UN Urges More Mediterranean Rescue Efforts after Aquarius Pullout

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SAUDI NEWS AGENCY ASHARQ AL-AWSAT)

 

UN Urges More Mediterranean Rescue Efforts after Aquarius Pullout

Saturday, 8 December, 2018 – 10:00
FILE PHOTO: Migrants disembark from the MV Aquarius, a search and rescue ship run in partnership between SOS Mediterranee and Medecins Sans Frontieres, after it arrived in Augusta on the island of Sicily, Italy, January 30, 2018. REUTERS/Antonio Parrinello/File Photo
Geneva – Asharq Al-Awsat
French NGO Medecins sans Frontieres has warned that the end of operations of the last refugee rescue ship working in the Mediterranean Sea, Aquarius, would mean more migrants would die, as the UN expressed concern over the decision to retire the vessel.

“This is a somber day,” Nelke Mander, Medecins sans Frontieres’s general director, said in a statement Thursday. “The end of our operations onboard the Aquarius will mean more death in the sea, deaths that are avoidable and without witnesses.”

The decision to moor the Aquarius is the result of a “constant denigration, smearing and obstruction campaign led” against Medecins sans Frontieres and SOS MEDITERRANEAN by the Italian government and supported by other European countries, the NGO said.

The Aquarius was recently accused of trafficking waste and criminal activities — accusations that are “ludicrous”, Reuters quoted Medecins sans Frontieres as saying.

Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini has repeatedly closed Italian ports to the Aquarius, forcing it to sail for days with dozens of rescued migrants aboard to find a port in other countries.

Salvini has refused to take more migrants from the Aquarius, demanding other European Union countries take a share of migrants. He also said the rescue ships like Aquarius encouraged people to take the sea to cross towards Europe.

SOS MEDITERRANEAN director of operations Frederic Penard said “giving up the Aquarius has been an extremely difficult decision” but added that the group was “actively exploring options for a new boat”.

“Search and rescue capacity needs to be reinforced rather than diminished,” UN refugee agency spokeswoman Shabia Mantoo told reporters in Geneva.

She stressed the need to leave “space for NGOs to contribute in a coordinated manner to these efforts”.

“Saving lives is our primary concern,” AFP quoted her as saying.

Aquarius has helped almost 30,000 migrants at sea who have attempted the perilous journey across the Mediterranean.

UN force confirms presence of tunnel on Lebanon-Israel border

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF ALJAZEERA NEWS)

 

UN force confirms presence of tunnel on Lebanon-Israel border

UNIFIL says it found tunnel, allegedly dug by Hezbollah, near Metula in northern Israel.

UN peacekeepers and Israeli soldiers look towards the border with Lebanon [Ronen Zvulun/Reuters]
UN peacekeepers and Israeli soldiers look towards the border with Lebanon [Ronen Zvulun/Reuters]

The United Nations peacekeepers have confirmed the existence of a tunnel in northern Israel near the Lebanese border, days after Tel Aviv accused armed group Hezbollah of digging under the frontier.

In a statement on Thursday, the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) said it “visited a location near Metula in northern Israel” and “can confirm the existence of a tunnel at the location”.

UNIFIL said it is “engaged with the parties to pursue urgent follow-up action” and “will communicate its preliminary findings to the appropriate authorities in Lebanon”.

The confirmation by the UN came a day after Lebanon said Israel presented no evidence to prove its claims of a network of attack tunnels allegedly built by Hezbollah.

In a meeting with UN peacekeepers on Wednesday, Lebanon parliament Speaker Nabih Berri said the Israeli accusation was not based on “any real facts at all”.

Operation Northern Shield

On Tuesday, Israel launched an operation dubbed “Northern Shield” to destroy the tunnels it claimed were found at the Lebanese border.

The Israeli military said it provided UNIFIL with a map of the area around Ramieh village on which houses were marked which are “connected to another attack tunnel that has been dug from Lebanon into Israel”, army spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Jonathan Conricus said.

The tunnel crosses into Israel but is not yet operational, he added.

Israel has not detailed how many tunnels have been detected, although Conricus on Thursday said the army was working in three different areas along the border.

The operation is part of Israel’s wider campaign against Hezbollah, including actions to tackle the group’s weapons facilities.

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said this week that Hezbollah was planning to send attackers through the tunnels, which he claimed were big enough to be used by motorcycles, small vehicles and groups of people.

“Hezbollah wants to insert several battalions to our territory with the aim of isolating communities, towns and kibbutzim [collective farms] to continue its reign of terror and abductions which could take place simultaneously,” he told a meeting of foreign diplomats on Thursday.

Israel estimates Hezbollah has approximately 130,000 rockets in its arsenal, although rejects the group’s claim that it has successfully acquired precision missiles.

“Despite Hezbollah’s effort to insinuate otherwise, it is not in possession of any significant accurate capabilities,” Conricus said.

SOURCE: NEWS AGENCIES

In Yemen, Lavish Meals for Few, Starvation for Many

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE NEW YORK TIMES)

 

In Yemen, Lavish Meals for Few, Starvation for Many and a Dilemma for Reporters

A woman in the poor mountain village of Al Juberia, Yemen.CreditTyler Hicks/The New York Times
Image
A woman in the poor mountain village of Al Juberia, Yemen. Credit Tyler Hicks/The New York Times

SANA, Yemen — At a restaurant in the Yemeni capital, Sana, a waiter brought bowls of slow-cooked lamb served with mounds of rice. For dessert there was kunafa, the classic Arab dish of golden brown pastry filled with cheese.

An hour later I was back at work, in a hushed hospital ward filled with malnourished children with skeletal faces, hanging between life and death for want of money and a good meal.

If that juxtaposition strikes you as jarring, even distasteful, it felt that way to me, too.

Crisis zones are often places of stark contrast, but in Yemen the gulf is particularly uncomfortable. The problem isn’t a lack of food; it’s that few people can afford to buy what food is available.

Years of blockades, bombs and soaring inflation have crushed the economy. A crushed state means there is no safety net.

As a result, beggars congregate outside supermarkets filled with goods; markets are filled with produce in towns where the hungry eat boiled leaves; and restaurants selling rich food are a few hundred yards from hunger wards filled with desperation, pain and death.

For a reporter, that brings a dilemma. Journalists travel with bundles of hard currency, usually dollars, to pay for hotels, transport and translation. A small fraction of that cash might go a long way for a starving family. Should I pause, put down my notebook and offer to help?

It’s a question some readers asked after we published a recent article on Yemen’s looming famine.

Many were touched by a powerful photograph by Tyler Hicks of Amal Hussain, an emaciated 7-year-old girl whose haunting stare brought the war’s human cost into shocking focus.

And many were devastated to learn that, soon after we left, Amal’s mother brought her back to the shabby refugee camp they call home, where she died a few days later.

Amal Hussain, who died at age 7 from malnutrition soon after this photograph was taken.CreditTyler Hicks/The New York Times
Image
Amal Hussain, who died at age 7 from malnutrition soon after this photograph was taken.CreditTyler Hicks/The New York Times

Some, in their anguish, turned the focus back on us.

Why didn’t we do something to save Amal’s life, they wanted to know. Did we just take the photo, conduct the interview and move on? Couldn’t we have somehow ensured that her family would get help?

