Coalition Response to Lavrov: Geneva II must Not be an Attempt to Divert Responsibility

Secretary General of the Syrian National Coalition, Badr al-Din Jamous, stated that ” we reject Russia’s statements as well as the international insistence on holding Geneva II despite the absence of the requirements for its success, as was admitted by the Russians, which is aimed at discharging the responsibility of the international community as a whole and transferring it to anyone who refuses to go to Geneva II.” Jamous’ statement came in response to remarks by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov who said that “both the regime and the National Coalition should not miss the opportunity to meet in Moscow regardless of the possibility of lack of success.” Jamous’ statement was also a response to Lavrov’s remarks regarding the Syrian National Coalition’s demand that Assad must step down as a condition to going to Geneva II which Lavrov described as “unrealistic.” Jamous added that “the requirements for the success of Geneva II are not there, and the regime is not willing to meet them because it has not yet recognized Geneva I.” Furthermore, Jamous stressed that “first we must lay a foundation for Geneva II because it is very unlikely to succeed if the requirements for success have not been met.” This comes after a Russian invitation for the Syrian Coalition to visit Moscow.  Michael Bogdanov, the Russian President’s special envoy, hailed the Syrian Coalition’s decision to go to Geneva II, saying that the Coalition’s participation would be a “positive” for the Geneva based peace conference for Syria.  The National Coalition confirmed that it will participate in Geneva II, provided that it will result in Assad’s step down and the formation of a transitional government with full powers, in addition to the opening of humanitarian corridors and the release of all detainees along with the presence of a specific timetable for all stages of negotiation. Likewise, the Coalition considered the Russian Foreign Ministry’s claims that the opposition is blocking access to a political solution, and aborting preparations for an international Geneva II conference, as nothing more than failed attempts aimed at “strengthening the position of the Assad regime.” Furthermore, the Coalition said in response to a statement by Russia’s Foreign Minister accusing Syrian revolutionaries of shelling various neighborhoods of Damascus, especially those inhabited by Christians, “that acts and violations of the principles of the revolution such as the shelling of residential neighborhoods in Damascus are committed only by al-Assad’s militia.” Also, the Syrian Coalition stressed that “Assad’s regime continues to fire mortar rounds on Damascus’ densely populated neighborhoods daily, targeting schools, markets and places of worship, then blames it on the revolutionaries and employs propaganda in order to earn a few more days of ruling the country.” The Coalition also called for monitoring “repeated statements by the FSA in Damascus and its countryside, which deny responsibility for the bombing of Damascus’ populated neighborhoods and those under the control of the regime because the principles of the revolution do not allow for making military gains at the expense of human lives;” a strategy which, according to a Coalition statement, has been consistently used by the regime to suppress the popular revolution since its early days.

(Source: Syrian Coalition / 17.11.2013)

El-Masri: Policy of medical negligence leads to 2 years of untreated cancer

yousry-elmasriPalestinian political prisoner Yousry el-Masri, 30, from Gaza, is suffering from cancer of the thyroid after years of deliberate medical negligence, reported Palestinian Prisoners Society lawyer Shereen Nasser after a visit to Ramle prison clinic.

In two years in Nafha prison, el-Masri suffered from pain in his abdomen, severe headache, hot flashes and sweating; blood tests were conducted, yet he received only painkillers for treatment of what was actually thyroid cancer.

El-Masri said that this was part of a policy of medical neglect against prisoners that dismisses prisoners’ pain and suffering and refuses to provide appropriate medical testing, examination or treatment.

El-Masri was finally sent to Soroka hospital after severe deterioration in his health, where a tumor was discovered in his thyroid and enlarged lymph nodes. It took several months to receive approval for surgery to remove his thyroid. He was kept shackled despite his surgery and severe illness during his recovery.

Nasser said that El-Masri reported that the prison administration transferred the doctor and clinic director from Nafha prison, saying that this took place due to their responsibility for his health condition and suffering. El-Masri said that the prison authorities handle prisoners’ health isues with careles indifference. El-Masri is now awaiting proper treatment and chemotherapy.

(Source / 17.11.2013)

Al-Fassisi enters 50th day of hunger strike as detention renewed


al-fassisiPalestinian administrative detainee Akram al-Fassisi, 30 of Ethna village, west of al-Khalil, is entering his 50th day of open hunger strike in protest of his administrative detention, as his detention has been renewed by occupation authorities for an additional 3 months.

He launched his strike on September 29, 2013 in Ofer prison in protest of the renewal of his administrative detention without charge. He is currently held in the Ramle prison clinic, and has been in administrative detention since November 16, 2012. He was previously detained for a year and a half in Israeli prisons.

