Israel threatens to cut off power, water to Gaza

JERUSALEM: Israel warned on Saturday that it would cut the supply of water and electricity to the Gaza Strip if rival Palestinian movementsFatah and Hamas form a unity government.

“The foreign ministry is examining the possibility of Israel pulling out of the Gaza Strip in terms of infrastructure,” Deputy foreign minister Danny Ayalon told the daily Yediot Aharonot website.

A unity government deal “would transform the Palestinian Authority into a terrorist authority and would put an end to any hope for a peace agreement” with Israel, said Ayalon, who is also a Knesset deputy from the nationalist Yisrael Beitenu party.

On Friday, Israeli ministers decided to maintain a freeze on the transfer of tens of millions of dollars in tax monies to the Palestinian Authority hours after Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas held top-level talks with Hamas chief Khaled Meshaal at which they announced a new era of “partnership.”

The transfer of funds, which make up a large percentage of the authority’s monthly budget, was frozen on November 1 as a punitive measure after the Palestinians won full membership of the UN cultural organisation.

“If the Palestinians have signed an agreement over a unity government, it would make a transfer of funds impossible,” a senior government official told AFP.

In January, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had already threatened to cut off water and power to Gaza, which has been controlled by Hamas since the Islamist group chased Fatah from the territory in 2008.

Israel, which unilaterally withdrew from Gaza and dismantled Jewish settlements in 2008, continues to supply the territory with water and 70 percent of its electrical power, the rest being supplied by neighbouring Egypt or local power plants.

(timesofindia.indiatimes.com / 26.11.2011)

‘Verkiezingsuitslag Marokko geen goede zaak’

Abdelillah Benkirane, leider van de Marokkaanse PJD, spreekt tot de media na het winnen van de verkiezingen.
Dat de Partij voor Gerechtigheid en Ontwikkeling (PJD) de verkiezingen in Marokko heeft gewonnen, is niet positief. Dat vindt Yuba Zalen van een van de twee takken van de 20 Februari Beweging Nederland. ‘Ze staan bekend om hun populistische uitspraken.’

‘De PJD was de afgelopen jaren prominent aanwezig in het politieke bestel in Marokko”, zegt Zalen. ‘Het volk heeft het vertrouwen in dat bestel opgegeven. Er is geen reden om aan te nemen dat ze het nu beter zouden doen.’

Het opkomstpercentage bij de verkiezingen was volgens de Marokkaanse overheid 45 procent. Gezien ‘de propaganda” die mensen ertoe moest bewegen om te gaan stemmen, is dit volgens Zalen ‘een slag voor de regering’. De 20 Februari Beweging had opgeroepen de verkiezingen te boycotten.

Overigens heeft Zalen er niet veel vertrouwen in dat de officiële cijfers over de opkomst en uitslag echt kloppen. De verkiezingen staan namelijk onder leiding van het ministerie van Binnenlandse Zaken, dat volgens veel Marokkanen weinig transparant is. ‘Er is geen enkele aanleiding om aan te nemen dat dit betrouwbare cijfers zijn.’

(www.parool.nl / 26.11.2011)

Deaths mount in Syria; Arab League mulls possible sanctions

(CNN) — At least 11 civilians, including three children, were killed Saturday by security forces across Syria, the Local Coordination Committees of Syria activist group said.

Seven of the deaths occurred in Homs, two in Deir Ezzor, and one each in the Damascus suburbs of Kanaker and Idlib, said the group, which organizes and documents anti-government protests.

The state-run Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) reported that 22 army and security force members were buried Saturday.

“The martyrs were targeted by the armed terrorist groups while they were in the line of duty in the governorates of Damascus Countryside, Homs and Hama,” it said. “Relatives of the martyrs expressed pride in their son’s martyrdom who sacrificed their lives to defend their homeland, stressing that Syria will remain steadfast in the face of the conspiracy which targets its unity and stability.”

Syria, meanwhile, failed to respond to a Friday deadline for it to allow Arab League observers into the country to monitor the government’s response to civil unrest.

