Israeli DM: Military Ready to ‘Conquer and Rule’ Gaza Strip

Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak is said to be backing down from his support for an autumn attack on Iran, but is he just going to substitute Gaza? It’s an open question today after Barak openly discussed the idea of attacking.

“If the cabinet deems it needed, the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) can conquer and rule Gaza,” Barak insisted, praising the military for the 2008-2009 invasion of Gaza though saying he believes the war could have ended 10 days earlier.

Barak, who also claimed it was important to not go to war “unless we have to,” raised the possibility of deciding to reoccupy portions of the tiny, densely populated strip in the future. Israel has already made a significant perimeter of the strip a “no-go” area for Gaza civilians, rendering a large amount of farmland unusable.

The last Gaza invasion was done in the final days of the Bush Administration, as the lame duck president cheered the war internationally and incoming president Obama remained entirely silent on the matter. 1,417 Gazans, the vast majority of them civilians, were killed in the war.

(news.antiwar.com / 08.09.2012)

 

Erekat calls for US to release funds

PLO official Saeb Erekat.

JERICHO (Ma’an) — PLO official Saeb Erekat called on Saturday for the US to release $200 million in aid to the Palestinian Authority amid the government’s financial crisis.

Speaking with UN envoy Robert H. Serry and new US Consul General Michael Ratney, Erekat said the failure of donor funds to arrive was behind the economic difficulties facing Palestine, official news agency Wafa reported.

Palestinians have taken to the streets in mass demonstrations against price rises and unemployment this week.

Erekat called on all countries to follow through on their financial commitments to the Palestinian Authority.

The US Congress held back financial aid to the PA in 2011 after Palestine submitted a membership bid to the UN, which was opposed by the US and Israel, before releasing it earlier this year.

The US government criticized the congressional hold, and the state department said in August it was working with Congress to enable $200 million budget support for 2012.

(www.maannews.net / 08.09.2012)

PA economy ministry meets private sector over crisis

The PA Economy Ministry met with private sector representatives on Saturday amid demonstrations against the rising cost of living.

RAMALLAH (Ma’an) — The Palestinian Authority Ministry of Economy met with private sector representatives on Saturday to discuss solutions to the financial crisis, a PA official said.

PA Economy Minister Jawad Naji said that the meeting discussed the notion of better coordination between the public and private sectors in order to address the economic crisis.

The PA has been contacting donor countries to ensure they fulfill their financial commitments to the Palestinian people, he added.

Palestinians have taken to the streets in mass demonstrations against price rises and unemployment, and protesters in cities across the West Bank have called for Fayyad’s resignation.

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.

(www.maannews.net / 08.09.2012)

West Seeks Destruction of Syrian Nation

Michel Chossudovsky, a prominent analyst and director of the Centre for Research on Globalization, says Western powers are after a war of aggression in Syria by supporting and arming insurgents and terrorists, Press TV reports.

“It is well-understood that this is not a civil war; this is a war of aggression where forces of some NATO countries have entered the country; I am talking about elite SAS, MI6, US CIA, French and American forces, forces from Saudi Arabia and Qatar, mercenaries… the aggressors are the NATO countries and the FSA [the so-called Free Syrian Army] terrorists are their foot soldiers,” Michel Chossudovsky said in an interview with Press TV on Wednesday.

He went on to say that there is a breakdown of UN diplomacy because “the Secretary General (Ban Ki-moon) is in fact blaming the victims in the name of the aggressors.”

“He is blaming the victims in the name of the aggressors; it is well-documented that these atrocities directed against the Syrian people have been committed by FSA mercenaries and terrorists and these terrorists are supported by the Western military alliance,” the Canadian analyst noted.

Chossudovsky further argued that the underlying objective of the actions of the Western powers in Syria is to “destroy the Syrian nation.”

“What is happening now is a whole series of acts of intimidation, of threats, not to mention economic sanctions. The underlying objective is to destroy a nation; it is to kill a nation, to destabilize its economy, to trigger a humanitarian crisis and then send in the NGOs to pick up the pieces and so on and so forth or send in NATO,” he explained.

Many people, including large numbers of security forces, have been killed in the turmoil that began in Syria in March 2011.

Damascus says outlaws, saboteurs, and armed terrorists are the driving force behind the unrest and deadly violence, but the opposition accuses the security forces of being behind the killings.

The Syrian government says that the chaos is being orchestrated from outside the country, and there are reports that a very large number of the armed militants are foreign nationals.

