Israel wants to declare war

NAZARETH, (PIC)– The Israeli army’s chief of staff Benny Gantz said a new large-scale war against the Gaza Strip to strike the infrastructure of the Palestinian resistance factions is a matter of time.

Grantz made his remarks on Tuesday during a meeting of the Knesset committee on foreign affairs and security.

He added that an all-out war on Gaza should be this time well-planned and sudden to avoid new rounds of escalation and preserve the lives of Israeli soldiers.’

Israel threatens to demolish passage to Al-Aqsa Mosque

Israeli Municipality to demolish Dung Gate bridge JERUSALEM (WAFA) 26 Oct — Israeli Municipality of Jerusalem said  Tuesday that Bab El-Magharbeh (Dung Gate) bridge in Jerusalem’s Old City  is in danger of collapse or fire and must be demolished within 30 days.  Israeli authorities issued, five months ago, a permit to demolish  the Dung Gate bridge and build another one in accordance with Israeli  plans which aim to Judaize the area, but the police postponed the  demolition for fear of the outbreak of protests by Palestinians. Israeli  authorities are working to change the character of Jerusalem’s Old  City, including the demolition of the Dung Gate bridge, which is used  by Israeli police and security as well as the Jews when entering Al-Aqsa  Mosque courtyards.
Al-Aqsa Foundation warns against demolishing mosque passage JERUSALEM (WAFA) 26 Oct — The al-Aqsa Foundation for Waqf and Heritage  in Jerusalem Wednesday warned of dangerous repercussions if the Israeli  municipality proceeds to demolish Magharbe Gate passage to al-Aqsa  Mosque in Jerusalem’s Old City. If implemented, it said, it would lead  to the demolition of a section of the Mosque itself.
PLO appeals to UNESCO to prevent demolition of Jerusalem’s Moroccan Gate bridge MEMO 28 Oct — The Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) has  appealed to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural  Organization (UNESCO) to provide international protection for places of  religious and cultural heritage in Palestine. The appeal was made  following Israeli approval for the demolition of the historic Moroccan  Gate Bridge adjacent to the Al-Aqsa Sanctuary. The Israelis claim that  the bridge is unsafe and must be torn down “within 30 days”. A statement  by the PLO’s Department of International Relations called upon UNESCO  “to take firm action on Israeli policies aimed at the destruction of the  cultural and humanitarian heritage of the Palestinian people,  especially Israel’s escalation of its Judaisation policy, which is  damaging the heritage of the Old City.”

( / 24.11.2011)

فلسطين أقوى بشعب مصر الحر Palestine is stronger with a free egypt

نحن، مجموعة من الشباب الفلسطيني، نرفض ان يتم الزج بالاقصى وبفلسطين لضرب الثورة المصرية العظيمة.
فيما تشهد مصر، جولة جديدة من الثورة، يقودها شبابها الابطال، رافضين ان تسلب ثورتهم من العسكر، ومقاومين للقمع الوحشي الذي يتعرضون اليه، قرر الاخوان المسلمون في مصر، اعلان الغد مليونية “انقاذ الاقصى”، إننا نرى في هذه الدعوة التفافاً على كل الحركات والفئات المصرية التي أعلنت الغد مليونية “اسقاط المشير”.
للاخوان المسلمين الحق ان يقرروا ما يشاؤون في الشأن الداخلي المصري، لكننا نرفض أن يتبعوا ما اتبعه الطغاة العرب في استخدام فلسطين كحجة لممارسسة قمعهم واستبدادهم. لا يمكن لتحرير الاقصى وفلسطين ان يتم من خلال الدوس على كرامة الشعوب العربية.
نشد على ايادي أبطال التحرير وكافة المدن المصرية.
فلسطين أقوى بمصر حرة وكريمة.

We, Palestinian youth, refuse to use Al-Aqsa and the Palestinian cause as a tool to hit the great Egyptian revolution. Egypt is witnessing a new wave of revolution lead by the brave courageous Egyptian youth who rejects SCAF’s hijacking their revolution. As the youth are resisting the oppression by the security forces, the Muslim Brotherhood called for a million man march in solidarity with Jerusalem. We consider this invitation a detour on all Egyptian movements and sectors who announced tomorrow Friday a million man march to bring down Marshal Tantawi. The Muslim Brotherhood has the right to take their decision in internal Egyptian issues. But we refuse MB taking the lead of the Arab tyrants who systematically used the Palestinian cause as a tool to practice their oppression. The freedom of Al-Aqsa and Palestine does not come from stepping on the dignity of the Arab people.

