De onvermijdelijke terugkeer naar onze Heer!

Net zoals deze gezegende maand tot een einde is gekomen, zo zal er ook een einde komen aan het leven. De terugkeer naar onze Heer is immers onvermijdelijk.

Allah zegt:

“Elke ziel zal de dood proeven” [3:185]

En Hij zegt in meerdere verzen over deze terugkeer:

“Voorwaar, tot jouw Heer is de terugkeer.” [96:8]

In een ander vers:

“En (weet) dat bij jouw Heer het einde is” [53:42]

Maar de vraag is beseffen wij ons dit eigenlijk wel? Want wanneer we kijken naar de meesten van ons dan lijkt het net alsof wij denken dat we eeuwig zullen leven?

Want laten we eerlijk zijn, zouden de meesten van ons op dit moment klaar zijn voor deze onvermijdelijke terugkeer naar onze Heer?

Het antwoord zal bij ons allen, op een enkeling na misschien, nee zijn! Maar waarom maken wij ons dan niet klaar voor deze onvermijdelijke terugkeer? De dood kan ons toch op ieder moment overvallen?

Het antwoord op deze vraag, beste broeders en zusters, is dat de meesten van ons in een diepe slaap zijn verwikkeld. Diepe slaap denken sommigen, slapen doen we alleen s’nachts toch?

Nee, beste broeders en zusters, dit is een ander soort slaap. Dit is een slaap van achteloosheid en onachtzaamheid, waar maar weinig tijdig uit ontwaken.

Dit is een slaap die het hart heeft bedekt en ons het doel van het bestaan heeft doen vergeten. En ons heeft laten denken dat wij zomaar zonder doel op deze wereld zijn gebracht.

“Denken jullie dat Wij jullie zo maar hebben geschapen en dat jullie niet tot Ons terugkeren? Verheven is Allah, de ware Koning.” [23:116-117]

Een slaap die ons heeft laten denken dat wij geen ander doel hebben in dit wereldse leven dan het volgen van haar verleidelijke genietingen. Terwijl Allah zegt:

“Voorwaar Wij hebben wat zich op de aarde bevindt als een versiering voor haar gemaakt om hen te beproeven (en om te kijken) wie de beste daden verricht.” [18:7]

Dit is een slaap die van wat voorrang hoort te krijgen – de investering in het hiernamaalse leven – een laatste zorg heeft gemaakt.

“Jullie geven immers voorrang aan het wereldse leven. Terwijl het hiernamaals beter en blijvender is.” [87:16-17]

Van verleiding naar verleiding en bezigheid naar bezigheid totdat de dood ons plots komt en wij klaarwakker zijn, maar helaas te laat …

Dan zullen velen zeggen: ‘Nog niet Allah, geef ons nog een beetje tijd. We waren van plan om ons leven te beteren …’

Dan pas zullen we beseffen hoe doelloos en achteloos wij door het leven gingen:

“En elke ziel zal naar voren komen (op de dag des Oordeels), met bij haar een (engel als)voortdrijver en een (engel als) getuige. (Er wordt hem gezegd:) Voorzeker, jij verkeerde hiervoor in onachtzaamheid, toen hieven Wij van jou de bedekking van jouw (hart) op, waardoor jouw waarneming op deze Dag scherp is. [50:21-22]

In een ander vers zegt Allah:

“Dichter bij voor de mensen is hun afrekening gekomen, terwijl zij zich inonachtzaamheid afwenden. En er komt geen nieuwe Vermaning van hun Heer tot hen, of zij luisteren er (slechts) naar terwijl zij er de spot mee drijven. Achteloos zijn hun harten ..” [21:1-3]

Achteloos en spelend gaan we door het leven, niet beseffend wat ons te wachten staat.

Beste broeders en zusters:

Is de tijd niet aangebroken om uit deze diepe slaap te ontwaken. Deze slaap die al zoveel jaren van ons leven heeft genomen.

Onze terugkeer nadert met de dag en toch nemen onze zondes met de dag toe?

Om de zoveel tijd verliezen we dierbaren, maar toch wil het niet doordringen dat wij hen op een dag zullen volgen?

Neem een moment voor jezelf, vergeet even dit wereldse leven met haar drukte en de mensen om jou heen. Gedenk de dag waarop jij dit wereldse leven zult verlaten, helemaal alleen.

Er wordt een aantal dagen om jou getreurd en daarna behoor je tot de verleden tijd.

