Indian Point’s Final Days Before the Sixth Seal (Revelation 6:12)

Earth Matters: Indian Point’s Final Days – Nyack News and Views

by Barbara Puff

Indian Point has been the crown jewel of the nuclear industrialist complex and closing it is a big step to a sustainable energy future. — Susan Shapiro, environmental lawyer.

When scientists began exploring nuclear power in the 1950s, pollsters didn’t ask the public their opinion as support was almost unanimous. By the ’60s, there had been a few protests and opposition increased to 25%. So when Indian Point opened on September 16, 1962, it was greeted with enthusiasm, fanfare, and, in hindsight, naivete.

Within a few years, increased pollution, loss of wildlife, and accidents at the plant elicited concern. In response, Hudson River Sloop Clearwater and Riverkeeper were formed in 1966. After incidents at Three Mile Island in 1979 and Chernobyl in 1986, public opinion began to turn against the use of nuclear power.

In 1984, her first year as a legislator, Harriet Cornell formed the Citizens Commission to Close Indian Plant. A glance at her press releases over the years shows her convictions regarding closing the plant. In a recent speech she noted: “Were it not for the superhuman efforts of concerned individuals and dedicated scientific and environmental organizations focusing attention on the dangers posed by Indian Point, who knows what might have happened during the last 40+ years.”

Simultaneously Riverkeeper began documenting incidents, including:

1 An antiquated water-cooling system killed over a billion fish and fish larvae annually.

2 Pools holding spent nuclear fuel leaked toxic, radioactive water into the ground, soil, and Hudson River.

3 Recurring emergency shut-downs.

4 27% of the baffle bolts in Unit 2 and 31% in Unit 3, holding the reactor core together, were damaged.

5 The plant was vulnerable to terrorist attack.

6 Evacuation plans were implausible.

7 No solution for spent nuclear fuel, posing the risk of radioactive release and contamination of land.

8 The plant was near two seismic zones, suggesting an earthquake over 6.2 could devastate the area.

9 Asbestos exposure.

These and other issues led the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to rate Indian Point in 2000 as the most trouble-plagued plant in the country. Lamont-Doherty Observatory agreed, calling it the most dangerous plant in the nation.

As individuals realized the seriousness of the situation, urgency for a solution grew and Indian Point Safe Energy Coalition was formed in 2001. Comprised of public interest, health advocates, environmental and citizen groups, their goals were to educate the public, pass legislation, and form a grassroots campaign with hundreds of local, state, and federal officials.

Clearwater also began monitoring the plant around that time. Manna Jo Greene, Environmental Action Director, recalls, “We were concerned when one of the planes that struck the WTC flew over the plant, including several buildings that hold huge fuel pools, filled with spent fuel rods and radioactive waste.” Had anything happened, the nuclear power industry had provided protection for themselves while neglecting surrounding communities. Powerful lobbyists, backed by considerable financing, induced Congress to pass the Price-Anderson Act in 1957. This legislation protected nuclear power plant companies from full liability in the event of an accident, natural disaster or terrorist attack.

With such warnings, it’s hard to believe as late as 2010, The New York Times stated, “No one should be hoping for a too hasty shutdown.” Over time, the cost of litigation by New York State proved more fatal to the continuance of plant operations than protests, though they were a crucial factor and led to initial filings. Attorney General Schneiderman was very active in filing contentions, legal reasons the plant shouldn’t be relicensed, and won several important court cases on high-level radioactive storage.

In 2016, The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation denied Entergy a discharge permit for hot water into the Hudson River, part of their once-through cooling system. This permit was necessary for continued operation of the plant and a requirement for relicensing. The New York State Department of State, Bureau of Coastal Management, denied Entergy a water quality certificate the same year, which it also needed to relicense. After more than four decades of danger to the environment and residents, Governor Cuomo announced in January 2017 the plant would finally be closing. Unit 2 would cease production on April 30, 2020 and Unit 3 would end productivity on April 30, 2021.

