Libya’s NTC forces urge more NATO strikes

Anti-Gaddafi forces have urged NATO to intensify its air war as they took heavy losses in a push on the ousted despot’s birthplace of Sirte and his other remaining bastion, Bani Walid.

In a radio message on Wednesday, meanwhile, Muammar Gaddafi hailed the esistance put up in Bani Walid, where the National Transitional Council (NTC) said 11 of its fighters were killed on Tuesday in a hail of rockets fired by forces loyal to the former
strongman.

Among those killed in the barrage was senior commander Daou al-Salhine al-Jadak, whose car was struck by a rocket as he headed towards the front late in the day, NTC chief negotiator Abdullah Kenshil told AFP.

Jadak, one of the highest ranking NTC commanders in Bani Walid who hailed from the town itself, told AFP two days before his death that he had been imprisoned for more than 18 years for helping organise a 1993 rebellion.

An AFP correspondent said that despite heavy use of tanks, rocket launchers and artillery, the NTC forces had not advanced from positions held for the past few days in the desert town 170 kilometres southeast of Tripoli.

“There is always incoming missile and artillery fire. We are returning fire with heavy weapons but we are not sending in infantry. We are waiting for reinforcements,” said field commander Captain Walid Khaimej.

“NATO is here but is not doing enough. They take out the rocket launchers firing at us, but they are immediately replaced. We need more help from NATO,” he told AFP.

The military alliance has giving air support under a UN mandate been to a popular revolt against Gaddafi that erupted in February and forced the former strongman out of Tripoli and into hiding last month.

It has scaled down the intensity of its strikes, saying in operational updates that it has taken out targets in Bani Walid on just one of the past three days.

NATO said on Wednesday that it made only one key hit anywhere in Libya the day before, when it struck an ammunition and vehicle storage facility in Sirte.

On the front in Bani Walid, exhausted fighters said they were desperate for support.

“We need more firepower, more artillery, more tanks. The infantry cannot move in because whoever tries gets taken out,” said Ahmed Hamza, a 22-year-old who had been studying in Scotland before returning to Libya to fight for the NTC.

“What we really need is more strikes from NATO. NATO is only hitting once or twice or day. That’s not enough,” Hamza said.

The NTC’s losses were almost as bad in Sirte, where its fighters are battling their way to the heart of the sprawling Mediterranean city, site of a Gaddafi compound and bunkers.

“More than 10 of our fighters have been killed (on Tuesday) in face-to-face fighting near Mahari Hotel,” said a commander who asked not to be named.

NTC fighters and Gaddafi diehards clashed “in street fights and shot at each other from close range with Kalashnikovs and rocket-propelled grenades,” he said.

At a field hospital east of the city, Dr Yusuf al-Badri said NTC casualties mounted
after “a very bad day” on Tuesday when eight of them were killed and almost 50
wounded.

“One fighter was killed today and five wounded so far,” he told AFP.

On Sirte’s western front, there was a barrage of mortar, rocket and tank fire mid-morning, but the NTC fighters said they had no orders to go into the city on Wednesday.

On Tuesday, they captured Sirte’s port, marking a key victory in the battle for control of the city.

But they expected a ferocious fight for control of the compound, the nerve centre of the remaining resistance, where some of Gaddafi’s family are thought to be holed up.

One fighter said that unlike the NTC forces, the Gaddafi loyalists were using heavy weapons and that members of the deposed despot’s family were inside the city, although he did not give names.

Thousands of fearful civilians have been fleeing Sirte, 360 kilometres east of Tripoli, as the new regime’s forces close in from the east, south and west.

NATO said the plight of civilians is worsening by the day in Sirte and Bani Walid, with
supplies running short and snipers preventing escape.

The populations of the two Gaddafi strongholds are “under enormous pressure” with access to drinking water, food, electricity, medicine and fuel “severely impeded,” an
alliance spokesman said.

“Media, eyewitness accounts and intelligence reports reveal the worsening situation in these two towns,” Colonel Roland Lavoie said in Brussels.

In Gaddafi’s radio message, a transcript of which was carried by a loyalist website on Tuesday, he said he was still fighting and was ready to die a martyr.

“Heroes have resisted and fallen as martyrs and we too are awaiting martyrdom,” Gaddafi said.

He praised the fierce resistance put up in Bani Walid, which had been a major recruiting
ground for his elite army units.

“You should know that I am on the ground with you,” he said. “Through your jihad, you are imitating the exploits of your ancestors.”

