Urgent Appeal: 10-year-old girl in need of life-saving brain surgery

Please help us to save the life of 10-year-old Samar Maree from Ramallah. In early December, she was discovered with a tumor in her brain through a visiting mission led by pediatric neurosurgeon, Prof. Lorenzo Genitori at the Kuwaiti Hospital in Ramallah.   Unfortunately, the tumor could not be operated on in Palestine, so we are asking your kind help to donate so we can send her urgently to the Meyer Pediatric Hospital in Florence, Italy, where Dr. Genitori will operate on her in an effort to save her life.   In 2010, Dr. Genitori performed a similar surgery at his hospital for 4-year-old Ola Abu Jamous, who was also found to have a brain tumor through a PCRF mission. In November 2010, she had surgery and radiation therapy and is now fully recovered. The costs to send Samar with her aunt to Italy for life-saving care is roughly 16,000 Euros, so we’re asking for your kind and generous support this holiday season to help us save her life by donating any amount that you can, and spreading the word of this appeal.  Your  donation will go towards the costs of the her surgery, airfare, and travel expenses for Samar and her aunt. Please make a contribution today and help us save Samar’s life.


Additional Donation options:
Note: If you would like info on alternate donation options such as bank wire transfer and donation by mail, please visit our donation page here. When making a payment please indicate that you are donating towards this Urgent Appeal for Samar Maree. 

(www.pcrf.net / 22.12.2011)

Ennahdaleden op sleutelposten kabinet Tunesië

TUNIS –  Premier Hamadi Jebali van Tunesië heeft donderdag de samenstelling van zijn kabinet bekendgemaakt. Op sleutelposten, zoals Buitenlandse Zaken, Justitie en Binnenlandse Zaken, zitten leden van zijn partij, de conservatief-islamitische partij Ennahda.
Premier Hamadi Jebali van TunesiëPremier Hamadi Jebali van Tunesië

Ennahda kreeg in oktober bij de eerste vrije verkiezingen in het Noord-Afrikaanse land 89 van de 217 zetels in de Grondwetgevende Vergadering. De partij is een regeringscoalitie aangegaan met twee centrumlinkse partijen, het Congres voor de Republiek en Ettakatol. De grondwetgevende vergadering stemt vrijdag over het kabinet.

De vorming van het kabinet is een nieuwe mijlpaal in de Tunesische politiek. Een jaar geleden stak de groenteverkoper Mohamed Bouazizi zich in de stad Sidi Bouzizi in brand, nadat de politie zijn kar in beslag had genomen. Dat leidde tot een volksopstand tegen de autoritair regerende president Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali. Die trad in januari af.

In het kabinet wordt Rafik Ben Adessalem, schoonzoon van Ennahdaleider Rached Ghannouchi, minister van Buitenlandse Zaken.

(www.telegraaf.nl / 22.12.2011)

Settlers Enter The Al Aqsa Mosque

A group of Israeli settlers entered on Thursday that Al Aqsa Mosque in occupied East Jerusalem, under the protection of dozens of Israeli soldiers. The settlers were marking the “Hanukkah” Jewish feast; no clashes were reported.

File - Palestine-Info


The Palestine News Network (PNN) reported that head of the Islamic Waqf Department,Sheikh Azzam Al-Khatib, told its reporter that approximately 120 settlers entered the mosque under the guise of an Israeli “foreign tourism program”.

The settlers and the soldiers entered the mosque through the Al Mughrabi Gate and exited the mosque through the Al Silsila (Chain) Gate.

Al-Khatib stated that no clashes were reported between the Muslim worshipers at the mosque and the settlers.

PNN stated that Al-Khatib said that he is “sorry that the settlers chose to mark their feast in such a manner”.

He added that the Waqf department rejects such programs conducted by the Israeli Tourism Ministry as they lead to provocation.

(www.imemc.org / 22.12.2011)


Story ImageThe bombs have taken over from landmines – which Princess Diana campaigned to abolish

Sunday December 11,2011

BRITISH banks are still investing in the making of cluster bombs via a “lethal loophole”, it was claimed last night.

The bombs have taken over from landmines – which Princess Diana campaigned to abolish – as the world’s most hated, indiscriminate weapons,

One MP called for “urgent action” after being told that 12 financial institutions are still investing in at least eight companies that make them, including firms in the US, Russia and China.

Britain was one of 116 nations to sign up to the Convention on Cluster Munitions, making it illegal to use, produce, stockpile or transfer cluster munitions, or to assist any other party to do so, from 2010.

The loophole allows banks to render “general purpose” assistance or invest in companies that produce cluster bombs.

A report published in May by IKV Pax Christi and Netwerk Vlaanderen cited eight main manufacturers of cluster bombs and components, though these are thought to be only the “tip of the iceberg”.


