All Islamic revolutions in region seek liberation of Palestine: Velayati

“When the Islamic Awakening started in the northern part of Africa, in Tunisia, in Libya, in Egypt, the common slogans of everybody in the street [was] against the dictatorship … and at the same time, they were chanting slogans against Israel.”
Liberation of Palestine has been a principal objective of all the revolutions across the regional Muslim nations in recent decades, a senior Iranian official tells Press TV.

Ali Akbar Velayati, a senior advisor to the Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei, pointed out that since the victory of Iran’s 1979 Islamic Revolution “our people and our leadership have been concentrating on the question of Palestine.”

Velayati, who is also the Secretary General of the Islamic Awakening Conference, noted that the Iranian nation launched the campaign for the liberation of Palestine around 15 years prior to the Islamic Revolution.

“When the Islamic Awakening started in the northern part of Africa, in Tunisia, in Libya, in Egypt, the common slogans of everybody in the street [was] against the dictatorship … and at the same time, they were chanting slogans against Israel,” he added.

Velayati made the remarks on the sidelines of the third International Conference of Islamic Resistance, currently underway in Iran’s central city of Isfahan.

The event, which is also attended by representatives from Syria, Lebanon, and Egypt among others, focuses on Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories. It will also address the relationship between Islamic resistance and Islamic Awakening in the region.

Velayati argued, “If we want to have criteria to make judgment about the accuracy of any movement or revolution; if their direction is the liberation of Palestine from the occupation of the Zionists, that revolution is essential; otherwise it is false.”

The top Iranian official slammed the occupation of Palestine as “the most important [and] dangerous situation for all the Islamic Ummah (Nations)” and called on the Muslim world to concert their efforts to help liberate the occupied territories.

( / 06.09.2012)

Arabs back Palestinian bid for U.N. non-member status, denounce Syria violence

Egypt’s President Mohammed Mursi, promising to put Cairo back at the heart of Arab affairs, made an impassioned appeal  to work for an end to the bloodshed in Syria during Arab foreign ministers’ meeting. (Reuters)

Egypt’s President Mohammed Mursi, promising to put Cairo back at the heart of Arab affairs, made an impassioned appeal to work for an end to the bloodshed in Syria during Arab foreign ministers’ meeting.

Arab nations will back a Palestinian plans later this month to seek a non-member status at the United Nations, Arab League Secretary Nabil al-Arabi said on Wednesday.

“It has been decided to back the request of Palestine for non-member status at the United Nations because of the difficulty to obtain a full membership, a matter which requires Security Council approval,” Arabi told reporters.

On August 4, Palestinian foreign minister Riyad al-Malki said president Mahmoud Abbas would make the upgrade request on September 27 during the UN General Assembly.

“In the upcoming session of the General Assembly next month, President Abbas will speak about this on the 27th. Palestine will apply immediately to the U.N., and the head of the General Assembly will be informed that Palestine wants to obtain non-member status,” he told reporters.

Palestinians now have an observer entity status

Last September, Abbas made a high-profile effort to obtain full member status at the U.N., but the request was never put to a vote in the Security Council where the United States had pledged to veto it.

Several weeks ago, a senior official from the Palestine Liberation Organization said Washington was pressuring the Palestinian leadership to delay its upgrade plans until after the U.S. elections in November.

Speaking at the end of an Arab League meeting in Cairo, the head of the pan-Arab organization added on Wednesday: “We hope that circumstances will allow Palestine to become a fully-fledged member” of the United Nations, adding that non-member status is not a definitive label.

Arabs denounce violence in Syria

Meanwhile, Arab foreign ministers denounced on Wednesday “crimes against humanity” being perpetrated in Syria, and called on the Damascus government to stop the violence immediately.

They also condemned “violence and killings of civilians from any side” in a veiled reference to rebels battling the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Capping an ordinary meeting in Cairo, the ministers condemned “the pursuit of violence, killings and ugly crimes carried out by the Syrian authorities and their shabiha militias against Syrian civilians.”

“The Syrian government must stop immediately and completely all forms of violence and killings against the Syrian people,” the statement said.

“The crimes and massacres being carried out are crimes against humanity,” said the ministers.

“The U.N. Security Council must take all the necessary measures to bring to international justice all those responsible for these crimes,” the added.

The ministers also denounced Syrian authorities for unleashing heavy weapons against residential areas.

