Israeli military court postpones sentencing of Palestinian minors

Israeli forces have recently detained more than 20 Palestinian minors

Israeli forces have recently detained more than 20 Palestinian minors

The Israeli occupation is to charge five Palestinian minors whom it claims are responsible for causing a car accident that resulted in the injury to several Israeli settlers in Salfeet.

The Centre for Palestinian Prisoners (CPP) said in a statement issued on Tuesday that the hearing was planned to be held today (Tuesday), but for unknown reasons, it was postponed.

The CPP lawyer, Kamal Sabbagh, said that an Israeli military court postponed the hearing session of the five Palestinians for an extra ten days. “No reasons were given by the court,” the lawyer said.

The minors are Mohamed Kolaib, 15, Mohamed Solaiman, 14, Mohamed al-Souf, 15, Tamer al-Souf, 16, and Ammar al-Souf, 17.

Based on accusations against them, the lawyer warned that the minors could be given long sentences.

He said that the Israeli occupation accuses them of throwing stones at settlers’ cars. Their stones, the Israeli occupation claimed, caused a car accident in which eight settlers were wounded. Some of them sustained serious injuries.

The West Bank human rights activist, Qaher abu-Kamal, called on international human rights organisations active in issues relating to minors to offer their legal support. He said that the Israeli occupation had tortured them until they confessed to the charges against them.

Urging international organisations to help, Abu-Kamal said that there were several precedents in Israeli courts for convicting Palestinian minors regardless of the norms of international law.

Israeli occupation forces have recently detained more than 20 Palestinian minors from their schools and off the streets while on their way to school.

An Israeli human rights centre published a video showing how aggressive Israeli soldiers are when they arrest some children off the streets of Hebron. The children shown are wearing their school uniforms and carrying schools bags on their backs.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=PDaMlJVcMkA

(Source / 26.03.2013)

THE ROHINGYA MOVEMENT, AS SEEN BY A JOURNALIST IN BURMA

Children at an unregistered Rohingya refugee Camp in South East Bangladesh.

Last Sunday, the Internet was temporarily shaken up by a campaign designed to highlight the plight of the Rohingya people of Burma. On Twitter, the hashtag #RohingyaNOW was a worldwide trend for more than two hours, peaking at the top spot. Two in-person demonstrations were held (and livestreamed), one for several hours in front of the CNN building in LA. Plus, an article about the campaign made the front page of Reddit.

Most dismissed it all as a cute trick, a one-day initiative amplified by the Anonymous and Occupy collectives and human rights activists around the world wanting to raise awareness. Instead, it was a milestone in a campaign that has been running for many months, an idea we have had for years and an introduction to our next phase.

Since the second Rohingya massacre in October, the Burmese people have watched the world ignore or misrepresent what many experts are calling a genocide. President Thien Sien has been on a world tour where he has been met with open arms, receiving a 21 gun salute in Australia and $5.9 billion of international debtcancelled. Canada has opened its first ever Burmese embassy and multinational resource corporations are queuing for contracts. No one is in the mood to bring up genocide, even when a third massacre was openly planned for this month.

The difference social media can make in public awareness was highlighted last fall as violence in Gaza was covered in great detail, and violence in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo and Burma almost not at all. The activists behind the latest campaign believe in grass roots journalism where everyone speaks their own story. If a population of 800,000 people are in refugee camps and villages that look like concentration camps and are completely cut off from communication, what then? They die silently? Not if the Internet can help it.

On March 10, we started a crowdsourced campaign to help boost grassroots journalism from Burma. We have used crowdsourced funding to purchase airfare for two established independent journalists familiar with the Rohingya story. They flew there and we are now working to get as many long distance interviews with locals set up as possible. In the last week, the campaign for the Rohingya has expanded against violence in the rest of Burma as well.

I spoke with journalist Assed Baig about why we felt it was necessary for him to go to Burma in person and what he has seen.

