Doodstraf voor 2 daders aanslag Marrakech

Het gerechtshof in het Marokkaanse Salé heeft vrijdag de twee belangrijkste daders van de aanslag in Marrakech in april vorig jaar ter dood veroordeeld.

Bij de aanslag vielen 17 doden, onder wie 14 buitenlanders, en een twintigtal gewonden. Onder de gedode buitenlanders was een Nederlandse reisbegeleider.

Adel Otmani had in eerste aanleg ook al de doodstraf gekregen, Hakim Dah levenslang. Otmani heeft de aanslag volgens de aanklagers voorbereid en uitgevoerd. Zelf zegt hij dat hij onschuldig is en dat er sprake is van een politiek complot.

Marokko heeft de doodstraf in het wetboek van strafrecht, maar heeft die straf sinds 1992 niet uitgevoerd. De nieuwe grondwet, die in juli 2011 is aangenomen in een referendum, waarborgt het recht op leven voor iedere Marokkaan.

De aanslag trof café-restaurant Argana aan het centrale plein Djemaa el-Fna, dat geliefd is bij toeristen. De aanslag was de dodelijkste in Marokko sinds de zelfmoordaanslagen in 2003 in Casablanca.

(www.parool.nl / 09.03.2012)

Gaza death toll rises to 8 killed in Israeli strikes

GAZA, March 9 (Reuters) – Israeli air raids on the Gaza Strip killed eight Palestinian militants on Friday, in one of the worst flare-ups along the restive border in months, Hamas officials said.

The Israeli military said it had launched air strikes in response to more than 30 rockets fired at Israel by militants. It added the strikes had also been launched to thwart a plan by militants to attack Israel from across the border with Egypt.

(af.reuters.com / 09.03.2012)

Gaza under attack / تعرضت لهجوم غزة 09.03.2012

Four dead in attacks on Gaza http://goo.gl/r4EBO #Palestine … and the world condemnation ……..silence! #Assasinations !!!!

New Israeli raid near the legislative council in #Gaza city, 3 martyrs and a number of injuries reported #GazaUnderAttack #غـزة_تحت_النـار

#BREAKING #GAZAUNDERATTACK: Three Palestinians just got killed in middle of #Gaza City. v @aymanqwaider

FUCK 3 more Palestinians killed NOW near Legislative Council building in Gaza, bringing death toll to 10 so far #GazaUnderAttackya Allahhh

#GazaUnderAttack | Two Quds Brigades fighters killed in an occupation airstrike wp.me/p16sn9-kLv

My people in #Gaza are under attack by #Israel! We’re humans not sheep! 7 are killed so far & several are injured! More bombs are falling!

Urgent from Gaza – the situation in the Gaza Strip now 1 – Two explosions in the area west of Gaza just moments (cont)

For each bomb Israel drops on Gaza, we will renew our resolve to isolate Israel so it feels the costs for its actions #BDS #accountability

“2 explosions just heard in #Rafah now, too close to my house! Allah yostor! #Gaza #GazaUnderFire” v @LailaDahi

more sirens of more dispatched ambulances now #Gaza

Israel is afraid of #BDS – they call it “delegitimization” – BDS is eroding Israel’s standing in the world to pariah status. We are winning

this escalation comes amid severe lack in electricity and fuel which will make hospitals struggle to help all the wounded#Gazaunderattack

Seven Palestinians killed in Israeli airstrikes on Gaza |#GazaUnderAttack

I’m in Amman and feeling terrible after hearing that #Gaza is being under attack 🙁 7 were killed so far! Pray for Gaza!

Have you ever had goosebumps for half an hour? #worried and#nervous #gazaunderattack

Israel is pounding Gaza – standing in solidarity with Palestinians under siege means boycotting Israel

http://nevercastleadagain.wordpress.com/in-pictures/ to happen again? STAND UP AGAINST MASSIVE COLLECTIVE PUNISHMENT & MANSLAUGHT!

