Hamas renews its adherence to every inch of the Palestinian land




BEIRUT, (PIC)– The Hamas Movement renewed its adherence to every inch of the Palestinian land and its refusal to make any concessions on the national rights and constants.

This came in a press release issued by Hamas on Sunday on the anniversary of the Palestinian Land Day.

Hamas stressed that the Israeli occupation’s escalating plans to impose a fait accompli in Palestine through settlement and Judaization would not succeed in changing the truth that Palestine belongs to the Palestinians.

“On this day in 1976, the masses of the Palestinian people in Al-Muthalath, the Galilee and the Negev revolted against the Zionist occupation and its schemes that targeted their land and aimed to displace them, but they faced these plans with bare chest and unwavering determination,” Hamas stated.

“38 years have passed since the uprising started, and the occupation has been persisting since then in Judaizing the land, seizing it and displacing its people; however, the masses of the Palestinian peoples are still steadfast on every inch of the Palestinian land rejecting all compromises and concessions on their land. Every day, they become more faithful to their constants and more adherent to their sacrifices and resistance,” the Movement stressed.

Hamas reiterated that all forms of resistance, especially the armed resistance, are the best method to restore the land because all wagers on the negotiations proved failure and were used by the occupation to commit more crimes against the Palestinian people.

Hamas had called yesterday on the Palestinian people in all parts of Palestine to actively participate in events and activities to be held as of Sunday on the anniversary of the Land Day.

For its part, the intifada youth coalition urged the Palestinian young men to revolt in the face of the Israeli occupation in all areas of flashpoints in the occupied lands on the occasion of the Land Day.

(Source / 30.03.2014)

Israel’s ethnic cleansing continued since 1976


Every year on March 30, the residents of the Triangle area in the 1948 occupied territories commemorate the anniversary of the Land Day and remember their martyrs who were killed by the Israeli forces in 1976 while protesting against the confiscation of their lands.

Leader in the Islamic movement in the 1948 occupied Palestine Tawfiq Mohammed called for supporting the steadfastness of the residents of the 1948 territories and their adherence to their rights and lands.

He added: “The Land Day stresses the Palestinians’ natural right to their land despite the passage of years and the Judaization projects”, and warned that the occupation has continued to impose its control over more Palestinian lands because of the negotiations.

For his part, MP Fathi Qaraawi warned of the continued confiscation of land, which aims to change the geography of the land and to establish more settlements.

He considered that the Land Day has great significance for the recovery of the rights, stressing that the negotiation process is based on relinquishing the rights, especially the right of return.

Coordinator of the Popular Committee against the Settlement Salah al-Khawaja told PIC that the occupation wants to impose its control over the open lands after the failure of its attempts to displace the Palestinians.

He added: “Israel’s policy of ethnic cleansing against the Palestinians has not stopped since the announcement of the plans to confiscate lands in the Galilee. The occupation forces have continued their aggression against the Palestinian land in the West Bank and Jerusalem, as well as in the Negev through the Prawer project that aims to confiscate more than 80 thousand dunums.”

(Source / 30.03.2014)

Anti-Sisi hashtag goes viral


General SisiAbdel-Fattah Al-Sisi is Egypt’s resigned Minister of Defence, presidential hopeful, and leader of the military coup that ousted the country’s first democratically elected civilian president Mohamed Morsi

Social media users in Egypt and the Arab world responded to Al-Sisi’s presidential bid announcement with a very offensive viral hashtag that swept Twitter, Facebook, and other social media platforms.

Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi is Egypt’s resigned Minister of Defence, presidential hopeful, and leader of the military coup that ousted the country’s first democratically elected civilian president Mohamed Morsi. Since the coup, the regime installed by Al-Sisi has committed at least 36 massacres, the most bloody of which was the Rabaa massacre which led to the killing of thousands of unarmed civilians in one day.

Angry social media users in Egypt and the Arab world resorted to the hashtag to express their contempt. The hashtag reads #انتخبوا_العرص which in Arabic refers to a highly offensive insult meaning “the pimp; or the guardian of vice.” English-language users also used a literal translation of the hashtag #elect_the_pimp, which has also been translated to German and French, among other languages.

In its fourth day, according to keyhole real-time tracker, the hashtag achieved more than 105 million impressions, 21 million reach, 17,000 users, and 61,000 Tweets.

The inventors of the hashtag explain in their Facebook page that it is meant as an offense to the coup leader who oversaw the killing of thousands of civilians and unseated a democratically elected president. Despite Al-Sisi’s numerous promises that he was not seeking power, he is now running for president. The offensive hashtag in their view denotes Al-Sisi’s betrayal of the president who appointed him and a violation of his oath of office.

