Gates Foundation invests in occupation profiteer G4S, just as Dutch charity cuts ties

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has bought a 3 percent stake in the British-Danish security firm G4S worth £110 million ($172 million), the UK’s Guardian reported just days after protestors made the company’s role in human rights abuses in Palestine and beyond the focus at the firm’s annual meeting.

The Gates Foundation’s motto “We believe every person deserves the chance to live a healthy, productive life” is difficult to reconcile with G4S’s complicity in human rights violations.

Palestinian human rights organizations Addameer and Defence for Children International-Palestine Section have reported many cases of torture, ill-treatment, arbitrary detention, solitary confinement and isolation of Palestinian detainees in Israel’s G4S-secured prisons and interrogation centers. Last February, young Palestinian father Arafat Jaradat died inMegiddo prison after being interrogated by Israel’s internal security service Shin Bet, also known as the Shabak. G4S provides security services to Megiddo prison.

G4S shows no intention of ending its involvement with Israel’s prison system, though the transfer of Palestinian prisoners from the occupied West Bank and Gaza into Israel is illegal under international law and constitutes a war crime. Israel’s detention of the majority of the approximately 5,000 Palestinian political prisoners inside Israel, including 236 children, is therefore unlawful. However, the company will not end its servicing of security and surveillance equipment contracts with these prisons, G4S media relations manager Piers Zangana recently told Danish financial watchdog Danwatch.

Zangana also confirmed that G4S is also continuing its contracts with private and commercial clients in Israeli settlements. As Israel’s transfer of its own civilian population to settlements in the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem, is a violation of Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, G4S is helping to maintain an illegal situation by delivering services to clients in the settlements.

Dutch charity rejects G4S money

Instead of investing in G4S, the Gates Foundation should follow the example of three Dutch charities who refuse to play in role in G4S’s attempts to whitewash its image.

Today, Dutch charity War Child Holland announced it will no longer accept sponsorship from G4S in a conversation on twitter with @hoterminus. At the end of December, the Hotel Terminus blog reported that Dutch charities Jantje Beton and the Food Bank in Utrechtdecided to refuse future donations from G4S over its role in Israel’s detention of Palestinian children. The news was then reported by mainstream media in the Netherlands.

In its Dutch-language tweets, War Child Holland states its decision is based on the organization’s commitment to child rights and therefore it cannot accept donations from a company which is “securing prisons where Palestinian political prisoners are held, possibly also children.” War Child Holland mentions that it informed G4S about its decision immediately after Dutch media reported on Jantje Beton’s decision to refuse future funding from G4S.

War Child Holland tweets to @hoterminus reveal decision to refuse future funding,

(Source / 14.06.2013)

Moslims 500 jaar eerder dan Columbus in Amerika

Voormalig christelijke predikant Jerald Dirks stelt dat moslims al 500 jaar voor de ‘ontdekking’ van Amerika door Columbus, voet aan wal zetten op het Amerikaanse continent.

Dr. Jerald Dirks

“De Amerikanen gaan er vanuit dat de moslims pas in de twintigste eeuw naar Amerika emigreerden. Dit is een mythe waarin niet-moslims maar helaas ook moslims in Amerika geloven.”  De realiteit is volgens hem totaal anders. “Wij moslims waren er al vanaf het begin. Wij waren er al in de tijd van de cowboys en indianen. Wij moslims hielpen de Unie te beschermen tijdens de Burgeroorlog van 1861 tot 1865.  Wij moslims stonden gewapend en wel klaar om de kustlijn te bewaken tegen de Britse invasie in 1812. Wij moslims hielpen in de onafhankelijkheidsstrijd tegen de Britten die begon in 1776.  Wij moslims hebben mee geholpen om het land te bebouwen in het Zuiden van Amerika voordat er uberhaupt een Verenigde Staten bestond. Wij moslims exploreerden de Amerika’s toen de Spanjaarden voet aan wal zetten. We waren ook aanwezig toen Columbus Amerika ‘ontdekte’ in 1492, maar ook al lang voordat Columbus geboren was, ” aldus Dirks.

Behalve dat zij eerder en vaker in Amerika waren, zijn er ook voldoende details, documenten en duidelijke bewijzen dat de moslims zich ook vestigden in Noord- , Zuid-  en Midden-Amerika. Uit oud-Arabische bronnen is bekend dat er tenminste drie islamitische wereldreizigers uit Andalusië naar de Nieuwe Wereld getrokken waren in de negende eeuw.