Je wordt in een aantal doeken gewikkeld om vervolgens door je meest dierbaren ten aarde te worden gebracht.

Wanneer zij weglopen hoor je hun voetstappen nog en daarna blijf je eenzaam achter in de diepte van de aarde.

In het gezelschap van wat jij hebt vooruit gezonden aan goeds of slechts, hoe graag zullen we dan wensen dat we bepaalde daden achterwege hadden gelaten. ‘Had ik maar tijdig berouw getoond. Had ik maar beter geluisterd naar de mensen die mij adviseerden …’

Als het gedenken van de dood niet in staat is om ons tot inkeer te helpen, wat kan dat dan wel?

Verstandig is degene die stap voor stap wijzigingen doorvoert in zijn leven nu het nog kan. Wijzigingen die hem helpen bij het maken van een terugkeer naar een tevreden Heer.

Moge Allah ons een goed einde schenken en ons de dag waarop wij naar Hem terugkeren barmhartig zijn.

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

26 Ramadan

Top 10 Facts You Probably Didn’t Know About the #Nakba

 (5/14/2012) 
1.       Nakba is the Arabic word for catastrophe. It is used to describe the Palestinian loss of land and property during the depopulation of Palestine from 1947-1949 and does not refer simply to the declaration of a state of Israel.
 
Residents of Yaffa Pushed Into The Sea Prior to May15th, 1948
2.       212 localities depopulated and at least half of the refugees created during the Nakba were created prior to May 15th, which is, prior to the entry of armies of other Arab states. The largest Palestinian cities at the time,Yaffa and Haifa, were emptied of the vast majority of their inhabitants before May 15th, 1948. The idea that refugee creation happened only after, or only as a result of, the mobilization of Arab armies is patently false.
3.       At every stage of the war, the Yishuv/Israeli forces were superior in training, equipment and numbers to the combined Arab armies.
 
All That Remains of a Village Near Beisan
4.       The Zionists prepared extensive data collection effortsto map out intelligence relating to the Palestinian villages for a decade prior to the war. Detailed information about each village was kept including information on the number of inhabitants, the village’s resources, the potential activists that resided within it and what its political affiliations were.
5.       Of the over 500 Palestinian villages depopulated during the Nakba, 303 were depopulated as a result of either direct expulsion  carried out by Yishuv/Israeli forces or as a result of attack by Yishuv/Israel forces.
6.       Of the depopulated villages, 81 have been completely obliterated which means there is no traceable sign of their existence. Rubble was identified at the site of another 140 villages. Some standing walls were apparent at another 60 villages while 74 more had few houses intact. Other villages had houses intact and occupied by Israelis.
7.       Golda Meir struck a secret agreement with the King of Jordan before the war. Even though Jordan’s Arab Legion was the most formidable of the Arab armies, and even though the massacre at Deir Yassin tested this agreement, the Jordanian forces didn’t cross into territory that was designated for the Jewish State under the UN partition plan.
 
Palestinians Expelled During Operation Dani Recalled by Rabin
8.       After the depopulation of towns and villages, rampant looting of personal property took place. Israeli civilians and soldiers took part in stealing from vacated Palestinian homes and shops. Israeli historian Tom Segev notes that 1,800 trucks were taken from the town of Lydda alone.
9.       While 700-800,000 Palestinians were made refugees and not permitted to return by the state of Israel, 150,000 did remain inside Israel and many became internally displaced persons who still lost their property and were subjected to martial law until 1966 and various discriminatory laws since then.
10.   Yitzhak Rabin, an officer during the 1948 war, included a description of orders to forcibly expel tens of thousands of Palestinian civilians in his memoirs. The State of Israel prevented this description from being printed when his memoirs were published and, as far as I am aware, continues to prevent it today.*

*UPDATE: The censored passage from Rabin’s memoirs was published in the appendix of a 1996 English version published after Rabin’s death. It is unclear if the passage is permitted for inclusion within the text of the memoirs themselves or in versions published in Hebrew or in Israel.

(Source / 04.08.2013)

Palestinians mark Jerusalem Day in Gaza

Palestinians mark Jerusalem Day 2013

Hundreds of Palestinians from the Gaza Strip took to the streets to mark Jerusalem Day 2013

Hundreds of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip took to the streets on Friday to commemorate International Jerusalem Day. The annual event takes place on the last Friday of Ramadan. Marchers carried pictures and models of the two main mosques in the occupied city, Al-Aqsa and the Dome of the Rock.

