Both France and England may recognize Palestinian state

The French and British Prime Ministers both gave interviews Thursday morning that indicated their willingness to recognize a Palestinian state if peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians result in failure. The statements came in the midst of a diplomatic visit to both countries by Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.

Palestinians waving their flag (image from favstocks)
Palestinians waving their flag

British Prime Minister David Cameron told Netanyahu that unless Israel engages in a real and meaningful peace process with the Palestinians, Britain would consider backing the declaration of a Palestinian state that the Palestinian President plans to make at the United Nations General Assembly in September.

Nicholas Sarkozy, the French Prime Minister, spoke to reporters with the French weekly L’Express in advance of a meeting with the Israeli leader. Sarkozy told the reporters that he hoped the peace process would resume over the summer, but added that, “If, conversely, the peace process remains stalled in September, France will take responsibility on the central question of recognizing a Palestinian state.”

Neither the British nor the French Prime Ministers publicly rejected the Palestinian unity government, as requested by Netanyahu, and Nicholas Sarkozy voiced his outright support for the unity deal made between rival Palestinian factions on Wednesday.

A number of other states, including Venezuela, Argentina, Brazil and Chile have recognized the Palestinian state, and have called on the United Nations to do the same. Britain and France have both been strong supporters of Israel, and their recognition of a Palestinian state could have serious implications for their relationships with the Israeli state.

(www.imemc.org / 05.05.2011)

Don’t Forget Gaza

Het grootste hiphop benefietconcert van de Benelux wordt binnenkort hier in Nederland gehouden. De reden waarom dit benefietconcert zo belangrijk is lees je hieronder.

In de koude winter van december 2008 begon de 22 daagse oorlog in Gaza die duurde tot 18 januari 2009. Gaza werd aangevallen en lag weken onder vuur. Dit werd groot belicht in het nieuws maar zoals dat vaak met  media aandacht gaat, was het ook snel weer vergeten. Oorverdovend stil werd het. Hoewel het internationale publiek deze tragedie op de voet kon volgen in het nieuws, was een dag later het leed alweer vergeten.

Alsof er niets was gebeurd.

Hoewel Zakarija Messari hoopte dat deze schrijnende situatie snel zou verbeteren, kon hij niet langer toezien dat het internationale publiek de situatie in Gaza zo snel was vergeten. Hij zocht contact met vrienden Mathijs Menses en hiphop artiest Manu en het idee van een benefietconcert leek het ideale middel om de boodschap over te brengen: Don’t Forget Gaza! In een uitverkochte zaal in poppodium WATT te Rotterdam sloegen hiphopartiesten handen ineen om deze boodschap over te brengen. Met een uitverkochte zaal een heleboel hele vette acts en een opbrengst van  ongeveer 5000,- euro is deze avond zeer succesvol te noemen!

Gaza?

Meer dan de helft van de mensen in Gaza is jonger dan 18 jaar. Daarnaast is Gaza een van de drukst bevolkte gebieden in de wereld met 1,5miljoen mensen op een oppervlakte vergelijkbaar met nog geen twee keer Texel.  Het regelmatig bombarderen van woonwijken levert dan ook veel jonge slachtoffers op. Tachtig procent van de gezinnen leeft in Gaza onder de armoede grens. Daarnaast zijn de meeste mensen in Gaza afhankelijk van voedselhulp. Medicijnen in ziekenhuizen (van basic gaas en gips tot 200 verschillende soorten medicijnen voor bijvoorbeeld nier en kanker patiënten) schieten ernstig te kort en komt niet tot nauwelijks door de blokkade. Gaza word  letterlijk hermetisch afgesloten van de wereld.

Waarom Gaza?

Gaza staat symbool voor alle vormen van onderdrukking. Het staat symbool voor alle pijn die men kan mee maken. Het verlies van mensenlevens en het verliest van alle basis behoeften. Het verlies van alle mensenrechten en het verlies van soevereiniteit. Gaza mag daarom niet vergeten worden! Net als dat wij Haïti, Soedan, Rwanda, Bangladesh, Cambodja, Liberia, Kongo en Ivoorkust en andere conflictgebieden niet mogen vergeten. Het is voor een ieder van ons als mens zijnde onacceptabel om zo een mensonterende situatie te verzwijgen. Daarom de boodschap: “Vergeet Gaza niet!”.

