Up to 120 US military personnel are operating out of two secret drone bases in Somalia, carrying out attacks on Al-Shabab militants and working with African Union peacekeepers, a new report has revealed. Somali officials have confirmed a secretive US ...Read More »
Governments should support brave humanitarian voyagers and back their play in future. Welcome to the latest chapter in a long tale of unspeakable cruelty. Israel’s military are once more raiding mercy ships on the high seas in an effort to ...Read More »
As Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein was building up its chemical weapons arsenal with the help of a British firm, Margaret Thatcher’s government decided not to oppose it, fearing that otherwise it would be subjected to criticism. In the 1980s Iraq, ...Read More »
The British government approved £4 million in weapons sales to the Israeli regime in the immediate aftermath of Israel’s massive military offensive against the Gaza Strip last summer, a new study has found. The research study, titled “Arming Apartheid: UK Complicity ...Read More »
An American scholar says an extension of nuclear talks between Iran and the global powers is a “good sign”. As it had been voiced by negotiators earlier, the two sides missed the self-imposed June-end deadline with the US State Department saying ...Read More »
One of the largest Christian Protestant denominations in the United States has overwhelmingly approved a resolution calling for divestment from companies that profit from Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territories. The United Church of Christ voted Tuesday to boycott products from Israeli ...Read More »
Human Rights Watch has accused the United States of complicity in the Saudi Arabia’s war of aggression against Yemen. Human Rights Watch announced on Tuesday that Washington is potentially liable in the unlawful strikes as the US is involved in refueling warplanes flying over ...Read More »
Rejecting Israeli Narrative, Freedom Flotilla Campaigners Say Tasers Were Part of Violent Assault on Ship
Directly contradicting initial reports from the Israeli Navy that the boarding of a Swedish vessel traveling to break the blockade of Gaza was an “uneventful” incident, campaigners reported Tuesday that several people on board, in fact, were violently treated and ...Read More »
The creation of Israel by Zionist Jews in 1948 was a “direct rebellion” against God and contrary to the teachings of the Torah, an American orthodox rabbi says. “The concept of making this whole ‘state’ that was created over 60 ...Read More »
It was the summer of 2002. The Bush administration’s top officials knew that they were going into Iraq in a big way. They were then in planning mode, but waiting until fall to launch their full-throttle campaign to persuade Congress ...Read More »
(RT) – Army reservist recruiting targets, which had been upped to account for cuts to the regular military, are ‘unachievable’ despite an expensive recruiting drive by the Ministry of Defence (MoD), according to the Major Projects Authority (MPA). In its latest ...Read More »
We all remember how, in early June, President Putin announced that Russia would deploy more than 40 new ICBMs “able to overcome even the most technically advanced anti-missile defense systems.” Oh dear; the Pentagon and their European minions have been ...Read More »
A year after Israel’s attack on Gaza, children there are still trying to recover from the consequences of the brutal assault on the Strip. The Israeli attack, which started on 8 July 2014, resulted in between 2,142 and 2,310 Gazans ...Read More »
A recent criticism by former CIA head Michael Hayden over nuclear talks between Iran and the P5+1 group of countries is doing “disservice” to the Obama administration as well as Iran, says a political commentator. “These comments are doing disservice ...Read More »
Two key players and advocates of the US war on Iraq will teach a course on decision-making during the invasion of the country under former president George W. Bush, a report says. Paul Wolfowitz and Scooter Libby, who played important ...Read More »
The United States and its allies are making unprecedented efforts to wage war against Russia and China in order to prevent them from creating a new political and economic order in the world, an activist and journalist in Washington says. ...Read More »
(Common Dreams) – A U.S. government review board said Friday that Abdul Rahman Shalabi, a prisoner who has been on a nine-year hunger strike at the U.S. base at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, has been cleared to return to his native Saudi ...Read More »
The US government is spreading a false sense of fear from ‘Islamic terrorists’ as part of a foreign policy that seeks global domination and to launch military strikes against countries that oppose Israel, an American scholar and journalist in Wisconsin ...Read More »
