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Archive for October 2011

Grieken houden referendum over akkoord EU-top

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De Griekse premier Papandreou

De Griekse regering houdt een referendum over het jongste Europese financiële hulppakket aan het land. De regering wil van de kiezers horen of ze het noodpakket steunen of niet, zei de Griekse premier George Papandreou vandaag.

‘Wij vertrouwen de burgers, we geloven in hun oordeel en in hun besluit’, hield Papandreou het parlement voor, die ook een vertrouwensstemming van de volksvertegenwoordiging wil. ‘Omarmen ze het akkoord, of wijzen ze het af ? Als het Griekse volk het niet wil, zal het akkoord niet aangenomen worden’, aldus Papandreou.

Volgens een peiling afgelopen zaterdag ziet bijna 60 procent van de Grieken het akkoord van de EU-top voor een nieuw hulppakket van 130 miljard euro als negatief of waarschijnlijk negatief.

Te ver
In Griekenland geloven veel mensen dat hun land te ver gaat door de EU en het IMF de economische politiek te laten dicteren in ruil voor financiële steun van een paar honderd miljard euro. Het Zuid-Europese land was afgelopen week nog het toneel van massabetogingen tegen de bezuinigingsmaatregelen van de regering.

Minister van Financiën Evangelos Venizelos zei later dat het referendum pas wordt gehouden als alle details van het akkoord van de EU-top zijn uitgewerkt. Dat zal volgens hem niet eerder zijn dan begin 2012. ‘Ik kan niet langer peilingen aanzien waar een meerderheid zich tegen noodhulp keert, maar tegelijk in de euro wil blijven’, voegde Venizelos er nog aan toe.

De Europese Commissie wilde bij monde van een woordvoerder van EU-voorzitter José Manuel Barosso ‘op dit moment nog geen commentaar geven’ op de jongste ontwikkelingen in Griekenland.

(www.volkskrant.nl / 31.102011)

Written by altahrir

October 31, 2011 at 11:15 pm

Posted in Politics

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Israel demolishes Palestinian homes in Jerusalem

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JERUSALEM (Ma’an) — Israeli forces on Monday demolished five homes belonging to Palestinians in East Jerusalem, locals said.

The demolitions, in Khan al-Ahmar near the illegal Israeli settlement Maale Adumin, displaced 71 people, including 60 children, according to the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions.

ICAHD, a prominent Israeli non-governmental organization, said Monday that Israel was forcing Palestinians out of East Jerusalem as part of a deliberate policy that might constitute a war crime.

The organization has presented the United Nations with its findings and demanded an inquiry, saying Israel targeted Palestinians by demolishing homes, revoking residency and eroding quality of life.

“We are witnessing a process of ethnic displacement,” said Michael Sfard, a lawyer who helped draw up a 73-page report into the issue. “Israel is manifestly and seriously violating international law … and the motivation is demographic.”

Stephan Miller, a spokesman for Israel’s mayor of Jerusalem, Nir Barkat, dismissed the report. He said in a statement it was based on “misleading facts, blatant lies and political spin about Jerusalem, so I’m sure the UN will enjoy it.”

Israel seized East Jerusalem, including the Old City, in the 1967 Middle East war. It later illegally annexed the area and surrounding West Bank villages into a Jerusalem municipality that it declared the united and eternal capital of Israel.

Palestinians want East Jerusalem as the capital of a future state and world powers have not recognized the annexation.

There are some 300,000 Palestinians residents in East Jerusalem, representing about 35 percent of the city’s total population, but ICAHD said that since Israel took control of Palestinian areas it had systematically prevented their development.

One third of land in East Jerusalem was taken for the construction of Jewish-only neighborhoods, while only nine percent of the remaining land is legally available for housing. This has all been built on, making expansion impossible.

ICAHD said it was virtually impossible for Palestinians to obtain building permits to house their growing families.

“They have no other option than to leave East Jerusalem, build illegally or live in appalling, cramped conditions,” said Emily Schaeffer, who authored the report.

Demolitions and residency

Those who leave lose residency rights if they are gone for seven or more years and cannot return. Some 14,000 Palestinians lost their residency between 1967 and 2010, with half of those revocations taking place after 2006, ICAHD said.

