Abbas says has backing for new UN upgrade push

President Mahmoud Abbas attends a PLO executive committee meeting  in Ramallah on Sept. 4.

CAIRO (Reuters) — The PLO will seek to upgrade its status at the United Nations this month bolstered by the support of Arab countries, Islamic states and the 120-member Non-Aligned Movement, President Mahmoud Abbas said on Wednesday.

Previous Palestinian attempts to improve their formal status at the global body — a UN observer “entity” with no voting rights — have failed. The Palestinian Authority foreign minister had earlier said they would ask to be made a non-member observer state at the UN General Assembly later this month.

“I am going this month to the UN General Assembly in light of the latest decision in Doha, the Islamic summit and the Non-Aligned Movement summit,” Abbas told reporters at the Arab League.

He was referring to meetings in recent weeks of Arab ministers in Qatar, Islamic states in Saudi Arabia and the Non-Aligned Movement in Iran.

A Palestinian diplomat told Reuters that Abbas was referring to securing recognition as a non-member observer state, a first stage towards recognition of a Palestinian state.

A simple majority vote in the 193-member General Assembly would be enough to bestow non-member observer status, bypassing the Security Council — where the United States, Israel’s ally, has a veto.

A similar statehood upgrade drive last year proved short-lived amid financial sanctions and diplomatic counter-lobbying by Israel and the United States.

“The importance of going to the General Assembly is to protect our lands by the international law,” Abbas said.

Palestinians say Israeli settlement-building on occupied West Bank land has stymied prospects for a bilateral statehood deal. Disagreement over the issue led to talks stalling in 2010.

Israel has accused Abbas’ government of trying to avoid negotiations which would entail territorial compromise and has asked it to reassert control over Gaza, which it lost in 2007 to Hamas.

Under its new Islamist President Mohamed Mursi, Egypt said it backed any statehood initiative by the Palestinians.

“Egypt continues to support any move decided by the Palestinian leadership to obtain full membership in the United Nations,” Mursi told the Arab League in an opening address to ministers before Abbas arrived.

Mursi also called for reconciliation between Palestinian factions which are split between the Fatah movement of Abbas in Ramallah and Hamas, which controls Gaza.

Israel has annexed East Jerusalem as its capital — a move not recognized abroad — and says it would annex swathes of West Bank settlements under any eventual peace deal. It unilaterally withdrew from Gaza in 2005.

( / 05.09.2012)

Israeli Gaza strike kills 4 Palestinian militants

A Palestinian health official in Gaza says four men have been killed in an Israeli airstrike.

Ashraf al-Kidra says the airstrike hit the central Gaza district of Maghazi on Wednesday evening.

The Israeli military said the men were militants about to fire rockets toward nearby Jewish communities.

It was not known to which group the men belonged.

Israel and Gaza’s ruling Hamas have had a tenuous, unwritten truce since a three-week war more than three years ago. Despite that, militants _ some from Hamas and others from splinter groups _ continue to fire rockets at southern Israel, triggering Israeli airstrikes.

The frequency of the attacks is considerably lower than before the war, when Israel sent forces into Gaza to try to stop the barrages.

( / 05.09.2012)

A’dam: zeker 200 vrouwen gekooid

Twee vrouwen met een hoofddoek
Twee vrouwen met een hoofddoek 

 In Amsterdam leven honderden buitenlandse vrouwen die van familie het huis niet uit mogen. Vaak zijn het importbruiden of vrouwen die onder dwang getrouwd zijn.

Uit onderzoek in opdracht van de gemeente blijkt verder dat vrijwel alle ‘verborgen vrouwen’ geen Nederlands spreken en ook in hun eigen taal analfabeet zijn.

Volgens het Verwey-Jonker Instituut, dat het onderzoek heeft gedaan, gaat het minimaal om 200 tot 300 vrouwen. De onderzoekers denken dat het er in werkelijkheid meer zijn.

Twee groepen vrouwen

De onderzoekers onderscheiden twee groepen; de vrouwen die door hun geloof ondergeschikt zijn aan hun partner en zich schikken in dat lot. En de vrouwen die opgesloten worden en vaak ook mishandeld worden als ze zich daartegen verzetten.

Wethouder Van der Burg (VVD) noemt de behandeling van de vrouwen “huiselijk geweld”. Het gaat volgens hem om vrouwen uit onder meer Marokko, Turkije en Suriname, die vooral wonen in de wijken Nieuw-West en Zuidoost.


Van der Burg denkt dat huisartsen betrokken kunnen worden bij het benaderen van de vrouwen. “De huisarts is vaak het enige contact met de buitenwereld. Die moet signalen oppikken en het gesprek aangaan met de vrouwen.”

( / 05.09.2012)

UN labor agency concerned by situation of Palestinian workers

BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — A top official in the United Nations labor agency said Wednesday she was concerned by the situation of workers in the occupied territories, after growing protests against rising prices and unemployment.
“The situation of workers in Gaza is one of the worst in the region and the world,” said Nada al-Nashif, the UN International Labor Organization director for Arab countries, in a statement issued in the wake of the suicide by a young, out-of-work Palestinian in Gaza.

