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October 24, 2016 / 22 Tishri, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘United Nations’

Obama, Netanyahu Exchange Thoughts About Peace at Final Meeting

Wednesday, September 21st, 2016

U.S. President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu exchanged brief but courteous remarks Tuesday afternoon at their final meeting before Obama leaves office next January.

The two men met at the Palace Hotel in New York City, on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly where Obama has already delivered his final address, and where Netanyahu is still expected to speak.

It’s the 17th time the two men have held any conversation since Obama entered office in January 2009, at least a couple less than Obama’s predecessor in the White House had with Israeli leaders during his tenure.

Netanyahu first thanked Obama — as he told media he would — for the $34 billion 10-year U.S. military aid package signed last week with Israel.

Israel will never give up on its attempts to reach a comprehensive peace with its neighbors, he told the American president.

He also said Obama will always be a welcome guest in Israel, and invited him to come and visit after he leaves office.

The U.S. president began his response by saying his thoughts are with former president Shimon Peres, who is still sedated and breathing with the aid of a respirator in the intensive care unit at Chaim Sheba Medical Center in Ramat Gan, near Tel Aviv following a major stroke last week.

Obama then verified that the bond between Israel and the United States is “unbreakable,” and based on “common values.” The United States wants Israel to be secure, Obama said, especially in times of uncertainty.

He therefore could not resist adding his hope that the possibility of a “Palestinian state alongside Israel” would remain alive: specifically, an Israel “at peace with its neighbors and a Palestinian homeland.”

Obama also said he hopes he will hear more about this from Netanyahu when he delivers his speech from the podium of the UN General Assembly.

Obama’s biggest concern regarding Israel clearly remains the issue of “settlement activity” on any land where the Palestinian Authority has laid claim for its hoped-for state, regardless of its actual status.

Hana Levi Julian

Obama: Israel Recognizes It Cannot Settle Palestinian Land

Tuesday, September 20th, 2016

U.S. President Barack Obama offered one-line solutions to nations around the world Tuesday during his speech at the United Nations General Assembly.

Speaking of the decades-old dispute between Israel and the Palestinian Authority that evaded even Obama’s two-term attempts at peace-making, the American president offered this view:

“Surely Israelis and Palestinians will be better off if Palestinians reject incitement and recognize the legitimacy of Israel, but Israel recognizes that it cannot permanently occupy and settle Palestinian land.”

He had a lot to say about events in the Middle East in general:

“Just as force alone cannot impose order internationally, I believe in my core that repression cannot forge the social cohesion for nations to succeed.  The history of the last two decades proves that in today’s world, dictatorships are unstable.  The strongmen of today become the spark of revolution tomorrow.  You can jail your opponents but you can’t imprison ideas. You can try to control access to information but you cannot turn a lie into truth.”

He also had a great deal to say specifically about Syria, about the formation and evolution of Da’esh (ISIS) and the issue of radical Islamist terror, which he continued to refuse to label as such.

“We know that ISIL … depends on perpetual war to survive … Part of our job together is to work to reject such extremism that infects too many of our young people. Part of that effort must be a continued rejection by Muslims, of those who distort Islam, to preach intolerance and promote violence. It must also involve a rejection by non-Muslims of the ignorance that equates Islam with terror. This work will take time. There are no easy answers to Syria.”

Ultimately, he said, nations need to work together to prevent mass killings and torture.

“We also have to recognize that we must work more effectively in the future as an international community, to build capacity for states that are in distress, before they collapse.

“That’s why we should celebrate the fact that later today the United States will join with more than 50 countries to enlist new capabilities, infantry, intelligence, helicopters, hospitals, and tens of thousands of troops to strengthen United Nations peacekeepers.

These new capabilities can prevent mass killings and ensure that peace agreements are more than words on paper. But we have to do it together…. to establish security where order has broken down, and to support those who seek a just and lasting peace.”

Hana Levi Julian

UN Special Envoy ‘Disturbed’ by Spike in Violence, Warns Israel and Palestinian Authority Alike

Monday, September 19th, 2016

United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Nicolay Mladenov has called on Israelis and Arabs from the Palestinian Authority to “preserve calm” and “avoid escalation” in the recent wave of terror.