We are in solidarity with the heroes of Tahrir square and all the Egyptian cities. Palestine is stronger with a Free Egypt
( / 24.11.2011)

News of Tahrir Square 24.11.2011

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RT @JFarook: Tahrir’s unsung heroes on motorcycles

YOUR RT CAN SAVE LIVES ▶ Howto deal with Tear Gas & 1st Aid

‘US, Israel funding terrorists in Syria’

A file photo shows members of the militant ‘Free Syria Army’ at a hideout on northern Lebanon’s border with Syria.
A prominent political analyst says that members of the anti-government “Free Syria Army” are not defected army personnel but militants backed, funded and armed by the United States, Israel, and Turkey.

In an article published on Global Research website on November 20, Thailand-based geopolitical expert Tony Cartalucci cited a report released by the International Institute for Strategic Studies stating that Syria’s opposition is armed and prepared to drag the country into more violence.
“The report comes in sharp contrast to the propaganda fed via the corporate-media and the West’s foreign ministers on a daily basis, where the violence is portrayed as one-sided, with Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad ‘gunning down’ throngs of peaceful, placard waving protesters,” Cartalucci wrote.
He said the group calling itself a pro-democracy movement is turning out to be a militant group of extremists trained by British and US intelligence agencies, “whose leadership is harbored in London and Washington and their foot soldiers supplied a steady stream of covert military support and overt rhetorical support throughout the compromised corporate media.”
The article described the unrest in Syria, which has killed thousands of people including hundreds of security personnel, as funded by Western corporate-financier interests and part of a long-planned agenda for regime change across the Middle East region.
Cartalucci said the regime change in Syria was planned to happen  as early as 1991.
He said Washington’s threats against Syria, which it listed in 2002 under then President George W. Bush as an “Axis of Evil,” were later realized as secret backing for opposition groups inside Syria.
Cartalucci cited an admission made by US State Department officials in April to attempt to “build the kind of democratic institutions” in Syria, and that Damascus perceived the move “as a threat to its control over the Syrian people.”
Secret government cables published by US media had earlier revealed Washington has been funding Syrian opposition groups since at least 2005 and continued until today, the article concluded.

( / 24.11.2011)

Israeli Minister seeks Palestinian clans rather than Palestinian state

Faced with the scenario of the dismantling of the Palestinian Authority, Israeli Transport Minister Israel Katz heads to the West Bank, with the Shabak in tow, to talk with local leaders about the possibility of setting up village councils rather than an autonomous state

Israel Katz, Israeli Transport Minister

The Palestinian Authority’s bid for statehood, submitted to the United Nations in September, was a last-ditch attempt to break the stalemate in the US-brokered peace process which began with the failure of the Camp David II negotiations of July 2000. While Israel rejects the UN bid, as do the major powers involved in the conflict, no one seems to have an alternative to the PA’s move. And then there is what some consider the worst possible scenario, an outcome of a failed UN bid: the dismantling of the Palestinian Authority, as proposed by several Fatah and PLO leaders.

In light of this possibility, Israeli Transport Minister, Israel Katz, is promoting the idea of establishing several autonomies in the West Bank under the rule of local family leaders. These enclaves would resemble the “village leagues” that existed in Occupied Palestinian Territories during the 1980s.

Ariel Kahane, of the right wing newspaper Makor Rishon (First Source), claims that Katz and Hebron’s Sheikh Abu Khader Al Jabari met in September at the home of former Knesset Member (MK) Rafi Eitan. The purpose of the meeting—which reportedly included members of the General Security Service (Shin Bet or Shabak)—was to discuss alternatives in the event that the Palestinian Authority pushes the UN bid or a joint Hamas-Fatah government is established.

Sheikh Jabari maintains close contacts with Hebron’s Jewish settlers and has hosted the settlers’ leadership in his home several times. The Sheikh, who opposes the establishment of a Palestinian state, supports the creation of an autonomous Palestinian territory under Israeli rule. According to Makor Rishon, this scenario was discussed in the meeting and with Jabari insisting that Palestinians receive full Israeli citizenship if this possibility came to fruition. Katz, however, made it clear that the Palestinians in the occupied territories will not be entitled to Israeli citizenship but said that Israel will be ready to cooperate with Jabari and his men in the event that the PA pursues the UN bid or further reconciliation with Hamas. “If there is a change in the current situation and the PA will ‘break the dishes,'” Katz remarked, “I’ll lead an Israeli initiative to recognize autonomies of this kind. It seems to me a true and realistic response”.

