Impressies van het Grote PvdA Midden-Oosten Debat, deel I

Op zaterdag 2 maart jl. heeft de PvdA een Midden-Oost debat georganiseerd, wat door de NOS meteen als partijcongres werd aangezien. De opening was voor Minister Frans Timmermans en de sluiting voor partijleider Diederik Samson. Naast workshops over de burgeroorlog in Syrië, De toekomst van de Koerden in Iraq, Turkije als nieuw grootmacht in de regio, een workshop over Iran, Een progressieve agenda voor Egypte en Tunesië, was er nog een zeer interessante workshop, nl.  Israel en Palestina: op weg naar een tweestaten oplossing?

In de speech van Frans Timmermans kwam duidelijk naar voren, dat hij stond voor: het opkomen voor beschermers, het opkomen voor vrouwenrechten en het opkomen voor homo’s, lesbo’s, bi’s en transgenders in alle landen. Hij gaf aan dag en nacht bezig te zijn met Syrië, dat er hard humanitaire hulp nodig is, dat er geen militaire oplossing is omdat alles te verdeeld is. “Er kan alleen maar via een politieke weg een oplossing gevonden worden en dat betekent uitonderhandelen, wat dan weer jaren gaat duren. Kijk bv. eens naar Libanon waar het 15 jaar heeft geduurd. Aan de andere kant moeten rechtenschenders en moordenaars voor het ICC worden gebracht, daarom moet alles goed gedocumenteerd worden.”
Bij de beoordeling van de Arabische lente moet een aantal zaken meegenomen worden: door de eeuwenlange bezetting, onderdrukking is woede ontstaan, die er nu uit gaat komen. “Echter, er is een driehoek die niet los van elkaar gezien kan worden: democratie, mensenrechten en de rechtsstaat. Zie de mensenrechten als de barometer van de maatschappij.” In Egypte werken veel mensenrechtenactivisten slecht samen, daarom tracht de Nederlandse ambassade via projecten en geld de samenwerking dichterbij te brengen. Tenslotte over Israël – Palestina. De minister haalde een column aan uit de Harald Tribune waarin werd aangegeven dat Israël niets op heeft met vrede en dus zou er geen tweestatenoplossing kunnen komen. Volgens Nederland moet Israël stoppen met het nederzettingenbeleid en dat er ook hier geen militaire oplossing is. Hij roept de Palestijnen op tot samenwerking en Israël tot het respecteren van de rechten van de gevangenen en de gezondheid van de hongerstakers te waarborgen.

In de workshop over de toekomst van de Koerden in Iraq ontstond er een interessant debat tussen Bachtiar Bakr (van de regeringspartij Patriottische Unie van Koerdistan (PUK)) en Kawa Hassan (van de grootste oppositiepartij Gorran).
De Koerden hebben na de val van Saddam Hoessein, vergaande autonomie gekregen en hebben een eigen regering, nl. de Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) voor haar eigen regio.
De heer Bakr is trots op wat er bereikt is: er zitten nu Koerden in de politiek, er is vrijheid, nauwelijks of geen onderdrukking, de werkeloosheid is gedaald naar 0.0, de wereld heeft Iraq erkend, waardoor ambassades en internationale kantoren in de regio van KRG zijn gebouwd of ingericht. De heer Hassan is van mening dat er inderdaad vooruitgang is geboekt, maar dat KRG (en Iraq) een jonge democratie is, wat eigenlijk nog steeds een combinatie is van een dictatuur en een democratie. De mensenrechten zijn heel slecht geregeld (zie het rapport van Human Rights) en er zijn nog steeds aanvallen op journalisten. Daarnaast is er geen scheiding van machten en er is geen onafhankelijke rechtspraak.
Jan Marinus Wiersma (van Research Fellow WBS) was het eens met Bachtiar Bakr en gaf aan dat er veel economische ontwikkelingen zijn bereikt, infrastructuur verbeterd, hogere veiligheid dan in Iraq, maar dat er wel aandacht moet zijn voor (religieuze) minderheden. Hierna kreeg de zaal spreektijd en werden er vragen gesteld over de werkeloosheid, democratie, olie-inkomens, onafhankelijke media, een autonoom Koerdistan.

