China condemns Israel for settler units in occupied Palestinian territories

China has censured Israel’s plans to build thousands more settler units in the occupied Palestinian territories and has called for an immediate halt to the construction of the settlements, Press TV reports.

“China is always strongly opposed” to the building of illegal Israeli settlement units in the occupied East al-Quds (Jerusalem) and the West Bank, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said on Thursday.

Israeli Interior Ministry spokeswoman Efrat Orbach said on Monday that the Israeli regime plans to construct 1,600 new illegal settlement units in East al-Quds, which was annexed by Tel Aviv following the Six-Day War of 1967, in violation of international law.

Orbach said that the 1,600 settlement units first announced in March 2010 would be built in the East al-Quds neighborhood of Ramat Shlomo.

On November 30, Israel approved a plan to build 3,000 more units in East al-Quds and the occupied West Bank.

Many countries, including some of Tel Aviv’s allies, have condemned the Israeli plans to construct illegal settler units in the occupied Palestinian territories.

Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt said on Monday that the Israeli plan is “pure vengeance against the Palestinians following the UN vote.”

On November 29, the 193-member UN General Assembly voted 138-9 with 41 abstentions to upgrade Palestine’s status to non-member observer state.

The observer state status grants Palestinians access to UN agencies and the International Criminal Court, where they can file formal complaints against the Israeli regime.

On Monday, Britain, France, Spain, Sweden, and Denmark summoned the Israeli ambassadors in their capitals to protest against the settlement expansion plan.

In addition, Turkey strongly condemned the move on Sunday, and the Turkish Foreign Ministry issued a statement saying that Israel’s illegal settlement activities intentionally “destroy the groundwork” laid for establishing lasting peace in the region.

On Friday, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton urged Tel Aviv to cancel the plan, which she called “counterproductive.”

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon also expressed “grave concern and disappointment” on Sunday over the Israeli settlement plans.

Israel’s annexation of East al-Quds (Jerusalem) is in violation of United Nations Security Council Resolution 242 and has never been recognized by the international community.

( / 07.12.2012)

Israeli Settler Terror: 47 year old man beaten up by illegal settlers

100539_345x230[1]NABLUS (Ma’an) — A 47-year-old Palestinian man was beaten up by Israeli settlers during an olive harvest south of Nablus on Thursday, local officials said.

Nasser Fayez Odah is in a moderate condition after a group of settlers attacked him with sticks and sharp objects, Huwara village council head Moin al-Dmeiri said.

A group from the Yitzhar settlement attacked the harvesters in an area south of village called al-Lahaf, the official said. The farmers had already obtained permission from the Palestinian and Israeli liaison officials to harvest in the area, he noted.

Rights groups says Israel systematically fails to prosecute settler violence against Palestinians, perpetuating the attacks.

( / 06.12.2012)

No peace deal without new Israeli settlements, Netanyahu says


Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during a joint press conference with German chancellor at the Chancellery in Berlin, on December 6, 2012. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was holding tense talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Thursday as plans to build thousands of new settler homes on occupied Palestinian land strained ties with key allies.

Israel’s prime minister brushed off international uproar over a planned new settlement project near Jerusalem, claiming Thursday that Israel will keep the area under any future peace deal in any case.

Israel’s plans to build 3,000 new settler homes in the corridor east of Jerusalem triggered sharp criticism in Europe — including from Germany, traditionally one of Israel’s most stalwart allies. The move came after the UN General Assembly voted to support a Palestinian statehood bid — with Germany abstaining rather than voting against.

Netanyahu’s tough comments were the latest sign that he has no plans to step back from his plans to develop the area. On Wednesday, initial plans for the project were unveiled, though officials stressed it could be years before construction actually begins.


German Chancellor Angela Merkel appeared anxious to downplay tensions between the two countries, saying after meeting Netanyahu that, as far as Israeli settlements on land that the Palestinians want for a future state are concerned, “we agree that we do not agree.”

