Israel to market 454 illegal settler units in al-Quds

Israel has given the green light for the construction of over 450 units in two illegal settlements in East al-Quds (Jerusalem), despite international condemnation of the regime’s settlement activities.

An unnamed Israeli official said on Tuesday that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday approved the marketing of land for the construction of 436 housing units in Ramat Shlomo and another 18 in Ramot.

The Tel Aviv regime decided to build the 436 homes back in 2012. However, the project was later frozen due to Washington’s disapproval.

Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

Ramat Shlomo and Ramot are located in a territory Palestinians seek for a future state but occupied by Israel in 1967.

Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Malki has condemned the plan, saying the Palestinians would lodge a complaint with the International Criminal Court (ICC).

“We don’t only condemn settlement building which is illegal and carried out by the Israeli occupation authority through systematic settlement building, we also submit complaints to the parties concerned. Now we have added a new aspect to the parties we deal with which is the international criminal court,” said al-Malki.

He added that authorities in Palestine will follow “new escalation in settlement building” with the prosecutor general’s office.

Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad Al-Maliki 

Israel has expanded its illegal settlement construction in the occupied Palestinian territories in the past few years in defiance of international calls on the regime to end its expansionist polices.

The presence and continued expansion of Israeli settlements has created a major obstacle to Middle East peace efforts.

Netanyahu has said the creation of a Palestinian state is contingent upon several conditions, including recognition of Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people, a demand dismissed outright by the Palestinians.

Over half a million Israelis live in over 120 illegal settlements built since Israel’s occupation of the West Bank including East al-Quds in 1967.

Much of the international community considers the settler units as illegal because the territories were seized by Israel in a 1967 war and are hence subject to the Geneva Conventions, which forbid construction on occupied lands.

(Source / 22.11.2015)

IOF to tighten noose around Jenin village

JENIN, (PIC)– The Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) threatened on Sunday to impose a tight siege on Yabad town, south of Jenin, under the pretext of limiting local youths’ attacks on Israeli soldiers.

Eyewitnesses said that IOF soldiers have delivered an ultimatum to the inhabitants threatening to impose countless collective punishment measures on the local residents if the attacks continue.

Israelis claim that Yabad’s youths carry out daily attacks against the nearby Mabo Dotan settlement.

Also in Yabad, violent clashes were reported on Sunday evening when IOF violently stormed the town.

Local youths started throwing stones and empty bottles after Israeli forces closed the main entrance to the town and erected a make-shift checkpoint.

Earlier Saturday, Israeli forces had intensified their presence throughout the town after an Israeli jeep was attacked by a Molotov cocktail.

(Source / 22.11.2015)

Israeli forces close 2nd Hebron radio station this month

HEBRON (Ma’an) — Israeli forces issued an order for the closure of a Hebron radio station Saturday morning, the second news outlet to be shut by Israel this month in the occupied West Bank city.Director of Al-Khalil Radio (Hebron Radio), Amjad Shawar, told Ma’an that Israeli forces stormed the station, confiscating equipment and damaging offices.Intelligence officers then delivered a military warrant ordering the station to close for six months due “incitement against Israel.”Shawar said the Palestinian Authority — namely the PA’s ministry of information — should work alongside human rights organizations to “stop ongoing Israeli piracy.”The Israeli army confirmed that military forces, in operation with Israel’s internal security service, Shin Bet, and civil administration, confiscated broadcasting equipment from the station.“The al-Khalil radio station has repeatedly broadcasted content which promotes and encourages terror and acts of violence against Israeli civilians and security forces,” the army said in a statement.

The Palestinian government denounced the Israeli military raid on the station, describing it as violation of international law.Secretary-general of the Palestinian cabinet, Ali Abu Diak, said in a statement that the attack was part of Israel’s policy to “oppress the voice of Palestinian rights” and to prevent publication of the truth about “the ongoing ugly crimes Israel is committing against the Palestinian people.”The closure marks the latest violation of press freedoms in the occupied Palestinian territory.Earlier this month, Israeli forces ordered the closure and ban on broadcasting from Manbar al-Hurriyya (Freedom Tribune) radio station, also located in Hebron and reportedly affiliated with Fatah.The Israeli army accused the radio station of encouraging “stabbing attacks” and “violent riots,” and reporting “false and malicious claims of security forces executing and kidnapping Palestinians in order to provoke violence.”The incident came a day after a Palestinian press freedoms watchdog condemned more than 450 violations of media freedoms since the beginning of the year.The watchdog, MADA, has repeatedly reported violations against the press — both international and Palestinian — while reporting from the occupied Palestinian territories.Such violations are carried out by both Israeli and Palestinian security forces, according to MADA documentation.MADA said that while press violations had not reached last year’s proportions, when 17 Palestinian journalists were killed by Israeli forces in Gaza, violations in 2015 had “witnessed an enormous escalation.”

(Source / 22.11.2015)

IOF turns Palestinian house to military barracks in al-Khalil

AL-KHALIL, (PIC)– Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) continued for the third day besieging a Palestinian house in al-Aroub refugee camp in al-Khalil and turned it to military barracks.

