Aharon Haliva has got to go. Now.

Immediately after the blackest day in Israeli history, a consensus formed that we must wait until after the war to investigate how Hamas was able to invade the country, slaughter 1,200 innocents and get away with 240 hostages. There’s a lot to recommend this position.

We’re at war. Now is not the time for action, not recrimination and trials for failed generals, security chiefs and politicians.

Good or bad, you go to war with the army and leaders you have. People have jobs to do, and our job is to let them do theirs.

While reasonable on its face, there is a problem with delaying a reckoning. At least in some cases, it seems clear that the people whose failures enabled the Hamas attack are not capable of bringing us victory.

Case in point: Israel Defense Forces Intelligence Directorate Chief Chief Maj. Gen. Aharon Haliva. In the weeks since Oct. 7, more and more information has come out about why Hamas was able to pull it off. All of the information points to Haliva and his close subordinates.

  • The Field Observers unit at Nahal Oz base suffered the greatest losses there during Hamas’s assault. The unit, comprising female soldiers, is responsible for monitoring the footage from security cameras along the Gaza border around the clock and alerting forces on the ground and in the intelligence community to anything suspicious.

Seventeen observers were killed on Oct. 7. Seven were taken hostage.

  • One, Naama Levy, was videoed barefoot, being dragged from the trunk of a vehicle by her hair and pushed into the back seat. Her hands were zip-tied behind her back. The seat of her sweatpants was stained with blood, indicating she had been raped violently.
  • One observer, Ori Megidish, was rescued by the IDF in early November. Another, Noa Marciano, was filmed in a hostage video, first alive, and then dead. Her body was later recovered by IDF forces.

Days after their friends were slaughtered, raped and kidnapped, the two surviving members of the unit and a number of former members started coming forward to tell their story.

In interviews with Channel 11, two women related that in the months before the invasion, they were warning it was in the works. The women saw Hamas terrorists training to take over kibbutzim and IDF bases. They watched terrorists practicing taking hostages and blowing up tanks. They saw terror commanders watching the drills. They saw spies probing the fence for weaknesses. They saw it all and reported it all.

Rather than giving them medals, unnamed top-level officers in the intelligence corps ordered them to stop. When they continued reporting, the observers were warned that they would be disciplined and removed from the unit if they kept raising their concerns.

  • The observers weren’t the only ones silenced. Rafael Hayun, a civilian hacker who monitors open intelligence networks, worked for the IDF for years. The IDF provided Hayun with equipment to monitor Hamas’s internal communications.

In late 2019, Hayun began reporting on Hamas training exercises involving invading Israel, penetrating the security fence at multiple points, taking over communities, committing mass murder and kidnapping. Over time, the training became more intense and detailed. Hayun alerted the units he was working with about Hamas’s activities in real time.

  • Five months before the assault, his colleagues in the IDF were ordered to seize all of his equipment and stop working with him. Around the same time, the IDF’s Intelligence Directorate Unit 8200 signals intelligence unit also stopped monitoring Hamas’s communications.

Hayun said that his military colleagues told him the order to cut him off came from “senior leadership,” and they had no explanation for the decision. Hayun told reporters he is convinced that if he had been listening in the weeks before Oct. 7, the invasion would have been prevented.

Hayun and the observers weren’t the only ones who recognized what Hamas was doing. As Channels 11, 12 and Haaretz all reported, a tactical intelligence NCO and Hamas expert in Unit 8200 with 20 years of experience began providing detailed reports on Hamas’s preparations for the invasion in May 2022.

In a series of three, increasingly detailed and urgent reports over succeeding months, the NCO set out in granular detail how Hamas was preparing a broad invasion of Israel that included the invasion of IDF bases, border towns and kibbutzim.

  • Her reports included all aspects of the invasion that took place on Oct. 7, including Hamas’s use of paragliders, pick-up trucks and motorcycles.

-She detailed Hamas’s plans to massacre and kidnap civilians and soldiers.

-She warned that their intention was to use provocations along the security fence in the weeks leading up to the operation to get the IDF used to breaches and so lull its commanders into complacency.

-She even secured Hamas’s own training manual for the operation.

-She was able to get the information in front of Unit 8200’s commander and a top officer in the Southern Command.

They apparently did nothing.

Convinced by his subordinate’s reporting, her commander, an NCO with 30 years’ experience, canceled a family vacation because he heard Haliva would be visiting their base. He waylaid Haliva, and he and his subordinate presented her reports. Haliva dismissed their warnings and detailed information as hot air. Hamas, he insisted, was just pretending, to make an impression on its followers. He did not communicate her report to either the head of Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet) or the IDF Chief of General Staff.

The NCOs weren’t the only ones who saw what was happening. As Channel 11 reported on Tuesday, in May 2023, the Gaza Division’s intelligence officer created a slide presentation titled, “The Walls of Jericho,” setting out in detail how Hamas intended to bring down the security fence and invade Israel at up to 60 separate points, invade the division’s bases and enter civilian communities to commit mass murder and seize hostages.

In a follow-up report from August, the intelligence officer even explained that Hamas intended to carry out its plan either on Shabbat or on a holiday when only a small cadre of soldiers would be on duty. His work was dismissed as unrealistic and out of line with Hamas’s true intentions by senior intelligence officers at Tel Aviv headquarters.

At 4 a.m. on Oct. 7, due to warnings of increased Hamas movement near the border fence, the senior security leadership, including IDF Chief of General Staff Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevy, Shin Bet Director Ronen Bar, Southern Command Commander Maj. Gen. Yaron Finkelman and Haliva’s assistant (Haliva was apparently asleep), discussed the movements and decided to go back to bed.

  • Bar sent a small team of fighters to the border area, but that was all. The group didn’t inform the Gaza division commander, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu or Defense Minister Yoav Gallant. Instead, they agreed to speak again at 8 a.m. Hamas invaded at 6:30.

Since at least 2022, Haliva and his colleagues in the Intelligence Directorate and the top echelons of the IDF and the Shin Bet were convinced that Hamas was deterred.

Hamas, they insisted both in public statements and in intelligence briefings to political leaders, was interested in providing economic prosperity to Gaza.

In one speech, Haliva spoke derisively of an unnamed political leader (between the lines it was apparent he was referring to Netanyahu) who had questioned his judgment.

  • “In one of the meetings, I don’t want to divulge where, a closed, classified meeting, someone—I won’t say who—said to me, ‘Intel Chief, your view is as good as mine.’ I responded, ‘Look, I respect very much your position and standing, and your leadership. But your narrative isn’t as good as my narrative, because behind my narrative stand professionals,’” he said.

What Haliva failed to mention was his habit of ignoring everything the professionals told him and not sharing their information with his superiors.

All of this would be bad enough. But it becomes even worse when seen in the framework of the 10-month insurgency the Israeli left waged against the Netanyahu government. That insurgency was led by Haliva’s family.

  • His ex-wife and the mother of his children, Shira Margalit, is married to Ilan Shiloah, a senior advertising executive. Margalit and Shiloah stood behind much of the political unrest that Israel has experienced since last year. Haliva’s daughter spoke at anti-government protests. His son’s twitter feed is filled with anti-Netanyahu invective.
  • Haliva reportedly did not share the mountain of information his professional intelligence corps gathered on Hamas’s plans. But he reportedly repeatedly warned Netanyahu that his government’s legal reforms were emboldening Israel’s enemies and increasing the likelihood of war.

In theory, all of this could be set aside until the end of the war, except Haliva’s actions since Oct. 7 indicate that he is still informed by his false narrative about Hamas. On the eve of the ground invasion, Netanyahu addressed the public. He explained that the war is Israel’s “second war of independence,” and that it presents Israel with an “existential challenge.” In other words, Israel has no choice but to win. Netanyahu defined victory as rescuing the hostages, destroying Hamas as a military and political entity and preventing it or any other terror group from rising in Gaza ever again.

Three days later, in his first public remarks since Oct. 7, Haliva rejected Netanyahu’s description of the war as an existential conflict.

Speaking to graduates of the Intelligence Corps officer training course, Haliva insisted, “It’s a war we have no choice but to fight. It isn’t an existential war.”

The difference between an existential conflict and a non-existential conflict is self-evident. You must win a war for your state’s existence. You can fight to a draw for a lesser conflict. An intelligence chief who publicly rejects the government’s characterization of a war, whose poor professional judgment led to catastrophe and who has a history of contemptuous insubordination simply cannot be trusted to act in accordance with the government’s directives.

Oct. 7 was not prevented because many people in positions of responsibility failed the people of Israel. In most cases,

it is probably reasonable to wait until after the war to part ways with them.

  • Haliva however, needs to go. Now.

Source: JNS-Caroline Glick via Arutz Sheva

Russia seizes the initiative: Has the Ukraine conflict entered its endgame?

  • Six months after the start of Ukraine’s counteroffensive near Artemovsk [which Kiev calls Bakhmut], the operation completely collapsed and Russian troops were able to seize the initiative.
  • Launching a series of attacks, Moscow’s forces recovered some of the positions they had lost to the northwest of the city in the area of the Berkhovsky reservoir, and again took control over the line along the Artemovsk-Gorlovka railway on the southern flank.

Meanwhile, the Ukrainian plan, which implied an offensive in at least three operational directions – towards Melitopol, Berdyansk and Artemovsk – failed.

Instead of focusing on one task at a time, as Western experts had recommended, Kiev dispersed its forces and did not succeed in any of its goals. Now, the Armed Forces of Ukraine (AFU) has been forced to switch from offensive to defensive tactics.

The background story

  • Ukraine’s initially ambitious plan to launch an offensive on Artemovsk implied taking action in at least four areas: from Chasov Yar towards Kleshcheyevka and further along the southern flank of Artemovsk; from Chasov Yar to the northern outskirts of Artemovsk, south of the Berkhovsky reservoir; from Slavyansk in the direction of Artemovsk and Soledar; and from Seversk towards Soledar.

However, this plan did not succeed because of the lack of numbers and the timely transfer of Russian units, which replaced PMC Wagner fighters involved in the final battles for Artemovsk.

Attacks from the directions of Slavyansk and Seversk failed, while the assault on the city’s northern flank was only partially successful – the Ukrainian army advanced several kilometers and exhausted its offensive potential.

  • The AFU managed to actively gain ground only in the south, in the direction of Russia’s defenses, constructed along the Kleshcheyevka-Andreevka-Kurdyumovka line.
  • The Ukrainians were able to take control over the first two villages only by mid-September, five months into their counteroffensive in this area. Kurdyumovka, however, is still controlled by the Russian army. In the following days, the AFU continued its eastward offensive, managing to advance past the rail line in some sections.

Apparently, the next goal of the Ukrainian army was to expand the staging area on the eastern bank of the Seversky Donets–Donbass canal in order to reach the southern outskirts of Artemovsk and the northern outskirts of Gorlovka. At just about that time, in October 2023, rumors about an impending assault on the latter began to circulate in the media.

Russians seize the initiative

  • In order to counteract this plan, the Russian army launched a series of counterattacks near the Berkhovsky reservoir.

In their analysis of the summer campaign (dated September 25),

  • Ukrainian military analysts from the military portal DeepState stated the following: “Things aren’t that good on the northern front, where there was initial success. But the strategic mistake of going to Berkhovka, exposed to enemy fire in the lowlands, cost us dearly. Now, the enemy has seized the initiative there.”
  • Based on information provided by its sources at the front, in October and November DeepState reported that the Ukrainian army had retreated from its positions.

By November 24, the Russians had practically returned to their starting points, once again threatening to take control over the villages of Bogdanovka and Khromove.

