Global March to Jerusalem – Stand Up for Al-Aqsa

 

“THERE IS NOT A SINGLE INCH IN AL-QUDS WHERE A PROPHET HAS NOT PRAYED OR AN ANGEL NOT STOOD”– Tirmidhi, Ahmad

Join the Global March to Jerusalem by protesting outside the Israeli Embassy, and show your solidarity with Palestinians who have had their lands stolen by Israel. This also coincides with the month during which the incredible Night Journey (al-Isra wa al-Mi’raj) took place.

In 1976, Israeli authorities confiscated thousands of acres of private and public land from Palestinian residents, mainly in the Galilee. Settlements were built on this stolen land, to house illegal Israeli settlers, while Palestinian residents were left refugees. This occupation and expulsion continues today.

– This year, Masjid al-Aqsa has been under constant attack with extremist Israeli settlers, police and Rabbis, trespassing on a regular basis. They are usually protected by armed Israeli guards.

– 500 residents in Sheikh Jarrah have already been evicted from their homes.

– According to UN figures, a further 60,000 Palestinians are at risk of losing their homes due to Israeli policies.

– Palestinian homes are being demolished and their residents made homeless.

– Israeli policies are racist and Palestinians are treated as second-class citizens.

FOA would like you to request your local Masjid to deliver the jummah khutbah on al Isra wa al Miraj and Al Aqsa over the coming fortnight to raise the awareness amongst the congregation.

An outline of the khutba can be found here.

 

JOIN THE PROTEST – FRIDAY 7th JUNE

ASSEMBLE OUTSIDE ISRAELI EMBASSY FROM 5:30-7:30PM

Embassy of Israel, 2 Palace Green, London W8 4QB

Nearest Tube Station: High Street Kensington/Notting Hill Gate

 (Source / 29.05.2013)

Israel settlers damage Palestinian property in East al-Quds, West Bank

This file photo shows a mosque vandalized by Israeli settlers in the West Bank village of Jaba near Ramallah.

This file photo shows a mosque vandalized by Israeli settlers in the West Bank village of Jaba near Ramallah.
Israeli settlers have vandalized the properties of Palestinians in East al-Quds (Jerusalem) and in two villages in the occupied West Bank.

According to reports on Wednesday, 14 Palestinian cars were set ablaze in the East al-Quds areas of Shu’afat and Sheikh Jarrah.

The attackers also inflicted damage on houses and agricultural machinery in the West Bank villages of Zbeidat and Marj Naja.

In April, Israeli settlers desecrated two Palestinian mosques on the outskirts of the city of Bethlehem in the West Bank.

In recent years, Israeli settlers in the West Bank have often assaulted Palestinians and vandalized their property. However, the Tel Aviv regime rarely detains the assailants.

The Israeli regime maintains a defiant stand on the issue of its illegal settlements on Palestinian land as it refuses to freeze settlement expansion. Tel Aviv has come under repeated and widespread international condemnation over the issue.

More than half a million Israelis live in over 120 illegal settlements built since the 1967 Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and East al-Quds.

Human rights groups accuse Tel Aviv of ignoring complaints by the victims of settler attacks.

(Source / 29.05.2013)

Gaza on 29.05.2013 at night

#Gaza Now: Israeli incursion east Khanyounis city right now, The Palestinian resistance has fired mortar shells toward the crossed vehicles
Urgent | The situation in the Gaza Strip now

The Palestinian Resistance bombing the Zionist forces that try to penetrate using mortars!

Urgent | The situation in the Gaza Strip now
1 – Zionist occupation forces roll in a limited way in the town of “Qararah” east of Khan Younis!
2 – Zionist occupation forces fired lighting bombs over the eastern Maghazi refugee camp in conjunction with an active movement of the Zionist military mechanisms in that area!