Later that year, in March 2017, the Atomic Safety and Licensing Board allowed Entergy to renew the plant’s licenses until 2021, dismissing final points of contention between the company, New York State, and Riverkeeper. Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino attempted to sue the state and reopen the plant in April 2017 but failed.

Ellen Jaffee, NYS Assemblywoman, stated, “After 46 years of operation, I am glad to finally see the closure of Indian Point. Since joining the Assembly, I have long fought for its closure. I would not have been able to pursue these efforts if not for the environmental advocates, like the Riverkeeper, who fought long and hard beside myself to close the plant. The plant’s closure must be conducted in a safe manner, where all radioactive materials will be properly disposed of, without inflicting further harm on our environment. The closure of Indian Point shows that we can reduce our impact on the environment.”

Harriet Cornell said, “We have waited years for this to happen and frankly, it can’t happen soon enough. The facts have long shown there is no future for this dangerous plant.”

“The closure of Indian Point marks the shutdown of dirty polluting energy,” noted Susan Shapiro.

Holtec, the company chosen to oversee decommissioning of the plant, has a horrific track record. New York State Attorney General Tish James released a statement in January expressing multiple grave concerns about them. According to Riverkeeper, they have a scandalous corporate past, little experience in decommissioning, dubious skills in spent fuel management, workplace safety infractions, and health violations. Another fear is the cost will exceed a decommissioning fund set aside by Entergy, Holtec will declare bankruptcy, and the public will absorb the difference.

“Entergy made huge profits from Indian Point,” said Manna Jo Greene. “They’ve hired Holtec, a company with a poor record of decommissioning, to complete the work. Entergy plans to declare bankruptcy, thereby having taxpayers foot the bill. We are not out of danger. It is a different danger.”

Richard Webster, Legal Program Director at Riverkeeper, adds, “Decommissioning must be done promptly, safely and reliably. Selling to Holtec is the worst possible option, because it has a dubious history of bribes, lies, and risk taking, very limited experience in decommissioning, is proposing to raid the decommissioning fund for its own benefit, and is proposing leaving contaminated groundwater to run into the Hudson River.”

State Senator David Carlucci warned, “The NRC Inspector General Report shows there is much to be done by the NRC to gain the confidence of myself and the public, as the commission is charged with overseeing the decommissioning of Indian Point and ensuring the health and safety of Hudson Valley Communities. We demand answers from NRC Chairman Kristine Svinicki. The Chairman needs to come to the Hudson Valley immediately and outline the steps being taken to address our safety and explain how the commission will properly inspect and guard the pipeline near Indian Point moving forward.”

One of the gravest dangers in decommissioning is the storage of spent fuel rods. A fuel rod is a long, zirconium tube containing pellets of uranium, a fissionable material which provides fuel for nuclear reactors. Fuel rods are assembled into bundles called fuel assemblies, which are loaded individually into a reactor core. Fuel rods last about six years. When they’re spent and removed they are placed in wet storage, or pools of water, which is circulated to reduce temperature and provide shielding from radiation. They remain in these pools for 10 years, as they are too hot to be placed in dry storage, or canisters. Even in dry storage, though, they remain extremely radioactive, with high levels of plutonium, which is toxic, and continue to generate heat for decades and remain radioactive for 10,000 years.

“Elected officials and government groups became involved once they understood the fatal environmental dangers nuclear energy creates for millenium,” said Susan Shapiro. “It is the only energy that produces waste so dangerous that governments must own and dispose of it.”

Robert Kennedy, Jr., of Waterkeeper, explained “If those spent fuel rods caught on fire, if the water dropped, the zirconium coatings of the spent fuel rods would combust. You would release 37 times the amount of radiation that was released at Chernobyl. Around Chernobyl there are 100 miles that are permanently uninhabitable. I would include the workplaces, homes of 20 million Americans, including the Financial District. There’s no evacuation plan. And it’s sitting on two of the biggest earthquake faults in the northeast.”

