see any service.
Back in Palestine, those young Jewish soldiers who had served in Europe were amongst those now being recruited to fight in what many knew was coming next: a new war in Palestine to establish a state of Israel.
Yaakov – who had clearly not yet started to see that Zionism “was at the cost of others” – readily agreed to play his part.
Now aged 19, Yaakov was picked to play the role of a Jewish mukhtar, or village head, at a quasi-military outpost in the Negev, a barren terrain barely settled by Jews.
“I didn’t think a lot about politics back then. To build this settlement was literally our dream,” he says.
His wife, Rena, has joined us, perching on a stool, and nods in agreement. Rena Sharett was another eager Zionist who claimed the Negev in 1946.
Before 1948, the Negev constituted the British administrative district of Beersheva and the district of Gaza, which together made up half the land of Palestine. Touching the Dead Sea and the Gulf of Aqaba, the terrain had vital access to water.
So not surprisingly, the Zionists, who had to date succeeded in purchasing just 6 percent of Palestinian land, were determined to seize it.
However, given that about 250,000 Arabs lived in the Negev, in 247 villages, compared to about 500 Jews in three small outposts, a recent Anglo-American partition plan had divided mandate Palestine between Jews and Arabs, apportioning the Negev region as part of a future Palestinian state.
A British ban on new settlement had also hindered Zionist attempts to alter the status quo. Arabs had always opposed any plan that envisaged the Palestinians as “an indigenous majority living on their ancestral soil, being converted overnight into a minority under alien rule,” as the Palestinian historian, Walid Khalidi, summarised it.
In late 1946, however, with a new United Nations partition plan in the making, the Zionist leaders saw it was now or never for the Negev.
Now or never
So the “11 points” plan was launched. Not only would the new settlements boost the Jewish presence there, they would serve as military bases when war broke out, as it inevitably would.
Everything had to be done in secret due to the British ban and it was decided to erect the outposts on the night of 5 October, just after Yom Kippur. “The British would never expect the Jews to do such a thing the night after Yom Kippur,” says Yaakov.
“I remember when we found our piece of land on the top of a barren hill. It was still dark, but we managed to bang in the posts and soon, we were inside our fence. At first light, trucks came with pre-fabricated barracks.
It was quite a feat. We worked like devils. Ha! I will never forget it.”
‘I remember when we found our piece of land on the top of a barren hill. It was still dark, but we managed to bang in the posts and soon, we were inside our fence’
– Yaakov Sharett
Looking out from inside their fence, the settlers at first didn’t see any Arabs, but then made out the tents of Abu Yahiya’s village, and a few “dirty huts”, as Yaakov described them.
Soon, they were asking the Arabs for water. “I collected our water for our settlement from that well every day in my truck, that’s how I became friends with Abu Yahiya,” he says.
With his smattering of Arabic, he chatted to others too: “They loved to talk. On it went when I had work to do,” he laughs. “I don’t think they were happy with us there exactly, but they were at peace with us. There was no enmity.”
Another local Arab chief watched out for their security in return for a small payment. “It was a kind of agreement we had with him.
He’d act as guard and every month, he’d come up to our fence and sit there quite still – he looked like just a small bundle of clothes,” Yaakov says, smiling broadly.
“He was waiting for payment and I shook his hand and got him to sign some sort of receipt with his thumb which I gave to the authorities in Tel Aviv and they gave me money for the next time.
That was my only real responsibility as mukhtar,” says Yaakov, adding that everyone knew he only got this role as chief because he was his father’s son.
Moshe Sharett, by now a leading political figure, was known as a moderate, and as such was viewed with suspicion by some military hardliners.
The new Negev desert outposts were planned in large part as centres for gathering intelligence about the Arabs, and Yaakov believes it was probably because of his father he too was distrusted and excluded by those sent to the outpost to lay military plans
“Instead I was really used just as a jack of all trades” – driving, collecting water, buying fuel in Gaza or Beersheba. He sounds nostalgic for the freedom of that arid landscape, though the settlers were always back inside their fence at night.
He came to know other Arab villages, too, like Burayr “which was always hostile, I don’t know why,” but most were friendly, particularly a village called Huj. “I used to drive through Huj often and knew it well.”
During the 1948 war, the residents of Huj reached an agreement in writing with Jewish authorities that they be allowed to stay, but they were driven out like all the other 247 villages of this area, mostly to Gaza. The Palestinians called the expulsions their Nakba – or catastrophe.
I asked Yaacov what he recalled of the Arab exodus in May 1948, but he was absent at the time as Rena’s brother was killed in fighting further east so the couple had left to join her family.
I told Yaacov I’d met survivors of the Abu Yahiya clan, who recounted being driven by Jewish soldiers into Wadi Beersheba where the men were separated from the women and some were shot, then the rest were expelled.
“Somehow I don’t remember that,” says Yaakov. But plumbing his memory, he suddenly recalls other atrocities including events at Burayr, the hostile village, where in May 1948 there was a massacre, with between 70 to 100 villagers killed, according to survivors and Palestinian historians.
“One of our boys helped take Burayr. I remember he said when he got there the Arabs had already mostly fled and he opened the door of a house and saw an old man there so he shot him. He enjoyed shooting him,” he says.
By the time Beersheba was taken in October 1948, Yaakov had returned to his nearby outpost, now given the Hebrew name, Hatzerim.
“I learned our boys had led the army to the town,” he says. “We knew the area very well and could guide them through the wadis [riverbeds]”.
After Beersheba fell, Yaakov drove his comrades down in a truck to take a look: “It was empty, totally empty.” The entire population of about 5,000 had been expelled and driven in trucks to Gaza.
