Middle East Monitor - Creating New Perspectives Bringing you the latest and up-to-date news from the Middle East. We go one step further, facilitating a better understanding of the issues facing the Middle East. https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/component/content/frontpage Wed, 22 Oct 2014 23:39:16 +0000 MEMO en-gb Four important ways to advance the conversation on Palestine https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/articles/debate/14815-4-important-ways-to-advance-the-conversation-on-palestine https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/articles/debate/14815-4-important-ways-to-advance-the-conversation-on-palestine Ben WhiteIsrael's bombardment of the Gaza Strip over the summer prompted an unprecedented outpouring of solidarity for Palestinians in the West, from street protests to expressions of outrage by mainstream politicians. Israel suffered serious damage to its reputation, while support for Palestinians – including through tactics like boycott and divestment – grew.

This occurred in the context of a slowly but steadily deteriorating environment for Israel in countries whose political leaders can still be counted on, by and large, to offer essential diplomatic, military, and economic support. The patience of even Israel's allies has been tested through a combination of a collapsed peace process, a rejectionist Israeli government, and continued settlement construction.

The British Parliament's vote in support of Palestinian statehood may not have much of an impact in and of itself, but this was less a breakthrough and more an indicator of well-established trends that give Israel and its supporters serious cause for concern.

Another recent example came in the shape of former Conservative minister Alan Duncan's speech to the RUSI, where he lambasted Israeli policies in the West Bank as a form of "apartheid." It was reminiscent of a speech in January by another former minister, Labour's Peter Hain, who slammed "Israel's relentless expansion into Palestinian territories" and described Palestinians as "denied their right to self-determination and subject to ruthless violations of their human rights."

Yet despite the progress with regards to the mainstream conversations on Palestine, there are important ways in which the discussion is limited and problematic. Putting it more positively, criticisms or arguments being advanced by Israel's mainstream critics should be affirmed – but then taken further. It is a 'Yes, but actually' approach, and I will give three key examples.

1. Israel's attack on Gaza was 'disproportionate'.

A frequent criticism levelled at Israel's attacks on Gaza were that they were "disproportionate." One example was an op-ed written by British deputy prime minister Nick Clegg, who wrote on 1 August that "Israel's military action appears disproportionate" and contributed, with the blockade, to "the collective suffering of the Palestinian people." 'Disproportionality' was a criticism echoed by the UK electorate, as well as other commentators and politicians.

Valid criticisms, but even well-intentioned questions about proportionality can obscure the fundamental context of Israeli occupation and Palestinian resistance. To say Israel's attacks on Gaza were 'disproportionate' means there are 'proportionate' attacks of which the critic would approve. It suggests a false symmetry of 'two sides', where the Gaza Strip is presented as a state trapped in a tit-for-tat 'cycle of violence' with its neighbour.

Israel's assault on Gaza was not primarily objectionable because its military tactics and targets were 'disproportionate.' It was objectionable because an occupied, dispossessed people were subjected to yet another act of brutal colonial disciplining by an army that daily enforces an apartheid system, and targets civilian infrastructure in the name of 'deterrence'.

2. The Israeli government is blocking progress in the peace process.

The current Israeli government under the leadership of PM Benjamin Netanyahu includes open opponents of the two-state solution and Palestinian independence in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. It is a government sufficiently beholden to the interests of the far/right-wing and settler movement, so insufficiently motivated to achieve a final settlement even Mahmoud Abbas can accept, that public tensions have emerged between Israel and its strongest ally America.

So yes, the peace process collapsed largely due to Israeli intransigence and provocations. But in fact, the entire framework of the U.S. and Quartet-led peace process is severely flawed, regardless of the Israeli government's position at any given time. Twenty years of negotiations, ushered in by the Oslo Accords, has produced only more Israeli colonisation, and consolidation of a legal system and practical regime of segregation and exclusion.

That's because the so-called peace process has been all about a never-ending process, and no peace – at least, not a peace based on justice. It has shielded Israel from both accountability for its crimes, and from the prospect of the democratisation it so fears. The peace process has sought to supplant international law and norms, not enforce them. In this peace process, Israel has 'security needs', but Palestinians do not. The demands of the coloniser are 'reasonable', and 'pragmatic' – the basic rights of the colonised are 'delusional' and the subject of necessary 'compromise.'

3. Boycotting settlement produce is a helpful step to take.

Settlements are illegal under international law. Settlements are an obstacle to peace. These two statements enjoy a consensus of support amongst world governments and mainstream commentators and opinion-makers. Thus a boycott of goods produced in these settlements has taken off in recent times, and has started to enjoy support even from those for whom anything to do with boycotts has seemed risky or 'radical'. However, if one is genuinely interested in ending and securing accountability for Israel's grave violations of Palestinian rights, then this narrow boycott just isn't enough. Why? Because it is the Israeli government itself that creates and maintains these settlements. Because a whole host of Israeli institutions and companies, from universities to banks, support and are complicit in, the network of colonies that fragment the Palestinian territories and necessitate an apartheid system of control. Indeed, vital steps such as an arms embargo is about ending our complicity. Boycott is based on the facts of Israeli policies, it is requested by Palestinians, and it is about ending impunity.

4. The two-state solution is at risk – or even already impossible – due to Israeli facts on the ground, particularly in the West Bank.

Over the last few years, it has become a truism of even the most mild-mannered statement by Western politicians and diplomats that the 'facts on the ground' are endangering the two-state solution. By which they mean that Israel has colonised the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, to such an extent that establishing a genuinely sovereign and viable Palestinian state in the territories occupied in 1967 could become – or already is – an impossible task.

Again, this is correct, as far as it goes. Israel has indeed absorbed the West Bank into the pre-1967 territory through a network of illegal settlements, infrastructure, water networks, and legislation. And yes, Israel's positions on issues such as the division of Jerusalem are incompatible with a feasible two-state solution. But the question surely is, is this two-state solution even desirable?

Israeli diplomat Eviator Manor declared in Geneva this week that his country is willing to make compromises "to realize the creation of a demilitarized Palestinian State living side-by-side with the Jewish State of Israel." The Jewish State of Israel? Leaving aside whether Manor had been inspired by #JSIL tweets, what are the implications here? Palestinian citizens of Israel will forever face systematic discrimination, while Palestinian refugees will be denied their right to return.

This is what is behind Israel's demand to be recognised as a Jewish state, a demand attracting increasing levels of critical scrutiny – and hence the shift in discourse by Israel lobby groups to earnestly endorse the establishment of a 'Palestinian state' (subject to terms and conditions etc. etc.)

The increased levels of awareness about the Palestinian struggle are to be welcomed – but the conversation and responses have some way to go yet.

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noreply@memonitor.org.uk (Ben White) frontpage Wed, 22 Oct 2014 16:17:41 +0000
Saudi remains silent about Iranian threats https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/europe/14814-saudi-remains-silent-about-iranian-threats https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/europe/14814-saudi-remains-silent-about-iranian-threats Shia cleric Nimr Baqir Al-NimrSaudi Arabia has yet to issue an official statement following comments made by Iran regarding the death sentence on Shia Saudi Shaikh Nimr Baqir Al-Nimr.

Saudi media outlets have not referenced the incident in any way which, political media professor at Al-Imam Muhammad Ibn Saud Islamic University, Khalid Al-Farm said can be explained by the fact the comments were not made by an official Iranian political or governmental source.

Al-Farm believes this means that it is highly unlikely that the comments will affect relations between the two countries.

In his interview with Arabi21, Al-Farm said that there are greater issues facing the region than Al-Nimr's case and emphasised that these outstanding issues are of great importance to both Saudi Arabia and Iran alike.

According Waheed Hashem, associate professor of political science at King Abdul Aziz University, Saudi could not care less about Iranian comments, as "they are fully aware that international law is on their side and this is a case that affects the Saudi interior". Hashem urged Iran to distance itself from this issue and to avoid any further interference.

Hashem, a former member of the Saudi Shura Council, accused Al-Nimr of jeopardising the Kingdom's security by collaborating on security matters with Iran.

He encouraged the Iranian government to invest in the positive atmosphere that currently exists between the two countries rather than preoccupying itself with matters such as Al-Nimr's trial.

Last Wednesday, local Saudi websites and the Twitter pages of local activists announced that Al-Nimr had been sentenced to death by a specialist criminal court after a series of hearings.

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noreply@memonitor.org.uk (Middle East Monitor) frontpage Wed, 22 Oct 2014 16:07:32 +0000
Turkey: Foreign military intervention in Libya is detrimental https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/europe/14813-turkey-foreign-military-intervention-in-libya-is-detrimental https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/europe/14813-turkey-foreign-military-intervention-in-libya-is-detrimental Amrullah Eichler The crisis in Libya can be resolved through dialogue and negotiations, the Turkish President's Special Envoy Amrullah Eichler said yesterday following a two-day trip to the war torn country.

Speaking soon after his arrival at the Esenboga International Airport in Ankara, Eichler said: "The Libyans are currently suffering from a political crisis. Turkey fully supports the dialogue process launched by the United Nations. We hope to overcome the differences in legal and political opinion in order to resolve this crisis by way of negotiations. Turkey is ready to do whatever it can in order to bring an end to this crisis."

"We find that the military interventions that are happening outside Libya's borders are actions that are detrimental to the dialogue process. This type of interference is wholly unacceptable. Turkey supports the popular efforts made by the February 17 Revolution and we stand by the Libyan people," he explained.

Eichler's stressed the importance of a ceasefire so that negotiations can begin between the warring parties.

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noreply@memonitor.org.uk (Middle East Monitor) frontpage Wed, 22 Oct 2014 15:53:28 +0000
Qatar embarks on potential $15bn shopping spree in Asia https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/middle-east/14812-qatar-embarks-on-potential-15bn-shopping-spree-in-asia https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/middle-east/14812-qatar-embarks-on-potential-15bn-shopping-spree-in-asia Qatar Investment AuthorityThe Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) has purchased a stake in a Hong Kong department store chain, beginning a potential $15bn spending spree targeting China, Japan and South Korea, reported the Financial Times.

QIA which owns stakes in Harrods, Barclays, Credit Suisse and the Canary Wharf Group, on Monday said it would pay $616m for a near-20 per cent stake in Lifestyle International Holdings, owner of Hong Kong's SOGO department stores.

The investment arm of the Qatari government reportedly aims to spend up to $15bn in the medium to long-term to bolster its presence in north Asia. Singapore is also a potential target for investment.

"QIA's investment in Lifestyle International Holdings is a continuation of QIA's investment plan to diversify its global portfolio; this time in Asia," said the fund.

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noreply@memonitor.org.uk (Middle East Monitor) frontpage Wed, 22 Oct 2014 15:48:15 +0000
Al-Thini's government calls for civil disobedience in Tripoli https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/africa/14811-al-thinis-government-calls-for-civil-disobedience-in-tripoli https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/africa/14811-al-thinis-government-calls-for-civil-disobedience-in-tripoli The internationally recognised Libyan government, based in Tripoli, has called for civil disobedience in order to regain control of the country's capital, which is currently under the grip of rebel militias. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Abdullah Al-Thini announced that the military is ready to restore order in the city.

The office of the Prime Minister Al-Thini published an official statement on its Facebook announcing that "orders were given to the Libyan army to march towards Tripoli to liberate it and to liberate all state institutions from the control of armed militias". The statement also called on the people of Tripoli "to declare a state of civil disobedience across the city while they wait for the army to arrive".

In an interview with AFP, Al-Thini said the Libyan army has united to free both Tripoli and Benghazi from the hands of Islamist militias.

Al-Thini's government, which was elected in June, fled from the capital to escape Libya Dawn militias, allowing the militant group to gain control of the capital in late August and form a rival government.

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noreply@memonitor.org.uk (Middle East Monitor) frontpage Wed, 22 Oct 2014 15:43:00 +0000
Ghannouchi wins prestigious political Arab award https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/africa/14810-ghannouchi-wins-prestigious-political-arab-award https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/africa/14810-ghannouchi-wins-prestigious-political-arab-award Rashid GhannouchiThe former leader of Tunisia's Ennahda party Rashid Ghannouchi will be awarded the Ibn Rushd Prize 2014 on December 5 in Berlin, event organisers announced.

In a press release on the organisation's website they said: "He is recognised as a firm believer that Islam is compatible with the principles of pluralism, freedom, modernity and democracy."

The Ibn Rushd Prize 2014 called for a person who stands for a modern Islam as a pillar of civil society and, thereby, has supported the establishment of a modern democratic Arab state. The award winner is chosen by the Ibn Rushd Fund which was setup to foster freedom of thought, democracy, reasoning and tolerance in the Arab World.

"Rashid Ghannouchi has made an exceptional contribution to the debate begun in the 19th Century about the relationship between civil society and Islam and about the role each should play in the creation of a modern democratic state," the Ibn Rushd Prize 2014 said. "As a politician he strives to translate his views into practice, often causing controversial discussions within the Ennahda party of which he is a member."

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noreply@memonitor.org.uk (Middle East Monitor) frontpage Wed, 22 Oct 2014 15:37:53 +0000
Lebanon to stop accepting Syrian refugees https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/middle-east/14809-lebanon-to-stop-accepting-syrian-refugees https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/middle-east/14809-lebanon-to-stop-accepting-syrian-refugees Lebanese flagThe Lebanese will no longer accept Syrian refugees fleeing the unrest in their home, Social Affairs Minister Rashid Derbas announced on Monday.

After a meeting with the ministerial committee dedicated to the Syrian refugees, which is headed by Prime Minister Tammam Salam, Derbas announced the government's decision.

"Stopping the refugees is final, because Lebanon is no longer able to host anymore," he said. "Any Syrian national is welcome, but not as a refugee."

Derbas said there were a number of areas on the Syrian side of the Lebanese-Syrian border which were free from fighting.

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noreply@memonitor.org.uk (Middle East Monitor) frontpage Wed, 22 Oct 2014 15:07:09 +0000
Oil discovered in the Atlantic off coast of Morocco https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/africa/14808-oil-discovered-in-the-atlantic-off-coast-of-morocco https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/africa/14808-oil-discovered-in-the-atlantic-off-coast-of-morocco If the oil deposits are valuable enough, Morocco may require to a deep sea drilling platformThere are clear indications that oil has been discovered off the coast of Sidi Ifni, a city in southern Morocco, the National Office of Hydrocarbons and Minerals revealed.

According to a statement, this discovery was made with the help of three oil companies: Genel Energy, Serica Energy and San Leon. The oil was detected on October 16 and is said to be located 59 kilometres off the coast of Sidi Ifni. Exploration projects began in the area last July.

The bureau went on to explain that a series of tests will be conducted on the quality of this petroleum in order to determine how valuable it is.

Genel Energy said it had discovered oil which was more than 3,000 metres deep in the Atlantic Ocean near Sidi Moussa, a city near Salé in southern Morocco.

Abdelkadir Amara, the Minister of Energy, Mines, Water and the Environment in Morocco, told the Anadolu Agency that the government is on the verge of discovering important oil reserves within the coming two years. He stressed that they will expedite the drilling process in 2015 with the hopes of developing a large number of wells in 2016.

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noreply@memonitor.org.uk (Middle East Monitor) frontpage Wed, 22 Oct 2014 14:35:50 +0000
The process of reconstructing Gaza https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/blogs/politics/14807-the-process-of-reconstructing-gaza https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/blogs/politics/14807-the-process-of-reconstructing-gaza Lamis AndoniAs usual, whatever Israel fails to impose by war, it tries to achieve by means of the subsequent agreements, and the reconstruction of Gaza agreement under the supervision of the UN is no difference. It is the manifestation of international complicity in not only solidifying the siege, but also using it to eliminate the resistance, using the UN as a cover.

