A group of pro-Israel protesters have held a rally in New York City against the recent nuclear conclusion between Iran and the P5+1 group of countries.
The pro-Zionist protesters gathered in Times Square on Wednesday to demand that Congress veto the proposed agreement with Iran.
The organizers of the rally had advertised heavily in recent weeks and had hoped for a much larger turnout. The New York metropolitan area is home to the largest Jewish population in the world outside Israel.
The demonstrators said the nuclear deal is a threat to Israel and global security, but even the staunchest allies of Israel in the West see it as a step toward a more secure and peaceful world.
Iran and the P5+1 group — the United States, Britain, France, China, Russia and Germany – reached a conclusion on the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) on July 14 in the Austrian capital of Vienna following days of intensive talks over Tehran’s nuclear program.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has fiercely opposed any nuclear agreement.
Israel pressed lawmakers on Wednesday to block the deal, with Israeli Ambassador Ron Dermer meeting privately with a group of about 40 Republican lawmakers in the House of Representatives.
The nuclear accord does not need Congressional approval to take effect, but Republicans are expected to try and add provision with legislation that would block President Barack Obama from removing anti-Iran sanctions imposed by Congress.
The nuclear conclusion reached last week has been praised by world leaders, leaving Tel Aviv isolated.
As many of you already know, Alison Weir (no relation, and she pronounces her name WEER while mine is pronounced WAH-YER) and her organization, If Americans Knew (IAK), have been expelled from the U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation (USCEIO). I decided to get to the bottom of this important development, so I got in touch with Rube Joshner at the USCEIO, who agreed to be interviewed on condition of anonymity.
Barb Weir: For our readers who may not know, could you please explain why the USCEIO expelled IAK and Alison Weir from your organization?
Rube Joshner: Alison Weir violated our most sacred principle against racism, which is at the foundation of all our work.
BW: My goodness! Is she a closet Zionist? Does she advocate an exclusivist Jewish state. Does she support the ethnic cleansing of non-Jews from Palestine or defend the theft of Arab land?
RJ: I’m not sure what you mean by Zionist. I’m not familiar with the term, but as for the rest, no, just the opposite. She violated our anti-Semitism clause.
BW: She’s an anti-Semite?
RJ: Not exactly, but she’s been seen with anti-Semites and she failed to denounce them to their face. We require all of our members to do everything possible to expose and denounce anti-Semites whenever possible, and especially to their face.
BW: I thought that was the job of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL).
RJ: The ADL is too busy defending Israel to fight anti-Semitism. Our organization criticizes Israel, which gives us a much better platform to fight anti-Semitism. In fact, we believe that the best way to defend Israel is to more-or-less liberate a significant part of 18% of Palestine and let Palestinians live there, as long as they are demilitarized and cannot defend themselves.
BW: I thought you were concerned with defending Palestinians.
RJ: We think that the best way to defend Palestinians is to fight anti-Semitism. Anti-Semitism is the cause of all the Palestinians’ problems.
BW: So you’re not opposed to Zionism?
RJ: There you go with that word again. What do you mean?
BW: I’m talking about the project to create a Jewish state where none previously existed. You’re not opposed to a state that prefers Jews?
RJ: Where did you get that idea?
BW: I thought you had a policy against racism. Isn’t a Jewish state a racist idea?
RJ: We support the principle of separate but equal, and you won’t find anything against a Jewish state in our policy on racism. That would be anti-Semitic.
BW: Are you planning to expel all the groups that oppose a Jewish state?
RJ: As I said, our first duty is to fight anti-Semitism. Sometimes a group that opposes a Jewish state will get expelled.
BW: Do you have a plan for accomplishing this?
RJ: I’m glad you asked. We’re just now drafting a new application form with a list of questions that is not in the old form. We may even apply it retroactively. Would you like to see it?
1. Are you now or have you ever been an anti-Semite?
2. Have you ever attended a meeting of anti-Semites?
3. Have you ever associated anyone that was or is an anti-Semite?
4. Are you willing to provide the U.S. Campaign with a list of all anti-Semites that you have known?
5. Have you ever tolerated the presence of anti-Semites without denouncing or challenging them?
RJ: I hope that shows we’re serious about fighting racism and defending Palestinians.
