Saudi U.N. envoy criticizes Israel’s ‘daily violations’ in Palestine

Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the United Nations Abdullah al-Muallami speaks on the latest developments in the Middle East.

Israel is committing “daily violations” against Palestinians and the United Nations is “incapable” of implementing its decisions on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the United Nations Abdullah al-Muallami said on Tuesday.

Addressing the United Nations on the latest developments in the Middle East, Muallami also criticized the “Israeli aggression on sacred sites in the Palestinian lands.”

“The Israeli occupation is a major threat to the international peace and security,” the Saudi diplomat added.

He also reiterated the kingdom’s demand for urgent action to resolve the Syrian conflict, saying the regime of President Bashar al-Assad should not be allowed to buy time.

Ambassador Muallami also noted that “the parties helping the Syrian regime kill its people should not be allowed to determine Syria’s future.”

He was referring to recent discussion on whether Iran should take part in the planned Geneva II peace talks.

While Washington has said it is open to the possibility of Iran coming to the Geneva conference, Secretary of State John Kerry said it was hard to see Tehran playing a constructive role unless it backs the idea of a transitional government.

British Foreign Secretary William Hague, meanwhile, said Iran must support a proposed interim government in Syria including figures from Assad’s administration and the opposition as the way to political dialogue and free elections.

“If Iran could start from that position as well as the rest of us, then Iran would be more easily included in international discussions on the subject,” he said.

Syrian opposition chief Ahmad al-Jarba told a group of Western leaders in London on Tuesday that more than 60,000 Iranian fighters are fighting alongside the regime’s army in Syria.

(Source / 22.10.2013)

Top 10 “anti-Israëlwebsites”

By Engelbert Luitsz               ©            (http://www.alexandrina.nl/?p=2684)

jeruzalem

Jeruzalem, “onverdeeld en eeuwig”.

De Anti-Defamation League

De Anti-Defamation League (‘Anti-laster Liga’), beter bekend als ADL, werd in 1913 opgericht als reactie op de zaak Leo Frank. Frank was een welgestelde jood die werkte als manager voor de National Pencil Company in Atlanta. In 1913 werd hij beschuldigd van het vermoorden van een 13-jarig meisje, Mary Phagan, vermoedelijk omdat zij geweigerd had op zijn avances in te gaan. Frank had de reputatie meisjes en vrouwen in de fabriek lastig te vallen, volgens getuigen had hij een “corrupt en immoreel karakter”. Frank werd schuldig bevonden en direct daarna werd de ADL opgericht. In 1915 zou Frank opgehangen worden, maar enkele dagen voor het voltrekken van het vonnis werd zijn straf omgezet naar levenslang. Enkele maanden later werd hij door een groep mannen uit de gevangenis gehaald en alsnog opgehangen.

Het bijzondere was dat het hier om een blanke man ging. In datzelfde jaar werden er 21 zwarte Amerikanen gelyncht, eentje zelfs op dezelfde dag als Frank, maar daar heeft niemand het meer over.

Deze zaak houdt de gemoederen nog steeds bezig, getuige een artikel in The Jewish Daily Forward van vorige maand. Steve Oney heeft 17 jaar onderzoek verricht naar de zaak en kan niet concluderen dat Frank de moord niet gepleegd heeft. Alleen de ADL zelf houdt vol dat Frank onschuldig was en liet dat zelfs graveren op een monument uit 2003, toevallig (?) hetzelfde jaar dat het boek van Oney uitkwam. De oprichting van de ADL was dus geen reactie op de lynchpartij die twee jaar later plaatsvond, maar op de uitspraak van de rechter in verband met een moord.

Franks kwalijke reputatie kwam ook naar voren uit zijn eigen verklaring, hij vond het onvoorstelbaar dat de “leugenachtige verzinsels van een zwart monster” door een rechtbank geaccepteerd werden tegen iemand als hij! Kortom, Frank was bepaald geen Dreyfus en de ADL had er misschien beter aan gedaan een ander symbool te kiezen.

Waarom Anti-Israël?

De ADL is uitgegroeid tot een van de machtigste lobbygroepen voor Israël. Zoals we verder nog zullen zien is het belangrijk oorzaak en gevolg in de gaten te houden. Na de Juni-oorlog van 1967 begon de bezetting en het nederzettingenbeleid. Aanvankelijk had Israël alle steun gekregen, ook tijdens de oorlog, maar de ontwikkelingen daarna hebben beetje bij beetje geleid tot kritiek. En kritiek moet gepareerd worden. Volgens The Jewish Virtual Library had de ADL in 1971 een budget van 5,5 miljoen dollar, in 2005 was dat opgelopen tot 60 miljoen dollar. Alleen al in de V.S. hebben ze meer dan 30 kantoren en daarnaast zijn er filialen in onder andere Moskou en Parijs.

Een zwarte lijst

Gisteren publiceerde de ADL een lijst met de 10 ergste anti-Israëlgroepen, altijd handig voor wie goed beslagen ten ijs wil verschijnen. Een nieuwkomer zijn de leden van Neturei Karta, een ultra-orthodoxe groepering die een extreem anti-zionistische agenda heeft. De Amerikaanse tak is zeer actief (de lijst van de ADL is beperkt tot Amerikaanse organisaties), maar ze zijn ook onderdeel van de Palestijnse joden die al vanaf 1830 in Palestina aanwezig waren en in harmonie met de Arabische bevolking leefden.

