Demolitions in W. Bank villages reflect settlement upsurge


On Monday, January 9, Israeli authorities shut down “the only road leading to Khan al Ahmar elementary school,” the Palestinian news agency WAFA reports. The move came a day after Israel issued a number of stop-work orders in Umm al Kheir. 

Structure that received stop work order in Umm al Kheir (photo: Operation Dove)

Both Khan al Ahmar and Umm al Kheir are Bedouin villages located in the southern West Bank, in Israeli-controlled Area C.

Israeli authortities blocked the road leading to Khan al Ahmar’s school on Monday with massive cement blocks and a high fence in order to keep children from reaching it. According to WAFA, the Palestinian Ministry of Education “condemned the closure.”

Khan al Ahmar’s residents are refugees from the 1948 war. In the past, the children from the village went to United Nations Relief and Work Agency for Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA) schools in Jerusalem. But the separation barrier brought an end to that. Because of extreme difficulties reaching other schools within the West Bank, parents began keeping their kids at home.

A number of local and European NGOs built Khan al Ahmar’s elementary school out of rubber tires and mud. It opened in 2009.

***

According to Operation Dove, an organization that works closely with Palestinian residents of the South Hebron Hills, Israeli authorities delivered stop work orders to residents of Umm al Kheir on Sunday, January 8. The orders will affect eight structures in the village.

Operation Dove reports:

In the morning the Israeli Civil Administration, escorted by an Israeli army jeep, entered the Palestinian village of Umm Al Kheir. After examining different buildings, the officers registered the identity of the owners of eight structures and then issued stop work orders… The deadline to appeal to Israeli High Court is set for January 22. In case of failure of any appeal, the stop work orders will be followed by demolition orders.

The [residents] of Umm Al Kheir said that 12 more structures in the village are under demolition orders (eight of which are [homes]) for a total of 20 structures. That means that most of the village risks to be eliminated in the [near] future.

Two of the families received stop work orders for houses they are building to replace those that Israel demolished in September 2011.

Umm al Kheir was founded by Bedouin refugees from the Negev who were displaced during the 1948 war. The village is adjacent to the illegal Israeli settlement of Karmel, which was established in the early 1980s and which the state hopes to continue to expand.

Israel has demolished a number of structures, including homes, in Umm Al Kheir and other West Bank villages under the pretense that they lack Israeli-issued permits. Speaking to +972, the UN Displacement Working Group reports that Israeli forces destroyed 580 Palestinian-owned structures in the West Bank in 2011. Two hundred of these buildings were residential and 1006 people were displaced.

The UN group also said that between January 1 and January 9 of 2012, Israeli authorities demolished 16 Palestinian-owned structures in the West Bank, including 3 houses.

The demolitions reflect Israeli plans to expand settlements and deepen Israeli control of the West Bank. Peace Now reports that 2011 saw a 20 percent rise in Israeli settlement construction. In October 2011, Israel announced its plans to expel some 27,000 Bedouin from Area C. According to B’Tselem,

In the first phase, planned as early as January 2012, some 20 communities, comprising 2,300 persons, will be forcibly transferred to a site near the Abu Dis refuse dump, east of Jerusalem… In the second phase, the CA plans to expel communities from the Jordan Valley. One option being considered is building a new permanent town for these communities next to a-Nabi Musa, west of Jericho.”

Israel’s plans to relocate West Bank Bedouin echoes the Prawer Plan, which will see Israel relocate some 30,000 Bedouin citizens of Israel from their villages in the Negev to impoverished townships.

(972mag.com / 14.01.2012)

Miles of Smiles Aid Convoy (8) in Gaza

After many delays
Miles of Smiles Aid Convoy (8) in Gaza

 

 

Gaza, (Al-resalah.net)–Miles of smiles convoy 8 arrives at the Gaza Strip via Rafah border crossing on Saturday evening, after being repeatedly hampered in Sinai due to Egypt elections.

Dr. Isam Yusuf, the convoy coordinator, said that “30 Activists from Tunis, Morocco, Bahrain, Jordan, Algeria, France, Poland and Britain are only allowed to enter Cairo, while the remaining are exempt for they do not hold passports”.

They carry medicine worth 3 million Egyptian pounds ($497,000) as well as ambulances and cars adapted for people with disabilities, Dr.Yusuf indicated.

