‘Rebel’ says call to ‘mandate’ army doesn’t include extraordinary measures

No one can impose their will on the Egyptian people, Rebel movement says
‘Rebel’ (Tamarod) movement has stated that the call for the Egyptian people to “mandate” the army comes within the framework of the law and does not require extraordinary measures.Army chief Abdel Fattah El-Sisi on Wednesday called for protests to give the military a “mandate” to confront “violence and terrorism” triggered by Morsi’s overthrow.

The law applies to “everyone who thinks that they can stop the revolution from moving forward and impose their will on the Egyptian people through systematic terrorism in Sinai and other places,” ‘Rebel,’ a signature-drive campaign that led the 30 June protests against deposed president Mohamed Morsi, said in a press statement on Friday.

It is not in the nation’s interests to ask foreign entities to intervene, the statement added.

The ‘Rebel’ statement called for treason trials for those “who asked for foreign powers to intervene and challenge the will of Egyptians”.

The statement also called on people to take to the streets on Friday to continue the revolution in a peaceful manner and achieve the goals of the January 25 revolution – “bread, freedom and social justice.”

The campaign also declared that the US ambassador to Egypt Anne Patterson is “unwanted on the Egyptian territory for exceeding her diplomatic duties”. The campaign described Patterson as “supporting terrorism” in Egypt and challenging Egyptians’ free will.

The ‘Rebel’ movement has endorsed the Defence Minister Abdel Fattah El-Sisi’s call, saying it supports the military in its “war against terrorism.”

Morsi loyalists, along with anti-Morsi groups, such as the April 6 Youth Movement and the Revolutionary Socialists, have denounced El-Sisi’s call, stating that it could lead to civil war.

Army spokesman Ahmed Ali said earlier on Friday El-Sisi’s speech was not referring to any one particular group.

El-Sisi’s speech comes after a serious outbreak of violence nationwide between Morsi loyalists on one side and his opponents, the army and the police, on the other.

(Source / 26.07.2013)

Israel’s thriving arms trade is a setback to peace agreement

Over the past decade, Israel has surged up the arms trade’s international rankings. Despite having a population smaller than New York City, Israel has emerged as one of the world’s largest exporters of armaments.

Last month, defence analysts Jane’s put Israel in sixth place, ahead of China and Italy, both major weapons producers. Surveys that include Israel’s growing covert trade put it even higher, in fourth place, ahead of Britain and Germany, and beaten only by the United States, Russia and France.

The extent of Israel’s success in this market can be gauged by a simple mathematical calculation. With record sales last year of $7 billion (Dh25.7 billion), Israel earned nearly $1,000 from the arms trade per capita – up to 10 times the per capita income the US derives from its manufacture of weapons.

The Israeli economy’s reliance on arms dealing was highlighted this month when local courts forced officials to reveal data showing that some 6,800 Israelis are actively engaged in the business of arms exports. Separately, Ehud Barak, the defence minister in the last government, has revealed that 150,000 Israeli households – or about one in 10 of the population – depend economically on the weapons industry.

These disclosures aside, Israel has been loath to lift the shroud of secrecy that envelopes much of its arms trade, arguing further revelations would harm “national security and foreign relations”.

But a new documentary lifts the lid on the nature and scope of its arms business.

The Lab, which won a recent award at DocAviv, Israel’s documentary Oscars, is due to premiere in the US early next month. Directed by Yotam Feldman, the film presents the first close-up view of Israel’s arms industry and the dealers who have enriched themselves. The title relates to the film’s central argument that Israel has rapidly come to rely on the continuing captivity of Palestinians, in what are effectively the world’s largest open-air prisons. Massive profits are made from testing innovations on the more than four million Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank.

Attacks such as Operation Cast Lead of winter 2008-09 or last year’s Operation Pillar of Defence, the film argues, serve as little more than laboratory-style experiments to evaluate and refine the effectiveness of new military approaches, both strategies and weaponry. Gaza, in particular, has become the shop window for Israel’s military industries, allowing them to develop and market systems for long-term surveillance, control and subjugation of an “enemy” population.

