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Tearful reunion after mom saw her daughter’s photo at the border | Latin America News



It had been six years since Glenda Valdez kissed her little girl goodbye and left for the United States; six years since he held Emely in his arms.

But here she was, at Texas Austin-Bergstrom International Airport, tearfully hugging the little girl she’d left behind. And it happened only because he had glimpsed a televised photo of Emely, part of a story by The Associated Press news agency about young people crossing the Mexican border alone.

“I love you very much,” she whispered in Spanish into her nine-year-old daughter’s ear. “My God, thank you.”

It was a fairy tale ending, for the moment, to a complicated story, which began in Honduras and with an unhappy relationship, according to the 26-year-old Valdez.

Emely’s father, he said, was absent and did not provide them. When Valdez emigrated in search of a better life, the girl was left in the custody of Valdez’s mother. But Emely’s father got her back.

Valdez said he only had sporadic contact with his daughter; the father preferred that they not speak regularly. Every now and then, Valdez got a video call; Finally, Emely told her that she had a new stepmother who was not nice to her.

Emely told her that her father, seeing that she was not happy with her life in that house, had decided to fire her without telling her where. He placed her in the care of an adult who for several weeks helped her travel to the US-Mexico border.

Six years had passed since Valdez said goodbye to his daughter Emely in Honduras. Then last month, she saw a televised Associated Press photo of a girl in a red hoodie and learned that Emely had made the trip to the United States alone. [Eric Gay/AP Photo]

Around midnight, when the day reached May 13, Border Patrol agents met Emely in La Joya, on the Texas side of the Rio Grande Valley. He had been walking in the undergrowth for six hours with a group of strangers and had lost a shoe in the mud. She was sobbing uncontrollably.

“I was thirsty and we had nothing to drink and I didn’t like it and I didn’t know where I was going,” Emely said in Spanish on Sunday.

When officers found her, she said she had lost her mother’s number and did not know where her mother lived. Desperate, she gave reporters details that she thought might identify her mother: “Her hair is curly, but sometimes she straightens it. And he has a ring on his lip. “

Her mother was waiting for her, she said. But Valdez said Sunday he had no idea his son had been sent across the border.

Valdez was at his home in Austin, watching a Univision newscast one afternoon in May, when he saw the photo of Emely wearing a red hoodie. He knew immediately that it was his daughter. Desperate, she immediately began making calls to US authorities, the network, and refugee agencies.

“Honestly, I was in shock, because imagine you’re watching TV and suddenly you see your daughter,” Valdez said. “And even more so seeing her cry and everything she said broke my heart, honestly, everything she said there, that she was upset and crying and all that, and seeing her image, barefoot and everything was very difficult for me. “

Emely said they took her to a group home. But Valdez didn’t know that, and for weeks he said he only got vague responses to his pleas for information. Be patient, they told him.

“He was traumatized, like he had spent many days crying, watching his video, looking at his photos and crying and crying and crying,” Valdez said.

Last Wednesday, she got a call: Emely was in a government shelter. They would soon be reunited. And then on Saturday, they told her to meet her daughter at the airport the next day. At the agreed time, she ran to the bottom of the stairs in the crowded arrivals hall to hug her daughter.

Emely is part of a large increase in children traveling alone entering the United States from Mexico: nearly 19,000 in March (the highest number on record) and nearly 17,200 in April (the second-highest). Almost one in three unaccompanied children who appear at the border is from Honduras, second only to Guatemala.

Guided by federal law and a decades-old court settlement, the US Department of Health and Human Services seeks to place unaccompanied children in the “least restrictive environment” possible, which, in the vast majority of cases , is a parent or close relative who already lives in the United States. It took an average of 35 days to place the children in a home in late May; Emely was reunited with her mother 10 days less than that.

Children are often released with instructions to appear in immigration court, where a judge rules on their asylum applications. Decisions can take years: the court system has a backlog of 1.3 million cases.

While Emely awaits her court date, the girl has moved in with Valdez, her husband, and their two daughters, who are excited to meet this new sister they had only met virtually.