“You can take the picture AND provide assistance,” one woman said on Twitter. “One doesn’t rule out the other.”

The questions resonated. Reporters are trained to bear witness; aid workers and doctors have the job of helping people.

Donating money, or other forms of assistance, can be fraught with ethical, moral and practical complications. Is it fair to single out one person or family for help? What if they embellish their story for the next foreigner who comes along, thinking they could get more money?

Plus, we have a job to do.

Doctors show us around, and sometimes we end up acting like them — examining stick-like limbs and flaccid skin with clinical detachment; tabulating figures about weight and age; listening as families recount their tragedies with amazing calm. The prospect of death is discussed. We nod sagely, make a note, move on.

But while we may try to mimic a stone, we are not stones, and every day in Yemen someone told me something that made a lump rise in my throat.

COMMENT OF THE MOMENT

Sandra commented November 30

Sandra
Times Pick

Let’s cut to the chase and get the U.N. and it’s agencies in there. Just do it. The USA should be spear heading the effort. War between armies is one thing. War on starving people is quite another….no grey area! NONE!

SEE MORE

Usually it was a mundane detail, like the lack of a few dollars to take a dying child to the hospital. Yemen, you realize, is a country where people are dying for lack of a taxi fare.

An injured Yemeni fighter with the Saudi-led Arab coalition that is battling Iran-allied Houthis for control of Yemen at a field hospital in Durayhimi.CreditTyler Hicks/The New York Times
Image

An injured Yemeni fighter with the Saudi-led Arab coalition that is battling Iran-allied Houthis for control of Yemen at a field hospital in Durayhimi.CreditTyler Hicks/The New York Times

Yemenis have to navigate such terrain, too.

While some are dying, others are getting on with living. One night we returned to our hotel in Hajjah, a town ringed by rocky ridges in a province that has been pummeled by Saudi airstrikes. Lying in bed, I was startled by a loud bang then a burst of light that filled the sky — not a bomb, but fireworks.

Since the start of the war, the rate of marriage in Yemen has gone up. And so, in this town where malnourished infants were perishing at the city hospital, others were dancing and celebrating through the night.

But the surge in weddings, it turned out, was a survival mechanism.

Across the social spectrum, Yemenis are sliding down the poverty ladder. Where once a mother bought a sack of rice to feed her family, now she can afford only a small bag. The hand of a daughter in marriage brings a bride price, and so weddings can be a source of income for stretched families.

Disturbingly, many of the brides are children. According to Unicef, two-thirds of Yemeni girls are married before the age of 18, up from 50 percent before the war.

As we crossed Yemen — from the battle-scarred port of Hudaydah to the Houthi-held mountains — on a bumpy 900-mile journey, we saw scenes of heartbreaking suffering that unfolded against a backdrop of spectacular mountains, and customs that stubbornly endure despite everything.

Every day, town centers bustled with men buying khat, the narcotic leaf beloved by Yemenis. The khat bazaars are a social event. Men, some with guns over their shoulders, gather to trade news, meet friends and prepare for the afternoon chew.

Women in black cloaks flitted between them; in one place, a loud argument erupted into fisticuffs. Even as starvation bites, some are reluctant to cut back on their habit.

In one health clinic, Ibrahim Junaid, a worried father standing over his ailing 5-month-old son, was chewing a lump of khat that left a green stain on his teeth and lips.

Mr. Junaid was 60; his wife, 25, stood silently by his side. The nurses wrapped the boy in a gold foil blanket to keep him warm.

Ibrahim Ali Mohammed Junaid, 60, and his wife Zahra Ali Ahmed, 25, taking their son, Ahmed Ibrahim al Junaid, 5 months old, to a clinic to treat his malnutrition.CreditTyler Hicks/The New York Times
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Ibrahim Ali Mohammed Junaid, 60, and his wife Zahra Ali Ahmed, 25, taking their son, Ahmed Ibrahim al Junaid, 5 months old, to a clinic to treat his malnutrition.CreditTyler Hicks/The New York Times

Mr. Junaid regretted that his son hadn’t enough to eat, adding that he had a lot of mouths to feed; he had married twice, and fathered 13 children.

The value of practices like chewing khat may be hard to understand in such turbulent times. But for men like Mr. Junaid, it is an integral part of their day. And it is a mark of the resilience of an ancient society, one of the oldest civilizations of the Middle East.

“People say Yemen is in a state of chaos, but it’s not,” said Thierry Durand, an aid worker who has worked in Yemen since the 1980s, and now runs a Doctors Without Borders hospital in Mocha. “There is still structure.”

“You can’t put it in three lines in your paper or describe it in three minutes on TV,” he continued. “This country is structured by family, tribe, traditions — and despite everything, those structures are still there, and they are strong.”

Still, Yemeni society is being ravaged by war. Airstrikes by the Saudi-led coalition, aided by American bombs, have killed thousands of civilians, and displaced many more. But for most Yemenis, war strikes their lives in quieter, more insidious ways.

Bombs blow up bridges or factories, killing jobs, causing the currency to crumble and prices to soar, and forcing families to abstain from meat, then vegetables. Soon, they are dependent on international food aid or, in the worst cases, resort to meals of boiled leaves.

A bridge in Bani Hassan was damaged by a Saudi airstrike.CreditTyler Hicks/The New York Times
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A bridge in Bani Hassan was damaged by a Saudi airstrike.CreditTyler Hicks/The New York Times

Small but vital things, like a cab fare, become unattainable.

As we drove away from the small hospital in Aslam, where Amal Hussain was being treated, we passed a young couple hitching a ride on the side of the road. They were holding a small infant. We stopped and offered them a ride.

They squeezed into the passenger seat — the father, Khalil Hadi, enveloped by the black cloak of his wife, Hanna, who held their fragile 9-month-old son, Wejdan, who had just been released from the malnutrition ward.

Theirs was a typical story. Their home near the Saudi border had been bombed, so they rented a room in a house near Aslam. Mr. Hadi tried to earn money driving a motorbike taxi, and by foraging for wood to sell at the market.

But it wasn’t enough, and when he tried to go home, the Houthi soldiers told him the area was a military zone. Their diet was reduced to bread, tea and halas, the vine that grew locally. His wife was four months pregnant with their second child.

Mr. Hadi wasn’t looking for pity; many people were in similar trouble, he said. “I’d do anything to make some money,” he said. “The situation is so hard.”

At a junction in the road, the couple stepped out, offered thanks and began to walk away. Fumbling in my pocket, I called them back.

I pulled out a wad of Yemeni notes — about $15 worth — and pressed it into his hand. It seemed so futile, in the greater scheme of things. What could it buy them? A few days respite, if even that?

Mr. Hadi accepted the money with a gracious smile. As we drove off I saw the couple amble down a dusty road, toward their shelter, their ailing son held tight.