The brother of the house owner Luai Jawabrah said that Israeli forces turned the house of his brother, Mohammad, to military barracks. The forces detained his brother’s family, which consists of the wife and three children, inside the house, he added.

Luai Jawabrah revealed that Israeli soldiers informed his brother that he will not be able to go out of his own home unless calmness returns to the West Bank. Mohammad’s family members are worried about the possibility of confiscating their house by the IOF in case they leave it, he underlined.

20 Israeli soldiers are occupying the house leaving only two rooms for the entire family. Dozens of other soldiers are deployed in the vicinity of the house for monitoring the main road close to the Aroub camp, which is known as Street 60, Luai said.
(Source / 22.11.2015)

EXCLUSIVE: The Emirati plan for ruling Egypt

A strategy document, seen by MEE, spells out Mohammed bin Zayed’s frustration with Sisi

The UAE has expressed frustration towards Egypt aftering giving nearly $25bn in aid

A top-secret strategy document prepared for Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan reveals that the United Arab Emirates is losing faith in the ability of Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi to serve the Gulf state’s interests.

The document, prepared by one of Bin Zayed’s team and dated 12 October, contains two key quotes which describe the frustration bin Zayed feels about Sisi, whose military coup the Crown Prince bankrolled, pouring in billions of dollars along with Saudi Arabia. It says: “This guy needs to know that I am not an ATM machine.” Further on, it also reveals the political price the Emiratis will exact if they continue to fund Egypt.

Future strategy should be based on not just attempting to influence the government in Egypt but to control it. It is summarised thus: “Now I will give but under my conditions. If I give, I rule.”

Egypt, which has recently tried to stem a run on the Egyptian pound, is heavily dependent on cash from the Emirates, which have become the largest foreign direct investor. At an economic conference in Sharm el-Sheikh in March, the prime minister of the UAE and ruler of Dubai, Sheik Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, revealed the UAE had already given Egypt $13.9bn and he pledged $3.9bn more. The real amount of aid Sisi got from the Emiratis is thought by analysts to be closer to $25bn, around half of the total Gulf aid to Egypt.

Only $16.4bn remain, and of those only $2.5bn are in gold, according to a former Egyptian official who spoke to MEE on the condition of anonymity. The rest is in the form of loans. This is insufficient for covering the import of basic commodities for two months.

The document, seen exclusively by MEE, questions whether bin Zayed is getting a proper return on his investment. It also reveals unhappiness with the Egyptian officials the Emiratis thought they had recruited, because it became clear to them afterwards that they were not as loyal to the Emirates as they were to Egypt.

The strategy paper says that in future the Emiratis should select their partners in Egypt with more care. In a reference to the current campaign in the Egyptian media against the new Saudi ruler, King Salman, and his son Mohammed – which has seen the Kingdom attacked for its role in Syria and allegedly over-bearing control of Egypt – the document says they will have to stop the war of words because it hurts Emirati interests.

Three phases

The strategy document outlines three phases of investing in Egypt which will start early next year. In the third phase, the Emirates will seek to move from financier to “full partner”.

The Emirates should recruit and finance Egyptian think tanks, universities, and media outlets, the document says. It goes on to state that these direct investments should have a clear strategy and vision and that every down-payment should be tested for the benefits it will bring Abu Dhabi.

The paper spells out in blunt terms Emirati ambitions to control Egypt. This aim is inherent in a section recommending three conditions for continuing the bailout of Sisi’s government.

Those conditions are: removing the petrol subsidy over the next three years by respectively cutting it by 30 percent, 30 percent and then 40 percent annually; demanding that the Emirates should set the strategy for the price of the Egyptian pound in comparison with the US dollar, which would be tantamount to controlling Egypt’s monetary policy; and cutting bureaucracy. Each of these are domestic policies.

The document further reveals the extent to which Sisi has let down his paymasters. One analyst who has been studying the deteriorating relationship between the two countries said: “The criticism indicates that they are not happy with Sisi and that he is not serving their purpose. The main idea the Emiratis have is that MBZ [bin Zayed] should be the real ruler of Egypt and whoever is in charge must do what he is asked to do by them.”

Cause for concern

There are three reasons for Emirati concern.

First, the Emiratis think the media war that has broken out between Egypt and the Saudi Kingdom is hurting Abu Dhabi’s interests. Last month the Egyptian newspaper al-Youm al-Sabea reported a row between the chairman of the state owned al-Ahram media group Ahmed el-Sayed al-Naggar and the Saudi Ambassador to Egypt Ahmad Qattan, which ended with al-Ahram claiming that “even a building in central Cairo” is older than the Kingdom. A pro-government TV anchor, Ibrahim Eissa, accused Saudi Arabia of funding terrorist groups in Syria, called on Sisi to stop being “a captive to Riyadh,” and urged Egypt to be liberated from the relationship of gratitude to Saudi Arabia.