Ook de Vrouwen-voor-Vredegroep CODEPINK staat op de lijst. CODEPINK richt zich op de Amerikaanse overheid en heeft kritiek op de door de V.S. gevoerde oorlogen en de Amerikaanse steun aan oorlogen van anderen. In tegenstelling tot Neturei Karta zijn ze dus niet anti-zionistisch of anti-Israël, maar ze vinden wel dat de Amerikaanse miljarden die elk jaar naar de Israëlische oorlogsindustrie gaan, beter kunnen worden gebruikt om thuis orde op zaken te stellen. En dus worden ze door de ADL als een van de meest gevreesde tegenstanders gezien.

Ook hier moeten we eens kijken naar de oorsprong van de campagne van de ADL. De eerste zwarte lijst ontstond in 2010, naar eigen zeggen als reactie op de nasleep van het bloedbad dat Israël aanrichtte in de Gazastrook in 2008/2009, met 1800 doden aan Palestijnse kant, bijna allemaal niet-strijders. Voor velen heeft Israël met die actie z’n laatste krediet verspeeld. Er kwamen steeds meer kritische analyses naar buiten en meer en meer gematigde joden buiten Israël durfden zich eindelijk uit te spreken over wat er al decennia aan de hand was in het beloofde land. Operatie Gegoten Lood (Operation Cast Lead) zoals deze oefening werd genoemd, heeft meer betekend voor de bewustwording van de zionistische terreur dan alle rapporten van Amnesty International en de Verenigde Naties bij elkaar.

In 2010 werd bijvoorbeeld ook het belangrijke bloggerscollectief +972 opgericht. Mensen als Gideon Levy en Amira Hass van de krant Haaretz en belangrijke schrijvers als Norman Finkelstein, Ilan Pappe en Noam Chomsky maakten gehakt van de zionistische propaganda dat het hier om een “oorlog” zou gaan, of om Israëls veiligheid. Het was het collectief straffen van een weerloos volk van 1,5 miljoen mensen die opgesloten zaten op een klein stukje grond en wier enige “misdaad” bestond uit het feit dat ze niet actief meewerkten aan hun eigen ondergang.

Ook de schrijver Max Blumenthal zegt dat zijn pas verschenen boek Goliath, Fear and Loathing in Greater Israel (excerpt), de uitkomst is van een proces dat begon na Operatie Gegoten Lood, “toen er iets knapte“.

Antisemitisme als vloeibaar concept

Geen wonder dus dat de zionistische lobby’s wederom alle zeilen moesten bijzetten om de schade te beperken. De zwarte lijst is slechts een van vele voorbeelden. Ook in 2010 ontstond het Global Forum on Combating Antisemitism, een groot congres met talloze zeer invloedrijke mensen. De vierde editie was in mei dit jaar in Jeruzalem. Het werd georganiseerd door het Israëlische ministerie van Buitenlandse Zaken.

De Israëlische econoom Shir Hever bespeurt een duidelijke trend naar meer grimmigheid. In de afgelopen jaren was de Israëlische regering nog wel in staat onderscheid te maken tussen kritiek op mensenrechtenschendingen en antisemitisme, maar dat lijkt te veranderen. Netanyahu noemde in mei drie belangrijke vormen van laster (ADL!): 1. Israël beschuldigen van oorlogsmisdaden; 2. Israël beschuldigen van het niet nastreven van vrede; 3. Israël beschuldigen van het schenden van de mensenrechten van Palestijnen.

Terecht merkt Hever op dat dit wel erg verwarrend moet zijn voor antisemieten. Wat moeten die gaan denken als joden haten hetzelfde is als een hekel hebben aan oorlogsmisdaden?

Het CIDI heeft in Nederland verwoed gelobbyd voor speciale wetgeving voor antisemitisme. Als we nu bovenstaande observaties eens op een rijtje zetten, krijgen we een orwelliaans scenario:

  1. Je bepaalt in een wet dat antisemitisme strafbaar is.
  2. Je hebt een miljardenindustrie achter de hand met talloze lobbygroepen die “antisemitisme” aan de kaak stellen.
  3. Je bepaalt zelf wat antisemitisme is (en dat kan elke dag veranderen).

Het moge duidelijk zijn dat zo’n ontwikkeling zou leiden tot het criminaliseren van Palestijnse bewegingen die voor hun rechten opkomen en van eenieder die het zionisme op humanitaire of andere gronden afwijst.

In tegenstelling tot wat veel mensen zullen denken is het niet de bedoeling van zionistische lobbygroepen om antisemitisme te bestrijden. Het is precies het tegenovergestelde: ze doen er alles aan om antisemitisme te creëren door te proberen zelfs de meest onnozele gebeurtenissen te koppelen aan vermeend antisemitisme. Daardoor ontstaat het beeld dat er overal antisemitisme is en dat is noodzakelijk om het zionisme in leven te houden, want zonder antisemitisme is er geen zionisme.

Met name veel jongeren hebben het wel gehad met Israël en kiezen liever voor Berlijn. Ondanks gratis brainwash-tripjes naar het beloofde land voor Amerikaanse joodse studenten, neemt ook daar de belangstelling/steun voor Israël zienderogen af. Om een uittocht tegen te gaan zijn organisaties als de ADL, het Global Forum, of het CIDI alhier, belangrijke zionistische wapens. De gedachte dat joden gewoon samen zouden kunnen leven met andere mensen is onverdraaglijk voor hen (en dat vind ik weer antisemitisch). En de voortgaande verkettering van joden die, ofwel om morele, ofwel om religieuze redenen, niet wensen te accepteren dat het zionisme uit hun naam  spreekt, maakt nog eens pijnlijk duidelijk dat “de joden” een zionistische constructie zijn, zonder enige rechtvaardiging in de realiteit.