Khalil Hadi and his pregnant wife, Itanna Hassan Massani, carrying their 9-month-old son, Wejdan, from a clinic in Aslam.CreditTyler Hicks/The New York Times
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Khalil Hadi and his pregnant wife, Itanna Hassan Massani, carrying their 9-month-old son, Wejdan, from a clinic in Aslam.CreditTyler Hicks/The New York Times

Follow Declan Walsh on Twitter:@declanwalsh

A version of this article appears in print on , on Page A4 of the New York edition with the headline: Contrast in Crushed State Presents Journalists With Ethical Dilemma. Order Reprints | Today’s Paper | Subscribe
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Lebanon Questions Int’l Stances for Ignoring Syrian Refugee Right to Return Home

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SAUDI NEWS AGENCY ASHARQ AL-AWSAT)

 

Lebanon Questions Int’l Stances for Ignoring Syrian Refugee Right to Return Home

Tuesday, 27 November, 2018 – 10:15
Lebanese President Aoun meets with President of the Belgian House of Representatives, Siegfried Bracke, and his accompanying delegation at Baabda. (Dalati & Nohra)
Beirut – Asharq Al-Awsat
Lebanese President Michel Aoun on Monday emphasized the need for Syrian refugees to return to safe areas in their country.

Aoun was speaking during a meeting at the Baabda palace with President of the Belgian House of Representatives, Siegfried Bracke, in the presence of his accompanying parliamentary delegation.

The president said linking the Syrian refugees’ return to their homeland to reaching a political solution in Syria “raises doubts regarding their stay in their host countries,” citing the example of the Palestinian refugees.

“Seventy years have passed and the solution of the Palestinian issue has not yet been reached,” he noted.

Aoun informed Bracke that Lebanon has asked the international community and the international organizations affiliated to the United Nations to provide assistance to the displaced Syrians after their return, because they are contributing to the reconstruction of their country.

In response to a question, Aoun expressed his surprise at “international positions that ignore the need for the return of Syria refugees.”

He stressed that Lebanon was witnessing an economic crisis due to accumulating challenges, the impact of the international economic situation and the influx of displaced Syrians.

Bracke, for his part, said his country would become a member of the Security Council as of next January, and would contribute to supporting Lebanon’s causes at international platforms.

Also on Monday, Speaker Nabih Berri and Bracke signed a three-year extension to 2021 of a partnership protocol between the two countries’ councils, which provides for parliamentary cooperation in sharing expertise in legislation and supervision.

Hundreds protest reported Gaza ceasefire

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE TIMES OF ISRAEL)

 

Hundreds protest reported Gaza ceasefire, block Sderot roads with burning tires

Some demonstrators in rocket-battered town clash with police, chant ‘Bibi go home’; protesters said planning rally in Tel Aviv Wednesday

Protesters burn tires at the entrance to the southern town of Sderot, Novermber 13, 2018 (Hadashot screenshot)

Protesters burn tires at the entrance to the southern town of Sderot, November 13, 2018 (Hadashot screenshot)

Hundreds of people were demonstrating Tuesday evening at the entrance to the town of Sderot over Israel’s reported agreement for a ceasefire with Gaza’s Hamas terrorist rulers, after a 25-hour period that saw over 460 rockets fired at Israeli communities near the Palestinian enclave.

Protesters were blocking roads and burning tires, with some chanting, “Bibi go home,” using a nickname for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Confrontations were reported between protesters and policemen.

Police said they were working to restore order, saying they would “allow freedom of expression and lawful protest” but not “disturbance of public order, violence towards policemen and civilians and riots on major roads.”

Some 500 people were reported to be taking part in the protest.

According to Hadashot TV news, some southern residents planned further demonstrations and road blockages in Tel Aviv on Wednesday to protest the truce.

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Zionist Union leader Avi Gabbay expressed support for the protesters, saying it was a “justified” response to the government “forsaking” them.

He said the government had failed the south by “neglecting” the issue of Gaza since the 2014 war.

“This is not the time for another fragile truce,” he said. “This is the time for a true diplomatic initiative in Gaza, that will lean on the recommendations of the security establishment.”

Hamas and other Gaza terror groups said Tuesday they had accepted an Egyptian-mediated ceasefire with Israel. Terms of the deal were not immediately known, and there was no immediate comment from Israel. But a senior Israeli diplomatic official appeared to confirm the reported armistice.

“Israel maintains its right to act. Requests from Hamas for a ceasefire came through four different mediators. Israel responded that the events on the ground will decide [if a ceasefire will go into effect],” the official said, on condition of anonymity.

Many southern residents were unhappy with the decision.

“It’s better that we suffer in shelters and they put an end to it once and for all,” Reut Bassis of Sderot told Hadashot. “A month from today the same thing will happen…it doesn’t make sense that our lives are like this.”

Another Sderot resident, Miri, said: “The IDF is hitting empty buildings, while sending them trucks with cement and construction materials. Where’s our self-respect? We’ve been at war for 17 years.”

Another man, Yohanan Cohen, said he had lost faith in the prime minister. “I’ve been a Likud man for 40 years but I promise I won’t vote Likud anymore. We’re captives of Hamas.”

People gather outside a house that was hit by a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip in the southern Israeli city of Ashkelon, on November 13, 2018. (Nati Shohat/Flash90)

Channel 10 news reported Tuesday evening that at least four senior ministers opposed the decision.

The report said Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman, Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, Environmental Protection Minister Ze’ev Elkin, and Education Minister Naftali Bennett proposed an alternative response, but it was rejected by the other ministers.

An unnamed minister who attended the seven-hour meeting Tuesday told the news outlet that no vote was held to determine the next steps. A source with direct knowledge of the discussions confirmed to the Times of Israel there was no vote.

The source confirmed there were several disagreements between cabinet members, some of which were the focus of debate for a number of hours. They would not comment on the content of the disagreements.

At the conclusion of the meeting, the security cabinet released a statement that read, “The security cabinet discussed the events in the south. The cabinet received briefings from the IDF and defense officials on the [IDF] strikes and widespread operations against terror targets in Gaza. The cabinet instructed the IDF to continue its strikes as needed.”

According to the military, over 460 rockets and mortar shells were fired at southern Israel over the course of 25 hours on Monday and Tuesday. The Iron Dome missile defense system intercepted over 100 of them. Most of the rest landed in open fields, but dozens landed inside Israeli cities and towns, killing one person, injuring dozens more, and causing significant property damage.

A home in the southern Israeli town of Netivot that was hit by a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip on November 12, 2018. (Israel Police)

In response to the rocket and mortar attacks, the Israeli military said it targeted approximately 160 sites in the Gaza Strip connected to the Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror groups, including four facilities that the army designated as “key strategic assets.”

In recent weeks, Egyptian and UN mediators had appeared to be making progress in brokering informal understandings aimed at quieting the situation.

Last week, Israel allowed Qatar to deliver $15 million to Gaza to allow cash-strapped Hamas to pay the salaries of thousands of government workers. At the same time, Hamas has lowered the intensity of violent border protests in recent weeks.

The fighting on Monday and Tuesday cast doubt over understandings previously brokered by Egypt and UN officials to reduce tensions. Just a day earlier, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had defended those understandings, saying he was doing everything possible to avoid another “unnecessary war.”

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U.N.: Grow Some Balls, Expel Communists China’s Government From U.N. Right Now

U.N.: Grow Some Balls, Expel Communists China’s Government From The U.N. Right Now 

 

This article to you tonight is one I have been thinking about writing for a couple of weeks but because of the length I knew it would be I have avoided taking the time to write it. First I want to let you know that I got a lot of the information for this article from the New York Times so I want to make sure to credit them. Also, a lot of this information is simply garnered from all of the years of taking history classes in high school and in college. There is another point that I want to make clear to folks about how I feel/believe about the “People’s Republic of China” or the ‘PRC.’ for the purpose of this article I will refer to the Communists murderers in Beijing as the rulers of the Mainland. My personal opinion and belief is that Taiwan’s government, the “Republic of China” is the real legal government of all of China, not just the Taiwan Island.