Barb Weir is the pseudonym of a writer in Northern California.
On Tuesday, July 14, German Chancellor Angela Merkel appeared on a television program called “Good Life in Germany” in which she spoke to local teenagers. Among the audience was 13-year old Reem, a Palestinian refugee who fled their camp in Lebanon four years ago.
In a shaky voice of fluent German, young Reem said, “I have goals like everyone else…I want to go to university.” But, she explained, she and her family are facing deportation. “It’s very unpleasant to see how others can enjoy life, and I can’t myself,” she said, “I want to study like them.”
Chancellor Merkel responded with the standard western fear of immigrants. She said if Germany allows her to stay, there would be thousands of Palestinian refugees, then thousands from “Africa” [that singular large country] who will flood into Germany. “We can’t cope with that,” she said. Young Reem crumbled into sobs and the footage of her interaction with Chancellor Merkel went viral.
Headlines and political analyses across Europe and the US spoke of Merkel’s dry response to a brave young girl, desperate for an education, for a stable life, for something other than lingering fear and uncertainty to frame her life. I read at least 15 opinion pieces on the subject and most of them couched this incident in the much discussed “immigration crisis” across Western Europe. Leftist pundits decried the chancellor as heartless, insisting on Europe’s humanitarian responsibility toward the wretched of the earth. Right leaning pundits reflected Merkel’s sentiments that Europe has enough to worry about and should not be expected to shoulder the world’s problems. Others were simply pragmatic, echoing the words of Eva Lohse, president of the German association of Cities, who cautioned, “we’re reaching the limits of our capacity.”
All these analyses missed the most important point.
Not one of them touched on the fact that Reem is a refugee directly and indirectly because of German actions. Reem, and “thousands upon thousands of Palestinian refugees,” as Merkel put it, are stateless precisely because Germany, along with other western nations, continue to support zionist colonialism that expelled, and continues to expel, native Palestinians from their ancestral homeland.
Reem would not need German “charity” were Germany to insist that the massive military and financial aid it gives to Israel were contingent upon Israel’s adherence to basic tenets of morality and international law that explicitly provide for Reem’s right to live in her native homeland. Reem might not be lost in the world were Germany to make the many lucrative European economic and trade incentives with Israel subject to the dismantling of zionist Apartheid that deems Reem a lesser human, unworthy of her own heritage, home and history.
More than the enormous material support is the favor that Germany provides for Israel to continue its entrenchment of the structural and institutional racism that offers state privilege and entitlement to citizens in accordance with their religion. It because of the political cover that Germany offers Israel to destroy Palestinian life, society and culture with impunity that Reem remains a refugee. Last summer, for example, after Israel slaughtered Palestinians in Gaza from land, air, and sea, the UN Human Rights Council urged the UN to “urgently dispatch an independent, international commission of inquiry to investigate all violations [of international law] in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, particularly in the occupied Gaza Strip, in the context of the military operations conducted since 13 June 2014.” Despite the horrors that Palestinians endured in the course of 51 days, Germany could not muster the most minimal affirmation of Palestinian humanity to vote in favor of such an inquiry.
Watching the footage, those of us with a sense of history seethe at such a spectacle of western paternalism. Merkel’s response to Reem was a perfect display of the breathtaking willful denial of western governments, which are, indeed, creators of refugees. The truth is that our part of the world lay in ruin, fear, and devastation largely because of imperialist western “operations” in pursuit of a hegemony that holds our lives in contempt, utter disregard and disrespect. From Iraq to Palestine to Libya, Germany has played a terrible and pivotal role in the evisceration of us. Together with her western allies, they have made beggars of our mothers, doctors and teachers, and produced generations of traumatized, illiterates into what were once high functioning populations. They destroyed our societies down to their foundations, vanquishing the social mechanisms that marginalize extreme elements, such that into the chaos and gaping misery of our lives now runs amuck a powerful organization of ghoulish fanatics.
So, to the leftist, the right wing, and the pragmatic pundits, I say spare us, please, the self-serving blather about whether you should or should not “help” others. It would be enough to cease the harm caused and perpetuated by the west. At a minimum, try to inject a kernel of honest self-reproach into your discourse on immigration. Examine your role in creating the crises around the world that bring desperate human beings to your shores. Ask why is Reem a refugee, perhaps third or fourth generation, and what is Germany’s role in the boundless tragedy that continues to befall Palestine.
