Israeli government to decide if Regularization law allows expropriation of agricultural lands

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BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — After the Israeli parliament, the Knesset, passed a law earlier this month that granted official state recognition to more than a dozen illegal settlement outposts in the occupied West Bank, the Israeli Supreme Court is now reportedly awaiting a response from the government regarding whether or not the law also allows for the expropriation of agricultural lands where no settler homes have been built.

According to Israeli daily Haaretz, the Israeli general prosecution told the court last week it was mulling the issue, in response to a petition filed by Palestinians claiming ownership of agricultural land near the illegal Israeli settlement of Shiloh northeast of Ramallah, which has been worked by settlers for several years since they forced the Palestinians of their land.
While the broadly worded law does authorize the expropriation of “agricultural areas used by” a settlement or outpost, its main purpose is to prevent the demolition of settler homes, according to Haaretz. The attorney representing the Palestinian petitioners told Haaretz that no homes had been built on the agricultural land in question, as far as they knew.
According to the report, Israel’s Civil Administration, which imposes Israeli policies in the occupied territory, ordered settlers to cease cultivating the land in 2009, but never enforced the orders, after which the Palestinians landowners asked the court to have the land restored to them.
Most recently, the Israeli state asked the court to give it until April 30 to submit its conclusions regarding the ownership claim, in light of the newly passed law.
However, as Haaretz noted in its report, the application of the so-called Regularization law in this case may be moot, since it has already been challenged by a petition filed to the Supreme Court.
Many have speculated that the court will strike the legislation down, particularly as Israeli Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit has repeatedly criticized the law as unconstitutional and has refused to defend it in court.
The law states that any settlements built in the occupied West Bank “in good faith” — without knowledge that the land upon which it was built was privately owned by Palestinians — could be officially recognized by Israel pending minimal proof of governmental support in its establishment and some form of compensation to the Palestinian landowners.
As it stands, the law would affect the status of 16 outposts, although reports have indicated that more could be included in the future.
While settler outposts constructed in occupied Palestinian territory are officially considered illegal by the Israeli government, each of the some 196 government-approved Israeli settlements scattered across the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem, have also been established in direct violation of international law.
In what could be the first move to legalize Israeli settler structures on private Palestinian land since the passage of the law, the Israeli government reportedly informed the Supreme Court that it was considering using it to confiscate private Palestinian lands in the West Bank district of Ramallah.
Haaretz reported the plan was regarding the legalization of seven structures built for the Adi Ad outpost, including roads built to connect the settlers to the rest of Israel, all of which have been constructed on private Palestinian lands in the West Bank district of Ramallah, established in 1998 as part of Israel’s Shilo settlement bloc.
(Source / 26.02.2017)

Egypt MP seeks end to constitutional restrictions on presidential terms

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi gives at a press conference at the State House in Nairobi, Kenya on February 18, 2017 [ApaImages]

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi gives at a press conference at the State House in Nairobi, Kenya on February 18, 2017

An Egyptian lawmaker started collecting signatures on Sunday for a motion to extend presidential terms and lift restrictions on re-election – a year before general-turned-president Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s first term is due to expire.

As defence minister, Sisi overthrew elected President Mohammed Morsi, a Muslim Brotherhood official, in mid-2013 following mass protests against his rule and launched a crackdown on the organisation and it’s supporters.

Sisi, now 62, went on to win a presidential vote in 2014. He has not said whether he will seek re-election when his current term ends in 2018, but has made much of his popular mandate and promised to respect the will of Egyptians.

Sisi: Egyptians will not let me serve more than 4 years

The move by independent lawmaker Ismail Nasreddine to amend article 140 of the constitution would enable Sisi to stay in power longer than the two four-year terms currently permitted.

But the process is still at an early stage. Nasreddine, a low-profile lawmaker, will need the support of 20 percent of MPs to table a discussion on the issue in parliament.

“It will be the right of the president to nominate himself for the office as he wishes… and the right of the people to choose him or reject him,” Nasreddine told reporters, adding that he would begin putting the idea to lawmakers on Sunday.

Even if he is able to push an amendment through parliament by the required two-thirds majority, the constitution also stipulates that any revision be approved by popular referendum.

There was no immediate comment from Sisi’s office.

Sisi has sought to roll back freedoms won during the 2011 uprising that ended Hosni Mubarak’s 30-year rule, promising to restore stability to Egyptians fed up with years of political tumult.

The right to protest has been restricted while democracy and rights groups say they face growing government pressure and accuse Sisi of clamping down on political expression.

Egypt’s last elections took place in late 2015, ushering in the first lawmakers since Morsi’s parliament elected after the 2011 revolt was dissolved by a court in 2012.

The elections saw an electoral bloc loyal to Sisi sweep to victory. On the eve of those elections, the head of the pro-Sisi bloc, told Reuters loyalist lawmakers would likely seek to amend the constitution to further empower the presidency and scale back powers vested in parliament.

Egypt: Who’s left in the army following the 2013 coup

(Source / 26.02.2017)

Syrian civil activists demand talks on transition, ceasefire monitoring

‘We prefer a ceasefire, a complete ceasefire in all Syria.’

Syrian activists called on Sunday for the Assad government to engage in serious talks on political transition and for the United Nations to strengthen the fragile ceasefire as violence engulfed parts of the country.

