Sunday, June 16, 2019 Last Update: 7:03 PM GMT

India Sides with Israel in Unprecedented Anti-Palestine Vote at the UN

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (L) and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. (Photo: File)

After decades of standing behind the Palestinian people, India under the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has tilted in Israel’s favor.

A glimpse of this realignment was witnessed at the UN last week when Bombay’s representative at the global body voted in favor of Israel over a decision to grant consultative status to Shahed.

The Palestinian human rights NGO lost its bid to join the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) in a 28-in-favor and 15-against vote by member countries.

Israeli diplomats were overjoyed. “Thank you #India for standing with @IsraelinUN and rejecting the request of terrorist organization “Shahed” to obtain the status of an observer in #UN. Together we will continue to act against terrorist organizations that intend to harm” tweeted Maya Kadosh, Israel’s deputy chief of mission in India.

The vote marks an unprecedented step in relations between the two countries. India’s history in the anti-colonial movement made the country a strong ally of the Palestinian cause.

Previous Indian prime ministers, including the country’s founder and revered leader Mahatma Gandhi, had opposed the Zionist state believing it to be a colonial enterprise. 

Under Modi, however, India has made a radical shift and aroused right-wing Hindu nationalists who are known for their anti-Muslim hatred.

(Middle East Monitor, PC, Social Media)

Mossad Involved in Anti-BDS Campaign, Israeli Minister’s Diaries Reveal

Israel’s Minister of Strategic Affairs and Public Security, Gilad Erdan. (Photo: via Twitter)

The involvement of Israel’s national intelligence agency Mossad in initiatives against the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement has been exposed by a Freedom of Information request.

The request was made by Israeli advocacy organization Hatzlaha to all ministers, deputy ministers and ministry directors-general, in doing so making the diary schedules of Strategic Affairs Minister Gilad Erdan – who has spearheaded Israel’s de-facto war against BDS – publicly available.

The diaries revealed that last year Erdan met with the head of Mossad Yossi Cohen about “the struggle against the boycott”.

Although rumors that Mossad has assisted the state in its anti-BDS activities have circulated in the past, today’s disclosure presents further evidence of the intelligence agency’s involvement.

A statement issued by Erdan’s office said that “[he] met during the last term with the heads of the security services to brief them on the ministry’s activities related to the fight against the delegitimization and boycott [BDS] campaign,” stressing the meeting only constituted “a review” of the ministry’s efforts.

The diaries also showed that Erdan met with other high-profile security officials last year, including National Security Adviser Meir Ben-Shabbat, as well as representatives of global Jewish organizations such as the American Jewish Committee, B’nai B’rith and the American Jewish Congress.

The announcement comes just two days after it was revealed that Erdan’s Strategic Affairs Ministry forced 30 fundraising accounts associated with BDS to close in the past two years.

(Middle East Monitor, PC, Social Media)

Pompeo: US Will ‘Do’ Its Best to Stop Corbyn from Being Elected as Prime Minister

Pompeo reiterated US support to Israel during his visit to the Middle East. (Photo: via Twitter)

In the most recent showcase of United States (U.S.) meddling in foreign governments, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo pledged, in a leaked conversation with British Jewish leaders, that his country will “push-back” against Labour’s party leader Jeremy Corbyn’s bid to get elected as Prime Minister. 

Pompeo is heard saying:

“It could be that Mr. Corbyn manages to run the gauntlet and get elected. It’s possible. You should know, we won’t wait for him to do those things to begin to push back. We will do our level best. It’s too risky and too important and too hard once it’s already happened.”

The recording was leaked to The Washington Post and revealed on Sunday after sustained accusations of antisemitism within the party. These allegations have mainly being driven by mainstream media and certain pro-Israeli groups against Labour’s leadership.

Corbyn has long been a campaigner against Israeli occupation and supporter of Palestinian rights, which many journalists have labeled as anti-semitic.

Labour’s spokesperson stated:

“President Trump and his officials’ attempts to decide who will be Britain’s next prime minister are an entirely unacceptable interference in the UK’s democracy.”

He added that the party was “fully committed to the support, defense and celebration of the Jewish community and is implacably opposed to antisemitism in any form”.

(TeleSur, PC, Social Media)

Israel’s Supreme Court Approves Disputed Sale of Jerusalem Church Land to Settlers

Christian holy sites in Jerusalem. (Photo: via Social Media)

Israel’s Supreme Court yesterday rejected an appeal against the sale of church land in the Old City of Jerusalem to right-wing settler organization Ateret Cohanim.

Supreme Court Justice Alex Stein and Judges Yitzhak Amit and Yael Vilner yesterday ruled that the sale of the land – which took place in 2004 via international agents – was “legal”.

The court, therefore, passed the three sites to Ateret Cohanim, a right-wing settler organization which buys houses and land for illegal Jewish settlement.

