“Actually, behind the rhetoric about the Iran nuclear issue, what the Zionists really fear is that a general rapprochement between the US and Iran, made possible by a nuclear deal, could lead to realignment in the Middle East to the perceived detriment of Israel and also to the growth of Iran’s influence and power,” Yusuf Fernandez wrote in a column for Press TV on Tuesday.
He added that the “Zionist hawks” have so far failed to derail Iran’s groundbreaking deal with the powers despite all their “frantic activity.”
On November 24, Iran and Sextet of world powers — the US, Britain, France, Russia, China and Germany — reached an interim deal aimed at laying the groundwork for the resolution of the West’s decade-old dispute with Iran over its nuclear energy program.
In exchange for Tehran’s confidence-building measure to limit certain aspects of its nuclear activities, the six countries agreed to lift some of the existing sanctions against the Islamic Republic.
Fernandez further noted that “Israel’s agents in the US Congress” are making efforts to undermine the nuclear accord.
He said the agreement “has provoked a flurry of criticism” from a group of US congressmen who “are under the control of the Zionist lobby’s main organization, AIPAC.”
Fernandez noted that AIPAC is “promoting new sanctions legislation in order to sabotage a final deal.”
“Most US experts claim that Israel’s insistence on zero enrichment is ‘not an achievable objective’,” he wrote.
Israel and Egypt were today urged to renounce chemical weapons, especially after Syria joined a convention banning them, the chief of an international arms watchdog said.
“Now since Syria has become a member country, I think (Israel) can reconsider,” Ahmet Uzumcu, head of the Nobel Peace Prize-winning Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), told Reuters.
Israel signed the convention in 1993 but never ratified it. The state, which holds an observer status at the OPCW, has never publicly admitted having chemical weapons. Intelligence Minister Yuval Steinitz said in September that Israel would be ready to discuss the issue when there was peace in the Middle East.
Egypt has used chemical weapons in the past and some claim it is probable the country still holds stockpiles. The country employed mustard gas in the Yemeni civil from 1963 to 1967 and supplied Iraq with similar nerve agents in the 1980s. Though not confirmed, Egypt is also believed to have provided Syria with mustard gas in the 1970s.
North Korea has also come under pressure from the OPCW to sign the convention.
“I don’t see any excuse for not joining the convention,” Uzumcu said. “Three (nations) are very close to membership and I hope the others will reconsider their positions.”
Uzumcu said Angola, Myanmar and South Sudan were also preparing to join the pact.
The OPCW has come center stage this year after Syrian President Bashar al-Assad agreed in September to give up his country’s chemicals weapons stockpile. The decision was largely made to avert the threat of U.S. missile strikes following al-Assad’s regime use of sarin gas in an attack that killed hundreds of people outside the capital Damascus.
“The only consolation is that those attacks led to renewed efforts by the international community to eliminate them,” Uzumcu told Reuters, referring to chemical weapons around the world.
While the United States came forward last week to take responsibility in destroying some of Syria’s chemical weapons on one of its ships, it was unable to find a Mediterranean port for the process.
The OPCW hopes to remove all chemical weapons from Syria by Feb. 5, 2013 and to destroy them by June 30. The U.S. will reportedly cover the costs of the first two categories of weapons that require immediate attention, the price of which hovers around 35 to 40 million euros.
The 500 tons of chemicals considered the most dangerous will also be processed by the United States and stored at an undetermined location.
The OPCW is at risk of missing its postulated Dec. 31 deadline to remove Syria’s chemical weapons.
(Source / 10.12.2013)
Syria’s largest Islamist rebel force seized a crossing on the Turkish border Tuesday from other rebels, including brigades loyal to the Western-backed Free Syrian Army, a monitoring group said.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the Islamic Front, a new grouping of the most powerful Islamist rebel groups battling to overthrow President Bashar al-Assad, seized the Bab al-Hawa crossing in northwestern Syria.
The capture came after the Islamic Front seized arms depots near the crossing belonging to the Free Syrian Army at the weekend, heightening tensions among the fractured Syrian opposition.
Last week the Islamic Front rejected the authority of the FSA, which was the first major rebel force formed after the outbreak of Syria’s civil war and was made up of army deserters and civilians.
The Islamic Front was formed last month by six rebel groups that merged with the goal of overthrowing the Assad regime and establishing an Islamic state.
It does not include al-Nusra Front or the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) — two jihadist rebel groups linked to al-Qaeda.
(Source / 10.12.2013)
[Wednesday, December 10, 2013] Marking The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (Adopted by the UN on December 10 1948), the Palestinian Prisoners Society (PPS) has reported that Israel is ongoing with its serious violations, and is currently holding captive more than 5000 Palestinians, including 200 minors and 15 women.
The PPS said that Israel continues to violate all related international agreements, including the Fourth Geneva Convention, by subjecting the detainees to cruel conditions, extreme torture and abuse, and holding them under terrible conditions.
It added that this year witnessed some of the largest violations against the detainees, as Israeli soldiers repeatedly broke into their rooms in different detention camps and prisons, and violently assaulted them, in addition to spraying them with gas and forcing dozens into solitary confinement.
