Israel PM agrees to return to 1967 borders

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has reportedly agreed to peace talks based on 1967 borders on the condition that the Palestinians recognize Israel as a Jewish state and solve the Palestinian refugee issue outside of Israel’s borders, Israeli daily Maariv reported today.

Netanyahu announced the position to US presidential Middle East adviser Dennis Ross, and acting envoy for the Middle East David Hale, both of whom Netanyahu met with last week, the Israeli paper said.

Netanyahu also reportedly issued his stance to EU foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton and special envoy for the Middle East Quartet Tony Blair, in meetings held this week, the Israeli daily stated.

Netanyahu reportedly said during a cabinet meeting Sunday, that “the discussion on the number of the Israelis and the Palestinians in the area that is located between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea is irrelevant and not real, what I care about is to have a Jewish majority within Israel’s borders that will be set.”

However, a statement released by Netanyahu’s office deny these claims, saying that “the report is untrue and Netanyahu’s stance concerning 1967 borders is clear, Israel will not return to these borders.”

The Palestinian leadership plans to ask the United Nations in September to recognize a Palestinian state within 1967 borders, a move opposed by the US and Israel.

The EU has stressed that it would prefer both sides to return to the negotiating table, with member states divided on how they plan to vote on the resolution.

In May, Netanyahu rejected US President Barack Obama’s proposal to base peace negotiations on the 1967 borders, claiming them to be “indefensible.”

Israel has occupied the West Bank and Gaza Strip since 1967.

(occupiedpalestine.wordpress.com / 23.06.2011)

Islamophobia on the rise in US, report says

Major study shows nearly 45% of respondents believe Islam is contrary to the American values.

Islamophobia on the rise in US, report says

Major study shows nearly 45% of respondents believe Islam is contrary to the American values

 

Islamophobia haunts US Muslims

  • While the US was founded on principles of freedom and justice for all, the nation has a long history of bigoted and discriminatory actions towards minorities. A 65-page report by CAIR (Council for American-Islamic Relations), details individuals, associations and acts of bigotry against Muslims and Islam.

Dubai: In the middle of a Minnesota winter, Muslim schoolchildren are routinely left to freeze on the roadside by a bus driver. When the pupils do make it to school, their teacher hands out an air freshener, telling the class to spray as the Muslim children walk in.

In Arizona, two men are taken off a US Airways flight and questioned after a passenger hears them speaking a foreign language.

And in Michigan, a Nigerian man is removed from a plane when other passengers say he spent too much time in the plane’s toilet. He is simply ill.

Everyday incidents

These are just everyday incidents of anti-Muslim actions detailed by the Council on American-Islamic Relations in a major study on Islamophobia in the United States released last night in Washington. Gulf News obtained an advance copy of the report.

The study says that Islamophobia has actually increased since the election of President Barack Obama, with right-wing Republicans feeding on anti-Muslim sentiments and fears over Sharia law.

American values

According to the report, some 45 per cent of respondents said they believe Islam is contrary to American values.

A Muslim police officer said: “On 9/11, I responded to Ground Zero with some of my colleagues and as we were being driven to the site, we saw many people lined up on both sides of the road with signs cheering and thanking us. … Now it is 2010 and I dare not go anywhere near Ground Zero with the fear of being attacked because I am a Muslim.”

(gulfnews.com / 23.06.2011)

Al-Arish Port prepares to receive Gaza aid flotilla

AL-ARISH/CAIRO: Al-Arish sea port is currently preparing to receive an aid flotilla that’s about to sail to Gaza this month should it reroute to dock in Egypt and send the aid on land.

The flotilla is on a mission to break the “illegal” Israeli blockade on the Strip.

In case the Freedom Flotilla II –Stay Human is denied access to Gaza, a regular occurrence since the blockade was enforced in 2006, Al-Arish port would be ready to receive it. Gamal Abdel Maqsoud, head of the port, said that the port is ready to receive participating ships at any time, noting that they will be greatly welcomed and they will work quickly to unload it.

A security officer at the port said that they are receiving instructions from Cairo regarding the flotilla such as facilitating all the procedures quickly by providing the activists with all possible help.

