IOF brutally breaks into Jenin village

JENIN, (PIC)– The Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) violently stormed Wednesday afternoon Bartaa town, east of Jenin, and questioned local residents. Local sources told the PIC reporter that Israeli forces stormed the town and deployed in its neighborhoods before questioning local youths. A military checkpoint was also erected at the entrance of the town, where Palestinian vehicles were stopped and searched, the sources added. IOF soldiers carry out almost daily raid and search campaigns throughout occupied Jerusalem and the West Bank, arresting dozens of youths, women, elderly people, and even children as part of the Israeli collective punishment policy.

(Source / 25.05.2016)

Palestinian arrested for ramming his car into a roadblock

QALQILIA, (PIC)– Israeli policemen arrested Wednesday a Palestinian young man after stopping his car at a military checkpoint near Qalqilia. A police statement claimed that a Palestinian car rammed into a checkpoint near a Jewish settlement illegally built south east of Qalqilia. The driver was arrested while his companion managed to flee the scene, the police statement added, without reporting any injuries. An investigation has been opened in the incident, according to the statement. Despite living under a brutal military occupation, Palestinian towns and villages located near illegal Israeli settlements are subjected to regular attacks by both Israeli forces and settlers.

(Source / 25.05.2016)

Israeli settler deliberately runs over Palestinian child

BETHLEHEM, (PIC)– An Israeli settler deliberately ran over a Palestinian child near Hussan village west of Bethlehem in the occupied West Bank last night. Family sources affirmed that the Israeli settler ran over the 5-year-old Palestinian child Adam Hamamrah, from Husan village west of Bethlehem. The child was immediately taken to hospital for treatment as he suffered neck injury, while the settler managed to flee the scene and then turned himself to the Israeli police. Hit-and-run attacks and other hate crimes by Israeli settlers against Palestinians, referred to as “price tag” attacks, are common in the West Bank and occupied Jerusalem, and are rarely investigated or prosecuted by the Israel authorities.

(Source / 25.05.2016)

Female Palestinian student isolated in Israeli lock-up for 16 days

RAMALLAH, (PIC)– Female Palestinian detainee Aalaa Saed Assaf has been locked up in an isolated cell in the Israeli Maskoubiya jail for 16 days, the Palestinian Prisoners Society (PPS) said Wednesday. PPS lawyer quoted prisoner Assaf as saying that she was kidnapped by the Israeli occupation soldiers from her own family home in Birzeit on May 9. She added that the occupation soldiers dragged her to an Israeli military camp handcuffed and blindfolded before they transferred her to the Maskoubiya lock-up, where they shackled her with plastic chains, causing her severe pains. The detainee also said the abduction prevented her from attending her graduation ceremony at Birzeit University.

(Source / 25.05.2016)

Nasrallah calls for ‘comprehensive resistance’ against Israel

Leader of Lebanese Hezbollah resistance movement addresses people on the occasion of the "Resistance and Liberation Day," which commemorates Israel’s withdrawal from southern parts of the country in 2000.

Leader of Lebanese Hezbollah resistance movement addresses people on the occasion of the “Resistance and Liberation Day,” which commemorates Israel’s withdrawal from southern parts of the country in 2000

The leader of Lebanon’s Hezbollah resistance movement says Israel is the “greatest threat” to Palestinians and the entire region, calling for “comprehensive resistance” against the Zionist enemy.

Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah made the comments in a speech while addressing a ceremony themed the “Resistance and Liberation Day” on Wednesday as Lebanese people are celebrating the 16th anniversary of Israeli military withdrawal from their country.

Nasrallah further said the annual ceremonies on this occasion show the resistance movement is proud of its achievements against Israel.

This victory is part of Lebanon’s history and culture, teaching the new generation how to stand up to oppression, said Nasrallah, adding that the resistance dedicates this success to all the Lebanese, Palestinians as well as the entire world.

