Israel has seized 35% of occupied East Jerusalem since 1967: Ocha

Ramallah: Israeli authorities have seized 35 per cent of lands and properties in occupied East Jerusalem since 1967, according to a report by the  United Nation Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (Ocha).

In the report, Ocha said that Israelis have seized more than one third of the total land and properties in the area to create new colonies and expand existing ones.

The report is the first of its kind issued by a UN department to address the general conditions of the Palestinians in occupied East Jerusalem.

The report added that Israelis dedicate less than 13 per cent of the lands of occupied East Jerusalem for the Palestinians who find themselves with very limited options and force them to go for the illegal construction of new houses to accommodate their increasing families.

The report also said that Israelis have demolished more than 2,000 Palestinian houses in the past forty four years.

(gulfnews.com / 11.05.2011)

Fayyad Appeals for Assistance from Arab Countries

RAMALLAH, May 11, 2011 (WAFA) – Prime Minister Salam Fayyad Wednesday appealed to the Arab countries to help the Palestinian Authority (PA) and people overcome their financial difficulty made worse when Israel decided this month not to transfer more than $100 million in tax revenues it collects on PA behalf.

Speaking to reporters at his Ramallah office, Fayyad said that Arab aid declined from over $450 million in 2008 to less than half this amount in the next year and year after. So far this year, he said, Arab aid stood at only $52 million.

“Our message to the Arab countries is to stand by the Palestinian people and provide them with the assistance they badly need,” he said.

He said the PA needs immediate assistance amounting to $970 million to help it pay overdue salaries for over 150,000 public employees as well as cover the deficit that has accumulated since 2010 when donor aid failed to meet the PA’s financial requirements.

He said the PA’s outstanding debt until April has reached almost $900 million, including debt to banks and to pay back foreign assistance loans. He said the budget deficit increase by $30 million every month.

The PA pays a total of 745 million Israeli shekels ($220 million) every month for salaries as well as assistance to the most impoverished families.

He stressed that the PA is not going to pay salaries, in spite of the public outcry, unless it is able to pay everyone.

So far, he said, the situation regarding Israel’s release of withheld money has not changed since last week as international pressure on Israel has not yet yielded results.

Fayyad said he does not object to taking the matter to the United Nations Security Council to get a resolution forcing Israel to pay the money and not to repeat this matter again.

The executive committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization said after its meeting Wednesday that it will continue to work with the Palestinian government to increase international pressure on Israel to release the money.

It said it would go as far as asking the Security Council “to intervene against Israel’s collective punishment policy and violation of international law.”

Asked about the upcoming municipal elections scheduled for July 9 whether it will be postponed or not since now there is reconciliation between the West Bank and Gaza Strip, Fayyad said that he favors holding elections in both regions on the same day and this is something he had recommended to the PLO’s executive committee.

Elections was originally set in February for both places, but when Hamas said it will not allow it in the Gaza Strip, which it controls since June 2007, it was decided to hold it in the West Bank until time comes when it would be possible to hold it in the Gaza Strip as well.

The Central Elections Commission (CEC) proceeded with steps to hold election in the West Bank and is already half way there. However, and in spite of the reconciliation, the CEC will not be able to hold elections in Gaza by July 9 as it needs more time to prepare voter registration and other steps which need at least three months of preparation.

Fayyad expected the PLO’s executive Committee to make that decision in its Wednesday meeting, but its final statement did not mention the local elections.

(english.wafa.ps / 11.05.2011)

Settlers storm school, post racist slogans

NABLUS — Jewish settlers stormed a Palestinian secondary school for girls in Sawiya village, south of Nablus, and placed racist, anti-Arab posters on its entrance in Hebrew.

The education office in southern Nablus said in a statement that the settlers, who were protected by Israeli army troops, also glued other posters on the school’s walls inciting against the Palestinians.

The office condemned the act, which negatively affects the educational process, and called for an immediate halt to such practices.

The Israeli occupation forces provide protection for such violations of this school in the village and other schools in the region, which are routine practice on the part of the settlers.

Meanwhile, groups of settlers barged into the Palestinian Wadi Al-Hilwa grazing area in the northern Jordan Valley and threatened the shepherds there and told them to leave the area.

Local sources said that the settlers came from the nearby Maskiot settlement and were planning to annex the Palestinian land to their settlement, which was already established on usurped Palestinian land.

