Zo veel afleiding!

Afleiding

Velen van ons proberen al jaren vooruitgang te boeken in het geloof, maar toch schijnt het maar niet te lukken. Ieder goed voornemen dat we hebben, loopt al gauw uit op niets. Het onderhouden van het gebed is daar een geschikt voorbeeld van.

Om aan een oplossing voor dit probleem te werken, moeten we allereerst begrijpen dat ons lichaam het hart volgt, zoals de profeet vrede zij met hem zei:

“Voorwaar, er bevindt zich in het lichaam een ‘vleesklomp’, als die goed is, is het hele lichaam goed en als die slecht is, is het hele lichaam slecht. Voorwaar, dat is het hart.”  [Bukhari]

Onze daden zijn de vruchten van het hart. Wanneer het hart gezond en schoon is, brengt het gezonde en mooie vruchten voort en anders brengt het niet veel goeds voort.

En net zoals het hart invloed heeft op onze daden, hebben de daden omgekeerd ook invloed op het hart. Allah zegt:

“…wat zij plachten te doen (aan zonden) heeft hun harten bedekt.” [83:14]

De profeet vrede zij met hem heeft dit vers uitgelegd met het feit dat iedere keer wanneer de dienaar een zonde begaat, deze een spoor nalaat op het hart en dat deze door het vragen van vergeving weer verdwijnt. Maar wanneer de ene zonde de ander dan opvolgt, zonder het tonen van berouw, dan zal dit zo’n groot effect hebben, dat het hele hart beslaat.

In een andere overlevering vergelijkt de profeet vrede zij met hem het hart dat erg beïnvloed is door zondes met een scheefstaand glas. Een scheefstaand glas kan je blijven vullen, maar het houdt het water niet vast.

Dit is de situatie van velen van ons, beste broeders en zusters. Wij willen verbetering en vooruitgang maar doordat we ons hart onrecht aandoen met slechte daden, weigert dit mee te werken.

Stoorzenders
Een factor waar het hart dagelijks last aan ondervindt is het zicht. Het zicht waar wij het gevaar van onderschatten. Een poëet zei:

“Alle gebeurtenissen beginnen met het zicht”

Ibn al-Qayyim – moge Allah hem genadig zijn – verduidelijkt dit en zegt:

“Het zien wekt een gedachte op, de gedachte wekt een begeerte op, de begeerte wekt een wil op. En de wil wordt steeds sterker totdat er een daad plaatsvindt.”

Velen van ons geven hun ogen vrij zicht, niet beseffende hoe groot haar effect op het hart is.

Op straat lijkt het bijna alsof alles wat voorbijloopt gekeurd moet worden. Wanneer we achter een scherm zitten, en dat doen we veel, wordt alles wat voorbijkomt aandachtig bekeken, ongeacht of datgene gepast is of niet.

Vanwege het gevaar van deze twee ogen spreekt Allah de mannen aan en zegt:

“Zeg (O Mohammed) tegen de gelovige mannen dat zij hun ogen neerslaan …” [24:30]

En vervolgens spreekt Allah de vrouwen aan:

“En zeg (O Mohammed) tegen de gelovige vrouwen dat zij hun ogen neerslaan …” [24:31]

Het gehoor
Een andere factor die direct effect heeft op het hart is ons gehoor. Het luisteren naar zaken als muziek, roddel en vulgair taalgebruik komen het hart niet ten goede.

De tong
De tong en de zondes die daarmee worden voortgebracht, hebben ook effect op het hart. Er zijn dan ook vele overleveringen die waarschuwen voor het gevaar van de tong.

Verboden relatie’s
Niet te vergeten de verboden relatie’s die vandaag de dag gemakkelijk tot stand komen. Wiens hart verbonden is aan een persoon middels een verboden (buitenechtelijke) relatie, heeft een aanslag gepleegd op zijn eigen hart.

