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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has lambasted the Israeli regime for its use of “unnecessary aggression” in Syria following recent Israeli airstrikes in the war-torn Arab country, saying Tel Aviv is dragging the Middle East into war.  The Turkish president made the comments in an interview with BBC Arabic on Sunday, saying the occupying regime “is sowing fear and pushing” the Middle East “region to war.”   Erdogan also denounced the Israeli aerial aggression against the sovereignty of Syria, three days after Israeli warplanes attacked dozens of “targets” inside the Arab country in what was said to be the most extensive strike in Syria in decades. 

Over the past few years, Israel has frequently attacked military targets in Syria in what is considered as an attempt to prop up terrorist groups that have been suffering heavy defeats against Syrian government forces, which has been fighting against foreign-sponsored militant outfits since 2011. Israel has also been providing weapons to anti-Damascus militants as well as medical treatment to the Takfiri elements wounded in Syria.

In late March, the Turkish leader also “strongly” condemned Israeli troops’ “inhumane attack” on Palestinian demonstrators on the border of the besieged Gaza Strip, a day after the Israeli military killed 16 unarmed Palestinian protesters. As for May 13, the death toll stands at 53. “Have you heard any noteworthy objections to the massacre by Israel that happened yesterday in Gaza from those who criticize the Afrin operation?” Erdogan asked during a speech he delivered in Istanbul on March 31. He was referring to Ankara’s cross-border military operation in Syria’s enclave of Afrin against the militants of the US-backed Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG), whom the Turkish government views as terrorists. Afrin was captured on March 18.

Elsewhere in his remarks, Erdogan criticized the controversial decision made on Tuesday by US President Donald Trump in pulling out of the landmark, multinational and hard-fought nuclear agreement with Iran, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). The JCPOA came out of years of negotiations between Iran on one side and the P5+1 group of countries, the United States, Britain, France, Russia and China plus Germany, on the other, in July 2015. A day after Trump’s provocative decision, which triggered international condemnations, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) issued a statement, reiterating that Iran is in full compliance with the terms of the JCPOA.



May 15 is Nakba Day when Palestinians commemorate their expulsion from Palestine by Zionists and their subsequent dispossession. Nakba Day is about telling the story of how Israel was created by a process of theft of land and ethnic cleansing. It is about telling the world that Israel has sustained itself by occupation, oppression and war.  750,000 Palestinians were expelled from their homes by the Zionists and most of them and their descendants now live in Third World conditions in refugee camps around the Middle East. In total, there are now over seven million Palestinian refugees.

Controversial relocation won't change 'Palestinians' will', Jerusalem residents say, amid call for large-scale protests.
Linah Alsaafin

Occupied East Jerusalem - Tens of thousands of Jewish settlers, surrounded by police protection, have marched around the Old City, celebrating Jerusalem Day on the eve of the US embassy move from Tel Aviv.  The annual event, which commemorates the Israeli annexation of occupied East Jerusalem in 1967, is regarded by the city's Palestinian population as a deliberate provocation.  Past events have seen Palestinian-owned stores smashed up and Palestinian counter-protests being viciously suppressed by Israeli police.

Like in previous years, road closures and barricades were set up on Sunday to heavily restrict Palestinians from accessing the road leading to Damascus Gate, one of the entrances to the Old City. "The Palestinian Jerusalemite today lives with a hundred sticks raining down his head," Osama Barham, an activist in the city, told Al Jazeera. "That is to say, he is oppressed from all directions."

Barham was standing off to one side nearby Damascus Gate, where a small group of Palestinian and Arab media outlets had gathered. Below them, a large congregation of white and blue had amassed on the stone steps. Some danced in rings in a frenetic way. Others shouted slogans in fervor. "The US embassy move is not the most important issue here," Barham said, explaining that for Palestinian residents such a development was merely the expected outcome after decades of occupation.  "We were not shocked or surprised to hear the news when US President Donald Trump announced [in December 2017] his recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital," he added.

"What is much more dangerous to us than an embassy move is our reality: the onslaught of the Judaisation of the city, the Israelification of our society, the exile of Palestinian residents, the demolishment of Palestinian homes and the raiding of the al-Aqsa compound by settlers."
"Jerusalem is under occupation so we do not feel like we are suddenly in trouble because of the embassy's new location in west Jerusalem," Barham added.  The singing and chanting of the settlers' drowned the drums and trumpets of a marching band in their midst. A huge roar went up as Israeli police removed a barricade and allowed the settlers to stream into the Old City.

