PFLP-GC to coordinate safe exit for Palestinian refugees in Yarmouk

DAMASCUS (Ma’an) — The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine – General Command has agreed with Syrian authorities to facilitate the exit of all Palestinian refugees who wish to leave Yarmouk camp, the militant organization said in a statement.

The plan for the refugees’ exit will be announced at the beginning of the next week, PFLP-GC media official Anwar Raja was quoted as saying in the statement Thursday.

Raja said that the Syrian Ministry of Social Affairs, the Syrian Red Crescent, and the General Authority for Palestinian Refugees had prepared shelters for those who wish to leave Yarmouk, and that the refugees would be provided with the necessary infrastructure for a decent standard of living.

Syria will compensate the refugees for any damages inflicted upon them by the national crisis, the statement said.

The PFLP-GC, a militant organization that has been operating in Syria for decades, has been an active force on the side of the Assad regime since 2012.

(Source / 07.11.2013)

What is polonium?

Read more on the history of the rare and highly radioactive substance found in Arafat’s final personal belongings.

One gramme of polonium-210 could theoretically poison and kill about 10 million people
Polonium is a rare and highly radioactive element. It is found naturally in the atmosphere and in the earth’s crust, though in miniscule quantities. World-renowned scientist and Nobel laureate Marie Curie discovered the element in the late 19th century and named it after her native country Poland (Polonia in Latin).

Polonium has dozens of isotopes. One of the most common is polonium-210, which emits highly radioactive particles, known as alpha particles. This was the isotope found on Yasser Arafat’s personal effects during Al Jazeera’s initial investigation into What Killed Arafat?

Because of its radioactivity, polonium has been used as a trigger for nuclear weapons, and as a power source for satellites and other spacecraft. The Russian space programme used it to heat rovers that landed on the Moon in the 1970s.

Polonium is harmless when it is outside the body, but after ingestion it becomes one of the deadliest substances know. An amount equivalent to the size of a particle of dust is lethal.

Ingesting just 50 nanogrammes, or inhaling 10 nanogrammes, of the substance can cause death. This means one gramme of polonium-210 could theoretically poison and kill about 10 million people.

What are the symptoms of polonium poisoning?

Because there have been so few recorded cases, there is not much scientific literature on the subject.

The handful of human cases, as well as animal studies, suggest symptoms similar to other forms of radiation poisoning – vomiting, diarrhoea, hair loss, and a low white blood cell count.

After ingestion, polonium quickly gets into the bloodstream where it bombards blood cells with millions of radioactive alpha particles, which damages vital organs – first the liver and kidneys, causing jaundice and then the intestines causing toxic shock syndrome. Finally it attacks the heart.

How is polonium produced?

Polonium occurs naturally in uranium ores, but at extremely small concentrations; as low as 100 microgrammes per tonne of ore.

Rather than laboriously extracting it from uranium, modern-day manufacturers create polonium in nuclear reactors by bombarding the element bismuth with neutrons. Most of the world’s polonium supply is produced in Russia.

Natural levels of polonium that accumulate on surfaces barely register, and the element disappears quickly. Polonium-210 has a half-life of 138 days, meaning that half of the substance decays roughly every four-and-a-half months.

(Source / 07.11.2013)

Largest camp for Syrian refugees becoming a city

In this October 22, 2013 photo, a Syrian refugee carries his tent in a wheelbarrow at the Zaatari Refugee Camp near the Syrian border in Jordan. With 4,000 families still in tents and more arriving, demand for the 18,000 trailers is high

ZAATARI CAMP — The manager of the region’s largest camp for Syrian refugees arranges toy figures, trucks and houses on a map in his office trailer to illustrate his ambitious vision. In a year, he wants to turn the chaotic shantytown of more than 100,000 people into a temporary city with local councils, paved streets, parks, an electricity grid and sewage pipes.

The Zaatari Refugee Camp near Jordan’s border with Syria, is far from that ideal. Life is tough here. The strong often take from the weak, women fear going to communal bathrooms after dark, sewage runs between pre-fab trailers and boys hustle for pennies carting goods in wheelbarrows instead of going to school.

But with Syria’s civil war in its third year, the more than 2 million Syrians who fled their country need long-term solutions, said Kilian Kleinschmidt, who runs Zaatari for the UN refugee agency.