AP Interview: Former President Says US Failed in Afghanistan



KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) – The former president of Afghanistan said Sunday that the United States came to his country to fight extremism and bring stability to his war-tortured nation and that he will leave nearly 20 years after failing both. .

In an interview with The Associated Press just weeks before the last US and NATO troops left Afghanistan, ending their “eternal war,” Hamid Karzai said that extremism is at a “peak” and that troops that leave are leaving behind a disaster.

“The international community came here 20 years ago with this clear goal of fighting extremism and bringing stability … but extremism is at an all-time high today. So they have failed, ”he said.

His legacy is a war-torn nation in “utter disgrace and disaster.”

“We acknowledge all our failures as Afghans, but what about the greater forces and powers that came here for exactly that purpose? Where do they leave us now? “He asked and replied,” In total disgrace and disaster. “

Still, Karzai, who had a troubled relationship with the United States during his 13-year tenure, wanted the troops to leave, saying the Afghans were united behind an overwhelming desire for peace and now needed to take responsibility for their future. .

“We will be better off without their military presence,” he said. “I think we should defend our own country and take care of our own lives. … His presence (has given us) what we have now. … We do not want to continue with this misery and indignity that we face. It is better for Afghanistan that they leave. “

The Karzai government followed the overthrow of the Taliban in 2001 by a US-led coalition that launched its invasion to hunt down and destroy the Al Qaeda network and its leader, Osama bin Laden, accused of the September 11 attacks on the United States. .

During the Karzai government, women re-emerged, girls again attended school, a young and vibrant civil society emerged, new skyscrapers were erected in the capital Kabul, and roads and infrastructure were built. But his administration was also characterized by accusations of widespread corruption, a burgeoning drug trade, and in recent years relentless disputes with Washington that continue to this day.

“The (US / NATO military) campaign was not against extremism or terrorism, the campaign was more against Afghan villages and hopes; put Afghans in prisons, create prisons in our own country … and bomb every village. That was very bad. “

In April, when President Joe Biden announced the final withdrawal of the remaining 2,500-3,500 soldiers, he said the United States was leaving having achieved its objectives. Al-Qaeda had declined enormously and bin Laden was dead. The United States no longer needed boots on the ground to fight terror threats that could emanate from Afghanistan, he said.

Still, America’s attempts to bring about a political end to decades of war have been elusive. It signed an agreement with the Taliban in February 2020 to withdraw its troops in exchange for a promise from the Taliban to denounce terrorist groups and prevent Afghanistan from being the scene of attacks against the United States again.

There is little evidence that the Taliban are honoring their end of the bargain. The United Nations claims that the Taliban and al-Qaida are still linked. The architect of the US agreement and current US peace envoy, Zalmay Khalilzad, says some progress has been made, but without offering details.

Karzai has spoken harshly and uncompromisingly criticized America’s tactics of war for the past two decades in Afghanistan. Yet it has become something of a linchpin in a joint effort being launched by the United States and Britain to get Kabul’s rowdy Afghan leaders together enough to talk peace with the Taliban. The insurgent group has shown little interest in negotiating and has instead intensified its attacks on government positions.

The Taliban have made considerable progress since the May 1 start of the US and NATO withdrawal. They have invaded dozens of districts, often negotiating their surrender with Afghan national security forces.

But in many cases the fighting has been intense. Last week, a brutal Taliban assault in the northern province of Faryab killed 22 of Afghanistan’s elite commandos, led by a local hero, Colonel Sohrab Azimi, who was also killed and greatly lamented.

“The desire of the Afghan people, overwhelmingly, throughout the country is peace,” said Karzai, who despite being out of power since 2014 has lost little political influence and is often at the center of the country’s political machinations. .

Diplomats, Western officials, generals, tribal elders and politicians from all ends of Afghanistan’s political spectrum regularly make their way to the Karzai gate in the heart of the Afghan capital.

Given that the final military withdrawal is already more than 50% complete, the need for a political settlement or even a visible path to a final settlement seems to be taking on greater urgency even as thousands of Afghans seek a way out. They say they are frustrated by relentless corruption, marauding criminal gangs, some linked to powerful warlords in Kabul, and worsening insecurity and few see a future that is not violent.

