Report: Netanyahu says 9/11 terror attacks good for Israel

According to Ma’ariv, Netanyahu said Israel is ‘benefiting from attack’ as it ‘swung American public opinion.’

The Israeli newspaper Ma’ariv on Wednesday reported that Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu told an audience at Bar Ilan university that the September 11, 2001 terror attacks had been beneficial for Israel.

“We are benefiting from one thing, and that is the attack on the Twin Towers and Pentagon, and the American struggle in Iraq,” Ma’ariv quoted the former prime minister as saying. He reportedly added that these events “swung American public opinion in our favor.”

Netanyahu reportedly made the comments during a conference at Bar-Ilan University on the division of Jerusalem as part of a peace deal with the Palestinians.

Meanwhile, Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad cast doubt over the veracity of the September 11 attacks Thursday, calling it a pretext to invade Afghanistan and Iraq.

“Four or five years ago, a suspicious event occurred in New York. A building collapsed and they said that 3,000 people had been killed but never published their names,” Ahmadinejad told Iranians in the holy city of Qom.

“Under this pretext, they [the U.S.] attacked Afghanistan and Iraq and since then, a million people have been killed only in Iraq.”

Speaking Wednesday at a news conference on the Iran threat, Netanyahu compared Ahmadinejad to Adolf Hitler and likened Tehran’s nuclear program to the threat the Nazis posed to Europe in the late 1930s.

Netanyahu said Iran differed from the Nazis in one vital respect, explaining that “where that [Nazi] regime embarked on a global conflict before it developed nuclear weapons,” he said. “This regime [Iran] is developing nuclear weapons before it embarks on a global conflict.”

(Apr.16, 2008 / Source / 05.03.2013)

Protest demands BBC lift reporting blackout on Palestinian hunger strikers

Monday 18th February 2013 was a day to demonstrate against the BBC’s blackout of news coverage of the plight of Palestinian hunger strikers. We held two protests outside the BBC in London and our friends in Bristol protested outside the BBC in Bristol. This report covers the London protest.

Both Ayman Sharawna and Samer Issawi are dying after have been on hunger stike over 6 months and yet when you search the BBC’s 21 million english articles there is not a single mentions of these hunger strikers, this contrasts sharply to the blanket coverage the BBC gave the Israeli soldier Gilat Shalit when is was imprisoned. Tate coverage continued even one year after his release with a special feature on the anniversary of his release, focusing on the difficulty he had had coping with his new found fame! Contast this to Palestinian prisoner Samer Issawi, a skeleton on a wheelchair, brutally beaten in the courtroom in front of cameras and an Israeli judge – his ribs being broken in the attack, is not considered news worthy by the BBC.

 

 


A mothers letter from Palestine to the BBC arrives at the gates of the BBC.. but will they read it..

Previously, 5 weeks ago, on 11th January we protested outside BBC Broadcasting House at the BBC’s refusal to cover the plight of Palestinian hunger strikers. We delivered a letter to the BBC asking for an explanation and a change in policy, the letter (reproduced below) also included a passionate message from Um Ra’fat, the mother of Palestinian hunger striker Samer Al-Issawi.

Tim Davie
Director General BBC 

Dear Mr Tim Davie

Today is Palestinian political prisoner Samer Al-Issawi’s 169th day on hunger strike, and fellow prisoner Ayman Sharawna having been on hunger strike nearly 6 months before suspending his strike for a week is once again fasting for his freedom. Both prisoners are being held by Israel without charge or trial. According to the internationally brokered deal to release captured Israeli corporal Gilad Shalit both Sharawna and Issawi should be free men today but Israel reneged on its agreement and rearrested both men after Shalit had been released.

The BBC describes its mission as one to “inform” and “educate” and the news in particular is described as “providing trusted World and UK news..” so why have you not covered their story and those of fellow Palestinian hunger strikers?

The search engine Google has indexed over 21 million articles from the BBC website yet it returns no results from the BBC for Samer Issawi or Ayman Sharawna. Neither prisoner has ever been mentioned by the BBC – those 21 million articles.. empty of any reference to Palestinian hunger strikers Issawi and Sharawna, both nearing death after nearly six months without food.

