Why are the Libyan Rebels seeking Israel’s support?

As mediation and ceasefire initiatives such as the Road Map proposed by the African Union via South Africa’s president Jacob Zuma failed, a French writer, Bernard Henri Levy announced that he delivered a message on Thursday from Libyan rebel leaders to Israel’s Prime Minister, saying they would seek diplomatic ties with the country if they came to power.

This move, which is set to be ambivalently received in the Muslim world,  also breaks the National Transitional  Council from the Gaddafi regime, which does not have any diplomatic relations with Israel. Also it comes as the rebels are slowly gaining advantages over Gaddafi. In the last few days  they have progressed on the battlefield while the Libyan leader’s regime is facing an increase in defections and is becoming increasingly isolated internationally, especially after last week when Russia shifted its position and called on Gadaffi to step down.

The latest high-profile defection to further demoralise the regime was that of Shukri Ghanem, the regime’s oil minister and former prime minister. He was followed by the defection of eight Libyan army officers, including five generals, who were part of a wider group of 120 military personnel that defected in recent days.

In Africa, five other countries do not formally acknowledge Israel  as a state or have diplomatic relations with it. They are Algeria, Comoros, Djibouti, Somalia and Sudan, while in the Middle East Iraq, Lebannon, Kuwauit, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Yemen and the United Arab Emirate share the same position.

So why are the rebels interested in obtaining Israel’s support, and affirm they will acknowledge the existence of Israel as a state as soon as they gain power?

Well, according to Levi “The main point was that the future Libyan regime would be moderate and anti-terrorist and will be concerned with justice for the Palestinians and security for Israel,”

It seems that the move will infuriate Gaddafi, not because of the new born relationship between the rebels and Israel but rather because it assumes the transitional council will, no matter what, gain control of the state.

Interestingly, the council’s stance and newly found  interest in playing a major role in the resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict comes just after the International Criminal Court chief prosecutor, Luis Moreno Occampo revealed  this week that following accusations of arbitrary imprisonment and ill treatment of foreign workers by the rebels fighters, he was “investigating reports of unlawful arrest, mistreatment and killing” of sub-Saharan African civilians wrongly perceived to be mercenaries.

Also, as members of the fighters on the ground were accused of having ties with Al-Qaeda, it seems that expressing support for (and gaining support from) Israel will help the council steer away from accusations of having links with terrorist movements or of harbouring Muslims fundamentalists, who are not generally noted for their love of Israel.

If the new regime (if it arrives) wishes to be taken seriously by Western countries and become a successful  intermediate between Israel and Palestine, then recognition of Israel would give it some initial international brownie points by putting it firmly on the international geopolitical map in a region where the West and Israel are actively seeking new allies.

Of course another possibility is that after the surge of negative reports in the last few days the regime felt it had to take a very public stand to reassure Western liberal democracies of its dedication to democracy but also to their ideals and values.

While only time will tell us what really motivated the move, the conflict is still on-going.

Today, the Libyan government tried to play down the significance of yesterday’s defection of the country’s oil minister Shukri Ghanem,

While Libyan officials had previously insisted that Mr Ghanem was on an official trip to Tunisia, Europe and Egypt, a government spokesman was forced to dismiss Mr Ghanem’s departure was a blow to the regime.

“This is a country, a state, a government, not just one person,” Mussa Ibrahim told reporters and insisted Libya would be still represented at the meeting of the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec) in Vienna on June 8. “I don’t have a name yet but we’ll have somebody.”

An executive with the state-owned National Oil Corporation, Mosbah Ali Matoug, took Mr Ghanem’s place today at a meeting of the Gas Exporting Countries Forum in Cairo.

Meanwhile in rebel-held eastern Libya, an explosion damaged a hotel used by rebels and foreigners in Benghazi, wounding one person while 270 people, who were fleeing the country, went missing after a fishing boat carrying migrants from Libya to Italy broke down just off the Tunisian coast.

According to a state run agency, 570 people were rescued and seven people injured, and passengers were mainly said to be migrants from Africa and Asia who planned to enter Italy illegally.

(uk.ibtimes.com / 03.06.2011)

Syrian opposition demands Assad’s resignation

Syrian opposition groups demanded President Bashar al-Assad’s immediate resignation Thursday, snubbing government concessions after a week in which activists said security forces killed more than 60 people.

Syrian opposition demands Assad's resignation

Syrian opposition demands Assad’s resignation

Syrian opposition groups demanded President Bashar al-Assad’s immediate resignation Thursday, snubbing government concessions after a week in which activists said security forces killed more than 60 people.

