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 Thu, 21 Aug 2014 19:52:49 +0000 MEMO en-gb Statement read by Abu Ubaydah, spokesman for Al-Qassam Brigades, the Hamas military wing https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/middle-east/13645-statement-read-by-abu-ubaydah-spokesman-for-al-qassam-brigades-the-hamas-military-wing https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/middle-east/13645-statement-read-by-abu-ubaydah-spokesman-for-al-qassam-brigades-the-hamas-military-wing VIDEO

O children of our struggling and steadfast people! O our Ummah and the entire world! The enemy has lied and betrayed you. Betrayal and deceit are traits that the enemy is made of. Yesterday, the enemy violated the ceasefire and perpetrated an outrageous crime by means of a series of raids and savage bombardment operations. The most significant of those operations was the bombing of the Al-Dalu family home in Shaikh Radwan district using a number of the rockets of malice and deceit. The enemy's leaders were waiting eagerly behind their desks and in front of TV screens while their intelligence agencies insinuated to them that the moment for celebration was drawing near.

First of all, we would like to say to the enemy that you have failed and so has your plan. Time after time you are proving to be a group of failures. Forty-five days since the start of the battle, despite all your intelligence gathering activity, all you have been able to do is kill women and children. You have been unsuccessful and incapable of reaching our Commander in Chief, Abu Khalid Muhammad Al-Daif, by the will of God. Abu Khalid has been responsible for over a quarter of a century for making your failure and incapacity as clear as the midday sun. Abu Khalid Al-Daif is the one who started working right from the beginning of the first uprising and has been on your wanted list for 25 years. He continued to witness your incapacity and failure as well as the fact that you're nothing but a big lie.

Was Abu Khalid Al-Daif, or any other resistance leader, present inside the Al-Lawh family home today, or at the Al-Zeitoun District grocery shop? Abu Khalid is the one who started with stone [-throwing], then he moved to the rifle, then to the martyrdom operations all the way until the Brigades' rockets under his command covered all areas in our beloved usurped homeland. These rockets have forced you to rush like terrified mice to the shelters. Al-Qassam Brigades promise you that Muhammad Al-Daif will, God-willing, be the commander in chief of the conquering and liberating army that will enter into the courtyards of Al-Aqsa Mosque until we cleanse all of our land of the filth of the remaining occupiers.

Let it be known to the occupiers that Abu Khalid Muhammad Al-Daif, and behind him the Al-Qassam Brigades and all the resistance groups, happen to be God's destiny against you, for God took it upon Himself to send against you, until the Day of Judgement, those who would afflict you with grievous punishment.

O our people! O our Ummah and the entire world! This crime comes amid claims by the enemy about the firing of rockets yesterday in a bid to justify its aggression and violation of the ceasefire, thinking that it was able to make a significant hunt that would enable it to claim victory and decide the way the battle comes to an end. In the meantime, the dance of the demons, or the so-called Cairo negotiations, was going on. We have from the first moment made our position clear regarding these negotiations. We knew beforehand that they were not going to achieve any of the aspirations of our people or achieve what is commensurate with their sacrifices. Despite that, we gave the political leaders of the movement and our people more time than was needed in order to try and reach an agreement that would stop the aggression, lift the siege and bring about reconstruction.

Following these long weeks of futile negotiations, and in the aftermath of the crimes perpetrated by the enemy, we hereby say that this initiative was stillborn and today it was buried together with the body of child martyr Ali Muhammad Al-Daif. Therefore, the Palestinian delegation should withdraw immediately from Cairo and not return. There will be no return to this route after this day. Any dynamic along this route does not oblige us in any way. We would like to stress that the enemy has wasted a golden opportunity to reach a ceasefire agreement in exchange for demands the ceiling of which was much lower than that of the demands it will have to meet in the wake of its crimes and failures.

In the shadow of the crimes perpetrated by the enemy, and after having given the negotiations more than the time needed, and despite the failure of the enemy's instruments and troops in assassinating the commander in chief of the Ezzedine Al-Qassam Brigades, we hereby declare the following:

  1. We warn international airlines against flying to Ben-Gurion Airport. They should stop their flights to and from it as of six o'clock in the morning of Thursday, 21 August 2014.
  2. All big rallies by the enemy's supporters are banned in all the areas that fall within the range of Al-Qassam rockets. This applies in particular to football crowds as well as those in other open areas.
  3. The inhabitants of what is called the Gaza rim and the towns close by should not return to their homes. Those of them who stay out of necessity should remain inside shelters and protected places.
  4. All the above remain effective until a further official notice is issued by the commander in chief of the Ezzedine Al-Qassam Brigades. Let all be warned not to heed the statements and promises made by the enemy's leaders, for they have proven to be irresponsible and inconsiderate regarding the personal safety of their public.
  5. The occupiers, and the entire world, should comprehend the truth about what our people are demanding. All we seek is for the occupation to leave us alone and stop controlling our food, the milk of our children and our fuel. However, the occupiers insist on keeping us on a leash, suffocating us or allowing us to breathe when they will and only as much as they will. The occupiers will not be allowed to continue to do so after this day, God-willing.

This is a struggle that leads to victory or martyrdom.

noreply@memonitor.org.uk (Middle East Monitor) frontpage Thu, 21 Aug 2014 16:48:59 +0000
One year on and still no justice after Syria's deadliest event in 25 years https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/middle-east/13644-one-year-on-and-still-no-justice-after-syrias-deadliest-event-in-25-years https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/middle-east/13644-one-year-on-and-still-no-justice-after-syrias-deadliest-event-in-25-years Justice remains a remote possibility for the victims of the chemical weapons attacks on Ghouta, near Damascus, last year, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said today. Hundreds of people were killed in the attacks.

Despite the fact that this was the most significant use of chemical agents since the Iraqi government under Saddam Hussein attacked Kurds in 1988, no one has been held to account. According to HRW, available evidence suggests strongly that Syrian forces carried out the attacks, contradicting their self-proclaimed innocence. Under considerable international pressure, Syria finally agreed to abide by international conventions and get rid of its stockpile of chemical weapons.

"Important though it is, the removal of chemical weapons from Syria's arsenal will do nothing for the hundreds of victims who died a year ago and the relatives who survive them," said Nadim Houry, deputy Middle East and North Africa director at HRW. "Closure of the chemical weapons issue in Syria will be possible only when those who ordered and executed the Ghouta attacks have been held to account and are behind bars."

The UN Security Council adopted a resolution unanimously on 27 September last year, requiring Syria to dispose of its chemical weapons and allow access to weapons inspectors. On June 23, the Joint Mission of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and the UN charged with removing Syria's chemical weapons material announced that their task was complete.

However, international efforts to ensure credible justice for these and other ongoing grave human rights crimes in Syria have proved fruitless. On May 22, Russia and China blocked a UN Security Council resolution that would have referred the situation in Syria to the International Criminal Court (ICC). Over 100 non-governmental organisations urged the council to approve the resolution, more than 60 countries co-sponsored it and 13 of the Council's 15 members voted in favour.

Broad support for the resolution from governments and NGOs alike reflects the widespread international determination to achieve justice for serious crimes in Syria. According to HRW, those governments that supported the effort should remain committed to seeking justice for victims in Syria, whether in the Security Council, the UN General Assembly, the Human Rights Council, or other avenues, including the use of universal jurisdiction to prosecute suspects.

noreply@memonitor.org.uk (Middle East Monitor) frontpage Thu, 21 Aug 2014 16:41:33 +0000
Al-Sisi exempts army institutions from real estate tax https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/africa/13643-al-sisi-exempts-army-institutions-from-real-estate-tax https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/africa/13643-al-sisi-exempts-army-institutions-from-real-estate-tax Clubs, hotels, complexes and medical centres owned by the armed forces will be exempt from the property tax following a decree issued by Egyptian President Abdel Fatah Al-Sisi yesterday.

The law was approved by the government last July and provides "exemptions from taxes for clubs and hotels belonging to the armed forces, as well as complexes, medical centres, hospitals, military clinics, real estate and other units to be specified by the secretary of defence, with the agreement of the respective minister."

Observers pointed out that this will increase the limit of exemptions and privileges obtained by the army in spite of the huge budget allowance the military has from the State Treasury, which amounts to about 48 billion Egyptian pounds ($6.7 billion) during the current fiscal year (2014/2015).

The president, who previously held the role of minister of defence, agreed to the article without modification, throwing out observations proposed by the Legislative Department of the Council of State on the bill during the review in April where they objected to the exemptions.

The article says that "in all cases, none of these military units are subject to the limited assessment of the committees and the limited appreciation, despite the required considerations of the defence and national security that are given."

Observers said that the decree means only the defence minister has the authority to identify which parties are exempt from paying estate taxes, despite the fact that all units of the armed forces make a profit.

Western estimates claim the Egyptian Army controls 40 per cent of the economy.

noreply@memonitor.org.uk (Middle East Monitor) frontpage Thu, 21 Aug 2014 16:38:50 +0000
Tutu pleads to Israelis, liberate yourselves by liberating Palestine https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/blogs/politics/13642-tutu-pleads-to-israelis-liberate-yourselves-by-liberating-palestine https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/blogs/politics/13642-tutu-pleads-to-israelis-liberate-yourselves-by-liberating-palestine Archbishop Desmond Tutu was at the forefront of the anti-apartheid movement in his native South Africa. He won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1984, and has used his platform to campaign on a number of global human rights issues, including the spread of HIV/Aids, homophobia, racism and various world conflicts.

Over the years, he has often voiced his support for the people of Palestine, likening their situation to that of black South Africans under apartheid. After a visit to Jerusalem in 1989, he said that he was a "black South African, and if I were to change the names, a description of what is happening in Gaza and the West Bank could describe events in South Africa." He reiterated this sentiment in 2002, when he spoke out against "the humiliation of the Palestinians at checkpoints and roadblocks, suffering like us when young white police officers prevented us from moving about." Accordingly, he has long been a supporter of the campaign for divestment from Israel.

Now, after the latest round of violence in Gaza, in which more than 2,000 Palestinians, mostly civilians, have been killed, he has spoken out again. This time, he makes his case through the unusual medium of an Israeli newspaper, the left-of-centre Haaretz. Under the headline, "My plea to the people of Israel: Liberate yourselves by liberating Palestine", Tutu sets out the comparison with South Africa, the need for open-mindedness from both sides to facilitate dialogue, and his support for economic divestment from Israel.

"Violence begets violence and hatred, that only begets more violence and hatred," he writes. "We South Africans know about violence and hatred. We understand the pain of being the polecat of the world; when it seems nobody understands or is even willing to listen to our perspective. It is where we come from. We also know the benefits that dialogue between our leaders eventually brought us; when organizations labelled 'terrorist' were unbanned and their leaders, including Nelson Mandela, were released from imprisonment, banishment and exile. We know that when our leaders began to speak to each other, the rationale for the violence that had wracked our society dissipated and disappeared. Acts of terrorism perpetrated after the talks began – such as attacks on a church and a pub – were almost universally condemned, and the party held responsible snubbed at the ballot box."

His support for the boycott and divestment campaign will perhaps be the most controversial element of his article, particularly within Israel where such campaigns are frequently seen as evidence of anti-Semitism. Tutu justifies his support, again, in terms of the comparison to South Africa. Describing the end of apartheid in his home country, he writes: "What ultimately forced these leaders together around the negotiating table was the cocktail of persuasive, nonviolent tools that had been developed to isolate South Africa, economically, academically, culturally and psychologically."

Tutu goes on to say that the boycott of South Africa was a tipping point, which made the government realize that the cost of preserving apartheid far outweighed the benefits. "The withdrawal of trade with South Africa by multinational corporations with a conscience in the 1980s was ultimately one of the key levers that brought the apartheid state – bloodlessly – to its knees," he says. "Those corporations understood that by contributing to South Africa's economy, they were contributing to the retention of an unjust status quo. Those who continue to do business with Israel, who contribute to a sense of 'normalcy' in Israeli society, are doing the people of Israel and Palestine a disservice. They are contributing to the perpetuation of a profoundly unjust status quo. Those who contribute to Israel's temporary isolation are saying that Israelis and Palestinians are equally entitled to dignity and peace."

While Tutu's column has only been published in Israel, it has attracted international attention, in part because of his high profile but also thanks to Avaaz, the online campaigning platform, which has distributed the article. In his piece, Tutu references the Avaaz campaign calling on corporations that profit from the Israeli occupation, or those implicated in the abuse of Palestinians, to pull out. The campaign, which 1.6 million people have supported, specifically targets Dutch pension fund ABP; Barclays Bank; security systems supplier G4S; French transport company Veolia; computer company Hewlett-Packard; and bulldozer supplier Caterpillar.

Tutu's interventions on Israel-Palestine have caused controversy in the past, attracting allegations of anti-Semitism and racism in Israel and the US, and this latest is likely to be no different. The decision to publish a call for divestment from Israel in an Israeli newspaper may be seen as provocative. However, Tutu's central message is not about boycotts and sanctions, but about the moral need for a solution, and the mutual benefit that such a solution would bring. This is summarised in his conclusion: "Goodness prevails in the end. The pursuit of freedom for the people of Palestine from humiliation and persecution by the policies of Israel is a righteous cause. It is a cause that the people of Israel should support. Nelson Mandela famously said that South Africans would not feel free until Palestinians were free. He might have added that the liberation of Palestine will liberate Israel, too."

noreply@memonitor.org.uk (Samira Shackle) frontpage Thu, 21 Aug 2014 16:24:40 +0000
US to deploy additional troops to Iraq https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/americas/13641-us-to-deploy-additional-troops-to-iraq https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/americas/13641-us-to-deploy-additional-troops-to-iraq A senior US official said yesterday that the US Department of Defence plans to send an additional 300 US soldiers to Iraq at the request of the State Department.

The additional forces will help protect the US diplomatic headquarters. This raises the number of US soldiers and military advisors in Iraq to 1,150 persons at a time when the country faces the danger of the radical Islamic State (ISIS).

There are currently nearly 850 US soldier and advisors in Iraq to protect US staff and diplomatic headquarters and support the Iraqi army and Kurdish forces against Islamist extremists who have carried out a sweeping offensive in Iraq since the beginning of June.

Since August 8, the US Air Force launched air strikes against 84 sites controlled by ISIS in northern Iraq, mostly to protect the strategic Mosul Dam; the biggest dam in Iraq.

noreply@memonitor.org.uk (Middle East Monitor) frontpage Thu, 21 Aug 2014 16:21:38 +0000
Egypt: Jordanian and Israeli sentenced for spying https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/africa/13640-egypt-jordanian-and-israeli-sentenced-for-spying https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/africa/13640-egypt-jordanian-and-israeli-sentenced-for-spying An Egyptian court yesterday sentenced a Jordanian to 10 years in prison and an Israeli intelligence officer, tried in absentia, to life imprisonment on charges of spying for Israel.

Cairo's State Security Court condemned Bashar Abu-Zaid, a Jordanian communications engineer, to 10 years. Abu-Zaid is already in police custody. The court also sentenced Ofer Haray, an Israel Mossad officer in absentia to life imprisonment, a maximum of 25 years.

The two convicts were accused of transmitting phone calls to Israel to enable Israeli security and intelligence bodies to listen to those calls and use the information they obtained to monitor the whereabouts of the Egyptian army and police personnel and find out information about their numbers and the weapons and equipment Egypt possessed.