“As a ‘westerner’ I have certain privilege and protection,” says Baig. “I am working with local journos. Using their expertise and crediting them without landing them in jail. We need to report in context, socially, historically and take in the balance of power. We shouldn’t wait for death to take place before we report, we should shine a light on shit that is going to go down. Call power to account. Be the voice of the voiceless. Sounds cheesy, but it is true.”

Baig says he is “of Kashmiri origin, working class background, had to work damn hard to get where I am today. My mum still doesn’t speak English!” and he has experienced media bias. It is important to give people their own voices. “They report themselves and we listen. They are not ‘poor brown people’ these are real people, with names, lives, feelings, and they have a right to be heard.”

Baig is referring to Meiktila refugees who fled to Mandalay to escape the violence. He was given pictures of the massacre in Meiktila by people who were there, from their own cameras. “There are pictures of charred remains. People driving and walking past. Their family members have fled so there is no one to bury them or even identify them.” Baig also spoke to a fourteen year old who saw people beaten to death, and then burnt, as he and others hid in some houses and watched the slaughter.

A 17 year-old student told him about running for his life in Meiktila. He told him: “We saw the younger children falling over, the older kids had to help them. “I’m not sure where some of my other friends are.” Baig showed him the pictures he had from a local journalist. Some were teenagers. Two had massive gashes on the back of the neck, as if hit by a machete. They all had been lying out for three days before someone took the picture. The boy touched the screen and struggled to speak. “That’s my friend,” he said “and this one, those are Osama and Karimullah.” The rest of the bodies were burnt beyond recognition.

These are the stories we set out to tell, but Baig has found others. A convoy led by monks has set out from Yangon and is en route to Meiktila. On board are students and others, Muslims and Buddhists together, bringing food, water and good will to the displaced people still camped in the Meiktila stadium and elsewhere. Buddhists and student groups from Mandalay city launched a rescue operation saving hundreds of lives in Meiktila when the violence started. People who have lived peacefully side-by-side for years are helping each other and standing up against extremism and intolerance.

Rights organizations and witnesses have accused the military of complicity or participation in the last two massacres. Many sources in Burma have worried the violence is being incited to justify a return to military rule, a spectre which reared its head this week with martial law surrounding Meiktila. Baig quotes a Muslim in Yangon who said: “the military want to assert their power, and want to prove they are the ones that can restore order. They are using us as to prove their point.”

(Source / 26.03.2013)

Jewish settlers attack children with pepper spray and glass

Settler violence against Palestinians is a common occurence

Settler violence against Palestinians is a common occurence

The Wadi Halwa Information Centre has given details about illegal Jewish settlers who attacked Palestinian residents of Silwan and the Old City in Jerusalem during the week March 16th-25th. The settlers, it is reported, used pepper spray against Palestinians, including children.

On Monday morning, in Silwan, four Jewish settlers attacked 16-year old Mansour Nasser Abu-Madi as he was on his way to school. They swore at him and aimed pepper spray at his face. When the boy tried to defend himself, he was arrested by Israeli police who, however, did not intervene when he was attacked by the four Jews.

Abu-Madi was interrogated by police for 3 hours at the police station on Salaheddine Street without the presence of his parents. He was eventually released on condition of a 10-day house arrest which sees him only being allowed to go to school with the consent of his father. “The investigator told me he would contact me again after the Jewish holiday,” the boy said.

In the Old City, two other Jewish settlers attacked Ibrahim Ramzi Al-Rajabi, aged 9, on March 20th while he was on the roof of his own house. They threw glass at him at close range, causing deep cuts on his face.

On March 18th, a settler youth aged just 16 attacked Dina Murad Juwailis, 14, and her brother, aged 12, in the Wadi Halwa neighbourhood of Silwan while they were on their way to school. They were both assaulted with pepper spray by their Jewish attacker.

(Source / 26.03.2013)

Are Muslims only kind to other Muslims and harsh with unbelievers?