UN mediator Staffan de Mistura said a militant attack in Homs on Saturday was a deliberate attempt to wreck the Geneva peace talks, while the warring sides traded blame and appeared no closer to actual negotiations.

“Our hopes are not high given the incidents on the ground and the continuous violations by the regime forces and its backers of the ceasefire,” Mutasem Alysoufi of ‘The Day after Syria’ campaign that supports democratic transition, told Reuters in Geneva.

Read: Attack on Syrian forces in Homs kills 42

Warplanes bombed rebel-held areas around several Syrian cities on Sunday including in the al-Waer district of Homs, and in towns around Damascus, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based war monitor said.

One person was killed in the Damascus suburb of Douma and three in al-Waer, the Observatory said, while shells and rockets were launched at insurgent districts in Deraa and Idlib provinces. Rebels fired several shells at a suburb of government-held Aleppo.

Under Security Council resolution 2254, de Mistura is meant to develop a plan to monitor the ceasefire and sanction those who violate it, Alysoufi said. “So this is a duty of the UN”

Read: UN mediator expects ‘no breakthrough’ in Syria talks

On the government delegation led by Syrian Ambassador Bashar Ja’afari, Alysoufi said: “We believe that they are not serious to engage here in serious political discussion, rather they are gaining more time and continuing their military strategy on the ground.”

De Mistura handed a working paper on procedural issues to delegations on Friday but there appears little prospect of moving to the key political issues that he had hoped to begin addressing.

He is set to hold talks on Sunday with two opposition groups that curry favour with Russia, President Bashar al-Assad’s main backer.

Syrian army advances against Daesh near Aleppo; blocks Turkish-backed FSA’s advance

The UN envoy indicated to the High Negotiations Committee, which is leading the opposition delegation, that he would like to unify the disparate groups to facilitate face-to-face talks with the government to end the nearly six-year-old conflict.

A diplomat and opposition member told Reuters the working paper included an agenda based on resolution 2254 with focus on a new constitution and UN-supervised elections that would be discussed in three working groups.

Nothing would be agreed until everything is agreed, an opposition official said, citing the document.

His paper reiterated that issues related to the ceasefire and fighting terrorism are to be the focus of separate talks in the Kazakh capital of Astana, which are sponsored by Russia and Turkey with the support of another Assad backer, Iran.

Dr. Mazen Kewara, director of the Turkey operation of the Syrian American Medical Society (SAMS), said it was important to have a UN ceasefire monitoring mechanism and safe, unhindered access for aid workers to reach Syrian civilians.

We prefer a ceasefire, a complete ceasefire in all Syria.

“But if it’s not possible we would like to see safe areas where we can provide our services freely with complete protection for civilians and our health care workers,” he said.

(Source / 26.02.2017)

Palestinian diaspora holds first global conference

Palestinians from 50 countries gather in Istanbul to discuss forming new political entity to represent their views.

The conference was attended by more than 5,000 people

Istanbul, Turkey – Thousands of Palestinians representing diaspora communities from 50 countries have gathered in the Turkish city of Istanbul to discuss establishing a political structure that will represent them better.

The Palestine Abroad Conference, whose opening events were attended by more than 5,000 people on Saturday, is the first of its kind in terms of inclusivity.

Many of the speakers and attendees said they no longer have faith in the Palestinian leadership in the occupied territories because of their failure to deliver tangible outcomes as a result of decades of peace negotiations with Israel.

The conference was held amid a spat between its organisers and the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO), which was formed in 1964 as the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people.

READ MORE: How factionalism is killing the Palestinian struggle

PLO has accused the organisers of trying to undermine and replace it.

While registering his opposition to the Istanbul conference, Tayseer Khaled, the PLO head of expatriate affairs in Ramallah, told Al Jazeera the organisation “had neglected diaspora Palestinians after it signed the Oslo accords with Israel”.

He said, though, that his department was now working with diaspora communities in Europe and the US to resist Israel’s policies in the occupied territories.

The conference was boycotted and criticised by supporters of the PLO who argued that the organisers were motivated by factional interests, not the interests of the Palestinian people.

Currently, the diaspora has no representation within any organisational structure related to the PLO or the Palestinian Authority – a governing body formed in 1994.

Previously, the now defunct Palestinian National Council [the parliament in exile] included representatives of the diaspora.

Majed al-Zeer, deputy chairman of the Istanbul conference, said the conference was in itself not an attempt to replace the PLO, but rather to reinvigorate it and make it a home to all Palestinians as it once was.

Others stated that they wished to drop the PLO as the only representative of the Palestinian people, accusing it of becoming an empty shell of its former self. They argued the PLO gave birth to the Oslo accords which compromised Palestinian historic rights.

“We, Palestinians, must stand up to those who abandoned the Palestinian national project and replaced it with the Oslo agreement that ended up protecting and prolonging the Israeli occupation,” said Anis al-Qasem, an expert on international law and one of the founders of the former Palestinian National Council.

They accused the leaders of the Palestinian Authority of squandering Palestinian national rights and becoming a protectorate of the Israeli military and its functionaries.

Daniel Jadue, a Chilean-Palestinian leader, said in his statement that this was not the first time the Palestinian Authority rejected similar gatherings.

