[IMPORTANT] Hamas launches foot assault against settlements.

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funeralxempire
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16 Feb 2024, 3:40 pm


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16 Feb 2024, 4:56 pm

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Public opinion begins to shift as Israel debates a possible hostage release deal with Hamas
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The efforts to secure a hostage release agreement between Hamas and Israel appear to be stalled on Thursday, a day after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accused Hamas of being “delusional.” The premier reportedly ordered the Israeli delegation to Cairo not to participate in future talks.

Since the abduction, the families of the hostages have been hanging on to every word in every media report. The reports fluctuate between optimism that a deal is close to being clinched to pessimism that the gap between the sides is too large to be bridged.

The current international effort is being led by Egypt, which has been hosting the talks between the sides, the US and Qatar, which is closely affiliated with Hamas. The negotiations have changed the discourse in Israel. Whereas at the beginning of the war, there appeared to be a wide consensus on the precedence of their release, there are an increasing number of voices that call on Israel to carefully consider the price it will pay for the release of the hostages

Bringing back hostages 'relegated to second place'
“At first there was a public consensus on both goals of the war,” said Professor Motti Neiger from the School of Communication at Bar-Ilan University. “As the understanding that the war will take longer than a few months, there is also an understanding that the goal of hostage release is relegated to second place.”

During the last week, as reports of a stalemate in negotiations persisted, relatives of hostages demonstrated in front of the military and defense ministry headquarters in Tel Aviv.

Leah Goldin has been waiting for her son Hadar since 2014, when his body was taken by Hamas. Already jaded from the empty promises made by countless Israeli leaders, she also lays blame on the international community. Just last month, several members of the United Nations (UN) Security Council called for the “unconditional release” of hostages as a pre-condition to any ceasefire agreement. Also in January, the European Parliament, the law-making body of the European Union (EU), adopted a resolution also calling for their unconditional release. The resolution was just one of a string of resolutions adopted by various international organizations since 2014 calling for the release of those being held in Gaza before the current war, resolutions that have been ignored.

“We need to fight for our humanitarian rights no less than we do for our enemy,” said Goldin. “Hamas is violating humanitarian law and shouldn’t be given humanitarian aid. They are holding our children and our loved ones – a standing violation of international humanitarian law.”

Since the beginning of the fighting, it was unclear how Israel would strive to topple Hamas while negotiating with it. Operating against it with its full military might, Israel could also risk the hostages and motivate Hamas to kill them rather than keep them alive as bargaining chips.
According to Neiger, Israel’s leadership is still hanging on to the two goals it set out, releasing the hostages and toppling Hamas while not being transparent with the public.

“These goals were probably never able to exist in parallel,” he told The Media Line. “This created an illusion, as the leadership tries to hold on to both goals, saying they support each other when they actually don’t.”

’Hamas should pay the price, not Israel'
Israel shouldn’t be the one to pay the price, it should be Hamas,” Mor, who founded the Tikva Forum, which is against any deal, told The Media Line.

Mor is not alone. Recent polls have shown Israelis are gradually leaning against a hostage deal in the current terms being negotiated. On Wednesday, a poll conducted by the Jewish People Policy Institute showed that 40% of Israelis chose to overthrow Hamas, compared with 32% who prioritized returning the hostages. A poll conducted by the Israel Democracy Institute (IDI) in late January showed that 60% of Israeli Jews are against a deal that would secure the release of the hostages in return for releasing all Palestinian prisoners and halting the fighting in Gaza.

Amongst the relatives of the hostages, Mor is in a minority.

“But in the public, I have wide support,” he added.

In an interview with Kan radio, Israel’s public broadcaster, Ayala Metzger, the daughter-in-law of 80-year-old hostage Yoram Metzger, was highly critical of Netanyahu.

“I don’t believe him. I think he wants to prolong the war in order to remain in power,” she said about the Israeli leader whose approval ratings are plummeting. “Something stinks. This is totally crazy; how can this be considered normal to discuss the worth of hostages in numbers of Palestinian prisoners?”

In the latest demonstrations in favor of a deal, there have also been calls for early elections.
“The families are concerned that the issue will disappear from the public discourse,” said Neiger. “If it is not there, it means the issue has become less important.”

