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Meanwhile back in Israel

1535456585963

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  • mickeyratmickeyrat Posts: 21,315
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  • mickeyratmickeyrat Posts: 21,315
      Netanyahu Withdraws Immunity Bid, Shifting Election Battleground https://nyti.ms/30Z1xeQ

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    Not today Sir, Probably not tomorrow.............................................. bayfront arena st. pete '94
    you're finally here and I'm a mess................................................... nationwide arena columbus '10
    memories like fingerprints are slowly raising.................................... first niagara center buffalo '13
    another man ..... moved by sleight of hand...................................... joe louis arena detroit '14
  • gimmesometruth27gimmesometruth27 St. Fuckin LouisPosts: 18,693
    There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man; true nobility is being superior to your former self.- Hemingway

    "Well, you tell him that I don't talk to suckas."
  • mickeyratmickeyrat Posts: 21,315
    at the nytimes the first article was similar. the very next on the app was bibi choosing to withdraw immunity status and will run WITH charges pending.......
    _____________________________________SIGNATURE________________________________________________

    Not today Sir, Probably not tomorrow.............................................. bayfront arena st. pete '94
    you're finally here and I'm a mess................................................... nationwide arena columbus '10
    memories like fingerprints are slowly raising.................................... first niagara center buffalo '13
    another man ..... moved by sleight of hand...................................... joe louis arena detroit '14
  • gimmesometruth27gimmesometruth27 St. Fuckin LouisPosts: 18,693
    mickeyrat said:
    at the nytimes the first article was similar. the very next on the app was bibi choosing to withdraw immunity status and will run WITH charges pending.......
    so he can go full on racist in the campaign to ensure victory like last time, or for his ego because he wants to be the guy that annexes the west bank?
    There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man; true nobility is being superior to your former self.- Hemingway

    "Well, you tell him that I don't talk to suckas."
  • mrussel1mrussel1 Posts: 21,539
    Agreed.  A vote is one thing,  but if they try to actively annex,  that's a disaster.  WTF.  This wouldn't happen if Clinton or anyone else was president.  Elections matter. 
  • mickeyratmickeyrat Posts: 21,315
    mrussel1 said:
    Agreed.  A vote is one thing,  but if they try to actively annex,  that's a disaster.  WTF.  This wouldn't happen if Clinton or anyone else was president.  Elections matter. 
    I think bibi was behind soliemani
    _____________________________________SIGNATURE________________________________________________

    Not today Sir, Probably not tomorrow.............................................. bayfront arena st. pete '94
    you're finally here and I'm a mess................................................... nationwide arena columbus '10
    memories like fingerprints are slowly raising.................................... first niagara center buffalo '13
    another man ..... moved by sleight of hand...................................... joe louis arena detroit '14
  • mickeyratmickeyrat Posts: 21,315
    _____________________________________SIGNATURE________________________________________________

    Not today Sir, Probably not tomorrow.............................................. bayfront arena st. pete '94
    you're finally here and I'm a mess................................................... nationwide arena columbus '10
    memories like fingerprints are slowly raising.................................... first niagara center buffalo '13
    another man ..... moved by sleight of hand...................................... joe louis arena detroit '14
  • mickeyratmickeyrat Posts: 21,315
    not over by a long shot, but thank fuck this is paused......


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    Not today Sir, Probably not tomorrow.............................................. bayfront arena st. pete '94
    you're finally here and I'm a mess................................................... nationwide arena columbus '10
    memories like fingerprints are slowly raising.................................... first niagara center buffalo '13
    another man ..... moved by sleight of hand...................................... joe louis arena detroit '14
  • mickeyratmickeyrat Posts: 21,315
    the truth WILL win out.......

    Israel hopes Germany, other ICC members will help stave off Palestinian investigation
    https://news.yahoo.com/israel-hopes-germany-other-icc-183951830.html

    _____________________________________SIGNATURE________________________________________________

    Not today Sir, Probably not tomorrow.............................................. bayfront arena st. pete '94
    you're finally here and I'm a mess................................................... nationwide arena columbus '10
    memories like fingerprints are slowly raising.................................... first niagara center buffalo '13
    another man ..... moved by sleight of hand...................................... joe louis arena detroit '14
  • mickeyratmickeyrat Posts: 21,315
    _____________________________________SIGNATURE________________________________________________

