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12 March, 2021

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★ Three Palestinian fishermen killed 'when Israeli drone exploded in nets' | Palestinian territories | The Guardian

"Three Palestinian fishermen who died in an offshore blast had encountered an explosive-laden Israeli drone that had fallen into the sea and blew up in their nets, the Hamas-run interior ministry in Gaza said on Thursday."

Nagorno-Karabakh

Meanwhile tonight the Israeli TV channel 12 critical journal program "Fact" had a piece on the recent war in Nagorno-Karabakh; they sent intrepid war reporter Itai Engel into territories occupied by the Armenian-supported (and internationally unrecognized) Artsakh Republic, to document the fighting. He highlighted the use of advanced Israeli weaponry by the Azeris against the Armenians. Being there meant risking his life while being under fire from weapons produced by his own country. The Azeris' eventually victory in November 2020, was in a large part thanks to Israeli precision weapons and the reconnaissance drones which were able to pinpoint the positions of Armenian units; in particular their tanks and armored vehicles became sitting ducks. But the journalist's emphasis was on how this same advanced weaponry was heavily used against civilian targets. Both sides targeted civilians, but the Armenians were using older, less accurate missiles like Skuds.

The day was won by the side with the technological edge. Some 70% of the territory that had been occupied by the Artsakh Republic was reclaimed by Azerbaijan. When Yerevan accepted the defeat, angry crowds descended on the parliament. The Prime Minister had to give the announcement while in hiding.

Afterwards, Engel filmed a military parade in Baku in which various products of Israel's military industries were stars of the show. Although Israel has not been in conflict with Armenia, her strategic interests currently lie with Azerbaijan due to its proximity to and long border with arch-enemy Iran. Israel is using that border to its advantage, while Iran is supporting the Hizbullah in Lebanon and the regime of Hafez al-Assad in Syria. Meanwhile, Israel's military industries are no doubt flourishing and winning new contracts. Business is business.

In the same war, Azerbaijan was strongly supported by Turkey; and, in the film, the Azeris were often referred to by the Armenians as "Turks". Turkish-Israeli relations have been strained for years, (since the Mavi Marmara incident), but there are various twists and turns in Middle East politics. This plays out in the fact that Israel, despite having so much in common with Armenians, has never recognized their early 20th century holocaust as a genocide - it is too afraid to rile the Turks. We have an aging professor of genocide studies in our village who has long lobbied to change this policy, but to no avail. When Charles Aznavour(ian) visited us a few months before his death, at Prof Auron's invitation, the singer had just come from a disappointing meeting with President Rivlin. In accordance with Israeli policy, he would not utter the "G" word; he only agrees to call it "a massacre".

Meanwhile, in their weekly "Bar ba Waha" pub night in our village, the young people organized a live performance of Turkish and Egyptian music. But I never go to those. I did go our municipal society elections last night. We voted in an evenly balanced Jewish-Palestinian team of men and women, with a Palestinian woman as the chair of board.

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