Saudis to execute US plan on Palestinian refugees

Saudi King Abdullah (r) and US Secretary of State John Kerry

Saudi King Abdullah (r) and US Secretary of State John Kerry
In a recently-struck secret deal, Saudi Arabia has reportedly been commissioned by Washington to find permanent housing for Palestinian refugees in various foreign lands.

The development has been revealed by a number of US-based news outlets, which have cited Palestinian weekly al-Minar as reporting that the secret US-Saudi agreement came following a recent visit to Riyadh by US Secretary of State John Kerry.

Quoting an “informed source,” the Palestinian weekly further reports that during Kerry’s visit to the Saudi capital, the kingdom’s authorities expressed their readiness to carry out the US scheme of placing the Palestinian refugees in foreign-based housing units and also assume major funding of the huge project.

According to the source, the Saudis also pledged to convince various countries to accept the Palestinians by offering them “financial” incentives.

The source further quoted a member of the US delegation accompanying Kerry to Riyadh as saying that the Saudis openly expressed their willingness to also exert pressure on Palestinian authorities to implement US strategies concerning the Palestinian refugees.

Political observers in the region believe the secret deal also has the full blessing of the Israeli regime, which considers the Palestinian right of return issue as a major stumbling block in their US-sponsored negotiations with the Fatah-led Palestinian Authority.

(Source / 19.01.2014)

#Syria, URGENT

Qalat al Hosn, #Homs province, 19-01-2014: At least 7,000 heavily armed regime troops and foreign mercenaries, supported by by over 2,000 shabiha (pro-regime paramilitaries) are surrounding the village of Zahra near Qalat al Hosn (a.k.a. Krak des Chevaliers) on all sides in preparation to storm the village, where at least 23,000 civilians, largely women and children, many of whom have fled regime massacres in neighbouring villages and towns, are living in terror under a crippling siege and bombardment, which have now continued for over a year.

If the regime troops and their accomplices succeed in storming the village, they will massacre many of the residents, mostly women and children, expelling the remainder, as they have done in towns, vllages and cities across Homs province and the rest of Syria.
O God. O God be with our people. O Lord, help us.

(Source / 19.01.2014)

Israel to return remains of 2 Palestinians on Tuesday

RAMALLAH (Ma’an) — The remains of two Palestinians currently held in Israel will be delivered to the West Bank on Tuesday, a statement said Sunday.

A campaign to retrieve the remains of Palestinians killed by Israeli forces said in a statement that the remains of Fathi Jihad Ameera and Ata Ibrahim Samhan Samahna would be delivered to Taybeh checkpoint near Tulkarem at 8 p.m.

Ameera, from the village of al-Nasiriya near Tubas, was killed on March 30, 2002, the statement said.

Samahna, from Nablus, was shot dead in 2004 at the age of 60, it added.

The remains of one Palestinian killed by Israeli fire in 2002, Majdi Abd al-Jawad Khanfar, was returned on Sunday at 8 p.m at the same checkpoint, a Ma’an reporter said.

Campaign spokesman Salim Khillah said that Israel’s decision to return the remains was a gesture to encourage the PLO to continue with peace negotiations.

The spokesman for HaMoked, an Israeli human rights group, told Ma’an Thursday that the decision was the result of a Supreme Court decision.

(Source / 19.01.2014)

Abbas: Palestine has gotten nothing out of peace talks

BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — President Mahmoud Abbas said Sunday that despite US Secretary of State John Kerry’s efforts, Palestine has so far gotten nothing out of the ongoing peace negotiations with Israel.

“The problem is with the Israeli side and not with us,” Abbas said in an interview on Moroccan television following the Al-Quds Committee meeting in Marrakesh.

He spoke the same day Israeli army radio announced that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had proposed to Kerry that Israel annex a fourth settlement bloc within the West Bank, amounting to approximately 13 percent of the internationally recognized Palestinian territory.

Abbas called this kind of shift in borders “unacceptable.”

Calling Israeli settlers “invaders” with “no right” to Palestinian land, he stressed that Palestinians living inside what is now Israel “were on the land 1,500 years before Israel was established.”

