4 hurt in Ramallah protest to support detainees

Stone-throwers take cover behind a garbage bin during clashes with Israeli troops after a protest in support of Palestinian prisoners on a hunger strike in Israeli jails outside Ofer prison near Ramallah.
RAMALLAH (Ma’an) — Four Palestinians were injured Thursday when clashes erupted at a demonstration outside Israel’s Ofer detention center near Ramallah, a Ma’an correspondent reported.

Israeli forces fired tear gas, stun grenades and rubber bullets as protesters threw rocks at soldiers in a demonstration for Palestinian detainees on hunger strike in Israeli jails.

Forces detained Abdullah Abu Rahmeh, a leader in the non-violent resistance movement from Bilin, the reporter said.

An Israeli military spokesman said forces used riot dispersal means in response to rocks thrown by protesters, adding that around 250 Palestinians took part in the demonstration.

Thousands of Palestinians detained in Israeli jails launched on a mass hunger strike on April 17, Palestinian Prisoners Day. Their demands include family visits — particularly for prisoners from Gaza, who have been denied visits since 2007. They are also demanding an end to solitary confinement and night-time cell raids.

Israeli prison authorities have revoked privileges of striking prisoners, moving them to a separate area and denying them all visits.

Detainees ‘at risk of sudden death’

Some prisoners held in administrative detention without charge are also on hunger strike demanding their release.

The Palestinian Center for Human Rights on Thursday expressed concern for the lives of Bilal Diab, 27, and Thaer Halahla, 34, who have been on open hunger strike since Feb. 29.

On Monday, an Israeli military court rejected an appeal for their release.

Jawwad Boulous, a lawyer for the Palestinian Prisoners Society, told PCHR the men were at risk of sudden death. They have been in Ramla prison hospital since March.

“Diab and Halahla’s case highlights the conditions of more than 300 Palestinians who are currently placed under administrative detention in Israeli prisons and detention facilities, including the Speaker and 20 Members of the Palestinian Legislative Council,” PCHR said in a statement.

“These detentions violate of the right of a detainee to a fair trial, including the right to receive appropriate defense and to be informed of charges against him.”

(www.maannews.net / 27.04.2012)

Behind the Curtains of the Balkan Wars

Genocide against_Albanians

Leo Trotsky (1879-1940) was a Russian revolutionary and a major figure of the October Revolution of 1917, second only to Lenin. He was later founder and commander of the Red Army and People’s Commissar for War, but, under Stalin, was expelled from the Communist Party and deported from the Soviet Union in 1928. Trotsky was eventually assassinated in Mexico by an agent of Stalin. His ideas formed the basis of Trotskyism, a major school of Marxist thought.

Long before the Russian revolution, in September 1912, Trotsky was sent to the Balkans by the Kiev newspaper “Kievskaya Misl” as a war correspondent to cover the Balkan Wars in Serbia, Bulgaria and Romania. The following is one of the articles Trotsky sent back to his newspaper, a report on the atrocities committed against the Albanians of Macedonia and Kosova in the wake of the Serb invasion of October 1912.

This is what one of my Serbian friends told me. I wrote it down almost word for word.

“During the war, I had an opportunity – whether it was a good one or a bad one is hard to say – to visit Skopje (Üsküb) a few days after the Battle of Kumanovo. In view of the nervousness caused in Belgrade by my request for a laissez-passer and the artificial obstacles put in my way at the War Ministry, I began to suspect that those in charge of military events did not have a clear conscience and that things were probably happening down there that were hardly in keeping with the official truths released in government communiqués. This impression, or rather foreboding, grew when I happened to meet an officer in a train in Niš, who was travelling to Skopje with orders for the General Staff. This officer was a good and honest fellow whom I had known for some time.

The moment he learned that I was destined for Skopje and had received permission to go there, he reacted with open hostility, claiming that there was no reason for anyone to go to Skopje who had no business there and that authorities in Belgrade had no idea what harm they were doing by allowing unauthorized persons to travel there, etc., etc. In Vranje, on the Serbian border, realizing that I did not intend to be dissuaded by him, he changed his tone and began to prepare me in great detail for what I would see in Skopje.

