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Dagelijks archief 21 juni 2015

Occupation shots boy, arrests 3 others in West Bank

Israeli occupation forces shot live bullets at a small gathering of Palestinian boys

Israeli occupation forces shot late on Saturday Palestinian boy, arrested two others in occupied West Bank.

Israeli occupation forces claimed that both Palestinian children were arrested while throwing stones at illegal Israeli settlers touring around the occupied city

Days of Palestine, West Bank –Israeli occupation forces shot late on Saturday Palestinian boy, arrested two others in occupied West Bank.

Israeli occupation forces stormed Al-Bireh City in the central of the occupied West Bank, shot a Palestinian boy and arrested another.

Witnesses said that the Israeli occupation forces sighted a group of Palestinian boys gathering in Jabal Attaweel area. They approached the boys, who hurled stones towards the occupation forces. The Israeli forces responded with live bullets at them.

IMEMC reported Palestinian medical sources saying the boy aged 15 was shot with live bullets in the leg and was moved to Palestine Medical Centre in the city.

Meanwhile, Israeli occupation forces stormed the occupied Palestinian city of Jerusalem and arrested a boy and turned him to one of the Israeli interrogation centres in the city.

At the same time, Israeli occupation forces stormed Al-Khalil City in the south of the occupied West Bank and arrested Nader al-Natsha, 15, and Mohamed al-Rajabi, 15.

Both children were driven to the Etzion military and security base in the city, reportedly, for investigations.

Israeli occupation forces claimed that both Palestinian children were arrested while throwing stones at Israeli settlers.

(Source / 21.06.2015)

Syria fuel shortages due to rebel infighting threaten lives: MSF

Syrian rescue workers and citizens gather at the scene of destroyed buildings following reported airstrikes by government forces on the rebel-controlled part of Aleppo’s Maadi residential district, on June 21, 2015

AMMAN: Disruption of fuel supplies due to fighting between rebel groups in northern Syria is threatening the closure of hospitals and paralyzing the work of ambulances and rescue services, an international medical charity said Sunday.

ISIS militants have closed a checkpoint under their control in the countryside north of the city of Aleppo to trucks carrying fuel to areas in northern Syria held by other rebel groups.

Medecins Sans Frontieres said in a statement obtained by Reutersand to be released later that it had received distress calls from health centers in rebel-held areas in Aleppo, Idlib and Hamaprovinces to say they were running out of fuel needed to run life-saving equipment.

“With so many hospitals now at a risk of closure, the lives of many Syrians are in even greater danger,” said Dounia Dekhili, MSF Program Manager for Syria, where the charity conducts an extensive humanitarian operation.

“Fuel is needed to run water pumps for clean water, to run incubators for newborns and to run ambulances for lifesaving care,” she said.

Work by civil defense workers who were helping rescue survivors of air bombardments in rebel-held areas could be halted if the shortages continue, MSF said.

ISIS militants, seeking to choke off fuel supplies heading to its rivals battling for control of the area, had almost completely barred oil truckers from passing through the gateway of Tel Qarah.

The checkpoint, near the Turkish border, separates territory run byISIS fighters and their rivals, residents and traders in the area said.

Hundreds of private trucks used to pass through the crossing daily, carrying crudely processed oil bought from fields under the control of ISIS in eastern Syria, to sell to the rest of northern rebel-held Syria.

It was the major source of fuel for those areas largely cut off from supplies from President Bashar al Assad’s government.

Rebels from a coalition of Western backed and Islamist groups fighting to beat off the ISIS offensive said the closure was causing severe hardship to civilians.

The fuel shortages began to bite almost a week ago and have pushed prices of diesel needed to run electricity generators, bakeries and hospitals. A litre of diesel now cost two dollars, up from less than half a dollar, residents said.