“This is because it is afraid it will further undermine its weak legitimacy,” he said.

WATCH: Is the PA helping or hurting the Palestinians? (2:27)

He added that this was not first time his community “participated in an attempt to organise and give a role to Palestinian diaspora in the struggle for the realisation of our inalienable national rights, the right of return, and establishment statehood with Jerusalem as its capital.”

Chile is home to a 400,000-strong Palestinian community, the largest outside the Arab world.

According to the Ramallah-based Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics, there are more than 12 million Palestinians in the world.

Half of them live within historic Palestine and the remaining six million live in the surrounding Arab countries and Europe, as well as South and North America.

The Palestinian Authority came into existence as a result of the Oslo accords between Israel and the PLO in 1994.

For many Palestinians the gathering under the Palestinian and Turkish flags with the national anthems of both nations playing was rich in meaning and symbolism.

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the defeat of the Ottoman Empire in its Arab provinces and the subsequent occupation of Jerusalem by the British army in 1917.

Palestinians view Turkey as a supporter and an ally in their struggle to regain their national rights and the establishment of their future state.

The organisers told Al Jazeera that the gathering was entirely financed by wealthy Palestinian individuals and businesses.

(Source / 26.02.2017)

Israel closes Palestinian school in East Jerusalem

Occupied East Jerusalem suffers from severe shortage of classrooms and Palestinians students are obliged to travel to West Bank in order not to miss classes

After Israeli occupation had shut down their school, Palestinian students in East Jerusalem attended class in the street on Sunday.

In 2016, Palestinian schools in occupied East Jerusalem received less than half the funds that the Israeli Jerusalem municipality transferred to Jewish schools in West Jerusalem

After Israeli occupation had shut down their school, Palestinian students in East Jerusalem attended class in the street on Sunday.

On Thursday, the Israeli occupation authorities closed the Palestinian elementary school Al-Nukhba (elite in Arabic) in the occupied East Jerusalem town of Sur Bahir.

Israeli authorities claimed that the school syllabus incites against the Israeli authorities and Jews -a claim the school has completely denied.

The students and their teachers said that they attended this class as a form of a protest against the Israeli closure of their school.

Headmaster of the School Luay Bkirat, who was investigated by the Israeli occupation, denied the claims that his school incites against the Israeli authorities and Jews.

“Our school teaches the Palestinian curriculum being taught at all schools in Jerusalem and that no one of the Palestinian teachers at these schools had ever been investigated over incitement allegations,” he said.

Bkirat condemned the decision and said that he would “conduct procedures to stop this decision which aims to destroy education.”

Israeli newspaper Times of Israel reported that the school was shut down for being a “Hamas front,” after a months-long joint probe by the Israeli education ministry, Israeli Jerusalem police and Israeli intelligence, the Shin Bet.

Palestinian children in Jerusalem suffer from routine Israeli interference and political pressure to replace Palestinian curricula with an Israeli one in occupied East Jerusalem, where full Israeli military and civil control deprives students from proper and secure educational services.

A 2016 report by Israeli daily Haaretz also said that Palestinian schools in occupied East Jerusalem received less than half the funds that the Jerusalem municipality transferred to Jewish schools in West Jerusalem.

In 2011, the Applied Research Institute – Jerusalem (ARIJ) report that due to the lack of some levels of education in Sur Bahir, tens of Palestinian students are being forced to attend schools in neighbouring villages.

(Source / 26.02.2017)

Israeli bulldozers knock down Palestinian home in Kafr Kassim

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The Israeli bulldozers on Sunday morning knocked down a Palestinian home in Kafr Kassim, in 1948 Occupied Palestine (Israel) under the pretext of unlicensed construction.

Israeli bulldozers, escorted by police troops, rolled into a Kafr Kassim and cordoned off the demolition scene before they reduced a Palestinian home under construction to rubble.

The demolished building reportedly belongs to a Palestinian young man from Issa family.

Tension has been running high due to the escalated pace of Israeli demolition of Palestinian homes in 1948 occupied territories.

On Thursday, three Palestinian homes were knocked down by the Israeli bulldozers in Lod city, in 1948 Occupied Palestine. At the same time, dozens of Palestinian homes have been subjected to arbitrary demolitions in Negev, Qalansuwa, and Lod.

(Source / 26.02.2017)

Israeli forces storm Tuqu school, attack teachers with pepper spray

tuqu-aanval-school

BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — Three Palestinian teachers suffered from pepper spray inflammation at the hands of Israeli forces, when the latter stormed a secondary school in the southern occupied West Bank village of Tuqu to remove posters commemorating 17-year-old Qusay Hassan al-Umour, who was shot dead by Israeli forces in the town in mid-January.