Several politicians delivered speeches at the end rally and stressed the importance of making Jerusalem a central issue and working to liberate the city from Israeli occupation.

The chair of the Jerusalem Committee of the Palestinian Legislative Council, Ahmed Abu-Halabiyya, called for Israeli aggression against the Holy City to be disseminated more widely. “We need to make the world aware of what Israel is doing in Jerusalem with its violations of human, civil and religious rights there,” he told the crowd.

Salem Salama of the Committee of Palestinian Religious Scholars insisted that Israeli efforts to change the Islamic and Arabic identity of the occupied city would not succeed. “Jerusalem will remain a part of our beliefs,” he said. Although the Arab Spring countries are wrapped up in their own problems at the moment, added Salama, they have to keep one eye on the situation in Jerusalem.

MEMO photographer: Mohammed Asad

 

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(Source / 04.08.2013)

Constant bewustzijn van ”voorbereid zijn”

By Marianna Laarif

Het is een plicht voor elk (geestelijk) gezonde persoon om voorbereid te zijn voor zijn vertrek (uit deze wereld), omdat men niet weet wanneer Zijn Heer beveelt (tot het wegnemen van zijn ziel) noch weet hij hoe lang het zal duren voor hij verzameld zal worden (op de Dag des Oordeels).

Ik heb zo veel mensen gezien die betoverd zijn door hun jeugdigheid. Ze zijn vergeten dat hun (voor)ouders niet meer leven, en toch worden ze totaal in beslag genomen door de blijvende hoop (langer te leven).

Een persoon die kennis zoekt, kan tegen zichzelf zeggen: ”Ik zal vandaag kennis zoeken en deze morgen toepassen”. Dit (uitstel) kan tot zijn afdwaling leiden terwijl hij zichzelf een pauze geeft (voor één dag)!

Met het uitstellen van zijn bereidheid berouw te tonen, terwijl hij zich blijft bezighouden met (zonden als) roddels of het luisteren ernaar of bezig zijn met Shoebh’ah (veronderstelde H’alaal of H’araam) zaken, hoopt hij (de slechte daden) uit te wissen. Met zo’n houding, waarbij hij zaken tot de volgende dag uitstelt, vergeet hij dat de dood plotseling kan komen.

Een wijze persoon is hij die elk moment van zijn leven koestert en daar de waarde van kent, terwijl hij zijn verplichtingen nakomt. Dan, wanneer de dood plotseling tot hem komt, zal hij voorbereid zijn (om te staan voor de Rechter, Allah ‘Azza wa Djall). En als zijn wens (namelijk een lang leven) vervuld wordt, zou het in zijn geval betekenen dat zijn goede daden alleen maar toenemen.

Ibn Al-Qayyim

Syria limits foreign currency use, threatens traders with jail

President Bashar al-Assad forbids the use of anything other than the Syrian pound as payment for any type of commercial transaction or cash settlement.

Syrian traders who price goods in foreign currency will face up to 10 years in jail, the government announced on Sunday in a move aimed at stemming the increasing dollarization of an economy crippled by two years of civil war.

A decree issued by President Bashar al-Assad “forbids the use of anything other than the Syrian pound as payment for any type of commercial transaction or cash settlement.”

Traders who violate the law face up to three years in jail and a fine equivalent to double the value of the payment. If the sum involved is over $5,000, punishment could rise to 10 years with hard labour, according to the decree published by state media.

Bankers said Sunday’s move reinforced existing prohibitions on pricing goods in dollars – a law which has been increasingly flouted after sharp falls and wild fluctuation in the Syrian pound – and said the penalties had been stiffened.

“It’s to prevent people from fleeing to the dollar,” said one Damascus banker, adding the decree would not have an impact on banking operations.

“It does not in any way affect the banking sector – the country needs foreign currency transfers,” he said. “The idea is that people don’t all think in dollar terms as if there is no local currency. It’s more a psychological move with the currency crumbling.”

Sharp falls and fluctuations in the Syrian pound have led to increasing use of the U.S. dollar in all walks of life, by food sellers and manufacturers, taxi drivers and importers.

Before protests against Assad’s rule erupted in March 2011the pound stood at 47 to the dollar. After two years of war and economic collapse, it now changes hands for around 200, and briefly fell as low as 300 last month, exchange dealers say.

