Informed Comment https://www.juancole.com Thoughts on the Middle East, History and Religion Tue, 18 Dec 2018 19:09:21 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.9 ACTION ALERT: Tell Congress to Protect Your Right to Free Speech for Palestine! https://www.juancole.com/2018/12/congress-protect-palestine.html https://www.juancole.com/2018/12/congress-protect-palestine.html#respond Tue, 18 Dec 2018 19:09:21 +0000 https://www.juancole.com/?p=180839 Washington, D.C. | www.adc.org | December 18, 2018 – ADC condemns in the strongest terms the unconstitutional bill, SR. 70, The Israel Anti-Boycott Act. Senator Ben Cardin re-introduced the proposed bill to the 2019 annual omnibus legislation, that can be a voted on any day!

It is URGENT that YOU ACT NOW and contact Congressional leadership to tell them that you oppose the Israel Anti-Boycott Act!

The right to political boycotts is a civil right that is protected under the First Amendment. “It’s why we live in a democracy,” ADC President Samer Khalaf stated to the New York Times. “This sort of sneaky inclusion of it into the omnibus bill, that’s what gives a better chance of it succeeding.” If the bill is introduced on its own, it is unlikely to pass. Members of Congress are aware that the bill would violate certain fundamental rights that are protected in the U.S. Constitution.

Boycott movements are an effective method used throughout U.S. history to achieve equality and civil rights for marginalized communities. We call on the U.S. Congress to protect rule of law and reject legislation that criminalizes the principles stipulated in the U.S. Constitution.

Contact Speaker of the House Representative Paul Ryan at (202) 225-3031 and Minority Leader Representative Nancy Pelosi at (202) 225-4965, to tell them that you oppose the Israel Anti-Boycott Act to be included in the national budget.

Please feel free to use ADC’s example script below:

Hi Representative Ryan/Pelosi, my name is _____. I am calling to ask you to oppose the Israel Anti-Boycott Act that has been included in the annual budget. The proposed legislation is a violation of our right to freedom of speech. We strongly recommend that you protect my first amendment rights and oppose the Israel Anti-Boycott Act and uphold the rule of law for all.


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ADC | 1705 DeSales St. NW, Suite 500 | Washington, DC 20036 | (202) 244-2990 | adc@adc.org


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Video added by Informed Comment:

Secular Talk: “Senate Tries To Pass Unconstitutional Anti-BDS Law In Lame Duck”

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Why Airbnb is not backing Down on Boycotting Israeli Squatter Housing in Palestinian West Bank https://www.juancole.com/2018/12/boycotting-squatter-palestinian.html https://www.juancole.com/2018/12/boycotting-squatter-palestinian.html#respond Tue, 18 Dec 2018 08:19:30 +0000 https://www.juancole.com/?p=180832 Ann Arbor (Informed Comment) – The living space- sharing company Airbnb on Monday denied an allegation by the Israeli tourism minister that it had suspended its delisting of apartments in Israeli squatter settlements (which are Jewish-only) in the Palestinian West Bank.

Airbnb has to boycott the Israeli squatter settlements because they are illegal.

The European Union has for some time imposed some sorts of boycott on settlement institutions, and requires the labeling of settler goods, and a full economic boycott is under consideration in countries like Ireland.

The argument sometimes heard is that Airbnb is treating the squatters differently than it does other disputed territories. It is a stupid argument and quite dishonest. There aren’t any other countries that are keeping 5 million people stateless and without citizenship in a state, and gradually usurping all their rights and property. The situation in the Occupied West Bank is unique, and deserves a unique response. There are countries that have incorporated somewhat unwilling populations into themselves, giving them a citizenship that they perhaps do not want. But that is different from stripping people of citizenship rights. Citizenship, as a US Supreme Court justice once correctly wrote, is the right to have rights.

