UN Nearly Ready for Vote on Palestinian Statehood: President

Vitaly Churkin, permanent representative of Russia to the UN and the president of the UN Security Council for December, said Friday that the council is prepared to vote on the issue of Palestine’s UN statehood if a few additional steps are taken.

Churkin’s statement came as he spoke in his capacity as president of the council during a briefing to the press on the 15- member UN peace and security body’s December program of work.

“The way things stand now is the admissions committee completed its work,” he said. “The Security Council is prepared to take a vote.”

Palestine, which is currently only a permanent observer at the UN, submitted an application for admissions into the global organization as a full member state on Sept. 23. The application was promptly forwarded by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to the council, which discussed the bid in its Committee on Admission of New Members.

Churkin said that two events must happen in order for the Security Council to proceed to a vote on the issue.

“One, we need to have specific indications from the Palestinians on what date they would like to have a vote because of course it’s a matter special for them so maybe they want to have some special arrangement for that, so we are prepared to entertain that and to accommodate their wishes for a date for a vote,” said Churkin.

He said that the second necessary step in order to initiate the vote is the creation of a draft resolution that the council can vote on, which is likely to be produced by Lebanon, the sole Arab state on the council.

“So far neither of those two things happened,” said Churkin. ” If they were to happen, the Security Council, I can assure you, can act very quickly on taking a vote on this issue.”

The U.S., a veto-wielding permanent member of the Security Council and a close ally of Israel, has indicated that it would use its veto to stop Palestinian statehood from passing in the council.

Churkin said that with regards to procedural issues the environment has been “very harmonious” in the Security Council.

“That does not mean our substantive positions became close or closer than the well-known positions we have on many occasions expressed publicly,” he noted.

Palestine’s quest for full member statehood has progressed despite objections from Israel and the U.S.

Israel’s government has said that it believes Palestine’s actions are an attempt to skip over bilateral negotiations on unresolved issues between Israel and Palestine. However, Palestine has countered that it still wants to negotiate bilaterally.

(english.cri.cn / 02.12.2011)

Leers: Fouten in dossier Mauro

Minister Leers heeft fouten geconstateerd in het dossier van de Angolese Mauro Manuel. Degenen die zich om Mauro hebben bekommerd, leverden foute gegevens namens en over de jongen aan. Dat bevestigt een woordvoerder van minister Gerd Leers van Immigratie en Asiel.

Afgelopen week heeft de minister van Immigratie en Asiel de Tweede Kamer in een vertrouwelijke brief geïnformeerd over de fouten, zo meldt RTL Nieuws. Volgens de bronnen hebben Mauro of zijn advocaten nooit melding gemaakt van deze feiten terwijl dat tijdens een asielprocedure wel verplicht is.

RTL meldde dat de 18-jarige Limburgse asielzoeker, die hier zo graag wil blijven, begin 2010 al een Angolees paspoort heeft gekregen. In het Angolese paspoort van Mauro stond niet de achternaam van zijn moeder, Manuel, maar die van zijn vader. Daarnaast zou ook de opgegeven geboortedatum afwijken. Naast de paspoorten zou Mauro ook een id-kaart hebben gehad met dezelfde informatie.

Leers blijft de aanvraag voor een studievisum welwillend bekijken, zo staat volgens bronnen in de vertrouwelijke brief. Maar de minister zou ook een waarschuwing hebben gegeven: als er nieuwe onjuistheden opduiken, wordt de toelatingsprocedure steeds lastiger. Bij een asielaanvraag moeten de gegevens kloppen.

(www.parool.nl / 02.12.2011)

PA: Israel closes 4 Palestinian NGOs in Jerusalem

BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — Israeli authorities have extended the closure of four Palestinian NGOs in Jerusalem for another year, the Palestinian Authority said Friday.

Police sealed the entrance of the four NGOs on Wednesday, said a statement calling the action reflective of a policy to control and undermine the role of Palestinian civil society in Jerusalem.

The NGOs provide services for Palestinian community in Jerusalem, the PA says.

