Amnesty International accuses Gadhafi regime of war crimes in Misurata

The Libyan army committed war crimes and crimes against humanity in the besieged rebel-held city of Misurata by deliberately targeting and killing civilians, the human rights group Amnesty International alleged in a report issued Friday.

Indiscriminate and widespread attacks against civilians – combined with the practice of using residential areas to “shield” tanks from NATO airstrikes, the systematic shooting of peaceful protesters and the enforced disappearance of perceived opponents – suggest that war crimes were committed, the human rights group said.

“The scale of the relentless attacks that we have seen by al-Gadhafi forces to intimidate the residents of Misurata for more than two months is truly horrifying,” said Amnesty’s Donatella Rovera. “It shows a total disregard for the lives of ordinary people and is in clear breach of international humanitarian law.”

There was no immediate response from Gadhafi’s government. But for weeks, the regime has repeatedly argued that it was not shelling Misurata at all, or using any heavy munitions on the city, despite daily eyewitness accounts to the contrary from foreign aid workers, journalists, residents and human rights workers.

On Wednesday, a boat operated by the International Organization for Migration had to dodge incoming shells as it unloaded humanitarian aid and evacuated hundreds of foreign migrant workers and wounded civilians from the area. The Red Star One had been waiting outside Misurata for four days for a gap in the shelling and for NATO to clear mines from the harbor laid by Gadhafi’s forces.

Gadhafi’s regime has threatened to attack any ship, including humanitarian vessels, that tried to enter Misurata port and says it is justified in doing so because rebels are also using the port to deliver arms, ammunition and reinforcements.

“We will not allow these ships to bring arms to the city and then evacuate some criminals,” Deputy Foreign Minister Khaled Kaim told a news conference in the early hours of Friday morning.

Day after day, forces loyal to Gadhafi have attacked the city with inaccurate 122mm Grad rockets often fired from miles away, as well as with mortars and 155mm artillery shells. Those munitions, Amnesty International said, were designed for use against massed infantry or armor, and under international humanitarian law should never be used in populated residential areas.

Doctors in Misurata say hundreds of civilians have been killed. On April 14, for example, a dozen residents were killed and many more were injured when several salvos of rockets rained down on the Qasr Ahmad neighborhood. Many of the victims were struck while they were standing in line outside a bakery.

Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch both also found evidence that mortars containing cluster submunitions were being used in residential areas, including in the city center.

The Libyan government denies using cluster munitions, and Kaim once suggested reporters ask NATO where the munitions were coming from. Another minister told a stunned group of foreign journalists that all the children killed in Misurata were victims of NATO airstrikes.

Snipers have also been mobilized to kill civilians, Amnesty International said, citing the case of Ibrahim Ahmad al-Dernawi, 33, a father of three who was shot and killed in his parents’ house.

“He was holding his six-month-old son in his lap, and we were talking,” his father told the rights group. “I suddenly heard the sound of the glass breaking but the window did not shatter. Then I saw blood pouring from my son’s face. He died instantly.”

International Criminal Court Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo told the UN Security Council on Thursday he would seek arrest warrants against three Libyans who appear to bear “the greatest criminal responsibility” for crimes against humanity, since Gadhafi began a crackdown on protests against his rule in mid-February.

Mohamed Ali, a rebel spokesman in Misurata, said the shelling of the port was discouraging foreign reporters and camera crews from coming to the city, with 20 journalists fleeing on the IOM ship. “We fear that Misurata’s story will not be told to the world,” he said, speaking via Skype. “This is a major success for the tyrant.”

Misurata, the only major city in western Libya still in rebel hands, is an important and strategic prize in Libya’s civil war. Two weeks ago, rebels chased Libyan government forces out of central Misurata, although the shelling has continued from bases on the outskirts.

Since then, the government has been threatening a counterattack led by tribal militia, something Ali said he fears will amount to an assault by “soldiers in civilian clothes.”

Gadhafi “is preparing something menacing I think,” Ali said. “And there is no one on the ground to report it.”

(www.canada.com / 06.05.2011)

Witnesses: Syrian forces kill 30 protesters

Syrian security forces opened fire Friday on thousands of protesters demanding regime change, killing more than 30 people in a sign that President Bashar Assad is prepared to ride out a wave of rapidly escalating international outrage.

