New York Subways at the Sixth Seal (Revelation 6)

       How vulnerable are NYC’s underwater subway tunnels to flooding?Ashley Fetters
New York City is full of peculiar phenomena—rickety fire escapes; 100-year-old subway tunnelsair conditioners propped perilously into window frames—that can strike fear into the heart of even the toughest city denizen. But should they? Every month, writer Ashley Fetters will be exploring—and debunking—these New York-specific fears, letting you know what you should actually worry about, and what anxieties you can simply let slip away.
The 25-minute subway commute from Crown Heights to the Financial District on the 2/3 line is, in my experience, a surprisingly peaceful start to the workday—save for one 3,100-foot stretch between the Clark Street and Wall Street stations, where for three minutes I sit wondering what the probability is that I will soon die a torturous, claustrophobic drowning death right here in this subway car.
The Clark Street Tunnel, opened in 1916, is one of approximately a dozen tunnels that escort MTA passengers from one borough to the next underwater—and just about all of them, with the exception of the 1989 addition of the 63rd Street F train tunnel, were constructed between 1900 and 1936.
Each day, thousands of New Yorkers venture across the East River and back again through these tubes buried deep in the riverbed, some of which are nearing or even past their 100th birthdays. Are they wrong to ponder their own mortality while picturing one of these watery catacombs suddenly springing a leak?
Mostly yes, they are, says Michael Horodniceanu, the former president of MTA Capital Construction and current principal of Urban Advisory Group. First, it’s important to remember that the subway tunnel is built under the riverbed, not just in the river—so what immediately surrounds the tunnel isn’t water but some 25 feet of soil. “There’s a lot of dirt on top of it,” Horodniceanu says. “It’s well into the bed of the bottom of the channel.”
And second, as Angus Kress Gillespie, author of Crossing Under the Hudson: The Story of the Holland and Lincoln Tunnels, points out, New York’s underwater subway tunnels are designed to withstand some leaking. And withstand it they do: Pumps placed below the floor of the tunnel, he says, are always running, always diverting water seepage into the sewers. (Horodniceanu says the amount of water these pumps divert into the sewer system each day numbers in the thousands of gallons.)
Additionally, MTA crews routinely repair the grouting and caulking, and often inject a substance into the walls that creates a waterproof membrane outside the tunnel—which keeps water out of the tunnel and relieves any water pressure acting on its walls. New tunnels, Horodniceanu points out, are even built with an outside waterproofing membrane that works like an umbrella: Water goes around it, it falls to the sides, and then it gets channeled into a pumping station and pumped out.
Of course, the classic New York nightmare scenario isn’t just a cute little trickle finding its way in. The anxiety daydream usually involves something sinister, or seismic. The good news, however, is that while an earthquake or explosion would indeed be bad for many reasons, it likely wouldn’t result in the frantic flooding horror scene that plays out in some commuters’ imaginations.
The Montague Tube, which sustained severe damage during Hurricane Sandy.
MTA New York City Transit / Marc A. Hermann
Horodniceanu assures me that tunnels built more recently are “built to withstand a seismic event.” The older tunnels, however—like, um, the Clark Street Tunnel—“were not seismically retrofitted, let me put it that way,” Horodniceanu says. “But the way they were built is in such a way that I do not believe an earthquake would affect them.” They aren’t deep enough in the ground, anyway, he says, to be too intensely affected by a seismic event. (The MTA did not respond to a request for comment.)
One of the only real threats to tunnel infrastructure, Horodniceanu adds, is extreme weather. Hurricane Sandy, for example, caused flooding in the tunnels, which “created problems with the infrastructure.” He continues, “The tunnels have to be rebuilt as a result of saltwater corroding the infrastructure.”
Still, he points out, hurricanes don’t exactly happen with no warning. So while Hurricane Sandy did cause major trauma to the tunnels, train traffic could be stopped with ample time to keep passengers out of harm’s way. In 2012, Governor Andrew Cuomo directed all the MTA’s mass transit services to shut down at 7 p.m. the night before Hurricane Sandy was expected to hit New York City.
And Gillespie, for his part, doubts even an explosion would result in sudden, dangerous flooding. A subway tunnel is not a closed system, he points out; it’s like a pipe that’s open at both ends. “The force of a blast would go forwards and backwards out the exit,” he says.
So the subway-train version of that terrifying Holland Tunnel flood scene in Sylvester Stallone’s Daylight is … unrealistic, right?
“Yeah,” Gillespie laughs. “Yeah. It is.”
Got a weird New York anxiety that you want explored? E-mail, and we may include it in a future column.