“We are setting up… a temporary city, as long as people have to be here,” said Kleinschmidt, a 51-year-old German. The veteran of conflict zones is getting help from urban planners in the Netherlands.

Many Zaatari residents acknowledge, if reluctantly, that a quick return is unlikely.

“At the beginning, we counted [our exile] in months, then years, and now maybe decades,” said Khaled Zoabi, in his 60s, drinking tea and smoking with other refugees in a trailer-turned-men’s social club.

Signs of refugees putting down roots are everywhere, just 15 months after the camp opened.

Many tents have been replaced with trailers, with satellite dishes installed on roofs. Refugees have started hundreds of businesses, offering anything from semi-automatic washing machines and haircuts to freshly baked pastries and ground coffee. The camp has three schools, two hospitals and a maternity clinic.

Each day begins before dawn with calls to prayer echoing across the flat land. Desert nights are cold, and in October, two UN-issued blankets per person aren’t enough. Kleinschmidt hopes to move more refugees from tents into the warmer trailers before winter.

On a recent morning, four men sat waiting around a trash fire near the arrivals area. On the way were relatives fleeing the rebel-held Ghouta district near Damascus, under siege by President Bashar Assad’s troops.

One of those waiting, 18-year-old Malik Salim, made the journey a month earlier, driven from Ghouta by hunger and regime shelling. Men caught at Syrian army checkpoints risk arrest or death, he said.

Dusty and dazed, the newcomers — often in the hundreds each day — line up for UN blankets and tents.

Mahmoud Joumma, 39, stood with his wife and two boys, five- and 10-years-old, by a pile of blankets. They lost their home in Syria’s central city of Homs last year in government shelling and for months sheltered in abandoned apartments. With shelling worsening, they decided to head to Jordan, a four-day journey.

Joumma, a former bus driver, said he hopes Assad and the opposition can reach a political deal. “If they don’t, God curse them both.”

As newcomers settle in, veterans begin their morning routine.

The camp’s five bread centres open at daybreak. About 500,000 pitas are handed out daily — four per person.

At the largest centre, near the main gate, women and girls enter on the left, men and boys on the right. Each hands a yellow ration card through a metal divider and receives bread.

Bread is free, as are rice, bulgur and lentils. Each person also gets six dinars ($8.5) worth of food stamps every two weeks. With that, they buy eggs, milk and chicken, and groceries at markets that redeem coupons.

Refugees have created their own camp economy, but its rules are murky. Gangs of thugs have arisen to control some dealings, including a black market in UN-issued supplies, Kleinschmidt said.

Camp residents earn money by providing goods and services, from selling homemade pudding to schoolchildren to telling fortunes from coffee cups.

Money gets injected into the camp economy from the cash refugees managed to bring with them, sent to them by relatives or from business partnerships with Jordanians.

Another source of money: The camp employs 1,500 cleaners and orderlies, for a dinar an hour. The jobs are rotated every two weeks. Street leaders — put in place by residents — choose who gets them, and many complain of favouritism.

There’s also a thriving business in electricity, land, tents and trailers.

Some 350 refugees with technical skills have illegally diverted electricity from the public lighting system to about 70 per cent of the households, charging for hookup and maintenance, Kleinschmidt said. The “electricity ministers”, he calls them, tongue-in-cheek.

The grid is haphazard. Overloaded transformers sometimes explode. In the end, the UN foots the electricity bill to the Jordanian government — about $500,000 a month, likely to reach $700,000 in the winter.

No refugee owns the land — but they do sell it, especially spots in the downtown market where shop stalls line what the residents call Main Street and Saudi Street. Businesses there are bought and sold for hundreds of dinars.

Those leaving the camp sell their trailers for 300 to 500 dinars apiece — or up to $700. Kleinschmidt says foreign donors, including Arab Gulf states, suspended trailer distribution three months ago, in part because they wanted reassurances that police prevent their sale outside the camp. He said the distribution was to resume in coming days. With some 4,000 families still in tents and more arriving, demand for the 18,000 trailers already in the camp is high.

Social classes have emerged.

Wealthier merchants live in relative comfort.

Anas Masri, 33, owns a fruit and vegetable stall on Main Street. He said he makes as much as he did with a similar shop in Damascus — enough to buy four trailers in Zaatari for his family of 10.

In contrast, Mariam Bardan, her husband Khaled and their four children still live in a tent, 11 months after arriving. Six people share four mattresses and wash in an annex of corrugated metal. Rats enter the tent.

