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Dagelijks archief 30 juli 2013

Betaal je wel zakaat?

Velen van onze broeders en zusters betalen hun jaarlijkse zakaat niet, niet uit gierigheid maar vanwege onwetendheid.

Het betalen van de zakaat is de derde zuil van de islam en wordt in heel veel verzen in de Qoraan samen genoemd met het gebed.

Allah zegt:

“En onderhoudt het gebed en geeft de zakaat.” [2:43]

Het uitgeven van de zakaat zegent jouw bezittingen, reinigt de ziel van gierigheid en is goedheid naar de armen en behoeftigen.

Allah zegt:

“Neem (O Mohammed) van hun bezittingen de zakaat, jij reinigt en zuivert hen daarmee.” [9:103]

Je bent verplicht zakaat te betalen wanneer je aan twee voorwaarden voldoet:

1e voorwaarde:

Het bezitten van een bedrag boven de minimumgrens (nisaab). Deze nisaab is de waarde van 85 gram goud of 595 gram zilver. Het beste is om zilver als meetstaaf aan te houden, omdat zilver goedkoper is en dat in het voordeel van de armen is.

Dus als we bijvoorbeeld kijken op, dan zien we dat de prijs van één gram zilver 0,48 eurocent is. Dit keer 595 is 285€. Wanneer jij een bedrag bezit van 285€ of hoger ben jij zakaatplichtig.

Ongeacht of de persoon die dit bedrag bezit jong of oud is, ongeacht of hij geestelijk gezond is of niet. Het recht van de armen is gebonden aan het bedrag boven de nisaab en niet aan de eigenaar.

2e Voorwaarde:

Je bent pas zakaatplichtig over het bedrag dat gelijk aan de nisaab is of hoger, wanneer jij een jaar in het bezit bent van dit bedrag.


Mocht je op 1 Ramadan 2013 in het bezit komen van een bedrag van 700€ (wat boven de minimumgrens valt), dan begint ‘jouw’ jaar vanaf 1 Ramadan 2013.

Als dat bedrag boven de nisaab blijft (dus 285€) tot 1 Ramadan 2014 betaal je 2,5% over het op dat moment aanwezige bedrag. Dus heb je bijvoorbeeld 200€ uitgegeven door het jaar heen en heb je 500€ over op 1 Ramadan 2014, dan betaal je daar 2,5% over.

Mocht dat bedrag op 1 Ramadan 2014 bijvoorbeeld 250€ bedragen (wat onder de minimumgrens is) dan hoeft daar geen zakaat over te worden betaald. Wanneer je weer in het bezit komt van een bedrag boven de minimumgrens gaat ‘jouw’ jaar weer in.


Het komt vaak voor dat je verschillende keren in het jaar in het bezit komt van bedragen boven de minimumgrens, zoals je salaris bijvoorbeeld. Dus dan zou je in principe voor elk bedrag (boven de nisaab) moeten bijhouden wanneer een jaar voorbij is gegaan om vervolgens de zakaat te betalen.

Het is dan makkelijker om één datum aan te houden in het jaar, waarop je jouw zakaat betaalt over al het aanwezige geld (uiteraard als het boven de nisaab is). De zakaat die je dan betaalt over bedragen die je nog geen jaar bezit, wordt beschouwd als vooruitbetaalde zakaat. En het is toegestaan om jouw zakaat vooruit te betalen.

Uitgeleend geld

Wanneer je iemand geld hebt geleend en jij dit op elk gewenst moment terug kan krijgen, dan dien je dit uitgeleend bedrag te beschouwen als geld dat in jouw bezit is om daar vervolgens zakaat over te betalen, gezamenlijk met de rest van jouw geld.

Het uitgeleende geld dat jij niet op elk gewenst moment terug kan krijgen omdat de schuldenaar het niet heeft of omdat hij het verzuimt terug te geven, dan betaal je daar pas zakaat over wanneer je het bedrag terug hebt gehad. Je betaalt dan eenmalig zakaat over het bedrag, ook al is het een schuld van jarenlang.

Zelf schulden hebben

Wanneer je zelf schulden hebt, maar wel aan de bovengenoemde twee voorwaarden van de zakaat voldoet (door een jaar lang in het bezit te zijn van een bedrag gelijk aan of hoger dan denisaab), dien je ook zakaat te betalen en zijn deze schulden geen vrijstelling voor jou.

Nadat insha Allah duidelijk is geworden hoe de zakaat wordt berekend, rest nog een belangrijk vraagstuk. En dat is: aan wie hoor ik mijn zakaat te geven?

Dit vraagstuk wordt insha Allah in het komend bericht behandeld.

Ps: Het kan geen kwaad om het bericht meerdere keren aandachtig door te lezen totdat alles goed begrepen is.
Abulfadl, student aan de Universiteit van Medina. Saudi Arabië.