(Source / 21.06.2015)

German judge declares Al-Jazeera journalist’s arrest legal, extradition to be assessed

Egypt’s extradition request is to be assessed Monday by Berlin’s high court. Charges against Ahmed Mansour are still unclear, lawyers denounce ‘political allegations’

Ahmed Mansour

This undated handout photo provided courtesy of Al-Jazeera, shows Ahmed Mansour, 52, a prominent journalist with the Qatar-based Al-Jazeera broadcaster’s Arabic service

A judge in Berlin Sunday formally evaluated the case of Ahmed Mansour and declared his arrest legal, ordering the well known Al-Jazeera journalist to be kept in detention pending enquiries into his possible extradition to Egypt.
Mansour was detained by German police at Berlin’s Tegel Airport Saturday as he was about to board a plane to Qatar. Mansour was detained based on an international arrest warrant issued by Egypt.
The charges against Mansour are still unclear, with the German police not listing any specific accusations so far. His lawyer, Fazli Altin, told AP that he is accused of harming Egypt’s reputation and of committing torture, while Al-Jazeera has claimed that abduction and rape are among the charges.
The prosecutor general of Egypt, meanwhile, reportedly called on Interpol Sunday to hand over Mansour to Egyptian authorities. A formal extradition request has been submitted to the German authorities as well.
The Berlin high court, or Kammergericht (KG), will evaluate this request Monday, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ) reports. According to the paper, obstacles to extradition would include the possibility of applying the death penalty or torture in this case, as well as strong hints of political motivations behind the case.
The fact that Egypt and Germany do not have an extradition treaty is not a major hindrance, an Egypt foreign ministry spokesman told AP.
In practice, German courts assess extradition requests by examining the political situation in the country concerned. The German foreign ministry, the justice ministry and occasionally the chancellory are also asked to provide statements.
Even if the KG approves extradition, the German government could still veto the procedure for various “overriding” reasons, FAZ noted.
Mansour and his lawyers maintain that the accusations against him are baseless and politically motivated. “It’s embarrassing for Germany that Mansour is being held here on these clearly political allegations,” Altin told AP.
Several German politicians and academics have also expressed concern over the affair.
“The judiciary of Berlin cannot, under any circumstances, make itself a vicarious agent of an arbitrary regime in Cairo,” German MP Franziska Brantner told FAZ, insisting that no extraditions should be allowed to a country that enacts the death penalty.
Guido Steinberg, the researcher and advisor to the chancellory interviewed by Mansour in Berlin, also criticised the German authorities for helping Egypt to “silence a dissident,” according to Süddeutsche Zeitung.
(Source / 21.06.2015)

Belfast youth fast in solidarity with Palestinian hunger striker Khader Adnan

YOUNG ACTIVISTS from the Belfast-based Mairéad Farrell Republican Youth Committee (MFRYC) staged a 24-hunger strike over the weekend in support of Palestinian hunger striker Khader Adnan held in an Israeli prison.

After Adnan’s hunger strike entered its second month his condition became critical and he began experiencing intermittent comas, a sharp decrease in his weight and a drop in his heart rate.

He refused to undergo medical tests by a Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) delegation because the Zionist jail regime ordered that Adnan’s hands and feet be chained to his bed for 24 hours during the tests.

He was kidnapped on 8 July 2014 and has since been held under ‘Administrative Detention’ orders without charges or trial.

Khader Adnan , June 2015, Belfast

Up to 20 MFRYC members camped out at the site of the former RUC/military barracks at Andersonstown in Belfast while fasting over the weekend as they brought attention to the Palestinian’s plight.

The young republicans also staged white-line pickets during rush hour on Friday 19 June and on Saturday morning. Sinn Féin Councillor David Bell, a frequent visitor to Palestine, addressed an impromptu rally held at the campsite on Friday.

Khader Adnan , June 2015, Belfast

(Source / 21.06.2015)

Gaza deputy minister: PA behind recent bombings

Members of Palestinian security forces loyal to Hamas take part in a parade marking the sixth anniversary of the death of former Hamas interior minister Saeed Seyam, in Gaza City, Jan. 18, 2015

Gaza’s Deputy Minister of Interior Kamel Abu Madi told Al-Monitor that despite recent bombings and the fact that the security forces have not been paid in a year, there is no reason for Gazans to panic.

Abu Madi revealed that the number of security apparatus members in the Gaza Strip amounts to 18,000 — including the police, the security and protection units, the internal security forces and the national security agency, as well as other security departments. These 18,000 individuals have not received their salaries since the consensus government was established in June 2014. He described the security situation in the Gaza Strip as completely stable and noted that the occasional security breaches come in the natural context of every society.