Second, the Emiratis are unhappy about Sisi’s broken promises to send ground troops for the Saudi-led campaign against the Houthis in Yemen, a war in which the UAE was forced to commit troops. Sisi used the expression in Egyptian Arabic “masafah as-sikkah,” meaning it would take him the time it needs to cross a road to come to the aid of the Gulf States if they needed military aid. So far, no Egyptian troops have materialised on the ground in Yemen.

Third, they complain that Sisi is not listening to them when they ask for economic and administrative reform or when they demand that good governance be used as the basis of a stable state.

“From Abu Dhabi’s point of view, Sisi has not performed. He does not have  a strategy for economic reform. Services are very bad. So from the Emirati perspective Sisi is not doing what he is told to do,” the analyst, who spoke to MEE on condition of anonymity, said. “In the coming phase, starting early next year, the Emirates are planning this extensive campaign. They are not deserting him [Sisi] and he is still their man, but nor are they happy with him. They want total submission, so that they are the real rulers.”

Relations with Riyadh

Sisi’s relations with Riyadh also worsened after he discovered that a rival Egyptian army general has been in the kingdom for the past two weeks holding private talks.

Sources close to the kingdom reveal that Egyptian military intelligence asked the Saudis why Sami Anan, a former chief of staff, was there. They were told Anan was there on a private visit and in an individual capacity and there was nothing the government in Riyadh could do to stop it.

Anan was second only to Mohammed Hussein Tantawi when Mubarak was ousted in 2011. He was sacked by Mohammed Morsi when the latter became president in 2012. However, when Morsi was in turn ousted by a military coup a year later, Anan announced his ambition to be a presidential candidate. He is 70 and is regarded as close to Washington; he was in the US at the time of the 25 January revolution.

According to the informed Saudi sources, Anan is one of three names being considered to replace Sisi. The others are Ahmed Shafiq, a former general who is at present in exile in Abu Dhabi, and Murad Muwafi, a former head of the General Intelligence Directorate, who like Anan was sacked by Morsi. Both Shafiq and Muwafi are regarded as close to the Emirates.

In his conversations with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, King Salman has made no secret of his wish to keep the military in charge of Egypt. Saudi Arabia regards the Egyptian military as the only guarantor of the country’s stability, and it is stability rather than democracy that concerns Riyadh.

However, that calculation has changed in the past three months to the extent that Salman no longer regards Sisi as a stable leader of Egypt. They think Sisi’s term as leader has expired, so they are examining who within the military could take over, as well as reaching out to all sections of the Egyptian political opposition, most of whom are in exile.

Anan, regarded as a calm but wily leader who is naturally risk averse, is a leading candidate for Saudi favour. He has a strong claim to represent the Egyptian military, although those very credentials render him suspect to Egyptian opposition forces, who recall his time in the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, which ruled Egypt from Mubarak’s overthrow to Morsi’s election and oversaw the country while the blood of protesters was being spilled in Cairo’s Tahrir Square.

“If they are looking for a military figure, Anan is the best option. But someone accepted by the military is not going to be accepted by the majority. That is where Anan’s problem would be,” said one member of the Egyptian political opposition.

(Source / 22.11.2015)

Retroactive “laundering” of Itamar, Shvut Rachel, Sansana and Yaqir part of government policy to annex Palestinian land to State of Israel

Several weeks ago, on 21 October 2015, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu approved a retroactive urban building plan (UBP) for the settlement of Itamar. About a week later, on 29 October, Netanyahu approved retroactive UBPs for another three settlements: Shvut Rachel, Sansana, and Yaqir. Once again, in one fell swoop, Israeli authorities “laundered” construction even they deemed illegal for years. Contrary to attempts in media reports to represent this move as capitulation by Netanyahu to settler leaders, it is in fact a further example of the implementation of long-standing Israeli policy.

The settlement of Itamar. Photo: Abed Omar Qusini, Reuters, 12 March 2011
The settlement of Itamar

While Israel employs the same planning and legal language to describe Israeli and Palestinian construction in the West Bank – e.g., planning and construction laws, UBPs, planning proceedings, unlawful construction – in practice, these procedures and regulations are implemented completely differently in settlements and in Palestinian communities. In the case of settlements, Israeli authorities provide assistance, turn a blind eye to violations, and retroactively approve unauthorized construction, all as part of their long-standing policy to facilitate the de facto annexation of West Bank land to the sovereign territory of the State of Israel. Palestinian communities on the other hand, face an exacting, by-the-book, bureaucratic approach, a freeze on planning, and extensively implemented demolition orders, all as part of an ongoing policy to prevent Palestinian development and dispossess Palestinians of their land.

In response to growing international pressure on Israel, including demands to freeze new construction in settlements, the Israeli government – particularly since 2011 – has adopted an overt policy of approving settlement outposts and existing illegal construction in settlements. As part of the present wave of laundering construction violations, approval has been granted to 187 illegal housing units in Itamar, 96 in Sansana, 305 in Yaqir, and 94 in Shvut Rachel. The state is currently preparing this type of laundering approval for an additional bloc of settlement outposts east of Shilo. According to reports, the bloc of settlement outposts established in the late 1990s covers a total area of 610.3 hectares and includes four large settlement outposts: Adei Ad, Kida, Esh Kodesh and Ahiya. Thus Israel will once again grant retroactive approval for hundreds of illegally-constructed Israeli buildings.

