News from Syria 04.02.2012 II

@karmel80 @ArabSpringFF Sorry Village name is Güveççi where clashes heard, it is also a point where refugees entering Turkey

#Damascus Moadamiya Intense shooting is heard in the city

#Lattakia sec forces and thugs (Shabeha) are raiding Sacantory area to terrify the residents and force them to stop chanting from homes

#Idlib Nairab Some soldiers with all their arms defected from Shabiba camp west of the town

images of stray artillary hitting Turkish villages will further impact popular opinion in #Turkey; ppl will surely want gov to act… #Syria

People in tanzeem kfarsouseh, Damascus, report hearing takbeers from homes. That area is where the mukhabarat HQ is located. #Syria

@ArabSpringFF More gun fires heard at Gvecci village near Yayladag, Hatay-Antakya right now

violence at the border is critical;most people at both sides of the border are related, this may cause #Turkey to be more active wrt #Syria

@ArabSpringFF It happens in Syrian side, hard to know what is going on It is dark also, not possible to see anything

@ArabSpringFF One house’ water heating system have been shoot, no more details yet, still gun sound heard, Turkish journalist arriving there

some stray artillery from the Syrian violence at border also hit some of the houses in Turkish villages luckily no injuries #Turkey #Syria

How did #Raqqa go from being one of the quietest cities to joining the revolution in force and having the army in overnight? #Syria

#Raqqa: A protester is run over by a car belonging to the security forces

(02-04-2012) Khaledyeh | #Homs | A massive procession for martyrs of Assad regime last massacre

turkish gov announced that is not true but the public and teachers and doctors working in this village saying that the information is true

Syria also is bombing the Syrians who are trying to escape to Yayladag village

#Sarkozy seeks to create ‘friends of #Syria’ group to stop ‘tragedy’

residents from the border report that Syrians trying to cross the border are being attacked & shot down by the Syrian army… #Turkey #Syria

reports that Turkish villages at the border can hear the sound of artillery; some panic on if violence could cross the border #Turkey #Syria

#Daraa Intensive shooting from heavy machine guns north of the city near Panorama roundabout

30 #Daraa Almzeireeb death of young mand To’me Abu Saif 30 years old by regime’s forces He is married and father of children

I never would have imagined the day where Free Libya would support Syria to remove Bisho. I thought we would all be living in dictatorships

(02-04-2012) #Homs| Al Farooq battalion of FSA captures soldiers of Assad regime

Hey Bashar, screw the UN resolution and Russia, the Libyans are coming for you, because we can’t stand seeing our brothers get mowed down

If it is true that the regime is shelling the Turkish refugee camps, they have gone insane. This is a desperate attempt to kill FSA leaders

Missie en Visie van Stichting Al-Istiqaamah

In een land met ruim één miljoen moslims begint het besef door te dringen dat moslimjongeren en ouderen beroep zullen blijven doen op hulp- en dienstverlening. Gezien de demografische ontwikkelingen zal hun vraag naar dergelijke vormen van dienstverlening alleen maar toenemen. De vraag is echter of het aanbod van de reguliere hulpverlening aansluit bij de vraag en behoefte van de betreffende moslimcliënten. Om deze reden hebben de instellingen zich de afgelopen decennia veel beziggehouden met het ontwikkelen van nieuw intercultureel beleid; gevolgd door een groot aantal keer falen.[1]

Reguliere hulpverlening faalt
De moslimgemeenschap in Nederland heeft te kampen met vele problemen van allerlei aard. Uit diverse onderzoeken is gebleken dat de hulpverlening aan moslimcliënten enorm tekortschiet. Reden hiervoor is dat de reguliere hulpverlening onvoldoende is toegerust om adequate en passende hulp te kunnen verlenen aan moslimcliënten. De interventies van veel hulpverleners sluiten niet aan bij het denken en voelen van deze cliënten, noch bij de wijze waarop zij hun leven vorm willen geven waarbij de Islaam vaak het middelpunt vormt. De belemmeringen die zich voordoen binnen de reguliere hulpverlening hebben ertoe geleid dat de noodzaak voor een islamitische hulpverleningsinstantie is ontstaan; en daarmee de oprichting van Stichting Al-Istiqaamah.

