Zimbabwe's Mugabe praises Trump's 'America First' policy

HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) — U.S. President Donald Trump’s “America First” policy has an admirer in Zimbabwe’s longtime president, who says the policy resonates with his own thinking.

President Robert Mugabe, who turned 93 on Tuesday and is the world’s oldest head of state, spoke in a birthday interview with state-run media.

“When it comes to Donald Trump, on the one hand talking of American nationalism, well, America for America, America for Americans — on that we agree. Zimbabwe for Zimbabweans,” he said.

Mugabe has previously defended Trump, even saying he didn’t want Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton to win last year’s election. He also said he hoped Trump’s administration would remove sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe more than a decade ago over alleged human rights abuses and electoral irregularities.

But Mugabe questioned Trump’s plan to build a wall on the Mexican border. “It appears quite nasty. I don’t know how the Mexicans will take it. I thought the Americans once loved Mexico,” he said. “I don’t know. Give him time. He might come up with better policies.”

A large birthday celebration is scheduled for Saturday in tribute to Mugabe, who has ruled since independence from white minority rule in 1980 and vows to stand again in elections next year.

In the interview with state media, Mugabe also described his wife Grace, an increasingly political figure, as “fireworks” because of her feisty remarks in his defense.

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The 51-year-old first lady has hotly defended her husband against critics who say it is time for him to step down, declaring last week that the ruling party should field him as a corpse if he dies before the election.

“Fireworks, isn’t it?” the president said of her remarks, laughing.

Grace Mugabe’s political rise has been a source of consternation for opposition figures as well as some officials within the ruling ZANU-PF party who suspect she is positioning herself for a more powerful role in the government.

The president described her as “very much accepted by the people” and said the women’s wing of the ruling party had chosen his wife as its head because of her political ambitions.

He described her as “well-seasoned” and “a very strong character.”

Mugabe also repeated his pledge to stand in 2018 elections despite calls from some Zimbabweans for him to quit amid economic turmoil in the once-prosperous country. The president said he was still popular and nobody is qualified to replace him.

“The volume of wishes for the president to stand, the number of people who will be disappointed is galore and I don’t want to disappoint them,” he said.

During the interview, Mugabe often gestured to emphasize points. He spoke slowly and was slumped into a leather armchair most of the time.

Source Article from https://www.yahoo.com/news/zimbabwes-mugabe-turns-93-says-stand-2018-polls-081335728.html

Re: If Netanyahu rejects peace, what does he really want?

Despite Benjamin Netanyahu’s claim during that shallow press conference with Donald Trump that he wants to focus on “substance” not “labels”, we now know that he actually rejected a peace deal (and what can be more substantial than that?) put forward by ex-Secretary of State John Kerry last year. This is not the first time that an Israeli prime minister has spurned offers which would put an end to the violence inflicted by Israel on the Palestinians living under its brutal military occupation.

The Palestinian Islamic Resistance Movement — Hamas — has offered a long-term truce (a “hudna”) on a number of occasions; that would be peace by any other name. The intention behind the offers was, it is believed, to allow the current generations to move on with all the political baggage that they have, while allowing the younger generation to interact more openly, get to know each other and, hopefully, be in a better position to reach a peaceful agreement in the decades to come. Israel rejected the offers out of hand.

So what do Netanyahu and his far-right clique at the helm in Israel actually want? Although ardent Zionists, they seem to have developed their own vision of the future which rejects the thoughts of Zionism’s founding father, Theodor Herzl — whose “Jewish State” wasn’t to be one free of non-Jews —as well as, arguably, the founder of “Revisionist Zionism”, Ze’ev Jabotinsky.

Although Netanyahu himself was born in Tel Aviv after the creation of the state of Israel in historic Palestine, his father was born in Warsaw as Benzion Mileikowsky, and became a follower of Revisionist Zionism; he was Jabotinsky’s personal secretary for a time. The current prime minister of the Zionist state was, therefore, raised in a home which followed an ideology “known more for its advocacy of [a] more belligerent, assertive posture” and violence against both the British Mandate authorities and indigenous Palestinians.