This laundering process has no legal validity. The establishment of settlements – with or without building permits –violated international humanitarian law (IHL) and the human rights of the Palestinian residents of the West Bank. Over the years, Israeli governments have all disregarded this prohibition and fabricated a sophisticated legal system designed to lend a guise of legality to the seizure of land in the West Bank. As part of this process, Israel has established some 137 settlements throughout the West Bank and on the land annexed to Jerusalem. Almost half a million Israelis now live in these settlements.

Much of this construction – in recognized and well-established settlements as well as in settlement outposts lacking official recognition – was carried out in violation of the provisions of Israeli law. In many settlements, the government itself has been responsible for illegal construction, particularly through the Ministry of Housing and Construction. A database prepared in 2009 by Brigadier-General (Ret.) Baruch Spiegel for the security establishment exposed the vast scale of illegal construction in the settlements. Analysis of the figures in the database shows that in the overwhelming majority of settlements in the West Bank (approximately 75 percent) construction – sometimes extensive construction – was carried out without the necessary permits or in breach of the permits granted. In more than 30 settlements, there was extensive construction of infrastructure and public buildings on privately owned land of Palestinian residents of the West Bank.

In response to these findings, the late Ron Nachman (then mayor of the settlement of Ariel) said that “all complaints should be directed at the government, not us. Regarding the small and community settlements, the planning was undertaken by the Rural Construction Authority in the Ministry of Housing. In large communities, it’s that ministry’s district [committees]. It’s all the government.” Also in 2009, Ministry of Housing and Construction Spokesperson Kobi Bleich stated that “all actions undertaken in the past were made solely in accordance with the decisions of the political official.” In 2005, the director general of the Settlement Division of the World Zionist Organization, which serves as the executive branch of the Israeli government for establishing and reinforcing rural settlements, testified that the Settlement Division expressly advocates the violation of the provisions of the planning and building laws applying in the West Bank. He said that the modus operandi is first to establish Israeli communities, then reinforce them, and only several years later to approve plans for the construction – “This is the mode of operation“. The State of Israel has adopted a policy of extensive illegal construction and retroactive approval in the West Bank. This allows the state to maintain a semblance of the rule of law while actually violating the law on a daily basis.

Israeli government policy regarding planning and construction for Palestinians in the West Bank is the very reverse of the method of operation described above. In land classified as Area C, which accounts for 61 percent of the total area of the West Bank, Israel has retained full control of security as well as power over all civil areas with regard land, including planning, construction, infrastructure and development. At a UN conference in 2010, the Israeli government cynically explained: “In order to facilitate proper planning procedures, illegal construction is not tolerated. Such illegal construction harms the local population, given the fact that it does not take into consideration planning policies that will ensure a reasonable quality of life, and public needs.”

However, the government does not implement any such policy. In approximately 70 percent of Area C, Palestinian construction is completely prohibited, while in 29 percent of the area stringent restrictions are imposed on construction. In the remaining one percent of Area C – some 1,824.3 hectares – there are approved master plans that enable Palestinian development. However, most of this area is already built up.

The Israeli prohibition on Palestinian development in Area C – the area that contains the potential for urban, agricultural, and economic development in the West Bank – has an extremely negative impact on the residents of the hundreds of Palestinian communities situated (fully or in part) in areas defined as Area A or B. While construction density in Areas A and B is high, Area C has mostly rural communities, and is relatively sparsely populated. Area C also includes most of the natural resources of the West Bank. Realization of the economic potential of this area – in such fields as agriculture, mineral mining, quarrying stones for construction, tourism and the development of communities – is vital for the economic development of the West Bank as a whole for creating employment and reducing poverty. Area C utilization is also vital for proper regional planning for all communities in the West Bank, including laying infrastructure and proper links between communities.

Of the 180 Palestinian communities located entirely in Area C, the Civil Administration has prepared and approved plans for just 16, whose total area equals the above-mentioned one percent of Area C. Yet these plans do not meet any accepted planning criteria. In addition, their boundaries are adjacent to the built-up areas of the villages, leaveing no farmland, grazing areas, or land reserves for future development.

Recognizing the importance of master plans, in 2011 donor bodies began supporting the drafting of such plans for Palestinian villages in Area C and filing them for approval by the Civil Administration. In recent years, the Palestinian Authority has prepared master plans for 116 communities, and 67 plans have already been submitted to the planning bodies in the Civil Administration for approval. However, these efforts have been to no avail. Just three plans have been approved, and they cover a total area of 57 hectares (0.02 percent of Area C). This outcome is hardly surprising, given that Palestinians are completely excluded from the decision-making process with regard to planning in Area C.

In the absence of approved local plans, Palestinian residents are forced to develop their communities and build their homes in an unregulated manner. Many of them even prefer to forgo applying for a permit, due to the high fees involved and the negligible chance that their application will be approved. Nevertheless, Civil Administration figures show that between 2010 and 2014, Palestinians submitted 2,020 applications for building permits. Just 33 of these – 1.5 percent – were approved. This restrictive planning and building regime is the main factor motivating Palestinians to build without authorization, or alternatively – to abandon their place of residence.

