History Of Islam

The word Islam means “submission to God”. The Holy Quran describes Islam as an Arabic word Deen (way of life). The followers of Islam are called Muslims. The literal meaning of Muslim is “one who surrenders” or “submits” to the will of God. In order to understand Islam, the basic portrayal of belief in Quran must be considered. According to Quran, those who submit to one God are Muslims. Aisha Y. Musa writes in h…is article, Jews in the Quran: An Introduction that, “Islam is the religion of all the prophets from Adam to Noah to Abraham to Moses, Jesus and Mohammad. (10:71-72, 84; 2:128-133; 5:110-112).” Quran also declares that all the prophets who came before Mohammad and their followers were all Muslims.

The origin of Islam dates back to the creation of the world. All the prophets who came to this world preached the same message of believing in one God and to accept them as His messenger. The prophets were also blessed with a manifestation of divine will or truth. Likewise, Prophet Mohammad was also a messenger of God. He revealed the truth and the way of life through the Holy Quran.

Before the birth of Prophet Mohammad (Peace Be Upon Him), the Arab society believed in multiple Gods. Although the Arabs believed in the unity of God, but they also claimed that God has entrusted His duties to various gods, goddesses and idols. For this purpose, they had more than 360 idols. They considered angels as the daughters of God. They were ignorant of social values. They were nomadic people who were dependent on cattle for their living. There was no government or law. All power existed with the rich. The society was full of barbarity and brutality. Tribes fought with each other over trivial matters for centuries. A slight argument over horses or water could lead to the slaughtering of thousands of innocent people.

It was the birth of Prophet Mohammad in 570 A.D in the city of Makkah which brought a revolution to the entire fate of the nomadic Arabs. He became famous among the people of Makkah at a very early age because of his allegiance and reliability. He was widely known as Al-Ameen (honest, trustworthy.)

At the age of 40, when Mohammad was meditating at Mt. Hera, he received a revelations from God. The angel Gabriel said to him, “Iqra” which means “to read”. Mohammad replied “I cannot read”. Gabriel embraced and released him. Then the first five verses of God was revealed to him which said, “Recite in the name of your Lord who created! He created man, out of a (mere) cloth of congealed blood. Recite; and thy Lord is most bountiful. He who had taught by the pen, taught man what he knew not.” (96:1-5)

Mohammad started proclaiming the message of believing in one God. The people who once called him “Trustworthy” and “Honest” boycotted and plotted to kill him. In 622 A.D., due to worsening living conditions and social isolation, Prophet Mohammad migrated to Medina along with his followers. This flight was known as Hijrah and marks the beginning of the Muslims calendar. Mohammad’s message spread rapidly and the number of followers increased in Medina. During the next few years, a series of battles were fought between various tribes of Makkah and the Muslims of Medina. In 628 A.D, the Treaty of Hudaibiyah was signed between the two parties. Truce was declared for 10 years. The treaty was broken in 629 A.D by the non-Muslims of the Makkans. Mohammad moved towards Makkah with 10,000 men and the battle was won without a single bloodshed. Mohmmad died in 632 A.D , at the age of 63 in the city of Medina. Mohammad’s death brought a huge catastrophe among Muslims. People could not believe that Mohammad had left them forever. Many of the followers were perplexed and distraught, and claimed him to be still living. At that time Mohammad funeral, Abu Bakr, who was the most respected of all the followers affirmed that, “O people, those of you who worshipped Mohammad, Mohammad has died. And those of you who worshipped God, God is still living.”

Abu Bakr was chosen as the first Caliph (leader). Before his death in 634 A.D., Umar ibn ul Khattab was appointed as his successor. During the ten years of his rule, Muslims conquered 22 hundreds thousands miles of area. Mesopotamia and parts of Persia were taken from the Sassanids Empire (Iranian Dynasty), and Egypt, Palestine, Syria, North Africa and Armenia from the Byzantine Empire. He was devoted and committed to his people and established an empire of peace, justice and dignity. The teachings of Islam started to spread through love. The principle of equality among all the people irrespective of race, color, caste, and creed won the hearts of the people. Within a few years, a lot of people accepted the message of Islam. By the tenth century, Islam dominated the half of the world known at that time.

Mohammad Ali writes in his article, “The condition of Arabs before the advent of the Holy Prophet and the Transformation He Wrought in Them,” says that “From such debasing idolatry, the holy Prophet uplift the whole of Arabia in a brief span of twenty years . . . is not this the mightiest miracle that the world has ever witnessed ? . . . It was this fallen humanity whom the Holy prophet raised to the highest level of moral rectitude.”

