17 injured in clashes in Beit Ummar

HEBRON (Ma’an) — Seventeen Palestinians were injured with rubber coated steel bullets in clashes in Beit Ummar village near Hebron, a local official said.

A spokesman of the popular committee against the wall and settlements told Ma’an that the injured are aged between 15 and 22, and one of them was shot in the neck.

He added that several others including eight children suffered tear gas inhalation.

A medic was also injured in the hand with a rubber coated steel bullet as Israeli forces targeted medics who were trying to evacuate an injured youth, the official said.

(Source / 19.04.2013)

3 injured at Nabi Saleh protest

RAMALLAH (Ma’an) — Two activists and a journalist were severely beaten by Israeli forces in clashes in Nabi Saleh village north of Ramallah on Friday, activists said.

Dozens of Palestinians and activists participated in the village’s weekly protest in solidarity with Palestinian prisoners.

Israeli forces fired tear gas and rubber coated steel bullets and used water canons to disperse protesters. Dozens suffered tear gas inhalation.

Israeli forces severely beaten a Palestinian journalist, and two activists, one Palestinian and one Israeli.

(Source / 19.04.2013)

Eight children among nine dead in Syria shelling

A shell fired by the Syrian army hit a pickup truck in the northwestern province of Idlib on Friday killing a woman and eight children.

A shell fired by the Syrian army hit a pickup truck in the northwestern province of Idlib on Friday killing a woman and eight children, a watchdog said.

“A mother, her four children and four nephews were killed and their bodies torched” in the bombardment of the rebel-held town of Saraqeb, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

They were among at least 25 civilians who were killed in violence on Friday. Twenty-five rebels also died, according to the Britain-based watchdog and reported by AFP.
Meanwhile, gunmen killed a government official in a Damascus restaurant, Syrian state media and activists reported as regime troops and rebels fought fierce battles near the Lebanese border, killing 18 people in Syria’s third largest city of Homs, AP reported.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the government official, Ali Ballan, was gunned down late Thursday in Mazzeh, a western neighborhood of the Syrian capital. Ballan was head of public relations at the Ministry of Social Affairs and a member of Syria’s relief agency, the Observatory said.

The state-run SANA news agency said “terrorists” opened fire on Ballan while he was dining at the restaurant, killing him instantly. The government refers to opposition fighters as terrorists, denying there is an insurgency against President Bashar Assad’s regime.

Since Syria’s crisis began two years ago, a number of government and security officials, as well as regime supporters, have been assassinated in the capital, Damascus, AP said.

Last month, a suicide bomber struck a mosque, killing a top Sunni Muslim preacher and outspoken Assad supporter, Sheikh Mohammad Said Ramadan al-Buti.

(Source / 19.04.2013)

Het wereldse leven

By Marianna Laarif

“De wereld is drie dagen;
De eerste dag is gisteren en die is voorbij.
De tweede dag is morgen en je weet nooit of je die meemaakt.
De derde dag is vandaag: deze dag is van jou dus verricht goede daden en pak deze kans.”
(Hassan al-Basri)

“Degene die de dunya ten huwelijk wil vragen, moet weten dat de dunya niet tevreden zal zijn… behalve als je je geloof weg geeft als bruidsschat.”
(Malik ibn Dinar)

“Deze wereld is als een schaduw. Als je er achter aan rent en haar wilt pakken, zal je dat nooit lukken. Maar als je je rug ernaartoe keert en ervan wegloopt, dan heeft ze geen andere keus dan om jou te volgen”.
(Ibn Al Qayyim Al Jawzia)

IMF: Qatar aid to Egypt no substitute for IMF plan

WASHINGTON (AFP) — The International Monetary Fund said Friday that Qatar’s $5 billion in support for Egypt was not a substitute for the stalled IMF loan to help the country undertake reforms.

IMF Middle East regional director Masood Ahmed said the Fund was still in talks to provide a multibillion-dollar loan to Cairo that is contingent on strong support from domestic political actors and a commitment to key reforms.

“There’s a financing need that Egypt faces for the next 12, 18 months, and any financing that is provided is very useful in meeting that need,” he said at the spring meetings of the IMF and World Bank.

Ahmed called aid like that which Qatar announced last week, to help the Egyptian government as it increasingly faces strains on its finances, “helpful.”

“But it’s not a substitute for the kind of measures that they (Cairo) have been putting together and that they want to move forward with, and that if we can reach would be a basis for an IMF-supported program.”

