Israel holds army exercises inside Ibrahimi Mosque

 

Muslim worshippers were forced out of the mosque on Thursday as the troops moved in.Muslim worshippers were forced out of the mosque on Thursday as the troops moved in.

The Israeli occupation army has held exercises inside the Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron. Muslim worshippers were forced out of the mosque on Thursday as the troops moved in.

Tayseer Abu Sneineh, the Director of Religious Endowments in Hebron, said that worshippers were excluded from the mosque for several hours while the unidentified exercises took place. He added that the mosque officials were prevented by the soldiers from making the midday call to prayer.

(Source / 05.07.2013)

Al-Azhar imam addresses Egypt: Violence and killing against Islam

As the death toll in Egypt kept rising, Ahmed al-Tayeb grand imam of al-Azhar institution – which is Sunni Islam’s highest seat of learning – said killing is prohibited in Islam.

Violence or killing a person is prohibited in Islam, said grand imam of al-Azhar institution – which is Sunni Islam’s highest seat of learning – as the death toll in Egypt kept rising.

Ahmed al-Tayeb, in a televised address to the nation – said that he hoped the Egyptian people will find a way out of “this ugly strife.”

At least 10 people were killed and 210 wounded in clashes between opponents of ousted Islamist President Mohammed Mursi and those who support him, a health ministry source said on Friday.

Before his TV address, Tayeb demanded the release of political prisoners after the arrests of several leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood following the army’s overthrow of Mursi.

He also called for the release of “prisoners of conscience” and political activists, Reuters reported the state news agency MENA as saying.

Earlier on Tuesday, Tayeb warned that “division will lead the country to a catastrophe, and it must end.”

“Unity of the Egyptian people is above all,” he added.

However, the grand mufti – whose moderate religious authority had previously accused the Muslim Brotherhood, from which Mursi hails, of humiliating it – called for “effective steps” to be taken to show “appreciation to the people’s voice.”

He said the “people have surprised and inspired the world through its elegant expression of their peaceful demands.”

(Source / 05.07.2013)

Ter voorbereiding op Ramadan!

Ter voorbereiding op Ramadan!

Het was de gewoonte van onze nobele profeet -sallalaaho ‘alayhi wa sallem- om zijn metgezellen te verheugen op de komst van deze gezegende maand en vertelde hen:

“Als Ramadan aanbreekt worden de poorten van het Paradijs geopend en de poorten van de Hel gesloten en de duivels geketend.” [al-Boecharie]

Het verrichten van goede daden is hierdoor gemakkelijker.

De gelovige verheugd zich op de komst van deze gezegende maand en is blij, zoals Allah zegt:

Zeg (O Mohammed): “Met de gunst van Allah en Zijn barmhartigheid zouden zij blij moeten zijn, het is beter dan wat zij verzamelen (aan wereldse zaken)” [10:85]

Een enkeling kan zich afvragen, voorbereiden op Ramadan? Wat wordt daarmee bedoeld?

Wellicht dat sommigen van ons hierbij denken aan het inkopen van allerlei lekkernijen, de dadels niet te vergeten, om te zorgen dat de eettafel rond etenstijd mooi versierd is met al datgene wat het hart begeerd.

Deze vorm van voorbereiden hoeven we verder niet op in te gaan, aangezien de meesten van ons daar heel goed in zijn. We willen het meer hebben over een voorbereiding waarbij de gelovige even stil staat en tijd neemt voor bewustwording en terugkijkt naar zijn zonden en tekortkomingen naar Allah toe.

Over de gelovige die kijkt naar zijn levensloop en of het onderhand geen tijd is om een koerswijziging in te stellen.

Over de gelovige die zichzelf afvraagt, wat wil Allah van ons met het voorschrijven van deze unieke aanbidding waarbij we onszelf onthouden van eten en drinken?

