Protests held worldwide against Morsi death sentence

Decision to sentence former president and scores of others to death has stirred rare criticism from within the Egyptian state

People living in Canada march against the decision to execute scores of people, including former president, to death

Solidarity demonstrations were held in various international cities over the weekend, after an Egyptian court sentenced to death former president Mohammed Morsi and scores of others.

Hundreds of people were gathered in Paris on Saturday, waving Egyptian and Tunisian flags at Place de la Republique (Republic Square).

The protesters chanted slogans like “Silence kills” and “We want justice,” in the wake of the ruling, which saw Morsi given the death sentence over involvement in mass jail breaks during the 2011 uprising against strongman president Hosni Mubarak.

In Israel, thousands of Israeli Arabs took to the streets on Saturday, setting off from the Galilee village of Kufr Kana.

Organisers said around 5,000 people attended the demonstration, which was organised by the northern branch of Islamic Movement in Israel.

A similar demonstration was held in Khartoum, the capital of Sudan.

Around 700 protesters set off from the city’s central Grand Mosque after afternoon prayers and headed for the UN’s Development Programme office.

Some burned photographs of Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, now president of Egypt who was army chief of staff when Morsi was ousted by the military.

Around 100 people gathered in New York on Friday to protest the ruling, gathering outside Egypt’s consulate in the city.

Many wore the orange jumpsuits used to mark out death row prisoners in Egypt, and chanted slogans calling for President Sisi to step down.

Protests were also held in Canada.

Within Egypt the judgement, which also saw high-profile academic Emad Shahin sentenced to death in absentia, have divided opinion in some quarters.

A prominent human rights activist on Saturday called for the court-sanctioned executions to be postponed for three years, fearing that carrying out the death sentences now would inflame an already tense situation in the country.

Abdel Ghufar Shukr is deputy head of the National Council for Human Rights, an arm of the Egyptian government.

His comments caused outrage among other human rights activists known to be supportive of the Egyptian government’s policy towards the Muslim Brotherhood.

Mahmoud Kubbaysh, a well-known human rights expert, said there was “no excuse for these kinds of statements”.

“We must work within the law – there is nothing that prevents this judgement being carried out.”

The judgement was criticised by various international powers when it was handed down last week.

However, the Egyptian Justice Ministry has hit back at detractors in the international community, saying such criticism was a violation of Egypt’s sovereignty.

(Source / 24.05.2015)

British ISIS recruits are taking a ‘new route’ to reach Syria

British jihadists en route to ISIS have switched routes from going through Turkey to going through Italy to avoid airport detection

British ISIS recruits have begun switching their routes to Syria, traveling through Italy to Libya to avoid detection, The Guardian reported this week.

The new route, which avoids going through the popular but heavily guarded Turkish border –used to directly reach Syria – reportedly allows the militants to avoid security measures in UK airports.

They are now reported to be crossing the English Channel to France and driving through Italy before sailing over to Libya or Tunisia – all before heading to Syria, according to sources monitoring British jihadist movements.

Infographic: British ISIS recruits take new route to Syria

“We are seeing more and more taking the route across the Mediterranean to Libya; it’s becoming established. When they get there they are looked after. You can even follow some of them on Facebook going through Italy,” a source told The Guardian.

ISIS militants have recently seized the Libyan city of Sirte, the hometown of late Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi, and as the country is falling to the increasing control of the militants, it is also reportedly becoming a more favorable destination for British recruits to avoid being stopped by authorities.

An adviser to the Libyan government expressed concerns last month that the same route is being used to ISIS fighters to enter Europe on migrant boats, making it hard to differentiate them from Libyan migrants or to verify the fears.

(Source / 24.05.2015)

The “S” in the Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) Call

The BDS National Committee website describes BDS as, “[t]he global movement for a campaign of Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel until it complies with international law and Palestinian rights was initiated by Palestinian civil society in 2005… BDS is a strategy that allows people of conscience to play an effective role in the Palestinian struggle for justice.”

boycott

To date, the elements of boycott and divestment have produced successes after only a few years of the official BDS Campaign’s existence. The Academic and Cultural Boycott with offshoots in the USA, South Africa, India, etc. is able to recruit widespread and prominent supporters from academic and artistic circles. The numbers are increasing and with it the engagement into ending Israel’s non-compliance with international law. The Kairos Palestine Initiative for example has resulted in several churches worldwide discussing the possibilities of partial or full divestment of its stocks from the Israeli market or international companies that contribute to Israel’s prolonged occupation of Palestinian territories.