Netanyahu’s father was a supporter of “Greater Israel”, which has a number of definitions. For Jabotinsky and his acolytes, the state of Israel was to be built upon all of British Mandate Palestine and what is now the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. This explains, perhaps, why Netanyahu Junior is so keen on Israel’s illegal settlements across the occupied West Bank; annexation is definitely on his mind. All that is holding his government back, perhaps, is the knowledge that annexing all of the West Bank will bring with it a large Palestinian population who will have to be given full Israeli citizenship, or else Israel will become a de facto apartheid state. Although this will carry with it a whole swathe of opprobrium, with Trump in the White House, Netanyahu and his cronies may well feel empowered enough to weather the inevitable storm with the sort of audacity that would embarrass chutzpah itself.

Annexation is, therefore, a distinct possibility. What, though, would the Israelis do about the Palestinians who make up one-fifth of their citizens and those in the West Bank? Like Herzl, Jabotinsky apparently had no problem about there being non-Jews in the state of Israel; on occasions, though, he seems to have backed their “transfer”, the Zionist euphemism for ethnic cleansing. “Silent transfer” is the term which best describes what we see happening today; Israel is making life as miserable as possible for the Palestinians in the hope that they will pack up and leave voluntarily. The withdrawal of residence permits for people born and brought up in Jerusalem is just one example of how Israel is slowly excluding and expelling the Palestinians from their own land.

In 1967, when Israel took control of the West Bank and Gaza Strip during the Six Day War, it also went as far as the Suez Canal, occupying the whole of the Sinai Peninsula. This was handed back as part of the peace treaty with Egypt. Today, we hear talk of Netanyahu suggesting to Israel’s great friend in Cairo, President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi, that a Palestinian state be established in Sinai. This is not a new idea. It was detailed by Jonathan Cook in September 2014: “This month Israeli media reported claims — apparently leaked by Israeli officials — that Egypt’s president, Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi, had offered the Palestinian leadership the chance to annex to Gaza an area of 1,600 sq km in Sinai. The donated territory would expand Gaza fivefold.” Interestingly, Cook added that, “The scheme is said to have received the blessing of the United States.”

The Sinai Peninsula at its northern end is a source of deadly irritation to Al-Sisi, with allegedly Daesh-linked terrorists attacking the policy and army. Let’s play “what if” for a moment: what if the Palestinians accepted the offer of additional land for Gaza; what if rockets still find their way across into Israel, and Israel does what it does best and invades the territory yet again, maybe driving Palestinians deeper into Sinai in the process. Israel would, in effect, have reoccupied the now expanded Gaza Strip and part of Sinai; imagine that it then pushed a bit further in order to establish a “buffer zone” for bogus security reasons, occupying even more of the Sinai Peninsula.

Then imagine that Israel succeeds in pushing even more Palestinians out of the West Bank into Jordan and annexes the whole territory. The border could then be the River Jordan — with Israel having security control over the entire area to the west of it — but, as is it’s wont, Israel would establish another buffer zone on the other side of the border inside Jordan itself. Its nominal border would thus have been pushed east as well as south and south-west.

Then, for good measure, it might head back into Lebanon to the Litani River, creating yet another buffer zone. Hezbollah would try to prevent this, of course, but Israel would be on a roll, and pressure from the West — playing the nuclear deal vs sanctions card — would possibly ensure that the Shia group‘s main sponsor, Iran, would toe the line and let things stand.

“Greater Israel”, more or less, would thus become a reality. That is some “what if” scenario, but given Israel’s track record of territorial expansion — from “national home” in 1917 to UN 1947 Partition Plan state to 1949 Armistice Line to 1967 occupation of the West Bank, Gaza, Sinai and Golan Heights to ongoing colonial settlements — it is not beyond the bounds of possibility.

Whether we accept the Biblical definition of the Land of Israel (as even atheist Zionists do) or the political definitions of Greater Israel, the fact is that the Zionist state has never declared its borders and probably never will. Like greedy entities all over the world, Israel’s greed for ever more land appears to be insatiable; the more it has, the more it wants.

Would such a scenario ever lead to “peace”? Unlikely. Benjamin Netanyahu knows that his military industrial complex needs “The Lab” that is the Gaza Strip to field test new munitions and weapons on live targets. He also knows that he has to be able to cry wolf at every opportunity and get his donors in Western governments rushing to their treasuries to send billions of dollars in Israel’s direction every year. In short, Netanyahu and his government know full well that conflict is essential for their Zionist vision of territorial expansion — we used to call it colonialism, the taboo c-word in international diplomacy — to be fulfilled.