Volgens Wiersma moet er niet gewerkt worden aan een autonoom Koerdistan, i.v.m. grenswijzigingen met andere landen.
Hassan is van mening dat er verkiezingen die er gaan komen (alleen wanneer dan?) niet democratisch zullen zijn. Natuurlijk zijn er economische ontwikkelingen, maar die zijn gebouwd op zand (zgn. Nigeriaanse model). Hij vraagt zich af waar het geld blijft van de olie en waarom de zoon van de president door zijn vader is aangewezen als adviseur veiligheid. Bakr gaat in op de vragen van de zaal en geeft aan dat de werkeloosheid 0 is, omdat er mensen van buiten gehaald moeten worden. I.v.m. democratie: het volk heeft gekozen voor deze partijen en de president, waarbij in de PUK ook christenen zitten.

GCC countries slam world inaction on Syria and Iran’s ‘interference’

The six Gulf monarchies on Sunday criticized world inaction on Syria and Iranian “interference” in their internal affairs ahead of a visit to the Saudi capital by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry.

“The Syrian crisis has become more of a quasi-catastrophe through the unjustified killing of the Syrian people,” Bahraini Foreign Minister Sheikh Khaled al-Khalifa said at the opening session of a Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) meeting.

Sheikh Khaled criticized “the international community’s lack of serious and rapid action” towards resolving the two-year conflict which the United Nations estimates has cost more than 70,000 lives.

GCC members Saudi Arabia and Qatar have openly taken up the cause of the Syrian revolt and called for rebel forces to be armed in their battle against President Bashar al-Assad’s regime.

The GCC nations also slammed what they charged was Iranian interference in their internal affairs.

Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, and Oman “look forward towards better relations with Iran, but unfortunately the latter continues to interfere in their internal affairs,” Sheikh Khaled said.

“It is important for our countries to stand united against such interference” from the Shiite Islamic republic across the Gulf, he said.

Relations between Iran and the GCC have plunged to a new low, with Tehran suspected of supporting Shiite opposition protests in Bahrain against the Sunni monarchy.

Tehran is also a staunch regional ally of Assad.

The GCC talks came with Kerry set to arrive in Riyadh later on Sunday, with Syria and Iran likely to top the agenda at his meetings.

Yemen, the GCC states’ restive neighbor undergoing a difficult political transition, and the Saudi missile defense shield are also likely to be discussed, a diplomat said on condition of anonymity.

Kerry is also due to visit the United Arab Emirates and Qatar.

(Source / 03.03.2013)

We are fighting for all Palestinians

In jail, my fellow hunger strikers and I are doing battle against the Israeli occupation that humiliates our people

Palestinians protest outside the International Red Cross offices

Palestinian families gather in solidarity with hunger-striking prisoners at the Red Cross offices in East Jerusalem.

My story is no different from that of many other Palestinian young people who were born and have lived their whole lives under Israeli occupation. At 17, I was arrested for the first time, and jailed for two years. I was arrested again in my early 20s, at the height of the second intifada in Ramallah, during an Israeli invasion of numerous cities in the West Bank – what Israel called Operation Defensive Shield. I was sentenced to 30 years in prison on charges relating to my resistance to the occupation.

I am not the first member of my family to be jailed on my people’s long march towards freedom. My grandfather, a founding member of the PLO, was sentenced to death by the British Mandate authorities, whose laws are used by Israel to this day to oppress my people; he escaped hours before he was due to be executed. My brother, Fadi, was killed in 1994, aged just 16, by Israeli forces during a demonstration in the West Bank following the Ibrahimi mosque massacre in Hebron. Medhat, another brother, has served 19 years in prison. My other brothers, Firas, Ra’afat and Shadi were each imprisoned for five to 11 years. My sister, Shireen, has been arrested numerous times and has served a year in prison. My brother’s home has been destroyed. My mother’s water and electricity have been cut off. My family, along with the people of my beloved city Jerusalem, are continuously harassed and attacked, but they continue to defend Palestinian rights and prisoners.

After almost 10 years in prison, I was released in the Egypt-sponsored deal between Israel and Hamas to release the Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit in exchange for Palestinian prisoners. However, on 7 July 2012, I was arrested again near Hizma, an area within the municipality of Jerusalem, on charges of violating the terms of my release (that I should not leave Jerusalem). Others who were released as part of that deal were also arrested, some with no declared reason. Accordingly, I began a hunger strike on 1 August to protest against my illegal imprisonment and Israel’s violation of the agreement.

My health has deteriorated greatly, but I will continue my hunger strike until victory or martyrdom. This is my last remaining stone to throw at the tyrants and jailers in the face of the racist occupation that humiliates our people.