Hamas threatens renewed ‘escalation’ outside the Temple Walls: Revelation 11

Fighters in Hamas's military wing take part in a memorial service for a member of the Islamist terror group, in the southern Gaza city of Rafah, November 15, 2021. (Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash90)

Hamas threatens renewed ‘escalation’ with Israel, slams Egypt over Gaza role

‘We will not allow the current situation to continue,’ source in terror group warns, citing blockade and ‘delay in rehabilitating the Strip’

By TOI staff6 Dec 2021, 9:16 pm

A senior Hamas source on Monday said his terror group was weighing a renewal of violence against Israel in Gaza, while lashing out at Egypt over its role as mediator between the sides.

“We are considering options for an escalation with Israel in light of the continued siege of Gaza and the delay in rehabilitating the Strip,” the unnamed source told Al Jazeera. “We will not allow the current situation to continue and the next phase will prove the credibility of our words.”

The remarks referred to the Israeli and Egyptian blockades of the Gaza Strip, which Israel says is needed to prevent arms from reaching Palestinian terror groups, and reconstruction in the coastal enclave following the 11-day military conflict in May between Israel and Hamas.

The source warned Israel against “attacks” on Palestinian security prisoners and the Temple Mount in Jerusalem’s Old City, which houses the Al-Aqsa Mosque, saying they “will again blow up the situation.” The fighting in Gaza earlier this year began after Hamas fired rockets at Jerusalem amid tensions over the holy city.

Turning to Egypt, the Hamas source accused Cairo of not honoring pledges to Hamas and other Palestinian factions concerning reconstruction and aid for Gaza.

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The source also charged that Egypt was preventing many Palestinians from leaving Gaza via the Rafah border crossing.

“The behavior of Egypt violates its promise to compel Israel in exchange for the resistance’s commitment to calm,” the source said.

The Hamas warning came as Foreign Minister Yair Lapid was set to visit Cairo for talks with senior Egyptian officials that are expected to largely focus on Gaza.Advertisement

Israel and Hamas have been holding indirect negotiations, moderated by Egypt, on stabilizing the fragile ceasefire since the battle between them in May. Israel has vowed not to allow a full reconstruction of Gaza without a prisoner swap between the two sides.

Missile test near Iranian uranium enrichment facility

Air-defense test sparks louder blast near Iranian uranium enrichment facility

An air-defense test on Saturday triggered a loud explosion near Iran’s Natanz uranium enrichment facility, as nuclear talks with major powers stumble.

The explosion was heard in the skies over the Iranian city of Badroud, just 20km from the nuclear plant, the Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) reported.

“Badroud residents heard the noise and saw a light that showed an object had just blown up in the skies over the city,” a witness said.

An image provided by Maxar Technologies on Jan. 8 last year shows Iran’s Natanz uranium enrichment facility, south of Tehran.

Photo: Courtesy of Maxar Technologies via AFP

However, Iranian army spokesman General Amir Tarikhani told state television that there was no cause for concern.

“One of our missile systems in the region was tested to assess the state of readiness on the ground, and there is nothing to fear,” Tarikhani said.

Israel has said repeatedly that it stands ready to use all means, including force, to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapons capability, and Iran has carried out periodic exercises to improve the defenses around its nuclear sites.

Israel has been pushing hard for world powers to abandon talks with Iran on reviving the 2015 nuclear deal, which reopened in Vienna on Monday.

“A bad deal, which I hope they do not reach, is intolerable from our perspective,” Israeli Mossad Director David Barnea said on Thursday.