‘It is all terribly unpleasant, but is unavoidable.’ And of course in his description of the events, my friend did not forget to mention the government policies behind them. I must admit that it made me all the more suspicious. I mean that the atrocities, a vague echo of which had seeped through to Belgrade, could be no coincidence, isolated cases or exceptions, if a high-ranking officer was explaining them as part of ‘government policies.’

There was obviously intention involved. But whose intention? The military authorities? Or the government? I soon received an answer to this question when I arrived in Skopje.

The atrocities began as soon as we crossed the old Serbian border. We were approaching Kumanovo at about five P.M. The sun had just set and it was growing dark. But the darker it became, the stronger was the contrast with the terrible blazes that illuminated the sky. There were fires everywhere. Whole Albanian villages had been transformed into columns of flames – in the distance, nearby, and even right along the railway line. This was my first, real, authentic view of war, of the merciless mutual slaughter of human beings. Homes were burning. People’s possessions handed down to them by their fathers, grandfathers and great-grandfathers were going up in smoke. The bonfires repeated themselves monotonously all the way to Skopje. We arrived at ten at night.

I clambered out of the cattle car I had been travelling in. The whole town was deathly silent. There was not a soul out on the streets. Right in front of the train station, there was a group of soldiers making drunken noises. All those who had arrived by train disappeared in the dark and I soon found myself alone at the station. Four soldiers held their bayonets in readiness and in their midst stood two young Albanians with their white felt caps on their heads. A drunken sergeant – a komitadji – was holding a kama (a Macedonian dagger) in one hand and a bottle of cognac in the other.

The sergeant ordered: ‘On your knees!’ (The petrified Albanians fell to their knees. ‘To your feet!’ They stood up. This was repeated several times. Then the sergeant, threatening and cursing, put the dagger to the necks and chests of his victims and forced them to drink some cognac, and then… he kissed them. Drunk with power, cognac and blood, he was having fun, playing with them as a cat would with mice. The same gestures and the same psychology behind them. The other three soldiers, who were not drunk, stood by and took care that the Albanians did not escape or try to resist, so that the sergeant could enjoy his moment of rapture.

‘They’re Albanians,’ said one of the soldiers to me dispassionately. ‘Hell soon put them out of their misery.’

Terrified, I fled from the group. It would have been to no avail, had I tried to protect the Albanians. It would have been enough for the soldiers and the sergeant to confiscate the Albanians’ weapons… And all this was happening right in front of the train station where my train had just arrived. I was horrified and ran away so that I would not have to hear the screams of pain or help…

A deathly silence reigned in the town, or more exactly, on the streets. All the gates and entrances were always closed at six P.M. But the komitadjis began their work the moment it grew dark. They broke into Turkish and Albanian homes and did the same thing, time and again: stole and slaughtered.

Skopje has 60,000 inhabitants, half of whom are Albanians and Turks. Some of them had fled, but most of there were still there. And they were now victims to the nightly bloodbaths.

One morning, two days before my arrival in Skopje, the inhabitants caught sight of headless corpses of Albanian piled up under the main bridge over the Vardar, right in the centre of town. Some said they were local Albanians slain by the komitadjis. Others said the bodies had been carried down the river. At any rate, the headless victims had not died in battle…

Skopje is one vast military encampment. The inhabitants, the Muslims in particular, have gone into hiding. There are only soldiers to be seen on the streets. Mixed among the masses of soldiers are Serbian peasants who have come here from all over Serbia. On the pretext of meeting their sons and brothers, they swarmed over Kosovo Polje and.. plundered.

I talked to three of these marauding peasants. They had walked from Šumadija in central Serbia to Kosovo Polje. The youngest of them, a little spunk, bragged that he had shot two Albanians at Kosovo Polje with an automatic weapon.

‘Actually there were four of them, but two got away.’ His companions, older and more mature farmers, confirmed what he said. ‘There’s one problem though,’ they complained, ‘we did not bring enough money with us.

You can get a lot of oxen and horses here. If you pay a soldier two dinars (76 kopeks), he will go over to the closest Albanian village and bring you back a good horse. You can get a span of oxen, good ones at that, from the soldiers for 20 dinars.’ Masses of people from the Vranje region have forced their way into the Albanian villages and taken whatever they could find. The farm women even carry doors and windows from Albanian houses back on their shoulders.