(www.uruknet.de / 28.09.2011)

 

Israel Decides to Build Settlement Road Seizing 800 Dunums of Beit Ummar

HEBRON, September 28, 2011 (WAFA) – The Israeli authorities Wednesday notified the municipality of the town of Beit Ummar, north of Hebron in the southern West Bank, of its decision to build a new settlement bypass road that threats to seize more than 800 dunums of the town’s land, according to Spokesman of the National Committee against the Wall and settlement, Mohammed Awad.

He said that the Israeli authorities handed a military decision to build a bypass road that starts from the settlement of Etzion and passes through the town of Beit Ummar and seizes lands that belong to an agricultural school.

According to the decision, the building of the road will start next week, leaving the Palestinian residents with no time to appeal before Israeli courts.

He said that this road, which will be eight kilometers high and 160 meters wide, will seize 800 dunums of the town lands, where it will be built over the old street that is currently used but with the expansion of eight meters from each side.

The committee called to hold events to resist the land confiscation and settlement expansion that take over hundreds of dunums, which are the livelihood for dozens of the Palestinian families.

(mideastnews-danmike.blogspot.com / 28.09.2011)

Exclusive: TIME Meets Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is the international statesman of the moment. Greeted as a rock star in Egypt and other countries transformed by the Arab
Spring, the Turkish Premier looms like a colossus over the Middle East. In recent weeks, he has been one of the most vocal world leaders to back the Palestinian statehood bid at the United Nations. Popular at home, Erdogan has held his position since 2003, and was recently re-elected to a new term. All the while, both Turkey’s economy and geopolitical footprint have been growing noticeably. Erdogan sat down with TIME’s Jim Frederick, Bobby Ghosh, Tony Karon, Matt McAllester and Ishaan
Tharoor
on the sidelines of U.N. meetings in New York City. The following are excerpts from the conversation, touching upon Turkey’s deteriorating relationship with Israel, the failures of the Middle East peace process, Erdogan’s support for the Arab Spring and frustrations with the U.N., and whether anybody in Ankara still cares about joining the E.U.

TIME: You’ve been outspoken in support of the Palestinian cause and statehood. There are people who say all the drama at the U.N. has not helped the peace process. How do you think it has gone?

Erdogan: First and foremost, what is required is for the U.N. Security Council to say yes to the legitimate demands of the people in Palestine. If anything else should be discussed at this moment, it should be between two states. And there’s another fact we need to consider, primarily the borders of 1967. Israel first seems to have accepted going back to the borders of 1967, but somehow seemed to have got distanced from this ideal. They need to get closer back to it. Palestine is in a form of a maze right now.

Through TIME, I’d like to make a call out to humanity: [The Palestinians] are there to exist. They are not there to be condemned to struggle in an open-air penitentiary. Israel’s cruelty in that regard cannot be continued any longer. And, of course, the legitimate demands for Palestine to be a recognized state should be catered to and considered both in the U.N. Security Council and General Assembly. Those who approach these demands negatively will never be able to settle their accounts with history.

Four, five years ago, it seemed that relations between Turkey and Israel were very close and could change the dynamic of the whole region. Now ties appear to be irrevocably broken.

Our mutual relations with Israel would have been reinforced even further only if Israel hadn’t victimized the positive relations of two countries with [its 2010 raid] on the Mavi Marmara, which was navigating in international waters. The flotillas in question were bearing nothing but humanitarian aid, including toys, food and other sorts of materials.
They were holding over 450 citizens from 32 countries. One of the casualties is an American citizen of Turkish descent. And right now the Israeli Prime Minister still alleges that the flotillas were actually loaded with weapons. Had they possessed the weapons that were alleged, why didn’t they fire back? There are reports issued by both the U.N. Security Council and U.N. agencies in Geneva about this incident, and you never see the slightest trace that the flotillas were carrying guns. The Israeli government is not being honest at all. Right now, as long as they refuse to apologize for the nine people of Turkish descent who lost their lives on the flotilla, so long as they refuse to pay compensation to the families, and of course as long as the embargo on Gaza has not been lifted, the relations between the two countries will never become normalized.

You and French President Nicolas Sarkozy both made the point at the U.N. General Assembly that the approach the U.S. took to the peace process had
failed. What would you do differently to make the peace process work?

Here’s your headline: You need to take a sincerity test before you even think of accomplishing this. [Ask yourselves the question], Do we really want to resolve this issue or not? Unfortunately, I do not even see the traces of this within the Quartet. Because if the Quartet was so willing to resolve this issue, they would have imposed certain issues on Israel today. Until today, the U.N. Security Council has issued more than 89 resolutions on prospective sanctions related to Israel, but they’ve never been executed. And furthermore, there were about 200 resolutions issued by the General Assembly, and neither have those been complied with.