The film highlights the kind of inventions for which Israel has become feted by foreign security services. It pioneered robotic killing machines such as the airborne drones that are now at the heart of the US scheme of extra-judicial executions in the Middle East. It hopes to repeat that success with missile interception systems such as Iron Dome, which goes on display every time a rocket is fired out of Gaza.

Israel also specialises in turning improbably futuristic weapons into reality, such as the gun that shoots round corners. Hollywood is also a customer, with Angelina Jolie marketing the bullet-bending firearm in the film Wanted.

The “stars” of the Lab are not smooth-talking salesmen but former Israeli officers-turned-academics, whose theories have helped to guide the Israeli army and high-tech companies in developing new techniques and arsenals.

Shimon Naveh, a manically excited philosopher, paces through a mock Arab village that provided the canvas on which he devised a new theory of urban warfare during the second intifada. In the run-up to an attack on Nablus’ casbah in 2002, feared by the Israeli army for its labyrinthine layout, he suggested that the soldiers move not through the alleyways, where they would be easy targets, but through the buildings, knocking holes through the walls that separated the houses. Mr Naveh’s idea became the key to crushing Palestinian armed resistance, exposing the only places – in the heart of overcrowded cities and refugee camps – where Palestinian fighters could still find sanctuary from Israeli surveillance.

Another expert, Yitzhak Ben Israel, a former general who is now a professor at Tel Aviv University, helped to develop a mathematical formula that predicts the likely success of assassination programmes to end organised resistance. Mr Ben Israel’s calculus proved to the army that a Palestinian cell planning an attack could be destroyed with high probability by “neutralising” as few as a fifth of its fighters.

It is precisely this merging of theory, hardware and repeated “testing” in the field that has armies, police forces and the homeland security industries of the US, Europe, Asia and Latin America lining up to buy Israeli know-how. Or as Benjamin Ben Eliezer, a former defence minister who became the industry minister, explains in the film, Israel’s advantage is that “people like to buy things that have been tested. If Israel sells weapons, they have been tested, tried out. We can say we’ve used this 10 years, 15 years.”

But the film’s convincing thesis offers a disturbing message to those who hope for an end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. As Israel has made its arsenal more lethal and its soldiers ever safer, its society has become increasingly tolerant of war as the background noise of life. If Israelis pay no price for war, the army and politicians face no pressure to end it. Rather, the pressure acts in the opposite direction. Regular attacks on Palestinians to test and showcase its military systems provide Israel with a business model far more lucrative than one offered by a peace agreement.

Possibly worse still, as foreign governments queue up to learn from Israel’s experience, the question arises: who else among us faces a Palestinian future?

(Source / 26.07.2013)

Egyptians stage rival rallies as Mursi charges fuel tension

Anti-Mursi protesters shout slogans as they wave Egyptian national flags during a rally and march around El-Thadiya presidential palace in Cairo July 26, 2013. REUTERS-Amr Abdallah Dalsh
Protesters gather for a mass protest to support the army in Tahrir square in Cairo July 26, 2013. REUTERS-Asmaa Waguih
Members of the Muslim Brotherhood and supporters of ousted Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi shout slogans during a rally around Rabaa Adawiya square where they are camping, in Cairo July 26, 2013. REUTERS-Amr Abdallah Dalsh
(Reuters) – Hundreds of thousands of Egyptians took to the streets in rival mass rallies on Friday, hours after the state news agency said ousted Islamist president Mohamed Mursi was being investigated for charges including murder.

In Cairo, huge crowds heeded a call by army chief General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi to give him a popular mandate to confront violence unleashed by his July 3 overthrow of Mursi, many of them clutching pictures of the general in full ceremonial uniform.

Supporters of the deposed Islamist leader staged mass counter-demonstrations to demand his reinstatement, shrugging off fears of an imminent crackdown.

The army’s move against Egypt’s first democratically elected president has caused deep alarm in the West. The country of 84 million people forms a bridge between the Middle East and North Africa and receives $1.5 billion a year in mainly military aid from the United States.