Palestinians say building settler homes in the so-called E1 corridor would make it impossible for them to establish a viable state in the West Bank.

Nabil Abu Rdeneh, a senior adviser to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, said it “is a red line, and there will be no solution in the presence of this project.”

“After the decision of the UN General Assembly, every centimetre in Jerusalem and the West Bank is Palestinian land, and every Israeli settlement is illegal,” he said.

Netanyahu offered no indication that his government might be prepared to backtrack. The contentious corridor is small, he told reporters, and “successive governments from Yitzhak Rabin on down to my predecessor, Mr. [Ehud] Olmert, have also said this would be incorporated in a final peace treaty.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (L) and German Chancellor Angela Merkel attend a joint press conference at the Chancellery in Berlin, on December 6, 2012.

Olmert wanted to keep the corridor under Israeli control under a final peace deal, but reportedly opposed any development of the area before a peace agreement is reached. A spokesman for Olmert did not immediately return a message seeking comment.

The Palestinians note that no agreements were ever reached.

The area could sever parts of the West Bank from east Jerusalem, their hoped-for capital. Linked to an existing bloc of settlements, the sprawling area would also drive a deep wedge between the northern and southern flanks of the West Bank, greatly hindering movement.

The unusually tense build-up to Netanyahu’s long-planned trip to Germany, one of Israel’s closest allies in Europe, reflected the increasing displeasure in Europe at his government’s seeming intransigence, particularly over Jewish settlements on lands the Palestinians want for a future state.

Six friendly European countries summoned the local Israeli ambassadors to file protests, and the U.S. has condemned the latest settlement plans. On Wednesday, the Palestinians asked the UN Security Council to call on Israel to halt the planned construction.

In an interview with German newspaper Die Welt published on Wednesday, Netanyahu said that he “was disappointed, as were many people in Israel, by the German vote in the UN” on Palestinian statehood.

“I took note of this,” Merkel said at the two leaders’ joint news conference at which she stressed anew Germany’s commitment to Israel’s security.

“We did not take the vote, and our position, lightly,” Merkel said. “We are against unilateral measures, so we didn’t vote yes — that was very carefully considered. On the other hand, there is a certain amount of movement on the recognition of two states, which at many points in time we didn’t have with the Palestinians.”

New housing under construction on December 4, 2012 in the West Bank Jewish settlement of Ariel. Israel plans to build 3,000 new settler homes in East Jerusalem and the West Bank, , a move that has prompted wide-spread, international objections.

Netanyahu stressed that despite the vote, Germany and other European countries have been among Israel’s strongest allies and remain committed to helping ensure its security.

“I don’t think that we lost Europe,” he said of the vote.

Canada and the United States, both staunch allies of Israel’s who voted against the controversial Palestinian statehood bid at the UN, have also condemned Israel’s construction plans.

Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird said Wednesday that Israel’s plan to build new settlements on territory claimed by the Palestinians is not helping the cause of peace in the Middle East, making his first public statement on the matter in the House of Commons.

The Harper government has been criticized for staying virtually silent on the Israeli move, beyond a generic statement that unilateral moves by either side were not good for the prospects of peace.

Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird responds to a question during question period in the House of Commons Tuesday December 4, 2012 in Ottawa.

Baird reiterated the government’s heavy criticism of the Palestinian statehood bid during question period when he was asked about the settlements by the Bloc Quebecois.

But he emphasized that neither the UN vote nor the settlement announcement is helpful.

“We have been a strong supporter of economic development and security relations in the West Bank through our humanitarian and foreign aid developments, with respect to the Palestinian Authority,” said Baird.

“However, the PA’s action and provocative rhetoric at the United Nations would obviously elicit a response from Israel. Neither is helpful to advance the cause of peace and we do not support either.”

Baird was responding to a question by Bloc Quebecois MP Jean-Francois Fortin, who called for “a more balanced position” and from Canada.