Israeli forces raided the school to remove photos of al-Umour which were posted to mark the 40 days since his killing.
Witnesses told Ma’an that teachers who tried to prevent soldiers from taking down the posters were assaulted and pepper sprayed in the face.
Adel al-Shaer, Murad Mufarrih, and Alaa Hmeid were treated on the scene for the inflammation caused by the pepper spray.
After Israeli troops stormed the school, clashes broke out in the town between Israeli soldiers and schoolchildren. Witnesses said Israeli soldiers chased the youth through the town’s alleys and showered the area in tear gas. No injuries were reported.
An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma’an they were looking into the case.
Israeli military presence in Tuqu has escalated since al-Umour was shot dead during clashes in the town, when the Israeli army claimed that the teen had been the “main instigator” among Palestinian youth throwing stones at border police.
However, video footage showed forces running towards the teenager’s motionless body moments after he was shot, as he was lying in a field at least 100 meters away from the road where the clashes were taking place.
Investigations by BADIL prompted the Palestinian NGO to brand the shooting as an “extrajudicial killing,” asserting that the teen “could not have presented a lethal threat to the well-protected Israeli border police from a distance of around 100 meters, and the use of live ammunition against him was therefore unjustified.”
Following the incident, at least seven Palestinian youth have been detained in Tuqu during overnight raids, while Israeli forces previously installed a military base at the western entrance to the town, periodically preventing residents from entering or leaving.
(Source / 26.02.2017)

Message of the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Grand Ayatollah Sayyid Ali Khamenei to the Sixth International Conference in Support of the Palestinian Intifada

The opening speech of the Grand leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Afbeeldingsresultaat voor ali khamenei on the palestinian intifada in Tehran 2017

In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent the Merciful

Reciting of Quran verses: 3:139, 47:35.

In the beginning, I deem it necessary to welcome all you dear guests, the honorable heads of Islamic Organizations, the leaders of various Palestinian groups, the intellectuals, scholars and outstanding personalities of the world of Islam and other personalities who fight for freedom. I welcome you for your presence in this valuable conference.

The sorrowful story of Palestine and the excruciating sadness felt because, of  the oppression against this patient, enduring and resistant nation, truly distresses any indivudual who seeks freedom, thruth and justice and it thrusts and agonizing pain and suffering upon one’s heart.

The history of Palestine is full of ups and downs, marked by the cruel occupation of that region, the rendering of millions of individuals homeless and the courageous Resistance of those heroic people.

An intelligent quest in history shows that no people in any era of history have ever been subject to such pain, suffering and cruelty.  It has never witnessed that a country is completely occupied in a supra-regional plot, that a people driven away from their home and country and that another group of people from remote areas in the world are brought there in order to replace that nation. It has never witnessed that a real  entity is ignored and that a fake entity takes it place.

But this is another dirty page in history which will be closed with the permission and asssistance of Allah the Exalted, just like other dirty pages in history: “Falshood is bound to perish (Quran 17:81) and He says: “My servants the rigtheous shall inherit the earth” (Quran 21:105).

Your conference is being held under one of the most diffucult circumstances in the world and in the region. These days, our region – which has always supported the people of Palestine in their fight against a global plot – is undergoing numerous upheavels and crises.  The existing crises in several Islamic countries in the region have caused the support for the issue of Palestine and the holy ideal of Quds’ freedom to be undermined. Attention to the result of these crises helps us to understand which powers benefit from the existence of these crises.

Those who created the Zionist regime in the region with the purpose hampering the stability, solidity and progress of the region through imposing a long-term conflict are behind the seditions that exist in the present time as well. These are seditions that have culminated in the capabillities of regional nations being used to foil one another because, of engagement in futile and meaningless conflicts.

When all these capabillies are ruined, the ground will be prepared for strengthening the usurping Zionist regime on a daily basis. Amid all these, we are witness to the endeavors of well-intentioned and wise personalities in the Islamic Ummah. They are dilligently trying to resolve these differences. But unfortunatley, the complicated plots of the enemy have managed to impose civil wars on nations by benefeting from the negligence of some governments. These plots have managed to split nations against one another and to counter the effect of the endeavors that well-intentioned personalities in the Islamic Ummah have made.

Afbeeldingsresultaat voor ali khamenei on the palestinian intifada in Tehran 2017

What is significant in this regard is the effort to weaken the position of the issue of Palestine and to give it the lowest priority. Despite, the differences that exist among Islamic countries – some of these differerences are natural, some originate from the enemy’s plot and the rest are because of negligence- the issue of Palestine can and should be the pivot of unity for all Islamic countries. One of the achievements of this valuable conference is announcing the first priority of the world of Islam and freedom fighters all over the world, which is the issue of Palestine and the creation of an atmosphere of harmony and unanimity with the purpose of achieving the lofty goal of supporting the people of Palestine and their thruthful and justice-oriented fight.

The significance of offering political support to the people of Palestine should never be neglected. This issue has a special priority in today’s world. Even if Muslim and freedom-fighter seeking nations have different viewpoints and opinions, they can gather together with one goal which is Palestine and the necessity to liberate it. With the emergence of signs of the collapse of the Zioninst regime and the weakness that has dominated its main-allies – in particular the United States of America – it is witnessed that the global environment is gradually moving towards confronting the hostile, illegal and inhuman activities of the Zionist regime. Of course, the global community and regional countries have not yet managed to carry out their responsibillities toward this humanitarian matter.

Supressing the people of Paletine in a brutal manner, arresting numerous individuals, looting and murdering people, occupying the lands that belong to the Palestinian nation and building settlements in them, making an effort to change the appearance and identity of the Holy City of Quda, Masjid al-Aqsa and other holy Islamic and Christian places, violating the basic rights of citizens and many other abuses to exist. These acts enjoy the all-out support of the United States of America and some other western governments and unfortunately, they do not receive a proper response from the world.