Lebanon’s children must draw lessons from the heroic acts of resistance fighters back then and learn to confront the challenges in the future, the Hezbollah chief said, calling on all factions in Lebanon to regard the 2000 victory as belonging to the entire nation regardless of their political leanings and differences with the resistance movement.

“We should know that the security we are witnessing today in the country’s south is a result of our people’s sacrifices and resistance,” according to Nasrallah.

He further highlighted Israel’s crimes against Palestinians, saying every one should remember that the Tel Aviv regime is the real enemy and the greatest threat to the entire region.

Nasrallah said anti-Israel struggles should not be limited to the battlefield, emphasizing the need for “comprehensive resistance” against the occupying regime in all areas, including culture and media.

Such resistance is the only way to end the Israeli occupation, said Nasrallah, adding that this could be realized if the nation and army stand together.

The Hezbollah chief said Lebanon would not have been liberated were it not for the sacrifices of the resistance fighters.

Supporters of Lebanon’s Hezbollah resistance movement listen to a speech by its secretary general, Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, marking the 2000 liberation of southern Lebanon from Israeli occupation, on May 25, 2016.

He pointed to attempts to undermine the anti-Israel resistance axis, urging all sides to express solidarity with resistance and stand by the movement in its fight against the Israeli occupation.

The Hezbollah leader also called on the Palestinian nation to remain vigilant in the face of those who seek to take advantage of the chaos in the region, adding that “unity” would be its only “savior.”

The resistance axis will not be defeated and the flag of Palestine will be raised again God willing, Nasrallah stressed.

Elsewhere in his comments, he thanked the Lebanese people for fulfilling their national responsibility and actively participating in the municipal elections, which began May 8 and are set to be held over four consecutive Sundays ending May 29.

The preliminary results of municipal elections assured the strength of the alliance between Hezbollah and Amal movement, he added.

Israel’s humiliating withdrawal

The Israeli regime first invaded Lebanon in 1978 and later escalated the military operation into a full-scale offensive in 1982.

Following the 1982 offensive, known as the First Lebanon War, Tel Aviv refused to leave southern Lebanon and kept its military presence there in defiance of the UN Security Council Resolution 425 that called on the regime to immediately withdraw.

However, the Zionist enemy eventually buckled under the resistance put up by Hezbollah fighters and pulled out its forces from the occupied areas overnight on May 24, 2000, in what observers call a humiliating defeat for the regime in Tel Aviv and a glorious victory for Hezbollah.

During the 22-year entanglement with Lebanon, the Israeli military took heavy blows from Lebanese resistance fighters and reportedly lost some 900 of its soldiers.

Hezbollah’s victory also served as a source of inspiration for the Palestinians, who launched their second anti-Israel uprising, known as al-Aqsa Intifada, in the occupied territories only four months after Tel Aviv’s withdrawal from southern Lebanon in September 2000.

(Source / 25.05.2016)

De gevallen engel

In Nederland zijn er politici met verschrikkelijk veel boter op het hoofd. Aan de ene kant schreeuwt rechts moord en brand over een Limburgse burgemeester die zich niet zou houden aan het nationaal beleid over vluchtelingen en aan de andere kant zijn er weer anderen, met de minister-president voorop,  om ach en wee te roepen als een columniste volgens hen onterecht gevangen wordt gezet.

Er is nog steeds een wet – alhoewel een oude wet – die wat zegt over het beledigen van een bevriend staatshoofd. In het Wetboek van Strafrecht is pas in 1980 een artikel toegevoegd over het beledigen van een bevriend staatshoofd. Het artikel hoort bij de artikelen 111 en 112. Volgens het wetsartikel staat er maximaal twee jaar op het beledigen van een buitenlands staatshoofd of regeringslid. “Dit kan alleen als ze (de beledigden) een officieel beroep doen op de wet en ze in ons land bevinden”  ( volgens artikel Volkskrant). “Op elk ander moment is het alleen strafbaar als het gaat om laster of smaad.”

