Archive | December 9th, 2015

In Gaza, another farmer shot by a sniper for working his land

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Mohamed Abu Taima, 29, had to undergo two surgeries.

Khan Younis, Gaza strip, Occupied Palestine – A week ago Mohamed Abu Taima, 29 years-old and father of a small girl, was working his land 450m from the separation fence when an Nazi sniper shot him. At 4pm, he had arrived to his land in Al Faraheen, Khan Younees, South of the Gaza Strip. He was shot a few minutes after he started to work. The bullet passed through one of his legs and exploded inside the other one.

A few minutes after arriving in the hospital Mohamed underwent a first surgery, and days after a second one. Until now, the doctors don’t know if Mohamed will ever be able to walk properly again.

These kind of attacks have been frequent during the past two weeks. Several farmers were expelled from their lands by the Nazi snipers when they were working or intended to work their lands between 400 and 500m from the fence, meaning outside of the “buffer zone” imposed by the occupation.

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Back to Basics: Clearing the Fog of the Palestinian-Zionist Conflict

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By Sami Al-Arian 

In his novel 1984 George Orwell introduced the lexicon of Big Brother’s Doublespeak in which “War is peace, freedom is slavery, and ignorance is strength.” In today’s Western political circles and mainstream media coverage of Palestine/Israel and political Zionism, one may add a host of other phrases to this Orwellian Newspeak. Expressions that would fittingly describe this coverage might include “racism is democracy, resistance is terrorism, and occupation is bliss.”

If individuals were to rely solely on Western media outlets as their source of information regarding the increasingly volatile situation in the occupied Palestinian territories, especially Jerusalem, they would not only be perplexed by the portrayals of victims and oppressors, but also confused about the history and nature of the conflict itself. For instance, in the past few weeks, in their coverage of the latest Palestinian uprising, most Western mainstream media outlets, such as the New York Times, CNN, FOX, and BBC, virtually omit the words “Israeli occupation,” or “illegal Israeli settlements.” Seldom if ever do they mention the fact that Jerusalem has been under illegal Israeli control for the past 48 years, or that the latest confrontations were set off as a result of Israeli attempts to change the status quo and force a joint jurisdiction of the Islamic holy sites within the walls of old Jerusalem.

Oftentimes Israel and its enablers in the political and media arenas try to obfuscate basic facts about the nature and history of the conflict. Despite these attempts, however, the conflict is neither complicated nor has it existed for centuries. It is a century-old modern phenomenon that emerged as a direct result of political Zionism. This movement, founded by secular journalist Theodore Herzl in the late 19th century, has incessantly attempted to transform Judaism from one of the world’s great religious traditions into a nationalistic ethnic movement with the aim of transferring Jews around the world to Palestine, while ethnically cleansing the indigenous Palestinian population from the land of their ancestors. This is the essence of the conflict, and thus all of Israel’s policies and actions can only be understood by acknowledging this reality.

It might be understandable, if detestable, for Israel and its Zionist defenders to circulate false characterizations of history and events to advance their political agenda. But it is incomprehensible for those who claim to advocate the rule of law, believe in the principle of self-determination, and call for freedom and justice to fall for this propaganda or to become its willing accomplices. In following much of the media coverage or political analyses of the conflict, one is struck by the lack of historical context, the deliberate disregard of empirical facts, and the contempt for established legal constructs and precedents. Are the Palestinian territories disputed or occupied? Do Palestinians have a legal right, embedded in international law, to resist their occupiers, including the use of armed struggle, or is every means of resistance considered terrorism? Does Israel have any right to old Jerusalem and its historical and religious environs? Is the protraction of the so-called “cycle of violence” really coming proportionally from both sides of the conflict? Is Israel a true democracy? Should political Zionism be treated as a legitimate national liberation movement (from whom?) while ignoring its overwhelmingly racist manifestations? Is Israel genuine about seeking a peaceful resolution to the conflict? Can the U.S. really be an honest peace-broker between the two sides as it has persistently promoted itself in the region? The factual answers to these questions would undoubtedly clear the fog and lead objective observers not only to a full understanding of the conflict, but also to a deep appreciation of the policies and actions needed to bring it to an end.

Occupation, Self-Determination, and International Law

There should be no disputing that the territories seized by Israel in June 1967, including east Jerusalem, are occupied. Dozens of UN resolutions have passed since November 1967, including binding Security Council resolutions calling on Israel to withdraw from the occupied territories, which the Zionist State has stubbornly refused to comply with. In fact, if there were any “disputed” territories, they should be those Palestinian territories that Israel took in 1948, through a campaign of terrormassacres, and military conquests, which resulted in forcefully and illegally expelling over 800,000 Palestinians from their homes, villages, and towns, in order to make room for thousands of Jews coming from Europe and other parts of the world. Consequently, UN Resolution 194mandated that these Palestinian “refugees wishing to return to their homes … should be permitted to do so.” This resolution has now remained unfulfilled for 67 years. There is also no dispute in international law that Israel has been a belligerent occupier triggering the application of all the relevant Geneva Conventions as the Palestinian people have been under occupation since their “territory is actually placed under the authority of the hostile army.”

Furthermore, the right to self-determination for the Palestinian people and their right to resist their occupiers by all means are well established in international law. In 1960, UN resolution 1514 adopted the “Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples.” It stated that, “All peoples have the right to self-determination”, and that, “the subjection of peoples to alien subjugation, domination and exploitation constitutes a denial of fundamental human rights and is contrary to the Charter of the United Nations.” Ten years later the UN adopted Resolution 2625 which called on its members to support colonized people or people under occupation against their colonizers and occupiers. In fact, UN Resolution 3246 reaffirmed in 1974 “the legitimacy of the peoples’ struggle for liberation form colonial and foreign domination and alien subjugation by all available means, including armed struggle.” Four years later UN Resolution 33/24 also strongly confirmed “the legitimacy of the struggle of peoples for independence, territorial integrity, national unity and liberation from colonial and foreign domination and foreign occupation by all available means, particularly armed struggle,” and “strongly condemned all governments” that did not recognize “the right to self-determination to the Palestinian people.”

As for occupied Jerusalem, the UN Security Council adopted in 1980 two binding resolutions (476 and 478) by a vote of 14-0 (the US abstained and did not veto either resolution.) Both resolutions condemned Israel’s attempt to change “the physical character, demographic composition, institutional structure, (and) the status of the Holy City of Jerusalem.” It also reaffirmed “the overriding necessity to end the prolonged occupation of Arab territories occupied by Israel since 1967, including Jerusalem,” and called out Israel as “the occupying power.” It further considered any changes to the city of Jerusalem as “a violation of international law.”

The Use of Violence, Resistance, and the Deceptive Peace Process

Living under brutal occupation for almost half a century without any prospect for its end, the Palestinian people, particularly in Jerusalem, have, since late September, embarked on new mass protests against the latest Israeli incursions on their holy sitesand revolted once again against the ceaseless occupation. As a consequence, the Israeli army, aided by thousands of armed settlers roaming the West Bank, have intensified their use of violence, which resulted in over 100 deaths, 2,200 injuries, and 4,000 arrests in less than two months. The Israeli army and the settlements-based armed gangs, though forbidden under international law and the Geneva conventions, have regularly employed various violent means in order to force Palestinian exile or compel submission to the occupation. The Israeli harsh tactics include: settler violence and provocation under full army protectiontargeting children, including kidnappingkilling, as well as arresting children as young as 5 burning infants alive, the constant use of collective punishment and house demolitions, the use of excessive prison sentences for any act of defiance including throwing rocks, storming revered religious sites, and the deliberate targeting of journalists who dare to challenge Israeli hegemony.