The expected competition over bids, which are subject to Israeli veto, opens the door wide open for, not only Palestinian and international warlords, but also to the main Israeli companies at the expense of the affected families. These companies always take a significant share of the profits, as they deal with importing construction materials to the besieged Strip.

We all know what is going on. It is a repeat of the reconstruction process of Gaza after the 2012 war, but with new restrictions that allow Israel to gather detailed information about Gazan families and institutions and to have the process of rebuilding the homes destroyed by the bombing subject to Israeli supervision. Hence, Israel can disrupt or completely hinder reconstruction. According to the agreement signed by the Palestinian Authority and the United Nations, the reconstruction of housing in Gaza is subject to inspection and monitoring according to specific conditions, including "Israel's security considerations with respect to the use of building materials that have 'dual uses'"; i.e. materials that Israel suspects may be used to build rockets or explosives, and these materials may include cement, iron and plastic, according to Israel's contraband list.

It is clear that Israel wants to use the "reconstruction" process to not only firmly root the blockade under UN sponsorship and through the PA, but also as a means by which Israel can punish the people of Gaza. This is possible because, based on the monitoring and inspection permitted by the agreement, Israel can prevent the reconstruction or repair of any Palestinian house, building, or institution which it accuses of being affiliated with or affiliated to a resistance faction.

The clause regarding compliance with "Israel's security considerations" is not only dangerous due to Israel's control of the process, but also because the UN and the Palestinian committee overseeing the reconstruction will be employed by Israel to gather intelligence information about every family and residential and commercial neighbourhood in Gaza. Thus, the reconstruction process will be turned into a legitimate spying operation with an Arab and international cover.

Israel's goal

Mark Regev, spokesman for Israeli Prime Minister, said Israel's aim in gathering information and retaining veto power to prevent the entry of construction materials or the reconstruction of the Strip is "to prevent Hamas from rebuilding the infrastructure of its military power," especially the tunnels between Egypt and the Gaza Strip .

But, Israel may not need to impose a veto on the construction, as the United Nations can do so, because the existing mechanism in the convention is committed to the implementation and application of the United Nations itself "against terrorism", especially on large projects, including schools and factories, although Israel had tried to start the application on homes and apartments. This means that the UN practically goes by the Israeli definition of Palestinian resistance, i.e. that they are terrorist organisations and therefore implicitly acts as a tool to hit and eliminate the Palestinian resistance. All of this is happening in public, with no objection, neither from the Palestinian Authority, which is the main party in the agreement, nor from the rest of the Palestinian factions, including Hamas.

What we are witnessing is a global Israeli blackmail operation and the exploitation Gaza's destruction and the suffering and tragedy of its people. There will be no reconstruction of Gaza unless the blockade is tightened and without subjecting Gaza to Israeli security consideration and there will be no consolation for the martyrs and the wounded.

Translated from Al-Araby Al-Jadeed, 21 October, 2014

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noreply@memonitor.org.uk (Lamis Andoni) frontpage Wed, 22 Oct 2014 14:23:28 +0000
Hamas accuses PA of targeting members https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/blogs/politics/14806-hamas-accuses-pa-of-targeting-members https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/blogs/politics/14806-hamas-accuses-pa-of-targeting-members Jessica PurkissHamas' West Bank Spokesperson Saed Abu Bahaa has accused the Palestinian Authority (PA) of "targeting" its members during rallies called for by the group's leadership to defend the Al-Aqsa mosque compound against Israeli efforts to assert control over it. Bahaa said the PA were attempting to "silence" and marginalize members of the movement.

"We consider oppressing rallies in support of Al-Aqsa - despite the fact that they had obtained the needed licenses - as a major and serious breach of freedoms," he said in a statement. "Hamas views the practices of PA security services against supporters of al-Aqsa and Jerusalem as attempts to silence any voice opposing the Judaisation of the holy Al-Aqsa Mosque," he said.

The Palestinian unity government has reunited Gaza and the West Bank under a single political authority for the first time since the split began following Hamas' success in the Palestinian legislative elections of 2006- however cracks have been visible since its inception.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has attempted to thwart this Palestinian reconciliation. Following the kidnap of the three Israeli teens, Israel relentlessly pursued Hamas members in the West Bank- in the ensuing hunt for the boys, five Palestinians were killed, two homes were demolished and another 600 detained (mainly Hamas members), all without charge or judicial procedure. The recent Gaza offensive also aimed to crush Hamas, and with it Palestinian reconciliation.

During the crackdown in the West Bank, termed "Operation Brother's Keeper", the Israeli army took control of the West Bank city of Ramallah for the first time since 2007, using the PA police headquarters as their base. Palestinian protestors who confronted the Israeli army turned on the Palestinian police when they had left, who in-turn responded with live fire. Minutes later the Israeli army returned in an apparent armed assistance to the Palestinian police force.

According to the Committee for Political Prisoners, since the ceasefire which ended Israel's offensive on Gaza came into effect, PA security forces have arrested 145 Hamas members and summoned 170 others. A statement read that the arrests targeted student activists and those who took part in: "anti-Israel activities organised during the war on Gaza or those who attended the celebrations of Gaza's victory in Ramallah, Hebron, Nablus and Tulkarm." The committee called for the PA to stop carrying out the agenda of the Israeli occupation and to adopt the spirit of reconciliation by not dealing with its political rivals through a security approach.

The security co-operation between Israel and the PA is no secret, distancing it from many Palestinians who have come to see it as an arm of the occupation. Palestinians often know when the Israeli military are coming because the Palestinian soldiers/police disappear from the streets. For those blindfolded and dragged out of their homes in the early hours of the morning by PA security forces and interrogated for crimes such as burning tyres and throwing stones, it is hard to tell the difference between the two. Abbas has explicitly defended this coordination, claiming it was "a Palestinian national interest." He had earlier gone so far as to call it "sacred."

Today, security makes up a sizeable proportion of the PA budget, accounting for 26% of 2013 expenditures. There is now one security person for every 52 Palestinian residents compared to one educator for every 75 residents.

Israel's Yossi Kuperwasser, director general of the Ministry of Strategic Affairs, said during a court case waged against the PA, "I think that the Palestinians shared partial, tendentious and incomplete information with the Shin Bet."

Shin Bet, the Israel security agency, was reportedly trying to "cover up their inability to use this tool called the Palestinian security forces in supplying them with the purpose for which they exist: preventing terror."

Not only is it recognised here that the PA is openly sharing files with Israel's notorious intelligence agency, there is no attempt to hide the fact that the PA, as an entity, has been created solely for this purpose, as a "tool" to be used by Israel.

However, in October Abbas threatned to reconsider the co-operation unless a framework for ending the Israeli occupation was set in motion. Some say Israel's greatest loss during Operation Protective Edge was the battle for public opinion. Abbas may have lost this battle too. He seemed to do very little as the Gaza Strip was pulverised, his leaked conversations with the Qatari Emir made him seem bitter and his speech at the UN a last ditched grapple for public support. Shortly before the Gaza offensive, his continued belief in negotiations left him publically humiliated after Kerry's peace talks collapsed amid settlement building. Meanwhile, Hamas was seen to resist the mighty military force of Israel with homemade projectiles.

Just before the latest offensive, a June public opinion poll conducted by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research showed that PA President Mahmoud Abbas was winning the trust of 53 percent of Palestinians, while Hamas' Gaza leader Ismail Haniyeh received the support of 41 percent. According to PCPSR, 61 percent of Palestinians would vote for Haniyeh after the hostilities had ceased.

Since then, the tables have turned to some degree, possibly aided by diplomatic successes such as the recognition of the state of Palestine by Sweden and in the UK House of Commons, alongside the huge pledges of aid for Gaza's reconstruction. The latest poll by the same group showed that Abbas' approval rating more than doubled.

However, Israel's moves to partition Al-Aqsa only highlight the symbolic nature of such recognition and demonstrate how far the reality of a two state solution along the 1967 borders really is. Reports of the PA crushing protests condemning this partition soon after their security forces killed a Palestinian man in a night time raid may demonstrate to the Palestinian people that Abbas is more concerned with establishing a closer relationship to Israel, than with the other part of its unity government.

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noreply@memonitor.org.uk (Jessica Purkiss) frontpage Wed, 22 Oct 2014 14:00:34 +0000
Head of Alexandria University resigns after student killed https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/africa/14805-head-of-alexandria-university-resigns-after-student-killed https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/africa/14805-head-of-alexandria-university-resigns-after-student-killed Students and faculty members across Egypt have been protesting since the start of this semester [file photo]Head of Alexandria University Osamah Ibrahim reportedly filed his resignation only hours after one of the students at his university died from his injuries after being shot in the head.

Ibrahim did not announce the reason behind his resignation, but informed sources cited by Alamat Online website attributed his resignation to the killing of student Omar Abdel-Wahab Al-Sharif, who died on Tuesday after he was shot during a protest at the university last week.

Students and faculty across Egypt have been staging demonstrations since the new academic year began earlier this month to protest against the draconian measures the regime has recently taken against academic freedom in Egypt, as well as against the freedom of speech and association.

However, Alamat Online reported that other observers are attributing Ibrahim's resignation to the government's interference in his work as head of the university, suggesting that his resignation came after the PM's decision to investigate him over the interruption of study at the university.

Other reasons that could have contributed to Ibrahim's resignation include the sudden visit of Alexandria's governor to the university, as well as the tour that the youth and sports minister organised at the university's stadiums without any coordination with Ibrahim.

Ibrahim had said that he was not informed about the visit of the youth and sports minister and was quite surprised by it.

Sources told Alamat Online that the resignation would be examined further on Wednesday.

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noreply@memonitor.org.uk (Middle East Monitor) frontpage Wed, 22 Oct 2014 13:48:28 +0000
Will Qatar withdraw its funds from London in the wake of the Telegraph's campaign? https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/articles/europe/14804-will-qatar-withdraw-its-funds-from-london-in-the-wake-of-the-telegraphs-campaign https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/articles/europe/14804-will-qatar-withdraw-its-funds-from-london-in-the-wake-of-the-telegraphs-campaign HarrodsBritish newspaper The Telegraph, and its sister paper The Sunday Telegraph, have recently published a series of reports linking Qatar with support for terrorism around the world, including on account of its support for the Muslim Brotherhood. This despite the fact that the Muslim Brotherhood is not designated a terrorist organisation in the United Kingdom or in the European Union.

The paper has sought to lump together the Brotherhood, Al-Qaeda and even ISIS, so as to leave Qataris open to charges of supporting and financing terrorism. Arabi 21 has monitored the articles and the reports published by the London paper's weekly and Sunday editions, and found that the newspaper published seven reports on the same subject within two weeks.

An analysis shows that the target is not limited to the Muslim Brotherhood or efforts to ban their activities within Britain. Rather, the objective is actually to link the state of Qatar with funding terrorism around the world. For example, one article said: "Qatar supports the Muslim Brotherhood in Libya which is collaborating with armed militias that wage war in order to topple the secularists and remove them from power."

It is worth noting that one of the seven reports was titled 'Harrods shoppers are buying into terror.' The Harrods department store in central London is the most prestigious and expensive store in all of Europe, and has nothing to do with politics. The store is owned by the state of Qatar, one of its many investments in Britain.

The Telegraph report highlighted a small protest organised in front of the store by pro-Israel activists, who accused it of funding terrorism and called for a boycott of the store. This is the story around which the Telegraph report was weaved.

The reports, all authored or co-authored by senior correspondent Robert Mendick, are as follows:

This series of articles is reminiscent of a U.S.-focused propaganda campaign exposed recently by Glenn Greenwald in The Intercept. According to the report, hostility between Qatar and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has produced a new campaign in the West "to demonize the Qataris as the key supporter of terrorism."

While "the Israelis have chosen the direct approach of publicly accusing their new enemy in Doha of being terrorist supporters", the UAE has opted for "a more covert strategy: paying millions of dollars to a U.S. lobbying firm – composed of former high-ranking Treasury officials from both parties – to plant anti-Qatar stories with American journalists." Greenwald noted that this "more subtle tactic has been remarkably successful, and shines important light on how easily political narratives in U.S. media discourse can be literally purchased."

The information published by The Intercept followed on from, and confirmed, an earlier report in The New York Times:

The United Arab Emirates have retained an American consulting firm, Camstoll Group, staffed by several former United States Treasury Department officials. Its public disclosure forms, filed as a registered foreign agent, showed a pattern of conversations with journalists who subsequently wrote articles critical of Qatar's role in terrorist fund-raising.

The report contextualised these efforts as the result of "an unlikely alignment of interests, including Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Israel", that sought to depict Doha as "a godfather to terrorists everywhere."

Should the seemingly politically-motivated reports in The Telegraph, a paper close to the ruling Conservative party, indicate a broader and more serious attempt to provoke a crisis between Britain and the Qatari government, then billions of pounds of investments and strategic interests could be in jeopardy.

In November 2013, Centrica, which owns the biggest energy supplier to British households British Gas, signed a £4.4 billion deal with Qatar to import liquefied natural gas (an amount equivalent to 13% of Britain's annual residential gas demand). There are also diverse Qatari investments in the stock exchange, real estate and retail, and any withdrawal or relocation of investments would have a significant impact on the UK economy.

Translated form Arabi21, 21 October, 2104

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noreply@memonitor.org.uk (Muhammad Abd Al-Salam) frontpage Wed, 22 Oct 2014 13:38:28 +0000
EU looking to set five 'red lines' regarding Israeli settlements https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/europe/14803-eu-looking-to-set-five-red-lines-regarding-israeli-settlements https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/europe/14803-eu-looking-to-set-five-red-lines-regarding-israeli-settlements EU FlagThe European Union is looking into the possibility of setting five "red lines" to warn Israel from continuing its settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territories, according to an internal EU document obtained by Haaretz newspaper.

Haaretz revealed on Wednesday that, according to the document, the EU's proposed red lines would include:

First, any construction in the Givat Hamatos neighbourhood south of occupied Jerusalem beyond the Green Line is a red line, because construction in that area would jeopardise the possibility of a contiguous Palestinian state, with Jerusalem as the capital of both states.

The second red line is any construction in the E1 area between Ma'aleh Adumim and occupied Jerusalem, as settlements in this area would also jeopardise the possibility of a contiguous and independent Palestinian state.

The document deemed further construction in the Har Homa settlement in occupied Jerusalem beyond the Green Line to be the third red line.

The fourth red line is executing Israel's plans to relocate 12,000 Bedouin without their consent to a new town in the Jordan Valley, expelling them from lands in the occupied West Bank, including E1.

And finally, the fifth red line is further attempts by Israel to harm the status quo at Al-Aqsa Mosque in occupied Jerusalem.

According to Haaretz, after Israel's appropriation of 4,000 dunams in Gush Etzion in the occupied West Bank, and plans for additional construction in Givat Hamatos in occupied Jerusalem, "a series of discussions have been taking place in the EU's headquarters in Brussels between the ambassadors of the 28 members states over the European response."

The newspaper added that, "Officials in the Israeli Foreign Ministry are concerned the negotiations are a prelude to further European sanctions against Israel."

"The EU's ambassador to Israel, Lars Faaborg-Andersen, is set to relay the message to Israel. He is expected to meet in the coming days with Foreign Ministry Director Nissim Ben Sheetrit and with national security advisor in the Prime Minister's Office Yossi Cohen to propose negotiations over the issues which raised the EU's concerns," Haaretz reported.

