Archive for September 2011
GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — The prime minister in Gaza said Friday that his government supported the establishment of a Palestinian state on liberated lands, but not in exchange for recognizing Israel or giving up rights.
Ismail Haniyeh said Palestinian land is an Islamic endowment that cannot be negotiated.
He said efforts by the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank were unilateral and being made without consultations with other factions, allowing Israel to keep 78 percent of Palestinian land in a “dead end” move.
Speaking with a Tunisian and Kuwaiti delegation on Friday, Haniyeh added that the Palestinian people had fought for 60 years to liberate their land and will not give up their rights, especially the right of return.
He added that steps taken on any basis other than rights would be harmful. “We support (creating a) a state that reflects the Palestinian people’s dignity, and we won’t beg for a state.
“We will continue the fight and remain steadfast because we feel victory is near.”
Meanwhile at the United Nations, the Security Council’s admissions committee held its first meeting Friday to review and assess the PLO’s application for full UN membership, an initiative of Hamas’ rivas in Fatah.
The standing committee on the admission of new members to the world body is comprised of all 15 Security Council members, who are being represented by their UN ambassadors.
On Thursday, the foreign minister in the West Bank government said that eight Security Council members were guaranteed to vote in favor of the bid for full membership of the United Nations.
The bid will need nine votes to pass the Security Council, but the US has vowed to veto the measure if it comes up for a vote. The US is one of the five permanent members of the council who have veto power.
(www.maannews.net / 30.09.2011)
The report released by the PA on Thursday, showed that the Palestinian economy could have been nearly twice as large had it not been illegally occupied, Ma’an News Agency reported.
“No matter what the Palestinian people achieve by our own efforts, the occupation prevents us achieving our potential as a free people in our own country,” said Hasan Abu Libdeh, the Palestinian Authority (PA) Economy Minister.
The economy ministry further said that much of the data was supported by findings from the World Bank as well as the International Monetary Fund.
The current losses amount to some 85 percent of the current Palestinian GDP.
“The majority of these costs do not have any relationship with security concerns but, rather, come from the heavy restrictions imposed on the Palestinians in the access to their own natural resources, many of which are exploited by Israel itself, including water, minerals, salts, stones and land,” the report said.
The PA added that the economic loss it suffers under the occupation was one of the reasons it had applied for UN’s recognition of Palestine as an independent state.
Acting PA Chief Mahmoud Abbas officially submitted his bid for UN recognition of a Palestinian state to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on September 23.
(www.presstv.ir / 30.09.2011)
So let me get this straight. The US gives Israel $3 billion per year for no apparent reason, plus free weapons, loan guarantees and God knows what else, totalling to about $30 billion per year, and in return, we get sent their nuclear waste. OK.
The Dimona reactor is where Israel’s undeclared, nuclear weapons of mass distruction are stored. Dimona has not been inspected by the IAEA.
Israel has returned hundred of kilograms of nuclear waste from its nuclear reactor in Nahal Sorek to the U.S., the head of Israel’s Nuclear Energy Commission Dr Shaul Horev revealed on Monday.
Speaking at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) ministerial conference on nuclear safety in Vienna, Horev did not specify the exact amount of waste that had been returned, but according to estimates, Israel has sent back at least hundreds of kilograms’ of 93% enriched uranium, which was used to power the Sorek reactor.
The operation took place after Israel’s Nuclear Energy Commission and the U.S. Department of Energy signed an agreement for the return of the nuclear waste over a year and a half ago. After the agreement was signed, an American ship collected nuclear waste from both Israel and Turkey.
The Sorek research reactor is a small five megawatt facility that was donated to Israel by the U.S. within the framework of former president David Eisenhower’s “Atoms for Peace” program. Israel also received 93% enriched uranium to fuel the reactor. The reactor has remained under IAEA supervision for years
(www.gorillawire.com / 30.09.2011)
The European Parliament adopted a resolution on Thursday, confirming the legitimacy of the Palestinian-UN membership application, calling on the EU members to adopt a united decision which supports the Palestinian bid.
The parliament praised the rehabilitation of the P.A institutions and its plans to establish a Palestinian state, stressing the Palestinian’s right of self-determination and the importance to find a way to end the Palestinian-Israeli conflict especially during the ongoing Arab Spring.
The House reconfirmed its support for the two-state solution on the 1967 borders with Jerusalem as a capital of the two states, Palestine and Israel, alongside a totally freeze of the Israeli settlement activities in the lands of Palestinians including East of Jerusalem.
