Egypt draft charter approved for referendum

The 50-member-committee appointed by interim President Adly Mansour is tasked with amending Egypt’s constitution.
Egypt’s new draft constitution was approved Sunday for a referendum billed as the first stage in a “democratic transition” promised by military-installed authorities after Islamist president Mohammed Mursi’s July ouster.

“Now we have approved the draft,” Amr Mussa, the head of the 50-member constitution-drafting panel, announced on live television.

The revised charter preserves the military’s wide-ranging powers, including the ability to try civilians in certain cases. This has angered secular groups that backed the military in ousting  Mursi.

The constitution will be put to a popular referendum early next year in the first step in a “democratic transition” promised by authorities.

This is set to be followed by presidential and parliamentary elections in mid-2014.

On Saturday’s first day of voting the 50-member panel approved 138 of the 247 articles of the draft charter.

Those articles included one stipulating that Islamic sharia law will be the main source of legislation, as was also the case during the regime of toppled ruler Hosni Mubarak.

Forbidden parties

The other main article approved was one forbidding the formation of religious parties or parties based on religious grounds.

On Sunday, articles 204 and 234 are set to be the focus.

These concern the Egyptian military, which led the ouster of Islamist President Mohammad Mursi in July after millions of people called for his resignation after just one year in office.

Article 204 says that “no civilian can be tried by military judges, except for crimes of direct attacks on armed forces, military installations and military personnel”.

Secular artists have demonstrated against the provision, saying it could be applied to protesters, journalists and dissidents.

Activists and rights groups say that the draft charter also fails to curb the powers and privileges of the military.

Article 234 stipulates that the defense minister be appointed in agreement with the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, although panel spokesman Mohammed Salmawy told AFP this clause will apply only for the first two presidential terms.

The draft constitution also ensures that the military’s budget remains beyond civilian scrutiny.

Positive reaction

Media reaction on Sunday to the new constitution was generally positive.

“Constitution on its way,” said a headline in the independent newspaper al-Masry al-Yom, while al-Watan said: “Sweeping vote on future Constitution.”

The interim authorities suspended the previous constitution written under Mursi’s presidency after his removal on July 3.

That charter was drafted by a 100-member panel that was dominated by his Islamist allies.

The current panel includes representatives from civil society, political parties, institutions such as the army and police, and the Coptic Church.

It includes just two Islamists, neither of whom is from Mursi’s Muslim Brotherhood which won a series of polls after Mubarak’s ouster.

The Brotherhood has been the target of a sweeping crackdown since Aug. 14 that has seen more than 1,000 people killed and thousands more arrested.

(Source / 01.12.2013)

Teachers’ Union announces full strike Monday across West Bank

RAMALLAH (Ma’an) — The Teacher’s Union announced late Sunday that it will go through with plans to have a strike on Monday despite the Palestinian Authority’s attempts to prevent them through legal means.

Earlier in the day, Palestinian High Court of Justice ordered the Teachers’ Union to call off their strike temporarily until a final decision could be made regarding a Palestinian Authority complaint against the union made earlier in the day.

Spokesman for the union, Bassam Naim, told Ma’an that “the union did not receive any official papers from any official side.”

“All we received are comments in the media, so Monday will be a full strike,” he added.

The PA earlier in the day tried to prevent their plans for an open strike, which was announced on Friday, by filing a complaint at the High Court.

The Court ordered the union to call off the strike until it had a chance to have a complete hearing. It postponed the hearing to Monday in order to give both parties sufficient time to provide the court with their cases.

However, no union representatives were present at the meeting.

The Teacher’s Union has held limited strikes over the last few weeks in protest over the Ministry of Education’s failure to fully implement an agreement reached last September.

The Union organized regular strikes in the first half of 2013 to protest unpaid salaries. It demanded a regular promotion system, recognition of teaching as a profession, and adherence to the career ladder among other issues.

(Source / 01.12.2013)

Amnesty urges immediate end to Gaza blockade

Amid a dire fuel and power shortage in the Gaza Strip, Amnesty International has called on the Israeli regime to immediately end the blockade it has imposed on the enclave.

“Israel must immediately lift its blockade on the Gaza Strip, including by allowing the delivery of fuel and other essential supplies into the territory without restrictions,” Amnesty said in a statement issued on Sunday.