The Jordanian convict responded to the pronounced sentence with a smile. His lawyer said that the ruling acknowledges that the defendant is not guilty, thanking the court for its mercy.

"Had the country been in a state of war, he would have been given a life sentence," he said.

The Jordanian convict was arrested in April 2011 following the January 25 Revolution that resulted in the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak.

According to the evidence provided to the court, the Egyptian General Intelligence Directorate and the National Security apparatus closely monitored the Jordanian defendant's activities and found out that he works as a communications engineer specialising in satellites and networks. He is accused of communicating with Haray and met with him several times outside the country where they agreed to transmit Egyptian phone calls via the Internet into Israel with the aim of enabling the Israeli security bodies to listen to the calls.

The indictment document states that Abu-Zaid was assigned by Haray to search for personnel who would transmit international calls from Egypt, Syria, Saudi Arabia and Sudan in return for financial rewards.

noreply@memonitor.org.uk (Middle East Monitor) frontpage Thu, 21 Aug 2014 16:17:47 +0000
Egyptian Doctors' Syndicate: Electricity crisis threatens patients' lives https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/middle-east/13639-egyptian-doctors-syndicate-electricity-crisis-threatens-patients-lives https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/middle-east/13639-egyptian-doctors-syndicate-electricity-crisis-threatens-patients-lives The Egyptian Doctors' Syndicate said that the power outage crisis is threatening the lives of patients in hospitals, especially in intensive care units, operating rooms and neonates in incubators. "It increases the risks that doctors face while they carry out their duties," he said.

In a statement that was released yesterday, the Syndicate cited an incident in which the electricity crisis took its toll on doctors carrying out hysterectomy surgery on Monday at the Ismailia General Hospital with only lights from mobile phones.

The statement pointed out that the recurrent power outages that occurred on Tuesday across all the villages and centres at the Kafr El-Sheikh governorate, which suffered from eight outages over a period of 13 hours caused a case of complete paralysis in various commercial and industrial activities in the governorate.

The Syndicate explained that the power outages in the hospitals of Kafr El-Sheikh and Desouk led to the halt of work in a number of urgent surgical operations, as well as the stopping a number of dialysis machines and all neonate incubators.

Electricity outages at the general hospital in Kafr El-Sheikh forced the hospital to contact the families of children in incubators and ask them to take their children and leave the hospital.

noreply@memonitor.org.uk (Middle East Monitor) frontpage Thu, 21 Aug 2014 16:11:22 +0000
While Gaza war rages, Israel quietly speeds up settlement construction in the West Bank and Jerusalem https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/middle-east/13638-while-gaza-war-rages-israel-quietly-speeds-up-settlement-construction-in-the-west-bank-and-jerusalem https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/middle-east/13638-while-gaza-war-rages-israel-quietly-speeds-up-settlement-construction-in-the-west-bank-and-jerusalem Israel started construction on hundreds of housing units in the West Bank and Jerusalem since its assault on the Gaza Strip began in early July, Palestinian experts on settlement issues in the West Bank said.

Experts told the Anadolu news agency that Israel has refrained from announcing ongoing construction work in the new housing units to avoid further tensions in the West Bank and more international pressure during the war.

Anadolu's correspondent reported settlement expansion activities since the beginning of the war on Gaza, wherein Israel annexed more Palestinian agricultural land to build new housing units in settlements that are located on the road linking Nablus, north of the West Bank, with Ramallah in the centre.

The correspondent said that according to eyewitnesses, there is ongoing construction work in the northern Jordan Valley and in Bethlehem, south of the West Bank.

"Israel unofficially gave settlers the green light to carry out construction work in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, especially inside large settlement areas, without tendering or licensing [for new construction]," said Suhail Khalilieh, a researcher at the Applied Research Institute in Jerusalem (ARIJ).

"Relevant bodies will work later, after the end of the war, on issuing official decisions to license them," he added.

"Through daily monitoring of tenders for the construction of new settlement or housing units published in Israeli media, we can notice that there is a significant decrease [in the number of tenders] in comparison to the situation before the war on Gaza," Khalilieh added, noting that the Israeli government is adopting the policy of "silent settlement expansion" likely because it fears an increase in popular anger in the West Bank and a rise in international pressures on Israel.

Ghassan Daghlas, who monitors settlement activity in the north of the West Bank, said that settlement construction in the West Bank has not stopped but rather it is witnessing abnormal growth amid silence from Israeli officials. Daghlas pointed out that settlement construction has increased by 60 per cent.

He said that settlers' attacks on Palestinians in the West Bank have decreased amid the war on Gaza, noting that this can be attributed to the fear of the outbreak of a new uprising in the West Bank, which is not preferred by the Israeli authorities especially during the Gaza war.

"The West Bank has witnessed a decline in the number of Israeli attacks during the war on Gaza. There is a desire to avoid popular rage," he said.

Another expert who specialises in settlement activity, Abdul Hadi Hantash, classified settlement construction into two categories: The first is publicly announced construction, and the second is discrete construction that the Israeli authorities do not unveil.

Hantash told Anadolu that since the beginning of the Gaza war, Israel has accelerated discrete construction, adding that building has been concentrated in large settlement areas such as Gush Etzion - near Bethlehem, Ma'ale Adumim - in East Jerusalem, and Ariel - in the north of the West Bank).

He noted that settlers have seized thousands of dunams of agricultural in the vicinity of Salfit and Nablus.

Hantash also said that the Israeli settlements council, the Yesha Council, is currently implementing plans that it had prepared and submitted to the government before the Gaza war. The council is now capitalising on the war and implementing these plans without obtaining government approval, Hantash explained.

According to Anadolu's correspondent, the West Bank is witnessing tensions due to the Israeli war on the Gaza Strip, which has continued since July 7. Palestinians stage rallies and sit-ins that often result in confrontations with the Israeli army, which has caused the death of 22 Palestinians and the injury of hundreds, according to official Palestinian sources.

On Tuesday, Israel resumed air strikes on a number of areas in Gaza after it announced that rockets were fired from the Gaza Strip towards Israeli towns. No Palestinian group claimed responsibility for the rockets. Al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas' military wing, and Saraya Al-Quds, Islamic Jihad's military wing, later announced that they responded to Israeli strikes with rocket fire.

Israeli strikes launched on Tuesday killed 19 Palestinians, which raised the number of victims in the Gaza Strip since its start on July 7 to 2,036.

noreply@memonitor.org.uk (Middle East Monitor) frontpage Thu, 21 Aug 2014 15:46:45 +0000
Palestinian memory, Protective Edge and the Nakba https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/blogs/politics/13637-palestinian-memory-protective-edge-and-the-nakba https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/blogs/politics/13637-palestinian-memory-protective-edge-and-the-nakba Since the commencement of Operation Protective Edge, various Israeli leaders have regurgitated the rhetoric of blame, imposition and the appropriation of memory. Justifying settler-colonial violence is linked directly to the promulgation of a false narrative based upon partial historical facts embedded within the framework upholding the UN-sanctioned state. Victimisation, therefore, is perpetually linked to, and endorsed as an identity by, the perpetrators of the violence. The sequence reveals a permanent consequence; that of displacing Palestinian memory in relation to the genocide perpetrated since the 1948 Nakba.

The image of Israel as a victim has undergone rapid transformations linked to settler-colonial expansion, becoming comprehensible only to itself. As the size of Palestinian territory dwindles, Zionism magnifies the challenge it faces from Palestinian resistance while attempting to minimise the vast repercussions of its precision strikes on civilians in Gaza. This is always done within the mainstream-accepted concept of genocide and extermination that fails to take other massacres of magnitude into account.

Hence, in current rhetoric, Zionist deconstruction of Palestinian resistance is an attempt to obscure the immediate events with the aim of fragmenting memory since the start of the Nakba. As resistance continues to advance through a phase that has generated its renewal, memory becomes an even more contentious issue for the oppressor. The massacres and forced displacement perpetrated during the Nakba were fortified with extreme measures to prevent the preservation of memory. Dispossession, therefore, was a meticulous exercise in which colonial violence embarked upon widespread destruction, including the elimination of cultural and historical references while coercing Palestinians into negotiating a forced compromise between land and survival.

If Palestinian memory is to strengthen itself, reference to the Nakba is imperative. Zionism has constantly depicted Palestinians as interlopers, a problematic detail manifested through a physical presence that needs to be vanquished. Hence, the rabid Zionist insistence upon various forms of land grab and aggression, including the continuation of targeted assassinations of Hamas leaders in the aftermath of a brief ceasefire during which compromise was presented as negotiation.

Palestinian resistance has managed to overturn what Israel seeks to portray as "self-defence" into a natural (and legitimate) process of continued resistance against the prolonged Nakba endured by Palestinians, which challenges the hegemonic narrative attempting to depict Palestinians merely as a humanitarian problem separated from history. While Zionism was allowed to determine its identity at the expense of a massacred and displaced population, Palestinian identity was forced to inherit a  geophysical, historical and colonial complexity induced by the Nakba, Israel's refusal to be held accountable and the international community's wilful condoning of such impunity.

Zionist propaganda has sought relentlessly to portray Protective Edge as an interspersed, necessary exercise, devoid of colonial ramifications. This projection is a self-serving, fabricated identification intended to sever Palestinian memory, albeit appended to the probability that such efforts will prove to be futile. That is, unless Palestinian memory is subjected to distortion from within, such as attempting to evoke equivalence with regard to the atrocities inflicted upon the indigenous population. Including references to distorted narratives with the aim of facilitating dissemination might intrigue a disassociated audience temporarily. However, omitting references to the ongoing Nakba process by aligning Palestinian history and memory to mainstream discourse of what constitutes genocide would ultimately be of immense detriment to the achievements of Palestinian resistance and its centrality to the necessary process of obliterating Israel's settler-colonialism.

noreply@memonitor.org.uk (Ramona Wadi) frontpage Thu, 21 Aug 2014 15:42:36 +0000
Netanyahu slams security cabinet's ministers https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/middle-east/13636-netanyahu-slams-security-cabinets-ministers https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/middle-east/13636-netanyahu-slams-security-cabinets-ministers IMAGES

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu yesterday slammed his security council's members claiming "they have to stop anti-government remarks".

In a press conference held with his Defence Minister Moshe Ya'alon in Tel-Aviv, Netanyahu said that there are ministers who do not know anything about what is going on in the battlefield in Gaza.

He noted that the Chief of Staff Benny Gantz had visited the Israeli soldiers on the Gaza borders to get the latest updates from the field. Netanyahu said that the war would continue until quiet and security were regained in all Israeli cities.

Netanyahu avoided answering a question about the assassination attempt on Hamas' military commander Mohamed Deif. Instead he said that Hamas and other fighting groups were still posed a threat to Israeli security.

He added: "We pounded Hamas heavily in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. We will not halt our operation before regaining quiet in the south. Hamas has to recognise this message."

For his part, Ya'alon blamed Hamas for all what is happening in the Gaza Strip. He claimed that Hamas received a huge attack. He also said that his forces launched more than 100 strikes on the Gaza Strip over the last 24 hours.

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noreply@memonitor.org.uk (Middle East Monitor) frontpage Thu, 21 Aug 2014 15:35:18 +0000
Haaretz: In targeting Deif, Netanyahu took a risk to boost morale https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/middle-east/13634-haaretz-in-targeting-deif-netanyahu-took-a-risk-to-boost-morale https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/middle-east/13634-haaretz-in-targeting-deif-netanyahu-took-a-risk-to-boost-morale Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu planned to satisfy Zionists by assassinating Hamas military commander Mohammad Deif but he failed, Israeli newspaper Haaretz said.

The newspaper said: "The attempt to assassinate Deif had one main goal: to give Israelis a cause for rejoicing... His death could have been considered a moral victory, thereby helping Netanyahu fend off the increasing criticism, both among the public and in the political arena, of the partial results of the war in the Gaza Strip."

According to the newspaper, Deif's assassination would not weaken Hamas, citing the assassination of former leaders, including Deif's former deputy, Ahmed Al-Jabari and Hamas political strongman Abdel Aziz Al-Rantisi.

Assassinations, the newspaper explained, "are considered achievements that can be marketed to the public. Usually, they do not change the strategic situation in a fundamental way."

The newspaper stressed that the only benefit for the assassination of Deif would be to help Netanyahu face internal criticism, which has been increasing, but that would not have affected general political results.

noreply@memonitor.org.uk (Middle East Monitor) frontpage Thu, 21 Aug 2014 15:26:33 +0000
One man's fight for Tunisian security reform https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/articles/africa/13633-one-mans-fight-for-tunisian-security-reform https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/articles/africa/13633-one-mans-fight-for-tunisian-security-reform "Radical change is necessary," says the determined blogger Azyz Amami, who is devoting his life to the reform of the former regimes' security sector legacy, one of Tunisia's biggest obstacles to a successful and comprehensive democratic transition.

The self-immolation of vendor Mohammed Bouazizi after he was harassed by a police officer who confiscated his vegetable cart in Sidi Bouzid in December 2010 triggered the wave of protests that would force then President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali to flee his country after 23 years in power. One of the keys to Ben Ali's 23 years of authoritarian regime, prevalent not only in Tunisia but also in neighbouring countries such as Libya and Egypt, is a strong security apparatus. These sectors serve the interests of the regimes and have little to do with democratic values such as transparency and accountability. For democratic transition reformation is key.

In Tunisia there is a clear political discrepancy between the military and the police. Unlike many of the North African countries, Tunisian military has remained relatively apolitical. The country's first leader Habib Bourguiba was determined to keep political power separated from the army and since then the military force has remained at large apolitical, the army has also remained fairly small, as has military spending. On the other hand, Ben Ali, the successor of Bourguiba left the position as Director of National Security, the highest stance within the police force, to lead his country, however, in doing so he didn't leave his security influence behind, making Tunisia one of the world's most heavily policed states. The police became a tool of repression, frequently used by Ben Ali in order to oppress opposition.

Today the internal security services include the National Police, which is mostly operating in the bigger cities, and the National Guard, which is focusing on the rural areas. There is also the Civil Protection Force, which is more closely linked to the Interior Ministry, as well as the Prison Guard. Their exact division in duties, however, remains unclear.

But old habits die hard and the post-revolution has seen police violence against demonstrators, arbitrary arrests and torture cases. Police brutality has become a controversial issue in contemporary Tunisian society. One man who has experienced police aggression up close is cyber activist Azyz Amami, who quickly became a symbol of resistance as the Arab Spring protests began. The blogger's first experience of a Tunisian prison was at age seventeen. His crime: organising a school strike. After three days between prison walls, where the young blogger was beaten and marked with cigarettes, Azyz left the facility with a determination to change what he felt was an unjust security system.

"This is my job, my call," he says. "When I get arrested it is a part of my work." Even within the prison he continues his mission, "I speak to the other prisoners and tell them about their rights," Azyz says and adds, "I give them advice."

According to the blogger the security sector remains to a large extent the same as during Ben Ali. The older generations still believe in the old system, argues Azyz. "Nobody is trying to reform the old structures, the only thing they do is to use it to their benefit," he says, "There is a direct conflict between the young and the old when it comes to change."

Another corner stone, and challenge, for successful Security Sector Reform is the need for an independent judiciary apparatus. Earlier this year a Tunisian military court released Ben Ali's former interior minister and security chief, a setback for the families of the more than 300 people who died during the revolution. "This is a blow to the transition after the revolution," Laila Haddad, lawyer to the victims' families, told Reuters after the court ruling. There needs to be a clear distinction between the interior ministry and the ministry of justice, concluded Azyz.