Britain was one of 116 nations to sign up to the Convention on Cluster Munitions


They were US firms Lockheed Martin, Textron and Alliant Techsystems (ATK), plus two from South Korea, one each in Singapore, China and Russia.

Listed as giving financial services to one or more of them were Aberdeen Asset Management, Aviva, Barclays, Baring Asset Management, Henderson Global Investors, HSBC, Invesco, Lloyds Banking, Newton Investment Management, Prudential, Royal Bank of Scotland, and Veritas Asset Management.

Bailed-out RBS underwrote bonds worth £65million for Lockheed Martin and ATK last year.

Last night, a spokesman acknowledged it was legally obliged to adhere to existing contracts but said: “In September we suspended services to a number of clients and we have not made any new investments with companies listed in the report, or their subsidiaries.”

Barclays, which inves­ted £75million in combined shares and bonds with Textron in 2009, would not comment on the agreement, but said its policy “prohibits financing trade in landmines, cluster bombs or any equipment designed to be used as an instrument of torture.”

Last night campaigning MP Martin Caton called for ministers to take “urgent action now” to ensure UK firms comply with the convention.

Handicap International also urged the Government to close the “general purpose” loophole and to demand “much more transparency”.

Cluster bombs are made of a large outer casing that breaks, scattering bomblets indiscriminately. At least 90 per cent of their victims are civilians. Children are attracted to them because they are brightly coloured.


AVIVA – a clarification
In our article “British banks fund cluster bomb makers” published on 11 December 2011 we stated that Aviva was named in a report, by Pax Christi and Netwerk Vlaanderen, as one of several financial institutions that provided financial services to the manufacturers of cluster bombs. Aviva told us that it does not hold securities linked to these manufacturers on its own account and prohibits its own capital from being invested in securities associated with  companies involved in the manufacture of cluster munitions. We are happy to clarify the position.

(www.express.co.uk / 22.12.2011)

Israel Accuses 4 Countries of Meddling in Its Affairs

JERUSALEM — In a highly unusual response to criticism from European nations on the Security Council, the Israeli Foreign Ministry bluntly accused the countries of “interfering with Israel’s domestic affairs” and warned that they risked making themselves “irrelevant.”

The heated diplomatic exchange reflected growing tension and frustration over the impasse in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. International criticism has focused on Israeli settlement construction, while Israel blames the Palestinians, and now some European capitals, for placing obstacles in the way of renewing long-stalled direct peace talks.

The Foreign Ministry’s response came a day after a joint statement byBritainFranceGermany and Portugal, delivered at the United Nations headquarters in New York.

The Europeans pointed to repeated Israeli announcements of plans to accelerate construction in the West Bank and East Jerusalem and to a recent spike in violence by radical Israeli settlers, including the burning of mosques.

In response, Israel berated the Security Council members for paying more attention to the settlers’ arson and vandalism, which was strongly condemned by Israeli leaders, than to the bloodletting in Syria.

The Europeans called on Israel to reverse its settlement building plans, saying that they were illegal, sent a “devastating message” and threatened the prospects for a two-state solution.

International condemnation of the construction is not new, but Israel was upset by the unexpected severity of the rebuke.

“We felt that the European statement broke all the diplomatic rules,” said Yigal Palmor, the Foreign Ministry spokesman. “You aren’t meant to issue such a harsh statement by surprise, without prior consultation.”

Moreover, the Europeans called on the Israelis and the Palestinians to present comprehensive proposals on territory and security as soon as possible to the “quartet” of Middle East peacemakers — the United Nations, the United States, the European Union and Russia. Israel said that was a shift from past statements by the quartet, which it understood to call on the two sides to present their proposals to each other. The Palestinians say they have already presented their proposals to quartet representatives. Israel says that approach contradicts the very principle of trying to bring the sides back to direct talks, which broke down in September 2010.

The latest efforts by the quartet began after the Palestinians applied to the Security Council for full membership in the United Nations in the fall. The quartet has called on the sides to resume talks without preconditions and to refrain from provocative actions. The members of the quartet have made clear that they see settlement construction as provocative.

The latest criticism of Israel has come from European capitals that it has long counted among its closes allies, illustrating that Israel is growing more isolated diplomatically over the Palestinian issue. Even so, Israeli officials argue that the quartet backs their position of a return to talks with no preconditions.

Israeli officials also point to provocative actions by the Palestinians, including a meeting on Tuesday in Turkey between Mahmoud Abbas, the president of the Palestinian Authority, and 11 Palestinians who were recently released from Israeli prisons in a prisoner exchange.

Among the 11 was Amna Muna, who is particularly reviled by Israelis. Ms. Muna was convicted of luring an Israeli teenager, Ofir Rahum, to his death in 2001. She now lives in Turkey because Israel did not allow her to return to her home in the West Bank.

