Egypt’s parliament wants Israel’s ambassador out


A general view of the Egyptian parliament during a working session in Cairo, Egypt, Sunday, March 11, 2012. Egypt's parliament has called for a vote on stopping U.S. aid. (AP Photo/Mohammed Asad)
A general view of the Egyptian parliament during a working session in Cairo, Egypt, Sunday, March 11, 2012. Egypt’s parliament has called for a vote on stopping U.S. aid.

CAIRO: Egypt’s Islamist-dominated parliament unanimously voted on Monday in support of expelling Israel’s ambassador in Cairo and halting gas exports to the Jewish state.

The motion is largely symbolic, because only the ruling military council can make such decisions, and it is not likely to impact Egypt’s relations with Israel. But it signals the seismic change in Egypt after the ouster of longtime leader and Israel ally Hosni Mubarak a year ago in a popular uprising that ended his 29 years in power.

The vote was taken by a show of hands on a report by the chamber’s Arab affairs committee that declared Egypt will “never” be a friend, partner or ally of Israel. The report described Israel as the nation’s “number one enemy” and endorsed what it called Palestinian resistance “in all its kinds and forms” against Israel’s “aggressive policies.”

There was no immediate comment from Israel on the vote by the People’s Assembly, the Egyptian parliament’s lower house.

Egypt became the first Arab nation to sign a peace treaty with Israel in 1979. The treaty came six years after the two Middle East neighbors fought the last of their four wars. However, the accord produced a “cold” peace, and most Egyptians still view Israel as their nation’s enemy.

There have been bouts of tension in relations between the two neighbors, mostly over Israel’s perceived reluctance to proceed in good faith with peace talks with the Palestinians, but leaders of the two nations have consistently kept open channels of communication.

The parliamentary report also called for the recall of Egypt’s ambassador in Israel and a revision of Egypt’s nuclear power policy in view of the widespread suspicion that Israel has a nuclear arsenal of its own.

“Revolutionary Egypt will never be a friend, partner or ally of the Zionist entity (Israel), which we consider to be the number one enemy of Egypt and the Arab nation,” said the report. “It will deal with that entity as an enemy, and the Egyptian government is hereby called upon to review all its relations and accords with that enemy.”

Monday’s vote by parliament could serve as an indication of what may lie ahead.

The Islamists who dominate the 508-seat chamber, as well as the largely powerless upper house, would like to see the president’s wide executive powers curtailed in the country’s next constitution, while boosting those of the legislature.

If they have their way, statements like Monday’s could impact on relations with Israel.

The parliament’s vote could also give the generals who succeeded Mubarak an added incentive to keep the office of the president as the nation’s most powerful institution and ensure that Egypt’s next leader is beholden to the military.

The ruling military council is led by Mubarak’s defense minister for 20 years, Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi. Many of its members are veterans of Egypt’s last war with Israel in 1973, but they also have worked to maintain the peace since 1979.

The Muslim Brotherhood, which controls just under half of the seats in the powerful People’s Assembly, wants a president with an Islamist background.

( / 12.03.2012)

Why Israel Attacked Gaza: Bibi Stirring Trouble ~ by Ramzy Baroud

Israel air raids on Gaza Strip have killed 21 Palestinians over the past three days, Monday, March 12, 2012.
The first Israeli missile sped down to its target, scorching the Gaza earth and everything in between. Palestinians collected the body parts of two new martyrs, while Israeli media celebrated the demise of two terrorists.

Zuhair Qasis was the head of the Popular Resistance Committee. He was killed alongside a Palestinian prisoner from Nablus, who had recently been freed and deported to Gaza.

Then, another set of missiles rained down, this time taking Obeid al-Ghirbali and Muhammad Harara.

Then a third, and a forth, and so on. The death count began on March 9 and escalated through the day. The Hamas government urged the international community to take action. Factions vowed to retaliate.

In these situations, Western media is usually clueless or complicit. Sometimes it’s both. The Israeli army was cited readily by many media outlets without challenge.