The resolution stressed that the only way to the ending of the conflict is through peaceful ways, calling on parties concerned to return to the negotiations’ table and avoiding any steps that would damage negotiation process. The resolution further confirmed that any disagreed change on the 1967 borders mustn’t be accepted including Jerusalem.
Meanwhile, the resolution expressed the Palestinian’s right of establishing an independent state alongside the guarantee of Israel’s security.
The resolution has been adopted by a vast majority of the members of different parties in Europe. A warm applause has been made by the representatives.
Palestine ambassador to the EU, Layla Shahid, praised the European Parliament’s resolution which confirms the Palestinian bid submitted by the Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas, last Friday to the UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-Moon.
“The European House assured the support of the European peoples for the Palestinian bid at the international body. This support is shown through million-protest by Avaz Foundation, opinion polls and the demonstrations that took place in all parts of Europe on Sep 21, 2011 based on the national campaign: UN194 Palestine State.
The European Parliament member, the representative of the Communist group and vice-president of Middle East Committee, Veronique de Keyzer, praised the political courage of the EP members, emphasizing the support of her group for the Palestinian-UN membership bid. She stressed the Palestine’s right to obtain a full membership after 63 years of Israel membership at the international body, and after 12 years of the European Berlin declaration of recognizing the Palestinian state in the appropriate time. She declared that “It is time for Palestine to be the UN 194 member.”
For his part, the head of Al-Khadir group, the Frenchman Denial Cohn-Bendit said during a discussion with the European Security & Foreign Policy chief, Catherine Ashton, that his group supports the Palestinian application at the UN. He further criticized that weakness of the European position so far and the Israeli policy against the Palestinians saying “Israeli, it is intransigent, it is enough.”
(www.imemc.org / 30.09.2011)
donderdag 6 oktober · 18:00 – 21:30
De imams Abu Hanifa, Malik ibn Anas, Muhammad ibn Idris Ash-Shafi‘i en Ahmad ibn Hanbal waren prominente geleerden die van onschatbare waarde zijn geweest voor de vorming van het islamitisch rechtssysteem. U leert over hun leven, bijdragen en navolging. U zult het systeem van rechtscholen na het volgen van de studieavond beter begrijpen.
Gratis: Voor studenten die de “Islamstudie van 2010″ hebben gevolgd.
Syrian security forces have clashed with protesters as thousands have rallied across the country calling for President Bashar al-Assad to step down, activists say.
There were reports that the security forces opened fire on protesters at several of the demonstrations on Friday, and that there were also clashes between troops who have joined the protesters and those loyal to Assad.
“Opposition activists are telling us that 11 people were killed in protests after Friday prayers today. Six of those people they say were killed in Hama,” Al Jazeera’s Jane Arraf reported from Amman, in neighbouring Jordan.
Protests were reported in parts of Damascus, the capital, as well as in the southern province of Deraa, the northwestern province of Idlib, in Hama, Homs and several other cities.
An opposition activist, speaking to Al Jazeera on condition of anonymity, described the scene at one protest in Damascus: “The area where I stay now, a protest went around and it was soon attacked by security forces, and the attack included batons, hitting with batons, some gas bombs and later live ammunition that was shot all around.
“At least one person was injured. Later, after that, we could see a number of soldiers – we could see a clash between the soldiers and the security forces. And my friends confirmed that eight soldiers at least defected and shot back on the security forces.”
‘Defections’ in al-Rastan
Many of the protesters were seen expressing solidarity with residents of the town of al-Rastan, just north of Homs, where fighting has been raging for three days between pro- and anti-government troops.
State media say that seven government soldiers have been killed and 32 wounded in those clashes, and that the army had “inflicted big losses on the armed terrorist groups”.
Opposition activists say the number of people killed in al-Rastan is 32.
Amateur videos posted online by activists show thousands of people shouting in support of the army defectors in al-Rastan, which is home to 40,000 and is located 180km north of Damascus.
“Rastan will overthrow the regime,” read one banner waved by protesters in the Damascus neighbourhood of Qadam.
Many protesters covered their faces with scarves or masks to hide their identities, attempting to escape any possible backlash from security forces.
The Syrian government has banned foreign journalists from entering the country and pleace heavy restrictions on local media coverage, making it difficult to independently verify events on the ground.
The UN estimates that about 2,700 people have been killed in a violent government crackdown on pro-reform protests that began mid-March.
