Abbas in Lebanon to rally support for UN bid

BEIRUT (AFP) — President Mahmoud Abbas arrived in Beirut Tuesday to seek support for the Palestinian bid for UN membership in September, which will come as Lebanon serves as head of the Security Council.

Abbas will meet with President Michel Sleiman, Prime Minister Najib Mikati and other leaders during a two-day stay, a government official said on condition of anonymity.

Lebanon is one of 10 non-permanent current members of the United Nations Security Council and will serve as president of the council in September. It is expected to support the bid.

Following the collapse of direct peace talks with Israel in September last year, the Palestinians adopted a diplomatic strategy aimed at securing UN recognition for a state within the frontiers that existed before the 1967 Six-Day War.

They now plan to present their bid for UN membership on September 20, despite Israeli opposition.

Lebanon, which remains technically in a state of war with Israel, approved the recognition of a Palestinian state within the 1967 borders in November 2008 but the decision was never implemented.

Mikati’s cabinet, in which Iranian-backed Hezbollah and its allies hold majority, last week agreed to apply the decision, making Lebanon the last Arab country to recognize a Palestinian state.

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian refugees estimates that some 425,000 Palestinian refugees reside in Lebanon, a country with a population of four million. Other estimates however put the number at some 250,000.

By long-standing convention, the Lebanese army does not enter the country’s 12 refugee camps, leaving security inside the destitute camps to the Palestinians.

(www.maannews.net / 16.08.2011)

‘West not after peace in Palestine’

Interview with Saeb Shaath, Author & Middle East Affairs Analyst

Israel’s new plan for the construction of hundreds of settler units in the occupied East Jerusalem al-Quds lands has prompted international criticism.

The UN, European Union and Russia have condemned the final approval for the building of 1,600 settler units in the Ramat Shlomo neighborhood of East Jerusalem al-Quds by the Israeli interior ministry, saying the move undermines the two-state solution and efforts to resume Palestinian-Israeli talks.

Press TV has interviewed Saeb Shaath, author and Middle East affairs analyst from Belfast, to further talk over the issue.

The following is a rough transcription of the interview, which is also supported by two other guests:

Press TV: In 2004, the International Court of Justice Ruling said in ruling that “Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem Al-Quds, are illegal and an obstacle to peace and to economic and social development [… and] have been established in breach of international law.”

Despite the ruling, Israel continues to build more settlements and even the US cannot or does not stop it. Do you see any resolve on the part of the international community to stop Israel or not?

Shaath: … about the scientific achievement of Israel, … I want to say just one point. In 1947, the French contributed a nuclear research center to the Haganah terrorist organization before the establishment of Israel to use it in achieving its aims of establishing Israel and kicking the Palestinians out of their homeland.

Most of the western countries contributing and building that advanced state in there [is] to intimidate and to occupy and to torture the people of the Arab world. … that will go back to the international community and all of that. It is hypocrisy.

When we look at the EU condemning and they are not accepting and the United States of America [is] even pressurizing the Palestinians to stop their bid for the United Nations or otherwise it will stop financing this and that.

First of all, the Palestinian entity in the West Bank, the Palestinian authority in the West Bank, is backed by the west, backed by the United States of America and backed by the European community and those people are hypocrites and they do not support any sort of peace settlements or peace move in there. They just issue some empty slogans without anything on the ground to be done.

The Europeans stopped treating with Israel on a record of human rights records as they claim. They could have influenced Israel in million ways of the United Nations Resolution, 65 resolutions there in the United Nations regarding the Palestinians.

When it comes to Palestinians, they do not care. They just want to keep Israel stronger and stronger and they try with the rhetoric acclaimed the high morally ground in here. It is absolute double standards in here.

The only way to stop that I say is [that] the Palestinians [should] intensify their resistance because the Israeli occupation is a cheap occupation. They have to be costing them a lot and the Palestinians have to hurt them hard so [that] they can withdraw from the occupied territories.

Press TV: Do you think that there is democracy in Israel?

