IDF prepares for September declaration

Will officers need visa to arrest terror suspects in West Bank? Additional resources, training exercises, deployment – all part of army’s plan ahead of possible declaration of Palestinian state at UN. Senior military officials agree: Future remains unclear

The Israel Defense Forces is finding it hard to predict what will happen after the possible declaration of a Palestinian state at the United Nations in September, but in the meantime it is holding training exercises, maps are being updated and even the state of mind on Facebook is being looked into.

The IDF is also preparing engineering resources, purchasing and expanding existing crowd dispersion equipment and mainly, preparing for every eventuality – from the mainstream to the extreme. Ynet is taking a first look at the “Migdal Oz” plan which details how the IDF is planning on maintaining order in the West Bank on the “day after”.

Deliberations held over the last few weeks among senior GOC Central Command officials have raised one major question – the status of IDF officers and troops after the planned Palestinian declaration of statehood: Will an officer seeking to arrest a terror suspect in Nablus or Ramallah be required to present a visa or passport? And how is he supposed to act in such a situation?

None of those present at the deliberations could supply an answer, which indicates that the Defense Establishment is heading for a period of uncertainty in the West Bank. The defense and civil coordination outlook remains hazy: What kinds of protests should they expect? Which side will the Palestinian Authority take?

And yet the defense establishment’s calendars don’t have any special mentions or substantial alterations ahead of events in September. Military officials believe it will take some time for the Palestinian citizens to examine their new status against the actual changes.

A different theory sees the Palestinians quickly reaching a state of frustration and disillusionment which could lead them to “let off steam”. Among the extreme scenarios: riots, and confrontations on settlements and IDF bases.

A third theory states that the IDF’s chief mission is to prepare for war and expected riots cannot become the troops’ main pursuit. “I don’t intend to halt training at any price. We need to remember that this is not a large tactical event,” the commander of one of the divisions noted.

Central Command Chief Major-General Avi Mizrahi who has been keeping a close eye on the deployment has passed on his recommendations to the Chief of Staff Major General Benny Gantz. They include expanding the ring of troops set to deal with riots in other sectors.

A large part of the “Migdal Oz” plan deals with the acquisition and expansion of crowd dispersal methods. GOC Central Command recently acquired more than double of their usual annual crowd dispersal resources order.

‘Like Syrian infiltrators’

In addition to the usual resources they have also purchased the “Scream” acoustical system which basically makes noise at an increased volume that assists in dispersing crowds. The IDF has also purchased appropriate protection methods for riot areas. The equipment is all set to be in IDF hands by August.

The IDF has also been carrying out infrastructural adjustments, for example, elevating military outposts. They have also prepared concrete barricades which will be put in place if the need arises during massive protests.

Nevertheless the IDF has made it clear that while it hopes to stop protestors in a way that would keep the number of casualties at a minimum, if there is no other option they will open fire.

Military sources said that from the army’s perspective, if the Palestinians were to infiltrate the fence surrounding Beit El or Yitzhar, this would be dealt with in the same manner as the infiltrators from Syria. “We will fire at the lower extremities,” said one military official.

Within the framework of all these preparations the IDF is taking two main scenarios into consideration: Popular protests without the Palestinian Authority’s direct support, maybe even with prevention efforts from the Palestinian security apparatus. The second scenario is an all out Intifada organized by the Palestinian Authority.

The first option is obviously easier to deal with from the IDF’s standpoint. And yet, the IDF would be able to strike at the new state’s infrastructure, including security installations thus sending a very assertive message. A “bank” of possible targets is being collected under the radar. No one wishes to make use of it but the option is firmly on the table.

Critical influence

The Palestinians will not be in a hurry to endanger their infrastructure so it is hard to estimate whether the protests will be organized by the newly formed state. If security coordination continues then it can be hoped that the incidents will be confined.

There is an additional variable that must be taken into account – the Hamas who, in light of the unity agreement with Fatah is more prominent in the West Bank and so could be a fermenting factor.

“We are heading for a murky period that hides many dangers,” summarized one senior officer. “As an army we need to be prepared for every possible scenario. It is possible that we will have to face a complicated situation that will change all that we have become familiar with in the West Bank over the last few years. That is what we are preparing for.”

The Israeli policy which will be decided on in Jerusalem will have a critical influence on the future. As he prepared to end his term in office, the outgoing Shin Bet Chief Yuval Diskin said that Israel, without recognizing the newly formed state would face opposition from the international community which could hurt its own status.

