Palestinian prisoners’ issue discussed at the European Parliament


images_News_2013_05_19_sisi1_300_0[1]BRUSSELS, (PIC)– UFree Network to defend the rights of Palestinian prisoners raised the issue of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails on the sidelines of a meeting held at the European Parliament in Brussels on Nakba anniversary, in coordination with Council for European Palestinian Relations.

Mr. Mohammed Hamdan, head of UFree Network, told Quds Press that the meeting is the first of its kind, as it is the first time in which the European Parliament discusses the Palestinian Nakba (catastrophe) and its repercussion on the Palestinian people.

Hamdan said that the session discussed at first the European Parliament delegation’s visit to the Palestinian occupied territories.

For his part, Dr. Arafat Madi, the Director of the Council for European Palestinian Relations (CEPR), stressed the need to end the Palestinian refugees’ suffering by reinforcing the right of return of millions of Palestinians who were forcibly deported from their homes.

Dr. Salman Abu Sitta, chair of Palestine Land Foundation, dealt with the Israeli massacres and ethnic cleaning against the Palestinian people since the Nakba. He asserted that no peace talks can be held without achieving the right of return.

Israel has arrested since 1967 around 800,000 Palestinians, including 12,000 women and tens of thousands of children.

Around 5,000 Palestinian prisoners, including 14 women and nearly 230 children are currently held in Israeli jails.

Mohammed Hamdan also announced the launch of an international solidarity campaign, for the release of Palestinian prisoner Dirar Abu Sisi, kidnapped from the Ukraine on 18 February 2011 and who was secretly taken to the Israeli occupation jails to be held in solitary confinement.

(Source / 19.05.2013)

Video: 20 Hezbollah fighters killed in Qusayr as Syrian troops fight rebels

Free Syrian Army fighters run to avoid a sniper in Aleppo’s Salaheddine neighbourhood.

Around 20 Hezbollah fighters have been reportedly killed in the Syrian town of Qusayr late on Sunday, sources told Al Arabiya, following clashes between Syrian rebels and regime forces who attempted to enter the town earlier in the day.

Sources also told Al Arabiya that tens of Hezbollah members were wounded during the fight and had been taken to hospitals in Beirut, Lebanon for treatment.

Meanwhile, sources said that Hezbollah official Fady al-Jazzar was reportedly among those killed. Al-Jazzar is considered to be a high ranking Hezbollah officer and was imprisoned in Israel until he returned to Lebanon in a prisoner-exchange deal.

News on his death came after contact was lost with the group that was under his command, Al Arabiya said.

Hezbollah denies taking part in Syria’s two-year conflict – which has killed at least 80,000 people, according to the U.N. However, the group – an ally of the Syrian regime – has held regular funerals of Hezbollah fighters, who – it said – were killed serving their “jihadi duties.”

Earlier in the day, Syrian State TV reported that Syrian troops had entered the center of the rebel stronghold of Qusayr, seizing the town’s main square and its municipality building.

However, Hadi Abdullah, a Syrian activist speaking from Qusayr, denied to Al Arabiya that the town had fallen into the hands of regime forces. The activist added that with support from Hezbollah militias, the Syrian regime is heavily shelling Qusayr, leveling civilian homes.

Syrian activists told Al Arabiya that regime airstrikes and heavy shelling of the strategic town, near the Lebanese border killed at least 58 people and left hundreds wounded, including opposition fighters.

Qusayr is home to about 20,000 residents and has been besieged for weeks by government troops.

Earlier in May, spokesperson of the rebel Free Syrian Army (FSA) Louay Almokdad told Al Arabiya that Hezbollah was using artillery shells containing fatal Mustard Gas in the area.

The town is strategically important because it links Damascus with the coast, where regime loyalists are concentrated.

The Syrian Revolution General Commission, a network of activists on the ground, also reported intense bombardment of Qusayr.

(Source / 19.05.2013)

EU-label Westoever uitgesteld

Het labelen van producten uit de bezette gebieden is uitgesteldHet labelen van producten uit de bezette gebieden is uitgesteld

De Europese Unie zet het labelen van producten uit de bezette Westelijke Jordaanoever even in de ijskast. De Israëlische krant Haaretz meldt dat dat gebeurt op verzoek van de Verenigde Staten.

De EU wil producten uit de nederzettingen gaan labelen. De consument kan dan zien of een product in bezet Palestijns gebied is gemaakt. Nu staat op veel van die producten ‘Made in Israel’.

Brussel zou deze week met een concreet voorstel komen, meldt Haaretz. Maar de Amerikaanse minister van Buitenlandse Zaken John Kerry heeft gevraagd dat uit te stellen, tot in elk geval eind juni.


John Kerry probeert de vredesbesprekingen, die al jaren stilliggen, weer op gang te brengen. Sinds zijn bezoek aan Israël met president Obama dit voorjaar is er druk diplomatiek verkeer om de besprekingen nieuw leven in te blazen.