Marchers wave Israeli flags at Damascus Gate in Jerusalem's Old City [Baz Ratner/Reuters] 

'The heart of the Palestinian cause'. Earlier, hundreds of settlers raided the al-Aqsa Mosque compound, the third-holiest site in Islam. They raised the Israeli flag and prayed there. Confrontations with Palestinians ensued, resulting in at least one arrest, before the settlers left the compound.

Is the US undermining the Middle East peace process?

Inside the Old City, in the neighbourhood of Sheikh Lulu, Umm Jihad stood outside her house, keeping an eye out on her children and giving directions to men finding difficulty reaching their own homes due to the Israeli-imposed closures. "I hope that many people will be out protesting tomorrow because we need as much support as possible," she told Al Jazeera, referring to the planned demonstrations on Monday against the embassy relocation.  "Today, we cannot move around the city because the Israeli forces have practically barricaded us in our own homes."

She said the US embassy move would not change the "will of the Palestinians".  "No one will remain silent in the face of what the US and Israel are doing," she said.  "Jerusalem is the heart of the Palestinian cause, and every Palestinian who lives here feels its significance in their very bones."

Arab world 'silent'
The official opening of the US embassy, which will take place at 1pm local time (10:00 GMT) will be attended by an American delegation, which includes Trump's daughter Ivanka and her husband Jared Kushner, who is also an adviser to the president. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hosted a gala reception on Sunday afternoon for the US delegation. The reception extended an open invitation to all of the Knesset members. Foreign dignitaries were also invited, but most of the European ambassadors said they would boycott the event.

Afaf al-Dajani: "I don't understand why the Arab world is silent" [Linah Alsaafin/Al Jazeera] 

Standing on the road opposite of Damascus Gate, Afaf al-Dajani, head of an orphanage association in the Old City, cut a lone figure in the early evening light as she looked at the thinning crowds of Jewish settlers. "Of course we will suffer with this new embassy location," she told Al Jazeera.  "We already suffer from the presence of all these settlers, and I imagine the US embassy's new site will encourage more of this."  She took in a wavering breath as Israeli police mounted on soldiers clopped by.  "I don't understand why the Arab world is silent about all of this and are watching these events as if it is a movie in a cinema," she said. "Where are their consciences?"  But for Barham, the fate of the Palestinian residents of the city was clear since the Israeli occupation more than 50 years ago.

"We never relied on outside intervention or the Arab armies to come to our rescue," he said.
[b]"We understood that we would be alone in this battle against occupation."[/b]

May 11, 2018

Norman Finkelstein says that Israeli forces have conducted “a murderous assault on non-violent protesters” in Gaza’s Great March of Return because non-violent protest threatens not Israel, but its occupation

May 11, 2018
Noor Harazeen reports from Gaza about the seventh week of the “March of Return” protests, which left two more dead and 200 injured from shots fired by the Israeli military at the protests

May 4, 2018
For the sixth consecutive week Palestinians in Gaza headed to the Israeli border to demonstrate the “Great March of Return.” Israeli soldiers continued their attacks on the protesters, wounding over 160. Noor Harazeen reports from Gaza

April 20, 2018

Palestinians living in the Gaza Strip continue to demonstrate even though they know they put their lives at risk because life in the “cage” that is Gaza is intolerable, says Ali Abunimah of The Electronic Intifada


April 14, 2018

Israeli soldiers wounded more than 900 peaceful Palestinian protesters on the Gaza border for the third Friday in a row, while the Donald Trump administration prevents any action by the United Nations – Ben Norton reports


Palestinian factions need to reinvent themselves and find successful strategies to give the public hope, analysts say.

Jonathan Cook

The Palestinian national movement, which has led the decades-long struggle against Israel's takeover of Palestine, has reached the lowest ebb in its history, according to analysts. But as Palestinians mark this week the 70th anniversary of the Nakba, the "Catastrophe" that followed the dispossession of their homeland and the creation of Israel in its place, there are signs of possible change.

For more than a quarter of a century, the Palestinian movement has been split into two increasingly irreconcilable ideological factions, Fatah and Hamas - now reflected in a profound geographical divisionbetween their respective strongholds of the occupied West Bank and Gaza.