Quran and Bible Same Teachings

By Abu Amina Elias for FaithinAllah.org

Question:

Your book reads, “Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah and those with him are forceful against the disbelievers, merciful among themselves.” (48:29) Jesus says love your enemies. I feel like Christianity is a religion of peace and Muslims are only good to people who follow their religion.

Answer:

In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful

The verse you have cited refers specifically to the aggressive unbelievers who use violence in order to prevent people from practicing Islam. The verse reads:

مُّحَمَّدٌ رَّسُولُ اللَّهِ وَالَّذِينَ مَعَهُ أَشِدَّاءُ عَلَى الْكُفَّارِ رُحَمَاءُ بَيْنَهُمْ تَرَاهُمْ

Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah and those with him are stern against the unbelievers, merciful among themselves.

[Surah Al-Fath 48:29]

In the original Arabic, there is a shadda above the letter fa which indicates emphasis, meaning the word is more properly translated as “aggressive unbelievers” (kuffar) and not simply “unbelievers” (kafirin). This distinction is made clearer just a few verses earlier in the surah. Allah says:

هُمُ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا وَصَدُّوكُمْ عَنِ الْمَسْجِدِ الْحَرَامِ وَالْهَدْيَ مَعْكُوفًا أَن يَبْلُغَ مَحِلَّهُ

They are the ones who disbelieved and obstructed you from the Sacred Mosque while the offering was prevented from reaching its place of sacrifice.

[Surah Al-Fath 48:25]

This distinction is made elsewhere in the Quran. Allah says:

الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا وَصَدُّوا عَن سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ أَضَلَّ أَعْمَالَهُمْ

Those who disbelieve and prevent people from the way of Allah – He will nullify their deeds.

[Surah Muhammad 47:1]

And Allah says:

لَّا يَنْهَاكُمُ اللَّهُ عَنِ الَّذِينَ لَمْ يُقَاتِلُوكُمْ فِي الدِّينِ وَلَمْ يُخْرِجُوكُم مِّن دِيَارِكُمْ أَن تَبَرُّوهُمْ وَتُقْسِطُوا إِلَيْهِمْ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ يُحِبُّ الْمُقْسِطِينَ

Allah does not forbid you from being kind and just with those who do not fight you because of religion and do not expel you from your homes. Verily, Allah loves those who act justly.

[Surah Al-Mumtahina 60:8]

Therefore, the Muslims should be stern against those who use violence to prevent people from freely practicing Islam, not simply those who are not Muslims.

Jesus Christ, peace and blessings be upon him, was in fact very stern with some of his enemies among the corrupted scholars and men of religion. In a famous passage, Jesus rebukes the Pharisees:

But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! You shut the kingdom of heaven against men; for you neither enter yourselves, nor allow those who would enter to go in…

Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cummin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law, justice and mercy and faith; these you ought to have done, without neglecting the others. You blind guides, straining out a gnat and swallowing a camel!

Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within they are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness. So you also outwardly appear righteous to men, but within you are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.

Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you build the tombs of the prophets and adorn the monuments of the righteous…

[Matthew 23:13-29]

Likewise, Jesus was very stern with the money-changers who were cheating people inside the very house of Allah. As it is written:

In the temple Jesus found those who were selling oxen and sheep and pigeons, and the money-changers at their business; and making a whip of cords, he drove them all, with the sheep and oxen, out of the temple; and he poured out the coins of the money-changers and overturned their tables.

[John 2:14-15]

So, Jesus did love good for his enemies but he was wise enough to know when to be harsh with the most sinful of the unbelievers. Just as a deeply rusted coin cannot be scrubbed clean with a gentle scrub, so also are hearts deeply rusted with sin not made pure with gentle preaching. We could call this “tough love.” Jesus was kind and merciful to the common people, even a prostitute, but he strongly admonished the men of religion who should have known better.

In the same way, the Prophet Muhammad taught the Muslims to love good for their enemies.