    Not today Sir, Probably not tomorrow.............................................. bayfront arena st. pete '94
    you're finally here and I'm a mess................................................... nationwide arena columbus '10
    memories like fingerprints are slowly raising.................................... first niagara center buffalo '13
    another man ..... moved by sleight of hand...................................... joe louis arena detroit '14
  • mickeyratmickeyrat Posts: 21,315
     BBC News - Israeli convicted of West Bank arson attack that killed three Palestinians
    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-52705466

    _____________________________________SIGNATURE________________________________________________

    Not today Sir, Probably not tomorrow.............................................. bayfront arena st. pete '94
    you're finally here and I'm a mess................................................... nationwide arena columbus '10
    memories like fingerprints are slowly raising.................................... first niagara center buffalo '13
    another man ..... moved by sleight of hand...................................... joe louis arena detroit '14
  • dankinddankind I am not your foot. Posts: 17,869
    Bump
    I SAW PEARL JAM
  • mickeyratmickeyrat Posts: 21,315
    _____________________________________SIGNATURE________________________________________________

    Not today Sir, Probably not tomorrow.............................................. bayfront arena st. pete '94
    you're finally here and I'm a mess................................................... nationwide arena columbus '10
    memories like fingerprints are slowly raising.................................... first niagara center buffalo '13
    another man ..... moved by sleight of hand...................................... joe louis arena detroit '14
  • josevolutionjosevolution Posts: 24,795
    jesus greets me looks just like me ....
  • No better time for Bibi to go full on nazi than when your nazi supporting regime that supports you is in its final death throws. Were the residents deported? To Gaza? By train?
    09/15/1998, Mansfield, MA; 08/29/00 08/30/00, Mansfield, MA; 07/02/03, 07/03/03, Mansfield, MA; 09/28/04, 09/29/04, Boston, MA; 09/22/05, Halifax, NS; 05/24/06, 05/25/06, Boston, MA; 07/22/06, 07/23/06, Gorge, WA; 06/29/08, 06/30/08, Mansfield, MA; 08/18/08, O2 London, UK; 10/30/09, 10/31/09, Philadelphia, PA; 05/15/10, Hartford, CT; 05/17/10, Boston, MA; 05/20/10, 05/21/10, NY, NY; 06/22/10, Dublin, IRE; 06/23/10, Northern Ireland; 09/03/11, 09/04/11, Alpine Valley, WI; 09/11/11, 09/12/11, Toronto, Ont; 09/14/11, Ottawa, Ont; 09/15/11, Hamilton, Ont; 07/02/2012, Prague, Czech Republic; 07/04/2012 & 07/05/2012, Berlin, Germany; 07/07/2012, Stockholm, Sweden; 09/30/2012, Missoula, MT; 07/16/2013, London, Ont; 07/19/2013, Chicago, IL; 10/15/2013 & 10/16/2013, Worcester, MA; 10/21/2013 & 10/22/2013, Philadelphia, PA; 10/25/2013, Hartford, CT; 11/29/2013, Portland, OR; 11/30/2013, Spokane, WA; 12/04/2013, Vancouver, BC; 12/06/2013, Seattle, WA; 10/03/2014, St. Louis. MO; 10/22/2014, Denver, CO; 10/26/2015, New York, NY; 04/23/2016, New Orleans, LA; 04/28/2016 & 04/29/2016, Philadelphia, PA; 05/01/2016 & 05/02/2016, New York, NY; 05/08/2016, Ottawa, Ont.; 05/10/2016 & 05/12/2016, Toronto, Ont.; 08/05/2016 & 08/07/2016, Boston, MA; 08/20/2016 & 08/22/2016, Chicago, IL; 07/01/2018, Prague, Czech Republic; 07/03/2018, Krakow, Poland; 07/05/2018, Berlin, Germany; 09/02/2018 & 09/04/2018, Boston, MA;

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  • mickeyratmickeyrat Posts: 21,315
    No better time for Bibi to go full on nazi than when your nazi supporting regime that supports you is in its final death throws. Were the residents deported? To Gaza? By train?

    left to the rubble
    _____________________________________SIGNATURE________________________________________________

    Not today Sir, Probably not tomorrow.............................................. bayfront arena st. pete '94
    you're finally here and I'm a mess................................................... nationwide arena columbus '10
    memories like fingerprints are slowly raising.................................... first niagara center buffalo '13
    another man ..... moved by sleight of hand...................................... joe louis arena detroit '14
  • mickeyrat said:
    No better time for Bibi to go full on nazi than when your nazi supporting regime that supports you is in its final death throws. Were the residents deported? To Gaza? By train?