The activists traveled with the convoy to witness difficult situations Gazans live in and the ruthless practices of Israeli occupation against them and to show solidarity with Palestinians and to break Israel’s illegal siege of the enclave.

(english.alresalah.ps / 14.01.2012)

Palestine doesn’t ask for aid, but for freedom and recognition

by Emma

13 January 2012 | International Solidarity Movement, West Bank

I always knew I would go to Palestine one day. It wasn’t until I met my four friends from Gaza, Motasem, Mohammed, Hussein and Mo’min, during my time as an exchange student at a Turkish university, that I finally decided to go. Their humble and honest account of what was happening in Palestine inspired me to come and experience the situation myself. After three months in the West Bank, I wish everyone would take the opportunity to come here and see the situation themselves.

Being an international in Palestine means that you share the everyday life of ordinary people who have the same aspirations as everyone else. It’s a small act of solidarity and a way of saying, “I see you and I stand with you.” You will not only have a family and a home but also an incredible insight to a beautiful culture which most often is forgotten when headlines from this region reach the world.

Whether I’ve been up north in Nablus or down south in Al Khalil (Hebron), people have welcomed me and treated me as one of their own. Never in my life has my family been this big. Maybe because of this, the occupation seem a lot more personal to me now than when I first arrived here. Palestinians are not just Palestinians, but my brothers and sisters, friends and family.

The young teenager being detained at the checkpoint could be my brother, and the young girls who are being assaulted by soldiers on their way to school could be my sisters.

The middle aged man who tries to stop the bulldozer from demolishing his family’s home could be my father, and the middle aged woman who is quicklypicking olives  because of looming, violent settlers, she could be my mother.

The very old man who has to take the long way up the stairs carrying his bags (because all Palestinians are forbidden from entering Shuhada Street in Hebron) could be my grandfather, and the very old lady who is afraid of soldiers because they enter her home in the middle of the night could be my grandmother.

Every one of them could be family and indeed, for three months in Palestine, all of them were. When I left Sweden my friends and family worried that I might be hurt or injured because the Palestinian territory is supposed to be a dangerous place. However as I immediately discovered, Palestine is not a violent place and Palestine is not dangerous. What is dangerous and violent is the 64 year old occupation which has been imposed on Palestinians since 1948.

When I say that it is violent I want to distinguish between two sorts of violence. As an international in Palestine you see mainly the structural violence or the everyday violence in forms of military presence, checkpoints, watch towers, roadblocks, verbal assaults and harassment. If you stay long enough you will also experience or see some direct violence such as random arrests, house raids, home demolitions, prevention of Palestinian peaceful protests in form of rubber coated steel bullets, live ammunition, sound bombs, teargas and people being shot and abused.

The list can easily be made longer. These abuses of basic human rights are not only illegal under international law but very dangerous and violent both for the individual and the community. Occupation deprives Palestinians of their basic human needs, rights and recognition as human beings. It is violent and dangerous because it denies them the right to stay, live, and exist on their own land.

As such, occupation is visible and institutionalized in every aspect of life in Palestine.

I was in the beautiful and very old Ibrahimi mosque in Al Khalil, when Israeli male and female soldiers entered in uniforms, with boots and weapons among praying Muslims. In addition all Israeli female soldiers refrained from covering their hair, which is a custom when entering a holy sanctuary in Islam. Religion doesn’t have a nationality but is something that transcends borders and should be respected as part of human dignity. The choice to enter the mosque in this way meant that they not only degraded Islam as a religion, but they also made sure to violate the most important place and last resort that Palestinians can go to in order to seek some peace and privacy. And this is the very idea of the occupation. It has nothing to do with security or Israel trying to protect itself. Rather it’s a strategy of occupation which aims at making life unbearable for Palestinians so that they will move and eventually leave whatever land they have left.

Soldiers harassing Palestinians and  roadblocks, checkpoints, and temporary closure of roads are part of the strategy. It has absolutely nothing to do with security or protection. Since the beginning of the occupation, Israeli citizens are protected by civil law while Palestinians are under military law. This implicates several things. First of all, Israeli soldiers are not allowed to arrest or detain any Israeli citizen.