If the Israeli prime minister rejects peace — which he does — do we know what he really wants? It might not be too difficult to work that one out for ourselves.



Source Article from https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20170221-if-netanyahu-rejects-peace-what-does-he-really-want/#comment-3168817501

Re: Saudi Arabia reaffirms support for resolving Israeli-Palestinian conflict

Israel must withdraw from the Palestinian territories to reach a successful peace deal between Israelis and Palestinians, Saudi foreign minister Adel Al-Jubeir has said.

Speaking in an interview with Sueddeutsche Zeitung German newspaper, on the side-lines of the Munich Security Conference, Al-Jubeir has affirmed that a settlement for the Israel-Palestinian conflict could be reached, if Israel agreed to pull out from the Palestinian territories of West Bank and East Jerusalem, which were captured by Israel in the 1967 Middle East war and where some 2.6 million Palestinians live.

“The Arab Peace Initiative calls for a settlement based on two states living side by side in peace and security, Palestinian state within the 67 borders with minor mutually agreed to adjustments to the territory.” the minister said as quoted by the Saudi Foreign Ministry website. He added: “(A) Palestinian state with east Jerusalem as its capital, the just settlement of the refugees and ..this was the settlement that we believe is fair and just settlement.”

The foreign minister praised the US President Donald Trump’s endorsement to the two-state solution, a statement which he declared last week in a meeting with the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Washington.

Al-Jubeir noted that the sing-state solution “would never work”.



Source Article from https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20170222-saudi-arabia-reaffirms-support-for-resolving-israeli-palestinian-conflict/#comment-3168814893

Re: Israeli soldier gets 18 months for Hebron shooting of wounded Palestinian

An Israeli soldier who was found guilty of manslaughter for the execution-style shooting of an unarmed Palestinian who lay injured on the floor has been sentenced to 18 months in jail.

Twenty-year-old Elor Azarya was filmed as he shot Abdul-Fattah Al-Sharif at point-blank range after the Palestinian had already been shot and severely wounded in March 2016, In addition to the jail term handed to him; he was given a year’s probation and demoted.

Azarya’s defence team said it would appeal the ruling within the next 15 days, saying it had a “good chance” and “nothing to lose”, Israeli media reported.

Read: Israeli soldier guilty of manslaughter after shooting motionless Palestinian

The soldier was quoted as saying, moment before pulling the trigger: “This dog is still alive” and “This terrorist deserves to die”.

Leading up to the announcement of the sentence, the panel of three judges weighed the “complexity” and “competing values” of the case; while they agreed that Azarya acted with the intent to kill and not because he felt threatened, a two-judge majority believed the “unique post-terror attack” atmosphere should work heavily in his favour. Al-Sharif is said to have attempted to carry out a stabbing attack on Israeli soldiers before being shot and injured.

Judges called for leniency due to the fact that it was Azarya’s first time in a “terror situation”, and also noted the alleged mismanagement of the scene by Israeli commanders at the scene, who later went on to give harsh testimonies against the young soldier.

Read: Elor Azaria and the Israeli army: One conviction doesn’t change systematic impunity

The judges said that the prosecution had successfully argued that Azarya had failed to show regret throughout the trial, while Azarya also violated the so-called purity of arms value enshrined in the Israeli army’s code of ethics.

They also said that the months Azarya has spent in open detention on an Israeli military base would not be deducted from his sentence, but would be taken into account “on some level”.



Source Article from https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20170221-israeli-soldier-gets-18-months-for-hebron-shooting-of-wounded-palestinian/#comment-3168798241

Re: Petition: UK government should ‘apologise’ to Palestinians for Balfour Declaration

The Balfour Apology Campaign (BAC) has launched a petition which calls on the British government to apologise for the Balfour Declaration that lead to the colonisation of Palestine that continues to this day. BAC also called on the British government to lead peace efforts in Palestine.

The campaign, which was initiated by the UK-based Palestinian Return Centre (PRC), an organisation that supports the return of the Palestinian diaspora to their national homeland, urged Westminster to acknowledge responsibility for its colonial crimes in Palestine following the infamous declaration.