(alethonews.wordpress.com / 11.05.2011)

Jasmijnplein: brandpunt van Syrisch nieuws en cultuur

Tijd
zaterdag 14 mei · 14:30 – 18:00

Locatie
Noorderlicht

Schiekade 34
Rotterdam, Netherlands

Gemaakt door:

e expositieruimte Noorderlicht in Rotterdam is komende weken omgedoopt tot het Jasmijnplein. Syrische kunstenaars tonen er hun werk en het allerlaatste nieuws vanuit Syrië, dat binnenkomt via de social-media netwerken. Burgemeester Ahmed Aboutaleb opent het Jasmijnplein op zaterdag 14 mei om 14.30 uur. Tijdens de opening zullen er Syrische muziek en Syrische hapjes zijn.

Pleinen spelen in de Arabische lente een belangrijke rol…. Het zijn de centrale ontmoetingsplaatsen waar men demonstreert en nieuws deelt. Kunstenaars zijn op die pleinen nadrukkelijk aanwezig en tonen met hun werk de woede, de frustraties en de hoop.

Het Jasmijnplein is een plek waar je vrij in en uit kunt lopen. Waar je continu de laatste actuele ontwikkelingen in Syrië kunt volgen doordat er altijd iemand aanwezig is die de laatste informatie via telefoon en mails (filmpjes) binnenkrijgt en die, samen met nieuw materiaal van youtube, monteert en voorziet van Nederlandse of Engelse informatie. De plek is een expositieruimte voor kunst van Syrische kunstenaars. Deelnemende kunstenaars zijnl Kito Sino (Belgie) www.kito.be, Ali Faerzat (Frankrijk) www.ali-ferzat.com, Rodi Khalil (Duitsland) www.rodi-khalil.de en Zouber Yusef (Duitsland).

In de komende drie weken worden bijeenkomsten georganiseerd over de Arabische lente in Syrië en ook over de andere Arabische landen. Elke vrijdagmiddag is er een inloopmiddag en elke vrijdagavond zal er een speciale activiteit zijn.

PVV wil Israël helpen met spoorlijn

Israëlische hsl in aanbouw
Israëlische hsl in aanbouw

Nederland moet Israël hulp aanbieden bij het voltooien van de hogesnelheidslijn tussen de luchthaven van Tel Aviv en Jeruzalem. Dat stelt het PVV-Kamerlid De Roon in een brief aan het kabinet.

Deze week werd bekend dat Deutsche Bahn zijn medewerking aan de aanleg van de spoorweg intrekt. Een dochterbedrijf van Deutsche Bahn trad op als adviseur. Het bedrijf trekt zich terug omdat er volkenrechtelijke bezwaren tegen het project zouden zijn.

De Roon zegt dat Deutsche Bahn zich “onder extreemlinkse druk” heeft teruggetrokken. De PVV’er zou het een mooi gebaar van vriendschap vinden als Nederland de Israëliërs gaat helpen.

Reistijd

De nieuwe hogesnelheidslijn moet de reistijd tussen Jeruzalem en Tel Aviv verminderen van anderhalf uur tot 28 minuten. Zes kilometer van het traject gaat via de Westelijke Jordaanoever, het grootste deel ondergronds via tunnels. Toch vinden actiegroepen dat grond van de Palestijnen wordt afgepakt.

Israël zegt dat ook de Palestijnen van de spoorlijn zullen profiteren. Het project is geraamd op 1,2 miljard euro en moet in 2017 af zijn.

(nos.nl / 11.05.2011)

EU lawmakers pledge to take part in new Gaza flotilla

A number of European Union parliamentarians have said they will take part in the flotilla, which is due to reach waters off Gaza in June; Israel’s EU ambassador calls activists’ plans an unnecessary ‘provocation.’

The organizers of a new Gaza flotilla on Tuesday vowed to carry out their plan to break an Israeli naval blockade and deliver aid to the Gaza Strip, in what an Israeli official warned would be a “political provocation.”

The flotilla is expected to reach the waters off Gaza in the third week of June, Greek organizer Vangelis Pissias said at a press conference hosted by European Union parliamentarians in Strasbourg.

The attempt would come one year after Israeli commandos boarded a similar flotilla on the high seas and clashed with those aboard the main Turkish ship, resulting in the deaths of nine Turkish activists.

Several EU lawmakers have pledged to take part in the new flotilla, with organizers saying that their status will help protect others on board.

The ships will carry school materials, medical equipment and possibly construction equipment for Gaza citizens, according to organizer Manuel Tapial.

