A Rohingya Tragedy: Land Confiscated and 14-Year-Old Minor Severely Beaten

Maung Daw, Arakan– The tragedy hit Rohingya family is in the village of Nuruallah of Bagguna village tract, southern Maung Daw. Mr. Abdur Rahim (50) is the head of the family. He had 14 acres of his ancestral land on which he had used to grow different seasonal crops. In the beginning of this year, Maung Daw Administrationa together with Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation Maung Daw confisccated 10 acres out of his14-acre land and gave the ownerships over to the Rakhines.

He has 4 acres of land under his ownership. Moonsoon season has started in Myanmar. It is time Rohingyas cultivated paddy crops. Paddy crop is the lifeline of Rohingyas in Arakan. Like others, Mr. Abdur Rahim, too, has started cultivating paddy on his farm land.

Yesterday (i.e. on 3rd August 2013), his 14-year old son, Ataur Rahman, a middle school student, went to their farmland with food for the working farmers. Meanwhile, four military personnel and three Rakhine extremists came up and chased the workers away. In the end, they caught the 14-year-old minor and forcibly took him to their camp. There, he was beaten so severely and inhumanely that he had his face, nose and head broken. They punched him, they kicked him and they beat him with the back of their guns. Blood shed and was all over his body.

Blood sheds over 14-year-old Ataur Rahman (Pic 1)

Blood sheds over 14-year-old Ataur Rahman (Pic 1)

The military are from the light infantry unity 352 in KayeMyaing, southern Maung Daw. And Rakhine extremists are also from the village of KayeMyaing. One of the three Rakhine extremists was identified as “Shwe Phru Thein (35).”

Blood sheds over 14-year-old Ataur Rahman (Pic 2)

Blood sheds over 14-year-old Ataur Rahman (Pic 2)

It is just one of the many tragedies that we have been facing here (in Arakan). It is double victimization. In fact, triple victimization!!

A Letter Issued by Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation

A Letter Issued by Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation

(Source / 03.08.2013)

The Hazara: A People Under Attack

“It is our religious duty to kill all Shias… in all of Pakistan, especially Quetta, we will continue our successful jihad against the Shia Hazara and Pakistan will become a graveyard for them.” -A letter of intent circulated by the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) in 2011


The Pakistani Hazara are undergoing systematic ethnic cleansing and, according to prominent politician Abdul Khaliq Hazara, nothing short of a “genocide.” In Quetta, Pakistan over 180 Hazara have been brutally murdered in two separate bombings in January and February of this year. These acts of terror, committed by Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ), a terrorist group with links to Al-Qaeda and the Taliban, are but the latest instances in the history of persecution endured by this predominantly Shiite Muslim community.

The Hazara can be distinguished by their language, a variant of Persian called Hazaragi, by their physical features, as they closely resemble Mongolians and East Asians, and by their cultural traditions, which are most similar to Turkic peoples. Scholars speculate that the Hazara are descended in part from the Mongol warriors of Genghis Khan, who invaded Central Asia in the 13th Century. However, in the wake of this recent targeting by Sunni extremists, the Hazara have been defined primarily by their Shiite Muslim faith.

Tensions between Sunni and Shiite Muslims­–divisions that date back to the 8th century­–have often resurged in discrimination and sectarian violence across the region. In the 19th century, for example, the Sunni Pashtun Amir Abdur Rehman ensured that “more than half of the entire Hazara population was massacred or driven out of their villages” in Afghanistan. Some Hazara managed to escape to the city of Quetta in the Balochistan province of modern-day Pakistan, where their struggle for peace continues today.

The Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, the self-professed perpetrator of the most recent attacks, operates primarily in Pakistan’s tribal areas. The mission of the LeJ is to cleanse Pakistan from what it sees as “impurities” in the faith via targeted violence against Shiites, and specifically the Hazara Shiite population. In the letter of intent quoted from above, the LeJ issued a warning to Pakistani Hazara: leave Quetta by the end of the year or face death. Since 2012, Amnesty International has reported the deaths of around 500 Shiites in 91 attacks throughout Pakistan, a significant portion of whom were Hazara.

