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Palestine: Saudi Arabia, Egypt using Rafah crossing to pressure us

MEMO | November 17, 2017

The Rafah crossing between the besieged Gaza Strip and Egypt is being used a tool to pressure Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to enter into US-backed peace talks with Israel, a Palestinian Authority official has said.

“The Rafah crossing has become a tool that Egypt and Saudi Arabia use to pressure Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to accept the entry into a new round of US-backed negotiations with Israel,” the PA official said, warning that “the negotiations could reach results that may affect the rights of the Palestinians.”

According to the Cairo agreement which was signed on 12 October, Egypt agreed with Fatah and Hamas to reopen the Rafah border crossing last Tuesday, but the official said that “Saudi Arabia seemed to have pressured Egypt to retreat until the PA approves the two-state solution deal.”

The official described the exploiting of the only humanitarian crossing for Gaza’s residents as “suspicious”.

“They [Arab countries] are using the crossing to strengthen their ties with the US and Israel” he added.

Israel has maintained a blockade on Gaza for a decade, with tight restrictions in place on the movement of people and goods at its crossings, citing the need to control Hamas and stop Islamic groups from obtaining weapons or materials that could be used against Tel Aviv. Egypt has supported the blockade by closing the Rafah crossing, leaving Palestinian in Gaza no access to the outside world.

Gaza’s two million residents suffer from worsening humanitarian conditions, with only a few hours of power a day and a lack of clean water. Control of the Rafah crossing at Gaza’s southern border has long been a sticking point between the two Palestinian factions, and between Egypt and the Palestinians in Gaza for whom the crossing represents a vital gateway to the outside world.

November 17, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , | Leave a comment

“The Agreement of the Century”

By Paul Larudee | Dissident Voice | October 18, 2017

According to a report circulating unofficially in Arabic, the latest in a sixty-nine year history of proposals to resolve the western Zionist invasion of Palestine (AKA the Israeli-Palestinian “conflict”) is about to see the light of day. It claims Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu originated the proposal and that secret deliberations have been underway for more than five months.

Netanyahu has now presented the proposal to the US, which made some changes and agreed to promote it. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas will carry the plan, called “the Agreement of the Century” to Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait for review and discussion.

The provisions

The proposal has 21 points, but the main provisions are that the West Bank will be federated (or re-federated) with Jordan, and the Gaza Strip with Egypt. Together, they will be known as the Palestinian Confederation, ostensibly converting the Palestinian “Authority” into a national government, although it is already widely recognized as such and although it will not have any of the authority or sovereignty that nation states are deemed to have under international law.

Israel will govern Jewish settlements directly and Jerusalem is excluded from the proposal, for resolution at a later time. The primary function of Jordan, Egypt and the Palestinian Authority, therefore, will be to take over the security functions currently administered by the Israeli armed forces; i.e., to protect Israel and repress Palestinians. As they say in Israel, “When you have a dirty job, give it to an Arab.”

Other provisions concern development of infrastructure, international guarantees, and conversion of Hamas into a purely political party while integrating its military wing into the Palestinian security forces. The borders will be based on the armistice lines as of June 4th, 1967, with some territorial swaps. Refugees will be permitted to “return” to the West Bank and Gaza, even if it is not the home from which they were displaced. This is not going to be accepted by expatriate refugees in Lebanon, Syria and other countries, but they have always been disenfranchised in all proposals, and this one is no exception.

Unanswered questions

The biggest unanswered question is the status of Jerusalem. Will the Arab leaders accept an agreement that has no assurances at all with respect to Jerusalem? This is hard to imagine, and it was, in fact, the major stumbling block to an agreement at the Camp David Summit in 2000.

Another major unknown is what happens to the West Bank areas designated A, B and C in the Oslo agreement. Area A is the only one of the three where Oslo grants full administrative and security control to the Palestinian Authority, and it comprises less than 15% of the total area of the West Bank, itself only 18% of historic Palestine. Israel is unlikely to hand B and C over to Palestinian authority and limit the settlements to their current footprints, without prospect of outward expansion or new settlements. More likely, they will insist upon continuing the current arrangement, allowing Israel to continue expanding the settlements indefinitely. This is also unlikely to be acceptable to the Arabs and to the Palestinian people.

Analysis

What do the parties to the agreement expect to gain from it?