In an interview with Al-Monitor, Abu Madi pointed out that the bombings that occurred in Gaza over the past few weeks are minimal in terms of number and impact on the stability of the security situation, but he was quick to point fingers at who he felt was responsible. The bombings occurred on different days in April and May, with no particular party claiming responsibility for them, and they were seen as an attempt to push Gaza, once again, into a spiral of chaos. He accused security and political figures in the Palestinian Authority (PA) of being behind these acts, which he described as “criminal,” holding President Mahmoud Abbas and his security forces fully responsible. He said that those behind the security breaches are trying to exploit the regional conflict between some countries in the region.

Abu Madi, 59, who is considered the top man in command in the Gaza Strip, noted that Gaza’s security apparatus has good ties with all Palestinian factions. He said that those detained by the security services in Gaza are not from a particular faction, but that they are a very limited number of outlaws who tried to sabotage the security of Palestinian society. He refused to talk about the developments of the truce between Hamas and Israel, as he considered that a political matter that should be discussed by politicians. He emphasized that the security services in Gaza consider Egypt as a friendly neighbor, with a prominent role in supporting the Palestinian cause. According to Abu Madi, the security services do not accept compromising Egyptian security, and the security services are always deployed on its border to maintain the security of Egypt and Gaza at all times.

Abu Madi is considered one of the most prominent Hamas figures in the Gaza Strip. He holds a master’s degree in business administration from the Islamic University in Gaza, and worked in various Islamic University facilities for 25 years. He was also an academic lecturer in some educational institutions in Gaza, including the Islamic University. He was arrested by Israel in the 1980s and by the PA in the 1990s.

The full text of the interview follows:

Al-Monitor:  How do you assess the security situation in Gaza in general, in light of the eighth anniversary of Hamas’ control of the Gaza Strip?

Abu Madi:  First of all, Hamas did not take control of the Gaza Strip. It won in fair legislative elections, in the presence of international observers, including former US President Jimmy Carter. Everyone saw that the elections were fair and honest. However, the problem was that President Abbas and Western countries did not recognize the elections’ result. As for the security situation in the Gaza Strip, eight years following the elections, it is completely stable, and things are working out perfectly. The incidents taking place come in the natural context of every society.

Al-Monitor:  How about you paint us a picture of the nature of the security system prevailing in Gaza — the number of apparatuses, their areas of specialization and the relationship among them?

Abu Madi:  The [different branches of the] security services in the Gaza Strip are in harmony and cooperation. There are 18,000 members working with the security apparatus: the police as a civilian body following international law; the security and protection apparatus protecting government figures inside Gaza and those visiting Gaza; and the civil defense apparatus specializing in putting out fires, saving citizens and keeping an eye on the coast to prevent incidents of drowning. There is also the National Security Forces that watch the border and prevent infiltration and the Internal Security Forces that preserve security within Gaza, whether in wartime or on normal days. In addition, the Medical Services specialize in providing medical services for workers in the security forces and civilians alike. All of these apparatuses are under the leadership of the Ministry of Interior, and they all follow the same policy determined by the ministry.

Al-Monitor:  There have been a number of bombings in recent months in the Gaza Strip. Who bears responsibility, and did your security investigations accomplish anything?

Abu Madi:  The bombings that occurred in the Gaza Strip during the past few weeks are minimal in terms of number and impact on the security situation’s stability. They are failed attempts to push Gaza into a new spiral of chaos. Those behind these actions are trying to take advantage of the existing regional conflict. Certain security and political figures in the PA in the West Bank are behind these criminal acts, and President Abbas and his security forces in Ramallah are fully responsible for [this security chaos].

Al-Monitor:  What about Hamas relations with the Salafist movements? What is the current number of detainees you have now? What are the alternatives in terms of dealing with them? Will you continue the security campaign or resort to dialogue and understanding?

Abu Madi:  This has nothing to do with Hamas, as the security services in Gaza are carrying out clear operations according to the law. I confirm that the relations of these security services with all factions in the Palestinian arena are very good. Our sole problem is with those who break the law, and attempt to undermine security. Otherwise, we have no problems whatsoever with people whose beliefs or ideologies [differ from ours]. The people we have detained do not belong to a specific movement. They are a few outlaws who tried to sabotage and jeopardize the security of Palestinian society.

