Abbas: Palestinians respect will of Egyptian people

CAIRO (Ma’an) — President Mahmoud Abbas on Wednesday called for Palestinians not to interfere in internal issues of Arab countries, as Egyptians protested in the millions calling to bring down their leader.

Abbas reiterated the Palestinian leadership’s frequently reiterated position that it remains neutral and rejects all interference in any other Arab countries.

Abbas added that he hoped Egypt would survive the latest crisis and emerge stronger, and he highlighted that Palestinians respect the will of the country and its people.

(Source / 03.07.2013)

IMF: Israeli controls hold back Palestinian economy

WASHINGTON (AFP) — The International Monetary Fund said Wednesday that Israel’s tight restrictions hinder the growth of the Palestinian private sector, holding back the Palestinian economy.

In a report following a mission to the West Bank and Gaza, the IMF said it expected growth in the Palestinian economy to slow this year to about 4.25 percent, with little progress expected in cutting unemployment from the current 24 percent.

The report said the Palestinians need to build the private sector in an economy dominated by spending by the authorities, mainly the Palestinian Authority, heavily dependent on foreign aid to surmount a chronic deficit.

“Persistent Israeli controls and obstacles on internal movement, exports, and imports in the West Bank, as well as the virtual closure of Gaza, thwart the private sector,” the Fund said.

“The PA needs the continued support of the international community and cooperation of Israel, guided by the common objective of a more vibrant and robust Palestinian economy,” it said.

“Indeed, there is no substitute for a far-reaching relaxation of Israeli restrictions needed to unshackle the private sector and thereby boost growth and employment.”

It also said that spending by the Palestinian Authority was too heavily weighted in wages and pensions, and not enough in “much-needed investment in education and public infrastructure,” an impediment to private-sector growth.

It forecast a 2013 deficit for the Palestinian Authority of $1.7 billion, which is not fully covered by existing donor commitments.

“This gap would likely be covered by further arrears accumulation and domestic bank borrowing, which has already reached prudential limits,” the IMF warned.

(Source / 03.07.2013)

De waarde van een moeder….

By Marianna Laarif

Mijn moeder had maar één oog. Ik had echt een hekel aan haar, omdat ik altijd voor schut stond door haar uiterlijk. Ze werkte als schoonmaakster op de school waar ik op zat. Op een dag kwam ze mijn les binnen en vroeg mijn leraar of ik wel mijn best doe in de les. Ik schaamde me dood. Hoe durfde ze mijn klas binnen te
komen??? Ik deed alsof ik haar niet ken en keek haar aan met haat in mijn ogen.

Een dag later begon een klasgenoot mij te pesten. HAHAHA jouw moeder heeft maar één oog. Op dat moment voelde ik me gepest en had ik graag levend begraven willen worden. Ik wou mijn moeder graag dood hebben.

Toen ik thuis kwam begon ik boos te schreeuwen,,, Val dood, door jou word ik op school gepest met je lelijke gezicht. Ze zei helemaal niks terug en ik twijfelde niet met mijn woorden, omdat ik heel erg boos was.

Geen één seconde had ik na gedacht hoe ze zicht voelde door mijn harde praatjes. Op school deed ik mijn best en ik had mijn besluit genomen om in Amsterdam te gaan studeren. Na dat ik mijn diploma had behaald ben
ik gaan trouwen en kreeg ik kinderen. Ik leefde heel erg gelukkig met mijn vrouw en mijn kinderen. Op een dag belde mijn moeder aan mijn deur. Mijn kind deed de deur open en was geschrokken van mijn moeders de uiterlijk. Het was ongeveer 10 jaar dat ik haar niet had gezien en gesproken. Ik was boos geworden en stuurde haar weg. Wat kom je nou hier doen? Mijn kinderen worden bang van je ga weg van hier. Heel zachtjes zei ze toen,,, Oh sorry ik ben naar het verkeerde adres gekomen en ze liep weg. Maanden later werd ik op een dag wakker van mijn slaap midden in de nacht.Ik droomde over mijn moeder.

Ik had besloten om weer naar mijn oude dorp te gaan om te kijken hoe het met mijn moeder gaat. Ik kwam aan ik belde maar niemand deed de deur open. De buurvrouw hoorde dat en kwam naar buiten. Ze vroeg aan mij wie ik was, want ze had me niet herkend na al die jaren. Zij vertelde mij dat mijn moeder overleden was en dat ze een brief had achter gelaten.

Er stond het volgende:

Mijn lieve zoon.

Zolang heb ik aan jou moeten denken. Zolang heb ik jou moeten missen. Zolang heb ik zitten huilen, omdat jij niet bij me was en omdat ik je nodig had. Ik was al die tijd eenzaam en werd maar zieker en zieker. Het spijt me dat jij door mij werd gepest toen je nog op school zat. Het spijt me dat je door mij elke keer voor schut stond als jouw vrienden wisten dat ik jouw moeder was. Het spijt me dat ik naar je huis ben gekomen en dat jouw kinderen bang werden door mijn uiterlijk. Één ding moet je nog weten, wat jij nog niet weet. Toen jij nog twee jaar oud was heb jij en je vader een auto-ongeluk gehad. Je vader was toen dood gegaan en jij had je rechter oog verloren. En ik als moeder kon het niet hebben dat jij met één oog zou opgroeien. Daarom heb ik jou mijn oog gegeven. Ik was zo blij dat de operatie gelukt was. Ik was zo blij en trots dat jij met mijn oog de wereld kon zien.

Met veel liefde voor jou mijn zoon.
Jouw moeder die altijd van je heeft gehouden.
Veel succes in je leven.

ken de waarde van je moeder……

“When the soldiers saw him coming with the flag they drew their guns and shot him”: Cold blooded murder of 19-year-old in Dura

On Tuesday, between two and four a.m., the Israeli occupation forces invaded the town of Dura, near Hebron in the West Bank and killed 19-year-old Moataz Idris Sharawneh. They shot him with three dum-dum bullets to the chest (a weapon declared illegal under international law)[1]. Then while he lay on the ground he was severely beaten by the soldiers and run over with their jeep, at which point he died.