(Common Dreams) – The UK and Australian governments may be complicit in the U.S.’s covert drone campaign in countries outside of recognized war zones, a new analysis of British intelligence documents published Wednesday reveals. Previously undisclosed files from the UK’s Government ...Read More »
A senior Pentagon official says Russia is “playing with fire” by threatening to expand its nuclear weapons arsenal in response to a rising military presence by the United States and its NATO allies in Eastern Europe. “Anyone who thinks they can ...Read More »
Blueprint for a new transition plan involves a dual command structure—giving the Defense Department and the CIA joint control of drone strikes (Common Dreams) – U.S. President Barack Obama has made a sharp U-turn on his two-year-old promise to move the ...Read More »
Via WSWS. This piece was reprinted by RINF Alternative News with permission or license. By Niles Williamson NATO defense ministers meeting in Brussels Wednesday and Thursday agreed to the enlargement of the organization’s Response Force to 40,000 troops from the ...Read More »
The powerful Israel lobby in the United States is seeking to forestall a nuclear agreement with Iran and ignite another war in the Middle East, a political commentator in Los Angeles says. “The problem that we have right now in ...Read More »
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, who was sentenced to death for his alleged role in the April 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, has given his first public statement since the deadly attack. Tsarnaev told a federal court in Boston on Wednesday that he was ...Read More »
The US Senate voted by a high margin to ban the use of torture on June 16. The bill is an amendment to the 2016 National Defense Authorization Act, an annual defense policy measure. It passed 78-21 but the entire ...Read More »
US President Barack Obama would probably not able to keep his 2008 campaign promise to shut down the notorious Guantanamo Bay prison by the end of his presidency next year. In an interview with CBS News on Tuesday, US Secretary ...Read More »
The US Department of Defense has released a book of instructions on the rules of war, detailing acceptable ways of killing the enemy and says that journalists also can be terrorists. The “Department of Defense Law of War Manual” explains ...Read More »
US military interventions in the Middle East along with Washington’s foreign policy in the region paved the way for the creation and expansion of the ISIL terrorist group, an American activist, blogger and author says. “The problem with ISIS is that ...Read More »
The White House recently announced that Obama has approved a plan to send 450 new troops into Iraq to fight ISIS. These “troops” aren’t ground troops, but instead are going in an adviser role to assist the Iraqi military. Now, ...Read More »
The United States is seeking to have a “never-ending war” in the Middle East which would make the countries there unable to stand up to Israel, says former CIA contractor Steven Kelley. “The purpose of creating this group [ISIL] is ...Read More »
There is a peculiar form of insanity in which a veneer of rationality distracts attention from the madness lurking just beneath the surface. When Alice dove down her rabbit hole to enter a place where smirking cats offered directions, ill-mannered ...Read More »
The United States and its NATO allies are exaggerating the so-called threat from Russia to justify surrounding and destabilizing the country as well as increasing US arms exports to the region, an anti-war activist and journalist in Maine says. “There ...Read More »
Secretary of State John Kerry gave further legitimacy to a long-running official scam over the demand for a confession from Iran last week, even as he argued that getting details of Iran’s alleged past work on nuclear weapons wasn’t necessary ...Read More »
(Common Dreams) – A widely-anticipated United Nations inquiry into the 2014 attack on Gaza released Monday suggests that the Israeli government may have deliberately targeted Palestinian civilians during the assault, while the report concludes that both Israel and Hamas may be ...Read More »
US Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter has lauded Washington’s decision to station heavy weaponry in Eastern Europe, and vowed the United States will defend its allies against Russia. “The concept is to have sets of equipment principally to support training so ...Read More »
(RT) – At a secret meeting Friday, defense chiefs are said to have lobbied Chancellor George Osborne to leave their offensive capacity intact rather than implementing deep spending cuts to military budgets, according to reports. The Chief of the Defence Staff ...Read More »