Happening #NOW in #GAZA: an “Israeli” incursion east of Khanyounes, with armed vehicles and flares in the skies via.@Belalmd12

Geduld

By Marianna Laarif

Vele jaren geleden leefde er eens een man, die een zoon had met een mooi uiterlijk en een grote begaafdheid. Hij ging naar school en leerde daar met buitengewoon veel vlijt alles wat men hem onderwees, en had altijd dorst naar nog meer kennis

Toen hij de leeftijd van een man bereikt had, koos zijn vader een vrouw voor hem uit, met wie hij trouwde.
Nauwelijks had men de bruiloft op passende wijze gevierd, of de vader van de jongeman stierf.
Hij werd begraven en men rouwde veertig dagen lang om hem; toen zette zijn zoon zijn studie weer voort.
Eén van zijn studiegenoten, die uit een ver land was teruggekeerd, vertelde hem dat in het land waar hij was geweest de beroemdste en meest volmaakte heilige woonde, in één woord: het voorbeeld van wetenschap en deugdzaamheid van zijn tijd.
Daarop nam de jongeman ogenblikkelijk het besluit zich in dat land te gaan vestigen en les te nemen bij de beroemde en heilige man.

Hij ging dadelijk naar huis, pakte zijn sandalen, zijn reistas, wat spullen en een wandelstok en ging op weg naar het verre land, om bij de beroemde meester in de leer te gaan.

Veertig dagen en veertig nachten liep hij aan een stuk door en bereikte eindelijk het land, waarnaar zijn geest op zoek was. Hij vond de beroemde meester al spoedig en stelde zich aan hem voor.
De meester, die een smidse had en daarin werkte, vroeg hem:
“Wat wil je jongeman?” – “Het Weten leren,” antwoordde hij. De smid gaf hem de blaasbalg en beval hem te trekken.
De leerling trok en liet de blaasbalg op bevel van de meester weer los, om zo het vuur in de smidse aan te wakkeren.

Een dag, een week, een maand, een jaar en nog meer jaren gingen zo voorbij, zonder dat iemand met hem sprak en waarin hij steeds dezelfde handeling herhaalde.
Wel zag hij mensen langs de smidse komen, die zijn meester vragen stelden en van hem antwoord kregen.
Weer anderen kregen van de meester een bepaalde taak; zij bleven in de smidse en ook zij moesten een bepaalde handeling dag in dag uit herhalen, en ze deden dat net als hij, zonder vermoeid te raken, zonder een woord te wisselen en zonder ook maar ooit te klagen. Zo gingen tien jaar voorbij.

Toen was het geduld van de jongeman op en waagde hij het de meester te vragen:
“Meester?” – “Wat wil je?” antwoordde de smid, en hij zei: “Het weten!” – “Trek aan je blaasbalg!” was het antwoord van de smid en ging door met zijn werk, zonder zich te laten ophouden.

Het enige  plezier van de jongeman was, als hij uitgeput van zijn dagelijkse werk, zijn karige kostje in zijn kamertje at en in de boeken las, die de meester of zijn kameraden hem hadden geleend.
Zwijgen was de leefregel, zowel in de smidse als in zijn kamer.
Niemand sprak met hem en hij sprak met niemand.
Als hij iets wilde weten over een bepaald punt van de grammatica, het  recht of de Koran uitlegging, dan was het hem toegestaan zijn vraag op een briefje te schrijven en bij het binnengaan van de smidse het papier aan zijn meester te overhandigen.
De meester wierp het briefje of in het vuur, of hij stak het in de plooien van zijn tulband.
Als hij het briefje in het vuur wierp, dan betekende dat, dat de vraag geen antwoord waard was, maar als hij het in de plooien van zijn tulband stak, dan vond de jongeman ‘s avonds als hij thuis kwam het antwoord van zijn meester aan het hoofdeinde van zijn bed, geschreven in gouden letters.
Zo ging de meester met al zijn leerlingen te werk, zonder ooit een van hun briefjes te lezen: of hij verbrandde ze, of hij bewaarde ze in de plooien van zijn tulband.

