Archive for the ‘Revolution’ Category
RAMALLAH (Ma’an) — Increased levels of fuel expected to enter Gaza over the next two days will nearly double the amount of electricity provided to the strip’s residents, officials said Wednesday.
Around 900,000 liters of fuel will be be pumped into the Gaza Strip’s power station over Wednesday and Thursday, the head of the Palestinian energy authority Omar Kittaneh said.The fuel, paired with fuel entering through Egypt, will allow the station to increase productivity to 80 megawatts daily, meaning that Gazans will receive around 18 hours of electricity per day, Kittaneh added.Kittaneh said the increase was possible after Egypt agreed to allow Qatari-funded fuel which has been held Egypt since 2012 to enter Gaza Strip.In 2012, Egypt stopped pumping Qatari-funded fuel to the Gaza Strip after Egyptian authorities accused the Hamas movement of aiding attacks in the neighboring Sinai peninsula.Qatar had funded 20 million liters of fuel in 2012 for Gaza. Around half of the fuel entered the strip while the remainder has been held Egypt’s Suez Canal, Kittaneh said.Tuesday it was announced that an estimated one million liters of Qatari-funded fuel will be used to run Gaza’s sole power station for 45 days.The expected 80 megawatts to be produced after Wednesday’s and Thursday’s shipments mark an increase from the 45 megawatts anticipated at the time of yesterday’s announcement.The Gaza Strip, which receives its electricity from Israel, Egypt, and its sole power plant, has been struggling to produce enough power for months.Earlier this month, the power station reduced its provision of electricity to eight hours per day after it was unable to pay taxes imposed by the Palestinian Authority.The power crisis has left small workshops and factories working far below their normal capacity.On Monday, the speaker of the general federation of Gaza trade unions Samir al-Amsi said that if the electricity crisis continues, 90 percent of Gaza’s factories, blacksmith workshops, aluminum workshops, and automobile repair workshops could shut down.Egyptian authorities have promised to keep shipping the fuel to Gaza in an agreement reached between independent Palestinian officials, the Egyptian government and the Arab League to solve the power crisis in the Gaza Strip.Earlier this year, the power plant closed down for more than a month in March when the Gazan energy authority was unable to cover taxes to the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority.The amount was previously covered by Qatar, which in December donated $10 million to the PA to exempt the energy authority from paying the tax.Although the power plant inside Gaza has a potential output of 120 MW, it has been unable to produce that much due to Israeli restrictions on fuel imports as part of an eight-year blockade.Last summer the plant was targeted during the 50-day Israeli offensive on Gaza, completely knocking it out of commission. Gaza’s energy authority said at the time that the damages from the attack could take up to a year to fix completely.
(Source / 29.07.2015)
A car bomb exploded outside an Ismaili mosque in Yemen’s war-damaged capital Sanaa on Wednesday, killing four people and wounding six, health authorities and a security source said.
The Islamic State militant group claimed responsibility for the attack on the Al Faydh Alhatemy mosque, more commonly known as Burhani, in the eastern Sanaa of Nuqum, describing the bombing as revenge for what it called Ismaili support for Yemen’s dominant Houthi movement.
Three people were killed in the attack and seven were wounded, a security source said. A spokesperson at the Ministry of Health later said put the death toll at four and the wounded at six as one person did not immediately die of their injuries.
Ismailis are a minority Shi’ite Muslim sect in Yemen, as are the Zaydi Shi’ites, a community whose interests the Houthi group says it defends, while Islamic State is a radical Sunni group.
The blast was the second bombing in Sanaa in three days. A bomb exploded underneath a passenger bus in the southerly Dar Selm area on Sunday, killing three people and wounding five.
No one has claimed responsibility for that blast, but a number of previous such explosions in the city and elsewhere in Yemen have been claimed by Islamic State in recent months.
The Houthis, backed by army units loyal to former president Ali Abdullah Saleh, have been waging a four-month-old war against a Saudi-led Arab coalition that has been seeking to restore to power exiled President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi.