I had heard there was a lot of looting. “Yes,” he says. “We took things from several empty houses. We took what we could – furniture, radios, utensils. Not for ourselves, but to help the kibbutz. After all, Beersheva was empty and belonged to nobody now.”
What did he think of that? “Again, I must confess I didn’t think much at all at the time. We were proud of occupying Beersheva. Although I must say, we’d had so many friends there before.”
Yaakov says he couldn’t remember if he had looted himself: “I probably did. I was one of them. We were very happy. If you don’t take it, someone else will. You don’t feel you have to give it back. They were not coming back.”
What did you think about that? He pauses. “We didn’t think about it then. My father, in fact, said they will not come back. My father was a moral man. I don’t think he was a party to the orders to expel the Arabs. Ben-Gurion was. Sharett no. But he accepted it as a fact. I think he knew something was going wrong, but he didn’t fight it,” he says.
“After the war my father gave a lecture and said I don’t know why a man should live two years secluded in a village [a reference to his time growing up in Ein Siniya] to realise that Arabs are human beings. This kind of saying you won’t get from any other Jewish leader…this was my father.”
Then, as if confessing on behalf of his father too, Yaakov adds: “But I have to be frank, my father had some cruel things to say about the refugees. He was against their return; he agreed with Ben-Gurion on that.”
Far more cruel than Sharett was Moshe Dayan. Appointed after the war as chief of staff by David Ben-Gurion, Israel’s first prime minister, Dayan had the task of keeping back the Negev refugees and many others “fenced in” behind the Gaza armistice lines.
In 1956, a Gaza refugee killed an Israeli settler, Roi Rotberg, and at his funeral, Dayan gave a famous eulogy urging Israelis to accept, once and for all, that the Arabs would never live in peace beside them, and he spelled out why: the Arabs had been expelled from their homes which were now lived in by Jews.
But Dayan urged the Jews to respond not by seeking compromise but by “looking squarely at the hatred that consumes and fills the lives of Arabs who live around us and be forever ready and armed, tough and hard”.
This speech made a profound impression on Yaakov Sharrett. “I said this was a fascist speech. He was telling people to live by the sword,” he says. Moshe Sharett, who was foreign minister at the time, had been urging compromise through diplomacy for which he was called “weak”.
But it wasn’t until 1967, when he started working as a journalist for the centrist Israeli paper, Maariv, that Yaakov lost his faith in Zionism.
‘They were the majority’
In the 1967 Arab-Israeli war, Israel seized more land, this time in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza Strip, where military occupation was imposed on the Palestinians who hadn’t fled this time.
Touring the West Bank, Sharett stared at the stunned but defiant Arab faces and felt “uneasy” once again, particularly when he visited his old family village of Ein Siniya, which his father, now dead, had spoken of so affectionately.
It was here that as a child, Moshe had herded sheep and “learned that Arabs were humans”, as Moshe Sharett would say in a later speech.
“The villagers were under the first shock of occupation. They knew the Jews were now the dominating power, but they showed no feelings of hatred. They were simple people.
And I remember that several residents came and surrounded us and smiled and told me they remembered my family and the house in which our family lived.
So we smiled at each other and I left. I didn’t go back. I didn’t like this occupation and I didn’t want to go there as a master,” he says.
“Have you heard of shooting and weeping?” he asks, with another wistful smile, explaining this was an expression to describe Israelis who, after fighting in the West Bank in 1967 showed shame, but accepted the results.
‘We smiled at each other and I left. I didn’t go back. I didn’t like this occupation and I didn’t want to go there as a master’
– Yaakov Sharett
“But I wanted nothing more to do with this occupation. It was my way of non-identification with it. I was depressed by it, and ashamed.”
The faces of the Ein Sinya villagers revealed something else: “I saw in this defiance that they still had the psychology of the majority. My father used to say war always makes waves of refugees. But he didn’t see that usually those who flee are the minority. In 1948, they were the majority so they will never give up. This is our problem.
“But it took me years to realise what the Nakba was and that the Nakba didn’t start in 1967 but in 1948. We have to realise that.”
Rena chips in. “In 1948, it was a matter of them or us. Life and death. That was the difference,” she says.
“We two disagree on this,” says Yaakov. “My wife lost her brother in 1948. She views it differently.”
‘I would leave tomorrow’
In older age, Yaakov has gone back even further in time, looking into the problems with Zionism since the very beginning.
“Now at -years-old, I realise that the story started with the very idea of Zionism which was a utopian idea. It was meant to save Jewish lives but at the cost of a nation of occupants who inhabited Palestine at this time. The conflict was unavoidable from the beginning.”
I ask if he describes himself as an anti-Zionist. “I am not an anti-Zionist, but I am not a Zionist,” he says, turning to look at Rena, perhaps in case she disapproves – his wife holds less radical views.
On the wall beside the picture of his father are photographs of their children and grandchildren; two of Yaakov’s granddaughters have emigrated to the United States. “I am not afraid to say I am happy they are there and not here,” he says.
I ask if he has “a rucksack and stick” packed ready to go and join them? After all, with his views, Yaakov himself is now in a minority – a small minority – living amid a majority of right-wing Jews here in Israel.
And not only is he ideologically “fenced in” but also physically too. He talks of how he can barely move around Israel nowadays. He refuses to go to Jerusalem which he says has been taken over by ultra-orthodox religious Jews.
“This is one of the most terrible disasters. When we were young, we thought religion was going to vanish.” He says he never wishes to return to his beloved Negev because it was long ago settled by new generations of Jews “who have no empathy with Arabs”.
He can still “breathe” in Tel Aviv, and enjoys speeding around on a scooter, but even here, feels that he lives inside a “bubble”. He chuckles again.
