‘FBI framing Muslims to commit terror’

The FBI agents and informants are reportedly working to frame US Muslims for acts of terrorism and similar crimes, American Muslim leaders warn.

FBI agents “are not investigating to see if the individual is engaged, they are engaging the person in terrorist activities, in conspiracies, in plotting,” says Shaker Elsayed, Imam of Dar al-Hijrah Islamic Center in Falls Church, Virginia.

“Our experience here at al-Hijrah was very positive with the FBI leadership in Washington Field Office, until we found out that getting very close to the FBI came at a very serious price,” Elsayed pointed out in his interview with Press TV.

In two recent cases, two men were prompted and provided with fake explosives by undercover FBI agents to carry out attacks against Americans.

Somali-born Mohamed Osman Mohamud allegedly attempted to detonate a bomb at a Christmas tree lighting ceremony in Oregon in November while last month Antonio Martinez of Baltimore, Maryland allegedly planned a similar attack at a military recruiting base.

Elsayed warned that “those stories are becoming more common today than ever before.”

The FBI did not give an interview, but through a statement it said, “The FBI does not investigate mosques or other houses of worship…the FBI investigates individuals to determine whether they are engaged in or plotting criminal or terrorist acts.”

Elsayed opined that relations between the FBI and Muslims will remain fragile “until the people in positions, whether it is in the media or some politicians, decide to be men and stand for truth.”

The Imam of al-Islam Mosque in southeast Washington, Abdul Alim Musa, described the FBI tactic as “entrapment”.

“Every case that they have had in last several years … in New York they [planned] to blow up a synagogue,” he said. “They harassed our bothers … and finally they got them to go to the synagogue and then they said you are under arrest.”

Revelations of FBI informants in Islamic centers across the US have become more common. In one case at the Islamic Center of Irvine, California, an informant publicly stated that he was trained by the FBI to push Muslims to agree to commit violent acts.

(07.01.2011  / Source / 20.04.2013)

Settlers raise Israeli flag over West Bank church

A monk stands next to graffiti sprayed on a wall at the entrance to the Latrun Monastery near Jerusalem September 4, 2012.

RAMALLAH (Ma’an) — Israeli settlers on Friday took over a monastery in a village near Ramallah and raised an Israeli flag over the building.

Priest Aziz Raei told Ma’an that Israeli settlers used force to occupy the monastery and its adjacent chapel in al-Taybeh, a Christian village in the central West Bank.

They raised a flag over the monastery, which was built by a French monk.

(Source / 20.04.2013)

Samer Barq interrogated by U.S. officers from FBI in Israeli jails

 

QALQILYA, (PIC)– Palestinian human rights sources said that the hunger striking prisoner Samer Barq, from Jayous village near the city of Qalqilya northern West Bank, is being interrogated by U.S. officers from the FBI.

Helmi Barq, the captive’s father, reported that his son, who has been on hunger strike for 50 days, is being investigated by investigators from the FBI in the Israeli jails, and considered that this “method complicates his son’s secret file”.

Samer’s father told Palestine Prisoners Center for Studies that the occupation has been torturing his son through depriving him of visits and isolating him, despite his deteriorating health condition, in an attempt to force him to end his strike.

Kaher Abu Kamal, media spokesman for the human rights center, said in a press statement on Sunday that the captive Samer Barq is determined to continue his hunger strike until his release from Israeli jails.

Palestinian human rights sources reported that health conditions of the two Palestinian prisoners Hamza Kalouti and Mohammed Sayara have seriously deteriorated during the recent period as a result of the policy of deliberate medical neglect in Israeli jails.

International Solidarity Foundation for Human Rights revealed in a statement on Sunday that the Jerusalemite prisoner Hamza Kalouti suffers from serious problems in the bones and joints, resulting in great difficulty in movement, and that the Gilboa prison doctors have prescribed him medicines that damaged his liver and kidneys.

Kalouti has been detained since 2001 and is serving a life sentence.

(Source / 20.04.2013)

When Israeli denial of Palestinian existence becomes genocidal

Close-up, profile portrait of Israeli president

Sixty-five years on, Israeli President Shimon Peres still denies the existence of the indigenous population of Palestine.

