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Dagelijks archief 2 juli 2013

The Ruling on Abortion in Islam


Choose Life

By Abu Amina Elias for


What does Islam teach about abortion (killing an unwanted fetus)?


In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful

Abortion is unlawful in every stage of pregnancy, from conception until birth. However, scholars make an exception in the case that the developing pregnancy would threaten the woman’s life.

Allah said:

وَلَا تَقْتُلُوا أَوْلَادَكُمْ خَشْيَةَ إِمْلَاقٍ ۖ نَّحْنُ نَرْزُقُهُمْ وَإِيَّاكُمْ ۚ إِنَّ قَتْلَهُمْ كَانَ خِطْئًا كَبِيرًا

Do not kill your children for fear of poverty. We provide for them and for you. Verily, their killing is a great sin.

Surah Al-Isra 17:31

The fetus is a human being who has the right to be protected from violence, and this right takes precedence over an adult’s desire to be free of an unwanted baby. An aborted fetus is given a funeral prayer in Islam the same as any other human being.

Al-Mughirah ibn Shu’bah reported: The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him:

وَالسِّقْطُ يُصَلَّى عَلَيْهِ وَيُدْعَى لِوَالِدَيْهِ بِالْمَغْفِرَةِ وَالرَّحْمَةِ

The funeral prayer should be offered over the miscarried fetus, and supplications for forgiveness and mercy should be made for the parents.

Source: Sunan Abu Dawud 3180, Grade: Sahih

Abortion resembles the pre-Islamic practice of the Arabs in which they would bury their female children alive as soon as they were born. Islam has strictly forbidden this practice.

Allah said:

وَإِذَا الْمَوْءُودَةُ سُئِلَتْ بِأَيِّ ذَنبٍ قُتِلَتْ

When the infant girl buried alive is asked for what sin she was killed?

Surah At-Takweer 81:8-9

Ibn Taymiyyah said:

إسْقَاطُ الْحَمْلِ حَرَامٌ بِإِجْمَاعِ الْمُسْلِمِينَ وَهُوَ مِنْ الْوَأْدِ

Aborting a fetus is unlawful according to the consensus of the Muslims, as it is like the infant who is buried alive.

Source: Majmu’ Al-Fatawa

Abortion is often used by people to support a lifestyle of irresponsible sexual intercourse. They would like to perform abortions without legal restrictions so they can have recreational sex without consequences. Such a lifestyle can never be justified in Islam.

Allah said:

وَلَا تَقْرَبُوا الزِّنَا ۖ إِنَّهُ كَانَ فَاحِشَةً وَسَاءَ سَبِيلًا

Do not approach unlawful sexual intercourse. Verily, it is immoral and it is an evil way.

Surah Al-Isra 17:32

If the woman’s life might be threatened by the developing pregnancy, then some scholars say it is permissible to abort the fetus preferably before the first forty or up to 120 days. This concession is based upon the principle of choosing the lesser of two evils, and the time period is based upon the narration of the Prophet which states that the soul is breathed into fetus during the first forty to 120 days.

Abdullah ibn Mas’ud reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said:

نَّ أَحَدَكُمْ يُجْمَعُ خَلْقُهُ فِي بَطْنِ أُمِّهِ أَرْبَعِينَ يَوْمًا ثُمَّ يَكُونُ فِي ذَلِكَ عَلَقَةً مِثْلَ ذَلِكَ ثُمَّ يَكُونُ فِي ذَلِكَ مُضْغَةً مِثْلَ ذَلِكَ ثُمَّ يُرْسَلُ الْمَلَكُ فَيَنْفُخُ فِيهِ الرُّوحَ

Verily, the creation of each one of you is brought together in his mother’s womb for forty days in the form of seed, then he is a clot of blood for another period, then a morsel of flesh for another period, then there is sent to him the angel who blows the breath of life into him…

Source: Sahih Muslim 2643, Grade: Sahih

Therefore, it is permissible to perform an abortion if there is a life-threatening medical reason for doing so, but it is never permissible if the intention is fear of poverty or to support an irresponsible lifestyle.

Success comes from Allah, and Allah knows best.

(Source / 02.07.2013)

Israeli forces use explosive bullet to kill Palestinian youth

Explosive bullets are prohibited for use as part of crowd control measures

Explosive bullets are prohibited for use as part of crowd control measures

Israeli occupation forces used explosive ammunition to kill a Palestinian youth, it has been alleged. Police Cadet Mutaz Al-Sharawneh, 19, was shot and killed on Monday night in the village of Dura, near Hebron. Initial reports claimed that he was knocked over by an Israeli jeep but medical examination revealed that he was killed by a bullet. The Israelis later admitted the shooting and said that an investigation will be held.

