‘Oslo Accord’ anniversary in Gaza

This year is the 19th anniversary of the peace agreement between the Palestinian Liberation Organization and Israel, known as the Oslo Accord, which was signed in 1993. Despite the agreement, many Palestinian prisoners are still in Israeli jails after spending more than two decades in detention. Palestinians in the Gaza Strip have held an event to mark the occasion and show solidarity with those in captivity. Mazen Naim has more details on the story …

When the Oslo Accord, the peace agreement between the Palestinian Liberation Organization and Israel, was signed in 1993, it included an article stating that all Palestinian detainees will have to be released. 19 years later, Israel did not abide to the agreement, and many of these detainees are still behind bars.

The various Palestinian political parties, along with parents and families of detainees, held an event in front of the International Red Cross in the City of Khan Younis, to the south of Gaza, to show solidarity with the Palestinian detainees in the Israeli jails.

Israel imposes a mix of punishing measures on Palestinian detainees like solitary confinement, allowing very few family visits from Gaza, renewing administrative detention, and continuing the night and naked-searching of detainees.

This event coincides with a one-day total hunger strike by all Palestinian detainees in Israeli jails, in solidarity with these old detainees behind bars since before the Oslo Accord.

It is worth mentioning that there are about 4500 Palestinian detainees in the Israeli jails, and many of them have been on a hunger strike for extended periods, the longest of which reaches about four months.

People have gathered here today to show solidarity and support to the Palestinian detainees on hunger strike in Israeli jails, and to call on the international community to protect the detainees’ human rights and end their calamity.

(www.presstv.com / 13.09.2012)

Unlawfulness of Violence as a Reaction to Anti-Muslim Propaganda Film


Answered by Dr. Wael Shihab at OnIslam.net

Question:

According to news reports, thousands of angry Egyptian protestors scaled the walls of the US embassy in Cairo yesterday in protest at a film being produced in the US that insults the Prophet, peace be upon him. Protestors also tore down the American flag and burnt it outside the fortress-like embassy building in central Cairo. In Libya, deadly violent protests took place near the US Consulate in Benghazi. There are other reports about attacking the US embassy in Beirut. Are such attacks legal? How does Islam view attacking diplomatic missions and embassies?

Answer:

Sister, thank you for your question and apparent interest in having a better understanding of Islam and its rulings.

In fact, the anti-Prophet film recently produced in the USA is a single incident in a series of measures within a systematic media campaign that aims at tarnishing the image of Islam and its Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him. This media campaign is led by the people whose keen interest is to deteriorate the relations between Muslims and people of other religions.

Though, the offensive film is not justified, Muslims’ reactions should be legal and peaceful. Muslims should use all legal channels to stop this campaign of hatred against Islam and Muslims. For Muslims, every prophet is worthy of utmost respect, and the Prophet Muhammad, being the final one, is dearer to Muslims than their own parents, children, and all people. However, attacking diplomatic missions or embassies are not allowed under any pretext.

Responding to your question, Dr. Wael Shihab, PhD in Islamic Studies from Al-Azhar University and the Head of the Sharia Department of Onislam.net website, stated:

Thank you for your question.

It is unfortunate that some biased anti-Islam individuals and movements are stirring up hatred against Islam and Muslims in every possible way. The recent anti-Prophet film is a single manifestation of a series of unfair and illegal attacks against Islam and Muslims. It aims at tarnishing the image of Islam and spoiling the relations between Muslims and peoples of the world.

In reaction to such biased and illegal attacks, Muslims must think deeply before acting emotionally and erratically. For overreacting to such campaigns will only make things worse. Overreacting includes using other than the lawful, peaceful means. Resorting to violence should never be an option.

Meanwhile, in keeping with the spirit of the Qur’anic teaching to, “repel evil with what is better,” (41:34), it is the duty of Muslims to prove to the world that Islam means peace. They could hold peaceful protests to show their valid objection to the biased film against Islam and the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him. Muslim and Arab states should make use of all possible diplomatic means to stop offences against Islam and Muslims.

It goes without saying that Muslims are definitely NOT allowed to attack embassies or to react with violence. Attacking diplomatic missions or embassies are illegal in the Sharia and all world conventions. Moreover, it is not Islamically justified to attack public or private properties for some individuals’ wrongdoings.

Given the above, I believe that the best course of action for Muslims in the current situation is:

1. To show their valid and legal objection to offending Islam, Prophet Muhammad and Muslims through legal and diplomatic channels.

