• Commemorating Land Day 30th March 1976 and those who died defending their right to their land and cultural identity
March 30 is an annual day of commemoration for Palestinians of the events of that day in 1976. In response to the Israeli government’s announcement of a plan to expropriate thousands of dunums of land for “security and settlement purposes”, a general strike and marches were organized in Arab towns from the Galilee to the Negev. In the ensuing confrontations with the Israeli army and police, six Arab citizens of Israel were killed, about one hundred were wounded, and hundreds of others arrested. Yom Al-Ard is an important annual day of commemoration marked not only by Palestine Arabs 48, but also by Palestinians all over the world. For more information,

For the past month I have been thinking about what to write to you about Yom Al-Ard. The news from the Holy Land is not great with the continuous Judaization of Jerusalem, more illegal land grabs in the Negev, Hebron and villages in the West Bank.

It seems that the rape of the Palestinian land (whether inside Israel or the West Bank including Jerusalem) cannot be stopped at this moment in history. But never despair my friends. History teaches us that no oppressive regime, no violations of human rights can last forever. Who would have imagined that the evil Gaddafi would be executed by his own people? Who would have thought that a year on, the Syrian people would be that courageous and resilient in the face of a harsh regime?

Times are changing and people want freedom and dignity. Leaders like Gaddafi and Assad are incapable of imagining that people will one day stand up and question their authority. Yom Al-Ard is important because it reminds the Israeli government of its illegal actions and that the status quo is not sustainable for the Israelis. Seeking peace with their Palestinians neighbours, reinstating equal rights to Palestinians 48 & ending the illegal occupation of Palestine as well as reversing the settlement project is the only long term sustainable strategy for the 6 million Israelis living among a “300 million sea of Arabs”. The changing political landscape in the Middle East is slowly edging towards such change. Today’s global march to Jerusalem is a new activism taking place not only on a Palestinian level but an international level as well.

Tahaddi (Challenge):
In the face of the continuing injustice and shrinking Palestinian lands, I wanted to make sure I keep an open mind & heart about the conflict. So I turned to the wisdom of the Dalai Lama for some hope & inspiration. Tibet has also been struggling for independence & autonomy since China’s 1950 invasion. I wanted to know how the Dalai Lama dealt with the injustices taking place in Tibet. I hope his wisdom leaves an impression on your spirit! Here is what the Dalai Lama said about:

— Nakba (tragedy):
“When we meet real tragedy in life, we can react in two ways-either by losing hope and falling into self-destructive habits, or by using the challenge to find our inner strength.”

— Sumud (perseverance):
“Hard times build determination and inner strength. Through them we can also come to appreciate the uselessness of anger. Instead of getting angry nurture a deep caring and respect for troublemakers because by creating such trying circumstances they provide us with invaluable opportunities to practice tolerance and patience.”

— Salam Shalom (Peace):
“Because we all share this planet earth, we have to learn to live in harmony and peace with each other and with nature. This is not just a dream, but a necessity …Real peace [is] not just the absence of violence or of war… A mere absence of war is not genuine, lasting world peace. Peace must develop on mutual trust.”

— Hourriya (freedom):
“Brute force, no matter how strongly applied, can never subdue the basic human desire for freedom and dignity. It is not enough, as communist systems have assumed, merely to provide people with food, shelter and clothing. Human nature needs to breathe the precious air of liberty.”

(Posted by Susan Wahhab on March 30, 2012 / Facebook / 31.03.2012)

Land Day in Pictures: Israel, Lebanon, Gaza and the West Bank

Yesterday, Palestinians marked Land Day by protesting against the Israeli land confiscations with demonstrations in the West Bank, Gaza, Israel, Lebanon, and Jordan. This year, the protests were also supported by a solidarity campaign known as the Global March to Jerusalem, where Palestinians and allies marched to the Israeli controlled borders of the occupied Palestinians territories. The largest march on the border was in Jordan with between 20,000 and 30,000 protestors, and in Lebanon between 2,000-3,000 marched. In Egypt, the demonstration was cancelled after the state military stopped protestors from joining the march, which would have approached the Rafah crossing with the Gaza Strip.

The Israeli military and police attempted to disperse the protestors, aggressively using crowd dispersal and projectiles, including live ammunition. In Gaza, Israeli firekilled 20-year-old Mahmoud Zakot, and hundreds were injured in the West Bank and Gaza. Palestinians threw rocks and Molotov cocktails at Israeli forces.