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Israel militarily occupied the Palestinian West Bank in 1967. International law forbids occupiers to settle their own nationals in occupied territory. If you count Jerusalem, Israel has flooded some 800,000 squatters into Palestinian lands, usurping property, water and other resources from the Palestinians themselves and keeping Palestinians in a condition of statelessness that in some ways resembles slavery. Just as slaves do not securely own any property, so Palestinians under Israeli occupation can never be sure they actually own their own homes, or farms, or crops, or olive orchards, which can be sabotaged or taken away by the armed Israeli squatters or by the government that backs them, at any time. The only challenge Palestinians can launch is in *Israeli* courts, who only seldom find for Palestinians. If they resist forcefully, Israel destroys the home of the whole clan, leaving them homeless even if they did not know of or approve of what their relative was planning. (I should clarify that I advise nonviolent responses; nonviolent movements are at least twice as likely to succeed in recent history).

The confusion may have been caused because the Airbnb executive sent to consult with Israeli authorities declared that Airbnb is opposed to practicing Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions toward Israel.

Airbnb meant it did not intend to boycott Israel proper, i.e. Israel inside 1949 borders, which has been accepted as a member state by the United Nations and recognized implicitly by Egypt and Jordan (neither of which ceded Gaza and the West Bank to Israel when they signed their peace treaties with Tel Aviv).

The far right wing politicians in power in Israel have already in their own minds annexed the Palestinian West Bank to Israel (just the land, not the people, for whom they wish they could find some sort of definitive solution). Such an annexation is illegal six ways from Sunday. But that is why they misheard what Airbnb was saying, because they don’t make a distinction between Israel proper and the squatter settlements outside Israel. The rest of the world does. Even the Trump administration does.

Airbnb was exposed to lawsuits in normal societies in Europe if it made money off illlegal settlements, and was also exposed to boycotts if it continued to list Jewish-only apartments built on stolen Palestinian land. Its decision is a major turning point in attitudes of the business world toward growing Israeli Apartheid.

The problem with the distinction between boycotting squatters on the West Bank and boycotting Israel proper is that the two are becoming increasingly intertwined and seamless. Sooner or later it will be impossible to boycott the one and not the other.

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Bonus video:

From 3 weeks ago: “Airbnb to remove listings from illegal Israeli settlements” l Al Jazeera English

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Can we Make Christmas Sustainable? https://www.juancole.com/2018/12/make-christmas-sustainable.html https://www.juancole.com/2018/12/make-christmas-sustainable.html#respond Tue, 18 Dec 2018 06:54:54 +0000 https://www.juancole.com/?p=180829 By Sharon George –

Moderation is the last thing on people’s minds at Christmas. Shopping, travelling and eating reach peak levels – putting pressure on our planet. Even Santa poses a problem. If you don’t believe in flying reindeers, that sleigh must be rocket-fuelled to reach the supersonic speeds needed to travel around the world to visit hundreds of millions of children in just one night using conventional engineering.

File 20181214 185264 1v0m283.jpg?ixlib=rb 1.1
Plastic trees that are reused actually have a lower carbon footprint.

The example goes to show just how many presents we buy and send each Christmas – creating problems with packaging and transport. And as the population increases, so does the pile of presents. To get round this, presents have got smaller and virtual gifts such as an experience day have risen in popularity.

This has an added benefit of reducing packaging and transport problems. But virtual presents have a carbon footprint too. Electronic downloads still have an impact, as data has to be stored and transferred, using energy. So everything we buy has some impact, even through the electronic process of buying.

So how can we have a greener, more sustainable but generous Christmas? Here are five gold circular things!

1. Reduce food waste

The amount of food wasted at Christmas has a massive carbon (and water) footprint. Using less and storing excess in a winter wonderland – your freezer – is a great way to avoid waste. If leftover food doesn’t go in the freezer, cooked turkey and vegetables will keep for up to three days in the fridge.

However, not producing excess in the first place is the best way to avoid waste. Portion size is a big part of this and so is cooking things you actually like. Just because something is traditional does not make it compulsory. For instance, sprouts can be very controversial – so, if you don’t like them, skip them. You could also try an alternative to the traditional meat option, such as a nut roast. Vegetarian and vegan choices at the Christmas dinner table can massively cut the impact of your Christmas.

