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Syria: Lavrov-Chance for Syria peace can’t be missed & Assad- We agreed at Russia’s request not US threats

VIDEOS: McCain Faces the Wrath of Americans Opposed to Syria War (click to read other videos)

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Lavrov: Chance for Syria Peace Can’t Be Missed

Al Manar

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Thursday there is a chance of peace in Syria which cannot be missed, calling for for maximum efforts in order to get out of the “storm” in reference to the recent escalation on the Syrian crisis.

“I’m positive there is a chance for peace in Syria, and it cannot be missed. Tomorrow we’ll discuss this issue with Secretary of State John Kerry,” Lavrov said after meeting his Kazakh counterpart in Astana.

Echoing sentiments previously expressed by Russian President Vladimir Putin, he said Russia’s active diplomatic efforts were intended “to prevent external military intervention in Syria, which would only lead to further destabilization in the country and throughout the entire region.”

Regarding the Russian initiative, which has “gathered widespread support,” Lavrov noted it was forwarded with “the understanding that it will waive the use of armed force against Syria.”

Lavrov further said a delegation of Russian and American chemical weapons experts who “have the necessary knowledge to identify relevant solutions to such issues” would be present in Geneva.

“It is necessary ensure Syria’s adherence to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, which would entail a declaration of Syria’s chemical weapons storage sites and the disclosure of its chemical [weapons] program,” he said.

Lavrov also said that the Russian-US meeting in Geneva was not intended to “usurp” the preparatory process for resolving the Syrian question.

The top Russian minister is to meet with his US counterpart John Kerry in Geneva to hammer out the details of Russia’s initiative to put Syria’s chemical weapons stockpiles under international control.

During the meeting, Kerry and Lavrov will attempt to reach a deal on a UN Security Council resolution that would require Syria to put its chemical weapons stockpiles under international control, allowing for their further destruction. Syria would also be expected to join the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.

Russia remains opposed to elements of the French-drafted UN resolution, which included a timetable and the threat of force to facilitate Syria’s acquiescence to the plan.

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Assad: We Agreed to Put ’Chemicals’ under Int’l Control at Russia’s Request

Al Manar

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said Thursday that Damascus agreed to hand over control of chemical weapons to the international supervision at the request of Russia, and not because of the U.S. threats.

During an interview with the channel “Russia 24″, the Syrian President made it clear that Damascus will send to the United Nations documents in order to prepare a convention on the matter.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, has said in an article published by the New York Times daily that forces of the Syrian opposition – and not the Syrian army – had used chemical weapons to incite the U.S. intervention.

“No one doubts that poison gas was used, but there are all reasons to believe that poison gas was not used by the national military, but by the opposition forces in order to incite the intervention of foreign powers that support them,” Putin said.

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Russia’s ‘Carrier-Killer’ Moskva Enters Mediterranean

Al Manar

Russia’s Moskva missile cruiser, dubbed a “carrier-killer” by NATO, has passed through the Straits of Gibraltar and is now heading toward the eastern Mediterranean to assume command of the Russian naval force there.

The Russian Navy said in a statement that the Moskva cruiser passed through the Straits of Gibraltar on September 10.

Interfax news agency added that the Moskva cruiser, “commanded by Sergey Tronev, Captain 1st Rank of the Guards… has enough room for maneuver now.”

“The Black Sea flagship entered the Russian Navy’s area of responsibility in the Mediterranean at 11:00 pm Moscow time yesterday,” the agency reported a military source as saying.

The missile-carrying cruiser is expected to join its final destination in eastern Mediterranean on September 15 or 16.

Upon arrival, the command of the Russian Navy unit in the Mediterranean, currently stationed onboard the Admiral Panteleyev anti-submarine ship, will be relocated to the Moskva.

“The armaments and technical equipment of the missile cruiser are in working condition. The crew is ready to perform combat missions,” the source said.

Missile cruiser “Moskva” belonging to Russia’s Black Sea Fleet firing anti-aircraft missiles during joint drills with other fleets.

The missile cruiser, initially known to Western naval intelligence as “Slava” (Glory), was launched in 1979 and entered service in 1983. It was later renamed the “Moskva” in 1995. Designed to be carrier-killers, the cruisers of Class 1164 are equipped with 16 anti-ship launchers P-1000 Vulkan, or Volcano (SS-N-12 Sandbox anti-ship missiles, according to NATO classification).

Another two vessels, the landing ship Nikolay Filchenkov and the guard ship Smetlivy, will join the Russian naval unit later. They will be pass through the Bosporus and Dardanelles straits by September 12-14 and will then head to the eastern Mediterranean.

Russia’s Defense Ministry has said the maneuvers are part of the “stage-by-stage rotation of warships and support ships of the standing naval force in the Mediterranean.”

The recent deployments are aimed at “complex monitoring” of the situation around Syria, military sources told Interfax earlier.

Russia’s standing naval force in the Mediterranean now involves landing craft carriers “Aleksandr Shabalin,” “Admiral Nevelskoy,” “Peresvet,” “Novocherkassk” and “Minsk” of Russia’s Black and Baltic Sea Fleets, as well as escort vessel “Neustrashimy,” and the anti-submarine ship “Admiral Panteleyev.”