At least 26,000 people have been killed since the uprising against the Damascus regime erupted in March 2011, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

The ministers expressed “deep concern for the deteriorating humanitarian conditions in Syria, which has forced the displacement of 2.5 million people, while hundreds of thousands were forced to flee to neighboring countries.

According to the U.N. refugee agency, the number of Syrian refugees rose sharply last month, with more than 100,000 fleeing to seek refuge in neighboring countries.

It was the highest monthly figure since the conflict erupted in March last year, UNHCR spokeswoman Melissa Fleming told reporters in Geneva.

The total number of refugees who have been registered or are awaiting registration in neighboring countries now stood at 235,000, she added, with most of them seeking shelter in Jordan, Turkey and Lebanon.

Arab foreign ministers also asked Qatari Prime Minister Hamad bin Jassem, who heads a ministerial committee on the Syrian crisis, to hold talks with international envoy Lakhdar Brahimi to discuss a new impulse for his mission.

Brahimi, a former Algerian foreign minister who took up his post on Saturday, said the 18-month old war was “deteriorating steadily” and described the death toll as “staggering.”

Egyptian President Mohammed Mursi earlier told the ministers it was time for the Syrian regime to step down and added that a resolution of the crisis was an Arab responsibility.

“I tell the Syrian regime ‘there is still a chance to end the bloodshed’. Now is the time for change… no time to be wasted talking about reform,” Mursi told the Cairo meeting.

“The Syrian blood that is being shed day and night, we are responsible for this,” Mursi said. “We cannot sleep while Syrian blood is being shed.”

“I call on you, Arab foreign ministers, to work hard to find an urgent solution to the tragedy in Syria,” Mursi said.

( / 06.09.2012)

Assad’s speedy exit needed for Syria to form new govt: France, UK

Demonstrators hold Syrian opposition flags during a protest against Syria's President Bashar al-Assad in Houla, near Homs September 3, 2012. (Reuters)

Demonstrators hold Syrian opposition flags during a protest against Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad in Houla, near Homs September 3, 2012.

The need for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to speedily exit power has been highlighted by France and Britain on Thursday, with the European leaders saying the embattled regime needs to make way for a new government to be formed by the Syrian opposition.

“David Cameron and I are in total agreement — we must accelerate the political transition (and) help the opposition to form a government,” said Hollande, after talks with the British prime minister in London.

“We have a duty to help the Syrian opposition in any way we can,” Hollande added in a statement with Cameron at his side.

The French president was attending the London Paralympic Games on Thursday as well as meeting with Cameron on issues ranging from Syria to the ongoing eurozone crisis.

Britain and France are among the Western nations leading calls for Assad to step down in a bid to end the bloody conflict in Syria, which started almost 18 months ago.

Fighting raged across the country on Thursday as 173 people were reportedly killed by security force gunfire across the country, the Syrian Network for Human Rights said.

In Homs province, at least nine soldiers and four members of the “popular committees” of civilians armed by the government were killed and dozens more civilian fighters wounded, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

These committees are made up of people who have taken up arms to defend their villages or neighborhoods against the rebels.

The fighting in Homs was concentrated in the Crac des Chevaliers region, home to a historic Crusader castle, and Wadi al-Nassara, a valley where a number of Christian villages are located.

The Britain-based Observatory which gave Thursday’s toll, also reported fierce battles and army shelling in Qadam in southern Damascus where anti-regime sentiment is strong, as well as shelling in nearby Assali.

Clashes also broke out elsewhere in the city, including in the Sayyida Zeinab area of the southeastern outskirts, home to an important Shiite Muslim shrine, the group said.

In the central province of Hama, Kafr Zeita, another main arena of the nearly 18-month revolt against President Bashar al-Assad, came under fierce shelling by regime forces for a second consecutive day, according to activists.

Elsewhere, a military source said the army has retaken the strategic Barkum bridge south of Aleppo on the highway to Damascus, three weeks after rebels seized it.

In the west of Aleppo city itself, regime forces have advanced towards the Rashid mosque in the Izaa district amid fierce fighting, a military source said.

And more than a dozen people were killed when a mortar round exploded for the first time in a Kurdish quarter of the city, the Observatory and witnesses said.

Alleged new ‘massacre’

In an alleged new massacre, 23 corpses, including those of women and children, were found in Zamalka, in Damascus province, said the Observatory, as anti-Assad activists pointed the finger at the regime.

