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‘All options,’ even military ones, on table to push Israel out of Golan

Syria will do whatever it takes to take back the occupied Golan Heights from the Israeli regime, says a high-ranking official.

Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad made the announcement on Sunday, in response to remarks made earlier by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu who claimed “the Golan Heights will remain in the hands of Israel forever,” during the regime’s first cabinet meeting in the occupied territory.

Noting that the occupied region belongs to Syria according to international law, Mekdad stressed that the Arab Syrian Golan Heights will be taken back from the Israelis.

“All options are on the table for getting back the occupied territory from Israel,” he said during an interview aired on the Lebanese television channel al-Mayadeen.

“We are prepared to do anything in order to return the Golan to the Syrian motherland, including using military force,” Mekdad asserted.

During the Sunday cabinet meeting, Netanyahu also demanded that the international community recognize Syria’s Golan as Israeli territory. He said, “Whatever happens on the other side of the border, the border itself will not move. Secondly, after 50 years it is time that the international community realized that the Golan will remain under Israeli sovereignty.”

Israel seized the Golan Heights from Syria after the 1967 six-day war and later occupied it in a move that has never been recognized by the international community.

The regime has built tens of illegal settlements in the area ever since and has used the region to carry out a number of military operations against the Syrian government.

Netanyahu also said that some 50,000 Israelis currently live there and “thousands of families… are supposed to join them in the coming years.”

Opposition against Assad’s role in Syria

The Israeli premier made the remarks amid a ceasefire in Syria and UN-backed talks being held in Geneva aimed at finding a political solution to the Syrian conflict.

The Saudi-backed opposition High Negotiations Committee (HNC) has threatened to leave the current round of talks unless progress is made over demands for a political transition without Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

“We might suspend (our participation in) the talks if things carry on this way, and then there will be no prospect for any political solution,” said HNC member Abdulhakim Bashar.

Another unnamed HNC member noted that the talks had reached “an impasse” and are at risk of “failing.”

Before the talks kicked off, Mekdad rejected the “dream” of a transitional government without Assad, saying that such ideas are nothing short of a “coup d’etat.”

The last round of the talks came to a halt on March 24 over disagreements on the role of President Assad in Syria’s future.

The ceasefire brokered by the US and Russia went into effect on February 27 across Syria. The truce agreement does not apply to Daesh and al-Qaeda-affiliated al-Nusra Front.

Syria has been gripped by foreign-backed militancy since March 2011. According to a February report by the Syrian Center for Policy Research, the conflict has claimed the lives of over 470,000 people, injuring 1.9 million others, and displacing nearly half of the country’s pre-war population of about 23 million within or beyond its borders.

http://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2016/04/17/461278/syria-golan-heights-mekdad-bibi/

Secret US Plot to wage war on Syria revealed!

US plot to wage Syria war revealed

Informed sources in Syria say they have discovered a pre-fabricated US scenario for the country’s future, seeking to wage war against the nation from various fronts, Press TV reports.

The sources said the US strategy includes attacks on Syrian diplomatic missions abroad. According to the American scenario, the Syrian opposition abroad would engage in taking over the country’s diplomatic missions and use them as bases for directing and carrying out terrorist activities within the country.

The US plan is set to refer Syria to UN’s human rights commission and the General Assembly on November 23 as well as the the International Criminal Court in an effort to formally declare the Damascus government as a “war criminal,” sources say.

The American scenario also provides a role for Turkey in a NATO defense ministers’ meeting, in which Ankara would be commissioned to move its forces across the Syrian border in an effort to establish a buffer zone inside Syria and facilitate the supply of weaponry and arms to the so-called ‘contra forces‘ inside the country and trigger insurgency activities and potentially a civil war across the nation.

Wahhabi insurgents based in the Syrian city of Tripoli would then launch attacks on the border villages of the country.

Moreover, the Syrian sources said, the US scheme provides that the Israeli regime, along with Jordan, would also declare their readiness to engage in military operations against Damascus.