Residency entitles you to Israeli health care and national insurance benefits.

Those who built houses illegally, lived in fear of having their property demolished and also faced hefty fines.

Israel demolished more than 2,000 homes in East Jerusalem since 1967, with 771 being pulled down between 2000-2011. A further 1,500 demolition orders are pending execution.

“Palestinians will de facto be deported from East Jerusalem, not by using guns or trucks, but by not allowing them to live a decent, normal life,” Sfard said.

Because the annexation of East Jerusalem was not recognized, Palestinians living there should be considered as a people under occupation, ICAHD said. As such, Israel had no right to strip them of residency or demolish their homes.

“There is a suspicion that a war crime is taking place and that is why an investigation should take place,” said Sfard.

A statement from the Israeli mayor’s office said that while East Jerusalem had suffered from a lack of investment in the past that had now changed.

It said Barkat had “invested an unprecedented amount of resources and efforts to improve the quality of life of Muslim residents of Jerusalem after decades of neglect by previous administrations.”

Miller, the mayor’s spokesman, added that Barkat was “committed to improving the quality of life of Jerusalem’s Muslim residents and he will continue to do so.”

Supporters of the mayor pointed to a poll released this year by the Palestinian Center for Public Opinion.

Asked if they would prefer to be citizens of a future Palestinian state or of Israel, 35 percent of those questioned plumped for Israeli citizenship, 30 percent said they would choose Palestinian citizenship and 35 percent gave no answer.

The vast majority of Palestinians in East Jerusalem rejected offers of Israeli citizenship following the 1967 war, fearing it would undermine Palestinian claims to the area, but most have Israeli residency status.

(www.maannews.net / 31.10.2011)

Written by altahrir

October 31, 2011 at 11:10 pm

De Crem: “België actief bij heropbouw Libië”

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België zou graag een actieve rol spelen in de heropbouw van Libië om daar op economisch vlak de vruchten van te plukken. Dat heeft minister van Defensie Pieter De Crem (CD&V) zaterdag te kennen gegeven tijdens een bezoek aan de Griekse basis Araxos, vanwaar de Belgische F-16′s dit weekend hun laatste operationele missie boven Libië hebben uitgevoerd.Vanavond om 23.59 uur eindigt de Belgische deelname aan de NAVO-operatie die het Libische wapenembargo en het vliegverbod boven het land moest doen respecteren.

Heropbouw

Verschillende ministers van de aftredende federale regering zeiden al dat ze willen dat ons land ook na de definitieve val van het Kadhafi-regime een rol blijft spelen in Libië. Pieter De Crem herhaalde die boodschap. “De Belgische aanwezigheid kan gevaloriseerd worden in de reconstructie”, klonk het.

Op de internationale Libië-conferentie in Parijs op 1 september zei premier Yves Leterme al iets gelijkaardigs: “Het is belangrijk dat de Nationale Overgangsraad erkent dat België zeer actief en zeer moedig is geweest. Tijdens de reconstructie zal de Overgangsraad speciale aandacht hebben voor de landen die haar op de moeilijkste ogenblikken hebben geholpen.”

Bevroren Libische tegoeden
Vorige maand trok ons land al 6 miljoen euro uit voor de heropbouw van Libië. Tegelijk werd 100 miljoen euro aan bevroren Libische tegoeden vrijgemaakt.

(www.demorgen.be / 31.10.2011)

Written by altahrir

October 31, 2011 at 10:57 pm

Posted in Revolution Libye

Tagged with ,

Wikileaks: Israel wanted to overcome diplomatic isolation at UNESCO

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A Wikileaks gem that I came across after the final dump of all the cables this summer is all the more shiny in light of today’s vote to make Palestine a member state at UNESCO, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.

A cable dated 24 February 2010, marked unclassified but “sensitive,” summarizes a 21 February 2010 discussion between US Deputy Secretary Jacob J. Lew and Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon. During the meeting, according to the cable, Ayalon asked for US “assistance in placing an Israeli candidate as Assistant Director General for International Cooperation at UNESCO.”