Wanneer we de Qoraan openslaan, dan wordt het antwoord op deze vraag al gauw duidelijk:

“O jullie die geloven, het vasten is jullie verplicht, zoals het ook verplicht was voor hen vóór jullie, opdat jullie (Allah) zullen vrezen.” [2:183]

Uit dit vers maken we op dat het hoofddoel van het vasten het bereiken van vrees voor Allah is. Het laten van eten en drinken is een middel om dit doel te bereiken. Want wat weerhoud jou ervan om te eten of te drinken in de afwezigheid van de mensen? Is dat niet de vrees voor Allah en de overtuiging dat Hij jou ziet en dat jij niet etende wilt worden gezien door Hem? Met het vasten oefen je het gevoel – dat Allah jou hoort en ziet – sterker te maken.

Het je onthouden van eten en drinken maakt je bewuster en verzwakt de begeertes en invloed van de duivel welke de grootste drijfveer zijn tot het begaan van zonden en het nalaten van verplichtingen.

Deze gezegende maand moet in het teken staan van verandering, verandering naar het betere. Verbetering van jouw band met Allah, verbetering van jouw band met ouders gezin en familie, verbetering van jouw band met jouw medegelovigen.

Verandering door het behoeden van jouw tong van al het slechte. Behoeden van jouw zicht en gehoor van al het verbodene.

Laat niet de enige verandering in deze gezegende maand zijn dat je honger en dorst ervaart, want dan wordt werkelijk gevreesd dat dat het enige is wat je hebt bereikt. Zoals onze nobele profeet salla allaho ‘alaihi wa sellam zegt:

“Wellicht dat de vastende slechts honger en dorst aan zijn vasten overhoudt.” [Nasaa’i]

Om ook werkelijk verandering tot stand te brengen moeten we vóór aanvang van Ramadan al een duidelijk plan uiteen hebben gezet.

Door ten eerste afstand te nemen van aldatgene wat ons weerhoudt van het goede, zoals slecht gezelschap bijvoorbeeld.

Daarna sommen we onze goede voornemens op, met bovenaan het verrichten van de gebeden op haar voorgeschreven tijden. Voorbeelden van andere goede voornemens zijn het verrichten van vrijwillige gebeden zoals het Taraweeh-gebed, lezen van de Qoraan, veelvuldig gedenken van Allah en zorgen dat je in goed gezelschap verkeerd.

Wie op deze manier te werk gaat zal op het suikerfeest terugkijken naar een prachtige maand.

Beste broeders en zusters, we gaan een gezegende maand tegemoet. Een maand waarin de gelovigen wedijveren in het verrichten van allerlei goede daden.

Een maand waarin de poorten van het Paradijs uitnodigend open staan voor alle moslims, het is dan jammer om te zien hoe sommige van onze broeders en zusters deze uitnodiging niet lijken te willen accepteren …

In komende Ramadanberichten meer info over deze gezegende maand, haar regelgevingen en het nuttig besteden ervan.

Wilt u ook dagelijks een Ramadanbericht ontvangen en was u nog niet aangemeld, dan kunt u dit doen via: www.kennisviamail.nl

Stuur het door; “Wie aanspoort tot het goede, heeft dezelfde beloning als degene die ernaar handelt.” [Sahih Moslim]

Abulfadl, student aan de universiteit van Medina. Saudi Arabië.

26 Sha’baan

Smeekbede die werd verhoord

By Marianna Laarif

Een van de grootste geleerden van de Islam die vlak na de tijd van de metgezellen leefde was Sheikh en Imaam Ibrahim Adham. Die man had zoveel kennis dat zelfs geleerden uit de hele Islamitische wereld naar hem reisden om zijn lezingen bij te wonen; Het was een man met kennis en wijsheid (Hikmah).

Op een dag besloot hij de moskee van de profeet (vzmh) in Medina te bezoeken en hij woonde zelf in Irak en omstreken; een zeer lange reis voor die tijd.