Some of the Security Sector Reforms initiated by the government includes the Interior Ministry's white book: "Security and development: towards security in the service of democracy," which was supposed to act as a roadmap for the police force's transformation, including training of police officers and greater transparency. Other measures undertaken include the termination of Ben Ali's "political police," however, critics argue that the reformations are only cosmetic.

There are also civil society initiatives supporting the security reform process. Reform, an NGO established in May 2012, is pushing for institutional transparency and accountability within the security sector and organizes training sessions for security officers including efforts to improve the relationship between citizens and police officers.

In addition, six United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) supported police stations are due to open in Hammamet, a popular Tunisian tourist destination as part of a programme to support the security sector reform. UNDP Resident Representative Mounir Tabet emphasised the importance of reform for the country's democracy. "These model police stations represent a real transformational change both in terms of reception of citizens and working conditions for the security forces," he said at the inauguration of the first station in June.

"Radical change is necessary," argues Azyz. "We have got the same penalty code for many years but the society has changed." However, Azyz remains optimistic, "For the first time in three years what needs to be done is clear."

noreply@memonitor.org.uk (Christine Petré) frontpage Thu, 21 Aug 2014 15:21:22 +0000
US authorities suspend policeman who threatened Anadolu journalist in Ferguson https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/americas/13632-us-authorities-suspend-policeman-who-threatened-anadolu-journalist-in-ferguson https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/americas/13632-us-authorities-suspend-policeman-who-threatened-anadolu-journalist-in-ferguson The US authorities yesterday suspended a policeman for having waved his weapon at an Anadolu news agency correspondent and threatened him with death while covering the protests in Ferguson, Missouri.

The news agency reported St. Louis Country police spokesman Brian Schellman as saying the police officer had been suspended from work for an indefinite period pointing out that the officer works at St. Ann Police Department near the city of Ferguson.

Schellman explained that the policeman's superiors believe that his actions were inappropriate.

The US police in Ferguson threatened Anadolu correspondent Bilgin Şaşmaz while he covered clashes between protestors and the police.

"Şaşmaz was confronted by the harsh intervention of the police. He was forced to lie down after he insisted on filming before he was handcuffed and put in a cell. He was released after five hours," Anadolu reported.

Wide spread protests have been taking place in Ferguson, Missouri, after a white US police officer killed black teenager Michael Brown, 18, on Saturday August 9. The police responded with tear gas, rubber bullets and arrested journalists and protestors.

The protestors raised banners reading "Do not kill me, I surrendered", "Justice for Michael" and "No peace without justice".

According to witnesses, Brown was unarmed when he was shot by a police officer as he raised his hands in surrender. US police say Brown was killed after he attacked a police officer and tried to steal his weapon.

Missouri governor Jay Nixon announced a state of emergency and set up a curfew on Sunday in order to control the protests, but the measures did not curb the protests which grow on a daily basis.

Anadolu announced yesterday that it would start a live broadcast of the protests starting from 6am (Turkish local time) today.

noreply@memonitor.org.uk (Middle East Monitor) frontpage Thu, 21 Aug 2014 13:46:28 +0000
Canadian MP quits 'pro-Israel party' https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/americas/13631-canadian-mp-quits-pro-israel-party https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/americas/13631-canadian-mp-quits-pro-israel-party Sana Hassainia, a New Democratic Party (NDP) MP, has quit the party parliamentary bloc over what she felt was an excessively pro-Israel stance on the current war on Gaza.

Hassainia was critical of NDP Leader Tom Mulcair in a blog post that appeared online yesterday, noting that she had been forced to stay quiet over her views on the Middle East.

"Today, I have the courage to make a significant gesture, to take a weight off my shoulders and stand by my convictions," she said.

The 39-year old MP, of Tunisian origins, said that she would continue her term in the parliament as an independent until the upcoming elections slated next year.

Responding to Hassainia's remarks, Mulcair said his party "has a long-standing position in favour of the two-state solution in the Middle East."

noreply@memonitor.org.uk (Middle East Monitor) frontpage Thu, 21 Aug 2014 13:40:56 +0000
The Arab counterrevolution is in decline https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/articles/middle-east/13630-the-arab-counterrevolution-is-in-decline https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/articles/middle-east/13630-the-arab-counterrevolution-is-in-decline The claim that every revolution has an associated counterrevolution is neither contrivance or 'crystal-ball gazing', but is a principle that is applicable to almost all revolutions, including the English, French, and the European revolutions of the mid-nineteenth century, as well as the Iranian Revolution and the east European revolutions after the Cold War.

A common thread weaving through most modern revolutions is that they expressed the desire of people to restrain the modern state either by demanding constitutional rights and democracy, confronting authoritarianism and the hegemony of the ruling elite, or by demanding a just social system based on the redistribution of economic burdens and wealth. The success of a revolution has never been guaranteed. In the past few decades, the countries that have had relatively easy transitions to democracy have been those that were part of broader regional systems, or which had received support from regional bodies such as the European Union. Even such countries, were not always spared from counterrevolutionary processes.

After the Tunisian, Egyptian and Libyan uprisings successfully brought down their governments – and Yemen and Syria seemed to be following suit – hardly any of them prepared themselves to confront the forces of counterrevolution. Because there is only a single regional order that encompasses the Arab world – which, in terms of language, history and culture, transcends even the official regional framework represented by the Arab League, and because revolutions broke out in only a few Arab states, the clouds of counterrevolution gathered rapidly immediately after the first wave of 2011 uprisings. Since 2012, strong bonds have developed between, on the one hand, the social and political forces that were opposed to revolution and democratic transition in each country, and, on the other, the Arab states that assumed a leading role in the counterrevolutionary movement.

The counterrevolutionary camp – with its businessmen, groups of youth acolytes, foundations and organisations, media networks, political parties, social factions and state institutions linked to the old regime – was no less capable, all-encompassing and influential than the revolutionary camps. The past three years – since the success of the Tunisian and Egyptian revolutions – witnessed a massive mobilisation of political funding whose scale has been unprecedented in Arab history, with a concomitant mobilisation of weaponry, and the establishment of relationships and alliances that were previously unimaginable. These processes resulted in a coalescence of the princes of monarchical states with liberal and nationalist intellectuals and activists; military and security officers with investors with western backgrounds; and gangs of thieves, smugglers, murderers and security officials with revolutionary activists.

Without doubt, the climax of the counterrevolutionary movement was reached in 2013, after the abortion of democracy in Egypt and the faltering steps of political transition in Tunisia, Libya and Yemen, as well the success attained by a sectarian alliance in halting the progress of the Syrian revolution and the abortion of the popular uprising in Iraq. Because Turkey chose, in the first year of the Arab uprising, to align with the camp demanding change and democratic transition, because a broad spectrum of Arab opinion viewed with admiration what had become known as the 'Turkish Model', and because Qatar played a very visible role in granting monetary, media and moral support to the revolting countries, both Turkey and Qatar were targeted together with the Arab revolution countries. The rapid and easy victory of the 2013 coup in Egypt puffed up the Arab counterrevolutionary movement with arrogance, confirming the belief in its main centres that it was capable of achieving miracles and in re-establishing the status-quo ante in the Arab world. The counterrevolutionary forces ceased to act with any reservations, and made no attempts at subtlety or discretion; nor did they attempt to take stock of the immensity of the destruction, the countless victims and the amount of blood spilt as a result of the tumultuous suppression of the will and aspirations of the people.

Hundreds of millions of dollars and convoys of weaponry were pumped into Libya, where various factions linked to the former regime had hastily aligned with adventurous officers, ambitious technocrats and tribal forces, all aiming to uproot the forces and institutions of the Libyan revolution. Large amounts of money were pumped into Tunisia to revive groups loyal to the regime deposed in 2011, and to establish a united opposition front that included elements from the extreme right to the extreme left, in order to confront the Islamist democrats and their leftist allies. The Tunisian counterrevolution had no qualms about compromising the country's security, and employed the tools of character assassination and bloody assassination in equal measure.

Despite conditions in Yemen being visibly different, it was not spared similar initiatives that sought to reverse the movement of change, in order to force the country to submit to the will of the members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). In Syria and Iraq the sectarian camps supported by Iran was more zealous in its attempt to extinguish the revolutionary movement, forcing the peaceful mass popular mobilisation for just governance, freedom and democracy into a brutal civil war that has resulted in the destruction of vast areas in these countries. Because one of the most prominent facets of the coup against the people and their will was the open war against the democratic, reformist-inclined Islamist forces, and because Hamas was viewed as part of this category, an extremely vile incitement campaign was launched against the Gaza Strip, with intensive Arab-Israeli coordination, to undermine the influence of political Islam in Gaza.

The Arab counterrevolutionary forces – in their intoxicated confidence and arrogance – were blissfully unaware of the complexity of the Arab political sphere, and did not realise that the Arab revolutionary movement was not initiated just by immediate pressing circumstances in individual countries, but was a consequence of more than a century of ferment. The Arab counterrevolution made its onslaught like an unbridled storm and it seemed as if the Arabs would be blown back to an era even darker than the one they had revolted against. However, the counterrevolutionary ascent did not last long; a year after it claimed its Egyptian prize, the capitals of the Arab counterrevolution find themselves living through a period of depression.

The Gaza Strip was subjected to a major Israeli onslaught that served both Israeli and Arab counterrevolutionary objectives. However, the tiny, besieged territory remains steadfast in the face of the violent onslaught – in spite of the large number of civilian casualties and the catastrophic damage inflicted on it, and the Israeli military machine has failed to weaken the capacity of the Gaza resistance or to attain any of its political objectives from its operation. The Islamist resistance in Gaza has emerged from this battle stronger, more committed, and with more popular support in the Palestinian and Arab spheres.

Libya was also subjected to another attack, the full details of which have not been revealed. However, the Libyan faction that attempted a coup against the revolution has been defeated, even if it has not yet been totally effaced, and Libyans now wait to see if the 3 July coup regime in Egypt will decide to intervene militarily in their country, which has already been overburdened by external interference. Despite transition processes in other Arab revolution countries proceeding very slowly, it now seems clear that the counterrevolutionary forces will not succeed in repeating the Egyptian model of July 2013. Even in Egypt, people are still in the streets and the dream of stability remains distant. It is also not certain that the economic decline will not result in a total meltdown. The Syrian revolution has succeeded in slowing the progress of the regime's forces and its sectarian allies, while the same sectarian camp that opposed the will of the people finds itself helpless in the face of the challenges it created in Iraq. The attempt to isolate Qatar within the Gulf collective has failed, and those that attempted to isolate it now face isolation themselves. Similarly, the delusions of intervening in Turkish affairs have dissipated and those who have been wishing for Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's speedy exit from the political sphere have to live with the prospect of his presidency for the next ten years.

No place on the globe compares with the Arab world in its cultural and historical cohesion, or in its political divisions. In spite of the similarities in the general patterns of modern popular revolutions, there are indications that the Arabs are creating a paradigm that is unique, and that the intense struggle for the Arab soul and the future of its people will continue for a while longer. Attempts to overthrow revolutionary movements and to subvert the will of the people have sometimes been successful, and sometimes not. One cannot, therefore, be certain about when this movement will reach its desired destination; what is certain, however, is that the movement of history and the prospects of change have returned to the path they had been deviated from.

Translated from Al Quds Al Arabi, 13 August, 2014

noreply@memonitor.org.uk (Dr Basheer Nafi) frontpage Thu, 21 Aug 2014 13:28:48 +0000
Pro-Morsi alliance criticises Egypt's electricity crisis https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/africa/13629-pro-morsi-alliance-criticises-egypts-electricity-crisis https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/africa/13629-pro-morsi-alliance-criticises-egypts-electricity-crisis The National Alliance criticised the power outage crisis in Egypt calling for a week of protests to mark the anniversary of the August 30 demonstrations.

The Anadolu news agency reported a statement issued by the Alliance yesterday which said: "The Alliance wrote this statement as the Egyptian people continue to suffer from discriminating power outages, while the ruling corrupt minority enjoys electricity without interruption while only the poor and middle classes have to pay the price of the load reduction game."

Since the beginning of the summer, Egypt has witnessed frequent interruptions of electrical currents, which the Egyptian government attributes to increased consumption.

Over the past few days Egypt's Interior Ministry accused elements of the Muslim Brotherhood of sabotaging public facilities, including power plants. The group denied the allegations.

The alliance said: "Although the regime controlled the electricity companies in Egypt for the past 10 years, it tries in vain to blame its failures on the rebels. Then we see Egypt's Minister of Electricity and Energy Mohamed Shaker declaring that the disaster will continue for another three years."

The statement called on the Egyptian people to join its new campaign "We demand retribution" until their rights are restored. The drive was launched on August 14 on the anniversary of the operation to disperse the Rabaa Al-Adawiya and Nadha sit-ins in Cairo last year which led to the killing of over a thousand protesters.

As the anniversary of the August 30 demonstrations approaches, the pro-Morsi alliance called on Egyptians to join activities to mark the day.

It said: "The revolution has become a national duty on all Egyptians of all sects and no one should abandon it." The statement called on Egyptians to "prepare for marking the August, 30 anniversary with more creativity and patience."

noreply@memonitor.org.uk (Middle East Monitor) frontpage Thu, 21 Aug 2014 13:22:02 +0000
Al-Zahar: Comparing Hamas with Islamic State 'a deception' https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/middle-east/13628-al-zahar-comparing-hamas-with-islamic-state-a-deception https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/middle-east/13628-al-zahar-comparing-hamas-with-islamic-state-a-deception Hamas's senior leader Mahmoud Al-Zahar said on Wednesday that comparing Hamas with the Islamic State is "a deception" that aims to "incite" the world against the Palestinian resistance movement, Egypt's Al-Mesryoon newspaper reported on Wednesday.

The newspaper quoted a statement by Al-Zahar that was broadcast by Al-Aqsa, a television channel close to Hamas, as saying: "Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu making a connection between Hamas and the Islamic State is a deception, which aims to incite the world against Hamas."

Al-Zahar explained: "Hamas is a national resistance movement and its aim is to liberate Palestine."

He affirmed that his movement defends the interests of its people, who have been under a brutal Israeli occupation for decades in addition to the eight-year-long siege of the Gaza Strip, preventing Palestinians in Gaza access to basic needs like food, medicine, electricity and free movement.

During a press conference earlier on Wednesday, Netanyahu had made the claim that, "Hamas is similar to the Islamic State."

On Tuesday, a 24-hour truce extension was broken and Israel's attacks against the Gaza Strip resumed. Some hours before the end of the truce, the Israeli occupation claimed that rockets were fired from Gaza towards Israel and, thus, it responded with more airstrikes.

The number of Palestinians who have been killed since the beginning of Israel's latest war on Gaza, launched on 7 July, has now reached 2,068, with more than 10,250 wounded.

noreply@memonitor.org.uk (Middle East Monitor) frontpage Thu, 21 Aug 2014 13:17:25 +0000
Kurdish oil tanker spotted off Israel https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/middle-east/13627-kurdish-oil-tanker-spotted-off-israel https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/middle-east/13627-kurdish-oil-tanker-spotted-off-israel A tanker carrying crude oil from Iraqi Kurdistan reappeared unladen on 19 August nearly 30 km from the coast of Israel, Reuters Live AIS ship tracking system showed.

