UNRWA denies staff left Gaza

GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — The UN agency for Palestinian refugees on Tuesday denied rumors its staff had vacated the Gaza Strip during Israel’s latest offensive.
UNRWA spokesman Adnan Abu Hasna said in a statement that employees did not leave Gaza on Israeli orders or because of escalating tensions earlier in March.

UNRWA staff remain in Gaza and will not leave, Abu Hasna said, adding that the agency’s employees were in the enclave to serve the people, particularly in difficult times.

He noted that UNRWA’s international employees who were on vacation when Israel’s launched its December 2008 war on Gaza returned to the enclave during the offensive.

UNRWA’s regional headquarters are in Gaza and staff often travel, he added.

(www.maannews.net / 27.03.2012)

Hospital ‘may consider force-feeding’ Shalabi

A boy holds a poster depicting Hana Shalabi during a rally in her support in Gaza City on March 25. The writing on the poster reads: “My strike is a protest againstadministrative arrests and strip-searches.”
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — The ethics committee of Meir Hospital may consider force-feeding hunger-striking detainee Hana Shalabi, human rights organizations said Monday.

The committee will meet Tuesday to discuss Shalabi’s case and could discuss force-feeding her, Addameer prisoner rights group and Physicians for Human Rights-Israel said in a joint statement.

Amnesty International warned forcible feeding “could constitute cruel and inhuman treatment,” a release from the group said.

Shalabi has been on hunger strike for 40 days since she was detained from her home in the northern West Bank. On March 20 she was transferred to Meir Hospital in central Israel.

A doctor from PHR-Israel visited Shalabi on Monday and reported that on Saturday she had agreed to receive calcium and vitamin K to protect her from immediate heart attack.

The doctor said Shalabi’s muscle atrophy and wasting had increased on Monday including her heart muscle. She still refuses food and is in danger of death, the doctor said.

Addameer and PHR-Israel expressed their dismay that an Israeli military court on Sunday rejected Shalabi’s appeal against her administrative detention order.

Amnesty International also condemned the decision, noting that “the judge’s decision was based on secret evidence not disclosed to Hana Shalabi or her defense team.

“The judge also claimed that a medical report, submitted by the lawyers, did not provide information which suggested that Hana Shalabi’s state of health is a cause for concern,” Amnesty said in a statement Monday.

Shalabi, 29, is sentenced to four months imprisonment without trial. She is refusing food to protest the order and her violent arrest and treatment.

Lawyer Jawad Bulus, a member of her legal team, said he submitted a petition to the Israeli high court on Monday demanding her release.

(www.maannews.net / 27.03.2012)

BDS victory: Norwegian retailer de-shelves Ahava

The Norwegian retailer VITA announced on Friday they will no longer carry products made by Ahava, citing a decision to stop selling all settlement products produced in occupied Palestine. VITA’s decision to boycott the settlement company comes one month after a major Japanese retailer cut ties with the cosmetic company. Since 2007 Codepink’s Stolen Beauty campaign has targeted Ahava for their role in profiting from the Israeli occupation.

Today the Norwegian People’s Aid and the Norwegian Union of Municipal and General Employees posted the victory:

Norwegian retail chain VITA made public on Friday their decision to stop all sales of products originating from settlements in occupied Palestine. VITA will therefore stop selling products from the cosmetics brand Ahava. VITA has been the main retailer of Ahava products in Norway, and this decision will be a serious blow to the sales of Ahava products in Norway.

The principled decision by VITA not to buy products from Israeli settlements in the West Bank is based on a position of not wanting to contribute to violations of international law. This is also the position of Norgesgruppen, a company holding 49% of the shares in VITA. BAMA, another Norgesgruppen company has implemented the same policy regarding Israeli fruit and vegetables for several years already.

The VITA decision comes after a period of active lobbying from Norwegian People’s Aid and the Norwegian Union of Municipal and General Employees (Fagforbundet), providing VITA and VITA’s owners with information about Ahava and their production in the Mitzpe Shalem settlement. Activists in Norway have also focused on Ahava and will now launch a new campaign to have other stores follow VITA’s example.