This summer marks the twentieth year of Christian Peacemaker Team’s presence in Palestine. While that does not seem to be a reason to celebrate, we do feel we should mark the occasion.
In an insane Machiavellian screed, American-Jewish archaeologist and Zionist propagandist Alex Joffe has suggested that the nascent West-Iran rapprochement in the form of the nuclear deal be used as an opportunity for criminal subversion and sabotage now that Tehran will ostensibly open up its economy to Western business investment.
In a July 14, 2015, column for the Times of Israel titled “The Deal with Iran: How to Make Lemonade out of Lemons,” the Zionist extremist outlines a plethora of ways that Iran can be undermined and destabilized. Joffe called upon “those interested in the two goals of an Iran free of nuclear weapons and free of religious fascism” to heed his words, insisting that the West-Iran nuclear deal is perhaps “a moment of opportunity” to infiltrate and destroy the Persian nation from within.
Joffe explained that the P5+1-Iran nuclear accord recently signed in Vienna would result in Iran “undergo[ing] a kind of opening to the world. Taking advantage of that is now a vital goal for Western intelligence and public diplomacy. It is the art of the making lemonade out of lemons.”
Joffe’s “making lemonade out of lemons” scheme to overthrow the Iranian government entails using business investment prospects as a cover for “Western intelligence agencies to gather information and to subvert the Iranian regime.” He specifically encourages an intense campaign of cyber and psychological warfare:
“One simple method are thumb drives, containing viruses to disrupt computer networks, encryption tools to evade official Iranian surveillance and firewalls, and perhaps even Western music, literature, and movies to subvert repressive traditional values, and classics of Western political thought to inspire Iranian society toward a liberal democratic future. Jazz and rock, blue jeans and samizdat literature played roles in the collapse of communism; their 21st century analogs should be enlisted to help Iranian society reform itself.”
On top of those subterfuges Joffe champions the introduction of “cyberweapons such as Stuxnet into Iran’s strategic computer systems. Stuxnet and its variants were designed to slow and damage computer controlled systems in Iran’s nuclear centrifuges, apparently with success.” He goes on:
“New cyberweapons aimed at Iran’s nuclear program, along with missiles, military radars and aviation, regime communications and record-keeping, and much more, are all likely under development in the West — or should be. Certainly Iran is developing its own cyberweapons, and has virtually unlimited access points to introduce them. But its weapons are aimed Western banks and critical infrastructure, such as electric grids. It is in everyone’s interest that more targeted cyberattacks on the Iranian regime and its weapons systems succeed first.”
“Openness should have a high price for Iran, both real and imagined,” writes the deranged Zionist. He calls for Western (read: Zionist) spies to front as businessmen and stir unrest in the Islamic Republic. “Access to Iran’s people also raises the potential to eventually inspire them to overthrow the repressive theocratic fascist regime,” he ponders with glee. Additionally he advocates stoking up ethnic minorities in Iran such as the “Ahwaz Arab tribes in the southwest, ethnic Baluch and Pashtun in the east, and Azeris and Kurds in the northwest” to revolt against Tehran.
“But putting the regime under stress is an important means to bring about its transformation or demise,” Joffe proclaims, openly inciting for sabotage and crimes within a sovereign state. Increasing alienation between Iranian youth and the Islamic government should be a “paramount strategic goal” for the Zionist-led West, he concludes.
Joffe’s provocative screed seems to mimic a little-known 2009 strategy paper produced by the Brookings Institution (a US-based neocon, pro-Israel think tank) entitled “Which Path to Persia?” That paper, co-authored by former high-level American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) member Martin Indyk, likewise outlined duplicitous strategies for out-and-out regime change in Iran including cyber warfare, terrorism, inciting internal ethnic and religious strife, provoking rebellion among minority groups, a military coup, and overt military invasion. The Brookings neocons weighed the pros and cons of each “option” and even went so far as to call for “goading” Iran into retaliating to US covert operations as a pretext for war.
