Israel’s racists step up attacks on Palestinian citizens

Men stand near wall sprayed-painted with graffiti

Graffiti reading “Arabs out” and “Racism – Assimilation” in Abu Ghosh, 18 June.

Why are communities of Palestinian citizens of Israel increasingly the victims of racist vandalism at the hands of Jewish Israelis? Why were cars in Abu Ghosh damaged last week? Why were gravestones in Jaffa desecrated last month? Why was a school in Wahat al-Salam defaced last year?

Are attacks on these communities reprisals for anti-Semitic attacks that emanate from them? Is it because the sons of Wahat al-Salam crash cars into Jews? Is it because the youth of Jaffa perpetrate terrorist attacks against Israelis? Is it because the residents of Abu Ghosh provide protection to anti-Zionist suicide bombers?

The attacks listed in the first paragraph of this article actually occurred, but the ones listed in the second paragraph are totally false — I just fabricated them. No residents of these communities have been accused of committing crimes motivated by nationalism — or anti-nationalism, for that matter.

Even if any of them had been, it would not justify the collective punishment of these communities. But it would at least provide motives for attacks on these communities, motives that some Israelis might sympathize with: “revenge” for prior attacks on Jews, “intimidation” to prevent future attacks on Jews.

But again, residents of these communities are not suspected of having committed any hate crimes against Jewish Israelis. So what could be the motive for attacking them? In addition to the prescriptive messages spray-painted in previous attacks — “Arabs Out” and “Death to Arabs” — the perpetrators of the most recent acts of vandalism also included another slogan, one that does point to motive: “Racism or Assimilation.”

“Racism or assimilation”

For outsiders unfamiliar with the internal Israeli discourse, this phrase needs to be parsed. The vandals have posited these two nouns — “racism” and “assimilation” — as either-or options for Jewish people living in Israel. Aligning themselves with the first option, the perpetrators are acknowledging that their attacks on Palestinian communities are motivated by racism, and they are calling for more of the same. The other option, the alternative to racism, is the choice that they loathe: assimilation.

What is this creature called assimilation, and why do these self-professed racists hate it so much? Assimilation is simply the process by which individuals, or groups of individuals, adopt ideas from other individuals and groups of individuals. These racists want to prevent Jewish people from adopting ideas of other people because they want all Jewish people to adopt their own ideology: Jewish Dominionism.

Dominionists seek to transform the State of Israel from a democratic ethnocracy into a theocratic ethnocracy. The current government, a relatively secular regime that grants extra privileges to Jewish people on the basis of their ethnicity, is insufficiently Jewish in their opinion. The Dominionists want all affairs of state and all public spaces in Israel to conform to the rules of Orthodox Judaism.

If the Dominionists’ dreams were realized and they were able to forge the face of the state, what would it look like? At the first public conference of the Dominionist “Derech Chaim” movement in March, I listened to the movement’s leaders flesh out their shared vision for the future. They bemoaned the legal obstacles that hinder the accomplishment one of their main objectives: physically separating Jewish citizens from non-Jewish citizens in Israel.

Segregation

Dominionists do not make up a majority of the Jewish population in Israel; if they did, they would already have turned Israel into a full-fledged theocracy. But their desire to physically separate Jewish people and non-Jewish people into separate areas is shared by the secular segregationists, who do make up a majority of the Jewish population.

Secular segregationists do not want the country to be governed under the strict rules of Orthodox Judaism, but for their own racist reasons they would prefer to not have to see any non-Jewish Arab people as they go about their daily lives. When they seek medical attention at hospitals or recreation at amusement parks, there seems to be an increasing consensus among the majority of Jewish Israelis that religious segregation is a positive phenomenon.

To be sure, there are parts of Israel in which Jewish people and non-Jewish people choose to live close to each other and get along fairly well. They are few and far between, but they exist, and among them are Abu Ghosh, Jaffa and Wahat al-Salam. It is precisely because Jews and Arabs live there in relative peace that these communities are attacked. It is the option of Israelis and Palestinians living in a multicultural environment that the Dominionists want to eliminate.

If the government of Israel not only enabled segregation but also simultaneously enabled groups of Jews, Arabs and others to establish multicultural institutions and heterogenous communities, it could at least claim to be adhering to a libertarian interpretation of the right to equal treatment under the law. But there is only one such Palestinian-Israeli intentional community in the entire country — Wahat al-Salam — and as its first Palestinian resident told me just days before he died last year, it exists not because of the Israeli government’s efforts, but in spite of them.

