PCHR Denounces Israel For Denying Entry To Peace Activists | #Airflotilla2

This is a press release by the Palestinian Center for Human Rights, based in Gaza, denouncing Israel for preventing solidarity activists from across Europe traveling to the occupied Palestinian territories.

Still From Welcome To Palestine Video

PCHR Condemns Banning of Dozens of European Solidarity Activists by Israel from traveling to the oPt

The Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) condemns the prevention of dozens of international solidarity activists participating in the “Welcome to Palestine Campaign” from entering Israel by the Israeli police.

We also condemn their detention as they arrived at Ben Gurion International Airport, imprisoning and subjecting them to cruel and inhumane treatment. PCHR calls upon the international community to exert pressure on the Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) and compel them to allow these activists to have access to the Occupied Palestinian Territory (oPt).

Activists have the right to express their solidarity with the Palestinian just cause. Their rights should not be violated by Israel or other countries, which granted security facilities to Israel and took measures against them in their airports and through their airlines to prevent activists from access to the oPt.

Hundreds of international solidarity activists were supposed to arrive at the Ben Gurion International Airport in Israel on Sunday, 15 April 2012, to participate in the Welcome to Palestine Campaign and express solidarity with Palestinians and their just cause.

However, the Israeli authorities took very strict measures aimed at preventing those activists from entering Israel, including sending lists with the names of some activists to international airlines to obstruct their traveling to Israel. Additionally, the Israeli authorities declared a state of high alert at the Ben Gurion International Airport in preparation for the arrival of the activists.

Media sources reported that the Israeli police blocked 43 of them and arrested another 31, held them in prisons in Israel and then deported them to their countries. The Israeli authorizes used violence to prevent activists from accessing Israel. A video published in the media showed an Israeli officer attacking an international activist in the Jordan Valley as the activist was participating in a march on bikes which was organized as part of solidarity activities with the Palestinian cause.

It should be noted that IOF have been preventing international human rights activists wishing to observe human rights violations committed by IOF in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, from entering the oPt for several years. In July 2011, IOF prevented hundreds of international solidarity activists from accessing the West Bank through al-Karama International Crossing Point on the Jordanian border or the Ben Gurion International Airport.

PCHR reiterates its condemnation of Israel’s actions against solidarity activists and:

1. Totally supports the efforts exerted by international solidarity activists in support of the Palestinian cause. PCHR appreciates the role played by these activists who are eyewitnesses to crimes committed by IOF against Palestinian civilians. PCHR calls upon international organizations, including human rights organizations, bar associations and international solidarity committees to engage more actively in the prosecution of Israeli war criminals and to urge their governments to bring those criminals to court.

2. Disapproves the position of European airlines that surrendered to Israeli claims and cancelled bookings of dozens of international solidarity activists who intended to travel to the oPt via the Ben Gurion International Airport.

(occupiedpalestine.wordpress.com / 18.04.2012)

The right to speak up in Gaza

Tom Dale speaks to Abu Yazan, a leading member of Gaza Youth Break Out. He has been persecuted by Israel, Fatah and Hamas, and was in exile in Cairo when this interview was carried out in December 2011.

Abu Yazan 

Gaza Youth Break Out came to global attention in January 2011 with a controversial manifesto that began ‘Fuck Israel. Fuck Hamas. Fuck Fatah.’ Some dismissed them as a Facebook phenomenon but nothing more. Two months later, on 15 March, they brought tens of thousands of Palestinians onto the streets to demand an end to squabbling between the factions. Hamas and Fatah appeared to give way, and signed a unity accord in May. However, as in the other countries where elites have appeared to give ground to the Arab Spring, there has been resistance to real change. Abu Yazan is a leading member of GYBO.

Were you ever in trouble with the authorities before last year? 

I’m not the kind of person who knows how to shut up.  In 2005, me and some trusted friends wrote a manifesto talking about the Palestinian Authority and the way it rules us.  It caused some trouble.  I didn’t put it out under any name, but the Palestinian intelligence found out.

They arrested me and two other friends.  They took us to their leader.  He started telling us, “what you did is dangerous, you’re gonna be killed, executed.”  We told him, whatever: as long as we believe in what we’re doing we’re gonna keep doing it.  They took us to prison and they left us there.  Our families did not know anything about us for 45 days.

