Israeli troops shoot Palestinian boy in W.Bank clash


Israeli troops take position on the Israeli side of the border as Palestinian protesters take part in a rally near the southern Gaza Strip's border with Israel, east of Rafah, on March 30, 2013. Israeli troops shot and seriously wounded a 12-year-old Palestinian boy during a clash in the West Bank on Tuesday, Palestinian security and medical officials told AFP.

Israeli troops take position on the Israeli side of the border as Palestinian protesters take part in a rally near the southern Gaza Strip’s border with Israel, east of Rafah, on March 30, 2013. Israeli troops shot and seriously wounded a 12-year-old Palestinian boy during a clash in the West Bank on Tuesday, Palestinian security and medical officials told AFP.

AFP – Israeli troops shot and seriously wounded a 12-year-old Palestinian boy during a clash in the West Bank on Tuesday, Palestinian security and medical officials told AFP.

They said that Atta Mohammed Sharadeh was hit during one of what have become almost daily clashes between young Palestinians and soldiers outside the Jelazoun refugee camp, near Ramallah.

The camp is close to the Israeli settlement of Beit El.

The officials said that he was hit in the chest by a live bullet which exited through his back and was in critical condition in a Ramallah hospital.

An army spokeswoman told AFP that troops opened fire at a protester about to throw a petrol bomb as dozens of rioters hurled rocks at them.

“The soldiers instructed the suspect to stop and when he refused to do so they fired warning shots, which failed to deter the suspect,” she said.

“To stop the individual the soldiers fired towards his lower extremities. He was injured and taken to a hospital.”

She said that his age and identity were not known.

(Source / 21.05.2013)

CIA will continue drone operations in Pakistan for now: Sources

A file photo of a drone.

WASHINGTON: US drone strikes in Pakistan would continue to be conducted by the CIA for the time-being to keep the program covert and maintain deniability for both the United States and Pakistan, several US government sources said on Monday.

The sources added that US President Barack Obama’s administration has decided to give the Pentagon control of some drone operations against terrorism suspects overseas that are currently run by the CIA.

Four US government sources told Reuters that the decision had been made to shift the CIA’s drone operations to the Pentagon, and some of them said it would occur in stages.

Drone strikes in Yemen, where the US military already conducts operations with Yemeni forces, would be run by the armed forces, officials said.

However, the administration’s goal would be to transfer the Pakistan drone operations to the military, one US official said on condition of anonymity.

The internal debate within the administration about whether to switch control of drone strikes to the military has been going on for months. Obama is under heightened pressure to show that his administration is transparent, after a series of scandals about civil liberties and allegations of government overreach broke last week.

Obama will make a speech on Thursday at the National Defense University in Washington that will include discussion of the government’s use of drones as a counterterrorism tool. It is unclear whether he will announce the drone program shift in that speech or separately.

A White House National Security Council spokesperson and a CIA spokesperson each declined comment.

Decision after months of debate

One of the reasons to make the shift is that it would help the CIA to return to more traditional spying operations and intelligence analysis, rather than paramilitary operations involving killing terrorism targets, officials have said.

The US military is not engaged in ground combat in Pakistan, where the population in tribal areas has been angered by drone strikes and governments do not want to acknowledge that they allow US unmanned aircraft to operate.

But in Yemen, the same sensitivities do not exist because the US military is working with Yemeni forces in counterterrorism operations and so drone strikes in Yemen will shift to the Pentagon, two sources said.

There have been 355 drone strikes in Pakistan and 66 in Yemen, according to a widely cited drone attack database run by the New America Foundation think tank.

The United States has also carried out drone strikes in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and East Africa, some of them operated by the military.

The use of armed drones jumped in 2008 when President George W Bush authorised the use of “signature” strikes, allowing the targeting of terrorism suspects based on behaviour and other characteristics without knowing the targets’ identities.

Rosa Brooks, a New America Foundation fellow and Georgetown University law professor, said the problem with the targeted killing program was “an assertion by the executive branch that it has this essentially unconstrained and unreviewable power to kill people.”