Slecht gezelschap
Het verkeren in slecht gezelschap is zeer schadelijk voor het hart, aangezien je in slecht gezelschap: het slechte ziet, hoort en spreekt. Alleen al het laten van slecht gezelschap kan een keerpunt zijn in het leven.

Onzinnig tijdverdrijf
Naast de verboden zaken, zijn er ook heel wat onzinnige zaken die ons vandaag de dag afleiden, bezighouden en belemmeren van het goed benutten van onze tijd. Of beter gezegd: van het goed benutten van ons leven, want het leven bestaat uit tijd. 

Degene die zijn smartphone in deze gezegende maand af en toe uitzet (niet enkel op stil) om te genieten van rust en aanbidding, heeft zich ontdaan van een hele grote stoorzender.

Verzwakt hart
Kortom beste broeders en zusters, er is zoveel slechts en afleiding voor het hart, dat het hart zo erg verzwakt raakt dat het geen zin heeft in het verrichten van goede daden. Zoals ibn al-Qayyim zei:

“Wanneer het hart gevuld is met onzin en het houden ervan, is er geen ruimte meer over voor de waarheid en het houden ervan …”

Beste broeders en zusters

Degene die oprecht zijn band met Allah wil verbeteren, en daar is deze gezegende maand ideaal voor, moet als eerste beginnen met het afstand nemen van al datgene wat schadelijk is voor zijn hart, want dan pas zal er ruimte zijn voor het goede.

Net zoals degene die een tuin wil beplanten met rozen eerst het onkruid verwijdert, dienen wij ook het onkruid om ons heen te ‘verwijderen’ en weg te houden om vervolgens mooie vruchten voort te brengen en te behouden. 

(Source / 29.04.2020) 

Israel: We are working hard to return our troops from Gaza

Politician of Israel's Jewish Home party, Naftali Bennett seen after a swearing-in at the Israeli Prime Minister's Office on March 18, 2013 in Jerusalem [David Vaaknin-Pool/Getty Images]
Politician of Israel’s Jewish Home party, Naftali Bennett seen after a swearing-in at the Israeli Prime Minister’s Office on March 18, 2013 in Jerusalem

Israeli Defence Minister Naftali Bennett said yesterday that Israel “is exerting much” to have Israeli soldiers captured in the Gaza Strip returned, Safa news agency reported.

Speaking to Channel 12, Bennett said that he “does not want to reveal what is being done behind closed doors regarding the efforts to bring back the Israeli soldiers,” stressing on the importance of returning them as quickly as possible.

“I say that it is important to bring the dead soldiers home,” he said. “I cannot promise to do this, but I want to tell you that we are working on unprecedented initiatives and we are working on them firmly.”

Meanwhile, he said: “It is important to maintain the rule that the prisoners with blood on their hands must not be released. This is very difficult.”

READ: Prisoner swap between Israel and Hamas could take place soon

Early this month, Hamas Chief in Gaza Yahya Al-Sinwar said that his movement is ready to offer concessions regarding the issue of Israeli soldiers captured in Gaza in return for Israel’s release of Palestinian prisoners who are elderly, sick, minors and females.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that he is ready to start quick talks on this issue through mediators, but Safa reported, nothing has happened on the ground.

(Source / 29.04.2020)

Israel army confirms drone crash in Gaza

Israeli drone picked up-by military in Gaza [Anadolu Agency]
Israeli drone picked up-by military in Gaza 

Israeli occupation army on Monday evening confirmed that an Israeli drone crashed in Gaza due to a technical error, Haaretz reported.

An Israeli military Skylark drone crashed east of the city of Deir Al-Balah, in the south of the Gaza Strip. Haaretz reported that there was no concern over the potential leak of sensitive information.

Arabi21 said Israel’s i24 news website reported an army spokesman saying that the drone crashed “or was downed” in Gaza.

OPINION: Technology of death, the not-so-shocking report on Israeli weapons exports

It said that the Palestinians captured it and moved it to a safe place.

In September last year, the Israeli army announced that a military drone crashed in the south of Gaza Strip.