The rights organization also warned of a prolonged humanitarian crisis in Gaza due to fuel shortage ahead of winter.

Over 1.7 million people of Gaza are living without power since the territory’s sole power plant was forced to shut down last month due to fuel shortage, Amnesty said.

“This latest harsh setback has exacerbated the assault on the dignity of Palestinians in Gaza and the massive denial of rights they have experienced for more than six years because of Israel’s blockade, together with restrictions imposed by Egypt,” said Philip Luther, the Middle East and North Africa director at Amnesty International.

Luther added that the blockade “has collectively punished Gaza’s population in violation of international law.”

“The power plant shutdown has further affected all aspects of daily life, and the Israeli authorities must lift the blockade immediately, starting by allowing urgently needed fuel supplies into the Strip and working with all relevant parties to avert a prolonged humanitarian crisis this winter.”

Israel imposed an all-out land, aerial, and naval blockade on Gaza in June 2007.

The siege 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.

In recent months, fuel and electricity shortages in Gaza have worsened as the Egyptian military has blocked supply tunnels leading into the region.

The underground tunnels serve as a lifeline for the Palestinians in Gaza.

The blockaded silver is now experiencing daily power outages of up to 16 hours. Hospitals, homes, water and sanitation plants as well as businesses have also been affected by the serious energy shortage.

The power cut has caused the failure of sewerage and water plants. It has also put the lives of many hospitalized patients in danger.

According to the UN, all 291 water and wastewater facilities in the Gaza Strip are now relying on standby generators, which are also affected by the fuel shortages.

(Source / 01.12.2013)

‘Gaza op mijn hoofd’ laat je niet onberoerd

Inge Neefs was één van de deelnemers aan de Freedom Flotilla tegen de blokkade van Gaza door Israël op 31 mei 2010. Later verbleef zij in Gaza waar zij getuigenissen verzamelde over het leven daar. Haar boek ‘Gaza op mijn hoofd’ laat je niet onberoerd.
'Gaza op mijn hoofd' laat je niet onberoerd
‘Gaza op mijn hoofd’

De bezetting van Palestina door Israël is “het best gedocumenteerde conflict ter wereld”, zegt Inge Neefs in het laatste hoofdstuk van haar boek. ‘Gaza op mijn hoofd’ is dus zeker niet het laatste boek dat er over geschreven wordt.

Analyse, historisch overzicht, feitenmateriaal, je kan het lezen in honderden andere publicaties. Dit boek van Inge Neefs is geen droge analyse, maar een verhaal van gewone mensen, die proberen te leven in de chaos van bezetting en repressie, die ondanks alles proberen normale families te zijn, vrienden op straat, collega’s op het werk, leerlingen op school.

Inge Neefs maakte er een zeer persoonlijk verhaal van. Neutrale objectieve verslaggeving is aan haar niet besteed. Ze trekt zonder omwegen partij voor de onderdrukten, voor de slachtoffers.

De getuigenissen wisselt ze af met haar eigen gevoelens. Ben ik hier wel op mijn plaats? Kijk ik niet door de bril van een westerling die het allemaal zoveel beter weet? Ondertussen zoemen boven de hoofden de drones, als een pemanente dreiging, dag en nacht …

Neefs laat haar getuigen aan het woord zonder tussenbeide te komen, zonder te becommentariëren. Zo is er het verhaal van de visser die binnen de toegestane 3 zeemijl wordt opgepakt door de Israëlische marine, na urenlange ondervragingen wordt vrijgelaten zonder dat er ooit een officiële aanklacht volgt en bij thuiskomst mag vaststellen dat zijn boot – zijn enige broodwinning –  in een Israëlische haven aan de ketting ligt.

Families die de pech hebben dicht bij de bufferzone te wonen aan de grens met Israël, riskeren permanent te worden beschoten, zonder enige aanleiding. De witte vlag aan de wasdraad beschermt zelfs de kinderen niet. Ironisch genoeg wonen ze daar omdat alleen daar de huur laag genoeg is – wie het zich kan veroorloven gaat immers verder van de grens weg wonen …

Een van de meest aangrijpende verhalen is dat van een gezin waarvan het huis wordt platgereden door een Israëlische bulldozer, terwijl nog niet alle kinderen het huis uit zijn geraakt. Hun zoontje wordt doodgeschoten in de armen van zijn vader terwijl die hem poogt weg te halen uit de gevarenzone.