Er waren precies twintig jaar voorbijgegaan, sinds onze jongeman in de smidse was; toen kwam de meester naar hem toe en sprak: “Je kunt nu naar je land terugkeren, jongeman. Het Weten dat je zoekt heet Geduld.”

Toen hij in zijn vaderland kwam, verwonderde hij zich erover, dat hij zo weinig van de wereld wist, hij, die er zo veel van geweten had voordat hij bij de meester in de leer was gegaan.

Eindelijk kwam hij bij zijn huis, en hij verheugde zich op de vreugde van zijn vrouw over zijn terugkeer.
Voordat hij echter aan de deur klopte, keek hij door een vensterluik zijn huis binnen.
O, wat een schrik, wat zag hij daar! Wat zagen zijn ogen nu! Zijn vrouw zat daar op een tapijt, geleund tegen een stapel kussens.
Naast haar zat een jonge, knappe man en ze praatten en lachten samen en brachten de tijd uiterst aangenaam door.

De reiziger nam een pijl uit zijn koket, spande zijn boog en maakte zich gereed zijn vrouw en de jongeman met een pijl te doorboren, toen het woord ‘geduld’ van de meester hem te binnen schoot.
Hij klopte op de deur en er werd opengedaan; het was dezelfde jongeman die hij door het luik bij zijn vrouw had zien zitten. Hij ging de salon in.
Zijn vrouw, die hem herkende, snelde hem stralend van vreugde tegemoet en riep de jongeman toe: “Ahmed, mijn zoon, dit is je vader!”

De man knielde neer met zijn gezicht naar Mekka, raakte met zijn voorhoofd de aarde aan en riep: “Allah, twintig jaar lang heb ik geleerd geduld te oefenen en het scheelde maar een haar of ik had zojuist mijn zoon gedood!
Hoe onberekenbaar is onze zwakheid, en hoe oneindig is Uw Wijsheid!
Hoe onuitputtelijk Uw Barmhartigheid!”

Mubarak-era cruelty continues at Rafah crossing

Men holding passports crowd at crossing terminal

Rafah crossing, Gaza’s main outlet, was closed by Egypt for five consecutive days.

Since 2006 — when Hamas unexpectedly won Palestinian parliamentary elections — the situation at the Rafah crossing between Gaza and Egypt has been a source of extraordinary confusion.

For 1.6 million Palestinians in Gaza, the Rafah crossing has been the main gateway to the outside world. There are no other routes for entering or leaving our besieged territory — though there were until the late 1990s when Palestinians could travel here via Erez crossing, which separates Gaza and Israel.

Lately, the Egyptian government of President Mohammed Morsi has been following the trends set by the regime ousted following mass protests in Cairo’s Tahrir Square two years ago. Morsi’s predecessor, Hosni Mubarak, carried out Israeli orders at Rafah, which meant the crossing was frequently closed.

Heavy toll

This month Egyptian police — enraged by the kidnapping of seven colleagues — kept the crossing blocked, stranding hundreds of Palestinian travelers on both sides, for five days. The closure took a heavy toll on Palestinians travelers, especially those who are unwell. It has caused the death of Ghazza al-Khawaldi from Khan Younis who needed medical treatment abroad that she couldn’t get in Gaza.

Palestinians in Gaza have been questioning why the crossing was closed in response to the hostage situation. The kidnappers were proved to be part of Tawhid wa al-Jihad, a group which espouses a more radical form of Islamism than Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood, and which enjoys no support from the vast majority of people in Gaza.

But Gaza is routinely subjected to collective punishment. Last month, militants fired two rockets from Sinai into Israel. In August of last year, 16 Egyptian border guards were killed by militants. Whenever such violence occurs, the entire Gaza Strip pays the price.

Prison gate

More than two years after the uprising in Egypt, the Rafah crossing remains a prison gate. Cairo’s responses fall short of the demands articulated by protesters in Tahrir Square. Many of them carried Palestinian flags and denounced Egypt’s cooperation with Israel.