(mondoweiss.net / 27.03.2012)

Implicit alliance of Egypt’s Islamists and military rulers shows cracks

Egyptian army chief Field Marshall Hussein Tantawi (L) and Brotherhood General Guide Mohammed Badei have not been able to make an alliance between the two groups work. (File photo)

Egyptian army chief Field Marshall Hussein Tantawi (L) and Brotherhood General Guide Mohammed Badei have not been able to make an alliance between the two groups work.
An alliance that was formed following the overthrow of Hosni Mubarak between Egypt’s powerful Muslim Brotherhood group and the intractable ruling generals has exhibited cracks in the recent weeks as the country moves closer to the presidential race.

Both parties built up their strengths in the shade during Mubarak’s 30-year rule. The military took advantage of billions of dollars in U.S. military aid to strengthen itself far from the public limelight, while the Muslim brotherhood built up a massive underground network that brought it closer to the lives of millions of Egyptians.

In the wake of the Jan. 25 revolution, both forces made their presence felt in the country’s political center stage. Both appeared to understand one another’s might, agenda, and the need for mutual cooperation, which developed into an alliance – however implicit this might be. The coming together of the two forces in the post-revolutionary Egypt spared the country a clash of the titans.

Coming under fire from liberal groups last year, the military moved closer to the Brotherhood and succumbed to its “less painful” demands in several occasions to win their support. For the generals, winning the support of Egypt’s most powerful political bloc was essential for steering the boat in the direction of their intended objective, which looks more like a democracy, but not a democracy. They want a system in which elected officials manage domestic affairs but have little say on strategic matters.

While everyone was busy talking about a “Turkish model” that reconciles Islam with democracy, the generals in Cairo appeared to be heading towards a “Turkish model” in which a “pasha” general – like the leader of Turkey’s 1980 military coup, Kenan Evren – acts as the custodian of the state’s strategic issues, especially when it comes to foreign policy, including primarily the relation with the United States and Israel.

Muslim Brotherhood leaderships, appearing to have learned from decades of enmity with Egyptian rulers, decided this time it was in their best interest to support the military in the path to democracy, because they are all but certain to emerge as the victors.

The two forces had interests in joint collaboration during the transitional period, but their starkly different – if not opposing – visions of the future dictated their inevitable breakup – and the cracks are emerging.

The Muslim Brotherhood’s political arm, the Freedom and Justice Party (FJP), has expressed cynicism over the military council’s staunch support for the cabinet of Prime Minister Kamal al-Ganzouri.

“Is it a desire to abort the revolution and destroy the people’s belief in their ability to achieve their goals? Or is there an intention to defraud or influence the forthcoming presidential election?” the Brotherhood’s party asked in a statement.

“If anyone intends to reproduce the former corrupt regime with new faces, the people are ready to move in order to revive their revolution,” the Islamist party threatened.

The military and the Brotherhood have worked together – or rather played together – in an often climate of distrust, which never burst into the open until last week.

Egypt’s military ruler Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi said he could not take it anymore. “We were careful not to be provoked, but what happened recently is enough.” Sounding the warning bell, he called “on all to be aware of history’s lessons not to repeat past mistakes.”

At this stage in Egypt’s transition, the Muslim Brotherhood likely realized that it and the military have two different understandings of democracy.

Unlike the generals, Islamists want a democracy in which elected officials and public institutions would have full power over the military and the country’s foreign policy. The ruling generals, under pressure from Washington, will never accept this…at least without a fight. It is Israel’s security here which is at stake!

(english.alarabiya.net / 27.03.2012)

Nederlandse F-16’s gooien bommen in Farah

DEN HAAG – Twee Nederlandse F-16’s hebben zaterdag in het westen van Afghanistan een aantal bommen afgeworpen om een aanval van Afghaanse opstandelingen op een Italiaanse legerbasis te stoppen.

Het was de eerste keer dat de gevechtsvliegtuigen wapens hebben ingezet sinds ze in Mazar-e-Sharif in het noorden van het land zijn gestationeerd om de politietrainingsmissie te ondersteunen.

Dat heeft een woordvoerder van Defensie dinsdag gezegd. De F-16’s waren in de lucht voor een reguliere missie toen ze opdracht kregen te assisteren bij de actie tegen de gewelddadigheden bij de Italiaanse voorpost in de westelijke provincie Farah, bij de grens met Iran.

Die basis werd door opstandelingen beschoten met mortiergranaten. Daardoor kwam een Italiaanse militair om het leven. Vijf anderen raakten gewond.


De Nederlandse F-16’s, die sinds november vanuit Mazar-e-Sharif opereren, kwamen in actie op verzoek van de Italianen. De coalitietroepen deden de afgelopen maanden vaker een beroep op de Nederlanders om grondtroepen in nood te assisteren, maar daarbij was het niet nodig wapens in te zetten.