Opposition groups called for the “immediate resignation of President Bashar al-Assad from all functions he occupies,” in a joint declaration at the end of a two-day meeting in Turkey’s Mediterranean resort of Antalya.

They urged the holding of “parliamentary and presidential elections within a period that will not exceed one year” following Assad’s ouster and vowed to work “to bring down the regime.”

But the opposition groups opposed “any foreign intervention” in Syria such as the NATO air strikes in Libya. “Everything must be done to preserve Syria’s unity and territorial integrity,” their statement read.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, meanwhile, said the international community needs to be more united on dealing with the Syria government’s crackdown on the pro-democracy movement.

“Right now the attitude of the international community is not as united as we are seeking to make it,” she told reporters in Washington, apparently alluding to Russia’s moves blocking a proposed Security Council condemnation of Syria.

Russia on Thursday cautioned against pushing for “regime change” in Syria.

“If these opposition groups think only about continuing to outright reject everything that is being proposed by the Syrian authorities, then it would be an absolutely irresponsible approach,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said.

Some 300 Syrian activists, mostly exiles, representing a broad spectrum of political forces opposed to Assad’s regime, attended the Antalya talks, the largest gathering of the opposition since the revolt broke out.

The participants, among them members of the banned Muslim Brotherhood, have snubbed a general amnesty for political prisoners, decreed by Assad on Tuesday, as too late and insufficient.

On the ground, security forces armed with heavy machine-guns shot dead 15 civilians in Rastan on Thursday, a human rights activist said, adding to a toll of at least 43 killed in towns of the flashpoint Homs region since Sunday.

Gunfire was also heard in Talbisa, another town in the same region which like Rastan the army has encircled since the start of the week, a witness said.

In a bid to snuff out night-time demonstrations, Syrian authorities slapped a curfew on Dael, a town near the southern hotbed of Daraa where clashes erupted Thursday, Rami Abdel Rahman of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights told AFP.

Anti-regime activists in Syria have called for “Children’s Friday” protests to honour the children killed in the uprising, such as 13-year-old Hamza al-Khatib whom activists say was tortured to death, a charge denied by the authorities.

“The people want the fall of the regime. Tomorrow, it’s ‘Children’s Friday’ of rising up against injustice, like the adults,” the activists announced on their Facebook page Syrian Revolution 2011, an engine of the revolt.

The UN children’s agency UNICEF says at least 30 children have been shot dead in the revolt against Assad’s autocratic rule which erupted in mid-March.

UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon’s special advisors on prevention of genocide and responsibility to protect civilian populations expressed alarm on Thursday at Syria’s mounting death toll.

“We are particularly alarmed at the apparently systematic and deliberate attacks by police, military, and other security forces against unarmed civilians,” said advisors Francis Deng and Edward Luck.

More than 1,100 civilians have been killed and at least 10,000 arrested in a brutal crackdown on almost daily anti-regime demonstrations in Syria since March 15, rights organisations say.

The government insists the unrest is the work of “armed terrorist gangs” backed by Islamists and foreign agitators.

(news.malaysia.msn.com / 03.06.2011)

Why Palestinians fight for their rights?

I am often asked by many Westerners and Zionists:

  • Why Palestinians fight the peace loving Israeli?
  • Why all this terrorism against the innocent Jews who suffered centuries of persecution?

In details, we have replied to these questions and more at our popular Zionists Frequently Asked Questions. In that respect, it is worth noting what David Ben-Gurion told Nahum Goldman before he died:

“I don’t understand your optimism.,” Ben-Gurion declared. “Why should the Arabs make peace? If I was an Arab leader I would never make terms with Israel. That is natural: we have taken their country. Sure, God promised it to us, but what does that matter to them? Our God is not theirs. We come from Israel, it’s true, but two thousand years ago, and what is that to them? There has been anti-Semitism the Nazis, Hitler, Auschwitz, but was that their fault? They only see one thing: we have come here and stolen their country. Why should they accept that? They may perhaps forget in one or two generations’ time, but for the moment there is no chance. So it’s simple: we have to stay strong and maintain a powerful army. Our whole policy is there. Otherwise the Arabs will wipes us out”.

“But how can you sleep with that prospect in mind,” I broke in, “and be Prime Minister of Israel too?”