“I call it the Haaretz bubble,” and he explains he is referring to a group of left-wingers who read the liberal Haaretz newspaper. “But this clan has no connection with each other except this daily paper that more or less expresses our opinion.
It is the last stronghold. And I feel very bad about it…. It’s true I do not feel at home here.”
‘Look. When you make me think about it, I would leave tomorrow. Thousands are already leaving’
– Yaakov Sharett
Yaakov says he is always thinking about leaving. If other members of his family would join him, he would.
“Look. When you make me think about it, I would leave tomorrow. Thousands are already leaving, most have two passports. We have the worst government we have ever had with Bibi Netanyahu,” he says.
“We are living by the sword, as Dayan said we should…as if we must be forced to make Israel into a kind of citadel against the invaders, but I don’t think it is possible to live by the sword for ever.”
I ask how he sees the future for the Palestinians?
“What can I say? I feel very bad about it. And I am not afraid to say that the treatment of the Palestinians today is Nazi treatment. We don’t have gas chambers, of course, but the mentality is the same. It is racial hatred. They are treated as subhuman,” he says.
Yaakov is well-aware that he – a Jew – will be accused of “antisemitism” for saying such things, but says he believes Israel is “a criminal state”.
“I know they will call me a self-hating Jew for saying that. But I cannot automatically support my country, right or wrong. And Israel must not be immune from criticism. Seeing the difference between antisemitism and criticism of Israel is crucial.
To be honest, I am amazed how in 2019 the world outside accepts Israeli propaganda. I really don’t know why they do,” he says.
“And remember that the very aim of Zionism was to release Jews from the curse of antisemitism by giving them their own state. But today, the Jewish state by its own criminal behaviour is one of the most serious causes for this curse.”
What is his prediction for the Jewish state? “I will tell you what my prediction is. I am not afraid to say it. When the time comes, it might come tomorrow, there will be a conflagration, maybe with Hezbollah … a big catastrophe of some sort that will destroy thousands of Jewish homes.
“And we will bomb Beirut but having Lebanese lose their homes won’t help the Jew who loses his home and family, so people will see no reason to stay here anymore. All rational Israelis will then have to leave.
“It doesn’t have to be Hezbollah. The catastrophe might be the strong domination of our own rightists. All the laws enacted by the Knesset now are fascist laws. I have no solution. Israel will become a pariah state,” he says.
‘To be honest, I am amazed how in 2019 the world outside accepts Israeli propaganda. I really don’t know why they do’
– Yaakov Sharett
Surely, America and the Europeans would never treat Israel as pariah state, I suggest, but Yaakov doesn’t agree: “Their support is mostly shame over the Holocaust. But these feelings of guilt will dwindle in the next generations,” he says.
I ask Yaakov what his father would say if he had heard all this? Rena says she hadn’t even heard Yaakov speak like this before. His eyes dart under his woolly hat.
“I think my father would have to agree with me somewhat. He remained a Zionist to the end, but I think he realised something was wrong. Sometimes, I say he was too moral to be at peace with what is going on here,” he says.
“But he is disappointing because he didn’t arrive at the conclusion his son did. I don’t blame him for that. He absorbed Zionism in his mother’s milk. If he had lived to my age – I am 92, he died at 71 – perhaps he would have seen things like me. I don’t know.”
I get up to leave and pick up my laptop, thereby lighting up the picture of Abu Yahiya’s well again. Our interview has been haunted not only by Moshe Sharett but also by the image of that “tall lean Bedouin with the sympathetic face” last seen by Yaakov, stricken and alone.
“I must say, the picture of that nice man does sometimes come into my mind,” says Yaakov, who then takes me down to the street. Grabbing his scooter, he waves goodbye cheerily and kicks off into the traffic of Tel Aviv.
My Struggle for Peace, the Diary of Moshe Sharett 1953-1956 is published by Indiana University Press. Sarah Helm is a former Middle East correspondent and diplomatic editor of The Independent. Her books include A Life in Secrets: Vera Atkins and the Lost Agents of SOE, and If This Is a Woman, Inside Ravensbrück: Hitler’s Concentration Camp for Women.
Lead photo: Yaakov Sharett, 18, serving as a soldier in the Jewish Brigade (Courtesy Yaakov Sharett)
Israel constitutes the largest undeclared military base in the world.
The illegal and deceitful Balfour Declaration will soon be 100 years old. This imperial agreement made by the British government cbecome a Jewish national homeland with total disregard to the will of the hundreds of thousands of Palestinians living there.
The colonization process of Palestine was not characterized by military occupation of an imperialist country as the French did in Algeria. It was also not the European model used to colonize the U.S. and Australia that committed genocide against indigenous people in the nation building process.
Palestine, which was colonized by the Zionist project, was a model more like what happened in Latin America where national independence struggles fought back against racist regimes and did not accept the colonial nature of the conquering nations.
These struggles have taken on different forms but continue to this day. Cuba for example fought 2 wars of independence against Spain and then went on to defeat the United States in the great victory of the Cuban Socialist Revolution.
Under the most severe form of apartheid oppression the Palestinian people have never given up or accepted the conditions of the Balfour Declaration.
What makes the Palestinian struggle even more complex is that it is fighting against a regime that is supported and operates on the behalf of the U.S. in the Middle East and visa versa.
The essence of the Balfour Declaration in all its arrogant content contradicted and violated the Charter of the League of Nations, making it false and illegal for the following reasons.
The declaration was issued in 1917 when Great Britain had no legal international link to Palestine. The British occupation mandate was not declared until after the end of the First World War on July 24, 1922.
The Balfour statement was issued by an elite English Zionist of Jewish origin who had no right nor any legitimacy to declare anything on a territory that did not belong to them. And it did not have the right to surrender the Palestinian territory to a select group of Zionists alien to the Arab world as it did not belong to them either.