Palestinian sources said that children threw stones at the Israeli forces who responded with live fire. Al-Sharawneh was shot in the chest and rushed to hospital by Red Crescent ambulance. He was pronounced dead in Hebron Hospital. The young man was a cadet at the Palestinian Security Academy in Jericho.

Explosive bullets are prohibited for use as part of crowd control measures. That is why, claimed one Palestinian activist, the Israelis said that the death was an accident involving a motor vehicle. This was accepted by the Israeli and Palestinian media until the hospital report was released, which revealed the real cause of death.

(Source / 02.07.2013)

Interview with Ilan Pappé: “The Zionist goal from the very beginning was to have as much as Palestine as possible with as few Palestinians in it as possible”

pappe1 - Copy

Ilan Pappé is an Israeli academic and activist. He is currently a professor at the University of Exeter (UK) and is well known for being one of the Israeli “new historians” – re-writing the Zionist narrative of the Palestinian Israeli situation. He has publicly spoken out against Israel’s policies of ethnic cleansing of Palestine and condemned the Israeli occupation and apartheid regime. He has also supported the Boycott, Divestments and Sanctions (BDS) campaign, calling for the international community to take action against Israel’s Zionist policies.

Activists from the International Solidarity Movement had the opportunity to talk to Professor Pappé about the ethnic cleansing of Palestine, Israeli politics and society and the role of the international community and solidarity activists in Palestine, resulting in a three part series of interviews which will be released on the ISM website in the coming weeks.

This is the first section; the ethnic cleansing of Palestine. 

International Solidarity Movement: In your book “The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine” (2006) and in your different speeches, you declare that Israel’s policy in Palestine could be qualified as a policy of ethnic cleansing. Has this strategy changed now or has the ethnic cleansing continued? If so, how has it continued?

Ilan Pappé: Before choosing the title for my book “The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine”, I thought a lot because I knew the connotations, I realised that for too many people it would be too radical. I remember even my publisher had reservations about it. But then I checked the American State Department website about ethnic cleansing and the description of what ethnic cleansing is and it fitted so well with what was and is going on in Palestine. This description does not only describe an act of expulsion but also its’ legal implications, which is in this specific case, is a crime against humanity. It also says very clearly that the only way to compensate an ethnic cleansing is to ask the people who were expelled whether they want to return or not.

The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine by Ilan Pappé

The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine by Ilan Pappé

About the second part of your question, if this ethnic cleansing is continuing or not? Yes, I think it has continued, by different means, but it has. However the Zionist ideology and strategy has not changed from its very beginning. The idea was “We want to create a Jewish state in Palestine but also a Jewish democracy”. So the Zionists need to have a Jewish majority all the time. Now, you can do that by bringing Jewish immigrants to Palestine, but that didn’t work, the Jewish people remained a minority. They hoped that the Palestinians for some reasons would just leave, but this didn’t happen. So, ethnic cleansing was the only real solution from the Zionist perspective, not only to have control over Palestine, but also to have a Jewish democracy even with a really small minority. In 1948 they [Zionists leaders] believed that there was a unique historical opportunity to solve the problem of being a minority in the land where they wanted to be a majority.

Ethnic cleansing is a huge and massive operation, which usually takes place in time of war, therefore you cannot always know how to finish it. At the end of 1948 they [Zionist leaders] had 80% of the land they wanted (Israel without the West Bank and the Gaza strip), and in it they [Jewish people] were 85% of the population, together with a small minority that we today call the Palestinians of 48. They did not expel these Palestinians but they imposed their military rules on them, which to me is another kind of ethnic cleansing. You don’t physically get rid of them but you make them leave their houses, you don’t allow them to move freely, you don’t allow them their basic rights. In this instance, it was not about dispossession by uprooting someone but instead by making them prisoners, aliens in their own land. In 1967 the territorial apartheid in Israel grew. Now they wanted the rest of the land of historical Palestine. They achieved this with the Six-day war. Then they did something absurd from their own perspective. In 1948 they threw out from the country about 1 million Palestinians and in 1967 they incorporated about 1 million and a half Palestinians (those who were living in the West Bank and Gaza strip). So again, they had a problem with the Jewish majority democracy. Palestinians became again a demographic threat.

In 1967 they also expelled Palestinians, mostly from Jericho, Bethlehem, Jerusalem, Nablus, Qalqilya, but we don’t know the exact numbers. In order to understand this particular ethnic cleansing afterwards, we need to look at how they solved their problems in 1967. The war was a big victory for Israel because they got the land that they always wanted, the land of the ancient biblical cities (like Jericho, Hebron and Nablus). They didn’t expel the Palestinians but they didn’t give them citizenship either. The problem is that they colonized the rest of the land, denied citizenship to the natives and then they told the world that they wanted peace. So what they did, and they still do, was lie to themselves and to the world about their intentions. All the peace processes were just a cover.