Anas ibn Malik reported: The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said:

لَا يُؤْمِنُ أَحَدُكُمْ حَتَّى يُحِبَّ لِلنَّاسِ مَا يُحِبُّ لِنَفْسِهِ وَحَتَّى يُحِبَّ الْمَرْءَ لَا يُحِبُّهُ إِلَّا لِلَّهِ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ

None of you has faith until he loves for the people what he loves for himself; and until he loves a person only for the sake of Allah the Exalted.

Source: Musnad Ahmad 13463 Grade: Sahih

We can point to many examples in the Prophet’s life – too many to cite in this one article – in which he was kind and merciful to even his most violent enemies. The most famous of these examples is when the city of Mecca surrendered to the Prophet without a fight. After twenty-three years of persecution, the Prophet finally had power over his enemies. His response was to forgive them.

Al-Qasim ibn Salim reported: When they came to the Ka’bah they were holding onto its door and the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said:

مَا تَقُولُونَ وَمَا تَظُنُّونَ

What do you say? What do you think?

They said three times, “We say you are the son of our brother.” The Prophet said:

أَقُولُ كَمَا قَالَ يُوسُفُ لَا تَثْرِيبَ عَلَيْكُمُ الْيَوْمَ يَغْفِرُ اللَّهُ لَكُمْ وَهُوَ أَرْحَمُ الرَّاحِمِينَ

I say to you as Joseph said to his brothers: No blame upon you today. Allah will forgive you, and He is the most merciful of the merciful. (12:92)

Abu Yusuf reported: When they had gathered in front of the sacred mosque, the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said:

مَا تَرَوْنَ أَنِّي صَانِعٌ بِكُمْ

What do you think I will do with you?

They said, “Only good, O noble brother, son of a noble brother.” The Prophet said:

اذْهَبُوا فَأَنْتُمُ الطُّلَقَاءُ

Go, you are free.

Source: Sunan Al-Kubra Al-Bayhaqi 17714 Grade: Sahih

It was the Prophet’s message to be merciful to all of creation, friends and enemies alike.

Abdullah ibn Amr reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said:

الرَّاحِمُونَ يَرْحَمُهُمْ الرَّحْمَنُ ارْحَمُوا أَهْلَ الْأَرْضِ يَرْحَمْكُمْ مَنْ فِي السَّمَاءِ

Those who are merciful will be shown mercy by the Merciful; be merciful to the people of the earth and the One above the heavens will have mercy upon you.

Source: Sunan Abu Dawud 4941 Grade: Sahih

Likewise, the Prophet taught his companions to be kind to their neighbors no matter what religion they followed.

Mujahid reported: I was with Abdullah ibn Amr while his servant was skinning a sheep. He said, “O boy, when you finish up, then start with the Jewish neighbor.” A man there exclaimed, “Jewish? May Allah correct you!” He replied:

إِنِّي سَمِعْتُ النَّبِيَّ صلى الله عليه وسلم يُوصِي بِالْجَارِ حَتَّى خَشِينَا أَوْ رُئِينَا أَنَّهُ سَيُوَرِّثُهُ

I heard the Messenger of Allah recommending that we treat our neighbors well until we thought that he would order us to make them our heirs.

Source: Al-Adab Al-Mufrad 128 Grade: Hasan

In conclusion, the verse you have cited about being stern against unbelievers refers to only the most sinful and violent unbelievers. Furthermore, there is no contradiction on this point between the verses of the Quran and the teachings of Jesus, upon him be peace, as recorded in the New Testament.

Success comes from Allah, and Allah knows best.

