Tunisia confirms support for Palestinian UN statehood bid

BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — Tunisia confirmed on Friday that it will support the Palestinian UN bid for statehood in September.

The Tunisian Foreign Affairs ministry gave its total support for the political move and said that UN member countries should support the Palestinian leadership.

The Palestinian ambassador to Tunisia Salman al-Herfi held a series of meetings with Tunisian officials to brief them about the latest political developments surrounding the UN bid and the pressure facing the Palestinian leadership to stop the political move in September.

Al-Herfi met with foreign affairs director-general of politics Muhammad Khashaneh, president of the commission for the protection of revolutionary goals Ayyad Ashour, and dean of the Tunisian bar Abdul Razzak al-Kelyani, official Palestinian news agency WAFA reported.

The meetings also covered proposed activities of the Palestinian embassy in Tunis to support the UN bid.

The supreme commission for the protection of revolutionary goals confirmed its unlimited support for the Palestinian leadership, people  and cause, adding that the Tunisian revolution supports the Palestinian UN bid for recognition.

The PLO operated in exile from Tunisia’s capital, Tunis, from 1982 to 1991 after being expelled from Lebanon following Israel’s invasion of the country.

(www.maannews.net / 09.09.2011)

De Laatste Fatwa: beroep op de rede

Op 11 september 2001 hebben extremisten niet alleen vliegtuigen gekaapt en drieduizend onschuldige levens verwoest, maar is ook het Islamitische geloof gekaapt. Op die zwarte dag tien jaar geleden is onze diepste levensovertuiging in gijzeling genomen door een kleine minderheid van radicale moslims. Ook toen kort daarop Mohamed Bouyeri Theo van Gogh afslachtte met achterlating van Islamitische teksten, is een mens van zijn leven beroofd en zijn wij opnieuw bestolen van onze godsdienst.

Dat moet veranderen. Wij redelijke moslims uit alle hoeken van de wereld willen één van ons meest waardevolle bezittingen ons weer eigen maken. Dat is het meest waardige eerbetoon dat wij kunnen geven aan alle slachtoffers van extremisten en ook aan hen die op dit moment vechten voor vrijheid en democratie in de Arabische wereld. Door vrij van angst onze eigen godsdienst, gedachten en geweten terug te eisen.

Het is tijd voor het uitvaardigen van de allerlaatste fatwa. Fatwa’s zijn decreten die worden uitgevaardigd door één of hooguit een handjevol geleerden. Hoewel fatwa’s oprechte antwoorden kunnen zijn op oprechte vragen van een individuele moslim, zijn het vaker topdown besluiten die moslims opdragen hoe te denken, voelen en handelen. Onze fatwa komt niet van boven, maar van onderop. Van de gewone redelijke moslim.

Met het uitspreken van een fatwa in 1989 door de leider van Iran Ayatollah Khomeini die opriep tot de executie van auteur Salman Rushdie wegens vermeende godslastering, maakte de wereld voor het eerst kennis met de destructieve macht van fatwa’s. Woedende moslims over de hele wereld verbrandden tijdens gewelddadige demonstraties zijn roman De Duivelsverzen, waarbij zelfs doden vielen. Rushdie moest jaren lang een verborgen leven leiden en tot op de dag van vandaag is zijn roman verboden in alle islamitische landen. Ook na deze fatwa tegen Rushdie zijn duizenden andere fatwa’s uitgevaardigd. Wie in de wijde wereld van fatwa’s duikt, komt buiten adem boven en tot de conclusie dat zij niets hebben afgedaan aan destructieve invloed sinds 1989. Vooral voor meisjes en vrouwen. Van fatwa’s die vrouwen verbieden auto te rijden tot fatwa’s die vrouwen verbieden alleen te reizen en buitenshuis te werken. Van fatwa’s die huiselijk geweld verdedigen tot fatwa’s die toestemming verlenen om hele jonge meisjes te huwen zelfs tot aan de wieg.

Sommigen zullen zeggen dat er ook fatwa’s zijn uitgevaardigd om meisjes en vrouwen te beschermen tegen geweld en onderdrukking. En sommigen zullen wijzen op de antiterrorisme fatwa’s die naast de proterrorisme fatwa’s zijn uitgesproken. Terecht. Maar het idee dat wij gedachtepolitie nodig hebben om te kunnen oordelen dat geweld uit den boze is, is toch eigenlijk van de zotte. Fatwa’s zijn er in verschillende soorten en maten, maar hebben allemaal één ding met elkaar gemeen: zij reduceren moslims tot gedachteloze, harteloze en gewetenloze machines. Ze beschouwen de moslim als willoze onderdaan van geloofsgenoten die zich God wanen.

