Israeli forces breached humanitarian law during recent war on Gaza


80 per cent of those killed by Israeli forces killed during the last four days of the war waged on the Gaza Strip in November were uninvolved civilians, Israeli human rights organisation B’Tselem said on Thursday.

“After several months of field research and crosschecking data, human rights organization B’Tselem published a report today (Thursday) which looks into the harm caused to civilians during Operation Pillar of Defence,” the organisation said in the report.

The report, which provides statistics for the number of fatalities on both sides during the eight-day war, challenges common perceptions in the Israeli public and media that the operation was “surgical” and caused practically no fatalities among uninvolved Palestinian civilians.

B’Tselem said that 167 Palestinians were killed by the Israeli military during the operation; only 62 of these were Palestinians who took part in the hostilities. The report also showed that “of the uninvolved Palestinian fatalities, 80 per cent were killed in the last four days of the operation.”

The organisation provided a breakdown of the figures per day which reveals a significant difference between the numbers of uninvolved Palestinian civilians killed in the first and second parts of the operation.

“Whereas 48 Palestinians were killed in the first four days of the operation, 119 were killed during the last four days,” the report said. “Moreover, during the last four days of the operation, 70 uninvolved Palestinian civilians were killed – more than four times as many as the 17 killed during the first four days.”

B’Tselem’s report raises suspicions that the military violated International Humanitarian Law (IHL). Breaches of two major aspects of IHL are of greatest concern: lack of effective advanced notice of an impending attack and an unacceptably broad definition of what constitutes a “legitimate target”.

According to the report, Israeli officials have argued that part of the harm to civilians was justified by the conduct of armed Palestinian groups, which included firing at Israel from locations adjacent to civilian homes and concealing explosives in civilian homes.

“Although the conduct of Palestinian groups undeniably creates additional difficulties for the Israeli military, their violations of IHL cannot serve as justification for IHL violations by the Israeli military,” the report said.

(Source / 09.05.2013)

Hezbollah says Syria to supply ‘game-changing arms’

BEIRUT (AFP) — Syria will supply Israeli arch enemy Hezbollah with “game-changing weapons” despite airstrikes reportedly aimed at cutting off the flow of arms to the Lebanese Shiite group, its leader said Thursday.

“You Israelis say your objective is to stop the capability of the resistance (against Israel) from growing … but Syria will provide (Hezbollah) with game-changing weapons it has not had before,” Hassan Nasrallah said in a televised speech.

The movement, a long-sworn enemy of Israel, fought a bitter war against Israel in 2006 in which parts of Lebanon were devastated.

Nasrallah spoke days after Israel reportedly carried out two airstrikes near Damascus.

Syria’s response, he said, “is highly strategic” and involves “opening to resistance fighters the front in the Golan” Heights, which were captured by Israel in the 1967 Six-Day War.

“If you (Israel) see Syria as a corridor of arms to (Hezbollah), Syria will provide the resistance with those arms. This is a highly strategic decision,” said Nasrallah.

Such a response “is more strategic than launching a rocket or carrying out an air raid” on Israel, he added.

Hezbollah has remained a staunch supporter of Syrian President Bashar Assad’s regime throughout the country’s conflict, which the UN said has killed more than 70,000 people.

Nasrallah recently acknowledged that Hezbollah fighters were backing loyalist troops in Syria who are fighting to crush an anti-regime insurgency.

He has systematically backed Assad’s claims that the violence in Syria is the product of a foreign conspiracy aimed at crushing the anti-Israel axis.

Nasrallah said “Israel says it wants to push Syria out of the equation of the Arab-Israeli conflict”.

He described any future opening of the Golan front “and the declared opening of the door to jihad (holy war) to fighters from the Golan” as “the second strategic answer” to Israel’s strikes.

“We are ready to receive any kind of game-changing weapons, even if it breaks the power balance (with Israel) … We deserve such weapons, and we will use the weapons to defend our people and our country.”