In a regal interview he gave the Israeli press on the eve of the state’s ” Independence Day,”Shimon Peres, the current president of Israel, said the following:

“I remember how it all began. The whole state of Israel is a millimeter of the whole Middle East. A statistical error, barren and disappointing land, swamps in the north, desert in the south, two lakes, one dead and an overrated river. No natural resource apart from malaria. There was nothing here. And we now have the best agriculture in the world? This is a miracle: a land built by people” (Maariv, 14 April 2013).

This fabricated narrative, voiced by Israel’s number one citizen and spokesman, highlights how much the historical narrative is part of the present reality. This presidential impunity sums up the reality on the eve of the 65th commemoration of the Nakba, the ethnic cleansing of historic Palestine. The disturbing fact of life, 65 years on, is not that the figurative head of the so-called Jewish state, and for that matter almost everyone in the newly-elected government and parliament, subscribe to such views. The worrying and challenging reality is the global immunity given to such impunity.

Peres’ denial of the native Palestinians and his reselling in 2013 of the landless people mythology exposes the cognitive dissonance in which he lives: he denies the existence of approximately twelve million people living in and near to the country to which they belong. History shows that the human consequences are horrific and catastrophic when powerful people, heading powerful outfits such as a modern state, denied the existence of a people who are very much present.

This denial was there at the beginning of Zionism and led to the ethnic cleansing in 1948. And it is there today, which may lead to similar disasters in the future — unless stopped immediately.

Cognitive dissonance

The perpetrators of the 1948 ethnic cleansing were the Zionist settlers who came to Palestine, like Polish-born Shimon Peres, before the Second World War. They denied the existence of the native people they encountered, who lived there for hundreds of years, if not more. The Zionists did not possess the power at the time to settle the cognitive dissonance they experienced: their conviction that the land was people-less despite the presence of so many native people there.

They almost solved the dissonance when they expelled as many Palestinians as they could in 1948 — and were left with only a small minority of Palestinians within the Jewish state.

But the Zionist greed for territory and ideological conviction that much more of Palestine was needed in order to have a viable Jewish state led to constant contemplations and eventually operations to enlarge the state.

With the creation of “Greater Israel” following the conquest of the West Bank and Gaza in1967, the dissonance returned. The solution however could not easily be resolved this time by the force of ethnic cleansing. The number of Palestinians was larger, their assertiveness and liberation movement were forcefully present on the ground, and even the most cynical and traditionally pro-Israel actors on the international scene recognized their existence.

The dissonance was resolved in a different way. The land without people was any part of the greater Israel the state wished to Judaize in the pre-1967 boundaries or annex from the territories occupied in 1967. The land with people was in the Gaza Strip and some enclaves in the West Bank as well as inside Israel. The land without people is destined to expand incrementally in the future, causing the number of people to shrink as a direct consequence of this encroachment.

Incremental ethnic cleansing

This incremental ethnic cleansing is hard to notice unless one contextualizes it as a historical process. The noble attempt by the more conscientious individuals and groups in the West and inside Israel to focus on the here and now — when it comes to Israeli policies — is doomed to be weakened by the contemporary contextualization, not the historical one.

Comparing Palestine to other places was always a problem. But with the murderous reality in SyriaIraq and elsewhere, it becomes an even more serious challenge. The last closure, the last political arrest, the last assault, the last murder of a youth are horrific crimes, but pale in comparison to nearby or far-away killing fields and areas of colossal atrocities.

Criminal narrative

The comparison is very different when it is viewed historically and it is in this context that we should realize the criminality of Peres’ narrative which is as horrific as the occupation — and potentially far worse. For the president of Israel, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, there were never Palestinians before he initiated in 1993 the Oslo process — and when he did, they were only the ones living a small part of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

In his discourse, he already eliminated most of the Palestinians. If you did not exist when Peres came to Palestine, you definitely do not exist when he is the president in 2013. This elimination is the point where ethnic cleansing becomes genocidal. When you are eliminated from the history book and the discourse of the top politicians, there is always a danger that the next attempt would be your physical elimination.

It happened before. The early Zionists, including the current president, talked about the transfer of the Palestinians long before they actually disposed them in 1948. These visions of a de-Arabized Palestine appeared in every Zionist diary, journal and inner conversation since the beginning of the 20th century. If one talks about nothingness in a place where there is plenty it can be willful ignorance. But if one talks about nothingness as a vision or undeniable reality, it is only a matter of power and opportunity before the vision becomes reality.