Although the LeJ cites religious motives for its attacks on Hazara, there are political and historical dimensions to the conflict as well. After the 1996 takeover of Afghanistan by the Taliban, many Hazara allied with the United Front (or Northern Alliance) when full-scale civil war erupted. As a result of their political opposition to the Taliban in both Afghanistan and Pakistan, it has been speculated that the Hazara assist U.S. security efforts in the region. Considering the pervasive animosity towards the West in these countries, any perceived association with the U.S. is stigmatizing.

In response to anti-Hazara violence, the Pakistani government has been incompetent at best and complicit at worst. Despite an official ban of the LeJ in Pakistan in 2001 and its inclusion on the official U.S. list of terrorist organizations in 2003, the group functions with de facto impunity throughout Pakistan. The Hazara have been confronted in their places of work and worship, but they are no more safe in public spaces: armed men have been known to confront Hazara, regardless of gender or age, in marketplaces or on public buses, and shoot them point-blank. The government has not only failed to prevent these crimes, but it has also failed to consistently apprehend and prosecute the perpetrators. Many Hazara are murdered “in broad daylight” and often “gunmen do not even bother to cover their faces” because there has been no demonstration of state retribution.

According to Dr Hasan Askari Rizvi, a policy and defense analyst based in Islamabad, it is possible that the government overlooks attacks by the LeJ because there are other, more direct threats to state authority—like the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP)—that need to first be addressed. “The preference of the Pakistani state is to first go after those groups that challenge the Pakistani state, and just ignore the other groups. And that gives [groups such as the LeJ] enough space,” Dr, Rizvi explains. He also notes that strains of support for the LeJ and other extremist activities are widespread in the government because, historically “these militant groups have been allies of the state.” Consequently, the Pakistani military has adopted a “policy to appease and accommodate extremists.” Ali Dayan Hasan of Human Rights Watch reiterates these connections and points out that the LeJ fighters have an “historical alliance” with Pakistan’s military establishment that dates back to when they jointly supported the Taliban in Afghanistan after the Soviet retreat in the 1990s. In other words, considering this history, it is likely that many military and government officials are sympathetic to the LeJ’s anti-Hazara mission.

Whether it’s a product of inadvertent facilitation or active involvement, the state is effectively enabling these hate crimes. As Aziz Hazara, the vice president of the Hazara Democratic Party, has stated, “The government is responsible for terrorist attacks and killings in the Hazara community because its security forces have not conducted operations against extremist groups… But our people are very peaceful people. We only demand this is my right, a human being’s right, we want security and nothing else.”

For Pakistani Hazara, there is little hope of escaping these grim circumstances. Their home in Quetta has become inhospitable. There are limited opportunities to make a living or go to school due to discrimination and violent attacks. Hazara enrollment at the University of Balochistan has dwindled from 300 students to none after a series of threats that culminated in a student bus bombing in June 2012. Many Hazara have surmounted numerous obstacles in a search for refuge from this terror. Hundreds have ventured to Australia, for example, despite the enormous costs and risks of such a dangerous journey. Various other nations and the international community at large could be doing much more to assist Hazara asylum-seekers, but the root of the problem must also be addressed. In order for the violence to stop, the Hazara community’s status as a distinct political and ethnic entity must be defended by the government of Pakistan. It is the state’s responsibility to seek out and prosecute the perpetrators of these attacks and ensure that the military is taking the appropriate measures to prevent this violence. Thousands of innocent lives are at stake.

(Source / 03.08.2013)

Gaza: Normalization With Israel Under Hamas’ Nose

Palestinian protestors shout slogans during a gathering marking “Al-Quds (Jerusalem) International Day” in Gaza City on 2 August 2013.

It is not unusual for the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) in Ramallah to hold Israeli normalization events in Ramallah. However, it is strange indeed when such events take place in the Gaza Strip.

Gaza – Despite Israel’s daily violations of Palestinian rights and its army’s atrocities against the Palestinians, most recently during Operation Pillar of Cloud, some Palestinians view those who are supposed to be their enemies as close friends. Normalization has become a reality in certain quarters of Palestine, and many Palestinians, whether intentionally or otherwise, are taking part.