Unsurprisingly, Mladenov has drawn a moral equivalency between the attackers and the attackees.

“I reiterate the United Nations position that there can be no justification for terrorism and violence,” Mladenov stated. “I call upon authorities on both sides to take measures to preserve calm and avoid escalation, especially during the upcoming period of the Jewish High Holy Days.”

He added that he was “disturbed by the recent violence over the past week,” as well he might be. Certainly, most Israelis are: more than a couple of Israeli police officers are in hospitals with stab wounds, including a few women.

Mladenov drew a parallel between Israel and the Palestinian Authority without noting that if Israelis were not being attacked, Israeli defense forces would have no reason to respond in kind.

True, there is no justification for terrorism and violence. Absolutely correct. But what do the Israelis have to do with it? This is another case of pointing the knife in the wrong direction, especially with the approach of the holiest days on the Jewish calendar. Even a Jew has the right to life; self-defense is a G-d given privilege that no one can take away, including the United Nations.

Hana Levi Julian

UN Report on Failed Gaza, PA Governments: It’s All Israel’s Fault

Monday, September 5th, 2016

If a visitor from outer space were to read the new Report of the “United Nations Conference on Trade and Development assistance to the Palestinian people: Developments in the economy of the Occupied Palestinian Territory” to be issued Tuesday, they would have walked away with an image of a nation of industrious, democratic, peace-loving people named the “Palestinians” who are intentionally and on a daily basis prevented from thriving and achieving the economic success they so richly deserve by a cruel and capricious Israeli occupation that sets out to torpedo every shred of goodness those peaceful folks manage to sustain.

This horrifying image is only enhanced by the fact that this report comes from the principal organ of the UN General Assembly dealing with trade, investment, and development issues. The organization’s goals are to: “maximize the trade, investment and development opportunities of developing countries and assist them in their efforts to integrate into the world economy on an equitable basis.”

With that in mind, here is the opening paragraph of the Executive summary of the UNCTAD report, meaning the gist of whatever else comes below:

“In 2015, Israel withheld Palestinian fiscal revenue for four months, donor aid declined and Israeli settlements continued to expand into the Occupied Palestinian Territory, while poverty and unemployment remained high. The Occupied Palestinian Territory continued to be a captive market for exports from Israel, while occupation neutralized the potential development impact of donor aid. Genuine reconstruction has yet to take off in the Gaza Strip despite $3.5 billion in donor pledges. Gaza’s socioeconomic conditions worsened and the infant mortality rate increased for the first time in 50 years.”

It’s an executive summary, so one cannot argue that so many of these assertions are being lumped together out of context. And yet, for a report that should provide an overview of the economic and social situation in the PA and Gaza to cite the withholding of revenues without mentioning that Israel was forced to freeze those funds after the PA had accumulated half a billion dollars in unpaid electric bills; and for the same executive summary to make the construction of a smattering of Jewish apartment units as a top-level cause for Arab decline — signals the point of view and general inclination of the authors.

You’re welcome to read the entire report if you wish. We went looking for those items that best reflect how the report turns facts and figures on their head to come up with the preconceived conclusion: it’s all the fault of the Israeli occupation, and once Israel is out of the picture you’ll see how those Palestinians will become Switzerland of the Middle East.

UN Blames Israel for Unemployment

Take, for instance, item 5, dealing with Arab unemployment. In 2015, the unemployment rate in the “Occupied Palestinian Territory” was 26%, compared with 12% in 1999.

What happened in 1999? Well, for some unknown reason, there was an Israeli “tightening of restrictions on movement and access of Palestinian labor and goods.”

What a capricious, wicked nation those Israelis must be. Of course, 1999-2000 marked the eruption of the second intifada, which made the current plague of shooting, stabbing, car ramming and stone and firebomb throwing look like a day at the fair. Israeli employers were done with hiring Arabs from the PA and Gaza who would turn on them one morning and slash their throat, thank you very much. Israel imported foreign labor from Asia, and other migrants started cutting through the border illegally in the Sinai, and the Arabs were pushed out of the Israeli labor market. God is in the context.

UN Blames Israel for PA Arabs Wanting to Work for Israelis

Next, the report offers a blatant lie (Item 6): “Lack of employment opportunities in the domestic economy forces thousands of unemployed Palestinians to seek employment in Israel and in settlements in low-skill, low-wage manual activities.”

