Er is geen discriminatie in de Islam

De fundamentele principes van de Islam behoort het geloof in de Eenheid van Allah (s.w.t.), Die de Schepper is van de hele mensheid, ongeacht hun nationale afkomst, hetzij oost of west, noord of zuid. De Heilige Qur’aan zegt:

“De mensheid was een gemeenschap. Daarna verwekte Allah profeten als brengers van goede tijdingen en als waarschuwers en zond met hen het Boek neder, dat de waarheid bevatte, om onder de mensen te richten over datgene waarin zij verschilden. En niemand verschilde er over, dan degenen aan wie het (Boek) was gegeven, nadat duidelijke tekenen tot hen waren gekomen, – uit afgunst jegens elkander. Dan heeft Allah door Zijn gebod de gelovigen geleid betreffende de waarheid, waarover zij het oneens waren; en Allah leidt naar het rechte pad, wie Hij wil.” [Surah 2 : Ayah 213]

Dus de meningsverschillen, ontstaan door ongelijkheid, zijn de schepping van de mens zelf. Deze zijn de oorzaak van ruzie en vijandschap onderling. De verordening van boven cijfert alle normen van ongelijkheid tussen de naties van de wereld weg, en plaatst hen op dezelfde voet van onderlinge gelijkheid en rechtvaardigheid. Hij rekent af met alle soorten van voorrechten en nationale privileges, en hij geeft de mens eenzelfde basis van rechtvaardigheid.

“O, mensdom! Wij hebben u uit man en vrouw geschapen en Wij hebben u tot volkeren en stammen gemaakt, opdat gij elkander moogt kennen. Voorzeker, de godvruchtigste onder u is de eerwaardigste bij Allah. Voorwaar, Allah is Alwetend, Alkennend.” [Surah 49 : Ayah 13]

De andere eenheidsfactor die bijdraagt tot gelijkheid onder de mensheid, is het aannemen van dezelfde gedragsnormen en gedragscode, zoals door Allah bepaald. Wat het ovenstaande vers betreft, als alle mensen dezelfde gedragscode zouden aannemen, zoals vastgesteld onder een goddelijke bepaling dan zal het een eerlijke en rechtvaardige relatie met zich meebrengen, hetgeen natuurlijk zal leiden tot vrede en stabiliteit op aarde en elk gevoel van raciale en nationale arrogantie vernietigen.

“En Wij hebben u het Boek (de Koran) met de waarheid geopenbaard vervullende hetgeen daarv??r in het Boek (de Bijbel) was (verkondigd) en als bewaker daarover. Richt daarom tussen hen naar hetgeen Allah heeft geopenbaard en volg hun boze neigingen niet tegen de waarheid die tot u is gekomen. Voor iedereen bepaalden Wij een wet en een weg. En indien Allah had gewild zou Hij u allen tot ??n volk hebben gemaakt, maar Hij wenst u te beproeven met hetgeen Hij u heeft gegeven. Wedijvert dus met elkander in goede werken. Tot Allah zult gij allen terugkeren, dan zal Hij u datgene mededelen, waarover gij van mening verschilt.” [Surah 5 : Ayah 48]

Allah (s.w.t.) heeft de verschillende volkeren gemaakt ter beproeving van de gelovigen. Allah (s.w.t.) wil zien, hoe wij omgaan met datgene wat Hij ons gegeven heeft. Zo wil Hij ook zien, hoe wij omgaan met andere volkeren. Gaan wij ze uitmoorden, gaan wij vreedzaam met ze om?

De boodschap is duidelijk: wij moeten andere volkeren leren kennen. D?t is onze beproeving!

Zelfs in onze moskee?n, onze huizen, onze straten, onze harten maken wij onderscheid. Ouders weigeren hun kinderen te huwen met moslims van een andere “cultuur” of “ras”, men bezoekt alleen moskee?n waar hun “eigensoort” aanwezig is.

Allah (s.w.t.) en de Profeet Sallalahu 'alaihi wasalam benadrukken de eensgezindheid in de Islam, voorwaar broeders en zusters:

“Een Arabier is niet beter dan een niet-Arabier, noch is de blanke man beter dan de zwarte of de zwarte beter dan de blanke man, behalve door het Godsbewustzijn (taqwa) dat hij verkregen heeft. Waarlijk, de edelste onder jullie is degene met de meeste taqwa.”

