Ash-Shafi’ee on the Authority of the Sunnah

 

Ar-Risala Imam Shafi'ee

By Abu Amina Elias for FaithinAllah.org

Imam Ash-Shafi’ee wrote in Ar-Risalah, the Epistle on Islamic Law:

Allah the Exalted said to His Prophet:

يَا أَيُّهَا النَّبِيُّ اتَّقِ اللَّهَ وَلَا تُطِعِ الْكَافِرِينَ وَالْمُنَافِقِينَ إِنَّ اللَّهَ كَانَ عَلِيمًا حَكِيمًا وَاتَّبِعْ مَا يُوحَىٰ إِلَيْكَ مِن رَّبِّكَ إِنَّ اللَّهَ كَانَ بِمَا تَعْمَلُونَ خَبِيرًا

O Prophet, fear Allah and do not obey the disbelievers and the hypocrites. Verily, Allah is ever Knowing and Wise. Follow that which is revealed to you from your Lord. Verily, Allah is aware of what you do.

[Surah Al-Ahzab 33:1-2]

And He said:

اتَّبِعْ مَا أُوحِيَ إِلَيْكَ مِن رَّبِّكَ لَا إِلَٰهَ إِلَّا هُوَ وَأَعْرِضْ عَنِ الْمُشْرِكِينَ

Follow what has been revealed to you from your Lord – there is no God but Him – and turn away from those who associate others with Allah.

[Surah Al-An’am 6:106]

And He said:

ثُمَّ جَعَلْنَاكَ عَلَىٰ شَرِيعَةٍ مِّنَ الْأَمْرِ فَاتَّبِعْهَا وَلَا تَتَّبِعْ أَهْوَاءَ الَّذِينَ لَا يَعْلَمُونَ

We put you on an ordained way concerning the matter, so follow it and do not follow the inclinations of those who do not know.

[Surah Al-Jathiyah 45:18]

Thus, Allah instructed His Messenger that He has favored him with His established knowledge and that He will protect him from mankind, for He said:

يَا أَيُّهَا الرَّسُولُ بَلِّغْ مَا أُنزِلَ إِلَيْكَ مِن رَّبِّكَ وَإِن لَّمْ تَفْعَلْ فَمَا بَلَّغْتَ رِسَالَتَهُ وَاللَّهُ يَعْصِمُكَ مِنَ النَّاسِ

O Messenger, announce that which has been revealed to you from your Lord, and if you do not, then you have not conveyed His message. Allah will protect you from the people.

[Surah Al-Ma’idah 5:67]

Allah the Exalted certified the Prophet’s firm belief in what He commanded of him and in guidance for himself and whoever follows him, for He said:

وَكَذَٰلِكَ أَوْحَيْنَا إِلَيْكَ رُوحًا مِّنْ أَمْرِنَا مَا كُنتَ تَدْرِي مَا الْكِتَابُ وَلَا الْإِيمَانُ وَلَٰكِن جَعَلْنَاهُ نُورًا نَّهْدِي بِهِ مَن نَّشَاءُ مِنْ عِبَادِنَا وَإِنَّكَ لَتَهْدِي إِلَىٰ صِرَاطٍ مُّسْتَقِيمٍ

Thus, We have revealed to you an inspiration of Our command. You did not know what is the Book or faith, but rather We have made it a light by which We guide whomever We will of Our servants. Verily, you guide to a straight path.

[Surah Ash-Shura 42:52]

And He said:

وَلَوْلَا فَضْلُ اللَّهِ عَلَيْكَ وَرَحْمَتُهُ لَهَمَّت طَّائِفَةٌ مِّنْهُمْ أَن يُضِلُّوكَ وَمَا يُضِلُّونَ إِلَّا أَنفُسَهُمْ وَمَا يَضُرُّونَكَ مِن شَيْءٍ وَأَنزَلَ اللَّهُ عَلَيْكَ الْكِتَابَ وَالْحِكْمَةَ وَعَلَّمَكَ مَا لَمْ تَكُن تَعْلَمُ وَكَانَ فَضْلُ اللَّهِ عَلَيْكَ عَظِيمًا

Were it not for the favor and mercy of Allah upon you, a group of them would have been determined to mislead you, but they do not mislead except themselves and they will not harm you at all. Allah has revealed to you the Book and wisdom and has taught you that which you did not know. Ever has the favor of Allah upon you been great.