After ten years of successful struggle, the most urgent issue that needs to be raised today is the “S” in the BDS acronym, or the campaigning for Sanctions against Israel. Sanctions are a powerful tool to force a member of the international community to adhere to international laws and principles. The European Union defines sanctions as, “instruments of a diplomatic or economic nature which seek to bring about a change in activities or policies such as violations of international law or human rights, or policies that do not respect the rule of law or democratic principles… Such measures imposed by the EU may target governments of third countries, or non-state entities and individuals.”

Sanctions have been used in several cases and apply in various situations. Sanctions may be applied within bi-national contexts or on the international level. Sanctions are official state policies and could include diplomatic sanctions – withdrawal of diplomatic missions or staff; economic sanctions – full or partial ban on trade goods including arms embargos; and sport sanctions – denying national athletes to compete in international events. Next to these more traditional forms options include the imposition of travel bans or the freezing of assets.

International wrongful acts or crimes might trigger specific state responsibilities. In such a case third states have a duty to cooperate to bring an end to wrongful acts or crimes, including by not rendering aid or assistance and not recognizing the illegal situation arising from such acts. In addition to that, the United Nations as an international body and its member states hold a legal obligation “to take joint and separate action in co-operation with the [United Nations] for the achievement of… universal respect for, and observance of, human rights and fundamental freedoms.”

Therefore, all states are under an obligation not to recognize the illegal situation resulting from the establishment of the colonial Zionist apartheid regime in Palestine, also referred to as historic or Mandate Palestine (which includes Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory). They are also under an obligation not to render aid or assistance in maintaining the situation created by such a regime. In relation to South Africa’s illegal presence in Namibia, the International Court of Justice ruled that states had a duty “to abstain from entering into economic and other forms of relationship or dealings with South Africa on behalf of or concerning Namibia which may entrench its authority over the territory”.

Moreover, the Draft Articles on State Responsibility adopted by the International Law Commission asks third party states, which witness a violation of a preemptory norm such as the practice of apartheid, to not remain passive and indifferent but to bring an end to the illegal situation by lawful means. Additionally, the responsible state must immediately cease the unlawful conduct and make full reparation.

The General Assembly and the Security Council – acting for instance under Chapter VI and VII of the Charter- should strongly consider what further action is required to bring to an end the illegal situation resulting from Israel’s colonial Zionist apartheid regime. The functions of the Security Council are set down to promote the specific settlement of disputes, based on Chapter VI of the UN Charter, and the exercise of military or non-military enforcement measures under the collective security system, based on Chapter VII. In order to be able to achieve its purpose, the Security Council is endowed with the power to adopt binding decisions which the member states of the UN have to accept and carry out in accordance with the Charter (Article 25). Therefore, it can if necessary take actions – e.g. the imposition of sanctions – that encroach on state sovereignty. Furthermore, the UN Charter itself provides certain sanctions for non-fulfillment of Charter obligations. Article 6 for instance states that a member state which “persistently violated the Principles contained in the Charter” may even be expelled.

The General Assembly has in the past adopted several resolutions recommending to Member States the adoption of economic and diplomatic sanctions, notably in the cases of South Africa and Portuguese territories. More importantly, in 1982 it had called for financial and diplomatic sanctions against Israel in a resolution relating to the Golan Heights. Even though the resolution has not been adopted and/or enforced; calls for sanctions against Israel are increasingly accepted in international forums. The International Court of Justice has emphasized in its 2004 decision on the legal consequences of the construction of a wall in the occupied Palestinian territory the need to refer the situation in Palestine to the relevant bodies, “the United Nations, and especially the General Assembly and the Security Council, should consider what further action is required to bring to an end the illegal situation.”

Debate regarding the European Union guidelines that exclude funding of Israeli entities active in the occupied Palestinian territory or the latest international call to suspend the Israeli football federation from FIFA are just two examples of this positive development. More and more states, state officials and private companies are aware of the possible legal consequences their corporations with Israel may entail. In order to promote this momentum, the BDS movement and all supporters worldwide must demand the fulfillment of international law by advancing the ‘S’ in BDS.

[1] Chesterman, S., & Pouligny, B. (2003). Are Sanctions Meant to Work? The Politics of Creating and Implementing Sanctions through the United Nations. Global Governance, 9(4), 503-518.

(Source / 24.05.2015)

REBORN FROM THE WOMB OF MY DESTROYED HOUSE

Reborn from the womb of my destroyed house

My mother gave birth to me fifty-three years ago (on July 3, 1961). However, I consider August 23, 2014 as my second date of birth. On that day, I horribly experienced death when an Israeli military aircraft destroyed my house. Fortunately, a miracle happened and I was born again from the rubble of my house.