Een nieuw concept


Er heerst duidelijk een grote behoefte aan adequate hulp- en dienstverlening gericht op de islamitische doelgroep in Nederland. Stichting Al-Istiqaamah heeft het tot haar streven gemaakt om vanuit de kwalitatieve (islamitische) kennis, professionaliteit en de autoriteit die zij geniet jegens haar doelgroep, passende en adequate hulp te kunnen bieden. Hierbij richt de stichting zich in de eerste instantie op moslimvrouwen van twaalf jaar en ouder die te kampen hebben met sociale, maatschappelijk, geestelijke, opvoedkundige en alle andere voorkomende problemen. In gevallen waarin men zich geen raad weet met de problemen, kan men zich wenden tot onze Islamitische hulpverlening.

[1] Uit diverse onderzoeken blijkt dat de hulpverlening aan moslimcliënten faalt. Een belangrijk signaal hiervoor is de oververtegenwoordiging van moslimcliënten in de gedwongen hulpverlening. De percentages bij Bureau Jeugdzorg Utrecht (de cijfers zijn over 2004) zijn hiervan een illustratie. Het percentage cliënten met een Islamitische achtergrond binnen de afdeling Jeugdhulpverlening van Bureau Jeugdzorg Utrecht is ongeveer 12%. Bij de afdeling Jeugdbescherming 15% en bij de afdeling Jeugdreclassering ruim 30%. De lichtere vormen van hulpverlening bereiken deze groepen te laat, ondanks de vele initiatieven om de hulpverlening te verbeteren en meer af te stemmen op deze doelgroep.

( / 04.02.2012)

Russia, China veto UN council resolution on Syria transition

Syria’s Ambassador to the United Nations Bashar Jaafari (C) speaks with China’s Ambassador Li Baodong (L) as they arrive at the UN Security Council  to discuss a European-Arab draft resolution endorsing an Arab League plan
calling for Syria’s President Bashar Assad to give up power in New York on Feb. 4, 2012.
UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) — Russia and China vetoed on Saturday an Arab- and Western-backed resolution at the UN Security Council calling for Syrian President Bashar Assad to step down over his bloody crackdown on a popular uprising.

The other 13 council members voted in favor of the resolution, which would have said that the council “fully supports” the Arab League plan.

Mohammed Loulichki, the UN ambassador of Morocco, the sole Arab member of the 15-nation council, voiced his “great regret and disappointment” that Moscow and Beijing joined forces to strike down the resolution.

French Ambassador Gerard Araud told the council, “It is a sad day for this council, a sad day for all Syrians, and a sad day for democracy.”

Diplomats said that China had been expected to follow Russia’s lead. Russia’s decision to vote against the resolution came after US and European officials rejected a series of Russian amendments to the draft resolution.

The setback in diplomatic efforts to defuse the revolt peacefully came after world leaders and Syrian opposition activists accused Assad’s forces of killing hundreds of people in a bombardment of the city of Homs, the bloodiest night in 11 months of upheaval in the pivotal Arab country.

Rift at the Security Council

Shortly before the Security Council voted, US President Barack Obama denounced the “unspeakable assault” on Homs, demanded that Assad leave power immediately and called for UN action against Assad’s “relentless brutality”.

“Yesterday the Syrian government murdered hundreds of Syrian citizens, including women and children, in Homs through shelling and other indiscriminate violence, and Syrian forces continue to prevent hundreds of injured civilians from seeking medical help,” Obama said in a statement. “Any government that brutalizes and massacres its people does not deserve to govern.”

He and other Western and Arab leaders put unprecedented pressure on Assad’s veto-wielding ally Russia to allow the Security Council to pass a resolution backing an Arab League call for Assad to transfer powers to a deputy.