The statement was not considered as a pact or treaty between States and recognized Nations, consequently the Zionist claim has neither legitimacy nor obligatory character from the point of view of International Law.
The statement ignores and violates the historical rights of the national permanence of the Palestinian population in their native territory for more than 7 thousand years.
The Balfour Statement contradicts and violated article 20 of the Charter of the League of Nations. In there the obligation of all members of the League was to maintain respect while applying the principles and objectives of the Charter “to help in the advancement of peoples and facilitate the freedom of their homelands, while respecting the cultures, religions and socio-economic development, in order to establish a national and independent Government”.
The history of foreign military bases has always been a direct form of intervention of foreign powers into the internal affairs of other States and the usurpation of sovereignty and national independence, as well as the dignity of the people.
It is a way of enforcing colonization and occupation to maintain a military and or economic condition favorable to the imperial powers. In other cases military bases occur at the request of governments who for reasons of military and economic dependence submit to this condition.
However there is an extremely serious form of installation of foreign military bases, with catastrophic consequences for the geography, demography, history and the very existence of the people of the region and that is the case of the Zionist State of Israel, artificially created in 1948 in the historic land of Palestine.
In the period of 1917 – 1947 there was a process of gradual multiplication of the installations of settlers that went from 50 thousand to 650 thousand. It was an invading army aided by mercenaries from 37 countries occupying 78% or the greater part of the territory of Palestine.
What followed was a reign of terror of Nazi-Zio style ethnic cleansing. Tens of thousands of Palestinians were massacred, another 850 thousand were expelled from their homeland, 532 cities and villages were either burned or bulldozed.
The holocaust was designed to distribute European Jews to Palestine as a labor force and to falsely legitimize a state before the world.
The same forces that created the holocaust now conducts it’s business in Palestine.
Later in the war of expansion that began on June 5, 1967 Israel seized the rest of historic Palestine and Arab territories in Egypt, Syria, Lebanon and Jordan.
In 1948, the Zionist entity was formed primarily by Ashkenazi ( non-Semitic) Jews from various European groups, primarily Polish and Russian. But the project has never been about religion but rather culture and geographic location.
Since the beginning Israel has been a political, economic, ideological project, complex and globalized, inseparably organic and functional to imperialism and capitalism in its different phases that has gone from mercantilism to neoliberal globalization.
The militarization of the Israeli state with the help of regional powers created a country that in itself is essentially an occupying military base that has served the interest of U.S. Imperialism by participating in endless wars in the region with the most modern of weaponry.
Gaza: A Cruel Testing Ground for Israel’s Weapons-Marketing Campaign
War, or rather maintaining an ongoing conflict, is for Israel a lucrative business. The label “combat proven” translates directly into “healthy global sales” of firearms, drones and rockets.
This reality has been the decisive factor in the destabilization of peace and security in the area. In nearly seven decades of its spurious and illegal existence Israel has waged at least 11 wars against Palestinians and Arabs.
From its position of quantitative and qualitative military supremacy, backed by U.S. imperialism, this rogue state has become a nuclear power without declaring it.
Israel has been a conventional and nuclear military base of the U.S. without any control or supervision of the International Atomic Energy Agency (AIEA) since it has refused to sign their Protocols, alleging lacking foreign policy, according to Henry Kissinger, “Israel has no foreign policy; only domestic politics”.
The racist mindset of the founders of Israel can be seen in David Ben Gurion when he said, “We can only become Arabs as much as the Americans became Redskins..
Our war against the Arabs is to be or not to be; it is not for borders; Israel lives with war and dies with peace.”
Paul Findley took it further when he said, “The doctrine of Christian fundamentalists stipulates that the existence of a strong Israel is a necessity for the designs of God in Palestine. The United States has the duty to make Israel very strong until the last day of the judgment.”
Prisoner support and human rights organizations claim that approximately 700 Palestinian children under the age of 18 from the occupied West Bank are being prosecuted each year in Israeli military courts following their arrest, interrogation, torture and detention by the Israeli army.
More recent Zionist leaders are no less fanatical. On 13 March 1992, the Israeli newspaper Haartz, echoed a statement from the former NATO Secretary, Joseph Linz when he said, “Israel is the least expensive mercenary in our era”.
Meanwhile, Simón Pérez said that “Israel could not survive without the help of the United States”. Since 1973 the U.S. has been the real guarantor of the existence and technology-military superiority of Israel.”
Currently there are no tensions in bilateral diplomatic and political relations and the Presidents of the United States and Israel, at the economic-military level have grown and has experienced improvement especially since the W. Bush administration.
The U.S. has command has posts and military warehouses, including nuclear weapons in Israel – there are at least 150 nuclear weapons according to former President Carter – at the service of the war fighting needs of both powers in the Middle East.
Billions of U.S. tax dollars has propped up the Israeli infrastructure and build up the largest military force in the Middle East. Each consecutive president since 1950 has followed suit including Obama who, on his way out the door, signed an agreement with Israeli that would include $38 billion in military aid over the next decade.
The current situation in the Palestinian territories occupied in the West Bank continues to deteriorate. The Jewish settlements continue to escalate and push Palestinians off their land to the point that they only control 15% of it and movement is extremely restricted.
In the West Bank there are some 700,000 settlers in more than 600 Zionist colonies. These are militarized areas controlled by state sanctioned paramilitary groups.
There are also more than 1000 military check points along the 720 km. wall.
The Zionist entity of the State of Israel with its racist colonial role against the Palestinian people and all Arab people is a major threat to global peace. It constitutes the largest undeclared military base in the world. Israel is a constant violator of all human rights agreements and continues to mock all UN resolutions.