Now, what to do with this new demographic threat? (there are now around 5.5 million Palestinians in the whole region of historical Palestine) I call it ethnic cleansing by different means. Some of the Palestinians lost their homes (between 1967 and today an average of 300,000 to 400,000 Palestinians have been individually expelled). They were either expelled or when they were travelling abroad, for example during a business trip to Rome and they didn’t come back within a year, they lost their right to return. Even if they came back within a year and later they leave the country again, even only for a few days, they also lose their right to return. It is hard to describe the ethnic cleansing because it is only about individuals and they succeeded with many. Then they expelled the Palestinians from the biblical areas that they wanted to be purely Jewish, like the greater Jerusalem area, where a lot of people were forced to become West Bank Palestinians after the occupation of 1967.

The ethnic cleansing is not only taking place in the West Bank or Gaza strip. For example in the Galilee, Palestinians are not allowed to develop their cities and villages. Sometimes you don’t even need to expel people as long as you don’t allow them to expand, to build their infrastructure, to have a decent job. In fact, a lot of Palestinians in the Galilee left because of the policies of Judaisation. We also have ethnic cleansing of the Bedouins in the south (Negev). Next month (June 2013), Israel is planning to push 30,000 Bedouins out of their lands and homes, to put them into some special centres. A little bit like the Native Americans reservations. What we have here is a constant policy since 1948.

How can you solve the problem of a country that wants to be both Jewish and democratic? How can you maintain a situation by which those who are citizens are only one people? You can tolerate a small number of Palestinians, and this is actually good for Israel because it creates a façade of them being the “only democracy in the Middle East”. However 20% of Palestinians (that’s the current percentage of Palestinians living in Israel) is too much because they could hypothetically have an impact in the Israeli political system. So, how to proceed? In 1948 it was about taking them out of their homes, now they are doing it in a different way. They created an apartheid system within Israel and they make the West Bank a place where people lack citizenship.

Ethnic cleansing of Palestinian land, comparison between 1948 and 2000

Ethnic cleansing of Palestinian land, comparison between 1948 and 2000

ISM: What are the concrete administrative and legal obstacles for the Palestinians living in Israel?

IP: The Palestinians in Israel are discriminated on 3 levels. The first is legal. By law, the fact that you are Palestinian means that you have fewer rights than a Jew. The most important law in this regard is the law on land ownership. According to the Israeli law, the land in Israel belongs to the Jewish people and them only. As a non-Jew, you are not allowed to trade or to purchase land and we are talking about 93% of the land. That’s why the Palestinians can’t grow and expand within Israel. Other laws do not specifically talk about the Palestinians, this is an old Israeli trick. The law says that if you have not served in the army you cannot have full rights as a student for example. You won’t get student’s subsidies, health services allowances, social security et al. All those things that the Western countries try to give to their citizens come with the precondition of military service in Israel. It is a trick because the Israelis do not want the Palestinians to serve in the army, in fact they are not allowed even if they would want to. There is an exception when it comes to Orthodox Jews, they do not serve in the army but they are not discriminated because they have a special annex to the Israeli budget. The Orthodox Jews get the money that the state would have used if they would have served in the army. So, Israeli law speaks for itself because it says that if you are Palestinian, you are a second-class citizen.

The second obstacle is policy discrimination. With this I mean that theoretically all citizens are equal. But when you look at the allocation budgets for schools, roads, infrastructure, anything at all, the Palestinians always get half or less than half of what the Jewish communities get. Here in Israel, you can see if you are in a Palestinian village just by looking at the quality of the roads. This is even nastier than you realise, because you can only improve the quality of the village by collaborating with Israel.

The third level is the worst one. It is the one of the daily encounter that Palestinians have with whoever represents the law in Israel. We undertook research in Haifa many years ago, which showed that in court, for the same charges, Palestinians always, always, got – and still get – double the punishment than their Jewish counterparts got.

To these three levels I will add two things. The Palestinians know that in the eyes of the Israeli authorities they represent a demographic threat. They live their whole lives knowing that the state they live in see them as a problem and want to get rid of them. That does not just mean the overt discrimination they face, because on top of that they are psychologically destroyed from within. We are not even talking about immigrants, but about people who are living in their homeland.  This is exactly what Israelis do not understand, that the Jewish people were in the same situation when anti-Semitism was spreading around Europe.

Finally, if we want to compare this situation to South Africa, it is true that here we do not have a “petit-apartheid”, the one which for example creates separated benches and toilets for white and for black. Here it may not be visible to the public eye but is as bad as the one of South Africa.

ISM: The ISM team in Al Khalil (Hebron) has observed the expansion of mass child arrests, which have increased sharply in the last year. For example, 27 children aged between 7 and 16 were arrested on 20thMarch this year on their way to school. What do you think are the specific reasons behind these unjustified actions?