One might wonder why no sanctions have been imposed on Israel. When it’s Iran
in question, you impose sanctions. Similarly with Sudan. What happens with Israel then? Had these sanctions been imposed in this day and age, the Palestine-Israel conflict would have been resolved a long time ago. That’s why I’d like all the parties involved to be sincere and stand behind those resolutions. And that is actually also where a need for reform is needed in the U.N. What’s the deal with these permanent-seat-holding members in the Security Council? They should be eliminated. The entire world is literally a slave to the decisions of these five permanent seat holders.

You had a successful trip across the countries of the Arab Spring and many of the people who have removed dictators there seem to look to the Turkish model of democracy. Does your help then become subject to the same types of criticism that the U.S. faces when talking about democratic change around the world?

Unlike others, I didn’t just go there to see a few people on the streets. I intentionally wanted to talk to the candidate presidents, the new political parties there, and I had the opportunity to get together with lots of people in order to grasp the situation. At my meetings, I said, all right, Turkey is a model of democracy, a secular state, a social state with the rule of law upheld. We are not intentionally trying to export a regime — we couldn’t care less. But if they want our help, we’ll provide any assistance they need.
But we do not have a mentality of exporting our system.

One country that doesn’t seem to be inclined to follow the Turkish model is Syria. Like with Israel, you worked very hard trying to develop your relationship with President Bashar Assad. Now it appears that relationship is also broken. Is there any kind of prospect for peace in Syria that keeps Assad in power. Or does he have to go?

I am a person who is inclined to define relations between individuals based on principles. It is impossible to preserve my friendship with people who are allegedly leaders when they are attacking their own people, shooting at them, using tanks and other forms of heavy weaponry. Even when we had warm contacts with some of Syria’s leading figures, we could see that they had no intention of replicating our democracy model. We’ve always voiced our recommendations; they never actually listened to them. In our previous correspondences, he has told me has liberated most of the political offenders.
Assad told me “we only have about 83 political offenders in prison.” But actually there are thousands and thousands. Those individuals have never been involved in violent attacks or uprisings. They’ve been unfortunately incarcerated based on their faith or their expressions. And you are probably aware of the fact that we have about 7000 guests [refugees] fleeing the Syrian regime hosted in the province of Hatay.

But you didn’t answer our question. Is there a future for Assad in Syria?

In order for me to be able to comment on this, I need to first visit the camps in Hatay where the refugees are being kept. But in terms of aspirations and hopes, I have previously stated that I am not very optimistic.

Regarding Turkish relations with the U.S., has there be any change over the last few years, particularly with the new administration?

In the last nine years, relations between the U.S. and Turkey have never recessed, never gone back, but they have not improved as much as we’d like. The relationship especially between Obama and us has always been very positive. Whenever we speak to each other, we talk about negotiations of certain processes whether in the region or more globally — we always talk about matters quite frankly. But of course what we want to see is relations getting reinforced at the upmost extent possible, particularly in the realms of the economy and commerce. Because Turkey has great potential to take advantage of.
We’re really willing to see more and more U.S. entrepreneurs conducting investments in Turkey. I’m optimistic for the future. I should tell you honestly, there are no tensions between us.

What about over Israel?

There might be different points of view. We agree to disagree on certain issues. But these disagreements are not reasons for disconnecting relations. Turkey is a sovereign state, just like the U.S. We might go to different directions, in terms of our impressions and ideas, but we’ll always remain friends.

As Turkey’s role in the Middle East has grown, has it given up on its earlier ambition of joining the E.U.? Is integration into Europe now a closed chapter?

When [former French President Jacques] Chirac or [former German Chancellor Gerhard] Schroder were there, Turkey would be involved in all of the European leaders’ summits. But when [current Chancellor Angela] Merkel or [French President Nicolas] Sarkozy took over their offices, the ambience changed dramatically. Despite their attitudes, we were determined to continue this path toward E.U. membership. But unfortunately the trust among my people in E.U. membership started to shake and turn. We’re still determined, because no leader in the E.U. will be there forever. They’ll be replaced one day. We might be replaced one day. But Turkey is getting stronger as time goes by, and the situation of many European states is quite obvious.

(globalspin.blogs.time.com / 28.09.2011)

Moslimbroederschap dreigt met boycot Egyptische verkiezingen

De islamitische groepering Moslimbroederschap dreigt de Egyptische verkiezingen te boycotten. Dat schrijft de beweging, samen met andere politieke partijen, in een vanavond uitgegeven verklaring.