 (tv.globalresearch.ca /08.09.2012)

Syrian troops storm Palestinian camp in Damascus

A Palestinian demonstrator holds the Syrian opposition flag as he shouts slogans during a protest against Syria’s President Bashar Assad in the Gaza Strip June 22, 2012.

BEIRUT (Reuters) — Syrian troops stormed into a Palestinian refugee camp in Damascus, opposition activists said, after a four-day artillery assault on the southern suburb where rebels fighting to oust President Bashar Assad have dug in.

Assad’s forces have preferred to use air power and artillery to hit areas where rebels are positioned and infantry raids normally occur only once many have fled. Activists said they feared for civilian inhabitants in the latest offensive.

Syrian activist Abu Yasser al-Shami said that his friends living in Yarmouk, a densely populated Palestinian refugee camp where 10 people were killed on Friday in shelling, had fled the area on Saturday morning after government troops swept in.

“Assad’s forces stormed al-Basel hospital in Yarmouk Camp and arrested many of the injured civilians,” he said over Skype.

When insurgents thrust into central parts of the capital in July, they were swiftly pushed back to southern districts, like Yarmouk, where there is a thinner state security presence.

But residents complain that the army uses indiscriminate artillery and air strikes. Palestinians have been divided over whether or not to support Assad, but there are signs that more and more are now starting to back the uprising.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, an opposition watchdog based in London, said shells rained down on Hajar al-Aswad district, which neighbors Yarmouk, on Saturday.

It said 170 people were killed in bloodshed on Friday across the country, many of them in Damascus and northern Aleppo, where rebels say they control more than half of what is Syria’s most populous city and commercial center.

The Observatory says more than 23,000 people have died in an uprising that has lasted more than 17 months. Around 200,000 Syrians have fled to neighboring Turkey, Jordan and Iraq.

The conflict is spilling over Syrian borders and has raised sectarian tension in the region given that the revolt has been led by majority Sunni Muslims against a president who is Alawite, an offshoot of Shiite Islam.

Assad’s use of military force to quell the uprising has cost him many allies in the Arab and Muslim world and caused a trickle of defections from Syrian government and army ranks.

Two Syrian diplomats in Malaysia announced late on Friday that they had joined the opposition, according to a report by pan-Arab television channel Al Arabiya.

Two men identifying themselves as First Secretary Imad Ahmar and Attaché Mahmoud Obedi from Syria’s Kuala Lumpur embassy read out a statement on the channel declaring their “support for the Syrian people’s revolution against the tyrannical regime.”

But the defections so far are seen largely as symbolic and Assad has increasingly relied on a close circle of relatives and senior members of his minority Alawite sect dominating the ruling elite to maintain his grip on power.

(www.maannews.net / 08.09.2012)

Is Prophet Muhammad Better Than Other Prophets? Making No Distinction Between the Prophets of Allah


By Abu Amina Elias for FaithinAllah.org

Muslims believe in all of the Prophets of Allah, peace be upon them, without making any distinction between them. As Allah Almighty said:

قُولُوا آمَنَّا بِاللَّهِ وَمَا أُنزِلَ إِلَيْنَا وَمَا أُنزِلَ إِلَىٰ إِبْرَاهِيمَ وَإِسْمَاعِيلَ وَإِسْحَاقَ وَيَعْقُوبَ وَالْأَسْبَاطِ وَمَا أُوتِيَ مُوسَىٰ وَعِيسَىٰ وَمَا أُوتِيَ النَّبِيُّونَ مِن رَّبِّهِمْ لَا نُفَرِّقُ بَيْنَ أَحَدٍ مِّنْهُمْ وَنَحْنُ لَهُ مُسْلِمُونَ

Say: We have believed in Allah and what has been revealed to us and what has been revealed to Abraham and Ishmael and Isaac and Jacob and the Descendants and what was given to Moses and Jesus and what was given to the prophets from their Lord. We make no distinction between any of them, and we are Muslims in submission to Him.

[Surah Al-Baqarah 2:136]

This means the Muslims believe in all of them and accept their messages without saying one Prophet is better than another. As Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, said:

لَا يَنْبَغِي لِعَبْدٍ أَنْ يَقُولَ أَنَا خَيْرٌ مِنْ يُونُسَ بْنِ مَتَّى

No servant should say that I am better than Jonah son of Mata.

