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Dagelijks archief 2 december 2016

Iraqi Families: Victims of Separation and ISIS Brutality

Abdel Razzaq Jalal, who was detained by ISIS speaks during an interview with Reuters in Fadiliyah, Iraq, November 30, 2016. REUTERS/Khalid al Mousily

Abdel Razzaq Jalal, who was detained by ISIS speaks during an interview with Reuters in Fadiliyah, Iraq, November 30, 2016

Mosul- Ihsan Ismail, 18, fled his village of Abu Jarbua east of Mosul an hour before his parents and little sister Nurhan were able to leave.

He was taken to a camp at Khazir but his family was at another camp.

In nearly all of the camps set up to house the displaced, residents are forbidden from leaving and in some cases have had their mobile phones and identity cards confiscated.

“It’s been a month like this… I miss them very much,” Ismail said. “All I’m asking for is to rejoin them. What’s the difference? … A camp is a camp.”

Human Rights Watch has raised concerns about the restrictions being put on those forced from their homes, known as Internally Displaced Persons, or IDPs.

As a result of the restrictions, Ismail has since only been able to speak to his family twice.

“In the camps under Iraqi federal control, IDPs have no free movement at all, unless authorities decide to transfer them or send them back home,” said Belkis Wille, HRW’s senior Iraq researcher.

The situation is almost the same in camps controlled by Kurdish forces, with a few exceptions, like in the Debaga camp south of Mosul where the displaced are allowed to go to the neighboring village if they leave behind a piece of identification, she said.

Other internally displaced people also speak of their suffering.

Fawaz Khaled, a 42-year-old father of nine, said he and his two brothers also fled Abu Jarbua when Kurdish forces moved in to drive out ISIS jihadists.

After arriving at a peshmerga checkpoint they were taken to Khazir and told their families would join them. They were instead taken to another camp, at Qimawa.

“We are in this situation since October 28 and nobody is listening to us,” Khaled said, sipping tea in a tent at Khazir.

When asked by Agence France Presse, security officials said the measures are needed to ensure the jihadists do not infiltrate the camps that have sprung up around Mosul to house the displaced.

Shaima Ismail has not seen her two oldest boys since she also fled Abu Jarbua with her four children.

When they arrived at the peshmerga checkpoint, Mahmud, 16, and three-year-old Amani were allowed to stay with her in Khazir.

But Ahmad, 21, and Mohammed, 20, were taken to the Qimawa camp.

“I have begged them to bring me to my children, or to let them come here, but nobody will give me an answer,” she said.

Her boys call just once a week, afraid that camp officials will discover their mobile phone.

“They tell me they are doing OK and then hang up,” she said. “The worry is eating away at me.”

Abdel Razzaq Jalal paused, visibly traumatized, as he told how ISIS militants tortured him in a Mosul prison to force him to say he was a spy. “I never confessed. I knew the punishment would be death,” he said.

The ultra-hardline group arrested the 39-year-old in his village near Mosul earlier this year, accusing him of spying for Kurdish forces.

After six nights and seven days of beatings, abuse and death threats, he says the militants let him go, after an ISIS judge ruled there was not enough evidence to sentence him.

Jalal was lucky to escape with his life. ISIS has executed scores of people it accused of spying in Mosul in recent weeks alone, as U.S.-backed Iraqi forces push further into its city stronghold.

He knew it could have been worse. The fate of several fellow villagers from Fadiliya, a few kilometers northeast of Mosul, and of many others arrested elsewhere during ISIS’ more than two-year rule, remains unknown.

While the physical scars faded – Jalal showed months-old pictures on his phone of bruises and cuts all over his body – the ordeal remains etched in his memory.

“They hung me upside down from my feet and beat me for two hours. That was on the first night,” Jalal said.

“They used cables, wooden sticks, and one of them – there were three or four – pistol-whipped me repeatedly on my head.”

The militants, all from Mosul’s surrounding areas, tried to make him confess to spying for Kurdish peshmerga forces who had been fighting against ISIS, he said.

When he refused, they stepped up the abuse and threats.

“The second day, they lay me flat on my stomach with my hands tied behind my back. One man stood on my legs, another on my head, and they began raising my arms. I thought my chest was going to break.”

Before he was tried, the militants put him into an orange jumpsuit – the clothing in which ISIS often kills its victims – and told him he would be sentenced to death by decapitation.