“Admiral Panteleyev” anti-submarine ship returning to Vladivostok from Japanese port Hakodate (Hokkaido island).

Russian naval maneuvers in the Mediterranean come amid growing tension in the region, which sparked speculation that Russia was boosting its naval presence ahead of a possible US strike against Syria.

Previously, Russia’s defense officials cautioned against making connections between the relocation of warships and the Syrian crisis, saying the maneuvers do not depend on the situation and “will continue after it.”

Senate panel backs US strike on Syria amid deep reluctance & McCain caught playing poker on phone during hearing

Senate Panel Backs U.S. Strike on Syria amid Deep Reluctance

Al Manar

The Senate authorized on Wednesday a punitive strike on Syria amid deep reluctance in the House, where lawmakers questioned whether the U.S. was in danger of being drawn into another Middle East warKerry.

US President Barack Obama, who announced Saturday that he would seek legislative backing for military action in response to Syria’s alleged use of chemical weapons, sought to raise the pressure on Congress as well as U.S. allies, warning that their reputations were at stake.

“My credibility’s not on the line. The international community’s credibility’s on the line. And America and Congress’ credibility’s on the line,” Obama said during a visit to Stockholm.

On a 10-7 vote, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee approved a resolution to authorize U.S. missile strikes. The committee chairman, Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), said Congress should “make sure Assad understands he can’t just wait us out, use chemical weapons and face no consequences.”

Several senators from both parties, including opponents of the resolution, predicted the Senate would approve it next week. Yet the Senate’s conflicted views were clear in the vote, which saw Democrats and Republicans on each side.

Obama, meanwhile, insisted he was not alone in demanding a response to the alleged use of chemical weapons in the suburbs of Damascus on Aug. 21, but was joined by nations that signed treaties banning chemical weapons and by Congress, which ratified them. “I didn’t set a red line; the world set a red line” he said. “That wasn’t something I just kind of made up.”

The Senate committee’s resolution limits any U.S. mission to 90 days and prohibits the use of ground troops.

The resolution was amended to include language from McCain and Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.) directing that the strike be used to “change the momentum on the battlefield” away from the Syrian government, which has had the edge for much of this year. The amendment said that it was necessary to ‘pressure’ Assad to negotiate an end to the war.

The difficulty of winning votes in the House — particularly among majority Republicans — was clear at the Foreign Affairs Committee hearing. Secretary of State John F. Kerry, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, faced mostly skeptical questions about their confidence in the intelligence about the use of chemical weapons, the nature of the Syrian opposition and the consequences of a strike.

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McCain Caught Playing Poker on Smartphone During Syria Hearing: VIDEO

Al Ahed news

Senator John McCain, a longtime advocate for forceful military intervention in Syria, was caught playing poker on his smartphone Tuesday as top administration officials testified at one of the most pivotal congressional hearings of the year.

McCain is hardly the only US lawmaker ever to seek a diversion from what can be hours of legislative debate on Capitol Hill.

But the photographic evidence of McCain making poker bets on his iPhone during the hearing itself offered a startling counterweight to the seriousness in Washington as senators debated whether to sign on to President Barack Obama’s plan to bomb Syria for chemical weapons use.

“Scandal!” McCain tweeted sarcastically after an alert Washington Post photographer posted the photo that rapidly made the rounds on Twitter.
“Caught playing iPhone game at 3+ hour Senate hearing – worst of all I lost!” he quipped.

McCain explained to the CNN why he was playing poker during the debate. Here is the video:

Mobs raid homes of Muslims in Myanmar

Press TV

Some 1,000 Buddhists have reportedly attacked properties belonging to the Muslim community in northwestern Myanmar.

The rampage broke out shortly before Saturday midnight in the town of Kanbalu. Seven Muslim-owned shops and 15 houses were destroyed by the Buddhist mob.

The mob demanded that Myanmar’s police hand over a man suspected of attempting to rape a Buddhist woman.

Witnesses say police tried to disperse the angry crowd but failed to prevent the destruction.

Muslims are regularly targeted by riots in Myanmar. In 2012, similar violence in the western state of Rakhine left nearly 200 people – mostly Rohingya Muslims – dead.

The Saturday attack comes four days after the UN human rights envoy to Myanmar came under an attack by a group of Buddhists in central Myanmar.

UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Tomas Ojea Quintana said on August 21 that 200 angry Buddhists mobbed his car after he landed in the central town of Meikhtila to investigate attacks on Rohingya Muslims in the region.

In March, a wave of anti-Muslim riots killed over 40 people, destroyed hundreds of homes and displaced thousands in Meikhtila.

Over the past months, hundreds of Rohingyas are believed to have been killed and thousands displaced in attacks by extremist Buddhists.

The extremists frequently attack Rohingyas, and Myanmar’s government has been accused of failing to protect the Muslim minority.