The ruling will come as a blow to the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate in Jerusalem, which has been embroiled in the affair since the secret sales were made some 15 years ago.

At the time the scandal rocked the church, with then-Greek Patriarch Irenaios denying knowledge of the sales; he subsequently backtracked on his position, accusing the church’s director of finance, Nicholas Papadimas, of authorizing the sales without the church’s authorization.

The sales have sparked anger among Palestinians, particularly given the fact that many of these properties are eventually handed over to organizations such as Ateret Cohanim.

Ateret Cohanim has been at the forefront of attempts to forcibly evict Palestinians from their homes, notably in the Jerusalem neighborhoods Silwan – which lies just outside the Old City walls – and Sheikh Jarrah, encouraging illegal Israeli settlement in the Holy City.

Selling or attempting to sell land to Jewish-Israelis is considered a crime by the Palestinian authorities and is punishable by hard labor, imprisonment or death. However, no death penalties have been signed off by PA President Mahmoud Abbas since 2006.

(Middle East Monitor, PC, Social Media)

Israel Forced Closure of 30 Fundraising Accounts Associated to BDS

The Ministry of Strategic Affairs Gilad Erdan oversees Israel’s anti-BDS efforts. (Photo: via Social Media)

Israel has forced 30 fundraising accounts associated with the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement to close in the past two years.

The Ministry of Strategic Affairs – which oversees Israel’s anti-BDS efforts – announced yesterday that it had forced the closure of ten US-based fundraising accounts and a further 20 in Europe. It did so by directing pro-Israel activists to report the accounts to their host platforms PayPal and DonorBox, the Times of Israel reported.

Strategic Affairs Minister Gilad Erdan said in a statement:

“For years, boycott promoters have disguised themselves as ‘human rights activists,’ managing to raise tens of millions of euros from Western countries and citizens who thought they were contributing to causes supporting justice and equality.”

He continued:

“Over time, we have revealed that the supposed ‘human rights’ NGOs are in reality filled with anti-Semitic operatives with deep ties to terrorist groups fixated on destroying the State of Israel”.

Among those organizations targeted by the shutdowns were the BDS National Committee – the movement’s Ramallah-based arm – as well as human rights organization Al-Haq and UK-based charity Interpal.

A number of organizations pushed for the closures, including infamous legal advocacy group Shurat HaDin which regularly fights court battles on Israel’s behalf.

Israel has been waging a de facto war against BDS for many years, spending millions of dollars on initiatives to discredit the movement.

(Middle East Monitor, PC, Social Media)

Israeli Army Attacks PA Security HQ in West Bank

Israeli forces attacked a Palestinian security headquarters in the city of Nablus. (Photo: via Social Media)

Israeli forces attacked a Palestinian security headquarters in the city of Nablus in the occupied West Bank, the Turkey-based Anadolu Agency has reported.

According to the Governor of Nablus Ibrahim Ramadan, a group of Israeli soldiers surrounded the building and blockaded it while opening fire from three sides before they withdrew from the area.

In the overnight attack, one Palestinian security guard was wounded in the hand.

Ramadan told the official Palestinian Authority’s (PA) news site Wafa:

“This is not the first time and will not be the last that the occupation army harms our people, but the dangerous part in this incident is that a Palestinian military headquarters was targeted.”

The Israeli military, on the other hand, claimed that the overnight attack was a case of apparent mistaken identity, and Israeli media has reported on the incident as being a “firefight”, despite Palestinian sources saying there was no retaliatory fire exchanged.

Earlier in the night, Israeli forces conducted a series of raids and arrests on Palestinian targets suspected of alleged participation in protests and resistance activity, resulting in the arrest of 18 Palestinians who were taken in for questioning.

Attacks, assaults and acts of vandalism are frequently carried out on Palestinian towns and villages in the Israeli-occupied West Bank both by illegal settlers and soldiers.

(Middle East Monitor, PC, Social Media)

Palestinian Prisoner Al-Awiwi Ends Hunger Strike after 70 Days

Palestinian detainee Hasan al-Hawiwi. (Photo: via Social Media)

Thirty-five-year-old Hassan Mohammed Al-Awiwi from occupied Hebron (Al-Khalil) has today ended his hunger strike of 70 days to protest his administrative detention in an Israeli jail.

The prison administration has agreed to release him before the end of the year, six months after his administrative detention order is to come to an end.

The father of three was rearrested in mid-January after being held by occupation twice before. He was originally sentenced to four months in detention but his term was renewed two months ago, causing him to begin his hunger strike.

Since he launched his strike in April, Israeli prison authorities have retaliated by putting him in isolation, denying family visits and transferring him to different prisons.

Many prisoners have taken to hunger strikes to protest their detentions and poor prison conditions, with up to 1,500 striking in April, just before Israel’s general election took place.