“Even Israel’s allies are denouncing this renewed colonization,” said Fortin.

The exchange marked the first time the government was questioned in the Commons on Israel’s new settlement announcement, which came a day after the UN recognized the state of Palestine as a non-member observer.

A general view of the Jewish settlement on December 4, 2012 in the West Bank settlement of Ariel.

Meanwhile, Israeli and Palestinian relations continued to deteriorate Wednesday over the settlement dispute.

Israel continued to move forward with plans that would see the construction of 3,000 new settler homes in the West Bank and east Jerusalem.

The Palestinians were using their newfound status to push the UN Security Council to adopt a resolution to stop Israel from “methodically and aggressively pushing ahead with this unlawful land grab and colonization of Palestine.”

The U.S. State Department condemned the “unhelpful rhetoric” of the Palestinians.

The U.S. would likely veto a Security Council resolution condemning Israel, and it has said it won’t tolerate the Palestinians taking Israel the International Criminal Court, something that is now an option with its increased UN recognition.

The U.S. also has expressed its opposition to the new Israeli settlement plan in a harsher-than-usual tone.

( / 06.12.2012)

Israeli Street Sign in West Bank


An Israeli street sign placed in the occupied West Bank (near Bethlehem) on Road 375 going from El-Khader Junction with road 60 (Tunnel Road) to Ela Valley. The sign is placed just before crossing from Israel to the West Bank, near the illegal, Jewish-only colony/settlement of Betar Illit and the Palestinian villages of Husan, Batir and Wadi Fuqeen (Betar Checkpoint). It says in Hebrew:

“Welcome to Betar Checkpoint

This checkpoint is for the passage of Israelis only. It is forbidden to pass and/or drive a person through this checkpoint, who is not Israeli!!

“Israeli” – a resident of Israel, a person who lives in the area and is a citizen of Israel, or a person ENTITLED TO MAKE ALIYAH TO ISRAEL ACCORDING TO THE [JEWISH] LAW OF RETURN, 1950, AS VALID IN ISRAEL” (emphasis added)

…and another such sign just sent to me by a friend:

Photo taken in 2006 at Eliyahu Checkpoint just south of the Palestinian city of Qalqilya. This one is in Arabic on left side and Hebrew on right side.

( / 06.12.2012)

Israeli soldiers ransack homes in Nablus

NABLUS (Ma’an) — Israeli forces stormed the West Bank village of Barqa west of Nablus early Thursday and ransacked 36 homes, a Palestinian official said.Wael Daghlas, a member of the Barqa village council, told Ma’an that hundreds of soldiers were involved in the raid.

Rafat Seif, 48, a resident of the village, told Ma’an that Israeli forces stormed his house at 2 a.m. without warning. Soldiers gathered his family members in one room during the raid, he said.

Seif said Israeli forces ransacked the home and destroyed the contents. He pointed out that his four children did not go to school because they had no clothes to wear.

A Ma’an photographer confirmed the accounts and said Israeli forces also ransacked the house of the Salah family.

Family member Iyad Salah is a long-term prisoner in Israeli jail. The soldiers destroyed his brother’s bedroom.

Iyad’s 76-year-old mother said “I was awake until 2 a.m., and the Israeli forces came and ransacked the house.

“They said that they came to inspect the house, but they destroyed all the house’s content. Even the livestock, they killed one sheep.”

Ghassan Daghlas, who monitors settler activity in the northern West Bank, told Ma’an that the raid could be viewed as an Israeli reaction to the UN’s acceptance of Palestine as a state.

An Israeli army spokeswoman said soldiers found weapons in some of the homes.

She said soldiers “uncovered knives as well as an air rifle and 16 pistols,” a hunting gun, ammunition and “Hamas affiliated items” in the homes.