What about when Hamas took over in Gaza? 

We still had a corrupt regime, and we had a stupid situation.  Gaza is one country and the West Bank is another country.  One is runby Hamas and one is run by Fatah.

We needed to change that situation.  And if you look at any youth in Gaza when they graduate they never get a job.  And if ever they gets a job, it’s not really well paid.  And you never have a dream, to think of the future.  So you either leave the country or you start thinking, how do I change this situation?

I started reading books about non-violent resistance, Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, all these people.  I had a new understanding. And I talked about it with my friends.  We were sitting in a coffee shop, we started thinking about GYBO, how to do it.  We wrote the manifesto in 30 minutes.  We put it online.  Then we started planning for the future.

Before the creation of GYBO, before March 15, we had this phenomenon in Gaza: you never criticise the political movements.  If you criticise Hamas you’re always gonna be called a collaborator.  If you criticise Fatah you’re never going to have a job.  If you criticise Israel you’ll never be able to leave Gaza.  You never criticise anyone. But when we created GYBO we thought of breaking this wall of silence.  To say what we have in mind without taking into consideration what other people think of us.

What was the importance of the 15 March demonstrations? 

We had a revolution in Gaza.  We were able to get almost 100,000 people on the street on 15 March.  And this revolution was for the reconciliation between the political movements.  Our message, to our leaders, was to stop looking at their narrow political interests and look at Palestine.  Fatah and Hamas were created to serve Palestine, not the opposite.  But today they’re using Palestine for their own interests.

We started planning how to do it, when to do it, where to do it.  We started studying scenarios of what Hamas’s reaction is gonna be.  Where we need to move if Hamas attacks us, how we need to move. We started gathering all the plans we needed until we put them into operation on the 15 March.  We put a lot of pressure on.

Our movement lasted until the 30 March.  They attacked us on the 15 March, so we didn’t continue that day.  But every 2 days we started going out from universities, from markets, from hospitals.  Talking about the situation, saying “we’re not satisfied people, we need to end this division, we need to have reconciliation.”

Hamas and Fatah signed a reconciliation agreement after a few months.  But we paid a very great price for that.  Many of my friends got arrested by Hamas. I got arrested several times.  Every time they arrested me they used to ask me ‘who’s Abu Yazan?’  Abu Yazan is my fake name, it’s not my real name.  They didn’t know me.

In August, after you returned from a media conference in France, you were arrested by Hamas after they discovered that you were ‘Abu Yazan’.  What happened?

They sent a notice saying that I should come right away to the internal security office.  They left me for four or five hours without asking me any questions.  I was sitting in a small chair, facing the wall, and I couldn’t even move.  If I did, I was gonna have someone hit me, so I didn’t move the whole time, for 5 or 6 hours. They gave me water and food, but the first day when I ate the food I threw up, it was really disgusting.  So I just didn’t eat.

They started asking me about the activities of GYBO.  And I always gave them stupid answers.  Because I know how this goes.  Either you give them no information or you give them lots of information.  They interrogated me for three days.  But there was a huge campaign outside the jail against the arrest.  Many people started calling Hamas leaders asking for my release, as fast as possible, as soon as possible.  And I got released after that.  But they never left me alone.  I used to get interrogated every two days or three days.  They send me a note, I go to the internal security, I have this stupid interrogation then I go back home.  Every once in a while, for 5/6 hours a day.  It was really bad for me, especially the last month before I came to Egypt, so I had to leave.

They never used violence against me.  Because they know what’s going to happen next if they do.  They know that I’m not the kind of person who shuts up.  I’m gonna tell everyone about what happened to me.

So what do you think about Hamas now? 

Hamas people think that they’re superior, that they came from God, that they’re senators of God on earth.  If anyone stands against them, they won’t mind killing him.  Your cost is only a bullet to them.  If they feel that their movement is at risk, if they feel that they’re in danger, they won’t mind killing people.  We saw that in 2007, when the clashes happened between Fatah and Hamas, they killed 700 people.