Al-Monitor:  Fatah accuses you of arresting a number of its members for political reasons. Could you provide us with the exact number of detainees in the prisons of Gaza?

Abu Madi:  We firmly confirm that we are not holding any political prisoners. We dare any faction to give us one name of a prisoner who is detained on political grounds. We do not distinguish one faction from another, as our policy is based on the rejection of political arrests. Some are trying to make false accusations to distort the truth, aggravate the situation and cover up the abuses that are being committed in the West Bank. The security services in Gaza update human rights actors on an ongoing basis on the situation of the detainees. Our prisons are always open to human rights organizations to make sure there are no political prisoners. The people in the prisons have been arrested on criminal and security grounds, nothing more, and that is regardless of their political affiliations.

Al-Monitor:  The Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades are carrying out military activities in the Gaza Strip and on its borders. What are the prospects for security cooperation between the security services in Gaza and al-Qassam Brigades?

Abu Madi:  The security services’ role in Gaza is to safeguard stability, preserve internal security of Palestinian society and support the Palestinian resistance, so to defend our people. We have good relations with all factions and we are always working on preserving the national consensus among these factions.

Al-Monitor:  There is growing talk in Gaza about an imminent truce between Hamas and Israel. How do you see the role of the security services in Gaza in preserving such a truce and in assessing the relations with Israel?

Abu Madi:  The truce is a political matter in the hands of Palestinian politicians. The security services’ role is to protect the national consensus among the factions. We do not have any relations or coordination whatsoever with the Israeli occupation forces.

Al-Monitor:  Gaza’s relations with Egypt have always been based on security [matters]. How far did you go in security coordination with the Egyptian side? Will the security services in Gaza continue to deploy their forces on the border with Egypt to prevent any infiltration from both sides?

Abu Madi:  The Palestinian security services and their leaders view Egypt as a brotherly country that plays a prominent role in upholding the Palestinian cause. We have no animosity toward any people in the world. Our only problem, as Palestinians, is with the Israeli occupation and its forces, which have expelled us from our homes. We do not accept any compromise of Egypt’s security. The security forces in Gaza are always deployed on the Egyptian border to preserve the security of Egypt and the Gaza Strip. The security services in Gaza have not reneged on their role toward Egypt, even during the last war on Gaza in the summer of 2014. At the time, the National Security Forces were always deployed on the Egyptian border despite the heavy Israeli shelling everywhere in the Gaza Strip. This is further proof that we are looking to have good relations with Egypt and all the countries of the world. We do not antagonize any state and our conflict is only with the Israeli occupation.

(Source / 21.06.2015)

17 vragen over het vasten!

[Ramadanbericht nr 9]

Hieronder treft u een aantal veelgestelde vragen over het vasten, ontleend aan het Fatawaboek van de nobele geleerde shaych al-‘Uthaimeen – moge Allah hem genadig zijn -.

1. Wat zijn de zaken die het toestaan voor een persoon om niet te vasten?

– Wanneer een persoon ziek of op reis is, hoeft hij niet te vasten.

– De zwangere vrouw die vreest voor haar eigen gezondheid of die van haar kind.

– De vrouw die borstvoeding geeft en vreest voor haar eigen gezondheid of die van haar kind.

– Iemand die een persoon in nood wil redden van bijvoorbeeld brand of verdrinking en het voor hem nodig is om zijn vasten te verbreken.

N.B. De menstruerende vrouw en de vrouw met kraambloeding komen niet voor in het antwoord omdat het voor hen verboden is om te vasten.

2. Wat is het oordeel omtrent mascara, oog-, oor- en neusdruppels voor de vastende?

Wat betreft mascara, oog- en oordruppels, dat is toegestaan voor de vastende, ook al proeft hij de smaak daarvan in zijn keel. Wat echter neusdruppels betreft; als de neusdruppels de maag bereiken, verbreekt dat het vasten. Het is dus niet toegestaan deze druppels te gebruiken alleen wanneer deze de maag niet bereiken.