We all should go sleep #GazaunderAttack explosions and it’s massive

 If you want to stand in solidarity with Palestinians in your country, participate in the many #BDS efforts close to you
Israel bombs with impunity – no accountability whatsoever – that is why we need BDS
BREAKING: MASSIVE explosion strikes #Gaza NOW
Israeli boats shells the beach of Khan Younis-south of #Gaza. No injuries reported
no matter how we,ur Gazan tweeps explain the situation,its nothing like on the ground.Not even we,huddled in the comfort of our homes,know
Oh my God. Oh my God. Al Quds TV showing footage of one the martyrs. He has no head. He’s decapitated. Fucking Israel…#GazaUnderAttack 
#GazaUnderAttack five martyrs 🙁 israhell go to hell every tweeeting from gaza be safe
Hearing sirens of dispatched ambulances & other weird sounds#Gaza
7 Palestinians killed in Gaza tonight. Too bad they’re not Israelis killed in Eilat, maybe Al Jazeera wouldve covered that.#GazaUnderAttack
7 killed & 10+ injured (including journalist) from which 2 are critical after Israeli air-raids across #Gaza . #GazaUnderAttack “Richard”
#Israeli warplanes bombed a target near Maqousi towers which is a highly populated area with civilians! :-S #Gaza
An Israeli F16 has just targeted a place in the north-west of Gaza city, minutes ago . #GazaUnderAttack #غـزة_تحت_النـار

Islamists could crown Egypt’s next president

Egyptian presidential candidate Abdul Moneim Abul Fotouh (C) defied the Muslim Brotherhood by quitting from the group to run for president as an independent. (Reuters)

Egyptian presidential candidate Abdul Moneim Abul Fotouh (C) defied the Muslim Brotherhood by quitting from the group to run for president as an independent.
A lineup of Islamists, retired generals, old regime figures and political newcomers are campaigning to become Egypt’s first president since Hosni Mubarak’s fall, but none of them may have the stature to tackle this nation’s enormous problems or stand up to the powerful military.
The May 23-24 elections are supposed to mark the final stage of the post-uprising transition to civilian rule and in the end, the Islamists will probably have the last word. They dominated parliamentary elections a few months ago and their newfound political power makes them the country’s kingmakers.

“The Islamists boast the nation’s best capabilities to mobilize the masses, but that has been somewhat weakened,” said prominent analyst Ammar Ali Hassan. “There is potential for a wide open race, but only if everyone plays by the rules.”

Whoever is chosen and the extent of transparency in the election will determine whether this country, where power has long been concentrated in the hands of the executive, can discard a legacy of authoritarian rule and become truly democratic or will continue to have a facade of democracy that thinly conceals an autocratic regime.

There is also a hope, especially among the liberal and secular youth who spearheaded last year’s democracy uprising, that the right candidate for the nation’s highest office could temper the two biggest centers of power in Egypt today — the military and the Islamists.

But those in the running so far have come under criticism for a lack of charisma, lack of a clear vision for the future of Egypt, being too beholden to the military or too closely associated with the old Mubarak regime.

The field was significantly depleted when Nobel Peace Laureate and pro-democracy leader Mohamed ElBaradei quit the race in January. He said at the time a fair election would be impossible under the rule of the military, which took power after Mubarak fell in February of last year.

Amr Moussa, who served Mubarak as foreign minister for 10 years before becoming the Arab League chief, is in his late 70s and does not appear to be in synch with the revolutionary mood gripping the nation over the past year. But he is popular among middle-class Egyptians. Moussa is a secular-minded seasoned diplomat who is well known internationally – hardly the pedigree that the Islamist parties are looking for in a president.

Also at the forefront of the hopefuls is Abdul Moneim Abul Fotouh, a moderate Islamist who defied the nation’s largest political group — the Muslim Brotherhood — by quitting to run for president as an independent.

He is a doctor by profession and his chances depend on whether he can muster support that transcends political and ideological boundaries because he cannot rely on the Brotherhood for votes.

The list of real contenders also includes ultraconservative cleric Hazem Abu Ismail; Mubarak’s last prime minister and former air force general Ahmed Shafiq; leftist politician Hamdeen Sabahy; Islamic scholar Mohammed Salim al-Awa and a youthful rights lawyer and newcomer Khaled Ali. The list of likely also-rans includes lawmakers, judges, journalists and senior army officers.

“We don’t know what to do. We either have candidates from the old regime or we have people who don’t share our principles,” said Mohamed Abul Ghar, co-founder of the liberal Egyptian Social Democratic Party. “I don’t think the public mood is entirely Islamic. People want to have a respectable personality, trustworthy and pious, but not necessarily an Islamist.”