But Fatah is not better than Hamas.  Fatah is corrupt and they were killing inside Gaza before Hamas.  And that’s what forced me to vote for Hamas when the election happened in Gaza.  Because I wanted to get rid of the dirty forces, the corruption of Fatah.  And now I’ve lost faith in everyone, in Fatah and Hamas.

The problem in Gaza and the West Bank is the regimes.  They’re international hands that are meddling in our cause.  The leaders of the movements in Gaza and the West Bank are not following their own faith they’re following demands they get from the outside.  For example, Hamas in Gaza is following the demands they get from Syria, Iran, and lately from the Brotherhood in Egypt.  And Abbas is getting his orders from America, from the US, from whoever gives him money.  So… our situation is really desperate.

Given your criticism of both Hamas and Fatah, is unity between two such compromised factions really what you want?

I’m looking for the election, the chance to vote.  It would give us a chance to vote to get rid of all these dirty faces.  I mean, we might have people from both sides, from Fatah and Hamas, but the clean people, not the dirty ones.

So what has become of the unity agreement, in practical terms? 

Nothing.  I’ve been arrested since the signing of the unity agreement.  I mean, I was arrested before, but I got really screwed up after the unity agreement.  They found it amusing to arrest me every once in a while.  And nothing concrete on the ground.  I mean, the only thing that has changed is you can see a Fatah flag waving inside Gaza now, which had been banned for four years.  But some people are speaking up.  And if some things do not change on the ground, you’re going to see a revolution very soon in Gaza.

You think there will be an election? 

No.  No way.

But then if people take to the streets, Hamas is going to beat the people with sticks, at the least…

Let them come with their sticks.  People are depressed to the extent that they don’t care about what’s going to happen next.  They won’t mind being hit with a stick, because they’re hitting a dead body.

Most people in Gaza don’t have a life.  The only thing that is covering their pain is the walls that they have around them.  They don’t say anything.  But at some point they’re going to explode and say everything that’s inside their minds.  All this frustration is going to explode.  They’ll say, ‘no, we’re not going to listen any more, we’re gonna say whatever we want, we’re going to act against you, against Fatah, against all this corruption.’

They can’t finish us off.  GYBO became an idea more than a movement, for many of the people.  It gave us the right to speak up, to say what we have in mind.  We broke the wall of silence at last.  Now, people can criticise Hamas inside the Hamas internal security building.  They can tell them, “you’re wrong.”

(www.redpepper.org.uk / 18.04.2012)

‘Ten big media lies’ about Israel

Sun Jun 27, 2010

Israeli rabbis,
Michel Collon, a Belgian journalist and author, in his book “Israel, let’s talk about it,” has slammed European media over decades of “lying” to people in order to support Israel.

Collon, in his book, has recounted “10 big lies” spread by Western media in order to “justify the existence and actions of Israel”, which are concisely presented below:

1. The first lie is that Israel was established in reaction to the massacre of Jews during the World War II.
This notion is completely wrong. Israel is in fact a domineering project which was approved in the First Zionist Congress in Basel, Switzerland, in 1897, when nationalist Jews decided to occupy Palestine.

2. The second justification for establishing and legitimizing Israel is that the Jews are returning to their forefathers’ land, from where they had been driven away in 70 A.D. This is a tale. I have spoken to the famous Israeli historian Shlomo Sand and other historians and they all believe that there has been no “exodus,” so “return” is meaningless. The people living in Palestine have not left their land in the ancient era.

In fact the descendents of Jews residing in Palestine are the people who are currently living in Palestine. Those who claim they want to return to their lands originate for Western and Eastern Europe and Northern Africa.

Sand says there is no Jewish nation. The Jews do not have common history, language or culture. The only common thing between them is their religion, and religion does not make a nation.

3. The third lie is that when Jewish immigrants occupied Palestine, it was an empty and uninhibited country.

However, there are documents and evidences that prove that in the 19th century the agricultural products of Palestine were exported to different countries, including France.

4. Fourth, some people say Palestinians left their country on their own free will.

This is another lie, which lots of people believed, including myself. Until Israeli historians like Benny Morris and Ilan Pappe said that Palestinians were driven away and banished from their lands by using force and terror.

