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 Mon, 27 Apr 2015 08:53:22 +0000 MEMO en-gb Algeria expels Mauritania envoy; diplomatic row unfolds https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/africa/18282-algeria-expels-mauritania-envoy-diplomatic-row-unfolds https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/africa/18282-algeria-expels-mauritania-envoy-diplomatic-row-unfolds Algerian flagAlgeria yesterday expelled a Mauritanian diplomat in response to a similar move taken earlier by Mauritania against a member of Algeria's diplomatic mission in Nouakchott, a Mauritanian Foreign Ministry source has said.

The source told the Anadolu Agency that Algeria's Foreign Ministry expelled Mohamed Ould Abdullah, a security advisor for Mauritania's embassy in Algiers, after declaring him "persona non grata".

The source added that the diplomat started preparations for leaving Algeria after receiving Algiers' message.

Earlier yesterday, an Algerian diplomat described as both "surprising" and "incomprehensible" a decision by Mauritania to declare Belkacem Alchroati, a senior advisor at the Algerian embassy in Mauritania, "persona non grata".

Speaking to local Echorouk TV, the diplomat added that Algeria was considering an official response to the Mauritanian declaration.

Mauritanian media said the decision was taken because the Algerian diplomat stood behind an article published by a Mauritanian website, noting that the article criticised Mauritania's foreign policies.

It is reported that the controversial article talked about a complaint filed by Mauritania at the United Nations against Morocco, accusing the North African state of flooding Mauritania's northern border with narcotics.

Mauritania's Al-Bayan website had recently published an article alleging that a complaint had been filed by Mauritania against Morocco at the UN, accusing it of flooding the country with drugs.

Mauritanian authorities denied this allegation, deeming the incident an attempt to destabilise its relations with Rabat.

They later arrested the website's editor.

On Saturday, Algeria's Echorouk daily quoted Alchroati as saying that he had fallen victim to a conspiracy in this matter.

The diplomat refused, however, to give any more information.

The incident is unprecedented in Algerian-Mauritanian relations which have been stable in recent years.

noreply@memonitor.org.uk (Shatha) frontpage Mon, 27 Apr 2015 08:28:22 +0000
The week in pictures https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/in-pictures/18281-the-week-in-pictures https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/in-pictures/18281-the-week-in-pictures The last 7 days in pictures.

JERICHO, WEST BANK: A Palestinian couple take a 'selfie' during a national mass wedding ceremony. Nearly 462 Palestinian couples were married in a ceremony organised by the Palestinian presidency.

KONYA, TURKEY: A girl poses at the largest tulip fields in the Cumra district of the Central Anatolian province of Konya where 60 million tulips are grown. After being grown in Cumra, the tulips are sent around Turkey and abroad to be used in parks and gardens.

BURSA, TURKEY: Whirling dervishes perform during the "Holy Birth Week" celebrations marking Prophet Muhammad (pbuh)'s birth.

AMMAN, JORDAN: A book fair is opened to mark World Book Day. Some 100,000 books were on display.

GAZA CITY, GAZA: Seven-year-old Palestinian jockey Hella Al-Betravi practices. Betravi learnt to horse ride a year ago and hopes to take part in international competitions and earn a Guinness World Record.

DUBAI, UAE: Daring cyclists practice their tricks in a park in the Emirates.

noreply@memonitor.org.uk (Middle East Monitor) frontpage Sun, 26 Apr 2015 17:01:07 +0000
Commemorating the Nakba at a Grim Time https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/articles/middle-east/18280-commemorating-the-nakba-at-a-grim-time https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/articles/middle-east/18280-commemorating-the-nakba-at-a-grim-time Samah JabrSixty-seven years after the massive expulsion of Palestinians from their homes and lands, the scene in Palestine is grimmer than ever. We observe for example that following almost a year of meetings, the US-backed talks between the Palestinian Authority and Israel fell apart last April. What followed that summer was an escalation of violence and a destructive war on Gaza.

Although a reconciliation agreement was signed by conflicting Palestinian political parties in 2014, we are still living with the devastating effects of the war on Gaza and the political polarization - which rather than resolving, is now at its peak. The reconstruction of Gaza is on hold; Gaza government employees who were hired between 2007 and 2014 have not been receiving their salaries by the PA government despite the "reconciliation;" continuous electricity and clean water are unavailable in Gaza; and its Rafah entrance has been blocked for more than 100 consecutive days. PA officials claim that Hamas took part in secret negotiations with Israel about its plan to turn the Gaza Strip into a separate Palestinian entity. The PA considers that plan a "scandalous conspiracy" and promises to not let it take place. Meanwhile, officials in Gaza dismiss such allegations as "false polemics" and clarify that they are negotiating merely to end the siege, to exchange prisoners, and to achieve a long term truce. Despite all its years of negotiations, the PA never addressed lifting of the siege of the Gaza Strip. And regarding the fate of East Jerusalem, where the PA hopes to establish the capital of the Palestinian state in accordance with the Oslo Accords, officials are giving no more than a lip service. And worst of all no one dares to talk about the right of Return.

During the recent clashes between the "Islamic State" and Palestinian fighters at Al Yarmouk refugee camp in Damascus (where the besieged and starved population has shrunk from 150,000 to approximately 16,000 during the last four years of violence in Syria), there was a presidential decree that all public employees "volunteer" one day's salary to save Al Yarmouk. This was the response, instead of using this crisis as a lever to educate about the predicament of Palestinian refugees and to mobilize for the implementation of the right of return for all Palestinian refugees!

Sovereignty versus the State

In December, Palestinian officials submitted a UN Security Council resolution calling for an end to Israel's occupation of the West Bank within two years, a submission which was voted down. We remember that in 1974, the United Nations General Assembly recognized the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination, to national independence, and to sovereignty - but our officials behave like helpless subcontracted managers in the service of the occupation.

At the Pesach holiday a few weeks ago, the West Bank was cut in two; Palestinians were unable to work across the Ramallah-Nablus road in order that Israeli settlers could run the Bible Marathon. This action went unopposed by the PA. Recently, the Israeli Army arrested Palestinian Parliament member Khalida Jarrar, bringing to sixteen the number of Palestinian lawmakers currently in Israeli detention and paralysing our legislative counsel. Jarrar and many others were arrested from "Area A" - an area under full PA control, where Israeli forces coordinate their entry with PA forces. Here as elsewhere, the Palestinian Authority remains in close coordination with Israeli security, even after the brutal killing of 2,200 Palestinians in Gaza last summer and the death of Minister Ziad Abu Ein last December in a violent confrontation with the occupation forces; an act for which no one has been punished.

In his speech last September at the United Nations during the 69thannual General Debate, Palestinian President Abbas said "It is impossible, and I repeat - it is impossible - to return to the cycle of negotiations that failed to deal with the substance of the matter and the fundamental question." And yet, now despite the Israeli President's recent blatant disavowal of a two-state solution, the President announced that "talks with Israel are still on the table," while addressing Palestinian leadership on April 4that the opening of a conference in the West Bank to discuss the future of the Palestinian Authority.

The PA has become an official member of the International Criminal Court, but PA officials report that going to the ICC is to deter Israel from only future crimes against Palestinians. In contrast, Shurat Ha Din, a legal group in the USA close to Israel, has already initiated action against Palestinians with the declared intent to push Palestinian institutions toward collapse. In February, a New York jury imposed $218 million damages upon the PA, as compensation for six attacks taking place more than a decade ago in which Israelis with US citizenship were killed or injured. Another such process, against the Arab Bank, was filed for transactions to accounts belonging to Hamas members. The latest case filed against Palestinians related to Hamas' briefly closing Israel's Ben Gorion airport during Israel's attack on Gaza last summer. Where is justice for all of the Palestinians killed or injured by US-sponsored arms? For Palestinians, with US citizenship, killed or tortured by Israel? For Rachel Corrie, crushed by an Israeli Army's Caterpillar bulldozer?

In addition to these actions, anti-terrorism laws in the US isolate most Palestinians from potential funding sources, manipulate their national agenda, and empower the political minority to implement its agendas in Palestine. The participation of Hamas in the government would risk the $400 million that Washington provides to the Palestinian Authority annually - the consequence that influenced the PA to backtrack on the reconciliation agreement it signed a year ago. Even among non-governmental Palestinian institutions and ordinary people, US money and US laws are not used to further the welfare of people, but to foster resentment, to intimidate, to hush voices of dissent, and to incite Palestinians to boycott one another.

Daring in the face of intimidation

Palestinian university students are voting against the party that is supported by the PA, even though these opponents are often arrested and harassed at election time. The Palestinians in the territories and in refugee camps too might dare to raise their voices in the face of a monopolizing leadership which has led the Palestinian cause to an impasse, in the face of political stagnation that is imposed by the violent occupation and the soft policies of its international allies who pressure us to conform to the colonial norms. It is by daring to speak that we find our way back to each other, to maintain our capacity for connection and empathy, and to survive over our anguish, fears and victimhood.

When I survey the intimidated world around me, I am also often frightened - but I return to my inner hopes to draw strength. I hope for a time when the refugees will return home, when the wall of separation will fall, when those who were treated as dangerous and were silenced for so long will be finally recognized and heard. I hope, equally, that those who once hushed our voices with all tools available to them will always be able to listen and speak too.

Samah Jabr is a Jerusalemite psychiatrist and psychotherapist who cares about the wellbeing of her community - beyond issues of mental illness.

noreply@memonitor.org.uk (Samah Jabr) frontpage Sun, 26 Apr 2015 17:17:15 +0000
Attacks on Gaza - January-March 2015 https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/middle-east/18279-attacks-on-gaza-january-march-2015 https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/middle-east/18279-attacks-on-gaza-january-march-2015 Man walks past mural of Palestinian rocketsLate on Thursday, a rocket was fired from inside the Gaza Strip into Israel, causing no damage or injuries. Subsequently, Israeli forces shelled a Hamas base in northern Gaza, also causing no injuries.

This was the first rocket fired from Gaza this year, according to the Israeli military, and the fourth rocket fired from inside Gaza to land inside Israeli territory since the August 2014 ceasefire (the previous incident took place on December 19, 2014).

This week's rocket was described by former-Israeli army spokesperson Avital Leibovich as ending a period of "relative quiet." Variations of this kind of language are commonplace: Palestinian violence always ends a "period of calm", Israeli violence is always "retaliatory."

In fact, as the new infographic illustrates, the first quarter of 2015 saw repeated Israeli ceasefire violations and attacks on Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip (these are conservative figures, taken from UN OCHA, PCHR-Gaza, and media sources).

In the period January-March, Israeli occupation forces killed one Palestinian civilian and wounded a further 16. There were six military incursions – when Israeli forces invade the Gaza Strip then withdraw – and 67 shooting attacks on land and at sea.

These attacks targeted farmers, fishermen, and unarmed protesters. The Israeli military's unilateral imposition of a 'no go' zone close to the border fence, as well as in Gaza's waters, is a key part of the blockade, and a violation of international law (and even of the Oslo Accords).

Remember: during these same three months, not even one rocket was fired from Gaza into Israel.

Thus there is no 'calm' or 'quiet' for the occupied, blockaded Palestinians of the Gaza Strip. Their homes and businesses lie in ruins, their economy shattered – and still, the Israeli army conducts attacks with impunity, and little or no international media coverage.

noreply@memonitor.org.uk (Ben White) frontpage Sun, 26 Apr 2015 16:15:57 +0000
Hamas asks Morocco to reconsider Peres visit https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/middle-east/18278-hamas-asks-morocco-to-reconsider-peres-visit https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/middle-east/18278-hamas-asks-morocco-to-reconsider-peres-visit Shimon Peres

Palestinian resistance faction Hamas on Sunday called on Morocco to reconsider an expected visit by former Israeli President Shimon Peres to the kingdom.

"We have hopes that the King and government of Morocco will reconsider Peres' visit to their country," Hamas said in a statement.

It also called on all other Arab states to reject all forms of normalization with Israel.

Hamas said Peres' visit to Morocco would only make Israel look better in front of the rest of the world.

It added that the visit would also open the door for what it described as "perilous" normalisation with the self-proclaimed Jewish state.

Peres is expected to pay a visit to Morocco to attend the Clinton Global Initiative's First Middle East and Africa Conference between May 5 and 7.

The conference will be held in the central Moroccan city of Marrakesh.