After decades of authoritarian rule, the office of the president has acquired almost absolute powers, eclipsing those of the prime minister, the legislature and judiciary combined.

Such extensive powers have given past presidents, such as Mubarak, license to impose their own personal will and convictions on the nation’s political and economic policies.

But Islamists are determined to curtail the president’s powers in the next constitution, giving more say in the running of the country to the legislature they now dominate. The parliament is supposed to choose an assembly to draft the new charter.

Another problem is the new constitution is not likely to be drafted before the presidential elections, something that deterred at least one candidate, Elbaradei, from running. He was troubled by the idea of running for an office without knowing what the powers of that office will be.

Egypt has been ruled by presidents with a military background since a 1952 coup by army officers seized power, toppling the monarchy and ending a liberal political experiment that endured for 30 years under British occupation. Mubarak, 83 and now on trial, ruled Egypt for 29 years during which he won five terms in heavily fraudulent votes.

Though his ouster raised high hopes that Egypt could finally be democratically ruled, the policies adopted by the ruling generals over the past year have cast heavy doubts.

The military’s reputation has been tarnished by charges that they bungled the transition to democracy, killed protesters, tortured detainees and operated in secrecy. Most recently, their standing was dented by their handling of a case that accused Americans and others working for nonprofit, pro-democracy groups of fomenting unrest.

Late last year, Egypt held what was hailed then as the nation’s freest election in living memory. There were few signs of the ballot-stuffing and vote-rigging rampant during the Mubarak years. But there were nationwide and consistent violations that gave rise to credible claims of unfairness in the parliamentary vote.

The violations have mostly been blamed on the Islamists, who went on to dominate both houses of parliament. There is only a handful of women and a tiny number of minority Christians, who account for 10 percent of Egypt’s 85 million people, who sit in parliament’s two chambers, a fact that is used to back up claims that the elections were skewed.

The Muslim Brotherhood, the country’s largest political group, captured just under half of all seats in the lower house and more than a third of in the upper house. The Brotherhood, which spent most of the 84 years since its inception as an illegal group, has said it would not field its own candidate for president and that it did not plan to support an Islamist president either. But it now insists that the president must have an “Islamic background.”

The fundamentalist group, however, has yet to say which one on the steadily growing list of presidential hopefuls it will throw its considerable weight behind.

The ultraconservative Salafis of the Islamist al-Nour party, who won 25 percent of the seats in the lower house, are coordinating with the Muslim Brotherhood over the presidential election.

They too said they are waiting to see which candidate they will tell their supporters to vote for. But they already know the qualities they are looking for: The Salafis want to see Islamic law strictly imposed in Egypt.

“He must be a believer in Islamic laws, but he doesn’t have to be an Islamist,” said al-Nour party spokesman Yousseri Hamad.

(english.alarabiya.net / 09.03.2012)

In US election year, Palestinians sidelined

RAMALLAH, West Bank (AP) — President Barack Obama has told the Palestinians to sit tight during a U.S. election year, while holding out the promise of a serious push for Palestinian statehoodif he wins a second term, the Palestinian foreign minister said Friday.

A U.S. State Department spokeswoman insisted Washington remains engaged, though U.S officials, speaking on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the diplomacy, said the peace process is bogged down and prospects for resuming even low-level exploratory talks are slim.

It may be politically risky for Abbas to be seen as just marking time until November.

The Palestinian public is increasingly impatient with deadlock on all fronts, and Abbas could score points by reconciling with his longtime rival Hamas. But an alliance with the Islamic militants, who seized control of the Gaza Strip from Abbas’ Palestinian Authority in 2007, could upset the U.S. and hurt a statehood bid later. Israel has already warned that it won’t negotiate a statehood deal if Abbas forges a coalition with an unreformed Hamas.

For now, Abbas appears to have his hands full just keeping the Palestinian issue from fading away — or being steamrolled by internal American politics.

The Palestinians have watched in dismay as Republican candidates, eager to please Jewish donors and voters, appeared to compete over who is more pro-Israel: At one point Newt Gingrich, backed financially by an ardently Zionist Jewish billionnaire, called the Palestinians “an invented people.” Obama himself struck what was perceived as a pro-Israel tone in recent weeks.