Two soldiers approached me. They were cavalrymen from a unit that had disarmed the Albanians in the villages. One of the soldiers asked where he could sell a gold lira. I asked to see it because I had never seen any Turkish coins.

The soldier looked around apprehensively and then took the lira out of his purse, but the way he did it made it obvious that he had more coins in the purse and did not want the others to know. And, as you know, a Turkish lira is worth 23 francs.

Three soldiers passed by. I heard their conversation.

‘I’ve killed loads of Albanians,’ one said, ‘but I haven’t found a single penny on anyone of them. But when I killed a bula (young Turkish peasant woman), I found ten gold liras on her.’

And they talk about such things here quite openly, calmly and equivocally. It has become something quite normal. The people don’t notice the huge inner changes they underwent in the first few days of the war. How people depend on circumstances! In an atmosphere of organised brutality, people become brutes themselves without even noticing it.

A column of soldiers is marching down the main street. One drunken and obviously mentally handicapped Turk curses them from behind. The soldiers stop, drag the Turk over to the nearest house and shoot him on the spot. Then they continue down the street, and the crowds go their way. The matter is solved.

At the hotel in the evening, I meet a corporal whom I know. His unit is situated near Ferizovi? [Ferizaj], the centre of the Albanians in Old Serbia. The corporal and his soldiers had just hauled a heavy siege cannon over the Ka?anik Pass to Skopje, from where it was to be sent on to Odrin [Adrianople/Edirne].

‘And what are you now doing in Ferizovi? among the Albanians?’ I ask.

‘We are roasting chickens and slaughtering Albanians. But we’ve had enough of it,’ he added with a yawn and a gesture of weariness and indifference. ‘Yet there are some very rich people among them. Near Ferizovi? we came across a village, a wealthy village, with houses like fortresses. So we went into one of the houses. The owner was a wealthy old man, who had three sons. So there were four of them, and lots of women, too. We drove them all out of the house, stood the women up in a line and slaughtered the men folk before their eyes. Nothing happened. The women did not break into tears. It almost looked as if they were indifferent. They only asked to be able to go back into the house to get their personal belongings. We let them. When they came out, they brought each of us expensive gifts. Then we set the whole place on fire.’

‘But, how could you behave in such a bestial manner?’ I asked in shock.

‘That’s just the way it is; you get used to it. There were moments I felt queasy when I had to kill some old man or an innocent young boy. But we are at war, and you know yourself, when your commander gives an order, you have to obey. A lot of things have taken place recently. When we were hauling the cannon to Skopje, we came across a wagon with four farmers lying in it, covered up to their waists. I could smell Iodoform. It was very suspicious. I stopped the wagon and asked who they were and where they were going. They kept silent and acted as if they did not understand Serbian. But there was a driver with them, a gypsy, who replied that the four of them were Albanians who had taken part in the Battle of Merdar, had been wounded in the legs and were returning home. It was all clear.

“Get out,’ I ordered. They understood what was going to happen, and refused. What else could I do? I took my bayonet and finished all four of them off, in the wagon…’

I met another fellow. He was a waiter in Kragujevac, a young man with no particular talents, and no means a fighter. Just a waiter, like you find everywhere. He had been in the waiters’ union for a time and had even been secretary of the union for a while, but then he resigned… and now you could see what two or three weeks of war had done to him.

‘You people have turned into real bandits! You murder and steal from everyone!’ I cried, shrinking away from him in physical disgust.

The corporal was embarrassed. Events were obviously coming back to him and he was reflecting. Then, full of conviction, as if to justify himself, he said something that cast an even worse light on everything I had seen and heard.

‘No! We are regular armed forces protecting our borders and don’t kill anyone under the age of twelve. I don’t know anything about the komitadjis, it is probably different with them. But I can vouch for the army.’

The corporal did not want to vouch for the komitadjis. And they were certainly not protecting any borders. Most of them were good-for-nothings, bandits, depraved elements of the lumpenproletariat recruited from the dregs of society.

They transformed murder, theft and violence into a savage sport. Their deeds spoke so obviously against them that even the military authorities were nervous about the bloody Bacchanals into which the chetnik fighting had degenerated, and took drastic measures. Without waiting for the end of the war, they disarmed the komitadjis and sent them back home.

