Israel prosecutes a Palestinian poet over Youtube poem

Dareen Tatour is among dozens of Palestinians arrested by Israel for incitement allegations over social media posts.

Dareen Tatour, who remains under house arrest, reads from one of her notebooks of poems [Nigel Wilson/Al Jazeera]

Dareen Tatour, who remains under house arrest, reads from one of her notebooks of poems

Kiryat Ono, Israel – With a flick of her wrist, Dareen Tatour turned a page in her notebook, smoothed the paper and began reading aloud in a slow, steady cadence.

“The charges are like pieces of clothing. They brought me these clothes and forced me to wear them, from my toes to my head,” she said, before bursting into excited laughter at the novelty of her work being translated into English.

The lines are from A Poet Behind Bars, a piece that Tatour wrote in an Israeli prison in November 2015 after being charged with incitement to violence and supporting a “terrorist” organisation.

Tatour, a Palestinian poet, has since had ample time to work on new material – both during her three-month jail term and, more recently, while under house arrest in the Israeli city of Kiryat Ono, far from her hometown of Reine. “I have been writing a lot about my arrest and everything that happened to me,” Tatour told Al Jazeera.


READ MORE: Israel jails Palestinian beautician over Facebook post


Tatour’s ordeal began in the early hours of October 11, when she was alerted by the frightened shouts of her parents. She did not know why at the time, but Israeli police had come to her family home to arrest her.

Fifteen days and multiple interrogations later, Tatour says she was presented with the allegations against her, some of which were related to a Facebook post.

Interpreting an artistic work as a direct call to terrorism dangerously misconstrues an act of free expression by an Arab citizen of Israel as a serious security threat punishable by preventative detention and prosecution.

Karin Deutsch Karlekar, director at PEN America

She had posted a picture of Israa Abed – a Palestinian woman shot at a bus station in Afula while brandishing a knife – with the comment, “I am the next martyr.” Abed, who has a history of mental instability, survived the shooting and charges against her were later  dropped .

“What I meant with that post was that I, as a Palestinian, or any Palestinian, could be killed at any time,” Tatour told Al Jazeera.

On November 2, Tatour was initially charged with inciting violence and terrorism, as well as supporting a terrorist group, in relation to posts on her Facebook and Youtube pages.

Since then, the specifics of the charges against her have shifted, and now relate to a poem that was posted to her Youtube account.

The poem, whose title translates roughly as “Resist my people, resist,” is read aloud against background images of Palestinians clashing with Israeli security forces.

Under the conditions of her house arrest, Tatour is confined to the flat for all but six hours a week, when she can leave and walk around the neighbourhood if accompanied by her brother.

The trial is currently underway – evidence hearings have begun. The next hearing sessions are expected to take place in July and September. Tatour will remain under house arrest until the trial is over.

Tatour’s brother, who asked not to be named, left his job as a nurse to take on the task of watching his sister day and night. He rented the apartment in Kiryat Ono after the court ruled that his sister was too dangerous to be confined in her family home and must be held at least 40km away.

“We haven’t seen much of our family. Our father is not able to drive long distances, so they haven’t been able to visit much,” he said. “It’s not easy, but we adapt.”

http://interactive.aljazeera.com/aje/2016/palestinemaps/PalestineRemixVanishingMap.mp4

Before her arrest, Tatour said she felt free to write and publish poetry without any fear or restrictions. “I never imagined that I could be arrested for something that I wrote,” she said. “Back in the ’60s, all the poets, like Mahmoud Darwish, were arrested – but in this century, I never expected this. I didn’t know that democracy was not for everyone in Israel.”

Tatour began writing as a child and realised that she was talented. In 2010, she published her first collection of poems entitled “The Last Invasion”. “I wrote about everything to do with Palestinian life: Politics, social life, women children and emotions – whatever a human being feels,” she said.

“I was preparing to publish a second volume,”Stories of the Canary”, when they arrested me. This collection is mostly about women in general, not just Palestinian women, but sexual harassment, rape and social issues,” Tatour said.