I draw my strength from all the free people in the world who want an end to the Israeli occupation. My weak heartbeat endures thanks to this solidarity and support; my weak voice gains its strength from voices that are louder, and can penetrate the prison walls.

My battle is not just for my own freedom. My fellow hunger strikers, Ayman, Tarik and Ja’afar, and I are fighting a battle for all Palestinians against the Israeli occupation and its prisons. What I endure is little compared to the sacrifice of Palestinians in Gaza, where thousands have died or been injured as a result of brutal Israeli attacks and an unprecedented and inhuman siege.

However, more support is needed. Israel could not continue its oppression without the support of western governments. These governments, particularly the British, which has a historic responsibility for the tragedy of my people, should impose sanctions on the Israeli regime until it ends the occupation, recognises Palestinian rights, and frees all Palestinian political prisoners.

Do not worry if my heart stops. I am still alive now and even after death, because Jerusalem runs through my veins. If I die, it is a victory; if we are liberated, it is a victory, because either way I have refused to surrender to the Israeli occupation, its tyranny and arrogance.

(Source / 03.03.2013)

Israeli officer shakes hand with settler who attacked Palestinians

On Saturday, masked Israeli settlers were caught on camera shaking hands with Israeli border guards stationed in the village of Umm al-Amad, south of Hebron, then proceeded to harass a group of Palestinian cattle herders while the border guards stood by and watched without intervening.

Border guard shaking hand with settler (image by Ta'ayush)
Border guard shaking hand with settler

A spokesperson for the border guard told Israeli newspaper Haaretz, “Border Police officers seek to enforce law and order in a manner that treats all sides equally. Such dialogue, which incorporates both sides without bias, should not be seen as an attempt to take sides.” However, the pictures of the incident, and eyewitnesses who were present, confirm that the guards clearly took the side of the Israeli settlers in this incident.

Before the settlers arrived on the scene, the Israeli guards blocked the Palestinian herders from accessing their land. When the settlers arrived, they were allowed full access to the Palestinians’ land, and began shouting threats and anti-Arab epithets at the farmers and throwing stones.

At no point did the Israeli border guards attempt to intervene and stop the attacks, according to eyewitnesses. The guards and settlers appeared to be acting in concert to deny the Palestinians access to their lands.

According to the cattle herders, this is a frequent occurrence in the village, since the Israeli settlement of Otniel was built on land stolen from the village. The settlers frequently attack farmers and herders, and the Israeli military allows the attacks to take place, as well as assisting the settlers in their harassment of the Palestinians.

The group ‘Breaking the Silence’, made up of former Israeli soldiers, has presented testimony from many former soldiers documenting this type of collusion between Israeli soldiers and settlers, particularly in the Hebron area.

(Source / 03.03.2013)

Al-Quds University staff to strike Monday

BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — Staff of Al-Quds University in Abu Dis will strike on Monday in protest over the university’s failure to pay outstanding wages, the union said Sunday.

Head of the union Abdullah Najajira said the university still owed staff 30 percent of January salaries and had reneged on an agreement to pay the overdue wages by Sunday.

The university employs around 1,200 staff who will go to campus on Monday but will not work, Najajira told Ma’an.

(Source / 03.03.2013)

Abu Subbah and Belgian Delegation Discuss Prosecuting Israel Internationally

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The Palestinian Minister of Prisoners Dr. Atallah Abu Subbah received on Thursday a Belgian delegation to discuss ways to prosecute the Israeli occupation officials internationally.

The delegation was headed by Judge Philip Pavar, head of the Al-Aqsa Foundation Mohammed Al-Hajjaji and Coordinator of the Committee Mohammed Baroud.

The two sides discussed effective ways to prosecute the Israeli war criminals before the Belgian judiciary and the need to proceed with filing lawsuits despite the continued Israeli pressure.

Abu Subbah hailed the delegation’s efforts in supporting the Palestinian cause through filing lawsuits against the occupation crimes before international courts.

“You are international human rights activists and we hope that you will defend the oppressed in the world,” the Palestinian minster said.

He pointed out that the legal delegations are ready to provide all the necessary assistance so that the war criminals will appear before international courts.

He also stressed that the documentation of the occupation crimes, conducted by his ministry, does not only include crimes committed during the war on Gaza, but it rather documents all the crimes the occupation has been committing.

(Source / 03.03.2013)

“Our prisoners are dying.” Students mobilise in Gaza

 

“Our prisoners are dying.” said Gaza student Khaled Shehab from the Islamic University. “We won’t wait till the death of another prisoner to move in solidarity with all the detainees.” Khaled was joining the thousands attending the growing number of demonstrations in the Gaza Strip right now.

