UN warns: operating space for humanitarian actors is shrinking in Syria

UN warns: operating space for humanitarian actors is shrinking in Syria

A man reacts amidst damage from what activists said was an airstrike by forces loyal to Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad in the al-Katerji district in Aleppo September 20, 2015

GENEVA (UN) – The top United Nations relief official said on Friday he remains extremely concerned about the welfare of civilians across Syria, who he said continue to face “horrific deprivation and violence,” particularly those trapped in besieged areas.

Briefing the UN Security Council on the humanitarian situation in Syria, especially on critical access issues, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Stephen O’Brien said he is concerned about people trapped in the towns of Mare’a and Sheikh Issa, as Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL/Da’esh) forces advance, and for the people in eastern Aleppo, and is “appalled” at the mortar attack on the Mseifra camp for internally displaced people in Dar’aa Governorate that occurred this past weekend.

“I told the Council that the operating space for humanitarian actors is shrinking as violence and attacks across Syria increase; and that recent attacks are creating new humanitarian emergencies and compounding the challenges in existing emergency areas,” Mr. O’Brien said after consultations with the body.

He also warned members of the Council that attacks on medical facilities and health personnel have continued in the past few days, despite the recent resolution passed by the Council, and despite the expressions of concern and commitments to action.

“This is unacceptable,” Mr. O’Brien emphasized.

He also reminded the Council that needs are the most acute in besieged locations.

“It is there that the parties to the conflict actively breach the basic laws of war. While humanitarians press for access, there remain areas where access continues to be denied,” he said.

During his briefing, Mr. O’Brien stressed that the only sustainable solution is a complete lifting of all sieges.

“Besiegement is not a natural or necessary consequence of conflict, it is a deliberate policy of parties, and one which can be undone if the political will to do so can be mustered,” he said.

Despite the escalating challenges to humanitarian operations, millions of Syrians in need are being reached through regular and cross-border assistance each month, Mr. O’Brien said, noting that he was able to report that just today a UN inter-agency convoy completed a delivery of desperately needed food for 45,000 civilians in Moadamiyah.

“We are slowly accessing more and more people – since January over 820,000 have had assistance, many of them more than once – but the progress, while encouraging, is far from enough,” he said.

During the month of May, only two locations had been reached by land – East Harasta and Yarmouk – representing 20,000 people. This is only 3.4 per cent of the total besieged population of 592,700, he said.

“While we continued to reach those in Deir ez-Zour through high-altitude airdrops, the one-off and inconsistent land access throughout May was simply not enough,” he said.

He noted, however, that they had been able to reach 40 per cent of people in 14 of the 19 besieged locations, delivering vital supplies as well as assessing the needs of people and monitoring the impact of the response.

Mr. O’Brien, who is also the UN Emergency Relief Coordinator, highlighted that when aid workers entered Darayya on Wednesday, for the first time in four years, they encountered a “truly dismal situation.” People have acute medical needs and clearly do not have enough food, he stressed.

Regarding the question of air bridges and air drops to be used for areas denied humanitarian access – which was the focus of the Council’s discussion today – Mr. O’Brien said his position remained firm and clear: “We need to see full approval of the June plan for humanitarian access.”

“We need the consent of the Syrian Government and all necessary security guarantees, in order to conduct airdrops. We need all parties to allow freedom of movement for civilians and humanitarian access. Above all, we need the fighting to stop and a political solution to start,” he added.

As such, the firm action and political resolve of the international community was necessary to break the impasse and ensure that people receive the life-saving aid and protection they need, Mr. O’Brien said.

“As humanitarians, we can deliver humanitarian action – we can’t fix the politics or the root causes,” he said.

Mr. O’Brien also urged all parties to the conflict to not just reflect on Islam’s core values of charity, mercy and peace as they entered the holy month of Ramadan, but to use that moment to apply the values to “improve the situation of those innocent civilians who suffer so terribly in this conflict.”

(Source / 05.06.2016)

Rallies across Europe to push for lifting Israeli siege on Gaza

COPENHAGEN, (PIC)– A series of rallies was staged by a consortium of  Pro-Palestine organizations and forums across Europe to push for lifting the Israeli siege on Gaza.   The Palestinian Forum in Denmark and the Palestinian Youth Assembly in Denmark staged a sit-in in the streets of Aarhus city. The rally-goers lifted banners denouncing the Israeli siege on Gaza and slamming the silence maintained by the international community as regards the tragic situation endured by Gazans.   The rallies fall in line with ongoing celebrations of the Global Week to Break the Siege on Gaza organized by the International and European Campaign to lift the siege. Danish passers-by voiced their solidarity with the Palestinians in the blockaded Gaza Strip and called for lifting the siege. A similar event was staged on Saturday by the Palestinian Assembly in Germany in the capital Berlin to push for breaking the siege. A series of pro-Gaza events was also held in the French city of Lyon and in Italy, calling for restoring Gazans’ free movement and alleviating the tragedy endured by civilians in the besieged coastal enclave.