Rohingyas are said to be Muslim descendants of Persian, Turkish, Bengali, and Pathan origin, who migrated to Myanmar as early as the eighth century.

Palestinian children routinely tortured, some threatened with rape

by Ali Abunimah, EI

Palestinian children are systematically subjected to torture and violence, including threats of rape, by Israeli interrogators, in order to force them to confess to stone-throwing.

The brutality, at the Etzion police station, in an illegal Israeli colony near the occupied West Bank city of Bethlehem, is documented in a new report by the Israeli group B’Tselem:

In November 2009, B’Tselem began receiving reports of violence against Palestinian minors during interrogation at the Etzion police station. Until July 2013, B’Tselem field researchers collected 64 testimonies from residents of eight communities in the southern West Bank who reported such incidents. Fifty-six of them were minors at the time of their interrogation. The testimonies describedsevere physical violence during the interrogation or preliminary questioning, which, in some cases, amounted to torture. The violence included slaps, punches and kicks to all parts of the body, and blows with objects, such as a gun or a stick. Some of the former interrogatees also reported threats: in twelve cases, they claimed that the interrogator had threatened them or female relatives with sexual assault, such as rape and genital injury. In six cases, the interrogatees claimed that the interrogators had threatened to execute them; in eight cases, the interrogators allegedly threatened to harm family members; and in five other cases, they allegedly threatened to electrocute the interrogatees, including in a way that would damage their fertility.

“I’ll murder you if you don’t confess”

B’Tselem included the testimony of M.A., a 15-year-old boy, from Husan village near Bethlehem:

The interrogator “Daud” took me outside with a soldier. They blindfolded me. The plastic cable ties were still on my hands. They put me in a car and started driving. I don’t know where they took me. We reached some place outside Etzion and they forced me out of the car. My hands really hurt because of the cable ties. They took off my blindfold. I didn’t know where I was. They tied me to a tree, and then they raised my cuffed hands and tied them to the tree, too. It hurt a lot. “Daud” started punching me. After a few minutes, he took out a gun and said: “I’ll murder you if you don’t confess! Out here, no one will find you. We’ll kill you and leave you here.

Consistent

While the revelations from B’Tselem are shocking, they are, sadly, hardly new. The accounts of the Palestinian children are consistent with those collected in dozens of cases in 2012 alone by Defence for Children International – Palestine Section (DCI).

These cases include routine use of solitary confinement with no access to family or lawyers, as well as physical violence, to force children to confess.

Last year, DCI released the brief video above, Alone, highlighting the experience and testimonies of Palestinian children abused and tortured by the occupation forces.

The film makes the point that Palestinian children subjected to military occupation have no one to protect them from such abuses by Israeli forces.

As of June this year, there are 193 Palestinian children in Israeli prisons of whom 41 were between the ages of 12 and 15.

Some 7,500 Palestinian children have been detained by Israeli occupation forces since the year 2000, according to DCI.

Systematic violence and near total impunity

B’Tselem reports that its efforts to obtain accountability for Palestinian victims in dozens of cases have been met with stone-walling.

The group said its appeals to the occupation to deal “systemically” with the phenomenon of torture and violence at Etzion have gone nowhere:

Although B’Tselem contacted the Israel Police on this matter repeatedly, no official answer was given to the question whether any steps had been taken to address the phenomenon and, if so, what they were. All our communications with the police on the matter were met with denial.

B’Tselem said that the high number of consistent reports of torture suggest a systematic process:

The high number of reports B’Tselem has received regarding violent interrogations at the Etzion station, and the fact that they span several years, gives rise to heavy suspicion that this is not a case of a single interrogator who chose to use illegal interrogation methods, but rather an entire apparatus that backs him up and allows such conduct to take place.

B’Tselem itself issued a report about the torture of children at Etzion police station as far back as 2001.

Again, B’Tselem’s experience matches that of other Israeli groups, such as Yesh Din, that have found that efforts to obstain justice for Palestinians from their oppressors result in almost total and systematic impunity for the abusers.

US foreign policy: The moral hazard of “relative evil” necessary to fight “absolute evil”

There is no way to stop Fukushima radioactive water leaking into the Pacific

by Arnie Gundersen, source

The rate at which contaminated water has been pouring into the Pacific Ocean from the disabled Fukushima nuclear plant is worse than previously thought, an Industry Ministry official said Wednesday as PM Shinzo Abe pledged to step up efforts to halt the crisis.

The Voice of Russia contacted Arnold Gundersen, founder and president of Fairewinds Associates, to discuss the crisis and its possible solutions. The expert suggests radioactive material will continue to leak into the global seas unless the plant is surrounded with a trench filled with zeolite. Even then however, toxic material will still flow into  the Pacific through underwater routes.

Interview Transcript

Evgeny Sukhoi: Is it possible to somehow make the wastewater storage basins waterproof and thus rule out leakage?

Arnie Gundersen: The horse is already out of the barn here. This plant’s been leaking for two years. And finally, now, the radioactive water has made it to the ocean. But my experience with underground water is that – if it is serious at the ocean, it is more serious as you move away from the ocean. So, spike of radiation continues to move to the ocean.