PEN America, a human rights group that works to defend freedom of expression around the world, released a statement on June 17 condemning Tatour’s detention and prosecution. “Interpreting an artistic work as a direct call to terrorism dangerously misconstrues an act of free expression by an Arab citizen of Israel as a serious security threat punishable by preventative detention and prosecution,” said Karin Deutsch Karlekar, director of Free Expression Programs at PEN America.

“The connection between Tatour’s activities and the charges of incitement to violence and support for terrorism relies solely on suggestion in the form of a poem and video rather than actual evidence. Her detention, one in a string of recent arrests of writers and journalists, signals a worrying expansion in Israeli law enforcement policy to silence views the government deems unsavory.”

Tatour’s lawyer, Abdul-Majeed Fahoum, says Dareen could face five years in prison.


READ MORE: Israel jails Palestinians for Facebook comments


Tatour is among dozens of Palestinians who have arrested for incitement allegations in relation to social media posts in recent months. Anas Khateeb, 19, was charged with incitement to violence and “terrorism” relating to three Facebook posts he allegedly uploaded in October 2015. The posts garnered no more than a few dozen “likes”, said Khateeb’s lawyer, Aram Mohammed, who is with Adalah – The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel.

“He’s a political activist. But is he a politically influential figure? No,” Mohammed said. “None of his posts received more than 70 likes, indicating that he was unlikely to foment unrest on any scientific scale.

“There are no clear legal grounds for the charge,” Mohammed added. “Incitement should be clear, specific and not subject to interpretation.”

Israeli security services have increased their surveillance and monitoring of Arab social media activity since the 2014 Gaza war. But while Palestinians such as Tatour and Khateeb have been indicted in relation to social media posts since last autumn, Jewish Israelis have not been held to an equal standard, Mohammed said.

“We do not live in a state where everyone is equal before the law,” he said. “We know that.”

(Source / 23.06.2016)

Israeli Intel Chief: We Don’t Want ISIS Defeated In Syria

Israeli officials have regularly expressed comfort with the idea of ISIS conquering the whole of Syria, saying they find it preferable to the Iran-allied government surviving the war.

Israel’s military intelligence chief Major General Herzi Halevy speaks at the Herzliya Conference.

Israel’s military intelligence chief Major General Herzi Halevy speaks at the Herzliya Conference

In a speech at the Herzliya Conference, Israel’s military intelligence chief, Major General Herzi Halevy, took Israel’s long-standing position that it “prefers ISIS” over the Syrian government to a whole ‘nother level, declaring openly that Israel does not want to see ISIS defeated in the war.

Quoted in the Hebrew-language NRG site, linked to Maariv, Maj. Gen. Halevy expressed concern about the recent offensives against ISIS territory, saying that in the last three months the Islamist group was facing the “most difficult” situation since its inception and declaration of a caliphate.

Israeli officials have regularly expressed comfort with the idea of ISIS conquering the whole of Syria, saying they find it preferable to the Iran-allied government surviving the war. At the same time, they were never so overtly supportive of ISIS and its survival.

Halevy went on to express concern that the defeat of ISIS might mean the “superpowers” leaving Syria, saying this would put Israel “in a hard position” after being so opposed to the survival of the Syrian government.

He then said Israel will do “all we can so as to not  find ourselves in such a situation,” suggesting that the Israeli military is looking at direct support for ISIS as a matter of policy, and not just rhetoric.

(Source / 23.06.2016)

Israeli court finds Palestinian teen not guilty of stone-throwing

Silwan militairen

Palestinian civilians and patrolling Israeli riot policemen bump into one another in the east Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan on April 15, 2011