For instance, it is no longer odd to see joint Palestinian-Israeli camps under the sponsorship of the PNA in Ramallah. Actually, what would be strange is for a fortnight to elapse without hearing about some secret meeting between Palestinian and Israeli figures in areas controlled by the occupation or at the heart of Palestinian cities controlled by the PNA, or even outside of historic Palestine.

Palestinians and anti-normalization activists are used to reading PNA statements sanctioning normalization. But to them, when similar statements are issued by the government in Gaza, this is nothing short of scandalous. Consider for example the notorious incident of Tahsin al-Saqa, manager of marketing in the Agriculture Ministry in Gaza, who said that the participation of farmers from Gaza in the Agro-Mashov International Fresh Produce Summit and Exhibition in Tel Aviv back in June was meant to “acquire expertise and learn about new technologies in the world of agriculture.”

A few months ago, the rulers of the resistance-controlled Gaza Strip fired Fajr-5 and M-74 rockets that landed not far from the venue of the agricultural exhibition. But a short while after, they had no qualms about allowing a delegation of farmers, in coordination with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), to leave Gaza and attend the event – where they showcased produce from Gaza, paving the way for exports to Israel.


The Ministry of Agriculture in the Gaza government failed to provide a convincing explanation of its endorsement of this blatant act of normalization, and did not address the statements by Saqa either. The ministry issued a press release stating, “The participation at the agricultural exhibition was the result of a personal decision by the farmers themselves, to gain experience for development projects in Gaza.” 

One farmer who attended the exhibition confirmed to Al-Akhbar that Gaza’s participation took place with the knowledge and approval of Hamas’ government, to promote local agricultural products and establish business relations.

In reality, the agricultural expo in Israel was not the first event to bring together victim and aggressor in recent times. In January, 30 farmers from Gaza attended a similar event in the Eshkol settlement in the western Negev, near the Gaza border.

Khalil al-Sheikh, a journalist working for the Arab Center for Agricultural Development, said that the Hamas-led government does not see participation at the Israeli event as normalization, but as coordination that the Palestinians are forced to engage in because of Palestinian-Israeli economic links under the Paris Protocol.

Sheikh stressed that the government was fully aware of the cooperation between local companies and the Israeli occupation authorities to export certain agricultural products. However, Sheikh added, some NGOs believe that participation in such events is unacceptable.

Normalization in Gaza is not limited to agriculture, but also involves music and the arts, in a manner primarily aimed at young people. Two years ago, Israeli conductor Daniel Barenboim came to Gaza, which had not yet recovered from the war waged by Israel. Barenboim was invited by the UN and some Palestinian organizations to lead an orchestra of 40 musicians at the Mathaf Hotel in Gaza, an unprecedented event in the history of the Strip.

In the same vein, Haidar Eid, member of the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel, told Al-Akhbar that the Hamas government had denied that it allowed an Israeli conductor to perform in Gaza. However, it is near impossible to hold any event in the small enclave ruled by Hamas without the latter being aware.

Regarding efforts to combat normalization in Gaza, Eid said, “We expose all normalization activities through the media, and warn parties engaged in normalization against what they are doing.”

In 2013, an organization called One Voice has been active among young people in Gaza, hoping to rally more support for what it calls a permanent and comprehensive agreement between Israel and Palestine that would end the occupation. These ideas are the basis for the organization’s training courses in Gaza, often under the guise of “leadership skills and teamwork,” without there being any strong deterrent to counter these disguised normalization activities.

(Source / 03.08.2013)

Health of Palestinian hunger strikers worsening in Israeli jails: Ministry

Palestinian authorities have warned about the deteriorating health conditions of hunger striking prisoners in Israeli jails.

The Palestinian Ministry for Prisoner Affairs warned about the worsening health conditions of the Palestinian detainees who have gone on hunger strike in Israeli prisons.

The ministry said that the hunger strikers are at risk of death.

It added that the health condition of prominent Palestinian prisoner Abdullah Barghouti, who went on hunger strike more than three months ago, is getting worse in Afula Hospital.

The ministry said that Israel is still holding 5,100 Palestinian detainees, including 250 children and 14 women, in 17 prisons.

It also noted that 537 prisoners were serving one or multiple life sentences, including Barghouthi, who had the highest sentence of 67 life terms and an additional 250 years behind bars.