[Surah An-Nisa 4:113]

Thus, Allah declared that He commanded His Prophet to obey His order, and certified what the Prophet proclaimed on His behalf as well as what He certified for Himself. Likewise, we certify for him in order to draw near to Allah by our faith in Him and we entreat Him by belief in the Prophet’s words.

Al-Mutalib ibn Hantib reported: The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said:

مَا تَرَكْتُ شَيْئًا مِمَّا أَمَرَكُمُ اللَّهُ بِهِ إِلا وَقَدْ أَمَرْتُكُمْ بِهِ وَلا تَرَكْتُ شَيْئًا مِمَّا نَهَاكُمْ عَنْهُ إِلا وَقَدْ نَهَيْتُكُمْ عَنْهُ

I have not left anything which Allah has commanded you except that I have commanded you, and I have not left anything which Allah has forbidden for you except that I have forbidden it for you.

Source: Musnad Ash-Shafi’ee 1072 Grade: Hasan

Allah has informed us of His establishes knowledge and His final judgment – a favor and a blessing from Him – that He prevented those who attempted to lead the Prophet astray and informed him that they could not harm him in any way.

In certifying that the Prophet guides humanity along a straight path, the path to Allah, and that he delivers His message and obeys His commands, as we have stated earlier, and in ordering obedience to the Prophet and in emphasizing all of the messages we have cited – Allah has given evidence to humanity that they should accept the Messenger’s judgment and obey his commands.

Whatever the Messenger has decreed that is not based on a command from Allah (in the Quran), then he has still done so by Allah’s command. Thus, Allah instructed us in His saying:

إِنَّكَ لَتَهْدِي إِلَىٰ صِرَاطٍ مُّسْتَقِيمٍ

Verily, you guide to a straight path.

[Surah Ash-Shura 42:52]

For the Messenger has established traditions (sunnah) for which there is a text in the Book of Allah as well as others concerning which there is no text. Yet, whatever he has established of traditions, Allah has ordered us to obey them, and He regards our obedience to the Prophet as obedience to Him, and our failure to obey the Prophet is disobedience to Him for which no man will be forgiven, nor is there an excuse for failure to obey the Prophet’s traditions, due to what I have already cited and because of what the Messenger himself has said.

Abu Rafi’ reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said:

لَا أُلْفِيَنَّ أَحَدَكُمْ مُتَّكِئًا عَلَى أَرِيكَتِهِ يَأْتِيهِ الْأَمْرُ مِمَّا أَمَرْتُ بِهِ أَوْ نَهَيْتُ عَنْهُ فَيَقُولُ لَا أَدْرِي مَا وَجَدْنَا فِي كِتَابِ اللَّهِ اتَّبَعْنَاهُ

Let me not find one of you reclining on his couch and when he is informed of a command which I have commanded, he says: I do not know this, for we only follow what we find in the Book of Allah.

Source: Sunan Ibn Majah 13 Grade: Sahih

قال الشافعي قال الله جل ثناؤه لنبيه يَاأَيُّهَا النَّبِيُّ اتَّقِ اللَّهَ وَلَا تُطِعْ الْكَافِرِينَ وَالْمُنَافِقِينَ إِنَّ اللَّهَ كَانَ عَلِيمًا حَكِيمًا وَاتَّبِعْ مَا يُوحَى إِلَيْكَ مِنْ رَبِّكَ. إِنَّ اللَّهَ كَانَ بِمَا تَعْمَلُونَ خَبِيرًا

وقال اتَّبِعْ مَا أُوحِيَ إِلَيْكَ مِنْ رَبِّكَ، لَا إِلَهَ إِلَّا هُوَ، وَأَعْرِضْ عَنْ الْمُشْرِكِينَ