The U.N. said it is sending a team into Syria to investigate and the European Union is expected to place sanctions on Syrian officials next week — both significant blows to Assad, a British-educated, self-styled reformer who has tried to bring Syria back into the global mainstream over his 11 years in power.

In Washington, State Department spokesman Mark Toner said the U.S. was pressing the Syrian government to cease “violence against innocent citizens who are simply demonstrating and trying to state their aspirations for a more democratic future.”

Friday’s protests spanned the nation of 23 million, from the capital to the Mediterranean coast and the arid northeast. The bloodshed was the latest spasm in what has become a weekly cycle of mass protests followed by a swift and deadly crackdown.

But pressure was mounting on Assad, who insists the unrest is a foreign conspiracy carried out by “terrorist groups.” More than 580 civilians and 100 soldiers have been killed since the revolt began, rights groups say.

“What it looks like here is a systematic attack on a civilian population, a political decision to shoot to kill unarmed demonstrators and that could very well be a crime against humanity,” Human Rights Watch counsel Reed Brody told AP Television News.

Assad, who inherited power from his father in 2000, is determined to crush the revolt that has now become the gravest challenge to his family’s 40-year dynasty.

He has tried a combination of brute force, intimidation and promises of reform to crush the unrest, but his attempts have failed so far.

Still, Syria is a highly unpredictable country, in part because of its sizable minority population, the loyalty of the military and the regime’s web of allegiances to powerful forces including Lebanon’s Hezbollah and Shiite powerhouse Iran.

Serious and prolonged unrest are likely to hurt the regime’s proxy in Lebanon — Hezbollah — and weaken Iran’s influence in the Arab world.

Even as protests were raging on Friday, Syria’s prime minister announced the formation of a committee to study ways to combat corruption. In the past, the overtures would have been seen as significant concessions. But protesters were largely unmoved, inspired by the uprisings sweeping the Arab world and enraged at the mounting death toll in Syria.

Now, the protesters are seeking the downfall of the regime.

Thousands of protesters took to the streets Friday despite a security chokehold on the most volatile areas along with a stepped-up intimidation campaign.

“The regime has resorted to scare tactics used by Assad’s father in the 1980s,” said Radwan Ziadeh, a visiting scholar at the Institute for Middle East Studies at George Washington University.

Assad’s father, Hafez Assad, kept Syria under rigid control for three decades. His most notorious act was crushing a Sunni uprising in 1982 by shelling the town of Hama, killing 10,000 to 25,000 people, according to Amnesty International estimates. Conflicting figures exist and the Syrian government has made no official estimate.

But for the next two decades, until his death, Hafez Assad ruled uncontested and the massacre was seared into the minds of Syrians.

Though Bashar Assad has not done anything on the scale of the Hama massacre in his 11 years in power, his crackdown has evoked memories of his father’s brutal legacy.

The tactics include a policy of “collective punishment” by arresting entire families to pressure their relatives into turning themselves in. The regime also has turned flashpoint areas into security zones, flooded with soldiers, tanks and snipers.

But Ziadeh said the mere fact that people staged protests despite all these measures shows that the regime’s strategy is backfiring.

“They may have succeeded in suppressing the protest movement for a while, but in the long run, these tactics will only backfire,” he said. “The regime is damaged and it will be very hard for it to stay in power.”

Rallies were held in major areas including the capital, Damascus, and its suburbs, Banias on the coast and Qamishli in the northeast.

A prominent human rights activist told The Associated Press that 30 people were killed Friday, all of them protesters.

The toll included 15 people in Homs, six in Hama, five in the seaside city of Latakia and one in Deir El-Zour, the activist said. He asked that his name not be published out of fear for his personal safety.

A resident of Saqba, a suburb of Damascus, said security forces shot and killed a man riding a motorcycle as he approached a checkpoint.

“They fired so many bullets, around seven … Then they took the body, put it in a van and washed away the blood on the street,” the resident said, who also requested anonymity for security reasons.

Footage posted on YouTube showed protesters in Hama frantically trying to resuscitate a man lying on the ground with a bloodied face and shirt, while people shouted “God is great!”

State-run television said an army officer and four policemen were shot dead by a “terrorist group” in Homs. It did not elaborate.

“We were chanting, peaceful, peaceful, and we didn’t even throw a stone at the security forces,” said a witness in Homs, who said some 10,000 people were in the streets. “But they waited for us to reach the main square and then they opened fire on us.”