2. To introduce the Prophet Muhammad as a role model in the modern world.

3. To avoid hurling insults against the people of other religions as a result of producing such a provocative film against the Prophet, as Allah Almighty says:

Revile not those unto whom they pray beside Allah lest they wrongfully revile Allah through ignorance. Thus unto every nation have We made their deed seem fair. Then unto their Lord is their return, and He will tell them what they used to do.

[Surah Al-An’am 6:108]

4. To use all legal channels to stop this campaign of hatred against Islam and Muslims.

5. Finally, not to react emotionally, but to follow the decisions of the responsible leading scholars in their communities. We must always be disciplined, peaceful, and organized in our approaches to such crucial issues.

May Allah accept your and our good deeds!

Allah Almighty knows best.

(www.faithinallah.org / 13.09.2012)

Over 60 British MPs Support UN Recognition of Palestine

LONDON, September 13, 2012 (WAFA) – Over 60 Members of the British Parliament (MPs) from across seven political parties signed a parliamentary motion supporting UN recognition of Palestine, Thursday said an MPs press release.

The MPs signed the motion after President Mahmoud Abbas declared his intention to ask the UN General Assembly to recognize Palestine as a non-member state when the General Assembly meets between 24 September and 1 October, said the release.

The motion, tabled by Richard Burden MP, has been signed by 61 MPs so far including former Foreign Secretary Jack Straw and other former ministers from both Labour and Conservative governments, “That this House supports recognition by the UN of Palestine as a state alongside the state of Israel.”

The motion has received the support of MPs from seven political parties: Conservative, Green, Labour, Liberal Democrat, Plaid Cymru, SDLP and SNP.

Richard Burden, Labor MP for Birmingham Northfield and Chair of the Britain-Palestine All Party Parliamentary Group, said,  “Time after time British ministers have declared their support in theory for a two-state solution in the Middle East. But this is the make your mind up time about whether they mean it in practice.”

“Many MPs found it inexplicable that when Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas sought recognition of Palestine as a state at the UN Security Council last year, Britain sat on our hands and abstained. At the time, the Foreign Secretary said that different considerations would apply to a vote at the UN General Assembly. So I just don’t think abstention should be an option if, as seems likely, a vote takes place at the General Assembly later this month,” He added.

“Israel is recognized as a full member of the United Nations, with internationally recognized borders delineated by the green line. If recognition is so fundamental in respect of Israel, what is the problem with the UN recognizing Palestine as requested by the Palestinian people, with borders delineated by that same green line?” he said.

“It is time to help level the playing field; an independent and recognized state of Israel alongside an independent and recognized state of Palestine. Both people realizing their legitimate right to self-determination.”

(english.wafa.ps / 13.09.2012)

CIA, Mossad team up to insult Islamic values

Egyptian protesters torch a US flag during a demonstration outside the US Embassy in the capital of Cairo. (File photo)

Egyptian protesters torch a US flag during a demonstration outside the US Embassy in the capital of Cairo.

Jones is a spy, CIA trained, run by rogue handlers, and heavily promoted by Mossad elements throughout the Middle East and able to garner national news attention in the US when anyone else of his minor following and total lack of credibility would be ignored.

He calls himself a religious leader, a “preacher,” this Terry Jones, the man responsible for blaspheming the prophet Mohammed. He has made threats before, burned the Holy Quran, spouted obscenities, demanded attention and has acted with demonic intent.

This week, Jones released a streaming video on his website attacking Islam and purposefully attempting to incite violence against the United States.

The timing of his video, on an obscure website that is nearly impossible to find and its release through the Middle East was no accident. This was very much an attempt on the part of political forces to harm the image of the United States and was only a part of a much larger conspiracy.

Jones, to most, is an uneducated and lower class figure in a backward area of the American south. His congregation is largely made of weak minded people on the fringe of society, easily coerced and influenced. He has few followers.

However, Jones has another following, one not so easy to detect. Jones moved to Germany in 1981 and established a religious cult in Cologne. Thus, his ties while there were with Israeli intelligence and the P2 Masonic lodge, better known as “Operation Gladio,” the group responsible for the murder of Italian Prime Minister Aldo Moro and terror bombings that went on into the 90s.

