Israeli police brutally arrest hunger strike demonstrators, threaten them with rape, Sawsan Khalife
Thaira Zoabi, a 27-year-old activist from Nazareth, also suffered injuries at the hands of police on 3 May. “As soon as the protest began, the Israeli Yassam and police forces first arrested the bus driver and eight protesters. That did not stop us from continuing our protest demanding to release them all,” she said. “I was first attacked by a police officer when he lifted me up the ground with my kuffiyeh [traditional checkered scarf] that was around my neck, suffocating me and making it hard for me to breathe. They arrested me and eight other protesters. There were also Israeli and foreign activists amongst us. “The Israeli forces used [taser guns] and I have bruises on my arms and legs. I saw them open a protester’s mouth by force and spit in it, and they spit in my face as well. They beat us and used massive verbal violence. They did a full body search. While being under custody, a police officer of Ramle district addressed both me and another female activist while being cuffed with verbal sexual harassment, threatening to rape us. I have to admit I burst in tears.”
Israel: Stop Jailing People Without Charge or Trial
Israel should immediately charge or release people jailed without charge or trial under so-called administrative detention.
Israel has been warned that it faces a major uprising in the West Bank after six Palestinian prisoners taking part in one of the largest and most protracted hunger strikes ever staged in its jails were said to be close to death.
At least six out of 2,000 hunger-striking prisoners in Israeli jails at imminent risk of dying, lawyers say.
MP Mohammed Jamal Al-Natshe has lost 15 kilograms of his weight in the hunger strike he has been waging along with hundreds of other Palestinian prisoners in Israeli occupation jails for 26 days.
Hunger strikers stop to take vitamins from Israeli jailers
The Palestinian center for the defense of prisoners said the hunger strikers in Israeli jails started on Wednesday to refrain from taking vitamins sent by their jail administrations.
On his 75th day of hunger strike, Thaer Halahleh sends a heartbreaking message to his 2 year old daughter Lamar: “Lamar my love: I know that you are not to be blamed and that you don’t yet understand why your father is going through this battle of the hunger strike for the 75th day, but when you grow up you will understand that the battle of freedom is the battle of going back to you.”
The Euro-Mediterranean observatory for human rights (EMOHR) called on the member states of the UN human rights council to request a special session addressing the issue of Palestinian hunger strikers.
Independent Palestinian MP Jamal Al-Khudari has championed speedy unity of Palestinian ranks to support demands of prisoners in Israeli occupation jails.
Abdullah al-Barghouti Solitary Confinement Prisoner #2
“To see my children is tastier than food, and being with other human beings is more stimulating than drink” Abdullah al-Barghouti is on hunger-strike to obtain a mere fraction the rights he is entitled to as a human being and as a father. He has been prohibited from seeing his family since he was arrested over ten years ago and has remained in solitary confinement for the same duration.
Israeli occupation forces (IOF) violently suppressed a rally in Beit Ummar village, to the north of Al-Khalil, on Saturday injuring four participants including a child and a foreign activist.
12 Jerusalemites injured in Israeli quelling of their march
Israeli occupation forces (IOF) fired rubber bullets and teargas at a march for relatives of Palestinian prisoners and supporters in Abu Dis east of occupied Jerusalem on Tuesday night.
This week on The Electronic Intifada podcast: Up-to-date coverage of the ongoing hunger strike protests by thousands of Palestinian prisoners; Linah Alsaafin and Asa Winstanley report from the West Bank on prisoner solidarity actions; and much more.
GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — Dozens of Palestinian youth held demonstrations outside the offices of international organizations in Gaza City on Sunday morning, calling for a stronger stance in support of hunger-striking prisoners. Protesters blocked employees of the International Committee of the Red Cross and the United Nations Development Programme from accessing their offices for two hours, witnesses said.