Israel wants to rid itself of the Palestinians. It wants the land but not the people. It also wants to stop being considered an occupier of someone else’s land. In 1948 it achieved this by massive ethnic cleansing and genocide. In 1967 it used the same methods but was somewhat less successful except on the Golan Heights, where it expelled 94% of the population. Since then, expulsions have been gradual and slower, except for the 2006 expulsion of a million people in south Lebanon, which was subsequently reversed by the victory of the Hezbollah resistance.

If the above assumptions about areas A, B and C are correct, a signed agreement means that Israel concedes nothing at all and will be able to continue with its territorial ambitions. However, it will rid itself of the Palestinians by farming out the occupation to Jordan, Egypt and the Palestinian Authority. The agreement also removes the teeth (such as they are) of Hamas, and makes Israel appear to be a “peacemaker” with a “generous proposal”.

Mahmoud Abbas’s interest is to become the president of a “real” (though not sovereign) country, recognized universally, even by Israel. He also gets Gaza in the bargain, as well as some handsome development funds that will improve the economy, at least in the short run. The recently announced “unity government” between Hamas and Fatah can be seen as a prelude to such an agreement, and a means of strengthening Abbas’s hand in the negotiations (which is why Israel is not very happy about it).

Hamas gains the least of any of the parties, but Israel’s decade-long siege on Gaza is now so debilitating that they are possibly loathe to dash the hopes of their people for relieving their isolation. They are under tremendous pressure to improve the intolerable living conditions, and may not wish to be seen as spoilers.

The Arab monarchies and Egypt want to be rid of the problem and to get on with other concerns, chiefly their rivalry and potential conflict with Iran. In this case they would like to be able to collaborate and ally themselves more openly with a powerful Israel, which the agreement will legitimate. Iraq and Syria, who are friendly to Iran, are not currently on Abbas’s itinerary, which underscores that their views are not likely to be given consideration.

The US also gets a Middle East peace agreement that has eluded eleven administrations since 1948, and which Trump desperately needs to bolster his flagging image on the domestic front. The agreement would also strengthen the hand of both the US and Israel to undertake aggressive action against Iran and destroy it as a regional power, which is an ambition of both countries and the conservative Arab regimes.

All of this assumes that the agreement will be approved. That is still a very big “if”. But Israel is also prepared for failure, which also works to their advantage. In that case Israel will do what it has always done: blame the Palestinians for refusing to be complicit in their own demise. They will then give their military a free hand to commit another pogrom, known in Israel as “mowing the grass”.

In fact, Israel may pull another plan off the shelf, one using a more direct means of ridding themselves of the Palestinians. They learned in Lebanon that they could create a million refugees in ten days, and thereby clear the land of its inhabitants. Instead of “mowing the grass”, this would be more akin to “scorching the earth”, which is also a definition of the term “holocaust”.

Paul Larudee is one of the founders of the Free Gaza and Free Palestine Movements and an organizer in the International Solidarity Movement.

October 19, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation | , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

Egyptian army starts third phase of buffer zone plan on Gaza borders

Palestine Information Center – October 5, 2017

CAIRO – North Sinai Governor Abdel Fattah Harhour announced Thursday that the third phase of the buffer zone plan along the border areas with Gaza Strip has started.

Buildings and facilities located in the area of the buffer zone have been completely surveyed in preparation for evacuation and demolition, he added.

The first and second phases have been completed, with each phase covering 500 meters. It is believed that the third phase will cover an additional 500 meters.

The first phase involved the displacement of more than 1,000 families, whilst the second phase involved the evacuation of 2,044 families from the area. The third phase will involve approximately 1,215 houses and 40 governmental facilities, according to Harhour’s statements.

The buffer zone is amongst the security measures taken by the Egyptian armed forces in 2014 in order to destroy smuggling tunnels connecting North Sinai with the Gaza Strip. The tunnels were used to smuggle “terrorists and weapons” into the restive Sinai Peninsula, according to Egyptian authorities.

October 5, 2017 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , | Leave a comment

Activist: Saudi’s 2030 Vision Coordinated by Washington, Tel Aviv

Al-Manar | September 28, 2017

Saudi activist Mujtahid said that the inclusive change in Saudi Arabia (political, social and economic change) is coming, noting that the authorities will arrest all those who stand against this change,

On his Twitter account, Mujtahid quoted a US advisor, who takes part in Saudi Arabia’s Vision for 2030 project, as saying that the change is coming.