The challenge goes beyond the U.S. election. The Palestinians’ traditional Arab allies are preoccupied with the Arab Spring uprisings transforming the region. Europe is struggling with a painful euro zone crisis. And there is mounting concern about a possible Israel-Iran war over Tehran’s suspected attempts to obtain nuclear weapons.

The Iran issue dominated the White House meeting between Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu this week, serving as a reminder to the Palestinians that the world has little time for them right now.

The Palestinians knew what they were in for as the U.S. headed into the campaign, Riad Malki, the Palestinian foreign minister, said in an interview.

“Everybody was telling us, including the Americans, ‘don’t expect that much from us during the election year because the president will be focusing on how to be re-elected, and in order to do so, he should really shift his attention … to other issues,'” Malki said.

Asked whether Abbas holds out hope that Obama — if re-elected and freed from some of his domestic political shackles — will push hard for serious negotiations on Palestinian statehood, Malki said: “They (the Americans) told us so.”

He said the Obama administration asked Abbas to be patient until then.

State Department spokesman Victoria Nuland said Friday that “we completely reject that characterization both of our views and the message” to Palestinians and Israelis.

On Monday, the Quartet of Mideast mediators — the U.S., the European Union, the U.N. and Russia — will meet in New York to review peace efforts, but is not expected to issue a statement or come up with a new initiative.

During more than three years in office, Obama failed to restart negotiations that broke off in 2008. At the time, Abbas and Netanyahu’s predecessor, Ehud Olmert, exchanged initial border proposals, but ultimately failed to close the gaps before Olmert stepped down amid corruption allegations.

Abbas says he will only negotiate with Netanyahu if Israel freezes settlement building on occupied lands and recognizes the pre-1967 war lines as the starting point for talks on the borders of a future Palestine. In that war, Israel captured the West Bank, Gaza and east Jerusalem, the territories the Palestinians want for their state.

Netanyahu insists all disputes be addressed in negotiations, including settlements.

As a next move, Abbas plans to send a letter to Netanyahu in coming days, holding the Israeli prime minister responsible for the failure to relaunch serious negotiations, Malki said. Copies of the letter will be sent to foreign leaders and Mideast mediators.

Palestinian officials said the letters are a cry for attention. “It’s a loud shout, to say we cannot continue like this,” said Wasel Abu Yousef of the PLO Executive Committee.

Malki said the letter will not contain a deadline for an Israeli response.

Earlier this week, Jordan’s foreign minister urged Abbas to avoid language that could be seen as an ultimatum, a Palestinian official said, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss internal discussions.

Abbas and his aides will meet after a certain period to review Israel’s response to the letter, if there is one, Malki said. “It is up to us to decide later how to proceed … based on the reaction from the Israeli leadership and based on the international community’s reaction to that,” he said.

The options include reviving last year’s stalled attempt to win full U.N. membership through the Security Council or seeking the U.N. General Assembly’s recognition of Palestine as a non-member observer state, Malki said. He emphasized that nothing has been decided.

Malki said the Palestinian leadership would act responsibly, and appeared to rule out desperate measures in coming months, such as dissolving their self-rule government in parts of the West Bank. Palestinian officials have also ruled out a return to large-scale violence.

Abbas is under pressure at home to end the Palestinian political split, which has weakened their statehood claim. After a breakthrough last month, in which Hamas chief Khaled Mashaal agreed that Abbas could lead an interim unity government until general elections are held, both sides have hit the brakes.

Hamas leaders in Gaza lambasted Mashaal for making the deal without consulting with them. And Abbas now says he won’t pull together a transition government of politically independent technocrats unless he can get Israeli assurances that the elections can be held in Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem.

Israeli government spokesman Mark Regev said this week that Netanyahu would not stand in the way of Palestinian elections. Malki said Abbas has sought, but not received clear Israeli assurances through intermediaries.

Palestinian analyst George Giacaman said both Abbas and Hamas are reluctant to move forward because they are unwilling to break with their traditional allies. “If they reconcile completely, the first thing the U.S Congress will do is not just to stop aid to the Palestinians, but declare the PLO a terror organization if Hamas joins,” he said.

