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Geopolitics

Why Iranians And Israelis Have More In Common Than You Think

Israel's vocal support for Iranians protesting the regime will lay the grounds for ties with a future democratic Iran, whenever that may come.

-Editorial-

LONDON — It may be early to declare an end to the latest bout of anti-government protests in Iran, which began in mid-May. As late as May 30, Iranians were chanting Death to the Dictator at a football match. So far, the only foreign leader to openly voice support for protesting Iranians has been Israel's Prime Minister Naftali Bennett. On May 29, he referred to the suppression of protests in Iran in a speech in which he urged the world to hear the voice of Iranians opposing the Islamic Republic.

Bennett said the oppression of Iranians and constant threats to the security of Israel and its citizens had the same roots — namely a regime that spends Iran's resources not on the welfare of Iranians, but to pay for regional terrorism.

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Ukraine War, Phase 2: The Battle For Donbas Begins

👋 Moien!*

Welcome to Tuesday, where the battle for Donbas begins, tensions are rising in Gaza after Israel’s airstrike and Biden’s mask mandate for air travel is struck down. Meanwhile, Ukrainian journalist Anna Akage zeroes in on the strategic significance of the city of Mariupol in this second phase of the Ukraine war.


[*Luxembourgish]

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West Bank To Kashmir: Why Modi Sees Israel As A Guide For India

Aspects of discredited Israeli policies are being imitated in a country half a continent away.

-OpEd-

NEW DELHI — Nothing demonstrates the arrogance of Israeli settler colonialism more than the periodic killing, every few years, of hundreds of Palestinians in Gaza by its bombs and missiles.

Leading Israeli politicians and military leaders are fond of describing this brutal violence as "mowing the lawn," as if Palestinian people are noxious weeds that need to be cut ever so often. "Mowing the lawn" is a nakedly political act meant to repress and suppress the non-Jewish population of territories like Gaza or the West Bank that are under de facto Israeli control.

"Israel has the right to defend itself," says U.S. President Joe Biden, who knows full well the profound asymmetry of military power between Israel and each and every one of its potential adversaries. The choice of words is clearly meant to justify brutal actions by Israel against Palestinians who live under occupation.

The trigger for the current conflict is widely acknowledged to be the threats of eviction of Palestinian families from their homes in the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood of East Jerusalem. This was followed by the Israeli police using tear gas and stun grenades on worshippers in the al Aqsa mosque on the holiest day of Ramadan. This provoked Hamas militants in Gaza to fire rockets into Israel, most of which were successfully countered by the Israeli "Iron Dome" system. Then came the aforementioned "lawn mowing," i.e., the Israeli artillery and aerial assault on Gaza.

When the cease-fire took hold, 12 people had died inside Israel, two of whom were ironically Palestinian Arab citizens of Israel and one a domestic worker from Kerala. In contrast, the UN estimates that 270 died in Gaza, 68 of whom were children, many of whom were infants. This is deemed by Israel a "proportionate response," preserving an approximate ratio of 20-25 Palestinians killed for each Israeli life lost.

Amira Hass, one of the most perceptive commentators on Israel-Palestine affairs, writes in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz:

"The lethal Israeli bombings of the residents of the narrow and sealed Gaza Strip may be presented in Israel as a "response," but every Palestinian and also other sensible observers understand them as part of the century-long continuum in which one people takes over and expels, fragments, divides and crushes, while the other people refuses to give up its identity and homeland — so it is attacked time after time."

American support to Israel is usually couched in terms of the $3.8 billion military aid given every year. More insidious and hidden are the many hundreds of millions given in the U.S. in tax-exempt donations to entities that use the funds to finance the growth of settler colonialism.

"The settlement enclaves sprouting up across the area are supported by a constellation of corporations and nonprofits financed mainly through U.S. tax-exempt donations," says Tanya Wintman. In the case of Sheikh Jarrah and other East Jerusalem neighborhoods, one need only look at two such settler organizations, Nahalat Shimon and Ateret Cohanim…These tax subsidies and the activities they support — the ethnic cleansing and Judaization of East Jerusalem…subsidizes private provocateurs, settlement lobbies and multinational corporations sowing destruction in Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem."

This relentless drive to create an Eretz (Greater) Israel with no defined boundaries finds its voice in the increasingly right-wing majoritarian Jewish Israeli population egged on by their political representatives. It is manifested in the Jewish mobs shouting "death to the Arabs' in mixed Jewish-Palestinian cities like Lod/Lydda.