“Just as Syria stood by the Lebanese people and gave moral and financial backing to its people’s resistance, we announce that we stand by the side of the Syrian resistance,” said Hezbollah’s chief, pledging “moral, financial and logistical support for the liberation of the Syrian Golan.”

Israel “knows that among the main sources of strength” of the region’s resistance movements are “Syria and, of course, the Islamic Republic of Iran.”

Iran funnels arms through Syria to the Shiite movement.

“Everyone knows how much Syria has given to the Palestinian and Lebanese resistance” against Israel, said Nasrallah.

“In the whole of Arab history, no other Arab regime has given us as much as President Bashar al-Assad’s regime has,” he added.

Nasrallah said it is because of this support that Israel “carried out an air strike on Damascus and near Damascus … regardless of the accuracy of its claimed targets.”

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the strikes killed 42 soldiers.

While Israel has not officially acknowledged the strikes, an Israeli official said they were aimed at a rockets shipment intended for Hezbollah.

Damascus said the strikes hit Syrian army bases.

In his speech, Nasrallah lashed out against Arab governments’ silence over Israel’s strike on Syria.

Some “Arab states have become readier than ever to give up (to Israel) … after the Arab Spring” that brought down several dictators in the region, he said.

Nasrallah meanwhile called on “the free and honorable in the Arab and Muslim world” to take action to bring about “a settlement” and “political solution” in Syria.”

(Source / 09.05.2013)

U.S. says Israeli settlements in West Bank ‘counterproductive’

Labourers work on a construction site in a Jewish settlement near Jerusalem known to Israelis as Har Homa and to Palestinians as Jabal Abu Ghneim May 7, 2013.

The United States warned Israel on Thursday that its reported plans to build additional settlement housing in the West Bank were “counterproductive,” reported AFP.

“As the president said, Israelis must recognize that continued settlement activity is counterproductive to the cause of peace and that an independent Palestine must be viable, with real borders that have to be drawn,” State Department spokesman Patrick Ventrell was quoted saying by AFP.

300 homes in the settlement of Beit El, which is near the West Bank capital Ramallah, were given the go ahead by Israel earlier on Thursday.

“The Civil Administration has given the green light for 296 housing units at Beit El, but this is only the first stage of a process before actual construction can begin,” he said, speaking on behalf of a unit within the defense ministry which administers the West Bank.

The settlements were allegedly part of a compensatory measure for settlers who had been evicted from their illegal homes in Ulpana last year. Ulpana, an unauthorized outpost located on the outskirts of Beit El, was evacuated on order of an Israeli High Court.

Peace Now an Israeli settlement watchdog in the country slammed the move.

“This initiative proves Netanyahu is deceiving the world,” Hagit Ofran told AFP.

(Source / 09.05.2013)

Syrian President quoted as saying that Syria will ‘give Hezbollah everything’, Lebanese newspaper reports

Syria will “give Hezbollah everything” in recognition of its support and will follow the militant group’s model of “resistance” against Israel, a Lebanese newspaper on Thursday quoted President Bashar al-Assad as saying.

His comments, published by Al-Akhbar, reportedly came during meetings with Lebanese visitors in Damascus and appeared intended to refute any suggestion that Israeli raids on Syrian targets would halt assistance to the Shia group Hezbollah in Lebanon.

The newspaper said visitors quoted Assad as expressing “confidence, satisfaction and great gratitude towards Hezbollah.”

The organisation is a long-time ally of the Syrian regime and has sent fighters to battle alongside Assad’s troops, particularly in the Qusayr district of the central province of Homs.

Damascus has long served as a supply conduit for Iran-backed Hezbollah, and Assad said they would reward the group for their loyalty.

“We have decided to give them everything,” the newspaper quoted him as saying, without elaborating.

“For the first time we feel that we and they are living in the same situation and they are not just an ally we help with resistance,” he said.

“We have decided that we must move forward towards them and turn into a nation of resistance like Hezbollah, for the sake of Syria and future generations.”