The first round of attacks was justified based on a claim that Qasis was involved in the planning of an attack that killed seven Israelis last year. The Israel army did not even bother to upgrade that claim – which had already resulted in the killing and wounding of many Palestinians. Even Israeli media had drawn the conclusion that the attack then originated from Egypt, and no Palestinian was involved.

Al Jazeera reported that some of the victims were decapitated, a familiar scene in most of Israel’s unforgiving atrocities.

Expectedly, Palestinians fired back. “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,” reported Maan news agency.

The incessant Israeli provocations would not have been enough to end the months-long truce. Palestinians know that Israeli provocations are often, if not always, politically motivated. This time however, the people killed were leaders in al-Muqawama, the local resistance parties. Neither Hamas’ might nor diplomacy could persuade Gaza’s many factions to hold their fire. Israel knows this fact more than any other party. This is why it sent such unmistakably bloody messages. Israel needed Palestinians to respond, and urgently so.

But why did Israel decide to ignite trouble again?

To answer the question, one needs to make a quick stop in Washington. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had recently tried to articulate a case for war against Iran there. Unlike the successful effort to isolate, strike and invade Iraq in 2003, the Iran war campaign is not going according to plan.

The Israelis are desperate to see Iran’s nuclear facilities bombed by American bunker buster bombs – some of which weigh up to 13600 kg. Israel’s former head of military intelligence, Amos Yadlin, assured the ‘free world’ – a term often manipulated by Netanyahu – that a bombing campaign can succeed if it’s followed by the right measures.

“Iran, like Iraq and Syria before it, will have to recognize that the precedent for military action has been set, and can be repeated,” he wrote (as cited in CNN, March 9).

There is growing consensus in Israel that ‘something has to be done’ – at least to set back Iran’s uranium enrichment by few years, per the assurances of deputy director of the Israeli Institute for National Security Studies, Ephraim Kam. Republican candidates in the US, and even President Obama himself, agree. Obama, however, despite his groveling at the recent AIPAC conference, dared to question the timing and the way in which Iran must be brought to its knees. The US president is becoming increasingly isolated within Washington because of his stance on Iran.

It is election year in the US, and Israel knows that a window of opportunity will not be open for long. “Netanyahu won a crucial battle in Washington this past week. No one brought up the Palestinians. Netanyahu has quite masterfully shifted the conversation to the subject of Iran,” wrote Jeffrey Goldberg in the Atlantic (March 9). He is right, of course, but only within the context of ‘peace process’ and conflict resolution.

The Palestinians were mentioned in a different context, and repeatedly so. Ephraim Kam, for example, expected that thousands of rockets would rain on Israel from Hizbollah, Hamas and Iran itself. The Associated Press quoted Vice Prime Minister Dan Meridor as saying, “The whole of Israel (is vulnerable to) tens of thousands of missiles and rockets from neighboring countries. If there is a war…they are not just going to hit Israeli soldiers. The main aim is at civilian populations” (Feb 20).

Per this logic, the only way to prevent rockets from reaching Israel is by attacking Iran. An independent Israeli commentator, Yossi Melman, predicted that a weakened Iran “would undoubtedly have an impact on Hamas and Hezbollah” (CNN, March 9).

Yes, the Palestinians were infused plenty in Israeli war rhetoric. They were liberally presented as the jackals who would pounce on vulnerable Israel. Who would dare challenge this tired victimization narrative? Who would have the audacity to point out the fact that Israel has the region’s strongest army, equipped with hundreds of fully-functioning nuclear heads, while Palestinians fighters – who had until recently respected the truce, although Gaza’s siege was never lifted – are armed with light weapons?

No one in the mainstream media, of course. But then, as the supposed threat has reached an all time high, Hamas spokesperson in Gaza, Fawzi Barhoum, told AP: “Hamas weapons and the weapons of the Palestinian resistance, in general, are humble weapons that aim to defend and not to attack, and they are to defend the Palestinian people…that does not give us the ability to be part of any regional war.”