However, European officials stressed to the newspaper that the red lines "have yet to be fully defined, if at all," as well as what would be "the repercussions for crossing them".

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noreply@memonitor.org.uk (Middle East Monitor) frontpage Wed, 22 Oct 2014 13:34:36 +0000
New figures show Egyptian economy is collapsing https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/blogs/lifestyle/14802-new-figures-show-egyptian-economy-is-collapsing https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/blogs/lifestyle/14802-new-figures-show-egyptian-economy-is-collapsing There has been a major decline in the Egyptian economy since the coup in July 2013, the economic reporter Mamdouh Al-Wali has revealed.

In a blog on Facebook, Al-Wali said that the most significant indicator of the losses incurred is the decline in the number of new companies. According to a report, issued by the Ministry of Planning, which outlines economic and social performance indices for the fiscal year 2013/2014, the first year after the coup, the number of new companies set up was 8,245 compared to 8,946 during the previous year; an eight per cent reduction.

The number of companies that expanded during that year was 1,303 compared to 1,349 companies during the President Mohamed Morsi's time in power.

The capital of companies formed or expanded under the coup was 44 billion Egyptian pounds ($6.15 billion) compared to 58 billion Egyptian pounds ($8.11 billion) for companies set up or expanded during the Morsi era.

The rise in the deficit

Al-Wali said that the second indicator is the rise in the deficit despite the grants provided by Gulf states.

According to the report, the total deficit in the budget of the first year after the coup was 252.3 billion Egyptian pounds ($35.24 billion) compared to 239.7 billion Egyptian pounds ($33.51 billion) during the previous year. Therefore, the deficit increased by 5.3 per cent.

The analyst said that it is strange for the deficit to rise despite the fact that President Abdel Fatah Al-Sisi's government received grants that totalled 98.5 billion Egyptian pounds ($13.77 billion), from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait. Grants totalling 5.2 billion Egyptian pounds ($0.73 billion) were received by Morsi's government.

The increase in foreign debt

During Al-Sisi's first year in power, foreign debt rose by $2.834 billion and reached $46 billion. This, Al-Wali explained, this was despite the fact that the coup authorities receive aid from the Gulf totalling $17.9 billion; $11.9 billion in financial and material aid and $6 billion in the form of deposits with the Central Bank.

Al-Wali stressed that the cost of servicing domestic and foreign debt rose to 61 billion Egyptian pounds ($8.53 billion), pointing to the Ministry of Planning's report which confirmed the rise of 256 billion Egyptian pounds ($35.79 billion) in government debt during the first year of the coup. Foreign debt also increased by about $2.9 billion when compared to the previous year.

This, he explained, resulted in increasing the cost of servicing public domestic and foreign debt by approximately 61 billion Egyptian pounds ($8.53 billion), increasing it to 279 billion Egyptian pounds ($39 billion) compared with 218 billion Egyptian pounds ($30.48 billion) during Morsi's time in power.

As for the other indicators, Al-Wali said: "The economic recession started impacting the value of the Egyptian pound forcing it down compared to foreign currencies."

He added that according to the ministry's report, at the end of Al-Sisi's first year in power the Egyptian pound's exchange rate against the dollar was 7.18 Egyptian pounds to the dollar compared with 7.01 at the end of Morsi's tenure.

The Euro rate of exchange rose from 9.18 Egyptian pounds to 9.77 Egyptian pounds, an increase of 6.4 per cent. The same applies to the cost of Sterling whose rate of exchange rose from 10.77 Egyptian pounds to 12.22 Egyptian pounds, a rise of 13.5 per cent.

Al-Wali added that the rate of inflation rose from 6.1 per cent to 10.2 per cent, according to the report for the fiscal year 2013/2014.

As the coup's first fiscal year ended in June, the figures do not take into account the rise in the prices of petroleum products, such as petrol, diesel, kerosene, cooking gas and natural gas. Nor do they take into consideration the rise in passenger travel tariffs or other commodities due to the impact of the rise in fuel costs.

The reduction in exports

According to the Ministry of Planning's report exports during the first year of the coup were approximately $869 million lower than those in the previous year, a decline of about 3.2 per cent.

In the meantime, imports rose by 2.8 per cent leading to a rise in the trade deficit of about 10 per cent to $33.7 billion.

It has been widely reported that crude oil and petroleum products to the value of $10 billion were given as grants from the Gulf countries; had these been taken into consideration in the final accounts the trade deficit would have risen to about $44 billion.

The decline in tourism

The report of economic and social performance indices said the number of tourists arriving in Egypt during the first year following the coup declined by 35 per cent compared to the numbers during Morsi's time in government. The number reduced from more than 12 million tourists to under eight million.

The number of nights tourists spent in Egypt reduced by 49 per cent to less than 73 million compared with 142 million nights in the previous year. This grossly impacted the tourism industry's overall income which declined 48 per cent to $5.1 billion compared to $9.8 billion prior to the coup.

On the other hand, payments by Egyptians travelling abroad for tourism rose from $2.9 billion under Morsi to more than $3 billion during the first year of the coup; a four per cent rise.

The decline in petroleum and natural gas production

Following the coup, there was a fall of about 110,000 tonnes in the production of petroleum products. During this period, consumption of petroleum products increased by five per cent. The increase applies to petrol, diesel, diesel oil, kerosene and cooking gas compared to Morsi's time. The price of diesel shot up after it was used to fuel power generators following a reduction in the availability of gas. Since January 2014, the production of 90-octane petrol was stopped altogether while consumption of 95-octane petrol reduced by approximately 67 per cent.

The overall outcome was the increase in the gap between production and consumption of petroleum products from 1.1 million tonnes under Morsi to 2.9 million tonnes during Al-Sisi's first year in power, representing an increase of about 127 per cent in the deficit in one year.

Natural gas production lowered by 11 per cent, according to the report; 39.2 million tonnes compared with 44.2 million tonnes previously.

The reduction in production led to a decline in consumption by about four per cent during the first year of the coup. There has also been a reduction in the amounts destined to be sent to cement, steel and fertiliser factories as well as to power generators during power cuts.

In view of this, the quantities of natural gas available for export declined from five million tonnes during Morsi's time to 1.6 million tonnes during the coup. It is unlikely that any exports will take place during the coup government's second year in power. Importing natural gas is expected to begin in December.

Electricity cuts

Power production increased during Morsi's government, Al-Wali explained. According to the ministry's report, electricity production during the first year of the coup was about 3.4 billion kilowatt hours. During Morsi's tenure, electricity production reached 7.1 billion kilowatt hours.

Following the coup, electricity consumption increased by 1.8 per cent. The reduced production and increased consumption lead to power cuts which occurred in spite of the government's policy to divert natural gas supplies from factories to power plants.

The growth in bank loans

Credit facilities increased by about 38.7 Egyptian billion pounds ($5.41 billion) in banks other than the Central Bank in the first year of the coup.

Al-Wali drew attention to the fact that most of the credit facilities under Morsi were directed towards the private sector and not towards government institutions when the private sector's share was 40.2 billion Egyptian pounds ($5.62 billion).

Source: Rassd, 18 October, 2014

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noreply@memonitor.org.uk ( ) frontpage Wed, 22 Oct 2014 12:37:34 +0000
Photographer Diana Matar on Libya, her father-in-law's disappearance and portraying absence in her work https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/resources/interviews/14801-photographer-diana-matar-on-libya-her-father-in-laws-disappearance-and-portraying-absence-in-her-work https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/resources/interviews/14801-photographer-diana-matar-on-libya-her-father-in-laws-disappearance-and-portraying-absence-in-her-work On the 17th of February 2008, demonstrators gathered on this street to protest against the publication of Danish cartoons, which they believed defaced the prophet Mohammed. Later that day, the Mayor of Benghazi, Huda Ben Amer, gave an order to shoot the peaceful protestors. EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW

"When you experience that kind of loss you become vividly aware of how absence can become present among people and places where they once lived"

Diana Matar is interested in capturing what can no longer be seen. "It can be ironic within the medium of photography because we rely so stubbornly on a subject," she says. "I have this strong intuition that the past remains and that history's traces are somehow imprinted on buildings, landscapes and even faces, by events that have taken place in the past."

More than 20 years ago, Matar's father-in-law, a Libyan opposition leader, was taken from his home in Cairo where he was living in exile. The Egyptian secret service handed him over to the Gaddafi regime the following day; details surrounding his disappearance are still unknown. "When you experience that kind of loss you become vividly aware of how absence can become present among people and places where they once lived," she says.

Matar's new book, Evidence, tells the story of absence in relation to the personal loss felt through her father-in-law's disappearance. It is the compilation of six years of work. The publication features photographs of locations where Gaddafi executed and tortured Libyans, archival images of horrors that took place in the country and her own diary excerpts from 2005–2012. The diary entries form a narrative which pulls together the personal sense of loss and absence and ties it into the larger political and historical reality of what happened in Libya.


It wasn't until Gaddafi died in 2012, a year after the revolution, that Matar and her husband were able to visit Libya. For Matar, who was born in California, her perception of the country, and how it actually was, proved to be quite different; she had known her husband Hisham for 14 years before she saw the country he had grown up in.

"Almost everything I knew about Libya was negative because the regime had taken Hisham's father, it had kicked him out. It was the place he had to leave; it's the place he wasn't able to go back to. My connection with Libya was not a benign connection in the sense of just another country that one doesn't go to. Everything about it was quite negative."

"Going back I saw it as a place of beauty, nature and links with my husband's family," she adds, describing how hundreds of Hisham's family members awaited them on their arrival.

It was during this trip that Matar took the photographs which make up the body of Evidence. Amongst the images are underground torture chambers, sites where protestors were fired upon and courts where individuals were charged with crimes against the regime. Libyans spoke about the atrocities which happened at these locations every day, Matar says, but almost all the evidence for such crimes had disappeared. So a lasting document that shows these places and what happened in them, particularly during this time, is important, she adds.

"It's a very difficult time in Libya right now and it's very easy to look back and say oh, maybe it was better before. I just think that to have a document which shows the atrocities under the regime - whether that makes any difference right at this moment - in the long term, I think it's very important for history to show that."

"I was aware that my father-in-law's disappearance was part of a larger story, a political struggle in Libya," she says on how she felt visiting and photographing such sites. "Going into these spaces... made me aware of so many other people who had gone through this." Thousands of disappearances took place under the Gaddafi regime, many remain unresolved.

One image features a prison cellblock on the Gaddafi compound. The window is covered with a metal grate and graffiti has been scrawled on the walls. A dilapidated, rusty car has collapsed before it. The image, like most of the others, was taken at night and is in black and white.


"The exposures are all more than 30 minutes long – some are more than an hour - so I'm standing in these places for a very long time. I think obviously there's a resonance to that and a feeling that you get when you're in a place where these things have happened. Standing in these places I felt a lot and I wanted to utilise a language that communicated what I felt and not what I saw," it's also about what they represent within the Libyan consciousness, she adds later.

Shortly after a diary entry dated October 20, 2011, which simply reads, "Gaddafi has been killed", are a handful of colour shots. In one, a woman wearing an orange top and a bright yellow scarf and a man wearing a navy, hooded jacket, sit side-by-side. With their backs to the camera they are looking out onto a turquoise sea.


The photographs in black and white relate to the past. The photographs in colour, which largely feature nature and landscapes, relate to the present, explains Matar. "The time we went was a very positive time; it was a time of possibility. The body of the book is looking towards the past as a kind of evidence to what had happened. This is the present and this is possibility," she says in reference to the image.

Interestingly, the turquoise sea which pulls you into this picture isn't necessarily the first image that comes to mind when you think of Libya. Three years after the revolution Gaddafi is gone, but news reports paint a picture of a country rocked by fighting between Islamists, Arab nationalists and regional militias. Amidst this, it is easy to forget the beauty of the country.

Much of Matar's youth was spent in northern California. She tells me that the coast of Libya reminds her of the place she grew up. "There's this kind of light, this very white, beautiful light there that is just stunning. I haven't seen it on the coast in Egypt or in Spain or Italy or other places on the Mediterranean. I was mesmerised daily by the landscape."

As for the diary entries interspersed through Evidence, they can make for a painful read as the search for her father-in-law Jaballa Matar continues. She describes the legacy of his disappearance as "ongoing" and "taxing."

"There were never any answers and those that are afflicted with it continue to try to do something about it and that never goes away because of the lack of answers. There's always that question of what else can we do."

Still there are glimmers of hope throughout. A passage from August 24, 2012, reads: "I am in California. Rebels have entered Tripoli. H. [Hisham] called early this morning. A group of men have broken down the doors at Abu Salim prison. They have found an elderly man in a cell. They say he is from Ajdabiya. We are waiting."

I ask Matar if she still has hope Jaballa is alive. "We're pretty sure that he's not. Having said that, we've had no answers from the people that know anything about it, we know nothing definitive. You always have hope – unless you have a body, a piece of paper, a grave – there is always that glimmer of hope, and ironically that hope is the thing that is very difficult because you never, ever know. You never know."


Fifteen Of Diana Matar's photographs from Evidence will be on show at the Tate Modern from November 25, 2014 – March 15, 2015 in the exhibition Conflict Time Photography. Evidence, by Schilt Publishing, will be launched in London at the start of this exhibition. Matar will be signing copies of the book at Paris Photo on Nov. 14th at 5 pm.

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noreply@memonitor.org.uk (Amelia Smith) frontpage Wed, 22 Oct 2014 11:42:16 +0000
Remembering Shuja'iyya https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/middle-east/14800-remembering-shujaiyya https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/middle-east/14800-remembering-shujaiyya Palestinian artist Eyad Sabbah inspecting his statuesIMAGES

Palestinian artist Eyad Sabbah has erected clay-covered fibreglass statues in Shuja'iyya, depicting Palestinians who fled their houses from Israeli shelling during Operation Protective Edge.

The statues stand amidst the rubble of buildings destroyed during the 3-day Israeli shelling, which claimed over 100 Palestinian lives and left over 400 injured.

Between the 20th and 23rd of July 2014, Israeli forces bombarded Shuja'iyya using F16s, tanks, mortar and heavy artillery. The targeting of Shuja'iyya, according to veteran military analyst Ron Ben-Yishai, was about the Israeli army "cementing itself in the enemy's psyche as a beast one should not provoke". It is this "objective", he wrote, that "is the essence of the deterrence" sought by Israel.

On the 20th of July, IDF officers boasted that they were "taking off the gloves". Even as the ground offensive got underway late Thursday, Israeli tanks had "received an order to open fire at anything that moved".

Citing Israeli media, MEMO's staff writer Ben White previously highlighted, that the killing of civilians in the name of revenge and deterrence - that "heavy casualties" dealt to Israeli soldiers in Shuja'iyya contributed to "a furious response by the IDF".

Images from ApaImages

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noreply@memonitor.org.uk (Middle East Monitor) frontpage Wed, 22 Oct 2014 11:11:28 +0000
Ennahda expects 41 per cent of votes in parliamentary elections https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/africa/14799-ennahda-expects-41-per-cent-of-votes-in-parliamentary-elections https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/africa/14799-ennahda-expects-41-per-cent-of-votes-in-parliamentary-elections Rashid Al-GhannouchiThe head of Tunisia's Ennahda movement, Rashid Al-Ghannouchi, said that Ennahda is expecting to win about 41 per cent of the vote in the upcoming parliamentary elections, slated for next Sunday, Anadolu news agency reported.

Al-Ghannouchi expected a similar number of seats to that achieved in the previous election - the one that took place for the Constitutional Council on 23 October 2011.