The cable reads (scroll down to item 16):

Ayalon said that Israel was working hard to overcome its diplomatic isolation. He flagged Israel’s having recently joined JUSCANZ [a consultative body to the UN Human Rights Council] in Geneva and its hope to join JUSCANZ and WEAG in New York so that it could present candidates for UN positions. Israel wanted to submit a candidate to be Assistant Delegate General for International Cooperation and Communication at UNESCO, and asked for U.S. intervention with new UNESCO Director General Bokova, who “owes you guys her life.”

Whatever efforts the US may have made on Israel’s behalf, they were ultimately unsuccessful, as no Israeli diplomats were appointed in July 2010 by UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova to any of the several assistant director-general positions at UNESCO.

US pressure seems to not work all of the time

Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Ayalon’s assertion that the former Bulgarian foreign minister owes the Americans “her life” may refer to Bokova’s narrow win of the UNESCO directorship vote. Egyptian Culture Minister Farouk Hosny was considered the favorite in the election.

The New York Times reported in 2009:

A race that began with nine candidates, with Mr. Hosny in the lead, was affected by charges against him that he was in favor of burning books by Israelis and keeping restrictions on Egypt’s carefully edited press — incompatible with a United Nations agency that is supposed to defend press freedom.

An alliance of Unesco board members opposed to Mr. Hosny finally coalesced around Ms. Bokova, a former Bulgarian Foreign Minister and currently Bulgaria’s ambassador to France and Unesco, which is headquartered in Paris.

If Israel intended to overcome diplomatic isolation at UNESCO, its plan isn’t going so well.

Mondoweiss summarizes today’s vote from a roundup of different sources. Before today’s vote, there were 193 member states to UNESCO; of them, there were 107 votes in favor of admitting Palestine to the UN body, 52 abstentions and only 14 votes “no” (Australia, Canada, Czech Republic, Germany, Israel, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Palau, Panama, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Sweden, United States of America, Vanuatu).

As a result of the vote in overwhelming favor to admit Palestine to UNESCO, the United States has decided to collectively punish education, science and culture worldwide by withholding a $60 million payment to the body later this month.

The Israeli daily Haaretz reports:

The US Congress is also currently considering new legislation that would impose additional restrictions on American funding of the United Nations, threaten cutting aid to the Palestinian Authority, and slashing military assistance to key foreign countries in retaliation to their support for the Palestinian bid for full UN membership.

Of course, the full impact of today’s vote and the US’ predictably insane reaction remain to be seen. But it’s hard to imagine that the US or Israel can do anything to spin this in their favor.

Indeed, as this short video of today’s vote illustrates, there was resounding applause for certain countries voting in favor of admitting Palestine, a stone-cold silence for the US when it voted “no,” and only laughter when Israel voted “no.”

The US is heading down a shameful path it has gone down once before. Like it was the last to defend apartheid South Africa, so it is with apartheid Israel. But even the biggest bully on the block can’t always get things to swing in Israel’s favor.

(electronicintifada.net / 31.10.2011)

Written by altahrir

October 31, 2011 at 10:46 pm

‘Curaçao moet Mauro opnemen’

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Curaçao moet de 18-jarige Angolese jongen Mauro Manuel opnemen als Nederland hem uitzet. Dat zegt de voorzitter van het Curaçaose parlement Ivar Asjes.

“De zaak Mauro Manuel maakt duidelijk dat Nederland een racistisch land aan het worden is. Wij willen aan de hele wereld duidelijk maken dat er in het koninkrijk ook landen zijn, zoals Curaçao, die niet racistisch zijn”, aldus Asjes.

Hij heeft publiekelijk aan de minister van Justitie gevraagd alles in orde te maken als Mauro samen met zijn pleegfamilie op Curaçao wil wonen.

(www.spitsnieuws.nl / 31.10.2011)

Written by altahrir

October 31, 2011 at 10:35 pm

Chemische wapens aangetroffen in Libië

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chemische wapens aangetroffen in libie
In Libie zijn voorraden chemische wapens aangetroffen. Dat heeft de Nationale Overgangsraad bekendgemaakt.

De VN-Veiligheidsraad stemde om een eind te maken aan de missie na de dood van de voormalige Libische regeringsleider Moammar Kadhafi. De NAVO liet niettemin weten de nieuwe leiders van het land bij te staan indien nodig, zonder echter duidelijk te maken hoe die interventie zou verlopen.

