THE WEST BANK: STATEHOOD OR STATU QUO?

Author : Admin | Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Several events that took place at the end of 2017 and the beginning of this year brought to the attention the complex situation in the West Bank and the still not solved Palestinian problem. Some of these developments indicate a significant shift in the approach of the issue by the United States of America, until now the main power actor in the endless “peace process” in the region.

The West Bank in brief

The West Bank is a landlocked territory near the Mediterranean coast of Western Asia, most of it under Israeli control or under joint control of Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA). The final status of the entire area is yet to be determined. The West Bank, including East Jerusalem, has a land area of 5,640 km2 plus a water area of 220 km2, consisting of the northwest part of the Dead Sea. The West Bank has an estimated population of 2,785,366 Palestinians and approximately 371,000 Israeli settlers, with approximately another 212,000 Jewish Israelis in East Jerusalem.

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From 1517 through 1917, the area was part of the Ottoman Empire, included in the provinces of Syria. At the end of World War I, the winning powers allocated the region to the British Mandate of Palestine (1920-1947). In 1947, it was designated as part of a proposed Arab state by the United Nations’ partition plan for Palestine which was to replace the British Mandate with a Jewish State, an Arab State and an internationally administered enclave of Jerusalem. However, following the 1948 Arab-Israeli war, the West Bank was captured by Transjordan (renamed Jordan two years after independence in 1946). The region was named then “West Bank” or “Cisjordan”, while “East Bank” or “Transjordan” designated the area east of the river. Jordan ruled over the West Bank from 1948 until 1967, when the West Bank and East Jerusalem were captured by Israel as a result of the Six Day War. With the exception of East Jerusalem and the former Israeli-Jordanian no man’s land, the West Bank was not annexed by Israel but came under Israeli military control until 1982. In 1982, as a result of the Israeli-Egyptian peace treaty, the direct military rule was transformed into a semi-civil authority, but the Israeli settlements were administered directly by Israel, under the name of “Judea and Samaria.”

Since the 1993 Oslo Accords, the Palestinian Authority (PA) officially controls a geographically non-contiguous territory comprising approx. 11% of the West Bank (known as Area A) which remains subject to Israeli incursions. Area B (approx. 28%) is subject to joint Israeli-Palestinian military and Palestinian civil control.

 

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Area C (approx. 61%) is under full Israeli control, including control of all land-related civil matters. That means Israel controls land allocation, planning and construction and infrastructure. Area C also holds virtually all of the Israeli settler population of the West Bank.

The future of the so-called “two-state” solution[1] is playing out in Area C, which has most of the land of a future Palestinian state. It is also crucial for building and locating infrastructure such as waste treatment facilities and industrial zones, which cannot be placed in cities. This land has also vital mineral and water resources.

The UN General Assembly resolution 58/292 (17 May 2004) affirmed that the Palestinian people have the right to sovereignty over the area. The West Bank is considered to be the core of the would-be State of Palestine, already recognized by the majority of the UN member states, within the Palestinian Territories, which are recognized by Israel to constitute a single territorial unit.

From the legal point of view, a 2004 advisory ruling of the International Court of Justice concluded that events that came after the 1967 occupation of the West Bank by Israel, including the Jerusalem Law, Israel’s peace treaty with Jordan and the Oslo Accord did not change the status of the West Bank (including East Jerusalem) as occupied territory with Israel as the occupying power.

Though 164 nations refer to the West Bank, including East Jerusalem as “occupied Palestinian Territory”, the state of Israel is of the view that only territories captured in war from “an established and recognized sovereign” are considered occupied and that since the West Bank wasn’t under the legitimate and recognized sovereignty of any state prior to the Six Day War, it shouldn’t be considered an occupied territory. The Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs has defined the West Bank as “disputed territory”, whose status can only be determined through negotiations. Read the rest of this entry »

Spokesman denies reports on cancellation of Zarif’s visit to Davos in last minute

Author : Admin | Tuesday, January 23, 2018
Posted in category Iran, Iran News, Iran Press

Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qasemi said, “Nowadays, no decision had yet been adopted for foreign trips of the foreign minister due to the enforcement of new structure of the Foreign Ministry.” Speaking on late Monday, he denied a news released by one of the western media outlets, saying that Iranian foreign minister has canceled his visit to Davos Economic Forum in the last minute and reiterated, “No decision had not been adopted for foreign trips of the foreign minister,” MNA reported.