Last year the IMF reached a deal in principle to provide a $4.8 billion loan to help finance the government while it undertakes reforms.

The loan was close to completion in November when political changes in Cairo set it back.

Ahmed assured that talks were still ongoing.

A recent mission to the country “made good progress… and we’re continuing those discussions.”

“There are still some areas in which the authorities are making sure that the data that they have is the most recent.”

“We’re working together with them to make sure that the program will address the challenges that face Egypt, and will do so in way that protects the most vulnerable part of the society.”

But he declined to put a target date for completion of the talks.

(Source / 19.04.2013)

UN officials concerned over Palestinian prisoners

Demonstrators hold portraits of Palestinian hunger striker Samer Issawi. (file photo)

Demonstrators hold portraits of Palestinian hunger striker Samer Issawi.
Officials from the United Nations have expressed concern over the conditions of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails, particularly about the health of hunger striker Samer Issawi.

According to a statement issued by the UN, James Rawley, the UN humanitarian coordinator in the occupied Palestinian territories, met with Issa Qaraqe, the Palestinian Authority’s minister of prisoner and detainee affairs, in the West Bank city of Ramallah on Wednesday.

During the meeting, Rawley “expressed the United Nations’ continued concern about Palestinian detainees” in Israel’s custody.

“They discussed the situation of four Palestinian detainees currently on hunger strike and, in particular, the critical health condition of one Palestinian detainee, Samer Issawi, who has been on hunger strike for more than 200 days,” the statement added.

On Wednesday, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay also voiced concern about the Palestinian prisoners in Israel.

Meanwhile, Eduardo Del Buey, deputy spokesman for UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, stated that the prisoners, who are being held under Israel’s so-called administrative detention, should be either charged or set free.

Administrative detention is a sort of imprisonment without trial or charge that allows Israel to incarcerate Palestinians for up to six months. The detention order can be renewed for indefinite periods of time.

(Source / 19.04.2013)

Palestine activists call on Netherlands prince to disassociate from JNF water project

Demonstrators in Jerusalem protest the Jewish National Fund’s colonization projects in the Naqab/Negev desert, February 2011.

Palestinian boycott activists are calling on the Netherlands’ Prince Willem-Alexander to reconsider his decision to lend his name to a water project undertaken by the Jewish National Fund Netherlands in the Naqab/Negev desert in the south of present-day Israel. The project is in honor of the prince’s inauguration as king later this month.

Omar Barghouti, a Palestinian human rights activist and a founder of the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement, told The Electronic Intifada: “The [JNF] has played a key role in the dispossession of the Palestinians and in colonizing their lands. Today, [the JNF] continues its explicitly racist practices against Palestinians and rejects any notion of equal rights for all. Palestinian civil society appreciates the prominence that equality and non-discrimination have in the Dutch constitution and based on this, appeal to Prince Willem-Alexander to reconsider his decision to lend his name to a project of the JNF.”

Jamal Juma’, director of the Stop the Wall campaign, commented in an email to The Electronic Intifada: “For Palestinians, the JNF is not only one of the key material agents that implement Israeli policies of discrimination and dispossession on either side of the Green Line. The JNF is one of the most striding symbols of apartheid and the Israeli ideology of racial supremacy. The King of the Netherlands accepting as a gift a ‘civilizing’ project by a colonial agency in a country that is not his brings us back to the darkest days of colonialism when the white people where convinced they could dispose of territories and the people living there at their whim and pleasure. I urge the Netherlands to instead valorize the tradition of tolerance, equality and respect for human rights they are known for today and to ensure this gift will be rejected.”

The Service and Research Center Palestine (docP), an organization which supports the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement in the Netherlands, wrote to The Electronic Intifada that it supports the call on the prince to not lend his name to the water project.

JNF Netherlands

press release from the Jewish National Fund-Netherlands falsely claims that the JNF-NL’s core business is the development of the land of Israel and making it habitable for the benefit of all its inhabitants. In reality, the organization’s work contributes to the dispossession of the Palestinian people and the entrenchment of Israel’s apartheid system. The JNF-NL charter mentions the Jewish people as the beneficiary of its aim and activities, explicitly excluding the indigenous Palestinian population, which makes up 20 percent of the total population in present-day Israel.