The Japanese are proposing putting in a barrier to prevent the water from entering the ocean. That is two years too late and will be too late by the time they construct that barrier. But the barrier also causes another problem. If the water can’t go anywhere into the Pacific Ocean, it is going to build up onsite, which means that the nuclear reactors themselves will become unstable. The water can pull underneath the nuclear buildings and if there is an earthquake, in fact the nuclear buildings could topple. So, by solving one problem, they are creating another problem.

ES: Is it possible to somehow avoid that scenario?

AG: The solution that I proposed two years ago was to surround the plant with a trench filled with material called zeolite. That’s just the volcanic ash. The volcanic ash is very good at absorbing radiation. But the solution isn’t to keep the water from getting out. The solution is to keep the water from getting in. So, outside the trench that they surround the plant, if they pull the water level down (the clean water outside the trench) that would prevent further water from leaking into the Daiichi site.

The Japanese haven’t been willing to spend the money. I approached them two years ago with this and I was told that Tokyo Electric doesn’t have the money to spend. But of course, the problem now is that we are contaminating the Pacific Ocean which is extraordinarily serious.

ES: Is there anything that can be done with that, I mean with the ocean?

AG: Frankly, I don’t believe so. I think we will continue to release radioactive material into the ocean for 20 or 30 years at least. They have to pump the water out of the areas surrounding the nuclear reactor. But frankly, this water is the most radioactive water I’ve ever experienced. I work directly over a nuclear reactor cores during refueling outages. And the water directly over a nuclear reactor core when the plant is operating is a thousand times less radioactive than this water. So, there is an extraordinary amount of water and even if they build the wall, ground waters enter the Pacific through underwater sources. It doesn’t have to run of the top of the surface into the Pacific. It can enter the underwater sources as well.

ES: Domestically, do you expect the latest disclosures about Fukushima to delay decisions on reactivating Japanese nuclear power plants?

AG: I think it should. I think the big problem is that the Japanese Government has not been honest with its people about the cost to clean up Daiichi. I think the cost to clean up just the site is going to be $100 billion. And the cost to clean up the prefecture of Fukushima is going to be another $400 billion.

The Japanese Government hasn’t told the people that they are on the hook for a half a trillion dollars. And I think if the japans people understood the magnitude of the damage a nuclear plant can create, they’d have had second thought about staring up the remaining nuclear plants because it could happen elsewhere. This is the most seismic place on the planet and to build a nuclear plant there is rather foolish.

Gold Gone? Germany baffled as Fed bars access to bullion

Palestinian boy paralyzed by Israeli bullet expects no justice

by Benjamin Doherty, EI

Atta Muhammad Atta Sabah is a 12-year-old Palestinian boy who was shot by an Israeli soldier on 21 May 2013 in Jalazoun refugee camp near Ramallah in the occupied West Bank as he attempted to retrieve his school bag.

The injury left him paralyzed below the waist and damaged his liver, lungs, pancreas and spleen.

Contemporaneous reports include typical Israeli army assertions that soldiers were firing at protestors throwing rocks and molotov cocktails.

Disturbing disregard for children

Days after the attack, Defence for Children International-Palestine Section (DCI-Palestine)stated:

“This shooting is devastating and tragic, and unfortunately all too common,” said Ayed Abu Eqtaish, Accountability Program director at DCI-Palestine. “The blatant disregard that soldiers often display toward children is extremely disturbing. We demand that the Israeli authorities conduct a prompt, transparent and impartial investigation and hold the perpetrators accountable.”

In a video interview published today by DCI-Palestine, Atta and his mother tell their story. “He would go straight to school and come back, and he has an attachment to his pets, all his time was spent with his birds and pigeons. He was never interested in soldiers or clashes.”

Atta says “I’m not expecting anything to happen to [the soldier who shot me].” Israeli soldiers are almost never charged with crimes against Palestinians civilians, and, when they are, punishments are insignificant.

“No, I didn’t hear anything [from the Israelis] nor did they care about the situation,” Atta said.

Atta’s mother shares a glimpse of her own fears for the future caring for a child who is disabled and traumatized. “Sometimes he gets angry. His blood pressure goes to 205. He doesn’t really speak about what’s happening. That’s how he expresses his anger.”

Life in Jalazon refugee camp is punctuated by regular incursions by Israeli occupation soldiers who arrest youth. While Atta personally expects to walk again, his mother is less optimistic. “The hardest part is his situation at home, when he goes home.”

Soldiers assault a twelve-year-old Palestinian while settlers invade family rooftop in Hebron

International Solidarity Movement

Hebron, Occupied Palestine – Saturday August 3rd was not a peaceful Saturday for the Palestinians in Hebron. At approximately 16.30 two settlers invaded the roof of the Abu Shamsiya family in Tel Rumeida, whilst three soldiers attacked a twelve year old boy in the street nearby.