Jones real background is that of an intelligence asset. His personal weakness is narcissism. His strength is his ability to hide behind what appears to be backward and ignorant exterior while actively working as an intelligence agent for a combination of rogue CIA elements, extremists in the former Stasi German group now called the DVD who partner with Israel’s Mossad.

Jones is a spy, CIA trained, run by rogue handlers, and heavily promoted by Mossad elements throughout the Middle East and able to garner national news attention in the US when anyone else of his minor following and total lack of credibility would be ignored.

Instead, his every obscene move, his every blasphemy, from his tiny and forgotten church, reaches, not just the front page of every paper but is announced and spread throughout the Islamic world by the hundreds of Israeli agents that infiltrate every Mosque.

The relationship between the Mossad and DVD is now well known. German built submarines armed with Russian built nuclear weapons patrol of Iran as we speak, their Israeli crews ready to start World War III.

Inside the US, rogue elements of Bush era intelligence privatization, initially under Blackwater Corporation and its various successors, still actively run agents, manage narcotics processing and distribution and intimidate world leaders through threats against their families.

Jones is part of this operation, tasked with destabilizing Egypt and Libya, tasked with providing an Islamophobic backdrop for Netanyahu’s upcoming visit to the United Nations and providing support for extremist elements in Europe and the US who see President Obama too “morally flexible” in his dealings with Iran.

Jones has another job in attacking Islam. He is tasked with interpreting texts carefully selected to seem objectionable.

You see, in order to start a war, Mitt Romney must be elected president. However, Romney belongs to a religious group most Christians find to be a heretical cult.

In fact, it was only days before they were to lose their legal standing as a tax free institution, because of their institutionalized racism, that they suddenly opened their church to other cultures. Attacks on Islam are now being made because the following texts, long hidden by powerful financial groups tied to criminal elements in the US, are being made public.

These are the beliefs of the Mormon Church, the beliefs Mitt Romney accepted and taught:

“Shall I tell you the law of God in regard to the African race? If the white man who belongs to the chosen seed mixes his blood with the seed of Cain, the penalty, under the law of God, is death on the spot. This will always be” (Book of Mormon10:110; Joseph Smith, founder of the Mormon Church)

“But let them apostatize, and they will become gray-haired, wrinkled, and black, just like the Devil” (Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, vol. 5, p. 332)

“Had I anything to do with the Negro, I would confine them by strict law to their own species, and put them on a national equalization” (Joseph Fielding Smith, Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 270; History of the Church, 5: p.332).

“From the days of the Prophet Joseph Smith even until now, it is has been the doctrine of the Church, never questioned by any of the Church leaders, that the Negroes are not entitled to the full blessings of the Gospel.” (Joseph the First)

Until forced by the US government in 1978, these were the official policies of the church that wishes one of its Bishops, Mitt Romney, a virtual slave to Sheldon Adelson and Benjamin Netanyahu, a man who has sworn a blood oath to declare war on Iran. This is the Foundation of Mormonism:

— All human spirits were born sons and daughters of God and one or more of His wives, on the planet that God lives on, which is near a star named Kolob (koe-lawb)
— Adam and Eve were white people, living in the Garden of Eden in what is now Jackson County, Missouri, who looked like Anglo-Saxons (like 19th century Mormons).

— Cain was a white man until he killed Abel, so God changed him into the first Negro.

— Also, the “seed of Cain” would also inherit his “cursed” and “mark” and also they would be deprived of the Priesthood until the LORD removed the Curse of Cain sometime after Abel was resurrected, had children, and all of Abel’s male descendants received the Priesthood first, then the Curse of Cain would be removed.

— The Mark of Cain was a black skin, flat nose, and kinky hair. Cain, a white man, is “changed” by the LORD instantly into the first Negro.

— Cain married his sister, and she became the second Negro ever because the Lord also “changed” her from a white Anglo-Saxon looking woman into a Negro.

— All the spirits who fought for Jesus against Lucifer in the War in Heaven, before this Earth was formed, but who were “less valiant”-were punished by being born into “the lineage of Cain” as Negroes, and thus “deprived of intelligence”, with “mis-shapen” [sic] and “ugly” bodies, and destined to be “servants” of the white man, their superiors, until the Curse of Cain was removed by the LORD sometime after the Millennium was over.

— Canaan and his descendants went into Africa, and a few to India and Australia and New Guinea.

— All Negroes inherit the “Mark of Cain” which is a black skin, flat nose, and kinky hair.