IP: First of all, this is not new. I remember I wrote an article some years ago for the London Review of Books entitled “Children in Prisons”. I also remember when I went to Ofer prison, near Ramallah, after a journalist had told me to go there and watch this children’s court. I saw many children together, all shackled and wearing orange prison uniforms, with a female judge who quickly accused them of throwing stones or something like that.

The policy of child arrests has intensified in recent years, and I think there are two specific reasons for this. Firstly, the Israeli secret services find it more and more difficult to get Palestinian informers. This is directly related to child arrests, and arrests without trial in general, because the main reason why the secret services want to make arrests without trial is that it gives them a really good chance to tell the arrested person that, if they want to be free, they have to work for the secret services. Nobody knows the numbers, but this succeeds. And it doesn’t need to be a sophisticated collaboration, maybe the person will just have to send a report every two weeks about something suspicious. And there’s nothing stronger than threatening a family by arresting their children. If you look at the graphs of child arrests since 1967, you will see that it goes up and down – this might be related to the number of collaborators that Israel can count on.

child arrests

Some of the child arrests documented by the ISM in 2013 (Photos by ISM)

The second point is that Palestinians have changed their strategy since ‘67, to a non-violent-bordering-on-violent resistance (if you assume that stone throwing is violent). They used this way during the First Intifada, and many children participated in it. Then during the Second Intifada, there were many suicide bombers and weapons, and fewer children participating, therefore fewer child arrests. Now, the Israeli military and secret services feel that something is boiling in the West Bank and they are preparing for a Third Intifada. It is very clear that it will be less violent than the previous ones. The State of Israel feels, or wants to feel, like it already started. That’s why they are reporting constantly about the increase of stone-throwing, which automatically leads to more children being arrested and harassed. Israeli soldiers, of course, say that stone-throwing is a form of terrorism, putting lives in danger. Moreover, it makes soldiers feel humiliated, that they can’t respond brutally to this act and to non-violent protest (even if they actually do).

There is an interesting Israeli NGO named “There is a Limit”, whose members were part of the first refuseniks. All Israeli soldiers have a little green book of regulations in their pocket, called “The Soldier’s Guide”, about how to act in different situations, and this NGO made a copy of the book and called it, “Guide To War Crimes”. They took all the instructions of the real book and changed them, in order to show soldiers that they are actually asked to commit war crimes, especially against Palestinian children. But the soldiers don’t care. If you tell them that arresting a child is against international law, they will just say that international law is anti-Semitic, created specifically against Israel. They seem to forget that international law was actually developed also because of the Holocaust.

ISM: You said previously that the Zionist idea of creating a Jewish state didn’t change. What do you mean by the term Jewish state? Do you think that Israeli final goal is to have complete sovereignty on the whole territory of historical Palestine?

IP: The Zionist goal from the very beginning was to have as much as Palestine as possible with as few Palestinians in it as possible. There is no actual difference between what we today call left and right Zionism. The only difference is that the right wing speak their mind more, in the fact that they continuously let us know they want to take more and more land from the Palestinians. They do not care if it is not the right historical moment or if they have enough resources to do it or if the international atmosphere is not good. Whereas the left, the pragmatic left, say that they cannot take land all the time. So, for example, you need to look for good historical moments. Some of the left says that it’s enough to have 90% of historic Palestine for Israelis, with the last 10% for the Palestinians, who would also be denied Israeli citizenship.

This is the two state solution vision from the Israeli perspective. This solution was born as an idea of the Zionist left. They said give a little bit of the West Bank and the Gaza strip to the Palestinians and let them call it a state, even though it is not even connected. What they did is draw a map of the Palestinian state which only shows where the Palestinians live now, not one centimetre more. If you look at the map of the West Bank you can see it, Nablus is Nablus, there are no suburbs of Nablus. According to Israel if there are no Palestinians living there, it’s Israel, regardless of why they are not there. Yet, if you have a settlement, you will need a parameter to protect it. This partition is something that the Zionist left already came up with in 1967. Palestinians can stay where they are but cannot have more space.

West Bank closure map by UN OCHA - full version at

West Bank closure map by OCHA – full versionhere

ISM: So this is the idea developed with the Oslo accords in 1993, which divided the West Bank into three areas (A, B and C)?

IP: Yes, this is correct. But this idea was developed, as I said, in 1967 by the leftist Zionists, way before the Oslo agreements. The great architect of all this was the Zionist Minister of Labour, Yagel Alon. In 1967 Alon wasn’t speaking about areas A, B and C specifically but instead, he was saying that if we want a solution we need to divide the West Bank into two areas, one under Israeli control and the other under Palestinian control. He said that he didn’t care if the Palestinian area would be called a state one day – he had no problem with that. The problem will be who controls the West Bank’s strategic areas and resources. Israel must control the air and the Jordan river and the Palestinians must have no army to stop this. The whole concept of Oslo, to my mind, was truly birthed by the Israelis in 1967.