This is why Palestine can never recognize Israel as a “Jewish state,” Abbas said.

“We demand is what was given to us by the international community” in 1967, he added, though he acknowledged that limited land swaps would be acceptable.

‘Try me, and then we can talk’

Nevertheless, the head of the Fatah-led Palestinian Authority was not as pessimistic about reconciliation with Hamas.

If Hamas agrees to hold elections, there will be reconciliation “tomorrow,” Abbas said.

He said Hamas has “used the excuse” that the Americans and Israelis — who consider the Islamist faction a “terrorist organization” — would refuse to negotiate with the PLO if Hamas were included, and thus would pressure Abbas against reconciliation.

“We will not take the Americans and Israelis into consideration,” Abbas said. “To (Hamas) I say try me, and then we can talk.”

Peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians were relaunched in July under the auspices of the US after nearly three years of impasse.

Israel’s government has announced the construction of thousands of housing units in illegal settlements since peace talks began.

The division between Hamas and Fatah began in 2006, when Hamas won the Palestinian legislative elections.

In the following year, clashes erupted between the two factions, leaving Hamas in control of the Strip and Fatah in control of parts of the occupied West Bank.

The groups have made failed attempts at national reconciliation for years, most recently in 2012, when they signed two agreements — one in Cairo and a subsequent one in Doha — which have as of yet been entirely unimplemented.

(Source / 19.01.2014)

‘Nukes Israel imperialistic tool to bully world’

The Israeli regime develops nuclear arsenals as an imperialistic tool to menace world nations and destroy their independence, a political analyst tells Press TV.

In a Sunday interview, Ralph Schoenman, the author of Hidden History of Zionism, pointed to Israel’s history of using nuclear weapons, including in Cameron in 1986, and described Israel’s nuclear arsenals as “threats to the people of the world.”

The analyst said that nuclear weapons “define the relationship of Israel and the Zionist [entity] to imperialism” and noted that utilization of weapons of this nature are aimed at terrorizing the nations that Israel seeks to dominate and destroying their sovereignty.

In August 1986, 1700 people and all livestock in Nyos village in Northwest Region of Cameroon were mysteriously found dead. The incident has been purported to be caused by a CO2 gas leak from the depth of Lake Nyos nearby.

Schoenman, however, argued that contrary to the gas leak theory, numerous independent probes and documents have revealed that “neutron weapons have been used and tested by the Israelis with the approval and collusion of the United States and the imperial powers notably France.”

A new report published by The Guardian reveals Israel has been secretly building its nuclear arsenal since the 1950s with a minimum of international criticism thanks to support from its Western allies.

The report says Tel Aviv has managed to assemble an entire underground nuclear arsenal, and lists the United States, France, Britain, Germany and Norway as major contributors to the Israeli programs.

The Israeli regime is widely believed to be the sole possessor of nuclear weapons in the Middle East with up to 400 nuclear warheads.

In its Yearbook 2012, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute said that Israel possesses at least 80 “highly operational” nuclear warheads.

Israel also invariably refused to either allow inspections of its nuclear facilities or join the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

(Source / 19.01.2014)

Israeli warplanes bomb besieged Gaza

Israeli regime has launched an airstrike on Gaza Strip which has been crippling under a strict siege imposed by Tel Aviv since 2006.

Israeli regime has launched an airstrike on Gaza Strip which has been crippling under a strict siege imposed by Tel Aviv since 2006.
The Israeli military has once again launched an airstrike on the Gaza Strip, targeting the northern and central parts of the besieged Palestinian territory.

Tel Aviv says the airstrike was carried out during the early hours of Sunday, in what it said was retaliation for a rocket fired from Gaza.

There has been no immediate confirmation of possible casualties from the airstrike.

A similar Israeli attack on Wednesday wounded a Palestinian woman and four children in Gaza.

The Israeli military often targets Palestinians along the border with the Gaza Strip, which remains literally cut off from the outside world by a crippling Israeli blockade.

The siege has turned the densely-populated coastal Palestinian sliver, home to some 1.7 million people, into the largest open-air prison in the world.