    left to the rubble
    Nice. With the onset of winter and a pandemic raging. What a nation.
    09/15/1998, Mansfield, MA; 08/29/00 08/30/00, Mansfield, MA; 07/02/03, 07/03/03, Mansfield, MA; 09/28/04, 09/29/04, Boston, MA; 09/22/05, Halifax, NS; 05/24/06, 05/25/06, Boston, MA; 07/22/06, 07/23/06, Gorge, WA; 06/29/08, 06/30/08, Mansfield, MA; 08/18/08, O2 London, UK; 10/30/09, 10/31/09, Philadelphia, PA; 05/15/10, Hartford, CT; 05/17/10, Boston, MA; 05/20/10, 05/21/10, NY, NY; 06/22/10, Dublin, IRE; 06/23/10, Northern Ireland; 09/03/11, 09/04/11, Alpine Valley, WI; 09/11/11, 09/12/11, Toronto, Ont; 09/14/11, Ottawa, Ont; 09/15/11, Hamilton, Ont; 07/02/2012, Prague, Czech Republic; 07/04/2012 & 07/05/2012, Berlin, Germany; 07/07/2012, Stockholm, Sweden; 09/30/2012, Missoula, MT; 07/16/2013, London, Ont; 07/19/2013, Chicago, IL; 10/15/2013 & 10/16/2013, Worcester, MA; 10/21/2013 & 10/22/2013, Philadelphia, PA; 10/25/2013, Hartford, CT; 11/29/2013, Portland, OR; 11/30/2013, Spokane, WA; 12/04/2013, Vancouver, BC; 12/06/2013, Seattle, WA; 10/03/2014, St. Louis. MO; 10/22/2014, Denver, CO; 10/26/2015, New York, NY; 04/23/2016, New Orleans, LA; 04/28/2016 & 04/29/2016, Philadelphia, PA; 05/01/2016 & 05/02/2016, New York, NY; 05/08/2016, Ottawa, Ont.; 05/10/2016 & 05/12/2016, Toronto, Ont.; 08/05/2016 & 08/07/2016, Boston, MA; 08/20/2016 & 08/22/2016, Chicago, IL; 07/01/2018, Prague, Czech Republic; 07/03/2018, Krakow, Poland; 07/05/2018, Berlin, Germany; 09/02/2018 & 09/04/2018, Boston, MA;

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  • josevolutionjosevolution Posts: 24,795
    mickeyrat said:
    No better time for Bibi to go full on nazi than when your nazi supporting regime that supports you is in its final death throws. Were the residents deported? To Gaza? By train?

    left to the rubble
    Nice. With the onset of winter and a pandemic raging. What a nation.
    It’s amazing that it’s the nation of the people that went through the Holocaust..
    jesus greets me looks just like me ....
  • JOEJOEJOEJOEJOEJOE Posts: 9,622
    mickeyrat said:
    No better time for Bibi to go full on nazi than when your nazi supporting regime that supports you is in its final death throws. Were the residents deported? To Gaza? By train?

    left to the rubble
    Nice. With the onset of winter and a pandemic raging. What a nation.
    It’s amazing that it’s the nation of the people that went through the Holocaust..
    I am the son of a Holocaust survivor, and I do not agree with the situation in Palestine.  
  • josevolutionjosevolution Posts: 24,795
    JOEJOEJOE said:
    mickeyrat said:
    No better time for Bibi to go full on nazi than when your nazi supporting regime that supports you is in its final death throws. Were the residents deported? To Gaza? By train?

    left to the rubble
    Nice. With the onset of winter and a pandemic raging. What a nation.
    It’s amazing that it’s the nation of the people that went through the Holocaust..
    I am the son of a Holocaust survivor, and I do not agree with the situation in Palestine.  
    And please be sure I would never try to insult the holocaust in any way it’s just incredible how this is all happening!!
    jesus greets me looks just like me ....
  • mickeyratmickeyrat Posts: 21,315
     
    Israel advances plans in sensitive east Jerusalem settlement
    By TIA GOLDENBERG
    51 mins ago

    JERUSALEM (AP) — A settlement watchdog group said Sunday Israel is moving ahead with new construction of hundreds of homes in a strategic east Jerusalem settlement that threatens to cut off parts of the city claimed by Palestinians from the West Bank.

    The group, Peace Now, said the Israel Land Authority announced on its website Sunday that it had opened up tenders for more than 1,200 new homes in the key settlement of Givat Hamatos in east Jerusalem.