Many of the families have called for the release of all Palestinian prisoners in exchange for their loved ones, saying Israel can deal with toppling Hamas after such a deal would be completed.
“We are smarter. We can settle the score with Hamas later,” Metzger said.

Leah Goldin’s phone has been bombarded with calls and messages since the current hostage crisis began.

“If Israel would have insisted on the release of Hadar and Oron properly, none of this would have happened, this is what I think, and this is what people told me,” she said, also laying the blame on Israel’s current leadership of whom many are still in decision-making positions today, including Netanyahu. “They created this failure, and they are still calling the shots now. Why aren’t they using international humanitarian law? Why hasn’t this happened for over 9 years? Why is Hamas treated as equal?”

UN Security Council resolution 2474, adopted in 2019, calls for the return of “persons reported missing during armed conflict…without adverse distinction.”

In 2011, Israel released over 1,000 Palestinian prisoners in exchange for one captive Israeli soldier. It was a deal that initially received massive public support. But later, it became a deal that scarred Israelis; as the prisoners were released, it became apparent that many of them continued to plot against the Jewish state. Yahya Sinwar, the current leader of Hamas in Gaza and the mastermind behind the October 7th offensive, was one of the prisoners released in the exchange after his four life sentences were cut short by the deal.


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16 Feb 2024, 8:59 pm

Horrendous Psy-OP s ....?


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17 Feb 2024, 2:08 am

US diplomats warn of lasting anti-American sentiment in Middle East

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The State Department has received multiple warnings from its posts in the Middle East during recent weeks about the lasting impact from U.S. messaging on the conflict in Gaza, triggering a meeting in Washington with intelligence agencies to evaluate the fallout, according to internal communications reviewed by ABC News and officials familiar with the matter.

One cable from the American mission in Morocco said that former collaborators in the country asserted that the U.S. had become "toxic" because the administration's support for Israel after Hamas' Oct. 7 attack had been widely perceived as a "blank check for the Israeli response."

"Criticism of the U.S. position has proven unshakeable despite significant adjustments to U.S. messaging to highlight the need to protect civilian lives," the document, labeled sensitive but unclassified, continues.

The message also noted that Moroccan mass media has rarely covered U.S. initiatives to help Palestinians "including the movement of aid into Gaza or diplomatic pressure for Israel to avoid civilian casualties," and that the mission's social media accounts have been continuously flooded with "waves of unfollows or negative and abusive comments."

Diplomats at other posts in the Middle East have voiced similar concerns, according to an official, who said posts in Muslim-majority countries in other areas of the world, such as Indonesia, have also voiced misgivings.

An enduring hit to U.S. popularity in the Middle East could have extensive implications for American diplomacy, including efforts to build a coalition of countries to help rebuild Gaza after the fighting subsides and encouraging the normalization of ties with Israel.

Additionally, the surge of anti-American sentiment could have negative impacts for U.S. businesses operating in the region and potentially inspire extremism, experts say.

But an official told ABC News that the White House and the intelligence community remains unconvinced that the response will persist, even as some State Department officials say it may take a generation to rebuild U.S. standing in some countries.

The department has also had to cancel multiple outreach events and in at least one instance, an honoree refused to accept an award from the administration due to the response to the conflict in Gaza, they added.

The White House deployed senior aides to Dearborn, Michigan, last week to meet with prominent members of the community last week, including Samantha Power, administrator of the United States Agency for International Development, and John Finer, a deputy national security adviser.

Sources familiar with the engagements said the officials struck an apologetic tone, but that many local leaders still expressed anger towards Biden's handling of the conflict.

On the international stage, the administration has slowly softened its vocal and unequivocal for Israel's campaign as it has pressed on, frequently emphasizing the suffering of Palestinian civilians in Gaza caught in the crossfire.


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17 Feb 2024, 3:43 pm

I find this rather puzzling. The fact that the situation would lead to a persistent increase in anti-American sentiment was blatantly obvious to anyone with a modicum of common sense months ago.