(Source / 05.06.2016)

Dozens injured in IOF attacks on marches in W. Bank and Gaza

QALQILYA, (PIC)– Scores of Palestinians on Friday afternoon suffered injuries when the Israeli occupation forces (IOF) attacked peaceful protest marches and rallies in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. According to medical sources in the West Bank, eight young men suffered bullet injuries, 20 others suffocated by tear gas and one suffered burns when Israeli soldiers attacked marches. The Red Crescent said that its ambulance crews provided medical assistance to three Palestinian with bullet wounds and 15 others who suffered from inhaling tear gas in clashes in Kafr Qaddum town, east of Qalqilya. Local sources said that the protesters were demanding the Israeli occupation authorities to open the main road of their town, which was closed in 2003. They added that the IOF soldiers intensively fired live bullets as well as tear gas and stun grenades at the protesters, while a military vehicle was spraying skunk water at nearby houses and alleys.   Israeli troops also quelled anti-settlement marches in the towns of Bil’in, Ni’lin and Nabi Saleh in Ramallah. The intensive firing of tear gas grandees on protesters in Nabi Saleh town started fire in large tracts of cultivated lands. In al-Khalil, violent clashes broke out on Friday between young men and soldiers after the latter attacked a funeral in Beit Ummar town. In Gaza, one young man suffered a bullet injury when soldiers opened fire at a peaceful anti-siege rally in a border area to the east of al-Shuja’iyya neighborhood. The soldiers also fired volleys of tear gas grenades, causing many others to suffocate.

(Source / 05.06.2016)

6 juni eerste dag Ramadan!

Morgen, 6 juni, is de eerste dag van de gezegende maand Ramadan. Dit houdt in dat de intentie voor het vasten van Ramadan vóór aanvang van fajr (ochtendgebed) moet zijn genomen, vanwege de volgende overlevering:

Wie geen intentie voor het vasten heeft vóór fajr, zijn vasten is niet correct. [Bayhaqi]

Het nemen van de intentie is geen ingewikkelde handeling. De intentie houdt in dat jij vastberaden bent om de volgende dag te vasten. En dat ben je, want wanneer iemand jou zou vragen of je morgen vast, dan zou je direct antwoorden: ‘natuurlijk!’ Dit duidt erop dat jouw intentie gewoon aanwezig is.

Vraagstuk:
Moet deze intentie dagelijks voor iedere dag afzonderlijk worden genomen of volstaat de intentie, om de hele maand te vasten, aan het begin van de maand?

Antwoord:
De geleerden verschillen hierover in mening, o.a. de grote geleerde shaych al-‘Uthaimeen moge Allah hem genadig zijn, neigt naar de mening dat de intentie aan het begin van de maand volstaat. Wellicht dat deze de sterkste mening is.

Wel moet daarbij in acht worden genomen dat degene die het vasten heeft verbroken, vanwege bijvoorbeeld ziekte, reis of menstruatie, zijn intentie moet vernieuwen indien hij of zij de volgende dag weer van plan is om te vasten.

De sahoer
Het valt onder de manieren van het vasten om de vastende dag met sahoer (ochtendmaaltijd) te starten. Dit was de gewoonte van onze nobele profeet vrede zij met hem en zijn metgezellen. De profeet vrede zij met hem zei:

“Nuttig de sahoer, want de sahoer is gezegend.” [Bukhari]

En hij zei:

“Nuttig de sahoer, ook al is het slechts een beetje water.” [ibn Hibbaan]

De profeet heeft in een overlevering het eten van dadels als sahoer geprezen, het is daarom aanbevolen om ook dadels te nuttigen met de sahoer.

Degene die de sahoer nuttigt, dient dit te doen met de intentie van het navolgen van de sunnah van de profeet vrede zij met hem, zodat dit een aanbidding is en hij hiervoor wordt beloond.

Uitstellen
De sunnah van sahoer is om deze uit te stellen tot aan het einde van de nacht, vlak vóór fajr aanbreekt. Dus als je bijvoorbeeld aan een kwartier genoeg hebt voor de sahoer, nuttig je deze een kwartier vóór fajr.