Israel has surrounded the Palestinian residents of the West Bank in a planning stranglehold, while at the same time approving master plans for settlements that already cover a total area of 28,217.4 hectares, equal to 8.5 percent of Area C. In addition, Israel has allocated extensive areas to the municipal authorities of the settlements to block any Palestinian use of the land and ensure that it remains available as a reserve for settlement expansion. Given the relative size of the two populations, the planned area for each settler is at least 13 times greater than that for each Palestinian. In this manner Israel expropriates West Bank land for itself at the expense of the Palestinian residents.

(Source / 22.11.2015)

Israeli forces detain 15, ransack 150 homes in Hebron raid

HEBRON (Ma’an) — Israeli forces detained 15 Palestinians in the southern occupied West Bank district of Hebron, during a raid in which Israeli forces reportedly ransacked at least 150 homes overnight Saturday, local sources said.Raids took place in the Hebron villages of Beit Awwa, Surif, al-Kassara, al-Shyoukh, Idna, Bani Naim and al-Tabqa, as well as Beit Ummar, and al-Arrub refugee camp.An Israel army spokesperson only confirmed that two Palestinians had been detained in Hebron, adding that the two were detained for “illegal activity.”In Beit Awwa village, locals said Israeli forces ransacked homes and detained Hassan Abdul-Fattah Masalmah, Hamza Tayseer Abdul-Razzaq Masalmah, Adul-Aziz Omar al-Sweti, Muath Hassan Abdul-Fattah Masalmah, and Muhammad Suliman Abu Thrie, who is confined to a wheelchair.The family of Mahmoud Yassin al-Sweti in Beit Awwa, whose home was reportedly raided, said that Israeli forces stole 800 grams of gold during the raid.Israeli forces also issued a summons to Muath Jihad Abu Ghalya to meet with Israeli intelligence forces.Local sources added that Israeli forces closed all entrances, not allowing people to come in or out of the village during the raid.In Beit Ummar, Muhammad Ayyad Awad, a spokesman for a local popular committee, said that Israeli troops detained five Palestinians, including two minors, after raiding homes in the neighborhood.The detainees were identified as Abdullah Shafiq Redwan Ikhlayel, 26, Nael Yousif al-Qadi, 22, Saif Ahmad Redwan Ikhlayel, 15, Muhammad Subhi Nimer Adi, 14 and Ahmad Ibrahim Thalji Adi, 25. Locals said they witnessed Israeli forces assaulting the men, before they were taken away.In Surif village, Muhammad Lafi, head of the governorate, told Ma’an that Israeli forces raided the village and ransacked many homes, before detaining three men identified as Ahmad Ismael Ghneimat, Ahmad Khalid Ghneimat, and Saif al-Deen Ahmad al-Hor.In al-Kassara village, Israeli forces raided the home of Raed Shawkat Muhammad al-Fakhouri, 43, before detaining the man, along with another man identified as Munjid al-Jaabri.During raids in al-Tabqa village, south of Hebron, Israeli forces reportedly detained a man identified as Husam Abu Ras, who was released from Israeli prison one week previously.Israeli troops also raided several stores in the village of Idna, west of Hebron, locals said.During a raid in al-Arrub refugee camp, Israeli forces shot tear gas at people and houses, with many residents suffering from tear gas inhalation, locals said.Local sources in Bani Naim village said that Israeli forces raided al-Shoukh medical center in the village, and seized some of the center’s property.In addition to raiding homes and detaining civilians, Israeli forces also reportedly searched and seized the property from the Islamic Charity committee in nearby al-Shyoukh village.

Israeli forces broke a family’s computer during one of the Hebron raids

(Source / 22.11.2015)

On the Banning of the Islamic Movement in 48 Palestine

History has proven that the stupidest measure any occupying power anywhere can take is to strip an effective and influential political and social movement from all of its gains and its public activities. This means that the occupying power will push this movement to a point where it no longer has anything physical to lose – whether that be institutions, headquarters, associations, or any facility in which it exercises its public activities – and where it no longer needs to abide by specific rules in order to avoid being outlawed or harshly persecuted.

This is exactly the strategy that has been adopted by the Israeli occupation against the Islamic Movement in 48 Palestine, led by Sheikh Raed Salah. All of the headquarters of the movement’s preaching, media, relief and sports organisations were raided, it was declared a banned movement, and its leader was taken in for questioning. These measures are not expected to be the only action taken against the Movement, as Israel expected to expand and progress to additional forms of persecution and prosecution, including authorising the arrest of the Movement’s key figures. Despite the fact that such measures are not entirely new, in the past Israel preferred to let the Movement carry out its public activities as long as they did not carry out any physical resistance activities.