Schrijnend is ook de getuigenis van kinderen die door nagelbommen worden geraakt, één van de meest laffe wapens die Israël regelmatig inzet om ‘zijn veiligheid te vrijwaren’. De jonge Rami kan niet meer werken, de scherven in zijn elleboog, rug, buik en linkerbeen kunnen immers niet verwijderd worden. Hij kan Gaza niet verlaten om naar een gespecialiseerde kliniek te gaan …

Een grootvader vertelt over zijn geboortedorpje Al Majdal dat nu Ashkelon heet en vader Abu Fehmi vertelt hoe hij werd opgepakt en gefolterd op verdenking van ‘terrorisme’, de door Israël gebruikte term om elke vorm van verzet – gewapend of niet – te omschrijven. Blijkbaar werd hij door een ander ‘verklikt’, die eveneens werd gefolterd. Een vicieuze cirkel die steeds meer onschuldige Palestijnen meesleurt in de waanzin van deze bezetting.

De ene getuigenis volgt op de andere. Eén ding hebben ze met elkaar gemeen, de wil en de koppigheid om een eigen normaal leven te leiden, om niet toe te geven aan de gruwel van de bezetting.

Neefs spaart in haar boek ook niet de kritiek op de partij aan de macht in Gaza, Hamas, op hun idiote regelneverij die ondermeer verbiedt dat vrouwen alleen op straat komen of met mannen die niet hun broer of echtgenoot zijn.

Voor jongeren in Gaza is het ondertussen niet zonder risico om op internet actief te zijn. Vanuit Israël worden immers doelbewust geveinsde contacten gemanipuleerd, die er toe kunnen leiden dat een onschuldig lijkend contact levensgevaarlijk wordt. Degelijk gerechtelijk onderzoek bestaat niet en een beschuldiging van collaboratie kan tot de doodstraf leiden.

Zelden was een titel zo juist gekozen. Gaza zit in het hoofd van Inge Neefs. De verhalen, de getuigenissen, ze laten je niet los. Wanneer je denkt dat je het ergste wel hebt gelezen, blijkt één verhaal verder een nog gruwelijker aspect van de militaire blokkkade in je hoofd te kruipen.

Wie er nog aan twijfelde of de BDS-actie tegen Israël wel de beste strategie is, heeft met dit pretentieloze boek zijn antwoord. Erger dan dit kan niet. Gaza is een hel. Elke dag wachten, is zoveel meer slachtoffers van blinde repressie.

Toch is dit geen deprimerend boek. Stuk voor stuk hoor je achter de schrijnende verhalen de wil om te leven, om gelukkig te zijn, om gewoon met rust te worden gelaten. Deze gewone menselijke verhalen zeggen zoveel meer dan droge analyses. Dit is een boek dat je niet onberoerd laat, een boek dat ‘in je hoofd’ blijft nazinderen.

(Source / 01.12.2013)

Humility, Modesty, and Forbearance in Islam


Grand Mosque Abu Dhabi at night

By Abu Amina Elias for

In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful

Humility, modesty, and forbearance are virtues that are essential for Muslims. Allah has revealed that we should be humble towards one another and we should not boast to one another.

Iyad ibn Himar reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said:

إِنَّ اللَّهَ أَوْحَى إِلَيَّ أَنْ تَوَاضَعُوا حَتَّى لَا يَبْغِيَ أَحَدٌ عَلَى أَحَدٍ وَلَا يَفْخَرَ أَحَدٌ عَلَى أَحَدٍ

Verily, Allah has revealed to me that you must be humble towards one another, so that no one wrongs another or arrogantly boasts to another.

Source: Sahih Muslim 2865, Grade: Sahih

Humility means to avoid the destructive sin of arrogance and haughtiness. Arrogance is an evil deed in which a person praises himself instead of Allah, or he considers himself superior to others, or he rejects the truth because it comes from a person he considers lesser than himself.

Abdullah ibn Mas’ud reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said:

لَا يَدْخُلُ الْجَنَّةَ مَنْ كَانَ فِي قَلْبِهِ مِثْقَالُ ذَرَّةٍ مِنْ كِبْرٍ

No one who has the weight of a seed of arrogance in his heart will enter Paradise.