Last month a delegation of Palestinian youth living in Gaza, the West Bank, present-day Israel and the diaspora, participated in the World Social Forum in Tunisia. Sponsored by Quaker and health organizations, the six participants from Gaza, including myself, headed to the Rafah crossing believing that we had a special permission from security officers to pass easily and quickly.

We all planned to enjoy the little time we would have in Egypt before flying. I had arranged beforehand to meet some Egyptian friends and activists.

When we arrived at the Rafah crossing, we saw dozens of travelers from Gaza, who were filled with anxiety, wondering if they would be allowed to pass, or be sent back into Gaza. Their cigarette smoke filled up the closed waiting hall. While men were questioned by Egypt’s “national security” agency, our group — three women and three men — waited impatiently for our names to be called.

Meanwhile, we heard a woman in her forties weeping and sobbing hysterically as she was about to faint. The woman, her husband and a five-year-old child were standing near the desk where intelligence officers conducted checks with every man. Essentially, these are the same checks and procedures undertaken by Mubarak’s oppressive police apparatus.

Humiliating

The crying woman was suffering from cancer and had a permit to cross Egypt for treatment. Yet the police officer wanted to return her husband back to Gaza. She moved towards the officer to explain that she couldn’t cross without him. At once, the officer tore her papers and her permit — a document which is difficult to obtain.

At that moment, one couldn’t but ask if the same officer would ever dare to tear the papers of an American, European or Israeli — anyone other than a Palestinian. Yes, they eventually allowed them to pass, while returning most men back to Gaza. But only after subjecting the couple to humiliating and cruel treatment.

Our group was made to wait for five hours in Rafah. Eventually, the three men in our group were told on the Egyptian side of the crossing that they were not allowed go any further.

When we were informed of this decision, I requested an explanation.

I told a security officer that the three men were part of our group and that we, the same people, had been allowed to attend the World Social Forum in Brazil a few months earlier.

“Don’t argue”

Though people in Gaza have heard about the measure of not allowing men under the age of 40 to travel, we have never been given an explanation for the policy.

Ironically, this is supposed to be one of the measures to “ease” the siege of Gaza taken after the 2011 uprising in Egypt. It is the same condition Israel imposes on Palestinians from the occupied West Bank, who wish to enter Jerusalem and pray in al-Aqsa mosque.

After asking me some questions about myself and my work, the officer replied with only one answer: “These are the orders; don’t argue.”

We, the three women in the group — feeling terribly bad — were taken to our hotel, though we had made a reservation for six people. The men, along with some other youth, were taken to what Palestinians call the “deportation room” in Cairo International Airport.

Even though it may appear to be a “privilege” to be a woman in this case, it was not. Putting us in a different “category” amounts to discrimination against us.

Indeed, we learned from our deported colleagues about how discrimination against Palestinians is becoming more serious. They told us how the Egyptian authorities now have a new category of people to deport: Palestinians residing in Syria. These are people who have fled the appalling violence in Syria, to whom the Syrian embassy in Cairo had initially promised assistance. But the men in our group were told that when the embassy’s staff learned that these refugees were Palestinian, the diplomats stated: “you are not our responsibility.”

The men in our group met a number of Palestinians who had been put in this category. Many of them had been staying in the same room for more than forty days. One of them had a sister in the deportation room for women. Another man had lost contact with his parents who were in a refugee camp in Turkey; he was trying to reach Sweden, where he had relatives.

We made enquires in Cairo about this group. The Egyptian authorities informed us that they had been transferred to al-Qanatir prison.

Freedom of movement denied

Almost two years ago, dozens of Arab and international organizations issued an urgent call for the permanent opening of the Rafah crossing. The call was supported by veteran anti-apartheid activists from South Africa such as Desmond Tutu and Ronnie Kasrils, as well as by Richard Falk, the UN special rapporteur for the West Bank and Gaza, and by the writersAhdaf Soueif and Tariq Ali.

