PPP Denounces Political Arrests In Qalqilia

[Monday June 24 2013] The leftist Palestinian People’s Party issued a statement strongly denouncing the Palestinian security forces for arresting members of leftist parties, members of the Popular Resistance Movement, by Palestinian military intelligence officers, this past Sunday in Qalqilia, in the northern part of the occupied West Bank.

Palestinian People Party - PPP
Palestinian People Party – PPP

The PPP said that the security forces arrested several PPP comrades, and members of other leftist parties, in Jayyous town, north of Qalqilia.

It added that the arrests targeted activists of the Popular Struggle against the Israeli Annexation Wall in the town.

The arrests were carried out on Sunday before noon when Palestinian security officers broke into the homes of several activists, members of the PPP, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), the Democratic Front of the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP), and even members of the Fateh movement of President Mahmoud Abbas.

The PPP strongly denounced the arrests and demanded the immediate and unconditional release of all detained Palestinians, and also demanded the Fateh-led Palestinian Authority in the West Bank to stop targeting nonviolent resistance activists, and to stop all forms of political arrests.

“We need to support Popular Resistance in Palestine, all political arrests must be stopped”, the PPP said, “We need to support national unity and solidarity”.

(Source / 25.06.2013)

Israeli press group slams army’s detention of journalists

BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — A group of Israeli journalists condemned the detention of two Palestine TV journalists covering clashes in the Kafr Qaddum village in Qalqiliya on Friday, a statement issued Tuesday read.

Israeli Journalists for Palestinian Issues said Israeli forces must treat journalists as “neutral” and should not expose them to risk of shooting or assault.

“We are covering the Palestinian issue from all sides. We respect journalism and journalists should be treated with respect, kept far from assaults, regardless of politics,” the statement read.

Israeli forces detained Palestine TV reporter Ahmad Shawr and cameraman Bashar Nazzal after damaging their camera and preventing them from covering the weekly march in Kafr Qaddum.

Three people were injured by rubber-coated steel bullets in clashes with Israeli forces during the protests.

The group of 14 TV, online and radio journalists from Israel described the Israeli army’s response as “brutal.”

(Source / 25.06.2013)

The Young and Palestinian

shepard 4

The old will be brutalized. They will bleed, they will scream, they will claw their fingernails into the bones of the land that we will steal from underneath their hands, and we will then break their arms. They will be displaced, forcefully removed from their land, thrown into camps as if they are lifeless animals. They will die, and the young will forget.

It is the perfect crime. “The old will die and the young will forget,” said the first Israeli Prime Minister, David Ben-Gurion. The world may never know the truth because the memories will not last long enough to be attested and spread. Therefore, the oppressor will prevail, reaping off our continuous Nakba forever, slurping it up as if our demise is its nourishment.

But our indestructible ability to remember had not been foreseen. The oppressor had foolishly assumed the young would forget, paving way to its predominant injustice. Foolishly, the oppressor did not know the strength of the memory of the young, how the memories of the Nakba and the countless other Palestinian catastrophes are passed down one by one to each generation like a hot bowl of soup. We all take a sip for empowerment, for perspective. The memories travel through our minds, into our bloodstream and back into our hearts, and every beat we emanate from our parents. We slowly rise. There dreadful memories become our exploding will, and we rise to resist for them. We rise to resist for not only our justice but theirs.

It was an unspoken yet loud and overbearing story in my house growing up. We knew what happened to my father, his nine siblings, and to our grandparents in 1948, even before he shared it detail by detail. The Nakba is alive in his eyes, and we could see it burning. When Baba did speak of it, we listened with chills going down our spines. We heard the story of our family of refugees, our stolen land, our bloody plight. I then willfully demonstrate what Ben-Gurion was most mistaken of, that I, not only will remember, but I will rise to speak, vociferously.

It does not matter in what point of history this will be read, as it will remain equally relevant. It is the young that will liberate Palestine. It is the young that will tell the world what the old Palestinians were deprived of. Ben-Gurion was erroneous, and I will prove him wrong until the day that I pass. And when I am gone it will then be the duty of my children.