While (what are likely) disorganized groups of Dominionist hooligans carry out physical attacks on mixed Arab-Jewish communities like Wahat al-Salam, highly organized groups of Dominionist activists move into mixed Arab-Jewish towns across the country with the avowed objective of preventing “assimilation” and eventually driving out the non-Jewish residents (Amy Teibel, “Devout Israeli Jews moving to Arab-Jewish cities,” Associated Press, 4 October 2012). And in the last three years, top Israeli political and religious leaders have stepped up their efforts to segregate areas of the country into Jewish and non-Jewish.

Racist rulings

In 2010, first dozens, and then hundreds, of chief rabbis on the government payroll issued a religious edict forbidding Jews from renting apartments to non-Jewish people. The rabbis justified their racist ruling by citing passages of the Bible which call for ethnic cleansing the land of Israel and implementing complete racial segregation (Deuteronomy 7). Their ruling still stands, and no disciplinary action was ever taken against the rabbis.

In 2011, Israel’s parliament, the Knessetpassed the Communities Acceptance Law, colloquially called the “Kaadan Loophole Law,” because it circumvented the Kaadan case at the high court, which made it illegal to bar a person from purchasing property just because he or she comes from a different culture. The new law granted hundreds of villages in Israel the right to veto home sales on the basis of the buyer’s background.

new government bill currently being debated in the Knesset would permit Israeli businesses to give preferential treatment to people who have served in the army. Although the law would also have a negative impact on some other groups, it is a thinly veiled attempt to sanction discrimination against Palestinian citizens of Israel, who, as a rule, do not serve in the military. If the law is enacted, it would essentially extend the legal right to segregate by religion to land developers in any area of the country, including downtown Tel Aviv.

After last week’s embarrassing attack in Abu Ghosh, just as a long list of Hollywood stars were visiting Jerusalem only a couple of kilometers away, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was quick to condemn the attack, saying that it contradicted the values of the Israeli people, and of the Jewish religion (“PM: ‘Price tag’ attacks contradict values of Jewish people and state,” The Jerusalem Post). While that may be true for some Israelis, and for some adherents of Judaism, these racist attacks are clearly in sync with the values of large number of Jewish Israelis, including secular segregationists such as Netanyahu himself, and the Jewish Dominionists that are his power-brokering political partners.

(Source / 24.06.2013)

6 Great Converts To Islam

Barmakid Family (600s-900s)

The Barmakids were a family of Buddhist administrators from the city of Balkh, in what is now Afghanistan. When the Umayyad Caliphate conquered the area in the the mid-600s, the family converted to Islam. After the Abbasid Revolution in 750, the Barmakids rose to prominence as talented administrators. They carried with them centuries of experience in the Persian Empire of how to manage large government bureaucracies, something the Arab Abbasid caliphs were ignorant of.

As viziers, they exercised great influence on the formation of the empire in the late 8th century. Yahya ibn Khalid al-Barmaki was particularly influential. He was appointed as the tutor and mentor to the young Harun al-Rashid, who would go on to become the caliph during which the Abbasids had their golden age. Under his tutelage, Harun al-Rashid managed to establish peace with the empire’s neighbors, exponential economic growth, the patronage of scholars, and a system of infrastructure that rivaled that of ancient Rome. The Barmakid family as a whole thus had a huge impact on the political shape of the Muslim world that would continue for centuries.

Berke Khan (Unknown-1266)

As the grandson of the great Mongol conqueror, Genghis Khan, Berke Khan was an important figure in the Mongol world in the mid-1200s. Like other Mongols, he originally practiced a form of pagan shamanism. As the leader in the Golden Horde – a Mongol army –  he was sent to the North Caucasus Mountains and Eastern Europe to subdue the Kipchak Turks. He eventually managed to lead armies all the way into Hungary.

Hulagu Khan's army attacking Baghdad

Hulagu Khan’s army attacking Baghdad

Then during his travels back towards the Mongol homeland, he stopped in Bukhara where he questioned local Muslims about their beliefs. He was convinced of the message of Islam and converted, becoming the first Mongol leader to accept Islam. After his conversion, many of the soldiers in his army also converted, leading to tension with the other Mongol armies, who were ravaging Muslim lands, including the ancient capital of the Abbasids, Baghdad.