RAMALLAH (Ma’an) — An Israeli court found a Palestinian teenager not guilty of rock-throwing on Thursday, the Palestinian Prisoner’s Society (PPS) said.PPS lawyer Elia Theodori said that 15-year-old Abdullah Muhammad Fayiz Qassem from Ramallah had been detained on May 12 and accused of throwing rocks on his way back from school.The Israeli prosecution took the testimony of Israeli soldiers that Qassem was throwing rocks, claims which Qassem denied, Theodori said.The lawyer added that the Ofer prison court issued the innocent verdict with a 72-hour suspension period to allow for the prosecution to appeal.Israel detains hundreds of Palestinians for alleged stone-throwing every year, and Israeli rights group B’Tselem reported that from 2005 to 2010, “93 percent of the minors convicted of stone throwing were given a prison sentence, its length ranging from a few days to 20 months.”In July, legislation was passed in the Israeli Knesset allowing sentencing for up to 20 years for someone convicted of throwing stones at vehicles, with the possibility of receiving a 20-year sentence if intent can be proven. However, the law allows the Israeli state to imprison someone for up to 10 years without proof of intent.In November, Israel established legislation sentencing Palestinians to a minimum of three years in prison for the act of throwing a stone at an Israeli. Included in the legislation are provisions allowing Israeli authorities to strip stone throwers of their state benefits and canceling access to national health insurance and social services for the families of the accused.

(Source / 23.06.2016)

Mother of Five Palestinians Killed by Israel Dies in Egypt

Um Ridwan Sheikh Khalil from Rafah,(Photo: Saraya.ps)

By Palestine Chronicle Staff

Fatmah Aljazzar, also known as Um Ridwan Sheikh Khalil, from Rafah, died yesterday at an Egyptian hospital after she was transferred there for treatment.

Five of Um Ridwan’s sons, three of her grandsons, and two of her sons-in-law were killed by Israel from 1991-2011.

Her son Ashraf was killed during shooting near the Lebanon border in 1991, her son Sharaf was killed in 1992 during a military clash near Nahr Albarid refugee camp in Lebanon, her son Mahmoud was assassinated by Israel in 2004 in Gaza, her son Mohammed was killed in a similar assassination operation in 2005 in Gaza, and her son Ahmed was assassinated by Israel in 2011 as well.

The Palestinian mother also lost three of her grandsons, Raed Ghannam and Rami Issa Alsheikh Khalil in 2004 during an Israeli incursion, while her third grandson, Khalid Fuad Ghannam was killed in 2007 in an Israeli bombing. Her sons-in-law, Khalid Hamid and Zyad Shakir Ghannam were both killed in a separate Israeli bombing in 2007.

The closure of Rafah crossing between Gaza and Egypt makes it difficult for even the bodies of dead Palestinians to cross. The Egyptian authorities open the crossing sporadically to allow the passage of dead Palestinians from Gaza who have died on Egyptian soil – most as patients at Egyptian hospitals.

(Source / 23.06.2016)

The Palestinians are descendants of the ancient Israelites

By Dr. Ashraf Ezzat on September 17, 2010

The Jews now living in Israel and other places in the world are not at all descendants of the ancient people who inhabited the so called Kingdom of Judea.

A Palestinian and an Israeli arguing over the disputed land.

Speaking at a cabinet meeting held in Tel Hai last february, Israeli PM Netanyahu said “Our existence depends not only on the IDF or our economic resilience – it is anchored in our store of knowledge and the national sentiment that we will bestow upon the coming generations, in our ability to justify our connection to the land.

Netanyahu was so eloquent in his statement and he managed to touch upon the problematic status quo of the state of Israel when he mentioned Israel’s ability to justify its connection to the occupied land of Palestine. But is it true? Are the Israelis of today the descendants of the ancient Israelites? Does merely being a Jew give anyone the right to claim connection to the land of Palestine and its history? I think it is up to historians not politicians to decide that.

Only by understanding history can we understand why things are the way they are right now. Many of the past events and histories in the world have shaped what we are as of now.

Historians agree- despite the scanty archeological findings- that the ancient Israelites inhabited part of Palestine- or the southern Levant- thousands of years ago. But so did the Phoenicians, the Canaanites, Philistines , the Hittites and theAramaeans. Nevertheless we do not find some Canaanite people – whom were at least mentioned in the Mesopotamianand Ancient Egyptian texts. – appearing in modern age after thousands of years had elapsed with claims to the right to return to the land of their ancestors.

How did the ancient Israelites live in that part of the ancient Near East?

Their old Bible states that they lived in a monarchy of a political and military power close enough to be the rival of magnificent kingdoms like the Egyptian, the Babylonian and the Hittites. But history and archeology says different.