That failure has moved the country a step closer to economic sanctions from its neighbors, a senior Arab League diplomat said.

“The Syrians responded with more requests to amendments to the protocol; they did not reject or accept,” he said.

The finance and economic ministers of the Arab League were to meet Saturday to draft potential sanctions that will be discussed Sunday by the Arab League’s foreign ministers, said the diplomat, who did not want to be identified because of the sensitivity of the negotiations.

These could include halting dealings with Syria’s central bank and airlines, the official said.

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said Syria risked international isolation if it continued on its present path — and, that the bloodshed resulting from its crackdown on pro-democracy protests could not be tolerated.

“Syria has to make a decision,” he said in Istanbul alongside his Italian counterpart, Giulio Terzi. “It will either continue this crackdown policy against its people and become isolated more and more, or it will say yes to this well-intentioned Arab League proposal, sign this protocol and observers will monitor the situation on the ground by going to all Syrian cities.”

In New York, a representative of Ban Ki-moon said Friday that the U.N. secretary-general “welcomes the efforts of the League of Arab States to end the bloodshed and promote a political solution” and urged Syrian authorities to agree to the league’s proposal to send an observer mission to protect civilians in Syria.

Since March, protesters in cities across the country have been demanding al-Assad’s ouster and democratic elections.

SANA said the move by Arab League diplomats meeting in Cairo was unprecedented. The league was rejected by the Syrian people as “a tool for foreign interference,” it said.

“The sanctions include stopping air flights, trade exchanges and monetary dealings with the Syrian government and freezing its assets, which harms the interests of the Syrian people,” it reported.

The 22-country Arab League suspended Syria from its membership this month after President Bashar al-Assad’s regime ignored demands to end its crackdown on citizens.

Adding to the pressure on Damascus, the United Nations Committee Against Torture said Friday it is “deeply concerned about gross and pervasive human rights violations in Syria,” which are allegedly taking place “in a context of impunity.”

“Of particular concern are reports referring to children who have suffered torture and mutilation while detained; as well as cases of extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions; arbitrary detention by police forces and the military; and enforced and involuntary disappearances,” said Claudio Grossman, who heads the expert panel.

Reliable sources indicate the abuses “are allegedly conducted under direct orders from public authorities, at their instigation or with their consent or acquiescence,” Grossman said.

The committee has asked Syria to provide a special report by early March indicating it is abiding by its obligations under the U.N. Convention against Torture, to which Syria is a signatory.

(edition.cnn.com / 26.11.2011)

Résultats provisoires élections parlementaires du 25 Novembre au Maroc.

Le ministre de l’intérieur Marocain a annoncé les résultats provisoires comptant pour 288 sièges hors listes nationales lors de la conférence de presse de 13h27 de ce Samedi 26 novembre 2011 :

Taux de participation provisoire : 45,4%
Nombre de sièges par parti :

  1. PJD : 80 sièges, 27,7% (Parti Justice et développement)
  2. PI: 45 sièges, 15,6% (Parti Istiqlal)
  3. RNI 38 sièges, 13,2% (Rassemblement national des indépendants)
  4. PAM 33 sièges, 11,5% (Parti authenticité et modernité)
  5. USFP 29 sièges, 10% (Union socialiste des forces populaires)
  6. MP 22 sièges, 7,6% (Mouvement populaire)
  7. PPS 11 sièges, 4% (Parti du Progrès et du socialisme)

(www.bigbrother.ma / 26.11.2011)

Join Campaign against Sale of South Korean Jets to Israel

We are Palestine Peace Solidarity @S.Korea, which is a grassroots group of solidarity movement for Palestine. We formed our group in 2003 and since then, have been focusing on violations of human rights in Palestine and the struggle against the occupation. Now we launched our petition campaign against the sale of jet-trainer/light fighter T-50 to Israel by the South Korean government.

south_korean_jet

Please join our petition via this link, and send your message to the South Korean government.

You can see the details of this here.