After hearing of the sack of Baghdad in 1258 by his cousin, Hulagu Khan, Berke promised vengance, declaring, ”He (Hulagu) has sacked all the cities of the Muslims, and has brought about the death of the Caliph. With the help of God I will call him to account for so much innocent blood.” By allying with the Mamluk Sultanate of Egypt, Berke managed to hold back Hulagu’s army enough to prevent a major invasion (and destruction) of the remainder of Muslim lands in Egypt, Syria, and the Hijaz.

Zağanos Pasha (Unknown-1461)

Of Greek or Albanian origin, Zağanos Pasha was drafted into the elite Janissary corps of the Ottoman Empire as a child. Like other Janissaries, he was educated in Islam, civil administration, and military matters. He was soon appointed as a mentor and advisor for a young Mehmed II, who would later become the seventh sultan in the Ottoman dynasty.

When Mehmed became sultan, he appointed Zağanos Pasha as his second vizier. Zağanos Pasha was commonly consulted on all matters of state, especially the siege and conquest of Constantinople in 1453. During the siege, he was given command of a section of the army north of the city, and his troops were among the first to successfully capture a portion of Constantinople’s legendary walls. His legacy lives today in the numerous endowments (including mosques, soup kitchens, and public baths) in his hometown of Balikesir as well as in Edirne.

Ibrahim Muteferrika (1674-1745)

A page from an atlas printed by Ibrahim Muteferrika.

A page from an atlas printed by Ibrahim Muteferrika.

A common accusation thrown at the Ottoman Empire is that it was intellectually stagnant and resistant to any innovation. A Hungarian convert to Islam – Ibrahim Muteferrika – flies in the face of that idea. He was originally an Ottoman diplomat who managed to cultivate close relations between the Ottoman Empire and France and Sweden. As a result of his diplomatic work, he was exposed to European ideas on the Renaissance and the ubiquitous use of the printing press.

Back in Istanbul, he established a printing press, where he printed copies of atlases, dictionaries, and some religious books. Among his published works was a world atlas made by the famous geographer Katip Çelebi, which illustrates the entire known world at that time in incredible detail and precision. Besides simply printing books, Muteferrika also wrote on numerous subjects, including history, theology, sociology, and astronomy.

Alexander Russel Webb (1846-1916)

In late 19th century America, journalism was beginning to take off as an effective and influential medium for influencing the public. One of the men who helped spur this journalistic wave was Alexander Russell Webb. Unconvinced about his Christian religion, and being a well-read journalist, he began to read extensively about other religions, and was particularly interested in Islam. When he was appointed by the U.S. State Department to work in the American embassy in the Philippines in 1887, he took the opportunity to begin a correspondence with Muslims in India about Islam.

Although he was originally introduced to Islam through members of the unorthodox (and frankly, un-Islamic) Ahmadiyya Movement, he eventually found a path to mainstream Islam. He proceeded to travel throughout the Muslim world, studying Islam and meeting with scholars. In 1893, he resigned his post at the State Department and returned to America. Back in the United States, he published numerous books on Islam and started an Islamic newspaper explaining the religion to the American public. In the early decades of the 20th century, he continued to be a prominent voice for Islam in the United States, even being appointed an honorary Ottoman consul by Sultan Abdulhamid II. He died in 1916 and was buried outside Rutherford, New Jersey.

Malcolm X (1925-1965)

Unlike others on this list, Malcolm X is hardly a man who needs much introduction. Early in his life, he struggled finding his role in the world. After dropping out of school early, he constantly found himself in trouble, eventually landing himself in jail in 1946. During his 8 years in prison, he was exposed to the ideas of the Nation of Islam – a pseudo-Islamic group founded in the early 1900s based on the ideas of black supremacy and the evil of the white race. After being released in 1952, he met with the “prophet” of the NOI, Elijah Muhammad, and became a minister for the group.

Malcolm_X_003.jpg

Malcolm X

Due to his eloquence and incredible intelligence, Malcolm X quickly rose through the ranks of the NOI, becoming a leader of the group by the mid-1950s. As this was the era of the American Civil Rights Movement, Malcolm X became one of the foremost voices in America advocating for equal rights for African Americans. Contrary to another great leader, Martin Luther King, Malcolm X believed black people should defend themselves – even violently – if needed due to government oppression.