The statement listed the closed institutions as the Shua’a Women Association, the Al-Quds Development Foundation, Work Without Borders, and the Saeed Educational Center.

“The closure of the four NGOs is not an isolated incident of socio-cultural repression in East Jerusalem,” the statement added. Since 2001, Israel has closed some 28 organizations serving the Palestinian community.

The closure of these and other institutions is part of a “broader policy through which the Israeli authorities seek to stifle Palestinian development in Jerusalem” and increase their control of the city, the statement said.

East Jerusalem is recognized under international law as a part of the occupied Palestinian territory over which the Palestinian people are entitled to exercise their right to self-determination, it added.

(www.maannews.net / 02.12.2011)

Three people killed in Yemen

At least five civilians and three soldiers were killed in the protest hotbed city of Taiz, and the head of a new government meant to prevent civil war in Yemen said a week-old political pact might unravel if the bloodshed went on.

A deal to ease President Ali Abdullah Saleh from power has yet to defuse 10 months of violent unrest over the leader’s fate and the political future of country.

Yemen’s Gulf Arab neighbours and their US ally hope the deal can reverse a drift toward chaos on the doorstep of the world’s top oil exporter, Saudi Arabia, and stop al Qaeda’s Yemeni branch gaining a foothold near Red Sea shipping routes.

In Taiz in south Yemen, government forces shot dead three civilians, and a fresh battle between government troops and gunmen backing protesters killed two people trapped in their homes during fighting, protest leaders and medical workers said.

Three government troops were killed in what a security source called an attack by fighters tied to the opposition and the Islamist Islah party, which has backed the protests.

Witnesses said street battles with heavy weapons including tanks raged near a police headquarters in the centre of Taiz, and activist Tawfiq al-Shaabi said dozens of families had fled artillery and small arms fire in western areas of the city.

(blogs.aljazeera.net / 02.12.2011)

Opkomst verkiezingen Egypte hoogste ooit

De parlementsverkiezingen in Egypte van maandag en dinsdag kenden de hoogste opkomst uit de geschiedenis van het land. De opkomst bedroeg 62 procent in de steden Caïro en Alexandrië en zeven provincies. Dat heeft de kiescommissie vanavond bekendgemaakt.

In de komende weken moet in de resterende 18 provincies worden gestemd. Het zijn de eerste verkiezingen sinds de val van president Hosni Mubarak. Tijdens zijn 30-jarig bewind waren de verkiezingen zo georganiseerd dat zijn partij eigenlijk niet kon verliezen. Veel kiezers namen daarom niet de moeite om te gaan stemmen.

De kiescommissie heeft nog geen percentages stemmen per partij bekendgemaakt. De partij van de Moslim Broederschap lijkt echter afgetekend winnaar te worden. Ook een radicaalislamitische partij kan op veel zetels rekenen. De precieze verdeling van de 498 zetels wordt 13 januari bekendgemaakt.

Het nieuwe parlement moet een nieuwe grondwet opstellen. In juni moet een nieuwe president worden gekozen. De militaire raad, die Egypte sinds februari regeert, moet dan de macht afstaan.

(www.parool.nl / 02.12.2011)

Nakba denial: ‘NYT’ removes the word ‘expulsion’ from article describing Palestinian refugees


Palestinian refugees, 1948, from Occupied Palestine
NYT screenshot
(Photo: NYT screenshot 12/1/11)

On November 29, the New York Times ran an article by the Learning Network on the anniversary of the 1947 U.N. Partition Plan of Palestine. The article gave a brief description of the effects and background of U.N. resolution 181, including a short description of thePalestinian Nakba.

But after publication, the Times edited out the word “expulsion” from the article.

The text originally read:

“May 14, 1948, Jewish leaders in the region formed the state of Israel. British troops left, thousands of Palestinian Arabs were expelled or fled and Arab armies soon invaded Israel.”

The NYT explains the editing of the text in the corrections section at the bottom of the webpage, citing “reader comments” as motivating the choice. The correction in full:

“We have changed a sentence in this entry in response to reader comments. The original sentence read “British troops left, thousands of Palestinian Arabs were expelled or fled and Arab armies soon invaded Israel.” We have removed “were expelled” and “soon.”