Majeda Sabbah, with other students protesting the death of Arafat Jaradat in Israeli custody . Photo by Joe Catron

Majeda Sabbah, with other students protesting the death of Arafat Jaradat in Israeli custody .

It is not lost on young people in Palestine acting in support of Palestinian prisoners that many who have spent years in Israeli jails were at the same age when they were originally imprisoned. While there has recently been a spotlight on the 219 Palestinian children currently detained by Israel, it is often forgotten that the majority of detainees arrested are youths or in their early twenties. Some have spent the entire decade of their twenties removed from their parents, their families and communities, a young person’s life defined by Israeli prison walls.

Mohammed Al Adini explained his story late at night in the tent erected outside the Red Cross offices in the Gaza Strip, where some Palestinians were on hunger strike in support of those striking in Israeli prisons. He was arrested aged 20 in June 2003, just short of concluding a two year office management course at a college in Deir El Balah, central Gaza. He was imprisoned for nine years and released in the prisoner swap deal after which he was able to complete his course at the University of Gaza aged 31.

Mohammed Al Adini, hunger striking in solidarity after nine years in Israeli prisons.  Photo by Eva Barlett

Mohammed Al Adini, hunger striking in solidarity after nine years in Israeli prisons.

“There were some classes in prison but we were often prevented from going. So we organized our own “internal education” where any prisoners with an academic background such as languages, history and law would teach the other prisoners. It depended on the cell we were in but classes were generally around ten to twelve students. I taught history and Palestinian issues.”

Mohammed knew many students and academics on long term prison sentences. Yassir Namrouiti visits the solidarity tent in Gaza regularly. He was studying at the University of Al Quds when he was arrested in 1987. He didn’t see freedom again until 24 years later when he was released with Mohammed in the Gilad Shalit swap deal 24 years later. Karim Younis who remains incarcerated after 31 years, was a student when arrested in 1983 and was attending classes at Ben Gurion University on the day the Israeli army raided his house. He is now a prison representative and the author of two books. His personal and historical writings from prison have reached and inspired many who support him and the other 4800 Palestinian detainees.

Mohammed does not appear bitter that his education was taken away and is enthusiastic about the rise in student solidarity. “I am so pleased that students in Gaza have rallied around the cause of the prisoners.” said Mohammed. “They are using different languages to express our cause through facebook and other media, which is something we have never been able to do before.”

Khaled shares Mohammed’s certainty that the youth of Palestine have a crucial role to play in the resistance against occupation, which is why many student leaders have been a target for Israeli arrests and incarceration. “Youth and young people are strongly involved in resistance against occupation. Israel arrests them to stop resistance. They want to destroy the educational life for the students. They are aware that students can expose them and their crimes to the world, especially now that so many are communicating directly to Western audiences.”

Student activist Khaled Shehab calling for the release of Samer Issawi . Photo by Joe Caled

Student activist Khaled Shehab calling for the release of Samer Issawi .

He cites other Palestinian students from Gaza such as Malaka Mohammed and Shahd Abusalama whose blogs and reporting on the prisoners in the English language have amassed many followers globally, with frequent updates on the individual stories of prisoners and the ordeals and injustices facing them.
The day after 30 year old Arafat Jaradat was killed after six days of Israeli detention last Monday, Majeda Sabbah, Khaled and other students immediately organized a demonstration, calling for united support for all Palestinian prisoners.

“Arafat didn’t just die” said Majeda. “He was killed under the systematic torture that takes place in Israeli Jails.”

We are here to show our support for all the hunger strikers and all the political prisoners. The sons of Palestine sacrificed their freedom and belief for others, like Samer Issawi who is now in a critical condition after a hunger strike of over six months. We young people in Gaza support them, which is why we mobilized quickly as soon as we heard about Arafat. We can’t wait for the parties to move. If we didn’t act for a united struggle then no one would.”

Most Palestinian families contain someone who has been detained in Israeli Jails or is currently incarcerated. “My uncle was a prisoner.” said Khaled. “He spent 25 years in Israeli prisons and was recently freed in the swap deal. He joked that over time they changed the prison door three times while he remained in the same room.”