The US on Saturday said it would not allow Iran to “slow walk” negotiations, while ramping up uranium enrichment.Comments will be moderated. Keep comments relevant to the article. Remarks containing abusive and obscene language, personal attacks of any kind or promotion will be removed and the user banned. Final decision will be at the discretion of the Taipei Times.

Time running out on Iran nuclear horn: Daniel 8

Talks to contain Iran’s nuclear program are entering a dangerous phase. Image: Youtube

Time running out on Iran nuclear talks

Seventh round of multilateral negotiations shows no signs of progress while Israel threatens to take matters into its own hands

by Daniel Williams December 6, 2021

The chances of limiting Iran’s construction of nuclear weapons are disappearing.

Last week, Iran, the United States, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Russia and China entered a seventh round of negotiations in Vienna. They closed Friday without progress on key issues engaging the US and Iran.

The main unrequited US desires: to return to the original deal designed to make Iranian nuclear programs peaceful but also to extend agreements out for 25 years.

Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian suggested the talks are only about lifting sanctions and that Biden must pledge that a future US administration can’t reimpose them.

More talks are set to open today (December 6) but Western participants are pessimistic. Iran, “backtracked on diplomatic progress made,” contended a joint statement issued by the UK, France and Germany.

“Iran is breaking with almost all of the difficult compromises crafted in months of tough negotiations,” they added. “Time is running out.”

That view was contested by China, whose Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin simply blamed the Americans for the standoff.

“The US, as the culprit of the Iranian nuclear crisis, should naturally remove all illegal unilateral sanctions on Iran and third parties including China,” Wang said. “On this basis, Iran will resume compliance with its commitment in the nuclear sector.”

The deadlock reflects the unstable legacy left by former US president Donald Trump, who in 2018 canceled American participation in the deal reached in 2015 by his predecessor Barack Obama.

Trump argued that the accord was neither tight enough nor covered a long enough period to assure Iran would not build a weapon within a decade or so.This file handout picture released by Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization on November 4, 2019, shows atomic enrichment facilities at Natanz nuclear power plant, some 300 kilometers south of capital Tehran. Photo: AFP / Atomic Energy Organization of Iran

He then imposed harsh economic sanctions on Iran.

Iran, angered by the pullout and by the unwillingness of most other countries to override sanctions, started producing more highly enriched, weapons-grade uranium than allowed under the old agreement.

The new enhancement projects have brought the Islamic Republic near to becoming a nuclear “threshold state” capable of making an atom bomb.

There are contradictory pressures on the US and Iranian governments to show both strength in these negotiations and yet display a willingness to compromise.

Biden’s foreign policy prestige suffers from his mishandling of the messy military withdrawal from Afghanistan. Being seen to permit Iran to get closer to possessing atomic weaponry would feed criticism that he is helplessly weak.

But Biden also has to make at least a good faith effort to reach a deal even against Iranian uranium enhancement steps.

Michael O’Hanlon, a researcher at Washington’s Brookings Institution said Washington thinks it has to show, “Russia, China, and even our European allies that we have tried every last thing.

“If we don’t get those countries convinced, they will not apply sanctions,” he concluded.

Iran’s new government is also eager to show macho determination. New President Ebrahim Raisi has slowed down talks while the nuclear program barrels ahead, a tactic cheered by hardline fundamentalist cadres and militarists.

Yet, Raisi is also under pressure to fix the sorry state of Iran’s inflation-burdened, high unemployment-hit economy. Oil production has declined by half in five years.Ebrahim Raisi’s election as Iranian president was marred by a low turnout and the banning of moderate opponents. Photo: AFP

Along that line, Iranians may believe they have an out if talks fail, contended Ali Fatollah-Nejad, a German-Iranian political scientist. Tehran will try to balance “US pressure through regional trade and a geopolitical alignment with non-Western great powers, such as China and Russia,” he predicted.

Iranian negotiators have met separately with Russia and Chinese diplomats while refusing to have the Americans attend the Vienna talks in person. The US negotiators communicate by video connection.