Highlighting the potential for bloodshed, hospital officials said four people were killed in clashes in Egypt’s second city Alexandria – three stabbed and one shot in the head. More than 50 were wounded.

A Reuters reporter said hundreds of people fought a pitched battle in the city, with birdshot fired and men on rooftops hurling stones down at the crowds below. Seven protesters were also reported hurt in the Nile delta city of Damietta.

The capital was largely peaceful, but numbers were expected to peak in the evening, when clashes have broken out before. Close to 200 people have died in violence in the three weeks since the army deposed the president.

TURNING POINT

The army has made clear it sees Friday as a turning point in its confrontation with Mursi’s Muslim Brotherhood, which emerged from decades in the shadows to win successive elections after Egypt’s 2011 Arab Spring uprising against veteran autocrat Hosni Mubarak.

It lasted a year in government, during which the economy floundered and Mursi’s popularity slumped.

“The Brothers stole our revolution,” said Salah Saleh, a horse trainer at a central Cairo rally, voicing widespread criticism that Mursi refused to share out power after taking office, and then failed to tackle Egypt’s many woes.

“They came and sat on the throne and controlled everything.”

Many thousands of men, women and children joined Brotherhood supporters at their round-the-clock vigil in northeast Cairo, which is close to army installations but far from Tahrir Square, focal point for the pro-army rally.

“It is either victory over the coup or martyrdom,” said senior Brotherhood politician Mohamed El-Beltagy told the pro-Mursi rally. “Our blood and our souls for Islam!” the crowds chanted.

The military had warned it would “turn its guns” on those who used violence. The Brotherhood, which has manned a month-long tent vigil in Cairo, warned of civil war.

It accuses the army and hired thugs of stoking trouble to justify a move against the Islamists.

In Cairo, helicopters repeatedly buzzed low over the pro-Mursi vigil before wheeling around Tahrir Square, and scattering Egyptian flags over the packed supporters.

“The Muslim Brotherhood has deviated from the path of real Islam,” said Gamal Khalil, a 47-year-old taxi driver as his wife and two daughters waved flags at passing cars on a bridge over the Nile.

“The army is the only honest institution in the country,” he said. “They’re keeping my whole family safe.”

MURSI CHARGES

The probe against Mursi centers on charges he conspired with Palestinian Islamist group Hamas to flee jail during the 2011 uprising against Mubarak, killing some prisoners and officers, kidnapping soldiers and torching buildings.

Mursi has previously said locals helped him escape from prison during the upheavals, and the Muslim Brotherhood denounced the series of accusations leveled against him. Hamas challenged investigators to find “one piece of evidence” that it had meddled in Egyptian affairs.

“At the end of the day, we know all of these charges are nothing more than the fantasy of a few army generals and a military dictatorship,” Brotherhood spokesman Gehad El-Haddad said. “We are continuing our protests on the streets.”

State news agency Mena said Mursi had been ordered detained for 15 days pending the probe.

Convulsed by political and economic turmoil, Egypt is deeply polarized, struggling to make the transition from the autocratic rule of the discredited Mubarak to free and open democracy.

Signaling its displeasure at recent events, Washington said this week it had delayed delivery of four F-16 fighter jets to Cairo and called on the Egyptian army to exercise “maximum restraint and caution” during Friday’s rallies.

One security source said the military wanted to calm the situation after realizing that Sisi’s call to rally was not well received abroad. A military statement on Facebook said the protests did not represent a threat to the Brotherhood.

State television screened images on Friday of the celebrations that erupted the night Sisi announced Mursi had been deposed. The narrator declared it “the day of liberation from the Brotherhood occupation”.

“Egypt against terrorism,” declared a slogan on the screen.

Army chief Sisi delivered his call for rallies on Wednesday in full military uniform and dark sunglasses. He was appointed by Mursi in a bid by the president to rein in Egypt’s powerful military, but Sisi turned against him.

He has appointed an interim government tasked with preparing for new parliamentary elections in about six months to be followed by a new presidential ballot. The Brotherhood says it will not join the process.