In that election, Ennahda won 89 seats out of 217, or 41 per cent. The new parliament will also be comprised of 217 seats. "Last time, we got 89 seats," Anadolu quoted Al-Ghannouchi as saying, "and we expect to get a similar number this time, more or less."

When asked about the solution his movement is proposing for the Tunisian economy, Al-Ghannouchi stressed that Ennahda adopts a programme similar to that of the other parties – a free market economy – but one based on a preference for the poor, who ignited the fire of the revolution in the internal, middle and eastern Tunisian governorates, and which also incorporates Islamic banking into the Tunisian economy, including Islamic Sukuk, which are bonds, as well as Islamic Insurance.

"We want to make Tunis a centre for the Islamic economy," he said.

Regarding whether members of Ennahada supported certain candidates for the presidency, such as current President Mocif Al-Marzouqi, Al-Ghannouchi said that his movement is now busy with the parliamentary elections and would keep up with the desires of its members in that regard.

"We are busy with the parliamentary elections now," he said, "next Monday [one day after the parliamentary elections] we are going to open the door for the presidential election [slated on 23 November]." But he reiterated that his movement would not compete for this position.

Commenting on the fierce debates between one of Ennahda's leaders and an official in Al-Marzouqi's electoral campaign, Al-Ghannouchi said that these are "personal opinions" and would not affect the overall position of his movement.

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noreply@memonitor.org.uk (Middle East Monitor) frontpage Wed, 22 Oct 2014 10:54:42 +0000
Kuwait boycotts international companies working with Israel in the occupied territories https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/middle-east/14798-kuwait-boycotts-international-companies-working-with-israel-in-the-occupied-territories https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/middle-east/14798-kuwait-boycotts-international-companies-working-with-israel-in-the-occupied-territories Kuwaiti flagThe Palestinian Ministry of Trade and Industry has opened a legal investigation to determine which companies deal with Israel in the occupied territories at the request of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs after it had been informed by the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation that the British-based multinational security services company G4S, which works for Israel in the occupied Palestinian territories, is suspected to have branches in Kuwait, Al-Quds newspaper reported on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, sources told the newspaper that Kuwait's Ministry of Commerce has asked the relevant departments to check if G4S has a license to operate in Kuwait and to immediately notify it to stop dealing with Israel in the occupied Palestinian territories, or else the company's license will be cancelled and it will be prevented it from operating in Kuwait.

Sources also noted that Kuwait's law number 21 of the year 46 states that Israeli products must be boycotted and prohibits dealing with Israeli companies, stipulating that any company that violates this law or deals with a banned entity will be punished.

The Kuwaiti Ministry of Commerce has recently ended its cooperation with 50 European companies because of their activities in the settlements built on the occupied territories of 1967. This decision reflects the official position of the specialised committees in the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation and the Arab League, in response to the important popular and parliamentary pressures that have been pushing in this direction for four years in coordination with the National Boycott Committee. Recently, the opportunities for having similar positions in different parts of the Arab world have been increasing, which will strongly encourage the economic boycott of these companies on the global level.

Al-Quds reported that the Municipality of Kuwait decided earlier to exclude French company Veolia from a huge contract for solid waste treatment, valued at $750 million, because of its involvement in Israeli projects contrary to international law. It is also "excluding Veolia from any future projects," following an appeal from the National Boycott Committee.

The committee appealed to the government and the National Assembly in Kuwait to exclude Veolia because "of its involvement in a number of Israeli projects including the infamous project 'Jerusalem tram', which connects the illegal settlements in Jerusalem, an act that is considered a flagrant violation of international law and Palestinian human rights. The Arab summit conference, which was held in Khartoum in 2006, condemned the project as part of Israel's colonial scheme in Jerusalem, and called for taking punitive measures against the two French companies involved in the project: Veolia and Alstom."

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noreply@memonitor.org.uk (Middle East Monitor) frontpage Wed, 22 Oct 2014 10:53:05 +0000
Ya'alon accuses Turkey of supporting Hamas https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/middle-east/14797-yaalon-accuses-turkey-of-supporting-hamas https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/middle-east/14797-yaalon-accuses-turkey-of-supporting-hamas Moshe Ya'alonIsraeli Minister of Security Moshe Ya'alon yesterday accused the Turkish authorities of supporting Hamas.

He said: "The movement has two command centres; one in Gaza and the other in Istanbul."

Israel Radio also quoted Ya'alon as saying: "Turkey is playing a cynical game. Hamas' representative Hamas moved its terror headquarters from Damascus to Istanbul, despite the fact that Turkey is a NATO member."

The minister claimed that Hamas is receiving additional support from Qatar.

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noreply@memonitor.org.uk (Middle East Monitor) frontpage Wed, 22 Oct 2014 10:50:48 +0000
Egyptian woman gives birth on hospital doorstep after being refused treatment https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/africa/14796-egyptian-woman-gives-birth-on-hospital-doorstep-after-being-refused-treatment https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/africa/14796-egyptian-woman-gives-birth-on-hospital-doorstep-after-being-refused-treatment Egyptian flagVIDEO

A video showing a woman giving birth on the doorstep on an Egyptian hospital has gone viral on Facebook and Twitter leading to the suspension of the hospital's director.

The three minute video shows a veiled woman covered in a blanket as she gives birth outside the Kafr El-Dawar General Hospital surrounded by a group of women seeking to help her. A number of nurses are then seen trying to help the lady deliver.

Once the baby is born, the nurses carry the new mother onto a stretcher and take her into the hospital. The woman's husband recorded the incident, believed to have taken place last week, in order to submit a complaint to the hospital after they refused to admit her for delivery unless she agreed to a caesarean section.

During the clip, someone, thought to be the lady's husband, is heard shouting: "Look at the [human] rights. Have a look at the human rights. Here she has had a natural birth. Here she is. The doctor said she had to deliver through a caesarean section. Who is willing to go to court and be a witness with me?"

The video led to the Minister of Health Adel El-Adawy suspending the hospital's director and the doctors at the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology referring them to the administrative prosecution for investigation. The health ministry also commissioned a committee to investigate the incident.

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noreply@memonitor.org.uk (Middle East Monitor) frontpage Wed, 22 Oct 2014 09:36:45 +0000
Fatah: Any Israeli law to split Al-Aqsa 'will blow up the whole region' https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/middle-east/14795-fatah-any-israeli-law-to-split-al-aqsa-will-blow-up-the-whole-region https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/middle-east/14795-fatah-any-israeli-law-to-split-al-aqsa-will-blow-up-the-whole-region Al-Aqsa MosqueThe Revolutionary Council of the Fatah movement warned Israel on Monday against issuing any law that would divide Al-Aqsa Mosque, threatening that "this would blow up the whole region if it were to happen," Arabs48 news website reported.

Quoting a statement by the Revolutionary Council, the website reported Fatah as saying that: "Any proposed Israeli law to divide Al-Aqsa Mosque, either spatially or temporally, is invalid under international law, and is a step that will blow up the whole region."

At the conclusion of the council's latest meeting, which lasted for three days in Ramallah, the occupied West Bank, in the presence of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, the council stressed that: "The decision to have Palestine join the international institutions, including the International Criminal Court, is a Palestinian sovereign decision and all its procedures must continue to be completed before the end of this year."

The council also expressed "its support for the political efforts of President Abbas, which have been approved by the PLO and the Fatah movement, to end the Israeli occupation and achieve Palestinian national independence."

It reiterated that "going to the United Nations through the Security Council is a Palestinian right that is not subject to interpretation or bargaining, as it tests the council's ability to ensure regional peace and security," adding that, "the establishment of a Palestinian state is a crucial test for that mandate."

The council also warned that any "failure of the Security Council to carry out its duties towards ending the Israeli occupation will pave the way for the declaration of the end of the peace process".

Meanwhile, the council has now authorised Fatah's Central Committee "to take any decisions that could be taken, including the cessation of any formal relationship with Israel, with all its obligations that have resulted from the Oslo agreement."

The Revolutionary Council, which includes 130 people, is considered the Fatah movement's top leadership. It holds meetings with the Central Committee four times a year, while the Central Council plays the day-to-day leadership role and consists of 23 members.

According to Arabs48, the council's statement pointed out that, "The negotiations have become a goal for the government of the Israeli occupation to prolong its occupation and manage the conflict, rather than ending it," adding that the negotiations "are only one of the Palestinian means to achieve national independence, one which we have given all the time and effort it needs, as well as any opportunity, to make it a success."

The council then stressed that any future resumption of these negotiations must be linked "to halting all settlement construction, including in Jerusalem, stopping the encroachment on Al-Aqsa Mosque and acknowledging the borders of the Palestinian state, in addition to preparing for ending the Israeli occupation".

Fatah demanded for the Arab and Islamic countries to champion Al-Aqsa and Jerusalem, and to actively support the steadfastness of the Palestinians in the occupied city, bringing an end to the state of indifference or the issuing of verbal condemnations alone.

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noreply@memonitor.org.uk (Middle East Monitor) frontpage Wed, 22 Oct 2014 09:33:12 +0000
Egyptian criminal court adjourns Morsi Ittihadiya trial https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/africa/14794-egyptian-criminal-court-adjourns-morsi-ittihadiya-trial https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/africa/14794-egyptian-criminal-court-adjourns-morsi-ittihadiya-trial Mohammed Morsi in courtCairo's Criminal Court adjourned on Tuesday the trial of Egypt's first democratically elected leader, Dr Mohamed Morsi, who many argue remains the country's legitimate president, along with 14 other Muslim Brotherhood leaders and Morsi's former assistants, in what has been called a comical and fabricated case about the "Ittihadiya events" dating back to December 2012, Al-Amat Online news reported.

The case has now been scheduled for another session on Thursday, 23 October for the continuation of the civil claimants' pleading.

During Tuesday's session, held at the Police Academy and headed by Judge Ahmed Sabri Yousef, the court listened to the prosecutor's case.

It is worth noting that eight of those killed in the events in question were actually supporters of the president and the Muslim Brotherhood. However, their names were not included in Egypt's indictment out of the fear that such an act might reveal a wider understanding of the events and who is really to blame. Moreover, the prosecution did not refer to the he National Salvation Front leaders who also incited the events.

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noreply@memonitor.org.uk (Middle East Monitor) frontpage Wed, 22 Oct 2014 09:30:49 +0000
The spy state https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/blogs/politics/14793-the-spy-state https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/blogs/politics/14793-the-spy-state Dr Amira Abo el-FetouhThe great state of Egypt has become a country of spies ever since resolutions were issued encouraging students to spy on their fellow students and report them to the security services for merely opposing the regime. Such spying has been justified under the pretext of nationalism, and these students are described as being patriotic. The state has stripped those opposed to the government of their patriotism; giving the label only to its informants and spies. A journalist affiliated with the Mubarak regime and of course to the government loyal to Mubarak, Al-Sisi's government, said that every citizen is required to become an informant.

This has made Egypt a purely "security state", as every citizen must prove their patriotism by the state's standards and definition of patriotism. This means that citizens should report their father, mother, brother, and friends if they are opposed to the current authority and if they consider it to be a fascist coup government that toppled the constitutionally legitimate authority and established its foundations on the ruins. What is even worse is that the chairman of one of the Egyptian universities issued a decision to fire any professor or expel any student that speaks out against Al-Sisi; a rule has been issued stipulating the punishment of anyone speaking out against Al-Sisi.

Meanwhile, the clause in the 2012 constitution prohibiting insulting God and the Prophet (PBUH) was removed from the constitution and was not included in the coup government's 2013 constitution. This is not surprising because they have put Al-Sisi in a position higher than God and the Prophet (PBUH), God forbid! In the time of coups, all norms, standards and values are reversed and the coup takes on a language and doctrine of its own and its supporters embrace it and speak in its name.

The "tattletale" students have returned; the students who, during Abdel Nasser's reign, would report their colleagues. However, Al-Sisi has revived these students once again and brought voluntary spies to life. These spies write reports and submit them to the security forces and are labelled by Al-Sisi as honourable citizens. He has found a way for the Egyptian people to clash amongst themselves and spread hatred and spite amongst the Egyptians in order for him to establish his rule and sit on his throne without any disturbances; the people can go to hell, he doesn't care as long as he keeps his throne.

This is what all tyrannical dictators and despots do in order to remain in power. History is full of such tyrants who tortured, abused, humiliated and oppressed their people and they all ended up on the guillotine.

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noreply@memonitor.org.uk (Dr Amira Abo El-Fetouh) frontpage Wed, 22 Oct 2014 09:26:43 +0000
The student movement in Egypt over the last century https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/articles/africa/14792-the-student-movement-in-egypt-over-the-last-century https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/articles/africa/14792-the-student-movement-in-egypt-over-the-last-century Students during the 1935-1936 uprisingThe world and major media outlets have followed the student activities in Egyptian universities over the past two years, especially in Cairo and Al-Azhar Universities. In this report, Sasa Post will shed light on the student movement taking place in Egypt since early last century and its developments thus far.

1935-1936 uprising

Some historians believe that the student movement started the 1919 Revolution, but what all historians agree on is that the student movement was the fuel behind the independence struggle over the past century.

This uprising is considered the first loud voice from the Egyptian student movement, as the students led this uprising for complete independence from national leaders and parties.

On November 9, 1935, Sir Samuel Hoare announced that Britain considers the 1923 constitution as inapplicable. This statement ignited this uprising that did not subside.

November 13, 1935, was the first day of the uprising when about 2,000 students from Giza University marched to Cairo. According to British authorities, the students were more aggressive than ever before and they were difficult to deal with, unlike previous instances. The demonstrations continued for over the coming days and the government announced that it would close the university several times. Each time, the university was closed for a week at a time, until studies were suspended indefinitely on December 8, but this did not stop the uprising.

On November 14 the demonstration, consisting of approximately 4,000 students, clashed with British police on the famous Abbas Bridge. One student was wounded during the clashes, and another student, Mohamed Abdel-Hakam Al-Garrahy, was killed and his funeral turned into a striking national funeral attended by senior national leaders such as Mustafa El-Nahhas Pasha, Sidqi and Mohamed Mahmoud.

Abbas BridgeThe uprising ended with a royal decree dictating the restoration of the 1923 constitution. In addition to this, the students pushed the leaders of the political parties to form a united front. The uprising paved the way for the signing of the Anglo-Egyptian treaty of 1936 which stipulated the exchange of ambassadors between Great Britain and Egypt, as well as Egypt's right to reject foreign concessions and some other benefits.

The student movement remained active in Egypt and had a date with another uprising; the 1946 uprising.

1946 uprising

The uprising began November 1945 when a group of students announced they were on strike in solidarity with Palestine and Indonesia. The violent events of this uprising began on February 9, 1946, when a large crowd consisting of several thousands of high school students stormed the university campus.

The demands of this uprising was to end negotiations with the British, cancel the 1936 treaty and reject any defence treaty with Britain.

The initial result was the deposition of King Nuqrashi Pasha as prime minister on February 15 and the appointment of Ismail Sidqi in his place. However, this was not a good choice because Sidqi was not popular and did not have a great reputation.

The student movement starting coordinating with worker committees and were successful in forming a front made up of workers and students, calling it the National Committee of Workers and Students. The Committee called for a general strike on February 21, 1946, and since then commemorated it as National Students' Day.

The student movement then announced a popular strike on March 4, and the masses responded to this strike, and clashes erupted between the British troops and students, 23 protesters were killed and 120 wounded. In Alexandria, demonstrators lowered the British flag at the headquarters of the British constables and attacked a British warship, killing two soldiers and 28 Egyptian citizens as well as wounding 342 other Egyptians.