Devastation to the commercial and industrial cities of Aleppo and Homs, together with the loss of foreign currency earnings as oil exports and tourism dried up, have hit the economy hard. Damage is estimated in the tens of billions of dollars and this year’s wheat crop is expected to fall by half.

The weakness and volatility of the local currency has pushed up inflation and left many shopkeepers struggling to price their goods in local currency.

“Having dollars, depositing them and using them as a currency of savings has never been outlawed but even before the crisis, dealing with dollars in domestic commercial transactions was banned,” said a chief currency dealer in a Damascus bank.

“This is a law that imposes more penalties,” he said. “Syrians can get transfers in dollars and importers can still price their goods in dollar but they cannot put dollar price tags on goods sold,” he said.

(Source / 04.08.2013)

Gaza hospitals face fuel shortage: Health Ministry

A Palestinian man awaits dialysis treatment at the kidney section of Shifa hospital in Gaza. (File photo)

A Palestinian man awaits dialysis treatment at the kidney section of Shifa hospital in Gaza.

The Israeli regime imposed land, aerial, and naval blockade on the Gaza Strip in June 2007 after the democratically elected Palestinian resistance movement of Hamas took over the administration of the territory.

The Health Ministry of the Gaza Strip has warned against fuel shortage in the besieged Palestinian territory, which has affected the work of hospitals.

The health ministry said many hospitals in Gaza are in dire need of fuel necessary for their power generators to function.

Nearly 500 Palestinian patients have died and hundreds more are at risk of death as a result of difficulties hospitals face due to the Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip.

In addition, the closure of the Rafah crossing – Gaza’s only gateway to the outside world – by the Egyptian army since July 3 has prevented thousands of people from crossing in and out, leaving many stranded, including patients, students, and people who hold visas and citizenships to other countries.

Egypt opens the crossing on specified days following the ouster of President Mohamed Morsi by the army.

Over the past months, Egypt has also blocked supply tunnels leading into Gaza, which are used to bring basic necessities. In February, the Egyptian army flooded several of the tunnels.

The Israeli regime imposed land, aerial, and naval blockade on the Gaza Strip in June 2007 after the democratically elected Palestinian resistance movement of Hamas took over the administration of the territory.

The blockade has had a disastrous impact on the humanitarian and economic situation in the impoverished enclave, having turned the territory into the world’s largest open-air prison.

(Source / 04.08.2013)

Syria’s war splits nation into 3 distinct regions

 

FILE – In this Sunday, March 11, 2012 file photo, a man carries a boy who was severely wounded during heavy fighting between Syrian rebels and Syrian Army forces in Idlib, north Syria. More than two years into Syria’s civil war, the once highly-centralized authoritarian state has effectively split into three distinct parts, each boasting its own flags, security agencies and judicial system.

BEIRUT — More than two years into Syria’s civil war, the once highly-centralized authoritarian state has effectively split into three distinct parts, each boasting its own flags, security agencies and judicial system.

In each area, religious, ideological and turf power struggles are under way and battle lines tend to ebb and flow, making it impossible to predict exactly what Syria could look like once the combatants lay down their arms. But the longer the bloody conflict drags on, analysts says, the more difficult it will be to piece together a coherent Syrian state from the wreckage.

“There is no doubt that as a distinct single entity, Syria has ceased to exist,” said Charles Lister, an analyst at IHS Jane’s Terrorism and Insurgency Center. “Considering the sheer scale of its territorial losses in some areas of the country, Syria no longer functions as a single all-encompassing unitarily-governed state.”

The geographic dividing lines that have emerged over the past two years and effectively cleft the nation in three remain fluid, but the general outlines can be traced on a map.

The regime holds a firm grip on a corridor running from the southern border with Jordan, through the capital Damascus and up to the Mediterranean coast, where a large portion of the population belongs to President Bashar Assad’s Alawite sect. The rebels, who are primarily drawn from Syria’s Sunni Muslim majority, control a chunk of territory that spans parts of Idlib and Aleppo provinces in the north and stretches along the Euphrates river to the porous Iraqi border in the east. Tucked into the far northeastern corner, meanwhile, Syria’s Kurdish minority enjoys semi-autonomy.

Those contours provide the big picture view. The view from the ground, however, is slightly muddied.

While Sunni rebels control large swathes of Syria’s rural regions in the north, the government still controls provincial capitals there, with the exception of Raqqa city and parts of Aleppo city. The regime also still retains some military bases and checkpoints in the overwhelmingly rebel-held countryside, but those are besieged and isolated and supplies for troops are air-dropped by helicopters or planes.