Anti-antisemitisme

En dan nu de top 10! Moet ik het nog zeggen? Ze zijn gevaarlijk omdat hun informatie accuraat is en omdat ze anti-antisemitisch zijn. Net als voor Theodor Herzl zijn antisemieten nog steeds de grote vrienden van het zionistische project, dus die komen op deze lijst niet voor.

ANSWER (Act Now to Stop War and End Racism)
American Muslims for Palestine
CODEPINK
Friends of Sabeel-North America
If Americans Knew / Council for the National Interest
Jewish Voice for Peace
Muslim Public Affairs Council
Neturei Karta
Students for Justice in Palestine
U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation

How the FBI blacklisted US’ largest Muslim civil rights group

Woman stands in front of Council on American-Islamic Relations sign

CAIR says that the blacklisting has undermined its work advocating for the rights of US Muslims.

Based on flimsy evidence, the FBI has sabotaged efforts to be on good terms with Muslim communities in the US by accusing the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) of being linked to a “terrorist organization.”

Founded in 1994, CAIR monitors policies that affect Muslim Americans and provides legal representation in cases of civil rights violations. The largest nationwide organization advocating for Muslims’ rights in the US, CAIR says the blacklisting has undermined its work at a time when it is needed the most.

The group first became aware of its change of status on 8 October 2008, when James Finch, the special agent in charge of the FBI’s Oklahoma City field office, sent a letter to participants of the state’s Muslim Community Outreach Program. In the letter, he informed them that the upcoming quarterly meeting between members of the Muslim community and local law enforcement would be canceled due to CAIR’s participation.

“It was surprising because up until that point, CAIR in Oklahoma had enjoyed a very good relationship with the FBI,” Adam Soltani told The Electronic Intifada. Soltani is the third and current executive director of the Oklahoma chapter of CAIR.

“They had attended our events, annual banquet, our training functions on ‘know your rights,’” recalled Soltani, who served on the chapter’s board of directors from 2006 until 2008.

That was the first communication that CAIR had received suggesting that the organization’s relationship with the FBI was to about to change. Two weeks later — on 22 October 2008 — the FBI met with the national director of CAIR and informed the organization of the new “parameters for any future interaction” with the FBI: as of that point the FBI would no longer attend CAIR-sponsored events and CAIR would not be invited to attend any FBI-sponsored event.

“Unindicted co-conspirator”

The events that precipitated the blacklisting of CAIR can be traced back to May 2007, when CAIR was listed — along with 246 individuals and organizations — as an “unindicted co-conspirator” in the federal government’s case against the Holy Land Foundation, the largest Islamic charity in the US until it was shut down by a Bush administration executive order in December 2001.

The sprawling list of “unindicted co-conspirators” was divided into 11 categories, identifying those included on the list by their alleged membership in or participation withHamas or Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated groups. CAIR, for instance, was listed under “members of the US Muslim Brotherhood’s ‘Palestine Committee’ and/or its organizations.”

There is very little precise information available about the Palestine Committee. TheInvestigative Project on Terrorism, an anti-Muslim website founded by Steven Emerson,describes it as a group formed by leaders of “the Muslim Brotherhood of the Levant.” Corey Saylor, the current communications director of CAIR, knows only that it was “a group that existed in the early 1990s that seemed to have strengthening pro-Palestinian work at its core.”

The Palestine Committee is alleged to have initially spawned four US-based organizations, the Holy Land Foundation being one of them.

The government’s first case against the Holy Land Foundation ended in mistrial. But the foundation was re-prosecuted in 2008, and found guilty by the jury. From 2008 to 2012, the case weaved its way through the courts, stopping short of the Supreme Court. For the first time in the history of the US court system, prosecutors were allowed to admit anonymous expert testimony — by an Israeli intelligence agent — significantly limiting the defense’s ability to cross-examine.

Tenuous

The evidence the FBI used to implicate CAIR as a “co-conspirator” with the Holy Land Foundation is tenuous.

It includes the claims that CAIR received money from the foundation in 1994 — before it was designated a “terrorist organization” — and that Omar Ahmad, the former chairperson of CAIR, and Nihad Awad, the founder of CAIR, were present at an October 1993 meeting of the Palestine Committee in Philadelphia.

Participants in this two-day meeting allegedly expressed support for “the Movement,” which the FBI interpreted as Hamas, and opposition to the Oslo agreement between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization that had been formally signed only the month before.

Court transcripts and documents in the FBI’s case available on Emerson’s Investigative Project on Terrorism site show that the meeting was bugged by the FBI (“Testimony of FBI Agent Lara Burns [and others], 9/29/2008,” p. 123-4 [PDF]).

In 1994 Hamas had not yet been criminalized in the US. Hamas was placed on the list of terrorist organizations in 1995, when President Bill Clinton signed an executive orderdesignating Palestinian groups that rejected the Oslo accords as “terrorist organizations which threaten to disrupt the Middle East peace process.”

Prior to this policy, the US government had maintained tepid diplomatic relations with Hamas. But in the early 1990s, Israel began making the case that Hamas was as much a threat to US national security as it was to Israel’s.