Khaled, 44, recently got his first camp job as a street cleaner.

The 43-year-old Mariam gets up at 6:30am, picks up the day’s bread and walks her three daughters, aged seven to 13, to school, while her 20-year-old son looks for work. When the girls return at 11:30am, Mariam fixes bread, olives and white cheese. The girls do homework, watch TV or accompany Mariam to visit relatives.

Mariam cooks dinner in a communal kitchen. The day’s dinner is chicken stew, a rare break from the monotony of lentils and bulgur made possible by the food vouchers.

Mariam shudders at the idea of being a refugee for years, like the Palestinians.

“We can’t stand living here forever,” she said. “With God’s will, we won’t stay here more than a year.”

Many Zaatari residents come from conservative rural areas where families are large, conflicts are settled by tribal elders and girls marry in their mid- to late teens.

The trauma of war and tough camp conditions have strained social ties and raised tensions.

Stabbings and fistfights were frequent a few months ago, Kleinschmidt said, though they have subsided.

Girls seem more vulnerable to being pressured into marriage to ease the financial burden on their families.

Jordanian men sometimes tour the camp, asking for potential brides who would accept a lower dowry than Jordanian women.

They often ask at a bridal shop on Main Street run by Sarah Abu Zeid, 19, and her brother Yousef, 18. “In Jordan, it’s expensive to get married,” said Sarah.

She said she knows of several Jordanian-Syrian marriages that ended in quick divorce, suggesting the Jordanian men exploited the women.

Most in Zaatari no longer agree to such matches, said Sarah. “They think we are sheep,” she said of the prowling men.

White gowns with glittery beads hang from a rack in the bridal shop. Sarah and Yousef charge 30 dinars for hair, makeup and dress rental, sometimes dressing several brides a day. Their low prices have even attracted Jordanians from the nearby town of Mafraq, already dwarfed by Zaatari’s population.

Camp weddings are marked by quiet family gatherings. Celebrations are frowned upon because of the war, said Sarah.

She has rejected several marriage proposals. “I don’t want to raise children in this environment.”

Kleinschmidt, who has been posted previously in Somalia and Pakistan, said Zaatari has been his toughest assignment. When he came in March, “it seemed overwhelming because of the level of violence, which I thought was really shocking”, he said. “That is not the case anymore today.”

He’s trying to balance between enforcing some structure and not imposing too many restrictions.

“The overall approach, also chosen by the local authorities, is not a full enabling environment but at least not a prohibiting environment,” he said.

Zaatari remains like a favela, or Brazilian slum, he said, often with the “strong prevailing over the others”.

But traditional community leaders are beginning to reassert themselves over thugs, he said.

Kleinschmidt is starting to set up neighbourhood councils in the camp’s 12 districts, where local authorities, community police and refugees would handle local problems. It’s a balancing act, he said, because he doesn’t want to spook his Jordanian partners by suggesting a permanent city is being built. “This is a very fine line we all have to grapple with,” he said. “How do you find that balance between making life comfortable, making people accountable for what they are doing, but also making sure that they will be able to leave?”

The camp boss is working with the Association of Municipalities in the Netherlands on a plan for Zaatari, including self-governance, a proper electricity grid, water and sewage networks, more paved streets and even green areas. At some point, camp residents who have some income would have to start paying for utilities.

“It empowers them to return as responsible people in dignity, and the dependence syndrome is reduced,” he said.

Zaatari in numbers

  • Residents: More than 100,000
  • Households: 13,500 (capacity 15,000)
  • Area: 530 hectares (1,310 acres)
  • Distance from the Syrian border: 12 kilometres
  • Established: July 2012
  • Districts: 12
  • Trailers: 18,000
  • Tents: 10,000
  • Shops: 2,500
  • Schools: 3, with more than 16,000 students enrolled
  • Boys moving goods in wheelbarrows for a small fee: More than 1,000
  • Residents earning income: about 65 per cent
  • Daily cost of operating the camp: at least $500,000
  • Monthly electricity bill for the camp: $500,000
  • Daily bread distribution: 500,000 pieces
  • Daily number of water trucks: 350
  • Daily number of sewage trucks: 200
  • Daily water use per person: 45 litres
  • Hospitals: 3, including one for maternal delivery
  • Clinics: More than 10
  • Babies born every month at the camp: more than 200
  • Deaths: about 200 since the camp opened
  • Number of refugees who have passed through Zaatari: 350,000 to 360,000

(Source / 07.11.2013)

German documentary highlights difficulties of Palestinians’ life in Israel

AMMAN — German documentary “Absent-Present” sheds light on the life of Palestinians in Israeli cities, places its protagonists see as their habitat but not as home.