Results of the uprising

  1. The appointment of Clement Attlee as British Prime Minister on March 8, 1946, as well as the withdrawal of British forces from Cairo and the Nile Delta, instead stationing themselves at the British base in the Suez Canal.
  2. The student pressured the government to unilaterally end negotiations with the British, which was achieved in 1951 by Prime Minister Mustafa El-Nahhas Pasha.

As a consequence of the uprising, clashes later occurred between the students and British forces, resulting in the death of several students. After the 1948 war in Palestine, the student movement turn another turn, taking up weapons and engaging in clashes between the police and students. During these clashes, the students killed the director of Cairo security Salim Zaki with a bomb.

The student movement continued in their path until the July 1952 Revolution occurred, independence was achieved and Egypt was ruled with an iron fist. The students then entered a new phase of struggle and covert action.

The student movement in the Nasser era

The revolution considered any violation of it, with the aim of solving matters, hostility and opposition. This prompted Abdel Nasser's statement that universities were against the revolution because some university professors had different opinions than him regarding the management of some educational issues. When the Revolutionary Command Council cemented its authority, Abdel Nasser took an unprecedented step by collectively expelling university professors.

The student movement completely stopped during Abdel Nasser's reign and was not resumed until the 1960's at the hands of governmental organisations such as the Arab Socialist Union and the Youth Organisation. As for the other elements, they headed towards secret operations.

February 21, 1968, a new uprising

This uprising broke out after the June 1967 defeat at the hands of Helwan workers immediately after the announcement of the military court's ruling in the case of the military aviation officers accused of negligence during the June war. The demonstrators believed that the rulings were too lenient.

Thousands of students from major universities in Cairo and Alexandria participated in the uprising and it coincided with February 21, which is Egyptian Student Day, adopted during the 1946 uprising. The Cairo uprising alone resulted in the death of two workers and the wounding of 77 citizens, as well as 146 police officers. Some 635 people were also arrested and some vehicles and buildings were destroyed in the capital.

In total, approximately 100,000 Egyptian university students participated in this uprising, and the situation was dealt with by the leadership. Abdel Nasser also gave his famous speech to the students, who would not have allowed such an uprising if it weren't for the June 1967 defeat.

The most important result of this uprising was the spread of the spirit of self-confidence amongst the student masses and extending it to new student leaderships that were not supportive of the regime. Another result was the re-emergence of organised political currents within university campuses.

1968: Another uprising

New student turbulences began during the same year in November due to the announcement of a new education law that was not accepted by the students. The uprising began with protests by high school students in the city of Mansoura and, on the next day, the students continued to demonstrate and headed towards the Directorate of Security, which resulted in clashes. This led to the death of three students and a farmer as well as the wounding of 32 protesters, nine police officers and 14 soldiers.

News of the bloody events of Mansoura University reached Alexandria University, so leaders of the student movement from the engineering faculty launched massive protests and clashed with police forces. Some 53 policemen and 30 students were wounded, and the head of the Faculty of Engineering Union Atef Al-Shater and three of his colleagues were arrested.

The governor of Alexandria went to the Faculty of Engineering students and tried to convince them not to escalate the situation, but they held him inside the faculty and did not allow him to leave until Al-Shater and his colleagues were released. Impacted by the uprising, the parliament discussed the problem of the new law in a meeting held the day after the governor of Alexandria was detained.

November 25 witnessed a strike in Alexandria and large-scale protests which ended with clashes with the police, resulting in the death of three students, 12 parents, and a 12-year-old student, a total of 16 deaths. In addition to this, 167 protesters and 247 policemen were arrested, while 462 people were arrested, 78 of whom were released because they were under the age of 16 and 19 of whom were released for other reasons. The rest remained detained pending investigation.

Abdel Nasser

Fifty public transportation buses were smashed in 1968, along with 270 tram windshields, 116 traffic lights, 29 stalls, 11 shop windows and a number of public transport and private vehicles and lampposts. The sit-in staged by the Faculty of Engineering ended without achieving any significant results because of the lack of food during the days of Ramadan and power outages suffered by the protestors, as well as the withdrawal of the union leader from the sit-in and the governor's threat to evacuate the building by force.

Those who were arrested during the sit-in were transferred to the courts for trial, but ultimately, no trials were held. After three months of being detained, the students were released but their leaders were sent for military service.

The Sadat era

Students began to complain about Sadat in Egyptian universities in 1971 when he announced that it was the year of reckoning with Israel, but did not fight Israel, and then announced that the next year was a "foggy" year and that he would not fight. This led to the outbreak of the final uprising in Egyptian universities, the 1972 uprising.

The uprising's leaders were immediately arrested. These leaders included Marxist students as well as some Nasserists. The pro-Sadat trends inside university campuses had the opportunity to use violence against the opposition and condemn their policies. Public meetings began with the uprising's leaders and there were many publications, magazines and clashes with the security forces off campus until Cairo University was shut down following a decision issued by President Sadat himself.

In general, events occurred in more than one Egyptian university, but what was strange this time was that previously, the uprisings began in Cairo and were joined by Alexandria. However, this time, Cairo was joined by Alexandria, Ain Shams, Assiut, Al-Azhar and Mansoura.

This uprising is considered the last real uprising of an Egyptian university. At the time, Sadat launched an attack on specific students, calling them out by name, such as Ahmed Abdullah Rozza, who was only 22 years old.

The October war put the student movement in Egypt in different situations and events, and it marked the end of the strong student movement in Egypt. With the emergence of the multi-party policy, students and their leaders joined new political parties.

The time of student uprisings of course ended when former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak came to power after Sadat was killed in the early 1980s, however the student movement continued to react to the political events in Egypt and the Arab world. Such reactions include the student participation in the mass demonstrations in support of the first and second Palestinian Intifadas as well as their participation in the mass demonstrations in protest to Egypt's troops participating in deterring Iraq in the early 1990's. The student movement also emerged in 1998 to condemn Egypt's position on America's bombing of Iraq and in March 2003 after the invasion of Iraq, masses of students demonstrated in condemnation of the Egyptian position on the invasion and they stormed Tahrir Square.

The common factor between all of these demonstrations is that they did not have as much impact as their predecessors, as these demonstrations were unable to evolve into a true uprising as the previous ones had. The previous demonstrations were able to achieve significant political gains for the country, whether in the face of the British occupation or in the face of successive governments.

Translated from sasapost.com, 18 October, 2014

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noreply@memonitor.org.uk (Abdulrahman Nasser) frontpage Tue, 21 Oct 2014 17:42:20 +0000
Israel sells cemetery with Al-Qassam's grave to a construction company https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/middle-east/14791-israel-sells-cemetery-with-al-qassams-grave-to-a-construction-company https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/middle-east/14791-israel-sells-cemetery-with-al-qassams-grave-to-a-construction-company Grave of Sheikh Izz Ad-Din Al-QassamA cemetery in Haifa where the body of the martyr Sheikh Izz Ad-Din Al-Qassam is buried has been sold to a private construction company, sparking fears of the outbreak of a third Intifada.

Al-Qassam is considered one of the most important icons of Palestinian resistance. He was immortalised when he became the first to lay the foundations for organised revolution against the British Mandate's forces and Zionist settlers in the mid-1930's.

Hamas named its military wing the Izz Ad-Din Al-Qassam Brigades in recognition of the heroic role he played in defence of Palestine.

The construction company noted that, according to their contract with the Israeli government, the area must be examined and the graves must be moved to another area.

Mustafa Bara, the lawyer representing the Palestinians who are strongly opposed to the Israeli government's decision, warned against taking this measure, as it would elicit harsh reactions from the Palestinian masses. The Palestinians consider this measure to be a violation of religious sanctities and hurtful to the feelings of the Palestinians who consider Al-Qassam, of Syrian origin, to be one of their most prominent historical leaders.

Israel Radio quoted as Bara saying that the Zionist government hasn't properly estimated the extent and magnitude of the potential reactions to this step, noting that selling the cemetery may lead to a dangerous decline in relations between the Jewish people and Palestinian Israelis. He also called on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to be more sensitive to the issue.

The Izz Ad-Din Al-Qassam cemetery has previously been attacked and desecrated by Jewish extremist groups. His tombstone was destroyed and anti-Muslim and anti-Arab slogans were also written on it.

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noreply@memonitor.org.uk (Middle East Monitor) frontpage Tue, 21 Oct 2014 17:31:27 +0000
Human rights organisation finds Houthis guilty of 52 counts of violations against the media https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/middle-east/14790-human-rights-organisation-finds-houthis-guilty-of-52-counts-of-violations-against-the-media https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/middle-east/14790-human-rights-organisation-finds-houthis-guilty-of-52-counts-of-violations-against-the-media Houthi rebels rest outside the house of the Governor of Sanaa, after capturing it yesterdayOn Monday, a Yemeni human rights organisation accused gunmen affiliated with the Houthi group, of committing "52 violations against local and international media outlets" during their first month of control of Sana'a.

The Institution for Freedom, Rights and Media Development issued a statement that said, "Our organisation has found that there were 52 cases of assault and violations against the media and journalists, ranging from minor hostilities to more severe onslaught. 33 of these cases affected individual journalists and 19 cases targeted media organisations. Fifty-one of these violations occurred in Sana'a while one was reported from LBB".

According to the statement issued by the organisation, "Houthi gunmen who swept the capital on 21 September committed the majority of these infringements. Only a small number were committed by other individuals (names were not specified in the statement)".

The assault against the media affected three government channels including Yemen TV, Sheba and Al-Iman, all of which suffered from heavy artillery when their headquarters were stormed and taken over. A private news channel known as Suhail was also attacked and workers were trapped inside the channel's headquarters for a whole day. It has been three weeks since these media outlets last broadcasted from their channels.

Thirty-three journalists who are based in the capital of Sana'a were subject to physical assault when their homes were broken into and looted, including: the former president of Yemeni satellite, Abdel-Ghani Al-Shamiri, Nobel Peace Prize winner and journalist, Tawakkol Karaman, the President of the Shumoo' Institute for Journalism, Saif Al-Hadhari, former Minister of Information Ali Al-Umrani. Members of the Al-Jazeera Bureau and media spokesperson for the Reform party, Adnan Adini were also targets.

Members of Ansar Allah (Houthis) could not be reached for a comment.


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noreply@memonitor.org.uk (Middle East Monitor) frontpage Tue, 21 Oct 2014 17:06:03 +0000
Fatah Revolutionary Council: Going to the UN Security Council demonstrates the organisation's ability to fulfil its duties https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/middle-east/14789-fatah-revolutionary-council-going-to-the-un-security-council-demonstrates-the-organisations-ability-to-fulfil-its-duties https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/middle-east/14789-fatah-revolutionary-council-going-to-the-un-security-council-demonstrates-the-organisations-ability-to-fulfil-its-duties Mahmoud AbbasThe Fatah Revolutionary Council said that the Palestinian decision to seek membership into the UN via the Security Council is a "Palestinian right" and that the outcome of this decision is a big test for the organisation's commitment to ensuring regional peace and security, which is largely contingent on the establishment of a Palestinian state.

In a statement issued on Monday, the Revolutionary Council declared that after the end of the Security Council's fourteenth session, beginning last Saturday, and its failure to bring an end to the occupation, this failure has paved the way to declaring an end to the Peace Process.

The Council pointed out that negotiations have become nothing more than an opportunity for Israel to prolong and entrench its occupation of Palestine, not to end it. By contrast, for the Palestinians the negotiations are just one of ways through which they can ensure an end to the conflict and the council pointed out that they have exhausted all their resources and taken every opportunity that as been presented to them.

The council stressed the importance of stopping Israeli settlement expansion in the West Bank and Jerusalem. It condemned the restrictions that have been placed on worshippers to the Al Aqsa Mosque in the Holy City and declared that these measures were politically driven in order to force Palestinians into resuming negotiations with the Israelis.

The statement also stressed the importance of Palestinian ascension to international organisations such as the International Criminal Court (ICC) and how these decisions are matters of Palestinian sovereignty that needed to be carried out before the end of this year. The statement confirmed the support of Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas, in this decision.

The Council authorised the decision to suspend any formal relationship that was born out of Oslo while also declaring any decision to partition the Aqsa Mosque as invalid under international law and an attempt to ignite a conflict across the entire region.

The statement also pointed out that the Council plans to hold the Seventh Fatah Conference at the beginning of 2015.

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noreply@memonitor.org.uk (Middle East Monitor) frontpage Tue, 21 Oct 2014 17:04:18 +0000
'Saleh and Al-Houthi are obstructing the political process in Yemen' https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/middle-east/14788-saleh-and-al-houthi-are-obstructing-the-political-process-in-yemen https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/middle-east/14788-saleh-and-al-houthi-are-obstructing-the-political-process-in-yemen Yemen's ousted President Ali Abdullah SalehA team of experts on the sanctions committee in Yemen have found five individuals guilty of obstructing the transitional process in Yemen, an Al-Jazeera correspondent has found.

Reporter Murad Hashem, who learnt this information from a diplomatic source in the United Nations, said the committee is currently in the process of collecting evidence and information about the ousted President Ali Abdullah Saleh, his son Ahmed, who is the current ambassador to the UAE, in addition to three members of the Houthi group, which is led by Abdul-Malik Al-Houthi.

In the event that the committee succeeds in collecting enough evidence against these individuals, they will forward their names to the United Nations Security Council Sanctions Committee.

The Yemeni committee hopes to have confirmed the status of its investigation and collected all the necessary information by January 25; however, several countries, including Britain, have urged the committee to expedite its investigation and begin the sanctions process sooner rather than later.

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noreply@memonitor.org.uk (Middle East Monitor) frontpage Tue, 21 Oct 2014 16:58:42 +0000
Reconstructing Gaza is in Israel's hands https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/middle-east/14787-reconstructing-gaza-is-in-israels-hands https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/middle-east/14787-reconstructing-gaza-is-in-israels-hands Palestinian paramedics in Shujuyyah after Israeli shelling leveled most of the townThe decisions made in the conference on reconstructing Gaza in Cairo remain completely under Israel's control, Palestinian Minister Jamal Al-Kadri, who currently serves as the President of the Public Committee Against the Gaza Blockade, said.

Al-Kadri emphasised that Israel continues to hold the Gaza Strip under siege and this hinders any practical step that can be taken towards reconstruction.

In a press statement released yesterday, Al-Kadri said that although $5 billion were collected during the donor's conference, the people of Gaza are still waiting for steps to be taken on the ground.

He called on the international community, as well as Egypt and Norway, the conference sponsors, to take definitive steps to end the blockade in Gaza as all of the materials, money and resources that they donated are now in the hands of the Israeli occupation, which controls the movement of goods in and out of Gaza.

He also urged the international community to finish what they started and to push for the beginning of reconstruction and to monitor the use and allocation of international funds.

Al-Kadri asked Egypt to allow the entry of construction materials via the Rafah border as it has done in the past, and urged the current government not to link this issue with other political disagreements.

The minister asked the Security Council to take practical steps against the blockade in Gaza and embark on reconstruction so that a sense of stability and calm can be achieved in the region. He stressed that the blockade imposed by Israel restricts the movements of Gazans and in turn creates an unstable environment.

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noreply@memonitor.org.uk (Middle East Monitor) frontpage Tue, 21 Oct 2014 16:49:23 +0000
Kerry in Indonesia to get support in fight against ISIS https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/americas/14786-kerry-in-indonesia-to-get-support-in-fight-against-isis https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/americas/14786-kerry-in-indonesia-to-get-support-in-fight-against-isis John Kerry with the recently inaugurated Indonesian President Joko WidodoThe US Secretary of State John Kerry arrived in Indonesia yesterday to attend the inauguration ceremony of Indonesian President Joko Widodo and to seek help from countries in Southeast Asia in the American-led fight against the Islamic State (ISIS) in the Middle East.