Doel?

Het benefiet stelt zich als doelom aandacht te genereren voor de humanitaire ramp in Gaza, die naar onze mening veel te vaak en onterecht gepolitiseerd wordt. In de jaren ’60, ’70 of ’80 was het heel gebruikelijk dat men protesteerde tegen dergelijke situaties en trok men massaal de straat op om te demonstreren. Maar het lijkt wel of men niet langer wil opkomen tegen onmenselijkheden. Daarbij lijkt er een tendens gaande te zijn in Nederland  waarbij mensen die zich uitspreken over de onderdrukking van het Palestijnse volk automatisch bestempeld worden als antisemiet. Voor alle duidelijkheid: “Don’t Forget Gaza” is puur en alleen voor de slachtoffers van onderdrukking in de Gazastrook opgezet, aldus de organisatie van Don’t Forget Gaza.

Omdat de situatie in Gaza de laatste twee jaar alleen maar verder is verslechterd, was het noodzakelijk dat Don’t Forget Gaza opnieuw de boodschap zou overbrengen. Met de benefietconcerten steunt de organisatie van Don’t Forget Gaza het Nederlandse initiatief om de blokkade te doorbreken (de Nederlandse boot die mee zal varen in de Freedom Flotilla 2); een konvooi aan schepen dat vanuit Griekenland koers zet op de kust van Gaza. Aan boord van het schip zullen onder andere schoolmaterialen en medicijnen geladen worden. Goederen die hard nodig zijn, gezien de regelmatig platgebombardeerde ziekenhuizen en scholen in Gaza.

Omdat binnen de organisatie ook een grote passie leeft voor hiphop, is er gekozen voor hiphopartiesten die politiek bewust zijn zoals; Fresku, Salah Edin, Appa maar ook Blaxtar en Typhoon.  Daarnaast wordt er ook ruimte voor  opkomende acts gecreëerd. In 2009 was Zwart Licht bezig met de grote opmars dit jaar zijn Boef en de Gelogeerde Aap, Killian, Fotosynthese, Serrio B.A.A.Z, en de Palestijnse broeders Stryder en Gaza daar mee bezig.

Kom voor een onvergetelijke benefietavond zondag 15 mei naar Dont Forget GAZA in de MELKWEG. Zie voor meer informatie www.dontforgetgaza.com .

Israeli military attaché skips UK visit

Israeli military attaché has failed to travel to London with his Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over fears that he will be arrested over Operation Cast Lead war crimes in Gaza.

Yohanan Locker played a major role during Israel’s 22-day assault on the besieged Gaza Strip in 2008-2009 that killed over 1,400 Palestinian civilians.

Locker said he preferred to stay home because he feared arrest in Britain.

British law allows private citizens to secure arrest warrants for visiting foreign officials whom they accuse of war crimes or crimes against humanity, something pro-Palestinian activists have done in recent years.

Since several Israeli politicians and military officers cancelled trips to London, the British government, under Prime Minister David Cameron, has begun to enact legislation to curb British magistrates’ “universal jurisdiction” powers.

The British Foreign Office had nothing to comment on the report as Britain is seeking an amendment to nullify the law that allows Israelis to be prosecuted in the UK for war crimes.

An amendment was approved by the House of Commons in the beginning of April. It has been sent to the House of Lords for final approval, which could take months.

(gazatvnews.com / 05.05.2011)

Israeli bulldozers demolish village near Hebron

Four Israeli bulldozers started Thursday demolishing the village of Umm Nir in the south of Hebron in the occupied West Bank.

According to witnesses, more that 200 Israeli soldiers stormed the village located in the east of Yatta town in Hebron and demolished 10 houses belonging to local families in addition to trees and crops.

Witnesses added that an Israeli officer of the civil administration ordered villagers to evacuate their own lands and properties, leaving dozens of families homeless. Israeli army also seized 300 dunums of the lands declaring them as a military closed area to serve the nearby settlements.

A number of Israeli soldiers raided yesterday overnight  different parts of Hebron intensifying their security procedures and terrifying citizens who were asleep on that time.