[Sahih Bukhari, Book 5, Number 627]

In this narration, the Prophet has forbidden us from claiming that he is superior to the Prophet Jonah (Yunus), upon him be peace. We should not get into arguments about which Prophet is the best, saying this one is better than that one. Rather, we should believe in their exalted status in general.

However, it is true that Allah has honored some Prophets with gifts that were not given to other Prophets. Allah Almighty said:

تِلْكَ الرُّسُلُ فَضَّلْنَا بَعْضَهُمْ عَلَىٰ بَعْضٍ

Some of the Messengers we favored over others.

[Surah Al-Baqarah 2:253]

For example, Abraham, upon him be peace, will be the first to be clothed on the Day of Resurrection. Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, said:

وَأَوَّلُ مَنْ يُكْسَى يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ إِبْرَاهِيمُ

The first to be clothed on the Day of Resurrection will be Abraham.

[Sahih Bukhari, Book 55, Number 568]

Solomon, upon him be peace, was given an earthly kingdom unlike any Prophet or ruler who came after him, as Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, said:

وَسَأَلَ اللَّهَ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ مُلْكًا لَا يَنْبَغِي لِأَحَدٍ مِنْ بَعْدِهِ فَأُوتِيَهُ

He asked Allah the Exalted for a kingdom that none after him would have, and he was given.

[Sunan An-Nasa’i, Book of Mosques, Number 693]

Moses, upon him be peace, was given the honor of speaking with Allah directly, as Allah Almighty said:

وَكَلَّمَ اللَّهُ مُوسَىٰ تَكْلِيمًا

Allah spoke to Moses directly.

[Surah An-Nisa 4:164]

Jesus and his mother Mary, peace be upon them both, were honored with being protected from Satan at the time of birth, although all other people were touched by Satan. As Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, said:

كُلُّ بَنِي آدَمَ يَمَسُّهُ الشَّيْطَانُ يَوْمَ وَلَدَتْهُ أُمُّهُ إِلَّا مَرْيَمَ وَابْنَهَا

Satan touches every son of Adam on the day his mother gives birth to him, except for Mary and her son.

[Sahih Muslim, Book 30, Number 5838]

There are other examples of different Prophets receiving honors unlike other Prophets. Despite these honors, however, it is not permissible for Muslims to argue with the People of the Book concerning whose Prophet is better. Abu Huraira, may Allah be pleased with him, reported: Two people, one Jewish and the other Muslim, fell into dispute and began to abuse one another. The Muslim said, “By Him Who chose Muhammad in the worlds.” And the Jew said, “By Him Who chose Moses in the worlds.” Then the Muslim slapped the face of the Jew. The Jew went to the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, and told him about the incident, so he said:

 لَا تُخَيِّرُونِي عَلَى مُوسَى فَإِنَّ النَّاسَ يَصْعَقُونَ فَأَكُونُ أَوَّلَ مَنْ يُفِيقُ فَإِذَا مُوسَى بَاطِشٌ بِجَانِبِ الْعَرْشِ فَلَا أَدْرِي أَكَانَ فِيمَنْ صَعِقَ فَأَفَاقَ قَبْلِي أَمْ كَانَ مِمَّنْ اسْتَثْنَى اللَّهُ

Do not say I am better than Moses for mankind will faint on the Day of Judgment and I will be the first to recover, and Moses at that time will be holding the side of the Throne. I do not know if he would faint and recover before me, or if Allah will make an exception for him.

[Sahih Muslim, Book 30, Number 5854]

In this example, a Muslim and a Jew were arguing about who was better, Muhammad or Moses, but the Prophet, peace be upon him, ordered them not to say he was better than Moses and he pointed to the fact that Moses will have a special honor on the Day of Resurrection, being protected from swooning while the rest of humanity, including Muhammad, have fainted.

Despite the humility of our Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, some Muslims have given him the title “best of creation” (khayr al-barriyah). The cite as evidence such unique honors bestowed upon our Prophet, such as his leadership on the Day of Resurrection and his intercession. As the Prophet, peace be upon him, said:

أَنَا سَيِّدُ وَلَدِ آدَمَ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ وَأَوَّلُ مَنْ يَنْشَقُّ عَنْهُ الْقَبْرُ وَأَوَّلُ شَافِعٍ وَأَوَّلُ مُشَفَّعٍ

I will be the leader of the children of Adam on the Day of Resurrection, and I will be the first intercessor and the first whose intercession will be accepted.