An American political commentator believes that the United States and Israel are undoubtedly the world’s “two leading terrorist organizations.” “There really can be no serious doubt that the United States and Israel are the two leading terrorist organizations in the ...Read More »
British war veterans launch a campaign against enlisting 16-year-olds into the military. While Britain is current the only state in Europe or NATO that enlists minors, a policy criticized by the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, the ...Read More »
(RT) – Britain’s Ministry of Defence has confirmed it is providing technical support and arming Saudi Arabia in its ongoing war against Yemen, RT has learned. An MoD spokesperson said the UK’s assistance to Saudi Arabia includes providing “precision guided weapons,” but added ...Read More »
The Zionist narrative exists to justify the existence of the state of Israel. It is the narrative that dominates the perspectives of the US and Canadian governments as well as the mainstream media in North America. This narrative accepts as ...Read More »
Via WSWS. This piece was reprinted by RINF Alternative News with permission or license. As efforts to train new Iraqi army flounder By Thomas Gaist 19 June 2015 The US military’s efforts to train new Iraqi forces for campaigns to ...Read More »
The United States and its NATO allies are edging toward a high-risk military standoff with Russia over the crisis in Ukraine, a situation that may lead to the worst catastrophe in history, an anti-war activist in Chicago says. “The threat ...Read More »
Mistaking boys playing in a Gaza beach area for Hamas fighters and firing two missiles at them, killing four, is a tragic accident and not a reason to press criminal charges, an Israeli military magistrate’s office ruled. “The case has ...Read More »
The empire staggers on. Obama sends more senseless troops to Iraq, revisionist history proclaims the “courage” of the authors of its tragedy, and George W, accomplishing at least his declared mission of “replenishing the ol’ coffers,” is raking in millions ...Read More »
At the Left Forum, Fight Imperialism Stand Together (FIST) took part in a debate with other socialist organizations on the character anti-imperialist struggle must take in this period. This debate is central to the overall struggle for liberation in a period where imperialism’s ...Read More »
Almost nine months after President Obama admitted that “we don’t have a strategy yet” to challenge the Islamic State – and just days after he said he still has “no complete Iraq strategy” – the non-strategy suddenly has a name: ...Read More »
Donald Rumsfeld is this generation’s Robert McNamara. Over 12 years after overseeing and helping to design the 2003 invasion of Iraq – the former secretary of defense is now re-writing his own role in the invasion. In an interview with ...Read More »
Presidential elections should be limited to as short a time period as possible and are generally the biggest drain and distraction going. I have two excuses for looking into Jeb Bush. One is that I’ve been collecting the evidence that ...Read More »
Mohamedou Ould Slahi’s 13th year of captivity in Guantánamo has been remarkable in many ways. “Guantánamo Diary,” his story of torture and unlawful detention by the United States, was finally published and has become a best-seller, earning rave reviews around ...Read More »
The United States seems set for an increase in the number of American boots on the ground in Iraq where Takfiri militancy yet rages on despite airstrikes by a US-led coalition. On Tuesday, General Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the ...Read More »
When it comes to his administration’s foreign policy, Barack Obama must feel a little like Michael Corleone in The Godfather Part III: “Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in.” Upon entering office, the president promised ...Read More »
US President Barack Obama has been sued by families of two Yemeni men, Salem bin Ali Jaber and Waleed bin Ali Jaber, who were killed in a drone strike in 2012. The families have lodged a wrongful death lawsuit against the ...Read More »
When it comes to war, deja vu can be a depressing thing. With the U.S. military in Iraq once again, this time to battle Islamic State fighters, it is tempting to see the cycle of war as endless. Over two ...Read More »
‘If the U.S. was willing to pay off my family in secret cash, why can’t they simply make a public acknowledgement that my relatives were wrongly killed?’ asks Faisal bin Ali Jaber (Common Dreams) – A Yemeni man, whose nephew and ...Read More »
The Pentagon has announced that the US and its European allies are conducting military drills in the Baltic region “to ensure regional security.” Pentagon spokesman Army Col. Steve Warren said on Monday 2,000 American troops and 3,600 troops from other ...Read More »