 

The PRC is a leading member of the U.N., they also sit as one of the 5 permanent member seats of the Security Council. Up until 1950 the ROC was a founding member of the U.N. and had a seat on the Security Council. In 1950 the balless wonders at the U.N. not only removed the rightful government of the Chinese people from the Council they removed them as a member State and they demoted them to an “Observer State.” If you are a person who has not been paying attention to the blatant aggression of the PRC government through their President Xi Jinping, you need to, everyone on the planet does. The following is information on some of the reasons that I made that statement and is some of the reasons that I have decided to take the time to write this article to you.

 

July 12th of 2016, the Communist government of Mainland China totally told the U.N. and the rest of the world to go  F–k themselves. On that day the World Court which is through the U.N. made a ruling concerning the PRC’s blatant aggression in the South China Sea. The PRC was told to quit their activities of aggression toward their neighbors and the rest of the world. The Communist government of the Mainland told the U.N. and the World Court that they “did not recognize the authority of the U.N or of the World Court.” So, the question I have for you, and to the U.N. is, if they refuse to recognize the authority of the World Court and the U.N. then why in the bleep has the U.N. not removed these murderers both from the Security Council and from the U.N. itself? Why on earth would the balless wonders who run the U.N. allow the PRC to remain on the Security Council where they have Veto Power to cancel out all of the good things that the rest of the world is trying to accomplish? This makes no sense, it is totally stupid. The only thing that I can think of is, they are cowards! If the U.N. cared about the world in general they would remove the PRC from the Council, and reinstate the ROC (Republic Of China/Taiwan) to its rightful position in the U.N. and on the Security Council. Also, they should lower the PRC to the position that the ROC has now, only as an Observer State and if the PRC chooses to balk at that then they should be removed from the U.N. all together.

 

July 12th, 2016. The International Tribunal at the Hague delivered a sweeping rebuke of the PRC and their actions in the South China Sea which includes the construction of artificial islands. The Court also ruled that their expansive claim to sovereignty over the air and sea has no legal basis. The PRC could have been and should have been named as an “International Outlaw.” This was the first time that the PRC has ever been summoned before the International Justice System. The PRC claims that they have “Historical rights over almost all of the South China Sea,” basically about 90% of it. The International Court disagrees and they sided with their neighbors who brought the suit against them. The International Court also said that the PRC violated International Law by causing “irreparable harm” to the marine environment, endangering Philippine ships and interfering with Philippine oil exploration. Globally the rulings of the International Court are binding but the problem is that there is no system in place to physically enforce the law. At the very least the U.N. does have the authority to require all UN member nations to totally and completely boycott all imports and exports into and out of the PRC Mainland. The PRC obviously knew that they were going to lose this court battle so they didn’t even bother to send a low-level representative to the Court. They also made it very clear to the U.N. before the litigation began that they would not abide by the Court’s ruling.  The countries that brought the complaint to the Court were the Philippines, Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, Taiwan and Vietnam.

 

Speaking at a meeting of European Leaders the PRC President Mr. Xi Jingping was defiant in his claims about them having sovereignty over the South China Sea since “Ancient Times.” Since the ruling the PRC has accelerated their aggression in the South China Sea trade routes, fishing waters as well as stealing the oil and other mineral rights of their neighboring. The PRC has built a large artificial island upon an atoll known as Mischief Reef. They have built a large military airstrip and Naval births there even thought the World Court ruled that this was in Philippine National waters. The PRC claims what they call the “nine-dash-line” which encircles 90% of the South China Sea, the area we are talking about here is equivalent to the size of Mexico. The Philippines had asked the International Court to rule against the PRC because the PRC is in violation of the U.N. Convention on the “Law Of The Sea” which both the PRC and the Philippines signed and ratified as being valid.

 

The International Court also ruled that several disputed rocks and reefs in the South China Sea were too small to claim control of economic activities in the waters around them. As a result the Court ruled that the PRC was engaging in unlawful behaviour in the Philippines waters including activities that have made the dispute worse. This is no light matter, think about what the PRC is trying to do. They say they control all shipments of goods into and out of all of these Nations. They are saying that they control all air routes into and out of all of these Nations that would go into or over the South China Sea. If these illegal actions are not forcibly stopped right now the PRC will be able to totally control and or totally tank every Nation’s economy not just in the region but in the world. At the very least the PRC is quickly becoming capable of charging every ship and every plane a toll of their own chosen level, they can do anything they choose to any nation or people. The whole world, the U.N. must grow a set of Balls and stand up against the PRC in every possible way, right now, for if not, we will all soon be needing to learn how to speak Mandarin Chinese. If you have paid any attention the Communist PRC isn’t even the Legal Government Of China, the Legal Government is the ROC (Republic of China) which at this time resides on the Island of Taiwan. These mass murderers killed ten of millions of China’s people when they forced themselves onto the Mainland population. The first Leader of the PRC was Chairman Mao and during the 1950’s he murdered tens of millions if not a few hundred million of the Chinese people via starvation. You may ask, what that has to do with now and that is a fair question. The answer is that the President for life of the PRC, Mr. Xi Jinping is a devout student, believer and follower of Chairman Mao. Wake up world, grow some Balls U.N. or soon you will not exist any longer.

 

 

 

Triad Of Evil: The Three Most Dangerous Men In The World

Triad Of Evil: The Three Most Dangerous Men In The World

 

American Presidents, at least since the time of old man Bush was in the Office, have liked to use slogans for about everything. Do you remember “1,000 points of light”, “Desert Shield and Desert Storm” and how about “the Axis of Evil”. The three Counties whose Leaders I will be speaking of here in a moment, I do not consider to be my enemy nor the enemy of the people of the United States, the issue is their Leaders. There are many very bad, very dangerous people in the world we live in and most are not leaders of Nations, but these three are. Unfortunately throughout history the people of a Nation tend to be known by the Leaders they keep. How many hundreds of millions or even billions of innocent people have died throughout history because they had a bad apple at the top? If you have a five gallon basket of apples that are beautiful and tasty, then you lay one rotten apple on the top of the pile, soon the whole basket will be as worthless as the one on top, rotten to the core.

 

There are people who run terrorist organizations like Hamas, Hezbollah and the Taliban whom I believe are very evil to the core of their souls. There are also people like the “Supreme Leader” Ali Khomeini of Iran and his hand-picked murderers within the IRGC who seem to think it is okay to murder at will, even though they officially have nothing to do with the Iranian Government, I would not consider these folks to be kind loving people either. These days we are all hearing about the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia ordering the torture death of a journalists in Turkey. The Crown Prince doesn’t sound like a Saint himself, just a Royal. Yet in my opinion none of these folks are in the position to be able to display their evil as fully as the Triad of which this article is about.

 

The three men of which this article is about are all Presidents of their Nations. First, and in my opinion the most dangerous of the three is Xi Jinping of China. The other two men are a tie for second most dangerous person in the world, they are Vladimir Putin of Russia and Don-key Trump of the United States. Obviously the “Don-key Trump” name is one I call him personally because of what I think of him personally. The following are the reasons why I feel these three men, in my opinion, are the modern-day “Triad of Evil”.