Een maal daar aangekomen ging hij de moskee binnen en het was vlak na het isha-gebed. Hij besloot om daar te slapen en de volgende ochtend de mensen les te geven.

De schoonmakers van de moskee waren net van plan om de moskee een grote schoonmaakbeurt te geven en wilden iedereen eruit hebben en dus ook Sheikh Ibrahim Adham. Ze wisten immers niet wie hij was en noch wilde hij bekend maken wie hij was, daar was hij te bescheiden voor.

Hij smeekte ze om ergens in een hoek te mogen blijven omdat hij nergens heen kon, maar ze waren vastberaden en hij moest gaan.

Tegenover de moskee was een bakkerij en de bakker die daar werkte zag de sheikh buiten de moskee zitten dus besloot hij hem binnen te halen zodat hij hem gezelschap kon houden tot het Fadjr-gebed.

Een maal binnen het bakkerij merkte sheikh Ibrahim dat de bakker met een bepaalde handeling bezig was. Namelijk iedere keer wanneer hij het brood binnen de oven deed zei hij: “Bismillah” en wanneer hij het weer eruit haalde zei hij: “Alhamdulillah”. En zo ging het een tijdje door.

Sheikh Ibrahim dacht bij zichzelf: “Zal ik deze man eens wat bijleren tot het fadjr-gebed om de tijd nuttig te besteden” Hij vroeg de man: “Jouw constante handeling die je verricht (bismillah, alhamdulillah) wat voor positieve invloed heeft dat in jouw leven?”

De man antwoordde: “Het positieve eraan is dat elke keer wanneer ik een smeekgebed (Dou3a) verricht dat het meteen door Allah in vervulling wordt gebracht zodra ik klaar ben met het smeek-gebed.”

Sheikh Ibrahim riep meteen: ” Masha Allah”
De man vervolgde: “Behalve één smeek-gebed ”
Sheikh Ibrahim vroeg: “Welke?”
De man zei: “Ik heb gehoord dat er een groot geleerde in de beurt van (Al-shaam= Irak) woonde zijn naam is Ibrahim Adham en mijn smeek-gebed was of ik ooit les van hem zou kunnen krijgen. en dat smeek-gebed heb ik al een tijd geleden gedaan en is nog steeds niet vervuld”

Sheikh Ibrahim zei toen: “Wallahi jij bent bij Allah beter dan Ibrahim Adham……….Het is jouw smeek-gebed geweest die mij sleurend naar jou toe bracht”

Egypt risks Islamist splits, violence after Mursi fall

Islamists, members of the brotherhood, and supporters of Egyptian President Mohammed Mursi shout slogans during a protest around the Raba El-Adwyia mosque square in the suburb of Nasr City, Cairo, in this June 28, 2013 file picture.

Some 200,000 people died in a decade of civil war in Algeria after uniformed officers rejected a popular vote for Islamists, an example some in Cairo darkly cite after the army ousted Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood president on Wednesday.

While Algeria’s Islamists were never allowed to govern, Egypt’s Mohammed Mursi ran the country for a year, and a wide spread sense that he was author of his own misfortunes may deter some who might have taken up arms in his cause.

But his removal could still split Islamist groups that have entered Egyptian politics since a 2011 uprising toppled Hosni Mubarak, an autocrat who repressed them for decades.

Egyptian Islamists such as the Brotherhood and their erstwhile ultraconservative allies risk losing those followers, especially among the young, who conclude Egypt’s democratic experiment has failed and peaceful politics will get them nowhere.

Mursi’s National Security Adviser Essam El-Haddad wrote in a valedictory Facebook post, “The message will resonate throughout the Muslim World loud and clear: democracy is not for Muslims.”

As authorities rounded up some of the Brotherhood’s most prominent figures, one of its senior members, MohamedEl-Beltagy, laid bare the dangers at a pro-Mursi sit-in outside a Cairo mosque on Thursday.

“The issue now is the position of the free world that is pushing the country to a state of chaos and pushing groups other than the Brotherhood to return to the idea of change by force.”