Karzai had a message for both parties to the conflict: “The two Afghan parties, neither of them should be fighting. “While accusing both Pakistan, where the Taliban leadership is based, and the United States of stoking the fighting, Karzai said it is up to the Afghans to end decades of war.

Charging …

Charging …Charging …Charging …Charging …Charging …

“The only answer is for the Afghans to unite. … We must recognize that this is our country and we must stop killing ourselves. “


Follow Kathy Gannon on Twitter at

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Visualizing 70 Years of Refugee Travel | Human rights news



When we entered 2021, there were 82.4 million people around the world displaced by conflict or persecution.

Thirty million of them are refugees, the rest are internally displaced (48 million) or asylum seekers (4.1 million), according to the latest UNHCR report. report. Almost half of these forcibly displaced people are children.

55 percent of the refugees come from three countries: Syria, Palestine and Venezuela.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, “everything else stopped, including economies, but wars, conflicts, violence, discrimination and persecution, all the factors that pushed these people to flee, have continued”, UNHCR chief Filippo Grandi said.

Refugee travel during 2020

In 2020, 1.27 million people from 64 countries became refugees. The infographic below shows the desperate journeys these people made despite the additional challenges brought on by COVID-19.

Africa accounts for more than a third of the world’s displaced people. By the end of 2020, at least 30.6 million people were displaced across the continent.

In 2020, about 60,000 refugees fled Ethiopia to neighboring countries following violence in various parts of the East African country. In November 2020, fighting broke out in the Tigray region of northern Ethiopia, displacing more than a million people. according to the International Organization for Migration.

In the Middle East, Syrian refugees continued to flee their country’s 10-year war, with nearly 134,000 recorded leaving in 2020. Half of them (65,000) fled to neighboring Turkey, which is now home to the community of largest refugees in the world: 3.7 a million people. That same year, almost a quarter of Syrian refugees (32,500) arrived in Germany.

In Latin America, about 400,000 refugees fled Venezuela after a political and economic crisis in the country. Of these, 139,000 were registered fleeing to Peru, 80,000 to the Dominican Republic and 60,000 to Brazil.

In Asia, the UN registered at least 29,000 refugees from Myanmar. Almost all of these refugees reached neighboring India (17,000) and Bangladesh (12,000).

In Europe, at least 89,000 refugees fled from Azerbaijan to Armenia after 44 days of fighting that broke out between Armenian and Azerbaijani forces in the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh territory.

On the other side of the Atlantic, during 2020, the United States received 8,500 refugees from 20 countries. Almost half of these refugees came from just three countries: Venezuela (1,600), El Salvador (1,200) and Guatemala (1,100). This is significantly lower than in 2019 when the country received 32,000 refugees.

Canada received 7,500 refugees from 21 countries in 2020. The main countries of origin were Nigeria (1,400), Iran (1,200) and Hungary (629). On the other side of the world, Australia received only 956 refugees in 2020, mostly from Iran.

Where are the largest refugee camps?

Refugee camps are intended as a temporary safe haven to meet the basic needs of refugees. However, many people end up living in these camps for decades. According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Kenya: “Many displaced people spend more than 16 years living as refugees in temporary shelters.”

The infographic below highlights some of the largest refugee camps in the world.

The Kutupalong Camp In Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, it is the largest refugee camp in the world. It was established informally in the early 1990s after Myanmar’s Rohingya minority began fleeing various repressions against them in Rakhine State.

In 2017, brutal crackdown targets across the state and the camp had to be significantly expanded, reaching a capacity of approximately 800,000 people.

On March 22, 2021, a major fire engulfed a neighboring refugee camp in Cox’s Bazar. Fifteen people died and tens of thousands were left without their homes and belongings.

Smoke rises from a fire in the Rohingya refugee camp in Balukhali. It destroyed hundreds of shelters and left thousands homeless. March 22, 2021 [Shafiqur Rahman/AP Photo]

The Dadaab Refugee Complex Kenya comprises three large refugee camps – Hagadera, Dagahaley and Ifo – and hosts more than 200,000 refugees near the border with Somalia. Dadaab was established in 1991 after the civil war in Somalia and expanded in 2011 after widespread drought and famine.