If we do a quick search on Google for “Gilad Shalit” it brings back around 1,120 articles from the BBC which includes around 50 articles from 2012! Shalit was released over a year ago in October 2011 and yet he is still news worthy for the BBC. The last article on him by the BBC is from October 18th 2012 – a special on the anniversary of his release!

The Shalit release anniversary article reports of his “ordeal”, the “psychological effects”, “trying to come to terms with his fame” the ordeal of the media following “his first bicycle ride after he returned home.. [his] trip to Paris to visit President Nicholas Sarkozy and a meeting with New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg.. at a concert of the popular singer, Shlomo Artzi, who dedicated a song to him; at various sports events and on the set of the US television drama series, Homeland..” Contrast this ‘ordeal’, which is newsworthy for the BBC to report, to the ordeal Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike are going through TODAY.

Just two weeks ago Samer Al-Issawi, a wheelchair bound skeleton of a man barely breathing after 140 days without food, was brutally attacked by Israeli guards in the courthouse in front of an Israeli judge, who didn’t intervene, as guards punched the dying man in the head and chest resulting in broken ribs. They then attack his mother and sister, all this in front of the cameras – captured on video ready for any news channel to broadcast.. but not the BBC – your mission to ‘inform’ and ‘educate’ apparently doesn’t extend to Palestinians? An emaciated dog that has lost half its weight due to being abandoned is afforded an article by the BBC which includes a large colour photo, but not Samer Al-Issawi who after 169 days without food has lost more than half his body weight, not even one mention of his name. Why?

The BBC is principally funded by television licence fees – 82% in 2011 ( £3.6 billion). Such blatant bias by omission in its reporting is unacceptable and we as TV licence holders demand the BBC follow its remit to inform and educate by covering the issue of Palestinian hunger strikers.

We have received a message from Palestine, from the mother of Samer Al-Issawi to the BBC which we have included below.

A Mothers Message To The BBC

My son Samer Al-Issawi, 33, a Palestinian prisoner in an Israeli jail and been on a hunger strike for 169 days. His only demand is freedom after the Israeli occupation broke the deal that liberated him, and re-arrested him for no reason, without any charge.

Samer Issawi’s is in a very critical condition and has sustained fractures in his rib cage as a result of an assault against him a few days ago in the courtroom by Israeli soldiers only because he wanted to touch his mothers hand.

The reason for writing this letter is that we know that the role of the media especially the BBC & CNN is very important to highlight the plight of our son Samer.

Um Ra’fat, Mother of Palestinian Hunger Striker Samer Al-Issawi
We would like a reply, thank you.
Yours sincerely
..

After nearly 5 weeks we still did not received any reply from the BBC. Not only did they not replied, they did not even have the courtesy to sent us an acknowledgement of receipt of the letter. At the time the BBC had erected a barricade and checkpoint some 100 metres from its entrance especially to block us approaching the building and prevented us from entering the building to personally hand the letter to the Director General Tim Davie it had to be given to the Duty Facilities Manager of BBC Workplace who later confirmed to us via email that she had handed it to the Director Generals Office. A quick search on google also revealed the reporting blackout was still very much in place. So on 18th February we once again protested outside the BBC.

The action was part of the Palestinian Prisoners Campaign launched by Innovative Minds (inminds.com) and the Islamic Human Rights Commission (ihrc.org) which aims to raise awareness for the plight of Palestinian prisoners and build solidarity for their struggle and work towards their freedom.

The BBC journalists from the National Union of Journalists were on strike on 18th February over compulsory redundancies at the BBC, this gave us a great opportunity to talk to them on the picket line outside the BBC. It was decided that whilst the main protest as advertised was at 2pm in the afternoon, a few of us with our friends from “Haringey Justice For Palestinians” would visit the picket line early in the morning at 7am to talk directly with the picketers.

 

 

 

 

7am – Vigil outside BBC

As we arrived at BBC Broadcasting House in the early hours of the morning we were warmly greeted by about half a dozen picketers who were very sympathetic. We explained that we fully supported their strike and opposed the cuts but were disappointed with the bias in the BBC. We asked if they minded us standing with them with our banners, they told us that we belong there and they stood with us under our banner and we held their placards in solidarity.