In a 2008 article published by the Journal of Palestine Studies, lawyers Michael E. Deutsch and Erica Thompson document how the Israeli government, in the early 1990s, built its campaign to accuse Palestinian American Muhammad Salah as a terrorist and Hamas leader by arguing that Hamas had established its leadership in the US.

As Deutsch and Thomas write: “The [Government of Israel] press office released a diagram of Hamas’ operational structure, reproduced in a number of publications, which put ‘US leadership’ at the top and drew lines that extended to several Middle Eastern states, including Iran” (“Secrets and Lies: The Persecution of Muhammad Salah”).

This doctrine — that the US must abort the germinating “nerve center” of Hamas operatives in the US — was eventually codified in Clinton’s 1995 executive order and exemplified in the government’s case against the Holy Land Foundation, which would not reach the courts until May 2007. Salah was put on a list of “designated terrorists” following a decision by the Clinton administration, and though a federal court acquitted Salah of all terrorism charges in 2007, he was not removed from the list until 2012 after a legal challenge.

At that point, the government filed its first brief charging the Holy Land Foundation with conspiracy to provide support to Hamas, now a designated terrorist organization. After nearly 13 years of investigating the Holy Land Foundation, the government found no evidence it supported or incited any violence. Instead, the government’s case relied entirely on the fact that Hamas controlled the Palestinian charities — known as zakatcommittees — the foundation assisted.

Witch hunt

While the government’s brief specified just seven individuals as defendants, it announceda political witch hunt for Hamas: “The focal point of this case is the designated terrorist group Hamas … As noted in the case summary, the defendants were operating in concert with a host of individuals and organizations dedicated to sustaining and furthering the Hamas movement.”

The list of “unindicted co-conspirators” that was appended to the 2007 brief sounded an alarm bell for Muslim and Palestinian organizations around the country.

“It’s a scary-sounding thing and we now have to labor under this designation,” CAIR’s communications director Corey Saylor said.

“Institutions that don’t like us use it as a hammer on us all the time. It interferes with our relations with other institutions, interferes with our donors. We used to be able to approach the FBI with a problem. Now we can’t do that. Now it’s more combative in the media and the lawsuits and that doesn’t help anyone.”

Michael German, senior policy counsel with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), said that the practice of naming “unindicted co-conspirators” allows prosecutors to get around prohibitions against the admission of hearsay evidence in a trial. Rather than needing to prove the allegations that CAIR and the other 246 individuals and organizations on the list committed a crime — or conspired to — with the Holy Land Foundation case, the government is able to level an unsubstantiated smear.

In a 2004 article, Professor Ira Robbins of American University Washington College of Law argues that the process of naming “unindicted co-conspirators” unavoidably violates individuals’ Fifth Amendment rights because by not criminally indicting them, those listed “have neither the right to present evidence nor the opportunity to clear their names.”

Robbins presciently forewarns that while the government had not employed “unindicted co-conspirators” for some time, the domestic terrorism trials occurring in the wake of the 11 September attacks presented “fertile ground” for the reintroduction the legal tactic.

In fact, the manual for US attorneys instructs prosecutors not to make public “unindicted co-conspirators.” On why the US attorneys failed to comply with that rule, the ACLU’s German said: “That’s a good question.”

Before joining the ACLU, German worked in the FBI for 16 years, 12 of which he spent working on domestic terrorism cases. He left the FBI in 2004 after becoming increasingly disturbed by the agency’s methods after the 11 September 2001 atrocities.

“After spending 12 years trying to change it from the inside, I decided I would be a better advocate for civil rights on the outside,” he said.

Damage already done

In 2010, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals did indeed find that the publication of the list of “unindicted co-conspirators” violated the individuals’ and groups’ Fifth Amendment rights.

But the damage was already done. “You can’t put toothpaste back in the tube,” as German noted.

Further corroborating claims that the allegations against CAIR were baseless, Attorney General Eric Holder stated in 2011 that after reviewing the facts of the case his Justice Department had reached the same conclusion as that of the Bush administration not to prosecute CAIR (“Holder: DOJ nixed CAIR leader’s prosecution,” Salon, 26 April 2011).

Moreover, after Representative Peter King criticized Holder’s decision, Jim Jacks, lead prosecutor of the Holy Land Foundation, announced his approval of the decision not to prosecute CAIR (“US attorney in Dallas says Obama’s White House didn’t meddle in case,” The Dallas Morning News, 29 April 2011).

“Considering that the government has broad powers to prosecute organizations that have provided material support to terrorism, the fact that they haven’t brought more cases is evidence that they don’t have any evidence against them,” German said.

But while the government never charged CAIR with criminal activity, its lingering status as an “unindicted co-conspirator” remains the bedrock for the FBI’s blacklisting of the organization until this day.

In 2008, a year after the government sued the Holy Land Foundation, a still-unknown entity within the FBI instructed all field offices to sever official relations with CAIR. Up until that point, FBI field offices throughout the country had cultivated relationships with local CAIR chapters in order to engage cooperatively with Muslim communities.

“We don’t always see eye to eye, but there used to be a healthy relationship,” Saylor explained.

“For example, there was a meeting between the FBI and CAIR in 2004 regarding a ‘know your rights’ pocket book CAIR distributed,” Saylor added. “The FBI was concerned about some of the language in that and asked us to change it. So we agreed to add, ‘If you know of any criminal activity taking place in your community, it is both your religious and civic duty to immediately report such activity to local and federal law enforcement agencies.’”

