Catalonia crisis escalates as Spain set to impose direct rule within daysSpanish prime minister says Catalan government’s powers will be returned to Madrid, as tensions rise between supporters and opponents of independencePlay Video 0:36 Rajoy pushes to remove Catalan government and calls for regional elections – video View more sharing optionsShares5,342Stephen Burgen in BarcelonaSaturday 21 October 2017 22.13 BST First published on Saturday 21 October 2017 16.40 BSTSpain was plunged into political crisis on Saturday after the prime minister, Mariano Rajoy, announced that he was stripping Catalonia of its autonomy and imposing direct rule from Madrid in an attempt to crush the regional leadership’s move to secede.The decision, which prompted anger across Catalonia, has escalated Spain’s deepest constitutional crisis since the restoration of democracy in 1977. Observers say the move could resurrect the spectre of Basque nationalism, and have repercussions across a Europe facing the rise of separatist movements.After an emergency cabinet meeting on Saturday morning, Rajoy said he was invoking article 155 of the constitution to “restore the rule of law, coexistence and the economic recovery and to ensure that elections could be held in normal circumstances”. The speaker of the Catalan parliament, Carme Forcadell, called the measures a “de facto coup d’etat”.After the Catalan referendum: what happens next? Read morePending almost certain approval in the senate on Friday, direct rule will be imposed next weekend. Citing the Catalan government’s “conscious and systematic rebellion and disobedience”, Rajoy said Carles Puigdemont’s government would be stripped of its powers and its functions would be assumed by the relevant ministries in Madrid.The Catalan president will not be empowered to call elections, which Rajoy said he hoped would be held within six months. “We are not ending Catalan autonomy but we are relieving of their duties those who have acted outside the law,” he said.Rajoy did not go into details of how article 155 would be applied but a government statement said: “A series of measures will be introduced regarding sensitive issues such as security and public order, financial management, taxation, the budget and telecommunications.”In an address on Catalan television on Saturday night Puigdemont, speaking in Catalan, Spanish and English, described the move as the worst attack on Catalonia’s institutions since General Franco’s dictatorship between 1939 and 1975, under which regional autonomy was dissolved.AdvertisementHe said: “We cannot accept these attacks. Those who have scorned the Catalans now want to govern us. I will ask parliament to decide how to respond to these attacks on democracy and to act accordingly.”Over recent years the Catalan government has been creating the structures of a parallel state in readiness for independence. It has expanded the inland revenue department, as well as other parts of the regional administration, and established “embassies” in a number of foreign capitals. Under article 155, it is likely that all of this will be dismantled.The Catalan vice-president, Oriol Junqueras, accused the government of “totalitarianism” and a spokesman for the leftwing Podemos party, Pablo Echenique, said that Rajoy wanted to “humiliate” Catalonia. Echenique tweeted: “The most corrupt party in Europe, which has 8.5% of the vote in Catalonia and is going to govern it. A terrible day for any democrat.”Barcelona’s mayor, Ada Colau, called the move “an attack on everyone’s rights and freedoms”.Rajoy has the support of most of the opposition, King Felipe and the EU, whose leaders gave him their backing at Friday’s Council of Europe meeting.On Friday Felipe, who already faces criticism for his apparently partisan support of the government over the illegal Catalan referendum, said: “Spain has to confront the unacceptable attempt at secession by a part of the national territory.”Recent government actions – the police violence aimed at thwarting the independence referendum, jailing the leaders of the two main pro-independence organisations, the threat to imprison the popular Catalan chief of police, and now article 155 – all serve to reinforce the secessionists’ narrative of repression and colonisation by an anti-Catalan Spanish regime. Facebook Twitter Pinterest Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy speaks to the press after the cabinet meeting at Moncloa Palace on 21 October. Photograph: Pablo Blazquez Dominguez/Getty ImagesNevertheless, Rajoy put the blame on Puigdemont, saying he lacked the stature to deal with the situation. “This would probably never have happened if a different person with similar ideas had been in charge. But this is what happens when you put yourself in the hands of radicals,” he said, a reference to the anti-capitalist CUP party that props up the centre-right Catalan government While Rajoy insists that article 155 does not imply suspending autonomy.
Breaking: Russian Air Force bombs Al-Qaeda base in east Hama By Leith Fadel – 22/10/20170BEIRUT, LEBANON (2:50 P.M.) – Minutes ago, the Russian Air Force carried out an imperative operation that targeted Hay’at Tahrir Al-Sham’s military base in the eastern countryside of the Hama Governorate.According to a Syrian military report, the Russian Air Force carried out an airstrike over the town of Rahjan, killing at least ten Al-Qaeda linked Hay’at Tahrir Al-Sham fighters that were present at the base.Previously, Rahjan was the site of an intense battle between the Islamic State and Hay’at Tahrir Al-Sham, which resulted in the former seizing the town.Hay’at Tahrir Al-Sham has since recaptured Rahjan after launching a big counter-offensive to clear the small ISIS pocket that was formed in their occupied areas.
next stop Israel ?
