MP Halayka: The PA flouts the reconciliation agreements

 

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AL-KHALIL, (PIC)– Palestinian lawmaker Samira Al-Halayka said that the Palestinian Authority (PA) ignores the reconciliation agreements and the recommendations of the national freedoms committee through the persistent arrests and summonses its security forces carry out every day against its political rivals.

Halayka stated on Saturday that what happens on the ground is quite contrary to what has been agreed upon during the latest meetings between Hamas and Fatah factions.

She said that the PA violated its reconciliation agreements when it formed a new unconstitutional government and held local and municipal elections.

The lawmaker underlined that such practices by the PA would deepen the division in the Palestinian arena, affirming that the national reconciliation would never be achieved by forming governments or holding elections, but by closing the file of political arrests once and for all.

“Those who sit with Hamas Movement and talk through the media about their desire to achieve the Palestinian reconciliation and end the division are the same people who seek on a daily basis to eradicate it and break its will through launching campaigns of political arrests and summonses against it,” the lawmaker highlighted.

In a related incident, the PA security forces arrested five Hamas activists and summoned five others for interrogation during raids in Ramallah, Nablus, Bethlehem and Qalqiliya.

The PA military court, in turn, postponed the trial of two prisoners affiliated with Hamas.

For his part, prisoner Yousuf Al-Barghouthi, from Hamas, is determined to continue the hunger strike he started 10 days ago in protest at his detention without any guilt.

The PA security apparatuses have arrested 55 Palestinian citizens and summoned 63 others in different West Bank cities since the start of the current month, according to a statistical report released on Saturday by the family committee of political prisoners in the West Bank.

The committee stated the PA security apparatuses focus during their daily campaigns on the arrest of ex-detainees in Israeli jails, university students and relatives of martyrs and prisoners, adding that most of these detainees are affiliated with Hamas.

It noted that the rate of political arrests and summonses in the West Bank have risen since the last reconciliation meeting that was held in May in Cairo.

(Source / 15.06.2013)

Settlers burn 300 olive trees near Nablus, Israeli army obstructs firefighters

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NABLUS (Ma’an) — A group of settlers set fire to over 300 olive trees on Saturday in a Nablus village, a Palestinian Authority official said.Ghassan Daghlas, a PA official who monitors settlement activities, told Ma’an that settlers from the illegal outpost of Havat Gilad set fire to olive trees in the Nablus village of Imatin.

The blaze destroyed over 300 trees and the settlers threw stones at Palestinian villagers who were attempting to put out the fire, Daghlas said.

Israeli forces arrived at the scene and prevented firefighters from accessing the fire due to the clashes, the PA official added.

Nablus governor Jibrin al-Bakri said Sunday that settlers have destroyed over 2,500 Palestinian olive trees in the Nablus area since the beginning of June.

In 2011, Oxfam and local organizations calculated that settler violence against olive trees and agricultural land cost Palestinian farmers an estimated $500,000.

Since 1967, 800,000 olive trees have been uprooted resulting in a loss of around $55 million to the Palestinian economy, according to a report by the PA Ministry of National Economy and the Applied Research Institute- Jerusalem.

 

Note from occpal: Israel destroyed over 2,5 Million trees Since 1967 only(Report Page 31while last summer, it was boasting about it’s ‘agricultural development at the Floriade 2012 World Expo (More about that here)

Israeli bulldozer uprooting olive trees (Photo by CPT)

Israeli bulldozer uprooting olive trees

(Source / 15.06.2013)

News from Turkey 15.06.2013

And now a word from the BBC #OccupyGezi http://fb.me/2CzGYhzoH 

#Turkey live: [22:50] #Kadikoy gathered, chanting slogans and now walking to #Taksim | pic.twitter.com/R2Tq2M4tqY

Side streets off #taksim cleared,square full of police,fight pushed way down,demolition clearing #GeziPark Erdogan’s mission accomplished

Police completely controls all #gezipark at the moment not destroying or burning anything #istanbul #turkey #taksim

Journalists getting kicked out of Gezi. RT @dkenarov @zeynep they forced me out as well. Tried to take my press pass away and erase my pics