The hashtag has now become a major chant in the ongoing anti-coup protests across Egypt. It has also been extended to the streets, painted on walls, banknotes and public means of transportation.

Supporters of Al-Sisi launched a counter hashtag titled “I will elect Sisi”. However, it did not achieve the same reach as the offensive hashtag. The pro-Sisi hashtag got more than 470,000 impressions, 461,000 reach, and 82 users, and one hundred tweet, according to Keyhole tracker.

A pro-Sisi presenter slammed the campaign, and said it aims at “moral assassination” of Al-Sisi before the elections.

[click image to enlarge]
Anti-Sisi hashtag goes viral

(Source / 30.03.2014)

PA to discuss prisoner release

BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — The Palestinian leadership will hold a meeting on Monday to discuss further steps if Israel does not release a fourth group of veteran prisoners, the undersecretary of PA’s ministry of detainees said.

Ziad Abu Ein told Ma’an that the meeting was called to discuss steps that could be taken in case Israel reneges on the deal to release the last group of 30 Palestinian prisoners.

He added that Israel did not officially inform Palestinian officials of its intent not to release the prisoners, but they have informed the US that they want to release the fourth group on the condition that negotiations are extended, and that the PA decides not to seek standing in international organizations.

Abu Ein added that there are proposal to release other prisoners but refused to elaborate, adding that President Mahmoud Abbas refuses to discuss anything until the prisoners are released.

Abu Ein ruled out the possibility of releasing the prisoners in the next two days, saying that their names need to be made public 48 hours before their release.

He said chief negotiator Saeb Erekat is having on-going discussion with the US ambassador on the issue.

Erekat said a day earlier that Abbas has been exerting all efforts to negotiate the release of the fourth group.

Israel “must release the fourth batch” of prisoners, held in Israeli jails since before the 1993 Oslo Accords, Erekat said Sunday.

The deal at the beginning of the negotiations was for Israel to release 104 veteran prisoners in exchange for the PLO’s pledge not to attempt a statehood bid at the UN or other international bodies, Erekat reiterated.

He said the PLO was involved in “sensitive talks” with the US and the Israel, but that he could not reveal details.

Israel was scheduled to release the final group of prisoners on Saturday, but did not.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday that debate with the PLO over the prisoner release could go on for “a number of days,” the Israeli newspaper Jerusalem Post reported on its website.

Netanyahu said at a meeting with members of his right-wing Likud party that prisoners would not be freed “without a clear benefit for Israel in return,” the report said.

So far, 78 of a total of 104 veteran Palestinian prisoners have been freed in three separate tranches.

(Source / 30.03.2014)

Why Land Day still matters

Today, with no resolution in sight to the historic injustices inflicted upon them, Palestinians in Israel and elsewhere use this day to remember and redouble their efforts for emancipation.

Every year since 1976, on March 30, Palestinians around the world have commemorated Land Day. Though it may sound like an environmental celebration, Land Day marks a bloody day in Israel when security forces gunned down six Palestinians as they protested Israeli expropriation of Arab-owned land in the country’s north to build Jewish-only settlements.

The Land Day victims were not Palestinians from the occupied territory but citizens of the state, a group that now numbers over 1.6 million people, or more than 20.5 percent of the population. They are inferior citizens in a state that defines itself as Jewish and democratic, but in reality is neither.

On that dreadful day 38 years ago, in response to Israel’s announcement of a plan to expropriate thousands of acres of Palestinian land for “security and settlement purposes,” a general strike and marches were organized in Palestinian towns within Israel, from the Galilee to the Negev. The night before, in a last-ditch attempt to block the planned protests, the government imposed a curfew on the Palestinian villages of Sakhnin, Arraba, Deir Hanna, Tur’an, Tamra and Kabul, in the Western Galilee. The curfew failed; citizens took to the streets. Palestinian communities in the West Bank and Gaza, as well as those in the refugee communities across the Middle East, joined in solidarity demonstrations.

Palestinians from the Galilee town of Sakhnin commemorating Land Day, March 30, 2013. (Photo by: Yotam Ronen/Activestills.org)

Palestinians from the Galilee town of Sakhnin commemorating Land Day, March 30, 2013.

In the ensuing confrontations with the Israeli army and police, six Palestinian citizens of Israel were killed, about 100 wounded and hundreds arrested. The day lives on, fresh in the Palestinian memory, since today, as in 1976, the conflict is not limited to Israel’s illegal occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip but is ever-present in the country’s treatment of its own Palestinian Arab citizens.