[Sahih Muslim, Book 30, Number 5655]

No doubt, this is a great honor for our Prophet Muhammad, but this can only mean that the Prophet is the best of creation in the sense that all of the Prophets are the best of creation. As Allah Almighty said about another family of Prophets:

إِنَّ اللَّهَ اصْطَفَىٰ آدَمَ وَنُوحًا وَآلَ إِبْرَاهِيمَ وَآلَ عِمْرَانَ عَلَى الْعَالَمِينَ

Verily, Allah chose Adam and Noah and the family of Abraham and the family of Imran over the worlds.

[Surah Ali Imran 3:33]

In fact, Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, rejected the title “best of creation” for himself; instead, giving this title to his father Abraham, upon him be peace. Anas ibn Malik reported: A person came to the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, and said, “O best of creation!” So he said:

ذَاكَ إِبْرَاهِيمُ عَلَيْهِ السَّلَام

That is Abraham, upon him be peace.

[Sahih Muslim, Book 30, Number 5841]

By giving this special title to Abraham and denying it for himself, it shows the great humility of our Prophet Muhammad and his love for his father Abraham. It also, perhaps, was meant to prevent bickering among the Muslims and the People of the Book, since all monotheistic religions including Judaism and Christianity have the utmost respect for Abraham.

Conclusion

In general, Muslims make no distinctions between the Prophets, peace be upon them all. We believe in all of them without favoring one over the other. Although Allah has granted special favors to some Prophets over others, this does not give the Muslims permission to argue about which Prophet is the best. Rather, Prophet Muhammad specifically forbade saying that he was better than other Prophets like Jonah, Moses, and Abraham, and he rejected the title “best of creation” for himself. Following this example, we should only speak about the exalted status of the Prophets in general instead of arguing that one Prophet is better than another.

(www.faithinallah.org / 08.09.2012)

Mody al-Khalaf marks new achievement for Saudi women

Moday Al-Khalaf is a strong advocate for women’s rights in Saudi Arabia. (Photo courtesy of wvu.edu)

Moday Al-Khalaf is a strong advocate for women’s rights in Saudi Arabia.

Mody al-Khalaf was appointed assistant attaché for cultural and social affairs at the Saudi Embassy in the United States Thursday, making her the first woman to hold such a senior diplomatic position.

“I am extremely happy,” al-Khalaf told Al Arabiya during a phone call from her house in Virginia, describing the appointment of Saudi women in key positions abroad as an important step forward.

“I would be just as happy if any of my other female colleagues were appointed in this position,” she said.

Al-Khalaf is one of 13 Saudi women who work at the Saudi cultural attaché in the U.S.

Mohammed al-Eisa, the Saudi cultural attaché, told al-Hayat daily Saturday that his decision to appoint al-Khalaf as his assistant should motivate her and others to work even harder.

“Dr. al-Khalaf is a competent public servant who deserves to be encouraged,” he said. “I wish her luck.”

Before her promotion to the new position, al-Khalaf served as the director of social and cultural affairs at the Saudi cultural attaché since November 2008. She worked to develop the programs of the attaché and helped increase the number of Saudi students clubs at American universities from 40 to 200 clubs. She is also the editor-in-chief of Al-Mubtaath (“The Scholar”), a monthly magazine launched by the Saudi Cultural Mission in 1978, covering topics of interest to Saudi students in the U.S.

She holds a PhD in Applied Linguistics from Princess Nora University in Riyadh, where she taught as a professor of linguistics.

Al-Khalaf is also an advocate for women’s rights in Saudi Arabia, and she has written for English-language daily Arab News on that subject between 2003-2007. Arabian Woman magazine described al-Khalaf as “a shrewd, intelligent advocator of justice – not just for women, but her land as a whole.”

The Saudi government has tried to in recent years to appoint more women in senior positions, and said it would allow them to run and vote in the next municipal elections.

In February 2009, Norah al-Faiz was appointed deputy minister in education to become the first female to attain the highest governmental rank in the country, and in April 2011 Huda al-Ameel was appointed president of the all-women Princess Nora University, making her the first female university president in Saudi Arabia.

Al-Khalaf said the advancements of Saudi women to serve in senior government positions has been slow but steady.

“Evolution of social change must be slow to work and stick, and not cause imbalance,” she said. “It has to be accepted by society.”

As the first Saudi woman in such senior position, al-Khalaf said the media attention surrounding her appointment can be a double-edged sword. The attention is nice, she explained, but it puts more pressure on her to perform and meet expectations.