The rhetoric has heated up since the army first said it might intervene after millions of protesters flooded the streets to demand Mursi’s resignation.

“You’ve made new mujahideen, new people who will seek martyrdom. Know that if one out of every 10 of those here blows himself up, you are the reason,” said one man, referring to army chief General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, in a YouTube video purportedly taken at a large pro-Mursi rally in Cairo this week.

Hours before the army removed Mursi, Mohamed Nufil, a 44-year-old government employee at the same rally, said he was certain the president’s supporters would turn to violence if the army aborted what they saw as a legitimate democratic process.

“If there is a coup, Egypt will have two options: It willbecome like Syria, or it will become like Algeria in the ‘90s.That is the alternative. It will happen,” he said.

Most Mursi supporters see the military intervention as a coup, while Egyptian authorities say they were merely responding to the demands of the Egyptian people.

Violent precedents

Egypt has been a crucible of militant Islamist movements for decades, and its government a regular focus of their ire.

The three main presidents that have served since 1952, when a coup installed military-backed rule, have all accused Islamists of trying to kill them. In the case of Anwar Sadat, who made peace with Israel, they succeeded.

In the 1990s, Islamist insurgents waged a bloody campaign against security forces in southern Egypt.

Al-Gamaa Al-Islamiya, which carried out some of the most deadly attacks, eventually renounced violence and formed apolitical party after Mubarak was toppled.

But some Gamaa members have said publicly that they would take up arms again to defend Mursi, a threat the group’s leaders are now trying to play down, and which is controversial among the Islamist rank and file.

“If the army dares to kill democracy in Egypt, we will fight them,” Mohamed al-Amin, a 40-year-old Gamaa member, said hours ahead of the army decree, gesturing to the thousands of supporters who had gathered at the pro-Mursi rally in Cairo.

Sobhy Youssef, 45, a Brotherhood supporter sitting nearby, interrupted him: “No, no, my brother,” he said. “We are not taking up weapons. What we are taking up is our patience and our faith in God.”

Khalil al-Anani, an expert on political Islam at Britain’s Durham University, said the risk of low-level violence in Egypt was significant, especially in the Sinai Peninsula, which has descended into lawlessness since Mubarak was ousted.

But groups like Gamaa had been chastened by the disastrous results of their insurgency in the 90s.

“Islamists know very well that violence is not the solution,” Anani said.

Still, the army’s ouster of Mursi may help militant groups like al Qaeda advance their argument that democracy is not the way forward, he added.

“Now, they would say, ‘Look, this is the democracy that you were fighting for’.”

A dangerous phase

The potency of that argument will depend on how the military handles the transition and how well Islamists that have signed up to its “road map” are able to hold their ranks together.

The ultraconservative Nour Party, Egypt’s second-biggest Islamist political movement after the Brotherhood, has endorsed the army plan. Like Gamaa Islamiya, it has urged its followers to refrain from violence.

“Before anyone decides to sacrifice themselves for the sake of President Mursi’s position, they must think that perhaps they will end up losing both things,” the group said in a statement on Thursday.

But engaging with the military plan could also alienate members.

Yassir al-Sirri, a former militant who lives in London where he runs an Islamic media and rights group, said the army’s “coup” against Mursi had pushed Egypt into a dangerous phase.

“Now people do not have faith in peaceful action, and they do not believe change can come through a peaceful route. This is the problem,” he said.

Egypt had the chance to bring young Islamists into a formal political framework, working in public, but this was now at risk, he said.

“Unless the situation is corrected as soon as possible, we are going backwards again.”

(Source / 05.07.2013)

Israeli occupation arrests Palestinian lecturer at Al-Karamah bridge

Israeli occupation arrests Palestinian lecturer at Al-Karamah bridge

Ahrar—Ahrar center for Prisoners studies and human rights condemned the Israeli authority’s arrest of lecturer at Al-Najah national university Fadi Aseedeh, 33.