21 Ramadan

The Second Tunisian Revolution Is Underway

A man lights a flare outside the National Constituent Assembly headquarters during a protest to demand the ouster of the Islamist-dominated government in Tunis, July 28, 2013.
Tens of thousands of people are roaming the streets of Tunisia from north to south. More than 60 MPs have announced their withdrawal from the National Constituent Assembly (NCA) and the police are repressing peaceful protesters. As for the leaders in power, they are applying the motto, “Here I am, here I remain.” Evidently, the components of a second revolution are present.

Here comes failure in an obvious manner, despite the denials of various troika leaders, and despite the admissions of some of their leaders, like former prime minister and current Secretary-General of Ennahda Hamadi Jebali and Ennahda Vice President Abdelfattah Mourou.

After the assassination of Chokri Belaid, Jebali had actually admitted to this failure before throwing in the towel following his failure to impose on his political family the idea of ​​a government of technocrats to settle the current affairs until elections.

Ali Laarayedh and Noureddine Bhiri were named in his place, but they could not appease the spirits for more than three months. It is true that the national and international economic situation did not help much.

Yet the increased tension has been aggravated not only because of the relative incompetence of the government, but also because of the NCA, which seems to want to stand its ground forever by constantly creating problems that delay elections.

Often, members of the Congress for the Republic (CPR) and Ennahda — which constitute the ruling parties — stand behind these fabricated problems. The most recent problems include the falsification of several texts by Islamist Habib Kheder, general rapporteur of the constitution, not to mention the transitional provisions that prevent appealing to any court for three years to object to constitutional texts. Finally, there is the so-called law of immunization of the revolution, aiming to dismiss certain resolute political opponents from the next elections.

Having already lost its legal legitimacy since Oct. 22, 2012 — for it was originally elected for a one-year term — the NCA has lost its moral legitimacy as well.

On July 25, Republic Day, it also lost its political legitimacy with the assassination of MP Mohammed Brahmi. This is the third political assassination since the Jasmine Revolution, following the assassinations of Lotfi Nagdh and Belaid. Such killings were never witnessed during the rule of former presidents Zine El Abidine Ben Ali and Habib Bourguiba, who were described by the current rulers as dictators.

Enough is enough. Tunisians immediately took to the streets to express their anger and disapproval. In the cities of Kef, Gafsa, Sidi Bouzid and Sfax, there were demands for the resignation of the NCA and the incompetent government.

After Brahmi’s funeral, thousands gathered in front of NCA headquarters to demand its dissolution. More than 60 MPs have already announced their withdrawal from the assembly to join the protesters. They swear that they will not leave the premises until finding a final solution to Tunisia’s political crisis. With the sit-in already in place and the tents erected, the ruling party has enough reason to be enraged.

However, the rallies were repressed twice more on July 27 by security forces that we no longer hesitate to name as a parallel police for the Islamist Ennahda. Ennahda is suspected of creating militias to defend itself against the angry crowds.

A counter-protest was organized and we saw known faces, notably at Bardo in front of the NCA. There were thugs here and there, but there were also protesters who had participated in old pro-government sit-ins, including faces from Tunisian TV. Officially, they were there to defend the “legitimacy” of the government and Islam.

Amid the pro-government protest, we could hear slogans and calls of the leaders shouting, “Beware, those MPs who withdrew and the demonstrators who want to bring down the government are enemies of Islam. They want to make your religion vanish from the country. Look at how they are eating and drinking openly, without caring about fasting [during the holy month of Ramadan]. This is enough proof. Be careful, if you do not defend your religion and your country, they will lock us all away in prisons.”

Those sentences were convincing enough to ignite the crowds and push them into confrontations. Late at night, MP Sahbi Atig, who leads the Ennahda bloc within the NCA, came to Bardo and incited the crowds once again. His very presence on the scene was a provocation. In a normal democracy and in a country that respects itself, he would be under arrest, given his calls for murder hardly 15 days ago at a rally in support of ousted Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi.

Ennahda’s violent reaction was predictable. The Islamist party was brought up on violence, and its leaders have already been convicted of such acts. The determination of the 60 MPs and thousands of democratic protesters challenging the Islamist regime, however, will not be realized: The government will fall and the Islamists will leave power after the institutional coup that they are imposing on people.

In any democratic country, when thousands of protesters take to the streets to express their anger, the government immediately resigns and organizes early elections. We are repeating day and night that the current regime has no legitimacy; its one-year term is over, its mission has failed and three political leaders have been murdered under its term. The protest movement has been active for several weeks. It accelerated on July 25, and the democrats hope it reached its cruising speed on July 27, following the police repression and presence of pro-regime militias.