Devastating

Adam Soltani from CAIR’s Oklahoma office said that for many states, including his, CAIR is the only organization representing Muslims’ civil rights. Eliminating CAIR’s role as a mediator between Muslim communities and the FBI has been devastating.

The new policy received praise from certain members of Congress. In February 2009, Senators Jon Kyl, Charles Schumer and Tom Coburn wrote to FBI Director Robert Muellerapplauding the agency’s decision to cut ties with CAIR, and suggested the entire government adopt a similar policy.

But some FBI field offices had trouble implementing the policy. Mongi Dhaouadi, the executive director of CAIR’s Connecticut chapter, told The Electronic Intifada, “The policy has very clearly frustrated agents because it has hindered their efforts to reach out to the Islamic community in Connecticut.”

That the policy has disrupted the practices of local FBI offices is clear in a Department of Justice’s Office of Inspector General report published last month (“Review of FBI interactions with the Council on American-Islamic Relations,” 19 September 2013 [PDF]).

In response to a request by Representative Frank Wolf from Virginia, the Office of Inspector General launched an investigation into the handful of instances in which field offices were non-compliant with the guidelines established in late 2008. Despite the absence of criminal charges or incriminating evidence against CAIR, the Office of Inspector General has still failed to conduct a review of the policy itself.

“One of the troubling things for me as a former FBI agent is that the FBI should be responsible for enforcing civil rights laws. That the FBI would be a part of violating civil rights and the Inspector General would fail to investigate it at all, and instead investigate a violation of internal policy is problematic,” the ACLU’s German said.

In a scathing letter sent to Inspector General Michael Horowitz on 7 October, the ACLU writes: “Rather than criticize the FBI officials who resisted this policy, the OIG [Office of Inspector General] should have applauded them for honoring their oaths to defend the constitutional rights of all Americans, and reprimanded instead the FBI officials who formulated and implemented the policy.”

Secrecy

In the Office of Inspector General’s review of the program, much pertinent information is redacted, including what entity instructed the FBI to alter its relationship with CAIR; the full explanation for why this policy was implemented; and the precise language of the policy.

“That’s very troubling because the only thing that should be redacted is information that should not be disclosed for national security purposes. I’m not aware of any division within the FBI that is itself classified, so that strikes me as an inappropriate redaction, and perhaps designed more to evade public accountability, than protect security in any way.” German said.

The information that is not redacted states that the policy was developed in part because of CAIR’s listing as an “unindicted co-conspirator.”

“The OIG [Office of Inspector General] compounds the original constitutional error by continuing to reference this list as evidence of guilt when there has been no opportunity for CAIR to defend itself and in fact no charge,” German said. “The government continues to use it in a way that is inappropriate and misleading.”

Likewise, the report provides only a partial explanation for why the policy was deemed necessary: “in order to stop CAIR senior leadership from exploiting any contact with the FBI, it is critical to control and limit any contact with CAIR.” A second reason is redacted.

While the Office of Inspector General’s report is intended to reinforce the FBI’s ban on relating to CAIR, it only, albeit unintentionally, reveals the senselessness of the policy.

In his conclusion, the Inspector General Michael Horowitz writes: “It appears that the common mission of OPA [the Office of Public Affairs] and the field divisions to foster interactions with the Muslim community ran counter to and some cases, effectively undermined the intent of the FBI’s [redacted — likely a policy title] to sever such non-investigative community relations with CAIR.”

This admission seems only to have emboldened CAIR’s political enemies. Following the publication of the Inspector General’s report, Rep. Frank Wolf demanded the OIG “immediately remove” all non-compliant FBI agents.

When phoned for comment, a spokesperson for the FBI directed all questions The Electronic Intifada put to him to a letter the FBI sent to Horowitz in response to his report (see Appendix I). In the letter, the FBI assures Inspector General Horowitz that they will incorporate his recommendations and implement safeguards against breaches of the policy from occurring again.

On whether the Office of Inspector General should review the 2008 policy, spokesperson Chris Allen said, “I would not presume to know what the IG [Inspector General] should do.”

Despite all that it has encountered, CAIR has kept on working to advocate for the rights of Muslims in the US. As Saylor said, “We’ve continued being effective without going to the FBI’s roundtables. The attacks still continue but you don’t attack non-effective groups.”

(Source / 22.10.2013)

Report: Israel to free second group of prisoners Oct. 29

There are over 5,000 Palestinians in Israeli jails.
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — Israel is expected to release a second group of Palestinian prisoners next week, according to Israeli media.

Palestinian and Israeli officials told The Times of Israel that 30 Palestinians are to be released on Oct. 29 as part of a gesture to coincide with a return to peace talks with the PLO.

The first group of 26 veteran prisoners, including 17 who had life sentences, took place on Aug. 14. A total of 104 prisoners is expected to be released by Israel.

In early October, Israel rejected a request from the Palestinian Authority to bring forward the second release date to coincide with the Eid al-Adha holiday.

The remaining prisoners will be released on Dec. 29 and March 28, the Palestinian Authority’s minister of detainees Issa Qaraqe said last month.

The planned releases stirred protests from Israeli victims’ families, settlers and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s hardline coalition partners.

There are 5,007 Palestinians in Israeli prisons and detention centers, including 137 people held without trial, 12 women and 180 children, according to Addameer prisoners group.

US-sponsored direct peace talks resumed in late July after a hiatus of nearly three years, although both sides have kept a tight lid on the substance under discussion at the request of Washington.