Fuad Al-Khuffash, the head of Ahrar center said that Aseedeh was arrested at Al-Karama Bridge as he was coming back from Malaysia, after having the doctorate degree in Arabic there. He was transferred to Bteh Tekva investigation center.

Aseedeh is from Tel village in Nablus city, he travelled with his wife and three children on July, 2009.

Al-Khuffash said that there are six Palestinian academics in Israeli jails and Fadi Aseedeh is the brother or prisoner Mohammad Aseedeh.

(Source / 05.07.2013)

The Coup in Egypt

 

A movement that would scare any ruling class

A movement that would scare any ruling class

The near equality in strength of the two camps contending for power in Egypt led the army to stage a Bonapartist coup writesSungur Savran It is not only the recent episode of unprecedented crowds in the millions coming out on 30 June that has made the army move. This struggle between the Muslim Brotherhood government of now deposed President Mohamed Morsi, on the one hand, and the opposition, represented by the National Salvation Front, and more recently by the Tamerod (Rebel) movement, on the other, has been going on since last November. This is, in fact, the third wave of spectacular demonstrations by the opposition within a cycle of the Egyptian revolution that has been going on since November.

It was in November, in the wake of the so-called Constitutional Decree of Morsi, that the opposition started to challenge the legitimacy of the president. This first wave died down as a result of the electoral atmosphere created by the referendum on the constitution set for 15 December. Then on the second anniversary of the revolution (the Egyptians mark the beginning of the revolution, 25 January, as its date), there began another wave that lasted almost for a month. The mammoth demonstrations of 30 June and since are thus the third wave. The singularity of the 30 June rallies lies in the fact that, at least in Cairo, the crowds were simply too large to be compared to anything that went on before: not only was Tahrir square, the iconic centre of the Egyptian revolution, much more densely packed than on any previous occasion according to the unanimous commentary of all seasoned observers, but Ittihadiye, the area around the presidential palace in Heliopolis, drew crowds that would, on their own, rank this incident in the annals of mass protest anywhere in the world! So this was a formidable movement that would scare any party in government and any ruling class!

Morsi’s Last Stand

And yet the Brotherhood and the other Islamist movements, with certain exceptions, showed no signs of giving in. On the one hand, they organized counter demonstrations and sit-ins that reached up to the hundreds of thousands. There were also clashes all around the country before, during and after the landmark date of 30 June that led to scores of casualties on both sides. On the other hand, Morsi himself stood his ground and declared squarely that he was not going to give in to the demands of the opposition. These demands, it may be recalled, amounted to Morsi’s resignation, the assumption of the presidency by the new head of the Constitutional Court, the formation of a technocratic transitional government which would put the crumbling economy of the country in order and early presidential elections. This, by the way, has turned out to be the so-called “road map” of the army as well.

The deadlock born from the confrontation of two nearly equal social and political forces was simply inextricable. It threatened civil war. It was into this void that the army stepped in and staged its coup. This was a classic case of Bonapartism.

To understand the ironies of history that this coup represents one has to recall the facts of recent history. It is, of course, commonplace knowledge that since the early 1950s, the army has been the mainstay of the Egyptian regime. But after Nasser‘s death, the army ruled through the National Democratic Party and its strong men, first Anwar Sadat, then Hosni Mubarak. The new period of course opened with the eye-dazzling Egyptian revolution of 25 January 2011, which, in a matter of 18 short days, brought down the 30-year rule of Mubarak. This political revolution was a peculiar mixture of a popular revolution and a coup d’etat. It was really the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF), led by Field Marshall Tantawi, the Minister of Defence under Mubarak for two decades, which held ultimate power in the background, promising nonetheless the construction of a more democratic, pluralist regime.