Someone said, “Indeed, a man loves to have beautiful clothes and shoes.” So the Prophet said:

إِنَّ اللَّهَ جَمِيلٌ يُحِبُّ الْجَمَالَ الْكِبْرُ بَطَرُ الْحَقِّ وَغَمْطُ النَّاسِ

Verily, Allah is beautiful and He loves beauty. Arrogance means rejecting the truth and looking down on people.

Source: Sahih Muslim 91, Grade: Sahih

Ibn Rajab reported: Some of the righteous predecessors (salaf as-salih) said:

التَّوَاضُعُ أَنَّ تَقْبَلَ الْحَقَّ مِنْ كُلِّ مَنْ جَاءَ بِهِ وَإِنْ كَانَ صَغِيرًا فَمَنْ قَبِلَ الْحَقَّ مِمَّنْ جَاءَ بِهِ سَوَاءً كَانَ صَغِيرًا أَوْ كَبِيرًا وَسَوَاءً كَانَ يُحِبُّهُ أَوْ لَا يُحِبُّهُ ، فَهُوَ مُتَوَاضِعٌ وَمَنْ أَبَى قَبُولَ الْحَقِّ تَعَاظُمًا عَلَيْهِ فَهُوَ مُتَكَبِّرٌ

Humility is that you accept the truth from anyone who brings it, even if they are young. Whoever accepts the truth from whoever brings it to him, whether they are young or old, whether he loves them or not, then he is humble. Whoever refuses to accept the truth because he regards himself as too important beside it, or as compared to the person who speaks it to him, then he is arrogantly proud.

Source: Jami’ al-Ulum al-Hikam 13

The true servants of Allah are those who carry themselves with humility and they forgive people for their bad behavior.

Allah said:

وَعِبَادُ الرَّحْمَٰنِ الَّذِينَ يَمْشُونَ عَلَى الْأَرْضِ هَوْنًا وَإِذَا خَاطَبَهُمُ الْجَاهِلُونَ قَالُوا سَلَامًا

The servants of the Most Merciful are those who walk upon the earth in humility, and when the ignorant address them, they say words of peace.

Surah Al-Furqan 25:63

Prophet Muhammad is our best example of humility. Even though he was the Messenger of Allah, he would not use this honor to praise himself or put other people down.

On one occasion, the sun eclipsed when the young son of the Prophet died. A false prophet would have used this rare opportunity to praise himself, but Prophet Muhammad only used the occasion to praise Allah.

Al-Mughira bin Shu’ba reported: On the day the Prophet’s son Abraham died, the sun eclipsed and the people said the eclipse was because of the death of Abraham. The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said:

إِنَّ الشَّمْسَ وَالْقَمَرَ آيَتَانِ مِنْ آيَاتِ اللَّهِ لاَ يَنْكَسِفَانِ لِمَوْتِ أَحَدٍ وَلاَ لِحَيَاتِهِ فَإِذَا رَأَيْتُمُوهُمَا فَادْعُوا اللَّهَ وَصَلُّوا حَتَّى يَنْجَلِيَ

Verily, the sun and the moon are two signs among the signs of Allah and they do not eclipse because of the death or birth of any person. So when you see them, call upon Allah and pray until the eclipse is clear.

Source: Sahih Bukhari 1012, Grade: Sahih

On another occasion, a man praised the Prophet in his presence by calling him the best of creation. A false prophet would have delighted in the opportunity to praise himself, but Prophet Muhammad only used the occasion to praise his father Abraham.

Anas ibn Malik reported: A person came to the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, and said, “O best of creation!” So the Prophet said:

ذَاكَ إِبْرَاهِيمُ عَلَيْهِ السَّلَام

That is Abraham, upon him be peace.

Source: Sahih Muslim 2369, Grade: Sahih

Modesty in Islam means to have a good conscience, to be shy to commit evil deeds, to feel remorse for sinning. Such an attitude only brings goodness to those who practice it.

Imran ibn Hussein reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said:

الْحَيَاءُ لَا يَأْتِي إِلَّا بِخَيْرٍ

Modesty does not bring anything except goodness.