The people of Palestine are proud that Allah the Exalted has given them a great favor by helping them to shoulder the great responsibility of defending this Holy land and Masjid al-Aqsa. The people of Palestine have no option other than keeping the flames of fighting alight by relying on Allah the Exalted and by relying on their innate capabilities, as they have genuinely done so until today. The intifada has begun for the third time in the occupied lands, is subject to more suppression than the previous two, but it is still moving forward in a bright and hopeful manner. And by Allah’s permission, we will see that this intifada will begin a very important chapter in the history of fighting and that it will inflict another defeat on that uprising regime.

From the beginning, this cancerous tumor has been devoloping in several phases until it turned into the current disaster. The cure for this tumor should be developed in phases as well. Until today, several intifadas and a constant and continious resistance have managed to achieve very important phase goals. The Palestinian intifada continues to gallop forward in a thunderous manner so that it can achieve its other goals until the complete liberation of Palestine.

The great people of Palestine – on who’s  shoulder lay the heavy burden of confronting global Zionism and its bullying supporters – have given an opportunity to all claimants to put their claims to the test and they have done so in a patient yet vigorous and solid manner. The day when “compromise proposals” were brought up seriously with the false excuse of realism and the necessity to accept minimum rights in order to prevent those rights from being violated, the people of Palestine and all those orientations which were already aware of the inaccuracy of that viewpoint gave it an opportunity. Of course, from the beginning, the Islamic Republic of Iran insisted on the incorrectness of compromise strategies and warned of their harmful effects and heavy damages. The opportunity that was given to the compromise procedure brought about destructive effects on the path of resistance and the fighting  of the Palestinian nations, but the only benefit that it had was to prove the inaccuracy of the so-calles “realism” outlook in practice.

Fundamentally the Zionist regime was formed in a way that it could not avoid seeking dominance, suppressing others and violating the true rights of the Palestinians. This is because, its entity and identity are dependent on the gradual destruction of the identity and entity of Palestine. The illegitimate entity of the Zionist regime will continue if it is founded on the ruins of Palestine’s identity and entity. That is why protecting Palestinian identity and guarding all the symbols of this thruthful and natural identity is a necessity and a holy jihad.

Afbeeldingsresultaat voor ali khamenei on the palestinian intifada in Tehran 2017

As long as the name and memory of Palestine and the bright flames of the all-out resistance of that nation are preserved, it is not possible for the foundations of that usurping regime to be strengthened, The problem with “compromise” is not only that it legitimizes an usurping regime by violating the rights of a nation – of course, this is a grave and unforgivable mistake in itself – rather the problem is that it is completely at odds with the current condition of Palestine and that it does not take into account the expansionist oppressive and greedy characteristics f the Zionist. However, by grasping their opportunities, these people have managed to prove the inaccuracy of those who suppport compromise. As a result of this, a kind of national consensus has emerged about the correct methods for asserting the true rights of the Palestinian nation.

Now, the people of Palestine have experienced two differerent paradigms in the past three decades of their history and they have understood the proportion of those two paradigms in relation to their conditions. The paradigm of heroic and continuous Resistance and holy intifada strands against the compromise paradigm. The first paradigm has brought about great achievements for that nation. It is not without reason that these days we witness that the resistance is being attacked and the intifada is being questioned by notorious centres.

The enemy is not expected to act otherwise because, he is completely aware of the correctnes and fruitfulness of this path. However, we sometimes witness that some of those orientations and even countries which seemingly advocate the issue of Palestine but which are trying to divert the true path of those people in reality, attack the Resistance. Their claim is that in its decade-long life, the Resistance has not yet managed to help Palestine achieve its freedom and therefore, this method need to be reconsidered.

In response, we say that although the Resistance has not yet managed to achieve its ultimate goal – the complete freedom of Palestine – it has managed to keep the issue of Palestine alive. We should ask in what condition we would be now if the Resistance did not exist. The most important achievement of the Resistance is creating a major barrier in the way of the Zionist projects. The Resistance’s success lies in imposing a war of attrition on the enemy. In other words, it has managed to defeat the main plan of the Zionist regime, namely dominating the whole region.

In this process, the essence of the Resistance and the soldiers who engaged in resistance from the beginning against the establishment of the Zionist regime and who held up the flag of resistance and converted it to future generations by laying down their lives- should be praised and commemorated.

The role of the Resistance in post-occupation eras is no secret to anyone and without a doubt, the victory of the Resistance in the 1973 war cannot be ignored although it was a narrow victory.  Since, 1982, the burden of the Resistance fell practically on the people inside Palestine, but the Islamic Resistance of Lebanon – Hezbolah – turned to help the Palestinians in the path of their fight. If the Resistance had not brought the Zionis regime to its knees, we would now be witness its transgressions against other regional countries – from Egypt to Jordan, from Iraq, the Persian Gulf region to other areas.

This achievement is very important, but is not the only achievement that the Resistance has made. The liberation of Southern Lebanon and Gaza is the attainment of two important phased goals in the process of Palestine’s liberation. This has helped reverse the process of the geographical expansion of the Zionist regime.