The Biblical Israelites

In his book “the Bible unearthed” The archeologist Israel Finkelstein states that although the book of Samuel, and initial parts of the book of Kings, portray Saul, David and Solomon ruling in succession over a powerful and cosmopolitan united kingdom of Israel and Judah, Finkelstein  regards modern archaeological evidence as showing that this is a pious fiction.

The Israelites lived as herders and farmers who never left their land.

The united kingdom of Israel and Judah depicted in the bible was nothing more than a sparsely populated rural region, nomadic tribes at best until the 7th century BCE. And the whole region was an Egyptian protectorate extending north to where Syria is today.

And by following the Biblical story of the Israelites we will find out that they were driven out of their land in the form of mass exile in 607 BCE by the Babylonians, and from Judea in 70 CE by the Roman Empire.  Somehow we are more concerned with the second mass exile or what is better known as the “Diaspora” as it is the Zionists` pretext for claiming the right to return to their homeland.

According to Shlomo Sand in his bestseller book “ The invention of the Jewish people”, the description of the Jews as a wandering nation in exiles, “who wandered across seas and continents, reached the ends of the earth and finally, with the advent of Zionism, made a U-turn and returned en masse to their orphaned homeland,” is nothing but “national mythology.” For the ancient Israelite never left their homeland nor wandered across different parts of the world in what is known as the “Diaspora

Inventing the Diaspora

“After being forcibly exiled from their land, the people remained faithful to it throughout their Dispersion and never ceased to pray and hope for their return to it and for the restoration in it of their political freedom” – thus states the preamble to the Israeli Declaration of Independence. This is also the quotation that opens the third chapter of Sand’s book, entitled “The Invention of the Diaspora.” Sand argues that the Jewish people’s exile from its land never happened.

“The supreme paradigm of exile was needed in order to construct a long-range memory in which an imagined and exiled nation-race was posited as the direct continuation of ‘the people of the Bible’ that preceded it,” Sand explains. Under the influence of other historians who have dealt with the same issue in recent years, he argues that the exile of the Jewish people is originally a Christian myth that depicted that event as divine punishment imposed on the Jews for having rejected the Christian gospel.

Sand added “I started looking in research studies about the exile from the land – a constitutive event in Jewish history, almost like the Holocaust. But to my astonishment I discovered that it has no literature. The reason is that no one exiled the people of the country. The Romans did not exile peoples and they could not have done so even if they had wanted to. They did not have trains and trucks to deport entire populations. That kind of logistics did not exist until the 20th century. From this, in effect, the whole book of shlomo sand was born: in the realization that Judaic society was not dispersed and was not exiled.”

In his historical research, sand attempts to prove that the Jews now living in Israel and other places in the world are not at all descendants of the ancient people who inhabited the so called Kingdom of Judea. Their origins, according to him, are in varied peoples that converted to Judaism during the course of history, in different corners of the Mediterranean Basin and the adjacent regions. Not only are the North African Jews for the most part descendants of pagans who converted to Judaism, but so are the Jews of Yemen (remnants of the Himyar Kingdom in the Arab Peninsula, who converted to Judaism in the fourth century) and the Ashkenazi Jews of Eastern Europe (refugees from the Kingdom of the Khazars, who converted in the eighth century).

 The same conclusion was adopted by Arthur Koestler in his famous book The Thirteenth Tribe (1976). It advances the controversial thesis that the modern Jewish population originating from North / East Europe and Russia including their descendants, or Ashkenazim, are not descended from the historical Israelites of antiquity, but from Khazars, a people originating and populating the Caucasus region (historical Khazaria) who converted toJudaism in the 8th century and later voluntarily migrating or were forced to move westwards into current Eastern Europe (Russia, Hungary, Ukraine, Poland, Belarus, Lithuania, Germanyand other places outside the Caucasus region) before and during the 12th and 13th century when the Khazar Empire was collapsing.
YouTube – Veterans Today -Ashkenazi Jews are NOT descendents of the Biblical Israelites!

History’s final word

So this is how history unfolds to refute the Biblical narration of a kingdom of David and Solomon, negates the Diaspora ever happened and tells us that the current Jews are mainly the descendants of Khazar tribes, berber tribes in north Africa and Arabic tribes in Yemen who converted to Judaism and have no strong Genetic link to the Jews who lived in Palestine during Roman times something that Israel now is trying to prove otherwise by financing Genetic clinical trials that only revealed Genetic similarities amongst Jews expected of people with the common ancestral origins mentioned above.