The former Israeli President paid a visit to Morocco on July 23, 1986, when he was the prime minister of Israel.

noreply@memonitor.org.uk (Middle East Monitor) frontpage Sun, 26 Apr 2015 16:11:42 +0000
Security source: Egypt embroiled in illegal emigration across Libya https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/africa/18277-security-source-egypt-embroiled-in-illegal-emigration-across-libya https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/africa/18277-security-source-egypt-embroiled-in-illegal-emigration-across-libya Thousands of migrants from North Africa make the perilous journey to Europe every week, on over-packed boatsA Libyan security source who declined to be identified has told Arab 21 that the Al-Tabu entity allied with Khalifah Haftar, commander of the army aligned to the dissolved Tabruq Parliament, is actively transporting thousands of illegal emigrants from the south of Libya to the north. The emigrants are taken along routes protected by Al-Tabu starting from Abari in the south to Sabha all the way to the city of Tabruq in the extreme north of Libya in addition to Al-Qubbah, Al-Bayda, Ajdabya and Sirt in the east.

The source added that Al-Tabu undertake the responsibility of delivering illegal emigrants from the Libyan west to Al-Zintan in the Western Mountain. They then transport them via smugglers from Al-Zintan and Zawarah until they reach the main smuggling point in Zawarah Port to the west of Tripoli.

Another smuggling route, according to the source, is supervised by the Awlad Ali tribes who live along the eastern Libyan borders. They operate with the knowledge and collaboration of the Egyptian authorities. The Libyan-Egyptian borders, he added, are semi open and subject to no control. Each person pays one hundred Libyan dinars to the Awlad Ali smugglers on the Egyptian side to be conveyed to the border town of Imsaed via a smuggling network run by officers within the Egyptian army and intelligence services who receive a commission for each emigrant they smuggle.

The security source also said that thousands of persons cross the Libyan-Egyptian borders every month, some legally and others illegally.

The source said that nearly 40 per cent of smuggling occurs via south Libya while 30 per cent occurs via the borders with Egypt. The remaining percentage occurs via other crossing points with Tunisia, Algeria and Sudan.

The management of the illegal emigration networks is shared by Issa Abd Al-Majid, head of the Al-Tabu component and advisor on Africa affairs in the disbanded parliament, together with Awlad Ali, smugglers from Al-Zawiy tribe in Al-Kafrah in the Southeast of Libya and some chieftains from the tribe of Al-Ubaydat in Al-Jabal Al-Akhdar. They all run smuggling networks with the knowledge and directives of General Khalifah Haftar.

Haftar in the footsteps of Qaddafi

Observers of Libyan affairs have confirmed that Khalifah Haftar does indeed exploit the issue of illegal emigration in exactly the same way as did the late Colonel Muammar Al-Qaddafi in order to pressure countries of the European Union to intervene in Libya and support him directly. They also point to the existence of coordination between Haftar on the one hand and Al-Tabu and Zintan leaders as well as Ahmad Qadhaf Al-Dam, former head of Libyan-Egyptian investments on the other.

It is noteworthy that Britain, Germany and several other European states have dispatched naval ships and aircraft to the areas off the Libyan coast in order to assist in rescuing illegal migrants. This comes in the aftermath of last week's drowning of around 900 persons just before arriving at the Italian coast.

noreply@memonitor.org.uk (Middle East Monitor) frontpage Sun, 26 Apr 2015 15:18:07 +0000
Courting apartheid: how Israel's top judges rubber-stamp discrimination https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/articles/debate/18276-courting-apartheid-how-israels-top-judges-rubber-stamp-discrimination https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/articles/debate/18276-courting-apartheid-how-israels-top-judges-rubber-stamp-discrimination Ben WhiteIsrael's Supreme Court has long been held up as a resolute defender of liberal values. Recent decisions handed down by its judges, however, provide an important opportunity to revisit this claim, and to interrogate its past and present validity.

According to Israel's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Supreme Court "upholds the rule of law and strengthens human rights." (A note on terminology. Israel's Supreme Court also sits as the High Court of Justice (HCJ) for constitutional matters and citizens' petitions against government entities.)

This narrative is often reproduced by Israel's defenders. In March 2012, for example, Time magazine's Joe Klein hailed the Court as "one of the world's great bastions of civilized legal contemplation" and "a precious monument to the rule of law."

Others have argued that the courts in Israel are a check on racist legislation. Richard Goldstone, in his 2011 'apartheid slander' op-ed, claimed that in Israel, "equal rights are the law" and "inequities are often successfully challenged in court." Israel lobby group BICOM trumpets "the effectiveness of the Israeli Courts in countering incidents of unfair discrimination when they do arise."

The role of the Court in Israel's public diplomacy is clear – and not just in the crass boast that the court includes an Arab judge (the only one from 66 past and present justices). At the UN Human Rights Committee last October, a senior Israeli official "proudly recounted" rulings by the Supreme Court in striking down amendments to the Prevention of Infiltration Law.

According to an article in Ha'aretz, this was an example of "using High Court rulings to demonstrate Israel's commitment to human rights" even as the government "flouts them." While true, there are good grounds for questioning the Court's own 'commitment' to human rights.

A black week

The most high-profile recent decision was the upholding of the Anti-Boycott Law passed in 2011. The law was a "direct response to the Palestinian-led Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign", and its impact has been a "chilling effect" and "stifling" of "political debate."

Sitting as the HCJ, the judges rejected most of the petition filed by human rights groups, and left the legislation almost entirely intact. Boycotts were described in the ruling as "political terror."

The Court voted 9-0 "on the authority of the finance minister to impose fines or withhold funding from Israeli NGOs calling for boycotts of businesses in all or parts of Israel", and 8-1 on "the ability to file lawsuits against those NGOs."

While striking down by 9-0 the part of the law allowing punitive damages in lawsuits, the justices also voted 5-4 to allow such lawsuits "even if they were against groups that called only for boycotts of post-1967 Israel, meaning of Israeli settlements in the West Bank."

Responding to the verdict, Ma'ayan Dak of the Coalition of Women for Peace, a group that used to call for boycott and divestment before the law, slammed the Supreme Court for having "approved the silencing and the restriction of legitimate protest to criticize and act to change Israeli policy."

Then, just one day after the Court had upheld the anti-boycott legislation, its justices also backed the confiscation of Palestinian land in East Jerusalem using legislation passed in 1950 to appropriate the assets of expelled refugees.

The Absentee Property Law was the main instrument used to transfer land from ethnically cleansed Palestinians to the new State of Israel. It declared land to be 'abandoned' if its owner was absent for even just one day from November 1947 – but excluded Jewish Israelis from its provisions.

After 1967, and the unilateral, illegal expansion of Jerusalem's borders, Palestinians whose land now lay in the city were suddenly categorised as 'absentees', even if they only lived a few hundred metres away, the other side of the new municipal boundary.

As Adalah explained, by its decision the Supreme Court "affirmed the applicability of the [Absentee Property] law to East Jerusalem, approving all past expropriations and giving the green light for further expropriations in the future."

The group's general director Hassan Jabareen slammed the Court for having "validated one of Israel's most racist and arbitrary laws, enacted in 1950 primarily to confiscate Palestinian refugee property after their displacement from their homes."

There is no other place in the world, not in democratic systems nor in dictatorial regimes, where such a law applies. Despite these realities...the Supreme Court gave the green light for the application of arbitrary codes on occupied land and its population, with no regard to their protections under international law.

Finally, also last week, the Supreme Court – again sitting as the HCJ – rejected a petition on the right to higher education of Palestinian political prisoners held in Israeli prisons. The ban was imposed by the Israeli government in 2011 as a punitive measure to pressure Hamas to release Gilad Shalit.

In its final judgment, the Supreme Court stated that, in the words of Adalah, "the prevention of university education does not constitute unacceptable discrimination between security and criminal prisoners", and the seven-judge panel "rejected the petition without further explanation."

Attorney Abeer Baker said the decision "establishes a special regime in the prison that allows arbitrary and abusive practices against Palestinian prisoners because they are Palestinians."

A troubled history

While certainly disturbing, these three rulings are not unprecedented. There are many examples of where the Supreme Court has given its seal of approval to laws and policies that form part of Israel's regime of settler-colonial dispossession and discrimination. Here are eight examples.

i. Denying the right of Palestinian citizens to the lands confiscated from them.

In 2003, the Court rejected a petition by Palestinian former residents of Iqrit, who sought to return to the lands from which they had been expelled in 1948. After the villagers were forced out on a 'temporary' basis, the army blew up their houses, and the land was leased to Jewish communities.

'Present absentees' – those Palestinians forcibly displaced within what became Israel – make up around 1 in 4 of all Palestinian citizens in Israel. In its ruling, the Court accepted the state's argument for preventing Iqrit's residents from returning.

The government claimed that "accepting the petition would have far-reaching and strategic implications that would harm Israel's vital interests, because 200,000 other displaced citizens have also demanded they be allowed to return to their former villages."

ii. Affirming that 'Israeli nationality' does not exist, in the context of a 'Jewish state'.

In October 2013, the Supreme Court rejected a legal challenge brought by petitioners who wished to change their nationality on the population registry from 'Jewish' to 'Israeli'. In "denying the existence of an Israeli nationality distinct from a Jewish one", the decision echoed a similar case brought before the Court in the 1970s.

The historic ruling, which the justice considered as "still applying to the subject of the appeal", stated that "there is no Israeli nation separation from the Jewish nation." The then-president of the Supreme Court Shimon Agranat said that an Israeli nationality "would negate the very foundation upon which the State of Israel was formed" – in other words, as a Jewish state.

According to Israeli legal scholar David Kretzmer, this concept of "nation" helps maintain "the distinction between citizens of the state who belong to the Jewish people and those who do not", and also "strengthens the dichotomy between the state as the political framework for all its citizens and the state as the particularistic nation-state of the Jewish people."

iii. Supporting punitive home demolitions in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt).

In August 2014, the Court rejected an appeal by a human rights NGO against the punitive demolitions of three Palestinian houses in the West Bank. According to B'Tselem, the justices' ruling was not surprising, since the HCJ "has denied the vast majority of the petitions filed against punitive house demolitions and consistently refused to recognize the unlawfulness of this practice."

Again, on 31 December 2014, the HCJ rejected a petition filed by eight human rights groups against punitive house demolitions. Acknowledging "serious moral dilemmas", the judges nonetheless refused to re-examine previous decisions on the matter – including the Court's long-standing view that "the law of the land...trumps international law."

The judges also rejected claims of discrimination, saying that the reason why Section 119 of the emergency defense regulations – through which punitive demolitions are carried out – "is not utilized against Jews is rooted in the fact that there is no need for the same amount of deterrence among the Jewish population."

iv. Supporting the transfer of Palestinian prisoners out of occupied territory.

In 2010, the Supreme Court (as the HCJ) published a ruling "rejecting a petition to order the State to refrain from holding Palestinian prisoners and detainees in facilities located in Israeli territory within the Green Line", a "violation of the non-deportation provisions of the Fourth Geneva Convention."

Instructively, in making its decision, the Court upheld a 1988 ruling which stated that "in the event of a conflict between national law and international law - in this case, Article 6 of the Regulations versus Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention (which prohibits the removal of protected persons from the occupied territory) - national law prevails."

In other words, and this is just one example of course, Israel's Supreme Court "is quite prepared to uphold grave breaches of the Fourth Geneva Convention amounting to war crimes (in the case of transfer and detention inside Israel)."

v. Suppressing dissent through the Nakba Law.

In January 2012, the HCJ rejected a petition against the Nakba Law, which "fines bodies who openly reject Israel as a Jewish state or mark the Israel's Independence Day as a day of mourning." The justices avoided making a definitive decision on the constitutionality of the law by claiming that it was too early to assess the impact of the implementation of the legislation.

According to Adalah and the Association for Civil Rights in Israel, the Supreme Court chose to ignore the fact that the passage of the law already harmed, in practice, "both the freedom of expression and the civil rights of Arab citizens."

vi. Supporting the separation of Palestinian spouses to prevent "national suicide."

In 2012, the Court upheld the notorious Citizenship and Entry into Israel Law, which denies status in Israel to Palestinian spouses of Israeli citizens, separating Palestinian husbands and wives when one has Israeli citizenship and one is from the oPt. In the majority opinion, Justice Asher Grunis wrote that "human rights are not a prescription for national suicide."