Brooks, who previously served at the Pentagon, said she hoped that Obama would publicly release the legal justifications and analysis for the targeted killings overseas, including of US citizens.

“I would also like to see the president say that we will acknowledge all strikes, that we will publicly report on identities of who was targeted, at least after the fact,” she said.

(Source / 21.05.2013)

Jordanian activists protest against Iraqi ambassador, call for his ouster

A YouTube video showed mostly Jordanian supporters of Saddam Hussein and Iraqi opponents physically kicking each other and throwing chairs at one another during an event organized by the Iraqi embassy in Amman.

Dozens of Jordanian activists protested on Monday against alleged assaults by the Iraqi embassy and its staff on their country’s citizens, after a fight between supporters, mainly Jordanians, and opponents of the former Iraqi leaders.

The activists, who protested in front of a complex, demanded the Jordanian government remove and lift the diplomatic immunity of the Iraqi ambassador to Jordan, Hadi Jawad.

YouTube video published on Sunday, showed mostly Jordanian supporters of Saddam and Iraqi opponents physically kicked each other and threw chairs at one another during an event organized by the Iraqi embassy in Amman to commemorate mass graves of victims slain by Saddam’s regime.

The protesters said their dignity as Jordanian must be restored especially the assault against their country’s citizen happened on their ground.

They said Jordan must try both Jawad and his staff and that the Jordanian government shouldn’t be lenient with them.

However, the Iraqi embassy issued a statement on Monday saying that the violent act was by some attendees who joined the event an hour later.

“After one hour of the start of the event, people were surprised after some new attendees, who sat at the last row, started cursing the Iraqi government and called them traitors. They also chanted pro-Baath slogans,” it said.

The statement added that the embassy’s staff tried to calm them but the new comers insisted on being violent.

In the YouTube video, Jordanian supporters at the event were heard chanting “with blood and spirit we will redeem you, oh Saddam!”

In March 2003, the U.S. invasion of Iraq brought an end to Saddam’s hold on power and his one-arty Baathist rule in the country.

(Source / 21.05.2013)

Syrian Army Detains French, British, Belgian, Dutch, Qatari Officers in al-Qusseir

The Syrian troopers detained dozens of foreign officers in the restive al-Qusseir region, sources said on Tuesday, adding that most of the detainees were from France, Britain, Belgium, the Netherlands and Qatar. 


Syrian Army Detains French, British, Belgian, Dutch, Qatari Officers in al-Qusseir

(Ahlul Bayt News Agency) – Assim Qansou, a representative of the socialist party in Lebanon’s parliament, told the Lebanese al-Nashrah newspaper that during the battle in al-Qusseir city, the Syrian army has arrested tens of French, British, Belgian, Dutch and Qatari officers.
The EU’s anti-terror chief said in April that hundreds of Europeans are now fighting with rebel forces in Syria against Bashar al-Assad’s government.
Gilles de Kerchove estimated the number in Syria at about 500.
Intelligence agencies are concerned some could join groups linked to al-Qaeda and later return to Europe to launch terrorist attacks.
The UK, Ireland and France are among the EU countries estimated to have the highest numbers of fighters in Syria.
“Not all of them are radical when they leave, but most likely many of them will be radicalized there, will be trained,” de Kerchove said.
“And as we’ve seen this might lead to a serious threat when they get back.”
Across Europe, intelligence agencies have stepped up investigations, says the BBC’s Europe correspondent Duncan Crawford.
In Britain and Belgium they have increased efforts to track how people are recruited.
In the Netherlands, officials have raised the terror threat level there to “substantial” – partly over concerns about radicalized citizens returning from Syria.
The Syrian army announced on Tuesday that it found an Israeli military vehicle during its wide-scale attack in the central city of al-Qusseir.
According to the report, the vehicle was found along with tapping and jamming devices in al-Qusseir where the Syrian army has taken full control over the entire Eastern part of the strategic city near the borders with Lebanon.
(Source / 21.05.2013)