(Source / 26.07.2013)

Zo veel afleiding!

Velen van ons proberen al jaren vooruitgang te boeken in het geloof, maar toch schijnt het maar niet te lukken. Ieder goed voornemen dat we hebben loopt al gauw uit op niets. Het onderhouden van het gebed is daar een geschikt voorbeeld van.

We moeten ten eerste begrijpen dat ons lichaam het hart volgt, zoals de profeet salla allaho ‘alaihi wa sellam zegt:

“Voorwaar, er bevindt zich in het lichaam een ‘vleesklomp’ als die goed is, is het hele lichaam goed en als die slecht is is het hele lichaam slecht. Voorwaar, dat is het hart.”  [Bocharie]

Onze daden zijn de vruchten van het hart, als het hart gezond en schoon is brengt het gezonde en mooie vruchten voort en anders brengt het niet veel goeds voort.

En zoals het hart invloed heeft op onze daden, hebben de daden omgekeerd ook invloed op het hart, zoals Allah zegt:

“…wat zij plachten te doen (aan zonden) heeft hun harten bedekt.” [83:14]

De profeet sallaaho ‘alaihi wa sellam heeft dit vers uitgelegd met het feit dat iedere keer wanneer de dienaar een zonde begaat deze een spoor nalaat op het hart en dat deze door het vragen van vergeving weer verdwijnt. Maar wanneer de ene zonde de ander opvolgt, zonder het tonen van berouw, dit zo’n groot effect heeft dat het het hele hart beslaat.

In een andere overlevering vergelijkt de profeet sallallaaho ‘alaihi wa sellam het hart dat erg beïnvloed is door zondes met een scheef staand glas.

Een scheef staand glas kan je blijven vullen, maar het houdt het water niet vast.

Dit is de situatie van velen van ons, beste broeders en zusters. Wij willen verbetering en vooruitgang maar door dat we ons hart onrecht aandoen met slechte daden weigert deze mee te werken.

Een factoor waar het hart dagelijks last van ondervindt is het zicht. Het zicht waar wij het gevaar van onderschatten.

Een poëzieschrijver zegt:

“Alle gebeurtenissen beginnen met het zicht”

Ibn al-Qayyim – moge Allah hem genadig zijn – verduidelijkt dit en zegt:

“Het zien wekt een gedachte op, de gedachte wekt een begeerte op, de begeerte wekt een wil op. En de wil wordt steeds sterker totdat er een daad plaatsvindt.”

Velen van ons geven hun ogen vrij zicht, niet beseffende hoe groot haar effect op het hart is. Op straat lijkt het bijna alsof alles wat voorbijloopt gekeurd moet worden.

Wanneer we achter een scherm zitten, en dat doen we veel (smartphone, laptop, Ipad, tv) idem dito. Alles wat voorbijkomt wordt aandachtig bekeken, ongeacht of dat gepast is of niet.

Vanwege het gevaar van deze twee ogen spreekt Allah de mannen aan en zegt:

“Zeg (O Mohammed) tegen de gelovige mannen dat zij hun ogen neerslaan …” [24:30]

En vervolgens ook de vrouwen:

“En zeg (O Mohammed) tegen de gelovige vrouwen dat zij hun ogen neerslaan …”[24:31]

Een andere factoor die direct effect heeft op het hart is ons gehoor. Het luisteren naar zaken als muziek, roddel en vulgair taalgebruik komen het hart niet ten goede.

De tong en de zondes die daarmee worden voortgebracht hebben ook effect op het hart.

Niet te vergeten de verboden relatie’s die tegenwoordig gemakkelijk tot stand komen. Wiens hart verbonden is aan een persoon middels een verboden (buitenechtelijke) relatie heeft een aanslag gepleegd op zijn eigen hart.

Het verkeren in slecht gezelschap is ook zeer schadelijk voor het hart. Aangezien je in slecht gezelschap: het slechte ziet, hoort en spreekt.

