Saturday, 12 May 2012

Timid Boycotts Make Bold Rapists

by Ariadna Theokopoulos

Ariadna TheokopoulosFriday, May 11th, 2012

There was an old joke about a robber rapist who bursts into the home of a couple and, seeing the man so obviously shaking with fear, does not bother to tie him up. He contemptuously draws a circle on the floor around the man and says:
“If you step out of this circle, I’ll kill you.”
He then proceeds to ransack the house, robs them and then rapes the wife and leaves.

The woman cries: “What kind of a man are you? How could you stand there and not defend me?” The man says: “I put my foot out of the circle several times, but he didn’t see me.”

I was reminded of this when reading about the Report of United Church of Canada (UCC) on Israel/Palestine of May 1, whose recommendations will be considered by the the General Council of UCC in August.

The report follows a 12-day visit and meetings in Israel and Palestine of the UCC working group with Christian, Jewish and Muslim community representatives in Israel and Palestine.

Condemning the harsh occupation, the report recommends: -
  • Calls for an end to occupation, as the main contributor to the injustice that engenders violence. (It “balances” this nicely with…)
  • Condemns actions and activities that seek to delegitimize and demonize Israel affirming that non-violent resistance to the occupation is justified.
It “balances” it nicely with:
  • Advising against the use of “the language of apartheid” when applied to Israel.
  • calling for an economic boycott –[built-in balance follows ]– directed exclusively against settlement products that can be identified as produced in or related to the settlements or the occupied territories.
Was the anti-South Africa boycott exclusively directed against bantustan-produced goods?
  • advises against a comprehensive boycott of Israel and Israeli goods and products [*see above]
  • affirms Israel as a Jewish state, meaning a homeland for Jewish people that “ensures complete equality of social and political rights to all of its inhabitants irrespective of religion, race or gender” [a vegetarian hawk?]
  • supports a negotiated settlement to the Right of Return for Palestinian refugees that maintains the demographic integrity of Israel [so... that would be Israel "negotiating" to allow enough Palestinian refugees to return to make a football team]
  • calls for opportunities that will bring together Palestinian and Israeli/Jewish communities for growth in mutual understanding [probably the best way would be to provide Palestinians with more education about the Holocaust]
So the UCC put its foot out several times but unlike the old joke, the Israeli watchers saw them!
None of the above merits more than a flick of the fly swat but what really got their attention was one particular recommendation:
  • challenging Christian beliefs that theologically justify the occupation, branding the theological foundation for Christian Zionism a false doctrine.
That is far more than putting one’s foot out of the circle, that’s endangering the flow of millions of dollars raised by Christian zionists in Canada and that cannot be allowed.

Jumping to the defense of Christian zionists were:

Frank Dimant, CEO, B’nai Brith Canada, who vowed:
“We certainly will stand together with them in this new fight in Canada.” Feeling the pain of Christians suffering at the hands of the Islamic enemy he added: “Considering the cruelty inflicted upon Christians in Islamic states and the murder of thousands of people in Syria, it becomes clear that these church groups are ignoring gross violations of human rights in favour of fixating on the democratic Jewish state of Israel.”
Shimon Fogel, CEO, Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs, echoed Dimant’s sincere concern:
“Throughout the Middle East there are millions of Christians in grave danger by repressive regimes, but there are no calls for boycotts of those countries. This is just idiocy.”
The vast bullying/blackmailing/bribing machine of the ZPC has until August, when the recommendations come up for vote to make UCC step all the way back into the circle. And apologize!
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The Unified Settler Party


The Case Of Uri Avnery
I don't usually link to Uri Avnery, as he is a horrible lite Zionist, but he has done an excellent job of summarizing the recent politics of Israel: "The Netanyahu-Mofaz Pact". Israel has finally reached its inevitable finish of being run by a pure, united, and completely dominant, Unified Settler Party. The Unified Settler Party is dedicated to the single issue of building Greater Israel (by, of course, killing people and stealing their land). The joke is that the only way they could reach this blessed point is to remove the parties overtly working for the interests of the settlers, whose political control, through holding the balance of power in Bibi's coalition, was actually making it harder for Bibi to work for settler interests.

Don't be fooled that this has anything whatsoever to do with an Israeli attack on Iran (excuse me while I laugh yet again). Israel still can't do it, not technically and certainly not politically while the US is in the middle of negotiations with Iran which are being sold as going well.
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Lebanon: Future Movement Turns to Islam

A Future Movement flag hangs under a screen broadcasting a live speech of Saad Hariri in Martyr square, Beirut. (Photo: Marwan Bu Haidar)

Published Saturday, May 12, 2012

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.

