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Palestine on brink of new Intifada

The United Nations Security Council will meet on Monday to address the rapidly escalating tensions in Palestine.

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Tensions in Jerusalem have risen to their highest levels since 2014 when the so-called Silent Intifada broke out surrounding rage at Israel over its war on Gaza. The 2014 conflict ended with both sides claiming victory, but was in actual effect largely a stalemate which led to the re-imposition of a permanently tense status-quo.

The proximate cause of the recent tensions was the shutting down of the Noble Sanctuary a fortnight ago. This restricted access to the Al-Aqsa Mosque, the third holiest site in Islam and a location of great historical significance. The site was closed after the death of two Israeli police offers. The three Arab-Israeli suspects were subsequently killed.

When the Noble Sanctuary re-opened, worshippers were met with fortress like security, including metal detector checkpoints guarded by Israeli police holding military-style automatic weapons.

As a result, religious and political leaders throughout Palestine called for demonstrates against the newly imposed conditions at the holy site.

The tensions led to aggressive police tactics which resulted in the death of three Palestinians who were shot by Israeli settlers.

READ MORE: 3 Palestinian teens shot dead by Israelis during protests

Demonstrations continued throughout the 21st and 22nd of July, 2017, as video emerged of an armed Israeli offers kicking a Palestinian man knelt in prayer.

Later on the 22nd, three Israelis were killed in a knife attack in the West Bank and later in the evening of the 22nd, Israel reported that a rocket was fired from Gaza which blew-up in mid-air.

The clashes which continue, have led the United Nations Security Council to convene a meeting to discuss the issue. This will take place on the 24th of July.

With clashes continuing in Jerusalem, the West Bank and the apparent rocket fired from Gaza, many are worried that tensions might boil over.

Israel continues to provoke conflict on several fronts.

First of all, the new security barriers around the Noble Sanctuary are viewed as insulting and unacceptable by Muslims. Many Christians have also participated in the demonstrations in Jerusalem. The militarisation of an ancient holy site has led to wide condemnation both inside and outside of Palestine.

Secondly, the world continues to monitor activity in south western Syria, particularly around the area of the Golan Heights which Israel has illegally occupied since 1967. There is a risk of further Israeli attacks against Syrian forces and international peacekeepers in the area.

Finally, with the Syrian Arab Army and its allies in Hezbollah making gains against al-Qaeda on the mountainous border between Syria and Lebanon, many are worried that Israel might intervene militarily using the traditional excuse of fighting Hezbollah which Israel lists as a terrorist organisation though Russia, China, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Venezuela and the United Nations do not. In Lebanon Hezbollah is an active political party with two cabinet ministers in the Lebanese government as well as 12 seats in the current Lebanese Parliament.

Israel would be hard pressed to fight a war on three fronts, even though based on Israel’s history and its recent rhetoric, this is an increasingly disturbing possibility.

Russia has stated that all of Israel’s security concerns in respect of south western Syria have been addressed while the United States continues to cooperate with Russia in that particular region. Meanwhile, Sweden, Egypt and permanent United Nations Security Council (UNSC) member France have reiterated the importance of a UNSC meeting to “urgently discuss how calls for de-escalation in Jerusalem can be supported.

If Israel does not work hard to reach a compromise with Palestinian leaders, a new wave of protests could hit Jerusalem and the West Bank. Currently, Palestine’s President Mahmoud Abbas has suspended agreements for security cooperation with Israel over anger at Israel’s decision to militarise the Noble Sanctuary.

Until Israel negotiates a settlement in respect of the Noble Sanctuary, Palestinians could respond by measures which could easily escalate into a new Intifada. Israel could either make the situation better or worse. It is entirely in Tel Aviv’s hands.

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Trump Has Gifted “No More Wars” Policy Position To Bernie Sanders (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 148.

Alex Christoforou

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RT CrossTalk host Peter Lavelle and The Duran’s Alex Christoforou discuss how US President Donald Tump appears to have ceded his popular 2016 ‘no more wars’ campaign message and policy position to Bernie Sanders and any other US 2020 candidate willing to grad onto a non-interventionist approach to the upcoming Democrat primaries.

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“Is Bernie Stealing Trump’s ‘No More Wars’ Issue?” by Patrick J. Buchanan…


The center of gravity of U.S. politics is shifting toward the Trump position of 2016.

“The president has said that he does not want to see this country involved in endless wars… I agree with that,” Bernie Sanders told the Fox News audience at Monday’s town hall meeting in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.

Then turning and staring straight into the camera, Bernie added:

“Mr. President, tonight you have the opportunity to do something extraordinary: Sign that resolution. Saudi Arabia should not be determining the military or foreign policy of this country.”

Sanders was talking about a War Powers Act resolution that would have ended U.S. involvement in the five-year civil war in Yemen that has created one of the great humanitarian crises of our time, with thousands of dead children amidst an epidemic of cholera and a famine.

Supported by a united Democratic Party on the Hill, and an anti-interventionist faction of the GOP led by Sens. Rand Paul and Mike Lee of Utah, the War Powers resolution had passed both houses of Congress.