(Source / 29.07.2015)
President Khoja urged NATO members meeting in Brussels to support the establishment of a safe zone in northern Syria to ensure protection for civilians from ISIS and the Assad regime.
He also calls for finding new effective mechanisms to address the threats posed by ISIS and the Assad regime, which constitute the greatest threat to regional and international security and the main obstacle to any political solution in Syria.
Khoja welcomes initiative Turkey has recently announced to fight ISIS and its intention to establish a safe zone in northern Syria, adding that the safe zone is an important step to ensure protection for Syrian civilians.
He stresses that the Syrian Coalition continues to step its support to local groups to help establish effective civilian administration throughout Syria and maintain basic services, and the delivery of humanitarian aid to those in need.
(Source: Syrian Coalition / 29.07.2015)
Seyyed Hassan Nasrallah, the secretary general of Lebanese resistance movement Hezbollah, says the issue of Palestine and the Palestinian cause is above politics and political interests.
“Palestine is the responsibility of the Palestinian people,” he said, emphasizing, however, that, “Our responsibility is to support the Palestinian people.”
He called upon scholars worldwide to take up the message of the move by Imam Khomeini, the late founder of the Islamic Republic, to designate the last Friday of the Muslim month of Ramadan as the International Quds Day.
Nasrallah made the remarks on Tuesday at an international conference on Palestine held in the Lebanese capital, Beirut.
He said among the greatest achievements made by the resistance front has been the liberation of Gaza from Israeli occupation, and the “heroic steadfastness” against Israeli wars.
Nasrallah said the “resistance project,” which is confronting the “Zionist project,” should take a close look and study the potential gains by the enemy in an attempt to make up for the damage done by the enemy and end or limit such gains by the opposite front.
What is really sad, he said, is that the issue of Palestine has been sidelined as “the world looks elsewhere.”
“That doesn’t mean that the project of resistance has weakened,” the Hezbollah secretary general said, adding that the strong elements of resistance must also be studied.
“We should also re-evaluate who supports us,” he said, adding that the resistance front should study who still supports it and who “sells it out.”
He said any attempt in the Arab and Islamic world to bring about any form of the normalization of relations with the Israeli regime has to be countered.
He also said the issue of Palestine is in need of a big campaign to remind people of the true nature of the Israeli enemy, “because, it seems, there are some who quickly forget the Israeli terrorism.”
“The Israeli regime is a beast on Palestinian territories,” he said.
“Right now, there are some Arab countries that have taken Israel out of the circle of threats,” he said. “This is something very dangerous.”
Nasrallah further noted that whatever happens in the world, the resistance movement will not give up backing Palestine and pursuing the issue of the liberation of al-Quds (Jerusalem).
The Hezbollah leader also said the resistance movement will cooperate with any Arab and Muslim country on the issue of Palestine.
He also stressed that the Tel Aviv regime is on the verge of collapse and the Israeli occupied territories will be restored to the Palestinians.
(Source / 28.07.2015)
Yemen: UN reports some 4,000 people killed since March in escalating conflict, nearly half of them civilians
Boys hold shrapnel from exploded artillery shells while standing on a street damaged by blasts in Sana’a, the capital of Yemen
8 July 2015 – The death toll in war-torn Yemen is almost 4,000 since the conflict had escalated mid-March, today said a representative for the United Nations World Health Organization (WHO).
“From 19 March and until 19 July, there were 3,984 deaths and 19,347 injuries, making a total of 23,331 deaths and injuries. These figures were based on what was reported from health facilities,” WHO spokesperson Tarik Jasarevic said during a press briefing in Geneva.
The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA), he said, bases its figures on what WHO compiles on the basis of information from health facilities.
According to Ravina Shamdasani, who spoke on behalf of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), the total number of civilians killed since March is 1,895 and 4,182 others have been injured.
