Cement shortage hinders reconstruction efforts in Gaza

GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — A Palestinian Authority official said Monday that the Gaza Strip was in desperate need of cement, a year after a devastating Israeli offensive left large swathes of the coastal enclave in ruin.Imad al-Baz, an assistant undersecretary in the Palestinian Ministry of the Economy, said that while Gaza required more than 1.5 million tons of cement to rebuild, so far only 16,000 tons had entered through the Rafah crossing since the war ended.Meanwhile, the Palestinian housing minister, Mufid Hasayneh, said last week that Israel had allowed 128,000 tons of cement in the same time period.Al-Baz told Ma’an that during the Rafah crossing’s rare opening last week, Gazans had submitted 2,000 applications to the PA requesting that 25,000 tons of cement be imported, although only 9,500 tons made it through in the end.Al-Baz said that Palestinian traders were later found selling the cement on the black market at extremely high prices. Although he ministry sets a minimum price, few traders follow the regulations.While up to 90,000 partially damaged homes in Gaza have been repaired in coordination with the UN since last summer’s war, thousands more remain damaged or totally destroyed.Husayneh said last week reconstruction efforts would soon focus on homes that were totally destroyed, which number approximately 18,000 according to the UN.Israel’s ongoing blockade of Gaza, now in its ninth year, has been blamed for the slow speed of reconstruction, as well as the lack of international donor support to the territory, which is ruled by Hamas.Israel severely limits the amount of building materials allowed into Gaza as part of its blockade, which is supported in the south by Egypt.Critics of the blockade have called for it to be fully lifted to allow reconstruction, warning that an ongoing humanitarian crisis could fuel further conflict.

(Source / 29.06.2015)

Prisoners suffer health deterioration in Negev, Nafha prisons

RAMALLAH, (PIC)–  A number of Palestinian prisoners, held in Nejev and Nafha prisons, suffer health deterioration due to the Israeli deliberate medical negligence, Palestinian official sources said Sunday.

The Palestinian authority for prisoners and ex-prisoners said that the detainee Majed Saadi, 26, who is held administratively in Nafha jail since 2013, suffers from neurological problems and frequent fainting in addition to severe headache.

The 23-year-old prisoner Mohamed Haroub, who is still held in Negev prison for over a year, suffers from epileptic seizures. However, he did not receive any medical care.

The prisoner Rami Khanfar, who was arrested in 2005 and sentenced to 15 years, suffers from severe foot wounds as he was shot and injured during his arrest. He also suffers from serious back pains and peptic ulcer without receiving any medical treatment.

The prisoner Ziad Silawi, who was detained in 2003 and sentenced to 17 years, suffers from difficult psychological problems and hysterical symptoms. He was not given any medication.

The prisoner Mohamed Sami Abd Rabo, arrested in 2004 and sentenced to 16 years, suffers frequent syncope as he was subjected two weeks ago to a brutal attack by Israeli jailers in Nafha prison.

(Source / 29.06.2015)

Crew Of Aid Ship Headed For Gaza Kidnapped By Israeli Navy

“It’s an act of kidnapping to take international citizens from international waters to a country not of their choice against their will.”

The Marianne

The Marianne, shown here laden with humanitarian aid preparing for it’s trip to Gaza, has been seized by the Israeli Navy.

A freedom flotilla sailing to break the blockade of Gaza was captured early Monday morning by the Israeli navy and the 18 journalists, campaigners, and crew aboard are currently in the occupying army’s custody, in an attack global supporters are calling piracy and kidnapping at high sea.

David Heap, spokesperson for the international Freedom Flotilla Coalition, told Common Dreams that supporters lost contact with the ship—the Marianne of Gothenburg—at approximately 5:00 AM Gaza time when it was roughly 100 nautical miles from the strip. The coalition still has not spoken with any of the people detained and does not have any information about their well-being.

Israeli authorities said they intercepted the vessel without incident, but the global coalition says there is reason to be skeptical of this claim.