In de Gazastrook is alles politiek

Sinds 2007 leven Palestijnen niet alleen onder de Israëlische bezetting, maar ook onder een ‘afsluiting’. Dat wil zeggen: import, export en bewegingsvrijheid is zeer beperkt. De afsluiting is een strafmaatregel die door Israël is ingesteld nadat Hamas aan de macht kwam, onder het mom van Israëlische staatsveiligheid. De VN en het Rode Kruis stellen de afsluiting een collectieve bestraffing van de burgerbevolking inhoudt. Dat is illegaal onder internationaal recht. Zij roepen dan ook al jaren op tot opheffing van de afsluiting.

De Gazastrook kan het best worden vergeleken met een openluchtgevangenis. De lokale economie is ingestort, met hoge werkeloosheid en armoede tot gevolg. Er zijn tekorten aan brandstof, elektriciteit, bouwmaterialen, medische- en levensmiddelen. Ook zijn de riolering en waterzuivering nauwelijks onderhouden. Daardoor raakt het grond –en kraanwater steeds verder vervuilt; het water uit de kraan is op sommige plaatsen een mix tussen een Amsterdamse gracht en de Dode Zee.


Meisjes spelen in een vervuilde omgeving vlakbij Nuseirat, in het midden van de Gazastrook

Door deze ellende en de gevolgen van oorlogsgeweld, wordt de Gazastrook behandeld als ‘humanitair crisisgebied’. En dat is nou juist het laatste waar ze in Gaza op wachten: “Geen hulpgoederen, maar een politieke oplossing, vrijheid, werken en voor onszelf zorgen,” is een veelgehoord geluid. Er was geen tsunami of aardbeving, maar een politieke besluit. Een besluit dat ongedaan gemaakt moet worden, voordat leven in Gaza kan verbeteren.

Ik zie veel potentieel en talent in de Gazastrook. Mijn vrienden hebben gestudeerd, zijn creatief, nieuwsgierig en vol doorzettingsvermogen. Ondanks alles, maakt iedereen er het beste van. Mensen gaan hun problemen met veel humor en vastberadenheid te lijf. Daar kan ik alleen maar bewondering voor hebben. Het is een les in het leven die ik voor altijd bij me draag.

Soms, wanneer ik de afsluiting even dreig te vergeten, zijn er subtiele ‘reminders’: wanneer ik dagen niet kan koken omdat er geen gas meer op de markt is, dan haal ik een afhaalmaaltijd of kook eet bij vrienden. Of wanneer ik een rondreis langs verschillende apothekers maak om voorgeschreven medicijnen bij elkaar te zoeken; of simpelweg wanneer ik ’s ochtends onder de douche stap en er smerig water uit de kraan komt. Dan kan ik er plots weer niet omheen; als je in Gaza woont, is alles in je leven politiek.

(Source / 21.05.2013)

Verhaal met een moraal…

By Marianna Laarif

Op een dag viel de ezel van een boer in een put. De ezel was uren aan het balken terwijl de boer probeerde een oplossing te zoeken, om de ezel uit de put te redden.
Uiteindelijk besloot de boer, de put te dempen, de ezel was toch oud en niet meer de moeite waard om hem eruit te halen.

Hij nodigde al zijn buren uit te komen om hem te helpen. Ze pakten allemaal een schep en begonnen vuil/aarde in de put te scheppen. Bij de eerste scheppen de ezel wist niet wat er gebeurden en balkte hevig. Maar opeens tot ieders verbazing was hij stil.

Een paar scheppen later, toen de boer voor het eerst in de put keek Hij wist niet wat hij zag. Met elke schep vuil/aarde dat op de ezel zijn rug terecht kwam, deed de ezel iets geweldig……de ezel had zich voorgenomen om elke schep vuil/aarde van zich af te schudde en daarmee een stap omhoog te maken.

