BREAKING: Obama: ‘We have a window of opportunity’ with Iran

(CNN) – “We have a window of opportunity” in which Iran’s nuclear situation can be resolved diplomatically, President Barack Obama said Tuesday in his first formal news conference since last year.

“It is deeply in everybody’s interest – the U.S., Israel and the world – to see if (the Iranian nuclear situation) can be resolved in a peaceful fashion,” Obama added.

Asked to elaborate on his Monday statement that the United States “will always have Israel’s back,” Obama said, “historically, we have always cooperated with Israel with respect to the defense of Israel, just like we do with a whole range of other allies … It was not a military doctrine that we were laying out for any particular military action.”

As for the ongoing unrest in Syria, the U.S. taking unilateral military action in response to the situation, “or to think that somehow, there is some simple solution, I think is a mistake,” the president said.

The inadvertent burning of Qurans at Afghanistan’s Bagram Air Field, and the violent protests that followed, “concern me,” Obama said. “I think that it is an indication of the challenges in that environment, and it’s an indication that now is the time for us to transition (power to the Afghans).”

(politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com / 06.03.2012)

Red flags over Gaza: Palestinian leftists rally for Hana Shalabi


 

Hundreds of Palestinians, mainly from the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), the Palestinian People’s Party (PPP), the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP), and other leftist factions, rallied for administrative detainee Hana Shalabi, now on her 19th day of an open hunger strike, outside Gaza’s International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) this morning, ahead of International Women’s Day Thursday.

 

Their presence bolstered the numbers of a protest tent already erected at the ICRC entrance, and maintaining a continuous presence there, to support Shalabi.

Among the crowd, different kinds of red flags mixed easily with the black and yellow ones of Shalabi’s Islamic Jihad Movement in Palestine.

Meanwhile dozens of Palestinians continued their weekly vigil for family members imprisoned by Israel, demanding that the ICRC fulfill its obligations to protect their rights.

(occupiedpalestine.wordpress.com / 05.03.2012)

Arafat sjaal / Keffiyeh

De Arafat sjaal is opvallend door zijn grootte, materiaal, het geblokte patroon en de kleuren. De sjaal kan alle denkbare kleuren hebben maar bestaat altijd uit twee verschillende kleuren, waaronder in ieder geval zwart of wit. De sjaal heeft een vierkante vorm (bijvoorbeeld 100cmx100cm) en is gemaakt van 100% viscose of 100% katoen. Arafat sjaal

Oorsprong vd Arafat sjaal

De Keffiyeh is een traditioneel hoofdeksel dat in Arabische landen door mannen wordt gedragen. De Keffiyeh is een sjaal die om het hoofd wordt gebonden als bescherming tegen zon, kou of zand. In sommige streken is het gangbaar om met verschillende variaties de rijkdom te tonen of om aan te geven uit welke streek je afkomstig bent.

De sjaal dankt zijn naam uiteindelijk aan Yasser Arafat, de voormalige leider van de Palestijnen. Arafat droeg de geblokte doek om zijn hoofd, deze was meestal zwart-wit. Door het dragen van de sjaal wilde hij zich presenteren als de belichaming van de Palestijnse strijd. Inmiddels zijn de kleurstellingen enorm uitgebreid en de personen die de sjaal dragen zijn lang niet allemaal meer op de hoogte van de oorsprong van de sjaal.. In de jaren 80 van de vorige eeuw was de sjaal een geliefd kledingstuk van punkers, krakers, vegetariërs en andere alternatievelingen. Tegenwoordig speelt de achterliggende betekenis van de sjaal voor velen geen enkele rol meer, toch is het nog steeds precair voor een grote groep mensen zo’n geblokte doek als kledingstuk te zien. In België is de Arafatsjaal zelfs verboden voor buschauffeurs.

Merken

Mucho Gusto sjaalDe meeste sjaals hebben gewoon de naam Arafat sjaal en zijn ook onder die naam verkrijgbaar. Ze kosten rond de 5 euro.