The month following the killings, an internal government paper, written by senior Interior Ministry official Yisrael Koenig, was leaked to the press. The document, which became known as the Koenig Memorandum, offered recommendations intended to “ensure the [country’s] long-term Jewish national interests.” These included, “the possibility of diluting existing Arab population concentrations.”

Israel has been attempting to “dilute” its Palestinian population − both Muslims and Christians − ever since.

Thirty-eight years later, the situation is as dire as ever. Racism and discrimination, in their rawest forms, are rampant in Israel, and are often more insidious than physical violence. Legislation aimed at ethnically cleansing Palestinians from Israel is part of public discourse. Israeli ministers do not shy away from promoting “population transfers” of Palestinian citizens − code for forced displacement.

Israel’s adamant demand that the Palestinians recognize it as a “Jewish state” leaves them in a situation of having to inherently negate their own existence and accept the situation of inferiority in their own land. Recent efforts in the Knesset to link loyalty to citizenship threaten to target organizations and individuals who express dissent and even the revocation of citizenship, a practice unheard of in other countries.

Budgets for health and education allocated by the Israeli government to the Arab sector are, per capita, a fraction of those allocated to Jewish locales. Although hundreds of new Jewish towns and settlements have been approved and built since Israel’s creation, the state continues to prevent Arab towns and villages from expanding, suffocating their inhabitants and forcing new generations to leave in search of homes. Palestinians living in Israel are heavily discriminated against in employment and wages.

The message is clear: Israel has failed, abysmally, in realizing its oft-cried role as “the only democracy in the Middle East” with such discriminatory policies and a culture of antagonism and neglect vis-a-vis a fifth of its citizens. The original Land Day marked a pivotal point in terms of how Palestinians in Israel − living victims of Israel’s violent establishment − viewed their relations with the state. Today, with no resolution in sight to the historic injustices inflicted upon them, Palestinians in Israel and elsewhere use this day to remember and redouble their efforts for emancipation.

Memorial commemorating the deaths during the events of 1976. Annual Land Day commemoration in Sakhnin, March 30th, 2007. (Photo by Activestills.org)

Memorial commemorating the deaths during the events of 1976. Annual Land Day commemoration in Sakhnin, March 30th, 2007.

The names of the six victims of Land Day are written on the front of a monument in the cemetery of Sakhnin, accompanied by the words: “They sacrificed themselves for us to live … thus, they are alive − The martyrs of the day of defending the land, 30 March 1976.” On the back of the monument are the names of the two sculptors who created it: one Arab, one Jewish. Maybe it is this joint recognition of the tragedy of Palestinians that is required in Israel to get us beyond the chasm of denial.

For our part, as second-generation Palestinians born and raised outside Palestine who have decided to return to live in this troubled land, we view Land Day as an ongoing wake-up call to Israeli Jews and Jewry worldwide to understand that land, freedom and equality are an inseparable package − the only one that can deliver a lasting peace to all involved.

(Source / 30.03.2014)

Dozens of Assad troops killed in ‘special operation’

A Syrian army tank is seen in the al-Maamel area in Aleppo’s countryside.

Dozens of troops loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad were killed in two attacks carried out by rebels in Aleppo, opposition sources reported on Sunday.
Ziad Hajj Obeid, a commander for the rebel Free Syrian Army, said their forces carried two “special operations’ in the city, and have “managed to progress ahead of Assad troops in Aleppo’s area of Sheikh Najjar.”
Obeid added that the rebels in Aleppo’s al-Azizieh neighborhood launched a counterattack on regime forces costing the latter great losses.
The fighters claim they had also targeted a candy factory in al-Azizieh used as a base by Assad forces, killing 20 of them.
The operation comes as part of the rebels’ attempt to completely control the strategic town used to provide aid to regime forces in Aleppo.
Almost two years after rebels grabbed half of Syria’s biggest city, they are on the defensive, with government forces advancing on three sides.
If Assad’s forces manage to retake Aleppo, the Syrian president would regain control of Syria’s three largest cities, a bulwark for the Mediterranean provinces of Latakia and Tartous which form the heartland of his minority Alawite sect
(Source / 30.03.2014)

Turkey PM’s AKP ’takes early poll lead’

Erdogan’s ruling party edges ahead in local elections, with 35 percent of the votes counted, state news agency reports.

Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development party (AKP) has a strong lead in Turkey’s local elections, with around 35 percent of the votes counted as of 21:45 GMT, according to Turkey’s semi-official Anatolia news agency.