By the late 1950s, Malcolm X began to see some holes in the beliefs and ideas of the Nation of Islam movement. He left the group and embarked on a journey to find what true Islam is. He went to Hajj in 1964, then proceeded to tour Muslim and African countries. During this time he accepted true Islam and came back to America with a new found determination to spread Islam among the African American community. His public speaking on behalf of Islam and against the Nation of Islam made him many enemies among his old allies, especially when many of his fans began to leave the Nation in favor of mainstream Islam. The result of this was his assassination in 1965 at the hands of Nation of Islam thugs. Although his time as a Muslim was short, he was remarkably influential and continues to serve as a symbol for American Muslims and civil rights activists in the United States.

(Source / 24.06.2013)

Een mooi verhaal over De woedhoe

By Marianna Laarif

Ergens in een westers land brak de tijd van het gebed aan.

Een moslim betrad een openbare wasruimte om daar de woedhoe’ (rituele
wassing) te verrichten.
En tegelijkertijd was daar een niet-moslim man aanwezig die vreemd naar hem opkeek.
Toen onze broeder op het punt stond om zijn voeten te wassen,
hief hij zijn voeten omhoog om deze in de wasbak te plaatsen.
Dit werd de man die toekeek teveel,
waarop hij in alle verontwaardiging tegen de moslim schreeuwde:
“Wat doe jij nu!”
De moslim antwoordde met een glimlach op zijn gezicht: “Ik verricht de woedhoe’.”
De man zei: “Jullie moslims zijn maar viezeriken. Jullie vervuilen altijd
openbare plaatsen. En nu probeer je mij wijs te maken dat je
jezelf aan het reinigen bent, terwijl je nu de wasbak met je smerige
voeten vies maakt?
Deze wasbak is bedoeld voor het wassen van je
handen en gezicht en moet dus schoon blijven.”
Hierop vroeg de moslim: “Mag ik je een vraag stellen die je mij in
alle eerlijkheid zult beantwoorden?”
De ongelovige antwoordde: “Ga je gang.”
De moslim vroeg: “Hoeveel keer per dag was je jouw gezicht?”
Waarop de ongelovige antwoordde: “Eén keer per dag, bij het opstaan
en soms nog eens als ik overmand wordt door vermoeidheid en stress.”
De moslim antwoordde glimlachend: “Wat mij betreft, ik was mijn 
voeten vijf keer per dag. Vertel mij dan, wat is schoner: mijn 
voeten of jouw gezicht…”
Hierop was de ongelovige met stomheid verslagen en vertrok.

 

Arrest Campaign in Towns East of Jerusalem

JERUSALEM, June 24, 2013 (WAFA) – Israeli soldiers Monday arrested 11 people from two towns east of Jerusalem, according to local sources.

They said soldiers arrested nine people from the town of Izzariyeh after raiding their homes and two others, a father and his son, from nearby Abu Dis, arrested when the soldiers did not find a brother they were after.

(Source / 24.06.2013)

Palestine collateral damage to global elite: Allen Roland

Interview with Allen Roland

 “It’s money speaking here. It’s big money and they could care less. It’s like collateral damage. Palestine is collateral damage to the global elite. Think of the global elite; think of a global agenda and under those circumstances Palestine means nothing to them.”

Press TV has conducted an interview with Allen Roland, online columnist from Danville, California, about Apartheid and Palestine and international apathy toward the Palestinian situation.

The following is an approximate transcript of the interview.

Press TV: Israel claims it defends human rights, but what we’re seeing Palestinian miners being tortured by the Israeli military. Yes they deny the report and get angry. What has become of the issue of accountability before the international community?

Roland: There is no accountability. The first victim of war is children and youth. Guantanamo… America’s Auschwitz is Guantanamo. The world shame is Palestine. Jimmy Carter (former US president) rightly said, it’s apartheid in action. It is everything that we detest about ourselves and how you treat human beings. It’s intimidation it’s humiliation it’s extermination.

The message here to the Palestinians is that you’re expendable. It’s outrageous, it’s like a big blinding light of moral apathy, of moral depravity right in our eyes and everyone ignores it. It is truly shameful it is apartheid at its worst.

Press TV: Until when should the Palestinian cause be neglected in such a way?