In recent years South Korea has dramatically increased its military relationship with Israel. On average, it imports US $280 million of Israeli-manufactured defense products per-year. In accordance with the Palestinian Civil Society’s call for a military embargo on Israel, we call on the South Korean government to cancel the sale of its T-50 Golden Eagle Jet and cut all defense ties with Israel until the latter demonstrates the will to abide by the principles of international humanitarian law.

We urgently ask you to join us in petitioning this request to the South Korean government.

In Solidarity

———————————————————-

Palestine Peace Solidarity of S.Korea

Website(Korean)

Blog (English)

E-mail: nablus3 (at) gmail (dot) com

Twitter: PPS_KR

[Petition Letter] ——————————————————————————————–

Dear

Republic of Korea President Myung-bak Lee Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Commissioner of Defense Acquisition Program Administration ,

We are aware that the Israeli Air Force is considering the purchase of South Korea’s T-50 “Golden Eagle” Jets. We are also aware that the South Korean government and Korean Aerospace Industries are both eager to see this sale finalized. Indeed, the results of this sale could be that of a great honour to South Korea and its Aerospace Industry. It would certainly upgrade its position as an international arms exporter and South Korea would certainly experience the subsequent economic benefits of the sale.

Presently, the government of Israel, led by Benjamin Netanyahu, is strongly pushing its politics of aggression, territorial expansion and non-compliance with international law. The human rights situation for Palestinians in the Occupied Territories continues to deteriorate as Israel continues to construct settlements in direct conflict with international law. Israeli military aggression has taken 88 lives just this year, with 30 during August. This included a 1 year old child. Meanwhile, Israeli NGOs report that Palestinian citizens in Israel continue to suffer institutionalized discrimination and racism in many areas of public life.

In such a situation, we are afraid that the sale of the T-50 to Israel will result not in honour but in disappointment from the international community.

We are also afraid that this agreement and the sale of the T-50 signals increased cooperation between the arms industries of South Korea and Israel. Defense imports from Israel already stand at US $280 million and the T-50 is already equipped with electronic devices made by Elbit Systems, an Israeli weapons company with such a reputation for involvement in human rights violations, that it has already been expelled from Norway’s National pension fund.

On July 8th, Palestinian Civil Society called for a Comprehensive Military Embargo with the stated goal of forcing Israel into:

1. Ending its occupation and colonization of all Arab lands (1967) and dismantling the Wall;

2. Recognizing the fundamental rights of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality; and

3. Respecting, protecting and promoting the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN resolution 194.

A time ago South Korea was committed to the right to self-determination of the Palestinian people. Many will not remember it, but in December of 1981, the Foreign Minister of the ROK Government declared, at the UN Palestine solidarity week, ‛We want to express our fully support and solidarity to the Palestinians ideals and legitimate struggles towards self-determination’ and ‛Israel must evacuate from all Arab territory which it occupied by military means in 1967, including Jerusalem.’

Nowadays the South Korean Government is proud of South Korea’s good standing in the international community, but they have to recognize that this position greatly originated from their statements for world peace and justice, just like the above declaration for Palestine.

So, we ask you to:

1) Cancel the sale of the T-50 Jets to Israel

2) Respect the Palestinian call for a Comprehensive Military Embargo of Israel.

In this, we are asking you to choose between the opportunity to gain monetarily and the opportunity to show the world that South Korea refuses to fuel conflict and enable the brutalization of civilians. That South Korea is a nation which values peace and the rule of international law.

Sincerely,

[Your name]

(www.alternativenews.org / 26.11.2011)

Thanksgiving in Gaza

Layla and her daughters with the turkey in Faraheen

It all started with a simple question from Jabar, a Palestinian farmer from Faraheen, during Eid al-Adha, the festival of sacrifice.

“Is there an American eid (holiday) where you slaughter an animal?” he asked Nathan, a colleague here in Gaza, a few weeks ago.

Thanksgiving and turkeys came to mind.

And so, I found myself celebrating “Thanksgiving,” Gazan-style, this afternoon in the small, southern Gazan village.

Nathan painstakingly put together a variety of ingredients over the past couple of weeks to make a proper meal: turkey, baked beans, sweet potatoes, biscuits and chocolate chip cookies! We had to nix the stuffing, gravy was too difficult, and pie, out of the question.