As we fight our accelerating occupation, our young minds are grasping, resisting, praying. Ben-Gurion was imprudent to believe we would somehow close our eyes to the imposed agony around us, that we’d numb our self into forgetting our pain, our family’s pain, our people’s pain.

“The old will die…” Ben-Gurion was not making any sort of revolutionary scientific statement here, he is correct, we will all face death. “…And the young will forget.” Here lays his senselessness. We have not forgotten; in fact we remember daily, and daily our oppressor’s worst fear is our ability to powerfully use our memory of our despoiled history to demand our future justice.

This is what it means to be young and Palestinian. It is our responsibility to continue for the rest of our lives remembering. It is our responsibly to continue for the rest of our lives understanding, studying, and arming ourselves with knowledge of every part and period of struggle within the Palestinian occupation. Proficiently enough, that not a single person we ever encounter will be able to challenge the Palestinian premise and demand of freedom. We must learn our personal story, our family’s story, our neighbor’s story, and the stories engraved but hidden in the soil of our land. And then we must use them to resist, to speak, to teach all who may ever want us to forget, our collective unforgettable story. The old will die, and the young will liberate Palestine.

(Source / 25.06.2013)

Casualties suffered in IOF storming of Salfit



SALFIT, (PIC)– Casualties and fainting were reported among citizens during confrontations between Israeli occupation forces and Salfit inhabitants.

Local sources said that young men confronted the IOF raid on their city at a late hour on Monday night, which continued until dawn Tuesday.

They said that the IOF soldiers fired rubber bullets and tear gas canisters in alleys leading to the casualties.

The sources said that the soldiers served summonses to four citizens in the city including two liberated prisoners, adding that IOF raids on Salfit and provocations against its inhabitants had increased lately.

(Source / 25.06.2013)

Breaking down Ahmad al-Assir: the man behind the beard

Ahmad al-Assir, a Lebanese Sunni Muslim cleric, was virtually unknown two years ago before the conflict in Syria erupted.

Ahmad al-Assir, a Lebanese Sunni Muslim cleric, was virtually unknown two years ago before the conflict in Syria erupted. His strong statements against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his allies, including Lebanon’s Shiite group Hezbollah, placed him on the political spectrum.

Ahmad al-Assir plays with a ball at the beach.

He was one of the first in Lebanon to organize demonstrations against the Damascus regime, which was in control of Lebanon for almost 30 years.

Assir again made headlines on Sunday when his supporters fired at a Lebanese army checkpoint in the southern city of Sidon, where the cleric is based. He has previously accused the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) of supporting Hezbollah and ignoring the fact that the powerful militant group is in possession of weapons and has dispatched its fighters to Syria to battle with Assad forces against rebels, most of whom are Sunni.

In turn, the cleric called on his followers to head to Syria and take part in the battles against the president.

The latest spark of violence between Assir’s supporters and the LAF comes amid rising sectarian tensions in Lebanon between Shiite supporters of the Assad regime and Sunnis who sympathize with the Syrian rebels.

Who is Ahmad al-Assir?

Assir, the eldest of five children, was born in 1968 to a Shiite mother and a Sunni father, renowned for taking part in a TV singing competition, “Studio al-Fen.”

His father used to sing and play instruments, including the Oud and Derbakeh. However, according to AFP, Assir convinced him to stop singing and turn to Islam.

Female supporters of Ahmad al-Assir engage in a snowball fight in the Faraya ski area in Mount Lebanon.

Religion did not play a big role in the childhood of Assir, who is currently the imam of the Bilal bin Rabah Mosque in Sidon, which lies around 40 kilometers from the Lebanese capital, Beirut.

“I grew up in an artistic house… there was no room for religion,” Assir told the Lebanon-based NOW website.

However, he said that it was a “turning point” for him when Israel invaded southern Lebanon in 1982; he was only 15.