Al Qassam Brigade said it gunned down the drone and revealed information about its mission in Gaza.

A month later, the Israeli army announced that a drone crashed in South Lebanon during a routine operation there.

(Source / 29.04.2020) 

Annexation of occupied territory is a crime

Locals inspect a two-storey building belonging to Palestinians after it was demolished by Israeli forces in Hebron, West Bank on 25 September 2019 [Mamoun Wazwaz/Anadolu Agency]
Locals inspect a two-storey building belonging to Palestinians after it was demolished by Israeli forces in Hebron, West Bank on 25 September 2019

By Asa Winstanley

Israel is about to annex large swathes of the occupied West Bank, making the territory formally part of the Zionist state according to Israeli law. The millions of Palestinians living in the West Bank will continue to be denied the vote and even the most basic of human rights by the despotic Israeli regime.

The West Bank is home to some 2.2 million Palestinians and about 600,000 Israeli colonists. The Gaza Strip and West Bank together represent 22 per cent of historic Palestine, although this is a somewhat arbitrary division of the land, based on the “Green Line”, the armistice line drawn up in 1949 after the ethnic cleansing of Palestine.

Between 1947 and 1949, Zionist militias and the nascent Israeli army expelled about 800,000 Palestinians from Palestine, around two-thirds of the indigenous population. The goal of Zionism was to create a Jewish state in Palestine, despite the fact that the population of the country was overwhelmingly non-Jewish. Therefore it was inevitable that the Zionist project was always going to be a racist project that required the violent expulsion of the majority Arab population.

OPINION: Greater Israel is the objective as Netanyahu plans to wipe Palestine off the map 

In 1967, Israel engaged in another war against the neighbouring Arab countries, invading and occupying the remaining 22 per cent of historic Palestine. Israel has imposed a military dictatorship against the Palestinians there ever since the Naksa (Setback), but it was unable to expel as many Palestinians as it did during the Nakba (Catastrophe) of 1948.

Israel’s aim was to establish an ethnocracy, a state created to serve the interests of one ethnic group alone. Hence, although it desired to possess the land, at the same time it wanted the land to be free of non-Jews: “Maximum land, minimum Arabs”.

Such a state comes with a price to pay, of course. As Israeli war criminal and late Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin once wished of the Gaza Strip, “If only it would just sink into the sea.” Israel wanted the land, but it did not want to give the millions of Palestinians living on it human, political or national rights.

Former Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin on 10 September 1986 [Wikipedia]

It was crucial for the Zionist project that the Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip should not be given a vote in the self-proclaimed “only democracy in the Middle East”. With demographic trends being what they are, that would have almost certainly led to the end of the Jewish majority in the “Land of Israel”, which in any event was always an artificial majority, having been violently gerrymandered by 1948’s act of ethnic cleansing.

READ: Netanyahu ‘confident’ Trump will allow West Bank annexation in two months

This explains why Israel has so far not formally annexed the West Bank, despite having occupied it for almost 53 years. The 2.2 million Palestinians there outnumber the 600,000 Israeli colonial-settlers. Millions of Palestinians suddenly on the electoral roll would mean the end of Zionist dominance in Israel’s parliament, the Knesset. The Joint List, the only non-Zionist party (most of whose voters and MKs are Palestinians) could become the largest in the Knesset. That would, in turn, create a constitutional crisis, because a non-Zionist, Arab party has never formed any part of the government of Israel.

Now, though, Israel is making moves towards the annexation of the West Bank. Why, and why now?

Over the past year, Israel has held three inconclusive General Elections, each resulting in political deadlock. This was finally broken this month with the announcement of a “national unity” government between incumbent Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his main contender in the election, former General Benny Gantz. Having sworn during the election campaigns never to enter a coalition with Netanyahu — who is facing corruption charges — Gantz has now split his Blue and White party in order to renege on his oath and go into such a coalition.