Hamas has its own calculations independent of Israel’s war momentum. But losing Hamas would jeopardize the very equation Israel has been constructing for years. The ‘radical camp’ must remain intact, as far as Israel is concerned. No political polarization caused by the so-called Arab Spring will be allowed to endanger the Israeli narrative: the radicals, the evil alliance, the threat facing the ‘free world’ and all the rest. Great resources were spent on spinning the perfect story to justify a preemptive war.

Then, on Friday, March 2, less than two days after Barhoum made his comments of ‘humble weapons’, heads began to roll in Gaza. Literally. And the media machine resumed its work unabashed. “Gaza Rockets fire disrupts life in Israeli south,” read a headline in Israel’s Haaretz. “IDF strikes Gaza terror targets following rocket barrage,” declared another in the Jerusalem Post. It’s war all over again. Israeli civilians run to shelters. Sirens blare. US media reports the fate of ‘besieged’ Israelis and Palestinian ‘terrorists’.

It matters little to them that it was Israel itself that stirred the trouble, broke the truce, and fanned the flames.

( / 12.03.2012)

Israel continues to pound Gaza, death toll rises to 25

12 March 2012 / REUTERS, GAZA CITY
Israeli war planes struck at the Gaza Strip and Palestinians fired more rockets against southern Israel on Monday in a fourth day of hostilities in which 25 Palestinians have been killed.

Egyptian efforts to broker a ceasefire appeared to be stuck over a demand by the Islamic Jihad militant group that Israel first promise not to target militant leaders for future attack.
The violence also drew condemnation from US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and United Nations Secretary-General Ban ki-Moon, who called for restraint. The Arab League also urged  the United Nations to intervene to stop the conflict.
Twenty of the Palestinians killed since fighting flared in the Hamas-controlled enclave last Friday were militants and five were civilians, according to medical officials.
At least 80 Palestinians, mostly civilians, and eight people in Israel have been wounded.
The Israeli air strikes on Monday killed four Palestinian militants and an elderly man and his daughter, the officials said. The most recent attack came after nightfall, killing two militants near Gaza City, medics said.
A 15-year-old Palestinian youth died in an earlier explosion that Palestinians blamed on an Israeli missile. The Israeli military denied it had carried out a strike.
About 40 rockets, at least 20 of them intercepted by Israel’s Iron Dome anti-missile system, were fired at Israel, wounding three people, Israeli police said. Three of these rockets struck in the city of Ashkelon just before the latest Israeli air strike.
Gaza’s Hamas leadership, whose own cadres have kept out of the fighting, said on Sunday that neighbouring Egypt was working to stop the violence and consulting with other militants.
A Palestinian official close to the mediation told Reuters that Israel had agreed to a midnight ceasefire.
But Islamic Jihad, an Iranian-backed faction behind most of the rocket fire, said any truce should include an undertaking by Israel “to end assassinations”.
The exchanges began after two chiefs of the Popular Resistance Committees (PRC) faction, accused by Israel of planning to attack it through Egypt’s Sinai desert, were killed in an Israeli strike on Friday.
Israel signalled that it would not halt what it calls “preventive targeting” operations aimed at stopping rocket fire and cross-border attacks.
“The Israeli army will continue to attack the terrorists in Gaza with strength and determination,” said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
He also told members of his Likud party in parliament that the Israeli military was prepared to widen its operations and continue them for as long as necessary.
That prospect would revive memories of the 2008-2009 Gaza war in which about 1,400 Palestinians and 13 Israelis were killed.
But Israeli Interior Minister Eli Yishai said: “Israel is not keen to see an escalation, Israel is not keen to hurt innocents, Israel is absolutely opposed to this.
“For now, it is on this kind of scale. But if it will prove protracted, then without a doubt there will be a powerful, painful blow so that this will not continue,”  he told Army Radio.
The Palestinian attacks against Israel disrupted normal life in the south and forced many schools to close on Sunday and Monday. Alerts to residents of southern towns to take shelter from rockets punctuated radio programmes.
Israeli authorities said they planned to keep most of these schools shut also on Tuesday, and that a commercial crossing with Gaza, the territory’s main trade and supply conduit from Egypt and Israel, would also be closed for the day.
Islamic Jihad and the PRC, armed groups largely independent of Islamist Hamas, have said they fired most of the scores of rockets launched at Israel since Friday.
Some experts in Gaza believe Hamas had provided some smaller groups with ammunition but avoided direct participation out of concern Israel would step up its attacks in the enclave.
Hamas is also eager to avoid any long-term military campaign as it struggles to adapt to political upheaval in Arab countries such as Egypt, which shares a border with Gaza, and in Syria, where the group has abandoned its traditional headquarters.
But efforts to negotiate a truce seemed elusive. Ibrahim Haniyeh, the Hamas leader in Gaza, blamed Israel’s attacks.
In a statement on Tuesday evening Haniyeh said: “Efforts are continuing to protect our people but the path to restoring calm is difficult because of the continued aggression.”
Washington – Israel’s principle ally – and the United Nations expressed concern at the violence.
“Once again civilians are paying a terrible price,” Ban told the UN Security Council. He denounced rocket attacks on Israel as “unacceptable” and urged Israel to “exercise maximum restraint”.
In her remarks to the council, Clinton condemned the rocket fire at Israel and urged both sides to restore calm. But she did not specifically mention the Israeli air strikes nor the dozens of Palestinian casualties.
France and Russia also both appealed for an end to the fighting and stressed the need to avoid civilian suffering.
Arab League Secretary-General Nabil al-Araby issued a statement in Cairo condemning the Israeli raids and urged the Security Council to step in and “stop the aggression”.
Gaza, home to 1.7 million people, was under Israeli occupation from 1967 until 2005 and remains under blockade.
Hamas has controlled Gaza since 2007 and is fighting for an independent Palestinian state but has shunned the stalled peace process supervised by international powers and refuses to recognise the Jewish state.
Islamic Jihad is less influential than Hamas but shares the same ideology, which advocates Israel’s ultimate destruction.