Policeman sees me in gas mask &points plastic bullet barrel. my reaction 2 guns in my direction has got better :)on the floor b4 he fired

#breakingnews Turkish Unions KESK and DISK will launch a general strike in response to Gezi raid in @GazetevatanCom reports #occupygezi

ust found US tear gas canister: made by Non-Lethal Technologies Inc, Pennsylvania in #taksim http://yfrog.com/odgj6alj 

Thousands gathering on side streets near Taksim as Gezi Park is under attack #OccupyGezi… http://fb.me/2N7TqBUYm 

#OccupyGezi being raided by police right now! Livestream and other links http://fb.me/29wYau0RA 

Shocking scenes, as Turkish police clear Istanbul sit-in

Haj Saadi Alsakhal dies under torture in PA jails

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NABLUS, (PIC)– Haj Saadi Alsakhal died on Saturday afternoon in PA Intelligence headquarters in Nablus few hours after his arrest from his workplace, the Families of Political Prisoners Committee in the West Bank said.

The committee stated that PA forces broke violently into Haj Alsakhal’s workplace this morning in Rafedia and arrested him and his son Musab.

The PA forces came to arrest Musab but his father refused to hand his son. They started then shooting up in the air before arresting both the son and his father where they were taken to PA intelligence headquarters in Junaid prison, the committee explained.

In the prison, PA security forces brutally attacked and harshly beat the elderly man which resulted in Haj Alsakhal’s death few hours after his arrest.

It strongly condemned the crime considering it a violation to the national and human values. The statement stressed the need to prosecute those responsible for such crimes and violations against the Palestinian people.

(Source / 15.06.2013)

Prisoners say special Israeli units raiding wards

RAMALLAH (Ma’an) – Palestinian prisoners held at Israel’s Ashkelon prison have been assaulted by special Israeli units ransacking their wards several times last week, a lawyer said Saturday.

Karim Ajweh, who works for the Palestinian Prisoner’s Society, quoted representative of prisoners in Ashkelon Nasser Abu Hmeid as saying that wards 11 and 13 were stormed and “brutally inspected” for several hours by special squads.

Ajweh highlighted that “Ashkelon prison looks like a hospital as 60 out of 120 Palestinian inmates are sick.”

The prisoners, he added, have made it clear to the Israeli prison service that provocative inspection raids are an “unacceptable show of force.” They threatened to carry out protests if such behavior continues, the lawyer said.

Separately, eight prisoners, held in solitary confinement at Rimon prison, threatened to start an open hunger strike Monday protesting solitary confinement.

One of the prisoners, Jihad Dweikat, says they asked to be moved to another prison in the north closer to their families. The Israeli prison service has promised to move them for three months, but nothing happened.

Dweikat identified the other seven as Said Maslama from Salfit, Abdullah Barham from Qalqiliya, Ahmad Halamneh from Jenin, Ali Hassan from Qalqiliya, Shadi Suqiya from Jenin, Mousa Jumaa from Qalqiliya and Muhammad al-Bulbul from Gaza.

(Source / 15.06.2013)

Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood denounces Assad, backs Sunni front on Syria

Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party senior official, Mohamed el-Beltagy talks during a protest against Israel’s decision to carry out air strikes in Syria, inside Al-Azhar mosque in Cairo, Egypt, 10 May 2013.

Syria’s president and his Shi’ite allies were denounced by leading Sunni Arab voices on Friday, including Egypt’s ruling Muslim Brotherhood, which had reached out across Islam’s sectarian divide but has now called for jihad.

The Brotherhood accused Shi’ites of being at the root of sectarian conflicts throughout history and threw its weight behind holy war – just months after a high-profile rapprochement with Iran, which backs Bashar al-Assad and Lebanon’s Hezbollah.

“Throughout history, Sunnis have never been involved in starting a sectarian war,” spokesman Ahmed Aref said, adding that Hezbollah provoked the new sectarian conflict in Syria.

As the United States swung the force of its arms behind the mainly Sunni rebels, calls to jihad from the mosques of Mecca and Cairo could speed weapons, and fighters, into Syria.

And, with anger flaring across the Sunni-Shi’ite faultline that divides the Middle East, a conflict that has also split world powers along Cold War lines risks spilling over elsewhere.