For relatives of current detainees in Israel the struggle can never go away. It is a double agony – for those on the inside and those on the outside. The last hunger striker who won his freedom was Akram Rikhawi, who in his ninth year of incarceration refused food for 104 days. “When I was released I could not recognize Samah, my eleven year old daughter” Akram told us. Samah was just two years old when he had last laid eyes on her. “My wife was allowed to visit me once in that time and my mother also once. I learned of my mother’s passing on prison radio a month after she had died.”

Mohammed Al Adiny said that it was being away from his family and friends that hurt most in prison. “I would send letters to my mother. I would tell her that if she wants me to be okay, just smile. Your smile is what gives me strength is what I would tell her.”

The fight of the hunger strikers goes on. Samer Issawi, now weighing just 44 kg was recently moved to Haifa hospital after a serious deterioration in his health. Ayman Sharawna was moved to the Soroka Israel hospital in Beersheba last month, briefly falling into a coma after which for a period he was unable to move, suffering severe pain to several parts of his body.

Hana Shalabi, a female detainee released after a 43-day hunger strike in March 2012 was in attendance at Sunday’s demonstration and she described to some of the students what Samer and Ayman were going through. “I’m sorry for the death of Jaradet, sorry for his family in the West Bank. Sadly I’m not surprised, this is not a new thing with over 210 prisoners who have been killed in Israeli prisons since 1967. By my experience on hunger strike I feel what they feel. You can’t sleep because of the pain, you can’t speak, you can’t move, there’s hair loss, pains in the stomach and joints, you can’t see well, there are heart irregularities, palpitations and migraines. Soon your body, like mine, can’t accept water.”

Hana Shalabi, released after a 43-day hunger strike, remains an inspiration. Photo Eva Barlett

Hana Shalabi, released after a 43-day hunger strike, remains an inspiration.

At the time of writing Samer Issawi and Ayman Sharawna are among 178 prisoners who are being held under what Israel defines as “Administrative Detention” . This open ended imprisonment without a formal charge has been condemned by major international human rights groups. This self-sacrifice of Samer, Ayman and the other detainees has struck a chord with young people across Palestine who are absorbed in the struggle for life and dignity of the hunger strikers. They want immediate action.

“When students and young people become more aware and start writing about israel’s crimes it’s like a disaster for Israel. We want to deliver our message all over the world. Palestinian prisoners don’t have basic human rights or dignity. They’re not treated as human beings. We demand the Israeli government release the hunger strikers.”

(Source / 03.03.2013)

UN, imperial powers fail to take notice of Israeli war crimes: Ralph Schoenman

Interview with Ralph Schoenman.

“No amount of resolutions and declarations by United Nations whose member governments consist of the same forces that are engaged in imperial conquest will result in any change in this behavior.”

An analyst says there is enough documentation to hang Israel for its illegal use of chemical weapons on populations, but impunity applies because imperialism rules the UN.

In the background of this human rights organizations have accused Israel of using occupied Gaza as a testing ground for their military weapons that include banned weapons such as white phosphorus proven with video footage after first being denied by Israeli authorities. The acts of human experimentation by Israel in testing the effects of their military weapons on Palestinian lands and on the Palestinians themselves are taking their toll in the form of sharp increases in cancer amongst the occupied population of Gaza. There is grave concern that greater casualties will surface in coming years due to what is tantamount to Israeli war crimes on Palestinians.

Press TV has interviewed Ralph Schoenman, political commentator and author of the Hidden History of Zionism, Berkeley about this issue. The following is an approximate transcription of the interview.

Press TV: Uranium, zinc and mercury have all been found in the Gaza strip. How has this been a deliberate and concerted move on the part of the Israelis to leave behind lasting effects of its wars on Gaza?

Schoenman: This is not a new situation. I have to tell you this is the way in which the Israelis have warred with the people of Palestine over a period of decades.

My wife and I, Mya Shone and I were eye witnesses to this, not in Gaza though we have been in Gaza, but in particular during the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 1982 and in the siege of Beirut in which the population was subjected to saturation bombing and that entailed chemical weapons and white phosphorus.

Such was the scale of the impact of this weaponry that the hospitals could no longer contain these victims and the Yahoot theological center in Beirut had to be seconded for the victims.

We were witnesses to this, we were trying to involve the international Red Cross in the documentation of the same and this is a long standing pattern.

In 2001 there was a documentation of nerve gas attacks throughout Gaza particular in the Khan Yunis and the refugee camps from the 1st of February, 2001 – the first attack led to 40 people being admitted to al-Nasser hospital in Khan Yunis in a state of nervous breakdown and the doctors were able to document the Israeli use of nerve gas causing convulsions.