Both camps have not only failed to bring about any significant achievements, say analysts, but illegal Jewish settlements have steadily spread across the West Bank and a 12-year blockade, bolstered by Israeli military attacks, has choked Gaza into a humanitarian disaster.

There is no tangible regional or international support for the Palestinian cause, and the Trump administration barely bothers to conceal its role now as a cheerleader for Israel.

INSIDE STORY: Can Palestinian protests achieve anything? (25:01)

That includes a decision to move its embassyto Jerusalem this week, effectively recognising Israel's claim on a city Palestinians regard as their future capital"The Palestinian national movement has moved beyond crisis to the point of bankruptcy," said Ghassan Khatib, a former cabinet minister in the Palestinian Authority (PA), and now a lecturer at Bir Zeit University, near Ramallah.

"Neither the armed resistance of Hamas nor the diplomacy of Fatah has made any gains," he told Al Jazeera. "They are failed governments, and the public is deeply dissatisfied."

The dire situation has left observers wondering whether the Palestinian national movement can reinvent itself and find more successful strategies over the coming years and decades.

Both Fatah and Hamas are preparing for major demonstrations, hoping to bring attention to decades of oppressive Israeli rule. But the events are also likely to underscore how much ground they have lost to Israel - and how the pressure for new thinking is coming from the ground up, not from the leadership. Recent weeks have seen regular protests at Gaza's perimeter fence attracting tens of thousands of Palestinians and dominated by young people. The emphasis has been on direct, non-violent mass action, spurning the high-level diplomacy of Fatah and Hamas' traditional commitment to armed resistance.

Although the Gaza protests - under the banner of the Great March of Return –-were not initiated by Hamas, it had shown a willingness to support them, noted Diana Buttu, a former legal adviser to the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). "Hamas has recognised the utility of the marches," she told Al Jazeera. "It adopted them rather than crushed them. The hope must be that Fatah will soon realise this too - that they understand there is utility to people resisting."

Ahmed Al-Naouq, a youth activist in Gaza, pointed out that the focus of the protests was the demand that the refugees - a large majority of Gaza's population - be allowed to return to the lands, now in Israel, they were expelled from in 1948. "In Gaza, we are more creative and flexible in our thinking because we have no other choice. We want to break out of this prison," he told Al Jazeera. "My father worked for many years inside Israel. We are ready to live alongside Israeli Jews in peace – they need to set aside their fears."

Nathan Thrall, a local analyst with the International Crisis Group, a conflict resolution organisation based in Washington and Brussels, pointed out that the Gaza protests were returning the Palestinian struggle to its historical roots. "Even before the founding of the PLO, the central issue in Palestinian nationalism was the refugees - more so than the 1967 issue [of the occupation]," he told Al Jazeera. The right of the 750,000 Palestinians made refugees by the 1948 war and their descendants to return to their ancestral lands originally lay at the heart of the platforms of all the political parties," he said. "The national movement slowly compromised on that."

Under the Oslo process launched in 1993, it was widely assumed that the refugees, if they returned at all, would move to a separate and minimal Palestinian state rather than their former towns and villages. "There was an intentional ambiguity: the leadership talked about the right of return at the same time as it promoted the two-state solution, even though the two principles appear contradictory," said Thrall. But the Palestinians' historic compromise had turned into a dead-end."The two-state idea was never seen as ideal. No one marches for it or is prepared to sacrifice their life for it," he said. "But that pragmatism has yielded no results and has led to great popular disenchantment. Now ordinary people are going back to the roots of the Palestinian issue."

That appears to return Palestinian nationalism to its original vision of a single state, as long propounded by the PLO under its leader Yasser Arafat. He only accepted the partition of historical Palestine in the late 1980s, faced with overwhelming western pressure. "It is significant that there has been a steady increase in support for one state among the Palestinian public, now at around 30 percent," Buttu said. "That is surprising, given that today, not one Palestinian party, in the West Bank and Gaza or the 48 areas [of Israel], publicly supports it."

Even Hamas, she said, had effectively followed Fatah and abandoned its traditional goal of Palestinian-Islamic rule over all of historical Palestine. "Gradually Hamas has adopted the two-state formula, plus, in its case, a long-term truce with Israel," Buttu said.