Van de voordelen van het nuttigen van sahoer kort vóór fajr, is dat je het fajrgebed tijdig verricht, vóór zonsopgang. Beter kan je de dag niet beginnen!

Ook is de tijd van sahoer een gezegende tijd voor smeekbede en het vragen van vergiffenis. Allah heeft zijn vrome dienaren geprezen in de Koran voor het feit dat zij Hem op dat tijdstip vergiffenis vragen. Allah zegt:

“En in de ashaar (tijd vóór fajr) vragen zij om vergiffenis.” [51:18]

Het kwartier of langer voor tijd stoppen met eten, ook wel aangeduid op sommige gebedskalenders met imsak, wordt door de geleerden als een innovatie (bid’ah) beschouwd en als overdrijven in het geloof. Je mag eten totdat fajr aanbreekt.

Beste broeders en zusters

Weet dat het bereiken van deze gezegende maand op zich een grote gunst is. Hoeveel van onze jonge broeders en zusters dachten er deze maand gewoon bij te zullen zijn, maar is de dood tussenbeide gekomen.

Hoe graag zouden zij één dag van deze gezegende maand willen meemaken om wat hasanaat te verzamelen. Wellicht dat deze hasanaat het verschil zullen maken op de Dag des Oordeels.

Beste broeders en zusters

Allah zegt:

“O jullie die geloven, het vasten is jullie verplicht gesteld zoals het ook degenen vóór jullie verplicht is gesteld opdat jullie Allah zullen vrezen. (het vasten is slechts) Een beperkt aantal dagen.” [2:184]

We vasten een maand, maar in werkelijkheid zijn het slechts een beperkt aantal dagen, voor je het weet is deze mooie maand weer voorbij!

Moge Allah de meest Verhevene ons helpen bij het nuttig besteden van deze gezegende maand en ons vergeven voor onze tekortkomingen.

Stuur het door; “Wie aanspoort tot het goede, heeft dezelfde beloning als degene die ernaar handelt.” [Sahih Muslim]

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

29 Sha’baan 1437 / – 5 juni 2016 –

Israel sentences 15-year-old child to 6 years in jail

OCCUPIED JERUSALEM, (PIC)– An Israeli court on Sunday sentenced a 15-year-old Palestinian child for six years and a half in jail and a fine of 26,000 shekels on allegations of carrying out an anti-occupation stabbing. The Israeli court issued the sentence against Mu’awya Alkam, 15, on charges that he attempted to stab an Israeli security guard.  A court hearing is expected to be held on July 17 to validate the sentence. Both Mu’awya and Ali Alkam were kidnapped by the Israeli occupation forces after they were shot by an Israeli light rail guard in Occupied Jerusalem. Ali was hit with three bullets and sustained critical wounds following the shooting. According to Abdullah Alkam, the chairman of the popular campaign to release Palestinian children in Israeli jails, Mu’awya is being held in the Megiddo lock-up while Ali is incarcerated at a closed school in Beit Naquba. Both children have reportedly been subjected to harsh psycho-physical torture and strip-beating in Israeli detention. The occupation authorities have been frequently delaying court hearings for the two minors until they reach the legal age for trials, the activist added.

(Source / 05.06.2016)

Critical injuries in Israeli assault on Joseph Tomb

NABLUS, (PIC)–  Five Palestinian civilians sustained wounds at dawn Friday after the Israeli occupation forces (IOF) rolled into Joseph’s Tomb, in Nablus, to provide a security shield for hundreds of Israeli fanatics who stormed the site. A PIC journalist quoted eye-witnesses as stating that dozens of Israeli army patrols stormed Nablus’ eastern corners at predawn time on Friday and cordoned off the vicinities of Joseph’s Tomb. Hundreds of Israeli fanatic settlers on board of 15 buses broke into the area while chanting anti-Muslim slogans. Violent clashes burst out between the heavily-armed occupation troops and Palestinian protestors shortly after the assault. The Israeli soldiers targeted the Palestinian protestors with randomly-shot spates of live and rubber bullets, resulting in injuries among five youngsters. Palestinian youth Jamal Muhammad Dweikat sustained serious wounds in his head. The Red Crescent crews said two Palestinians were treated for live bullet wounds, including one for a serious head injury.  An elderly Palestinian citizen sustained critical breathing disorders due to heavy inhalation of teargas.

(Source / 05.06.2016)