In other words, this means returning to the idea of “village leagues,” which were established in the occupied territories with the encouragement of Ariel Sharon and Professor Menachem Milson. The military government adviser on Arab affairs in the West Bank, Milson, who later served as the chief of the Civil Administration, assumed that the leagues would replace the PLO. “Village leagues” or similar institutions are not part of the right wing strategic thinking among officials close to the Prime Minister. For example, a report published by the Beguin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies at Bar Ilan University (BESA) on alternatives to a Palestinian state in the territories occupied by Israel in 1967 proposed annexation of the territories west of the separation wall and either the establishment of Palestinian-Jordanian federation, to which Israel will transfer lands in areas not adjacent to the West Bank, or a Palestinian-Egyptian-Israeli land swap in the Negev and Sinai to the south of the Gaza Strip.

( / 24.11.2011)

Junta Egypte benoemt nieuwe premier

Kamal al-Ganzouri (l) hier in 1997 naast de inmiddels afgezette dictator Mubarak.

De Opperste Raad van de Strijdkrachten in Egypte heeft een nieuwe premier benoemd: Kamal al-Ganzouri. Hij moet voor maandag een kabinet samenstellen, zo meldden Egyptische media. Maandag beginnen de parlementsverkiezingen in het Noord-Afrikaanse land.

Een junta onder leiding van veldmaarschalk Mohamed Hussein heeft de macht in Egypte sinds de val van dictator Hosni Mubarak in februari.
Al-Ganzouri was tussen 1996 en 1999 al eens premier. Hij voerde toen enkele economische hervormingen door.

( / 24.11.2011)

Syrian rebel leader waiting in Turkey


FSA leader Col Riyad al-Asad Former officer Col Riyad al-Asad now leads the rebel Free Syrian Army

Tracking down and interviewing Colonel Riyad al-Asad close to Turkey’s border with Syria is not an easy business.

The colonel’s name sounds close to but not quite the same as that of the President he wants to overthrow, Bashar al-Assad.

He is based in a refugee camp at Apaydin, 9 miles (14km) from the town of Antakya and very close to the Syrian border. But he is not allowed to leave the camp, and cannot receive visitors.

To a considerable extent, this is for his own protection. The Turks seem to regard Colonel Asad as a potentially important figure for the future, and are determined that nothing untoward should happen to him.

Nor is this just a theoretical worry. Two months ago another Syrian colonel who had defected left a neighbouring camp where he was living and went shopping in a nearby town. He vanished there.

The strong assumption is that he was kidnapped by Syrian agents and smuggled back across the border. Most of the Syrian refugees I spoke to about it thought he would already be dead.

As a result, getting to see Colonel Asad is remarkably difficult. No Turkish official wanted to help us, or indeed even speak about him on the record.

“Start Quote

The Syrian nation is determined to bring this dictator down”

End Quote Colonel Riyad al-Asad

As we were filming his camp from a distance a group of Turkish soldiers arrested us, and only the intervention of a local judge freed us.

Yet the colonel is predictably keen to talk, and in the end we interviewed him via the internet.

It was a distinctly bizarre affair: in the gathering darkness we had to set up our computer and a small satellite dish in a farmyard close to the camp, and spoke to him by means of Skype.

‘Assad finished’

Colonel Asad, with his impressive military moustache, seemed self-possessed and articulate in his denunciation of his near-namesake’s regime.

He is in almost hourly contact with groups of disaffected soldiers inside Syria, and claims to have a clear awareness of the situation there.

The BBC’s John Simpson talks to Colonel Riyad al-Asad via a laptop

“We assure everyone that the president of Syria is finished,” he said.

“The Syrian nation is determined to bring this dictator down.”

This is the kind of thing that rebels habitually say, of course, and it does not always happen – even during the Arab Spring.

Nevertheless people who know and have met President Assad often remark on his gentleness of character; he was, of course a practising ophthalmologist, and doctors rarely seem to make good dictators.

There has been a good deal of speculation in the West, as well as the Middle East, that President Assad is not happy with the butcher’s work he has felt obliged to do, and that at some stage he will look for a way out.

Colonel Asad certainly seems to believe this. I asked him when he thought the regime would fall.

“Inshallah, inshallah [God willing], very soon. The system is rotten to the core. It may look strong on the outside, but at the heart it’s weak.”