When the two NUJ union officials, a man and a woman, arrived we approached them to give them a leaflet and explain why we were there. Unlike the picketers they were surprisingly cold to our approach. Initially they refused to even take our leaflet saying they weren’t allowed to. It took nearly 5 minutes of convincing before they finally took the leaflet.. only to fold it and put away without reading it! When asked about the reporting blackout the woman sidestepped the question saying she did not work in the news section so couldn’t comment, whilst the man refused to utter even one word during our whole encounter.

Having caught the BBC security off guard they tried but couldn’t prevent us from approaching the main entrance for some great photos next to the iconic BBC building logo and leafleting of BBC staff entering the building. The security told us that they were expecting us at 2pm, that we were “not meant to be here at this time”. It was also very interesting that the BBC security tried to separate us from the picketers demanding we stand away from them. We were not sure who directed them to go beyond their remit in this manner. We told them that if the picketers asked us to move we would respect their wishes but as it was we were all standing together, united against the cuts and the bias in the BBC. The security were not happy with this but were powerless to do anything.

Later we managed to speak to a couple of journalists from the BBC Arabic service. They told us, off record, that the BBC’s Arabic service, which is tasked with cultivating a following amongst the regions Arab population whilst having no impact on public opinion or politicians in the West and totally toothless to pressure Israel in any way what so ever, was [therefore] allowed to report on the subject of the Palestinian hunger strikers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


BBC security trying to intimidate activists

Activists hold their ground against BBC security

 

 

 

 


BBC security not happy with solidarity between BBC staff picketers and Palestine activists – they try to separate us!

Haringey Justice for Palestine

 

2pm Protest outside BBC

 

As we arrived for the 2pm protest the BBC security were waiting with a pen ready for us some 100 metres away from the entrance of broadcasting House on the other side of the street. Unlike last time when they had erected a security barrier with a checkpoint and only giving access to people with BBC IDs, this time there was no barrier because of the strike picket which needed free movement to the buildings entrance. We took advantage of this and ignored the pen, setting up near the picketers at the entrance of the building. The BBC security took exception to this, ordering us to move to the pens. We refused pointing out that the area has a public right of way, and their threats to call the police never materialised.

We had a fantastic turnout considering it was a working day. More impressive than the numbers was the diversity, so many different groups, a true cross section of the solidarity movement were represented. All united in solidarity with Palestinian prisoners. Apart from Innovative Minds and the Islamic Human Rights Commission, the International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network, Victory to the Intifada, Jews For Justice For Palestinians, Red Card Israeli Apartheid Campaign among other groups were represented.

A portable PA system was set up for short speeches. Speaker after speaker condemned BBC policy of not reporting the plight of Palestinian hunger strikers.

IHRC chair Massoud Shadjareh told the BBC it mustn’t yield to zionist bullying, that it is paid for by our taxes and has a duty to report the news.

Malcolm from Victory to the Intifada group pointed to a history of bias at the BBC – in 2009 the BBC refused to broadcast a Gaza charity plea for aid made jointly by 13 British charities to help the stricken people of Gaza rebuild their homes after Israel’s vicious attack on Gaza.. and now they are refusing to report on the hunger strikers.

John, a Camden UNISON member, made the comparison with Ireland, its hunger strikers – 10 of whom gave their lives to the cause, and the BBC’s refusal at the time to broadcast the voices of Irish patriots.

Glyn from Jews for Justice for Palestinians pointed to an even bleaker future at the BBC with its recent appointment of James Purnell, former chair of Zionist lobby Labour Friends of Israel, to the BBC’s top strategy job. In his new post at the BBC, he will be in charge of the corporation’s policy, strategy, digital services, public affairs, communications, marketing and audience research – in other words, pretty much everything that matters in the BBC!

Michael from the Jewish Anti-Zionist Network asked the National Union of Journalists , who were out on strike that day, to pass a motion to boycott Israel.

