Israel to Punish Groups Supporting BDS
by Stephen Lendman (stephenlendman.org – Home – Stephen Lendman)
“The Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement works to end international support for Israel’s oppression of Palestinians and pressure Israel to comply with international law” – the movement states on its website.
The most effective way to counter Israeli state terror on Palestinians and neighboring countries is through boycotts, divestments and sanctions – inflicting economic and political harm.
The BDS movement allied with a global initiative in solidarity with Ahed Tamimi. On the first day of her kangaroo court military trial, it said “over 10 million Indian women (from the country’s women’s movement) demand” she be freed, along with all other Palestinian children illegally imprisoned.
They endorsed BDS as the most effective form of solidarity with her and all other Israeli political prisoners.
BDS was inspired by the South African anti-apartheid movement and US civil rights activism under Martin Luther King, Malcolm X and others, along with India’s movement for independence from UK colonial rule.
According to Haaretz, Israeli finance minister Moshe Kahlon intends approving “new regulations to prevent organizations and individuals who support a boycott of Israel from receiving various tax breaks or from participating in government bids” – including Israeli citizens.
A blacklist of groups and individuals will be compiled, targeted ones to be summoned for a hearing before action is taken against them.
In March 2017, legislation banning foreign nationals and Palestinian BDS supporters from entering Israel was enacted. It violates the fundamental right of free expression and views on any issue.
The measure states “(n)o visa and residency permit of any type will be given to a person who is not an Israeli citizen or does not have a permit for permanent residency in the State of Israel if he, (or) the organization or entity for which he works, has knowingly issued a public call to impose a boycott on the State of Israel, as defined in the Preventing Harm to the State of Israel through Boycott Law…or has committed to participate in such a boycott.”
A 2011 anti-boycott law infringed on the right of Israelis to speak freely on any issue without fear of recrimination.
At the time, the Global BDS Movement and Coalition for Women for Peace called the bill: “one of the most dangerous anti-democratic laws promoted in this current Knesset.”
“Boycott is a nonviolent, legal and legitimate means to promote social and political aims that is protected in civil rights of freedom of expression, opinion and assembly. The bill constitutes a fatal blow to all these civil rights.”
According to Israeli officials, an amendment to the Boycott Prevention Law is coming – to allow filing civil lawsuits against BDS activists and groups.
Israel wants its high crimes suppressed. It wants anyone exposing them punished.
Its impunity is aided by support from corrupt regimes, notably Washington.
Grassroots activism is the most effective way to one day end its ruthless colonization, occupation and apartheid.
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The so-called People’s Protection Units, or Y.P.G., are simply the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party terrorist organization by another name, writes Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu.
The United States is bound to the Middle East by interests, but Turkey shares about 800 miles of border with Syria and Iraq. In this geography and beyond, Turkey and the United States share the goal of defeating terrorist organizations that threaten our nations. Daesh (or the so-called Islamic State) has been our common enemy, and the victory against the group could not have been possible without Turkey’s active contributions.
Those contributions continue even though the group has been defeated militarily in both Iraq and Syria. The Turkish military was crucial in the liberation of the northern Syrian city of Jarabulus from Daesh in 2016. Turkey detained more than 10,000 members of Daesh and al-Qaeda affiliates, and deported about 5,800 terrorists while denying entry to more than 4,000 suspicious travelers.
Daesh has lost territorial control in Syria and Iraq, but it still retains the capacity to inflict horrors. Turkish authorities recently carried out operations against Daesh cells and damaged its efforts to reorganize.
U.S. officials have told us that the United States wants to remain engaged and needs boots on the ground in Syria to prevent the remnants of Daesh from regrouping, but fighting Daesh cannot and should not mean we won’t fight other terrorist groups which threaten our country and the security of our citizens.
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An impasse has been created between us by the United States’ choice of local partner in this war: a group the U.S. government recognizes as a terrorist organization. The so-called People’s Protection Units, or Y.P.G., are simply the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party terrorist organization by another name.
The groups have adopted different names and developed convoluted structures, but that doesn’t cloak their reality. They are led by the same cadres, train in the same camps, share organizational and military structures, and use the same propaganda tools and financial resources. The Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or P.K.K., directs the Y.P.G., and the P.K.K. suicide bombers are trained in Y.P.G. camps in Syria.