In the West Bank where settler violence against Palestinians has increased, soldiers in charge are not allowed to interfere with their citizens since their mandate is directed towards Palestinians only. There are several accounts where Israeli soldiers have either stood by or assisted settlers in committing violent acts against Palestinians. Second, the military law means that any Palestinian can be put in administrative detention without access to lawyer, not knowing what the charge is and how long they will be kept. Moreover, Defense for Children International (DCI) estimated in 2011 that more than 7,500 Palestinian children have been prosecuted in Israeli military courts since 2000. The report further concludes that ill treatment begins at the moment of arrest which often happens during night time military raids. The child is being abducted from the home with little or no information of where they are going. In most cases, parents are not allowed to visit their children, send them new clothes, and they get little information about their child’s well-being.

Military courts have no obligation to follow Israeli law or international legal obligations. Many reports from different sources have documented the use of ill-treatment, torture and a general failure to meet international standards in detention centers and prisons. When Israel is continuously being referred to as “the only democracy” in the Middle East, this is something we should keep in mind. For most people, abduction of children in the middle of the night and administrative detentions are a grave contradiction to concepts of “democracy.”

The question is, what more do the Palestinians have to negotiate with when more and more land is being confiscated by settlements including East Jerusalem? What should Palestinians negotiate with when not even their own president Mahmoud Abbas can leave Palestine without Israeli permission? There is something very wrong with the idea that when every peaceful Palestinian attempt at expression is being met with violence and immediate crackdown, the international community continues to stress Israel’s right to protect itself. Protect itself from what?

 

After three months in the West Bank, I am more than convinced that this is not a conflict nor a war–not between Arabs and Israelis and certainly not between Palestinians and Israelis. This is an occupation rooted in deep injustice with Israel as the aggressor. For every action there is a reaction. Simple as that. Just as much as Israel has the right to defend itself so should Palestinians too. Security is a mutual concept, and if the argument is that Israeli citizens have to be protected so should the Palestinians. Palestinians are the ones who have to endure Israel’s “security” measures, and Palestinians are the ones living under occupation while Gaza endures a siege. Israel is the one who is expanding settlements, building the wall, continuously demolishing Palestinian private property and confiscating more land.

Having walked under the EU sponsored metal net that is supposed to prevent rubbish, stones and liquid thrown by violent settlers from reaching targeted Palestinian pedestrians in Hebron’s Old City, I feel ashamed of being a part of an international community which allows this to happen. Of course it is easier to sponsor a net rather than coming to terms with the real problem. But Palestine doesn’t ask for aid, more NGOs, and certainly not another metal net, but simply for freedom and recognition.

A system is not static or superior to the individuals that give it power, but it is the organization of these individual capacities which create these systems. Diplomats, officials, politicians, soldiers and civilians who say they are only doing their job and are limited at doing otherwise are simply wrong.  Likewise the international community is wrong if it states it cannot do much. We’re all part of the society in which we function, and we all have a personal responsibility. We all have a possibility to do something, no matter how small that act may be.

An international Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against buying into Israeli occupation should be the top priority for civil society around the world.  A boycott of Israel and Israeli products would also mean a new debate, where the international community allows Palestinians to raise their voice economically rather than us just hearing Benjamin Netanyahu’s so called economic peace plan.

As it is time for me to leave, I remember all the wonderful people I’ve met and the beautiful places and villages I visited in Palestine. Never in my life have I been surrounded by so much love and generosity as I have experienced here in Palestine.

Indeed Palestine was my home for three months because Palestinians made it my home. As I say goodbye to Palestine for now, memories of my time here put a smile on my face and tears run down my cheeks.

As we look forward to a new year and new possibilities, Palestine has been under occupation for 64 years . As Palestine welcomes us to share the year of 2012, we should all remember that freedom means nothing without the freedom, equal rights, and the international recognition of Palestinians.

Emma is a volunteer with International Solidarity Movement (name has been changed).

(palsolidarity.org / 14.01.2012)

Settlers Destroy 100 Olive Trees Near Salfit

SALFIT, January 14, 2012 (WAFA) – Israeli settlers from Tappuah settlement in the northern West Bank cut off and destroyed on Friday around 100 fully-grown olive trees northwest of Yasouf, a town east of Salfit, according to local sources.

Residents say the settlers, in collusion with Israeli soldiers and government, want to prevent Palestinians from using their land as a measure to take it over and expand area settlements.

(english.wafa.ps / 14.01.2012)

Musharraf’s call for recognizing Israel invokes criticism

Pakistan’s former military dictator, General Pervez Musharraf’s call for recognizing Israel—which according to him, is in the country’s interest—has invoked widespread criticism from political and religious parties.