De partijen willen dat de militaire machthebbers, die het land besturen sinds president Mubarak in februari van dit jaar werd verdreven, de kieswet aanpassen. Daartoe hebben ze tot zondag de tijd, aldus de verklaring.

Volgens de huidige plannen wordt een derde van de parlementariërs in districten gekozen, waar de kandidaten ‘onafhankelijk’ van de partijen moeten zijn.

De 60 partijen, onder wie het Moslim Broederschap, willen ook dat kandidaten worden uitgesloten die zich onder het Mubarakbewind hebben verrijkt.

De Egyptenaren zouden op 21 november voor het eerst sinds de revolutie naar de stembus gaan.

(www.parool.nl / 28.09.2011)

 

Rellen moslims en Kroaten zorgen weer voor staking duel

Nadat afgelopen weekend al een competitieduel in Bosnië wegens hevige supportersrellen werd gestaakt, is ook een bekerduel vandaag om een dezelfde reden stilgelegd. Dat meldden lokale media.

Kort voor  het einde van de derby tussen Velez en Zrinjski in Mostar ging het mis.  Fans van Zrinjski hekelden een beslissing van de arbitrage en bestormden  massaal het veld, waarbij ze de spelers van Velez te lijf gingen. Die  sloegen daarop op de vlucht.

De stad Mostar kent veel problemen  tussen moslims en Kroaten en naar verluidt zorgden die ook voor de  gespannen sfeer op de tribunes.

Zaterdag ging het ook al mis  tijdens het duel tussen Borac en Zeljeznicar. Supporters van de  thuisploeg betraden het veld en bekogelden het uitvak met stenen en  fakkels. Het kwam de thuisploeg op een fikse straf te staan.

(www.parool.nl  / 28.09.2011)

Council takes first step on Palestinian U.N. bid

(Reuters) – The U.N. Security Council on Wednesday took its first step on the Palestinian application to join the United Nations by handing it to a committee that will review and assess it in the coming weeks.

The standing committee on the admission of new members to the world body is comprised of all 15 council members. Normally, the review period for a membership application is a maximum of 35 days, but Western diplomats say this limit can be waived and the process could theoretically drag on.

Western diplomats on the council say the Palestinian U.N. bid is doomed to failure due to U.S. opposition. But the chief Palestinian delegate to the United Nations, Riyad Mansour, welcomed the council’s move as a first step toward eventual U.N. recognition of Palestinian statehood.

“We are grateful to the Security Council for moving decisively and clearly on our application,” he told reporters after the council meeting. “The process is moving forward step by step, and we hope that the Security Council will shoulder its responsibility and approve our application.”

He reiterated that the Palestinians hoped the process would not take too long. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who delivered the Palestinian application to Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on Friday on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly, has said he wants the review over within weeks.

The standing committee will hold its first meeting on Friday.

‘NO SHORTCUTS’

Israel’s U.N. Ambassador Ron Prosor repeated the Israeli position that the only way the Palestinians will get U.N. membership and statehood is through direct negotiations with the Israelis on a comprehensive peace agreement.

“A Palestinian state, a real Palestinian state, a viable Palestinian state, will not be achieved (by) imposing things from the outside but only in direct negotiations,” he said. “There are no shortcuts.”

Israel vehemently opposes the Palestinian U.N. bid, saying it is an attempt to delegitimise it. The Palestinian application calls for recognition of a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza Strip with East Jerusalem as its capital.

The Palestinians pulled out of moribund peace talks a year ago after Israel refused to extend a moratorium on Israeli settlements on territory the Palestinians want for a future state.

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

Israel on Tuesday announced plans to build 1,100 settlement homes in the West Bank, eliciting condemnations from the United States and European Union.

Mansour also condemned the Israeli announcement.

The United States has pledged to veto the Palestinian bid, which needs council approval in order to go to the U.N. General Assembly for confirmation. So far, Western diplomats say, the Palestinians have only six certain votes on their side in the 15-member council.

Security Council resolutions need nine votes in favour and no vetoes from the five permanent members in order to pass.

Some Western envoys said they were unclear what the council’s seldom-convoked
membership committee would be able to do with the Palestinian application, given that the council’s divisions will be replicated on the committee.

Most Security Council committees work on the basis of consensus. When the committee last convened in July to consider South Sudan’s membership application
it was able to wrap up its work in two days as no country was opposed.

The bitterly contested Palestinian issue will be very different. One envoy suggested the committee might ultimately have to pass it back to the full council.

(in.reuters.com / 28.09.2011)

PALESTINE: 194th UN STATE?