( / 12.03.2012)

Are infidels the property of Muslims? Protecting the Sanctity of Life from Al-Qaeda and Boko-Haram


Most Muslims understand that Islam condemns terrorismviolent revolutions, and church bombings that target innocent men, women, and children. It is one of the well-known objectives of Islam to protect life, even for animals. But the violent extremists in Al-Qaeda and Boko-Haram are operating upon deceitful principles that contradict the very message of the Noble Quran. In their attempt to justify killing and robbing innocent people, these extremists take the following rule as their guide:

As for the non-Muslims- the original ruling is not sanctity- rather, it is permissibility. Shedding the blood of the kuffar, seizing their wealth, and removing their honor [by enslavement] – these actions are all Halal [permissible]. And it is not forbidden to spill their blood, seize their wealth, nor remove their honor- nor is it forbidden to harm him; Except for an external (i.e. secondary) matter, such as an ‘Ahd [covenant], Thimmah [tribute], or Aman [security, and also Hudnah (a pact of pausing the hostilities for a limited amount of time)].

In other words, the lives of “Kuffar” (which for them includes most Muslims) are not sacred and have no inherent value. What they are saying is that Al-Qaeda has the right – rather, the duty – to kill non-Muslims and steal their wealth. Their principle is, in fact, the exact opposite of the non-aggression principle in Islam.

Their “proof” for this manifest falsehood is to misquote the verse of the sword, since they can find no other proof for this position. The unanimous consensus of Muslim jurists concerning the duty to honor peace treaties does not deter them, since they have declared every ruler in the world to be an infidel and thus reject all peace treaties currently in effect. Never will you see them cite the verses and traditions that prove Islam is peace. Neither does the Messenger of Allah’s صلى الله عليه وسلم warning stir their hearts:

مَنْ قَتَلَ نَفْسًا مُعَاهَدًا لَمْ يَرَحْ رَائِحَةَ الْجَنَّةِ، وَإِنَّ رِيحَهَا يُوجَدُ مِنْ مَسِيرَةِ أَرْبَعِينَ عَامًا

Whoever kills a person protected by a treaty will never smell the fragrance of Paradise, and indeed its fragrance can be found a distance of forty years of travel.