The 6-5 decision was greeted with dismay by human rights groups: the Association for Civil Rights in Israel called it a "dark day for the protection of human rights", and said that the Court had "stamped its approval on a racist law, one that will harm the very texture of the lives of families whose only sin is the Palestinian blood that runs in their veins."

vii. Upholding residential 'admission committees' that discriminate against Palestinian citizens.

In September 2014, the HCJ upheld a law through which hundreds of Israeli communities screen and exclude potential residents on the grounds of "social suitability" and the communities' "social and cultural fabric." The Admission Committees Law was passed by the Knesset in 2011, though these bodies had in fact been operating for some time.

In the words of Adalah, "the court's decision effectively legalizes the principle of segregation in housing between Arab and Jewish citizens, and permits the practice of racism against Arab citizens in about 434 communities, or 43% of all towns in Israel."

It was yet another case of the judiciary allowing the government to further deepen racial inequality, by "choosing not to set precedents on critical cases affecting Palestinian rights."

viii. Giving a green light to the exploitation of natural resources in the oPt.

In 2011, the Court rejected a petition asking for a halt to the work of eight, Israeli-owned quarries operating in the West Bank, on the basis that they "take away valuable resources from the Palestinian people and from a future Palestinian state."

As B'Tselem put it, "the resources of an occupied territory are supposed to be used to benefit the local population", and thus the justices' decision "completely contradicts international law."

A further blow to Israel's reputation

Such examples abound. Israel's enlightened Supreme Court has backed the government's separation policy preventing Palestinians moving between the West Bank and Gaza Strip, rejected a petition against the decision to upgrade Ariel settlement's college into a full-fledged university, and turned down a petition against Jewish settlers taking over Palestinian lands in the southern Hebron Hills.

As Israeli journalist and activist Haggai Matar put it, it was the Supreme Court that "legitimized the very existence of the settlements, the regime that props them up and the separation wall - all in violation of international law, as agreed upon by jurists around the world."

The Supreme Court, rather than being "a venue to challenge the occupation", has in fact "institutionalized it." Furthermore, the justices have left Israel's legal infrastructure of ethnocracy intact. Even former president Aharon Barak, loathed by the far-right, acknowledged Israel is "different from other countries" – "It is not only a democratic State, but also a Jewish State."

On the political level, election results demonstrate that the majority of the Jewish Israeli public is content voting for right-wing and far-right parties, and does not view the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip as an urgent issue to be resolved. Change is not coming via the ballot box.

On the level of popular mobilisation, there is no mass movement against the apartheid status quo. Indeed, on the contrary, as one Ha'aretzcolumnist put it, "military rule... is the largest, most visible project, with broader participation than any other endeavour in Israel."

95 percent of Israeli Jews saw "Operation Protective Edge" as justified. Annual protests against Israel's military occupation by "the tiny Israeli left" attract small crowds – and the head of Peace Now is proudly doing his reserve army duty protecting West Bank settlements.

In November 2011, a Ha'aretz editorial called the Supreme Court "the most significant force for the preservation of Israel's reputation in the world." Now, with that reputation continuing to plummet, even the Court stands exposed for what it is: an entity that endorses core elements of Israel's military occupation and institutionalised racism.

Western observers should not be misled by the Israeli far-right's attacks: the Supreme Court is no check on international law violations and systematic discrimination. On the political, popular and judicial levels in Israel, support for Palestinian rights is marginalised or non-existent. Without external pressure, change from within is impossible.

noreply@memonitor.org.uk (Ben White) frontpage Sun, 26 Apr 2015 14:58:23 +0000
Israeli navy fires on Gaza fishing boats https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/middle-east/18275-israeli-navy-fires-on-gaza-fishing-boats https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/middle-east/18275-israeli-navy-fires-on-gaza-fishing-boats File photo of Palestinian fishermen at Gaza Sea PortIsraeli naval forces on Sunday opened fire on Palestinian fishing boats off the coast of the Gaza Strip, damaging two boats, a Palestinian unionist has said.

"Israeli gunboats opened fire toward a group of Palestinian boats in the north of the Gaza Strip," Nizar Ayash, the head of Gaza's Palestinian Fishermen's Union, told Anadolu Agency.

No casualties were reported, but the attack left two fishing boats with partial damage, he added.

"The Israeli forces shot at Palestinian fishing boats under the pretext that they go beyond fishing space specified for them," Ayash said.

There has been no comment from the Israeli army on Ayash's assertion.

In late August, Israel allowed Palestinian fishermen to ply their trade up to six nautical miles off the coast of the Gaza Strip – as opposed to three miles previously.

A cease-fire reached between Israel and Palestinian factions on August 26 ended 51 days of relentless Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip, which killed over 2,160 Palestinians.

According to Ayyash, some 50,000 Gazans earn their living from the fishing business.

He estimated their combined losses during Israel's recent war at more than $6 million.

Ever since Hamas – which Israel deems a "terrorist" organization – won the 2006 legislative polls, Israel has imposed a tight land and sea blockade on the Gaza Strip.

noreply@memonitor.org.uk (Middle East Monitor) frontpage Sun, 26 Apr 2015 14:29:06 +0000
Houthis raid, loot Yemeni TV channel office in Sanaa https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/middle-east/18274-houthis-raid-loot-yemeni-tv-channel-office-in-sanaa https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/middle-east/18274-houthis-raid-loot-yemeni-tv-channel-office-in-sanaa Houthi militantsHouthi militants on Sunday raided and looted an office of a satellite TV channel owned by Yemeni activist and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Tawakkol Karman in Sanaa, sources with the channel have said.

"Houthi militants raided the office of Belqees satellite TV channel in Sanaa, which is owned by Karman," the source, requesting anonymity, told Anadolu Agency.

The source added that Houthi militants looted the office, without revealing further details on the incident.

Houthi leaders could not be reached for an immediate comment on the source's assertions.

Ahmed Alzurqa, the channel's general manager, for his part, confirmed the raid in a Facebook post, adding that the Houthis looted the office.

The channel began broadcasting three months ago from Istanbul, and is known for its staunch opposition to Houthis.

Yemen has been in turmoil since 2011 when a popular uprising forced ex-President Ali Abdullah Saleh to step down a year later.

In September of 2014, the Houthis controlled capital Sanaa and moved on to extend their control in other provinces.

noreply@memonitor.org.uk (Middle East Monitor) frontpage Sun, 26 Apr 2015 14:26:53 +0000
Riyadh wants Kuwaiti MP prosecuted over 'insults' https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/middle-east/18273-riyadh-wants-kuwaiti-mp-prosecuted-over-insults https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/middle-east/18273-riyadh-wants-kuwaiti-mp-prosecuted-over-insults Abdul-Hamid DashtiThe Saudi embassy in Kuwait filed a request to the country's Foreign Ministry calling for prosecuting a Shia Kuwaiti lawmaker for his "repeated insults to Saudi Arabia in the media."

The Saudi embassy, in an official request, called for the prosecution of MP Abdul-Hamid Dashti, a diplomatic source who declined to be named told Anadolu Agency.

Last week, Dashti strongly criticised Saudi Arabia's handling of the Yemeni situation.

The Saudi-led operation "will destroy all Gulf countries," Dashti told Lebanon's Hezbollah-owned Al-Manar TV.

During a Saturday interview on another privately-owned Lebanese channel, Dashti said that "the Gulf Cooperation Council has become a burden on us [Kuwait] and dragged us into wars and security agreements that violate our constitution."

"The people of the Gulf are divided with regards to the war on Yemen," he said, adding that "when Arab countries give up on Syria, the [Shia] Houthis and the Palestinians, they will turn to Iran."

At a previous parliamentary session, Dashti said: "fear over [the security of] Kuwait doesn't come from Iran or Iraq, but from Saudi Arabia, which is a terrorism supporter."

In October, Kuwaiti prosecution authorities accused Dashti of "placing Kuwait at risk of severing relations with brotherly nations," after he made a statement on Twitter saying that "the people of Bahrain will be victorious and will expel the invaders," without specifying who he meant by the "invaders."

noreply@memonitor.org.uk (Middle East Monitor) frontpage Sun, 26 Apr 2015 14:22:01 +0000
Brazilian on hunger strike in Palestine gets support from social media https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/americas/18272-brazilian-on-hunger-strike-in-palestine-gets-support-from-social-media https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/americas/18272-brazilian-on-hunger-strike-in-palestine-gets-support-from-social-media Islam HamedFriends and relatives of Islam Hamed, the Brazilian-Palestinian man who started a hunger strike in a Palestinian prison, have launched a campaign on social networking sites urging authorities to have him released and send him back to Brazil safely. They have created a Facebook page entitled "Libertem o Islam" (Portuguese for "free Islam"). On Thursday (Apr 23), his mother, Brazilian national Nádia Hamed, managed to visit him in jail in Nablus, Palestine, and told family members in Brazil by phone that his son's health condition is critical.

Islam Hamed is Palestinian, but his mother Nádia Hamed is from São Paulo, which earns him Brazilian citizenship as well.

Aged 30, Hamed was arrested for the first time at the age of 17, by the Israeli authorities. Never again was he able to lead a normal life. He was condemned to five years in jail. Nine months after the end of his sentence, he was imprisoned again under a process called administrative detention, in spite of not facing any concrete charges. In Israel, a person may be kept under custody if the government believes they pose a risk to security. His second custody lasted two years. In 2010, Hamed became once again involved with opposition groups in Palestine, and months later was detained for the third time, now by the Palestinian government.

"My son is in very poor health. We don't know how to help. All doors seem to be locked. I don't know what to do," Nádia Hamed told the Brazil Communication Company (EBC) by phone, on April 19.

In 2013, twenty days before the end of his sentence, Palestinian officials announced he was be granted permission to move to Brazil. Despite his valid Brazilian passport and the fact that his wife and 3-year-old son hold an entry visa, nothing has been done, Hamed's relatives say.

On Thursday (15), Hamed's relations in Brazil filed a formal request for help to the Brazilian government. A letter was sent to the Presidency's Special Advisor for International Affairs Marco Aurélio Garcia. In 2013, Hamed's relatives in Brazil asked the Brazilian Embassy for Middle Eastern Affairs for an intervention in the case. The request was also submitted to its Brazilian branch in Palestine. Brazil's ambassador to Palestine Paulo França argues that the situation is a delicate one and says that negotiations with the Palestinian government are underway. His family, however, questions the sluggishness in the case, and fear that a currently unreachable Hamed may not resist the hunger strike.

On the 12th day without food and the third day with no water, Hamed has lost 11kg, can no longer stand up, and has been given intravenous doses of serum. Despite his serious health condition, he has been firm in his decision to continue striking, and not drinking any water.

Hamed is visited by a doctor twice a day. Nonetheless, he is still forced to stay in a cell with lights constantly on, which classifies as torture. The justification given by Palestine's ambassador to Brazil Ibrahim Alzbien had Hamed's family members outraged. "We were shocked to hear the Palestinian ambassador's statement saying that, if there's torture, that's because there's been misbehavior, which shows he supports the torture against the Brazilian prisoner. The Brazilian government had to take emergency action, because Hamed's life is hanging by a thread," said Hamed's aunt Mariam Baker, who lives in São Paulo.

The Palestinian authorities say Hamed has been kept under arrest for his own safety, as, once released, he could be taken to prison by Israel. Brazilian officials claim they have made successive attempts to obtain Hamed's release, with both the Palestinian and the Israeli governments, but no deal seems likely to be reached. In the view of Mohamad El Bacha, head of the São Paulo Muslim Association, it is crucial that the Brazilian government, along with that of Israel, ensures Hamed's departure from Palestine and safe return to Brazil.

This item was written by Eliane Gonçalves for EBC.

Latest caricature by Carlos Latuff - Libertem o Islam HamedBrazilian, imprisoned by the Palestinian Authority, goes on...

Posted by Middle East Monitor on Sunday, 26 April 2015
noreply@memonitor.org.uk (Middle East Monitor) frontpage Sun, 26 Apr 2015 14:04:10 +0000
Carter, Saudi seek mediation between Palestinian factions https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/americas/18271-carter-saudi-seek-mediation-between-palestinian-factions https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/americas/18271-carter-saudi-seek-mediation-between-palestinian-factions Jimmy Carter Former US President Jimmy Carter is undertaking Saudi-backed mediation efforts between rival Palestinian factions Hamas and Fatah, a Palestinian source said Sunday.