Denial continues

Peres’ interview on the eve of the 65th commemoration of the Nakba is chilling not because it condones any violent act against the Palestinians, but because the Palestinians have entirely disappeared from his self-congratulatory admiration for the Zionist achievement in Palestine. It is bewildering to learn that the early Zionists denied the existence of Palestinians in 1882 when they arrived; it is even more shocking to find out that they deny their existence — beyond sporadic ghettoized communities — in 2013.

In the past, the denial preceded the crime — a crime that only partially succeeded but for which the perpetrators were never brought to justice. This is probably why the denial continues. But this time, it is not the existence of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians which is at stake, but that of almost six million who live inside historic Palestine and another five and half million living outside Palestine.

One would think only a madman can ignore millions and millions of people, many of them under his military or apartheid rule while he actively and ruthlessly disallows the return of the rest to their homeland. But when the madman receives the best weapons from the US, Nobel Peace Prizes from Oslo and preferential treatment from the European Union, one wonders how seriously we should take the Western references to the leaders of Iran and North Korea as dangerous and lunatic?

Lunacy is associated these days, it seems, to possession of nuclear arms in non-Western hands. Well, even on that score, the local madman in the Middle East passes the test. Who knows, maybe in 2014 it would not be the Israeli cognitive dissonance that would be solved, but the Western one: how to reconcile a universal position of human and civil rights with the favored position Israel in general and Shimon Peres in particular receives in the West?

(Source / 20.04.2013)

Het scheepswrak

By Marianna Laarif

De enige overlevende van een scheepswrak spoelde aan op een klein onbewoond eiland. Hij bad hevig tot Allah dat Hij hem uit deze benarde positie zou redden. Elke dag inspecteerde hij de horizon op zoek naar help, maar nooit vond hij iets. Uitgeput als hij was, maakte hij een klein hutje van drijfhout om hem en zijn weinige bezittingen te beschermen tegen de invloed van de natuurelementen.

Toen op een dag, nadat hij de kust afstroopte op zoek naar voedsel en terugkwam bij zijn schuilplaats, kwam hij erachter dat zijn kleine hutje vlam had gevat en hij zag de rook opstijgen naar de hemel. Het allerergste wat hij zich kon bedenken was hem overkomen: alles was verloren. Hij was verslagen door verdriet en woede.
“Allah, hoe kunt U mij dit aandoen!?” schreeuwde hij.
Vroeg de volgende dag werd hij echter gewekt door het geluid van een schip dat de kust naderde. Het was gekomen om hem te redden.
“Hoe wisten jullie dat ik hier was?”, vroeg de man versuft aan zijn redders. Zij antwoordden: “Wij zagen jouw rooksignalen.”
Het kan snel gebeuren dat wij ontmoedigd raken als dingen slecht aflopen. Maar wij moeten de moed niet verliezen, want Allah heeft zijn plannen met ons, zelfs als wij worden getroffen door pijn en verdriet. Onthoud dan ook de volgende keer, als je kleine hutje tot de grond afbrandt, dat dit een rooksignaal kan zijn dat de Genade van Allah aankondigt.

SP vragen over schendingen van het Gaza bestand

Antwoorden van Frans Timmermans, minister van Buitenlandse Zaken, op vragen van het lid Van Bommel (SP) over schending van bestandsafspraken tussen Israël en Palestijnse groepen in Gaza

Vraag 1

Herinnert u zich uw antwoord op eerdere vragen dat onvoldoende informatie beschikbaar is om een overzicht te kunnen geven van schendingen door Israël en door gewapende groepen in Gaza van het bestand dat op 21 november 2012 van kracht werd?

Antwoord

Ja. De regering beschikt over onvoldoende informatie om een overzicht te kunnen geven van alle incidenten en schendingen die verband houden met dit bestand.

Vraag 2
Bent u bekend met de wekelijkse rapportages “Protection of Civilians” van VN-organisatie OCHA, met daarin een overzicht van burgerslachtoffers aan Israëlische en Palestijnse zijde?

Antwoord

Ja.