وقال ثُمَّ جَعَلْنَاكَ عَلَى شَرِيعَةٍ مِنْ الْأَمْرِ فَاتَّبِعْهَا وَلَا تَتَّبِعْ أَهْوَاءَ الَّذِينَ لَا يَعْلَمُونَ

فأعْلَمَ اللهُ رسولَه منَّه عليه بما سبق في علمه، من عِصْمته إيَّاه من خلقه فقال يَاأَيُّهَا الرَّسُولُ بَلِّغْ مَا أُنزِلَ إِلَيْكَ مِنْ رَبِّكَ، وَإِنْ لَمْ تَفْعَلْ، فَمَا بَلَّغْتَ رِسَالَتَهُ، وَاللَّهُ يَعْصِمُكَ مِنْ النَّاسِ  ]

وشهد له جل ثناؤه باستمساكه بما أمره به، والهدى في نفسه، وهدايةِ مَنْ اتبعه، فقال وَكَذَلِكَ أَوْحَيْنَا إِلَيْكَ رُوحًا مِنْ أَمْرِنَا مَا كُنْتَ تَدْرِي مَا الْكِتَابُ وَلَا الْإِيمَانُ وَلَكِنْ جَعَلْنَاهُ نُورًا نَهْدِي بِهِ مَنْ نَشَاءُ مِنْ عِبَادِنَا، وَإِنَّكَ لَتَهْدِي إِلَى صِرَاطٍ مُسْتَقِيمٍ

وقال وَلَوْلَا فَضْلُ اللَّهِ عَلَيْكَ، وَرَحْمَتُهُ لَهَمَّتْ طَائِفَةٌ مِنْهُمْ أَنْ يُضِلُّوكَ، وَمَا يُضِلُّونَ إِلَّا أَنفُسَهُمْ، وَمَا يَضُرُّونَكَ مِنْ شَيْءٍ، وَأَنزَلَ اللَّهُ عَلَيْكَ الْكِتَابَ وَالْحِكْمَةَ، وَعَلَّمَكَ مَا لَمْ تَكُنْ تَعْلَمُ، وَكَانَ فَضْلُ اللَّهِ عَلَيْكَ عَظِيمًا

فأبان الله أنْ قدْ فرَضَ على نبيه اتباعَ أمره، وشهِدَ له بالبلاغ عنه، وشهد به لنفسه ونحن نَشْهَدُ له به، تَقَرُّبًا إلى الله بالإيمان به، وتوَسُّلا إليه بِتَصْديق كَلِمَاتِه

أخبرنا عبد العزيز عن عمرو بن أبي عمرو مَوْلى المُطَّلِب عن المطلب بن حَنْطَبٍ أنَّ رسول الله قال مَا تَرَكْتُ شَيْئًا مِمَّا أمَرَكُمْ اللهُ بِهِ إِلاَّ وَقَدْ أمَرْتُكُمْ بِهِ، وَلاَ تَرَكْتُ شَيْئًا مِمَّا نَهَاكُمْ اللهُ عَنْهُ إلاَّ وَقَدْ نَهَيْتُكُمْ عَنْهُ

قال الشافعي وما أعلمنا الله مما سبق في علمه، وحتْمِ قضائه الذي لا يُرَدُّ من فضله عليه ونعمته: أنه منعه من أنْ يَهُمُّوا به أن يُضلُّوه وأعلمه أنهم لا يضرونه من شيء

وفي شهادته له بأنه يهدي إلى صراط مستقيم، صراط الله، والشهادة بتَأدية رسالته واتباع أمره، وفيما وصفتُ من فرضه طاعتَه وتأكيدِه إياها في الآي ذكرتُ ما أقام الله به الحجة على خلقه، بالتسليم لحكم رسول الله واتباع أمره

قال الشافعي وما سَنَّ رسول الله فيما ليس لله فيه حكمٌ، فبِحُكْم الله سنَّه. وكذلك أخبرنا الله في قوله وَإِنَّكَ لَتَهْدِي إِلَى صِرَاطٍ مُسْتَقِيمٍ

وقد سن رسول الله مع كتاب الله، وسنَّ فيما ليس فيه بعَيْنه نصُّ كتاب

وكل ما سن فقد ألزمنا الله اتباعه وجعل في اتباعه طاعته وفي العُنُود عن اتباعها معصيتَه التي لم يعذر بها خَلْقا، ولم يجعل له من اتباع سنن رسول الله مَخْرجا، لما وصفتُ وما قال رسول الله.