( / 06.12.2012)

5 family members killed in Nuristan airstrike

No details available

ASADABAD (PAN): Five members of a family were killed in an air strike conducted by the International Security Assistance Force in Wanth Waigal district of eastern Nuristan on Wednesday, an official said.

Wanth Waigal District Chief Rehmatullah Rehmat told Pajhwok Afghan News that the incident took place in Kakigal area at about 11am.

The victims were residents of Nangalam area of Marogai district of Kunar province, he added.

They were travelling to Waigal district to welcome a friend who had returned from the Hajj and wanted to present him with a sheep in keeping with a local tradition.The sheep was wounded in the attack.

The victims’ elder brother said two of his siblings were teachers and were innocent people.

A resident of Marogai district said that among the victims were three brothers and two of their nieces.

( / 06.12.2012)

Party of Former Israel FM Gets Boost From Defector

Former Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni has added a big name to her new political party after a former defense minister defected from the Labor Party to join it.

Amir Peretz, a onetime labor Party chairman, announced at a news conference on Thursday that he was moving over to Livni’s party, The Movement, ahead of Jan. 22 parliamentary elections. Her party’s platform is distinctive for focusing on peacemaking with the Palestinians.

Peretz’s move is unlikely to improve the prospects of the center-left bloc. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his hawkish allies are expected to form the next government.

Peretz left Labor after unsuccessfully urging its current leader, Shelly Yachimovich, to declare she wouldn’t join a Netanyahu-led government.

Peretz served as defense minister during Israel’s 2006 war against Lebanese Hezbollah guerrillas.

( / 06.12.2012)

Marokkaanse honorair consul in Syrië vermoord

De Marokkaanse honorair consul in Syrië is dinsdag vermoord toen hij in Aleppo een hotel verliet. Dat heeft het Marokkaanse persbureau MAP woensdag gemeld. Mohamed Alae Eddinne, die sinds 2001 honorair consul was, werd volgens MAP aangevallen door een groep gewapende lieden in een taxi.

Bij de aanval op Eddinne kwam ook een tweede persoon om het leven. Details daarover werden niet bekendgemaakt.

Marokko is volgende week woensdag gastland voor een bijeenkomst van de Vrienden van Syrië, een alliantie van landen die de rebellen steunen die tegen de regering van president Bashar Assad strijden.

( / 06.12.2012)

PvdA Ede hekelt SGP standpunt over Turkse moskee


 EDE – De Edese raadsfractie van de PvdA twijfelt over een hernieuwde deelname met de SGP in het college van burgemeester en wethouders na de gemeenteraadsverkiezingen van het voorjaar van 2014. Aanleiding is het standpunt van de staatkundig gereformeerden in commissie Ruimtelijke Ordening (RO) van 27 november 2012 waar het principebesluit voor de bouw van een moskee werd besproken, meldt de PvdA op z’n website.

De SGP gaf aan dat zij zich uit geloofsovertuiging onmogelijk kon verenigen met de bouw van een moskee. Het ging er daarbij niet om of de gedachte plaats goed of slecht was, maar om het feit dat een moskee waarin de Islam wordt beleden naar het oordeel van de SGP tegen het gebod van God in gaat. Daarom kan de SGP om principiële redenen niet voor de bouw van een moskee zijn. De SGP verwoordde dat de SGP wat dit betreft haar principiële opvatting stelt boven de grondwet. Spannend, want alle SGP leden hebben gezworen de grondwet getrouw na te leven.

Bij de collegeonderhandelingen was het vraagstuk van bestuursverantwoordelijkheid dragen met inbegrip van vragen als zondagsrust en de bouw van een moskee volop aan de orde, aldus de fractie van PvdA. ,,Vanuit algemene opvattingen is daar grondig over doorgesproken en geconcludeerd dat het met de gemaakte afspraken wellicht toch mogelijk is. In andere gemeenten kan het ook en de SGP in Ede is toch ook niet meer de SGP uit de vorige eeuw.”