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17 Feb 2024, 4:09 pm

Yes ..indeed .. Anti American sentiment has been a thing for a very long time in Switzerland..I discovered some years ago. When inquiring about immigration there...Can you imagine ..what are elected officials are doing to the USA image around the world . Am not having a good feeling towards many elected officials for many years . ( if I am legally allowed to write this )


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18 Feb 2024, 2:23 am

US plans to send weapons to Israel even as Biden pushes for cease-fire: report

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The Biden administration is gearing up to send bombs and other weapons to Israel that would add to the Middle East nation’s military stockpile even as the United States pushes for a ceasefire with Hamas, according to a report.

The proposed weapons delivery would include roughly a thousand each of MK-82 bombs; KMU-572 Joint Direct Attack Munitions, which add precision guidance to bombs; and FMU-139 bomb fuses, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing current and former US officials.

The arms delivery is estimated to be worth tens of millions of dollars, the outlet noted.

The delivery is still under internal review by the Biden administration, a US official told The Journal, but the proposal’s details may change by the time the White House alerts Congress for its approval of the weapons transfer.

The Biden administration has made efforts to speed up delivering weapons to Israel in the wake of Hamas’ Oct. 7 terrorist attacks killing 1,200 people in the Jewish state and kidnapping 253, officials told The Journal. Twice now, the White House has bypassed congressional review of weapons sales to Israel.


UN likely to vote Tuesday on Gaza ceasefire, US signals veto
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The United Nations Security Council is likely to vote on Tuesday on an Algerian push for the 15-member body to demand an immediate humanitarian ceasefire in the Israel-Hamas war, said diplomats, a move the United States signaled it would veto.

Algeria put forward an initial draft resolution more than two weeks ago. But U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Linda Thomas-Greenfield quickly said the text could jeopardize "sensitive negotiations" aimed at brokering a pause in the war.

Algeria requested on Saturday that the council vote on Tuesday, diplomats said. To be adopted, U.N. Security Council resolution needs at least nine votes in favor and no vetoes by the United States, Britain, France, China or Russia.

"The United States does not support action on this draft resolution. Should it come up for a vote as drafted, it will not be adopted," Thomas-Greenfield said in a statement on Saturday.


Netanyahu: Those telling us not to enter Rafah are essentially saying ‘lose the war
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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pushed back Saturday on growing calls from world leaders to avoid a ground operation in Rafah, saying doing so would mean losing the war against Hamas.

“Those who want to prevent us from operating in Rafah are essentially telling us: ‘Lose the war.’ I won’t let that happen,” he vowed at an evening press conference in Jerusalem. “We won’t capitulate to any pressure.”

Rafah, which sits on the Gaza-Egypt border, is the last remaining Hamas stronghold in the enclave, but it is also where over a million displaced Palestinians have fled to seek shelter from fighting elsewhere.

Netanyahu said at the press conference that he’d told US President Joe Biden that Israel will fight until “total victory — and yes, that includes action in Rafah.” But the IDF operation in Gaza’s southernmost city, he stressed, will “obviously” come only after civilians there have an opportunity “to evacuate to safe areas.”

In response to a question from The Times of Israel on whether there had been plans to enter Gaza’s southernmost city earlier, at the beginning of the ground offensive, and, if so, why that step had not been taken then, Netanyahu expanded on the government’s efforts to cope with the refugees in Rafah.

“I won’t get into our plans,” the premier responded, but “there is a lot of space north of Rafah” to evacuate the civilians sheltering there. “There will be space for evacuation.

“We have to do this in an orderly fashion — and that’s the instruction I’ve given to the IDF.”

He said the large number of Palestinians taking refuge in Rafah would not ultimately be a hindrance.

Netanyahu acknowledged international pressure not to operate in Rafah but wondered how the international community could expect Israel “to leave a quarter of Hamas’s [organized fighting] force intact, in a defined territory. We won’t allow that.”

Netanyahu emphasized that everyone in the government would like to strike another hostage deal. “I also want it” and it would be “very good” if this could be achieved, he said. But he said that a new hostage deal with Hamas “does not appear very close” given the terror group’s exorbitant demands.

But even if a hostage deal is reached, he stressed, Israel will eventually enter Rafah. “There is no alternative to total victory. And there is no way to achieve total victory without destroying those battalions in Rafah, and we will do so.”