The town has been a hotbed of anti-regime protest, army raids and clashes between regime forces and rebels.

The Observatory also reported that two kidnapped brothers of a Syrian rebel commander were killed on Thursday.

The men were seized at an army checkpoint on Wednesday night, it said. They were found dead in the Qadam district of Damascus amid a sharp increase in reports of abductions across the country.

Amateur video posted on YouTube by activists showed the bodies of the two men, identified as Mohammed and Ahmed al-Zakh, covered in blood. The head of one of the victims had been partly blown off.

The violence has claimed more than 26,000 lives since it erupted in mid-March 2011, according to the Observatory.

( / 06.09.2012)

NYPD Opens Branch in Israel

Two officers from the New York Police Department visit a bomb site in Jerusalem, Feb. 12, 2002.

The New York Police Department opened its Israeli branch in the Sharon District Police headquarters in Kfar Saba. Charlie Ben-Naim,  a former Israeli and veteran NYPD detective, was sent on this mission.

You don’t have to fly to New York to meet members of the police department considered to be the best in the world — all you have to do is make the short trip to the Kfar Saba police station in the Sharon, where the NYPD opened a local branch.

Behind the opening of the branch in the Holy Land is the NYPD decision that the Israeli police is one of the major police forces with which it must maintain close work relations and daily contact.

Ben-Naim was chosen for the mission of opening the NYPD branch in Israel. He is a veteran detective of the NYPD and a former Israeli who went to study in New York, married a local city resident and then joined the local police force. Among the things he has dealt with in the line of duty are the extradition of criminals, the transmitting of intelligence information and assistance in the location of missing persons, both in the United States and in Israel.

It was decided, in coordination with the Israeli police, that the New York representative would not operate out of the United States embassy but from a building of the Sharon District Police headquarters, situated close to the Kfar Sava station. The NYPD sign was even hung at the entrance to the district headquarters, and Ben-Naim’s office is situated on the first floor of the building. One of the walls bears the sign: “New York Police Department, the best police department in the world.”

( / 06.09.2012)

President says Palestinian Spring has begun

Protesters stand near burning tires during a protest against the high cost of living in Nablus on Sept. 5.

CAIRO (Ma’an) — President Mahmoud Abbas said Wednesday that the “Palestinian Spring” had begun, as Palestinians took to the streets across the West Bank in protest over rising prices.

“The Palestinian spring has begun, and we are in line with what the people say and what they want,” Abbas said, addressing a meeting of Arab League foreign ministers in Cairo.

The president said the protesters’ demands to reduce costs of basic goods and for regular payment of salaries were “right and fair.”

“Hunger is disloyal,” Abbas said, quoting a Palestinian proverb reflecting that hungry people thought only of their need for food. “We are trying to do what we can do to reduce prices.”

‘Enough is enough’

Hundreds of protesters marched on Nablus’ city center on Wednesday calling for the resignation of Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, as young men torched tires in the street.

They demanded a reduction in prices of basic commodities along with “real” support to help Palestinians “stay firmly rooted in their lands.”

Security services did not intervene in the demonstration, but firefighters extinguished a blaze caused by burning tires which caused the temporary closure of the road to the National Hospital.

“We are here to say to the government enough is enough … We want a government which lives just as its people live eating what the people eat,” Khalid, a protester, told Ma’an.

Meanwhile, at a protest in Ramallah’s central square a man tried to set himself and his daughter on fire. Bystanders managed to stop him and he was detained by police.

Hasan Qahwaji, in his 30s and originally from Gaza, tried to set fire to himself because he couldn’t afford to pay for his daughter’s cancer treatment, locals said. Abbas’ office insisted Qahwaji had received significant financial support from the office’s humanitarian department and several other sources.

The incident occurred a day after Khaled Abu Rabee, 42, doused himself in gasoline in Hebron. A security guard at the municipality building prevented him from setting the petrol alight. Abu Rabee, from al-Fawwar refugee camp, was struggling to make enough money to support two wives and feed his children.

Thousands demonstrated from Hebron to Jenin on Tuesday, calling on the Palestinian Authority to abolish the Paris Protocol with Israel, which they said rendered the Palestinian economy subordinate to Israel.