    The move may test ties with the incoming administration of President-elect Joe Biden, who is expected to take a firmer tack against Israeli settlement expansion after four years of a more lenient policy under President Donald Trump, who has largely turned a blind eye to settlement construction.

    The approval of the 1,200 homes is a further setback to dwindling hopes of an internationally backed partition deal that would enable the establishment of a Palestinian state alongside Israel.

    The Palestinians along with critics of Israel's settlement policy say construction in the Givat Hamatos settlement would seal off the Palestinian city of Bethlehem and the southern West Bank from east Jerusalem, further cutting off access for the Palestinians to that part of the city.

    “This is a continuation of the current Israeli government policy in destroying the two-state solution," said Nabil Abu Rdeneh, a spokesman to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

    Sunday's development comes as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is set to travel to the region this week, where he is expected to visit an Israeli settlement in the West Bank— a stop previous U.S. secretaries of state have avoided. Palestinian officials, who have cut off ties with the Trump administration over its policies in favor of Israel, have denounced Pompeo's planned visit. Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh tweeted on Friday that this was a “dangerous precedent” that legalizes settlements.

    Brian Reeves, a spokesman for Peace Now, said the move Sunday allows contractors to begin bidding on the tenders, a process that will conclude just days before Biden’s inauguration. Construction could then begin within months.

    “This is a lethal blow to the prospects for peace," Peace Now said in a statement, adding that Israel was “taking advantage of the final weeks of the Trump administration in order to set facts on the ground that will be exceedingly hard to undo in order to achieve peace.”

    The Palestinians seek the West Bank, along with the Gaza Strip and east Jerusalem — areas Israel captured in the 1967 Mideast war — for their future state. With nearly 500,000 settlers now living in the West Bank, and over 220,000 more in east Jerusalem, the Palestinians say the chances of establishing their state are quickly dwindling.

    Israel views the entire city of Jerusalem as its eternal, undivided capital.

    Much of Jerusalem is already blocked off from the West Bank by a series of checkpoints and the separation barrier. Israel has previously moved forward on plans to build in E1, another sensitive area east of Jerusalem that critics say, with Givat Hamatos, would block east Jerusalem off entirely from the West Bank.

    After four years of Trump, whose policies were hugely favorable toward Israel and who shrugged at settlement building, Israel faces a new reality under Biden, who will likely restore the previous U.S. position that viewed settlements as illegitimate and an obstacle to peace with the Palestinians.

    Under previous administrations, Israel held back on building plans in the most sensitive areas, including Givat Hamatos, amid opposition by both Washington and the international community, which saw such plans as dashing hopes for a contiguous Palestinian state.

    But Israel has been emboldened under Trump, approving thousands of new settlement homes during his term, including in highly contested areas. Many of those plans are expected to break ground after Biden assumes the presidency.

    With the Trump administration in its final weeks in office, Israel may be aiming to push ahead on contentious projects before Biden's term starts, a move that could set it on the wrong foot with the new president.


    _____________________________________SIGNATURE________________________________________________

    Not today Sir, Probably not tomorrow.............................................. bayfront arena st. pete '94
    you're finally here and I'm a mess................................................... nationwide arena columbus '10
    memories like fingerprints are slowly raising.................................... first niagara center buffalo '13
    another man ..... moved by sleight of hand...................................... joe louis arena detroit '14
  • josevolutionjosevolution Posts: 24,795
    So what you all think about that Pompeo visit to Middle East last week if I’m correct? And now Iranian scientists gets asassinated oh ok nothing to see here!!
    jesus greets me looks just like me ....
  • Smugness leads to delusion. That said, how is it that a people who have suffered so much turns their cheek and becomes worst than what’s been bestowed? Eye for an eye? No compassion? No wanting, “peace?”
    09/15/1998, Mansfield, MA; 08/29/00 08/30/00, Mansfield, MA; 07/02/03, 07/03/03, Mansfield, MA; 09/28/04, 09/29/04, Boston, MA; 09/22/05, Halifax, NS; 05/24/06, 05/25/06, Boston, MA; 07/22/06, 07/23/06, Gorge, WA; 06/29/08, 06/30/08, Mansfield, MA; 08/18/08, O2 London, UK; 10/30/09, 10/31/09, Philadelphia, PA; 05/15/10, Hartford, CT; 05/17/10, Boston, MA; 05/20/10, 05/21/10, NY, NY; 06/22/10, Dublin, IRE; 06/23/10, Northern Ireland; 09/03/11, 09/04/11, Alpine Valley, WI; 09/11/11, 09/12/11, Toronto, Ont; 09/14/11, Ottawa, Ont; 09/15/11, Hamilton, Ont; 07/02/2012, Prague, Czech Republic; 07/04/2012 & 07/05/2012, Berlin, Germany; 07/07/2012, Stockholm, Sweden; 09/30/2012, Missoula, MT; 07/16/2013, London, Ont; 07/19/2013, Chicago, IL; 10/15/2013 & 10/16/2013, Worcester, MA; 10/21/2013 & 10/22/2013, Philadelphia, PA; 10/25/2013, Hartford, CT; 11/29/2013, Portland, OR; 11/30/2013, Spokane, WA; 12/04/2013, Vancouver, BC; 12/06/2013, Seattle, WA; 10/03/2014, St. Louis. MO; 10/22/2014, Denver, CO; 10/26/2015, New York, NY; 04/23/2016, New Orleans, LA; 04/28/2016 & 04/29/2016, Philadelphia, PA; 05/01/2016 & 05/02/2016, New York, NY; 05/08/2016, Ottawa, Ont.; 05/10/2016 & 05/12/2016, Toronto, Ont.; 08/05/2016 & 08/07/2016, Boston, MA; 08/20/2016 & 08/22/2016, Chicago, IL; 07/01/2018, Prague, Czech Republic; 07/03/2018, Krakow, Poland; 07/05/2018, Berlin, Germany; 09/02/2018 & 09/04/2018, Boston, MA;

