USGS Evidence Shows Power of the Sixth Seal (Revelation 6:12)

New Evidence Shows Power of East Coast EarthquakesVirginia Earthquake Triggered Landslides at Great Distances


11/6/2012 8:30:00 AM

Earthquake shaking in the eastern United States can travel much farther and cause damage over larger areas than previously thought.

U.S. Geological Survey scientists found that last year’s magnitude 5.8 earthquake in Virginia triggered landslides at distances four times farther—and over an area 20 times larger—than previous research has shown.

“We used landslides as an example and direct physical evidence to see how far-reaching shaking from east coast earthquakes could be,”

said Randall Jibson, USGS scientist and lead author of this study. “Not every earthquake will trigger landslides, but we can use landslide distributions to estimate characteristics of earthquake energy and how far regional ground shaking could occur.”

“Scientists are confirming with empirical data what more than 50 million people in the eastern U.S. experienced firsthand: this was one powerful earthquake,” said USGS Director Marcia McNutt. “Calibrating the distance over which landslides occur may also help us reach back into the geologic record to look for evidence of past history of major earthquakes from the Virginia seismic zone.”

This study will help inform earthquake hazard and risk assessments as well as emergency preparedness, whether for landslides or other earthquake effects.

This study also supports existing research showing that although earthquakes  are less frequent in the East, their damaging effects can extend over a much larger area as compared to the western United States.

The research is being presented today at the Geological Society of America conference, and will be published in the December 2012 issue of the

Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America.

The USGS found that the farthest landslide from the 2011 Virginia earthquake was 245 km (150 miles) from the epicenter. This is by far the greatest landslide distance recorded from any other earthquake of similar magnitude. Previous studies of worldwide earthquakes indicated that landslides occurred no farther than 60 km (36 miles) from the epicenter of a magnitude 5.8 earthquake.

“What makes this new study so unique is that it provides direct observational evidence from the largest earthquake to occur in more than 100 years in the eastern U.S,” said Jibson. “Now that we know more about the power of East Coast earthquakes, equations that predict ground shaking might need to be revised.”

It is estimated that approximately one-third of the U.S. population could have felt last year’s earthquake in Virginia, more than any earthquake in U.S. history.

About 148,000 people reported their ground-shaking experiences caused by the earthquake on the USGS “Did You Feel It?” website. Shaking reports came from southeastern Canada to Florida and as far west as Texas.

In addition to the great landslide distances recorded, the landslides from the 2011 Virginia earthquake occurred in an area 20 times larger than expected from studies of worldwide earthquakes. Scientists plotted the landslide locations that were farthest out and then calculated the area enclosed by those landslides. The observed landslides from last year’s Virginia earthquake enclose an area of about 33,400 km2

, while previous studies indicated an expected area of about 1,500 km2

from an earthquake of similar magnitude.

“The landslide distances from last year’s Virginia earthquake are remarkable compared to historical landslides across the world and represent the largest distance limit ever recorded,” said Edwin Harp, USGS scientist and co-author of this study. “There are limitations to our research, but the bottom line is that we now have a better understanding of the power of East Coast earthquakes and potential damage scenarios.”

The difference between seismic shaking in the East versus the West is due in part to the geologic structure and rock properties that allow seismic waves to travel farther without weakening.

Learn more

about the 2011 central Virginia earthquake.

US ‘Punctures’ Pakistani’s Nuclear Hegemony: Daniel 8

ByKN Pandita

December 12, 2022

The history of Pakistan’s nuclear program is the history of Pakistan. Fascinated with the new nuclear science, the young nation’s leaders launched a nuclear energy program in 1956 and consciously intertwined nuclear developments into the broader narrative of Pakistani nationalism.

Then, propelled by the 1965 and 1971 India-Pakistan Wars and, more urgently, by India’s first nuclear weapon test in 1974, senior Pakistani officials tapped into the country’s pool of young nuclear scientists and engineers and molded them into a motivated cadre committed to building the ‘ultimate weapon.’

The tenacity of this group and the central place of its mission in Pakistan’s national identity allowed the program to outlast the perennial political crises of the next 20 years, culminating in the test of a nuclear device in 1998″, wrote the Amazon while introducing the 552-page book Eating Grass: The Making of the Pakistani Bomb authored by Feroz Khan and published in 2013.

Pakistan tested its first nuclear weapon in 1998, officially becoming the world’s 7th state to test a nuclear weapon. The exact yields of the weapons in the country’s current arsenal are unknown.