According to the Palestinian rights groups, over a dozen Palestinians were killed by Israeli forces in the first half of 2013 and nearly 1,800 Palestinians, including women and children, were seized during the same period.

Gaze has been under the crippling blockade imposed by the Tel Aviv regime since 2007.

(Source / 19.01.2014)

Leader urges Muslims to counter divisive moves

Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei has urged Muslims to counter any factor undermining their unity, calling this a big responsibility for Muslims.

In a Sunday meeting with Iranian officials and foreign participants in the 27th International Islamic Unity Conference in Tehran, the Leader described “unity” as the “most important” issue in the Muslim world today.

Ayatollah Khamenei said, “Political, scientific and religious elites bear heavy responsibilities in creating unity in the Muslim communities.”

The Leader said oppressors responded to the growing wave of Islamic Awakening in countries by intensifying Shia and Sunni disputes and increasing the internal strife of Muslim nations.

Ayatollah Khamenei said the 33-day war in Lebanon and the 22-day and 8-day wars in Gaza showed that “aside from those governments which protect the interests of outsiders, Muslim nations have with vigilance safeguarded the identity and existence of Palestine and slapped the Zionist regime of Israel and its allies in the face.”

The Leader described the Takfiri current as a major threat to the Muslim world and advised Islamic countries to be vigilant.

“Unfortunately certain Muslim governments neglect the consequences of supporting this current (Takfiris) and do not realize that this fire will [eventually] burn all of them.”

(Source / 19.01.2014)

Islamist Mursi, secularists charged in new case

A member of the Muslim Brotherhood and supporter of ousted Egyptian President Mohammed Mursi shouts slogans against the military and interior ministry on the outskirts of Cairo December 27, 2013.

Ousted Islamist President Mohammad Mursi and 24 others including liberal activists who opposed his rule were ordered to stand trial for insulting the judiciary on Sunday, Reuters cited legal sources as saying.

Mursi is already facing three separate trials on various charges, including inciting the murder of his opponents, conspiring with foreign groups and organizing jailbreaks – all of which can carry the death penalty.

His trial based on charges related to the mass jailbreak in 2011 is the only case that has opened thus far. It is due to resume on Jan. 28.

The former president was ousted by a popularly-backed military coup on July 3 after only one year in power.

The non-Islamists charged in the case include former members of parliament Amr Hamzawy and Mostafa el-Naggar, rights lawyer Amir Salem, as well as Alaa Abdel Fattah, an activist and blogger detained since November, already facing trial on charges of protesting without permission.

TV personality Tawfiq Okasha, known for lambasting revolutionary groups, the military, and the Muslim Brotherhood, is also included in the 24 defendants.

The charge of insulting the judiciary carries a jail term of up to three years , according to the Associated Press.

Lawyer Ahmed Seif said the charges against the defendants is an early test to Egypt’s newly adopted charter, which bars imprisonment in libel or slander cases.

“This is putting society in a very early state of contradictions, with an article in the charter that goes against an existing law. What do we do?” Seif told the Associated Press.

While the Egyptian government accuses the Brotherhood of turning to violence, the organization, once Egypt’s best-organized political and religious movement which won five consecutive elections, denies any links to violence and accuses the army of staging a coup.

(Source / 19.01.2014)

Miqdad: Continued Military Support for Assad Contradicts Russia’s Statements in Support of Political Solution