On the 17th of April, Palestinian Prisoner’s Day, 1500 prisoners held in Israeli jails began a open ended hunger strike protesting the use of administrative detention, strip searches, the denial of access to education, the prevention visits, and demanding an end to solitary confinement and other human rights abuses practiced in the Israeli jails. The strike is an inspiring act of national unity against the Israeli occupation – there are representatives from all Palestinian political factions involved, with a united representative leadership.The Palestinian community has united to support the cause of the hunger strikers. There have been mass demonstrations in city centers, and at checkpoints and along the Wall, as well as demonstrations in front of the prisons on an almost daily basis.
Reaching a new height in protests supporting the 2,500 Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike, thousands demonstrated in cities across the West Bank yesterday. Marches were held in Hebron, Kafr Qaddoum, Nablus, Nabi Saleh, Ni’lin, Ramallah, al-Walaja and outside of Ofer prison.
Every day the support for the Palestinian hunger strikers in Israeli jails spreads, creating national unity in solidarity with their protest. As groups across Palestine show their support, it becomes more apparent how pivotal this strike is in terms of the wider struggle – it is becoming a rallying point, a symbol of national cohesion reminiscent of the Intifadas. Despite internal disputes, unity is being displayed by Palestinians across the country in the face of Israeli occupation and repression of all shows of support of the prisoners. Momentum is building on the back of the “War of Empty Stomachs”, a war being raged to gain the recognition of rights guaranteed by International Law, but denied by the Israeli occupier.
Photos by Lazar Simeonov. On Friday, 4 May 2012, approximately 75 demonstrators gathered outside Damascus Gate in the old city of Jerusalem to protest Israel’s occupation at large and its facilitation of home evictions and settler take-overs in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah.
Turkish demonstrators marched in downtown Istanbul on Friday in solidarity with Palestinian prisoners who have been on hunger strike for almost four weeks in Israeli occupation jails.
Malaysian support to the prisoners’ issue
The Malaysian people and the Arab and foreign communities in Malaysia showed great support for the Palestinian issue during the Palestine Week event in Kuala Lumpur.
The PFB organized, on Wednesday, a sit-in outside the Israeli embassy in London as a part of continuing solidarity activities in support of Palestinian prisoners which started two weeks ago.
Empty Stomachs, Palestinian Spring, Patrick O. Strickland
Following the examples of Khader Adnan and Hana Shalabi, 1,500 Palestinian prisoners have joined a mass hunger strike campaign inside Israeli military prisons. They are calling for an immediate termination of the policy of administrative detention and the excessive use of solitary confinement, and demanding humane living conditions, family visits, and reasonable access to educational materials.
Land, Property & Resource Theft & Destruction / Ethnic Cleansing / Restriction of Movement / Refugees
Netanyahu envoy Isaac Molho delivers letter to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah.
High Court of Justice gave the government until July 1 to demolish five homes built on Palestinian-owned land in the neighborhood, near Ramallah in the West Bank.
Settlers Steal Palestinian Farmlands Near Bethlehem
A group of armed extremist Israeli settlers occupied at gunpoint privately-owned Palestinian farmland that belongs to a resident of Al-Khader city, south of the West Bank city of Bethlehem.
This must-see video chronicles the continued displacement of the Jahalin Bedouin community. The Palestinian-Bedouin communities live in the hills to the east of Jerusalem and have been forcibly evicted time and again. The community was issued eight eviction orders by the Israeli Civil Administration (ICA) last Sunday May 6th and was scheduled to be evicted today. This morning, 20 minutes before the demolition order was to go into effect, they got a notice of delay from the court. This is a temporary injunction preventing the demolition of homes.
Islamic-Christian body calls for urgent action to deter settlement escalation
The Islamic – Christian Commission in Support of Jerusalem warned of the occupation authorities’ settlement activities that have been escalated recently, especially in Jerusalem.