Israel launched its latest offensive war on the Gaza Strip on July 7, 2014. The war lasted for 51 days and left many Palestinian casualties. More than two thousand were killed and more than eleven thousand were injured. Almost all of these casualties were civilians as Israeli military aircrafts, tanks, and warships severely attacked thousands of civic Palestinian buildings. On Day 48 of the war, I myself had a traumatic experience; my own house was attacked while I was inside.

Dr. Hassan El-Nabih receiving his Ph.D. from Boston College.

In the morning of this special day of my life, about six houses near my home were targeted and reduced to rubble by Israeli F-16 aircrafts. Some of those who lost their houses spent some time at my house before managing to get to another place. Israel had been hitting in the Gaza Strip very brutally, yet unwittingly; Israel seemed to have no real bank of targets. Although the area where my house is situated was not a war zone, my family and I had experienced similar hard situations during the aggression. However, what happened around ten o’clock of that day was too shocking and devastating.

I was sitting with my family (my mother, wife, and ten children), commenting on the miserable conditions of the neighbors who had lost their houses. We prayed for them and all other Palestinians. Suddenly, my cell phone rang. It was not one of my contacts. I examined the number; it was strange, not international or local mobile (jawwal), and although it had the Gaza city code, the rest of the number was not Gazan. However, it was not a problem for me to answer the call; I talk to whoever calls me. In fact, I give my contact information, including my cell phone number, to my students in the first class (I am an assistant professor of Linguistics and EFL in Gaza).

When I said, “Hello!” someone on the line asked (in Arabic), “Is that Hassan Ahmed El-Nabih?”

I responded, “That’s right! Who’s speaking?”

“This is Captain Saleh from the Israeli Defense Army,” he said. Leave your house immediately because we are going to carry out a bombardment in the area.”

“Are you going to attack my own house?” I worriedly asked.

“No, we are not going to bomb your house, but to the east of your house.” The telephone call ended at this point.

I thought deeply about what I had heard. My house was bordered from the east by an orchard, not a house, The orchard was full of different beautiful fruit trees. I was surprised to know that it would be attacked; to the best of my knowledge, there was nothing illegal in the orchard.

However, I quickly relayed the message of the so-called Captain Saleh to my family and close neighbors, who acted accordingly. My wife took care of my ill old mother (75); I took care of my disabled daughter, Yasmin (20); and my old sons took care of their younger siblings. In less than five minutes, we all were in the street. I managed to get my mother, wife, little kids, and Yasmin into my car, which was parked in front of the house. As she was walking into the car, my mother bitterly said, “We were forced to leave our housebarefooted 66 years ago. Alas, this is happening again now!” I calmed her down and asked my son, Mohammed, to drive off to a relative’s house. My other three old sons (Ahmed, Mahmoud, and Talal) and I ran off the place and started to watch from a distance of about 400 yards.

Celebrating Dr. El-Nabih's mother’s 75th birthday last January.

My mother’s heartbreaking words reflect the ongoing suffering of the Palestinian people for about seven decades. She was recalling what happened to her family in 1948 (she was just nine years old). As she told us before, she was living at Kofakha Village, a few miles away from Gaza. Israeli troops attacked the village, destroyed her family’s house, along with other houses, and burned their barn. They only just escaped with their lives and fled barefooted to Gaza.

I was standing away and watching what would happen next. About 10 minutes after the call, I saw an F-16 rocket heading very fast towards the orchard that bordered my house. There was a very loud explosion accompanied by a cloud of smoke and debris. The airstrike damaged nearby houses, including mine. The outside entrance to the building of my house and the wall separating it from the orchard totally collapsed. Some windows and doors were also broken.

I waited for 15 minutes before starting to approach my house. At least six reasons justified my decision to return.

(Source / 24.05.2015)

Gazan boats to receive Flotilla 3 at sea

GAZA, (PIC)– A number of Gazan boats will sail from Gaza port to receive the Freedom Flotilla 3 on May 31 on the anniversary of the Israeli attack on the Turkish solidarity ship Mavi Marmara, the representative of Miles of Smiles convoys Ali al-Nazli said.

Nazli revealed, in a statement on Sunday, that the Gazan boats will be raising the flag of Palestine along with other flags of the participating countries in Flotilla 3. The boats will raise banners calling for lifting the siege on Gaza as well.

He also renewed the Palestinian welcoming of Flotilla ships saying “it is time to end the illegal and unmoral siege on Gaza and to hold accountable all those who contributed to the siege which is a collective punishment crime”.

