Red Cross: Record number of Palestinians made homeless by Israeli demolitions

IRIN – The number of Palestinian homes in the West Bank and East Jerusalem demolished by Israeli authorities increased for the third consecutive month in March, according to the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA).

Since January, Israeli authorities have demolished 176 Palestinian buildings, displacing 333 people, including 154 children. “The West Bank is where the future Palestinian state is meant to be situated, and its viability is being reduced with each demolition,” UNRWA spokesperson in Jerusalem Chris Gunness said.

In March, 77 buildings were demolished compared with 29 in January and 70 in February.

Half of the demolished structures were houses, while the rest included stables, which can be just as valuable to a herding community as a house, Gunness said.

The number of Palestinians made homeless by these demolitions also hit a record monthly high, according to UNRWA, with 158 affected in March (including 64 children) compared to 70 in January and 105 in February.

But Capt Amir Koren, spokesperson for the Israeli Civil Administration in Judea and Samaria (West Bank), told IRIN the structures were illegal.

“The Civil Administration is responsible for enforcing laws regarding planning and building in Judea and Samaria… As such, illegal structures built by both Israelis and Palestinians are dismantled as a matter of course, according to a set of priorities which have been brought before the High Court of Justice dozens of times in the past.

“During the first two months of 2011, the Civil Administration carried out 69 orders to dismantle illegal structures built in Area C by Palestinian residents.”

( / 10.04.2011)

Arabische Liga wil vliegverbod voor Gaza

De Arabische Liga gaat de Veiligheidsraad van de Verenigde Naties vragen een vliegverbod boven de Gazastrook af te kondigen. Dat heeft secretaris-generaal Amr Moussa van de Arabische Liga zondag gezegd.

De Arabische Liga was zondag in spoedzitting bijeengekomen om te praten over het geweld in de Gazastrook. Sinds donderdag zijn in de Gazastrook zeker achttien Palestijnen gedood door Israëlische aanvallen. Onder de slachtoffers waren niet alleen militanten, maar ook burgers, onder wie een 11-jarige jongen. De aanvallen zijn een reactie op een raketaanval donderdag op een Israëlische schoolbus waarbij een tiener en de bestuurder gewond raakten. De militante Palestijnse beweging Hamas heeft laten weten dat die aanslag een vergissing was en dat het niet de bedoeling was kinderen te treffen.

( / 10.04.2011)

Betogers in Egypte weigeren te vertrekken

Ruim duizend mensen hebben zondag voor de derde opeenvolgende dag op het Tahrirplein in de Egyptische hoofdstad Caïro betoogd tegen de militaire raad, die het land sinds de val van president Hosni Mubarak tijdelijk bestuurt. De demonstranten negeerden een oproep van het leger om van het Tahrirplein te vertrekken.

De actievoerders willen dat de militaire raad snel plaatsmaakt voor een burgerbewind en dat corrupte bestuurders harder worden aanpakt. Ze riepen leuzen tegen veldmaarschalk Hussein Tantawi, die de leiding over de militaire raad heeft.

Vrijdag en zaterdag was op het Tahrirplein ook al tegen de militaire raad betoogd. In de nacht van vrijdag op zaterdag kwam het tot botsingen tussen demonstranten en veiligheidstroepen. Daarbij zijn volgens medici een of twee doden gevallen en dertien mensen gewond geraakt. Onder de gewonden zijn ook militairen.

( / 10.04.2011)

The Repercussions of a UN Recognition of Palestine

The Palestinian Authority (PA) has been hard at work of late lining up votes in the UNGA for the recognition of the state of Palestine with pre ’67 borders with the eastern part of Jerusalem as its capital.  They intend to use the “Uniting for Peace” procedure to avoid a possible UNSC veto regardless of whether the procedure is legal. (See; The UN Charter Cannot Support GA Resolution 377). Were they to get such recognition the repercussions would be significant.

Alan Baker, who was legal counsel for Israel in the drafting of the Oslo Accords and is currently associated with the Jerusalem Center of Public Affairs, recently published The Palestinian UN Gamble — Irresponsible and Ill-Advised. He summarized his article as follows
“While such a resolution would not have the authority to alter the legal status of the territories, the negative consequences of such a course of action would nevertheless serve to void the very basis of the peace process. It would undermine the legal existence of the Palestinian Authority and violate commitments by Yasser Arafat to settle all issues by negotiation.