Today the 1975 UN resolution declaring Zionism as form of racism and racial discrimination is truer than ever before.
To do any justice for the cause of the Palestinian people this artificial entity has to be dismantled. Today there are 7 million Palestinians who are either refugees or exiled.
We demand the right of return for all Palestinians to their homeland and an end to occupation, looting, prison, torture and death.
While preparing this presentation I thought of the seven thousand Palestinian prisoners who remain in Israeli jails under administrative detention without any legal protection.
Many of them are children, young people and women.
On April 17 over 1,500 of these political prisoners began an open ended collective hunger strike. The demands are basic; an end to administrative detentions, solitary confinement and torture, the right to receive medicines and medical care and to install public telephones for maintaining contact with their families.
The Zionist response to the strike is alarming. Israeli Intelligence Minister Yisrael Katz, urged on his Twitter account the “necessity” that the Parliament of Israel, as soon as possible, pass a bill authorizing the death penalty of Palestinian prisoners being held.
This is the same Israeli Parliament, which adopted a resolution to legalize all the colonies that they occupy and currently usurp the land of Palestine.
The question for all justice loving people is how can we build peace with an occupant of this nature?
* Bassel Ismail Salem, is a Palestinian journalist and member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) living in Cuba
1953: Massive protests broke out across Iran, leaving almost 300 dead in firefights in the streets of Tehran. Iranian Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadegh was soon overthrown in a coup orchestrated by the CIA and British intelligence. The Shah was reinstalled as Iran's leader. pic.twitter.com/Fm9ttGrpAD
Lethally shooting around 20 or Iranians through New Year’s day, including at least one policeman, suggests foreign interference.
What’s going on resembles March 2011 protests in Daraa, Syria. US-supported armed protesters fired on police, instigating conflict.
Security forces responded to violent armed insurgents, killing civilians and police, attacking government offices.
What began in Daraa, spread elsewhere in Syria, things escalating into Obama’s war, unresolved nearly seven years later.
Events are also similar to late 2013, early 2014 Euromaidan violent protests in Kiev. The Obama administration’s coup involved snipers, killing and injuring hundreds of civilians and police, firing on them with automatic weapons from Kiev’s Philharmonic Hall.
Witnesses saw them carrying military-style bags used for sniper and assault rifles with optical sights.
Ahead of the uprising, Maidan leaders practically lived at Washington’s embassy in Kiev. US-supported putschists toppled Ukraine’s democratic government.
Fascist tyranny replaced it – the most brazen European coup since Mussolini’s 1922 march on Rome.
Events in Iran also eerily similar to earlier CIA-instigated street violence in Venezuela, scores killed, hundreds injured – a US-orchestrated color revolution attempt to replace Bolivarian social democracy with fascist tyranny.
Tactics included shootings, roadside bombs, arson and other vandalism against state facilities, barricades of burning rubbish, blocking roads, destroying a food storage depot, and holding a maternity hospital under siege.
Later, a helicopter attacked the Interior Ministry and Supreme Court. Other disruptive tactics were used.
Since early in Hugo Chavez’s tenure, Washington sought regime change. The Trump administration is committed to ousting President Nicolas Maduro, perhaps a renewed attempt to come this year.
Iran’s Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) Secretary Ali Shamkhani said a “proxy war” is being waged against the Islamic Republic on streets and via social media.
He blamed Washington, Britain and Saudi Arabia for what’s going on.
“Based on our analyses, around 27 percent of the new hashtags against Iran are generated by the Saudi government,” he explained.
Israel’s dirty hands are involved, long wanting its main regional rival eliminated, pro-Western puppet rule replacing the Islamic Republic.
A “small and minority group” is responsible for rioting, lawbreaking and violence, Rouhani said.
Reportedly, Iran’s elite Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) is now in charge of cracking down on elements responsible for violence if it continues – ongoing since December 28.
On Monday, a policeman was lethally shot, three others wounded from gunfire, the death toll mounting, anti-government armed gunmen responsible.
Maryam Rajavi from the so-called People’s Mujahedin of Iran called on Washington, Brussels and the Security Council to intervene. The CIA-supported group calls for toppling the Islamic Republic violently.
Trump and Netanyahu expressed support for protesters. Reportedly, Washington and Israel may try to assassinate IRGC al-Quds Force commander General Qassem Soleimani.
He’s in charge of Iranian anti-terrorist operations in Syria.
Things remain volatile. They bear the disturbing earmarks of an attempted US-orchestrated color revolution.
Iran is well aware of what’s going on, its security forces trained and able to confront made-in-the-USA violence and instability.
The Shadow Empire has successfully replaced Empire. In secret. Away from the eyes of most of humanity. The transition is now complete. For all intents and purposes, Pax Americana will now take the blame for Pax Judaica’s crimes.
House Democrats pass measure limiting Trump’s war powers against Iran. The 5-page resolution, led by Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-Mich.), would halt U.S. military actions against Iran without specific congressional approval.*
During her years in Congress, Cynthia McKinney stated, candidates for both the House and the Senate were requested to sign pledges of support for Israel, documents in which the candidate promised to vote to provide consistent levels of economic aid to the Zionist state.*
Putting 2=2 together I’d say that the US has no power to resist whatever Israel wants but US tries to make it look otherwise to the American people.
This is actually a very scary message. Israel is saying it will use it’s power to get it’s way. They said it in 1920 and they have proved it since because there has been nothing and no one to stop them.
After the letter of Gen. William H. Sili, commander of US military operations in Iraq, was leaked and then rapidly disseminated among Israeli most senior security figures Jan. 6, it turned on all the alarm systems throughout the Defense Ministry in Tel Aviv, according to the Zionist website, Al-Monitor.