"Carter has lately met with prominent Saudi officials and urged their intervention to achieve reconciliation between Palestinian factions, which was welcomed by Riyadh," the source, requesting anonymity, told Anadolu Agency.

"The Saudi government has begun preparations for mediation between the two [Palestinian] movements to reach a 'Mecca II' agreement," the source said.

In 2007, late Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz brokered the first Mecca agreement between Hamas and Fatah, which led to the formation of a short-lived Palestinian unity government.

The 2007 unity government collapsed after clashes began between the two factions months later, which culminated with Hamas' control of the Gaza Strip.

"The Saudi government is seeking guarantees from both Fatah and Hamas that they're serious about reconciliation before mediation efforts would start," the source added.

Carter had recently visited Qatar and met with Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal who assured him that his movement is serious about reconciling with Fatah, the source said.

Carter will arrive in Gaza on Thursday to hold talks with leading Hamas members, he added.

Israeli news outlet Ynet had said that Carter would be arriving on April 30 on a three-day visit to Israel, the West Bank and the Gaza strip.

"Israel has officially decided to boycott Carter's visit, but it won't bar him from entering Israel or from crossing to Gaza," the report said.

A Nobel Peace Prize laureate, Carter visited the Gaza Strip in 2009 and held several meetings with leading Hamas figures, including the group's deputy leader Ismail Haniyeh.

noreply@memonitor.org.uk (Middle East Monitor) frontpage Sun, 26 Apr 2015 14:00:34 +0000
HRW: Morsi trial marred by flaws https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/africa/18270-hrw-morsi-trial-marred-by-flaws https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/africa/18270-hrw-morsi-trial-marred-by-flaws HUman Rights WatchThe trial of former Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi, which saw him jailed for 20 years, produced no evidence of his guilt, a leading human rights group said Sunday.

Morsi was convicted in a Cairo court Tuesday of ordering the use force against protesters outside the presidential palace in December 2012.

Human Rights Watch said its review of the prosecution's file found little evidence other than the testimony of security officials to support the conviction.

"The prosecution's case was founded on the conjecture that Morsi was responsible simply because of his relationship with the Muslim Brotherhood," said the watchdog's North Africa Director Sarah Leah Whitson.

The Muslim Brotherhood rose to prominence during the popular uprising in 2011 that led to the ousting of President Hosni Mubarak. Since President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi, the former army chief, toppled Morsi in 2013 he has pledged to eradicate the Brotherhood and labeled it a terrorist organisation.

A fierce crackdown has left hundreds dead and thousands behind bars.

"Whatever political responsibility Morsi may have, the prosecution didn't establish his criminal guilt in this case," Whitson said.

The verdict, which remains subject to appeal, was the first to be issued against Morsi, who faces further charges in three other cases, including an allegation that he leaked intelligence to Qatar.

The watchdog said the allegations against Morsi relied primarily on testimony that "gave no evidence to support" claims of an agreement between Morsi and the Brotherhood to use force against anti-government protesters.

It said prosecutors also failed to investigate the killings of Morsi supporters during the clashes.

"Of the ten people killed that day, only three were included in the prosecutors' file, creating an appearance that the case was politically motivated against the Brotherhood," the watchdog said.

noreply@memonitor.org.uk (Middle East Monitor) frontpage Sun, 26 Apr 2015 13:56:48 +0000
The official end to the Arab-Israeli conflict https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/articles/middle-east/18269-the-official-end-to-the-arab-israeli-conflict https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/articles/middle-east/18269-the-official-end-to-the-arab-israeli-conflict Helmi Al-AsmarThe leaders of the official Arab governments have announced, explicitly and implicitly, through words and actions, that the conflict with Israel and the Zionist project as a whole has ended. This particular issue has been removed from the mainstream regional agenda and no longer has a place in it, not even in its margins. Therefore, it is strange that Israel is still very concerned about its security in relation to the Arab threat. I could find no better or more honest expression of this concern than what was written by Haaretz newspaper, "It's a regional mix that changes at a dizzying pace. One conflict spills over to, and influences, the neighbouring confrontation. Intelligence analysts and leaders have only a minimal ability to foresee events or navigate through them;" thus showing a sense of fear and dread from something unexpectedly happening.

The vast masses of deluded Arabs used to wait for "respite" from the official Arab regimes and have always considered the perpetual phrase "the Palestinian issue is the Arabs' top issue" with a sense of hope that it would one day lead to the light at the end of the tunnel. Today, almost no one believes that any of the official Arab figures are concerned with Palestine, or its people, or the outcome of the issue. Not only this, there are also practical measures being taken on the ground to persecute all of those who think outside the "official box". The courts are waiting for all those who are interested in the resistance and who speak about it to others. In addition to this, Israel's iron dome defence system is guarded by the Arab regimes and their top national security priority has become "drying out the sources of resistance". Anyone who breaks this golden rule faces murder, imprisonment or prosecution.

Finally, Palestine has been removed from the official Arab cycle of lies, as it was never its top priority and anything ever said in this regard was false and deceptive. It was the official Arab governments that helped Israel complete its project, not to mention help establish it, both publicly and secretly. This mutant would never have completely grown without the direct and indirect help and care of the Arab officials. The only difference between now and then is that the official Arab media machine has taken off its mask of shame and is no longer concerned with hiding the Arab officials' help for Israel, once under the pretext of "peace" treaties, once under the pretext of combating the so-called "terrorism", and another time under the pretext of preserving national security. However, these are all false claims that have nothing to do with the official Arab strategy that is firmly fixed on one matter that "Israel is here to stay."

I am now looking at a representative sample of the truth behind the official Arab regimes' position on Israel, which Israeli military circles in Israel call by its true name "drying up the sources of resistance", according to a report published last Sunday by Yedioth Ahronoth quoting an Israeli military source. The military source that the drying up of not only the sources of resistance, but also the sources of dignity, are being carried out with the utmost harshness and "courage", amid almost complete silence from the Arab elites, the vast majority of whom are sleeping in the government's bedrooms. We barely hear their voices and the justification for this is the Arab national security.

The Israeli military source exposed a matter that is no longer a secret, as the Arab media machine announced it "comfortably" when it stated since Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi came to power via coup in Cairo, Hamas and the Islamic Jihad have not been able to bring one missile into the Gaza Strip via Sinai. This "achievement" was made after the Egyptian army adopted the policy of destroying the tunnels. However, the "greatest achievement" made by the Egyptian army is the elimination of the path used for the smuggling of arms and weapons, which were smuggled from Sudan to Gaza via Sinai. This measure was not carried out arbitrarily; it was the fruit of official "understandings" between Israel and Egypt, to ensure that Hamas's military strength does not grow, according to the Israeli source. Based on these understandings, Cairo stopped allowing cement allocated for charity projects to enter Gaza through Egyptian borders in order to prevent Hamas from using the cement to build tunnels and underground fortifications. Egypt has also prevented the entry of metal pipes out of fear that Hamas will use them to manufacture missiles, as well as chemical fertilizers used for agricultural purposes out of fear that it will be used to make explosive materials. Egypt has even prevented the entry of turning machines because Israel claims that they are used to produce missiles, and this is even applied to all other machines that may provide parts to be used in the manufacture of new missiles.

It is obvious here that during this phase of national deception and treachery, the level of confidence and trust between the Egyptian and Israeli security agencies has become very high and complete. This is cited by the words of the military expert who said that the cooperation and coordination between the two sides, which aims to prevent the growing Hamas' strength, has reached an unprecedented level. This military expert did not forget to praise Egypt and its President's success in making much greater achievements than the ousted president, Hosni Mubarak, in all matters relating to the efforts aimed at preventing the growing of Hamas's strength. He even went as far as accusing Mubarak of condoning the smuggling of weapons into Gaza.

The issue of Palestine has practically and publicly been removed from under the umbrella of official Arab deceitful concern. It was done so in broad daylight and very clearly, and no one, neither the masses nor the elites, are expecting anything from them. Instead, they have started looking elsewhere. Perhaps, this is the source of Israel's concern Haaretz referred to.

Translated from Al-Araby Al-Jadid, 23 April, 2015

noreply@memonitor.org.uk (Helmi Al-Asmar) frontpage Sat, 25 Apr 2015 13:41:53 +0000
Haftar does not object to military operation in Libya https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/africa/18268-haftar-does-not-object-to-military-operation-in-libya https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/africa/18268-haftar-does-not-object-to-military-operation-in-libya General Khalifa HaftarCommander of the Libyan government in Tabruk General Khalifa Haftar said on Friday that he does not object to a military operation in Libya, similar to the one carried out by the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen, Sky News Arabic reported.

In an interview with the network Haftar said that his forces do not want to cause damage and destruction in Tripoli but those who are currently deployed there will move at the appropriate time.

The controversial general said that the movement of his units would take place after more pressure is put on the western parts of the country, stressing that his forces are moving slowly, but with "very-well calculated steps." He emphasised however that the military capture of Tripoli must be carried out by forces under his command only.

General Haftar criticised the current UNSC sanctions on the supply of weapons to the Libyan army. He also criticised the EU's efforts to secure a resolution to target illegal migrants in the Mediterranean. He said if Libya was supplied with weapons it would be able to end the flow of migrants to Europe.

Haftar claimed that armed groups supported by Turkey and Qatar were entering Libya while his forces do not have enough weapons to face these groups.

He also claimed that ISIS members had infiltrated into Libya from several neighbouring countries, as well as through the seaports along the Libyan coasts.

noreply@memonitor.org.uk (Middle East Monitor) frontpage Sat, 25 Apr 2015 13:38:33 +0000
UNSC calls for Syrians to end violence, allow aids delivery https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/americas/18267-unsc-calls-for-syrians-to-end-violence-allow-aids-delivery https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/americas/18267-unsc-calls-for-syrians-to-end-violence-allow-aids-delivery File photo of a UN Security Council meeting at the UN headquarters in New YorkUN Security Council (UNSC) in a statement called on Friday for all the Syrian parties to "immediately" end all forms of violence and reiterated that they "immediately" allow humanitarian aid.

"The Security Council demands that all parties to the Syrian domestic conflict immediately put an end to all forms of violence," the statement said.

It put more blame on the Syrian regime, calling it, in addition to the other parties, to "comply with their applicable obligations under international humanitarian law and international human rights law and respect human rights."

According to the statement, UNSC reiterated its demand that the Syrian parties in the conflict "fully and immediately" implement previous UNSC provisions "particularly through facilitating the expansion of humanitarian relief operations, and the immediate delivery of humanitarian assistance."

UNSC noted that it was "alarmed that the Syrian crisis has become the largest humanitarian emergency crisis in the world today, threatening peace and security in the region."

During the Friday meeting, speakers highlighted the "depth of the humanitarian crisis in the region as the conflict continued in its fifth year, with more than 220,000 killed, 7.6 million displaced, over a million injured and nearly 4 million people seeking refuge in neighbouring countries."

Turkish representative Halit Çevik affirmed the extent of the suffering in Syria and the burden it was placing on his country.

He said that his country "had maintained an open-border policy and complied with the principle of non-refoulement."

He added: "More than 1.7 million Syrians were now living in Turkey. Over 256,000 were registered in 25 shelters; all their needs were provided by the Turkish Government."

The UNSC stressed on the importance of "coordinated international support to the neighbouring countries hosting Syrian refugees, at their request, in addressing legitimate security concerns and ensuring the safety and security of host communities and refugees."

According to the statement, the UNSC appreciated "the significant and admirable efforts" that have been made by a number of the countries in the region.

noreply@memonitor.org.uk (Middle East Monitor) frontpage Sat, 25 Apr 2015 13:31:01 +0000
Iraq is unable to confirm death of senior Saddam's aide https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/middle-east/18266-iraq-is-unable-to-confirm-death-of-senior-saddams-aide https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/middle-east/18266-iraq-is-unable-to-confirm-death-of-senior-saddams-aide Izzat Ibrahim Al-DouriIraqi health ministry said on Friday that it was unable to confirm the death of General Izzat Ibrahim Al-Douri, senior aide for late Iraqi president Saddam Hussein, Palestinian newspaper Al-Quds said.

In a statement, the ministry said: "It has been a norm that a DNA examination is done to confirm identification of a certain corps... Because we have no matches for the aforementioned criminal [Al-Douri], we have been unable to announce the final result yet."