Poster made about Moataz's martyrdom (Photo by ISM)

Poster made about Moataz’s martyrdom

Soldiers prevented friends and family members from reaching Sharawneh to get him medical treatment. As Sharawneh’s nephew tried to reach him, soldiers shot him in the arm with a dum-dum bullet and then arrested him; since then, no one has heard from him. ISM spoke with the family in Dura yesterday, and his sister Nevin, who is studying to be a medical secretary, related a detailed account of his life and martyrdom.

This is what Nevin shared with us.

Throughout his life, Moataz acted out of love for his country and supported his people’s resistance.  He was on the front lines whenever there were clashes with the military, and he was also attending a military college in Jericho with the intent of becoming an officer.

His first goal was to pass his high school exams to get into the military college, to be able to defend his country. His family tried to keep him out of clashes, but they couldn’t because he was determined to resist the occupation and regarded martyrdom as a honourable act. Four years ago, even at 15, he presumed that he was going to be a martyr. On his Facebook account he had a page about the martyrs of Palestine, stating that they are above all of us.

Previously Nevin would laugh when the boys were in the street trying to catch the jeeps. Whenever Moataz came from clashes, his hands were black from tires. He would say that he was fixing car tires, in order to hide his participation from his mother and so that she wouldn’t prevent him from going out.

He was the main provider for his family, after the death of his father four years ago. In between semesters in college he was working in construction, to raise money for his studies and help his family. He was very close to his sister Nevin, who described them as “one soul in two places”. He was so good to his family that he never said no to them. However, he would never agree to anything that was wrong, and he was always trying to fix things, giving advice to his friends when needed. He always wanted to make things right.

Like many young people, he didn’t pray, but a week ago he started to pray a lot. In every call for prayer he was the first to go to the mosque. He was waiting for the next prayer. On Sunday night between 2-5 am he was praying in the mosque and he said he wanted to pray until his last breath. Two days before he started to have strange dreams, seeing his father. The day before his death, he was silent all day, but he was smiling to everyone as usual.

A month ago there was an incident, something had been set on fire, and all of his friends were implicated and arrested. He told his mother and his sister, “All my friends are in prison, so I guess I’m the next”. He had a friend, called Islam Asir, who was killed by the Israeli soldiers two years ago. Moataz had his friend’s jacket, the one Islam was wearing when he was killed. Last night he said to his family that he wanted to wear this, so that he would be with his friend if he was imprisoned or martyred.

In the evening before his martyrdom, he prepared to go to a friend’s wedding. He had a shower and he shaved and went to the party. He told Nevin to prepare his dinner for when he came back. When he returned, he sat with Nevin, his nephews and nieces in his sister’s room, and they were talking and having fun and stayed awake until 1:30 a.m. Then Nevin told him to go to sleep.

Nevin had just fallen asleep, when she was awakened by a loud noise. She opened the window and the door of her room. Moataz was standing in the corridor and asked what was going on. She told him she heard soldiers outside. She looked out of her window and saw two Israeli jeeps.

The last words he said to his family were “God; resistance”  (Allah, al moqawama).

A memorial set up in the place where Moataz Idris Sharawneh was killed (Photo by ISM)

A memorial set up in the place where Moataz Idris Sharawneh was killed

The first thing the family heard was that Moataz was injured by a bullet in his stomach. Just an hour after he went to the street, his brother called them to say that Moataz was in the hospital and he was dead.

His nephew, Bahaa Sharawneh, was with him when they went out on the street.  He was also wounded in his hand, but he was never able to go to the hospital. The Israeli soldiers took him with them and until now the family has not heard anything news about him.

One of Moataz’s friends, who was at the scene where this happened, told the family everything that he saw.  Moataz wasn’t throwing stones at the jeep, but he was standing on the side as the jeeps were passing through. When they saw him they turned back. He then took a large stick and smashed the cameras on the jeep, which are used by the Israeli military to take pictures of stone throwers, in order to arrest them later.

When the jeep returned, Moataz opened its door and he saw somebody he knew inside, and realised that this person was collaborating with the occupation forces. Moataz tried to take a picture of him to prove that he was a collaborator. The soldiers and the man pushed him outside of the jeep and they smashed his camera. He then saw some guys on the street holding a Palestinian flag and took it to put it on the jeep. When the soldiers saw him coming with the flag, they drew their guns and shot him. Three bullets. These were not just bullets; they were bullets that explode.

Soldiers prevented anybody from giving any first aid to Moataz as he lay on the street. His friends tried to reach him to help, but they were obstructed because the soldiers didn’t want him to tell anybody about the collaborator inside the jeep. At that point the soldiers started kicking him. Palestinian youth nearby started to throw stones at the soldiers, who began retreating. Moataz was still breathing at that time, but the soldiers, seeing he was still alive, drove over him.

In the morning news, soldiers claimed that the incident consisted of clashes between mafia and that the mafia was responsible for Moataz’s death. Later on a radio show, they told the interviewer that Moataz had been defending himself, so they shot him. The body of Moataz was taken to the Palestinian hospital ‘Alia for an autopsy to determine the cause of death factually. The autopsy confirmed the facts described above, which were that the body was beaten and shot with dum-dum bullets.

Moataz had enrolled in college, studying to be a sergeant in the Palestinian security forces. His colonel, who was responsible for the course, came to Dura to bury him beside his father. He took good care of him because he thought Moataz was a great guy and a great student. All of his professors and teachers were there.

Nevin relates that she is sad for herself, having to adjust to living without him, but she is also content that he found what he was looking for. She added that when they kicked him they were cold blooded, and they treated Moataz like an animal, without regard for human rights. He was shot at close range and was also prevented him from getting help.

Nevin knows that Moataz was not the first nor will he be the last martyr in Palestine. But she wants her voice to reach the international community and for them to hear her story because this was a cruel act of injustice. She said that she will do her best to keep up with the good cause.