Freedom of movement is a human right enshrined the Geneva conventions. The Egyptian government is violating that right.

As we struggle to uphold our fundamental rights, we can take heart from the words of the Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish: “No detention room will remain. Nor will the chains strangle.”

Eli Yishai, who was Israel’s interior minister until recently, has vowed to “send Gaza back to the Middle Ages.” The siege imposed on us is both physical and psychological. The work to end this siege needs to stepped up as a matter of urgency.

(Source / 29.05.2013)

Constructive Resistance in al-Aqaba

Al-Aqaba, a village with the smallest local council in the West Bank, continually rises above its size and situation by demonstrating community strength through non-violent resistance and proactive development. Since 1967 the village has suffered greatly under the Israeli occupation and faces constant military encroachment and the threat of building demolition. As a result, the original population of 1000 has decreased to the current size of 300 as people left fearing for their safety and livelihoods. The remaining villagers though, led by mayor Haj Sami Sadeq, remain steadfast in their desire to stay and make the village a viable place for people to return to and live. Together they have created a development strategy resulting in new homes and businesses with the help of international involvement and funding.

Local women work in the newly opened cheese factory in al-Aqaba.

Local women work in the newly opened cheese factory in al-Aqaba.

Located in the northeast of the West Bank, on the edge of the Jordan Valley, the village and surrounding land is classified as Area C and, therefore, under complete Israeli military control and civil jurisdiction. The Israeli army have been a constant presence in the area since 1967, when the village was declared a closed military zone and has been subsequently used as a firing zone. A mock village of empty buildings within a kilometre of the village was constructed and is utilised for this express purpose. The military exercises conducted in and around the village at times include the use of live ammunition and, as a consequence, 8 villagers have been killed and 38 wounded.

The villagers not only live with the continual disregard of their right to safety and security by the Israeli occupation but have the right to build on their own land repeatedly denied. Labelled a security threat, 97% of the village’s buildings have demolition orders against them, including the kindergarten, the only one in the area, that provides education for 150 children. In the past two years, the Israeli army has demolished several homes, farming shelters and two major roads. The village is unable to obtain building permits for its own land and has had three master plans rejected by the Israeli Civil Administration, most recently in 2011. The village nonetheless refuses to bow to the ongoing pressure of the Israeli occupation and continues to build infrastructure and houses for its future.

Local man at work in the new tea factory in al-Aqaba.

Local man at work in the new tea factory in al-Aqaba.

Mayor Haj Sami Sadeq responds to this ongoing struggle by asking, “Is the security of Israel compromised if we want to build a building? Does this kindergarten threaten the Israeli security?” The kindergarten in question was built in conjunction with the Rebuilding Alliance, one of 17 different international organisations and embassies that the village has worked with to help rebuild the community over the past ten years. The Rebuilding Alliance, together with the local Housing Association, have also helped to build three, of a proposed twenty, houses to provide residence for some of the 700 displaced villagers who want to return. Unfortunately the three houses remain unfinished as the $13,000USD required to finish them promised by the Palestinian Authority (PA) has not been forthcoming because of the PA’s current financial situation.

The Housing Association is one of five local groups in al-Aqaba helping to create a stable future for the small community; the other groups at work are the Agricultural Co-op, the Rural Women’s Society, Club for Hope and the Village Council. The Rural Women’s Society helps to operate and run a sewing collective, a tea factory and a newly opened cheese factory. The new businesses create employment for local men and women and are part of a plan that includes the future creation of a herb nursery, restaurant/cafe and conference space that will make the village an even more attractive place to visit.

The distinctive double minaret of al-Aqaba mosque.

The distinctive double minaret of al-Aqaba mosque.

