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

In de middag van zaterdag 2 maart waren de volgende rondes van debatten, waarbij vooraf het debat “Israël en Palestina: op weg naar een tweestatenoplossing?” een zeer interessante leek; mede gezien het feit dat de heer Timmermans namen van enkele hongerstakers / gevangenen in zijn openingsspeech probeerde uit te spreken. Het was alsof hij de naam voor de eerste keer zag. Zo als hij heel moeilijke namen van regeringsleiders met gemak uitsprak, bakte hij van de namen van de Palestijnse mannen niets, het is een schande …

Aan het debat namen Désirée Bonis (Tweede Kamerlid PvdA), Hilik Bar (Israëlische Arbeiderspartij) en Sabri Saidam (Fatah) deel.
Volgens Bar is de tweestatenoplossing de enige oplossing denkbaar, waarbij “Netanyahu en Abu Mazen heel snel om tafel moeten. Bij de verkiezingen is meer macht naar rechts gegaan, omdat de mensen meer veiligheid voor hun land willen.” Belangrijk is dat er nu snel een kabinet komt, een klein kabinet samen met ultra rechts of een groter kabinet.

Saidam reageerde op de opmerkingen van Bar, door aan te geven, dat zijn “land wordt opgegeten en al voor een groot deel is opgeslokt. Het is nu tijd om de bezetting te beëindigen. Er kunnen geen onderhandelingen plaatsvinden, als de Palestijnen alles moeten opgeven, zoals het recht op terugkeer,  het recht van Jerusalem als gedeelde hoofdstad, de illegale nederzettingen zijn verdwenen en de grenzen van voor 67 weer terug zijn ingesteld.”
Mevrouw Bonis is van mening dat vrede, veiligheid en opleiding belangrijk zijn, Palestina is een open luchtgevangenis, er zijn onderhandelingen geweest, maar die hebben niets opgeleverd. Tevens onderschreef ze de rechten van de Palestijnen die Heer Saidam aan had gegeven.

Bar reageerde geprikkeld door aan te geven dat mevrouw Bonis wel erg opvallend de zijde van de Palestijnen koos en dat “Israël zich moest verdedigen tegen haar vijanden met checkpoints, muren, iron-domes, omdat we voor ons zelf moeten zorgen.” Sabri Saidam gaf aan dat meneer Bar beter het hele verhaal kan vertellen, “ja u bent uit Gaza gegaan, maar dat is niet het gehele verhaal, tenslotte  is Israël wel de bezettende macht. Veertig procent van de nederzettingen zijn leeg, geplaatst om alleen maar de grond in te pikken.”

Ook de zaal had medezeggenschap en kwam met opmerkingen over: “waarom tegen het Boek ingaan (Bijbel), er kan geen vrede zijn, als één partij de voordelen heeft en de ander niets, met wie moet Israël gaan onderhandelen? (vraag van CIDI), door het Israëlisch beleid wordt het leven van de Palestijnen steeds moeilijker, hoe zit het met elektriciteit en water” (vraag van COMED-ME).
Hilik Bar gaf aan dat de Palestijnen alleen maar leugens in de schoolboeken hebben geplaatst en dat niemand Israël kan verwijten dat ze niet voor de vrede zou gaan, ze heeft het twee keer geprobeerd. Hierop reageerde Saidam met de opmerking, dat de woorden van Israël nogal eens veranderden, en de vraag “waar is Palestina op de landkaart van de Israëlische schoolboeken?” . Hij is van mening dat de bezetting een 5-sterren bezetting is, 75 procent van het water van de West Bank is van de nederzettingen, Palestijnen kunnen bijna de mobiele telefoon niet gebruiken, daar de lijnen van het Israëlische militaire apparaat zijn.

De zaal reageerde met een aantal opmerkingen: er moeten heel snel onderhandelingen komen, de problemen liggen op het gebied van religie, geschiedenis en de generaties, Hamas is geen vijand, aan het publiek wordt voorgesteld om ‘Bar’ te googlen, dan kan iedereen zien wat zijn standpunt is over de tweestatenoplossing.” (Zie:  https://khamakarpress.com/2013/03/02/here-is-your-peace-camp-labors-visit-to-the-settlements/)

Bar antwoorde dat zijn partij in de oppositie zit en dat deze partij vrede wil, maar dat er wel duizenden raketten van Gaza naar Israël zijn gestuurd. De Israëlische Arbeiderspartij heeft geen moeite met religie en wil daarom ook geen muur in Jerusalem. Dat betekent wel dat Jerusalem nooit gedeeld kan worden. Nogmaals benadrukte Hilik Bar dat de muur er is om de veiligheid voor Israël te garanderen.