Shaath: First of all, you cannot compare a Zionist state like Israel to nation states, historical nation states, from thousands of years being built and developed and struggled to achieve their status in the international community like Britain or France.

This is [an] unacceptable comparison to compare this Zionist apartheid state like Israel with the French or the British and from there those people [who] are the Zionist thugs came and robbed historical Palestine and [established] massacres… I do not want to go in there.

So you cannot compare and that [is] totally unacceptable. Then when you see peace and this and that, it is the might against the right. That was what was used in Palestine, a gun in the head of the helpless Palestinians.

You take this or you accept that. That is which contradicts with justice. Justice in here is [that] the Palestinians have to go back to their homes.

It is not even about two-state solutions because as I see with what is happening now, the Israelis are grabbing the best lands of Jerusalem to make a Jewish city totally, the West Bank [and] the best lands to annex the West Bank to Israel. [There is] no hope for two-state solutions.

Only they are planning for cantons-state and there are three cantons-states to put the Arab-Palestinians in it under military rule of Israel and call it an independent Palestinian state.

That is reject-able. Wait for Palestinian people [who] will [have] their third Intifada against all of that. They try to appease their population, the middle class in their demonstration, with building settlements in the West Bank and more cheap housing so they can shut the social protests in there.

Even if you look at that, that protest is racist, only for white western Israelis, not covering all the sides of the fabrics of society.

(www.presstv.ir / 16.08.2011)

VN onderzoeken massale diefstal voedselhulp Somalië

Duizenden zakken met voedsel bestemd voor de Somalische slachtoffers van de grote hongersnood die het gebied teistert, zijn gestolen en worden doorverkocht in lokale winkels. Dat blijkt uit onderzoek dat persbureau AP ter plaatse deed.De diefstal is een zoveelste slag in het gezicht van de duizenden wanhopige vluchtelingen die naar Mogadishu zijn getrokken op zoek naar hulp. Een woordvoerder van het World Food Program (WFP) van de Verenigde Naties heeft toegegeven dat de VN al twee maanden bezig zijn met een onderzoek naar de diefstallen. De woordvoerder zei tegen AP dat de ‘schaal en intensiteit’ van de crisis niet toelaten om de hulp op te schorten om de diefstallen af te straffen. ‘Als we dat doen, riskeren we vele onnodige doden’.

Volgens de VN hebben zo’n 3,2 miljoen mensen-ofwel de halve populatie van Somalië- dringend nood aan hulp nadat de regio getroffen werd door een lange periode van droogte. De desastreuze gevolgen van het uitblijven van regen worden nog versterkt door de gevolgen van een oorlog die Somalië al jaren verscheurt.

Meer dan 455.000 Somaliërs leven in gebieden die onder controle staan van aan al-Qaeda gelinkte terroristische militanten. Dat maakt het verstrekken van hulp moeilijk en risicovol. Volgens de VN zijn al zeker 29.000 kinderen onder de vijf jaar gestorven ten gevolge van de hongersnood.

Verkeerde handen

Internationale afgevaardigden vermoedden al langer dat een deel van de hulpgoederen die naar Somalië verscheept worden, in verkeerde handen valt. Maar de omvang van de diefstal doet de vraag rijzen of de VN wel in staat zijn om de slachtoffers van de ramp daadwerkelijk te bereiken. Het zet echter ook vraagtekens bij de bereidheid van lokale hulpprojecten en de Somalische overheid zelf tot het bestrijden van de corruptie. Bovendien twijfelen sommigen aan het feit of de hulp niet bijdraagt aan het in stand houden van de burgeroorlog die Somalië al twintig jaar in zijn greep houdt.

‘Wanneer je ondervoede mensen helpt, draag je ook bij aan de bestendiging van de macht van groeperingen die een slaatje slaan uit de ramp’, zegt Joakim Gundel, directeur van Katani Consult, een bedrijf in Nairobi dat regelmatig wordt ingeschakeld als consultant voor de internationale voedselhulp aan Somalië. ‘Je redt mensen het leven, zodat ze morgen vermoord kunnen worden’, aldus Gundel.