2. Cut down on packaging

Lower the impact of gifts through choices of paper and packaging. A lot of seasonal wrapping is non-recyclable as it is coated in plastic. This is concerning as plastic tends to spread everywhere – it has even been detected at the North Pole. A better approach would be to use wrapping paper made entirely out of paper. Gift bags are another great option – they can be reused and therefore help cut a massive amount of waste.

3. Buy ethically

You can give twice if you buy your presents second hand from charity shops – supporting worthwhile projects while also reducing consumption. You can also buy locally produced goods and support your local economy. Buying second hand potentially halves the carbon footprint. A typical T-shirt alone has a footprint of around 8.77kg of carbon dioxide and 2700 litres of water. If 1% of the 55.6m people in England alone bought just one second-hand T-shirt instead of a new one, they would be saving around 4.9m tonnes of carbon dioxide, the equivalent of driving 1,049 passenger cars for a year, and a whopping 1.5 billion litres of water.

4. Reuse Christmas stuff

Christmas decorations and fashion are basically the same every year. So celebrate your Christmas collection and reuse it, over and over again. It is a tragedy that only one in four Christmas jumpers are ever reused. According to the Carbon Trust, an artificial tree needs to be used around 10 times to have an equivalent footprint as its real counterpart.

5. It’s the thought that counts

There are few holidays that are so focused on being caring, helpful and generous as Christmas. So celebrate this and try to avoid buying unnecessary stuff that people don’t want anyway. Donations and acts of kindness really lighten the load on that sleigh. A colleague once bought me a toilet for a family in Sierra Leone. No wrapping, no plastic: the best present ever – and Santa didn’t have to lift a finger!The Conversation

Sharon George, Lecturer in Environmental Science, Keele University

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

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Bonus video added by Informed Comment:

University of Chester: “An expert explains… a more sustainable Christmas”

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Israeli PM Netanyahu’s Son Banned from Facebook after Call to Expel 2 mn. Muslims https://www.juancole.com/2018/12/israeli-netanyahus-facebook.html https://www.juancole.com/2018/12/israeli-netanyahus-facebook.html#respond Tue, 18 Dec 2018 06:41:45 +0000 https://www.juancole.com/?p=180826 Yair Netanyahu, the son of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, was yesterday banned from Facebook for posting anti-Muslim content.

The saga began on Thursday after Yair Netanyahu wrote on Facebook that: “There will not be peace here [in Israel-Palestine] until: 1. All the Jews leave the land of Israel. 2. All the Muslims leave the land of Israel. I prefer the second option.”

The post quickly gained traction in Israel, with the Times of Israel reporting that it had “garnered over 750 reactions as of Friday evening, […] most of them in agreement”. Yair then continued his anti-Muslim tirade, writing in a separate post: “Do you know where there are no terror attacks? In Iceland and Japan. Coincidentally there’s also no Muslim population there.”

According to Haaretz, Yair also wrote a third post in which he called for “avenging the deaths” of two Israeli soldiers killed last week and the expulsion of Palestinians. Although Facebook had removed these posts on the grounds that they were in violation of its community rules, Yair shared a screenshot of the post, prompting the social media giant to yesterday block his account for 24 hours.

Taking to Twitter, Yair claimed he had been blocked for calling out Facebook on its removal of the posts, saying: “Unbelievable. Facebook blocks me for 24 hours for simply criticising it! Thought police.”

Yair Netanyahu’s complaints will be seen as ironic in light of Israel’s repeated punishment of Palestinians for their Facebook content. Just yesterday, Israel’s Jerusalem Magistrates’ Court sentenced Suzanne Abu Ghannam – the mother of a Palestinian killed by the Israeli army last year – to 11 months in prison for “incitement” on Facebook.