“Such unilateral action outside the negotiation process would constitute a fundamental breach of the 1995 Israeli-Palestinian Interim Agreement, thereby releasing Israel from its reciprocal commitments.”

This would go so far as to release Israel from the confines of UNSC Res 242. How so?

According to the Palestine Mandate passed in 1922, Great Britain, the Mandatory power, had the following obligation with respect to all of that part of Palestine lying west of the Jordan River:
“The Administration of Palestine, while ensuring that the rights and position of other sections of the population are not prejudiced, shall facilitate Jewish immigration under suitable conditions and shall encourage, in co-operation with the Jewish agency referred to in Article 4, close settlement by Jews, on the land, including State lands and waste lands not required for public purposes.”
The Plan of Partition (Res 181) passed by the UNGA in 1947, though it violated this provision, was accepted by the Jews and paved the way for the recognition of the state of Israel six months later.  Had the Arabs accepted this resolution, they too would have had a state and that would have been the end to Jewish rights of close settlement in Judea and Samaria (West Bank). But they didn’t and so Jewish rights to same didn’t end.
So why isn’t The Government of Israel asserting those rights now?
The answer finds its origin in UNSC Res 242, passed in 1967, which authorized Israel to remain in occupation until she had secure and recognized borders. Israel’s acceptance of this resolution effectively waived Jewish Mandate rights in exchange for such borders. Israel obviously preferred such borders over exercising her rights of “close settlement” which would have necessitated managing the Arab population in these lands. Once again the Arabs rejected this resolution, preferring instead “no negotiation, no recognition and no peace” as resolved in their Khartoum Conference in Sept 1967.
Notwithstanding this, Egypt broke ranks and made peace with Israel in 1979, as did Jordan in 1994.
In 1993 Rabin and Arafat signed the Declaration of Principles on the White House lawn, which aimed to
“establish a Palestinian Interim Self-Government Authority, the elected Council (the ‘Council’), for the Palestinian people in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, for a transitional period not exceeding five years, leading to a permanent settlement based on Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338.”
As a pre-condition to this mutual declaration, Arafat delivered two letters to Rabin promising to amend the Charter of the PLO which called for the destruction of Israel, and Rabin delivered a letter to Arafat confirming his intention to allow normalization of life in the territories.  Arafat and the PLO never did amend their Charter.  For that matter, Fatah and Hamas have similar provisions in their Charters even to this day.
This Declaration made no mention of a Palestinian state as the goal, nor did it call for a cessation of Israeli settlement activity.
In 1995, Israel and the PA entered into an Interim Agreement which provided, inter alia, for the creation of the PA and for its exercise of power.  It obligated both parties “to carry out confidence building measures as detailed herewith.”  Those details involved Israel releasing prisoners in stages. No other confidence building measures were required.  That never stopped the US from continually demanding that Israel offer more “confidence building measures”.
Article XXXI provided:
“Nothing in this Agreement shall prejudice or preempt the outcome of the negotiations on the permanent status to be conducted pursuant to the DOP. Neither Party shall be deemed, by virtue of having entered into this Agreement, to have renounced or waived any of its existing rights, claims or positions.
“Neither side shall initiate or take any step that will change the status of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip pending the outcome of the permanent status negotiations.”
Both of these agreements became known as the Oslo Accords.
As Baker points out,  declaration of a state by the PA would clearly be a fundamental breach of this provision. To my mind there have been numerous fundamental breaches by the PA, which include their daily incitement, their Intifadas and their massive rocket attacks from Gaza.  In these instances over the years, Israel chose not to declare the Oslo Accords null and void. But not this time. For example, Israel has mooted the idea of annexing part, if not all, of Judea and Samaria (West Bank), were it to happen.
It may be argued that if the Agreement is abrogated that Israel’s Mandate rights still apply.