Who says I sleep? he answered simply. (The Jewish Paradox by Nahum Goldman, p. 99)

New Jewish immigrants looting Palestinian houses (Ein Karim-1949)

I agree with many thing Ben-Gurion said in this quotes, especially about him having sleepless nights; thieves do not sleep well. As usual thieves are always afraid of retribution, they’re always worried; they’re captivated with fear which is exactly how the average Israeli feels. On the other hand, Palestinians and Arabs may disappoint him about couple of things:

  • It has been three generation since Nakba, and Palestinians still hold on to their looted homes’ keys (inside Israel) more than ever. It has become an honor to inherit that key from one generation to another.
  • Ben-Gurion will be amazed how many Zionist Arab leaders (several of them Palestinian leaders) are ready to sell Palestinian rights so they can retain their positions of power and financial gains.

Any person around the world has the right to defend his home and family when attacked, however, in the West a Palestinian does not have that right despite that his home and farms were stolen by Holocaust survivals. Westerners (especially Europeans) for centuries took turns gang rapping their Jewish citizens, and because of that their guilty conscious burns them from the inside out. This guilty conscious (beside the powerful Zionists lobby) are the reasons why the West covers up Israeli war crimes and continues to paint Israeli apartheid as “the only democracy in the Middle East”. Somebody else has to pay for their crimes against their Jews so long it is not a Westerner who pays the price; this way they can sleep well at night.

History will tell that not only the West have wronged Palestinians by making them pay for their crimes, but also they have wronged their Jewish citizens twice: Once for the many Holocausts they have committed against their Jews, and the second for locking them into an endless struggle with stubborn Arabs who will not sell their rights for any price.

Our DATE is 59 years LATE, we shall return.

(www.palestineremembered.com / 03.06.2011)

Israeli Soldiers Attack West Bank Anti-Wall Protests, Injuring Six Civilians

Ramallah – PNN – Six civilians were injured on Friday and many more were treated for the effects of tear gas inhalation when Israeli troops attacked the weekly anti-wall protests in a number of West Bank communities.


People march in Bil’in protest – Archive

This week, protests were reported in the villages of al-Nabi Salleh, Bil’in, and Nil’in in the central West Bank, as well as al-Ma’ssara in the south.

One man was injured in the leg and two dozen were treated for the effects of tear gas inhalation as troops attacked the weekly protest in the village of al-Nabi Salleh, central West Bank. On Friday morning, villagers and their international and Israeli supporters gathered near land where Israel plans to build a new settlement. Troops attacked villages as soon as they left, and later invaded the village and fired tear gas into people homes.

Later, after the midday prayers, protestors marched again to the settlement construction site, where troops attacked them with tear gas before leaving the village. One man was hit with a tear gas bomb, injuring his hand. Troops later invaded the village and took over homes, including the house of Bassem al-Tamimi, a local activist who has been detained by the Israeli military for the past six months.

Similarly, in Bil’in village, a journalist was injured and many more were treated for tear gas inhalation after troops attacked the protest. Residents of Bil’in have been protesting at the wall for the past six years. International and Israeli supporters joined the villagers after the midday prayers. As soon as people reached the gate of the wall separating villagers from their lands, troops fired tear gas and sound bombs. Khalid Sabarnah, 45, a local journalist, was injured when a tear gas bomb hit him in his hand.

Further protests were held in the nearby village of Nil’in, where the residents and their Israeli and international supporters held the Friday midday prayers near the Israeli wall. The protestors then marched up to the wall, marking the third year of their resistance against it. Troops fired tear gas and live rounds at protesters, causing minor injuries to four. Furthermore, troops fired tear gas at nearby olive orchards, where a number of olive trees caught fire.

Elsewhere on the same day, villagers and their international and Israeli supporters protested against the wall and settlements in al-Ma’sara village in the southern West Bank. Israeli troops stopped villagers from reaching the construction side of the wall, and pushed people back into the village, where the protest ended without any further clashes.

(english.pnn.ps 03.06.2011)

WEST BANK: France enters the Palestinians’ run to September

The Palestinian race to September is going at full force, in spite of international initiatives to persuade  them to change their minds.

The latest such initiative came from France.

On a visit to Ramallah on Thursday, French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe revealed his government’s plan to invite Palestinians and Israelis to an international peace conference late this month or in early July in Paris.

The purpose is to restart the moribund Palestinian-Israeli negotiations before September, when the Palestinians want the United Nations Security Council to vote in favor of a resolution admitting the State of Palestine as a full member of the U.N.,  with recognized borders within the June 1967 armistice line.

“We are convinced that if nothing happens between now and September, the situation will be difficult for everyone,” Juppe said at a news conference after meeting Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad.

Juppe stopped short of saying his country would support the Palestinian effort if Israel turns down the French initiative, which is expected to happen, emphasizing that “if nothing happens until September … all options will be open.”