[1]  Hague convention of 1899 (IV,3): Declaration concerning the Prohibition of the Use of Bullets which can Easily Expand or Change their Form inside the Human Body such as Bullets with a Hard Covering which does not Completely Cover the Core, or containing Indentationshttp://avalon.law.yale.edu/19th_century/dec99-03.asp

(Source / 03.07.2013)

Abdullah Barghouthi’s health condition worsens on 63rd day of hunger strike

abarghoutiPalestine Information Centre – The health condition of prisoner Abdullah Al-Barghouthi has seriously deteriorated after two months of hunger strike along with four other Jordanian captives, Mohammad Rimawi, Muneer Mir’i, Hamza al-Dabbas Othman, and Alaa Hammad.

Lawyer Hanan Al-Khatib said that the heartbeat of Barghouthi was as low as 40 per minute and his body was shivering similar to the Parkinson disease especially in the upper part of his body, on July 3, Barghouthi’s 63rd day of hunger strike.

She said that Barghouthi was also suffering from constant headache and blurry vision in addition to liver impairment and his body’s store of energy was dwindling and he could go unconscious anytime especially when he is only taking water and glucose injection.

The lawyer quoted Khatib as saying that he would stop taking glucose by Wednesday 3/7/2013 and would only consume water then at a later stage he would stop drinking water.

Khatib said that three Israeli policemen guard Barghouthi round-the-clock and provoke him by eating all kinds of food in front of him.

(Source / 03.07.2013)

Samer Issawi continues to be denied health care

The occupation’s Prison Services have denied medical checkups for Palestinian prisoner and long-term hunger striker, Samer Issawi, since he was moved to Shata prison following his hunger strike, said prisoner advocates on July 3.

Samer-Issawi

Issawi’s lawyer said that he is suffering from deliberate neglect of his health, and has developed symptoms of illness. Issawi, 33, said two weeks ago that he suffers from pain in the kidneys and the deterioration in his health, without a response from the prison administration.

The Freedom Centre expressed its grave concern for the life of al-Issawi, saying the occupation authorities bear full responsibility for his life, and demanding immediate international institutions to pressure the occupation authorities to provide needed health care and treatment for Issawi until his release at the end of the year.

Issawi’s eight-month hunger strike drew solidarity and support from people around the world.

(Source / 03.07.2013)

Appeals rejected for hunger strikers Tabeesh and Hareebat

hareebat-atabeeshThe Israeli military court in Ofer rejected an appeal for release by two Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike, Ayman al-Tabeesh and Adel Hareebat, on July 3, reported their lawyer, Jawad Boulos. Both are administrative detainees, held without charge or trial, and have been on hunger strike for 42 days, demanding their release.

They began their strike on May 23, 2013 and are currently held at the Ramle prison clinic. Boulos reported that both detainees are held in very difficult conditions as they are totally isolated in a three-square-meter cell with a toilet inside and one window that is always closed.

He said that the health of both detainees is worsening, and that their jailers continue to harass them in an attempt to dissuade them from going ahead in their hunger strike, adding that the jailers tell them that no one in the world is concerned with their strike.

The lawyer said that both detainees were adamant on continuing in their strike, adding that he agreed with them on taking their case to the Israeli higher court.

(Source / 03.07.2013)

Live updates: Morsi ousted; head of constitutional court to take over Egypt presidency

Military statement suspends constitution, puts in place new caretaker government; Egyptian army deploy around Cairo as Egypt

Tahrir Square

Laser lights are seen as protesters, who are against Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi, gather in Tahrir Square in Cairo July 3, 2013
21:34 The head of Egypt’s High Constitutional Court, the most senior Egyptian court, is Adly Mansour. He was promoted to position in June.21:32 Attendees at the press conference where El-Sisi gave his speech included a number of top military and police officials who sat in two rows on either side of the podium; the Coptic Orthodox patriarch Tawadros II; the grand imam of Al-Azhar, Ahmed El-Tayyeb; ElBaradei; a representative of Nour Party; Mohamed Abdel-Aziz, one of the anti-Morsi Rebel campaign’s founders; and a senior judicial figure.

21:30 Liberal politician Mohamed ElBaradei spoke at the army-held press conference. He says the roadmap drawn up by the military will guarantee the fulfillment of Egyptians’ main demand – early presidential elections.

“I hope that will mark the beginning of a new era for the 2011 January revolution,” he added.

21:28 The grand sheikh of Al-Azhar said that he supported the call for early presidential elections based on an Islamic precept that the better of two evils is a religious duty.

21:25 The Brotherhood’s FJP just tweeted “history will tell that the first decision of the military coup, in which the advocates of democracy participated, is putting off air all opposition channels,” a reference to the Brotherhood’s channel and other Islamist owned channels being blacked out after El-Sisi’s announcement.

21:22 At the press conference where El-Sisi spoke a few moments ago, Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, Ahmed El-Tayyeb, is speaking, followed by Coptic Orthodox Patriarch Tawadros II. 

21:20 It looks like several other Islamist-run channels including Hafez and Al-Nas are off air.

21:18 The Morsi supporters in their thousands at Rabaa Al-Adawiya are defiant.

21:15 El-Sisi’s speech specified that the constitution will be suspended temporarily; the head of the High Constitutional Court will take over the presidency and have power until early presidential elections, that will be followed by parliamentary elections – dates as yet unspecified – and there will be a national technocratic cabinet formed.  A parliamentary elections law will be reviewed by the HCC to stage parliamentary elections; there will be a committee formed to amend controversial articles in the temporarily suspended constitution; there will be a media code of ethics to guarantee the media’s professionality; and a committee for national reconciliation will be formed.

21:12 It looks like Misr 25, the Egyptian Brotherhood-run television channel, is off air.

21:10 The speech is over. There are massive celebrations going on at anti-Morsi rallies in Tahrir Square and Ittihadiya presidential palace in Cairo.