After six weeks of falafel (delicious as it is), I was really looking forward to Nathan’s Midwestern cuisine. But would it all come together given Gaza’s regular power outages, Israel’s recent shooting at farmers in the area and the lack of key ingredients due to the siege?

We rose early to accompany farmers in Faraheen to their land within Israel’s 300 meter  ”buffer zone” – or “kill zone” – as Palestinians here frequently call it.

The week had not been a good one, and I was concerned that our belated Thanksgiving would turn into Black Friday.

On Wednesday, the Israeli army had shot live ammunition in the air when our group went with farmers to the buffer zone in nearby Khuza’a.

The day before, the Israeli army had called the Palestinian Office of Coordination and told them that they “wanted to shoot” us and twenty Palestinians while we were in northern Gaza nonviolently protesting the Israeli occupation, the buffer zone, and 63 years of dispossession in the buffer zone.  The Palestinian Authority frantically looked for the phone number of Saber Zanin, the organizer of the weekly Beit Hanoun protests and told him, “We are trying to ask the Israelis not to shoot you. They wanted to shoot you and kill you.”

And yesterday, 3 nautical miles of the coast of Gaza, an Israeli naval warship chased our small humanitarian boat, the Oliva, along with several Palestinian fishing boats, towards the shore for no apparent reason.

Today just couldn’t be good.  Would our Gazan Thanksgiving look more like the original Thanksgiving — a symbol of land seizure, dispossession and ethnic cleansing — than the delicious turkey-filled version I was hoping for?

I rose early, gulped down a cup of sugary tea and dry floury date cookies that Jabar’s wife Layla made before heading out to the buffer zone. The sky cleared and I heard Israeli drones overhead.

On the way to the buffer zone, we met 26-year-old Yusef Abu Rjeela, the farmer who want was hoping to sow wheat on his land.  We asked him what he wanted to do if the Israelis started shooting.

“Stay on the land,” he said. If the Israelis shot in the air, he didn’t want to run. And if they shot at us, well . . . .

We continued onward, and my cell phone rang.  It was Nathan. “I put the beans in the pressure cooker for 30 minutes and they’ve become bean soup!” he exclaimed. “Layla says I shouldn’t have soaked them andused the pressure cooker.”

“Stay calm,” I said. “Do you have more beans?” He did.  We continued on our way.

Five of us foreigners donned our yellow vests, and accompanied Yusef and another farmer as one sowed wheat and the other plowed the land.  The drones went away.

All seemed quiet on the eastern front.

An Israeli military tower stood in the distance. A white balloon equipped with an aerial surveillance camera flew overhead.  The former farmland was dry and brown from years of Israeli bulldozing and tank traffic.

After a while, we made bets on when the Israelis would start shooting. It was 11:25 a.m., and I put in for 11:45 a.m., another person for 11:50 a.m. Hussein, a Palestinian university student who came with us, didn’t think the Israelis would shoot at all.

At noon, the farmers had finished and we all started to walk back to the village. Yusef explained to us the lawsuit his family had filed against the state of Israel for murdering his younger brother the day after Operation Cast Lead ended in January 2009.  His father, who had witnessed the murder, had gone to Israel to testify.

As we left the buffer zone, I congratulated Hussein on being right about the shooting. Then we heard it — Israeli army gunfire in the distance. The time: 12:05.

We promptly head back to Jabar’s house in the village. There, Nathan was immersed in a whirlwind of preparation.

“Get the baking soda out of the bag!” he directed.

“You mean baking powder?” I asked him, looking the plastic bag he had brought from Gaza City.

“No, soda.”  There was no baking soda. We were in for a biscuit disaster. Moreover, Layla and four of her five children were swirling around the kitchen, unsure of these strange American preparations.

Beans with sugar? In the oven? Nathan opened the ancient iron contraption, and held out a spoon for me.  I stuck my tongue out and slurped up the brown deliciousness.

“Is it good?” asked Layla, suspiciously. “Is Nathan a good cook? Can you cook better?”