The Kakuma refugee camp in northwestern Kenya it is home to at least 150,000 refugees, mostly from South Sudan and Somalia. The camp was established in 1992 after the arrival of thousands of Sudanese children fleeing the civil war.

In March 2021, the Kenyan government announced that it would close the Dadaab and Kakuma refugee camps by June 30, 2022.

Kenya said in March that it planned to close two refugee camps housing more than 400,000 people. [Tony Karumba/ AFP]

The Zaatari refugee camp was established in Jordan in 2012 to host Syrian refugees. Today, it is the largest Syrian refugee camp in the world. The world’s first COVID-19 vaccination center in a refugee camp opened there in February 2021.

70 years of refugee travel

In 1951, the UN established the 1951 Refugee Convention, created to protect the rights of refugees in Europe after World War II. In 1967, the convention was expanded to address displacement in the rest of the world.

The infographic below highlights 70 years of refugee travel, from 1951 to 2020. The number of refugees has more than doubled over the past decade, from 15 million in 2011 to 30 million in 2020.

The plight of the Palestinian refugees is the world’s longest unsolved refugee problem. On May 14, 1948, the British mandate for Palestine expired, triggering the first Arab-Israeli war. The Zionist militias expelled at least 750,000 Palestinians. According to figures compiled by UNHCR, in 1952 the number of Palestinian refugees was 867,000. Today, that number is 5.7 million.

Afghanistan has been devastated by four decades of war. From 1979 to 1989, the country was the scene of one of the last battles of the Cold War, when Soviet troops waged a bloody guerrilla war against the Afghan mujahideen. Over the next decade, the county kept fighting. Only 12 years after the Soviet withdrawal, Afghanistan would be invaded again, this time by the United States. The largest number of Afghan refugees was registered in 1990, where 6.3 million refugees were reported.

Which countries host the most refugees today?

At 6.7 million people, Syrians are the largest refugee population today, followed by Palestinians (5.7 million) and Venezuelans (4 million). In 2020, 88 percent of the world’s refugees came from just 12 countries.

At the receiving end, 65 percent of the world’s refugees are housed in just 16 countries. Turkey hosts the largest number of refugees (3.7 million) followed by Jordan (3 million) and Colombia (1.7 million).

In Europe, Germany is home to around 1.2 million refugees, the largest number on the continent.

According to UNHCR, developing countries are home to 86 percent of the world’s refugees.

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China says 1 billion doses of COVID vaccine were administered | Coronavirus pandemic news



Beijing plans to fully vaccinate 40 percent of the country’s nearly 1.4 billion people by the end of this month.

China has announced that more than 1 billion doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in the country, as the world’s most populous nation accelerated its immunization program.

The announcement by the National Health Commission (NHC) comes after the number of injections given globally surpassed 2.5 billion on Friday, according to an AFP tally from official sources.

The NHC did not say how many people had been vaccinated. As elsewhere, most vaccines in China are given in two doses.

The pace of vaccinations has accelerated in the country of 1.4 billion people after a slow start. The total number of doses administered doubled from 500 million in less than a month, according to government figures.

Lack of transparency and past vaccine scandals have also sparked resistance from residents.

Authorities have set an ambitious goal of fully vaccinating 40 percent of the country’s nearly 1.4 billion people by the end of this month.

Incentives for vaccines

Some provinces are offering vaccines for free to encourage people to roll up their sleeves. Residents of the central province of Anhui received free eggs, while some living in Beijing received shopping vouchers.

A recent outbreak of the most contagious Delta variant of the virus in the southern city of Guangzhou has also served as a wake-up call for many shufflers.

China reported 23 new cases of coronavirus on Sunday.

The country has four conditionally approved vaccines, whose published efficacy rates lag behind rival hits from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna, which have success rates of 95 percent and 94 percent, respectively.

China’s Sinovac previously said that trials of its injection in Brazil showed about 50 percent effectiveness in preventing infections and 80 percent in preventing cases requiring medical intervention.

