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Israel-Gaza fighting enters its second week | SOURCE: RAW STORY

Israel-Gaza fighting enters its second week with no end in sight. Militants launched rockets at the southern Israeli cities of Beersheba and Ashkelon, while Israeli planes launched dozens of air strikes.

SOURCE: RAW STORY


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China accuses U.S. of obstructing UN operation on Israeli-Palestinian conflict | SOURCE: CGTN

The national flags of China and the U.S. fly along Pennsylvania Avenue near the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., U.S. January 18, 2011. /Xinhua

China accused United States -known to be Israel’s long-term ally- of obstructing United Nations (UN) operation on the escalating Israeli-Palestine conflict.

SOURCE: CGTN


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Israel launches more strikes on Gaza as fears of a ground invasion grow | SOURCE: CNN

A fire ball engulfs the Al-Walid building which was destroyed in an Israeli airstrike in Gaza city, early on May 13.

Israeli military directed heavy artillery fire and dozens of airstrikes into Gaza, as fears grew that a ground invasion of the territory could be launched to quell rocket fire from Palestinian militants

SOURCE: CNN


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analysis

Fake News Alert: Russia & Turkey Are Not Sending Peacekeepers To Palestine

14 MAY 2021

Fake News Alert: Russia & Turkey Are Not Sending Peacekeepers To Palestine

Turkish President Erdogan’s disclosure that he proposed dispatching a peacekeeping force to Palestine during this week’s talks with his Russian counterpart has been misconstrued by many in the Alt-Media Community as implying an impending mission to the Holy Land, but that’s nothing more than fake news since the topic was only brought up for soft power purposes and no such joint operation is seriously being planned.

The Alt-Media Community (AMC) can be a very valuable place for learning about facts and interpretations thereof that are largely suppressed by the Mainstream Media for “politically correct” reasons, but it can also be a cesspit of fake news as well if one lacks the media literacy to identify the various information products that they come across online. Among the latest false narratives to be propagated across the community is the claim that Russia and Turkey are ready to deploy a peacekeeping force to Palestine. This counterfactual claim is based upon Turkish President Erdogan’s disclosure that he proposed a peacekeeping mission to his Russian counterpart during this week’s talks, though that part of their conversation curiously wasn’t mentioned in the official Kremlin website’s report of their call. No one should doubt that it was probably touched upon to some extent, but it evidently wasn’t serious enough of a topic for the Kremlin to inform the world about.

At this point, it’s necessary for readers to take a step back and assess the strategic dynamics of the latest “Israeli”-Palestinian conflict as objectively as they possibly can. Regardless of whichever side one supports, everyone should acknowledge that there’s an intense information war being waged by each warring party and their sympathizers. Plenty of fake news is being propagated in order to manufacture false impressions of the situation and its future course. In the context of this analysis, one such example is the AMC’s misconstruing of President Erdogan’s conversation with President Putin and subsequent misreporting that the two are seriously considering an impending peacekeeping mission to the Holy Land. This dramatic claim ignores Russia’s perfectly balanced approach to the conflict whereby Moscow has refused to take either party’s side and it also distracts from Turkey’s “politically inconvenient” relationship with “Israel”.

About the first point, many in the AMC wishfully think that Russia and especially its leader are secretly against “Israel”. This is partly due to years of indoctrination after they’ve read countless fake news reports about this topic in the AMC from individuals and outlets that are motivated by ego, ideology, and/or profit (i.e. boosting ad revenue through clickbait and/or soliciting more donations from naive but well-intended members of their audience for reaffirming their false expectations). The second point operates very similarly nowadays as well. Just like there are those who imagine that Russia is anti-Zionist, so too are there many who imagine the same about Turkey despite Ankara’s continued political and economic ties with “Israel”. For various reasons, it’s fashionable to pretend that both of them are against “Israel”, particularly Turkey due to some recent highly publicized disagreements between the two, but both narratives are debunked by the facts.