All the ingredients of a peaceful uprising are present. The second Tunisian revolution is well underway. For the moment, however, it does not seem to resemble the second Egyptian revolution at all.

(Source / 30.07.2013)


Palestinian Authority, Tel Aviv to resume talks in 2 weeks: Kerry

US Secretary of State John Kerry speaks at a press conference in Washington, DC on July 30, 2013.

US Secretary of State John Kerry speaks at a press conference in Washington, DC on July 30, 2013.
Last Palestinian-Israeli talks broke down in September 2010 after Tel Aviv refused to freeze its settlement activities in the occupied West Bank.
US Secretary of State John Kerry says the Palestinian Authority (PA) and Israelis will reopen negotiations “within the next two weeks.”

Kerry made the remarks at a joint press conference along with the Palestinian and Israeli chief negotiators, Saeb Erekat and Tzipi Livni, at the Department of State in Washington, DC after the two-day US-brokered talks ended on Tuesday.

He stated that the two sides would meet in “either Israel or the Palestinian territories in order to begin the process of formal negotiation.”

“I am pleased to report that, in the conversations we have had last night and again today, we have had constructive and positive meetings; both meetings with the United States present and also meetings with the parties by themselves. The parties have agreed to remain engaged in sustained, continuous, and substantive negotiations on the core issues,” Kerry said.

The US secretary of state also hailed acting PA chief Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for sending the negotiators to Washington.

However, many Palestinians believe the talks are doomed to failure because the Israeli regime and Washington are pushing for the Palestinians to unconditionally surrender.

Last Palestinian-Israeli talks broke down in September 2010 after Tel Aviv refused to freeze its settlement activities in the occupied West Bank.

The presence and continued expansion of Israeli settlements in occupied Palestine has created a major obstacle for the efforts to establish peace in the Middle East.

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

The United Nations and most countries regard the Israeli settlements as illegal because the territories were captured by Israel in a war in 1967 and are hence subject to the Geneva Conventions, which forbids construction on occupied lands.

(Source / 30.07.2013)

Abbas under illusion of becoming president of an independent Palestinian state


Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas (AFP Photo / Issam Romawi)Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas

The resumption of negotiations doesn’t mean Palestinians and Israelis will be able to resolve issues of borders, settlements and security, Dr. Haidar Eid, political analyst from Al Aqsa University in Gaza, told RT.

RT: If such a size of population is not represented will negotiators reflect what Palestinians really want?

Haidar Eid: Well in fact what the Palestinians really want is not only reflected in the perspective of Hamas on the issue of the resumptions of negotiations between the Palestinians and the Israelis. But last week there was a meeting for the Politburo of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), and almost all Palestinian organizations represented on the political buro voted against the resumption  of the negotiations unless Israel  recognizes Palestinian right to self-determination and the two states solution and puts an end to its settlement activities in the West Bank.

RT: The negotiations will be long, will they get to the real points like borders, settlements and security?

HE: Well, that is a brilliant question in fact. Because in 1993 negotiations that started in Oslo and the Oslo accords were signed in Washington, and for 20 years nothing has happened so far. But in fact what happened has been actually Israel’s annexation of more land of the West Bank. It has erected a monstrous wall in the West Bank and Israel has imposed a deadly medieval siege on the Gaza strip. Now the point of reference for the Oslo accords is not international law, because international law guaranties the right to self-determination to the Palestinian people. And the right to self-determination of the  Palestinian people entail one right that more than 7 million of Palestinian refugees that scattered all over the world living in miserable conditions and miserable refugee camps all over the world have actually their right to return. Also international law guarantees the right of equality of more than 1.2 million Palestinian citizens of the state of Israel, who are treated as 2nd if not 3d class citizens. But also international law guarantees the right of the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank to live freely and free from direct military occupation. And I don’t think that, you know, the resumption of the negotiations means that the Palestinians and the Israelis will be able to deal with these serious issues.


U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (C) delivers remarks on the Middle East Peace Process Talks, as Israeli Justice Minister Tzipi Livni and Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erekat (R) listen at the Department of State on July 30, 2013 in Washington, DC. (AFP Photo / Win Mcnamee)U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (C) delivers remarks on the Middle East Peace Process Talks, as Israeli Justice Minister Tzipi Livni and Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erekat (R) listen at the Department of State on July 30, 2013 in Washington, DC.

RT: How realistic is the Mahmud Abbas statement, that he doesn’t want any Israelis on his soil?