The Palestinian people, whether under occupation or under siege, in exile and blocked by Israel from returning to their homes, or denied their right to self-determination, have the legitimate right to resist the military occupation and its manifestations such as the denial of their freedom and human rights, the confiscation of their lands, or the building and expansion of Israeli colonies on their lands. Although most Palestinians opt for the use of nonviolent resistance as a prudent tactic against the brutality of the occupation, international law does not, however, limit their resistance only to the use of peaceful means. In essence, the right to legitimate armed resistance, subject to international humanitarian law, is enshrined in international law and cannot be denied to any people including the Palestinians in their struggle to gain their freedom and exercise their right to self-determination. Furthermore, international law does not confer any right on the occupying power to use any force against their occupied subjects, in order to maintain and sustain their occupation, including in self-defense. In short, aggressors and land usurpers are by definition deniedthe use of force to subjugate their victims. Consequently, as a matter of principle embedded in international law and regardless of any political viability, strikes against military targets including soldiers, armed settlers, or other tools and institutions of the occupation are legitimate and any action against them, non-violent or otherwise, cannot be condemned or deemed terrorism.

Furthermore, the argument regarding the validity of using armed struggle against oppression and denial of political rights by tyrannical and colonial regimes is well established in its favor. Patriot Patrick Henry rallied his countrymen prior to the American Revolution in 1775 in his famous call “give liberty or give me death.” Civil rights icon Martin Luther King, Jr. even rejected pacifism in the face of aggression. He only questioned its tactical significance when he stated “I contended that the debate over the question of self-defense was unnecessary since few people suggested that Negroes should not defend themselves as individuals when attacked. The question was not whether one should use his gun when his home was attacked, but whether it was tactically wise to use a gun while participating in an organized demonstration.” Mahatma Gandhi saw active resistance as more honorable than pacifism when he said “I would rather have India resort to arms in order to defence her honour than that she would, in a cowardly manner, become or remain a helpless witness to her own dishonour.” Nelson Mandela reflected on this debate when he asserted that he resorted to armed struggle only when “all other forms of resistance were no longer open”, and demanded that the Apartheid regime “guarantee free political activity” to blacks before he would call on his compatriots to suspend armed struggle. Accordingly, the debate over whether the use of armed resistance against Israeli occupation advances the cause of justice for Palestinians is not a question of legitimacy, but rather of sound political strategy in light of the skewed balance of military power and massive public support from peoples around the globe for their just struggle.

Yet, the reality of the conflict actually reveals that the Palestinian people have overwhelmingly been at the receiving end of the use of ruthless Israeli violence and aggression since 1948. With the exception of the 1973 war (initiated by Egypt and Syria to regain the lands they lost in the 1967 war) every Arab-Israeli war in the past seven decades (‘48, ’56, ‘67, ’78, ’82, ’02, etc.) was initiated by Israel and resulted in more uprooting and misery to the Palestinians. Still, since 2008 Israel launched three brutal wars against Gaza with devastating consequences. In the 2008/2009 war, Israel killed 1,417 Palestinians and lost 13 people including 9 soldiers. In the 2012 war, Israel killed 167 Palestinians and lost 6 including 2 soldiers. And in the 2014 war, Israel killed 2104 Palestinians, including 539 children, with 475,000 people made homeless, 17,500 homes destroyed, while 244 schools and scores of hospitals and mosques damaged. In that war Israel lost 72 including 66 soldiers. In short, since late 2008 Israel killed 3,688 Palestinians in its three declared wars and lost 91 including 77 soldiers. Shamefully the deliberate targeting of Palestinian children has been amply documented as over two thousand have been killed by Israel since 2000. This massive Israeli intentional use of violence against the Palestinians, especially in Gaza (which has been under a crippling siege since 2007) was investigated, determined to constitute war crimes, and condemned by the UN in the Goldstone Report, as well as by other human rights groups such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch.

The 1993 Oslo process gave rise to the promise of ending decades of Israeli occupation. But the process was rigged from the start as many of its participants have recently admitted. It was an Israeli ploy to halt the first Palestinian uprising and give Israel the breathing room it needed to aggressively and permanently colonize the West Bank including East Jerusalem. It was an accord with a lopsided balance of power, as one side held all the cards and gave no real concessions, and a much weaker side stripped of all its bargaining chips. During this period the number of settlements in the West Bank more than doubled and the number of settlers increased by more than seven fold to over 600 thousand including in East Jerusalem.

The world has none other than Benjamin Netanyahu to acknowledge that Israel has no intention of withdrawing or ending its occupation. After serving his first stint as a prime minister, Netanyahu (shown here in a leaked video) while visiting a settlement in 2001, admitted to his true intention of grabbing as much as 98 percent of Palestinian territories in the West Bank and halting the fraudulent Oslo process. Believing that the camera was off, he spoke candidly to a group of settlers about his strategic vision, plans, and tactics.

On his vision he assured them that “The settlements are here. They are everywhere.” He stated, “I halted the fulfillment of the Oslo agreements. It’s better to give two percent than 100 percent. You gave two percent but you stopped the withdrawal.” He later added, “I gave my own interpretation to the agreements in such a way that will allow me to stop the race back towards the 1967 borders.” As for the tactics, Netanyahu freely confessed his strategy of causing so much pain to the Palestinians that they would submit to the occupation rather than resist. He said, “The main thing is to strike them not once but several times so painfully that the price they pay will be unbearable causing them to fear that everything is about to collapse.” When he was challenged that such a strategy might cause the world to consider Israel as the aggressor, he dismissively said, “They can say whatever they want.” He also implied how he was not concerned about American pressure. To the contrary he asserted that he could easily manipulate Israel’s main benefactor when he stated “America is something you can easily maneuver and move in the right direction. I wasn’t afraid to confront Clinton. I wasn’t afraid to go against the UN.” Even though world leaders consider Netanyahu a “liar” and they “can’t stand him” as shown in this exchange between former French president Nicolas Sarkozy and Barak Obama, no Western leader has stood up to Israel, even though a British parliamentarian stated that 70 percent of Europeans consider it a “danger to world’s peace.” But the obstructionist posture and expansionist policies of Israeli leaders are not restricted to the Israeli right. Former Labor leader Ehud Barak was as much determined in 2000 at Camp David not to withdraw from the West Bank, Jerusalem, or dismantle the settlements.

For decades the world waited for Israel to decide its destiny by choosing two out of three defining elements: its Jewish character, its claim to democracy, and the lands of so-called “greater Israel.” If it chose to retain its Jewish majority and claim to be democratic, it had to withdraw from the lands it occupied in 1967. If it insists on incorporating the lands and have a democracy it would have to integrate its Arab populations while forsaking its Jewish exceptionalism in a secular state. Yet sadly but true to its Zionist nature, Israel chose to maintain its Jewish exclusiveness over all of historical Palestine to transform itself into a manifestly Apartheid state.

Political Zionism and the True Nature of the Israeli State

For over a century political Zionism has evoked intense passions and emotions on both sides of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict: its ardent supporters as well as its critics and hapless victims. Zionists hail their enterprise as a national liberation movement for the Jewish people while its opponents condemn it as a racist ideology that practiced ethnic cleansing, instituted racial and religious discrimination, and committed war crimes to realize its goals.

On November 10, 1975 the United Nations General Assembly adopted resolution 3379 that determined Zionism as a “form of racism and racial discrimination.” However, it was revoked 16 years later under tremendous pressure from the U.S. and other Western countries in the aftermath of the first Gulf war in 1991. Oftentimes, the public is denied unfiltered information about the true nature of political Zionism and its declared state. And unfortunately the media conglomerates rarely cover that aspect of the conflict, which contributes to the public’s confusion and exasperation.

Since its creation in 1948, Israel has passed laws and implemented policies that institutionalized discrimination against its Arab Palestinian minority. In the aftermath of its 1967 invasion, it instituted a military occupation regime that has denied basic human and civil rights to millions of Palestinians whose population now exceeds the number of Israeli Jews in the land within historical Palestine. In addition, in defiance of international law, Israel has obstinately refused to allow the descendants of the Palestinian people that it expelled in 1948 and 1967 to return to their homes, while allowing millions of people of other nationalities the right to become citizens of the Israeli state upon arrival simply because they are Jewish.

Zionist leaders from Ben-Gurion to Netanyahu have always claimed that Israel was a democracy similar to other Western liberal democracies. But perhaps the best way to examine this claim and illustrate the nature of the modern Zionist state is through a comparative analogy (a similar example could also be found in Israeli historian Shlomo Sand’s book).