Een voorbeeld is Aboe Hassan Ali ibn Al Hoessain al Masoedie (257 – 345 na Hidjra; 871 – 957 Christelijke jaartelling), die in zijn boek ‘Moeroedj adh dhahab wa maadin al djawhar’  schreef dat ten tijde van Abdoellah ibn Mohammed als regent over Al Andaloes een moslim uit Cordoba in 275 n.H. (889 n.C.) de Atlantische Oceaan over was gestoken en een nieuw en voorheen onbekend land had aangetroffen. De navigator, Khashkhash Ibn Saied Ibn Aswad, zou met fabuleuze schatten zijn teruggekeerd uit deze Nieuwe Onbekende Wereld (‘ard majoela’ schrijft al Masoedie).

De kaart van de wereld van al-Masoedie

Bekeerling Dirks was een predikant, een diaken van de de Verenigde Methodistische Kerk. Hij heeft een master gehaald in Goddelijkheid aan de Harvard universiteit en een doctoraat in psychologie aan de universiteit van Denver. Hij schreef in 2001 ‘The cross and the Crescent: An Interfaith Dialogue between Christianity and Islam’, en ‘Abraham:  The Friend of God’  in 2002. Verder publiceerde hij meer dan zestig artikelen inzake klinische psychologie en meer dan 150 artikelen over Arabische paarden.

(Source / 14.06.2013)

Hezbollah will fight on in Syria, Nasrallah says

It was a calculated decision to defend Syrian regime, Hezbollah chief says

Beirut: The leader of Lebanon’s Hezbollah group vowed on Friday to keep fighting in Syria “wherever needed” and said his Shiite group has made a “calculated” decision to defend the Syrian regime no matter what the consequences.

The comments by Hassan Nasrallah in a speech to supporters in southern Beirut signalled for the first time the Iranian-backed group will stay involved in the civil war raging next door after helping President Bashar Al Assad’s army recapture a key town in Syria’s central Homs province from rebels.

Nasrallah said verbal and other attacks against his militant group “only serve to increase our determination.”

“We will be where we should be, we will continue to bear the responsibility we took upon ourselves,” Nasrallah said. “There is no need to elaborate… we leave the details to the requirements of the battlefield.”

Al Assad’s forces, aided by fighters from Hezbollah, captured Qusair on June 5, dealing a heavy blow to rebels who had been entrenched in the strategic town for over a year.

Since then, the regime has shifted its attention to recapture other areas in the central Homs province and Aleppo to the north.

A visibly angry Nasrallah did not say outright whether his fighters would go as far as fighting in Aleppo, but his words strongly suggested the group was prepared to fight till the end.

“After Qusayr for us will be the same as before Qusayr,” he said. “The project has not changed and our convictions have not changed.”

Nasrallah reiterated that the fight in Syria was one against the “American, Israeli and Takfiri project” that was meant to destroy Syria, which along with Iran has been the group’s main backer. Takfiri Islamists refers to an ideology that urges Sunni Muslims to kill anyone they consider an infidel.

Much of the group’s arsenal, including tens of thousands of rockets, is believed to have come from Iran via Syria or from Syria itself.

(Source / 14.06.2013)

UN chief: Israeli settlements undermine peace hopes

A general view of the Israeli settlement of Ramot, on Nov. 10, 2010

UNITED NATIONS (AFP) — UN leader Ban Ki-moon on Friday slammed Israel’s settlement surge in the occupied West Bank as undermining hopes of ending the Middle East conflict by setting up a Palestinian state.

“The secretary general is deeply concerned by the continuing expansion of Israeli settlements in the West Bank in violation of international law,” said UN spokesman Martin Nesirky.

Ban was “particularly troubled” at Israel moving forward with plans for more than 1,000 new homes in two West Bank settlements, said the spokesman. The move has already been condemned by the United States and Palestinian leaders.

“These are unhelpful decisions that undermine progress towards the two-state solution,” said the spokesman.

“They constitute a deeply worrisome trend at a moment of ongoing efforts to relaunch peace negotiations.

“The secretary general calls on Israel to heed the calls of the international community to freeze settlement activity and abide by its commitments under international law and the Road Map,” he said, referring to an internationally-approved blueprint for the peace process drafted in 2003.

Israel’s new settlement plans emerged as US Secretary of State John Kerry seeks to reinvigorate the Middle East peace process.

The Peace Now settlement watchdog said Israel has plans to build 538 new homes in the northern settlement of Itamar and to legalize 137 existing units there.