Two of his more than 40 cell mates were killed that way, he said, after they confessed under duress to directing air strikes against ISIS militants. Reuters was not able to independently verify his account.

(Source / 02.12.2016)

Purported international solidarity is devaluating Palestine

By Ramona Wadi

An exhibition showcasing the difficulties of Palestinian people under Israeli violations after the conference held for the 'International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People' [Ratib Al Safadi/Anadolu]

An exhibition showcasing the difficulties of Palestinian people under Israeli violations after the conference held for the ‘International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People’

Another symbolic international day for Palestinian rights has degenerated into the usual stale observations and recommendations that do little other than try to impart a semblance of balance between the coloniser and the colonised. Perhaps the UN has preferred to remain loyal to the monstrous history it spawned by approving the Partition Plan on 29 November 1947, rather than address its complicity in the dispossession, ethnic cleansing and displacement of the Palestinians.

Departing from a jeopardising premise, Fiji’s Peter Thomson presided over the 71st session of the UN General Assembly and declared that peace between Israel and the Palestinians is “fundamental to our efforts to realise the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, and to ensure that they are able to enjoy lives of dignity, opportunity, prosperity and equality.” The Palestinian people have endured a history of premeditated killing for decades because the UN upholds obscurity as a priority over the anti-colonial struggle. Peace, therefore, can be eliminated from the convenient rhetoric as it is nothing but a euphemism for oblivion in the context of Israeli colonial violence and international acceptance and complicity.

Not to be outdone, the Head of the EU Delegation to the UN, João Vale de Almeida, presented a summarised version of the perpetual concerns and condemnations, but added a slight variation to the usual rhetoric. The EU, he claimed, is “alarmed by the advancement in the Knesset of the ‘Settlement Regularisation Bill’ which would allow for the ex post ‘legalisation’ of Israeli outposts in the occupied West Bank and de facto confiscation of private Palestinian land.” It is mystifying, to say the least, how an international institution that is normally so well-informed can express “alarm” over violations that have occurred blatantly and in a clear, calculated sequence following the original Zionist plan for Greater Israel. There was more likely to be advance knowledge and acquiescence, not alarm, over the proposed legislation.

Almeida made another obfuscating comment regarding Gaza: “Militant activity and the dire situation in Gaza feed general instability and constitute a recipe for renewed conflict.” He provided no context for the Palestinian resistance in Gaza; no mention of how Israel’s Operation Protective Edge destroyed the enclave and displaced Palestinians in a space that is completely besieged. Hamas “and other militant groups” are also urged to stop “the illicit arms build-up.” Presumably the EU, like Israel, wishes there to be a defenceless population that is completely stripped of the right to defend itself against Israel’s state of the art military technology. Almeida’s statement encourages the abuse of Palestinian civilians by Israel whenever it chooses to field test its latest weapons on live targets before marketing them internationally and thus exposing international hypocrisy with regards to alleged support for Palestinian rights.

Perhaps the symbolic commemoration of “International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People” should be scrapped, since the UN, the EU and other international institutions are incapable of articulating the trajectory between the initial and the current colonial violence against Palestinians. All of the futile statements which simply rehash decades of other repetitive rhetoric do not help the Palestinians in any way. Sporting a keffiyeh for the macabre day, which is a backdoor commemoration of the UN Partition Plan as well as purported international solidarity, is humiliating, not a show of support. In the absence of a commitment to support Palestine’s anti-colonial struggle, one can conclude that the international agenda for this “day of support” is to devaluate Palestine and downgrade it even further from a symbolic presence to a passive memory.

(Source / 02.12.2016)

What’s behind Egypt’s ‘new political position’ towards Gaza?

Image of Palestinians at the Rafah border as Egypt reopened the border enabling people to cross freely for the first time in four years on May 28 2011 [Naaman Omar/Apaimages]

Image of Palestinians at the Rafah border as Egypt reopened the border enabling people to cross freely for the first time in four years on May 28 2011

After three years of open hostility, Egypt appears to be resetting its policy towards the Gaza Strip. Whereas in the recent past the Cairo administration has only opened the Rafah border crossing to deliver Palestinian corpses, the authorities have, in recent weeks, opened it more frequently to allow the passage of people to and from the besieged enclave. But this is not all.

Last month witnessed an unprecedented spate of official invitations from Egyptian state agencies to Palestinian businessmen, journalists and even jihadists. The first was extended to more than 30 businessmen and economists from Gaza to attend the second economic conference at the Egyptian Red Sea resort of Ain Sokhna.