“No patriotic Pakistani can even think to recognize the Zionist state, which has been created on the dead bodies of Palestinians”, Syed Munawwar Hassan, chief of Jammat-e-Islami, one of the largest Islamic parties in Pakistan, told “Islam Online”, while reacting to Musharraf’s interview with Israeli newspaper Haaretz in London last Saturday.

In his interview, the General contended that getting closer to Israel would be in the better interest of Pakistan, and it could help muster the support of the powerful Jewish lobby with a view to resolving the Kashmir dispute with India.

Defying popular sentiment 

Musharraf, whose warrants have been issued by a Pakistani court for his involvement in the assassination of two-time premier Benazir Bhutto, admitted that during his reign i.e. from October 1999 to August 2008, he defied the popular sentiment in Pakistan when he shook hands with former Israeli Prime Minister Aerial Sharon at the United Nations, and then sent the then Foreign Minister Khursheed Mahmood Kasuri, who has recently joined hands with cricketer-turned politician Imran Khan, to meet the then Israeli Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom in Istanbul.

Musharraf was the first Pakistani leader who was invited to address the influential World Jewish Congress in the US in 2005.

“Israel is an illegitimate state, which has been established with the help of US and other Western powers on Palestinian land”, Munawwar said commenting on Musharraf’s contention that both Pakistan and Israel are ideological states.

“There is no comparison between Pakistan and Israel. Pakistan has been established on the basis of principles and sacrifices of hundreds of thousands of Muslims, whereas Jews from all over the world were gathered to usurp Palestinian land”, he maintained.

Musharraf who plans to return to Pakistan in late January 2012, also said that he was a fan of Aerial Sharon, who is responsible for thousands of deaths in Sabra and Shatila refugee camps in Lebanon in 1982.

“Musharraf’s statement in favor of the killer of thousands of innocent men, women and children, has shocked not only Palestinians, but the entire Muslim world”, Munawwar maintained.

Hafiz Hussein Ahmed, a senior leader of Jamiat Ulema Islam, a religious party that has a strong vote bank in northwestern Khyber Pkahtunkhuwa (KP), and southwestern Balochistan provinces, agrees.

“Musharraf’s efforts are part of an international agenda aimed at getting Israel recognized by Pakistan”, Hussein, a former deputy parliamentary leader of his party, told “Islam Online”.

Hamid Mir, an Islamabad-based political analyst agrees with Hussein.

Mir claims that a close friend of Musharraf, Dr. Nasim Ashraf, a former chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board, had lobbied for him with the Jewish lobby in the US.

“Ashraf personally contacted me a few years back and tried to convince me to launch a campaign in favor of Pakistan -Israel diplomatic relations,” Mir told “Islam Online”.

“He told me that it is in Pakistan’s interest to establish diplomatic ties with Israel. He promised to take me to Israel as well”.

“Musharraf had asked the Foreign Office in early 2007 to prepare a plan for the recognition of Israel, but it did not go through due to the political turmoil which took place in March 2007,” Mir claims.

Fears

Politicians and analysts observe that the recognition of Israel at this stage will harm Pakistan’s interests in many ways.

“The first and foremost victim of Israeli’s recognition will be Pakistan’s principle on occupied Kashmir”, Dr. Shameem Akhtar, a Karachi-based veteran and political analyst, told “Islam Online”.

Pakistan and India have fought two full-fledged wars in 1948, and 1965, and a three-week long Kargil skirmish in 1999 on Kashmir. Currently, Pakistan controls one-thirds of the valley, while the remaining part has been under Indian control since 1947, the year the two nations separated.

Dr. Akhtar, who is also a former chairman of the international relations department in the University of Karachi, opines that Pakistan would lose the support of Arabs (both people and governments), who are its real benefactors and stand alongside it in testing times.

Akhtar doesn’t give any importance to the recognition of Israel by some Arab countries such as Jordan.

“These states had recognized the Zionist state because of defeat in war. But, the people of those countries did not accept that, and the ongoing Arab spring is a testimony to the fact”, Dr. Akhtar contended referring to victory of the movements in various Arab countries, particularly in Egypt, where Muslim Brotherhood, and Salafi Movement have jointly grabbed nearly 60 per cent of votes.

He observes that recognizing Israel would hugely benefit the Zionist state at a time when it is becoming isolated in the region.