Hannah Arendt: Born in Conflict, Israel Will Degenerate into Sparta, and American Jews Will Need to Back Away.Here are some prophetic excerpts from two essays of Hannah Arendt’s, collected in The Jewish Writings (2007). Please note her predictions of the Nakba, of unending conflict, of Zionist dependence on the American Jewish community, of ultimate conflict with that American Jewish community, and the contribution of political Zionism to world anti-semitism. Just what Howard Gutman said and for which he was denounced by– Zionists.Zionism Reconsidered, 1944:Nationalism is bad enough when it trusts in nothing but the rude force of the nation. A nationalism that necessarily and admittedly depends upon the force of a foreign nation is certainly worse. This is the threatened state of Jewish nationalism and of the proposed Jewish state, surrounded inevitably by Arab states and Arab people. Even a Jewish majority in Palestine–nay even a transfer of all Palestine’s Arabs, which is openly demanded by the revisionists–would not substantially change a situation in which Jews must either ask protection from an outside power against their neighbors or come to a working agreement with their neighbors…[T]he Zionists, if they continue to ignore the Mediterranean people and watch out only for the big faraway powers, will appear only as their tools, the agents of foreign and hostile interests. Jews who know their own history should be aware that such a state of affairs will inevitably lead to a new wave of Jew-hatred; the antisemitism of tomorrow will assert that Jews not only profiteered from the presence of foreign big powers in that region but had actually plotted it and hence are guilty of the consequences…[T]he sole new piece of historical philosophy which the Zionists contributed out of their own new experiences [was] “A nation is a group of people… held together by a common enemy” (Herzl)–an absurd doctrine…To such [political] independence, it was believed, the Jewish nation could arrive under the protecting wings of any great power strong enough to shelter its growth…. the Zionists ended by making the Jewish national emancipation entirely dependent upon the material intersts of another nation.The actual result was a return of the new movement to the traditional methods of shtadlonus [court Jews], which the Zionists once had so bitterly despised and violently denounced. Now Zionists too knew no better place politically than the lobbies of the powerful, and no sounder basis for agreements than their good services as agents of foreign interests…[O]nly folly could dictate a policy which trusts a distant imperial power for protection, while alienating the goodwill of neighbors. What then, one is prompted to ask, will be the future policy of Zionism with respect to big powers, and what program will Zionists have to offer for a solution of the Arab-Jewish conflict?…If a Jewish commonwealth is obtained in the near future–with or without partition–it will be due to the political influence of American Jews…. But if the Jewish commonwealth is proclaimed against the will of the Arabs and without the support of the Mediterranean peoples, not only financial help but political support will be necessary for a long time to come. And that may turn out to be very troublesome indeed for Jews in this country [the U.S.], who after all have no power to direct the political destinies of the Near East. It may eventually be far more of a responsibility than today they imagine or tomorrow can make good.To Save the Jewish Homeland, 1948 [on the occasion of war in Palestine]And even if the Jews were to win the war, its end would find the unique possibilities and the unique achievements of Zionism in Palestine destroyed. The land that would come into being would be something quite other than the dream of world Jewry, Zionist and non-Zionist. The ‘victorious’ Jews would live surrounded by an entirely hostile Arab population, secluded into ever-threatened borders, absorbed with physical self-defense to a degree that would submerge all other interests and activities. The growth of a Jewish culture would cease to be the concern of the whole people; social experiments would have to be discarded as impractical luxuries; political thought would center around military strategy…. And all this would be the fate of a nation that — no matter how many immigrants it could still absorb and how far it extended its boundaries (the whole of Palestine and Transjordan is the insane Revisionist demand)–would still remain a very small people greatly outnumbered by hostile neighbors.Under such circumstances… the Palestinian Jews would degenerate into one of those small warrior tribes about whose possibilities and importance history has amply informed us since the days of Sparta. Their relations with world Jewry would become problematical, since their defense interests might clash at any moment .
BREAKING: British Airways flight from Malaga forced to make emergency landingBy Joe Wallen – PUBLISHED – 19 Oct, 2017 @ 17:47 LAST UPDATED: 19 Oct, 2017 @ 17:47 0SHARE BRITISH Airways flight #BA2715 from Malaga to London Gatwick has declared an emergency mid-flight.Reports state that it immediately underwent a rapid descent over France but is thought to have landed safely at Bordeaux Airport despite passengers being told to adopt the brace position.The flight was due to arrive at London Gatwick at 16.20.