But US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on Saturday it had not been possible to work constructively with Russia ahead of the vote, even though military intervention in Syria — fiercely opposed by Moscow — had been absolutely ruled out.

“I thought that there might be some ways to bridge, even at this last moment, a few of the concerns that the Russians had. I offered to work in a constructive manner to do so. That has not been possible,” she told reporters at the Munich Security Conference.

Moscow said before the vote that the resolution was not “hopeless”, but its wording needed to be altered to avoid “taking sides in a civil war”. Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said it was still possible to reach consensus.

But US Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice said amendments that Russia had proposed were “unacceptable”.

After what US officials called “vigorous” talks between Clinton and Lavrov, Moscow announced that its foreign minister would fly to Syria in three days to meet Assad.

France called the Homs assault a “massacre” and a “crime against humanity”. Turkey said hundreds had been killed and the United Nations must act. Tunisia expelled the Syrian ambassador, and the flag above its embassy was brought down.

Deadly assault

Death tolls cited by activists and opposition groups ranged from 237 to 260, making the Homs attack the deadliest so far in Assad’s crackdown on protests and one of the bloodiest episodes in the “Arab Spring” of revolts that have swept the region.

Residents said Syrian forces began shelling the Khalidiya neighborhood at around 8 p.m. (1800 GMT) on Friday using artillery and mortars. They said at least 36 houses were completely destroyed with families inside.

“We were sitting inside our house when we started hearing the shelling. We felt shells were falling on our heads,” said Waleed, a resident of Khalidiya.

“The morning has come and we have discovered more bodies, bodies are on the streets,” he said. “Some are still under the rubble. Our movement is better but there is little we can do without ambulances and other things.”

An activist in the neighborhood contacted by Reuters said residents were using primitive tools to rescue people. They feared many were buried under rubble.

“We are not getting any help, there are no ambulances or anything. We are removing the people with our own hands,” he said, adding there were only two field hospitals treating the wounded. Each one had a capacity to deal with 30 people, but he estimated the total number of wounded at 500.

“We have dug out at least 100 bodies so far, they are placed in the two mosques.”

A third Khalidiya resident, speaking by telephone with wailing and cries of “Allahu akbar” (God is greatest) audible in the background, said at least 40 corpses had been retrieved from streets and damaged buildings.

As news of the violence spread, angry crowds of Syrians stormed their country’s embassies in Cairo, London, Berlin and Kuwait and protested in other cities.

In Cairo, a crowd stormed the Syrian embassy, smashing furniture and setting fire to parts of the building in protest over the Homs bloodshed. The gate of the embassy was broken and furniture was smashed on the second floor of the building.

In London, 150 people hurled stones at the Syrian embassy, smashing windows and shouting slogans. Police said five men were arrested after breaking into the building and another held for assaulting police. Kuwait’s KUNA news agency said Syrians broke into the embassy there at dawn, tore down the flag and injured several security guards. Demonstrators burst into the embassy in Berlin, destroying portraits of Assad and his father.

In the cities of Hama and Idlib, activists said hundreds of people took to the streets in solidarity. They chanted in Idlib: “Homs is bombarded, and you are still sleeping?”

( / 04.02.2012)

News from Syria 04.02.2012

Resolutions don’t free people. Organizations don’t free people. The UN and NATO don’t free people. People free themselves

Ongoing bloodshed in #Syria

It is absolutely sickening watching them taking their sweet old time spewing BS while the killing continues! DO SOMETHING!

I bet #UNSC #China & #Russia called #Asad 2 assure him he is safe! I hope he doesnt see it as green light for worse massacres 2night :'(

#Damascus Qatana a second demo in the town in solidarity with #Homs and Daraya

US Ambassador to #Syria: A couple of members are steadfast in selling out the Syrian people

Free #Syria ns … This is a call to arms. The #Veto today sealed our fate. Armed struggle against #Assad and his murdering clan

@AsaWinstanley: Anyone calling for the UNSC to “take action” against human rights abuses anywhere is either naive, stupid or worse.”