  • Ukrainian forces in this area – primarily consisting of the Third and Fifth Assault Brigades (which largely exhausted their strength during the course of previous assaults), the 80th Airborne Assault Brigade, the Lyut Assault Brigade and their colleagues from the 22nd, 28th, 92nd and the barely-recovered 93rd Mechanized Brigades – were not able to hold back the Russian troops, especially after active battles around Avdeevka, which required the concentration of Ukrainian artillery in that area.

As a result, Russian troops were able to reverse the situation in their favor, including in the area where the Ukrainians continued to slowly advance.

  • On October 30, Commander-in-Chief of the Ukrainian ground forces, Alexander Syrsky, reported that Russian forces were strengthening their presence in the Artemovsk area and transitioning from defensive to offensive tactics.
  • On November 18, 19, and 24, the Ukrainians admitted that Russian troops had advanced near Kleshcheyevka, and on November 22, they reported that their enemies had moved closer to Andreevka, which was left in ruins during previous battles.
  • According to visual confirmation by open-source intelligence (OSINT) communities, Russian troops were able to almost completely restore their defensive line along the Artemovsk-Gorlovka railway and cross it in a number of places.

The fiercest fighting is now taking place in the heights which dominate the area to the northwest of Kleshcheyevka. If they are forced to retreat, Kiev’s troops will have to withdraw to their original positions so as not to remain in the lowlands exposed to enemy fire – a problem similar to the one they faced on the northern flank.

The assault on Gorlovka – foolish tactics or a PsyOp?

  • Why did the Ukrainians decide to disperse their forces and advance in three operational directions during the summer campaign?

Several Russian experts stated that Kiev’s strategy was to win the battle of reserves –and to this end, its army attempted to create several hotbeds of tension that were supposed to swallow up Russian manpower.

In case of success, the AFU would have been able to overcome the deadlock of positional warfare and deliver a crushing blow in one of the directions.

In reality, however, the Ukrainians were not able to beat the Russian army, which was strong enough to carry out both a localized offensive on the border between the Lugansk People’s Republic and Kharkov region this summer, and the offensive on Avdeevka in October.

  • On top of that, Russian troops continued to hold their defensive lines in Kherson and Zaporozhye regions, as well as near Artemovsk.

So why did the Ukrainians refuse to concentrate their forces in one area, as Western experts advised them to do?

  • One possible explanation for this was the reputational and media significance of the “Bakhmut Fortress,” which the Ukrainian political and military leadership fell victim to.

The ‘heroic’ defense of one position, which gradually lost its strategic and operational importance, endowed Artemovsk with ideological and reputational significance. In an attempt to recapture this city, Ukrainians pulled their reserves and most motivated units into battle.

Or perhaps, the situation was even worse. After the summer defeat, they needed to distract the public from negative news.

The best way to do so would have been to break through the front line separating Ukraine and the Donbass republics which had existed from 2015 to February 24, 2022. In case of success, Zelensky would have had the chance to proclaim the return of “Ukrainian” land lost by his predecessors.

One of the areas where this plan was theoretically possible to carry out was Gorlovka – a large industrial city located south of Artemovsk, where about 300,000 people lived before the war. Gorlovka has been under the control of the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) since the latter declared independence in 2014. Some of the fiercest battles in Donbass were fought there.

After Time magazine published an article about the conflict between Kiev’s political and military leadership around plans to storm the city (the military command refused the idea),

Ukrainian expert Bogdan Miroshnikov commented on November 16:

  • “In order to liberate it, it is necessary to conduct a strategic offensive operation and involve at least 150,000-200,000 troops along with thousands of units of equipment. Some may say that we are [positioned] near Gorlovka. Yes, we are. But that direction is surrounded by numerous spoil tips. This means a frontal assault is necessary. But no one would do that.”

However, on November 17, footage appeared of Ukrainian stormtroopers atop one of the spoil tips – which used to be in the gray zone, but formally under Russian control. After that, battles in this area intensified. The Ukrainian media, however, refused to comment, claiming that “the situation is being clarified.”

Considering the landscape with the spoil tips, a potential offensive on Gorlovka could not be carried out using several brigades. In order to start an offensive in this direction, the AFU would have needed to recover its positions to the north of the city, in the area of the southern flank of Artemovsk. Whether this was the plan of the Ukrainian leadership all along or an improvised change in operational tactics remains unknown.

In any case, the initiative in this direction has currently been seized by Russian troops, who will attempt to recover their positions and set up defenses along the Seversky Donets–Donbass canal.

  • This would secure the area around Artemovsk and deprive the Ukrainian army of its staging area.

In order to do so, however, the Russians will need to occupy Ukrainian strongpoints near the village of Ivanovskoye, which PMC Wagner units could not seize during their attempt to encircle Artemovsk.

  • At the time, however, it was a critically important zone for both sides, and both the Russian and Ukrainian armies concentrated their firepower there. Now, the priorities have shifted and Artemovsk – despite continuing to be the site of daily battles – is considered a direction of secondary importance.

Source: Vladislav Ugolny – RT

Jihad from the deep: Can Israel handle this secret advantage of Hamas?

Hamas, an Islamic movement that controls Gaza, is believed to have a network of tunnels that is 500 kilometers (310 miles) long. It features command rooms and training grounds, bunkers, and meeting rooms and is connected to a sophisticated ventilation system and a steady water and electricity supply.

It’s been more than 50 days since Israel launched its Swords of Iron operation aimed at eliminating Hamas, following the group’s deadly attack on the country’s southern communities, which has claimed the lives of more than 1,400 people and injured thousands of others.

Key locations, including Gaza’s parliament and the court and police headquarters, have already been captured by the IDF. The main, and the largest hospital of Gaza city – Shifaa – has also been taken. Israel believes the medical complex boasts a sophisticated tunnel system, with gathering rooms and bunkers, where some of the hostages might have been kept.

Shifaa is only one element of the puzzle, however, according to Israeli intelligence.

Based on reports, the city has some 1,300 tunnels whose overall length stands at 500 kilometers – a hundred kilometers longer than the metro system of London.

  • The network – which is located 75 meters (246 feet) deep under the surface – allegedly boasts ammunition caches, command and control centers, as well as training grounds and meeting rooms. The ‘metro’ also possesses its own ventilation system and a steady supply of water and electricity.
  • “What we know so far is that the Gaza Strip has different types of tunnels,” says Avi Melamed, a Middle East expert and a former intelligence officer of the IDF.
  • “There are the so-called smuggling tunnels [used to smuggle goods, weapons and fighters from Sinai – ed.]. There are attack tunnels that penetrate the Israeli territory, and there are also those that have been constructed by Hamas for inner military purposes.”

The construction of the network has reportedly been carried out for years, starting in 2007, when Hamas took control of the enclave, prompting Israel to impose a blockade of the area.

Israel has been well aware of the challenge and has tried to thwart it by limiting or banning the import of concrete, steel, and other essentials into Gaza, but Hamas has always found ways to divert the flow of construction materials from civilian projects into their military purposes. It has also allegedly used the generous money donations – coming from Qatar – to fund this grand project.

  • “Our intelligence knew about those tunnels but we didn’t have any will to destroy them,” said Amit Assa, a former member of Israel’s inner security agency, the Shin Bet, which has been tackling the issue of Hamas for years.
  • “[Instead], Israel invented underground barriers and technologies to prevent infiltrations. We exerted diplomatic efforts [to stop the flow of funds to Hamas], and we believed that if we gave Palestinians prosperity or created for them economic opportunities, they would drop their plans to destroy us.”

By “economic opportunities,” Assa was referring to a number of boons introduced by the Israeli governments in recent years. Those included the permission for thousands of Gazan employees to enter Israel for work, the expansion of fishing zones, and the permission to import goods.

Now, however, Assa claims Israel has come to realize that the concept of concessions was fundamentally wrong and this is why, he says, the state is determined to “fight back.”

It is not that Israel hasn’t attempted to fight back before. Over the course of many years, it has launched a number of operations aimed at weakening the military capabilities of Hamas, including their tunnels, but – although have been damaged or partially destroyed – they have always managed to withstand the pressure. Now, Assa promises, it will be a different ball game.

  • According to estimates of the IDF, Israel destroyed 400 tunnel shafts since the beginning of the war on October 7. Thousands of Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad militants have been killed.

Experts are certain that once Israel tackles the issue of tunnels in the north of Gaza, it will move down south, where another network is allegedly located, and Melamed says the IDF will know to exploit the Achilles heels of those tunnels’ construction.

  • “Operating and staying in these tunnels requires a constant supply of oxygen, and that depends on the functioning of generators and fuel that operates them,” Melamed explained.
  • “So one option for us is to suffocate them by cutting off the flow of the oxygen to the tunnels. Another one is to collect enough intelligence about the exits and entrances so that we can block them, and catch Hamas terrorists inside.”

That, however, might be a mission impossible. Hamas and other Palestinian factions are believed to be holding more than 200 hostages and at least some of them are hidden in tunnels.

Blocking these constructions or cutting them off from oxygen would mean certain death for these people too, and it is widely believed that this is a step Israel would not risk taking.

And there is another catch, Assa believes – time. While eliminating the threat of terror, Israel has also been bombarding civilian infrastructure, including mosques, schools, hospitals, and residential buildings.

  • More than 14,000 Palestinians have already been killed, many of whom are civilians. Nearly 36,000 have been wounded.

Pressure on Israel has long started mounting, with French President Emmanuel Macron saying Israel should stop targeting women and children. Similar calls have also been made by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and other world leaders, and officials in Jerusalem believe it is only a matter of weeks until this criticism grows louder.

  • “Stop watch [on Israel’s actions] has always been an issue,” Assa believes.
  • “But this time Israel is not in a position to take advice from anyone. If we really want to get rid of Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, we should show no tolerance in this war. We need to go till the end, no matter what our allies are saying,” he summed up.

Source: Elizabeth Blade – RT

CIA retrieved ‘intact’ UFOs – Daily Mail

American spies have managed to recover at least nine potentially alien vehicles, two of them “completely intact,” the Daily Mail reported on Tuesday, citing three anonymous sources.

  • The sources, supposedly briefed on top secret operations, told the UK outlet that the main player in the retrievals has been the Office of Global Access (OGA), a branch of the CIA Science and Technology Directorate established in 2003.

“There’s at least nine vehicles. There were different circumstances for different ones,” one of the sources said.

  • “It has to do with the physical condition they’re in. If it crashes, there’s a lot of damage done. Others, two of them, are completely intact.”

The CIA has a system to detect unidentified flying objects (UFO) “while they’re still cloaked” and helps special US military units salvage the wreckage if “non-human craft” land, crash, or are brought down, the source added.

Another anonymous source described the OGA’s role as “basically a facilitator” for US operatives to access areas where they would normally not be allowed.

  • “They are very clever at being able to get anywhere in the world they want to,” the second source said.
  • Most of OGA’s operations involve “stray nuclear weapons, downed satellites or adversaries’ technology,” according to the Mail, but some missions have involved retrieval of UFOs – or as the US government now prefers to call them, “Unidentified Anomalous Phenomena” (UAP).

Source: RT

Peaceful rallies versus violent riots

A fortnight ago in Washington, D.C., one of the largest gatherings of American Jews in history occurred. Nearly 300,000 people from all walks of life stood in solidarity with Israel in its war against Hamas terrorists.

The National Mall was peaceful and bipartisan, with no damage or security issues.

The March for Israel stands in stark contrast to many anti-war, anti-GOP, and anti-statue rallies in recent years. It contrasts with the anti-Netanyahu raucous protests in Israel. More than anything, however, was the difference between it and pro-Palestinian Arab demonstrations that have erupted since Hamas’s unprovoked Oct. 7 slaughter of 1,400 Israelis and others.

  • Pro-Palestinian/Hamas riots around the globe frequently involve calls for genocide, assaults, hooligans harassing holiday shoppers, and desecration of historic property, including American flags. They are chaotic and venomous and often require a major response from police departments.