The Muslim Brotherhood had been “vague” on Syria, said Khalil al-Anani, an expert on Islamist movements at Washington’s Middle East Institute: “But now they have decided to join the kind of sectarian war against Hezbollah, Syria and Iran.”

Assad, whose dominant Alawite minority is an offshoot of Shi’ite Islam, says he is fighting to preserve Syria’s once tolerant patchwork of faiths; but after two years of fighting an uprising inspired by Egyptians’ overthrow of military rule, his forces and their foes are both accused of sectarian atrocities.

Disparate rebel groups, broadly backed by U.S. ally Saudi Arabia, are fighting alongside radical Sunni Islamists, some linked to al Qaeda; but Hezbollah’s dispatch of militiamen to help Syrian troops retake a strategic town has electrified broader Sunni opinion against Iran and Shi’ites this month.

Many saw it as proof of an Iranian drive for regional power.

Representatives of dozens of Sunni religious organizations met in Cairo this week to issue a call to jihad in Syria – a call endorsed by the Brotherhood, whose spokesman Aref said on Friday the gathering had “awakened the conscience of the world”.

President Mohamed Mursi, who hosted his Iranian counterpart in Cairo in February, will make a speech to the conference on Saturday, Aref said, in which he may clarify Egypt’s position on whether to encourage the faithful to go to Syria to fight.

MECCA CONDEMNATION

Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah said in a speech his men would battle on in Syria against what he called a threat from the United States, Israel and “takfiri” – hardline Sunnis.

In another mark of how high sectarian feeling is running, Friday’s televised sermon for weekly prayers at the Grand Mosque in the holy city of Mecca included an outspoken personal attack on Assad – a tyrant whose troops he said had raped women, killed children and destroyed homes over the past two years.

Sheikh Saoud al-Shuraym said: “All of that puts on the shoulders of each one of us a share of responsibility before God … to take a unified and conscious stand.

“Our brothers need more efforts and determination to be exerted to remove the merciless injustice and aggression through all means and with no exceptions,” he told worshippers.

Saudi clerics usually reflect a government line and the comments were unusually explicit in their political nature.

Since the 7th-century schism between Sunni and Shi’ite Islam, relations have been punctuated by conflict. In modern times, the strict Wahhabi school of Sunni Islam adopted by the Saudi monarchy has generally been more hostile to Shi’ites than has the Brotherhood, a movement founded in Egypt in the 1920s.

That the Brotherhood now echoes Saudi hostility underlines a hardening of attitudes which could fuel unrest that has already troubled Lebanon, Iraq and some Gulf states, as well as Syria.

CALL TO ARMS

One Egyptian government newspaper published a plea from an Iranian cleric for understanding between the faiths.

But state television broadcast a sermon in Cairo by a leading Saudi cleric, Mohammed al-Arifi, who called for jihad in Syria “in every way possible”; some worshippers waved Syrian rebel flags and dozens of Egyptians gathered outside afterward to chant their support for bringing down Assad.

Some young men said they were ready to go and fight: “We see children dying every day,” said Ahmed Fouad. “We will fight for the sake of God, God willing.”

Another would-be volunteer, Hassan Mohamed Hassan, said: “The Egyptians will not hesitate and stand idly by in the face of these actions by Hezbollah and Hassan Nasrallah.”

The scholars meeting in Cairo stopped short of echoing an explicit call by Egyptian scholar Youssef al-Qaradawi, a Qatari-based television preacher linked to the Brotherhood, for able-bodied Muslims to travel to the battlefields and fight.

An aide to Mursi said on Thursday that Egypt disapproved of external intervention in Syria, notably that by Hezbollah. It was not sending fighters but the government could not stop Egyptians from travelling and would not penalize any who went.

The aide played down fears Egyptians might return as militants from Syria. The Brotherhood disavowed violence in the 1970s but other militants did not. Mursi also faces a political challenge from ultra-conservative Salafi Islamist parties.

Khalil al-Anani suggested that Mursi’s administration may see domestic policy benefits from a harder line toward Assad.

