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Black Magic

Israel claims more than 1,400 UN aid agency staff are members of Hamas or Palestinian Islamic Jihad

Yoav Gallant, the former IDF general
Yoav Gallant, the former IDF general, (pictured) told a group of reporters at a briefing on Friday that roughly 12% of UNRWA were members of at least one of the terror groups
Israel's defence minister claims that more than 1,400 staff from the UN aid agency in charge of helping Palestinian people are members of either Hamas or Palestinian Islamic Jihad.

Yoav Gallant, the former IDF general, told a group of reporters at a briefing on Friday that roughly 12% of UNRWA were members of at least one of the terror groups.

'Out of 13,000 UNRWA workers, 12 per cent are affiliated with Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ)', he said.

Star of David

Israel declares Brazil's president persona non grata

Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula Da Silva.
© Antonio Masiello/Getty ImagesBrazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula Da Silva.
West Jerusalem is outraged at Lula da Silva's Holocaust comments, while Brasilia has called the reaction "absurd".

The Israeli foreign minister has lashed out at the Brazilian president over the latter's remarks on the war in Gaza and the Holocaust.

According to Reuters, Israel Katz declared that Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva (Lula) was unwelcome in Israel after the Brazilian leader likened Israel's actions in Gaza to the genocide of Jews by the Nazis during World War II.

Katz said in a separate post on X (formerly Twitter) that he had summoned Brazil's ambassador and told him:
"We will not forget nor forgive. It is a serious antisemitic attack. In my name and the name of the citizens of Israel - tell President Lula that he is persona non grata in Israel until he takes it back."
In response, Lula's chief advisor, Celso Amorim, was quoted by the G1 news outlet as saying that declaring the president persona non grata is "absurd."

Brazil recalls ambassador from Israel

File photo: The Brazilian embassy in Tel Aviv, Israel.
© JACK GUEZ / AFPFile photo: The Brazilian embassy in Tel Aviv, Israel.
The move came amid a row over the Brazilian president's remarks about Gaza.

Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva on Monday asked his ambassador to Tel Aviv to return to Brasilia for consultations. The move came after Israel declared Lula "persona non grata" over his comments about Gaza.

The president was quoted by Brazilian media over the weekend as likening Israel's actions in Gaza to a time "when Hitler decided to kill the Jews," referring to the Holocaust during the Second World War.

Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz responded by summoning the Brazilian Ambassador Frederico Meyer for a protest - not to the ministry, but to the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial. There, Katz called Lula's words "a serious antisemitic attack" and showed Meyer the names of his own relatives killed by the Nazis.
"We will not forget nor forgive," Katz told Meyer, according to his post on X (formerly Twitter). "In my name and the name of the citizens of Israel - tell President Lula that he is persona non grata in Israel until he takes it back."
Lula has stood by his words, however, and ordered Meyer back to Brazil. The Brazilian embassy in Tel Aviv will be run by a charge d'affaires, which is a downgrade in diplomatic relations.

Lula's wife, Rosangela 'Janja' da Silva, defended her husband on Monday, saying his words "referred to the genocidal government and not to the Jewish people."
"I am proud of my husband who, since the beginning of this conflict in the Gaza Strip, has defended peace and especially the right to life of women and children, who are the majority of victims," Janja wrote on X. "I am sure that if President Lula had experienced the Second World War, he would have defended the Jews' right to life in the same way."
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu described Lula's comments as "crossing a red line." Netanyahu declared war on Hamas after deadly raids by the Palestinian group on October 7 last year, in which an estimated 1,200 Israelis died. Since then, more than 29,000 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza, most of them women and children. Much of the enclave has been reduced to rubble, while several members of Netanyahu's government have openly advocated expelling its two million inhabitants to Egypt.

The International Court of Justice asked Israel last month to refrain from actions that could be considered genocidal, following a complaint by South Africa under the Genocide Convention.