Anders Fogh Rasmussen, de secretaris-generaal van de alliantie, moet in Libië de nieuwe machthebbers ontmoeten, onder wie Moestafa Abdel Jalil, hoofd van de Nationale Overgangsraad. Het verrassingsbezoek vindt plaats nadat de (de facto) eerste minister en minister van Buitenlandse Zaken van het land, Mahmoed Jibril, de vondst van chemische wapens op twee verschillende sites bekendmaakte.

Vernietigen

De Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) in Den Haag werd door de Overgangsraad geïnformeerd. “Dit toont aan dat het nieuwe Libië internationale legitimiteit en een groeiende belangstelling voor de Libische bevolking nastreeft”, aldus Jibril. Begin november moet een delegatie van Den Haag in Libië aankomen om met hoogtechnologisch materiaal de chemische wapens te vernietigen.

(www.gva.be / 31.10.2011)

Written by altahrir

October 31, 2011 at 10:12 pm

Posted in Revolution Libye

Tagged with , ,

VS geven geen geld meer aan Unesco

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israel wil samenwerking met unesco herzien
//
De Verenigde Staten stoppen hun geldbijdrage aan de Unesco. Het ministerie van Buitenlandse Zaken verklaarde maandag dat de in november te betalen 60 miljoen dollar niet aan de VN-organisatie zal overgemaakt worden. De Verenigde Staten reageren daarmee op de aanvaarding van Palestina als volwaardig lid van de Unesco.
Daarnaast zal Israël de samenwerking met de Unesco na de aanvaarding van Palestina herzien. “Israël zal nadenken over verder te nemen stappen met betrekking tot de samenwerking met de organisatie”, aldus de Israëlische woordvoerder Jigal Palmor van Buitenlandse Zaken maandag.

Israël erkent de beslissing van de Unesco niet. “Dit is een eenzijdig Palestijns manoeuvre, die geen verandering zal brengen, maar de mogelijkheid voor een vredesakkoord op de lange baan schuift”, luidde het in de mededeling van Palmor.

Vooruitgang in het Midden-Oosten kan slechts met de hulp van rechtstreekse onderhandelingen langs beide kanten bereikt worden. Het manoeuvre van de Palestijnen staat gelijk met “een afwijzing van de inspanningen van de internationale gemeenschap om het vredesproces op gang te brengen”.

Israël dankte de landen die “een zin voor verantwoordelijkheid” aan de dag hebben gelegd en tegen hebben gestemd. Maar hij is teleurgesteld dat de Europese Unie, die zich inspant om rechtstreekse onderhandelingen te hervatten, er “niet in geslaagd is een eensgezind standpunt in te nemen om die beslissing te voorkomen”.

(www.gva.be / 31.10.2011)

Written by altahrir

October 31, 2011 at 10:07 pm

Woman stoned by terrorists

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Terrorists stoned an 80 yo Palestinian woman in Ramallah as she was picking olives. #SettlersAttack http://pic.twitter.com/hOkjSECN
pic.twitter.com/hOkjSECN

Written by altahrir

October 31, 2011 at 8:56 pm

Netanyahu to Gaza Militants: Whoever Attacks Israel Is ‘Risking His Life’

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  • netanyahu_103111.jpg

    Oct. 30, 2011: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu heads the  weekly cabinet meeting convening in Safed, northern Israel.

JERUSALEM –  With  rockets falling on southern Israel, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday  issued a tough warning to Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip, saying that  those who attack his country are risking their lives.

Netanyahu delivered the threat in a policy speech to  Israel’s parliament. He spoke shortly after his foreign minister urged Israel to  go even further and topple the Islamic Hamas regime in Gaza.

The Israeli military has been battling rocket-firing  Palestinian militant squads for several days. The fighting has killed at least  10 Palestinian militants and an Israeli civilian. It is the worst  Israeli-Palestinian violence in months.

In his speech, Netanyahu vowed to act with “strength  and determination” against the militants. “Whoever attacks Israel is risking his  life,” he said.

Despite Egyptian efforts to mediate a cease-fire,  Palestinian rockets continued to strike Israel on Monday, including a pair of  projectiles that exploded shortly after Netanyahu’s speech. There were no  reports of injuries or damage.