The Committee of Foreign Relations in the Egyptian Press Syndicate launched the “International Campaign to break the siege on Jerusalem,”
“Eventually, nobody prevents me from returning to my country and living in a place we always dreamed of.” These are the words of Fath Hamdan, a Palestinian from the Diaspora living in Palermo, Italy. He left his hometown Tulkarem almost 30 years ago, and defines himself as an “advantaged” migrant since he became easily integrated into the new environment and he has the legal right to return and live in Palestine anytime. The following interview is a brief account of his experience as an economic migrant living in Italy and his perspective about the future in the Occupied Palestinian territories.
The Arab political parties and popular committees in the 1948 occupied lands decided to form a committee to make outstanding preparations for the 64th anniversary of the Palestinian nakba.
Each year on May 15 Palestinians commemorate the Nakba or Catastrophe. On that May Day, Palestine ceased to exist from the world’s map and 85 percent of its natives were evicted from their historical homes and villages. The expulsion of Palestinians was part of Zionism’s early obsession with creating a nation with a Jewish majority. Their increasing preoccupation with changing the population demography in Palestine was envisaged by the World Zionist Organization (WZO) in the late 1800s. In his writings in 1896 Herzl, founder of WZO foretold expelling “… the poor [native] population across the border unnoticed.”
Speaking ahead of the cabinet vote on preparations for summer power shortages, Minister Gilad Erdan asked ministers to support his proposal according to which any initiated power shortage in Israel would mean that Israel halts the power supply to Gaza. In a communiqué sent to the ministers Erdan said: “This isn’t a sanction against Gaza or against its residents, rather it is a basic move that is demanded when fully recognizing the truth of ‘the needy of your city come before those of another.'”
The new Director of operations of Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees “UNRWA”, Robert Turner, said he will launch a campaign to draw attention to the difficult conditions in the Gaza Strip.
Mofaz was also one of our crueler defense ministers – no less than 1,705 Palestinians were killed on his watch, including 372 children and teens and 191 targeted killings: that is no great honor, either. True, those were the days of the second intifada, but Mofaz was also one of the fathers of the doctrine of targeted killings, which has been completely forgotten. He was also the one heard whispering into a microphone that Yasser Arafat should be expelled from Ramallah, another genius idea at the time. ”I thought we should strike very hard,” he told the Winograd Commission investigating the Second Lebanon War, and in so doing said everything there was to say about his doctrine of warfare and his military-political creed. Perhaps he has changed his mind since then, but it is up to him to prove it, and he has not yet done so.
Israeli soldiers and Policemen arrested, on Thursday, two Palestinians in occupied East Jerusalem under the claim that they stabbed an Israeli person several days ago, inflicting injuries.
Gaza premier Ismail Haneyya said in a statement on Saturday that important developments had occurred in the Egyptian talks with Israel over the issue of Palestinian prisoners.
Weekly Report of Popular Protests in Bil’in, Al Ma’sra, Nabi Saleh, Kafr Qaddom
More than 100 student leaders in Britain have signed a letter condemning a recent decision by Zefat Academic College that prevents Palestinians from running for the role of president in Student Union elections.
Palestinian and Dutch rights organizations call on the urban region of The Hague, to end its business with Veolia.
PA security services held a meeting at the beginning of this week where they discussed the solidarity activities in support of the striking prisoners for the fourth week running.
After Japanese defense minister’s convoy parks in military compound, security guards instruct Arab drivers to remain in their vehicles; Jewish drivers allowed to do as they please.
How are US-Israel relations affecting foreign policy in the Middle East?
The young girl from Gaza tells me how she yearns for the red and white bird. It used to come every morning to the little veranda where her mother served a breakfast of bread, tea, water and fruit when the weather was good. Each morning her father left to look for work in Gaza City, and sometimes he was successful. Most of the time he came home late at night. She used to throw out a few seeds or bread crumbs to the red and white bird. It came every morning at the same time, as if it had its own clock. They used to have breakfast together.
Bean Counting States, Sam Bahour
As the Israeli-Palestinian conflict faces hunger strikes and the threat of renewed conflict, the question being tirelessly reiterated is whether a two-state solution is beyond us. The answer is “Yes” and “No.” But counting the number of states required for bringing about a final status solution is entirely misguided.