“We have no reason to believe that Marianne’s capture was ‘uneventful,’ because the last time the IDF said something like that, in 2012, the people on board the ‘Estelle’ were badly tasered and beaten with clubs,” said the coalition in a statement released Monday. “Back in 2010, ten passengers of Mavi Marmara were murdered by the IDF during a similar operation in international waters.”

Whatever the details of the seizure, Heap emphasized that “it’s an act of kidnapping to take international citizens from international waters to a country not of their choice against their will.” The Israeli military’s action, moreover, raises concerns that “the occupation and blockade policy extends to the entire eastern Mediterranean,” the coalition said.

The Marianne originated in Sweden but carried people from around the world, including Tunisia, Spain, Morocco, and New Zealand. It was part of a global effort, under the banner of Freedom Flotilla III, that embarked from Greek ports Saturday in an effort to break the Israeli siege of Gaza—which is politically and financially backed by the United States and enabled by the active participation of Egypt.

In addition to the Marianne, the initiative included the supporting vessels Rachel, Vittorio, and Juliano II, and altogether the vessels carried 47 people from 17 countries.

“While the Flotilla bears much-needed aid, our main cargo is, as always, human solidarity and non-violent direct action for the respect of human rights,” said Freedom Flotilla III in a statement.

The effort was supported by people around the world and followed numerous other attempts to sail against the siege of Gaza, in solidarity with the 1.8 million people living there—roughly half of whom are children. One of the most densely populated places on earth, Gaza faces an escalating humanitarian crisis due to the blockade, which has made it nearly impossible to rebuild destroyed infrastructure—from hospitals to refugee shelters to schools—after Israel’s 50-day military assault last summer.

“While our attention is on our friends and colleagues on the boats, our goal is to stand with our civil society partners in Gaza,” said Heap. “Our purpose is to bring the attention of the world to the inhumane blockade. Our thoughts are with the people waiting for us on the shore and waiting for the world to demand the end to this blockade.”

The three boats accompanying the Marianne have turned around and are now en route to Greek ports. But Heap emphasized that this development is just temporary: “We will sail again.”

(Source / 29.06.2015)

Syrian Coalition and Rebels Ready to Fill Power Vacuum When Assad Falls

Vice-president Hisham Marwa said that the Syrian Coalition and the revolutionary forces are ready to fill the power vacuum that will ensue after the collapse of the Assad regime, adding that “we have already developed an integrated vision for the issues of security and services and have political and legal plans for the post-Assad phase.”

“We have clear plans and procedures in the event of the fall of the Assad regime and the collapse of the security apparatuses which we see is imminent in light of the rapid military rebel gains. The greatest challenges we will be faced with are the security and services. The security challenge will be dealt through the Interim Ministry of Defense, the Interim Ministry of the Interior, the rebel factions currently active on the ground, and through the formation of civil committees to maintain security in neighborhoods and villages.”

Marwa points to the existence of plans and coordination between several executive bodies to meet the people’s needs and the provision of basic services such as education, health and the basic needs. This task will be allocated to the relevant ministries of the interim government, local councils, humanitarian and international organizations with the support of sister and friendly countries.

Marwa notes that “the Syrian Coalition still seeks the success of the political process and reaching a peaceful transition of power, but the intransigence of the Assad regime and its insistence on a military solution foils any prospects of a political solution. International and regional parties supporting the Assad regime also considerably contributes to the failure of the political process in Syria.

Last week Marwa attended a session on the sidelines of a UN Human Rights Council meeting titled “Syria after Tyranny” held in Geneva. During the session, he presented the Syrian Coalition’s vision for the transitional period in Syria and the principles of a political settlement based on the formation of a transitional governing body with full powers.

(Source: Syrian Coalition / 29.06.2015)

Ergste wat je kan overkomen!

[Ramadanbericht nr 16]
Het ergste wat ons kan overkomen, beste broeders en zusters, is het vervallen in shirk; dé grootste zonde. Deze zonde die het paradijs voor ons verboden maakt en ons doet behoren tot de eeuwige bewoners van het Vuur! Allah zegt:

“Hij die deelgenoten aan Allah toekent: Allah heeft hem waarlijk het Paradijs verboden. En zijn bestemming zal de Hel zijn.” [5:72]

Dit geldt voor degene die grote shirk begaat en daar geen berouw van heeft getoond vóór zijn dood. Shirk is namelijk onder te verdelen in twee soorten: grote en kleine shirk.