L’ambassadeur français à l’ #ONU :” c’est un jour triste pour le Conseil de sécurité ” #Syrie

#Damascus Haran Al-Awameed Heavy deployment of sec forces accompanied by BRDM vehicles

BREAKING! Violent shelling from all directions at #Zabadani & #Mayada, military choppers are being used for the 1st time@JumanaJaber #Syria

#Russia and #China have vetoed a #UN Security Council resolution condemning the #Syrian gvts deadly crackdown on protests for the 2nd time

#Russia / #China : #Syria = #US : #Israel

No favorites. I condemn U.S. when it shields Bahrain & Israel from condemnation. I condemn China & Russia when it shields Assad. #Syria

Dear Syrian people only god & pro-Syrian revolution stand with U! Forget Arab govs & #UNSC ! We r praying 4 u,I wish we could do more #Syria

Did people actually expect the UN, who watched idly as war was waged on Iraq and a vicious massacre in Gaza, to help Syria? Pretty naïve!

Since when did the UNSC ever help the Arabs? In Gaza? In Baghdad? In Homs? West/Russia/China Self-interest only creates more bloodshed

======== #Alawites are not #Muslims ====== #Syria #SyriaBleeds

Palestinians barred from Dead Sea beaches to ‘appease Israeli settlers’

Palestinians are being regularly and illegally barred from reaching Dead Sea beaches in the occupied West Bank, according to a Supreme Court petition filed by Israel’s leading civil rights organisation.

The Association of Civil Rights (Acri) in Israel is challenging what it says is the frequently imposed ban by the military on Palestinians seeking to swim or relax at beaches in the northern Dead Sea. The salt-saturated sea is the only open water accessible to Palestinians from the otherwise landlocked West Bank.

The petition says that the Israeli military is using the Beit Ha’arava checkpoint on Route 90 – the only open access route in the occupied West Bank for travel to the Dead Sea – to turn back Palestinians, mainly but not exclusively on weekends and Jewish holidays.

Acri says that the ban is to appease Israeli settlers operating concessions along the Dead Sea’s northern shore. They fear losing Jewish customers if there are large numbers of Arabs using the beaches in territory seized by Israel during the Six Day War in 1967.

A Palestinian bus driver, Mohammed Ahmed Nuaga’a, described how he was turned back by the military with a party of children, aged between six and 12, on a school trip from the Hebron district to the Dead Sea last month. The outing had been officially co-ordinated with the Palestinian Authority education ministry and included 10 teachers and 15 parents. He returned a few hours later in the hope that the soldiers would relent but they did not do so. “I tried to explain to them that these are young pupils who came from very far to fulfil a big dream – to see the sea,” he said.

“But the soldiers were aggressive, and started shouting at us that Palestinian passage is forbidden, whether children or adults. The pupils begged the soldiers to let them go for even 10 minutes just to see the sea and return, but nothing happened.”

In the petition a senior Acri lawyer, Limor Yehuda, says: “We are dealing here with travel bans and entry prohibitions to public places in occupied territory which are tainted with discrimination and characteristic of colonial regimes. We have here prohibitions preventing the protected population of the occupied territory from using its own resources, while the very same resources are put at the disposal and enjoyment of the citizens of the occupying power.”

The ban came to light after the testimony of two Israeli army reservists who said that at the beginning of their tour of duty in May they were told that the purpose of the checkpoint was to “prevent Palestinians coming from the Jordan Valley to the Dead Sea beaches”.

One of the reservists, Doron Karbel, testified that as a “side note”, the Jordan Valley Brigade Commander, Colonel Yigal Slovik, had said the reason for the checkpoint was that “when Jews and Palestinian vacationers were sitting on the beaches side by side it hurt the business of the surrounding yishuvim [Jewish communities].”