Highlighting the paradox of existing in a country without truly living, the film follows a Palestinian family over four months amid protests, evictions, detentions and meetings of Israeli-Palestinian dialogue groups.

Directors Claire Roggan and Antonia Traulsen told The Jordan Times that they shot the 80-minute documentary in 2010 as a project for their master’s dissertation.

“European media and the public tend to focus on the Palestinians living in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, ending up knowing very little about those living inside Israel, so we decided to approach the topic from a different angle,” Roggan said following the film’s screening in Jabal Amman’s Rainbow Theatre on Wednesday.

After the 1948 Arab-Israeli war, the state of Israel was established on Palestinian land and later expanded illegally in the wake of the 1967 Middle East war, occupying the West Bank and the Gaza Strip and annexing East Jerusalem as part of its capital, a move never recognised at the international level.

According to UNRWA, over 3 million Palestinians fled the country in the aftermath of the conflicts, finding sanctuary in neighbouring Jordan, Lebanon and Syria, while another 3 million ended up in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank.

“What was more striking while filming the life of the Jabarine family is how Palestinians cope with all the difficulties they face on a daily basis in Israel, ranging from getting searched by police, fears of losing their homes and being denied the right of protesting,” Roggan said.

The documentary also touches on the “absentee ownership” property issue in Jaffa, a major port and cultural centre of the Arab world before Tel Aviv was established in 1909 by Jewish settlers.

Following the foundation of Israel, many of Jaffa’s Arab population were either expelled or fled, leaving their homes behind, which the Israeli government now wants to sell.

Israel says these homes were abandoned by their Arab owners during the war, and when the war ended, it turned them into public housing for both Jewish and Arab families, according to Reuters.

But Palestinian refugees said in the documentary that their families were driven out of Jaffa and still lay claim to homes there.

Members of the audience responded enthusiastically when some Palestinian political activists threw stones at Israeli soldiers during an unauthorised protest and thanked the filmmakers after the screening for showing the country’s reality.

Around half of Jordan’s population is of Palestinian origins and, with over 2 million refugees registered in the Kingdom, it hosts the largest number of displaced Palestinians, according to UNRWA.

“We are eager to show our documentary in Europe and, especially in Germany, where, because of our history, the government’s official stance is to support Israel’s policy,” Traulsen said.

Berlin has reiterated its support for a two-state solution in the Middle East while urging a speedy resumption of peace talks, criticising Israel’s settlement-building programme, and abstaining in a UN vote which upgraded Palestine’s status to “non-member observer state“ last year, Reuters reported.

(Source / 07.11.2013)

Israel arrests 25 Jerusalemites on charges of incitement by social media

Social media arrests10 of 25 youths who will be prosecuted.

Israel has arrested 25 young men and women after raiding their homes in several neighbourhoods of Jerusalem city.

The director of the Prisoners’ Club in Jerusalem, Nasser Qus, said that Israeli forces have arrested 25 young men and women. The forces have raided their families’ homes and confiscated their personal computers and mobile phones on charges of incitement against the state using social networking site Facebook.

Qus said the Israeli authorities have released 15 youths, including all the women but kept 10 youths who will be prosecuted.

(Source /07.11.2013)

US looks to allies to destroy Syrian chemical arms

UN vehicles leave a hotel in Damascus on Oct. 3, 2013 as experts begin their mission to catalog Syria’s arsenal of chemical weapons

BRUSSELS (AFP) — Washington has contacted several of its allies, including Belgium and France, for possible help in destroying Syria’s chemical arsenal, a Belgian foreign ministry spokesman said Thursday.

“The Americans held an exploratory working brief in early October with Belgium, Norway, France and Albania to see what capacities each might have to treat chemical weapons,” the spokesman told AFP.

“There was no formal request, it was more making contact to ask a country about its scope of options,” he added.

Under UN Security Council Resolution 2118 passed in September, Syria’s entire chemical arsenal, estimated at about 1,000 tons, is to be destroyed by June 30.