The government says that the movement against Bashar al-Assad does not have popular support and blames violence on “armed terrorist groups”. It says that more than 700 soldiers and police have been killed in the uprising.
A military official told the state SANA news agency on Friday that the clashes in al-Rastan were with “gunmen” rather than army soldiers who had broken ranks, and that they had been terrorising citizens, blocking roads and setting up barriers and explosives in the town.
Activists say that hundreds of army defectors have been battling the government’s forces in al-Rastan for several days, resulting in some of the fiercest clashes since the uprising began six months ago.
Clashes were also reported in nearby Talbiseh on Friday.
Army defector’s account
An army defector operating in the province of Idlib, northwest of Rastan, told the Reuters news agency that defectors were using guerrilla tactics against the heavily armed loyalist forces.
Activists say up to 1,000 army soldiers deserted to join the protesters in al-Rastan, but that figure is disputed.
“There are at least 100 army defectors in Rastan and 600 gunmen,” one activist, speaking on condition of anonymity, told the Reuters news agency.
“The defectors are forming a cover for the gunmen so that everybody can say this is the army fighting among itself.”
The Damascus-based activist who spoke to Al Jazeera claimed that there were as many as 10,000 members of what he called the “Free Syrian Army” across the country.
Elias Hanna, a retired Lebanese army general and security analyst, told Al Jazeera that it so far appears that the number of desertions is “not really causing a major crack within the Syrian army”.
The clashes in al-Rastan are also making it difficult for aid to reach civilians in the town.
“People seriously wounded in Rastan were unable to receive medical care because of the continuing military operations,” the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a London-based organisation, said.
UN resolution softened
Western powers have responded to the violence in Syria by imposing sanctions on the country’s oil exports, forcing the government to curb imports in a bid to protect its foreign reserves. The economy is already reeling from the collapse of the tourism industry and a slump in trade.
On Friday, Turkey, which is Syria’s largest trading partner, threatened to impose an import ban on Syrian goods if the government there did not drop its blanket import restrictions.
Syrian relations with the US hit a new low on Thursday when a crowd of pro-Assad demonstrators pelted the convoy of the US ambassador, Robert Ford, with stones in Damascus.
The Syrian government accused the US of inciting attacks on the army by failing to condemn violence perpetrated by anti-government forces.
Victoria Nuland, spokeswoman for the US State department, said on Friday that Imad Mustapha, the Syrian Ambassador to Washington, “was called in to the State department … and read the riot act about this incident”.
At the UN, European members of the Security Council have softened the tone of a draft resolution condemning the Syrian crackdown in a bit to avoid a veto from any of its permanent members.
The latest version of the resolution has deleted a reference to UN Human Rights Commissioner Navi Pillay’s recommendation that the council consider referring the Syrian government crackdown to the International Criminal Court in The Hague.
(english.aljazeera.net / 30.09.2011)
@Stavitsinai is safe. Settlers attacked the car she was in, Spat on the windows & threatened to bur the car and flip it upside down
There’s only one word to describe what happened this evening in Anata: lynch
URGENT HELP NEEDED! Activists in
#Anata are still under attack! a new wave of attack is coming up! PLEASE HELP!
We escaped to the road. So much for the police “protecting and serving”. We now need to find transportation back in the middle of nowhere
Activists managed to break the siege on them and they’re on the road middle of nowhere looking for transportation back!
Israeli Occupation police are watching as the settlers are sexually assaulting woman activists in
URGENT CALL FOR HELP: activists are being brutally attacked in Anata’s demonstration, many people are hurt
Settler private security also engaged in violence against the unarmed activists tonight in Anatot
Border Police and Settlers are attacking the activists in
#Anata , they’re surrounded and they can’t escape. Head there and help them!!!!
Police is asking: please don’t stand on the road. But they’re doing nothing about the violence
Hectic phone calls from @activestills sounds like a major riot at anatot near Jerusalem as settlers attack unarmed demonstrations
Settlers are attacking the demo now. At least three injuries from settler rocks
Earlier this morning 3 Palestinians and 1 international activist were violently attacked by settlers from Anatot
UNITED NATIONS (Ma’an) — Palestinian and American officials are waging a diplomatic tug-of-war for the votes of a handful of countries as Palestine’s application for UN membership faces a crucial test in the Security Council.
Officials and experts say the United States is using diplomatic pressure to convince Security Council member states to vote no or abstain, with the aim of preventing the PLO from securing a majority in the 15-member council.