One week later, an Islamic Jihad delegation headed by its exiled secretary general, Ramadan Shallah, and senior figures from the Gaza Strip were invited to Cairo for talks with Egyptian intelligence officials. That was followed quickly by a visit of leading Palestinian journalists to the government-owned Al Ahram newspaper.

All told, the frequency and sheer scope of these meetings point to a possible shift in policy. The visiting delegations represent important constituencies that could contribute significantly to improved relations with Egypt. However, while the developments of the past month can be seen as a new beginning, there is no doubt that the road ahead still remains long and challenging.

For all practical purposes, Egypt has a lot to gain from good relations with Palestine, and the Gaza Strip in particular. The coastal territory possesses no major industries and offers a consumer market that supplies two million inhabitants. Instead of taking full advantage of this market to boost its own economy, Egypt has throughout the past decade missed every opportunity to do so by maintaining the Israeli-led blockade of the territory. The net result is that while Israel ranks first as the main exporter to Palestine, Egypt is a lowly ninth even though Gaza, with its estimated bank deposits of $9.6 billion and annual trade valued at $10 billion, has the potential to become an important trading partner for Egypt.

Though by no means too late, Egypt, it seems, is finally beginning to put its own interest before that of Israel. Last month’s Ain Sokhna conference reopened discussions on the longstanding project to establish a free trade zone between Egypt and Gaza. The idea was first discussed 10 years ago during the Mubarak regime but never saw the light of day. President Mohamed Morsi tried to revive it as an alternative to the perilous tunnel economy that sprung up as a result of the blockade, but he was forced to abandon the project after being confronted with the unfounded accusations of supporting an initiative that would lead to the secession of Gaza from Palestine.

Apart from Israel, which wants to maintain its monopoly of the whole Palestinian market, the free zone was also questioned by the Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority, which lost political control of Gaza in 2007. Neither of the two are likely to support the idea as long as Hamas remains in control of the Strip. In the case of PA President Mahmoud Abbas, the matter has become even more disturbing because of the growing influence of his Fatah rival, Muhammed Dahlan. It is believed widely that the latter enjoys the full backing of the Cairo regime, as well as a number of regional states. Dahlan, who hails from Gaza, has in recent years been supporting a number of charitable initiatives there. Faced as it was with chronic economic hardship, the Hamas authority in Gaza has accommodated this activity.

While it is true that Dahlan’s “charitable” work has brought some relief to many families in Gaza it is equally true that it has earned him loyal support from disaffected Fatah elements in the territory; there is a distinct political edge to the charity. For the time being his supporters appear to be more a source of embarrassment and an irritant rather than a threat to Abbas’s grip on Fatah; he was re-elected as leader of the movement — at the age of 81 — by this week’s Seventh Fatah Conference.

Given these realities, it would be in Egypt’s best interest to seize every opportunity to engage with Hamas in an open and fair manner, without preconceptions or suspicions. After all, the Islamic Resistance Movement still has effective control of the Gaza Strip. Any attempt to dismiss it as irrelevant would be counter-productive and self-defeating to say the least. The movement has proven itself to be capable both militarily as well as politically. Even its inveterate enemy, Israel, acknowledges its enduring popularity throughout Palestine. Last October, it is believed that Abbas and the PA aborted the planned local elections to deny Hamas its expected victory.

Hamas may well have strong and uncompromising views about the Israeli occupation, but it has shown that it can be pragmatic in the pursuit of Palestinian national interests. Hence, the Hamas leadership’s acceptance of Fatah’s invitation to participate in the secular movement’s major Conference this week.

For better or worse, geography and history have locked Egypt and Gaza into a relationship of interdependency. Instead of pursing the impossible dream of going their separate ways, Egypt should now change its policy toward Gaza for the common good of the two peoples. This will not please Israel and its allies, but at the end of the day it is likely to be the best course of action to secure a more stable and prosperous future.

(Source / 02.12.2016)

50,000 disabled people in Gaza


Nearly 50,000 people are living with disabilities in the Gaza Strip, the Palestinian Ministry of Social Affairs in Gaza revealed on the International Day for Persons with Disabilities.

Director-General of Social Security at the Ministry of Social Affairs Riyad al-Bitar affirmed in a press conference on Thursday that 50,000 disabled persons in Gaza Strip are the main victims of Israeli occupation.