Home > Israel NewsIn Unprecedented Move, Eight European Countries to Demand Compensation From Israel for West Bank DemolitionsIn a letter, the countries seek $35,000 in compensation for confiscating and demolishing structures they had built in Area C, under full Israeli controlBarak Ravid Oct 19, 2017 11:44 AM 0comments Zen Subscribe now 11682share on facebook Tweet send via email reddit stumbleuponA Bedouin man gestures toward the debris of his destroyed tent after Israeli troops dismantled 15 tents and huts in the village of al-Qadesya, West Bank, July 19, 2010. SAIF DAHLAH / AFPIgnoring court case, Israel seizes solar panels powering Bedouin school in West BankIsrael threatens to demolish Bedouin homes despite High Court orderEditorial Stop the forced uprooting of Bedouin communities from the West BankEight European Union countries wrote an official protest letter to Israel, demanding over €30,000 ($35,400) in compensation for confiscating and demolishing structures and infrastructure which the countries had built in Area C of the West Bank, which is under full Israeli control.A senior European diplomat told Haaretz that the letter, which is the first of its kind, was expected to be delivered to senior Foreign Ministry officials within a few days.>> Get all updates on Israel, Europe and the Palestinians: Download our free App, and Subscribe >>Ads by ZINCAccording to the European diplomat, Belgium was leading the move. The other countries involved in drafting the letter are France, Spain, Sweden, Luxembourg, Italy, Ireland and Denmark. All eight countries are members of the West Bank Protection Consortium, a body through which they coordinate humanitarian assistance to Area C.The countries were protesting the confiscation of solar panels they had installed in Bedouin communities and the demolition of mobile structures that were financed in various Bedouin communities to serve as classrooms.Updates on Israel and the West Bank: Sign up to our newsletterEmail*Sign up>> Israel says will not negotiate with Palestinian government supported by Hamas >>The existence of the protest letter was first reported by the French newspaper Le Monde. In the letter, the eight countries stressed that if Israel does not unconditionally return the equipment it seized, they would demand compensation. The demolition and seizure of humanitarian equipment, including school infrastructure, and the interference in the transfer of humanitarian assistance contravenes Israel’s obligations under international law and causes suffering to the Palestinian residents, the letter said.The letter is the second step these countries are taking on this issue. A month and a half ago, diplomats from the eight countries came to meet with the head of the Foreign Ministry’s Europe desk, Rodica Radian-Gordon, to protest Israel’s actions against Bedouin communities in Area C. According to a senior Foreign Ministry official, Belgian Ambassador to Israel Olivier Belle said during the meeting that if Israel did not return the equipment it had seized, his country would formally demand compensation. Belle was the only one at that meeting to raise the issue of compensation, but in the ensuing weeks he apparently managed to persuade his colleagues to turn the demand into a joint agreed-upon position that would be officially conveyed to Israel.Israel categorically rejects the demand for compensation. Israel’s position is that the European activity in Area C is not humanitarian assistance but illegal development that is being done without coordinating with Israel and with the aim of strengthening the Palestinians’ hold on Area C. The European position is that under the Geneva Convention, Israel is responsible for dealing with the everyday needs of the Palestinian population in Area C, and since it is not doing so, the European states are stepping in with humanitarian aid.
Hamas Accuses U.S. of Trying to Thwart Palestinian Unity After Statement by Trump’s EnvoyHamas calls the appeal by Jason Greenblatt to recognize Israel and disarm a ‘blackmail attempt,’ accuses U.S. of meddling in internal Palestinian affairsJack Khoury Oct 19, 2017 3:57 PM 0comments Zen Subscribe now 208share on facebook Tweet send via email reddit stumbleuponMembers of Hamas attend a funeral in Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip, August 17, 2017. IBRAHEEM ABU MUSTAFA/REUTERSU.S.: If Hamas wants any role in Palestinian government, it must disarm and recognize IsraelIsrael says will not negotiate with Palestinian government supported by HamasHow Palestinian reconciliation could put U.S. in legal bindHamas issued a statement on Thursday rejecting what it called the “blackmail attempts” by the U.S. administration and the one-sided support of Israel, reflected in remarks made earlier by Jason Greenblatt, U.S. President Donald Trump’s special envoy for the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.According to Hamas, Greenblatt’s statement constitutes a blunt pursuit to meddle in internal Palestinian affairs and was meant to throw a wrench in the works of Palestinian reconciliation between Hamas and Fatah. Hamas added that it was determined to continue with all aspects of the rapprochement efforts and that any bids to thwart or delay the process will not distract the organization. A member of the PLO’s executive committee and an advisor to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas struck a similar tone on Thursday, saying that Greenblatt’s position constitutes a blatant intervention in internal Palestinian affairs.Ads by ZINCGreenblatt issued Washington’s first official response to the reconciliation deal earlier on Thursday, just hours before landing in Egypt to discuss the agreement and Israeli-Palestinian peace with officials in Cairo. According to Greenblatt, any Palestinian government must “unambiguously and explicitly” commit to the conditions set by the Quartet: Refraining from violence, recognizing Israel, and accepting previous agreements, including disarming terrorists and committing to peace.Get updates on Israel and Hamas: Sign up to our newsletterEmail*Sign upThe statement was released two days after Israel’s security cabinet decided that the country will not engage in political negotiations with a Palestinian unity government, if such a government is indeed established. The ministers set conditions that must be met for Israel to negotiate with the Palestinian government, including the demand that Hamas abides by the Quartet’s conditions of recognizing Israel and ceasing terrorist activity.On Monday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that while Israel would not recognize or accept the reconciliation agreement, it would refrain from preventing its implementation or breaking off relations with the Palestinian Authority.