To our dismay, the Y.P.G./P.K.K. terrorists across our borders in Iraq and Syria are using weapons and training provided by the United States. The weapons confiscated by our security forces from P.K.K. terrorists have also been significantly increasing in both number and sophistication.
A NATO ally arming a terrorist organization that is attacking another NATO ally is a fundamental breach of everything NATO stands for. It is a policy anomaly that needs to be corrected.
We have no doubt the United States will note the damage this policy is inflicting on the credibility of the NATO alliance and correct said policy by putting its allies and long-term interests first again. U.S. reliance on the People’s Protection Units is a self-inflicted error when the United States already has a capable partner in Turkey.
Turkey, however, cannot afford to wait for eventual and inevitable course corrections. Paying lip service to understanding Turkey’s security concerns does not remove those threats and dangers.
In recent weeks, Turkish authorities have documented an increase in threats posed by the Y.P.G. and Daesh encampments in Syria. Terrorists in the Afrin region in Syria were menacing the lives and property of both the people of the region and Turks along the border. We had to act, and so Turkey has launched Operation Olive Branch against the terrorists in Afrin.
The operation has a clear objective: to ensure the security of our borders and neutralize the terrorists in Afrin. It is carried out on the basis of international law, in accordance with our right to self-defense. The targets are the terrorists, their shelters, their weapons and related infrastructure. The Turkish Army is acting with utmost precaution to avoid harming civilians.
We have already intensified our humanitarian efforts substantially, setting up camps to help the civilians fleeing Afrin. We are already hosting more than three million Syrians, and Turkish humanitarian agencies are helping those who need our support.
Turkey will continue the mission until terrorists are wiped out. Turkey will not consent to the creation of separatist enclaves or terrorist safehavens that threaten its national security and are against the will of the Syrian people.
Turkey has already been active in every political process that seeks a solution to the quagmire in Syria. Maintaining the territorial integrity of Syria is key to the peace efforts. Clearing terrorists means opening space for peace.
We strive for a future that is free of terrorist entities, imploding neighbors, wars and humanitarian calamities in our region. Turkey deserves the respect and support of the United States in this essential fight.
Mevlut Cavusoglu is Turkey’s Minister of Foreign Affairs.
A Palestinian primary school funded by European donors is under threat of imminent demolition by Israeli occupation authorities, according to a statement by aid agencies this morning.
A statement issued in the name of the Norwegian Refugee Council, Action Against Hunger and Save the Children said the Israeli Supreme Court has dismissed a petition to safeguard the school, which serves the Palestinian community of Al-Muntar in the occupied West Bank.
Al-Muntar, which is located in so-called “Area C” of the West Bank, close to occupied East Jerusalem, has “already suffered displacement and destruction of property in the past”, the statement says.
The threatened school is the “only one” serving the community, the NGOs say, with 33 pupils aged 5-11 currently attending, though “it was meant to be expanded to receive over 70 pupils this year”.
Israel’s Supreme Court, however, sitting as the High Court of Justice, has ruled that the school constitutes an illegitimate attempt “to create facts on the ground”. The school thus “risks being demolished from 1st February onwards, when an injunction protecting it from demolition expires”.
The Norwegian Refugee Council’s Country Director in Palestine, Kate O’Rourke, slammed the court’s claim that the school creates “facts on the ground”.
“In reality,” she stated, “these are being created by illegal settlements, not by Palestinian schools, which are needed to ensure Palestinian children’s fundamental right to education.”
Attacks on West Bank schools are one of many elements making up the coercive environment that pushes Palestinians off their land in order to make way for Israeli settlement expansion.
According to the aid groups, new figures “reveal there are 61 schools in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, that have pending demolition or stop work orders from the Israeli authorities”.
In 2016, meanwhile, “there were 256 education-related violations affecting 29,230 students across the Occupied Palestinian Territory”.
These included “threats of violence and harassment from Israeli settlers or soldiers on the journey to school, military activity in or around their schools, military or police arresting and detaining children from their classrooms, lost time due to the closure of a military area or firing zone, delays crossing checkpoints, threats of destruction and demolition of schools and stop work orders.”