أخبرنا سفيان عن سالم أبو النضْر مولى عُمَر بن عبيد الله سمع عبيد الله بن أبي رافع يحدِّثُ عن أبيه أنَّ رسول الله قال لاَ أُلْفِيَنَّ أحَدَكُمْ مُتَّكِئًا عَلَى أرِيكَتِهِ يَأْتِيهِ الأُمْرُ مِنْ أمْرِي، مِمَّا أَمَرْتُ به أَوْ نَهَيْتُ عنه فيقولُ لاَ أَدْرِي ماَ وَجَدْنَا فِي كِتَاِب اللهِ اتَّبَعْناَهُ

الشافعي الرسالة

Success comes from Allah, and Allah knows best.

(Source / 16.04.2013)

Boston attacks began in Mali, top Muslim Brotherhood official says

 

Essam Elerian expressed sympathy with the families of the Boston victims, but said the attacks “do not stop us from reading into the grave incident.”

A high-ranking Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood official has linked the deadly Boston attacks to the U.S.-backed French war in Mali.

Essam Elerian, vice chairman of the Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party (FJP), wrote in a statement posted in Arabic on his Facebook account that the “events began with the sending of French battalions to Mali in a war against organizations that are said to be part of al Qaeda.”

Elerian expressed sympathy with the families of the victims, but said the attacks “do not stop us from reading into the grave incident.”

“Who interfered in democratic transformations, despite the difficult transition from despotism, corruption, poverty, hatred and intolerance to freedom, justice, tolerance, development, human dignity and social justice?” he asked. “Who created Islamophobia through research and media? Who funded this violence?”

Earlier, Elerian’s FJP party published a statement in English condemning the “heinous attacks in Boston,” which killed three people and wounded more than 170 others.

The party said it “offers heartfelt sympathies and solemn condolences to the American people and the families of the victims.”

“Islamic Sharia [law] strongly condemns the attacks on civilians and the terrorizing of innocent people.”

Essam Elerian’s Arabic statement taken from his Facebook page

(Source / 16.04.2013)

Palestinian prisoners

Today, 17 April, is Palestinian Prisoners’ Day. This for me is a day to think about the child prisoners – taken in the middle of the night; shackled, interrogated; without the support of parents or lawyers, and given no access to real justice, with a conviction rate of over 99%.

G4S – a British Danish company – is responsible for much of the security apparatus at the facilities where these children are held. Yet, despite this, G4S continues to be awarded public contracts in the UK.

Palestinian Prisoners’ Day should be when the government announces that it is providing guidance for companies like G4S on the need to avoid association with violations of international law and will ensure government contracts are no longer awarded to companies that ignore this guidance. Until they do, we should remind them of the plight ofPalestinian child prisoners every day.

(Source / 16.04.2013)

Israeli doctors who betray their training

From the prison guards and from Shin Bet personnel nobody expects any measure of compassion or humanity. But where are the doctors?

They studied medicine. Perhaps their parents pushed them to be doctors or perhaps they had a burning desire to enter this profession from the time they were children. They certainly thought about a career but they also thought about the sanctity of this profession, about the noble aspiration to save lives and cure the sick. They certainly read the Hippocratic Oath, which is a very moving document. In the oath’s Hebrew version, which was composed by Prof. Lipman Halpern in 1952, they also swore that they would “help all sick people irrespective of whether they are strangers, or Gentiles, or humiliated citizens, or respected ones.”

They studied medicine in Jerusalem, in Moscow, in Budapest and in Odessa. They dreamed of a career but, in the end, they found themselves working as physicians in the Israel Prison Service or in the Shin Bet security service, although even there they had no reason to be ashamed of their profession. Some of them certainly encountered the case of Maysara Abuhamdieh, a prisoner who was serving a life sentence. In August 2012, Abuhamdieh complained of sharp pains in his throat. Only after six months (!) − that is, only last February − was he diagnosed as suffering from cancer of the esophagus. Only after two additional months had already elapsed − that is, on March 30 − was it decided that he would be hospitalized in Soroka Medical Center in Be’er Sheva. He died two weeks later.