Contrarily, the March for Israel’s aims were to support the Jewish State’s efforts to eradicate Islamist terrorism, demand the release of hostages kidnapped from Israel, and stand against the wave of antisemitism that has swept across the West since the war erupted.

There were tears, laughter and singing. Israeli flags were proudly waved, flanked by American flags with clear chants of “USA! USA! USA!” There were no calls for genocide and no violence.

  • On a perfect late autumn day, the March for Israel probably was the most orderly large-scale political rally this side of the annual March for Life.
  • Even the Thanksgiving Parade was desecrated by pro-Hamas demonstrators this year.

At pro-Palestinian rallies, it is commonplace to hear demonstrators clamor for the extermination of Israel, including Nazi-like “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free.”

Jihad supporters, however, who spew such hatred are triggered by the most innocuous statements.

Anti-Israel media paid particular attention to House Speaker Mike Johnson declaring, “The calls for a cease-fire are outrageous,” prompting attendees to erupt in “No cease-fire!” chants.

The pro-death cult claims Johnson seeks to kill Palestinian civilians, but this is a pathetic distortion of his remarks and the reaction. The pro-Israel crowd was cheering the refusal to surrender and abandon the hostages taken by Hamas. The crowd was cheering Israel’s resolve to defeat Hamas. A cease-fire was in place Oct. 6. Hamas broke it the next day.

The peaceful nature of the rally is likely why the odious Washington Post declined to bury the story the following day.

  • The Post’s Nov. 15 above-the-fold front page mentions Israeli forces overtaking a hospital in Gaza.

The front page mentions the House passing a stopgap funding measure. Below the fold is a story about erstwhile Trump allies criticizing the former President’s actions following the 2020 election. There’s even a section about a bookstore owner.

At the very bottom left-hand corner, under the “In the news” heading, a line reads, “March for Israel: Thousands gathered on the National Mall to express solidarity, condemn antisemitism, and demand the release of hostages who were taken by Hamas.”

Not eventful enough?
On cue, a pro-Palestinian Arab event held nearby the following day turned violent as hundreds of protesters clashed with law enforcement. Mobs blocked entrances and exits to the DNC headquarters, denying several congressmen ingress and egress. The zealots rebuffed directives to retreat, prompting police to intervene, and confrontations ensued. Six officers were treated for injuries suffered during the altercations, and a “protester” was arrested for assaulting a law enforcement official.

One House Democrat said the scenes were scarier than the Jan. 6 Capital assault. He assuredly couldn’t say that about the March for Israel.

Source: Ari J. Kaufman – Arutz Sheva

Why Christmas is canceled in Bethlehem

In Bethlehem, Christmas is canceled.

Palestinian Christian leaders across denominations in the West Bank city decided last week that they will forgo all festivities this year as a mark of solidarity with their brethren in Gaza. There will be no public celebrations, no twinkling Christmas lights and no decorated tree in Manger Square — not as long, they say, as a state of war reigns over the embattled Gaza Strip, and the majority of its residents cope with Israeli bombardments, the devastation of their homes and a spiraling humanitarian crisis.

“This is madness,” Munther Isaac, pastor of Bethlehem’s Evangelical Lutheran Christmas Church, told me. “This has become a genocide with 1.7 million people displaced.”

Isaac was part of a small delegation of Palestinian Christians who came to Washington this week to lobby the Biden administration, U.S. lawmakers and religious leaders to support calls for a full-scale cease-fire. A six-day pause in hostilities between Israel and militant group Hamas is set to elapse Thursday, though negotiations with Hamas involving U.S., Israeli and Arab officials are ongoing to potentially extend the current truce. Israeli officials have vowed to continue their campaign against Hamas after hostages are released, while the Biden administration appears to be trying to restrain whatever next phase of the war Israel chooses to launch.

On Tuesday afternoon, the delegation went to the White House and delivered a letter for President Biden signed by the leaders of the Christian community in Bethlehem, including Isaac’s Protestant denomination and his Orthodox, Armenian and Catholic counterparts. They also went to the Hill to meet staff in the Senate and House of Representatives.

“God has placed political leaders in a position of power so that they can bring justice, support those who suffer, and be instruments of God’s peace,” reads the letter, which I got to see in advance of its delivery. “We want a constant and comprehensive cease-fire. Enough death. Enough destruction. This is a moral obligation. There must be other ways. This is our call and prayer this Christmas.”

Palestinian Christians belong to the world’s oldest Christian communities, rooted in the historic cradle of Christianity.

But they are diminished in number, at least in proportion to their neighbors of other faiths, and are represented in greater strength in the Palestinian diaspora around the world. Palestinian Christians comprise some 2 percent of the overall Palestinian population in the West Bank, concentrated mostly around Ramallah, Bethlehem and Jerusalem, and less than 1 percent of the population in Gaza.

The latter community, small but prominent, is in the midst of a potential extinction event. There are roughly fewer than 1,000 Christians in Gaza, who have lived there without much problem despite the de facto takeover of the territory in 2007 by Hamas. But Israeli airstrikes destroyed or damaged almost all the community’s homes in Gaza City while also hitting Gaza’s oldest active church, where some were sheltering. “The vast majority of the Christian community in Gaza are now homeless,” Isaac said.

That’s prompted perhaps as much as a fifth of Gaza’s Christians who also had foreign passports to abandon the territory altogether. The rest find themselves forsaken. “They are calling to us, saying, ‘Let us leave, we either die or we leave,’” said Tamar Haddad, a regional coordinator of the Lutheran World Federation who was also part of the visiting delegation.

Jack Sara, president of Bethlehem Bible College, pointed to how the plight of Palestinian Christians doesn’t seem to be heard by many U.S. evangelicals, who see in muscular Jewish supremacy over the Holy Land a pathway for their own messianic vision. Tennessee-based evangelical preacher Greg Locke, a vocal and oft-viral pro-Trump clergyman, called for Israel to reduce Gaza to a “parking lot” not long after the Oct. 7 attack. More than 13,000 Palestinians have been killed in the weeks since, including thousands of children.

The ideology of Christian Zionism animated the agenda of the Trump administration and influences a vast segment of Republican lawmakers, from former vice president Mike Pence to current Speaker of the House Mike Johnson (R-La.).

Sara, a leading Palestinian evangelical theologian, told me that their creed “is not the evangelical theology and its message of love of all humans, regardless of their background and ethnicity” in which he believes and practices.

Away from Gaza, the members of the delegation described a growing climate of intimidation and hostility toward Palestinian Christians in the West Bank and Jerusalem, fueled by the actions of Jewish extremists emboldened by Israel’s far-right government. “We feel Jewish extreme radicals want us out of Jerusalem and they’re working on it and they’re going unchecked,” Isaac said.

The delegation’s members condemned Hamas’s actions and deplored its killing of innocent civilians and abduction of hostages. But they questioned Israel’s declared intention to wipe out an organization that is part of the fabric of Palestinian society and seen as a standard-bearer of resistance to decades of Israeli military occupation and domination. “As horrifying as October 7 was, things did not start there,” Isaac said. “And you cannot just begin the story from there and as such, give a green light for Israel to do what it’s doing right now, which goes way beyond, which is a revenge campaign.”

Many leading foreign diplomats have stressed the underlying importance of reviving the long-stalled and moribund process of the two-state solution. Most Palestinians are cynical about this project, given the fecklessness of their own political leadership and the West’s inability to prevent Israel from further carving up the West Bank with settlements over the past two decades. Many Israeli politicians, including leading members of the current government, are also explicitly opposed to the creation of an independent Palestinian state.

But any postwar dispensation will have to reckon with the ground realities in Israel and the occupied territories.

“One thing is clear: all my interlocutors in the Arab world have accepted Israel’s existence and want to engage with it,” wrote top E.U. diplomat Josep Borrell in a Financial Times op-ed that followed a recent trip to the Middle East. “They recognize the immense opportunity that lies in a peaceful neighborhood, cross-border cooperation and Israel’s potential role as a regional economic driver. But all agree that Arab-Israeli cooperation hinges upon resolving the Palestinian question.”

In recent statements, President Biden has also invoked the need to forge a two-state solution as a priority for the region. But talk is cheap. “America needs to prove to the Palestinians that they are serious about the two state solution because any talk from the Americans about a two-state solution right now feels empty, given the lack of action,” Isaac said. “No one has held Israel accountable.”

In their letter to Biden, the Palestinian clergymen reiterated their appeal: “This land has been crying for peace and justice for 75 years. It is time justice is served. It is time everybody can live with dignity in this land. The Palestinian and Israeli children deserve to live, hope and dream.”

When Isaac returns to Bethlehem at the end of the week for the start of the Advent season, he and his colleagues intend to set up a small Nativity scene with rocks and debris piled atop it. “This is what Christmas now means to us that we see Jesus being born among those who have lost everything, who are under the rubble,” Isaac said.

Source: Washington Post

The Jews and Boris Johnson: Zelensky’s top political ally looks for scapegoats as Ukrainian elites begin to accept the war is lost

A few days ago, President Vladimir Zelensky’s most important political ally, David Arakhamia, gave a long interview to TV presenter Natalya Moseichuk. Both are heavyweights of Ukraine’s public sphere, with widespread recognition and significant influence.

Moseichuk’s main platform is the television channel 1+1. Arakhamia heads the parliamentary faction of the ‘Servant of the People’ party, which is Zelensky’s machine and, as such, controls Ukraine in a de facto authoritarian manner.

  1. Bound to attract attention, the interview has done more: Due to Arakhamia’s unguarded (or deliberately revealing?) account of real yet missed opportunities to reach an early peace agreement in the full-scale war between Moscow and Kiev (and its Western sponsors and exploiters), it has caused a sensation.

Regarding the peace negotiations that took place in Belarus at the end of February and the beginning of March 2022, Arakhamia tells Moseichuk that the Russian delegation had one “key aim”: to make Ukraine accept neutrality and give up on NATO membership.

  • In Arakhamia’s own words, “everything else” Russia talked about, such as demands regarding “denazification, Russian-speaking populations, and blah-blah-blah” was merely “cosmetic political seasoning.”

 A hard truth about the Russia-Ukraine conflict is finally dawning on the West
Arakhamia’s admission proves, once more, that there have always been viable alternatives to war.

Western information warriors still denying this empirically established fact simply refuse to face their own terrible responsibility for stonewalling negotiations throughout. Likewise, Arakhamia demonstrates that everyone in Ukraine and the West who insisted that Moscow’s war aims were maximalist (whether to obliterate Ukraine as a state or to march right through it to, at least, Berlin) were flat out wrong, whether by mistake or on purpose. At least, that’s if we believe Arakhamia, who had direct experience with real representatives of Russia and not the fantasy creatures populating the minds of all too many Westerners, from Yale to Berlin. And note: Arakhamia has absolutely no reason to embellish Moscow’s record.

  • Or, for that matter, inclination. In the same interview, he occasionally uses the racist epithet “orcs” for Russians and displays that trademark arrogance that plays so well with Western visitors and has cost Ukraine so much. Arakhamia has made himself believe that his team had the advantage of 21st-century technology (by which he means Zoom and WhatsApp), while the Russian delegation was stuck in the 19th century (using secure landline phones to communicate with Moscow).

Of course, such technology first emerged during the 1940s, but that’s what the man said.

Recognizing that his Russian interlocutors were well prepared, unlike their Ukrainian counterparts, who improvised, he also pats himself on the back for “disrupting their schemes,” i.e. dragging the negotiations down to a level at which the designated “Banderite” (his term) in the Ukrainian delegation gave tubthumping speeches just to make the Russians “go pale.”

“But what about territory?” you may ask.