US, (Pal Telegraph) – On September 23, 2011, President Mahmoud Abbas will approach the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) to grant his territory “full statehood” with the 1967 borders and East Jerusalem as its capital, as it did with Israel.  If the US vetoes the resolution as declared, Abbas intends to approach the United Nations General Assembly where it might receive support from 150 members for a “non-member state” status.  Like the Vatican, Palestine could be an “observer state” with access to international institutions.

The main question that arises from this action is why does Israel object vociferously to this plea, feel isolated, and believe that it is on the road to being de-legitimized?  Why does Israel feel that it is “trapped by September”?

Palestine: Gaza, West Bank and E. Jerusalem

Israel and its staunch ally, the US, are trying to postpone or avoid the vote. Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu (Bibi) has offered to meet with Abbas in New York before the vote.
Abbas’ view is that for twenty years they have in vain sought to seek a peaceful settlement.  The last straw came when two American agents led by Dennis Ross offered the 1967 borders minus the settlements which Israel built illegally in the West Bank.1  This latest offer showed that the US cannot be an honest broker, nor is Israel willing to meet Abbas’ demands.

In fact Israeli Uri Avnery, whom veteran American reporter Eric Margolis2 claims to be a real sage, said that the ruling party, “Likud not only refuses to define Israel’s borders, it has a powerful faction that wants further territorial expansion into Syria and Lebanon.”
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan sums up Likud’s attitude thus: “While Israel is trying to secure its legitimacy in our region on the one hand, it is taking irresponsible steps which unsettle its legitimacy on the other.”3   A Palestinian state is “not an option but an obligation,” Erdogan affirms.

Israel is using the illegal settlements as a means to squeeze recognition of the state of Israel.  The Palestinians, however, say it is not their job to recognize any state.  Nor can
they recognize imperialism on their ancestral lands.  The Palestinians are unwilling to give up on issues like the return of refugees and the right to administer a state without restrictions.  The Palestinians have as much security issues as the Israelis, if not more.

Internally and externally the Israelis have become aggressive.  They threaten to withhold $500 million tax transfers which make up 70% of Palestinian revenue,
4 and through influence, cut the $500 million US aid.  The Israelites rightly claim that they control the US, which means that they are the real Superpower.

Americans are gradually beginning to recognize this control.  In the New York Times September 20, 2011 issue part of this relationship has been admitted:

“Mr. Netanyahu’s intervention with Congress underscored an extraordinary
intersection of American diplomacy and domestic politics, the result of an ever-tightening relationship between the Israeli government and the Republican Party that now control the House.”
Eric Cantor (R, Virginia) goes further and admits a bipartisan relationship:

“What you have on the Hill is a bipartisan demonstration for the U.S./Israeli
relationship…”

Externally, Israel launched a campaign to seek support for the UN vote.  Israeli Director General Rafael Barak specially targeted Eastern European countries so that would change their stance in view of the emerging European Common Market.5  Israel feels confident that it has the support of Western Europe even though there are slight nuances in their approach.

The 2011 vote for independence will be different from 1988 Unilateral Declaration of Independence when several countries recognized the Palestinian state.  This year the very existence of Israel is at stake, says Defense Minister Ehud Barak.  Consider the big picture.

A powerful Muslim state, Turkey, is uniting the Sunni world against Israel.  It has signed an alliance with Egypt, the largest and most militarized country in the Middle East.  Theoretically, Israeli’s western shores are in danger of being blockaded, just as it is blockading Palestinian shores.  On Israel’s eastern front, Iran has an alliance of Iraq, Syria, Hesbollah in Lebanon, and Hamas in Gaza.  Israel will remember with anguish the July-August 2006 Hesbollah-Israel war.  If elections were to take place fairly in the West Bank, Hamas, not the Palestinian Authority led by Abbas, would win.  Together,
Erdogan’s and Ahmadinajad’s policies amount to encirclement of Israel, and skirmishes on the horizon.

And, former ambassador and intelligence chief of Saudi Arabia Prince Turki al  Faisal warned the Americans in a New York Times article “Veto a state, lose an ally.”   The ally would be the Muslim world generally, and Saudi Arabia in particular, that has good relations with the US.6

Secretary for Defense Robert Gates explains Turkey’s new policies towards its eastern neighbors: “EU rejection has pushed Turkey against Israel.”7   It should have been eastwards instead of “Israel.”  The Arab world treats Erdogan like a rock star: the Arab League that advised the Palestinians was weak and incapable of successfully backing them financially or militarily; the Arabs saw that the political system from which Erdogan emerged could be a model, as Islam and democracy were compatible; Turkey warned Syria to change its oppressive policies and be a model neighbor; Erdogan did not like Iran’s support of Syria, but agreed to work with it in its common fight against the Kurds in the Arbil Mountains; Turkey successfully urged members of the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) to aid impoverished Somalia; most important, Turkey was willing to lead the fight against Israel’s oppression of the Palestinians.