Spokesman of the Ministry of Health Ziyad Tariq stated to AFP: "Currently, the ministry does not have DNA matches for any of Al-Douri's relatives."

He reiterated that there were several parties working to get the needed matches. "The matter is related to more than one side," he said. "It is not solely the responsibility of the ministry of health."

A DNA examination for anyone must match previous culture for the same person or cultures for his/her relatives.

noreply@memonitor.org.uk (Middle East Monitor) frontpage Sat, 25 Apr 2015 13:26:59 +0000
Saudi-led coalition prevented Iranian plane landing in Sanaa Airport https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/middle-east/18265-saudi-led-coalition-prevented-iranian-plane-landing-in-sanaa-airport https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/middle-east/18265-saudi-led-coalition-prevented-iranian-plane-landing-in-sanaa-airport File photo of a transport helicopter of the Iranian Red Crescent SocietyOn Friday, Saudi-led coalition prevented an Iranian plane, owned by Iranian Red Crescent, from landing in Sanaa International Airport, Houthi militia controlled Saba news agency, reported.

According to Saba, the plane was carrying basic humanitarian and medical aids, in addition to 90 Yemenis, who received treatment in Iran.

The source, which reported the news to Saba, said that the Iranian plane applied for landing permission on Thursday, but that application was denied.

In addition, the source said that the plane was planning to take a new number of wounded Yemenis to be treated in Iran.

Anadolu news agency said that the Saudi-led alliance has not released any comment on the incident yet.

Since the start of the Operation Decisive Storm, the Saudi-led alliance monitors the Yemeni skies, to prevent any planes carrying weapons for Houth militias landing.

noreply@memonitor.org.uk (Middle East Monitor) frontpage Sat, 25 Apr 2015 13:20:14 +0000
Israel denies visa for SA minister visiting Gaza https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/middle-east/18264-israel-denies-visa-for-sa-minister-visiting-gaza https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/middle-east/18264-israel-denies-visa-for-sa-minister-visiting-gaza Blade NzimandeSouth Africa is outraged that Israel had denied visa for cabinet minister and accompanying delegation planned to visit the Palestinian territories, mass media reported on Friday.

Israeli newspaper Jerusalem Post reported on Thursday that the Israeli occupation had denied a visa for South African minister of higher education, Blade Nzimande, to visit the Palestinian territories later this month.

Nzimande said the Israeli Embassy, which returned his application without explanation, had informed him of the decision.

Nzminade expressed outrage at the decision, explaining that the Israeli occupation prevents internationals from entering Palestinian to hide the effect of its aggression against the Palestinians.

"The Israeli Government is trying by all means to hide their atrocities against the Palestinian people, and minimise the number of people who can actually see what is happening on the ground," he told reporters.

Nzimande was invited to Palestine to discuss possible academic partnership between the Palestinian Birzeit University and the University of Johannesburg.

He was scheduled to participate in the launch of the Centre for African Studies at Birzeit University, for which South Africa would be the anchor.

A Centre for Middle East Studies was also due to be launched at the University of Johannesburg, for which the University of Birzeit would have been the anchor.

noreply@memonitor.org.uk (Middle East Monitor) frontpage Sat, 25 Apr 2015 13:14:34 +0000
HRW: Gulf pays more $6b to supress Egyptian opposition https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/americas/18263-hrw-gulf-pays-more-6b-to-supress-egyptian-opposition https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/americas/18263-hrw-gulf-pays-more-6b-to-supress-egyptian-opposition Kenneth RothExecutive Director of Human Rights Watch Kenneth Roth has said that latest support of Gulf States to Egypt was channelled to "suppress dissent."

Roth tweeted on Thursday: "It's expensive running a police state: Gulf States give Sisi [Abdul-Fattah Al-Sisi] another $6B to suppress dissent."

"Today...$2 billion from each state came into the country's foreign exchange holdings," governor of Egyptian Central Bank Hisham Ramez told Reuters in a telephone interview.

"The interest on the deposits is 2.5 per cent and maturities range from three to five years," Ramez said

Reuters said that Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the UAE and Oman jointly pledged $12.5 billion in aid, investments and central bank deposits at a March investment conference in Egypt's resort town of Sharm El-Sheikh.

noreply@memonitor.org.uk (Middle East Monitor) frontpage Sat, 25 Apr 2015 13:05:39 +0000
Important lessons from the Birzeit University elections https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/resources/commentary-and-analysis/18262-important-lessons-from-the-birzeit-university-elections https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/resources/commentary-and-analysis/18262-important-lessons-from-the-birzeit-university-elections MEMO Commentary by Dr Daud AbdullahThe conduct of public opinion polls may not be as well-entrenched in the Middle East as it is in the west but there are no doubt other credible means to gauge the public mood of which, in Palestine, university elections are one. This week the pro-Hamas "Wafa" bloc of candidates swept to success in the polls at Birzeit University in a manner that brings to mind the 2006 parliamentary elections, which Hamas won hands down across the occupied Palestinian territories. The big question now is whether PA President Mahmoud Abbas will go to the polls with presidential and legislative council elections as he has been promising for some time.

Despite being subjected by the Palestinian Authority to a cynical campaign of harassment and detention of their student supporters, the Hamas bloc won 26 seats on the students' council while Abbas's Fatah secured 19.

The elections at Birzeit came just days after those at Hebron's Palestine (Polytechnic) University, in which Hamas and Fatah gained 15 seats each and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) won 1. That result revealed a significant shift in an arena where Fatah-affiliated student groups have always won elections in recent years.

Birzeit, unlike the Islamic University in Gaza is, perhaps, the least likely place to return a resounding victory for Hamas, for it has never had an administration that could be described as Islamist. On the contrary, it has been traditionally more aligned to Fatah and the Ramallah authority. This, therefore, will be a matter of grave concern for President Abbas; if Hamas can win in this "safe" enclave what will prevent the movement from winning elsewhere and, indeed, in the national elections?

On that broader national level, the results have also exposed the failure of the Israeli occupation. Although the blockade of the Gaza Strip was intended to instigate popular anger and hostility against Hamas this has not happened. Support for the movement has remained strong and is in fact growing, obviously even in the most unlikely of quarters; Birzeit is not only the largest Palestinian university in the West Bank but also a historic stronghold of Palestinian nationalism and political activism.

Indeed the result can be seen as a message to Mr Abbas that not only was his stand on Gaza during the last Israeli offensive wholly unacceptable, but also that his current approach towards the reconstruction of the enclave and his handling of the reconciliation process leaves much to be desired. The failure of his national unity government to resolve satisfactorily the issue of public sector workers' salaries, for example, remains a toxic and damaging bone of contention.

As for Fatah and Hamas, their reactions to the Birzeit University poll differed markedly. Jamal Nazal, a member of Fatah's revolutionary council and spokesman in Europe, claimed that the student votes do not in any way reflect the thinking or mood of the Palestinian street.

Of course, he would say that, wouldn't he; had his party won, it would have trumpeted from the rooftops that it was a ringing endorsement of Abbas and his PA and a sign of greater things to come. Fatah, perhaps, might even have dared to go to the polls for the long overdue presidential and parliamentary elections.

Hamas, on the other hand, has taken the victory as an endorsement of its policies. Ezzet Rishq, a member of the political bureau, said that the victory sends an important message that Hamas is now clearly the vanguard movement of the Palestinians; that its programme of resistance is the choice of the people. He added that the results reflect a rejection of Fatah's decision to pursue futile negotiations and damaging security coordination with the Israeli occupation forces.

The other parties with a vested interest in the Palestinian elections are the Israelis, Americans and Europeans who sponsor the PA. Will they make the same mistake that they made in 2006 by pushing Abbas to hold elections? Judging from past experience, they will only do so if they can guarantee a Fatah victory; this is highly unlikely. Having supported the coup in Egypt and betrayed the democratic will of the region's people who voted for Islamist parties, the west will surely not risk another humiliating defeat in Palestine of all places. For Hamas the only possible benefit from such an outcome would be the popular reaffirmation of its resistance agenda. The fact is, however, that the movement would not be allowed to govern even if, yet again, it won a democratically-elected majority.

No matter how the parties may try to spin it, though, the results in Birzeit are significant. The university is seen as the public institution most representative of Palestinian society. In spite of all the attempts to demonise and marginalise Hamas, it evidently remains a popular force to be reckoned with in Palestine. Nevertheless, at this delicate moment in the history of the conflict, the victory must be viewed in its correct context. Khaled Meshaal was right when he pointed out that it was not a victory for Hamas per se but a victory for all the Palestinian people because it consolidates the emergence of a political process based on participation and inclusivity. If nothing else, that's a lesson that Mahmoud Abbas really should learn.

noreply@memonitor.org.uk (Dr Daud Abdullah) frontpage Fri, 24 Apr 2015 16:18:29 +0000
Medical professionals respond to serious threat to The Lancet https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/europe/18261-medical-professionals-respond-to-serious-threat-to-the-lancet https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/europe/18261-medical-professionals-respond-to-serious-threat-to-the-lancet The Lancet

The Lancet, one of the world's oldest and most respected medical journals, is under attack from more than 500 doctors from across the globe over an open letter it published last July during the Israeli attack on the Gaza Strip.

"An open letter to the people of Gaza" denounced what it called "Israel's crimes against humanity" and the "massacre in Gaza". The letter stated: "Israel's behaviour has insulted our humanity, intelligence, and dignity as well as our professional ethics and efforts."

The letter, which controversially did not condemn Hamas' rocket attacks, provoked a fierce debate in The Lancet's correspondence columns, with complaints of "anti-Jewish bigotry" and calls for medicine "not to take sides".

In the latest development the protestors, led by Professor Sir Mark Pepys of University College London, have gathered together 396 professors and specialists to sign a complaint which was submitted to the board of the publishing firm Reed Elsevier, the journal's owner, last month.

The complainants, which have grown to over 500 since a website was established to co-ordinate the campaign, demand that the publisher retract the open letter, apologise for its publication and ensure "any further malpractice at The Lancet is prevented".

They threaten an academic boycott of Reed Elsevier, which publishes over 2,000 scientific journals, if their demands are not met.

The group claims it is campaigning against the "grossly irresponsible misuse of [the journal] for political purposes".

In response, a rival group of 300 doctors, led by Professor Graham Watt of the University of Glasgow, has refuted the criticisms on their own website, handsoffthelancet.com.

Their response called the developments "the latest in a series of attempts to stifle media coverage of the Israel-Palestine issue". They called the campaign a "smear campaign" and defended The Lancet's editor Richard Horton against the "personal attacks", asserting that he is an "exceptional leader in global health".

Many believe that this is the most serious threat to The Lancet since the first campaigning editor, Thomas Wakley, faced a series of lawsuits shortly after it was founded 192 years ago.

noreply@memonitor.org.uk (Fakir) frontpage Fri, 24 Apr 2015 15:58:16 +0000
Of migrants, murder, and historical myopia https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/articles/europe/18260-of-migrants-murder-and-historical-myopia https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/articles/europe/18260-of-migrants-murder-and-historical-myopia Italian coast guard military. [File photo]

Nearly 2,000 people have been killed this year while attempting to make the perilous sea journey across the Mediterranean to the supposed safe haven of Europe – or rather, 2,000 and counting. In the wake of the grim news of a further 900 reported deaths over the weekend, there has been an information scramble as news organisations and politicians alike attempt to explain what has happened and, crucially, what we can do about it. Cue much grovelling and hand-wringing by European officials, and the oft-reiterated pledge that "something must be done" about the "problem" of unsafe migrant routes.

Now, it seems, that something might come in the guise of guns and warships. The EU announced this morning that it is planning on using "military means" to target the ships used by people traffickers, while David Cameron has pledged to send HMS Bulwark and military helicopters in a bid to "smash" the smuggler gangs.

Notwithstanding the sheer lunacy of this plan – a version of the trigger-happy Iraq war motto of "let's bomb people and see if that makes things better" – the notion of using a military response to solve what is essentially a humanitarian crisis is misguided at best, criminal at worst.

It seems increasingly ironic that Britain and other European countries are now pledging to stop a situation that they themselves are wholly responsible for. In last 12 months before it was withdrawn due to lack of funding, Italy's search and rescue mission, Mare Nostrum, rescued more than 150,000 refugees from the shark-infested waters of the Mediterranean. Since Mare Nostrum ended at the end of last year, there have been no attempts by European countries to save desperate migrants lost at sea. Indeed, Britain's stance on the matter was to withdraw all search and rescue missions in a bid to limit further migration, since the chance of rescue was deemed a potential "pull factor" – a decision whose twisted logic one commentator encapsulated in the phrase "Drown a Refugee to Save a Refugee".

