Archive for December 20th, 2011
Un symposium international sur le thème «la Campagne de défense de l’islam» a été organisé les 15, 16, 17 décembre 2011, à Gammarth, à l’hôtel Regency, sous l’égide du parti Ennahdha, avec la collaboration de cheikhs et d’oulémas venus d’Egypte, de Libye, de Syrie, de Palestine… Reportage.
L’événement a bénéficié d’une grande affluence. Côté tunisien, on aura noté la présence du cheikh Rached Ghannouchi, de Me Abdelfettah Mourou, ainsi que des représentants du parti islamisant «Al adala wa el tannmya». Des oulémas et des invités de marque du monde arabe et du Maghreb ont donné une dimension internationale à l’événement. Le koweitien Walid Tabtabaï, connu pour ses virulentes positions anti-chiites a côtoyé ainsi, le penseur et activiste égyptien Tarak Zommor, lié notamment à l’assassinat d’Anouar Sadate. Etaient également présents le ministre des Awqaf libyen, M. Hamza Abou Faress, le yéménite Abdelwahab Hamikani, le prédicateur palestinien Nader Témimi, le syrien Khaïrallah Taleb… autant dire que le symposium a suscité l’intérêt de sommités islamistes issues des quatre coins du monde arabe.
Et comme il se doit dans des manifestations de ce genre, la salle a été scindée en deux aires distinctes : les dames à gauche, les messieurs à droite. Au niveau des derniers rangs des femmes en niqab et des garçons en qamis, œuvraient de par et d’autre de la margelle de séparation à entretenir une atmosphère densément émotionnelle, en scandant des «takbirs» et des slogans islamisants.
La Grande République islamique
Parmi l’assistance, le jeune salafiste qui a défendu la cause du niqab sur le plateau télé d’Hannibal TV, était présent avec des militants, qui manifestaient ostensiblement leur sympathie pour Rached Ghannouchi. Ils ont d’ailleurs eu l’occasion de discuter longuement avec le cheikh entre les séances, et surtout, après les repas.
Les séances du 16 et 17 décembre ont été consacrées à retracer le thème majeur des révolutions arabes. Les intervenants ont discuté des enjeux et de l’avenir des dynamiques politiques dans le monde arabe. Ont participé à l’actualisation de ces sujets des conférenciers dont notamment le parlementaire tunisien Abou Yâarab Marzouki et M. Mustapha Abdeljalil du Conseil National Transitoire Libyen.
Miracles en Libye
Dans leurs discours, la majorité des participants ont en substance, souligné l’urgence brûlante à resserrer les rangs entre peuples sunnites pour constituer uneunité politique et socio-confessionnelle dans un monde arabe pris entre deux périls : chiite incarné par l’Iran et impérialiste américain représenté par un Etat que les conférenciers auront unanimement évité de nommer. Les plus jeunes de l’assistance ne prendront pas autant de précautions. Entre des vivats et des exhortations tonitruantes à bénir la mémoire du «Chahid» Ben Laden, les jeunes salafistes, ont entonné des appels explicites à la chute du régime saoudien.
(www.mag14.com / 20.12.2011)
An international coalition of 20 aid agencies and human rights groups, includingAmnesty International,Human Rights Watch, and Oxfam International, stated on Monday that Israel has stepped up unlawful demolitions in the West Bank including East Jerusalem over the past year, displacing a record number of Palestinian families. They also said that this sharp rise in demolitions has been accompanied by accelerated expansion of settlements and an escalation of violence perpetrated by settlers.
The statement of the 20 groups coincided with a meeting of Middle East Quartet in Jerusalem in its latest effort to revive peace talks. The 20 criticised the approach of the Quartet and said it should hold all parties to the conflict to their international law obligations. The Quartet should, therefore, press the Israeli government to immediately reverse its settlement policies and freeze the demolitions that violate international law.
Jeremy Hobbs, Executive Director of Oxfam Internationa said: “The increasing rate of settlement expansion and house demolitions is pushing Palestinians to the brink, destroying their livelihoods and prospects for a just and durable peace. There is a growing disconnect between the Quartet talks and the situation on the ground. The Quartet needs to radically revise its approach and show that it can make a real difference to the lives of Palestinians and Israelis.”
Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at Human Rights Watch, added: “The Quartet should call ongoing settlement expansion and house demolitions what they are: violations of international humanitarian law that Israel should stop.”
And Phillip Luther, Middle East and North Africa Interim Programme Director of Amnesty International, called “Israel’s escalating violations” an illustration of “the fundamental failure of the Quartet’s approach. It’s time for the Quartet to understand that they cannot contribute to achieving a just and durable solution to the conflict without first ensuring respect for international law.”
The evidence of rapidly deteriorating situation on the ground, the organisations said, includes:
- Doubling the number of people displaced by demolitions: Since the beginning of the year more than 500 Palestinian homes, wells, rainwater harvesting cisterns, and other essential structures have been destroyed in the West Bank including East Jerusalem, displacing more than 1,000 Palestinians, UN figures show. This is more than double the number of people displaced over the same period in 2010, and the highest figure since at least 2005. More than half of those displaced have been children for whom the loss of their home is particularly devastating.
- Accelerating settlement expansion: Plans for around 4,000 new settler housing units have been approved in East Jerusalem over the past 12 months – the highest number since at least 2006, according to Peace Now. In November, moreover, Israel announced plans to speed up construction of 2,000 new units in the West Bank including East Jerusalem.
- Sharp increase in settler violence: violent attacks by settlers against Palestinians have escalated by over 50% in 2011 compared to 2010, and by over 160% compared to 2009, the UN reports. 2011 has seen by far the most settler violence since at least 2005. Settlers have also destroyed or damaged nearly 10,000 Palestinian olive and other trees during this year, undermining the livelihoods of hundreds of families. The perpetrators act with virtual impunity, with over 90% of complaints of settler violence closed by the Israeli police without indictment in 2005-2010.
- Impending threat of forced displacement of Bedouin: Up to 2,300 Bedouin living in the Jerusalem periphery could be forcibly and unlawfully relocated if Israeli authorities follow through with their reported plans in 2012, which would destroy their livelihoods and threaten their traditional way of life. Rural communities in the Jordan Valley are also facing the prospect of further demolitions as settlements continue to expand.
The following organisations signed the statement: Amnesty International; Avaaz; Broederlijk Delen; CCFD-Terre Solidaire; Church of Sweden; CNCD – 11.11.11; Christian Aid; DanChurchAid; Diakonia; Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Network; FIDH; FinnChurchAid; GVC Italia; Human Rights Watch; Medical Aid for Palestinians; medico international; Norwegian People’s Aid; Oxfam International; Polish Humanitarian Action; Trócaire.
It was time that human rights organisations sounded this alarm and called on the Quartet to stop pretending it was trying to create an atmosphere in which one could talk peace, as far as I´m concerned. What, however, is missing from this statement is adhesion by Israeli and Palestinian organisations. The only thing I discovered that goes in the same direction is an observation by the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD) that Israel has been speeding up its demolitions and expulsions during this year 2011. One wonders why the Israelis and Palestinians aren´t there.
(www.nl-aid.org / 20.12.2011)
|“The end of apartheid stands as one of the crowning accomplishments of the past century, but we would not have succeeded without the help of international pressure– in particular the divestment movement of the 1980s. Over the past six months, a similar movement has taken shape, this time aiming at an end to the Israeli occupation”. Desmond Tutu|
In July 2004, the Campaign issued a statement of principles, addressed to our colleagues in the international community urging them to comprehensively and consistently boycott all Israeli academic and cultural institutions until Israel withdraws from all the lands occupied in 1967, including East Jerusalem; removes all its colonies in those lands; agrees to United Nations resolutions relevant to the restitution of Palestinian refugees rights; and dismantles its system of apartheid. This statement was met with widespread support, and has to date been endorsed by nearly sixty Palestinian academic, cultural and other civil society federations, unions, and organizations, including the Federation of Unions of Palestinian Universities’ Professors and Employees and the Palestinian NGO Network in the West Bank. The campaign has also established an advisory committee comprised of well-known public figures and intellectuals.
The Palestinian Campaign is inspired by the historic role played by people of conscience in the international community of scholars and intellectuals who have shouldered the moral responsibility to fight injustice, as exemplified in their struggle to abolish apartheid in South Africa through diverse forms of boycott.