However, it seems that the Movement’s recent achievements in the Occupied Territories have sounded off Israel’s danger alarm. This is because the Islamic Movement has deep and influential roots in the Arab community, since it has contributed to maintaining Palestinian’s Muslim and Arab identity by means of preaching, political, cultural and services activities. It also worked to raise the level of the community’s affiliation with its cause, starting with the key issue of Al-Aqsa Mosque. Sheikh Raed and his colleague have become icons of the Al-Aqsa cause, and they have arguably been the reason behind the plight of Al-Aqsa becoming a touchstone for the entire Muslim nation. The violations at Al-Aqsa have become a red line that warrants the outbreak of uprisings and intifadas over the past few years.

As for the Islamic Movement’s discourse, it is very clear in its hostile language against the occupation and in defining the role it believes Palestinians and Muslims must play in order to defend their sanctities. Therefore, it is only natural that Israel would declare war on the Movement because it represents is a thorn in the side of the occupation and because its popularity is growing, not falling day the day. This is due to the fact that the Palestinian masses have experienced the Movement’s honesty, authenticity and perseverance, and felt its clear impact on their reality on a number of levels.

With regards to the potential consequences of the occupation’s recent measures, this is the last thing we should concern ourselves with at the current tie because these measures are a formality that will only impact the Movement’s physical and visual activities. We also shouldn’t be concerned because the Movement targets a deeply rooted and widespread idea and because bans and persecution will only lead the supporters of this movement to other forms of struggle against the occupation. These forms will not be concerned with physical considerations will are not be hindered by fear of consequences.

The occupation already banned Hamas in Palestine a year after it was formed. It arrested thousands of its leaders and members and its campaigns against the movement grew progressively harsher and more brutal as the years went on, including assassinations, arrests, confiscations and persecution. What has been the result of this after all these years? The movement did not disappear; its project was not hindered, and the masses did not turn against it. Instead, its choice to resist renews itself in every phase and it grows, developing new ideas and activities. Now Israel has made the mistake of attempting the same measures against the Islamic Movement in 48 Palestine. This can only fuel the Movement’s cause in the long term.

(Source / 22.11.2015)

De kinderen van Israël

By Engelbert Luitsz          ©        (www.alexandrina.nl/?p=4299)

groep_met_kinderen

Het Kinderrechtenverdrag van de Verenigde Naties is het meest geratificeerde verdrag van deze organisatie. Momenteel hebben alleen de Verenigde Staten het niet geratificeerd, maar dat heeft vooral te maken met het feit dat alle staten daar tot overeenstemming moeten komen. Nederlandstalige informatie loopt nog wel eens een beetje achter, maar ondertussen hebben ook Somalië en Zuid-Soedan zich aangeslotenbij de internationale consensus, waarmee het aantal landen op 196 is gekomen.

Momenteel wordt er opnieuw veel gesproken over de situatie van kinderen in verband met de vluchtelingenstroom uit Syrië. Zoals altijd botst het dan tussen technocraten die kinderrechten ondergeschikt maken aan het eigen programma en mensen die de rechten van het kind onvoorwaardelijk voorop stellen. Jan Bouke Wijbrandi, directeur van Unicef Nederland, stelde het in een dialoog met staatssecretaris Van Rijn heel duidelijk: “Alsjeblieft, houd je aan het uitgangspunt dat een kind op de eerste plaats kind is en pas daarna vluchteling.” Ook na het trauma van een oorlog en het vluchten is de situatie in een adoptieland verre van ideaal. Over het verhuizen van noodopvang naar noodopvang zegt Wijbrandi: “Weet u wel hoe slecht dat is voor een getraumatiseerd kind?” Waarop Van Rijn niets beters weet te verzinnen dan: “Maar ze verhuizen wel in een veilig land.” (1)

Conflictgebieden geven duidelijk aan hoe belangrijk de rampzalige situatie ook voor de toekomst is. Onderwijs – een recht volgens het Kinderverdrag – is een direct slachtoffer van geweld en de gedwongen verplaatsing van enorme groepen mensen. Ontwikkelingswerker Rabi Bana schetst de situatie voor Syrische kinderen:

In Syrië zijn gezondheidszorg en onderwijs gratis voor iedereen. De geletterdheid van de Syriërs is een van de hoogste van het Midden-Oosten. Maar dat gaat nu verloren. Vijftigduizend leraren zijn gevlucht. Een op de vier scholen ligt in puin. En de buurlanden hebben geen capaciteit. Als we niet oppassen mist een hele generatie Syriërs elementair onderwijs.

Het is geen geheim dat onderwijs ook opvoeding is, het is geen kennis die in isolement wordt opgedaan. Onderwijs heeft een belangrijke sociale functie en geeft kinderen hoop op een toekomst die ze in ieder geval ten dele zelf vorm kunnen geven. Tineke Ceelen van Stichting Vluchteling merkt dan ook op: “Jongens die geen scholing en perspectief hebben, kiezen eerder voor actie.” (2)

Is het toeval dat die hoge graad van scholing ook in bepaalde andere landen op zo’n hoog peil stond en nu is verdwenen? In Irak, in Libië, in Palestina? Aangezien de discussie over jongeren die gedesillusioneerd zijn ook steeds terugkomt bij aanslagen in Europa, of bij het Palestijnse verzet van kinderen in de Gazastrook en op de Westelijke Jordaanoever, zou je bijna gaan denken dat het met opzet gebeurt. Zo moeilijk is het niet kinderen de hoop op een betere toekomst af te nemen. Elke psycholoog kan je vervolgens vertellen dat een deel van hen zal “radicaliseren” zoals dat tegenwoordig moet heten.