ISM: In the occupied West Bank, land appropriation is a daily occurrence, especially but not only in Area C. Do you see a present or future parallel with South African’s Bantustans and the reservations of Native Americans at this rate?

IP: Yes. I think I already talked about this, but I will repeat it with a different focus.

Israeli strategists understand that they will not be able to physically get rid of all the Palestinians Palestinians as they will stay where they are. So, instead of getting rid of them, they are putting them in small prisons, so that they don’t feel they are part of Israel. You bring more Jewish people, you colonize, and in order to build houses for them you need to expropriate Palestinian land, because there is no Jewish land to expropriate, so you demolish Palestinian houses. Secondly, you build a separation wall between the Jewish space and the Palestinian space, and you expropriate more land, not only for the settlements but also to create a buffer zone, so that Jewish people and Arabs won’t live together. More importantly, you also take the best land – where the water resources are, and the quality of the land is good. And you take the good water from Palestinians and put it in the hands of the settlers, and make sure that the waste water flows onto Palestinian land. So it is even more cruel – not only do I take your good water, I also sell you bad water for double the price, which is just terrible. And as I said before, yes, I believe that there is a clear parallel between today’s situation in Palestine and the sad historical examples of Native Americans and South African apartheid.

(Source / 02.07.2013)

Israeli troops kidnap two shepherds in South Lebanon

Israeli soldiers on Tuesday kidnapped two shepherds from a southern Lebanese village near the occupied Shebaa Farms, a UN official said.

“We were informed that two shepherds were apprehended by [Israel’s army] in the Shebaa area. The [UNIFIL] force commander is following up on this issue with all the parties … and is trying to secure their release,” Andrea Tenenti, spokesperson for the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon, told Al-Akhbar.

He said the Israeli army confirmed to UNIFIL that the two shepherds, identified by the National News Agency as Youssef Hussein Rahil and Youssef Mohammed Zahra, are in Israeli custody.

Israel’s motivation for targeting the two men remains unclear. It also wasn’t immediately known if Youssef Mohammed Zahra was the same shepherd as an 18-year-old with the same name who was abducted by Israeli troops one year ago.

“We don’t know what happened at this stage,” Tenenti said. “There is an ongoing investigation.”

Israeli troops on 29 June 2012 kidnapped the teenage shepherd in the Shebaa Farms area before releasing him the next day.

Israel has occupied Lebanon’s Shebaa Farms region since 1967.

(Source / 02.07.2013)

Israel imposes new fuel restrictions on Gaza

Israel restricts gas imports into Gaza, creating devestating shortages.

GAZA CITY (IRIN) — Frequent closures of the only crossing for commercial goods between Israel and the Gaza Strip have left Palestinians short of gas for cooking and heating, affecting businesses, agricultural production and health services.

Kerem Shalom crossing reopened on 26 June after two days of closure. Israel has closed the crossing five times since the end of February, for a total of 15 working days, in addition to six days of closure due to holidays.

Before this most recent closure, Palestinians in Gaza said they were still recovering from the series of closures in the spring, which they say created a cumulative deficit in gas.

At one of Gaza’s major gas distributors, some 40,000 empty cylinders fill the station.

“Some people have been waiting for months to get their cylinders filled,” owner Yusri Daban said. He manages to fill about 1,500 per day, but is flooded with an equal amount of empty arrivals.

Daban’s company used to receive 25 tons of gas per day for distribution. His share decreased to 18 tons due to the shortages, and has not been increased since. He says he needs 35 to 45 tons a day to deal with the backlog.

Maher Tabba’, spokesperson of the Gaza chamber of commerce, said the shortages have affected production on farms, factories, bakeries and restaurants, and have added to thechronic power cuts by putting an even higher demand on electricity.

Empty cylinders

Along the wall of Ahmed al-Ajrami’s bakery, about a dozen gas cylinders sit empty. His current stock covers him for just two weeks, he said.

“I am [stuck] between gas shortages and power cuts which impact my business deeply,” he said. “Either way is very difficult, but we are trying to adapt to keep working and to serve customers.” He estimated that his revenue dropped by about 10 percent as a result of the recent shortages.

Gisha, an Israeli organization that campaigns for freedom of movement, describes the closures of Kerem Shalom crossing as a form of collective punishment against a civilian population, which is a violation of international law.

The closure-related shortages come on top of long-standing restrictions on imports and exports, related to a blockade on Gaza imposed by Israel since 2007.

“The additional closures of Kerem Shalom over the past months have aggravated existing shortages,” Gisha said in a recent paper (“Creeping punishment,” May 2013 [PDF]).

Increased costs

The Gaza-based Association of Gas Station Owners, which is responsible for the import of cooking gas, estimates that the demand in Gaza is about 1,250 tons per week, but that on average, only 850 tons are brought in from Israel. Another five tons are brought in daily through tunnels from Egypt, but the process is complicated and the price is high.