Grote shirk
Grote shirk houdt in dat je een deelgenoot aan Allah toekent door je te wenden tot iets of iemand dan Allah met een vorm van aanbidding.

Een voorbeeld van grote shirk is het aanroepen van iets of iemand dan Allah (Du’a), terwijl deze afwezig is en niet in staat is om jou te verhoren. Zoals sommige onwetenden dat doen bij de graven in vele landen. Al zij het met het voorwendsel dat zij hen slechts aanroepen als voorspraak bij Allah. Dit was ook het voorwendsel van de vroegere mushrikien (polytheïsten). Allah zegt:

“En zij aanbidden naast Allah wat hen niet schaadt en hen niet baat, en zij zeggen: ‘Dezen zijn onze voorsprekers bij Allah’.” [10:18]

Degene die grote shirk begaat, begaat ongeloof. Al zijn voorgaande goede daden worden hierdoor vruchteloos. Allah zegt:

“En voorzeker, er is aan jou (O Mohammed) en aan degenen vóór jou geopenbaard: Als jij shirk pleegt, dan zullen jouw daden vruchteloos worden en zal jij zeker tot de verliezers behoren.” [39:65]

Grote shirk wordt niet vergeven wanneer daar geen berouw van is getoond vóór de dood, in tegenstelling tot de overige zonden waar het aan Allah is om de dienaar daarvoor te straffen of te vergeven. Allah zegt:

“Voorwaar, Allah vergeeft niet dat aan Hem deelgenoten worden toegekend, maar Hij vergeeft daarnaast, wie Hij wil..” [4:48]

Kleine shirk
Kleine shirk is alles wat leidt naar grote shirk en in de Koran en Sunnah shirk is genoemd, maar niet valt onder grote shirk.

Vormen van kleine shirk zijn het zweren bij iets of iemand anders dan Allah. Zo ook de uitspraak: ‘als het die of dat niet was dan was dit en dit gebeurd’, zoals bijvoorbeeld: “als het de arts niet was dan was ik nog steeds ziek.” Het correcte is: “als het Allah niet was en vervolgens de arts was ik nog steeds ziek.”

Een andere vorm van kleine shirk is riyaa; de aanbidding beter uitvoeren omdat mensen deze aanschouwen. Zoals een persoon die de gewoonte heeft om het gebed haastig te verrichten, maar omdat deze wordt aanschouwd nu goed de tijd neemt.

Verschil tussen grote en kleine shirk
Kleine shirk is in tegenstelling tot grote shirk geen ongeloof, maar behoort wel tot de grootste zonden. Ook maakt kleine shirk de voorgaande daden niet vruchteloos, wel maakt het de daad waarin deze voorkomt vruchteloos. Zoals het voorgaande voorbeeld van het gebed.

Groot of klein beste broeders en zusters, wij moeten ver verwijderd blijven van alle vormen van shirk. Hopend dat de volgende uitspraak van onze nobele profeet vrede zij met hem op ons van toepassing zal zijn:

“Wie sterft zonder iets aan shirk te plegen, zal het paradijs betreden.”

En dat de volgende uitspraak van de profeet vrede zij met hem niet op ons van toepassing zal zijn:

“En wie sterft terwijl hij shirk pleegde (en daar geen berouw van heeft getoond) zal het Vuur betreden.” [Sahih moslim]

Wordt vervolgd …

Student aan de Universiteit van Medina, Saudi Arabië.

12 Ramadan 1436 / 29 juni 2015


By Peter Clifford                ©                (www.petercliffordonline.com/syria-iraq-news-5/)



By yesterday, Sunday, the YPG had succeeded in curtailing what had become a bloody Islamic State suicide attack on the citizens of Kobane, although a remaining IS insurgent was spotted by residents in the city and eliminated by Kurdish security this afternoon, Monday.