What if a Western country claiming to be a democracy, such as the U.S. or the U.K., were officially to change its constitution and system to become the state of the White Anglo-Saxon Protestants (WASPs)? Even though its African, Hispanic, Asian, Catholic, Jewish, and Muslim citizens as well as other minorities would still have the right to vote, hold political offices, and enjoy some civil and social rights, they would have to submit to the new nature and exclusive character of the WASP state. Moreover, with the exception of the WASP class of citizens, no other citizen would be allowed to buy or sell any land, and there would be permanent constitutional laws that would forbid any WASP from selling any property to any members of other ethnicities or religions in the country. Its Congress or parliament would pass laws that would also forbid any WASP from marrying outside his or her social class, and if any such “illegal” marriage were to take place, it would not be recognized by the state. As for immigration, only WASPs from around the world would be welcome. In fact, there would be no restrictions on their category as any WASP worldwide could claim immediate citizenship upon arrival in the country with full economic and social benefits granted by the state, while all other ethnicities are denied. Furthermore, most of the existing minorities in the country would be subjected to certain “security” policies in order to allow room for the WASPs coming from outside. So in many parts of the country, there would be settlements and colonies constructed only for the new WASP settlers and consequently some of the non-WASP populations would have to be restricted or relocated. In these new settlements the state would designate WASP-only roads, WASP-only schools, WASP-only health clinics, WASP-only shopping malls, WASP-only parks or swimming pools. There would also be a two-tier health care system, educational system, criminal justice system, and social welfare system. In this dual system for example, if a WASP assaults or kills a non-WASP he would receive a small fine or a light sentence that would not exceed a few years, while if a non-WASP murders a WASP, even accidentally, he would receive a harsh or mandatory life sentence. In this system, where the police force is exclusively staffed by WASPs, the Supreme Court would routinely sanction the use of torture against any non-WASP, subject to the judgment of the security officers. Such a system would clearly be so manifestly racist, patently criminal, and globally abhorred that no one would stand by it or defend it. But could such a regime even exist or be accepted in today’s world? (I realize that some people may argue that many of these practices had actually occurred in the past against certain segments of the population in some Western societies. But no government today would dare to embrace this model or defend its policies.)

Yet, because of the Zionist nature of the Israeli state, this absurd example is actually a reality with varying degrees for the daily lives of the Palestinian people, whether they are nominal citizens of the state, live under occupation or under siege, or have been blocked for decades from returning back to their homes, towns, and villages. Such a system would not only be condemned but no decent human being or country that respects the rule of law would associate with it or tolerate it.

From its early days, prominent Jewish intellectuals have condemned the racist nature of the Zionist state. Albert Einstein and Hannah Arendt wrote in 1948 condemning Zionist leaders of Israel who “openly preached the doctrine of the Fascist state.” Israeli scientist and thinker Israel Shahak considered Israel as “a racist state in the full meaning of this term, where the Palestinians are discriminated against, in the most permanent and legal way and in the most important areas of life, only because of their origin.” Renowned American intellectual Noam Chomsky considers Israel’s actions in Palestine as even “much worse than Apartheid” ever was in South Africa. Israeli historian Ilan Pappé argues that “The Zionist goal from the very beginning was to have as much of Palestine as possible with as few Palestinians in it as possible,” while American historian Howard Zinn thought that “Zionism is a mistake.” American academic and author Norman Finkelstein has often spoken out against the racist nature of the Zionist state and condemned its manipulation of the Nazi Holocaust to justify its colonization of Palestine. British historian Tony Judt described Israel as “an anachronism” because of its exclusive nature in comparison to its “non-Jewish citizens.” Former UN Special Rapporteur for Occupied Palestine Professor Richard Falk called Israeli policies in the Occupied Territories “a crime against humanity” and compared Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians to the Nazi treatment of the Jews and has said, “I think the Palestinians stand out as the most victimized people in the world.” Very recently, prominent American Jewish academics posed the question: “Can we continue to embrace a state that permanently denies basic rights to another people?” Their answer was an emphatic call for a complete boycott against the Zionist state.

Furthermore, Israeli politicians and religious leaders regularly use racist rhetoric to appeal to their constituents and articulate their policies. In the last Israeli elections in March, Prime Minister Netanyahu tweeted to the Israeli public, “The right-wing government is in danger. Arab voters are coming out in droves to the polls.” Former foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman advocated new ethnic cleansing through “the transfer” of Palestinian citizens from the state. One prominent Rabbi considered “killing Palestinians a religious duty,” while another declared that “It is not only desirable to do so, but it is a religious duty that you hold his head down to the ground and hit him until his last breath.” Former Sephardic Chief Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu, one of the most senior religious leaders in Israel ruled that “there was absolutely no moral prohibition against the indiscriminate killing of civilians during a potential massive military offensive on Gaza.” Racism in Israel is so pervasive that a Jewish settler stabbed another Jew, and another settlerkilled a fellow Jewish settler not because the perpetrators were threatened, but because the victims looked Arab. Israeli racism is so widespread among its population that noted journalist Max Blumenthal, who investigated the Israeli society’s attitudes towards the Palestinians, was himself surprised to “the extent to which groups and figures, remarkably similar ideologically and psychologically to the radical right in the US and to neo-fascist movements across Europe, controlled the heart of Israeli society and the Israeli government.”

In short, the ideology of political Zionism, as it has amply been demonstrated within the state of Israel, with its exclusionary vision and persistent policies of occupying the land and subjugating its people, has proven without any doubt that it represents a relic of a bygone era that utterly lacks civilized behavior or claims to a democratic system. Therefore, any discussion, coverage, analysis, or debate of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict that sidesteps the nature and ideology of the Israeli state is not only disingenuous and lacks credibility, but also contributes to the deepening of the conflict, the continuous suffering of its victims, and the illusion of finding a potential just and peaceful outcome.

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UN passes Iranian-proposed nuclear disarmament resolution

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Press TV 

The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) has passed a resolution proposed by Iran aimed at bringing about the disarmament of nuclear powers.

On Monday, the Assembly voted 121 against 48 in favor of the non-binding resolution, which had already been cleared by its First Committee, aka Disarmament and International Security Committee. The voting saw 12 abstentions.

The resolution demands practical action by all nuclear-armed countries toward disarmament and the promotion of international stability and security for all.

It also demands unilateral steps by such countries to scale down their nuclear arsenals as well as more transparency regarding their nuclear arms capabilities and implementation of international agreements.

The Islamic Republic had devised the resolution based on the ratifications of the Review Conferences of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty in 1995, 2000, and 2010.

The majority of the 120-member Non-Aligned Movement threw their support behind the resolution. The United States, Israel, Canada, Britain, Russia, France, and Germany were among those voting against it, while China, South Korea, Japan, India, and Italy, among others, abstained.

Speaking after the approval of the resolution, Iran’s Ambassador to the UN Gholam Hossein Dehqani (seen below) said, “It has been declared in Article VI of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty that these countries are obliged to initiate negotiations for the disarmament and have been asked to put into force step-by-step measures for decommissioning nuclear weapons and then destroying them. Unfortunately, though, no effective or serious step has been taken in this direction.”

“The international community is insistent upon nuclear disarmament and the nuclear-armed countries’ implementation of their obligations. The current trend suggests that slowly, nuclear-armed countries and the Zionist regime (Israel), which possesses nuclear weapons, will move toward isolation in the General Assembly’s First Committee and other assemblies, and will certainly end up in worse circumstances every day,” the Iranian official added.

Israel is regarded as the only possessor of nuclear weapons in the Middle East.

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Is Zio-Wahhabi ‘ISIS’ now equipped with a NATO air force?

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By John Wight 

Within the past two weeks Turkish F-16s have shot down a Russian SU-24 bomber and a US-led coalition airstrike has hit a military base controlled by the Syrian Arab Army. It begs the question: are these people actually insane?

ISIS could not have had a better two weeks than these past two if it had its own air force. But with the US and Turkey among its ‘enemies’ it appears they don’t need one, for those countries have been doing its job for them.

How else are we to explain the strikes carried out by both countries, not against ISIS but against Russia and Syria, who are fighting ISIS?