However, general estimates are between 5-12 kilotons (kt) for most weapons, with some longer-range ballistic missiles possibly reaching 40 kt.

Fear Of Pakistan’s Nuclear Arsenal Falling Into The Wrong Hands

Pakistan is believed to have a stockpile of approximately 160 warheads, making it the 6th largest nuclear arsenal. Pakistan is actively developing nuclear weapons, and experts project that it may have the 5th largest arsenal by 2025 with 220-250 warheads.

“Ever since May 1998, when Pakistan first began testing nuclear, claiming its national security demanded it, American presidents have been haunted by the fear that Pakistan’s stockpile of nukes would fall into the wrong hands. That fear now includes the possibility that jihadis in Pakistan, freshly inspired by the Taliban victory in Afghanistan, might try to seize power at home,” Marvin Kalb, a nonresident senior fellow with the Foreign Policy program at Brookings, wrote last year.

“The top US general Mark Miley had warned that a rapid withdrawal of forces from Afghanistan would pose an increased risk to the security of Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal,” wrote The Wire on October 15.

The News of February 20, 2004, quoting the police, said that Iran and Libya received black market nuclear materials from Pakistani scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan, citing the deals’ middleman – Buhari Syed Abu Tahir, the alleged chief financier of an international nuclear trafficking network run by Khan.

He told Malaysian police that the scientist asked him to send two containers of used centrifuge parts from Pakistan to Iran in 1994 or 1995. “Payment for the two containers of centrifuge units, amounting to about $3 million,” was paid by an unnamed Iranian, the report said.

Tahir also said Libya received enriched uranium from Pakistan in 2001, according to police. The chief financier told investigators that Khan also said a “certain number” of centrifuges — sophisticated machines that can be used to enrich uranium for weapons and other purposes — were flown to Libya direct from Pakistan in 2001-02.

President Bush had named one Tahir the “chief financial officer and money launderer” of the network run by Khan.

The deep mystery surrounding the acquisition of nuclear technology by Qadeer Khan during his stay and study in Europe and the transactions about the sale of nuclear components has not been unraveled.

According to knowledgeable sources, Pakistan has secretly upgraded and extended its nuclear arsenal. However, responsible Pakistani leaders, while chanting their patent rhetoric against India, have been heard saying that they have manufactured small nuclear bombs for the destruction of specific and limited targets.

On several occasions, American leadership voiced its concern about the unsatisfactory security arrangement of Pakistani nuclear weapons. These concerns multiplied when some powerful terrorist organizations in Pakistan vowed to carry fire and brimstone to Indian Kashmir if India did not come to terms with Kashmir.

It is believed that the American agencies worked hard to elicit a commitment from Pakistani authorities, especially the army, that nuclear weapons would not be allowed to go into the hands of the terrorists.

This notwithstanding, Americans have generally felt skeptical about Pakistan securing its nuclear stockpiles against the pilferage attempts of terrorist groups based in Pakistan.

Recently, President Biden has again expressed his concerns about the safety and security of Pakistan’s nuclear weaponry. It was a repetition of his earlier allegations, and the Pakistani parliament reacted by passing a unanimous resolution condemning the American President’s remarks as distortion.

US Blacklists Pakistani Companies

India’s Zee News on December 9 reported that the United States had blacklisted half a dozen Pakistani companies for supporting Islamabad’s “unsafeguarded nuclear activities.”

The companies have been put on the American export control list by the Bureau of industry and security (BIS), which comes under the US department of commerce which restricts access for these companies to commodities, software, and technologies.

The US statement said, “many of these companies have been added to the list as they have been “found to supply or attempt to supply items…to Pakistan’s unsafeguarded nuclear activities and ballistic missile program”.

The Pakistani companies listed are Dynamic Engineering Corporation, EnerQuip Private Ltd, Rainbow Solutions, Universal Drilling Engineers, NAR Technologies General Trading LLC, and Trojans. The last two companies have bases in UAE as well.

Most of these companies are based in the Pakistani capital Islamabad, with some having addresses in Karachi and Lahore.

The statement explained that three Pakistan-based companies have been contributing to nuclear and missile proliferation-related activities that are “contrary to the national security and foreign policy interests of the United States.”+

Two UAE-based companies, EnerQuip Limited and Zain Enterprises FZE, have also been backlisted for supporting Islamabad’s nuclear activities.