US admiral says Red Sea is largest battle Navy fought since World War II

US Navy USS Gravely
© Jains Laizans/ReutersUS Navy servicemen on board the missile destroyer USS Gravely. Global shipping giant Maersk is suspending operations in the Red Sea for 48 hours after the attack.
A US Navy admiral says the conflict against the Houthis in the Red Sea is one of the largest naval battles the US has fought in decades.

"I think you'd have to go back to World War II where you have ships who are engaged in combat," Vice Adm. Brad Cooper told the "60 Minutes" host Norah O'Donnell in an interview that aired Sunday.

"When I say engaged in combat, where they're getting shot at, we're getting shot at, and we're shooting back," he continued.

Comment: Indeed the burgeoning conflict is serious, however despite its rather poor performance thus far, the US is now maneuvering its Navy towards China: US to deploy 5 aircraft carriers in western Pacific in latest provocation against China

Star of David

Best of the Web: UN says that allegations of Israeli rape of Palestinian women and girls in prisons must be investigated

Reem Alsalem
© UN Photo/Rick BajornasReem Alsalem, Special Rapporteur on violence against women and girls, was among the human rights experts who issued the statement.
Alleged rights violations against Palestinian women and girls in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank must be investigated, a group of experts appointed by the UN Human Rights Council said on Monday.

Palestinian women and girls have reportedly been arbitrarily executed in Gaza, often together with family members, including their children, according to information they have received.

Killed while fleeing

Comment: Yet again, Israel has been accusing Hamas of crimes of which they are guilty of.

And, considering some of the sadistic and unfathomable imaginings Israel has concocted up in its propaganda against Hamas, one shudders to think of what other crimes against humanity Israel has committed, that it instead projected onto others, that has yet to come to light:


NATO troops disguised as mercenaries operating Ukraine air defense and tactical missiles - Russian General

ukraine air strike
© APFILE: Smoke rises from an air defense base in the aftermath of an apparent Russian strike in Mariupol, Ukraine, Thursday 24, 2022
Military personnel from NATO countries, under the guise of mercenaries, operate air defense systems, multiple launch rocket systems, and tactical missile systems in Ukraine, Colonel General Sergey Rudskoy, chief of the Main Operational Directorate of the Russian General Staff and First Deputy Chief of the General Staff, said in an interview with the Krasnaya Zvezda newspaper.

"NATO military personnel, under the guise of mercenaries, participate in hostilities. They control air defense systems, tactical missiles and multiple launch rocket systems, and are part of assault detachments," he said.

Comment: It's likely that Russia has had this information for a short while (at the least), and so one might ask whether there's a reason they're releasing the information now? Could it be partly related to Russia's recent win in Avdeevka, and the expected escalation of provocations from Europe?


African Union leaders condemn Israel's 'extermination' of Gazans, call for an end to the 'genocide'

african union
FILE - African heads of state attend the 37th Ordinary session of the Assembly of the African Union (AU) Summit at the AU headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, February 17, 2024.
Leaders at an African Union summit in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa have condemned Israel's offensive in Gaza and called for its immediate end.

Leaders at an African Union summit in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa on Saturday condemned Israel's offensive in Gaza and called for its immediate end.

Moussa Faki, the chair of the African Union Commission, said Israel's offensive was the "most flagrant" violation of international humanitarian law and accused Israel of having "exterminated" Gaza's inhabitants.

Comment: The multipolar world and its aspirants are setting themselves apart from the death merchants and, whilst there may be little that they can do now, at least they're seeing and calling them out for what they are:

Big Bomb

Israeli jets launch airstrikes in southern Lebanon amid deadliest cross-border clashes since 2006 war

The Israeli army carried out airstrikes in several areas in southern Lebanon on Monday amid cross-border attacks with Lebanese group Hezbollah.

A military statement said fighter jets struck Hezbollah infrastructure in the towns of Dhayra, Aitaroun, and Odaisseh. An airstrike also targeted a Hezbollah building in Ayta ash-Shab.

The attacks came shortly after Tel Aviv reported a drone attack in an open area in Lower Galilee.