(www.ynetnews.com / 20.06.2011)

‘Israel is US imperial machine’

Interview with Ken O’Keefe, political activist, London

Israel’s navy commander Admiral Eliezer Marom has called for a halt in the progress of the Freedom Flotilla II aid convoy which is heading for Gaza.

Marom said the only purpose of the flotilla is to clash with Israeli soldiers, create media provocation, delegitimize Israel and create a PR stunt.

Last year, Israeli forces attacked the Turkish ship Mavi Marmara carrying aid for Gaza in international waters, killing nine Turkish activists onboard.

To further discuss the issue, Press TV interviewed Ken O’Keefe, an Irish- American activist, who was a passenger on the Mavi Marmara I and also spent the last six months in Gaza where he witnessed firsthand conditions under which the Gazans have been forced to live in an economy crippled by an Israeli siege.

Press TV: Ken, you were with the flotilla that went to Gaza earlier on and during that flotilla attempt, Turkish activists were killed when the Mavi Marmara was attacked. Do you think Israel will attack the second flotilla?

O’Keefe: Well, I think we cannot ignore the fact that with the Mavi Marmara not going and the Turkish elements not going as it was last year that we are missing these. It is an element that is by the propaganda machine supposedly violent but that is not the case. This is a humanitarian aid mission going to the benefit of 1.7 million people who are now five years into a blockade with over 800,000 plus children.

To me the defense of the Mavi Marmara was like defending one’s family and of course nobody in their right minds would say that it is improper to defend your family. What we will have on this one is an absence of the Turkish elements which is to me quite tragic. I was proud and honored to be with my Turkish brothers and sisters on the Mavi Marmara.

So it will be an Israeli aggression that will be met with passive resistance and I would imagine that it will all go by rather quietly in comparison to what happened the last time. So unfortunately I think there is going to be no success at this point but we have to keep pressing and I do very much respect all those who are on board and who are heading towards Gaza. But we have lost something quite substantial with the Turkish elements being gone.

Press TV: Well, the recent remarks made by the Israeli naval commander when he does say that this is a provocation flotilla that his forces will try not to allow it enter Gaza’s territory. Do you think that the international silence to speak over the killing of the Mavi Marmara activists has emboldened Israel in making these kinds of statements or in trying actually to prevent this flotilla from entering Gaza?

O’Keefe: Well, I think you make a very important point there on that. Really, I am kind of sick and tired of laying the blame on Israel. Israel is like America. It is for America and American imperial machine. It goes around occupying, invading and stealing resources. We know what it is. I mean, we know what America is and we know what Israel is.

Israel’s job is to maintain perpetual conflict in the region. Its job is to steal the land of the Palestinians. So there is no surprise when it does things like this, murdering people and assassinating people. But really a sick is the European Union which pretends as if it is a civilized society in which it is making all these incantations to respect for democracy and human rights and stuff like this, while it continues to do 25 billion euros a year and trade with Israel, while it continues trading weapons, including weapons of mass destruction, while it continues to do everything it can to capitulate Israeli demands and also not use international law as it should be used in the case of Britain, we see that universal jurisdiction is under attack and any probability of Israeli war criminals being indicted in England is trying to be cut short.

So I really think we should be directing our energy more and more towards the EU in particular but also the American citizens who are being duped to the tune of billions and billions a year on aid to Israel and they are not benefiting at all. So we know what Israel does. Why don’t we concentrate on what we can do?

(www.presstv.ir / 20.06.2011)

Ben Ali bij verstek veroordeeld tot 35 jaar

De Tunesische ex-president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali en zijn vrouw Leila Trabelsi zijn voor onder meer verduistering elk bij verstek veroordeeld tot 35 jaar gevangenisstraf. Het vonnis werd maandag uitgesproken in een strafhof in Tunis.

Het echtpaar ging op 14 januari vrijwillig in ballingschap naar Saudi-Arabië, nadat een maand lang tegen het regime van Ben Ali was gedemonstreerd. De opstand in Tunesië markeerde het begin van een reeks opstanden elders in het Midden-Oosten.

In een van de paleizen van Ben Ali en Trabelsi werd voor bijna twintig miljoen euro aan juwelen en obligaties aangetroffen.

(www.nieuwsblad.be / 20.06.2011)

Help Israel and the IDF win the next fight with the Flotilla

In the year that passed since the terror organization IHH tried to “break the siege” on Gaza while attacking IDF Navy soldiers, the Turkish group has been plotting a rerun of the event. This time around, IHH plans to have many more ships from all over the world all trying to set sail into Gaza.