Gunshots rang out even after the protesters dispersed, said the witness, who like other activists spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of government reprisals.

“The bullets are like rain,” he said. “Everyone is terrified.”

Syrian authorities also detained Riad Seif, a leading opposition figure and former lawmaker who has been an outspoken critic of the regime during the uprising, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

Amnesty International said at least a dozen prominent rights and political activists in Syria have been forced into hiding after receiving direct threats of violence and arrests from authorities. They include opposition figures Haytham al-Maleh and Walid al-Bunni and the son and daughter of Kamal Labwani, who is a political prisoner.

In the Damascus suburb of Douma, scene of intense protests over recent weeks, security forces cordoned off the area to prevent anyone from entering or leaving.

A witness near Douma said he saw a train carrying about 15 army tanks heading north Thursday evening toward the central province of Homs.

Another activist in Damascus said hundreds of people marched in the central neighborhood of Midan. In Banias, witnesses said more than 5,000 people carrying olive branches and Syrian flags also were calling for regime change.

“Our morale is high, they cannot stop us no matter what they do and how many people they arrest,” he said.

In the southern city of Daraa, where the army announced the end to an 11-day military operation Thursday, residents said troops were still in the streets, causing many to stay from a protest there on Friday.

“There’s a tank stationed at each corner in Daraa. There is no way people can hold a protest today,” a resident said by telephone. “It means more killing. Daraa is taking a break. We don’t want to see more killing or face tank guns.”

(news.yahoo.com / 06.05.2011)

IOF troops arrest Hamas leader Majed Hasan

RAMALLAH, (PIC)– IOF troops arrested on Thursday morning prominent Hamas leader Majed Hasan (47 years) from his home in the southern West Bank city of Ramallah.

Sources close to Hasan’s family said that the IOF troops raided the house and ransacked it, confiscating computers and books, then the intelligence officer who accompanied the IOF troops told him that he was under arrest.

Hasan, who is a prominent Islamic figure in the West Bank, was arrested by the occupation and the PA security in the West Bank on several occasions. He spent more than eight years in occupation jails. His wife, Nada al-Jayyousi, who is active in the field of Islamic propagation, was also detained by the Israeli occupation for several months in the past.

The Israeli occupation has stepped up arrests amongst Hamas and Islamic Jihad supporters in the past couple of days, arresting two leaders from the Islamic Jihad and a number of activists from both movements in Ramallah, Jenin and Nablus.

(www.palestine-info.co.uk / 06.05.2011)

Dozens Wounded By The Army in Silwan

Palestinian medical sources in occupied East Jerusalem reported Friday that dozens of residents were injured after Israeli soldiers and policemen attacked a protest in Silwan, in occupied East Jerusalem. Two homes caught fire after soldiers fired teargas bombs into them.

File - Bokra.net
Jawad Siyam, head of the Wadi Hilwa Information center, reported that the protest started following Friday Prayers, near the protest tent in Silwan.

The tent was installed months ago to protest Israeli illegal home demolition policy and settlers’ takeover of Palestinian homes.

Local youth placed trash cans in the streets, and burnt tires to prevent the army and the police from reaching them.

Some youth also hurled stones at settlers’ vehicles causing damage to the front windshield of one of the vehicles.

Clashes also took place in Al Ein Street, while some protestors torched a warehouse used by the settlers. Soldiers fired dozens of gas bombs causing fire to a home that belongs to Asaliyya family.

Clashes also took place in Al Thoury, Ras Al Amoud, and Batn Al Hawa; sixteen residents were wounded by rubber-coated metal bullets fired by the Police, while dozens of residents were treated for the effects of teargas inhalation.

Also, the home of Eid Haddad was burnt when the police fired teargas bombs into it, and his family received treatment for teargas inhalation.

Local youth responded by hurling a Molotov cocktail at a military post installed on the rooftop of a residential building in Batn Al Hawa.

Furthermore, an Israeli court decided to keep Suad Shiokhy in detention until next Monday after the prosecution claimed “having a secret file against her”.

Shiokhy, a local resident of Wadi Hilwa, was kidnapped last Monday at dawn after she was violently beaten and attacked by the soldiers.

Her family said they intend to file an appeal to the Israeli High Court as charges were never filed against her.

In Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood, soldiers and policemen attacked the weekly nonviolent protest as the residents, Israeli and international peace activists marched and chanted against the Israeli occupation, settlements and the Annexation Wall.