Just How Much More?

Altogether, the attack, which started in the early hours of last Thursday, claimed the lives of 233 people and injured a further 273. 210 of the victims died within Kobane city itself and a further 23 at Berkhbotan village to the south.

14 members of the Kurdish security, the Asayish, as well as others who took up arms died in an attempt to hold back the IS Jihadists.

Of the Islamic State attacking force, which was estimated to be between 80 and 100, all of them were eliminated apart from 7 who escaped across the border into Turkey.

Of 8 x IS Jihadists who fled towards the south, 2 were killed in the Termik area and the final 6 at Korpîngarê. One IS fighter of Egyptian origin was captured alive, seen surrendering, HERE:

On Thursday, Kobane was in complete chaos and its citizens who thought they had returned to a secure and safe city, found themselves in a place of terror. Imagine is this was your street? (Some disturbing and distressing images), HERE:

The bulk of the fighting ended after the last group of IS Jihadists were cornered at the unoccupied Rash Secondary School and attacked with Kalashnikovs and grenades HERE:

After directing Coalition aircraft to the scene, the school was largely blown to pieces, HERE:

Rudaw Kurdish media has a report from the scene with English sub-titles, HERE:



Clearing IS From the Streets of Kobane

At least 60 x IS Jihadists have been confirmed killed, while further bodies are still being discovered.

YPG sources have confirmed that most of the IS attacking force came from the Sarrin area in the south-west part of the Canton and having shaved their beards and donned YPG/FSA uniforms, they were able to pass through YPG and Asayish checkpoints to reach the city.

Other reports though persist in saying that a smaller number of attackers also came across the border from Turkey.

Several reports also say that some of the attackers were dissident Kurds and spoke the language, possibly originating from Kurdish areas of Turkey or Iraq.

In the west of Kobane Canton local reports suggest that as well as the main attack on Kobane city, the Islamic State attempted several boat crossings across the Euphrates river but these were foiled by Coalition airstrikes and Kurdish artillery.

A build up of IS fighters at Jarablous, on the west bank of the Euphrates was also targeted, as well as IS forces coming from Manbij and heading for the road across the Euphrates above the Tishreen dam.

To the east of Kobane over the weekend, the combined YPG/YPJ and Free Syrian Army force, Burkan al-Firat, consolidated their positions south of Tal Abyad and strengthened their control of the Tal Abyad to Raqqah road.

In clashes with the IS Jihadists, 2 x IS tanks were destroyed and 38 x IS fighters killed, as well as AK-47s, machine gun and rocket launchers captured. 6 Kurdish fighters died in the battles.



Turkey’s Forces Mass on Syrian Border

Of major concern is a build-up of Turkish troops along the Rajavan border.

President Erdogan of Turkey has made it clear that he will not tolerate a Kurdish state along his border separating Turkey from Syria and linking the 3 Kurdish Cantons of Afrin, Kobane and Cizire.

Reports suggest that as many as 18,000 Turkish troops are massing to establish a 110-km long and 28-km wide buffer zone stretching from Karkamış to Öncüpınar, on both sides of the Syrian border.

However, Erdogan’s party failed to succeed in getting an overall majority in recent elections, and both his Foreign Minister and the Turkish military are reluctant to pursue such a plan.

Ostensibly set up as an attempt to fight IS, for which a regular army is ill-equipped in the first place, it could easily turn into a battle with the Kurds and attract international condemnation as well as air attacks from Assad’s air force.

A statement of intent is expected this evening, Monday, after a meeting of Turkey’s National Security Council which convened this afternoon, a day earlier than usual. You can read more, HERE:

A Kobane Canton situation map, courtesy of @ChuckPfarrer, is here:



Kobane Canton Situation Map 29.06.15

EDITOR: Perhaps what is most surprising (or perhaps not considering the numbers of people who turn to this blog for Kobane news – now approaching 70,000 visitors a month), is the failure of international media to report on events in Kobane and northern Syria.