This change requires Crown Prince Mohamamd Bin Salman’s monopolization of power on the political level, secularizing the kingdom on the social level, and selling Aramco firm on the economical level, Mujtahid said, citing the US advisor.

He revealed that such plan is being coordinated with the US, Zionist entity, Egypt and UAE, noting that all these sides share the same stance regarding the arrest campaign which will target all those who reject this change.

In this context, Mujtahid, who is believed to be a member of or have a well-connected source in the royal family, pointed out that the arrests which were made recently represents an early stage of this plan of change.

September 28, 2017 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Economics, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

After being blocked from entering Gaza Aid convoy to return to Algeria

Palestine Information Center – August 23, 2017

Head of the relief department of the Algerian Scholars Association, Yahya Sari, said on Tuesday that negotiations with Egyptian authorities to allow the Algerian humanitarian convoy to enter the Gaza Strip have reached a dead end.

Sari told Quds Press that the convoy is preparing to return to Algeria as soon as possible so that the medicines are not damaged due to heat.

He pointed out that Egyptian authorities have given their reasons for preventing the entry of the convoy into Gaza, but he did not disclose them.

The 14-truck convoy, carrying medical aid worth over $4 million, contained medicines, medical supplies, ambulances and electricity generators urgently needed for Gaza’s hospitals.

The convoy named (Algeria-Gaza 4) arrived on Wednesday at the Egyptian side of Rafah crossing in preparation for entering the Gaza Strip, but it was asked on Friday evening to return to the Egyptian city of Port Said despite having all the documents required to deliver aid to Gaza.

Ammar Talbi, the deputy head of the Algerian Scholars Association, appealed two days ago to Egyptian authorities to expedite the entry of the Algerian convoy into the coastal enclave fearing that some medicines may deteriorate due to the high temperature.

Talbi said in a statement that the convoy was purely humanitarian and that it left Algeria after obtaining the approvals of both Algerian and Egyptian authorities in early February.

August 23, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , , | 2 Comments

Remembering the Rabaa massacre

By Amelia Smith | MEMO | August 14, 2017

Four years ago today the Egyptian army stormed a sit-in at Cairo’s Rabaa square and slaughtered 1,000 people who were protesting against the removal of the country’s first democratically elected President, Mohammed Morsi. People were shot, burnt alive and suffocated with tear gas. Security forces blocked the entrances so that ambulances couldn’t get in to treat the wounded.

What: Rabaa Massacre

When: 14 August 2013

Where: Egypt

What happened?

After Morsi was ousted in a military coup on 3 July 2013 the Muslim Brotherhood called for counter-protests at Rabaa Al-Adawiya and Al-Nahda squares. Some 85,000 people joined the sit-ins.

Members of the Muslim Brotherhood had been demonstrating outside the Rabaa Al-Adawiya Mosque in Cairo for 47 days when security forces attacked at around 6am on 14 August 2013.

Security forces shot indiscriminately into the crowd, set fire to the tents people had gathered in and threw tear gas into the masses. Armoured vehicles and bulldozers advanced on the protesters.

Some 1,000 people were killed, thousands injured and over 800 people were arrested.

What happened next?

Supposedly liberal figures like the author Alaa Al-Aswany endorsed the massacre, as did the state media. “They are a group of terrorists and fascists,” Al-Aswany said.

Despite the fact that the police and army opened fire and used excessive force, since that day not a single security officer has been brought to trial or been held accountable for the massacre.

In 2015 the government renamed the square after Hisham Barakat, the public prosecutor who presided over the acquittal of Hosni Mubarak.

Authorities widened their crackdown, not just targeting members of the Muslim Brotherhood but anyone who opposes the regime. They arrested thousands, tortured them, denied them medical attention in prison and forcibly disappearing them.

Human Rights Watch and the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights both conducted independent investigations into the massacre and concluded that it had been launched on predominantly unarmed protesters.

Despite this the international community resumed arms exports to Egypt shortly after the massacre and have generally sought to strengthen ties with the Sisi regime.

August 14, 2017 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Subjugation - Torture | , | Leave a comment

Egypt to bear cost of Alexandria Synagogue renovation

Eliyahu Hanavi Synagogue
MEMO | August 3, 2017

Egypt’s Antiquities Ministry on Thursday announced plans to carry out extensive renovations of a synagogue in Alexandria — despite the fact that, under Egyptian law, the local Jewish community should bear the cost of such restorations.