Assad was quoted as saying Syria could “easily” respond to Israeli air strikes by “firing a few rockets at Israel.”

“But we want strategic revenge, by opening the door of resistance and turning all of Syria into a country of resistance.”

“After the strike, we are convinced that we are fighting the enemy now, we are pursuing its soldiers deployed throughout our country,” he said, in apparent reference to rebel forces, which the regime has accused of being allied with Israel.

(Source / 09.05.2013)

Nativity deportees mark 11 years in exile

BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) – Twelve of 13 Palestinian resistance fighters deported to Europe in 2002 following an Israeli invasion of Bethlehem mark 11 years in exile Friday despite promises they would be repatriated after two years.

In April 2006, during a major Israeli incursion into the West Bank Israel named Operation Defensive Shield, Israeli forces besieged the Nativity Church in Bethlehem after dozens of fighters took refuge in the church.

After 40 days, the negotiations involving international organizations ended the siege with the deportation of 13 fighters to European countries and 26 others to the Gaza Strip.

Only one deportee, Abdullah Dawood from Balata refugee camp near Nablus, was repatriated to his family in Nablus in March 2010, but only after he died in Algeria. Dawood, who died at 48, was a former director of Bethlehem intelligence.

Jihad Jaara, 42, from Al-Arrub refugee camp near Hebron, was deported to Ireland. He left in Palestine a wife and four children whom he has not seen since he was deported. He told Ma’an on Thursday he is banned from leaving Ireland and is not allowed to work or study.

However, he says he managed to attend training courses and build distinct relationships with the Palestinian community in Ireland. The Palestinian Authority has been transferring monthly salaries to the deportees, he added.

Jaara highlighted that his wife delivered her youngest child Samid the day he was deported, and he has never seen Samid. His parents and one of his brothers died, and he was not able to bid them farewell.

Despite the agreement he signed with the European brokers, Jaara joined activities organized in Ireland to express solidarity with Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails.

Another deportee to Ireland, Rami al-Kamil, 33, from a village east of Bethlehem, says the major change in his life was that he married a woman in Europe. He has three children and he too isn’t allowed to work or study. The Irish authorities, he said, put him under house arrest several times. He added that his wife and children were able to visit his family in Bethlehem.

Khalil Abdulla Nawaira, 34, from the Hindaza neighborhood of Bethlehem, was deported to Belgium. He has told Ma’an Thursday his living conditions are difficult, and he pointed out that the salary he receives from the PA is far from enough as he is not allowed to work. Nawaira also missed the funeral of his mother. However, one of his brothers was able to visit him once in Belgium.

Duheisha refugee camp resident Muhammad Said Abu al-Said, 44, was deported to Italy. He says he married a Palestinian woman from Italy and the couple have three children. The same regulations apply to Abu al-Said, yet he was allowed once to travel to Jordan where he met with his parents.

Ahmad Ulayyan Hamamra, 42, from Husan village west of Bethlehem, was deported to Spain. He seems more fortunate as he was able to establish a private organization authorized to issue Halal certifications according to Islamic law.

He was not visited by a any family member since he was deported, and he was under house arrest in 2010. However, he was allowed to travel to Jordan three times where he met with family members.

(Source / 09.05.2013)

Een ziekenhuis onder bezetting



Het Dar Es-Salam ziekenhuis, Khan Younis.

Het Dar Es-Salam ziekenhuis in Khan Younis werd in 1995 opgericht, en staat sinds 2005 op zijn huidige locatie, aan de Salah al Din weg, de belangrijkste verkeersader die verticaal door de Gazastrook loopt. Vanuit Khan Younis biedt het ziekenhuis gespecialiseerde zorg aan de inwoners van de zuidelijke helft van de Gazastrook.

