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Netanyahu: Hamas, Islamic State group share creed

UNITED NATIONS – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu compared his country’s recent bombing campaign in Gaza to the U.S.-led strikes against militants in Iraq and Syria, saying Hamas and the Islamic State group share the same goal of world domination.

Addressing the U.N. General Assembly on Monday, Netanyahu accused Hamas of committing “the real war crimes” in Gaza by using Palestinian civilians as human shields. It was an angry response to Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas’ speech to the U.N. last week in which he accused Israel of conducting a “war of genocide” in Gaza.

Netanyahu railed against world leaders who have condemned Israel for its war with Hamas while praising President Barack Obama for attacking Islamic State militants and other extremists in Syria and Iraq.

They “evidently don’t understand that ISIS and Hamas are branches of the same poisonous tree,” the Israeli prime minister said, referring to the Islamic State group by one of its acronyms.

Netanyahu said the leaders of ISIS and Hamas share the same goal of imposing militant Islam on the world.

“Hamas’ immediately goal is to destroy Israel, but it has a broader objective,” he said. “When it comes to its ultimate goals, Hamas is ISIS, and ISIS is Hamas.”

And turning to another regional rival, Netanyahu said Iran’s concern about the spread of terrorism is “one of history’s greatest displays of doubletalk.” He criticized the efforts of six world powers to reach a nuclear deal with Iran, saying, “to defeat ISIS and leave Iran as a potential nuclear power is to win the battle and lose the war.”

On the latest war in Gaza, Netanyahu questioned how Israel can be accused of genocide when it gave advance warning to Gaza civilians before attacks on neighborhoods.

Holding up an image of what he said was a Hamas rocket launcher with children nearby, he said Hamas hid rockets in schools and homes and used civilians as human shields.

Israel “was doing everything to minimize civilian casualties. Hamas was doing everything to maximize civilian casualties,” he said.

During the 50-day Gaza war, which ended Aug. 26, Israel launched thousands of airstrikes against what it said were Hamas-linked targets in the densely populated coastal territory, while Gaza militants fired several thousand rockets at Israel. More than 2,100 Palestinians were killed, the vast majority civilians, and some 18,000 homes were destroyed, according to U.N. figures. Sixty-six soldiers and six civilians were killed on the Israeli side.

In his speech Friday, Abbas stopped short of saying he would pursue war crimes charges against Israel. He said he would ask the U.N. Security Council to dictate the ground rules for any talks with Israel, including setting a deadline for an Israeli withdrawal from Palestinian lands.

Earlier Monday, Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said it’s clear that Abbas has no intention of making peace with Israel, calling his speech to world leaders last week “a message of hatred and incitement.”

Lieberman also questioned Abbas’ legitimacy to speak on behalf of the Palestinian people, saying he doesn’t control the Gaza Strip, where Hamas remains in charge of security and elections have been postponed for more than four years.

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Khan: Boko, Masisi are fake politicians

18th January 2021
Masisi & Boko

While there is no hard-and-fast rule in politics, former Molepolole North Member of Parliament, Mohamed Khan says populism acts in the body politic have forced him to quit active partisan politics. He brands this ancient ascription of politics as fake and says it lowers the moral compass of the society.

Khan who finally tasted political victory in the 2014 elections after numerous failed attempts, has decided to leave the ‘dirty game’, and on his way out he characteristically lashed at the current political leaders; including his own party president, Advocate Duma Boko. “I arrived at this decision because I have noticed that there are no genuine politics and politicians. The current leaders, Boko and President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi are fake politicians who are just practicing populist politics to feed their egos,” he said.

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Ookeditse rejects lobby for BPF top post

18th January 2021
LAWRENCE-OOKEDITSE

Former Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) parliamentary hopeful, Lawrence Ookeditse has rejected the idea of taking up a crucial role in the Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) Central Committee following his arrival in the party this week. According to sources close to development, BPF power brokers are coaxing Ookeditse to take up the secretary general position, left vacant by death of Roseline Panzirah-Matshome in November 2020.

Ookeditse’s arrival at BPF is projected to cause conflicts, as some believe they are being overlooked, in favour of a new arrival. The former ruling party strategist has however ruled out the possibility of serving in the party central committee as secretary general, and committed that he will turn down the overture if availed to him by party leadership.

Ookeditse, nevertheless, has indicated that if offered another opportunity to serve in a different capacity, he will gladly accept. “I still need to learn the party, how it functions and all its structures; I must be guided, but given any responsibility I will serve the party as long as it is not the SG position.”

“I joined the BPF with a clear conscious, to further advance my voice and the interests of the constituents of Nata/Gweta which I believe the BDP is no longer capable to execute.” Ookeditse speaks of abject poverty in his constituency and prevalent unemployment among the youth, issues he hopes his new home will prioritise.

He dismissed further allegations that he resigned from the BDP because he was not rewarded for his efforts towards the 2019 general elections. After losing in the BDP primaries in 2018, Ookeditse said, he was offered a job in government but declined to take the post due to his political ambitions. Ookeditse stated that he rejected the offer because, working for government clashed with his political journey.

He insists there are many activists who are more deserving than him; he could have chosen to take up the opportunity that was before him but his conscious for the entire populace’s wellbeing held him back. Ookeditse said there many people in the party who also contributed towards party success, asserting that he only left the BDP because he was concerned about the greater good of the majority not individualism purposes.

According to observers, Ookeditse has been enticed by the prospects of contesting Nata/Gweta constituency in the 2024 general election, following the party’s impressive performance in the last general elections. Nata/Gweta which is a traditional BDP stronghold saw its numbers shrinking to a margin of 1568. BDP represented by Polson Majaga garnered 4754, while BPF which had fielded Joe Linga received 3186 with UDC coming a distant with 1442 votes.

There are reports that Linga will pave way for Ookeditse to contest the constituency in 2024 and the latter is upbeat about the prospects of being elected to parliament. Despite Ookeditse dismissing reports that he is eying the secretary general position, insiders argue that the position will be availed to him nevertheless.

Alternative favourite for the position is Vuyo Notha who is the party Deputy Secretary General. Notha has since assumed duties of the secretariat office on the interim basis. BPF politburo is expected to meet on 25th of January 2020, where the vacancy will be filled.

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BDP cancels MPs retreat

18th January 2021
President Masisi

Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) big wigs have decided to cancel a retreat with the party legislators this weekend owing to increasing numbers of Covid-19 cases. The meeting was billed for this weekend at a place that was to be confirmed, however a communique from the party this past Tuesday reversed the highly anticipated meeting.

“We received a communication this week that the meeting will not go as planned because of rapid spread of Covid-19,” one member of the party Central Committee confirmed to this publication.
The gathering was to follow the first of its kind held late last year at party Treasurer Satar Dada’s place.

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