1.) Xi Jinping of China: Mr. Jinping is a devout follower of Communist China’s original founder and Mass Butcher Chairman Mao. When Chairman Mao and his Communists murderers took control of the Mainland back in the late 1940’s from the legitimate government of China they killed tens of millions of the citizens and once he had taken control he and his government then killed hundreds of millions of the citizens through enforced starvation. When Xi Jinping took Office in March of 2013 he was supposed to be President for 10 years. With the past several Presidents they have a gathering of all of the Communists Party Leadership after 5 years in which at the 5 year break the residing President gives his nod to whom he wants to be the next President when the last 5 years of his term is over, Mr. Jinping did not do this. Every indication is that Mr. Jinping has decided to be “President for life” of China. Mr. Jinping is a very smart person, this is one of the things that makes him so dangerous to the rest of the world, that and his belief that his version of China is the legitimate ruler of at least the eastern half of the globe. The Communists Leaders of this version of China play the “long game”, they always have. Here in the U.S. the politicians can’t ever think past the next election and Mr. Jinping plays them for the fools they are because of this flaw. It is my belief that as long as China does attack a U.S. military ship or plane in the (Indo-Asian Sea) also known as the “South China Sea”, nor attack another NATO vessel that Xi Jinping’s government will be able to get away with a wide range of aggression in the area. It is my personal opinion that this aggression does include attacking Taiwan as it is my total belief that the U.S. would not help the people of Taiwan if this happens. The most that I believe would happen is that the U.S. government would put heavy sanctions on China such as stopping all U.S. imports into China and of course China would do the same with U.S. imports. This would be very unpopular here in the States though because of the financial damage it would do to our economy for as you know, money is more important than blood, as long as it is someone else’s blood. Besides, wouldn’t Wal-Mart go bankrupt if they weren’t allowed to buy from China?

2.) I had to put #2 as a tie between Mr. Putin and Mr. Trump. But if I had to give it a nod I probably would put Mr. Putin in as #2 because he has a rubber stamp government that will do what ever he decides he wants to do. Mr. Trump is a wanna-be Dictator who I believe would be worse than Mr. Putin except that we do have a Congress and a Senate as well as a Supreme Court that is designed to help keep him in check. Trouble is that with the jelly spine of the Republican Party Mr. Trump may well reach the level of Mr. Putin quite soon.  I believe that if in the mid-term election in a couple of weeks if the Republicans can maintain the Leadership of the Congress and the Senate, the worst of Mr. Trump’s actions are yet to come.

Simply put, President Putin is a mass murderer and he has balls of steel but he is a rather intelligent person. Mr. Trump on the other hand is an idiot, the man is simply a very ignorant, very dangerous ego-maniac that just like these other two “Leaders” care nothing about the “rule of law.” Mr. Trump only cares about his ego, having unchecked power, and how much wealth he can steal from other people. But, come to think of it, doesn’t that describe all three of these individuals?

3 Theories Behind Nikki Haley’s Shocking Resignation

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)

 

3 theories behind Nikki Haley’s shocking resignation

Washington (CNN)In a political world seemingly incapable of being shocked, the resignation of United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley on Tuesday did just that.

The most common reaction upon hearing the news, which Axios’ Jonathan Swan first reported, was “WHAT????” (A senior State Department official told CNN that Haley had only told her staff about her resignation Tuesday morning. Another source familiar with the matter said Haley’s resignation caught national security adviser John Bolton and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo by surprise.)
And that reaction was quickly followed by “WHY???”
The answer to the second question is now the big story. And, in truth, we just don’t totally know yet why Haley, who seemed to be one of the few Trump administration officials able to stay in the good graces of Trump, the international community and establishment Republicans all at once, would decide to simply (and suddenly) call it quits.
Trump, seeking to minimize any damage to himself from the surprise resignation, sat down with his outgoing UN ambassador shortly after the news broke and insisted he a) knew about her plans to leave last week and b) she had made the decision because she had served for two years (actually one year and seven months) and felt like it was time to go. (Haley will leave her job at the end of the year, Trump announced Tuesday.)
“It’s been eight years of intense times,” Haley said of her time as governor of South Carolina and her time in the administration. “And I am a believer in term limits.” She added: “I don’t have anything set on where I am going to go.”
And that might be true! But, the fact that neither Bolton nor Pompeo had any inkling that Haley was preparing to resign casts some doubt on the this-was-all-part-of-the-plan explanation. And, losing an Indian-American woman four weeks before an election and on the heels of a very contentious Supreme Court fight that divided deeply along gender lines suggests is far less than ideal timing for Trump.
So, what else MIGHT be beyond Haley’s shock resignation? Here are a few theories:

1. She got edged out by the likes of Bolton and Pompeo

It’s no secret that the national security adviser and secretary of state, respectively, are foreign policy hard-liners. And that while Haley was outwardly very tough within the UN (and the Trump administration), she was reportedly a voice urging more moderation — and toeing the preferred line of establishment Republicans — in private. While Haley was, without question, a star of the first year of Trump’s administration, she did clash with him at times over, among other things, Russia. During a TV appearance in April, Haley announced the US would impose new sanctions on Russia. Trump insisted no such sanctions had been put in place and the White House blamed the misunderstanding on a “momentary confusion” on Haley’s part. She quickly responded that she did not “get confused.”
With Bolton and Pompeo as the new shiny objects in the Trump Cabinet, Haley may have seen the writing on the wall — and decided to leave on her own terms (before she is pushed).

2. She needed to make some money

Haley has spent a long time in elected (or appointed office). Prior to being elected governor in 2010, she spent six years as a member of the state House. Those are not hugely lucrative jobs. In 2015, the year before she was tapped to serve in the Trump administration, she and her husband reported an annual income of just over $170,000. In 2014, that number was closer to $190,000. And in 2013, Haley and her husband, Michael, reported making $270,000.
According to Haley’s 2018 financial disclosure, she reported a significant number of outstanding debts, including somewhere between $25,000 and $65,000 in credit cards, a mortgage in excess of $1 million and a line of credit between $250,000 and $500,000.

Trump's big announcement on Nikki Haley

Trump’s big announcement on Nikki Haley 02:04
With one child in college and another headed there in the next few years, Haley could well have been lured by the seven-figure salaries available to someone with a resume like hers in the private sector.
(Also worth noting: Over the weekend, Citizens Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, a government ethics watchdog, requested an investigation into Haley’s acceptance of seven free flights from South Carolina businessmen in 2017.)

3. She wants to run for president

There’s very little doubt that Haley has her eye on the White House at some point in the future. (Doubt me? Haley brought her most trusted political adviser — and pollster — Jon Lerner to the UN with her.) Knowing that her resignation would set off talk of a potential primary challenge to Trump in 2020, Haley laughed off the possibility during her comments on Tuesday — making clear she plans to campaign for Trump in two years time.
In truth, Haley is too smart to run against Trump in 2020. While Trump’s approval ratings are in bad shape with the broad electorate, he is among the most popular Republican presidents ever among Republican voters. No one is beating Trump in a primary in 2020 — not Haley, not anyone.
BUT, just because Haley isn’t running in 2020 doesn’t mean she isn’t running. Remember that whether Trump wins or loses in 2020, the 2024 Republican nomination will be open. Yes, Vice President Mike Pence is a likely candidate — particularly if Trump wins a second term in 2020. And he will be the Trump candidate. But what if there is a desire for a candidate who has OK relations with Trump world but also is not seen as totally and completely aligned with a former president who was, to put it mildly, a non-traditional Republican candidate and president?
Enter Haley! She will have spent almost two years serving Trump, yes, but, by the time 2024 comes around, she will be six years removed from the Trump White House. Which might be a very appealing thing for Republicans.