Mr Karbel added: “In a conversation I later had with the Brigade Commander, he told me that he could come up with or find a security justification if he needed to.”

From Ein Gedi southwards, the beaches on the Dead Sea’s western side are in sovereign Israeli territory. But the popular beaches of the northern Dead Sea are Israeli-run and visitors could easily – but erroneously – imagine they are also in Israel rather than in occupied territory. In April this year, the British Advertising Standards Authority required the Israel Ministry of Tourism to alter the wording of an advertisement suggesting that Qumran, close to the northern shore, and the site of the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls, was in Israel.

In the Acri petition, Ms Yehuda says: “The illegality of the actions and orders of the army cries out to the heavens. This is a clear case of misusing security considerations as camouflage for achieving other goals which are unrelated to security matters and unacceptable.”

Israel has also been criticised for segregating roads used by Israeli motorists in the West Bank for stated reasons of security. Israeli officials reject claims that this is racial discrimination, partly because Arabs with Israeli citizenship are permitted to use the roads. They also frequent the Dead Sea beaches.

The Israeli military declined to comment in detail while judicial proceedings are under way, but said in a statement that “the network of security crossings in the West Bank was erected in response to the extreme terrorist threat and violence during the second intifada.” Since the violence had “ebbed” crossings were “under review”.

( / 04.02.2012)

Syrië zet in Homs ‘een nieuwe stap in wreedheid’

Syrische demonstranten protesteren tegen het regime van president Assad in het noorden van Syrië.

Westerse leiders hebben vandaag de grote aanval op de Syrische stad Homs hard veroordeeld. Naar schatting kwamen meer dan 200 burgers om het leven door nachtelijke beschietingen met zware wapens.

De receptie van de Syrische ambassade in Caïro nadat deze is bestormd.

De receptie van de Syrische ambassade in Caïro nadat deze is bestormd.

De Amerikaanse president Barack Obama sprak van een ‘onbeschrijflijk’ incident en moord op burgers door regeringstroepen. De Amerikaanse president riep de VN Veiligheidsraad op om een standpunt in te nemen tegen ‘de meedogenloze wreedheid’ van de Syrische president Bashar al-Assad. Ook riep hij Assad op af te treden.

‘IJzingwekkend’, noemde de Britse minister van Buitenlandse Zaken William Hague het geweld in de stad. Hij beschuldigde de Syrische president Bashar al-Assad van ‘koelbloedig cynisme’.

Volgens de Franse minister van Buitenlandse Zaken Alain Juppé heeft Syrië met de aanval ‘een nieuwe stap gezet in wreedheid’.

De landen zetten Rusland onder druk om in te stemmen met een resolutie van de Veiligheidsraad van de Verenigde Naties tegen het Syrische bewind. Rusland, een bondgenoot van het Syrische bewind, is tot op heden echter onvermurwbaar. De Duitse VN-ambassadeur noemde het ‘een schandaal’ als de Veiligheidsraad niet handelt.

Tunesië heeft besloten de ambassadeur van Syrië het land uit te zetten vanwege de ‘bloedige slachtpartij’ in de Syrische stad Homs. Dat heeft een overheidsmedewerker die anoniem wil blijven vandaag gezegd. Hij zei dat Tunesië het regime van de Syrische president Bashar Assad niet langer erkent.

‘Er is geen andere oplossing voor deze tragedie dan de val van het regime van Bashar al-Assad en de opening van de weg naar democratie in Syrië’, aldus de verklaring van de Tunesische regering.

Tunesië was het land waar de grote Arabische opstand eind 2010 ontbrandde. President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali was het eerste Arabische staatshoofd dat het hoofd moest buigen voor de massale volksprotesten. Na de val van de autoritair regerende Ben Ali zijn vrije verkiezingen gehouden.

Ambassades bestormd
In Londen, Caïro en Koeweit hebben Syriërs vandaag hun ambassades bestormd omdat ook zij woedend zijn over de aanvallen op Homs.

