Palestine
settlement

UN seeks World Court opinion on occupation of Palestine

The UN General Assembly passed a resolution referring Israel’s 55-year occupation of Palestinian territories to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) for a legal advisory. The vote, which followed approval of a draft resolution by the Special Committee on Decolonization, was 87-26, with 53 abstentions. The Palestinian Authority welcomed the vote, saying in a statement: “The time has come for Israel to be a state subject to law, and to be held accountable for its ongoing crimes against our people.”Ā But the response of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who returned to power just two days before the vote, makes clear his government’s annexationist agenda. He stated:Ā “The Jewish people is not occupying its land and is not occupying its eternal capital Jerusalem. No UN resolution can distort this historical truth.”Ā The far-right coalition that now takes power has pledged to expand Israeli settlement of the West Bank. Ā (Photo: delayed gratification via New Jewish Resistance)

Palestine
Palestine

UN report: occupation of Palestine ‘unlawful’

The UN Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem,Ā released its second report, stating there are “reasonable grounds to conclude that the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territory is now unlawful under international law due to its permanence and the Israeli Government’s de-facto annexation policies.” The commission called for the UN Security Council to bring to an end the “illegal situation resulting from the permanent occupation imposed by Israel” and require Israel to bring “its permanent occupation to an end immediately.”Ā (Photo: RJA1988 via Jurist)

Palestine
Jerusalem

State Department: Jerusalem ‘capital of Israel’

US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo announcedĀ that “the State Department will allow US citizens born in Jerusalem to request either ‘Jerusalem’ or ‘Israel’ as their place of birth on consular documents,” including passports. The announcement is the latest in US pro-Israel policy shifts that began with President Trump’s December 2017 proclamation recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of the state of Israel. The proclamation reversed decades of US policy and drew criticism from the international community. In May 2018, the US Embassy in Israel was moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. (Photo:Ā Ma’an News Agency)

Syria
syria refugees

Syria: controlled elections amid deepening crisis

To nobody’s surprise, Syrian dictator Bashar Assad’s bloc won a majority of seats in the country’s parliamentary election, dismissed as a farce by the exiled opposition.Ā As in the presidential elections that confirmed Assad’s hold on the presidency in 1994, millions displaced by the war were not able to vote. The elections were held amid a deepening economic crisis, with the UN notingĀ a 200% food price hike in under a year and warning of widespread hunger. Russia and China meanwhile continue to use their veto on the Security Council to block aid deliveriesĀ to opposition-held areas. (Photo: UNICEFĀ via UN News)

Watching the Shadows

Trump’s EO on anti-Semitism abets anti-Semitism

President Trump’s executive order, ostensibly extending civil rights protections to Jewish students on college campuses, is a masterpiece of propaganda and disguised motives, actually criminalizing opposition to the expropriation of the Palestinians, making a consistent anti-racist position legally impossibleā€”and thereby, paradoxically, abetting anti-Semitism. (Image: frgdr.com)

Syria

Did Assad sign off on Israeli air-raid in Syria?

After years of presumed Israeli air-strikes on Iranian forces in Syria, the IDF finally carried out air-strikes that were publicly acknowledged,Ā hitting a compound near Damascus supposedly shared by the Revolutionary Guards’ elite Quds Force and Hezbollah militants. The strikes follow reports in the Israeli press that there is an “undeclared pact” between Assad and Netanyahu allowing Israel toĀ strike Iranian targets in Syria in exchange for diplomatic assistance in regional “normalization” of the Assad regime. (Photo:Ā Israel Aerospace Industries viaĀ Jerusalem Post)

Palestine

Escalation in Gaza; Orwell in Golan

Amid a new round of Israeli air-strikes on Gaza, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with Donald Trump in Washington for the signing of a presidential proclamation officially recognizing the occupied Golan Heights as Israeli territory. At the joint press conference, Trump said, "We will confront the poison of anti-Semitism." We hope it is unnecessary to point out the perversity of Trump exploiting the threat of anti-Semitism to justify US recognition of an illegal Israeli annexation of Syrian territory. (Image: Ma'an)

Syria

Syria endgame: whither Idlib?

With the fall of Syria’s southern province of Daraa to Assad regime forces, only Idlib in the north remains as a last pocket of opposition control. The besieged rebel forces there are anticipating a final offensive by Assad and his Russian backers. But a complicating factor isĀ that Turkey is occupying areas of Idlib, which means an offensive there threatens international escalation. Speaking to reporters before heading for a summit of emerging market countries in South Africa, Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan said he would speak there with Vladimir Putin about how to resolve “the issue of Idlib.” This points to a possible carve-up deal, in which the bulk of Syria falls under Assad with Russian protection, Idlib remains under rebel control with Turkish protection, and the northeastern Rojava region will remain a Kurdish autonomous zone under US protection. (Photo: Syria News)

Syria

Syria: 270,000 displaced in Daraa offensive

At least 270,000 peopleā€”about a third of the populationā€”have been displaced by the Assad regime offensive on Daraa governorate in southern Syria. The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) expects the number to rise, with civilians fleeing to the borders with Jordan and the Israeli-occupied Golan Heightsā€”but with both countries refusing to allow entry. The UNHCR said about 164,000 displaced are now in camps and villages in the neighboring small opposition-held governorate of Quneitra, close to the Golan border. The Assad offensive to regain Daraa governorate, where the Syrian uprising began in March 2011, has been backed by Russian air-strikes, violatingĀ a “de-escalation zone” Moscow had declared with the US last July. UNHCR noted reports that “suggest indiscriminate attacks on health facilities, schools, civil defense centers, and offices of local NGOs.”Ā (Photo:Ā EA Wordlview)

Iran
Iran

US to withdraw from Iran nuclear agreement

President Donald Trump announced that the US will withdraw from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the 2015 pact under which the US was to lift economic sanctions on Iran in exchange for Tehran agreeing not to develop nuclear weapons. The White House statement says the US will re-imposes all sanctions lifted or waived in connection with the JCPOA, including those instated by the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012, the Iran Sanctions Act of 1996, the Iran Threat Reduction and Syria Human Rights Act of 2012, and the Iran Freedom and Counter-proliferation Act of 2012. The sanctions are expected to go into effect in no later than 180 days. (Map: Myket.ir)

Iran

Iran mobilizes more troops to Syria

The Iranian military presence in Syria has rapidly escalated in recent days, with hundreds of fresh troops reported to be arriving at an airport in strategic Latakia governorate.