Copyright 2015 Non-Aligned Media
Am I laughing. As Peace Prize Obama lectures us and the Republicans and Neocons have a cow, maybe we should pause to contemplate the full fraudulent spectacle in progress and analyze what we are being told about the just-concluded nuclear negotiations with Iran.
First of all, I’ve been wondering what in the world the phalanx of negotiators could possibly have been talking about behind closed doors all these many months, busting through multiple deadlines, in view of the fact that Iran possesses no nukes and has no nuclear weapons program, is a member of the International Atomic Energy Agency, and that Iran’s Mullah leadership has denounced and outlawed nuclear weapons from day one.
In the second place, it is amazing that any deal at all was arrived at, since Obama & Company, following in the footsteps of Bush and Clinton, has allowed the incredible demonization of Iran to go unchecked and unchallenged. The demonization continues and may yet blow up the agreement on Capitol Hill.
Both the Grand Ayatollah Khomeini (who ignited a revolution which terminated the Pahlavi dynasty in 1979) and the current supreme leader, the Grand Ayatollah Hosseini Khamenei, issued Fatwas which prohibit the manufacture and/or use of nuclear weapons by Iran.
On top of that, the U.S. intelligence community has itself informed the White House, the U.S. Senate, and the Congress of the non-existence of an Iranian nuclear weapons program in no uncertain terms in 2007. These conclusions were reiterated in 2011. The information was contained in National Intelligence Estimates compiled by Washington’s 16 intelligence agencies.
Alas, no one at the White House or on Capitol Hill dares mention these important documents, or cares to inform the ignorant American public about the facts. Why? Do the beltway politicians want the average American to remain in the dark? Hmm. What is going on here?
What is going on is blatant extortion and blackmail by the Obama White House, with Tehran on the receiving-end. President Obama has done a very effective job of it, building upon the hysteria, insanity and wholesale mendacity of the Cheney Regency, aka, the G.W. Bush Presidency. Obama does indeed deserve a prize for taking the targeting of Iran to the next level.
The non-existent Iranian nuke program and the purported, much-hyped Iranian race to build a nuclear weapon have been used as a stick to try to beat Iran into the ground, or at least to its knees, via all-encompassing economic and financial sanctions. The injustice and dishonesty of this undertaking is breathtaking. Europe stood by and watched. No, it did more. It joined in. The hapless leadership in Tehran had no choice at the end of the day but to deal with the extortionists. Tehran wanted to reunite with the world economy.
Here it gets tricky. Because Tehran had no nukes and Tehran knew that Washington knew that Tehran had no nukes, what exactly could Tehran do to prove a negative–thereby eliminating the purported “threat”–which negative was already well known to be a fact by the sanctimonious, stone-faced extortionists sitting across the table? Tehran concluded, nevertheless, it should go along with this charade, and not embarrass Obama and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry. In short, Tehran decided the best tactic was to humor the bullying White House.
All that mattered for Tehran was an abatement of economic warfare and, most importantly, renewed access to European markets and to the international banking system. To achieve this, Tehran has agreed, under the current document, to amazingly intrusive, and redundant intervention into its nuclear energy program. This amounts to a de facto foreign takeover of the Iranian civilian nuclear program. It is an insult to Iran’s sovereignty, but what has Iran actually lost? It had nothing to lose to begin with.
One might ask as this point: what was the motivation for Washington’s peculiar conduct? Well, here it is. In the United States, as in Europe, there is something called domestic politics, which has now degenerated into a self-perpetuating business, dominated by special interest groups and lobbies, all largely driven by cash, to wit, campaign contributions. It is big business.
Since the general public does not have the time nor inclination to figure out which politician is relatively honest and which is an outright charlatan, advertising is most important to clarify the issue. Brainwashing or, if you like, spin and PR, costs money. It requires enormous campaign contributions and media support.
To achieve that, Washington politicians, if they want to hold onto their jobs, must pander to what is called the Israel Lobby, the most powerful lobby in Washington. In this direct way and by this simple method, domestic politics gets translated immediately into foreign policy. At least with respect to the Middle East, U.S. foreign policy has nothing to do with what is right and wrong, reasonable or ridiculous, or even about what is in the best interests of the United States or the American people.