The latest discovery comes as the Arab League (AL) announced the suspension of Syria during an emergency session in the Egyptian capital of Cairo on Saturday and called for the imposition of sanctions against Syria.

Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem has described the AL decision as “illegitimate and dangerous.”

The Arab League has also proposed to dispatch an observer mission of 30-50 members to Syria in a supposed effort to end unrest in the country.

Syria has been experiencing unrest since mid-March, with demonstrations held both in favor of and against President Bashar al-Assad.

Millions of Syrians took to the streets in several cities across the country on Sunday to condemn the Arab League decision and its siding with US-led anti-Syria measures. Demonstrators also expressed their support for the government of President Assad.

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Israel under Siege – Psalm 83 to be fulfilled?

Beyond Cairo, Israel Sensing a Wider Siege

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Isaiah 17:12-14 — 12 Woe to the multitude of many people, which make a noise like the noise of the seas; and to the rushing of nations, that make a rushing like the rushing of mighty waters! 13 The nations shall rush like the rushing of many waters: but God shall rebuke them, and they shall flee far off, and shall be chased as the chaff of the mountains before the wind, and like a rolling thing before the whirlwind. 14 And behold at eveningtide trouble; and before the morning he is not. This is the portion of them that spoil us, and the lot of them that rob us.

Amel Pain/European Pressphoto Agency

By ETHAN BRONNER

JERUSALEM — With its Cairo embassy ransacked, its ambassador to Turkey expelled and the Palestinians seeking statehood recognition at the United Nations, Israel found itself on Saturday increasingly isolated and grappling with a radically transformed Middle East where it believes its options are limited and poor.

The diplomatic crisis, in which winds unleashed by the Arab Spring are now casting a chill over the region, was crystallized by the scene of Israeli military jets sweeping into Cairo at dawn on Saturday to evacuate diplomats after the Israeli Embassy had been besieged by thousands of protesters.

It was an image that reminded some Israelis of Iran in 1979, when Israel evacuated its embassy in Tehran after the revolution there replaced an ally with an implacable foe.

“Seven months after the downfall of Hosni Mubarak’s regime, Egyptian protesters tore to shreds the Israeli flag, a symbol of peace between Egypt and its eastern neighbor, after 31 years,” Aluf Benn, the editor in chief of the left-leaning Israeli newspaper Haaretz, wrote Saturday. “It seems that the flag will not return to the flagstaff anytime soon.”

Egypt and Israel both issued statements on Saturday reaffirming their commitments to their peace treaty, but in a televised address on Saturday night, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel warned that Egypt “cannot ignore the heavy damage done to the fabric of peace.”

Facing crises in relations with Egypt and Turkey, its two most important regional allies, Israel turned to the United States. Throughout the night on Friday, desperate Israeli officials called their American counterparts seeking help to pressure the Egyptians to protect the embassy.

President Obama “expressed his great concern” in a telephone call with Mr. Netanyahu, the White House said in a statement, and he called on Egypt “to honor its international obligations to safeguard the security of the Israeli Embassy.”

Washington — for whom Israel, Turkey and Egypt are all critical allies — has watched tensions along the eastern Mediterranean with growing unease and increasing alarm. And though the diplomatic breaches were not entirely unexpected, they prompted a flurry of diplomatic activity in Washington.

The mayhem in Cairo also exacted consequences for Egypt, raising questions about whether its military-led transitional government would be able to maintain law and order and meet its international obligations. The failure to prevent an invasion of a foreign embassy raised security concerns at other embassies as well.

The Egyptian government responded to those questions Saturday night, pledging a new crackdown on disruptive protests and reactivating the emergency law allowing indefinite detentions without trial, one of the most reviled measures enacted under former President Hosni Mubarak.

Since the start of the Arab uprisings, internal critics and foreign friends, including the United States, have urged Israel to take bold conciliatory steps toward the Palestinians, and after confrontations in which Israeli forces killed Egyptian and Turkish citizens, to reach accommodations with both countries.