Plumpy’nut

Grote stapels zakken met voedsel met stempels van de WFP, de Amerikaanse en Japanse overheid zijn te koop op de markten van Mogadishu. Onder meer zakken graan en mais, en potten Plumpy’nut- een calorierijke pindakaas, speciaal ontworpen voor ondervoede kinderen- zijn gewoon te koop in de winkeltjes van de hoofdstad.

Een medewerker van de VN in Mogadishu zei tegen AP te weten dat voedselpakketten massaal worden gestolen door criminele zakenmannen. Het zou om zeker de helft van de totale hoeveelheid gaan.  Het percentage lag ooit lager, maar door de enorme toevloed aan hulppakketten in de afgelopen weken, zonder strenge controle op de verdeling, is een waar paradijs voor criminele handelaars ontstaan.

Het stelen van voedselpakketten is niet nieuw in Somalië. Het was de belangrijkste reden voor Amerika om hun leger naar het land te sturen ten tijde van de hongersnood van 1992. De operatie eindigde vlak na de veldslag bekend als Black Hawk Down.

Er zijn geen aanwijzingen dat het Amerikaanse leger ook dit keer plannen heeft tussen te komen in het geteisterde gebied. Een woordvoerder van het WFP liet in een verklaring weten dat de organisatie de controle en het toezicht op de voedselverdeling heeft opgeschroefd. ‘Echter, door het gebrek aan toegang tot vele gebieden ten gevolge van veiligheidsrisico’s zullen de humanitaire hulplijnen extreem kwetsbaar blijven voor plunderingen en gewelddadige aanvallen door gewapende groeperingen’, aldus de verklaring.

(www.ad.nl / 16.08.2011)

 

Leger Syrië beschiet Palestijns vluchtelingenkamp

Syrische eenheden hebben vandaag opnieuw de  havenstad Latakia onder vuur genomen. De militairen beschoten onder meer een Palestijns vluchtelingenkamp, aldus de Verenigde Naties. Meer dan 5000 Palestijnen zijn het kamp ontvlucht, nadat het onder vuur kwam te liggen van het Syrische leger. Een VN-woordvoerder zei vandaag dat niet duidelijk is wat er precies gebeurt. De Palestijnse autoriteiten veroordeelden de aanval maandag sterk.

De Lokale Coördinatiecomités, een verbond van activisten die betogingen organiseren in Syrië, meldden eveneens dat er op vluchtende burgers is geschoten. Voorts zouden er in de stad huiszoekingen zijn verricht door de Syrische strijdkrachten, waarbij diverse personen zijn ingerekend.

Tanks
In verscheidene wijken was het geluid van geweervuur en explosies te horen. Mensenrechtenactivisten zeggen dat inwoners uit stad proberen te komen, maar alleen van wijk naar wijk kunnen vluchten omdat het leger de stad heeft afgegrendeld. Ook zouden tanks en militairen in de straten zijn van de stad, waar ongeveer 600.000 mensen wonen.

De belegering van Latakia duurt reeds drie dagen. Vrijdag waren hier nog tienduizend demonstranten op de been, totdat de eenheden van president Bashar Assad, in navolging van andere steden, ook in deze kuststad op bloedige wijze ingrepen om een einde te maken aan de al maanden durende demonstraties tegen het regime. Er zijn zelfs kanonneerboten ingezet om de stad vanaf de Middellandse Zee te bestoken, hoewel het leger dit in alle toonaarden ontkent. De militaire campagne in Latakia heeft al aan zo’n dertig mensen het leven gekost.Zondag zette het regime van president Bashar al-Assad voor het eerst de marine in, tijdens beschietingen op de Latakia.

Het Syrische leger is vandaag ook verschillende steden in de provincie Homs binnengevallen. In de stad Houla in Homs is volgens activisten hevig geschoten. Veel mensen zijn gearresteerd en de stad is omsingeld.