A few months ago, the secretary general of al-Jamaa al-Islamiya, the Lebanese branch of the Muslim Brotherhood, Ibrahim al-Masri, flew to Qatar in an unannounced trip . According to several sources, he was greeted warmly and provided with financial and political support.

Doha does not care about the ideological differences that have caused hostility between the Wahhabi movement and the Muslim Brotherhood (MB). This is the opposite of the Saudi position, which is sensitive towards the issue and takes it into special consideration.

Doha is also not satisfied with Hariri’s political performance in Lebanon. It criticizes his leadership for being unable to effectively ride the wave of the moment.

While Arab popular revolutions thrived, Hariri’s politics were of retreat and pulling back from the realities on the ground in Lebanon. In their view, Lebanon should have been the backyard of the revolution against the regime of President Bashar Assad.
Doha believes that the MB (al-Jamaa al-Islamiya) are the best choice to fill this political void in lebanon.

Following dialogue between Qatar and the Saudis, the Future Movement and al-Jamaa al-Islamiya began drafting a document of common national constants.

They did not call it a “memorandum of understanding” so as for it not to be compared to the one between the Free Patriotic Movement and Hezbollah. Therefore, it was given the name “Memorandum of Cooperation between al-Jamaa al-Islamiya and the Future Movement.”

A Relationship Between Equals

It is noteworthy that in the last article in coordination mechanisms of the memo, al-Jamaa al-Islamiya is seen as being on equal footing with the Future Movement.

This can be seen, for example, in the right to select candidate to fill the Sunni share in public administration jobs which are allocated according to a sectarian quota system. In summary, al-Jamaa is close to becoming partners with Future Movement and not merely an ally.

Defending Taif

The memo elaborates on the importance of defending Taif and warns that tampering with it could lead to consequences, the least of which would impact coexistence and civil stability.The memo explicitly shows that there are two very strong common denominators between the two parties. The first is their position on the bearings of the Taif Agreement on the Sunni political equation in Lebanon.
The first article of the memo elaborates on the importance of defending Taif and warns that tampering with it could lead to consequences, the least of which would impact coexistence and civil stability.
The second factor is supporting the Syrian people against the regime. This covers the foreign policy aspect of their cooperation. The remaining articles are meticulously written to smooth the edges and meet the regional sponsors’ requirements for the text.

Mimicking the “Shia Experience”

It seems to mimic in the Sunni sect the alliance within the Shia sect between Hezbollah and the Amal movement. Information circulating about the drafting of the memorandum suggest that Doha had informed Riyadh of its opinion that al-Jamaa al-Islamiya should be allowed to steer the Sunni political project in Lebanon which is allied with the “Syrian revolution.”
The Saudis agreed in principle but on the condition that the step does not lead to the end of the Hariri political family in Lebanon, due to its moral obligation to the family in memory of Rafik Hariri. Cooperation between al-Jamaa al-Islamiya and the Future Movement headed by Saad Hariri was the compromise between the positions of Riyadh and Doha. It seems to mimic in the Sunni sect the alliance within the Shia sect between Hezbollah and the Amal movement.

In the current exceptional circumstances, al-Jamaa will be the one who is expected to take charge. It will follow the Syrian mobilization and the efforts of Gulf countries, especially Saudi and Qatar, in order to support the overthrowing of Syrian President Bashar Assad.

The Memorandum of Cooperation

Below is the abridged text of the memorandum:

Introduction: We, the Future Movement and al-Jamaa al-Islamiya, marching to the sound of popular revolutions against several Arab regimes and in light of hot national questions faced by our country Lebanon, emphasize our adherence to the following common national constants:

First: Lebanon’s Political System and the Taif Agreement

Lebanon’s diverse political and sectarian components are a source of wealth to the country in the framework of the democratic system that ensures the transfer and rotation of power in the framework of the Taif constitution. Abandoning this system would be a threat to the entity and coexistence, and therefore the unity of the homeland. Therefore, we reaffirm that the Taif Agreement is the main foundation of our democratic system and civil peace. This entails cooperation to fulfil all its articles, in order to achieve social justice and equitable development, strengthening the capacity of the state on all levels and dealing with future issues and challenges efficiently and effectively. We refuse all kinds of internal strife, whether political, sectarian or confessional. We call for adherence to political freedoms and human rights.