5. It is said that today Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East and it should be protected; it is the “government of law.”

But in my opinion not only it is not the government of law; it is the only regime that no law defines its territory and boundaries. All the countries of the world have a constitution which defines their boundaries, but no such thing applies to Israel. Israel is an expansionist project which knows no boundary, and its law is completely racist; according to this law Israel is the country for Jews, and its non-Jew citizens are not considered human. Such law is a contradiction to democracy.

6. It is said that the US tries to protect democracy in the Middle East by protecting Israel. And we know that the US annual financial aid to Israel amounts to 3 billion dollars. This money is used for bombarding Israel’s neighbor countries.

But America is not after establishing democracy in the Middle East; it wants the undisturbed flow of oil.

7. They pretend that the US seeks an agreement between Israel and Palestine.

This is also completely wrong and a lie. EU former Foreign Policy Chief Javier Solana told the Israel that “you are the 21st country of the European Union.” The European weapons industries cooperate with the Israeli military industries and support them financially. But when Palestinians elected their government, Europe did not recognize it and gave the green light to Israel to attack the Gaza Strip.

8. When one talks about these facts and the history of Israel and Palestine, when one reveals the US interests in this situation, they call you anti-Semite to keep you silent.

But we should say that when we criticize Israel, it is not racism or anti-Semitism. We criticize a government that does not believe in the equality of Jews, Christians and Muslims, and so destroys the peace between followers of different religions.

9. The mass media say that Palestinians cause violence and terrorism. We say Israel army’s occupation is violence, the policy that has stolen land and home from Palestinians is violence.

10. An issue which is often raised is that there is no way for resolving this situation, and there is no solution for the hatred and the grudge caused by Israel and its accomplices.

But there is a solution. The only thing that can stop this process is the public pressure on the accomplices of Israel in the US and Europe and other parts of the world; public pressure on the mass media which refrain from telling the truth about Israel; and using the Internet or any other media out let to publish real news about Palestine.

(edition.presstv.ir / 18.04.2012)

A must read: Israeli Assassination In Cold Blood In A Quiet Village ~ by @KawtherSalam

إعتقال سجين محرر أطلقت سراحه إسرائيل وأستشهاد شقيقه برصاص السلطة الفلسطينية

Israel no longer carries out assassinations and arrests of Palestinians in the Occupied West Bank alone. It is now so that the zionist israel delegates the dirty work to the so-called “Palestinian National Authority”. It is now enough that any small officer – one of the uncountable desk criminals which populate the israeli bureaucracies – working at an office of the israeli intelligence, sends a list with the names of “wanted people” to their Palestinian counterpart at the “Palestinian security forces” which now replaces the israel military in the implementation of dirty tasks of murder and abduction.

The Palestinian Authority claims that it supports the release of Palestinian prisoners from israeli jails while in truth its thugs are is always ready to carry out the filthy deeds of abducting, jailing and torturing Palestinian politicians and politically inclined people on behalf of the israeli genocide industry. The dirty task is well paid by American and European governments with monies extracted from mostly oblivious western taxpayers. And the PNA “security” elements are perfect at their disgusting task, they are always ready to fabricate charges, justifications and excuses to murder or abduct or torture their victims, the “wanted by Israelis” Palestinians who appear in the murder lists assembled by the israeli desk criminals.

Recently the PNA has once again confirmed its status as a dictatorial regime. The lowlifes of the PNA are very well aware that they have no legitimacy and that they are despised and hated by the majority of Palestinians. This has shown in an ever increasing stream of criticism against the PNA being voiced on the Internet. The reaction of the PNA to this correct and human criticism of their crimes has been a barrage of brutal assaults against Palestinian society – it censors the Palestinian media by jailing and torturing journalists, bloggers and the owners of pages on Facebook.