Only between 16 and 27 July, she added, at least 202 civilians, including 36 women, had been killed, and 353 others injured. The most recent update from the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) brings the number of children killed to 365, while 484 others have been injured.
(Source / 28.07.2015)
Hamas continues its attempts to break the political siege imposed on it since it won the 2006 legislative elections by meeting with Western officials. The latest of such meetings was held in Qatar on June 5, between the head of Hamas’ political bureau, Khaled Meshaal, and the former envoy of the Quartet, Tony Blair. They discussed the future of the truce between Hamas and Israel, and the fate of the Israeli soldiers who have been held captive by the movement since the Gaza war in the summer of 2014.
On June 25, Hamas launched its official website in English. The day before, Hamas announced in a press statement that the English-language website is part of the movement’s efforts to promote communication with the West.
Hamas’ English-language website allows Western Internet users to learn about its positions and news. The website also includes a forum that answers the questions posed by Westerners, and an archive.
There are several websites that are affiliated with Hamas, such as the Palestinian Information Center, which is available in Arabic, English, Persian, French, Turkish, Urdu and Russian. However, Hamas’ new website talks in the movement’s name, publishes its positions and clarifies its opinions. Western Internet users and decision-makers can browse the website to learn about Hamas’ official view on the Palestinian, regional and international events.
Since its inception in 1987, Hamas has been complaining that Western decision-makers and research and media outlets only hear about the movement, not from it, which is why the new English-language website was launched.
Member of Hamas’ political bureau Sami Khater told Al-Monitor his regret that “most Western countries do not deal with Hamas based on [the movement’s] rational and realistic positions and policies despite the serious talks between Hamas and European countries. These countries view Hamas based on their commitment to supporting Israel, which considers any resistance against it as terrorism. This is why Hamas is subjected to a systematic plan to distort [its image] by Israel and its supporters in the West.”
In the past few years, Hamas has shown growing interest in communicating with the West, especially since the Arab Spring and the rise of Islamists in the region. These circumstances have pushed Hamas to expand and develop its international relations, considering that an official Western recognition of the movement is imminent.
Hamas’ efforts to open communication channels with the West became apparent when Hamas leaders started publishing reports in the Western media. Most prominent among these reports was the one by Ismail Haniyeh, former political adviser to deputy chairman of Hamas’ political bureau, in The Guardian on June 8, 2012.
In March 2015, Hamas also launched a Twitter campaign called Ask Hamas, which was addressed to the Western reader. For three consecutive days, a number of the movement’s leaders answered hundreds of questions in English.
On June 30, Ahmad Atwan, member of Hamas’ Legislative Council, participated, in an unprecedented move, over Skype in the British parliament session about the Jerusalem situation.
Egyptian paper Shorouk revealed in April 2014 that the number of members at Hamas’ foreign relations bureau reached 70, each of whom is responsible for a file of one country in the world, mainly in the West. These members constitute the pioneers of Hamas’ diplomatic wing.
Al-Monitor learned that a number of Hamas leaders are responsible for the communications file with the West, such as Mousa Abu Marzouk, deputy head of Hamas’ political bureau; Osama Hamdan, Hamas’ foreign relations chief; Bassem Naim, former minister of health; Ahmed Youssef, former political adviser to Haniyeh; and Deputy Foreign Minister Ghazi Hamad.
Al-Zaytouna Center for Studies and Consultations in Beirut published in July a new book titled “Islamic Resistance Movement-Hamas: Studies of Thought and Experience.” The 672-page book includes 11 studies, which some Hamas leaders contributed to. The book focuses on Hamas’ political rhetoric addressed to the West.
Youssef Abu al-Saud, a Palestinian researcher concerned with the ties between Hamas and the West, told Al-Monitor, “By reading most Western publications about Hamas, I noticed that Hamas is depicted as an armed military organization, as [these publications] do not tackle the political and social aspects of the movement. This poses a challenge to Hamas’ communications [efforts] with the West, which is further challenged with the lack of direct information about the movement. The West views Hamas based on regional and international reactions, while considering it part of the political Islamic [movement] in the region. The West disregards [Hamas] being a national liberation movement against the Israeli occupation.”