In 2010 a building in the village was renovated to create aguesthouse to provide accommodation for international visitors, including volunteers who have worked at the kindergarten teaching English. This has helped to counter the negative portrayal of al-Aqaba by the Israeli government and army, who have warned internationals that the village is dangerous and their medical insurance will be void upon entering. One current residence of the guesthouse Maurice Jacobsen, is currently filming the everyday life and situation for a future documentary on the village titled ‘Constructive Resistance’.

In spite of the daily violations of their basic human rights to dignity, security, housing and property the village persists by building hope and life. In this way the small village has become a model for others in community development and how to attract attention from the international community. The ultimate goal has always been to prevent the village from being demolished and for the villagers to live and build on their land in peace. With current demolition orders for it, one only has to look at the village mosque which has a double minaret in the shape of a peace sign. The only one of its kind, it is a permanent symbol of the village’s non-violent resistance when living under occupation.

http://vimeo.com/66571673

Constructive Resistance Preview 1.1 from The Palestine Chronicles on Vimeo.

(Source / 29.05.2013)

Behind the story: A beating caught by settlers’ camera exposes violent encroachment on a village’s land

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=OOfw5oWLFCc

This video shows Israeli soldiers beating Muhammad Dar Sa’ad on April 26th. As the camera zooms in (at 1:36 and 5:14) it becomes clear that Dar Sa’ad is a youth. The Israeli military forces are shown kicking and punching him prior to his detainment and arrest.

Of course, Israeli soldiers beating young Palestinians is nothing new; we can read about it almost any day (like, today). But because this assault was caught on camera it’s being investigated. And while it provides another window into Israel’s military justice system, this is also the story of a cover up.

The focus on Dar Sa’ad’s alleged actions (stonethrowing) distracts the media from the real story:  another Israeli settlement in occupied territory, violently taking land, and protected by Israeli soldiers.

First Dar Sa’ad’s story. As B’Tselem stated in a report yesterday, the videotape above took a long time to come out. And when it did, Dar Sa’ad was freed. From B’Tselem— pay attention to why we even have the video:

Palestinian youth detained for a month, released after footage revealed

The Military Police Investigations Unit (MPIU) will investigate a serious incident in which soldiers and Border Policemen beat a Palestinian youth while arresting him. The incident was captured by a security camera ofthe Ofra settlement, but the camera operators diverted the camera from the violent scene, apparently so as to avoid documenting it, and the video footage of the arrest was not transferred to the detainee’s defense attorney for nearly a month, during which time the youngster was held in detention. The MPIU only notified B’Tselem today that an investigation is to be opened, after the organization wrote urgently yesterday to demand investigation into the violent arrest and into suspicions of disruption of proceedings and failure to report a crime by the persons involved in the filming or persons who knew of it.

The incident took place in the village of Silwad, east of Ramallah, on 26 April 2013. However, the video footage was revealed only after the detainee, Muhammad Dar Sa’ad from the village of al-Mazra’ah a-Sharqiyah, was held in detention for nearly a month, and only thanks to efforts made by his attorney, Nery Ramati of Gaby Lasky and Partners, Law Offices. Once the footage was revealed, the military prosecution withdrew its claim that Dar Sa’ad had thrown stones and he was released.

In its request to open a criminal investigation, B’Tselem stated that the footage of the arrest had clearly been viewed by several different persons before reaching Att. Ramati: The camera operators, the security coordinator of the Ofra settlement, and the police investigators and military prosecution, who learned of the violence last week. All were obliged to transfer the footage to the appropriate law enforcement authorities and to demand that the severe violence documented in to be investigated; their choice to refrain from action raises grave suspicion of disruption of legal proceedings. In addition, soldiers and officers who were at the scene witnessed the violence, but none of them reported it to the law enforcement authorities in real time as required by law and by military orders.

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Protesters march to Israeli outpost near Israeli settlement of Ofra

Go back to April and the original event was widely covered.  Reuters reported that a demonstration of 500 Palestinians against an Israeli settler outpost was broken up by Israeli forces. At our site,  Ira Glunts got on the story that day, writing, “In huge demonstration against lawless settler outpost, 500 Palestinians are teargassed by Israeli army.”