When the settlers on the roof were approached by internationals and told that they were on private property and therefore had to leave, they refused and said they came there every week. The fact that they had entered a private home without consent of the family did not concern them, on the contrary they expressed that they felt it was their right. When asked to leave the settlers behaved aggressively by yelling and continuously refusing to do so. After having argued with internationals one of the settlers threatened to lie to the soldiers and say that they had been hit by the internationals. He argued that even though it was not true, the soldiers would believe him over the international activists.

As seen in the video below, in the meantime three Israeli soldiers assaulted three young boys just down the street. The soldiers started by harshly pushing one boy, afterwards they grabbed a second boy, Islam by the hair and kicked him. Thereafter a third boy ran to his house chased by the soldiers. When internationals asked why the military was chasing the boy, they lied and said the boys had been throwing stones. The boy said that he had simply ran because he was scared after having seen his twelve-year-old friend, Islam being brutally attacked by soldiers for no apparent reason.

These are not unusual events. The Abu Shamsiya family is often victim of settler and military harassment, the family’s roof is on street level and settlers often go there to throw stones, harass the family and break their property. Saturdays are particularly violent in Hebron, only last week both Abu Shamsiya and his son Muhammed were attacked by settlers whilst the military was watching, with Abu Shamsiya then being arrested on false charges while the settlers were freed without charges.

Hebron has large settlements in the middle of the city housing approximately 500 settlers some of whom are extremely aggressive and violent. Additionally there are 2500 Israeli occupation soldiers stationed in the city.

Palestine: Workers beaten without mercy, “Israeli” Minister: ’ I’ve killed lots of Arabs in my life…’ & 5000 new units

Video shows Israeli soldier beating Palestinian workers “without mercy”

by Ali Abunimah, EI

Video broadcast by Israel’s Channel 10 shows an Israeli soldier launching a brutal, unprovoked attack on several Palestinian workers.

Michael Gershkowitz of the Israeli army’s Kfir brigade, “attacked a group of Palestinian workers beating three over them over and over again without mercy using his M-16 rifle,” Channel 10 said in a Hebrew-language report on Tuesday.

The horrifying incident occurred in April 2009 outside the Israeli Jewish-only settlement of Petzael in the occupied West Bank’s Jordan Valley, where the workers were waiting for their employers, but the shocking footage has only just been made public.

The surveillance camera video shows Gershkowitz, who was off-duty at the time, pulled his army-issued rifle from the trunk of his car, called one of the workers over, and then attacked him repeatedly for no reason. At one point, Gershkowitz forced the worker into the car and beat him inside it.

“Unbridled violence”

“He kicked him all over the body with no mercy until he fell,” Channel 10 said. Other workers came over and tried to calm the attacker, the report said, but Gershkowitz attacked and tried to beat them too.

Gershkowitz only stopped his “unbridled violence” several minutes later when a friend showed up and they fled the scene.

The worker who was most severly beaten, and who was not named in the report, lost eight teeth, according to his lawyer Lea Tsemel. Tsemel said the attack was like something from the movie Clockwork Orange.

Gershkowitz’s lawyer Avi Baram claimed his client had “wept” when he saw the footage. At trial, Gershkowitz received a token sentence of two months imprisonment and four months of community service.

Impunity

While violence against Palestinians and their property by Israeli occupation soldiers and settlers is routine, accountability is almost nonexistent. In the rare situations when a case comes to trial, the punishments, as in this one, are risibly light.

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“Israeli” Minister: ’I’ve Killed Lots Of Arabs In My Life And There’s No Problem With That’

Al Ahed news

972 Magazine reports a member of “Israel’s” cabinet, minister of Industry, Trade and Labor and Jewish Home Party leader Naftali Bennett, has declared his backing for simply killing Palestinian prisoners, rather than bringing them to trial.

“If you catch terrorists, you have to simply kill them,” Bennett said meaning Palestinians, according to a report in the Hebrew-language print edition of Yedioth Ahronoth.

Bennett said, “I’ve killed lots of Arabs in my life – and there’s no problem with that.”

On Sunday, “Israel” announced it would release 104 Palestinian prisoners, a key caveat in the John Kerry-brokered plan to renew peace talks.

But according to the 972 report, Bennett could not have disagreed more, proposing during Sunday’s cabinet meeting another way to deal with prisoners.

A former IDF officer, the right-wing Bennett briefly joined protesters against the decision to release prisoners before attending Sunday’s cabinet meeting.

Peace talks are scheduled to begin in Washington on Monday.

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5000 New Settling Units to Save Bibi’s Coalition

Al Ahed news

Maariv “Israeli” daily reported Wednesday that the Zionist entity’s Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu promised the “Bayit Yehudi” party to approve construction of about 5,000 settling units in Occupied al-Quds, and West Bank , in exchange for the party’s acquiescence regarding the release of 104 Palestinian detainees.

The newspaper said that contacts regarding the deal, which has not been finalized, have been carried out by “Israeli” Settling Minister Uri Ariel and Netanyahu, by means of letters they have been writing and handing to each other personally, in order to preserve secrecy.