Though Juppe’s plan is based mainly on President Obama’s Mideast initiative, which calls for resumption of Palestinian-Israeli negotiations based on the 1967 borders, with agreed land swaps, it  goes a couple of steps further, which make the Israeli rejection likely.

While Obama talked about security for Israel, Juppe talked about security for the two states, and while Obama said the issues of Jerusalem and Palestinian refugees would be negotiated at a later stage without giving a timeline, the French minister said these issues should be resolved within one year.

The French expansion on the Obama plan seems to have struck a positive note with the Palestinian Authority, but apparently not strongly enough to agree to attend the proposed Paris peace conference, let alone resume negotiations with Israel before it stops all settlement activities and agrees that the talks will eventually lead to a Palestinian state within the 1967 borders.

Fayyad, speaking at the press conference with Juppe, said that the French initiative could succeed “if it had the right parameters that clearly state the 1967 borders and that reject the Israeli annexation of East Jerusalem, which will be the capital of the Palestinian state.”

Juppe said the French plan has the backing of the European Union and the United States. All that is left is to have the backing of Israel and the Palestinians.

(latimesblogs.latimes.com / 03.06.2011)

Tribal fighters in missile battle at Yemen presidential palace

[Updated at 8:38 a.m. ET]  At least seven senior government officials were injured during the shelling of the presidential compound, Tareq al-Shami, Yemeni government spokesman said Friday.

Al-Shami said that the prime minister, parliament speaker, deputy prime minister, and Sana’a governor were all injured among many others at a mosque located inside the presidential compound.

“The officials were praying when the shelling hit a mosque in the presidential compound. A number of the injured are in serious condition,” al-Shami said.

[Updated at 8:23 a.m. ET]  Fighting raged on Friday in two major Yemeni hot spots, as government forces and tribesmen slugged it out in the capital of Sanaa and protesters clashed with security in the city of Taiz.

Tribal fighters and the regime’s forces battled with missiles in Sanaa. The fighters shot missiles at the presidential palace and the government responded by launching missile strikes on a dissident tribal leader’s property.

In Taiz, government security forces and gunmen protecting protesters fought street battles.

The security forces began shooting at protesters assembled in the city’s Freedom Square, and gunmen supporting the demonstrators burned an armored vehicle belonging to security forces.

Abdullah Afti, a youth activist in Taiz, said four anti-government protesters had been shot during Friday prayers.

Fighting has rippled across Yemen for months between supporters of President Ali Abdullah Saleh and anti-government forces who want him out of office.

Discontent has rippled across the country and demonstrations have been common.

But late last month, battling between pro-Saleh forces and tribal elements added a new element to the instability in the country.

The International Crisis Group recently said that on May 23 fighting erupted between military forces controlled by “Saleh’s son and nephews and fighters loyal to the preeminent sheikh of the powerful Hashed confederation, Sadiq al-Ahmar.”

“The personal animosity and competition between the sons of the late Sheikh Abdullah bin Hussein al-Ahmar (Sadiq and his nine brothers) and the sons and nephews of Saleh have been a consistent obstacle to negotiations over a peaceful transfer of power. Now, this animus threatens to drag the country toward a full-scale civil war,” the group said.

The fighting has focused on these groups but “it could easily escalate, drawing in other tribal factions” and the armed confrontation has already led to the deaths of more than 100 people, the ICG said in a “conflict risk alert” last Friday.

“During the course of a tribal mediation attempt, Saleh’s security forces fired on Sadiq’s home, killing several prominent sheikhs and injuring dozens of other individuals, including one of the president’s closest allies and trusted negotiators, Ghalib Ghamish – head of Political Security, Yemen’s intelligence service,” the ICG said.

The urban battles leave Sanaa’s population “at great risk.”

“Hundreds are fleeing, fearing a tribal invasion from the countryside,” the ICG said.

(news.blogs.cnn.com / 03.06.2011)

Nabestaanden genocide: Mladic is ‘monster’ en ‘slager’

Nabestaanden van de genocide in Srebrenica reageerden vandaag woedend op het afsluitende betoog van oud-generaal Ratko Mladic voor het Joegoslavië-Tribunaal. Vanaf de publieke tribune werd de verdachte van genocide en oorlogsmisdaden onder meer uitgemaakt voor ‘slager’ en ‘monster’.

Mladic hoorde deze woorden niet, aangezien er een glazen wand is geplaatst tussen de publieke tribune en de rechtszaal. De voormalige legerleider van de Bosnische Serviërs richtte zich aan het eind van de eerste voorbereidende zitting op zelfverzekerde wijze tot de internationale pers, die ook aanwezig was op de publieke tribune. Mladic zei dat hij slechts ‘zijn land en volk heeft verdedigd’. Ook zei hij niet bang te zijn voor om het even welke instantie, land of etnische gemeenschap.