Since the early 1980, not only has the Zionist regime not been able to transgress against new lands, but it has also begun to retreat. This retreat began with its humilating withdrawal from southern Lebanon and it continued with another humiliating withdrawal from Gaza. No one can deny the major determination role of the Resistance in the first intifada. In the second intifada as well, the role of the Resistance was fundamental and outstanding. This was an intifada which eventually forced the Zionist regime to leave Gaza. The 33-day war in Lebanon and 22-day, 8-day and 51-day wars in Gaza were all shining pages in the performance sheet of the Resistance. Those wars are a source of pride for all regional nations, for the world of Islam and for all freedom fighters in the world.

Afbeeldingsresultaat voor ali khamenei on the palestinian intifada in Tehran 2017

This book (PALESTINE) presented at the conference, misused by Nethanyahu in his UN speech!

In the 33-day war, all the ways to help the Lebanese nation and the valiant and resistant soldiers of Hezbollah had been blocked, but by Allah’s favor and with reliance on a great force comprised of the resistant people of Lebanon, the Zionist regime and its main ally – the United States of America – suffered a humiliating defeat as a result of which they will not dare attack that region anymore. The continuous resistance attempts made by Gaza – which has now turned into an invincible fortress – showed in the course of several wars that this regime is too weak to resist the willpower of a nation.

The main hero during the Gaza wars is the courageous and resistant nation which continues to defend this fortress with realiance on the power of faith despite enduring many years of economic siege. It is necessary to commemorate all groups involved in the Palestinian Resistance- including Sarayah Al-Quda from Islamic Jihad, Khateb al-Izz ad-Din, Al-Qassam, from Hamas, Khateb al-Shuhada, al-Aqsa, from Fath and Khateb Abu Ali Mustafa, from the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine- all of which played valuable roles in these wars.

DEAR GUESTS!

The danger origination from the presence of the Zionist regime should never be ignored! Therefore, the Resistance should benefit from all the necessary tools for continuing its duty. On this path, all regional nations and governments and all freedom seekers in the world should meet the main needs of this resistant nation. The main pivot of the Restitance is the steadfastness and endurance of the Palestinian people who have raised courageous and resistant children. Meeting the needs of the Palestinian people and Palestinian resistance is an important and vital responsibillity which should be carried out by all of us.

In doing so, we should not ignore the basic needs of the Resistance in the West Bank because, the West Bank shoulders the main burden of the suppressed intifada. By learning from its past, the Palestinian Resistance should pay attention to this important point: the Resistance and Palestine are too lofty and valuable to get involved in the differences between Islamic and Arab countries, or the domestic, ethnic and denominational differences that exist in different countries. The Palestinians, particulary Resistance groups, should appreciate the value of their preciouspositions and they should avoid entering into these differences. Islamic and Arab countries and all Islamic and national orientations should be at the service of the Palestinian ideal.

Supporting the Resistance is the responsibillity of all of us. No one has the right to have special expectations of them in return for assistance. The only condition for assistance is that such assistance is expendeding, strengthening the people of Palestine and the structure of the Resistance. Commitment to the idea of steadfastness in the face of the enemy and to the Resistance in all its dimensions guarantees the continuation of this assistance.

Our position on the Resistance is a fundamental position, one which has nothing to do with any particular group. We  are with every group that is steadfast on his path and every group that abandons this path has drifted away from us. The depth of our relationship with groups involved in the Islamic Resistance is only dependent on the level of their commitment to the principle of the Resistance.

Another point that should be raised is the existance of some differences between various Palestinian group. The existence of differences of opinion is natural and understandable due to the diversity of tastes among these organizations and a long as these differences are confined to this, they will lead to increasing co-operation and depth in the fight of the Palestinian people. However, the problem begins when these differences culminate in skirmishes and – God forbid – serious conflicts.

If this happens, these various orientations will practically lead into a path that the common enemy of all them wants. They do so by foiling one another’s powers and capabilities. The managament of disagreements and differences of opinion is a skill that should be utillized by all main orientations. They should formulate their various fighting plans in a way that those plans only pressure the enemy and help the cause to be strengthened. National unity on the basis of a jihadi plan is a national necessity for Palestine. It is expected that all orientations try to achieve this unity in line with the requests of all the people of Palestine.

These days, the Resistance is wrestling with another plot as well which is the effort of some so-called friends to divert the Resistance and intifada of the people of Palestine from its course and to sell it to the enemies of the Palestinian nation in their secret transactions wit them. However, the Resistance is so intelligent that it will not fall into this trap. One of the reasons for this is that the people of Palestine are the true leaders of fighting and of the Resistance, and past experiences show that by gaining an accurate understanding of the conditions, they prevent these deviations. God forbid, if one of the Resistance orientations falls into these trap, they (the people) can reproduce that need as they have done so in the past. If a group puts down the flag of Resistance, another group will undoubtedly emerge from the heart of the people of Palestine to hold it up again.

Without a doubt, in this conference, you honorable participants will only attend to Palestine which has been subject to lack of proper and necessary attention in the past few years. Undoubtedly, the existing crises in every part of the region and the Islamic Ummah deserve attantion, but what has caused this gathering to be held is the issue of Palestine. This conference can be a model for all Muslim and regional nations to gradually harness their differences by relying on their common points and to prepare the ground by resolving each and every one of those differences, for the increasing re-inforcement of the Muhammadi (God’s greetings be upon him) Ummah.