“I started thinking about life and death a lot, and I wanted to learn about religion,” he told NOW. “Of course, I had to struggle with my parents a lot. They rejected the idea not because they were against religion but because they were scared from everything called ‘a militia’.”

Ahmad al-Assir (C) poses with his entourage at a beach in Sidon.

Nohad, Assir’s sister, told AFP that her brother once supported Hezbollah’s resistance against the Jewish state, “but he left when he saw the truth” about the Shiite group.

Assir has one brother, Amjad, and three sisters, Nohad, Waseela and Nagham. The Muslim cleric is married to two women, both whom wear the full-face veil, and has three children from the first wife.

Assir and the media

Since 2012, Assir has provided the media with more than just “sectarian-driven” statements but also stunts that would surely get the people’s attention.

In April, photographs of him and his entourage circulated online showing the men – most of whom have long beards – playing in the water and posing on the sand wearing white T-shirts and shorts.

Ahmed al-Assir rides his bicycle.

Later that year, the cleric was widely ridiculed for riding a bike around an anti-Hezbollah sit-in to reportedly inform his supporters of his talks with officials.

However, the most criticized stunt of all was when Assir took dozens of his followers to a Lebanese ski resort, Faraya, infuriating Christian locals. He was accused of stirring sectarian tension when he and his followers publicly started praying in the mostly Christian area.

Pictures of the cleric and his supporters – including women wearing the niqab – playing in the snow went viral.

Assir and Fadel Shaker

Also pushing Assir into the limelight was prominent Lebanese singer Fadel Shaker.

The singer shocked citizens when he unexpectedly turned up at an anti-Assad rally organized by the Muslim cleric, whose movement reportedly forbids singing.

Fadel Shaker kisses Ahmad al-Assir on the forehead.

Shaker, alongside Assir, announced that he now believed all non-Islamic music to be “haram” or forbidden and that he will no longer take part in that “superficial” culture but focus on Islamic studies.

“He was my father’s friend, and he used to participate in his parties, however, my acquaintance with him does not go far back,” Assir told NOW referring to Fadel Shaker. “It started because of him repeatedly coming to Bilal bin Rabah Mosque after I did not my duty and paid my condolences to him following his mother’s death.”

(Source / 25.06.2013)

Egyptian grand mufti condemns Shia killings as a worse sin in Islam than destruction of sacred Kaaba in Mecca


Egyptian grand mufti condemns Shia killings as a worse sin in Islam than destruction of sacred Kaaba in Mecca

(Ahlul Bayt News Agency) – Egypt’s Grand Mufti Shawqi Allam strongly condemned the mob killing of four Shia Muslims in a Giza village on Sunday, an incident which has heighten fears of worsening sectarian frictions in Egypt.

Four Egyptian Shias were killed in a mob attack in the village of Zawyat Abu Musalam in Giza on Sunday.

An anti-Shia crowd gathered outside the house where a group of Shia Muslims were celebrating birth anniversary of twelfth Shiite Imam. The violence, which included the murder of four Shia residents and the injuring of several others, was captured on video.

“Islam does not recognise such [violent] practices which contradict human nature,” Allam said on Monday.

The senior Sunni cleric stressed that bloodshed is highly prohibited in Islam and is deemed more serious a sin than the demolition of the Kaaba, the Muslims’ sacred building located in Mecca.

One of those killed was a prominent Shia leader, Hassan Shehata.

Allam went on to explain that Islam prohibits the mutilation of the dead body. “Islam mandates treating the body as a living human, prohibiting beating and dragging of corpses.”

Allam warned against mounting sectarian friction in Egypt that has “sucked the country into a vortex of violence.”

(Source / 25.06.2013)


By Peter Clifford

“I look forward to your reports like a child waiting for Xmas” – AD


Opposition fighters are currently defending against an all out assault on multiple suburbs around Damascus as the Assad regime tries to eliminate them from the capital’s Sunni strongholds.