During the past two years various calls for divestment, sanctions and economic boycott of Israeli products as well as a boycott of Israeli academic and cultural institutions have been issued by groups and individuals in Europe, the United States, and elsewhere. These calls recognize that Israeli academic institutions (mostly state controlled) and the vast majority of Israeli intellectuals and academics have either contributed directly to the Israeli occupation or at the very least have been complicit through their silence. In April 2002 British academics issued a call for a moratorium on European research and academic collaboration with Israeli institutions. In France, an appeal to the European Union not to renew its 1995 Association Agreement with Israel was issued by the University of Paris-VI (Pierre-et-Marie-Curie) in December 2002 and was endorsed by several other French universities. Similar calls were published in Italy and Australia, while in the United States, student and faculty groups at several universities including New York University, The Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Princeton launched divestment from Israel campaigns. Most recently the Church of Sweden has called for a boycott of goods produced by Israeli colonies in the West Bank and Gaza Strip and the Presbyterian Church in the United States has decided to divest from Israel.
Boycotting Israeli academic and cultural institutions is an urgently needed form of pressure against Israel that can bring about its compliance with international law and the requirements for a just peace.
Posted on 21-12-2008 / (www.pacbi.org / 20.12.2011)
Israel’s deporting of dozens of international activists earlier this year generated bad publicity.
Plans are underway to challenge Israeli apartheid during 2012 by having a large number of international activists land in Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion airport and state openly that they wish to visit Palestine. Scheduled for 15 April, the “Welcome to Palestine 2012” initiative will be the second such attempt to affirm the right of Palestinians living in the occupied West Bank to receive visitors.
In July this year, international airlines collaborated with Israel in preventing black-listed participants to board planes. More than a hundred activists with the Welcome to Palestine“Flytilla” reached the Tel Aviv airport, but they were detained by Israeli forces upon arrival, and subsequently deported.
The Electronic Intifada contributor Adri Nieuwhof recently interviewed Mick Napier, chairman of the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign, and a Welcome to Palestine 2012 organizer in the United Kingdom, about the project. Napier was one of the participants in this year’s “Flytilla” who was detained by Israel.
Adri Nieuwhof: Can you clarify how you become involved in Palestine solidarity activism and what drives you?
Mick Napier: Well, I spent years at university opposing the [US] invasion and devastation of Vietnam. I took from that the idea that it is possible to defeat even the greatest crimes. If we organize ourselves and link the people in colonial countries with a principled solidarity movement in the metropolitan countries, we can win.
AN: Can you tell us more about the Welcome to Palestine initiative?
MN: It is a French-Belgian initiative, with a few of us from the UK joining last year. As soon as I heard about it, I knew it would be a serious challenge [to] the fencing off of the Palestinians in the West Bank. In the same way as the [Gaza Freedom] Flotilla has done. With “Welcome to Palestine” we can show people the crimes Israel commits against the Palestinians.
In July, about 500 people were prepared to fly to Tel Aviv, and 125 arrived. We know we wrong-footed the Israelis. We know, if we multiply the numbers, we can challenge Israel and the compliance of our governments. Not just in Gaza, but in the West Bank as well.
AN: You participated in the first Flytilla. How was the reception at Ben Gurion airport in Tel Aviv last July?
MN: The reception in Tel Aviv shows that Israel is a lawless state. Upon not infringing passport control after we said that we want to visit Palestinian friends in Bethlehem, we were frog-marched to a detention center and from there moved to two other prisons. We were assured by Israeli officers that we were guilty of something but not [told] of what. While we were in prison, the Israeli embassy in London issued a statement that we were not held in a prison.
AN: What are the lessons you have learned from the Flytilla?
MN: The Israeli authorities in the days before 8 July became hysterical. [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu announced that people who fly to Tel Aviv to go to Bethlehem are a threat to the security of Israel. The Israeli police chief, who is a hooligan himself, called us hooligans who will be dealt with appropriately. We learned we should fly in huge numbers and [that it is important] to liaise with Palestinians and friends in Israel.
The Israelis have constructed enormous prisons for Palestinians. But prisoners have a right to visits. Our countries are in league with Israel. Israel denies the most basic rights to Palestinians. Their response to our initiative was to score an own-goal. The publicity and sympathy we received was quite remarkable.