From left: Dr. Ismat Abed El-Khaleq, Anti corruption blogger Dr. Jamal Abu Rihan, Journalist Yosef Khamis and journalist Yosef Al-Shayeb

During the last month several journalists and bloggers were jailed, among them the professor of journalism at Al-Quds University Dr. Safwat Abed El-khaleqjournalist Yosef Al-Shayeb, journalist Tareq Khamis, and the blogger Jamal Abu Raihan who writes against the corruption at the PNA. All these people were accused of “extending their tongues” (opening their mouth) against the PNA and President Mahmoud Abbas. “Extending ones tongue” is a dictatorial law against freedom of speech which was enacted by the Jordanians in 1960.

On April 15, 2012, the Palestinian police and security forces trained by US-EU special forces executed in cold blood the Palestinian youth Amthal Ghannam al-Ghwadre in the village of Bir al-Basha and arrested his brother Moammar, an ex-prisoner who was released by Israel in October 2011 under the Al-Ahrar deal, the prisoner exchange deal accorded between Hamas and the Israeli occupation under the auspices of Egypt.

Bir al-Basha (“بيرالباشا”) is a village about 15 km from Jenin. It is very quite, beautiful and famous because of the olive trees which surround the town from all sides. The village is divided into two parts by the main street Jenin – Nablus. On the West the village overlooks the town of Arraba.

The Palestinian police spokesperson, General Yoseph Ezrael, claimed that the Palestinian police went to Bir al-Basha to arrest Amthal Ghannam al-Ghwadre, known as Amthal Turkmen, and that “a wanted youth lives in the village”. Supposedly Mr. Turkmen fired at the patrol and forced the police to respond to the fire and to kill him. He added that the Police arrested another wanted person called Muammar Turkmen.

Ezrael said the that the dead youth was wanted for the PA since more than 4 years; he was supposedly sentenced to hard work for life because he was supposedly involved in premeditated murder, forming an armed gang and the shooting at the citizens. He continued justifying his cold-blooded murder saying that the police “have the legal space to respond to fire if somebody attacks them while doing their duty”.

Later, the major of Jenin, Qaddura Mossa, gave a statement at a press conference which put in question the statement of the police spokesman. Major Mossa said that “a quick investigation about the circumstances of the unfortunate incident confirmed that the death of al-Ghwadre happened when group of Palestinians started protesting against the work of the security forces who were engaged in normal activities in the region, including the delivery of notes about people “wanted by justice”. He added that the Palestinians shot at the police and the forces “returned fire” killing the young man Amthal Ghannam Fayez Ghawadre, injuring Muammar Fayez Gawadre and arresting Shadi Ghawadre.” Major Mossa explained that after the security forces controlled the group, they identified them and found that the dead person and the injured person were “fugitives from justice”.

The Palestinian people from the city denied the versions of either the police or the major. They stated that the person murdered by the police was wanted by israel for his political views and activities. He had never terrorized the Palestinians or caused trouble in the village. His brother, who was injured and arrested, had been sentenced for life at israeli jail. He had spent 10 years incarcerated and had recently been recently released by israel in October 2011 within the Al-Ahrar deal.

The people of Bir al-Basha related that the collaborationist PNA forces raided the village and started shooting towards the houses. They did not ask anybody to surrender himself. They sparked a state of chaos and terror among the citizens, especially the children, they shoot in different direction. Their shooting led to the murder of a young lovely person, Aktham Gawadre, and the wounding of his brother who had been released last year from the israeli jails.

The sources from the village described the abduction and murder raids of the PNA collaboratinist forces as similar to the israeli occupation operations which they had experienced during the last decades, saying that there was no difference between what the PNA forces did and what the Israel occupation soldiers did. The sources confirmed that all the residents of the village were terrorized. The PNA collaboratinist forces came to the village, closed all entrances and started spreading an atmosphere of terror and tension before and after the cold-blooded murder of Ghawadre. The villagers said that they would take revenge on the PA elements for the murders and what they did.

The sources expressed their anger and said that the PNA is broadcasting lies and rumors about the assassination of the young man, Mr. Ghawadre, saying that he had been sentenced to imprisonment and hard work, accusing him of being a murderer and and other fabricated and false accusations. The sources said that the murdered person Ghawadre had never lead or participated in any action against anybody in the village, and the Ghawadre brothers had been normal people. They blamed the PNA of terrorism.