Lastly, I deem it necessary to once more thank you all honorable guests for your valuable presence. Also, I would like to thank the esteemed Speaker of the Islamic Consultative Majlis and his colleagues in the tenth Majlis for the efforts that they made to organize this conference.

I as God the Benevolent to help all of you succeed in serving the issue of Palestine as the most important issue in the world of Islam and as the pivot of unity for all Muslims and all liberated individuals in the world.

Afbeeldingsresultaat voor ali khamenei on the palestinian intifada in Tehran 2017

God’s greetings and mercy be upon the lofty souls of all martyrs, particularly upon the honorable martyrs of the Resistance in the face of the Zionist regime, upon all sincere soldiers of the Resistance front  and upon the immaculate soul of the founder of the Islamic Republic, who paid the utmost attention to the issue of Palestine.

May you be succesful and victorious.

Greetings be upon you and Allah’s mercy and blessings.

Source: Message of the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Grand Ayatollah Sayyid Ali Khamenei to the Sixth International Conference in Support of the Palestinian Intifada .Tehran, Iran.

(Source / 26.02.2017)

Sentencing of Israeli Soldier for Killing of Palestinian Exposes Contradictions of Occupation

26 FEB
8:46 AM

Shir Hever is an Economist working at The Real News Network. His economic research focuses on Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territory; international aid to the Palestinians and to Israel; the effects of the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories on the Israeli economy; and the boycott, divestment and sanctions campaigns against Israel. His first book: Political Economy of Israel’s Occupation: Repression Beyond Exploitation, was published by Pluto Press.

SHARMINI PERIES: It’s The Real News Network. I’m Sharmini Peries, coming to you from Baltimore. An Israeli Military Court handed down an 18-month sentence to Israeli soldier Elor Azaria for the murder of Palestinian, Fatah Al-Sharif. Al-Sharif was lying on the ground at the time of the fatal shooting.

SHARMINI PERIES: Azaria, the soldier was convicted in early January of manslaughter for shooting Fatah Al- Sharif and for inappropriate conduct. We reported his conviction in Real News interview that was published on January 5th. Despite the light punishment, large segments of the Israeli public expressed outrage over the fact that he was given a punishment at all. Joining me now to discuss this further is Shir Hever. Shir is a Real News correspondent and he’s speaking today with us from Heidelberg, Germany. Thanks for joining us, Shir.

SHIR HEVER: Thank you for having me, Sharmini.

 

SHARMINI PERIES: So, Shir, the prosecution was very controversial at the time. He was prosecuted but the sentence seemed to spur more controversy. What’s going on?

SHIR HEVER: What’s going on is that the case of Elor Azaria exposes the contradictions in the Israeli occupation in a very clear way. According to the UN data there were 105 Palestinians who were killed by Israeli forces in the year 2016. And Fatah Al-Sharif is only one of 105. But the number of people who were actually put on trial for all of these killings is just one. It’s just Elor Azaria. And in his case, it’s not the fact that this execution of Fatah Al-Sharif was very clearly a murder, but it was the fact that he was caught on camera. And it was the fact that he is one of the least protected members of the Israeli military forces because of his own background, because he’s a Mizrahi Jew from a relatively lower class of the Israeli society. He’s not so well connected. And so, that caused a lot of outrage because why does he have to stand trial when so many Israeli soldiers and officers have killed many more Palestinians and were completely unaccountable for it? So, the fact that he was convicted of manslaughter and inappropriate conduct was already scandalous. It was scandalous because it was a very, very light conviction. It had nothing to do with the actual crime that he committed because he did commit a murder. But on the other hand, it caused, mostly within Israel, outrage from the right wing who were saying, “how dare you put this brave soldier on trial for doing what the government is saying, again and again, is absolutely legitimate? We should go out and kill Palestinians on every occasion especially those Palestinians who are suspected even on the slightest of suspicions of preparing to carry an attack of any kind. Now, Elor Azaria, a military medic, he approached the scene. He sees a Palestinian bleeding on the ground and instead of acting as a medic and rendering assistance he takes out his gun and shoots the man in his head. During the trial, Elor Azaria did every possible mistake. He contradicted his own testimony, had very poor lawyers who mounted a very terrible defense. And that put the Israeli Court, the Military Court in a very difficult position, in a very tight spot. In fact, you could say this whole trial was pretty much predicted, the outcome was predictable. But it was the Military Court itself who stood on trial because they had the public opinion and the Israeli government calling on them to acquit. Calling on them not to punish Elor Azaria. And on the other hand, they had every legal reason and every shred of evidence saying they have to convict Elor Azaria of a much more serious crime. Azaria never expressed any remorse for the killing of Al-Sharif. So, what they did in the end, the sentencing of 18 months, is a very odd decision. I think it shows that the Military Court is completely failed to have any kind of meaningful strategy in light of the situation because what they did is the average. The prosecution said for a conviction in manslaughter and inappropriate conduct the minimum sentencing should be three years. The Israeli government was saying you should acquit him completely and set him free. So, they just took the middle. And by doing that they have lost both the support of the public opinion in Israel, which is now siding against the judges and the lawyers and so on, and there are massive demonstrations in support of Elor Azaria. And they’ve also lost all credibility as a court because they’ve given a sentence that has nothing to do with the law, nothing to do with the rule of law.