Tenslotte gaf Sabri Saidam aan de zaal mee, maar vooral aan de heer Bar, dat zijn partij staat voor vrede, maar dat het punt is bereikt dat “de tweestatenoplossing wel bijna de nek om wordt gedraaid. Tevens wordt de geografie momenteel vermoord. We horen steeds dat de muur een tijdelijke oplossing is, maar zal de muur de basis worden voor de definitieve grenzen? De Holocaust was een grote catastrofe en mag nooit meer gebeuren, maar meneer Bar hou toch eens op met steeds maar te zeggen dat Moslims Joden willen vermoorden. En tegen de wereld het volgende: De verkiezingen gaan door maar ben niet bang voor de uitslag.”

‘Terrorists’ kill at least 48 Syrian soldiers on Iraq’s border: ministry

Smoke rises after what the photographer said were missiles fired by a Syrian Air Force fighter jet loyal to President Bashar al-Assad at the Syrian town of Yaarabiya, near the main border between Syria and Iraq March 2, 2013. (Reuters)

Smoke rises after what the photographer said were missiles fired by a Syrian Air Force fighter jet loyal to President Bashar al-Assad at the Syrian town of Yaarabiya, near the main border between Syria and Iraq March 2, 2013.

A “terrorist group” from Syria carried out a deadly ambush in west Iraq on Monday that killed 48 Syrian soldiers being transferred to the border and nine Iraqi guards, the defence ministry said.

The ambush was carried out “by a terrorist group that infiltrated into Iraqi territory coming from Syria,” the ministry said on its website.

Al Arabiya’s correspondent reported that the gunmen shot dead the Syrian soldiers and the guards in the Ratba desert near the Iraqi province of Anbar.

The deadly incident came days after the Iraqi armed forces shelled Syrian Free Army positions inside Syria after the Syrian rebels reportedly took control of a border crossing between Iraq and Syria.

The Iraqi officials said some 65 Syrian soldiers and government officials had handed themselves over to Iraqi authorities on Friday after anti-government rebels seized the Syrian side of the Yaarabiya frontier crossing.

(Source / 04.03.2013)

PRESS RELEASE – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

UK peace activist faces deportation by Israeli occupation authorities and is set to be detained by Special Branch under anti-terror powers upon return

Tom Woodhead, a British activist, is currently facing deportation by Israeli authorities after being arrested last Friday by border police at a demonstration in Kafr Qaddum, a village in the occupied Palestinian territories.

Woodhead, (born July 1984 in Sheffield), was a volunteer in the West Bank with the International Solidarity Movement since early-October last autumn. On 1 March, Woodhead was amongst several international and Israeli activists attending one of Kafr Quddom´s weekly Friday protests, with the aim of monitoring and to provide an international presence to restrain violence by the Israeli occupation forces. The regular demonstrations, which began in July 2011, are part of a local strategy by the village´s popular struggle committee to regain access to the road which leads to Nablus, the nearest city. It has been obstructed by a roadblock since 2003 and all travel to Nablus henceforth has been elongated by 14km one-way going the next shortest route.

Last Friday´s demonstration, as customary, began with approximately 150 walking up the road towards the colonial-settlement Qedumim, where the earthmound sits further along. The protestors were forced back into Kafr Qaddum with stun grenades, teargas and rubber-coated steel bullets. Afterwards, the protesters managed to gather themselves again and moved towards the village exit, where they became apprehensive at the apparent disappearance of the border police, who were accompanied by soldiers. However, when two jeeps, tailed by police on foot, sped toward the protestors, they ran back towards the village centre. At which point several border police officers burst out of a vacant building where they had been hiding and grabbed who they could of the surprised protesters running past them. Along with two Palestinians, Belal Fathi Jomaa (22) and Nayif Khalel Jomaa (17), Woodhead was arrested by three officers during which he was hit with a rifle butt, whilst one of the Palestinians was photographed being hit in the back of the head with a rock by one officer. During his arrest Tom was blindfolded and punched twice in his face. Border police ‘played’ with their guns making noises while he was blindfolded to scare him

The teenager is being held in Megiddo prison, where Arafat Jaradat was lethally tortured during interrogation a few days ago. The other Palestinian is interned in Huwara military base; whilst Woodhead is currently being transferred to detention by the Israeli Interior Ministry as part of his deportation ordeal. No evidence has been presented of any wrong-doing and this, ISM maintains, is due to the Israeli government not wanting any outside scrutiny of the recent upsurge of violent oppression in the West Bank.