In September, Palestinian poet Dareen Tartour was released after being detained for three years for publishing her poem entitled “Resist, my people, resist” on social media. She was first arrested in 2015 and served 97 days in prison, before being released to house arrest. In May she was convicted for “incitement to violence” and “supporting terrorist organisations”, being forced to serve a further 42 days in prison.

Israel also collaborates with Facebook to monitor content. In October, it emerged that Israel had bid to obtain spying systems which monitor social media users’ private messages on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube, targeting keywords like “terror”, “resistance”, “nationality” and “religion”. In July, the Israeli Knesset passed the first reading of the so-called “Facebook Bill”, which would authorise Israel’s court to issue orders to delete internet content “if it harmed the human safety, public, economic, state or vital infrastructure safety”.

This is not the first time Yair Netanyahu has sparked controversy with his social media activity. Just last week, Yair took to Facebook to condemn left-wing NGOs and media, writing: “Left-wing associations funded by foreign and hostile governments, left-wing politicians and the media who always side with the enemy and against the Jewish interest […] are traitors!” Benjamin Netanyahu was forced to issue a statement distancing himself from his son’s outburst, with the PM’s official Facebook account writing: “Prime Minister Netanyahu rejects the use of the term ‘treason’ by any side of the political discourse.”

In May, Yair Netanyahu became the subject of ridicule for posting an anti-Turkish image on Instagram against the backdrop of the diplomatic spat taking place between Tel Aviv and Ankara at the time. The post included an image similar to the Turkish flag – which has a red background and white star and crescent moon in the centre – with the words “F*ck Turkey”, while the crescent moon took the place of the letter ‘c’.

This work by Middle East Monitor is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

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Bonus video added by Informed Comment:

sraeli Prime Minister’s Son Has Been Temporarily Banned From Facebook Over Divisive Posts | TIME

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1st Palestinian-American Congresswoman will Wear Traditional Dress for Swearing In https://www.juancole.com/2018/12/palestinian-congresswoman-traditional.html https://www.juancole.com/2018/12/palestinian-congresswoman-traditional.html#respond Tue, 18 Dec 2018 06:30:23 +0000 https://www.juancole.com/?p=180822 Rashida Tlaib, the Palestinian-American congresswoman-elect, said she will wear a traditional Palestinian gown for her swearing-in ceremony in the United States House of Representatives next month.

This move by Tlaib can be seen as a way to make visible a community in the U.S. Congress which has been made invisible due to Israel’s excessive influence on the country’s politics.

The Democratic representative for Michigan, who made history in November for being the first Muslim woman to be elected to the House of Representative, is outspoken about her support for Palestine.

“Sneak peek: This is what I am wearing when I am sworn into Congress. #PalestinianThobe #ForMyYama,” Tlaib wrote on her Instagram Friday.

Palestinian traditional gowns have different embroidery for different regions. Tlaib’s mother is from Beit Ur al-Fauqa, outside Ramallah, and her father belongs from Beit Hanina in East Jerusalem.

The attire is a significant symbol of centuries of Palestinian tradition and history as it used to be commonly used by women decades before the foundation of Israel in 1948. Therefore it has a significant historical value that reaffirms the existence and resilience of the Palestinian identity and nation.

Tlaib previously used to support the two-state solution for Israel and Palestine and aid to Israel but she has changed her stand since she won the primaries in August. Now Tlaib supports the one-state solution and no aid to Israel.

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It was reported earlier in December that she is planning to lead a congressional delegation to Occupied West Bank, Palestine in order to present an alternative perspective on the conflict.

“I don’t think AIPAC (American Israel Public Affairs Committee) provides a real, fair lens into this issue. It’s one-sided,” Tlaib told The Intercept. “They don’t show the side that I know is real, which is what’s happening to my grandmother and what’s happening to my family there.”

Tlaib’s trip will show the reality of the Israeli occupation, humanizing Palestinians, and focusing on “Israel’s detention of Palestinian children, education, access to clean water, and poverty,” she said.