Imagine you’re the op-ed page editor of the NY Times and a CIA torturer comes forward who wants to publish an anonymous op-ed not just defending torture, but arguing that any and all acts in which he engages should be retroactively approved by the State and its judicial bodies. In other words, he’s arguing that every torturer who ever works for the security services should begin his career knowing that any act of torture he commits will automatically offer him immunity from prosecution. All this on the grounds that the good he does for his fellow citizens and the State far outweighs any harm done.
Israeli Air Force seeks to replace pilot judgement with “ethical algorithm”, Richard Silverstein
Among the worst of Israeli journalism there’s a sort of gung-ho, testosterone-infused reporting style about military and security stories that makes my blood curdle. It’s super-credulous about virtually anything and everything offered by security sources. Examples of this sort of journalism can be found in the reporting of Eli Lake, Ami Issacharoff, and now Amir Mizroch. He’s the editor of Yisrael HaYom’s (Bibiton) English edition, who does some freelancing for Wired.
Israel is currently experiencing the kind of turmoil that may or may not affect its political hierarchy following the next general election. However, there is little reason to believe that any major transformations in the Israeli political landscape could be of benefit to Palestinians. Former politicians and intelligence bosses have been challenging the conventional wisdom of right-wing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu through a series of charged statements and political rhetoric.
Demographic Majority: At What Cost?, Jamal Kanj
In the US, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), a Jewish Human Rights organization, prescribes racial integration, equality and multiculturalism for America society. ADL and other Jewish organizations work closely at local levels with school administrators throughout the US educating young children the virtues of tolerance and multiculturalism.
A tipping point is where physical momentum, inclined in one direction, reverses its course, stabilizes, and then begins to move the opposite way. Those of us who have been arguing for a sane United States foreign policy in the Middle East have well understood that the odds on shifting the prevailing narrative have been heavily against us thanks to the overwhelming resources possessed by a powerful domestic lobby. Ten years ago in America, it was impossible to place even a letter in a mainstream newspaper or magazine that was in any way critical of Israel. Apart from Pat Buchanan, no one on television provided a critique of Israel and its policies. In the U.S. media, Israel was ever the beleaguered little democracy surrounded by savage Arabs.
Subversion, an exhibition at Manchester’s Cornerhouse gallery, shows that young Palestinian artists are at the cutting edge of contemporary Arab art.
Stephen Walt: Iraq, Iran and the Israel Lobby
Harvard Professor Stephen Walt giving his recent Hisham B. Sharabi Memorial Lecture, titled Deja Vu All Over Again?: Iraq, Iran and the Israel Lobby.
Long Live “Our” Gulf Bastards, Pepe Escobar
Life is a golden gift from Allah if you’re a certified member of the Gulf Counter-Revolution Club (GCC), also known as the Gulf Cooperation Council; Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates can torture, kill, repress and demonize their own subjects – in full confidence the “master” will let you get away with it.
The US partially resumes sales of weapons to Bahrain, but says it is excluding equipment that can be used to suppress protests.
The Lede Blog: Protests Over Arms Sales to Bahrain
Activists in Bahrain denounced the measure, as demonstrators descended on the country’s capital city to protest the government’s detention of political prisoners.
In Bahrain, anti-regime protesters have once again come under attack by Saudi-backed forces across the tiny Persian Gulf Kingdom.
Bahrain police attack protesters as crackdown continues
Bahraini police fired tear gas and birdshot during overnight clashes with protesters demanding the release of jailed activists, opposition leaders said, as an intensified month-long crackdown continued. The attacks against protesters in villages around the capital Manama started when hundreds of demonstrators flooded the streets chanting anti-regime slogans and calling on the authorities to release the prisoners, including human rights leader Nabeel Rajab.