Wel voerden ze soms een zogeheten ‘show of force’ uit, waarmee de piloten hun aanwezigheid laten zien om daarmee vijanden af te schrikken. Ook hebben ze lichtfakkels gebruikt om tegenstanders af te schrikken. Alleen in het uiterste geval worden wapens ingezet.

In Mazar-e-Sharif staan 4 Nederlandse F-16’s paraat. De jachtvliegtuigen worden onder meer ingezet om bermbommen op te sporen.

(www.nu.nl / 27.03.2012)

Jailed Fatah leader calls to end ties with Israel

Jailed Fatah leader Marwan Barghouti is accompanied by Israeli prison guards after a deliberation at Jerusalem Magistrate’s court, January 25, 2012. From his cell in an Israeli prison, Barghouti called on Monday for a new wave of civil resistance in their decades-long quest for statehood and for severing all ties with Israel.

RAMALLAH (Reuters) — From his cell in an Israeli prison, one of the most revered figures in Palestinian politics called on Monday for a new wave of civil resistance in the decades-long quest for statehood, and for severing all ties with Israel.

Marwan Barghouti is a leading figure in the Fatah movement. His leadership and charisma were seen as a driving force behind the last intifada, or uprising, against Israeli occupation launched in late 2000.

His views continue to have deep currency with the Palestinian public and he enjoys wide support across the contending array of Palestinian factions. It is widely speculated that Israel might at some point release Barghouti.

“The launch of large-scale popular resistance at this stage serves the cause of our people,” Barghouti said in a statement commemorating the tenth year of his imprisonment by Israel.

“Stop marketing the illusion that there is a possibility of ending the occupation and achieving a state through negotiations after this vision has failed miserably,” he said in a message read to a crowd of supporters in the West Bank city of Ramallah.

Despite his multiple life sentences on charges of orchestrating lethal attacks and suicide bombings, Barghouti is viewed as a potential successor to President Mahmoud Abbas, who is also Fatah’s leader.

The call to action comes at a combustible period in the West Bank, occupied by Israel since a war in 1967, as economic malaise, moribund diplomacy, and simmering popular discontent bode ill for any peaceful breakthroughs.

Some fear that planned Palestinian commemorations of an annual protest against Israeli land confiscations on Friday, including marches to Jerusalem, could erupt in violence.

A 40-day long hunger strike by female detainee Hana Shalabi and a similar campaign by dozens of other Palestinians in Israeli custody are also firing popular anger.

In his address, Barghouti called for “stopping all forms of security and economic coordination (with Israel) in all areas immediately,” which would upend years of often volatile but persistent coexistence between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

The Palestinian leadership in the West Bank, while lending rhetorical support to protests and pursuing recognition in various bodies of the United Nations, has until now cleaved to a more non-confrontational policy.

After Abbas’s government scored a minor victory in persuading the UN’s Human Rights Council in Geneva to investigate Israel’s settlement policy, Barghouti argued for more drastic action.

He called for “a renewal of efforts” to achieve recognition of Palestinian statehood at the UN Security Council, an effort which failed last year when Washington backed Israel’s rejection of the resolution as a unilateral move to sidestep negotiations.

Barghouti said that the Palestinians should take their statehood case to the General Assembly or other agencies as an alternative, alluding to forums in which the Palestinians have wider support.

(www.maannews.net / 27.03.2012)

In wat voor God gelooft de moslim?

Het concept van God in de islam wordt beschreven in een van de kortere hoofdstukken van de koran: “Zeg: Hij is God, de Enige; de Eeuwige, Zichzelf-genoeg; Hij verwekte niet, noch werd Hij verwekt; en niemand is in enig opzicht aan Hem gelijk.” (112: 1-4)

Het centrale concept in de islam is de absolute eenheid van God; niet alleen in aantal, maar ook wat (Zijn) Heerschappij, Eigenschappen en Goddelijkheid betreft. Geen enkele andere persoon of ander wezen deelt deze met Hem.