In the same interview, Arakhamia states that, at that point, the Russian negotiators were ready to “go back to where they were,” presumably to the pre-24 February borders.

  • Put differently, not only would the war have ended quickly, but Ukraine would also have kept all those territories that Russian forces have taken since then and those they are now likely to take in the future.

Kiev would have had to give up on Crimea and the Lugansk and Donetsk People’s Republics, areas whose inhabitants largely do not want to be part of Ukraine. Compared to what has happened since then, that would have been an easy way out.

The West, in this scenario, would have avoided the very damaging proxy war defeat that is now hanging over it. Everyone would have been better off economically as well. Obviously, that applies most of all to Ukraine, which is a devastated shadow of its former – already poor – self, propped up by Western aid (for now) and the European Union, especially Germany.

No wonder that Moseichuk’s next question for Arakhamia was why Ukraine did not take that Russian offer, a question that – as you will agree if you watch the interview – clearly surprised him. Looking a little like a poorly prepared student caught out in an exam, Arakhamia scrambles to patch together an impromptu answer.

  • Here’s what he comes up with: Striking the deal would have been unconstitutional because aiming for NATO membership has been written into the Ukrainian constitution; one can’t trust Russians anyhow, so Kiev could never have been certain that there would not be another Russian attack.
  • Both points are astonishingly flimsy: Ukraine’s ambition to join NATO (and the EU) was made part of its constitution only very recently, namely in 2019, at a time when constitutional law was transparently subordinated to short-term domestic political infighting. Post-1991 independent Ukraine existed for almost 30 years without such an unusual amendment.

Clearly, what has been added so recently could also have been revoked. Zelensky, with his Servant of the People machine, would have been perfectly able to make such a change if he had wished to. Hence, this was an obstacle that was politically surmountable. It should also not have been there in the first place because constitutions should stick to the fundamentals of political order. Aiming for this or that alliance is not part of these fundamentals by any stretch of the imagination, but a specific policy that should have remained open to ordinary political competition.

Arakhamia’s second pretext for failing to make peace, namely that Moscow could not be trusted “100%,” makes no sense either. For three reasons:

  1. First, he himself acknowledges in the same interview that the Russian delegation was very concerned about what Arakhamia dismissively calls “that Minsk,” i.e. Ukraine’s deliberate cheating on the Minsk agreements of and 2014 and 2015. If Russia was willing to extend enough trust for a compromise anyhow, then the least Zelensky’s Kiev could have done was reciprocate by taking a fairly ordinary risk. Because nothing is ever “100%” reliable, except perhaps the fact that when you won’t make peace, you will have more war.
  2. Secondly, why would Russia attack again if its one real reason to fight (as stated by Arakhamia), namely Ukraine’s drive toward NATO, would have been removed? Or is Arakhamia inadvertently betraying his own premise here that even after a deal, Ukraine would have systematically cheated again and continued its strategy of joining NATO (if perhaps surreptitiously), thus provoking another Russian response? That is the only assumption under which his statements are at least consistent. This interpretation seems all the more likely because Arakhamia also proudly admits that his delegation saw its main task in applying delaying tactics, while constantly coordinating with the Ukrainian military to gain maximum tactical advantage from that strategy of bad faith.
  3. Thirdly, Arakhamia seeks to explain one fiasco with another: At the end of a further round of negotiations in Istanbul, he reminds his viewers, then-British Prime Minister Boris Johnson told Kiev that “we won’t sign a thing, we will just keep fighting.” So, not seizing an opportunity to end the war in early March is, in Arakhamia’s mind, somehow justified by not doing so again one month later. In essence, on orders from a Western leader, as if his word was law to the government of Ukraine, which it clearly was.

That, again, is no surprise.

What is intriguing is the wide-eyed honesty with which Arakhamia admits Western control over the Zelensky regime.

Challenged by Moseichuk about that impression, Arakhamia’s “defense” – hard as it is to believe – takes the form of denying the claim, while admitting that things were “agreed on” in constant consultation with the Western “partners.” These “partners” received information from Kiev in a “dosed” manner, while also always knowing or given access to “everything,” down to all draft documents produced inside the Zelensky regime. And, according to Arakhamia, “we of course knew that we could not leave the war on our own; therefore, we had to consult with them.” Make of that painfully inconsistent jumble what you will. One thing is clear: Kiev has chosen to see itself as literally unable to make peace without Western permission.

  • Reminded of the multiple signs – in the media and politics – that the West, especially the US, is turning away from Ukraine, Arakhamia blames Israel, or to be precise, the “Jewish lobby” (his term) in the US, which, he believes, is widely represented “on all levels” and in “all decision making centers” and exerts this influence, he is sure, to prioritize the current war between Israel and the Palestinians.

Let’s set aside Arakhamia’s anti-Semitic terminology (there is a very important difference between using the terms “Israeli lobby” and “Jewish lobby”). What is striking is his complete refusal – or inability? – to assign any weight to how the war has been going in Ukraine. Yet, in reality, signs of serious Western fatigue preceded the outbreak of the latest Middle East crisis, and their real cause is, of course, the failure of Ukraine’s summer counteroffensive and, more generally, the fact that Russia is winning.

Perhaps the most depressing part of an often bizarre conversation with a man who is either not very much in control of what he says or has a very complicated agenda is Arakhamia’s odd sense of Ukraine’s current situation. He repeatedly declares that the US does not owe Kiev anything, which sits badly with his preceding admission – convoluted and yet clear – that Washington has a de facto veto on Ukraine ever making peace. Ukrainians, he announces, must rely on themselves – and keep fighting. Moseichuk asks him “with what?” and his response is an incoherent rant about “secret factories” and how “we have a lot of stuff.” Clearly, Zelensky is not the only top politician who takes flight in fantasies while Ukraine burns. Onward and downward it is.

  • The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.

Source: Tarik Cyril Amar – RT

Nobel Prize winner Yisrael Aumann: ‘Media campaign is raising the price of our hostages’

Prof. Yisrael (Robert) Aumann, a winner of the Nobel Memorial Prize and Israel Prize in economics, spoke with Arutz Sheva – Israel National News about the war against Hamas.

  • ”Israel has taken appropriate measures. Hamas needs to be wiped out,” he said.
  • “The people of Gaza are not innocent bystanders, but a part of the circumstances that allowed Hamas to come to power. We pulled out of Gaza in 2005 and left them complete independence to do as they see fit. The high society has beautiful homes there. They could have chosen peaceful coexistence; instead, they chose to elect Hamas, shortly after we pulled out of there. Instead of peaceful coexistence, the population of Gaza chose to elevate Hamas to positions of power. We cannot ignore that, although we do not, at any time, target civilians.”

Prof. Aumann says that the war has highlighted the importance of Israeli presence in Judea and Samaria:

  • ”I was very much against the expulsion from Gush Katif. In a way, it has strengthened our will to remain in Judea and Samaria, and it is very important that not only the army but the so-called settlers remain there. Legitimate Jewish presence in Judea and Samaria because without it, we could be accused of colonialism. If it were only the army, people could say that we are an ‘occupying force.’ We are not occupying; we belong in Gaza, in Judea and Samaria, in the Golan Heights. We have come back after two thousand years – two thousand years during which there has been a continuous Jewish presence in all these areas. We are not colonialists, we belong there.”

“It is important that people in Tel Aviv, who call the people in Judea and Samaria ‘messianic stargazers,’ understand that the people in Judea and Samaria are protecting them, legitimizing the army’s presence there and preventing the same kind of massacre we saw in the Gaza region from happening in central Israel.”

He also noted the complexities involved in the prisoner exchange deal.

  • ”I think the desire to see the hostages returned safely is understandable, and I am glad that I am not in the position of being the father or great-grandfather of any of the hostages” he said.
  • “I embrace them and totally understand them. However, the noise being made in Israel on the matter is negative. Outside of Israel, it’s good, but here it says to Hamas that we care about those things, and brings up the price that we have to pay. It may actually bring the price too high for us to pay, and we will never get them back and the campaign will have backfired. indeed, it already has.”

Source: Arutz Sheva

Header: Disengagement in Netzarim

New Jerusalem: US and Israeli solution to the Palestine problem risks a new major war in the region

Egypt’s reaction to the events in the Gaza Strip has drawn renewed attention to the US-Israeli plan of relocating the Palestinian population living in Gaza to the Sinai Peninsula, which is now a part of Egypt.

In former times, this question was repeatedly raised during negotiations with Cairo. Now, it looks like Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi will have to deal with the issue once again and find an optimal solution.

The first plans for resettlement

The idea of pushing the Palestinians out of Gaza first appeared back in the 1960s. After the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948 and the mass exodus of Palestinian Arabs as a result of the Arab-Israeli War in 1948-1949 and the Six-Day War in 1967, various Israeli institutions proposed solutions to this issue.

  1. In 1968, the Israeli Foreign Ministry presented a project that would encourage Palestinians living in Gaza to move to the West Bank and then to Jordan and other Arab countries. In the same year, a US Congressional committee discussed a plan for the voluntary relocation of 200,000 Palestinians from Gaza to other countries, such as West Germany, Argentina, Paraguay, New Zealand, Brazil, Australia, Canada, and the USA. This plan failed, however, since many nations refused to accept the Palestinians.

The Eiland Project

In 2000, Reserve Major General Giora Eiland, who headed the Israeli National Security Council, presented a project known as ‘Regional Alternatives to the Two-State Solution.’ Published by the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies, this document assumed that Egypt would cede a 720 square km rectangle on the territory of the Sinai Peninsula, including coastal areas and the city of el-Arish, in favor of a potential Palestinian state.

  1. In return, the Palestinians would give Gaza and a part of the West Bank over to Israel, while Egypt would receive equivalent territory in the southwestern part of the Negev Desert (the Wadi Feiran region), certain economic privileges, international support, and security concessions.

However, the plan was proposed at an inopportune moment – shortly after the failed negotiations at Camp David between Palestinian National Authority President Yasser Arafat and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak and at the time of the Al-Aqsa Intifada in September 2000. As a result, the settlement of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict was frozen for several years, and the Giora Eiland project fell through.

The Trump Project

Similar initiatives were put forward in later years. Most of them were based on Eiland’s document. The so-called ‘Deal of the Century’ proposed by former US President Donald Trump in 2020 and officially titled Peace to Prosperity, was the most recent initiative to resolve the Gaza issue. Trump’s peace plan was not that different from the previous ones and included the same key points – Egypt would cede land in the Sinai Peninsula to build airports, factories, and business centers, and encourage agricultural and industrial projects that would help employ hundreds of thousands of people. According to the document, the new Palestinian State was supposed to grow and develop on this territory.

  • The ‘Deal of the Century’ (which never came into effect since Trump lost the 2020 elections) implied that Egypt would receive $9.17 billion for the development of Sinai, including half a billion dollars to support tourism projects in South Sinai on the Red Sea coast and $1.5 billion to support joint Egyptian-Israeli efforts for the establishment of a major regional natural gas hub. The Egyptian city of el-Arish, located 45 km from the Gaza border, was supposed to become a “new Jerusalem” for the Palestinians.
  • The ‘Deal of the Century’ today

Taking advantage of the recent Hamas threat, Israel has gone to great lengths to make this plan a reality. The uncompromising and brutal bombing of Gaza by the Israeli Air Force is meant to force the Palestinians to relocate to Egypt. Some people are already talking about the need to flee to Sinai. Now, the course of events will largely depend on Cairo’s decisions.

Coincidentally, the plan to move the Palestinians to Sinai is closely linked to the project of a new canal on Israeli territory – an alternative to the Suez Canal that would connect the Gulf of Aqaba to the Mediterranean Sea.

  • Known as the Ben Gurion Canal Project, it could become a “natural” security border between Israel and Egypt.