During those critical months, his desperate family appealed to Physicians for Human Rights – Israel: Their beloved Maysara could barely speak any more because of the pain and they shuddered to consider the possibility that he might not receive proper medical care. A month ago, a representative of that organization submitted to the prison service’s top medical officer, Chief Superintendent Dr. Liav Goldstein, the urgent request that the prisoner receive medical treatment. Goldstein did not even bother to reply.

Israel’s 2001 law governing the early release of prisoners authorizes the prison service’s parole board to arrange for the early release of a prisoner whose days are numbered. In this case, the board operated at an appallingly slow pace. When asked to explain this week why Abuhamdieh, who was obviously dying, was not released early, Commissioner Nazim Sabiti, commander of the prison service’s southern district, simply stated that a meeting of the board was indeed held on the subject of the prisoner’s release.

All this transpired under the supposedly watchful eye of physicians who had taken the Hippocratic Oath. These same physicians allow the hospitalization of prisoners who are hand- and foot-cuffed even when in serious condition, as was the case with Abuhamdieh.

These same physicians saw the situation of another prisoner, Zuheir Lubada, whose kidneys and liver were diseased and who was dying. Lubada was released from prison only after he had slipped into a comma and was in serious condition; he died a week later. These same physicians enable the scandalous practice of solitary confinement for months and even years on end, despite the report of the Israeli Medical Association’s ethics committee that has categorically stated that this practice inflicts irreversible physical and emotional damage on inmates.

These same physicians saw how Ben Zygier was placed in solitary confinement and they saw the results of the torture he underwent during his interrogations by the Shin Bet. They saw all this and said nothing. They saw and they gave their authorization, despite the regulations of their own ethics committee, according to which: “Any physician who has witnessed an interrogation or torture carried out in contravention of international conventions shall report the contravention to the appropriate authorities.” Have we heard any mention of even one physician who reported improper procedures, who screamed to high heaven, who issued a warning or who even resigned in the face of such a contravention of international conventions? “This is the cancer of the occupation.” That is the diagnosis of a physician, MK Dr. Ahmed Tibi (United Arab List – Ta’al), who wrote that sentence this week on his Twitter page in response to the death of Maysara Abuhamdieh, who finally succumbed to cancer. Like Zygier, Abuhamdieh was Prisoner X; few people knew of his disease, and it is doubtful whether he was given the medical treatment he deserved as a human being. Granted, the prison guards saw and said nothing, and the Shin Bet delayed Abuhamdieh’s early release from prison so he could at least die surrounded by the members of his family. From the prison guards and from Shin Bet personnel nobody expects any measure of compassion or humanity. But where were the doctors?

Next time Israel sends a medical team to a disaster area overseas and its physicians work hard to extend medical care to the victims of that disaster, one must not forget their colleagues, the physicians who say nothing, who close their eyes, who do not provide necessary medical attention − here in Israel, in the prisons and in the interrogation rooms. They are also physicians and they also once signed the Hippocratic Oath.

(Mail / 16.04.2013)

1,000 sick prisoners including 25 cancer patients in Israeli jails

RAMALLAH, (PIC)– The head of the Follow up committee of Prisoners’ Affairs, Amin Shauhan, confirmed that more than 1000 Palestinian prisoners suffer different illnesses including 25 cancer patients.


The prisoners face deliberate medical neglect by the Israeli prison services aiming to assassinate them as what happened with the martyr Ashraf Abu Dra’a, Arafat Jaradat and Maysara Abu Hamdiya, he added.

He pointed out that the occupation procrastinates in dealing with the hunger striker Samer al-Issawi’s demands after failing in his deportation to European countries.

Shauhan called on all international institutions and human rights organizations to bear their responsibility towards the prisoners’ issue especially the hunger strikers.