HE: Well, I think that Mr. Abbas is living under illusion of becoming the president of an independent Palestinian state, forgetting the fact that the Israel has actually created new facts on the ground, by making the establishment of sovereign independent state in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank an impossibility. Because, I said earlier, it all has expropriated more than 55% of the land of the West Bank. The number of Israeli settlers in 1993 when the PLO signed the Oslo accords with Israel, was about 200,000 settlers, the number of citizens now is more than 600,000 in the West Bank and the so-called Greater Jerusalem. And I think that shows the kind of truly real relationship of Israelis and Palestinians – the relationship between the oppressor and the oppressed, not unlike the relationship between the White apartheid system of South Africa in 1970s and 80s and the antiapartheid movement. And the only solution they were not going back to the negotiation tables or trying to have unfair broker like the Americans, exactly like we, Palestinians, have right now. But in fact sustain the BDS campaign, boycott, divestments and sanctions and form the popular resistance against the oppressor and asking the international committee to intervene by supporting the oppressed, the colonized. And I don’t think that Mr Abbas and the people who signed the Oslo accords are really serious about supporting the popular resistance against occupation.

(Source / 30.07.2013)

10 slechte gewoonten voor en na de Ramadan

By Marianna Laarif

De maand Ramadan is een bijzondere tijd waarin veel moslims zich tot Allah keren en hun aanbidding vermeerderen. Maar helaas zijn er ook veel mensen die dit alleen tijdens de Ramadan zelf doen. Voor en na de Ramadan doen ze niks aan het geloof. En ook zijn er zaken die steeds weer binnen de moslimgemeenschap opspelen. Daarom in dit artikel 10 slechte gewoonten voor en na de Ramadan, zodat we onszelf allemaal kunnen afvragen of die slechte gewoonten ook voor ons gelden.

  1. De meningsverschillen over het begin van de Ramadan.
  2. En natuurlijk ook de meningsverschillen over het einde van de Ramadan.
  3. Alleen tijdens de Ramadan bidden, ervoor en erna niet.
  4. De moskee alleen tijdens de Ramadan bezoeken en daarna nog maar weinig of zelfs helemaal niet.
  5. Enkel tijdens de Ramadan vasten, nooit tussendoor vasten. Hoewel deze zaak niet verboden is, zou het wel beter zijn om ook vrijwillig te vasten.
  6. Alleen de Koran lezen tijdens de Ramadan, voor of na de Ramadan niet meer of zelden. De Koran zouden we iedere dag moeten lezen, zelfs al is het maar een klein deel.
  7. Onachtzaam zijn met betrekking tot de verhevenheid van de maand Ramadan en de beloningen die er te behalen zijn in deze verheven maand.
  8. Op de dag van Ied meteen weer vervallen in haram zaken en daarmee de dag van Ied een dag van haram maken.
  9. Stoppen met het verrichten van goede daden na de Ramadan. Weet dat de beste daad bij Allah de daad is die met regelmaat verricht wordt, hoe klein het ook is.
  10. Blij zijn dat de Ramadan voorbij is en verdrietig zijn wanneer het bijna Ramadan is.
Op meer dan één vraag ‘ja’ geantwoord? Zorg dan dat je zo snel mogelijk van die slechte gewoonte(n) afkomt!

Tamarod attacks Third Square breakaway

Tamarod campaign<br />

Mahmoud Abdel Ghany
Egypt’s Tamarod campaign has attacked the Third Square, an activist breakway group against the rule of both the Muslim Brotherhood and the army.
The initiative, led by the Strong Egypt Party and leftist groups such as the Revolutionary Socialists and the 6 April Youth Movement, rejects the 26 July demonstrations supporting the military-led roadmap as well as the Rabea al-Adaweya sit-in launched by supporters of ousted President Mohamed Morsy.
According to Tamarod spokesperson Hassan Shaheen, the Third Square is an attempt to divide Egypt and its revolutionary forces.
“Describing the 30 June protests as a coup is a lie because Egyptians were the ones who imposed their will when millions demonstrated like never before,” he said.
Shaheen told Al-Masry Al-Youm that the initiative is an attempt to thwart gains made by the Egyptian people, achieved by overthrowing the Brotherhood and setting the roadmap.
He criticized the call made by the Strong Egypt Party, headed by former Brotherhood leader Abdel Moneim Aboul Fotouh, to hold a referendum.
“The revolution and its gains will not be put to a referendum,” Shaheen stressed. “We [Tamarod] will support the transitional government and the Egyptian army through the current period and to confront any violence or terrorism.”
The 6 April Youth Movement meanwhile said the army does not a mandate to protect Egyptians and fend off potential violence. This is its duty according to the law and constitution, the group claimed.
“All the Egyptian people are already against terrorism,” the movement said in a statement released on Saturday.
Army chief and Defense Minister Abdel Fattah al-Sisi called for mass protests on 26 July to give the army a mandate to confront “violence and potential terrorism” in the wake of Morsy’s overthrow earlier this month.
(Source / 30.07.2013)

Israel advises Sri Lanka on slow-motion genocide

Women wearing mock blood lie on ground surrounded by other seated women

Tamil protesters outside the Sri Lankan consulate in Toronto, May 2009.