But 24 hours after Sanders urged him to sign it, Trump, heeding the hawks in his Cabinet and National Security Council, vetoed S.J.Res.7, calling it a “dangerous attempt to weaken my constitutional authorities.”

With sufficient Republican votes in both houses to sustain Trump’s veto, that should be the end of the matter.

It is not: Trump may have just ceded the peace issue in 2020 to the Democrats. If Sanders emerges as the nominee, we will have an election with a Democrat running on the “no-more-wars” theme Trump touted in 2016. And Trump will be left defending the bombing of Yemeni rebels and civilians by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia.

Does Trump really want to go into 2020 as a war party president?

Does he want to go into 2020 with Democrats denouncing “Trump’s endless wars” in the Middle East? Because that is where he is headed.

In 2008, John McCain, leading hawk in the Senate, was routed by a left-wing first-term senator from Illinois, Barack Obama, who had won his nomination by defeating the more hawkish Hillary Clinton, who had voted to authorize the war in Iraq.

In 2012, the Republican nominee Mitt Romney, who was far more hawkish than Obama on Russia, lost.

Yet, in 2016, Trump ran as a different kind of Republican, an opponent of the Iraq War and an anti-interventionist who wanted to get along with Russia’s Vladimir Putin and get out of these Middle East wars.

Looking closely at the front-running candidates for the Democratic nomination of 2020 — Joe Biden, Sanders, Kamala Harris, Beto O’Rourke, Pete Buttigieg, Elizabeth Warren, Cory Booker — not one appears to be as hawkish as Trump has become.

Trump pulled us out of the nuclear deal with Iran negotiated by Secretary of State John Kerry and reimposed severe sanctions.

He declared Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps a terrorist organization, to which Iran has responded by declaring U.S. Central Command a terrorist organization. Ominously, the IRGC and its trained Shiite militias in Iraq are in close proximity to U.S. troops.

Trump has recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, moved the U.S. Embassy there, closed the consulate that dealt with Palestinian affairs, cut off aid to the Palestinians, recognized Israel’s annexation of the Golan Heights seized from Syria in 1967, and gone silent on Bibi Netanyahu’s threat to annex Jewish settlements on the West Bank.

Sanders, however, though he stands by Israel, is supporting a two-state solution and castigating the “right-wing” Netanyahu regime.

Trump has talked of pulling all U.S. troops out of Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan. Yet the troops are still there.

Though Trump came into office promising to get along with the Russians, he sent Javelin anti-tank missiles to Ukraine and announced a pullout from Ronald Reagan’s 1987 INF treaty that outlawed all land-based intermediate-range nuclear missiles.

When Putin provocatively sent 100 Russian troops to Caracas — ostensibly to repair the S-400 anti-aircraft and anti-missile system that was damaged in recent blackouts — Trump, drawing a red line, ordered the Russians to “get out.”

Biden is expected to announce next week. If the stands he takes on Russia, China, Israel and the Middle East are more hawkish than the rest of the field, he will be challenged by the left wing of his party, and by Sanders, who voted “no” on the Iraq War that Biden supported.

The center of gravity of U.S. politics is shifting toward the Trump position of 2016. And the anti-interventionist wing of the GOP is growing.

And when added to the anti-interventionist and anti-war wing of the Democratic Party on the Hill, together, they are able, as on the Yemen War Powers resolution, to produce a new bipartisan majority.

Prediction: By the primaries of 2020, foreign policy will be front and center, and the Democratic Party will have captured the “no-more-wars” political high ground that Candidate Donald Trump occupied in 2016.

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Over 200 killed, hundreds injured in series of blasts at Sri Lankan hotels & churches

A series of bombings hit churches and hotels across Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday, killing more than 200 people.

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Via RT…


A series of eight explosions rocked Catholic churches and luxury hotels in Sri Lanka as Christians began Easter Sunday celebrations, with over 200 killed and hundreds injured, media reported, citing police.

The blasts started at around 8:45am local time at St. Anthony’s Church in Colombo and St. Sebastian’s Church in Negombo, a Catholic-majority town outside of the capital. The Zion Church in Batticaloa on the eastern coast was also targeted. At around the same time, the Shangri-La, Cinnamon Grand and Kingsbury five-star hotels were also hit, police confirmed.

Two more explosions happened later in the day, targeting two more locations in Colombo. All attacks appear to have been coordinated.

At least 207 people were killed, Reuters reported, citing police. More than 450 were injured in the attacks.

Alleged footage of the aftermath, shared on social media, showed chaos and large-scale destruction inside at least one of the churches.

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Mike Pompeo reveals true motto of CIA: ‘We lied, we cheated, we stole’ (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 147.

Alex Christoforou

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The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris take a look at a Texas A&M University speech, and subsequent interview, with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

The former CIA Director admitted, ‘as an aside’ to the question asked, that the Intelligence agency he headed up before being appointed as the top US Diplomat had a motto “we lied, we cheated, we stole”…which, according to Pompeo, contained entire CIA training courses based on ‘lying, cheating and stealing.’

Pompeo finally speaks some truth.

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