Sinopharm’s two vaccines have efficacy rates of 79 percent and 72 percent respectively, while CanSino’s overall efficacy is 65 percent after 28 days.

Regulators have not approved any non-Chinese vaccines so far, although they appear to be moving to do so for the one developed by Pfizer and BioNTech.

China is expected to produce more than three billion doses of vaccines this year, the state-run Xinhua news agency reported in April.

Health authorities have not said when China will achieve herd immunity or what proportion of its vaccine doses will be sold abroad.

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Pope on Myanmar: houses of worship serve as neutral refuge



VATICAN CITY (AP) – Pope Francis on Sunday condemned the suffering of refugees in Myanmar and called for houses of worship to be respected as neutral places of refuge.

He told the public gathered in St. Peter’s Square for his customary midday remarks Sunday that he was joining his voice with that of the Asian nation’s bishops by also asking for humanitarian corridors.

Francis lamented that thousands of displaced people in Myanmar are “starving.” The violence, including the devastation of villages, has become endemic since the army took power in February, toppling the elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi.

A nonviolent civil disobedience movement is challenging the military rule, but the junta’s attempt to suppress it with deadly force has fueled resistance.

Francis noted that the Catholic bishops of Myanmar launched an appeal last week, “drawing the attention of the world to the heartbreaking experience of thousands of people in that country who are displaced and starving.” He added that he was joining the ecclesiastical call for humanitarian corridors to allow the safe passage of those who flee.

Echoing the bishops, Francis also insisted that “churches, pagodas, monasteries, mosques, temples, as well as schools and hospitals, be respected as neutral places of refuge.”

The pope then prayed for peace in Myanmar before pointing out that Sunday was World Refugee Day, an initiative promoted by the United Nations.

“Let us open our hearts to the refugees,” the Pope said. “Let us make his sadness and his joys ours, let us learn from his courageous resilience,” Francis said.

In that way, he said, “all together, we will develop a more humane community, a great family.”

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Prominent UAE Activist Alaa al-Siddiq Dies in London Car Accident | Human rights news



Alaa was the CEO of a UK-based non-profit organization that advocated for human rights in the Gulf.

Alaa al-Siddiq, a prominent dissident Emirati activist and rights critic, was killed in a car accident in London.

Alaa was the CEO of the UK-based ALQST, a non-profit organization that advocates for greater freedoms and human rights in the UAE and the wider Gulf region.

“With deep sadness, ALQST mourns the sudden death of its beloved and respected CEO Alaa Al-Siddiq on Saturday, June 19, 2021,” the group said in a tweet. “May he rest in power.”

His father, Mohammad al-Siddiq, is also a prominent activist who has been detained by the Emirati authorities since 2013.

Today, the capable Emirati researcher and honest sister, Professor Alaa al-Siddiq, left this world, while her father, Mohammad al-Siddiq languishes in the famous prisons of the [United Arab] Emirates, ”wrote Saudi activist Abdullah al-Awda.

According to Doha News, Alaa and her husband sought asylum in Qatar in 2012, where they had been living with their relatives.

The activist’s presence in Qatar and Doha’s stance towards political activists at a time when the UAE was cracking down on dissenting voices, led to a rift between the two neighbors.

In 2018, Qatari Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim Al Thani said that a dispute between Qatar and the United Arab Emirates had taken place in 2015 regarding the wife of a political dissident.

Abu Dhabi had sent an envoy to Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani to request that the woman in question be handed over to the Emirati authorities, a request that was rejected by the Qatari ruler.

Although kept secret, Abdullah al-Athbah, editor-in-chief of Qatar’s al-Arab newspaper, later said that it was Alaa that the Emiratis were seeking to repatriate.

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Russian Ambassador Returns to US to Build “Equal and Pragmatic” Ties | Russia News



Diplomatic relations between the two countries had practically broken down since Biden took office.

Russia’s ambassador to the United States flew back to Washington, DC, and said he hoped to build “equal and pragmatic” ties after a US-Russian summit in Geneva aimed at reducing tensions.