Never in the annals of military conflict has such a dangerous and absurd scenario been played out as the one being played out in Syria today. Two entirely separate multi-nation coalitions are engaged in combat operations against one enemy, thus dictating they coordinate and combine their efforts. Yet such is the lack of leadership and statesmanship within one of those coalitions – led by Washington – that the prospect remains a distant dream even after a recent spate of atrocities resulted in the mass murder of citizens and civilians belonging to both.

This at least is one narrative, which holds that incompetence, stupidity and hubris is the root of the problem, impairing the judgment and clarity of the West when it comes to Syria and the wider region, responsible for allowing a terrorist menace in the shape of ISIS and other extremist groups to grow and enjoy the kind of success they should never have enjoyed.

There is a second narrative to be explored, however, one far more insidious. It is that these attacks are evidence of the real objective of the West and its allies when it comes to Syria, despite the rise of ISIS, which remains regime change in Damascus.

Turkey’s president, Recip Erdogan, has long harbored this objective. In fact, more than harbor the man has been utterly obsessed with it. He has taken every opportunity to rail against Syria’s president, attributing the entire blame for the Syrian crisis and conflict to him, even though the majority of Syrians support their president and have done so throughout.

Never in the annals of military conflict has such a dangerous and absurd scenario been played out as the one being played out in Syria today.

With Russian airstrikes bearing down on the illicit oil trade between ISIS and Turkey, the strong suspicion is that Turkey’s desperate action in shooting down the Russian bomber was directly related to it being unmasked as a key actor in facilitating the terrorist group, rather than an ally in the struggle against it.

This has now been followed by Turkey’s military incursion into northern Iraq, where its troops have occupied territory around Mosul, slap bang in the middle of the oil smuggling route from the oilfields located there up into Turkey.

The Turks claim they are there to train Kurdish Peshmerga forces they are supporting, at the request of the Kurdistan Regional Government, led by Massoud Barzani, which administers a de facto independent Kurdish state in northern Iraq in defiance of central government authority in Baghdad. The equally independent oil trade controlled by he Barzani administration has come under attack from the PKK over the past few months, which has managed to destroy pipelines transporting oil from the Mosul region to Turkey.

By now the penny should be starting to drop.

Erdogan is a man who many consider to be engaged in a neo Ottoman policy of re-establishing Turkey’s hegemonic influence in the region, exploiting the chaos and turmoil across its southern border in both Iraq and Syria to establish Turkey as a regional power broker and architect of a Sunni state comprising eastern Syria across into northern Iraq.

The collapse of US leadership in the region, measured in the rise of ISIS, has left a vacuum that its regional allies – Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Israel – are exploiting with an aggressive pursuit of their own national and sectarian agendas. Those agendas are contrary to the interests of stability and security, and unless reined in can only lead to more chaos and conflict rather than less.

The point is that the aforementioned states are leading the wider Western strategy towards the region at this point, the primary aim of which, as mentioned, is the toppling of the Assad government in Syria and the weakening of Iranian influence in Iraq and Lebanon.

The US airstrike, despite Washington’s denial of responsibility for it, should be seen with the aforementioned in mind. It also helps explain the recent entry of British airstrikes into the Syrian conflict.

Less than the official justification of helping to crush ISIS, Britain is intent on establishing an overt military presence in Syria with its eyes not on the ISIS stronghold of Raqqa but on Damascus in advance of the upcoming peace talks in Vienna. We know this because no sooner had the British Government received the vote required to press ahead with airstrikes from the House of Commons than British foreign secretary Phillip Hammond was talking up the need for a transitional government in Damascus, making it clear that President Assad cannot remain in power.

Overall it is becoming increasingly apparent that for the West and its regional allies, such as Turkey, ISIS is but a sideshow and that the real priority is the removal of the Assad government. They want a pliant alternative in its place, one willing to be their place man in a region that has long been the focus of their geopolitical, strategic, and economic priorities.

In the process they are willing to court the risk of a major conflagration, evidence of their failure to learn the lessons of history and playing with fire as a consequence.

The First World War was the last major conflict into which the major powers sleepwalked. It resulted in a level of carnage that undermined the very foundations of civilization and led inexorably to the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian and Ottoman empires. The response to the Western powers of the collapse of the latter in the Middle East, in moving in to carve up the spoils between them regardless of the wishes and interests of the people living there, has brought us a century of turmoil and conflict from then to now.

In a very real sense, the world of today is paying the price of the crimes of the past. As a consequence, committing more crimes is more than folly it is tantamount to dragging us back in time to a hell of our own creation.

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Pentagon Blames Russia for Its Airstrikes on Syria’s Military

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By Stephen Lendman 

previous article explained Syria’s Foreign Ministry reported US-led warplanes bombed its army camp in Deir ez Zor province – killing three soldiers, injuring 13 others, as well as destroying three armored vehicles, four military vehicles, an arms and ammunition depot, along with 23mm and 14.5mm machine guns.

The Pentagon denied being caught red-handed in its latest attempt to push back on Russia’s effective intervention against ISIS and other terrorists groups in Syria.

It blamed Moscow for its provocative aggression. An unnamed Pentagon spokesman lied, claiming it’s “certain” a Russian warplane carried out the attack. “We’ve got a radar track showing a Backfire bomber flying directly over the town that the Syrians named a few minutes before the first claims that we killed some Syrian troops.”

Who knows what Washington has or doesn’t have. It’s “certain” it bore full responsibility for the incident. Russian airstrikes are directed solely against ISIS and other terrorist groups with pinpoint accuracy, shown by photographic evidence each time.

A US-led anti-Assad coalition statement claiming attacks were conducted “against oil well heads” about 35 miles from the Syrian base was a bald-faced lie – compounded by saying its warplanes struck no “personnel targets…We have no indication any Syrian soldiers were near our strikes.”

The dead, injured and destruction tell another tale. Even the pro-Western, London-based, Syrian Observatory for Human Rights surprisingly reported US-led airstrikes attacked a Syrian military post near Ayyash in western Deir al-Zour on Sunday.

It bears repeating, the Pentagon was caught red-handed. Russia so far hasn’t commented on the incident or false accusations claiming its warplanes were responsible.

US, UK, French and other coalition partners continue bombing Syrian infrastructure and government targets. Sunday’s attack was the first known attack directed at Assad’s military – suggesting more provocative actions to come.

So far, they’ve included a Turkish warplane downing a Russia Su-24 bomber in Syrian airspace – OK’d by Washington, Ankara obstructing Russian sea traffic through the Bosphorus Strait and Dardanelles in either direction, international waterways in northwest Turkey connecting the Black Sea to the Mediterranean.

Erdogan is involved in stealing, smuggling, transporting, refining and black market selling industrial scale quantities of Iraqi and Syrian oil.

He’s illegally bombing Kurdish fighters in northern Syria and Iraq – on the phony pretext of combating ISIS. His troops operate illegally in northern Iraq, violating its sovereign territory – perhaps to keep oil smuggling routes open and aiming to expand Turkish borders, incorporating parts of northern Iraq and Syria.

Washington is sending more specials forces to Syria on top of thousands already there, along with additional numbers illegally to Syria, perhaps many more to follow.

Fars News reported “US experts” intend turning a “desolate airport… controlled by Kurdish forces in Syria’s Hasaka region… into a (US) military base.”

Runways are being constructed to accommodate US warplanes – the operation entirely illegal, uninvited on foreign soil.

Washington is upping the stakes, escalating things dangerously toward direct confrontation with Russia, a reckless act – complicit with Turkey, Britain and other coalition partners.

Obama earlier promising he’ll “not put American boots on the ground” proved false – one of his many Big Lies. Will full-scale US invasion follow – with thousands of US special forces and perhaps other combat troops, protected by US warplanes?

War winds are blowing dangerously toward gale force. Possible US instigated nuclear war is humanity’s greatest threat.

 

Posted in USA, SyriaComments Off on Pentagon Blames Russia for Its Airstrikes on Syria’s Military

Baghdad Ankara ultimatum nearly up, Moscow to discuss Turkey military invasion at UNSC

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As a Baghdad-issued ultimatum for Turkish troops to leave the area is nearing its deadline, Russia intends to bring up Ankara’s invasion of northern Iraq without the country’s request at the UN Security Council on Thursday.