Al-Quds newspaper reported that this is the second time that the Kamari oil tanker has appeared in the region during the past two weeks loaded with Kurdish oil. The monitoring system showed the Kamari partially unloaded north of Egypt's Sinai on 17 August before turning off its satellite communication device until 19 August.

A spokesperson for the Kurdistan Regional Government Ministry of Natural Resources was not available on Wednesday for comment, but the Kurdistan government has denied selling oil to Israel in the past, either directly or indirectly.

According to Al-Quds, the tanker was loaded with Kurdish crude oil at the Turkish port of Ceyhan on 8 August and delivered part of its cargo to Croatia via a ship-to ship transfer last week. The Hungarian MOL Group said on Monday that it had bought 80,000 tons, or slightly less than 600,000 barrels, of Kurdish crude, which was unloaded at Croatia's Omisalj port during the weekend. The company has exploration and production assets in Kurdistan.

Nearly two weeks ago the same one million barrel tanker was loaded with Kurdish crude oil at Ceyhan port before sailing to a point nearly 200 kilometres off the Israeli and Egyptian coasts. Reuters Live AIS ship tracking revealed that the ship was fully loaded based on its draft in the water. The tanker turned off its satellite-tracking device on 1 August, before reappearing four days later with much less draft, indicating it had unloaded its disputed oil.

However, it was not possible to determine the port where the Kamari unloaded its cargo of oil nor who the buyers were.

In June, Israel reportedly received a shipment of Kurdish oil from the Ceyhan port aboard the United Emblem Suezmax tanker, after receiving a ship-to-ship transfer.

noreply@memonitor.org.uk (Middle East Monitor) frontpage Thu, 21 Aug 2014 13:14:03 +0000
Bouteflika accuses Western intelligence of attempting to dismantle Arab countries https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/africa/13624-bouteflika-accuses-western-intelligence-of-attempting-to-dismantle-arab-countries https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/africa/13624-bouteflika-accuses-western-intelligence-of-attempting-to-dismantle-arab-countries Algeria's President Abdelaziz Bouteflika accused, on Wednesday, Western intelligence agencies of working to distort Islam, creating fanatical groups and targeting Arab countries to steal their natural wealth and dismantle their internal unity.

According to Al-Araby Al-Jadeed news website, in a message marking Algeria's National Day of Army Veterans, Bouteflika said that "some intelligence agencies want to make Islam into a religion of violence, division and intolerance, even though it is the religion of unity, love and coexistence."

Bouteflika warned of the phenomenon of terrorism which, according to him, Algeria had a bad experience with for an entire decade during the 1990s.

He said: "Algeria has regained peace and tranquillity after it was threatened by the scourge of terrorism, which destroyed lives and property."

The Algerian president said that his country seeks to curb foreign domination and to stop the bloodshed and the dismantling of regimes, especially in neighbouring countries.

Bouteflika also stressed that: "Algeria is keen not to interfere in the internal affairs of other countries and to adopt dialogue and good neighbourly relations with everyone, without interfering in anyone's affairs". He pointed to "the importance of stability enjoyed by Algeria today, amidst a region boiling".

Finally, he criticised what he called "local and regional groups" working to "stir up unrest and problems in the Arab countries and seeking to dominate their wealth, without calculating the dangerous consequences internally and regionally."

noreply@memonitor.org.uk (Middle East Monitor) frontpage Thu, 21 Aug 2014 12:53:10 +0000
Abdel Ghaffar: British report confirms peaceful nature of Brotherhood https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/europe/13626-abdel-ghaffar-british-report-confirms-peaceful-nature-of-brotherhood https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/europe/13626-abdel-ghaffar-british-report-confirms-peaceful-nature-of-brotherhood Dr Ashraf Abdel Ghaffar, one of the leaders of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, said that the British government requested a civil and not criminal investigation into the Brotherhood's activities on its territory, to please Saudi Arabia and the UAE, which had hoped that Britain would categorise the group as a terrorist organisation.

Abdul Ghaffar said in a statement that the Gulf states hoped that if they asked Britain to label the Brotherhood a terrorist group it would do so to satisfy their request, forgetting that Britain is a country governed by laws unlike the situation in those countries which live without institutions and laws.

He continued: "Britain respects its people and it takes them into consideration." Abdul Ghaffar confirmed that the report is not a trial but is in the interest of maintaining relationships with these countries without compromising British values.

He believes that the British decision will have consequences and will close the file, stressing that it will be a victory of truth over injustice and falsehood.

He said: "The Brotherhood know that they are not terrorists and, as a result, the report will not affect them, but the document is added to many documents proving their peaceful and moderate nature which is ordered in Islam."

noreply@memonitor.org.uk (Middle East Monitor) frontpage Thu, 21 Aug 2014 13:02:38 +0000
South African civil society meets state president on Palestine https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/africa/13625-south-african-civil-society-meets-state-president-on-palestine https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/africa/13625-south-african-civil-society-meets-state-president-on-palestine IMAGES

Representatives from South African civil society, trade unions and the ANC Youth League met with President Jacob Zuma on Wednesday at his official residence in Cape Town to discuss the country's reaction to the situation in occupied Palestine.

The 90-minute meeting was convened in response to growing protests by South Africans across the country, including a 150,000-strong protest march in Cape Town held under the banner of the National Coalition for Palestine (NC4P); this was the largest protest march to ever be recorded in post-Apartheid South Africa. Hundreds of thousands of people across the country have expressed their solidarity with the Palestinians and their disgust at Israel's unlawful and inhumane attacks on civilians in the Gaza Strip.

President Zuma heard the call and case for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel, as a non-violent form of constructive engagement to hold Israel accountable for its ongoing violations of human rights and international law. The groups taking part also pushed for the recall of the South African ambassador from Tel Aviv and the expulsion of the Israeli ambassador from Pretoria as forms of diplomatic protest.

During the meeting, the president listened carefully to all the views presented by the various organisations, which included the aforementioned NC4P, BDS South Africa, the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU), the African National Congress Youth League, People Against Suffering and Oppression (PASSOP), the Young Communist League of South Africa, the University of Cape Town Students' Representative Council, Minara Chamber of Commerce, Kairos Southern Africa, the Muslim Judicial Council and StopTheJNF, an organisation founded by Jewish South Africans committed to justice and rights for the Palestinian people. Attendees expressed their desire for the government to listen to a growing alternative Jewish voice to the one that is normally heard, which blesses and encourages the Israeli attacks against Gaza. For his part, Zuma explained the role that South Africa is trying to play diplomatically; he acknowledged the demands made by the delegation and did not dismiss them. His willingness to engage was made clear by the fact that this was an initial meeting, with another planned in just over a week.

Those present agreed that the engagement was carried out in a comradely fashion and that the president was willing to work with South African civil society towards finding a long-term solution to achieve peace and liberation for the Palestinian people. Indeed, President Zuma made it clear that South Africa stands by the people of Palestine.

While the talks are taking place, civil society will continued to keep up the pressure on the South African government and businesses which support Israel through mass mobilisation, public protests and the specific advancement of the #BoycottWoolworths campaign.

Thousands of Africans take streets to protest against the ongoing Israeli assaults on Gaza, in the capital Cape Town on August 9, 2014. Demonstrators wave Palestinian flags and chant slogans in solidarity with Gaza during the rally, see images below.

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noreply@memonitor.org.uk (Middle East Monitor) frontpage Thu, 21 Aug 2014 12:56:00 +0000
Israeli cabinet attacks Netanyahu over 'weak' Gaza campaign https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/middle-east/13623-israeli-cabinet-attacks-netanyahu-over-weak-gaza-campaign https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/middle-east/13623-israeli-cabinet-attacks-netanyahu-over-weak-gaza-campaign Israeli cabinet ministers and opposition leaders severely criticised Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, accusing him of not having an exit plan from the ongoing war on Gaza and saying that Hamas is the one controlling the current situation.

The Jerusalem Post newspaper reported on Wednesday that Netanyahu rebuked the ministers in his cabinet, including Economy Minister Naftali Bennett, for delivering remarks opposing him and his Defence Minister Moshe Ya'alon.

"My advice is to do what I did: Lend a hand and speak less," Netanyahu said.

During a press conference, Netanyahu also pledged to form a regional axis against the Palestinian resistance fighters in Gaza. "There are dramatic regional changes in the region and not all of them are negative," he said. "The aim is to form a new political horizon."

He said the world is standing against Qatar, Turkey and Iran. At the same time, he said that Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the Palestinian Authority and other Gulf States are "moderate" and would join the Israeli axis against the Palestinian resistance.

In the cabinet meeting following Netanyahu's remarks, Bennett, who is also the chairman of the Jewish Home Party, asked Netanyahu to pledge that the government would not talk with Hamas in the future. Netanyahu refused and rebuked Bennett for being publicly critical of his policies, noting that this harms Israel. Israeli media reported that ministers became angry and anxious after Netanyahu scolded his opponents.

Following the meeting, Bennett issued a statement saying that his position "was not changed". He continued: "I think that talks must not be held with a terrorist organisation, period."

Haaretz newspaper reported that head of the Labour Party Isaac Herzog criticised Netanyahu for not giving any redress to the plight of Israeli citizens, particularly residents of the south. "We've seen a prime minister who's more concerned with his shaky relationships with his cabinet members than with giving solutions to the Israeli public. There's no horizon in his statements or hope of an accord, and he said nothing new," Herzog said.

Meanwhile, Meretz chaiperson Zahava Gal-On struck back at Netanyahu's critics, slamming Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman for waging a campaign to "liquidate" Hamas.

The Jerusalem Post reported that, "Gal-On's office issued a press release in response to Liberman's post, calling the foreign minister's claims 'infantile'."

She said: "Whoever calls for a more massive response and more assassinations in order to create deterrence and achieve a victory apparently has not learned the bloody lessons of the last month, during which 64 soldiers were killed on the Israeli side and 2,000 Palestinians were killed."

noreply@memonitor.org.uk (Middle East Monitor) frontpage Thu, 21 Aug 2014 12:44:53 +0000
Will the US-Iran-Saudi alliance defeat ISIS? If so, to what effect? https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/articles/middle-east/13622-will-the-us-iran-saudi-alliance-defeat-isis-if-so-to-what-effect https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/articles/middle-east/13622-will-the-us-iran-saudi-alliance-defeat-isis-if-so-to-what-effect Abdel Bari AtwanWhen the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia enters an alliance with Iran and the US coordinates security with President Bashar al-Assad's Syrian regime (against which, a year ago, America was providing money and weapons for the opposition); and when Iraq's government led by Nouri Al-Maliki is put into the service of its closest ally, Iran. When such minor miracles occur in the blink of an eye, then we should look for the phenomenon called the "Islamic State" (ISIS). It has shifted all balance of power and brought together regional opposites, while igniting yet another war in a Middle East already full of them.

The question that arises now is regarding the source of the power that ISIS possesses. It has more than any similar Islamic organisation, so much so that regional and international alliances have been shifted against it with speed and fervour. Such an alliance of opposites is not unprecedented; it is a repeat of several others from earlier periods. They include the alliance of Britain's Winston Churchill with Stalin, his communist arch-enemy, in order to face the threat of Hitler's Nazis; and Saudi Arabia's alliance with Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, despite its well-known opposition to the Baath Party and all the other national parties, in order to face the Khomeini revolution in Iran. The government in Riyadh later welcomed 500,000 American troops on its soil to get rid of Saddam after his troops invaded Kuwait. We could also point to the alliance between fundamentalist Islam and the United States to fight against Soviet troops in Afghanistan, which evolved into 9/11 and the fierce "war against terrorism". The list goes on.

The sources of ISIS's strength lie in a range of key factors. For a start, it presents itself as a defender of Sunni Islam in the face of the marginalisation and exclusion of Sunnis in many parts of the Middle East, especially in Iraq, amid the silence of established Sunni reference points.

ISIS has adopted violent, cruel, and bloody methods to terrorise its opponents. Such an approach has been used in other countries in the past, by Islamic as well as secular "revolutions". For example, the French Revolution resulted in 42,000 people being executed during its first phase, 17,000 of them by guillotine. The English Revolution in the mid-seventeenth century, known commonly as the English Civil War and which some historians mark as the real beginning of British democracy, entailed the death of 60,000 people. Perhaps the closest to what ISIS is doing now is the example of Genghis Khan, the Mongol leader who killed many of his own people before killing millions as part of his policy based on "shock and terror". And let us not forget Abu Jafar Al-Mansur who established the Abbasid Empire on the blood of his opponents. I would like to emphasise that I recognise that these are terrorist massacres and any reproduction of them by ISIS is unjustified and has to be condemned. In referring to them I am trying to place ISIS and its acts in a historical context, even though there is a big difference between the values of the French Revolution and those of ISIS and the actions of both.

The failure of the so-called Arab Spring revolutions to achieve democracy and social justice and restore some pride and glory to the Arabs has led to dictatorial regimes being established on the ashes of the uprising in most countries. In addition, Western interventions derailed these revolutions. All of these factors led to the creation of a vacuum that was filled quickly by extremist Islamic organisations, including ISIS and Al-Nusra Front. They were provided with Arab and Western backing initially in the rush to topple the Syrian regime and its counterpart in Libya under Muammar Gaddafi.

ISIS has been able to take control over large areas of land, representing a quarter of Iraq and a third of Syria, managing and providing services to 6 million people living therein after years of bloody chaos, corruption and repression. Its umbrella body, Al Qaeda, was itself under the umbrella of the Taliban in Afghanistan and therefore had no autonomy and freedom to act on its own initiative.

The self-sufficiency of ISIS in terms of funding and weapons has been achieved largely through its successes against the Iraqi Army and the stores of the Free Syrian Army, providing the organisation with state-of-the-art weaponry, much of it from American sources.

Added to this is the fact that ISIS has been successful in recruiting over 50,000 young Muslims from around the world, 6,000 in the last month alone, due to admiration of the group's victories. These statistics are likely to escalate dramatically in the next few months, as a large number of Muslim youths are frustrated with the state of the country and the ISIS fighters are seen as an example of the power they aspire to have. Teenage interest in violent computer games, which is simply a technological development from my generation's avid following of violent war and cowboy movies, is not limited to Muslim youth; this turn of events is, therefore, hardly surprising.

Moreover, the transformation of most Arab countries into failing states, governed by weak central governments, is bound to have had an impact on the relative success of ISIS. It makes for an environment conducive to militant and extremist groups of a terrorist nature; Libya, Iraq, Yemen and many parts of Syria and Lebanon that are no longer under the authority of the central state are prime examples of this.

In the official statement issued by the Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia, Shaikh Abdul Aziz Al-Shaikh, on Tuesday, he said that "extremism and the ideologies of groups like the Islamic State and Al-Qaeda" (he did not mention Al-Nusra Front) are Islam's "number one" enemy. "These extremist groups have no place in Islam," he added. He also stressed, and this is the most dangerous statement, that it is permissible from an Islamic viewpoint to kill the members of Al-Qaeda and ISIS because they are "an extension of the Kharijites", a heretical sect of early Islam.

This statement by the head of the Permanent Committee for Islamic Research and Fatawa (Islamic legal opinions) is the first and most powerful response to the Saudi monarch's incitement against ISIS and his accusation of laziness directed at the scholars. It is also a reflection of the Kingdom's strong concern and fear that this phenomenon will infect Saudi society.

This fear is real: an opinion poll on social media sites confirmed that 92 per cent of young Saudis support ISIS, its ideology and actions. Even if the margin of error is 50 per cent, the numbers would still be terrifying. This also explains the Saudi authorities' announcement of an official opinion poll for Saudi youth, which, if it is actually conducted, would be unprecedented, as Riyadh generally does not recognise polls, just as it does not recognise democratic elections.