Moreover, the opposition movement itself is far from monolithic, and there have been increasing outbursts of infighting between al-Qaida affiliated extremists and moderate rebel groups, as well as between Kurds and rebels of a radical Islamic bent. That violence holds the potential to escalate into a full-blown war among armed opposition factions.

The Assad regime has made headway in recent months in the strategic heartland of Homs, clawing back territory long-held by rebel fighters. Those gains have helped the government secure its grip on Damascus and the pathway to the coast. They also have reinforced opposition accusations that Assad’s military is driving out local Sunni communities to try to carve out a breakaway Alawite enclave that could become a refuge for the community if the regime falls.

For now, Assad’s overstretched and war-weary troops appear unable to regain the vast territories they have lost to rebels and jihadists who now control oil wells and other key resources such as dams and electricity plants in the north and east. Black al-Qaida flags that carry the Muslim declaration of the faith now fly over many areas there, as a way to mark their turf distinctly from the three-starred green, black and white flag flown by the various rebel brigades that make up the loose-knit, Western-backed Free Syrian Army.

In the north, fighter brigades have set up judicial councils known as Shariah courts that dispense their own version of justice based on Islamic law, including in some cases, executions of captured regime soldiers and supporters.

In the northeast, Kurdish flags now flutter proudly over buildings after the country’s largest minority carved out a once unthinkable degree of independence. Kurds, who make up more than 10 percent of Syria’s 22 million people, were long oppressed under Baathist rule. Now, they have created their own police forces, even their own license plates, and have been exuberantly going public with their language and culture. Schoolchildren are now taught Kurdish, something banned for years under the Assad family’s rule.

“While there are shifts in momentum on the battlefield, Bashar Assad, in our view, will never rule all of Syria again,” Jay Carney, the White House spokesman, told reporters in Washington last month.

The comments appeared to leave open the possibility that while Assad has lost control over large parts of the country, he may well be able to hang on and even expand his core territory in the future.

This view has been reinforced recently with steady regime gains in and around the capital Damascus, and in Homs province, a strategic linchpin linking Damascus with predominantly regime strongholds on the Mediterranean coast. Homs is a crossroads, and if the regime were to secure its hold on the city — where a few rebel-held neighborhoods are holding out — it would put it in a stronger position to strike out at the opposition-held axis running through the middle of the country.

Already, the government has been successful in clearing key routes leading to the Alawite community’s heartlands of Tartus and Latakia, which have been largely spared the fighting in other parts of the country.

Recent visitors to Tartus speak of beaches dotted with swimmers and night clubs packed with revelers.

“It’s like stepping into another world, completely sealed off from the rest of the country,” said one Syrian in Beirut, who recently arrived from the Syrian coast and spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of retaliation.

Despite the geographic split into three regions, none of the sides can speak of confidently retaining the terrain they control.

Northern Latakia, for instance, has a notable presence of Islamic extremists, while in the capital, Damascenes live in constant fear of a repeat of the so-called “Damascus Volcano,” when rebels briefly overran several neighborhoods in an assault in the summer of 2012. Mortars launched from rebel-held pockets around the capital constantly crash into the city, killing and wounding people.

In rebel held areas, regime warplanes swoop down at random, dropping bombs over targets that often kill civilians instead. The rebels have proved they are able to strike back despite significant advances by the military that have bolstered the confidence of the regime.

Rebels on Thursday sent a wave of rockets slamming into regime strongholds in Homs, triggering a succession of massive explosions in a weapons depot that killed at least 40 people and wounded dozens, according to opposition groups and residents.

The conflict has laid waste to the country’s cities, shattered its economy and killed more than 100,000 people since March 2011. The bloodshed also has fanned sectarian hatreds, and many fear that the divisions now entrenched in a country where Alawites, Sunnis, Shiites, Druse and Christians coexisted for centuries will make it hard in the future for people to reconnect as citizens of a single nation.

Syria’s partition into mini-states is an ominous scenario for a country that sits along the Middle East’s most turbulent fault lines. Any attempt to create an official breakaway state could trigger a wave of sectarian killings and have dangerous repercussions in a region where many religious, ethnic and tribal communities have separatist aspirations.

Jamal Khashoggi, a Saudi author and columnist, argued in a recent article that at least one of Syria’s neighbors will benefit if the dividing lines harden.