The report noted that about 1,400 prisoners were in a tough health condition, including 18 held at an Israeli hospital suffering from various disabilities, types of paralysis, heart diseases, and cancer.

Meanwhile, hundreds of Palestinians have marched through the streets of the Ramallah in occupied West Bank to show their support for the prisoners.

(Source / 03.08.2013)

Terror alert ‘reflects failure of US policy, shows Al-Qaeda power’


General view of the USA embassy in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia (AFP Photo / Str) General view of the USA embassy in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

The US State Department’s travel alert and closure of more than 20 US embassies in Muslim countries are the result of a failure of US policy in the Arab world, and indicate how powerful Al-Qaeda has become there, author and historian Gerald Horne told RT.

Washington on Friday urged US travelers to take extra precautions due to the “continued potential for terrorist attacks” in the Middle East and North Africa. The alert, which warned of Al-Qaeda activity“possibly occurring and emanating from the Arabian Peninsula,” is applicable until at least August 31.

More than 20 US embassies and consulates have been temporarily closed in Muslim countries due to a“specific threat,” while the “increased threat” of Al-Qaeda terrorist attacks has prompted the UK and Germany to shut down their embassies in Yemen.

The global terror scares clearly show that the US policy in Middle East and North Africa has backfired, says Horne, who is Chair of History and African American Studies at the University of Houston, Texas.

RT: With 21 embassies closing it doesn’t appear that the threat is that specific. What could we be talking about here?

Gerald Horne: Recall September 11, 2012, when the US Consulate in Benghazi, including US Ambassador Chris Stevens, were subjected to attack. Mr Stevens, as you recall, was killed. What this alert basically reflects is that US policy in that part of the world has backfired. For example, in Syria, the United States has encouraged, if not supported, a war against the Damascus-based regime of [President Bashar] Assad. This has involved a number of US nationals and European nationals going into Syria to fight with the so-called jihadists. This is giving a shot in the arm to Al-Qaeda backed forces, such as the al-Nusra Front in Syria, which is tied to Al-Qaeda in Iraq… In the last month [they] have been engaged in a spate of car bombings in Baghdad and the surrounding region. So it seems to me that the State Department alert reflects a failure of US policy.

RT: And this is indicative of how powerful Al-Qaeda has become?

GH: Absolutely. The rumors about Al-Qaeda’s death have been greatly exaggerated. It is not only the fact that you have the US collaborating with the so-called Islamists in 2011 to overthrow Colonel Gaddafi in Libya. It is the fact that those Islamists then spread their tentacles into neighboring Algeria, where there was an attack on an energy installation a few months ago, and into neighboring Niger, where the so-called Islamists attacked a uranium facility leading to a number of deaths. And into neighboring Mali where they took over basically Northern Mali before being expelled by the French forces. All this is a direct outgrowth, and a direct result of a failed US policy.

RT: What are the consequences of these embassies being shut? Could they be closed for a longer period – beyond Sunday?

GH: It is unclear how long these embassies and consulates will be closed down. But August is the month when US nationals, generally speaking, take vacations – and many of them take vacations and tours in that part of the world. Now with US embassies and consulates basically shuttered, this means that if they encounter any difficulties abroad they will not be able to go to their taxpayer-supported embassies and consulates to get assistance.

RT: Apart from embassies, what else or who else could be a target?

GH: Well, I am afraid to say, there might even be attacks, let’s hope not on the US mainland. I recall when there was a similar alert a few years ago, you had armed guards with machine guns in the Los Angeles airport, for example, because they were expecting some kind of attack. Obviously there are all sorts of US corporate facilities in that region that could be subjected to attack. It is a very dangerous turn of events.

RT: Is this a sign that US intelligence is actually working?

GH: Well, we’ll know within days or weeks. I don’t think so. Despite the drones, and the National Security Agency which monitors the Internet and bugs telephone calls, it is still astonishing how much the US intelligence agencies do not know about those who are plotting against US interests.