Can the Western regional alliance that is forming defeat ISIS? The answer to this question is not easy, as the US has been fighting Al-Qaeda for about 20 years and has invaded two countries under the pretext of eliminating the organisation, but it has not succeeded. Instead, the threat has grown, with branches across the Middle East and North Africa; today, it is evolving into a more dangerous form in the shape of ISIS and Al-Nusra Front. In addition, the Taliban emirate, which was toppled 13 years ago, is on the verge of returning to power in Afghanistan.

The involvement of Muslim countries such as Iran, Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Syria in the new alliance against ISIS is an unprecedented development, but it is difficult to say for sure if it will have better luck than the previous efforts by Arab and Muslim countries in the context of the fight against terrorism and Al-Qaeda in particular. We may, though, be surprised.

It remains to say that these alliances are temporary and will end once the reasons for forming them disappear. Churchill and the West continued with the Cold War against the "evil" Soviet Union until it fell, and the Islamic jihadist groups that allied with the West against the Soviets in Afghanistan turned against them and defeated them, partially or entirely, in Iraq and in Afghanistan itself. The rebels in Libya who fought against Gaddafi under the wings of NATO planes are currently being bombed in the same manner as their erstwhile opponents, perhaps even more aggressively.

ISIS is the greatest threat to the region and its governments and I believe that it will pose a threat to America and Europe in the future; the threats issued by ISIS to drown these countries in seas of blood in response to US bombing raids is an indication of this. However, I must also confess that I believe that ISIS is the direct product of Western and regional military and financial intervention in the two countries in which the group established its "state", Syria and Iraq. Such intervention has led to the death of one million Iraqis and 200,000 Syrians so far, and these numbers continue to rise.

In the eyes of its opponents, the ISIS terrorist organisation has started a process of comprehensive and perhaps even radical change in the region that will not stop, regardless of whether it is defeated or not. The war against the group will drag on for a long time because eliminating it will not be easy; it will, in fact, cost much money and many lives. We only have to assess how much the US war against Al-Qaeda has cost so far to get some idea of what I mean. Some will disagree with me, but mark my words; this one is going to run and run.

Translated from Raialyoum, 19 August, 2014

noreply@memonitor.org.uk (Abdel Bari Atwan) frontpage Thu, 21 Aug 2014 12:00:14 +0000
Royal Jordanian cancels flight to Tel Aviv https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/middle-east/13621-royal-jordanian-cancels-flight-to-tel-aviv https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/middle-east/13621-royal-jordanian-cancels-flight-to-tel-aviv Royal Jordanian Airlines canceled this morning's flight to Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv, Israel.

The flight was scheduled to arrive at 8.15 (local time), according to the flight schedule published on the website of the airport.

Israeli news website Yedioth Ahronoth said the flight was canceled for "security reasons".

Three more flights are scheduled between Amman and Tel Aviv today; these have not been affected by the cancellation of the morning trip.

It was not possible to get immediate comment from the Jordanian airlines on this subject.

Egyptian carrier Air Sinai also cancelled its trip to Ben Gurion Airport according to the airport's timetable.

A number of flights scheduled for today are defined as "non-final".

In a televised speech yesterday, Abu Ubaida, a spokesman for the Izz Ad-Din Al-Qassam Brigades, warned that airlines should stay away from Ben Gurion airport from 6am today and he cautioned Israelis living near to Gaza against returning to their homes.

noreply@memonitor.org.uk (Middle East Monitor) frontpage Thu, 21 Aug 2014 11:53:36 +0000
Iraq warns of the dangers of oil trade with the Islamic State https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/middle-east/13620-iraq-warns-of-the-dangers-of-oil-trade-with-the-islamic-state https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/middle-east/13620-iraq-warns-of-the-dangers-of-oil-trade-with-the-islamic-state The Iraqi Oil Ministry welcomed, in a statement issued on Wednesday, the decision by the UN Security Council that anyone caught buying oil from the Islamic State (IS), formerly known as the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria or ISIS, could face sanctions on charges of financing terrorism.

Anadolu news agency quoted the ministry's statement as saying the following: "The oil ministry welcomes the UN Security Council resolution No 2170 of 2014, published on 15 August 2014, which condemns terrorist attacks in Iraq committed by IS as well as using Iraqi oil resources to finance these crimes."

The ministry warned international crude oil traders, saying that "Any crude oil exported without the oil ministry's approval may have been extracted from fields controlled by the IS terrorist organisation," adding that, "the only official company licensed by the oil ministry to sell Iraqi crude oil is the State Oil Marketing Company (SOMO)."

The statement continued: "Any crude oil exported from any source other than the licensed state marketing company is unlicensed and may help to finance terrorist acts". The ministry urged "buyers and marketers to take caution that engaging in unauthorised deals may subject them to sanctions for helping to finance terrorist acts."

The ministry expressed concern of "reports indicating that IS uses revenues generated from smuggled crude oil to finance its terrorist operations".

The ministry said it joins the Security Council in its "condemnation of these acts and strongly calls on all member countries of the UN to take cautious measures to prevent the export of smuggled crude oil from Iraq into their territory".

IS, supported by Sunni rebels, has waged attacks on the regions in the northern and eastern provinces of Iraq, seizing control of large areas there.

Meanwhile, the US air force began earlier this month launching air strikes against IS sites in Iraq, its first major combat operations since US troops withdrew from Iraq in January 2011.

noreply@memonitor.org.uk (Middle East Monitor) frontpage Thu, 21 Aug 2014 11:13:02 +0000
Iraq to vote on law preventing demographic change in areas under ISIS control https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/middle-east/13619-iraqi-to-vote-on-law-preventing-demographic-change-in-areas-under-isis-control https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/middle-east/13619-iraqi-to-vote-on-law-preventing-demographic-change-in-areas-under-isis-control The Iraqi parliament is to discussion today a proposed resolution demanding the prevention of demographic change in areas under the control of elements of the Islamic State, the president's office said.

The Second Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Aram Al-Sheikh Mohammed, said: "A draft resolution was submitted to the Presidency of the Council of Representatives a few days ago aimed at preventing the demographic change in the regions and cities which are under the control of ISIS terrorists, via the non-recognition of the process of displacement of indigenous peoples and resettlement of others in their areas, as well as to stop transactions for the sale of real estate, property and cars of citizens in those areas, starting from June 10. "

In remarks he made to the Anadolu news agency, Mohammed said: "The Presidency of the Council of Representatives approved the draft resolution. It will be presented to the House of Representatives in the session on Thursday to discuss and vote on it."

He said he hoped "members of the House of Representatives will vote on the draft resolution to become effective and be implemented by the government."

Large parts of northern and western Iraq fell into the control of ISIS and insurgents allied with him on June 10. More than 1.25 million people were subsequently displaced; most of them headed to the northern provinces in the Kurdish regions.

noreply@memonitor.org.uk (Middle East Monitor) frontpage Thu, 21 Aug 2014 11:01:50 +0000
Israel kills three senior Hamas commanders https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/middle-east/13618-israel-kills-three-senior-hamas-commanders https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/middle-east/13618-israel-kills-three-senior-hamas-commanders Israeli occupation forces killed on Thursday morning three senior Hamas military leaders in the city of Rafah, in the south of the Gaza Strip.

Anadolu news agency reported that witnesses said Israeli warplanes attacked a four story residential building in Tal Al-Sultan neighbourhood in Rafah.

Palestinian medical sources said that ten people were killed and more than 25 others were wounded in the attack, according to Anadolu.

Hamas's military wing Izziddin Al-Qassam announced that three of its senior leaders were among the ten Palestinians killed in the attack. However, Palestinian officials say the death toll may rise as dozens could still be buried in the rubble.

Al-Qassam named its leaders as: Raed Al-Attar, Mohamed Barhoum and Mohamed Abu Shammaleh. The Israeli occupation has reportedly wanted to kill all three for more than two decades, based on their resistance activities.

Occupation authorities recognised that they had killed the top Hamas commanders in Rafah. Israel's Shin Bet intelligence agency said it specifically targeted Al-Attar and Abu Shammaleh. But a third member of Hamas, Barhoum, was also killed in the same airstrike.

"The strike was the result of intelligence and operational activities, which led to the detection and attack on two central operatives from the heart of Hamas's military leadership," the agency said in a statement.

Meanwhile, Al-Qassam and Hamas leaders stated that the killing of their leaders would not affect the battle nor weaken the resistance fighters.

Anadolu quoted Hamas's spokesperson Sami Abu Zuhri, who warned that the Israeli occupation would "pay a heavy price for the assassination of Al-Qassam commanders".

"The Israeli crimes will not break the Palestinians' resolve, and will not weaken the resistance," he said.

noreply@memonitor.org.uk (Middle East Monitor) frontpage Thu, 21 Aug 2014 10:46:27 +0000
A conscientious objector in Israel https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/blogs/politics/13617-a-conscientious-objector-in-israel https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/blogs/politics/13617-a-conscientious-objector-in-israel Sahar Vardi, 24, is an Israeli conscientious objector. She grew up in Jerusalem.

"I was active in anti-occupation protests from the age of 12, so by the time I was supposed to be drafted [into the army] it wasn't even a question for me, having personal relationships with Palestinians and just being able to see Palestinians as comrades in the struggle."

Sahar said that the Israeli education system taught that Palestinians are a threat and the reason you join the Israeli army is to counter that threat. But Sahar was able to see that Palestinians are not a threat to her at all, which formed was part of her decision not to join the army.

Her decision was also influenced by "the huge gap between what my education system and the world around me tried to perceive reality to be, and what you actually see when you cross the Green Line into Palestinian neighbourhoods".

When Sahar was 13, she visited in the Palestinian village of Nuenam with her father, where they took part in a small action of planting olive trees, changing water pipes and painting buildings in the village. Sahar stayed in touch with the village residents and a year and half ago they called to say they had a problem.

The village has its own checkpoint. The checkpoint keeps them in the Jerusalem part of the fence but the residents are West Bank identity holders which means they're isolated from the world.

One day there was a sick horse in the village; residents took it to the vet. When they tried to bring the horse back in, the soldiers said, "I'm sorry; she's not on the list."

Witnessing incidents like these which had nothing to do with security had an impact on Sahar.

Sahar grew up in a home where she always knew her family were against the occupation. It was her visit with her father to the village of Nueman in 2003 (during the Second Intifada) that was a turning point for this young woman. "Because it was a critical political moment -when Israel began building the fence - my father and I both went through a radicalisation process through that village, and through seeing more and more of the daily realities of Palestinians' lives."

"It was a moment in time when you could see the occupation manifesting itself in a cruel and brutal way."

This visit to the Palestinian village was the beginning of her understanding of what the realities of life for Palestinians actually looked like, and of how much of what the military does is not about security or defence.

"It was the beginning of an eye-opening experience which hasn't ended yet," said Sahar, "I don't think we, as Israelis, can ever really understand what it means to live under occupation. We can see it, can feel certain aspects of it, but I can't understand it because I go through a checkpoint, I smile, no one asks me for identification, because I'm white."

Sahar is concerned about the effects of militarisation on society. While she acknowledges militarisation has the biggest effect on Palestinians who live under military occupation, she also draws attention to the consequences on the Israeli society, specifically on culture. In Israel, the best contribution you can make to your society is through military service: "Your citizenship or loyalty is based on your military service."

Another grave area of concern to Sahar is her country's militarised economy; one of Israel's biggest exports is military trade. "That means our whole economy is dependent on that, which means we have to maintain the occupation to maintain the good name we have in the international arms industry."

"The Israeli occupation continues because we can sell these weapons, because someone else is going to buy them and use them somewhere else."

Participating in international conferences where she was able to connect with and speak to activists from around the globe has led to Sahar's realisation that armies in different countries use the same tools to recruit soldiers and to create a societal culture where soldiers have impunity.

The reaction of Israel to force is extremely aggressive, Sahar explained.

How can nonviolent action assist the Palestinian struggle? Sahar believes that attempts at nonviolent resistance are a very strong and important tool that Israel doesn't know how to deal with, which is "probably the best proof that it has a chance to work", she added. "Israel is terrified of it. They don't know what to do because you can't shoot everyone that is calling for something nonviolent. There is an international community that allows Israel to do a lot of things, but it does have a red line."

Shireen Mukadam is a researcher and writer based in Cape Town. She holds a Masters in International Affairs from the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva. Shireen is passionate about promoting social justice and the protection of human rights.

noreply@memonitor.org.uk (Shireen Mukadam) frontpage Thu, 21 Aug 2014 10:40:13 +0000
3 Gaza children killed in fresh Israeli attack https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/middle-east/13616-3-gaza-children-killed-in-fresh-israeli-attack https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/middle-east/13616-3-gaza-children-killed-in-fresh-israeli-attack EXCLUSIVE IMAGES

Four Palestinians, including three Palestinian children, were killed in a fresh Israeli airstrike in the Gaza Strip on Thursday, according to a Health Ministry spokesman.

"The three children, aged 7, 8 and 11, were killed in an Israeli strike in eastern Gaza City," Ashraf al-Qodra told Anadolu Agency.

Another 35-year-old man was also killed in the Israeli raid, he said.

The latest fatalities bring to 17 the number of Palestinians killed in Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip on Thursday.

Israel has been pounding the Gaza Strip since Tuesday following the collapse of a temporary ceasefire with Palestinian factions.

On Thursday, three commanders of the Ezzeddin al-Qassam, the armed wing of Palestinian faction Hamas, were killed in an Israeli airstrike in the southern Rafah city.

Israel accuses Palestinian factions of violating the ceasefire, a claim denied by Hamas, which accuses the self-proclaimed Jewish state of derailing efforts aimed at reaching a permanent ceasefire deal.

Since hostilities began on July 7, at least 2064 Palestinians have been killed and more than 10,000 others injured in relentless Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry.

According to Israeli figures, at least 67 Israelis – 64 soldiers and three civilians – have been killed.

Since 2007, the Gaza Strip has reeled under a crippling Israeli blockade that has badly affected the local economy and played havoc with residents' livelihoods.

MEMO Photographer: Mohammad Asad

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noreply@memonitor.org.uk (Middle East Monitor) frontpage Thu, 21 Aug 2014 10:30:34 +0000
Lieberman thwarted ceasefire deal with Palestinians https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/middle-east/13615-lieberman-thwarted-ceasefire-deal-with-palestinians https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/middle-east/13615-lieberman-thwarted-ceasefire-deal-with-palestinians Military analysts said today that the remarks of the Palestinian resistance that Israel receded terms agreed upon on Thursday, Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth reported.

The newspaper analyst Alex Fishman said: "The remarks of the Palestinian delegation and Hamas that Israel receded agreed upon deal regarding cancelling the buffer zone and expanding fishing zone were true."

Fishman said that the reason behind this gap was the Israeli foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, who disclosed the terms of the deal brought to the government by the Israeli delegation to Cairo.

He expected that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wanted to propose the Egyptian document as a final draft deal for approval, but when Lieberman disclosed its terms for the ministers before the approval, the document lost importance.

Thus, the team returned to Cairo on Sunday with new amendments caused by the pressure of the three opposing ministers Naftali Bennett, Gilad Erdan and Lieberman.

Based on what Fishman said to the Israeli newspaper, it became clear that internal disputes in the cabinet which decided the issue and reaffirmed the saying that "Israel has no external policy, but it acts based on politics and results of internal clashes."