Kortom beste broeders en zusters, zoveel slechts en afleiding voor het hart, dat het hart zo verzwakt raakt dat het geen zin heeft in het verrichten van goede daden. Zoals ibn al-Qayyim zegt:

“Wanneer het hart gevuld is met onzin en het houden ervan, is er geen ruimte meer over voor de waarheid en het houden ervan …”

Beste broeders en zusters:

Degene die oprecht zijn band met Allah wil verbeteren, moet als eerste beginnen met het afstand nemen van al datgene wat schadelijk is voor zijn hart. Want dan pas zal er ruimte zijn voor het goede.

Net zoals degene die een tuin wil beplanten met rozen eerst het onkruid verwijdert, dienen wij ook het onkruid in onze harten te verwijderen en weg te houden. Om vervolgens mooie vruchten voort te brengen en te behouden.
Abulfadl, student aan de Universiteit van Medina. Saudi Arabië.

17 Ramadan

UN alarm at anti-Syrian hostility in Egypt

Syrians living in Egypt protest against President Bashar Assad in Cairo on Oct. 16, 2011.

GENEVA (AFP) — Rising anti-Syrian rhetoric and arbitrary arrests are pushing a growing number of Syrian war exiles in Egypt to seek UN protection, the world body’s refugee agency said Friday.

UNHCR spokeswoman Melissa Fleming told reporters that there was “growing and disturbing anti-Syrian sentiment” in Egypt, raising fears among the refugee community.

Many Syrians who previously felt safe enough not to seek formal refugee status were now turning to the UNHCR for the protection afforded by official registration, Fleming said.

The number of Syrians approaching UNHCR to register jumped from around 200 per day before June 30 to over 1,000 currently.

As of July 23, over 78,000 Syrians were registered with UNHCR, and the cases of almost 21,000 were pending.

“This new climate began following allegations regarding participation of a few Syrians in protests and violent acts during July. There have also been numerous reports of xenophobic remarks and verbal attacks against Syrians,” Fleming added.

Fleming said that was an extremely worrying trend in a country known for its generosity in providing a haven to an estimated 250,000-300,000 Syrian war refugees.

With the rumor mill working overtime in deeply divided Egypt, there have been a string of claims over Syrian involvement in rallies supporting ousted Islamist President Mohamed Mursi.

Before he was overthrown by the military, Mursi, a vocal backer of Syria’s rebellion, had cut diplomatic ties with Syria and urged President Bashar Assad to quit.

Egypt’s new rulers have said they will re-examine the freeze, but insist they support the Syrian people in their aspirations.

But in what appeared to be a move to keep out Syrians deemed undesirable, on July 8 they imposed visa and security clearance requirements.

As a result, on July 9 and 10, some 400 Syrians were turned back on a handful of flights from their homeland, Lebanon and the United Arab Emirates, though the precise grounds were not clear, UNHCR staff said.

Fleming urged Egypt to at least waive the requirement for women, children and the elderly.

Concerns are also growing about arbitrary arrests of Syrians. UNHCR is pushing for access to 85 detained Syrians, and seeking assurances that they will not be deported to their war-ravaged homeland and will be treated fairly.

“These are the ones we know about,” Fleming underlined.

(Source / 26.07.2013)

Ethnic Cleansing of the Naqab in 2013: Is the Wood Group powering the ‘Prawer Plan?

The ‘Prawer Plan’

The ‘Prawer Plan’ is the innocuous sounding name for the biggest project of ethnic cleansing carried out by Israel since 1967 and so far, it is receiving scant attention by the international community or global mainstream media. The plan, detailed and condemned here by Adalah seeks to forcefully expel (i.e. ethnically cleanse) between 30,000-50,000 Bedouin Palestinian citizens of Israel from 850,000 dunums of their land in the Naqab desert, push them into an area that represents a mere 1% of the land to be confiscated. In the process, 40 ‘unrecognised villages’ will be demolished to fulfilling David Ben Gurion’s racist vision of Judaising the remainder of the Naqab. As Linah Alsaafin writing in the electronic intifada reminds us, much of the Naqab was ethnically cleansed in the initial Nakba of 1947-49. In 1948 (and 1967) however, War was both the pretext and smokescreen for such a large scale expulsion of Palestinians. The question and challenge to the international community (in the widest sense of the term) is this; without such pretexts and smokescreens, what will be your response to such a brazen display of ethnic cleansing, racism and apartheid?