Comment: It's perhaps no coincidence that, as Israel escalates its crimes against humanity and attempts to start fires elsewhere across the Middle East, the US and Europe are positioning themselves for increased provocations of their own elsewhere:

Star of David

U.N. court to hold hearings on legality of the occupation of Palestinian-claimed lands

Peace Palace International Court of Justice  World Court  The Hague
© Patrick Post / APA view of the Peace Palace, which houses the International Court of Justice, or World Court, in The Hague, Netherlands, on Jan. 26, 2024.
The United Nations' highest court opens historic hearings Monday into the legality of Israel's 57-year occupation of lands sought for a Palestinian state, plunging the 15 international judges back into the heart of the decades-long Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Six days of hearings are scheduled at the International Court of Justice, during which an unprecedented number of countries will participate, as Israel continues its devastating assault on Gaza.

Though the case occurs against the backdrop of the Israel-Hamas war, it focuses instead on Israel's open-ended occupation of the West Bank, Gaza and east Jerusalem.

Palestinian representatives, who speak first on Monday, will argue that the Israeli occupation is illegal because it has violated three key tenets of international law, the Palestinian legal team told reporters Wednesday.


Germany suffering 'irreversible' damage without Russian gas - Putin

Vladimir Putin
© Sputnik/Aleksandr RjuminRussian President Vladimir Putin meets with students and employees of industrial enterprises of Chelyabinsk region at the Stankomash industrial park in Chelyabinsk, Russia.
The German government's decision to switch from Russian gas to more expensive energy sources is having a negative effect on the country's economy, President Vladimir Putin has said. He added that Western leaders had apparently hoped that Moscow would fold quickly if shunned by the European market, but they miscalculated.

The EU's economic powerhouse had for years benefited from relatively cheap Russian energy, receiving up to 40% of its gas imports from the country. Following the start of Moscow's military operation against Kiev in February 2022, Berlin moved to radically reduce its dependence on Russian energy by importing LNG through European neighbors and boosting pipeline gas flows from Norway and the Netherlands.

Speaking on the economic situation in Germany in an interview with Russian media released on Sunday, Putin said: "Apparently, they were expecting that if they don't take our gas, we will fall apart faster than they face irreversible processes. But irreversible processes are effectively starting to happen."

According to the Russian president, "industries are moving to other countries, including the US, where more favorable conditions have been created, and where energy has proven cheaper." He added that "it's absolutely obvious" that the policies adopted by Chancellor Olaf Scholz's government are "dealing a colossal blow to the German economy's future."

Putin noted that Russia is not restricting gas exports to Europe - Germany and other nations are making that choice of their own accord.

Comment: With the 13th round of sanctions waiting in the wings, Putin's overall point of the EU hurting itself more than Russia with it's policies seems to have fallen on deaf ears.

Brick Wall

German FM says EU ready to hit Russia with new round of sanctions

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock
© Getty Images / Omer Messinger / StringerGerman Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock
The EU is set to adopt another round of sanctions on Russia which will affect the supply of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to the country, among other things, according to German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock.

The package is almost finalized, Baerbock said on Monday, ahead of a meeting with her counterparts in Brussels. EU foreign ministers are set to discuss the bloc's 13th round of sanctions before February 24, the second anniversary of the launch of Russia's military operation against Ukraine.

Hungary is the only EU state yet to approve the proposed restrictions, which would reportedly target 200 individuals and entities, mostly from Russia. According to media reports, citing European diplomats, the EU is planning for the first time to sanction companies in mainland China and in other countries including Türkiye, India, and Serbia, for helping Moscow circumvent sanctions by allegedly supplying it with components that can be repurposed for use in drones and other weapon systems.

China has reacted to reports that its firms could be blacklisted, saying it rejects "illegal sanctions," while vowing to protect the interests of Chinese companies.

Budapest refused to sign off on the new sanctions package during the bloc's ambassadors meeting last week, as it opposes restrictions on the Chinese firms included, media outlets report.

Comment: 13 is a lucky number. Maybe they'll work this time?