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Posts tagged ‘The Zionism Plague’

US, Israel to exit UNESCO over its alleged anti-Israel bias

October 13, 2017

PARIS (AP) — The United States announced Thursday it is pulling out of the U.N.’s educational, scientific and cultural agency because of what Washington sees as its anti-Israel bias and a need for “fundamental reform” in the agency.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel plans to follow suit. While the Trump administration had been preparing for a likely withdrawal from UNESCO for months, the timing of the State Department’s statement was unexpected. The Paris-based agency’s executive board is in the midst of choosing a new chief — with Qatar’s Hamad bin Abdulaziz al-Kawari leading the heated election heading into Friday’s final vote.

Outgoing Director-General Irina Bokova expressed “profound regret” at the U.S. decision and tried to defend UNESCO’s reputation. The organization is best known for its World Heritage program to protect cultural sites and traditions, but also works to improve education for girls, promote understanding of the Holocaust’s horrors, and to defend media freedom.

Bokova called the U.S.’s planned departure a loss for “the United Nations family” and for multilateralism. The U.S. and UNESCO matter to each other more than ever now with “the rise of violent extremism and terrorism,” she said.

The U.S. stopped funding UNESCO after it voted to include Palestine as a member state in 2011, but the State Department has maintained a UNESCO office and sought to weigh in on policy behind the scenes. The U.S. now owes about $550 million in back payments.

In a statement, the State Department said the decision will take effect Dec. 31, 2018, and that the U.S. will seek a “permanent observer” status instead. It cited U.S. belief in “the need for fundamental reform in the organization.”

Netanyahu said Thursday that Israel also plans to withdraw from the agency, saying it had become a “theater of the absurd because instead of preserving history, it distorts it.” Israel has been irked by resolutions that diminish its historical connection to the Holy Land and have instead named ancient Jewish sites as Palestinian heritage sites.

Praising Trump’s decision as “brave and moral,” Netanyahu said he has ordered Israeli diplomats to prepare for Israel’s withdrawal from the organization in concert with the Americans. Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations, Danny Danon, also praised Washington’s move as heralding “a new day at the U.N., where there is a price to pay for discrimination against Israel.”

“The United States stands by Israel and is a true leader for change at the U.N,” Danon said. “The alliance between our two countries is stronger than ever.” U.S. officials said Secretary of State Rex Tillerson made the decision and it was not discussed with other countries. The officials were not authorized to be publicly named discussing the issue.

Nikki Haley, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, called UNESCO’s July designation of Hebron’s Old City and the Tomb of the Patriarchs as Palestinian territory the latest of many “foolish actions” that had made the agency “a chronic embarrassment.”

Haley also criticized UNESCO for “keeping Syrian dictator Bashar Assad on a UNESCO human rights committee even after his murderous crackdown on peaceful protesters” The United States has pulled out of UNESCO before. The Reagan administration did in 1984 because it viewed the agency as mismanaged, corrupt and used to advance Soviet interests. The U.S. rejoined in 2003.

The State Department informed Bokova it intends to stay engaged at UNESCO as a non-member “observer state” on “non-politicized” issues, including the protection of World Heritage sites, advocating for press freedoms and promoting scientific collaboration and education.

“We will be carefully watching how the organization and the new director-general steers the agency,” Charge d’Affaires Chris Hegadorn, the ranking U.S. representative to UNESCO, told The Associated Press. “Ideally, it steers it in way that U.S. interests and UNESCO’s mandate will converge.”

UNESCO’s 58-member executive board plans to select Bokova’s successor from among three finalists remaining from the field of seven candidates under consideration at the beginning of the week. Along with al-Kawari, Qatar’s former culture minister, the finalists are Audrey Azoulay, a former culture minister in France, and former Egyptian government minister Moushira Khattab. The board’s pick then goes to the full UNESCO general assembly next month for final approval.

Lee reported from Washington. Edith M. Lederer in New York, Aron Heller in Jerusalem and Angela Charlton in Paris contributed to this report.

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Greece: Joint air force drills with Cyprus, Egypt, Israel

October 01, 2017

NICOSIA, Cyprus (AP) — Greece’s defense minister says plans are being drawn up for joint air force drills with Cyprus, Israel, Egypt and other European countries as part of efforts to bolster stability in the eastern Mediterranean.

Panos Kammenos’ remarks Sunday came after a military parade in the Cypriot capital to commemorate the 57th anniversary of the ethnically divided island’s independence. The parade included the overflight of a pair of Greek Air Force F-16 jets, the first showing of the Greek warplanes at the event in 16 years.

The island’s Greek Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades said there will be no let-up in efforts to reunify Cyprus, despite July’s collapse of peace talks with breakaway Turkish Cypriots. Russian-made BUK surface-to-air missiles were also put on the display at the parade.

US builds permanent military base in Israel

September 20, 2017

The United States established on Monday its first permanent military base in the heart of the Negev in Israel, local media reported.

According to the Israeli media, the military base is located inside the Israeli Air Force’s Mashabim Air Base, west of the towns of Dimona and Yerucham.

Brigadier General Tzvika Haimovitch, head of the Israeli Air Force’s Aerial Defense Command, said this demonstrates the “years-old alliance between the United States and the State of Israel.”

Israeli army sources said that cooperation between the Israeli Air Force and the US Army has been routine.

According to the Times of Israel, Haimovitch also said that this base “allows us to improve our defense in discovery and in interception and in preparedness.”