The West Bank

Across the West Bank, demonstrations took place with reports of excessive Israeli force, including water cannons, tear gas and rubber bullets. Additionally, a Long Range Acoustic Device, a sound machine emitting high-frequency noise, and a machine spraying a “skunk” smelling liquid were used on protestors. The Red Crescent counted over 200 people were injured in Qalandia alone, with 85 from rubber bullets. Between 14 and 34 were arrested in Jerusalem, but the total number of arrests is still unknown.

Major protest were held in the cities of Bethlehem, Beit Ummar, Budrus, Jerusalem, Kfar Kadum, Nabi Saleh, Nablus, , Ni’lin, Qalandia, and Safa.

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Israeli border police use pepper spray on Palestinian protestor, near Jerusalem.
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Palestinian sprayed by Israeli police, Qalandia.
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Israeli police on horseback suppress demonstrators near the Damascus Gate, Jerusalem.
Palestinian man dragged by Israeli forces near the Damascus Gate, Jerusalem.
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A Palestinian climbs the wall at a checkpoint, Bethlehem.


Near the Erez crossing in Gaza, Israeli forces used fired water cannons, tear gas and live ammunition into crowds of demonstrating Palestinians, resulting in the death of 20-year-old Mahmoud Zakot. In response, Palestinians threw rocks, burned tires and set fire to an Israeli security tower. Protestors in Gaza also participated in the Global March to Jerusalem.

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The funeral of 20-year-old Mahmoud Zako, Gaza.

The Global March to Jerusalem in Gaza

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Arabic trans. “Global March to Jerusalem,” Gaza.
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Demonstrators praying, Gaza.
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Demonstrators marching, Gaza.
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Land Day demonstrators, Gaza.
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Land Day demonstrators, Gaza.
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In Lebanon, between 2,000 and 3,000 protestors amassed in Arnoun near the Crusade-era Beaufort castle located nine miles from the Israeli border.

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Palestinian youth dancing in near the Beaufort castle 9 miles from the Israeli border, Arnoun, Lebanon.
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Children near Beaufort castle, Arnun, Lebanon.


In Israel, demonstrators gathered in the Northern villages of Sakhnin, Araba, and Dier Hanna. On Land Day, Sakhnin holds a special significance, as it is the site of the first Land Day protest in 1976. Today, there is a monument in the village by Palestinian artist Abed Abdi, commemorating the six Palestinians who were at the march by killed by Israeli forces

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Palestinians demonstration near Haifa, Araba, Israel.

( / 31.03.2012)

Bahraini protester dies after being shot at demonstration

An anti-government protester runs for cover after throwing a molotov cocktail at a riot-police armored vehicle during an anti-government protest in the village of Sitra south of Manama, March 30, 2012.
DUBAI (Reuters) — A Bahraini man died on Saturday after being shot during an anti-government march a day earlier, his relative and the opposition said, blaming his death on what they described as loyalist militia members.

The government’s media arm, known as the Bahrain Information Affairs Authority, confirmed that Ahmed Ismail, 22, bled to death after being shot on Friday.

Mohammed bu Daniel said his cousin was taking pictures of a demonstration when what he described as “militia members” in an unmarked car opened fire on him. “They took him to Salmaniya hospital and he was martyred there at 4:30.”

Al-Wefaq, Bahrain’s main opposition party said: “The details as related by witnesses and family indicate that the martyr Ahmed was near the main road with a camera in hand for documentation. Civilian police patrols were present and there were armed militias with them… One of the people in one of the cars fired live rounds into the protesters and into the air.”

Bahrain, where the Sunni Muslim Al Khalifa family dominates political and economic life, has been bitterly divided since authorities quelled a mainly Shiite pro-democracy uprising last March. A year on, protests still flare daily in Shiite areas, often ending in violence.

The IAA said the case would be investigated as murder, after hearing from people close to the victim that the shots had been fired by men in an unmarked vehicle.

“The cause of death according to the medical examiner was critical bleeding due to the wound that had penetrated the upper right thigh, severing the main blood vessel and exiting the other side,” it said in a statement.