Roland: Please, it’s apathy. It’s apathy, which extends across the whole planet. Number one it’s money speaking again; it’s people selling out on their moral values while they’re ignoring the obvious.

We see this happening in the United States all the time. It’s apathy, it’s the last stage of civilization, the next to last stage is apathy, where nobody cares. They ignore the obvious because it’s too uncomfortable.

Press TV: Every issue does have a solution. What can be done to get this issue over and done with?

Roland: Stop playing politics and really start listening to the people. It comes from people really taking a stand and going beyond the politics.

I don’t know if that’s going to happen or not, it’s certainly not going to happen with the Obama administration; it’s not going to happen with Clinton, it’s not going to happen with Kerry. It’s money speaking here. It’s big money and they could care less. It’s like collateral damage. Palestine is collateral damage to the global elite. Think of the global elite; think of a global agenda and under those circumstances Palestine means nothing to them.

The whole thing is money and maintaining the status quo. It’s not going to happen until we have people who basically are committed to change. That only happens from the bottom up. That has yet to happen… It’s slowly happening, but is yet to really raise its head.

(Source / 24.06.2013)

Jerusalem Church leaders protest at closure of Jaffa Gate

Monday, 24 June 2013 / Independent Catholic News – The Patriarchs and Heads of Churches in Jerusalem, have issued the following protest statement at closure measures that are taken by the Israeli Police at Jaffa Gate in the Old City of Jerusalem. They write:

We, the Patriarchs and Heads of Churches in Jerusalem, raise our voices in protest against the closure measures being taken by the Israeli Police at Jaffa Gate in the Old City of Jerusalem.

Every year, we write to the authorities to express our frustration with the frequent closure of Jaffa Gate, which is the only access to our Patriarchates, Churches and Convents. Instead of finding solutions to these interruptions that cause great inconvenience and disruption, the situation has gone from bad to worse.

The latest incidents we encountered took place during the “Festival of Lights” when many of our priests, including some of us (the leaders of the Churches) were unable to drive through Jaffa Gate to our homes and Churches. We were held for more than an hour at the Gate waiting to be allowed in.

This is most unacceptable for us, for the pilgrims and all residents of our neighbourhood!

We call upon the municipality and police to find practical ways to ensure constant and uninterrupted access through Jaffa Gate, especially, that there are more than forty days that various events take place outside Jaffa Gate during the year.

We hope that this will find listening ears and decisive actions, so that these folkloric and creative events will not negatively affect the life and ministry of our Churches. Thank you for your understanding and forthcoming cooperation in this matter.

The Patriarchs and Heads of Churches in Jerusalem

(Source / 24.06.2013)

Hamas official: Stopping Assad priority over ‘jihad in Palestine’

Abdel Aziz Dweik says Syrian regime is a “stab in the heart,” removal of Assad would boost Palestinian cause.

Hamas official Aziz Dweik [file photo]

Hamas official Aziz Dweik

A senior Hamas official in the West Bank is facing sharp criticism for stating that toppling the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad is more urgent than “jihad in Palestine.”

Abdel Aziz Dweik, Speaker of the Hamas-dominated Palestinian Legislative Council [PLC], told the Arabic newspaper Echorouk, that keeping Assad’s regime in power was “tantamount to a stab in the heart and chest of the Palestinian cause.”

Removing the Syrian dictatorship, he said, would pave the way for boosting the Palestinian cause.

Dweik, who’s is Hamas’s top political representative in the West Bank, said that although the Palestinian issue remains at the top of the agenda of Muslim scholars, halting the bloodshed in Syria has become a top and urgent priority for Muslims.

He said that the PLC fully supported the Syrian opposition in its efforts to “stop the bloodshed, which is a priority over anything else, including Jihad in Palestine.”

Click for full JPost coverage

Fatah spokesman Ahmed Assaf condemned Dweik’s statements as “extremely dangerous and harmful to the national interests of the Palestinian people.”

Assaf said that involving the Palestinians in the Syrian conflict and other internal Arab disputes would cause severe damage to the Palestinians’ “national project.”

Dweik’s statements do not represent the Palestinians, he added.

The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine – General Command, a Palestinian terrorist group affiliated with the Assad regime, also condemned Dweik’s remarks.

A spokesman for the Damascus-based organization said that the statements reflect the “depth of the crisis and frustration among those who are conspiring against Syria and its leadership.”