Het enige onderscheid dat de Islam dus kent, is het onderscheid tussen degenen met en degenen zonder Godbewustzijn. Dat blijkt ook uit het volgende gezegde van de Profeet Mohammed Sallalahu 'alaihi wasalam:

“Zelfs als een verminkte Abessijnse slaaf jullie leider wordt, luister dan naar hem en gehoorzaam hem, zolang hij het Boek van God instelt en het uitvoert.”

Een andere essenti?le factor die zal bijdragen tot vrede en gelijkheid onder de mensen, is het voorbeeld van een door Allah (s.w.t.) geleide persoonlijkheid te volgen.

“Voorwaar, gij hebt in de Profeet van Allah een prachtig voorbeeld voor ieder die Allah en de laatste Dag vreest, en die Allah vaak herdenkt.” [Surah 33 : Ayah 21]

(Tekst is van www.risallah.com /03.01.2012)

3rd Palestine Memorial Week at Parliament, British Universities

    • maandag 16 januari 2012 om 5:30 tot maandag 23 januari 2012 om 9:30
  • Waar
    Britain
  • The Palestinian Return Centre (PRC) is finalizing its arrangements to launch the third Palestine memorial Week in January 2012. In Partnership with many student bodies and organizations around the UK, PRC will host and sponsor numerous activities across the UK. The week aims at commemorating the memory of Palestinian victims over the past Six decades especially the last war in Gaza.

    The memorial week is scheduled from the 16th to the 23rd of January 2012.

    The main event will be a UK tour by Dr Mads Gilbert. Dr Gilbert, from Norway, witnessed Israeli attacks against Gaza civilians in 2008/2009. He worked as a surgeon at Shifa Hospital in Gaza during Israel’s onslaught and has written a book about the experience called Eyes on Gaza. He will speak at the Imperial College, UCL, Manchester and Edinburgh University.

    He will also speak at the British Parliament (House of Commons) on the evening of the 16th of January. A number of MPs, researchers and activists will also participate at the events.

    Gilbert was a keynote speaker last year where hundreds attended his session at the Ongoing Nakba Conference organized by PRC. His tour will then move north towards Manchester on the 17th, where Dr. Gilbert will speak to students at the University. To watch his last participation visit the following link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DigRRB-2SGQ

    On the 18th of Jan, he will travel to Edinburgh University. He will return to London on the 19th for two more scheduled programs during the evening of 19th and 20th January.

    On the 19th he will speak at UCL University and on the 20th he will deliver another lecture at Imperial College of London. Other speakers will join Dr. Gilbert during these sessions.

    Exact rooms and timing of the events will be announced closer to the time. Admission is free and open to the public. Yet, registration is highly preferable.

    For further details and to register contact the Palestinian Return Centre, info@prc.org.uk

Essaywedstrijd “Religie & Wetenschap”

    • woensdag om 9:00 tot maandag 27 februari 2012 om 23:30
  • Beschrijving
    De Islamitische Studentenvereniging Amsterdam (ISA) is erg nieuwsgierig naar hoe jij als student denkt over religie en wetenschap. ISA streeft ernaar het beste te halen uit studenten die waarde hechten aan beide en hen te stimuleren deze combinatie positief in te zetten en hier inspiratie uit te putten. Daarom houdt ISA een essaywedstrijd met als thema: “Religie & Wetenschap”.

    Hoe is het voor jou persoonlijk om religie en wetenschap te combineren? Wat doet religie met jou als student? We houden het lekker breed en iedereen, ongeacht culturele/religieuze achtergrond, mag zijn of haar invulling geven. De enige voorwaarden zijn dat je aan het HBO of WO studeert, jouw essay geschreven is in het Nederlands en maximaal 1000 woorden bevat. De winnaar wordt beloond met een bedrag van €100! Bovendien komen alle goede essays in aanmerking voor publicatie in een bundel die ISA zal uitgeven. Lijkt het je wat om je schrijftalenten aan te scherpen en je persoonlijke indrukken en ervaringen in woorden om te zetten?

    Stuur jouw essay dan vóór maandag 27 februari 2012 op naar info@sv-isa.nl!