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  • mickeyratmickeyrat Posts: 21,315
    _____________________________________SIGNATURE________________________________________________

    Not today Sir, Probably not tomorrow.............................................. bayfront arena st. pete '94
    you're finally here and I'm a mess................................................... nationwide arena columbus '10
    memories like fingerprints are slowly raising.................................... first niagara center buffalo '13
    another man ..... moved by sleight of hand...................................... joe louis arena detroit '14
  • 23scidoo23scidoo Thessaloniki,GreecePosts: 15,554
    Athens 2006. Dusseldorf 2007. Berlin 2009. Venice 2010. Amsterdam 1 2012. Amsterdam 1+2 2014. Buenos Aires 2015.
    Prague Krakow Berlin 2018.
    EV, Taormina 1+2 2017.
  • mickeyratmickeyrat Posts: 21,315
    actually the icc...
    ICC clears way for war crimes probe of Israeli actions
    By JOSEF FEDERMAN
    1 hour ago

    JERUSALEM (AP) — The International Criminal Court said Friday that its jurisdiction extends to territories occupied by Israel in the 1967 Mideast war, potentially clearing the way for its chief prosecutor to open a war crimes probe into Israeli military actions.

    The decision was welcomed by the Palestinians and decried by Israel's prime minister, who vowed to fight “this perversion of justice.”

    The ICC’s chief prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, said in 2019 that there was a “reasonable basis” to open a war crimes probe into Israeli military actions in the Gaza Strip as well as Israeli settlement activity in the occupied West Bank. But she asked the court to determine whether she has territorial jurisdiction before proceeding.

    In a statement on Twitter, Bensouda's office welcomed the “judicial clarity” of the ruling, but said it needed time before deciding how to proceed.

    “The Office is currently carefully analysing the decision & will then decide its next step guided strictly by its independent & impartial mandate,” it said.

    The Palestinians, who joined the court in 2015, have pushed for an investigation. Israel, which is not a member of the ICC, has said the court has no jurisdiction because the Palestinians do not have statehood and because the borders of any future state are to be decided in peace talks. It also accuses the court of inappropriately wading into political issues.

    The Palestinians have asked the court to look into Israeli actions during its 2014 war against Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip, as well as Israel’s construction of settlements in the occupied West Bank and annexed east Jerusalem.

    The international community widely considers the settlements to be illegal under international law but has done little to pressure Israel to freeze or reverse their growth.

    The international tribunal is meant to serve as a court of last resort when countries' own judicial systems are unable or unwilling to investigate and prosecute war crimes.

    Israel’s military has mechanisms to investigate alleged wrongdoing by its troops, and despite criticism that the system is insufficient, experts say it has a good chance of fending off ICC investigation into its wartime practices.

    When it comes to settlements, however, experts say Israel could have a difficult time defending its actions. International law forbids the transfer of a civilian population into occupied territory.

    Israel captured the West Bank, Gaza and east Jerusalem in the 1967 war, territories the Palestinians want for their future state. Some 700,000 Israelis live in settlements in the West Bank and east Jerusalem. The Palestinians and much of the international community view the settlements as illegal and an obstacle to peace.

