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Iraqi cleric plans ‘slow coup to end corruption’

Baruch Marzel, who lives in a Jewish outpost built in the heart of the Palestinian city of Hebron, has confronted many Palestinians who have tried to witness Israeli restrictions on non-Jews visiting the Ibrahimi Mosque. The mosque is famous for being the burial ground of the Prophet Abraham, and for being the site of the…

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Iraqi cleric plans ‘slow coup to end corruption’

Baruch Marzel, who lives in a Jewish outpost built in the heart of the Palestinian city of Hebron, has confronted many Palestinians who have tried to witness Israeli restrictions on non-Jews visiting the Ibrahimi Mosque.

The mosque is famous for being the burial ground of the Prophet Abraham, and for being the site of the massacre in February 1994 of 29 Muslim worshippers by Chicago-born Israeli settler Baruch Goldstein, who was a close colleague of Marzel.

In 1995, when I was president of the Palestinian American Congress, Marzel’s colleagues threatened to beat me with clubs as I walked up to the Ibrahimi Mosque to view a memorial set up for Goldstein’s victims.

It was only because I am Christian and was holding a US passport that Israeli soldiers stood between me and Marzel’s settler friends.

BIO

• Name: Baruch Marzel

• Nationality: Israeli-American

• Place of Residence: Hebron, West Bank

• Organization: (Eretz Yisrael Shelanu, Jewish National Front)

• Occupation: Former spokesman of Meir Kahane’s Kach party

• Medium: Through interviews, videos and articles

Marzel was one of the early leaders of hate activist Meir Kahane’s Jewish Defense League (JDL). After Kahane was killed in November 1990, Marzel played a larger role in the organization, which has changed names several times and was represented in Israel’s Knesset (Parliament) as the Kach political party.

Marzel has run for political office in the Knesset and is a member of the Otzma Yehudit political party, which was reorganized from the outlawed Kach.

He has openly advocated the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians. “There’s no way we’ll have quiet or peace inside Israel as long as we have here millions of supporters of terror, people that believe in their religion that all of the Land of Israel … is theirs, and that we’re occupiers, and the Jews have no right to a state or can even exist here,” he said. “The only way to have peace is to get them out of Israel.”

Born in Boston, Marzel’s family moved to Israel when he was an infant. He joined the JDL at the age of 13.

Marzel claims to have joined the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 1982, and to have shot dead several unarmed Syrian soldiers he had taken prisoner.

He said he did this as he was wounded by a captured Syrian commando who let off a concealed grenade and thought he might die, so he wished to exact revenge. Marzel took the same spirit of confrontation into his political activism.

“It’s a religious war. And they believe they have to destroy us … to kill us … And we believe that … they can’t stay here,” he said.

Hate preacher Baruch Marzel

In 1984, Kahane won a seat in the Knesset and appointed Marzel as his parliamentary aide. Marzel was renowned for his open hostility, harassing leftist and Palestinian Knesset members. After his mentor’s death, Marzel was elected head of Kach’s secretariat and ran for the Knesset.

He emerged from Kahane’s shadow to become a figurehead for Jewish radicalism in Hebron, where he has led attacks against its Palestinian residents. He has been imprisoned many times for his acts of violence and intimidation.

Hostility and confrontations between the small Israeli population in Hebron and its Palestinian residents are a daily occurrence.

But its darkest day was in 1994, when Goldstein opened fire on Muslim worshippers in the Ibrahimi Mosque during Ramadan. As the dead and wounded lay on the floor, survivors tackled him and beat him to death.

Marzel celebrated Goldstein after his death, and in 2000 held a party at his graveside during the Jewish festival of Purim. “We decided to make a big party on the day he was murdered by Arabs,” Marzel told the BBC.

“Without supporting what (he) did … Baruch Goldstein was one of the purest people in the world … He was a saint,” Marzel said. “After what he did, terrorism stopped in Hebron for four years … one Jew wasn’t hurt.”
To this day, Marzel encourages and takes part in aggressive activities against Palestinian residents of Hebron, while hosting Israeli troops stationed there at his house for lunch.

 

READ MORE:

All about Baruch Marzel
The rotten apple did not fall far from the wretched tree 

But his activism is not confined to Hebron. Alongside Ben-Zion Gopstein, Michael Ben-Ari and Itamar Ben-Gvir, Marzel founded and became a spokesman for the segregationist Lehava movement.

The Jewish far-right campaigning organization objects to almost every kind of personal relationship between Jews and non-Jews.

Marzel remains active in politics. He is a member of Otzma Yehudit, which calls for Arabs to leave Israel.