Security personnel for the U.S. embassy stand in front of the embassy in Tel Aviv (Reuters / Nir Elias)Security personnel for the U.S. embassy stand in front of the embassy in Tel Aviv (Reuters / Nir Elias)

(Source / 03.08.2013)

PFLP: Normalization “Iftar” an insult to Palestinian people, religion, and cause


images_news_2012_06_08_anti-normal_300_01The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine denounced the so-called “Palestinian-Israeli Iftar” held outside Ramallah by the so-called “YaLa-Young Leaders”, while Palestinian land is being confiscated, homes demolished, crops burned, Jerusalem Judaized and Palestinians tortured throughout the land of Palestine by the Israeli army and settlers, with no condemnation by the participants of these crimes.

The Front said that this is an abhorrent example of normalization that is offensive to the Palestinian people, and an offense to religion, the cause, and the truth. Further, the Front said that these events are held in secrecy from the Palestinian people and Palestinian popular sentiment and are publicized in occupation media and in international venues. The Front pointed out that this is once again evidence that those responsible for these activities are ashamed of revealing them in public.

The PFLP said that this is an indication of the political approach that accompanies the Oslo agreement: attempting to decide the fate of the Palestinian people and their rights behind the backs of the people and their political and social forces and movements. Those responsible do not represent the Palestinian cause or its owners.

The Front called for unifying Palestinian forces and our political, social and cultural figures and symbols, in light of the seriousness of these political and organizational destructive normalization activities, in a national media and academic campaign to condemn and cease these waves of normalization activities, and to activate the popular movement to stop the destruction that is undermining our national struggle, the steadfastness of our people and our cause.

(Source / 03.08.2013)

Syria opposition ‘deeply concerned’ for Italian priest

BEIRUT (AFP) — Syria’s main opposition group called Saturday for the immediate release of an Italian Jesuit priest who went to negotiate with jihadists and who is feared to have been taken prisoner.

The National Coalition said it “expresses its deep concern over the disappearance of Father Paolo (Dall’Oglio) over four days ago in Raqa and calls for the disclosure of any information that could help identify his location and ensure his safety.”

“We urge all parties involved in the disappearance of Father Paolo to immediately come forward and release him,” it added.

The opposition’s statement comes a day after the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights raised fears that Dall’Oglio has been taken prisoner by jihadists in Raqa, Syria’s only provincial capital to have fallen out of regime control.

Reports had earlier emerged that Dall’Oglio went on Monday to meet with commanders of the jihadist Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) to try to negotiate peace between Kurds and jihadists and to plea for the release of activists kidnapped by the group.

ISIS is behind the kidnapping of several activists in Raqa.

On Friday, the Britain-based Observatory said activists who demonstrated outside the jihadist group’s headquarters were told by ISIS that Dall’Oglio was their “guest”.

Long based in Syria, Dall’Oglio is a fierce critic of President Bashar al-Assad’s regime and its crackdown against dissent.

Known for his charisma and good relations with peaceful activists, he has lobbied several Arab and Western officials to support the democratic opposition for fear of the rise of radical Islamism.

On July 27, the priest posted a message on his Facebook page expressing joy that he was visiting Raqa.

“I arrived today in Raqa and I was filled with joy for two reasons. First, because I am in Syrian territory and in a liberated city, and second because of the remarkable welcome that this beautiful city has given me,” he wrote.

No new posts have been made on his account since.

In its statement, the Coalition described Dall’Oglio as “a wise man of peace and compassion (who) has worked hard to encourage unity and cooperation amongst all Syrians”.

Activists in Raqa, meanwhile, launched an online campaign demanding Dall’Oglio’s release, describing him as “the patron of peace”.

(Source / 03.08.2013)

Anti-Palestinian group to “monitor” boycott activists on campus

SPME website urges anti-Palestinian activists to “Report BDS Activity at Your School”

A group that works against Palestinian rights plans to increase its surveillance on American campuses in an effort to remove the “element of surprise” that it says has contributed to the growing success of boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaigns.

Scholars for Peace in the Middle East (SPME), a decade-old group supported by leading anti-Palestinian and Islamophobic funders and figures, announced in a 29 July email to supporters that it had launched a new initiative called “BDS Monitor.”

Alex Joffe, who “has been affiliated with the Middle East Forum,” the outfit of Daniel Pipes, will head the initiative, the email states.