Towards the end of 2008, I joined thousands in Toronto to protest Israel’s attack on Gaza. Like people all over the world, we called for an immediate end to the war. At York University, where I was a student, we mobilized the campus to defend Palestinian rights.

A few months later, bombs were falling on my own people — in the Vanni region of northern Sri Lanka. And once again, we hit Toronto’s streets in protest.

I realized then that even though our homelands are oceans apart, Palestinians and Tamils have much in common.

Through the “war on terror,” the Israeli and Sri Lankan armies have waged war on civilian populations.

The Rome-based Permanent Peoples’ Tribunal has commissioned an independent reportthat finds the Sri Lankan state guilty of bombing hospitals, humanitarian operations and even government-declared “safe zones,” in clear violation of international humanitarian law (“Preliminary report,” January 2010 [PDF]).

A United Nations report estimates that from January to May 2009, between 40,000 and 75,000 persons were killed (“Report of the secretary-general’s panel of experts on accountability in Sri Lanka,” 31 March 2011).

The Sri Lankan government’s own statistical data reveal that almost 147,000 persons remain unaccounted for: no one knows if they are held in prison, injured, or dead (“146,679 Vanni people missing within a year of war: Bishop of Mannaar,” TamilNet, 12 January 2011).

Major arms supplier

But there are more direct connections.

Israel has been a major arms supplier to Sri Lanka’s government, as well as providing it with strategic military advice. With permission from the United States, Israel has sold Sri Lanka consignments of Kafir jets and drones.

Israel has also supplied the Dvora patrol boats to Sri Lanka, which have been used extensively against Tamils (“Sri Lanka learns to counter Sea Tigers’ swarm tactics,” Jane’s Navy International, March 2009 [PDF]).

And Israel has also provided training to the Special Task Force, a brutal commando unit in the Sri Lanka police.

The similarities don’t end there. Both Palestinians and Tamils have been subjected to a process of settler-based colonialism.

In the 1980s, Israel offered advice to Sri Lanka as it built Sinhala-only armed settlements in the eastern province, which aimed to create buffer zones around Tamil-majority populations (the Sinhalese are the ethnic majority of Sri Lanka) (“Sinhala academic blames US-UK axis for genocide in Tamil homeland,” TamilNet, 15 April 2012).

The strategy employed was the same as Israel’s in the West Bank: to destroy the local population’s claim to national existence and render invalid any political solution based on popular sovereignty.

Just like in Palestine, land seizures and settlement programs in Sri Lanka are fragmenting the Tamil people’s national and social coherence throughout their historic homeland in the north and east of the island. As exiled journalist and human rights worker Nirmanusan Balasundaram wrote earlier this year, the effect is to undermine any possibility of creating a contiguous national homeland (“Sri Lanka: The intentions behind the land-grabbing process,” Journalists for Democracy in Sri Lanka, 30 April 2013).

Sham dialogue

Within the occupied West Bank, this process takes place against the backdrop of “dialogue,” which more and more Palestinians see as a sham as Israeli settlementsspread across their land. After the 2009 war, the Sri Lankan government used the rhetoric of “reconstruction” and “redevelopment” to obscure its process of rapid colonization.

For Tamils, “post-war development” has become another form of counter-insurgency warfare, whereby Sinhala settlements, state-led militarization and the open gerrymandering of constituencies all threaten the Tamils’ historic relationship to their homeland.

The Palestinian experience — in particular, the Oslo accords signed by Israel and thePalestine Liberation Organization in 1993 — has been instructive for Tamils.

An international agreement with India foresees Sri Lanka holding elections this September for a Northern Provincial Council, supposedly another gesture of reconciliation. The US is backing the election, despite serious reservations within Tamil civil society and the diaspora.

The council, if elected, would provide Tamils with only the perception of self-determination — similar to the experience of the Palestinian Authority — while the military occupation continues to dominate every aspect of civilian life. The council’s powers would remain under the control of the Sinhalese-dominated government in Colombo, Sri Lanka’s capital, and its governor would be a direct appointment of the Sri Lankan president (see “Much ado about nothing,” Colombo Telegraph, 21 April 2013).

Regardless of the façade of self-government, the crime of apartheid remains a fact of life for Tamils in Sri Lanka, as it does for Palestinians under Israeli rule.

Sri Lanka’s treatment of the Tamils in the north and east of the island meets the definition of apartheid contained in the 1973 International Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid.

Apartheid involves the domination of one racial or ethnic group over another. The convention is not restricted to the particular manifestation of apartheid in South Africa or to majorities being oppressed by minorities. Instead, it condemns practices that resemble apartheid — of which there is more than one version.