The plane carrying Ambassador Anatoly Antonov, who was called for consultations in March, left Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport on Sunday for New York, where it will travel to Washington, Russian news agencies reported.

“Given the results of the meeting between the two presidents, I am counting on constructive work with my American colleagues to build egalitarian and pragmatic relationships,” Antonov told Ria Novosti news agency, adding that he was in “an optimistic mood.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin, following talks at the Geneva summit with his US counterpart Joe Biden, said on Wednesday that Moscow and Washington agreed to return their ambassadors to their posts.

Diplomatic relations between the two countries had all but been severed since Biden took office and accused the Kremlin of interfering in the US elections and launching cyberattacks.

After Biden disliked Putin as a “murderer,” Russia in March took the rare step of calling Ambassador Antonov and saying that US envoy John Sullivan to Moscow should return to Washington.

Sullivan left Moscow in April when the two countries announced a wave of tit-for-tat sanctions and expulsions of diplomats.

“After an important summit, I hope to return to Moscow soon,” Sullivan said in a tweet from US embassy spokesman Jason Rebholz.

Relations between the United States and Russia have deteriorated for years, notably with Russia’s annexation of Crimea from Ukraine in 2014, its intervention in Syria in 2015, and accusations by the United States, denied by Moscow, of meddling in the 2016 election won by Biden’s predecessor, Donald Trump.

Putin said last week that it was “difficult to say” whether relations would improve, but that there was a “glimmer of hope.”

The Russian leader called Biden a constructive and experienced partner, and said they spoke “the same language.”

But he added that there has been no friendship, but a pragmatic dialogue on the interests of his two countries.

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Israeli Prime Minister: World Powers Must ‘Wake Up’ Over Iran Nuclear Deal



JERUSALEM (AP) – Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett opened his first cabinet meeting on Sunday since he swore in his new coalition government last week with a condemnation of the new Iranian president. He said Iran’s presidential elections were a signal for world powers to “wake up” before returning to a nuclear deal with Tehran.

Iran’s hardline judiciary chief Ebrahim Raisi was elected on Saturday with 62% of the vote amid historically low turnout. The United States sanctions him in part for his participation in the mass execution of thousands of political prisoners in 1988, at the end of the war between Iran and Iraq. Raisi has not specifically commented on the event.

Bennett said at the cabinet meeting in Jerusalem that “of all the people that (Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali) Khamenei could have chosen, he chose the executioner of Tehran, the infamous man among Iranians and around the world for leading the death committees that executed thousands of innocent Iranian citizens over the years. ”

Iran and world powers were due to resume indirect talks in Vienna on Sunday to resurrect Tehran’s tattered 2015 nuclear deal, which provided relief from Iran’s sanctions in exchange for curbing its nuclear program.

For weeks, Iranian and American diplomats have been negotiating a return to the deal in the Austrian capital through European intermediaries.

Sunday’s talks are the first since Raisi’s election, which will put the hardliners in firm control of the Iranian government.

The historic nuclear deal between world powers and Iran, which Israel opposed, collapsed after President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew the United States from the deal in 2018. That decision has seen Iran, over time, abandon all constraints. enrichment and Tehran is currently enriching uranium. at its highest levels yet, though still below weapon grade levels.

Bennett said that Raisi’s election as Iranian president was “the last chance for world powers to wake up before going back to the nuclear deal and understanding who they are doing business with.

“These guys are murderers, mass murderers: a regime of brutal executioners should never be allowed to have weapons of mass destruction that allow it not to kill thousands, but millions,” he said.

Israel has long stated that it opposes the nuclear program of Iran, its arch enemy, and said it would prevent Tehran from obtaining nuclear weapons. Iran insists its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes.

Earlier this month, Israel Mossad’s outgoing intelligence chief noted that Israel was behind a series of recent attacks on the country’s nuclear program.

Bennett heads a broad coalition of parties ranging from Jewish ultranationalists to liberal factions and a small Islamist party. His government called its first cabinet meeting since he was sworn in last week, ousting former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and sending him to the opposition for the first time in 12 years.

Charging …

Charging …Charging …Charging …Charging …Charging …

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