All that is secondary. First and foremost are the dictates of the U.S. Israel Lobby, whose apparatchiki receive their cue from Tel Aviv, currently run by Likud and its leader, the charming con man Benny Netanyahu whom some consider to be a war criminal. That’s it in a nutshell.
I realize that the above scenario might appear outlandish and grotesque, but it actually conforms to business as usual. For confirmation, you might study chapter 10–“Iran in the Crosshairs”–of The Israel Lobby (2007) by Professors John Mearsheimer and Steven Walt. It should be on the desk of every Senator and Congressman in Washington, if only to give them a second chance to mend their ways.
In the meantime, please read the up-to-the-minute article by Professor William O. Beeman, titled “Iran Won the Vienna Accords By Agreeing to Stop What It Never Was Doing”. Beeman is an Iran expert, curiously unfazed by establishment propaganda.
Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei says the ongoing sectarian and tribal wars have been imposed on the Middle East region to deflect Muslims’ attention away from the atrocities of the Israeli regime.
The Leader made the remarks in a Saturday meeting with senior Iranian officials and ambassadors of Muslim countries posted in Iran on the occasion of Eid al-Fitr, marking the end of the holy Muslim fasting month of Ramadan.
“If the Islamic Ummah were united and relied on their own commonalities, they would certainly be a unique power in the international political scene but big powers have imposed such divisions on the Islamic Ummah to pursue their own interests and safeguard the Zionist regime [of Israel],” Ayatollah Khamenei said.
The Leader added that certain incompetent officials in Muslim countries support the “illegitimate” Israeli regime, noting that arrogant powers created “criminal” terrorist groups such as al-Qaeda and the ISIL.
“Iran has no trust in the US because American politicians are completely dishonest and unfair,” Ayatollah Khamenei said.
He stressed the importance of reinforcing unity among Muslim nations, and said Shia and Sunni Muslims have long coexisted peacefully in the region.
“With regard to regional issues like Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Lebanon and Bahrain, the Islamic Republic of Iran does not pursue its own interests but it believes that the main decision-makers in these counties are the nations and others have no right to interfere and make decisions,” the Leader said.
Ayatollah Khamenei pointed to arrogant powers’ policies on Yemen, saying the US is supporting the Arab country’s fugitive former president who left the country at a sensitive juncture.
He added that arrogant powers also seek to overthrow a popular government in Iraq, sow discord among Muslims and divide the country, but the Islamic Republic’s policy vis-a-vis its western neighbor is based on supporting a democratic government, resisting factors of civil wars and defending Iraq’s territorial integrity.
Arrogant powers intend to oust the Syrian government which is strongly resisting the Israeli regime, the Leader said, adding that Iran considers an anti-Zionist country as useful for the Muslim world.
Ayatollah Khamenei once again reaffirmed Iran’s support for the Lebanese resistance movement due to its bravery and genuine resistance against aggressive powers.
“The Americans dub the Lebanese resistance as terrorist and regard Iran as a supporter of terrorism because of its support for the Lebanese Hezbollah, while the Americans, themselves, are the real terrorists who have created Daesh [ISIL] and support the wicked Zionists,” the Leader said.
Ayatollah Khamenei further pointed to the latest round of nuclear talks between Iran and the P5+1 group of countries in Vienna, and called on the Iranian nation to remain united because the negotiators are pursuing national interests.
GAZA CITY – Israeli forces shot and injured a Palestinian teenager Friday evening in the town of Abasan al-Kabira east of the Khan Younis district in the southern Gaza Strip, witnesses said.
Mansour Abu Taima, 14, was reportedly hit with a live bullet in his left foot near the border line.
The teen was taken to the Gaza European Hospital for treatment where his injury was reported as moderate.
An Israeli army spokesperson did not have immediate information on the incident.
Last week, there were at least 11 incidents of live fire from Israeli forces towards Palestinians in “access restricted areas” inside of the Gaza Strip, according to the UN Office of the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.
Also referred to as a “buffer zone” Israeli authorities restrict access by Palestinian residents to areas along both the land and sea borders of the Gaza Strip.
The zone is enforced on the pretext of security, however its exact limits have historically fluctuated and have had a detrimental impact on the Palestinian agricultural and fishing sectors.
