PLO official: Israel has ‘destroyed 2-state solution’

Dr. Hanan Ashrawi
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Updated 20 May 2020

PLO official: Israel has ‘destroyed 2-state solution’

  • Hanan Ashrawi has blamed international inaction for ‘reign of terror’ over Palestinians

LONDON: Israeli expansionism and colonialism have “effectively destroyed the two-state solution,” Dr. Hanan Ashrawi, a member of the executive committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), said on Tuesday during a webinar attended by Arab News.
Israeli settlers have created “a reign of terror in the West Bank” under an “apartheid” system, she said during the webinar, hosted by the Council for Arab-British Understanding, and titled “Stopping annexation and ending occupation — the role of the international community.”
Settlers are “destroying olive trees and stealing crops,” as well as “terrorizing helpless Palestinian peasants and farmers, quite often with the help and collusion of the Israeli army, not as individuals who are out of control, but as part of a systematic process,” she added.
The Israelis “hold the Palestinians responsible for the safety of their occupiers, for the safety of the soldiers, for the safety of the settlers,” Ashrawi said.
“Should anybody be injured in any way, then we’re all labeled terrorists. At the same time, Israel is given a green light to shoot, to demolish homes, and to steal land and more resources, without any kind of intervention.”
Ashrawi holds the international community responsible for Israel’s settlement enterprise on occupied Palestinian land, which is illegal under international law.
“If you’re unable to stop this, what’s the point of negotiations? To be used only as a tool, as an instrument of an ongoing expansionist program in Israel and really maintaining control over Palestinian people, and the land, and resources, and our future, and our borders, and our airspace and our territorial waters — what’s the point?” she asked.
“When will the EU, when will individual countries, regain some sort of political will, but also — I don’t want to insult anyone — some backbone?”
Settlements “are a war crime according to the Rome Statute of the ICC (International Criminal Court),” Ashrawi said.
“There are many war crimes that are committed but that Israel has gotten away with. So if you say there’s a price to be paid, don’t wait until the deed is done and try to do damage control.”
She urged the international community to stop Israel’s plans to annex swathes of Palestinian territory, its imposition of its laws in the West Bank, its “isolation of Jerusalem” and its “ethnic cleansing.”
The international community, she added, should act not just with “a statement or a declaration,” but “with clear consequences.” Ashrawi said social media is raising public awareness about Israeli atrocities against the Palestinians.
“I think there’s a growing awareness globally among public opinion. They know what’s happening now. You can’t do things in the dark the way they were done in 1948 (when Israel was created).”

Court testimony claims Turkish general killed after discovering Qatar extremist funding

Updated 04 August 2020

Court testimony claims Turkish general killed after discovering Qatar extremist funding

  • Explosive courtroom transcript says Brig. Gen. Semih Terzi was killed because he knew too much about Turkish general's murky dealings in Syria
  • Turkish officials accused of embezzling money sent from Qatar to arm Syrian militants

LONDON: A Turkish general killed during a failed coup was executed after he found out Qatar was funneling money to extremist groups in Syria through Turkey, according to explosive courtroom claims.

Brig. Gen. Semih Terzi was shot dead in July 2016 during an attempt by some military officers to overthrow the government of Recip Tayyip Erdogan. The alleged plotters were accused of being followers of the exiled cleric Fethullah Gulen.

According to a courtroom transcript obtained by the anti-Erdogan Nordic Monitor website, Terzi’s killing was ordered by Lt. Gen. Zekai Aksakalli, the then head of Turkey’s Special Forces Command.

The website claims the testimony came from Col. Firat Alakus, who worked in the intelligence section of the Special Forces Command, during a hearing at the 17th High Criminal Court in Ankara in March, 2019.

Alakus said Terzi had discovered that Aksakalli was working secretly with the Turkish intelligence agency (MIT) in running illegal operations in Syria for personal gain.

“[Terzi] knew how much of the funding delivered [to Turkey] by Qatar for the purpose of purchasing weapons and ammunition for the opposition was actually used for that and how much of it was actually used by public officials, how much was embezzled,” Alakus said. 

He added that Terzi’s knowledge of Aksakalli’s murky dealings was the real reason Aksakalli ordered his execution.

Terzi was killed after Aksakalli ordered him back to Ankara from a border province as the failed coup attempt unfolded, Alakus said.

Other accounts say Terzi was one of the main coup plotters and was killed leading an attempt to capture the special forces headquarters in the capital.

Along with the Qatari claim, Alakus said Terzi also knew the details of Turkey’s involvement in oil smuggling from Syria and how government officials aided extremist militant commanders.

He also objected to Turkish intelligence supplying weapons and training to extremist Syrian factions who were passed off as moderate opposition fighters.

“[Terzi’s murder] had to do with a trap devised by Zekai Aksakalli, who did not want such facts to come out into the open,” Alakus said.

Alakus was jailed for life in June 2019 after being convicted for taking part in the coup.