21:06 El-Sisi continues:

We have made many proposals to get out of the current crisis.

We met with the Egyptian president on 30 June, 2013, during which we rejected any threat to the Egyptian people.

We were hoping for reconciliation that would fulfill the aspirations of the people.

However, the president’s address did not live up to the expectations of the Egyptian people.

So we called for a meeting involving different parties, without excluding anyone.

Our roadmap consists of: 1- Suspending the constitution.

2-Holding early presidential elections. The High Constitutional Court head will be in charge of the country until then.

3-Forming a national coalition government.

4-Forming a committee to look into amendments of the constitution.

Taking measures to include the Egyptian youth in the decision-making process.

The armed forces call on the great Egyptian people to abstain from violence and resort to peaceful protest.

We salute the armed forces for their repeated sacrifices for the sake of the county.

21:04 Some initial quotes from the speech by the head of Egypt’s military:

 The armed forces would never turn a blind eye towards the aspirations of the Egyptian people.

The armed forces will always be out of politics. The Egyptian people called on the armed forces to fulfill the goals of the revolution.

The armed forces understood the demands of the Egyptian people. We are committed to fulfilling our responsibility.

Since November 2012, we have called for a national dialogue, which was accepted by all parties except the presidency.

21:02 Here we go. Chief of Egyptian armed forces, Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi, is speaking live on Egyptian television. 

20:55 Another statement by an opposition group, clearly anticipating an announcement that meets their demands.

The 30 June Coordinating Committee, a coalition of anti-Morsi groups, releases a statement refusing any foreign pressures exerted on the armed forces to pull it away from the popular movement and portray its stance as a coup. It also rejects attempts by the Muslim Brotherhood and its allies to abort the “popular revolution” which went to the streets in the millions.

The statement declared its rejection of what it describes as the US “standing by the Muslim Brotherhood for its own interests.”

The current unprecedented popular movement is a continuation of the January 25 revolution, the statement asserted, and “will achieve its goals of justice and dignity by the struggle of its people”.

“We call on national forces to remain united in its path in the face of any attempt to divide” the statement read.

20:50 A presidential source tells Ahram Arabic that President Mohamed Morsi was informed by the army at 7pm that he is no longer president.

20:45 The Watan Party, a Salafist grouping which is part of the pro-Morsi National Alliance for Supporting Legitimacy, seem to be sticking with the president. The Brotherhood’s news site, Ikhwan Online, reports that head of the Watan Party and Morsi aide Emad Abdel-Ghafour has said that the people “will not allow any coup against the legitimacy of the president.”

20:40 The moderate Islamist grouping the Strong Egypt Party, led by former Muslim Brotherhood figure Abdel-Moneim Abu-Fotouh, said on its official Twitter page that it rejects any attempts by the army to interfere in managing the political process and that it also rejects the exclusion of any political faction from public life.

20:35 Several rights organisations in Egypt have released a statement on Wednesday declaring their respect for the 30 June uprising and urging that the law must be the basis for resolving the current political situation.

The organisations hailed the “overwhelming uprising of the Egyptian people who on 30 June set out to boldly challenge the political despotism which had taken on a religious guise, in the same way they challenged Mubarak’s regime and his police state.”

The statement criticised the Muslim Brotherhood for undermining rights and liberties, and said that the organisation’s speech had “inflamed political and ideological polarisation, stigmatised opponents of their political project as ‘infidels’ and made them the targets for violence.”

The statement also criticised the violence used against the Brotherhood over recent days, including the attacks on their supporters and offices, but said that these violent acts would not have been committed if the Brotherhood and their allies had not attempted to “suppress their political opponents” and maintained “an utter lack of accountability for acts of violence, torture, and murder committed by Muslim Brotherhood supporters.”

The statement also called on security forces, including the military, to protect demonstrators and “act decisively” with any person attacking demonstrations regardless of political affiliation.

Finally, the groups demanded that any new political roadmap should guarantee civil liberties, and should lead to constitutional amendments.

The statement’s signatories include the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies, the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information, the Egyptian Organisation for Human Rights, the Hisham Mubarak Law Center, and a number of others.

20:30 Maha Abou Bakr, a senior member of the anti-Morsi ‘Rebel’ campaign, tells Ahram Arabic that the group has suggested Mohamed Ghoneim, a founding member of the Egyptian Social Democratic Party, to head the national coalition government that they expect to be formed following Morsi’s ouster.

Bakr further added that the movement has nominated leftist politician Hossam Eissa to be one of two deputy prime ministers, suggesting that the second deputy be a member of the Islamist current.

20:20 Egypt’s military spokesman Ahmed Ali has said on his official Facebook page that the meeting between the army’s commander-in-chief Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi and the religious and national groups has ended. A statement revealing meeting’s outcome will be coming within the hour.

20:15 Fireworks are lighting up the sky in the streets near to Ittihadiya presidential palace, reports Ahram Online’s Bel Trew.

“People are singing and dancing, and some are holding posters of military figures chanting ‘the heroes are here,’ ” adds Trew.

20:10 Mohamed El-Beltagy, deputy head of the Freedom and Justice Party, gave an angry statement to Al Jazeera English from the pro-Morsi rally Rabaa Al-Adawiya Square.

 “This is nothing short of a coup. A coup against legitimacy, against the will of the people, against the ballot box, and the democratically approved constitution. Everyone knows that we have never initiated violence. Our offices and our leaders were attacked; many of our supporters were killed amid silence from army and police.”

El-Beltagy condemned the military’s statement and rejected the army’s interference in the political crisis.

“These masses [in Rabaa Al-Adawiya Square] are not seeking a confrontation with the army, but they refuse to see the army siding with one faction of the people against another, re-entering the political arena and being part of this division. We will not seek violence but we will not surrender our right to fight attempts of subverting people’s will.”

19:50 More on the US: AFP reports that US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel spoke to Egyptian defence minister and head of the armed forces, Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi, yesterday. AFP says that:

Pentagon press secretary George Little is refusing to release any details about the content of the calls. He says U.S. officials at various levels of government have been very clear that America remains committed to the democratic process in Egypt and hopes the tensions there can be resolved peacefully.”