The willingness of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to work with such parties means their influence cannot be underestimated.

Netanyahu even received criticism from AIPAC, the largest pro-Israel lobby in the US, over the election alliance he agreed to with Otzma Yehudit.

Marzel is doing his best to make sure Kahanism passes onto the next generation. “Thank God, out of (my) nine kids, seven had trouble with the police for good causes,” he said. “I educate them to be fighters, and I’m proud that they fight … They had a big fight with Arabs.”

Whether it is with his own children, other Jewish settlers in Hebron or far-right activists across Israel, Marzel will continue to radicalize Israeli politics and do all he can to prevent coexistence between Jews and Arabs.

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Saudi Aramco says customers unaffected by Houthi attack on Jeddah

Monday’s attack knocked out a tank that contained 10 percent of all fuel stored a the Jeddah plant, Saudi Aramco official says.Oil giant Saudi Aramco says customers were unaffected by an attack by Yemen’s Houthi rebels on a petroleum products distribution plant in Saudi Arabia’s Red Sea city of Jeddah. One of the facility’s tanks…

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Saudi Aramco says customers unaffected by Houthi attack on Jeddah

Monday’s attack knocked out a tank that contained 10 percent of all fuel stored a the Jeddah plant, Saudi Aramco official says.Oil giant Saudi Aramco says customers were unaffected by an attack by Yemen’s Houthi rebels on a petroleum products distribution plant in Saudi Arabia’s Red Sea city of Jeddah.
One of the facility’s tanks was hit by a missile in early on Monday.
The attack knocked out 10 percent of all fuel that was stored at the plant, a Saudi Aramco official said on Tuesday, adding that the tank – one of 13 at the facility – is currently out of action.
The official described the site as a “critical facility” that distributes more than 120,000 barrels of products per day.
A fire caused by the attack was extinguished in about 40 minutes with no casualties, he said.
The attack was confirmed by a Saudi official who told the Saudi state news agency (SPA) it was a “terrorist attack with a projectile”.
The oil company’s production and export facilities are mostly in Saudi Arabia’s Eastern province, more than 1,000km (621 miles) away from Jeddah, across the country.
Announcing the attack, a military spokesman for the Houthis warned that “operations will continue”.
Yahya Sarea said the attack was carried out with a Quds-2 type winged missile. He also posted a satellite image with the label: “North Jeddah bulk plant-Saudi Aramco”.
“The strike was very accurate, and ambulances and fire engines rushed to the target,” Sarea said.
That facility is just southeast of Jeddah’s King Abdulaziz International Airport, an important site that handles incoming Muslim pilgrims en route to nearby Mecca.
Renewed violence
Yemen has been mired in conflict since a Saudi-led coalition intervened in March 2015 to restore the Yemeni government, which had been removed from power in the capital Sanaa by Houthi forces in late 2014.
Cross-border attacks by Houthi forces have escalated since late May when a truce prompted by the novel coronavirus pandemic expired. The Saudi-led coalition has responded with air raids on Houthi-held territory.
The Houthis control most of north Yemen and most large urban areas. They say they are fighting a corrupt system.
Sarea said the attack was carried out in response to the Saudi-led coalition’s actions in Yemen.
The claimed attack came just after a visit by outgoing US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to Saudi Arabia to see Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
The kingdom also just hosted the annual G20 summit, which concluded on Sunday.

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US appoints first Venezuela ambassador in a decade amid tensions

The two nations have not exchanged ambassadors since 2010 when relations began to fray under late President Hugo Chávez.The United States has its first ambassador for Venezuela in 10 years despite Washington having no diplomats at its Caracas embassy amid a breakdown in relations. James Story’s nomination as ambassador was confirmed on Wednesday by a…

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US appoints first Venezuela ambassador in a decade amid tensions

The two nations have not exchanged ambassadors since 2010 when relations began to fray under late President Hugo Chávez.The United States has its first ambassador for Venezuela in 10 years despite Washington having no diplomats at its Caracas embassy amid a breakdown in relations.
James Story’s nomination as ambassador was confirmed on Wednesday by a US Senate voice vote.
The South Carolina native takes the job that he will carry out from the capital of neighbouring Colombia as Venezuela endures an historic economic and political crisis.
The US and Venezuela have not exchanged ambassadors since 2010 when relations first started to fray under late President Hugo Chávez.
The two nations totally broke diplomatic ties last year, each withdrawing its diplomats shortly after Washington backed Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó as the country’s leader.
Story, 50, will likely play a key role in helping guide US policy on Venezuela during the transition of President-elect Joe Biden.
Biden’s win has sparked debate among those who back President Donald Trump’s hardline approach of isolating his Venezuelan counterpart Nicolas Maduro and others who say it is time for a new course.
The critics say heavy sanctions have failed to remove Maduro from power, opening Venezuela to US competitors such as China, Russia and Iran, while making life harder on millions of residents of the South American nation.
The US leads a coalition of dozens of nations that rejected Maduro following his election in 2018 to a second term in a vote Washington called fraudulent.
The US has since heavily sanctioned Maduro, his inner circle and the state-run oil firm, attempting to isolate them.
The Trump administration offered a $15m reward for Maduro’s arrest after a US court indicted him on drug charges.