Without a doubt, there are critical differences between the oppression faced by Palestinians and the oppression faced by Tamils (and by black South Africans, for that matter). Nevertheless, both Israel and Sri Lanka are characterized by discrimination, repression and territorial fragmentation through stolen land.

The unitary Sri Lankan state structure constitutionally places all power of the state exclusively in the hands of the Sinhalese people, while denying Tamils equal access to education, their own language, their land, and self-determination.

Common experience

In light of this common experience, the Palestinian and Tamil peoples are enduring a slow — but relentless — genocide. The massacres in Gaza and the Vanni were carried out to kill civilians, cause serious bodily and mental harm, and impose conditions of life that produce partial and gradual physical destruction — all with little meaningful opposition from global capitals. Both can be considered cases of genocide, as it is defined by the United Nations.

In the case of Sri Lanka, as long as it uses the language of “reconciliation,” it will continue to pursue the same strategy and enjoy praise from major powers.

But the realization of our peoples’ aspirations does not depend on the whims of foreign governments. It rests with the Tamil people — as the aspirations for a liberated Palestine rest with the Palestinians — and the support of a mobilized and engaged international solidarity movement. By supporting each other’s struggles, and by learning from each other’s histories, we can get one step closer to a more just world.

For both Palestinians and Tamils, the attacks of 2008 and 2009 were part of a broader history of dispossession, occupation and genocide. Our people have a lot in common in the struggle for peace and justice. In fact, our oppressors appear to have lots in common too.

(Source / 30.07.2013)

Israel Approves A New Settlement In Occupied Jerusalem

Israeli TV, Channel 10, has reported that, despite an Israeli decision to release 104 Palestinian detainees and resume direct negotiations with the Palestinians, the Israeli Housing Ministry approved a new settlement “neighborhood” in the heart of occupied East Jerusalem.

Settlements - Americans For Peace Now
Settlements – Americans For Peace Now

Direct peace talks, mediated by the United States, are supposed to start on Monday evening.

Channel 10 said that Israeli Housing Minister, Uri Ariel, approved the plan, and added that various Israeli political analysts believe this decision is a sharp blow to efforts to resume and maintain direct talks.

The plan was first presented by the Israeli “Construction and Planning Committee” in 2004, but the application was voided because the planned constructions have high walls that violate the construction code of the Jerusalem City Council.

Nevertheless, the plan was resubmitted and was approved by the City Council, and the constructions are planned to be built on five Dunams of lands in the occupied city.

Although the P.A expressed rejection to the plan, it seems to be determined to hold the first session of direct talks with Israel on Monday.

Direct talks have been obstructed since September of 2009 when a temporary settlement freeze expired and Israel started massive constructions.

Israel’s illegal settlement activities violate International Law and the Fourth Geneva Convention to which it is a signatory. Settlements were one of the main reasons that obstructed direct talks.

Settlements are spread across the occupied West Bank and Jerusalem; they along with the Annexation Wall are turning the Palestinians communities into isolated cantons.

The occupied West Bank is 5655 square/kilometers long, and 40-65 kilometers in width, while the Gaza Strip is 365 square/kilometers, 45 kilometers longs and 5-12 kilometers in width. The total size of the Palestinian territory is 6020 square/kilometers.

Israel was established in 1948 on about %78 of historic Palestine, then after the war of 1967, Israel imposed its military occupation on the rest of Palestine and started building and expanding Jewish settlements considering them part of the state.

Areas that the P.A “control” are around 210 square/kilometers, divided and largely surrounded in the West Bank by settlements and the Wall.

(Source / 30.07.2013)

Former PA minister raises questions about prisoner release

If Israel doesn’t follow through with release of all pre-Oslo Palestinian prisoners, including citizens of Israel, ‘we’ll create pressure – and we’ll try to stop these negotiations,’ Palestinian Prisoners’ Club head Qaddura Fares says, adding that after previous releases, he has little hope.

Prisoners’ relatives participate in a protest in front of Najah National University in the West Bank city of Nablus in solidarity with Palestinian prisoners, December 18, 2012.

“No, I am not satisfied,” Qaddura Fares said crisply, the morning after the Israeli Cabinet voted on Sunday to release 104 Palestinian prisoners, the vote having been delayed for hours so Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu could persuade the unconvinced. “I think there are a lot of reservations about the process, the procedure,” Fares said.

The vote finalized a formal invitation from the U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry to both Israeli and Palestinian negotiators to come to dinner in Washington the next day for first meetings in what the State Department is calling “direct final-status negotiations.”

Fares himself spent years of his life as a young man in Israeli jails for being part of the Palestinian resistance through his membership in Fatah, and now heads the Palestinian Prisoners’ Club in Ramallah, which gives support to Palestinians arrested and jailed by Israeli forces.