Freedom Flotilla II is organized by 14 national groups and international coalitions, and would carry approximately 1,000 “freedom riders” on vessels from Turkey, Spain, Greece, Norway, Sweden, France, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Belgium, Canada, Australia, Denmark and the United States.

“This is a rainbow coalition of human rights defenders. It does not only concern Muslims, but everyone, be they Muslim, Christian, Jew, Hindu, secular or whatever,” the Freedom Flotilla said in a statement on June 17. “This is world citizenry united, our destination is Gaza. Our means are non-violent. Our goal is to lift the illegal siege, completely and permanently and freedom for the Palestinian people.”

Israeli’s ambassador to the United Nations, Ron Prosor, warned the UN against Freedom Flotilla II, in a letter sent on Wednesday in which he said that such a provocative act would lead to dangerous consequences. He called on all countries to do their best in order to prevent the new flotilla from reaching the Gaza Strip and to warn their citizens of the risks they might face.

“The provocative act which is organized under the pretext of improving the humanitarian situation in Gaza Strip just aims at serving political purposes as well as raising tension in the region,” he claimed.

“Israel will prevent the new flotilla from sailing toward the coast of Gaza Strip since participants have strong ties with extremist organizations including the Hamas movement,” Prosor added.

In May last year, Israeli forces intercepted a flotilla led by a Turkish charity, killing nine Turkish activists on board.

UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-Moon, asked all nations, including Israel avoid violence when the flotilla sails to Gaza at the end of June.

The United States on Wednesday warned Americans against going ahead with plans to join a flotilla seeking to breach Israel’s naval blockade of the Gaza Strip.

The State Department warned “US citizens of the risks of traveling to Israel, the West Bank, and the Gaza Strip, and about threats to themselves and to US interests in those locations,” according to AFP.

The Americans have named their boat “The Audacity of Hope” while the Canadians named it “Tahrir.”

After the organization of a flotilla heading to Gaza in May 2010, the Quartet, of which the EU is a member, stated that all those wishing to deliver goods to Gaza should do so through established channels, so that their cargo can be inspected and transferred via land crossings into Gaza. It also stated that there was no need for unnecessary confrontations and that all parties should act responsibly in meeting the needs of the people of Gaza.
Egypt opened its Rafah border with Gaza last month, the only one that bypasses Israel. The border crossing was only opened intermittently under the former regime, which was criticized for participating in the Israeli blockade. To this day, however, Gaza-bound commodities have to go through Israeli controlled crossings.
“The so-called ‘established channels’ for delivering aid to Gaza, referred to by global leaders seeking to stop our mission, do not allow for the needs of the people of Gaza to be met due to Israel’s many restrictions, nor do they permit freedom for Palestinians,” the Freedom Flotilla II stated.

The flotilla told the UN Human Rights Council in a June 15 statement that “Israel is threatening to use even greater violence against Freedom Flotilla II” including the use of snipers and canine units.

“Even more deplorable, world leaders, rather than demanding that Israel halt its provocative behavior towards us and refrain from once again attacking unarmed civilians, have called the Flotilla initiative a provocation and have asked countries on the Mediterranean to prevent us from sailing,” the statement read.

On the Freedom Flotilla II official website, they have posted an analysis by Ambassador Craig Murray, a former Alternate Head of the UK Delegation to the United Nations Preparatory Commission on the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, of the Israeli blockade of Gaza and the right of the Gaza flotilla to sail.

Ambassador Craig Murray, a former Alternate Head of the UK Delegation to the United Nations Preparatory Commission on the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, wrote on the Freedom Flotilla II website, “This right of free passage is guaranteed by the UN Convention on the Law of the Seas.” 

(www.thedailynewsegypt.com / 23.06.2011)

Toward Tahrir: All aboard the flotilla for a free Palestine

A year and three weeks ago, Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, was in Ottawa, meeting Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper in the wake of the lethal attack by Israeli commandoes on the international Freedom Flotilla.

The Ottawa Palestine Solidarity Network had already planned a protest of Netanyahu’s arrival — but the murder of nine activists and the injury of dozens more aboard the 2010 flotilla, while Harper glad-handed with the man responsible, transformed a protest against Netanyahu and Israel’s war crimes and occupation into something more.