In Londen werden zes mannen gearresteerd nadat ze de Syrische ambassade in de Britse hoofdstad waren binnengedrongen. Zeker honderdvijftig mensen hadden zich gisternacht voor de ambassade verzameld.

In Caïro staken demonstranten een deel van de Syrische ambassade in brand en in Koeweit raakten beveiligers gewond toen demonstranten het pand bestormden. De betogers vernielden de ramen van de ambassade en hesen de vlag van de Syrische oppositie.

Gisteren werd de Syrische ambassade in Berlijn al bestormd. De binnendringers vernielden meubilair en spoten met verf leuzen op de gevel. Ze werden na hun vertrek uit de ambassade korte tijd ingesloten.

( / 04.02.2012)

Arab parliament head calls on Arabs to cut Syria ties

CAIRO (Reuters) — The head of the Arab Parliament, a committee of parliamentarians from Arab League states, called on Saturday for Arab countries to expel Syria’s ambassadors and sever diplomatic relations over President Bashar Assad’s crackdown on protests.
“(Arab states) should expel Syrian ambassadors and sever diplomatic relations and economic dealings (with Syria) until the regime complies with the demands of the Syrian people,” Ali al-Salem al-Dekbas, head of the 88-member committee, said in a statement.

Arab states have turned decisively against Assad in recent months over a crackdown on opponents of Assad that the United Nations says has killed at least 5,000 people in 11 months. Assad’s government says it is fighting foreign-backed insurgents, and most deaths have been among its troops.

Western and Arab nations are trying to overcome Russian resistance to a UN Security Council resolution backing an Arab League call for Assad to give up power. The diplomacy has taken on new urgency since activists said overnight that Assad’s forces had killed more than 200 people in the city of Homs.

Tunisia started a procedure on Saturday for withdrawing its recognition of Assad’s government.

Dekbas said Arab states should confront the Russian delegate to the United Nations, whose delay in taking action “allows for a continuation of …. killing of the Syrian people”.

He condemned what he said was “the international community standing and watching” violence in Syria, which he described as “crimes against humanity”

( / 04.02.2012)

De afscheidspreek van de Profeet Mohammed

Dit was de laatste grote preek die de Profeet Mohammed (vzmh) hield. Het vond plaats tijdens zijn afscheidsbedevaart, op de vlakte van Arafat.

“Alle lof komt Allah toe. Wij prijzen Hem. Wij zoeken Zijn hulp en vergeving en wij wenden ons tot Hem. We zoeken onze toevlucht tot Allah van het kwaad in onszelf en van de kwade gevolgen van onze eigen daden. Niemand kan misleid worden als Allah hem leidt en er is niemand die goed geleid kan worden als Hij hem op een dwaalspoor zet. Ik getuig dat er geen god is behalve Allah, zonder deelgenoot. Ik getuig dat Muhammad Zijn dienaar en Zijn boodschapper is.

Ik raad u aan, dienaren van Allah, om Hem te gedenken en ik spoor u aan om Hem te gehoorzamen.

O mensen, luister naar mij want ik heb een boodschap voor u, want ik weet niet wanneer ik weer de gelegenheid zal krijgen om u na dit jaar op deze plaats te ontmoeten.

O mensen, waarlijk jullie leven, jullie bezit en jullie eer zijn heilig en onschendbaar voor jullie tot jullie voor jullie Heer verschijnen, zoals deze dag, deze maand en deze stad heilig voor jullie zijn. Jullie zullen zeker jullie Heer ontmoeten en Hij zal jullie over jullie daden ondervragen. Heb ik de boodschap overgebracht? O Heer, wees mijn getuige!

Daarom moet ieder die wat in bewaring heeft gekregen het teruggeven aan degene, die het hem heeft toevertrouwd.

Weet, dat iedereen verantwoordelijk is voor zijn eigen misdaden. De zoon is niet verantwoordelijk voor de misdaden van zijn vader en de vader is niet verantwoordelijk voor de misdaden van zijn zoon.