Prawer Plan: Ethnic Cleansing of the Naqab BedouinPrawer Plan: Ethnic Cleansing of the Naqab Bedouin

For those answering the Palestinian civil society call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) the response should be two-fold: intensify our efforts to implement BDS and where possible, focus BDS campaigns against companies or institutions directly linked to this latest phase of the ongoing Nakba (HL) in the Naqab desert. The Stop the JNF campaign certainly provides this focus on the Naqab as the JNF/KKL will without doubt be directly linked to this land grab as they have with the entire Zionist project. Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign have also begun looking at the activities of one of Scotland’s biggest companies, The Wood Group with some interest and dismay.

The Wood Group

An Aberdeen-based energy services giant, The Wood Group are currently building Israel’s biggest privately owned power station on what used to be the Palestinian town of Al Madjal (ethnically cleansed in 1948 and now called Askelon) just miles from the area designated for ethnic cleansing under the Prawer Plan. This $875 million project is due for completion sometime this year and is set to provide Israel with 8% of it’s electricity. Behind these figures lies a darker picture, one that won’t be presented to Wood Group shareholders. Just miles from this power plant is the besieged Gaza strip, plagued with chronic and often lethal power shortages due to Israel’s medieval blockade. Gazans will receive no benefits from this power station. Neither will the so-called ‘unrecognised villages’ earmarked for destruction under the Prawer Plan, as unrecognised villages, Israel refuses to connect them to the electricity grid. If Israel is allowed to succeed in this latest wave of ethnic cleansing and newly built Jewish-only communities replace the Palestinian Bedouin ones, we can probably assume they will be powered with electricity from the nearby Wood Group-built plant. If so, not only would this constitute a clear case of energy apartheid it would implicate one of Scotland’s most successful companies in what would be the biggest case of ethnic cleansing in the 21st century. The timing of the power plants completion and the implementation of the Prawer Plan may not be mere coincidence. Initial research has revealed that along with Keter Plastic (a BDS target with operations in illegal West Bank settlements) and the notorious Israeli water company Mekorot electricity from the plant will be sold to the Israeli Ministry of Defence. The Israeli Army has already been relocating it’s training bases to the South and at least some of the land to be seized in the Prawer Plan is earmarked for housing Israeli soldiers stationed at these bases. Even if no hard evidence can be found linking the Wood Group to the Prawer Plan can be found, contracts with the Israeli apartheid state alone, and the sheer proximity of the infrastructure they’re building to the Naqab present a clear case of guilt by assocciation.

Resistance

On Monday 15th July Palestinians from across historical Palestine rose against the Prawer Plan. Demonstrations were held in the Naqab, Yaffa, Jerusalem, Haifa, Akka, Nazareth, Lod & Ramleh, Nablus, Hebron, Ramallah, Gaza City and many other places to coincide with a general strike by Palestinian citizens of Israel called the ‘Anger Strike’. Palestinian activist Abir Kopty articulates the national significance of resisting the Prawer Plan:

This is not just the struggle of Palestinians 48, its the struggle of all parts of the Palestinian people against the same power that keeps us divided, continues to colonize our land and transfer our people, whether in lands occupied in 1967 or in 1948.

At the time of writing, more protests are taking place across the whole of Palestine, despite many arrests and predictable Israeli violence and Palestinians have vowed that they will continue and continue to grow. Events on the ground can be followed through social media as Palestinian youth use the twitter hashtag #StopPrawerPlan to mobilise and report on the growing resistance.

The divisions amongst the Palestinian people are carefully nurtured and such manifestations of national unity across the whole of historic Palestine are seldom witnessed and as Ben White comments, resistance to the Prawer Plan is uniting Palestinians from all areas and factions. This makes them all the more inspiring and important and they demand cohesive and focused action from the international solidarity activists in response to this mass ethnic cleansing project. Be it  Veolia,  G4S,  Sainsbury’s,  The Wood Group or anyone else we must ensure that the BDS movement extracts a price for complicity with Israeli apartheid and ethnic cleansing and that no company, however large, is beyond the reach of BDS.