At the time, we could feel it in the Ottawa streets that this moment was an important turning point. Indeed, from coast to coast, many were beginning to have the same idea.

The time had come for a Canadian Boat to Gaza.

Within six weeks, veteran Palestine solidarity activists from coast to coast began meeting regularly to turn this idea into a reality. Fast-forward 11 months and we are preparing to sail the Tahrir (Arabic for “liberation”) in Freedom Flotilla 2 — Stay Human, alongside ships from many other countries, in an international effort to break through the cruel and illegal blockade of Gaza.

And here I am, at an undisclosed location in Eastern Europe, preparing to sail aboard the Tahrir.

John Baird has called the flotilla “provocative.” But he also thinks vote mobs are “disconcerting,” so it’s best to take this opinion with a few grains of sea salt.

But why sail with a flotilla toward what could well be a hostile response from the Israeli military? Why take the risk of being violently attacked by the fourth largest military in the world?

In the simplest terms, because we have a responsibility and a right to do so and Israel has no right to stop us. There are many reasons why we need to keep sending Freedom Flotillas to Gaza.

Here are just a few:

• The blockade. Collective punishment of a civilian population is illegal under international law. Period. This is what the government of Israel is doing to the people of Gaza by hermetically sealing them in what has become known as the world’s largest open air prison. And the federal government led by Stephen Harper is complicit in this illegal deprivation of freedom for the 1.4 million Palestinians in Gaza.

• The impunity. There are those who argue that it’s unfair to single out Israel for condemnation. Yet they tend to be the ones who are singling Israel out. They are singling it out for exemption from international law. We are simply demanding that international law be applied equally to all nations, including Israel. The question is not why is Israel singled out. The question is: why does it get away with it?

• The responsibility. Because the international community has failed to act. Because the responsibility to protect shouldn’t be a government euphemism for bombing civilians to serve Western strategic interests; it should be a call to action for social movements to stand up for those living under occupation, oppression, and tyranny. And if the international community fails in its obligation to protect Palestinian human rights, someone must.

• The possibility. Perhaps one of the most important reasons to continue the flotilla strategy is that it’s working. Some paid with their lives last time and the blockade is not over, but with each flotilla we are one wave closer to ending it. Over 200 organizations and many more individuals have endorsed the Tahrir and its mission. People and organizations from coast to coast have generously contributed over $340,000. We have already drawn much needed attention to the injustices being inflicted on the people of Gaza. The movement is already bigger than it was before — and the flotilla has not even sailed yet.

And this is why Netanyahu and Harper are worried. This is why the world’s fourth largest military has been training for months to take on a fleet of used boats carrying nonviolent civilians armed with nothing more than humanitarian aid, compassion, and yes, perhaps just the tiniest bit of chutzpah.

Will they attack and kill the human rights activists aboard this flotilla? This question weighs heavily. This time I’ll be on one of the boats with many people I know and have worked closely with.

A wise man once said, “There comes a time when we must choose between what is right and what is easy.”

It’s been easier for the world to be bullied by the war criminals who run the government of Israel than to do what is right and hold them accountable. With Harper defending the criminality of the Israeli government at every turn, as Canadians we have a moral obligation to act. This is why a Canadian Boat to Gaza is necessary.

With Netanyahu claiming to speak for all Jews everywhere, Jewish Canadians have a double responsibility to say loudly and clearly that what both of these governments are doing is not in our name. This is why groups like Independent Jewish Voices were formed.

And this is why I am going on the Canadian Boat to Gaza. Because there comes a time when you have to stand up to a bully and say, “no more.”

That time has arrived for Palestine.

Ya basta. Kefaya. Assez.

Enough.

(rabble.ca / 23.06.2011)

Verklaring van het Nederlands/Marokkaans Netwerk over de rechtzaak tegen Wilders

VERKLARING DE NEDERLANDSE RECHTSSTAAT IS IN GEVAAR

Het Nederlands/Marokkaans Netwerk tegen racisme en voor sociale cohesie heeft met grote teleurstelling en verbazing kennis genomen van de uitspraak door de rechtbank in de zaak tegen Wilders.

In een korte samenvatting van het vonnis gaf de rechtbank aan dat de uitlatingen van Wilders niet strafbaar zijn. De rechtbank noemde een aantal uitspraken van de PVV-leider ‘grof en denigrerend, maar niet opruiend’.

