zondag 1 mei · 13:30 – 18:00
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We heten u van harte welkom op “Dag van de Oemma”.
De deuren zijn open vanaf 13u30….
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Minister Uri Rosenthal van Buitenlandse Zaken roept Nederlandse organisaties op niet deel te nemen aan een internationale vloot met hulpgoederen naar de Gazastrook.
Volgens het kabinet levert deze actie ”allerminst een bijdrage aan een oplossing van het Israëlisch-Palestijns conflict”, zo schreef de bewindsman dinsdag in een brief aan de Tweede Kamer.
De regering kan Nederlandse schepen en opvarenden echter niet verhinderen uit te varen, constateert hij.
Vanuit Griekenland vertrekken half mei ongeveer vijftien schepen, waaronder mogelijk een Nederlands schip, met humanitaire goederen en zo’n duizend opvarenden naar Gaza. De vloot moet daar eind mei aankomen.
Dat is een jaar nadat de Israëlische marine de vorige vloot tegenhield op de Middellandse Zee. Bij die operatie kwamen negen opvarenden, allen Turken, om het leven.
Volgens de initiatiefnemers is de vloot bedoeld om de ”illegale blokkade van de Gazastrook te doorbreken en hulpgoederen af te leveren”.
Bij de Nederlandse delegatie, die geld inzamelt voor een eigen Nederlandse boot, zijn onder meer Stop de Bezetting, Stichting Palestina, het Nederlandse Palestina Komité en Een Ander Joods Geluid betrokken.
Geen van deze en andere Nederlandse ondersteunende organisaties krijgen volgens Rosenthal overheidssubsidie. Hij heeft dat laten uitzoeken op verzoek van de ChristenUnie. Tweede Kamerlid Joël Voordewind van die fractie noemde het initiatief eerder al een ”nodeloze provocatie aan het adres van Israël”.
Rosenthal wijst erop dat hulpverlening aan Gaza het meeste effect heeft als dat wordt geleverd via de reguliere grensovergangen tussen Israël en Gaza. Nederland dringt er al jaren op aan die verder open te stellen.
De Tweede Kamer houdt donderdagochtend een spoeddebat met Rosenthal over de Gazavloot.
(www.nu.nl / 26.04.2011)
Several groups of Israeli settlers attacked Palestinian with rocks on Sunday, mainly in the Nablus area in the northern West Bank. At least five were wounded, including a 13-year old boy who was hit in the head with a rock, and taken to Rafidiya Government Hospital in Nablus. Settlers also torched one car, and broke the windshield of another.
According to local eyewitnesses, Israeli settlers gathered on hilltops near Beit Furik, Urif and Madama villages on Sunday afternoon, and began throwing rocks at Palestinian villagers in the area. One group of settlers attacked Palestinian drivers on a road near Huwwara, south of Nablus, setting fire to a taxi belonging to Murad Mustafa Al-Yatem, and breaking the windshield of a car carrying three passengers – two of whom were injured in the attack.
The incidents of attacks against Palestinian residents escalated Sunday afternoon, after an Israeli settler was killed near ‘Joseph’s Tomb’ in Nablus Sunday morning – allegedly by Palestinian security forces.
The Palestinian Authority has established an investigation of that incident.
Settler attacks against Palestinians in the northern West Bank have increased significantly in the last six weeks, after the murder of an Israeli settler family in their beds in Itamar. Israeli authorities claim to have extracted confessions for the murders from two Palestinian teenagers, but their families have denied the boys’ involvement in the murder. One of the boys recently underwent surgery which prevents him from walking more than a few meters, and his parents said he was at home in bed recovering from his surgery at the time the murders took place.
(imemc.org / 26.04.2011)
Sectarian tensions have torn at families and ended friendships, but one group of women are fighting for national unity.
|One women’s group, which calls for an end to sectarian violence, has about 40 members, while other activists try to build unity through online campaigns [AFP]|
Women in Bahrain have launched new initiatives to tackle sectarian tensions that emerged as fallout from widespread unrest that has swept the country since February.
The tiny island with oil incomes representing around 70 per cent of government revenues was known for years for its peaceful coexistence between its majority Shia and minority Sunni populations.
The majority of those who participated in demonstrations before the declaration of the three-month state of emergency in March were Shia. Sunnis were mainly involved in pro-government rallies.