In de islam is God zowel alles-overstijgend als persoonlijk. God overstijgt alles omdat Hij wat Zijn essentie betreft, op niets uit Zijn schepping lijkt. We kunnen de essentie van God niet bevatten, omdat Hij wat dat betreft, het menselijk begrip te boven gaat. Moslims bidden tot deze universele God. God is tegelijkertijd een persoonlijke God, omdat we Zijn Eigenschappen kunnen (leren) kennen door na te denken over Zijn Werken in het universum. Door bijvoorbeeld na te denken over de balans en het evenwicht in het universum en het leven op aarde, kunnen we concluderen dat Hij rechtvaardig is.

De islam kwam om een einde te maken aan het aanbidden van afgoden en het toeschrijven van partners aan de ene ware God. In de islam is het verboden om naast de Schepper, God Almachtig, een persoon, beeld of ander ding te aanbidden. Hoe heilig iemand ook is, men mag niet tot hem of haar bidden of hem of haar aanbidden. Deze vormen van toewijding mogen namelijk alleen tot God gericht worden, zonder dat daar enige tussenpersoon voor nodig is.

De veronderstelling in de vraag, kan voortkomen uit het gebruik van het woord “Allah.” Wanneer mensen dit woord niet kennen, kunnen zij denken dat moslims in een persoon geloven, die Allah genoemd wordt. In het Arabisch is Allah het woord voor God. Aangezien de koran in het Arabisch werd geopenbaard, is de naam ‘Allah’ gebruikt. Zowel Christelijke Arabieren als moslims noemen God, in hun eigen taal, Allah. Daar komt nog bij dat het woord Allah uniek is, aangezien er geen meervoud (zoals “goden’ in het Nederlands), mannelijke of vrouwelijke vorm (zoals godin) of verkleinvorm (zoals godje) van bestaat. In dit opzicht, beschouwen moslims ‘Allah’ als de meest passende naam voor God.

Tenslotte, wordt Mohammed (vzmh)[1] op geen enkele manier door moslims aanbeden. Hij wordt niet als goddelijk beschouwd. Hij is een mens, net als wij, maar met de belangrijke taak van een openbaring-brengende profeet.

[1]Vzmh staat voor ‘vrede zij met hem,’een uitdrukking van respect, die voor alle profeten uitgesproken wordt.

(www.vraagislam.nl / 27.03.2012)

Jordanian Gov’t Allows Million-Man March towards Jerusalem

TEHRAN (FNA)- Jordanian authorities confirmed that they will permit a planned Global March to Jerusalem in the Jordan Valley on Friday.

According to the Public Security Department (PSD), authorities will allow Islamist activists to lead a march as part of global demonstrations “in support of Jerusalem”.

PSD Spokesperson Lt. Col. Mohammed Khatib said a “heavy” security presence will be deployed to maintain order during Friday’s march, when Islamists and pro-Palestinian activists are expected to converge near the Kingdom’s borders with the West Bank.

The PSD’s confirmation comes amidst reports in the Israeli press that Jordanian authorities had agreed to prevent the march from reaching the border area upon Tel Aviv’s request.

In a press statement on Saturday, Minister of State for Media Affairs and Communications and Government Spokesman Rakan Majali denied that the government has received any request from Israel to prevent the demonstration, stressing that authorities “cannot prevent” functions that are “peaceful, non-violent and do not threaten the Kingdom’s security”.

Meanwhile, the Islamist movement stressed that the march will be “peaceful and well organized”, dismissing fears of participants attempting to storm the border as “baseless”.

Kathem Ayesh, a Muslim Brotherhood shura council member and march organizer, said they will ensure that participants will not stray from the designated rally site, pointing out that Islamists held a similar rally in the Jordan Valley last November without incident.

“This will be a peaceful rally in support of Jerusalem, not a call to storm Jerusalem,” Ayesh told The Jordan Times.

Activists from across the country plan to gather in the village of Kafrein near the Baptism Site, some 10km from the Kingdom’s border with the Palestinian territories, following noon prayers.

Organizers say they have no concerns about a repeat of May 2011, when clashes erupted between so-called thugs, security forces and participants at a rally marking the anniversary of Nakba, or catastrophe. The event also witnessed multiple attempts by activists to storm the border.

“We are taking every precaution possible and are coordinating with concerned authorities to make sure our call for the end to the occupation is a peaceful call,” Ayesh said.

A large number of renowned figures from across the world have voiced their support for the upcoming Global March to Jerusalem due to take place on March 30th, 2012.

The Global March to Jerusalem will take place on Friday 30th March 2012 where hundreds of committees and campaigns all over the six continents will participate in order to highlight the suffering the people of Jerusalem are going through as a result of the occupation’s Zionist and racist practices.