The Gulf state is keen to show it is making progress on reforms it pledged to implement following international criticism of its crackdown on demonstrations, during which at least 1,000 people were detained and several died under torture, by Bahrain’s own admission.

Protesters have called for curbs on the ruling family’s power and an end to sectarian discrimination. A few Shiite groups also called for the monarchy to be replaced with a republic.

Bahrain’s rulers, who invited troops from Sunni monarchies Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates to help quash the uprising, have accused Shiite neighbor Iran of fomenting unrest. Iran denies this.

Opposition parties say government reform promises are little more than window-dressing to impress Western allies. Bahrain is due to host the Formula One grand prix in April.

Abdulhadi al-Khawaja, an activist serving a life sentence for his role in the protests, was taken to hospital on Friday, having been on hunger strike for over one month, his lawyer said.

A founder of the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights, Khawaja was convicted on charges including forming and organizing a “terrorist group” to end the Al Khalifa monarchy. Rights group Amnesty International called for his release on Friday.

“They took Abdulhadi to the hospital yesterday night, and we only found out this morning,” the lawyer, Mohammed al-Jishi said. “I am in the hospital now. I’m trying to see him but until now they haven’t let me.”

( / 31.03.2012)

The key is youth participation


Gabriella Battaini-Dragoni

When the Secretary General of the United Nations recently said that failing to invest in the one billion young people of the world “is a false economy,” he certainly had more in mind than just a useful business idea.

In fact, Mr. Ban Ki-moon fully acknowledged the legitimate demands of young people for a life in freedom and dignity. With a view to recent events in the Arab world, he did not hide his satisfaction that young people today show a growing resolve to use their energy and courage to address “some of the most difficult issues we face.” Only by working together with young people, he underlined, can the international community meet current challenges.

The key to progress is participation. Youth participation has always had this dual face: as an opportunity granted (or withheld) by society in function of its own economic and political needs; and, as a critical and urgent demand of young people themselves, who all too often see their life chances evaporating in the hot air of daily politics.

It is a good thing that the “International Year of Youth,” which ended last August, made at least a serious attempt to keep youth participation on the international agenda. Participation is an important point of reference in all international treaties dealing with human rights, from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights to the International Convention on the Rights of the Child. The outcome document of the recent UN High-Level Meeting on Youth mentions participation as a policy standard not fewer than eleven times.

Whilst there is general consensus that participation is positive, there may be less harmony on the conceptual details. In 2010, a resolution of the Arab region calling for “effective” youth participation was endorsed even by the most autocratic leaders. Some of them did not remain long in office as soon as young people took this message seriously.

Here, in Europe, the political preconditions for genuine youth participation are however relatively clear. It relies on human rights, democracy and the rule of law. The Council of Europe, an intergovernmental organization founded in 1949, has installed the necessary legal and judicial instruments to translate these values into everyday reality and monitor their effective implementation.

Moreover, by developing innovative solutions and widely distributing examples of good participatory practice among its 47 member states, regional authorities, civil society organizations and the other stakeholders, the Council of Europe sets the pace for the whole region particularly in the youth field.

Detailed policy recommendations on youth participation and the future of civil society (1997), children’s participation in family and social life (1998), the participation of young people in local and regional life (2004), citizenship and participation of young people in public life (2006), the evaluation, auditing and monitoring of participation and participation policies at local and regional level (2009) and education for democratic citizenship and human rights education (2002, 2010) bear witness of the political will of European leaders to achieve meaningful youth involvement. Since the 1970s, representative non-governmental youth organizations have been closely involved in the strategic debates of the Council of Europe in the area of youth policy, and they co-decide on financial and program matters.

Is that enough?

As the Secretary General of the Council of Europe himself pointed out recently, our continent is “not in any way immune against social unrest, discontent and alienation.” Movements of indignant young people have sprung up in various European countries. They are triggered by little or no job prospects even for the highly qualified; by frustration over the chasm between words and deeds; by the quickly widening social gap between rich and poor; by frictions between ethnic groups.

Europe must see this youth unrest as a wake-up call, if not a chance. It must self-critically analyze its political institutions. If so many young people feel left behind, if 20% or more do not find a job, if many can only show their utter contempt for political decision-makers, then our system has a real problem.

Such a situation is not sustainable, and it is certainly not conducive to the solution of global challenges such as the MDGs or intercultural dialogue. New ways of real youth participation must be conceived and tested. That will be the task of the forthcoming years.

