Archive for June 30, 2018

Fatah warns Hamas of making deals with Israel on Gaza port

June 30, 2018

Source: Fatah warns Hamas of making deals with Israel on Gaza port

Amid reports Israel is examining possibility of building sea port for the strip in Cyprus, Hamas, Islamic Jihad officials say they’ve yet to see any concrete plans, while PA official asserts Trump using Gaza crisis as excuse to reach ‘deal of the century.’

Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman is pushing for the plan, which is contingent on Hamas returning to Israel the bodies of two soldiers killed during the 2014 Operation Protective Edge, in addition to three living Israelis being held captive by Hamas.

The proposal is believed to have been discussed in meetings between Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and senior White adviser Jared Kushner and Middle East envoy Jason Greenblatt, who just finished a regional tour focused on improving the situation in Gaza.

 (Photo: EPA)

(Photo: EPA)

“I can’t confirm or deny the deal,” Abdl Al-lateef Qanou, a Hamas spokesperson, told The Media Line. “We were informed about it from the media, but I need an official offer from the (Israeli) government to reveal my official position. If that happens, we have to first study and then reply.”Dahoud Shihab, an Islamic Jihad spokesperson, revealed to The Media Line that “up until now, what has been presented isn’t clear or specific. But in general, ending the terrorist aggression in the form of the siege is a Palestinian demand and legitimate right of the Palestinian people.”

Shihab also stated that if Israel insists on discussing the fate of its missing soldiers and citizens in Gaza, it must keep in mind that there are “a huge number of members of the Palestinian resistance in Israeli jails.”

When asked whether Gaza-based Palestinian factions would circumvent the Palestinian Authority by forging an agreement directly with Israel, Shihab explained that “Palestinian unity is the key to accomplishing national achievements, but the (PA) doesn’t abide by its obligation to ease the sanctions on Gaza in order to end the suffering and achieve reconciliation.”

 (Photo: EPA)

(Photo: EPA)

For its part, the Palestinian leadership in the West Bank immediately came out against the purported initiative, with a Fatah spokesperson telling The Media Line that, “we warn Hamas not to deal with these American and Israeli ideas as they are just an illusion of helping the humanitarian situation in the strip.”Osama Qwasme further contended that the Trump administration is responsible for the conditions in Gaza as the White House cut off aid to both the PA and the United Nations Relief and Work Agency, which supports Palestinian refugees in Gaza along with the West Bank, Lebanon, Jordan and Syria.

“(Trump) is trying to pass the ‘deal of the century,’ which was calculated to serve Israel,” Qwasme asserted, “and he is using Gaza’s crisis as an excuse by which to achieve this. The aim of this deal is to manipulate the Palestinian national position to benefit Israeli interests.”

The PA already rejected out of hand the Trump administration’s yet-unveiled peace plan, and has, in fact, been boycotting American officials for the past six months in the wake of Washington’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

Hani al-Masri, a Palestinian political analyst who met with Hamas and Islamic Jihad representatives in Gaza this week, explained that the ability to finalize a deal depends largely on Israel’s demands.

“Israel wants to disarm the resistance groups in the strip and have them recognize Israel as a state,” he noted to The Media Line, adding that these are absolute non-starters for Gaza’s rulers and therefore any proposal based on such conditions is not worth discussing.

Al-Masri also stressed that “the collapse of the situation in Gaza will impact negatively on Israel, Egypt, Europe and the United States.” He thus believes that it is in the interest of all parties to arrive at a compromise.

Article written by Dima Abumaria

Reprinted with permission from The Media Line .

U.S. intel believes N.Korea making more nuclear bomb fuel despite talks

June 30, 2018

Source: U.S. intel believes N.Korea making more nuclear bomb fuel despite talks – International news – Jerusalem Post

( Scary stuff.  Possibly false – unnamed sources and the ultra-anti-Trump NBC… – JW )

“There is absolutely unequivocal evidence that they are trying to deceive the US,” NBC quoted one official as saying.

BY REUTERS
 JUNE 30, 2018 06:44

U.S. intel believes N.Korea making more nuclear bomb fuel despite talks

WASHINGTON – US intelligence agencies believe North Korea has increased production of fuel for nuclear weapons at multiple secret sites in recent months and may try to hide these while seeking concessions in nuclear talks with the United States, NBC news quoted US officials as saying.

In a report on Friday, the network said what it described as the latest US intelligence assessment appeared to go counter to sentiments expressed by President Donald Trump, who tweeted after an unprecedented June 12 summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un that “there is no longer a nuclear threat from North Korea.”

NBC quoted five unidentified US officials as saying that in recent months North Korea had stepped up production of enriched uranium for nuclear weapons, even as it engaged in diplomacy with the United States.

The network cited US officials as saying that the intelligence assessment concludes that North Korea has more than one secret nuclear site in addition to its known nuclear fuel production facility at Yongbyon.

“There is absolutely unequivocal evidence that they are trying to deceive the US,” NBC quoted one official as saying.

The CIA declined to comment on the NBC report. The State Department said it could not confirm it and did not comment on matters of intelligence. The White House did not respond to a request for comment.

The NBC report raises further questions about North Korea’s readiness to enter serious negotiations about giving up a weapons program that now threatens the United States, in spite of Trump’s enthusiastic portrayal of the summit outcome.

NBC quoted one senior US intelligence official as saying that North Korea’s decision ahead of the summit to suspend nuclear and missile tests was unexpected and the fact that the two sides were talking was a positive step.

However, he added: “Work is ongoing to deceive us on the number of facilities, the number of weapons, the number of missiles … We are watching closely.”