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‘UAE, Israel can stamp out Islamophobia, anti-Semitism’

People to people contact, academic, civil society exchanges and cooperation will go a long way in change mindsets, Ban Ki-moon says. Countries like the UAE and Israel who have signed the Abraham Accords should stamp out anti-semitism and Islamophobia and devise curriculums to educate their youth on the significance of the peace deal, said former…

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‘UAE, Israel can stamp out Islamophobia, anti-Semitism’

People to people contact, academic, civil society exchanges and cooperation will go a long way in change mindsets, Ban Ki-moon says.

Countries like the UAE and Israel who have signed the Abraham Accords should stamp out anti-semitism and Islamophobia and devise curriculums to educate their youth on the significance of the peace deal, said former UN chief Ban Ki-moon.
He said that one of the major achievements of the deal – considered a huge political and diplomatic win – is that it opens up a “cooperative space not only for leaders but also for citizens of all the participating countries”
“The architects of this important agreement must ensure that the Accords is not an agreement just for their countries but for their people. Abraham Accords should serve as a launchpad for the sustainable peace and prosperity in the region,” Ban Ki-moon said while addressing a virtual conference on ‘The Abraham Accords: Advancing UAE-Israel, Regional, and Muslim-Jewish Cooperation’ organised by UK-based Emirates Society.
Stressing on the important role of education in building secure, peaceful, resilient and prosperous societies in both a short and long term, the Secretary General said it is his “sincere hope that the UAE and Israel and others redouble their sustained effort to educate their students and citizens – both young and old – about the significance of this important agreement and each other.”
“Devising curriculum and expanding global citizenship education as well as being aggressive about stamping out instances of anti-Semitism and islamophobia are important steps to take in this regard, he added.
He said people to people contact, academic, civil society exchanges and cooperation will go a long way in helping to change mindset and begin a dynamic new era of cooperation.
Palestinian cause
The UAE is the first GCC country and the third Arab nation to establish diplomatic relations with Israel by signing the US-brokered Abraham Accords on September 15. Bahrain and Sudan also followed suit and have signed peace deals with Israel.
The deal is considered a game changer for peace and stability in the region, as in exchange, Israel has agreed to temporarily halt annexations in the West Bank.
Reem Al Hashimy, Minister of State for International Cooperation, said the UAE continues to consider the issue of a Palestinian state as the most important one but without impeding opportunities for dialogue and open communication.
She said Abraham Accords was born from a “desire to change the business as usual approach” that has mired the countries of Middle East in conflict for long.
Even as the UAE continues to work for its own national agenda, Al Hashimi said the country is “really looking to learn from each other and also to explain to one another who we are and what matters to us”.
“And it does matter to the Arab and the Muslim world that a Palestinian state in its rightful place … exists.”
Ban Ki-Moon said it would be difficult to forge lasting peace without addressing the Palestinian question as well as issues like the final status of Jerusalem and West Bank settlement.
“To truly advance the vision of peace throughout the Middle East, we should not forget that the Palestinians must be involved in determining a future that is based on security and prosperity for all people in the region. I hope that Abraham Accords can function as a springboard for invigorated action on ensuring a negotiated two-state solution aligned with the relevant UN security council resolutions.”
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Anjana Sankar

Anjana Sankar is a UAE-based journalist chasing global stories of conflict, migration and human rights. She has reported from the frontlines of the wars in Yemen and Syria and has extensively written on the refugee crisis in Bangladesh, Iraq and Europe. From interviewing Daesh militants to embedding with the UAE army in Yemen, and covering earthquakes, floods, terrorist attacks and elections, she has come out scathe-free from the most dangerous conflict zones of the world. Riding on over 14 years of experience, Anjana currently is an Assistant Editor with Khaleej Times and leads the reporting team. She often speaks about women empowerment on her Facebook page that has 40,000 plus followers.

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