Expecting, wanting or relying on Americans for anything is a mistake: Clinton must do more to support Bahrain democracy: opposition
A leading Bahraini opposition figure has called on US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to do more to support the country’s pro-democracy movement, after she met with the Gulf state’s rulers amid ongoing protests. Clinton held talks with Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa in Washington on Wednesday and urged Bahrain to take further steps to tackle continuing human rights abuses. Mattar Ebrahim, a leading member of the opposition Al-Wefaq party, said Clinton was merely talking about human rights, but had done little to force the government to make concessions.
Bahrain delays medics’ retrial until June
A Bahraini defense lawyer says the retrial of 20 medical professionals on allegations of aiding the Gulf kingdom’s uprising has been adjourned for a month.
Anti-Bahraini rally held at UK PM office
Supporters of the Bahraini uprising have rallied at British Prime Minister’s office in London condemning the Queen’s invitation of the Bahraini dictator for the Diamond Jubilee celebrations.
Egypt ends curfew around defence ministry
Egypt’s military rulers lifted on Friday a curfew around the defence ministry in Cairo that was imposed after deadly clashes ahead of this month’s presidential election, state news agency MENA reported.
Cairo contacts Tel Aviv for release of Egyptian prisoners in exchange deal
Diplomatic sources have revealed that the Egyptian government has contacted its Israeli counterpart to strike a deal for the release of its nationals being held in Israel’s prisons. At the same time, Cairo is hoping to obtain information about the health of those Egyptian prisoners who have gone on hunger strike as part of the general protest by Palestinian prisoners. Human rights reports suggest that 65 Egyptian prisoners are taking part in the hunger strike in protest against the conditions of their imprisonment.
Egyptian presidential candidates agree Israel is an enemy
The two leading candidates to become Egypt’s first democratically elected president both stated that Israel is an enemy of the country during a heated televised debate on Thursday. The country has a long-standing peace treaty with the Jewish state, but since the overthrow of dictator Hosni Mubarak in a popular uprising last year there has been increased pressure on Egyptian leaders to abandon the pact.
U.S. urges Egypt’s candidates to respect Israel peace treaty; military rulers lift Cairo curfew
The United States on Friday welcomed Egypt’s televised presidential debate as a “good and healthy thing,” while implicitly urging the candidates to respect the Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty as the country’s military rulers lifted a curfew around the defense ministry in Cairo.
Egypt’s Presidential Duel an Epic Moment (Video)
Millions of Egyptians were glued to their TV sets on Thursday evening, 10 May 2012, watching the first-ever televised debate between the two presidential candidates leading opinion polls in recent weeks. The live telecast—two weeks before the country’s first multi-candidate Presidential elections—was an opportunity for Egyptians to learn more about the two expected election front runners‘ visions for “the new Egypt” and hear their stances vis-a-vis issues like security and the relationship between religion and the state. More importantly, Egypt’s independent media broke significant new ground in Arab media election coverage by sponsoring the debut high level face-off between liberal diplomat Amr Moussa (a former foreign minister and Arab League Secretary General) and moderate Islamist Abdul Moneim Aboul Fotouh. The debate was shown simultaneously on privately owned channels ONTV and Dream, in collaboration with co-sponsors El Shorouk and AlMasry AlYoum, independent dailies.
Two of the leading candidates to be Egypt’s next president square off in a televised debate on Thursday evening in Cairo, and The Lede will report on the clash between Abdel Moneim Aboul Fotouh, a former leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, and Amr Moussa, a former diplomat under Hosni Mubarak, as it unfolds.
Egyptian prison authorities “sexually assaulted protesters”
Women protesters and rights groups have accused Egyptian troops and prison authorities of sexual assault during the latest crackdown on demonstrations, reviving allegations they are using abuse to intimidate female detainees and protesters. The charges made on Wednesday added new tension to Egypt’s presidential election campaign, just two weeks before the voting. More than a dozen women were among more than 300 protesters detained following a protest outside the Defense Ministry in Cairo last weekend.