Commodity analysts estimate that already China has been importing more than 500,000 barrels of Iranian crude a day for the past three months.

“Iran has been trying to win its own teammates,” concluded Asif Shuja of the National University of Singapore’s Middle East Institute. “And the US is also doing the same.”

States in the region on the outside looking in are making their own calculations. Persian Gulf governments have opened talks with Iran to ease tensions, in case talks lead to some form of US-Iranian détente.

More bellicose signals are coming from Israel. On Sunday, Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennet told his cabinet that talks are only a cover while Iran steps up enrichment of uranium.

“I call on every country negotiating with Iran in Vienna to take a strong line and make it clear to Iran that they cannot enrich uranium and negotiate at the same time,” Bennett said.

Earlier in the week, Israel’s Foreign Minister Benny Gantz warned, “There will be a point in time when the world, the region, and the State of Israel will have no choice but to act.”

The specifics of the act were left unsaid, but there are violent precedents. In 1981, Israel bombed a nuclear facility in Iraq and in 2007 one in Syria.

Last year, it concocted a remote, satellite-controlled machine gun that, hidden on a pickup truck at the side of an Iranian road, shot up and assassinated a top Iranian nuclear scientist.

Israel is also reportedly working on bombs that can penetrate highly fortified, underground uranium enrichment facilities.A handout satellite image shows a general view of the Natanz nuclear facility after a fire, in Natanz, Iran July 8, 2020. Photo: Handout/Maxar

According to the UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency, Iran has put the Fordow uranium fuel enrichment plant back into operation during the recent talks. It had been put out of operation under the 2015 agreement.

The increased production at Fordow, whose works are dug deep inside a mountain, allows Iran “to go much faster and increase (enrichment) volumes significantly,” said IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi.

Against that backdrop, the nuclear talks are sounding more like a countdown.

The Chinese Nuclear Horn is Rapidly Growing: Daniel 7

Top Space Force official says China is developing space capabilities at ‘twice the rate’ of the US


David Thompson, Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary for Space Operations, said China is moving “twice as fast” and could exceed US space capacity by 2030.

David Thompson, Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary of Space Operations, said: China It is moving “twice as fast” as the United States in capacity building in space.

“In essence, the fact that they are building, fielding, and updating space features twice as fast on average, unless we start accelerating development and delivery capabilities. Means to surpass us soon, Thompson said at the Reagan Defense Forum on Saturday.

“2030 is not an unreasonable estimate of when China can surpass the United States in space capacity,” he added.

CNNChristine Fisher moderated a panel that included Thompson on Saturday.Democratic Party Representative Jim Cooper TennesseeChairs the Strategic Forces Subcommittee of the House Armed Services Committee, which helps oversee the Space Force’s budget. Chris Kubasik, President and CEO of L3 Harris Technologies, a defense industry contractor, develops space and airborne systems.

At a weekend forum, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin warned that China could collect 1,000 nuclear warheads in its arsenal by the end of the decade.

“We have seen 20 years of breakthrough modernization by the PLA,” he said in a keynote speech when referring to the Chinese military. “And China’s army is moving at a pace to compete with the United States in Asia and ultimately around the world.”

But he also downplayed the possibility of a new Cold War and emphasized diplomacy and deterrence as a US strategy to compete with growing economies.

Pentagon chiefs devoted much of his nearly hour-long appearance at the Reagan Forum to discussing “increasingly assertive and dictatorial” China’s efforts to overturn US dominance in the world order. bottom.

In addition to increasing nuclear weapons, Austin said China is making rapid progress in outer space and cyberspace.

“Now we always value intent and action as well as ability,” Austin said.

“And the leaders of the Chinese Communist Party have been speaking out more and more about their dissatisfaction with the dominant order and their purpose to drive America out of its global leadership role.”

Austin outlined America's plans to deal with

Austin accused Beijing of “abusing technology to advance oppressive agendas domestically and export dictatorship tools abroad.” 

World defense experts warn against China’s and Russia’s military expansion at a rate not seen since the end of World War II, urging speculation that the world is in the early stages of a new Cold War. bottom.