(Facebook / 16.04.2013)

Gaza hospital chosen for solar power project

Doctors use a mobile phone for light as they treat a child critically injured during Israel’s attacks on Gaza last November.

Power cuts can affect Gaza hospitals so badly that medical operations sometimes have to be carried out under the faint light provided by doctors’ mobile phones.

Eager to improve this situation, a Gaza-based scientist has teamed up with an international group to undertake a renewable energy project for the health sector.

Its aim is to provide 65 solar panels and other equipment for Jenin Hospital in al-Shajaiyeh neighborhood, east of Gaza City.

Densely populated

Haitham Ghanem, the scientist behind the project, said his team decided to focus on this site “simply because this sole hospital lies in the densely-populated al-Shajaiyeh neighborhood and serves 250,000 inhabitants, who are frequently exposed to Israeli violence from the adjacent border areas.”

Dr. Hisham Murtaja, deputy-chief of the hospital, said that he was “very happy” that the three-story hospital had been chosen.

“We continue to suffer from the power outrage problem and sometimes we happen to carry out minor surgeries by the lights of doctors’ mobile phones,” he said. “It is true that we run a power generator here, which is too costly by the way. But still we continue to often suffer from maintenance problems, as well as the problem of providing gasoline for the power generator itself.”

The project is the result of contacts initiated a few years ago between Ghanem, a 47-year-old physics and mechanical engineering graduate living in the Beach refugee camp in Gaza City, and Barbara Capone, an Italian scientist living in Austria.

“Barbara asked me, how can we help the people of Gaza?” said Ghanem. “At first, I had no immediate answer but four days later, I came back with the answer: finding a solution for the prolonged power outages across the territory. I started searching and brainstorming until Barbara and I agreed on helping a Gaza hospital sort out the problem of electricity shortages.”

Independent

Known as Sunshine4Palestine (sunshine4palestine.com), the project aims to launch in early 2014. It has a target of raising $215,000 in donations by then. Achieving this target could require much effort, as the project now has just $7,000 in its coffers.

The project will require construction of a new roof for the hospital, at an estimated cost of $38,500. By storing power harnessed from the sun in batteries, the system should be able to power the hospital throughout the day and night.

According to Capone, Jenin Hospital now consumes about 40 megawatts of electricity per year. The project, however, should double its capacity.

Perhaps more importantly, the project should mean that the hospital will become independent of Gaza’s main power plant. That plant has long relied on supplies from Israel. The siege imposed by Israel in 2006 has had adverse consequences for the supply of power, with Israel deliberately restricting the amount available.

Capone believes that solar energy could help relieve Gaza’s power problems. “In Europe such panels have increasingly become widespread and many countries, including Italy have invested a lot in such installations that are cheap and environment friendly,” she said.

“It is true that the Israeli siege of Gaza continues and would likely hinder delivery of the raw materials for the project, but we are planning to ship the materials through an Egyptian seaport then to Gaza,” she explained.

“Also, we will make sure that local staff are trained by internationals, even in Gaza itself, so we will avoid any delays on maintenance of the panels, once they are running. The plant will be made of high-quality Canadian products and will likely be sustained for 25 years.”

(Source / 16.04.2013)

Saudi king says Boston attack perpetrators ‘belong to no religion’

King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia sent a message of condolences to U.S. President Barack Obama and to the American people.

King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia on Tuesday condemned the Boston Marathon bombings, saying no religion or morals would condone such an attack.

In statements addressed to U.S. President Barak Obama and to the American people “the monarch expressed profound sorrow and pain for the death and injury of some innocent people as a result of the two terrorist acts in Boston,” the state news agency  SPA reported.

He described the perpetrators of the explosions as “belonging to no religion at all,” adding that “no ethics or values ever accept this deed,” according to the SPA report.

Three people were killed and more than 170 wounded in the bombings in the worst attack in the United States since the September 11, 2001 atrocities.

Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, secretary general of the Saudi-based Organization of Islamic Cooperation of 57 Muslim states, meanwhile said in a statement that “such actions targeting an event are cowardly and reprehensible.”