Source: Sahih Muslim 37, Grade: Sahih

We should be modest not only to people but also to Allah as it is His right. This is achieved by protecting ourselves from committing sins, to remember the hardship of trials, and to avoid showing off to people.

Abdullah ibn Mas’ud reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said:

اسْتَحْيُوا مِنْ اللَّهِ حَقَّ الْحَيَاءِ

Be modest in front of Allah for He has a right to your modesty.

We said, “O Messenger of Allah, we have modesty. All praise is due to Allah.” The Prophet said:

لَيْسَ ذَاكَ وَلَكِنَّ الِاسْتِحْيَاءَ مِنْ اللَّهِ حَقَّ الْحَيَاءِ أَنْ تَحْفَظَ الرَّأْسَ وَمَا وَعَى وَالْبَطْنَ وَمَا حَوَى وَلْتَذْكُرْ الْمَوْتَ وَالْبِلَى وَمَنْ أَرَادَ الْآخِرَةَ تَرَكَ زِينَةَ الدُّنْيَا فَمَنْ فَعَلَ ذَلِكَ فَقَدْ اسْتَحْيَا مِنْ اللَّهِ حَقَّ الْحَيَاءِ

That is not what I meant. Having modesty with Allah is to protect the mind and what runs through it, to protect the stomach and what fills it, and to remember death and trials. Whoever wants the Hereafter should leave the ostentation of the worldly life, so whoever acts like this has been modest with Allah as is His right.

Source: Sunan At-Tirmidhi 2458, Grade: Hasan

Allah loves the quality of modesty and its related virtue, forbearance. Forbearance means to be patient with people when they make you angry and to avoid responding to an evil deed with another evil deed.

Ashaj ibn Asr reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said to me:

إِنَّ فِيكَ خُلَّتَيْنِ يُحِبُّهُمَا اللَّهُ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ

Verily, you have two qualities which are loved by Allah the Exalted.

I said, “What are they?” The Prophet said:

الْحِلْمُ وَالْحَيَاءُ

Forbearance and modesty.

Source: Musnad Ahmad 17373, Grade: Sahih

Forbearance and compassion are the qualities of the Prophet Abraham which Allah has praised in the Quran.

Allah said:

إِنَّ إِبْرَاهِيمَ لَحَلِيمٌ أَوَّاهٌ مُّنِيبٌ

Verily, Abraham was forbearing, compassionate, and repentant.

Surah Hud 11:75

There are many examples from the life of the Prophet in which people were rude, arrogant, and evil to him but he responded with kindness, patience, and forbearance.

On one occasion, a man very rudely demanded from the Prophet that he be given charity, but the Prophet only smiled and answered his request.

Anas ibn Malik reported:

كُنْتُ أَمْشِي مَعَ رَسُولِ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ وَعَلَيْهِ بُرْدٌ نَجْرَانِيٌّ غَلِيظُ الْحَاشِيَةِ فَأَدْرَكَهُ أَعْرَابِيٌّ فَجَبَذَ بِرِدَائِهِ جَبْذَةً شَدِيدَةً قَالَ أَنَسٌ فَنَظَرْتُ إِلَى صَفْحَةِ عَاتِقِ النَّبِيِّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ وَقَدْ أَثَّرَتْ بِهَا حَاشِيَةُ الرِّدَاءِ مِنْ شِدَّةِ جَبْذَتِهِ ثُمَّ قَالَ يَا مُحَمَّدُ مُرْ لِي مِنْ مَالِ اللَّهِ الَّذِي عِنْدَكَ فَالْتَفَتَ إِلَيْهِ فَضَحِكَ ثُمَّ أَمَرَ لَهُ بِعَطَاءٍ

I was walking with the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, while he was wearing a Najrani sheet with a thick border. A desert Arab overtook the Prophet and forcibly pulled his clothes. I looked at the shoulder of the Prophet and I saw that the edge of his shirt had left a mark because of the strength of his pull. The man said, “O Muhammad! Order them to give me something from Allah’s wealth which you have!” The Prophet turned and he smiled. Then he ordered that he be given charity.

Source: Sahih Bukhari 5738, Grade: Sahih

In the time of the Prophet, some of the Arabs shunned modesty and forbearance. They believed a person should be haughty and boastful and should take revenge against those who are evil to them. They considered modesty a sign of weakness, but the Prophet informed us that modesty is a sign of true faith.