(Source / 26.07.2013)

Divided Egyptians take to the streets in nationwide mass rallies

An Egyptian army helicopter hovers as Egyptian opponents to ousted president Mohammad Mursi gather at Tahrir square in Cairo on July 26, 2013.

Thousands of Egyptians poured into the streets nationwide on Friday to grant the armed forces a mandate to confront “violence and terrorism” or voice support for ousted President Mohammad Mursi.

In Cairo, thousands gathered in the iconic Tahrir Square and outside the Ittihadya presidential palace in support of the army. Meanwhile, thousands gathered in two other areas of the populous capital demanding the return to power of Mursi and denouncing his overthrow as a military coup.

Army chief General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi called on Wednesday on Egyptians to demonstrate nationwide to grant him the mandate to fight “terrorism.”

Islamist supporters of Mursi say the army’s call signals an intention to crackdown on them, vowing to remain in the streets.

The army says it does not take sides and vowed to secure both rival demonstrations as long as they remain peaceful.

Several clashes however were reported. In the city of Alexandria two people were killed in clashes between supporters of Egypt’s military and deposed President Mursi’s loyalists, state media reported, quoting a hospital official.

Police have intervened to break up the clashes in the Mediterranean city, in which at least 19 people were injured, many with gunshot wounds, the reports said.

The health ministry said at least 54 others were wounded in clashes elsewhere in the country.

Seven protesters were reportedly hurt during clashes in the Nile delta city of Damietta, according to Reuters
Army helicopters buzzed low over the main pro-Mursi tent vigil and over Tahrir Square where the pro-army camp is holding its demonstration.

There is deepening alarm in the West over the course taken by the country of 84 million people, a pivotal nation between the Middle East and North Africa and recipient of $1.5 billion a year in mainly military aid from the United States, Reuters reported.

Mursi has disappeared since his overthrow nd the army has said he is being held for his own safety. But Mena news agency reported that Mursi would now be detained for 15 days as a judge investigated a raft of allegations.

The probe centers on charges that he conspired with the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas to flee jail during the 2011uprising against veteran autocrat Hosni Mubarak, killing some prisoners and officers, kidnapping soldiers and torching buildings.

Mursi has previously said locals helped him escape from prison during the 2011 upheavals and the Muslim.

Brotherhood denounced the series of accusations leveled against him as politically-motivated.

(Source / 26.07.2013)

Prominent Libyan activist shot dead after criticizing militant groups

Lawyer Abdelsalam al-Mosmary was killed by gunmen in the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi on Friday. He was one of the leading figures that joined protests against slain strongman Muammar Qaddafi which began in February 2011.

Gunmen killed a lawyer and prominent Libyan political activist in the eastern city of Benghazi on Friday after criticizing militant groups not willing to disarm, Reuters reported a security official and residents as saying.

Lawyer Abdelsalam al-Mosmary was killed after he left a mosque to make his way home on Friday.

The attack appeared to be the first against an activist in the city although security forces have been frequently targeted.

“He was coming out of Friday prayers when he was shot,” Benghazi security spokesman Mohammed al-Hijazy told Reuters. “It seems it may have been the work of a sniper because he was shot in the heart.”

During an interview with Al Arabiya TV on Wednesday, Mosmary criticized militant groups present around Libya’s ministries. He described them as “overturning legitimacy” in the country.

Appearing regularly on other TV stations, Mosmary would voice his discontent over the presence of armed militias on Libya’s streets as well as his opposition to the Muslim Brotherhood. The lawyer has also expressed his disdain over the political isolation law that prevents officials, who served under former regime, from continuing to be in politics.

Meanwhile, he was one of the leading figures that joined protests against slain strongman Muammar Qaddafi, which began in February 2011 in Benghazi.