I had no strength to endure the atmosphere any longer; I couldn’t breathe. My political interest and enormous moral curiosity to see what was going on was gone, vanished. All that remained was the wish to get away as fast as possible. And so I found myself once again in a cattle car. I stared out at the endless plain of Skopje. Such an expanse, and so beautiful, what a nice place it could be to live. But no.

But, what am I telling you. You have had such nightmares yourself, but I had them ten times as strong since I have been here. Fifteen minutes after the train left the station, I saw a body lying two hundred paces from the railway tracks. It was wearing a fez. The body was lying with its face to the ground and with its arms stretched out. Fifty paces closer to the tracks were two Serbian militiamen belonging to a unit responsible for protecting the tracks. They were talking and laughing, one of them pointing to the corpse. It was obviously of their doing. I want only to get away!

Not far from Kumanovo, on a meadow beside the tracks, soldiers were digging huge ditches in the earth. I asked them what they were doing. They replied that the ditches were for rotten meat from the 15 to 20 train cars waiting on a side track. Apparently, the soldiers were not reporting to get their meat rations.

Everything they needed, and more, they got directly out of Albanian houses: milk, cheese, honey. ‘In the last little while, I have eaten more honey in Albanian houses than in my whole life,’ boasted a soldier I knew. Every day, the soldiers slaughtered oxen, sheep, pigs and chickens, eating what they could and throwing the remainder away. ‘We don’t need any meat at all,’ said a supplies officer, ‘what we need is bread. We have written to Belgrade hundreds of times, telling them not to send us any more meat, but they don’t react.’

So, that is the situation seen from the ground. The flesh is rotting, both that of the oxen and of people. Villages have transformed themselves into columns of smoke. People not ‘under the age of twelve’ are exterminating one another. They have all turned into savages and lost their humanity. The moment you lift even the corner of the curtain on these military exploits, the war reveals itself more than anything as an abomination.”

[First published in: Kievskaya Mysl, Kiev, No. 355, 23 December 1912. Printed in Balkany i balkanskaya voyna, in Leo Trotsky, Socinenia, vol. 6 (Moscow & Leningrad 1926), reprinted in German in Leo Trotzki, Die Balkankriege 1912-13 (Essen: Arbeiterpresse 1996), p. 297-303. Translated by Robert Elsie.]

(www.balkanchronicle.com / 27.04.2012)

Jordan Valley Resident Forcibly Removed from Home

JORDAN VALLEY, April 27, 2012 (WAFA) – Israeli soldiers forcibly removed on Friday a Palestinian resident of the Jordan Valley to an area behind a military checkpoint that separates the Jordan Valley from the rest of the West Bank, according to a local official.

Aref Daraghme, head of Wadi Maleh village council, said the soldiers removed Adel Zamel from his house in the Ein al-Hilweh area of the Jordan Valley and forced him to move with all his belongings to another area behind Tayaseer checkpoint.

He said Zamel and his family were left homeless after they were displaced from their home, describing this Israeli move as unprecedented.

(english.wafa.ps / 27.04.2012)

Settlers ‘raise Israeli flag on Hebron mosque’

The Ibrahimi Mosque is considered the fourth holiest site in Islam.
HEBRON (Ma’an) — Settlers raised the Israeli flag on top of the Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron on Friday, in the first incident of its kind since 1967, a local official said.

Zaid Jaabari, director of the Islamic Endowment, or Waqf, in Hebron slammed the incident as an assault on the sanctity of the mosque and a serious provocation.

Hebron Governor Kamal Hamid said the Israeli government was fully responsible for settler attacks, labeling their actions as clear incitement.

A 1997 agreement split Hebron into areas of Palestinian and Israeli control.

The Israeli military-controlled H2 zone includes the ancient Old City, home of the revered Ibrahimi Mosque — also split into a synagogue referred to as the Tomb of the Patriarchs.

Around 800 Jewish settlers live in Hebron’s Old City, among 30,000 Palestinians in the parts of the city that are under Israeli control.

Settlers in Hebron physically and verbally abuse local Palestinians on a regular basis and rarely face any legal proceedings.

The Ibrahimi Mosque is considered the fourth holiest site in Islam.