Small towns adopted people who would go. Israel was portrayed as the problem, not the British citizens. Even quite right-wing communities wondered at the stupidity of Netanyahu and the police minister. The stupidity, the lack of subtlety and the belief they can solve any problem with oppression, it is all in our favor.
AN: With the first Flytilla, airlines received lists with names of people who would be denied entry to Israel, [and the] airlines did not allow them to board the plane. What role will the airlines play in the coming Flytilla?
MN: There are indications that airlines felt manipulated by Israel. European airlines have felt it is costly in terms of money and public relations. There will be demonstrations if we are not permitted on board. There will be a chance they [the airlines] will leave Israel to deal with us. Airlines should refuse to be the auxiliary prison guards for Israel’s illegal occupation.
AN: Not everybody can participate in the next Flytilla on 15 April 2012. Do you have suggestions what people who want to support the Palestinians can do?
MN: Everyone can participate. Not just the hundreds of people that will fly. People are needed to explain why it is important to adopt the tactic, to explain why people are going to visit Palestinian friends openly. We need a support system on the ground like the Flotilla to inform the public in case we are detained.
The wider answer to your question is boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS). We respond to the Palestinian call of boycott of any institution of the Israeli state. So [Israeli airline] El Al is most definitely not an option to fly that day.
Fundamental to what we do is the understanding — shared by Zionists — that Israel has become a toxic brand. The knowledge about Israel’s criminal behavior has spread far and wide in every European country. Therefore, when Israel crosses another red line by a massacre on sea, or by not allowing visits to prison for Palestinians, they dig themselves deeper into a hostile public opinion which is the basis of all BDS successes that have been secured until now.
Adri Nieuwhof is a consultant and human rights advocate based in Swizerland.
(electronicintifada.net / 20.12.2011)
Witnesses report sound of heavy gunfire as police and soldiers charge hundreds of people gathered in Cairo protest hub.
Egyptian security forces fired weapons and used batons and tear gas for a fifth day in the latest security operation to clear Cairo’s central Tahrir Square of opponents of army rule.
The sound of heavy gunfire rang out as police and soldiers charged hundreds of protesters at dawn on Tuesday, activists and a witness speaking to the Reuters news agency said.
“Hundreds of state security forces and the army entered the square and began firing heavily. They chased protesters and burned anything in their way, including medical supplies and blankets,” protester Ismail said by telephone.
Up to a dozen people have been killed and hundreds wounded in clashes since Friday, while scores have also been detained in the wake of the clashes.
The latest confrontation came after Egypt’s ruling military council claimed on Monday it had uncovered a plot to burn down parliament.
General Adel Emara, a member of the ruling military council, interrupted a live news conference to say he had received a call about a “plot to burn parliament and there are now large crowds in Tahrir Square ready to implement the plan”.
Emara defended the military’s use of force against the protesters, saying the army had a duty to protect the nation’s installations.
Investigation under way
“What are we supposed to do when protesters break the law?” Emara asked. “Should we invite people from abroad to govern our nation?”
He said an investigation into the clashes and the media’s coverage of them was under way. “The media is helping sabotage the state. This is certain.”
Al Jazeera’s Sherine Tadros, reporting from the capital, Cairo, said the news conference was one of the most defensive given by a member of the ruling military council.
“Essentially the picture that’s being painted is one where the army - and by extension the country - is under attack by these counter-revolutionaries who are trying to attack soldiers and buildings … and have no real ideology or aim behind what they are doing,” she said.
The violence has drawn condemnation from Ban Ki-moon, the UN secretary-general, who ”is highly alarmed by the excessive use of force … by the security forces against protesters”.
Ban called for the “transitional authorities to act with restraint and uphold human rights, including the right to peaceful protest”, according to a statement from his office.
The US secretary of state also weighed in, saying she was “deeply concerned about the continuing reports of violence”.
“I urge Egyptian security forces to respect and protect the universal rights of all Egyptians, including the rights to peaceful free expression and assembly,” said Hillary Clinton.
The violence broke out just after the second stage of a six-week election for Egypt’s new parliament that starts the slow countdown to the army’s return to barracks. The military has pledged to hand power to an elected president by July.
(www.aljazeera.com / 20.12.2011)