Elke keer bij een schep vuil/aarde, maakte de ezel weer een stap hoger.
Iedereen was verbaasd toen de ezel over de rand van de put uitkwam en uit de put stapte en blij weg draafde!!

MORAAL van dit verhaal:

Tijdens het leven krijgen we te maken met allerlei soorten scheppen vuil/aarde De truc om uit de put te komen is om het van je af te schudden en zo weer een stap omhoog te maken.
Elk probleem is een tree. We kunnen uit de diepste put komen, door niet te stoppen en nooit op te geven! Schud het van je af en neem een stap omhoog.

De vijf eenvoudige regels om gelukkig te zijn:

1. Bevrijd je hart van haat – Vergeef.

2. Bevrijd je geest van zorgen – het meeste zal nooit gebeuren.

3. Leef eenvoudig en waardeer wat je hebt.

4. Geef meer.

5. Verwacht minder van mensen, maar meer van jezelf.

Israel hospitalizes hunger striker

RAMALLAH (Ma’an) — Israel on Tuesday hospitalized a Palestinian prisoner on hunger strike, his lawyer said.

Ayman Abu Daoud was transferred from Ramle prison clinic to the Haemek Medical Center in Afula, said Jawad Boulos, a lawyer for the Palestinian Prisoners Society.

Abu Daoud has been on hunger strike since April 14.

The 32-year-old was released in Oct. 2011 in Israel’s prisoner swap with Hamas, but rearrested four months later and accused of violating his release terms by distributing financial allocations to persons affiliated with a political party, according to the prisoner rights group Addameer.

Military prosecutors are trying to reinstate the 28 years remaining on his previous sentence.

Abu Daoud, a father of two, denies the charge and has announced he will continue his hunger strike until he is released.

(Source / 21.05.2013)

Israel army warns Syria of Golan unrest ‘consequences’

Israel’s Lieutenant General Benny Gantz attends a ceremony at the Rabin Military Base in Tel Aviv.

JERUSALEM (AFP) — The head of Israel’s armed forces warned Syrian President Bashar Assad on Tuesday of “consequences” if fire continues from Syrian territory against Israeli troops in the occupied Golan Heights.

“If he disturbs the Golan Heights, he will have to bear the consequences,” Lieutenant General Benny Gantz said in an address at Haifa University and broadcast on Israeli television.

“We cannot and shall not allow the Golan Heights to become a comfort zone for Assad,” he said.

He spoke hours after Israeli troops and Syrian forces exchanged fire across the sensitive ceasefire line on the Golan Heights, but Israel denied Syrian claims one of its vehicles had been destroyed.

The Syrian army “fired on an Israeli patrol, which we confirmed six hours ago, but did not destroy a vehicle or kill anyone,” Israeli military spokesman Avichai Adraee wrote on Twitter.

Syria claimed to have destroyed an Israeli military vehicle it said had crossed the ceasefire line during the incident.

Israel earlier said it had responded to fire from inside Syria that hit a military patrol in the Golan Heights overnight, damaging a military vehicle.

Gantz said that at no point did the vehicle enter Syrian-controlled territory and suggested that Syria was fabricating a story with an obsolete Israeli vehicle left behind in Lebanon during Israel’s 2006 war there against Syrian ally Hezbollah.

“It’s a totally absurd story about an old 2002 model jeep,” he said.

The Golan Heights have been tense since the beginning of the conflict in Syria more than two years ago.

However, there have been only minor flare-ups in the area to date, with Syrian shells crashing in the occupied Golan and Israel firing in retaliation.

Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon said on Tuesday that Israel did not want to get sucked into Syria’s war, but that fire at Israeli targets from across the border would not be tolerated.

“Our policy is clear: we will not intervene in the Syrian civil war, but concerning the situation in the Golan Heights, we will not permit gunfire against our territory,” he said in a statement.

Israel, which is technically at war with Syria, seized 1,200 square kilometers of the Golan from its Arab neighbor in the 1967 Six-Day War.

It later annexed the territory, in a move never recognized by the international community.