He told Palestinian lawyer Hanan al-Khatib that he is continuing his strike in the prison clinic and is refraining from taking vitamins, taking only water and salt. He also said that he is being held in isolation and that his cell is invasively searched and raided 3-4 times weekly. His electronics have been confiscated and he is being denied family visits.

Palestinian lawyer Ahmad Safia reported that Al-Fassisi will have a hearing in Ofer military court on Monday, November 18,
after the Israeli authorities renewed his administrative detention for 3 months.

Al-Fassisi said that he would boycott medical treatment in Ramle clinic because he does not trust the Prison Administration’s doctors, and called for broader action to demand an end to administrative detention.

(Source / 17.11.2013)

Egypt Islamists must accept govt before talks, minister says

Supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood and ousted president Mohamed Morsi march through the streets of Cairo on Nov. 8, 2013
CAIRO (AFP) — An Egyptian minister on Sunday ruled out negotiations with the Muslim Brotherhood until the Islamists recognize the government’s transition plan and renounces violence.

Social solidarity minister Ahmed al-Borei told AFP the Brotherhood must also accept Islamist president Mohamed Morsi’s overthrow was a “revolution”.

A Brotherhood-led coalition had proposed on Saturday its most flexible plan yet for reconciliation talks, but later said the initiative was aimed at other parties and not the military-installed government.

The latest statements indicate that both sides remain deeply divided since Morsi’s ouster by the military on July 3 and that hopes for a reconciliation in the near future are slim.

More than 1,000 people, mostly Islamists, have been killed in clashes with police since Morsi’s overthrow, and thousands more arrested.

“There must be a recognition that June 30 was a popular revolution, and the (government’s) roadmap was agreed on by the Egyptian people to build a modern state,” Borei said.

He added that the Brotherhood should accept that its members on trial on murder and “terrorism” charges “are excluded from the idea of reconciliation.”

Much of the Brotherhood’s leadership, including Morsi himself, are on trial for allegedly inciting violence before and after the Islamist’s overthrow.

The military deposed him following massive protests starting on June 30 calling for his resignation.

The Muslim Brotherhood “has to apologize and stop violence on the street,” Borei added.

On Saturday an Islamist coalition led by the Brotherhood offered negotiations to end the deadly tensions that have gripped Egypt since Morsi’s overthrow.

The coalition “calls on all revolutionary forces and political parties and patriotic figures to enter a deep dialogue on exiting the current crisis,” it said in a statement.

Presidential media adviser Ahmed al-Muslimani said he had no response to the Islamist initiative because it was not directed at the authorities.

“They called for a dialogue with the political forces, not the presidency or authorities,” he said.

The Islamists say they are open to discussions on their own terms with the military installed government, including guarantees for “inclusiveness” and respect for the suspended constitution.

But their initiative was aimed primarily at other parties who disagree with the Brotherhood but also oppose the military’s domination of politics, said a senior Brotherhood member.

“It aims at expanding the circle of the coalition. There are many who can disagree with the Brotherhood but support the democratic process,” said Mohamed Bishr.

Bishr, a member of the Brotherhood’s top Guidance Bureau, is one of the most senior Islamist leaders not imprisoned.

“The vision is aimed neither at the government nor the military,” he told AFP, referring to the proposal.

“Many took part in the June 30 protests but oppose the coup,” he said of the military’s intervention.

The initiative announced did not explicitly mention Morsi’s return to the presidency, previously the Brotherhood’s key demand.

Bishr said the proposal did not drop the demand for Morsi’s reinstatement, but that process — Morsi’s return and his resignation — would not be discussed before negotiations.

Brotherhood officials have privately said they would be willing to concede Morsi’s reinstatement, but wanted their leaders released from prison and guarantees it would be allowed to participate freely in elections.

Government officials have insisted all along the Islamists must unconditionally accept the interim authorities.

(Source / 17.11.2013)

Media: Doof, dom en blind als het gaat om Palestijnse gevangenen

Ook deze keer zijn de Nederlandse media weer erg rustig als het gaat om een hongerstaking die toch al weer 200 dagen duurt. Waarom schrijft de Nederlandse pers hier niet over? Want het is een Palestijnse hongerstaker en op alles wat met Palestina te maken heeft, lijkt een boycot te zitten.

Maar ik zal u het verhaal niet onthouden.