UNDERSTANDING THE MIDDLE EAST

How are we to understand the situation in the Middle East ? Things are moving so quickly and in so many different, if not contradictory, directions. The reality has always been complex, but interpreting it has become more and more difficult. The actors involved, the challenges and the interests in conflict are so numerous that one wonders that the result of the popular movements in the region and the political changes currently underway is impossible to foresee. On the one hand, intrinsic domestic dynamics have created a new balance of power, which is having a powerful impact on Egypt, Libya, Yemen and Syria, but also on Tunisia and Morocco. On the other hand foreign countries, such as the United States, Israel, the European countries, China, Russia and even Turkey and Qatar are involved in various ways and in different capacities, either attempting to further the new realities or to try to control them to the fullest of their capacity, according to their ideological, economic and political interests.

In Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen, Bahrain, Libya and Syria, millions of people have been calling for freedom and justice ; the first results in Tunisia, Morocco (where some reforms have been granted in order to avoid uprisings) and Egypt are giving the Islamists the upper hand in the political arena. Some suggest that the popular movements have been hijacked, others claim it as the result of a true democratic process : in these Muslim majority countries, the Islamists remain the most popular force : a fact that must be accepted. Like it or not, the Islamists have a historical legitimacy as opponents who have paid a heavy price in opposing dictatorship : prison, torture, exile and executions have punctuated their history over more than half a century. But what is likely to happen in these countries ; how will the great powers manage the new situation ? It would be childish to think the United States, the European countries, China and Russia as well as Turkey are not involved, in one way or in another, in the discussions (and the political transactions) with the Islamists, the Army and their old allies. Israel will never be a passive spectator in the Middle East : its most powerful ally and staunch supporter, the United States, is working hard to gain some control over the situation. What is the nature of any potential agreement between both the Western and Eastern powers and the respective armies and the Islamists ? It was known that these old demonized Islamist parties would win in Tunisia, Morocco and Egypt and nothing has been done to prevent them from emerging as the leading political forces. Why ?

The Islamists have changed. They have always been very pragmatic (from Morocco to Egypt and Asia all the way through Palestine) and able to adapt to new political challenges. They know the balance of power is shifting in the Middle East and they deal with it accordingly. Yet they are facing contradictory expectations : they must remain faithful to the “Islamic credentials” that brought them to power and face foreign pressure that is testing their flexibility on respect for the democratic processes, their economic outlook and their attitude towards Israel. While the Turkish example is interesting, it cannot be a reference in the Middle East. It is not the same history, the actors are not the same, nor are the challenges. The Islamists in the Arab world, while happy to win successive elections, may well be entering a far more sensitive period of their history. They may lose the Islamic credibility they had as opposition forces or be obliged to change and adapt so much to the political context that the substance of their political program is abandoned, or reduced to the form of a less corrupt regime with formal Islamic features. Winning might be the beginning of loss.

What is happening in the Middle East is critical and complex, and it is clearly a turning point. From behind the scenes, Libya’s future is being decided by potential new leaders and by the Western powers that supported military intervention. Transparency is far from being a reality : the so-called “humanitarian intervention” was motivated by geostrategic objectives that are now fully visible. What we knew, we are now witnessing. Nobody knows what the future of Syria will be : the population refuses to give up ; thousands of civilians have been killed by the dictatorial regime. Israel, The United States, European countries and Iran have tried to avoid dealing with a regime change. There seems to be no alternative however. This is where the complexity of the Middle East is confusing with so many conflicting parameters. If the Syrian regime falls, its regional ally Iran would paradoxically become either a danger or an easier target as the balance of power and alliances shifts. The recent campaign against Iran must be read in this context. It started with the Saudis asking the American “to cut off the snake’s head,” followed by the alleged assassination attempt in the United States (we are ask to believe Iran wanted to kill the Saudi Ambassador in New York), and then using the attack on the UK embassy in order to create an international coalition against Iran. Iran, meanwhile, is operating on multiple levels and has a multidimensional strategy : to secure domestic support and to establish reliable ties in the region as well as internationally. The knot is tightening and the situation is increasingly worrisome for the current regime. Despite the lack of domestic freedom and transparency, Iran still has some allies and some powerful assets. Are we going to see internal democratic and popular forces mobilizing to change the regime or will it become a new war front ? The picture is far from clear.