(Source / 21.05.2013)

UN calls for ‘credible’ Syrian players at Geneva talks

UN’s deputy secretary-general Jan Eliasson speaks at a awards ceremony in New York.

GENEVA (AFP) — A planned Syria peace conference next month will only work if the government and rebels send credible negotiating teams, the UN’s deputy secretary-general Jan Eliasson said Tuesday.

“There have to be two, credible delegations to negotiate,” Eliasson told reporters in Geneva, the planned venue of the talks.

“We’re working very hard for a meeting as soon as possible. We’re in contact with the parties, and with the Security Council members, that are involved. But we hope very much that the meeting will take place, and soon,” he said.

Amid growing speculation that the talks could be held from June 10, Eliasson declined to be drawn on potential dates but confirmed that the target was still next month.

“It’s being worked out progressively now with the parties and we will have to wait for those consultations before we can conclude exactly how the conference will take place,” he said.

Last Friday, UN chief Ban Ki-moon and Russia agreed that a peace conference should be held as soon as possible, even as Security Council member Moscow defied growing global pressure over its arms supplies to the Damascus regime.

The talks are meant to include both the fiercest rebels and members of the regime — a problem given some opposition members’ refusal to recognize President Bashar Assad as a negotiating partner.

The main aim, Eliasson underlined, is to try to implement a peace plan drawn up on June 30 last year at a Geneva conference involving Western powers, Russia and China, Turkey, and the Arab League.

That plan’s measures include a ceasefire and a shift to a transitional government in Syria.

US President Barack Obama said last week that he will continue to press for Assad to leave power even if this is no longer a precondition of the Geneva talks.

The goal of holding talks was agreed during a May 7 visit to Moscow by US Secretary of State John Kerry.

Despite bitter splits over Syria, it is seen as a joint peace push by the two Cold War-era rivals, 26 months into the bloody Syria conflict which has claimed over 90,000 lives.

(Source / 21.05.2013)

UNICEF decries ‘desperate’ situation in Syrian Qusayr

Syrian troops take control of the village of Western Dumayna on May 13.

GENEVA (AFP) — The UN’s children’s agency warned Tuesday that up to 20,000 civilians, mainly women and children, could be trapped by harsh fighting in the Syrian town of Qusayr.

“The situation is desperate,” UNICEF spokeswoman Marixie Mercado told reporters in Geneva.

Her comments came as the battle for Qusayr, in central Homs province, raged for a third day after President Bashar Assad’s forces and allies launched an offensive to reclaim the town more than a year after rebels seized it.

UNICEF believes that between 12,000 and 20,000 civilians remain trapped in the town that used to count some 30,000 inhabitants, Mercado said.

“What are the most urgent needs? Protection,” she said, pointing out that those who remain “need to be protected from the bombardment, from the fighting that’s going on in the city right now.”

Mercado said that most of the civilians stuck in Qusayr were believed to be women and children, as were those who had managed to flee.

She said it remained unclear where the men who used to live in the city were.

UNICEF did not have any staff in the city, but was along with other organizations helping around “500 families made up of women, children and elderly” who had fled from Qusayr and nearby villages in recent days to Hasiaa, near Homs.

“They are joining an additional 1,144 families who had previously fled Qusayr, where fighting has flared over the past month,” she said, pointing out that for those who have left the city, there were also “just enormous needs right now.”

“Many of the families left at night with little or no possessions,” she said, adding that UNICEF and others were providing them with clothing, water and sanitation.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based watchdog, has said some 25,000 civilians were still trapped in Qusayr, and described the rebel response to the assault on the city as “fierce.”

According to the Observatory, Hezbollah fighters from neighboring Lebanon are leading the attacks on the ground while Assad’s warplanes carry out air strikes.

Assad and Hezbollah have made reclaiming Qusayr, which lies between the Syrian city of Homs and Tripoli in northern Lebanon, a priority in its fight to turn the tide against the two-year insurgency.

(Source / 21.05.2013)