The Balfour Declaration, issued by the British Government in 1917 by Lord Arthur Balfour, resulted in the mass displacement of the Palestinian people and a century of suffering.

According to experts, the Balfour Declaration had no legal authority. It was described by jurist Henry Cattan as “legally void, morally wicked and politically mischievous”.

Read: Inviting Netanyahu to celebrate Balfour in London ‘a new slap for Palestinians’

The BAC invited the British public to sign their petition to force the government to take action and acknowledge its historic responsibility towards the Palestinian people, after playing such a pivotal role in their displacement.

In a statement released on Thursday, the BAC said: “We call on Her Majesty’s Government to openly apologise to the Palestinian people for issuing the Balfour Declaration. The colonial policy of Britain between 1917-1948 led to mass displacement of the Palestinian nation.”

The BAC continued by saying that “HMG should recognise its role during the [League of Nations] Mandate and now must lead attempts to reach a solution that ensures justice for the Palestinian people.”

According to the statement, the campaign aims to impact all sections of society through working with politicians, MPs, media, NGOs, Charities, students and members of the public to raise awareness of Britain’s colonial past and its role in creating the longest standing conflict in modern times.

Opinion: When Israel and Britain celebrate the historical trauma of Palestinians

“No document in Middle Eastern history has had as much influence as the Balfour Declaration on the current plight of the Palestinian people,” the BAC said. “The Balfour Declaration, a 67-word statement is contained in the short letter by the British Foreign Secretary, Lord Arthur Balfour to Lord Rothschild, a leading English Jew, on November 2, 1917.”

The Balfour Declaration “[viewed] with favour” the establishment of a national home for the Jewish people in Palestine, without the consent of the inhabitants of the country, the Palestinian Arabs, who were the majority. In 1917, at the time of the declaration, Palestinians constituted over 90 per cent of the total population.



Source Article from https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20170218-petition-uk-government-should-apologise-to-palestinians-for-balfour-declaration/#comment-3168796154

Re: Israeli soldier gets 18 months for Hebron shooting of wounded Palestinian

An Israeli soldier who was found guilty of manslaughter for the execution-style shooting of an unarmed Palestinian who lay injured on the floor has been sentenced to 18 months in jail.

Twenty-year-old Elor Azarya was filmed as he shot Abdul-Fattah Al-Sharif at point-blank range after the Palestinian had already been shot and severely wounded in March 2016, In addition to the jail term handed to him; he was given a year’s probation and demoted.

Azarya’s defence team said it would appeal the ruling within the next 15 days, saying it had a “good chance” and “nothing to lose”, Israeli media reported.

Read: Israeli soldier guilty of manslaughter after shooting motionless Palestinian

The soldier was quoted as saying, moment before pulling the trigger: “This dog is still alive” and “This terrorist deserves to die”.

Leading up to the announcement of the sentence, the panel of three judges weighed the “complexity” and “competing values” of the case; while they agreed that Azarya acted with the intent to kill and not because he felt threatened, a two-judge majority believed the “unique post-terror attack” atmosphere should work heavily in his favour. Al-Sharif is said to have attempted to carry out a stabbing attack on Israeli soldiers before being shot and injured.

Judges called for leniency due to the fact that it was Azarya’s first time in a “terror situation”, and also noted the alleged mismanagement of the scene by Israeli commanders at the scene, who later went on to give harsh testimonies against the young soldier.

Read: Elor Azaria and the Israeli army: One conviction doesn’t change systematic impunity

The judges said that the prosecution had successfully argued that Azarya had failed to show regret throughout the trial, while Azarya also violated the so-called purity of arms value enshrined in the Israeli army’s code of ethics.

They also said that the months Azarya has spent in open detention on an Israeli military base would not be deducted from his sentence, but would be taken into account “on some level”.



Source Article from https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20170221-israeli-soldier-gets-18-months-for-hebron-shooting-of-wounded-palestinian/#comment-3168760001

Russia’s not our enemy. It’s the Jews, stupid!

Dr. Patrick Slattery fills in on The Alternative Media on RBN with guests Attorney Don Advo and Professor Richard Sloan. They discuss the struggle between President Trump and the lying media. The media is trying to set up President Trump for impeachment before he can repair relations with Russia and restore an America First foreign policy.