(www.maannews.net / 27.04.2012)

BBC challenged for ignoring plight of Palestinian prisoners

BBC challenged for ignoring plight of Palestinian prisoners
Woman displays portrait of loved one in Israeli prison

Palestinian political prisoners are on mass hunger strike but you’d never know it from watching the BBC.

“I had no idea. How could I not have known?”

I heard those words on Palestinian Prisoners’ Day (17 April) from a teacher, shocked at discovering how Israel abducts, abuses and imprisons Palestinian children — some as young as 12 — in the West Bank because they may or may not have thrown stones atIsrael’s wall.

She had tagged along with a friend to a talk given in London by Gerard Horton of Defence for Children International–Palestine Section, and until that moment had been unaware of the brutalities of Israel’s occupation of Palestine. Horton’s lecture focused on a new DCI-Palestine report which documents the various traumas Palestinian children regularly face during Israeli military detention (“Bound, Blindfolded and Convicted: Children held in military detention,” 14 April 2012).

The answer to her question is fairly simple: this woman — a member of the educated, professional middle-classes — did not know because she relies on the mainstream media, led by the BBC, for her news. And that media’s silence on the realities of Israel’s occupation is deafening.

Last week, 1,200 Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli jails began an open-ended hunger strike in protest at the illegalities and injustices of their incarceration. Another 2,300 refused food for the duration of Palestinian Prisoners’ Day. Their action came just weeks after Khader Adnan ended his 66-day hunger strike and Hana al-Shalabi was released (though banished to Gaza) after refusing food for 43 days, both protesting at Israel’s use ofadministrative detention against them.

Several other prisoners remain on long-standing hunger strikes, including 27-year-old Bilal Diab and 34-year-old Thaer Halahleh, now into their second month without food.

Extraordinary feat of resistance

If this extraordinary, mass feat of unarmed resistance, where more than a thousand men and women are willing to starve themselves to death in the struggle for liberation from an oppressive regime, was taking place in China or Iran — or any other country not behaving in the interests of the West — it would be receiving constant coverage in newspapers and on television. We would be presented with analysis, comment, talking heads, and we would know.

But these brave men and women are Palestinian, and the oppressive regime is Israel, and so the media’s curtain of self-censorship has been drawn.

Furious at this lack of coverage, Scottish activists from the We Are All Hana Shalabi Network occupied BBC Scotland headquarters on Palestinian Prisoners’ Day demanding reasons for the blackout (“Report on Glasgow’s BBC occupation and ‘Karamah hunger strike’ march,” We Are All Hana Shalabi Network, 18 April 2012).

They were eventually met by Ian Small, a senior BBC official, who told them that the BBC aimed its coverage towards a certain demographic.

“He said that demographic was white-collar and aged over 50,” said Liam O’Hare, an organizer of the protest. “The idea that the BBC aims its coverage towards a certain section of society, when it’s paid for by all licence-fee payers, is a disgrace.”

Occupying the main lobby of the BBC building, the protestors flew Palestinian flags and shouted: “BBC shame on you, put the prisoners on the news.” Later that day, around 300 demonstrators marched from Glasgow’s George Square to the building.

“The BBC is complicit in the occupation through its silence,” said O’Hare. “When you see the magnitude of what Palestinian prisoners are prepared to do to challenge Israel’s apartheid, and then look at the media’s blackout of that, you realize its inherent bias.”

And it’s not just the mass hunger strikes that are kept from us — the mainstream media’s blackout also extends to the weekly peaceful protests by unarmed Palestinians and internationals in villages across the West Bank, protests which demand Israel ends its theft of Palestinian land and which are invariably met with tear gas, skunk water and rubber bullets by the Israeli military.

Conversely, every time a rocket is fired from the besieged Gaza Strip into southern Israel, the BBC is quick to report, freely adopting Israeli-favored terminology such as “terrorists” and “militants” to describe the Palestinians. Their peaceful, unarmed resistance against their illegal occupation is not, it would seem, newsworthy.

Violence makes news?

When the Palestine Solidarity Campaign asked BBC news bosses for the reasoning behind this selective coverage, the answer was “violence makes news.” We pointed out that there is plenty of violence at the weekly protests in the West Bank — it comes from the Israeli forces and results in frequent injuries and sometimes death. In fact, we said, violence by Israel’s military, navy and air force and by Israeli settlers in the West Bank is an everyday feature of life for Palestinians — if violence does, in fact, make news, there’s no shortage of it for the BBC in occupied Palestine.