Wil je echt opvallen dan kan je een Arafat sjaal kopen met belletjes of bolletjes in plaats van franjes. Deze kosten € 8,95. In 2010 was de modewereld, onder invloed van de geblokte Arafat sjaal, een weg ingeslagen een eigen inhoud te geven aan de sjaal. Het merk Mucho Gusto maakte er een zijden sjaal van in diverse kleurstellingen. De vanaf prijs van deze sjaal is €149,95. Alexander McQueen van Gucci verving de theedoekruit door doodskopjes. Je bent in het bezit van een Alexander McQueen limited edition skull scarf voor € 350,00 euro. Maar waarom zou je moeilijk doen als je voor heel weinig geld een enige echte Arafat sjaal kan kopen?

Hoe draag je arafat sjaal?

De kenmerkende geblokte doek waarmee Arafat altijd zichtbaar was, wordt nu op diverse wijzen gedragen. Toch zijn de mogelijkheden beperkt omdat het een nogal grote en stugge sjaal is. In plaats van om de hals, kan de sjaal om je middel als riem dienst doen. Omdat er zo veel kleurvariaties zijn, is het niet moeilijk een sjaal bij je outfit te vinden dat er uitstekend bij past. De aangepaste sjaal van Mucho Gusto of Gucci zijn veel kleiner en fijner van materiaal, hierdoor kan er veel meer mee gevarieerd worden. Deze sjaals kunnen zelfs om de pols worden gebonden als zijnde een armband. Wel een dure armband, dat wel.

Alexander McQueen Gucci

(www.goedkopesjaal.nl / 05.03.2012)

Israel okays first Gaza-West Bank trade in 5 years


Khaleej Times March 5 2012

JERUSALEM — Israel on Monday allowed the Palestinians to export two truckloads of date bars from Gaza to the West Bank in what was the first such trade between the territories since 2007, the military and an NGO said.

The rare move was permitted as part of a World Food Programme (WFP) initiative to feed Palestinian school children, Israeli NGO Gisha said in a statement, which hailed the trade as “an important step.”

But the military said it was a “one-off” trade and did not mean its nearly five-year ban on exports between the Gaza Strip and the West Bank was being lifted.

“At the request of the Palestinian Authority, we have allowed the passage from Gaza, through Israel, of two lorries carrying date bars to Judaea and Samaria (the West Bank),” said Guy Inbar, a spokesman for COGAT, the military division in charge of coordinating access to and from Gaza.

“This is a one-off pilot project, and is not a renewal of free exports from Gaza. We want to look into several tax and trade issues,” he said, without elaborating.

Gisha, which campaigns for Palestinian freedom of movement and trade, said the permission was to include 19 trucks in total, in what was “the first exception to a sweeping ban, imposed by Israel in June 2007, on transferring goods from Gaza to markets in Israel and the West Bank.”

“This is an important step toward fulfilling the Israeli government’s commitment to allow economic development for Palestinians living in Gaza,” said Gisha director Sari Bashi.

“The question is whether this is a one-time gesture to the WFP or a change in policy. If marketing goods to the West Bank can be approved once, why can’t it be allowed on a routine basis”?

Before June 2007, 85 percent of Gaza’s exports were being sold to Israel and the West Bank, with the trade ban contributing to the collapse of Gaza’s economy, the NGO said.

Israel first imposed a blockade on Gaza in June 2006 after militants there snatched one of its soldiers.

It was tightened a year later after the Islamist Hamas movement seized power, ousting forces loyal to Western-backed president Mahmud Abbas.

The blockade has been eased somewhat but still remains in place, despite the release of the captive soldier in October last year under a prisoner exchange deal between Israel and Hamas.

(occupiedpalestine.wordpress.com / 05.03.2012)

1948 Palestinians Torn Over Syria

Palestinian demonstrators shout slogans during a protest against Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad in Gaza City 21 February 2012.