Israel’s three aggressions and its 11-year siege on Gaza Strip left nearly 50,000 disabled persons, he revealed.

The Ministry has strenuously worked since the beginning of the year to unite efforts of the governmental and non-governmental sectors so as to make a data base for the disabled persons in Gaza, he said.

He called for making all possible efforts to end Israel’s siege on Gaza and to facilitate the Palestinian people’s movement.

He also called on governmental and non-governmental sectors to integrate persons with disabilities in the development process.

He asked the Palestinian Minister of Social Affairs Ibrahim al-Sha’ar and Palestinian PM Rami Hamdallah to meet the needs of persons with disabilities and ensure their access to all services.

(Source / 02.12.2016)

Why did Egypt’s ElBaradei decide to reveal new info on Morsi’s ouster?

Egypt’s interim Vice President Mohamed ElBaradei speaks during a news conference with European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton (unseen) at the presidential palace in Cairo, July 30, 2013

Former Egyptian interim Vice President Mohamed ElBaradei stunned everyone, supporters and opponents alike, with the statements he made on the events that took place behind the scenes surrounding the ouster of former President Mohammed Morsi on July 3, 2013, and the forceful breakup of the Rabia al-Adawiya protest on Aug. 14, 2013.

In a first statement published Nov. 1, ElBaradei revealed controversial details on a meeting that had taken place on July 3, 2013, between the armed forces and then-Defense Minister Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Sisi on the one hand, and political forces, the pope of Alexandria and patriarch of the Coptic Orthodox Church, Pope Tawadros II, and Al-Azhar Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayeb on the other. During the meeting, Sisi detailed the road map and Morsi’s ouster.

ElBaradei’s statement included several points, most notably that at the start of the meeting, he was surprised that Morsi had been detained already that morning by the armed forces without any prior knowledge of the national forces. This was the reason Mohamed Saad el-Katatni, the head of the Freedom and Justice Party, the Muslim Brotherhood’s political arm, had decided not to attend the meeting.

ElBaradei said, “The available options became quite limited. And of course, there was no longer the option of holding a referendum on early elections.” He also said that he had refused categorically during the 2013 meeting, which he had attended, the break-up of the protests in Rabia al-Adawiya and al-Nahda squares.

In the same statement, ElBaradei talked about political solutions the state and the Muslim Brotherhood were about to agree on back then — solutions that could have saved the country from drifting into a vicious circle of violence and division.

ElBaradei’s statement stirred a debate among most Egyptian parties, whether elements of the Muslim Brotherhood or supporters of the ruling regime. Journalist Sakina Fouad had participated in the July 3 meeting, where the participants were informed of Morsi’s detention.

Fouad said in a press statement Nov. 1, “What I understood [during the meeting] was that there were some reservations because the situation was inflamed and the risks were many. The people were very agitated. There was so much concern that one question was being repeatedly asked: Is there fear that the army might support the will of the people? The situation was very dangerous. But what I do know is that the meeting’s statement was not issued until after the Muslim Brotherhood had rejected categorically resorting to the will of the people.”

In his second statement issued Nov. 14, ElBaradei revealed that he had received threats from some figures, which he did not name, that if he proceeded with his efforts to end the protest peacefully or via the national reconciliation formula, he would be destroyed.

The third statement issued Nov. 15 came in response to the accusations made by the media and some supporters of the ruling regime against ElBaradei saying his last two statements serve the Muslim Brotherhood and their battle against the current regime.

During his term as interim vice president, ElBaradei tried to prevent the dispersal of the Rabia al-Adawiya and al-Nahda protests by proposing solutions to bring the state and the Muslim Brotherhood closer. Before the ouster of Morsi, ElBaradei headed the National Salvation Front, which opposed the Brotherhood’s rule and called for protests against Morsi. He then assumed the position of vice president of the republic on July 9, 2013. But following disputes with the ruling regime about the dispersal of the Rabia al-Adawiya protests, ElBaradei resigned on Aug. 14, 2013.

The spokesman for the Democratic Alliance, Khalid Dawood, defended ElBaradei’s recent statements, saying in a blog post Nov. 2, “ElBaradei was head of the National Salvation Front that overthrew Morsi, and this is the biggest proof that his statement is not in the Muslim Brotherhood’s interest.”