The BBC were invited to come and address the protesters to explain their policy, an offer they ignored. The NUJ members on the picket line were also invited to address the protest to talk both about their strike and also the BBC’s refusal to report on Palestinian hunger strikers. Lucy Bailey, a producer at BBC Word Service, who was on the picket line did agree to take the mic. Lucy Bailey has previously made a documentary on human rights for white farmers in Zimbabwe and a series on pursuing justice under pressure and the role of judges in which she interviewed Judge Richard Goldstone so we were expecting passionate words about the human rights of Palestinian prisoners and the failure of the BBC to cover their plight. We were to be disappointed. In fairness she did speak out against the cuts at the BBC, she had our full support on that. But that was it – nothing on the Palestinian hunger strikers!

In between the speeches, pro-Palestinian music was played, helping create a great atmosphere to engage the public. “Hungry” by Doc Jazz written specially for the Palestinian hunger strikers was a particular hit with the crowd:

“I’m not asking u to break me out, cuz I’m alright.
Can spend a hundred more years putting up this fight.
All I want you to do, is speak out for the truth..”

 

 

 

 

(Source / 05.03.2013)

Turkey appoints ambassador to State of Palestine

RAMALLAH (Ma’an) — Turkey’s consul-general ?akir Özkan Torunlar was appointed ambassador to the State of Palestine on Tuesday.

Torunlar met with Palestinian Authority Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki in Ramallah and pledged to work to enhance cooperation between Turkey and Palestine.

Al-Maliki praised Turkey’s support for Palestine, particularly its support of Palestine’s successful bid to join the United Nations as a non-member state, a ministry statement said.

(Source / 05.03.2013)

‘Simple Racism’: Palestinian only bus vandalized overnight

Palestinians queue to board a bus as a new line is made available by Israel to take Palestinian labourers from the Israeli army crossing Eyal, near the West Bank town of Qalqilya. (AFP)

Palestinians queue to board a bus as a new line is made available by Israel to take Palestinian labourers from the Israeli army crossing Eyal, near the West Bank town of Qalqilya.

A day after Israel began running separate West Bank bus lines for Palestinian workers, vandals tried to set fire to several of the vehicles overnight, police said on Tuesday.

“Two buses were apparently set on fire but we are looking into all possibilities,” police spokeswoman Luba Samri told AFP, saying the incident took place in the Arab-Israeli town of Kfar Qassem which lies very close to the Green Line.

Police sources quoted by army radio said the buses had been torched as a protest against the new transportation system which came into effect on Monday.

The incident took place just hours after Israel began running separate bus lines for Palestinian workers and Jewish settlers, in a move which was bluntly denounced by an Israeli rights group as “segregation” and “simple racism.”

But Israel’s transport ministry denied the charge, saying Palestinians with a permit to work in Israel were allowed to travel “on all public transport lines.”

The controversy over the separate bus lines continued to draw sharp criticism from Palestinian officials on Tuesday.

“This is a racist policy of segregation,” deputy labour minister Assef Said told AFP.

His remarks were echoed by the Palestinian Workers’ Union which also denounced it as “a racist measure” and said the buses would become an easy target for attacks by settler extremists.

The new bus route ferries Palestinian workers from the Eyal checkpoint just north of the West Bank city of Qalqilya to several cities in Israel where they have permits to work.

The transport ministry says the new lines are to serve Palestinian workers entering Israel in a bid “to replace the pirate operators who transport the workers at inflated fares.”

But Israeli media reports said the service was launched after Jewish settlers complained that forcing them to share public transport with Palestinians was a security risk.

Until now, the workers have been reaching Israel by catching buses which run from outside Jewish settlements which they would ride alongside settlers travelling to Israel.

Ron Nahman, the late mayor of Ariel settlement, had in November said he was in talks with the army, the police and the transport ministry to find ways of “stopping Palestinians from boarding the buses that go to Ariel.”

“All of them are working on this problem, and we hope that they will soon find a solution to the reality that is bothering our people,” he wrote on his Facebook page.

(Source / 05.03.2013)

Gaza fishermen protest as Israel breaks pledge to stop attacks

Fisherman and activist Zakaria Baker, right, says that Israel’s crimes in Gaza’s waters are routine.

“The situation for fishermen is very bad,” Mos’ad Baker said in the Gaza seaport Sunday. “We still face the Israeli navy daily.”