Netanyahu denied sidelining war cabinet minister Benny Gantz and observer Gadi Eisenkot in decisions regarding the hostage talks, as was alleged in media reports, when he decided, without consulting the pair, not to send an Israeli negotiation team back to Cairo for further talks.

He said the war cabinet had previously agreed to rebuff Hamas’s “delusional” demands, which included “demands regarding the Temple Mount, demands to end the war and leave Hamas intact, demands to withdraw from Gaza, demands to free thousands of murderers.”

No ‘prize for terror
The prime minister also took a combative stance on international calls for progress on a Palestinian state. Netanyahu said that Israel “will not capitulate to international dictates” regarding a future agreement with the Palestinians.

An agreement will be achieved only in direct talks between the two sides, without preconditions,” he said, stressing that he will continue “to firmly oppose unilateral recognition of Palestinian statehood.”

Netanyahu said that there would be “no greater prize for terror” after the October 7 killings than giving the Palestinians a state, and that such a move would “prevent any future peace agreement.”



Relatives’ fury and frustration showcased at hostages rally; masses call for elections
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At the weekly rally in Tel Aviv for the return of hostages from Gaza, organizers for the first time handed over the microphone for the entire duration of the event to the relatives of more than 40 families whose loved ones were abducted.

The organizers of the rally, the 19th consecutive one held at Tel Aviv’s so-called Hostages Square on Saturday, dispensed with the musical intermissions and speeches by security experts from previous events.

Instead, they let the thousands of attendants hear heartfelt addresses by relatives of hostages, who shared their emotional pain and frustration with the government, which they urged to negotiate with Hamas on hostage release deal.

Unfiltered and unedited, the hostages’ voices gave insight into the plurality of opinions among the families pushing for a deal — some have said the hostages’ release should come at any cost and others said it should not — and their various ways of dealing with the anguish and uncertainty that have taken over their lives 134 days ago, when Hamas terrorists invaded Israel on October 7, killing some 1,200 and abducting 253 people of all ages.

Yifat Zeiler, a cousin of hostage Yarden Bibas, addressed in her speech “The people who aren’t here on the square because they are afraid to come here and cry out with us. We need you,” said Zeiler. She said there was “no partisanship in our struggle,” a statement repeated by multiple speakers at Saturday’s rally.

et other speakers did present a partisan line, including Shlomo Alfasa Goren, a relative of Maya Goren, who was abducted from Kibbutz Nir Oz and whose body is being held by Hamas.

“You, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and successive governments have abandoned [us] for years. You abandoned Holocaust survivors, including my 93-year-old parents, the health and welfare systems, the emergency room in Kiryat Shmona, the defense established that you had defunded and the residents of Sderot and Ofakim. You abandoned, abandoned, abandoned,” he shouted.

Surging anti-government protests
Goren’s indictment was unusual for the rally at Hostages Square but a common theme at the multiple protests held across the country against Netanyahu and his government for several consecutive weeks on Saturday nights.

At around the same time as the rally organized at Hostages Square on Saturday night by the Hostages and Missing Families Forum, anti-government protesters gathered at some 50 locations across the country, including by thousands opposite the Prime Minister’s Residence in Jerusalem and his private residence in Caesarea.

In Tel Aviv, thousands defied a police ban on holding a large rally against the government at Tel Aviv’s Kaplan Street, ostensibly due to its proximity to the demonstration for the hostages. The Kaplan Street protesters blocked the road, where they also started at least one large fire and scuffled with police. Road blockages also occurred at the Ra’anana Junction, the coastal road and opposite the homes of multiple coalition members, including lawmakers Yuli Edelstein and Amir Ohana, the Knesset speaker, and cabinet minister Ofir Akunis.

Police said they arrested at least 10 people in various protests.

At the Hostages Square rally, multiple speakers protested Netanyahu’s decision not to send a delegation to Cairo for talks with Hamas via mediators.

Netanyahu has said that no advancements could be made in hostage negotiations until Hamas withdrew its “delusional” demands.

The decision prompted outrage among representatives of the hostages’ families, and reportedly angered war cabinet members Benny Gantz and Gadi Eisenkot of the National Unity party.