The big picture includes al Qaeda which has a similar goal of uniting the Muslim world under, preferably, a Caliphate.  Unfortunately for this organization it has lost support of the street for its reckless use of suicide bombers and irresponsible killing of those who do not submit to its hegemony.  But al Qaeda continues to be a global problem.

Saudi officials have brought to trial 41 suspected al Qaeda members for planning attacks on US forces in Qatar and Kuwait.  Among the suspects were a Qatari, Yemeni and Afghani.8   On the same day, Britain arrested six al Qaeda suspects.  These incidents show that foreign bases and militarized embassies are targets and host countries are vulnerable to attacks.

Al Qaeda is reinforced by the rise of pro-Islamic factions like the Muslim Brotherhood, Wahhabis, and in Egypt, the April Sixth Movement, Freedom and Justice Party, and Salafists.  These groups including those that launched the Arab Spring want sharia law to be entrenched.  A PEW survey showed that 95% of the population in Jordan, 89% in Egypt, 60% in Palestine, and 56% in Lebanon want sharia law.9   In the case of Libya, al Qaeda has achieved one of its objectives, control of a country.  It remains to be seen whether the Turkish model of government will supersede the fundamentalist type in Afrabia.

To counter the rising tide of Islamic democracy, “the arc of instability,” the monarchies of the Middle East formed the Gulf Counter-Revolutionary Club from Jordan to Morocco.  The street must not be allowed to overthrow monarchs.

What makes the Eastern Mediterranean interesting is that the “Levant Basin Province’ has the prospects of more than 122 trillion c.f. of gas and 1.7 barrels of recoverable oil.  Turkey is trying to dominate this development off the shores of Cyprus and Gaza.10   Turkey’s aggressive foreign policy that outsmarts Israel’s is referred to as “neo-Ottomanism.”

Israel’s position in 2011 is also weakened by the fact that Americans are in favor of being isolationists, for the moment. The rate of change is more dramatic for the Republicans than for the Democrats: in 2004 only 9% of Republicans favored being isolationists, while in 2011 PEW survey showed that 65% wanted reduced military commitments, and 72% wanted foreign aid to be cut drastically.   The swing is not so big, but the figures are still large for other political groups: 70% of Democrats and 66% of Independents are isolationists.11   Thomas Jefferson had warned that “entangling alliances” are costly.

While Bibi is facing the heat abroad, he is learning that his economic strategy is not working at home.  On September 3, 2011, the young and middle class, 450,000 strong, complained about the cost of living.  A few superrich families were controlling the economy.  The “trickle-down” market philosophy was not working and the protests were spreading to other cities from Tel Aviv.12  The Arab Spring had spread to Israel where it was called, to be different, the “Israeli summer.”

With the September 23 vote in the UN, Israel is approaching another round in its relations with the Palestinians.  The American view as expressed by the Washington Post’s editorial board is that Israel is being made a scapegoat.  It asserted that, “Scapegoating Israel will not satisfy the imperative of change.”13

Another more realistic view is that propounded by Israeli Opposition leader and Kadima chairperson Tzip Livni: “The most right-wing government in Israel’s history has led to the worst possible situation.”  The government cannot protect the country from missiles and “Israeli ambassadors are being forced to flee countries in the middle of the night wearing kaffiyehs.”14   This is a reference to the escape of 80 Israeli diplomats with Egyptian help, when the street attacked the embassy in Cairo.  Iran likened this raid to its 1979 raid on the American embassy in Tehran.15