Haifa – None of the past year’s events in the Arab world has preoccupied 1948 Palestinians as much as the crisis in Syria – specifically, what will happen and what position to take. No other issue has been as divisive as this one.

The debate over Syria begins with loaded questions. “Are you with the regime in Syria, or with the conspiracy against it?” ask the regime’s backers. Supporters of the revolution ask back: “Are you with the people or the regime? Do you support the massacres?”

The dispute is far from abating and nobody has thus far conducted a survey to determine the proportion of “loyalists” and “opposition.” But Palestinians within the Green Line clearly do not stand united on the issue.

Quarrels over it led to violence in Haifa last Saturday, when a pro-regime rally in solidarity with Syria was held. Some youth opposed to the event held a counter-demonstration, and were subject to verbal and then physical abuse coming from the pro-regime demonstrators.Supporters of the regime highlight its Arab nationalist credentials. “If Syria goes, the resistance goes, and Israel would be delighted,” one participant at the event remarked. They argue that the regime is the target of a Saudi- and Qatari-led conspiracy because of its anti-imperialist stance. But they seem unperturbed by President Bashar Assad’s response to the supposed conspiracy. Some even privately urge him to persist with his harsh security crackdown.

In the Israeli-occupied Syrian Golan Heights, a commemoration of a general strike against Israeli occupation turned into a pro-Assad rally. But many locals had mixed feelings.

“I don’t have any problem with people supporting the regime,” said one its opponents, adding, “But what we’re witnessing today is that many regime supporters go further than talking of a conspiracy. They call for the bloody ‘security solution’ against the people. For me, this crosses a line.”

When asked about his own view, he says, “The problem is not what does America support. The issue is what do the people want. The people said that months ago when they got sick of living without dignity.”It can seem strange sometimes. People who used to be known for their opposition to the “dictatorial” regime before the uprising now support it against “the conspiracy” and “the conspirators” targeting Syria. How did this happen? Is it truly about conspiracy or dislike of those who are opposing the regime? And how can the regime’s opponents so readily be labelled “agents”? Agents of whom?

The Syrian situation is extremely complex. There is no consensus over it as there was in favor of the Egyptian and Tunisian revolutions.

Nobody knows where Syria or the region are headed. Whatever happens, neither Assad nor Qatar are any longer held in the high regard they once were.

(english.al-akhbar.com / 05.03.2012)

Israel, Democracy and the Arabs

The prolongation of the Arab-Israeli conflict is all about the illegal occupation, expropriation, colonization, and annexation of Arab territory by Israel. And beneath the armor of the Israeli military machine is the systematic exclusion of the Other — the Arabs.

Jewish Israelis are xenophobic towards Arabs not so much because they fear them as an existential military threat, as Likud and Labour are prone to repeat, but rather because of the intrinsic demographic threat they present to the national identity of a Jewish State.

The Balfour Declaration helped create Israel as a homeland for the Jewish people; it did not stipulate a Jewish state. The exclusive nature of Israel’s national identity would consolidate over the decades with contradictory implications for representative democracy.

These contradictions are now quite obvious particularly with the bellicose and racist policies of the Right-wing Likud government, led by Prime Minister Netanyahu and Minister of Foreign Affairs Avigdor Lieberman, renowned for openly calling for the expulsion of Palestinians in 1948 areas.

Europe is starting to see beneath the veneer of parliamentary democracy in Israel and is becoming more vocal and straightforward in its criticism of Israel’s attempts to deny Palestinians in 1948 areas equal representation.

For example, the EU report on Israeli Arabs, leaked in November 2011, brings to light the preference given to Jewish graduates over Arab graduates within the same sectors. Only 450 Palestinians in 1948 areas were employed in software development in 2010, compared to 85,000 Jewish graduates in high tech.

Another indicator of the deteriorating democratic balance is that “only 1.7 per cent of the higher education system administrative staff is Palestinians in 1948 areas.” They also face a geographical disadvantage by living in Israel’s peripheral zones in the north or the Negev in the south.