Whatever the future in a Middle East in the throes of political upheaval, the new political players will all be assessed by the “international community” on the basis of three criteria : what kind of economic system and rules do they accept ; what is their position towards Israel ; and, eventually, where do they stand in relation to the Shia-Sunni divide in the Muslim majority countries. Understanding the Middle East means keeping these three factors in mind. On some issues Islamists might be more flexible than anticipated (except for the Palestinian-Israeli conflict) while the geography of the Middle East is changing radically. Yet, inside or outside politics, Muslims should face the cruel reality : their main challenge is in their internal conflict and especially the Shia-Sunni divide (and unhealthy competition). This is one of the most critical questions of our time : one cannot blame one’s enemies for being too strong when one is directly responsible for one’s own weaknesses.

(www.tariqramadan.com / 03.01.2012)

Palestinians give borders, security proposal at Amman meet

Jordanian Foreign Minister Nasser Juda said Palestinian envoys gave Israeli counterparts proposals on borders and security at the Amman meeting called by the international Quartet on Tuesday.
AMMAN (Ma’an) — Palestinian envoys handed Israeli officials a proposal for resolving border and security issues at a meeting in the Jordanian capital on Tuesday attended by international Quartet delegates.

Jordanian Foreign Minister Nasser Juda said Israeli representatives promised to respond to the proposals in future meetings, which were agreed to be held in Amman at an unspecified date, official PA news agency Wafa reported.

Juda emphasized that there were no specific breakthroughs at the meeting, which was called by the international Quartet and attended by PLO official Saeb Erekat and Israeli delegate Yitzhak Molcho.

“The gap is wide between the two sides on all issues … The issues are complicated and we do not expect to resolve them in a day or two,” he told reporters in Amman.

Negotiations stalled in late 2010 after Israel refused to renew a partial freeze on Jewish settlement in the occupied West Bank, which officials say threaten a viable Palestinian state.

On Tuesday, President Mahmoud Abbas told reporters in Ramallah that Palestinians were ready to resume direct talks if the Israeli government agrees on freezing settlement expansion.

Juda did not confirm Israel’s position on a settlement freeze, but noted “an agreement on borders and security will put an end to settlements,” according to Wafa.

Both sides had downplayed the meeting, with senior PLO Wasl Abu Yossef insisting: “This is not a resumption of negotiations.”

The Palestinians were simply fulfilling a request by the Quartet to present their positions on the issues of security and borders, he said prior to the summit.

Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri had called on the Palestinian Authority to boycott Tuesday’s meeting, saying it was “repeating a policy of failure.”

“The only beneficiary (of the summit) will be the Israeli occupation,” he said, in remarks echoed by leftist faction PFLP.

(www.maannews.net / 03.01.2012)

Abbas: “Arab refusal of Partition Plan was a mistake”

Submitted by Jalal Abukhater on Tue, 01/03/2012 – 15:24

This is the translated English version of عفواً، بس ليش خطأ؟ which appeared earlier in Arabic on Ma’an Arabic news service.


My letter might be late, but late is better than never. This subject is critical and cannot be completely ignored. Two months ago, I noticed a headline on the biggest ArabIsraeli, andInternational newspapers and news sites, except the Palestinian. This headline is about a statement made by the Palestinian Authority’s president, Mahmoud Abbas, where he expressed that he believes the Arab refusal of the UN partition plan (181) in year 1947, was a mistake.  In an interview with the Israeli Channel two, president Abbas said: “At that time, 1947, there was Resolution 181, the partition plan, Palestine and Israel. Israel existed. Palestine diminished. Why? […] I know, I know. It was our mistake. It was our mistake. It was an Arab mistake as a whole. But do they punish us for this mistake (for) 64 years?”

I would understand if the president, after he saw the results of the Israeli occupation today, would want to go back to the year 1947 to adopt the partition plan, because that would mean a larger territory for the Palestinian state to be created on. But, was the refusal a mistake? If the Arabs accepted, would it be guaranteed that the Zionist movement will accept what is less that the whole Palestinian territory? Frankly, I consider the president’s statement faulting the Arab and Palestinian stance refusing to abide with an unlawful resolution which takes away the Palestinians’ right to self-determination, to be a very dangerous statement which certainly deserves my comments.

Any rational person would see that if the partition plan was applied and fully respected by both sides, Palestinians would be living in a paradise compared to the miserable situation we live in today under occupation. But, at the same time, no wise and intelligent person would believe that accepting the partition plan was to put an end to the Israeli/Palestinian struggle. It is only naïve to describe the Palestinian and Arab stance regarding the partition plan to be wrong.