En dan is er volgens de PvdA-fractie opeens de felle getuigenis van de SGP uit de mond van raadslid Henk Kok ,,Ongenaakbaar en één van de redenen waarom mensen bang zijn voor het soort godsdienst, waar dit denken uit voort komt en waar zij heel boos over kunnen worden. Als godsdienst niet los komt van de wrake Gods en men iedere burger wil meten aan de meetlat van het eigen gelijk, dan worden er harde woorden gesproken. Velen in de PvdA hebben de gevolgen van dit denken moeten ervaren en hebben zich daar met pijn van losgescheurd. De boeken van Maarten ‘t Hart en anderen zijn er getuigen van.”

Het standpunt van de SGP is niet belemmerend voor de ontwikkeling van de moskee, want er is een royale meerderheid om het bestemmingsplan in procedure te brengen, stelt de PvdA-fractie. ,,Het standpunt van de SGP is wel een zware aanslag op de manier van omgaan met elkaar. Bijna zoals in de tijd van de discussie over het crematorium. De PvdA staat een politiek voor waarin staat en kerk gescheiden zijn. Religie is ook voor veel mensen in de PvdA een bron van energie en inspiratie om te werken aan een samenleving waarin mensen elkaar respecteren en stimuleren.”

,,De kern van elke religie, hetzij christendom, hetzij Joods, hetzij Islam, hetzij Hindoestaans, hetzij Boeddhisme of welke religie ook is het geloof in de mens en dat mensen elkaar kunnen helpen. Steun van iets onnoemelijks helpt hen daarbij”, is de mening van de PvdA.

,,Echter, zodra een religie in fundamenteel denken over gaat waarbij het eigen gelijk als enige waarheid zaligmakend is dan gaat het telkens en overal in de wereld helemaal mis. Ook als je het begrip religie vervangt door ideologie die als enige waarheid wordt gezien gaat het mis. Vervolging en geweld zijn het gevolg.”

,,SGP’ers hebben een strakke geloofsovertuiging”, zo gaat de PvdA-fractie verder. ,,Helaas houdt dat ook in dat iemand die de bijbel op een andere manier leest en uitlegt niet geaccepteerd wordt. SGP’ers verwoorden dat doorgaans allervriendelijkst, maar nu ging dat toch anders. Zodanig zelfs dat in het debat door onder meer de ChristenUnie en het CDA de grondwet werd aangehaald. Artikel 1 van de grondwet verbiedt discriminatie op grond van godsdienst; welke godsdienst dan ook.”

( / 06.12.2012)

Israeli army demolish more buildings in Palestinian village

It’s a move many interpret as an act of vengeance. The Israeli army has carried out demolition orders in the West Bank– including the city of Jerusalem al-Quds. Many Human rights groups believe that Israel is trying to divide the West Bank in order to further isolate Palestinians.
The Israeli army demolished 3 buildings in the West Bank, which included a famers outhouse in the village of Akrabe in Nablus, a mosque in the south Hebron hills and a house in Jerusalem al-Quds.

Furthermore settlers attacked a small house in the village of Libon outside of Ramallah, although little damage was caused.

Human rights groups have stated that there is a pattern in the demolitions which take place in the West Bank, particularly after a diplomatic victory.

Human rights groups are further concerned that, due to the surge of new Israeli settlements being constructed in the West Bank, this is dividing the West bank and further isolating Palestinians from Jerusalem.

Khalil Shaheen further explained how the West Bank will be divided.

The destruction of the famers house in Akrabe is an example of how the Israeli Authorities are preventing economic growth in the West Bank as thousands of famers houses and property are under demolition orders and many farmers now need special permission to enter their land.

There has been a recent surge of housing demolitions at the hands of the Israeli army which includes this farm outhouse here in Akrabe.

Human rights groups are becoming increasingly more concerned that Israel is taking punitive measures against the Palestinians particularly after their victory at the UN.

( / 05.12.2012)