The spokesman identified the alleged plotters as the US, Israel and their “Arab helpers, including Muslim Brotherhood.”

In response, Dweik said that his remarks had been taken out of context. “Jihad and resistance have never stopped on the land of Palestine,” Dweik explained. “There is no priority over jihad and the liberation of Palestine.”

Dweik said that he what he meant in the interview was that halting the bloodshed in Syria should have priority over anything else, “and this does not mean jihad in Palestine.”

(Source / 24.06.2013)

UAE humanitarian efforts reach Afghanistan, Pakistan Palestine and Syria

ABU DHABI // Afghanistan, Pakistan, Palestine and Syria are among the countries that continue to benefit from the UAE’s humanitarian efforts, state news agency Wam said yesterday.

Besides the active role played by the Armed Forces units in supporting the Afghan government’s bid to restore security in the country, the UAE has also provided Dh5.5 billion in aid, mainly devoted to infrastructure projects such as building roads, schools, mosques and hospitals.

The UAE is the only Arab country performing humanitarian activities on the ground in Afghanistan, according to Wam and it is committed to building confidence and strengthening cooperation between Afghanistan and its neighbours, particularly Pakistan.

Given Pakistan’s proximity to the Arabian Gulf region, the UAE is keen to promote stability in the country and the Project to Assist Pakistan is carrying out 28 development and humanitarian projects worth Dh200 million in South Waziristan province, including schools and colleges.

In Palestine, the UAE is a major contributor to humanitarian assistance and development projects, as well as the Palestinian Authority’s budget, Wam said.

Overall, the Emirates has provided more than Dh11bn in aid to Palestinians, including development funds for infrastructure, housing, hospital and school projects. The country has also donated Dh639m towards reconstruction in Gaza.

As the second-largest Arab economy, the UAE’s foreign policy is also geared towards creating greater commercial opportunities with partners.

“The UAE’s fast-developing position as a financial hub for the region has further solidified and strengthened its position as a member of the global community,” Wam said.

The country places great emphasis on nurturing an expansion of commercial and investment links with countries and institutions worldwide.

In line with this approach, the Government aims to strengthen cooperation through bi and multilateral partnerships with African countries.

“The UAE is keen to fight poverty and ensure that Africa receives a fair and equitable share of global prosperity,” Wam added in its report.

And with the continued economic development of Asia, the UAE has stressed its desire to consolidate and develop ties with a number of Asian countries, including China and India.

(Source / 24.06.2013)

Ministry of Interior prepare for 30 June protests

The police will protect government facilities and remain neutral during the opposition protests set for 30 June said a statement by The Non-Commissioned Officers Club in the Ministry of Interior on Sunday. (AFP Photo)

The police will protect government facilities and remain neutral during the opposition protests set for 30 June said a statement by The Non-Commissioned Officers Club in the Ministry of Interior on Sunday.

The police will protect government facilities and remain neutral during the opposition protests set for 30 June said a statement by The Non-Commissioned Officers Club in the Ministry of Interior on Sunday.

The club’s spokesperson said that “the police’s role is to provide security services to all Egyptians regardless of their political, intellectual or religious affiliations,” stressing the police’s commitment to protect the country and the citizens.

The club also called on citizens to help the police perform their job, promising that officers will not retreat from their positions and will not leave people or institutions vulnerable to violence. The statement emphasised that “the police are a part of this nation and work on preserving its stability and security.”

The announcement concluded warning “the rioting elements” of 30 June protests from approaching any public facilities or police sites, as the police will deal firmly with any rioters. It also encouraged non-violence as a slogan for all events.

Minister of Interior Mohamed Ibrahim said in an interview on Saturday said that the ministry is committed to securing the protests and is prepared to prevent any “infiltrators” in the demonstrations from harassing peaceful protesters.

Previously, the ministry outlined its security plan to protect all future political events and demonstrations on the condition that they are within the boundaries of “democracy and freedom of expression.”

The ministry said it intends to intensify security patrols in all streets, squares, and main roads on 30 June. It emphasised that security forces will take the necessary measures to secure strategic institutions and buildings, including Ministry of Interior buildings, airports, seaports, the American Embassy, and the Egyptian Radio and Television Union building.

Opposition groups and the Tamarod campaign, a petition campaign calling for early presidential elections, have called for mass protests on 30 June.