Tien jaar na 9/11 en terwijl moslims zich tijdens de revoluties in de Arabische wereld ontworstelen aan de terreur van extremisten en dictators, is nu de tijd gekomen voor een laatste fatwa die moslims opdraagt mens te zijn. De laatste fatwa is een oproep tot zelfstandig denken, tot leren en discussiëren. Tot openlijk en vrij met elkaar van mening verschillen.

Met deze fatwa nemen wij stelling tegen de Taliban die meisjes van dertien in Afghanistan met zoutzuur overgiet en voor het leven verminkt, omdat ze domweg naar school willen. Maar ook, zij het in mindere mate, tegen radicale islamcritici die ons proberen op te sluiten in hun dogmatische interpretatie van ons geloof. Met de laatste fatwa is 11 september 2001 niet voor niets geweest. Met het collectief en massaal uitspreken van één laatste fatwa laten wij ons niet langer reduceren tot machines zonder hart en ziel, met de laatste fatwa laten wij zien wie wij zijn: individuen met een eigen hart, een eigen ziel, een eigen geest en een eigen geweten. Wij zijn moslims met opgeheven hoofd en deze laatste fatwa is een uitnodiging aan moslims wereldwijd om onderdeel te zijn van een nieuwe generatie die verklaart: nooit meer een fatwa.

(http://www.finalfatwa.com/nederlands_text.html / 09.09.2011)

Fundraiser for Children’s Aid for Gaza

This Fundraiser event is to help raise funds to pay towards an aid vehicle to go to
           Gaza on the 6th Viva Palestina Convoy

About Gazan Children – As we know Still the siege of Gaza remains in place, and with it the suffering of over 1.6 million people. Families living in Gaza suffer from high unemployment and even higher rates of poverty.The majority of Gaza’s residents are refugees. They live in eight refugee camps . The UN reports that the
number of Gazans living in abject poverty—meaning those who are totally unable to feed their families–
is 300,000, or approximately 20 percent of the population.

From December 27, 2008 to January 18, 2009, Israel carried out a brutal, large-scale attack on Gaza from land, air, and sea that killed more than 1400 Palestinians, including 352 children

Israeli planes and tanks destroyed more than 3,500 residential dwellings and 20,000 people were left homeless. The numbers of people left dead and injured are staggering. Equally staggering are the effects of this sustained military attack That are still occurring daily on the children and residents in Gaza.

It is estimated that over half Gaza’s children—around 360,000—will if not already develop some form of post-traumatic stress disorder.
Back in 2010, the UN Office for Humanitarian Affairs found that OVER 73% of Gaza children are still suffering from psychological and behavioural disorders, including psychological trauma, nightmares,

Homelessness is just one of the issues facing the 780,000 Gazan children in the aftermath of the conflict,Perhaps the most disturbing of these is the huge emotional scars borne by children who have survived the conflict.The Gaza Community Mental Health Programme reports that the majority of children are showing signs of anxiety, acute depression and behavioural problems.
The children are struggling with the idea of there future “Many graduates in Gaza are unemployed, and they can’t see a way
forward because they can’t get out.”

Families have been fractured by the conflict, with many parents racked by guilt because they couldn’t protect their children from the violence, and now cannot provide for them in the aftermath. The director of the Gaza Community Mental Health Programme, says this issue is also badly affecting the children in Gaza. “They have lost their parents twice: first, during the conflict, when they saw their parents terrified and unable to protect them from the violence. Now, under the blockade, they see their parents are still unable to provide for their basic needs, such as shelter or food,” he said.
It’s a crisis which is threatening families and communities across the Gaza Strip.”