In 1992, the JNF-NL adopted a new charter which shows it operates as a branch of JNF Israel, also known as Keren Kavemeth LeIsrael (KKL). The Electronic Intifada obtained a copy of this charter, which is written in Dutch. It is still valid because no changes were registered by the Chamber of Commerce while foundations have the duty to report changes in their governance to this body.

The aim of the JNF-NL is to “bring the land into Israel inalienable property of the Jewish people and enabling the development and afforestation of land in Israel in the interests of the Jewish people” (Article 2).

The charter shows that KKL actually controls the governance of the JNF-NL. KKL headquarters needs to approve the nomination of the members of the Dutch board of directors and will appoint new members when the board has no members. Furthermore, the JNF-NL board has to consult with KKL on the appointment, dismissal and salary of the director, and the JNF-NL board needs the approval of KKL if it wants to change its charter. All revenues of the JNF-NL will be transferred to KKL, unless otherwise has been expressly stipulated.

JNF Israel

The Jewish National Fund was founded in 1901 with the primary objective to “purchase, take on lease, or in exchange, or receive on lease or otherwise lands” in Palestine and the surrounding areas for the purpose of “settling Jews on such lands.”

Following war and the establishment of Israel in 1948, the JNF took control of most of the land which had been confiscated from Palestinian refugees. In the 1950s, the JNF became a quasi state organization when Israel formally linked the private fund to the state under the World Zionist Organization – Jewish Agency (Status) Law and the Keren Keyemeth LeIsrael Law. With these laws, the Israeli government decided that the World Zionist Organization, the Jewish Agency and their affiliates, including the JNF, were to be treated as part of the State of Israel, and as institutions empowered to carry out public functions. Subsequently, the JNF joined the Israel Lands Administration (later renamed Israel Lands Authority), which is the public authority managing approximately 93 percent of all land in Israel.

According to Ilan Pappé, the JNF directly owns 13 percent of the land, and through its influential position in the Israel Lands Authority has a stronghold over 93 percent of all land in Israel.

According to the JNF charter and the “Basic Law: Israel Lands,” the JNF may exchange and lease land only to Jewish legal persons, to the state and the government-controlled Development Authority, writes Palestinian refugee rights organization Badil.

The funds collected by the JNF-NL are transferred to and spent by the Israeli para-state organization JNF-KKL.

Institutional discrimination

In 2004, the rights group Adalah in Haifa challenged at the Israeli high court the Israel Lands Authority’s policy to open tenders for JNF lands only to Jews. Adalah demanded that the ILA, as a public agency, respect the principles of equality, just distribution and fairness, and cease acting as a sub-contractor for discrimination on the basis of nationality. In its response to the high court, the JNF underscored its special role “as the owner of an eternal possession of the Jewish people.” It argued that the allocation of JNF lands to non-Jews will be “extreme damaging, retroactively, to the rights of the JNF and of the Jewish people.” JNF writes:

Israel’s Knesset and Israeli society have expressed their view that the distinction between Jews and non-Jews that is the basis for the Zionist vision is a distinction that is permitted and is not discriminatory, at least in regard to resources held by the Zionist movement. [Emphasis added in original letter]

The JNF’s response reveals a determination to continue its discriminatory marketing of land, stating the “JNF is not a public body which acts on behalf of all the citizens of the state. Its loyalty is to the Jewish people and its responsibility is to it alone.”

The JNF’s discriminatory practices against 1.5 million Palestinian citizens of Israel were addressed by several UN bodies. In 2007, the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination urged Israel to ensure that the JNF is bound by the principle of non-discrimination in the exercise of its functions.

In 1998, the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights noted with grave concern that the JNF is “chartered to benefit Jews exclusively” and called on Israel to remedy the problem.

In 2007, the UN Committee on Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) rejected the JNF-USA’s application for consultative status with the UN Economic and Social Council. The JNF-KKL’s violations of the principles of the UN Charter, which emphasize respect for human rights and equality, was one of the main reasons for the rejection, according to Adalah. Furthermore, the committee was unable to distinguish between the activities of the JNF-USA and JNF-KKL, contrary to the JNF-USA’s claim it was an independent non-governmental organization.

JNF present no crown jewel

Citizens expect their king to show respect for the core values as laid down in the kingdom’s constitution. The principle of non-discrimination is crucial in Dutch values as it is the very first article of the Constitution of the Netherlands. However, JNF-NL operates as a branch of the JNF-KKL, an Israeli para-state organization that carries out essential government functions and discriminates on the basis of religion and ethnicity at the expense of the rights of the indigenous Palestinian population.