The website described the US military withdrawal from Syria and Iraq as a nightmare scenario, citing Iran’s decision to halt its various commitments to the nuclear deal and return to high-level uranium enrichment of unlimited amounts and renewing its accelerated push for achieving military nuclear abilities.
“Under such circumstances,” a senior Israeli defense source told Al-Monitor under condition of anonymity, “We truly remain alone at this most critical period. There is no worse scenario than this, for ‘Israel’s national security’.”
The website added that despite the US denial, a senior Israeli source said that Tel Aviv doubts the reason of leaking and even writing the letter.
“It is not clear how this letter was written, it is not clear why it was leaked, it is not clear why it was ever written to begin with. In general, nothing is clear with regard to American conduct in the Middle East. We get up every morning to new uncertainty.”
Al-Montor website also mentioned that the Israeli officials will exert all the possible efforts to convince the US President to avoid taking such a decision. [this message is for those who know their true power.]
The imperial strategy of manipulating Muslims to promote imperial ends is at least two centuries old. Emerging most notably in the British use of Arabs to fracture the Ottoman Empire, it led to the creation of ‘Islamic states’ (Saudi Arabia and Pakistan) allied with the West; ongoing cooperation between western security forces and Islamists opposed to the atheism of socialist regimes; and the financing and training of jihadists.
From the beginning, we in the Resistance, have declared that our struggle was against the occupying Zionist aggressors on the land of Palestine and on our Arab land, not against Jews as followers of a heavenly religion (recognized by Islam) or as a people of the Book [Torah].
It is the Zionist movement that exploited Judaism and Jews to carry a colonialist occupation project in Palestine and the region, serving the British a hundred years ago, and later at the service of US policies.
The Jews who were brought from all over the world must know that they are only cannon fodder in a British Western colonialist war against the Arab and Islamic peoples in this region. And today they are the fuel for projects and US policies that target people of the region.
And when our peoples defend their lives, their land and honor in the face of Zionist gangs, they are unjustly accused of anti-Semitism. This (false) accusation is found in every corner of the world.
Today I say to Jewish scholars, their eminent personalities, their thinkers: Those who brought you from all over the world to Palestine for their own interests are ultimately working to your destruction. You must know it, because it is written in your religious books.
The current Israeli government led by Netanyahu is leading your people to annihilation and destruction. For he only makes plans for war, and only searches war.
He has worked in the past to prevent the signing of the nuclear deal with Iran, and he failed. He is currently working with Trump to tear this agreement and to push the region to a new war.
If Trump and Netanyahu push the region to a new war, this will be at your expense [Israelis], and it is you who will pay a very high price for the stupid policies of the head of your government.
And Netanyahu is also pushing the region towards war against Lebanon, Syria, Gaza and the Resistance movements, under misleading titles and defensive excuses, for a preventive war as he claims.
And here, I hope all Israelis will listen carefully to what I say: Netanyahu, his government and military officials did not correctly evalutate the magnitude this war will reach if they succeed to light its fires.
What will be its extent, what will be its territory, who will participate on it, who will enter it… Netanyahu, his government and military officials do not know how this war will end if they start it. And I also confirm that they do not have an accurate picture of what awaits them if they undertake such a stupid act as this war.
They have no clarity (of vision), nor accurate assessment, nor just image. If they kindle the fire of the coming war, (they have no idea) how far it will reach, how extended will be its embrace, and who will participate in it.
That’s why I now call first all Jews except the Zionists to detach their considerations from Zionist calculations who lead themselves to their final destruction.
And I call on all those who came in occupied Palestine believing the promises that they would find the land of milk and honey to leave. I call them to leave Palestine and go back to the countries from which they came so that they don’t become mere fuel in any war to which the stupid Netanyahu government would lead them.
For if Netanyahu launched a war in this region, there may be no more time for them to leave Palestine, and there might be no safe place for them in occupied Palestine.
The enemy government must know that times have changed, as he must know that those with whom he hopes an alliance will be a burden for them because they need to be to defended themselves (and thus cannot help anyone).
And the scale of the massacres committed by Israel against the Palestinian people and the peoples of the region, its partnership with Daesh and its open complicity in the project of partition of our region through its open and eager support to the secession of Kurdistan, all this will push the people of the region to render a capital verdict against them.
I conclude by saying to the Israelis, the Israeli people base of this usurper entity: you know that what your political and military leaders say about Israel’s ability to win a victory in any future war is largely composed of lies and illusions. What has been told you is largely made up of lies and illusions.
And you know the extent of the flaws and loopholes that exist (in your army and society). And that’s why you must not allow stupid and arrogant leaders to lead you into an adventure in which there will be perhaps the end of all things and all that entity. […]
Britain played & is still playing a huge role in Palestinian Holocaust. The British wanted to protect their strategic interests in the region and Zionism was the tool they used. Holocausts are designed to terrorize populations into fleeing their homelands to where the Dark Forces wants them.
“Menahem Begin, the Leader of the Irgun, tells how ‘in Jerusalem, as elsewhere, we were the first to pass from the defensive to the offensive…Arabs began to flee in terror…Hagana was carrying out successful attacks on other fronts, while all the Jewish forces proceeded to advance through Haifa like a knife through butter’…The Israelis now allege that the Palestine war began with the entry of the Arab armies into Palestine after 15 May 1948.
But that was the second phase of the war; they overlook the massacres, expulsions and dispossessions which took place prior to that date and which necessitated Arab states’ intervention.” Sami Hadawi, “Bitter Harvest.”
The Deir Yassin Massacre of Palestinians by “Jewish” soldiers
“For the entire day of April 9, 1948, Irgun and LEHI soldiers carried out the slaughter in a cold and premeditated fashion…The attackers ‘lined men, women and children up against the walls and shot them,’…The ruthlessness of the attack on Deir Yassin shocked Jewish and world opinion alike, drove fear and panic into the Arab population, and led to the flight of unarmed civilians from their homes all over the country.” Israeli author, Simha Flapan, “The Birth of Israel.”