The head of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood overseas office, Ahmed Abdel-Rahman, called Nov. 3 on the law firm representing the group and the party in London to communicate with ElBaradei and to ask for his testimony in order to include it in the lawsuits submitted in European and international courts.

ElBaradei has great influence and a good reputation in international circles. His statements raised questions on how much they would impact the ruling regime in Egypt internationally. Will they weaken its legitimacy? How will they impact the balance of power between the parties to the conflict: the Muslim Brotherhood and the ruling regime?

In exclusive statements to Al-Monitor, Hassan Nafaa, a political science professor at Cairo University, said that ElBaradei’s statements will not have a great impact abroad because Western countries know that his popularity in Egypt is not great and that he no longer affects the events in Egypt as he did in the past.

Nafaa noted that he used to be “very close to ElBaradei before the January 25 Revolution. When the National Assembly for Change received ElBaradei at the time, he had a chance to lead the change process. But he did not take advantage of the opportunity. And when he became vice president of the republic he had the opportunity to lead the young people, but he wasted it. ElBaradei’s first statement — in which he revealed what happened in the July 3 meeting — was aimed at clearing his name in front of the Western and political powers about his role in the so-called July 3 coup, and so that he does not get implicated in the detention of a legitimate president. But there is evidence that his statement lacks some truth. Over his [almost] two-month tenure as vice president, he did not object to the detention of former President Morsi.”

Regarding the impact of ElBaradei’s statements in the battle between the Muslim Brotherhood and the regime, Nafaa said, “The Brotherhood will exploit ElBaradei’s statements abroad and will emphasize to the West that what happened in Egypt was a coup, not a revolution. Perhaps the Brotherhood is trying to unify the political forces around ElBaradei’s statement, but this move is unlikely to succeed due to the division and mistrust among all parties. Even ElBaradei no longer enjoys the trust of the Muslim Brotherhood or the political elite — something that is well understood by the West.”

(Source / 02.12.2016)

Lieberman to UN: Forget Israel, focus on Syria

Israeli Defence Minster Avigdor Lieberman [file photo]

Israeli Defence Minster Avigdor Lieberman [file photo]

Israeli Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman warned the UN that it risks becoming “irrelevant” in a meeting yesterday with the ambassadors of 13 countries.

“What has been happening these past ten years regarding global security is very troubling. The UN, like other international bodies, has been unable to solve these problems, and is becoming less and less relevant on the international stage,” Lieberman told the ambassadors.

He blasted the UN for passing a series of so called “anti-Israel” resolutions, and condemned two documents adopted by two UNESCO committees of resolutions that highlight the multi-religious significance of Jerusalem’s Temple Mount.

The controversial minister then began to condemn the UN for failing to contain North Korea’s nuclear programme and failing to deal with the war in Syria. He demanded that the UN deterred its energy from condemning Israel to focusing on other parts of the Middle East and Africa “where hundreds of people are killed on a daily basis,” which should “concern everyone”.

Lieberman yesterday met with the UN ambassadors of Canada, Russia, India, Italy, Ukraine, Senegal, Singapore, Rwanda, Greece, Cyprus, the Netherlands, Bulgaria and Argentina

(Source / 02.12.2016)

Israeli authorities ‘coerce’ elderly Palestinian to sign house demolition order

Israeli forces demolish homes in the West Bank make way for Israeli settlements [File photo]

Israeli forces demolish homes in the West Bank make way for Israeli settlements

The Israeli occupation authorities have been accused of coercing an elderly Palestinian into signing an order to demolish 15 homes in the Negev village of Umm Al-Hiran, Safa news agency has reported. Ahmed Abul-Qi’an is 74 and suffers from Alzheimer’s disease.

“Israeli police officers and employees of the Israel Land Authority came to the village very late at night on Friday,” said the head of the local village committee, Raed Abul-Qi’an. “Friday is an official holiday, but they took Ahmed into a corner and pushed him to sign the demolition orders. It was criminal.”

When the elderly Palestinian was told that he was tricked by the Israeli police, he fell unconscious and was admitted to hospital where he was treated for two days.

According to the demolition orders, the residents must move to a new neighbourhood called Hora. Their homes must be demolished by 30 December.

Abul-Qi’an denounced the weak popular and official Arab solidarity with the Bedouin issue. He called for a real movement against the “Israeli plans to uproot” the Palestinian Bedouin from their land. Earlier this week, Human Rights Watch called the Israeli efforts to displace the Arabs of Umm Al-Hiran “ethnic cleansing” and demanded international intervention to prevent it from escalating.