As a result of chronic shortages over the years, many businessmen have switched from gas stoves to electrically-powered devices, incurring the increased costs of running a generator. According to the UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), access restrictions, including repeated closures, have widened the gaps in key areas such as health, education, electricity, water and sanitation.

“These measures are resulting in the depletion of stocks of essential supplies, including basic foodstuffs and cooking gas, and undermine the livelihoods and rights of many vulnerable Gazan families,” humanitarian coordinator James Rawley said in April during a closure of Kerem Shalom. “If these restrictions continue, the effect upon the Gaza population will be serious” (“United Nations humanitarian coordinator expresses concern regarding the deteriorating situation in the Gaza Strip,” 10 April 2013).

“Dire situation”

Bassam Barhoum, a Palestinian health ministry official, said public hospitals and health centers need more than four tons of gas per month to feed patients and staff and disinfect bed sheets and clothing.

“What we have now is [stocks] roughly enough for about four days,” he said, down from the usual stocks of one to two weeks. “We are in a dire situation.”

Gas is brought to Gaza in trucks that transmit gas from the Israeli side through a pipe at the crossing to trucks waiting on the Palestinian side. The trucks need special permission to enter the crossing area.

According to Gisha and the Association of Gas Station Owners, the pipeline operates from 8am to 3pm or 4pm, at a capacity of 22 tons per hour, bringing in between 160 and 180 tons per day. But the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT), the unit of the Israeli defense ministry responsible for coordination in the West Bank and Gaza, says the crossing has a capacity of 240 tons a day — a stance Gisha and others question.

OCHA said access restrictions are just one of many factors at play in the gas shortages. Others include delays in the placement of orders by local gas dealers; the costs related to taxes and fees; a two-day weekend during which the crossing is closed; higher transportation costs due to the location of the crossing on the southern border of the Strip (a more accessible crossing point at Nahal Oz was closed in 2010); and the security coordination procedures between Israeli and Palestinian trucks on either side of the pipeline, which can sometimes take hours.

Gas dealers say the underutilized capacity at the crossing is due primarily to the last factor: delays in actually reaching the pipeline.

“What we need now because of the cumulative shortage is 250-300 tons a day to close the current gap,” said Mahmoud al-Shawwa, head of the Association of Gas Station Owners.

Gas dealers have requested that Israel extend working hours of the crossing, open the crossing on Fridays, build more pipelines to boost the capacity, increase the number of trucks allowed into the crossing area, and set up a reserve tank on the Palestinian side.

In June, Israel began allowing an extra truck of gas on some days, bringing an additional 20 or so tons of gas. But gas dealers complain that no longer-term solutions have been implemented. “So far all we’ve seen is promises,” al-Shawwa said.

(Source / 02.07.2013)

Egypt army leaks planned ‘roadmap’ to end protests

President Morsi has criticised an army ultimatum

The Egyptian military has leaked details of its draft “roadmap” for the country’s future, which includes new presidential elections.

According to details given to the BBC, the plan would see the suspension of the new constitution and the dissolution of parliament.

Clashes in Cairo between opponents and supporters of President Morsi killed seven people on Tuesday, officials say.

The army warned on Monday that it would step in unless a solution was found.

Mr Morsi criticised the ultimatum, which gave him 48 hours to find agreement with the opposition, saying it “might cause confusion”.

The president met the head of the armed forces, General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, for a second consecutive day on Tuesday. They did not give any details of the talks, which also included Prime Minister Hisham Qandil.

Military sources told the BBC the president’s position was becoming “weaker” with every passing minute and suggested that under the draft plan, he could be replaced by a council of cross-party civilians and technocrats ahead of new elections.

Clashes spreading

Thousands of protesters gathered in Tahrir Square in central Cairo on Tuesday afternoon to demand Mr Morsi step down.

Waving flags, the crowds chanted slogans including: “The people have brought down the regime.” When several military helicopters flew ahead, they erupted in cheers.

Opposition supporter in Tahrir Square, Cairo (2 July 2013)As the Tamarod deadline approached, thousands of protesters gathered in Tahrir Square

Deadly clashes broke out between pro- and anti-Morsi activists at several points in the city, with the health ministry reporting casualties at hospitals in the north, south and centre of the capital.

More clashes have been reported across Egypt as leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood – the Islamist party to which Mr Morsi belongs – urged their supporters on to the streets, reports the BBC’s Aleem Maqbool in Cairo.

Mr Morsi was put under further pressure by the resignation of six ministers from his government on Monday, including Foreign Minister Kamel Amr.

On Tuesday, the spokesmen for the presidency and the cabinet were also reported to have quit.

The UN high commissioner for human rights called on the president to engage in a “serious national dialogue” to end the political crisis, and said nothing should be done to undermine the democratic process.