De vraag is natuurlijk – juridisch gezien – of wat columniste Ebru Umar heeft gezegd over de Turkse president. Gezien het feit dat ze van Turkse afkomst en tijdelijk in Turkije verbleef, had ze kunnen weten wat er in Turkije zou ( kunnen) gebeuren.

Laten we uitgaan van het feit dat ze juridisch gezien een ‘bevriend staatshoofd’ heeft beledigd, dan zou mevrouw de columniste ook in Nederland strafbaar zijn.

Waarom wordt er dan zo’n politieke ophef over gemaakt? Gewoon het komt ons niet goed uit, dat een columniste wordt opgepakt, vrijheid van meningsuiting weet u wel. En nu moet met spoed de wet worden veranderd, want beledigen van een staatshoofd moet gewoon kunnen, volgens de politiek.

Hoe u hier ook over denkt, in principe is de bewuste columniste ook strafbaar in Nederland. Maar dat komt niet goed uit voor de politiek, want dan zou het bevriende staatshoofd ons terug kunnen pakken, als we de minister-president op de thee sturen en de vrijheid van meningsuiting en mensenrechten bij het bevriende staatshoofd laten aankaarten. Neen, eerst onze eigen wet aanpassen en dan wat zeggen over vrijheid van meningsuiting in Turkije.

Maar zou er niet meer achter zitten? Is het niet mogelijk dat de politiek een columniste nodig heeft om aan de ene kant een wet veranderd te krijgen, maar zeker aan de andere kant mensen die binnenkomen, de Nederlandse normen en waarden op te leggen?

Het valt weer op dat de minister-president het voortouw neemt voor een columniste die geen mogelijkheid onbenut laat om moslims te beledigen. Zoals ze volgens het artikel van de NRC van 12 mei jl. tijdens een bijeenkomst van een Turks academisch netwerk heeft gezegd: “ ‘Vrouwen met hoofddoek hebben geen hersenen’, zei ze. “

Is het dan vreemd dat leden van de nieuwe beweging DENK opstaan en hier tegen in gaan?  Waarom moeten de zogenaamde uittreders (die zeggen geen moslim meer te zijn), de grootste criticasters zijn van de Islam?

In mijn column ‘Natrappen van Hafid Bouazza’ van 25 juli 2013 wees ik al over een ex-moslim, die plotseling alles wat slecht is in de Islam ten tonele moest brengen in een ingestuurde brief in de NRC. Toen gaf ik al aan: “Als de Islam zo slecht voor u is geweest, wees blij dat u bent vertrokken en laat de andere in zijn waarde en houd verder uw mond dicht over hoe slecht uw vorige leven is geweest. Wij zijn niet geïnteresseerd in uw tegenslagen en negatieve kijk op de wereld.”

Tegen het schreeuwmeisje (zoals de columniste wordt genoemd op de redactie van Metro)  zou ik willen zeggen:  “De manier waarop je iets wil bereiken, zet geen zoden aan de dijk. Mensen – of het nu een bevriend staatshoofd is of de moslima met foulard in de straat – beledigen, heeft geen zin. Laten we werken om de kloof te overbruggen tussen de verschillende mensen en mensen dichter bij elkaar te brengen.”

Daarnaast is het zo, als je met bagger gooit, kan je bagger verwachten.

© KhamakarPress

Peace with Palestinians not in Netanyahu’s plan

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (R) and Avigdor Lieberman attend a Likud-Beitenu faction meeting at the Knesset, in Jerusalem, Nov. 11, 2013

Many decent people in Israel and around the world are concerned that the decision by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to bring the right-wing Yisrael Beitenu into the government — rather than the center-left Zionist Camp — and to appoint Yisrael Beitenu leader Avigdor Liberman minister of defense will undermine prospects for a peace process between Israel and the Palestinians. They believe the accusation Zionist Camp leader Isaac Herzog hurled at “radical leftists” in his party for allegedly sabotaging a historic opportunity to promote regional peace. They claim that Netanyahu was a stone’s throw from the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative, but as the Americans say, the proof of the pudding is in the eating, and no one is likely to be tasting any of that pudding. On the other hand, Netanyahu has flunked all his previous exams in Regional Peace 101. The grades of deposed Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon weren’t any better.