Israelis cast their votes during the Israeli legislative elections, at a polling station in Tel Aviv on 17 September 2019 [Faiz Abu Rmeleh/Anadolu Agency]

As I noted in a column just before the last election in March, one thing that all of Israel’s Zionist political parties agree on is the continuation of their racist military dictatorship in the West Bank targeting Palestinians on an indefinite basis. It is, therefore, no surprise that the supposed opposition Blue and White agreed with Netanyahu’s Likud on increasing Israel’s control of the occupied territory.

READ: UN reports about Israeli violations lack meaningful political action

Boosted by US President Donald Trump’s approval with his “deal of the century peace plan”, both parties now want to annex a large part of what Zionists call “Judea and Samaria”. Their solution for what they see as the “demographic threat” of too many babies of the “wrong” ethnicity being born, is to avoid the annexation of those areas of the West Bank where Palestinians are still the most populous. In practice, though, with Palestinian population centres being isolated islands within a sea of “Israeli” territory, the effect will be the same as if Israel had annexed the whole West Bank.

A key clause of the coalition deal between Gantz and Netanyahu will allow annexation to go ahead as soon as July, and it now seems certain that Israel is going to use the Covid-19 crisis as cover to launch its unprecedented illegal land grab.

It is nothing new for Israel to impose and increase its control of Palestinian lands. Indeed, annexation itself was used by the rogue state to declare Jerusalem as its “undivided” capital city, in defiance of international law. Annexation on the scale proposed by Netanyahu and Gantz, though, is a grave new step in the 130 years of Zionism’s war against the indigenous population of Palestine. It is a crime of massive proportions, even by Israeli standards.

(Source / 29.04.2020) 

Israel Orders One Halt Construction and Two Demolition Orders of Palestinian Structures

The Israeli army, on Tuesday, ordered a Palestinian resident of Bardala village in the northern Jordan Valley to halt construction on his home, citing a lack of Israeli permission to build, a local source reported.

Aref Daraghme, a human rights activist, told Palestinian WAFA News Agency that occupation authorities instructed Jamal Rashaydeh to construction on his 150-square-meter house, setting the deadline at May 12.

The Israeli military, on Tuesday, also informed two Palestinian residents of Beit Jala, southern occupied West Bank, of its plan to demolish two structures, under the pretext of building without a permit, local sources said.

Hasan Breijieh, director of the Bethlehem office of the Wall and Settlements Resistance Commission, in addition to Palestinian security sources, told Palestinian WAFA News Agency that the two structures are located in different areas of Beit Jala.

The United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 17 states that

(1) Everyone has the right to own property alone as well as in association with others.
(2) No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his property.

(Source / 29.04.2020) 

Shtayyeh says Coronavirus crisis dealt a blow to PA’s budget

Ramallah (QNN) – Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh said earlier this week that the declining revenues have dealt a staggering blow to the Palestinian Authority’s budget following the novel coronavirus crisis.

He said during a press conference in Ramallah that the novel coronavirus pandemic exacerbated the economic situation, and caused the Palestinian Authority’s (PA) treasury to decline, which increased the budget deficit to about USD $1.4 billion.

“The most significant blow hit the treasury of the Authority from which we pay our financial obligations. The local revenues and clearance revenues declined due to the decrease in the total demand and the decline in sales and production sectors,” he was quoted as saying by WAFA agency.

“The Palestinian budget deficit has become about $1.4 billion (including with the expected donor funds). The predictions are close (per international, local, and government reports) regarding the losses of our national economy and GDP, which amounts to 20% until the end of the year, about $ 3.2 billion,” he added.

Shtayyeh’s government has adopted without delay an austerity emergency budget, and attempted to the deficit.

Touching upon the government’s efforts to fight poverty, Shtayyeh said that the government added 11,000 new families to the list of families receiving social allowance payments and would provide financial assistance to some 40,000 unemployed workers in the West Bank and the besieged Gaza Strip.

“To enable more families to withstand the current situation, we will add 9 thousand new families next month. The total number of families receiving financial assistance will reach 125 thousand families, the vast majority of them is in the Gaza Strip,” he elaborated.