In Dar Es-Salam, wat Huis van de Vrede betekent, werken ongeveer 120 mensen, die samen aan zo’n 50.000 patiënten per jaar zorg verlenen. Het vijf verdiepingen tellende ziekenhuis is uitgerust met een Eerste Hulp, apotheek, tandartsenpraktijk en met afdelingen gespecialiseerd in onder andere orthopedie, interne geneeskunde, röntgen, gynaecologie, verloskunde, pediatrie en oogheelkunde. Ook heeft Dar Es-Salam een klein aantal bedden op de gespecialiseerde afdelingen voor patiënten die een operatie hebben ondergaan in het ziekenhuis.

Khan Younis is met haar 350.000 inwoners één van de grotere steden in Palestina. Al jaren is er in en rondom de stad, net als in de rest van de Gazastrook, sprake van hoge werkeloosheid onder de bevolking, met name door de illegale afsluiting van Gaza door Israël sinds juni 2007 die de lokale economie heeft doen instorten.

Het Dar Es-Salam heeft zichzelf als doel gesteld om de allerarmsten en meest hulpbehoevenden in het zuiden van de Gazastrook toegang te geven tot medische zorg. Door middel van het “Arme Patiënten Fonds” weet het ziekenhuis aan veel arme mensen die zorg nodig hebben gratis of tegen een kleine vergoeding zorg te verlenen of medicijnen te verstrekken. Door zorg beschikbaar te maken die anders onbetaalbaar is, wordt het uitstellen van medische behandeling en mogelijke complicaties voorkomen.


Receptie van het ziekenhuis

“Onze Eerste Hulp draait dag en nacht door. De tandartsenpraktijk en apotheek zijn de hele dag open. Vanaf twee uur ’s middags, wanneer hun diensten in de overheidsziekenhuizen erop zitten, komen de verschillende doktoren naar het ziekenhuis om hun werk voort te zetten. Dan vinden hier de behandelingen en operaties plaats. In tegenstelling tot overheidsziekenhuizen hebben wij geen wachtlijsten en is de zorg vrijwel gratis. Het is liefdadigheidswerk wat we doen voor diegenen die het ‘t hardst nodig hebben,” aldus Mohammed Masri, de Medisch Directeur van het ziekenhuis.

Ten oosten van de stad liggen verschillende boerendorpen, waaronder Khuza’a, Foukhari en Al Qarara. Vele inwoners van deze dorpen zijn sinds het begin van de twee Intifada slachtoffer geworden van illegale huizensloop en de vernieling van hun landbouwgrond. Sinds 2000 heeft Israël een derde van de landbouwgrond in de Gazastrook veranderd in een zogenaamde ‘bufferzone’ waar geen hoge gewassen meer mogen groeien en waar boeren alleen met gevaar voor eigen leven kunnen komen. Na het verlies van hun bron van inkomsten, zijn vele boerenfamilies getroffen door diepe armoede.


Mr. Ibrahim Ghalban

“In die gebieden verzorgen we zogenaamde Free Medical Days,” vertelt Mr. Ibrahim Ghalban, de Algemeen Directeur van Dar Es-Salam. “Dan gaat een medisch team van ons met de ambulance naar gemarginaliseerde dorpen ten oosten van Khan Younis om mensen gratis medische consulten, medicijnen en behandeling te bieden.” Maisa al Najjar, de projectmanager vult hem aan: “Er wonen mensen die niet alleen te weinig geld hebben voor medicijnen, maar zelfs voor vervoer naar ons ziekenhuis. Daarom is het belangrijk dat wij naar hen toe gaan. Het probleem is alleen dat ook hiervoor onze fondsen beperkt zijn. We zijn afhankelijk van donaties.”

Dr. Mohammed Masri vertelt hoe de slechte economische en sociale omstandigheden tot gezondheidsproblemen onder de bevolking leiden. “Als gevolg van wijdverspreide armoede hebben velen een slecht dieet en kampen daardoor met kwalitatieve ondervoeding. Ook lijden veel mensen lichamelijk onder de gevolgen van stress; de angst en het trauma die gepaard gaan met de bezetting en legeraanvallen, zoals die in november vorig jaar, leiden tot gezondheidsproblemen.”