Mahatma Gandhi, in his unique style, says “Some one has said that Europeans in South Africa dread the advent Islam – Islam that civilized Spain, Islam that took the torch light to Morocco and preached to the world the Gospel of brotherhood. The Europeans of South Africa dread the Advent of Islam. They may claim equality with the white races. They may well dread it, if brotherhood is a sin. If it is equality of colored races then their dread is well founded.”

Sarojini Naidu explains his point in Ideals of Islam by saying that “It was the first religion that preached and practiced democracy; for, in the mosque, when the call for prayer is sounded and worshippers are gathered together, the democracy of Islam is embodied five times a day when the peasant and king kneel side by side and proclaim: ‘God Alone is Great’… I have been struck over and over again by this indivisible unity of Islam that makes man instinctively a brother.”

Professor Hurgronje writes “the fact is that no nation of the world can show a parallel to what Islam has done towards the realization of the idea of the League of Nations “.

(www.whyislamtrue.org / 11.06.2011)

Gaza health conditions in crisis

Gaza, (Pal Telegraph) – The Israeli siege continues to disturb different facets of the living conditions for the entire population of 1.7 million living in the Gaza Strip.  With news that Egypt opened the Rafah border permanently, pressure on Gazans increased. The crossing didn’t open properly and Israel still control all commercial crossings.  In addition, there are severe security measures that still hinder the process of travelling for thousands of Palestinians. Limited access of food, commodities and medications are still in effect. Further confounding the problems is the fact that Palestinian national unity has not achieved the factual results expected by the besieged people. Official Israeli sources, spokespersons and media outlets are seizing on all what they can to say that there is no siege in Gaza. Whilst, only the population of Gaza suffer the repercussions of the external and internal political problems.


Health sector paralyzed!

According to Gaza’s health bodies and utilities, severe shortages are hitting the sector due to the continued closure.  The shortages have led to a reduction in services, including surgeries. A number of patients are on the waiting list for urgent medical operations. According to Gaza’s health ministry, the medical storage will soon be depleted, which further endangers the lives of the innocent population.

Around 187 sort of medications are missed, as well as 190 types of medical requirement. In total, 50% of Gaza’s health and medical storage have evaporated.  This shortage is endangering many patients especially those of cancer, Kidney diseases, heart, eyes, nerves and psychological diseases.
This problem has been taking place for years now, since the start of the Siege some 4 years ago. Medical convoys and shipments of medications brought by International NGOs have temporarily solved the problem in the past.  .

International Investigation

According to the Lancet Magazine, the Norwegian Government sent two doctors on a health mission to Gaza in April 2011 to examine Gaza’s chronic shortage of medicines.  The same magazine reported of a similar mission sent in 2009, after the war, and concluded similar results to the recent one.

The report says, ” The Gaza Strip still has a persistent drug shortage, despite some recent Israeli and Egyptian talks about easing the strict blockade that has left this crowded enclave isolated since July, 2007. A political rift between the Hamas-run Government of Gaza and Fatah officials in the West Bank hinders communication and coordination between the Palestinian health ministries—adding to the hardships already faced by patients in Gaza.”

It also added that Norwegian physicians Tone Hegna and Åse Vikanes followed the delivery of 200 pallets of medical supplies from Ramallah to Gaza in early February 2011.  They confirmed that many drugs and basic disposables remain in short supply, and that a bad situation is made worse by inadequate storage, transport and incineration facilities.

People close to death

The health crisis in the Strip has increased the suffering of people, with some nearing death.

Anwar Nahid, 18, suffers from early diabetes. Her illness is rare at her age. The prescribed medications are missed such as insulin injections. The absence of the medications is affecting her severely, and blurred her vision.

“I’m sick with this disease for 5 years now. My father is jobless and I have 8 siblings. In many occasions, I find it hard to find the medicines I need. If I do, it is expensive and hard to obtain. My doctors are asking me to go for a specific food for diet purposes. But, I can’t afford to bring fruits and some vegetables as the prices are really high. I hope my father works again and I get my medications.” Said young Anwar.

Her mother added that Anwar has fainted many times and the doctors said she has entered a dangerous level. Anwar was injured in a car accident and her illness make her treatment harder, as diabetes slow the healing process. Doctors warn her of a potential stroke because of the effect of the diabetes on her blood.