The Apaydin refugee camp
The Turkish authorities will not allow visitors to Colonel Riyad al-Asad’s camp

“Everyone in Syria knows this, so it will happen very soon, inshallah,” he says.

We shall see. It seems unlikely to happen without a good deal more fighting, and for that Colonel Asad’s force will have to be a good deal bigger and more effective than it is at present.

How many soldiers are in a state of mutiny inside Syria is unknown, but the colonel has no more than a hundred or so defectors with him in the camp at Apaydin; though groups of soldiers, in twos and threes, are coming across the border almost every day now.

Reluctance to join ‘civil war’

By no means all of them are keen to join a civil war against the Assad regime.


Indeed, many of them have only left Syria in order to avoid further violence, and as our experience in trying to contact Colonel Asad indicated, it is not always easy for Syrian defectors to get around as they choose, especially if they want to go back across the border.

Still, there is continuing violence inside Syria between the army and those soldiers who cannot stomach the orders to shoot down their fellow-citizens.

Has a civil war begun in Syria? Plenty of people have suggested that it has.

I had the impression that Colonel al-Asad does not necessarily agree – at the moment. But with more than 3,500 people killed, and growing numbers of soldiers angry with the repression they have been obliged to support, the time could soon come when it will turn into civil war.

And then Colonel Riyad al-Asad will want to play a big part in it.

( / 24.11.2011)

Gassing the revolution: The US origins of Tahrir’s tears

The liberal use of US-manufactured tear gas on unarmed protesters in recent days has raised questions about its public health effects – and who is actually ordering its use

A protester displays gas canisters as tears stream down his face on Saturday, 19 November

Egyptian security forces are digging deeper into their budget with each volley of increasingly fatal US-made tear gas they launch at demonstrators.

The human cost of the violent crackdown in central Cairo is increasingly clear — among the 39 fatalities reported to date, several are said to have died of asphyxiation caused by tear gas.