Vraag 3
Klopt het dat in deze rapportage, verschenen op 1 maart jl., melding wordt gemaakt van vier Palestijnse burgerdoden en 106 gewonde burgers in de Gazastrook sinds het bestand van kracht werd, veroorzaakt door Israëlisch legergeweld? Klopt het dat zich onder de gewonden meer dan twintig kinderen bevinden? Indien neen, wat zijn dan de feiten?

Antwoord

Deze cijfers staan vermeld in de Protection of Civilians rapportage van 8 februari 2013.

Vraag 4
Kunt u bevestigen dat sinds het bestand van kracht werd geen Israëlische doden en gewonden te betreuren zijn, dat er geen materiële schade in Israël is veroorzaakt en dat sindsdien één Palestijnse raket in Israël is neergekomen, die daar op 26 februari jl. in onbewoond gebied is geland? Indien neen, wat zijn dan de feiten?

Antwoord

De regering heeft geen aanwijzingen dat er sinds het bestand sprake is van Israëlische doden of gewonden. Sinds 21 november 2012 hebben er volgens OCHA zes aanvallen op Israël plaatsgevonden waarbij tenminste tien raketten richting Israël zijn afgevuurd. Eén daarvan raakte een kinderdagverblijf in Sderot en een tweede belandde in een tuin van een woning ten zuiden van Ashkalon en veroorzaakte materiële schade. Volgens mediaberichten is een aantal leden van de groep die de aanslag heeft opgeëist, gearresteerd door de Gazaanse politie.

Vraag 5

Kunt u bevestigen dat uit genoemde rapportages van VN-OCHA voor de periode sinds het bestand van kracht werd, valt af te leiden dat:

a) het Israëlische leger minstens 10 maal de Gazastrook is binnengevallen voor zogenaamde ‘land leveling operations;

b) zich minstens 25 incidenten hebben voorgedaan waarbij Palestijnse vissersboten voor de kust van Gaza door het Israëlische leger zijn beschoten;

c) diverse vissers bij deze schietingen gewond zijn geraakt en minstens 49 van hen voor korte of langere tijd door het Israëlische leger zijn vastgezet;

d) zich in totaal meer dan 80 incidenten hebben voorgedaan waarbij het Israëlische leger burgers in Gaza heeft beschoten, of de Gazastrook is binnengevallen, dus bijna één per dag?

Antwoord

Ja.

Vraag 6

Heeft u kennisgenomen van de “Update on the Access Restricted Areas in the Gaza Strip” van de OHCHR (Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights) betreffende de periode 1 juli tot 31 december 2012? Is het waar dat daarin wordt vastgesteld dat het aantal Gazanen dat na inwerkingtreding van het bestand door Israëlisch geweld is gedood of verwond juist is toegenomen ten opzichte van het gemiddelde in voorgaande maanden? Indien neen, wat zijn dan de feiten?

Antwoord

Het OHCHR-rapport stelt vast dat tussen 1 juli en 14 november 2012 drie Palestijnse doden zijn gevallen en 24 gewonden. Tussen 22 november en 31 december zijn twee Palestijnen overleden en 81 gewond geraakt.

Vraag 7

Deelt u de mening dat deze feiten en cijfers duidelijk wijzen op een offensieve gevechtshouding van Israël, die het kwetsbare bestand ernstig onder druk zet en die in Gaza onveiligheid en menselijk leed veroorzaakt? Kunt u uw antwoord toelichten?

Antwoord

De OCHA-rapportage Protection of Civilians, verschenen op 3 april jl., vermeldt het aantal slachtoffers en gewonden in 2013 in vergelijking tot dezelfde periode in 2012. Daaruit blijkt dat het Israëlische leger in de eerste drie maanden van dit jaar twee Palestijnse slachtoffers heeft gemaakt en 32 gewonden in vergelijking tot 29 doden en 1.829 gewonden in de eerste drie maanden van 2012.

Deze cijfers laten een duidelijke daling zien in het aantal slachtoffers t.a.v. het afgelopen jaar. Daaruit kan worden geconcludeerd dat het bestand effect heeft. Niettemin maakt de regering zich zorgen over de kwetsbaarheid van het bestand zoals bleek uit de wederzijdse raketaanvallen op 3 april jl. Nederland dringt bij partijen aan op naleving van het bestand.

Vraag 8

Onderkent u dat de internationale gemeenschap erbij gebaat is een nieuwe grootschalige geweldsuitbarsting tussen Israël en Gaza te voorkomen en derhalve het belang en de plicht heeft het Israëlische geweld tegen Gaza te beteugelen? Indien neen, waarom niet?