Malki said Abbas is moving cautiously.

“We are not going to rush things,” he said.

(news.yahoo.com / 09.03.2012)

Medics: 2 people killed in second airstrike

A woman reacts at a hospital after an Israeli targeted attack on a car in Gaza City March 9, 2012.
GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — Two people were killed as Israel launched a second airstrike on the Gaza Strip, bringing Friday’s death toll to four people, medics said.

Obeid al-Ghirbali and Muhammad Harara were named as those killed, medical spokesman Adham Abu Salmiyeh said.

Both men were members of the Al-Quds Brigade, the armed wing of Islamic Jihad. Their bodies were taken to Dar al-Shifa hospital.

Israel’s army said in a statement that it had “thwarted two terrorist squads from firing rockets at Israel from the northern and the central Gaza Strip.”

Earlier, an Israeli strike targeting a car in western Gaza killed the head of the Popular Resistance Committees and a former prisoner released by Israel four years ago, medical officials said.

Israel accused PRC secretary-general Zuhair Qaisi, one of the men killed, of helping to plan attacks along its border with Egypt that killed seven Israelis last year.

The PRC has denied involvement in that cross-border attack.

The Israeli military said militants fired eight rockets in all on Friday.

The national resistance brigades, the DFLP’s armed wing, the Al-Aqsa brigades, and the armed wing of the PRC, the An-Nasser Salah Ad-Din brigades, have all claimed responsibility for rocket fire.

Presidential spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeineh condemned the earlier Israeli airstrike, saying it will lead to an escalating cycle of violence in the region.

Hamas’ foreign ministry called on the international community to intervene to stop Israeli aggression against the Palestinian people, a statement said.

The An-Nasser Salah Ad-Din Brigades, the PRC’s armed wing, had promised a “seismic response” to the earlier assassination.

(maannews.net / 09.03.2012)

Five Killed as the Israeli Military Bombardment of Gaza Continues

A total Five Palestinian men were reported killed on Friday by Israeli jetfighters conducted a number of attacks targeting the Gaza Strip. Sources in Gaza say Israeli tanks are still shelling parts of Gaza city.


Israeli fighters over Gaza

The latest air raid was on Friday night targeting eastern Gaza Strip left Hazim Quraqee dead. Quraqee is a fighter with the Islamic jihad as well.

The attacks started on Friday afternoon as Israeli jetfighters targeted a Palestinian car east of Gaza City. The attack left Mohamed Hanni and Zuhier Al Qayissi dead. Al Qayissi is the general secretary of the Popular Resistance Committees based in Gaza.

Later on Friday evening, Aobed al Ghribawi and Mohamed Harrara were killed during Israeli bombing targeting the eastern part of the Gaza Strip. Both are fighters with the Islamic Jihad group in Gaza.

In response Palestinian groups fired home-made rockets at Israeli towns near the Gaza borders. Israeli sources reported no injuries but the army advised residents go to shelters.

Abu Mojahid, from the Popular Resistance Committees in Gaza, said that his group will avenge the killing of Al Qayissi and his comrades. Abu Mojahid considered the calm agreement is over.

Palestinian groups in Gaza agreed on a “calm period” after the 18 days long military attack on Gaza in 2009.

Gaza based Journalist, Rami Al Meghari, contributed to this article

(occupiedpalestine.wordpress.com / 09.03.2012)

US sent 600,000 tear gas canisters to Israel, says new report

Israeli soldier fires tear gas cannister

Israeli soldiers have killed and injured Palestinians and US citizens with weaponry supplied by the US government.

WASHINGTON (IPS) – A new policy paper published earlier this week by the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation documents a number of cases occurring over the past decade in which weapons and ammunition produced and financed by the US have been used to kill unarmed Palestinians and US citizens.

“US military aid to Israel is a policy that is running on autopilot and must be reconsidered,” Josh Ruebner, the national advocacy director for the organization and author of the new policy paper, said on Monday.

“US weapons provided to Israel at taxpayer expense make the US complicit in Israel’s human rights abuses of Palestinians living under Israel’s 44-year military occupation of the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza Strip and defeat US foreign policy objectives of halting Israeli settlement expansion, ending Israeli military occupation and establishing a just and lasting Israeli-Palestinian peace,” Ruebner added.