SHARMINI PERIES: And the other extraordinary thing about this, Shir, was that various political members of the government, and so on, were also getting involved. Making statements about what they thought should happen, in spite of the court, you know, considering this case.

SHIR HEVER: Absolutely. The former Minister of Defense of Israel, Moshe Ya’alon, he said that Elor Azaria has to stand trial for what he did. What he did was wrong, was not part of the military heart in that he was not following orders. And he was fired from his position as Minister of Defense and replaced by, I think, Avigdor Lieberman, the new Minister of Defense, who supported Elor Azaria from the start. So, this trial is not just about this young soldier of the rank of Sergeant. This is a major divisive point in Israeli public opinion. The Minister of Education Naftali Bennett has now said today, that unless Elor Azaria will be immediately pardoned from serving this jail sentence that it would be a security risk to the State of Israel. Which is a very odd statement. But it shows that for him this is a clear message that all Israeli soldiers should feel free to use their guns at will against Palestinians without any fear of repercussions. And even the head of the opposition in Israel, who is supposed to be from the left, although that argument is very questionable — he said Elor Azaria was operating in an impossible situation. He was asked to serve in an impossible situation. If he would then follow up from that statement and say, “actually there is no reason for the Israeli military to control a civilian population in the city of Hebron and the rest of the West Bank, and expecting Israeli soldiers to act as police officers in an occupied territory” will of course continue to create stories like we see now with Elor Azaria and the murder of al-Fatah Al-Sharif. If he would have made that statement, that would have been a very welcome statement and a very important statement. But he did not make that statement. He does not explain how we expect the Israeli military to control 4½ million Palestinians under military occupation without innocent people being killed repeatedly.

SHARMINI PERIES: Alright. I thank you so much for joining us today, Shir, and we’ll be following up on the story with you soon. Thank you.

SHIR HEVER: Thank you very much, Sharmini.

SHARMINI PERIES: And thank you for joining us on The Real News Network.

(Source / 26.02.2017)

‘Different languages, same dialect’: Passion for the cause unites the Palestinian diaspora

No matter where the Palestinian youth have been raised, they always identify with their Palestinian heritage, that was evident from the thousands who turned out to attend the first day of the Palestinians Abroad conference yesterday.

Held in the Turkish capital Istanbul, the conference was attended by over 4,000 people from 50 countries.

Mona Hawaa, a Palestinian who holds the Sudanese passport spoke of her cosmopolitan identity. “I am Sudanese, I love Sudan. I have lived around Sudanese people. I know their country, I know their culture, I know their tribes and I speak in their dialect better than they do. But does that make me less Palestinian? No.”

Identity is a unique and personal concept and having a complicated identity, or setting up a home somewhere else is not a betrayal of your roots, she explained.

Everyone had something unique to offer; from music, to poetry, videos, to art and personal stories.

Live: Palestinians abroad unite for a future state

Strength in unity

Daniel Al Hadawa, who arrived from Chile, said: “They promised us if we recognised Israel, settlements will end, the oppression will end, our right to movement would be realised and our struggle would be over.”

“The opposite happened and we have been betrayed.”

“Many forget that Christians are Palestinians too. We are a community of both Christians and Muslims. As a Christian, I identify with the Muslim community,” he added stressing the unity that the conference highlighted and stressed.

Writer Dr Salman Abu Sitta called for there to be an organised manner for Palestinians in the diaspora to unite, identify and connect.

A member of Lammeh, a production group produced a video interviewing Palestinians in the diaspora, added that no matter what, Palestinians “learn different languages as we scatter, but we always return to our Palestinian dialect”.

Variety of passions

Just as they came from different parts of the world, they came with different passions and talents that they brought together for their love for Palestine. Film producer Younis Abou Saleh spoke of how he uses film to invoke sympathy for the Palestinian cause and to raise awareness for what is happening to “his people”. He was also open about how difficult it is to convince others of his projects when he suggests a project on Palestine.

“What I do instead is I tell the story and after they ask where I get my inspiration from, I tell them it’s inspired by Palestine. People still don’t understand the urgency of the struggle and the extent to which the Palestinian people are suffering.”

Comedian Nicholas Khoury said: “They always ask me how I can laugh when my people are under occupation, I don’t understand this. Think back, have you seen your grandparents who went through the Nakba refuse to laugh, or smile after what happened to them? If anything, they laugh even more because we need laughter. Laughter helps us realise our situation and helps us move forward.”

“We’re living in times in which the comedian is listened to and the politician is laughed at.”

Rama Ibrahim engaged the crowd playing Mawtiny (My nation) on the qanun. The audience raised their flag and their voices to accompany her music.

The attendees watched yesterday with mixed emotions. There was pride for their homeland, joy that Palestinians throughout the world and through the many generations still hold their identity and love for their country. Many were visibly moved listening to the stories of those in the diaspora and remembering the suffering of Palestinians inside The occupied territories, but most importantly, there was hope.

But the message remained throughout: “We will return.”

Interview with Ismail Yasa: The Palestinian diaspora is the resistance

(Source / 26.02.2017)