For some, this crisis has had a devastating impact on family relationships,Many children are suffering the physical effects of the
conflict.
Many of the children in Gaza’s hospital do not have the option of leaving the strip, and the prognosis for children in the oncology ward is bleak.Chemotherapy is not available in Gaza, and many of the children on the ward have not been granted the papers they need to seek the treatment readily available to Palestinians just across the Israeli and Egyptian borders.
“The mortality rate for cancer in Gaza is by far much higher than elsewhere,” “You have to get a permit if you want to cross into Gaza and most of them are not granted.Gaza kids are dying as a result of the decisions being made by the people in charge.Even the parents who have papers allowing their children to leave don’t fare much better.

This is a situation that has to stop but for now we can help by showing the support that we care and supporting convoys that are able to get into Gaza to provide the Support and Aid that is desperately needed

(fundraiserforchildrensaidforgaza.weebly.com / 09.09.2011)

Sweden receives Palestinian ambassador

Stockholm holds first official welcoming ceremony for a Palestinian representative, expresses support for efforts toward Palestinian statehood

Sweden’s Foreign Ministry has expressed support for Ramallah’s efforts toward Palestinian statehood as the Scandinavian country held its first official welcoming ceremony for a Palestinian representative.

Palestinian Ambassador Hala Husni Fariz met Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt on Thursday as the Palestinians officially launch their campaign to join the United Nations as a full member state.

Like many European countries, Sweden this year upgraded the status of the Palestinian representation from general delegation to mission. Consequently, the top Palestinian diplomat is now titled ambassador.

Bildt said “Palestinian efforts for statehood have made great progress. To best express our support … it has been natural for us to upgrade the Palestinian representation.”

(www.ynetnews.com / 09.09.2011)

A Muslim American Declaration

We are Muslim Americans. We are American Muslims. We live as your neighbors, friends, doctors, lawyers, police officers, soldiers, cab drivers, newspaper vendors, teammates, co-workers, and family — seamlessly and without conflict. We are fully immersed in the American mosaic, and we are proud.

Our Muslims forefathers have been here since the founding of this country and we proudly continue upholding our legacy of investing in and contributing to America’s successes from culture to politics, medicine to business, law enforcement to philanthropy.

As Muslims, we believe there is only one God, the God of Adam, Abraham, Isaac, Ishmael, Noah, Moses, Joseph, Jesus and Muhammad (God’s peace be on them all).

There is no country on earth that can boast as wide a variety of Jews, Christians, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs, Jains, Zoroastrians and Atheists as America can. As citizens of this country we feel truly blessed to be able to worship as we please, whatever our beliefs. The diversity of the American landscape is mirrored within each of its faith communities; our individual uniqueness, talent and energy make us stronger as one nation.

As Muslim Americans we also share a cultural and spiritual DNA with our fellow citizens and proudly celebrate our common values and ideals.

Our faith teaches us to be honest, hard-working, productive members of society. Compassion and ethical living are core foundations of our beliefs and an integral part of American character. We ask of ourselves what we ask of others, we seek the good in and for everyone and strive to be well-intentioned in our endeavors.

We are loyal to our country and our faith and rely strongly on God’s gift of intellect and reason to guide us toward moral and ethical standards of behavior. We look to the wisdom of our past to benefit the present and future of all mankind.

Regardless of whether we were born in this nation or have recently adopted it as our home, we are committed to working with our fellow Americans to create a more perfect union for we, too, want a better life for ourselves, our children and our communities. In order to achieve these standards, we must all strive to understand and cherish the freedoms expressed in our Constitution and ensure none are denied these privileges.

Our respect for the Constitution allows us to appreciate the range of opinions that come with our freedoms. We welcome the ensuing debates, disagreements, and exchange of ideas because we believe this is the best way to understand one another and truly grow together as a community.

While these exchanges have the potential to uncover difficult and complicated subjects, we recognize that all Americans, regardless of their religious backgrounds or otherwise, have as much a right to participate and express their opinions in the name of making our country better. It is our responsibility as citizens to be educated, engaged and civic-minded.

We are today’s Muslim Americans. We are striving toward  building a better and more just society for all Americans and trust our collective action will result in the greater good: by us, for us all.