On Wednesday, Mr. Abbas met in Cairo with his rival Khaled Meshal, the leader of Hamas, the Islamic militant group that controls Gaza and is sworn to Israel’s destruction. It was the two leaders’ second meeting in a month.

(www.nytimes.com /22.12.2011)

Palestinian right to fight occupation not only moral, but legal as well


I agree wholeheartedly with Noam Sheizaf’s recent post about the Palestinians’ moral right to resist. But I would like to add that the moral right to resist is also the foundation of the Palestinians’ legal right to resist the illegal Israeli occupation. Considered within that framework, Israel’s suppression of Palestinian protest and resistance becomes even more striking and perverse.

Israeli soldiers surround a Palestinian at Nabi Saleh (photo: flickr/Activestills)

Speaking to +972, Israeli human rights lawyer Lynda Brayer remarks, “When we say moral, we’re talking about the general principle of behavior to promote, sustain, nurture, and help human life… international law reflects, on paper, moral values as we understand them.”

The Palestinian’s legal right to resist occupation—to fight for their ability to promote, sustain, and nurture human life, to fight for their right to grow, to flourish—comes from two documents: the 1960 Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples and the Fourth Geneva Convention and its subsequent protocols.

Taken together, people have the right to “fight against colonial domination and alien occupation in the exercise of their right to self-determination,” Brayer explained.

Writing in CounterPunch this spring in the wake of Goldstone’s backpedaling, Brayer went into detail:

Above and beyond the basic right of all human beings to resist their being killed and harmed, and a society to take armed actions to protect itself, this document legitimizes also national liberation struggles, including, at this time in history, most particularly, the Palestinian people’s struggle for its own freedom.  It is this right which legitimizes all Palestinian attempts to lift the yoke of Israeli oppression from Palestine, including all the actions taken by the Palestinians during Operation Cast Lead.

And is not the right to resist oppression universal? Does this right not justify the American Revolution and then the French Revolution and the wars of liberation in the 1950′s and 1960′s. Nelson Mandela is a hero because of his resistance to, not because of his subservience to apartheid repression. And the Warsaw Ghetto uprising by the Jewish population against the Nazi repression is a beacon of pride in modern Jewish history.  it is also a fact that Jews who joined the resistance, say in Poland or other places under Nazi occupation, are heroes for the Jewish people. I would contend that one cannot deny that right of resistance to Palestinians which the Jews appropriated to themselves, and which is the right of all peoples living under military occupation and/or colonialist regimes.

Richard Falk, the UN Special Rapporteur on Palestinian human rights, a professor of international law at Princeton University, the author of dozens of books, writes in “International Law and the Al-Aqsa Intifada”:

Though the Israeli government and the US media persist in describing the second Palestinian intifada as a security crisis or a disruption to the ‘peace process,’ in international law, Palestinian resistance to occupation is a legally protected right…Israel’s failures to abide by international law, as a belligerent occupant, amounted to a fundamental denial of the right of self-determination, and more generally of respect for the framework of belligerent occupation — giving rise to a Palestinian right of resistance.

It boils down to this: every time the Israeli military arrests a Palestinian for “stone throwing” or “incitement” or any other bogus, trumped-up charges—and every time Israel holds a protest organizer or a Popular Committee leader prisoner—it is, perversely, detaining Palestinians for exercising their inalienable moral and legal rights to resist an illegal and violent military occupation.

(occupiedpalestine.wordpress.com / 22.12.2011)

Hamas agrees to join PLO

CAIRO (Ma’an) — Hamas has agreed to join the Palestine Liberation Organization in a move intended to bolster Palestinian reconciliation, The Associated Press reported Thursday.

The report comes as President Mahmoud Abbas met Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal in Cairo to put “final touches” on an agreement to reconcile the leaders’ rival factions.

Fatah leader in Gaza Yahiya Rabbah said the meeting was intended to agree on a final arrangement before the outcome was announced officially later Thursday.

Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum said Wednesday that Palestinian factions have reached agreement on several steps to be taken as part of ongoing reconciliation talks.

A committee composed of nine members has been formed to take charge of elections. The names will be reviewed by Abbas, who will issue a decree to form a new elections committee.

Factions also agreed that a unity government should be sworn in by the end of January 2012 and that all political prisoners in the West Bank and Gaza Strip should be released before the end of that month.

Palestinian factions have been locked in talks in the Egyptian capital over the last few days. Fatah and Hamas leaders had met on Sunday and other political parties joined the Egypt-brokered talks on Tuesday.

The reconciliation accord aims to unite the parties after Hamas seized control of the Gaza Strip in 2007, a year after winning national elections.

(occupiedpalestine.wordpress.com /22.12.2011)