—- Negroes are banned from the Temple and the Priesthood until the Curse of Cain is removed by the Lord sometime after the Millennium (1000 year reign of Christ on Earth) is over.

— This doctrine was known as The Curse of Cain Doctrine. Because of this doctrine, all black Mormons, and anyone with “one drop of Negro blood” was banned from the Mormon Temple and the Mormon priesthood. All male Mormons over the age of 12 hold the Priesthood, and they must have it in order to get into the highest heaven. All Mormons must be “Endowed” and “Sealed” in a Mormon Temple in order to get into the Celestial Kingdom (highest heaven).

Without the priesthood and Temple endowments and sealings, a Mormon male can, at best, become a sexless and eunuched “eternal servant” of the Gods in the Celestial Kingdom.

— These tenets of Mormonism, racial hatred, dehumanization, scriptural heresy and the wide distrust they have fostered throughout every religious and non-religious group within the US has made the cost of rigging a presidential election to put a candidate in power willing to enslave America to Israel nearly impossible.

Every day, Romney goes down in the polls, hated by African Americans, hated by Catholics, hated by Jews, hated in the North, hated in the South, a man with no known political beliefs other than what the “crowd of the moment” wants to hear.

Terry Jones distraction, orchestrated by the Mossad, the DVD and the rogue CIA groups even more mindless than the officially sanctioned ones, have but one task meant to alter electorate perception in favor of Romney, in favor of war, and take the focus off these despicable religious beliefs.

When the CIA’s Terry Jones exalts the beliefs of his own racist past and that of his friend Mitt Romney, he might well heed these words of the prophet:
“O mankind! Be careful of your duty to your Lord Who created you from a single soul and from it created its mate and from them twain hath spread abroad a multitude of men and women.” (The Holy Qur’an, Chapter 4(An-Nisa’): Verse 1)

“And it is a sign of Allah that he created the heavens and the earth And He created the diversity of languages and colors” [The Holy Qur’an, Chapter 30 (Ar-Rum): Verse 30; 22]

‘O mankind! We have created you from a single male and female and made you into nations and tribes so that you may know each other. The most honorable of you in the sight of Allah are surety the righteous.” [The Holy Qur’an, Chapter 49 (Al-Hujurat): Verse 13]

Back in 2010 when Jones was threatening to cause a religious war through Quran burnings, I, assisted by Ambassador/Congressman Mark Siljander (author of A Deadly Misunderstanding – A Congressman’s Quest to Bridge the Muslim/Christian Divide), called Jones. Siljander spoke with Jones and his congregation and temporarily defused the situation.

Siljander made powerful enemies in doing so, not for the first time.

Today we sit, one American dead, embassies attacked, waiting for the next move, a false flag attack like was perpetrated to blame Muslims like “9/11” or a mysterious explosion on a ship in the Persian Gulf reminiscent of the USS Maine incident that led to war with Spain in 1898.

America has a long history of false flag terrorism to begin wars; I won’t even go into the Tonkin Gulf incident.

The question is simple, will the world face doom at the hand of greed and evil religious cults or will mankind learn to use reason and value truth?

(www.presstv.ir / 13.09.2012)

4 killed as Yemeni police, demonstrators clash at U.S. Embassy

Sanaa, Yemen (CNN) — Violent clashes outside the U.S. Embassy in Yemen’s capital left four protesters dead, Yemeni security officials said Thursday.

Twenty-four security force members were reported injured, as were 11 protesters, according to Yemen’s Defense Ministry, security officials and eyewitnesses.

Protesters and witnesses said one protester was critically injured when police fired on them as they tried to disperse the angry crowd.

The protests in Sanaa are the latest to roil the Middle East over the online release of a film produced in the United States that denigrates the Prophet Mohammed.

As evening came, the number of protesters dwindled and tensions began to ease, after a day in which demonstrators breached a security wall and stormed the embassy amid escalating anti-American sentiment.

No embassy personnel were harmed, U.S. officials said.

Yemen works to quell US Embassy protests

U.S. preparing for escalating protests

Violent protests spread to Yemen

In Egypt, riot police fired warning shots and tear gas early Thursday outside the U.S. Embassy in Cairo to keep hundreds of protesters back from the compound walls, with minor injuries reported. Protesters also gathered in Tunisia, Morocco, Iran and elsewhere.

The clashes follow Tuesday’s attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, that left Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other consular officials dead and has heightened tensions at U.S. diplomatic missions across the region.