Multiple speakers spoke of a deal at any cost, whereas others said this is not their position, and that they merely want to see the government pursue negotiations.

Or Gat, whose sister Carmel Gat was abducted from Kibbutz Be’eri, was among the relatives who specified precisely what they mean by calling for a deal at all costs. He opened his address with an apology to his sister for what he considered her “abandonment.”


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18 Feb 2024, 2:30 am

Israel strikes 'reputation blow' to Iran with sabotage attacks on its gas pipelines, says report

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Israel appears to have conducted covert attacks on two major natural gas pipelines inside Iran this week, disrupting heat and cooking gas supplies in several provinces, The New York Times reports.

The sabotage marked an escalation in the shadow war between Israel and Iran, said the report.

"This shows that the covert networks operating in Iran have expanded their target list and advanced beyond just military and nuclear sites," Shahin Modarres, a security analyst focused on the Middle East, told the Times. "It's a major challenge and reputation blow for Iran's intelligence and security agencies."

While Israel has targeted military and nuclear sites in Iran before, this attack hit the Islamic Republic's vital energy infrastructure.

"The level of impact was very high because these are two significant pipelines going south to north. We have never seen anything like this in scale and scope," said Homayoun Falakshahi, a senior energy analyst at Kpler, per The Times.

Iran's oil minister acknowledged the attacks but stopped short of publicly blaming Israel, stating the goal was to damage Iran's energy infrastructure and stir domestic discontent.

A military strategist linked to the Revolutionary Guards Corps said the attacks required deep knowledge of Iran's infrastructure and careful coordination, suggesting insider collaboration, per the Times.

The sabotage caused significant disruption, affecting residential homes, government buildings, and major factories in at least five provinces.

"The enemy's plan was to completely disrupt the flow of gas in winter to several main cities and provinces in our country," Iran's oil minister, Javad Owji, told Iranian media on Friday, per the Times.

However, Iran's energy minister claimed minimal disruption and service restoration, contradicting reports of widespread outages.


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18 Feb 2024, 4:57 am

TwilightPrincess wrote:
I find this rather puzzling. The fact that the situation would lead to a persistent increase in anti-American sentiment was blatantly obvious to anyone with a modicum of common sense months ago.


Yes. And a serious consequence of the US acting hypocritical and losing credibility is the negative effect it has on the international support of Ukraine as the US is a major player there.


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18 Feb 2024, 9:13 am

BillyTree wrote:
TwilightPrincess wrote:
I find this rather puzzling. The fact that the situation would lead to a persistent increase in anti-American sentiment was blatantly obvious to anyone with a modicum of common sense months ago.


Yes. And a serious consequence of the US acting hypocritical and losing credibility is the negative effect it has on the international support of Ukraine as the US is a major player there.

The biggest thing hurting American credibility about Ukraine has little to do with Israel but the pro Russian anti Ukrainian Nationalist Conservative(NatCon) movement in the United States and the continued internal disintegration of the United States. For months the NatCon’s in Congress have held up aide to Ukraine. The Europeans are still giving aide. Ukraine and Russia are their neighbors not Israel and the Palestinians. If Trump is elected and starts backing out of NATO and appeasing Russia the Europeans might decide it is in their security interests to appease Russia and get closer with China.

I can envision European and other governments out of fear of their population’s hostility towered Israel and America and terrorism getting fully on board with the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement.


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18 Feb 2024, 9:16 am

Israeli cabinet unanimously opposes unilateral recognition of Palestinian state

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu proposed a measure to reject "unilateral recognition of a Palestinian state," during a State Security Cabinet (SSC) weekly meeting on Sunday. It was approved unanimously.

"In light of the talk recently heard in the international community about an attempt to unilaterally impose a Palestinian state on Israel," Netanyahu explained the timing of the measure amid talk of possible post-war solutions for Gaza.

The statement declared "Israel outright rejects international dictates regarding a permanent settlement with the Palestinians. The settlement, as far as it is reached, will be solely through direct negotiations between the parties, without preconditions."

“Israel will continue to oppose the unilateral recognition of a Palestinian state. Such recognition in the wake of the October 7th massacre would give a huge reward to unprecedented terrorism and prevent any future peace settlement" the statement continued.