Fierce battles are raging in the districts of Qaboun, Barzeh, Jobar, Al-Hajar Al-Aswad, Daraya and Yarmouk, with activists reporting that conditions are dire following the Syrian Army shell and rocket barages that preceded the ground attacks.


FSA Fighters on the Offensive

The neighbourhoods lie in the northern, eastern and southern outskirts of the capital, but observers believe that even if Assad won back these areas he would not have the man power to hold them.

From the Opposition side, Qaboun and Barzeh in particular are crucial to any Free Syrian Army led invasion of central Damascus.

A Government tank convoy was seen firing in all directions as it travelled on the highway along the edge of the Jobar and Qaboun neighbourhoods, HERE:

However, this does not stop Opposition fighters equipped with anti-tank missiles from striking back, even at tanks moving at speed, as can be seen HERE:

This video shows heavy fighting in Jobar yesterday, HERE:

In southern Damascus, where there is a major battle ongoing between Sunni Islamists and Shia fighters from Hezbollah and Iraq around the Sayyed Zanaib shrine, these pro-Assad combattants were seen making a run for it, one of them being shot in the leg, HERE:

Opposition fighters are also reported to have shot down another military aircraft in the Damascus countryside of Eastern Ghouta and the pilot was filmed parachuting to the ground, HERE:


In Aleppo, the Opposition has decided, after Qusair, that “attack is the best form of defence”, dealing with a predicted assault by Government forces on their positions in the city by launching an offensive of their own.

So far this seems to be succeeding with Opposition gains apparent in western districts of the city. Violent clashes are also reported around the Palace of Justice to the east of the Citadel and Opposition fighters are very near to the Military Research Centre, firing on the building and trying to surround Government positions in Hoihna.

Opposition fighters have also taken parts of the Suleiman al-Halabi district and the secured electricity substation, (Arabic only) HERE: Unconfirmed reports say that a convoy of Red Crescent vehicles trying to reach the isolated and Opposition besieged Aleppo Central Prison, was fired upon by Assad troops.

In the Aleppo countryside the major Opposition attack on the Mennegh airbase continues using Chinese HJ-8 anti-tank missiles: HERE:  , a Russian made 9K113 Konkurs to hit a tank inside the base, HERE:  and a homemade, but impressive, “volcano mortar cannon”, HERE:

The recent delivery of new weapons, particularly anti-tank missiles, seems to be making a difference to the FSA and their allies. In the last 36 hours no less than 10 regime tanks have been reported as “destroyed” and a number of others have been captured.

This morning, Tuesday, there is an unconfirmed report that 50 Assad soldiers have defected in the Aleppo countryside. Further details awaited.

This map published yesterday, courtesy of Cedric Labrousse, shows the current position of the Opposition forces (Green) and Government forces (Red) in Aleppo and the surrounding area.  Note the complete isolation of the Al-Kindl prison hospital and the Aleppo Central Prison to the north-east. You can see a larger version of the map, HERE:


Aleppo Conflict Map 24.6.13


In Idlib province, violent clashes are reported around the Wadi Daif military base which has been under siege for months by Opposition forces.  Opposition fighters are also reported to have captured another Government checkpoint on the road from Idlib to Latakia, seizing tanks, weapons and ammunition, HERE:

It is also believed that the Opposition are preparing a major attack on the Government positions still in Idlib city in hopes of capturing it in its entirety. Al Jazeera has a video report, HERE:

In Deraa, the provincial capital in the south, Government forces are reported to have withdrawn from around the National Hospital after losing a number of tanks and in Raqqah province to the north-east of the country, Opposition fighters shelled a convoy of pick-ups trying to escape the besieged Syrian Army base of Brigade 93.

In Homs province, where the a pro-Assad force of around 800 attempted to storm the Opposition held town of Al-Qariytain, the FSA managed to destroy 2 tanks and kill a number of attacking soldiers, despite jet and helicopter strikes on the city and its outskirts.