Late last month, Norway ruled out accommodating a US request to help destroy the arms on its soil, saying the schedule was too tight.

The massive destruction operation, agreed after a chemical attack against a Damascus suburb in August left hundreds dead, is being supervised by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).

The OPCW, which is currently inspecting chemical weapons’ production and storage sites in Syria, is due to adopt a roadmap for their destruction by Nov. 15.

“That is when international assistance will be necessary and this is why the United States is contacting its allies, and not just the initial four,” the foreign ministry spokesman said.

(Source / 07.11.2013)

Observations from Occupied Palestine, Part 1 – Eva Bartlett

Over the years since May 2007, I have lived in different areas of occupied Palestine, witnessing the crimes of the Zionist entity and sharing in the daily tragedies, injustices and realities of Palestinians’ lives.

In the occupied West Bank in 2007, I volunteered with the International Solidarity Movement for eight months, during which time I was detained at a protest against a Jewish-only highway in the West Bank, arrested at a road-block removal action, and was finally deported and banned from occupied Palestine.During those months, I was witness to the ugliest aspects of life under Zionist rule: attacks by illegal Jewish colonists (also armed) and by Zionist soldiers on Palestinian children, women, elderly; humiliating military checkpoints, some with zoo-like turnstiles, all which serve to delay or completely prevent Palestinians’ movement; and raids and weeks-long lock-downs on Palestinian towns and cities, in which the Zionist army ransacks homes and usually abducts one or more member of the family, including children. There are currently195 Palestinian children in Zionist prisons.

In Susiya, a hamlet in the South Hebron Hills, I witnessed land being stolen and quickly annexed by the illegal Jewish colonists. As we were documenting this annexation, a colonist gleefully admitted that the land was Palestinian but that the grape vines they’d planted on the land were worth 60,000 shekels (roughly $17,500) and were intended for wine production. “It doesn’t matter. See, the grapes we grow will be wine. And I will drink the wine. It doesn’t matter all that you speak.”

I slept in the tents of the Palestinian families who two decades earlier had been evicted from their homes and now reside in ramshackle tents many times demolished by the Zionist army—and always under threat of the next demolition. We stayed with them in hopes of preventing the inevitable attacks by the nearby colonists. Hajj Khalil, an elder in his eighties, had been brutally beaten by colonists the year before I met him. He was again, along with his wife, brutally beaten the year after meeting him.

In encounters with the army which has a military base near Susiya, I would often hear them call the occupied West Bank “Judea and Samaria,” testament to their ignorance and brainwashing. Then again, the Zionist occupation army website doesn’t even pretend to recognize Palestine either, historic or current, likewise referring to “Judea and Samaria.”

Khalil (Hebron) itself is one of the most phenomenally brazen examples of illegal Jewish colonists’ control of Palestinian land. Roughly 800 armed colonists have the run H2, an area of Khalil under full Zionist control. Particularly in Tel Rumeida, the attacks have been frequent and severe over the years, their sadistic aggressions supported by Zionist soldiers. The Palestinians of all ages are frequently targeted, and families have been brutally evicted from their homes by the colonists who then occupy the homes.

Many times over in occupied Palestine, I found myself and other solidarity activists doing things which seemed to be an utter waste of time. In Khalil, we would stand for hours near the military checkpoints and monitor whether Palestinians were unduly been held back or prevented passage by the Zionist soldiers.

In some cases our presence shamed the soldiers and Palestinians were allowed passage, but in most cases the soldiers were so belligerent they didn’t care whether we saw (and filmed) their acts of cruelty against Palestinians. Often we, too, were detained or arrested by the Zionist soldiers when refusing to leave an area suddenly deemed a “closed military zone,” a tactic the Zionist army uses to both keep Palestinians and internationals out of an area, and also to annex more Palestinian land (as was the case of Susiya).

On Shuhada (Martyrs) street—once the thriving and prosperous main street of Khalil, now a ghost-street, homes shuttered and racist, hate-graffitti sprayed on doors and walls—we would sit for hours under the sun, merely as a presence which might dissuade the colonists from attacking Palestinian children as they walked to school, or Palestinian women and elders as they moved about. Sitting for hours seemed like a colossal waste of time, but in many cases being present did actually enable a degree of safe passage.