Zionists want the United States to stop negotiating with Iran over its nuclear energy program and launch a deadly war against Iran, an American political activist and writer says. Ralph Schoenman, former personal secretary of British philosopher Bertrand Russell, made the remarks ...Read More »
In 2009, a U.S. State Department diplomatic cable gave one of the first glimpses of what is becoming a burgeoning alliance between Israel and the Arab states of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). The cable quoted Israeli Foreign Ministry official Yacov ...Read More »
The United States and its allies have encouraged the spread of the ISIL terrorist group in the Middle East to create a “perpetual war” in the region and advance the American military-industrial complex, a geopolitical commentator in Missouri says. “This ...Read More »
Tony Blair’s not entirely unexpected resignation from his job as Middle East peace envoy last month – and the ensuing Twitter jokes about it – coincide with the UK release of a documentary film that firmly puts him and George ...Read More »
Hundreds of US forces are reportedly located near Russia’s borders with Ukraine to train the country’s troops amid growing tensions between Washington and Moscow. NBC News reported on Sunday that 300 American paratroopers are involved in the direct training that ...Read More »
Former US senator Mike Gravel says Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu would not be able to hinder a comprehensive nuclear deal between Iran and the six world powers. In a phone interview with Press TV on Monday, Gravel said Netanyahu “won’t ...Read More »
US drone strikes carried out in Muslim countries are a “crime against humanity” and a violation of international law, a peace activist and analyst in Washington says. “Drone strikes are, by their nature, an illegal weapon [because] there is no ...Read More »
The United Sates will launch new wars around the world regardless of who is voted as president and which political party takes control of the White House in 2016, a political commentator in New York says. There will be “more ...Read More »
A new survey just released by the Pew Research Center found that respondents have become much more likely to voice their disapproval over the U.S. drone assassination program. In a phone survey conducted from May 12-18, 2015, Pew found that ...Read More »
Majid Khan, kidnapped by U.S. officials in 2003, said abuse was more brutal than anything which appeared in Senate’s investigative report last year Nadia Prupis (Common Dreams) – A Guantanamo Bay detainee turned government witness has accused the U.S. Central Intelligence ...Read More »
International lawyer Barry Grossman says US neoconservatives are seeking a military attack against Iran over the country’s nuclear program because it is “profitable” for them. “For a number of the years, the usual suspects, which include basically neoconservatives around the ...Read More »
US President Barack Obama says Israel is losing “credibility” among the international community over Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s stance on the creation of a Palestinian state. Obama also warned that his administration is reevaluating the long-standing US diplomatic support of ...Read More »
Since before the heinous ravaging of Africa as a source of human beings denied their humanity, lives and freedom as chattel in the slave trade, the continent has been brutally exploited by European colonial (and later US) powers. Now, the ...Read More »
(Common Dreams) – Tensions between China and United States continue to rise over the South China Sea as a Chinese government newspaper warns that war may be ‘inevitable’ if the U.S. and its allies do not back off from the heavily ...Read More »
(Common Dreams) – When President Barack Obama apologized on April 23 to the families of Warren Weinstein and Giovanni Lo Porto, an American and an Italian, both hostages killed in a drone attack in Pakistan in January, he blamed their tragic ...Read More »
Since being seized in a raid in Pakistan in 2002, Abu Zubaydah has had his life controlled by American officials, first at secret sites, where he was tortured, and since 2006 in a small cell in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. And, ...Read More »
By Ed Hightower (WSWS) – A US District Court judge has thrown out a lawsuit brought by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) that sought the release of the full Senate Select Committee on Intelligence report on torture by the Central ...Read More »