Women who accuse military of sexual assault seek limelight, general says
Military judicial chief Major General Adel al-Morsy dismissed as false rumors that women arrested during Abbasseya protests last week were sexually harassed by security forces or forced to undergo virginity tests. “The females were referred to the military prosecution without investigations by the authorities who arrested them while they were assaulting security forces at the Defense Ministry,” Morsy said in an interview with CBC satellite channel on Wednesday, according to state-run news agency MENA.
In prisoners’ long plea, empty stomachs raise the case
Laila Soueif, a long-time Egyptian activist in her 50s and assistant professor at Cairo University, chuckles softly and humbly at the suggestion of being interviewed as a hunger striker for a piece prompted by the mass hunger strikes by Palestinian prisoners in Israel jails. “What I did was nothing compared to the Palestinians,” she says. Her action was taken out of prison. Nevertheless, she agrees to talk about her thoughts on and the experience of hunger striking for 22 days in response to her son and fellow activist, Alaa Abd El Fattah, being imprisoned and tried by a military court last year.
“What were the reasons for this revolution if not for us to have a voice, to establish our worth, our dignity, to feel like we’re humans, with the right to say yes or no?”
Republican Jewish Coalition blasts Biden over comments suggesting previous U.S. administration shares blame for Iran nuclear program
Biden to Israel: Bomb Away!, Nima Shirazi
Speaking to an international assembly of 1,600 conservative rabbis in Atlanta today, self-proclaimed Zionist Joe Biden said that Israel still had time to attack Iran if it so chooses. “The window has not closed in terms of the Israelis if they choose to act on their own militarily,” the Vice President told the congregation. “I would not contract out my security to anybody, even a loyal, loyal, loyal friend like the United States.”
Iran: Free Students Jailed for Speaking Out
Iranian authorities should immediately free dozens of university students currently behind bars solely for peacefully expressing political opinions, and end harassment of student activists on university campuses throughout the country. Human Rights Watch issued the call as part of a joint campaign initiated by Iranian and international student and rights groups to highlight the government’s systematic crackdown against university students for their political activism.
Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi’s trial was postponed for a second time as his lawyers continued to argue for a venue change. At least seven bodies were discovered while four Iraqis were also wounded.
Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki was forced to reinstate Sunni Deputy Prime Minister Saleh al-Mutlaq after trying to sack him. Meanwhile, only two Iraqi deaths were reported.
Iraq’s fugitive VP has medical checks in Turkey
Iraq’s Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi, who faces trial in absentia in Baghdad on charges of running a death squad, has undergone “routine” medical checks in Turkey, his office said on Friday.
Turkey refuses to extradite wanted Iraqi vice-president
Turkey will not extradite Iraq’s fugitive Vice President Tariq Hashemi, who is being tried in absentia in Baghdad accused of running a death squad, its deputy prime minister was quoted as saying on Wednesday. “We will not extradite someone whom we have supported since the very beginning,” Bekir Bozdag was quoted as saying by the Anatolia news agency. The decision means Turkey has refused to cooperate with Interpol, which issued an international Red Notice for Hashemi’s arrest on Tuesday on suspicion of “guiding and financing terrorist attacks.”
Maliki Slams Turkish Remarks: Show No Respect
“We do not want to antagonize Turkey, or Iran, or America, or Saudi Arabia, or any other country, but what happened and the remarks issued by Turkey do not show mutual respect.”
Israel’s last reliable Arab ally since the fall of Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak.
Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah reminded Friday of Tel Aviv-Dahiyeh equation indicating that Hezbollah is capable of striking very specific targets in Tel Aviv and in every part of occupied Palestine as well. “For every building in Dahiyeh, several buildings will be destroyed in Tel Aviv in return. The time when we were displaced and they don’t has gone. The time when our homes were destroyed and theirs remain has gone,” Sayyed Nasrallah said adding that the time when “we will stay and they disappear has definitely come.” His eminence was talking in a ceremony on the occasion of the conclusion of Waed (promise) project to rebuild Beirut’s southern suburbs (Dahiyeh) which was destroyed after the Israeli July war on Lebanon.