In terms of trade and strategic interest, it would become a major competitor to the Suez Canal, through which about 20% of all world trade passes. In the 1960s, the United States and Israel were highly interested in this project. Researchers from both countries even studied the technical means of building the canal, considering the mountainous landscape of the Negev Desert.

Egypt’s reaction

  • Both the US and Israel had raised the subject of relocating the Palestinians to Sinai during negotiations with former Egyptian Presidents Hosni Mubarak and Mohamed Morsi. Shortly before he died, ex-Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak described such offers. But he categorically rejected the proposal.

In 2019, Palestinian Information Minister Nabil Abu Rudeineh also said President Mohamed Morsi, who was deposed in 2013, was ready to make concessions on this issue.

  • According to many analysts, this was one of the main reasons why he was removed from office.

Now, it is up to Abdel Fattah el-Sisi to deal with the issue, and he has already voiced his position.

In particular, el-Sisi urged the protection of the Sinai Peninsula from plans to turn it into a theater of military operations.

Egypt believes (and not without reason) that if a “new Palestine” is created in Sinai, the confrontation between Hamas and the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) will move to that region, particularly since the current escalation has significantly reduced the chance of a peaceful settlement of the Palestinian issue.

  • Currently, Israel is trying to exert pressure on Cairo, and this includes restricting the volume of humanitarian aid allowed into Gaza through the Rafah checkpoint.

For its part, Egypt has refused to accept Palestinian refugees through the same border crossing. However, all this only exacerbates the acute humanitarian crisis in Gaza.

Assistance to Palestine

Even without being aware of all the intrigues going on behind the scenes, we can make certain conclusions. Egypt said that it is willing to accept wounded and seriously ill Palestinians. Cairo has officially stated that it will treat 100,000 people in its national medical institutions. For this purpose, a field hospital was quickly constructed in the town of Sheikh Zuweid near Rafah, which will become a transit point for the wounded before they can be transported to city medical centers.

  • Whether Israel will allow all these people to return home eventually is a big question. And considering the constant attacks, the number of wounded who are allowed into Egypt may increase in the future.

Presently, Cairo is focused on providing humanitarian aid to the Palestinians. According to the local branch of the Red Crescent, Egypt provided the largest amount of humanitarian aid – about 9,000 tons – to the residents of Gaza.

  • Cairo is also taking steps that would allow Palestinian refugees to settle in the north of the Sinai Peninsula. In el-Arish, two multi-story buildings have been allocated for this purpose, which can house 300 people.

Moreover, Cairo decided to allow Egyptians who were previously displaced during the fight with local ISIS groupings to return to the region.

In recent years, Cairo claimed that these territories have been completely cleared of militants and terrorists, whom Egypt has fought since 2015. Following the protests organized by the evacuated residents on October 31, Egyptian Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly arrived in el-Arish with an inspection, accompanied by the head of the local militia and prominent businessman Ibrahim al-Arjani. Both visited Sinai to announce upcoming construction projects and, most likely, to calm the people before the events to come.

“People’s mandate” for el-Sisi

Another notable event took place within the past month. On October 20, President el-Sisi organized mass street demonstrations to obtain a “mandate” from the people that would allow him to make any decisions related to the Palestinian events.

Within a few days, all the official Egyptian media and newspapers affiliated with the security services published a so-called “mandate,” which residents of all cities were supposed to “grant” to their president by holding mass demonstrations to support him. The document contained the following points, which reflect the official position of the authorities:

  • “I, a citizen of Egypt, authorize President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi:

– to protect the land of Egypt from danger and war with Israel and to complete the peace process that has stalled for decades;

– to protect Sinai from plans to turn it into a theater of military operations and combat operations

– to protect the Palestinians, who must remain on their land. ‘There is no state without a people!’

– to protect the Palestinian cause, which may cease to exist if the Palestinians are relocated to Egypt and Jordan.”

During an emergency meeting on October 19, the Egyptian parliament also granted President el-Sisi a mandate to take the necessary measures to protect national security and oppose Israel’s plan to move the Palestinians from Gaza to the Sinai Peninsula.

Members of the House of Representatives gave el-Sisi, as the supreme commander of the Armed Forces, the authority to take any measures that he would deem necessary to ensure the security of the country’s eastern borders and to protect Egyptian lands.

  • Meanwhile, despite official statements, many Egyptian political activists, journalists, and bloggers saw these events as a trick to deceive the people and circumvent Article 151 of the Egyptian Constitution, which obliges the country to hold a referendum on any issue related to its territorial sovereignty.

In recent days, certain reports have appeared in the Israeli media stating that Israel would supposedly write off a large part of Egypt’s external debt if it agreed to create Palestinian settlements in the Sinai Peninsula.

  • However, President Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi firmly rejected the idea. On October 17, he stated that the displacement of the residents of Gaza to Sinai would be tantamount to declaring war on Egypt. He proposed an alternative – to relocate the civilian population to the Negev Desert until the end of the conflict.

Why is Egypt against this plan?

What threat does implementing the ‘Deal of the Century’ pose to Egypt? Firstly, the mass resettlement of the Palestinian people could cause the confrontation between Hamas and Israel to move to Egyptian territory, involving Egypt in the war.

Secondly, this scenario poses a threat to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Egypt – particularly since, in 1977, the Sinai Peninsula was returned to Egypt as a condition for peace with Israel. Moreover, the proposed status of the potential Palestinian settlements in Egypt remains unclear.

Egypt is afraid of being drawn into the war. Israeli media have hinted that the IDF may open a new front with Egypt under the pretext of Cairo’s alleged assistance to Hamas. A few days ago, the Israel Defense magazine, published by the Israeli Armed Forces, reported that Israel needs to threaten Egypt and, if necessary, wage war against it since the latter violated the 1979 peace agreement by deploying considerable military infrastructure on the territory of the Sinai Peninsula, close to the Israeli border.

Currently, Cairo maintains relative neutrality and continues to be a mediator in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, as it has been for the past decades. Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi’s policy is focused on protecting national interests, avoiding direct involvement in hostilities, and securing his country’s borders to the maximum extent.

Source: Tamara Ryzhenkova – RT

Biden is the primary obstacle to Israeli victory

The time has come to discuss the Biden administration’s relationship with Israel. With each passing day, two things become obvious.

  1. First, Israel cannot fight the war without U.S. resupply of the Israel Defense Forces. As a consequence, Israel is beholden to the administration’s directives.
  2. And second, if Israel follows the Biden administration’s directives, it will lose the war.

Israel’s dependence on the United States was stated bluntly by retired IDF Maj. General Yitzhak Brick in an interview earlier this week.

  • “All of our missiles, the ammunition, the precision-guided bombs, all the airplanes and bombs, it’s all from the U.S. The minute they turn off the tap, you can’t keep fighting. You have no capability. … Everyone understands that we can’t fight this war without the United States. Period.”

Brick went on to explain that President Joe Biden’s demand that Israel permit “humanitarian aid” to enter Gaza means that he is demanding that Israel keep Hamas fully supplied with food, water and fuel.

His demand that Israel minimize Palestinian Arab civilian casualties endangers IDF soldiers and renders the expansion of the ground offensive into central and southern Gaza, where the bulk of Hamas’s force is now located, almost impossible to carry out.

Brick suggested various forms of long-term tunnel warfare and other suggestions for how the IDF may be able to defeat Hamas over time while operating within the constraints that Biden and his top advisors are dictating.

It is hard to judge whether Brick’s suggestions are workable without access to situational intelligence about conditions on the ground in southern Gaza.

At a minimum, it is clear that Biden’s preference for the lives of civilians in Gaza over the lives of IDF soldiers on the ground ensures that far more soldiers will be killed in the fighting than would otherwise.

  • Three weeks ago, the administration began demanding that Israel limit (or cancel entirely) its pre-ground battle aerial bombings. Consequently, in the week that preceded this week’s “humanitarian pause,” the IDF’s battle losses were overwhelmingly the consequence of sniper fire from Hamas terrorists hiding in buildings that the air force did not destroy before the battles, due to U.S. pressure.

Then there is the issue of the hostages. Israel is duty-bound to the hostages, their families and Israeli society as a whole to rescue them. There are two ways to do this.

Israel can bow to Hamas’s demands, as it is presently doing by suspending its offensive, and endangering Israel’s soldiers and civilians by permitting Hamas to rebuild and reorganize its forces, and by releasing terrorists from its prisons and retuning them to Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria. Or it can renew its military operation, locate the hostages and rescue them itself. Clearly, the second option is preferable.

Securing aid from America

Until Monday, it appeared the reason that Israel had accepted the deal it is currently operating under owed to its inability to locate the hostages.

The London-based Daily Express reported on Monday that the real reason Israel is not rescuing the hostages—and instead agreed to the current deal with all of its tactical and strategic costs—is related to the Biden administration’s directive not to harm Palestinian civilians.

Based on Israeli sources, the British Daily Express reported that Israel knows where many of the hostages are located.

  • It has opted not to rescue them because Hamas is holding the hostages among civilians. Rescuing them would involve collateral damage to those Palestinians and risk U.S. resupply, which Israel cannot fight without.

Here it is important to note that the number of actual civilians that have died as a result of Israel’s bombings remains unknown. On Oct. 25, Biden acknowledged that the Gaza Health Ministry’s data on civilian casualties lacks credibility in light of the fact that the Health Ministry is simply an organ of Hamas and reports the numbers it is told to report by Hamas’s terror masters. That data counts every dead terrorist as a dead civilian.

Israelis were thrilled with Biden’s statement. But the next day, he apologized for it. According to Fox News, in a meeting with Muslim American leaders on Oct. 26, Biden apologized for telling the truth.

  • “I’m sorry. I’m disappointed with myself,” he said.

Since Oct. 26, the administration has embraced as fact Hamas’s casualty counts and uses them as the basis for its demand that Israel minimize Palestinian Arab casualties.

The administration’s willingness to ignore the fallacies at the heart of those data indicates that its policy is based on something other than concern for Palestinian Arab civilians, and therefore is not a tactical challenge that Israel may be capable of contending with and still win.

To be sure, Biden, Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin have all expressed their solidarity with Israel, as well as their revulsion at Hamas’s actions and desire to see the genocidal jihadist terror group defeated. And to be sure,

Biden has taken steps to resupply Israel—requesting $14.3 billion in military supplies to Israel (although the assistance has yet to be approved by Congress or signed into law by Biden).

  • These positions and at least partial actions lend credence to Brick’s assessment, shared by the IDF and the government, that the challenge the Biden administration’s position on civilian casualties in Gaza is an operational or tactical challenge and not a strategic conundrum.

Dealing with Fatah and the P.A.

But there are additional indications that Biden doesn’t want Israel to win.

  • First, there is the issue of Egypt. Due to the U.S. decision to support Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi’s determination to prevent Gazans from fleeing to Egypt or to a third country through Egypt, the million or so Gazans who evacuated the northern end of the Strip during the fighting are now concentrated in the south. Among them are the bulk of Hamas’s forces, which Israel must destroy to win the war.

Facing the U.S.-backed Egyptian refusal to permit these civilians to leave Gaza on the one hand and the U.S. directive to keep civilian casualties close to zero on the other, Israel is facing an impossible operational challenge. Brick may be right that a low-key, slow offensive would be capable of achieving the goal. But he may be wrong. Certainly, a more conventional operation would have a much higher chance of succeeding.

To this must be added the Biden administration’s demands for a post-war settlement.

Israel’s goal is not only to defeat Hamas now but to prevent it from rebuilding and to prevent other terror groups from emerging in a post-war Gaza. To this end, at a minimum, Israel will be required to take two actions.

First, it must retain permanent military control over all of Gaza.

Second, Israel must seize a buffer zone several kilometers wide on the Gaza side of the border to protect civilian communities and military bases from a repeat of Oct. 7.