He urged the private sector to contribute to the national fund, Waqfet Izz, to help the government address the economic repercussions of the crisis, and noted that President Mahmoud Abbas announced the allocation of $300 million fund as part of an economy recovery plan for small and medium-sized enterprises that are impacted by the crisis.

He rejected Israel’s decision to deduct NIS 450 million ($128 million) of the Palestinian Authority’s tax revenues in addition to the deduction of NIS 650 million the last year.

“This measure is nothing but theft and real piracy of our money and resources. It puts us in a challenging financial situation and adds to our budget deficit. This means that Israel annually deducts one billion and 130 million NIS from our money,” he said.

“We will file complaints to international courts against this procedure and demand that the Israeli side stop all its measures,” he added in this regard.

He also condemned Israel’s illegal plan to apply sovereignty over, or in other words to annex, the Jordan Valley and the illegal colonial settlements in the occupied West Bank, and stressed that this plan, among other measures, such as home demolitions and arrests, “all aim at one thing: to hit hard and weaken the Palestinian institutions and to undermine the possibility of a Palestinian state in the future.”

He welcomed the European Union’s position and the positions of Arab and friendly countries in rejecting the Israeli illegal annexation plan.

(Source / 29.04.2020) 

‘Israel’ renews solitary confinement of Palestinian award-winning intellectual

Walid Daqqa, is one of the longest serving prisoners in Israeli jails

Ramallah (QNN)- The Israeli authorities renewed solitary confinement decision against the writer and intellectual Walid Daqqa (59 years old) without announcing the period of the new sentence.

The Israeli decision came as part of a series of measures that the Israelis have been taking against Daqqa since 2018 when he published the latest of his works.

After he published his novel ‘The Story of Oil’s secret’ in 2018, the Israeli Prison Service (IPS) took punitive measures against him, including the confiscation of his writings, denial of visitation, and the repeated transfer of him from jail to another.

The Israeli punitive measures against Daqqa have even escalated this year, after he and his wife Sanaa had their baby “Milad” through smuggled sperm.

In a statement issued on Tuesday, the Palestinian Prisoners’ Association stated that Daqqa’s isolation has been doubled during the coronavirus crisis. Daqqa is denied lawyers’ visits now, which used to be his only way to communicate with his wife and the world.

The Israelis also prevented Daqqa from reaching the jail canteen, from which he used to get his essential needs, worsening his health condition.

Daqqa is serving a life sentence. He is one of the longest-serving prisoners as he was arrested 35 years ago. The occupation state refused to release him in all swap deals.

Daqqa succeeded to get a master’s degree in political science while in jail. He also got married to the activist Sanaa Salameh and they had their daughter ‘Milad’ through smuggled sperm last February.

Daqqa has several works, the most famous of them is a letter describing his marriage. The letter was an inspiration for the well-known play “The Parallel Time”.

(Source / 29.04.2020) 

Human rights groups: Time to investigate Israeli crimes in Palestine

Ramallah (QNN) – Over 180 Palestinian, regional and international human rights coalitions, organisations, and individuals today called on the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), Fatou Bensouda, to investigate Israeli crimes in Palestine.

In a joint open letter to the ICC Prosecutor, the Palestinian, regional, and international coalitions, organisations, and individuals, led by and including Palestinian coalitions representing over 200 Palestinian civil society organisations, said they overwhelmingly support the Prosecutor’s findings submitted to the Pre-Trial Chamber.

“We urge that in light of the pervasive climate of impunity, which has prevailed for over five decades in the occupied Palestinian territory, that perpetrators of war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in Palestine must be held accountable at the International Criminal Court,” they said in the letter.

On 20 December 2019, following almost five years of preliminary examination, the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court submitted to the Pre-Trial Chamber a request for a ruling on the Court’s territorial jurisdiction in Palestine indicating that “war crimes have been or are being committed in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip” and that she had “identified potential cases arising from the situation which would be admissible.”