The reality is that those “lowly” jobs in Israel pay three times what the average job pays inside the PA, and if Israel only issued more work permits, those PA Arabs would have gladly abandoned their lousy jobs in Ramallah and Shechem and flooded Israel’s construction sites.

But the report is unhappy with the fact that as many as 12% of the PA Arabs find decent employment in Israel, because, let’s face it, “this forced dependence on employment in Israel and in settlements magnifies the vulnerability of the Palestinian economy to political shocks, as Israel can at any time bar Palestinian workers, even those with Israeli permits, from entering Israel and settlements.”

On that assertion, there is one surefire way to make sure Israel would never, ever bar those workers and take away their permits: if Arabs from the PA not start shooting, stabbing, car ramming and stone and firebomb throwing. It’s a scientific correlation, proven by 50 years of Israeli presence in Judea, Samaria and Gaza: Arab violence leads to Arab poverty; Arab civility leads to Arab prosperity. It’s such a simple message, one must attend many anti-Semitic incitement sessions at one’s local mosque to be able to ignore it.

Israel’s Response to Arab Terror and Illegal Construction Harms the PA Economy

Here’s Item 9, which does not belong in an economic report, because it covers a negligible issue in terms of costs to the Arab economy, but it’s there to make a political point, and tell another lie: “In April 2016, the Secretary-General of the United Nations advised the Security Council that demolition of Palestinian homes and businesses in the West Bank was continuing at an alarming rate.” How alarming? “By early April, the number of Palestinian structures demolished had exceeded the total of those destroyed in 2015, displacing 840 people.”

Israel demolishes Arab homes in Area C for two reasons: illegal construction, and participation of one of the occupants in a terror attack. In terms of numbers, the vast majority of the structures are destroyed for lack of building permits. Israel is the recognized sovereign in Area C, according to the Oslo accords, and you can’t defy the sovereign power by building whatever and wherever you want. But Israel also demolishes Jewish structures in Area C, for a variety of legally contested issues, a fact that is completely ignored by the report which prefers to repeat the mantra that Israel demolished those Arab homes “while accelerated settlement activity created facts on the ground.”

Now, what was the economic effect of those 840 demolitions on the PA, whose citizens reside in Areas A and B? Probably negligible, but a point scored is a point earned.

In Item 14, UNCTAD supports the World Bank’s assessment of a problem they named “the Palestinian fiscal leakage.” What it means is that while the Arab earnings are meager and sub-standard in the PA, the PA Arabs working in Israel make triple those wages and get to keep a lot more after taxes, some of which Israel transfers to Ramallah. But the World Bank and now the UNCTAD want those PA laborers in Israel to pay higher taxes, which would go to their government. Indeed, Israel has promised to collect and transfer to Ramallah “$128 million to cover some of the losses accumulated over the years by the Authority.” That money, as the Israeli Finance Ministry explained to the Knesset Finance Committee this summer, will be coming out of the wages of PA Arabs working in Israel.

UN Blames Israel for Gaza’s Internal Problems

Now we get to what the report names, “Slow reconstruction in Gaza and disregard for the productive base.”

It has been documented by every major news outlet and at least two recent court cases in Israel that Hamas has completely usurped the $3.5 billion in donations for the digging of new terror tunnels and for rebuilding Hamas leaders’ homes destroyed in the 2014 war. It is also understood by most rational people in the world that as long as the Gaza Strip is governed by a terrorist organization whose major stated aim is to destroy the Jewish State, Israel has no choice but to impose a blockade on the free flow of goods into Gaza, because those goods would inevitably be used to prepare for the next attack on Israel.

Not on planet UNCTAD.

Item 22 states without benefit of context or recognition of regional realities: “Israel’s blockade of Gaza, in its ninth year, continues to exert a heavy toll. The population of Gaza is locked in, denied access to the West Bank and the rest of the world. … The blockade has affected Gaza’s once vibrant export sector.” Ah, those capricious Israelis and their obsession with not getting killed.