By demanding the armistice lines as borders subject to mutual exchanges, the PA is rejecting  Res 242 which provides for “secure borders” otherwise described as “defensible borders.”   Likewise the Arab League has similarly rejected Res 242 in putting forth their initiative, which was based on the armistice lines rather than “secure borders.”  By demanding 100% of Judea and Samaria, they are demanding that Israel retreat from all of the territories which is also contrary to the intent and meaning of the resolution.
Thus it would appear that not only will the Oslo Accords be no longer binding on Israel, neither will Res 242, because the Arabs have never accepted it.
The Obama Administration understands the risks of the UN granting recognition to the state of Palestine.   Dennis Ross, speaking to the ADL recently on behalf of the US said,
“We have consistently made it clear that the way to produce a Palestinian state is through negotiations, not through unilateral declarations, not through going to the UN.  Our position on that has been consistent in opposition.”
The Obama Administration would rather keep Israel shackled to the Oslo Accords while at the same time pressuring Israel to capitulate.  In reality, the US has abandoned Res 242 and the Oslo Accords, de facto, by pressing Israel to accept security guarantees in place of secure borders and by pushing the Arab League Initiative. She is also pushing for the division of Jerusalem, which is not required by the Oslo Accords.
It remains to be seen if the EU will follow the US lead on keeping Israel shackled.  Angela Merkel during her recent meeting with PM Netanyahu said, “We are in favor of two states for two nations.  It is not certain that unilateral recognition will contribute to promoting peace, and this will be our position in September.”
Regardless, the PA seems bent on following through with bid for UN membership. Some people think the recognition of the state of Palestine would be a disaster for Israel while others think not.
Caroline Glick recently wrote,
“The fact is that while acceptance of “Palestine” as a UN member state will be a blow, it will mark an escalation not a qualitative departure from the basic challenges we have been facing for years.”
But at least, Israel will be free to act.
Israel will have no legal obligation to refrain from annexing Judea and Samaria in whole or in part. Her right to settle all of this land and to establish a national home on all of it for the Jews, which has been recognized by international law, will be legally unassailable.  Furthermore, as conquerors of this land, pursuant to a defensive war, international law entitles her to keep it. When Israel conquered the land, no one had sovereignty over it including Jordan and the Arabs living there.  In effect, this war was a continuation of the ‘48 war. Thus it put an end to the Armistice Agreement and the armistice lines which the parties had agreed would not be the final borders in any event.
After coming this far in my reasoning, I had a conversation with Baker because I wanted him to reconcile for me the provision in the Interim Agreement calling for a settlement based on Res 242 and Article XXXI which provides “Neither Party shall be deemed, by virtue of having entered into this Agreement, to have renounced or waived any of its existing rights, claims or positions.” In my reading of these two clauses, I thought that the second was limited by the first.
He advised to the contrary, noting that Israel could assert any right she might have. I asked if that included our right to settle the land pursuant to the Mandate.  He advised that the Mandate rights ended in the creation of Israel in 1948. I begged to differ, arguing that that would have been the case had the Arabs accepted a state on the rest at that time.  But what do I know?  He has been involved in this process for close to 20 years.
He did say that even if a state is declared, the PA will still have to negotiate borders and everything else, so he isn’t fearful of such recognition.  With this, I agreed. But the chances of reaching agreement after 25 years, are slim. A recent poll reported that 78% of Likudniks oppose the creation of a Palestinian state.
In the meantime, Israel should build as much as she wants and should extend Israeli law to all communities in Judea and Samaria in which her citizens live.   Aside from providing housing for its citizens, it would put pressure on the Palestinians to compromise.  If Israel were to continue with the de facto freeze, the Palestinians would have no incentive to make peace and could wait a hundred years while they build throughout Judea and Samaria and continue their campaign to demonize and delegitimize Israel.
Accordingly, Israel should welcome the recognition of a Palestinian state and the abrogation of the Oslo Accords.
Ted Belman is the editor of Israpundit and a retired lawyer.  He made aliya two years ago and lives in Jerusalem.