That lawless outpost is an expansion of Ofra, the settlement whose camera operator recorded portions of the beating on the video involved in the cover-up, the video that supported the youth’s testimony that he was not throwing stones that day.

 1
A protester near Deir Jarir waves a Palestinian flag in front of Ofra

Settlement April 26, 2013

Why were hundreds of Palestinians  marching to Ofra that day– “the largest [demonstration] of its kind for years,” per Reuters? Noah Browning opens his report by saying the villagers had been attacked by settlers twice that week. AndMa’an reports “dozens” of settlers from Ofra raided a nearby village in the middle of the night, destroying property and torching cars.

And four days before the demonstration, Ma’an News gave the true narrative of events: that settlers had repeatedly gone into a Palestinian village whose land they coveted and committed violent acts.

Witnesses told Ma’an that settlers from Ofra entered the village of Deir Jarir and attacked property in the village, setting fire to 10 vehicles.

In recent weeks, fierce clashes have broken out in the area as Palestinians try to protect private land slated for annexation to Ofra.

Earlier in April, a group of Israeli settlers assaulted a resident of Silwad who sustained bruises and was hospitalized.

What is an outpost? As Reuters reported, they are settlers’ mobile homes, plopped down on the village land of Deir Jareer. Completely illegal under international law. But on the morning of Friday April 26, Israeli army jeeps and soldiers surrounded “a cluster of half a dozen makeshift settler homes” as the men from Deir Jareer gathered for prayers on an outcropping near the illegal outpost.

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Palestinian village men tear gassed by Israeli army, pushed back

This is how the illegal settlements expand. The settlers set up outposts, the outposts are then protected by Israeli security forces, formally or otherwise. The settlers attack the villages and villagers.

And Palestinians dare to resist this robbery and destruction. As Sami Issa, a villager, told Reuters’s Noah Browning: “This was a peaceful area. We’re gathered today to say we refuse to be attacked and driven off our own land. We want their army to pull the settlers out.”

Of course you never hear about violent settlers being arrested, let alone beaten. One reason is that being Israeli citizens, they are not subject to the military justice system to which their Palestinian neighbors are subject. Could there be any clearer evidence of apartheid?

Now Israeli authorities say that they’re investigating what happened between Ofra and Deir Jareer.

The Israeli military has said it is investigating the events leading up to the march. Asked about Friday’s incidents, an army spokesman said: “Soldiers responded to a group of some 250 stone-throwing youths with riot dispersal means near Ofra.”

What are the chances that investigation will result in imprisoning some of those Ofra settlers for torching cars and throwing stones– in anything like the way that young Muhammad Dar Sa’ad was imprisoned for a month? What are the chances ofthose criminals being set upon by soldiers? What is the chance that Israel will investigate those illegal outposts (bemoaned and investigated by Peace Now; but still they multiply)?

No, the only real likelihood is that those same settlers will repeat their actions– using violent provocative incursions to enable Israel’s military to beat and imprison Palestinian youth right before the watchful eye of the settlers who instigated the madness.

And John Kerry’s “economic plan” is supposed to fix the injustices of occupation? It won’t.

(Source / 29.05.2013)

Five Palestinians Injured In Northern Gaza

Tuesday evening May 28 2013, Palestinian medical sources have reported that five Palestinians, members of the same family, have been injured by an explosion in Jabalia, in the northern part of the Gaza strip.

Ashraf Al-Qudra, spokesperson of the Ministry of Health, said that a father and his four sons suffered moderate injuries in the blast, and were moved to the Kamal Adwan Hospital in northern Gaza.

The explosion was apparently caused by an explosive object near a home in the Old Gaza Street, in the Towers Area in Jabalia.