Nevertheless, quite a few Facebook pages (mostly those targeting Muslims) and even casual commentators fell for the fake news being pushed by those who claimed that Russia and Turkey are preparing to dispatch a joint peacekeeping mission to Palestine. This reflects just how unaware those individuals are of those two countries’ relations with “Israel” (due to a large extent to the years’ worth of fake news they’ve been indoctrinated into believing about that topic) as well as how desperate they are to believe that some Great Powers are assembling the peacekeeping mission that so many of them sincerely hope for. What’s most regrettable about this latest fake news narrative is that it’s bound to be debunked by subsequent developments and result in people’s unrealistically high and completely manufactured hopes being shattered in the coming future, after which they’ll likely be confused and perhaps more susceptible to anti-Russian and -Turkish narratives.

It’s everyone’s right to believe whatever they want, whether it’s the fake news about those two allegedly assembling a joint peacekeeping force for Palestine or any critical interpretations of their policies (whether in general or specific to this or another issue), but folks also deserve to be informed that they’ve been misled whenever viral fake news succeeds in convincing them of something that isn’t true. Nobody wants to have their hopes shattered, especially if the latter were unrealistically high and the result of fake news, hence the obligation that every sincere member of the AMC has to inform their fellows whenever this is happening. President Erdogan knows very well that no such peacekeeping mission is going to happen, but he brought it up with President Putin in order to create a soft power talking point that could boost his country’s supposed anti-Zionist credentials. It was thus nothing more than a tactical infowar move and nothing to be taken seriously.

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By Andrew Korybko

American political analyst

Tags: Russia, Turkey, Putin, Erdogan, Palestine, Israel, Alt-Media, Infowars.


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Interpreting Russia’s Approach To The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

14 MAY 2021

Interpreting Russia

Russia’s perfectly balanced approach might not win it plaudits from either side, but it’s nevertheless the most pragmatic stance that any foreign party could take if they desire to maintain equally excellent relations with all players in West Asia.

The “Israeli”-Palestinian conflict is a very emotive one draped in ethno-religious and national liberation dimensions that further intensify the sentiments surrounding this issue. It’s therefore understandable that the latest violence further polarized the world. The exception to this observation is interestingly Russia’s stance towards the conflict since Moscow has done its utmost to maintain a perfectly balanced approach unlike practically every other foreign party. It condemns “Israeli” settlements for violating international law but simultaneously supports “Israel’s” right to exist within its pre-167 borders per relevant UN Resolutions. The Eurasian Great Power also wants both sides to stop targeting civilians, which lends credence to each of their claims against the other. This approach might not win it plaudits from either side, but it’s the most pragmatic one that any state could take if they desire to maintain equally excellent relations with all players in West Asia.

In the contemporary era of uncontrollable polarization made all the worse by the unpredictable global systemic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s refreshing that a leading country like Russia is taking such a neutral position towards an issue as important as the “Israeli”-Palestinian one. Nevertheless, some critics claim that this stance supports “Israel’s” by default since Moscow doesn’t ever impose any meaningful consequences upon Tel Aviv for its violation of international law. That argument is compelling to a large extent and probably comes off as a surprise to many of the country’s supporters who wrongly thought that it maintains its Soviet-era policy of proudly supporting the Palestinians no matter what. That hasn’t been the case for decades but some forces in the Alt-Media Community dishonestly misportrayed its policy for self-serving reasons related to either ego, ideology, and/or profit (i.e. boosting ad revenue through clickbait and/or soliciting more donations).

The fact of the matter is that while Russia officially deplores “Israel’s” treatment of the Palestinians in the Occupied Territories, it won’t do anything other than remind the world of this problem from time to time out of fear of risking its newfound de facto strategic partnership with the self-professed “Jewish State”. Furthermore, much to the consternation of some of its Muslim supporters, Russia is also vehemently against attempts to discredit “Israel’s” existence since these run counter to UN Resolutions. All that Russia would ideally like to see is a two-state solution in line with international law, but it’s equally against both “Israel’s” erasure from the map like some have advocated for and the self-professed “Jewish State’s” indefinite occupation of the Palestinian territories that it illegally seized after 1967. Just like it won’t take meaningful action against “Israel”, however, it also won’t do the same against the Palestinians either, which is fair enough from its perspective.