(Source / 26.03.2013)

An Important Message From Anonymous

  1. It is vital the information we are going to share with you is made viral as quickly as possible. The ethnic Rohingya people of Myanmar (Burma) in Southeast Asia are being massacred. These barbarous acts are being carried out by Neo-Nazi racist groups like the RNDP (Rakhine Nationalities Development Party), ALA (Arakan Liberation Army),  NaSaKa border police and 969 monks led by Monk Wirathu, the self proclaimed Bin Laden of Buddhism. The Government of Myanmar is at best ignoring the slaughter of these people, just like the rest of the international community, and at worst is participating in the crimes.
  2. The persecution of the Rohingya people is severe. The Burmese junta considers them to be sub-human and denies them almost all basic human rights. Often they are subject to torture, gang rape, starvation, slave labor, and forced to reside in the most dire camps in the world – some call these refugee camps but they are concentration camps. Over the past few months, thousands of Rohingya have been encouraged onto boats and sent out to sea with not enough food or fuel, and left there to die. Some of the boats were attacked and sunk, with women and children on board.
  3. While the United States claims to defend human rights, their record clearly reflects a government that will only intercede when their business interests are threatened. While politicians occasionaly pay lip service to the horrific conditions in Myanmar no action is ever taken. The only people neglecting the situation in Myanmar worse than the U.S. are the press who consistently ignored these atrocities or reported them as ‘ethnic clashes’. Since they have failed to document these crimes in any way, we consider the media to be complicit in concealing them from the rest of the world.
  4. The acts of genocide being committed against the Rohingya people must no longer be ignored. We call on Anonymous and all supporters of human rights to stand against this great injustice and lend the Rohingya people a voice, before they are completely eliminated.
  5. The Rohingya are  now anticipating a third massacre, in which Rakhine have declared they will leave no Rohingya left on the land, just a few left as exhibits for the museum.
  6. Please join us urgently to help prevent this massacre from occuring, through the following actions:
  7. 1) Sign the following petitions:
  8. http://endgenocide.org/actions/protect-the-rohingya/
  9. http://www.avaaz.org/en/justice_for_rohingya_muslims/
  10. http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/36335
  11. http://www.activism.com/en_CA/petition/petition-to-the-canadian-government-on-behalf-of-the-rohingya-muslims-of-burma/42370
  12. http://www.petitions24.net/tous_contre_le_massacre_de_rohingyas_en_birmanie
  13. 2) Call, fax, email (FLOOD, SPAM, ANNOY) demanding that URGENT action be IMMEDIATELY taken to save the Rohingya.
  14. Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary General
  15. Tel. 212-963-7162
  16. Fax. 212-963-7055
  17. http://www.un.org/en/contactus/
  18. Embassy of the Republic of Myanmar
  19. 202 332-3344
  20. 202 332-4350
  21. 202 332-4352
  22. Fax: 202 332-4351
  23. info@mewashingtondc.com
  24. U.S. Department of State
  25. 202-647-4000
  26. 202-647-6575
  27. http://contact-us.state.gov/app/ask/session/L3RpbWUvMTM2NDAwNDU2OC9zaWQvX2U0VGZSbGw%3D
  28. Departments of MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS
  29. Government of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar
  30. ASEAN Affairs Department
  31. Director General: U Aung Lin
  32. Deputy Director General: Daw Aye Aye Mu
  33. Political and Security Division: 95-67-412 360
  34. Economic and Functional Cooperation Division: 95-67-412-357
  35. Coordination Division: 95-67-412 345
  36. The World Bank
  37. 1818 H Street, NW
  38. Washington, DC 20433 USA
  39. tel: (202) 473-1000
  40. fax: (202) 477-6391
  41. 3) In the coming days we will be releasing a twitter storm package for #OpRohingya. Stay tuned. In the meantime, follow on twitter @OpRohingya, @JamilaHanan, @Aungaungsittwe and @GeorgieBC for Rohingya updates.
  42. We Are Anonymous.
  43. We Are Everywhere.
  44. We Are the voice of Voiceless.
  45. We Are Legion.
  46. Tyrants of the World,
  47. Expect Us!