“By 1948, the Jew was not only able to ‘defend himself’ but to commit massive atrocities as well. Indeed, according to the former director of the Israeli army archives, ‘in almost every village occupied by us during the War of Independence, acts were committed which are defined as war crimes, such as murders, massacres, and rapes’…Uri Milstein, the authoritative Israeli military historian of the 1948 war, goes one step further, maintaining that ‘every skirmish ended in a massacre of Arabs.’” Norman Finkelstein, “Image and Reality of the Israel-Palestine Conflict.”
Of about 144 houses, 10 were dynamited. The cemetery was later bulldozed and, like hundreds of other Palestinian villages to follow, Deir Yassin was wiped off the map. By September, Orthodox Jewish immigrants from Poland, Rumania, and Slovakia were settled there over the objections of Martin Buber, Cecil Roth and other Jewish leaders, who believed that the site of the massacre should be left uninhabited.
Jewish refugee arrival in Palestine
The center of the village was renamed Givat Shaul Bet. As Jerusalem expanded, the land of Deir Yassin became part of the city and is now known simply as the area between Givat Shaul and the settlement of Har Nof on the western slopes of the mountain.
“If the king opens his mouth, Israel will turn off the water tap and leave the kingdom to go thirsty”
The plan to turn Jordan into a Palestinian homeland and to give Israel complete control over the historic land of Palestine is regularly rehashed by the Israeli right whenever there is international pressure, however minimal, on Israel to stop its expansionism.
The Israeli right is preparing to present a plan to overthrow the Jordanian king after annexing the Jordan Valley in the West Bank to realize the dream of Jordan being converted to Palestine.
They aim to establish a confederation between the PA and “Palestinian Jordan” because the Israeli right is interested in annexing the West Bank without the millions of Palestinians within it. Forcing them to head to Jordan.
Israel’s Haaretz newspaper revealed in late December the Israeli right-wing’s approaches and plans, led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
This is based on the claims that Israel has major plans for Jordan, but these plans do not include the same king.
This is evidenced by several articles and reports written by right-wing Israeli writers this month who all present similar justifications and results, the main of them all is to destroy the peace treaty with Jordan.
Right-wing Israelis believe that annexing the Jordan Valley is a tactical operation aimed at hitting two Israeli birds with one stone: the first is to work to annex the West Bank and cancel the peace agreement with Jordan, and the second is to topple the Hashemite royal family and to embody the dream of Jordan being Palestine.
It is interesting that this dream is shared by all the Israeli right, with all its components and currents, because they are enthusiastic supporters of the idea that Jordan is Palestine. The ruling Israeli right has begun to detest King Abdullah II.
When King Abdullah is shamefully toppled, Israel will be able to complete its annexation of the West Bank and establish a confederation between the Palestinian Authority and “Palestinian Jordan”.
Moreover, according to the Israeli perception, when that happens, the Palestinians in the West Bank will obtain political rights in Jordan.
According to this Israeli theory, when the Palestinian state is established in Jordan, the Palestinians can resolve their issue, put an end to their suffering and stop using armed operations against Israel, because since 1988, Palestinians in the West Bank have been able to obtain temporary Jordanian passports.
It is worth noting that the Israeli approach may contradict Jordan’s interest in reducing the total number of Palestinians in the kingdom because it refuses at the moment to receive Palestinian refugees from Syria in the way it allowed Syrian and Iraqi refugees to seek refuge on its soil.
Perhaps such aspirational Israeli calls towards Jordan are encouraged by the fact that the two-state solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict is no longer practical or realistic.
Meanwhile, there are claims that the alternative solution is the establishment of an Arab Palestinian state east of the Jordan River, which will achieve peace between Israel and Palestine.
They also claim that the river can be used to transport goods and products from either side, with the Israeli Jewish state on one side and the Arab Palestinian country on the other, side by side.
There is another Israeli scenario of Jordan hosting more Palestinians and instead of the kingdom becoming a Palestinian republic, they become citizens with full rights in the Hashemite Kingdom.
The return of Gilad Sharon after a long absence was noteworthy. He is the son of the late Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, who had strong relations with the late King Hussein, King Abdullah’s father.
Gilad Sharon returned to claim that the current Jordanian ling would not dare to oppose the annexation of the Jordan Valley by Israel, because Israel has him by his weak spot and the continuation of his rule depends on Israel.
He also said that if the king opened his mouth, Israel would turn off the water tap and leave the kingdom to go thirsty.
All these are efforts to drive the king to cancel the peace agreement with Israel and allow Tel Aviv to remove him.
King Abdullah finds himself caught between the anger of the Jordanian public and Israel.
The situation of his government has become really difficult because his country’s budget is suffering, the sources of income are declining, the Gulf states, which have always been a source of support for Jordan, have reduced their aid, and millions of Arab refugees have flocked to the kingdom in recent years.
In spite of the increase of tensions between Jordan and Israel over the past year, security coordination between them continues as usual and the intelligence cooperation is at its best.
This raises questions about the king failing to use this card to pressure Israel unless this cooperation serves him and not the kingdom.
The Archbishop was gassed by an Nazi-Israeli army gas canister, lobbed at Hanna’s Church in Jerusalem December 18 .
Hanna is particularly troubling for Israel because his political language demolishes Israeli hasbara at its very foundations.
Atallah Hanna has reiterated his belief that Jerusalem and the Holy Land belong to people of all religious beliefs, stressing the need to recognize the rights of Christians, Muslims, and the Jewish people to reside and visit the area freely without a permit requirement.
