The Islamic Resistance Movement in Palestine - Hamas - has issued a statement today describing Hezbollah's military intervention in Syria as contributing to the worsening climate of sectarian polarisation in the region. Hamas called on Hezbollah to withdraw its forces and urged it to maintain the compass of resistance only in the direction of the Israeli occupation.
However well intentioned, the gathering of a number of Islamic scholars and preachers at a conference in Cairo which addressed the conflict in Syria between 13-15 June ended up as an exercise in irresponsibility. I say this not only as a supporter of the Syrian uprising, but also as a supporter of the professed Islamic nature of many of the revolutionaries and the call to re-establish an Islamic caliphate that a section of the uprising has explicitly adopted.
Reports that the Emir of Qatar, Shaikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani, will shortly hand-over power to his son and heir, Shaikh Tamim, are no surprise. Sources close to the family confirmed that this has been known for quite some time by relatives and close friends.
In a region where rulers usually only depart when they die or are ousted, the Emir's decision is unprecedented. In the grand scheme of things this could well set the stage for others to follow.
The newly elected Iranian president, Hassan Rouhani, said on Monday during his debut speech that he intends to maintain relations with the international community built on mutual respect.
He also pledged to continue his country's uranium programme and ruled out its suspension.
In the eyes of many Westerners, Gaza is a dangerous and war torn place. Even activists, including myself, often imagine Gaza primarily as a place of suffering, and one that has unfairly come to eclipse the affliction of all of Palestine. But while Israel's wars of aggression against the people of Gaza, as well as its brutal siege, have cost many lives and inflicted countless casualties, Gaza today is a remarkably calm, protected and beautiful place where everyday lives go on, despite the continued suffering of its people. Indeed, Gaza is a place where the heart and soul flourish even if the body is ailing; where people and community are so alive and resilient that it rekindles one's hope in humanity.
As was widely predicted, reformist candidate Hassan Rouhani won the first round of the Iranian presidential election, gaining more than half of the votes cast. This outcome was not surprising given the disarray of the conservative trend, which fielded five candidates; Rouhani was the only reformist candidate. Some forecasts had predicted that he would need a second round of voting to get an overall victory but he won outright in the first.
What must be noted here is that Rouhani's result does not reflect the popularity of the reformist trend on the Iranian street. If the winner was Mir Hassan Mawlawi, for example, the result would have been much clearer in his favour. Rouhani is not classified fully as a reformist, even though he is seen as being very close. Some media sources have referred to him as a moderate conservative candidate rather than reformist.
The Palestinian Bar Association (PBA) has announced that industrial action will take place on Monday and Tuesday in protest against an attack on one of their colleagues in Bethlehem. All work in all Palestinian courts, public prosecutions and all related official and non-official institutions will be suspended.
In a statement published on its website, the PBA said that all advocates will gather in front of the Palestinian Police headquarters in Ramallah on Tuesday at 11am before holding a press conference.
A UN organisation has highlighted the plight of small Palestinian farming communities in the hills to the east of Jerusalem which are at risk of forced displacement due to a "relocation" plan advanced by the Israeli authorities. The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in Occupied Palestinian Territory (UNOCHA) said that the Israelis try to justify their plan on the grounds that the residents do not "possess title over the land". Around 80 per cent of the people affected are refugees who were forced from their original lands in the south of the country in the early 1950s.
The Israeli cabinet decided on Sunday not to designate as terrorists the extremist "Price Tag" settlers' group, reported Haaretz. The group is responsible for many attacks against Palestinians, their properties and their holy places in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will deal with this group "more flexibly", claims the newspaper.
Recommendations for Price Tag to be declared "terrorists" were made by Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, Internal Security Minister Yitzhak Abramovich and the Shabak Intelligence Services. Netanyahu has rejected this move and decided instead to label them as a "forbidden organisation". His move is a result, it is believed, of pressure from settlers' leaders and his Jewish Home coalition partner. A vote on the issue would have provoked a crisis in the government.
- King says no confederation between Jordan and Palestine before establishment of a state
- Ahmadinejad's departure is a "loss for Israel"
- UNRWA chief says 15% of Palestinian refugees have fled Syria
- The NSA spy scandal's Israeli connection
- Notes on the idea of a land swap with Israel
- Reclaiming Palestinian collective memory of the Nakba
- The Syrian conflict threatens to widen from Basra to Beirut
- As the violence in Syria continues, increasing numbers of academics seek refuge in the UK
- Israel furious over Red Cross interview with Turkish NGO official
- Retired Egyptian Major General: June 30th is a conspiracy against Egypt