The BBC could fill its news bulletins every evening with stories and footage of Israel’s violence against the Palestinians — the shelling and bombing of crowded civilian districts by the military in Gaza, the burning of Palestinian olive groves and torching of mosques in the West Bank by settlers, the house demolitions, with families forced out at gunpoint, inEast Jerusalem.

But it chooses not to, and the rest of the mainstream media remains similarly silent. Silent, and in denying its audience knowledge of the horrors of the Israeli occupation and the Palestinians’ incredible resistance to it, shamefully complicit.

Amena Saleem is active with the Palestine Solidarity Campaign in the UK and keeps a close eye on the media’s coverage of Palestine as part of her brief. She has twice driven on convoys to Gaza for PSC. More information on PSC is available atwww.palestinecampaign.org.

(electronicintifada.net / 27.04.2012)

France : Sarkozy veut faire de Hollande un pro-islam(iste) [Analyse]

La stratégie de Nicolas Sarkozy à l’approche du deuxième tour de la présidentielle, n’est plus seulement de stigmatiser les musulmans, mais elle est également de rapprocher François Hollande des musulmans voire de l’islamisme. Objectif : empêcher le candidat socialiste de bénéficier d’un report de voix du Front National et renforcer celui dont Nicolas Sarkozy va lui-même bénéficier.

« La preuve a été apportée que M. Ramadan se mobilise contre moi et soutient M. Hollande. Quand il y a deux candidats et que M. Ramadan – dont je conteste qu’il soit un intellectuel, parce qu’un homme qui est capable de demander un moratoire sur la lapidation des femmes adultères, cet homme n’a pas le droit de cité – dit « je veux faire battre M. Sarkozy » [c’est qu’il soutient M. Hollande, ndlr] […] Chacun a ses soutiens. Moi je suis très heureux que M. Ramadan, qui fait la honte d’un certains nombre de nos compatriotes qui méritent d’être mieux représentés, … » a affirmé Nicolas Sarkozy, hier soir, jeudi 26 avril, sur France 2 (52e minute), dans le cadre de l’émission des Paroles et des Actes, avant d’être interrompu par David Pujadas. Peut-être voulait-il finir : « heureux que M. Ramadan apporte son soutien à M. Hollande plutôt qu’à moi-même. »

Cette sortie médiatique fait suite à une autre remarque, sur France Inter, plus tôt dans la journée, du même candidat à la présidentielle : « Le 11 mars 2012, à Lyon, dans le cadre du printemps des quartiers, Tariq Ramadan a appelé publiquement à voter pour François Hollande ou pour un parti politique qui serve l’islam. » En rapprochant François Hollande de l’islam et de Tariq Ramadan, parce qu’il représente une figure musulmane médiatique très critiquée en France, il associe directement son opposant à ce que les électeurs de Marine Le Pen repoussent.

Depuis hier, Tariq Ramadan, qui s’était déjà justifié, explique « J’ai dit qu’il ne devait pas y avoir de consigne de vote musulman, que cela ne voulait rien dire. J’ai simplement appelé les citoyens français, de confession musulmane ou autre, à voter en conscience et à faire le bilan de la politique de Nicolas Sarkozy, qui est très mauvaise ». Dans un billet d’humeur et avec beaucoup d’ironie, sur son blog, il lance même un appel à voter Nicolas Sarkozy. Si Tariq Ramadan nie tout soutien à François Hollande c’est peut être autant par conviction profonde que par crainte de voir son soutien produire le contraire de l’effet escompté. L’ironie de son dernier billet peut être également interprétée comme une façon de reporter sur Nicolas Sarkozy, l’ostracisme dont il fait lui-même l’objet, en lui apportant « son soutien ».