A flag and the memories of the lost land of Palestine.

The UN records show that there are 5 million uprooted Palestinians today do not have the right of return to their homes despite the fact that Ashkenazi Jews (European, with no ties to biblical Israel other than their adoption of the Jewish religion) do. 

History negates that the ancient Israelites ever left their home land and approves the thesis of their conversion to Islam in the 7th century and in doing so undermines the historical connection of modern Jews to the land of modern day Palestine.

History says the chances that the Palestinians are descendants of the ancient Judaic people are much greater than the chances that modern Israelis are its descendents.

(Source / 23.06.2016)

Funeral held for Palestinian teen shot dead by Israeli troops

Mourners carry the body of Palestinian teenager Mahmoud Badran who was killed by Israeli troops, during his funeral in the village of Beit Ur-Tahta near the West Bank city of Ramallah on June 23, 2016. ©AFP

Mourners carry the body of Palestinian teenager Mahmoud Badran who was killed by Israeli troops, during his funeral in the village of Beit Ur-Tahta near the West Bank city of Ramallah on June 23, 2016

Several thousand Palestinian mourners have taken part in the funeral of a teenager shot dead by the Israeli military, which later claimed to have mistaken him for a stone-thrower amid simmering outrage over the crime.

The mourning procession was held Thursday in Beit Ur-Tahta village near Ramallah in the occupied West Bank, where the family home of 15-year-old victim Mahmoud Rafat Badran is located.

During the ceremony, Badran’s mother rejected Israeli military claims that the shooting to death of her son had been a mistake, saying the perpetrators must be brought to justice.

“They have to be held accountable. Justice must be carried out,” said Amal Badran, adding that her son had suffered an injustice “like all of the Palestinian people.”

The young victim lost his life on Tuesday when Israeli police opened fire on his car while he was returning from a visit to a water park. Four of his teenage cousins were also wounded in the assault.

The incident sparked outrage among Palestinian public and officials, prompting the Israeli military to launch an investigation into the case.

The army had initially said its troops targeted stone-throwers, but it later revised the account saying Badran and his companions were shot by mistake.

The Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) roundly condemned the shooting, saying Badran had been “murdered” and calling it a “cold-blooded assassination.”

Relatives of Palestinian teenager Mahmoud Badran who was killed by Israeli troops, mourn over his body during his funeral in the village of Beit Ur-Tahta near the West Bank city of Ramallah on June 23, 2016

Israeli rights group B’Tselem also said its research indicated that Israeli “soldiers arbitrarily fired at the car, having no indication that any of its passengers had been involved in stone or Molotov cocktail throwing.”

“This shooting incident is a direct result of military policy which enables, despite the official prohibition in the open-fire regulations, to use deadly fire even in cases where there is no threat to life and even when the soldiers have other, non-lethal, means at their disposal,” the rights body said.

At least 217 Palestinians have lost their lives at the hands of Israeli forces since last October, when a fresh wave of tensions broke out between Tel Aviv’s troops and Palestinian protesters in the occupied West Bank.

In March, Palestinian officials called on the United Nations to launch a probe into the Israeli regime’s extrajudicial killing of Palestinians in the occupied lands.

Saeb Erekat, the PLO secretary general, said at the time that history shows Israeli investigations have failed to “serve justice.”

The request came after an Israeli soldier was caught on camera in March fatally shooting unarmed Palestinian Abed al-Fattah al-Sharif in the head in the occupied West Bank city of al-Khalil (Hebron).

(Source / 23.06.2016)

Britain: Israel’s settlements “illegal under international law”

RAMALLAH, (PIC)– Britain’s foreign office has condemned Israel’s persistence in expanding settlements in the West Bank and Jerusalem, describing them as “illegal under international law.” “We are concerned by the Jerusalem municipality’s decision to issue a permit for a new four storey building in Silwan, East Jerusalem,” a spokesman for the foreign office stated in a press release on Wednesday. “This is part of a worrying trend in the area, where the settler population is growing while Palestinian residents are being displaced by evictions and demolitions,” he added. He expressed his government’s concern over the recent Israeli Government approval of an additional £12 million of funding for settlements, saying this Israeli step sent a worrying message to the international community. “Israeli settlements in the West Bank, including east Jerusalem, are illegal under international law, present an obstacle to peace and take us further away from a two-state solution,” he underlined.