  • Biden and his advisers oppose both of these goals. Not only do they completely oppose Israeli military control over Gaza and the establishment of buffer zones inside Gaza, they demand that in a post-war settlement, Israel end its maritime blockade of the Gaza coast, and permit everything and anything to enter Gaza from the sea.
  • In other words, the U.S. position is to permit terrorist forces whether they call themselves Hamas or anything else—to rebuild their capabilities unfettered in post-war Gaza.

Even worse, the administration’s position is that Gaza must be ruled by the Fatah-controlled Palestinian Authority after the war has ended, and that Gaza be united with Judea and Samaria in a post-war era, and together receive full sovereignty.

  • In other words, the administration’s war goal is to establish a Fatah-dominated Palestinian state in these areas. On its own, this position is antithetical not only to an Israeli victory in the war. It represents an existential threat to Israel’s continued existence.

Fatah—and the P.A. it runs—is a terrorist organization and regime.

  • The P.A.’s U.S.-armed and funded security forces are Hamas’s junior partners in terror.

As Eugene Kontorovich and Itamar Marcus reported in The Wall Street Journal this week, P.A.-controlled Fatah terrorists from Fatah’s Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades terror group posted videos of its members in Gaza participating in Hamas’s Oct. 7 slaughter. Fatah terrorists killed, tortured and kidnapped Israelis, and took videos of their actions.

Unlike Gaza, Judea and Samaria are a stone’s throw from all of Israel’s major population centers, and half a million Israelis live in cities and villages throughout Judea and Samaria.

Last Friday night, the threat posed by Palestinian terrorist and paramilitary forces in Judea and Samaria to the lives of millions of Israelis came into sharp relief with the public lynching in the city of Tulkarm of two Palestinian Arabs accused of collaborating with Israeli counter-terror operations.

  • To the roars of a crowd of thousands—secured by P.A. security forces—Hamas publicly hanged the two men from an electricity tower. The two men’s bodies showed signs of brutal torture that preceded their execution. Tulkarm is controlled by the P.A. It is located less than a kilometer from the Cross Israel Highway and a few minutes’ drive to Kfar Yona and Netanya.

Israel’s dependence on U.S. weapons makes it impossible for the Netanyahu government to publicly air the strategic threat the administration’s policies pose to its war effort and its long-term ability to survive in the post-Oct. 7 Middle East.

Israel cannot risk additional stress to its position vis-à-vis the Biden administration and wants to avoid exposing the rift to its enemies already emboldened from Gaza to Lebanon, Yemen to Iran.

Congressional lawmakers face no such constraints, however. Moreover, they have an interest in exposing the truth and working to compel a change in the administration’s Hamas-enabling policies. Polling data shows that the overwhelming majority of Americans support Israel in this war and want it to destroy Hamas. The overwhelming majority of lawmakers from both parties share their views.

  • To date, the Republican majority in the House has made no effort to exercise oversight over the Biden administration’s policies in relation to Israel’s war with Hamas, largely due to the Israeli government’s unwillingness to air the actual state of relations.

As the humanitarian pause is extended to secure the release of additional hostages and before the Christmas recess, House Republicans and like-minded Democrats should open hearings to compel the administration to explain its policies. Specifically, it should be asked to explain how Israel can defeat Hamas given the constraints the administration is placing on IDF operations.

  • The administration should also be asked why it supports the P.A., given the P.A.’s involvement, support and defense of Hamas’s invasion of Israel, and the slaughter of its civilians on Oct. 7. Congress should also ensure that the aid package, when passed, contains no conditions on Israel’s use of the weapons it will receive.
  • Lawmakers must understand the source of the Israeli government’s fulsome praise for Biden. They should then take action to prevent the administration from maintaining its policy of paying lip service to an Israeli victory while preventing Israel from achieving one.

Source: Caroline B. Glick – JNS via Arutz Sheva

What, exactly, were the Palestinian Arabs trying to “liberate?”

A core principle of all civilized legal systems – one reaffirmed at the post-war Nuremberg trials – is nullum crimen sine poena, “no crime without a punishment.” Today, following “perfidious” Hamas terror attacks on Israeli civilians, the world is apt to blame the Israeli victims as vigorously as the jihadist perpetrators. Though it is plain that Israel’s counter-terrorist war in Gaza is killing and wounding Palestinian Arab civilians, these harms are unintentional and inadvertent. They are not (as in the case of the brutish October 7 Hamas terror attacks) the result of overt “criminal intent” (mens rea).

In essence, for a small beleaguered state trying to survive in an incomparably cruel neighborhood, Gaza represents a “no choice war.”

For genuinely informed explanations, history and law deserve pride of place. Though few outside observers seem to understand relevant history and law, the self-justifying Palestinian Arab narrative of an Israeli “occupation” is built upon an edifice of legal falsehoods. It is, prima facie, a contrivance of propaganda. But even if the contrivance were not so conspicuous, Palestinian insurgents would still lack any law-based right to deliberately harm Israeli noncombatants.

In law, all law, even an allegedly “just war” must be fought by “just means.”

Under international law, rape, murder and hostage-taking (Hamas methods of the October 7 attacks) are never a permissible path to “self-determination.”

Under law, the ends can never justify the means.

In law, rights can never stem from wrongs; ex iniuria ius non oritur.

There is more. For the most part, Hamas criminals are not “lone wolves.” On the contrary, they have been spurred on by organized Palestinian incitements to no-holds-barred terror-violence.

  • Above all, though still overlooked, they have been captivated by the incomparably compelling Islamist promise of power over death, by a delusionary power reserved exclusively for “martyrs.”

What this signifies, among other inglorious traits, is that Hamas terrorists are never heroic in their fiendish deeds; rather, they are bitterly consumed by a pervasive personal and collective cowardice. Should there be any expressed doubts about such an unvarnished judgment, it need only be remembered that the jihadist kills himself (or herself) in order not to die. This is because the “death” he/she expects to suffer is little more than a transient inconvenience on the glorious path to “life everlasting.”

Does the Hamas criminal really believe such tormented reasoning? To answer this basic question, one must first understand that faith can easily trump logic and science in many corners of the world, especially the Islamic Middle East. A personally reinforcing point can be offered by the present writer, who some years back, was able to interview a failed Palestinian Arab suicide-bomber. When I inquired of this very young man (face to face, with interpreter) how he felt about his recent failure as “martyr” (as a shahid), the would-be terrorist replied without hesitation: “Frightened, because now I (and my parents) will have to die.”

Apparently, the deal he had struck with his jihadist handler and mentoring clerics had generously extended the promise of immortality to include his father and mother.

Now a specific legal question arises: Can there be a proper “cease-fire” between a national government (Israel) and an inherently illegal organization (Hamas)?

Whatever the merits of each side’s position, the immediate effect of any cease-fire would be to bestow upon a criminal-terror organization a wrongfully enhanced position under international law and the status of formal legal equivalence with a fully-sovereign state. Inter alia, the inherent illegality of Hamas as an organization may be extrapolated from the sweeping criminalization of terrorism under both codified and customary international law. The propriety of such broad criminalization is also deducible from the Nuremberg Tribunal’s authoritative decision to find all SS members criminal per se.

What about “Palestine?” Though the name would seem to signify “sovereign equality” with Israel, the legal reality is different.

There has never been a sovereign state of Palestine, nor does such a state exist presently. For those willing to examine this core matter in proper legal context, the place to begin is with the Convention on the Right and Duties of States (1933). This governing treaty on statehood plainly dispels still-prevailing falsifications about an historic “state of Palestine.”

But truth is too often willfully overlooked. At some point, and without a scintilla of objective legal verification, the global community could be convinced to interpret the Montevideo Convention as a validation of Palestinian statehood. Now bolstered by purposely enhanced falsehoods, this jihad-based Arab state would quickly accelerate its pre-independence program of war and terror against Israel. From the standpoint of every operational Palestinian faction, Fatah as well as Hamas, all of Israel would then be designated “occupied territory.”

  • Though openly genocidal, “From the river to the sea….” is already the pre-state Palestinian mantra.

Should there remain any doubts about contrived Palestinian Arab definitions of an Israeli “occupation,” one need only to check the various official Palestinian maps of “Palestine.” On each and every such map, Palestine’s borders are drawn to include all of Israel. In this connection, one should also recall that the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO, forerunner of PA and Hamas) was founded in 1964, three years before there were any “occupied territories.”

What, exactly, were the Palestinian Arabs trying to “liberate?”

During the many years that Fatah and Hamas terrorists were busily slaughtering each other (as well as Israeli civilians), Israel’s persistent warnings about Palestine were swept under America’s diplomatic rug. Not even after 9/11, when both Fatah and Hamas enthusiastically celebrated America’s jihad-triggered misfortune, did the United States and its allies bother to re-evaluate their traditional support of Palestinian statehood.

We must inquire, therefore, especially as another US presidential election approaches: Is it reasonable for the United States to support Palestinian Arab statehood when such support would be on behalf of a continuously hateful and inherently illegal terror organization?

As always, theology will matter. For all jihadist forces in the Middle East, conflict with Israel is never authentically about land.

It is about God; it is about derivative promises of immortality.

For the Palestinians and their allies, the true enemy is never Israel as such. This true enemy is always “The Jews.”

The young Palestinian terrorist who strikes with axe or blade (both were used for beheading Jewish children on October 7th 2023) is always expecting to become a “martyr,” a shahid.

It’s time for candor. Hamas and all other Palestinian Arab insurgent organizations seek a “One State Solution” for their “Jewish Problem.” In principle, earlier declarations of American support for Palestinian “self-determination” might not have been unreasonable, but only if the Palestinian Arab side had been more genuinely committed to a “Two-State Solution.”

Even as they periodically war against each other, both the Palestinian Authority and Hamas continue to agree on one central point. This is their joint and immutably lethal conviction that: (1) Israel is by its very nature intolerable (because any Jewish State, by definition, represents a religious abomination in the Dar al Islam); and that (2) allof Israel is “Occupied Palestine.”

From the seventeenth century onward, the world political system has operated in a corrosive “state of nature.” In the anarchic Middle East especially, considerations of raw power have routinely trumped any binding expectations of international law. On those endlessly perplexing matters concerning Palestinian statehood, it is finally time to understand that “Palestine’s” true enemy in the region is not Israel, but a distressingly sordid mix of jihadist criminal forces.

Any further Palestinian advances toward statehood would be to the long-term existential disadvantage of both Arabs and Israelis. As a complicating factor, because of the still vital Sunni-Shiite schism, most specific outcomes of Palestinian statehood could remain indeterminate and unpredictable.

In such murky circumstances, the final victor here could be Shiite Iran.

We learn from the Nuremberg Tribunals and Nuremberg Principles: “No crime without a punishment.” In the end, if American, European and other leaders continue to betray the most elementary principles of law and justice in dealing with jihadist terrorism against Israelis, Palestine will likely wind up as Gaza in macrocosm.

  • By definition, this means a palpably disintegrating, deeply corrupted and irremediably destructive state, one already programmed to generate chaos.

“If you like Gaza, you’ll love “Palestine.”

Source: LOUIS RENÉ BERES -Arutz Sheva

Ages of terror: Here’s why Africans hate France

  • As the whole world has turned its attention to the conflict between Israel and Palestine and the events in Ukraine have faded into the background, nearly everyone has forgotten about another region that is permanently unstable and immersed in conflicts and crises – Africa.

Over the past several years, there have been a series of coups in Africa – precisely, eight coups in three years. The last one occurred in Gabon. At the time, the media discussed Africa’s anger at colonialist France and the pro-French governments that toppled like dominoes. For Paris, that was a real disaster, since African countries had only formally escaped from under its ‘wing’ and were still subordinated to France politically and economically.