Jeffrey Lewis, director of the East Asia Nonproliferation Program at California’s Middlebury Institute of International Studies, said there were two “bombshells” in the NBC report.

He said it had long been understood that North Korea had at least one undeclared facility to enrich nuclear fuel aside from Yongbyon.

“This assessment says there is more than one secret site. That means there are at least three, if not more sites,” he said.

Lewis said the report also implied that US intelligence had reporting to suggest North Korea did not intend to disclose one or more of the enrichment sites.

“Together, these two things would imply that North Korea intended to disclose some sites as part of the denuclearization process, while retaining others,” he said.

North Korea agreed at the summit to “work toward denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula,” but the joint statement signed by Kim and Trump gave no details on how or when Pyongyang might surrender its nuclear weapons.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said last week he would likely go back to North Korea before long to try to flesh out commitments made at the Trump-Kim meeting.

On Thursday, the Financial Times quoted US officials as saying that Pompeo plans to travel to North Korea next week, but the State Department has declined to confirm this.

Ahead of the summit, North Korea rejected unilaterally abandoning an arsenal it has called an essential deterrent against US aggression.

Trump said last week North Korea was blowing up four of its big test sites and that a process of “total denuclearization … has already started,” but officials said there had been no such evidence since the summit.

Khamenei: U.S. sanctions aim to turn Iranians against government

June 30, 2018

Source: Khamenei: U.S. sanctions aim to turn Iranians against government – Arab-Israeli Conflict – Jerusalem Post

( Really?  How terrible… – JW )

Khamenei was speaking after three days of protests in Tehran and other cities.

BY REUTERS
 JUNE 30, 2018 15:47

Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei

US economic pressure on Iran is intended to turn Iranians against their government, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei was quoted as saying on Saturday by his website.

The country’s rial currency has lost up to 40 per cent of its value since last month, when US President Donald Trump pulled out of Iran’s 2015 nuclear accord and said he would reimpose sanctions and try to curb Iranian oil exports.

“They bring to bear economic pressure to separate the nation from the system … but six US presidents before him tried this and had to give up,” Khamenei was quoted as saying by Khamenei.ir, referring to Trump.

Speaking to graduating Revolutionary Guards officers, Khamenei accused the United States and Sunni Muslim Gulf Arab states that regard Shi’ite Muslim Iran as their main regional foe of trying to destabilize the government in Tehran.

“If America was able to act against Iran, it would not need to form coalitions with notorious and reactionary states in the region and ask their help in fomenting unrest and instability (in Iran),” Khamenei said in remarks carried by state TV.

Khamenei was speaking after three days of protests in Tehran and other cities in which hundreds of traders in the bazaar closed their shops to voice anger at the rial’s plunge. Such merchants have mostly been loyal to the leadership since the 1979 Islamic Revolution overthrew the monarchy.

Some of the graduating Guards officers had drawn the flag of Israel, Iran’s arch-enemy, on the soles of their boots, pictures from the military ceremony carried by semi-official news agency Tasnim showed.

State news agency IRNA reported that top government officials including President Hassan Rouhani and the heads of parliament and the judiciary had met to discuss the prospective US sanctions.

“Various scenarios of threats to the Iranian economy by the U.S. government were examined and appropriate measures were taken to prepare for any probable U.S. sanctions, and to prevent their negative impact,” IRNA said.

Measures to achieve self-reliance in gasoline production were among issues discussed, IRNA said.

The United States has told allies to cut all imports of Iranian oil from November and is unlikely to offer exemptions, a senior State Department official said on Tuesday as the Trump administration seeks to cut off funding to Iran.

‘Post-West world order’ being shaped as we speak – Lavrov to Channel 4

June 30, 2018

Published time: 29 Jun, 2018 19:46

https://www.rt.com/news/431306-lavrov-post-west-world-order/

Russian FM Sergey Lavrov © Sergei Karpukhin / Reuters

A new multipolar order, driven by economics and history, is emerging in the world and Western attempts to stop or to slow it down are unlikely to succeed, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told UK’s Channel 4.

“I think that we are in the post-West world order,” Lavrov told the British Channel 4 in an interview on Friday. “It is a historical epoch, if you want. Certainly, after five or so centuries of domination of the collective West, as it were, it is not very easy to adjust to new realities that there are other powerhouses economically, financially and politically,” he added, pointing to China, India and Brazil.

Asked if Russia was shaping this world order, Lavrov replied it was rather the product of history and “development itself.”

Read more

Edward Snowden speaks via video link during a conference at University of Buenos Aires Law School. © Marcos Brindicci

“You cannot really hope to contain [these] new powerful, economically and financially, countries. You cannot really ignore their role in world trade and world economy,” despite attempts to slow down the process with sanctions and tariffs, the top Russian diplomat said.

The European Union is “certainly a very important pillar of any world order,” Lavrov added, but it needs to decide whether to remain reliant on the US or become more self-sufficient. By way of illustration, Lavrov brought up the migrant crisis, which the EU is currently struggling with.

“NATO bombed Libya, turned Libya into a black hole through which waves of migrants, illegal migrants, rushed to Europe. Now EU is cleaning the broken china for NATO,” Lavrov said.

Russia’s relations with the West, which have soured dramatically since the 2014 US-backed coup in Ukraine, will be among the topics discussed at the July summit between Russian President Vladimir Putin and US President Donald Trump in Finland.

During the interview, Lavrov brushed off Channel 4 speculation that Russia could offer to hand over NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, whom it granted political asylum, in exchange for the lifting of US and EU sanctions.