(Source / 26.03.2013)

SYRIAN SNC OPPOSITION DELEGATION TAKE ASSAD’S SEAT AT ARAB LEAGUE MEETING IN QATAR:

By a majority vote of its foreign ministers, Arab League delegates invited the Syrian National Coalition (SNC) today, Tuesday, to take the seat at the organisation’s table formerly occupied by Syria’s Government and in particular on many occasions by President Assad himself or his foreign minister.

http://www.petercliffordonline.com/syria-news

Syrian Revolutionary Flag Flies at Arab League for 1st Time

A round of applause welcomed the Syrian SNC Opposition delegation as the newcomers entered the hall after Qatar Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani opened the summit with a call on the Syrian opposition leaders to join the meeting.

The BBC has a short video of the event, HERE:

The SNC delegation was led by Ahmed Moaz Al-Khatib, accompanied by Ghassan Hitto, the newly elected prime minister for Opposition held territory, and George Sabra, the leader of the Syrian National Council. They sat at a desk proudly displaying the revolutionary flag.

Syria has been suspended from the Arab League since November 2011 and “reservations” about allowing the SNC to occupy the vacant seat continue to be expressed by Iraq, Algeria and Lebanon. In Syria itself, the pro-Government newspaper Al-Thawra yesterday reacted furiously to the decision to allow in the SNC.

“The League has handed Syria’s stolen seat to bandits and thugs. They have forgotten that it is the people who grant the powers and not the emirs of obscurantism and sand,” it said, in a reference to Qatar and Saudi Arabia.

Syrian state television said, “Qatar wants to bypass the rules of the Arab League by giving the seat of a founding member of the League to a coalition that obeys only the money and fuel of the Gulf and submits to American dictates.”

The pro-Assad Tishreen newspaper called the “theft” of the country’s Arab League seat a “legal, political and moral crime.”

The SNC’s  Khatib has somewhat confused the situation by announcing his “resignation” on Sunday, supposedly as what he sees as the imposition of Ghassan Hitto, a Syrian born American citizen, as prime minister, a move he believes was deliberately orchestrated by Qatar and US influence.

http://www.petercliffordonlien.com/syria-news

Khatib Takes Assad’s Seat at Arab League Summit

Addressing the Arab League this morning in an emotional speech, Khatib said the Syrian people were paying the price of liberty with their own blood.

Despite his private reservations over the election of Ghassan Hitto, Khatib publicly backed him, saying, “We have elected Ghassan Hitto.

We place all our trust and confidence in him. We on behalf of the aggrieved people call for support in all forms, including the right of right of self defence”.

He also went on to request stronger support from the USA.“The role played by the US should be much bigger. I asked John Kerry [US Secretary of State] to provide Patriot missiles to protect the northern province. We requested NATO to spare the lives of innocent civilians. We do not wish to fight, we wish to protect civilians to restore the normal way of life”.

(NATO later rejected this call reaffirming that it has “no intention of getting involved in Syria”)

At the same time Khatib rejected foreign interference. “We reject any foreign dictated orders. Differences at the international level have exacerbated the crisis. We created the revolution and it is only the Syrian people who will determine how the revolution will end. We will determine who will rule the country. We will live together to in harmony,” he said.

Khatib, in what was considered a very statesman like performance, but without indicating his own future role, said that the Opposition has offered the Assad regime an initiative to begin dialogue but it had been rejected.

He also urged Iran and Russia to withdraw their “experts” from Syria and asked “foreign fighters” to leave the country too, to allow Syrians to freely determine their own future.

(Source / 26.03.2013)

AMP gratified by New York support for ad campaign; Addresses ADL charge

(NEW YORK CITY 03/26/2013) — The American Muslims for Palestine (AMP) thanks supporters and people of New York for their generous support of its new Israeli Apartheid ad campaign, launched today during a press conference at the Harlem-125th Metro North station.

AMP thanks the following speakers: Raja Abulhaq, president of AMP-NY; Lamis Deek, director of Al Awda-NY; Abi Hassan of the National Lawyers Guild; Felice Gillman of Wespac Foundation and Michael Letwin of Jews for the Palestinian Right of Return.