(networkedblogs.com / 11.06.2011)

Palestine Youth House ***بيت الشباب الفلسطيني

Opgericht in
In Beit Ommar Village by Youths
Locatie
Over
Palestine Youth House is a non-profit organization seeks to find Opportunities for youths in Beit Ommar village, Palestine.
Beschrijving
Palestine Youth House: is a non-profit organization and is not exclusive to any one, where the administrative body and the Public body consist of Palestinians youth class from the town of Beit Omar.
مؤسسة بيت الشباب الفلسطيني: هي مؤسسة غير ربحية ليست حكراً على أحد, الهيئة الإدارية فيها والهيئة العامة من فئة الشباب الفلسطيني من بلدة بيت أمر
Algemene Informatie
The idea of the House stemmed from several people from the agricultural village of Beit Ommar consisting of youth who are studying in universities or have graduated. This idea comes mainly to find benifits for students and graduates to find job oppertunities for them, also the community benifits from activities of this House in general by establishing a youth center to support young people aged between 19-29, in the agricultural town of Beit Ommar.
نبعت فكرة المؤسسة من عدة شباب من قرية بيت امر… (lees meer)
Missie
Palestinian youths in Beit Ommar between the ages 19 – 29 where the involvement of Palestinian youth in various activities in the interest of the community and create opportunities for young creative minds.
فئة الشباب الفلسطيني في بلدة بيت أمر من سن 19 – 29 سنه حيث تقوم المؤسسة بإشراك الشباب الفلسطيني في نشاطات مختلفة تخدم مصلحة المجتمع وتخلق فرص للشباب المبدع
E-mailadres
scary_boss543@yahoo.com
Telefoonnummer
00972 – 598 519 887

‘Lasting Peace Only Possible with Hamas On Board’

 

Demonstrators waving the flags of Hamas and the Palestinian Territories.

Demonstrators waving the flags of Hamas and the Palestinian Territories.

It is time for the European Union to rethink its policy in the Middle East. That is the demand being made by 24 former heads of government, foreign ministers and peace negotiators. A Hamas recognition of Israel should be the goal rather than the precondition of the peace process, the leaders write in an open letter.

June 10, 2011

Palestinian Unity Is a Prerequisite for Peace with Israel

A new Palestinian government is expected to be formed soon as a result of the agreement recently signed between the main Palestinian factions — Fatah and Hamas. The new, transitional government composed of independent figures will be tasked to pave the way for the holding of parliamentary and presidential elections in May 2012.

 

Palestinian reconciliation is part of the momentous changes sweeping through the Middle East. Brokered by Egypt following its own revolution and reflecting a strong public desire to overcome the four-year long internal rift, Palestinian unity is a fruit of the “Arab Spring.”

As former international leaders and peace negotiators, we have learnt first-hand that achieving a durable peace requires an inclusive approach. We consider it of vital importance that the international community supports Palestinian unity and avoids any steps that could jeopardise the fragile reconciliation process. In particular, we urge the United States and the European Union to constructively engage with the transitional government as well as with the Palestinian leadership that results from the elections next year. This is imperative for the following reasons:

 

  • Firstly, overcoming the political and institutional divide between the West Bank and Gaza is an obvious pre-condition for the establishment of a unified and viable Palestinian state.
  • Secondly, a durable settlement with Israel can only be achieved if the Palestinian leadership is able to negotiate on behalf of all Palestinians and with the agreement of main political forces. Reconciliation is thus a prerequisite for achieving the two-state solution. It is not an obstacle to it. Asking Fatah to choose between making peace with Hamas and making peace with Israel presents a false choice: a lasting peace with Israel is only possible if Hamas is on board.

‘A Chance for Course Correction’

Palestinian reconciliation is also an opportunity to enhance Israel’s security. The unity deal could help consolidate a ceasefire, preventing renewed attacks from the Gaza Strip against Israeli civilians. An exchange of Palestinian prisoners for the captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit could be another positive off-shoot of the agreement.

The opportunity presented by the unity deal must be seized without repeating past mistakes. In 2006, following the victory of Hamas in the Palestinian election, the US and the EU opted for political and financial boycott. In hindsight, those policies were a major setback for the peace process by exacerbating Palestinian divisions and entrenching the blockade of Gaza.

The new unity deal and the developments in the wider region offer a chance for course correction by the US and the EU. The so-called Quartet principles including recognition of Israel should be treated as goals rather than preconditions of engagement with the Palestinian leadership and factions. Adherence to a ceasefire and non-violence is a realistic threshold from which to commence negotiations.

By supporting Palestinian unity at this vital juncture, the US and the EU have an opportunity to show their commitment to the two-state solution as well as to the democratic aspirations currently being voiced throughout the broader Middle East. The alternative is hard to contemplate. If Palestinian reconciliation is undermined, it will throw the Israeli-Palestinian conflict into an even deeper impasse, with dramatic consequences for all parties and the international community at large.


LIST OF SIGNATORIES

Dries van Agt: Former Prime Minister, the Netherlands.

Lord John Alderdice: Former Speaker of the Northern Ireland Assembly.

Massimo d’Alema: Former Prime Minister, Italy.

Frans Andriessen: Former Finance Minister, the Netherlands; former Vice-President of the European Commission.

Halldór Ásgrímsson: Former Prime Minister, Iceland; Secretary General of the Nordic Council of Ministers.

Hanan Ashrawi: Former spokesperson of the Palestinian Delegation to the Middle East peace process.