Het bewind probeert alle centra van verzet tegen het regime onder controle te krijgen. Eerder probeerden militairen met veel geweld al de betogingen in onder meer Hama en Deir al-Zor te stoppen.

Asiel in Spanje
Volgens de krant El País was Spanje bereid de Syrische president Bashar al-Assad en zijn familie asiel te geven om een eind te maken aan de bloedige crisis in Syrië. Assad verwierp het aanbod. Volgens een Spaanse gezant hadden zijn gesprekspartners ‘het contact met de realiteit volledig verloren’.

Ondertussen blijft Assad onbewogen onder de steeds scherpere internationale veroordelingen van het geweld. De president is vastberaden iedere vorm van protest tegen zijn bewind genadeloos de kop in te drukken. Nieuwe Europese en Amerikaanse strafmaatregelen tegen zijn regime schrikken hem vooralsnog niet af.

(www.trouw.nl / 15.08.2011)

Russian journalist receives “death threats” for supporting Palestinians

Maxim Shevchenko is an immensely well-respected editor, journalist and presenter on television and radio in Russia. He is a staunch advocate of the Palestinian cause, a member of the Public Chamber of the Russian Federation and he is also one of the latest targets of the pro-Israel Lobby.

Shevchenko, one of Russia’s leading journalists, has a wealth of experience behind him, and over the years he has been very open in his condemnation of Israel for its repeated violations of international law in its dealings with the Palestinians. This has, inevitably, led to him becoming a prime target of Russia’s Zionists.

While he may be used to run-ins with Zionists and their repeated efforts to discredit him and anyone else who criticises Israel, the latest burst of condemnation against Shevchenko has been particularly vicious, to the point that he has received numerous death threats. The spark for this latest attack is reportedly a comment he made in which he allegedly compared Israel’s actions towards the Palestinians with those of the Nazis towards the Jews. However, while denying all allegations of anti-Semitism Shevchenko points out that the particular statement he is being condemned for was actually a quote from Holocaust survivor Hedy Epstein. Eighty-seven year old Ms Epstein is also a vocal critic of Israel and a supporter of the Palestinian cause.

The Jewish Congress of Russia, which has an Israeli at its helm, has been spearheading the campaign against Maxim Shevchenko and threats against his life have, it is alleged, been made by the former president and sitting board member of that congress Yevgeny Satanovsky. According to The Palestinian Journalist Forum: “Yevgeny Satanovsky repeated the death threat in front of Shevchenko’s wife, Nadezhda Kifrckova, who is also a journalist, as Satanovsky told her… after her return from covering Freedom Flotilla II, ‘I will kill your husband’.” According to Shevchenko, “I have received anonymous death threats threatening to ‘break my skull so that shrapnel from it will take out both eyes of my wife’.”

On hearing of the reported threats against his life, MEMO contacted Shevchenko directly and spoke to him and his wife both of whom confirmed the threats made against his life. Shevchenko’s wife stated that the threats made against her husband’s life were made openly and publicly by Satanovsky in the middle of a public conference on the heritage of the USSR in June. She explained that her husband’s pro-Palestinian stance has been the key reason for the targeting of her husband. She told us that one other catalyst for the attacks against him was that he had organised the first televised discussion between a member of Hamas (Osama Hamdan – who is the Hamas representative in Lebanon) and a top member of the Likud party in Israel. It was aired on the political talk show “Judge it” which is aired on one of the most popular television channels in Russia, Channel One. In journalistic terms, this should not have been a problem at all. On the contrary this was a unique opportunity to hear both sides. Hamas is not outlawed in Russia, as it is in many other countries, and members of Hamas have been invited to Russia on several occasions before, including by Prime Minister Vladamir Putin. Therefore having a Hamas representative on a political television programme hosted by Shevchenko should not have been a matter worthy of putting him in the firing line for such heavy criticism. However, as Shevchenko’s wife pointed out to us, there are around one million Russian speaking Jews living in Israel and so this programme became something of a scandal in Israel to all those who did not want to hear dialogue between the two sides and who did not want the Palestinian voice to be heard.