By wearing her traditional dress, Tlaib will follow the footsteps of Ruth Buffalo, the first Native American Democratic elected to serve in North Dakota’s state legislature. Buffalo wore a traditional Native American dress as a tribute to her ancestry for her swearing-in ceremony earlier this month.

The U.S. mid-term elections have seen a wave of firsts when Muslim women, Native American women, a large number of LGBT candidates, and progressive women candidates were elected by the people as their representatives.

Most of these elected women are from persecuted communities which mainstream history and politics tend to exclude from public memory. But these women are determined to refresh the public memory and one way of doing that is to be sworn-in in one of the most powerful Congresses of the world, donning traditional attires.

Via TeleSur

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Bonus video added by Informed Comment:

The Intercept: “The Truth About Israel, Boycotts, and BDS”

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Defeated by Russia and Iran, US Throws in Towel on Syria Regime Change https://www.juancole.com/2018/12/defeated-russia-throws.html https://www.juancole.com/2018/12/defeated-russia-throws.html#respond Tue, 18 Dec 2018 05:36:45 +0000 https://www.juancole.com/?p=180819 Washington, DC | AFP | –

The United States said Monday it was no longer seeking to topple Syrian President Bashar al-Assad but renewed warnings it would not fund reconstruction unless the regime is “fundamentally different.”

James Jeffrey, the US special representative in Syria, said that Assad needed to compromise as he had not yet won the brutal seven-year civil war, estimating that some 100,000 armed opposition fighters remained in Syria.

“We want to see a regime that is fundamentally different. It’s not regime change — we’re not trying to get rid of Assad,” Jeffrey said at the Atlantic Council, a Washington think tank.

Estimating that Syria would need $300-400 billion to rebuild, Jeffrey warned that Western powers and international financial institutions would not commit funds without a change of course.

“There is a strong readiness on the part of Western nations not to ante up money for that disaster unless we have some kind of idea that the government is ready to compromise and thus not create yet another horror in the years ahead,” he said.

Former president Barack Obama had called for Assad to go, although he doubted the wisdom of a robust US intervention in the complex Syrian war and kept a narrow military goal of defeating the Islamic State extremist group.

President Donald Trump’s administration has acknowledged, if rarely so explicitly, that Assad is likely to stay.

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But Secretary of State Mike Pompeo warned in October that the United States would not provide “one single dollar” for Syria’s reconstruction if Iran stays.

Jeffrey also called for the ouster of Iranian forces, whose presence is strongly opposed by neighboring Israel, although he said the United States accepted that Tehran would maintain some diplomatic role in the country.

Jeffrey also said that the United States wanted a Syria that does not wage chemical weapons attacks or torture its own citizens.

He acknowledged, however, that the United States may not find an ally anytime soon in Syria, saying: “It doesn’t have to be a regime that we Americans would embrace as, say, qualifying to join the European Union if the European Union would take Middle Eastern countries.”

© Agence France-Presse

Featured Photo: “The United States says it is no longer seeking to topple Syrian President Bashar al-Assad (AFP Photo/LOUAI BESHARA).”

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Global Islam and Australia: Why Recognition of ‘West Jerusalem’ Capital is bad news for Israel https://www.juancole.com/2018/12/australia-recognition-jerusalem.html https://www.juancole.com/2018/12/australia-recognition-jerusalem.html#respond Mon, 17 Dec 2018 07:45:20 +0000 https://www.juancole.com/?p=180813 Ann Arbor (Informed Comment) – The decision of the Australian government of PM Scott Morrison to recognize “West Jerusalem” as the capital of Israel but to hold off moving its embassy there until there is a peace settlement in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict might look on the face of it like a victory for Israel. It is quite the opposite, a sign of how even strong allies of Israel are increasingly constrained by rising Muslim powers.

Morrison’s party is alleged to have crafted the policy in search of Jewish votes in Australia and perhaps in an attempt to make the Trump administration happy. Although called the “Liberal” Party, it is what Americans would call “conservative.” Morrison is a horrible person who once complained that when a boatload of refugees trying to get to Australia capsized and killed 48 persons, the Australian government was wrong to fly 22 relatives in for the funeral.