Meanwhile, other analysts said that the failure of the truce gives Netanyahu another chance to end what he did not in the first stage of the battle –solving the situation with Hamas militarily.

Analyst Barak Rafid said that the new situation gives Israel the chance to turn to the UNSC to ask for a resolution to bring a lull to the region. Thus, Israel would invest the international cooperation in order to put Hamas in the corner even if the fight did not end.

Such situation obliges Hamas to take a fatal decision regarding its future, especially if the international resolution was accompanied with mechanisms that guarantee disarmament of Hamas and bans it from rebuilding its military power.

noreply@memonitor.org.uk (Middle East Monitor) frontpage Wed, 20 Aug 2014 16:57:13 +0000
Rich Wiles on photography, de-colonisation and resistance https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/resources/interviews/13614-rich-wiles-on-photography-de-colonisation-and-resistance https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/resources/interviews/13614-rich-wiles-on-photography-de-colonisation-and-resistance Rich Wiles


"Palestinian voices are not heard in the media and when they do break into the media they're diluted, or told what to say, or their language is changed, or they're misquoted or misrepresented. So what I'm trying to do is use my own work as a platform for which Palestinians can say whatever they want to say in their own language."

In 2004, Rich Wiles was running a photography project for children at the Lajee cultural centre inside Aida refugee camp. At the time, the Israeli army were shooting and throwing tear gas at Aida every day. He decided it would be better to live within the community and abandoned the relative calm of his neighbourhood for the camp, which would become his home for the next six years.

He has seen friends shot inside the camp, seen his friends' children shot inside the camp and attended funerals there. "This was the life we shared together," he recalls. "It shaped everything; it's where I learnt everything. It's where I learnt the realities of what living under a settler-colonial project meant; or one of the realities because there are so many different forms and shapes that it takes."

"To this day it was probably the single most comfortable place I've lived in my life, in many ways, although the most horrific place to live at the same time. Amongst the community I felt incredibly, incredibly, incredibly comfortable, incredibly safe. In many ways I still consider it my home today, although nobody should ever consider a refugee camp to be home because it's a temporary existence."

As well as working with young people in the camp to develop their photography skills, Wiles' own pictures from his time in Palestine have been exhibited and published widely. Two series from his portfolio will go on show this Thursday at the P21 Gallery in London. Both look at the wider displacement, colonial project.

Wiles believes that when it comes to documenting Palestine, context is never given. Take, for example, the recent events in Gaza. Suddenly the world begun to broadcast stories, yet they focused on rockets landing in an Israeli city, or houses being bombed in Gaza. What is important, he says, is why this is happening: "What's the bigger Zionist project that leads to that? That's what my work is focused on; it's that context that's never given."

Wiles doesn't look to document flashpoints, rather the time before and after wholesale destruction. Instead of a bulldozer destroying a house, his work is more likely to focus on the community who are given a demolition order, yet won't know for months or years if this will be the day their house is be destroyed. "What does it mean to be that person who's living in a house he built himself, for his family, to raise his kids in and doesn't know when it's going to be demolished?"

The first series on display at P21 is "The Zone: Holding On". Many of the photographs are intimate portraits of Palestinian villagers. One depicts a barren landscape, a single tent and farmyard equipment. Another seems to catch the process of a house being built or reconstructed. Many feature children; in one they stand amongst rubble.

The villagers featured in Wiles' photographs will, at some point, feel the nasty consequences of a project implemented by Israel dubbed "Firing Zone 918". The scheme begun in the south Hebron hills in the 70s, with the intention of building a firing zone on top of 12 Palestinian villages, home to over 1,000 Palestinians. Despite a legal battle in Israeli courts, the displacement project went ahead and eight villages are scheduled for total erasure. In the meantime, the villagers are simply holding on.

"That series is about the life people have now, before displacement. It's just trying to show something about their daily life in an area where they're not allowed to construct roads, virtually all the houses have been demolished so the people are living in tents. Even the tents have demolition orders," explains Wiles.

"There's one school in the village which was demolished and is being rebuilt by the community and has now got another demolition order. So it's about life inside this area and what life means for these people but it's also about this process of resistance which, in this case, is taking the form of existence."

"Israel comes in and demolishes things, Palestinians rebuild them. Israel demolishes them again and Palestinians rebuild them again. This is a form of resistance."

The second series, "Decolonisation", looks at a similar issue. In the Galilee, 66 years after their elders were forced out of their land during the Nakba; internally displaced communities are implementing their own return to their villages. Activists are establishing electricity supplies, internet and water connections inside these villages despite eviction and demolition orders. Wiles' photographs have captured their makeshift homes.

"What we've seen over the last two years is that the new generation have seen through all of these strategies and techniques and they've learnt from their ancestors and their parents and their grandparents and they've said: 'Well, we're wasting our time trying to appeal to the state of Israel to give us our rights we just need to take our rights ourselves'. So they've implemented their own return to the village that their grandparents were forced from 66 years ago," says Wiles.

"This is probably one of the first, if not the first, case of the right of return being implemented... although it hasn't actually been implemented because the state of Israel has not allowed it to happen."

Wiles says that when he first visited the village of Kafr Bir'im, one of the former Palestinian villages which the activists are attempting to reinstate, he expected to find a nationalistic, flag-baring celebration. What he found instead was a community taking very small steps towards the achievement of rights.

"This is actually the reality of what decolonisation means – it's not what the Zionist propaganda machine has always told us, which is about throwing Israelis out of their land and throwing Jews out of their land. It's nothing to do with that. It's about Palestinians achieving their basic human rights and their national rights collectively and individually. The project shows these small steps that are being taken."

In the past Wiles has referred to his photography as a tool of activism. "A photograph is never going to give Palestinians their rights," he says, "though art is part of a culture of change."

"History shows us that all liberation struggles have involved elements of armed struggle, they've involved elements of popular struggle, demonstrations, they've involved art, they've involved culture and they've involved literature. All these things combined make an effective resistance movement."

Contributing towards this culture of change means being a non-Palestinian telling the Palestinian story; "With photography you're always doing that to an extent; you're telling somebody else's story but I also feel slightly uncomfortable with the fact that Palestinians are never allowed to tell their own story, frankly."

"My work is not about Rich Wiles' story in Palestine; it's about creating platforms through which the indigenous people can get their own stories out. It's people using their own language to tell their own story in exactly the way that they want to tell it."

"Palestinian voices are not heard in the media and when they do break into the media they're diluted, or told what to say, or their language is changed, or they're misquoted or misrepresented. So what I'm trying to do is use my own work as a platform for which Palestinians can say whatever they want to say in their own language."

Click here to if you would like more information regarding the Voices exhibition.

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noreply@memonitor.org.uk (Amelia Smith) frontpage Wed, 20 Aug 2014 16:40:18 +0000
Government report: Egypt's population reaches 87m https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/africa/13613-government-report-egypts-population-reaches-87m https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/africa/13613-government-report-egypts-population-reaches-87m
A government report revealed that Egypt's population reached 87 million people yesterday evening, the Anadolu news agency reported.

Some 5,604 babies are born every day at a rate of approximately four per minute during the last six months.

The Central Agency for Public Mobilisation and Statistics (CAPMAS) issued a statement on Sunday that "Egypt's population will reach 87 million people by Tuesday at 6:46pm compared to 86 million people on February 22."

CAPMAS pointed out that "the number of Egyptians has increased by a million people in less than six months and that the daily increase reached 5,604 persons per day at a rate of nearly 3.9 persons per min."

The statement said the rate of increase was 2.5 per cent in 2013 and 2.6 per cent in 2012.

According to the statement, Egyptians occupy only 7.7 per cent of the Republic's total area, especially the in valley and delta regions.

Areas with highest population:

Governorate of Cairo: 9.2 million people

Governorate of Giza: 7.5 million people

Governorate of Sharqia: 6.4 million people

Areas with the lowest population:

South Sinai Governorate: 172,000 people

New Valley Governorate: 222,000 people

noreply@memonitor.org.uk (Middle East Monitor) frontpage Wed, 20 Aug 2014 15:55:41 +0000
Israel and Goldstone: numerous fears https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/articles/middle-east/13612-israel-and-goldstone-numerous-fears https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/articles/middle-east/13612-israel-and-goldstone-numerous-fears

By using his oldest trick again, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu rejected the International Commission of Inquiry on the occupation's war crimes in Gaza by using the narrative of the victim to justify and explain the most recent bout of Israeli aggression and hostility. During the final moments of his meeting in Tel Aviv with the Andrew Cuomo, the governor of the state of New York, Netanyahu criticised the Human Rights Council's decision to form a committee to look into the crimes against humanity that have been committed in the Gaza Strip. In response to the HRC's decision, Netanyahu said, "The Council's [decision] grants legitimacy to terrorist organisations such as Hamas and ISIS rather than doing what is right by examining Hamas' attacks on Israeli citizens and its exploitation of Palestinians as human shields..."

Netanyahu also claimed that "the Council's decision has been pre-written and that they have declared that Hamas is not in fact a terrorist organisation and it is for this very reason that the Council is not investigating the movement's actions at this time. They must refer to the beginning of [the conflict] in Damascus, Baghdad and Tripoli in order to see what they are up against," adding that, "they must go to these cities to see what Hamas, ISIS and the Syrian Army are doing and what crimes they are committing. They will not find any war crimes here [in Israel]."

Netanyahu's speech came after Israeli radio revealed that state comptroller, Joseph Shapira, decided to examine various aspects of Israel's aggression on Gaza. Shapira will examine several aspects including the decision-making process in the government and the Israeli army's behaviour in certain scenarios such as tunnel destruction. All of this will be done in an attempt to alleviate the severe consequences of the commission's inquiry and the decisions that will result from it, as was confirmed by legal analyst Moshe Hanegbi.

Israel's Channel Two focused most of its attention of late on the repercussions of the Israeli aggression waged against Gaza and the heinous crimes that were committed against the Palestinian people and their rights. Much of the media's attention has also been focused on the impact of the local and international committees that have been formed to investigate war crimes in the Gaza Strip and the possibility of such atrocities reoccurring again in the future. Israeli fears have increased after the UN announced that it would launch its own inquiry committee to examine war crimes against Gaza, which is very much like the Goldstone Report, issued by Judge Richard Goldstone examining the war crimes that took place in Gaza in 2008/2009.

Israeli political sources did not care to hide their grave concerns over the investigation's expected results as the UN committee's members are still being selected. Politicians in Israel expect the implications of this investigation will greatly resemble those of the 2009 Goldstone Report, which resulted from Israel's offensive operation against Gaza known as Operation Cast Lead. Af Bill, a lecturer at Bar-Ilan University and an expert in international law, clarified that the results of this investigation, once published, will humiliate Israel in front of the world. Moreover, Bill emphasised that the international community will demand military and political leaders be put on trial as a consequence of the brutal Israeli attacks on Gaza.

"We will experience major repercussions and will see many demands for criminal investigations against Israeli leaders, especially decision-makers in Israel," Bill added.

The second issue currently pre-occupying many Israelis is the question of economic sanctions on Israel whereby Bill added: "It is possible that Israeli leaders will be tried after the committee releases the results of its investigation to the international public. It is very likely that Israeli leaders will be accused of war crimes and/or crimes against humanity in international courts." These fears have been amplified amid reports published by the Wall Street Journal, which revealed that the US has suspended its shipments of Hellfire missiles to Israel in light of the UN-led investigation, a decision that undoubtedly adds new tensions to US-Israeli relations as Israel depends on these missiles in aerial strikes.

It has been reported that Israel has gone to the Pentagon and asked that they provide them with these missiles directly. The US Ministry of Defence allegedly ratified the request without the knowledge of the American administration or the Department of State. The US administration has expressed its concern over Israel's use of artillery shells in lieu of guided missiles in densely populated areas. The Wall Street Journal considered this back and forth between the two governments as a sign of "a new era of tension in US-Israel relations". The Obama administration's decision to halt all military supply shipments to Israel comes in light of the UN committee's inquiry into Israel's offensive on Gaza and has, by consequence, greatly strained tensions between the Obama administration and Netanyahu's government.

The Wall Street Journal also mentioned that "US leaders believe that Israel's actions throughout the military operation in Gaza, especially the actions of Netanyahu and the Minister of Defence, were very reckless" and that Israeli leaders cannot be trusted. What this means is that many believe that Netanyahu was pulling strings and using his leverage in the White House and the American Congress to manipulate the US government, John Kerry and the US ambassador in Israel.

Even the US Postal Service (USPS) has taken a number of undeclared punitive actions against Israel as the Hebrew Reuters' page reported that the USPS allegedly refuses to send packages and letters to Israel because of the nature of the current security situation post-Gaza offensive. According to the websites, the USPS has received many complaints all across America for refusing to send letters and parcels to Israel. This is just one example of the serious implications that Israel will face in light of the formation of an international committee. It will not benefit Israel to form an internal investigative committee due to the international backlash and the international community and western world's sense of anger towards what happened in Gaza. It appears as though the western world is no longer willing to believe Israel's propaganda and media.

Translated from Al-Araby Al-Jadeed, 19 August 2014

noreply@memonitor.org.uk (Hisham Munawar) frontpage Wed, 20 Aug 2014 15:19:34 +0000
What does President Abbas want? https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/articles/middle-east/13611-what-does-president-abbas-want https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/articles/middle-east/13611-what-does-president-abbas-want Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas's speech to the Palestinian Authority leadership (on Saturday August 16) confirmed his commitment to the Egyptian initiative, "as there are no other viable initiatives"; the truth of the matter is that there are no other initiatives on the table nor will there be any in the future. Abu Mazen does not see Egypt as a mediator, but a party on the Palestinian's side.

The Egyptian initiative treats the victim and the oppressor as equals, equals in the act of occupation as well as in resistance and calls for the "cessation of hostilities between the two parties". In addition to this it is designed to lead to a ceasefire between Palestinians and Israel and then resort to more talks.

Initially a majority of Palestinian factions rejected the proposed initiative. However, as their leaders wanted to preserve Egypt's political and geographic role, especially as it is the largest Arab state, its proximity to the Gaza Strip and the importance of its border crossing between the two sides, amendments were made. The Palestinian side, with its various factions and wide political spectrum, unanimously agreed to these amendments.

However, Israel then, as usual, rejected all six of the Palestinian demands and promising it would look at these issues later. Israel only accepted improving the movement of traffic, individuals and trucks with humanitarian aid through the Gaza crossings.

By agreeing to this, Israel attempted to mask the ugly face of its occupation of Palestinian land and mitigate the impact of the massacres and crimes committed, not just during the genocidal war but against the Palestinians in general. Israel's image has been greatly shaken in the international arena as a result of these actions.

Israel is trying (in true Kissinger style) to manipulate and manoeuvre the ongoing negotiations in Cairo to convince the Israeli public that achievements have been made.

The vast majority of Israelis consider their state's aggression against Gaza to be fair. According to a survey conducted by the Israel Democracy Institute, Israelis believe that the war against the Palestinians is legitimate. The Israeli authorities want to continue to reject Palestinian demands and it will, therefore, not be easy for Netanyahu to alter his country's image.

Egypt's experience with Israel over the latter's withdrawal from the city of Taba confirms that Egypt should have recognised that Israel violates agreements. Israel insisted on the city of Taba remaining an Israeli city, despite the Camp David Accords including a clause demanding Israel's withdrawal from Taba. Only after arbitration in an international court did Israel agree to withdraw from the city.