UN Report Straight Out Lies

The same item adds a nasty line: “Even people in need of medical treatment are not allowed to travel to obtain essential health care.” The author of this blatant lie should come visit Israeli hospitals in Ashkelon, Ashdod and Beer Sheva, where Gazan patients are a regular feature, including family members of top Hamas officials.

Israel Refuses to Be Annihilated

Item 23 is also about Israel’s refusal to be annihilated: “A prominent element of Israel’s restrictions on Palestinian productive activities is the dual-use list, which prohibits the importation of civilian goods deemed by Israel as potentially having other, harmful uses. The list includes essential factors of production, raw materials, agricultural fertilizers, telecommunications equipment, steel, pipes, spare parts and other capital goods.”

Yes, because Hamas engineers have skillfully turned all those highly useful items into highly murderous weapons.

The same item complains that “recently, more items have been added to the list, and the thickness of wood classified as dual-use has been reduced from 5 to 3 cm, then to 1 cm. This has far-reaching implications for Gaza’s furniture industry, among other harmful effects. Enforcement of the stringent dual-use restrictions obstructs reconstruction efforts, raises production costs and forces Palestinian firms out of business.”

Again, let Hamas officially abandon its murderous designs on Israel, let it sign a document recognizing Israel’s right to exist and watch how the Gaza Strip becomes paradise in a month. The fact is, with the right investments and without the Islamic extremists’ threat, Gaza could become as pretty and as prosperous as Sad Diego. Parts of it already are, even today.

UN Blames Israel for Gaza’s Now Rising Infant Mortality Rate

Item 25 is a tour de force of convoluted logic: “A shocking indicator of the grim situation in Gaza is the rising infant mortality rate, one of the best indicators for the health of a community. Infant mortality has risen for the first time in 50 years. The rate of neonatal mortality has also risen significantly, from 12 per 1,000 live births in 2008 to 20.3 in 2013.”

The sad truth is that Israel was investing in Judea and Samaria and Gaza infrastructure and social services to the point where they exceeded the standards in all other Arab countries. It is safe to say that had Israel continued to run those territories, today they would have been its equal in terms of social services and levels of income.

The relatively low baby mortality cited for Gaza in 2008 did not appear out of thin air — Israel, that hated occupier, pushed it on with heavy investments and years of government effort. The progressive decline in both parts of the Arab-run territories is not the result of “the occupation,” but of the utter failure of local Arab governments to manage modern state systems. We can illustrate this point:

On June 16, 1994, the Israeli Civil Administration in the Territories issued a report comparing the state of the Arab infrastructure in Judea, Samaria and Gaza in 1970 with 1990. According to that report, in 1970 Gaza had 3 community clinics. In 1990 there were 28. Each of the Israeli built Community Clinics in the Gaza Strip offered mother and child health services, family care units, and pharmacies. Several of the centers offered 24-hour a day delivery units and emergency services, and minor x-ray units.

Major renovations and/or additions were made to almost every hospital in Judea, Samaria, and Gaza since 1967. Thus, for example, Rafidiah Hospital in Shechem received a radiology center in 1987 and an out-patient department in 1988. Wattani Hospital in Shechem received an intensive care unit in 1987. Ramallah Hospital received a diagnostic radiology center in 1987 and a neo-natal and premature intensive care unit in 1986. Beit Jala Hospital received a radiology center in 1987. Hebron Hospital received an outpatient and laboratory wing in 1988. The Bethlehem Mental Hospital received a chronic care department for male patients in 1986. The dialysis department at Shifa Hospital in Gaza City was completely renovated in 1989. Khan Yunis Hospital’s surgical suite was refurbished in 1987. The Opthalmic Hospital in Gaza City was renovated and re-equipped in 1989.

And infant mortality in Gaza declined from approximately 85 deaths per 1,000 live births in 1968 to 26.1 in 1990. In Judea and Samaria, infant mortality declined from approximately 35 deaths per 1,000 live births in 1968, to 18.1 in 1991.

For comparison, in 1991 deaths per 1,000 births in Libya stood at 62, Egypt 82, Turkey 54, Iraq 66, Syria 37, Tunisia 38, Jordan 38, Lebanon 50 and Saudi Arabia 69.