On April 24, 2020, Beyond Indian Point Campaign was launched to advocate for a safe transition during decommissioning. Sponsored by AGREE, Frack Action, Riverkeeper, NIRS and Food and Water Watch, they’re demanding Cuomo hire another company, opposing a license transfer before the State Public Service Commission and NRC and pushing state legislation to establish a board to supervise the decommissioning fund. When decommissioning is finished Beyond Indian Point hopes to further assist the community in the transition to renewable energy. These include wind, solar, geothermal, biomass and hydrothermal power. Sign an online petition on their website to support their work, future generations and earth at BeyondIndianPoint.com, Facebook, or Twitter.

“Bravo to everyone involved in making this historic day come to pass,” said Susan Shapiro.

Raised in the Midwest, Barbara Puff is a writer who lives in Nyack, NY.

The Russian Nuclear Horn refuses to reduce her Nukes

Russia not to join Treaty on Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons

Russia not to join Treaty on Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons

TEHRAN, Jun. 25 (MNA) – Russia will not join the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW), Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Friday.

She made this comment following the completion of the first conference of states-participants of the Treaty on the Prohibition of nuclear weapons, TASS reported.

According to her, assertive advancement of the treaty deepens disunity between states and undermines the regime of Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of nuclear weapons.

“In connection with the desire to put on a permanent basis the efforts to universalize the TPNW, as recorded in the final documents of the conference, we emphasize: Russia does not intend to join this agreement and believes that the treaty does not establish any universal standards: neither now nor in the future,” she said.

According to Zakharova, Moscow continues to firmly adhere to the position that the development of the TPNW was premature, erroneous and, in fact, counterproductive. This agreement does nothing to reduce the growing nuclear risks and does not bring humanity one step closer to the goal stated in it, and the approach laid down in the TPNW only leads to an increase in contradictions between nuclear and non-nuclear states, she stressed.

“It does not take into account the military-political and military-strategic situation and runs counter to the principle that nuclear disarmament should be carried out in such a way that it would lead to “an increase in the level of security for all.” We do not see realistic ways to implement any – or practical measures to directly reduce nuclear weapons,” the diplomat continued.

“Russia, like all other states with military nuclear potential, did not take part in the conference of states-participants of the TPNW and does not intend to do so in the future. We also do not plan to build joint work with auxiliary structures created as part of the interaction of the participants of the TPNW to implement it,” she said.

RHM/PR

Iraq parliament swears in new members after Antichrist’s walkout

Iraq parliament swears in new members after Sadrist walkout | | AW

BAGHDAD –

Iraq’s parliament swore in dozens of new MPs on Thursday, replacing 73 members loyal to powerful Shia cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, strengthening the power of rival Iran-backed Shia factions in the assembly.

The 73 had resigned collectively earlier this month amid a prolonged political impasse over the formation of the country’s next government. The unprecedented walkout, based on a request from Sadr, threw Iraq into further uncertainty, reshuffling the political deck following the October 10 elections, which gave him the biggest bloc in parliament.

Although he emerged as a winner, Sadr had been locked in a power struggle with internal Shia rivals backed by Iran and was unable to cobble together a coalition that can form a majority government.

Two weeks ago, he ordered lawmakers from his parliamentary bloc to resign in a bid to break the eight-month impasse. The move threw Iraq’s political landscape into disarray.

According to Iraqi laws, if any seat in parliament becomes vacant, the candidate who obtained the second highest number of votes in their electoral district would replace them. In this case, it made Sadr’s opponents from the so-called Coordination Framework, a coalition led by Iran-backed Shia parties and their allies, the majority with around 122 seats.

It puts Sadr out of parliament for the first time since 2005, and allows pro-Iranian factions to determine the make-up of the next government.

“Today, the first step has been completed, which is the replacement deputies taking the oath,” said MP Muhammad Saadoun Sayhod, from the Rule of Law coalition represented in the Framework.

“We will now start the process of electing the president and naming the prime minister from the Coordination Framework,” he said, adding he expected the formation of a new government to begin soon.

There was no immediate reaction from Sadr to the swearing in of new MPs. There remain concerns the political deadlock could lead to renewed protests and street clashes between supporters of Sadr and their Shia rivals.