Iemand die veel onderzoek heeft gedaan naar hoe jongeren zich gedragen is de psychologe Eveline Crone. In haar populair-wetenschappelijke boek Het puberende brein schrijft ze “dat de meeste probleemoplossingsfuncties zich ontwikkelen tussen vier en twaalf jaar (de periode dat kinderen op de basisschool zitten)” (3, p. 51). Dat is dus een zeer kwetsbare periode en als die kinderen onthouden wordt is de kans op onaangepast gedrag sterk aanwezig. Een centraal thema in het boek van Crone is het feit dat het deel van onze hersenen waarmee we daadwerkelijk de consequenties van onze daden kunnen invoelen pas heel laat volledig tot ontwikkeling komt.

Pas bij zestienjarigen werd de eerste indicatie gevonden van een waarschuwingssignaal voorafgaand aan een gevaarlijke keuze, hoewel bij deze leeftijdsgroep dit waarschuwingssignaal nog niet zo sterk aanwezig was als bij twintig- tot vijfentwintigjarigen. (3, p. 104)

Palestina

Israël heeft het Kinderrechtenverdrag uit 1989 al in 1991 geratificeerd. Welke kinderen hadden ze in gedachten denk je dan? Joodse misschien? Ik moest daar vanmorgen aan denken toen de filosoof Hans Achterhuis aanschoof bij Wim Brands. In het programma Boeken werd Erfenis zonder testament besproken, een boek over de tien geboden dat hij samen met collega-filosoof Maarten van Buuren schreef. De absurditeit van de Bijbel als moreel richtsnoer kan bijna niet beter aangetoond worden dan door Mozes die met de tien geboden terugkeert en vervolgens 3000 onschuldige mensen vermoordt, omdat ze het gouden kalf hadden aanbeden. Een van die tien geboden was: Gij zult niet doodslaan.

Zo lijkt men in Israël ook om te gaan met die paar verdragen die ze in theorie wel zouden moeten respecteren. Zowel in de Gazastrook als op de Westelijke Jordaanoever, zowel bij de bedoeïenen als bij de Palestijnen in Israël wordt het onderwijs moeilijk tot onmogelijk gemaakt. En ook al doet men er alles aan om toch de leergierigheid te bevredigen en de kans op een beter leven te vergroten, het lukt slechts een klein deel de school af te maken (als die er nog staat). Het wordt nog moeilijker als men verder wil studeren, want de blokkade van de Gazastrook betekent ook dat bijna niemand toestemming krijgt om in het buitenland te studeren.

In de Gazastrook is het de fysieke vernietiging van de infrastructuur, van de scholen zelf, van het elektriciteitsnetwerk, van de invoerbeperkingen, alsmede de dagelijkse terreur van invallen, raketaanvallen en drones die overvliegen, die het naar onze Nederlandse maatstaven onmogelijk maken je te concentreren op een studie (hier kan ik de politie bellen als de muziek bij de buren te hard staat, daar heb je te maken met F16′s die laag overvliegen). Op de Westelijke Jordaanoever zijn talloze internationale hulpverleners en christelijke organisaties actief om kinderen naar en van school te begeleiden, om ze te beschermen tegen het geweld van soldaten en kolonisten. En dan is er nog de muur die een groot obstakel vormt.

Dit komt uiteraard bovenop de al vaak aangehaalde zaken als het arresteren van zeer jonge kinderen, de absurd hoge straffen die uitgedeeld worden en met name de afgelopen weken het vermoorden van kinderen en jongeren. Elke arrestatie, elke marteling van een kind en elke moord op een kind is een collectieve straf waarmee hele families worden gestraft, alleen omdat ze Palestijnen zijn.

Hoe is het mogelijk dat die andere 195 landen niet massaal in opstand komen tegen een regime dat generaties kinderen al decennia lang als beesten behandelt op basis van racistische criteria?

“Israël”

Is het in het land van de onderdrukkende en bezettende macht beter gesteld of is het racisme daar ook aantoonbaar aanwezig? Natuurlijk, racisme is nooit gericht tegen een enkele groep. Het is een mentaliteit die zich op allerlei manieren uit. Kort na de Tweede Wereldoorlog was er de beruchte “ringworm-affaire“. Zeer actueel, want de achtergrond was toen ook massa-immigratie. Immigratie van joden weliswaar, maar niet van Europese joden (Asjkenazim). Het waren joden uit Arabische landen die in Israël gezien werden als een bedreiging voor de blanke hegemonie (ziektes, besmetting, waar kennen we dat van…). De joodse eugeneticus Chaim Sheba gebruikte tienduizenden kinderen, joodse en Palestijnse, om testen te doen met extreem hoge doses straling. Velen stierven aan de gevolgen daarvan en talloze anderen hielden er blijvend letsel aan over. Nog los van het trauma dat ze als proefdieren waren gebruikt door iemand die niet onderdeed voor de symbolen van het kwaad waarvoor zoveel joden uit Europa waren gevlucht.