Palestinians use this phrase to describe the Belfour Declaration: “The promise of who doesn’t own, to those who don’t deserve”. As a result from that declaration, we have the partition plan which paved the way for those who don’t deserve to take over the land of the indigenous Arab Palestinians. At that time, Arabs were over two thirds of the Population in Palestine; they owned 94% of the land of Palestine. In what right does the United Nations decide to divide Palestine to give over 55% of the land to the Jews who didn’t own anything but 6% of the land before year 1947?

In the year 1947, 1,293,000 Arab Palestinians Christians and Muslims lived in Palestine, plus 608,000 Jews who most of them were recent immigrants from Tsarist Russia and those who fled the horrifying Nazi Europe. The partition plan wasn’t rational from the beginning as there were 407,000 Arabs living in what was to become the Jewish state according to the partition plan. How were Arabs going to accept a decision that will eventually allow conducting mass ethnic cleansing of Palestinians from their land to make way for a made up Jewish state? How were Arabs to accept a resolution that was to place international border lines between villages and cities which have neighbored each other for thousands of years? There was nothing about the partition plan which would convince the Arabs to accept it, Palestinians were losing what is over half the Palestinian land in exchange of nothing, nothing at all.

Another example of the unfairness of resolution 181 is, other than that indigenous Palestinians were going to receive less than half of what they used to own; in the United Nations Special Committee on Palestine’s resolution, it states that “the Jews will have the more economically developed part of the country embracing practically the whole of the citrus-producing area which includes a large number of Arab products.”

I still wonder how refusing this resolution would be considered “a mistake”. President Mahmoud Abbas is doing his best to put the blame on the victim.

The partition plan wasn’t a decision to divide the land only, but it was a decision that was to take away many of the Arab Palestinians’ rights. How would you allow unequally dividing your land and giving the settler who recently arrived from Europe, a bigger slice of your land, voluntarily?  Accepting the partition plan would be like paving the way for the Zionist movement to take over the whole land of Palestine, without resistance. If we were to look back at some of the Zionist leaders’ speeches like Ben Gourion, we’ll see that, even the Zionist leadership, weren’t content by what resolution (181) was granting them and they wanted more. The Israeli acceptance of resolution (181) was only a media play; the acceptance was only to lay political umbrella for the Zionists to take over what is larger than what the resolution has offered them.

Considering the refusal of the partition plan to be wrong is one thing, and hoping to build a Palestinian state on the territory granted by the partition plan is another; we shouldn’t mix between the two. The refusal of the partition plan was not a mistake and the Palestinians didn’t lose any golden opportunities by refusing it. It is only naïve and ignorant to consider the refusal to be a mistake.

(electronicintifada.net / 03.01.2012)

News from Syria 03.01.2012

Hama – 1982 The city was shelled for 27 days by heavy artillery. Sections were completely flattened and remain empty to this day.

Hama – 1982 Tanks and machine-guns were stationed on the ends of the tunnels to kill whoever attempted to escape. Over 40,000 died in the massacre.

Hama – 1982 Families ran into underground tunnels to hide from the shelling. The government pumped burning fuel into the tunnels.

Hama – 1982 Entire families were executed in Hama. They would be lined up and shot by Assad forces

Hama – 1982 Pictures from Assad’s genocide in Hama 1982 – Every Syrian knows what happened

(01.03.2012) Tseil | Daraa | Freedom protests continue across the country

IMPORTANT: Deir Ezzor: The regime’s thugs are raiding Al-Qoriya town to fabricate a pro-regime demonstration there.

@ArabSpringFF #DeirEzzor The regime’s thugs are raiding Al-Qoriya town to fabricate pro-regime demo there

The total number of civilians killed today by Assad forces is now up to 22. #Syria

Mahmoud Al-Shamy is the first casualty in 2012. He is from Hama. 12-4-1993 – 01-01-201

Idlib : traces of torture on the body of the military martyr Khaled Mahmoud Al-Zeer who tried to defect after refusing to shoot on demonstrators in Homs

High Court allows Israel to mine Palestinian Territories

In rejecting a petition regarding Israeli-owned quarries in the West Bank, the court rules that they benefit the Palestinians as well

Who owns and is allowed to use the sand and rocks of the West Bank? This question was at the center of a petition to the Israeli High Court of Justice, submitted by Israeli human rights NGO Yesh Din in 2009. Yesh Din asked the court to stop the operations of eight quarries under Israeli ownership, claming that they take away valuable resources from the Palestinian people and from a future Palestinian state.