“The renovation of Alexandria’s Eliyahu Hanavi Synagogue will take about eight months and cost some 100 million Egyptian pounds [roughly $5.5 million], which will be provided by the Egyptian government,” the ministry said in a statement.

According to the same statement, the government had already allocated 1.27 billion Egyptian pounds (roughly $70.5 million) towards eight major historical renovation projects.

In July, Al-Said Helmy Ezzat, head of the ministry’s Islamic and Coptic Antiquities Department, announced that proposals to renovate the historical synagogue had been approved and the appropriate financial allocations made.

Under Egyptian law, however, Egypt’s small Jewish community should bear the cost of the project and the reason for the apparent exception remains unclear.

Cash-strapped Egypt continues to face difficult economic circumstances, with the government implementing an IMF-approved reform program, which includes the reduction of government subsidies and which has led to skyrocketing commodity prices.

Built in 1848, Alexandria’s Eliyahu Hanavi Synagogue is one of the largest Jewish synagogues in the Middle East region, capable of accommodating up to 700 people.

It also houses an impressive library containing dozens of ancient Torah scrolls, some of which date back to the 15th century.

August 3, 2017 Posted by | Economics, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | | 3 Comments

Russia adjusts to realities in US politics

“Trump has nothing to do with the anti-Russia campaign and the public remains indifferent, while an improbable coalition of the Congress and the jeering media is orchestrating the chorus.”

By M.K. Bhadrakumar | Asia Times | July 30, 2017

An instance of such monumental patience is extremely rare, if not unprecedented, in Russian diplomacy: Moscow took 179 days to retaliate against former US President Barack Obama’s expulsion of 35 Russian diplomats on December 30, 2016, ostensibly to show rancour at alleged Russian efforts to interfere with the US presidential election.

The 35 Russian diplomats were “intelligence operatives”, Obama said. He gave them 72 hours to leave American soil, and he impounded two Russian diplomatic compounds as well.

In Moscow, though, President Vladimir Putin responded that Russia wouldn’t retaliate but would decide on further steps only after considering the actions of the incoming new president, Donald Trump.

Putin went on invite the children of American diplomats posted in Russia to a Christmas party in the Kremlin. But he had a master plan.

Putin preferred to start Russia’s discourse with the Trump administration on a creative note. Trump had raised high expectations in Moscow that a brave new world of partnership between Russia and the US might be approaching.

In the months that followed, however, such hopes began dimming even as Russia became a toxic subject in the Washington Beltway.

Nonetheless, residual hope lingered, as Trump deputed state secretary Rex Tillerson to travel to Moscow for talks in April and within the month also received the visiting Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in the Oval Office.

The Russian spirits certainly soared when Trump and Putin held an extraordinary 126-minute meeting on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Hamburg where they discussed a range of issues complicating the relationship and yet managed to stay in their positions.

However, the pendulum has now swung to the other extreme with the US Congress passing legislation on further sanctions against Russia. What stunned Moscow is the near-unanimity with which the US lawmakers voted for the bill.

Moscow has drawn two conclusions. First, an intensification of US pressure against Russia is on the cards even as Russophobia has morphed into an anti-Russian mindset. A hardening of the US stance on Ukraine is likely. In Syria, too, Russia is far from a commanding position since several players are, pursuing their own agenda.

The sanctions encompass areas where Russia has the capacity to offer cooperation – energy, defense, mining, railway transport, etc. Curiously, the bill seeks to arm-twist third countries that may be inclined toward developing cooperation with Russia – countries such as India, Vietnam, Turkey, Saudi Arabia or Egypt. Again, real pressure will come if the US begins to tamper with the strategic balance with Russia.

Second, the legislation virtually takes the Russia policies out of Trump’s hands. Moscow trusted Trump’s instincts to improve relations with Russia and hoped that he’d call the shots ultimately.

But that may be about to change. Congress is reducing Trump to a subaltern role. Russia has no means to leverage influence in the US Congress. Trump may find a way to strike back at the Congress but it is small comfort if political tensions consequently rise in Washington.

All in all, therefore, Moscow sees that a normalization of Russia-US relations can be ruled out for a foreseeable future. The Congress can be expected to determine the US policy towards Russia through the Trump presidency – and this will be a policy of strangling Russia.

This grim prospect leaves Russia with no alternative but to recognise the US as a strategic and key challenge to its security.