Shlomo Ben-Ami: Former Foreign Minister, Israel.

Betty Bigombe: Ugandan politician, former chief LRA – Uganda government negotiator.

Laurens Jan Brinkhorst: Former Vice-Prime Minister of the Netherlands.

Hans van den Broek: Former Foreign Minister, the Netherlands; former EU Commissioner for External Relations.

Uffe Ellemann-Jensen: Former Foreign Minister, Denmark.

Gareth Evans: Former Foreign Minister, Australia.

Sir Jeremy Greenstock: Former UK Ambassador to the United Nations.

Lena Hjelm-Wallén: Former Foreign Minister and Deputy Prime Minister, Sweden.

Ioannis Kasoulides: Former Foreign Minister, Cyprus.

Mogens Lykketoft: Former Foreign Minister, Denmark.

Ram Manikkalingham: Former Senior Advisor to the President of Sri Lanka on the peace process with the Tamil Tigers.

Louis Michel: Former Foreign Minister, Belgium; former EU Commissioner for Development and Humanitarian Aid.

Poul Nyrup Rassmussen: Former Prime Minister, Denmark.

Elisabeth Rehn: Former Minister of Defense, Finland; former UN Under-Secretary General.

Alvaro de Soto: Former UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process.

Thorvald Stoltenberg:Former Minister of Defense and of Foreign Affairs, Norway; former UN High Commissioner for Refugees

Erkki Tuomioja: Former Foreign Minister, Finland.

Hubert Védrine: Former Foreign Minister, France

(www.spiegel.de / 11.06.2011)

Election 2011: Harper’s attack on the Canadian Arab and Muslim community

During the Israeli attack on Lebanon in 2006 — and in the five years since — Stephen Harper has strongly defended Israel’s policies even when other allies like the United States and Britain have made the occasional criticism of Israeli policy or called for compromise between the Israelis and Palestinians. This virtually unqualified support from the Harper government for Israel runs contrary to the view held by the vast majority of the world community.

Film producer Robert Lantos was the first of several prominent members of the Liberal Party who defected to the Harper Conservatives. “Lantos said, “We are fortunate to live in a country whose prime minister is Israel’s closest friend,” Mr. Lantos said. “That outweighs all other considerations from my point of view — and should for all Jews.”

A large number of Canadian Jews, but clearly a minority, do not support Israel’s policies toward the Palestinians. The use of word “Jews” and the implication that all Jews support Israel is not correct and is a distortion of the facts. It is more correct to say “Jewish supporters of Israel” as not all Jews share same views on the “Jewish State.” There are a number of Canada Jewish organizations, including Independent Jewish Voices, Not in Our Name (NION), Palestinian Jewish Unity (PAJU) and even orthodox Jews from the anti-Zionist Neutri Karta, that take positions critical of Israel and even strongly anti-Zionist positions on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Put another way the Conservative government of Stephen Harper has been the most anti-Arab and anti-Muslim government in Canadian history. Harper’s government’s actions have gone far beyond rhetoric. Palestinian, Arab, Muslim and even Jewish dissident voices have been marginalized and attacked for being anti-Semitic for defending Palestinian human rights or for presenting pro-Arab opinions. Many organizations who received government money and who showed any support or sympathy for the Palestinian perspective have had their government funding slashed.

Jason Kenney, Harper’s Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, aided by Liberal M.P. Irwin Cotler and their allies in the Conservative, Liberal and NDP parties have even established a Parliamentary Committee to Combat Anti-Semitism whose primary goal was to delegitimize critics of Israel’s policy and even attempt to criminalize criticism of Israel as “anti-Semitic.”

The semi-official Parliamentary committee received substantial government funding and its proceedings were published by the Parliamentary Gazette giving it the appearance of being an official Canadian government document. The Bloc Québécois, who initially participated in the Committee, withdrew because, in its opinion, it was biased and refused to even let appear before it any Palestinian, Arab-Muslim or dissenting Jewish opinion.

Harper’s government’s continuous attempts to defund, censor and marginalize pro-Palestinian individuals and organizations is a very serious problem facing Canada’s Arab and Muslim communities.

One example of this anti-Arab and anti-Palestinian attack was the Harper government’s decision to ban British Member of Parliament George Galloway from entering the country. For humanitarian reasons he gave money and food to Hamas, the duly elected governing authority in Palestine. And because of this humanitarian act he the Harper government made public pronouncements that Galloway would not be allowed the right to express his opinions on the Middle East in Canada. Having a British MP publicly oppose the Israeli siege of Gaza, the occupation of Iraq, and who was critical of the war in Afghanistan would have been inconvenient to Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Citizenship Minister Jason Kenney, both strong proponents of Israel and supporters of George W. Bush’s “war on terror.”