Ironically enough, in the first period following the ouster of Mubarak, the army cooperated with the Muslim Brotherhood, the only sizeable politically coherent force in the country, as against the camp of the revolution (the relationship of the Brotherhood with the revolution itself was very problematic: it came in very late and constantly oscillated). In the meanwhile, the major demand around which the revolutionary camp increasingly mobilized was captured in the slogan “Yaskut yaskut, hukm el askar!” or “Down with the rule of the military!”

One and a half years later, Mohamed Morsi was elected as a result of a two-round presidential election, in the second round of which he faced a candidate of the ancien régime, Ahmad Shafik, an ex-premier under Mubarak and beat him by a very narrow margin. It is important to note this because it makes clear that many of the people now on the streets had, only a year ago, voted for Morsi as against the candidate of the previous era. And only a month after he was inaugurated, Morsi dismissed Field Marshall Tantawi and his chief of staff and thus brought to an end the domination of the political system by the SCAF. In what is another irony of history, he promoted Al-Sisi to head the military, making him his Defense Minister, as a safeguard against the intrusion of the army into political life. It was Al-Sisi who was to stage a coup against him on the anniversary of his inauguration!

Civil War Averted and a Revolution Hijacked

Whatever the personal leaning of Al-Sisi (he was hailed at the time by the Western press as the representative of another generation of officers), the army has now avenged its humiliation at the hands of Morsi last year and has restored its prestige in the eyes of both ruling circles and the masses. Moreover, through its coup the army has averted, at least for the moment, an impending civil war between the two camps. A civil war is always a grave danger for armies, not least because it may lead to a fatal division within its own ranks. But all this pales into insignificance when compared with the real import of the coup: this coup has pre-empted a possible revolution by the people! The power displayed by the masses on 30 June, preceded as this was by six months of feverish activity, demonstrations, mass rallies, marches, challenges against curfews etc. would scare any ruling class anywhere around the world. With this step the army has skilfully prevented a possible victory of the people’s revolution and in the process received the support of a significant portion of the masses. This Bonapartist coup is then, in its innermost essence, a revolution hijacked!

A significant part of the responsibility for this falls on the leadership of the opposition. During the press conference in which Al-Sisi declared the assumption of power by the army, he was flanked, apart from his commanders, by the Grand Sheikh of Al Azhar as the representative of the Muslim majority of the country and Coptic Pope Tawadros II as that of the Christian minority. But there was a third figure. That was Muhammad ElBaradei, the former director of the International Atomic Energy Agency, a “liberal” cherished by the Western media, and the leader of an insignificant bourgeois political force of the country. In what capacity was he there? As the spokesperson of the National Salvation Front, a motley collection of parties that brings together one of the richest tycoons of Egypt, Naguip Sawiris, and socialists of all stripes, but really centred around the towering figure of Hamdeen Sabahi, the left Nasserist candidate who garnered around 21 per cent of the popular vote in the first round of the presidential elections a year ago (only three percentage points less than that of Morsi!). Sabahi and his Egyptian Popular Current have formed this incoherent front and tied the hands of the left Nasserists and socialists by allying them with bourgeois politicians of all stripes with almost no militant force or electoral clout. With the presence of Al Baradei, its spokesperson, at the press conference that officially established the military coup, the revolutionary camp has thus turned over power to the military with its own hands!

This is an irony rarely equalled in history. It was these same masses of the people that for a year and a half after the fall of Mubarak fought, at the expense of their lives at times, this ferociously violent military institution, trying to put an end to its rule.

However, even two and a half years after it first rose on the stage of history, the Egyptian revolution is so strong and the people so filled with an aspiration not only for freedom but also for bread and jobs, so significant is the component of class struggle within the whole process, that it would be folly to think this is the end of revolution and stability has arrived in Egypt. Quite the contrary. Having got rid of the three-decade long rule of a tyrant and then of a president who was elected at the polls in reasonably free elections only a year ago and this within the space of two and a half years, the Egyptian working-class and the large masses of people are full of self-confidence and a belief in their own strength. The people believe, and rightly so, that it is they and not the army who brought Morsi down! The audacity of this people will no wonder present us with even greater surprises in the near future. But the victory of the revolution requires the construction of a leadership that is capable of breaking with all forms of subservience to the Egyptian bourgeoisie and to imperialism.