'Critical gap'

In an indication of Hamas' growing desire to compromise, Israeli media reportedthis month that "unprecedented strategic distress" had led the movement to offer Israel a truce in return for easing the blockade and allowing it to rebuild Gaza's infrastructure. What was evident, said Khatib, was a "critical gap" between the national leaderships and Palestinian public opinion, especially among the youth.

The latter was increasingly interested in popular, non-violent struggle as a way to break out of the Palestinians' isolation. "But there are strong vested interests that will try to maintain the current situation," he said, pointing to the Palestinians' dependence on foreign donors, Israel's control over the transfer of income to the PA, and, in turn, the vast number of families relying on PA salaries. "Neither Fatah nor Hamas are in a position to advance popular struggle. They are bureaucratic governments, with structures, leaders and ideologies that militate against non-violence as a tactic."

But Khatib and others admit that change is likely to happen - some think rapidly - once 82-year-old Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas departs the scene. Asad Ghanem, a politics professor at Haifa University, said ending the factionalism was a precondition for turning the different parties into an effective vehicle of national struggle. "There must be a unified national movement," he told Al Jazeera. "The PA has to stop being the security contractor for Israel. Then we can solve the real problems. We must demand an elected and unified leadership with a single platform." The biggest problem currently facing the Palestinian national movement, said Buttu, was that, despite its various institutions, it was dominated by one person in the figure of Abbas. "Abbas has made all these institutions irrelevant, and they have allowed themselves to become irrelevant," she said.

"That has entirely marginalised other approaches, like boycotts and the one-state solution. It has ensured the alternatives can't be effective." She noted that Abbas had all but ignored imprisoned Fatah leader Marwan Barghouti during the Palestinian prisoners' hunger strike last summer. Barghouti is widely reported to be a student of non-violent strategies of resistance like those of Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr. He is said to have found support among the jailed leaders of Hamas and Islamic Jihad. "Look at the difference between the way the ANC [in South Africa] kept attention on Nelson Mandela while he was in jail," said Buttu. "They made sure people knew who he was. But Abbas has done his best to extinguish Barghouti, so young people barely know who he is after so many years behind bars. "The prisoners are a hugely powerful and symbolic issue for Palestinians, and yet Abbas has preferred not to capitalise on it."

With Abbas gone, Thrall thinks Fatah and Hamas may be capable of adapting to new thinking. "But they will do so only if there is a groundswell of popular sentiment that forces them to," he said. He pointed to the decisions in January of the PLO's Central Council to urge the ending of security cooperation with Israel, which Abbas has previously termed "sacred", and to adopt the anti-apartheid-like struggle of the boycott (BDS) movement, even though it conflicts with Abbas's strategy. Thrall said the moves reflected pressure, in the case of security cooperation, from the Palestinian public and, in the case of BDS, from civil society organisations in the West Bank and Gaza. Buttu noted that Palestinians were still conducting popular forms of struggle, despite the lack of institutional support. "Look to the Ahed Tamimis," she said, referring to the 17-year-old girl arrestedand jailed for slapping an Israeli soldier who invaded her home.

"She isn't choosing to be a teenager like her peers around the world. She chooses to resist; she is defiant like the rest of her village of Nabi Saleh. The same is true of those marching in Gaza. "At the moment they have to operate as one-offs, because of the failure of the bigger political structures."  Thrall observed that what happens in occupied East Jerusalem could prove decisive. Israel, he noted, was extremely concerned about large numbers of Palestinians there seeking Israeli citizenship and voting in city elections.  "If a majority starts applying for citizenship that could prove to be a deadly blow to a two-state solution, and it could happen very rapidly," he said.

"Then the PA would no longer speak on behalf of Palestinians in East Jerusalem, which is supposed the future Palestinian capital." That might be the point at which Palestinians were driven into mass protests for equal rights in a single state, along the lines of a civil rights or anti-apartheid struggle.Buttu agrees that Israel could be gravely mistaken in thinking it has crushed Palestinian nationalism.  "I often wonder what it looked like in Algeria in the 1930s or 40s, or in South Africa in the early 1980s," she said. "The French in Algeria and apartheid's leaders in South Africa thought they had the situation wrapped up, with a pretty ribbon on the package. They did not realise that in a few years everything would utterly change."

WATCH: PLO - History of a Revolution, Death and Decline (24:24)

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RE: FUTURE OF AL AQSA and AL QUDS - by globalvision2000administrator - 06-16-2021, 05:03 PM

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