Further, the Prosecutor was satisfied that the Court’s territorial jurisdiction extended to the “Palestinian territory occupied by Israel” since June 1967, “namely the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and Gaza.”

(Source / 29.04.2020) 

Hating Arabs as common ground: Why Israel’s coalition government is likely to survive

Gantz, who preferred to willingly shake the hand of the devil than to find common ground among the leaders of Israel’s Palestinian Arab community, is not better than Netanyahu

By Ramzy Baroud 

Any Israeli official joins the Israeli government, nothing will curb his plans to commit more violations and crimes against the Palestinians because all of the Israelis hate the Palestinians and seek ending them.


Shortly after an agreement to form a “national emergency government” in Israel, leader of the Blue and White (Kahol Lavan) party, Benny Gantz, tweeted triumphantly that ‘democracy’ in Israel has been ‘safeguarded’.

But how is a deal that would grant Israel’s right-wing Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, a veto power over the very judicial system which will determine his fate, a form of democracy?

In January, Netanyahu was indicted on multiple counts of bribery, fraud, and breach of trust. His trial is scheduled for May 24.

By making such an assertion, Gantz is simply deluding himself, following one the most disgraceful acts of political betrayal in the country’s modern history. By agreeing to join Netanyahu’s Likud party, Gantz has demolished his own parliamentary group which unified several major parties in one single bloc, all with the aim of removing Israel’s longest-serving leader from power.

The Blue and White, which until recently consisted of three parties (Hosen Li-Israel, Yesh Atid and Telem), presented itself to Israeli voters as a political force that would finally restore some credibility to Israel’s ailing political institutions.

Clearly, Israel was not ready for such a mission.

It is convenient to blame Gantz for the collapse of Israel’s once-burgeoning opposition, but the problem with Israel’s political elites is far more complex than that of a single individual.

Israeli leaders insist that democracy, transparency and inclusion are achievable, even when millions of the country’s Arab citizens are marginalised and continue to be victims of institutional racism that dates back to the very foundation of Israel.

In actuality, Gantz could have formed a government with the help of the Joint List, a coalition of Arab and progressive parties, which is the only Israeli political bloc that represents hope for a better, more inclusive future.

The supposed Israeli ‘centrist’, however, opted to join Netanyahu – and to, consequently, alienate his own allies, Yesh Atid and Telem – than meet the reasonable conditions of the Joint List.

The Joint List, which had eventually endorsed Gantz to form a government, had merely requested the removal of the Nation-State Law (which defines Israel as a Jewish State), the Kaminitz Law (which restricts building in Arab communities in Israel) and ending the Israeli occupation of Palestine, in accordance with international law.

The Arab parties’ demands were simply too much for Gantz to handle, for several reasons.

One, Gantz is essentially a right-wing politician and a military hawk, who favours the annexation of the occupied Palestinian territories and has called for even harsher wars on Gaza.

Two, the Blue and White would have never been able to build a wider coalition if it adhered to any of these demands. This much was made clear by the head of Yisrael Beiteinu leader, Avigdor Lieberman.

Three, Member of Knesset (Parliament) Zvi Hauser, one of the most influential figures of the Blue and White, is among the main forces behind the racist Nation-State Law of July 2018. Expecting Hauser to cancel the jewel of his political achievements would be most unrealistic and would have further destabilized a party that has already lost nearly half of its supporters in a matter of days.

Hauser is an interesting character, an ambitious politician and a person to watch, as he will play an important future role in Israel’s coalition government.

Hauser will now become the “proverbial long arm of the Judicial Appointments Committee,” according to Yossi Verter, writing in Haaretz. This committee, in particular, was the main stumbling block in the difficult negotiations, which preceded the announcement of a government coalition deal between Gantz and Netanyahu.

According to the deal, Netanyahu can accept or reject any of Hauser’s future appointments. Hauser is unlikely to find Netanyahu’s interference unacceptable, simply because he is used to the idea of being Netanyahu’s point man.