There is no humanitarian crisis in Gaza and Israel delivers all goods through regular channels. If the flotilla was about delivering aid to Gaza Israel would gladly accept the aid and deliver it to the people in Gaza. But this flotilla is not about aid – it’s about hate towards Israel and about trying to create a provocation against Israel. It’s about denying Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state.

Jewish leaders across the world are pressuring European countries not to allow Flotilla ships to set sail. That pressure seems to be working as the French Flotilla group announced their ship will not sail to Gaza. Even Turkish Foreign Minister acknowledged that in light of the newly opened Rafah crossing the flotilla is not necessary and  urged the flotilla organizers to reconsider. The Turkish IHH group is scheduled to announce their decision within a few days.

While we hope the next flotilla will indeed be smaller, this is an ongoing battle. The battle field is online and social media is the weapon of choice.

If you’d like to help Israel in this time of terrorists provocations and help avoid the next attack on Israel please take a few minutes to look at the individuals listed below. These people are the global support base of the Flotilla movement. Giyus.org took the time to identify those that raise funds for flotilla activities, support terror organizations like IHH and Hamas and blindly act against Israel no matter what. They use their Facebook accounts to spread heir hateful anti Israel message.

These are the faces of the new web 2.0 antisemitism – please log into your facebook account and report these users for abusing Facebook to spread hate and antisemitism.

Click on each NAME link to reach the relevant facebook profile to report. Click on the report link on the bottom left hand side of the profile page. When you click on the report link a small window opens up. Please choose the “Inappropriate profile information” option and then choose the 2nd option in the drop down menu – “contains hate speech”.

Time is of the essence here – the more complaints Facebook receives the more they’ll look into the issue and make it harder for these people to spread their anti Israel hate message.

Thank you for your support and for standing up and saying no to hate and antisemitism. To act on more issues and easily support Israel please sign up to our email updates – make a difference to Israel.

(www.giyus.org / 20.06.2011)

Climate Change: A Call for Personal Changes

The reality of climate change calls for a re-evaluation of our actions and a redirection of our energies towards the reduction or possible reversal of the looming environmental crisis. Religious leaders are challenged to look into their traditions for any inspiration that could guide us towards averting this global disaster. This new demand on old traditions forces us to look creatively at the world’s religious heritage and reinterpret or reapply sacred texts and principles to our present problem. It is surprising, however, that the texts of the Islamic religious tradition speak directly on many issues that are pertinent to our problem. Hence the task for the Muslim expositor here is not so much a reinterpretation of the traditions, but mainly a reapplication of old texts to new problems.

To begin with, the Quran calls on us to recognise our own contribution to the crisis:

Corruption doth appear on land and sea because of (the evil) which men’s hands have done, that He may make them taste a part of that which they have done, in order that they may return. (Quran 30:41)

According to the verse cited, God is giving us a taste of our own medicine so that we may return from the wrong directions we have taken in life. If we are to reverse the deterioration of our environment then we have to make some hard choices and change our practices. In other words, ecological change calls for personal change.

Conservation

Wastefulness is a major contributing factor to our present woes, hence the sudden awareness of the benefits of reducing, reusing, and recycling waste. But this reminds us of some Quranic cautions. For example: “But waste not by excess: for Allah loveth not the wasters” (Quran 6:141, Yusuf Ali translation).

The principle of conservation is illustrated by the following rule, noted in many basic texts relating to Islamic acts of worship: while making ablutions in preparation for prayer we should be abstemious in the use of water even if we have a river at our disposal. When this rule was first formulated, its practical benefit may have been puzzling; today it is all too plain. Muslims following this rule must, over time, cultivate due regard for water and other natural resources as divine provisions.

The Sanctity of Planting Trees

The beneficial nature of trees to our ecosystem is now widely known. It may be noted in this regard that the planting of a tree is regarded in the classical Islamic tradition as an act of continuous charity, the most desirable sort of good deeds. The Prophet Muhammad, on whom be peace, said that if one plants a tree then whatever is eventually eaten from it whether by humans or animals counts for the planter as a an act of charity. The importance of planting trees as a good deed is highlighted in another tradition which says that if one has on hand a sapling ready to be planted and the Day of Judgment arrives one should go ahead and plant it.

The Equilibrium of All Life

Furthermore, Muslims believe that all creations of Allah, including animals and trees, glorify God in their own way.