(Source / 05.07.2013)

Israeli soldiers invade Palestinian H1 area and harass residents

During the evening of July 3rd, at approximately 8pm the Israeli military, under the orders of a new commander, illegally invaded H1, the Palestinian controlled area H1 of Hebron (Al Khalil) and spent the evening harassing families by various methods.

The illegal and flagrant incursion into H1 consisted of eight soldiers on foot, equipped with heavy machine guns and tear gas attachments, followed by two soldiers in a jeep. They attempted to intimidate Palestinians on the streets who questioned why they were committing this act. As they reached their destination, two soldiers stopped anyone coming near a Palestinian home that four soldiers invaded. Two positioned themselves on the roof of the home, while another two soldiers brought family members outside to search and question them. They proceeded to push one boy in his teens against the wall and search him in a humiliating fashion. After they had finished harassing this particular family, the soldiers patrolled the streets of H1 before finally returning to illegally occupied H2. Palestinians in the area told international volunteers that these dehumanising routines were not new; however a new commander was in place and he, like previous commanders, was abusing his power in order to oppress the population of Al Khalil.

Israeli Military's illegal incursion into H1, Al Khalil (Photo by ISM)

Israeli Military’s illegal incursion into H1, Al Khalil

Since the 1997 Hebron Agreement, H1 is supposed to follow the same rules as Area A, which means the Palestinian Authority are hypothetically in control (of civil proceedings and security issues), whereas H2 is the equivalent to Area C in which the Israelis are in control, though 30,000 Palestinians still live in this section of the city and are brutally oppressed on a daily basis. When the Israeli military moves troops into H1, it is a violation of the Hebron agreement, an example of Israel’s contempt for laws, be they national or international and moreover, evidence of their contempt for the Palestinian people.

(Source / 05.07.2013)

Hundreds march on French headquarters of Israeli produce exporter

More than 350 people marched from Avignon to the French headquarters of Mehadrin, an Israeli agricultural export company that plays a leading role in the colonisation of Palestinian land

More than 350 people marched from Avignon to the French headquarters of Mehadrin.

More than 500 people demonstrated in the French city of Avignon on Saturday as part of a extraordinary mobilization against Mehadrin, the major Israeli agricultural export company that operates inside illegal Israeli settlements and is deeply involved in the ongoing colonization of Palestinian land.

At least 350 people then marched the 14 kilometers from Avignon to Mehadrin’s French headquarters in the small town of Chateurenard (video here). As they passed over a major bridge near Avignon, the huge crowd chanted: “Sur le pont d’Avignon, on boycotte, on boycotte! Mehadrin, Mehadrin, on boycotte, on boycotte!” — a play on the famous French nursery ryhme about Avignon.

The march finished with a rally outside Mehadrin’s warehouses where tents bearing the names of Palestinian villages were erected in tribute to Palestinian resistance and an audio recording of a speech by Palestinian Farmers Union executive director Dawood Hamoudeh was played. Dozens of police surrounded Mehadrin’s warehouses to prevent activists from getting too close to them. Activists from more than twelve cities across France joined the mobilization.

Mehadrin is increasingly under fire as the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement works to expose how it operates farms in illegal Israeli settlements using stolen Palestinian water, exploits Palestinian workers and helps tighten Israel’s grip on occupied land. Mehadrin operates the Jaffa brand of fruit and exports its produce to supermarkets throughout Europe.

The march was heralded by activists as a successful first step in pressuring major French supermarkets not to stock Mehadrin goods and to create mass public awareness about the importance of boycotting Israeli products.

The French BDS movement played a leading role in the campaign against Agrexco, a company that used to be Israel’s largest agricultural company before it entered liquidation in 2011.