This means that Russia’s role is largely rhetorical when it comes to this emotive issue except with respect to its sincere efforts to organize another round of peace talks aimed at facilitating a compromise solution to this long-standing dilemma. There might not be much more that Russia could actually do other than host a neutral meeting place for the warring parties and other relevant stakeholders like the rest of the Mideast Quartet (US, EU, and UN) to further discuss their differences. One might argue that Russia would have more to gain by decisively taking one side over the other, but that perspective doesn’t take into account the country’s 21st-century grand strategy of becoming the supreme balancing force to Eurasia, to which end it must absolutely abide by international law and present itself as the least partisan force possible. This position is expected to improve Russia’s influence with both parties without sacrificing ties with one or the other.

Most countries aren’t strong enough to practice such a policy since they’d rather have the benefits that come with supporting one of these rivals. In the case of those who support “Israel”, this is obviously cooperation with its world-class business community (especially in the agricultural and technological spheres nowadays), while Palestine’s supporters expect a major soft power boost by remaining loyal to the principles of international law. That’s not to say that Russia is against international law by not supporting Palestine over “Israel”, but just that global sympathy is clearly on the side of the Palestinians whose cause is more closely associated with this concept due to “Israel’s” ongoing occupation of their territories since 1967. Many Palestinian supporters also believe that “Israel’s” very existence is illegitimate, though while that’s their right to think so, it nevertheless goes against international law and risks discrediting their principled support thereof when it comes to Palestine.

“Israel”, Palestine, and their respective supporters of course wish that Russia would openly take one of their sides, but the Kremlin is reluctant to do so since it believes that such a decision would sacrifice its strategic flexibility. The Eurasian Great Power wants to continue cultivating relations with both parties, which it wouldn’t be able to do if it supported one over the other. Neither is likely happy with this pragmatic stance, but since it technically doesn’t go against either of them despite claims to the contrary considering its strict adherence to international law, Russia’s ties with both of them won’t suffer as a result. To the contrary, they’re expected to continue improving. Russia might be criticized by “Israel” for “flirting with Muslim extremists” while the Palestinians might criticize it for “implicitly supporting Zionism”, but they won’t impose any meaningful costs against it just like Russia won’t impose the same against them either. Russia’s balancing act will thus endure.

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By Andrew Korybko

American political analyst

Tags: Russia, Israel, Palestine, Balancing.


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Israel’s Aggressive Actions Are Indefensible

12 MAY 2021

Israel

The ‘Israeli’-provoked violence is deplorable enough as it is since it was started by the Jewish State’s aggressive colonial ambitions against the occupied Palestinian people in complete contradiction of international law but was made even worse by the fact that it’s occurring right before the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Fitr that commemorates the end of Ramadan.

What the three Abrahamic religions regard as the Holy Land is once again beset by violence provoked by “Israel‘s” indefensible actions. The self-proclaimed Jewish State sought to evict Palestinians from the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood in East Jerusalem, which has been illegally occupied by “Israel” since 1967, in order to create new colonial settlements there. “Israel” also prohibited the Palestinians from gathering near the Damascus Gate where they often socialize during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. Furthermore, “Israel” restricted the number of worshippers at the Al-Aqsa Mosque, one of the holiest sites in Islam.

These decisions prompted the Palestinians to protest, which some of them also did from within the Al-Aqsa Mosque by throwing bottles and stones at the “Israeli” security services, which in turn resulted in the latter attacking that place of worship with rubber bullets and stun grenades. The hybrid political-military movement Hamas subsequently issued an ultimatum to “Israel” to withdraw its security forces from Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood as well as release all of the Palestinians who were recently detained. This warning wasn’t heeded, hence why Hamas fired rockets from Gaza into “Israel”, triggering retaliatory airstrikes.

The “Israeli”-provoked violence is deplorable enough as it is since it was started by the Jewish State’s aggressive colonial ambitions against the occupied Palestinian people in complete contradiction of international law but was made even worse by the fact that it’s occurring right before the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Fitr that commemorates the end of Ramadan. Muslims across the world are therefore extra incensed by what’s happening to their fellow believers in the Holy Land right now, which is why so many of their leaders such as Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan have spoken out really loudly condemning the “Israeli” attacks.

“Israel” presents all of its actions as being within its sovereign rights and claims that the international community is biased against it, sometimes even outright accusing them of anti-Semitism, but such accusations are unsubstantiated. Its post-1967 occupation of former Palestinian-inhabited Jordanian territory is illegal under international law, as is its ever-expanding network of colonial settlements there. “Israel” provoked the Palestinians into resisting the way that they did because their victims felt that they had no other way to attract global attention to their legitimate cause. Alas, “Israel” continues to violate international law with impunity.