It has also submitted plans for 550 homes in Bruchin, of which 52 have already been built.

(Source / 14.06.2013)

Iran candidates urge calm ahead of official poll result

TEHRAN (AFP) — All six Iranian presidential candidates on Friday urged their supporters to remain calm until the official results are known and not to stage victory celebrations, a joint statement said.

“We ask people not to pay attention to rumors of victory parades being organised and to avoid gathering before the official results” are announced by the interior ministry, their statement said.

Polling has been extended until 10:00 p.m. local time — a four-hour extension on the original 10 hours of voting — because of the high turnout, the ministry said.

(Source / 14.06.2013)

France condemns Israeli settlement plans

BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — France on Friday condemned the building of over 1,000 new housing units in two West Bank settlements.

“This illegal action contradicts the US government’s efforts helped by us to re-launch the peace process,” a foreign ministry spokesman said in a statement.

The statement called on the Israeli government to reverse the plans.

“These developments show that current situation is unsustainable,” the statement added. France called the two parties to start “credible” negotiations without preconditions.

(Source / 14.06.2013)

Hamas denies it has fighters in Syria

A Hamas militant takes part in a funeral procession in Gaza City, on March 17, 2013
GAZA CITY (AFP) — Gaza’s Hamas prime minister Ismail Haniyeh denied on Friday that members of the Palestinian movement were fighting in the Syrian civil war.

He also rejected reports of internal divisions within the group over its ties with Iran and its ally, Lebanon’s powerful Shiite movement Hezbollah.

“There is no truth to (claims) that Hamas fighters are in Syria, although we stand on the side of the Syrian people and condemn the brutal attacks they are exposed to,” Haniyeh said at a mosque in Rafah, on the border with Egypt.

In April, media reported that militants from Hamas’s military wing, the Al-Qassam Brigades, had traveled to Syria to train rebels fighting against President Bashar Assad.

“There is no place for talk of the movement abandoning its resistance in Palestine (in favor of) fighting in Syria,” said Haniyeh.

As to the claims of internal divisions, he said “we are facing media campaigns … that aim to tarnish Hamas and the resistance (to Israel) and talk about differences or contending wings within the movement.”

“But these are only fantasies in the minds of their propagators,” he said.

Earlier this month, Arab media reported that Hamas was strengthening its ties to Hezbollah and Iran, both of whom support the Damascus regime, and that this was causing internal strains.

Hamas leader Khalid Mashaal lived for a long time in exile in Syria. But shortly after the civil war began, Hamas refused to support Assad in his deadly crackdown against mostly Sunni rebels, and Mashaal moved to Qatar in 2012.

“This movement is loyal only to God, to this (Palestinian) people and to this issue. It does not sell itself to its backers,” Haniyeh said, apparently in reference to aid it receives from Iran.

(Source / 14.06.2013)

Israeli army detains a 10-year-old during the weekly demonstration in Kafr Qaddum

On Friday 14 June, the Israeli army arrested a 10-year-old child during the weekly protest in Kafr Qaddum. Israeli soldiers fired tear gas canisters and sound bombs at the villagers; many local residents suffered from tear gas inhalation.

At approximately 12:00, when residents and international solidarity activists started gathering for the demonstration before the Friday prayers, nearly 30 foot soldiers stormed the village from the main road leading toward the illegal Israeli settlement Qedumim. As they entered the village, they fired tear gas canisters directly at the group before the demonstration even began. Local youth resisted the incursion, chasing the soldiers back from the bystanders toward a hill overlooking the village.

Tyre barricades burning (Photo by IWPS)

Tyre barricades at Kafr Qaddum demonstration

Over the next two and a half hours, soldiers shot tear gas and threw sound bombs at demonstrators in the olive groves next to the main road of the village. At approximately 12:30, soldiers detained a 10-year-old boy. While in their custody, soldiers tied his hands, grabbed him by the neck, beat him and threatened to “drop [him] from this rock.”

Nearly one and a half hours later, the boy was released and residents of Kafr Qaddum celebrated his return. Soldiers continued to fire tear gas at local youth protesting at the edge of the village close to the illegal settler colony of Qedumim. No further arrests were made and the demonstration ended at around 15:00.

Kafr Qaddum is a 3,000-year-old agricultural village that sits on 24,000 dunams of land. The village was occupied by the Israeli army in 1967; in 1978, the illegal settler-colony of Qedumim was established nearby on the remains of a former Jordanian army camp, occupying 4,000 dunams of land stolen from Kafr Qaddum.