As I have previously said, it is impossible for Israel to agree to any Palestinian or Arab demands made in negotiations, so why does Egypt insist on postponing the Palestinian demands until later negotiations? This highlights Egypt's true role and the legitimate questions as a result of this.

Despite all this being clear, President Abbas announced his adherence to the Egyptian initiative. He said in his speech to the Palestinian leadership, "What is important for us now is to stop the bloodshed and killing of Palestinians". The killing of the Palestinians began with the establishment of the Israeli state, both with and without large-scale military aggression.

After the Oslo Accords were signed with Israel, massacres, settlements, and crimes against the Palestinians increased. After negotiations between the PA and Israel nothing has been achieved but continued Israeli stubborn rejection of Palestinian national rights, increased land confiscation, home demolitions, tree uprooting. This is all alongside an increased Israeli appetite to devour more Palestinian concessions and impose more crippling conditions on the Palestinians in order to establish a mini-state stripped of sovereignty which has at its core a self-governing authority stripped of all privileges.

What does President Abbas want from this speech? Despite him being forced to change his political discourse in light of Palestinian steadfastness and a brave and effective response to the Zionist aggression, and the pain of the Israeli public, Abu Mazen is trying to go back to negotiations with Israel. He is also trying to postpone Palestinian demands so that Palestinian factions remain committed to negotiations, as well as trying to prove that the PA should be the go to point for all Palestinian issues. Abbas also wants to establish and instil the approach of negotiations and establish the idea that armed resistance brings nothing but destruction and the death to the Palestinian people.

Translated from Al-Sharq newspaper, 20 August, 2014

noreply@memonitor.org.uk (Dr Fayez Rasheed) frontpage Wed, 20 Aug 2014 15:14:28 +0000
Israel destroys six homes in the West Bank https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/middle-east/13610-israel-destroys-six-homes-in-the-west-bank https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/middle-east/13610-israel-destroys-six-homes-in-the-west-bank IMAGES

Israeli occupation forces yesterday destroyed six Palestinian homes in the north of the occupied West Bank, officials in the Palestinian government said.

The chief of the settlement dossier in northern West Bank, Ghassan Daglass, said that the Israeli occupation destroyed four houses built of mud about 100 years ago.

The occupation claimed that the houses were illegally built. Daglass said that such houses do not need licenses because they were built before the occupation.

"Israel is used to demolishing houses built of mud or metal plates under the pretext of building without licenses," he said. "What Israel did today suggest a new stage of targeting houses aiming at evacuating the Palestinian lands in order to be ready for expanding settlements."

According to Daglass, the other two houses, which were destroyed, were modern located in Tubas in the north of the West Bank. "They were demolished under the pretext of having no licenses," he said.

Israeli authorities did not comment on the demolition of the Palestinian houses.

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noreply@memonitor.org.uk (Middle East Monitor) frontpage Wed, 20 Aug 2014 15:05:26 +0000
Libya rents floating ship to host parliament guests https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/africa/13609-libya-rents-floating-ship-to-host-parliament-guests https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/africa/13609-libya-rents-floating-ship-to-host-parliament-guests The Libyan government rented a floating ship on Monday to host the parliament's guests including journalists and special envoys who will attend the parliament vote of no confidence for interim Prime Minister Abdullah Al-Thani's government, Al-Araby Al-Jadeed news agency reported.

Head of the Parliamentary Settlement Committee, Faraj Najem, said: "The floating hotel is a special ship which will host the parliament's escorts and journalists who will attend the parliament's session," noting that "the deputies will stay at the Dar Essalam hotel in Tobruk, and not on the ship."

Najem pointed out that "the interim government hired the ship because the city of Benghazi does not have enough hotels to accommodate the parliament's guests."

Al-Araby Al-Jadeed news agency learned from a source inside the parliament, who refused to be named that "the government hired the ship for $60,000 per day".

The source believed "the parliament will vote to grant confidence to interim Prime Minister, Abdullah Al-Thani's government. The parliament began its deliberations regarding the caretaker government on Tuesday in Tobruk."

The source added: "The parliament will probably grant confident to Al-Thani's government amid a clear absence of rivals and opposition. Further, Al-Thani enjoys the support of members of the national forces, the federals, and civil society."

noreply@memonitor.org.uk (Middle East Monitor) frontpage Wed, 20 Aug 2014 15:00:58 +0000
Gul tips Turkey's Foreign Minister as next prime minister https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/europe/13608-gul-tips-turkeys-foreign-minister-as-next-prime-minister https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/europe/13608-gul-tips-turkeys-foreign-minister-as-next-prime-minister Ahmet DavutogluTurkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu has been tipped to become the new chairman of the ruling AK Party, and thus become the next prime minister, by outgoing President Abdullah Gul yesterday.

"I am the one who brought him to politics," Gul said, "he is the one to take over the Turkish premiership after Erdogan."

He continued: "As far as I see, Davutoglu will take over the post. We will support him. His success is the success of all the country and thus we have to support him collectively."

Gul is stepping down in August 28 as the newly elected President Erdogan is going to take over office.

Erdogan will step down as leader of the AK Party, but he has made clear that he wants the party he co-founded with Gul more than a decade ago to remain loyal and unified.

Gul said that he is going to return to policy after leaving presidential office. He said he is going back to his party to transfer his political experience to the country, the people and the party.

noreply@memonitor.org.uk (Middle East Monitor) frontpage Wed, 20 Aug 2014 14:36:47 +0000
Palestinian delegation blames Israel for failure of ceasefire talks https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/middle-east/13607-palestinian-delegation-blames-israel-for-failure-of-ceasefire-talks https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/middle-east/13607-palestinian-delegation-blames-israel-for-failure-of-ceasefire-talks Benjamin NetanyahuThe Palestinian delegation to the Cairo ceasefire talks left the city this morning after the failure of the indirect talks with the Israeli delegation, the Anadolu news agency said.

Security forces in Cairo Airport said: "The members of the Palestinian delegation left this morning on board a Jordanian airplane heading to Amman then to Ramallah."

Yesterday evening the delegation said that it would leave within hours blaming Israel for the collapse of ceasefire talks. The delegation said it would return to the negotiating table if the Palestinian demands were met.

The Israeli delegation left Cairo yesterday evening after it had been recalled by the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the wake of claims that rockets were launched from Gaza towards Israeli settlements in the south. Palestinians denied launching rockets.

Israeli occupation forces resumed attacks on Gaza and killed 19 Palestinians and wounded 120 others since the truce was broken.

The ceasefire talks were brokered by Egypt and included four truce agreements, a permanent ceasefire was not reached.

The Palestinian demands during the talks were for the siege on Gaza to be lifted, and for aggression on Palestinians to be stopped but Israeli called for disarming Palestinian fighters.

noreply@memonitor.org.uk (Middle East Monitor) frontpage Wed, 20 Aug 2014 14:30:40 +0000
Report: Number of IS militants in Syria exceeds 50,000 https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/middle-east/13606-report-number-of-is-militants-in-syria-exceeds-50000 https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/middle-east/13606-report-number-of-is-militants-in-syria-exceeds-50000 ISIS rebels marchingSyria has become home to some 50,000 Islamic State (IS) fighters, including more than 6,000 members who joined the organisation in July, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said yesterday.

The jihadist organisation announced in June the establishment of an Islamic Caliphate in the areas it controls in eastern and northern Syria and in western and northern Iraq.

In an interview with AFP, Rami Abdulrahman, the Observatory co-founder and director, said: "The number of Islamic State fighters in Syria has exceeded 50,000 elements, including more than 20,000 non-Syrians."

He said: "The largest number of elements to join the organisation since its inception in Syria in the spring of 2013 was recorded in July."

"Not less than 5,000 Syrian fighters joined the Islamic State in Raqqa and Aleppo in July" noting that among these "nearly 800 fighters were members of others battalions while the rest did not carry arms before."

Further, the organisation attracted "nearly 1,100 foreign elements including Chechens, Arabs, Europeans, Asians and Muslims from China", Abdulrahman explained. "The vast majority of them entered through the Turkish territory."

"Nearly 200 foreign elements were present in Syria, but they were fighting with Al-Qaeda arm in Syria, Jabhat Al-Nusra and other battalions."

It was not possible to verify these numbers from other sources.

The jihadist organisation expanded its influence in Syria after its sweeping offensive in Iraq to almost entirely control the provinces of Deir ez-Zor and Raqqa before it advanced at the expense of opposition fighters north of Aleppo.

Meanwhile, the Syrian regime intensified its aerial bombardment of the organisation's strongholds, particularly in Raqqa.

The Observatory pointed out that the raids on Raqqa which amounted to 50 on Sunday and Monday led to the killing of at least 43 ISIS elements as well as eight civilians.

The jihadist organisation controls the majority of the province, with the exception of the regime's military airport.

Seven people were killed yesterday, including three children, during aerial bombardments launched by the regime's air force on areas in Eastern Goutha, one of the main strongholds of the opposition near Damascus, according to the Observatory.

The Syrian conflict has led to the killing of more than 170,000 people.

noreply@memonitor.org.uk (Middle East Monitor) frontpage Wed, 20 Aug 2014 14:23:49 +0000
Ankara dismisses Palestinian Government coup claims https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/europe/13605-ankara-dismisses-palestinian-government-coup-claims https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/europe/13605-ankara-dismisses-palestinian-government-coup-claims Tanju BilgicTurkey has strongly condemned claims circulating in Israeli media that Ankara took part in an attempt by Hamas to topple the Palestinian unity government which was formed in June.

Israel's Shin Bet security service announced Monday that it had thwarted a Hamas coup to overthrow Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

"It is out of the question that our country would tolerate attempts to topple the Palestinian National Unity Government," Foreign Ministry spokesman Tanju Bilgic said Tuesday in a written statement.

"We strongly dismiss and condemn such slanders."

Turkey considers Palestine's unity government as an indispensable factor for peace and welfare of the Palestinian people and for a fair and lasting resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the statement added.

noreply@memonitor.org.uk (Middle East Monitor) frontpage Wed, 20 Aug 2014 13:56:17 +0000
Hamas: Israel imposes war on us again https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/middle-east/13604-hamas-israel-imposes-war-on-us-again https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/middle-east/13604-hamas-israel-imposes-war-on-us-again New attacks on Gaza 2014The Palestinian Islamic resistance movement Hamas said that Israel has once again imposed war on the Palestinians after the failure of the ceasefire talks taking place in Cairo.

Anadolu news agency quoted Hamas's senior leader, Izzat Al-Reshiq, as saying: "We have no choice but facing Israel to achieve victory."

The Palestinian delegation to the ceasefire talks left Cairo on Wednesday morning after the talks collapsed on Tuesday evening, when Israel recalled its delegation.

Israel claims that rockets were launched from Gaza towards Israel, which is why it ended the ceasefire talks. However, the Palestinian fighters denied authorising any rockets being launched.

In the wake of these claims, Israeli warplanes resumed attacking the Gaza Strip, striking several different locations and killing 12 more Palestinians.

After more than a week of talks brokered by Egypt between the Palestinian and Israeli sides, made possible by four temporary truce agreements, a permanent ceasefire could not be reached.

The Palestinian demands are lifting the siege of Gaza and stopping the continued Israeli aggression, but the Israelis are calling for the disarming of the Palestinian resistance fighters.

noreply@memonitor.org.uk (Middle East Monitor) frontpage Wed, 20 Aug 2014 13:49:05 +0000
Wife and son of Qassam commander killed in Israeli attack https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/middle-east/13603-wife-and-daughter-of-qassam-commander-killed-in-israeli-attack https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/middle-east/13603-wife-and-daughter-of-qassam-commander-killed-in-israeli-attack Child of Al-Qassam commander killed 2014EXCLUSIVE IMAGES

A Hamas leader said Wednesday that the wife and son of the commander of Ezzeddin al-Qassam Brigades, the group's armed wing, were among the victims of an Israeli airstrike that targeted a house in Gaza City on Tuesday.

According to Moussa Abu Marzouq, the wife and son of Mohamed Deif were among the three victims of the Israeli airstrike on the house of al-Dalw family in Sheikh Radwan neighborhood in northwestern Gaza City, which left also 45 people wounded, mostly women and children.

In a statement, Abu Marzouq linked the airstrike to a decision by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to withdraw Israeli negotiators from Egypt-hosted indirect talks on a permanent truce in Gaza following the collapse of a temporary ceasefire on Tuesday.

"In an unexpected move, Israel announced the fall of three rockets [from Gaza] on its territory, and Netanyahu announced the end of talks, withdrawal of the Israeli delegation and terminating the ceasefire to everybody's surprise," Abu Marzouq, a member of the Palestinian delegation to the talks, wrote on his Facebook account.

"We did not know the reason of these moves, but shortly the news came in; there were no rockets fired from Gaza, but it was a pretext to target a senior Hamas figure," he said.

"And the new crime was targeting the house of al-Dalw family, in which the wife and daughter of al-Qassam Brigades commander Mohamed Deif were killed," he added.

Earlier in the day, the Brigades said that a barrage of rockets it had fired at Israeli cities since Tuesday came in retaliation for an Israeli "massacre" against al-Dalw family.

"We dare the Zionist enemy to declare the true cause behind hitting the house of al-Dalw family in Gaza City," the Brigades said in a statement, without stating who the victims of the airstrike were then.

"This response is just the beginning, and the enemy has opened the gates of hell on themselves and would pay a hefty price for this attack," it added.

Violence flared up in the Palestinian territories on Tuesday following the collapse of a temporary ceasefire in the Gaza Strip between Palestinian factions and Israel.

On Tuesday, Israel launched several airstrikes across the Palestinian territory, leaving three people dead and 53 people injured, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry.

Israeli army said the attacks came in response to rocket fire from the Gaza Strip despite a temporary ceasefire, which was set to expire at Tuesday midnight.

Hamas, for its part, has described the Israeli attacks as an attempt to undermine Egypt-hosted negotiations aimed at reaching a permanent ceasefire.

The Qassam Brigades, meanwhile, claimed to have fired 50 rockets at Israeli cities on Tuesday in response to the Israeli attacks.

At least 2018 Palestinians have been killed and more than 10,000 others injured in more than a month of devastating Israeli attacks on the besieged Gaza Strip since July 7.

According to Israeli figures, at least 64 Israeli soldiers have been killed in recent ground battles with Palestinian fighters in the Gaza Strip – the highest military death toll for Israel of any of its three onslaughts on the territory.

Three Israeli civilians, meanwhile, have been killed by rocket fire from Gaza.

Since 2007, the Gaza Strip – home to some 1.8 million Palestinians – has reeled under a crippling Israeli blockade that has badly affected the local economy and played havoc with residents' livelihoods.

MEMO Photographer: Mohammad Asad

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noreply@memonitor.org.uk (Middle East Monitor) frontpage Wed, 20 Aug 2014 13:25:54 +0000
Saudi prince robbed in France was Abdul-Aziz Bin Fahd https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/europe/13602-saudi-prince-robbed-in-france-was-abdul-aziz-bin-fahd https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/europe/13602-saudi-prince-robbed-in-france-was-abdul-aziz-bin-fahd Abdul-Aziz Bin FahdFrench police sources said that the Saudi prince, who was robbed on Monday, was Abdul-Aziz Bin Fahd, known as "playful".