The result: long-time friends have turned enemies. Each sect has issued a list of shops that should be boycotted because Bahrainis of the opposite sect own them. Those lists are circulated through leaflets, email and e-forums.
‘Women for Bahrain’ is an initiative that is working to unite Bahrainis once again. “Through the group we are trying to tell people that religion is for god, and the country is for all of us, and how sectarianism could lead to serious complications,” says Fawziya Al Khaja an activist and media committee member.
The recently formed women’s group, with members coming from different walks of life, stands against powers in Bahrain who back sectarian tension to promote their own agendas, she says.
The group commenced its activities in March, calling for love and tolerance through Internet social networks. A unity petition was launched.
“The group’s activities wouldn’t have a timeframe and would continue as long as we are needed, we want from the people of Bahrain to respect and accept each other regardless of their differences and to share the love of their country,” Al Khaja says.
The group is also dedicated to spreading the principles of wisdom, justice and freedom to protect the dignity of people. “Through the group we are telling society and the world that the role of Bahraini women shouldn’t be overlooked, as without them the structure of family and community get affected,” she explains.
Internet social networks and Blackberry messenger are now a war zone for Shiite and Sunni youth who pass hate messages back and forth constantly. Those messages criticise the differences among two sects of the same religion, says Mariam Al Ruwaee, the president of the Bahrain Women’s Union.
“Mixed marriages felt the heat of tensions most, since people could shun sectarianism inside their homes, while we are confronting them insides our bedrooms,” says Fathiya Ibrahim, a Shia.
Talking about her relationship with her Sunni husband, she said: “We aren’t at ease as we share different opinions. It wasn’t like that before but situations have dragged us to this level.”
Sunni academic, Haisa Al Junaid who is married to a Shia, has so far attracted 40 women to stand together against what could threaten the stability of their families and the safety of their children – fights that turn violent at schools.
“We want to take legal actions, including filing court cases against well-known figures promoting sectarianism,” Haisa announced during a recent launch of the initiative at her home. “Through the group we want also to highlight that we are in pain from disunity in the community and disturbance of relations.”
(english.aljazeera.net / 26.04.2011)
President Saleh verklaarde zondag dat hij niet bereid is de macht af te staan vooraleer verkiezingen een opvolger hebben aangeduid. Die verklaring kwam er een dag nadat de president akkoord ging met een overgangsperiode van dertig dagen.
“We zullen rechtmatige verkiezingen organiseren, met toezicht van internationale experts”, zei Saleh in een interview met BBC.
(www.nieuwsblad.be / 25.04.2011)
The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) has a dangerous stranglehold over U.S. foreign policy towards the Middle East. Moveoveraipac.org
In April 2005, AIPAC policy director Steven Rosen and AIPAC senior Iran analyst Keith Weissman were fired by AIPAC amid an FBI investigation into whether they passed classified U.S. information on to Israel. Democraticunderground.com
AIPAC has also lobbied heavily for U.S. funding of various Israeli weapons programs, including Israel’s Arrow missile defense system. Rightweb.irc-online.org
AIPAC’s unrelenting support for the illegal policies of the Israeli government-separation walls, settlements, the siege of Gaza-in addition to its bellicose policies across the region, especially Iran, has been devastating for Palestinians and the Middle East, including Israel. Moveoveraipac.org
The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) was incorporated in 1963 by Isaiah L. “Si” Kenen. Waronyou.com
AIPAC claims to have more than 100,000 members and its website prominently displays a New York Times blurb about the group, which claims that the group is the “most important organization affecting America’s relationship with Israel.” Rightweb.irc-online.org
AIPAC & U.S. Politics
Pro-Israel interests have contributed $56.8 million in individual, group, and soft money donations to federal candidates and party committees since 1990, according to the non-partisan Center for Responsive Politics. Metapedia.org
Between the 2000 and the 2004 elections, the 50 members of AIPAC’s board donated an average of $72,000 each to campaigns and political action committees.” Metapedia.org
AIPAC claims it “has a stranglehold on Congress.” With a $47 million a year budget and more than 100 full-time staffers, it is no doubt a formidable advocate for Israel’s interests. Isreview.org
In March 2009, AIPAC executive director Howard Kohr appeared before the House Committee on Appropriations’ Foreign Operations subcommittee to testify about the importance of U.S. aid to Israel. Worldwideinfoforum.com
Kohr requested that Israel receive $2.775 billion in military aid in fiscal year 2010, as called for in the 2007 Memorandum of Understanding between the U.S. and Israel that allocates $30 billion in aid for Israel over 10 years. Worldwideinfoforum.com
In 1992, AIPAC president David Steiner was forced to resign after he was recorded boasting about his political influence in obtaining aid for Israel. Metapedia.org