Ibn Umar reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, passed by a man from the Ansar who was admonishing his brother about modesty. The Prophet said:

دَعْهُ فَإِنَّ الْحَيَاءَ مِنَ الإِيمَانِ

Let him be, for modesty is part of faith.

Source: Sunan Abu Dawud 4795, Grade: Sahih

Ibn Umar, may Allah be pleased with him, said:

إِنَّ الْحَيَاءَ وَالإِيمَانَ قُرِنَا جَمِيعًا فَإِذَا رُفِعَ أَحَدُهُمَا رُفِعَ الآخَرُ

Verily, modesty and faith come together. When one of the two is missing, so is the other.

Source: Al-Adab Al-Mufrad 1313, Grade: Sahih

Therefore, Islam calls us to be humble, to be modest, and to be forbearing with others. We should avoid committing sins in public and in secret, praising ourselves, looking down on others, and responding to evil with evil.

Success comes from Allah, and Allah knows best.

(Source / 01.12.2013)

Palestinian patient prisoner in his sixties refuses medication



RAMALLAH, (PIC)– A Palestinian prisoner in his sixties has refrained from having his medication in Israeli captivity in protest at medical neglect pursued by the Israeli prisons services.

The Palestine prisoners center for studies said in a press release on Saturday that Hussein Amr, 61, has been held in administrative detention since last June.

It said that Amr suffers a number of diseases including diabetes, unstable blood pressure, rheumatism, gout, and others.

The center said that Amr’s health condition is very difficult and the Israeli prison administration refuses to accord him proper treatment.

It said that Amr refused to take insulin shots because of the Negev prison administration’s delay in treating him and its refusal to allow all needed medicines for his condition.

Amr, from Al-Khalil, has been previously held in Israeli occupation jails for five years.

(Source / 01.12.2013)

Five Palestinians killed in the West Bank in three days


 Funeral of Khaled al-Najjar and Mussa Fanasheh on Wednesday in Yatta.

Clashes erupted in Qalandia Thursday night and Friday morning after Mahmoud Wajeeh Awwad passed away in an Israeli hospital due to the bullet wounds he sustained at clashes eight months ago. According to the most recent statistics compiled by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, 27 Palestinians were killed from January to October of this year, 15 of whom died since the start of the peace talks in late July. At least 8 more Palestinians have died throughout the month of November.

“Riot dispersal”

Mahmoud Wajeeh Awwad had been in a coma over the past eight months, after having been shot by Israeli soldiers with a rubber-coated steel bullet during clashes at the entrance of Qalandia refugee camp, Ma’an News Agency reported. He was being treated in the Hadassah Ein Karem Hospital in Jerusalem, where he was pronounced dead by medics late Thursday evening, according to the Palestine News Network. He was in his twenties.

In response to his death, clashes erupted in Qalandia on Thursday night. “When I was passing through Qalandia checkpoint to get from Jerusalem to Ramallah around 11 pm on Thursday, I noticed that ten or twelve armed soldiers in protective gear and four armored vehicles had taken up positions at the entrance of the checkpoint on the outskirts of Qalandia refugee camp,” an NGO worker in Ramallah told the Palestine Monitor. “About one hundred protesters were gathered on the road a few hundred meters away. They had set fire to a dumpster and were just waiting. A few minutes later I saw an ambulance driving from Qalandia towards Ramallah with a convoy of cars following closely behind.”

The so-called Israeli “riot dispersal” techniques of firing rubber-coated steel bullets and tear gas canisters at Palestinian protesters have killed several protesters in the past. In September this year, Israel’s Military Advocate General closed the investigation into Bassem Abu Rahmeh’s death for instance, supposedly because of a lack of evidence according to+972 Magazine. Abu Rahmeh was killed in April 2009, when Israeli soldiers fired a tear gas canister directly at his chest during a protest in Bil’in. Human rights organizations B’Tselem and Yesh Din pointed out that video segments show that he was not acting violently or putting the soldiers in danger in any way at the time of his death.

Bassem Abu Rahmeh’s sister, Jawaher, was killed in December 2011 during a similar protest in Bil’in after suffocating to death from tear gas fired by Israeli soldiers.