The Hamas militant group, which has killed hundreds  of Israelis in past violence, has not been directly involved in the latest  rocket fire. Israel says the group, which has ruled Gaza since overrunning the  territory in 2007, is responsible for all attacks emanating from the  territory.

Netanyahu’s foreign minister, Avigdor Lieberman,  told his Yisrael Beitenu Party on Monday that the government cannot tolerate the  continued attacks. “Israel’s goal should be to topple the Hamas regime in Gaza,”  he said.

In Gaza, Hamas officials condemned the Israeli  threats.

“These remarks reflect the brutal attitude and  mentality of the enemy leadership, which does not respect the calm and all the  efforts that have been made in this regard,” said Hamas spokesman Fawzi  Barhoum.

He urged the international community to pressure  Israel not to launch “any crazy adventure” in Gaza.

Despite the tough Israeli threats, removing Hamas  would not be easy. Israeli defense officials say any such operation would take  months and could involve heavy casualties.

Since seizing control of Gaza, Hamas has smuggled in  a formidable arsenal of weapons that include rockets capable of striking deep  inside Israel, as well as anti-tank and anti-aircraft weapons, according to  Israeli assessments.

(www.foxnews.com / 31.10.2011)

Written by altahrir

October 31, 2011 at 8:01 pm

Tunisia issues arrest warrant against Yasser Arafat’s widow

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An international arrest warrant against the widow of the late Palestinian   leader Yasser Arafat over alleged corruption has been issued by a Tunisian   court.

Tunisia issues arrest warrant against Yasser Arafat's widow: A file picture dated 24 November 1994 shows Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat (R), accompanied by his wife Suha

Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, right, accompanied by his wife Suha in 1994
Suha Arafat, who was stripped of her Tunisian   citizenship in 2007 following a dispute with the former ruling family and   currently lives in Malta, vehemently denied any corruption allegations and   said she was ready to lay the case bare.

Justice ministry spokesman Kadhem Zine el Abidine told AFP that a Tunis court   had issued the warrant against 48-year-old Suha Arafat, but gave no reason   for the move.

According to Tunisian papers, Arafat’s widow is wanted over alleged corruption   dating to the spring of 2007, when she founded the Carthage International   School in Tunis with the country’s much-vilified former first lady Leila   Trabelsi.

The two women then fell out, purportedly over Suha Arafat’s criticism of an   alleged move by Trabelsi to close down another private school that would   have been in direct competition with their joint venture.

According to a US diplomatic cable revealed by WikiLeaks, Suha Arafat met the   then US ambassador after the dispute and lashed out at the ruling family.

She said that now ousted dictator Zine el Abidine Ben Ali would spend all day   in his residence running after his young son and “simply does what his   wife asks him to do”.

She was subsequently declared persona non grata, stripped of her Tunisian   nationality in 2007, less than a year after acquiring it, and expelled.

She settled in Malta, where her brother served as Palestinian ambassador.

Speaking to AFP on the phone from Malta, Suha Arafat said she had hired a   lawyer to defend her case.

“I reject all the accusations listed in the media; I am ready to deal   with this issue, to submit documents, and I have entrusted a Tunisian lawyer   to present these documents,” she said.

She also said she had not been informed of the warrant against her.

Born into a well-to-do Christian Palestinian family, Suha Arafat married the   historic leader in 1990, though the marriage was not revealed until two   years later.

She served as secretary general of the Palestine Liberation Organisation,   which was based in Tunisia between 1982 and 1994.

Suha Arafat gave birth to the couple’s only child Zahwa in 1995, in a private   hospital in Paris, but marital life quickly degenerated into de facto   separation.

While her husband shepherded the Palestinian cause in Gaza and Ramallah, Suha   was often accused of siphoning the aspiring state’s meagre public funds to   bankroll her lavish lifestyle in Paris.

After her husband’s death in November 2004, Suha Arafat returned to Tunisia,   where she was eventually granted Tunisian citizenship for the second time.

Ben Ali was ousted in January following a popular uprising and the country’s   interim rulers have since initiated hundreds of corruption trials against   the exiled dictator and his entourage.

(www.telegraph.co.uk / 31.10.2011)

Written by altahrir

October 31, 2011 at 7:57 pm

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