Eén uitlating werd Wilders wel zwaar aangerekend. Hij zei in een interview dat de Nederlandse samenleving door de komst van de Islam verandert. ‘Er is een strijd gaande en we moeten ons verdedigen’, zei hij. Volgens de rechtbank heeft die uitspraak wel een opruiend karakter. ‘U heeft zich daarbij niet tegen, maar op de grens van het strafrechtelijk toelaatbare begeven’.

De rechter: ‘u heeft zich in het publieke debat als een fanatiek bestrijder van de in uw ogen kwalijke Islam laten zien. U heeft zich daarbij op kwetsende en ook choquerende wijze uitgelaten en daarbij heeft u ook in de film ‘fitna’ beelden en teksten gebruikt die op zichzelf schokkend en aanstootgevend zijn.’

De Marokkaanse gemeenschap is verontrust over de uitspraak, die zal leiden tot een grotere verdeeldheid, meer islamofobie en verdergaande polarisatie. Moslims en andere minderheden zullen nog meer schade gaan ondervinden van de uitspraken van Wilders, die blijkbaar onbestraft gedaan kunnen worden.

Wij doen een oproep aan maatschappelijke organisaties en partijen om mensen te stimuleren op te komen voor een Nederland dat de rechten van Artikel één van de grondwet eerbiedigt. Als Nederlandse samenleving moeten we de angst die door Wilders is aangewakkerd tegengaan. Wij spreken ons daarom uit tegen het rechtse kabinet met gedoogsteun van de PVV en waarschuwen nogmaals voor de gevolgen die zo’n kabinet zal hebben voor de gehele Nederlandse bevolking. Wij moeten onze krachten bundelen voor de binding en tegen de polarisatie tussen de bevolkingsgroepen. Uiteindelijk moeten we, ondanks onze vele verschillen, een manier zien te vinden om in de naam van de democratie samen te kunnen leven.

Het Nederlands/Marokkaans Netwerk roept daarom op tot waakzaamheid en binding, want de Nederlandse rechtsstaat is in gevaar.

Wij vragen eenieder die schadelijke gevolgen ondervindt door racisme, xenofobie, antisemitisme, homofobie en islamofobie, dit te blijven melden bij het meldpunt van het Nederlands/Marokkaans Netwerk tegen racisme en voor sociale cohesie op telefoonnummer 020-4636222 of per mail meldpunt@amforg.nl . Naar aanleiding van de binnengekomen klachten zal dan vervolgens een rapport worden opgesteld.

Tezamen met andere organisaties zullen we met het behulp van het IVBPR-verdrag een procedure starten bij het Human Rigths Committee van de Verenigde Naties (te Genève). Uitgangspunt hierbij zal zijn dat Nederland heeft nagelaten de minderheden te beschermen tegen discriminatie.

Wij blijven ons verzetten tegen alle vormen van discriminatie, racisme en haat zaaien.

Voor meer informatie kunt u contact opnemen met Abdou Menebhi, voorzitter EMCEMO, namens het Netwerk, telefoon 020-4288825, mobiel 06-55818828 of per mail meldpunt@amforg.nl.

(Facebook / 23.06.2011)

Geert Wilders vrijgesproken van beledigen moslims

De Nederlandse politicus Geert Wilders is vrijgesproken van het aanzetten tot discriminatie, haat en het beledigen van moslims als groep. De PVV-leider deed de bewuste anti-islamtische uitspraken in zijn film ‘Fitna’ en in de media.

De rechter oordeelde dat er geen sprake is van groepsbelediging, omdat de uitspraken van Wilders over de islam als geloof gaan, niet over de mensen die de islam naleven. De rechtbank in Amsterdam vond bovendien dat Wilders zijn uitspraken deed “in de context van het maatschappelijk debat”.

Grof

Sommige uitlatingen vond de rechter wel “grof en denigrerend” of “opruiend”. “Er is een strijd gaande en we moeten ons verdedigen”, viel daar bijvoorbeeld onder. Wilders zat hierbij niet tegen, maar op de grens van het toelaatbare. Maar omdat hij elders in dezelfde uitlating zegt dat hij niets tegen moslims, maar slechts tegen de islam heeft, zet hij niet aan tot haat of tot discriminatie, aldus de rechtbank.