The report states that “only around 120,000 Palestinians in 1948 areas, under 10 per cent of the total, live in mixed Jewish Arab towns and cities where there is greater access to both public and private employment.”

Within the Israeli Parliament (Knesset) there is a group of Palestinians in 1948 areas, but “since the state’s founding, they have only rarely been part of the governing coalitions”. Increasingly, the Jewish groups, such as Shas, have joined the coalitions with direct implications for the more zealous Jewish colonizing the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

The outspoken Palestinian Knesset member, Azmi Bishara, campaigned for the position of Israeli prime minister in 1999 before the law was changed to prevent any such challenge by an Arab contender. Why can’t a Palestinian living in Israel be prime minister of Israel?

Azmi Bishara has been banned from Israel and resides in Doha, Qatar. The leader of the Arab Movement for Renewal within the Knesset, Ahmed Tibi, and the first Palestinian woman to join the Balad party, Haneen Zo’abi, were suspended on different accounts for speaking out for their democratic rights.

Another example of exclusive passage to employment positions: a bill submitted by Israel Beiteinu members in November 2009 states that “Israeli citizens who have completed military or national service will be given preference when applying for positions in the civil service.”

Then there are the 190,000 Bedouins of the Negev Desert who have been corralled into government-created townships except for approximately a third that live in “unrecognised villages” that are “subject to demolition at any time”. The unrecognised village of Al Arakib was demolished 29 times during 2010-2011.

That statistic merits some reflection of what Israeli intentions are towards minority groups within their temporary borders. “Temporary” because Israel does not have borders… and still does not have a Constitution…

And then there is the ongoing racist desecration of churches, mosques and cemeteries by Jewish zealots. Europe watches in dismay, but baffled by the deterioration of democracy in Israel, Brussels continues to juxtapose support for Israel to be “an inclusive democracy” and “a Jewish state”. This is impossible to reconcile and reveals a deep contradiction in EU policy-making.

Europe takes great pride in having separated the “two heads of the eagle” during the creation of the modern nation-state. But here we are endorsing Israel to mix religion and state again, essentially turning back the clock to the Middle Ages.

A last irony: the growing awareness about the abuse of minorities in Israel emanates largely from the Or Commission that investigated the October 2000 killing of 12 Palestinians in 1948 areas in Umm Fahm; the riot police were under the orders of then interior minister, Shlomo Ben Ami, who went on to be the lead Israeli negotiator at Camp David! There is a long way to go, a very long way, before Israel is ready to accept the Arabs, not to mention peace.

– Stuart Reigeluth and Julian Memetaj work at the Council for European Palestinian Relations (CEPR) in Brussels. Mr. Reigeluth contributed this article to PalestineChronicle.com.

(palestinechronicle.com / 05.03.2012)

Arab justice’s refusal to sing Israeli anthem ignites debate on national identity

Salim Joubran, the only Arab Christian among the Israeli Supreme Court, has come under fire for not singing the national anthem at a ceremony. (File photo)

Salim Joubran, the only Arab Christian among the Israeli Supreme Court, has come under fire for not singing the national anthem at a ceremony.
The refusal of Israeli Supreme Court Justice Salim Joubran, an Arab Christian, to sing the Jewish state’s national anthem last week during a ceremony to mark the swearing-in of a new chief justice has stirred controversy in Israel and revived the debate over the nature of Israel’s relation with its non-Jewish citizens.

David Rotem of the nationalist Yisrael Beiteinu Party and chairman of the Knesset’s Constitution, Law and Justice Committee, was quoted by the New York Times as saying that Justice Joubran “spat in the face of the state of Israel” by refusing to sing its anthem.

“Those who object to the Zionist hymn,” Rotem said, “can find a state with a more appropriate anthem and move there,” he added.

The incident took place in the president’s house where members of the Supreme Court and others had gathered for the ceremony.