But on Saturday, Austin claimed that the United States was trying to address these new challenges while avoiding conflicts that could have a devastating spillover effect on millions of people.

“We don’t want conflicts or conflicts, and as President Biden repeatedly revealed,” we don’t want a new Cold War or a world divided into solid blocks, “Austin said. rice field.

“Yes, we are facing formidable challenges. But America is not a country that fears competition. And we will meet and solve this with confidence-not panic or pessimism. . “

Instead, he said the US approach was one of the deterrents, “preventing conflict and establishing common sense guardrails.” 

“We are always ready to win the conflict, but American defense is always rooted in our determination to prevent conflict,” he said. 

PLA armored assault vehicles will fire smoke bombs on November 30, 2021 to test new weapons. Austin said China is building up its army at an astonishing pace.

“So we are actively seeking open communication with Chinese defense leaders, especially in times of crisis. And between both our diplomats and the military, we take risks. We are taking measures to reduce the number and prevent miscalculations.

He also did not want the United States to build a NATO-style alliance with China, trying to assure Beijing that it would not let the country choose an ally. 

China does not keep its global ambitions a secret. President Xi Jinping has vowed that his country will be able to “fight and win” the war with the United States by 2049.

Austin says China is “the only country that can combine its economic, diplomatic, military and technological capabilities to initiate a sustainable challenge to a stable and open international system.” Quoted President Joe Biden’s warning.

China's President Xi Jinping has set a goal of being able to

Recently released satellite images reveal that the country is building hundreds of new silos that can be used for nuclear weapons. 

Beijing, the world’s largest combat force, already with more than 2 million active duty personnel, is also investing in expanding its arsenal of non-nuclear weapons, including fighters and other military equipment. 

It also expanded its military presence in the South China Sea and alerted US allies in the region. 

Austin has vowed to strengthen its US commitment to these countries, especially by strengthening military exercises with Japan and South Korea.

He also has a new agreement between Australia, the United States and the United Kingdom to share submarine technology to increase US influence in the Indo-Pacific, and an informal alliance between the United States, India, Japan and Australia called India. Cited many defense pacts, including. Pacific Quad.

“We are based on the lessons learned in uniforms for over 40 years. Whether in war or peace, we are always stronger when working with friends,” Austin said. 

As part of a campaign to expand its attacks on Taiwan, China has flown 27 military aircraft across the airspace of a small island in recent weeks. 

Just days after Chinese troops conducted a “battle-ready” patrol into the Taiwan Strait as a delegation of the U.S. Parliament suddenly visited Taipei to support China’s alleged democratically governed island. was. 

But on Saturday Austin downplayed the possibility of a real intrusion. 

“I don’t want to guess, but certainly … it’s a lot like a rehearsal,” he said.

He also emphasized that the United States is acting on one long-standing one-China policy that only recognizes the Beijing government as legitimate, not the Taipei government.

But he added that the United States is committed to “the ability to protect itself while maintaining our ability to resist means of force that would threaten the security of Taiwanese people.” 

“Currently, we are working to strengthen deterrence and do not want to change the status quo.”

Biden and Xi attended the Virtual Summit in November to discuss the need for open communication and the growing problem in Taiwan. 

Towards the beginning of their meeting, Biden told Xi, “We are responsible for the world and our people.”

“That’s why we believe-and you and I talked about this-all nations must play according to the same road rules, why the United States is always in our interests and values, And do you stand up for the benefit and values ​​of our allies? Partners, “Biden said. 

“If the past was a prologue, I am confident that today we will be discussing areas of concern: human rights, the economy, and securing a free and open Indo-Pacific.”

Top Space Force official says China is developing space capabilities at ‘twice the rate’ of the US Source link Top Space Force official says China is developing space capabilities at ‘twice the rate’ of the US

Hamas is Still a Terrorist Group: Revelation 11

Sorry, Everyone, Hamas is Still a Terrorist Group

December 6, 2021

by: Khaled Abu Toameh ~ Gatestone

Monday, 6 December 2021 | One of the arguments that is being raised against the British government’s recent decision to designate Hamas an extremist terrorist organization is that the Gaza-based movement, which does not recognize Israel’s right to exist, has changed and now supports the establishment of a Palestinian state next to Israel.