He had just returned from a flotilla that spent the morning sailing the Mediterranean coast of the Gaza Strip from the seaport to Beit Lahiya and back.

With more than 50 boats, the flotilla was part of a campaign against the Israeli navy’s attacks on Palestinian fishermen and to demand that Israel return 36 fishing boats it has seized. The protest was organized by the Union of Agricultural Work Committees (UAWC).

The event followed a series of protests the UAWC mounted last month as part of a global day of action for boycotts of Israeli agricultural companies.

For the several hundred fishermen who spent their mornings in the seaborne rally, accompanied by international activists and television cameras, it offered a rare window of relative safety at sea.

Israel gave a commitment in its 21 November 2012 ceasefire agreement with Palestinian resistance groups to “stop all hostilities in the Gaza Strip land sea and air, including incursions and targeting of individuals” and “refrain … from restricting residents’ free movements and targeting residents in border areas.”

The Hamas-run administration in Gaza announced the next day that negotiations for the truce in Cairo had expanded the three-nautical mile fishing limit imposed by Israel, as part of its naval blockade of the Gaza Strip, to six nautical miles.

Violations of ceasefire deal

But attacks on fishermen quickly resumed. According to Zakaria Baker, another fisherman who facilitates the UAWC’s five local fishing committees in the Gaza Strip, Israel has captured nine more boats since 21 November.

“They have kept more boats since the ceasefire than between 1994 and 2005,” he said, adding that since the truce, at least five additional boats have been shot and three fishermen wounded. “As for the boats the Israelis capture, they shoot nearly all of them first.”

“I was injured when two Israeli warships approached my boat” on 17 December, Mos’ad Baker said. “One circled it, creating turbulence, while the other sprayed it with gunfire.” A bullet struck his left thigh, he added. “Then they arrested me and confiscated my boat, which is now in Ashdod [a port in Israel].”

Zakaria Baker said that since the ceasefire, most of the boats Israel has targeted lay within the six-nautical-mile area Israel has unilaterally declared permissible for fishing, but several were north of Gaza’s al-Shati (Beach) refugee camp, where he, like Mos’ad and much of the extended Baker family, lives.

Israel has claimed to agencies like the United Nation’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs that fishermen can sail northeast along the Gaza coast to 1.5 nautical miles from Israeli waters safely. But according to Zakaria Baker, the miles of sea between this nautical extension of the “buffer zone” and the camp are now the most dangerous.

“The Israelis are trying to push the limit down to al-Shati camp,” he said. “They want to drive fishermen further from them and establish new boundaries for the siege.”

Because the Baker family includes many fishermen, the Israeli navy’s targeting of the profession has hit the family particularly hard.

“Three of my family’s other boats have been confiscated,” Mos’ad Baker said. “They are also in Ashdod. Three of my nephews have been detained at sea.”

Boats rarely returned

The limitations and threats against fishermen have driven many from the profession, while impoverishing many who remain. A 2010 report by the UN’s Office of the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs reported that the territory’s registered fishermen had declined from 10,000 in 2000, just before Israel began tightening its restrictions, to 3,500. The same document estimated that five years of the siege would cost fishermen 7,041 metric tons of fish and $26.5 million in income (“Between the fence and the hard place,” August 2010 [PDF]).

Israel rarely returns boats it has impounded, Zakaria Baker said. “Five boats have been returned over the last year, without their engines, GPS systems, or nets. Only the bodies of the boats came back. Each fisherman had to pay 600 new Israeli shekels [$160] for his boat’s transportation.

“They have said they will return two other boats, but with terms that the fishermen must sign,” Baker explained. “The first [term] is that the fisherman must pay for storage of his boat in the Ashdod seaport. The second is that they will follow the orders of the Israeli military. The third is a continuation of the second: if the Israeli navy captures the same boat again, the fisherman will have already agreed for them to confiscate it forever. The fourth is that if the engine of the boat is over 25 horsepower, the Israelis have the right to do whatever they want, including shooting the boat with the fisherman in it.”

Routine

In August 2011, eight fishermen refused to pay for the return of boats, stripped of their engines and equipment, which Israel offered under similar conditions.