AMP, an American organization whose mission is to educate the public about Palestine and its rich cultural and historical heritage, launched its “End Apartheid Now” ad campaign to coincide with President Barack Obama’s trip to the Middle East as a means to raise awareness about US political, diplomatic and financial support of Israel’s ongoing occupation of Palestinian land and its continued violations of international law and the human rights of Palestinians.

“The US foreign policy vis a vis Israel really runs counter to our American values of liberty, justice and democracy,” said AMP Chairman Dr. Hatem Bazian. “Our foreign policy and more than $3 billion per year in foreign aid is aiding and abetting Israel’s institutionalized racist policies toward the Palestinians.”

These include implementing apartheid tactics of a separate legal system on Palestinians, dividing and separating them into small Bantustans and prohibiting their freedom of movement, Dr. Bazian added. Random arrests and detentions, extrajudicial killings, and home demolitions are more tactics of the occupation.

The ads, which will appear on 25 Metro North stations for the next four weeks, came after months of planning and preparation and their placement this week had nothing to do with the Jewish liberation holiday of Passover, as some Zionist organizations are contending.

Michael Letwin of Jews for Palestinian Right of Return said though he knew the launch of the ad campaign and the start of Passover was a coincidence, he nonetheless said he was happy the two events coincided because Passover is a celebration of liberation.

“The campaign against U.S. aid for Israel targets neither Jews nor Passover, but rather Israeli apartheid and injustice. And the best way to honor Passover, which celebrates Jewish liberation from ancient oppression, is to champion Palestinian human rights today,” he said.

The American Muslims for Palestine is a national grassroots organization whose mission is to educate the American public about issues pertaining to Palestine and its rich cultural and historical heritage. For more information, go to www.ampalestine.org.

(Source / 26.03.2013)

België leverde in vijf jaar 1,5 miljard euro wapens aan Arabische wereld

In de periode 2007-2011 voerden Belgische bedrijven voor 1,5 miljard euro wapens uit naar de Arabische wereld. Dat blijkt uit het onderzoek ‘Wapenexport naar de Arabische wereld – Het Vlaams wapenexportbeleid in Europese context’ van het Vlaams Vredesinstituut, een onafhankelijk instituut voor vredesonderzoek bij het Vlaams parlement.

Een eerste vaststelling op Belgisch niveau was dat bijna 40 procent van de federale wapenexport rechtstreeks bestemd is voor Arabische landen. Het gaat voornamelijk om goederen die geschikt zijn voor interne ordehandhaving maar ook voor gewapende conflicten, zoals vuurwapens, munitie en voertuigen.

Op Vlaams niveau stelt het rapport vast, dat in 2011 voor 12 miljoen euro aan wapenexport naar de Arabische regio werd vergund, en 4 miljoen euro in de eerste 10 maanden van 2012. Voor de voorbije vijf jaar bedroeg de vergunde export 61,2 miljoen euro. Het gaat om militaire voertuigen, militaire elektronica en visualisatieschermen.

Twee derden onduidelijk

Het rapport wijst erop dat onduidelijk is waar twee derde van de vergunde Vlaamse wapenexport uiteindelijk belandt. De vergunningen worden afgeleverd met een buitenlands bedrijf als laatste gekende gebruiker. Zo komt een aanzienlijk deel Vlaams militair materieel onrechtstreeks terecht in de Arabische regio.

Toen bleek op Europees niveau dat de Arabische wereld een belangrijke afzetmarkt voor militair materieel is. In 2011 bedroeg de waarde van de Europese exportvergunningen 9 miljard euro. In 2011, het jaar dat de Arabische Lente uitbrak, lag de waarde van de vergunde wapenexport vanuit de EU tweemaal zo hoog als in 2007.