(Source / 22.10.2013)

Minister: Israel refusing to release sick prisoners

RAMALLAH (Ma’an) — Prisoners minister Issa Qaraqe on Tuesday said that the Israeli government refused Palestinian Authority requests to release prisoners facing serious health problems.

At a sit-in in solidarity with prisoners at the Red Cross in al-Bireh, Qaraqe said that the PA would continue to pressure Israel into releasing prisoners whose health is deteriorating.

He also said the PA was working to fight “medical negligence” in Israeli jails.

According to Qaraqe, Israel has refused to hand over the names of 26 prisoners expected to be released in the second batch of veteran prisoners next Tuesday.

“Israel refuses to present us with names,” Qaraqe. “The Palestinian leadership demanded to participate in choosing the names for the next batch.”

Qaraqe expressed hope that the next group would be released on time and denounced calls within Israel’s government opposing the arrangement.

According to Israeli media, Israel will release a second group of prisoners Oct. 29.

Palestinian and Israeli officials told The Times of Israel that 30 Palestinians are to be released as part of a gesture to coincide with a return to peace talks with the PLO.

The first group of 26 veteran prisoners, including 17 who had life sentences, took place on Aug. 14. A total of 104 prisoners is expected to be released by Israel.

In early October, Israel rejected a request from the Palestinian Authority to bring forward the second release date to coincide with the Eid al-Adha holiday.

The remaining prisoners will be released on Dec. 29 and March 28, Qaraqe said last month.

The planned releases stirred protests from Israeli victims’ families, settlers and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s hardline coalition partners.

There are 5,007 Palestinians in Israeli prisons and detention centers, including 137 people held without trial, 12 women and 180 children, according to Addameer prisoners group.

US-sponsored direct peace talks resumed in late July after a hiatus of nearly three years, although both sides have kept a tight lid on the substance under discussion at the request of Washington.

(Source / 22.10.2013)

Hamas leader praises Jordan moves on Jerusalem

AMMAN — Hamas leader Ismael Haniyeh on Tuesday lauded Jordan’s continued support for the Palestinian people living under Israeli occupation.

During a visit on Tuesday to Jordan’s field hospital in the coastal enclave, dubbed “Gaza 26”, Haniyeh highly valued the Kingdom’s unaltered role in safeguarding Al Aqsa Mosque and all holy sites in Jerusalem.

Haniyeh said that his visit to the Jordanian hospital came to emphasise the Kingdom’s efforts in the face of Israeli measures aimed at Judaising Jerusalem and Al Aqsa Mosque, saying that the Old City “is undergoing its most critical stages”. “Under whatever circumstances, we will not accept the Palestinian question to be resolved at the expense of Jordan’s interests,” he stressed.

Haniyeh also expressed appreciation of the medical services Jordan’s military hospital offers to the Palestinians in Gaza.

(Source / 22.10.2013)

Palestine ‘a demographic bomb’, former US envoy says

In an interview in the UAE, George Mitchell, Washington’s former special envoy to the Middle East, discusses the “demographic bomb” in Palestine, the impasse over Iran’s nuclear programme and the Syrian civil war.

Q: Palestinian-Israeli peace talks are back on. What’s changed in the three years since you led the last attempt to get the two sides talking?

A: For the Israelis, a failure to get an agreement means they confront this demographic watershed where the number of Arabs in the space between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean exceeds the number of Jews and that is coming very quickly. It’s a certain result – it’s just a matter of when it occurs.

Q: What else?

A: We have a tendency throughout history to fight the last wars. The next war is not going to involve tanks crossing the border and marching armies behind them but rockets. And while the barrier that Israel built has reduced suicide bombing, as has the very active and aggressive policing of the West Bank by the Palestinian Authority, the real threat now comes from rockets.

Hamas now has an estimated 8,000, which although crude and lacking in guidance and destructive power, nonetheless create fear and anxiety. The published reports in Israel suggest Hizbollah has somewhere between 30,000 and 50,000, somewhat better than those of Hamas.

Iran has also made the technological leap from liquid fuel rockets to solid fuel rockets and they now have an arsenal that can reach anywhere in Israel launched from Iran itself.

The Palestinians confront serious problems as well. They have been 60 years without the dignity and self respect that comes from the right to exercise self governance.

What I said to [Yasser] Arafat many times, and [Mahmoud] Abbas, is that there is only one answer here. They have to get into a negotiation and stay in it until they get an agreement that creates a state. It will be less than 100 per cent of what they want but it will create a state that they can then build on.

Q: But are the conditions for achieving that outcome now more favourable now than three years ago?

A: You can argue it both ways. Those who don’t want to proceed cite the instability in the region as a reason not to do anything.

But look at the high value that Israel places in maintaining a treaty with Egypt, look at the high value that Israel places on maintaining a treaty with Jordan. Why wouldn’t a treaty with the Palestinians make as much sense as those treaties make? It doesn’t guarantee stability but it provides the opportunity for stability.

Q: Do you trust Bashar Al Assad when he says he will give up his chemical weapons?

A: I do not trust him. But I believe there will be a regimen in place to ensure that he complies with the instruction. I think it would be unwise in the extreme for him to now contemplate using such weapons again.

Q: We also see a renewed effort to resolve the Iranian nuclear standoff. What prospects for progress?

A: President [Hassan] Rouhani and the supreme leader, [Ayatollah Ali] Khamenei, have both said that Iran does not seek nuclear weapons. Unfortunately the actions of their government have been inconsistent with those statements.