Adalah and Al-Mezan, two Palestinian human rights organizations involved in their cases, wrote then “that the impounding of the fishing boats and the conditions imposed by the Israeli navy constituted a grave violation of the rights of Gaza residents to occupation and property under both Israeli domestic law and international law.”

For Zakaria Baker and the other fishermen who sailed the coast of Gaza Sunday, crimes against them by Israel are routine.

“Israel’s violence against Palestinian fishermen has not only continued, but escalated,” he said. “These attacks could only happen with the silence of the international community. Our action is an appeal for global support to end them and make Israel return the boats.”

(Source / 05.03.2013)

Count Down: Tunisia PM-designate unsure when new govt will be formed

Tunisia's prime minister-designate Ali Larayedh speaks during a news conference in Tunis February 22, 2013.(Reuters)

Tunisia’s prime minister-designate Ali Larayedh speaks during a news conference in Tunis February 22, 2013

Tunisian Prime Minister-designated Ali Larayedh said on Tuesday he did not know when he would be able to announce the formation of a new government, with only days left to finish the task.

Larayedh was speaking on the radio after parliamentary speaker Mustapha Ben Jaafar said in Paris he expects a new government to be formed “in the next 24 to 48 hours”, even if disputes remain over portfolios and the political platform.

“I don’t know,” Larayedh said when asked by Shems-FM radio when the new team would be put together, as a Friday deadline looms. “Soon, God willing.”

Al Arabiya’s correspondent said that independents will be heading into the new line up and will possibly head the defense ministry.

However, Larayedh said various names being mentioned by the media as possible ministers were “not reliable.”

Meanwhile, the head of one possible coalition party, Wafa, told Radio Mosaique they had decided not to continue talks.

“We decided to quit the talks because no government programme has been decided and they are continuing to talk about (ministerial) porfolios, Slim Boukhdhir said without clarifying whether the party’s withdrawal was definitive.

Tunisia is facing a grave political crisis after the February assassination of leftist politician Chokri Belaid, a vocal critic of the Islamist-led government.

That led to the resignation of Prime Minister Hamadi Jebali after he failed to forge a non-partisan government of technocrats when his ruling Islamist Ennahda party refused to back up his efforts to defuse the crisis.

While Ennahda has made a crucial concession, accepting key ministries be entrusted to independent candidates, Ben Jaafar said, in the negotiations, there was still disagreement over the names.

But he said he hoped to see a government of competent people with “a minimum of partisan personalities.”

He also said there were disputes over the political platform and stressed that in the current climate in Tunisia “security must be the priority with an administration that is neutral and firm against violence.”

If a cabinet is not named by Friday, Ban Jaafar noted that President Moncef Marzouk must choose another politician to try to form a government.

(Source / 05.03.2013)

Palestinian students protest against UK diplomat’s speech

UK Consul General to al-Quds Vincent Fean (file photo)

UK Consul General to al-Quds Vincent Fean
Palestinian students have prevented British consul general to al-Quds (Jerusalem) from giving a lecture at a university in the West Bank city of Ramallah, Press TVreports.

Students at Birzeit University said on Tuesday that they would never allow a representative of the British government, which supports Israel, deliver a lecture in their university.

According to Press TV’s correspondent in Ramallah, scores of Palestinian students and members of the Student Council staged a protest as Vincent Fean entered the university. He was forces to flee.

The students shouted slogans against the British government and in support of hunger striking Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails.

They also held pictures of Palestinian hunger striker prisoner Samer Issawi and compared Palestinian prisoners who are on hunger strike to Irish prisoners who died in British jails.

The students said Britain is the main reason behind the Palestinians’ crisis and their long conflict with the Israelis, referring to the Balfour Declaration by the British government in 1917 which paved the way for the creation of Israel in Palestine.

(Source / 05.03.2013)

Police investigate death of 5-year-old near Hebron

HEBRON (Ma’an) — Police have ordered an autopsy on a five-year-old boy who was found dead in a water tank in front of his home near Hebron on Monday.

Paramedics tried to revive Mahmoud Talaal Rajabi but he was pronounced dead at Hebron Governmental Hospital, a Red Crescent official said.

Police are investigating the boy’s death and have ordered an autopsy.

(Source / 05.03.2013)