Second: Coexistence and the Relationship Between the Lebanese

Coexistence has been and will always be the choice of all Lebanese. This existence is based on solid foundations that everyone is comfortable with. In our opinion, there are four basic foundations: respecting the other, recognizing him, adherence to moral values [...] and justice [...].

Third: Recognizing the Authority of the State

[This article is about encouraging cooperation in order to enhance the powers of a strong and just state that can defend its citizens, take care of all their affair, interests and rights, ensure their security, etc.]

Fourth: The Defense Strategy

The Zionist project is the biggest danger to our nation and homeland. It aims to tear it apart through instigating all kinds of sectarian, confessional and ethnic strife and internal wars. Based on this, we consider facing this threat and its impact as a national and Arab duty. The state is obliged to protect its people from any aggression and to create a defense strategy, withdrawing the act of defence and resistance from the current monopoly and transforming it into a national duty of all Lebanese through the state.

Fifth: The Special Tribunal for Lebanon

[...] Justice is the doorway to stability. The Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) was an issue of consensus between political forces in the national dialogue. We reject the attempts to make the Lebanese choose between justice and stability or the idea that justice is a threat to stability. We consider that ceasing criticism of the STL, fulfilling Lebanon’s obligations towards it and judging it based on its decisions is a national and moral duty and adherence to the rules of coexistence and international legitimacy.

The Remaining Articles

The sixth article focuses on the Palestinian question and the situation of Palestinians in Lebanon. In summary, it opposed implantation.

The seventh article is about the popular Arab revolutions and the Arab Spring. “Partiality towards the peoples of the nation in their strive towards freedom, regaining national dignity and achieving democracy and the condemnation of all kinds of physical and political repression faced by Arab citizens, is the natural choice we make because we believe it is the only path to national renaissance and protecting the rights of its citizens in public administration,” it said.

The eighth article describes cooperation and coordination mechanisms. It included the following:

“First: creating a central committee presided over by the general secretary of the Future Movement and the president of the politburo of al-Jamaa al-Islamiya, overseeing the development of the relationship and its mechanisms.”

“Second: Prior consultation between the two parties on all major decisions in order to reach common visions and positions and manage differences of opinions to achieve a strong relationship, common interests and mutual respect.”

“Third: Arranging sectoral and regional meetings to coordinate practically based on the directions agreed upon centrally, including but not limited to the following issues: Enhancing joint and active presence in Parliament; Following up on joint work on all syndical and municipal decisions; Working towards unifying positions concerning social and economic issues and demands; Joint contribution to the appointment of talented persons into administrative positions and facing malicious politics and exclusion pushed by some Lebanese forces and parties; Working towards strengthening and developing civil society organizations; Holding regular meetings in all places with common presence; Holding several common activities.

This article is an edited translation from the Arabic Edition.

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“Juden Raus!” says Israel

Beit El
Beit El

by Roy Tov
Friday, May 11th, 2012

Israel’s High Court of Justice orders to demolish West Bank outpost

The Israeli administration has an uncontrollable weakness for George Orwell’s 1984; the best example is the 1982 Lebanon War which was named by the government “the War for the Peace of the Galilee.” The Hebrew possessive contraction brought together the two words which sounded exactly like “War-Peace,” creating a perfect Orwellian oxymoron. These instances abound; the topic of today’s article sends us to a place which its name contradicts its nature. Beit El is a settlement just north of Jerusalem, in the problematic Mateh Binyamin Regional Council; its name means “House of God,” yet, its residents committed crimes in the name of God. In response, this week Israel’s High Court of Justice ordered the demolition of Beit El’s Ulpana neighborhood by July 1, 2012.
Beit El Ulpana neighbourhood
Beit El – Ulpana Neighbourhood

One of the reasons Benjamin Netanyahu had to widen his government by the addition of Kadima (see Shaul Mofaz Walks to Canossa) was his urgent need to deal with a series of court decisions defining settlements and outposts in the West Bank as illegitimate. The previous government was narrow and composed by right wing parties, allowing single extremist members of the coalition to block government decisions aimed at solving these problems. One of the most notorious cases was Migron (see April 2012: Battle of Migron); in that case, Netanyahu’s government decided to move the entire outpost to a nearby hill in order to fulfill an eviction order while keeping coalitional peace. However, that is not always possible. Sometimes, settlements on the line of fire are too sensitive for that. That’s the case of Beit El.