Six things to know about the attack

Thursday morning, several thousand Yemeni protesters gathered outside the U.S. Embassy in Sanaa, with some flooding the security perimeter and penetrating the embassy’s wall, according to a statement released by Yemen through its embassy in Washington condemning the incident.

“Security services have quickly restored order to the embassy’s complex. Fortunately, no casualties were reported from this chaotic incident,” it said.

However, after a lull following the breach of the embassy wall, anger appeared to rise again as the day wore on, and security forces began to use more force to try to control the crowd.

U.S. increases embassy security worldwide after Libya attack

There were fewer than 100 protesters by lunchtime, and tensions had eased, but their numbers rose to several hundred after water cannons were used against the crowd.

Security forces were given permission to shoot anyone seen with weapons near the embassy, two Interior Ministry officials told CNN, and gunshots were heard in the area.

By evening, the protesters, armed only with sticks and stones picked up from the street, had decreased in number and had been pushed back to about 300 yards from the embassy.

The security forces had initially used batons to try to force the crowds back behind barriers on the roads, as they sought to avoid bloodshed that could inflame the situation. The protesters burned tires and an embassy flag, and smashed cars outside the embassy.

White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters that all U.S. Embassy personnel were safe and accounted for and that the United States was doing all it could to protect them.

The Yemeni government sent more security personnel, he said.

A U.S. official in Yemen, who was not authorized to speak publicly because of the sensitivity of the situation, earlier told CNN: “Everyone here is OK.” He said there had been no evacuation.

Demonstrators said they wanted to express their anger about the obscure movie after hearing of the protests in Libya and Egypt, although it was unclear how many of them have seen the offending video.

Yemeni human rights activist Ala’a Jarban, who was not part of the protest but watched events from a nearby rooftop, told CNN he thought what had happened was “really wrong.”

“There were calls on social media to protest today in front of the embassy, so I expected there might be some violence and clashes, but didn’t expect it would be that easy to break into the embassy,” he said.

Ambassador’s killing shines light on Muslim sensitivities around Prophet Mohammed

“I’ve been there — it’s one of the most protected places in Yemen. To break in that easily was a shock to me.”

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton condemned the video Thursday as “disgusting and reprehensible” but said there was no justification for responding with violence.

“It is especially wrong for violence to be directed against diplomatic missions,” she said. “These are places whose very purpose is peaceful, to promote better understanding across countries and cultures.

“All governments have a responsibility to protect those spaces and people, because to attack an embassy is to attack the idea that we can work together to build understanding and a better future.”

In a statement released through the Yemeni Embassy in Washington, President Abdu Rabu Mansour Hadi apologized to his U.S. counterpart, Barack Obama, and the American people for the attack on their mission in Sanaa.

Hadi ordered Yemeni authorities to “conduct an expeditious and thorough investigation” and said the protest was the work of a “rowdy group.”

His statement, which spoke of “warm relations” between his country and the United States, said divisions among Yemeni security and military forces helped create an atmosphere where such disturbances could erupt.

Over the past several months, Hadi has sought to restructure Yemeni security forces and remove loyalists to former President Ali Abdullah Saleh from their posts. Saleh was forced from power early this year after mass protests.

European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton condemned “in the strongest terms” the breaching of the perimeter wall and expressed the EU’s “full solidarity” with the United States.

An emergency message on the website of the U.S. Embassy in Sanaa warns of the possibility of further protests in the coming days, particularly near the embassy, and urges Americans to leave the country.

“U.S. citizens who are already in Yemen should depart. The security threat to all U.S. citizens in Yemen remains critical,” it says.

Reaction to anti-Islam film fuels debate on free speech vs. hate speech

“As staffing levels at the Embassy are restricted, our ability to assist U.S. citizens in an emergency remains limited and may be further constrained by the fluid security situation.”

David Hartwell of security analysis group IHS Jane’s told CNN the current protests were reminiscent in some ways of the outpouring of anger in 2005 after the publication in Denmark of cartoons seen as disrespectful to Mohammed.

The violence also reflects the changed dynamic in the region following the Arab Spring, Hartwell said.

“You’ve got populations in all of these countries who are now much more willing to take to the streets and are much more wiling to vocalize their anger in a much more violent way,” he said.