The basic underlying cause is Israel's occupation of the Palestinian territories and its policy of apartheid not only in the areas conquered in 1967 but within Israel itself, west of the so-called Green Line.

In a recent op-ed in the New York Times of May 25, Palestinian lawyer Diana Buttu emphasises, "We Palestinians living in Israel ‘sub-exist," living under a system of discrimination and racism with laws that enshrine our second-class status and with policies that ensure we are never equals. This is not by accident but by design."

For approximately five decades, India had supported Palestine completely.

These facts have been acknowledged by international organizations such as Human Rights Watch and the courageous Israeli human rights groups B'Tselem.

While the settler-colonial regime in South Africa was forced by international pressure to dismantle the ugly features of apartheid two decades ago, Israel defiantly refuses to do so and its patrons in the West, notably the U.S., remain complicit in its adamant rejection of international law and morality.

Most ironically, however, aspects of Israeli policies are being imitated in a country where one would have least expected it.

On August 5, 2019, the Modi regime in India, whose fervent adherents make no secret of their goal of transforming India into a Hindu Rashtra, abolished the statehood of India's only Muslim-majority state of Jammu and Kashmir, and read down Article 370 of the India's constitution that conferred special status to these territories.

Then-Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu meeting with Narendra Modi in January 2018 — Photo: Lalit Kumar/Planet Pix via ZUMA Wire

While several reasons have been advanced to explain why the Modi regime took this drastic step, one particular reason — a settler-colonial policy to change the demography of the area by settling Hindus from other parts of the country there — has received a fair amount of attention.

A number of laws have been passed to remove previous restrictions on acquiring land and property in the newly designated Union Territory downgraded from its previous status as a state. How feasible this attempt to foster settler colonialism is may be debated but this notion became more credible when it was explicitly mentioned by an official of the Indian government.

In November 2019, India's consul-general in New York was seen on video telling an audience at a private gathering about the changes wrought by the Indian government in Jammu and Kashmir. He referred explicitly to the actions of the Israeli government in facilitating Jewish settlement in the occupied West Bank and is reported to have said, "If the Israeli people can do it, we can also do it."

Any significant demographic alteration, if it occurs, would of course be done under the shadow of the Indian military in the most heavily militarized region in the world today. This, if it happens, would bear a strong similarity to the way the Israeli military facilitates Jewish settlers to appropriate land and terrorize the Palestinians living in the West Bank.

Where India stood before

For approximately five decades, India had supported Palestine completely.

Its diplomatic relations with Israel were limited to a consulate in Bombay for the purpose of facilitating the travel of Indian Jews to Israel while it established full diplomatic relations with the Palestine Liberation Organization and allowed it to open its office in New Delhi. Several factors were likely responsible for this situation, including India's emergence as a leader of the non-aligned bloc while Israel was firmly anchored in the western bloc, a position that was cemented when Israel joined Britain and France in imperial gunboat diplomacy: a military attack on Egypt in 1956 after Nasser nationalized the Suez Canal.

It is hardly any surprise that the Modi regime would take lessons in settler colonialism from Israel.

India's position could also have been influenced to some extent by Mahatma Gandhi"s views on Palestine expressed in his paper The Harijan. Writing in 1938 when the Nazi atrocities against the Jews of Germany were accelerating, Gandhi said that Palestine belongs to the Arabs in the same sense as England belongs to the English and France to the French and it is wrong and inhuman to impose the Jews on the Arabs.

Gandhi described the Jews as "the untouchables of Christianity" and compared their treatment by Christians in Europe to that of untouchables in India by caste Hindus but then went on to remark:

"My sympathy for Jews does not blind me to the requirements of justice. It is wrong for Jews to enter Palestine under the shadow of the British gun…they are co-sharers with the British in despoiling a people who have done them no wrong."

Gandhi repeated this in July 1946 when he stated that Europe's Jews, "who have been cruelly wronged … have erred grievously in seeking to impose themselves on Palestine with the aid of America and Britain and now with the aid of naked terrorism." Gandhi's position, basically, was that the western world that had done little to save German Jews from destruction at the hands of the Nazis was trying to salve its guilty conscience by grabbing Arab land to settle European Jews in accordance with Zionist policy.