(www.imemc.org / 06.05.2011)

iGaza By Gary McFarlane

Description

News and information service about the Gaza Strip. Features: push notification of latest headlines – the app does not have to be open for you to receive these news alerts; multiple news sections; share content on iGaza with up to eight different social networking and reader services, from Facebook to Instapaper – fully customisable; situation map updated as news breaks; twitter feed from iGaza’s account; latest Gaza-related videos on YouTube; email templates to facilitate protests to government representatives and finally a library of the main UN resolutions relating to the Palestine/Israel conflict. Requirements: iOS version 3.1 or higher on iPhone 4, 3GS, 3G and iPod Touch.

Protest at Cairo embassy calls for intifada

Hundreds rally at Israeli embassy to call for annulment of peace, Jews to ‘return to birthplaces’

Hundreds gathered before Israel’s embassy in Cairo on Friday to protest against the peace agreement with the state. Protesters waved Palestinian flags and called for another intifada on May 15, on which Palestinians in Israel mark the Nakba.

Both men and women were present at the gathering, and participants were mostly young. They called to “return Palestine to the Palestinians” and held signs saying Jews should “return to their places of birth”.

Speakers at the rally said Jews who wanted to stay in “Palestine” should agree to live under Islamic rule. “On May 15 we should hold a convoy of Egyptian cars to Rafah,” one young speaker said.

Among the protesters were also those who demanded Egypt renege on its peace accord with Israel, and in addition refuse to sell natural gas to the state.

Gas has become a major point of contention recently, with a number of officials decrying a supposed deal Israel had with deposed President Hosni Mubarak guaranteeing the state reduced prices.

Egypt’s military secured the protest with armored vehicles and dozens of soldiers. Buses and cars also halted traffic at the site in identification with the protesters.

(www.ynetnews.com / 06.05.2011)

Een kritische kijk naar het Soefisme

Op maandag 16 mei zal Abdul-Jabbar van de Ven insha-Allah om 20.00u een lezing geven op www.islamchat.nl, onder de titel:”Een kritische kijk naar het Soefisme”. In deze lezing zal hij insha-Allah ingaan op de vraag wat het Soefisme precies inhoudt, en waar, wanneer en hoe het ontstond, waarna hij insha-Allah enkele veelvoorkomende Soefistische geloofspunten en gebruiken onder de loep zal nemen. Geef het door!

30 reasons to avoid being an angry and argumentative person

How difficult is it to practice patience when being provoked? At the same time, how many times have we responded much too sensitively, although we were not the clear target of anyone’s malice?

How many hearts have been lost in an effort to win arguments? And yet, as human beings it is natural and even our right to disagree, and to think critically. One of the most difficult challenges of character for Muslims of every background is being able to practice hilm (forbearance) during times of anger and disagreement—that is to be able to disagree with a dignified and generous spirit, and to think critically without being argumentative, stubborn, and condescending. It is because we as a community fall into this so much, and on so many levels, that I found this issue to be a relevant reminder to myself and others.

The activist argues about strategy, the student argues about fiqh and other branches of knowledge,  the community leader argues in the board room, and the Imam with those who disagree with his style or approach. Whether it be with our family, friends, community members or the Islamophobe—we often find ourselves in situations where anger and argumentation can creep in, sour the mood, and sully the spirit. Below is a collection of Quranic verses, Prophetic narrations, and sayings of righteous people mostly taken from Sa’eed Hawwa’s work “Selected Writings on Purifying the Soul.” These statements remind us to prevent anger and argumentation from getting the better of us.

May Allah help us to remember that when we deal with people, our transactions are actually with Him and not His creation. As such, may awareness of His presence (ihsan) bring goodness from our speech and characters during times of difficulty as well as ease. Ameen.

1. “And when the foolish address them (with bad words) they reply back with ‘Salamaa’ (peaceful words of gentleness).” (Qur’an, 25:63)

2. “If they pass by some vain speech or play, they pass by it with dignity.” (Qur’an, 25:72)

3. “And be moderate in your pace and lower your voice; indeed, the most disagreeable of sounds is the voice of donkeys… But of the people is he who disputes about Allah without knowledge or guidance or an enlightening Book.” (Qur’an, 31:19-20)

4. The Prophet Muhammad ﷺ (peace be upon him) said: “He who gave up disputing while he is right, a palace of high rank in Paradise will be built for him. He who gave up disputing while he is a fabricator, a palace in the center of Paradise will be built for him.” (al-Tirmidhi who declared it as hasan)

5. “There are no people who went astray after having been guided except for indulging in disputation.” (al-Tirmidhi)

6. The Messenger of Allah ﷺ repeated three times, “Those who search deeply for confusing questions have perished.” (Muslim)

7. “Do not dispute with your brother, ridicule him, nor promise him and then break your promise.” (al-Tirmidhi)

8. Bilal ibn Sa’d radiAllahu `anhu (ra) said, “If you see a disputing, arrogant, and bigoted person, bear in mind that they are utterly lost.”