The prince is the youngest son of the late Saudi King Fahd Bin Abdul-Aziz, who passed away in August 2005. On Sunday night, a group of between five and eight armed thieves stopped his convoy, which consisted of 10 cars, and stole €250,000 in addition to documents.

Initial probes indicated that one of the armed thieves could be very close to the prince.

A source close to the investigations said: "Surely, there are people close to the prince who must be complicit with the thieves in order to know all details. This is clear. They chose the site of the incident after deliberate study."

The convoy of the prince left George V Hotel, one of the most luxurious hotels in France owned by the Saudi billionaire Walid Bin Talal, and headed to Le Bourget Airport, 15 kilometres north of Paris.

The Saudi embassy in Paris said that the car, which was stolen, did not belong to it.

noreply@memonitor.org.uk (Middle East Monitor) frontpage Wed, 20 Aug 2014 11:48:25 +0000
US rejects Egypt's criticism on Ferguson protests https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/americas/13601-us-rejects-egypts-criticism-on-ferguson-protests https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/americas/13601-us-rejects-egypts-criticism-on-ferguson-protests People being arrested in Furguson, America 2014The US rejected criticisms levelled by Egypt today over the police's handling of the unrest taking place in the town of Ferguson, Missouri, asserting that Washington addresses its problems "with integrity and transparency".

US State Department Deputy Spokeswoman Marie Harf said: "Look, we here in the United States will put our record for confronting our problems transparently and honestly and openly up against any other countries in the world. When things occur, as you've heard the president speak about, we look at them, as I said, transparently, honestly, and openly. And we, of course, would suggest that other countries do the same thing."

Adding: "People are free to say what they want and they're free to comment on things that happen in this country. I'm also free to disagree with the comparisons that some are making."

The Egyptian Foreign Ministry announced earlier yesterday that Egypt was following up closely with the protests in Ferguson, Missouri, calling on the US to show restraint and respect the people's right to assembly.

Egypt's Foreign Ministry spokesman Ambassador Bader Abdel-Atti said in statement: "Egypt is following up closely on the escalation of protests and demonstrations in the city of Ferguson and the reactions to them."

Abdul-Aati said the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's statements "reflect the international community's position on the events, especially his demands to exercise restraint and respect the right of assembly and peaceful expression of opinion."

Two people were injured and 31 others were arrested on Monday in the town of Ferguson during clashes between protesters and police over the shooting of Michael Brown nine days ago.

The UN National Guards spread Monday in the town while Missouri governor, Jay Nixon announced lifting the curfew that was imposed after the protests that erupted in there. The violent clashes between the protestors and the police which came under fire earlier occurred despite the curfew.

noreply@memonitor.org.uk (Middle East Monitor) frontpage Wed, 20 Aug 2014 11:38:18 +0000
Israeli team 'pre-planned' decision to leave Cairo https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/middle-east/13600-israeli-team-pre-planned-decision-to-leave-cairo https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/middle-east/13600-israeli-team-pre-planned-decision-to-leave-cairo Azzam Al-AhmadThe head of the Palestinian delegation to the ceasefire talks in Cairo, Azzam Al-Ahmad, said that Israel had made a "pre-planned decision to withdraw from the Cairo meeting" before the latest round of negotiations even started, Quds news agency reported.

During a brief news conference held in Cairo, Al-Ahmad said the Palestinian side has showed a "high degree of flexibility" for weeks, but the Israeli side "does not want any solutions".

Al-Ahmad continued: "We hoped that the Israelis would respond to our demands, which were represented with only ten words, but they procrastinated for more than a week."

Al-Ahmad noted that the Palestinian delegation was set to leave Cairo, but he did not consider this a withdrawal from the talks.

Israel recalled its delegation from Cairo on Tuesday, ending the talks.

Meanwhile, Al-Ahmad condemned the latest Israeli attacks against the Gaza Strip, which, he said, came as a response to rockets launched from Gaza that did not harm anyone.

noreply@memonitor.org.uk (Middle East Monitor) frontpage Wed, 20 Aug 2014 11:28:36 +0000
Majority of Israelis: The force used by the army in Gaza was not excessive https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/middle-east/13599-majority-of-israelis-the-force-used-by-the-army-in-gaza-was-not-excessive https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/middle-east/13599-majority-of-israelis-the-force-used-by-the-army-in-gaza-was-not-excessive Palestinians inspect damage caused to a building 2014An overwhelming majority of Jewish Israelis think that the Israeli army used either the "appropriate" level of force or "too little firepower" during its latest aggression, dubbed "Operation Protective Edge", in the Gaza Strip. A majority also expressed their support for the government's restrictions on the freedom of expression during the war, as well as for the mediation efforts led by the post-coup government in Egypt.

According to the latest poll for the Peace Index, which is conducted by the Israel Democracy Institute and the University of Tel Aviv, 48 per cent of Israeli Jews believe that the force used by the army was appropriate, while 45 per cent actually think that too little force was used. Only 6 per cent said that Israel used excessive force against the Palestinians.

The Israeli government barred Israeli reporters from entering into Gaza to cover the war, thus Israelis were not exposed to the horrors taking place in the Strip. Israeli strikes have left more than 2,000 dead and 10,000 wounded, in addition to causing massive destruction to civil infrastructure, homes and businesses, leaving many without a place to sleep or work.

On another note, 97 per cent of the Jewish Israeli respondents said that the performance of the Israeli army during the operation was "was very or moderately good", while only 3 per cent rated the army's performance as "as not so good or poor".

58 per cent said they were in favour of limiting the freedom of expression during times of war, while 39 per cent believe that these restrictions are unnecessary.

92 per cent of the Jewish population said the aggression on Gaza was "justified" while 58 per cent said that Israel should not respond to any of Hamas's demands for a ceasefire and instead should continue fighting until the Palestinian resistance movement surrenders.

Some 44 per cent believe that Israel has achieved most of its goals as a result of the war on Gaza, while 48 per cent said that only some of the goals set for the operation have been achieved and 6 per cent said that Israel did not achieve anything from this operation.

As for the Arab Israeli citizens, 65 per cent believe that no goals have been achieved.

Regarding the mediation efforts in Cairo, 60 per cent of Israeli Jews trust Egypt's President Abdel Fatah Al-Sisi "to act as a fair mediator", with only 38 per cent not trusting him.

On the other hand, 55 per cent of Israeli Arabs do not trust President Al-Sisi, while 31 per cent trust him to mediate the conflict.

noreply@memonitor.org.uk (Middle East Monitor) frontpage Wed, 20 Aug 2014 11:13:09 +0000
Palestinian poet Samih Al-Qasim dies at 75 https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/middle-east/13598-palestinian-poet-samih-al-qasim-dies-at-75 https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/middle-east/13598-palestinian-poet-samih-al-qasim-dies-at-75 Samih Al-QasimPalestinian poet Samih Al-Qasim died yesterday, aged 75, after a long battle with cancer.

Al-Qasim, who was known for his nationalist poems including "Do Not Ask Permission from Anyone", spent his last days in a hospital in Safed, northern Israel, as a result of his deteriorating health. He is due to be buried today.

Born in 1939, in the Jordanian city of Zarqa, Al-Qasim grew up and lived in the village of Rameh, near Safed, and studied in Nazareth. After the Nakba, the "birth" of Israel, which he described as an intruder in his life, he became a political activist joining the Israeli Communist Party, before moving to journalism and then devoting himself to writing poetry.

Known as a "resistance poet", Al-Qasim's poems were widely embraced across the Arab world as a symbol of steadfastness in the struggle against the occupation.

noreply@memonitor.org.uk (Middle East Monitor) frontpage Wed, 20 Aug 2014 10:31:41 +0000
The days of open-ended Palestinian concessions are over https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/resources/commentary-and-analysis/13597-the-days-of-open-ended-palestinian-concessions-are-over https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/resources/commentary-and-analysis/13597-the-days-of-open-ended-palestinian-concessions-are-over Commentary and analysis stickyEven after its collapse, the Cairo negotiations between the Israelis and Palestinians were, perhaps, the most important in many years. For the first time ever, Palestine Liberation Organisation/Palestinian Authority negotiators were joined at the table by representatives of the armed resistance movements, notably Hamas and Islamic Jihad. Thanks to the Israeli war on the people of the Gaza Strip, the Palestinians are united in their immediate demand for an end to Israel's aggression and its eight-year blockade of the enclave.

Reflecting on these developments, Khaled Meshaal, the head of the Hamas political bureau, said that he has no doubt that this latest battle in Gaza will shorten the journey towards achieving the prime Palestinian goal of ending Israel's decades-long occupation. "Whatever you take away from the negotiating table," insisted Meshaal, "is a consequence of your position on the ground and the outcome of the balance of power in the field."

Hamas's position on the ground today has changed drastically and so too has the balance of power. Not only has the movement repelled the Israeli ground offensive, but, equally importantly, it has also repositioned the Palestine issue and that of the blockade firmly at the top of the regional and international agenda. Even the Obama administration now recognises the need to end the collective punishment that is the disgraceful blockade.

In the past, Israelis milked the so-called peace process and negotiations to present themselves as straightforward and reasonable people who sought peace but couldn't find willing partners among the Palestinians. Now, by rejecting the legitimate demand to end the blockade, they have exposed themselves as nothing less than serial aggressors.

In Gaza, Palestinian citizens insist that they have made every possible sacrifice and will, as a consequence, accept nothing less than the unfettered opening of their borders, seaport and airport. As an indivisible part of Palestine, they believe that the Gaza Strip is entitled to have access to the outside world.

To the same degree that Israel's 2008/9 Operation Cast Lead ended the political career of Ehud Olmert, so too Benjamin Netanyahu's Operation Protective Edge is threatening to bring his career to a close. Having spent an estimated $2.5 billion to $3.6 billion in the first four weeks, Netanyahu can ill-afford to fund a prolonged campaign. Already, the financial cost is beginning to have a negative impact on the lifestyle of Israel's consumer society and the country's 2015 budget deficit is expected to rise significantly. Sooner or later Netanyahu will have to pay a political price for jeopardising the social comforts of Israeli citizens.

The position of President Mahmoud Abbas, is no less tenuous. True, Palestinian control over the land, sea and air space in Gaza will carry the symbolic trappings of sovereignty, the ultimate achievement that he has laboured for. However, even if this comes to pass, many Palestinians will view it as a vindication of the resistance agenda and not Abbas's negotiating strategy. That in itself is enough to damage his leadership position.

Ultimately, Israel will have to make concessions. As part of its psychological war against the Israelis, Hamas is keeping mum about prisoners of war and the remains of soldiers killed. There will obviously be a price to pay for their return to Israel. Already, Hamas has demanded the names of Palestinian collaborators in return for Israel's dead soldiers. The chances are that if Israel hands them over, no one will ever want to collaborate in future; if it doesn't, its demand for the return of its troops' remains will be ignored.

In this context, there is also the future of the settlements that form a belt north of the Gaza Strip to consider. Given the inability of the Israeli army to guarantee their security, Netanyahu has no choice but to meet the demands of the Palestinian resistance if he really wants the settlers to be able to return to their homes.

This is the changed situation on the ground that Meshaal alluded to. The balance of fear and deterrence is now evenly spread. Just as the Palestinians in Gaza must live with the threat of F16s and drones, so too will Israelis have to put up with the fear of resistance fighters coming out of tunnels under the border with Gaza.

The new realities in Palestine have shaped events and influenced popular thinking well beyond the region, despite Israel's well-oiled propaganda and war machines. Universal demands for justice in Palestine can only grow stronger. Even if the demonstrations in cities around the world peter out the support for Palestinian rights will continue to be manifested in the fast-growing international Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign.

For sure, neither the resistance nor negotiations are ends in themselves; they are both means employed by the Palestinians to achieve their strategic national goals. To the same degree that there has been a shift in the military balance on the ground, there will be a shift in the negotiating balance that must be capitalised upon. When the parties finally return to the negotiating table one thing will be certain; that open-ended Palestinian concessions to Israel are a thing of the past.

noreply@memonitor.org.uk (Dr. Daud Abdullah) frontpage Wed, 20 Aug 2014 10:26:06 +0000
Israel expels PFLP leader from Ramallah https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/middle-east/13596-israel-expels-pflp-leader-from-ramallah https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/middle-east/13596-israel-expels-pflp-leader-from-ramallah Khalida JararIsraeli occupation forces stormed the house of MP Khalida Jarar, the leader of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), in Ramallah this morning. The soldiers gave her an order of expulsion to Jericho for an indefinite period.

The soldiers tried to force Jarar to sign the expulsion notice but she refused. They then read out the order which said that due to security intelligence Jarar was to leave Ramallah within 24 hours and move to Jericho and stay within the city's limits. A map of the city limits were left behind in the MP's house.

Jarar said she would be seeking legal advice.

noreply@memonitor.org.uk (Middle East Monitor) frontpage Wed, 20 Aug 2014 10:08:55 +0000
Temporary Palestinian-Israeli truce broken https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/middle-east/13595-temporary-palestinian-israeli-truce-broken https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/middle-east/13595-temporary-palestinian-israeli-truce-broken Palestinian girl injured after temp truce broken 2014The ceasefire between Palestine and Israel came to an end at midnight after no extension was agree upon and after both sides blame the other of breaking the temporary truce.

The parties had agreed on Monday to extend the temporary ceasefire, which was initially set for five days, for an additional 24 hours to allow them to reach an agreement on a permanent ceasefire during the negotiations in Cairo, Egypt.

Before the end of the truce yesterday, the Israeli army announced that it had resumed attacks on Palestinian targets in the Gaza Strip in response to what it called renewed rocket fire on southern Israel. Hamas denied the claim.

The renewed Israeli raids on the Gaza Strip killed a Palestinian girl and injured 25 others, mostly children and women, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health.

Hamas said the Israeli raids were meant to "abort" the negotiations in Cairo.

In a statement to the Anadolu news agency earlier in the day, senior Hamas spokesperson Sami Abu Zuhri said: "The Israeli occupation bears full responsibility for all the repercussions of a violation of the calm."

The Izz Ad-Din Al-Qassam Brigades responded to the renewed Israeli raids by firing 41 rockets onto Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.

On the political front, Khalid Albtsh, leader of the Islamic Jihad movement who are taking part in the ongoing negotiations in Cairo, said he "had suspended" indirect negotiations on reaching a lasting truce in Gaza because of the "intransigence" on the Israeli side.

While Israeli officials announced the collapse of the Cairo talks, according to remarks quoted by Israeli media, Azzam Al-Ahmad, head of the Palestinian delegation, said in a brief statement: "So far there has been no progress despite the extension".

He added: "We made a paper containing the position of the Palestinian delegation and delivered it to the Egyptian side, until now, we are still waiting."

"The Israeli delegation is trying to impose what it wants, and it is impossible to accept it as Palestinians," he explained while accusing Israel of "procrastinating".

He said: "We have about five hours, and hope to receive a response before this time so that we can determine the next step, and we, as Palestinians, we exercised flexibility to the maximum extent possible."

In the meantime, sources at Cairo airport said: "The Israeli delegation in charge of the indirect negotiations left the Egyptian capital's airport this evening [Tuesday] on a private jet."

The Israel delegation was apparently ordered to return to after the temporary truce was broken.

On July 7 Israel began an assault on the Gaza Strip which has led to the death of 2,018 Palestinians, mostly civilians, and injured over 10,000, according to official Palestinian figures.

noreply@memonitor.org.uk (Middle East Monitor) frontpage Wed, 20 Aug 2014 10:00:14 +0000