“Senior sources in Bayit Yehudi” who apparently decided to break that secrecy said that approvals for 1,000 settling units are expected soon, and that approvals for another 3,500 to 4,500 units are expected in the coming months.

The party’s Knesset members were reportedly asked, in the faction meeting Monday, not to issue threats about possibly bolting the Coalition, because of the deal.
“The test will be if Netanyahu does not live up to the agreements on construction in the next few months,” party sources were quoted as saying.

“That is what we will look at, and that is the only thing we will base our decisions on in the future.”
Maariv quoted reactions from Ariel and the “Bayit Yehudi” that did not deny the existence of these agreements. It said that Netanyahu chose not to respond to questions on the matter.

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Jewish settlers attack construction workers

NABLUS, (PIC)– Jewish settlers attacked construction workers in Assira Al-Qabaliya village, south of Nablus, on Wednesday morning.

Ghassan Daghlas, an anti-settlement activist, said that the settlers threw stones on the workers, who responded likewise.

Meanwhile, violent confrontations were reported in Beita village, also south of Nablus, after Israeli occupation forces raided it on Tuesday night.

Local sources said that IOF soldiers in ten armored vehicles stormed the village shortly after midnight and set up a roadblock west of the village and searched all passing vehicles.

Philippine authorities violently crackdown on people’s atate of the nation march

Video: Bedouins resist Israeli plan to expel 40,000 and “Judaize” their land

by Ali Abunimah, EI

With the European Union’s recent decision to stop subsidies to any Israeli projects in the occupied West Bank, a lot of media attention has once again been focused on Israeli settlements there.

What has attracted much less international attention is an Israeli plan to force tens of thousands of Palestinian Bedouins out of their homes in the southern Naqab (Negev)region, land that most countries recognize as part of Israel.

This video report from The Real News Network provides essential background, noting that some 200,000 Bedouins live in the Naqab, about half of them in so-called “unrecognized villages” that have existed since before the Israeli state was founded.

“Intuders” in their own homes

But Israel considers the Bedouins to be intruders and trespassers on their own lands, even though they are nominally citizens of Israel.

Israel has long refused to connect their villages to the power grid or running water, build roads, health clinics or schools.

Instead, on 24 June, the Israeli parliament passed the Prawer-Begin law, that would see 40 Bedouin villages demolished.

40,000 will lose their homes

Under the Prawer plan, their land will be confiscated in order to establish a wedge of Jewish communities separating Arab communities in the western and eastern parts of the Naqab.

This is an intensification of an already ongoing assault. As the video notes, in 2005, 30,000 Bedouin homes had an Israeli demolition order. In 2011, about 1,000 were demolished.

Under the new plan, up to 40,000 people will lose their homes in the latest phase of theviolent “Judaization” of Bedouin lands.

Those affected are not accepting their fate and are mobilizing to stop the Prawer plan, as the Bedouin activists featured in the video explain.

Racist incitement against Bedouins

Meanwhile, government and media continue a campaign of incitement against the Bedouins, painting them as criminals, in order to justify the assault.

For example, the video says, Israeli lawmaker Danny Danon – a member of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s ruling Likud party – claimed that in 2011, 1,000 women and girls were “seduced, kidnapped or enslaved” by Bedouins, even though the Israeli police did not record even one such case.

The Jewish National Fund (JNF), which raises tax exempt charitable funds in the US, UK, Canada and other countries, plays a key role in the ethnic cleansing of Bedouins and theft of their land.

Palestine: Video of children arrested, dozens storm Naqab village & soldiers storm home, threaten residents

Dozens of settlers storm Negev village

THE NEGEV, (PIC)– Around 40 Jewish settlers stormed Rakhma village in the Negev, south of Palestine occupied in 1948, and attacked camels and a house.

Locals said that a group of fanatic Jews attacked the village while the inhabitants were asleep and insulted Arabs and spread panic among the women and children.

They said that a number of inhabitants went to the Israeli police station to file a complaint but it refused to accept the complaint.

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IOF soldiers storm home of wanted Palestinian, threaten his wife

AL-KHALIL, (PIC)– Israeli occupation forces (IOF) broke into the home of wanted Palestinian activist Munir Al-Haroub in Dura town in Al-Khalil for the third time in less than a week.

Sources close to the family said that the soldiers forced their way into the house at dawn Saturday and searched it before threatening the wife Andalib Shadid with detention if she did not tell the whereabouts of her husband.

They said that the soldiers served a summons to the wife for an intelligence interrogation.

The IOF has been looking for Haroub since April 2001 when he went underground after accusing him of being a member of the Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of Hamas.

Haroub has five children, who did not see him for the past 12 years. He was previously arrested by the PA and is wanted by its security apparatuses.

IOF soldiers and PA security agents repeatedly storm his home and search it breaking and damaging furniture and belongings in the process.

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Israeli jailers prevent Red Cross official from visiting Barghouthi

RAMALLAH, (PIC)– The Israeli jailers on Saturday barred the Red Cross representative from visiting Jordanian hunger striker Abdullah Barghouthi in Afula hospital.