9. Luqman `alayhi assalam (as) said to his son, “O son! Do not dispute with the knowledgeable lest they detest you.”

10. `Umar (ra) said, “Do not learn knowledge for three things and do not leave it for three things. Do not learn it to dispute over it, to show off with it, or to boast about it. Do not leave seeking it out of shyness, dislike for it, or contending with ignorance in its stead.”

11. It was narrated that Abu Hanifa said to Dawud al-Taa’i, “Why do you prefer seclusion?” Dawud replied, “To struggle against myself to leave disputing.” Abu Hanifah said, “Attend meetings, listen to what is said, and remain silent.” Dawud said, “I have done so, but I have found nothing heavier than this.”

12. `A’ishah (ra) narrated that the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ said, “The most hated person with Allah is the most quarrelsome person.” (al-Bukhari)

13. Ibn Qutaybah said that his disputant said to him, “What is the matter with you?” He replied to him, “I will not dispute with you.” The disputant then said, “Thus you have come to know that I am right.” Ibn Qutaybah responded, “No, but I respect myself more than that.” At this the disputant retracted and said, “And I will not claim a thing that is not my right.”

14. The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said: “The one initiating abuse incurs the sin of abusing as long as the other did not return it.” (Muslim)

15. “The believer does not curse.” (al-Tirmidhi who declared it hasan)

16. “The believer does not defame, abuse, disparage, nor vilify.” (al-Tirmidhi, sahih)

17. “Do not invoke Allah’s curse, His anger, or Hellfire.” (al-Tirmidhi who declared it hasan sahih)

18. “Men accustomed to cursing will not be intercessors or witnesses on the Day of Resurrection.” (Muslim)

19. Abdullah ibn ‘Amr (ra) narrated, “I asked the Messenger of Allah ﷺ about what saves me from Allah’s wrath, and he said, “Do not become angry.” (al-Tabarani and Ibn Abdul Barr) Ibn `Umar, Ibn Mas’ud, and Abu Darda’ (ra) relate similar conversations on their own behalf.

20. The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said, “He who is victorious over his passion at the time of anger is the strongest among you. He who forgives having the power to release (his anger and take revenge) is the most patient among you.” (a-Baihaqi in Shu’ab al-Imaan)

21. Abu Hurairah (ra) narrated, “The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said, ‘The strong person is not he who has physical strength but the person is strong if he can control his anger.” (al-Bukhari and Muslim)

22. `Umar ibn Abdul Aziz wrote to one of his governors and said, “Do not punish at the time of anger. If you are angry with any man, keep him in detention. When your anger is appeased punish him in proportion to his crime.”

23. ‘Ali ibn Zaid mentioned, “A man of the Quraysh spoke harshly to the Caliph `Umar Ibn ‘Abdul ‘Aziz who remained silent for a long time and then said, “You wish that the devil rouses in me the pride of the Caliphate and I treat you so rudely that you can take revenge tomorrow (in the Afterlife) on me.”

24. Ibn ‘Abbas (ra) narrated, the Messenger of Allah ﷺ said, “And when you get angry, keep silent.” (Ahmad, Ibn Abi Dunya, al-Tabarani, and al-Bayhaqi)

25. The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said, “Anger is a burning coal. It burns in the heart.” (al-Tirmidhi and al-Bayhaqi)

26. “When anyone of you gets angry, let him perform ablution because anger arises from fire.” (Abu Dawud)

27. “Nobody swallows a more bitter pill than that of anger—seeking the satisfaction of Allah.” (Ibn Majah)

28. `Umar (ra) said, “He who fears Allah cannot give an outlet to his anger (by sinning). He who fears Allah cannot do what he likes.”