“I hope I won’t disappoint,” she said. “All the attention will only make me work harder.”

(english.alarabiya.net / 08.09.2012)

24 children admitted to hospital after drinking contaminated water

Children fill water bottles in the Gaza Strip.

JENIN (Ma’an) — Twenty-four children were admitted to hospital in Jenin on Saturday after drinking contaminated water in their elementary school, police said.

Parents reported symptoms of vomiting and a high fever, a police statement said. Eighteen children are still in hospital and six have been released after treatment.

Police are investigating the incident.

(www.maannews.net / 08.09.2012)

Interior Ministry: persons detained for raising slogans violating laws

Amman, Sept. 8 (Petra) — An official source at the Interior Ministry announced that a number of individuals were detained for raising slogans and chanting words that violate Jordanian norms and ethics as well as violating the law.

In a statement to Jordan News Agency (Petra) on Saturday evening, the source said that the detainees will be referred to justice to be held accountable in accordance with the provisions of law.

The ministry reiterates its respect for peaceful demonstration by citizen and political powers, the source added.

(petra.gov.jo / 08.09.2012)

BRIEF THOUGHTS ON INTERNATIONAL SOLIDARITY WITH OUR STRUGGLE IN PALESTINE

 

This week in Communiqué: Palestine #4, Maath Musleh, a Palestinian journalist in Jerusalem, argues the international solidarity movement must understand that they are supporting a liberation struggle and everything that entails.

Maath Musleh is a Palestinian youth activist, blogger and journalist based in Jerusalem whose work appears regularly in Al Jazeera, Ma’an News Agency and Al Akhbar English. He is also a co-founder of the Palestinian youth activist blog Beyond Compromise http://beyondcompromise.com/.

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Amidst the growing solidarity movement with the Palestinian cause, a lot of aspects of the struggle are lost. Many people get caught up in the present events and forget about the core of the struggle. A lot do not have a clear idea of the essence of this cause. To explain the history of the cause, I will need hours of writing. But for now, I would like to share some brief thoughts that I believe are essential. It is great to see all the solidarity around the world, but for any of it to be meaningful, it is important that you know what the cause is all about.

It is important to keep in mind that we are not a charity case.

We are people with a just cause and a long struggle.

To start with, our fight is not for a state in the West Bank and Gaza called Palestine, because simply this is not Palestine. The West Bank and Gaza Strip were occupied by the Zionists in 1967. Our struggle against the Zionists has started long before that.

The essence of our struggle is the right of the return for the refugees (+70% of the Palestinian people). They demand their right to return to their homes and they do have the right to do so. If you think that it is not possible then you are really not in solidarity with the Palestinian cause.

It is also important to keep in mind that you cannot be selective about your solidarity or make concessions on behalf of the Palestinians. You are either with us or you are not. You cannot stand mid-way between the victims and the perpetrators. If you do, it means you decided not to stand for justice. You are already taking a position and you are not being neutral as you assume.

There is no shame in recognizing wrong-doings within a struggle. No struggle in the world is perfect. Someone who discusses those wrong-doings in efforts to improve the struggle is a noble person. And any wrong-doings does not change the facts of the struggle. The perpetrators who caused all the sufferings – for both sides – are the Zionists.

Some people try to delegitimize the Palestinian cause by referencing the use of “violence”. Let me start by stating what I have previously and constantly stated: the use of armed resistance is our legitimate right. And I have made it clear in many of my writings that the armed resistance refers strictly to targeting military targets.

Some Palestinians are shy or apologetic when they discuss our history of armed resistance. I am not. They think that “peaceful” resistance makes them more acceptable by the West. Let me tell you something, we are not in the public relations business. We are in the business of liberating our land and our people.

We do not have a just cause because the world stands with us. The world stands with us because we have a just cause.

But let us cut the discussion of the use of armed resistance short. If you believe it is legitimate but you have trouble making an argument for it, simply, refer them to UN resolution 3070: “The General Assembly also reaffirms the legitimacy of the people’s struggle for liberation from colonial and foreign domination and alien subjugation by all available means, including armed struggle.” If they do not like it, they can take it up with the UN.

If they say they support justice for the Palestinians but they do not like our ways of resistance, then – if they are that passionate about opposing our way of struggle – they can make it stop by ending the injustice in their own way.

No one is tying up their hands.

(internationalsocialist.org.uk / 08.09.2012)