The Country Director for Action Against Hunger, Gonzalo Codina, said: “The existing Palestinian schools are overstretched, and the Israeli authorities are not issuing the required building permits for Palestinian communities like the one at Al-Muntar. Now that a donor-funded school is again at risk of being demolished, we have to ask: Where can these children study safely?”
Meanwhile, Save the Children’s Country Director Jennifer Moorehead warned that “children’s fundamental right to education is under growing threat”.
“The school in Al-Muntar, a very remote and vulnerable community, has enabled children and especially girls to attend school for the first time. Now children as young as five face having their future demolished before their eyes.”
She added: “We urgently call on the international community to increase diplomatic pressure on the Israeli government to protect Palestinian children’s right to education and to prevent the demolition and seizure of school infrastructure.”
“All groups of Syrian society will be attending, all those concerned about Syria’s fate,” Aleksandr Lavrentiev said in an interview with RT. Nearly 1,600 delegates are expected to arrive in Sochi, where the Syrian National Dialogue Congress will take place January 29-30.
“Delegations have started to arrive,” Lavrentiev said. “Invitations have been sent out not only to the groups, ethnic and religious, but also individually,” the envoy added, referring to the Kurdish representatives.
Although the Saudi-Arabia based High Negotiations Committee (HNC), a group representing the opposition, refused to come to the congress, part of the group “has decided to participate on an individual basis,” Lavrentiev said. Still, “invitations are on the table,” the envoy emphasized. “Hopefully, common sense will prevail and [the HNC] will decide to arrive.”
It is also “a very good signal” that the UN, as well as the world powers, have agreed to send their delegates. Apart from the UN Security Council permanent members, including the US, the UK, France and China, regional actors have been invited. Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt and Saudi Arabia have confirmed their participation.
The sides will be discussing ways of political regulation in the war-torn Syria. “The delegates will have a voice on how they see reaching peace in the country,” Lavrentiev said. Another goal of the Sochi forum is “to select candidates for a commission to draft a constitution.”
The results will be given to the UN special envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura, for further implementation. De Mistura has already arrive in Sochi and will hold preliminary consultations with the Russian delegation, Lavrentiev said.
Despite Turkey’s military operation in northern Syria, the situation has been “stable,” Lavrentiev said. “There have been fewer provocative acts in the de-escalation zones in eastern Ghouta, Homs and Idlib,” he noted. “We hope the atmosphere at the congress will be positive and constructive.”
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The Russian Army Command in Syria is undertaking security measures for personnel present in Afrin, after the launch of the Turkish military operation against Kurdish forces.
The Russian Ministry of Defense stated that the Pentagon’s arms supplies to US-backed groups in Syria triggered Turkey’s military operation in Afrin and undermined the peace process.
“The main reasons that have contributed to the development of a critical situation in this part of Syria were the provocative US steps aimed at the separation of regions with a predominantly Kurdish population,” the statement said.
The Ministry added that the US has undermined the process of political settlement of the Syrian crisis and impeded the Geneva peace talks.
“Uncontrolled deliveries of modern weapons, including reportedly the deliveries of the man-portable air defense systems, by the Pentagon to the pro-US forces in northern Syria, have contributed to the rapid escalation of tensions in the region and resulted in the launch of a special operation by the Turkish troops.”
Russian Embassy in Turkey confirmed to Sputnik that the Turkish Foreign Ministry had summoned the Russian ambassador to inform him about the beginning of the military operation in Afrin.
“We can confirm the fact of summoning. We have received information from the Turkish foreign service for passing it on to the Russian authorities,” the embassy’s spokeswoman Irina Kasimova said.
In a statement, the Russian Ministry of Defense said that Russia was withdrawing its troops from Syria’s Afrin, target of the Turkish offensive.
“The command of the Russian group of troops in Syria has taken measures to ensure the security of Russian servicemen located in the district of Afrin, where the Turkish Armed Forces launched a special operation against the Kurdish armed groups,” the statement read.
The Russian Foreign Ministry stated on Saturday that Moscow was closely following the situation in Syria’s Afrin and was concerned by the news about the Turkish military engagement in the city.