Israeli forces have repeatedly opened fire on Palestinian civilians near the border since a ceasefire agreement signed Aug. 26, 2014 ended a 50-day war between Israel and Hamas.
Part of the agreement intended to pave the way for eased restrictions on access to border areas.
In March alone, there were a total of 38 incidents of shootings and incursions into the Strip as well as arrests, according to the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR).
That was up from 26 incidents through February that left seven Palestinians injured and one dead.
According to PCHR, the “buffer zone,” which Palestinians are prohibited from entering, “is illegal under both Israeli and international law.”
The group said: “The precise area designated by Israel as a ‘buffer zone’ is not clear and this Israeli policy is typically enforced with live fire.”
Not content with permanently extending and rupturing negotiations over the two-state compromise, Israel has announced a new twist to the internationally accepted framework. According to Haaretz, a senior Israeli official declared that it would only engage in talks with the EU as long as settlement construction would remain off the agenda. The talks, according to the official, would centre upon “improving the economic situation for Palestinians in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.”
The EU initiative, which consisted of a request to initiate talks regarding the West Bank and the defunct two-state paradigm, was proposed to Israel in November 2014. Electoral preparations and the formation of the new government hindered a prompt response from Israel, according to the official.
Another condition imposed by Israel is the avoidance of discussing a permanent agreement with the Palestinians. The result would be a diluted semblance of negotiations – one that would limit political commitment while imposing even more conditions upon Palestinians, including permanent acquiescence and dependence.
While seemingly veering away from the usual negotiations, the latest Israeli response to the EU proposal has exacerbated the “waiting” game inflicted upon Palestinians. Discussing the economic situation in the West Bank while avoiding the topic of settlement expansion will ultimately result in additional economic benefits for Israel, as it expropriates more land and utilises Palestinian territory for its own gain – a continuation of the early colonisation policies that paved the way for the inception of the fabricated state.
EU Ambassador to Israel Lars Faaborg Andersen had declared the EU’s intention to preserve the two-state hypothesis, stating that “a series of red lines” would be drawn up, leading to sanctions if Israel crossed them. Meanwhile in recent weeks, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius met with both Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and PA President Mahmoud Abbas in a bid to seek reassurances of continued PA subjugation with regard to future negotiations. For every half-hearted initiative conjured up by the EU, individual initiatives seeking to protect Israel from any consequences are consistently applied, in order to reassure Israel of the international community’s perpetual support.
Israel has also been conducting studies with regard to a complete boycott of Israel within the EU – such a move would, according to the Israeli Finance Ministry, cost the settler-colonial state $23.3 billion in losses. The commissioned study departed from a worst case scenario that would shift Israel’s status from Western ally to a state targeted both politically and through NGOs.
Whether discussions incorporate or omit the two-state compromise, the outcome will be ingrained within complicity and impunity. Punitive measures against Israel have been discussed, drawn up as a plan and heralded in the media, yet implementation is always halted by further discussions and concessions. The latest dissociation by Israel is effectively a plan to increase its settlement expansion plans while feigning cooperation with the PA to improve the economic situation. If the EU agrees to this proposal it will constitute further proof of its complicity with Israel’s colonial enterprise.
Human rights activists have condemned the British government’s decision to lift restrictions on weapons sales to Israel put in place during last summer’s Gaza conflict.
Campaign Against the Arms Trade (CAAT) said on Friday the move sends the message that Israel can continue using British arms against Palestinians and the UK government will turn a blind eye.
The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) defended the move, however, saying a year-long review of arms licenses to Israel had left it satisfied the contracts meet the UK’s export criteria.
The announcement comes after a report published in early July revealed the British government approved £4mn worth of arms to Israel in the immediate months following the start of Israel’s Operation Protective Edge.
Andrew Smith of CAAT expressed disbelief at the government’s decision to lift restrictions on arms exports to Israel.
“This report is extremely weak. It sends the message that Israel can continue using UK arms against the people of Gaza and the government will do nothing to stop it,” he told RT.
“The bombardment last summer killed over 2000 people and created a humanitarian catastrophe. If that wasn’t enough to change the government’s mind then what would it take?”
Business Secretary Sajid Javid said on Thursday his department was satisfied that licenses for military material, including components for radar and tanks, now meet the UK’s export criteria. Under UK regulations, the sale of arms that can be used to commit human rights violations are banned.