Luay al-Miqdad, the FSA media and political coordinator, slams “the timing of increased Russian military support for the Assad regime at a time the international community is moving towards reaching a political solution that includes the transfer of power and the departure of Assad.” Miqdad questions “how the Russian officials express support for a political solution while stressing in closed-door meetings that they are convinced that Assad is part of the problem and that his departure is the basis of a political solution.” Miqdad points out that “the Russian position proves that they are not only lying to the Syrian people, but also to the international community.” Miqdad holds the international community, especially the United States, Britain and France, responsible for Russia’s actions because these countries are coordinating with them.” Miqdad said that the FSA’s General Staff received “international guarantees of continued support for the FSA to maintain the military balance. The FSA has been fighting all the forces of terrorism, including terrorist militias of Hezbollah, the Iraqi militias and the militias of al-Baghdadi.” Miqdad stresses that Assad’s forces are crumbling after Syrian revolutionaries defeated ISIS and Hezbollah. He also states that the latest Russian arms supplies represent a license for more killing and destruction by the Assad regime. In recent weeks, Russia has stepped up supplies of military gear to Syria, including armored vehicles, drones and guided bombs. “Dozens of Antonov 124s (Russian transport planes) have been bringing in armored vehicles, surveillance equipment, radars, electronic warfare systems, spare parts for helicopters, and various weapons including guided bombs for planes,” a Middle East security source said. Khalid Saleh, head of the Media Office, said yesterday that “Assad must know that Geneva II should not be a waste of time at the expense of the blood of the Syrian people. The goal of the conference is undoubtedly the formation of a transitional ruling body with full powers and without any role for Assad and his associates to play in the future of Syria.”
(Source: Syrian Coalition / 19.01.2014)

Yemen’s Forgotten Northern War Claims Hundreds of Lives

Fighting between Shi’ites and Sunnis in the country has left hundreds dead over the last few weeks.

Smoke rises after an explosion at the Defense Ministry complex in Sanaa, Yemen, Thursday, Dec. 5, 2013. Military and hospital officials in Yemen said a large explosion at the Defense Ministry complex in the center of the capital, Sanaa, has wounded tens of people, many of them seriously. (AP Photo/Mohammed Hamoud)

Smoke rises after an explosion at the Defense Ministry complex in Sanaa, Yemen, Thursday, Dec. 5, 2013. Military and hospital officials in Yemen said a large explosion at the Defense Ministry complex in the center of the capital, Sanaa, has wounded tens of people, many of them seriously.

Yemen’s ultra-conservative Sunni Salafists have signed a ceasefire, ending months of fighting with Shi’ite Houthi rebels in which at least 210 were killed, according to various reports.

Fighting between Salafists and their rival al Houthis started in late October when the Shi’ites accused the Salafists of hiding hundreds of “armed foreign fighters” in a Koranic school in the Shiite-dominated province of Saada. The intense sporadic battles focused on the school of Dar al-Hadith, according to one report by Gulf News.

Yet another report by Reuters said the fighting began “when the Houthi rebels, who control much of the northern Saada province, accused Salafis in the town of Damaj of recruiting thousands of foreign fighters to prepare to attack them.”

The Salafists, which follow a strict interpretation of Sunni Islam, claim the foreigners are students.

Government troops began to deploy in the northern province of Saada on Saturday to monitor the ceasefire, which was brokered by a presidential commission and was signed on Friday. It stipulated that the two sides would withdraw from the areas around Dammaj and be replaced by army troops who would monitor the agreement.

The Houthis rose up in 2004 in their stronghold of Saada against the authoritarian government of former President Ali Abdullah Saleh, accusing it of marginalizing them. They accuse radical Salafists in Dammaj, about 50 miles north of the capital Sana’a, of turning the town center into a garrison for thousands of armed foreigners.

The fighting in Yemen mirrors what’s happening to its north, where Sunnis and Shi’ites have been fighting against one another in Syria, while also fighting the Syrian government. Additionally, Iraq is sinking deeper into a sectarian civil war again, with Saudi Arabia, which is predominantly Sunni, providing tacit approval for its citizens to fight in conflicts in both Syria and Iraq.

According to The Oman Observer, sources in the mediation commission said the Salafist leader Yahya al Hujuri had requested President Abdrabuh Mansur Hadi make a decision on providing a solution regarding the Koranic school and its foreign students, while providing protection for the town in the future.

Dammaj has a population of about 15,000. The Red Cross said it evacuated 25 casualties from Dammaj on Friday after the ceasefire. The wounded, some in critical condition, were airlifted to Sanaa, a spokeswoman for the International Committee of the Red Cross said on Friday.

Fighting by other al-Qaida separatists in Yemen’s south threatens to tear the country apart. Yemen is a staunch ally of the U.S., which has come under intense pressure for a secret drone campaign being waged in the Arabian peninsula nation.

(Source / 19.01.2014)