Even though parliament is in recess, lawmakers mostly from the Framework alliance called for an extraordinary session Thursday to vote on the new members. Sixty-four MPs were sworn in, while nine other replacements did not attend.

On Wednesday, Sadr accused Iranian proxies of political meddling. He also accused them of applying pressure against newly-elected political independents and allies of his Sadrist bloc.

He called on parliamentarians not to succumb to pressure.

“I call on blocs to stand bravely for the sake of reform and saving the nation and not to give in to sectarian pressures, as they are bubbles which will disappear,” he said in a statement.

Munaf al-Musawi, a political analyst and director of the Baghdad Centre for Strategic Studies, said the fight for government posts will now begin. Once a government is formed, he said Sadr’s supporters could take to the streets, leading to clashes with Shia rivals.

“What comes next is more difficult,” he said. With the Coordination Framework and its allies now in control of parliament, Sadr and his allies will pay the price for their walkout, he added.

Iraq’s election was held several months earlier than expected, in response to mass protests that broke out in late 2019 which saw tens of thousands rally against endemic corruption, poor services and unemployment.

Biden prepares for the Chinese Nuclear Horn: Daniel 7

Biden ‘Invests Big’ In Rebuilding Japan-S.Korea Ties As China Challenges ‘Global Order’ In The Indo-Pacific

June 25, 2022

As the 30 members of the NATO meeting in the Spanish capital Madrid on June 28 -30 for what will be the 32nd summit of the military alliance since 1949, attention will also be diverted to the meetings on the sidelines between their partner countries, particularly Japan and South Korea, who, though not members, have been invited to the summit in a bid to promote the vision of a “free and open Indo-Pacific.”

NATO summit meetings typically involve member countries only. Still, there have been occasions when special invitations are sent to defense ministers, foreign ministers or heads of state and governments of countries belonging to the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council, countries supporting NATO-led operations, or top representatives from international organizations such as the United Nations, the European Union, and the World Bank.

Leaders from Australia, New Zealand, Sweden, Finland, Ukraine, Georgia, and the European Union have also been invited to the coming summit.

A critical feature of the Madrid summit is the participation of the South Korean head of State in a NATO –gathering for the first time. Newly elected President Yoon Suk-yeol will attend the NATO summit on his first overseas trip since assuming office.

His participation is considered significant, given US President Joe Biden has found him receptive to the idea of a rapprochement with Japan.

For the US, cooperation between Seoul and Tokyo, two of its fractious allies in East Asia, is said to be critical in chalking out strategies and implementing them to meet the pressing challenges of emboldened China and nuclear-armed North Korea.

Biden wants the South Korean President and Japanese Prime Minister to utilize the occasion of the NATO summit and indulge in what will be the first bilateral level talks between the two heads of the government since late 2019.

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida is even keener than President Biden to meet President Yoon. In fact, according to press reports, he is considering holding a four-way summit with South Korea, Australia, and New Zealand on the sidelines of the NATO leaders’ gathering, in a bid to promote the vision of a “free and open Indo-Pacific.”Japan’s US-2 and American Pave Hawks at Cope North 22 (US Air Force photo)

And equally importantly, he hopes to arrange another summit with South Korea and the US. to focus on responses to China’s maritime activities and North Korea’s nuclear and missile development.

Under the previous Left-inclined Presidency of Moon Jae-in, ties between Japan and South Korea had sunk to historic lows. As it is, the two countries have a troubled history of Japan’s brief but the intense colonial rule of then united Korea on the one hand and some maritime territorial disputes on the other.

But, despite their fractious history, Japan and South Korea are natural partners in many ways, experts say. Both share democratic values, deep economic ties, and close alliances with the United States. And both harbor growing concerns about China.

Negative public sentiment toward Beijing is increasing in both countries, partly because both have faced off against Chinese economic coercion.

Incidentally, both Prime Minister Kishida and President Yoon are relatively new to their jobs. While Kishida assumed office last October, Yoon’s Presidency began only last month. This newness could bring freshness to their bilateral ties, particularly when their powerful common ally, the United States, wants it the most, given the delicate regional security situation.