(networkedblogs.com / 05.05.2011)

Amnesty heeft vragen over dood Bin Laden

De mensenrechtenorganisatie Amnesty International heeft de Verenigde Staten en Pakistan om opheldering gevraagd over de dood van Osama bin Laden.

Vooral het gegeven dat Bin Laden ongewapend was tijdens de militaire operatie roept veel vragen op bij de mensenrechtenorganisatie. ‘Het is niet duidelijk hoe hij zich zou hebben verzet tegen een arrestatie en of er wel poging is gedaan hem te arresteren in plaats van te vermoorden’, aldus Amnestytopman Claudio Cordone.

Amnesty vraagt zich ook af wat er gebeurd is met de ruim achttien mensen die zich tijdens de aanval in de villa bevonden. Amerikaanse autoriteiten maakten eerder bekend dat vijf mensen zijn gedood en dat twee vrouwen onder wie de vrouw van Bin Laden gewond zijn geraakt. Ook waren zes kinderen in de villa aanwezig.

(www.parool.nl / 05.05.2011)

Mubarak faces possible execution, Egyptian official says

Former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak could be executed if he is convicted of ordering the killing of protesters, Egypt’s justice minister says.

“One of the charges he is facing is complicity in the killing of martyrs and issuing the orders for premeditated the killing of those people,” said Justice Minister Mohamed Abdelaziz al-Juindy. “This is a charge with a harsh punishment — the death penalty.”

In his first television interview since taking office, the new justice minister said last week that Egyptian courts would not shy away from sentencing Mubarak to death if he is found guilty.

“If the crime is proven, then the court will not hesitate to issue the death sentence,” he said.

“A judge may have mercy if there is a reason for that, but I don’t think in this case there is any argument for clemency whatsoever,” the minister added, calling it “a horrible crime, to kill 800 citizens who were asking for their rights and hoping to topple a corrupt regime that caused the ruin of Egypt.”

Mubarak resigned in the face of popular protests in February after more than 30 years in power.

He has been in poor health and living in the southern Egyptian resort of Sharm el-Sheikh since then. Prosecutors last month shelved plans to move him to a military hospital in Cairo, saying Mubarak’s doctors said the transfer could be life-threatening.

Adel Saeed, the prosecutor’s spokesman, said April 26 that the Interior Ministry made the decision after Mubarak’s medical team submitted a report that determined he would be at risk if he were moved.

But Justice Minister al-Juindy said Mubarak’s health was “good,” according to reports he had received.

Mubarak “suffers some heart irregularities known as atrial fibrillation, but his pulse and pressure are fine. His heart rate is 65 per minute, which is considered like an athlete,” the official said.

“Of course he’s facing questioning for the first time in his life, so this is affecting him psychologically,” the minister added.

He will be required to appear in court when the time comes, al-Juindy said.

“His appearance in court will be mandatory,” he said.

If Mubarak is too sick to appear, “in this case, the prosecutor visits him, and this is a procedure we follow with any sick suspect. The suspect must be given a chance to put forward his defense, so that the trial can be fair.”

He is also being probed on allegations of corruption and misuse of state funds.

“There are reports that the former president’s wealth is in the billions, and indeed it is billions,” the justice minister asserted.

So far “we can’t ascertain the exact amount, but the investigation is underway,” he said.

Mubarak’s trial will show that the rule of law is supreme in the country, al-Juindy said.

“The law is respected in Egypt and is applied on everyone without any exception,” he said. “This is very important because Egypt now has become a country were the law is sovereign.”

(edition.cnn.com / 05.05.2011)

Medical Ethics in Islam

In our lives, we often face difficult decisions. Sometimes these decisions are a matter of life and death. Should I donate a kidney so that another may live? Should I turn off life support for my brain-dead child? Should I mercifully end the suffering of my terminally ill, elderly mother? If I am pregnant with quintuplets, should I abort one or more so that the others have a better chance of surviving? If I face infertility, how far should I go in treatment so that I might, Allah-willing, have a child? As medical treatment continues to expand and advance, more ethical questions come up.

For guidance on such matters, Muslims turn first to the Qur’an. Allah gives us general guidelines to follow, that are constant and timeless.