The development comes even as the US and India have publicly expressed concerns over Pakistan’s nuclear activities. Earlier this year, US President Biden termed Pakistan “one of the most dangerous nations in the world” as it has “nuclear weapons without any cohesion.”

India has also recently expressed concerns after a Russian senator, Igor Morozov, alleged that Ukraine had sought Pakistani help for developing nuclear weapons.

In November, Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said that “we have expressed our concerns about the proliferation of nuclear technology from Pakistan in the past,” explaining, “if there is any kind of such nexus or proliferation, it is a cause of worry, not just for India, but for the international community.”

India’s Concerns

In the past, India has also pointed out Pakistan’s nuclear nexus with North Korea, with support given by Pakistani nuclear scientist AQ Khan.

The US’ concern about Pakistan’s nuclear capability is that as a country faced with an acute economic and financial crunch, Islamabad could sell its nuclear secrets to a prospective buyer like Iran or Libya.

Secondly, to carry forward its anti-India agenda, Pakistan will not hesitate to provide smaller nuclear bombs to its terrorist outfits whose activities in the Indian part of Kashmir are hopelessly failing.

In the final analysis, the blackmailing of about half a dozen private companies for supporting Pakistan’s nuclear proliferation activity means the US must take serious note of the entire issue.

Pakistan’s nuclear establishment needs to be put under the close and regular supervision of a committee appointed by the IAEA. Pakistan’s entry into the nuclear club should be kept in indefinite abeyance.

Perhaps more restrictions could be contemplated depending on valid proof in hand about how the nuclear arsenal of Pakistan is insecure in given conditions.

How Babylon the Great is Preparing for the End: Revelation 16

A Putin nuclear strike on Ukraine? A Chinese attack against Taiwan? How the US prepares for global nightmares.

Bree Linville; Dibas/ Macrovector/ Smashing Stocks/ 300_librarians/ Getty Images


A Putin nuclear strike on Ukraine? A Chinese attack against Taiwan? How the US prepares for global nightmares.

A former CIA leader on war games, “red teams” and other ways the U.S. prepares for worst-case scenarios.

John McLaughlin

Special Contributor

December 12, 2022

The potential for global surprises has rarely been greater. And surprise is the enemy of any nation’s foreign policy.

The challenge for U.S. policymakers is to prepare for all these traumas and game out how the U.S. would respond — not just in the moment, but in prolonged and escalating circumstances. For example, not just whether Russia would go nuclear in Ukraine, but what the U.S. would do and what next steps Russia might take. All this to avoid relying on improvisation and potentially chaotic responses, if and when the moment comes.

The good news? Such planning is happening now when it comes to the Taiwan and Russian situations. The bad news? Those are as complex and dangerous as any scenarios in recent memory.

How does the scenario-planning work? Who does this work? My experience in government taught me that there are many ways to prepare for such uncertainties and entire teams of people whose job descriptions might best be described as “preparing for nightmares.”

War games

The concept dates to the early 19th century and a Prussian army officer who took actual games to his superiors and suggested that they be used to simulate conditions on the battlefield. Today, war gaming in the U.S. happens inside government agencies and private think tanks, and it takes many forms.

There is the geopolitical war game — a kind of chess match of diplomatic moves and countermoves — and then there is the more kinetic variety, with U.S. military officers simulating teams and playing through a series of military “moves” in which the battlefield is constantly changing.

For years, the U.S. has used war games to simulate a U.S. war with China over Taiwan. As Grid’s Joshua Keating has reported, in classified Air Force war games held since 2018, “blue” teams representing the U.S. have repeatedly lost to Chinese “red” teams. That’s partly by design — these games are designed to highlight vulnerabilities — but the simulations have also highlighted specific issues involving China’s geographic advantages and its rapid development of certain weapons (in particular anti-ship ballistic missiles, capable of precision strikes on U.S. ships at a range of more than 900 miles).

The 2021 Air Force game reportedly showed improvement for the U.S. side, though the Air Force game commander highlighted the fact that many of the necessary U.S. military assets were not yet in development or production. His conclusion: “If we change, we can win.” More broadly, these war games have shown the grave damage China could inflict against Taiwan in the early days of a conflict, but also the likelihood of a long and drawn-out war once the U.S. was involved — a war that could be devastating to the U.S. and China both.