The current political turmoil will not sabotage prospects for peace. The composition of the new government, like that of its predecessor and the one that never materialized with the Zionist Camp, does not change the fact that zero plus zero equals zero. Even the dovish mien that Netanyahu put on for a brief moment will probably not open the public’s eyes to the realization that the king remains a hawk leading them to perdition. For now it would be best to let the United States along with the other members of the Middle East Quartet — the European Union, United Nations and Russia — try their hand at shaking the Israeli public out of its lethargy. All forces of Israeli society, from the enlightened right to the purist left, must be mobilized now to defend democracy.

The first step is to accept that Netanyahu is not going to change. His designated defense minister is not the only one to have honored him with such epithets as “liar” and “crook.” The course of history would have been no different had Netanyahu accepted Herzog’s demand to personally sign off on the agreements they reached in their talks for a diplomatic initiative. What was Netanyahu’s signature worth on the 1998 Wye River Memorandum alongside those of Palestine Liberation Organization Chairman Yasser Arafat and President Bill Clinton? Instead of handing over to the Palestinians parts of Area C in the West Bank, as stipulated by that agreement, Netanyahu transferred (and continues to transfer) the land for the construction of settler homes.

What was the point of Netanyahu’s commitment, while a member of the security cabinet of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, to uproot unauthorized settlement outposts in the West Bank, as laid out in the 2003 road map? Does anyone remember UN Security Council Resolution 1515, unanimously approved at the request of President George W. Bush, to adopt the road map?

A year ago, Netanyahu addressed the lost opportunity to promote a regional peace before a large audience. At a ceremony marking the 70th anniversary of the Allied victory over Nazi Germany, the prime minister explained that interests shared by Israel and the Arab states vis-à-vis Iran were creating opportunities to promote “alliances and possibly move peace forward.” So he said, and so what?

Even if Ya’alon not been booted out as defense minister, he would not have salvaged that regional peace approach, in general, nor the two-state solution, in particular. Just a brief reminder: In June 2015 at the Herzliya Conference, Ya’alon had said that he saw no chance of a stable arrangement in the region in his lifetime. Before that, in January 2014, he had said, “The only thing that can ‘save’ us is for [Secretary of State] John Kerry to win a Nobel Prize and leave us in peace.”

I don’t know a single political analyst who believes that in Netanyahu’s political lifetime, with Herzog and Ya’alon or without them, Israel will move closer to an agreement with the Palestinians. What politician eyeing the country’s leadership will offer to give up the occupied territories, knowing that 70% of Jewish Israelis refuse to acknowldege the occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem? Beggars can’t be choosers, goes the proverb. I can’t believe I’m writing this, but for Israelis to keep their state, the slogan “two states for two people” must be archived and replaced by a union of forces to salvage democracy in the State of Israel. The various peace plans must be replaced by a common denominator around which a broad public and alternative leadership can unite — the State of Israel’s Declaration of Independence.

Ya’alon, Herzog, left-wing Meretz leader Zehava Gal-On, former Likud Minister Benny Begin, former Likud Minister Gideon Saar, Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon, centrist Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid, former Likud minister Dan Meridor, Zionist Camp co-leader Tzipi Livni and former Yisrael Beitenu Knesset member Orly Levy-Abekasis must form a joint political entity and ask the public for a mandate to implement what the fathers of the state envisaged in Israeli’s founding document:

The State of Israel will … promote the development of the country for the benefit of all its inhabitants; will be based on the precepts of liberty, justice and peace taught by the Hebrew Prophets; will uphold full social and political equality of all its citizens, without distinction of race, creed or sex; will guarantee full freedom of conscience, worship, education and culture. … We yet call upon the Arab inhabitants of the State of Israel to … play their part in the development of the state, with full and equal citizenship and due representation in its bodies and institutions — provisional or permanent.