We participated in rebuilding homes demolished by the Zionist military under feeble pretexts of lack of building permits (Israeli-granted) or zoning laws. On one such occasion the family we were with was re-building for a third time. The Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions estimates that at least 27,000 Palestinian homes have been demolished since 1967 (not including those bombed in Gaza). Under the “Prawer Plan,”the Zionists intend to displace 70,000 Palestinians with “Israeli” citizenship, destroying 35 villages in the Naqab desert, occupied Palestine.

In olive season, we joined families in areas known for brutal attacks by the illegal colonists, harvesting olives with the Palestinian locals until the inevitable attacks occurred. On one occasion, a Palestinian received a nasty head wound from the hefty rocks slung at him. I narrowly missed receiving a rock to the temple, my camera-hand blocking it. The six or so colonists on a hill above us were not chagrined when we yelled that they were going to kill someone. It was, after all, their intent.

Another absurdity during olive harvest season, and in general to any farmer trying to access his/her land, is the need to obtain a permit, one granted (or not) by the Zionists. And even with this permit, there is no guarantee that the Palestinians will be able access and work on their land.

During a military invasion in the old city of Nablus, in the north of the West Bank, we walked the streets to bring food to Palestinians trapped in their homes, and escorted those who had been outside of their homes when the “curfew” (lock-down) was imposed. At one point during the evening lock-down, after escorting three women to houses surrounded by Zionist soldiers, a Palestinian medic we were with was taken captive by the soldiers, blindfolded and hand-cuffed, and used as a human shield to deter Palestinian resistance from fighting back against the invading soldiers. None of our attempts to negotiate his release were successful; informing the soldiers that taking civilians—medics yet—captive as human shields was illegal had absolutely no impact. After all, Zionists are above the law…

Bil’in, a village north of Ramallah, was one of the first villages to protest the gargantuan,illegal wall the Zionists are building which snakes deeply into the already occupied West Bank. Since 2005 men, women, children, and elders from Bil’in have marched every Friday on their land, protesting this latest Zionist annexation and the loss of 60% of village land. They are systematically met with an assault of live ammunition, rubber-coated metal bullets, and volleys of tear gas.

The “rubber” bullets are in fact metal bearings with a very thin coating of rubber, often intentionally split open before being shot, in order to inflict maximum injury. They are meant for use only on the legs, but Zionist soldiers routinely shoot at the face.

The amount of tear gas fired on Bil’in protesters is staggering, but more lethal is the manner in which they are fired: often they are shot directly at the person, which in the case of Bassam Abu Rahme resulted in his death. Shot from a mere few metres away with a high-velocity tear gas canister, Bassam didn’t survive. As of his killing in April 2009, he was the 18th protesting against the wall to be murdered by the Zionist army, many 14-16 year olds and a 10 year old among the dead.

Those seen as organizers are systematically abducted, both during the demonstrations and also during night raids on the village, and are usually kept without charge for months on end, some of the 134 Palestinians being held in Zionist prisons under “administrative detention.”

Participating in Bil’in and the numerous other Palestinian villages holding such Gandhian protests, we marched with them and were likewise debilitated by the clouds of tear gas. When it seemed the army was going to abduct a Palestinian, we would attempt to “de-arrest” him/her. On one occasion, by wrapping our limbs around Adeeb, one of Bil’in many times abducted protesters, we managed to fend off his arrest, but took a beating to the body and kicking to the head before the soldiers lobbed a tear gas canister directly at us.

The irony of such brutality on the various non-violent protests is that corporate media often say, “why aren’t there any Palestinian Gandhis?” But every day of surviving under Zionist rule is in itself non-violent protest, not to mention the actual demonstrations happening every week.

While I’ve witnessed horrific acts of violence and degradation against Palestinians at the hands of the Zionist army and colonists, in my roughly four years in occupied Palestine, I’ve also surprisingly seen much beauty, generosity, culture, and resilience.

This would not be surprising to anyone who knows Palestinians, but to an observer hearing only of the various wars the Zionist state inflicts on the occupied Palestinians, one would hardly expect beauty and life to flourish.

However, suffering and tragedy far outweigh joy and hope, in an imbalance similar to that of the power imbalance between the heavily-armed Zionist state and the armed with rocks and home-made rockets occupied Palestinians.

The least I can do, we can do, is to work on shifting that power imbalance, towards one of justice.