“This has never happened before, this a first in Benghazi,” said Kais al-Bakshishi, a political activist.

Benghazi is now a hot spot for violence, with numerous attacks on security forces.

Libya’s weak central government is struggling to assert its authority over armed groups which helped topple Qaddafi but have yet to lay down their weapons. Islamist militants have also come to the fore.

In September, the U.S. ambassador and three other Americans were killed in an attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi.

(Source / 26.07.2013)

Israel blocks EU projects in West Bank

Houses are seen in the West Bank Jewish settlement of Ofra, north of Ramallah July 18, 2013. REUTERS/Baz Ratner

(Reuters) – Israel has blocked the European Union from aiding tens of thousands of Palestinians in the West Bank, in retaliation for an EU ban on financial assistance to Israeli organizations in the occupied territories.

The EU imposed its restrictions last week, citing its frustration over the continued expansion of Jewish settlements in territory captured by Israeli forces in the 1967 Middle East War. The new guidelines render Israeli entities operating there ineligible for EU grants, prizes or loans, beginning next year.

An Israeli official said on Friday the Jewish state was compelled to respond to the EU’s decision “to sanction or boycott the settlements”.

“From our standpoint we cannot just ignore this or treat spitting in our face as though it is rain,” the official said.

Settler leaders say the aid they receive from Europe is minimal. But many in Israel worry about knock-on effects the EU steps may have on individuals or companies based in Israel that might be involved in businessin the settlements, deemed illegal by the international community.

The Israeli official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon had decided to suspend contacts with the EU in the West Bank.

Yaalon, a former army chief and a hardliner in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party, has “frozen projects, canceled meetings, curtailed coordination and permits for Europe’s operations” for Palestinians living in what is known as Area C, a West Bank area fully administered by Israel, he said.

EU CONCERN

In Brussels, Maja Kocijancic, spokeswoman for EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, said: “The EU is concerned by reports in the Israeli media that the Israeli Minister of Defense has announced a number of restrictions affecting EU activities supporting the Palestinian people.

“We have not received any official communication from the Israeli authorities. Our delegations on the spot are seeking urgent clarifications,” Kocijancic added.

A Western diplomat, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that due to the Israeli measures, several European humanitarian aid staff had failed to receive permits to enter the Palestinian-ruled Gaza Strip.

Under the terms of a 1993 interim peace accord, some 150,000 Palestinians, many of them poor farmers and shepherds living in Area C, a West Bank zone where many settlements have been built, are fully under Israeli military control,

The Palestinians have limited self-rule over other parts of the West Bank, and share joint custody with Israel over yet other areas.

Some of Europe’s assistance in the West Bank goes to Palestinians for building homes. But many have been designated illegal and demolished by Israel.

The Association of International Development Agencies, a coalition of 80 aid groups, said in a report in May that 600 settler houses had been built since mid-2012, while Israel demolished 535 Palestinian-owned homes and structures.

The United States, Israel’s main backer, has been trying to revive peace talks that have been deadlocked for three years and are aimed at reaching an agreement for the Palestinians to establish a state alongside Israel.

(Source / 26.07.2013)

PFLP calls for demonstrations in protest at resumption of negotiations

 

 

RAMALLAH, (PIC)– The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) renewed its rejection of PA’s decision to return to negotiations with the occupation and called for staging protests in Ramallah and Gaza on Sunday afternoon to protest at the resumption of negotiations.

The Popular Front said, in a statement, that it is organizing events and a vigil in Palestine Square in Gaza City, at 12:00 noon next Sunday.

Another mass rally will be organized in Ramallah. It will be launched from the Orthodox Club Square at 1:00  pm, and will pass through Al Manara Square towards the Umam Square in front of the Muqata’a headquarters.

The PFLP demanded its elements to participate in these events and called on the factions and political forces to unite in confronting the occupation and to refuse the return to negotiations.

Hebrew media reported on Thursday that next Tuesday will mark the start of negotiations between the Ramallah authority and Israel in Washington DC, according to statements by Israeli Minister Silvan Shalom.

(Source / 26.07.2013)