The simple fact is that as a direct result of this policy, nearly 2,000 people have died in the first four months of this year alone. Deaths that could have been prevented entirely if Mare Nostrum and other rescue missions had continued to operate.

These people have left their homes and families, often travelling immense distances in the harshest of conditions in order to seek safety and refuge on our shores, and the policy of Europe towards them has been to sit back and watch them die. You never know, if they had actually made it here, they might have taken our jobs.

But the worst part of the attitude of the EU and other European powers to the migrant crisis is not just their criminal negligence of the thousands dying on their shores, but their wilful disregard for the past and the complicity of their governments in creating the political, economic and societal circumstances that are driving the tide of migration in the first place.

The history of European colonialism in the countries of Africa and the Middle East is one of pillaging, murder, corruption, and colonial arrogance. We treated the lands and the peoples of the countries we occupied with disdain bordering on hatred, and thought nothing of squeezing the last drops of commercial wealth out of them before discarding them to rot on the dust pile of history. Except, of course, when the battle-weary and desperate people of those countries turn up on our doorsteps asking for food and shelter – then they become demonised as "immigrants" and "benefit scroungers". In the words of comedian Frankie Boyle: "We fear the arrival of immigrants that we have drawn here with the wealth we stole from them [in the first place]." Without the diamonds, gold and ores of the African continent, without the tea, spices, silk and other tradable goods from the Middle East and Indian subcontinent – not to mention the oil and natural gas from the Persian Gulf – the countries of Western Europe would be very poor indeed.

More recently, of course, Europe and the West has not contented itself with simply stealing from the people of these countries, but has been actively involved in meddling in the political and social fabric of nations across Africa and the Middle East. Without the NATO intervention in Libya, the arming of militant rebels in Syria, the catastrophic invasion of Iraq and the subsequent rise of Al-Qaeda and now ISIS to fill the power vacuum left by Western military and political games in the region, it is feasible that the situations in those countries would not have reached the crises that they currently endure.

In a very real sense, then, not only is Europe and the West directly to blame for the death of every single migrant they fail to save in the perilous waters of the Mediterranean, they are also to blame for the fact that the migrant even attempted the crossing in the first place. Without Western meddling, there may have been no civil war in Libya, poverty in sub-Saharan Africa, ISIS in Syria, or any other factor that drives people to the desperate measures of scraping together all their money and piling themselves and their close family members into a badly-built and leaky boat in order to cross the deep and deadly waters of the Mediterranean in search of a better life.

This is why, at the end of the day, targeting the smugglers themselves, or the networks in which they operate, will have very little effect. Without addressing the deep-running roots of migrancy across the Mediterranean – namely, the abject poverty, social and political turmoil and civil wars created by the West through their incessant manipulation and interference in the countries of Africa and the Middle East – the death toll will keep mounting. And we only have ourselves to blame.

noreply@memonitor.org.uk (Emmanuela Eposti ) frontpage Fri, 24 Apr 2015 15:39:17 +0000
Mediterranean migrants are desperate; Europe can’t just turn them away https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/blogs/politics/18259-mediterranean-migrants-are-desperate-europe-cant-just-turn-them-away https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/blogs/politics/18259-mediterranean-migrants-are-desperate-europe-cant-just-turn-them-away Samira ShackleOn Thursday, the bodies recovered from the Mediterranean's worst-ever migrant disaster were buried in Malta. There were only 24 coffins, although an estimated 800 people died. None of the bodies were identified; some had numbers scrawled on them referring to a DNA sample from the corpse in case a relative comes searching for their loved ones in the years ahead. The dead were honoured with a memorial service that included both Christian and Muslim prayers and was attended by the president of Malta, Italy's interior minister and the EU's migration commissioner.

Only 28 people survived the capsizing of that boat, which came just days after another sank off the coast of Libya, killing around 400 people. The two incidents have brought the death toll of people attempting the Mediterranean crossing to around 1,700 so far this year, 30 times more than died in the same period in 2014. Around 3,500 died in the whole of last year.

Many have attributed this drastic increase in the death toll to a shift in EU policy. From October 2013 to October 2014, the Mare Nostrum search-and-rescue operation run by Italy aimed to keep a 24-hour watch over the Mediterranean, especially the Sicily Strait, after more than 300 migrants drowned off the Italian island of Lampedusa. In November 2014, it was replaced by Operation Triton, a much cheaper, more limited EU-led operation, based in Italian waters and patrolling only within 30 nautical miles of the Italian coast. Britain was among the countries which refused to contribute to the operation, arguing that providing a search-and-rescue service to make the route safer would act as an unintentional "pull" factor and encourage more people to try to make the perilous journey to Europe.

The events of this month have shown that that argument is an immoral and inhumane fallacy. Migrants are fleeing not because they assume that rescue operations will keep them safe, but because they are desperate; they are trying to escape from violence and hardship. The numbers speak for themselves; around 35,000 are estimated to have arrived in Europe from North Africa in 2015. Libya is fast moving towards the status of a failed state, and the political crisis in the country makes it an easy point of departure for Europe. This has been exploited by human traffickers, a point that has been emphasised by politicians in Britain in an attempt to justify their position.

At an emergency summit in Brussels this week, EU leaders committed extra ships, planes and helicopters to save lives in the Mediterranean. Germany and France pledged two ships, while Britain committed three. David Cameron insisted that those rescued by British ships would not have immediate recourse to claim asylum in Britain but would be taken to the nearest safe country. Other member states also promised vessels and helicopters for use in rescue missions. It was agreed that funding for Operation Triton would triple to $9.7m a month. Leaders also said that they were discussing military action against traffickers to stem the flow of people heading for Europe.

This is undoubtedly a positive step; for years, European leaders have done little more than issue statements lamenting the loss of life, while failing to take any significant action. However, conversely, the announcement more or less ignored the humanitarian crises that are leading people to make these journeys in the first place. There is no doubt that people traffickers are cynical — they risk people's lives for financial gain — but a focus on traffickers alone risks missing the point. After all, the migrants are not being forced to embark on such a dangerous journey, so they must be incredibly desperate to hand money over willingly to those same traffickers.

While restoring a proper rescue operation is a vital part of a much wider picture, it is also important to consider what happens to those migrants who do make it to Europe. In the face of increasing anti-immigrant sentiment across the EU's member states, most countries wish to ignore the mounting crisis. There is a disproportionate pressure on countries in southern Europe where many refugees arrive; they face destitution, long periods of detention and deportation. Journeys within Europe to different countries are fraught with their own dangers.

The question of what happens to these migrants when they arrive must be addressed, in a sensible and humane manner, or more lives will be lost. There is no denying that it is a huge task – some 10,000 people were rescued in the space of a week – but continuing to deny the existence of these people, to lock them up, or to focus simply on sending them back to the places they fled from, is surely no longer an option. The people drowning in the Mediterranean are some of the poorest and most desperate in the world; Europe cannot continue to turn its back.

noreply@memonitor.org.uk (Samira Shackle) frontpage Fri, 24 Apr 2015 15:29:45 +0000
Division amongst Yemeni parties regarding conditions of ending the crisis https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/middle-east/18258-division-amongst-yemeni-parties-regarding-conditions-of-ending-the-crisis https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/middle-east/18258-division-amongst-yemeni-parties-regarding-conditions-of-ending-the-crisis Destruction of Saudi Air strikes in Yemen

The idea of holding talks to end the crisis in Yemen is welcomed by all parties, but with the continued Saudi attacks and airstrikes, no agreement has been reached regarding how these talks can be held.

The chances of reaching a ceasefire agreement in Yemen are fluctuating, as the military campaign led by Saudi Arabia, which began four weeks ago, has caused hundreds of civilian casualties and intensified the current humanitarian crisis by imposing a naval blockade.

President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, who is in exile in Riyadh, and his government said that they will not hold talks until the Houthis withdraw from the cities they occupied, especially the port of Aden, and lay down their weapons.

On their part, the Houthis say that they will not hold talks until the airstrikes completely stop.

Yemeni Foreign Minister Riad Yassin said that these talks still have not been held, adding that there is no contact between the government and the Houthis.

During a visit to Bahrain, the foreign minister said that there will be no contact between the two sides until they lay down their weapons. He also said that the talks will not begin until the Houthis withdraw from all the cities and the situation becomes more stable.

As for the role that the Houthis and supporters of Ali Abdullah Saleh could play in the next phase of dialogue, the foreign minister said that "in the eyes of the Yemenis, the role of the Houthis and Ali Abdullah Saleh has ended".

Yassin accused Iran, which supports the Houthis, of "making desperate attempts to penetrate the naval blockade imposed on Yemen". He also described what is occurring in Yemen as "an assault on all Yemenis that is an implementation of an Iranian plan, executed by the Houthi militias."

Saudi Arabia supports Hadi's position, and despite the fact that Riyadh announced the end of Operation Decisive Storm on Tuesday, it is still using airstrikes to target the military activity of the Houthis and their allies in the Yemeni cities.

Officials in the Yemeni government have circulated a proposal suggested by Oman this week which stipulates that Hadi and his government remains in office. On the other hand, according to the proposal, all parties should prepare for presidential and parliamentary elections soon, while the economic and humanitarian crisis in Yemen should be addressed through international aid and investments.

The Houthi fighters seem to believe that there could be better conditions than these and therefore have not publically changed their views on Hadi no longer being legitimate. Thus, the Houthis are still fighting in Aden as well as other Yemeni cities.

Despite this, the Houthis described the UN's efforts to help facilitate the peace talks as positive and reports indicating the release of Defence Minister Mahmoud Al-Subaihi suggest an approach more inclined to reconciliation.

Jamal Khashoggi, a Saudi political analyst, said that Saudi Arabia has left the door open for diplomacy, but still insists on using airstrikes. He added that Houthis have not stopped fighting either, but there is no way that the Saudis will allow the Houthis to rule even an inch of Yemen. What confirms that this is a vital issue, both on the ground or in moving towards peace talks, is the position of the General People's Congress Party, former President Ali Abdullah Saleh's party, who allied with the Houthis.

Army forces loyal to Saleh are fighting alongside the Houthis, who are less equipped. The Saudis believe that if these forces can be convinced to stop fighting, this would force the Houthis to retreat.

Saleh has repeatedly refused to leave Yemen, which is what Hadi and the Saudis want, but several army brigades that supported him in the past have recently left him to join the other side.

A senior Western diplomat said that while the Saudi airstrikes had little effect on the Houthis, who are mostly lightly armed gangs, it caused serious damage to Saleh's allies' armies.

At the same time, Arab media outlets have reported yesterday that leaders of the General People's Congress party held talks with the Gulf Arab states as well as the United States and Britain to discuss the peace negotiations.

noreply@memonitor.org.uk (Fakir) frontpage Fri, 24 Apr 2015 15:00:38 +0000
UNRWA chief calls for donors to fulfil their Gaza pledges https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/americas/18257-unrwa-chief-calls-for-donors-to-fulfil-their-gaza-pledges https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/americas/18257-unrwa-chief-calls-for-donors-to-fulfil-their-gaza-pledges Robert Turner

Director of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) Robert Turner yesterday called on donors to fulfil their commitments and provide more financial support for the Gaza Strip.

Turner told reporters at a press club in Brussels that he was frustrated by the donors' lack of commitment to the pledges they made during the Cairo summit.

"I am in Brussels to talk about the disastrous situation not only for the people of Gaza, but also for the humanitarian organisations teams less than a year after the last war in Gaza," he said.

Turner stressed that the situation in Gaza is characterised by famine and frustrations, noting that his agency's recent figures on the situation in Gaza confirms beyond any doubt the amount of suffering and disaster experienced by the people of Gaza, especially homeless families and children without schools.

Turner said the Israeli war on Gaza not only destroyed thousands of homes and schools but also medical centres and infrastructure which impacted negatively Gaza's economy and destroyed it completely.

"Therefore donations are used not only to build what has been destroyed before, but to plan for a better future for the people," he added.

The senior UN official stressed that the humanitarian situation in Gaza cannot be separated from the political situation and that both are closely related to one another, especially as two-thirds of the population are fully dependent on food aid.