This position, like many other moral stances espoused by the Mahatma, has little appeal to the Hindutva groups, one of whose members assassinated Gandhi in New Delhi on January 30, 1948.

So, it is hardly any surprise that the Modi regime would take lessons in settler colonialism from Israel just as the Indian police and paramilitary bodies are reported to have received training from the Israelis in so-called "anti-terrorist" actions.

Meanwhile, Palestinians continue to live under the boot of the Israeli occupation. When periodic bouts of violence inevitably occur, Amira Hass, quoted above, reminds us, "It is only natural that Palestinians will want the Jewish military superpower to lose it and for the Israelis to know what fear is."

On the other hand, Israel can and does inflict violence on a vastly greater scale while the sight of Palestinian children killed and maimed and homes and schools destroyed that arouse feelings "of helplessness, rage and despair among every Palestinian…are sights that in the best case do not move most Israeli Jews, and in the worst case make them happy."

This is the arrogance and the reality of settler-colonialism that the Modi regime ostensibly wishes to imitate in Jammu and Kashmir.

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Palestinian Liberation v. Israelization: A Moment Of Truth

In the latest Palestinian uprising, the greatest accomplishment has been to demonstrate the actuality of liberation.

-Essay-

JERUSALEMMay 14, 2018: Donald Trump keeps his promise to move the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, and recognizes a united Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. The Palestinian Authority's call to action results in nothing but a few performative protests and anemic marches in the streets of Ramallah. There's a small demonstration outside the new embassy building where Zionist leftists beat their drums and call for the end of the occupation.

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Geopolitics
Louis Imbert

Beyond Gaza: Seething Youth In The West Bank Are Radicalizing

For fear of losing legitimacy to Hamas, supporters of the ruling Fatah party have joined the riots that have left at least 19 people dead since Friday.

SILWAD — At the end of the unrest in their village of Silwad this past Saturday, under the watchful eye of a few adults and a spotter, perched on a roof at the edge of the village, dozens of children, barely 10 years old, are trying to throw stones at an Israeli base located 200 meters away. The soldiers are on the road that leads south, through beautiful terraced hills, to Ramallah, the seat of political authority in the occupied West Bank.

This was May 15, the day of remembrance for "Nakba" ("catastrophe") — the forced exodus of 700,000 Palestinians when Israel was created in 1948 — the entrances to Silwad are littered with the remnants of larger clashes. On Friday, Mohammad Hamad, a 30-year-old resident of the village, was killed by soldiers. The two days of rioting have left 19 people dead, according to the health services, across a hundred Palestinian towns and villages. This is a death toll not seen in the West Bank since 2002. But this is the first response in this West Bank that broods over its marginalization, far from the conflict in Jerusalem and far from Gaza where Hamas has been embroiled in an all-out war with Israel since May 11.

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BBC

The Latest: Biden Pushes For Middle East Ceasefire, Migrant Exodus, Mafia Math

Welcome to Tuesday, where Biden calls for Gaza ceasefire, 6,000 refugees reach Spanish shores in a day, and a Sicilian Mafioso takes grandparenting to a new low. We also tune in to Hong Kong-based digital media The Initium for some *strait talking* about the stakes in Taiwan.

• Biden calls for Israel-Gaza ceasefire: The U.S. President Joe Biden has called for a ceasefire after eight days of a bloody conflict between Israel and Hamas militants in Gaza has left more than 200 Palestinians dead, including dozens of children. Ten Israelis have been killed by Hamas rockets. European leaders are meeting today for a special summit on the conflict.

• Thousands of migrants reach Spanish enclave: More than 6,000 migrants have reached the Spanish enclave of Ceuta from neighboring Morocco by swimming or sailing, a record number over a single day. The Spanish government has deployed troops to patrol the border amid heightened diplomatic tensions between the two countries.

• Myanmar toll since the military coup: At least 800 people have been killed by security forces since the Feb.1 coup, according to the activist group the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners. Some of the most intense fighting is now taking place in northwest Myanmar, close to the Indian border.

• Samoa to appoint first female leader: The Samoa Supreme Court validated Fiame Naomi Mata'afa's shock April election win, making her the first female prime minister and replacing the world's second-longest serving prime minister who has been ruling the country since 1998.