Lawyer Hanan Al-Khatib stated that the Red Cross representative tried several times to enter Afula hospital to visit Barghouthi, but his attempts to see him failed.

Khatib added that the jailers also banned his wife and kids from visiting him, while the Israeli police detained his sister-in-law and her husband when they tried to get into the hospital.

She said that the Israeli doctors decided on Saturday to perform surgery on his left hand because of a blood clot in its veins, but they put it off for fear of health complications.

She added that the doctors are still unable to insert glucose injections into his veins because his body rejected them and swellings appeared in his arms.

The lawyer also said that Barghouthi became unable to receive anything except some liquid painkillers given to him through mouth, noting that he are still being shackled to his bed.

In a related context, Tadamun foundation for human rights said that a meeting took place two days ago in Ofer jails between senior Palestinian prisoners and Israeli intelligence officers to discuss the issue of the Jordanian hunger strikers in Israeli jails.

Lawyer of the foundation Mohamed Al-Abed quoted prisoner Mohamed Sabha as saying that the intelligence officers told them clearly during the meeting that it is impossible to release any of the Jordanian prisoners who are serving life sentences, especially prisoner Abdullah Al-Barghouthi, even if they die in jail.

Sabha added that the intelligence officers affirmed that this decision was issued by the upper political and security echelons of the Israeli government.

Palestine: Sewage dumped on land, 170 children arrested, land bulldozed & Al Aqsa stormed again

‘Israel’ arrested 170 Jerusalemite children since the start of the year

OCCUPIED JERUSALEM, (PIC)– A Palestinian human rights activist accused the occupation authorities of targeting Jerusalemite children as they have arrested since the beginning of the year 2013 more than 170 children.

Professor of International Law Dr. Hanna Issa said in a press statement on Tuesday: “The detention of children and the house arrest imposed on them represents the first Israeli plans to kill childhood.”

“The arrests of Jerusalemite children have turned the child who is looking for and defending his rights to a child completely deprived of his rights and homeland. The child starts to suffer from psychological problems, hair loss and psychological trauma caused by the circumstances of his arrest, amid his parents’ inability to protect him”, Issa explained.

He noted that the neighborhoods of Tur, Issawiyya, Silwan and the Old City have witnessed many cases of child arrests, noting that the arrests are always carried out at night by the special forces, which deliberately break into the child’s house in a brutal way.

Issa also pointed out that the Israeli forces expose the children to psychological and physical torture during the investigation in order to force them to confess to throwing stones.

He added that the occupation authorities impose house arrest for long periods on dozens of Palestinian children in the occupied Jerusalem, noting that this procedure puts the child and his family in a hard situation and deprives the child from going to school.

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Jewish Settlers bulldoze Palestinian lands in al-Khalil

AL-KHALIL, (PIC)– Jewish settlers have bulldozed Wednesday morning Palestinian lands near Susia settlement built on Yatta lands in al-Khalil.

Coordinator of the popular committee against settlements in Yatta, Rateb Jabour, stated that Israeli bulldozers started bulldozing Palestinian lands in order to transfer soil to Susia settlement.

Jabour noted that the Palestinian land owners have documents, from the Israeli Supreme Court, prove their ownership of the land.

It is worth mentioning that the Israeli settlers accelerated their attacks against Palestinians and their properties in order to deport them and confiscate their lands for settlement expansion.

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Palestinian prisoners’ suffering during Ramadan

AL-KHALIL, (PIC)– During the holy month of Ramadan, Muslim families are used to breaking their fast together at the time of the Maghrib (sunset) prayer, this is not the case for Palestinian prisoners’ families.

Thousands of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails spend this Ramadan away from their families and children and away from Ramadan special atmosphere.

MP Mahmoud Ramahi’s wife said that her family got used to spending the holy month of Ramadan without him due to his repeated arrest and detention without charge or trial in Israeli jails.

She said that the Israeli authorities deliberately kept thousands of prisoners away from their families during Ramadan as part of the Israeli systematic policy against them.

More than 5 thousands prisoners are held in Israeli jails including 1000 sick prisoners, 280 children, 15 female prisoners, and 13 MPs and ministers, in addition to 16 prisoners have declared hunger strike.

Several local institutions used to organize collective breakfast during the Holy month of Ramadan and visits to the prisoners’ families in order to reinforce their steadfastness and to boost their morale.

During Ramadan, Muslims fast from dawn to dusk, breaking their fast at the time of the Maghrib (sunset) prayer. As the Adhan is heard, Muslims around the world break their fast with dates and water. They then perform the Maghrib prayer. The prayer is followed by a meal. For prisoners held captive in Israeli prisons, this is not the case.

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90 Jewish settlers defile Aqsa Mosque on first day of Ramadan

OCCUPIED JERUSALEM, (PIC)– Extremist Jewish settlers escorted by policemen stormed on Wednesday morning the Aqsa Mosque violating its sanctity on the first day of the holy month of Ramadan, according to the Aqsa foundation for endowment and heritage.