Numerous other politicians — including former Vice President of the European Parliament Luisa Morgantini, Bishop Desmond Tutu, and former U.S. President Jimmy Carter have also called for an end to the siege of Gaza and compared Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians to apartheid in South Africa. Would they banned from entering Canada because they made statements supporting the Palestinians?

Would former South African President Nelson Mandela, who is a strong supporter of the Palestinians, be banned from Canada because the Harper government disagreed with his views? Unfortunately, the Galloway incident seems to be part of a pattern of deliberate harassment of individuals who support Palestinian human rights by the Harper Conservative government.

On Sept. 27, 2010, the Canadian Federal Court issued a ruling that severely criticized the actions of Minister Kenney and his office for political bias and interference in the normal operations of the Immigration department handling of Mr. Galloway’s entry into Canada. (See Galloway et al v. Minister of Public Safety and Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Sept. 27, 2010. Docket: IMM-1474-09. Citation: 2010 FC 957).

There are many other examples of attacks on the Canadian Arab community. The Harper government, through Citizenship and Immigration Minister Kenney, abruptly canceled English-language training funding to the Canadian Arab Federation because its leaders criticized Kenney’s public support for Israel’s attack on Gaza. What did Kenney expect from a national organization that represents Canada’s Arab community — a ringing endorsement of Kenney’s support for the Israeli attack on the Arabs in Gaza and support for his other strong pronouncements in favour of Israel. The matter is now the subject of a legal action at the Federal Court of Canada, where leave was granted to pursue the claim against Kenney.

The Harper government also canceled funding to Kairos, an internationally known Christian human rights organization, which is officially supported by the seven largest Christian denominations in Canada. Kairos’ human rights work includes projects in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East. While addressing the Global Forum to Counter Anti-Semitism in Jerusalem, Kenney cited the defunding of Kairos as an example of his government’s fight against anti-Semitism.

Bev Oda, Harper’s Minister responsible for Canada’s International Development Agency (CIDA) was found to be in contempt of Parliament for lying when she told a Parliamentary Committee that CIDA had recommended that Kairos not be funded when it was Oda, or someone else in Harper’s government, that in hand writing inserted a “no” reversing the positive recommendation to fund the highly respected ecumenical development organization.

After 35 years of Canadian government support, this respected Christian human rights organization is suddenly labeled “anti-Semitic” and stripped of its ability to fund its international commitments. This was a politically motivated attack because of Kairos support for Palestinians and other marginalized groups. Other Canadian human rights and development agencies have also lost funding for supporting Palestinian human rights. These attacks and politically motived cuts have created a climate of fear of funding in organizations that run afoul of Harper’s political agenda.

The Harper Conservatives have also ended the country’s long-standing funding to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA). The Agency provides humanitarian and social assistance to Palestinian refugees displaced by the creation of Israel in 1948. These Palestinian refugees are not allowed to return to their homes in defiance of numerous UN resolutions including the one that granted Israel membership in the UN. Canada’s money is now being given to Mahmoud Abbas’ Palestinian Authority for justice and security purposes.

In addition to sabotaging the work of pro-Palestinian human rights groups, the Harper government has politicized organizations to ensure they serve Israel. For example, it appointed hard-line Israel supporters to the board the once-respected Montreal-based Rights & Democracy. It was set up by former Conservative Prime Minister Brian Mulroney and is supposed to be non-partisan. Its mandate is to promote Canada’s foreign policy by supporting the rule of law in troubled countries like Haiti and Afghanistan.

Once Harper had appointed a majority of Conservative stalwarts to the board they immediately held a “repudiation vote” against funding B’Tselem, a well respected Israeli human rights organization, and its Palestinian West Bank partner: Al-Haq (Law in the Service of Man) and Al Mezan in Gaza. All three organizations were critical of both Israel, the Palestinian Authority and Hamas human rights violations, including the December 2008 Israeli attack on Gaza.

When President Rémy Beauregard approved grants to these three Middle East organizations, he had the support of the Department of Foreign Affairs, according to two former presidents of the Organization — Warren Allmand, a former Solicitor General of Canada, and Ed Broadbent, a former leader of the federal New Democratic Party.

Faced with unprecedented government interference, 45 of 47 staffers, both management and union, demanded the firing of the Harper-appointed board chair, University of Toronto political science professor Aurel Braun, and the removal of his vice-chair and another director.

“After the war in Gaza, the two Palestinian and one Israeli group were checking if there had been human rights abuses. When Mr. Braun found out, I’m told, he went completely bonkers,” said Broadbent.

One of those to resign in protest was Dr. Sima Samar of Afghanistan. One of the foreign board members, she was honoured last year with the Order of Canada for defending women’s rights. Only a handful of non-Canadians, such as Nelson Mandela, have received this award. Samar said she quit because of the board’s secrecy, “toxic” atmosphere, disrespect for the three international members, and its narrow political agenda, especially from Braun.