In Hebron, demonstrators set fire to an effigy of Fayyad. They chanted slogans calling to topple Fayyad’s government and put an end to the skyrocketing prices.

In Ramallah, protesters shouted: “Fayyad! We are not egg-laying chickens,” “I can’t fuel my car, so Fayyad can take it,” “No to the government of indignity and hunger,” “Until when will we continue to pay your expenses?,” “We will not set ourselves ablaze for the sake of Fayyad” and “We were looking for Palestine, but now we are looking for a sack of flour.”

Unions join protests

The federation of public transportation suspended services for 30 minutes across West Bank districts on Wednesday in protest over spiraling fuel prices as school children demonstrated near Bethlehem urging the PA and Fayyad to find a solution to rising prices.

The union of Palestinian universities warned Wednesday that all universities would join protests against high prices and deteriorating economic conditions next week.

The general secretariat of the union of Palestinian teachers also announced strike action. It said classes would be suspended Thursday after the fourth lesson, and staff at the Ministry of Education’s offices will go on strike at 1 p.m.

Fayyad said Wednesday that the Palestinian Authority had exerted and would continue to exert huge efforts to improve living conditions, and to cope with all difficulties as they emerged despite the serious financial crisis.

The Minister of National Economy Jawad Naji added that the PA would implement a series of measures to ease citizens’ suffering and to contain the economic crisis. He said the fiscal crisis in Palestine stemmed from the global economic downturn.

After a day of protests on Tuesday, the Palestinian Authority cabinet asked a special economic committee to study a government memo prepared by the Ministry of National Economy about the rising cost of living in the occupied territories.

The committee was instructed to recommend measures to cope with the economic situation within two days.

( / 06.09.2012)

Occupation rearrest 10 people after last exchange deal

 Gaza-Interior Ministry

The researcher of Prisoners Affairs Mr. Abdul Nasser Farawana, has confirmed that the arrests did not stop after the recent prisoner exchange deal between Hamas Movement  and the occupation, pointing out to the continuing arrests in a daily bias .

 In statistical made by competent researcher that the total number of prisoners after a recent exchange deal reached 2000 arrests in the West Bank, Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip.

Farawana showed that the arrests increased markedly, so the occupation did not abide by the terms of the deal nor international standards and human rights, pointing to arrest ten people from ex-detainees who were released in the latest deal between Hamas and occupation under the Egyptian auspices including the freed prisoner Hana Shalabi deported to the Gaza Strip, also threatens to re-arrest the released prisoners.

He added that the occupation did not commit to any improvement of the living conditions of the prisoners in Israeli jails, but on the contrary the most difficult procedures motivated by revenge, while there is a group of prisoners still on hunger strike to protest the poor conditions in prisons.

“The occupation wants to take away the released prisoners and their families the joy of victory.”, he said

Also the visits of prisoners for their sons in prisons has become difficult , and the number of persons banned from visits increased recently after ending deals exchanges until it reached nearly a third of the prisoners, under the security arguments and pretexts by occupation, pointing out that there are a lot of families of prisoners was arrested at Erez crossing while heading abroad for treatment or even if accompanying patients, in addition to the kidnapping some of people from the city of Rafah, Maghazi and Altwam and after 3-4 days inform their families in their whereabouts.

He pointed to the arrest of fishermen on an almost daily basis, and the confiscation of their property.

Farawana called the occupation to stop the arbitrary practices against the Palestinian prisoners in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, and appealed to government institutions and human rights and all the institutions of the local community and civil society to support the issue of prisoners as a religious and national duty.

( / 06.09.2012)

Israel must hospitalize or release Palestinian hunger striker on verge of death

Palestinian protesterPalestinian protester

Samer al-Barq, who has never been charged with any offence, is on the verge of death in prison and must be released immediately if he is not to be charged and fairly tried.

Ann Harrison, Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Deputy Director.
Thu, 06/09/2012

The Israeli authorities must release or admit to hospital Palestinian hunger striker Samer al-Barq, who has been held without charge or trial since July 2010, Amnesty International said.

Samer al-Barq, 37, who is currently held in the Israeli Prison Service (IPS) medical centre in Ramleh prison, has been on hunger strike since 15 April this year apart from eight days in mid-May – a total of 139 days.

“Samer al-Barq, who has never been charged with any offence, is on the verge of death in prison and must be released immediately if he is not to be charged and fairly tried.  At the very least he must urgently be admitted to a civilian hospital,” said Ann Harrison, Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Deputy Director.