“This is a huge diplomatic battle. It will be continued with massive pressure in the capitals of the countries in the Security Council,” said Riyad Mansour, the PLO’s ambassador to the UN.
China, Russia, India, Lebanon, and South Africa have all declared support for the Palestinian bid. Brazil is also expected to vote for the measure.
The United States has threatened to veto the application out of support for Israel, but it would not have to exercise this option if the PLO fails to win the backing of a majority, saving Washington the political consequences of publicly blocking a measure believed to enjoy the support of most of the world’s nations.
With diplomatic wrangling underway, particular attention from both sides has focused on three countries perceived to be swing votes: Nigeria, Gabon, and Bosnia-Herzegovina, all of which have recognized Palestine bilaterally but have not declared which way they will vote.
Mansour declined to say how he expected these countries to vote. “What we know is that we have nine states that have recognized the state of Palestine in the Security Council,” he said.
“I also know there is a power that is threatening to veto,” he added, referring to the US.
“We have friends in the Security Council and we expect the Security Council to show its responsibility with respect to Palestine,” he said.
Mansour said earlier this week that the PLO would be sending high-level delegations to the capitals of Bosnia-Herzegovina, Gabon and Nigeria in the coming weeks with aim of countering the US diplomatic effort.
On Friday, the Israeli newspaper Haaretz quoted an unnamed Palestinian official as saying President Mahmoud Abbas would travel to Colombia next week as a part of the same diplomatic push.
Abbas submitted his country’s application, a set of documents that includes a declaration of statehood, to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon last Friday. Ban transmitted these documents to the Security Council the same day. On Wednesday the Security Council referred Palestine’s application to its admissions committee for consideration.
The council’s admissions committee, which includes representatives of each of its 15 members, met Friday to examine the application before returning the matter to the full council.
Given the known controversy over the Palestinian application, the admissions committee is unlikely to reach consensus anytime soon, which could force a vote in the Security Council.
To pass the Security Council all resolutions need nine votes and no vetoes from any of the body’s five permanent members: Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States.
As the negotiations proceed, officials from the undeclared states have refused to hint at their potential future votes.
“We are waiting for instructions from our capital,” said Adi Durmi, a spokesman for the Permanent Mission of Bosnia-Herzegovina to the United Nations. Asked Tuesday when he expected to receive orders from Sarajevo, he said, “We are expecting it every day.”
Representatives of the UN missions of Gabon, Nigeria, and Colombia did not return calls. A spokesman for the US mission also did not respond to requests for comment.
Gabon and Bosnia-Herzegovina still ‘shaky’
John Whitbeck, an international lawyer who has advised the PLO in negotiations with Israel, said that of the nine Security Council member states that bilaterally recognize Palestine, only Gabon and Bosnia-Herzegovina were still “shaky” in their position on UN membership.
“The one that worries me most is Bosnia, simply because I don’t know how decisions are even made in Bosnia: you have a three-headed presidency, one Muslim, one Serb, and one Croat, and you have a civil servant who can fire all of them,” he said.
“How actually the decision is going to be made is very murky. And of course the US still has troops there and probably all sorts of ways to intimidate the Bosnians,” he added in a phone interview from Paris, where he lives.
As for Gabon, Whitbeck noted that the late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat maintained good relations with Omar Bongo, father of current Gabonese president Ali Bongo.
He also said, “It would be very awkward for any African country, when only three African countries out of more than 50 do not recognize the state of Palestine, to have one of the two African representatives, itself having recognized Palestine, vote no.”
Further confusion surrounded Nigeria’s position on the Palestine application after both Israeli and Palestinian officials claimed the West African country’s support.
Speculating on the thinking of officials from the undeclared countries, Whitbeck said, “When people are getting intense pressure from two sides on any issue they may be telling each side what it wants to hear and keeping their options open.”
In the event that their application is blocked by the Security Council, the PLO is also keeping its options open too. Mansour said the PLO is weighing a number of possibilities, including taking the issue to the General Assembly, which has the ability to upgrade Palestine from its current status as an observer entity to an “observer state,” a UN status equivalent to that of the Vatican.
Whether the PLO’s application succeeds or not, the political implications of UN membership, or upgraded status, remain unclear. Israel has vowed not to recognize Palestine except as a result of direct negotiations, meaning a UN vote would not alter the reality of Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
Abbas, however, has said he launched the UN bid out of frustration with the US-brokered negotiation framework. Abbas has also not yet explained what his strategy will be after Palestine’s UN application is addressed.