The lyrics of Israel’s national anthem known as “Hatikva” (“The Hope” in English) includes the words: “Our hope is not yet lost, the hope of two thousand years, to be a free people in our land, the land of Zion and Jerusalem.”

Critics of the anthem inside Israel, including leftist Jews, say it is understandable that a Christian or a Muslim would not embrace the “yearning of the Jewish soul.”

The left-oriented Haaretz newspaper wrote in an editorial last Friday that “Supreme Court Justice Salim Joubran has the right not to sing the national anthem. The law doesn’t oblige him to do so, and the song’s lyrics don’t enable him to do so.”

“With its current lyrics,” according to Haaretz, the anthem does not belong to Israel’s 1.5 million “Arab citizens, who face discrimination in almost every area;” therefore, they have the right not sing it.

“The lyrics of Israel’s anthem were written in 1878 by Naphtali Herz Imber as an expression of the national sentiments of the Jewish people, and the Jewish people only. No Arab citizen who had any self-respect, political awareness or national consciousness could sing these words without committing the sins of hypocrisy and falsehood,” Haaretz wrote.

Haaretz columnist Gideon Levy, meanwhile, wrote that Justice Joubran “was not prepared to sing this hymn of hypocrisy” and his action taught Israelis an “instructive lesson in democracy.”

“Joubran on Tuesday put us to the test, and the vaunted Israeli democracy failed miserably. Among all the speeches (yada, yada, yada) at the new Supreme Court president’s inauguration ceremony, it was Joubran’s silence that taught us an important lesson: That Israeli democracy is paper-thin and fragile. All it needs to ruin it is one judge who refuses to join the choir,” Levy wrote.

Justice Salim Joubran is the only Arab in the Jewish state’s highest court and has recently participated in the conviction and imprisonment of former President Moshe Katsav’s on counts of rape and sexual assault.

In related news, Michael Ben Ari, member of the Knesset for the National Union party, proposed a bill called the “Joubran bill” last week, demanding that only those who have served in the Israeli military be appointed to the Supreme Court.

(english.alarabiya.net / 05.03.2012)

Nationaal Islam Congres (NIC)!

Zet zondag 8 april 2012 in je agenda: het is dan weer tijd voor het jaarlijkse Nationaal Islam Congres (NIC)!
Ditmaal in de Amsterdam Convention Factory in Amsterdam-Oost, niet ver van het Centraal Station. Een perfecte locatie voor een geweldig congres.

Wij gaan u wederom een onvergetelijke dag laten beleven, met diverse prominente sprekers uit binnen- en buitenland, een islambeurs met o.a. een grote islamitische boekenmarkt, het grote islamdebat en nog veel meer.

Op twee podia vinden er inspirerende en boeiende lezingen en debatten plaats. Maar het congres is niet alleen leerzaam en enerverend, het is ook enorm gezellig. Naast de islambeurs is er ook entertainment met anasheed en vermakelijke optredens van islamitische jeugdtheatergroep Noor. Alle culturen van de Islam treffen elkaar op het NIC; het is dan ook dé plek om netwerken op te bouwen.

Het Nationaal Islam Congres brengt mensen samen! Het Nationaal Islam Congres is hét islamevenement van het jaar. Daar moet je gewoon bij zijn.

Hou de site in de gaten. Er komen regelmatig updates omtrent het programma!

(2012.islamcongres.nl / 05.03.2012)

Benelux Korancompetitie 2012

    • zaterdag 10 maart 2012
    • 16:00 tot 19:00
  • Op 17 juni 2012 is het zover, dan vindt de finale van de Benelux Korancompetitie 2012 plaats.

    De Benelux Korancompetitie (BKC2012) is een jaarlijks evenement. Het doel van BKC 2012 is
    het bevorderen en stimuleren van het memoriseren en reciteren van de heilige Koran, onder alle
    moslims van verschillende leeftijden en niveaus in België, Nederland en Luxemburg.