Current Signatories
1. Wajahat Ali, Playwright (“The Domestic Crusaders”), Essayist and Attorney
2. Hussein Rashid, Contributing Editor of Religion Dispatches and Professor at Hofstra University
3. Reza Aslan, Scholar and Author (“No God but God”)
4. Zeba Iqbal, Executive Director, CAMP (Council for the Advancement of Muslim Professionals)
5. Imam Plemon T. El-Amin, Resident Imam of the Atlanta Masjid of Al-Islam
6. Shaikh Faraz Rabbani, Educational Director and Instructor at Seekers Guidance
7. Mona Eltahawy, Journalist and Public Speaker
8. Honorable Mayor Mohammed Hameeduddin of Teaneck, New Jersey
9. Sarah Sayeed, Program Associate at Interfaith Center of New York
10. Linda Sarsour, Director of The Arab American Association of New York
11. Aziz H. Poonawalla, Ph.D., and Blogger at City of Brass
12. Imam Faheem Shuaibe, Resident Imam/CEO of Waritheen Mosque & Director of the Clara Mhammed Schools & Warith Deen Mohammed high school in Oakland, California
13. Randa Kuziez, Faiths Act Fellow at Interfaith Youth Core
14. Irfan Rydhan, Public Relations Director, ILLUME Magazine
15. Haroon Moghul, Executive Director of The Maydan Institute
16. Anisa Mehdi, Journalist and Fulbright Scholar
17. Fatemeh Fakhraie, Founder and Editor of Muslimah Media Watch
18. Haris Tarin, Director of Muslim Public Affairs Council, Washington D.C.
19. Imam Johari Abdul-Mailk, Director of Community Outreach for the Dar Al-Hijrah Islamic Center
20. Dilshad Ali, Editor at Patheos.com
21. Willow Wilson, Novelist (Alif) and Journalist
22. Svend White, Writer
23. Debbie Almontasser, Founding and Former Prinipal of the Khalil Gibran International Academy
24.  Ayesha Mattu, Blogger
25.  Azeem Ibrahim, Research Fellow at Harvard Kennedy School’s International Security Program and a World Fellow at Yale University
26. Zahra Suratwala, Co-editor of “I Speak For Myself: American Women on Being Muslim”
27. Khalil Abdur Rashid, Muslim Religious Life Advisor for Columbia University
28. Imam Tahir Anwar, Islamic Center of San Jose
29. Megan Putney,  Program Director, Muslim Consultative Network
30. Zaheer Ali, Writer and Doctoral student in history at Columbia University
31. Aman Ali, Writer and Comedian
32. Bassam Tariq, Filmmaker
33. Zahra Somani,  Writer and Editor
34. Zahed Amanullah, Editor of Altmuslim.com

Muslim 9/11 Reflections: Islam In America 10 Years Later

(www.huffingtonpost.com / 09.09.2011)

A Fundraiser for a Vehicle and Children’s Aid for Gaza (AVOA) Sat 1st Oct

Tijd
zaterdag 1 oktober · 17:30 – 23:30

Locatie
D’Gaf

11 Leytonstone High Road, Stratford, London E15 1JA  carole.swords@googlemail.com l: info@d-gaf.com
London, United Kingdom

Gemaakt door:

Meer informatie
This Fundraiser is to help raise funds to pay towards an aid vehicle to go to Gaza on the 6th Viva Palestina convoy
Tickets are available at
£15 each pre bookable
£20 on door
How you can pay.
… you can send a cheque made payable to to D’Gaf at above address for ticket’s or donation stating on back of cheque
‘AVOA’  (  A vechicle of aid )
you can make a credit card payment or you can pay by paypal please send email to  carole.swords@googlemail.com

If you are unable to attend and would like to make a donation please quote DONATION ONLY some people are donating an extra  amount with there ticket purchases please say ticket and donation when booking

The intention is to purchase a vehicle  with aid necessary for the Children of Gaza and Drive it to Gaza with the aid convoy please do all you can to assist with this fundraiser and worthwhile cause
Our Target is £10,000
how to find
http://www.d-gaf.co.uk/

As we know Still the siege of Gaza remains in place, and with it the suffering of over 1.6 million people.
Families living in Gaza suffer from high unemployment and even higher rates of poverty.
The majority of Gaza’s residents are refugees.
They live in eight refugee camps .
The UN reports that the number of Gazans living in abject poverty—meaning those who are totally unable to feed their families—
is 300,000, or approximately 20 percent of the population.

From December 27, 2008 to January 18, 2009, Israel carried out a brutal, large-scale attack on Gaza from land, air, and sea that killed more than 1400 Palestinians, including 352 children

Israeli planes and tanks destroyed more than 3,500 residential dwellings and 20,000 people were left homeless. The numbers of people left dead and injured are staggering. Equally staggering are the effects of this sustained military attack That are still occurring daily on the children and residents in Gaza.