While links to terrorist activity are rife, the event has attracted condemnation from other world leaders.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said in a condolences note published on the Kremlin’s website Tuesday that the international community should come together to fight terrorism.

Putin said Russia “would be ready to provide assistance” to U.S. authorities with the probe into the bombings at the Boston marathon.
On Twitter, British Prime Minister David Cameron posted: “The scenes from Boston are shocking and horrific – my thoughts are with all those who have been affected.”

British Foreign Minister William Hague also posted on Twitter: “Appalled by news of explosion at Boston marathon. My thoughts are with everyone affected by it and all those waiting for news.”

U.S. President Obama vowed that those behind “will feel the full weight of justice.”

“We still do not know who did this or why. But make no mistake: we will get to the bottom of this. Any responsible individual, any responsible groups will feel the full weight of justice.”

According to the Telegraph, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg said: “As law enforcement authorities investigate today’s explosions in Boston, I ask all New Yorkers to keep the victims and their families in your thoughts and prayers … the NYPD has stepped up security at strategic locations and critical infrastructure.

“We have 1,000 members of the NYPD assigned to counterterrorism duties, and they – along with the entire NYPD and the investments we have made in counterterrorism infrastructure – are being fully mobilized to protect our city,” he added.

Meanwhile, Reuters news agency reported Australian prime minister Julia Gillard as saying: “Our condolences go to the families of those killed and our thoughts are with those who have been injured. These explosions have cast a long shadow over one of the world’s great sporting events.”

(Source / 16.04.2013)

IDF prevents Gaza runners from taking part in West Bank marathon

Last month the Israeli army pointed to the cancellation of the Gaza marathon as proof of the lack of freedom under Hamas rule. Now the IDF is denying the same runners travel permits to run in the Bethlehem Marathon

The first official Palestinian marathon is set to take place this Sunday, April 21, in Bethlehem. There will be races for 10 km, a half Marathon and full Marathon (42.2 km), all within area A. The start and finish lines are at the Church of Nativity.

Twenty-five runners – 24 men and a woman – from Gaza were planning to take part in the Marathon, but currently they are not being issued travel permits by Israel. Among them is Nader Masri, who represented Palestine in the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

The Gaza runners were planning to take run the Gaza UNRWA Marathon last month, but a ban by Hamas on the participation of women in the race led UNRWA to cancel the event. Therefore, the Bethlehem Marathon presents a rare opportunity for the runners to take part in such a race.

According to the Israeli NGO Gisha, which deals with Palestinian freedom of movement, the Gaza runners were denied travel permits as a group, without even conducting individual security background checks, which is standard in such cases. In other words, it was not security concerns that prevented the runners from traveling, but a decision that the marathon is not part of the cases in which Israel allows Gazans to travel outside the Strip.

Gisha is calling on people to fax requests to the IDF’s commander for civilian administration, asking him to allow the runners to participate in the race. The fax number is 03-6976306 (more details, in Hebrew, here).

It should be noted that Israel recognized the Gaza Strip and the West Bank as a single unit under the Oslo Accord, and it is obliged to allow Gazans to take part in activities organized by the Palestinian Authority, such as the marathon (after appropriate security screenings). Ironically, when the Gaza Marathon was cancelled, the IDF blog reported on it at length, (rightly) highlighting the lack of many personal freedoms under Hamas rule. Now it’s the IDF that is denying those freedoms to the same runners.

Finally, a personal note: In recent years I completed seven full marathons, and I know how challenging the training and mental preparations are, even if you live in a more comfortable environment than the Gaza Strip. I hope the Gazan runners will be able to take part the marathon next week and experience, even for a short while, the sense of freedom and joy that participating in a long distance race can give.

(Source / 16.04.2013)

Palestinian power plays

As Prime Minister Salam Fayyad quits after a feud with President Abbas, we ask how will it impact on the peace process.

The Palestinian prime minister has resigned after a simmering feud with the President Mahmoud Abbas.

Salam Fayyad leaves an economy in crisis and the government in disarray, just as the US was making a new push for peace in the Middle East.