“Civil society has a responsibility, a responsibility when the political class is hesitant,” the Spanish activist said. “I feel that this is the case here.”

“This will go beyond tangible humanitarian assistance … Together, we call for the world to be a better place and justice for all, rights for all,” a third organizer, Claude Leostic of France, added, arguing that the Israeli blockade on Gaza is illegal.

But Israel’s ambassador to the EU, Ran Curiel, insisted in a separate press conference in Strasbourg that his country is well within its rights, noting that it had intercepted a German-owned cargo ship carrying weapons for Palestinian militants in March.

He also called on the flotilla organizers to bring their materials to Gaza through approved land-based routes.

“In our view, the flotilla is clearly a political provocation, … since there’s no need for a flotilla to aid Gaza,” Curiel said. “You can pass whatever you want to Gaza through normal channels.”

When asked if he thought that flotilla participants would be putting their lives at risk, he first replied with a simple “no.”

“I cannot refer hypothetically to what response of Israel will be,” he later added. “What I can say is that Israel will do everything in order to protect its own citizens and it will do it within international laws”

(www.haaretz.com / 11.05.2011)

Stop the Bloodshed in Syria

Popular protests calling for political reform in Syria have been met by brutal violence by security forces. Army tanks have shelled civilian areas and more than 400 people have been killed across Syria, many shot by government security forces during peaceful protests. Hundreds more have been arrested, many held incommunicado and at serious risk of torture.

Call on President Bashar al-Assad to immediately stop the killings, deliver justice and accountability. We will deliver your signatures to different Syrian embassies around the world as well as to the President himself.

When army tanks recently rolled into the city of Dera’a in southern Syria and began shelling residential areas, the human rights crisis in the country reached a new low. More than 400 people have died across Syria since protestors calling for political reform took to the streets in mid-March. Hundreds of people have been arbitrarily arrested and detained incommunicado, placing them at serious risk of torture and other ill-treatment. Torture of detainees has long been common and endemic in Syria.

Amnesty International has repeatedly urged the Syrian government to rein in the security forces, cease unlawful killings and other excessive force, and for independent investigations and accountability – with those responsible for human rights violations being brought to justice. The Syrian authorities have failed to take these steps and intensified repression. Consequently, Amnesty International has called on the UN Security Council to refer Syria to the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, to impose an arms embargo and to freeze the assets abroad of the Syrian President and his senior associates.

We need your help to get Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to stop the killing of protestors and other human rights violations without delay. Peaceful protests inspired by events in Tunisia and Egypt, where popular protests brought the downfall of longstanding presidents, and organized partly through social networking sites such as Facebook began in February but took off after 18 March when security forces fired on peaceful protestors in Dera’a using live ammunition and killing several. The protestors were calling for the release of local youth who had been arrested for scrawling “the people want the downfall of the regime” on a wall in the city.

Since then protests have mushroomed and taken place in many different towns and cities, and they have been met with increasing repression – killings, arrests and torture. Even so, the protests have continued as Syrians risk bullets to demand their rights. Please help ensure an end to the bloodshed.

Download the printable versions: PDF |RTF

(http://takeaction.amnestyusa.org/siteapps/advocacy/index.aspx?c=jhKPIXPCIoE&b=2590179&template=x.ascx&action=15850&ICID=E1105A01&msource=WE1105A01&tr=y&auid=8321259  / 11.05.2011)

Complicity in Oppression: Do the Media Aid Israel?

The BBC’s former Middle East correspondent, Tim Llewellyn, joins Greg Philo, Research Director of the Glasgow Media Group, and Abdel Bari Atwan, Editor of the London-based al-Quds al-Arabi newspaper, to discuss the mainstream media’s coverage of Palestine and Israel.

Do newspaper and television reporting favour one narrative over the other? How does this influence public perception and is real damage done to the Palestinians’ hopes for justice? What pressure do journalists come under from their news organisations when trying to report the facts from the Occupied Territories?

Tim Llewellyn was the BBC’s Middle East correspondent for 10 years and speaks with an insider’s knowledge of the tension between reporters on the ground and their more cautious management teams in London.

Abdel Bari Atwan was born in Gaza, Palestine but has lived in London since 1979. He has been the editor of London-based al-Quds al-Arabi, an independent, pan-Arab daily newspaper since 1989. He is the author of The Secret History of al-Qa’ida, and A Country of Words, his memoir.