And ah, while we’re on Corrrections: The article incorrectly identifies the Palestinian Authority as the formal leadership of the Palestinian people. ThePalestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) is the official representation of the Palestinian people to the U.N. The Palestinian Authority is an interim civil administration with jurisdiction in the occupied Palestinian Territories.

The article was published by the NYT educational blog, the Learning Network, “Teaching and Learning with the New York Times.” The network posts regular columns titled “Word of the Day” and “Math”. Yesterday’s post investigated the question:  “Do Photoshopped Images Make You Feel Bad About Your Own Looks?”

(mondoweiss.net / 02.12.2011)

2 Injured in Lebanon Blast


Israeli drone

Israeli drone
An explosion was heard on Friday in the southern Lebanon towns of Srifa and Deir Kifa, the Beirut-based Daily Star reported.

According to the report, there was conflicting information regarding the explosion, with some sources speculating that it was a result of acluster bomb and others saying it may have been caused by an Israeli drone.

Local residents told The Daily Starthat prior to the explosion, an Israeli reconnaissance plane was heard flying over southern Lebanon.

The Lebanon-based Hizbullah terror group later claimed that the explosion occurred as the IDF detonated an espionage device that had been monitoring a communications network.

A statement released by the group and quoted by AFP said, “The Israeli enemy today detonated an espionage apparatus latched onto a communications network between the villages of Srifa and Deir Kifa by drone after the Islamic Resistance succeeded in uncovering the device.”

The Daily Star reported that two people were injured in the explosion, but Hizbullah’s statement said there were no injuries.

An official with the terror group told AFP  that earlier on Friday, the movement had sent five of its members to monitor the area where the device had been planted, which could have alerted the Israelis that their equipment had been exposed.

The explosion comes after an incident earlier this week in which four Katyusha type missiles were fired from Lebanon into northern Israel.

The missiles exploded in two communities near the border with Lebanon. There were no reports of physical injuries but damage was caused to a chicken coop in one of the communities.

Hizbullah did not comment on whether it had fired the missiles, and the Al Qaeda affiliated Abdullah Azzam Shaheed Brigades in Lebanon later claimed responsibilityfor the attack.

(www.israelnationalnews.com / 02.12.2011)

Hoe kijkt de islam naar andere religies?

De definitie die de koran van een gelovige (Mu’min) geeft, is breder dan de algemene verwachting dat ‘een gelovige iemand is die in de islam gelooft.’ In feite is het zo dat iemand de islam als een manier van leven kan aannemen en beoefenen (de definitie van een moslim), maar niet in de islam gelooft. Mu’min wordt in brede zin gedefinieerd als iemand die in de Ene en Enige God gelooft, in engelen, alle openbaringen, profeten en de wederopstanding. De koran zegt: “Zij zijn niet allemaal gelijk: van de Mensen van het Boek (Joden en Christenen) zijn er die (voor het goede) staan: zij reciteren de Tekenen van God de hele nacht en werpen zich in aanbidding ter aarde. Zij geloven in God en de Laatste Dag; zij gebieden het goede en verbieden het kwade; en zij haasten zich (vol ijver) tot (alle) goede werken; zij behoren tot de( rang der) rechtschapene. Van het goede dat zij doen, zal niets van hen geweigerd worden; want God kent degenen die goed doen het best.” (3:113-115)

Echte, zoals hierboven beschreven, gelovigen kunnen dus overal gevonden worden, ongeacht de naam waarmee de persoon wordt aangesproken. Moslims geloven dat de islam geen nieuwe of unieke boodschap is, maar de meest volledige ‘update’ van dezelfde universele en tijdloze boodschap van God die aan eerdere profeten en volkeren is gezonden (2:132). Daaruit volgend, de ene boodschap die God de mensheid wilde geven.