Over the the weekend, he reportedly said in a radio interview that all 104 pre-Oslo prisoners must be included in the deal: “If they don’t free all of them, there will be no negotiations.”

But, Netanyahu indicated on Saturday evening that he was “unwilling to accept the demand to release Palestinian prisoners before the negotiations begin.”

A list of the 104 longest-held Palestinian prisoners, some jailed for 30 years, the others for two decades, was given to Kerry by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, and forwarded to Netanyahu. But Netanyahu initially balked, saying he would only release 82, striking off the names of Palestinians who are Israeli citizens or East Jerusalem residents. Kerry waited, and Netanyahu appeared to relent. But he said he would put the matter to a cabinet vote on Sunday.

As those deliberations were underway, a PLO official told Haaretz that if the releases were made conditional, there would be no return to negotiations: “The release of all the prisoners was an agreement between the U.S. and Israel, not between Israel and the Palestinians … Based on this agreement, the Americans received our consent to renew talks.”

After the vote, PLO officials decided within the hour that it was good enough to return to negotiations.

A statement was issued in the name of Chief Palestinian Negotiator Sa’eb Erekat, saying that the Israeli cabinet decision was “an overdue step towards the implementation of the Sharm el-Sheikh Agreement of 1999, whereby Israel committed to release all the pre-Oslo prisoners. We welcome this decision, 14 years later.” The statement added that “the decision includes all pre-Oslo political prisoners [who] remain in Israeli prisons, including Palestinians from Israel.” He vowed to continue working to free all Palestinian political prisoners.

What was important, a PLO official told me, was to get the commitment voted on and approved by Israel – to release the 104 prisoners in four stages [over the nine-month period during which the sides committed to talk]. This, he said, is what Kerry proposed, and the Palestinians accepted.

What enabled the deal, apparently, was a written guarantee received from Washington [in a “letter of assurances” from Kerry] that negotiations will be based on pre-June 4, 1967 lines.

According to the PLO official, the first group of Palestinian long-term prisoners should be released “within days” [they had yet to be released before the meetings in Washington Monday night], probably at the latest by the time of the coming Eid, the post-Ramadan holiday that will start either on 9 or 10 August, and last for three days.

But, Qaddura Fares on Monday asked why the releases should take place in four stages over six to nine months. “Who will decide which prisoners will be released? Who will decide who will be included in the first group? Who will decide when they will be released? It is not clear.”

Fares has had ample experience with previous prisoner releases. “We have little hope,” he said. “We’ll be careful about the implementation of this deal. And if they don’t implement it, we’ll create pressure – and we’ll try to stop these negotiations.”

Earlier prisoner releases have been long dragged-out affairs, with quite a bit of bickering, delays and disappointments.

Another PLO official said Palestinians are now placing their trust in Kerry, who he said is working quite effectively as broker.

Still, it’s not clear at all that the Israeli cabinet has in fact agreed to release the 104 Palestinian prisoners on the Palestinian list. A textual analysis of the record shows no reference to Abbas’s list.

Instead, as Barak Ravid reported in Haaretz, Netanyahu told his cabinet that a ministerial team will determine the identities of the prisoners who will be released “after opening the diplomatic process.” In the same article, Ravid wrote that the “Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) has recommended that some prisoners not be released, while others should be released only to Gaza or be deported.”

Earlier Sunday, Ravid wrote on Twitter that Netanyahu gave assurances that “every decision to release Arab-Israeli prisoners will be brought back for a vote in the cabinet.” This means that no decision to release them has yet been taken. In a subsequent article, Ravid wrote that one Likud minister proposed a compromise in order to shore up support for the plan. “Under the proposal, which was adopted by Netanyahu, any decision to release Israeli Arabs would require a new vote by the full cabinet. Based on the tentative schedule of prisoner releases, such a discussion is likely to take place, if at all, only in another nine months.”

According to a cabinet statement distributed Sunday night: “The State of Israel reserves to itself the right to take all measures against any of the prisoners who will be released should they return to terrorism or violate the terms of their release, in addition to returning them to serve the remainders of their sentences, as will be decided upon by the proper authorities.”

(Source / 30.07.2013)

Palestine: Palestinian Authority Police Beat Protesters

10 Injured, Including 3 Arrested at Hospital
The police beat protesters and then arrested injured people, some even from the hospital. The Palestinian Authority needs to make clear to the police that this is no way to handle a demonstration.
Tom Porteous, deputy program director

(Jerusalem)– The Palestinian Authority should order an immediate and impartial investigation into alleged police beatings and arbitrary arrests of demonstrators in Ramallah on July 28, 2013. Police injured about 10 protesters and arrested 5, including 3 who were forcibly removed from a hospital where they had received emergency treatment. At least one policeman appears to have suffered injuries needing hospital treatment.