Lebanese troops exchanged fire late on Saturday with a group of young Islamists protesting in Tripoli for the release of a terrorism suspect.
Lebanon: Future Movement Turns to Islam
In light of recent developments in the Syrian and Lebanese political scenes, Doha and Riyadh seek to prop up the Saad Hariri’s Future Movement with a strong ally. This ally is none other than the Lebanese branch of the Muslim Brotherhood.
The Lebanese Election Law Conundrum
Walid Jumblatt has opened fire on all fronts in the battle over the election law. That’s even before the start of election season, and even before being sure that parliamentary polls will be held in 2013 at all – and not encounter a domestic impediment that leads to their postponement or the extension of the current parliament’s mandate. From the very outset, Jumblatt set out his opinion of what his opponents are trying to achieve: to eliminate him and his role. He said the confrontation would be a matter of “to be or not to be”.
Review: Lebanese villagers work it out in ‘Where Do We Go Now?’
At the outset of the new film”Where Do We Go Now?”the usual constant fighting between Muslim and Christian men in a remote Lebanese village has reached a fragile peace aided by the arrival of a television set. When a series of events threatens this uneasy accord, the women of the town must band together to bring things back to an even keel with a plan that comes to involve Eastern European belly dancers and baked goods laced with hashish.
The counter-terrorism court in Saudi Arabia is wrongly targeting people who criticise government policy and religious institutions as well as those who advocate greater respect for the rule of law – says campaign group. The Saudi justice minister Dr Muhammad al-‘Issa was in London in late April. But, at the last minute, he cancelled a meeting with interested organisations and academics that I was to attend because – we were told – he preferred to meet only with the British government.
Saudi king fires sexist adviser
Saudi King Abdullah on Friday sacked one of his advisers, an outspoken critic of the sexes mingling outside the home, something banned in the ultra-conservative kingdom. The state news agency SPA published the decree announcing the dismissal of Sheikh Abdelmohsen al-Obeikan, an adviser to the royal cabinet, without providing further details. The move comes several days after Obeikan, speaking on local radio, lashed out at the interaction of men and women in court, accusing the judges of seeking to “Westernize society.”
Several people reported dead in latest clashes even as number of UN monitors charged with overseeing truce reaches 145.
A large blast has hit the Syrian city of Aleppo, opposition sources say, hours after the authorities said they had foiled a major car bomb attack.
Thursday: Desperate search for loved ones amid Damascus carnage
A hand here, a leg there, part of a crushed face, the scene in central Damascus is apocalyptic, as emergency workers fill nylon bags with what is left of dozens of people killed by two suicide bombers.
Syria says thwarts 1,200 kg car bomb in Aleppo
BEIRUT (Reuters) – Syrian forces foiled an attempted suicide car bombing with 1,200 kg (2,640 pounds) of explosives in the northern city of Aleppo on Friday, state television said, a day after two bombs in the capital Damascus killed at least 55 people. The would-be bomber was killed in the al Shaar district of Syria’s largest city which, like Damascus, has seen increasing street protests against President Bashar al-Assad and rising levels of bloodshed after months of relative calm.
‘Arms flowing’ between Lebanon and Syria
UN special envoy says weapons are being smuggled in both directions, and warns region is “at brink of war”.
The United States needs to do more to protect civilians in Syria, including considering setting up safe zones inside Syria and potentially arming the opposition, Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman John Kerry (D-MA) told The Cable in an interview Tuesday.
Syrians strive to survive in ‘frontline’ town
Families face acute shortages and daily dangers in conflict-ravaged border town of al-Qusayr.
Syrian doctors smuggle in aid from Turkey
A group of expatriate Syrian doctors and volunteers have teamed up to smuggle much-needed medical supplies into Syria through Turkey. Laurence Lee reports.