(Source / 07.11.2013)

Resistance only way to liberate Palestine

Islam Times – An interview with Franklin Lamb, international lawyer, about US Secretary of State John Kerry travel to the occupied Palestinian territories to encourage Israelis and Palestinians to resume talks as Tel Aviv has recently moved to advance settlement construction on the territories.
Resistance only way to liberate Palestine

 Question: Sir, what are your perceptions of Kerry’s visit, and how can the so-called peace process continue with the Israelis belligerent attitude, as it continues the settlement building and it continues with the demolition of Palestinian homes in occupied territories?

Lamb: Yes. Just one comment on Kerry’s mission. Eleven days he has got in the region and he is going to tough the job in a lot of brush fires to put out, of course the Saudi issue and the Syrian case but in the case of Palestine, it is clear that these peace talks are dead on arrival as has been the so-called peace process.

He is hoping that at least the Americans want to see him relevant in this but the fact to the matter is, isn’t it, that the Zionists want what it referred to as a Catholic genuine victory remembering the Roman Punic Wars against Carthage.

They want total control, total destruction, total humiliation. So I think that the chances of any happiness result wise is very unlikely but he has got other problems on this mission and that is the Saudis and it seems that in his language today and yesterday he is trying to link no daylight between the American and the Saudi position. You know, he commented on that they were saying the same goal in Syria i.e. regime change and the same that the Americans and Joe Biden always say about the Zionists, where there is no daylight. So it equals no daylight between the Saudis position, the Zionist position and the Americans.

So I think with that as backdrop to his current mission but no, there won’t be any progress. The only thing that is going to liberate Palestine and we all know it and they know it, is going to be resistance. That is the only option. And it is going to continue and it is going to have to increase.

Q: And talking about the issue of settlement building, it is illegal internationally, the United States has also stated that it is illegal and it does not support the settlement buildings but why can’t they get the Israelis to stop the settlement constructions?

Lamb: I was in a lecture last week I think it was today with the UN representative, he was talking about the fact that the UNIFIL has had over a hundred and fifty meetings with the Zionists over the over flight and the violation of the sovereignty here.

The conclusion is they have no ear to listen. They operate in a different mindset, a different psychology, a different view of the world and they are placed in it so international law is meant to apply to other nations, you know, of the ninety seven members of the United Nations but not to them.

They ignore it and they know that the Americans won’t do anything about it and that is one of the big major problems. These settlements will go on, nothing will stop them except the resistance and the Palestinians themselves because they cannot get help at this stage of history from the international community.

(Source / 07.11.2013)

Amnesty International confirms violation of Morsi’s human rights


Mohamed MorsiPiachaud said ‘for months, they’ve held him in conditions amounting to an enforced disappearance, without access to his family or lawyer. That’s a clear violation of Mohamed Morsi’s human rights’

Amnesty International North Africa campaigner, Nicholas Piachaud has confirmed that Egypt’s President Mohammed Morsi’s human rights have been violated. Piachaud accused the Egyptian authorities of undermining Morsi, who is Egypt’s first democratically elected President, right to a fair trial.Piachaud told Anadolu news agency that the first session of Morsi’s trial on Monday that “very worrying signs were observed from Monday’s short court session and the lead- up to it” pointing out that “the issue was not limited to the way Morsi was treated during the court session but rather to what he has witnessed since the military coup which ousted him on July 3rd”.

Piachaud said “for months, they’ve held him in conditions amounting to an enforced disappearance, without access to his family or lawyer. That’s a clear violation of Mohammed Morsi’s human rights”. Piachaud said “Morsi’s lawyers told us they were only able to get a copy of the 7,000 page case file on October 30th. The authorities also denied Mohammed Morsi access to his lawyers while he was being interrogated and investigated by the public prosecution. That significantly undermined his right to a fair trial.”

(Source / 07.11.2013)

Assad troops to commit more massacres in Aleppo Prison

Assad forces are trying to commit more massacres in the Central Prison of Aleppo by shelling the detainees’ chambers where a state of rebellion is prevailed within the political prisoners, according to prominent activist.

Yet, one prisoner has been killed and 8 have been wounded with mass fire in the political department, Ghassan Yassin, local activist said on his FaceBook page.

The Central prison has been witnessing continuous skirmishes for two months between main stream armed opposition FSA backed with the Islamist rebels to take over the hardline stronghold in Aleppo.

(Source / 07.11.2013)