Rallying Egyptian opinion over Syria could, he said, deflect attention from discontent that is driving plans for street protests on June 30, the first anniversary of Mursi’s election.

And it could also dampen criticism from Salafists who were incensed when Mursi welcomed President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for the first such visit since Iran’s Islamic revolution of 1979.

(Source / 15.06.2013)

Syria officers defect as world leaders prepare to meet

An internally displaced Syrian boy stands in a camp along the Turkish border in Aleppo province.

DAMASCUS (AFP) — More than 70 Syrian military officers have defected to the opposition and crossed into Turkey, an official there said on Saturday, as world leaders prepared to discuss the Syrian conflict at the G8 summit.

The defections followed a US decision to give the rebels “military support” after Washington reviewed evidence showing the Syrian regime had used chemical weapons.

But Russia said the regime, which bombarded the outskirts of Damascus on Saturday, had no need to use chemical weapons because its forces were making steady advances on the ground.

The defection of 71 army officers and two policemen came over a period of 36 hours, the Turkish official told AFP.

The group included six generals and 22 colonels, the official added, and was the highest-level defection in months.

Meanwhile, US President Barack Obama held talks on Syria with European leaders late on Friday, the White House said.

The discussions with British Prime Minister David Cameron, French President Francois Hollande, Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta and German Chancellor Angela Merkel came ahead of the G8 summit to be held in Northern Ireland next week.

“The five leaders discussed Syria, including the regime’s use of chemical weapons against its own people, and ways to support a political transition to end the conflict,” the White House said on Saturday.

The Syrian conflict is expected to dominate the two days of meetings, with the US pledge to arm the opposition likely to be a topic of discussion.

On Thursday, Washington said it had evidence that the Syrian regime had used chemical weapons, including the nerve gas sarin, in attacks that killed up to 150 people.

It also said without giving details that the administration had decided to boost its support for the rebels seeking to overthrow President Bashar Assad, including “military support.”

That decision, and the allegations of chemical weapons use by the regime, were criticised by Russia, which is a staunch Assad ally.

Moscow has said it is unconvinced by claims of chemical weapons use in Syria and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Saturday that the regime had no need to use such arms.

“The regime, as the opposition is saying out in the open, is enjoying military success on the ground,” he told reporters during a joint press appearance with his Italian counterpart Emma Bonino.

“What sense is there for the regime to use chemical arms — especially in such small amounts?” Lavrov asked.

He warned that it would be wrong for the US administration “to be sending signals” to the opposition that could jeopardize attempts to find a political solution to the Syrian conflict.

Despite supporting opposite sides in the fighting, Moscow and Washington have both backed holding a peace conference in Geneva in coming weeks.

The Syrian government is reportedly willing to attend any such meeting, but the opposition has set conditions for its attendance, including the withdrawal of regime-allied Lebanese Hezbollah from Syria.

On the ground, Syrian regime forces bombed rebel positions around Damascus on Saturday, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights watchdog said.

The group, which relies on a network of activists, lawyers and doctors, reported air strikes on the eastern neighborhoods of Jubar and Barzeh.

Syrian state news agency SANA said the army had “restored security and stability” to the village of Ahmadiyeh and parts of Khamissiyeh, in the Eastern Ghouta region of Damascus province.

Eastern Ghouta has been the regular scene of clashes between rebels and government troops in recent months.

(Source / 15.06.2013)

Djha en de juwelier

By Marianna Laarif

Djha wilde zijn vrouw voor haar verjaardag een heel bijzonder sieraad geven. Een paar dagen tevoren toen hij met zijn vrouw onder het genot van een kopje thee zat te praten probeerde hij haar wensen te weten te komen. Zij vertelde hem dat zij haar hele leven al een grote wens had gehad, namelijk, een gouden enkelband te bezitten.