• U.S. Supreme Court to hear major abortion case: The U.S. Supreme Court will hear a challenge to Mississippi's 15-week ban on abortion in a historic case that could undermine the constitutional right to abortion. It will be the first abortion case heard by the new Justice Amy Coney Barrett, a Catholic conservative who was appointed by former President Trump in 2020.

• Rising tensions between Hong Kong and Taiwan: Hong Kong's government suspended operations at its representative office in Taiwan on Tuesday. Tensions have risen since Beijing imposed a controversial national security law last year in the city that encouraged many pro-democracy activists to leave.

• Havana puts on a giant rainbow flag: Cuba's health ministry was draped with a gigantic rainbow flag on Monday to celebrate the International Day against Homophobia, amid recent moves that could lead to the legalization of same-sex marriage.

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BBC

The Latest: Spiral In Gaza, Bill Gates Probe, No To Homophobia

Welcome to Monday, where Gaza shelling intensifies, Bill Gates is under fire for a relationship with staffer and the Titanic is spotted in China. We also ask why Italy lags behind others in Europe in protecting LGBTQ from violence.

• Israeli air strikes hit Gaza as calls for ceasefire intensify: Israel conducted dozens of air strikes on Gaza early Monday, as Hamas intensified the rounds of rockets aimed at Israeli cities. International calls for a ceasefire have mounted as clashes enter a second week and the death toll on the Palestinian side multiplies, with 198 people killed, including at least 58 children and 34 women.

• Indian cyclone kills 12 and forces thousands to evacuate: Cyclone Tauktae has killed at least 12 people in Indian coastal states and left 150,000 people to evacuate their homes, in the Indian state of Gujarat.

• China lands spacecraft on Mars: China has successfully landed an uncrewed spacecraft on Mars on Saturday, making China the second nation after the United States to land on the Red Planet.

• 30 sentenced to death over anti-police clashes in DRC: After a one-day trial, 30 people were sentenced to death in the Democratic Republic of Congo for their participation in anti-police violence marking the end of Ramadan that left a policeman dead on Thursday.

• Surprise results in vote to pick Chile's new Constitution council: Chile's center-right ruling coalition did not secure a critical one-third of seats in the body that will draft the country's new constitution. Voters mostly picked independents among the 155 citizens to rewrite the nation's constitution, to replace the document written under the military dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet.

• Allegations against Bill Gates about past relationship with staffer: Microsoft Corp. board members pushed founder Bill Gates to step down from its board as they were investigating the billionaire's prior sexual relationship with a female staffer that was considered inappropriate, reveals the Wall Street Journal. This report as well as a New York Times article that cited questionable behavior toward female staffers come after the announcement that Gates and his wife Melinda French Gates were seeking a divorce.

• Titanic tourist park to open in China: A 260-meter-long Titanic replica will open as a Chinese theme park at the end of the year, six years after the construction began — longer than the construction of the original Titanic.

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BBC

The Latest: Israeli Airstrikes On Gaza, Indian COVID Variant, Ancient Asteroid Dust

Welcome to Tuesday, where deadly warfare erupts in Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the Indian COVID variant is "cause for concern," and NASA gets its hands on some seriously old space dust. Le Monde"s Joan Tilouine also explains how the initial excitement surrounding Beijing's so-called "Stadium Diplomacy" in Africa has turned.

• Israel responds to Palestinian rockets with deadly Gaza airstrikes: Palestinian militants fired rockets towards Israel, and Israel retaliated with airstrikes in Gaza earlier today, following confrontations at al-Asqa Mosque in Jerusalem on Monday. Palestinian authorities say at least 24 people were killed, including nine children in the most violent outbreak in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict since 2019.

• Deadly Russian school shooting: At least 11 people were killed and dozens wounded after one or several men opened fire in a school in Kazan, eastern Russia.

• Indian variant of COVID of "global concern" amid new surge across Asia: The World Health Organization has warned that the coronavirus variant first found in India was of "global concern". The Indian variant has been found in at least 30 other countries so far. Malaysia imposed a new nationwide lockdown on Monday, and the fourth wave hitting Japan has sparked criticism and calls for tougher restrictions ahead of the Summer Olympics in Tokyo.

• Myanmar journalists, activists arrested in Thailand: Three reporters and two activists from Myanmar have been arrested in Thailand for illegally entering the country, and could possibly face deportation. Dozens of journalists have been arrested and many news agencies have been banned since the Feb. 1 military coup.