(Gabriella Battaini-Dragoni is Director General of Programs at the Council of Europe in Strasbourg, France. Copyright 2012 Global Experts (, a project of the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations)

( / 31.03.2012)

In U-turn, Egypt’s Brotherhood names presidential candidate

Newly released deputy chairman of the Muslim Brotherhood Khairat al-Shater attends a pro-democracy rally at Tahrir Square in Cairo in this March 4, 2011. (Reuters)

Newly released deputy chairman of the Muslim Brotherhood Khairat al-Shater attends a pro-democracy rally at Tahrir Square in Cairo in this March 4, 2011.
Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, in a policy U-turn, on Saturday named its deputy leader and businessman Khairat al-Shater as its presidential candidate for a vote in May after initially pledging it would not run for the nation’s top job.

The Brotherhood said it changed tack after reviewing other candidates in the race and after parliament, where its Freedom and Justice Party controls the biggest bloc, was unable to meet “the demands of the revolution”, a reference to its mounting criticism of the ruling army’s handling of the transition.

Given the Brotherhood’s strong showing in the parliamentary election and its broad grass-roots network, the group’s backing for a candidate could prove a decisive factor. Although analysts say name recognition may also play a role in this race that could help others such as former Arab League chief Amr Moussa.

Analysts said the move suggested the Brotherhood, on the brink of power for the first time in its 84-year history, was worried it could have that power snatched away after decades of repression at the hands Hosni Mubarak, who was ousted last year.

“We have witnessed obstacles standing in the way of parliament to take decisions to achieve the demands of the revolution,” said Mohamed Morsy, head of the Freedom and Justice Party.

“We have therefore chosen the path of the presidency not because we are greedy for power but because we have a majority in parliament which is unable to fulfil its duties in parliament,” he said announcing the decision to put forward Shater.

The move will worry liberals and others who are alredy fretting about the rising influence of Islamists after they swept parliament and now dominate an assembly writing the new constitution.

Shater, 61, submitted his resignation as one of three deputy leaders of the Brotherhood when he was picked as candidate, the group said. Like many members of the group that was banned under Mubarak, Shater spent years in jail. He is was freed shortly after Mubarak was toppled.

A Brotherhood member told Reuters that 56 of 108 members of the Brotherhood’s shura, or advisory, council voted to pick Shater as the Brotherhood’s candidate and 52 voted against it.

“Those who went against the candidacy of Shater at first changed their minds and supported him afterwards,” said Mohamed Badie, the Brotherhood’s leader.

”Breaching a promise”

The group had said it did not want one of its members in the top office to avoid being seen as monopolising power and alienating those who did not back the group in post-Mubarak Egypt. “We do not have the desire to monopolise power,” the FJP’s Morsy said after Shater’s candidacy was announced.

But the decision to field Shater could draw criticism, particularly after the group expelled another member, Abdel Moneim Abol Fotouh, when he said he would run in spite of the Brotherhood’s pledge not to seek the presidency.

“This is not only a breach of their promise, but deliberate defiance of the (ruling) Supreme Council of the Armed Forces,” said a Western diplomat, adding the U-turn suggested the group was worried others could disrupt its rise to power.

“The Brotherhood are so close to power they can smell it, but they are so scared that someone else will snatch it from them,” the diplomat said.

The ruling army council has pledged to hand power back to civilians by July 1 after a new president is elected, although analysts expect the generals to hold influence from behind the scenes long after that.

The Brotherhood has become increasingly critical of the government army-appointed Prime Minister Kamal al-Ganzouri. The group wants to lead the formation of a new government based on their dominance of parliament. The army has rejected this and under the existing constitution has powers to form cabinets.

“The truth is that they are proving each day that power is their only goal,” Ahmed Said, head of the liberal Free Egyptians Party told CBC TV, saying the Brotherhood appeared to have taken the decision when it found “that they can’t control the government”.

Shater was arrested in 2006, along with other senior members of the group, and jailed in 2007 by a military court on charges includings supplying students with weapons and military training.

Jail terms can bar access to elected office for a period but the Brotherhood said this would not derail his candidacy. “When Shater’s name was considered, our lawyers said there is no legal obstacles facing his candidacy,” the group’s leader, Badie, said.