But the financial background to the use of crowd control weapons raises questions about the extent of Washington’s financial assistance to Egypt’s military and how this might filter down to the ministry of interior.
The USA is the biggest arms supplier to Egypt, providing an average of US$1.3 billion in military and law equipment every year since 2000.
Records from the US Department of State show the US supplied $1.7 million of “toxicological agents” — “including tear gases and riot control agents” — to Egypt in 2010.
This was the largest dispatch of such agents in at least 10 years.
In 2009, the US supplied 33,000 units of ’tear gas and riot control agents’ worth $460,000. It did not supply in 2007 nor 2008, but gave 17,000 units worth $240,000 in 2006, documents show.
This assistance, however, was granted to the military, and it is not clear whether it was then channelled to the ministry of interior.
The Central Security Forces (CSF), Egypt’s riot control machine, is a division within the Ministry of Interior, but is closely tied to the armed forces, as its troops are conscripted through the military then transferred to CSF.
“The military’s arming includes tear gas and riot control weapons. The ministry of interior supposedly buys its own weaponry through other channels,” Mahmoud Kotri, a retired brigadier general who wrote a book suggesting radical police reforms, told Ahram Online.
Kotri confirmed that when the current minister of interior, Mansour El-Essawy, was appointed in March he issued explicit instructions to CSF not to carry live ammunition when confronting protesters.
This directive apparently included a ban on shotguns. Kotra explained these weapons were formerly used to fire tear gas canisters via an ad-hoc launcher. El-Essawy’s instructions probably forced CSF to acquire new types of gas bombs and new ways of launching them, says Kotri.
Nevertheless, doctors on Tahrir Square treating the injured say they have seen many protesters hit by live ammunition, including shotgun wounds.
Kotri believes that a third party might be involved in the shootings
“No MOI official in his right mind would order the use of live ammunition. Not after what happened in January and the former security leadership currently on trial for killing protesters — it just doesn’t add up,” he says.
Protesters and medical staff in Cairo have also expressed concern about the kind of gas being deployed by security forces.
Speaking to Ahram Online at the field hospital in Qasr El-Dobara church behind Tahrir Square on Monday night, volunteer doctor Lilian Sobhy said their improvised clinic had seen 290 patients in 24 hours, the majority with breathing problems.
“Some in contact with the gas are suffering from a severe burning sensation in the lungs,” Sobhy said. “This is not normal gas and these are not normal symptoms.”
Others, however, claim the symptoms — serious though they are — are no different from those caused by extreme exposure to CS gas in the past.
A former police officer told Ahram Online a colleague of his in the CSF was exposed to tear gas used by Egyptian border guards on Palestinians who broke through Rafah crossing in 2008.
He said the army’s gas was “unbearable and different from that used by CSF”.
Given the impressions above, many questions arise.
Is this a new kind of gas? If so, what is its nature? Is it designed use on civilians or is it a much more powerful assault tool used for military purposes? Who provided such weapons to the CSF? Was it the army, or did it get them through other channels?
For its part, the Armed Forced issued Communiqué’ no. 83 on their official Facebook page denying that it had used “gases” on protesters.
The 2010 supply of “Toxicological Agents, Including Chemical Agents, Biological Agents, and Associated Equipment”, which includes tear gas from the United States, which came under the auspices of ‘foreign defence assistance’, comprised 94,000 unspecified units.
Figures suggest the vast majority of these ‘units’ were tear gas canisters.
A crude calculation, made by dividing the aid sum by the number of units, shows the cost of a single tear gas canister may be around $18. Other, much-higher, figures have also been touted.
On Wednesday night, Amr El-Leithy, a prominent TV anchor, estimated the price of a single canister at $48, but did not give a source for this figure.
Eyewitnesses on the frontline in Cairo have reported hundreds of volleys of tear gas in the six days since the crackdown began.
Canisters found on the battle-scarred streets around Tahrir Square bear the manufacturing stamp of Combined Systems Inc (CSI), a US-based firm that provides equipment to military forces and law enforcement agencies around the world.
Among CSI’s investors is the Carlyle Group — an asset management firm which once counted former US President George Bush Snr among its advisors.
CSI produces its ‘riot control devices’ under its law enforcement brand name, Combined Tactical Systems (CTS), a firm headquartered in Jamestown, Pennsylvania.
CTS’s website — — displays what it calls the company’s “full line of chemical irritant and smoke munitions”.
Demonstrators have gathered three common types of gas canister with the following serial numbers and catalogue descriptions:
#4230 – CS Smoke
#6230 – CS Smoke – marketed as an ‘outdoor grenade’
#3321 – Long-range CS Smoke – effective for 137 metres
A catalogue on the company’s website displays the latest devices, but the dates of manufacture and design of some of the canisters show Egypt’s Central Security Forces are using older, often-expired versions.
Instructions on gas canisters say they should not be used after expiry, which is five years after the manufacturing date. Some cans found near Tahrir have a manufacture date of 2001. The Minister of Interior has admitted using expired canisters but said this only means that they would be “less effective.”
All the canisters above unleash CS gas — a standard riot control agent — but CTS also makes canisters that use CN gas, a more toxic formulation that takes longer to disperse and can cause disorientation and fainting.
Other media have reported finding CR gas canisters around Tahrir — an agent that medical experts say can cause pulmonary, heart and lung problems among those subjected to intense exposure.
CR gas is banned for military use under the Paris Convention on Chemical Warfare of 1993 but several governments still use it against their own people and, allegedly, those under their military occupation. These governments include the United States, Sri Lanka and Israel, as well as Egypt.
Gas manufacturer CTS has been linked with the ‘non-lethal’ weapons used by Israeli forces that have been unleashed on Palestinian protesters, reportedly causing several deaths due to asphyxiation.
Its supply to the Israeli market might suggest why several canisters found in Cairo with CTS numbers and designs also have Hebrew markings.
( / 24.11.2011)

Shaath: Sweden will support Palestinians at UN

BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — PLO official Nabil Shaath said that Sweden will stand by Palestinians at the UN, after meetings with officials in the country on Thursday.
Shaath said the undersecretary to the Swedish foreign minister told him that Sweden’s vote against Palestinian membership of UNESCO in October would not be repeated in a UN General Assembly vote.
Sweden’s position on Palestinian UNESCO membership came as a shock to the Palestinian people as the nation is a historical ally of the Palestinians, Shaath said in a statement.
UNESCO admitted Palestine as a full member on Oct. 31 after 107 member states voted in favor, 14 states voted against, and 52 abstained.
The PLO — currently listed as an observer “entity” with no voting rights — applied for full membership of the UN on Sept. 23. An admissions committee said on Nov. 11 it had failed to reach an agreement on the bid.
It had been previously suggested that Palestine could instead seek upgraded observer status via the General Assembly to make it a non-member observer state, like the Vatican, although the move has been rejected by Palestinian leaders.
Shaath, a member of Fatah’s central committee, also gave a lecture in Stockholm University during his trip, the release said.

( / 24.11.2011)