Opponents of the UK’s decision claim that in 2017 Hamas “softened its stance on Israel by accepting the idea of a Palestinian state in territories occupied by Israel in the Six Day War of 1967.”

The purported change, they argue, was included in a new document announced by Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal at a press conference in Doha, Qatar. Mashaal was quoted as saying: “Hamas advocates the liberation of all of Palestine, but is ready to support the [Palestinian] state on 1967 borders without recognizing Israel or ceding any rights.”

A year later, however, Mashaal said in an interview with the Qatari-owned Al-Jazeeratelevision network that the document was “not a tactical or strategic change,” adding that Hamas has not changed or abandoned its 1988 charter. “We want to continue the resistance [against Israel],” the Hamas leader said.

There are three points that need to be taken into consideration when talking about the 2017 Hamas document.

First, the document reportedly depicting Hamas as a moderate group that accepts the “two-state solution” is a bluff intended to dupe the international community. As Mashaal himself explained, even if Hamas accepts a Palestinian state in the West Bank [Judea and Samaria], Gaza Strip and east Jerusalem, that does not mean that it would ever recognize Israel’s right to exist. Hamas, in short, is saying: We will take whatever you give us now—starting with a Palestinian state—and we will use this to slaughter you.

Second, Hamas has not renounced violence and terrorism. In fact, it intends to continue the “resistance” and jihad (holy war) against Israel after the establishment of the Palestinian state with the purpose of “liberating all of Palestine.” When Hamas leaders talk about “resistance,” they are referring to the murder of Jews through various methods, including suicide bombings, stabbings, drive-by shootings and rockets fired from the Gaza Strip at Israeli cities and towns.

Third, the new document did not cancel or change the content of the Hamas charter, which, according to Hamas leaders, remains valid and relevant to this day.

Hamas’s representative in Iran, Khaled Qaddoumi, confirmed in 2017 that the Hamas document does not mean that his group “would give up any part of the land of Palestine” or halt its terror attacks against Israel. Qaddoumi clarified that the talk about Hamas accepting a Palestinian state in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and east Jerusalem was in the context of a plan to destroy Israel in phases.

Qaddoumi was asked: “We understand that you (Hamas) are seeking to liberate Palestine in phases?”

He replied by explaining that even if Hamas accepts a Palestinian [state] on the pre-1967 lines, it will never recognize Israel’s right to exist:

“We don’t accept the concept of recognizing the Zionist entity in return for a Palestinian state. The concept we accept is one that says that you can liberate part of the homeland now in order to liberate the other part [later]. This is what Hamas means, and this is what happened specifically when the Gaza Strip was liberated, or when the Zionist entity was forcibly evicted from there. After [the Israeli withdrawal], we set out to build our [military] capabilities and equipment to embark on the comprehensive stage of liberation.”

This Hamas official deserves credit for one thing: being transparent about Hamas’s real goals. He’s also right regarding what happened after the Israeli withdrawal from the Gaza Strip in 2005. Although Israel withdrew from the entire coastal enclave, Hamas continued to fire rockets towards Israel.

Hamas and other Palestinians viewed the Israeli pullout as a retreat in the face of terrorism. In addition, they saw the Israeli move as a sign of weakness and an opportunity to use the Gaza Strip as a launching pad to “liberate the rest of Palestine” and drive the Jews not only out of their homeland, but also the entire region.

Like most Hamas leaders, Qaddoumi is saying that his group remains committed and loyal to its 1988 charter, which outlines the group’s strategy:

“The Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) believes that the land of Palestine has been an Islamic Waqf [Muslim religious trust] throughout the generations and until the Day of Resurrection; no one can renounce it or part of it, or abandon it or part of it. No Arab country nor the aggregate of all Arab countries, and no Arab king or president…[has] that right” (Article 11).