( / 31.03.2012)

Jews Control 85% of Historical Palestine, says Statistics Bureau

RAMALLAH, March 29, 2012 (WAFA) – Jews constitute around 52% of the total population living in historical Palestine and utilize more than 85% of the total area of the land, press release issued by the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics said Thursday.

Arabs make the remaining 48% but are allowed to utilize only 15% of the land, it added.
The report came on the occasion of Land Day, which falls on March 30 and marks the 36th anniversary for the killing of six Palestinians living inside Israel during a demonstration against Israeli confiscation of 21,000 dunums of land in the Galilee, the Triangle, and the Naqab.
The PCBS said while the Jordan Valley makes up 29% of the West Bank, Israel controls approximately 90% of it. Fewer than 65,000 Palestinians remain there today compared to 9,500 settlers.

The Annexation Wall has a total length of about 757 kilometers, of which 92% are inside the West Bank. According to this route, 733 km2 of Palestinian land were isolated between the Wall and the Green Line in 2010. This comprises approximately 13.0% of the West Bank, of which about 348 km2 were agricultural, said the release.

It added that While Palestinians represent 30% of the population of Jerusalem, they pay 40% of the value of the taxes collected by the municipality. Yet, the Jerusalem municipality only spends 8% on providing services to Palestinians.

There were 474 Israeli settlements, outposts and military bases in the West Bank by the end of 2011. Settlers established 11 new outposts in 2010.

Data indicate that the number of settlers in the West Bank totaled 518,974 at the end of 2010; 262,493 settlers live in Jerusalem governorate and constitute 50.6% of all West Bank settlers. Of these land, 110 km2were confiscated for Israeli settlements and military bases, 250 km2were forest and open areas, and 25 km2 Palestinian built-up land. The Wall isolated 53 localities and affected over three hundred thousand people, particularly communities in Jerusalem where 27 localities affected are home to a quarter of a million people.

Moreover, the Wall besieges 165 localities with a population of more than half a million inhabitant, and Qalqilya city is one of the witnesses on that, said PCBS.

The Israeli occupation authorities demolish Palestinian homes and create obstacles and constraints to the issuance of building permits for Palestinians. According to the Al-Maqdisi Institute, between 2000 and 2011, 1,059 buildings were demolished in East Jerusalem (the areas annexed by Israel in 1967). This has resulted in the displacement of 4,865 people, including 2,537 children.

Data from Israeli human rights organizations indicate that about 25 thousand homes have been demolished in the occupied Palestinian Territory since 1967.

The data indicate an increase in demolitions where residents have to demolish their own homes, 289 residents were forced to demolish their own homes since 2000, on the other hand the year 2010 had the highest rate of self-demolition with 70 demolitions compared to 49 in 2009. In 2011, 20 self-demolitions took place. In many cases, residents do not inform the media and human rights organizations of the demolition.

About 196,178 live in areas of Jerusalem annexed by Israel in 1967. In demographic terms, the proportion of settlers to the Palestinian population in the West Bank was about 20 settlers per 100 Palestinians compared with 68 settlers per 100 Palestinians in Jerusalem governorate.

In March 2012, there were 4033 Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails, including 178 administrative prisoners and 8 female prisoners. Of these, 49 prisoners have spent more than 20 years in captivity and 15 prisoners have spent more than 27 years in captivity.

( / 31.03.2012)

Solidarity with Ni’lin town’s just struggle against the apartheid wall

On the land day: israeli soldiers increase their violence against the villagers of Ni’lin,one Journalist was hit and other dozens suffer from tear gas suffocation

From yesterday's Demo in the west bank village of Ni'lin 30.03.2012 the machine of the skunk water exploded and started to throw at herself.  photo by:Abed Sadaqa

To commemorate Land Day on the 30th of March villagers from Ni’lin prayed under the olive trees in the threatened fields next to the annexation wall. After the prayer a demonstration with more than 250 participants from all over the world was held, chanting slogans in demand for freedom of access to their own lands and an end to the suppression of farmers in Ni’lin.

When the demonstration reached the gate in the wall the protestors were surprised to see two new military towers that had been recently constructed to make a outlook point for snipers. More barbed wire had also been brought in meaning that there now are three kinds of barriers in Ni’lin: concrete, barbed wire and the electrical fence.