Together with the decline in infant mortality, great progress was made by Israel in controlling and eliminating major childhood diseases, due mainly to immunization programs instituted since 1967. Twelve nursing schools, two of which offer BA degree programs were opened between 1971 and 1991. The numbers of both doctors and nurses more than doubled from 1967 to 1991.

Voluntary health insurance plans which were unavailable before 1967 were first offered in Judea and Samaria in 1973, and in Gaza in 1976. In 1978, a new comprehensive plan was introduced; it was automatically applied to Civil Administration workers and to area residents working in Israel and was offered to all other area residents on a voluntary basis.

Israel greatly improved and expanded sewage treatment facilities in the liberated areas. Before 1967, there were no sewage treatment plants in Judea and Samaria. Since 1967, modern installations were built in Jenin (1971), Tulkarem (1972), Ramallah (1979), and Kalkilya (1986). The first stage of the Hebron sewage treatment plant was completed in 1991. In Gaza, sewage was managed through local septic tanks. Since 1967, treatment facilities were improved and/or constructed in Gaza City, Khan Yunis, Jabalya, Rafiah, and the Shati refugee camp. Routine testing of sewage for various enteric bacteria was begun in 1981.

Judea and Samaria were recognized as malaria-free areas in 1971.

UN Report Blames Israel for Palestinian Authority’s Failure in Self-Government 

Item 37 in the UNCTAD report unwittingly makes this point: “Palestinian economic indicators have deteriorated in the last two decades, with serious ramifications for the welfare of the Palestinian people. In 1995-2014, the population grew by 3.6 per cent annually, while real GDP per capita grew by only 1 per cent. In addition, productivity failed to grow and unemployment increased by 9 percentage points to 27%.”

What else happened between 1994 and 2014?

Yes, governing of Judea, Samaria and Gaza was handed over to the local Arab leadership, which proceeded to mess things up while inciting to violence against the only country on earth that actually took the trouble to help them. With numbers like these, and the report heaps them in multicolored tables, the Arab record of self-government is nothing short of abysmal.

Naturally, UN reports that tell the world these failed regimes aren’t to blame, it’s all Israel’s fault, are not helping anyone, least of all the local Arabs who by now are telling survey takers openly they would rather live under Israeli rule or escape to Canada, whichever comes first.


Peres Interrupts Busy Schedule to Receive Pace Maker

Monday, September 5th, 2016

Former president Shimon Peres is expected to undergo surgery to implant a pace maker Monday. Peres, 93, who suffered a mild heart attack three months ago, which was followed with catheterization, will undergo the procedure at Sheba Medical Center near Tel Aviv, with partial anesthesia.

Peres continued his full schedule prior to Monday’s procedure and over the weekend participated in an economic conference on Lake Como, Italy, where he shared a panel with Saudi Prince Turki al-Faisal and Wu Hongbo, Under-Secretary-General of the UN. They discussed for two and a half days global risks and their impact on business, as well as the future of the Euro. Prince Al-Faisal, a member of the Saudi royal family, talked about political risks in the Arab region.

A few years ago, Prince Al Faisal told the Daily Mail that Saudi Arabia may have to arm itself with nuclear weapons to counter threats from Iran and Israel. In 1956, Shimon Peres, in his role as Director-General of the Ministry of Defense, was responsible for acquiring a French nuclear reactor that launched Israel’s atomic program.

Small world.

Incidentally, last January, when the former president was rushed to Sheba Medical Center after complaining of chest pains, he had to cancel one of the items on his busy schedule: a visit to the Soreq Nuclear Research Center.


Aussie FM: Bilateral Ties Based on Common Values

Monday, September 5th, 2016

By Michael Zeff/TPS

Jerusalem (TPS) – Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop arrived in Jerusalem on Sunday for a three-day state visit to Israel. In her first round of meetings with Israel’s prime minister, president, and defense minister, Bishop stressed Australia’s continued commitment to the State of Israel.

“I want to take this opportunity to reaffirm our absolute enduring commitment to the State of Israel and our friendship,” Foreign Minister Bishop told Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

In addition, Bishop extended an official invitation to Netanyahu to visit Australia. “The Australian public would warmly embrace you, welcome you, and we would look forward to the first visit of an Israeli prime minister ever to Australia,” she told the Israeli prime minister.