The US State Department press conference is still ongoing. Spokesperson Jen Psaki says that the US is “on the side of the Egyptian people” and that Morsi should call for an end to violence.

19:40 At a press conference, a US State Department spokesperson says that the United States is “very concerned” about the situation in Egypt.

The situation in Egypt remains fluid, and the United States cannot confirm whether a military coup is underway, department spokesperson Jen Psaki told reporters.

“We do … remain very concerned about what we’re seeing on the ground,” Psaki said.

19:30 The military are not just deploying in Cairo; Ahram Arabic reports 20 armoured vehicles and solider carriers have been deployed in the vicinity of a local mosque in Suez where Morsi’s supporters are rallying. A number of military helicopters are hovering over the city and the Suez Canal

In Sinai, Egyptian security forces have been on high alert along the borders since the morning, according to Ahram Arabic.

Security measures have also been tightened up near the tunnels into Gaza and around security installations in the deserted peninsula.

19:24 Ninety-three Egyptian diplomats, some based in the ministry of foreign affairs headquarters in Cairo and some based abroad, have declared a strike, reports state agency MENA. The diplomats object to the “failure of the president to meet the people’s demands.”

The minister of foreign affairs resigned yesterday.

19:20 The pro-Morsi coalition, the National Alliance to Support Legitimacy, will hold a press conference on the latest developments tonight at 10pm in Al-Rabaa Al-Adawiya, according to the Muslim Brotherhood’s Twitter account @Ikhwanweb.

19:10 The official spokesman of the armed forces, Colonel Ahmed Ali, vehemently denies that the troops currently deployed in Cairo have attacked pro-Morsi protesters, who are camping out at Rabaa Al-Adawiya Mosque in Cairo’s Nasr City district. He said that some people had claimed that the army had attacked the rally in phonecalls to CNN.

“Our army is seeking to secure all Egyptians, regardless of their affiliations. We call on local and international media not to spread any inaccurate information that may drive a wedge between the army and the people,” he said on his Facebook page.

19:00 At least ten people have been injured in clashes between supporters and opponents to President Morsi in Al-Shohada Square in the Nile delta governorate of Kafr El-Sheikh, reports Ahram Arabic.

The injuries were reportedly caused by bird shot and bladed weapons. The injured have been transferred to local hospitals.

18:55 Military sources have told Ahram Arabic that a large number of military armoured vehicles are now deployed in the vicinity of the Ittihadiya presidential palace, the nearby Rabaa Al-Adawiya Mosque, and the iconic Tahrir Square, where rallies are being staged.

The interior ministry’s Central Security Forces are also stepping up their presence around Tahrir Square and at key state institutions.

18:50 Lots of reports of army deployments around Cairo now. Alastair Beach of UK daily the Independent is tweeting pictures of troops being deployed close to Cairo University in Giza, the site of yesterday’s clashes, including along the Nile Bridge connecting Giza and Cairo. There are also now reportedly troops deployed in Tahrir Square and at the Rabaa Al-Adawiya pro-Morsi rally.

18:45 Military sources have told Ahram Online that the meeting being held between the leaders of the armed forces and political, religious and national groups is over and a statement will be released shortly.

18:40 Around a hundred Turkish protesters have gathered in Istanbul to voice their support for Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi, reported state-owned news agency MENA.

The protest was reportedly led by the Özgür-Der, a Turkish rights group.

18:35 Protests in the Nile Delta are still going strong, with hundreds of thousands rallying in iconic Thawra Square in the city of Mansoura in Daqahliya, Ahram Arabic reports.

“The people already brought down the regime,” protesters chanted. “Mansoura will turn you back into a banned group,” went another in reference to the fact that the Muslim Brotherhood was forced to operate underground under former president Hosni Mubarak.

Protesters across the town continue to blockade a number of state institutions, in the fourth consecutive day of their civil disobedience campaign.

18:30 An article on Ahram Arabic website quotes an anonymous source saying that the armed forces have extended their deadline in an effort to reach consensus and prevent further violence. The source explained that military leaders offered to postpone their statement for a few hours in order to cooperate on containing bloodshed and to guarantee the president’s safety.

The source denied that Morsi had been arrested or placed on house arrest, contrary to circulating rumours, stating that the Republican Guard is still protecting the president at the Republican Guard headquarters. According to the source, head of the military Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi told President Morsi: “treachery is not part of the doctrine of the armed forces.”

18:20 The military are being deployed to separate the pro-Morsi protesters at Rabaa Al-Adawiya Mosque and the anti-Morsi demonstrators in front of the headquarters of the Ittihadiya presidential guard, reports Ahram Arabic.

 

Army forces

Army forces near Rabba Al-Adawiya Mosque, site of pro-Morsi protests

18:15 Egyptian security forces have imposed a travel ban on President Morsi, Muslim Brotherhood chief Mohammed Badie and his deputy Khairat Al-Shater over their involvement in prison escapes in 2011, security officials have told AFP news agency.

18:10 In anticipation of the military’s statement, anti-Morsi protesters are crowding Tahrir Square andIttihadiya presidential palace. Both spaces look full.

There are also hundreds of thousands of Morsi’s supporters at Rabaa Al-Adawiya Mosque in Nasr City. Everyone is waiting for the statement.

Raba El-Adwyia

Supporters of Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi shout slogans during a demonstration at Rabaa Al-Adawiya Square in Cairo July 3, 2013.

18:00 There is a report on Ahram Arabic website that the army is beginning to deploy in Giza from the Dahshour barracks. There are lots of rumours circulating and it’s hard to verify sources, although it’s true that Giza was the site of deadly clashes yesterday.

17:50 The anti-Morsi Rebel petition campaign has called on people to take the streets before the army announces its statement, expected soon.