The AKP’s votes currently stand at 47.9 percent, while the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) has 28.1 percent and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) holds 13.3 percent, the agency reported late on Sunday.

The elections, which were being held amid corruption allegations and damaging security leaks that have shaken the 12-year rule of the AKP government, were widely seen as a vote of confidence for the rule of Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey’s prime minister.

According to Anatolia news agency, in Istanbul, Turkey’s largest city and financial capital, the AKP reportedly holds 48.6 percent of the votes while the CHP has 39.2 percent. Approximately 52 percent of the votes have been counted in the metropolis.

In the capital Ankara, where around 19 percent of the votes have been recorded, the AKP leads with 46.2 percent of the votes followed by the CHP with 39.9 percent.

Around 21 percent of the votes have been counted in the Aegean city of Izmir, the country’s third largest city, where the CHP leads with 47.3 percent followed by AKP with 37.1 percent.

Yavas claims victory

Mansur Yavas, the CHP’s candidate for Ankara, has declared victory, blaming the media for manipulation. His claim to victory has been rejected by his AKP opponent Ibrahim Melih Gokcek, the current mayor.

Haluk Koc, a CHP spokesman, has also said that his party leads in all three major cities, blaming Anatolia and certain media networks for manipulation.

More than 50 million voters were eligible to cast their ballots in Turkey’s local elections.

The AKP, which swept to power in 2002 on a platform of eradicating the corruption that blights Turkish life, hopes on Sunday to equal or better its overall 2009 vote of 38.8 percent.

Erdogan crisscrossed the nation of 77 million during weeks of hectic campaigning to rally his conservative core voters, during which he temporarily lost his voice.

His government has purged thousands of people from the judiciary and police since December following the anti-corruption raids targeting businessmen close to Erdogan and sons of ministers.

The prime minister said that those behind the investigations were trying to form a “state within a state” or “parallel state”, blaming the movement of Fethullah Gulen, the US-based Turkish cleric whose followers are apparently highly influential in Turkey’s police forces and judiciary. Many analysts say that the two sides used to be allies in the past in their struggle against Turkey’s politically dominant military.

CHP portrays Erdogan as a corrupt “dictator” ready to hang on to power by any means. Capture of the capital Ankara or Istanbul would allow them to claim some form of victory.

(Source / 30.03.2014)

What is Palestine’s Land Day?

Palestinians display a map of historic Palestine during a rally in the northern Gaza Strip to mark Land Day, on 30 March 2014.

On this day in 1976, thousands of Palestinians marched in towns and villages across theGalilee region, in the north of present-day Israel, to protest Israel’s expropriation of vast tracts of land as part of its openly declared policy to “Judaize” the area at the expense of the indigenous population.

No Zionism without “evacuation” and “confiscation”

“Following the Zionist tenets, Israel has systematically and callously followed an intricate and continuous process of Arab land expropriation through the promulgation of new laws, the circumvention of existing laws, harassment and duplicity. Recognizing the naked truth, Y. Ben-Porat, a known ‘hawk’ wrote ‘One truth is that there is no Zionism, no settlement, no Jewish state without evacuation of the Arabs and confiscation and enclosure of their land,’” anthropologist Khalil Nakhleh wrote in The Journal of Palestine Studies in 1976.

Frustration and anger at Israel’s land theft from, and discrmination against, Palestinian citizens of Israel had been mounting for years.

Nakhleh adds: “To protest against the essence of this process and orders for new expropriations, the Arab population declared a general strike for 30 March 1976. In an effort to preempt the strike, army and border police, including armored units, were dispatched to the most affected Arab villages. Violent confrontations ensued, and left behind six Arabs killed, tens wounded and hundreds arrested. March 30 was commemorated as Yawm al-Ard or the Day of the Land.”

Israeli violence

“On that day, quiet demonstrations in the villages of Sakhnin, Arabeh and Dir Hanna were confronted by an aggressive police and army presence which later turned on them in violent confrontations,” historian Ilan Pappe writes in his book The Forgotten Palestinians.

Already, on 28 March, “the Minister of Police declared that his forces were ‘ready to break into the Arab villages’ – he used the Hebrew word ‘lifroz,’ which is usually employed to describe assaults on enemy lines and bases,” Pappe explains.

Pappe gives the names of those killed as Khayr Muhammad Yasin from Arabeh, Raja Hussein Abu Riya, Khader Abd Khalil and Khadija Juhayna from Sakhnin, Muhammad Yusuf Taha from Kafr Kana and Rafat Zuhairi from Nur Shams refugee camp, who was shot in Taybeh.