“The issue will be raised at a closed-door meeting,” TASS cited a diplomatic source within the organization as saying. The source also dismissed earlier reports that Moscow was going to call a separate UNSC meeting.

According to Iraqi media, Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi has put the Iraqi Air Force on high alert and the ruling National Iraqi Alliance has given the prime minister the go-ahead to take “any measures” to ensure territorial integrity and protect its borders, including addressing the UN and the Arab League.

Turkish Foreign Ministry announced on Tuesday that the country is suspending further deployment of troops to Iraq, but refuses to withdraw servicemen and hardware already on Iraqi soil.

Baghdad was informed of Ankara’s decision in a phone conversation between the Turkish and Iraqi foreign ministers late on Monday.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu reiterated Ankara’s respect for Iraq’s territorial integrity, Foreign Ministry spokesman Tanju Bilgic told reporters.

In a separate statement, Turkish PM Davutoglu expressed readiness to visit Baghdad as soon as possible to discuss the current troop deployment crisis between Ankara and Baghdad.

Iraqi media reported earlier that on December 4 Iraq’s PM said: “Turkish troops numbering around one regiment armored with tanks and artillery entered Iraqi territory,” labeling the incident as a “serious breach of Iraqi sovereignty.” He added that the move “does not conform with good neighborly relations,” and called on to Ankara to “withdraw immediately from Iraqi territory.”

Ankara’s reaction has been offhand. It claimed up to 150 of its troops had crossed into Iraq to train forces battling Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL).

Although the US-led anti-IS coalition was aware of Turkey’s move, it emerged later that Ankara’s deployment is not part of the efforts of the US-led coalition battling Islamic State.

Turkish troops did not simply cross the Iraqi border into the Nineveh province, but penetrated 100 kilometer into Iraq, according toReuters. They reached the Bashiqa region, about 10 kilometers northeast of Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city, which has been occupied by IS terrorists since June 2014.

Turkey is lying when it says it received Baghdad’s blessing to invade part of its territory, according to the Iraqi PM.

On Monday, the governor of the Iraqi province of Nineveh told Sputnik that the number of Turkish servicemen there has reached 900.

On December 6, Baghdad warned that “Iraq has the right to use all available options, including resorting to the UN Security Council if these forces are not withdrawn within 48 hours,” reiterating the same ultimatum on Monday giving Ankara 24 hours to leave the area.

Iraqi Defense Minister Khaled Obeidi turned down his Turkish counterpart’s invitation to visit Ankara. A spokesman for the Iraqi Defense Ministry said the visit will take place only after Turkey sends “positive signals” regarding the withdrawal of its troops from northern Iraq.

Ankara refused to extract its military, claiming that heavily armed troops deployed to a camp near Mosul are needed to protect an Iraqi Kurd training mission, which is taking place near the frontline with Islamic State.

“It is our duty to provide security for our soldiers providing training there,” the Guardian cited the Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu as saying in an interview with Kanal 24 television. “Everybody is present in Iraq … The goal of all of them is clear. Train-and-equip advisory support is being provided. Our presence there is not a secret.”

Posted in Iraq, TurkeyComments Off on Baghdad Ankara ultimatum nearly up, Moscow to discuss Turkey military invasion at UNSC

Everyday humiliation of Nazi Gestapo occupation

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Nazi soldiers and the flying checkpoint outside the village

Palestinians living in the Nazi militarily occupied West Bank face discrimination, racism and humiliation at the hands of Israeli forces on an everyday basis. Humiliation is entrenched in every aspect of daily life under the Nazi occupation. The message is clear: as a Palestinian you are always perceived as a threat, a possible terrorist or a menace – but never as a human being.

As a Palestinian citizen of the West Bank, freedom of movement is severely restricted and rather resembles trying to navigate a maze of road-blocks, permanent checkpoints and temporary ‘flying checkpoints’ that can suddenly pop up anywhere. All of these restrictions share one commonality: they are clearly intended to target only Palestinians – while Nazi Jewish settlers from the illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank are using roads that might not even be allowed for Palestinians to drive on.

In occupied al-Khalil (Hebron), the Zionist bus collecting passengers from the Nazi Jewish illegal settlements is not allowed for Palestinians to ride on, and thus passes Bethlehem checkpoint on the way to Jerusalem without even stopping – all the passengers are Nazi Jewish settlers anyways. On the Palestinian bus going through the same checkpoint, everyone, with the exception of tourists and elderly, are forced to get off the bus and wait for their IDs to be checked outside in any weather, and often their bags inspected by heavily-armed soldiers.

Right during rush hour on Thursday afternoon, Nazi Gestapo forces set up checkpoints at all the entrances of occupied al-Khalil, resulting in endless queues of cars, on their way to visit family over the weekend on Friday and Saturday. As two soldiers thoroughly checked every passenger’s ID and car going in both directions, the queues grew longer and even ambulances with emergencies were denied passage and held up for at least ten minutes while being checked – ten minutes that hopefully weren’t critical for the emergency the ambulance was attempting to quickly get to. As Nazi forces strategically blocked every possible way to leave or enter al-Khalil either by permanent road-blocks completely blocking any sort of traffic except pedestrians or temporary checkpoints; there was no possible alternative than to either turn around and stay inside the city or to endure at least two hours of waiting to eventually be allowed to pass this checkpoint.

Finally passing one checkpoint successfully, though, in militarily occupied Palestine basically doesn’t mean anything: just a few hundred meters down the street might be another checkpoint. Palestinians try to avoid Gush Etzion junction on the way to Bethlehem, as settlers often attack Palestinians cars there, and soldiers stop and search cars with Palestinian license plates only; they take a detour through Palestinian villages. But in order to make the near-lockdown of al-Khalil ‘perfect’, Nazi forces set up checkpoints at entrances and exits of Sa’ir village. Thus, after an hour-long wait to leave al-Khalil city itself, Palestinian cars were stuck in yet another checkpoint just a twenty minutes drive away.

Waiting in the dark for seemingly endless hours to move ahead just one or two more meters in the line as a car was allowed to pass – or turned around, giving up the hope of ever crossing that night at all; Nazi Jewish settler cars speed past on a nearby road without any hurdles or hassles, just ‘normaly’ driving down a road at night. When finally slowly approaching the make-shift checkpoint with traffic spikes on the street, cars have to switch off their lights, so people next in line will only hazily see what’s going on. Once it’s their turn, everyone inside the car has to get out and stand a few meters away from the soldiers, while they inspect the IDs and cars. Depending on the soldiers mood, some people, mainly young adult males, will have to lift up their shirts and trouser-legs; while others will have to answer questions about their destinations and the reason of travels, and even about their families and private life. The only thing that is for sure is that you can never tell what will happen. The power dynamics is clear, the heavily armed soldiers have the ‘authority’ to decide over everything, the Palestinian passengers will have to obey whatever is asked of them. That none of this has to do with ‘security’ but everything with control and humiliation is obvious. This is the face of just a tiny little aspect of the everyday humiliation defining this military occupation.

Humiliation doesn’t even stop with death – the Israeli forces are still withholding the bodies of Palestinians they claim attacked Nazi soldiers – refusing an appropriate funeral and mourning for their families, relatives and friends. Denying even a last peaceful rest and a person’s family to mourn the death of a loved one is the last possible way to humiliate. Not even in death, does the humiliation stop or are Palestinians treated like human beings.

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Syria urges immediate UN action over US-led airstrikes

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Syria has called on the UN Security Council to take immediate action against recent US-led airstrikes that killed three Syrian soldiers.

The Syrian Foreign Ministry sent a letter to the UN Security Council and Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on Monday, condemning the airstrikes that killed the Syrian government soldiers on Sunday.

Damascus said four US-led coalition warplanes fired nine missiles at one of the Syrian army’s posts in the central-east of the country in Deir Ezzor Province, killing three soldiers and injuring 13 others.

“The Syrian Arab Republic strongly condemns this flagrant aggression by the US-led coalition forces, which blatantly violates the objectives of the UN charter,” the letter read.