“According to the incoming reports, on January 20, Turkey started using the units of its armed forces near Afrin in northwestern Syria. The Turkish General Staff has announced that the Turkish military shelled positions of the Syrian Kurds in response to provocative shelling by militants of the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party. Moscow has received this information with concern. We are closely monitoring the development of the situation,” the statement said.
Moscow has been calling on the warring parties to exercise restraint. The Ministry added that the Russian position was based on the need to safeguard Syria’s territorial integrity, respect for its sovereignty and the political settlement within the framework of the UN Security Council resolution, as well as the accords reached under the Astana process.
On January 20, Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan confirmed the beginning of the operation in Afrin.
“The Afrin operation has de-facto been started on the ground,” Erdogan said in a televised speech, adding that “this will be followed by Manbij,” referring to another Kurdish-controlled Syrian town.
Turkey has been threatening to launch an operation in Afrin since last week after the US announced it was going to start training a border security force composed of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), affiliated with the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), regarded as a terrorist group by Turkey.
For eleven years, military experts have been debating how to coordinate drones for a group attack against one target. We know that Iran and of course China, are already masters of this technique . It is probable that other States, including Israel, the United States and Russia and Canada, are also capable of applying it.
In the night of 6 January 2018, drones attacked the Russian naval bases in the Syrian port of Tartous and the Russian air base at Hmeimim. Three went for the marine base and 10 went for the air base.
These two attacks are completely unconnected to the attacks on the mortar on 31 December 2017. The latter left two dead and 10 injured at Hmeimim.
During the attack, which was carried out using un-identified drones, four U.S. Navy drones for observation followed the reactions of the Russian defense.
The group making the attack consisted of 13 drones. The Russian army bought down seven of them and took control of the other six, forcing them to land. Three of these were pulverized on landing and three others have been recovered intact.
Studying the drones captured has allowed us to establish the following: that these engines, which have a flight capacity of around 100 kilometres, were travelling at around 50 km/hr and their coordination by satellite was by analogous signals not digital signals. They were transporting shells of artisanal construction meant to destroy the ships in the harbour and the planes stationed at the air base.
So what we have here is very simple equipment, which has already been used on the battlefield, both in Iraq and Syria. The novelty flows from its coordinated use by satellite.
The Russian army is now continuing its investigations. A notable objective is to determine which satellite was used in this operation and which State owns it. According to the Russian daily newspaper Kommersant, the most likely hypothesis is that these drones were armed by the jihadist group Ahrar al-Sham.
Ahrar al-Sham was established by the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood before the war against Syria. It includes in its ranks several of Osama Bin Laden’s companions. Its “Foreign Minister”, Labib al-Nahhas, is one of the British MI6 officers. At the end of 2016, Ahrar al-Sham signed an agreement with Russia recognizing the “de-escalation zones”; an agreement which it has clearly not respected.
The spokesperson for the Pentagon, Adrian Rankin-Galloway, declared to RIA Novosti that the drones used to attack the Russian military installations in Syria were “easily accessible” on the market. However, the Russian Minister of Defence assured that these drones had been put together by specialists on Syrian soil and, in particular, that they had been coordinated by satellite.
Furthermore, the Pentagon acknowledged that it had used for the first time its Global Hawks reconnaissance drones on the boundary line of Donbass, on 1 and 7 January which is in fact the day after the two attacks against the Russian military installations in Syria.
This technology failed on the Syrian battlefield against the Russian army, which is equipped with the most powerful anti-air weapons in the world (Pantsir-S1) and the means of radio electronic war, capable of bringing Nato commands to a grinding halt. Yet in a different environment, this technology could conquer.
According to the Russian daily newspaper Izvestia, the Russian Defense Minister and the FSB are studying the creation of special units for fighting the drones. The Russian Armed Forces have already been equipped with a specialist unit in defending fixed targets, which could be attacked by the drones, or with the use of simple rockets, cruise missiles, systems of precision weapons, tactical planes and helicopters for attack.
So the technology and necessary means to coordinate an attack by a group of drones has been transferred to a terrorist group. This means that even if the Anglo Saxons preserve coordination via satellite, they nonetheless announce a radical change in the Security and Defence.
Source Article from http://www.voltairenet.org/article199339.html