(Source / 02.07.2013)

Scandal in Nigeria over Israeli arms firm’s internet spying contract

Goodluck Jonathan

Since April, Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan has faced public outrage over a $40-million contract awarded to Israeli arms manufacturer Elbit Systems.

An Elbit system would reportedly enable the Nigerian government to surveil all internet activity in Nigeria.

The scandal is reminiscent of the much larger National Security Agency spy program recently revealed by whistle-blower Edward Snowden. Some NSA spy systems are known to rely on Israeli technological support.

The disclosure that Elbit’s Wise Intelligence telecommunications surveillance system will monitor all Nigerian internet communications “sparked national outrage, with a lot of Nigerians now apprehensive that their country might be sliding back to dictatorship,” wrote Premium Times.

The Abuja-based newspaper broke the story on 25 April with the warning: “Big brother, in the form of the Jonathan administration, is watching you, and your communication is no longer safe.”

According to anonymous government sources who spoke to the paper, the system would “help the Jonathan administration access all computers and read all email correspondences” in Nigeria.

Elbit Systems had announced the sale to an unnamed “country in Africa” in a press release. The details were then ferreted out by journalist Ogala Emmanuel who wrote that the deal would help the Jonathan administration “spy on citizens’ computers and Internet communications under the guise of intelligence gathering and national security.”

The ensuing public criticism pressured Jonathan to mull canceling the contract (with one report saying he has already done so). Nigeria’s House of Representatives has ordered the contract revoked.

This is at least the third major Israeli sale of surveillance systems to Nigeria, following a 2006 Aeronautics Defense Systems drone sale and 2008 contracts with NICE Systems for video surveillance.

Israel’s war industry

The deal with Nigeria is another example of technology developed by Israel’s war industry in the course of dispossessing the Palestinian people being exported around the world.

Dissent against the contract has not engaged this, but instead focuses on a lack of transparency in awarding the contract, and its implications for Nigerian civil liberties.

But BDS Switzerland explicitly invokes this history in a new petition drive against a pending drone contract. Two Israeli firms, Elbit and Israel Aerospace Industries, are the final contenders in a Swiss drone bid worth between 300-400 million Swiss Francs.

BDS Switzerland frames their petition in the language of international law and not Palestinian liberation but ties their effort directly to conditions on the ground in Palestine.

They note that: “IAI and Elbit Systems have developed and tested their aircraft through the surveillance, repression and killing of Palestinians including numerous civilians” and that “these two companies are notorious accomplices in the repression waged by the State of Israel.”

This is the same provenance as the technology in Elbit’s Nigeria contract, though the campaigners against it have yet to significantly engage this angle.

(Source / 02.07.2013)

UN condemnation of Israel, Hollywood scenario: Mark Glenn

“When the UN makes statements of Israel violating yet another resolution; about the UN being disturbed or outraged; or the United States for that matter, this is nothing but more nonsense coming out of Hollywood.”

Press TV has conducted an interview Mark Glenn, Crescent and Cross Movement, Idaho, about the UN condemnation after announcements by Israel of more illegal settlements to be built on Palestine land.

The following is an approximate transcript of the interview.

Press TV: How should we react to news once again of a settlement surge and UN condemnation, which always seems to follow?

Glenn: Well, the only reaction, the only feigned reaction we can have to something like this is one of ridicule.

This is nothing but Hollywood theatrics. There is no outrage; there is no protest; there is being concerned or disturbed. Think about other countries such as Iraq and Libya and Yugoslavia that were destroyed when the UN decided to get moving and allow itself to be used as a rubber stamp for American and imperialist interests. And those countries were invaded and destroyed with UN appropriation.

So, when the UN makes statements of Israel violating yet another resolution; about the UN being disturbed or outraged; or the United States for that matter, this is nothing but more nonsense coming out of Hollywood. We should just react to this as if it were something coming off of some tabloid newspaper about a cow being born with three heads.

Press TV: So, in a sense, does the UN have carte blanche from the United States and even maybe from the UN to continue these settlement constructions forever?

Glenn: Of course, yes, and this is Israel’s goal. Israel’s goal is to conquer and colonize all of the land between the Nile and the Euphrates rivers. This is just more of that policy that was drawn up not just a few decades ago, but thousands of years ago.

If the United States really wanted to bring an end to this, the president could call up the prime minister and say we are not going to give you any money; we’re not going to give you any more arms; we’re not going to give you any more political support in the UN until you agree to abide by international law and act as a responsible nation amongst the community of states in the world.

But the United States isn’t going to do that because this is the case of the tail wagging the dog; and the United States knows that what Israel wants, Israel gets.

Press TV: Where does this then leave the Palestinians and their leadership?

Glenn: Well, the Palestinians and their leadership, especially their leadership… we can’t count on their leadership to do anything.