Here is what the charter says about peace initiatives and plans to solve the Israeli–Arab conflict:

“[Peace] initiatives, the so-called peaceful solutions, and the international conferences to resolve the Palestinian problem, are all contrary to the beliefs of the Islamic Resistance Movement. For renouncing any part of Palestine means renouncing part of the religion…the movement educates its members to adhere to its principles and to raise the banner of Allah over their homeland as they fight their jihad [against Israel]…There is no solution to the Palestinian problem except by jihad” (Article 13).

While Hamas apologists are condemning the British decision to label it a terrorist organization, the leaders of the group continue to discuss their unwavering commitment to the destruction of Israel.

Days after the decision was announced, the Hamas leader said in a statement published on November 29, 2021:

“Palestine—all of Palestine—from its [Mediterranean] sea to its [Jordan] river, is for the Palestinian people, and there is no place or legitimacy for strangers over any inch of it. The comprehensive resistance is a legitimate right guaranteed to us by all international laws, foremost among which is the armed resistance against the Zionist enemy that has usurped our land. Reversing the facts, and integrating the occupation in the region will not succeed, and the Zionist enemy will remain the main enemy of our Palestinian people and the Islamic nation.”

While Hamas supporters are saying that the British decision is harmful to the peace process between Israel and the Palestinians, the group’s leaders are continuing to talk about thwarting any form of normalization between Arabs and Jews.

On December 2, Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh called for a “comprehensive plan to foil normalization” between Israel and the Arab world. “We must topple normalization and prevent this cancerous tumor from metastasizing to the body of the Islamic nation,” he said.

Hamas evidently has not changed or “softened” its position towards Israel. In fact, the opposite is true. Since the 2017 document was announced by Mashaal, Hamas has fired thousands of rockets at Israel and carried out dozens of terrorist attacks against Israelis.

Hamas apologists, especially non-Arabic speakers, should be paying attention to translations from Arabic to understand the true nature of Hamas and the statements made by its leaders. Perhaps that will prompt some of them to stop misrepresenting Hamas and twisting the facts—mainly, it seems, out of a hatred for Israel and a refusal to accept its presence in the Middle East.

Khaled Abu Toameh is an award-winning journalist based in Jerusalem.

Babylon the Great Threatens the Russian Horn

Igor Korotchenko. File photo

Lukashenko’s suggestion to host Russian nuclear weapons seen as response to Western threats

MOSCOW, 6 December (BelTA) – By suggesting to host Russian nuclear weapons Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko has responded to the West’s threats to deploy its nuclear capabilities in Poland and the Baltic countries, editor-in-chief of the Russian magazine Natsionalnaya Oborona [National Defense] and military expert Igor Korotchenko said during the roundtable in Moscow on 6 December, BelTA has learned.

“Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko outlined a number of new initiatives in the field of military cooperation with Russia, including the possibility of hosting Russian nuclear weapons under certain circumstances,” Igor Korotchenko said. “What are we talking about? It is not about the deployment of the Strategic Missile Forces units, as it was the case in the Soviet Union. Obviously, we are talking about the deployment of tactical nuclear weapons and their carriers. This is a very sensitive subject. I would like to highlight the fact that the Belarusian president voiced such a possibility in response to statements voiced by some high-ranking Western functionaries and politicians about the possibility of sending the U.S. tactical nuclear weapons from Germany and a number of other countries to Poland and, possibly, to the Baltic countries. Therefore, in response to such threats, the Belarusian side suggested hosting Russian tactical nuclear weapons.”

“In an interview to Dmitry Kiselyov, Aleksandr Lukashenko did not specify the types of carriers, warheads, their nuclear and TNT equivalent. From a military point of view, I believe this can be Russian tactical nuclear weapons and their carriers, such as modern operational-tactical missile systems, in particular Iskander-M,” the expert said.

“But this, of course, is an extreme scenario, an undesirable one. We categorically do not welcome it. But to ensure the sovereignty of the Union State, we will have to retaliate if the USA deploys its tactical nuclear weapons in Poland,” Igor Korotchenko emphasized.