Antwoord

Een volgende grootschalige geweldsuitbarsting tussen Israël en Gaza moet worden voorkomen. De regering verwacht van Israël dat zij binnen de kaders van het internationaal recht handelt en roept op tot terughoudendheid. Palestijnse groepen in Gaza worden opgeroepen om geen raketaanvallen op Israël uit te voeren. Een constructieve houding van alle partijen bij de uitvoering van de bestandsafspraken is van belang, waarbij de Egyptische autoriteiten een belangrijke rol vervullen als bemiddelaar.

Vraag 9

Herinnert u zich uw antwoord op eerdere vragen dat het aan partijen is om vast te stellen of incidenten een schending van de bestandsafspraken vormen? In het licht van bovenstaande feiten en cijfers en gezien de grote belangen die op het spel staan, deelt u de mening dat de internationale gemeenschap ook zelf moet toetsen of partijen zich aan het bestand houden en schendingen daarvan dient vast te stellen en publiekelijk moet veroordelen? Indien neen, waarom niet?

Antwoord

Het is in eerste instantie aan de partijen om vast te stellen of er sprake is van schending van de bestandsafspraken. Mocht er sprake zijn van een schending, dan voorziet het bestand in een rol voor Egypte. Het is vervolgens aan Egypte om hieraan verdere opvolging te geven.

Vraag 10

Herinnert u zich uw antwoord op eerdere vragen “dat de bredere Israëlische veiligheidsmaatregelen die voor Gaza van kracht zijn volledig in overeenstemming (moeten) zijn met het internationaal recht, waaronder humanitair oorlogsrecht en mensenrechten”? Bent u bereid juridisch advies in te winnen, teneinde vast te stellen in hoeverre Israëlische gevechtshandelingen tegen Gaza volledig in overeenstemming zijn met het internationaal recht? Wilt u dit advies met de Kamer delen? Indien neen, waarom niet?

Antwoord

Deze rol ziet de regering niet voor Nederland. Een juridisch advies acht de regering dan ook niet aan de orde.

Vraag 11

Wilt u de Kamer voortaan uitvoeriger informeren over de aard, frequentie en internationaalrechtelijke status en implicaties van gevechtshandelingen door Israël en door Palestijnse groepen, ook in relatie tot bestandsafspraken tussen Israël en Palestijnse groepen in Gaza? Kunt u uw antwoord toelichten?

Antwoord

De regering beschikt over onvoldoende feitelijke informatie. Conform het bestand is Egypte de aangewezen partij met betrekking tot de naleving van de bestandsafspraken.

Jerusalem Palestinians face neglect, displacement

 

Saturday, 20 April 2013 / By Jihan Abdalla, Al-Monitor Palestine Pulse – Once the political, social and commercial hub for Palestinians, Jerusalem has slowly disintegrated into an isolated, neglected and impoverished community as Israel continues to tighten its grip on the Holy City.

Cut off from adjacent Palestinian cities in the occupied West Bank by Israeli army checkpoints and a separation barrier, residents of east Jerusalem say they struggle to protect their livelihoods and presence in the city.

When Israel occupied east Jerusalem including the Old City in 1967, in violation of international law, Palestinians living there were given permanent-resident status rather than citizenship.

Since then, Palestinians say, Israel has sought to force them out of the city and established a Jewish majority that would make any peace deal that would divide the city impossible.

For Israel, Jerusalem is its “eternal and indivisible” capital. For Palestinians, it is a symbol of their national struggle and home to al-Aqsa Mosque, Islam’s third holiest site.

Mahdi Abdul Hadi, chairman of the Palestinian Academic Society for the Study of International Affairs, says establishing east Jerusalem as a capital of a future Palestinian state is central to any final peace agreement with Israel.

“Everyone knows that without Jerusalem there is no Palestine,” Abdul Hadi told Al-Monitor.

Palestinians want to establish their own independent state in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, with east Jerusalem as its capital. Talks with Israel collapsed in 2010 over Israel’s refusal to stop expanding settlements in the West Bank and east Jerusalem.

Some 360,000 Palestinians live in mostly crowded, run down, garbage-strewn neighborhoods in Jerusalem. They constitute 38% of the city’s total population.