Nazli called on the Arab and Muslim peoples in addition to all countries of the world to support the Palestinians and to end the Israeli occupation.

On the same day, marches and demonstrations will be launched in several Arab countries including The Sudan, Morocco and Lebanon as well as European and African capitals including London, Copenhagen, Rome and Cape Town.
(Source / 24.05.2015)

Arab army chiefs conclude 2nd joint-Arab force meeting

Arab League secretary optimistic over talks held in this week’s meeting, says consensus reached on all issues

Egypt

Arab chiefs-of-staff in Cairo, Egypt

Arab army chiefs-of-staff concluded on Sunday a two-day meeting in Cairo where they discussed a draft protocol for the formation of a joint-Arab force, as was decided during an Arab-League summit in March.

Arab League Secretary General Nabil Al-Arabi declared in a statement at the meeting that a consensus had been reached between all participants on the issues concerning the joint force.

He said discussions included organisational and legal aspects of establishing the force as well as its objective, mechanisms of operation, funding and procedures to request its deployment, according to AFP.

Al-Arabi said the points agreed upon in the meeting reflect a significant step towards completing an Arab national security system to safeguard the region’s stability, reported Al-Arham’s Arabic news website.

The joint force was established to combat threats to the Arab region, particularly emanating from “terrorist organisations”, as stipulated in the March summit’s resolution.

Chiefs-of-staff and army officials from 20 Arab countries attended, while Algeria, who wasn’t supportive of the force in the March summit, was represented by its Arab League delegate. Syria’s seat remained empty, AFP said.

This is the second meeting between top Arab defence officials. The first meeting took place in April, also in Cairo.

Procedures for the force’s creation should be concluded before June 29, Egypt’s Chief-of-Staff Mahmoud Hegazy said in the first day of the meeting on Sunday.

Egypt’s President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi proposed the idea of a joint Arab force at the Arab Summit in March, stressing that Arab countries are facing unprecedented “threats to their stability and identity.”

Days before the March summit and the joint-forces decision, several Arab countries joined a coalition led by Saudi Arabia who launched airstrikes against positions of Houthi forces who wrested power in Yemen in September 2014. The countries in the coalition include Kuwait, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Jordan, Egypt, Morocco and Sudan.

Al-Arabi explained that participation in the joint-force would be voluntary.

(Source / 24.05.2015)

Wounded anti-Syria militant being treated in Israel: Report

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visits a militant wounded in Syria at a field hospital in northern Israel, February 18, 2014.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visits a militant wounded in Syria at a field hospital in northern Israel, February 18, 2014

A recent report has disclosed that a Takfiri terrorist wounded during fierce exchanges of fire with Syrian government forces has been transferred to an Israeli hospital and is receiving medical treatment there.

The 27-year-old militant, whose name has not been revealed, recently sustained shrapnel wounds in the course of clashes with Syrian army troopers and was taken to the Baruch Padeh Medical Center in the northern Israeli settlement of Poriya, located approximately 6 kilometers (3.7 miles) south of the coastal Israeli city of Tiberias, SANA reported Saturday, citing an Israeli media outlet.

The report added that the Israeli medical center has accepted and treated nearly 175 anti-Syria Takfiris ever since foreign-sponsored militancy broke out in Syria in March 2011.

Foreign-sponsored militants attack Syrian army forces in Melah region, north of Aleppo, Syria, on February 17, 2015

According to the documents from Israeli hospitals, until last September, Israel’s military had paid USD 10 million from its budget for the treatment of the terrorists injured during clashes with Syrian government forces.

The documents further revealed that a total of 398 injured militants had also been treated at Galil Hospital in Israel’s northern coastal city of Nahariya in the past couple of years. Another hospital in the city of Safed had provided treatment for hundreds of other Takfiri terrorists.

Damascus says Tel Aviv and its Western and regional allies are aiding Takfiri militant groups operating inside Syria.

The Syrian army has repeatedly seized huge quantities of Israeli-made weapons and advanced military equipment from the foreign-backed militants inside Syria.

Syria has been grappling with a deadly crisis since March 2011. The violence fueled by Takfiri groups has so far claimed the lives of over 222,000 people, according to reports.

(Source / 24.05.2015)

Denmark Cancels Elbit Deal

Denmark has cancelled its planned purchase of howitzers from the Israeli arms company Elbit Systems, a deal that was worth up to DK 1.000 million.

boycott elbit

The progressive news portal modkraft notes that athough government officials cite financial reasons for the cancellation, others say this is an excuse and that public pressure against the deal is what broke it.