Senior official of the foundation Mahmoud Abu Ata told Safa news agency that two groups of about 90 Jewish settlers, including women and children, desecrated in the morning today the Aqsa Mosque and walked around in its courtyards.

Abu Ata added that these Jewish groups deliberately defiled the Aqsa Mosque on the first day of Ramadan to provoke the feelings of the Muslims, especially since there were hundreds of Palestinian worshipers and religious pupils throughout the compound of the Aqsa Mosque.

He said that this visit raised the ire of the Palestinian natives in the holy city, while the Israeli police intensified their presence at the entrances to the Aqsa Mosque.

The official warned that the coming days could see more such break-ins at the Aqsa Mosque because of the so-called anniversary of the destruction of the alleged Jewish temple.

He urged the Palestinian natives in the holy city and the 1948 occupied lands to intensify their presence at the Aqsa Mosque, especially in the early morning hours.

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Two plans to build 500 new settlement units in West Bank

WEST BANK, (PIC)– Israel’s Civil Administration submitted two new plans to build more than 500 new settlement units.

According to the Hebrew Walla website, the first plan includes the construction of 255 units in the settlement of Kfar Adumim in the Benjamin region.

The website explains that the second plan includes the construction of 230 new units in the settlement of Maon, south of the city of al-Khalil in the southern occupied West Bank.

In the details of the two plans, the settlement of Kfar Adumim, which is inhabited by nearly 400 Israeli families, will be significantly expanded through the construction of these units.

The website notes that under the new plan new residential buildings, public institutions, commercial area and streets will be constructed, in an attempt to settle 120 extra families in the settlement.

Those plans comes in light of the statements made by the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the Minister of Defence Moshe Ya’alon, who confirmed that the settlement construction will continue, in conjunction with the efforts of the U.S. administration to renew the negotiations with the Palestinians.

Russian inquiry to UN: ‘Rebels’, not army, behind Aleppo’s chemical attack

Russian Inquiry to UN: Rebels, Not Army, behind Aleppo’s Chemical Attack

Al Ahed news

Samples taken at the site where the chemical weapons were allegedly used indicate that it was rebels – not the Syrian army – behind the attack, Russia’s UN envoy Vitaly Churkin said.

Russia handed over the analyzed samples to the UN, he added.

“I have just passed the analysis of samples taken at the site of the chemical attack to the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon,” Churkin said on Tuesday.

Evidence studied by Russian scientists indicates that a projectile carrying the deadly nerve agent sarin was most likely fired at Khan al-Assal by the rebels, Churkin pointed out.

“It was determined that on March 19 the rebels fired an unguided missile Bashair-3 at the town of Khan al-Assal, which has been under government control. The results of the analysis clearly show that the shell used in Khan al-Assal was not factory made and that it contained sarin,” he said.

Churkin added that the contents of the shell “didn’t contain chemical stabilizers in the toxic substance,” and therefore “is not a standard chemical charge.”

According to Moscow, the manufacture of the ‘Bashair-3′ warheads started in February, and is the work of Bashair al-Nasr, a brigade with close ties to the Free Syrian Army.

Churkin stressed that unlike other reports which have been handed to the UN, the samples were taken by Russian experts at the scene, without any third party involvement.

More than 30 people died in the Khan al-Assal incident in the northern province of Aleppo in March. Damascus was the first to ask for the UN investigation, accusing opposition fighters of launching a chemical weapon attack. Syrian rebel groups denied the accusations, in turn blaming government forces.
The Syrian government invited chief UN chemical weapons investigator Ake Sellstrom and UN disarmament chief Angela Kane for talks in Damascus on Monday, announcing that a rebels-linked storage site containing piles of dangerous chemicals had been discovered.

“The Syrian authorities have discovered yesterday in the city of Banias 281 barrels filled with dangerous, hazardous chemical materials,” Syrian UN Ambassador Bashar Ja’afari said, adding that the chemicals were “capable of destroying a whole city, if not the whole country.”

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Syria militants have used the nerve agent sarin: Russian envoy

Press TV

The Russian ambassador to the United Nations says that firsthand evidence shows that militants, and not the Syrian army, have manufactured sarin nerve gas and used it during an attack near the city of Aleppo in March.

On Tuesday, Ambassador Vitaly Churkin said that Russian experts collected samples at the site of the attack in the region of Khan al-Assal, where over two dozen people, including 16 Syrian troops, died on March 19.

The samples were examined at a laboratory in Russia which is certified by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), and the results of the analysis prove that a missile fired by the militants was filled with sarin, he stated.

“The results of the analysis clearly indicate that the ordnance used in Khan al-Assal was not industrially manufactured and was filled with sarin… The projectile involved is not a standard one for chemical use. Hexogen, utilized as an opening charge, is not utilized in standard ammunitions. Therefore, there is every reason to believe that it was armed opposition fighters who used the chemical weapons in Khan al-Assal,” Churkin said.

He went on to say that he had also delivered the evidence to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.

Britain, France, and the United States have accused the Syrian government of using chemical weapons. Damascus has denied the charges, saying it was actually the militants who used chemical weapons on several occasions…

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