He added that the new air base, along with other recent improvements to Israel’s air defense program, “will improve our abilities significantly. It will not get us to 100 per cent, but it will get us much closer to achieving important things during war.”

Source: Middle East Monitor.

Link: https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20170920-us-builds-permanent-military-base-in-israel/.

Israel’s attorney general may indict Netanyahu’s wife

September 08, 2017

JERUSALEM (AP) — Israel’s attorney general took a step Friday toward indicting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s wife for corruption in a scandal that deepened the mounting legal problems of Israel’s first family.

Attorney General Avichai Mandleblit announced he is considering charging Sara Netanyahu with graft, fraud and breach of trust for alleged overspending of over $100,000 in public funds on private meals at the prime minister’s official residence.

Friday’s announcement is the procedural first step ahead of leveling formal charges against Sara Netanyahu. The Justice Ministry said in a statement that she will have the opportunity to plead her case at a hearing before any charges are filed.

Investigations that Netanyahu improperly hired a political supporter as an electrician, used government money to buy furniture for their private beach house, and used state funds to pay for her late father’s medical care were dropped for lack of evidence, the attorney general’s office said.

A similar notice was issued to Ezra Saidoff, a former official at Netanyahu’s official residence, for suspected involvement in the case. The Netanyahus dismissed accusations of wrongdoing against Sara Netanyahu as “absurd” in a Facebook post on the prime minister’s official page on Thursday. The prime minister doubled down on the denial in another post Friday, saying the accusations “will evaporate in the hearing” like other suspicions against the prime minister’s wife.

An indictment of Sara Netanyahu would not pose a direct threat to Netanyahu. But it is an embarrassing blow to the prime minister, who is facing a series of criminal investigations into his personal and financial dealings.

Emanuel Gross, a legal expert at Haifa University, said Mandelblit’s announcement is a standard legal procedure that is “very preliminary,” and won’t absolutely result in an indictment. “We cannot be sure what will happen after the hearing,” he said. “We have to wait and see.”

The potential indictment threatens to reinforce the unflattering reputation the Netanyahus have gained for enjoying an expensive lifestyle out of touch with common Israelis. The Netanyahus have repeatedly charged that they are victims of a political witch hunt and hostile media.

Citing Russian defense ministry, Israeli website says Egypt to send troops to Syria next week

January 10, 2017

The Russian defence ministry has reportedly announced that Egypt would send troops to Syria to observe the implementation of the truce reached between the Syrian regime’s forces and the armed opposition, according to the Israeli website Rotter.

The news website added that the Egyptian troops will arrive in Syria early next week, noting that a number of Egyptian officers had been already in Syria to pave the way for the troops’ arrival.

At the same time, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov called on Egypt as a partner to join his country along with Turkey and Iran in the talks on Syria’s future and the implementation of the truce, according to Rotter.

Russia had decided to halt flights to Egyptian airports after a Russian plane crashed in October 2015 over Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula, killing all 217 passengers on board. The Metrojet flight crashed after its departure from the Egypt’s Sharm El Sheikh International Airport.

Rotter said that for Egypt to join the trio discussing Syria’s future would be a great Russian success, which is also interesting in light of Egypt’s tense relations with Turkey on the one hand and its relations with Iran on the other.

It will be also interesting to know the US response to this step, given that the United States and European countries are not taking part in the Syria talks, the Israeli website added.

Source: Middle East Monitor.

Link: https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20170110-citing-russian-defence-ministry-israeli-website-says-egypt-to-send-troops-to-syria-next-week/.

Jordan MPs demand closure of Israeli embassy

August 3, 2017

Some 78 Jordanian members of parliament have signed a motion demanding the closure of the Israeli embassy in Amman following an Israeli shooting that left two Jordanians dead last month.

The motion, submitted on Tuesday, also demanded that the Jordanian ambassador leave Israel immediately in order “to express rejection of the Jordanian government’s handling of the issue and returning the killer to Israel”, according to Ma’an news agency.

“Jordanian blood and Jordanians’ dignity are not cheap and the government was supposed to stand for the right of the blood that was shed and maintain their dignity strongly and firmly,” the motion read.

Read: Jordan should stop bowing to Israel

Deputy Khalid Ramadan Awada added that further action would be taken if the government did not respond to their demands.

The petition comes a week after hundreds of people protested outside the Israeli embassy in Amman calling for the cancellation of Jordan’s peace treaty with Israel known as “Wadi Araba”.

Tensions have been high since the Jordanian government returned the shooter to Tel Aviv, followed by the release of images of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu welcoming the soldier. Jordan’s King Abdullah has since demanded that the guard be tried for murder.

Source: Middle East Monitor.

Link: https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20170803-jordan-mps-demand-closure-of-israeli-embassy/.

Al-Jazeera denounces Israel’s decision to close its bureau

August 07, 2017

JERUSALEM (AP) — Al-Jazeera has denounced Israel’s decision to close the Jerusalem bureau of Qatar’s flagship satellite network, saying that the measure is “undemocratic” and that it will take legal action.

Israel’s move follows in the footsteps of four Arab countries that are aligned against Qatar as part of a months-long political dispute over Doha’s politics and alleged support for extremists. The channel and its affiliate sites have been blocked in Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain.

On Sunday, Israel announced it would revoke the press credentials of Al-Jazeera journalists, effectively preventing them from working in Israel. The news organization, in turn, denounced the decision it said came from a country claiming to be “the only democratic state in the Middle East” and said it would take legal action.

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