(Source / 29.05.2013)

Assad will remain Syria’s president until 2014, FM says

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad during an interview with Turkish journalists in Damascus on April 2, 2013.

Syria’s foreign minister laid out a hard line Wednesday, insisting that Bashar al-Assad will remain Syria’s president at least until elections in 2014 and might run for another term, terms that will make it difficult for Syria’s opposition to agree to U.N.-sponsored talks on ending Syria’s civil war.

Walid al-Moallem also said that any deal reached in such talks would have to be put to a referendum, raising a new condition that could complicate efforts by the U.S. and Russia to bring the two sides together in Geneva, possibly next month.

In an interview with the Lebanese TV station Al-Mayadeen, the Syrian foreign minister also warned that Syria “will retaliate immediately” if Israel strikes Syrian soil again. Earlier this month, Israeli warplanes struck near the Syrian capital, Damascus, targeting purported Iranian missiles intended for Assad’s ally Hezbollah, a Lebanese militia.

Al-Moallem’s comments highlighted the wide gaps between the regime and the opposition on the terms of the Geneva talks, the international community’s only plan at the moment for trying to end the civil war. The opposition has demanded that Assad’s departure from power top the agenda of any peace talks.

The Syrian foreign minister said Assad will remain in his post at least until scheduled elections in 2014.

“From now until the next elections, President Bashar al-Assad is president of the Syrian Arab Republic,” he said. “Will Assad run in 2014 or not? This depends on the circumstances in 2014 and on the popular will. If the people want him to run, he will run. If the people don’t want that, I don’t think he will. Let us not jump the gun.”

The United States and its allies have repeatedly called on Assad to step down. Al-Moallem said that “Americans have no business in deciding who will run Syria,” adding that this “would be a precedent in international relations that we must not allow.”

The foreign minister also said that “anything agreed on in Geneva will be held to a referendum in Syria.”

“If it wins the support of the Syrian people, we will go ahead with it,” he said.

(Source / 29.05.2013)

Statement Issued by the Revolutionary Movement in Syria

Statement Issued by the Revolutionary Movement in Syria

We have waited in vain for many months for the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces (SC) to take concrete steps, and offered its leadership multiple chances to do so. However, the reality is that there is no doubt that the SC’s leadership has failed to fulfill its responsibility to represent the great Syrian people’s revolution at the organizational, political, and humanitarian levels. The SC’s continued failure, particularly in the General Assembly, during the last week of meetings in Istanbul, deepens our conviction that the SC, in its current form, is unable to fulfill its obligations due to the ongoing discord among the different parties represented. This negativity has led to the blatant interference of international and regional parties without respect to the national will. The SC’s organizational capacity has deteriorated, and in reality, has far exceeded its original mandate as agreed upon during its founding. Given the SC’s dysfunction, we feel compelled to re-state our national responsibility as a revolutionary force, to honor the sacrifices of our people, and to fulfill their revolutionary aspirations, particularly in light of the challenges posed by the Geneva 2 conference and the decision-making process regarding the future of our nation and the region.
We hereby declare that:

The recent attempt to expand membership in the SC is no more than a feeble attempt to add persons and groups that have no real impact on the revolution, and we reject this attempt.

Any new SC members must represent our revolutionaries politically, and empower them by participating fully in the SC’s decision-making process. Our political representation should occupy no fewer than 50% of the seats in the SC and its leadership bureaus.

The revolutionary forces that have signed this statement will no longer bestow legitimacy upon any political body that subverts the revolution or fails to take into account the sacrifices of the Syrian people or adequately represent them.

We consider this statement to be a final warning to the SC, for the Syrian people have spoken.

Long live Free Syria, in dignity, for all its loyal citizens.

Damascus, May 28, 2013

Signatories:

Syrian Revolution General Commission

Local Coordination Committees in Syria

Syrian Revolution Coordinators’ Union

Supreme Council for the Leadership of the Syrian Revolution

(Source / 29.05.2013)