Ehab Abu Nada, 18, poured petrol on himself before setting himself alight near the Shifa hospital in Gaza City on Thursday. He died on Monday, according to medical officials.

“Gaza’s growing youth population has a right to better work opportunities and growth with equity,” al-Nashif said. “They need decent jobs, a minimum of social protection and respect for their basic rights to ensure a life of dignity.”

In June, the labor agency warned that the unemployment rate among Palestinians, estimated at 21 percent, could fuel more desperate measures. Gaza’s unemployment rate is three times the regional average.

( / 05.09.2012)

Join Us in St. Louis as Pro-Israel Groups Seek to Censor Our Work!

There are only two weeks left to register online for our 11th Annual National Organizers’ Conference at St. Louis University, September 21-23. We keep adding great speakers and workshops to our program, so check out what we have planned and register today!

We have many achievements to celebrate since last year. This increasing success of BDS campaigns and of efforts to educate the public about the moral and economic costs of U.S. military aidhas Israel’s supporters fighting hard to stifle any discussion around U.S. complicity in Israel’s occupation and apartheid policies toward Palestinians. 

The Louis D. Brandeis Center, which supposedly works to “promote justice for all,” issued a press release recently calling our conference “controversial” because of a “likelihood that anti-Israel and anti-Semitic hate will be expressed.” The president of St. Louis University, who went on a propaganda trip to Israel this summer sponsored by the “educational institute” of the American Jewish Committee, is being asked to speak out against our conferenceand make it clear that the “hateful, anti-Israel message of the boycott movement” is not consistent with the Jesuit mission of St. Louis University.

Another group, Scholars for Middle East Peace, which purports to promote honest and fact-based discourse on Middle East issues, claimed that the Israeli occupation is a “relic of the past” as a recent Israeli government-appointed commission of jurists likewise concluded. They argued that it is time for Palestinians and their allies, including the US Campaign, to stop spreading “lies” about the existence of Israeli occupation.

Why are these pro-Israel groups making ridiculous claims about the US Campaign and our work, and pressuring the university president to speak out against our conference? Because they know we’re succeeding and our conference is an important venue to move our work forward even more. Join us! 

Initiatives to curtail efforts to expose Israel’s crimes against Palestinians are also being taken up by state governments. The California State Assembly last week passed a resolution calling upon public universities to condemn “student- and faculty-sponsored boycott, divestment, and sanction campaigns against Israel that are a means of demonizing Israel and seek to harm the Jewish state.”

Several of our member groups, including American Muslims for Palestine and Jewish Voice for Peacesigned a letter to lawmakers organized by the Council on American-Islamic Relations- California. The letter condemned the resolution, which “encourages university administrators to infringe upon students’ free speech rights. By equating legitimate political debates about geopolitics with anti-Semitism, the resolution emboldens administrators to take action to chill and prevent such speech.”

Join us and our member groups at our conference to stand up to these attempts to censor efforts to end U.S. support for Israel’s brutal policies toward Palestinians. Register today and help uschange U.S. policy to support human rights, international law, and equality.

See you in St. Louis!


UN donated tents, House demolitions and forced displacments in Area C

Demolishing tents donated by the UN

On August 28 Israeli occupation forces demolished tents donated by the United Nations (UN) in the Palestinian village of Susya in the South Hebron hills. This is the second similar demolition within three months.

Caterpillar Bulldozer demolishing tents donated to the residents of Susya as emergency aid by the U.N.

Displacements in Zenuta

Israeli bulldozers entered the Palestinian village of Zenuta in the South Hebron Hills Tuesday morning and demolished water cisterns, residential dwellings, and sheep stables, devastating the small community of only 7 families.

In total, 4 water cisterns, 2 caves, 2 houses, and 6 stables were destroyed. Zenuta is a small village of 7 families with a herd of 400 sheep. The army destroyed the houses of 2 families, each with 7children, as well as 6 stables holding sheep.

Perhaps most devastating of all in a region starved for water, the army bulldozed the village’s cisterns, holding water collected from winter rains. The cisterns cost NIS 15,000 each, an incredible toll amounting to about a year and half’s wages for the average Palestinian worker in the area. For more information click here.

Palestinian children n front of their destroyed home in Zenuta, August 28 2012 (Operation Dove)

Palestinian children n front of their destroyed home in Zenuta, August 28 2012 (Operation Dove)

Displacements in the Judean Desert

On the 29 of August, 4 Bedouin families were targeted. They live far inside the Judean Desert, east of Deis Salah and near Bethlehem. They also faced demolitions 2 months ago. All their structures were demolished including tents provided by international agencies. Israeli authorities said they had to leave because they lived in the Israeli firing zone 914.

( / 05.09.2012)