Seest thou not that to Allah bow down in worship all things that are in the heavens and on earth,- the sun, the moon, the stars; the hills, the trees, the animals; and a great number among mankind? (Quran 22:18)

Islam also teaches humans that all creatures of God, whether it be the tiny ant or the huge lion, serves a certain purpose in the larger scheme of God’s world: “There is not an animal (that lives) on the earth, nor a being that flies on its wings, but (forms part of) communities like you.” (Quran 6:38)

This divine notion, which came more than 1400 years ago, reinforces the scientific concept of ‘chain of life,’ with each species depending on another and together maintaining the balance of life on earth. God reminds us in the Quran not to tamper with His divine balance (here referred to as ‘measure’) by reminding us, “And the sky He hath uplifted; and He hath set the measure, that ye exceed not the measure, but observe the measure strictly, nor fall short thereof.” (55:7-9) Hence, irresponsible deforestation and wanton killing of even the tiniest of God’s creatures is strongly discouraged in Islam.

Man: Trustee and Vicegerent

Moreover, there are some general Islamic concepts which serve to reinforce these observations. One is the belief that everything within our possession and which we conveniently call our property is not only provided by God but ultimately belong to Him. On this belief, what we have is merely placed in our trust, and must be preserved and delivered back to God in the best manner possible. The following Quranic verse emphasises the point: “Believe in Allah and His messenger, and spend of that whereof He hath made you trustees; and such of you as believe and spend (aright), theirs will be a great reward.” (Quran 57:7) The imperative towards charity here is premised on the belief that we are mere trustees of the wealth in our possession. Muslims will naturally extend this belief with regards to all the natural resources within their ambit.

Related to this idea of trust is the concept of vicegerency. In the Quran, God says: “Then We appointed you viceroys in the earth after them, that We might see how ye behave” (Quran 10:14). The behaviour of those who cause corruption on earth is well noted: “And when he turneth away (from thee) his effort in the land is to make mischief therein and to destroy the crops and the cattle; and Allah loveth not mischief” (Quran 2:205). According to the Quran, God made well everything he has created: “Who made all things good which He created” (32:7). And we are commanded commanded to keep it that way: “Do no mischief on the earth, after it hath been set in order” (7:56).

A Call for Change

Failing to follow the Quranic injunctions, we have, of course, upset the ecological balance. And it is up to us to set it right again. This will require great effort, and courageous personal change. We need to do our best to restore and preserve the balance in nature; to take up our responsibility as viceroys of God and hence as custodians, stewards, and trustees in whose trust God has placed the resources we enjoy. We need to maintain the ecosystems that harbour the dazzling array of life forms God has created,including animals, birds, insects, and plants. But the required personal changes are sometimes simple and manageable. We can easily reduce, reuse, and recycle waste. We can to a large extent conserve our use of water and other natural resources. We can in some small way reverse the process of deforestation by planting one tree at a time. It is time to pay better attention to the principles set forth in God’s message, including this one: “Man shall have nothing but what he strives for” (Quran 53:39).

We have caused corruption on land and sea, and it is up to us to mend our ways. Our present crisis calls on religious leaders to find faith-based messages that will inspire the faithful towards a heightened environmental awareness. We have seen that there is ample content in the sacred traditions of Islam to meet this need. What remains to be seen is the extent to which we will rally to this call for personal change.

Shabir Ally

July 28, 2009

(www.whyislam.org / 20.06.2011)

Israeli Forces Demolish Dwellings near Hebron

HEBRON, June 20, 2011 (WAFA) – Israeli forces Monday demolished dwellings and damaged crops of Palestinians living in Khirbet Bir El Ad, a locale near Yatta village east of Hebron in the West Bank.

Dwellings Committee Coordinator, Othman Jbareen, told WAFA that Israeli soldiers and police along with border guards demolished seven houses and damaged crops with bulldozers in the locale, which is adjacent to Masa Yair Jewish settlement built on Yatta land.

He said that 90 Palestinian sheperds were deported in 1999 then returned by an Israeli supreme court injunction order. However, they are still frequently harassed by the settlers and the army, with the aim of driving them off their land so it can be seized for the nearby settlement.

Jbareen said the Israeli army prevented Palestinians from entering their land in 2001 on the premises of security for Masa Yair settlement, but they returned in 2009 by means of another Israeli court order.

He pointed out that Palestinians are not able to use their wells or enter their lands due to aggressive action by both settlers and the army.

(english.wafa.ps / 20.06.2011)