(Source / 02.12.2016)

Will National Salvation Government Save Yemen?

Will National Salvation Government Save Yemen?

Alwaght- The Yemen Supreme Political Council in its emergency meeting on Monday in the capital Sana’a announced the members of national salvation government.

Al Masirah TV of Yemen which is close to Ansarullah movement has confirmed that a national salvation government was formed, adding that the government came to birth in an emergency meeting of members of the Supreme Political Council led by Saleh Ali Sammad. The SPC decided that Abdul Aziz bin Habtoor will lead the newly-formed government.

After announcement of formation of the new government, the head and other members of the SPC emphasized that the national salvation government was all-encompassing, continuing that it had the duty of sorting out the domestic conditions and also tackling a heavy economic, military, and political blockade imposed on the country by the “enemy”, in a reference to the Saudi-led Arab coalition that has held all-out siege in place on Yemen for more than one and half a year.

“The new government has managed to come to existence according to a national solution based on a national participation to avoid more bloodshed in the country and in shadow of aggression of the enemy and its mercenaries,” the SPC’s statement read.

SPC’s statement added: “this government will try to make peace and pave the way for national reconciliation by taking advantage of a national amnesty, and we hold the enemy accountable for any further aggression and marring the political settlement of the conflict.”

The Prime Minister of the national salvation cabinet Abdul Aziz bin Habtoor has thanked the chief of SPC and other members for “doing all they could” to form the government. PM bin Habtoor reiterated his cabinet’s commitment to meeting all of demands of the Yemeni people and finding proper solutions for problems deriving from the “brutal” Saudi aggression against Yemen.

While the country has been victim of a daily war and heavy bombing by the Saudi-led Arab military coalition for nearly two years, what messages could a national salvation government in Sana’a send? Will the new government succeed in getting the country on the track of a settlement to the devastating crisis?

Four features in the government can support the argument that formation of the government can mark a considerable step to put an end to the humanitarian crisis and conflict in Yemen.

1. Wide-ranging national consensus in support of the national salvation government

The national salvation government, or as some call it national unity government, is formed in a situation that there is a comprehensive agreement between different Yemeni groups on the necessity of forming a government to deal with the current chaotic conditions. Domestically, the government was formed in compliance with an agreement announced by the head of SPC that emphasized on government formation and releasing names of its ministers. The accord was signed on July 28, 2016 between Ansarullah movement and General People’s Congress and prepared the ground for forming Yemen’s Supreme Political Council. Signing the agreement at that time drew a nationwide welcome and acceptance, including in Sana’a where people held a million rally to display backing for the new administrative body and its head Saleh Ali al-Sammad. Forming the government is actually an earlier pledge by the SPC that has a strong popular support. Furthermore, the SPC enjoys a special backing from the Sana’a-based political parties and groups and so it carries the potentials to win consensus of all political sides through this national unity government. Therefore, it can be suggested that since popular uprising in 2011, the Habtoor-led government has won the widest range of political and popular support. Such a vast popularity will give the government the chance to get support from the parliament. The parliament is set to hold a special session to discuss votes of confidence to the proposed cabinet ministers in line with the country’s constitution in a bid to officialize it for garnering the largest political and legal upholding at home and abroad.

2. Holding strategy and road map

Besides announcing the national salvation government, the goals behind its formation were declared. It is set to deal with the domestic problems and counter the economic, military, and political blockade and, according to the SPC, the government will flatten the road for peace and national reconciliation in compliance with a public amnesty. The experts suggest if the government manages to achieve its announced objectives, particularly in economy, it will naturally add to its domestic legitimacy, something that will firm up its position at home and beyond the national borders.

3. Official and organized support of resistance to Saudi-led invasion

In addition to economic and administrative tasks, the national salvation government is commissioned with dealing with the illegal and inhuman Saudi aggression against Yemen. Actually, facing the Arab coalition’s offensive is an essential aim of the government that motivates the internal political groups to offer support for it. The SPC in its statement called formation of the government as a step forward to stop further bloodshed in the shadow of the hostile and mercenary assaults, as at the same time it blames Saudi Arabia and its allies for further hostilities and a possible push of the political solution to a dead end. In fact, the new government will be allowed to take legal actions against the Saudi invasion of Yemen, as at the same time the aggressors from now have to face a legal government in Yemen.