He also stressed that the war in itself was not primarily responsible for the tragic situation in Gaza but that the eight-year long Israeli blockade hampered reconstruction efforts.

Turner pointed out that it was very important to find a political solution to the conflict so the 2014 war is the last war in Gaza.

noreply@memonitor.org.uk (Fakir) frontpage Fri, 24 Apr 2015 14:58:11 +0000
Morocco allows citizens to challenge government decisions https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/africa/18256-morocco-allows-citizens-to-challenge-government-decisions https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/africa/18256-morocco-allows-citizens-to-challenge-government-decisions Mustapha Al- Khalfi

Morocco has approved two bills allowing its citizens to challenge decisions made by the government and its institutions and to propose new laws, the government spokesperson said yesterday.

Morocco's Minister of Communication and government spokesman Mustapha Al- Khalfi told reporters in the capital Rabat: "The bill allows for the allocation of 25,000 signatures of eligible citizens who register in the election lists to challenge government decisions."

Spain requires 500,000 signatures and Italy 50,000 signatories in order for citizens to submit petitions.

The minister pointed out that both bills come as part of the principles of participatory democracy under the new constitution.

The two bills are the first of their kind in the Arab world to allow citizens to submit petitions to public authorities and propose new bills that could turn into laws if adopted by the parliament.

noreply@memonitor.org.uk (Fakir) frontpage Fri, 24 Apr 2015 14:50:03 +0000
Palestinian FM: Israel stopped South African minister’s visit to Palestine https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/middle-east/18255-palestinian-fm-israel-stopped-south-african-ministers-visit-to-palestine https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/middle-east/18255-palestinian-fm-israel-stopped-south-african-ministers-visit-to-palestine Riyad al-Maliki

Israel has stopped a planned visit by South Africa's Minister of Higher Education Blade Nzimande to the Palestinian territories scheduled for later this month, the Anadolu Agency reported a senior Palestinian official as saying.

In a joint press conference with Nzimande in Jakarta, Indonesia, Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad Maliki said: "Israel is sending a clear message of racism to the summit's participants by frustrating minister Nzimande's visit to Palestine, which was scheduled for 25-28 April."

Al-Maliki pointed out that "the visit was planned for last year after the signing of a bilateral educational cooperation agreement between the two sides during President Mahmoud Abbas's visit to South Africa in November 2014."

"Israel's prevention policy against officials and international figures who sympathise with the Palestinian cause and their suffering under the Israeli occupation will not succeed in isolating the Palestinian people from the international community, but instead will increase the Palestinian leadership's political, diplomatic and media strength in the global struggle to end the occupation and establish an independent state," he explained.

Meanwhile, Nzimande said the Israeli authorities refused to give him a visa to enter the Palestinian territories for a six-day visit despite having completed all the necessary procedures.

"Israel is trying to punish me through this ban and the South African Communist Party for our moral standing by the Palestinian people's side in their struggle for freedom, justice and independence," he added.

There was no comment from Israeli authorities.

noreply@memonitor.org.uk (Fakir) frontpage Fri, 24 Apr 2015 14:39:31 +0000
Internally displaced Palestinians march to Hadatha https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/middle-east/18254-internally-displaced-palestinians-march-to-hadatha https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/middle-east/18254-internally-displaced-palestinians-march-to-hadatha Many participants were from the new generation of Palestinian activists inside 1948 occupied lands showing that the belief in return continues to be passed on after 67 years.


On April 23rd, the day that Jewish Israelis celebrated 'Independence Day', several thousand Palestinian citizens of Israel marched to the depopulated village of Hadatha in the annual March of Return. The March of Return is the largest annual event that is held by internally displaced Palestinians demanding their right of return to the villages from which they were forcibly displaced during the Nakba.

Amidst sporadic rain and high winds this year's event did not match the huge numbers who attended the march in 2014 although Palestinians from across 1948 occupied lands and areas of East Jerusalem west of the Apartheid Wall travelled to the Galilee to demand their rights.

The village of Hadatha lies in the southern Galilee a few kilometres southwest of Tiberias. On May 12th 1948, the village was attacked and forcibly depopulated by the Zionist Golani militia and subsequently destroyed.

Today, very little can be seen of the original village although occasional piles of large stones evidence the 122 houses that once housed more than 600 Palestinians. On a hillside, Hadatha's cemetery can still be found as can the spring in the village's lower lands.

At least 1 million Palestinians today live as citizens of the state of Israel of whom about a quarter are from villages that were destroyed and depopulated during the Nakba. Although officially considered to be 'residents' of the State of Israel, these internally displaced Palestinians are prohibited from returning to live in their home villages.

Today more than 7 million Palestinians are living in enforced exile. The largest majority of those people are refugees and their descendents who were exiled during the original mass displacement that was enforced between 1947-49 by Zionist militias and later the Israeli army. However, every decade since the Nakba began has also witnessed enforced displacement in a settler-colonial project that continues at pace today - a process which Palestinians refer to as the 'Ongoing Nakba'.

Images by MEMO photographer Rich Wiles.

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noreply@memonitor.org.uk (Fakir) frontpage Fri, 24 Apr 2015 14:30:49 +0000
Baghdad attacks leave three dead, 15 injured https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/middle-east/18253-baghdad-attacks-leave-three-dead-15-injured https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/middle-east/18253-baghdad-attacks-leave-three-dead-15-injured hospital in iraq

Three separate attacks left three people dead and 15 injured, including an Iraqi army officer, in Baghdad today, an Iraqi police source said.

Two civilians were killed and eight others were wounded when an improvised explosive device went off at a busy market in Al-Moshahada district in northern Baghdad, a police officer, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told the Anadolu Agency.

A civilian was killed and six others were injured when another bomb was detonated in Al-Mahmoudiyah district in southern Baghdad.

Meanwhile, an army officer was wounded when unidentified assailants shot him in central Baghdad.

noreply@memonitor.org.uk (Fakir) frontpage Fri, 24 Apr 2015 13:50:33 +0000
13 killed in clashes in western Tunisia https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/africa/18252-baghdad-attacks-leave-three-dead-15-injured https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/africa/18252-baghdad-attacks-leave-three-dead-15-injured File photo of military soldiers of Sudan

Tunisia's Defence Ministry said today that ten "terrorists" and three army troops have been killed in clashes in the western part of the country.

Ministry spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Belhassen Oueslati said six "terrorists" were killed on Wednesday and four others yesterday.

"Three military personnel were also killed in clashes in Djebel Selloum in the western Kasserine province," Oueslati told state TV.

Oueslati said seven other military personnel were injured in a crackdown campaign launched against militants in the area since Wednesday.

Since late 2011, Tunisian security forces have been searching for militants in the western Jebel ech Chambi region.

The authorities accuse the militants of orchestrating attacks on security personnel.

noreply@memonitor.org.uk (Fakir) frontpage Fri, 24 Apr 2015 13:44:26 +0000
A Useless Man https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/culture/18251-a-useless-man https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/culture/18251-a-useless-man LITERATURE

A Useless Man

Thurs 25 June 2015, 7.00pm


Join acclaimed author, journalist and lecturer, Maureen Freely, in conversation with award-winning cultural journalist and writer, Maya Jaggi, at the launch of A Useless Man (English translation), a collection of autobiographical and highly symbolic stories from renowned Turkish author Sait Faik Abasiyanik. Presented in collaboration with Archipelago. Read more.

noreply@memonitor.org.uk (Middle East Monitor) frontpage Fri, 24 Apr 2015 11:20:14 +0000
Supper Club with Tatreez Café https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/culture/18250-supper-club-with-tatreez-cafe https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/culture/18250-supper-club-with-tatreez-cafe FOOD

Supper Club with Tatreez Café

Thurs 18 June 2015, 7.00-10.00pm

Tickets £35, BOOK NOW

Experience the authentic flavours and rich culture of Palestine at this three course supper club with Hana Haj Ahmad of Tatreez Cafe. Drawing on themes explored in The Mosaic Rooms exhibition, Garden State, Ahmad will supplement cooking demonstrations and dining with background on the complexities of cultivating food in Palestine under Israeli occupation. Places limited, advanced booking recommended. Read more.

noreply@memonitor.org.uk (Middle East Monitor) frontpage Fri, 24 Apr 2015 11:18:14 +0000
Artists Talk: Corinne Silva https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/culture/18249-artists-talk-corinne-silva https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/culture/18249-artists-talk-corinne-silva TALK

Artists Talk: Corinne Silva

Wed 17 June 2015, 7.00pm


Discover the inspiration behind the works in Corinne Silva's new solo show at this event where the artist will be in conversation with Julian Stallabrass. Garden State comprises two photographic installations created during a series of trips to sites between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River from 2010 and 2013, these offer an unexpected view on gardening as a tool for colonial expansions, territory making and occupation. Read more.

noreply@memonitor.org.uk (Middle East Monitor) frontpage Fri, 24 Apr 2015 11:16:37 +0000
Day Trip: Cambridge University Herbarium https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/culture/18248-day-trip-cambridge-university-herbarium https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/culture/18248-day-trip-cambridge-university-herbarium TRIP

Day Trip: Cambridge University Herbarium

Mon 15 June 2015, 9.00am

Tickets £25, BOOK NOW

Discover the internationally renowned collection of over one million pressed, dried and mounted plants from around the world at our special excursion to the Cambridge University Herbarium. This trip accompanies The Mosaic Rooms current photography exhibition Garden State, and aims to shed further light on issues tacked in the show. Read more.

noreply@memonitor.org.uk (Middle East Monitor) frontpage Fri, 24 Apr 2015 11:14:21 +0000
Permaculture in Palestine https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/culture/18247-permaculture-in-palestine https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/culture/18247-permaculture-in-palestine TALK

Permaculture in Palestine

Sat 13 June 2015, 12.00pm


How have trees been used as a tool for colonisation and displacement, and as a land-based resistance strategy in Palestine? Join permaculture teacher and designer Alice Gray, at this fascinating discussion which explores the Israeli strategy of creating dependency through dislocating communities from their environment, as well as permaculture as tool to overcome this. Accompanies The Mosaic Rooms free exhibition Garden State. Read more.

noreply@memonitor.org.uk (Middle East Monitor) frontpage Fri, 24 Apr 2015 11:11:45 +0000
Sonic Performance: Gardens of Illusion https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/culture/18246-sonic-performance-gardens-of-illusion https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/culture/18246-sonic-performance-gardens-of-illusion LIVE EVENT

Sonic Performance: Gardens of Illusion

Thurs 11 June 2015, 7pm


Explore the synergies between sound and visual art at this special late exhibition opening and performance with sound artist and composer Toby Wiltshire, who will present a piece to accompany Corinne Silva's photography exhibition Garden State. Straddling the grey area between ambient music and sonic art, and focusing on contrasting textures and depth of field, the performance promises to provide a new and evolving dimension to Silva's work. Read more.

noreply@memonitor.org.uk (Middle East Monitor) frontpage Fri, 24 Apr 2015 11:10:01 +0000
Permaculture & Ecosystem Architecture Workshop https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/culture/18245-permaculture-a-ecosystem-architecture-workshop https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/culture/18245-permaculture-a-ecosystem-architecture-workshop WORKSHOP

Permaculture & Ecosystem Architecture Workshop

Sat 6 June 2015, 12.00-5.00pm

Tickets £10, BOOK NOW Places Limited

Delve into the fascinating world of ecosystems, explore permaculture and discover microorganisms that you never new existed before! Plus create your own permie-planter at this special one day workshop led by SmallWorld Urbanism. Green fingered and environmentally minded city dwellers this is your thing! Accompanies The Mosaic Rooms free pop-up garden and exhibition Garden State. Read more.

noreply@memonitor.org.uk (Middle East Monitor) frontpage Fri, 24 Apr 2015 11:07:42 +0000
The Wanted 18 https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/culture/18244-the-wanted-18 https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/culture/18244-the-wanted-18 SCREENING

The Wanted 18

Wed 3 June 2015, 7.30pm

Tickets £6.50, BOOK NOW

Humorous and thought-provoking, this award-winning animated documentary directed by Amer Shomali and Paul Cowan, looks at the Israeli army's pursuit of 18 cows, whose independent milk production on a Palestinian collective farm was declared "a threat to the national security….". Accompanies The Mosaic Rooms free exhibition Garden State. Read more.