Some observers have remarked that it’s extremely suspicious that the violence broke out when it did during the end of Ramadan. A few speculate that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu intentionally fanned the flames of violence in order to manufacture the violent scenario that’s since transpired so as to appear as the only political figure capable of defending “Israel” from what his government describes as so-called “terrorist attacks” by the Palestinians. This is taking place against the backdrop of his recent failure to form a government despite winning the fourth round of elections in two years. Another party is now tasked with trying to form a coalition.

This theory seems plausible enough since anyone could have predicted that the Palestinians would react the way that they did in the face of such provocations, not to mention the fact that they’re taking place during Ramadan and right before Eid al-Fitr. It certainly seems to be the case that the Palestinians were being manipulated into defending their interests through violent means in order to serve as the pretext for a politically convenient “Israeli” campaign against Hamas that could potentially bolster Netanyahu’s image. The resultant insight adds further credence to the argument that “Israel’s” aggressive actions are indefensible.

Colonialism should have ended during the last century yet it regrettably continues to this day in the Holy Land. Even worse, “Israel’s” crimes are deliberately being intensified during the most important Muslim holiday in order to provoke believers into desperately reacting the only way that some of them know how, which is with violence. Their response served to “justify” Netanyahu’s likely preplanned campaign against Hamas during this politically convenient moment after his coalition-building attempts just failed. The entire world must condemn “Israel”, impose meaningful costs for its violations of international law, and stand in solidarity with Palestine.

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By Andrew Korybko

American political analyst

Tags: Israel, Palestine, Hamas, Netanyahu.


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Fight between Israel and Hamas militants intensifies | SOURCE: DW


Israeli forces and Palestinian militants have stepped up their attacks in the worst fighting seen in years. The United Nations is warning about the risk of full-scale war.

SOURCE: DW


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Hamas and Israel Exchange Fire as Jerusalem Unrest Ignites Gaza | SOURCE: VOA NEWS

A Palestinian man gestures as he inspects a damaged building following an Israeli air strike, amid a flare-up of Israeli-Palestinian violence, in Gaza City, May 11, 2021.

Barrages of rockets by Palestinian militants from Gaza land into Jerusalem, amid of another round of air strikes by Israeli military forces. Violence follows weeks of mounting tensions and confrontations between Palestinians and Israeli troops in the city, sparked in part by Israeli plans to carry out evictions of Palestinian families in a neighborhood of east Jerusalem.   

SOURCE: VOA NEWS


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What’s Everything That Biden & Putin Have To Discuss?

15 APRIL 2021

What

The American and Russian Presidents have a slew of issues to discuss in the event that they meet in person sometime in the coming future like Biden proposed doing during their last phone conversation, but the most important topics on the itinerary would arguably be strategic security and peacefully resolving the conflicts in Ukraine, Afghanistan, and Syria.

Biden-Putin Summit Plans

Russian-American tensions are at an historic high for the post-1991 period so it’s sensible that President Biden proposed to hold an in-person meeting with his Russian counterpart during their last phone conversation in order “to discuss the full range of issues” facing their countries. The most important topics on the itinerary would arguably be strategic security and peacefully resolving the long-running conflicts in Afghanistan, Syria, and Ukraine, but other issues would of course also be brought up. What follows is a list of the most pressing problems between these two Great Powers in the order of their significance. Each point includes a summary of their respective positions and what a compromise might look like if one’s realistically possible:

Strategic Security

The White House’s readout of their call noted “the intent of the United States and Russia to pursue a strategic stability dialogue on a range of arms control and emerging security issues, building on the extension of the New START Treaty”, which was reflected by the Kremlin also referencing “strategic stability and arms control”. Both countries therefore share the common desire to build upon the New START Treaty’s last-minute extension in February, though it’s unclear in what direction this might go. The prior US administration demanded that China join all such forthcoming talks while Russia respects Beijing’s right not to do so. The ideal scenario would be if all relevant powers made proportionate cuts to their pertinent arsenals, but that might not be realistic.