Moslims noemen Joden en Christenen de mensen van het Boek, dat wil zeggen, mensen die door middel van respectievelijk, Mozes en Jezus ook een boek van God ontvangen hebben. De islam verbiedt elk geloof en elke religie waarin meer dan één God aanbeden wordt en elke vorm die geen God accepteert of aanbidt. Op het gebied van zedelijkheid, zuiverheid en persoonlijke ontwikkeling, zijn er een aantal overeenkomsten tussen de islam en alle grote wereldreligies.

Hoe moslims zich tegenover mensen met een ander geloof dienen te gedragen, wordt goed samengevat in het vers: “En beledigt degenen die zij naast God aanbidden niet, opdat zij God niet zonder kennis onrechtvaardig zullen beledigen. Aldus hebben Wij voor ieder volk hun eigen gewoonten redelijk-lijkend gemaakt; tot hun Heer zullen zij uiteindelijk terugkeren en Hij zal hen vervolgens informeren over wat zij gewoon waren te doen.” (6:108). Niet allen zet dit vers niet tot haat of gewelddadige acties aan, het verbiedt moslims mensen met een ander geloof door middel van beledigende opmerkingen te kwetsen.

Over de hele wereld zijn er vele interreligieuze activiteiten geweest en vinden die nog steeds plaats, vooral met Christenen. Deze betrekkingen reiken ook uit naar Boeddhisten, Hindoes en Joden. Dergelijke initiatieven zullen zich in de toekomst tot tastbare projecten ontwikkelen en de vruchten dragen van wederzijds begrip en acceptatie.

(vraagislam.nl / 02.12.2011)

Italy upgrades Palestine’s diplomatic status


ROME (Ma’an) — Italy has upgraded the top Palestinian diplomat in the country to the level of ambassador, official Palestinian Authority media said Thursday.

The head of the Palestinian delegation to Italy Sabri Attiyah, will be made ambassador as part of Italy’s efforts to raise the level of the Palestinian representative office in the country, Wafa said, citing the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Attiyah will soon submit his credentials to Italian President Giorgio Napolitano, the report added.

France was the first European country to upgrade Palestine’s diplomatic representation, followed by Portugal, Norway, Greece, Spain, Ireland, Britain and Cyprus.

With peace talks shelved for more than a year, a number of countries — many in Latin America — have gone further to formally recognize a Palestinian state.

(www.maannews.net / 02.12.2011)

Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood feels its time has come


(Supporters of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood ‘The Freedom and Justice Party’ participate in a march in support of the party ahead of parliamentary elections, in Cairo November 16, 2011.

After waiting 83 years, the Muslim Brotherhood finally senses a chance to be at the centre of how Egypt is governed and the Islamists hope to lead the renaissance of a nation which has suffered a steep economic and political decline.

That ambition above all else will define the next steps of a group which owes its survival to pragmatism. The Brotherhood will likely carry on treading lightly, hoping to ease fears at home and abroad over its vision for the new Egypt.

A strong Brotherhood showing in elections which began this week has brought the country closer to a prospect unthinkable just a year ago: a government influenced and possibly even led by a group outlawed under ousted President Hosni Mubarak.

Headed by doctors, engineers and teachers, the Brotherhood’s slogan is “Islam is the solution”. Yet it talks the same language as other reformists when it comes to the need for democracy, an independent judiciary and social justice in Egypt.

Its critics say such language masks their goals of turning Egypt into an Islamic state by stealth, curbing freedoms for 80 million people who include some eight million Christian Copts.

At the group’s office, a simple apartment building in a residential district on the Nile, one of the group’s leaders outlines a political programme that has triggered comparisons with moderate Islamist groups elsewhere in the region.

“Now is the time for us to build a modern country, a modern state of law, a democratic state,” said Essam al-Erian, a doctor who was a political prisoner when Mubarak was deposed in February, and who is also a leader of the Brotherhood’s newly-founded political party.

He rejected a comparison between his movement and Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party, which has Islamist roots. “I hope we can give a different model,” Erian told Reuters in an interview.

“We hope that when we build a modern democratic country in Egypt this will be a good example, inspiring others to build democracy,” he added.

(blogs.reuters.com / 02.12.2011)