But why only recognize “West Jerusalem” as Israel’s capital rather than, as Trump did, the entire city? Australia went so far as to recognize East Jerusalem as the future capital of Palestine and to envision an Australian embassy there in the future!

The Israelis noticed that Canberra was actually only offering a before-the-fact recognition of a two-state solution.

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Since despite beating around the bush on the issue, the far right Likud Party that rules Israel is dead set against ever allowing a Palestinian state, Australia’s move elicited squawks of outrage from Likudniks. Israel’s minister for regional cooperation, Tzachi Hanegbi, who is close to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, slammed the Australian formula as a “mistake” that he said he hopes Canberra will rectify. He wants recognition of all of Jerusalem as the Israeli capital.

Morrison went as far as he could toward pleasing pro-Israel Australian voters, including some of his own backbenchers in parliament, as he could.

But he was constrained.

Australia badly wants a free trade deal with its neighbor across the waters, Indonesia, which is the most populous Muslim country in the world, and where conservative Muslims are strong supporters of Palestinian rights. Indonesia’s president, Joko “Jokowi” Widodo, has hinted broadly that an Australian stand against Palestinian rights might well sink the trade deal. Jokowi faces a rising conservative Muslim party, and has responded by making a conservative Muslim his running mate.

Katherine Murphy at the Guardian cleverly sees Morrison and Jokowi as the mirror image of each other, with both men under pressure from their right. She blames Morrison, however, for pitching the issue when he did, since there was no really pressing reason to do so, inasmuch as it might help shift Jokowi to the right by increasing the pressure he is under.

Faced with Indonesian (and Malaysian) pressure, Morrison simply could not act as he and his fellow right wingers would have liked. Indonesia has a nominal gross domestic product of slightly over $1 trillion a year, while Australia’s is closer to $1.4 trillion. The two countries are near one another as these things are counted in island southeast Asia, and both could grow faster if they did more trade with one another.

Over the next century, given current population trends, Muslims will likely go from being about 25% of humankind to being 33% of the planet’s inhabitants. Globalized media like Aljazeera have exposed even Muslims distant from the Middle East, like those in Indonesia, to the plight of the Palestinians, whom the Israelis are occupying and keeping stateless and under the thumb of the Israeli army. The corrupt oil sheikhs on which Netanyahu is now placing his bets will be displaced by electric cars, but the Muslim masses will only grow in strength and influence.

There was a time not so long ago when Australia would not have given a fig what Indonesia thought of its foreign policy, but now Indonesia is the world’s 16th largest economy and a member of the G20.That even an anti-immigrant, pro-Trump right winger like Scott Morrison felt he could not risk absolutely alienating Jakarta, and so was forced to craft a Jerusalem policy that satisfied no one but definitely disappointed the Likud, is a sign of the future.

Featured Photo: Scott Morrison in Indonesia; h/t Australian Embassy in Jakarta.

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Palestine: Two Schools Evacuated as Israeli Gunman Fires in Air Outside https://www.juancole.com/2018/12/palestine-schools-evacuated.html https://www.juancole.com/2018/12/palestine-schools-evacuated.html#respond Mon, 17 Dec 2018 06:26:53 +0000 https://www.juancole.com/?p=180810 An Israeli settler opened fire on Sunday outside two schools in the West Bank, as other settlers rampaged through the street under the protection of Israeli forces, reports Wafa News Agency. The schools are at the entrance to the village of al-Lubban al-Sharqiya, to the south of Nablus in the West Bank.

The shooting terrified the students and teachers of the two schools, and were forced to leave the schools to a safe haven.

Ibrahim Emran, the principal at one of the schools, told Wafa that settlers from the illegal Israeli settlement of Yitzhar attacked the school under the protection of the Israeli military, and that one of the settlers shot a bullet in the air to terrify the students. Emran said the school was forced to evacuate its students to keep them safe.

