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Netanyahu vows Jews will stay ‘forever’ in Hebron



Israeli sovereignty and the future of Trump’s peace plan

“We are not strangers in Hebron, and we will stay here forever!” were the climactic remarks made on Wednesday by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during an official state ceremony at the Tomb of the Patriarchs and Matriarchs in Hebron commemorating the 90th anniversary of the 1929 Jewish massacre.

Netanyahu also said that he was proud that his government approved dozens of additional housing units last year for Jewish residents of the ancient city.

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin and Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein also visited Hebron on Wednesday, along with other government officials, to take part in the day-long memorial.

A statement released by the official leadership of the Jewish community in Hebron, noted that “for the first time in Israeli history, Israel’s prime minister, president and speaker of the Knesset arrived in Hebron on the same day.”

In August 1929, 67 Jews were murdered by an Arab lynch mob over the course of three days while their homes and synagogues were destroyed. The survivors were evacuated to Jerusalem, marking the first time in hundreds of years that Hebron was void of a Jewish presence.

The events unfolded following a blood libel started by Jerusalem Arabs, claiming that the Jews were preparing a takeover of the Temple Mount and a massacre of Arabs. In total, 133 Jews were murdered in riots in cities and towns throughout British-mandated Palestine.

Also read:  Last Jews in South Sudan finally arrive in Israel

Rivlin was the first to arrive at the event in Hebron, taking part in a symposium on the massacre in Hebron’s sister city of Kiryat Arba.

“Hebron’s Jewish community was present for many years prior to the massacre,” he said at the symposium. “There are those recent historians who rationalize that the 1929 massacre was aimed at the ‘Zionists’ and not at the Jewish people. They are twisting reality. The massacre was carried out against all the Jews … and only because they were Jews.”

Rivlin said that Hebron in 2019 is a “test of the ability of Jews and Arabs to coexist together.” While there, he visited the Cave of the Patriarchs.

Edelstein, at a memorial ceremony at the gravesite of the victims in the ancient Hebron Jewish cemetery, called for the application of Israeli sovereignty over the city. He said: “Ninety years after the 1929 massacre, we have to say clearly: “It’s time for Hebron! It’s time for sovereignty in Hebron! It is time for the Jewish community in Hebron to grow by the thousands! It’s time for a visit to the Cave of the Patriarchs to be the easiest, most comfortable, and most natural thing.”

Alongside Israeli Justice Minister Amir Ochana, he also took part in a small ritual affixing a mezuzah on a newly purchased building by the Jewish community called “The Machpela House” opposite the Cave of the Patriarchs.

In regard to the visit of the high-profile government officials, Yishai Fleisher, international spokesperson for the Jewish community in Hebron, said “we are very pleased to have the leaders of the government of Israel here today. And we’re saying to them, ‘Amazing that you are here today, amazing that you are recognizing, amazing that you are remembering! Let’s take that energy and build towards the future.’ ”



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U.S. strikes 2 targets in Syria in response to ‘continued attacks’



The U.S. military struck two facilities in eastern Syria used by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and Iran-affiliated groups in response to “continued attacks” against U.S. personnel in Iraq and Syria, the Pentagon said on Sunday.

The strikes were conducted against a training facility in Abu Kamal and a safe house in Mayadin in the eastern governorate of Deir Ezzor, U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said in a brief statement.

The U.S. struck similar targets in eastern Syria in October and earlier in November.

Pro-Iranian militias have intensified their attacks on U.S. military bases in Syria and Iraq in recent weeks as a response to the Israeli military campaign in Gaza.

The security situation in the entire region has been particularly tense since Oct. 7, when Hamas militants staged deadly attacks in southern Israel.

Israel is responding with an overwhelming air and ground offensive in Gaza.

As a deterrent, the U.S. has moved more weapons systems, warships and air squadrons to the Eastern Mediterranean, and is deploying several hundred troops to the Middle East to support US units there.

U.S. President Joe Biden had ordered Sunday’s action to make it clear that the U.S. was defending itself, its personnel, and its interests, Austin stressed.