Iran helps release of Turkish reporters in Syria
One Turkish journalist detained in Syria is a devout Muslim who was on a Gaza-bound aid ship targeted in an Israeli raid in 2010, and reported being wounded by American bombing on a trip to Afghanistan. His cameraman is a film school student who, ahead of his Syria trip, ducked his father’s disapproval by claiming he was headed to Italy.
Christians on Syria’s border wary of future
Syriac people in southeast Turkey have strong ties with relatives and fellow Christians across the border in Syria. In the ancient Assyrian city of Midyat, Christians say they fear their community could endure what Christians in Iraq suffered when the country fell into violence and chaos. Al Jazeera’s Anita McNaught reports from Midyat.
Penetrated Opposition and Failure of Consensus in Syria: Interview with Haytham Manna`(Part 4 of 4)
On April 27th, around the Jadaliyya Co-Sponsored Conference at Lund University (“Contesting Narratives, Location Power”), I sat down for an extensive interview with Haytham Manna`, one of the icons of the independent Syrian opposition and a leading founder of the National Coordinating Body for Democratic Change (in Syria). The interview was long and candid, and addressed several topics, including the current impasse in Syria, the stages and transformation of the uprising, the questions of international intervention and of resistance, the Syrian National Council and its relations with other opposition groups and the Arab Gulf States and beyond, and the relationship between Syria and Hizballah.
The twin suicide car bombings that reportedly killed 55 people and wounded 372 in Damascus on Thursday prompted a familiar set of responses: state television blamed unspecified “terrorists” for the atrocity, in keeping with its habit of linking all antiregime violence to jihadist extremism; opposition groups denied responsibility and instead accused the regime of staging the blasts as a propaganda exercise designed to ease international pressure to observe a U.N.-backed cease-fire. For both sides, the intended audience is the international community, playing the new political game in which both sides have publicly committed themselves to the cease-fire plan brokered by U.N. special envoy Kofi Annan, but neither is actually observing it — instead, each is maneuvering to ensure that the other side is blamed for the failure of a plan deemed by Annan to be the “last chance” to avoid a full-blown civil war.
Syria: Is This an Arab Spring or a Balkan Winter?, Tony Karon
Special envoy Kofi Annan told the U.N. Security Council on Tuesday that his struggling peace plan is the last hope to prevent Syria from plunging into an all-out civil war.
Since the advent of the Iranian revolution, the Palestinian issue has been at the heart of the Islamic Republic’s foreign policy. For ideological and strategic reasons, supporting the Palestinian cause and resistance against Israel has been an integral part of the Islamic Republic’s identity and international approach. However, Iran’s Palestinian policy has, to a great extent, been forged under the influence of its alliance with Syria. That is why the tensions between Damascus and Hamas, brought about by the latter’s equivocal stance on Syrian crisis, have spilled over into the Palestinian movement’s relationship with Tehran.
Starving the Syrians for Human Rights
The wing of the U.S. human rights movement which targets foreign countries can wind up as a cruel business, aiding the ruthless and violent actions of the U.S. Empire, wittingly or not. For the U.S. all too often uses human rights as a cover for taking action against countries that defy the Empire’s control. Some weeks back, I decided to look into one such group, Physicians for Human Rights (PHR), an organization I had long refrained from joining out of skepticism. But perhaps, I thought, PHR had sidestepped the dangers inherent in this work. So I joined to find out.
Fawaz Gerges, director of the Middle East Centre at the London School of Economics, tells Al Jazeera the regional and international variables have not been conducive to an international military intervention in Syria.
Other World News
US military school taught “total war” against Muslims
A senior US military official has been forced to condemn a class taught at a military college that advocated a “total war” against Muslims. The course at the Joint Forces Staff College in Virginia also suggested possible nuclear attacks on holy Islamic cities such as Mecca in Saudi Arabia. The story, originally published on Wired.com’s danger room blog, risks damaging America’s already tarnished image in the Islamic world, where it maintains a heavy military presence.
Bush found guilty of war crimes
A symbolic War Crimes Tribunal in Malaysia has found former US President George W. Bush and several other members of his administration guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity , Press TV reports.