4. Gaining international legitimacy for pursuing Yemenis’ interests through international organizations

On the other side, the national unity government is formed in accordance with the international law, something doubling the validity of PM Habtoor’s government. According to the UN Chapter 7, national salvation government can be formed in countries suffering from political disorder and war. The international law supports this government to do its necessary task of settling domestic crises through seeking peaceful solutions and also protecting security of the neighboring countries and supporting the international stability and peace in general. According to the international law, the national salvation governments are rays of hope in different countries to rid the nations of political and social crises. This clear UN demand for formation of government in the time of crisis along with nationwide support for the new Yemeni cabinet will introduce the national salvation government of Yemen as a valid representative of the Yemenis in international organizations. It is supposed to seek Yemeni people’s rights and build international pressures on Riyadh to end nearly 20 months of war-caused crisis in the country.

Although the national salvation government can open a window of hope for stemming humanitarian crisis in the war-torn Yemen and pushing for halting the Saudi-led Arab military coalitions aggression against the country, due to the deteriorated security conditions resulting from war as well as the economic blockade it will not have an easy job of sorting out the country’s conditions, though there is a lot of hope to save Yemen if the government is strengthened and allowed to continue its work.

(Source / 02.12.2016)

Palestinians: Trump May Not Be Better For Palestine, But He Can’t Be Worse

By Joe Catron

Donald Trump careened wildly between conflicting positions throughout his campaign, including his stance toward the pro-Israel establishment, leaving Palestinians and their supporters to wonder what a Trump administration will mean for the region.

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks at the 2016 American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) Policy Conference at the Verizon Center, on Monday, March 21, 2016, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks at the 2016 American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) Policy Conference at the Verizon Center, on Monday, March 21, 2016, in Washington

NEW YORK — Despite pro-Israel positions taken by President-elect Donald Trump during the latter part of his campaign, as well as his likely appointments of Israel backers to key offices, many Palestinian-Americans and their supporters doubt his administration will make things any worse for Palestinians.

“Trump’s presidency, just like those before him, will mean nothing new, as Obama has already set the pace with the newly approved $38 billion aid package,” Abbas Hamideh, a Palestinian-American in Cleveland and vice chair of Al-Awda: The Palestine Right to Return Coalition, told MintPress News.

The outgoing Obama administration approved the ten-year deal, the largest military aid plan in U.S. history, in September, after more than a year of negotiations ended with Israel’s far-right prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, accepting the offer.

Many observers regarded the timing of the package, mere weeks before the presidential election, as an attempt by President Barack Obama to bolster support for Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton among Israel backers, including donors and voters in Florida and other “swing states.”

The candidate herself had repeatedly emphasized her pro-Israel bona fides, going as far as to reassure top donor Haim Saban that she would “make countering BDS a priority” in a public letter that, WikiLeaks showed, was driven by Saban and other contributors.

A lockstep supporter of Israel in both the Senate and State Department, Clinton also promised to maintainclose ties with Netanyahu’s extremist government, and repeatedly pledged to take U.S.-Israel relations “to the next level.”

‘A little better under the Trump administration’

As with many other issues, Trump careened wildly between conflicting positions on Israel and Palestine.

He shocked many with his initial break from pro-Israel conventions, saying he would “be sort of a neutral guy” and that a peace agreement with Palestinians “will have to do with Israel and whether or not Israel wants to make the deal — whether or not Israel’s willing to sacrifice certain things.”

Later, he settled into a hardline pro-Israel position, even going so far as to promise to move the U.S. Embassy to East Jerusalem, part of the West Bank — a pledge made, then broken, by previous candidates — and supporting Israel’s construction of illegal settlements in the occupied Palestinian enclave.

Between Trump’s mercurial positions and the relatively pro-Palestinian statements of Democratic contender Bernie Sanders during the primary, the 2016 election seemed to have sidelined Israel as a campaign talking point more than any other in decades.

“It was interesting to see that this time around, Israel/Palestine was not a hot button issue in the presidential debates, and the lobby was virtually nonexistent in the election,” Noor Fawzy Ibrahim, a Palestinian-American and former Students for Justice in Palestine activist in Coral Springs, Florida, told MintPress.

“I think that the prospects for Palestinians will be a bit better under the Trump administration given that Trump, unlike his predecessors, did not depend on support from the Israel lobby.”