It is estimated that over half Gaza’s children—around 360,000—will  if not already develop some form of post-traumatic stress disorder.
back in 2010, the UN Office for Humanitarian Affairs found that
OVER 73% of Gaza children are still suffering from psychological and behavioural disorders, including psychological trauma, nightmares,

Homelessness is just one of the issues facing the 780,000 Gazan children in the aftermath of the conflict,
Perhaps the most disturbing of these is the huge emotional scars borne by children who have survived the conflict;
The Gaza Community Mental Health Programme reports that the majority of children are showing signs of anxiety, acute depression and behavioural problems.

The children are struggling with the idea of there future “Many graduates in Gaza are unemployed, and they can’t see a way forward because they can’t get out.”

Families have been fractured by the conflict, with many parents racked by guilt because they couldn’t protect their children from the violence, and now cannot provide for them in the aftermath.

The director of the Gaza Community Mental Health Programme, says this issue is also badly affecting the children in Gaza. “They have lost their parents twice: first, during the conflict, when they saw their parents terrified and unable to protect them from the violence. Now, under the blockade, they see their parents are still unable to provide for their basic needs, such as shelter or food,” he said.
“It’s a crisis which is threatening families and communities across the Gaza Strip.”

For some, this crisis has had a devastating impact on family relationships,

Many children are suffering the physical effects of the conflict.
Many of the children in Gaza’s hospital do not have the option of leaving the strip, and the prognosis for children in the oncology ward is bleak.
Chemotherapy is not available in Gaza, and many of the children on the ward have not been granted the papers they need to seek the treatment readily available to Palestinians just across the Israeli and Egyptian borders.

“The mortality rate for cancer in Gaza is by far much higher than elsewhere,” “You have to get a permit if you want to cross into Gaza and most of them are not granted.

Gaza kids are dying as a result of the decisions being made by the people in charge,

Even the parents who have papers allowing their children to leave don’t fare much better.

This is a situation that has to stop but for now we can help by showing the support that we care and supporting convoys that are able to get into Gaza to provide the Support and Aid that is desperately needed

Rosenthal tornt niet aan hulp voor Palestijnen

AMSTERDAM – Minister van Buitenlandse Zaken Uri Rosenthal (VVD) is niet van plan om de hulp aan de Palestijnen te korten, mochten zij eenzijdig een Palestijnse staat uitroepen.

Dat zei de bewindsman woensdag tijdens een overleg in de Tweede Kamer.

Gedoogpartij PVV en de SGP hadden daarop aangedrongen vanwege het voornemen van de Palestijnse premier Mahmoud Abbas om tijdens de Algemene Vergadering van de Verenigde Naties deze maand te vragen om erkenning van de Palestijnse staat.

SGP-fractieleider Kees van der Staaij noemde dat een provocatie die een ‘desastreuze stap’ voor het vredesproces betekent.

Slecht gedrag

 

De hulp aan de Palestijnen zou wat hem betreft daarom onmiddellijk moeten worden gekort, mocht het tot een erkenning komen. Raymond de Roon (PVV) noemde de mogelijke erkenning een ‘beloning voor slecht gedrag’. Ook hij drong in dat geval aan op sancties. Rosenthal ziet daar niets in. Terughoudendheid en ‘zelfbeheersing’ zijn volgens hem gewenst op dit dossier.

Rosenthal verzet zich ook tegen een erkenning van de Palestijnse staat, evenals de gedoogcoalitie. Een groot deel van de oppositie ziet wel voordelen in een erkenning. “Het uitroepen van een onafhankelijke staat is logisch en begrijpelijk”, zei Mariko Peters (GroenLinks). Het kan bijdragen aan het vredesproces, meent zij. Dat vindt ook Harry van Bommel (SP).

Tussenoplossing

Frans Timmermans (PvdA) en Alexander Pechtold (D66) vroegen of de minister niets voelt voor een tussenoplossing, waarbij de Palestijnen wel lid worden van de VN, maar geen stemrecht krijgen. Dat wees Rosenthal resoluut van de hand.

Dat is alleen acceptabel als alle partijen in het vredesproces dat ook steunen. Elke eenzijdige stap die de Palestijnen zetten is niet in het belang van het vredesproces, aldus Rosenthal.