(Source / 23.06.2016)

Should Islam have a role in politics?

By Soumaya Ghannoushi

What we should seek to attain in the Muslim world is a neutral, non-interventionist state that manages differences within society

As we ponder the crises and conflicts raging around the Muslim world, with their toxic mix of religion and politics and rising waves of a terrorism that looks to Islam for legitimisation, we cannot help asking: should Islam have any role in politics and public life? Can it come to play a constructive role on the local and international stage?

Just like other major monotheistic religions, Islam does not assume one form but many. Through its history it has been subject to multiple interpretations: open and closed, literal and rational, spiritual/ascetic or militant/politicised, to name a few.

Islam has a long historical record of tolerance and diversity, something evident in the myriad religious sects and ethnicities that coexisted in its midst, as well as in the great plurality of schools of theology, jurisprudence and philosophy it has fostered. Lively intellectual and scientific debates were regularly hosted in the palaces of caliphs, sultans and emirs between linguists, philosophers, jurists and theologians of all tendencies in a spirit of tolerance and mutual acceptance.

The contrast with the explosive violent character of many contemporary expressions of Islam couldn’t be more pronounced.

There is no Islam in itself outside historical practice. There are many forms of Islam which are crucially shaped by the wider political and social environment where they are made to operate.

For instance, in Malaysia, Brunei, or Indonesia, which enjoy significant levels of political stability, Islam appears to assume a calm peaceful character, serving as a stimulus for political and economic development. In Afghanistan, Iraq or Syria, plagued with brutal political conflicts, schisms and military interventions as they are, Islam manifests itself in tense, divisive and explosive forms.

Theological positions and intellectual tendencies are largely defined by their socio- political contexts. Of course, this is not a necessary law of physics, but it does help us navigate the map of the Muslim hemisphere and make sense of its complexities.

What political role should an Islam functioning in normal healthy conditions occupy? What does it mean for one to have Islamic references in politics? And is secularisation unavoidable or desirable in the Muslim region?

The dominant view among sociologists is that religion inevitably gives way to a secularised worldview with the advent of modernisation. But this hasn’t been the case in the Muslim world. Islam still commands a powerful presence in Muslims’ private and public lives, and more so among urbanised educated sectors of society.

Urbanised university-educated Muslim women appear to be more religiously minded than their rural, illiterate sisters who have never ventured outside their remote villages. There is no necessary linear correlation between secularism, advancing modernisation and mass education.

The question, then, is not whether Islam should or should not be strongly present in Muslims private and public lives. It already is. The question is how it should manifest itself?

Islam is a source of general moral and religious values. In this sense, it may foster the ideals of social justice, equality, cooperation and mutual exchange between humans. This is the case whether these values are directly referred to their religious origins, or transformed into civic norms conducive to social cohesion and peaceful coexistence. A politician who appeals to an Islamic reference frame is one who is inspired by these great ideals and views them as guidelines for her discourse and political conduct.

True, politics is about the pursuit of interests within a changing power balance. But drawing inspiration from these general Islamic ideals can infuse political behaviour with ethics and help direct and regulate it in accordance with moral norms and spiritual meanings.

Recognising that religion can have a role in politics does not mean that politicians should turn into preachers, or that the state should police people’s consciences. In fact, two models have failed in the Muslim world. One is based on top-down secularisation, the other on top-down Islamisation.

Turkey and Tunisia were the embodiment of the first, Iran and Saudi Arabia are examples of the second. Both models dictate their ideologies to their citizens, interfering even in the most personal aspects of their lives, such as dress choice.

Secular interventionism would force a woman to bear her hair in the first; its religious sibling to cover it in the second. Both are repressive in different ways, both have generated tensions within sectors of their societies opposed to official state ideology.