Pipes, himself a former board member of SPME according to the group’s website, is one of the most notorious figures in the Islamophobia industry.

“Undermine the element of surprise”

“With the increase of BDS proposals around the country SPME believes a monitoring project will be a useful educational tool for faculty, students and other stakeholders who care about the well-being of academia,” the email says. “Further, we hope it will help defeat these bills while exposing the non-academic nature of the movement and its followers.”

The BDS movement calls for broad-based civil society boycotts, divestment and sanctions campaigns intended to pressure Israel to respect Palestinian rights, including academic boycott of Israeli institutions, and divestment from firms that assist or profit from Israeli occupation and human rights crimes.

Over the past year, numerous student legislative bodies have passed bills supporting divestment.

BDS Monitor “will create a monthly digest of global BDS activities, including a monthly newsletter that will include links to news items, organized by region, and to opinion and analytical pieces, with special attention toward insights from the pro-peace community.”

“The BDS Monitor will also begin to undermine the element of surprise that has been a key asset to BDS organizers,” the email claims.

Daniel Pipes launched a website called Campus Watch a decade ago, a McCarthyite project that kept a “blacklist” and encouraged students to spy on and report their supposedly anti-Israel and anti-American professors.

In that same spirit, the SPME’s website now has a form to “Report BDS Activity at Your School.”

“Pro-peace” facade

The SPME email alleges – without offering a shred of evidence – that “Pronouncements attempting to appeal to the conscience of academics supportive of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement often depict Israel as a Nazi-like state.”

It also claims that a “careful look at the BDS movement and its methodology shows not legitimate criticism but a movement that is racist and anti-Semitic.”

SPME’s reasoning? Because the 2005 Palestinian call for BDS supports the right of Palestinian refugees to return home. This, the SPME email claims, would mean a “flood of Palestinian refugees, which would mean the end of Israel as a Jewish state.”

SPME seems unaware that referring to a human population as an undesirable or destructive “flood” just because they are not members of a specific ethnoracial group (in this case Jews) is the very essence of racism.

While smearing supporters of Palestinian rights as “racists” and “anti-Semites,” SPME itself claims to represent a “pro-peace” community. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Anti-Palestinian funders

In 2010, SPME received $200,000 from the Klarman Family Fund, accounting for almost two-thirds of the group’s $322,000 income that year.

As Max Blumenthal reported for The Electronic Intifada in May:

The foundation is the charitable vehicle for Boston-based pro-Israel billionaire Seth Klarman. He is the principal funder of The Israel Project, an Israeli government-linked public relations and lobbying group run by former AIPAC spokesperson Josh Block, which has, among other things, taken dozens of journalists on helicopter tours in Israel and the territories it occupies.

With assests of more than $300 million, the Klarman foundation is one of the principal donors of the anti-Palestinian and anti-BDS industry, and has made major donations toMEMRICAMERAThe David Project and Friends of the Israel Defense Forces, according to its filings with the Internal Revenue Service.

Klarman is also a major donor to the Reut Institute and NGO Monitor, two groups that collaborate with the Israeli government in the effort to sabotage and attack the Palestine solidarity movement.

Other donors to SPME, though not as generous, have similar profiles. For example, the New York-based Bodman Foundation, which gave SPME $25,000 in 2008 according to the foundation’s IRS filings, also gave the same amount to Shurat HaDin. Shurat HaDin is an Israeli organization that has been at the forefront of efforts to use legal harassment to try to silence criticism of Israel in the US.

SPME’s board of would-be censors and Islamophobes

SPME’s “mission statement” professes that the group opposes “ethnic, national, and religious hatreds, including anti-Semitism and anti-Israelism” – a clear attempt to redefine criticism of Israel as a form of bigotry. It also claims to have a “commitment to academic freedom, intellectual integrity, and honest debate.”

Yet some its board members, in addition to Pipes, have been leading voices against Muslims on campus and have spearheaded efforts that amount to censorship and criminalization of speech.

According to its Internal Revenue Service filings and its website, SPME’s board of directors includes Tammi Rossman-Benjamin, Leila Beckwith, Kenneth Marcus, Charles Jacobs and Richard Landes, among many other key figures in the US-based anti-Palestinian movement.