3. Wat is het oordeel omtrent de vastende die parfum gebruikt?

Dat is toegestaan en hij mag het ook ruiken. Alleen wierook mag niet worden geïnhaleerd omdat het deeltjes bevat die de maag kunnen bereiken.

4. Verbreekt gebruik van tandpasta het vasten?

Tandpasta verbreekt het vasten niet, zolang er niks wordt doorgeslikt. Maar ik (de shaych) ben van mening dat de vastende het niet hoort te gebruiken overdag, maar uitstelt tot de avond. Dit vanwege de sterkte van de tandpasta waardoor iets de maag kan bereiken zonder dat de vastende het doorheeft.

5. Verbreekt het doorslikken van speeksel het vasten?

Het doorslikken van speeksel verbreekt het vasten niet.

6. Degene die gemeenschap met zijn vrouw heeft gehad en pas na fajr de wassing verricht, is het vasten geldig?

Zijn of haar vasten is geldig, maar er moet wel haast worden gemaakt met de wassing zodat fajr tijdig wordt gebeden.

7. Wat is het oordeel omtrent een persoon die de sahoer (ochtendmaaltijd) nuttigt en niet doorheeft dat fajr al is aangebroken?

Wanneer een persoon eet na fajr en niet doorheeft dat fajr is aangebroken, dan is hij daardoor niet zondig en hoeft hij deze dag niet in te halen vanwege de algemene bewijsvoeringen die erop duiden dat een persoon niet wordt afgerekend op onwetendheid en vergeetachtigheid.

8. Is het toegestaan voor de vastende om de astma-inhalator te gebruiken?

Dit is voor hem toegestaan omdat het gaat om iets dat verdampt en niet de maag bereikt.

9. Wat is het oordeel omtrent het gebruiken van crème voor uitgedroogde lippen of neus?

Sommige van de vastende hebben last van uitgedroogde lippen of neus. Het is toegestaan om iets te gebruiken wat de lippen of neus verzacht; zoals een crème of door de lippen of neus te bevochtigen met een nat doekje of iets dergelijks. Maar er moet wel worden opgelet dat niks wordt ingeslikt. Mocht er dan toch wat onopzettelijk worden ingeslikt, dan is dat niet erg. Net zoals degene die zijn mond spoelt en onbedoeld wat doorslikt.

10. Wat is de regelgeving omtrent het gebruiken van zetpillen tijdens het vasten voor degene die ziek is?

Dat is voor diegene toegestaan, omdat het niet onder eten of drinken valt.

11. Moeten de kinderen die nog geen 15 jaar oud zijn, worden opgedragen te vasten?

De kinderen die nog geen puber zijn, worden opgedragen te vasten als zij dat aankunnen. Net zoals de metgezellen van de profeet vrede zij met hem dit met hun kinderen deden, zodat zij eraan wennen en ermee opgroeien. Maar als het te zwaar voor hen is en het hen schaadt, dan worden zij niet gedwongen.

12. Als de menstruatie van de vrouw overdag ophoudt, moet zij dan de rest van de dag vasten?

Nee, zij mag de rest van de dag gewoon eten. Zij zal die dag sowieso moeten inhalen dus heeft het vasten van de rest van de dag niet veel zin voor haar.

13. Als het menstruatiebloed stopt met vloeien voor fajr, maar pas na fajr de wassing wordt verricht?

Zodra ze er zeker van is dat het bloed is gestopt voor fajr (al is het slechts een ogenblik), neemt ze de intentie om te vasten. Haar vasten is dan geldig, maar ze moet wel haast maken bij de wassing zodat ze fajr op tijd bidt.

14. De zwangere vrouw die uit vrees voor haarzelf of haar kind niet vast, en zo ook de vrouw die borstvoeding geeft, wat is het oordeel daarvan?

De zwangere vrouw die fit en gezond is en voor wie het vasten niet zwaar is noch invloed heeft op haar kind, voor haar is het verplicht om te vasten.