Last Friday, when IS struck in France, Kuwait and Tunisia, BBC news reports and other leading channels and press ignored the deaths of 200+ people in Kobane city and just reported these other stories. None the less terrible in their brutality, but no more worthy of coverage than the murder of dozens of Kurdish civilians.

Some notable exceptions were the UK’s Guardian and the The Independent.

Over in Hasakah the picture of the fight between Assad forces and the YPG, who are both defending the city, and the Islamic State who are attacking them is less clear.

Reports over the weekend suggested that Assad’s forces were losing ground in the south of Hasakah and handing over their positions (and weapons) to the YPG who hold the north of the city.

On Saturday, the Syrian Army was reported to have withdrawn from a number of checkpoints and its headquarters, allowing IS to penetrate parts of the Kurdish districts of Aziziyah and Al-Ghazl. Kurdish units subsequently took control of the National Hospital in the Aziziyah neighbourhood and the nearby School of Nursing.

Pro-regime forces have however been constantly shelling IS positions from the Jabal Kawkab base 10 kilometres east of Hasakah in an attempt to cut off their supply routes from Shaddadi and yesterday are reported to have regained the Nashwa Gharbiya neighbourhood. As a result, the Kurds have also blocked the infiltration of Aziziyah and Al-Ghazl.

IS still controls the Villat Homr area which overlooks the IS-held district of Geweran in the south-east of the city, while Assad’s air force continues to bomb them from the air and 30,000 civilians flee to the north.

Since last Thursday the Coalition has also been very active in the air across northern Syria, US Central Command (Centcom) reporting 51 airstrikes between Thursday morning and today, Monday am.

27 of those airstrikes were in Kobane Canton, 7 near Tal Abayd, 7 near Raqqah, 3 near Hasakah and the rest in Aleppo and Deir Ez-Zour provinces – all hitting and destroying the usual range of Islamic State fighting units, vehicles, weapons and equipment but including 8 x IS boats.



Victims of IS Attack on Kobane June 2015 – RIP

Palestinian writer and land defender Abdul Razeq Farraj’s administrative detention renewed

The Israeli military occupation renewed the administrative detention without charge or trial of Palestinian writer and land defender Abdul Razeq Farraj, 53, for the fifth consecutive time on 24 June. The new 4-month administrative detention order without charge or trial extends Farraj’s imprisonment; he has been held since 25 February 2014, consistently without charge or trial, on the basis of secret evidence, one of over 400 Palestinians so held.

Farraj, a writer and journalist, is also the administrative and financial director of the Union of Agricultural Work Committees (UAWC), a Palestinian agricultural and land defense organization that won the United Nations’ 2014 Equator Prize for its work on food sustainability. The UAWC has been, for over 28 years, in the forefront of supporting Palestinian agricultural workers and connecting with other land defenders around the world; it is a member of Via Campesina and has worked with the Landless Workers’ Movement in Brazil. He was arrested for the first time in 1985 and spent six years in Israeli jails; arrested again in 1993 and held for 4 1/2 years, and has been held under administrative detention multiple times since 2002.  A Palestinian refugee, his family lives in Jalazone refugee camp near Ramallah.

Farraj is married with two sons; his older son Basil, a graduate of Earlham College, has written on multiple occasions about his experiences being forcibly separated from his father by the Israeli occupation.

Farraj was part of last year’s open hunger strike of administrative detainees.

(Source / 29.06.2015)

ECESG: Freedom Flotilla 3 to continue to sail

GAZA, (PIC)– The European Campaign to End the Siege on Gaza (ECESG) stated that Freedom Flotilla 3 will continue to sail towards Gaza shores despite the Israeli act of piracy against Marianne boat that leads the flotilla.

Member of the ECESG Rami Abdo said in a press conference on Monday that one additional ship will set sail from Greece within 48 hours.

Abdo called on the Arab countries and the international community to take firm positions against the Israeli act of piracy in the Mediterranean.

For his part, head of the campaign Mazen Kahil said that the Freedom Flotilla will continue to sail till breaking the siege on Gaza.

Israeli hijacking of Marianne reveals Israel’s ugly image and its crime against humanity and peaceful activists, he added.