De bewindsman hoopt dat de betrokken partijen voor de Algemene Vergadering nog in beweging komen. Er is nog koortsachtig overleg gaande tussen alle partijen, zei hij. Mocht Abbas voet bij stuk houden, dan wordt zijn voorstel waarschijnlijk door de Verenigde Staten getorpedeerd met een veto.

(www.nu.nl / 09.09.2011)

Tofik Dibi’s ‘laatste fatwa’: moslims moeten eigen keuzes maken

GroenLinks-Kamerlid Tofik Dibi heeft vanavond via internet ‘De Laatste Fatwa’ gelanceerd. Moslims moeten zich volgens Dibi bevrijden van ‘topdown’ decreten, uitgevaardigd door een handjevol geleerden en ‘leren zelfstandig te denken en eigen keuzes te maken’.

 

Tofik Dibi
Tofik Dibi

Dibi wil een beweging op gang te krijgen die een einde maakt aan ‘de kaping van het islamitische geloof’. Op 11 september 2001 kaapten extremisten niet alleen vliegtuigen en verwoestten 3000 onschuldige levens, maar werd volgens Dibi ook  ‘onze diepste levensovertuiging in gijzeling genomen’.

‘De Laatste Fatwa‘ werd vanavond via de site van de Volkskrant gelanceerd.

Dibi zegt zich bewust te zijn van de risico’s. Hij zegt dat de afgelopen dagen druk heeft geskypt en ‘veel bijval’ heeft gekregen vanuit het hele land. ‘Super, wow, een mooi initiatief, hoor ik. En gelijk erachter aan, maar het is wel riskant.’

Toch denkt hij dat het met mogelijke bedreigingen wel zal meevallen. ‘Ik doe een beroep op het gezonde verstand en wijs op de individuele vrijheid. Ieder kan de islam op de eigen manier beleven.’ Hij heeft bewust voorde fatwa gekozen, omdat het zo’n ‘sterk symbool’ is en nationaal en internationaal tot discussie zal leiden.

De Laatste Fatwa is medeondertekend door PvdA-Kamerlid Ahmed Marcouch, theoloog Mohammed Ajouaou en programmamaakster Naima Azough. Dibi wil zijn actie langzaam uitbouwen, zegt hij tegen de Volkskrant. ‘We moeten klein beginnen en stapje voor stapje uitgroeien tot een internationale beweging. Ik denk aan een vertaling in het Turks en wie weet ook nog in andere talen. De stem van de redelijke moslim moet uit de schaduw komen.’

(www.parool.nl / 0.09.2011)

Israel’s treatment of Palestinians to dominate UN racism conference

UNITED NATIONS, (IPS) – A high-level UN meeting on racism, scheduled to take place later this month, looks set to be dominated by questions relating to Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians.

Expressing fears that the meeting might turn out to be anti-Israel, several Western states, including Canada, Germany, the United States, Italy, Austria, the Netherlands, the Czech Republic and Australia, have indicated they will not participate.

The boycott is the result of an intense campaign by Israel, which has branded the meeting “anti-Semitic” even before it could get off the ground.

Still, an overwhelming majority of the UN’s 193 member states — along with dozens of human rights activists and organizations —
are expected to actively participate in the meeting, scheduled to take place on 22 September during the 66th session of the UN’s
General Assembly.

The Israeli government has objected to the meeting, which will mark the tenth anniversary of the 2001 Durban Declaration and Programme of Action (DDPA) on racism, primarily on the grounds that it may single out Israel for criticism for its discriminatory practices against Palestinians.

A mass pro-Israel rally against the high-level meeting and efforts by the Palestinian Authority to secure international recognition of a Palestinian state is to take place outside the United Nations on 21 September.

Joseph E. Macmanus, acting assistant secretary for legislative affairs at the US State Department, has said that the United States will not participate in what he called “the Durban Commemoration” meeting.

Last December, the US voted against the resolution establishing this event because “the Durban process included ugly displays of
intolerance and anti-Semitism, and we did not want to see that commemorated,” he said.

Right-wing governments back Israel

Rashid Khalidi, Edward Said Professor of Arab Studies in the Department of History at Columbia University, said it is not surprising that Israel should have been supported by the governments of Italy, the Netherlands, Canada and the Czech Republic, all of them right-wing and all hostile to Palestinian aspirations, in opposing an effort to commemorate a landmark event in the global struggle against racism.