Hopefully they will get the chance to bring their actions in line with the policies the president and supreme leader say are their policies of the government. When they do that we will all be better off – including the people of Iran. They are entitled to a nuclear programme and they are entitled to enrichment up to a certain level for and they say, medical research an private power.

They are not entitled to enrichment beyond that or seeking to develop or weaponise a nuclear warhead beyond that.

Q: How can policymakers in Washington get their arms around the discord and political upheaval that this region is presenting from Cairo to Damascus, the West bank to Tehran?

A: What we’re now seeing in this region is likely to continue perhaps for a long period of time. There’s a lot of impatience in the West. In the United States and in a much simpler time – a much simpler time – eight years elapsed between the ending of the fighting in the American Revolution and the establishment of our government. Revolution, counter-revolution takes a long time.

In this region particularly given the dramatic increase in population, a large part of the unrest comes from people not having jobs and opportunity. That’s no different in Cork, New York or my home state of Maine. Satisfying these needs is going to be very difficult and the dissatisfaction that ensues will probably mean a continuing period of instability for some time.

Senator George Mitchell is Chairman of DLA Piper and was Special Envoy for Middle East peace between 2009 and 2011. A former Senate Majority Leader, he was also one of the main architects of the 1998 Good Friday Agreement.

(Source / 22.10.2013)

Saudi spy chief says Riyadh to ‘shift away from U.S.’ over Syria, Iran

Prince Bandar bin Sultan (L), Secretary-General of Saudi Arabia's National Security Council, shakes hands with Russia's Prime Minister Vladimir Putin in Moscow July 14, 2008. RUSSIA/RIA Novosti/Alexei Druzhinin/Pool

(Reuters) – Saudi Arabia’s intelligence chief has said the kingdom will make a “major shift” in relations with the United States in protest at its perceived inaction over the Syria war and its overtures to Iran, a source close to Saudi policy said on Tuesday.

Prince Bandar bin Sultan told European diplomats that Washington had failed to act effectively on the Syrian crisis and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, was growing closer to Tehran, and had failed to back Saudi support for Bahrain when it crushed an anti-government revolt in 2011, the source said.

It was not immediately clear if Prince Bandar’s reported statements had the full backing of King Abdullah.

“The shift away from the U.S. is a major one,” the source close to Saudi policy said. “Saudi doesn’t want to find itself any longer in a situation where it is dependent.”

The United States and Saudi Arabia have been allies since the kingdom was declared in 1932, giving Riyadh a powerful military protector and Washington secure oil supplies.

The prince’s initiative follows a surprise Saudi decision on Friday to reject a coveted two-year term on the U.N. Security Council in protest at “double standards” at the United Nations.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said he had discussed Riyadh’s concerns when he met Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal in Paris on Monday.

Kerry said he had told the Saudi minister that no deal with Iran was better than a bad deal. “I have great confidence that the United States and Saudi Arabia will continue to be the close and important friends and allies that we have been,” he told reporters in London.

Prince Bandar, who was Saudi ambassador to Washington for 22 years, is seen as a foreign policy hawk, especially on Iran. The Sunni Muslim kingdom’s rivalry with Shi’ite Iran, an ally of Syria, has amplified sectarian tensions across the Middle East.

A son of the late defense minister and crown prince, Prince Sultan, and a protégé of the late King Fahd, he fell from favor with King Abdullah after clashing on foreign policy in 2005.

But he was called in from the cold last year with a mandate to bring down President Bashar al-Assad, diplomats in the Gulf say. Over the past year he has led Saudi efforts to bring arms and other aid to Syrian rebels while his cousin, Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal, worked the diplomatic corridors.

“ALL OPTIONS ON TABLE”

“Prince Bandar told diplomats that he plans to limit interaction with the U.S.,” the source close to Saudi policy said. “This happens after the U.S. failed to take any effective action on Syria and Palestine.

“Relations with the U.S. have been deteriorating for a while, as Saudi feels that the U.S. is growing closer with Iran and the U.S. also failed to support Saudi during the Bahrain uprising.”

The source declined to provide more details of Bandar’s talks with the diplomats, which took place in the past few days.

But he suggested that the planned change in ties between the energy superpower and its traditional U.S. ally would have wide-ranging consequences, including on arms purchases and oil sales.

Saudi Arabia, the world’s biggest oil exporter, ploughs much of its earnings back into U.S. assets. Most of the Saudi central bank’s net foreign assets of $690 billion are thought to be denominated in dollars, much of them in U.S. Treasury bonds.

“All options are on the table now, and for sure there will be some impact,” the Saudi source said.

He said there would be no further coordination with the United States over the war in Syria, where the Saudis have armed and financed rebel groups fighting Assad.

The kingdom has informed the United States of its actions in Syria, and diplomats say it has respected U.S. requests not to supply the groups with advanced weaponry that the West fears could fall into the hands of al Qaeda-aligned groups.

Saudi anger boiled over after Washington refrained from military strikes in response to a poison gas attack in Damascus in August when Assad agreed to give up his chemical arsenal.

Saudi Arabia is also concerned about signs of a tentative reconciliation between Washington and Tehran, something Riyadh fears may lead to a “grand bargain” on the Iranian nuclear program that would leave it at a disadvantage.

However, Kerry said he had tried to reassure his Saudi counterpart on U.S. Iran policy. “I reaffirmed President Obama’s commitment that he will not allow Iran to have a nuclear weapon,” said Kerry.