The Society said that four Palestinian detainees died this year, three of them died in prison due to the lack of medical attention, and one died shortly after his release due to serious illness he suffered while in prison, and was never granted the urgently needed medical attention.
There are currently 1400 Palestinian detainees suffering with various health conditions, including 150 suffering with cancer, diabetes and other serious health issues.
Most of the detainees who suffer with serious health conditions are held at the Ramla Prison clinic that lacks basic supplies and specialized physicians.
The PPS further stated that, after Israel released veteran detainees held before the First Oslo Agreement of 1993, there are currently 53 veteran detainees still imprisoned, out of 104 detainees who spent at least 20 years in prison.
The PPS called on the International Community, and Human Rights groups, to act on holding Israel accountable for its crimes against the Palestinian people, especially against the detainees who are supposed to enjoy protection and adequate treatment.
Last month, the Israeli government said it was considering forcing Palestinian detainees from Jerusalem and Historic Palestine (1948) into exile, should they be freed under any agreement with the Palestinian Authority. The detainees have also been imprisoned since before the First Oslo Agreement.
Tel Aviv refused to release any of the 27 detainees during the first and second phases in which it released, back in mid-August 26 veteran detainees (14 from Gaza and 12 from the West bank, and in late October when it released 26 veteran detainees (21 from Gaza and five from the West Bank).
More veteran detainees are expected to be released on December 29 and on March 28 2014, as part of a mediated deal reached by the US to ensure the resumption of direct political talks.
Various Israeli officials of the Israeli Government of Benjamin Netanyahu have been calling for voiding the agreement.
(Source / 10.12.2013)
Eyewitnesses told Ma’an that two teenage Palestinian students on the road were hit by an Israeli settler who was driving to Jerusalem.
Director of Bethlehem ambulance service Muhammad Awad confirmed that two 17-year-old girls were evacuated in Palestinian ambulances to Bethlehem Arab Society Hospital in Beit Jala after they were hit by an Israeli car.
One of the girls had a fractured leg and the other sustained bruises, added Awad.
Some Israeli settlers who live in the Gush Etzion and Betar Illit settlements immediately west of Bethlehem choose to travel to Jerusalem through Beit Jala.
More than 500,000 Israeli settlers live in settlements across the West Bank and East Jerusalem, in contravention of international law.
The internationally recognized Palestinian territories of which the West Bank and East Jerusalem form a part have been occupied by the Israeli military since 1967.
(Reuters) – More than 170 Syrian and Palestinian refugees held since October in Egyptian police stations were released on Tuesday and granted temporary permits to stay in Egypt, a government spokesman said.
Egypt tightened its open-door visa policy for Syrians fleeing civil war soon after the army toppled Islamist President Mohamed Mursi in July. Arrests and deportations of refugees, some of whom had not formalised their stays, followed.
The refugees released on Tuesday had been trying to leave Egypt illegally by boat when authorities detained them.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Badr Abdelatty said 171 of 206 Syrian and Palestinian “illegal immigrants” had been granted three-month visas, while the cases of the remaining 35 still in detention were under review.
Authorities have apprehended about 1,500 Syrian refugees in the last few months and about 1,200 of them have been “coerced to leave”, according to Human Rights Watch.
Although courts had ordered the release of all 206 Syrians and Palestinians in detention, the authorities had previously said they were still being held for immigration violations.
In one police station, dozens of refugees staged a hunger strike last month to draw attention to their plight, but called it off after 10 days.
About 300,000 of the 2.3 million refugees fleeing Syria went to Egypt, where they were received warmly during Mursi’s year in office. His removal changed the atmosphere, with Egyptian media accusing Syrians and Palestinians of being Mursi supporters.
“We are looking for a concerted solution between the authorities, the U.N., and other countries willing to step up,” she said.
(Source / 10.12.2013)
“It’s very concerning that President Obama went to the extent that he did to get us into another war for Israel versus Syria,” James Morris, editor of America-hijacked.com said in a phone interview on Monday.
He made the comments as distinguished American investigative journalist Seymour Hersh says in his recent article that Obama did not tell the whole story about a chemical attack near the Syrian capital, Damascus in August.
“President Obama had basically cherry-picked intelligence, according to Seymour Hersh’s article, to get a war with Syria underway,” Morris said.
In a televised speech on September 10, Obama accused the Syrian government of carrying out a chemical attack which killed hundreds of people including women and children. The president made the case for a military action but backtracked when British lawmakers voted against it and Russia made a proposal to put the Syrian chemical weapons under international control.
Morris said that US wars in the Middle East have all been designed to protect the interests of Israel.
Obama’s plan to attack Syria, he explained, was part of a broader strategy “to break up the enemies of Israel in the region starting with Iraq and then Syria and then Iran and beyond. And that’s what we see in Syria.”
“The problem now is Israel lobby has so much influence over the President Obama administration and the Congress, that they were just dying to get another war for Israel going into Syria and you had a media that was complicit with that,” Morris said.
He concluded that, “As a patriotic American like myself we don’t want to see any more Americans dying for Israel, not only in Iraq but Iran and Syria.”
(Source / 10.12.2013)