Threats against people who condemn the aggression of the state of Israel are part of a global Zionist campaign to put fear into the hearts and minds of those who dare to stand against Zionism and its violations of human rights and international law. It is something faced by all critics of Israel at some time or other. Israeli newspaper Haaretz has referred to Israel’s “global diplomatic intimidation campaign” and it is clear that such bullying takes place on many levels; it is unacceptable wherever and whenever it takes place.

MEMO condemns the targeting of courageous journalists like Maxim Shevchenko in the strongest possible terms. The ability to criticise the policies of any country freely is the right of all people; neither Israel nor its allies should consider it to be above criticism. Death threats and the slander of those who speak up for the human rights and dignity of the Palestinian people and who in doing so criticise Israel must stop. Such threats should be investigated fully in the most robust manner by the relevant authorities, and suitable action taken against the perpetrators.

(www.middleeastmonitor.org.uk / 15.08.2011)

Spinwatch exposes links between pro-Israeli groups and Islamophobic British think-tanks

There is no doubt that attempts to whip up Islamophobia are on the rise and there certainly seems to be an atmosphere of intolerance and racism gaining traction here in the UK. While it is easy to point the finger of blame at racist far-right groups such as the BNP and “the Zionist false flag operation” the EDL (as the BNP call them) (p32) as a major source for stirring up such unnecessary hatred, a new report published by Spinwatch attempts to trace the source of some of this Islamophobia to its more subversive roots, particularly to groups and agencies which purport to be moderate British think-tanks but which instead serve Israeli interests and promote a clearly Islamophobic agenda.

The Spinwatch Report “The Cold War on British Muslims” focuses on two such groups; Britain’s influential Centre for Social Cohesion (CSC) and the group Policy Exchange. The report looks at the motivational ethos behind these organisations; traces some of the funding sources behind them; as well as looking at the background of some of its staff members drawing connections between them and other anti-Islamic and pro-Israeli organisations. It also looks at some of the more controversial reports compiled by these organisations which clearly demonstrate the anti-Islamic agenda driving them.

The Spinwatch report draws parallels between how left wing groups, peace activists and trade-unionists were targeted by anti-subversion agencies in the 1960’s and 1970’s and their seeming nostalgia for such an era of political subversion policies to return by calling for the targeting of politically engaged Muslims, liberals and leftists today.

The Centre for Social Cohesion was established in 2007 as a project of Civitas and the group has a major preoccupation with the threat from “Islamic terrorism”. It is staffed by people like Douglas Murray (its Director) who have “established a reputation as a critic of Islam” bolstered by statements he has made like “conditions for Muslims in Europe must be made harder across the board; Europe must look like a less attractive proposition.” To compound this ethos of an anti-Muslim agenda in April it was announced that: “the Centre for Social Cohesion (CSC) has combined together with the London-based think tank The Henry Jackson Society, who share the same philosophy as the CSC in addition to their broader mission statement.” This “philosophy” of which they speak includes a clear history of promoting the Israeli narrative in its choice of speakers, events and so on and that attempting to dismiss and slur the Palestinian perspective.

The Spinwatch report outlines some of the various fronts on which CSC has tried to attack Muslim individuals and organisations. They have tried, for instance, many times in the past to target the British charity Interpal but failed miserably as they had no way to equate the charitable acts with which Interpal were engaged with terrorism, no matter how hard they tried. It clearly illustrates their pro-Israel agenda that on the one hand CSC would repeatedly target a British charity which tries to provide urgently needed humanitarian aid to Palestinians but then at the same time many of their financial backers are also donating to charities such as the UK Friends of the Association for the Wellbeing of Israel’s Soldiers. Given Israel’s status as a military occupier of the Palestinian territories and given its soldiers’ daily breaches of international law it is reasonable to ask if the same efforts to investigate the charitable works of Interpal have gone into looking at who these IDF soldiers are and whether or not any of them are guilty of committing war crimes. Unlikely, and as such the CSC’s lack of objectivity is clearly displayed; demonise Palestinian organisations and perspectives while having links to Israeli ones without question, no matter how criminal the Israeli acts may have been.