The current Australian government under Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull was inaugurated in July, 2016 and is considered very friendly to Israel. Foreign Minister Bishop publicly stated two years ago that the international community has no place to decide which Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria are legal and which ones are not.

“The Australian government is one of the most pro-Israel governments there has been and continues to be,” Isi Leibler, a former leader of the Australian Jewish community and a Jerusalem Post columnist told Tazpit Press Service (TPS). “There will be no threat to Israeli-Australian relations as a whole as long as this government stays is power.”

In a joint press conference with President Reuven Rivlin, Bishop said the trip is an opportunity for her to ensure that the relationship between Australia and Israel is not taken for granted. “It will continue to be nurtured by both sides and it will continue to flourish based on common values,” she said.

Following Bishop’s meeting with Netanyahu and Rivlin, she continued to hold a private meeting with Defense Minister Liberman. According to an Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesperson, the two ministers discussed further bilateral cooperation in various fields behind closed doors.

“Foreign Minister Liberman thanked Foreign Minister Bishop for the part Australian soldiers play in the United Nations’ observer forces in the Sinai Peninsula and the Golan Heights. The two ministers met several times in the past during Liberman’s tenure as foreign minister and they have a good existing relationship, which continues today,” said Tzachi Moshe, a spokesman for Liberman.

In the next two days, Bishop will visit Tel Aviv to inspect several high-tech innovation hubs including “Landing Pad,” which is helping Australian entrepreneurs tap into Israel’s science and research industry. She is also scheduled to visit Ramallah and meet with the leaders of the Palestinian Authority.

“I hope she will tell the Palestinians that Australia will remain behind Israel and also that they should endeavor to get their act together for any potential negotiating future,” Isi Leibler told TPS.

TPS / Tazpit News Agency

Liberman Cites International Pressure over Arab Squaterville in Area C

Friday, September 2nd, 2016

Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman on Thursday sat with schoolchildren in the Jewish community of Susiya in south Mt. Hebron, next door to which a squatter Arab community has emerged recently, in an obvious attempt to challenge Israeli sovereignty over Area C of Judea and Samaria. Liberman told the children the encroachment by the residents of Yata Village to the lands near Susiya was not an accident, but a planned effort to physically separate the new community of Susiya and the historic synagogue on the nearby archeological site.

Susiya is a legitimate archaeological site in the southern Judean Mountains that bears the archaeological remains of a 5th century CE enormous synagogue, one of the largest and most magnificent ever discovered, which was turned into a mosque by the Arab invaders in the 8th century.

“Are you familiar with the archeological site of Susiya?” Liberman asked, and continued, “One day all kinds of illegal buildings started popping there, supported by foreign countries. And why did they pop there? On purpose, to divide between the community of Susiya and the historic Susiya.”

Liberman revealed that he had been under “pressure from all over the world” not to apply the demolition order handed out more than once by the Supreme Court. “The European Union, the US — they all discovered Susiya. Suddenly the United Nations Security Council is also interested in Susiya.” He promised the children he would obey the law and carry out the demolitions. “The free world is preaching especially for this to be a country of laws, and we must honor our judiciary system,” he said, with a hint of sarcasm.

UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Nickolay Mladenov told the Security Council that the demolitions of illegal Arab construction in Area C, which is under full Israeli control, violate the recommendations of the so-called Middle East Quartet, comprising the US, Russia, the EU and the UN, on the way forward in the peace process.

Liberman attacked the Europeans and the Americans who demand that Israel ignore the Supreme Court ruling to demolish Susiya, but to enforce the same court’s ruling on demolishing the Jewish Amona community in northern Samaria. “We are a country of laws,” he said, and we will honor ourselves and our laws, regarding Amona, E1 (the area connecting Jerusalema nd Ma’ale Adumim), and Susiya,” he clarified.

Liberman called on the residents of Amona to embrace the compromise being offered by the government, and moved to the promised homes to be built near their community. “I say to the residents of Amona, there’s a ruling of the high court and we will obey it. If anyone is delusing themselves that we won’t, it’s not going to happen. Whatever the court permits we will do. That’s why we offered many alternatives, and I hope we’ll find one the Amona residents will also accept.”

David Israel

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/liberman-cites-international-pressure-over-arab-squaterville-in-area-c/2016/09/02/

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