As Israel continues to build Jewish settlement homes in and around the city, and encourages Jewish settlers to take over Palestinian homes in east Jerusalem, Palestinians say Israel is working hard to “Judaize” the city.

Settlement watchdog Peace Now says the Jewish settler population in east Jerusalem has reached 250,000.

Silwan neighborhood threatened with demolition

In the east Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan, home to over 50,000 residents, the streets are narrow, steep and potholed. Israel plans to demolish 88 homes in the area of al-Bustan to make way for the development of an archaeological park called King David’s Garden.

If the plan goes forward, Palestinian rights group al-Haq says more than 1,500 Palestinians will be forcibly evacuated and left homeless.

More than 500 Jewish settlers have moved in to Silwan since the early 1990s, bringing armed security guards, armored vehicles and surveillance cameras.

Since Israel took over the city, it has demolished over 2,000 homes in Jerusalem, according to the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions, and Jewish settlers have taken over one third of the land in east Jerusalem.

Residents of Silwan say their lives are consumed with the imminent fear of demolition and daily friction with the settlers.

Ahmad Qareen was shot twice in the legs three years ago by a settler guard and walks on crutches. He is now unable to work and his family relies on his wife’s income.

A month ago, Qaraeen’s 15-year-old son was detained along with his friends outside his school, and released 12 hours later.

“Every family here has, at any given time, at least two or there lawyers representing them,” Qareen tells Al-Monitor, “whether to fight a pending demolition order on their home or to free an imprisoned child.”

Arab League fund

On March 26, the Arab League pledged to establish a $1 billion fund “to protect the Arab and Islamic character of the city and reinforce the steadfastness of its people,” according to the draft resolution.

Qatar’s emir, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, said he would contribute $250 million, which the Islamic Development Bank would manage.

The Palestinian Authority (PA), under the Oslo Accords agreements signed in 1994, retains no jurisdiction in east Jerusalem. The fate of the city and its shrines was at the time left to be determined in final status talks with Israel.

The PA is generally skeptical of Arab aid pledges, as few Arab countries have carried through on past promises. For example, a $500 million pledge for Jerusalem in Sirte, Libya in 2010 was never fulfilled.

But Palestinian analysts say the emir, who is seeking greater involvement in the Palestinian issue, is expected to live up to his promise.

He became the first head of state to visit the blockaded Gaza Strip last year, and pledged $400 million to finance projects there which have already begun.

Palestinian officials say proposals for projects in east Jerusalem have already been submitted and it is up to the Islamic Development Bank to decide which programs to finance.

The Israeli Foreign Ministry condemned the initiative, calling it “a badge of shame” for Qatar.

Putting out the small flames

Palestinian cartographer Khalil Tafakji says since 2001, Israel closed down 26 Palestinian institutions in east Jerusalem, most notably the Orient House, the headquarters of the Palestine Liberation Organization.

“The void created by the absence of institutions and effective policing has given rise to a culture of gangsters, drugs and crime,” Tafakji tells Al-Monitor.

The Association for Civil Rights in Israel says 78% of residents live below the poverty line.

A report published in December last year by the International Crisis Group, a conflict-resolution organization based in Brussels, said the absence of institutions, political parties or security forces has drastically disintegrated east Jerusalem.

“Palestinian Jerusalemites increasingly are adrift, bereft of representation and lacking resources. East Jerusalem has become a rough and angry place, more and more disconnected from its West Bank hinterland,” the report said.

Abdul Hadi says the different institutions operating in the city (a few Palestinian but mainly international organizations) are each individually trying to tackle the different issues that plague Jerusalem.

Poverty, unemployment and lack of services, housing and education are only some of the chronic issues that Jerusalem suffers from, he says. And the Arab league fund, if it comes through, would just reinforce the piecemeal approach.

“No one is trying to deal with all of the issues under a comprehensive, strategic plan,” he says. “It’s been a battle of putting out small flames, rather than the big fire.”

In Silwan, despite having to pay taxes to Israel, the neighborhood receives very few municipal services. The roads are in poor condition and there are no sidewalks. There is no post office, day-care centers, parks or libraries. Just a few meters away, a short row of settler homes have a neatly paved road and streetlights.