Other war games take into consideration both military capabilities and political factors, sometimes using a team that mixes government players with outside experts. This was the case in a war game in March run by West Point’s Modern War Institute, which simulated a Russia-Ukraine war just weeks after the actual Russian invasion.

That game opened with the U.S. players overestimating Russian capabilities but quickly coming to the prescient view that over time Russia could not sustain the combat power necessary to take and hold a major city. The game also foresaw the eventual need for a Russian mobilization, resulting political tensions in Russia and a long-lasting stalemate on the battlefield.

What’s gained in these games? In the Ukraine case, those conclusions helped underline some of Ukraine’s underlying strengths and, more importantly, to expose weaknesses in Russia’s position.

More broadly, the games help the U.S. “team” take the measure of itself, expose resource and coordination problems among U.S. agencies and with allies, and test how a range of responses might work under the pressure of time and surprise.

Red teaming

“Red teaming,” which also originated with the 19th century Prussian military, is an invaluable variation on this — and one that I’ve seen work effectively. Call it war gaming with a twist.

A team of experts is asked to “become” the country or group whose actions you are trying to anticipate. And “experts” is the key word. The team must consist of people with two qualities: deep expertise on the adversary, and an ability to challenge conventional wisdom and avoid “mirror imaging” (the tendency to assume the adversary will behave as Americans would). The team members must be expert enough to enter the enemy’s social, cultural and ideological milieus and think as they would.

Red teaming differs from war gaming in that there is no opposing side; you don’t want this group reacting to others — you just want them to replicate and channel the thinking, logic and planning of your adversary. In colloquial terms, to get in their heads.

So in my Taiwan example, this team would consist of people schooled in Chinese and Taiwanese culture and history, and ideally with fluency in Mandarin. They might be given two kinds of tasks: playing Chinese policymakers to game out how Beijing would pursue its aims on Taiwan, or playing Chinese officials reacting to setbacks in their strategy. In the Putin-nukes scenario, the same idea — but with the expertise focused on Russia, nuclear weapons and Putin himself.

I know red teaming can work, based on the CIA’s use of the technique after the terrorist attacks of 9/11, when the agency felt acutely responsible for ensuring that another attack did not take place. We took our most adventurous and unconventional thinkers and formed a red team with a very specific task: We told them to “become” the terrorists — to imagine how and where they might plot their next attacks. Combined with raw intelligence we collected, the red team’s work guided many of the steps the administration took to harden vulnerable targets in the U.S. and abroad.

This proved important because, in my experience, the U.S. tendency even after 9/11 was to rely almost passively on intelligence to warn policymakers; in other words, wait for a CIA warning and then react. Our message was that we would do our best but — against an enemy that played by no rules — there would always be a chance something might be missed and someone would get through. Better to augment intelligence warnings with proactive protection of potential targets that we could identify.

Iranian Hegemony in Iraq: Daniel 8

Flags Iran Iraq

Flags Iran Iraq

Iranian Influence Fuels Injustice In Iraq – OpEd

   Arab News  0 Comments

By Arab News

By Dalia Al-Aqidi*

An Iraqi court judgment imprisoning a young man for criticizing a governmental entity sparked anger and rejection in the southern province of Nasiriyah last week, prompting hundreds of young people to demonstrate and confront the security forces, who killed at least two demonstrators.

The story began when 20-year-old Haider Al-Zaidi apparently criticized the late deputy commander of the pro-Iran Popular Mobilization Units, Abu Mahdi Al-Muhandis, on Twitter. In June, the PMU security department arrested Al-Zaidi and held him for 16 days over a tweet criticizing Al-Muhandis that stated “only in Iraq would a spy be described as a martyr.” On Dec. 5, the Rusafa Criminal Court in Baghdad charged the young man with insulting state institutions and sentenced him to three years in prison.

During his detention and interrogation, the high school student was tortured and insulted by his captors, according to his father, who is seeking to free his son. “We are waiting for the (PMU) to drop the charges and solve the case. We are trying to find a solution through our personal contacts,” Hameed Al-Zaidi told reporters, noting that his son’s current condition was good and that he was allowed to visit him and bring him food and clothing.

According to an Iraqi news agency, it was stated in the verdict that the PMU reserves the right to compensation after the ruling becomes final, adding that the accused’s mobile phone will remain in the custody of the investigative party for containing security information.

The young activist was sentenced based on 1969’s Article 226 of Iraq’s Penal Code, which prohibits “publicly insulting” the national assembly, armed forces or any other government agency.