The villagers are currently unable to access an additional 11,000 dunams of land due to the closure by the Israeli army of the village’s main and only road leading to Nablus in 2003. The road was closed in three stages, ultimately restricting access for farmers to the 11,000 dunams of land that lie along either side to one or two times a year. Since the road closure, the people of Kafr Qaddum have been forced to rely on an animal trail to access this area; the road is narrow and, according to the locals, intended only for animals. In 2004 and 2006, three villagers died when they were unable to reach the hospital in time. The ambulances carrying them were prohibited from using the main road and were forced to take a 13 km detour. These deaths provoked even greater resentment in Kafr Qaddum and, on 1 July 2011, the villagers decided to unite in protest in order to re-open the road and protect the land in danger of settlement expansion along it.

Israeli soldiers standing on the hilltop during the demonstration (Photo by IWPS)

Israeli soldiers standing on the hilltop during the demonstration

Kafr Qaddum is home to 4,000 people; some 500 residents attend the weekly demonstrations. The villagers’ resilience, determination and organization have been met with extreme repression. More than 120 village residents have been arrested; most spend 3-8 months in prison; collectively they have paid over NIS 100,000 to the Israeli courts. Around 2,000 residents have suffocated from tear-gas inhalation, many in their own homes. Over 100 residents have been shot directly with tear-gas canisters. On 27 April 2012, one man was shot in the head by a tear-gas canister that fractured his skull in three places; the injury cost him his ability to speak. In another incident, on 16 March 2012 an Israeli soldier released his dog into the crowded demonstration, where it attacked a young man, biting him for nearly 15 minutes whilst the army watched. When other residents tried to assist him, some were pushed away while others were pepper-sprayed directly in the face.

The events of the past week are part of a continuous campaign by the Israeli military to harass and intimidate the people of Kafr Qaddum into passively accepting the human rights violations the Israeli occupation, military and the illegal settlers inflict upon them.

(Source / 14.06.2013)

Rohingya diaspora calls for probe into Myanmar ‘genocide’

European MPs have jointly condemned the violence against Myanmar’s Rohingya Muslims, and called on the government to do more to protect them.

The European Parliament has passed a motion saying it condemns the grave violations of human rights against the Muslim minority in Rakhine state.

The motion says it “deplores the failure of the Myanmar government to protect the Rohingyas against organised violence.”

The Rohingya diaspora has welcomed the motion, but has also called for an international investigation into what they call a ‘genocide’.

Presenter: Sen Lam

Speaker: Nurul Islam, president, Arakan Rohingya National Organisation, London

NURUL ISLAM: This is very encouraging and we’re very much thankful to the European parliament for adopting this resolution, and we take it as a proper encouragement for the Rohingyah people.

LAM: Do you think it might improve the situation for them?

NURUL ISLAM: No, it depends actually… we hope so, but the Burmese government is very much uncompromising, sometimes, in the case of the Rohingya people, that’s what we’re afraid of. It is time for the international and the investigation is necessary, in fact. That is very important, because there’s an Enquiry Commission formed internally by the Burmese government, but it is completely biased. The world knows it. And that will not bring any solution.

The recommendation given by the internal commission, is against the Rohingya people. And there’re lots of reports by the credible international organisations, like Human Rights Watch and there’s evidence of mass graves in Arakan (Rakhine state). But these are needed to be investigated, for these and other things, like the great humanitarian crisis that’s existing. And the segregation that’s going on there, apartheid policy has been imposed. And the two-child policy – this is a very discriminatory policy that has been imposed.

We need international intervention, with a UN Commission of Enquiry. We would prefer to call it a ‘genocide’ because the intention to destroy our people is very much established. In that sense, you can consider it a case of genocide. With international jurisdiction – for these, even the responsibility to protect these people is an international responsibility – we in the international communities. In that sense, the international community should intervene and the (Rohingya) peoples are protected.

LAM: Senior monks in Yangon have called for peace at a monastery in Yangon. Do you think the Buddhist clergy is doing enough to curb anti-Muslim, and particularly, anti-Rohingya violence?

NURUL ISLAM: They can have discussions on this but the way they’re going, to do things. Who’s leading the controversial ‘nine-six-nine’ movement? This is a movement against the Rohingya people in particular, and the Muslims in general. Until now, although this ‘nine-sixty-nine movement’ has done many injuries. Although it is injurious to the Muslim community, the government has until now, taken no action against them.

Whatever changes, whatever democratic reforms take place in the country, it is important that good sense prevails in the minds of the government, number one.