The Jerusalem municipality contends that in the past, Arab neighborhoods have been neglected, but say efforts are increasing to improve services in east Jerusalem.

Qareen says the municipality gives demolition orders for homes built without permits on a nearly daily basis. He says building permits are virtually impossible to obtain and many people have been forced to build without them to accommodate for their growing families.

“Every day we wait for surprises, more demolition orders or trucks. Nothing is out of the question.”

(Source / 20.04.2013)

IOF soldiers quell protest marches near Al-Khalil

AL-KHALIL, (PIC)– Israeli occupation forces (IOF) quelled a peaceful march south of Al-Khalil on Friday demanding reopening of the southern entrance to the province that had been closed by the IOF for the past 13 years.

Eyewitnesses said that confrontations took place near Beit Hagai settlement, established on Palestinian land south of Al-Khalil.

They said that dozens of citizens from Fawar refugee camp and Doura and Hijra areas gathered near the closed road that has been closed since the Aqsa intifada in 2000 and asked for opening it before Palestinian citizens.

The witnesses said that the soldiers fired metal bullets and tear gas at the demonstrators triggering large-scale confrontations.

They said that soldiers had been deployed in the area since the early morning hours and blocked the citizens from completing their march to the closed road.

Other clashes were reported in separate areas in Al-Khalil province where young men engaged IOF soldiers after storming their village of Halhoul, north of Al-Khalil, through its main entrance.

Locals said that the young men threw stones and empty bottles at the soldiers who were firing teargas canisters at them, adding that many citizens were treated for gas inhalation.

Similar clashes were reported in Beit Ummar village, also north of Al-Khalil, and in Aroub refugee camp.

(Facebook / 20.04.2013)

‘Israel injects Palestinian prisoners with dangerous viruses’

Israeli troops arrest a Palestinian youth at the Shuafat refugee camp in al-Quds in February 2010.

Israeli troops arrest a Palestinian youth at the Shuafat refugee camp in al-Quds in February 2010.

“Saqa also said many of the prisoners are suffering from mysteriously incurable diseases such as bladder cancer and liver disorders.”

The Israeli regime injects Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails with “dangerous viruses” before releasing them, a report says.

“A Palestinian released from Israeli jails, Rania Saqa, has brought to light that the Israeli regime injected detainees that are out of prisons with dangerous viruses,” Russian dailyKomsomolskaya Pravda wrote on Friday.

Saqa also said many of the prisoners are suffering from mysteriously incurable diseases such as bladder cancer and liver disorders.

She said it is a standard procedure for Israelis to inject Palestinian detainees before freeing them.

“Most former inmates die after being released from Israeli jails,” the newspaper wrote.

Palestinian prisoners are calling on international organizations to take urgent action to stop this.

A rights organization has accused Israel of using Palestinian prisoners to test new drugs.

The International Solidarity for Human Rights Institute said such conduct blatantly contradicts moral and medical principles.

According to human rights group B’Tselem, more than 4,700 Palestinian prisoners, including about 170 administrative detainees, are currently being held in Israeli prisons.

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 / 20.04.2013)

Fighting against Syrian government not jihad: Tunisia Mufti

Othman Battikh, the Mufti of Tunisia (file photo)

Othman Battikh, the Mufti of Tunisia
Tunisia’s senior cleric, Othman Battikh, has described calls for jihad against the government in Syria a “huge mistake” that is not permitted under Islam.

The Mufti of Tunisia said during a press conference on Friday that a “Muslim mustn’t fight a Muslim” under any pretext.

Battikh stressed that those who went to fight in Syria under the banner of Jihad were “fooled and have been brainwashed.”

His remarks came at a time many of Tunisian youths are being recruited by terrorist networks to go to Syria and fight against the government of President Bashar al-Assad.

The Tunisian cleric also said he considered what has become known as “sex jihad” a form of prostitution and adultery.

He said 16 Tunisian girls have been so far deceived and sent to Syria to take part in the so-called sex or marriage jihad, adding this is a moral depravity.

Syria has been gripped by a deadly unrest since March 2011, and many people, including large numbers of government forces, have been killed in the violence.

Damascus says the chaos is being orchestrated from outside the country, and there are reports that a very large number of the militants are foreign nationals.

The Syrian government says the West and its regional allies including Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey are supporting the militants.

(Source / 20.04.2013)