Alaa Hammad is een Palestijnse vader van zes jonge kinderen – drie jongens en drie meisjes. De kinderen hebben hun vader al voor zeven jaar niet gezien als hij wegrot in een Israëlische kerker na zwaar gemarteld te zijn. Als daad van verzet tegen zijn gevangenneming in een illegale bezettingsgevangenis is hij een hongerstaking begonnen en is op 17 november aan zijn 200e dag toe. Nauwelijks is er enig nieuws te lezen van zijn strijd tegen het onrecht dat hem is aangedaan.

Alaa Hammad is na 200 dagen zonder voedsel in een kritieke toestand beland. Hij kan door de pijn in zijn voet niet meer lopen en gezien het bloed in zijn urine functioneren zijn nieren niet goed meer. In de afgelopen twee maanden heeft hij al twintig kilo in gewicht verloren. Omdat hij onmenselijk werd behandeld heeft Hammad ook alle medische onderzoeken geweigerd. Enige tijd geleden heeft hij het bewustzijn voor vijf uur verloren, wat overigens door de Israëlische artsen gewoon genegeerd werd. Het beleid van de gevangenis zou zijn, dat de gevangene gedwongen wordt om voedsel te nemen als hij in coma raakt.

Alaa Hammad begon zijn hongerstaking op 2 mei 2013, samen met vier andere Palestijnse politieke gevangenen. De gevangenen zijn brutaal behandeld, uit bed getrokken, op de grond gegooid, geslaan en geschopt. Het onthouden van medicijnen is gebruikt om de gevangenen te dwingen de hongerstaking te stoppen. Na 100 dagen van misbruik is er een overeenkomst tot stand gekomen, dat als de gevangenen zouden stoppen met de hongerstaking, ze bezoek mochten krijgen van hun familie voor de eerste keer. Bij sommige was dat al dertien jaar geleden. Na drie maanden zijn de Israëli’s teruggekomen op de overeenkomst en mocht geen enkele gevangene de familie weer zien.

Deze gevangene, die Nederland niet mag kennen, heeft een naam en dat is Alaa Hammad. Nu weet u het ook en er is nog meer te vertellen over de Palestijnse gevangenen.

Op de site zijn meer artikelen te vinden over de illegale gevangenispraktijken van de Israëli’s en de verhalen van Alaa Hammad en alle andere gevangenen.


© KhamakarPress

London, Nov. 24: 200 Days of Alaa Hammad’s Hunger Strike, 200 Days of BBC Silence

Protest: Alaa Hammad – 200 Days of Hunger Strike, BBC – 200 Days of Silence
Date: Sunday 24th November 2013, 1pm – 3pm
Location: BBC Broadcasting House Portland Place, London W1A 1AA (Oxford Circus Tube)


alaa-bbcAlaa Hammad is a Palestinian father of six young children – 3 boys and 3 girls. They have not seen their father for 7 years as he rots in an Israeli dungeon after being severely tortured. As his act of resistance in demanding his freedom from an illegal occupation prison he started a hunger strike. 17th November will be his 200th day on hunger strike. Yet the BBC, which describes its mission as one to “inform” and “educate” and the news as “providing trusted World and UK news..”, has refused to cover his story.

The search engine Google has indexed nearly 20 million articles from the BBC website yet it returns no results from the BBC for Alaa Hammad. Alaa Hammad has never once been mentioned by the BBC – those 20 million articles.. empty of any reference to the Palestinian hunger striker who is nearing death after nearly seven months without food.

This bias by the BBC is not new – it was only after months of protesting outside the BBC over their silence of the hunger strikers Samer Issawi and Ayman Sharawna that they final mention their names.. even then they only mentioned “Samer Issawi” 6 times and “Ayman Sharawna” 5 times.

If we do a quick search on Google for Israeli prisoner “Gilad Shalit”, the soldier in the Israeli occupation force who was captured by Hamas in 2006, it brings back 998 articles from the BBC which includes articles from this year – two years after he was released and yet he is still news worthy for the BBC. They even did a special article to commemorate the anniversary of his release!

The Shalit release anniversary article reports of his “ordeal”, the “psychological effects”, “trying to come to terms with his fame” the ordeal of the media following “his first bicycle ride after he returned home.. [his] trip to Paris to visit President Nicholas Sarkozy and a meeting with New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg.. at a concert of the popular singer, Shlomo Artzi, who dedicated a song to him; at various sports events and on the set of the US television drama series, Homeland..” Contrast this ‘ordeal’ which the BBC finds newsworthy to the ordeal Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike are going through TODAY.
Alaa Hammad after 200 days without food is in critical condition. His vision is going – he cannot see more than one foot in front of him, there is pain through out his body and he cannot walk, and there is blood in his urine suggesting his kidneys may no longer be functioning properly. Two months ago he had already lost 30kg in weight, we do not have recent figures as following abuse at the hands of the Israeli prison guards and doctors he has refused all medical examinations as his last resort to protest his inhuman treatment. On occasion Alaa Hamamd has lost consciousness for 5 hours, ignored by Israeli doctors.. they say if a hunger striker falls into coma then they will force feed him.