This is a consistent pattern it is not a new thing. Every time there is war the Israelis deploy this weaponry because their target is the population itself.

John Cook documented gas attacks in March 2001. Doctors in Hussein hospital recorded rapid increase in untreatable patients suffering from gas and chemical attacks.

Press TV: The blame here is not just with the Israelis, but also with the US government that continues to fund and provide resources to the Israelis to develop such weapons and use them on civilian populations, wouldn’t you agree?

Schoenman: I would definitely agree after all, I mean, the United States government has deployed these weapons – we documented this with respect to the war in Indo-China under the Secretary General of the International Tribunal of the United States War crimes in Indo-China.

Not merely chemical weapons, but weapons of gases that exploded the pupil of the eye were standard weapons used by the United States forces against the Vietnamese population and this weaponry has always been deployed by the United States with respect to the Israeli armed attacks on the Palestinian people.

It is a pattern that goes on decade after decade in each imperial war. These are wars of annihilation they are directed against entire populations. They are war crimes, they are crimes against humanity and in each conflict we have renewed documentation of this type of weaponry used against civilian populations.

The Goldstone Report was explicit in documenting the use of these types of munitions that were called DIME or Defense Inert Metal explosives, which were amply documented throughout Gaza and indeed in the Goldstone Report it references these attacks in all parts of Gaza subject to siege.

In the documentation that was provided… on 24th October, 2006, Israel was using chemical weapons and phosphorus bombs throughout Lebanon and also in Gaza.

This is not new, it is a consistent pattern.

Press TV: How long do you think the people of Gaza and Palestinians as a whole have to wait to see justice being brought to them with regards to the use of these weapons?

Schoenman: You know that question cannot be addressed by reference to changes in the United Nation’s procedures.

These are the weapons of mass destruction that imperialism use against subject peoples – against people’s that it exploits; against peoples whose resources it steals; against people’s whose sovereignty it wants to annihilate. And this can only be resolved by a revolutionary overthrow of the regimes that are responsible for these crimes against humanity.

No amount of resolutions and declarations by United Nations whose member governments consist of the same forces that are engaged in imperial conquest will result in any change in this behavior.

Only through the removal of the regimes responsible can this be accomplished.

(Source / 03.03.2013)

Anger strikes: Tunisia’s Ennahda leader pelted with stones

A file photo taken on January 30, 2011 shows Rached Ghannouchi, the leader of Tunisia’s Islamist movement Ennahdha waving upon his arrival at the Tunis-Carthage airport after 22 years in exile in Tunis. (AFP)

A file photo taken on January 30, 2011 shows Rached Ghannouchi, the leader of Tunisia’s Islamist movement Ennahdha waving upon his arrival at the Tunis-Carthage airport after 22 years in exile in Tunis.

Angry Tunisians in a town north of the country hurled stones at Islamist Ennahda party leader Rached Ghannouchi’s car on Sunday, a security source told AFP.

At the sight of Ghannouchi, dozens of people in Thala shouted “Get out!”. This is one of the rallying cries of the revolution which toppled the regime of former dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali in 2011.

The stones and rocks which were being flung at the Ennahda party chief’s vehicle manage to successfully smash the rear window. Ghannouchi and some of his party members were in the town for the reburial of an activist executed in 1963, under the regime of Tunisia’s founding president Habib Bourguiba.

The remains of Ahmed Rahmouni were exhumed at the request of his family, who wanted an autopsy carried out to determine the real cause of his death.

Tensions towards the ruling Ennhada party have grown since the assassination of opposition leader Chokri Belaid last month.

Last week, a number of Tunisians performed the Harlem Shake as part of a campaign which urges Ghannouchi to “stay Tunisian and leave Afghans alone.”

The organizers claim Ghannouchi and his Ennahda party are trying to impose a Taliban-style Islamic rule on the Mediterranean state.

(Source / 03.03.2013)

Israel frees man jailed for 40 months without trial

 

HEBRON (Ma’an) — Israel on Sunday released a 41-year-old Palestinian after detaining him since October 2009 without charge or trial, a prisoners group said.

Mazin al-Natsheh, from Hebron was held in administrative detention since Oct. 7, 2009, the Ahrar center said in a statement.

Israel has detained al-Natsheh eight times. He was arrested for the first time aged 19, in 1991.

Center director Foad al-Khafish said Israel’s use of administrative detention orders, which can be renewed indefinitely, is difficult for Palestinian families as they do not know when their relatives will be released.

(Source / 03.03.2013)