It’s going to have to come from stronger players on the outside – players such as Iran; players such as Syria; players such as Russia; and other countries who are willing to exert their political, their economic and their military forces in order to see that a just and lasting peace is secured for these people who have existed under the longest genocide now in human history.

(Source / 02.07.2013)

Israeli war crimes suspect cancels London visit

The UK has changed its laws to shield Israeli war crimes suspects from prosecution.

A suspected Israeli war criminal, retired Major General Doron Almog, canceled a visit to the United Kingdom on 26 June, despite an assurance of immunity from criminal jurisdiction by British authorities.

There is an outstanding warrant for Almog’s arrest on charges of war crimes committed in the occupied Gaza Strip.

However, “Almog made a last minute cancellation of his planned visit to the UK last week,” according to a statement today from the Gaza-based Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR).

Almog’s cancelation followed action by the lawyers for the victims of his suspected war crimes to challenge the UK government’s decision to grant the Israeli general’s visit the status of a “special mission.” This status in effect put Almog beyond the reach of the law.

PCHR challenges the decision “given that it was made by the government despite the existence of a warrant for Mr. Almog’s arrest on war crimes charges.”

“No answers have yet been received to the questions raised with the government’s legal advisers,” PCHR adds.

Almog evaded arrest in 2005

This is not the first time Almog has evaded justice in the United Kingdom. As PCHR notes:

On 10 September 2005, a British court issued a warrant for Mr. Almog’s arrest in relation to the destruction of 59 houses in Rafah refugee camp on 10 January 2002, which formed part of a sustained policy of house demolitions in the Gaza Strip. The police stood ready to arrest Mr. Almog on 11 September 2005 on suspicion of that war crime and three other allegations relating to his period as commander of the Gaza Strip (2000-2004). Mr. Almog escaped arrest after refusing to leave his aeroplane at Heathrow airport following a tip off, and he was allowed to return to Israel.

The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights and Hickman & Rose solicitors, who represent the victims of Mr. Almog’s actions, condemn the UK Government’s recent decision to grant Mr. Almog immunity in light of the above events of September 2005.

UK welcomes human rights abusers

While Almog continues to flee justice, the UK marked another sad milestone in its complicity with Israeli war crimes when Israeli Chief of Staff General Benny Gantz arrived in London today for the first such visit by the head of the Israeli army in a decade.

As the Times of Israel website notes, “Top generals have refrained from visiting the country in recent years due to the threat of arrest on charges of war crimes.”

Such visits are now possible as the British government changed the law, under Israeli pressure, in 2011 to remove the independence of the judiciary when dealing with war crimes cases and placed decisions on whether to pursue them in the hands of politicians.

Since then several top war crimes suspects including Tzipi Livni have been welcomed in the UK.

But Almog’s case indicates that despite the best efforts of British authorities to make London safe for Israeli war criminals, the law still threatens to puncture Israeli impunity.

(Source / 02.07.2013)

Campaign to Free Ahmad Sa’adat launches new website to support imprisoned Palestinian leader

saadat-wsfThe Campaign to Free Ahmad Sa’adat announced the launch of its updated website on June 26. The new Campaign website has more interactive features, integration with Facebook and Twitter, and extensive news and resources on Ahmad Sa’adat and the movement of Palestinian prisoners for freedom, justice and liberation.

Ahmad Sa’adat is the General Secretary of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and a member of the Palestinian Legislative Council. One of nearly 5,000 Palestinian political prisoners, he has been sentenced to thirty years in Israeli prisons for a range of “security-related” political offenses. These charges include membership in a prohibited organization (the PFLP, of which Sa’adat is General Secretary), holding a post in a prohibited organization, and incitement, for a speech Sa’adat made following the Israeli assassination of his predecessor, Abu Ali Mustafa, in August 2001.

The Campaign says, “Sa’adat is a prisoner of conscience, targeted for imprisonment because of his political activity and in his capacity as a Palestinian leader. The systematic assassination, imprisonment and detention of Palestinian political leaders has long been a policy of the Israeli state, as reflected in the imprisonment of Sa’adat and over a dozen other members of the Palestinian Legislative Council, including Marwan Barghouthi, as well as the nearly 5,000 Palestinian political prisoners, targeted for their involvement in and commitment to the struggle for the liberation of their land and people.”

The Campaign is an effort of concerned people from around the world, coming together to address the travesty of justice taking place, and calling for justice and freedom for Ahmad Sa’adat and all Palestinian political prisoners. Ahmad Sa’adat is a prisoner of conscience, subject to the illegitimate military courts of an illegal military occupation.

Hundreds of organizations and activists around the world have signed on to the campaign’s calls for freedom for Ahmad Sa’adat and his fellow Palestinian prisoners here. Learn more about the campaign and its supporters at its website.

(Source / 02.07.2013)