While notable for admitting the possibility it killed two young children, admission called “too little, too late” by expert who says deathtoll of innocent people far exceeds Pentagon statement (Common Dreams) – In what one journalist described as the “first near-confirmation” ...Read More »
The Pentagon says the United States is ready to deploy surveillance aircraft and naval ships to test China’s territorial claims over man-made islands in the South China Sea. “That would be the next step,” Pentagon spokesman Colonel Steven Warren told ...Read More »
(Common Dreams) – For almost two weeks, the political buzz in the US has focused on those who have already declared their candidacy for the 2016 presidential run, Republicans and Democrats, and their reaction to “knowing what we now, would you ...Read More »
The United States is manufacturing weapons which are considered by the American military officials as “plausible” for a possible war on China, says an analyst. The United States, has been for many years, in the “long process of militarizing Asia ...Read More »
The US Defense Department’s watchdog knowingly turned a blind eye to financial irregularities, leading to the Pentagon signing off on an audit. This has led to questions regarding just how transparent the government auditing process actually is. A special investigation ...Read More »
With the rise of the Global South and BRICS countries, it seems the United States sees war as the only option in order to keep its global domination, an American journalist and political commentator says. Don DeBar, an anti-war activist ...Read More »
When Hollywood Sold America on Evil: Stunning PBS Frontline Doc Reveals the Depths of CIA Propaganda
“Secrets, Politics and Torture” tells the deeply disturbing story of an intelligence community’s craven lies In recent days, there’s been quite a bit of discussion about the 2011 raid in Abottabad, Pakistan, that killed Osama bin laden, based upon reporting by ...Read More »
Presumed US Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush, brother of former US President George W. Bush, has criticized President Barack Obama’s Iraq policy. The former Florida governor was at a business meeting in the state of New Hampshire on Wednesday to ...Read More »
Rights Groups Send An Open Letter to President Obama and Ashton Carter: Free the 57 Guantánamo Prisoners Approved for Transfer
LONDON – Together the undersigned organizations call for the prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, to be closed, and we ask President Obama and Defense Secretary Ashton Carter to swiftly transfer the 57 prisoners at Guantánamo who have already been cleared ...Read More »
In the last days of his life, Osama bin Laden realized that the September 11, 2001 attacks in the United States were an inside job, and were not carried out by al-Qaeda militants, according to newly released US intelligence documents. ...Read More »
The US Congress has given President Barack Obama a “blank check” to wage wars in the Middle East and other parts of the world, says a veterans advocate and social justice organizer in Denver. “There has to be some sort ...Read More »
‘It is time for President Obama, and Defense Secretary Carter, to take action to transfer the 57 men still held who have already been approved to leave Guantánamo, and to release or charge in federal court those who remain’ (Common ...Read More »
During a friendly interview on Fox News, a Republican presidential hopeful from Florida was asked a simple question: Was it a mistake to go to war in Iraq? “No, I don’t believe it was. The world is a better place ...Read More »
The New York Times ran two very different stories recently related to Israel. An analysis of the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement titled “Campus Debates on Israel Drive a Wedge Between Jews and Minorities,” portrays the nonviolent campaign to hold ...Read More »
The recent capture of the Iraqi city of Ramadi by the ISIL terrorist group is a consequence of the US war against Iraq and Washington’s “divide and rule” policy in the Arab country, an American political scholar says. “The fall ...Read More »
‘It’s unbelievable, frankly. I now know what it’s like to have lived through Vietnam, I guess.’ (Common Dreams) – Statements from the Pentagon and the Obama administration attempting to downplay the significance of the defeat of Iraqi forces by Islamic State ...Read More »
Nick Mottern interviews well-known peace activist Kathy Kelly on drone warfare and related topics. This interview took place at the “Stop the Wars at Home and Abroad” National Conference, sponsored by the United National AntiWar Coalition (UNAC), and held in ...Read More »
US Secretary of State John Kerry says the international community should put further pressure on the North Korean government over the country’s nuclear program. North Korea “continues to pursue nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles, it continues to break promises and ...Read More »