• U.S. fires warning shots at Iranian ships at Strait of Hormuz: The Pentagon confirmed that the U.S Coast Guard fired two warning shots at a fleet of 13 Iranian boats that came too close to American naval vessels in the Persian Gulf's Strait of Hormuz on Monday.

• Golden Globes boycott: Following criticisms about the lack of diversity in the Golden Globes, the NBC television network announced it will not air the event next year, while actor Tom Cruise handed back his three awards.

• NASA craft returning home with 5-billion-year-old asteroid dust: A NASA spacecraft containing a sample of rock and dirt as old as the Solar System will drop from outer space into the Utah desert in two years time, and is likely to provide clues on how the Solar System was formed.

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Geopolitics
Hala Marshood

Where Women's Liberation And Palestinian Liberation Meet

A Manifesto for Tali’at, a new movement seeking to put the feminist cause at the center of the battle for Palestinian rights.

-Essay-

JERUSALEM — On Sept. 26, 2019, thousands of Palestinian women took to the streets demanding freedom, safety and a better future. The demonstrators turned out for the sake of every woman facing daily physical violence, and to reject all forms of violence against the most vulnerable segments of society. Women came out everywhere there is a Palestinian presence — in the territory occupied since 1948, the West Bank, Gaza, Jerusalem, and the diaspora. Their voices crossed colonial geographic borders and dislocations to say that there can be no free nation unless women are free. After years of silence and marginalization, we made the street our frontline, to put our issues at the center of the Palestinian struggle. We can only salute those women who participated in the demonstrations, but we must also remember that our violence-filled reality and the numerous systems of oppression that rule us prevented many women from taking part. To them, we offer our utmost respect.

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Egypt
Mada Masr

Egypt And Israel: How Close Is Too Close?

They have their differences, of course, but the interests of Egypt and Israel have increasingly aligned since Abdel Fattah al-Sisi came to power in 2014.

-Analysis-

CAIRO — The last two weeks have marked one of the most intense political moments of President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi's time in office: viral videos from a brash contractor-turned-actor that were the epicenter of corruption and squandered public funds allegations, the popular protests that ensued and the staunch security crackdown that landed over 3,000 people in prison.

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Migrant Lives
Hamza Abu Eltarabesh

Rafah Crossing Voices, When Gaza-Egypt Border Stays Open

RAFAH — It has been one month since the Rafah Border Crossing was opened, marking the longest window in which Gaza residents have been permitted to leave and reenter their besieged territory since 2013.

What was initially purported to be a four-day opening was extended on May 17, when President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi announced that travel across the Egypt-Gaza border would be permitted throughout the month of Ramadan. (On Tuesday, Egypt extended the opening for at least another two months, ANSA Mediterranean news service reports)

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FRANKFURTER ALLGEMEINE ZEITUNG

A Bloody Contrast, 24 World Front Pages After Gaza Killings

PARIS — The world reacted in a chorus of shock Tuesday after the deadliest day in Gaza since 2014, as Israeli forces opened fire on Palestinians protesting at the border against the opening of the new American embassy in Jerusalem. U.S. President Donald Trump's decision to recognize the holy city as Israel's capital, against the will of almost the entire international community, has been the source of deadly clashes for months. But the response of Israeli Defense Forces on demonstrators Monday was brutal. Haaretz, the progressive Israeli daily, posted an editorial Tuesday titled: "Stop The Bloodbath."

The death toll had risen Tuesday morning to 60, with more than 2,000 wounded. As those killed yesterday are being put to rest, more protests are expected as Palestinians also commemorate the 70-year anniversary of the Nakba, when more than 700,000 Palestinian Arabs fled or were expelled from their homes in the 1948 war.

The killings have sparked protests as well as official condemnations from around the world, including the Secretary-General of the United Nations Antonio Guterres, who said he was "profoundly alarmed and concerned by the sharp escalation of violence and the number of Palestinians killed and injured in the Gaza protests."Many of Tuesday's newspaper front pages captured the contrast of Tuesday's events, where Trump's daughter Ivanka Trump was beaming during the inauguration of the new embassy, while unarmed civilians were being killed just miles away at the border. Le Monde"s lead article opened with the following words: "Champagne in Jerusalem, blood in Gaza."

ISRAEL

Haaretz

Israel Hayom

The Jerusalem Post

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