“It is an ideal solution for Israel which will benefit from Syria’s division into three weak rival states that will never again represent a strategic threat for Israel,” he wrote in an article that appeared in the pan Arab Al Hayat newspaper Saturday.

(Source / 04.08.2013)

Netanyahu strikes deal with Bennett to expand settlement for prisoners’ release

 

 

NAZARETH, (PIC)– The Hebrew media revealed a deal between Israeli premier Benjamin Netanyahu and Naftali Bennett, leader of the Jewish Home party, to expand settlement activities in exchange for the latter’s support for the release of Palestinian prisoners as a goodwill gesture towards the peace process.

The deal took place after Bennett had threatened to withdraw his far-right Zionist party from the government coalition if the government agrees to hold negotiations around the 1967 borders and release Palestinian prisoners.

The deal includes a pledge from Netanyahu to build 5,000 settlement units in the West Bank.

The Hebrew media also reported that the Labor party’s Knesset member Merav Michaeli had asked the legal advisor to the government to investigate the deal.

She expressed her strong opposition to the deal and said that such deals must not be struck in exchange for settlement construction.

(Source / 04.08.2013)

Video: Israeli soldier hits Palestinian child in Hebron

BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — An Israeli soldier assaulted a Palestinian child in Hebron on Saturday, a local group said.

Youth Against Settlements uploaded a video on YouTube documenting an incident in the Israeli settlement of Tel Rumeida, situated in the heart of the Palestinian city of Hebron.

An Israeli soldier can be seen slapping and kicking a young boy, before chasing another young child. The video was filmed by ISM, Hebron.

Youth Against Settlements said that this kind of violence by Israeli soldiers is a daily occurrence.

A 1997 agreement split Hebron into areas of Palestinian and Israeli control.

The Israeli military-controlled H2 zone includes the ancient Old City, home of the revered Ibrahimi Mosque — also split into a synagogue referred to as the Tomb of the Patriarchs — and the once thriving Shuhada street, now just shuttered shops fronts and closed home

Around 800 Jewish settlers live in Hebron’s Old City, among 30,000 Palestinians in the parts of the city that are under Israeli control.

Settler violence against Palestinians in Hebron is routine, with Israeli soldiers rarely intervening to prevent attacks.

Israel’s military is often involved in arbitrary assaults on Palestinians in the city, locals say.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=ZRhFbK-R32Y

(Source /  04.08.2013)

Israel expands West Bank settlement subsidies

Cabinet approves funding for dozens of illegal settlements just days after resumption of talks with Palestinians.

The cabinet will still need to provide additional approval for subsidies to settlements in the West Bank
The Israeli cabinet has voted to expand the list of illegal West Bank settlements eligible for government subsidies, just days after the resumption of talks with the Palestinian Authority in which settlements are a major issue.

Ministers on Sunday approved a new “national priority map,” a list of poor communities earmarked for housing subsidies and other benefits.

Included on the list are 91 settlements in the occupied West Bank, up from 85 on the previous version. Many of them are in areas which would almost certainly be evacuated by Israel in a deal with the Palestinians.

Three of the newly-added settlements – Rehelim, Sansana and Bruchin – were until recently considered “illegal outposts,” which means they were built without government approval. Their status was normalised last year by a cabinet vote.

This is exactly what Israel wants … a free hand to destroy the objective of the [negotiation] process.

Hanan Ashrawi, Palestinian negotiator

Israeli settlements are illegal under international law, and the United Nations and much of the world treats them as such.

The vote comes just days after Palestinian and Israeli negotiators flew to Washington for their first face-to-face meeting in three years.

Hanan Ashrawi, a senior Palestinian official, said the cabinet vote affirmed Palestinian suspicions about Israel’s motivations.

“This is exactly what Israel wants, have a process for its own sake, and at the same time have a free hand to destroy the objective of the process,” she said. “This will have a destructive impact [on the talks].”

Mark Regev, spokesman for the Israeli government, said the government would have to grant additional approval for any subsidies to the settlements.

Four Israeli ministers abstained from the vote, including Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, who is also the lead negotiator with the Palestinian Authority.

“I don’t think it is the time diplomatically, or from a socioeconomic point of view,to include new settlements that until recently were illegal,” said environment minister Amir Peretz, who also abstained.

Some of the newly-listed settlements are political strongholds of the Jewish Home party, a member of the governing coalition which is opposed to the creation of a Palestinian state.

(Source / 04.08.2013)