Al-Aweiwi was transferred to Barzilai medical center on Thursday after his health worsened. Over this two-month period, he has lost 22 kilograms in weight and cannot walk or talk properly.

He has spent three years in an Israeli prison, mostly in administrative detention – imprisonment without charge or trial.

Currently, there are around 479 Palestinians, including one woman and two minors, held in administrative detention in Israeli prison facilities, according to Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem.

(Middle East Monitor, PC, Social Media)

Myanmar Officials Visit Israeli Arms Expo despite Weapons Ban

Myanmar officials attended weapons conference in Tel Aviv, despite weapons ban over Rohingya genocide. (Photo: via Social Media)

Myanmar military officials have been spotted at an arms expo in Israel despite a ban on arms sales to the country over the ethnic cleansing of Rohingya Muslims.

Photos published in Israeli media last week showed Myanmar military officials in uniform touring the weapons and security conference in Israel last week.

Representatives from foreign militaries, including from countries with no official diplomatic relations with Israel, also attended the arms expo.

In 2017, Israel claimed it had stopped selling weapons to Myanmar following High Court ruling. It followed mounting pressure from human rights groups.

But in the same year, tens of millions of dollars’ worth of arms were reportedly sold to the Myanmar navy despite ongoing allegations of genocide.

News of the sales emerged amid reports that similar boats were used to sink vessels filled with refugees fleeing state violence.

Last month, Amnesty International denounced the Israeli government for its arms sales to countries accused of severe human rights violations, including Myanmar.

The Amnesty report said:

“Israeli companies continue to export weapons to countries that systematically violate human rights … Often these weapons reach their destination after a series of transactions, thereby skirting international monitoring and the rules of Israel itself.”

About 740,000 Rohingya fled Myanmar for Bangladesh following a brutal military clampdown in their home country in August 2017, joining hundreds of thousands already living in crowded camps.

The UN released a 444-page report in 2018 that said the Myanmar military’s persecution of the stateless Rohingya Muslims warranted the charges of “genocide”.

(Al Araby Al-Jadeed, PC, Social Media)

Omar: Netanyahu Works to Stop US Resolution on Two-State Solution

US Rep. Ilhan Omar. (Photo: via Facebook)

US Congresswomen Ilhan Omar has accused Israeli President Benjamin Netanyahu of attempting to pressure the Democrat and Republican parties to scrap a resolution supporting the two-state solution in Palestine.

In a tweet she posted on Saturday while referencing an article on the issue, Omar stated that despite Netanyahu being publicly in support of the two-state solution, his attempts to influence the US body against the concept shows that his agenda is contrary to it.

She wrote:

“Endorsing a two-state solution while simultaneously attempting to block a Palestinian state is what Netanyahu has been doing for decades.”

She also urged her fellow Congressmen and women to support the bill, insisting that “for progress sake, let’s hope Congress stands firm.”

The Israeli embassy, under orders from Netanyahu, has been lobbying to have the term “two-state solution” removed from the planned bipartisan bill.

The attempt to “block a simple bipartisan resolution” comes amid a wave of efforts in recent years by the Israeli lobby in the US, as well as in European countries, to suppress sentiments in support of Palestine, the two-state solution, and the Israeli occupation’s violations of human rights.

(Middle East Monitor, PC, Social Media)

Palestinian Authority Accuses Israel of Escalating Religious Conflict (VIDEO)

Hundreds of settlers regularly storm Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in East Jerusalem. (Photo: via Social Media)

The Palestinian Authority (PA) accused Israel of escalating a “systematic” religious conflict due to the increasing raids by Israeli Jewish settlers of Al-Aqsa Mosque, Quds Press reported yesterday.

In a statement, the PA’s foreign ministry said that the Israeli occupation authorities and the ruling right-wing “use the political occasions and religious holidays to expand settlements throughout the whole land of the State of Palestine.”

The ministry said that these occasions are being used as an “incentive” to mobilize more settlers to take part in the desecration of Al-Aqsa Mosque “in order to reinforce the temporal partition of Al-Aqsa Mosque ahead of its spatial partitioning.”

In addition, the ministry accused the Israeli occupation of working to hide the Islamic and Christian appearance of the holy city of Jerusalem, as well as to reinforce the “fake” Talmudic narrative about it “through a wide distortion campaign”.

This campaign, the PA ministry said, “is based on denying the Palestinians of their historical, religious and legal connection to Jerusalem and the Al-Aqsa Mosque.”

The PA condemned these “systematic” Israeli campaigns and warned of the “dangerous” consequences of the increasing raids of the holy sites.

More than 330 Israeli Jewish settlers stormed Al-Aqsa Mosque early yesterday as part of a continuous series of raids which began two weeks ago to mark the anniversary of the Israeli occupation of East Jerusalem during the 1967 war.

(Middle East Monitor, PC, Social Media)