Before the protest reached the gate the Israeli soldiers began shooting massive amounts of tear gas straight towards the demonstration. A female journalist was hit by a tear gas canister but received treatment on site in the ambulance.

After a while the soldiers switched to using rubber coated steel bullets fired by snipers from the newly installed towers along with foul smelling chemical water sprayed at the crowd from an army truck. As a response to this some protestors started throwing stones. A group of soldiers who were hiding in the fields tried to flank the stone throwers in order to arrest them. However the soldiers were discovered before any arrest could be made and instead the soldiers surrounded and pushed the protestors back towards the village. During this phase dozens of protestors suffered from tear gas inhalation and the soldiers displayed a high degree of violence.

“Ni’lin will not stop its protests due to the increase in violence from the army” was the message sent out from the Popular Committee of Ni’lin to the soldiers after this Friday’s demonstration. The Popular Committee also demanded the immediate release of Hana Shalabi, who as a part of her deal with her captors to end her hunger strike now risks deportation to Gaza, and sent their blessings to all other demonstrations this day in the West Bank, Jerusalem and Gaza.

( / 31.03.2012)

Red Cross provides Gaza hospitals with urgent fuel aid for 10 days

GAZA, (PIC)– The Red Cross said it intends to give the Palestinian health ministry in Gaza about 150,000 liters of diesel fuel to help 13 public hospitals continue to provide health services in the next 10 days.

The Red Cross had provided Gaza hospitals with a similar amount of fuel last February.

Head of the Red Cross in the occupied Palestinian territory Juan Shearer warned that the failure to solve the problem of fuel and electricity in Gaza would paralyze health services and endanger the lives of patients.

He noted that the operating theaters, intensive care units, neonatal care units and dialysis units in Gaza hospitals would suffer terribly if the power and fuel crisis persisted, and urged the Palestinian authorities to work on finding a permanent solution to this problem.

( / 31.03.2012)

Extremists control hundreds of Tunisia’s mosques: religious affairs minister

Tunisia’s Religious Affairs Minister Nourredine Al-Khademi said the country will take stock of the hundreds of mosques now in the hands of Salafist extremists.  (AFP)

Tunisia’s Religious Affairs Minister Nourredine Al-Khademi said the country will take stock of the hundreds of mosques now in the hands of Salafist extremists.
Tunisia’s Religious Affairs Minister Nourredine al-Khademi on Saturday said the country will take stock of the hundreds of mosques now in the hands of Salafist extremists.

“This is a priority area for my administration,” said the minister, who estimated that about 400 of Tunisia’s more than 5,000 mosques had fallen under the sway of ultra-conservative Salafists.

“Serious problems concern about 50 mosques, no more,” he said, referring to cases where the original imams and worshippers had been forced out.

Khademi said that in the central city of Sidi Bouzid, for example, a major mosque was taken over by Salafists more than a year ago and was now known by locals as the “Kandahar mosque”, after Afghanistan’s Taliban stronghold.

“Hundreds of other places of worship are experiencing administrative problems: no imam or muezzin, no administrator,” said Khademi, himself an imam at the el-Fateh mosque in Tunis, site of frequent Salafist protests.

A popular uprising in Tunisia early last year ousted long-standing dictator Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali’s regime and set off the Arab Spring. The moderate Islamist Ennahda party won October 2011 elections.

However, Salafists, formerly banned, have become vocal, demanding that sharia or Islamic law form the basis of a new constitution.

Some secular and liberal groups have reacted angrily to the surge by religious hardliners, arguing that the democratic gains achieved by the January 2011 revolt risk being rolled back.

The religious affairs minister said his ministry has prepared to make an inventory of all the country’s mosques, and a 20-member “Committee of Wise Men” to be chaired by the minister would be announced next week.

This commission – to include imams, Islamic university lecturers and humanities teachers – will be tasked with compiling the inventory.

“We are also looking at the recruitment of imams, who now have to hold at least a master’s degree, preferably in Islamic studies, have a general education in the humanities, an openness to other religions, and be known for their morality in their neighborhood,” said the minister.

By Ramadan – the Muslim holy month, expected to start this year on July 20 – “calm will have returned in our mosques,” he said.

One of the Salafist leaders, Seif Allah Ben Hassine, insisted this week that the movement does not preach violence.