‘Much more likely to be unpredictable’

President-elect Donald Trump shakes hands with retired Marine Corps Gen. James Mattis as he leaves Trump National Golf Club Bedminster clubhouse in Bedminster, N.J., Saturday, Nov. 19, 2016. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

Donald Trump shakes hands with retired Marine Corps Gen. James Mattis as he leaves Trump’s Golf Club Bedminster clubhouse in N.J. Nov. 19, 2016

The president-elect’s initial steps have indicated little concern for the issue.

Along with various pro-Israel hardliners, his picks for top positions include James Mattis, a retired Marine Corps general who warned three years ago that Israel’s settlements policies were creating “apartheid” in the West Bank, and that the United States’ close ties to Israel came with a “military security price,” whom Trumpchose Thursday as secretary of defense.

And while he claims to seek “the ultimate deal” between Israel and the Palestinians, few consider hispresumptive envoy — his son-in-law and a key advisor to his presidential campaign, Jared Kushner — to have the gravitas needed to achieve much.

In short, it is hard to see what path, if any, Trump might chart in the Middle East.

“Hillary Clinton was the candidate of the Zionist machine and so the policy of her administration toward Israel/Palestine would have been quite predictable,” Pauline Park, chair of the New York Association for Gender Rights Advocacy (NYAGRA) and a longtime Palestine activist, told MintPress.

“Donald Trump is much more likely to be unpredictable.”

But in a situation already as predictable as Israel’s occupation of Palestine, many view the potential for any shakeup in the status quo as promising.

“I don’t think they will prioritize Israel as much as previous administrations did,” Ibrahim said.

“Yes, they are very right-wing and controversial, but I think that they will be focusing on a lot more domestic concerns. The public pro-Israel rhetoric will continue, but I don’t think it will be on the level we saw with previous administrations.”

‘All forms of social forces coming together’

With the United States’ military, economic, diplomatic and political support for Israel established as a seemingly permanent feature of the political landscape, unprecedented political shifts may bring fresh opportunities.

The president-elect’s record-breaking unpopularity, which has drawn tens of thousands of protesters into the streets since the start of his campaign, could tar any policies his administration maintains, including its likely, if perfunctory, support for Israel.

“The benefit of a Trump presidency is good in the sense of all forms of social forces coming together,” Hamideh said.

“If there is anything positive, it is that the people are more concerned with Trump than Hillary, but in the literal sense, it is simply the status quo with the incoming presidency.”

And while few anticipate Trump taking any steps to support Palestinians, or to challenge U.S. aid to Israel, it is hard for any to see a clear path through which he could possibly aggravate the situation further.

“There’s absolutely no telling what will happen in the Trump administration, but we can be pretty sure what would have happened in a Clinton administration,” Michael J. Smith, an attorney and supporter of Palestine in New York, told MintPress.

“She was pretty open about it. Trump may be no better, but he could hardly be worse.”

(Source / 02.12.2016)

Gaza media official: Israeli violations against journalists should be exposed

Palestinian journalists take part in a protest demanding release the journalists prisoners in Israeli jails on 21st June 2016 [Mohammed Asad/Apaimages]

Palestinian journalists take part in a protest demanding release the journalists prisoners in Israeli jails on 21st June 2016

The head of the media office in the Gaza Strip, Salameh Maarouf, has called for Israel’s crimes and aggressions against journalists in the occupied Palestinian territories to be internationalised.

In remarks to Quds Press yesterday, Marouf said the Israeli occupation’s crimes against Palestinian journalists are continuing and escalating, calling for Israeli leaders to be tried before international courts.

According to Maarouf, Israeli forces imprisoned 25 journalists; seven of them received sentences while another seven are being held in administrative detention.

He stressed the need to ensure journalists’ right to work freely and provide protection to them. “The Israeli occupation’s targeting of the Palestinian media comes in the context of a systematic and deliberate policy to blur the truth about Israel’s brutal crimes in the Palestinian territories,” he said.

According to the official, the Israeli forces committed 48 violations against press and media freedoms in the Palestinian territories in November, including the arrest of three journalists in the occupied West Bank.

“The Israeli forces have also committed seven violations against detained journalists while forcing three of them to pay fines to release them. They also threatened to shut down the personal Facebook page of one journalist and prevented four journalists from travel,” he added.

(Source / 02.12.2016)