En de zwangere vrouw die het vasten niet aankan vanwege zwakte of omdat de zwangerschap zwaar voor haar is, mag het vasten verbreken. Helemaal als het schadelijk is voor het kind, dan kan het verboden voor haar zijn om te vasten. En als zij niet vast dan moet ze na de bevalling, wanneer ze rein is van de kraambloeding, de dagen inhalen.

Tevens voor de vrouw die borstvoeding geeft, kan het nodig zijn om te eten en drinken als het vasten haar melk vermindert. Helemaal wanneer de dagen lang zijn in de zomer en de hitte hevig is (shaych leefde in Saudi Arabië). Ook zij moet dan later de verbroken dagen inhalen.

15. Mag de vrouw pillen nemen die ervoor zorgen dat ze niet menstrueert tijdens de Ramadan?

Ik (de shaych) ben van mening dat de vrouw deze pillen niet hoort te gebruiken tijdens de Ramadan en andere tijden. Het is bekend bij mij middels verklaringen van artsen dat het erg schadelijk is voor de vrouw en al datgene wat schadelijk is, is niet toegestaan.

16. Verbreekt het proeven van eten het vasten?

Het proeven van eten verbreekt het vasten niet zolang er niks wordt doorgeslikt, maar het proeven is slechts voor wanneer dat nodig is. Mocht er dan iets de maag onopzettelijk bereiken, dan is het vasten geldig. Net zoals degene die zijn mond spoelt en onbedoeld wat doorslikt.

17. Mag de vastende vrouw crème gebruiken?

Daar is niks mis mee, ze mag crème gebruiken voor haar gezicht, rug of andere plaatsen op haar lichaam om haar op te maken of andere doeleinden. Deze crème in al zijn soorten heeft geen effect op het vasten.

Moge Allah ons allen begrip van het geloof schenken.

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

4 Ramadan 1436 / 21 juni 2015

Shireen Issawi support campaign: Photos demand freedom for Shireen

shireenAn organization, Roots To Resistance is currently engaged in a Grassroots Global Sign Campaign to Demand Justice for jailed Palestinian Human Rights Lawyer Shireen Issawi. The group is working with the Alkarama Foundation and the Issawi Family and partnering with Truthout to bring this photo montage of signs and voices to the social media airwaves and the powers that be here in the US. We need more faces, signs and voices from across the globe.

The sign can be one of two things: It can “Demand Justice for Shireen Issawi”
Or it can state a reason why We should Demand Justice For Shireen Issawi. We are sending out special edition thank you ARTcards to all who send pictures so please include your address! Please send images via email toinvisible_earth@yahoo.com.

Roots To Resistance paints large 8 foot high portraits of women activists and creates global postcard campaigns to support their work. In this case we portray Shireen to support her and her work and demand freedom for her and an end to occupation for all Palestinians.

We hope you can find a moment of time today to snap a quick picture. The sign can be scribbled in pen or marker, it does not have to be a work of art, just a message that will connect all of us to each other and to Shireen. Please do join us and send the pictures via email to invisible_earth@yahoo.com.

Video about Shireen by the Alkarama Foundation:

https://youtu.be/qrCi6xMy6AQ

(Source / 21.06.2015)

 

Egypt to Send Ambassador to Israel for First Time Since 2012

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Sisi appointed the former deputy foreign minister as a new ambassador to Israel on Sunday, after Egypt had pulled out its representative from Israel over the 2012 Gaza conflict, Israeli media reported Sunday.

MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Diplomatic ties between Egypt and Israel have been strained over the attack on Gaza, a Palestinian exclave of more than a million that had been governed by Hamas since 2007.

The previous envoy was withdrawn from Israel following its military operation against the Gaza Strip, codenamed the Pillar of Defense.

Veteran diplomat Hazem Khairat is likely to be sent to Tel Aviv in September 2015, the Haaretz newspaper said, adding Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hailed the appointment as a step toward peace.

(Source / 21.06.2015)

Rafah crossing re-closed indefinitely

RAFAH, (PIC)– Egyptian authorities re-closed on Friday the Rafah border crossing with Gaza Strip until further notice after opening it for a week.

Head of Border Crossings Authority in Gaza Maher Abu Sabha said that Rafah crossing has been closed Friday until further notice after being opened for a whole week.

He expressed hope that Egypt allows its opening next week especially that 12,000 passengers are still in urgent need to travel.