Read this moving account of life inside the destroyed districts of Homs city, where a 6 storey building owner has fled the country leaving it to refugees and those remaining struggle every day to find food and to set up some sort of education system for their displaced children. HERE:


Car Destroyed in Sectarian Fighting in Lebanon

On the international front, sectarian clashes have spread to Lebanon, where fighting between the Lebanese Army and followers of the Sunni cleric Ahmed Assir led to the deaths of 47 including 16 soldiers in the southern Lebanese town of Sidon.

5 Shi’ites in Egypt were also killed near Cairo after being set upon by an angry mob of Sunnis. The Egyptian Government has issued arrest warrants for the murderers.

Hopes for an international “peace conference” on Syria to be held in July, seem to be fading fast as the conflict escalates militarily and no solution to preconditions from both sides is found.

In Qatar the Emir, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, aged 61, has surprisingly handed power to his 33 year old son, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, in order to give the “younger generation a chance”.

Sheikh Hamad took over from his father in a bloodless coup in 1995 but has since led Qatar to extraordinary political influence and the highest per capita of any nation in the world.

No change is expected in the Gulf state’s support for the Opposition fighters in Syria.  The BBC has a video report, HERE:

(Source: http://www.petercliffordonline.com/syria-news-2 / 25.06.2013)

Armed group attacks Libyan oil guards’ headquarters

Gunmen in Tripoli attack headquarters of Petroleum Facilities Guard on Tuesday, killing one and injuring five
An armed group guarding a major Libyan oil field attacked the headquarters of the Petroleum Facilities Guard in Tripoli on Tuesday, and one person was killed and five were wounded in the violence, the oil force said.In a statement on its Facebook page, the Petroleum Facilities Guard, which secures Libya’s oil facilities, said the armed men were from the western mountain town of Zintan and were among guards who protect the Sharara oilfield. Sharara can pump around 350,000 barrels per day.

“A group of armed men came to attack the headquarters. We tried to defend it and there were clashes,” Colonel Ali Elahrash, of the PFG, said.

“Everything is now under control.”

A source within the force said the men were said to be disgruntled after another group was given supervision of a drill in the area, but this could not immediately be verified.

Members of the Zintan group could not immediately be reached for comment.

The PFG statement said five people were injured in the fighting including three bystanders and two members of the oil force. Elahrash later told Reuters one bystander had been killed in the violence, which ended after backup – from the oil force and national guard – came to oust the attackers from the headquarters in the southern outskirts of the capital.

“The attackers went onto the roofs of nearby buildings and started shooting. They also used heavy weapons,” the statement said. It added there had been negotiations with the men before the clashes but gave no further details.

The Zintan group was said to have fled to a compound, where an angry crowd later gathered following the death of the bystander, Elahrash said. Clashes then broke out between the crowd supported by armed militias and the Zintan group.

“The fighting is quite heavy,” he said.

The PFG operates under the official remit of the Defence Ministry, but only about 2,000 of its 15,000 members have had training from the military.

The rest are former rebels who fought to oust Muammar Gaddafi in the North African country’s 2011 war.

Ill-trained and using weapons left over from the conflict, the men have fought amongst themselves in the past, causing disruptions at oil facilities.

(Source / 25.06.2013)

Lebanon faces tumult after deadliest Syria-related clashes

Lebanese army soldiers deploy at a mosque complex, where hardline Sunni cleric Sheikh Ahmed al-Assir was believed to be sheltering with his supporters in Abra near Sidon, southern Lebanon, June 24, 2013. REUTERS-Ali Hashisho

Lebanese army soldiers patrol the area of a mosque complex, where hardline Sunni cleric Sheikh Ahmed al-Assir was believed to be sheltering with his supporters in Abra near Sidon, southern Lebanon, June 24, 2013. REUTERS-Ali Hashisho
Lebanese army soldiers carry the coffin of Corporal Abdul Karim Kabalan Teimy during his funeral in Al-Faaour, near Zahle town in the Bekaa Valley June 24, 2013. REUTERS-Stringer

(Reuters) – The Lebanese government will try on Tuesday to secure the country after the deadliest violence since the start of a two-year conflict in neighboring Syria that has pushed Lebanon’s myriad militia to clashes.