O mensen, luister naar mijn woorden en zorg dat je ze goed begrijpt. Jullie moeten weten dat de Muslim de broeder is van de Muslim en dat de Muslims een broederschap vormen. Niets van zijn broeder is voor een Muslim toegestaan, behalve wat hij hem zelf toestaat. Daarom moeten jullie jezelf geen onrechtvaardigheid aandoen en jezelf niet onderdrukken. O Heer, heb ik de boodschap overgebracht?

Ziedaar, alle onwetendheid is onder mijn voeten neergelegd. Het bloed van de wraakacties van de (pre-Koranische) dagen van onwetendheid zijn kwijtgescholden.

O mensen, waarlijk de satan is teleurgesteld, omdat hij ooit in jullie land is aanbeden. Maar hij is gelukkig dat hij door jullie daden, die jullie als kleinigheden beschouwen, gehoor-zaamd wordt. Let daarom in jullie godsdienst op hem.

Waarlijk, ik heb bij u iets duidelijks achtergelaten en als jullie je daaraan vasthouden zullen jullie nooit verdwalen – dit is het Boek van Allah en het voorbeeld (de sunna) van Zijn boodschapper.

O mensen, wees jullie van Allah bewust. En zelfs als een verminkte Abessijnse slaaf jullie leider wordt, luister dan naar hem en gehoorzaam hem, zolang hij het Boek van Allah instelt en het uitvoert.

Luister naar mij. Aanbid uw Heer en Onderhouder, verricht uw vijf dagelijkse salaat. Vast jullie maand (de Ramadan). Maak de bedevaart naar jullie Huis (de Ka’bah) in Mekka.

Betaal gewillig van jullie bezit de zakaat en doe alles wat ik jullie beveel. Dan zullen jullie het Paradijs van jullie Heer en Onderhouder binnentreden.

Waarlijk, jullie zullen jullie Heer en Onderhouder ontmoeten en Hij zal jullie over jullie daden ondervragen. Dwaal niet op zo’n manier af, nadat ik ben weggegaan, dat sommigen de nekken van anderen omdraaien. Heb ik de boodschap overgebracht?

O mensen, waarlijk, jullie God en Onderhouder is één en jullie voorvader is één. Jullie stammen allemaal van Adam af en Adam is uit aarde gemaakt.

Een Arabier is niet beter dan een niet-Arabier; noch is de blanke man beter dan de zwarte of de zwarte beter dan de blanke man; behalve dan door het Godsbewustzijn (taqwa) dat hij verkregen heeft. Waarlijk, de edelste onder jullie is degene met de meeste Godsbewustzijn. Heb ik de boodschap overgebracht?”

“Ja, o Boodschapper van Allah,” antwoordden de metgezellen.

( / 04.02.2012)

Opinion: America’s pastime game: Bashing Palestinians

Apologists for Israel’s continued occupation and control over Palestinian lives have long contended that Israel is more interested in peace than the Palestinians. One exaggerated argument, repeatedly put forward to justify military rule, is that Palestinians teach their children to hate Jews.

Politicians in the US, especially during election campaigns, find that bashing Palestinians has no downside and, moreover, yields a vote (and donation) jackpot.

Palestinian textbooks are scrutinized for any hostile reference to Israel — or praise of Palestinian nationalism — and every frame broadcast on Palestinian television stations is analyzed by experts to see if it contains any incitement to violence.

Palestinian-Israeli committees spent hours researching these issues and concluded that there is no textbook glorification of violence or hate. European and bipartisan American committees reached similar conclusions.

But anti-Palestinian attacks never stopped. All the efforts to respond scientifically and comprehensively to the unsubstantiated attacks failed to change the narrative that anti-Palestinian forces, especially in the United States, were keen on perpetuating.

