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Despite Benefits, Israel Must Not Help Sudan's Genocidal Regime

Jerusalem must not ignore Omar al-Bashir's inhumane acts due to his decision to cut ties with Iran.

A new, repugnant alliance is developing between Israel and Sudan. As reported by Haaretz’s Barak Ravid last week, Jerusalem has asked the U.S. administration and EU countries to change their approach to Sudan; it wants them to consider canceling the East African country’s debts and give it economic assistance. Israel’s magnanimity is explained by the fact that Sudan has cut ties with Iran and is acting to prevent the transfer of weapons to the Sinai Peninsula and the Gaza Strip.
Jerusalem and Khartoum have a complex relationship. Although Sudan is not considered an enemy country, for years it assisted arms convoys heading from Iran through Sudan on their way to Gaza. Until a year ago, Sudan was a close ally of Iran and at one time provided sanctuary to Osama bin Laden.
On the other hand, it also chose (apparently in exchange for tidy sums) to overlook Israeli efforts to rescue the Jews of Ethiopia. And at the beginning of the year, Sudanese Foreign Minister Ibrahim Ghandour declared that his country would explore normalizing relations with Israel.
On the face of things, Israel should be pleased with the prospect of establishing friendly relations, even informal ones, with an Arab country that has a military alliance with Saudi Arabia, good relations with Egypt, and even cooperates in intelligence with the United States.
There is no basis, however, for adding Sudan to the list of “moderate” Arab countries that Israel considers candidates for cooperation. The country is headed by a president, Omar al-Bashir, against whom an international arrest warrant has been issued for his role in the genocide in Darfur. It is estimated that between 200,000 and 400,000 people were killed there, while millions were uprooted and thousands of women raped by soldiers loyal to Bashir.
The Sudanese president’s crimes, as described in indictments filed against him, exceed even the “norms” typical of repressive regimes. The Israeli government must not ignore the inhumane acts carried out by Bashir and on his behalf due to his decision to cut ties with Iran. Based on that criterion, Israel should have cut ties with Turkey, Russia, Britain and the other countries that maintain relations with Tehran.
In addition, it is unacceptable that activities on behalf of such a controversial regime be conducted in private without any reporting to the security cabinet and the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, or without public debate and under a heavy veil of military censorship.
Even more serious, Israel as the advocate of a merciless, brutal regime further undermines its standing as a moral country and a strategic asset compared with other countries in the region. A strategic “friendship” with Sudan is not only a moral error. It would also probably trigger animosity with the enlightened world.

Schermata 2016 09 11 alle 08.57.19

Haaretz Editorial

read more: http://www.haaretz.com/opinion/1.741295

Schermata 2016 09 11 alle 08.57.29

Video of the Week New Clashes Erupt Between Israeli Security Forces, Muslim Worshippers

Temple Mount temporarily closed to Jewish visitors after clashes with police

The Temple Mount was temporarily closed to Jewish visitors on Wednesday at the order of Jerusalem District Commander Yoram Halevy after Jews broke visitation rules at the holy site, police said. The Jewish visitors were expelled from the compound for bringing sacred books to the Mount and trying to pray there. After one of the individuals was cautioned, another took out a holy book, and the group was expelled. Meanwhile, renewed clashes erupted between protesters and Israeli security forces near the Lion's Gate in the Old City, where police used stun grenades against the demonstrators. A regular dynamic has developed involving clashes between Palestinians and Israel Police over the past several days near the Lion's Gate. Dozens of Palestinians are present at the site on a regular basis, urging devotion to the Al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount and condemning Israel. During Muslim prayer times, particularly the midday and nighttime prayers, hundreds and sometimes even thousands have been gathering there.

There have been outbreaks of violence during these periods, including stone-throwing or physical confrontations with the police. In most of these incidents, the police have been using stun grenades and sponge-tipped bullets to disperse the crowds. In a number of cases, journalists in the area have also suffered violence at the hands of the police. On Tuesday, Hassan Shaalan, a reporter for the Ynet news website, was struck by a policeman even after he identified himself as a member of the press. A group of Jerusalem-based journalists released a statement of condemnation over the incident and called on the police to permit reporters to do their jobs. The Jerusalem Police responded: "This involved an incident that took place in the course of violent disturbances of the peace that occurred in Jerusalem while the police were acting to remove the demonstrators from the street after some of them refused to vacate. The forces working on the scene are under constant threat to their lives. http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/1.802141

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