De rontgenkamer wordt klaargemaakt voor nieuwe ingebruikname

Ondanks grote inspanningen, staat het ziekenhuis voor uitdagingen bij het bieden van de best mogelijke zorg. “We zaten 1,5 jaar zonder röntgenapparaat. Het oude apparaat was kapot gegaan en bleek nergens gerepareerd te kunnen worden. Door de blokkade was het erg moeilijk om een nieuw apparaat in te voeren. Maar gelukkig was het vorige week eindelijk zover; een door buitenlandse hulporganisaties gedoneerd röntgenapparaat kwam hier aan. Nu kunnen we onze röntgenafdeling weer openen,” zegt Dr. Masri trots.


Dr. Nazir naast de vitrinekast met medicijnen

De moeilijkheden worden ook duidelijk bij een bezoek aan de apotheek van Dar Es-Salam. De planken in de vitrinekasten vertonen lege plekken. “We hebben een tekort aan benodigde medicijnen,” zegt Dr. Nazir, de apotheker van het ziekenhuis. “Vooral antibiotica, infuusvocht en middelen voor de anesthesie bij operaties hebben we onvoldoende. Door de blokkade van de Gazastrook is er een extreem kleine toevoer en liggen de prijzen van de medicijnen erg hoog.” Hij spreekt uit eigen ervaring wanneer hij de impact van het medicijnentekort toelicht: “Mijn vader is een chronisch longpatiënt en heeft dringend een bepaald antibioticum nodig. Het zijn drie spuiten van een specifiek medicijn. Ik doe er al een maand alles aan om het te vinden, maar het is me tot nu toe niet gelukt. Zo erg is de situatie; ik ben nota bene zelf apotheker en kan niet aan de medicijnen voor mijn zieke vader komen. Inmiddels ligt hij al een week op de intensive care met een bedreigende infectie. Ik hoop dat het, met de hulp van God, goed gaat komen.”

Enkele foto’s van Khan Younis en de omliggende dorpen

Activiteiten voor kinderen uit kwetsbare gemeenschappen ten oosten van Khan Younis 1

Activiteiten voor kinderen uit kwetsbare gemeenschappen ten oosten van Khan Younis

Vernield huis in Khuza'a

Huis in Khuza’a, ten oosten van Khan Younis, vernield door het Israelische leger

Voorheen bebouwde grond, nu 'bufferzone', Khuza'a

Voorheen bebouwde grond, nu ‘bufferzone’, Khuza’a

Landbouwgrond te gevaarlijk om te betreden, ten oosten van Khan Younis

Landbouwgrond te gevaarlijk om te betreden, ten oosten van Khan Younis

Vissers bij Rafah. Egyptische legerboot op achtergrond.

Vissers ten zuidwesten van Khan Younis, vlakbij Rafah

Huis in Foukhari, een dorp ten oosten van Khan Younis, vanaf de grens beschoten door Israelische soldaten

(Source / 09.05.2013)

Busted Islamist cells ‘planned attacks’ in Morocco

Members of two radical Islamist cells dismantled at the weekend in northern Morocco wanted “to carry out jihadist attacks” in the kingdom.

Members of two radical Islamist cells dismantled at the weekend in northern Morocco wanted “to carry out jihadist attacks” in the kingdom and had contacts in Spain and Belgium, the interior ministry said on Thursday.

“The members of the two cells, indoctrinated with takfirist (extremist) ideology, had forged links with like-minded people abroad, in occupied Melilla and in Belgium,” the ministry said.

Melilla is a Spanish enclave in northern Morocco.

Eight people suspected members of the cells were arrested on Sunday in Nador, a security source told AFP.

They planned to set up a camp in a mountainous area near Nador, which lies next to Melilla, to use as a base from which to carry out “jihadist attacks” in Morocco and rob banks to finance their activities, according to the ministry.