“… Salam Fayyad has no legitimacy as everyone knows. He was not endorsed by the legislative council, and his economical policies created a great problem for the Palestinians … When we formed the unity government the main argument to bring Salam Fayyad as a finance minister was he is the only one who can bring the money from outside … although he is not accepted by … most of the Palestinian organisations … he acted in a way which created more problems than solving the problems for the Palestinians.”

-0sama Hamdan, head of international relations for Hamas

He was educated in the United States, and worked for both the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. He has been credited with laying some of the groundwork for a future Palestinian state.

But during his time as Palestine’s prime minister, Fayyad was facing problems over the handling of the economy, his strong stance against corruption, the extent of his authority, and a strained relationship with President Maumoud Abbas.

He served twice as Palestinian finance minister, before being appointed prime minister in 2007, following the take over of Gaza by Hamas.

He is admired in the West and even in Israel, with Haaretznewspaper once describing him as everyone’s favourite Palestinian.

However the Palestinian Authority (PA) has been in crisis for months, public servants have not been paid, and there have been protests over price rises and tax hikes.

The US government has cut the amount of aid it gives the PA, Israel often delays transferring tax payments and Arab allies have failed to deliver promised assistance.

Outgoing finance minister Nabil Qassis forecast the PA’s budget deficit for this year would reach $1.4bn. In 2005, it stood at around $800m.

“… he was considered to be very good financial manager and very good at combating corruption, somebody the West felt comfortable giving loans to … but he didn’t have a base of support within the Palestinian political structure … he was very good to run a technocratic administration, but he has really no independent political base to rely on when he comes into conflict with one or both of those groups.”

– Richard Weitz, senior fellow an director of the Centre for Political-Military analysis

Latest figures from the World Bank showed economic growth slowed to a little over six percent last year, down from 11 percent in 2010 and 2011.

And Gross Domestic Product, the value of all goods and services, is expected to slow even more this year, to 4.7 percent in the West Bank and six percent in Gaza.

However, the tipping point for Fayyad came when his finance minister stepped down – Fayyad accepted his resignation but Abbas overruled him.

Politically independent, Fayyad was also vulnerable to pressure from the main Palestinian factions: Abbas’ Fatah party, and Hamas, which governs Gaza.

And some saw him as an obstacle to reconciliation between the two groups.

Following the news of Fayyad’s resignation was announced, Sami Abu Zuhri, Hamas spokesperson said: “Accepting the resignation of Salaam Fayyad has no relation at all with the Palestinian reconciliation agreement.

“It is related to the differences between Salaam Fayyad and the Fatah movement, and the Fatah movement demands to outcast him, which was obvious at the last Fatah revolution committee meeting,” he said.

So are these irreconciliable differences? And what impact will Salam Fayyad’s resignation have on the Israel-Palestine peace process?

Inside Story, with presenter Ghida Fakhry, discusses with guests:Ghassan Khatib, a former government spokesman under Palestinian prime minister Salam Fayyad; Osama Hamdan, head of international relations for Hamas; and Richard Weitz, senior fellow and director of the Center for Political-Military Analysis at the Hudson Institute.

“… Fatah has been recently critical of Salam Fayyad, and I think that Fatah has been trying to divert the public criticisms to the recent difficulties in the economic performance of the Palestinian Authority against Prime Minister Fayyad.

“The irony here is that this economic difficulties are not the responsibility of the government because there are very well known reasons for it and it has to do with the Israeli attitude of refraining to transfer the taxes, and the clear decline of the foreign aid to the Palestinian Authority …”

-Ghassan Khatib, a former Palestinian government spokesman under Salam Fayyad

(Source / 16.04.2013)

When Cars Become Weapons: Israeli settler runs over 9-year-old boy in Bethlehem

 

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Bethlehem- A 9-year-old boy was injured on Monday after being knocked down by a settler’s car in a Bethlehem-area village, medics said. Malik Adel al-Shaer was run over in the village of Tuqu while on his way to school. He suffered internal bleeding and was taken to hospital for treatment, medics said.

Medics at the scene said Israeli troops verbally abused them.

(Source / 16.04.2013)