Gunfights between the army and Sunni Muslim radical groups in the southern port of Sidon extended into Monday night after Lebanese soldiers stormed a complex holding gunmen loyal to a radical Islamist cleric and arrested dozens of his supporters. Violence also spread to the city of Tripoli in the north.

Residents fear that Syria-related clashes could drag their country back into sectarian civil war. Lebanon is still struggling to heal the wounds of 15 years of war between 1975 and 1990 and remains home to armed sectarian militia.

The army said 12 soldiers were killed in Sidon where troops stormed the mosque complex of hardline Sunni cleric Ahmed al-Assir. A medic told Reuters that 22 bodies had been pulled from the mosque complex.

Late on Monday, clouds of smoke rose from the mosque. Assir’s office across the road was completely destroyed. At least four tanks and several army vehicles at the scene had been torched. Assir remained at large.

The government declared Tuesday a day of mourning for the dead soldiers and caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati and premier-designate Tammam Salam issued a statement late on Monday rejecting “any attack on the army”.

Sidon had been on edge since violence erupted last week between Sunni and Shi’ite Muslim fighters, at odds over the Syrian conflict which pits mainly Sunni rebels against President Bashar al-Assad, who is a member of the minority Alawite sect, an offshoot of Shi’ite Islam.

Lebanese Shi’ite militant group Hezbollah has sent fighters into Syria to help Assad’s forces recapture a strategic town, enraging Sunni groups.

Fighting started after gunmen loyal to Assir opened fire on an army checkpoint on Sunday, the army said. Assir’s supporters accuse the army of backing Hezbollah.

The government called for the need to secure Sidon and “prevent all armed manifestations in a comprehensive manner.”

Violence spread on Monday to Tripoli, where gunmen opened fire on the military and blocked roads with cement blocks and burning tires. Clashes there have wounded two soldiers and three gunmen.

In the capital Beirut, militia loyal to both sides blocked roads. Local media reported that some hardline Sunni mosques in Tripoli and Beirut called for jihad, or holy war, in support of Assir. Jihadi feeds on Twitter were also full of calls for Sunnis to fight in support of him.

(Source / 25.06.2013)

Samer Issawi denied medical tests as medical neglect and abuse is rampant in occupation prisons


samer-isssawiThe Israeli Prison Authority in Shatta prison refused to allow prisoner Samer Issawi, who went on the longest hunger strike in the world, to undergo medical tests to assess his current health condition as he continues to recuperate from his hunger strike.

Issawi told his lawyer that he submitted a request to have medical examinations, but no response yet from the prison administration. Issawi was quickly removed from the hospital following his strike and has repeatedly been denied additional medical attention in the past months.

In addition, the Palestinian Prisoners’ Society said on Sunday that prisoner Ahmed Khallouf, who has been in jail for nine years, suffers from a deteriorating health condition and needs urgent surgery.  The society added that its lawyer visited Khallouf and conveyed his appeal to international human rights groups, especially the Red Cross, to intervene with the Israeli prison authority to allow him to undergo surgery on one of his foot.

According his brother Nidal, prisoner Khallouf suffers from an infection, a painful swelling in his left foot and a constant fever, and needs surgery to treat the inflamed foot as prescribed by doctors. He stated that the Israeli prison administration is reluctant to provide his brother with proper medical treatment and allow him to have the surgery.

Prisoners in Askelan have been refusing treatment in the prison clinic since Sunday due to consistent medical neglect and maltreatment in the prison, reporting that there are over 30 ill prisoners in the prison including Fuad Shobaki, who suffers from a number of health issues, including high blood pressure, hemorrhoids and tooth pain, yet is denied all medical treatment.

(Source / 25.06.2013)