The Syrian Foreign Ministry urged the Security Council to “act immediately in the face of this aggression and take appropriate measures to prevent its recurrence.”

The Syrian government has repeatedly condemned the US-led airstrikes in the Arab country as illegal and ineffective with the letter saying the recent attack once again showed the failings of the coalition’s operations.

“The US coalition lacks the seriousness and credibility to effectively combat terrorism,” the letter added.

The so-called Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which is based in Britain, earlier said the US-led attacks killed four Syrian soldiers near Ayyash town.

A spokesman for the US-led coalition denied responsibility for the attacks and said the coalition hit an area 55 kilometers away from a Syrian army camp.

“There were no human beings in the area that we struck yesterday, all we struck was a wellhead,” the spokesman also said.

The air raids in Syria are an extension of the US-led aerial campaign against alleged Daesh positions in Iraq, which started in August last year. Many have criticized the ineffectiveness of the raids.

This is while the US and some of its regional allies, including Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar, have lent staunch support to the Takfiri groups there.

Syria has been gripped by foreign-backed militancy for four and a half years. More than 250,000 have lost their lives and millions displaced as a result of the crisis in the war-torn Arab country.

Posted in USA, SyriaComments Off on Syria urges immediate UN action over US-led airstrikes

US donors gave Nazi Jewish settlements more than $220 million in tax-exempt funds

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Private US donors are massively funding Nazi Jewish settlements by using a network of tax-exempt nonprofits, which funnelled more than $220 million to West Bank settlements in 2009-2013 alone, a Haaretzinvestigation has found.

The funding is being used for anything from buying air conditioners to supporting the families of convicted Nazi Jewish terrorists, and comes from tax-deductible donations made to around 50 US-based groups.

Nearly 80 percent of this income (about $224 million) was transferred to the occupied territories as grants, mostly through Nazi nonprofits. In 2013 alone, these organisations raised $73 million and allotted $54 million in grants.

The investigation stated: “Thanks to their status as nonprofits, these organisations are not taxed on their income and donations made to them are tax deductible – meaning the U.S. government is incentivising and indirectly supporting the Israeli settlement movement, even though it has been consistently opposed by every U.S. administration for the past 48 years.”

A senior White House official told Haaretz that “the policy of every administration since 1967, Democrat and Republican alike, has been to object to Israeli settlement beyond the 1967 borders.

“The present administration is no different,” the official continued. “Concordant with permanent U.S. policies, this administration never defended or supported any activity associated with the settlements. It doesn’t support or advance any activity that will legitimize them.”

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Nazi Gestapo’s Saving their sworn enemy

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Saving their sworn enemy: Heartstopping footage shows Israeli commandos rescuing wounded men from Syrian warzone – but WHY are they risking their lives for Islamic militants?

  • Elite Israeli troops rescue wounded Syrians from the world’s worst war almost every night
  • They have saved more than 2,000 people since 2013, at a cost of 50 million shekels (£8.7million)
  • Many are enemies of Israel and some may even be fighters for groups affiliated to Al Qaeda
  • MailOnline embedded with Israeli commandos stationed on the border between Israel and Syria 
  • Dramatic video filmed by MailOnline and the Israeli army shows these operations taking place
  • Israel says that the operation is purely humanitarian but analysts believe Israel also has strategic reasons
  • For more of the latest news updates on the Syrian war visit www.dailymail.co.uk/syria

By JAKE WALLIS SIMONS ON THE ISRAEL-SYRIA BORDER FOR MAILONLINE

8 December 2015

Under cover of darkness, an Israeli armoured car advances down the potholed road that leads to Syria.

As it crests a small hill, the driver picks up the radio handset and tells his commanding officer that the border is in sight.

He kills the engine. Ten heavily-armed commandos jump out and take cover, watching for signs of ambush. Then five of them move up to the 12ft chainlink fence that marks the limit of Israeli-held territory.

On the other side, on the very edge of Syria, lies an unconscious man wrapped like a doll in a blood-drenched duvet. The commandos unlock the fence, open a section of it and drag him onto Israeli soil.

Unconscious: A wounded Syrian Islamic militant receives urgent medical treatment from Israeli troops at the Syrian border. The commandos are seen administering 'tracheal intubation' by forcing a tube down the man's throat to prevent asphyxiation

Unconscious: A wounded Syrian Islamic militant receives urgent medical treatment from Israeli troops at the Syrian border. The commandos are seen administering ‘tracheal intubation’ by forcing a tube down the man’s throat to prevent asphyxiation.

The casualty – who doesn’t look older than 20 – is losing blood fast. He has been shot in the intestines and the liver, and has a deep laceration in his left ankle.

After putting him on an emergency drip, the commandos stretcher him back to the armoured car and head back to Israel.

But this wounded man is not an Israeli soldier, or even an Israeli citizen. He is an Islamic militant. And his rescue forms part of an extraordinary humanitarian mission that is fraught with danger and has provoked deep controversy on all sides.

Almost every night, Israeli troops run secret missions to save the lives of Syrian fighters, all of whom are sworn enemies of the Jewish state.

MailOnline has gained unprecedented access to this secretive and hazardous operation, embedding with the commandos to obtain exclusive footage, and interviewing the medics who are obliged to treat Syrian militants, some of whom openly admit that they intend to kill Israelis.

Danger: Israeli commandos are carrying out similar rescues every night - but their government's motive for authorising the extraordinary missions is unclear

Danger: Israeli commandos are carrying out similar rescues every night – but their government’s motive for authorising the extraordinary missions is unclear

Emergency: The militant is very close to death and requires expert medical attention from the team, including a complex blood transfusion

Chaos: Alongside the border with Israel numerous groups battle in Syria, including Hezbollah, Government troops, rebels and ISIS

Chaos: Alongside the border with Israel numerous groups battle in Syria, including Hezbollah, Government troops, rebels and ISIS

Israel insists that these treacherous nightly rescues are purely humanitarian, and that it can only hope to ‘win hearts and minds’ in Syria. But analysts suggest the Jewish state has in fact struck a deadly ‘deal with the devil’ – offering support to the Sunni militants who fight the Syrian ruler Assad in the hope of containing its arch enemies Hezbollah and Iran.

In giving medical support to these fighters, Israel has done a deal with the devil

Kamal Alam, research analyst, Royal United Services Institute (RUSI)

There is no doubt about the danger involved. Many of the casualties rescued by Israel belong to Salafist groups who harbour a deep-seated hatred of the Jewish State. It has also been reported that some may be members of Jabhat al-Nusra, a Syrian group affiliated to Al Qaeda that has kidnapped scores of UN peacekeeping troops in this area, and has massacred Christians deeper in Syria.

It is unclear how the two enemies arrange the rescue. All that has been disclosed is that word reaches Israeli forces that casualties have been dumped at the border, intelligence establishes that it is not a trap, and the commandos are sent in.

In the three years that Israel has been running these operations, it has saved the lives of more than 2,000 Syrians – at least 80 per cent of whom are male and of fighting age – at a cost of 50 million shekels (£8.7 million).

Almost nothing is known about the Syrian as he is wheeled into emergency surgery 40 minutes after the rescue. He may be a member of a relatively moderate Islamist group, or he may be a jihadi. For its part, Israel says it either does not gather, or does not disclose, this information.

Face-to-face with the wounded Syrian Islamic militants

Wounded: The commandos must stabilise the casualty as soon as possible and rush him to hospital so that his wounds can be treated

Safe: The stabilised casualty is stretchered out of the vehicle outside the hospital, where he will be handed over to the surgical team

‘My dream is that one day, the Red Cross will say, thanks guys, we’ll take it from here, you go back to your unit and take care of injured Israelis,’ said Lieutenant Colonel Itzik Malka, commander of the medical branch of the Golan Brigade.

‘I am proud of what we are doing here, but it is a great burden. For every Syrian in hospital, there is one less bed for an Israeli. One day we will have to make a choice between an Israeli life and a Syrian one. When that happens it will be hard, but I have to say my first duty will be to Israelis.’