Against this background, it is significant that both the leaders are positive about the prospects for reconciliation. In April, the Japanese Prime Minister declared that it was “now or never” to fix the hostile relationship. And President Yoon has called for “a rethink” in relations and campaigned on a promise to improve ties.

All told, South Korea’s security, which is dependent on the presence of the US troops in the country and the overall security treaty with the US, is critically linked to Japan. In any eventuality, if the Americans are engaged in South Korean security, they need their bases in nearby Japan, Japanese airfields, and Japanese ports.South Korean K9 Thunders, (Wikipedia)

A war cannot be won by South Korea or, for that matter, the United States in the Korean peninsula until and unless Japan supports and cooperates. As Chun In-bum, a former commander of South Korea’s Special Forces, said, “Seoul and Tokyo needed to separate historical issues and economic frictions from their mutual security interests.

We cannot win a war on the Korean peninsula without Japan. It’s like an aircraft carrier that can never be sunk; it is critical to Korea’s security.”

Even otherwise, Japan and South Korea share similar security concerns. Neither of them would like an Indo-Pacific to come under Chinese hegemony. Both are concerned over China’s relentless military modernization efforts and increasingly assertive behavior in the South and East China Seas.

Experts also point out how the war in Ukraine has indirectly magnified Japan and South Korea’s shared concerns about North Korea. Since the Russian invasion, North Korea has conducted a barrage of missile tests, including short-range hypersonic missiles and an intermediate-range ballistic missile, and its first intercontinental ballistic missile test since 2017.

Moscow’s attack on a country that gave up its nuclear weapons will only intensify Pyongyang’s belief in the necessity of these weapons to deter potential aggression, fueling the North’s commitment to expanding its atomic arsenal.

Viewed thus, it is essential to note that South Korea’s new President has expressed his intention to bolster South Korea’s defense capabilities by strengthening ties with the US and Japan. President Yoon seeks to improve the South Korea-US combined defense posture and interoperability between the two forces and enhance the extended nuclear deterrence from the US.

The new President puts a premium on the South Korea-US security alliance and South Korea’s onus as an ally. He believes that Seoul should actively participate in the Biden administration’s Indo-Pacific strategy and endeavor to reinforce trilateral security cooperation among South Korea, the US, and Japan.

As it is, President Biden had undertaken a visit to Seoul in May. In his summit meeting with his host President Yoon, the two countries had reiterated that the US-ROK security link has never been as relevant and vital as it is today. Following this summit, South Korean foreign minister Park Jin visited Washington early this month (June 13) to meet Secretary of State Antony J Blinken.

And the two agreed that they would work trilaterally with Japan and multilaterally with allies and other friendly countries in the Indo-Pacific region for peace not only in the peninsula but also in the whole region and the world at large.

In fact, Blinken made it evident that the United States is “committed to helping our partners work through challenges in their relationship, which is in the collective interest of the region and of people in all three countries.”

Besides, “we are working very closely with the Republic of Korea and other partners to develop the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework, which our countries launched together in Tokyo last month along with 11 others.

This will establish a robust foundation for strong and sustainable economic growth across an incredibly dynamic region.

Our countries are committed to a free and open Indo-Pacific where innovation flourishes, supply chains are secure, labor and environment standards are high, and the rules of the road give workers and businesses from all countries an equal chance to compete to succeed”, Secretary Blinken added.

On his part, foreign minister Park Jin underlined the need to strengthen security cooperation with Japan while mending soured ties with the East Asian neighbor sooner rather than later.

He called for real progress in sharing military intelligence between the two countries under the General Security of Military Information Agreement (GSOMIA). “We want GSOMIA to be normalized as soon as possible together with the improvement of Korea-Japan relations,” Park said.

And this suggestion was readily reciprocated by Japanese Defense Minister Noburo Kishi, who has welcomed Park’s proposal and expressed hope for a “smoother operation” of the pact.

It may be noted that the GSOMIA was signed in 2016 to tackle North Korea’s military threats jointly. Yet, the agreement has remained precarious since August 2019, when South Korea and Japan fell out over a South Korean court verdict that directed a Japanese company operating in South Korea to pay compensation for historical wrongs committed by Japan in its colonial rule of Korea.