Langdurig proces

De nabestaanden van de genocide in Srebrenica verwachten een zeer langdurig proces. Mladic zal er volgens hen alles aan doen om de procedures zo veel mogelijk te vertragen en onder meer gebruikmaken van zijn vermeende zwakke gezondheid.

Dat zegt Axel Hagedorn, de Nederlandse advocaat van de 6000 vrouwen die bekendstaan als de Moeders van Srebrenica. Hagedorn: ‘Het was te verwachten dat hij voor deze strategie zou kiezen. Hij presenteert zichzelf als een oorlogsheld en begint direct met een uitvoerig verhaal over zijn vermeende zwakke gezondheid. Je kon zien dat hij zeer krachtig oogt, hij is in elk geval mentaal fit en probeert er een politiek proces van te maken.’


Hagedorn zei dat zijn cliënten niets begrijpen van de keuze voor Alphons Orie als voorzittend rechter tijdens de voorbereidende zittingen van het Mladic-proces. ‘Het is een Nederlander en gezien de rol die Nederland heeft gespeeld in het Srebrenicadrama, is de keuze voor hem een ongelukkige’, aldus Hagedorn. ‘Het betekent een smet op het begin van het proces. Hopelijk wordt Orie later vervangen door een van de vele internationale rechters waarover het tribunaal beschikt. Die mogelijkheid bestaat.’

Op de publieke tribune zaten niet alleen nabestaanden, juristen en verslaggevers, maar ook enkele kennelijke aanhangers van Mladic. Tijdens de zitting communiceerde Mladic met deze personen. Hij lachte breeduit naar hen en maakte vriendschappelijke gebaren.

Enkele afgevaardigden van de Moeders van Srebrenica, een belangenorganisatie van nabestaanden van de genocide in die gemeente in het oosten van Bosnië-Herzegovina, raakten tijdens een korte onderbreking van de voorgeleiding betrokken bij een scheldpartij waarbij de supporters van Mladic zich evenmin onbetuigd lieten. Later werd het weer rustiger, mede door verbaal ingrijpen door het bewakingspersoneel. De sfeer op de publieke tribune bleef echter gespannen tijdens de ruim anderhalf uur durende zitting.

Gesloten zitting
De voorzitter van het tribunaal had eerder op de dag al besloten de zitting deels achter gesloten deuren te houden. Zo werd Mladic in staat gesteld in alle rust zijn gezondheidstoestand uit de doeken te doen. Mladic had eerder aangevoerd dat hij ernstig ziek is. Mede daarom zei hij meer tijd nodig te hebben om de aanklachten te bestuderen. Volgens Mladic’ advocaat in Servië, Milos Saljic, lijdt de ex-generaal aan lymfklierkanker. De voorzitter heeft Mladic tot 4 juli gegeven om zich voor te bereiden.

(www.parool.nl / 03.06.2011)

Gaza hospitals in dire need of medicine

The Hamas government says Gazan patients are in dire need of help as hospitals and clinics in the Israeli-blockaded coastal enclave are running short of medicine supplies.

Speaking at a press conference, Hamas officials announced that hospitals in Gaza need at least 178 types of medicine for intensive care units (ICU), maternity wards, podiatric and ophthalmic surgeries, a Press TV correspondent reported.

“The acute shortage of medicinal supplies in Gaza’s hospitals is serious, with tragic consequences,” said Hamas lawmaker Khamis Najjar.

In addition to the much needed medicines, hospitals need fuel for their power generators. Due to the four-year long crippling Israeli siege on the impoverished coastal sliver, Gaza hospitals have been using power generators with high fuel consumption.

Meanwhile, a large number of expensive medicines for treatment of chronic patients, vaccines and blood plasma, which require refrigeration, get spoiled because of the regular power cuts.

Health officials also warn that patients on life support, premature babies, and those in need of kidney dialysis could lose their lives if power cuts continue.

Hospitals have also been running short of medical supplies for at least four years and sometimes they cannot even offer basic services to the patients with minor injuries or illnesses.

According to local health officials, the only way out of the current crisis is for the international community to help lift the Israeli siege and resume the supply of medicine into to the area.

Israel laid an economic siege on the Gaza Strip in June 2007 after Hamas took control of the coastal enclave.

The blockade has had a devastating impact on the humanitarian and economic situation in the Gaza Strip.

Some 1.5 million people are being denied their basic rights, including freedom of movement, and the right to appropriate living conditions, work, health and education.

(www.presstv.ir / 03.06.2011)