During his visit Kerry will hold bilateral meetings with Widodo, the prime ministers of Malaysia and Singapore, the Sultan of Brunei, the Australian prime minister and the minister of foreign affairs in the Philippines.

Senior officials from the US State Department have said that the talks will deal with disputes over the South China Sea, where growing Chinese control has become a concern for both the US and its Asian allies. The talks will also address how to contain the Ebola virus and improve trade across the Pacific.

The priority of these discussions, however, is for the US to seek out more help in their fight against ISIS in Syria and Iraq and how to prevent the organisation from recruiting militants from Southeast Asia. Furthermore, Kerry will discuss the possibility of freezing the assets of militants with Widodo but in a way that remains in line with the policies of the United Nations.

It was reported that progress has been made on these issues and that the US wishes to encourage Indonesia to fulfil its duties as a member of the United Nations.

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noreply@memonitor.org.uk (Middle East Monitor) frontpage Tue, 21 Oct 2014 16:42:56 +0000
Blowback in Yemen: Houthi advance is a Saudi nightmare https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/articles/middle-east/14785-blowback-in-yemen-houthi-advance-is-a-saudi-nightmare https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/articles/middle-east/14785-blowback-in-yemen-houthi-advance-is-a-saudi-nightmare David HearstNothing illustrates the free-wheeling chaos of the Middle East better than what is going on in Yemen.

A small Iranian-backed North Yemeni militia, modeled on Hezbollah and from an offshoot of Shia Islam, has walked into the capital Sanaa, taken over Hodeida, Yemen's main port on the Red Sea, and is now advancing southwards towards one of the most sensitive straits for oil traffic in the region. Cut off Bab al-Mandab, or the Mandab Strait, between the Arabian Peninsula and the Horn of Africa and you make the Suez Canal redundant.

The Houthi offensive, complete with chants of "Death to America, and Curse on the Jews" is being conducted under the nose of a US military base in Djibouti from where drones operated by the CIA and Joint Special Operations Command base attack Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). The Houthis are even protecting the US embassy in Sanaa.

Whatever the original demands of the Houthis were -- they took part in the 2011 uprising and held non-violent protests against social injustice and economic corruption -- today they look and act like a well armed, ideologically motivated force bent on seizing control. They have the capital, North Yemen's main port, and they are now attacking Safir, Yemen's largest oil company.

The chaos factor gets worse when you take into account the mounting evidence that United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia's closest ally, sent the Houthis on their way. The Houthis were unopposed because government forces still loyal to the former Yemeni president and strongman Ali Abdullah Saleh abandoned their bases. The Houthis were literally handed the capital on a silver plate.

I can reveal the existence of a meeting which took place months before the offensive, which might explain why Saleh's forces melted away as the Houthis approached.

The information comes from sources close to Abdu Rabu Mansour Hadi, whose presidency has been hollowed out by these events. Hadi has not been slow to point the finger of blame.

According to the sources, Hadi claims a meeting took place in Rome in May between the Iranians and Saleh's eldest son, Ahmed Ali Abdullah Saleh, who was commander of the Republican Guard and is Yemen's ambassador to the UAE. The Iranians told Ahmad that they were willing to endorse his position in Yemen, if government units loyal to his father did not oppose the Houthi advance.

Hadi said he was informed of the meeting in Rome by the Americans, but only after the Houthis had captured Sanaa.

The Iranian backing for the Houthis is no longer a subject of conjecture. Senior Iranian advisers have few qualms today about claiming the credit for the Houthi offensive. Ali Akbar Velayati, one of the Supreme Leader's loyal lieutenants, and a former foreign minister of 16 years standing, said he hoped the Ansarullah (Houthi) group would play the same role in Yemen as Hezbollah does in Lebanon.

Ali Reza Zakani another Tehran politician close to Ali Khamenei boasted a month ago that Sanaa was the fourth Arab capital -- after Baghdad, Damascus, and Beirut -- in Iranian control. For two years, US military and intelligence officials have been saying that significant quantities of light arms and rocket propelled grenades have been smuggled in with the help of the Quds Force. Last month two alleged members of the Iranian elite force were deported from Yemen to Oman.

A well connected Iranian writer and analyst Muhammad Sadiq Al-Husseini interviewed on Al-Mayadeen TV said:

"We are the new sultans of the Red Sea; we the new sultans of the gulf. We, (I mean) the axis of resistance: Tehran, Damascus, the (southern) district (of Beirut), Baghdad and Sanaa. We are the ones who will create the map of the region and we are also the sultans of the Red Sea. Remember Sayyid Hassan Nasrullah, the Secretary General of Hezbollah and the master of the resistance, when he said two years ago, I think: "We are now coming out for you from the Mediterranean. We have not yet come out for you from the Red Sea."

Al-Husseini described Saudi Arabia as a "tribe on the verge of extinction".

"Now, the one who is mighty is the Yemeni and the one who is poor is the Saudi. This is not in financial terms or in terms of weaponry and international ties but terms of creating geopolitics and making history. We are now in a state of transformation."

The Iranians are long term planners. The Saudis, in contrast, are anything but. Considering they now have an active, armed and trained Iranian proxy on their vulnerable southern border, their initial contacts with the Houthis now seem like a bet which has gone wildly wrong. From the Saudi perspective, the Houthi advance into the Sunni heartland of Yemen is a text-book example of what the CIA calls blow-back.

I first reported a year ago that the Saudis had opened contacts with the Houthis (with whom they once fought a bitter war) by flying the Houthi leader Saleh Habreh via London to meet with Prince Bandar, who was then Saudi intelligence chief. Saudi ambitions had been tactical and probably limited. They were aimed primarily at crushing Islah, the political Islamist group with whom Hadi was sharing power.

However, the Saudis may never have intended the Houthis to walk into the capital unopposed. They calculated, wrongly, that Islah would have stopped the Houthis long before they were at the city's gates. They assumed the Houthis and Islah would cancel each other out.

Islah did not play ball. They refused to confront the Houthis saying that this was the task of the government. By allowing, or at the very least, doing nothing to stop the Houthi offensive from taking place, Riyadh has opened the door to a much bigger and more destabilizing struggle taking place -- a conflict involving al Qaeda and the southern Yemeni tribes that has already become sectarian.

As the Zaydi Houthi movement advances into territory and cities which are traditionally Sunni, al-Qaida militants have launched car bombs against Houthi targets. A car bomb targeting a house sheltering Houthi militiamen in the western province of al-Bayda killed 20 on Monday.

Considering how much effort the Saudis put into keeping Saleh in power for 33 years, Riyadh's loss of control in what they have always regarded as their back yard must be regarded as one of the worst blunders in recent memory. They should be asking themselves: "Who lost Yemen ?"

Are they rethinking their disastrous, short term, policies? A high-ranking Yemeni general, regarded as close to Islah, Gen Ali Mohsen al Ahmar, took shelter in the Saudi embassy as Sanaa was falling. He was smuggled out of it and is now in Jeddah. Are they going to use him to regain influence? It would be ironic, to say the least if that were to be the case.

Meanwhile, the Saudis are trying to fight back using other more traditional methods. Letting the price of oil fall, is one way of hitting back at Iran and Russia and letting them know that there is a price to be paid for surrounding the kingdom from the north and the south.

This article was first published by The Huffington Post.

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noreply@memonitor.org.uk (David Hearst) frontpage Tue, 21 Oct 2014 16:39:20 +0000
Home Office-hired academic denies reports of seeing Muslim Brotherhood review https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/blogs/politics/14784-home-office-hired-academic-denies-reports-of-seeing-muslim-brotherhood-review https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/blogs/politics/14784-home-office-hired-academic-denies-reports-of-seeing-muslim-brotherhood-review Lorenzo VidinoAn academic published by a think-tank, said to be close to the UAE rulers, has distanced himself from recent reports in The Telegraph that alleged he was involved in a UK government review into the Muslim Brotherhood.

The Telegraph over the weekend quoted Lorenzo Vidino as someone who had "worked on the Cabinet Office report" citing an opinion piece he authored for the UK-based daily on the Muslim Brotherhood.

"It is clear that the Brotherhood has many dark spots, ranging from its ambiguous relationship with violence to its questionable impact on social cohesion in Britain," Vidino wrote on 19 October.

However, Vidino told Middle East Eye he had not read the review and said The Telegraph had incorrectly portrayed his role in the government investigation.

"I was blindsided by The Telegraph," he said. "It overstates the case of what my involvement was in the review. I was simply commissioned to do a paper and brief the people conducting the review – as many academics have been asked to do."

"If you read The Telegraph article you get the idea I was one of the guys writing the review, which is not the case. I want to dispel the idea that I worked on the review, as that is simply not the case."

The Telegraph did not respond to requests for comment at the time of publication.

UK Prime Minister David Cameron launched an investigation into the Muslim Brotherhood in April and appointed his ambassador to Saudi Arabia Sir John Jenkins to head the review.

The decision prompted a hail of criticism that accused the prime minister of succumbing to pressure from Gulf allies Saudi Arabia and the UAE, who regard the group as a terrorist organisation and supported last year's popularly-backed military coup in Egypt.

Vidino is the author of The West and the Muslim Brotherhood After the Arab Spring and has held positions at the non-partisan US think-tank RAND and the Harvard Kennedy School of Government.

The Economist, in its review of the work, said that Vidino has "prophesied...that the Brotherhood's ultimate goal is to extend Islamic law throughout Europe and America. He has berated those who fail to see the danger as hopelessly naïve."

These views, coupled with links to the al-Mesbar Studies and Research Centre (MSRC), has led Emirati political activists to question whether Vidino should be presented as an impartial voice when discussing the Muslim Brotherhood.

MSRC published Vidino's The New Muslim Brotherhood in the West. It is chaired by Turki al-Dakhi, a prominent Saudi broadcaster on Al Arabiya, which is part of the MBC Group owned by Walid al-Ibrahim, brother of the widow of late King Fahad bin Abdulaziz al-Saud.

The organisation has been accused by Emirati political dissidents of being a front for the UAE government.

"The al-Mesbar Centre is run by a group of Saudi men who work for [UAE Crown Prince] Mohammed bin Zayed and do the job of the security services through the organisation," a former high-ranking UAE judge and political dissident, who asked to remain anonymous, told Middle East Eye.

"There are no independent civil society groups in the UAE because all have to be approved by the state and this one is simply another front in the war against the Muslim Brotherhood.

"No one writing for the al-Mesbar Centre can be considered impartial," the source added.

According to Human Rights Watch, NGOs are tightly regulated by law in the UAE, which prohibits them from interfering "in politics or in matters that impair state security and its ruling regime".

In 2012, Emirati authorities shut down the Abu Dhabi office of RAND as well as pro-democracy think-tanks Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftunk and the National Democratic Institute.

Vidino responded to allegations about his impartiality by defending his academic work and links to organisations like RAND.

"I have a track record of writing about the Brotherhood that dates back to 2003 – the first book I published with al-Mesbar is a translation of one published by Columbia University Press," he said. "I have a track record of impartial scholarship – one can agree or disagree with my findings, but no one can question my independence."

Vidino also defended al-Mesbar as "independent" and "run by Saudis".

MSRC chairman Dakhi has previously spoken of his close relationship with UAE Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan.

"I do not work as an advisor to him [Mohammed bin Zayed] but I have good relations with him," Dakhi said in an interview in January this year with the Dubai-based DMTV channel.

"The grace of his virtue is above all. The most important and most widespread of all graces are those he bestows upon me. So anything he asks of me [...] yet, I do not have a job as an advisor to him."

MSRC did not respond to inquiries for comment prior to publication, but Vidino said the organisation "had no role whatsoever" in the UK government review of the Muslim Brotherhood.

The controversial UK government review of the Brotherhood was widely reported to have been completed in July.

In August, the Financial Times (FT) reported that the review concluded that "the group should not be labelled a terrorist organisation and in fact [...] found little evidence its members are involved in terrorist activities." The FT report went on to say the review's release had been delayed because of its conclusions and their diplomatic implications.

"Sir John will say that the Brotherhood is not a terrorist organisation. The Saudis and Emiratis will then be very upset with us," a source told the FT.

The Telegraph report, however, contradicted the FT, describing their analysis as "politically motivated speculations".

It is not known when the review will be made public or how much of the report will be published.

Report by Rori Donaghy for the Middle East Eye

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noreply@memonitor.org.uk (Rori Donaghy) frontpage Tue, 21 Oct 2014 16:23:01 +0000
Algeria sends 20 tons of school supplies to Gaza's children https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/africa/14783-algeria-sends-20-tons-of-school-supplies-to-gazas-children https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/africa/14783-algeria-sends-20-tons-of-school-supplies-to-gazas-children A Palestinian classroom in Gaza - with a hole left in it from Israeli tank shellsAlgeria dispatched on Monday 20 tons of school supplies to the children of Gaza, with the aid carried on a military cargo plane that was headed towards Al-Ismailia airport in Egypt, Anadolu news agency reported.

According to Anadolu, Algerian state television asserted that: "A military cargo plane has taken off on Monday from the airport in Boufarik, south of the capital in Blida, towards the airport of Al-Ismailia in northeast Egypt. It has been loaded with about 20 tons of school supplies for the benefit of the children of Gaza in occupied Palestine through an initiative organised by the Union of Algerian Doctors."

President of the government's Union of Algerian Doctors Gamal Weld Abbas explained that: "This is the first batch of aid, which includes 150,000 copybooks and scholar notebooks. Other aid deliveries will follow to reach one million copybooks and scholar notebooks," adding that, "this will be carried out in coordination with the Palestinian authorities."

Abbas also noted "another endeavour that is being prepared for which has to do with providing psychological support to the children of Gaza by Algerians specialists and psychologists, especially after the horror that these children have lived under during the recent Zionist aggression," without specifying a date for the departure of the delegation.

The Rafah border crossing between Egypt and Gaza has remained semi-closed since the latest war, with Egypt refusing access to many aid convoys that wish to pass.

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noreply@memonitor.org.uk (Middle East Monitor) frontpage Tue, 21 Oct 2014 14:22:15 +0000
Protests and 'media blackout' as Israeli Ambassador visits Cambridge University https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/europe/14782-protests-and-media-blackout-as-israeli-ambassador-visits-cambridge-university https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/europe/14782-protests-and-media-blackout-as-israeli-ambassador-visits-cambridge-university Daniel TaubIsrael's ambassador to the UK Daniel Taub spoke at the Cambridge Union Society on Monday, a visit marked by protests and what was described as an unprecedented "media blackout."

Taub's talk at the university came less than two months after the end of 'Operation Protective Edge', the unprecedented Israeli bombardment of the Gaza Strip that killed more than 2,100 Palestinians, including 500 children.

Ahead of the ambassador's event, Cambridge University's Palestinian society condemned the invitation as "deeply insensitive" and "a tacit endorsement of war crimes committed in Gaza."

During the day Monday, metal fence were erected around the whole building, with Taub separated from protesters by police, a private security firm hired by the Union, and Taub's own security team.

The start of the talk was delayed, and all those attending had to leave their belongings in the cloakroom. Phones and laptops were banned from the event, at the request of the ambassador.

The measures were described by one Cambridge student journalist as a "total live media blackout", adding: "never seen anything like this before in Cambridge."

During the event, some 60 protesters held a peaceful demonstration outside the Union, the noise from which was "audible throughout Taub's speech and the Q&A session which followed."