“Following the review the Government has concluded that in the present context where the facts are clearer these criteria may now be applied, without any additional measures,” BIS said in a statement.
A review of export licenses for arms sales to Israel was set in motion in August 2014, a month after Israel’s offensive in Gaza began.
Then-Business Secretary Vince Cable said at the time that the government was unable to clarify if the arms licenses has breached UK regulations.
“We welcome the current ceasefire in Gaza and hope that it will lead to a peaceful resolution. However, the UK government has not been able to clarify if the export licenses criteria are being met,” he said.
“In light of that uncertainty we have taken the decision to suspend these existing export licenses in the event of a resumption of significant hostilities.”
“No new licenses of military equipment have been issued for use by the Israeli Defence Forces during the review period, and as a precautionary measure this approach will continue until hostilities cease,” he added.
The government’s decision comes weeks after The Independent revealed Whitehall approved £4mn worth of arms sales to Israel in the immediate months following last summer’s grueling Gaza war.
Among the arms sales Britain presided over, were special components for military helicopters and a range of hi-tech parts for guidance and navigation systems used by the Israeli Defense Force (IDF).
In June, a United Nations report accused both Israel and Palestinian armed groups of possible war crimes during the 2014 Gaza conflict.
Conducted by an independent Commission appointed by the UN Human Rights Council, the inquiry found that “serious violations of international humanitarian law” had occurred during the conflict that “may amount to war crimes.”
Iranian fencer Taher Ashouri has refused to take on his Israeli opponent at the 2015 World Fencing Championship currently under way in the Russian capital city of Moscow.
On Tuesday, the 23-year-old Iranian sportsman prevailed over Kazakhstan’s Dmitriy Alexanin and Latvian competitor Tomas Makarovas in his first two contests of men’s senior épée section at Moscow’s famous Olympic Stadium sports complex.
Ashouri, however, conceded defeats against Finnish, South Korean and Swedish representatives, Kasper Roslander, Na Jongkwan and Christian Gustavsson, in the three following matches.
The Iranian fencer then refused to fence in an encounter with the Israeli opponent, Ariel Drizin, in the next round, and was subsequently given a ban by the sports governing body and excluded from the rest of the contest.
The épée is the modern derivative of the dueling sword used in fencing.
The 2015 World Fencing Championship started in Moscow on July 13 and will run until July 19. Some 912 fencers from 108 countries are competing in the event to win a title of champion and, equally as prestigious and important, to qualify for the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
JERUSALEM – A 55-year-old Palestinian lost an eye after he was hit by a sponge-tipped bullet while seeking shelter from clashes between Israeli soldiers and Palestinian youths in Shufat refugee camp in East Jerusalem Sunday.
Video footage caught on a surveillance camera in a grocery shop showed the moment Nafiz Dmeiri sought refuge from the clashes inside the shop and was shot in the face.
He was evacuated to Hadassah Medical Center in Ein Kerem in West Jerusalem.
An Israeli human rights group, the Association for Civil Rights in Israel, said in a statement that Dmeiri is deaf and mute, has one child and works at a tailor shop.
The statement called on Israeli police to stop using “black sponge bullets during riot dispersal.”
Dmeiri was one of two Palestinians injured during the clashes that broke out after “undercover” Israeli forces raided a clothing store inside the camp to make an arrest.
A Fatah spokesman in the camp, Thaer Fasfous, told Ma’an that Israeli forces had opened fire on local residents “indiscriminately,” hitting Dmeiri in the eye and another man in the upper body.
According to Israeli rights group B’Tselem, sponge-tipped bullets “are made of 40-mm-diameter plastic with a sponge tip intended to reduce the bodily injury it causes.”
They were introduced after the use of rubber-coated steel bullets was prohibited within Israel, and are commonly used in occupied East Jerusalem, though rarely in the West Bank.
B’Tselem said that sponge-tipped bullets, “if used according to the safety regulations, (are) less dangerous than a rubber-coated metal bullet.”
However, the group said it had documented a number of instances where “police officers have fired sponge rounds unlawfully, in blatant violation of the regulations, resulting in injury to Palestinians… (and) in the loss of an eye in at least one case.”