“I find it incongruous that a centre dedicated to human rights had violated the rights of its top employee; that rather than being transparent, it was secretive; and instead of standing up for the victims of human rights violations, it was siding with the violators.” Samar said in an interview from Kabul.

The Vice Chair, whom the employees almost unanimously wanted removed, Jacques Gauthier, was appointed interim president after Beauregard died from a sudden heart attack. Beauregard, the former head of the Ontario Human Rights Commission, was well respected for his managerial competency and his commitment to civil liberties. His heart attack came shortly after a vitriolic board meeting with its new Conservative-appointed majority.

The Harper government politicization of institutions has not gone unnoticed. Le Devoir, the influential French-language Montreal newspaper, even reported that the Harper appointees are harassing Arab speakers at Democracy & Rights. Writing in The Toronto Star, columnist Haroon Siddiqui noted: “There remains the larger issue of Harper emasculating institutions that used to operate at arm’s length, independent of the partisan needs and ideology of the ruling party.”

Beyond these public examples, though, one has to wonder what else is going on to entrench the ideological agenda of the Harper government. Taken together these actions are an attack on free speech the likes of which we have not seen since the 1950s anti-Communist McCarthy witch hunts. These attacks are also a clear example of bias and discriminatory action that systematically targets the Palestinian, Arab and Muslim community and their friends in the Jewish community and wider Canadian community in a way that is clearly politically biased and even racist. This type of discrimination and anti-democratic political behaviour should not be tolerated in Canada.

(rabble.ca / 11.06.2011)

Security forces, gunmen fight in Yemen; 8 dead

Five Yemeni soldiers and three suspected al Qaeda gunmen were killed in clashes on Saturday in a volatile southern province, a security official told CNN.

Fighting between security forces and suspected militants erupted in the city of Lawdar in Abyan province, the same region where government forces have been fighting Islamic militants who seized the town of Zinjibar.

Clashes also raged in Zinjibar on Saturday as heavy gunfire and explosions were heard through the city, planes were seen flying overhead and conducting airstrikes, witnesses and residents said.

The security official, who has asked not to be named because he is not authorized to speak to the media, said Yemen’s government is also conducting air raids on positions in Lawdar believed to be held by al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, or AQAP.

At least seven people were injured in the fighting but it’s not clear whether they were soldiers or militants. Eyewitnesses said militants torched three government tanks in the fighting, which they say started when the insurgents surrounded a military camp in Lawdar on Friday night.

AQAP, al Qaeda’s Yemen wing, has a strong presence in Abyan.

Yemen has been consumed with unrest for months as protesters demand an end to the rule of President Ali Abdullah Salah.

In recent weeks, government troops have battled both anti-government tribal forces and Islamic militants.

The chaos there intensified when Saleh and other senior officials were injured in a June 3 attack on the mosque at the presidential palace.

Saleh and other senior officials injured in the attack went to Saudi Arabia for treatment. A government spokesman on Thursday said Saleh was in good health and would be returning to Yemen “within days.”

On Friday, Demonstrations erupted in several cities across Yemen, with protesters chanting “Saleh will fall” and “The end is near for Saleh,” according to eyewitnesses.

A six-nation Gulf Arab alliance has tried to broker a government-opposition agreement that would lead to Saleh’s departure, but that effort has so far been unsuccessful.

(edition.cnn.com / 11.06.2011)

Helicopters open fire to disperse Syrian protesters

AMMAN (Reuters) – Syrian helicopter gunships fired machineguns to disperse pro-democracy protests, witnesses said, in the first reported use of air power to quell unrest in Syria’s increasingly bloody three-month-old uprising.

The use of the aircraft came on a day of nationwide rallies against President Bashar al-Assad, as unrest showed no sign of abating despite the harsh crackdown by his authoritarian state.

The helicopters opened fire in a northwestern town after security forces on the ground killed five protesters, said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

“At least five helicopters flew over Maarat al-Numaan and began firing their machineguns to disperse the tens of thousands who marched in the protest,” one witness said by telephone.

“People hid in fields, under bridges and in their houses, but the firing continued on the mostly empty streets for hours,” said the witness, who gave his name as Nawaf.

Syria’s state television, in contrast, blamed violence in the area on anti-government groups. It made no mention of attack helicopters but said an ambulance helicopter had come under fire over Maarat from “terrorist armed groups,” injuring crew.

Britain, France, Germany and Portugal have asked the U.N. Security Council to condemn Assad, though veto-wielding Russia has said it would oppose such a move.

Foreign Minister Walid al-Moualem wrote to the Security Council accusing the opposition of violence and sabotage, Al Arabiya television said. Foreign governments were basing their views on “inaccurate information,” it said.