One day we will have to make a choice between an Israeli life and a Syrian one. When that happens, my first duty will be to Israelis
Lieutenant Colonel Itzik Malka, commander of the medical branch of the Golan Brigade

Officially, Israel says that this operation is part of its programme of humanitarianism, which has provided aid to a long list of countries from Haiti to Nepal. Palestinian civilians are also regular patients at Israeli hospitals such as the Rambam Medical Centre in Haifa.

A spokesman pointed out that about 20 per cent of the Syrians treated by Israel are civilians. MailOnline witnessed Israeli army medics treating a sick two-month-old baby and a middle-aged man who had suffered a heart attack, both of whom were evacuated across the Syrian border by the commandos.

The rescue of the baby girl was particularly poignant. Her older brother had died of a rare bone disease, and her mother feared that she was showing symptoms of the same disorder. Distraught, the woman decided to brave the dangers of the border and appeal to the enemy for help.

The baby was treated under cover of darkness in the back of an armoured car, by Israeli military medics with rifles slung over their shoulders. They were able to ascertain that she was suffering from a high fever and gave the mother some much-needed medication.

Then mother and infant were escorted by heavily-armed combat troops back to the Syrian warzone. Diagnosing the bone disorder would have to wait. 

‘I wouldn’t say that Israel is doing this for nothing,’ said Chris Doyle, Director of the Council for Arab-British Understanding. ‘If so, it wouldn’t be publicising it. 

‘There is an element of wanting to improve the country’s brand and image abroad, when all the opinion polls show that Israel doesn’t have the greatest reputation. £8.7million is a large price to pay for PR, but Israel’s powers-that-be have realised that it has to invest in its image.’

An Israeli Government spokesman rejected these claims as ‘absurd’.

‘Israel is a world leader in providing humanitarian assistance, both in the Middle East and around the world,’ he said. He also pointed out that this is not the first time the Jewish State has given medical care to those bent on its destruction and their families.

In October, a Tel Aviv hospital treated Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ brother-in-law, and last year it treated the daughter of the Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh. But analysts maintain that in the ‘tough neighbourhood’ of the Middle East, it is rare to give something for nothing.

Humanitarian: A Syrian woman (centre) is brought into Israel by commandos so that her ill baby can be treated by military medics

Support: An Israeli Army medic gives the Syrian baby a medical examination. The child’s older brother died of the same condition

Desperate: After being treated in the back of a jeep, mother and infant are escorted back to the dangerous Syrian warzone

Desperate: After being treated in the back of a jeep, mother and infant are escorted back to the dangerous Syrian warzone

MailOnline was given access to interview Syrian militants at the Ziv Medical Centre in Safed, northern Israel, one of a number of hospitals at which they are treated, on condition that their identities are not revealed. If other Syrians discovered they had received medical care in the hated Israel, they would be in danger of execution.

The casualties lavished praise on Israel. ‘I will not fight against Israel in the future. Israel looks after wounded people better than the Arabs. The Arabs are dogs,’ said a wiry rebel fighter who gave his name as Ahmed, 23, who was recovering from a gunshot wound to the groin.

‘Before I came here, I wouldn’t have said this. But there are many people who got injured and came to Israel for treatment, and they told me about it. I feel safe here in Israel. But when I am well again, I will go back and fight.’

Another rebel, 20-year-old Mohammed, whose leg had been all but destroyed by fire from a Russian-made ‘Dushka’ heavy machine gun, agreed. ‘Thanks to Israel for letting me in,’ he said, eyeing the surgical frame supporting his shattered leg.

‘The butcher Assad is my enemy. Israel is not my enemy. The one who treats you is not your enemy.’ As soon as he was well enough, he added, he too intended to go back to Syria to take up arms again.

The Israeli doctor in charge of their treatment, Russian-born Professor Alexander Lerner – a leading expert in treating war injuries – did not disguise his delight at these responses.

‘We are trying to build peace with our neighbours and win their hearts and minds,’ he said. ‘There are now 2,000 Syrians who have had their lives saved by Israel. We hope that this will change their life position. In the future, they will be more friendly to Israel and they won’t want to fight us.’

Recovering: Mohammed, 20, a Syrian militant, receives medical care in Israel after his leg was almost destroyed by heavy machine gun fire

Recovering: Mohammed, 20, a Syrian militant, receives medical care in Israel after his leg was almost destroyed by heavy machine gun fire

Ahmed, 23, a Syrian militant

Ahmed, 23, a Syrian militant

Converted: Ahmed, 23, a Syrian militant, says Israel is no longer his enemy, but many suspect he is just saying what Israelis want to hear

Other medical staff, however, believe that the militants were lying. Issa Peres, 36, a Christian Israeli Arab social worker, said that many hospital staff resented having to treat them.

I don’t trust any one of them. You can’t change their minds by taking care of them for two weeks
Issa Peres, social worker, Ziv Medical Centre

‘I work with the Syrians all the time, I see and hear bad things,’ he said. ‘Many of them said bad words to me, that they are going to kill me, they are going to fight with the Christian community, when they are safe they will fight against Israel.

‘They have destroyed churches and Christian communities in Syria. I have to care for them, it is my job. But if I’m sitting with myself, I say no, it is not right for Israel to treat them.’

Asked about the fighters’ promises not to fight against Israel in the future, he said: ‘I don’t trust any one of them. They grew up believing Israel is their enemy, Israel is the devil. You can’t change their minds by taking care of them for two weeks.’

Other Israelis are more bitter. In June, two wounded Syrian jihadis were attacked by a lynch-mob while they were being transported to hospital by ambulance. One was beaten to death, while the other suffered serious injuries.

Six weeks later, two members of the Israeli Druze community – an Arabic-speaking people found in Israel and across the Levant – were charged with murder. It emerged that the militants were suspected members of Jabhat al-Nusra, an Al Qaeda affiliate who had attacked Druze villages in Syria.

Nervous: A treated Syrian militant is wheeled out of a civilian ambulance a mile from the Syrian border in order to be taken back to Syria

Returning: The militant is due to be returned back to war in an operation that is risky for the Israeli troops who will take him to the border

Farewell: The Syrian militant takes a final look at the medical team that saved his life before heading back to continue fighting in the war

According to one senior Israeli army officer, Israel’s humanitarian mission may also be part of a security strategy, aiming to ‘keep the northern border quiet and our soldiers safe’ by using medical treatment as an ‘insurance policy’.

It is humanitarian, but it’s also a case of “my enemy’s enemy is my friend”
Kamal Alam, research analyst at the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI)

‘The Syrians will not strike us because they know we’d stop helping them,’ Lieutenant Colonel Malka told MailOnline.

‘They are desperate for our medical help. They have no doctors, not even a vet. Once we treated a man who had been stitched up by a friend with a needle and thread. 

‘If they want our help to continue, they know they must stop anybody from attacking our soldiers and civilians.’

Some experts argue that the status quo makes sense for both sides. The militants are stretched almost to breaking-point in a bitter struggle against Assad, and Israel, which is coping with stabbings throughout the country and sporadic rocket fire from Gaza, wants to avoid a flare-up of terror in the north.

Others, however, believe that Israel is also pursuing more hard-headed geopolitical goals. ‘Above all, Israel wants to prevent Hezbollah from gaining control on the other side of the border,’ said Michael Stephens, Research Fellow for Middle East Studies at the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI).

‘The Sunni militants are fighting Hezbollah, so for now they share the same objectives as Israel. That’s why we’re seeing this odd cooperation between people who would be enemies under any other circumstances.

‘It is also possible that Israel is looking at what capacity these Syrians can add to its intelligence gathering in Syria, which is already formidable.’ 

Leaving: The rebel fighter is wheeled out of an ambulance and transferred to a stretcher, which will be placed in an armoured vehicle

The final stage: These are the last moments that this Syrian militant is likely to spend in Israel before he goes back to fight in the war

Transfer: The militant is taken on a stretcher to the waiting armoured vehicle for the short journey back to Syria, where he will be collected

Analysts agree that the powerful Shia alliance of Iran, Hezbollah and Assad’s troops is an existential threat to Israel, far outweighing any danger from the Sunni Islamist rebels (who are backed by Saudi Arabia, understood to have a form of working relationship in some areas with Israel).