Djha begon al spijt te krijgen dat hij zo onvoorzichtig naar haar wensen had gevist, want een gouden kholkhol is een heel kostbaar sieraad. Hij dacht dat het minstens 100.000 oude franken zou gaan kosten en Djha’s portemonnee was nooit erg gevuld geweest! Hij leende wat geld van een vriend en stapte bij een juwelier binnen. Die dacht dat Djha met zijn onschuldige gezicht een makkelijke prooi voor hem zou zijn. Hij vroeg hem dan ook zonder met zijn ogen te knipperen 400.000 franken voor een band die niet meer dan 100.00 franken waard was. Het was een mooi bewerkt stukje smeedkunst. Djha was er verrukt van en kocht het. Hij overdreef flink zijn complimenten en zei dat zo’n juweel van onschatbare waarde was. De koopman straalde!

Maar twee dagen later kwam Djha alweer bij de juwelier in de winkel en sprak: “Ik heb de kholkhol aan mijn vrouw gegeven. Ze was er erg blij mee. Maar zij heeft mij laten weten dat een kholkhol nooit alléén gedragen wordt en dat men er aan elke enkel een draagt of een stel aan dezelfde voet, waardoor je onder het lopen een leuk gerinkel hoort. Ze heeft me dus gesmeekt om precies zo’n zelfde enkelband voor haar te kopen, zodat zij een stelletje heeft”.

De juwelier was in een moeilijk parket gebracht, want zijn kholkhol was enig in zijn soort en hij wist niet hoe hij aan nog net zo één moest komen. Maar Djha drong erg aan: “U hebt mij voor de eerste 400.000 laten betalen. Ik ben bereid tot 600.000 te gaan voor een tweede. Mijn vrouw vraagt erom en ik wil graag de vrede in huis bewaren!”
De koopman beloofde op zoek te gaan naar een identiek exemplaar.
De volgende morgen stuurde Djha zijn vriend naar de juwelier om hem de eerste kholkhol aan te bieden voor 500.000 franken. De ander, die zeker wist dat hij een koper voor 600.000 had, kocht de band. En zo kon Djha meteen de geleende 400.000 franken teruggeven en bij een andere edelsmid kocht hij van de 100.000 franken winst een andere kholkhol, de droom van zijn vrouw.

Erdogan threatens to clear Taksim Square by force

Turkey’s Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan (L), accompanied by his ministers and party members, addresses his supporters during a rally organized by his Justice and Development Party in Ankara June 15, 2013.

In a boisterous speech to tens of thousands of flag-waving party faithful, Turkey’s prime minister on Saturday threatened protesters that if they don’t clear out Istanbul’s Taksim Square, security forces “know how to clear it.”

Supporters of Recep Tayyip Erdogan converged in Sincan, a suburb of the capital Ankara that is a stronghold of his Justice and Development Party. The rally came just hours after protesters camping out in the adjacent Gezi Park defied earlier warnings to leave, vowing to press on with a two-week sit-in that has galvanized demonstrations around the country.

Erdogan warned protesters to cheers from the crowd: “I say this very clearly: either Taksim Square is cleared, or if it isn’t cleared then the security forces of this country will know how to clear it.”

A violent police crackdown on what began as an environmental protest over a redevelopment plan at the park has sparked a much broader expression of discontent about Erdogan’s government, and what many say is his increasingly authoritarian decision-making.

The anger has been fanned because riot police have at times used tear gas, water cannons and rubber bullets to disperse mostly peaceful protesters. Five people, including a police officer, have died and thousands of people have been injured, denting Erdogan’s international reputation.

Erdogan, who was elected with 50 percent of the vote for his third term in 2011, vehemently rejects the accusations by protesters and points to his strong support base.

A second pro-government rally is planned for Sunday in Istanbul, though Erdogan has previously said that the rallies were not designed as “an alternative” to the demonstrations at Gezi Park, but part of early campaigning for local elections next March.

On Saturday, Erdogan lashed out at what he called the “plot” behind the biggest street protests in his 10-year tenure.

“Over the last 17 days, I know that in all corners of Turkey, millions and billions have prayed for us,” Erdogan said, as he moved about the stage. “You saw the plot that was being carried out, the trap being set.” He said his supporters represented the “silent masses.”

“You are here, and you are spoiling the treacherous plot, the treacherous attack!” he said, insisting unspecified groups both inside and outside Turkey had conspired to mount the protests centered on Istanbul – and that he had the documents to prove it.

The crowd chanted in response: “Stand straight, don’t bow, the people are with you!”