“My guess is that this outpouring of anger will be intense but brief, but I think there is a danger that this anger will spread to perhaps more unpredictable places like Afghanistan and Pakistan.”

Staff and crew of film that ridiculed Muslims say they were “grossly misled”

(edition.cnn.com / 13.09.2012)

Libya makes arrests over Benghazi attack

 

Officials say “four men are in custody” suspected of having links to killing of US ambassador and three embassy staff.
Libyan authorities have made four arrests in the investigation into the attack on the US consulate in Benghazi in which the US ambassador and three embassy staff were killed, the deputy interior minister said.

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Live Blog: Anti – Islam film protests

“Four men are in custody and we are interrogating them because they are suspected of helping instigate the events at the US consulate,” Wanis Sharif told the Reuters news agency on Thursday.

He gave no further details.

US ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens and three other Americans died after the gunmen attacked the US consulate and a safe house refuge in the eastern city of Benghazi on Tuesday night.

The attackers were part of a mob blaming America for a film they said insulted the Prophet Mohammad.

Demonstrators attacked the US embassies in Yemen and Egypt on Thursday in protests against the film, andAmerican warships were moved closer to Libya.

Barack Obama, the US president, has vowed to bring to justice those responsible for the Benghazi attack, which US officials said may have been planned in advance. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Washington had nothing to do with the video, which she called “disgusting and reprehensible”.

‘Big advance’

A “big advance” has been made in the probe into the deadly attack, Prime Minister Mustafa Abu Shagur told the AFP news agency in an exclusive interview.

“We have made a big advance,” Abu Shagur said in his first interview since his election as premier on Wednesday night.

“We have some names and some photographs. Arrests have been made and more are under way as we speak.”

The new prime minister did not elaborate on how many suspects were in custody or what groups, if any, they were connected to.

Death of US ambassador to Libya       

Hoda Abdel-Hamid

Roving correspondent, reporting from Benghazi

“We still don’t have an official version of who is behind the attacks, but I did speak to several eye-witnesses and all of them told me that four vehicles entered the grounds of the US consulate, and there were heavily armed men. One witness said they had black flags, meaning the flags of al-Qaeda, and that the protesters were really outside of the grounds of the consulate.

The consulate consists of four one-storey buildings inside a vast compound, and all four of them are completely torched.

There are holes from rockets on the walls of the buildings, especially the one where the ambassador was holed up in. We understand the attackers concentrated their attacks mainly on that building.

Eye-witnesses also told us that it was only afterwards that the protesters came in, and smashed the windows and grabbed the ambassador from inside, and got him out from the room [he was holed up in]. We were told he was alive then, and that he died either on his way to the hospital or at the hospital.

From the amount of destruction around, it seems to be a well co-ordinated attack.”

“We don’t want to categorise these people until we know all the facts,” he said.

Sharif was similarly reticent about going into details when he spoke to AFP earlier on Thursday.

“The interior and justice ministries have begun their investigations and evidence gathering and some people have been arrested,” he said.

Initial reports said Stevens and the three other Americans were killed by a mob outside the consulate in the eastern city of Benghazi on Tuesday as they tried to flee an angry protest against a US-produced movie deemed offensive to Islam.

But it is now believed Stevens died from smoke inhalation after becoming trapped in the compound when suspected Islamic militants fired on the building with rocket-propelled grenades and set it ablaze.

US officials are investigating the possibility that the assault was a plot by al-Qaeda affiliates or sympathisers, using the protest against the film as a cover to carry out a co-ordinated revenge attack on Tuesday’s anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attacks in the US.

Libyan authorities initially pointed a finger of blame at supporters of Muammar Gaddafi, who was ousted and slain in an uprising last year that was backed by NATO air power, and at al-Qaeda.

But Abu Shagur played down the al-Qaeda line.

“We don’t have any proof as yet of an al-Qaeda presence as an organisation in Libya,” although “some youths have been influenced by the extremist ideology of al-Qaeda,” he said.

Abu Shagur said “extremists” were a tiny minority in Libya who “do not number more than 100 or 150,” whereas most of the youth in the country were moderates.

The attack on the US consulate was “a cowardly, criminal and terrorist act,” he said, adding it was “isolated, not representing a phenomenon in Libyan society and it will not have negative consequences with our allies” who backed the revolution.

He did not have confirmation that the US was sending two warships off the Libyan coast. “But we will not accept anyone entering inside Libya. That would infringe on sovereignty and we will refuse,” the prime minister said.