Greg Philo is the co-author of Bad News from Israel (2004) and More Bad News from Israel (May 2011). Both books contain meticulous research from the Glasgow Media Group revealing how the language, tone and agenda of news reports result in a dangerously misleading view of the Occupation amongst the general public. Greg will be signing copies of More Bad News from Israel, which will be on sale, after the meeting.

Chair: Victoria Brittain, author and former Guardian journalist
Date: Monday 23 May, 2011
Time: 7pm – 9.30pm
Venue: Amnesty International, Human Rights Action Centre, New Inn Yard, London EC2A 3EA

To facilitate a prompt start, final admission to this event will be at 7pm. Latecomers will not be admitted after this time. If you can no longer attend, please email events@memonitor.org.ukThis e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it to let us know, so we can reallocate your seat.

(www.middleeastmonitor.org.uk / 11.05.2011)

Islamitische agenda wil clichés vermijden

DRIE VRAGEN AAN – Abdelaziz Kaouass (41) en Said Khalota (37) van het Utrechtse ontwerpbureau Timaar (omzet 2010 ‘plusminus een ton’) ontwikkelden de eerste islamitische schoolagenda.

Er was nog geen islamitische schoolagenda?

‘Nee. Veel islamitische jongeren worstelen met hun identiteit. We willen met de Fikra-agenda duidelijk maken dat die prima samengaat met de Nederlandse. Onze agenda moest zich kunnen meten met de hippe agenda’s die al op de markt zijn. Dus geen clichés in content en vormgeving. Het moest prikkelend en inspirerend zijn, niet belerend.’

Hoe bereik je dat?

‘We hebben bijvoorbeeld bekende Nederlanders met een moslimachtergrond gevraagd een stukje te schrijven. Denk aan advocaat mevrouw Arslan, cabaretier Salaheddine of profvoetballer Mounir El Hamdaoui. We gaan ervan uit dat gebruikers een bepaalde basiskennis van de islamitische cultuur hebben. Als we over de ramadan schrijven dan gaat het niet over de regels.’

Al veel verkocht?

‘Dat moet nog beginnen. We hebben er 5000 laten drukken. Als we 75% verkopen zijn we meer dan tevreden. De consumentenmarkt is nieuw terrein voor ons. De agenda is te koop via de website, verder denken we aan verkoop via boekhandels in moskeeën. Het liefst liggen we bij de Bruna, maar het blijft een nicheproduct. Fikra, Arabisch voor idee of gedachte, moet uitgroeien tot een breed productassortiment voor schoolgaande jongeren.’

(www.fd.nl / 11.05.2011)

FREEDOM FLOTILLA II

Press Statement

9 MAY 2011

[Paris, France] The international Steering Committee of Freedom Flotilla II just concluded its planning meeting in Paris, a few weeks before the scheduled departure of the flotilla to Gaza.

Freedom Flotilla II will leave during the third week of June, with ships departing from various European ports, including Marseilles. We’re very pleased to announce the recent addition of a Swiss-German boat to the flotilla. In July 2010 Germany’s Bundestag passed a resolution calling for an end to the Israeli blockade of Gaza. A number of our respective governments have said the same. The UN Human Rights Committee Fact Finding Mission into the 2010 flotilla attack found Israel’s blockade on Gaza to be unlawful. The International Committee of the Red Cross has said that Israel must end its illegal closure of Gaza. Yet Israel continues to disregard international law and ignore the will of the international community. Without any strong diplomatic action being taken to enforce international law and defend the human rights of the Palestinian people, the flotilla must sail and other international initiatives to end Israel’s impunity are called for.

We are encouraged by the reported decision of the new Egyptian government to open the Rafah crossing. But just as Egyptians stayed in Tahrir Square, accepting nothing less than the departure of the former regime, so too we must accept nothing less than a full end of the illegal blockade of Gaza and all forms of the Israeli occupation of Palestine.

In one week, Palestinians will mark 63 years since the Nakba and the beginning of the dispossession of the Palestinian people from their homes. Next month will mark 44 years since the onset of the Israeli occupation of the West Bank, Gaza and Jerusalem. And July will mark 4 years since the near hermetic closure of Gaza. The question is no longer why we are sailing to break the blockade, but why is it taking the international community so long to act. We call on the community of states and people around the world to uphold international law in Palestine, and support the Freedom Flotilla.

Today, members of the Steering Committee headed to Strasbourg for meetings with European Parliament members to discuss the details of the flotilla and their active support. From now until we sail, members of the flotilla will be meeting their government officials, the UN and other international organizations to gain support for this global civil society action to end Israel’s criminal blockade of Gaza.