Reporter sur Hollande l’ostracisation des musulmans

Déjà le 25 avril, sur TF1, Nicolas Sarkozy avait dénoncé sur TF1 le soutien de François Hollande par 700 mosquées. Un discours repris plus tôt dans la même journée par les membres de l’UMP. « Je tiens à dénoncer l’attitude complice et irresponsable du Parti socialiste et de son candidat suite à l’appel en faveur de François Hollande lancé par certains représentants religieux faisant partie d’un réseau de près de 700 mosquées », s’enflammait le député UMP des Alpes-Maritimes, Éric Ciotti, dans un communiqué. Abderrahmane Dahmane, ancien conseiller de Sarkozy, a effectivement reconnu dans Le Point être l’initiateur de la mobilisation des mosquées en faveur de François Hollande.

Ces trois derniers jours, Nicolas Sarkozy tente donc de rapprocher à toute force François Hollande des musulmans et de l’islam, pour l’éloigner des électeurs du Front National qu’il convoite pour lui seul. Sa stratégie tente de masquer un élément : François Hollande a « bénéficié » de ces soutiens sans jamais, semble-t-il, les avoir sollicités. Abderrahmane Dahmane l’assure et tout auditeur de l’actuel débat électoral le croira sans peine tant la volonté de François Hollande de se rapprocher de l’auditoire de Marine Le Pen est forte.

Hier soir, dans le débat indirect mené sur France 2, dans la même émission, il a refusé de s’exprimer clairement sur la question de l’immigration, de même qu’il le fait depuis plusieurs mois. Le Parti socialiste, sur cette dernière question, a choisi de ne pas choisir et poursuit avec obstination sa stratégie d’évitement. Seule entorse à la règle, ce matin même, François Hollande a indiqué, sur RTL, « dans une période de crise, la limitation de l’immigration économique est nécessaire, indispensable».

La stratégie de Nicolas Sarkozy de lui attribuer les soutiens de musulmans, et par extension, dans l’imaginaire collectif des électeurs du Front National, des immigrés eux-mêmes, ne peut qu’embarrasser le candidat socialiste dans sa volonté de les séduire.

(www.yabiladi.com / 27.04.2012)

Partijen spraken al langer

Demissionair minister van Financien Jan Kees de Jager en premier Mark Rutte tijdens het debat over de begroting
Demissionair minister van Financien Jan Kees de Jager en premier Mark Rutte tijdens het debat over de begroting

Nog voor middernacht stemde de Tweede Kamer in met de bezuinigingsmaatregelen. De regeringspartijen bereikten met D66, GroenLinks en ChristenUnie een akkoord over de begroting voor 2013. Zelden handelden de politici in Den Haag zo snel. Maar de gesprekken liepen al weken. Vanavond een reconstructie.


In het akkoord gaat de AOW-leeftijd volgend jaar al met een maand omhoog en stijgt de jaren daarna verder. Daarnaast komt er een nullijn voor ambtenarensalarissen, een versoepeling van het ontslagrecht, een beperking van de hypotheekrenteaftrek en een crisistarief voor de hoogste inkomens.

Het btw-tarief stijgt van 19 naar 21 procent, de accijns op alcohol en tabak gaat omhoog en werkgevers moeten de eerste zes maanden van de WW betalen.

Teruggedraaide bezuinigingen

Het nieuwe begrotingsakkoord draait ook een aantal eerdere bezuinigen en maatregelen terug. De overdrachtsbelasting blijft 2 procent. Op ontwikkelingssamenwerking zijn meer bezuinigingen van de baan en de bezuinigingen op passend onderwijs en de persoonsgebonden budgetten worden verzacht.

Ook gaan de griffierechten niet omhoog en gaat de btw op podiumkunsten weer terug naar het lage tarief van 6 procent. Het kabinet maakt 200 miljoen euro vrij voor natuur en er komt een hogere belasting op kolencentrales en vervuilende energie.


De PvdA en de SP hebben scherpe kritiek op het akkoord. Volgens PvdA-leider Samsom verdeelt het pakket de rekening van de crisis niet eerlijk. Roemer (SP) heeft voor bepaalde afspraken wel waardering, maar vindt dat het kabinet agenten, leraren en vuilnismannen met de nullijn straft voor iets waar ze niet verantwoordelijk voor zijn.

PVV-partijleider Wilders vatte het wandelgangenakkoord samen als een Brussels dictaat. SGP-leider Van der Staaij maakte duidelijk dat hij graag ook bij het akkoord met de vijf partijen betrokken was geweest.

(nieuwsuur.nl / 27.04.2012)