Enemies’ actions have empowered resistance front: general

Author : Admin | Tuesday, January 23, 2018
Posted in category Iran, Iran News, Iran Press

The IRGC Qods Force deputy chief on Monday hailed the growing power of the anti-Israeli resistance front, saying the enemies’ actions have backfired and helped strengthen the movement.
The conditions of the resistance front is improving day by day, General Esmaeil Qa’ani said in an address to a conference about Palestine and the liberation of al-Aqsa Mosque held in Tehran on Monday, Tasnim reported.

Everything ready for liberation of Palestine: general

Author : Admin | Tuesday, January 23, 2018
Posted in category Iran, Iran News, Iran Press

Everything is ready for the liberation of Palestine, an Iranian general said on Monday, calling the Palestinian people to unite to defeat Israel, Mehr reported.
“As the Supreme Leader has said, efforts should be made to arm the West Bank, because efforts in this regard would lead to the collapse of Israel,” said Ahmad Vahidi, president of the Supreme National Defense University of Iran.

French foreign minister ‘absolutely wrong’: Iran

Author : Admin | Tuesday, January 23, 2018
Posted in category Iran, Iran News, Iran Press

“The Islamic Republic of Iran would definitely not bow to pressure and would not change its stances when facing strict policies,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qassemi said at a press conference in Tehran on Monday.

Middle east events and news

Author : Admin | Tuesday, January 23, 2018
Posted in category Eurasia, Special Analysis

Al-Shabab Al-Mujahideen Claims IED Attack On Convoy Of Forces From The U.S., Kenya, And The Somali Government
The official Telegram channel of the Shahada news agency of the Al-Shabab Al-Mujahideen organization reported on January 17, 2018, that they “activated two roadside bombs against a military convoy of forces from the U.S., Kenya, and the Somali government in the suburbs of the city of Kismayo in southern Somalia, and there were reports of both human and material damage.”
Turkey Hosts Third Round Of Unofficial Peace Talks Between The Taliban And Afghan Government Officials
Mawlawi Abdul Rauf, an alleged leader of the Afghan Taliban who heads a Taliban delegation for peace talks in Turkey, has claimed that the five-member delegation represents all factions of the Taliban, according to an Afghan television channel. Mawlawi Abdul Rauf was a governor during the Taliban regime that ruled in Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001.
Pro-ISIS Media Group Posts Entire 2017 Archive On ‎Telegram, Internet Archive, Google Drive
On January 8, 2018, a pro-Islamic State (ISIS) media group released its entire archive from 2017 on Telegram. (by memri org.)

Middle East events and news

Author : Admin | Tuesday, January 23, 2018
Posted in category Eurasia, Special Analysis

EXCLUSIVE: Russian-Speaking ISIS Fighter Announces New ‘Battalion,’ Threatens Terrorist Attacks In Russia In New Video
On January 18, 2018, supporters of the Islamic State (ISIS) distributed via Telegram a three-minute video in which an armed, masked man, speaking in Russian, announced the establishment of a new force that will operate for ISIS in Russia, especially in the Caucasus, and threatened terrorist attacks against Russia. Judging by his accent, the armed man is likely of Tatar or Bashkiri origin.
Al-Qaeda In The Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) Video Features Men Accused Of Spying, Announces Banning Of Cellphones, Internet
On January 17, 2018, Al-Malahem, the media arm of Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), released a video stressing the danger of revealing the group’s secrets over the phone or to other members, saying these actions had caused the death of hundreds of mujahideen.
ISIS Branch In Mali Claims Responsibility For Killing Of U.S. Special Forces Soldiers In Niger
On January 12, 2018, the Nouakchott News Agency published a communique issued by the Islamic State (ISIS) branch in Mali, the Islamic State in the Greater Sahara, led by Adnan Abu Al-Walid Al-Sahrawi, in which it claims responsibility for the attack against a joint patrol of U.S. Special Forces and soldiers of the Nigerian Army that was safeguarding the border area between Niger and Mali on October 4, 2017.(by memri.org)

UNSC to discuss Afrin operation on Monday

Author : Mircea Birca | Monday, January 22, 2018

The United Nations Security Council said it would hold an emergency session on Monday to discuss the situation in Syria following Turkish cross-border operations, France’s Foreign Ministry confirmed on Sunday.

The French Foreign Ministry said the UN Security Council had agreed to hold a session to address Turkey’s attack on the Syrian Kurds in Afrin at France’s request, adding that all issues need to be resolved through peaceful means. Read the rest of this entry »

EU voices concern over Turkish operation against Kurdish group in Sydia

Author : Mircea Birca | Monday, January 22, 2018

EU High Representative Federica Mogherini said Monday that she is “extremely worried” about the Turkish military operation in Afrin, Syria, against the Kurdish YPG fighters.