Some 94 percent of the materials produced in the Israeli quarries in the West Bank is transported to Israel, accounting for the needs of more than a quarter of the market.

The petition relied on an article in the Fourth Hague Convention of 1907, allowing an occupier to use the resources in the occupied land only for the needs and benefits of the occupied people.

Art. 55. The occupying State shall be regarded only as administrator and usufructuary of public buildings, real estate, forests, and agricultural estates belonging to the hostile State, and situated in the occupied country. It must safeguard the capital of these properties, and administer them in accordance with the rules of usufruct.

Yesterday (Monday) the Israeli High Court rejected the petition, allowing the quarries to continue their work.

Here is a link to the full ruling [Hebrew only]

Some of the arguments the court gives are very strange, if not entirely corrupt: The court accepts, for example, the claim that since Palestinians are employed in mining work for the Israeli companies who own the quarries, one could say that Israel is actually helping the local economy. It also notes the fact that the quarries pay (low) taxes to the army’s administrative authority in the West Bank, which uses the money for its daily operations in the area.

In other words, the quarries not only take advantage of the the Palestinians’ natural resources, they are also used to cover the expenses of maintaining the occupation, which makes them even more profitable for Israel.

The court also cites previous cases, in which it declared the circumstances of the Israeli occupation “unique,” in a way that demands certain “adjustments” to the rights and duties of the occupiers. What is the reason for this unique situation? Among other things, that the Israeli occupation has been going on for so long. Israel, the court says, “is responsible for the development and growth of the area, in various ways” (article 10 in the ruling). Only in the Orwellian language of the occupation can developing the area be interpreted to mean profits through the shipping of its natural resources to Israel.

Addressing these arguments, Attorney Michael Sfard, legal advisor for Yes Din, said of the ruling, “Quarrying natural resources in an occupied territory for the economic benefit of the occupying state is pillage, and the court’s reasoning that a long-term occupation should be treated differently cannot legalize an economic activity that harms the local residents.”

Finally, the verdict also quotes the fact that in the Oslo Accords, the Palestinians agreed to let the quarries operate until the final agreement on the status of the land. The court fails to mention that the final agreement should have been signed, according to the Oslo Accords, by 1999. Still, this rationale demonstrates the destructive role the Palestinian Authority currently plays by allowing Israel to avoid the full legal implications and political consequences of its policies in the territories it occupied in 1967.

The Court concludes that the petition should be rejected for the reasons above, in addition to a few others. The head of the court, Dorit Beinisch, wrote the ruling herself. It was accepted unanimously by the two other justices hearing the case.

————

The Israeli High Court is often praised as a liberal institution and a unique model of judicial supervision in the toughest of circumstances. The Court has in fact registered some achievements in Israeli society and even with regards to the Arab minority of Israeli citizens, but in the West Bank and Gaza, it has done nothing but provide Israel with a cover of legitimacy for its activities.

The High Court’s track record is very clear: It never questions or stops Israeli policies. At best, it asks for some adjustments to be made.

In the late seventies, the High Court approved the settlements, only adding limits to the State’s ability to confiscate private land belonging to Palestinian individuals; a decade later, the court sanctioned torture (but also issued some vague rules over the circumstances in which it could be used); it allowed targeted assassinations; and it approved the construction of the separation wall deep inside Palestinian territory, only demanding it be moved it in a few cases.

In short, the High Court has never been a venue to challenge the occupation, but quite the opposite – it is one of the branches that institutionalized it, by setting rules and providing a legal cover to colonial policies, for political persecution and for oppression. One can only conclude that in the context of the West Bank, the High Court has been and still is a fundamental element in the construction and maintenance of what is, in essence, apartheid.

(972mag.com / 03.01.2012)

2011: The year in review

In a dramatic year in which unrepresentative leaders were ousted in a wave of protests across the region, Palestine at times looked left behind as political divisions, internally and externally, failed to budge. But the 44th year of struggle against occupation had its own moments of tragedy and triumph.