[Sahih Bukhari, Volume 9, Book 83, Number 49]

In light of this Hadith, a Muslim with even an ounce of taqwa (fear of God) would think twice before killing a citizen in any country. Then, how does Al-Qaeda bypass the Prophet’s well-known prohibition of killing women and children? By claiming that the only reason women and children are spared is because they are property, i.e. slaves. According to their deviant logic, if they can argue that killing non-combatant women and children is more beneficial to Muslims than they would serve as slaves, they will allow terrorism:

If it is said: “If they (the kuffar) do this to us- meaning that they kill our children and women- Then do we then kill them?” The apparent [Thahir] is that it is (permissible) for us to kill their women and children – even if it means that we lose profit/ benefit from it [since keeping them alive is a profit/ benefit because they become the property of the Muslims]; (and killing them in this situation is permissible) due to it threatening the hearts of the enemies and a humiliation for them… And to (purposely) destroy property (which could later belong) for the Muslims (by killing them in this case) is nothing strange.

For these vicious murderers, the lives of “Kuffar” (which include many practicing Muslims) are no more than property, chattel, slaves, something to be discarded as anyone would discard a worn-out pair of trousers. No doubt, they have pulled this worthless opinion from the bowels of some second-rate jurist from the classical period. Yet, this is not the opinion of Sheikh Al-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah, who explicitly rejects their view:

وإن كان بعضهم يرى إباحة قتل الجميع لمجرد الكفر ؛ إلا النساء والصبيان ؛ لكونهم مالاً للمسلمين . والأول هو الصواب ؛ لأن القتال هو لمن يقاتلنا ، إذا أردنا إظهار دين الله

Some (jurists) are of the opinion that all of them may be killed, on the mere ground that they are unbelievers, but they make an exception for women and children since they constitute property for Muslims. However, the first opinion is the correct one, because we may only fight those who fight us when we want to make Allah’s religion victorious.

[As-Siyasa Ash-Shariyyah]

Behold their hypocrisy that they attribute themselves to the Sheikh while they throw his words into the trash whenever it suits them! Dear brothers and sisters, know that these extremist groups have decided long ago that they were going to murder and steal from “Kuffar,” so they only cherry-pick from the Book and the Sunnah and the scholars what supports their blood-lust for spoils. The beautiful example of the Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم is lost on them.

In contrast, the vast majority of Muslims in every school of thought accept the inherent value and protection of all life, even nonbelievers, as stated in the Cairo Declaration of Human Rights in Islam, Article 2:

Life is a God-given gift and the right to life is guaranteed to every human being. It is the duty of individuals, societies and states to safeguard this right against any violation, and it is prohibited to take away life except for a Sharia-prescribed reason.

The protection of life is, in fact, one of the classical objectives of Islamic Law, derived from numerous verses of the Noble Quran and reports in the Authentic Sunnah. The protection of life is so important that the Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم was compelled to say during his farewell sermon:

 فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ قَدْ حَرَّمَ بَيْنَكُمْ دِمَاءَكُمْ وَأَمْوَالَكُمْ كَحُرْمَةِ يَوْمِكُمْ هَذَا فِي شَهْرِكُمْ هَذَا فِي بَلَدِكُمْ هَذَا أَبَلَّغْتُ

Indeed, Allah has made sacred your lives and wealth just as He has made sacred this day of yours, this month of yours, this country of yours. Have I not conveyed the message?

[Musnad Ahmad, Number 22978]

The idea that nonbelievers in general can be attacked and robbed is flatly contradicted by an authentic report from the Messenger of Allah. During the period of ignorance, Al-Mughirah accompanied some people, murdered them, and took their wealth and then he later accepted Islam. When the Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم heard about this, he said:

أَمَّا الْإِسْلَامُ فَقَدْ قَبِلْنَا وَأَمَّا الْمَالُ فَإِنَّهُ مَالُ غَدْرٍ لَا حَاجَةَ لَنَا فِيهِ

As for your Islam, we have accepted it. But in regard to the wealth, it is the wealth of treachery. We have no need for it.