What we should seek to attain in the Muslim world is a neutral, non-interventionist state that manages differences within society, guarantees individual freedoms and protects public order. This neutrality can go hand in hand with respect for collective culture, without coercion or interference in individuals’ preferences.

In many ways, Tunisia’s new constitution exemplifies this state model, which protects freedoms and rights, while also recognising Islam as the official state religion. The state may respect the majority’s values, without becoming sectarian or dogmatic, or laying its hand over religion and exploiting it to its own ends.

Islam has an undeniable social and political character. This may be due to its worldly nature and the circumstances of its birth and evolution, which had coincided with state emergence, unlike Christianity which began as a creed persecuted by Roman authorities.

Seeking to restrict Islam’s role to the private sphere and within the mosque’s confines is a very difficult endeavour. A majority of respondents to the recent Pew survey in Muslim countries have declared their support for democracy, while at the same time demanding a large role for Islam in public life.

Islam evidently continues to have an active and influential presence in Muslims’ lives. The challenge is how it can play a positive role in a space open to different religious expressions, free of all forms of violence and fanaticism.

Because only through an equation combining respect for collective culture with individual freedoms and the demands of identity with the reality of pluralism, can Muslim societies hope to regain their lost equilibrium and stability.

(Source / 23.06.2016)

Libya: Sarraj Council Struggles with Security

Forces aligned with Libya’s new unity government advance along a road in Sirte. / Reuters

Forces aligned with Libya’s new unity government advance along a road in Sirte

Cairo – Amid the security scampering in the capital of Libya, Tripoli, security forces fighting ISIS in Sirte announced they have killed about 100 terrorists in retaliation of the attack that killed 36 of its fighters.

Following the armed clashes that killed 49 people, Fayiz Sarraj’s Presidential Council of Government of National Accord called on citizens of al-Qarah Boli to be wise.

Presidential Council of Sarraj government discussed the military operations in Sirte with Minister of Defense Al-Mahdi al-Barghathi, Head of Security Committee General Abdul-Rahman al-Taweel, and other officials.

In a statement issued following the meeting, the attendees said that the forces are advancing on several axes and that civilians are the reason for not liberating Sirte earlier.

The statement also stressed the importance of uniting all military rooms and forces in one unified command room, in addition to forming a committee in charge of following up the cases of the wounded.

Operation Solid Structure Media Bureau announced in a statement that forces were able to advance on several axes in preparation to clear ISIS from the area.

Media Official of Misratah Hospital said that the final count revealed 36 members of the government forces were killed and 100 injured during the clashes in Sirte.

Clashes at al-Zaafaran and al-Gharbeyyeh axes are ongoing, a military source at Sirte Liberation room said. These are the fiercest clashes taking place between ISIS and forces of the Government of National Accord.

Spokesperson of Media Center of Libyan Forces in Misrata Abdulallah bin Raes Ali announced that ISIS is aggressively defending the areas remaining under its control. He added that the terrorist organization fears defeat after losing several areas.

Last month, factions formed of Misrata fighters launched an attack to take Sirte back from ISIS. Factions are slowly advancing now even after seizing the strategic “700” neighborhood.

According to medical count of Mistratah Central Hospital, over 170 fighters were killed and 500 injured of the government forces during their fight against ISIS in Sirte.

(Source / 23.06.2016)

IOF assaults 4 Palestinians during arrest

BETHLEHEM, (PIC)– The Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) brutally assaulted four Palestinians from Beit Fujar town, south of Bethlehem, during their arrest, the Palestinian Prisoners Society (PPS) revealed Thursday. Following her visit to Etzion detention center, PPS lawyer Jacqueline Fararjeh said that the two brothers Hussein and Issam Deirya were subjected to brutal beating by rifle butts before being arrested by Israeli forces. The bruise-streaks all over their bodies are clearly defined, she pointed out. The prisoner Mahmoud Ibrahim, 19, has been also violently beaten during his arrest at the hands of Israeli forces before being savagely dragged to the Israeli jeep. Along the same line, Israeli forces assaulted and brutally beat the prisoner Imad Deirya before his detention. The four prisoners were arrested on 20 and 21 June, 2016.

(Source / 23.06.2016)