Prevented from reaching the hospital

Earlier on Thursday, 14-year old Nour Mohammad Afaneh died while she on the way to the hospital in an ambulance. Her father told Ma’an News Agency that she was in a critical condition due to complications stemming from severe pneumonia.

The ambulance that was taking the girl to the Beit Jala Governmental Hospital was stopped at the Container Road checkpoint north of Bethlehem due to the closure of the checkpoint. The ambulance tried to reach the hospital through three alternative routes in heavy traffic before attempting to take Afaneh to the Ramallah Governmental Hospital instead. She passed away before arriving.

Israeli forces have kept the checkpoint closed for the past three days, Popular Committee Spokesman Hani Halbiya toldMa’an News Agency. This worsens the already extremely heavy traffic situation in the area between Bethlehem and Ramallah.

Extrajudicial killings in Hebron

On Tuesday, 26 November, three Palestinian men were killed in Yatta, a city south of Hebron in the Hebron governorate.  The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights released a report on Thursday calling these killings “extra-judicial executions” and “grave breaches of the Fourth Geneva Convention.”

According to the PCHR report, the killings occurred in two separate incidents in and around Yatta.  At around 6:00 PM, Israeli soldiers opened fire without warning on a white Subaru containing two men, Mousa Mohammed Makhamra and Mohammed Fo’ad Nairoukh, near an entrance to Route 60 east of Yatta. Both men were killed.

At 6:30 PM, soldiers fired on a house north of Yatta and used explosives to demolish the door of the home.  Mahmoud Khaled al-Najjar was killed when the soldiers shot in his direction as he passed by.  The PCHR report states that “Israeli forces… opened fire randomly at al-Najjar while he was walking near the house.”

The Israeli army claimed that the killings were part of an operation “aimed at a group that was planning attacks in Israel,” according to WAFA News Agency.  An IDF spokesman said the men were members of a Salafist jihadi group that was planning attacks on both Israelis and the Palestinian Authority.

In any case, the killing of Makhamra, Nairoukh, and al-Najjar amounted to “the death penalty without trial,” writesNasser Lahham, Chief Editor of Ma’an News Agency, in an editorial on the agency’s website.

“The army makes itself the prosecutor, judge, and executioner,” said Dr. Mustafa Barghouti in an interview with the Palestine Monitor. “These extrajudicial killings are very dangerous and are creating a lot of anger with the people,” he said.

Killing while talking about peace

During the current round of US-mediated peace negotiations, which began on July 29 of this year, the Israeli government has repeatedly accused the Palestinian Authority of sabotaging and undermining the talks. Yet, not only has Israel killed at least 23 Palestinians since then, it has also announced the expansion of its illegal settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem on several occasions.

“Israel is using the peace negotiations as a cover for its settlement expansion and its general oppression of the Palestinian people,” Barghouti told the Palestine Monitor. On Monday, Israel announced the construction of 800 new settlement houses in the West Bank, two weeks after halting another plan to build 20,000 new homes.

(Source / 01.12.2013)

Gesprek Abbas met Israëlische oppositie

Ramallah – President Mahmoud Abbas heeft zondag in het presidentiële hoofdkwartier in Ramallah een gesprek gehad met de voorzitter van de Israëlische Arbeidspartij en leider van de Israëlische oppositie Yitzhak Herzog. Abbas lichtte aan zijn gast de soevereiniteit, de laatste ontwikkelingen in het politieke proces en de Palestijns – Israëlische onderhandelingen toe.

Hij benadrukte de inzet van de Palestijnse kant in de onderhandelingen om te komen tot de vestiging van de Palestijnse staat dat gebaseerd is op de grenzen van 1967, met Jeruzalem als hoofdstad. Abbas gaf hierbij aan om hierbij het principe van een twee-staten-oplossing  te hanteren.

Op zijn beurt toonde de leider van de Israëlische Arbeiderspartij Herzog, zich bereid steun te geven om de onderhandelingen voort te laten gaan waarbij de Palestijnse wensen meegenomen worden en er een vrede wordt bereikt op basis van de twee-staten-oplossing.