Ahram Arabic reports that the campaign called on people to have faith in God, the people and the army, stressing that the military does not seek to get involved in politics. The campaign expressed its faith in the expected military statement saying it believed it will reflect the demands of the people.

‘Rebel’ reiterated the army warning against any possible killing of civilians saying that anyone caught involved would stand trial and would be held accountable by the people.

The campaign also added that it would stand against any foreign pressure, especially from the US, to leave Morsi in power.

The campaign organisers call on people to “go to the streets now and save your revolution.”

17:38 A key Morsi aide has released a statement in English calling recent events “a military coup.” Essam El-Haddad, presidential assistant on Foreign Relations & International Cooperation, writes on his official Facebook page:

“Hundreds of thousands of them have gathered in support of democracy and the Presidency. And they will not leave in the face of this attack. To move them, there will have to be violence. It will either come from the army, the police, or the hired mercenaries. Either way there will be considerable bloodshed.”

“Yesterday, the President received an initiative from an alliance of parties supporting constitutional legitimacy. He discussed it with the Prime Minister and the Minister of Defense and all three of them agreed that it presented an excellent path for Egypt out of its current impasse. The initiative called for a full change of cabinet, a prime minister acceptable to all, changing the public prosecutor, agreement on constitutional amendments, and a reconciliation commission.”

“And let us also be clear. The President did not have to offer all these concessions. In a democracy, there are simple consequences for the situation we see in Egypt: the President loses the next election or his party gets penalized in the upcoming parliamentary elections. Anything else is mob rule.”

17:36 More anti-Morsi protests in the Nile Delta. In Sharqiya, President Morsi’s hometown, crowds of protesters are congregating outside the president’s residence there, chanting anti-regime slogans. Protesters say they will begin an open-ended sit-in until their demands are met, threatening to bring the whole city to a halt.

Other demonstrators continue to shut down entrances to the municipal governor’s office, banning employees from entering.

17:35 Twenty people were injured after clashes between pro- and anti-Morsi protesters in the northern Delta governorate of Damietta near Souq Al-Hassaba Square, reports Ahram Arabic.

17:30 Opposition leader Hamdeen Sabbahi has called on all Egyptians to rally in the streets as an expression of the “success of the revolution,” via his official Twitter account, in anticipation of the military’s statement.

17:25 State news agency MENA reports that the police are handing out juice and water to anti-Morsi protesters in Tahrir Square.

Tahrir

Opponents of Egypt’s Islamist President Mohammed Morsi shout slogans during a protest in Tahrir Square in Cairo, Egypt, Wednesday, July 3, 2013

17:20 Still no army statement, although some local television channels are broadcasting rumours that President Morsi has been put under house arrest, causing crowds in Tahrir to celebrate.

17:00 In Alexandria, the site of major clashes over the last week between pro- and anti-Morsi groups, thousands are now flocking to Al-Qaed Ibrahim Square in the city centre and to Sidi Gaber district to hold anti-Morsi rallies. There are also big crowds marching along the seafront. Police forces are hovering across several streets and squares to ensure security.

16:50 The president’s office issued a statement reaffirming Morsi’s commitment to the roadmap announced in his speech yesterday, which includes the forming of a coalition government and a committee to amend the constitution.

16:45 Tahrir Square is starting to fill up with anti-Morsi demonstrators, with the central square partially full while surrounding streets are still relatively empty. Thousands are also starting to flock to Alexandria’s Sidi Gaber train station to demonstrate.

There are also reports of anti-Morsi demonstrators gathering in Sharqiya, Menoufiya, Port Said and Mansoura.

16:40 The rhetoric of the Islamist supporters at the Rabaa Al-Adawiya press conference was largely defiant, like President Morsi’s speech last night.

“We call upon all Egyptians to take to the streets and stand against the attempt to overthrow legitimacy,” Islamist politician Magdy Hussein stated.

He further asked protesters to raise their national identity cards as proof of them being Egyptian, claiming police chose not to protect them during the clashes on Tuesday night because they were told “you were not Egyptians”.

16:30 The military‘s 48 hour deadline has now expired. The armed forces have said that they are meeting with religious, national, political and youth leaders now, and we’re expecting a statement soon.

16:25 The National Association for Change (NAC), a pro-democracy umbrella group of liberal, leftists and Brotherhood activists formed in 2010 to coordinate opposition against Hosni Mubarak’s rule, has issued a statement warning all “foreign states, entities and institutes” against interfering in Egypt’s internal matters asserting that any attempts of intervention would be a de facto declaration of war on Egypt.

In their statement, the NAC addressed the US in particular, criticising its ongoing interference “obviously reflected in their recent actions and statements.”

The NAC also called on Hamas and other Arab groups to understand “the danger of interfering in internal matters, or the involvement in the complicated struggle between the people and the groups of local and global terrorism.”

Anti-Americanism has been a feature of some of the anti-Morsi protests recently, with some protesters arguing that the US is too close to the Muslim Brotherhood. A statement released this evening by Coptic rights group the Maspero Youth Union also warned the American people that their president and US ambassador to Egypt Anne Patterson support “a fascist group [the Brotherhood] that oppresses minorities.”

16:25 Several miles away from the Ittihadiya presidential palace, a focal point of mass opposition rallies since Sunday, anti-regime protesters have started to congregate outside Egypt’s defence ministry as the deadline of the military ultimatum draws nearer. The group of pro-army protesters have been holding a sit-in at the location for 12 days.

16:20 A press conference is underway by the Islamist supporters of President Morsi, the National Alliance to Support Legitimacy, at Rabaa Al-Adawiya mosque.

“The president spoke to the people last night and explained the situation and outlined his road map for resolving the current crisis in Egypt,” a statement read by Magdy Hussein of the Islamic Labour Party said.

“We are the constitution, we are legitimacy, we are freedom, we are revolution…Thirty years and the army didn’t challenge Mubarak, it didn’t go to war with Israel; but it challenges the legitimacy of the democratic president…. If the army enters politics it’s the end of the constitution” said Hussein.