Thus, Moscow’s decision on July 28 to curb the US diplomatic presence in Russia may seem a timid response. After all, Moscow is only responding to Obama’s harsh decision and is merely seeking reciprocity with a ceiling of 455 diplomats for both countries (which is where Russian tally currently stands.)

But on close examination, Washington has been made to look foolish. While Obama expelled 35 Russian diplomats, Putin’s order to slash the number of US diplomatic staff to 455 will affect a few hundred US personnel currently assigned to Russia.

Moscow is signalling that bilateral cooperation has become pointless. Indeed, Trump has nothing to do with the anti-Russia campaign and the American public remains indifferent, while an improbable coalition of the Congress and the jeering media is orchestrating the chorus. But the realities cannot be ignored.

The triumphalism on the Hill will be short-lived, because the potential strategic consequences for US’ core interests and vital interests are yet to sink in. The West’s policy on Russia now onward becomes a point of discord between Washington and the EU.

China, no doubt, gets a huge strategic windfall, since Moscow will seek closer rapprochement with Beijing, especially on security. A Russian observer noted wryly, “we can easily imagine them (Russia and China) holding military drills in the Straits of Florida near Cuba.”

Knowing Putin, Russia’s response will be calibrated. He implied in remarks while visiting Helsinki on Tuesday that Russia will play the long game.

After all, it is not only in the US’ relations with Russia, but also with allies in Europe and Asia – Germany and Japan, in particular – that fault lines have appeared. Russian diplomacy can be trusted to exploit what Germans call the “zeitgeist” – the spirit of our times – as the US’ global influence inexorably declines.

Russia’s cooperation can be crucial to US interests, and Moscow now has an option to cherry pick. Make no mistake, Moscow will exercise its option highly selectively.

July 31, 2017 Posted by | Economics, Russophobia, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Egypt hikes electricity prices by more than 40% as demanded by IMF

Press TV – July 6, 2017

Egypt has decided to raise electricity prices by more than 40 percent as demanded by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in order to receive a $12 billion bailout loan.

Electricity Minister Mohamed Shaker said on Thursday the new charges would apply as of July, which are likely to further deepen the economic woes of most Egyptians.

He said households would now be paying between 18 and 42 percent more on their bills depending on the category and level of their consumption but some of the subsidies would remain in place.

Under the IMF-devised austerity plan, Cairo is obliged to cut subsidies as a condition to receive installments of the three-year loan.

“We were supposed to have been completely done with the (electricity) subsidy in the current and next fiscal years,” Shaker said.

“But considering the special situation related to the large increase in the exchange rate, we extended this period to an additional three years,” he added.

Since November, Egyptian authorities have floated the country’s currency, slashed fuel subsidies twice, and adopted a value added tax as part of the program, which has led to soaring consumer prices.

The value of the Egyptian pound has since plummeted. One US dollar which was worth 8.8 pounds at the official exchange rate in November sells for more than 17 pounds now. Annual inflation reached 30.9 percent in May.

Egypt’s economy has hugely suffered since long-time dictator Hosni Mubarak was ousted from power in 2011, and the country’s first democratically-elected president, Mohamed Morsi, was toppled in 2013.

The current president and former head of the armed forces, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, came to power following a military coup.

The country has seen a rise in violence under Sisi and the once-booming tourism sector of Egypt has suffered greatly due to a hike in terrorism.

People also blame Sisi for wasting billions of dollars on mega-projects such as the controversial expansion of the Suez Canal.

The cash-strapped Sisi administration has tried to persuade the public that painful austerity measures would be to the benefit of the country.

However, frustration is high among Egypt’s 90 million population, especially in the wake of a controversial agreement to transfer the sovereignty of two islands in the Red Sea to Saudi Arabia.

July 6, 2017 Posted by | Economics, Malthusian Ideology, Phony Scarcity | , | 2 Comments

El-Sisi: Egypt’s Antihero And The Broader Regional Implications

By Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich | Dissident Voice | June 29, 2017

In Egyptian mythology, gods were considered heroes. In more modern times, it is men who are the heroes. Without a doubt, General Gamal Abdul Nasser has secured his legacy as a hero – a revolutionary who fought for Egypt and strived for Arab unity against Israel and Western imperialism. This month marks the 50th anniversary of the 1967 Arab-Israeli war; a pre-planned war of aggression and expansion by Israel against Egypt, Jordan, and Syria, aided by the US and Britain.