  • Moreover, Africa is rich in minerals, oil, gas, gold, and other resources. For example, Niger supplies about 15% of France’s uranium needs.

We will find out why Africans have such a hostile attitude towards France and how this confrontation may end.

Occupied Niger

French colonialism in Niger began with the infamous and brutal military campaign to expand control over West Africa in 1899 (the so-called Central African-Chad Mission). The local population fiercely resisted the invaders, headed by captains Paul Voulet and Charles-Paul-Louis Chanoine (also known as Julien Chanoine). However, the forces of the two sides were unequal.

After leaving Dakar, the Voulet-Chanoine Mission was supposed to explore Chad and Niger and unite the French territories. Voulet had previously demonstrated sadistic tendencies in Burkina Faso, and his associate Chanoine was not any better. Moreover, Chanoine was the son of the powerful general and Minister of War Jules Chanoine, a fact that untied the mission’s hands.

The atrocities committed by the French in Niger could have never come to light, if one of the junior officers, Lieutenant Louis Péteau, had not described them in a letter to his fiancée. In the 15-page letter, he wrote how porters who were too weak from dysentery were beheaded and replaced by enslaved locals. Voulet ordered the severed heads to be placed on stakes in order to scare the inhabitants of the surrounding villages. The letter contains many details of war crimes committed by French soldiers. It was eventually made public and provoked a major scandal.

This did not stop the mission, however, and in 1922, after a severe drought and famine, the French established control over the territory.

France was primarily interested in Niger’s natural resources. Despite the fact that the country’s economy largely depended on agriculture and animal husbandry, the world’s largest uranium deposits were later discovered there. France seized hold of these resources.

In 1960, Niger was formally liberated. However, even after the 1960s, all the officers of Niger’s army were Frenchmen with French-Nigerian dual-citizenship. As of 1960, there were only ten African officers in the Armed Forces of Niger, all of low rank.

Paris would continue to exploit Niger’s rich resources for many years.

  • Most recently, Niamey criticized the agreement with France and demanded a fairer share of the profits from the extraction of uranium ore.

​​Africa soaked in blood

A few years ago, the adviser to Algerian President Abdelmadjid Cheikhi said that after the massacre staged by the French in Algeria, the bones of the Algerians were taken out of the country and used to make soap and for sugar filtration. Cheikhi stressed that his country had become “a real field of experiments for the brutal practices that France later applied in other colonies.” He added that today Paris attempts to hide the crimes by destroying historical archives.

Some tragedies, however, could not be hidden, since they were witnessed by tens and even hundreds of thousands of people, many of whom are still alive. Here are just a few chilling episodes from France’s colonial past.

Burning everything in its path

The French, who are so proud of their elegant cultural heritage and Enlightenment values, were actually capable of savage atrocities against those who were not part of their culture, particularly colonized peoples. The cruelty of the French knew no bounds. They were involved in murder, rape, the plundering of African wealth, and the use of slave labor in the Central African Republic, Chad, and the Republic of the Congo. All these events happened in recent history and were recorded in archives, but no one has been held accountable so far.

There has been no justice in the case of the Thiaroye massacre, when on the outskirts of Dakar French forces shot West African veterans who had once defended France in cold blood. Likewise, no one was held responsible for the Rwandan genocide, nor for France’s nuclear experiments in Algeria.

  • In February 1960, France tested its first atomic bomb, exposing over 24,000 people to radiation. It is difficult to imagine the real losses caused by the resulting pollution since today we do not know the locations of all the test sites and areas of disposal of nuclear waste. But it’s safe to say that the French don’t care about this.

An uprising soaked in blood

The people of Madagascar also have many painful memories.

The French army subjected them to severe repressions simply because they wished to be independent– and this despite the fact that at the time, France itself had just been liberated from Nazi occupation. Tens of thousands of Malagasy people were tortured and killed during the Franco-Malagasy Wars and in their aftermath. There were even cases when people were thrown out of airplanes.

  • In 1946, the Democratic Movement for Malagasy Rejuvenation (abbreviated MDRM in French) was founded in Madagascar. It wanted to put an end to the inhumane treatment of people and advocated political equality, prosperity, and independence. But less than a year after the party was formed, France intervened. On May 5, 1947, a massacre happened in Moramanga – a city that had become the epicenter of the Madagascar uprising against colonial rule. At midnight, French officers gave the order to attack three passenger train cars with MDRM members inside. The train cars were fired upon using a machine gun. Most of the people inside were killed, and those who survived were executed without a trial shortly afterward. This event became a symbol of French repression in Madagascar.

The forgotten genocide

The fate of the Bamileke people of Cameroon is sometimes compared to the fate of the Jewish people during the Holocaust. It is not known exactly how many were killed – the numbers vary from 100,000 to 500,000 people. Some even say there were a million victims. In any case, this was a real genocide staged by the French under the leadership of the anti-communists Charles de Gaulle and Jacques Foccart, in their fight against the Union of Populations of Cameroon (UPC) – a liberation movement founded in April 1948.

We find an eyewitness account of those horrible events online. Jeannette was just a little girl when her country became flooded with blood and tears:

  • “In the evening, the military convoys come back filled with heads that are dumped and exposed at the crossroads that will become the crossroads of the maquisards, until my departure from Cameroon, in 1976, and even perhaps until today. It is in the heart of Bafoussam, about thirty meters from the house of my parents that all this is exposed. This is also where the executions take place. After a certain pause, because of the famine and in the absence of any help, the populations returned to the kingdoms without homes and without cultures. Others went to camps created by the occupier, without water, without access to the wood, and terrorized by the military.”
  • “Some, especially the occupier himself, have dared to advance the figure of 400,000 dead. Over what period? Are dead people in the Mungo area counted? Many died there. Others were tattooed and sent back to the West, where massacres and crowding in the camps were raging.

“After the war, the region was almost empty…”

Hell on Earth

  • Doubtlessly one of the most terrible genocides in world history was the Rwandan genocide, which claimed the lives of over 800,000 Tutsis in 100 days (other sources claim there were over a million victims).

France also carries the burden of this crime on its conscience. Numerous human rights organizations and historians (basing their assumption on documents) claim that France armed the Hutu government. Moreover, these events happened in light of Operation Turquoise, launched by France on June 23, 1994 in order to supposedly stop the mass killings of people. Instead, France secretly helped the participants of the genocide to flee.

  • Renowned French historian Vincent Duclert, who was commissioned by President Macron to prepare a report on the Rwandan genocide, concluded that Paris was responsible for what happened, at least in terms of ignoring the racist nature and brutality of the Hutu regime.

“Françafrique”: The illusion of freedom

  • The UN proclaimed 1960 the “Year of Africa”: 17 African nations gained independence that year – but only on paper.

France didn’t take leave of Africa without making sure that it could continue to exploit the resources of its former colonies, and continue to dominate them – even if from now on, that would happen behind the scenes.

In his memoirs, Charles de Gaulle wrote that France brought civilization to Africa, helped it build nation states and educated the elites, teaching them to act based on principles of human rights and freedoms (and, of course, French interests). At the same time, the founder of the Fifth Republic wrote that Paris was supposed to become a “specially privileged partner” for Africans. In other words, the colonizers wanted to take leave of Africa but preserve their influence over it. This is probably what de Gaulle meant by “privileged partnership.”

This is how the “Françafrique” [“French Africa”] concept was born – a system of special ties between Paris and its former colonies, developed by Jacques Foccart. Informal ‘guardianship’ of Africa through the Françafrique system guaranteed France political, economic, and military control over the region and, as a result, uninterrupted access to its natural resources – whether it was oil from Gabon, uranium from Niger, or cocoa from the Ivory Coast.

Making use of the economic whip and corruption, Foccart appointed his own people to high-ranking positions – these were the ‘elite’ raised by the French, which de Gaulle mentioned in his memoirs. If something went wrong, the French resorted to contract killing, terror, blackmail, intrigue, and bribery. When that did not help, France used its special services to eliminate high-profile politicians and even organize military rebellions. This is what the legendary French mercenary Bob Denard spoke about.

“One way or another, there was always some kind of interaction with the special services. Sometimes, Monsieur Foccart acted as a link. To involve the army in this or that operation, a lot of preliminary preparation was required. But my squad was light and mobile and could carry out the same mission using small forces,” Denard said.

Finally, in those cases when the efforts of mercenaries and the intrigues of special services failed, France conducted direct military interventions, meddling in the affairs of the “free” African nations. To this end, Paris had and still has military bases in Senegal, Djibouti, Gabon, and on the Ivory Coast. Until 2008, eight African countries had active agreements with France which allowed the latter to legally invade their territory and “restore order.”

Modern colonialism

On July 31, 2022, the government of Mali demanded that French President Emmanuel Macron abandon the principles of neocolonialism – above all, with regard to economic control over the continent.

  • Experts around the world have long discussed the CFA franc, which was introduced in December 1945.

At the time, the abbreviation CFA stood for “French African colonies” (Colonies Françaises d’Afrique). By the 1960s, it meant “African Financial Community” (Communauté Financière Africaine). Today, the CFA franc is pegged to the euro, but until recently it was dependent on the exchange rate of the French franc.

  • Moreover, the member countries of the zone where the CFA franc is in use are required to keep half of their monetary and gold reserves in the Treasury of France.

The CFA franc makes it possible for Paris to buy up Africa’s natural resources at extremely low prices. And considering the Françafrique system, local elites often derive benefits from the economic intervention of France.

Paris is almost impossible to push away, since it is a major investor in the region. In 2020, for example, French foreign direct investments (FDI) in Cote d’Ivoire topped $500 million. It is just one example – other such countries include Tunisia, Morocco, etc. The French industrial sector in West Africa is also quite influential. For example, TotalEnergies accounts for 17 percent of the African oil market and is the leading distributor of petroleum products in Africa.

For Paris, the African continent has become a giant market for selling overpriced goods – despite the fact that France itself was indignant when the US took advantage of the political situation and sold it gas at exorbitant prices. In contrast, goods from the former French colonies are sold cheaply.

This system is called neocolonialism, and this is exactly what Africa is rebelling against.

In conclusion

France continued to devour Africa in the decades after de Gaulle. Each of the eight subsequent presidents contributed to the disintegration of the African continent. Of course, African leaders, who saw France as a natural guarantor of their personal security, were also responsible for the situation. Africa gifted its patrons, bowed before them, and coordinated every step with the Élysée Palace. But this didn’t help.

  • The fate of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi is a good example – and this is the man who financed the election campaign of Nicolas Sarkozy.
  • The political processes happening in Niger today are not a color revolution or a nonconformist riot backed by an external force. These processes are a result of wounds and sorrows accumulated over many decades. There is a chance that Niger may help other African countries move towards real liberation, particularly now that France has encountered major competitors in Africa in the face of China and Russia. But in fact, these developments have only accelerated inevitable changes.

Source: Abbas Juma – RT

Israel leaving Gaza economy in ruins

Israel’s conflict with the Palestinian militant group Hamas has completely destroyed Gaza’s economy, CNBC reported on Thursday, citing experts.

According to the report, the current escalation of the conflict, which started on October 7, has deprived the territory of its sole source of income – access to Israel’s labor market.

  • Over the past month, approximately 182,000 Gazans have lost their jobs, representing 61% of its workforce, according to the International Labor Organization. With the enclave’s unemployment rate one of the highest in the world at over 40% even prior to last month, this has left nearly the entire Gazan population without work.
  • “Gaza’s economy is 100% dependent on two sources of revenue: foreign aid and access to Israel’s labor market. The latter is now gone, probably forever. The only thing remaining is foreign aid,” Marko Papic, chief strategist at Clocktower Group, told CNBC.

According to the United Nations, before October 7, 80% of Gazans relied on international aid for their livelihood and were deemed food insecure.