    Israel says east Jerusalem is an indivisible part of its capital and that the West Bank is “disputed” territory whose fate should be resolved in negotiations.

    While the court would have a hard time prosecuting Israelis, it could issue arrest warrants that would make it difficult for Israeli officials to travel abroad. A case in the ICC would also be deeply embarrassing to the government. Israel's prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, led the 2014 war in Gaza, while Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz was the military chief of staff at the time.

    In a videotaped statement released after midnight, Netanyahu accused the court of “pure anti-Semitism” and having a double standard.

    “The ICC refuses to investigate brutal dictatorships like Iran and Syria, who commit horrific atrocities almost daily,” he said. “We will fight this perversion of justice with all our might!”

    Nabil Shaath, a senior aide to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, welcomed the decision and said it proved the Palestinians were right to go to the ICC. “This is good news, and the next step is to launch an official investigation into Israel’s crimes against our people,” he said.

    Full Coverage:
     

    The ICC could also potentially investigate crimes committed by Palestinians militants. Bensouda has said her probe would look into the actions of Hamas, which fired rockets indiscriminately into Israel during the 2014 war.

    In Washington, U.S. State Department spokesman Ned Price told reporters that the Biden administration was “taking a close look” at the decision.

    “However, we have serious concerns about the ICC’s attempts to exercise jurisdiction over Israeli personnel," Price said. “We have always taken the position that the court’s jurisdiction should be reserved for those who consent to it or are referred by the U.N. Security Council.”

    The decision, detailed in a 60-page legal brief, was released late Friday, after Israel had shut down for the weekly Jewish Sabbath.

    Human Rights Watch welcomed the decision, saying it “finally offers victims of serious crimes some real hope for justice after a half century of impunity.”

    “It’s high time that Israeli and Palestinian perpetrators of the gravest abuses — whether war crimes committed during hostilities or the expansion of unlawful settlements — face justice,” said Balkees Jarrah, associate international justice director at the New York-based group.

    The three-judge pretrial chamber ruled that Palestine is a state party to the Rome Statute establishing the ICC. With one judge dissenting, it ruled that Palestine qualifies as the state on the territory in which the “conduct in question” occurred and that the court's jurisdiction extends to east Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza.

    Last year, the Trump administration imposed sanctions against ICC officials, after earlier revoking Bensouda’s entry visa, in response to the court’s attempts to prosecute American troops for actions in Afghanistan.

    The U.S., like Israel, does not recognize the court’s jurisdiction. At the time, then-Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the steps were meant as retribution for investigations into the United States and its allies, a reference to Israel.

    The Biden administration has said it will review those sanctions.

    ___

    Associated Press writers Joseph Krauss in Jerusalem and Matthew Lee in Washington contributed to this report.



    _____________________________________SIGNATURE________________________________________________

    Not today Sir, Probably not tomorrow.............................................. bayfront arena st. pete '94
    you're finally here and I'm a mess................................................... nationwide arena columbus '10
    memories like fingerprints are slowly raising.................................... first niagara center buffalo '13
    another man ..... moved by sleight of hand...................................... joe louis arena detroit '14
  • mickeyratmickeyrat Posts: 21,315
     
    Skip

    Israelis vote in hotly contested election with Netanyahu battling to remain prime minister


    March 23, 2021 at 3:15 p.m. EDT

    Israelis are voting Tuesday in a very tight election that could determine Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s future and finally break a debilitating political stalemate -- or send the country back to yet another round of polls.

    Here are some significant developments:
    • About 61 percent of eligible Israeli voters had cast ballots by the evening, a drop from the pace of recent elections.
    • Pollsters say the impact of the pandemic, uncertainty about turnout and a high level of undecided voters make this election redo unusually difficult to predict.
    • This is the fourth time in less than two years that Israelis head to the polls, a sign of the country’s continued stalemate.
    • This election, as well as the last three, is largely seen as a referendum on the tenure of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who continues to loom large over a divided nation, even as he stands trial on corruption charges.
    • This time, Netanyahu hopes the quick rollout of coronavirus vaccines, one of the fastest in the world, will weigh favorably among voters.

    JERUSALEM — As Israel’s national election headed into its final hour on Tuesday, beleaguered voters continued trooping to the polls, hoping against recent experience they will finally end the stalemate that has left Israel without a normally functioning government during a time of pandemic, economic distress and regional instability.