Is this the new Iraq that people fought for following the end of Saddam Hussein’s dictatorship? What kind of a message was the ruling regime trying to send through its judicial system?

The pro-Iranian ruling class aims to extend the radical, brutal system from Tehran to Baghdad by force through its militias. It punishes whoever disagrees with its agenda.

Adam Coogle, the deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch, criticized the Iraqi justice system, which should not be used as a tool to suppress peaceful criticism of the authorities or armed actors. “It is a sad reflection on the rule of law in Iraq that an activist like Al-Zaidi gets three years in prison for a Twitter post he says he didn’t write while dozens of officials and armed groups enjoy impunity for killing activists and protesters,” he said.

The questionable Iraqi judicial system is suppressing the people’s freedoms in favor of militia leaders and Vilayat-e Faqih followers. This goes against the country’s new constitution, which is supposed to protect the rights and freedoms of the Iraqi people.

The verdict sparked anger and disappointment in the Iraqi street, especially as it came only about a week after the release of a man who was accused of stealing more than a billion dollars of public funds.

Only in Iraq are criminals acquitted, while the innocent are criminalized based on their lack of loyalty to a neighboring country.

Only in Iraq are abductions, torture and murders legal as long as they oppress the opposition that dared to dream about living in peace and dignity.

The Khomeini loyalists put Al-Muhandis, a radical terrorist, brutal killer and militia leader, in the category of saints. He and his ilk, who receive their orders directly from the regime in Tehran, have killed hundreds of young protesters and wounded thousands around the country. Al-Muhandis, the founder of the Kata’ib Hezbollah militia who was killed in a 2020 US drone attack along with his superior, Qassem Soleimani, was nothing but a terrorist. He was sentenced to death in Kuwait for his involvement in the 1983 bomb attacks on the US and French embassies, while he also fought for the Iranian army against Iraq during the 1980s war between the two countries.

The case of Al-Zaidi was not the first and will not be the last. As long as these groups continue to hold Iraq hostage, thousands will be murdered or imprisoned as long as they refuse to bow to the regime in Iran.

If these barbaric, bloodthirsty terrorists control the cradle of civilization, hashtags, petitions, and protests will not save the people from their crimes.

• Dalia Al-Aqidi is a senior fellow at the Center for Security Policy. Twitter: @DaliaAlAqidi

The Irony of Obama’s Nuclear Message: Revelation 16

Obama, Kishida call for abolition of nuclear weapons at Hiroshima meeting

Dec. 10 (UPI) — Former U.S. President Barack Obama and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida called for a world without nuclear weapons at a nuclear disarmament conference Saturday in Hiroshima, Japan.

The two-day meeting of the International Group of Eminent Persons for a World Without Nuclear Weapons brought together delegates from Japan and 11 other countries, including the United States and Russia.

Obama delivered a video message in which he recalled his historic visit to Hiroshima in 2016 — a first for a sitting U.S. president.

“It strengthened my own resolve to reduce the threat of nuclear weapons worldwide,” he said.

But, he added, it is important to continue making progress amid new challenges.

“There have been some frustrating setbacks in recent years,” Obama said. “We’ve learned that even modest progress requires extraordinary effort. But we have also learned that this effort is worth it.”

Kishida echoed Obama’s call, saying that he hopes the meeting will make a significant step toward the abolition of nuclear weapons.

The world is facing the “biggest threat of nuclear weapon use since the Cold War,” Kishida said.

U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres also weighed in, citing Russia’s nuclear threats against Ukraine.

“Not since the darkest days of the Cold War have we heard such clear threats about their use,” Guterres said.

Among the 15 members, 12 are from 11 foreign nations — the nuclear powers of the United States, Britain, China, France, Russia and India, and the non-nuclear states of Germany, Argentina, Jordan, Indonesia and New Zealand.

The Russian Horn Considers Nuclear War: Revelation 16

Putin floats possibility that Russia may abandon ‘no first use’ nuclear doctrine

By Tim Lister, CNN

December 10, 2022CNN  —  

noneRussian President Vladimir Putin, for the second time this week, floated the possibility that Russia may formally change its military doctrine of not being the first to use nuclear weapons in a conflict, days after he warned of the “increasing” threat of nuclear war.

“They (the US) have it in their strategy, in the documents it is spelled out – a preventive blow. We don’t. We, on the other hand, have formulated a retaliatory strike in our strategy,” Putin said at a news conference in the Kyrgyzstan capital Bishkek.