Woodhead, had previously been one of the six activists who broke into the Brighton factory of EDO-MBM Technology and, after barricading themselves in, proceeded to damage around £200,000 worth of manufacturing equipment. Following a month-long trial in Lewes in summer 2010, they were cleared of charges of criminal damage after satisfying the court that they had lawful excuse by preventing war crimes; due to the company´s proven supply of exclusively-made equipment used by the Israeli military in the December 2008 to January 2009 offensive in the Gaza Strip. Prior to his time in Palestine, Woodhead had been a first aid trainer with the British Red Cross in his city of residence, Bristol.

Upon his return to the UK, Woodhead is reasonably expected to be detained for questioning by Special Branch under Schedule VII powers provided within the Anti-Terrorism Act 2000. This is in line with the recent experiences of two researchers from Corporate Watch, campaign affiliates of Woodhead through Smash EDO. They were quizzed on a variety of personal and non-violent campaigning-related matters with no relation to any ongoing criminal proceedings and no further action taken in either case. Woodhead met with the two, Therezia Cooper and Tom Anderson, in the Jordan Valley for a memorial day held for Simon Levin, a late member of the Smash EDO and Jordan Valley Solidarity direct-action campaign groups and co-defendant in the ´decomissioners´ trial. This tactic of misusing legislation that uniquely disallows a right to silence to glean background information on activists has been condemned in articles by both ISM and Corporate Watch. (seehttp://www.corporatewatch.org/?lid=4716 and http://palsolidarity.org/2013/02/british-activists-being-detained-in-uk-airports-under-anti-terrorism-legislation-on-return-home-from-palestine/)

(Soure: Facebook / 04.03.2013)

Abbas, Fayyad at odds over finance minister’s resignation

BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — The opposing statements by President Mahmoud Abbas and his premier Salam Fayyad over the finance minister’s resignation have stirred debates over the leaders’ jurisdictions.

Nabil Qassis on Saturday announced his resignation, less than a year after he was appointed to replace Fayyad as finance minister. Abbas refused the resignation, but Fayyad told the cabinet on Sunday that he had accepted it.

Under Palestinian Basic Law, the prime minister is responsible for dismissing ministers or accepting their resignations.

Director of the legal committees of the Palestinian Legislative Council, Ahmad Abu Dayyeh, said Fayyad should still have consulted the president before accepting Qassis’ resignation.

“This government was sworn in before President Abbas, and so the prime minister is supposed to consult him over appointing ministers or accepting resignations,” Abu Dayyeh told Ma’an.

The president is abroad and refused Qassis’ resignation on Saturday, requesting that the minister delay the decision until his return, Abu Dayyeh said.

Asked if Abbas could reappoint Qassis, Abu Dayyeh said the president and Fayyad would need to “agree on certain arrangements.”

Abbas asked his aide At-Tayyib Abdul-Rahim to meet Qassis to discuss his reasons for quitting, Abu Dayyeh added.

The agreements the PA signed with trade unions were part of Qassis’ motivation to resign as he was concerned the finance ministry could not meet its obligations outlined in the deals, Abu Dayyeh said

“More than one agreement has been signed with trade unions, and these agreements include financial obligations which the budget won’t afford, and that will further complicate the crisis,” says Abu Dayyeh, describing the agreements as political moves.

Qassis was also embroiled in disputes with Fayyad over their respective powers and jurisdictions, the PLC legal official added.

Economic analyst Nasr Abdul-Karim agreed that Fayyad should have consulted Abbas before accepting Qassis’ resignation.

“The finance minister was appointed by President Abbas, and even if Palestinian law says the prime minister is authorized to accept a minister’s resignation, there should be an agreement between (them).”

(Source / 04.03.2013)

Issawi: Hunger strike is my last remaining stone

Israeli prison guards are reflected in a mirror at a Jerusalem court as they stand around Samer Issawi, Feb. 21.

BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — After 214 days on hunger strike, Samer Issawi says his death will be a victory for refusal to surrender to Israel’s occupation.

“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,” he wrote in The Guardian.

“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.”

Issawi called on the British government to impose sanctions on Israel until it ends its occupation of Palestinian land, recognizes Palestinian rights and frees all political prisoners.

“Israel could not continue its oppression without the support of western governments,” Issawi wrote, noting the historic responsibility of the UK “for the tragedy of my people.”

Israel still uses British Mandate laws to oppress Palestinians, Issawi said, adding that British Mandate authorities sentenced his grandfather to death.