The leaders of the “terrorist” cells were also seeking to enrol more followers, including by setting up schools in the region to propagate their radical ideas, and proclaim jihad inside Morocco, the ministry added.

The “Al Mouahidoun” and “Attawhid” cells had already carried out robberies and had contacts with jihadists in northern Mali, the authorities said.

In December, the Moroccan authorities said they had broken up a recruitment cell for Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, a month after announcing having dismantled several “terrorist” cells who were planning attacks in the country.

Next Thursday, Morocco marks 10 years since the suicide bombings in Casablanca, on May 16, 2003, that killed 45, including the 12 attackers.

(Source / 09.05.2013)

De roddeltest

By Marianna Laarif

Voorbeeld: Een gesprek tussen 2 personen A & B….

A zegt: “Ik wil jou wat vertellen over die of die persoon”
B zegt: “Voordat je me iets over die persoon vertelt wil ik je eerst drie vragen stellen.
A zegt: “Is goed.”
B vraagt: “Is datgene wat je me te vertellen hebt iets goeds over deze persoon?”
A antwoord: “Nou, nee, niet echt.”
B zegt: “Dus je wilt me iets slechts vertellen!
B vraagt: “Is wat je te zeggen hebt iets nuttigs dan?”
A antwoord: “Nou ehh….nee”
B zegt: “Dus je wilt me iets vertellen dat slecht is en niet nuttig.
B vraagt: “Maar is het tenminste de waarheid?”
A antwoord: “Nou, dat weet ik niet zeker, ik heb het ook maar van iemand anders gehoord.”
B zegt (constaterend): “Dus met andere woorden, je wilt mij iets gaan vertellen wat slecht is, geen nut heeft en dat het ook niet zeker is of het de waarheid is?”

Na deze vragen denk ik dat bij een ieder van jullie je geweten je parten zal gaan spelen….. en sterker nog, dat Shaytân de benen zal nemen Insha-Allah.

Verder verzoek ik jullie de hier onderstaande ahadith eens te lezen. Want Laat het duidelijk zijn dat roddelen een zonde is, als bewijs hiervoor staat in de Qor’aan:

Allah zegt in de Qor’aan

“…En bespioneert elkaar niet en spreekt geen kwaad over elkaar in elkaars afwezigheid.
Zou iemand van jullie het vlees van zijn dode broeder willen eten?
Jullie zouden het zeker haten…”
(Soerah Al-Hoedjoerât 49 aya 12)

Photo collage: Israeli forces arrest 24 in Jerusalem Day clashes

Israeli forces arrest dozens at Damascus Gate during right-wing marches celebrating Jerusalem Day.

Dozens of Palestinians were arrested during clashes that erupted at the Old City’s Damascus Gate during a Jerusalem Day march staged by right-wing Israeli activists. Among the detainees were three photojournalists–including Activestills photographer Oren Ziv (lower left)–and an unknown number of minors, all arrested by border police, mounted policemen, and undercover forces.

Jerusalem Day is an Israeli holiday celebrating the capture of East Jerusalem from Jordan in the Six Day War of 1967. In past years, right-wing activists have marched through the Old City chanting “Death to Arabs” and “Muhammad is Dead”, prompting Israeli authorities to clear streets of Palestinians and ordering them to close their shops in the Muslim Quarter.

Though Israel annexed East Jerusalem in 1967 when it unilaterally redrew Jerusalem’s municipal boundaries, considering it to be part of the State of Israel, the move was never recognized internationally and East Jerusalem is still considered occupied Palestinian territory under international law. Moreover, Palestinians living in Jerusalem are only given residency, not full citizenship in Israel. As Mya Guarnieri points out:

Residents pay taxes to the Jerusalem Municipality but receive far fewer services than the neighboring Jewish districts of Jerusalem. While Palestinians constitute approximately 35 percent of the city’s population, only eight to ten percent of the municipal budget is allocated to their communities.

(Source / 09.05.2013)