Elbit Systems has been directly involved in construction of Israel’s Separation Wall. It provides security to Israeli settlements and has produced drones used in last summer’s military attack on the Gaza Strip.

Related IMEMC: New US-Israeli Weapons Deal Approved by Congress

In December 2014 it was revealed that 20 Danish soldiers had been to Israel, testing Elbit’s artillery systems. A public outcry followed after which the Danish defence ministry backed down, states Christian Juhl from the Red-Green Alliance parliamentary group. “I believe the purchase may have been put on hold for tactical reasons”, states Juhl, referring to Denmark’s upcoming elections in September.

(Source / 24.05.2015)

Skype exchange: ISIS militant tries to recruit undercover reporter

In an exchange on Skype between Canada’s Global News network reporter – who chose to remain anonymous – Canter instructed what he believed was a potential 15-year-old bride

A supporter of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) in the militant group’s stronghold of Raqaa has been exposed to recruit through Skype militant hopefuls by a Canadian reporter who posed as a 15-year-old girl on social media.

The Daily Mail identified the ISIS-affiliate as Ahmed Canter adding that a family member said he was an accountant before he left London for Syria to join ISIS.

In an exchange on Skype between Canada’s Global News network reporter – who chose to remain anonymous – Canter instructed what he believed was a potential 15-year-old bride to journey across Europe, to Turkey and into Syria.

“You need to travel completely Western,” Canter instructed her

“The moment you land in Turkey, I’ll have everything ready,” he reportedly told the journalist.

“But, ah, my biggest concern is you getting out to Istanbul without your parents going crazy, you know,” he warned.

“You need to travel completely Western,” Canter instructed her.

“…don’t buy any abayas and all this kind of thing in the bag.”

The reporter then asked Canter whether she should bring anything else with her on her journey.

“Can you bring some cash with you. It’s good to have extra cash to fall back on in case, you know, anything goes wrong,” he answered before offering to buy her a handgun for her “protection.”

“The women here carry handguns, they carry the [suicide] belt. You always have enemies,” he said, according to the Daily Mail.

The Canadian broadcaster aired the expose in March. Since then, it is believed that Canter may have recruited a Muslim girl from Tunisia and has successfully lured her into Syria.

(Source / 24.05.2015)

Hezbollah victories belong to all Lebanon: Nasrallah

Hezbollah Secretary General Seyyed Hassan Nasrallah delivers a televised speech during a ceremony on May 24 marking the fifteenth anniversary of the Resistance and Liberation Day in the southern town of Nabatiyeh.

Hezbollah Secretary General Seyyed Hassan Nasrallah delivers a televised speech during a ceremony on May 24 marking the fifteenth anniversary of the Resistance and Liberation Day in the southern town of Nabatiyeh

Hezbollah Secretary General Seyyed Hassan Nasrallah says the resistance movement’s success in forcing Israeli forces out of Lebanon’s soil 15 years ago registered victories for all Lebanese and Muslims.

Nasrallah made the remarks in the southern town of Nabatiyeh on Sunday during in a televised speech celebrating the anniversary of Israeli forces’ withdrawal from southern Lebanon.

He paid tribute to those who sacrificed their lives to bring victory to the resistance movement.

He added that if the resistance movement had not risen against the Tel Aviv regime Israel would have occupied Lebanon.

Hezbollah forced the Israeli military out of the southern parts of Lebanon on May 25, 2000, after more than two decades of occupation.

People in Lebanon consider May 25 as a beginning of dramatic change in the region.

The Lebanese commemorate the day as a national holiday and see it as a transformation that changed the regional equations for good, and put an end to the invincibility myth of the Israeli military.

Nasrallah said after the Israeli regime attacked Lebanon, some groups in Lebanon hesitated to stand against the Zionist regime and even communicated with “the Israelis and considered them allies and friends.”

But, he added, some other Lebanese “did not wait for the Arab League, the United Nations Security Council, the UN, the US or the West. They rather relied on their capabilities, men, heroes and friends in Iran and Syria, and the resistance was launched.”

“This victory was achieved by some of the Lebanese who believed in resistance,” said Nasrallah.

“From the very first day, the resistance believed that it was defending all Lebanese,” he said, adding that “backstabbing and treason did not prevent it from dedicating its victory to all of Lebanon, the Arabs and the world.”

He also called on the international community and especially on the Lebanese authorities to step up fight against the ISIL Takfiri group which is threatening mankind.

(Source / 24.05.2015)