Saud added, “One of Hamas’ main problems in communicating with the West lies in its basic charter, on which the West focuses [on] while disregarding how realistic Hamas’ political behavior is in light of the regional and world changes. The West also considers that Hamas is a militia using armed violence against Israel, while ignoring its growing position among the Palestinians.”
Al-Monitor noticed that Hamas’ charter, issued in August 1988, is not published on the English-language website. This charter tackles the Israeli conflict from a religious point of view only, without mentioning historical events. The charter also refers to the international community based on a colonial logic, and away from any political reconciliation language.
Influential Hamas sources told Al-Monitor, on condition of anonymity, that the movement is witnessing internal activities to change some of the charter’s content. There are also discussions to stop dealing with this charter as an official document, and instead considering it a non-binding document on the political level.
Al-Monitor also learned from Hamas political sources who requested anonymity that the movement is conducting meetings with former and current Western officials in Qatar and Gaza, where Hamas’ leadership resides. In addition, it is holding meetings in Western capitals. Both sides refuse to reveal details about these meetings, upon the demand of Western parties. This is because the Hamas movement is still listed as a terrorist organization by the European Union and the United States, and leaders holding such meetings fear legal repercussions — although the EU Court of Justice decided to remove Hamas from the terrorist list on Jan. 19.
A Palestinian official, who travels between the Gaza Strip and Europe to promote Hamas’ positions in the West, told Al-Monitor on condition of anonymity about Hamas’ weaknesses in its communication with the West. He said, “Hamas does not have any political [parties] specialized in drafting a detailed narrative that could be addressed to the West, and lacks media outlets in languages of countries in the West. The movement also lacks literary works that clarify its side of the story about the conflict with Israel, and disregards the Jewish lobbies’ influence on some Western decision-makers.”
Through its communication efforts, Hamas wants the West not to involve the movement’s religious aspect in the conflict with Israel, as it negatively reflects on the movement and it would no longer be seen as a national liberation movement. The West should not ignore some contradictions that are apparent in the Western positions toward the Palestinian cause. Notably, in December 2014 some Western parliaments recognized the Palestinian state, while others refrained from doing so to satisfy Israel.
Despite Hamas’ ongoing attempts to open lines of communication with the West through social media, amateurism in written publications and the mobilization of supporters in the West prevails in the absence of organization and coordination. In addition, Hamas seeks to keep up with the Western developments and to quickly respond to them so that its own reaction is available to Western decision-makers.
(Source / 28.07.2015)
The political committee on Tuesday morning met with the Group of Friends of Syria ambassadors in Istanbul. The Conferees stressed the importance of the agreement reached last week by the Syrian Coalition and the National Coordination Commission in Brussels, and also the importance Syrian Coalition’s consulting with rebel factions to form a new FSA High Military Command and a new military council.
Members of the political committee pointed to the Assad regime’s ordering of many residents of the Mezza district in Damascus to evacuate their homes in order to resettle families of the foreign militias fighting alongside its forces. They warns of the regime’s plans to change the demography of the region and also of the consequences of the continued silence over the regime’s use of starvation by as a weapon against some rebel-held areas.
The meeting also discussed the international envoy Staffan de Mistura’s visit to Syria and Iran, and Assad rejection of a political solution and his insistence on a military one.
Members of the political committee called on the ambassadors to provide support for the civil governance project in the safe zone Turkey is establishing in northern Syria and for supporting the Free Syrian Army to maintain the security and stability in this area and to ensure the return of the refugees.
They also called for putting pressure on the Iranian and Assad regimes to sit at the negotiating to reach a political solution based on the Geneva Communique.
(Source: Syrian Coalition / 28.07.2015)