January 

Jawahir Abu Rahmah, 36, died on Jan. 1 after suffering intense tear-gas inhalation during an anti-wall rally in West Bank village Bilin. Abu Rahmah’s brother Bassem was killed in April 2009 by a tear gas canister fired at his chest by an Israeli soldier. A military investigation leaked to the Israeli media blamed poor medical care at the Ramallah hospital that treated Abu Rahmah, prompting outrage amongst protesters and human rights groups, and PA allegations of a “cover up.”

A woman covers her face after inhaling tear gas fired by Israeli soldiers during a demonstration against the separation
wall in Bilin.

February 

The United States vetoed a resolution at the UN Security Council, sponsored by some 130 countries, which would have condemned continued illegal Israeli settlement building. Standing alone in opposition to the measure among the 15 council members, the US said the text would harm a return to negotiations with Israel, while insisting it still condemned settlement building. Palestinian officials called the US veto “blackmail” and thousands of Palestinians rallied in protest against the move.

Unseen activists raise the US flag in front of Israeli soldiers working on Israel’s separation wall in Beit Jala.

March 

The wave of revolutions sweeping the region took root in Palestine in the March 15 movement’s demand for national unity. A loose coalition of youth activists in the West Bank and Gaza called for mass rallies and staged hunger strikes to demand an end to the split between Fatah and Hamas governments that had paralyzed Palestinian politics. After setting up sit-in camps in city centers, the protesters were joined by thousands of Palestinians who took to the streets on March 15, before security forces violently dispersed the protest in Gaza, and clashed with protesters in the West Bank.

An estimated 200,000 people rallied in Gaza City calling to end the rift between Palestine’s top two factions, which has split the country in two.

April 
The Israeli-Palestinian director of Jenin’s Freedom Theater was shot dead outside the venue on on April 4, prompting an outpouring of grief among Palestinians and activists. Despite repeated raids and arrests of theater staff, an Israeli investigation has yet to press charges for the murder of Juliano Mer-Khamis. Then on April 15, Italian solidarity activist Vittorio Arrigoni was found dead in Gaza hours after being kidnapped by radical Islamists. The government in Gaza called the killing a “heinous crime” and two suspects were killed when security forces raided a house of the alleged kidnappers. Four others are currently on trial for the killing.

Palestinian women mourn the death of actor and director Juliano Mer-Khamis, pictured on a theater poster.

May 

On May 4, Fatah leader and president Mahmoud Abbas signed a landmark reconciliation agreement with Khalid Mashaal, chief of the rival Hamas movement, to end years of bitter hostility between their parties. They agreed to form a unity government to end four years of national division under which Hamas and Fatah led separate administrations governing Gaza and the West Bank. The long-awaited unity deal was welcomed by the public and by Palestinian factions, who joined Hamas and Fatah in Cairo. It provoked outrage from the Israeli government which swiftly imposed illegal sanctions on Abbas’ Palestinian Authority.

“We fold forever the dark page of division,” Abbas said in an address announcing the agreement, words echoed by Mashaal moments later in his own speech. But the promised unity government did not materialize in 2011 and the deal stalled as the parties squabbled over implementation of its terms.

President Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas chief Khalid Mashaal shake hands in Cairo

June 

Hundreds of protesters in Syria stormed the ceasefire line with Israel in the occupied Golan on June 5. Damascus said 23 were killed when Israeli forces opened fire, while Israel disputed the toll. Demonstrators in the West Bank and Gaza City also joined in the Naksa commemoration, the anniversary of the 1967 war when Israel seized the West Bank, Gaza Strip, Sinai and Golan Heights. A month earlier, commemorations of the Nakba — the ‘catastrophe’ when thousands of Palestinians were forced out or fled in fighting that led’s to Israel’s founding — left 13 dead by Israeli fire as they approached Israel’s borders from Lebanon, Syria and Gaza.

Demonstrators flee Israeli tear gas as they gather along Syria’s border with Israel.

July

Greek forces intercepted Canadian and French boats carrying more than 40 Gaza-bound activists from Canada, Belgium, Italy, Switzerland and Turkey on Jul. 1, after banning any ships sailing to Gaza from leaving Greek ports. Swedish and Irish boats set to sail as part of the 10-vessel flotilla were sabotaged at port, with activists fingering Israel for surreptitously blocking the attempt to end the crippling four-year seige on Gaza. Days later, the French boat slipped custody but was apprehended by the Israeli navy off Gaza’s coast.