Israeli forces killed Issawi’s 16-year-old brother in 1994 and have imprisoned four of his other brothers and his sister, Issawi said, as well as demolishing his brother’s home and cutting off his mother’s water and electricity.

“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.”

Issawi was arrested on July 7 and accused of violating the terms of his release under a prisoner swap by leaving Jerusalem.

He has been on hunger strike since Aug. 1 to protest Israel’ s violation of his amnesty and his illegal imprisonment.

Issawi was transferred from Ramle prison to the Kaplan Medical Center last week. His lawyer Jawad Bolous said he was hospitalized because his pulse dropped dangerously low.

(Source / 04.03.2013)

War criminal Peres honored again by European university

Kindred spirits: Shimon Peres meets fellow war criminal Donald Rumsfeld.

I only met Stéphane Hessel once. But I loved his pamphlet Time for Outrage. Here was a man in his nineties, goading the young into disobeying authority.

A few days after Hessel’s death last week, I was lucky enough to meet a number of students that are acting in a way that would clearly have won his approval. Enrolled in the French-speaking Université libre de Bruxelles, these Palestine solidarity activists are incensed at how the ULB rector, Didier Verviers, is set to dine with Shimon Peres tomorrow night. “People like Shimon Peres should simply be boycotted, never honored,” the students, who belong to the university’s committee for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel, have told Verviers in a letter.

Though Verviers is a historian, the students have felt it necessary to give him a history lesson. They reminded him that, as Israel’s prime minister, Peres ordered the bombing of Lebanon in 1996 and must therefore be held responsible for the intentional massacre of 102 civilians in Qana.

Duty of dialogue?

Whereas the students’ missive was concise and sharp, Verviers has tied himself in knots trying to justify why he is attending a “walking dinner” with the Israeli president. (Aside: I’m not sure what a walking dinner is and, given the recent horsemeat scandal in Europe, not sure that I want to know).

Writing on his personal blog, Verviers claimed that he had a “duty” to enter into a dialogue with a man bestowed with one of ULB’s highest distinctions: the docteur honoris causa(whatever that anachronism is). Verviers went on to say that he was opposed to Israel’s colonization of the West Bank and that he was shocked by the problems besetting Palestinian universities. He signed off his post by saying that his presence at the event did not involve supporting Israeli policies in any way.

Perceptions matter

His final point is fallacious. Verviers is an educated man, so he must realize that perceptions matter. The dinner he will attend is being organized by the Israeli embassy in Brussels and the invitations to it give the impression that the ULB is a co-host. By allowing his name and that of his institution to appear on the invitations, Verviers is helping Israel to appear respectable.

The banquet is not an occasion for a frank exchange of opinion: Palestine solidarity activists are being kept away from the event. For a start, the €100 ($130) entrance fee is too steep for most of them. And those campaigners who have tried to pay the fee have been told there is no room for them.

Licking Israel’s jackboots

It is not hard to see why Verviers is happy to lick Israel’s jackboots. The ULB is eager to soak up grants from the EU’s programme for scientific research and Israel happens to be the most active non-European participant in that programme.

Verviers’ crocodile tears over the oppression of Palestinian academics and students should be treated with contempt. Between 2007 and 2013, the ULB has taken part in at least seven EU-financed projects with Israeli institutions that enable the kind of discrimination he professes to deplore.

The most important Israeli partner for the ULB is the University of Tel Aviv. If Verviers was to check out this university’s website, he would know that it doesn’t try to conceal its support for Israel’s crimes. On the contrary, it takes pride in how its alumni have helped develop particular weapons for the Israeli military. These include Danny Gold, who, according to the university was the “instigator” of the Iron Dome system that Israel used during Operation Pillar of Cloud, its murderous attack on Gaza in November. (Contrary to what Israel claims, Iron Dome is an offensive system; it is designed to intercept missiles fired in response to Israeli provocation).

Tel Aviv University is also directly involved in the colonization process that apparently exercises Verviers. It has a cooperation agreement with Elad, a settler group, carrying out excavations in occupied East Jerusalem as part of a drive to uproot Palestinians living there.

And Tel Aviv University does not respect freedom of expression. In May last year the university banned a commemoration of the Nakba, the ethnic cleansing ahead of Israel’s foundation in 1948.

Another Israeli partner of the ULB is the Technion. This Haifa-based institute of technology serves as an incubator for new weapons. One of its more infamous inventions is a remote-controlled “D9” bulldozer for use in destroying Palestinian homes. Among its other services to Israel’s arms industry is that it runs courses specially tailored for weapons manufacturers. Managers at Rafael, a maker of components for Israel’s Merkava tanks, can obtain a masters in management courtesy of an accord between their firm and the Technion.