Alaa Hammad started his hunger strike on 2nd May 2013 along with 4 other Palestinian political prisoners. The Israeli prison guards have brutally attacked the hunger strikers – throwing them off their beds in hospital on to the concrete floor before beating and kicking them; and they have used the denial of medicine as a weapon against the prisoners to force them to stop their hunger strike. After 100 days of enduring such abuse the other 4 hunger strikers suspended their strike after the Israeli prison service agreed to allow family visits for the first time. Some of them have not been allowed to see their families for 13 years. Three months later however, its clear Israel has reneged on the deal with not a single prisoner being allowed to see their family. The father of prisoner Abdullah Al-Barghouti is in critical condition in hospital with only one wish – to see his son before he dies. The families have been left in limbo, their hope now rests with the sole remaining hunger striker Alaa Hammad.

Lack of international attention was the primary reason the four hunger strikers gave as to why they ended their hunger strike, so it is imperative that pressure is put on our media to cover their story, to give voice to their suffering. The BBC is principally funded by television licence fees – £3.7 billion last year. Such blatant bias by omission in its reporting is unacceptable and we as TV licence holders demand the BBC follow its remit to inform and educate by covering the issue of Palestinian hunger strikers and in particular Alaa Hammad. There will be a protest in Jordan (Alaa Hammad’s family is in Jordan) this Sunday to mark Alaa Hammad’s 200th day of hunger strike, and we in the UK will continue with one the next Sunday, on 24th November. We will protest outside the BBC Headquarters on Portland Place, W1A 1AA (closest tube is Oxford Circus) at 1pm-3pm, please join us.

Organized by Inminds Palestinian Prisoners Campaign:

(Source / 17.11.2013)

Israeli forces raid Bethlehem village, hand summons to freed prisoner

BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — Israeli forces entered a village near Bethlehem early Sunday and delivered a summons to a freed prisoner, the man’s uncle said.

Soldiers knocked “crazily” at the door of a house in the town of al-Khadr at 3 a.m., checked identity cards, and demanded Dirar Salah appear at Gush Etzion interrogation center, Abdul-Hakim Salah told Ma’an.

Salah said that Israeli soldiers took him in a military vehicle to his nephew’s house nearby, where they handed a summons to Dirar Salah.

Dirar must appear for an interrogation session on Nov. 21, Salah said.

Dirar Salah was detained in March, 2012 when Israeli forces raided his mobile phone shop and confiscated his computer. Israel claimed he provided Palestinian prisoners with mobile phone credit.

He was released in April, 2013.

Dirar Salah also served two years in Israeli custody between 1998 and 2000.

(Source / 17.11.2013)

GroenLinks zegt contract op met fout bewakingsbedrijf

  • GroenLinks zegt contract op met fout bewakingsbedrijf

Het zal je maar gebeuren dat je een politieke partij bent die mensenrechten en eerlijk ondernemen hoog in het vaandel heeft en dan blijk je een bedrijf in huis te hebben dat geld verdient aan mensenrechtenschendingen.

Toch overkwam dat GroenLinks. Het partijbureau in Utrecht bleek te worden bewaakt door G4S. Dat is een internationaal bewakingsbedrijf dat onder felle kritiek staat omdat het in Israel betrokken is bij de bewaking van gevangenissen waar duizenden Palestijnen, waaronder kinderen, onder ontoelaatbare omstandigheden zitten opgesloten. Bovendien bewaakt het bedrijf de roadblocks die Israel op honderden plaatsen in bezet Palestina heeft ingericht, en die de bevolking in een ijzeren greep houden en de Palestijnse economie om zeep hebben geholpen. G4S verdient op die manier geld aan de bezetting en de onderdrukking van Palestijnen.
Toen het partijbestuur daar achter kwam is het contract met dit bedrijf snel beëindigd. Daarmee volgt GroenLinks de internationale oproep tot BDS (Boycot, Divestment en Sanctions). De G4S-sticker verdween snel van de voordeur.