(Source / 26.03.2013)

NGO STATEMENT: The UN Human Rights Council Must Protect Palestinians from Forced Displacement on Both Sides of the Green Line

We, the undersigned Israeli and Palestinian human rights organizations, state as follows:

  • In 2012, the United Nations (UN) Special Rapporteur on Adequate Housing Raquel Rolnik and the International Fact-Finding Mission on Israeli Settlements (FFM) conducted independent inquiries into Israeli policies regarding housing and the settlements to be presented during the 22nd session of the UN Human Rights Council. Special Rapporteur Rolnik was granted entry to Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT), while members of the FFM were not; they held their meetings in Amman. Both reports highlight Israel’s forcible transfer of Palestinians through the implementation of discriminatory policies and practices. Moreover, the two reports underscore Israel’s serious violations of international law, including grave breaches of the Fourth Geneva Convention, and emphasize Israel’s pervasive violations of the human rights of Palestinians, such as the rights to self-determination, non-discrimination, adequate housing and an adequate standard of living.
  • We support the findings of the Special Rapporteur on Adequate Housing as they relate to Israel’s systematic exclusion, discrimination and displacement of both Palestinian citizens of Israel and Palestinians in the OPT, noting that Palestinian Bedouin communities – in Israel and the OPT– are particularly vulnerable to displacement and dispossession.
  • We highlight that the recommendations of the Special Rapporteur also echo those of the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD). In its concluding observations of its 2012 review of Israel, the Committee noted with concern that Israel’s discriminatory planning policy habitually denies construction permits to Palestinians, including Bedouin, and targets their property for demolition. The Special Rapporteur further supports the CERD conclusions in calling for the repeal of all Israeli legislation relevant to the right to adequate housing, that “in their application, do not comply with the principle of non-discrimination.”
  • As emphasized in both the Special Rapporteur and the FFM reports, the discriminatory treatment by Israel in the implementation of the right to adequate housing is clearly manifest in the construction and expansion of the Israeli settlements in the OPT. The FFM report emphasized that Palestinians are regularly attacked by settlers, who use physical violence and intimidation as a means of pressuring Palestinians to leave their lands. Settlements, together with ensuing settler violence, are a predominant factor of forced displacement in the OPT. We support both reports in urging Israel to cease all construction and expansion of settlements in the OPT immediately.
  • We further endorse the FFM’s recommendation to individual Member States of the UN to adhere to their obligations stemming from Israel’s violations of peremptory norms of international law, including the denial of the right to self-determination of the Palestinian people, the prohibition of the extensive destruction and appropriation of property, and prohibition of colonialism. As such, and in accordance with international law, the international community must implement all available mechanisms in order to pressure Israel to effectively halt settlement activity and the forced displacement of Palestinians.
  • We believe that discriminatory land laws and policies lie at the core of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the occupation. Therefore, justice for the Palestinian people for their forced displacement and the illegal appropriation of their land and other natural resources is crucial to achieving a just and sustainable solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
  • We call on the Human Rights Council to fully endorse both reports, and to ensure that the FFM report is given its due consideration by calling for a follow-up report on the implications and implementation of the FFM recommendations to be sent by the Secretary General to the UN General Assembly at its 68thsession this year.
  • We further urge the Human Rights Council to issue the strongest possible resolutions calling on Israel, the international community and individual member states to uphold general principles of international law and implement all available mechanisms to achieve justice for Palestinian victims of forced displacement on both sides of the Green Line.

(18/03/2013 / Source / 26.03.2013)

Mursi says Palestinian reconciliation essential

GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — Egyptian President Mohammed Mursi, speaking at the 24th Arab Summit in Doha on Tuesday, said Palestinian reconciliation was essential in uniting Palestinians.

The president stressed that the Palestinian cause will not more forward “without reaching a resolution and freeing the land that remains under occupation”.

Mursi stressed the importance of achieving reconciliation between Fatah and Hamas to unite Palestinians in the face of “illegal settlements, and changing the identity of Jerusalem” which threatens the possibility of a Palestinian state.

(Source / 26.03.2013)