“We discussed this today with the ministers at the opening of our meeting. I am extremely worried and I will discuss this, among other things, with our Turkish interlocutors,” she told a press conference at the end of an EU foreign ministers meeting. Read the rest of this entry »

EU welcomes destruction of Libyan chemical weapons

Author : Mircea Birca | Monday, January 22, 2018

The European Union welcomed on Monday the recent announcement by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) on the elimination of chemical weapons in Libya as “a positive step towards the complete and permanent eradication of all chemical weapons in the country.”

The chemical weapons were removed from Libya and transported to Germany for destruction. Read the rest of this entry »

Algeria, Libya to jointly manage oil fields on shared border

Author : Mircea Birca | Monday, January 22, 2018

Algeria’s state-run oil company Sonatrach signed an agreement, Monday, with the Libyan National Oil Corporation (NOC) to run a number of crude oil fields located on the borders between the two countries.

The agreement included updating a study that was carried out on 2006 concerning Al-Rar and Al-Wafa oilfields, which located on the shared borders between Algeria and Libya, according to a Read the rest of this entry »

5+5 Dialogue in Algiers focus on anti-terrorism and regional issues

Author : Mircea Birca | Monday, January 22, 2018

The Algerian Foreign Ministry said Saturday that Algeria will host the 14th Foreign Ministers Conference of Western Mediterranean 5+5 Dialogue on Sunday.

The conference will focus on “overall, shared and sustainable socio-economic development” in the western Mediterranean region, the statement said. Read the rest of this entry »

Seven Niger troops killed in Boko Haram attack

Author : Mircea Birca | Monday, January 22, 2018
Posted in category Africa, Africa News, Eurasia, Eurasia News

At least seven Niger soldiers were killed and more than a dozen others wounded last week in an attack by suspected Boko Haram militants in the country’s southeast, the government has said.

“The provisional toll for the cowardly terror attack on Wednesday night in Toummour is seven dead, seventeen wounded and one soldier missing,” said a cabinet statement. Read the rest of this entry »

Tunisia kills senior al-Qaeda member

Author : Mircea Birca | Monday, January 22, 2018

Tunisian security forces have killed a senior member of al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb who was wanted by Algeria for two and a half decades, officials said.

“A terrorist wanted by Algeria since 1993 was killed in an operation carried out by the Special Unit of the National Guard,” Tunisian interior ministry spokesman Khlifa Chibani said Saturday.

A security source said the person killed was Bilel Kobi, an Algerian who was close to the network’s leader Abdelmalek Droukdel. Read the rest of this entry »

US provides $100 million assistance to Afghanistan

Author : Mircea Birca | Monday, January 22, 2018

The United States government on Monday released $100 million in budget assistance to Afghanistan.

The agreement was signed between Afghan Finance Minister Iklil Hakimi and U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan John Bass in Kabul. Read the rest of this entry »

Kharrazi puts forward suggestions for Iran-Arab dialogue

Author : Admin | Thursday, January 18, 2018
Posted in category Iran, Iran News, Iran Press

TEHRAN – Kamal Kharrazi, head of Iran’s Strategic Council on Foreign Relations, said on Wednesday that Iran is ready to hold talks with Arab countries in line with solving problems in the Middle East, suggesting three proposals for the purpose.
Kharrazi presented his proposals in an international conference on “Iran and Arabs” in Beirut, Lebanon.

Foreign Ministry goes under structural changes

Author : Admin | Thursday, January 18, 2018
Posted in category Iran, Iran News, Iran Press

Iranian Foreign Ministry on Tuesday announced Seyyed Abbas Araqchi and Iran’s ambassador to India Gholam-Reza Ansari as deputy ministers for political and economic affairs, respectively. Gholam-Hossein Dehqani, the former Iranian ambassador to the United Nations, was appointed as the deputy minister for legal affairs.

Iran, Armenia call for boosting Parliamentary ties

Author : Admin | Thursday, January 18, 2018
Posted in category Eurasia, Eurasia News, Iran, Iran Press

Iran’s envoy to Armenia and a senior Armenian lawmaker urged the need to boost the parliamentary ties between the two countries. Kazem Sajjadi in a meeting with head of Iran-Armenia friendship group in Armenia’s parliament Vahram Baghdasarian discussed ways to boost parliamentary relations, including a visit by the Iranian parliament speaker to Armenia to lay grounds for more cooperation in the near future.

US to keep military presence in Syria

Author : Mircea Birca | Wednesday, January 17, 2018

imgIn the most comprehensive outlining of US policy stance on Syria, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson vowed the US military will remain to counter threats posed by the so-called Islamic State, al-Qaeda and Iran.