Zacky ikthir,” I responded. Very tasty. “Not quite done,” I said to Nathan. “I can cook, but maybe Nathan is better than me,” I added to Layla. She didn’t seem convinced.

Nathan shooed everyone away, but we stayed in the kitchen, it was the warmest room in their small, cement block, metal sheet-roofed house.  And, I was clearly the only one cut out for the role of taster. Layla turned to more important questions.

“You’re a lawyer, can you sue Israel for me?” she asked. “All our problems come from Israel. When I was 14, they shot me in the hip. Then they bulldozed our olive trees and took our land. What can we do?”  I hadn’t realized that Layla’s limp stemmed from about 1980, when the Israeli army entered her school and shot her as she tried to help a wounded friend.

She turned away to take the turkey out of the pot.  The oven wasn’t big enough for a whole bird, which was only sold in pre-cut pieces. All in all, it was a delicious lunch, and no one got shot. And that, is something to be thankful for.

(palsolidarity.org / 26.11.2011)

Yemenis stage rival Sanaa rallies amid violence

SANAA (AFP) — Opponents and supporters of Ali Abdullah Saleh held rival rallies in the Yemeni capital Friday after pre-dawn fighting between rival security forces dashed hopes an exit deal for the president would end the violence.

Youth activists, who have spearheaded 10 months of protests against Saleh’s 33 year rule in which hundreds have died, are furious that the agreement signed with the parliamentary opposition on Wednesday promises Saleh and his family immunity from prosecution.

“The blood of the martyrs which has thrown you out of power, Saleh, will throw you in prison,” preacher Fuad al-Hanjari told tens of thousands of activists after funerals for four out of five protesters killed by plainclothes gunmen in the capital on Thursday.

“The squares will remain our homes until we accomplish our goals — the exit of all the regime’s remnants and building a new Yemen,” he said.

The activists said similar protests were held in 17 of the 22 Arabian Peninsula country’s provinces, including two of the most populous — Taez and Ibb.

They say that Saleh’s agreement to hand all “necessary constitutional powers” to Vice President Abdrabuh Mansur Hadi with immediate effect and hold office on an honorary basis only for the coming 90 days is not enough and are demanding the departure of the whole regime.

“We did not start a revolution to keep half of the killers,” spokesman Walid al-Ammari said on the eve of Friday’s rally, adding that Hadi, the low-profile vice president for the past 17 years, is “just another arm of Saleh.”

Saleh, who was still in Saudi Arabia after Wednesday’s signing of the exit plan drafted by his impoverished country’s wealthy Gulf neighbors, condemned Thursday’s violence by his loyalists and ordered an investigation.

The 69-year-old, who sustained serious blast wounds in a June bombing of his residence and has already received extensive treatment in Saudi Arabia, is to stay in Riyadh for medical tests, Yemeni Foreign Minister Abu Bakr al-Kurbi told the kingdom’s Al-Watan daily.

“No specific date date has been set for his departure, as this depends on the results which will determine if he will be treated in the kingdom or in the United States,” Kurbi told the newspaper.

“If the results are reassuring, he will return to Yemen.”

UN chief Ban Ki-moon, whose Yemen envoy Jamal Benomar was instrumental in persuading Saleh to sign the Gulf transition plan after months of prevarication, had said he expected the president to travel to New York for treatment.

Tens of thousands of Saleh’s supporters held a massive counter-demonstration on the capital’s Sabiin Avenue Friday demanding change “only through the ballot box” — a constant refrain of the president during his long months of refusal to sign up to the exit plan.

But analysts said that the numbers taking part on both sides were down on previous Fridays — the traditional day of prayer and protest in Muslim Yemen — as the silent majority watched to see how the transition deal plays out.

Fierce clashes erupted in the capital before dawn between dissident troops of the First Armoured Brigade led by General Ali Mohsen al-Ahmar and members of the central security services commanded by Saleh’s nephew Yehya, residents said.

The mortar and machine gun exchanges broke out outside the residence of Vice President Hadi, who assumed Saleh’s executive powers under the transition deal.