Questioned during the event about the killing of hundreds of Palestinian civilians in Gaza, Taub described such deaths as Hamas' "PR advantage", and the "very painful side effects" of Israeli actions.

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noreply@memonitor.org.uk (Middle East Monitor) frontpage Tue, 21 Oct 2014 14:17:55 +0000
'International legitimacy' and alienation from Palestinian history https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/blogs/politics/14781-international-legitimacy-and-alienation-from-palestinian-history https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/blogs/politics/14781-international-legitimacy-and-alienation-from-palestinian-history Ramona WadiTalk of "full rights" and "international legitimacy" by Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erekat was once again prominent within its usual inconsistency. Speaking at a meeting with various diplomatic representatives, including EU representative John Gatt-Rutter, Erekat insisted upon Palestine's right to participate fully in international institutions, including recourse to the International Criminal Court (ICC). The insistence, however, was based upon acquiescence to imperialist narratives of what Palestine is expected to comply with – notably adherence to the two-state conspiracy.

Ma'an reported that Erekat said "occupied Palestine" is entitled to "full right to join international organisations, institutions, statues, conventions and protocols, especially the ICC." The "two-state solution", according to Erekat, is being intentionally destroyed by Israel through its constant annihilation of Palestinians. Following a regurgitation of the usual list of Israeli violations of Palestinian rights, Erekat included a positive reference with regard to the meaningless symbolism of Palestinian recognition generated recently by Sweden and the UK.

Conveniently omitted from Erekat's narrative are the consequences of international legitimacy with regards to Palestine. The recent diplomatic discourse confirms the PA's constant and wilful collaboration in maintaining the conditions exacerbating Palestine's existence – a trend with various historical precedents that created an acceleration of Zionist settler-colonialism and the disintegration of Palestinian resistance.

Divested of the inherent imperialist plunder and exploitation, international legitimacy is an ambiguous term constantly referred to by the PA, despite the constraints and oppression resulting from such insistence. Upheld as an absolute to attain, the diplomatic quest is futile, with countries and international organisations determining international legitimacy remaining committed to upholding the hegemonic narrative determined by the settler-colonial state. International legitimacy for Palestinians, therefore, translates into Palestinian leaders' acceptance of reinventing history and memory in order to accommodate both Israel and the imperialist powers safeguarding its existence.

While Israel is constantly faced with the necessity of reshaping its invention and fabrication of nationhood in order to sustain the process of colonisation, Palestine is being divested of its own ingrained memory by leaders whose allegiance is pledged to the colonisers, rather than the necessity of liberation. This strategy of alienation is in accordance with the UN's perfected measures, throughout the decades, of deconstructing Palestinian history through resolutions that attempt to address immediate violations committed against Palestinians without resorting to accountability. In the same manner, continued reference and insistence upon the two-state conspiracy, which is a mere euphemism for complicity in safeguarding the process of complete Zionist colonisation of Palestine, will continue to serve as a premise for alleged legitimacy by a leadership that fails to acknowledge its country's history in favour of accommodating external impositions.

The notion of seeking international legitimacy from imperialist powers is absurd, yet one that sustains the existence of the PA to the detriment of delegitimising the Palestinian population and its right to land, history and memory through violent political rhetoric. Hence, international legitimacy remains a perilous illusion for Palestine and one that should be adamantly refuted in order to create a revolutionary armed struggle for liberation of the entire territory.

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noreply@memonitor.org.uk (Ramona Wadi) frontpage Tue, 21 Oct 2014 14:15:40 +0000
Nidaa Tounes expect to gain 80 parliamentary seats https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/africa/14780-nidaa-tounes-expect-to-gain-80-parliamentary-seats https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/africa/14780-nidaa-tounes-expect-to-gain-80-parliamentary-seats Mohsen Marzouk, Head of Beji Caid El-Sebsi's presidential campaignThe Nidaa Tounes (Call of Tunisia) is counting on winning 70 to 80 seats, of a possible 217, in the upcoming parliament, the party's leader and head of Beji Caid El-Sebsi's presidential campaign Mohsen Marzouk said yesterday evening.

During his interview with a number of foreign journalists in the capital city of Tunis, Marzouk said: "Ennahda and Nidaa Tounes will win between 140 and 145 seats in the next parliament."

The parliamentary election campaigns began in Tunisia on October 4, while the period of electoral silence will begin on October 23 for the elections abroad and October 25 for those at home, one day before the polling day on October 26. Preliminary results of the legislative elections will be announced on October 30.

Elections will be held in 33 constituencies, 27 of which are in Tunisia and six for Tunisians living abroad.

The first round of the Tunisian presidential election is scheduled for November 23. The Independent High Authority for the Elections (ISIE) announced that 27 final candidates were approved out of 70 initial applications

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noreply@memonitor.org.uk (Middle East Monitor) frontpage Tue, 21 Oct 2014 14:07:44 +0000
Egyptian security raid universities and arrest dozens of students https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/africa/14779-egyptian-security-raid-universities-and-arrest-dozens-of-students https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/africa/14779-egyptian-security-raid-universities-and-arrest-dozens-of-students Image of students protesting outside Cairo University from earlier todayMost Egyptian universities have witnessed mass protests against the unprecedented security measures taken by private security companies, at a time when Egyptian security forces proceeded to raid six universities and clashed with the students on campus, arresting dozens.

The security forces tried to control the demonstrations organised by Students Against the Coup, which opposes the current authorities demanding the release of all the detainees. The security forces stormed the campuses of Al-Azhar University in Nasr City, east of Cairo, Ain Shams University, Mansoura University, Minia University, and Beni-Suef University.

At the Suez Canal University, Students Against the Coup said that the administrative security forces detained four female students while they partook in a march on campus. They were taken in a car to the campus security headquarters inside the university.

Clashes also broke out between the students and security forces in most of the universities and the security forces fired tear gas to disperse the students in some universities. The interior ministry announced that it had arrested 29 students.

The students have formed long queues in front of the gates of the universities during the second week of the semester because of the tightened security measures imposed by a new private security company that is guarding the universities.

Falcon, the private security company managed by retired police officers and soldiers and led by Khalid Sharif former deputy director of the Egyptian intelligence services and former head of the Egyptian Radio and Television Union security departments, were tasked with guarding university entrances at the beginning of the academic year.

Students Against the Coup spokesman Ahmed Nassef said that they would be "launching a revolutionary week in all the universities to stress that the student movement is going strong and cannot be supressed. We will also stress that the arrests of over 235 students will not discourage others from their demonstrations."

In Cairo University, the students staged a massive march in an effort to continue their revolutionary movement which rejects the oppression and repression of freedoms and the military rule.

The students loudly voiced their slogans against the military rule and expressed their rejection of the arrest of students and their demands to put an end to violations against Egyptian students, release the detainees, retribution for the blood of the martyrs, the restoration of the democratic path, and the prosecution of anyone involved in shedding the blood of the Egyptians.

The students also stressed that the policies of tyranny and oppression adopted by the coup-led authorities against the Egyptian students will only make them more determined to continue their revolutionary path until freedom, victory and human dignity are realised.

Security forces also stormed Al-Azhar Girls University in Cairo, looking for students who participated in various events held by all the faculties at the university.

Eye-witnesses confirmed that a number of students were injured after the security forces forcefully stored the university and its forces were deployed within the university, continuing the wave of violations and systematic repression adopted by these forces against Al-Azhar students.

The female students of Al-Azhar University in Cairo have organised a number of events in all the faculties in order to continue their revolutionary movement that rejects the military rule. In these events, the students have stressed that they will continue their revolutionary movement until freedom is returned, those involved in the violations against Egyptian students are prosecuted, retribution for the blood of the martyrs is achieved, and all the detainees are released.

The students of Egypt are demanding that their fellow colleagues are released from prison and that those expelled can return to continue their studies. They are also calling for the release of the security grip on universities, the over throw of President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi's government, and the return of legitimacy represented by President Mohamed Morsi.

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noreply@memonitor.org.uk (Middle East Monitor) frontpage Tue, 21 Oct 2014 14:03:06 +0000
ISIS and attacks on Muslims in Burma and Sri Lanka https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/blogs/politics/14778-isis-and-attacks-on-muslims-in-burma-and-sri-lanka https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/blogs/politics/14778-isis-and-attacks-on-muslims-in-burma-and-sri-lanka Dr Abdallah Al-AshaalThere is no doubt that the extremism and terrorism which is shedding the blood of Muslims have given a golden opportunity for attacking Muslims everywhere. What is happening in Syria and Iraq under the pretext of establishing the Caliphate that will allow Muslims to control the world, which is an absolute myth and a huge conspiracy, is a prelude for attacking the blessed Al-Aqsa and all Muslims in general in Asia and Africa and within Islamic communities so the fruit of the large conspiracy would be expelling Muslims from Europe and America.

This is a real call and a slogan for extreme religious and political right wing groups in the West which stem from the theory that Arab Muslims, along with Ottomans, had invaded Europe with swords in the Middle Ages and then they invaded it again by immigration in the 1950s.

The West returned Muslims to their countries by means of the sword during the Crusades when they attacked the east for many centuries. Now they want to return them after all the political immoralities committed by their fellow Muslims in the name of religion.

On October 16, the New York Times published a painful story regarding this under the headline: Deadly Alliances Against Muslims, in which it discussed the Buddhist-Hindu alliance against Muslims in Burma and Sri Lanka. It said that Galagodaththe Gnanasara, the leader of the radical Sri Lankan Buddhist group Bodu Bala Sena (Buddhist Power Force), announced in a conference in Sri Lanka in September that an international Buddhist alliance against Muslims must be setup.

The prime minister of Sri Lanka ignored call by Muslims and Christians not to grant a visa to extremist Buddhist Ashin Wirathu, who Time magazine had called "the face of Buddhist terror" in July. The newspaper said the leader of the extremist Buddhist group held talks with the head of the right-wing Hindu group Rashtriya Swayam Sevak to setup a "Hindu-Buddhist peace zone" in South Asia.

Attacks on Islam and Muslims for the past decades, its recent escalation, have given Takfiris the political cover to attack and Muslims. This has also lead to Muslim minorities in various African communities being disregarded, where some African governments abolished Islam as a religion as long as its followers act in this way.

These governments also failed to protect Muslims from Christian extremists just as others were unable to protect Christians in Nigeria, for example, from the Muslim extremist of Boko Haram. This is the quickest way to belittle Islam and Muslims. So, what did Islamic organisations, governmental institutions and wise Muslims do to stop this sedition against Buddhist extremists in Asia and against Muslim extremists in the region and in Africa and to stop the bloodshed for everyone?!

The author is a former Egyptian ambassador and a professor of international law at the American University in Cairo.

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noreply@memonitor.org.uk (Dr Abdallah Al-Ashaal) frontpage Tue, 21 Oct 2014 14:00:19 +0000
Foreign activists finished work in olive harvest season https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/middle-east/14777-foreign-activists-finished-work-in-olive-harvest-season https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/middle-east/14777-foreign-activists-finished-work-in-olive-harvest-season Farmers and volunteers harvesting Palestinian Olive groves80 foreign activists finished their work on Monday in Palestinian farms that are threatened with expropriation by the Israeli occupation authorities, Palestinian Al-Quds newspaper reported.

A statement issued by the association of Christian Youths in Palestine reportedly announced that the international programme for picking olives was now finished.

The association stated that 80 foreign activists took part in this year's programme. They were mobilised by Christian associations, churches and other international solidarity movements from more than 13 countries across the Americas, Europe and Asia.

According to Al-Quds, the programme lasted from 11 to 20 of October, during which time the activists helped Palestinian farmers to pick olives on lands under threat of expropriation by the Israeli occupation authorities.

The newspaper added that the farms participating in this project are located behind the Israeli apartheid wall or divided by it, mostly in Bethlehem and its outskirts.

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noreply@memonitor.org.uk (Middle East Monitor) frontpage Tue, 21 Oct 2014 13:53:36 +0000
Israeli university condemns professor who called for extermination of Palestinians https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/middle-east/14776-israeli-university-condemns-professor-who-called-for-extermination-of-palestinians https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/middle-east/14776-israeli-university-condemns-professor-who-called-for-extermination-of-palestinians Professor Hillel WeissThe University of Bar Ilan yesterday condemned Professor Hillel Weiss' calls for the extermination of Palestinians.

After a speech by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in the United Nations in which he accused Israel of committing genocide, Weiss wrote on Facebook: "Listen, Abu Mazen, you aren't a people and therefore there's no genocide. The faster you admit that you aren't a people and don't belong anywhere within the boundaries of the Land of Israel, the better it will be for you – the faster you voluntarily vacate this land."

The university condemned the comments in comments made to Haaretz newspaper today in which it explained that Weiss is retired and is a volunteer. "Firstly, it's necessary to state that the things Professor Hillel Weiss published on his Facebook page are contemptible and very grave, and any cultured person – Jewish or non-Jewish, religious or nonreligious – must condemn them," the university's statement said. "A call to kill people is un-Jewish and immoral."

Orot Israel College, in which Weiss lectures, also condemned the remarks. Rabbi Neria Guttel, the president of the college, said: "That's not academic freedom; that's academic anarchy, and I will not accept remarks of this sort."

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noreply@memonitor.org.uk (Middle East Monitor) frontpage Tue, 21 Oct 2014 13:48:23 +0000
Israel to vote on partitioning Al-Aqsa Mosque between Muslims and Jews https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/middle-east/14775-israel-to-vote-on-partitioning-al-aqsa-mosque-between-muslims-and-jews https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/middle-east/14775-israel-to-vote-on-partitioning-al-aqsa-mosque-between-muslims-and-jews Black Dome of Al-Aqsa MosqueAn Arab Knesset member has revealed that there will be a vote in the next month on a law drafted by an Israeli committee regarding the partition of Al-Aqsa Mosque between Muslims and Jews.

Arab MK Masoud Ghanayim was quoted on Monday by Palestinian newspaper Felesteen as saying that "the draft law, which has been prepared by the interior parliamentary committee in the Knesset, stipulates that Jews can perform prayers in Al-Aqsa Mosque."

He continued: "This is based on a proposal that gives Muslims and Jews equal rights in their access and use of the holy site. It also specifies certain locations where Jews can perform their prayers."

It is important to note that both Rabbinical and Israeli law currently bans Jews from prayer at Al-Aqsa Mosque because of the sanctity of the site for the Jewish religion. Most Jews who lobby to pray there are illegal settlers with a right wing agenda.

The Old City in Jerusalem where Al-Aqsa is located is internationally recognised as occupied land. The Israeli occupation authorities frequently prevent Muslims from praying there.

According to Ghanayim, the same draft law also bans organising civil protests and demonstrations in Al-Aqsa compound, and sets out punishment for any violations.

Ghanayim said that putting such a law for any vote is a "flagrant aggression on the religious rights of Muslims around the world." He also called it part of the Judaisation plan for the city of Jerusalem.

Commenting on the basis of this law, Ghanayim said it "is solely based on a legitimacy built on historical and religious myths bolstered with the power of the oppressive occupation."

He stressed that Al-Aqsa Mosque is part of the Islamic and Arabic world and cannot be partitioned at any time or place. He reiterated: "It is part of Arab and Palestinian lands, which is occupied by the Zionists and the [illegal] occupation does not have the right to impose its laws."

At the same time, he insisted that the Israeli government is behind all the attempts by the extremist right wing settlers to extend Israeli sovereignty over Al-Aqsa Mosque and warned that the Israeli government would pay the price for this aggression on the rights of Arabs and Muslims.