In his speech, he focused on some protesters who have clashed with polices – at time by throwing stones and firebombs.

“There is no breaking and burning here, we are people of love,” Erdogan said. “If people want to see the real Turkey, they should come here to Sincan.”

Erdogan already has offered to defer to a court ruling on the legality of the government’s contested park redevelopment plan, and floated the possibility of a referendum on it. But concessions over the park seem to no longer be enough.

Earlier this week, Erdogan ordered Taksim Square to be cleared of protesters. Police moved past improvised barricades on Tuesday, firing tear gas and rubber bullets and using water cannons to fend off small groups of demonstrators throwing stones, bottles and firebombs. Tear gas was also fired through the trees into the park, although the protesters were not removed.

Taksim Square itself returned to normal right after the end of the police operation early Wednesday. Traffic returned, the protest banners and flags were taken down, and cafes set up their chairs and tables outside again. At night, demonstrators still spill out from the park down the steps, while riot police keep watch from the edges.

Tayfun Kahraman, a Taksim Solidarity member who met with Erdogan in last-ditch talks that lasted until the pre-dawn hours Friday, said the protesters had agreed to continue their sit-in at Gezi Park after holding a series of discussions.

“We shall remain in the park until all of our democratic rights are recognized,” he told The Associated Press, insisting that four key demands laid out by protesters in the talks had not been met.

The group has demanded that the park be left intact, anyone responsible for excessive police force resign or be fired, all activists detained in the protests be released, and the police use of tear gas and other non-lethal weapons be banned.

“As of today, with the dynamism and strength that comes from the struggle that has spread to the whole country, and even the world, we shall continue the resistance against all kinds of injustice and victimization in our country,” Taksim Solidarity said in a statement posted on its website and later read out in the park. The group didn’t say explicitly that it would remain in the park.

As the statement was read out, many among the gathered crowd clapped and began shouting, “This is just the beginning – the struggle continues!”

Although the most prominent group to emerge from the protests, Taksim Solidarity doesn’t speak for everyone occupying Gezi. With many protesters saying they have no affiliation to any group or political party, many could make individual decisions on whether to stay or leave.

But there were few signs of anyone intending to pack up Saturday afternoon, and the daily activity in what has become a tent city continued with little indication of change. Deliveries of bottles of water and food arrived, people lined up for servings of lunch, while others cleared garbage and swept the paths clean after the morning rain.

According to the government’s redevelopment plan for Taksim Square, the park would be replaced with a replica Ottoman-era barracks. Under initial plans, the construction would have housed a shopping mall, though that has since been amended to the possibility of an opera house, a theater and a museum with cafes.

Protesters angered by the project began occupying the park last month, but the police crackdown on May 31 saw the demonstrations spread to dozens of cities across the country. In recent days they have concentrated on Istanbul and the capital, Ankara.

Earlier Saturday, President Abdullah Gul wrote on Twitter that “everyone should now return home,” insisting that “the channels for discussion and dialogue” have opened – an apparent reference to the talks between Erdogan and a small group of delegates from the protest.

(Source / 15.06.2013)

Barghouthi: Israeli forces disperse Ramallah march

RAMALLAH (Ma’an) — Dozens of Palestinians were lightly wounded on Saturday when Israeli forces dispersed a march in Beit Liqya, west of Ramallah, Palestinian lawmaker Mustafa Barghouthi said.

The Palestinian National Initiative leader told Ma’an that the march was organized to commemorate the destruction of the Palestinian villages of Yalu, Imwas and Beit Nuba by Israeli forces in 1967.

Dozens of people were lightly injured and three vehicles were set alight as Israeli forces fired large amounts of tear gas and rubber-coated steel bullets at demonstrators, Barghouthi said.

One man was taken to hospital with chest injuries after being assaulted by Israeli forces, the Palestinian official added.

In 1967, Israeli military forces occupied the Latrun Valley, an area of land northwest of Jerusalem, and displaced villagers from Yalu, Imwas and Beit Nuba.

The villages were then destroyed and ‘Canada Park’ was built over the site.

The PLO has called the Latrun Valley an “integral part of the Occupied State of Palestine.”

(Source / 15.06.2013)