[Sunan Abu Dawud, Book 15, Number 2765]

There was no peace treaty in this case: no ‘Ahd, no Dhimmah, no Hudna, no Aman, no Mithaq, and yet Al-Mughirah was sinful for killing people who were polytheists. The Messenger of Allah rejected his deeds and labeled this an act of treachery. For most Muslims, the value of life demonstrated by the Messenger of Allah is common sense. But for Al-Qaeda, it is evident that they have no sense.


Al-Qaeda and Boko-Haram are followers of the ideology of the Khawarij, which is based upon three key deviations:

  1. Declaring other Muslims to be infidels.
  2. Declaring violent rebellion against Muslim leaders.
  3. Declaring the lawfulness of unlawful bloodshed.

Like cunning lawyers, they look for loopholes in the Fiqh (jurisprudence) of the past to open the way for them to collect the spoils of an unjust war. They are not Mujahidin (struggling in the way of Allah). Rather, they are nothing more than a criminal gang looking for excuses to commit crimes. It is sufficient as a response to them to mention the Messenger of Allah’s صلى الله عليه وسلم warning:

لاَ تَرْجِعُوا بَعْدِي كُفَّارًا يَضْرِبُ بَعْضُكُمْ رِقَابَ بَعْضٍ

Do not return to unbelief after me by killing each other.

[Sahih Muslim, Book 1, Number 124]

The Muslims are left to wonder how much Faith can remain in a heart that justifies the merciless and relentless slaughter of innocent people.

Success comes from Allah, and Allah knows best.

( / 12.03.2012)

Israel carries out more extrajudicial executions in Gaza

Israel carries out more extrajudicial executions in GazaDr. Ashrawi condemned Israel’s ongoing aggression against the Palestinian people in Gaza.

Israel’s latest missile strikes on the besieged Gaza Strip have been described as “more extrajudicial executions” by a leading member of the PLO Executive Committee. Dr. Hanan Ashrawi said that this is the way in which Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “wants to destabilise the region, provoke the Palestinians and drag them into a violent confrontation”.

In a press release, Dr. Ashrawi condemned Israel’s ongoing aggression against the Palestinian people in Gaza, which has resulted in dozens of people being killed and wounded, including children. She said that this is a flagrant violation of international law and resolutions: “What is happening in Gaza is a blatant attempt to interfere in Palestinian domestic affairs to prevent national reconciliation and to boost the popularity of Netanyahu in the upcoming elections, as he escapes from his legal and political responsibilities at the cost of Palestinian blood.” The failure of Israel to provoke a military confrontation with Iran has pushed it to create a vicious cycle of violence in Palestine before the eyes and ears of the world, she added.

The veteran politician demanded that the international community, the UN Security Council and the Middle East Quartet should lift the political and legal impunity that Israel enjoys and intervene immediately to stop the killings and prevent further escalation. The world, said Ashrawi, must provide immediate protection for the Palestinian people, lift the unjust siege on the Gaza Strip, take serious measures to hold Israel accountable for its violations and end the occupation, giving the Palestinians their right to self-determination in their own land.

( / 12.03.2012)

Imam komt om bij aanslag op Brusselse moskee

Bij een aanslag op een moskee in de Brusselse wijk Anderlecht is een dode gevallen. Een verdachte is aangehouden, zo meldde de politie.

De aanslag had rond 19 uur plaats. De brandweer had de brand naar eigen zeggen snel onder controle. De schade bleef dan ook beperkt tot de benedenverdieping. Maar boven troffen de blussers een levenloos lichaam aan. Het dodelijke slachtoffer bleek niet verbrand en moet zijn gestikt in de rook, zo meldde de brandweer.

Een onderzoek naar de aanslag is opgestart.

( / 12.03.2012)