 

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Source Article from http://davidduke.com/russias-not-our-enemy-its-the-jews-stupid/

Oil prices will surge to $70 per barrel by year-end – Citi

However, the increase will come gradually, and a surge is to be expected a few months later, said Citi.

“Oil prices are not likely to stray far from their current $53-58 per barrel range in the near term as record investor net length and bearish inventory data will likely cap prices until more tangible evidence of a tighter market emerges,” Citi’s analysts wrote.

On Wednesday, crude prices were slightly down after the rally on Tuesday with Brent trading at $56.50 per barrel and WTI trading at $54.26.

Citi expects to see a positive result from an OPEC production cut, which reported 93 percent compliance in January. The bank added that heavy refinery maintenance in Asia planned for the spring is also a decisive factor for oil prices.

Another US bank – Goldman Sachs – expects oil inventories to keep falling globally. While stocks are likely to rise in the US, production cuts and strong growth in demand will be more significant, the bank said.

“We do not view the recent US builds as derailing our forecast for a gradual draw in inventories, with in fact the rest of the world already showing signs of tightness. Given our unchanged 1.5 million barrels per day growth forecast for 2017, this higher base demand level should fully offset higher US output,” Goldman said in a note.

“While the production cuts have so far reached a historically high level of compliance at 90 percent [93 percent, according to OPEC], the rebound in US drilling activity has exceeded even our above consensus expectations,” the bank added.

However, the bank warned the data indicates a further improvement in shale productivity and investment in the industry rather than a significant price rise.

Source Article from https://www.rt.com/business/378223-oil-prices-surge-citi/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=RSS

Supreme Court vacates sentence of activist jailed over repeated violations of rally rules

The court also ordered a halt to all proceedings in Dadin’s criminal case, to release him from the penal colony and recognize his right for full rehabilitation.

Details to follow.

Source Article from https://www.rt.com/politics/378220-supreme-court-vacates-sentence-to/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=RSS

Kiev’s military op in E. Ukraine ‘crime against own people’ – ex-Ukrainian President Yanukovich

The smoldering military conflict in eastern Ukraine has been propelled back into the headlines, with a new spike in violence in early February. 

The escalation highlighted the fragile nature of the ceasefire and the need for the full implementation of the Minsk agreements, the key condition on the way to a peaceful settlement, which was reconfirmed in the recent Normandy format meeting.

In an interview with Russian and Ukrainian media on Tuesday, former Ukrainian President Victor Yanukovich, now living in southern Russia, argued that the military suppression of unrest in the Donetsk and Lugansk regions was an inherently flawed and ill-conceived decision by Kiev.

The bloodshed in eastern Ukraine might have been averted if the authorities in Kiev made an attempt to find common ground with people in Donetsk and Lugansk, Yanukovich said, adding that the decision to launch their so-called ‘anti-terrorist operation’ against the rebels amounted to a declaration of war against the people.

Of course, everyone who took part in this decision must be held responsible. This is a crime against their own people,” the former Ukrainian leader said.

“The current authorities did not make a single attempt to talk to the people, who were against the coup,” he argued, adding that Kiev should have found a way towards a peaceful resolution of the conflict at that stage.

“Any blockade of the Donbass region is not in the interests of Ukraine… if they do not need Donbass, they should say it openly, but if they do, then start negotiations with these people, why torment them?” he said.

Instead, the Ukrainian government “divided the country into winners and losers,” further alienating the eastern regions, Yanukovich pointed out, arguing that the authorities stop at nothing, including terror.

The government actuality believes in its impunity… it has lost the fear of the people,” he said, listing “killing journalists, shutting down various information agencies, silencing dissidents” among the various “draconian methods” the government has resorted to in order to assert itself.

In 2016, the UN human rights watchdog, the OHCHR, released a report accusing both sides of the conflict in Ukraine of multiple human rights violations, including torture, intimidation, illegal detention, and executions. The report also shed light on a government-run torture program and clandestine detention centers.

READ MORE: Those behind recent violence in Ukraine don’t want US-Russian relations to improve – Churkin to RT

Source Article from https://www.rt.com/news/378211-yanukovich-interview-crime-ukraine/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=RSS