Another example of donors who support CSC is The Traditional Alternatives Foundation (TAF) run by Lord Kalms a member of the Conservative Friends of Israel and vocal critic of those he feels do not support Israel enough. A staunch supporter of Israel Lord Kalms was highly critical of Foreign Secretary William Hague when during the 2006 invasion of Lebanon Hague called the Israeli invasion “disproportionate”. Kalms has also been a vocal critic of Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks calling on him to resign for not providing enough support to Israel (p38). The fact that people like Kalms are helping to bankroll the CSC and hold such strong views about the state of Israel make it very unlikely that the CSC are able to provide fair and balanced reports, as they claim to do. Instead they are undoubtedly influenced by a heavy pro-Israel agenda which also translates into an anti-Islamic one too.

The list goes on. Funding has also been received from The Family Foundation Trust whose other beneficiaries include the right wing UK Friends of the IDF. Another donor, The Charles Wolfson Foundation, has also funded groups like the Israeli-Diaspora Trust and the Anglo-Israel Association. The Lewis Family Charitable Trust has donated to Policy Exchange and has also donated to The United Jewish Israel Appeal and the Zionist Federation (p38-9). The New Heritage Foundation is another donor and was headed by the hard-line Zionist Cyril Stein. Cyril was such an extreme Zionist that he funded an illegal Israeli settlement in the West Bank, has donated “thousands of pounds to an Israeli charity dedicated to building on occupied Palestinian land in East Jerusalem and in 2005 withdrew his support of Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon in protest over the withdrawal of Israeli settlements from Gaza.”(p40) There is no way that organisations and individuals like this would be donating to a group like CSC unless they were getting something they were happy with in return, such as the promotion of the Israeli agenda and the demonization of Muslims. These links all show where roots for these anti-Islamic think tanks lie and largely explain the drive to push an Islamophobic agenda and the role of pro-Israeli lobbyists in fuelling it.

In terms of the tactics CSC have used to promote their counter-jihad discourse, they range far and wide but have even included targeting British libraries. In fact their very first report was called “Hate on the State: How British Libraries Encourage Extremism” which complained about the amount of Islamic material stocked in several UK libraries.

CSC similarly target universities in their report “Islam on Campus: A Survey of UK Student opinions”. As Spinwatch point out, the CSC report draws parallels between the targeting of left wing activities in the 1960-70s and the targeting of Islam today. Thus where “Left-wing activity in the universities was a central concern of cold-war counter-subversion ideology… it is not surprising that universities have also been a key focus for the Centre for Social Cohesion.” (p27) CSC are said to have employed the use of flawed and slanted polls that tend to overstate the responses from Muslims to make the answers seem more dramatic than they perhaps are as part of their overall attempt to exaggerate the threat and thus fear of politically engaged Muslims while in other places downplaying any reports of Islamophobia. (p28)

Policy Exchange, which was established in 2002 by a group of Conservative MPs, has also targeted the educational system and has focused on Faith Schools in their report “Faith Schools We Can Believe In”. They acknowledge that “Non-violent extremism” is “extremely difficult to pin down and illuminate in a society which is committed to free speech” and they therefore suggest a list of criteria to help identify trouble spots (p52). However, looking at their proposed criteria it seems that this is simply a way to suppress all voices and opinions opposed to wars waged by Imperialist nations and most of their criteria “relate to war and political violence and are no doubt intended to target the critics of the wars and occupations of the US, Britain and Israel.”

The Spinwatch report concludes that the sorts of policies and agendas pushed by groups such as CSC and Policy Exchange will mean that British Muslims, “a community already facing routine vilification, racial intimidation and violence would potentially face even greater monitoring, intimidation and harassment by the state. Furthermore the Islamophobic undercurrent of such policies simultaneously risks further fuelling the racist violence against Muslims perpetrated by groups like the British National Party and the English Defence League – ironically the very extremism that organisations like the Centre for Social Cohesion and Policy Exchange claim to oppose.”