Several hundred people gathered in downtown Ramallah in the West Bank on the afternoon of July 28 to demonstrate against the US-brokered resumption of final-status talks between the Palestinian Liberation Organization and Israel. When regular and riot police blocked their route, protesters shouted and some threw sticks and later stones. The police responded with apparent excessive force, striking protesters, including those demonstrating peacefully, with batons, witnesses told Human Rights Watch. A member of parliament who was among the demonstrators told Human Rights Watch that police pushed her to the ground and beat her.

“The police beat protesters and then arrested injured people, some even from the hospital,” said Tom Porteous, deputy program director at Human Rights Watch. “The Palestinian Authority needs to make clear to the police that this is no way to handle a demonstration.”

Human Rights Watch previously documented incidents of Palestinian Authority police violence against protesters in Ramallah in June and July 2012.
The Palestinian Authority should conduct a transparent and impartial investigation and publish its findings, as well as details of any disciplinary measures taken against police officers, Human Rights Watch said.

Police released the five detained protesters early on the morning of July 29.

The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), a left-wing political party, called the July 28 demonstration and planned march from the Orthodox Club in downtown Ramallah to the Palestinian Authority’s presidential compound, the Muqata’a. Demonstrators told Human Rights Watch that they were unarmed and had been marching peacefully when police blocked their route. When some demonstrators then began throwing sticks, the police attacked the protesters.

Videos of the demonstration that were posted on YouTube show some demonstrators pushing against police who were carrying riot shields. A video filmed by Watan TV, a local television station, shows police officers pushing a middle-aged woman and tearing down a banner held by two other women. A second video shows police beating demonstrators without apparent provocation. Later in the video, some demonstrators can be seen throwing stones at the police, while other demonstrators urge them to stop. Some are seen placing an olive branch as a symbol of peace on the ground in front of the police.

Khalida Jarrar, a PFLP member of the Palestinian parliament, told Human Rights Watch that riot police “with batons and riot shields” and municipal police prevented the marchers from approaching the Muqata’a, and injured 10 protesters:

The demonstrators were trying to get past the barrier when the attack started. I was talking to one of the policemen when I was shoved to the ground and they hit me hard while I was on the ground. When I got to the hospital [for treatment] some of the injured had been arrested and were in the police van. The police in the hospital were taking people’s IDs.

Haneen Nassar, a participant in the march, told Human Rights Watch that “the riot police attacked us with batons” at the police barrier along the road to the Muqata’a:

I was hit, including on the head. At Ramallah Hospital the police wanted everyone’s ID. I said to them, “I have no name.” They said, “If you have no name, you get no treatment.” They told me to come with them to a police room in the hospital, but then they actually took me to the police van outside before letting me go.

Muhannad Alazzeh, a researcher for Addameer, a human rights group, told Human Rights Watch that he arrived shortly before police dispersed the demonstration, and then went to Ramallah’s main hospital:

When I arrived at the hospital one of the injured demonstrators, a young man, was already in a police vehicle outside. In the emergency room I saw two people who had been injured, Haneen Nassar and Ali Hamdallah, who had blood on his shirt, and his head was bandaged. The police were at the hospital trying to arrest the injured. As soon as Ali had received emergency care, the police took him. The police – some in uniform, some not – were demanding the IDs of those who were injured and of those asking after them. There were also three or four riot police [at the hospital] who said they were accompanying a riot policeman who was injured.

Alazzeh and other witnesses said that police arrested Ali Hamdallah, Fayeq Mara’i, and Seif Hamdallah at the hospital. Photographs taken by Alazzeh at the hospital show Ali Hamdallah with a bandaged head and blood-spattered shirt, and another shows him sitting in a van marked “Police.”

Jamal Nazzal, an official spokesman for Fatah, the dominant Palestinian political faction in the West Bank, and a member of Fatah’s Revolutionary Council, wrote on his Facebook page that “a clique of PFLP acolytes” had “come to storm the presidential palace,” and “learned a valuable lesson in democracy.” Nazzal posted a video of the demonstration, commenting: “Enjoy this video in which Palestinian forces exercise their legal right to break the heads [of] a mob […].”

The United Nations Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials provides that law enforcement officials, in carrying out their duty, shall, as far as possible, apply nonviolent means before resorting to the use of force. Whenever the lawful use of force is unavoidable, law enforcement officials shall use restraint and act in proportion to the seriousness of the offense. The legitimate objective should be achieved with minimal damage and injury.

The European Union Police Coordinating Office for Palestinian Police Support (EUPOL-COPPS) provides training to the Palestinian civil police forces.

“The Palestinian Authority and its foreign donors should not accept a police force that beats protesters without punishment,” Porteous said.

(Source / 30.07.2013)