“He urgently needs specialised medical care that can only be administered in a civilian hospital and must therefore be admitted to one by the prison authorities, or released so that he can seek the medical care he needs himself.”

Samer al-Barq’s lawyer said Samer is on a drip, but has not received or been told he will receive the specialised medical treatment he requires.

Prior to his transfer to Assaf Harofeh public hospital on 27 August for two days, he was suffering from liver problems and had a low pulse rate and low blood pressure.

An initial judicial review was held at the hospital on 28 August.  According to the lawyer who was present there, Samer Barq was shackled to his hospital bed.

The lawyer said that, during the review, Samer had great difficulty in speaking and was probably not even fully aware of his surroundings during the proceedings, which have been postponed to 6 September.

He was returned to the IPS medical centre the next day and held in an isolation cell along with fellow administrative detainee Hassan Safadi, whose life is also in grave danger as a result of his second hunger strike which he began on 21 June.

“Israel’s denial of proper access to medical treatment for someone as close to death as Samer al-Barq – and their shackling of him in his hospital bed – amounts to inhuman and degrading treatment in violation of Israel’s international human rights obligations,” said Ann Harrison.

According to a lawyer who visited the medical clinic on 30 August, al-Barq was too weak to meet him and could not get out of bed.

The IPS has granted permission for local NGO Physicians for Human Rights – Israel to visit al-Barq and other hunger strikers on Monday 10 September, but it is feared that may be too late.

Samer al-Barq originally staged a hunger strike for 30 days earlier this year, ending it on 14 May.

But he resumed it eight days later on 22 May after his detention order was renewed yet again.


According to al-Barq’s brother, Samir Helmi al-Barq, Samer left Jordan in 1996 and went to study in Pakistan where he received a Masters degree in Science.

But he was arrested by the Pakistani authorities on 15 July 2003 and held for 14 days after applying to study for a PhD in Islamic Studies in Islamabad.

Al-Barq does not know the reason for his arrest.

He was then handed over to the US authorities and kept for an additional three months in a secret prison in an unknown location outside Pakistan.

He alleged, in a private statement received by Amnesty International, that he “suffered numerous forms of inhumane torture during that period”.

Al-Barq said he was handed over to the Jordanian authorities on 26 October 2003, who kept him in detention for over four years, without charging him or telling him why he was being held.

He said he “was tortured physically and mentally” and “hidden from human rights groups, [and not] allowed to contact [his] family”.

After being transferred several times between prisons, he was released on bail in January 2008.

The Jordanian authorities arrested him again in April 2010 and handed him over to the Israeli authorities three months later.

( / 06.09.2012)

31 enfants ont péri dans un naufrage au large de la Turquie

31 enfants ont péri dans un naufrage au large de la Turquie

31 enfants se sont noyés à la suite du naufrage d’un navire avec des migrants illégaux à son bord au large des côtes de la Turquie.

Il y avait 100 personnes sur le bateau, dont 45 ont pu être sauvés. 58 personnes ont été victimes du naufrage. La plupart des passagers de ce bateau étaient des Palestiniens.

Selon certaines sources, les réfugiés devaient arriver en Grande-Bretagne. Deux citoyens turcs, qui ont loué le bateau à des pêcheurs locaux, sont suspectés de l’organisation de ce trajet.

( / 06.09.2012)

Medics: Israel fire injures 1 at Gaza funeral

A relative of two men killed by the Israeli military is comforted during their funeral in Beit Hanoun in northern Gaza Sept. 6.

GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — Israeli forces opened fire east of Gaza City on a funeral procession for two Palestinians and injured one of the mourners, medics said.

Soldiers were near the border east of Jabaliya and began shooting toward participants at a funeral at the eastern cemetery and struck one, the officials said.

Ashraf al-Qidra, a spokesman for the Ministry of Health, told Ma’an that one person was moderately injured and taken to Kamal Udwan hospital for treatment.

An Israeli military spokesman did not immediately return a call for comment.

Israeli forces killed three Palestinians in the northern Gaza Strip on Thursday. The Israeli military said the men were trying to plant explosives near a border fence when they were attacked.

The incident followed the killing a day earlier of three Palestinians in an air strike which the military said foiled their attempt to fire rockets from central Gaza into Israel.

( / 06.09.2012)