( / 10.04.2011)

Islamic Center Rules and Working Together

Our community Islamic centers and mosques are huge blessing in our lives. Unfortunately in recent years, due to our human nature, we have seen mismanagement, an inability to communicate and understand each other, and – the most damaging – a decline in youth involvement.

Having been a part of a community center for all the 24 years of my life, I have seen a lot. More importantly, as I got older I have seen the mismanagement which drives younger generations away from getting involved, rather than helping to add more building blocks to our centers.

Yes, it is professional for an organization to have regulation and procedures, but that does not mean they cannot be changed or even excused at times. Many of our Islamic centers are run by a “board of directors” or an “executive committee”. I’m all for organization and professionalism – but even those things have their limits because they begin to be unnatural when taken to an extreme.

When we look at today’s Islamic centers, we see cliques, unfriendliness, and the worst of dirty politics. Even though we call them comm-unity centers, we see a huge lack of the heart of the word. Our centers are full of committees and rules, protocol and paperwork. It leads one to wonder sometimes: was it always this hard to have a good, friendly group of Muslims get together and do good things for the world? Do we ever wonder how the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him and his progeny) and the Imams (peace be upon them) gathered ideas? How did they plan things out? How did they execute activities, or programs, or lectures for their fellow people?

Did they sit behind closed doors holding meetings in privacy, discussing what kinds of things to do for the “common, unelected, people of the community” without having the people there to help decide what was best for them?

Did they hold “open house meetings” in which they allowed questions from their fellow Muslim brothers and sisters only if the questions were written down, so that only questions which were “appropriate” in the committee’s view could be addressed aloud?

Our community was blessed in Muharram with the presence of Sayyid Abbas Ayleya from Seattle, Washington, where he helps to guide and teach his community. I asked him a question regarding board member/committee member elections in Islamic centers. I asked whether Islamic center elections were the only just or fair way to “select” those who will eventually be deciding what programs are offered to our families, who addresses gatherings in our centers – duties which pretty much may mean for some, indoctrinating our children with certain values and ideas. I added that if these “elections” which our communities think are so fair actually lead to very dirty politics and behind-the-scenes fixing, is it really the only way? The respected scholar proceeded to answer that actually, our Holy Prophet used to very simply handpick those whom he believed could get the job done right – no elections necessary.

That goes back to my point. Sometimes we make things so complicated that we don’t allow the beautiful logic, the Aql, and the human nature, that Allah has blessed us with, to do its work. Let’s imagine: if we were a community who were all aware of Br. Mohammad’s exceptional ability in event management due to his success in his career, would it be out of this world to allow Br. Mohammad to be the “lead”, and to even encourage him to take charge in helping to organize and plan programs for the community? Would it be illogical to ask Sr. Fatima to help in the finances of the center, seeing that she is has been working for a great company for 15 years, doing the treasury work? It kind of makes sense, right? It is human nature to be able to select, due to the abilities a person carries, someone to get the task done. Unfortunately we have gotten caught up in processes and referendums, and so much red tape and technicalities that we have forgotten the natural, human qualities that Allah has blessed us with. Sometimes we stop people from pitching in a helping hand by imposing rules that were not really necessary a mere 20 years ago – we limit the opportunities for volunteering by replacing our volunteers with paid positions.

When in a group, or a community, or a club, there are always the natural leaders who exhibit characteristics necessary to get the job done. Of course this all comes along with the qualities of trust, respect, honor, and honesty. With a little trust in our brothers and sisters, and most importantly with sincerity and Tawakkul, trust in God, we can begin to see the blessings of brotherhood and flourishing communities doing wonderful Islamic work like never before.

(Madiha Zaidi 10.04.2011)

Israël: aanvallen stoppen wanneer Palestijnen ook stoppen

Israëlische soldaten die raketschild Iron Dome bedienen, zoeken dekking tijdens een sirenealarm in Ashkelon. Foto Reuters / Amir Cohen Israëlische soldaten die raketschild Iron Dome bedienen, zoeken dekking tijdens een luchtalarm nabij Ashkelon.

Israël stopt zijn aanvallen, als de militanten in het door Hamas beheerde Gaza dat ook doen. Dat zei de Israëlische minister van defensie Ehud Barak vandaag op de radio. Vanochtend hebben Palestijnse militanten vanaf de Gazastrook drie mortieren op het zuiden van Israël afgeschoten.

Bij de aanval vielen geen gewonden. Door de motieraanval werd de elektriciteitstoevoer afgesneden.

Hamas zegt ook bereid te zijn tot een staakt het vuren, in reactie op de uitspraken van Barak.

“De Palestijnse facties zijn niet geïnteresseerd in escalatie”, zei Hamas-woordvoerder Sami Abu Zuhri tegen persbureau Reuters. “Als de Israëlische agressie stopt, kan de rust worden hersteld.”

Beide partijen hebben er geen belang bij om de situatie volledig uit de hand te laten lopen. Een soortgelijke geweldscyclus resulteerde eind 2008 in de Gazaoorlog. De angst bestaat dat een nieuwe oorlog uitbreekt door een enkel incident. De afgelopen maand is een gespannen situatie ontstaan.