“Look at the region, not only in Egypt or Jordan, but also in Turkey, once the most trustable ally of the Zionist state in region”, Dr. Akhtar pointed out, citing the bitter relations between Israel and Turkey on the Palestinian issue.

“We must not fly against the wind”, he suggested. “A thumping majority of Arab states, including the OIC, do not recognize Israel. Even those who recognize Israel are reviewing their policies. Therefore, recognizing the Zionist state at this stage would not be a wise decision”.

Another threat, Pakistan has been facing from Israel is vis-à-vis its nuclear program, Dr. Akhtar opined.

“Whether Pakistan recognizes Israel or not, there would be no change in Israel’s policy vis-à-vis Pakistan’s nuclear program. Both countries will remain at loggerheads on nuclear issue as Israel does not want any nuclear state in the region, whether it is Pakistan or Iran”, he maintained.

He, however, does not agree with Iranian President Mahmud Ahmedinejad’s stance regarding the elimination of Israel from the world map.

“My view is that if Israel resolves the Palestinian issue in accordance with the SC resolutions, then Pakistan should recognize Israel in consultation with Arab states”, he added.

(www.islamonline.net / 14.01.2012)

News of Syria 14.01.2012

#Arab military intervention in #Syria will not stop the bloodshed, it will aggravate it. #SyriaBleeds

After the farce military #Arab intervention in #Lebanon#Hafez used that as an excuse or precursor for his army to intervene in #Lebanon.

We will not give up #Syria to pro-regime #Alawites#SyriaBleeds #AssadWillHang

The Emir of #Qatar needs some education in #Arab affairs. Any #Arab military intervention will turn it into a party in the conflict. #Syria

(01-14-12) Al-Sakhna | #Homs | Moment of Arrival of Arab League Observers

(01-14-12) Douma | #Damascus | BBC at Funeral Procession of Martyr Mahmoud Shaikh Araby

(01-14-12) Bab Houd|#Homs|Teacher & Martyr AbdelMu’imin Mandu, Shot by Sniper While at Home

(01-14-12) Saraqib | #Idlib | The Brave Welcome the Observers

Syrian forces kill at least five people near Lebanese border (DPA)

Reports from Idlib say the Saraqeb observers are actually quite nice. They are listening to people and documenting. That’s a first

@ArabSpringFF wtf are the observers still doing there?? fucking observing?? havent they ‘observed’ enough?

Protesters in Saraqeb surrounded the observers so the regime forces could not see them, meaning that the regime forces still attacked them

Five people were injured in the presence of the Arab League observers in Saraqeb. They then went to the hospital where they saw more wounded

A mass sit-in in Saraqeb began marching towards an army checkpoint but were fired on in the presence of the observers

Arab Observers committee went to Saraqeb today. The head of the committee burst into tears as he heard the story of a mother of a martyr

Iran Has Proof US Killed Nuclear Scientist

Iran said on Saturday it had evidence that the United States was responsible for the assassination of the nuclear scientist earlier this week.
Iranian state television said that the foreign ministry handed a letter to the Swiss ambassador in Tehran in which it accused Washington of the attack.
“We have reliable documents and evidence that this terrorist act was planned, guided and supported by the CIA,” the Iranian foreign ministry said in the letter, state TV reported.
Last Wednesday, The nuclear scientist, Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan who is also a Chemical Engineering professor at a university in Tehran, was martyred after a magnetic bomb attached to his car exploded near Ketabi square in northern Tehran.
“The documents clearly show that this terrorist act was carried out with the direct involvement of CIA-linked agents.”
The Swiss Embassy has represented U.S. interests in Iran since Iran and the U.S. cut diplomatic ties shortly after the 1979 Islamic revolution.
State TV said a “letter of condemnation” had also been sent to the British government, saying the killing of Iranian nuclear scientists had “started exactly after the British official John Sawers declared the beginning of intelligence operations against Iran”.

(www.almanar.com.lb / 14.01.2012)

Carter: US backed Egyptian dictatorship for 30 years to preserve Israel treaty

Jimmy Carter
Jimmy Carter

Jimmy Carter speaking from Cairo to the New York Times. He says that most Egyptians want to retain the treaty with Israel, but want that treaty’s long-nullified promise of Palestinian freedom to be fulfilled. Then there’s this:

he also acknowledged that in retrospect the Egyptian revolution had cast a new light on the alliance he helped forge with Egypt’s military-backed strongmen, first President Anwar el-Sadat and then his successor, Mr. Mubarak. Many Egyptians, he said, now complain that for three decades the United States supported a dictatorship at odds with its values to preserve peace with Israel.