They said that it would have been possible to arrest them in a civilized manner, without need of killing, injuring and terrorizing everyone. They added that the PNA does not respect Palestinian citizens and that they make it very easy for any one in the PNA to kill anybody for any small reasons, even for criticism to the reign of terror of the PNA.

The Palestinian Information Center (PIC) stated that according Palestinian sources from the village of Bir Al-Basha, that a state of high tension has engulfed the town and that everybody there is angry and has threatened to take revenge on the PNA leaders in power. According to the report, the arrest of “wanted” people is how the PNA deals with political opposition and that the PNA and its collaborationist forces could not care less for a peaceful existence or the life and livelihood of the citizens.

According to the sources of the PIC, the inhabitants of the village refused last night to bury the dead youth until the killers are punished. Their demand was faced by sending more collaborationist troops to the town and forcing them to bury the body, as well as arresting several protesters.

It should be noted that the village of Bir al-Basha is inhabited by the Ghawadre clan. The person who was murdered by the PA forces belongs to this clan. The clan is well known for its strong patriotism for Palestine and their activism for the Palestinian national rights. The Israeli occupation has jailed dozens of Bir al-Basha citizens and sentenced many them to life for their political views. Among the prisoners are:

Izzat Ghwadre, sentenced to life plus 45 years in jail.

Jacob Ghwadre, sentenced to life plus 45 years in jail.

Shady Ghwadre, sentenced to life imprisonment.

Muammar Ghwadre, sentenced to life plus 30 years, released by Israel and arrested by the PNA.

Mohammed Tawfiq Gwadre, sentenced to three consecutive life sentences plus 35 years.

Walid Tawfiq Ghwadre, sentenced to 13 years in jail.

Mohammad Amin Ghwadre, sentenced to 18 years in jail.

Raafat Ghwadre, sentenced to 12 years in jail.

Sami Ghawdre, sentenced to 12 years in jail.

Sentences of “life plus some years” mean that the Israelis will keep the body of that person in cooling houses or secret numbered cemeteries for the time of the sentence, even if that means hundred or more years after their death.

It is shameful in the extreme that the PNA and its collaborationist elements to put dirt on the name of the Ghawadre clan, whose only “crime” is a long tradition of patriotism and resistance to the Israeli occupation. The PNA regime of traitors and pimps is criminalizing all persons related to resistance in the favour of israel in the service of its own “business”, some millions of dollars and euros which they receive from the Americans and western countries.

(occupiedpalestine.wordpress.com / 18.04.2012)

#HassanSafadi to maintain hunger strike until his release

NABLUS, (PIC)– Detainee Hassan Safadi is adamant on maintaining his hunger strike in Israeli occupation jails after 45 days of starting it despite losing 25 kilograms so far, his family said on Wednesday.

Fuad Safadi, Hassan’s brother, told Quds Press that his brother was hospitalized twice after he suffered high fever. He added that Hassan was also suffering pain in his left kidney, stomach, and head in addition to difficulty in walking.

He said that the Israeli occupation authority (IOA) held his brother in isolation as a punishment for his hunger strike, adding that Hassan served 100 months on aggregate in administrative detention, without trial or charge.

He said that his family was still holding contacts with the Red Cross in a bid to facilitate visits to Hassan, which are banned by the IOA, and to allow doctors to check on him and other hunger strikers.

(occupiedpalestine.wordpress.com / 18.04.2012)

‘Interne ruzie belemmert uitzetting vreemdeling’

Minister Gerd Leers van Immigratie en Asiel

De uitzetting van vreemdelingen uit ons land wordt vertraagd doordat er bij de afdeling Laissez Passer van de Dienst Terugkeer en Vertrek interne ruzies zijn, de werksfeer daar verziekt is en er amateuristisch gewerkt wordt. Dat stelt het actualiteitenprogramma Nieuwsuur op basis van verklaringen van medewerkers in vertrouwelijke documenten. Nieuwsuur zegt die in handen te hebben.

De afdeling Laissez Passer, die valt onder minister Gerd Leers van Vreemdelingenzaken, is de spil bij het uitzetten van vreemdelingen. Ambassades weigeren soms mee te werken, stelt het programma, of geloven niet dat het om een landgenoot van hen gaat. Maar volgens de medewerkers zelf, die dus de documenten bij de ambassades moeten regelen, ligt het ook aan de werkwijze van de afdeling zelf.