Japan imposed export curbs on key materials essential for producing semiconductors and display panels while excluding Seoul from its list of preferred trading partners.

Park’s call for the active implementation of the GSOMIA should be seen in line with President Yoon’s efforts for better relations with Japan. As it is, President Yoon has not only welcomed the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework, but he has also expressed his willingness to join if invited, the  Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (QSD), colloquially the Quad, which is a strategic security dialogue among  Australia, India, Japan, and the United States.

The call for implementing GSOMIA needs to be also seen along with the agreement among the defense ministers of South Korea, Japan, and the United States to carry out joint military exercises in early August in Hawaii to enhance missile tracking and detecting capabilities, thus building up deterrence against possible North Korean attacks.

A full-fledged utilization of the GSOMIA is believed to be the first step toward Seoul and Tokyo mending their ties in more ways than one.

  • Author and veteran journalist Prakash Nanda is Chairman of Editorial Board – EurAsian Times and has been commenting on politics, foreign policy on strategic affairs for nearly three decades. A former National Fellow of the Indian Council for Historical Research and recipient of the Seoul Peace Prize Scholarship, he is also a Distinguished Fellow at the Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies. CONTACT: prakash.nanda@hotmail.com
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South Korea Must Nuke Up: Daniel

A missile is fired.
A missile is fired.

South Korea Stares Into the Nuclear Abyss

June 23, 2022, 4:00 PM

Welcome back to Foreign Policy’s SitRep! Your two jetlagged hosts, Robbie and Jack, are here. Robbie is toasting cups of soju with South Korean journalists tonight (their time) while Jack is trying to turn back the clock to Eastern time after traveling around the world with U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin—and looking for basketball player Klay Thompson’s lost Golden State Warriors NBA championship hat at the bottom of the San Francisco Bay.

Alright, here’s what’s on tap for the day: South Korea is sitting in limbo for North Korea’s expected nuclear test, NATO is set to beef up its defense forces amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and U.S. President Joe Biden picks a half-dozen new ambassadors.

P.S. Check out Flash Points, a curated selection of our very best long reads, in your inbox every Wednesday and Sunday.

Iran Horn has more enriched uranium than allowed

IAEA report: Iran has more enriched uranium than allowed

Yusuf4 weeks ago

Iran has much more enriched uranium than agreed. This is reported by the International Atomic Energy Agency. Western diplomats warn of the failure of a new nuclear pact.

According to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Iran has 18 times more enriched uranium than agreed in the 2015 international nuclear deal. According to the latest IAEA report, the country’s reserves contained an estimated 3,809.3 kilograms of enriched uranium as of mid-May. In the agreement, which was unilaterally terminated by the United States in 2018, Iran had committed to a maximum limit of 202.8 kilograms.

According to the report, Iran also continues to enrich uranium above the 3.67 percent level stipulated in the agreement. The stock of up to 20 percent enriched uranium has increased by 56.3 kilograms to 238.4 kilograms since March, and that of up to 60 percent enriched uranium by 9.9 kilograms to 43.1 kilograms. Uranium enriched to around 90 percent is required to build atomic bombs.

Trump canceled the deal

The 2015 international nuclear deal promised Iran the relaxation of sanctions. To do this, Tehran should limit its nuclear program. The United States unilaterally withdrew from the agreement under former President Donald Trump in 2018. As a result, Tehran no longer kept its obligations under the agreement and expanded its nuclear program again.

The IAEA quarterly report on Iran was prepared against the background of the negotiations to save the nuclear pact with Iran. The talks are on the brink because Washington and Tehran cannot agree on which US sanctions will be lifted. A renewed restriction of the Iranian nuclear program, however, has already been largely negotiated. Western diplomats have been warning for months that the restoration of the 2015 nuclear deal is becoming increasingly unlikely the further Iran pushes uranium enrichment in particular.