These principles also guided Theodor Herzl, the visionary of the Jewish state. “My associates and I make no distinctions between one man and another. We do not ask to what race or religion a man belongs. If he is a man, that is enough for us,” wrote the father of Zionism in “Altneuland.” His moral legacy was “establish your state in such a way that the non-Jew will feel himself well among you.”

In “On State and Social Problems,” Ze’ev Jabotinsky, the founder of Revisionist Zionism, wrote that of “three evils” — minority rule, anarchy and majority rule — the third is the least evil and thus the preferred choice. The man after whom the headquarters of the Likud movement — the so-called Jabotinsky Fortress — is named wrote that the role of democracy is to ensure minorities a say in running the affairs of state, given that “a minority is but composed of individuals, created in the ‘image and likeness of God.’”

There is no certainty that such ruminations would gain Herzl and Jabotinsky entry to the current Knesset. It is fairly certain, however, that if a joint front to salvage democracy in Israel is not soon formed, the legacy of Herzl and Jabotinsky will clear the way for the legacy of the right-wing nationalist Rehavam Zeevi — that is, racism and hatred of the other.

(Source / 25.05.2016)

Iraqi troops advancing towards Fallujah from south: Cmdr.

Iraqi soldiers and allied volunteer fighters have pushed towards Fallujah from areas to the south as part of an operation to liberate the city from the grip of the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group, says a commander.

Staff Major General Ismail al-Mahalawi, the head of the Anbar Operations Command, said on Wednesday that forces from Iraq’s 8th Division, backed by tribal fighters, set out from the city of Amriyat al-Fallujah, south of Fallujah, and the al-Salam intersection to its southwest.

The offensive is being supported by air cover, Mahalawi added.

Early on Monday, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi announced the start of the long-awaited major operation to retake Fallujah in the western Anbar Province. Since then, the Iraqi military and volunteer fighters have managed to recapture several areas near the embattled city.

About 100,000 civilians are estimated to be in Fallujah which, in January 2014, became the first major Iraqi city to be captured by Daesh militants.

Iraqi forces walk with their weapons near Fallujah, Iraq, May 24, 2016. 

Top Iraqi cleric urges restraint in Fallujah raid

In another development on Wednesday, Iraq’s senior Shia cleric Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani urged restraint in the Fallujah battle, calling on the Iraqi forces to spare civilians trapped in the city.

The file photo shows a poster of senior Shia cleric Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani in Baghdad, Iraq. 

The prominent Iraqi clergyman’s representative, Sheikh Abdul Mahdi al-Karbalai, said in a statement that Ayatollah Sistani has reaffirmed his recommendations that moral principles be respected in the operation launched to liberate the city.

“Don’t be extreme … don’t be treacherous. Don’t kill an old man, nor a boy, nor a woman. Don’t cut a tree unless you have to,” he said, citing sayings of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).

The operation to recapture Fallujah comes as aid agencies have expressed concern over the humanitarian situation in the city.

Gruesome violence has plagued the northern and western parts of Iraq ever since Daesh launched an offensive in the Arab state two years ago.

Earlier this month, Iraq’s government spokesman, Saad al-Hadithi, said the Daesh-controlled areas in the conflict-ridden country have significantly decreased to only 14 percent, compared to almost triple that number recorded two years ago.