Het geweld nam behoorlijk toe toen een Palestijnse raket donderdag een Israëlische schoolbus raakte, waardoor twee gewonden vielen. De afgelopen 48 uur hebben de Palestijnen volgens het Israëlische leger honderdtwintig raketten en mortieren op Israël afgevuurd. Volgens de Palestijnen zijn sinds donderdag bij Israëlische vergeldingsacties zeker negentien bewoners van de Gazastrook omgekomen.

Een van de slachtoffers was volgens Israël betrokken bij het ontvoeren van een Israëlische soldaat. Die wordt al vijf jaar vastgehouden in de Gazastrook.

( / 10.04.2011)

PVV: meeste Afghaanse meisjes terug

Vriendinnen van Sahar willen graag dat ze blijft
Vriendinnen van Sahar willen graag dat ze blijft

De PVV gaat ervan uit dat de meeste Afghaanse meisjes die hier al jaren zonder verblijfsvergunning wonen, naar Afghanistan worden teruggestuurd. Op die voorwaarde is de PVV akkoord gegaan met de verblijfsvergunning voor Sahar.

Minister Leers besloot gisteren dat de 14-jarige Sahar mag blijven omdat ze zo verwesterd is. Leers zei vorige maand dat er 400 soortgelijke gevallen zijn, maar volgens de PVV is afgesproken dat hooguit enkele tientallen van hen een verblijfsvergunning krijgen.

De partij hecht eraan dat per meisje wordt bekeken in hoeverre ze verwesterd is en of ze in Afghanistan veilig is.

( / 10.04.2011)

Islamic-Relief Nederland BENEFIET”WATER & WEES” met o.a. MAHER ZAIN

zondag 29 mei · 16:00 – 22:00


Mekongweg 5
1043 AE AMASTERDAM, Nederland

Gemaakt door:

Meer informatie
Islamic Relief wil jullie van harte welkom heten voor het benefiet Water & Wees op zondag 29 mei in the Sand in Amsterdam. Zo beloven we voor ieder wat wils: Anasheed, Comedy, Sprekers, Food, Kinder-activiteiten

verzorgd door: Yehia, Ramzi zerqane, Abdelhakim, en nog vele andere en als headliner niemand minder dan MAHER ZAIN.

Neem je familie en vrienden mee en maak er een gezellige dag van!

Reserveer nu uw entreekaarten, want vol is vol.

Voor meer info en/of reserveringen kunt u mailen naar of bel naar +32 (0) 20 616 00 22

See you there!

Politie Syrië schiet met scherp op betogers

Op zeker twee plaatsen in Syrië heeft de politie zaterdag opnieuw met scherp geschoten op betogers. Dat meldden ooggetuigen.

In Deraa in het zuiden van het Arabische land probeerden agenten met traangas en vuurwapens een menigte van duizenden betogers te verspreiden die rouwden om de tientallen doden die vrijdag zijn gevallen. In de havenstad Latakia werd eveneens met scherp geschoten op demonstranten die meer democratie eisten.

Of en hoeveel nieuwe slachtoffers er zaterdag zijn gevallen, is niet bekend. Wel zag een ooggetuige in Latakia dat de autoriteiten waterkanonnen inzetten om bloed weg te spuiten van het wegdek.
In Syrië wordt al weken betoogd tegen het autoritaire regime van president Bashar al-Assad. Volgens mensenrechtenorganisatie Amnesty International zijn door het politieke geweld sinds 18 maart al zeker 171 betogers om het leven gekomen.

( / 09.04.2011)

Kaddafi-troepen voor de poorten van Ajdabiya

Troepen van de Libische leider Muammar Kaddafi hebben zaterdag de strategisch gelegen stad Ajdabiya in het oosten van Libië zwaar beschoten. Het regeringsleger staat voor de poorten van de stad, zo vertelden van het front teruggekeerde rebellen aan de pers.

Er wordt man tegen man gevochten. Voor de opstandelingen zou het verlies van Ajdabiya, een belangrijk verkeersknooppunt, een zware domper zijn. Hun bolwerk Benghazi zou daardoor geïsoleerder komen te liggen.

De meeste inwoners hebben het belaagde Ajdabiya inmiddels verlaten. Er zijn enkele arme gezinnen achtergebleven die zich de reis naar het 160 kilometer verderop gelegen Benghazi niet kunnen permitteren.

( / 09.04.2011)