The Latest: Haley departure raises question about Trump team

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE RACINE JOURNAL TIMES)

 

The Latest: Haley departure raises question about Trump team

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WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on the resignation of U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley (all times local):

6:35 p.m.

U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley’s abrupt announcement that she is resigning has raised fresh questions about President Donald Trump’s team.

The news has blindsided some key U.S. allies and many congressional Republicans involved in foreign policy matters.

It comes less than a month before congressional elections, thwarting White House efforts to project an image of stability. The loss of one of the highest-profile women in the administration comes at a time when women’s votes are being vigorously pursued.

Trump says he’s narrowed down a short list of five people to replace Haley. Former White House adviser Dina Powell is among those on the short list.

———

6:25 p.m.

Ivanka Trump says she won’t replace Nikki Haley as the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations despite her father, President Donald Trump, saying she’d be “incredible” in the role.

In a tweet Tuesday evening, the presidential senior adviser and elder daughter said her father will “nominate a formidable replacement for Ambassador Haley.”

She adds: “That replacement will not be me.”

Trump and Haley announced Tuesday that she will be departing the administration at the end of the year. The timing of the announcement was surprising, coming just weeks ahead of the midterm elections.

Trump told reporters that selecting his daughter would spark concerns about nepotism. But he also said there is no one more competent in the world for the role than Ivanka.

The post requires Senate confirmation.

Israel: Truth, Knowledge, History Of God’s Country

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE CIA WORLD FACT BOOK)

 

Israel

Introduction Following World War II, the British withdrew from their mandate of Palestine, and the UN partitioned the area into Arab and Jewish states, an arrangement rejected by the Arabs. Subsequently, the Israelis defeated the Arabs in a series of wars without ending the deep tensions between the two sides. The territories Israel occupied since the 1967 war are not included in the Israel country profile, unless otherwise noted. On 25 April 1982, Israel withdrew from the Sinai pursuant to the 1979 Israel-Egypt Peace Treaty. In keeping with the framework established at the Madrid Conference in October 1991, bilateral negotiations were conducted between Israel and Palestinian representatives and Syria to achieve a permanent settlement. Israel and Palestinian officials signed on 13 September 1993 a Declaration of Principles (also known as the “Oslo Accords”) guiding an interim period of Palestinian self-rule. Outstanding territorial and other disputes with Jordan were resolved in the 26 October 1994 Israel-Jordan Treaty of Peace. In addition, on 25 May 2000, Israel withdrew unilaterally from southern Lebanon, which it had occupied since 1982. In April 2003, US President BUSH, working in conjunction with the EU, UN, and Russia – the “Quartet” – took the lead in laying out a road map to a final settlement of the conflict by 2005, based on reciprocal steps by the two parties leading to two states, Israel and a democratic Palestine. However, progress toward a permanent status agreement was undermined by Israeli-Palestinian violence between September 2003 and February 2005. An Israeli-Palestinian agreement reached at Sharm al-Sheikh in February 2005, along with an internally-brokered Palestinian ceasefire, significantly reduced the violence. In the summer of 2005, Israel unilaterally disengaged from the Gaza Strip, evacuating settlers and its military while retaining control over most points of entry into the Gaza Strip. The election of HAMAS in January 2006 to head the Palestinian Legislative Council froze relations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA). Ehud OLMERT became prime minister in March 2006; following an Israeli military operation in Gaza in June-July 2006 and a 34-day conflict with Hizballah in Lebanon in June-August 2006, he shelved plans to unilaterally evacuate from most of the West Bank. OLMERT in June 2007 resumed talks with the PA after HAMAS seized control of the Gaza Strip and PA President Mahmoud ABBAS formed a new government without HAMAS.
History Early roots

The Land of Israel, known in Hebrew as Eretz Yisrael, has been sacred to the Jewish people since the time of the biblical patriarchs: Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. The Bible has placed this period in the early 2nd millennium BCE.[24] According to the Torah, the Land of Israel was promised to the Jews as their homeland,[25][26] and the sites holiest to Judaism are located there. Around the 11th century BCE, the first of a series of Jewish kingdoms and states established rule over the region; these Jewish kingdoms and states ruled intermittently for the following one thousand years.[27]

Between the time of the Jewish kingdoms and the 7th-century Muslim conquests, the Land of Israel fell under Assyrian, Babylonian, Persian, Greek, Roman, Sassanian, and Byzantine rule.[28] Jewish presence in the region dwindled after the failure of the Bar Kokhba revolt against the Roman Empire in 132 CE and the resultant large-scale expulsion of Jews. Nevertheless, a continuous Jewish presence in Palestine was maintained. Although the main Jewish population shifted from the Judea region to the Galilee;[29] the Mishnah and part of the Talmud, among Judaism’s most important religious texts, were composed in Israel during this period.[30] The Land of Israel was captured from the Byzantine Empire around 636 CE during the initial Muslim conquests. Control of the region transferred between the Umayyads,[31] Abbasids,[32] and Crusaders over the next six centuries, before falling in the hands of the Mamluk Sultanate, in 1260. In 1516, the Land of Israel became a part of the Ottoman Empire, which ruled the region until the 20th century.[33]

Zionism and the British Mandate

Jews living in the Diaspora have long aspired to return to Zion and the Land of Israel.[34] That hope and yearning was articulated in the Bible[35] and is a central theme in the Jewish prayer book. Beginning in the twelfth century, a small but steady stream of Jews began to leave Europe to settle in the Holy Land, increasing in numbers after Jews were expelled from Spain in 1492.[36] During the 16th century large communities struck roots in the Four Holy Cities, and in the second half of the 18th century, entire Hasidic communities from eastern Europe settled in the Holy Land.

The first large wave of modern immigration, known as the First Aliyah (Hebrew: עלייה), began in 1881, as Jews fled pogroms in Eastern Europe.[38] While the Zionist movement already existed in theory, Theodor Herzl is credited with founding political Zionism,[39] a movement which sought to establish a Jewish state in the Land of Israel, by elevating the Jewish Question to the international plane.[40] In 1896, Herzl published Der Judenstaat (The Jewish State), offering his vision of a future state; the following year he presided over the first World Zionist Congress.

The Second Aliyah (1904–1914), began after the Kishinev pogrom. Some 40,000 Jews settled in Palestine.[38] Both the first and second waves of migrants were mainly Orthodox Jews,[42] but those in the Second Aliyah included socialist pioneers who established the kibbutz movement.[43] During World War I, British Foreign Secretary Arthur Balfour issued what became known as the Balfour Declaration, which “view[ed] with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people.”[44] The Jewish Legion, a group of battalions composed primarily of Zionist volunteers, assisted in the British conquest of Israel. Arab opposition to the plan led to the 1920 Palestine riots and the formation of the Jewish defense organization known as the Haganah, from which the Irgun and Lehi split off.