Others commented on the issue, including Minister Gideon Sa'ar who joined the SSC along with war cabinet member Benny Gantz as part of an emergency unity government initiative at the onset of the war, saying "unilateral international recognition of a Palestinian state will affect Israel's security."


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18 Feb 2024, 12:11 pm


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18 Feb 2024, 12:34 pm

ASPartOfMe wrote:
Israeli cabinet unanimously opposes unilateral recognition of Palestinian state
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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu proposed a measure to reject "unilateral recognition of a Palestinian state," during a State Security Cabinet (SSC) weekly meeting on Sunday. It was approved unanimously.

"In light of the talk recently heard in the international community about an attempt to unilaterally impose a Palestinian state on Israel," Netanyahu explained the timing of the measure amid talk of possible post-war solutions for Gaza.

The statement declared "Israel outright rejects international dictates regarding a permanent settlement with the Palestinians. The settlement, as far as it is reached, will be solely through direct negotiations between the parties, without preconditions."

“Israel will continue to oppose the unilateral recognition of a Palestinian state. Such recognition in the wake of the October 7th massacre would give a huge reward to unprecedented terrorism and prevent any future peace settlement" the statement continued.

Others commented on the issue, including Minister Gideon Sa'ar who joined the SSC along with war cabinet member Benny Gantz as part of an emergency unity government initiative at the onset of the war, saying "unilateral international recognition of a Palestinian state will affect Israel's security."

:roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll:
And this is quite poignant , then why in the world did any country recognize Israel as a State ? As Palestine had been established internationally long before Israel . So perhaps in all fairness, they might both have the right to existence ...


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18 Feb 2024, 12:39 pm

BillyTree wrote:
TwilightPrincess wrote:
I find this rather puzzling. The fact that the situation would lead to a persistent increase in anti-American sentiment was blatantly obvious to anyone with a modicum of common sense months ago.


Yes. And a serious consequence of the US acting hypocritical and losing credibility is the negative effect it has on the international support of Ukraine as the US is a major player there.



Guess ..its starting to look like perhaps ,the USA needs to completely get out of the business of taking sides in
International Affairs . With any country ..Almost kinda like a [[[ UN ]]] was suppose to be to start with . ???
.........I thought ..........?


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18 Feb 2024, 1:11 pm

Jakki wrote:
ASPartOfMe wrote:
Israeli cabinet unanimously opposes unilateral recognition of Palestinian state
Quote:
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu proposed a measure to reject "unilateral recognition of a Palestinian state," during a State Security Cabinet (SSC) weekly meeting on Sunday. It was approved unanimously.

"In light of the talk recently heard in the international community about an attempt to unilaterally impose a Palestinian state on Israel," Netanyahu explained the timing of the measure amid talk of possible post-war solutions for Gaza.

The statement declared "Israel outright rejects international dictates regarding a permanent settlement with the Palestinians. The settlement, as far as it is reached, will be solely through direct negotiations between the parties, without preconditions."

“Israel will continue to oppose the unilateral recognition of a Palestinian state. Such recognition in the wake of the October 7th massacre would give a huge reward to unprecedented terrorism and prevent any future peace settlement" the statement continued.

Others commented on the issue, including Minister Gideon Sa'ar who joined the SSC along with war cabinet member Benny Gantz as part of an emergency unity government initiative at the onset of the war, saying "unilateral international recognition of a Palestinian state will affect Israel's security."

:roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll:
And this is quite poignant , then why in the world did any country recognize Israel as a State ? As Palestine had been established internationally long before Israel . So perhaps in all fairness, they might both have the right to existence ...

1. Sympathy in the immediate aftermath of the holocaust.

2. Most of the Holocaust survivor refugees would go Israel instead of their country.

3. An “acceptable” method of getting rid of their own Jews.


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DSM 5: Autism Spectrum Disorder, DSM IV: Aspergers Moderate Severity

It is Autism Acceptance Month

“My autism is not a superpower. It also isn’t some kind of god-forsaken, endless fountain of suffering inflicted on my family. It’s just part of who I am as a person”. - Sara Luterman


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Joined: 16 Jun 2010
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Location: Beirut, Lebanon.