References

1.  “Turkey: we don’t need US mediation to end the crisis with Israel,” haaretz.com, September 17, 2011.
2.  Eric Margolis, “On the wrong side of history,” khaleejtimes.com, September 18, 2011.
3.  Reuters, “Turk PM champions recognition of Palestinian state,” dawn.com, September 13, 2011.
4.  Peter Goodspeed, “Palestinian bid at UN could plunge middle east into new crisis,” full comment,   ndmlpost.com, September 17, 2011.
5.  Harriet Sherwood, “Israel launches campaign before Palestinian statehood vote,” guardian.co.uk, June 10, 2011.
6.  Jim Lobe, “Strains steadily fray US, Saudi ties,” atimes.com, September 16, 2011.
7.  bbc.wordpress.com, June 14, 2010.
8.  AP, “Saudi court tries al Qaida suspects,” metronews, September 19, 2011.
9.  Dr. Hussein Tahiri, Monash University, “Arab Spring may prove a dawn of false hope,” smh.com.au,     September 14, 2011.
10. Cecily Hilleary, “Turkey asserts itself as bold regional power,” voanews.com, September 14, 2011.
11. Bruce Stokes, researcher at the German Marshall Fund of the US, “Disengagement is the way,” khaleejtimes.com, September 16, 2011.
12.  “An Israel’s Spring,” economist.com, September 8, 2011.
13. Editorial Board Opinion, “Once Again Israel is scapegoated,” washingtonpost.com, September 12, 2011.
14.  Natasha Mozgovaya, “Netanyahu has led Israel to ‘worst possible diplomatic situation’” haaretz.com, September 14, 2011.
15.  “Attack on Egypt embassy marks beginning of Israel’s end,” haaretz.com, September 17. 2011.

(networkedblogs.com / 28.09.2011)

The Zionist entity has confiscated hundreds of millions of dollars from Palestinian funds annually

West Bank (Islam Times) – The member of the Central Committee of the Fatah movement, Mohammed Ashtiyeh, considered that the Zionist Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz’s statements regarding the cessation of the occupying entity’s economic assistance to the National Authority as ‘pure lies’ and an attempt to shuffle the cards and mix the facts.

Islam Times: Islam Times correspondent in the West Bank reported that Ashtiyeh made statements in which he said: “These statements confirm that Steinitz does not know what’s going on in his ministry, nor does he know what his staff does.” He asserted that the Zionist entity has confiscated hundreds of millions of dollars from the funds of the Palestinian people annually and through different ways, mainly through tax leakage of goods circulating in the Palestinian territory, as well as stealing the money of our workforces inside the Green Line.

Ashtiyeh confirmed that what the Zionist government transfers to the National Authority are purely Palestinian funds that are collected from tax revenues from goods, and the Zionist entity takes 2% as a collection fee. He stressed that the National Authority will, within the final solution, demand compensation for all the losses of our people that have been inflicted due to the Zionist entity’s exploitation of the Palestinian Territory throughout the years of the occupation.

(www.islamtimes.org / 28.09.2011)

Sargasso: De sharia-mythe van de PVV

Wilders beschuldigde Nederlandse rechters van toepassen sharia. Uit onderzoek van Sargasso blijkt deze claim ‘gebakken lucht’

De PVV maakt zich zorgen over de ‘grootscheepse toepassing’ van de sharia door Nederlandse rechters. Die islamisering van de rechtspraak zou blijken uit onderzoek van de partij, waar de Telegraaf in april al gretig over berichtte. Morgenavond vindt een spoeddebat plaats. Uit onderzoek van Sargasso blijkt de claim van de PVV gebakken lucht. Wat is er aan de hand?

Sargasso schrijft:

In een Telegraaf-artikel van 11 april 2011 luidt PVV-leider Geert Wilders na eigen onderzoek van zijn partij de noodklok: “Ik ben geschokt over het grootscheepse gebruik van islamitisch recht in Nederland. Niet door die zogenaamde shariarechtbanken, die er volgens toenmalig minister Hirsch Ballin niet zijn, maar nota bene door onze eigen rechtbanken.”

Voor PVV-Kamerlid Joram van Klaveren was het bericht aanleiding om een spoeddebat aan te vragen, dat donderdagavond plaatsvindt.

Over het eigen onderzoek doet de PVV echter zeer schimmig. Het Telegraaf-artikel gaat er niet diep op in en de PVV weigerde het onderzoek vrij te geven. Uiteindelijk heeft de PVV gisteren het onderzoek aan een paar andere Kamerleden verstrekt. Via via hebben wij het ook gekregen.

Of het onderzoek compleet is, is volstrekt onduidelijk, want het blijkt te bestaan uit een analyse van maar acht vonnissen waarop Wilders zijn zware beschuldiging rust. (..) We hopen dat de PVV met meer komt, want het geleverde materiaal ondersteunt de grote woorden van Wilders volstrekt niet.

Waarom kijken rechters soms wel naar buitenlandse rechtssystemen?, vraagt Sargasso:

Vaak denken we dat een Nederlandse rechter alleen maar Nederlands recht toepast, maar dat is niet zo. De rechter krijgt regelmatig te maken met kwesties die aanknopingspunten hebben met meerdere landen. Bijvoorbeeld als een bedrijf zaken doet met een buitenlandse firma, als iemand een aanrijding krijgt met een Belgische auto, als twee buitenlanders in Nederland willen trouwen of scheiden, of als je een conflict krijgt over je tweede huis in Spanje. Allemaal voorbeelden waarin het niet vanzelfsprekend is dat het Nederlandse recht van toepassing is.