State television said earlier well-armed “terrorist groups” had burned police buildings and killed members of the security forces in Maarat al-Numaan, which lies 55 km (35 miles) south of Syria’s second city Aleppo on the highway to Damascus.

LETTER ASKING FOR HELP

Moualem’s letter asked for U.N. help to combat “extremism and terrorism.” Damascus wanted dialogue with the opposition, the letter said.,

Syrian authorities have banned most foreign correspondents from the country and have repeatedly tried to portray anti-government protesters as armed and violent.

“There were peaceful protests today (in Maarat) calling for freedom and for the downfall of the regime,” one demonstrator said by phone. “The security forces let us protest, but when they saw the size of the demonstration grow, they opened fire to disperse us.”

“During the protest, two officers and three soldiers refused to open fire so we carried them on our shoulders. After that, we were surprised to see helicopters firing on us.”

The northwest border area, like other protest hotspots, is prone to tension between majority Sunni Muslims and Assad’s Alawite sect, which dominates the Syrian power elite. The violence may reflect splits within the security forces, whose commanders are mainly Alawite and conscripts Sunni.

Activists said Syrian forces had shot dead at least 33 at rallies across the country after Friday prayers.

A U.N. spokesman said Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon had been trying to call Assad all week but was told that the president was “not available.”

REFUGEES FEAR “SLAUGHTER”

Thousands of civilians have fled from the northwestern border area into Turkey, fearing security forces’ revenge for incidents in which 120 troops were reported killed this week.

Local people said at least 15,000 troops along with some 40 tanks and troop carriers had deployed near Jisr al-Shughour.

“Jisr al-Shughour is practically empty. People were not going to sit and be slaughtered like lambs,” said one refugee who crossed the border into Turkey.

A 40-year-old from Jisr al-Shughour, with a bullet still in his thigh, also described mutiny in Syrian ranks.

“Some of the security forces defected and there were some in the army who refused the orders of their superiors,” he said. “They were firing on each other.”

Human rights activists aired a YouTube video described as from a Lieutenant Colonel Hussein Armoush, saying he had defected with soldiers to “join the ranks of the masses demanding freedom and democracy.”

A Turkish newspaper said Ankara was looking into creating a buffer zone along the border as a contingency if hundreds of thousands of Syrians are driven out.

The International Committee of the Red Cross urged Syria to allow its aid workers wider access to the civilian population, including the many believed wounded or detained.

Rights groups say over 1,100 civilians have been killed since March in the revolt to demand more political freedoms and an end to corruption and poverty.

(news.yahoo.com / 11.06.2011)
 

Israeli forces impose closure on Burin village

West Bank, (Pal Telegraph)-Israeli occupation forces erected Saturday morning a military checkpoint at the entrance of Arraq Burin village in the south of Nablus preventing foreign supporters and journalists from entering the area.

Witnesses told local sources that Israeli forces erected a military checkpoint at Al-Fawar area where they inspected civilians’ vehicles and verified their ID cards.

Witnesses added that Israeli forces halted international solidarity supporters and journalists from entering the village, decaling it as a “military closed zone”.

It’s noteworthy that Israeli army has closed Burin village every Saturday as residents peacefully organize weekly rallies to protest Israeli ongoing construction of illegal settlements on the Palestinian territories.

(www.paltelegraph.com / 11.06.2011)

Israeli Apartheid

The State of Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians has been compared by United Nations investigators, human rights groups and critics of Israeli policies to the Apartheid which was carried out in South Africa in its treatment of non-whites.

To quote former South African president and anti-apartheid campaigner Nelson Mandela, speaking in Pretoria, December 4, 1997:

The UN took a strong stand against apartheid, and over the years an international consensus was built, which helped to bring an end to this iniquitous system. But we know too well that our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians.

The Israeli apartheid policy includes a system of control in the Israeli occupied West Bank that includes separate roads, Jews only settlements, military checkpoints, discriminatory marriage law, the West Bank barrier or separation wall and the use of Palestinians as a cheap labour force.

Things you need to know:

Nakba

About the Palestinian disaster

Deir Yassin

Ethic cleansing of our land

Palestine Mandate

About the 1920s-40s

The 1948 War

The taking of Palestine

The Creation of Israel

Birth of a nation, loss of a people

Israeli Apartheid

The separation of the peoples


There are also inequalities in infrastructure, legal rights and access to land and resources. Israel’s occupation constitutes forms of apartheid which are contrary to international law.

In 1973 the United Nations General Assembly adopted the International Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid (ICSPCA). This defines the crimes of apartheid as “inhuman acts committed for the purpose of establishing and maintaining domination by one racial group over another racial group and systematically oppressing them”.