The ongoing escalation has already left nearly 15,000 Palestinians dead and some 1.5 million people displaced – the majority of Gaza’s population.

  • While Gaza’s economy was close to stagnant for the past 15 years, ever since Israel imposed an air, land and sea blockade on the enclave after Hamas gained power, “Gaza’s economy ceased to function… and will continue to be so indefinitely,” according to the Palestine Economic Policy Research Institute.

Experts warn that Palestine will only be able to revive the enclave’s economy with outside help.

  • “Ultimately, some form of a deal to end the conflict will have to be put in place. But that deal is likely to have to see Gulf Arab monarchies and Saudi Arabia footing much of the bill for the viability of Gaza in the future,” Papic stated.

Source: RT

IDF raided Al-Shifa hospital despite uncovering Hamas HQ miles away – media

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) raided Gaza’s Al-Shifa hospital complex, insisting Hamas was using the healthcare facility as its “terror headquarters,” despite having uncovered the militant group’s actual headquarters just days earlier, Consortium News reported on Thursday.

  • The outlet’s report cited a Jerusalem Post story published ahead of the controversial raid detailing how the IDF had discovered Hamas’ underground high command center – five miles (8.5km) away from the hospital. The IDF nevertheless went ahead with the assault on Al-Shifa, continuing to insist that the complex hid Hamas’ central base of operations without mentioning the discovery it had made days before.

The actual Hamas “pit” headquarters was reportedly accessible via an unusually deep (30 meters, or 98 feet) elevator shaft opening into an underground cavern outfitted with oxygen, air conditioning, and advanced communications technology, which bore signs of recent use by the group’s Gaza chief Yahya Sinwar and military chief Mohammed Deif, the IDF told the Post.

  • While the IDF pointed to an underground dormitory-style room and a handful of guns and grenades supposedly found during the raid on Al-Shifa as proof of a Hamas “bunker” inside the complex, reporters given tours of the findings pointed out that the weapons could have been brought in by anyone.

The BBC also found the IDF’s supposedly unedited clip of the discovery had at least one edit.

The IDF subsequently unpublished the video of a lengthy presentation spokesman Daniel Hagari had delivered on October 27 that had laid out a 3D rendering of Hamas’ alleged command-and-control center inside the Al-Shifa complex from its website. The supposed sprawling operations center was said to encompass five separate buildings and tunnels connecting them all with various other assets.

Failure to uncover such a structure has led news outlets like the Associated Press and The Guardian to question the claims that served as the basis for the raid on the hospital, a protected site under international humanitarian law.

Israel has been accused of misrepresenting water reservoirs and elevator shafts inside Al-Shifa and other hospitals as “Hamas tunnels” in what critics say is an effort to justify what would otherwise be illegal airstrikes.

  • A video purporting to show a Palestinian nurse complaining Hamas was “taking over” Al-Shifa was also exposed as fake, with the “nurse” identified as an Israeli actress.

While Washington initially backed the IDF’s claims that Hamas was using Al-Shifa as a command center, US officials began referring to the hospital as a “command node” instead even before the raid, suggesting an awareness that the militant group’s nerve center was elsewhere.

Hamas and the doctors employed at Al-Shifa have always denied the hospital was used for military purposes.

Source: RT

The green scam: How electric vehicles harm the environment that they’re supposed to save

Five Indian cities, including the capital, New Delhi, consistently rank in the world’s top ten worst air-polluted cities. Vehicular emissions are significant contributors; Delhi alone has around four million cars – no wonder the government of India is promoting electric vehicles (EVs) on a large scale.

While India’s target is a 30% market share of EVs by 2030, the share is currently only 1.1%.

Moreover, concerns exist about whether EVs are a green option if pollution is transferred from the cities to the countryside.

Around 27.4 million EVs were running on Indian roads as of July 2023, according to the ‘Vahan4’ portal of the Ministry of Road, Transport, and Highways. To achieve its goal of net zero by 2070 to cut down greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, India is expanding its EV market. The hope in New Delhi, for example, is that a rise in the number of green-number plate vehicles will herald a day when its air will become breathable again.

  • However, India’s EVs depend on just the 8,738 Public Charging Stations (PCS) that are operational as of June 2023, as per the Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE), Ministry of Power data.
  • The number of PCS needs to increase to a minimum of 1.32 million, states the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) on ‘Charging Infrastructure for Electric Vehicles,’ to support the 30% market share target.

But will EVs really be emission-free?

For an EV to achieve maximum environmental benefit, the electricity used for charging must be generated from green or renewable sources.

However, much of India’s electricity is still dependent on coal-based thermal power plants, and the government is on a spree to auction more mines and make non-operational mines functional again.

  • India’s total thermal installed capacity is 238.1 Gigawatts, and over 48.67% of thermal power (around 116 GW) is obtained from coal, and electricity demand is increasing by 4.7% annually. As per the National Electricity Plan (2022-32), the projected peak electricity demand for 2026-27 will be 277.2 GW, and for 2031-32, it will be 366.4 GW.

Despite efforts to generate electricity from renewable sources, according to NEP 2022-23, much of India’s electricity will still be derived from thermal plants running on coal by the early 2030s.

  • The share of coal-based capacity in the total installed capacity for the year 2026-27 is likely to be 38.57% and 28.83% for the year 2031-32, which will be around 107 GW and 106 GW respectively, by 2026-27 and 2031-32 – little difference from the present scenario.

“All projections including those of IEA (International Energy Agency), anticipate that coal-based generation is likely to peak around the early 2030s following which the generation will fall and the generation from non-fossil-based sources will increase,” Swati D’Souza, an independent energy expert and former energy analyst with the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis told RT.

The ‘Transitioning India’s Road Transport Sector: Realising Climate and Air Quality Benefits’ report by the IEA, in collaboration with NITI Aayog, says that the transport sector contributes to 12% of the total GHG emissions in India.

  • But as India seeks to satisfy the mobility needs of its growing, urbanizing, and rapidly developing population, energy demand and CO₂ emissions from the sector could double by 2050.
  • A billion tonnes within a decade

NEP projections indicate a substantial demand for coal, with an estimated 831.5 million tonnes in 2026-27 and 1018.2 million tonnes in 2031-32. Power plants relying on coal will likely import approximately 40 million tonnes to meet the growing demand.

But, V K Shrivastava, a former advisor for petroleum refineries, petrochemicals, and energy at BEE, told RT that the central government is launching several schemes and incentives to encourage the use of green energy for charging stations, which would go a long way in making EVs emissions-free, even indirectly.

He emphasized open access to renewable energy, a way of procuring green energy from renewable sources through the power grid; consumers choose their preferred source and pay only for what they consume without owning or operating a generation plant.

  • “The open access route 2022 is a noteworthy incentive for power distribution companies (DISCOMS) as it provides a 20% rebate on electricity prices when they provide green power to charging points in public spaces during the daytime. Additionally, the Open Access Transaction limit has been reduced from one MW to 100 kW to enable small consumers to purchase renewable power through open access,” he says.

Will EVs just offset GHG emissions from urban to rural India?

Concerns regarding the rise in rural pollution lead to the question of whether the adoption of EVs will offset urban pollution in rural areas as the demand for coal-based electricity increases.

  • Dr. Jayanarayanan Kuttippurath, a professor at the Indian Institute of Technology – Kharagpur (IIT-K), told RT that agricultural waste-burning, road transport, thermal power plants, refineries, and the steel industry contribute about 45% to the total nitrogen dioxide (NO₂) emissions in rural India. In contrast, thermal power plants are a significant source of CO₂ emissions.
  • “NO₂ pollution has been increasing in rural areas for the last 20 years,” says Kuttippurath, the author of ‘Air quality trends in rural India: analysis of NO2 pollution using satellite measurements’. “It is also important to note that while the adoption of EVs might lead to reduced CO₂ emissions in metropolitan areas, this reduction may be counterbalanced by an increase in the mining activities or emissions from thermal power plants.”
  • A report’ Decarbonising Transport: What Does It Mean for India?’ released by the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) in March 2023, states that according to the Fuel Institute, a think tank in Europe, 73% of the emissions from Internal Combustion Engines (ICE) vehicles are released due to vehicle operations while for EVs, 72% of the emissions originate from the fuel burnt to produce electricity which charges the EV battery.

In December 2022, the CO2 baseline database for the Indian power sector, released by the Central Electricity Authority, showed that around 0.968 metric tons of CO₂ emissions are released for the generation of one megawatt-hour (MWh) of electricity by thermal power plants running on fossil fuels in India, which are majorly located in rural areas of the country.

Optimism on renewables

But D’Souza is hopeful that with the rise in renewable energy, India may not see a surge in coal-based power generation beyond what has already been planned.

  • “I’m not sure about the potential increase because a large many coal mines are actually shutting down in this decade, so we may not see a surge in coal-based power generation, and pollution in rural areas can be mitigated. But a lot needs to be done to mitigate existing pollution,” she says.

Randheer Singh, ex-director of NITI Aayog and currently the CEO of ForeSee Advisors, echoes D’Souza’s views. He told RT that the Power Ministry has taken several steps for grid modernization while the capacity of renewable power generation has increased multifold in the last five years.

“With the introduction of the hydrogen mission and the green energy obligation, many emission factors are countered. However, more needs to be done, including introducing stringent emission standards and rural electrification through renewables,” Singh told RT.

Another problem is the load-shedding in most cities and electrified villages. As per NEP September 2022, the peak power deficit in India during 2021-22 was just 1.2 %, but an increase in demand for electricity for charging stations and the consequential deficit in supply might become bigger problems.

  • “If we look at projections, by 2030 we can see the share of EVs which are likely to increase are mostly two and three-wheelers which can be charged at home. The PCS comes into play when we think of four-wheeler electric vehicles. So whatever anticipated surge in electricity demand around that time has been taken into account and will not lead to a power deficit,” adds D’Souza.

Environmental impact of Lithium mining in India

In 2021, the Ministry of Heavy Industries launched the Production Linked Incentive (PLI) Scheme, with an allocated budget of INR 259,380 million ($3.1 billion) for the Automobile and Auto component industry, to encourage and enhance the domestic manufacturing of Advanced Automotive Technology products including EVs and their components.

  • However, 70% of India’s lithium-ion cell requirements for EVs are imported from China and Hong Kong, a roadblock in delivering domestically- manufactured, cost-efficient EVs.
  • In February 2023, lithium deposits were discovered in Jammu & Kashmir. Initial estimates by the Geological Survey of India (GSI) suggest a reserve of 5.9 billion tonnes of lithium, positioning India as a potential lithium producer. It may reduce its dependence on other countries for EV batteries.

The central government plans to auction the newly discovered mining blocks by December. However, the mining process will be complex and resource-intensive as the J&K blocks are in the form of hard rocks, unlike the brine found in South America, which will need more water and electricity. Additionally, mining in the region’s fragile ecosystem will have a major environmental impact on its biodiversity and natural resources.

D’Souza says that in India, though there are laws against environmental pollution from mining activities, they face challenges in implementation, and there is a growing concern about the potential weakening of these laws, as observed in the case of the Environment Protection Act this year.

  • “The development and production from lithium mines will take at least ten years, so the government has time to reinforce environmental protection laws associated with mining activities to address the environmental challenges posed by lithium extraction in J&K,” she says.

Shrivastav opines that while the mining of lithium will have an impact on the ecosystem, it will be far less than that of coal mines. The recycling of batteries, now a global trend, might provide respite.

  • “The lifespan of an EV battery, about 8-9 years, extends to 20 years through reuse. After reaching a charging capacity of less than 40%, these batteries, deemed unfit for EVs, remain suitable for powering communication towers and instrumentation circuits,” he says.

source: Shuchita Jha – RT

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