In ons recht bestaat daarom al eeuwenlang een tak die internationaal privaatrecht heet, een uitgewerkt systeem van regels waarmee de rechter kan bepalen of hij bevoegd is om over een zaak te oordelen, welk recht in dat geval van toepassing is en of hij buitenlandse vonnissen in Nederland kan erkennen. Om vast te stellen welk recht van toepassing is, kent het internationaal privaatrecht zogenaamde conflictregels. Daarnaast houdt de rechter rekening met internationale verdragen en Europese wetten.

Sargasso heeft de acht door de PVV aangevoerde zaken bekeken en concludeert:

De Nederlandse rechter past Nederlands internationaal privaatrecht toe; Nederlandse regels dus, om te bepalen welk recht hij moet toepassen op een internationale situatie. Op een in Nederland te sluiten huwelijk of uit te spreken echtscheiding, en bij kwesties van huwelijksvermogensrecht of afstamming kan het dus voorkomen dat buitenlands recht van toepassing is. Is dat buitenlands recht in strijd met de openbare orde, dan laat de rechter het – op grond van onze eigen Nederlandse rechtsregels – buiten beschouwing

( www.joop.nl /28.09.2011)

 

Israel raises alarm over Sinai-Gaza cooperation

JERUSALEM (AFP) — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak both warned in interviews published Wednesday that the situation in Egypt’s Sinai poses a “very troubling” threat to Israel.

Israel says a deadly attack on its south last month was staged partly from Sinai, and Netanyahu warned that forces hostile to peace between Egypt and Israel were exploiting the security vacuum in the area.

“There are a lot of forces that are seeking to undermine that peace, seeking to roll it back, seeking to use the Sinai not merely as a staging area for attacks from Gaza but seeking to use Gaza as a staging area for attacks from Sinai,” he told the Jerusalem Post in an interview published Wednesday.

“This is obviously a very troubling development,” he said. “I hope that the importance of maintaining the peace is understood by all the parties in Egypt. I think this message was given to the Egyptians very clearly by the United States.”

Meanwhile, in an interview with the Maariv daily, Barak also sounded the alarm over the situation in Sinai, saying it had prompted Israel to agree to an increased Egyptian military presence in the area — as required by the terms of the 1979 peace treaty — in a bid to improve security there.

“But can I tell you that it is solved? It is not solved,” he said. “Sinai is an important asset for every Egyptian leadership, but I don’t think that the leadership is in full control.”

Barak said a tug-of-war was under way between the military council now ruling Egypt and the protesters who overthrew the Mubarak regime earlier this year.

Netanyahu also spoke of Israel’s broken relationship with Turkey in an interview with the Israel HaYom newspaper, saying Israel “had not given up on Turkey” although he said it was unlikely the once-close relationship between the two would ever be the same.

“I don’t know if Turkey will ever return to the place it was. Turkey has decided to take a different path. If it wishes to check this escalation and normalize ties, we will, of course, be prepared to do so immediately,” he said.

“The present Turkish government has decided to adopt a belligerent foreign policy,” he said.

Ties between the once-close allies were badly damaged by an Israeli raid on the Mavi Marmara, a Turkish ship which was part of Gaza-bound aid flotilla in May 2010, in which nine Turkish nationals were killed.

The diplomatic crisis has worsened in recent weeks with Ankara expelling the Israeli ambassador and suspending all military ties and defense trade.

Barak blamed Turkey’s increasingly hawkish foreign policy vis-a-vis Israel on Ankara’s desire for status in the region which he said was ignited by its failure to join the European Union.

“This did not begin yesterday or with the Mavi Marmara. The formative event was what happened with the European Union,” Barak said, insisting: “We have no interest in quarreling with Turkey.

“Turkey is one of the four most important states in the Middle East, along with Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Iran. When Saudi Arabia is shrinking, and Egypt is undergoing what it is undergoing, and Iran is hostile, we have no interest in heating up the crisis.”

Tensions between Egypt and Israel countries have risen since the killing last month of six Egyptian policemen on the border as Israel hunted militants who crossed from the Sinai and killed eight Israelis.

In early September, Egyptian crowds rampaged through the Israeli embassy in Cairo, with several of them tossing embassy papers from balconies and tearing down the Israeli flag.

It was the worst attack since Israel set up its mission in Egypt, the first Arab country to sign a peace treaty with Tel Aviv, in 1979.

(www.maannews.net / 28.09.2011)