(Source / 25.05.2016)

Iraq Situation Report: May 11-24, 2016

The Iraqi Security Forces (ISF), Popular Mobilization, and tribal fighters launched a major operation to retake Fallujah on May 23. The joint force quickly recaptured northern terrain on the first day, including Garma District, a historic hotbed for Sunni extremists including ISIS’s predecessor Al Qaeda in Iraq. The joint force continued to consolidate surrounding terrain on May 24 as it advances towards central Fallujah. Security concerns, already heightened by an increase of ISIS attacks in Baghdad, could intensify as the Fallujah operation increases the likelihood of sectarian violence. The ISF must ensure that civilians fleeing Fallujah are not exposed to sectarian violence from Iranian-backed Iraqi Shi’a militias both during and after the operation.

Baghdad’s political and physical security are facing grave threats from ISIS, the Sadrist demonstrators, and Iraq’s own politicians. Sadrist demonstrators stormed the Green Zone on May 20 and broke into major government buildings, including the facilities housing the Council of Ministers (CoM), Council of Representatives (CoR), and Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi’s office, before Interior Ministry security forces ejected protestors. The chaos follows a significant increase in ISIS activity in Baghdad and the Baghdad Belts. Deadly attacks targeted civilians in northern Baghdad on May 11 and 17, prompting the Sadrist militia Saraya al-Salaam to briefly deploy across Baghdad’s Shi’a neighborhoods before Sadr ordered their withdrawal on May 18. ISIS’s activity is significantly increasing in Baghdad’s northern Belts area. The group launched spectacular attacks in the districts of Balad on May 12 and 13 and Dujail on May 21, and carried out a large attack aimed at damaging the Taji Gas Plant near Camp Taji on May 15. Increased ISIS activity in the northern Belts and Baghdad could deteriorate the security situation to levels not seen since late 2014.

The deadly attacks indicate that ISIS is taking advantage of Iraq’s unstable political situation. ISIS has demonstrated intent to both exacerbate sectarian tensions and increase the possibility of intra-Shi’a conflict; its attacks have generated friction between the Sadrists, rival Iranian-backed proxy militias, and the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF).The Sadrists are exacerbating tensions by putting thousands of unruly demonstrators out on the streets against Iranian proxy militia forces and units from the Interior Ministry, controlled by the rival Badr Organization, who have little interest in seeing the Sadrists succeed. ISIS will have opportunities to increase its attack capabilities while the ISF and the Popular Mobilization are engaged in operations on multiple fronts, including recent successful operations which regained control over Rutba District on May 19 and the Ramadi-Jordan highway on May 20. However, both the ISF and Popular mobilization have also committed significant forces towards completing the encirclement of Fallujah and clearing ISIS from western Diyala Province. These efforts have required further forward deployments of Baghdad and southern-based security forces away from their bases in southern Iraq. Forces shifting in southern Iraq leaves the area vulnerable to a resurgence in ISIS attacks and opens avenues for ISIS to launch attacks into Baghdad from the South.

(Source / 25.05.2016)

Israeli troops open fire at shepherds, farmers in Gaza

This is part of the daily Israeli violations against Palestinians

Israeli occupation forces opened fire on Wednesday morning at shepherds and farmers near eastern borders of the coastal enclave.

This is almost part of the daily life of the Palestinian farmers and shepherds near the eastern borders of Gaza. The same thing happens almost every day to the fishermen off the Gaza coasts

Days of Palestine, Gaza Strip -Israeli occupation forces opened fire on Wednesday morning at shepherds and farmers near eastern borders of the Gaza Strip.

Official Palestinian sources reported the Israeli shooting at the Palestinians in the southern Gaza city of Rafah, but reported no casualties.

Eyewitness said that the Israeli occupation forces opened fire at Palestinian Shepherds and farmers in the eastern outskirts of the city of Rafah and Khan Younis.

“Shepherds were obliged to flee pastures and farmers were obliged to flee their farms when the shooting took place,” one of the eyewitnesses said.

This is almost part of the daily life of the Palestinian farmers and shepherds near the eastern borders of Gaza. The same thing happens almost every day to the fishermen off the Gaza coasts.

(Source / 25.05.2016)