Herzog zei op een persconferentie na de vergadering  dat de besprekingen die momenteel onder auspiciën van de Verenigde Staten worden gevoerd,  een historische kans vormen om tot vrede te komen  tussen de Palestijnen en Israël : “ Vooral omdat er een oprechte wens van president Abbas is om het conflict te beëindigen en vrede en veiligheid tussen de twee partijen te bereiken.”

Hij voegde er aan toe, dat hij de boodschap door zal geven aan premier Netanyahu en dat hij de druk op de Israëlische regering de moedige posities in te nemen zal opvoeren “om vrede en veiligheid voor onze kinderen te bereiken.”  Herzog: “Ons standpunt is duidelijk, we zijn tegen de nederzettingen in de Palestijnse gebieden. In het bijzonder zijn we tegen de recente beslissing van de regering Netanyahu om 20.000 nieuwe woningen te bouwen, die we niet zien als overeenstemming van de visie van een twee-staten-oplossing.”
Tenslotte is Herzog van mening dat rechtstreekse ontmoetingen tussen Netanyahu en Abbas nuttig zijn om de standpunten uit te wisselen en zouden de kans verhogen op het bereiken van vrede.

(vertaling WAFA 12.01.2013)

@ KhamakarPress

Mansour Mowqada and other sick prisoners struggling for freedom

mansour-muqtadaA solidarity evening with Palestinian political prisoner Mansour Mowqada was held in Salfit on November 29, calling for his release and that of his fellow sick prisoners. The mayor of Salfit, Said Shukour, said that the call of sick prisoners was an urgent humanitarian issue requiring international action.

Mowqada uses a wheelchair, has tumors, and must use “plastic stomach” and colostomy bags for digestion and excretion. He receives mostly painkillers at Ramle prison clinic, which has been described as a “tomb for the living” for the 20 prisoners with the most severe health conditions. He lost the use of his legs when he was shot by Israeli occupation forces in 2002 and has spent the entire time since his arrest in the Ramle prison clinic. He is 42 years old and is serving a 30-year sentence.

maqada-300x212Palestinian sick prisoners continue to protest and call for freedom. Some additional particular cases of sick Palestinian political prisoners whose health status is deteriorating and are not receiving sufficient treatment include:

Nabil Natsheh, who has been held in administrative detention since March 27, 2013, has cancer of the lymph nodes. He was diagnosed in 2010 before his arrest and was receiving chemotherapy in Beit Jala.

Natsheh has been suffering from high blood pressure and severe shoulder pain.

Yousef Nadjeh suffers from epilepsy and memory problems. He has kidney problems, swelling in his legs and extremities and has lost balance due to head pain. He requires crutches to walk and fell in Ofer military court due to his ill health.

Fuad Shoubaki is 84 years old. He was arrested in 2006 and is serving a 20 year sentence. He has an enlarged prostate and was recently admitted to Hadassah hospital for treatment. He needs eye surgery, which has a 95% success rate, but needs a private doctor to enter to complete the surgery. He is planning to petition the Supreme Court to be allowed a private doctor.

Yahya Salameh has an enlarged tumor in his right shoulder and has not received surgery to remove it, despite numerous promises from the Ramon prison clinic.

Imad Shoukeir has bullet fragments in his body from when he was shot in 2002 by Israeli forces and continues to suffer severe pain from the presence of the bullet fragments.

Click here to take action to support sick Palestinian prisoners.

(Source / 01.12.2013)

Sectarian clashes in northern Lebanese city kill 8

Smoke rises as a Lebanese Army armed vehicle drives through a street in Tripoli, northern Lebanon, Dec. 1, 2013.

Lebanon’s state news agency says clashes between supporters of Syrian President Bashar Assad and opponents killed eight people in the northern city of Tripoli over the weekend.

The NNA said Sunday that 60 people were wounded.

Sectarian clashes linked to the war in neighboring Syria often flare between two impoverished rival neighborhoods in the rundown coastal city. The Bab Tabbaneh district is largely Sunni Muslim, as are most of the Syrian rebels fighting Assad’s rule. Residents of Jabal Mohsen are mostly of Assad’s Alawite sect.

Tripoli is overwhelmingly Sunni Muslim but the fighting rarely spreads beyond the two neighborhoods.

Fighting began Saturday after Sunni gunmen shot a man whose brother controls an Alawite militia, sparking gun battles that trapped children in schools and forced traders to flee their shops.

(Source / 01.12.2013)