Steiner claimed that he had met with then Bush U.S. Secretary of State Jim Baker and he cut a deal with him. Sherdog.net
“I got, besides the $3 billion, you know they’re looking for the Jewish votes, and I’ll tell him whatever he wants to hear … Besides the $10 billion in loan guarantees which was a fabulous thing, $3 billion in foreign, in military aid, and I got almost a billion dollars in other goodies that people don’t even know about.” Sherdog.net
Steiner also claimed to be “negotiating” with the incoming Clinton administration over who Clinton would appoint as Secretary of State and Secretary of the National Security Agency. Docstoc.com
In 2004 it was reported that an FBI investigation had gained evidence that a senior Pentagon analyst with close ties to Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz and Undersecretary of Defense Douglas Feith had provided a draft presidential directive on Iran to AIPAC that was then passed to the Israeli government. Sourcewatch.org
In April 2005, AIPAC policy director Steven Rosen and AIPAC senior Iran analyst Keith Weissman were fired by AIPAC amid an FBI investigation into whether they passed classified U.S. information received from (Lawrence Anthony) Franklin (a U.S. Air Force Reserves colonel) on to the government of Israel. Democraticunderground.com
In May 2005, the Justice Department announced that Lawrence Anthony Franklin, a U.S. Air Force Reserves colonel working as a Department of Defense analyst at the Pentagon in the office of Douglas Feith, had been arrested and charged by the FBI with providing classified national defense information to Israel. Metapedia.org
On January 20, 2006, Franklin was sentenced to 151 months (almost 13 years) in prison and fined $10,000. As part of the plea agreement, Franklin agreed to cooperate in the larger federal investigation. All charges against the former AIPAC employees were dropped in 2009. Powerbot.org
AIPAC & Israeli Military
AIPAC has also lobbied heavily for U.S. funding of various Israeli weapons programs, including Israel’s Arrow missile defense system. Rightweb.irc-online.org
This military cooperation between the United States and Israel has resulted in the deployment of the Arrow missile defense system, and the continuing development of the Tactical High Energy Laser.” Rightweb.irc-online.org
Former U.S. Secretary of State Alexander Haig reportedly called Israel “the largest American aircraft carrier in the world.” Without it, the U.S. would have to spend additional tens of billions of dollars to police the Middle East with its own troops. Isreview.org
In the final decades of the 20th century, the United States and Israel moved into tight alliance. Every year from 1976 on, Israel was the lead recipient of U.S. foreign aid. The U.S. supported Israel as it maintained its artificial Jewish demographic majority, attacked the refugee-led Palestinian resistance, and expanded settlements further into occupied territory. Zcommunications.org
As long as U.S. weapons continue to flow, Israel will feel free to disregard the Obama Administration’s mild blandishments and half-hearted attempts to bring Israel to the negotiating table. Unfortunately this disincentive structure is set to be reinforced over the coming years. Josh Ruebner, Counterpunch.org
Under a Bush-era agreement, U.S. weapons transfers to Israel are scheduled to total $30 billion from 2009-2018, an annual average increase of 25 percent above previous levels. With this 2007 Memorandum of Understanding, the United States solidified Israel’s position as the largest recipient of U.S. military aid this decade. In line with increases proposed under this arrangement, President Obama asked for a record-breaking $3.075 billion of weapons for Israel in his 2012 budget request. Josh Ruebner, Counterpunch.org
A new online database-“How Many Weapons to Israel?”-casts doubt on whether the United States can afford, either morally, financially or politically, to continue transferring weapons to Israel at taxpayer expense without examining the ramifications of this policy. Josh Ruebner, Counterpunch.org
From 2000-2009, the United States licensed, paid for, and delivered to Israel more than 670 million weapons and related equipment, valued at nearly $19 billion, through three main weapons transfer programs (Foreign Military Sales, Direct Commercial Sales, and Excess Defense Articles). These weapons transfer programs accounted for nearly 80 percent of the more than $24 billion in military aid appropriated to Israel during these years. The bulk of the remaining money was spent by Israel on its own domestic arms industry, a unique exemption written into law for Israel. All other countries receiving U.S. military aid are required to spend the whole sum within the United States. Josh Ruebner, Counterpunch.org
Military aid to Israel ran the gamut from the patently absurd-one used food steamer valued at $2,100-to the lethal-93 F-16D fighter jets valued at a total of nearly $2.5 billion. With nearly 500 categories of weapons transferred to Israel, the United States is pervasively, intricately, and comprehensively involved in arming its military. Josh Ruebner, Counterpunch.org
vrijdag 29 april · 19:00 – 21:00
Debat: Politieke ontwikkelingen
Op 29 april aanstaande organiseren Emcemo en stichting Argan, een bijeenkomst met de twee leiders van de Marokkaanse ’20 februari-beweging’ (‘Beweging voor Vrijheid en Democratie Nu’).