The Saving of Life

“…We ordained for the Children of Israel that if any one slew a person – unless it be for murder or for spreading mischief in the land – it would be as if he slew the whole people. And if anyone saved a life, it would be as if he saved the life of the whole people….” (Qur’an 5:32)

Life and Death is in Allah’s Hands

“Blessed be He in whose hands is the Dominion, and he has Power over all things. He who created death and life that He may test which of you are best in deed, and He is Exalted in Might, Oft-Forgiving.” (Quran 67: 1-2)

“No soul can die except by Allah’s permission.” (Quran 3:185)

Human Beings Should Not “Play God”

“Does not man see that it is We who created him from sperm. Yet behold! He stands as an open adversary! And he makes comparisons for Us, and forgets his own creation. He says who can give life to (dry) bones and decomposed ones? Say, ‘He will give them life who created them for the first time, for He is versed in every kind of creation.'” (Quran 36: 77-79)

Abortion

“Kill not your children on a plea of want. We will provide sustenance for you and for them. Come not near shameful deeds whether open or secret. Take not life which God has made sacred except by way of justice and law. Thus He commands you that you may learn wisdom.” (6:151)

“Kill not your children for fear of want. We shall provide sustenance for them as well as for you. Verily the killing of them is a great sin.” (17:31)

(islam.about.com / 05.05.2011)

World Islamic Finance Summit 2011 : SBP offers incentives to Islamic banks

Islamic banking share expected to increase to 12 per cent.

KARACHI: State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) Islamic Banking Director Saleemullah has said that the central bank is giving incentives to Islamic banks that are opening branches in far-flung areas of the country to fuel growth of the industry.

He said this while talking to a group of journalists at the launch of the ‘World Islamic Finance Summit 2011’ logo on Wednesday. The two-day summit is scheduled to be held in Karachi on September 21-22. SBP recently launched a policy with the objective of providing incentives for Islamic banks to set up branches in districts where they have less than 10 branches, he said.

“Islamic banks are facing challenges like capacity building, product development and creating awareness,” he said.

Saleemullah said that many prominent international Shariah scholars and experts would discuss challenges to Islamic banking during the conference. “This will help us in accelerating the pace of growth in Islamic banking,” he added.

Saleemullah hoped that the share of Islamic banking in Pakistan would increase from the present seven per cent to 12 per cent in the next three years.

He also invited stakeholders from the financial sector, especially the institutions engaged in extending Islamic finance, to actively participate in the summit, which is being held with the support of SBP.

(tribune.com.pk / 04.05.2011)

Gaddafi forces attack rescue ship

Aid ship shelled while rescuing African and Asian migrant workers from besieged port of Misurata.

An aid ship has been attacked by forces loyal to Muammar Gaddafi while rescuing African and Asian migrant workers from the besieged port of Misurata, forcing it to leave behind hundreds of Libyans desperate to flee the fighting.

Aid workers had earlier scrambled to embark the migrants, along with journalists and the wounded, on the ship bound for rebel-held Benghazi as the port came under bombardment on Wednesday.

“The bombing has caused so many casualties among Libyans and people of other nationalities waiting for evacuation,” Gemal Salem, a rebel spokesman, told Reuters news agency.

“So far we have five killed and ambulances are rushing to the scene.”

The MV Red Star One, sent by the International Organization for Migration (IOM), picked up 800 people caught up in the civil war who had been waiting for days to escape Misurata’s worsening humanitarian crisis.

It had hoped to take 1,000 people.

Humanitarian concern

“Hundreds of Libyan civilians had also tried to board the ship in desperation to get out of Misurata. But with a limited capacity, the ramp of the boat had to be pulled up so that the ship could pull away from the dock in safety,” the IOM said.

The port is a lifeline for Misurata, where food and medical supplies are low and snipers shoot from rooftops.

Other rescue ships are offshore but there was no news of their movements. About 12,000 people have so far been rescued by 12 ships.

The shelling also hit Misurata’s Qasr Ahmad district, a mixed residential and industrial area which houses the iron and steel works in a city that has become one of the bloodiest battlefields in the two-month conflict.

(english.aljazeera.net / 04.05.2011)