Kerry heeft de betrokken partijen daarom gevraagd zich te onthouden van acties die de ander irriteren. Zo heeft de Israëlische premier Netanyahu beloofd voorlopig geen nieuwe bouwplannen in de nederzettingen goed te keuren. De Palestijnse president Abbas heeft beloofd voorlopig niet naar het Internationaal Gerechtshof te gaan om de bezetting daar aanhangig te maken.

Nu blijkt dus dat ook Brussel de VS een belofte heeft gedaan. Volgens Amerikaanse diplomaten zou een Europees besluit om producten uit de nederzettingen te labelen de poging schaden om de vredesbesprekingen te hervatten. De Israëlische regering is namelijk fel gekant tegen labeling en boycots.


Het idee om producten uit de nederzettingen te labelen, hangt al jarenlang in de lucht. Juist de laatste maanden kwam dat in een stroomversnelling. De kritiek op de bezetting neemt in veel Europese landen toe. Ook de Nederlandse minister van Buitenlandse Zaken Timmermans gaf aan serieus werk te willen maken van het labelen.

(Source / 19.05.2013)

Israel acting to prevent weapons reaching Hezbollah via Syria: Bibi

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (file photo)

 Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

Netanyahu’s remarks come less than a month after Israel launched an airstrike against Syria, claiming that the attack targeted a shipment of advanced missiles bound for Hezbollah.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says the Tel Aviv regime is acting to prevent weapons from Syria reaching Lebanon’s resistance movement, Hezbollah.

Speaking at a weekly cabinet meeting, Netanyahu said on Sunday that Israel is acting to prevent the transfer of weapons to its arch-enemy Hezbollah resistance movement via Syria and will continue to do so to ensure the security interests of Israel.

He added that Israel is closely monitoring all developments in the region and is prepared for any scenario.

Netanyahu’s remarks come less than a month after Israel launched an airstrike against Syria, claiming that the attack targeted a shipment of advanced missiles bound for Hezbollah.

Damascus, however, rejected Tel Aviv’s claims, saying Israeli rockets had hit Jamraya Research Center near Damascus and that the attack was meant to give direct military support to terrorist groups fighting against the Syrian government.

(Source / 19.05.2013)

Video: Tunisian police clash with Ansar al-Sharia supporters

Supporters of Islamist group Ansar al-Sharia clash with riot police at Hai al Tadamon in Tunis May 19, 2013.

Supporters of hardline Islamist group Ansar al-Sharia clashed with Tunisian police in two cities on Sunday after the government banned its annual rally and group urged its supporters to stand firm against the authorities.

Violence broke out in the central city of Kairouan, venue of the planned rally, and in a district of Tunis.

Clashes between police forces and Salafists left a 27-year-old Tunisian dead, three protesters and 11 officers wounded, according to media reports.

In Kairouan, around 11,000 police officers and soldiers blocked an annual conference Sunday where tens of thousands of members of Ansar al-Sharia had been expected to gather. The group’s supporters threw stones at police, who fired teargas in response.

Police also prevented the group, which openly supports alQaeda, from holding a smaller religious meeting in the Ettadamen district of the capital Tunis. Clashes broke out with Islamists who chanted: “The rule of the tyrant should fall.”

Police fired teargas and shots into the air to disperse some 500 stone-throwing protesters, some of whom set fire to cars, lowered the Tunisian flag and replaced it with a black al Qaeda banner.

“We call on our brothers to gather in large numbers in the Ettadhamen district of the capital,” the hardline Islamist group said on its Facebook page.

Tunisia has been rocked by attacks blamed on militant Islamists since the uprising that toppled president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, and Ansar al-Sharia is considered the most radical of the extremist groups that emerged after the 2011 revolution.

The government has hardened its position towards Islamist extremists in recent months, after the moderate Islamist party Ennahda was strongly criticized for being too lenient and failing to prevent a wave of violence around the country.

(Source / 19.05.2013)