The U.S. is prepared to take further necessary measures to protect its own people and interests.

  • dpa
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Russia writes off $23bn debt for Africa – Putin



Russia sends almost 12m tons of grain to Africa says Putin

…Pledges additional $90 million***

Vladimir Putin, the Russian President, says the Russian Government has written off $23 billion debt burden of African countries.

Putin spoke at the plenary session of the ongoing second Russia–Africa Summit 2023 held from July 27 to July 28.

He said Moscow would allocate an additional $90 million for these purposes.

Putin said Russia was advocating the expansion of representation of African countries in the UN Security Council and other UN structures.

“Russia and Africa strive to develop cooperation in all areas and strengthen ‘honest, open, constructive’ partnership.

“Russia will also assist in opening new African embassies and consulates in Russia,” he said.

According to him, the reopening of embassies in Burkina Faso and Equatorial Guinea is going as planned.

He said sovereignty was “not a one-time achieved state,” and it must be constantly protected.

Putin also offered assistance to Africa in countering threats such as terrorism, piracy, and transnational crimes adding that it would continue to train personnel from African countries.

He assured that Russian businesses have a lot to offer partners from Africa.

Putin said transition to national currencies and the establishment of transport and logistics chains would contribute to the increase in mutual trade turnover.

“Russia is ready to provide trade preferences to Africa, support the creation of modern production sectors, agricultural sector, and provide assistance through relevant international structures and agencies.

“Russia will always be a responsible international supplier of agricultural products,” he said.

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U.S. Coastguard Finds ‘debris field’ Near Missing Vessel



A “debris field” has been discovered within the search area for the missing Titan submersible, the U.S. Coastguard (USCG) said on Thursday.

The agency said a remotely-operated vehicle made the discovery near the wreckage of the Titanic on Thursday.

The hunt for the missing deep-sea vessel is still an “active search and rescue” mission after it lost communication on Sunday.

The vessel was about 700 kilometres south of St John’s, Newfoundland, during a voyage to the Titanic shipwreck off the coast of Canada.

Coastguard officials said they were “evaluating the information” following Thursday’s debris discovery.

A press conference will be held at the Coastguard base in Boston to “discuss the findings” at 8pm (1900 GMT).

Rear Admiral John Mauger, the first Coastguard district commander, and Captain Jamie Frederick, first Coastguard district response coordinator, will lead the press conference.

Founding member of the Board of Trustees of The Explorers Club, Hamish Harding, was on board the undersea craft, alongside UK-based businessman Shahzada Dawood, his son Suleman Dawood, and OceanGate’s chief executive and founder Stockton Rush, as well as French submersible pilot Paul-Henri Nargeolet.

The USCG said the ROV that made the discovery was from the Canadian Horizon Arctic ship – with the debris being found on the sea floor near the Titanic wreckage.

Assistance from the Royal Air Force (RAF) is due to arrive in St John’s on Thursday after it confirmed a request was received overnight for help with the movement of additional commercial equipment.

Two RAF planes, a C-17 Globemaster and A400 Atlas, departed RAF Lossiemouth in north-east Scotland on Thursday.

A British submariner and equipment from a UK firm have been sent to help the search at the request of the U.S. Coastguard, Downing Street said.

Royal Navy submariner Lieutenant Commander Richard Kantharia, who was on exchange with the U.S. Navy, has been seconded to the search and rescue team.

OceanGate Expeditions estimated the oxygen supply on the 6.7 metre-long vessel would last 96 hours, giving rescuers a deadline of around midday on Thursday.

Experts said the chances of finding the sub and rescuing those inside were diminishing.

Former Royal Navy submarine captain Ryan Ramsey told the PA news agency: “The outlook is bleak, that’s the only word for it as this tragic event unfolds and almost the closing stages of where this changes from rescue to a salvage mission.”

The Titan is believed to be about 900 miles east and 400 miles south of Newfoundland.

It is not known how deep the vessel is, with the seabed being around 3,800 metres from the surface. 

– dpa

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