Number two, this is the good sense prevailing in the minds of the majority Buddhis community, and then, the democratic and the parliamentary and political process in the country should be all-inclusive, and the Rohingya must be a part of it, otherwise, we don’t hold hope or change the circumstances of the Rohingya people. Because, you know, we are a people, with a history and glorious past.

We are not a floating people or infiltrators from foreign countries, as they (the government) allege. But we have our roots deeply-rooted in Arakan (Rakhine state) and therefore, to Burma. So our citizenship rights and our ethnic rights must be guaranteed, must be ensured in Burma.

(Source / 14.06.2013)

One million Palestinian refugees in 8 Gaza Strip camps

 

The Gaza Strip is home to more than 1.1 million registered refugees, of which more than half a million live in the eight refugee camps established by UNRWA.

The refugee camps have one of the highest population densities in the world.

The blockade on Gaza has had a devastating impact on refugees across the Gaza Strip, including those living in camps.

Unemployment continues to be at unprecedented levels particularly affecting young people in Gaza.

Jabalia refugee camp

Jabalia is the largest of the Gaza Strip’s eight refugee camps. It is located north of Gaza City, close to a village of the same name.

After the Arab-Israeli war in 1948, 35,000 refugees settled in the camp, most having fled from villages in southern Palestine.

Today, nearly 110,000 registered refugees live in the camp, which covers an area of only 1.4 square kilometers

The blockade on Gaza has made life more difficult for nearly all refugees in the camp. Unemployment levels have risen dramatically, and fewer families can provide for themselves. A staggering proportion of the population is dependent on UNRWA’s food and cash assistance, which gives these previously self-sufficient families the basic dignity of food on the table..

Rafah refugee camp

Rafah camp, established in 1949, is located in the south of Gaza, near the Egyptian border. In the year after Rafah camp was created, thousands of refugees moved from the camp to a nearby housing project at Tel El-Sultan, making the camp almost indistinguishable from the adjacent city.

Originally home to 41,000 refugees who had fled from the hostilities of the 1948 war, Rafah is now home to more than 104,000 refugees. High population density is a major problem, with people living in crowded shelters along extremely narrow streets..

Beach refugee camp

The third largest of the Gaza Strip’s eight refugee camps – and one of the most crowded – Beach camp is known locally as “Shati”. The camp is on the Mediterranean coast in the Gaza City area.

Beach camp initially accommodated 23,000 refugees who fled from Lydd, Jaffa, Be’er Sheva and other areas of Palestine. The camp is now home to more than 87,000 refugees, who all reside in an area of only 0.52 square kilometres.

Streets and alleys in the camp are often very narrow and the area is considered among the most densely populated in the world

Khan Younis refugee camp

Khan Younis refugee camp is located about two kilometres from the Mediterranean coast, north of Rafah. It lies west of the town of Khan Younis, a major commercial centre and stop-off point on the ancient trade route to Egypt

After the 1948 war, 35,000 refugees took shelter in the camp, having fled their homes during the hostilities. Most were from the Be’er Sheva area. Today, Khan Younis camp is home to nearly 72,000 refugees.

Nuseirat refugee camp

A busy and crowded camp, Nuseirat is currently home to more than 66,000 refugees. Set in the middle of the Gaza Strip, Nuseirat is very near Bureij and Maghazi camps.

Nuseirat, which takes its name from a local Bedouin tribe, initially accommodated 16,000 refugees who fled from the southern districts of Palestine after the 1948 Arab-Israeli war, including the coast and Be’er Sheva. Before the camp was formed, refugees had to live in a former British military prison in the area.

Bureij refugee camp

Bureij camp is a comparatively small refugee camp located in the middle of the Gaza Strip. The camp is near Maghazi and Nuseirat refugee camps.

Bureij camp was built in the 1950s to house approximately 13,000 refugees who until then had lived in British army barracks and tents. The refugees who settled in Bureij had mostly come from towns east of Gaza, such as Falouja. Today, the refugee population of Bureij is more than 34,000.

Maghazi refugee camp

Maghazi camp is located in the centre of the Gaza Strip, south of Bureij camp. It was established in 1949 and is one of the smaller camps in Gaza, both in terms of size and population.

Maghazi is characterised by narrow alleys and high population density, with more than 24,000 refugees housed in an area of no more than 0.6 square kilometres. Most of the refugees who took shelter in Maghazi as they fled the hostilities of the 1948 Arab-Israeli war originated from villages in central and southern Palestine.

(Source / 14.06.2013)