Rossman-Benjamin and Beckwith are co-founders of the AMCHA Initiative, a group that has been part of efforts to criminalize criticism of Israel on California campuses. Rossman-Benjamin was caught on video last year generally vilifying students who advocate for Palestinian rights, Muslim students and international students as anti-Semitic and having “ties to terrorist organizations.”

Kenneth Marcus has been the leading force behind efforts to use the 1965 Civil Rights Actand other forms of “lawfare” to silence and suppress free speech critical of Israel.

Charles Jacobs, a founder of CAMERA and The David Project, openly campaigns against Muslim students on campuses. Jacobs has advanced bizarre conspiracy theories about the “Saudi influence at our leading universities.” He has also proposed that Muslim students “should be required to attend sensitivity training about Judaism and about American values of tolerance.”

Richard Landes has been a leading figure in efforts to defame Palestinians, including pushing the conspiracy theory, rejected by French courts, that the child Muhammad al-Durawas not really killed by the Israeli army in Gaza in 2000.

Landes also coined the term “Pallywood,” used by anti-Palestinian activists who claim that many documented cases of Israeli occupation forces maiming and killing Palestinians are staged.

Given these facts, SPME’s “BDS Monitor” appears likely to be another bigotry-driven exercise in on-campus espionage and intimidation against students and faculty who oppose, or want to inquire about, Israel’s racism and violence against Palestinians.

(Source / 03.08.2013)

Hebron youth group protests Prawer Plan

HEBRON (Ma’an) — A youth group in Hebron on Saturday organized a protest vigil to demonstrate against Israel’s Prawer Plan, which could displace thousands of Bedouin residents of the Negev from their land.Youth Against Settlements organized the protest as part of wider actions to protest the displacement plan of some 40,000 Bedouins in the Negev.

“We gathered here today, both local and international activists, to highlight that the Zionist entity is committing premeditated crimes,” Badee Dweik, a spokesperson from the group, told Ma’an.

“This is racism, displacement, ethnic cleansing and discrimination against Palestinians,” he said, adding that human rights groups must lobby against the displacement plan.

Protestors in Hebron chanted slogans denouncing the Prawer Plan and urged Palestinians to close ranks and unite so as to be able to support their compatriots in the Negev to struggle against “oppression and discrimination.”

Hundreds of Palestinians protested in the Negev on Thursday against the controversial plan.

A lawyer who joined the rally, Shihdeh Ben Berry, told Ma’an there was only one goal behind the protest and similar protests — to thwart the Prawer Plan.

“The people of Israel suffered in the past by the Nazis, and today they are mirroring their suffering against Palestinian minorities causing them to suffer the same and even more,” he said.

The so-called Prawer-Begin Bill calls for the relocation of 30,000-40,000 Bedouin, the demolition of about 40 villages and the confiscation of more than 700,000 dunums of land in the Negev.

It was approved by the Israeli government in January and by parliament in a first reading in June, and two more votes on it are expected.

UN human rights chief Navi Pillay slammed the bill last week, urging the Israeli government to reconsider its plans.

“If this bill becomes law, it will accelerate the demolition of entire Bedouin communities, forcing them to give up their homes, denying them their rights to land ownership, and decimating their traditional cultural and social life in the name of development,” Pillay said.

(Source / 03.08.20130)

Majority of terrorists in Sinai arrested: source


Army deplys in North Sinai

A rare calm hung over security forces deployed across North Sinai on Saturday. Authorities have not witnessed a single attack in the last two days there.
Since the overthrow of Islamist President Mohamed Morsy on 3 July, almost daily attacks rocked the lawless peninsula, killing army troops, police officers and civilians.
A security source meanwhile told Al-Masry Al-Youm the latest calm can be attributed to the fact the “majority” of terrorist elements in the Sinai have been arrested.
Those arrested, the source said, implicated other terrorist and criminal elements in the region, including those responsible for attacks against the army and police.
Palestinians, Syrians and Afghans, as well as Egyptians, were reportedly arrested on charges of attacking security forces, and are being detained in Cairo, the source claimed.
(Source / 03.08.2013)