    In schools and community centers from the Negev Desert to settlements in the northern Golan Heights, Israelis turned out nationwide for the second time during the coronavirus pandemic and for the fourth time in less than two years. A year ago, voters in their unfamiliar masks came out just as the virus was getting a foothold. Now, with most adults vaccinated, the pandemic seems to be nearing an end, but the political crisis is not.

    “It’s frustrating,” said Avraham, a 59-year-old lawyer voting at a Jerusalem school who asked not to give his last name to discuss politics. “The stalemate is bad for the country’s internal cohesion. I only have limited hope that this time will be any better.”

    Pollsters say the impact of the pandemic, uncertainty about turnout and a high level of undecided voters make this election redo unusually difficult to predict. By 8 pm, with two hours until polls close, 61 percent of eligible voters had cast ballots, a drop of almost five percent when compared with the last election’s pace.

    But final surveys suggested not much has changed in the toss-up dynamic of the past three elections, which have largely been referendums on the tenure of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, now in his 14th year. “King Bibi,” as he is known, continues to looms large over a divided nation, even as he stands trial in Jerusalem on bribery, fraud and other corruption charges. And once again, a bit less than half the country appears poised to elect parties backing Netanyahu and a bit more than half will cast votes to oust him.

    One very possible outcome of the fourth election will be the need for a fifth.

    “It don’t see any reason to think voting again will help” break the electoral impasse, said Tzofiya Malev, a university worker who cast her ballot during a misty rain in Jerusalem’s Katamon neighborhood. If necessary, she said she will come to vote again. And again. “Whatever it takes.”

    A continuing stalemate is one of the few likely scenarios political analysts foresee following Tuesday’s vote. Another is that Netanyahu and his allies finally win a narrow but outright majority, an outcome made more likely by an uptick in support for his Likud party in the final days of the campaign.

    Some voters cast their ballots in hopes of bringing the election loop to an end.

    “At this point, I’m voting strategically and not 100 percent on my ideology," said Efrat Lev, a cross-fit coach and competitive power-lifter who was casting an afternoon vote in Efrat, a Jewish settlement near Bethlehem in the occupied West Bank. Even though she said her first choice was the right-wing Religious Zionist Party and has qualms about Netanyahu’s ethics, she voted Likud in hopes of giving him a decisive majority once and for all.

    “The more seats Bibi gets, the more chance we will have a stable right-wing government," she said. “At this point, I’m not looking to vote for an angel.”

    Pollsters said it was also possible that the constellation of anti-Netanyahu parties would again win enough seats to unseat the prime minister, but only if they achieve what has eluded them after the previous elections: negotiating a power-sharing deal among groups that range from right-wing religious factions to leftists and parties representing Arab-Israeli citizens.

    Except for a short-lived — and dysfunctional — emergency “unity” government that formed last spring as the pandemic erupted, party leaders have refused to join forces across ideological lines. The electorate, meanwhile, is left hanging.

    “The voters have been consistent in saying what they think three times in a row and then it all hinges on the decisions of four or five men,” said Dahlia Scheindlin, a Tel Aviv-based pollster. “It’s dismissive and disrespectful of the citizens.”

    As Likud’s poll numbers ticked up ahead of Election Day, his opponents feared Netanyahu could be in reach of an exclusively right-wing government with no need for moderating partners from the center.

    Ibrahim Bushnak, a media advisor from the Arab village of Kfar Manda, said Arabs have played an important, even prominent role in helping Israel address the pandemic and he worries their social progress would be set back if the governing coalition becomes even more conservative.

    “I really hope that there won’t be a full right-wing government,” Bushnak said. “We saw during the covid year how many Arab doctors who went out to the front lines and contributed to the country.”

    Voter fatigue may be contributing to high levels of indecision, with one poll showing 40 percent of voters had planned to wait until the last minute to make up their minds. “I still don’t know,” said one voter entering a polling place in Efrat on Tuesday. “I hope my hand will know when it’s time to pick.”

    So far, the frustration hasn’t dented voter turnout, which increased over the course of the past three elections, from 68.4 percent in April 2019 to 71.5 percent last March. Polls suggested Tuesday’s rate might dip but remain in the 60s, Scheindlin said.

    Some things are different the fourth time around.

    With Israel posting the world’s fastest pace of inoculating against the coronavirus, and semblances of normal life beginning to return, Netanyahu is banking on a vaccine gratitude strategy. He has campaigned at vaccination centers, tried to woo the chief executive of Pfizer (a U.S. company that jointly developed an effective coronavirus vaccine with German partner BioNTech) to make a pre-vote visit to Israel, and was chastised by election officials for usurping the motto of the government vaccine drive, “Coming Back to Life,” as his campaign catchphrase.