Between the years 2000 and 2009, the US transferred “more than 670 million weapons, rounds of ammunition and related equipment,” according to the report.

Violating US law

During the same period, “Israel killed at least 2,969 unarmed Palestinians, including 1,128 children, often with US weapons in violation of the Foreign Assistance Act and Arms Export Control Act.”

The Foreign Assistance Act, signed into law in 1961, stipulates that “no security assistance may be provided to any country the government of which engages in a consistent pattern of gross violations of internationally recognized human rights.”

Several US administrations have sanctioned or withheld funding from countries, including Israel, that violated laws such as the Foreign Assistance Act. But according to the report, official inquires and investigations into US military aid to Israel over recent decades have been met with growing resistance from groups both within and outside of the US government.

Although more expensive weapons systems such as tanks and aircraft make up the bulk of purchasing contracts made between the Israeli government and US manufacturers, small arms and ammunition purchases account for the largest number of deaths.

Killing with American bullets

The report notes evidence that the Israeli military loads many of its guns with high-velocity tear gas canisters and rubber-coated bullets manufactured in the US — a frequent culprit in deaths throughout the West Bank.

“From fiscal year 2000 to 2009, the State Department licensed — and US taxpayers funded — the delivery of more than 595,000 tear gas canisters and other ‘riot control’ equipment to the Israeli military, valued at more than $20.5 million,” according to the report.

In a 2007 “memorandum of understanding,” the US pledged $30 billion in military assistance to Israel between 2009 and 2018 — a 25 percent increase in average annual military aid over previous years. Israel will receive roughly $3.1 billion in US military aid for fiscal year 2012.

Speaking at a conference held at the Palestine Center on Monday, Ruebner argued that, apart from the seeming contradiction of US pledges to protect human rights for everyone, military aid to Israel imperils US strategic interests in the region.

It also defers much-needed US tax revenues away from domestic programs, and contributes to a positive feedback loop that conditions the fulfillment of stated US goals in the region, such as a negotiated, two-state settlement, on even more military aid that, in turn, is used to continue the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza, he said.

Citing data obtained for the US Internal Revenue Service and Census Bureau, the report places the quantity of US military aid in a larger context.

Liability

“With the same amount of money that the US gives each year to fund weapons for Israel, the federal government could instead fund affordable housing vouchers for 350,000 low-income families, or green jobs training for 500,000 unemployed workers, or early reading programs for 900,000 at-risk students, or primary health care to 24 million people without insurance,” according to the report.

“Far from being a strategic benefit to the US, [military aid to Israel] is actually a growing political, economic and strategic liability,” Ruebner said.

The release of the policy paper coincided with the annual conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, a Zionist lobbying group, in Washington that included speeches by senior US government officials, including President Barack Obama.

US Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta reaffirmed America’s security commitment to Israel, including financing for a missile defense and fighter-jet weapons systems in a speech during the conference.

“This is an ironclad pledge which says that the United States will provide whatever support is necessary so that Israel can maintain military superiority over any state or coalition of states, as well as non-state actors,” Panetta said.

On Monday, US Congressmen Eric Cantor and Steny Hoyer introduced legislation that will “expand Israel’s authority to make purchases under the foreign military financing program,” and require the president to report to Congress on “actions to improve the process relating to Israel’s purchase of F-35 aircraft to improve cost efficiency and timely delivery.”

“Today, my friend Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer and I are introducing legislation to reaffirm our enduring commitment to the US-Israel strategic relationship and to ensure that threats to Israeli and American security will be answered with strength,” Cantor stated on Monday.

“It is a bond that reflects the shared values of our people and our shared interests in preserving stability in the Middle East…It is a reminder that support for Israel is not and should never be a partisan issue,” Congressman Hoyer added.

Ruebner emphasised several steps US lawmakers could take to prevent additional human rights violations, most notably the enactment of laws that would make US military aid conditional on freezing Israeli settlement building in the West Bank and ending theblockade of the Gaza Strip.

(electronicintifada.net / 09.03.2012)

HOW DARE YOU SPEAK AGAINST ISRAEL!

Baroness Jenny Tonge

Freedom of speech? Here in the UK? Really? Not for Baroness Jenny Tonge. The ultimatum presented to her by the Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg was to retract her statement or resign.