History of World War II: America Was Providing Military Aid to the USSR, While Also Supporting Nazi Germany
Besides weapons, other supplies were also provided under lend-lease. And those figures are absolutely indisputable indeed. Specifically, the USSR received 2,586,000 tons of aviation fuel, an amount equal to 37% of what was produced in the Soviet Union during the war, plus almost ...Read More »
A senior adviser to Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei, the Leader of Iran’s Islamic Revolution, says ending Saudi Arabia’s extremely “savage bombardments” should be a precondition for any talks on Yemen’s situation. Ali Akbar Velayati said Monday that any discussion on the Arab ...Read More »
Tsarnaev Sentenced to Death: The Boston Bombing and the Tsarnaev Trial – Lies, Anomalies and Inconsistencies
Today, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev has been sentenced to death on some counts, including “the use of a weapon of mass destruction (pressure cooker bomb #2) resulting in death” and “destruction of property by means of an explosive (pressure cooker bomb #2), ...Read More »
Szymany airport in Poland, allegedly used for covert prisoner transportation by the CIA in 2003 Poland.(AFP Photo / Piotr Placzkowski )
Warsaw has paid €230,000 to two former inmates of CIA "black site" prisons, which used to be on Poland's territory - a move that has raised questions in the country.
"Poland has fulfilled the ruling of the European Court of Human Rights," Deputy Foreign Minister Rafał Trzaskowski said on Thursday, RIA Novosti reports. He said that money had been sent to one victim's bank account. The other's share had been transferred to his court deposit, as he is under international sanctions.
The European Court of Human Rights ruled in July 2014 that Poland must pay compensation to the two terror suspects: Palestinian Abu Zubaydah and Saudi Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, who were held and tortured in CIA-run detention centers in Poland between 2002 and 2003. The court set this Saturday as the deadline for the payments.
The two men are now being held in America's Guantanamo Bay prison in Cuba. They are to receive €100,000 each for psychological damage, plus Zubaydah is due an additional €30,000 in court expenses.
Warsaw's decision to pay up raised questions in Poland. Opposition lawmaker Witold Waszczykowski, cited by AP, said: “I think we shouldn’t pay, we shouldn’t respect this judgment. This is a case not between us and them – it’s between them and the United States government.”
However, no US officials have been held accountable to date. The only other related ruling handed down by the European Court of Human Rights was to Macedonia. In 2012, it was ordered to pay €60,000 for the detention of a Lebanese-German, who was subjected to abuse by the CIA on trumped up terror suspicions.
Poland has been investigating allegations of secret CIA detention centers or "black sites" on its territory since 2008. In December 2014, Poland's former President Aleksander Kwaśniewski officially admitted that a secret CIA prison had existed at an airbase, where terror suspects were brought for torture and interrogation. He insisted, though, that Warsaw had no idea about the abuse happening at the site.
Kwaśniewski's statement came on the heels of a US Senate committee report on CIA activities. In August the same year, Barack Obama admitted for the first time that torture had indeed taken place in American custody after the 9/11 attacks.
The authorities should have expected to be held accountable sooner or later, criminology professor Ben Davis told RT. "The only people who have been betrayed in all of this are the ordinary people in all of these countries," he said. "The ordinary citizens who count on their governments not to torture people, to comply with their obligations in international law or domestic law."Read More »
John Kiriakou (Otherwords) – After I blew the whistle on the CIA’s torture program in 2007, the fallout for me was brutal. To make a long story short, I served nearly two years in federal prison and then endured a ...Read More »
Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, was quick to congratulate Israeli soldiers on their relief efforts in Nepal, where an earthquake late last month claimed many thousands of lives. “These are the true faces of Israel,” he said of a 260-strong ...Read More »
Noam Chomsky answers questions from people living under bombardment in Fallujah, Iraq. The interviewer, Ross Caput, is a veteran of the 2nd US-led siege of Fallujah.Read More »
The military-industrial complex in the United States would not be able to survive without military conflicts as the US steps up military tensions with China, says a US analyst.