Israel’s cronies assisted in the planning and execution of the war which led to the seizure and occupation of East Jerusalem, the West Bank, Syria Golan (Golan Heights) and the Sinai Peninsula.  Prior to the start of the war, as early as May, Lyndon Johnson, who assumed the presidency after the tragic assassination of John F. Kennedy, authorized air shipment of arms to Israel.1 Furthermore, the United States facilitated Israeli air attacks and advances by sending reconnaissance aircraft to track movement of Egyptian ground forces and American spy satellites provided imagery to Israel.2 According to reports American and British carrier-based aircraft flew sorties against the Egyptians and U.S. aircraft attacked Egypt. Judging by their cover-up, the American leadership had as little compassion for American blood as it did for Arab blood. The Israeli attack against USS Liberty that killed and injured American servicemen was buried in a sea of lies.

Fifty years on, the war rages on and Israel has a different set of cronies. In sharp contrast to Nasser, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, Egypt’s antihero, has thrown his lot in with Israel and Saudi Arabia against his Arab brethren. El-Sisi’s betrayal has been so outlandish and stark that even the neocon leaning New York Times published a scathing article titled: “Egypt’s Lost Islands, Sisi’s Shame” by Adhaf Soueif. This is a remarkable piece rarely seen in the pages of the NYT given its reputation (see LOOT for example).

Soueif rightly calls el-Sisi to task for handing over the Tiran and Sanafir Islands at the mouth of Gulf of Aqaba to Saudi Arabia. More telling is the fact that the transfer had been discussed with — and had received the blessings of — Israel, according to Israel’s Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon. The implications of an Israeli-Saudi-Egyptian alliance are enormous; though hardly the first act of treason by el-Sisi.

In his article Soueif also touches on the dam being built by Ethiopia (the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam) which was opposed by former President Mohamed Morsi who was ousted in a coup by el-Sisi. It is crucial that this project be further explored as it relates not only to Egypt, but also the past and future politics and geopolitics of the region.

Before moving on, however, it is important to recall that Morsi was democratically elected to office in the aftermath of the Egyptian ‘revolution’. His support of the Palestinians and his opposition to the dam did not sit well with Israel. Morsi had even called Jews “descendants of pigs and apes”. Both Hamas and the U.S.-backed Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas welcomed Morsi’s election. Abbas called Morsi “the choice of the great people of Egypt” while one of his senior aides, Saeb Erekat, said the democratic vote for Morsi “meant the Palestinian cause was the Number One priority for all Egyptians. Though perhaps the greater concern for Israel was Morsi’s opposition to the construction of the dam, a construction favored by Israel and Saudi Arabia.

In 2012, it was reported that Saudi Arabia had claimed a stake in the Nile. Israel’s ambitions went much further back. First initiated by Theodore Herzl in 1903, the diversion plan was dropped due to British and Egyptian opposition to it only to be picked up again in the 1970s. At that time, Israeli’s idea was to convince Egypt to divert Nile water to Israel. In 1978, President Anwar Sadat “declared in Haifa to the Israeli public that he would transfer Nile water to the Negev. Shortly afterward, in a letter to Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin, Sadat promised that Nile water would go to Jerusalem. During Mubarak’s presidency, published reports indicated that Israeli experts were helping Ethiopia to plan 40 dams along the Blue Nile.”3

On May 30, 2013, The Times of Israel reported that the construction on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (on the Blue Nile) had sparked a major diplomatic crisis with Egypt. The article also reported (citing Al-Arabiya) that Major General Mohammed Ali Bilal, the deputy chief of staff of the Egyptian Armed Forces, had said Egypt was not in a position to confront the project (countries). “The only solution lies in the US intervening to convince Ethiopia to alleviate the impact of the dam on Egypt.” No such solutions from the U.S.

On June 3rd, Morsi met with his cabinet to discuss the dam and its implications. Cabinet members were surprised to learn that the meeting was aired live. During the meeting, a cabinet member said: “Imagine what 80 million of us would do to Israel and America if our water was turned off”. Morsi contended that “We have very serious measures to protect every drop of Nile water.”

With el-Sisi’s “democratic coup” which was handsomely rewarded, the dam project is on schedule to be completed by year’s end. As Israel expands and accelerates its wars of aggression, the wider implications of el-Sisi will reverberate throughout the region as serve-serving Arab leaders fight their own to execute Israel’s agenda.