Voor de werkgroep Midden Oosten een reden om een bijeenkomst te houden over BDS. Ook de ABVA-KABO is met dit onderwerp bezig en hield er een conferentie over. Daarom werd bondsbestuurslid Lieuwe de Vries uitgenodigd om te vertellen wat de vakbond verder met BDS gaat doen. Sonja Zimmermann van docP gaf een inleiding over het hoe en waarom van BDS en Guido van Leemput van UCP, een samenwerkingsverband van diverse ngo’s, gaf aan hoe politiek en maatschappelijk organisaties elkaar hierin kunnen versterken. Van het GL-bestuur was internationaal secretaris Marjolein Meijer uitgenodigd om toe te lichten waarom het bestuur de zaken met G4S direct verbroken heeft. “Het was geen groot contract en G4S zal er niet veel armer van worden, maar het gaat ons om het principe: geen zaken doen met een bedrijf dat zo maatschappelijk onverantwoord bezig is”.

Lieuwe de Vries juicht dit toe. “vanuit de vakbond zien wij volstrekt onaanvaardbare arbeidsomstandigheden van de Palestijnse arbeiders in Israelische bedrijven en nederzettingen. Door de verwoesting van de Palestijns economie kunnen de Palestijnen alleen nog maar daar werk vinden. Er heerst kinderarbeid, vakbondsactiviteiten worden niet getolereerd, de lonen zijn beneden elk peil en de arbeiders hebben nul rechten”.
Guido van Leemput voegt daaraan toe dat we vooral niet moeten vergeten dat het ook gewoon verboden is om geld te verdienen aan de bezetting. Onlangs trok Royal Haskoning zich terug uit zo’n besmet project in bezet Palestina op aanwijzing van de Nederlandse regering. Unilever deed dit al eerder. Ook G4S moet dat doen.

De werkgroep Midden Oosten vindt het een krachtig signaal dat G4S is weggestuurd. De werkgroep heeft een brief naar de programmacommissies van de afdelingen in het land gestuurd met suggesties wat je op gemeente- en provincieniveau kunt doen aan mensenrechten, o.a door BDS. Er zijn bijvoorbeeld busmaatschappijen in Nederland actief, die in bezet gebied apartheidsbuslijnen rijden, waar Palestijnen niet in mogen. Veolia (onder de naam Connexxion) en Egged (EBD) bijvoorbeeld. Die kunnen daarom eenvoudig worden uitgesloten van aanbestedingen. En misschien zitten er ook wel G4S-stickers (zie logo hiernaast) op het gemeente- of provinciehuis. Ook die moeten er af zolang dit bedrijf geld blijft verdienen aan de bezettingspolitiek.

(Source / 17.11.2013)

Security: Libya deputy intelligence chief abducted

TRIPOLI (AFP) — Libya’s deputy intelligence chief Mustafa Nur was abducted Sunday in Tripoli, a security official told AFP, as tensions ran high in the capital following deadly violence over the weekend.

“The vice president of intelligence was abducted shortly after his arrival in Tripoli from a trip abroad,” said the official, who declined to be named.

There was no immediate claim for the abduction, which came as Tripoli began a three-day strike to mourn dozens of people killed in clashes at an anti-militia protest — the deadliest violence in the capital since the 2011 uprising.

(Source / 17.11.2013)

Hollande: Israel must make ‘gesture’ on settlements

French President Francois Hollande speaks during a joint news conference with Israel President Shimon Peres at the presidential residence in Jerusalem November 17, 2013.

France expects Israel to make “gestures” over its construction of settlements on land the Palestinians want for a future state, President Francois Hollande said in Jerusalem on Sunday.

His remarks came just three days after the entire Palestinian negotiating team resigned in protest over continued Israeli settlement building which is threatening to sabotage the US-backed direct peace talks which began in late July.

“There are still gestures that need to be made (by both sides),” Hollande said, acknowledging that Israel had already taking conciliatory steps by releasing 52 veteran Palestinian prisoners in line with its commitments to the peace process.

“Some gestures have already been started by Israel — the freeing of prisoners,” he said.

“Other gestures are expected, especially in the area of settlements,” he said in remarks to the press with his Israeli counterpart Shimon Peres.

Hollande said he would raise the issue of “gestures” expected from the Palestinian side when he travels to Ramallah on Monday for talks with president Mahmud Abbas.

Not accepted

The negotiators’ resignation, which has not been accepted by Abbas, came two days after Israel announced its largest-ever batch of 20,000 new settler homes.

But the announcement was quickly scrapped by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on grounds it was creating a needless confrontation with the international community at a time when Israel was trying to get across an urgent message about stopping a nuclear Iran.

Previous direct talks between Israel and the Palestinians collapsed just weeks after they began in September 2010 in a bitter dispute over settlement construction.

(Source / 17.11.2013)