Significantly, an Israeli spokesman confirmed that no medical support has been provided to any militants from the Shia alliance.

‘From an Israeli viewpoint, it’s a case of my enemy’s enemy is my friend,’ said Kamal Alam, research analyst at RUSI and an expert in Syrian affairs.

‘There is no one they can trust in the Syrian quagmire, but if you get rid of Hezbollah, that’s the end of Iran in the region. Israel’s main aim has to be to eliminate Hezbollah – and whoever takes on Hezbollah is an uneasy but necessary ally.

‘In giving medical support to these fighters, Israel has done a deal with the devil.’

For Israel to actually arm and equip the Sunni militants, he pointed out, would be to risk a fierce backlash, both from the Arab world and in Israel. It would also run the risk that the weapons could one day be turned against the Jewish State.

Humanitarian medical assistance, on the other hand, which is also offered to civilians, raises fewer objections on both sides, while fulfilling mutual strategic objectives.

Mission accomplished: The armoured car, filled with heavily armed commandos and the patched-up militant, leaves for the Syrian border

Watching him go: A team of commandos look on as their comrades take the militant on the dangerous journey back to war in Syria

This is where the commandos come in. For these young soldiers, the night is yet young; taking Syrian casualties to hospital was just the first half of their duties. As the night wears on, an ambulance draws up carrying a patched-up militant ready to be taken back to war.

He has received treatment at the Rambam Hospital in Haifa, Israel’s leading medical facility for treating the most severely wounded patients. A civilian ambulance – with an armed guard – has taken him on the 90-minute journey to the border, to avoid attracting the attention of lynch-mobs along the way.

MailOnline is allowed to film on condition that the militant is not asked his allegiances. When he is wheeled out of the ambulance, it is clear that despite intensive medical treatment, he is still very unwell. One of his legs is in plaster and the other is scarred with shrapnel pockmarks, and his right eye is covered with a bandage. He looks disoriented and afraid as he is transferred into an armoured vehicle and driven off into the darkness.

From Israel’s point of view, this is the conclusion of another successful humanitarian mission, which now take place nightly as the conflict in Syria burns on. At the same time, however, many believe that this man’s treatment – and the care given to thousands of Syrians like him – is an important, if unlikely, investment in Israel’s security.

WHO IS FIGHTING WHOM IN SYRIA – AND WHERE DOES ISRAEL FIT IN?

For four bitter years, the Syrian civil war has been raging less than a mile from Israeli-held territory (Jake Wallis Simons writes). But aside from the occasional exchange of fire, the Jewish State has so far avoided being dragged into the conflict.

Nonetheless, Israel has significant interests at stake in the hostilities. Most obviously, it does not want to see Iranian influence creeping close to its borders, as this could have serious security repercussions. 

A senior intelligence officer told MailOnline that Israel also concerned about Hezbollah’s role in the Syrian conflict, as the Lebanese militia is gaining valuable combat experience that may strengthen its future operations against Israel.

Below is a summary of the main military actors in Syria, and what each one means for Israel.

Assad’s troops: The Syrian ruler’s forces are now only operational in his stronghold in western Syria, but they are now beginning to regain territory with the help of Russian air support. Israel has fought three bitter wars with Syria, and sees it as a longstanding enemy. 

Iran: Officially, the theocracy denies that it has combat personnel engaged in Syria. But analyses of military burials suggests that at least 100 members of the Revolutionary Guards and the elite Quds Force have been killed in action in the country since January 2013, and its financial and logistical support of Assad is significant. Iran is by far Israel’s most powerful foe, having repeatedly threatened to destroy the Jewish State. Given the large sums of money that will flow into Iran following the lifting of Western sanctions, its deep involvement in Syria is of grave concern to Israel.

Hezbollah: The Shia Lebanese guerrilla organisation has formidable capabilities, and works hand-in-glove with Iran in Syria. It is one of Israel’s most deadly enemies, having kidnapped a number of Israeli soldiers and fought several debilitating conflicts with the Jewish State.

Russia: Officially on friendly terms with Israel, Vladimir Putin nonetheless threw his hat into the ring on the side of Assad in September. The US says Russia has been mostly targeting the ‘moderate’ opposition, but this may have changed since ISIS downed the Russian Airbus A321 in Egypt on 31 October, killing all 224 people on board. Nonetheless, Russia’s main priority is to prop up Assad.

ISIS: The brutal jihadi group, which has become the number one enemy of the West since it mounted attacks in Paris in November, controls areas of Iraq and Syria which is home to five million people and is thought to earn more than $2billion a year. In October, the group released a video in Hebrew in which it promised that ‘not one Jew will be left in Jerusalem’. But it currently does not occupy territory in immediate reach of the Israeli border.

Saudi Arabia: The Gulf monarchy is the principal financial backer of the Sunni militia who are fighting Assad , including the Army of Conquest, a group of Islamist rebels linked to Al Qaeda. It is engaged in a long-term struggle for supremacy with Iran, and is also fighting Iranian-backed Shia forces in Yemen. It is understood that Saudi Arabia and the other Gulf states have a working relationship with Israel, which is hated on the Arab street. Israel has recently opened its first ever diplomatic mission in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Shia militia: Iran has mobilised a multinational network of Shia militias in Syria, which analysts believe serves as Iran’s ‘Foreign Legion’, fighting the Sunni networks of ISIS and al-Qaeda. This includes Shia fighters from Afghanistan and Pakistan. All of these militiamen are informed by Iran’s loathing of Israel, even if they do not necessarily share it to the same extent.

Al Qaeda: Various AQ affiliate groups are fighting Assad in Syria, including the feared al-Nusra Front, also known as the Syrian Al Qaeda. This group attacked Druze villages in southern Syria, angering Israeli Druze on the other side of the border. As a result, two alleged al-Nusra fighters who were being treated in Israel were lynched by Israeli Druze in June 2015.

The Kurds: This proud people has been fighting for an independent Kurdistan for decades, and is currently engaged in a bloody war with ISIS. Kurdish forces are comprised of a number of disparate militia such as the YPG (supported by Syrian Turkmen Brigades) and the PKK, which is locked in an armed struggle with Turkey. The Kurds have long been on friendly terms with Israel, which supports their desire for independence.

Turkey: The country is preoccupied with combating the Turkish Kurds in northern Syria, and has conducted airstrikes against them, as well as against ISIS. It has also provided arms and logistical support to the Free Syrian Army, and wishes to see Assad deposed. Relations between Turkey and Israel were derailed in 2010, when eight Turkish nationals and an American-Turkish activist were killed by Israeli commandos in international waters when they attempted to run the Israeli blockade of Gaza. The relationship has been repaired to a large extent since.

Moderate Syrian rebels: A range of militias opposed to Assad are referred to generally as the Free Syrian Army. David Cameron has placed their numbers at about 70,000, but doubts remain about how unified they are, given the fact that they do not share a central command structure and operate in different parts of the country. They have no immediate desire to fight Israel, but share the general hatred of the Jewish state that dominates in Syria.

United States: The Obama administration failed to attack Assad when he crossed the ‘red line’ of using chemical weapons in 2014. However, it has conducted significant air operations against ISIS, the al Nusra Front and other jihadi groups. The US is a staunch ally of Israel, though relations have been strained in recent years due to differences between President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu over the settlement policy on the West Bank.

France: Following the Paris terror attacks, France has played a leading role in rallying support for Western strikes on ISIS, and has significantly stepped up its own air operations. Large numbers of French Jews have emigrated to Israel in the wake of terror attacks against Jewish targets in France. The French Government was one of the first to recognise the Jewish State in 1948, but also strongly supports the Palestinian right to self-determination.

United Kingdom: The RAF has been bombing ISIS in Iraq since September 2014. After Parliament rejected military strikes against Assad in 2013, British involvement in Syria was limited to logistical support. The vote to approve airstrikes in Syria in December changed that, and the UK is now carrying out fierce air assaults on ISIS in Syria as well as Iraq. Britain is a longstanding friend of Israel, though Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of the opposition, has a reputation for hostility towards the Jewish State. 

Posted in ZIO-NAZI, SyriaComments Off on Nazi Gestapo’s Saving their sworn enemy


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