  1. Camille Mansour. Beyond Alliance: Israel and U.S. Foreign Policy, Columbia 1994, p.89
  2. Stephen J. Green. Taking Sides: America’s Secret Relations With A Militant Israel.  William Morrow and Co., NY 1984
  3. “Will Nile water go to Israel? North Sinai pipelines and the politics of scarcity”, Middle East Policy  (September 1997): 113-124.

Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich is a Public Diplomacy Scholar, independent researcher, and blogger with a focus on U.S. foreign policy and the role of lobby groups.

June 29, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Israel plans to install Dahlan instead of Abbas

MEMO | June 29, 2017

A leading Israeli writer revealed yesterday an Israel-Egypt-UAE plan to install Mohamed Dahlan as the leader of the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip instead of Mahmoud Abbas.

In an opinion piece in Haaretz, Zvi Bar’el said that while Hamas would remain in control of security and not be demilitarised, at least “Israel would have a partner in Gaza who supports reconciliation” with the Zionist state.

Dahlan, he pointed out, is the Palestinian president’s “political rival” and if the plan succeeds it is expected that Abbas would be “pushed into a dark corner”, leaving the former Fatah official free to move against him. The endgame could see Dahlan installed as Abbas’s successor at the top of the Palestinian Authority, Fatah and the PLO.

According to Bar’el, Egypt will ease the siege of Gaza by opening the Rafah Border Crossing for people and goods. The UAE, meanwhile, will fund a power station on the Egyptian side of the border near Rafah; a port is also a possibility. Dahlan is very close to the governments in Cairo and Abu Dhabi.

“It’s still too early to assess whether this plan will be fully implemented,” he wrote, “and if Hamas will agree to place Dahlan at the head of the Gaza government, a step that could all but sever Gaza from the West Bank, especially given the long feud between Abbas and Dahlan.” On the other hand, the writer pointed out, if the plan does come to fruition, it could make an Israeli-Egyptian dream come true. A “state of Gaza” could become a reality with Dahlan at its head, something that, for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government, is “the plan’s key”.

If the plan succeeds, said Bar’el, it would “neutralise” the role of Qatar and Turkey in Gaza. He described Israel’s policy of “what’s good for Hamas is bad for Israel, and what helps Gazans strengthens Hamas” as a “failed concept”. Instead, he clearly believes that this “new strategy” which places the people of Gaza first should be given serious consideration.

Observers point out that it is significant that Bar’el refers to “Gazans” and “people of Gaza” rather than Palestinians in Gaza. “This,” said one, “tries to convince the world that ‘Gazans’ are somehow not Palestinians and all actually belong in the Gaza Strip. The reality is that most of the residents of Gaza do not originate there; they come from places inside what is now Israel and are refugees by design, not choice.”

“The Gaza Strip” is a relatively recent term, he added. “It’s only been used since the Nakba of 1948, prior to which the land was simply part of historic Palestine.”

Read also:

Hamas delegation reaches ‘understandings’ with Egypt and meets Dahlan reps

Dahlan behind differences between Egypt and Fatah

June 29, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Bahrain to jail Qatar sympathisers

Middle East Online | June 8, 2017

MANAMA – Bahrain Thursday followed the United Arab Emirates in announcing that expressing sympathy for Qatar over sanctions imposed by its Gulf neighbours was an offence punishable by a lengthy jail term.

Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt on Monday cut diplomatic ties with Qatar over accusations that the emirate is a champion of extremist groups in the region.

Qatar firmly denies the allegations.

“Any expression of sympathy with the government of Qatar or opposition to the measures taken by the government of Bahrain, whether through social media, Twitter or any other form of communication, is a criminal offence punishable by up to five years in prison and a fine,” a Bahraini interior ministry statement said.

The UAE on Wednesday announced a similar decision, warning that offenders could face between three and 15 years in prison and a fine of 500,000 dirhams ($136,125, 120,715 euros) should they criticise the decision to boycott Qatar.

Bahrain, home to the US Navy’s Fifth Fleet, has been rocked by unrest since security forces crushed Shiite-led protests in 2011 demanding a constitutional monarchy and an elected prime minister.

The authorities accuse Iran of backing the protesters and aiming to incite unrest in Shiite-majority Bahrain, a charge Tehran denies.

Sunni-ruled Bahrain’s strict cyber crime law prohibits the expression of dissent online, including via social media.

Nabeel Rajab, one of the country’s most high-profile activists, is currently on trial for a series of tweets criticising a Saudi-led Arab military campaign in Yemen.

June 8, 2017 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , , | Leave a comment