Self-declared professor and historian Newt Gingrich led the charge by negating Palestinian existence. Speaking on a Jewish online television station, Gingrich contradicted what the Israeli government did in 1993, when it recognized the PLO as the representative of the Palestinian people. By cherry picking historical evidence to back his convoluted argument, Gingrich claimed that Palestinians are an “invented” people.

A few days later, when pressed by ABC News anchor George Stephanopoulus, Gingrich repeated the blood libel against Palestinians by saying that Palestinian math books use killing Jews as part of their numeracy education. “They have textbooks that say, if there are 13 Jews and nine Jews are killed, how many Jews are left? We pay for those textbooks through our aid money.”

Of course, the textbook statement he referred to does not exist. The Associated Press went through the trouble of interviewing Israeli, Palestinian and American experts who have been deeply involved in the issue. Their conclusion was simple. According to researchers, Gingrich’s claim “is not in any of the texts”.

AP went further and stated: “A review of some texts by the AP, as well as several studies by Israeli, Palestinian and international researchers, found no direct calls for violence against Israel.”

Fact-checking sites, pundits and politicians failed to deal with the issue. And despite the AP story, no major American journalist, columnist, debater or think tank has called for or demanded that Gingrich admit and apologize for this brazen lie. Neither did the US government, which until recently funded Palestinian ministry of education projects, set the record straight even though the US presidential nominee implicated the US government in paying to print books that “teach terrorism”.

Worse is what is happening in the US Congress. A hold has been placed on US funding for Palestinian health and educational programs. The hold, which was placed in September by a Republican congresswoman from Florida, is intended to punish the Palestinian Authority because its leader, Mahmoud Abbas, dared to ask the United Nations to recognize Palestine as a state.

Even more perplexing is what happened in early January when restrictions were placed on money already approved and allocated by the US Congress, including money for the Palestinian version of Sesame Street. The Washington Post and other US media outlets reported that $2.5 million committed for teaching Palestinian children tolerance and mutual respect was part of the hold instituted by congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen.

American politicians appear to be using precious little long-term thinking when it comes to Israel and Palestinians. Falsehoods declared on national television about textbooks are debunked by no one in the US government. The silence appears to be less a consequence of ignorance than of fear.

Politically, there is little to gain from saying an honest word regarding US policy on Israel and Palestine. Consequently, the Republican-controlled Congress proceeds merrily on its course and holds up the funding that could rectify what experts agree is a non-existent problem of Palestinian textbook incitement.

Bashing Palestinians remains an easy political pastime, especially at election time.

It is tragic, however, that demagogic electioneering — and outright lies — can lead to the loss of responsible children’s television programming for Palestinians. And it is telling that broader funding for Palestinian civil society can be stopped simply because Palestinian leaders asserted the right of Palestinians to live free in a state of our own.

( / 04.02.2012)

Chilean doctors perform surgeries for children in Nablus

BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — A Chilean medical team is in the West Bank district of Nablus performing cost-free surgeries for children, in the second trip since November, officials said Friday.

Orthopedic surgeons Nahauff Chamas and Andres Chahin, and anesthesiologist Diego Villegas, are performing the surgeries at Rafidia Hospital focusing on spine, hips, knees and feet.

The orthopedic operations are thanks to an agreement between the Palestine Children’s Relief Organization Fund and the Chilean Society of Pediatric Surgery, with support from the Bethlehem 2000 foundation.

“We are so thankful for the Chilean doctors for the wonderful work they are doing,” said Bethlehem 2000 representative Vivian Ghobar. It brings “hope for the families and their children,” she said.

Medical cooperation between Chile and Palestine will intensify in 2012, as at least six volunteer medical trips are expected in the coming months, officials said in a statement.

As part of the agreement, Palestinian children continue to arrive in Chile. In one case, Mohammed Kharraz traveled with his mother to be operated on by doctors from Exequiel Gonzales Cortes Hospital in Santiago.

In November 2011 a team of Chilean doctors performed 59 operations at Rafidia Hospital.

( / 04.02.2012)