29. A nomad said to the Messenger of Allah ﷺ “Advise me.” And he ﷺ said, “If a man defamed you with what he knows about you, do not defame him with what you know about him. For the sin is against him.” The nomad said, “I never abused any person after that.”

30. Al-Hasan (ra) said, “He that did not safeguard his tongue did not understand his religion.”

You thought it was over didn’t you? Here is a little something extra to encourage us not only to avoid such negative traits, but to also proactively seek positive ones in their place.

10 Reasons to Strive for Generosity of Spirit and Kindness in Speech

1. The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said, “Kind speech and feeding (the hungry) guarantee you Paradise.” (al-Tabarani)

2. “And speak nicely to people.” (Qur’an, 2:83)

3. “When you are greeted with a greeting, greet in return with what is better than it, or (at least) return it equally.” (Qur’an, 4:86) Ibn Abbas commented on this and said, “He who greets you return his greeting in better words even if he were a Magian.1 He also said, “If Pharoah were to speak nicely to me, I would do so to him.”

4. Anas (ra) narrated that the Messenger of Allah ﷺ said, “Verily there are chambers in Paradise; their insides and outsides can be seen – for him who spoke kindly and fed (the hungry).” (al-Tirmidhi)

5. He ﷺ also said, “A good word is also a charitable deed.” (Muslim)

6. “Ward off the Fire even if by giving half a date in charity. If you could not afford that then utter a kind word.” (al-Bukhari and Muslim)

7. `Umar (ra) said, “Generosity is an easy thing. It is a smiling face and kind words.”

8. Some wise men said, “Do not be stingy with a word that does not arouse your Lord’s wrath yet it pleases your brother. It may happen that Allah gives you the reward of those who do good works.”

9. “And let not those among you who are blessed with graces and wealth swear not to give to their kinsmen, the poor, and those who left their homes for Allah’s cause. Let them pardon and forgive. Do you not wish that Allah should forgive you?” (Qur’an, 24:22). Abu Bakr (ra) had cut off his financial support of his relative Mustah because Mustah had participated in the slander against his daughter `A’ishah (ra). After this verse was revealed, he resumed and even increased the amount he gave Mustah in financial support.

10. “Show forgiveness, enjoin what is good, and turn away from the foolish.” (Qur’an, 7:199)


  1. From the Zoroastrian fire-worshippers of that time

(www.suhaibwebb.com / 06.05.2011)

Palestinian Political Movements in Israel and Israeli Repression

Tijd
dinsdag 10 mei · 12:30 – 14:00

Locatie
The Palestine Center

2425 Virginia Ave., NW
Washington, DC

Gemaakt door:

“Palestinian Political Movements in Israel and Israeli Repression”

with

Awad Abdel Fattah
…Secretary-General, National Democratic Assembly

Tuesday, 10 May 2011
12:30 – 2:00 p.m.
The Palestine Center

CLICK HERE TO RSVP: http://www.thejerusalemfund.org/ht/d/RegisterForEvent/i/28590

If you can’t make it to this event, you can view the live webcast here: http://thejerusalemfund.org/ht/d/sp/i/13537/pid/13537

Why is Israel intensifying its policy of political oppression, discrimination and economic suffocation against the 1.2 million-strong Palestinian minority in Israel? Do they really constitute a strategic threat to the Jewish character of the state of Israel, as the ruling circles claim? How did the second Palestinian intifada in late September 2000 and the subsequent mass demonstrations by the Palestinian minority highlight the inferior status and role of this non-Jewish minority in Israel in the struggle against occupation and against the injustices perpetrated by the Israeli state, and in its struggle for justice, freedom and full equality and citizenship, irrespective of religion, nationality, ethnicity and sex? Is it still possible to speak of a solution to the Palestinian question without addressing the plight of the Palestinians in Israel? And, finally, what impact will the Arab revolutions have on the Palestinian cause and national and democratic struggle?

Awad Abdel Fattah, Secretary General of the National Democratic Assembly (NDA), (Altajamoa) will address these issues and questions.

The NDA, a democratic political party that operates among Palestinians in Israel, holds three seats in the Israeli parliament, the Knesset. It was established in 1995 with a platform that emphasizes the right of this section of the Palestinian people – the Palestinian minority in Israel – to full civil and national equality. It calls for a state of all its citizens, the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination, and the Right of Return of the Palestinian refugees. However the NDA has recently decided to open debate about other Palestinian options – one democratic state in historic Palestine.