The agenda for groups that engage in the counter-jihad movement is clearly “a coalition in which US militarisms, the Christian right, European far-right nationalists and militant Zionists all play central roles, along with a variety of other sectarians.” The British think-tanks named in this report are no different, and their anti-Islam and pro-Israel agenda may not have been directly stated by them but is clear from their words actions and from looking at those who not only work within their ranks but who ultimately fund and control them and their agenda.

(www.middleeastmonitor.org.uk / 15.08.2011)

Leader of Gaza youth group said arrested by Hamas authorities on return from France

One of the founders of Gaza Youth Break Out (GYBO), known as “Abu Yazan” has reportedly been arrested by the Hamas authorities in the Israeli-occupied Gaza Strip after returning from a speaking tour in France, the group reported in a press release and via its Twitter account. GYBO came to prominence earlier this year when it published a manifesto condemning Palestinian political factions.

GYBO first reported the arrest early on Monday morning, Gaza time:

Gaza Youth Break Out’s Twitter

@GazaYBO
Gaza Youth Break Out#Gybo member, human rights activist, and blogger , Abu Yazan , arrested by the authorities in #Gaza
Aug 15 via webFavoriteRetweetReply

The GYBO press release states:

WORRISOME ARREST OF YOUNG POLITICAL ACTIVIST

On August 14th 2011 Abu Yazan, a young political activist from Gaza Youth Breaks Out (GYBO) has been arrested by the Hamas authority. After returning from a trip to France, where he was invited to hold talks about the current situation of the besieged Gaza Strip, he has been called in two times for questioning, until he was finally arrested today. GYBO is a peaceful Palestinian youth movement in Gaza, which gained international attention after publishing a Manifesto in January. Abu Yazan is a leading voice in the movement that is representing a growing number of Gazan youth. The group raises, mainly through new social media like facebook, awareness about the situation under siege for young people in Gaza, and recently called for unity among the Palestinian factions with the aim to target the illegal Israeli occupation. Abu Yazan regularly takes part in demonstrations against the illegal Israeli occupation in Beit Hanoun, northern Gaza. No reasons for his arrestment was given up to this time. He also was denied visits by his family and a lawyer.  We call on the authorities to abide by the law.

(electronicintifada.net / 15.08.2011)

NATO plans to arm Syria criminal gangs

Weapons seized from Syrian criminal armed gangs
The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and Turkey are preparing the ground for military intervention in Syria especially through providing criminal Syrian armed gangs with weaponry.

Large caches of weapons including anti-tank and anti-aircraft missiles, mortar bombs and heavy machine guns will be sent via ground to major Syrian cities witnessing unrest, according to a report by Debka.

Turkey’s military will protect the arms caches on their passage to Syrian rebels.

Syrian rebels have been receiving training inside Turkey to use the weapons for two weeks.

Turkey has warned that it will join any possible military action against neighboring Syria.

On Saturday, Ankara recalled its retired officers to be deployed to cities along the border with Syria. Ankara is a NATO member seeking an EU membership.

More than 1600 people have lost their lives since a wave of unrest gripped Syria five months ago.

Syrian authorities blame foreign-backed armed gangs for the killings. Damascus says as many as 500 soldiers and police officers have been killed by armed groups.

(www.presstv.com / 15.08.2011)

Best Maps Collection of Palestine Conflict

First
Jewish colony in Palestine, 1878

Major
Arab Towns and Zionist Settlements in Palestine,
1881-1914

Sykes-Picot Agreement, 1916

Zionist
colonies in Palestine at the beginning of the British Mandate,
1920

Palestine under the British Mandate,
1923-1948

Zionist
and Palestinian landownership in percentages by subdistrict,
1945

Distribution of population (Palestinian and Jewish) by
subdistrict, 1946

Landownership in Palestine and the UN Partition Plan,
1947
Palestinian Villages Depopulated in 1948 and 1967, and Razed by
Israel