    Critics counter that Netanyahu’s overall response to the epidemic has been chaotic and haphazard, leading to repeat national lockdowns with rules routinely flouted in many ultra-Orthodox Jewish communities. Human rights groups say Israel should be doing much more to provide vaccinations to 5 million Palestinians effectively under its control in the West Bank and Gaza.

    “He was also responsible for the grave situation before the vaccine,” said Avraham, the lawyer, who voted for a center-left party led by former news anchor Yair Lapid. “We could have had half the deaths, half the closed businesses.”

    Also, new this round, Netanyahu faces his first serious challenge from the right. Former Likud education minister Gideon Saar left the party to take on his former mentor. His bid, which has attracted other politicians and significant voter interest, gives conservatives a shot at right-wing policies without the ethical taints of the prime minister.

    “They get Likud without Netanyahu,” said Jonathan Rynhold, professor of politics at Bar-Ilan University.

    Former Likud defense minister Naftali Bennett is also making another run, providing conservatives yet another option. The military hard-liner is running on a platform of covid-recovery competence — a rebuke of Netanyahu’s pandemic performance.

    But he is also the only major contender who won’t rule out bringing his Yamina party into a new Netanyahu coalition, giving him potential kingmaker leverage in the factional bargaining that will follow Tuesday’s vote.

    “[Netanyahu] has been in for too long,” said Malev, the university worker, a right-leaning voter who was looking for alternatives to the prime minister’s “behavior,” which she considers unethical. This time, she settled on Bennet’s Yamina, although it’s getter hard to keep track of the shifting parties. “I don’t even remember who I voted for the first time.”

    This round, only the ultra-Orthodox parties have been willing to sign a pledge not to join a government led by someone other than Netanyahu.

    Shay Sharon, an ultra-Orthodox voter returning from a polling place in the West Bankn settlement of Betar Illit, had just voted yet again for the United Torah Judaism party, a stalwart member of Netanyahu’s bloc.

    “What’s to change?” asked Sharon, who belongs to the Chabad sect. His job is stable, he likes the government and he’s already had Covid-19. “I had the natural vaccine.”

    Other right-wing parties have signaled they are willing to bargain with other potential leaders of a new government.

    “The major shift in the fourth election is the rift within the right wing,” said Gayil Talshir, a political scientist at Hebrew University. “Both Bennett and Saar are out there, and both talk about replacing Netanyahu.”

    The challenge had led Netanyahu to seek new pockets of support. He surprised many in the political establishment by inviting Itamar Ben Gvir, an extremist politician with roots in the banned Kahanist movement, to join his coalition. But many in Netanyahu’s base welcomed the move.

    “When we have Arab politicians who call Israeli soldiers Nazis, I think Ben Gvir’s voice is necessary,” said Lev.

    At other end of the spectrum, Netanyahu has been seeking votes in Israel’s Arab communities. In a turnaround from past campaigns in which he portrayed Israeli Arabs and their politicians as a threat, this round found him having coffee with Bedouin elders and promising to boost spending on police and infrastructure in some of the country’s poorest towns.

    The Arab outreach may gain Likud a seat or two, analysts said. But more importantly, it has helped splinter the coalition of Arab parties that has achieved record support in recent elections. One party, wooed by the prime minister, has split, and pollsters expect Arab turnout to drop, lessening the power of a key anti-Netanyahu bloc of voters.

    “I have some friends who aren’t going out today,” said Ehab Jabareen, a media strategist who voted Tuesday in the northern Israeli village of Fureidis. “The campaign that happened throughout the Arab society was very difficult. All the extremism of the campaign has only increased the feeling of apathy.”

    Among liberal voters, Lapid’s Yesh Atid party offers the best hope. With an array of small, left-leaning parties, including the once mighty Labor Party, hoping to contribute a few seats, Lapid could have a significant center-left bloc to offer potential coalition partners.

    But those voters were badly burned in the last election, when Lapid’s then-partner in the anti-Netanyahu Blue and White party, Former Army Chief of Staff Benny Gantz, reneged on his promise not to join forces with Netanyahu. Gantz became defense minister and “alternate” prime minister in the emergency unity government.

    It was a crushing blow to former Blue and White voters such as Chagit Moriah-Gibor, 35, who said she has become fed up with all the political haggling and "a lot of generals saying they were going to save the country.”

    She cast her vote in Efrat on Tuesday for the Labor party.




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