He said Tunisia “is not a land of jihad, but it is a land of religious preaching,” according to the Friday edition of Tunisian daily Le Temps.

“We do not preach violence. All our actions may be summarized now in the moral preaching and works of charity,” said Ben Hassine, known as Abu Yadh and considered one of the top leaders of the most radical Salafists.

Released during a post-revolution amnesty, Abu Yadh is the co-founder in 2000 of the Tunisian Fighting Group, which was listed in 2002 by the U.N. Security Council as linked to al-Qaeda.

Abu Yadh fought in Afghanistan and was arrested in 2003 in Turkey, before being extradited and sentenced to 43 years jail by the regime of Ben Ali.

“I am certain that Tunisia is not a land of jihad, but that it is a land of religious preaching… We only want good for our country and our countrymen,” said Abu Yadh, adding that “the Salafist bogey” has been used to frighten the Tunisian people.

( / 30.03.2012)

Nederland partij in Palestina – Israël conflict


Op 30 maart, de Landdag, protesteren Palestijnen en sympathiserende Arabieren tegen het Israëlische grondbeleid, dat in hun ogen discriminerend is.  Deze dag herinnert de Palestijnen aan hun verzet tegen de onteigening van hun land, sinds  30 maart 1976 waar bij demonstraties tegen deze onteigening zes Arabieren het leven lieten.

Ook dit jaar had de organisatie van de Global March on Jerusalem 30 maart uitgekozen om met deze  grote mars aandacht te vragen voor de ernstige belemmeringen voor het Palestijnse leven en de vernietiging van de Palestijnse cultuur in Jerusalem. Ruim 40 jaar geleden is Jerusalem bezet gebied en hebben de Israëlische autoriteiten de burgerrechten van de Palestijnse inwoners enorm beperkt en zelfs geheel afgenomen; dit zal volgens de burgemeester van Jerusalem nog verder worden doorgevoerd.

Tijdens de Landdag en de Global March on Jerusalem werd overal op de wereld gedemonstreerd tegen de steeds verdergaande Judaïsering van Jerusalem; van overal op de wereld zijn er foto’s en berichten binnengekomen, van demonstranten maar ook van media. Ontvangen zijn foto’s van Moskou, India, Maleisië, Indonesia, Canada, Italië; echter het was weer eens windstil in Nederland, geen regeringsverantwoordelijke, geen politicus, maar ook geen media die aandacht heeft geschonken aan een zo’n belangrijke dag voor de Palestijnen, Arabieren en moslims over de gehele wereld. Neen, als het over Palestina gaat, is Nederland muisstil en laat zich niet horen. Als de gemiddelde Palestijn geluk heeft, kan hij van deze belangrijke gebeurtenis 30 seconden zien op het NOS Journaal, echter dan meestal in de vorm van de Palestijnse terroristen die de lieve Israëlische militairen aanvallen met steentjes, terwijl een compleet Israëlisch militair apparaat werd ingezet.

Door deze houding – het is puur doodzwijgen van een compleet  volk – is Nederland partij- en deelgenoot in het conflict tussen Palestina en Israël; dit geldt voor de politiek maar ook voor de media. Door het structureel doodzwijgen van een complete bevolking en steeds de zijde van Israël te kiezen, draagt Nederland direct mee aan de onderdrukking van de Palestijnen, is ze verantwoordelijk voor onteigening van Palestijns land, het vermoorden van onschuldige burgers en de vernietiging van de Palestijnse cultuur.
Zolang de regering van Nederland van mening is dat alle Palestijnen terroristen zijn, zal de sfeer in de Nederlandse media verpest worden door deze onzin en zal er niet gewerkt kunnen worden aan een oplossing in een conflict wat al jaren zich voortsleept en door het westen zelf als oplossing is aangedragen. Twee- staten oplossing of een-staat oplossing met rechten voor een ieder, is en blijft ver weg, alleen maar omdat Nederland haar politieke kop als een struisvogel heeft ingegraven.

Voor de Palestijnen zullen er op deze manier nog vele Landdagen komen en zullen de internationale organisaties en individuele activisten nog vele Global Marches on Jerusalem moeten organiseren en zullen er nog vele Flytilla’s en Flottila’s volgen, maar er zal een dag komen dat de Palestijnen dezelfde rechten hebben als alle bewoners van deze aarde,  Insha’Allah.