noreply@memonitor.org.uk (Middle East Monitor) frontpage Fri, 24 Apr 2015 11:02:57 +0000
Upcycling Workshop https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/culture/18243-upcycling-workshop https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/culture/18243-upcycling-workshop WORKSHOP

Upcycling Workshop

Sat 30 May 2015, 12.00-5.00pm

Tickets £10, BOOK NOW Places Limited

Get creative with a paint brush and hammer, and gain experience using waste wood to build planters and benches... or whatever you can imagine! This special one day practical workshop, led by SmallWorld Urbanism, is your chance to experiment with upcycling and learn about sustainable design and material systems in cities. Accompanies The Mosaic Rooms free pop-up garden and exhibition Garden State. Read more.

noreply@memonitor.org.uk (Middle East Monitor) frontpage Fri, 24 Apr 2015 10:45:38 +0000
Photography, Colonialism and the Politics of Planting https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/culture/18242-photography-colonialism-and-the-politics-of-planting https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/culture/18242-photography-colonialism-and-the-politics-of-planting TALK

Photography, Colonialism and the Politics of Planting

Thurs 28 May 2015, 7.00pm


Explore the act of gardening as a tool for the assertion of power, control and identity at this fascinating panel discussion which will probe into issues including historical land rights and dispossession, visual cultures and law. Speakers will address the place of gardening – and, more broadly, cultivation and planting – within both the historical phenomenon of colonialism, and ongoing contemporary structures of coloniality. Accompanies The Mosaic Rooms exhibition Garden State. Read more.

noreply@memonitor.org.uk (Middle East Monitor) frontpage Fri, 24 Apr 2015 10:43:33 +0000
Edward W. Said London Lecture: Music in Life and Life in Music https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/culture/18241-edward-w-said-london-lecture-music-in-life-and-life-in-music https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/culture/18241-edward-w-said-london-lecture-music-in-life-and-life-in-music TALK

Edward W. Said London Lecture: Music in Life and Life in Music

Tues 26 May 2015, 7.30pm


Don't miss your chance to book tickets for the 2015 Edward Said lecture, where this year Daniel Barenboim will ask what is the role of music in life. Taking place at Southbank Centre, Queen Elizabeth Hall. Presented by A.M. Qattan Foundation/ The Mosaic Rooms and the London Review of Books. Read more.

noreply@memonitor.org.uk (Middle East Monitor) frontpage Fri, 24 Apr 2015 10:41:32 +0000
Return, A Palestinian Memoir https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/culture/18240-return-a-palestinian-memoir https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/culture/18240-return-a-palestinian-memoir LITERATURE

Return, A Palestinian Memoir

Wed 20 May, 7.00pm


Join internationally best-selling author Ghada Karmi in conversation with a special guest, to launch her new book Return: A Palestinian Memoir. An eloquent and painful memoir of Palestinian exile and displacement this title is an intimate exploration of psychological displacement, loss of identity, and what it means to return to your homeland. Presented in collaboration with Verso. Accompanies The Mosaic Rooms free exhibition Garden State. Read more.

noreply@memonitor.org.uk (Middle East Monitor) frontpage Fri, 24 Apr 2015 10:39:34 +0000
Pop Up Garden https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/culture/18239-pop-up-garden https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/culture/18239-pop-up-garden EVENT: Pop Up Garden

14 May - 20 Jun 2015

Tuesday - Saturday, 11am - 6pm, FREE

Visit our specially commissioned sustainable pop-up permaculture garden! Created by Smallworld Urbanism this unique garden project highlights the power of gardening as a positive force for social activism. It accompanies The Mosaic Rooms free photography exhibition Garden State, and aims to shed further light on issues tacked in the show. Read more.

Part of London Festival of Architecture, Chelsea Fringe & Open Garden Squares Weekend.

noreply@memonitor.org.uk (Middle East Monitor) frontpage Fri, 24 Apr 2015 10:30:49 +0000
Tawakkol Karman calls for ousted Yemeni President Saleh to be put on trial https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/middle-east/18238-tawakkol-karman-calls-for-ousted-yemeni-president-saleh-to-be-put-on-trial https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/middle-east/18238-tawakkol-karman-calls-for-ousted-yemeni-president-saleh-to-be-put-on-trial Tawakkol Karman

Yemeni human rights activist Tawakkol Karman yesterday called for ousted Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh to be tried for his crimes against the Yemeni people instead of granting him immunity.

The Yemeni activist and Noble Prize laureate wrote on Facebook: "I demand that ousted President Ali Saleh be tried in Yemen for his horrendous massacres and crimes of corruption against the Yemeni people during his rule."

Karman said she rejects the idea of Saleh being granted immunity or being deported to a secure place as part of any political settlement.

Previously, a United Nations Security Council resolution called on Saleh to leave Yemen.

News reported claimed that Saleh accepted the UN resolution and that he and his family left Yemen late on Wednesday night on a private jet to an unknown location.

On the same day, Yemen's 24 news site reported that an Omani private jet would land at Sanaa International Airport to transfer the ousted president and his family out of the country as part of a settlement agreement.

noreply@memonitor.org.uk (Fakir) frontpage Fri, 24 Apr 2015 10:31:34 +0000
Corinne Silva: Garden State https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/culture/18237-corinne-silva-garden-state https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/culture/18237-corinne-silva-garden-state EXHIBITION

Corinne Silva: Garden State

14 May - 20 Jun 2015

Tuesday - Saturday, 11am - 6pm, FREE

Coinciding with this year's Chelsea Flower Show, this free photography exhibition by Corinne Silva offers an unexpected view on gardening by exploring what it might represent in the context of Israel's contemporary colonisation of Palestinian territories. Accompanied by a specially commissioned sustainable pop-up garden by Smallworld Urbanism. Read more.

Part of London Festival of Architecture, Chelsea Fringe & Open Garden Squares Weekend.

noreply@memonitor.org.uk (Middle East Monitor) frontpage Fri, 24 Apr 2015 10:26:02 +0000
Sudanese government confirms the continuation of national dialogue https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/africa/18236-sudanese-government-confirms-the-continuation-of-national-dialogue https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/africa/18236-sudanese-government-confirms-the-continuation-of-national-dialogue Ahmed Bilal Osman

The Sudanese government confirmed yesterday that national dialogue will continue in the coming period, "as it is considered a main strategy of the state in order to establish a final road map for the political future in the country."

Sudan's Minister of Information and government spokesperson Ahmed Bilal Osman said in a statement that once the final announcements of the election results are made, the elected president is sworn in and the elected parliament begins its work, priority will be given to dialogue. He noted that the government is completely dedicated to rescuing the road map document related to the national dialogue and will move forward to achieve the desired goals according to the time frames laid out by the document.

Osman added that the dialogue will be held in accordance with the mutual commitments made by the government and the opposition and in accordance with the ceasefire operations. The rest of the measures will be based on this because they are the basis of the peace process.

He also stressed the importance of the opposition abandoning the logic of using force to change the country and said it must remove all acts of violence and fighting from its agenda. The opposition must work towards taking the necessary steps to build confidence and create an atmosphere which is conducive to holding dialogue and achieving a comprehensive peace and stability, Osman explained.

Adding that all parties concerned are contributing to creating the appropriate atmosphere to begin the inclusive national dialogue process.

noreply@memonitor.org.uk (Fakir) frontpage Fri, 24 Apr 2015 09:51:12 +0000
Paul Schwer: The Shape of Things to Come https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/culture/18235-paul-schwer-the-shape-of-things-to-come https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/culture/18235-paul-schwer-the-shape-of-things-to-come Exhibition: The Shape of Things to Come
Artist: Paul Schwer
Curator: Stephan Berg, Director, Kunstmuseum Bonn
Location: 55 Eastcastle Street, W1W 8EG, London, UK
Dates: 10 April - 16 May 2015
Hours: Mon‐Fri 10am ‐ 6pm; Sat 11am‐6pm (Sundays closed)
Private View: 9 April 2015 18:30-21:00

For press information and images, please contact: Neil Jefferies (nj@piartworks.com) or call
+44 207 637 8403

Pi Artworks London is pleased to announce Paul Schwer’s first solo exhibition with the gallery. Over the last year Schwer has had major solo exhibitions at Leopold Hoesch Museum and Kunstverein Ruhr Germany and IKOB in Belgium, though this is his first in the UK.

The Shape of Things to Come features the artist’s arresting Plexiglas sculptures alongside an intervention on the gallery’s floor and walls. Schwer is a painters’ painter, concerning himself solely with the relationship between colour, space, light, and movement. His work, however, is far removed from the traditional two-dimensional canvas.

noreply@memonitor.org.uk (Middle East Monitor) frontpage Thu, 09 Apr 2015 23:00:00 +0000
Algerian minister: France will admit to its crimes in Algeria sooner or later https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/europe/18234-algerian-minister-france-will-admit-to-its-crimes-in-algeria-sooner-or-later https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/europe/18234-algerian-minister-france-will-admit-to-its-crimes-in-algeria-sooner-or-later Francois Hollande

France will recognise its colonial crimes against the Algerian people "today or tomorrow", the Anadolu Agency reported a senior minister saying.

Commenting on remarks by French President Francois Hollande who has recently denied that his country committed genocide in Algeria during the colonial period between 1830 and 1962, Minister of War Veterans Tayeb Zaitoni told reporters: "If France does not recognise its crimes in Algeria today, it will do tomorrow."

"We will carry the message of our victims from one generation to another and we're proud of our ancestors," Zaitouni added.

On Tuesday, France's Canal+ channel broadcasted a video in which Hollande tells a French student of Algerian origin: "It was not genocide in Algeria but a war which we recognise."

The student later interrupts the French president saying: "No, but it was genocide, you killed Algerians and tortured them." Hollande replied: "No, we did not want a genocide and did not want to kill the Algerians. Indeed it was a very painful war and yes mass graves are being discovered till this day and we must recognise this, but definitely not genocide, because we did not want to kill all the people."

Since its independence from France in 1962, the Algerian authorities, political parties and organisations of war veterans and their families have been demanding Paris issue a formal apology for the crimes it committed against Algerians during the colonial period and to compensate the victims' families. However, the French authorities stress that they should start looking to the future.

French Deputy Defence Minister for Veterans and Memory, Jean-Marc Todeschini visited Algeria on Sunday to mark the 70th anniversary of the massacre in Setif, 300 kilometres east of Algiers.

Zaitouni described the visit as a "good but insufficient step".

Algerian authorities say 1.5 million people were killed during the armed liberation revolution between 1954 and 1962 along with hundreds of thousands who were injured and displaced.

noreply@memonitor.org.uk (Fakir) frontpage Fri, 24 Apr 2015 09:35:40 +0000
Sinai jihadists blame Brotherhood’s choice of democracy for troubles https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/africa/18233-sinai-jihadists-blame-brotherhoods-choice-of-democracy-for-troubles https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/africa/18233-sinai-jihadists-blame-brotherhoods-choice-of-democracy-for-troubles Mohammed Badie

A Sinai-based jihadist group blames the Muslim Brotherhood's choice of democracy over jihad for the movement's troubles, including the prison sentence handed down to ousted President Mohamed Morsi. By opting for the ballot box instead of jihad, claimed Wilayat Sinai, the Brotherhood had only brought humiliation and disgrace to its members.

Wilayat Sinai is alleged to be the "official arm" of ISIS official in the region. It has released a video with the title, "O people of Egypt, the glory of Jihad or humiliation of peacefulness!" which includes clips from Morsi's trial along with 12 other Muslim Brotherhood members and leaders being sentenced to 20 years in prison.

Several jihadist media platforms have circulated the video on social networks along with an audio clip of the Islamic movement's Supreme Guide, Mohammed Badie, telling supporters, "I say our revolution is peaceful and will remain peaceful. Our peacefulness is stronger than bullets."

The jihadist video mocked Badie's statement, arguing that the Muslim Brotherhood should have followed the "path of God" and abandoned democracy. "This is what happened when the Muslim Brotherhood wanted pride and dignity against God's instructions; it adopted democracy instead of jihad and the result was humiliation and shame. Despite all that came upon it, the leadership stuck with democracy which resulted in more prosecution against young Muslim men and women."

The group claimed that in the "state of Sinai, our jihadists followed God's instructions and won pride and dignity and people's appreciation."

noreply@memonitor.org.uk (Fakir) frontpage Fri, 24 Apr 2015 09:29:34 +0000