In 1922, the League of Nations granted Great Britain a mandate over Palestine for the express purpose of “placing the country under such political, administrative and economic conditions as will secure the establishment of the Jewish national home”.[46] The populations of the Ottoman districts in the area at this time were predominantly Muslim Arabs, while the largest urban area in the region, Jerusalem, was predominantly Jewish.

Jewish immigration continued with the Third Aliyah (1919–1923) and Fourth Aliyah (1924–1929), which together brought 100,000 Jews to Palestine.[38] In the wake of the Jaffa riots in the early days of the Mandate, the British restricted Jewish immigration and territory slated for the Jewish state was allocated to Transjordan.[48] The rise of Nazism in the 1930s led to the Fifth Aliyah, with an influx of a quarter of a million Jews. This influx resulted in the Arab revolt of 1936–1939 and led the British to cap immigration with the White Paper of 1939. With countries around the world turning away Jewish refugees fleeing the Holocaust, a clandestine movement known as Aliyah Bet was organized to bring Jews to Palestine.[38] By the end of World War II, Jews accounted for 33% of the population of Palestine, up from 11% in 1922.[49][50]

Independence and first years

After 1945 Britain became embroiled in an increasingly violent conflict with the Jews[51]. In 1947, the British government withdrew from commitment to the Mandate of Palestine, stating it was unable to arrive at a solution acceptable to both Arabs and Jews.[52] The newly-created United Nations approved the UN Partition Plan (United Nations General Assembly Resolution 181) on November 29, 1947, dividing the country into two states, one Arab and one Jewish. Jerusalem was to be designated an international city – a corpus separatum – administered by the UN to avoid conflict over its status.[53] The Jewish community accepted the plan,[54] but the Arab League and Arab Higher Committee rejected it.

Regardless, the State of Israel was proclaimed on May 14, 1948, one day before the expiry of the British Mandate for Palestine.[56] Not long after, five Arab countries – Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon and Iraq – attacked Israel, launching the 1948 Arab-Israeli War.[56] After almost a year of fighting, a ceasefire was declared and temporary borders, known as the Green Line, were instituted. Jordan annexed what became known as the West Bank and East Jerusalem, and Egypt took control of the Gaza Strip. Israel was admitted as a member of the United Nations on May 11, 1949.[57] During the course of the hostilities, 711,000 Arabs, according to UN estimates, fled from Israel.[58] The fate of the Palestinian refugees today is a major point of contention in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.[59][60]

In the early years of the state, the Labor Zionist movement led by Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion dominated Israeli politics.[61][62] These years were marked by mass immigration of Holocaust survivors and an influx of Jews persecuted in Arab lands. The population of Israel rose from 800,000 to two million between 1948 and 1958.[63] Most arrived as refugees with no possessions and were housed in temporary camps known as ma’abarot. By 1952, over 200,000 immigrants were living in these tent cities. The need to solve the crisis led Ben-Gurion to sign a reparations agreement with West Germany that triggered mass protests by Jews angered at the idea of Israel “doing business” with Germany.

During the 1950s, Israel was frequently attacked by Arab fedayeen, mainly from the Egyptian-occupied Gaza Strip.[65] In 1956, Israel joined a secret alliance with Great Britain and France aimed at recapturing the Suez Canal, which the Egyptians had nationalized (see the Suez Crisis). Despite capturing the Sinai Peninsula, Israel was forced to retreat due to pressure from the United States and the Soviet Union in return for guarantees of Israeli shipping rights in the Red Sea and the Canal.

At the start of the following decade, Israel captured Adolf Eichmann, an implementer of the Final Solution hiding in Argentina, and brought him to trial.[67] The trial had a major impact on public awareness of the Holocaust[68] and to date Eichmann remains the only person sentenced to death by Israeli courts.

Conflicts and peace treaties

In 1967, Egypt, Jordan, and Syria massed troops close to Israeli borders, expelled UN peacekeepers and blocked Israel’s access to the Red Sea. Israel saw these actions as a casus belli for a pre-emptive strike that launched the Six-Day War, during which it captured the West Bank, Gaza Strip, Sinai Peninsula and Golan Heights.[70] The 1949 Green Line became the administrative boundary between Israel and the occupied territories. Jerusalem’s boundaries were enlarged, incorporating East Jerusalem. The Jerusalem Law, passed in 1980, reaffirmed this measure and reignited international controversy over the status of Jerusalem.

In the early 1970s, Palestinian groups launched a wave of attacks against Israeli targets around the world, including a massacre of Israeli athletes at the 1972 Summer Olympics. Israel responded with Operation Wrath of God, in which those responsible for the Munich massacre were tracked down and assassinated.[71] On October 6, 1973, Yom Kippur, the holiest day in the Jewish calendar, the Egyptian and Syrian armies launched a surprise attack against Israel. The war ended on October 26 with Israel successfully repelling Egyptian and Syrian forces but suffering great losses.[72] An internal inquiry exonerated the government of responsibility for the war, but public anger forced Prime Minister Golda Meir to resign.

The 1977 Knesset elections marked a major turning point in Israeli political history as Menachem Begin’s Likud party took control from the Labor Party.[73] Later that year, Egyptian President Anwar El Sadat made a trip to Israel and spoke before the Knesset in what was the first recognition of Israel by an Arab head of state.[74] In the two years that followed, Sadat and Menachem Begin signed the Camp David Accords and the Israel-Egypt Peace Treaty.[75] Israel withdrew from the Sinai Peninsula and agreed to enter negotiations over an autonomy for Palestinians across the Green Line, a plan which was never implemented.

In 1982, Israel intervened in the Lebanese Civil War to destroy the bases from which the Palestine Liberation Organization launched attacks and missiles at northern Israel. That move developed into the First Lebanon War.[76] Israel withdrew from most of Lebanon in 1986, but maintained a borderland buffer zone until 2000. The First Intifada, a Palestinian uprising against Israeli rule,[77] broke out in 1987 with waves of violence occurring in the occupied territories. Over the following six years, more than a thousand people were killed in the ensuing violence, much of which was internal Palestinian violence.[78] During the 1991 Gulf War, the PLO and many Palestinians supported Saddam Hussein and Iraqi missile attacks against Israel.

In 1992, Yitzhak Rabin became Prime Minister following an election in which his party promoted compromise with Israel’s neighbors.[81][82] The following year, Shimon Peres and Mahmoud Abbas, on behalf of Israel and the PLO, signed the Oslo Accords, which gave the Palestinian National Authority the right to self-govern parts of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, in return for recognition of Israel’s right to exist and an end to terrorism.[83] In 1994, the Israel-Jordan Treaty of Peace was signed, making Jordan the second Arab country to normalize relations with Israel.[84] Public support for the Accords waned as Israel was struck by a wave of attacks from Palestinians. The November 1995 assassination of Yitzhak Rabin by a far-right-wing Jew, as he left a peace rally, shocked the country. At the end of the 1990s, Israel, under the leadership of Benjamin Netanyahu, withdrew from Hebron[85] and signed the Wye River Memorandum, giving greater control to the Palestinian National Authority.

Ehud Barak, elected Prime Minister in 1999, began the new millennium by withdrawing forces from Southern Lebanon and conducting negotiations with Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat and U.S. President Bill Clinton at the July 2000 Camp David Summit. During the summit, Barak offered a plan for the establishment of a Palestinian state, but Yasser Arafat rejected it.[87] After the collapse of the talks, Palestinians began the Second Intifada.