The international coalition to support the Freedom Flotilla sent appeals to the Arab League and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation to protect the former Tunisian president Moncef Marzouki who is among 18 other activists aboard Marianne which was intercepted by Israeli navy forces at dawn Monday.

In his turn, head of the International Committee to Break the Siege on Gaza and founding member of the Freedom Flotilla Coalition Zaher Birawi affirmed in a press release on Monday that three boats of the Israeli navy had surrounded Marianne in international waters, while sailing approximately 100 nautical miles from Gaza coast.

After that we lost contact with the Marianne and at 05:11 AM (Gaza time) the Israeli authorities announced that they had “visited and searched” Marianne, Birawi said, adding that they captured the boat and detained all on board “in international waters” as they admitted themselves.

(Source / 29.06.2015)

Israeli navy intercepts Freedom Flotilla

The boat Marianne was intercepted about 100 nautical miles off the Gaza coast

Three Israeli gunboats surrounded, boarded and controlled on Monday night one out of four boats consisting Freedom Flotilla III.

On board of Marianne, there are 18 activists and journalists, including the former Tunisian President Moncef Marzouki and Arab-Israeli Knesset Member Basel Ghattas

Days of Palestine, Freedom Flotilla –Three Israeli gunboats surrounded, boarded and controlled on Monday night one out of four boats consisting Freedom Flotilla III.

Activists on board said that the “Israeli pirates” intercepted the boat and boarded it “non-violently.” Previously, activists said they would not clash with Israeli occupation forces if they boarded their boats.

The Swedish-registered Marianne of Gothenburg, which is now under control of Israeli navy, is expectedly heading to the Israeli port of Ashdod, an activist on board said. He expected that the activist to be deported by the Israeli occupation to their homes.

Organisers of the Freedom Flotilla said that after 4:00 am Gaza time, they lost contact with the Marianne when it was about 100 nautical miles away from the Gaza coast. But they expected that the Israeli navy had seized it.

On board of Marianne, there are 18 activists and journalists, including the former Tunisian President Moncef Marzouki and Arab-Israeli Knesset Member Basel Ghattas.

Israeli media reported an Israeli military statement saying: “Israeli forces visited and searched the vessel in international waters in order to prevent the intended breach of the maritime blockade of the Gaza Strip.”

(Source / 29.06.2015)

Israel once again commits an act of state piracy in the Mediterranean

At 02:06AM today (Gaza time) the “Marianne” contacted Freedom Flotilla Coalition (FFC) and informed us that three boats of the Israeli navy had surrounded her in international waters, while sailing approximately 100NM from Gaza coast. After that we lost contact with the “Marianne” and at 05:11AM (Gaza time) the IDF announced that they had “visited and searched” Marianne. They had captured the boat and detained all on board “in international waters” as they admitted themselves. The only positive content in the IDF announcement was that they still recognize that there is a naval blockade of Gaza, despite Netanyahu’s government recent denial that one exists.

We have no reason to believe that Marianne’s capture was “uneventful”, because the last time the IDF said something like that, in 2012, the people on board the “Estelle” were badly tasered and beaten with clubs. Back in 2010, ten passengers of Mavi Marmara were murdered by the IDF during a similar operation in international waters.

It is disappointing that the Israeli government chose to continue the absolutely fruitless policy of “no tolerance”, meaning it will continue to enforce an inhumane and illegal collective punishment against 1.8 million Palestinians in Gaza. Israel’s repeated acts of state piracy in international waters are worrying signs that the occupation and blockade policy extends to the entire eastern Mediterranean. We demand that the Israeli government cease and desist the illegal detainment of peaceful civilians travelling in international waters in support of humanitarian aid.
We call on our governments to ensure that all passengers and crew from the “Marianne” are safe, and to strongly protest against the violation of international maritime law by the Israeli state. We call on all civil society organizations to condemn the actions of Israel. People all over the world will continue to respond and react to this injustice, as will we, until the port of Gaza is open and the siege and occupation is ended.

(Source / 29.06.2015)