“Dit is niet zozeer een overwinning voor mijzelf, maar een overwinning voor de vrijheid van meningsuiting”, reageerde de tevreden PVV-leider achteraf. “Je mag islamkritiek hebben, mij is de mond niet gesnoerd. Het was soms ook de bedoeling om grof en denigrerend te zijn. Dat moet kunnen. Je moet in het politiek debat kunnen zeggen wat je wil.”

‘Mein Kampf’

Wilders moest zich onder meer verantwoorden voor interviews en toespraken waarin hij de islam als een fascistische ideologie bestempelde. De koran noemde hij de ‘Mein Kampf’ voor de moslims. Ook de anti-islamfilm ‘Fitna’ werd door de klagers als een belediging bestempeld.

De beslissing is geen grote verrassing, want zowel het Openbaar Ministerie als de verdediging hadden vrijspraak gevraagd.

(www.gva.be / 23.06.2011)

THE SAMOUNI FAMILY TRAGEDY

The story of Al Samouni’s family of Gaza is tragic and appalling. The story began on Saturday, 3 January 2009, with Israeli incursion into and firing at the Al Zaytoun neighborhood.

The following day, on 4 January 2009, Israeli forces bombed the same area killing one Palestinian.

On Monday at 7:00 Am, 5 January 2009, again Israeli forces bombed the very same area of Hay (neighborhood) Al Zaytoun. One of the missiles struck the third floor of Tallal Hilmi Al Samouni’s home. Traumatized, the family nonetheless managed to extinguish the fire. Earlier the 16-member family—including the grandfather, grandmother, their children and families—had evacuated into the first floor in fear of the bombs that were striking Gaza.

As the situation deteriorated and the shelling intensified, three additional Al Samouni families sought refuge in Tallal’s home. The families included: Ibrahim Al Samouni (12 members), Rashad Al Samouni (11 members), and Nafiz Al Samouni (10 members). Altogether 49 members of Al Samouni’s family gathered at Tallal’s house.

Later on Monday, the Israeli forces knocked on the door of Tallal’s home and asked the congregated family members to move to Wael Al Samouni’s home (11 members). The Israeli forces also asked the men to lift their shirts on their way out (a dehumanizing gesture across all cultures), then surrounded Wael’s home and left the 60 members of Al Samouni family without water for 24 hours. As for electricity, it has been cut off entirely in the strip since Israel’s bombardment began on 27 December 2009.

The next day, 6 January 2009, the family heard shooting nearby, followed by calm. Some thought that the Israeli occupying forces had withdrawn from the neighborhood, and so one of the men left the front door to bring water from a tank placed in front of the house for the children, who were thirsty. To his surprise, the Israeli occupying forces and their tanks were still surrounding the house, which made him immediately turn back inside.

Five minutes later, the tanks shelled a missile into the house and injured seven people. Only three minutes later the Israelis aimed another missile close by, which killed many Al Samouni family members—predominantly children and women.

About 22 of the survivors, many of whom were injured, left the house raising white banners and carrying four bodies of those killed. The Israeli forces began shooting around them, but they continued to walk, and tried to call the ambulance to pick them up and save the injured among them. But the Israeli forces informed them that they have banned emergency services from reaching the area. Indeed, Israeli soldiers, with their heavy weaponry, vehemently prevented medics and ambulances, including the Red Cross, from entering. However, at a crossroad about a kilometer and a half further on, an ambulance managed to collect the injured.

Back at the house, where the dead bodies of Palestinians lay, there were thirteen family members who were still alive. Eight of them were children, some of them injured, who had been locked in for three days with the bodies of their dead parents and family members, with no access to food or water.

The Red Cross was only allowed entry three days later to evacuate the dead and injured, the majority of whom were so critical that they were taken to Belgium, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia for treatment.

 

Overall, 48 members of Al Samouni family were killed – We are trying to raise money for this family and for the local community in their area- please help us raise money and reach the goal of building a school/commuity centre in their name – Thank you!

http://onepoundforgaza.blogspot.com/

(Facebook / 23.06.2011)