Ariel Sharon soon after became the new prime minister in a 2001 special election. During his tenure, Sharon carried out his plan to unilaterally withdraw from the Gaza Strip and also spearheaded the construction of the Israeli West Bank barrier.[88] In January 2006, after Ariel Sharon suffered a severe hemorrhagic stroke which left him in a coma, the powers of office were transferred to Ehud Olmert. The kidnappings of Israeli soldiers by Hamas and Hezbollah and the shelling of settlements on Israel’s northern border led to a five-week war, known in Israel as the Second Lebanon War. The conflict was brought to end by a ceasefire brokered by the United Nations. After the war, Israel’s Chief of Staff, Dan Halutz, resigned.

On November 27, 2007, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas agreed to begin negotiations on all issues, and to make every effort reach an agreement by the end of 2008.

Geography Location: Middle East, bordering the Mediterranean Sea, between Egypt and Lebanon
Geographic coordinates: 31 30 N, 34 45 E
Map references: Middle East
Area: total: 20,770 sq km
land: 20,330 sq km
water: 440 sq km
Area – comparative: slightly smaller than New Jersey
Land boundaries: total: 1,017 km
border countries: Egypt 266 km, Gaza Strip 51 km, Jordan 238 km, Lebanon 79 km, Syria 76 km, West Bank 307 km
Coastline: 273 km
Maritime claims: territorial sea: 12 nm
continental shelf: to depth of exploitation
Climate: temperate; hot and dry in southern and eastern desert areas
Terrain: Negev desert in the south; low coastal plain; central mountains; Jordan Rift Valley
Elevation extremes: lowest point: Dead Sea -408 m
highest point: Har Meron 1,208 m
Natural resources: timber, potash, copper ore, natural gas, phosphate rock, magnesium bromide, clays, sand
Land use: arable land: 15.45%
permanent crops: 3.88%
other: 80.67% (2005)
Irrigated land: 1,940 sq km (2003)
Total renewable water resources: 1.7 cu km (2001)
Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural): total: 2.05 cu km/yr (31%/7%/62%)
per capita: 305 cu m/yr (2000)
Natural hazards: sandstorms may occur during spring and summer; droughts; periodic earthquakes
Environment – current issues: limited arable land and natural fresh water resources pose serious constraints; desertification; air pollution from industrial and vehicle emissions; groundwater pollution from industrial and domestic waste, chemical fertilizers, and pesticides
Environment – international agreements: party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands, Whaling
signed, but not ratified: Marine Life Conservation
Geography – note: there are 242 Israeli settlements and civilian land use sites in the West Bank, 42 in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, 0 in the Gaza Strip, and 29 in East Jerusalem (August 2005 est.); Sea of Galilee is an important freshwater source
Politics Israel operates under a parliamentary system as a democratic country with universal suffrage.[2] The President of Israel is the head of state, but his duties are largely ceremonial.[101] A Parliament Member supported by a majority in parliament becomes the Prime Minister, usually the chairman of the largest party. The Prime Minister is the head of government and head of the Cabinet. Israel is governed by a 120-member parliament, known as the Knesset. Membership in the Knesset is based on proportional representation of political parties.[103] Parliamentary elections are held every four years, but the Knesset can dissolve the government at any time by a no-confidence vote. The Basic Laws of Israel function as an unwritten constitution. In 2003, the Knesset began to draft an official constitution based on these laws.

Israel has a three-tier court system. At the lowest level are magistrate courts, situated in most cities across the country. Above them are district courts, serving both as appellate courts and courts of first instance; they are situated in five of Israel’s six districts. The third and highest tier in Israel is the Supreme Court, seated in Jerusalem. It serves a dual role as the highest court of appeals and the High Court of Justice. In the latter role, the Supreme Court rules as a court of first instance, allowing individuals, both citizens and non-citizens, to petition against decisions of state authorities.[105][106] Israel is not a member of the International Criminal Court as it fears the court would be biased against it due to political pressure.[107] Israel’s legal system combines English common law, civil law, and Jewish law.[2] It is based on the principle of stare decisis (precedent) and is an adversarial system, where the parties in the suit bring evidence before the court. Court cases are decided by professional judges rather than juries.[105] Marriage and divorce are under the jurisdiction of the religious courts: Jewish, Muslim, Druze, and Christian. A committee of Knesset members, Supreme Court justices, and Israeli Bar members carries out the election of judges.

The Israeli Basic Law: Human Dignity and Liberty seeks to defend human rights and liberties. Israel is the only country in the region ranked “Free” by Freedom House based on the level of civil and political rights; the “Israeli Occupied Territories/Palestinian Authority” was ranked “Not Free.”[109] Similarly, Reporters Without Borders rated Israel 50th out of 168 countries in terms of freedom of the press and highest among Southwest Asian countries.[110] Nevertheless, groups such as Amnesty International[111] and Human Rights Watch[112] have often disapproved of Israel’s human rights record in regards to the Arab-Israeli conflict. Israel’s civil liberties also allow for self-criticism, from groups such as B’Tselem, an Israeli human rights organization.[113] Israel’s system of socialized medicine, which guarantees equal health care to all residents of the country, was anchored in law in 1995.

Israel is located in the region of the world (i.e.,Southwest Asia including North Africa) that is the ” . . . least hospitable to democracy. Of the 19 states in this broad region, only 2 Israel and Turkey are democratic (though in Turkey the military still retains a veto on many important issues).”

People Population: 6,426,679
note: includes about 187,000 Israeli settlers in the West Bank, about 20,000 in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, and fewer than 177,000 in East Jerusalem (July 2007 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 26.1% (male 858,246/female 818,690)
15-64 years: 64.2% (male 2,076,649/female 2,046,343)
65 years and over: 9.8% (male 269,483/female 357,268) (2007 est.)
Median age: total: 29.9 years
male: 29.1 years
female: 30.8 years (2007 est.)
Population growth rate: 1.154% (2007 est.)
Birth rate: 17.71 births/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Death rate: 6.17 deaths/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Net migration rate: 0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2007 est.)
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.048 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.015 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.754 male(s)/female
total population: 0.994 male(s)/female (2007 est.)
Infant mortality rate: total: 6.75 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 7.45 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 6.02 deaths/1,000 live births (2007 est.)
Life expectancy at birth: total population: 79.59 years
male: 77.44 years
female: 81.85 years (2007 est.)
Total fertility rate: 2.38 children born/woman (2007 est.)
HIV/AIDS – adult prevalence rate: 0.1% (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS – people living with HIV/AIDS: 3,000 (1999 est.)
HIV/AIDS – deaths: 100 (2001 est.)
Nationality: noun: Israeli(s)
adjective: Israeli
Ethnic groups: Jewish 76.4% (of which Israel-born 67.1%, Europe/America-born 22.6%, Africa-born 5.9%, Asia-born 4.2%), non-Jewish 23.6% (mostly Arab) (2004)
Religions: Jewish 76.4%, Muslim 16%, Arab Christians 1.7%, other Christian 0.4%, Druze 1.6%, unspecified 3.9% (2004)
Languages: Hebrew (official), Arabic used officially for Arab minority, English most commonly used foreign language
Literacy: definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 97.1%
male: 98.5%
female: 95.9%
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