“The US will maintain a military presence in Syria focused on ensuring IS cannot reemerge. Our military presence will remain conditions based. We cannot make the same mistakes that were made in 2011 when a premature departure from Iraq allowed al-Qaeda to survive and morph into IS,” Tillerson said in an address at Stanford University in California on Wednesday. Read the rest of this entry »

US welcomes constructive talks between Baghdad, Erbil

Author : Mircea Birca | Wednesday, January 17, 2018

imgUS Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told KRG Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani that the US welcomes signs of development in talks between Erbil and Baghdad.

He said that the US pays attention to its relations with the Kurdistan Region, according to Kurdistan Regional Government’s (KRG) website.

Tillerson expressed happiness over what he called constructive meetings between the Erbil and Baghdad delegations in attempts to resolve their outstanding issues, reported Rudaw in a statement following Tillerson’s phone call with Barzani on Monday. Read the rest of this entry »

Tunisia deploys army as violent unrest persists

Author : Mircea Birca | Wednesday, January 17, 2018
Posted in category Africa, Africa News, Eurasia, Eurasia News

Tunisian protesters burned down a regional national security headquarters near the Algerian border, prompting authorities to send in troops after police retreated, witnesses said, as unrest over prices and taxes raged on nationwide. Read the rest of this entry »

UNSC meeting condemns Tripoli clashes

Author : Mircea Birca | Wednesday, January 17, 2018
Posted in category Africa, Africa News, Eurasia, Eurasia News

The United Nations Security Council held a meeting on Wednesday in which a briefing by the Head of the UNSMIL, Ghassan Salame, was heard on the Libyan issues, in addition to the statements of the countries’ representatives.
Salame said the UNSMIL is doubling up its efforts to carry on with the action plan, condemning the clashes that took place on Monday around Mitiga airport.

Salame also reaffirmed that there will be no need for lifting the arms embargo on Libya because “Libya doesn’t need more arms but it needs a government that can exact its power and authority across the country,” he added. Read the rest of this entry »

Mali praises Algeria’s support for stability

Author : Mircea Birca | Wednesday, January 17, 2018
Posted in category Africa, Africa News, Eurasia, Eurasia News

Visiting Malian Prime Minister, Soumeylou Boubeye Maiga, on Saturday said Algeria has always played a major role in stabilizing Mali.

“Algeria has always played a major role in Mali’s stability and has intervened at least twice to help establishing inter-Malian peace talks, in 1992 and 2015,” Maiga told reporters as he started a two day visit to the North African nation. Read the rest of this entry »

Egypt seeks to defuse tension with Sudan, Ethiopia

Author : Mircea Birca | Wednesday, January 17, 2018
Posted in category Africa, Africa News, Eurasia, Eurasia News

Egypt’s president has sought to defuse tensions with Ethiopia and Sudan, reassuring them that his country is not meddling in their internal affairs or planning to go to war against them.

In televised comments on Monday, President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi said Egypt’s strategic choice is not to go to war. “I am saying this as a clear message to our brothers in Sudan and Ethiopia.” Read the rest of this entry »

South Sudan’s cease-fire broken by both sides, say monitors

Author : Mircea Birca | Wednesday, January 17, 2018
Posted in category Africa, Africa News, Eurasia, Eurasia News

Sixteen people have been killed, including three children, since South Sudan’s cease-fire started less than a month ago, say monitors.

Both government and opposition forces have committed multiple violations since the cease-fire began on December 24, according to four separate investigations released on Tuesday by the Cease-fire and Transitional Security Arrangements Monitoring Mechanism, an independent body. Read the rest of this entry »

Delegation of Committee of Intelligence and Security Services in Africa Arrives in Libya

Author : Admin | Monday, January 15, 2018
Posted in category Africa, Africa News, Magreb, Magreb News

A delegation representing the Committee of Intelligence and Security Services in Africa has arrived at Mi’tiga Inter. Airport on a visit to Libya. The delegation will hold a series of meetings with officials concerned with illegal migration, and is expected to call at detentions centres to get a firsthand account of the resources available to illegal migrants at these centres as well as the medical services and other equipment the Head of the Foreign Ministry Information Office Ahmed Al Arbed said.

Iran won’t accept restrictions on uranium enrichment permanent: Nephew

Author : Admin | Monday, January 15, 2018
Posted in category Iran, Iran News, Iran Press

TEHRAN – Richard Nephew, who served as the lead sanctions expert for the U.S. team negotiating with Iran, is of the opinion that I do not believe the EU will accept to make restrictions on Iran’s uranium enrichment permanent. He adds that “I certainly do not think that Iran will accept it, as presented.”