The crime of apartheid was further defined in 2002 by article 7 of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court as encompassing inhuman acts such as torture, murder, forcible transfer, imprisonment or persecution of an identifiable group on grounds of racial, political, cultural, religious or other grounds, “Committed in the context of an institutionalised regime of systematic oppression and domination by one racial group over any racial group or groups and committed with the intention of maintaining that regime”.

In a 2007 report, United Nations Special Rapporteur for Palestine John Dugard stated that “Elements of the Israeli occupation constitute forms of colonialism and of apartheid, which are contrary to international law” and suggested that the “legal consequences of a prolonged occupation with features of colonialism and apartheid” be put to the International Court of Justice.

The South African research agency, the Human Sciences Researches Council (HSRC) stated in its 2009 report that “The State of Israel exercises control in the Occupied Palestinian Territories with the purpose of maintaining a system of domination by Jews over Palestinians and that this system constitutes a breach of the prohibition of apartheid”.

In 2010 United Nations Special Rapporteur for Palestine, Richard A Falk reported that criminal apartheid features of the Israeli occupation had been entrenched in the three years since the report of his predecessor, John Dugard.

Zahir Kolliah has written that “In South Africa and in Palestine the indigenous populations live under the apartheid regime’s ‘settler colonies’ as described by the International Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid”.

The Israeli marriage law is an example of one aspect of their apartheid policy.

The Citizenship and Entry into Israel Law was passed by the Knesset on 31 July 2003, during the second Palestinian uprising. The law does not enable the acquisition of Israeli citizenship or residency by a Palestinian from the West Bank or the Gaza Strip by marriage. The law does allow children from such marriages to live in Israel until age 12, at which age they are required to emigrate. This applies equally to a Palestinian spouse of any Israeli citizen, whether Arab or Jewish, but in practice more Israeli Arabs than Israeli Jews marry Palestinians.

 

(www.g-pp.org / 11.06.2011)

The law was renewed in 2008 when Amos Shocken, the publisher of the Israeli daily Ha’aretz wrote:

The law severely discriminates when comparing the rights of young Israeli Jewish citizens to young Israeli Arab citizens who marry, and that its existence in the law books turns Israel into an apartheid state.

“Israel is not like any other country; it was founded on the idea that it will be home for all the Jews in the world”, Danny Danon, a Likud member of the Knesset said. “I don’t think it’s a racist law. But we have to make sure Israel stays a Jewish country.”

Opposition against the ongoing apartheid policies of Israel is building. Israeli Apartheid week is an annual event held in countries and campuses across the globe. The aim being to educate people about the Israeli apartheid system and to build support for the boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign. (BDS) In 2010 Israeli Apartheid week took place in 40 cities worldwide.

The BDS campaign was launched in July 2005 by over 170 Palestinian civil society organisations calling for boycotts, divestment and sanctions against apartheid Israel. Momentum is gaining in this campaign in countries such as South Africa, Canada, the UK and the US.

The demands outlined in the July 2005 Statement are:

Full equality for Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel, an end to the occupation and colonisation of all Arab lands – including the Golan Heights, the occupied West Bank with East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip. The dismantling of the apartheid wall and the protection of Palestinian refugees right to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN resolution 194.

The Palestinian liberation struggle has strong resonance with the South African anti-apartheid movement. Join in the call for justice, equality and peace in Palestine and an end to apartheid.

You can campaign in your local areas. Write to your MP’s and Congressmen and demand that the international community takes action to support the UN resolutions against Israel and to restore justice for the people of Palestine.

Apartheid is a crime against humanity and one which we should stand up against in calling for the perpetrators of that crime to be called to account.

We should not stand by and watch any state enact apartheid polices on its citizens, condemning them to a life as a second class human being. We are all born equal and in international law, we all have human rights. The right to dignity, equality and fairness.

Let us all stand as one in universally condemning the Israeli Apartheid and ensuring by putting pressure on our Governments that it is not allowed to continue to the next generation of Palestinians.

Syria arrests ‘terror cells’ leaders’

Syrian army units say they have arrested a number of armed group leaders, blamed for violent acts in the northern area of Jisr al-Shughour.

According to the Syrian TV, a large number of terrorist group members were also killed and wounded in the ambush, the Syrian Arab News Agency SANA said on Saturday.

Jisr al-Shughour has witnessed violent clashes between anti-government forces and Syrian troops during the past days.

Many residents have fled from the area towards the Turkish border.

Syrian security forces say the situation in the area has now returned to normal.

Since the beginning of unrest in Syria in mid-March, hundreds of people, including security forces, have been killed.

The opposition accuses security forces of being behind the killings. But the government blames armed gangs for the deadly violence, stressing that the unrest is being orchestrated from abroad.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has vowed to bring those behind the killings to justice.

(www.presstv.com / 11.06.2011)