PVV’er Sietse Fritsma zei in de uitzending vragen over de kwestie te gaan stellen aan Leers.

In de tweede helft van vorig jaar is het aantal vreemdelingen dat is vertrokken uit Nederland opnieuw afgenomen. Dat stelt het actualiteitenprogramma, op basis van cijfers van het ministerie van Binnenlandse Zaken en Koninkrijksrelaties.

In de laatste 6 maanden van 2011 verlieten 5420 vreemdelingen aantoonbaar ons land. Dat is 10,7 procent minder dan in de tweede helft van 2010, toen nog 6090 mensen vertrokken.

(www.parool.nl / 18.04.2012)

Fitch: Nederland op het randje van afwaardering

Kredietbeoordelaar Fitch Ratings waarschuwt Nederland voor een dreigende afwaardering. Dat zei de expert bij Fitch voor Nederland, Chris Pryce, in de Britse krant Telegraph.

Dat gebeurt volgens Pryce waarschijnlijk door een verlaging van de vooruitblik voor de kredietwaardigheid van stabiel naar negatief. Met een lagere vooruitblik heeft een land een bepaalde periode om maatregelen te nemen om de financiën te verbeteren, voordat de kredietwaardigheid wordt verlaagd.

Fitch heeft nu nog de hoogste AAA-kredietwaardering voor Nederland.

‘Nederland staat op het randje van een negatieve waarderingsactie. We houden in juni een bijeenkomst voor een kredietbeoordeling. Als ze de schulden laten stijgen, lopen ze risico. Een behoedzame houding zou verstandig zijn’, zegt Pryce. Fitch heeft nu nog de hoogste kredietwaardering voor Nederland.

De analist stelt verder dat Nederland een lange geschiedenis kent van geloofwaardige regeringen en daardoor wat meer bewegingsruimte heeft. ‘Het land wordt al lang geleid door verstandige partijen en hierdoor zijn wij wat genereuzer.’

(www.parool.nl / 18.04.2012)

Israel detain farmer in Iraq Burin

NABLUS (Ma’an) — Israeli forces on Wednesday detained a Palestinian farmer south of Nablus after beating him, witnesses said.

Saad Hussam Ahed Faqih, 25, from Iraq Burin, was assaulted as forces made the arrest, the onlookers said.

He was taken to Bracha settlement, they said.

An Israeli military spokeswoman did not immediately return a call for comment.

(www.maannews.net / 18.04.2012)

Israeli forces injure young Palestinian girl in Gaza

An Israeli soldier
A young Palestinian girl has been shot and injured by Israeli soldiers in the impoverished southern Gaza Strip.
The incident took place in the city of Khan Yunis on Wednesday.

No further details have so far been reported on the occurrence.

Meanwhile, Israeli forces opened fire on a Palestinian farmer in Khan Yunis on Tuesday. He was shot in the thigh.

Gaza has been blockaded by the Israeli regime since 2007, a situation that has caused a decline in the standards of living and has triggered unprecedented levels of unemployment and unrelenting poverty.

The oppressive regime also denies the 1.5 million Gazans their basic rights, including the freedom of movement and the right to decent living, work, health and education.

Moreover, Defense for Children International documented 14 cases between March and October 2010 of Palestinian youths under the age of 18 who were shot by Israeli forces while collecting gravel in the border zone.

The youngest of these children was 13 and the oldest was reportedly 17.

(www.presstv.ir / 18.04.2012)

Holocaust survivor finds haven as Muslim in Israel

Leila Jabarin was a Jewish Holocaust survivor born in Auschwitz concentration camp. (AFP)

Leila Jabarin was a Jewish Holocaust survivor born in Auschwitz concentration camp.

For more than five decades, Leila Jabarin hid her secret from her Muslim children and grandchildren − that she was a Jewish Holocaust survivor born in Auschwitz concentration camp.

Although her family knew she was a Jewish convert, none of them knew of her brutal past.