De ‘20 februari-beweging’ speelt een belangrijke rol in de steeds toenemende assertieve houding, met als bedoeling het afdwingen van democratische hervormingen.
Een beweging die, zoals ook in de Arabische landen, gekenmerkt wordt de aanwezigheid van jongeren en veelvuldig door de media wordt getypeerd als ‘Facebook-generatie’. Een generatie die vaak hoogopgeleid is, maar tegelijkertijd een uitzichtloos bestaan leidt en in haar rechten wordt beperkt. De 20 februari-beweging zet zich in voor democratische vrijheden zoals gelijkheid, onderwijs voor iedereen en de aanpak van werkloosheid. Hun oproep tot politieke verandering heeft weerklank gevonden onder alle lagen van de bevolking en het maatschappelijk middenveld in Marokko. De beweging is er in geslaagd om een draagvlak te creëren, en daarmee haar eisen kracht bij te zetten.
Tijdens de bijeenkomst op 29 april zal de vraag centraal staan of de ‘20 februari-beweging’ haar eisen met succes kan stellen. Van succes is sprake op het moment dat de beweging de Marokkaanse overheid met maatschappelijke druk kan overtuigen om de democratische hervormingen door te voeren. Belangrijk is ook de vraag of de beweging in staat is om een voet tussen de deur te krijgen bij de heersende politiek macht? Volgens bepaalde partijen is immers geen sprake van een goed georganiseerde machtsblok, maar eerder van een gelegenheidscoalitie bestaande uit verschillende krachten.
Het debat op 29 april zal een unieke kijk geven in een oppositiebeweging die een onderdeel vormt van de ‘Arabische lente’ en in de civiele en politieke krachten binnen Marokko.
U bent welkom om bij dit gesprek met de Marokkaanse delegatieleden aanwezig te zijn, en daaraan deel te nemen.
Datum: Vrijdag 29 april 2011
Met vriendelijke groet,
Libyan government forces are keeping pressure on the rebel-held city of Misrata after abandoning most of the positions they held in the city.
Libyan government forces shelled the besieged rebel-held port of Misrata Sunday, a day after officials signaled a change in tactics. Deputy Foreign Minister Khaled Kaim claimed the army was suspending operations in Misrata and would hand over positions to pro-Gadhafi tribesmen.
“The situation in Misrata will be eased, will be dealt with by the tribes around Misrata and the rest of Misrata’s people, not by the Libyan army, and you will see how they will be swift and quick and fast and the Libyan army will be out of the question, out of the situation in Misrata,” said Kaim.
A Libyan opposition leader told Libyan rebel TV, however, that he did not think that tribes around Misrata would fight their countrymen inside the city. “Some local tribesmen,” he said, “have personal ties with the Gaddafi regime, but the majority oppose him and won’t fight.”
In the capital Tripoli, Gaddafi loyalists fired anti-aircraft guns into the air sporadically, amid reports of NATO airstrikes. The U.S. Defense Department announced an airstrike by a US Predator drone in Libya Saturday. NATO said the unmanned aircraft destroyed a multiple rocket launcher used by pro-Gaddafi forces near Misrata.