United
Nations Partition Plan-UN Resolution 181, 1947 / Rhodes Armistice Line,
1949

Population Movements, 1948-51

The
Rhodes Armistice Line, 1949

Israel
– Syria: Demilitarized Zones, 1949

The
Golan Heights under Israeli Occupation, 1967

The
Strategic Value of the Golan Heights

The
Allon Plan, July 1967

The
Near East after the 1967 June War

Palestinian Villages Depopulated in 1948 and
1967

Oslo
II, 1995

The
Divided City of Hebron, Following the Hebron Agreement,
1997

Wye
Memorandum, 1998

Sharm-Esh-Sheikh, (Projected from Memorandum),
1999

The
Gaza Strip, Year 2000

The
Gaza Strip, Year 2007

The
West Bank and Gaza Strip, March 2000

Projection of the West Bank Final Status Map presented by
Israel, Camp David, July 2000

Final
Status Map Presented by Israel – Taba, January 2001

Palestinian Sovereign Areas According to the Sharon
Proposal, 2001

Water
Sources

Surface
Water in Palestine

Palestinian West Bank cities and Israeli Settlements
Policy

Palestinian Refugees: UNWRA Refugee Camps,
June
2003

West
Bank Wall – Map 2006

(freepalestineofoccupation.blogspot.com / 15.08.2011)

ISRAELI FORCES SEND RAMADAN GREETINGS VIA TEAR GAS CANISTERS

Peaceful Palestinian rallies in the West Bank are often met with a violent response by Israeli forces.
*
empty tear gas canister,marked “made in USA,” fired by Israeli soldiers in the West Bank (just in case you were wondering where Israel got the tear gas from)
BETHLEHEM  — Israeli forces targeted three separate rallies across the West Bank on Friday, firing tear gas at participants and lightly injuring dozens.

Soldiers fired tear gas at weekly Friday demonstrations in the Palestinian village of Bilin, west of Ramallah, the Popular Struggle Coordination Committee said.

Despite the heat and fasting of Ramadan, dozens of Palestinian, international and Israeli activists took part in the protests, which began after Friday prayers in an area of land recently returned to the village by Israeli authorities.

Israeli forces stationed behind part of the separation wall fired tear gas at the crowds as participants shouted slogans toward the nearby settlement of Mattiyahu calling on settlers to return the land to residents of Bilin.

Dozens of the activists inhaled the tear gas causing mild injuries.

A peaceful rally held after Friday prayers in the village of Nabi Saleh, near Ramallah was also targeted by Israeli soldiers who fired tear gas, stun grenades and rubber coated steel bullets at protesters, a Ma’an correspondent reported.

The army blocked streets in the village, declaring it a closed military zone while settlers under the protection of the soldiers accessed a nearby spring.

Soldiers also occupied the home of Shaker Mahmoud Al-Tamimi, turning it into a military post and forcing the children and women into a small room while preventing journalists from reaching the house, a Ma’an correspondent noted.

In a separate non-violent rally on Friday, residents of Kafr Qaddum, east of Qalqiliya marched to demand that the main road to the village be opened after nine years of being blocked by Israeli authorities.

The village is overlooked by the illegal Israeli settlement of Qedumim.

“The Friday rally is the sixth consecutive one and dozens of cars and hundreds of residents participated in addition to international peace activists. The march started from the center of the village and finished by the blocked entrance,” media coordinator Murad Ishtewi told Ma’an.

Israeli soldiers were present in large numbers and fired gas canisters at the residents.

The villages of Bilin and Nabi Saleh both hold weekly Friday rallies to protest against Israel’s confiscation of village lands.

Six years after the struggle began in Bilin and four years after the Israeli High Court had ordered the re-routing of the separation wall, residents were finally granted access in June 2011 to 600 dunams of land previously annexed by Israel.

The non-violent resistance movement is a key part of the Palestinian struggle against Israeli occupation.

Peaceful Palestinian rallies in the West Bank are often met with a violent response by Israeli forces.

(desertpeace.wordpress.com / 15.08.2011)