“I think that is true, we were,” he said. “And I can’t say I wasn’t doing that as well.”

So the U.S. helped maintain a dictatorship in the largest country in the Arab world for the sake of peace with Israel– the aforesaid only democracy in the Middle East. This is emblematic of the fact that since Partition we have opposed democratic values in the region, the idea of self-determination. We do not trust the Arab people generally because they do not like the idea of a Jewish state in Palestine. I don’t think this opposition to popular will has served Americans. And this is one reason I believe in the Israel lobby theory: for the sake of Israel, we’d toss our values when it comes to 85 million Egyptians. It’s not like Egypt has oil. And yes, Mohammad Atta, one of the leaders of the 9/11 hijackings, was Egyptian. Why did he hate us?

(mondoweiss.net / 14.01.2012)

Qatar emir suggests sending Arab troops to Syria

Pictures of members of the Syrian government are trampled during a protest in front of the country’s consulate in Geneva.
BEIRUT (Reuters) — The emir of Qatar has suggested sending Arab troops to halt the bloodshed in Syria, the first Arab leader to propose such a move, in an interview to be broadcast on CBS’s “60 Minutes”.

Asked if he was in favor of Arab nations intervening in Syria, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani said: “For such a situation to stop the killing … some troops should go to stop the killing.”

CBS said on its website that the interview would be broadcast on Sunday.

Qatar’s prime minister heads the Arab League committee on Syria and has said killings have not stopped despite the presence of Arab monitors sent there last month to check whether the authorities are complying with an Arab peace plan.

In the preview of the interview on the website, the emir did not spell out how any Arab military intervention might work.

The United Nations says more than 5,000 people have been killed since protests against Syrian President Bashar Assad erupted in March. Syrian officials say 2,000 members of the security forces have been killed by armed “terrorists”.

(www.maannews.net / 14.01.2012)

ElBaradei ends Egyptian presidential run

Cairo (CNN) — Former International Atomic Energy Agency Director Mohamed ElBaradei has withdrawn his candidacy for Egypt’s presidency, his campaign announced Saturday.

He withdrew because “his conscience does not allow him to run or for any other official position unless there is a real democratic system not just a symbolic one,” according to a statement from his campaign.

“He believes people who will build the country are the youth and that he will continue working with them in the coming phase and they are the one’s who will fulfill the nation’s hopes of freedom, human dignity and social justice,” the statement said.

ElBaradei was at one point considered a frontrunner in the race, but recent victories in local elections by Islamist groups tested the viability of his candidacy.

The next president will succeed that military government that took over after the fall of former President Hosni Mubarak.

According to his campaign, ElBaradei sees chaos and mismanagement in the interim military government, which “pushes the nation away from the goals of the revolution.”

ElBaradei came to the rough and tumble of Egyptian politics late in life after a distinguished career as an international diplomat.

In 2005, ElBaradei and the IAEA were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for their work to curb nuclear proliferation.

The tall technocrat was in many ways an unlikely presidential candidate in Egypt, more cerebral than cut-and-thrust.

In 2010, after returning to Egypt, he called for a nationwide campaign of political reform and mobilized a grassroots organization that gathered more than 1 million signatures to demand changes to a political system dominated by one man for nearly 30 years.

One of ElBaradei’s political rivals in the presidential race, former Arab League chief Amr Moussa, said he regretted ElBaradei’s decision.

Moussa’s campaign told CNN that the candidate commended the role ElBaradei played in the changes Egypt has seen in past months, and hopes that he will continue his efforts to rebuild the country.

ElBaradei’s motive for withdrawing echoes a sentiment that has also been heard on the streets.

The ruling military council is supposed to just be an interim measure until democratic elections are held, but the transition has not been quick or transparent enough for some Egyptians.

A series of protests in Cairo last month resulted in violent and sometimes deadly clashes between demonstrators and the country’s armed forces.

Meanwhile, in the first two rounds of local elections held in Egypt in the past months, Islamist parties have performed strongly, indicating what direction the next government of Egypt may head.

(edition.cnn.com / 14.01.2012)