In a recent debate in Middlesex University, in which the topic being discussed was whether Zionism equated to Apartheid, Barones Tonge said, “Israel is not going to be there forever in its present form. One day, the United States of America will get sick of giving 70 billion a year to Israel to support what I call America’s aircraft carrier in the Middle East, that is Israel. One day the American people are going to say to the Israeli lobby in the USA, enough is enough. Israel will lose support and then they will reap what they have sown”.

Is this statement really anti-Semitic or was Baroness Tonge just attacking a country whose policies she didn’t agree with? She did not call for the destruction of the state. She merely stated that Israel would not continue in its present form. Israel is a country which has occupied another state for a number of decades, killed their women and children and still have a number of Palestinians in their prisons without trial or charge. Their crime is only that they are Palestinian and they will not give up their land to the oppressive regime.

Activist Ken O’Keefe, US Ex Marine who was also present at the debate in Middlesex University said, “I hope that she has no regrets, I hope that she sees what she said as an honour statement, a valid statement. As we sit hear perched on the verge of World War III and potential Nuclear annihilation, people must speak the truth, no matter what are consequences are. I don’t know what she thinks personally, it’s I think a badge of honour because she said the truth and if she’s punished for that then so be it.”

Baroness Tonge was punished for using her freedom of speech to speak for the people of Palestine and she was forced to leave the Liberal Democrat Party.

Labour leader, Ed Milliband has said ‘that there is no space in British politics for questioning the existence of Israel’. Many Ministers echoed his rhetoric. Why is there never this outcry when Palestinians are being murdered? Their land has been stolen and many Palestinians have been living as refugees for decades and no Member of Parliament even dares to speak out on behalf of them.

Why is this happening? The Zionist lobby and the Friends of Israel is currently stronger than the 2 million Muslims here in the United Kingdom. How many Zionists or members of the Friends of Israel are there? I highly doubt that their numbers are anywhere near the 2 million mark. The reason why they are stronger than us is because they are more determined than us, even though it is a religious duty for us to defend our Muslim brothers and sisters. The Zionists are more focused and more united. While we focus too much on issues that divide the Ummah, the Zionists never lose sight of their goals, which are the stability of Israel and the destruction of anything that gets in the way.

This needs to change. The Muslims must take action to make this change. InshaAllah our Ummah will get out of the slumber that we are in soon. You need to make this happen, for the children of Palestine, their future depends on you and the choices you make. We all remember the horrific images of Operation Cast Lead which the Israeli Soldiers killed over 300 children in the space of just 22 days in December 2008. Israel gets away with murder and we need to make them stop and hold them accountable for their evil crimes.

Write to the Liberal Democrat leader. Let him know that you are totally disgusted by his latest decision. Let him know that as a Muslim, you are against all kinds of racism, including anti Semitism. However speaking against a country which has policies that are despicable to you is freedom of speech. Just like speaking against the Conservative Party does not make you anti-British.

We must also thank Baroness Tonge for speaking up for the Palestinian and sacrificing her position within the Liberal Democrat Party. Please contact her here. She certainly has rightly claimed a badge of honour.

Please don’t forget and write now.

(www.mpacuk.org / 09.03.2012)

Islamic Law and the Principle of Non-Aggression: The Truth that Extremists and Islamophobes Wish to Hide

 

Islam is the Religion of Mercy and Peace, submission to the Will of Ar-RahmanAs-Salaam, as recorded in the Prophet’s صلى الله عليه وسلم command:

اعْبُدُوا الرَّحْمَنَ وَأَفْشُوا السَّلَامَ

Worship the Most Merciful, and spread peace.

[Sunan Ibn Majah, Book 33, Number 3694]

But for Extremists and Islamophobes the Religion of Islam is a sword by which they hope humanity will submit to their personal desires and whims, although they wield it from different angles.