16:10 Ahram Arabic website reports that in a number of governorates, protesters are blocking roads and besieging governorate buildings in the run up to the military’s anticipated statement.

In the city of Kafr El-Sheikh, protesters who have besieged the governorate headquarters announced they will keep doing so until Morsi resigns, announcing their rejection of recently-appointed Muslim Brotherhood governor Saad El-Husseini.

In the Gharbiya city of Tanta in the Delta, members of youth protest groups shut the gate to the Gharbiya governorate headquarters with metal chains and prevented employees from entering the building in response to the call for civil disobedience by ‘Rebel’ campaign.

In Menoufiya, hometown of former president Mubarak, a group of protesters blocked one of the city’s main roads.

16:00 Welcome to Ahram Online’s live updates. On Monday, the Egyptian supreme council of the armed forces responded to mass protests by issuing an ultimatum to political forces, saying that unless “the people’s demands are met” within 48 hours, the army would impose its own roadmap. The 48-hour deadline will be up today at 4:30pm Cairo time.

Today’s key developments so far:

  • The army has said that there is no time set for its statement.
  • President Mohamed Morsi and the group which he hails from, the Muslim Brotherhood seem entrenched in their position and reluctant to make any concessions.
  • The opposition, including the anti-Morsi ‘Rebel’ campaign that spearheaded the 30 June protests, and the coalition group the National Salvation Front also show no sign of backing down. Rebel has nominated three of its organisers to negotiate on its behalf, while the rest of the opposition have put forward liberal politician Mohamed ElBaradei. Negotiations are currently going on between ElBaradei and different political factions. Head of the Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party Saad El-Katatni refused an invitation by the military to meet with ElBaradei.
  • The Islamist supporters of the president are expected to hold a press conference soon. There were initial reports that key Morsi allies Al-Gamaa Al-Islamiya were calling on President Morsi to hold a referendum on early presidential elections, but the group has denied this.
  • The interior ministry released a statement saying that it will stand “side by side” with the army, and will address any violence.
  • There are still tens of thousands of Morsi supporters camped out at Rabaa Al-Adawiya Mosque in Cairo’s Nasr City, and a similar number of anti-Morsi protesters in Tahrir Square. There is also an anti-Morsi gathering at Ittihadiya presidential palace in Heliopolis.

(Source / 03.07.2013)

President Mursi geïsoleerd door leger

Rond het kantoor van president Mohammed Mursi heeft het Egyptische leger wegversperringen en prikkeldraad aangebracht. Volgens Essam El-Haddad, de veiligheidsadviseur van Mursi, is er op dit moment een militaire staatsgreep aan de gang in het land. Hij waarschuwde voor aanzienlijk bloedvergieten. Het leger zou Mursi rond 19 uur hebben meegedeeld dat hij niet langer president van Egypte is.

Er zijn ook troepen gestationeerd rond de plek waar aanhangers van Mursi zich verzamelen. De verwachting is dat de oppositie, ondersteund door het leger, snel een eigen politieke ‘stappenplan’ zal presenteren voor een politieke transitie. Volgens het staatsnieuwsagentschap komt er een korte interimperiode die zal worden gevolgd door presidentiële en parlementsverkiezingen.

‘Laten we ons wat nu gebeurt bij de juiste naam noemen: een militaire staatsgreep’, zei Essam El-Haddad. De militairen nemen het woord ‘coup’ niet in de mond. Er wordt gevreesd dat de pro-Mursi demonstranten met geweld zullen worden verwijderd. Honderdduizenden Egyptenaren hebben zich voor steun aan de democratie en het presidentschap verzameld en zullen niet wijken, deelde Al-Haddad voorts mee. ‘Om hen te verdrijven, zal geweld nodig zijn’. In elk geval zal het tot een ‘bloedige strijd’ komen, waarschuwde hij.

Ultimatum

Het ultimatum dat de Egyptische legertop maandag aan president Mursi heeft gesteld, liep vandaag af. De president kreeg tot 17.00 uur vanmiddag de tijd om de crisis in zijn land op te lossen.

Mursi, de eerste democratisch verkozen president in Egypte, liet verstaan dat hij niet van plan is om onder druk van het massale protest in zijn land af te treden. Hij riep daarentegen op tot een coalitieregering.

De Egyptische president bleef ook hameren op zijn democratische legitimiteit. ‘Een scenario dat sommigen willen opleggen aan het Egyptische volk heeft geen consensus onder het Egyptische volk, en grote massa’s aanvaarden het niet’, klonk het.

Ultimatum

Het ultimatum dat de Egyptische legertop maandag aan president Mursi heeft gesteld, liep vandaag af. De president kreeg tot 17.00 uur vanmiddag de tijd om de crisis in zijn land op te lossen.

Mursi, de eerste democratisch verkozen president in Egypte, liet verstaan dat hij niet van plan is om onder druk van het massale protest in zijn land af te treden. Hij riep daarentegen op tot een coalitieregering.

De Egyptische president bleef ook hameren op zijn democratische legitimiteit. ‘Een scenario dat sommigen willen opleggen aan het Egyptische volk heeft geen consensus onder het Egyptische volk, en grote massa’s aanvaarden het niet’, klonk het.

Leger bij staatstelevisie

Het leger is met tanks en pantservoertuigen uitgerukt. Volgens ooggetuigen omsingelen gepantserde voertuigen van het leger de gebouwen van radio en televisie.

Volgens Al-Jazeera Arabic hebben alle presidentiële medewerkers het paleis intussen verlaten en is enkel Mursi achtergebleven. Het persagentschap Reuters meldt dat de president geïsoleerd is. Militairen hebben prikkeldraad en wegversperringen geplaatst bij het presidentiële kantoor waar Mursi al de hele dag zit te werken. Het leger heeft Mursi en prominente leden van de Moslimbroederschap een reisverbod opgelegd. Volgens journalisten hebben legerofficieren de studio’s van de staatstelevisie ingenomen.