Ukraine

This hot button issue concerns more than just politically resolving the Eastern European country’s civil war in line with the Minsk Accords that US-backed Kiev has thus far refused to implement despite previously agreeing to them. It also involves NATO’s aggressive forward posturing in the region and its support for Ukraine’s anti-Russian activities, including against Crimea. The situation is so tense at the moment that a war might even break out before the Russian and American leaders meet, with the subsequently feared brinksmanship potentially serving as the reason to expedite their summit plans. The best-case scenario would be if the US assesses the seriousness of the situation and finally pressures Kiev to implement the Minsk Accords.

Afghanistan

The Kremlin’s readout reported “the situation in Afghanistan”, which was missing from the White House’s, but this issue will likely be at the fore of their discussions considering that the US plans to fully withdraw from that country by 9/11 this year. Both Great Powers have recently seen their positions converge insofar as supporting an inclusive transitional government in which the officially terrorist-designated Taliban participates as the only pragmatic political outcome of the conflict. The challenge is that the Taliban reacted negatively to the US’ announcement that it’ll miss its originally scheduled deadline for withdrawing by 1 May, so it remains to be seen whether the fragile ceasefire between those two holds long enough for the meeting to occur.

Syria

Syria didn’t warrant a mention on either government’s readout so it’s unclear whether it was brought up during their last discussion, but it’s nevertheless a major issue between them that can’t be ignored. The US retains occupation forces in the northeast beyond the de facto “internal partition” line of the Euphrates River, and its widely reported support of terrorist forces in the country is a major impediment to the conflict’s resolution. Moreover, the US’ political proxies have hitherto obstructed the parallel peace processes, so something must be done in order to make progress on these tracks. The only realistic compromise would be “decentralization” and Damascus requesting Iran’s dignified but phased withdrawal from the country, but the latter still seems unlikely.

China

The US is slowly realizing that it made a major mistake by triggering Russia’s historical siege mentality, pushing it closer to China in response, and provoking Moscow to actively seek Washington’s containment all across the world. Even a simple thought exercise embracing the US’ infamous zero-sum outlook on International Relations suggests that this works out to America’s grand strategic disadvantage while being one of the best-ever scenarios for China. Accordingly, Biden’s team might attempt to court Russia into reversing its recent American-provoked foreign policy pivot so as to restore Moscow’s traditional “balancing” act between East and West, but this outcome is only possible in the event credible progress is made on a “New Detente”.

Iran

The Islamic Republic’s nuclear program is another major issue of disagreement between the US and Russia, but one which also attracts their interest more than ever after Iran recently clinched a 25-year strategic partnership deal with China. That agreement stands the chance to revolutionize the greater region’s geostrategic situation through the expansion of Beijing’s Belt & Road Initiative (BRI) to West Asia via W-CPEC+, which was an unexpected game-changing development that seemingly caught both the US and Russia off guard. Not only will they seek to address the immediate nuclear-related issue, but they might also discuss ways to manage this new regional geostrategic reality, perhaps in an indirectly joint way if they make progress on a “New Detente”.

Palestine

The so-called “Mideast Peace Process” (MEPP) is also an area of mutual concern for Russia and the US. Both Great Powers are also allied with “Israel” to different extents, with Russia’s largely under-discussed relationship being the result of skillful policymaking at the presidential level through Putin’s personal diplomacy with his close friend Prime Minister Netanyahu (background context herehereherehere, and here). Since Biden is attempting to balance the US’ regional relationships a bit more than Trump did, it’s possible that he’ll walk back his predecessor’s so-called “Deal of the Century” and thus help pave the way for his country and Russia to jointly herald at least the symbolic creation of a Palestinian state, though it’ll still take a while for this to occur.

Russiagate/Navalny/Climate

Biden will almost certainly bring up the discredited Russiagate conspiracy theory due to domestic pressure from his base. This speculative aspect of their discussion would be entirely symbolic since it’s what many have rightly called a “nothingburger”. It’ll only be talked about for appearance’s sake, the same as Navalny‘s imprisonment might too if that’s even brought up that is. As for climate change, this is a “neutral” means through which the two could at least superficially cooperate more closely and result in a semi-tangibly positive outcome to their planned summit. Both of their leaders agree on the need to thwart this threat, but there really isn’t much that they can do together. Still, it could make for some good headlines if they release a joint statement about it.


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