Building solidarity and ending complicity

The start of the march in Avignon

Saturday’s huge mobilization was organized in response to the call for action against Israeli agricultural companies issued in February by Palestinian farming groups. A briefing published to accompany the call titled “Farming Injustice” highlights the role that international trade in fresh produce grown by Israeli settlement companies plays in the destruction of Palestinian agriculture.

The introduction to the briefing explains the significance of campaigns targeting companies like Mehadrin:

For Palestinians, agriculture is much more than the production of olives, citrus fruit and other fresh produce or keeping livestock. Farming is tied to the Palestinian people’s identity, history and resistance to Israel’s illegal occupation …

… Palestinian farmers face the brunt of Israel’s land confiscations, demolitions and water theft. Farmers that still have access to land and water face systematically implemented restrictions and violence. Israeli agricultural export companies such as Mehadrin and Hadiklaim are among the primary beneficiaries of the destruction of Palestinian agriculture…

… These companies operate inside and export produce from illegal settlements using stolen Palestinian land and water and profit from the siege on Gaza. International trade with Israeli agricultural export companies finances the expansion of illegal settlements and rewards them for their participation in violations of international law.

The launch of the call to action was marked with demonstrations in Gaza, the West Bank and in forty cities across Europe.

Grassroots movements across Europe are responding to the call to action and are taking action in solidarity with Palestinian farmers and to oppose trade with Israeli agricultural export companies. Activists hope to pressure other retailers to follow the lead of the UK Co-Operative supermarket chain that announced in May 2012 that it would no longer trade with Mehadrin, Agrexco or other companies that operate in settlements.

In the UK, a campaign has been launched to pressure major supermarket Sainsbury’s to stop trading with Israeli fresh produce exporters that are complicit in Israeli occupation and apartheid. A demonstration will be held outside the company’s shareholders meeting on on 10 July. Similar campaigns are underway in Belgium, Switzerland and elsewhere.

More than thirteen European governments have expressed support for European Union guidance on how products from illegal Israeli settlements should be labeled and the guidance is expected to be released later this year. Critics argue that the routine deceptionemployed by Israeli exporters makes labeling unworkable and that states should instead ban economic ties to settlements and settlement companies or, at the very least, discourage financial transactions with settlements.

Continued grassroots mobilizations and campaigning such as Saturday’s march against Mehadrin can play a huge role in pressuring governments and businesses to end their complicity with Israel’s colonization of Palestinian land.

(Source / 05.07.2013)

Egypt: At least 10 killed as clashes break out nationwide

Six people were killed as clashes break out nationwide.

At least 10 people were killed and 210 wounded in clashes between opponents of ousted Islamist President Mohammed Mursi and those who support him, a health ministry source said on Friday.

According to the Freedom and Justice Party — which is the political arm of the Muslim Brotherhood — 17 people from the Brotherhood have been killed and hundreds were injured in the clashes.

Clashes raged in Cairo and Egypt’s second largest city, Alexandria, where protesters used stones and Molotov cocktails.

A large group of Islamist crossed a bridge over the Nile River in Cairo, clashing with Mursi opponent near Tahrir square and near the state TV building.

Al Arabiya correspondent reported that fire erupted and gun shots were heard near the 6th October Bridge, which is a major route to Tahrir Square.

The youth movement Tamarod, which spearheaded the protests against the Islamist president, said that four of its supporters were injured in the Abdulmin’im Square in Cairo.

There are at least eight provinces in which the Egyptian army and Mursi supporters have clashed on Friday, according to various reports.

Egypt’s interim president, Adly Mansour, issued a curfew in northern Sinai, Al Arabiya’s correspondent reported.

By 0810 GMT, the Egyptian army had cleared the area around the state TV, Maspero, and 6th October Bridge from Muslim Brotherhood protesters, Al Arabiya’s correspondent reported.

(Source / 05.07.2013)