He added that the settlers also attacked civilian homes near the school, while soldiers fired rubber-coated bullets and gas bombs, prompting clashes between soldiers and local citizens.

Israeli sources claimed that the firing came in a response to a stoning attack on settlers’ vehicles passing at route 60, just near the entrance to the village where the schools are located.

This work by Middle East Monitor is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Via Middle East Monitor

Photo: File: Peter Tkac, “Beduin school in Khan al-Ahmar” via Flickr

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Saudis angrily attack US Senate vote against Crown Prince as ‘Blatant Interference’ https://www.juancole.com/2018/12/angrily-against-interference.html https://www.juancole.com/2018/12/angrily-against-interference.html#respond Mon, 17 Dec 2018 06:01:14 +0000 https://www.juancole.com/?p=180806 Riyadh, Saudi Arabia | AFP | –

Saudi Arabia on Monday slammed as “interference” US Senate resolutions over its war in Yemen and critic Jamal Khashoggi’s murder, warning that the move could have repercussions on its strategic ties with Washington.

The Republican-controlled Senate voted on Thursday to end American military support for a Riyadh-led war in Yemen, and separately held Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman responsible for Khashoggi’s killing.

The largely symbolic vote dealt a fresh warning to President Donald Trump, who has staunchly backed the Saudi regime in the face of intense global outrage that analysts say has left the kingdom diplomatically weakened.

“The kingdom condemns the latest position of the US Senate that was based on unsubstantiated allegations and rejects the blatant interference in its internal affairs,” the foreign ministry said in a statement released by the official Saudi Press Agency.

On the Yemen measure, which more broadly attacks the president’s prerogative to launch military action, 49 Democrats or their allies voted in favour, along with seven Republicans, while another three Republicans abstained.

The Senate also approved a resolution condemning Khashoggi’s murder and calling Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Saudi Arabia’s de facto ruler, “responsible” for it.

The Saudi ministry warned that the kingdom would not tolerate any “disrespect” of its rulers.

“This position by the US Senate sends the wrong messages to all those who want to cause a rift in Saudi-US relationship,” the ministry said.

“The kingdom hopes that it is not drawn into domestic political debates in the US to avoid any… significant negative impact on this important strategic relationship.”

– ‘Vulnerable to pressure’ –

A day after the Senate vote, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo again defended US ties with Saudi Arabia on national security grounds, saying the kingdom was a bulwark against common foe Iran.

The Senate resolution acknowledged the US-Saudi ties were “important” but called on Riyadh to “moderate its increasingly erratic foreign policy”.

“Prince Mohammed and Saudi Arabia, even prior to introduction of the Senate resolution, were discovering that the Khashoggi killing had weakened the kingdom internationally and had made it more vulnerable to pressure,” said James Dorsey, a Middle East expert at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies in Singapore.

The resolutions cannot be debated in the House of Representatives before January, and would likely be vetoed in any case by Trump.

But the Senate votes send a strong message to the White House over anger on both sides of the aisle towards Riyadh.

Khashoggi, a Saudi contributor to the Washington Post, was killed on October 2 shortly after entering the kingdom’s consulate in Istanbul in what Riyadh called a “rogue” operation.

The murder has tarnished Riyadh’s international reputation, and Western countries including the United States, France and Canada have placed sanctions on nearly 20 Saudi nationals.

UN chief Antonio Guterres on Sunday called for a “credible” probe into the murder.

Anger at the human cost of the war in Yemen has also prompted a harder line in Congress about the US military’s role in backing Saudi-led coalition strikes against Huthi rebels.

Since the coalition launched its campaign in 2015, the conflict has killed nearly 10,000 people, according to the World Health Organization. But some rights groups believe the toll to be far higher.

© Agence France-Presse

Featured Photo: “A handout picture provided by the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) on December 9, 2018, shows Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman looking on during the meeting at the Diriya Palace in the Saudi capital Riyadh during the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) summit. Bandar AL-JALOUD / SPA / AFP.

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