It was only in the past week that Jabarin, who was born Helen Brashatsky, finally sat down and told them the story of how she was born inside Auschwitz, the most notorious symbol of Nazi Germany’s wartime campaign of genocide against Europe’s Jews.

In an interview with AFP to mark Holocaust Memorial Day which begins at sundown on Wednesday, Jabarin, now 70, chuckles as she talks about what to call her.

Her Muslim name is Leila, but in this Arab town in northern Israel where she has lived for the past 52 years, most people call her Umm Raja, Arabic for “Raja’s mother” after her first-born son.

Like most Jewish children, she also has a Hebrew name — Leah — but she just likes to be called Helen.

She was six when she came to live in Mandate Palestine with her parents, just months before the State of Israel was declared in May 1948.

They arrived in a ship carrying Jewish immigrants from the former Yugoslavia, which was forced to anchor off the coast of Haifa for a week due to a heavy British bombardment of the northern port city, she says.

Despite the war which broke out as soon as the British pulled out, it was a far cry from the savage reality the family had witnessed inside Auschwitz, says Jabarin who is dressed in a hijab and long robes, but whose pale skin and blue eyes belie her Eastern European parentage.

Her mother, who was from Hungary, and her father, who was of Russian descent, were living in Yugoslavia when they were sent to the Auschwitz with their two young sons in 1941.

“When they took them to Auschwitz, she was pregnant with me, and when she gave birth, the Christian doctor at Auschwitz hid me in bath towels,” she says, explaining how the doctor hid the family for three years under the floor of his house inside the camp.

Her mother worked as a maid at the doctor’s home, while her father was the gardener.

“They used to come back at night and sleep under the floor and my mother used to tell us how the Nazis were killing children, but that this doctor saved us,” she says, recalling how her mother used to feed them on dry bread soaked in hot water with salt.

“I still remember the black and white striped pyjamas and remember terrible beatings in the camp. If I was healthy enough, I would have gone back to see it but I have already had four heart attacks.

“It is scary and very, very difficult to remember that place where so many people suffered,” she admits, speaking in a mix of Hebrew and accented Arabic.

She also speaks Hungarian, a little Yiddish and some Russian.

The family were finally freed when the camp was liberated in 1945 and left for Mandate Palestine three years later.

At first, the new immigrants were put in camps at Atlit, some 20 kilometers (12 miles) south of Haifa, but two years later, they moved further south to Holon and then to Ramat Gan near Tel Aviv.

Ten years later, when she was 17, Helen Brashatsky eloped with a young Arab man called Ahmed Jabarin, and they moved to live in Umm al-Fahm, which caused a huge split with her family.

“She ran away with me and she was 17 when we got married,” her husband says. “The Israeli authorities used to come to Umm al-Fahm and take her back to her family in Ramat Gan, then she would come straight back here.”

Initially, her family did not speak to her for two years, but later they were reconciled.

In the end, it was her mother who suggested she convert to Islam when her eldest son turned 18 and was asked to do his compulsory military service.

“My mother advised me not to send my son to do military service because if he did, my daughter would also have to do it.

“She said I should convert to Islam to save my daughter from serving in the army because Muslims would not let a girl live away from home on an army camp.”

So she converted.

But she never told her family the full extent of her history.

“I hid my pain for 52 years and the truth about my past from my eight children and my 31 grandchildren. I hid the fact that I was born in Auschwitz and what that painful past means.

“I was just waiting for the right moment to tell them.”

The moment came several days ago when a man turned up from the Israeli social services and got talking to her about her past, just days before the annual ceremonies remembering the Holocaust.

“Whenever it is Holocaust Memorial Day, I cry alone. There are no words to describe the pain that I feel. How can children eat dry bread soaked in water? If this happened to my children, I don’t know what would become of me.”

For her family, the revelation was a huge shock — but it answered a lot of questions, admits her 33-year-old son Nader Jabarin.

“Mum used to cry on Holocaust Memorial Day watching all the ceremonies on Israeli television. We never understood why. We all used to get out of the way and leave her alone in the house,” he told AFP.

But by telling her long-kept secret, it had brought release to both her and her family, he said.

“We understand her a bit more now.”

(english.alarabiya.net / 18.04.2012)