(Source / 24.06.2013)

Israel breaks pledge to allow imprisoned Gaza engineer family visits

Dirar Abu Sisi’s continued imprisonment has exacted a heavy toll on his family in Gaza.

One year after Israel promised to allow Palestinian prisoners to receive visits from their families, it is still denying Dirar Abu Sisi the right to see his loved ones.

Abu Sisi, the deputy engineer of Gaza’s only power plant, was abducted in Ukraine, the country of his wife’s birth, in early 2011. He has been held in an Israeli prison since then. Throughout that time, his wife Veronika has only been able to have three telephone chats with him.

“The last call, which took ten minutes, was in January 2012,” she said. “When my mother died back in Ukraine, they refused to let us have a phone conversation.”

Isolation

Tal Linoy, an Israeli attorney who is representing Abu Sisi, accused Israel of reneging on commitments that it made to Palestinian prisoners last year following a mass hunger strike. As well as agreeing to allow family visits, Israel pledged to end solitary confinement.

Yet Abu Sisi is still held in isolation. Although Abu Sisi has not yet been tried for any offense, the Israeli legal system has approved the extension of his solitary confinement on four separate occasions. The latest extension — for a six-month period — was authorized in April this year.

According to Linoy, Israel can obtain court orders for solitary confinement on the grounds that a prisoner may endanger national security. “It is not difficult for the prosecution to convince the court to extend solitary confinement,” he said. “Every time, it shows to the court some secret ‘expert’ opinions, which we are not permitted to see and, as a result, can’t contradict what they say.”

It has been reported that Abu Sisi is accused of belonging to a “terrorist organization” and upgrading rockets used by Palestinians resisting Israel’s occupation of Gaza (“Shin Bet files indictment against ‘rocket godfather’,” The Jerusalem Post, 4 April 2011).

Health concerns

Linoy has submitted an appeal against the latest extension of Abu Sisi’s solitary confinement to the Israeli high court. The lawyer expressed serious worries about the state of Abu Sisi’s health.

Abu Sisi had a heart attack one year before his abduction. He also suffers from anemia and has encountered a sharp drop in his weight. He complains of frequent headaches and a loss of vision.

Linoy has fought a long battle with the prison authorities to ensure that tests are carried out on Abu Sisi’s colon. The lawyer is also seeking that a thorough check be performed on Abu Sisi’s liver as some concerns were raised by a scan on that organ.

“Dirar’s mental state also continues to deteriorate,” said Linoy. Doctors working for the prison authority have confirmed that he is suffering from depression and prescribed medication for him.

Stonewalled

Linoy has recently succeeded in obtaining a court order to have Abu Sisi assessed by an independent psychiatrist, without a doctor working for the Israeli prison service in attendance. But the assessment has not yet been done.

Linoy argued that international pressure could help to at least end Abu Sisi’s solitary confinement.

Dirar’s father Mousa Abu Sisi has been stonewalled when seeking an explanation from Ukraine about the circumstance’s of his son’s kidnapping. Dirar was on his way to Kiev when the abduction occurred. He intended to request Ukrainian citizenship followingOperation Cast Lead, Israel’s attacks on Gaza in late 2008 and early 2009.

While he was on a train from Kharkiv to Kiev, three men boarded his compartment. Two of them were wearing Ukrainian military uniforms.

He was then handcuffed, hooded and brought to an apartment, where he encountered a group of men who claimed to be from Mossad, the Israeli intelligence agency. Following an interrogation, Abu Sisi was flown to Israel in a coffin.

Mousa Abu Sisi has lived in Jordan for many years. He has requested meetings with the Ukrainian embassy in Amman to discuss his son’s treatment but the requests have been turned down. “The people of Ukraine should be ashamed of their government’s deeds,” he said.

Veronika Abu Sisi added: “If the Ukrainian authorities did not help Israel kidnap Dirar, who has got a Ukrainian passport, he wouldn’t be in jail now.”

Her husband’s imprisonment has exacted a heavy toll on the family. One of the couple’s children, Osama, was two years old when his father was abducted. Now four, Osama often clutches a photograph of his father and becomes upset when anyone tries to take it away from him.

“We live in darkness without any sign of sun,” said Veronika. “Dirar has been the sun for all of us. I only see him in my dreams.”

(Source / 24.06.2013)