Rafah crossing should be opened around the clock as it is the only gateway to the outside world for more than 1.8 million persons in Gaza, he said.

450 Palestinians managed on Friday to leave the Strip, while 88 passengers were allowed access into it, he clarified.

During the past week, 3,819 Palestinians left Gaza to Egypt through Rafah, and more than a thousand others entered. In addition, 155 passengers were prevented from traveling.

Egypt has temporarily opened the Rafah crossing last Saturday after being closed for more than three months.

The Egyptian authorities have been closing Rafah crossing since October, 2013. It was partially opened for few days for the travel of few sick people, students, and the humanitarian cases.

One hundred thousands of Palestinians mostly patients and students; however, are waiting for the opening of Rafah crossing in order to be able to travel.

(Source / 21.06.2015)

Israeli opposition leader in London: I’m here to fight BDS

Isaac HerzogIsraeli opposition leader Isaac Herzog expressed his concern about Israel’s deteriorating international relations Friday, warning of a growing boycott and a rift with the US administration.

Herzog, head of the Labour party and the Zionist Camp alliance, made the remarks in a lecture at the London School of Economics (LSE), as an invited guest of the university’s Institute of Global Affairs.

Under tight security, and with pro-Palestinian protesters outside the building, Herzog dedicated much of his speech to what he described as an “onslaught against Israel all over the world”, including the Palestinian-led Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign.

Herzog slammed as “totally unacceptable” moves to boycott and isolate Israel, urging the international community to “encourage negotiations, not punishments.” Declaring himself ready to “defend Israel’s good name” and be its “representative wherever it is needed”, Herzog declared: “I am here to combat it [BDS] – I am here exactly for that purpose.”

Herzog also sounded a warning about a “clear rift” between Israel and the U.S. administration, a relationship he described as a “lynchpin of Israel’s defense.”

Though the lecture was called ‘Striving for a Progressive Israel’, Herzog often struck a hawkish tone, telling his audience that “when it comes to the fight against terror” he shows “no mercy.” He also doubled down on his criticism of Netanyahu for not having hit Hamas hard enough last summer, describing the Gaza Strip as a “launching pad of missiles.”

When it came to the question of a Palestinian state, Herzog affirmed that he would seek to retain key West Bank settlement blocs as part of a ‘land swap’, stating that Gush Etzion “defends Jerusalem.” He also vowed “not to split” the latter city, which Israel calls its “eternal capital.”

The remarks were in keeping with his election campaign promises, where the Labour leader committed to keeping the Gush Etzion, Ma’aleh Adumim and Ariel blocs, and described the Jordan River as Israel’s “security border.” (See here for an analysis of the Zionist Camp’s plans for a Palestinian ‘state’).

Herzog was also quizzed more than once about remarks he made earlier this month in Herzliya, when he explained his desire to “separate from the Palestinians.”

I want to keep a Jewish state with a Jewish majority. I don’t want 61 Palestinian MKs in Israel’s Knesset. I don’t want a Palestinian prime minister in Israel. I don’t want them to change my flag and my national anthem. I don’t want them to change the name of my country to Isra-stine.

Responding to criticism, Herzog reaffirmed his position, stating he does not want a single state where there could be a “majority of Arab [MKs]”, on the basis that Israel “was created to be a safe haven for the Jewish people.” He emphasised that he “fully rules out” a one-state solution.

Herzog also defended his support for the pre-election exclusion of MK Haneen Zoabi, accusing the Balad lawmaker of “hate” and saying “unacceptable” things, a reference to Zoabi’s remarks following the kidnapping of three Israeli youths last summer.

Aysha Fekaiki, Community and Welfare Officer Elect at LSE’s Student Union and one of those protesting, criticised the LSE administration for “playing a part in protecting the apartheid state of Israel by allowing it to promote a fake ‘democracy’.”

Herzog’s speech at LSE came a few days after Tzipi Livni made her own flying visit to London, speaking at Fortune’s Most Powerful Women International Summit. On Monday, Herzog will be joined in the capital by Yair Lapid, with both men speaking at a conference on UK-Israeli relations.

(Source / 21.06.2015)