Ya Allah, ik verkocht U en de Islam bijna voor 20 pence

By Marianna Laarif

Enkele jaren geleden verhuisde een Imam naar Londen. Hij nam vaak de bus van zijn huis naar de binnenstad. Enkele weken nadat hij aankwam, had hij de gelegenheid om dezelfde bus te nemen. Toen hij ging zitten, ontdekte hij dat de bestuurder toevallig hem twintig pence teveel wisselgeld had gegeven. Hij dacht na wat hij zou doen, hij dacht bij zichzelf, het is beter om het geld terug te geven. Het zou verkeerd zijn om het te houden. Toen dacht hij: ‘Oh, vergeet het, het is slechts 20 pence. Wie zou zich nou over dit kleine bedrag ongerust maken? In elk geval verdient het busbedrijf reeds teveel geld; zij zullen het nooit missen. Keur het als gift van Allaah goed en houd jezelf stil.’ Toen zijn eindhalte in zicht kwam, wachtte de Imam voor een moment bij de deur, dan overhandigde hij de twintig pence terug aan de bestuurder en hij zei: ‘U gaf me teveel wisselgeld terug.’ De bestuurder antwoordde met een glimlach: ‘Bent u niet de nieuwe Imam hier? Ik heb er onlangs over nagedacht me te bekeren tot de Islaam. Ik wilde enkel zien wat u zou doen, als ik u teveel wisselgeld gaf.’ Toen de Imam van de bus stapte, werden zijn knieën zwak en moest hij de meest dichtbijgelegen lantaarnpaal grijpen voor steun, hij keek naar de hemel en schreeuwde:
‘Ya Allaah! Ik verkocht bijna U en de Islaam voor twintig pence!!


Clashes as locals try to unblock road closed by Israel

RAMALLAH (Ma’an) — Israeli forces and Palestinians clashed on Sunday as locals tried to unblock a road near Ramallah which Israel’s military closed a day earlier.

Israeli forces on Saturday blocked a road between Ramallah and Deir Jarir with cement blocks.

Locals tried to re-open the road with the help of a bulldozer, but were stopped by Israeli forces, who fired tear gas canisters, rubber-coated steel bullets, and water cannons.

Locals briefly managed to unblock the road three times on Saturday, before Israeli forces closed it again.

The closure followed frequent clashes in the area between Israeli troops and Palestinian protesters. The mayor of Deir Jarir, Imad Ulwei, condemned the road’s closure as collective punishment in response to peaceful protests.

Locals said they will be forced to take a long and bumpy detour to Ramallah via Qalandia.

An Israeli army spokeswoman said “approximately 100 Palestinians gathered in the area and hurled rocks and burning tires.”

Israeli soldiers responded with riot dispersal means, she added.

(Source / 19.05.2013)

Kibbutz residents attack Bedouin village in the Negev

NEGEV (Ma’an) — Israelis from a Negev kibbutz attacked a Bedouin village on Sunday, setting fire to a tent, a Ma’an reporter said.

Residents from the Kibbutz of Retamim attacked the adjacent Bedouin village of Bir Hadaj and set fire to a tent belonging to Eid Abu Habbak, head of the local village council, Salman Ibin Hamid, told Ma’an.

Abu Habbak filed a complaint with Dimona police department.

“The setters of Retamim are acting like they are in the West Bank,” Ibn Hamid added. “These people have the mentality of the occupying settler to attack every Arab.”

Israeli police said that Bir Hadaj residents hurled stones at residents of Retamim, a claim which Ibn Hamid denied.

On May 6, an Israeli government committee approved a draft bill setting a framework to implement the evacuation of “unrecognized” villages in the Negev, most of which existed before the state of Israel.

(Source / 19.05.2013)

Israeli authorities accompanied by 500 policemen demolish 18 Palestinian houses in the Negev making 40 homeless


images_News_2013_05_17_demolition-of-shacks_300_0[1]NAZARETH, (PIC)– The Israeli authorities’ bulldozers accompanied by a large police force and special units demolished on Thursday morning 18 Palestinian houses in the village of Atir in the Negev, in southern 1948-occupied Palestine.

Arab MK Taleb Abu Arar said in remarks to Quds Press that nearly 500 policemen from special units stormed the area to protect the bulldozers while demolishing the houses belonging to the family of Abu al-Ki’an.

The policemen imposed a tight blockade on the houses that were demolished and prevented the residents from entering or approaching them.

Abu Arar warned of the aggravation of the situation and the outbreak of an uprising in the Negev due to the policy of displacement adopted by the Israeli occupation authorities, pointing out that due to the demolition about 40 people, including women and children, have become homeless.

The Israeli bulldozers have also destroyed sheep barns and uprooted about 600 olive trees.

For his part, Sheikh Osama Uqbi official of the Islamic Movement in the Negev described the demolition operations as “crime against humanity”, and stressed on the steadfastness of the residents and their adherence to their land.

(Source / 19.05.2013)

Al Jazeera management orders Joseph Massad article pulled in act of pro-Israel censorship

In an unprecedented act of political censorship Al Jazeera English has deleted an article by noted Columbia University Professor Joseph Massad after coming under intense criticism from Zionists in recent days.

Massad told The Electronic Intifada that he had “received confirmation” from his editor at Al Jazeera English that “management pulled the article.” The Electronic Intifada was able to independently confirm that the article was pulled.

The piece, “The Last of the Semites,” published on 14 May, was taken down from the main Al Jazeera English site this morning – the link now redirects to Al Jazeera’s main page. It has also disappeared from Massad’s personal page on the Al Jazeera website.