Turkey expelled the Israeli ambassador a week ago over Israel’s refusal to apologize for a deadly raid last year on a Turkish ship bound for Gaza in which nine Turks were killed. The storming of the embassy in Cairo on Saturday was precipitated by the killing of three Egyptian soldiers along the border by Israeli military forces pursuing terrorism suspects.

Israel has expressed regret for the deaths in both cases, but has not apologized for actions that it considers defensive.

The overriding assessment of the government of Mr. Netanyahu is that such steps will only make matters worse because what is shaking the region is not about Israel, even if Israel is increasingly its target, and Israel can do almost nothing to affect it.

“Egypt is not going toward democracy but toward Islamicization,” said Eli Shaked, a former Israeli ambassador to Cairo who reflected the government’s view. “It is the same in Turkey and in Gaza. It is just like what happened in Iran in 1979.

A senior official said Israel had few options other than to pursue what he called a “porcupine policy” to defend itself against aggression. Another official, asked about Turkey, said, “There is little that we can do.”

Critics of the government take a very different view.

Mr. Benn, the Haaretz editor, acknowledged that Mr. Netanyahu could not be faulted for the events in Egypt, the rise of an Islamic-inspired party in Turkey or Iran’s nuclear program. But echoing criticism by the Obama administration, he said that Mr. Netanyahu “has not done a thing to mitigate the fallout from the aforementioned developments.”

Daniel Ben-Simon, a member of Parliament from the left-leaning Labor Party, said the Netanyahu government was on a path “not just to diplomatic isolation but to actually putting Israelis in danger,” he said. “It all comes down to his obsession against a Palestinian state, his total paralysis toward the Palestinian issue. We are facing an international tide at the United Nations. If he joined the vote for a Palestinian state instead of fighting it, that would be the best thing he could do for us in the Arab world.”

The Palestinians have given up on talks with Israel, and within the next two weeks they plan to ask the United Nations to grant them membership and statehood recognition within the 1967 lines, including East Jerusalem as a capital.

Potential side effects of the diplomatic disputes have already emerged.

The growing hostility from Egypt could require a radical rethinking of Israel’s defense doctrine which, for the past three decades, counted on peace on its southern border. As chaos in the Sinai has increased and anti-Israel sentiment in Egypt has grown, military strategists here are examining how to beef up protection of the south, including by the building of an anti-infiltration wall in the Sinai.

A threat by Turkey last week to challenge Israel’s plans for gas exploration in the eastern Mediterranean could threaten Israel’s agreement with Cyprus on gas drilling and could worsen tensions with Lebanon on drilling rights.

Initial Israeli fears about the Arab Spring uprisings have begun to materialize in concrete ways. When the uprisings began in Tunisia and Egypt at the start of the year, little attention was directed toward Israel because so much focus was on throwing off dictatorial rule and creating a new political order.

Traditionally, many Arab leaders have used Israel as a convenient scapegoat, turning public wrath against it and blaming it for their problems. The faint hope here was that a freer Middle East might move away from such anti-Israel hostility because the overthrow of dictators would open up debate.

But as the months of Arab Spring have turned autumnal, Israel has increasingly become a target of public outrage. Some here say Israel is again being made a scapegoat, this time for unfulfilled revolutionary promises.

But there is another interpretation, and it is the predominant one abroad — Muslims, Arabs and indeed many around the globe believe Israel is unjustly occupying Palestinian territories, and they are furious at Israel for it. And although some Israelis pointed fingers at Islamicization as the cause of the violence, Egyptians noted Saturday that Islamist groups, including the Muslim Brotherhood, distanced themselves from Friday’s protests and did not attend, while legions of secular-minded soccer fans were at the forefront of the embassy attacks.

“The world is tired of this conflict and angry at us because we are viewed as conquerors, ruling over another people,” said Binyamin Ben-Eliezer, a Labor Party member of Parliament and a former defense minister. “If I were Bibi Netanyahu, I would recognize a Palestinian state. We would then negotiate borders and security. Instead nothing is happening. We are left with one ally, America, and that relationship is strained, too.”


David D. Kirkpatrick contributed reporting from Cairo, and Steven Lee Myers from Washington.

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