A decision to deploy a team of 50 US Marines was taken “in co-ordination with Libyan authorities,” he added. They would guard the US embassy in Tripoli and two diplomatic residences.

(www.aljazeera.com / 13.09.2012)

Slain US envoy ‘understood Palestinian situation’

A demonstrator holds a placard during a rally to condemn the killers of the US envoy to Libya and the attack on a consulate, in Benghazi on Sept. 12, 2012.

BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — Palestinian officials on Thursday remembered US ambassador Christopher Stevens as fair-minded and called his death late Tuesday in Libya a loss for American foreign policy.

Stevens, who died with three colleagues in an attack on a US institution in Libya’s eastern Benghazi, had served a decade earlier as a political officer in the US consulate to Jerusalem.

“It’s just tragic,” said Hanan Ashrawi, a veteran PLO leader and negotiator. “It’s very sad. I thought he was a person who was not just intelligent but also caring.”

As a mediator, Stevens “understood the Palestinian situation well. He was very understanding and he listened; he didn’t repeat talking points,” Ashrawi said in an interview.

“He could have made a big difference in peoples’ lives and, really, to America’s standing and credibility. His loss is a loss not only to US foreign policy but also to its standing with other states.”

Stevens and three other Americans died after gunmen attacked the US consulate and a safe house refuge in the eastern city of Benghazi on Tuesday night. The attackers were part of a mob blaming America for a film they said insulted the Prophet Mohammad.

Demonstrators attacked the US embassies in Yemen and Egypt on Thursday in protests against the film, and American warships were moved closer to Libya.

PLO negotiator Saeb Erekat blasted the murder as an “ugly act of terror.”

“He was a really close friend of the family, and I was really shocked,” Erekat told Ma’an. “He was murdered in a very ugly act of terror, and it’s so despicable.”

Erekat described Stevens as a close friend of his family and said he had personally communicated to US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton the Palestinian people’s condolences.

“Such a good man, such a great loss. His heart was in the peace process, and I’m sure his heart was also in the building of Libya,” Erekat said.

“Of course, no one tolerates the discrediting of our prophet Mohammad, but what did Stevens have to do with it? That’s really unacceptable,” he said of the alleged motive.

From Ramallah, President Mahmoud Abbas sent his condolences to the US upon the ambassador’s death, the Palestinian Authority news agency said.

“On behalf of myself, personally, and all Palestinian people, we offer sincere condolences to the US president after the US ambassador in Libya was killed in a criminal attack,” Abbas said.

Clinton said Washington had nothing to do with the video, which she called “disgusting and reprehensible”.

Israeli officials also condemned the attacks against US diplomatic missions and said they were “evil terrorist attacks” against the West, the Foreign Ministry said.

In Tripoli, the Libyan deputy interior minister Wanis Sharif said authorities had made four arrests in the investigation into the attack.

“Four men are in custody and we are interrogating them because they are suspected of helping instigate the events at the US consulate,” Sharif said. He gave no more details.

President Barack Obama has vowed to bring to justice those responsible for the Benghazi attack, which US officials said may have been planned in advance.

(www.maannews.net / 13.09.2012)

Palestinian Demonstrators Demand a ‘Salary or a Visa’

Palestinians hold flags and placards during a protest against the rising cost of living in the West Bank city of Ramallah September 11, 2012.
 When I set out to the streets of Ramallah today [September 10], the sights I saw reminded me of the city during the Intifada: Ramallah had come to a screeching halt. This time, it was fathers protesting their inability to feed their children, and young men chanting, “Give us a better life, or at least an emigration visa.”

The tension in the West Bank comes as no surprise at time when the young people feel that they are left to their own devices. More and more good friends of mine — young, educated people — have lost their jobs in recent months. One is an engineer, the other an international relations expert, the third a journalist. They all turn to their parents to survive, sitting at home, sending out Cvs, and starting to despair. They travel abroad to study, hoping to stay there for good.

Although angry crowds burned tires and clashes with the police took place here and there, this time it was an organized demonstration — the first organized strike in many years. “We have no money to paysalaries,” Abu Mazen (Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas) admitted in his address, instructing the police not to interfere with the demonstrators.

“‎It’s as if he wants us to go out into the streets and rise up,” said a friend of mine, a cab driver in the city. “And rise up we shall.”

(www.al-monitor.com / 13.09.2012)