Tehran has always emphasized that it does not seek nuclear weapons, but uses uranium only for nuclear power plants and for scientific and industrial purposes. However, the IAEA has not yet been able to confirm this. Contrary to an agreement, Tehran has still not explained why the IAEA has detected traces of uranium at several sites not declared as official nuclear sites, according to another report provided by the agency. Iran “did not provide any technically credible explanations,” it said.

UN statement reveals suffering of Palestinians outside the Temple Walls: Revelation 11

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)

Hamas: UN statement reveals suffering of Palestinians in Gaza

Thursday, 23 June 2022 3:36 PM  [ Last Update: Thursday, 23 June 2022 3:46 PM ]

The Palestinian resistance movement, Hamas, has hailed recent remarks by a spokesman for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, who called for the full lifting of Israel’s years-long blockade on the impoverished Gaza Strip.

In a statement on Wednesday, Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum said the UN official’s remarks revealed once again the extent of the suffering of the more than two million Palestinians as a result of the unjust siege that clearly violates international law and human rights.

“We call on the UN and all human rights and international organizations to take all these statements and reports seriously, work to intensify efforts to end the suffering of our Palestinian people and to pressure the Zionist occupying regime to lift its siege,” Hamas said.

He further stressed the need to “end the policy of apartheid practiced by the Zionist occupation against our Palestinian people.”

Hamas will use different means to mount pressure on Israel if Gaza siege continues: Official

Hamas will use different means to mount pressure on Israel if Gaza siege continues: Official

A senior member of Hamas has warned that the Palestinian resistance movement will use various means to pressure Israel if the siege on the Gaza Strip continues.

Hamas Political Bureau member Mousa Abu Marzouk and other senior officials have said the Palestinian resistance will finally succeed in having the siege lifted on the Gaza Strip and commence its reconstruction.

On Tuesday, Stephane Dujarric called for the complete removal of the Israeli blockade of Gaza, in line with a 2009 UN Security Council resolution.

“Today is the 15th anniversary of the beginning of the blockade in the Gaza Strip,” Dujarric said during a press briefing held at the UN headquarters in New York.  

“Due to poverty, high unemployment and other factors caused by the blockade, about 80 percent of Gaza’s population depends on humanitarian aid.

“This year, $510 million is needed to provide food, water, sanitation and health care for 1.6 million people, and we now have only 25 per cent of that,” he added.

In the latest Israeli bombardment campaign against the Gaza Strip, at least 260 Palestinians, including over 60 children, were killed in a time span of 11 days that began on May 10 last year.

That came following Palestinian retaliation for violent Israeli raids on worshipers at al-Aqsa Mosque and the regime’s plans to force a number of Palestinian families out of their homes at the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of East al-Quds.

Israel’s devastating 11-day war on Gaza marked another defeat for occupying regime

Israel’s devastating 11-day war on Gaza marked another defeat for occupying regime

On May 10, 2021, Israel launched a bloody bombing campaign on the Gaza enclave following weeks of violence against Palestinians.

In response, Palestinian resistance movements launched Operation al-Quds Sword and fired more than 4,000 rockets and missiles into the occupied territories, killing 12 Israelis.

Apparently caught off guard by the unprecedented barrage of rockets from Gaza, Israel announced a unilateral ceasefire on May 21, which Palestinian resistance movements accepted with Egyptian mediation.

Elsewhere, the UN official pointed out that only sustainable political solutions between Palestinian factions can alleviate the pressure on the people of Gaza.

“Efforts should be continued to reach a compromise between all Palestinian political groups,” he said.

Hamas warns of new round of tension if Israel persists in blockading Gaza

Hamas warns of new round of tension if Israel persists in blockading Gaza

Gaza, home to some two million Palestinians, has been under Israeli siege since June 2007.

The Palestinian leadership has been divided between Fatah and Hamas since 2006, when the latter scored a landslide victory in parliamentary elections in the Gaza Strip. Hamas has ever since been running the coastal enclave, while Fatah has been based in the autonomous parts of the Israeli-occupied West Bank.

Previous reconciliation attempts by the two sides to form a power-sharing unity government in Gaza and the West Bank have failed.