Elsewhere in the region, tens of thousands of Yemenis continued to protest against president Ali Abdallah Saleh, a day after he accepted a Gulf Arab initiative that would eventually have him leave office.
Speaking at Yemen’s War College Sunday, president Saleh accused the opposition of trying to create chaos:
He says that the behavior of the opposition has put a stop to economic development in Yemen. He claims the opposition wants to spill blood, create a civil war, and overthrow the legal order, while he opposes violence.
Yemeni politicians and negotiators from the Gulf Cooperation Council say president Saleh has agreed to a GCC proposal for him to step down within 30 days of an accord being signed with the opposition. Saleh ally and deputy information minister Abdou Jundi says the president accepts the plan, but has some conditions:
He says president Saleh accepted the GCC plan in principle, and that this will be in accordance with the constitution, which allows the president to resign to parliament. He insists that starting a dialogue with the opposition is part of the plan.
Many protesters refuse any dialogue with the president and insist on his immediate resignation. They also object to giving the president and his family any immunity from prosecution.
Meanwhile in Syria, thousands of mourners laid to rest protesters shot dead Saturday near the southern city of Deraa. They chanted slogans against the government and against president Bashar al-Assad. Protests were reported in at least six other towns and cities, despite widespread arrests of opposition activists by the government.
(www.sofiaecho.com / 25.04.2011)
Monday, 11 April 2011
It is no secret that the citizens of the Gaza district have been walled in and kept alive only to be used as guinea pigs for the Israeli arms industry. The Guardian got reporters into the Strip, and they came out with hard evidence of the role that Israeli-manufactured armed drones played in the attack of 2009. The UK was already known as being guilty of involvement in Cast Lead, as Raytheon, the company that makes the electronics inside the F16s which continue to bomb the Gazans, has its offices in Bristol. But further than that: the European Union, through the European Research Programme, has been subsidising the Israeli arms industry as part of the current EU / Israeli Association Agreement. Under this, Israel is entitled to the same funding for research as are EU member states.
(palywely.blogspot.com / 25.04.2011)
The militant group Hezbollah is actively plotting with the opposition in Bahrain to overthrow the country’s ruling family, the government said in a confidential report to the United Nations.
“Evidence confirms that Bahraini elements are being trained in Hezbollah camps specifically established to train assets from the Gulf,” the report reads. Bahrain has long made claims that Iran and Hezbollah have sought to fuel instability in the nation.
In the report sent to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Bahrain’s government claims Iranian-backed Hezbollah has been training opposition figures at its camps in Lebanon and Iran, in an effort to destabilize the Khalifa monarchy. The report also says the militant group has trained militants for activities in neighboring Gulf countries, according to diplomats who have reviewed it.
The government report urges the United Nations to curb Iran and Hezbollah’s interference in the country.
Both Iran and Hezbollah have previously denied involvement in the protests. The Bahraini government has launched a violent crackdown against the protesters and Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have deployed troops to Bahrain to support the regime.
The report details meetings between Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah and other senior officials of the group with members of Shiite organizations in Bahrain, such as al Wefaq, one of the country’s major opposition parties and the banned al Haq group.
In the report, Bahrain alleges Shiite groups coordinated political strategy inside the country and used Hezbollah’s television channel, al Manar to mobilize opposition protests.
Abdul-Jalil Khalil, an al Wefaq member of parliament, denied the claims.
“We believe the problem is a political issue and an internal issue and we have no support from the outside,” he said, adding al Wefaq has no formal or informal relationship with Hezbollah and does not use al Manar to aid the movement.
“The movement is a peaceful movement,” according to Khalil, who said al Wefaq is interested in serious political reform and not in overthrowing the ruling family.
Hassan Mushaimaa, the secretary general of Haq has been detained, and was unavailable to comment on the report.
Bahrain’s ruling Khalifa family is Sunni Muslim, while about two-thirds of the country are Shiite.
The State Department has said it believes Iran’s role in Bahrain has been minimal, and that the protests in Bahrain were the product of home-grown frustrations of the country’s Shiia, who want greater economic and political participation.
The Obama administration has criticized the Bahraini crackdown and called for the government to enter into political dialogue with the opposition.
(edition.cnn.com / 25.04.2011)