“The incessant effort to smear the Durban conference by Israel and its allies is intended to distract attention from the systematic legalized discrimination which is inherent not only in the 44-year old occupation of the territories seized in 1967, but also in Israel’s treatment of 20 percent of its own citizens who constitute the Arab minority,” he added.

The upcoming meeting, also called Durban III, is the third review conference of the Durban Declaration, the second (Durban II) being held in Geneva in 2009.

Polly Truscott, Amnesty International’s deputy representative at its office at the United Nations, said, “We of course hope all governments will take part in Durban III and renew their efforts to implement the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action [DDPA].”

She said true conviction in combating racism requires governments to be there, to stand up for what’s right, and to reject forcefully
what’s objectionable.

“Governments need to demonstrate that, in spite of any political controversy around the commemoration, they’ll remain committed to combating racism, including commitment to the DDPA,” she declared.

Special hostility for Israel?

Chris Toensing, executive director and editor of the Washington-based Middle East Report, said that Israel’s objection, as usual, will be that Israel is singled out for criticism in the Durban Declaration in a way that smacks of special hostility for Israel among the drafters and, by extension, the UN General Assembly.

He said Israel will not dispute the specific charge in the declaration, namely that Palestinians are under “foreign occupation” and therefore are denied many basic national and human rights.

“So the objection is a diversionary tactic meant to shift attention away from Israel’s policies,” he said.

That said, he pointed out, it is true the declaration does not name another specific location of race-based discrimination in the contemporary world.

At the least, the drafters made a tactical error here, if their intent was to help the Palestinian cause, because Israel’s objection is technically sound, he added.

The Holocaust is the only specific example of genocide listed in the declaration, appearing after enslavement of Africans and colonialism as historical evils that the declaration seeks to redress.

“Though one might argue that the Holocaust, in scale and mechanisation, should indeed be considered sui generis, in the context of the declaration, the mention of the Holocaust appears to be an attempt to ‘balance’ the mention of Palestinian suffering,” said Toensing.

By the same token, he argued, it is not clear why anti-Semitism or Islamophobia should be given specific mention, when there are so many other specific types of racial-religious prejudice in today’s world.

In a letter to New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, Macmanus of the State Department said: “We share your concern about the Durban commemoration’s timing and venue as just days earlier, we will have held solemn ten-year memorials for those murdered in the September 11 terrorist attacks.”

In 2009, after working to try to achieve a positive, constructive outcome in the Durban Review Conference [Durban II], “we withdrew from participating because the conference reaffirmed the original 2001 Durban Declaration, which unfairly singled out Israel and included language inconsistent with US traditions of robust free speech.”

(http://ht.ly/6qfeQ / 09.09.2011)

Jordanians protest for constitution reform

AMMAN (AFP) — – More than 1,000 Jordanians demonstrated in central Amman on Friday to demand “satisfactory” constitutional reforms as parliament debates amendments proposed last month.

“We want to restore our constitutional rights. We demand satisfactory change,” read a banner carried by Islamist and leftist demonstrators who marched after midday prayers from Al-Husseini Mosque to the nearby city hall.

Waving national flags and calling for elected governments and “genuine reforms,” the protesters chanted: “We want a reformed constitution and we want it to see the light.”

“We will keep pushing for comprehensive reforms. We insist that the people should elect their own governments,” Hammam Said, the top leader of Jordan’s Muslim Brotherhood, told the demonstrators.

Local news websites reported smaller demonstrations in other parts of Jordan.

MP’s are currently debating constitutional amendments proposed by a palace-appointed committee and announced by King Abdullah II in mid-August.

The recommendations include the creation of an independent commission to oversee elections, lowering the age of candidates for parliament from 35 to 25 and limiting the jurisdiction of the military state security court, accused by activists of being illegal, to cases of high treason, espionage and terrorism.

But the powerful opposition Islamists say the proposals, which did not meet one of their key demands for an elected prime minister, are not enough.

Inspired by popular revolts in Egypt and Tunisia, Jordanians have been protesting since January to demand sweeping economic and political reform, including a new electoral law and an elected prime minister.

(www.maannews.net / 09.09.2011)