“They will run and not grow weary,” is a quote from the Bible (Isaiah, 40:41) that adorns the homepage of Kairos Palestine. This important document, which parallels a similar initiative emanating from South Africa during the anti-apartheid struggle years, has come to represent the unified voice of the Palestinian Christian community everywhere. One of the main advocates of Kairos Palestine is Archbishop Atallah Hanna.
Hanna has served as the Head of the Sebastia Diocese of the Greek Orthodox Church in Jerusalem since 2005. Since then, he has used his leadership position to advocate for Palestinian unity in all of its manifestations.
Expectedly, Hanna has been on Israel’s radar for many years, as this kind of leadership is problematic from the viewpoint of a hegemonic political and military power that requires utter and absolute submission.
So when Archbishop Hanna was hospitalized on December 18 as a result of what was reported to be Israeli “poisoning,” Palestinians were very concerned.
A few days later, Hanna was found to be at a Jordanian hospital receiving urgent medical treatment for what was described, by Hanna himself, as “poisoning by chemical substance.”
Whatever that substance may have been, it was reportedly discharged from an Israeli army gas canister, lobbed at Hanna’s Church in Jerusalem.
“The Christians of Palestine are one family of Jordanians and Palestinians,” he told journalists from his hospital bed, where he also said that “Israeli occupation may have attempted to assassinate him or keep him sick all his life, indicating that the substance has very serious effects, especially on the nervous system.”
Zionist criminals from the beginning.
Those familiar with Hanna’s discourse would know precisely what the rebellious Christian leader was aiming at when he spoke about the oneness of Palestinian Christians in Jordan and Palestine: unity which, sadly, has eluded Palestinians for a long time.
Indeed, wherever the man may be, standing tall at a rally in Jerusalem in defense of Palestinian rights or from a hospital bed, he advocates unity among Palestinians and for the sake of Palestine.
The Kairos document is itself an act of unity among Palestinian Christian churches and organizations. “This means for us, here and now, in this land in particular, that God created us not so that we might engage in strife and conflict but rather that we might come and know and love one another, and together build up the land in love and mutual respect,” the document, championed by Hanna and many others, states.
Even before claiming his current leadership position, Hanna was a target of Israel. During the Second Intifada, the uprising of 2005, Hanna emerged on the scene as an advocate, not of Palestinian Christian rights but the rights of all Palestinians.
He actively pursued the World Council of Churches to use its credibility and outreach to speak out against the Israeli occupation of Palestine and for an independent Palestinian state.
In August 2002, Hanna was detained by the Israeli police in front of his home in Jerusalem’s Old City.
On the orders of the Israeli Attorney General, he was charged with ‘suspicion of relations with terrorist organizations’, a concocted charge that allowed the Israeli government to confiscate the Palestinian leader’s Israeli and Vatican passports.
Despite the fact that Palestinian Christians undergo the same experience of military occupation, oppression, and ethnic cleansing as their Muslim brethren, Israel has labored to propagate an erroneous narrative that presents the “conflict” as one between Israel and Muslim fundamentalists.
Hanna is particularly troubling for Israel because his political language demolishes Israeli hasbara at its very foundations.
“We intend to conduct special prayers inside the Church of the Nativity for the sake of our martyrs,” he declared on October 10, 2001, when he joined Christian and Muslim leaders in their march from Jerusalem to Bethlehem, to challenge Israel’s targeting of Palestinian religious sites.
In an interview with ‘Russia Today’ on January 30, 2015, Hanna refused to even concede the language battle to those who ignorantly – or purposely – ascribe Muslim terminology to terrorism. “Allahu Akbar” – God is great in Arabic – is as much Christian as it is a Muslim phrase, he argued.
“We Christians also say Allahu Akbar. This is an expression of our understanding that the Creator is great. We don’t want this phrase to be related to terrorism and crimes,” he said.
“We speak against using this phrase in this context. Those who do, they insult our religion and our religious values,” he added, again, thoughtfully linking all religious values through faith, not politics.
Israel illustrates daily it’s control over Muslim holy sites
Tirelessly and consistently, the Archbishop announced that “Christian and Muslim Palestinians living in Jerusalem suffer from the occupation, suffer from repression, tyranny, and oppression.”
Although born in Ramah in Palestine’s upper Galilee region, Hanna’s true love was, and remains, Jerusalem.
It was there that his spirituality deepened and his political ideas formulated. His advocacy for the Palestinian Arab Muslim and Christian identity of the city stands at the core of all of his activities.
“Everything Palestinian in Jerusalem is targeted by Israeli occupation,” Hanna said last January during a meeting with a Doctors without Borders delegation.
“The Islamic and Christian holy sites and endowments are targeted in order to change our city, hide its identity and marginalize our Arabic and Palestinian existence,” the Archbishop lamented.
In fact, Israel has been doing exactly that, efforts that have accelerated since Donald Trump’s advent to the White House, and the US’ subsequent recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
Archbishop Hanna is one of the strongest and most articulate Palestinian Christian voices in Jerusalem. His relentless work and leadership have irked Israeli authorities for many years.
Now that Israel is finalizing its takeover of the illegally occupied city, Hanna, and like-minded Christian and Muslim leaders, are becoming more than mere irritants but real hurdles in the face of the Israeli military machine.
I met Abouna—Father—Hanna at a California Conference a few years ago. I heard him speak, his thunderous voice is that of a proud Palestinian Arab.
He urged unity, as he always does. I chatted with him later, in the hotel lobby, as he was ready to go out for a walk with his close friend, the Mufti of Jerusalem. He was gentle and polite, and extremely funny.
As I watched them both walk outside, I felt hopeful that unity for the sake of Palestine is very much possible.