(Source / 19.04.2013)

Russia, Egypt call for quick Syria ceasefire

MOSCOW (AFP) — Russia and Egypt called for a ceasefire in Syria “as quickly as possible”, President Vladimir Putin said Friday, after a meeting with his Egyptian counterpart Mohamed Morsi.

“Russia and Egypt support a ceasefire in Syria as soon as possible and the launch of negotiations,” between the regime and rebels, the Russian president said following the meeting in the black city resort of Sochi, where the 2014 Winter Olympic Games will be held.

The two leaders said they wanted Syria to find its own solution to the crisis, now in its third year, without “external intrusion”.

Along with China, Russia is the only world power to have stayed allied with the regime of President Bashar al-Assad, vetoing three rounds of UN Security Council resolutions against his government.

Russia has though repeatedly called for an end to the conflict, which started in March 2011 and has killed more than 70,000 people, according to UN figures.

(Source / 19.04.2013)

‘4 hit by buckshot’ as Egypt Islamists, rivals clash

CAIRO (AFP) — Four persons were wounded by buckshot on Friday after opposition activists marched on thousands of Islamists rallying outside the Supreme Court in central Cairo demanding judicial reform, an official said.

In the clashes, the two sides pelted each other with stones and Molotov cocktails and gunfire was heard, according to an AFP journalist.

The correspondent added that opposition activists from the so-called Black Bloc, wearing black masks, fired buckshot at Islamists on the October 6 Bridge over the Nile River near Tahrir Square and wounded two people.

The head of the Egyptian rescue agency, Mohammed Sultan, told television that four people had been hospitalized with buckshot wounds.

An hour after the clashes broke out, three armored police vehicles arrived and began firing tear gas, the correspondent said.

The Islamists, who set fire to two buses, were demanding an overhaul of the judiciary, after a court challenged a decision by Islamist President Mohamed Mursi to sack the veteran state prosecutor.

(Source / 19.04.2013)

Syria mediator Brahimi says not resigning, but thinks about it daily

Lakhdar Brahimi on Friday quashed rumors which claimed he was resigning from his post.

The joint U.N.-Arab League envoy to Syria, Lakhdar Brahimi, on Friday dismissed rumors that he was resigning from his post due to frustration with the Arab League.

“I haven’t resigned,” Brahimi told reporters. “Every day I wake up and think I should resign. One day perhaps I will resign.”

He also dismissed reports that he agreed to remain in the post for three more months.

U.N. diplomats said on Tuesday that Brahimi hoped to revamp his role as peace mediator in the two-year-old Syrian conflict as a United Nations envoy without any official link to the Arab League.

But U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon made clear the following day that he wanted Brahimi to continue working as a joint representative of both the Arab League and United Nations. Brahimi meets with Ban and Arab League chief Nabil Elaraby in New York on Monday.

Brahimi briefed the Security Council on Friday on Syria and gave a grim assessment of the Syrian civil war, saying that Damascus is completely uncooperative in negotiations.

“With the Syrians, I got nowhere,” he told reporters after the closed-door briefing. Diplomats said he told them that virtually nothing had been accomplished in eight months.

Since last year, Brahimi has been promoting a peace plan that would call for a transitional government in which Syrian President Bashar Assad would step aside. Damascus has shown no appetite for discussing Assad’s resignation.

He also stressed that the Syrian opposition forces needed to be more unified, coordinated and disciplined, diplomats said, speaking on condition of anonymity because the council briefing was private. The Syrian opposition factions now range from al-Qaeda-affiliated militias to pro-democratic reformers.

Brahimi chided the Security Council for its ongoing deadlock over the war. Western and Arab nations blame the conflict on Assad’s government. Russia insists on assigning equal blame to the Syrian rebel opposition, and has used it veto, along with China, to block draft council resolutions.

“On the Security Council, with the Americans and the Russians, we made some progress but it is too little,” Brahimi said.

“If they really believe that they are in charge of looking after peace and security, there is no time for them to lose to really take this question more seriously than they have until now,” he said.

Brahimi told the council that he is still pushing a plan that calls for a political process that would start with the establishment of a transitional governing body vested with full executive powers, and end with elections.

The proposed plan would also include a large peacekeeping force to ensure a cease fire is observed because the government and opposition do not trust each other.

(Source / 19.04.2013)