Peres will more than likely be hailed as a man of peace during his diplomatic tour of Europe. Why does he get away with this? In Israel, this former weapons merchant is celebrated not as a pacifist but as a founding father of the Israeli arms industry. This point was emphasized when he gave the keynote address to a “homeland security” conference in Tel Aviv shortly before Israel’s eight-day attack on Gaza in November.

If Didier Verviers is still determined to dine for Israel, then I would advise him to bring some disinfectant with him. After shaking hands with a man who caused so much bloodshed, he will surely need it.

(Source / 04.03.2013)

Ahrar slams Israeli harsh prison sentences against children

 

Ahrar center for prisoner studies and human rights strongly denounced the Israel military court of Ofer for issuing harsh prison sentences against Palestinian children under age 18.

The Israeli Salem military court, north of Jenin, has sentenced two Palestinian children to one year and half behind bars after charging them with throwing stones at Israeli occupation forces.

Director of the center Fuad AlKhuffash said that the children are: Waleed Nasr Shuqair, 16 years old and Khalil Ibrahim Shuqiar, 17 years old and they are from Azawieh town near Salfeet in the West Bank.

They are students in the school and were arrested on June 2012 after raiding their homes. Their trail was postponed many times.

Fouad Al-Khuffash said that these sentences did not take into account that the detainees are under age 18, and violated the international law which forbids the detention of children under this age.

(Source / 04.03.2013)

Slaughterer Israeli guards stormed prisons 15 times in February

Slaughterer Israeli guards stormed prisons 15 times in February

Ahrar– Zionist Israeli prison guards savagely stormed prisons 15 times in February 2013. Ahrar center had documented and monitored these violations.

The center noted that prisoners in sections “2″ in Megiddo prison complained of health problems represented by coughs, shortness of breath and chronic headaches because they were injured as a result of a fire due to an electric fault in the section on 11 February of last month.

He added that the prisoners were angry in Megiddo prison when the Israeli units stormed the prison of Cubs in February 9, and isolated some of them, which made ​​the prisoners respond by knocking on the doors as a rejection of the policy.

The prison administration continued the provocations against the prisoners, although the weather was cold, the prisoners told Ahrar center that the Israeli unites stormed the section (4) in Nafha prison on February 13, and forced them to strip searches and isolated three of them.

Fuad Al Khuffash, the director of the center said that the center monitored and documented such abuses, which ranged from storming the rooms prisoners, inspected frequently, the attack on the prisoners, and the transfer captives to isolation rooms, as happened in the Eshel prison in Beersheba where they  transported (27) captives to the isolation rooms.

The raids included Megiddo prisons, Gilboa, Shattah, Hadarim, Ofer, Negev and Raymond, Nafha, Eshel and Holakdar in Beersheba prison, also included the detention centers along the occupied Palestine.

Al-Khuffash appealed human rights organization to interfere rapidly in order to raise issue against occupation which never respects the religious feelings leading to a confrontation between them and the detainees.

(Source / 04.03.2013)

Human rights organizations call for release of Palestinian academic

Human rights organizations call for release of Palestinian academic

Al Qassam website (Ahrar) – Friends of Humanity International and Ahrar center for Prisoners studies and human rights have demanded the Israeli occupation authorities (IOA) to quickly release Dr. Mohammed Ghazal, Palestinian lecturer at Al-Najah University.
The organizations said that the Israeli occupation authorities have been detaining Ghazal, Doctor of Engineering at one of the major universities in Palestine, since December 2011, under administrative detention which has been renewed three times, each time for a period of six months.

The two human rights organizations said that the IOA did not take into consideration the health condition of 55-year-old Mohammed Ghazal, from Nablus, who suffers from high blood pressure and other diseases.

Nearly 200 Palestinian prisoners are held under the yoke of the unjust administrative detention in Israeli jails without any charges.

(Source / 04.03.2013)

Netanyahu: Military threat needed to stop Iran’s nuclear program

WASHINGTON (Reuters) — Neither diplomacy nor sanctions have stopped Iran from pressing ahead with its nuclear ambitions and a clear and credible military threat is needed to stop Tehran’s program, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Monday.

“Words alone will not stop Iran. Sanctions alone will not stop Iran. Sanctions must be coupled with a clear and credible military threat,” he told the American Israel Public Affairs Committee in a speech to its annual policy conference.

Netanyahu, speaking to the Washington gathering by video from Israel, repeated his assertion that Iran was using international negotiations “to buy time to press ahead with its nuclear program.”

(Source / 04.03.2013)