UNITED NATIONS PARALYSED

The U.N. Security Council has been paralyzed over the 31-month-old Syria conflict, with permanent members Russia and China repeatedly blocking measures to condemn Assad.

Saudi Arabia backs Assad’s mostly Sunni rebel foes. The Syrian leader, whose Alawite sect is derived from Shi’ite Islam, has support from Iran and the armed Lebanese Shi’ite movement Hezbollah. The Syrian leader denounces the insurgents as al Qaeda-linked groups backed by Sunni-ruled states.

In Bahrain, home of the U.S. Fifth Fleet, a simmering pro-democracy revolt by its Shi’ite majority has prompted calls by some in Washington for U.S. ships to be based elsewhere.

Western policymakers say Bahrain’s hosting of a U.S. naval base makes it an important ally in keeping open the Strait of Hormuz, conduit for 40 percent of the world’s sea-borne oil exports.

Many U.S. economic interests in Saudi Arabia involve government contracts in defence, other security sectors, health care, education, information technology and construction.

But American businessmen in Riyadh, who did not want to be named because of the sensitivity of the issue, said they did not believe the political bumps in the U.S.-Saudi relationship would affect their business significantly.

“The big contracts are mostly government, but I don’t see much political content in who gets the contracts,” one said.

(Source / 22.10.2013)

Israeli forces clash with Palestinians in West Bank

Israeli forces have clashed with Palestinians in the occupied West Bank over the killing of a Palestinian man.

The clashes took place on Tuesday in the West Bank village of Bil’in after Israeli forces murdered a Palestinian there.

Israeli authorities say the man was a suspect in last year’s explosion on a bus in Tel Aviv.

They say Israeli forces have also detained two other Palestinians in connection with the bus blast.

The bus bombing happened during Israel’s military offensive on the besieged Gaza Strip between November 14 and 21, 2012, and left over 160 Palestinians, including many women and children, dead and about 1,200 others injured.

Meanwhile, Israeli regime forces launch incursions into the West Bank on an almost daily basis, regularly attacking Palestinians’ houses in the occupied Palestinian territories and arresting activists and civilians, mostly without any charges.

Last week, Israeli troops shot dead a Palestinian man, Yusef Ahmed Radaida, when he crashed a tractor through the perimeter fence of an Israeli military camp in Ramallah.

According to Palestinian rights groups, over a dozen Palestinians were killed by Israeli forces in the first half of 2013. Israeli troops have also seized nearly 1,800 Palestinians, including women and children, during the same period.

(Source / 22.10.2013)

French: Statement from the Collectif Georges Habache

cgh

The following statement in French was distributed by the Collectif Georges Habache to French speaking journalists and media, political pro Palestinian groups in France and Belgium, human rights organisations and to certain associations and personalities, and will also be distributed in hard copies at events in France and Belgium:

LIBERTÉ POUR AHMAD SA’ADAT 
Campagne Internationale Pour La Libération d’Ahmed Sa’adat 

En janvier 2002, Ahmad Sa’adat est arrêté illégalement par l’Autorité Palestinienne après que cette dernière ait subi des pressions de l’administration de George W. Bush avec la complicité de l’UE. Ceux-ci exigeaient alors de Yasser Arafat l’arrestation des dirigeants politiques de la résistance palestinienne, pendant que les chars israéliens encerclaient son QG et le détruisaient en grande partie.

Le 15 mars 2006, il est kidnappé par l’armée israélienne dans la prison de Jricho où il était emprisonné sous la surveillance et la garantie des USA et de La Grande Bretagne. Depuis 7 ans, Ahmed Sa’adat est dans les prisons israéliennes où il a passé plus de 3 ans en cellule d’isolement. Ses années d’isolement ont pris fin suite à la grève de la faim lancée par des milliers de prisonniers politiques palestiniens en avril/mai 2012. Mais les promesses de mettre fin à la politique de l’isolement systématique d’un grand nombre des prisonniers n’ont jamais été respectées par les autorités israéliennes.

Plus de 5200 prisonniers politiques palestiniens subissent aujourd’hui la politique israélienne d’agression et d’humiliation, politique qui viole systématiquement la 4ème convention de genève et les lois internationales sur les prisonniers. Parmi eux, il y a plus de 200 enfants, et 79 prisonniers d’avant Oslo (ces derniers, devait être libérés il y a plus de 15 ans selon les ” accords” Israël/OLP qui n’ont jamais été respectés).

A ce jour 13 députés palestiniens sont en prison !
L’arrestation des élus palestiniens est une politique systématique pratiquée par les gouvernements israéliens. Ces membres du parlement palestinien ont été élus démocratiquement! Faut-il rappeler que la communauté internationale avait salué ces élections comme un modèle de démocratie “moderne” !? Pour autant nombre de députés se sont retrouvés en prison dès le lendemain des élections, accusés d’être “députés”, représentants des choix politiques de leur peuple.

La semaine de solidarité internationale avec Ahmed Sa’adat et tous les prisonniers palestiniens est organisée tous les ans depuis octobre 2009, pour rappeler à la communauté internationale sa responsabilité à faire respecter les droits démocratiques partout dans le monde.

Nous appelons l’ensemble des personnes vivant en Europe, les organisations politiques et les associations à rejoindre la campagne en faisant pression sur les élus et partis politiques.
Nous demandons aux gouvernements Européens de ne plus être les complices des crimes d’Israël, qu’ils prennent leurs responsabilités et sanctionnent cet état criminel.

Collectif Heorges Habache / Europe

(Source / 22.10.2013)