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Israeli deputy foreign minister denies Palestinians live under occupation: ‘This is Judea and Samaria’

- 1509715547 tzipi hotovely - Israeli deputy foreign minister denies Palestinians live under occupation: ‘This is Judea and Samaria’


Israel‘s deputy foreign minister has denied Palestinians are living under Israeli occupation, instead referring to the West Bank using the term “Judea and Samaria”.

Speaking on the 100th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration, which signalled British support for the creation of a Jewish homeland, Tzipi Hotovely said Israel gives equal rights to both Arabs and Israelis. 

Her remarks were challenged on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme by host Nick Robinson, who said Palestinians living in the occupied West Bank do not have equal rights and that much of the international community recognises the West Bank as being under occupation.

“I deny the idea of occupation. This is Judea and Samaria,” Ms Hotovely replied. 

“Those are places where in the last 25 years the Israeli government was trying to give the Palestinians all chances to have their own ruling.”

She said “Palestinians refused every time to have their own self-determination” or recognise the state of Israel.

Metal detectors removed from holy site by Israel authorities

When Mr Robinson pointed out that the UN and many governments recognise the West Bank as occupied by Israel, Ms Hotovely said Israel could not “be an occupier in a land that the Jewish people belonged to for thousands of years.”

“Even Lord Balfour, the reason he recognised this connection, was because he was Christian, he knew the bible, he knew the thousands of years of connection of the Jewish people to these places.”

Israel captured the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip, land the Palestinians want included in a future state, in the 1967 Mideast war.

The deputy foreign minister went on to say it was “very clear that the Palestinians are not interested in a Palestinian state”.

Asked if she could see Israel incorporating the occupied West Bank, she said: “I think Judea and Sumeria are definitely going to be under Israeli control. The Palestinians should decide whether they want to live peacefully with us. 

“If they would like to declare war on Israel, what was proven in the last 70 years was that Israel can win every single battle and every single war that the neighbours are declaring.”

The Balfour declaration is celebrated by Israelis while Palestinians view it as a political injustice. 

The declaration was the result of discussions between British Jewish leaders seeking political recognition of their goal of Jewish statehood and British politicians embroiled in the First World War.

Written by British Foreign Secretary Lord Arthur Balfour and addressed to Lord Lionel Walter Rothschild, a British financier and proponent of Zionism, the declaration promised British assistance to create a Jewish homeland. 

“His Majesty’s government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object,” the declaration reads, continuing with the caveat: “It being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine.”

Israel views the pledge as the first international recognition granted to the Jewish people’s desire to return to its historic homeland. 

Palestinians see the declaration as the original sin, a harbinger of their “nakba,” or catastrophe, the mass displacement that resulted from the war surrounding Israel’s creation in 1948.

Independent

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Middle East

15 Civilians Killed, Injured in Turkish Strikes on Afrin: Official

- e7523a3c68ddf4be6a508bd1ab873f3e L - 15 Civilians Killed, Injured in Turkish Strikes on Afrin: Official


ERBIL — At least two civilians were killed and 13 others were wounded on Sunday as a result of the Turkish military assault on Afrin, northwest of Syria, a local official said.

Osama Sheikh Issa, co-chair of Afrin local administration told Kurdistan24 that what Turkey is trying to achieve is having revenge on the Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection (YPG) and Women’s Protection Units (YPJ) fighter’s victory against the Islamic State (IS) in Syria.

“All of the casualties of the Turkish attacks were civil people who had nothing to do with the war” he pointed out.

Issa also asserted that the residents of Afrin are confidently staying in their city, but the displaced Syrian people who had found refuge in Afrin are in danger because of the Turkish assault on the city.

He further ensured that “none of the YPG and YPJ units have been targeted by the Turkish strikes, in deed all the attacks have been aimed at the homes of civilians in Afrin”.

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Middle East

Iran Calls on Turkey to Halt Afrin Operation

- 6cce60afe0e9652295227731138f696c L - Iran Calls on Turkey to Halt Afrin Operation


ERBIL — The Islamic Republic of Iran has called on Turkey to halt the Afrin operation and respect Syria’s territorial integrity, said a spokesperson for Iranian Foreign Ministry.

According to Mehr News Agency, Bahram Ghasemi said that Iran is closely and concernedly following the current developments in the city of Afrin.

“Iran hopes that the operation will immediately come to an end to stop the deepening of the crisis in the border areas of Turkey and Syria” he added. 

“The continuation of the crisis in Afrin may further strengthen the takfirist-terrorist groups in the northern Syrian regions, and flare up the fires of war ” warned the Iranian foreign ministry.

Qasemi also drew attention to the Astana peace talks and stated that all countries, especially Turkey, are expected to remain committed to the political solution, especially Astana peace process, for the Syrian crisis and continue observing their commitments and playing their constructive role in the resolution of the crisis.

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Middle East

[Watch]: YPG Destroys Turkish Tank near Afrin

- a515aef23f394e0974fa089da5993b99 L - [Watch]: YPG Destroys Turkish Tank near Afrin


ERBIL — The US-backed Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) released a footage on Sunday which shows them destroying a Turkish tank near the border city of Afrin.

The YPG fighters appear in the video destroying a Turkish tank with an anti-tank missile.

Turkey on Saturday launched a new air and ground operation on Afrin, a Kurdish city in the northwest of Syria, dubbed as the “Olive Branch Operation”.

The assault has so far left dozens killed and injured, including civilians and fighters from the both sides.

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