At the core of the Islamic Law – indeed the message of all the Prophets – is the principle that a person should do no harm to others just as he would wish no one would harm him. The Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم stated in the strongest terms:

مَنْ أَحَبَّ أَنْ يُزَحْزَحَ عَنِ النَّارِ وَيَدْخُلَ الْجَنَّةَ فَلْتُدْرِكُهُ مَنِيَّتُهُ وَهُوَ مُؤْمِنٌ بِاللَّهِ وَالْيَوْمِ الآخِرِ، وَيَأْتِي عَلَى النَّاسِ مَا يُحِبُّ أَنْ يُؤْتَى إِلَيْهِ

Whoever loves to avoid Hell and enter Paradise, then let death overtake him while he has faith in Allah and the Last Day, and he treats the people they way he loves to be treated.

[Sahih Muslim, Book 20, Number 4546]

And the Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم formulated this principle into a concise legal dictum:

لاَ ضَرَرَ وَلاَ ضِرَارَ

There should be no harming or reciprocating harm.

[Sunan ibn Majah, Book 13, Number 2340]

The principle of non-aggression is clear when the Law refers to the rules of combat. The Muslims were only allowed to fight in self-defense after the Quraish tribe had attacked them first. Allah Almighty said:

وَقَاتِلُوا فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ الَّذِينَ يُقَاتِلُونَكُمْ وَلَا تَعْتَدُوا إِنَّ اللَّهَ لَا يُحِبُّ الْمُعْتَدِينَ

Fight in the way of Allah those who fight you but do not transgress. Indeed, Allah does not love transgressors.

[Surah Al-Baqarah 2:190]

At-Tabari recorded in his Tafsir of this verse: Ibn Abbas said:

عن ابن عبـاس: لا تقتلوا النساء ولا الصبـيان ولا الشيخ الكبـير ولا من ألقـى إلـيكم السلـم وكفّ يده، فإن فعلتـم هذا فقد اعتديتـم

 

Do not kill women, or children, or old men, or whoever meets you with peace and restraining his hand (from fighting). For, indeed, if you did that, you would certainly have transgressed.

Al-Baydawi said in his Tafsir of this verse:

وَلاَ تَعْتَدُواْ بابتداء القتال، أو بقتال المعاهد، أو المفاجأة به من غير دعوة، أو المثلة، أو قتل من نهيتم عن قتله

Do not transgress by starting the fighting, or by fighting those who are protected by a peace treaty, or by ambushing those who have not been called (to Islam or a peace treaty), or by mutilation (of the enemy), or by fighting whomever it is prohibited from fighting.

These narrations demonstrate that it is unlawful in Islamic Law to initiate force, violence, aggression, and hostility against any person or nation that desires peaceful relations with the Muslims. Likewise, the Noble Quran and Authentic Sunnah have commanded us to acceptpeaceful relations even if we suspect the enemy is trying to trick us. Allah Almighty said:

وَإِن جَنَحُوا لِلسَّلْمِ فَاجْنَحْ لَهَا وَتَوَكَّلْ عَلَى اللَّهِ إِنَّهُ هُوَ السَّمِيعُ الْعَلِيمُ

If they incline to peace, then incline to it and rely upon Allah. Indeed, it is He who is the Hearing, the Knowing.

[Surah Al-Anfal 8:61]

Ali ibn Abu Talib reported: The Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم said:

إِنَّهُ سَيَكُونُ بَعْدِي اخْتِلَافٌ أَوْ أَمْرٌ فَإِنْ اسْتَطَعْتَ أَنْ تَكُونَ السِّلْمَ فَافْعَل

Indeed, after me there will be conflicts or affairs, so if you are able to end them in peace, then do so.

[Musnad Ahmad, Narrations of Ali ibn Abu Talib, Number 697]

Abu Umamah, the companion of the Prophet, said:

أَمَرَنَا نَبِيُّنَا صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ أَنْ نُفْشِيَ السَّلَامَ

Our Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم commanded us to spread peace.

[Sunan Ibn Majah, Book 33, Number 3693]

In a previous article we demonstrated the libel of the so-called “verse of the sword” by which Extremists wage war against peaceful non-Muslims and Islamophobes wage war against peaceful Muslims. Here they will disagree with us again, insisting that Islam gives Muslims the right to transgress the natural human rights of another. If only they would look to what Islam – and all revealed religions and enlightened philosophies – are teaching about the common good. Thus, the allies of bigotry lead us toward the path of hate, violence, and destruction.

Success comes from Allah, and Allah knows best.

(www.faithinallah.org / 09.03.2012)