Turning point

The Day of the Land – or Land Day – marked a turning point as the first mass mobilization by Palestinians within Israel against internal colonialism and land theft.

Its commemoration is a reaffirmation that the Palestinians who remained in the areas on which Israel was declared i 1948 are an inseparable part of the Palestinian people and their struggle.

Land Day continues to resonate with Palestinians everywhere because it does not just mark a past historical event, but draws attention to Israel’s ongoing violent, settler-colonial process of “Judaization.”

Israel continues to steal land from Palestinians and to displace them in every part of historic Palestine from the north, to the occupied West Bank, to the Naqab (Negev) in the south.


To mark Land Day, The Journal of Palestine Studies has made available several articles from past issues, including Khalil Nakhleh’s, quoted above.

These articles recall the history of Land Day, how it was seen in the context of the Palestinian reality in its time and in the decades since.

(Source / 30.03.2014)

Morsi ally sentenced for hiding wanted Muslim Brotherhood official


Photo source or description

[JURIST] The Giza Misdemeanour Court on Sunday sentenced Mohammed Morsi’s former manpower minister Khaled al-Azhari [Washington Institute profile] to two years in prison for hiding a wanted Muslim Brotherhood [JURIST news archive] official. Al-Azhari served as deputy chairman of the parliamentary Manpower Committee in 2012, and he was named Minister of Manpower and Immigration in August of that year. In the trial, al-Azhari was sentenced alongside a fellow parliamentary member for harboring Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) [party website] Secretary General Mohamed Beltagy while there was warrant issued for his arrest for allegedly inciting deadly violence in the summer of 2013. The pair was convicted[Egypt Daily News report] of hiding Beltagy in a safe house in the village Teresa near of Cairo.

Political conflict in Egypt has been ongoing since the 2011 Egyptian revolution [JURIST backgrounder]. In December 2013 Egypt’s interim government officially declared [JURIST report] the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist group and Egyptian courts have prosecuted Muslim Brotherhood members substantially in 2014. On Saturday an Egyptian court sentenced two supporters of deposed president Mohammed Morsi [BBC profile] to death for murder. In February Egypt’s Prosecutor General Hesham Barakat referred [JURIST report] 504 members of the Muslim Brotherhood for a mass trial. Also in February authorities ordered 242 Morsi supporters to face new trials in relation to the violent protests against the new government, and in January three courts in Egypt sentenced [JURIST reports] 113 Muslim Brotherhood supporters.

(Source / 30.03.2014)

Israeli ministers threaten to quit government if more Palestinian prisoners were released

Moshe FeiglinMoshe Feiglin, the MK who has violated the sanctity of the Al-Aqsa Compound several times in recent months, said that he will do everything in his power to prevent such a deal from happening

Israel’s minister of the economy and leader of the right-wing Jewish Home Party, Naftali Bennett, objected to releasing a fourth group of Palestinian prisoners in exchange for the extension of the peace talks with the Palestinians. He said that such a deal will never happen. Meanwhile, Israel’s Housing Minister Uri Ariel threatened that he will also resign from government if such a deal was concluded.

Bennet said through his Facebook account “I received many inquiries about rumours claiming that Israel will free 400 Palestinians prisoners to extend the negotiations… I’ll be clear; this will never happen”.

On the other hand; Israel’s Housing Minister Uri Ariel remarked on Bennet’s statement saying that “If such rumours proved accurate, I will resign from government”.

Israel’s deputy Defence Minister Danny Danon also objected to the deal saying the peace talks proved futile and will not bear fruit in the future. On his part, MK Moshe Feiglin said that he will do everything in his power to prevent such a deal from happening .

Meanwhile, the Minister of Transportation Yisrael Katz expressed his opposition saying “the terrorists must hunker in prison”. He claimed that Israel had released prisoners earlier but that did not help to push the peace talks forward.

On Saturday Israel missed a deadline to release the fourth group of Palestinian prisoners and demanded that the Palestinians extend the negotiations for another year in returnfor their release.

Palestinian officials warned that if Israel refused to release the fourth group of prisoners including Arab citizens in Israel; the Palestinian Authority will join international conventions especially the Geneva Conventions and prosecute Israel for war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Palestinian sources said the US special envoy to the peace process Martin Indyk met with the Palestinian negotiating team and a member of the Israeli team, Yitzhak Molcho, to discuss the recent development in the peace talks.

(Source / 30.03.2014)