Even if Russia were to retaliate immediately on seeing the launch of nuclear missiles towards it, Putin said, “this means that the fall of the warheads of enemy missiles on the territory of the Russian Federation is inevitable – they will still fall.”

Putin said that United States’ policy was not to exclude the possibility of “disarming” nuclear strike, while Russia’s doctrine is to use nuclear weapons as the last resort.

“So if we’re talking about this disarming strike, then maybe think about adopting the best practices of our American partners and their ideas for ensuring their security. We’re just thinking about it. No one was shy when they talked about it out loud in previous times and years,” he said.

“If a potential adversary believes it is possible to use the theory of a preventive strike, and we do not, then this still makes us think about those threats that are posed to us,” he added.

Biden administration officials have previously said that Moscow has been warned at the highest levels of the consequences for use of nuclear weapon in the war.

On Wednesday, Putin warned of the “increasing” threat of nuclear war, while stopping short of pledging Russia would not be the first to resort to nuclear weapons in a conflict.

“As for the idea that Russia wouldn’t use such weapons first under any circumstances, then it means we wouldn’t be able to be the second to use them either — because the possibility to do so in case of an attack on our territory would be very limited,” he said Wednesday.

Putin’s comments come as the war enters winter, with Russia continuing to shell eastern and southern parts of Ukraine – and faces attacks on its own soil.

On Monday, Russia unleashed a fresh wave of drone and missile attacks targeting energy infrastructure across Ukraine. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said the strikes caused extensive power outages in several regions, including Kyiv and Odesa.

This week, Russia said it was targeted in several drone attacks, which attacked military infrastructure, officials said.

The Russian Defense Ministry blamed the attacks on Ukraine, which has yet to offer public comment on the explosions

Hamas Urges Int’l Community to Hold Israel Accountable for Crimes Outside the Temple Walls: Revelation 11

Hamas Urges Int’l Community to Hold Israeli Regime Accountable for Its Crimes against Palestinians

Hamas Urges Int’l Community to Hold Israeli Regime Accountable for Its Crimes against Palestinians – World news – Tasnim News Agency

The Palestinian resistance movement made the remarks in a statement released on Saturday, while marking the Human Rights Day which was adopted by the United Nations in 1948.

The resistance movement said the world is marking this day as Israel continues to escalate its terror and systematic violations against Palestinians, including deliberate killings, land theft, siege, and racial discrimination and segregation.

It went on to say that the day provides a good opportunity to shed light on the scale and gravity of the unabated Israeli crimes against Palestinians.

“It is also a suitable opportunity to remind the whole world of its responsibilities to take actual action to criminalize the Israeli occupation’s violations and colonial settlers’ terrorism, work on putting an end to them, and prosecute their perpetrators as war criminals at international courts,” Hamas added.

The movement further stressed that Israeli crimes constitute a flagrant violation of the principles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and international law, reaffirming its commitment to the legitimate Palestinian rights.

Hamas further called on the United Nations and the international community to put an end to Israeli crimes in the occupied cities of al-Quds and the West Bank, end the unjust blockade imposed on the Gaza Strip, and enable the Palestinians to defend themselves with all means possible until ending the occupation and establishing an independent Palestinian state with al-Quds as its capital.

Since the start of 2022, Israeli troops have killed more than 210 Palestinians, including more than 50 children, in the occupied West Bank and East al-Quds as well as the besieged Gaza Strip.

According to the United Nations, the number of Palestinians killed by Israel in the occupied West Bank this year is the highest in 16 years.

Local and international rights groups have condemned Israel’s excessive use of force and “shoot-to-kill policy” against Palestinians.

Incidents of sabotage and violence by settlers against Palestinians and their property have also become a daily occurrence throughout the occupied territories, particularly in the West Bank.

However, Israeli authorities rarely prosecute settlers and the vast majority of the files are closed due to deliberate police failure to investigate them properly.

More than 600,000 Israelis live in over 230 settlements built since the 1967 Israeli occupation of the West Bank and East al-Quds.

All Israeli settlements are illegal under international law. The UN Security Council has condemned Israel’s settlement activities in the occupied territories in several resolutions.

Palestinians want the West Bank as part of a future independent state with East al-Quds as its capital.

The last round of Israeli-Palestinian talks collapsed in 2014. Among the major sticking points in those negotiations was Israel’s continued illegal settlement expansion.