The slogan of the March will be “Peoples of the world demand the freedom for Jerusalem… People of the world demand to end the occupation of Palestine”.

Friday’s rally comes under the umbrella of the Global March to Jerusalem, which will feature the participation of activists in 80 countries, with rallies planned on the borders of Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories with Jordan, Egypt and Lebanon.

(english.farsnews.com / 27.03.2012)

Irish Mayor travelling to Gaza to officially sign historic twinning with Gaza City

Irish Mayor travelling to Gaza to officially sign historic twinning with Gaza City


On Wednesday March 28th, the Mayor of Moyle District Council, Padraig McShane, will arrive in Gaza to officially sign the historic twinning agreement between the Irish council, and the Gaza City Municipality.

Following 3 successful democratic votes over the past few months, the latest on Monday night past, Moyle District Council officially passed the twinning agreement. On March 17th, the Gaza City Municipality also voted to back the twinning agreement.

Moyle District Council is in the North East of Ireland, and within its district are the stunning Glens of Antrim, Bushmills which is world famous for its whiskey, and the Giants Causeway, which is a UNESCO world heritage site.

While in Gaza, Padraig will meet with the Mayor of Gaza City, and in addition to signing the official twinning agreement, he will visit the land where the “Moyle Peace Park” will be constructed. He will also visit the Al Awda Hospital to meet doctors and patients, as well as The Artificial Limbs & Polio Centre.

In October 2010, Padraig traveled to Gaza as part of a Humanitarian Aid convoy. In Gaza, he donated his van and over £30,000 of medical and educational aid to the Al Awda Hospital and the Jana charity that works with disabled children. The vehicle and aid were donated on behalf of the people of Moyle District who worked tirelessly to play their part in helping the people of Gaza who have been living under the Israeli enforced siege for over 5 years now.


(gazatvnews.com / 27.03.2012)

Hyderabad Stands Up For Palestine, Supports The Global March To Jerusalem

O People of Palestine we are with you were the voices that resonated the surroundings of Indira Park Hyderabad, as the people of Hyderabad displayed their solidarity with Palestine in the one mile long march held in support of the global march to Jerusalem on Sunday 25th March 2012 by SIO (Students Islamic Organization of India) and Friends of Palestine.

With the flags of Palestine waving the chants against the Israeli occupation and aggression grew louder and louder, the silence of UNO against Israeli terrorism in Gaza was condemned by all those who participated in the march and people demanded that Government of India must formulate its foreign policy on equality and Justice a concept that was laid down by the Father of Nation Gandhiji himself.

The prominent speakers included social activist and columnist Muthu Krishnan, and the Ex-Editor of Tehelka Magazine Ajit Sahi. After the opening of ceremony with recitation of Glorious Quran, many distinguished speakers addressed the gathering but one person who stole the show was Ajit Sahi, with his sheer eloquence and deep insight of Palestinian issue he said that Palestine is not just a cause of Muslims, Arabs or a region rather Palestine represents the fight against injustice it represents the fight against oppression.

Describing the people of Gaza he said despite being in extremely harsh conditions, despite being marginalized and oppressed the people of Gaza are the freest people on the earth, they laugh, they eat and inspite of them being subjected to extreme form of oppression they still think about Tibet, Kashmir, Syria. Ajit Sahi further said that one day they will be free from the clutches of the plundering nations who are now eyeing the oil on the shores of Gaza. The people of Palestine will not only get liberated but will help liberate the rest of the world.

“Israel is as Jewish as much as RSS is Hindu – am a Hindu and I know Hinduism do not have place to accommodate the ideology of RSS”, said Ajit Sahi, he further said that as Indian Government do not represent you and me so does the Israeli Government do not represent the whole of Jews. He supported his view by giving the example of many Jews who participated in Palestine Tribunal held in South Africa last month.

Many other speakers of the event emphasized the importance of Masjid-al-Aqsa, and warned the ummah with regards to the dangers that Al Aqsa Mosque is facing, the concept of Greater Israel and the unqualified support of America to Israel were roundly condemned, the silence of the world to this barbarism was challenged.

Mr. Muthu Krishnan and Mr. Ajit Sahi both are taking part in the Global March to Jerusalem and said they will convey the support of people of Hyderabad to Palestine.

(www.islamicnewsdaily.com / 27.03.2012)