Yes, indeed, Hauser entered public service in 1994 to serve as the Likud party’s spokesman under Netanyahu who, at the time, was the country’s opposition leader. In fact, Hauser’s political career throughout the years seems to be intrinsically linked to Netanyahu’s own.

And here, yet, is another common ground between the Likud and the Blue and White, which could make the planned annexation of parts of the occupied Palestinian West Bank and Jordan Valley very much possible.

The text of the coalition government agreement spoke of potential annexation of parts of the occupied territories as early as the summer, in accordance with the US President Donald Trump’s “Vision for Peace”.

This understanding was by no means a concession on the part of Gantz, who, too, supports some form of annexation.

That’s where Hauser’s role becomes vital once more, for it was Hauser himself who headed the ‘Coalition for the Israeli Golan’, which championed and promoted Israel’s sovereignty over the occupied Syrian Golan Heights.

Hauser’s wish received a huge boost in March 2019, when Trump signed the order recognizing the Golan Heights as Israeli.

Despite its difficult birth and the Blue and White setback, the Netanyahu-Gantz coalition has more in common than meets the eye:

For one, Gantz seems to have abandoned his strategy of getting rid of Netanyahu through the court system. With Hauser as a middle man, Netanyahu, at least for now, is somewhat safe.

Secondly, not only is the annexation of Palestinian territories (despite strong Palestinian and international rejection to such a move) not a point of contention between the coalition partners but a point of agreement as well.

Thirdly, with Gantz’s rejection of a coalition that includes the Joint List, and Netanyahu’s complete disregard for the Palestinian leadership in the West Bank and Gaza, Palestinians are entirely erased from the political map of Israel’s ruling elites. This is unlikely to change in the future as well.

There is one positive aspect of Israel’s unpromising government coalition, and that is clarity. Knowing of Netanyahu’s anti-Palestinian, anti-peace, and anti-international law long legacy, we should have all the clarity needed to understand that no just peace can possibly be achieved when Netanyahu is still at the helm.

The same can be said of Gantz as well, who preferred to willingly shake the hand of the devil than to find common ground among the leaders of Israel’s Palestinian Arab community.

Even when Netanyahu’s eighteen-month term as Prime Minister expires, a Gantz-led Israeli government is unlikely to fare any better.

(Source / 29.04.2020) 

Palestine is still my cause, but is it yours?

Israeli-produced films on international viewing platforms such as Netflix are part of a coordinated propagandato polish Israel’s image

By Yousef al-Helou

Saudi-run TV channels are producing and showing anti-Palestine works that whitewash Israeli crimes against the Palestinians and their just cause.


Arguments have erupted on social media between Saudi and Palestinian activists over a TV programme on Saudi-run MBC. Palestinians are outraged that some Saudi activists have said that they are the enemy, not Israel. The issue arose after an episode of a comedy show, Makhraj 7.

In the scene in question, a Saudi actor advocates for the normalisation with of relations with Israel: “The enemy is the one who does not appreciates your support and insults you day and night more than the Israelis do,” says the character. “Palestinians attack Saudi Arabia verbally despite everything it has done for them over the decades.” Social media uproar followed.

It’s no surprise that Israeli officials, including those in the Prime Minister’s office, have praised the growing Gulf film and TV sector, as it promotes the Israeli narrative. This particular scene was translated into Hebrew and shared widely on Israeli mainstream and social media. In response, some Palestinians asked if the scriptwriter and production team are Israelis, while others launched #BoycottMBC to express their outrage over the policy of the Saudi channel.

“Israel is the enemy and will never be a brotherly Zionist enemy, it will remain an unjust enemy,” tweeted Gaza-based political analyst Ibrahim Al-Madhoun. “We will resist it and sacrifice our blood and souls and remain steadfast for our land. Those who abandoned us and let us down will not harm us and everyone who stands with the occupation will regret their position and lose. No matter how much you spend on dramas and media to falsify consciousness, you will fail.”