Deze meneer Sheba werd in Israël echter niet uit de geschiedenis verwijderd. Er werd veel later een documentaire over deze zaak gemaakt en de journalist Jonathan Cook merkte daarin twee omissies op. Er werd verzwegen dat er ook Palestijnse kinderen bij de experimenten waren gebruikt, en

het andere is dat dr. Sheba tot op de dag van vandaag wordt geëerd in Israël. Een van ‘s lands grootste ziekenhuizen, het Chaim Sheba Medical Centre, is naar hem vernoemd. (4)

Een andere pijnlijke geschiedenis werd gisteren door Marianne Azizi beschreven: een rechtszaak tegen Israëlische rechters, een Israëlische minister en Amerikaanse organisaties die betrokken zijn bij kinderhandel in Israël.

Duizenden kinderen in Israël worden bij hun ouders weggehaald op basis van flinterdun bewijsmateriaal en in instituten geplaatst. Daar worden ze onderworpen aan onderzoeken, medicatie, psychiatrische testen en worden ze vaak seksueel misbruikt, waarmee de kans dat ze weer kunnen terugkeren naar hun families heel klein wordt. (5)

De personen en organisaties die beschuldigd worden van betrokkenheid zijn zo machtig dat het maar zeer de vraag is of hier veel aandacht voor zal komen in de reguliere media. Het is in ieder geval weer een item voor het “anti-zionismedossier”. Het komt op de stapel van de rapporten over de situatie van kinderen in Israëlische gevangenissen, van de oorlogsmisdaden, de executies, de collectieve straffen, de behandeling van asielzoekers, de bloeddiamanten- en wapenhandel en van de vrouwenhandel en de prostitutie, onder andere beschreven door de bijzondere Israëlische schrijfster Ilana Hammerman in haar boek In Foreign Parts: Trafficking Women in Israel.

Een land dat een ander volk zo behandelt kan ook binnen de eigen grenzen (als die bestonden) niet fatsoenlijk zijn. Het ontmenselijken van de ander begint met het ontmenselijken van jezelf, en dat zien we terug in de Israëlische maatschappij.

Kinderen

Wat al die verhalen over kinderen en jongeren gemeen hebben, en waarom er zoiets bestaat als een Kinderrechtenverdrag, is dat zij de toekomst zijn. Een land dat de eigen toekomst ondermijnt door bepaalde groepen te discrimineren en andere op te voeden met haat, een land dat een ander volk onderdrukt en miljoenen kinderen heeft vernederd en gekwetst, moet ooit eens tot de orde worden geroepen. Zoals we dagelijks zien worden de daders steeds wreder, met als voorspelbaar gevolg dat ook de slachtoffers het niet meer lijdzaam over zich heen zullen laten gaan. Er komt een moment dat de coping mechanisms zoals psychologen ze noemen niet langer zullen voldoen. Dat moeten we koste wat kost zien te voorkomen, want hoe gruwelijk het nu ook is, het kan nog erger.

Savage Israelis execute three Palestinians

One of the is a 16-year-old female school student and she was killed in her school uniform

Israeli occupation savages murdered on Sunday three Palestinians in different place in occupied West Bank.

The school girl died, the Israeli occupation soldiers at the scene planted a knife beside her boy and the Israeli media reported her as a terrorist Palestinian that deserved to be killed

Days of Palestine, Wes Bank –Israeli occupation savages murdered on Sunday three Palestinians in different place in the occupied West Bank.

In the early morning, chief extremist Israeli Jewish settler Gershon Mesika ran over the 16-year-old Palestinian female school student Ashraqat Qatanani at the Israeli military checkpoint of Huwwarah, south of the West Bank city of Nablus.

Witnesses said that the chief Israeli settler saw a group of fellow settler running and at the same time he saw this Palestinian school girl nearby.

So that, he ran over her, telling the Israeli media that he thought she wanted to stab the settlers.

The school girl died, the Israeli occupation soldiers at the scene planted a knife beside her boy and the Israeli media reported her as a terrorist Palestinian that deserved to be killed.

In a separate incident, an extremist Israeli settler shot and killed a Palestinian man near the illegal Israeli settlement of Kfar Adumim in the occupied West Bank after, claiming he planned to take off his car and stab Israeli settlers.

“A Palestinian man at Kfar Adumim junction in a Palestinian taxi tried to run over civilians. When he failed he exited the car with a knife and attempted to stab,” an Israeli statement said, adding that the man “was shot by a civilian and died of his wounds.”

The third Palestinian was shot dead by the Israeli occupation forces after an alleged stabbing of an Israeli settler near the illegal Israeli settlement bloc of Gush Etzion, in the occupied West Bank.

Palestinian sources identified the man as 34-year-old Issa Thawabta from Beit Fajjar in Bethlehem district, just south of Gush Etzion.

(Source / 22.11.2015)