Yousef Munayyer, executive director of the Palestine Center think tank in Washington, said the aftermath will depend on the American and Israeli reaction to a potential UN vote.
“The outcome of this bid is going to have less impact than the way the United States and the Israelis respond to it, and also the domestic pressures that are going to be facing the leadership in Ramallah,” said Munayyer.
Members of the US Congress have threatened to cut funds to the aid-dependent Palestinian Authority if it wins UN membership. Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman has called for the cancellation of the Oslo accords, the 1993 peace agreement which led to the creation of the PA.
Regardless of the outcome, Munayyer believes the UN bid has exposed the US’ inability to act as a neutral arbiter in the Israel-Palestine question.
Because of this exposure, he said the UN initiative “can be a game-changer because it makes returning to Washington-led negotiations for the Palestinian leadership that much more difficult.”
“We know that the United States is working really hard to try to make sure that they don’t get the nine votes, so they won’t have to use their veto, which in itself is a very interesting thing because the United States in the past has never shown a hesitation to be the only vote in the Security Council in support of Israel.”
He also said: “I think what that says to us is that the Palestinians truly hit a nerve with the United States and in the wake of the revolutions going on in the region is truly doing this (opposing the Palestinian bid) recognizing their waning influence in the region.”
(www.maannews.net / 30.09.2011)
|Protests to quicken the pace of democratic change brings Egyptians out to Tahrir
Egyptian activists have gathered in Cairo’s Tahrir Square to press the ruling military to speed up the transfer of power to civilians and revoke emergency laws once used by Hosni Mubarak, the ousted president, against his opponents.
Activists said they expect thousands to join the protests, which they call “reclaiming the revolution”, amid growing discontent with the way the ruling military council has been managing the country’s transition.
The council has announced that parliamentary elections will start on November 28 with a mixed system of proportional representation and individual lists.
Most political groups fear the system will allow Mubarak supporters to return to office.
Al Jazeera’s Raywa Rageh, reporting from Tahir square said: “There is a realistion amongst people that the revolution is in danger. The supreme council of the armed forces will keep an eye on events to see if the people have the political will to ask for change.”
Ramy El Swissy, the co-founder of the April 6 Youth Movement told Al Jazeera, “Nobody agrees with the election laws, and they (military) are ignoring all political parties.”
The ruling military council has warned demonstrators against attacking public facilities. The Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt’s largest political force, said it would not join the protest.
Revoking of emergency law
Six presidential hopefuls joined forces on Thursday in pressing the military council to set March as the deadline for the peaceful transfer of power.
They also declared that the state of emergency legally expired on Friday. The
military council has said it will stay in force until next year.
The presidential candidates issued a statement that said, “The state of emergency in place now will come to an end on September 30, 2011, in accordance with article 59 of the constitutional decree, and any decision or judicial ruling issued after September. 30, 2011 based on the state of emergency will be null of any legal or constitutional legitimacy.”
They also demanded reactivation of a law dating back to the 1950s that criminalises abuse of office, to make it possible to try remnants of the Mubarak regime and “render them incapable of sneaking back to the seats of the legislative authority”.
Some 60 political parties issued a joint statement earlier this week giving the military council until Sunday to amend election laws to allow political parties to also compete for seats allocated to individuals.
Egypt’s Al-Akhbar newspaper reported on Friday that the government was considering the request.
(english.aljazeera.net / 30.09.2011)
Het kabinet is tegen een door de PVV voorgesteld referendum over een bouwverbod voor minaretten. Premier Mark Rutte maakte dat vandaag duidelijk. De twee regeringspartijen VVD en CDA zijn principieel tegen referenda.Rutte zei dat het voorstel mogelijk kan ‘schuren’ met artikel 1 in de Grondwet, over de vrijheid van godsdienst. Maar volgens de premier heeft de PVV het voorstel ‘heel slim en handig’ opgeschreven waardoor het ‘lijkt weg te blijven’ van een aantasting van de godsdienstvrijheid.
Rutte bedoelde daarmee dat PVV-leider Geert Wilders niet pleit voor een verbod op moskeeën wat duidelijk in strijd met de grondwet zou zijn, maar voor een verbod op minaretten. ‘We weten wat de indiener eigenlijk wil’, zei Rutte.
(www.volkskrant.nl / 30.09.2011)