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noreply@memonitor.org.uk (Middle East Monitor) frontpage Tue, 21 Oct 2014 12:46:39 +0000
Tunisian Foreign Minister: Libyan crisis has significant repercussions on Tunisia https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/africa/14774-tunisian-foreign-minister-libyan-crisis-has-significant-repercussions-on-tunisia https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/africa/14774-tunisian-foreign-minister-libyan-crisis-has-significant-repercussions-on-tunisia Photo of a person taking a photo of an explosion in LibyaThe Tunisian Foreign Minister, Manji Hamidi, has said that the on-going crisis in Libya has huge repercussions for his country, including economic, political and security consequences, Anadolu news agency reported on Monday.

Hamidi reportedly explained, at a joint press conference with his Turkish counterpart Molood Jawish Oglu in the Turkish capital Ankara, that his country will host 1.8 million Libyan citizens, which has big implications for the Tunisian economy.

He called on "all the factions in Libya to sit down together at the dialogue table in order to reach a peaceful solution through a comprehensive national reconciliation in favour of the national interest of Libya over anything else," adding that, "the only solution to this crisis is to end the chaos, violence and military actions through national dialogue."

According to Anadolu, Hamidi said that the Tunisian government is working to help Libyans residing in his country and it is doing its best to find a solution to the Libyan crisis, stressing that "the prosperity of Tunisia can not happen without the stability of Libya."

He pointed out that "the terrorist operations, which are trying to harm the stability of Tunisia, are caused by the problems in Libya," adding that the fight against terrorist operations has to become a common denominator for all countries.

On bilateral relations between Tunisia and Turkey, Hamidi expressed his gratitude to Turkey, particularly for supporting his country during the transitional phase.

He stated that his government is doing its utmost in order to further develop its strategic relations with Turkey, pointing to Tunisia's desire to prepare a plan of action for increasing the trade volume between the two countries.

For his part, Oglu stressed that a "common will" exists between the two countries to develop their mutual cooperation in all fields, pointing out that the two sides had agreed to hold the meeting of the strategic high-level cooperation council in Turkey.

Oglu also conveyed that his meeting with his Tunisian counterpart included a discussion about regional and international issues, saying: "We had the opportunity, in this framework, to address the situation in Libya, which threatens the security of Tunisia, and the fight against terrorism and organised crime, as well as the situation in Syria and the Iraqi crisis, and last but not least: the fair issue of the Palestinian people, and the situation in Gaza."

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noreply@memonitor.org.uk (Middle East Monitor) frontpage Tue, 21 Oct 2014 12:33:38 +0000
Acre and Haifa top Israeli cancer list https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/middle-east/14773-acre-and-haifa-top-israeli-cancer-list https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/middle-east/14773-acre-and-haifa-top-israeli-cancer-list An Israeli chemical factory in the Palestinian city of Tulkareem, next to HaifaPeople living in Acre and Haifa have a higher risk of developing cancer than the rest of the population of Israel, Israeli news website Yedioth Ahronoth revealed.

According to data from the Israeli Ministry of Health, men and women in Acre are more likely to develop cancer than people living in other areas of Israel. The percentage of those affected by the disease in Acre was 16 per cent, while in Haifa the number of those infected by the disease was 15 per cent.

The data was collated following a study of the disease between 2006 and 2011, but did not given reasons why these areas where most affected. It is believed that the atmosphere of the two cities contribute to raising the number of people living with cancer.

The Ministry of Health believes this is especially true of the residents of the city of Haifa who live in the presence of many factories, especially ammonia factories. It called for the factories to be closed and moved away from the city. A decision had already been made to transfer the plants to the south in the Negev; however this plan awaits implementation following the construction of the new factory.

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noreply@memonitor.org.uk (Middle East Monitor) frontpage Tue, 21 Oct 2014 12:26:02 +0000
60 Egyptian judges disciplined for signing a statement supporting Rabaa sit-in https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/africa/14772-60-egyptian-judges-disciplined-for-signing-a-statement-supporting-rabaa-sit-in https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/africa/14772-60-egyptian-judges-disciplined-for-signing-a-statement-supporting-rabaa-sit-in Rabaa SignEgyptian judicial body decided on Monday to refer 60 judges of different judicial levels to the Judges Disciplinary Board on charges that they had signed a statement supporting the Muslim Brotherhood, Anadolu news agency reported.

Citing a judicial source, the agency reported that Judge Mohammed Shereen Fahmy, delegated by the Cairo Appeals Court to investigate the issue, decided to refer the 60 judges, including several who are out of the country and who belong to the "Judges for Egypt" movement, to the disciplinary board, which is an inquiry commission at the Supreme Judicial Council, and called for them to be removed from office.

The disciplinary committee has the authority to force the judges to retire, which has happened to a number of the movement's leaders over the past few months, most notably Walid Sharabi and Imad Abu Hashem—both for the same charges: bias for a political faction, the Muslim Brotherhood, and alleged involvement in politics.

The source explained that the decision came at the conclusion of the investigations that took place, which convicted them of supporting a political faction, the Muslim Brotherhood, through signing a relevant statement on 24 July 2013, which was read by Mahmoud Mohieddin from inside the headquarters of the Rabaa sit-in in eastern Cairo.

The Egyptian security forces forcefully dispersed the sit-ins in support of ousted President Mohamed Morsi in the Rabaa and Nahda Masr squares in Cairo on 14 August 2013, leaving hundreds of them dead and thousands wounded, according to official figures.

Other officials, who are not judges, are also suspected of being involved, according to the investigations, including ex-justice minister Ahmed Mekki and his brother, the ex-vice president, Mahmoud Mekki. Judge Fahmy is expected to continue questioning them as they are being accused of incitement through the preparation of this statement for which they held a meeting on a floating riverboat in the Maadi district in southern Cairo.

According to Anadolu, the Supreme Judicial Council, the official body entrusted with the management of judicial affairs in Egypt, had assigned Judge Fahmy to investigate the incident when a number of judges issued a statement from the headquarters of the Rabaa sit-in, in which they announced their rejection of President Morsi's ouster.

Judges for Egypt is a movement that consists of a group of judges affiliated to different judicial bodies. The group's name has been associated with the Egyptian presidential elections in 2012 following the Egyptian revolution of 25 January 2011, which toppled former President Hosni Mubarak. The group communicated with the public directly through press conferences and has been criticised for playing a political role.

For its part, the pro-Morsi Independence of the Judiciary Front (IJF) has condemned what it called "the continued and systematic punishment of judges and leaders who defend the full independence of the judicial system".

The IJF statement also explained its rejection of the politicised legal decisions issued against a number of honourable judges to settle accounts that are clearly political.

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noreply@memonitor.org.uk (Middle East Monitor) frontpage Tue, 21 Oct 2014 12:23:51 +0000
UN body reviews Israel's human rights violations against Palestinians https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/americas/14771-un-body-reviews-israels-human-rights-violations-against-palestinians https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/americas/14771-un-body-reviews-israels-human-rights-violations-against-palestinians File photo of 8 year old Mohammed Ali who was arrested at the Qalandia checkpointMembers of the UN Human Rights Committee quizzed an Israeli delegation on Monday about Israel's human rights violations against Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and the Gaza Strip, Palestine's Quds Net News Agency reported.

Among the issues reviewed were "price-tag attacks," access to water, housing demolitions, the treatment of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails and Israel's confiscation of Palestinian land.

The committee members also posed questions to the Israeli delegation about the expansion of illegal settlements, including the Gva'ot project, which involved the appropriation of 400 hectares of Palestinian land in the Gush Etzion settlement in the occupied West Bank.

Regarding housing demolitions, Yuji Iwasawa, a panel expert from Japan, said the resumption of a policy of punitive demolishing houses is a concern.

"We have reports of Palestinians and Bedouin compelled to give consent to demolition in a coercive environment and as a result of [Jewish] settlers' harassment and violence," Quds Net quoted Iwasawa as saying.

He added: "We have information that Palestinians have been evicted from their agricultural lands, which impacts their livelihood and access to food."

In response to the questioning about housing demolitions, the head of the International Law Department for the Israeli occupation army, Colonel Noam Neuman, said: "Since 2013, there have been an increasing number of militant actions by Palestinians in Israel and the West Bank."

"Israel's policy of using housing demolitions for the purpose of deterrence is implemented only in exceptional circumstances," he noted.

Israeli Ambassador to the UN in Geneva Eviatar Manor said: "Israel places great importance on respect for human rights." But he told the committee that Israel's security needs often strained the balance between its protection of human rights and protection of the lives of its citizens.

Manor did not mention anything related to Israel's latest war on Gaza, which claimed the lives of more than 2,000 Palestinians, including 500 children, and wounded more than 11,000 others, mostly civilians. He also ignored that Israeli settlers killed a five-year-old Palestinian child on Sunday.

Regarding the mistreatment of Palestinian prisoners inside Israeli jails, the committee heavily criticised the Israeli Security Agency Shin Bet for not having an outside investigation of complaints by Palestinians that their interrogators tortured or abused them.

Israel's Jerusalem Post newspaper reported that during the review, the Israeli delegation had claimed that, "a major human rights treaty was not applicable to its treatment of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza".

However, the chairman of the UN Human Rights Committee, Nigel Rodley, replied: "No, [Israel] is not responsible for those violations that are committed by the Palestinian Authority or Hamas... But it is responsible for those violations that are outside the control of the administrating Palestinian authorities and Hamas but are within the control of the state party."

After the review, the Israeli delegation expressed relief that the committee did not question it extensively regarding the latest Israeli war on the Gaza Strip.

The Jerusalem Post quoted the director-general of the Israeli Justice Ministry, Emi Palmor, as saying "It is an achievement that this did not happen."

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noreply@memonitor.org.uk (Middle East Monitor) frontpage Tue, 21 Oct 2014 11:58:23 +0000
Lineages of Revolt https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/media-review/book-review/14770-lineages-of-revolt https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/media-review/book-review/14770-lineages-of-revolt Author: Dr Adam Hanieh
Publisher: Haymarket Books
Published Date : 14 November 2013
ISBN-13: 978-1608463251

Review by: Ben White

A number of books have now been published in light of the so-called "Arab Spring", covering different aspects of the uprisings that took place across the Middle East since late 2010. Adam Hanieh's book is distinctive, and a must-read. Lineages of Revolt offers the reader a serious, yet accessible, study of the region as a whole, its political economy, and an understanding of recent, unfolding events, beyond simplistic narratives.

To read the full review, visit the Palestine Book Awards Site.

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noreply@memonitor.org.uk (Ben White) frontpage Mon, 20 Oct 2014 17:24:24 +0000
Israeli general: All of our military might failed to subdue Gaza https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/middle-east/14769-israeli-general-all-of-our-military-might-failed-to-subdue-gaza https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/middle-east/14769-israeli-general-all-of-our-military-might-failed-to-subdue-gaza An Israeli military general admitted that the army failed to achieve its military goals during the recent war on Gaza.

Yaakov Amidror, the former national security advisor, said: "Despite the limited military capabilities of Palestinian organisations, Israel failed to achieve significant gains during their ground offensive in the Gaza Strip although it used all of its military power and pulled all of its efforts. With all of this, they failed to break through the Palestinians' defence lines which succeeded in neutralising many of the air force and armed forces' efforts."

In an article he wrote for Yisrael Hume yesterday, Amidror added: "It was impossible for Israeli forces to surprise Palestinian fighters who were expecting and waiting for the army. This deterred Israeli ground troops from advancing too deeply into the Gaza Strip."

Amidror called on Israelis to learn a lesson from the recent war; stressing that the next war on Hamas should and will be different.

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noreply@memonitor.org.uk (Middle East Monitor) frontpage Mon, 20 Oct 2014 16:36:05 +0000
Sudanese minister: Egyptian media must deal with Bashir with decency https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/africa/14768-sudanese-minister-egyptian-media-must-deal-with-bashir-with-decency https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/africa/14768-sudanese-minister-egyptian-media-must-deal-with-bashir-with-decency The Sudanese Minister of Investment, Mustafa Osman Ismail, attacked Egyptian media outlets for showing no decency to the Sudanese President Omar Hassan Al-Bashir, who completed a two-day visit to Cairo.

Ismail pointed out, during his telephone interview with the Egyptian television programme Masr fi Youm, that respecting heads of state "should be a part of the media's sense of decorum". Ismail went on to suggest that it would perhaps prove useful for a meeting to be held between Egyptian and Sudanese journalists in order to establish a set of rules and ethics in the profession of journalism that would benefit both countries.

The minister pointed out that Al-Bashir's visit to Cairo was part of a greater effort to restore relations between the two countries and that it should be framed as such.

He said the meeting between Al-Bashir and Egyptian President Abdel Fatah Al-Sisi was very successful as they agreed on almost all the issues that were proposed, especially with regards to promoting economic relations between the two countries. It was even suggested that a free trade zone be established between the two countries to ensure that they achieve the desired results.

Ismail went on to add that the two countries agreed to defend their rights to the Nile River's water supply both in regards to the Renaissance Dam and the Nile Basin Initiative. They also discussed the importance of achieving reconciliation in Libya.

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noreply@memonitor.org.uk (Middle East Monitor) frontpage Mon, 20 Oct 2014 15:38:08 +0000
Israel signs agreement to pump natural gas to Egypt https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/middle-east/14767-israel-signs-agreement-to-pump-natural-gas-to-egypt https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/middle-east/14767-israel-signs-agreement-to-pump-natural-gas-to-egypt An agreement has been signed to allow Israel to pump natural gas to Egypt, Israeli newspapers have revealed.

"The Tamar consortium, led by Texas-based Noble Energy and Israel's Delek Group, said in a statement that they signed a letter of intent to negotiate with Dolphinus Holdings, a firm that represents non-governmental, industrial and commercial consumers in Egypt," Haaretz said.

The agreement is said to renew Israel's supply of gas to Egypt through a pipeline linking the two countries. This new agreement will allow 2.5 billion cubic metres of gas from Israeli warehouses to be pumped to workers in the Egyptian field industry.

Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth also said that the Israeli company has signed agreements with numerous Middle Eastern customers including the Palestinian Authority. This new contract also encompasses an agreement between Israeli and Jordanian electric power companies.

The report said: "The signing of this new agreement with Egypt was made possible by the significant improvement made the Sinai Peninsula over the course of the last few months. The improvement of the security situation, along with the fact that the pipeline between the two countries continues to exist, means that we do not need to use more funds to expand the existing pipeline. The agreement was reached despite the fact that there is still the danger that the pipeline could be bombed again."

Any damage done to the pipeline would become the responsibility of the buyer; Egypt, according to the agreement.

Yedioth Ahronoth said: "There is no doubt that this will pave the way for strengthening relations between Israel and its neighbours."

According to the economic newspaper the Marker, the value of this agreement amounts to $700 million per annum, which means that the price of natural gas per unit will be marked at $7.50, a price that has been standard throughout agreements signed within the region.

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noreply@memonitor.org.uk (Middle East Monitor) frontpage Mon, 20 Oct 2014 15:34:30 +0000
Diana Allan & Ali Abunimah in conversation https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/palestine-events/14766-diana-allan-a-ali-abunimah-in-conversation https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/palestine-events/14766-diana-allan-a-ali-abunimah-in-conversation Join authors Diana Allan and Ali Abunimah in conversation on the experience of Palestinians, at home and in exile.

The discussion will be chaired by SOAS academic Dina Mattar.

Venue: P21 Gallery, 21 Chalton Street, London NW1
Date: 5th November 2014
Time: 6.30PM
Entry: Free Entry, By online registration only

Register online by clicking here.





 

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noreply@memonitor.org.uk (Middle East Monitor) frontpage Tue, 04 Nov 2014 23:00:00 +0000