Military tensions across the world are what the the US wants because “the military-industrial complex cannot survive without conflict,” said Dean Henderson.
Henderson made the comments in an interview with Press TV on Sunday when asked to give his take on a report by the Pentagon that shows its concern over China’s growing military capabilities.
The report specifically cited China’s growing drone arsenal which is set to surpass 40,000 unmanned units in the next years.
“I don’t think it should be any big surprise that the Chinese have drones,” Henderson said, “The US obviously has been using these for a long time to target so-called terrorists in Afghanistan and Yemen and Iraq and different places, killing mostly civilians in the process.”
Thousands of people have been victims in an ongoing drone war waged by the US government overseas for decades now.
“It’s another case of weapon developed by the US military-industrial complex and unleashed on the world,” Henderson said.
He slammed Washington and said that “a lot of countries have their own [drones] and if the US doesn’t want China to have drones maybe the US shouldn’t have drones.”
“It’s just like the US doesn’t want anyone to have nukes, so maybe the US shouldn’t have nukes, but they just can’t seem to get their brains around the logic of that, even though its highly logical,” he added.
HDS/AGBRead More »
Reuters / Ronen Zvulun
The EU has criticized Israel for recently approving the construction of 900 new settler homes in East Jerusalem, joining the US and Palestinian condemnation of Tel-Aviv’s settlement policies.
“Israel’s determination to continue its settlement policy despite the urging of the international community not only threatens the viability of the two state solution but also seriously calls into question its commitment to a negotiated agreement with the Palestinians,” the EU said in a statement on Saturday.
“Settlements are illegal under international law,” the statement stressed.
Jerusalem’s district planning committee issued a fresh batch of construction approvals on Wednesday, according to settlement watchdog Peace Now.
The new homes are to be built in Ramat Shlomo, an ultra-Orthodox settlement neighborhood nestled in mostly Arab East Jerusalem, Hagit Ofran, a spokesman for Settlement watchdog Peace Now, told AFP.
The move came shortly after re-elected Israeli PM, Benjamin Netanyahu, struck a deal with Jewish Home (Bayit Yehudi), a Zionist pro-settlement party, to form a new rightwing-religious coalition government.
The Palestinian authorities condemned the new government, with senior Palestinian official, Nabil Shaath, calling it a “colonial settler cabinet.”
Israeli settlement plans were slammed by Washington on Thursday, with US State Department spokesman Jeff Rathke calling them “a disappointing development.”
“We’re concerned about it just as a new Israeli government has been announced. Moving forward with construction of housing units in East Jerusalem is damaging,” Rathke stressed.
“We continue to engage with the highest levels of the Israeli Government, and we continue to make our position clear that we view this as illegitimate,” he added.
The Israeli interior ministry first voiced plans to build 1,600 settler homes in Ramat Shlomo back in March 2010.
That announcement was made during US Vice President Joe Biden’s visit to Israeli, and led to a cool down in relations between Tel-Aviv and Washington, which lasted for months.
Israel captured East Jerusalem back in 1967 and later annexed it, but the international community has never recognized the move.
Stepping up the pace of settlement construction was one of the key points in Netanyahu’s re-election campaign last March.
The Palestinians say no peace deal is possible until Israel withdraws from occupied Palestinian territories and recognizes East Jerusalem as the Palestinian capital.
Israel, however, considers the whole of Jerusalem to be its spiritual capital, and thus an indivisible part of the Jewish state.Read More »