The article had been one of the most viewed and emailed articles on the site and had beentweeted hundreds of times.

Intense criticism

Since its publication, the article generated intense criticism from Zionist extremists,including a columnist in the virulently anti-Palestinian Jerusalem Post, and condemnation on Twitter from President Barack Obama’s favorite Israel lobby gatekeeper and former Israeli prison guard Jeffrey Goldberg:

John Podhoretz, editor of the neoconservative anti-Palestinian Zionist magazineCommentary tweeted about Massad, “Congratulations, donors to Columbia University, for paying this monstrous fuckhead’s salary!”

The backlash has been so intense precisely because Massad goes to the core of Israel’s claim to represent Jews and to cast its critics as anti-Semites by showing that indeed it is Israel and Zionism that partake of the same anti-Semitism that targeted European Jews.

In doing so, Massad pulls the rug from under Zionists and Israel lobbyists by demonstrating that they are the anti-Semites and taking away the most formidable weapon they wield against critics of Israel: the accusation that anti-Zionism is anti-Semitism.

By neutralizing this ideological weapon that Israel has used so effectively in the Western media to cover up its colonization of Palestine, Massad’s pro-Jewish position and strenuous attack on Zionist anti-Semitism is clearly understood by Israel lobby figures such as Goldberg as a complete obliteration of their ideological arsenal.

Zionism and anti-Semitism: two sides of the same coin

Goldberg’s claim that Massad’s article is an “anti-Jewish screed” could not be further from the truth.

Massad has long argued – convincingly – that Zionism and anti-Semitism are two sides of the same coin. It is a theme he develops with great erudition in his 2006 book The Persistence of the Palestinian Question, and one to which he returns in his latest article, “The Last of the Semites,” published on Al Jazeera on 14 May, which opens thus:

Jewish opponents of Zionism understood the movement since its early age as one that shared the precepts of anti-Semitism in its diagnosis of what gentile Europeans called the “Jewish Question.” What galled anti-Zionist Jews the most, however, was that Zionism also shared the “solution” to the Jewish Question that anti-Semites had always advocated, namely the expulsion of Jews from Europe.

Last December, in another piece for Al Jazeera, Massad explained how “Zionist leaders consciously recognized that state anti-Semitism was essential to their colonial project,” in Palestine, a recognition epitomized by the notorious Transfer Agreement Zionist leaders signed with the Nazi government of Germany in 1933.

A theme that Massad develops in his latest piece is that European, and especially Germany’s, support for Israel after 1948, is no break with the anti-Semitic past:

West Germany’s alliance with Zionism and Israel after WWII, of supplying Israel with huge economic aid in the 1950s and of economic and military aid since the early 1960s, including tanks, which it used to kill Palestinians and other Arabs, is a continuation of the alliance that the Nazi government concluded with the Zionists in the 1930s.

The “The Last of the Semites” was based on a lecture Massad gave at a conference in Stuttgart (PDF), Germany, to a largely German audience, just last week:


Although Qatar-based Al Jazeera receives much criticism, and often deserved for reflecting Qatar’s foreign policy, the censorship of Massad’s article for political reasons is unprecedented because the English-language website had, until now, enjoyed complete editorial independence.

It is well understood that Al Jazeera’s red lines have always been criticism of Qatar or its Emir, and yet, Massad has even published several articles on Al Jazeera English that harshly criticized both Qatari foreign policy (See herehere and hereand the Emir himselfwithout ever being censored.

And Massad has written plenty of articles that have enraged Zionists.

This indicates, without doubt, that the decision to remove Massad’s article today was taken at the highest level.

But why would this happen now?

One reasonable interpretation would be that the removal of Massad’s article reflects a tightening of the editorial line as the network launches its new channel, Al Jazeera America, which will rely – for access to cable systems, and “mainstream” credibility – on forging good relations with US elites.

An illustration of what this process might look like was on display when Ehab Al Shihabi, executive director of Al Jazeera’s international operations and the official responsible for setting up Al Jazeera America, recently visited Chicago – which will be home to a major Al Jazeera bureau.

While in the city, Al Shihabi struck up a cozy relationship with Mayor Rahm Emanuel, President Barack Obama’s former chief of staff.

Emanuel, a major powerbroker in America’s ruling Democratic Party, is, of course, also notorious for his hardline pro-Israel positions.

It is unlikely that Al Shihabi would have had anything directly to do with the removal of Massad’s article – that decision would almost certainly have been taken at an even higher level in Doha – but his dalliance with Emanuel is a good indicator of who Al Jazeera is out to impress.

As of now, Massad’s article can still be read in full on Al Jazeera’s mobile site. That’s obviously an oversight by those who ordered its removal.

Here is a PDF image of the censored article.

The Last of the Semites – Joseph Massad – Al Jazeera English

(Source / 19.05.2013)