The relationship between Saudi Arabia and the Palestinians has cooled over the past few years due to funding and pressure to accept the US-sponsored “deal of the century”. Riyadh’s relationship with Hamas has also worsened, with scores of Palestinians being arrested in the Kingdom because of their connections to a “terrorist movement”.

According to one Palestinian writer, though, the people of Palestine should not be surprised to see Arabic drama programmes which disrespect their cause. “We should be ashamed of our disunity as Palestinians before we start criticising others,” Akram Attallah told me. “We need to present a new transparent image of ourselves and refrain from being greedy to power and money. We must rid ourselves of corruption in order for others to respect us.”

The MBC show was broadcast just days after an online attack by Saudi activists and Gulf trolls about a cartoon by a Palestinian which they believe insults Saudi Arabia. Following the oil price crash last week, the cartoon was drawn by Mahmoud Abbas, who lives in Sweden. The image showed a barrel of crude oil rolling after an Arab man wearing traditional Gulf clothing. It went viral on social media and drew fierce responses from Saudis, who assumed that the character represented the Saudi oil industry. Hashtag #PalestineIsNotMyCause was launched with some celebrities, writers, activists and anti-Palestinian trolls expressing their anger and accusing the Palestinians of being ungrateful for financial support from Saudi Arabia for the past few decades. A counter-campaign was launched by Palestinians using #PalestineIsMyCause and #IsraelIsTheEnemy.

Another controversial drama called Um Haroun is on MBC1 and also attracts criticism from Palestinians and other Arabs. It looks at the presence of Jews in the Gulf pre-1948, before the creation of Israel at the expense of the Palestinian people. Critics say that the programme pushes the normalisation strategy of some Arab regimes by distorting history and erasing Palestinian identity. Not surprisingly, it is viewed with delight in Israel.

Israeli army spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Avichay Adraee expressed his excitement on twitter: “I liked what [Kuwaiti] actress Hayat Al-Fahed — “Um Haroon” in the series — said about Jews who were present everywhere and this was mentioned in God’s book and that there are many religions in Kuwait.”

According to Abdel Bari Atwan of the London-based Rai Al-Youm, “Um Haroun is the most dangerous of the normalisation programmes. It claims that it is prescribed for the Jews to return to the Arabian Peninsula and to Khaybar region in particular.”

Cartoonist Mahmoud Abbas spoke to me about the online attacks against him and the Saudi-produced drama series. “They attacked me because I’m a Palestinian. It’s clear it’s a policy to demonise Palestinians and pave the way for full normalisation with Israel.”

Some believe that normalisation is nothing new, but it has been boosted by developments in the Gulf, with young leaders like Saudi Arabi’s Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman coming to the fore. This has given a green light to normalisation activists, either in the mainstream or social media.

Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh, however, still insists that Saudi Arabia and all of the other Arab states are supportive of the Palestinian cause. “In the name of our president, I urge our people to refrain from insulting any Arab person wherever he is. The Kingdom [of Saudi Arabia] and its leader and people are very dear to our hearts”.

He went on to urge “our Saudi brothers” not to make sweeping generalisations about Palestinians if one or two happen to insult them. “Such insults do not represent the official Palestinian stance and we do not take some individual Saudi insults as if they represent the official stance [in Riyadh]. I hope such mutual insults end soon.”

Israeli-produced films on international viewing platforms such as Netflix are part of a coordinated Hasbara — propaganda— campaign to polish Israel’s image. Arab programmes like those noted above will give such propaganda a boost.

These recent incidents aside, the lukewarm relationship between the PA leadership and Saudi Arabia suggests that the Palestinian cause has become a burden for some regional states. It no longer looks like the central cause of the Arab and Muslim nations given the open and accelerated normalisation process.

The hashtag #PalestineIsNotMyCause is a stab in the back of all Palestinians everywhere, because they have a legitimate cause. Internal divisions between Palestinians have been encouraged by Israel and its supporters. The people of Saudi Arabia and elsewhere should not allow the Zionists to sow such seeds of division across the region.

(Source / 29.04.2020)