Rouhani: Nuclear deal will never vanish

Author : Admin | Monday, January 15, 2018
Posted in category Iran, Iran News, Iran Press

”By reaching the JCPOA, we told the world that regional and even complicated international problems can be resolved at the negotiating table and this will go down in history,” he said during his speech at the closing ceremony of the 9th Farabi International Award.
“We proved that an international tight knot can be undone at the negotiating table and this is not something that will vanish.”
Rouhani also said, “We proved that Iran is truthful and the enemies are liars. We proved that we did not seek nuclear weapon which was confirmed by the (UN nuclear) Agency.”

Moniz: Iran nuclear deal have no expiration date

Author : Admin | Monday, January 15, 2018
Posted in category Iran, Iran News, Iran Press

The Former US Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz said that despite the claims made by some US politicians, the commitments made by Iran in the nuclear deal are permanent and have no expiration date.Moniz made remarks in his Twitter account, defending Iran’s nuclear deal.

Middle east events and news

Author : Admin | Monday, January 15, 2018
Posted in category Special Analysis

Official ISIS Sources: We Are Temporarily Changing Tactics, Opting For Guerilla Warfare Such As Raids And Targeted Assassinations
In light of the defeats suffered by the Islamic State (ISIS) in Syria and Iraq over the past year, there has been a change in its military doctrine on the battlefield. In recent weeks, the organization has been using tactics characteristic of guerilla warfare and temporarily abandoning the doctrine of conquering and holding large areas.
EXCLUSIVE: Pro-Al-Shabab Telegram Channels Report On U.S. Presence in Somalia, Al-Shabab Attacks Against U.S.-Trained Somali Forces
On January 8, 2018, Al-Shabab Al-Mujahideen claimed via its news agency, that it carried out an IED attack in Mogadishu which resulted in the destruction of a military vehicle and the killing of US-trained soldiers from the Somali special forces unit called the Alpha Force. Following that attack, on January 9, 2018, two pro-Al-Shabab Somali Telegram channels posted reports about the U.S. presence in Somalia, the U.S.-trained Somali soldiers, and the Al-Shabab activities against them. (by memri.org)

EU condemns Baghdad terror attacks

Author : Mircea Birca | Monday, January 15, 2018

The EU condemned on Monday the terror attacks in Baghdad earlier today in which a large number of innocent people were killed and injured.

“Showing mutual solidarity and unity against violence is the best way to defeat terrorism fully and construct a brighter future for the country,” Catherine Ray, spokesperson for EU High Read the rest of this entry »

Clashes in Libyan capital kill 9, close airport

Author : Mircea Birca | Monday, January 15, 2018
Posted in category Africa, Africa News, Eurasia, Eurasia News

Libyan officials say heavy clashes among rival militias in Tripoli left at least nine people dead and forced the capital’s only functioning airport to shut down.

Health Ministry spokesperson Omar Matouq said the death toll from Monday’s fighting is expected to rise. Read the rest of this entry »

Trump to extend Iran sanctions waivers: Officials

Author : Admin | Friday, January 12, 2018
Posted in category Eurasia, Iran, Iran Press

US President Donald Trump is expected to extend sanctions relief for Iran as part of a 2015 nuclear deal while his administration works out a “fix” to the multi-nation accord, American officials have revealed.

US, Israel, Saudi triangle after creating crisis in region

Author : Admin | Friday, January 12, 2018
Posted in category Eurasia, Iran, Iran Press

Chairman of Iran’s Parliament National Security and Foreign Policy Commission Alaeddin Boroujerdi met with the head of Arab-African Relations of Hezbollah political Council Sheikh Hassan Ezzedin and his delegation where he condemned the recent bombardment of parts of Syria by the Zionist Regime and added “The US, Zionist Regime and the Saudi Arabia lost hope in the power of ISIL in Syria and Iraq, so they launched several other projects such as Iraqi Kurdistan incidents, creating political crises and choosing al-Quds as the capital of the Zionist regime. They failed in all these projects, nevertheless.”

Treasury source: Italy, Iran to sign €5b investment agreement

Author : Admin | Friday, January 12, 2018
Posted in category Eurasia, Eurasia News, Iran, Iran Press

Italy and Iran will on Thursday sign a framework credit agreement worth 5.0 billion euros ($6 billion)whereby Rome will help Italian companies invest in Iran, an Italian Treasury source said on Wednesday.
The accord foresees the opening of lines of credit to two Iranian banks by Invitalia, an Italian state-owned holding, in order to finance investment projects by Italian companies, the source said, Reuters reported.