Letters to Gaza are displayed on the US Gaza-bound boat as it prepares to set sail from Athens

August

Israeli forces killed 11 Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, including a child, in a bloody 24 hours in August after eight Israelis were killed in an attack on a bus in southern Israel. Israel swiftly blamed a Palestinian group for the Aug. 18 operation in Eilat and killed five of its leaders within hours of the attack. The group denied involvement, but Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu promised the army’s response was “only beginning.” Over one weekend, the death toll in Gaza rose to 14 and 44 were injured as Israeli war planes bombed the coastal enclave, destroying homes, a medical clinic, an electricity generator and water pumps. Hamas declared an end to its ceasefire and militants fired dozens of rockets across the border. By the end of August, at least 27 Palestinians had been killed. Israel later opened an investigation into the Eilat operation, but it has yet to reveal its findings. No Palestinian groups ever claimed the attack, which was launched from Egypt.

Ibrahim Zaza, a 13-year-old killed by an Israeli airstrike in August

September

After decades of failed negotiations, on Sept. 23 President Mahmoud Abbas told the UN General Assembly in New York: “Enough, enough, enough” in an impassioned plea to world leaders to end Israel’s occupation. To a standing ovation, the president told the assembly he had submitted a request to join the UN, in a speech watched by thousands on screens erected in city centers across the West Bank. Although 128 countries recognize the state of Palestine, Abbas failed to convince the US, and Washington vowed to use its veto in the Security Council to stop Palestine joining the UN.

President Mahmoud Abbas holds up a copy of a letter requesting full UN membership

October

In October, 477 prisoners walked out of Israel’s jails in a captive swap deal hailed by Hamas as a victory of the resistance. In all, over 1000 detainees were freed in exchange for Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit who was kidnapped by Gaza fighters in a cross border raid in 2006. Hundreds of thousands took to the streets in Gaza and the West Bank to welcome the freed prisoners, although the exile of some detainees to Gaza and abroad dampened the celebrations for some.

Newly released prisoner Fotnah Abu Aleish (R) is hugged by her brother upon her arrival home

November

On Nov. 15, Palestinian activists took inspiration from the American civil rights movement and boarded Israeli buses in the West Bank. Israeli forces arrested seven “Freedom riders.” Activists noted that while in the US south, black people were once forced to sit at the back of buses, Palestinians were not even allowed on Israeli buses.

Palestinians try to board an Israeli bus

December

Across the West Bank, villagers and activists rallied every Friday in 2011 to protest Israel’s confiscation of their land. On Dec. 10, the popular resistance movement mourned another casualty, 28-year-old Mustafa Tamimi. A day earlier, Tamimi was protesting in Nabi Saleh when an Israeli soldier in an armored jeep fired a tear gas canister at close range at his face. On Dec. 11, thousands gathered to bury Tamimi, amid fresh rounds of tear gas fired by Israeli forces at the mourners.

Mustafa Tamimi reacts after being hit by a tear gas canister
(www.maannews.net / 03.01.2012)

Première déclaration de Benkirane après la nomination du gouvernement

“Le nouveau gouvernement dispose d’une réelle volonté de réforme et restera fidèle aux engagements pris par l’Etat” a déclaré le chef du gouvernement Abdelilah Benkirane, à la presse après la nomination du nouvel exécutif mardi.

Benkirane a précisé lors de son intervention que “le gouvernement restera fidèle à ses principes et à ses valeurs”.

“Nous encouragerons les alliances actuelles et bâtiront de nouveaux partenariats qui conforteront la place du Maroc à l’échelon Maghrébin, Arabe, Africain et international.”

“N’importe quel gouvernement au monde ne peut remplir sa mission que si le peuple est avec lui et que toutes les forces vives de la nation sont mobilisées pour entreprendre des réformes”.

Questionné sur les investissements, Benkirane a expliqué qu’il fallait instaurer un climat de confiance, de transparence et d’attractivité puisque les investissements sont la locomotive de l’économie marocaine. “Nous ferons en sorte que les investissements nationaux et étrangers dans notre pays trouvent le climat adéquat pour leur développement et améliorent ainsi leur compétitivité”.

“L’ensemble de l’exécutif nommé fera en sorte que l’action gouvernementale soit en harmonie avec les ambitions du Roi Mohammed VI et sa volonté, dans le cadre de la volonté commune des partis de la coalition” a conclu Abdelilah Benkirane.

(www.bladi.net / 03.01.2012)