The fighting, which spread to the heart of the capital, lasted more than two hours. There was no word on any casualties.

Saleh’s long equivocation over signing the transition deal, which the opposition first signed back in April, saw the protests slide into deadly clashes between loyalist and dissident troops and tribesmen that have riven the capital and left the armed forces deeply divided.

Besides Yehya, the president’s son Ahmed commands the Republican Guards and Tariq, another nephew, controls the presidential guard.

But two major army divisions — one in Sanaa and one in Taez — rallied to the opposition and have fought repeated battles against Saleh’s loyalists, leaving scores dead.

Under the Riyadh deal, Hadi is charged with forming a committee to oversee the reunification of the security forces within 90 days, one of the biggest challenges facing the transition.

(www.maannews.net / 26.11.2011)

Five children killed in Tulkarem fire

TULKAREM (Ma’an) — Five children from one family were killed early Saturday after fire ripped through their house in the northern West Bank village of Qaffin.

The children, aged between five and twelve, died in their first floor bedroom after candles were lit in the room before they went to sleep, Palestinian civil defense service said in a media release.

Their father, Bassam Tawfiq Hirsha, and his wife were also injured in the blaze as they tried to rescue their children.

Neighbors alerted civil defense, but when fire fighters and police arrived at the north Tulkarem village, Hirsha’s daughters Aseel and Suheir, and sons Ahmad, Mahmoud and Mumen were found dead.

The parents were taken to hospital, the release added.

(www.maannews.net / 26.11.2011)

“We worden moslim door onbewust halalvlees te eten”

Nu in Australië de zomer en het bijhorende barbecueseizoen aanbreekt, vond federaal parlementslid Luke Simkins het de hoogste tijd om te waarschuwen voor een sluipende dreiging. De mandataris van de Liberal Party of Australia meent dat we allemaal bekeerd worden tot de islam door onbewust halalvlees op de rooster te leggen.

Label
Tijdens een toespraak voor de parlementsleden beschuldigde Simpkins de vleesproducenten en grootwarenhuizen er van dat zij hun halalproducten niet etiketteren labellen in de winkelrekken. “Door de Australiërs onbewust halavlees te laten consumeren, zetten wij met z’n allen een eerste stap in de richting van een bekering naar de islam. Op zich is er geen bezwaar om moslim te worden, als we daar evenwel zelf en bewust voor kiezen”.

Vleescomplot
Het 46-jarige parlementslid en voormalig legerofficier somde vervolgens een hele lijst van warenhuizen op die volgens hem meewerken aan het sluimerende vleescomplot. Hij raadde de rechtgeaarde Australische consumenten ook aan om die winkels te vermijden als ze vlees voor hun barbecue inslaan.

(www.hln.be / 25.11.2011)

Dewinter roept op tot boycot van O’Cool

Filip Dewinter (Vlaams Belang) roept op tot een boycot van diepvriesspecialist O’Cool omdat de winkelketen een uitgebreid gamma aan halaproducten aanbiedt. Dewinter verzet zich tegen de de groei aan het halal-aanbod in Vlaanderen.

Uit cijfers die Dewinter heeft opgevraagd bij Vlaams minister-president Kris Peeters blijkt dat de jaarlijks omzet van de halal-voedselindustrie in Vlaanderen zo’n 155 miljoen euro bedraagt. Halal is de term die voor moslims aanduidt wat is toegestaan.

Vlaams Belang-kopstuk Dewinter kant zich tegen de uitbouw van de halal-industrie in Vlaanderen. Volgens hem vormen de halal-voedselregels een legitimatie van de sharia en draagt de halal-industrie bij tot de ‘islamisering van Vlaanderen’.

Daarom stoort de VB’er zich zo aan diepvriesspecialist O’Cool. Die keten biedt een gamma producten aan van ‘Mekkafood’ een grote producent van halal-voedsel. Op die manier werkt de winkelketen volgens Dewinter niet alleen mee aan de halal-industrie, maar ook aan de ‘fundamentalistische islam’.

(www.nieuwsblad.be / 25.11.2011)