    De organisatie van de BKC2012 werkt nauw samen met moskeeën en islamitische organisaties
    in België en Nederland om het evenement tot een succes te maken. Ook Luxemburg zal spoedig
    betrokken worden bij de organisatie van de Korancompetitie. Verschillende moskeeën zijn
    gastheer van de voorrondes. Dit om interactie tussen deelnemers en moskeeën te bevorderen.
    De winnaars van verschillende categorieën slepen verschillende prijzen in de wacht, waaronder
    de Hadj en de Umrah.

    Om de BKC2012 ook dit jaar tot een succes te maken, wordt er afgetrapt met een benefiet event.
    Het benefiet wordt op zaterdag 10 maart 2012 gehouden in Moskee El Islam in Den Haag.

    Om de BKC2012 goed te kunnen promoten, kunnen wij uw hulp goed gebruiken.
    Wij willen u vriendelijk vragen of u:
    – de BKC2012 bij uw leden onder de aandacht wilt brengen. Aanmelden voor
    de voorrondes kan vanaf 11 maart 2012 middels het invullen van het online
    aanmeldformulier op www.korancompetitie.nl
    – ons op Facebook wilt volgen en te ‘liken’: www.facebook.com/korancompetitie
    – ons op Twitter wilt volgen en te ‘retweeten’: www.twitter.com/korancompetitie. Om
    alle tweets voor de BKC2012 te groeperen willen wij u vragen de hashtag #BKC2012 te
    gebruiken
    – Het benefiet event op 10 maart in Moskee El Islam te promoten. Hoe meer animo van
    deelnemers en sponsors, hoe groter en mooier de BKC2012 insha’Allah

    Tot slot vragen wij u om uw duaa voor het goed en succesvol organiseren van de BKC2012. Moge
    Allah swt u en ons belonen voor onze inzet, deelname en sponsoring insha’Allah.

    Graag tot ziens op zaterdag 10 maart 2012 in Moskee El Islam.

    Wassalamoe aleikoem warahmatoe Allah

    Wat:
    Wanneer:
    Aanvang:
    Waar:

    Benelux Korancompetitie Benefiet event
    Zaterdag 10 maart 2012
    16:00 uur
    Moskee El Islam
    Van der Vennestraat 20
    2525 CG Den Haag

    De Benelux Korancompetitie wordt georganiseerd door vereniging El Mishkaat, kijk voor meer
    informatie op www.el-mishkaat.com

Muslim Integration Reignites German Debate

A new government study claiming that many Muslims refuse to integrate into the society and tends to violence has reignited a new debate in the Western European country, The Local newspaper reported.

“Germany respects the background and cultural identity of its immigrants,” Interior Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich told the Bildnewspaper.
“But we don’t accept the importation of authoritarian, anti-democratic and religiously fanatical points of view.”
A study commissioned by the Interior Ministry found on Thursday, March 1, that nearly 48 percent of non-German Muslims refuse to integrate into the society and reject German majority culture.
The study, “The Daily Life of Young Muslims in Germany”, which interviewed several generations of Muslims living in Germany and evaluated television program, said that 48 percent of non-German Muslims “strongly learned toward separation”.
But the study showed that the percentage rises to 78 percent among German Muslim citizens who favor integration.
The interior minister, who is a member of the Christian Social Union, a sister party of the ruling Christian Democra
The study, which included Muslims between 14 and 32 who had not become German citizens, claimed that there was a “subgroup” of religious extremists among Muslims who hold anti-western views and tend to use violence.tic Union, said those who fights against freedom and democracy will not have a future in Germany.
It puts the percentage of this “subgroup” “Rejecting integration can, but it doesn’t have to, provide fertile ground for religious fanaticism and terrorism,” Hans-Peter Uhl, the domestic affairs spokesman of the CSU faction in the German parliament, said in an article on Thursday.
Uhl called on non-German Muslims to show proof that they are seeking to integrate into society.
at 15 percent among German Muslim citizens and at 24 among non-citizens.

(www.europeanphoenix.com / 05.03.2012)