In Caïro zijn opnieuw 10.000 tegenstanders van Mursi op het Tahrirplein samengekomen en op andere plaatsten in de stad. Ook volgelingen van de Broeders gingen opnieuw de straat op. Gisterennacht vielen zestien doden.

Wachten op mededeling

De legerleider generaal Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi zat vandaag bijeen met militaire leiders voor crisisoverleg. Ze zouden ook met religieuze en politieke prominenten hebben gepraat. Ook oppositieleider Mohammed El-Baradei werd uitgenodigd voor de crisisvergadering.

Het leger liet weten dat ze een mededeling aan de bevolking voorbereiden.

Het Amerikaanse ministerie van Buitenlandse Zaken liet weten ‘zeer bezorgd’ te zijn over de situatie in Egypte.

(Source / 03.07.2013)

‘Full military coup’ underway in Egypt, tanks & APCs seen on streets

Protesters opposing Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi take part in protest, demanding that Morsi resign, at Tahrir Square in Cairo

A military coup is underway in Egypt, according to Mohamed Morsi’s national security adviser and a Muslim Brotherhood spokesperson. Security forces have placed a travel ban on Morsi and a number of top Brotherhood officials, according to AFP sources.

Security sources told Reuters that authorities had sent a list of at least 40 leading members of the Brotherhood to airport police.

Egyptian troops, including commandos, are deploying at key sites and intersections throughout Egypt, including Suez and the highway to Alexandria. Several hundred soldiers, together with armored vehicles are taking part in a military parade on the road near the presidential palace, a witness told Reuters. The army reportedly erected barbed wire and barriers around the barracks where Morsi was working.

National security adviser Essam El-Haddad said that “no military coup can succeed in the face of sizeable popular force without considerable bloodshed.” He added that he expects army and police violence to remove pro-Mursi demonstrators from the streets of Cairo.

Troops have moved into place near the Rabaa Adaweya mosque area, where tens of thousands of supporters of Mursi’s Muslim Brotherhood are rallying in support of the president, a Reuters journalist reported. But the Egyptian army denied that it was moving in on Morsi supporters, saying “The Egyptian army belongs to all Egyptians.”

A presidential aide said it was unclear if the president would be free to leave later to return to the palace. He added that Morsi’s message to all Egyptians is to resist the military coup peacefully without using violence.

Military vehicles heading in direction of pro Morsi rally pic.twitter.com/74n7NBWlpc

Morsi won’t step down, proposes unity govt

Morsi has offered a consensus government as a way out of the country’s crisis, but offered no new compromises. The leader has refused to step down, and instructed the military not to “take sides.”

The proposed coalition government would include a Prime Minister elected by political powers, according to a presidential statement. The statement added that “the scenario that some parties are trying to impose is rejected by the people.”

Crowds cheer as army copter flies over prez palace protesters who are already celebrating:they believe they’ve won pic.twitter.com/ut9gip1Yek

The military ultimatum given to President Mohamed Morsi has come and gone, as hundreds of thousands of people take to the streets. Morsi previously rejected the deadline, which gave him 48 hours to meet the demands of the people before facing army intervention.

Just before the afternoon deadline imposed by the military expired, Morsi again rejected army intervention. The leader said that abiding by his electoral legitimacy was the only way to prevent violence. He criticized the military for “taking only one side.”

“One mistake that cannot be accepted, and I say this as president of all Egyptians, is to take sides,” Morsi said in a  statement issued by his office. “Justice dictates that the voice of the masses from all squares should be heard.”

The meeting between Commander-In-Chief of the Egyptian Armed Forces, Abdul Fatah Khalil Al-Sisi, and political forces is still ongoing, Al Arabiya reports. The most important issue being discussed is reportedly that of sending reassuring messages to the Brotherhood’s leaders.

The two sides seem unwilling to budge, with protesters stating that Morsi and his Brotherhood party are pushing an Islamist agenda on Egypt.

The Tamarod movement has called on Egyptians to take to the streets and squares immediately, and to listen to the army’s speech.

The Brotherhood says the army’s actions amount to a coup and says that its members are ready to become martyrs to defend the president.

This combo image shows: Egyptian protesters calling for the ouster of President Mohamed Morsi (Top) and Egyptian supporters of President Mohamed Morsi (Bottom) (AFP Photo)This combo image shows: Egyptian protesters calling for the ouster of President Mohamed Morsi (Top) and Egyptian supporters of President Mohamed Morsi

There is only one thing we can do: we will stand in between the tanks and the president,” Gehad El-Haddad, the MB official spokesman, told Reuters on Wednesday.

We will not allow the will of the Egyptian people to be bullied again by the military machine.”

Morsi believes it would be better to die “standing like a tree,” defending the electoral legitimacy of his office, than to go down in history as having destroyed Egyptians’ hopes for democracy, presidential spokesperson Ayman Ali said, as quoted by Reuters.

Transitional period, then elections

Egypt’s state news agency MENA says a short transitional period will be followed by presidential and parliamentary elections.

The country’s leading Muslim and Christian clerics and the leader of the liberal opposition alliance Mohamed El-Baradei will jointly present a roadmap for a political transition shortly. Army generals will be present at the announcement, along with members of the Tamarud youth protest movement.

The clerics would be the Grand Sheikh of Cairo’s Al-Azhar institution, a leading authority in the Muslim world, and Pope Tawadros, the head of the Coptic Church and leader of Egypt’s millions of Christians.

Army sources had previously said the army would issue a statement after the deadline expires at about 5 p.m. (1500 GMT) but no time has yet been set for official statements, according to the Facebook page of Egyptian military spokesman Col. Ahmad Muhammad Ali.

At least 39 people have died since anti-Morsi protests began on Sunday. A night of deadly clashes in Cairo on Tuesday night claimed the lives of at least 16 people, most of whom died in a single incident near Cairo University.

The Brotherhood blamed police for the shooting. The Interior Ministry said it was investigating and the governor of the Giza province, where the clash occurred, submitted his resignation.

(Source / 03.07.2013)