Settlers’ Aristocracy

At first, Beit El looks similar to any other settlement in the West Bank. A religiously observant town located next to a large Palestinian city (al-Bireh), and belonging to the extremist Mateh Binyamin Regional Council (see Mattot Arim and the Jewish Extremists Clockwork). Yet, two of its statistics draw immediate attention. It was founded in 1977, meaning it is one of the oldest Jewish settlements in the West Bank. Then, it has a population of over 1,200 families; it is the closest thing the settlements have to a megacity. Checking a bit deeper, one finds that this is a key settlement in the Religious Zionist Movement. The State of Israel wouldn’t have been possible without an alliance between the secular Zionists and the religious Haredim (see Netanyahu’s Mule: On an Unholy Alliance); the result is what outside Israel is known as Religious Zionist Movement, and in Israel it is generalized as “kipot srugot,” the “hand-woven kipas”, after the distinctively hand-woven headcovers used by its men.
Beit El is home to various prominent persons. Rabbi Binyamin “Benny” Elon is a former member of the Knesset for the Moledet party and lives in Beit El. His father Menachem Elon was the former Deputy Chief Justice of Israel, and his brother Rabbi Mordechai Elon, is a prominent figure in the Religious Zionist Movement. His wife, Emuna, is an author and journalist who spent significant period of her life in New York; this is a reminder that most settlers in the West Bank are American Jews.
Ya’akov Dov “Katzele” Katz, the leader of the National Union party, also lives in Beit El . Beyond being a Knesset legislator, he is also the Executive Director of Beit El Yeshiva Center Institutions and Arutz Sheva Israel National Radio which operates out of studios in Beit El and Petah Tikva. This shortlist is enough to convince that Beit El is not Migron; it cannot be moved to the nearest hill in the middle of the night. It is linked directly to the parliament, the government, and the media. In Netanyahu buys Justice, I described how it is also indirectly linked to the Supreme Court. How dares the High Court of Justice to evict them? (Note for non-Israeli readers; Israel lacking a Constitution, its Supreme Court can operate as High Court of Justice-Bagatz-to which any person can approach, bypassing lower courts).

Unlawful Deals

Unlawfulness in the West Bank has various layers. The international community considers Israeli settlements in the West Bank illegal under international law, but the Israeli government disputes this. The international community considers Israeli settlements a violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention’s prohibition on the transfer of an occupying power’s civilian population into occupied territory. Thus, they are illegal under international law. Israel disputes that the Fourth Geneva Convention applies to the Palestinian territories as they had not been legally held by a sovereign prior to Israel taking control of them. This view has been rejected by the International Court of Justice and the International Committee of the Red Cross. The vast majority of West Bank settlements are in between these definitions; they are considered illegal by the entire world, but legal by the Israeli government. However, sometimes they are considered unlawful even by the Israeli government.
This usually happens when there are disputes regarding the purchase of the land upon which the settlement was built. For example, in the abovementioned Migron, most of the land occupied by the outpost belongs to several Palestinian families living in the nearby villages of Burqa and Deir Dibwan. Associated Press discovered in 2008, that Abd Allatif Hassan Sumarin, who supposedly sold a plot of land to Binyamin Regional Council owned Al Wattan Ltd in 2004, had been dead since 1961. In Nabi Saleh and other locations, settlements occupy lands unlawfully confiscated by the Israeli government. The Ulpana neighborhood of Beit El was established in 1999 on similarly problematic lands, which belong to people from the nearby Dura al-Qar village. In a lawsuit before the High Court of Israel, the state notified the court that the company developing the Ulpana neighborhood, Gush Emunim’s Amana Company, was aware that the seller of the land, a 7-year old Palestinian child, was not its legal owner at the time. Thus, even the State of Israel defines Ulpana as illegitimate, thus the eviction order issued on May 7, 2012, by the High Court of Justice. Supreme Court President Ahser Grunis along with Justice Uzi Fogelman and Justice Salim Joubran rejected an appeal from the state requesting it to reconsider its earlier ruling to evacuate the Ulpana neighborhood, despite the state itself recognizing the unlawfulness. Please let me clarify the situation. The State of Israel led a legal battle in its courts against its own laws.

Juden Raus!

Netanyahu faces a serious problem. A settlement belonging to settlers’ aristocracy has been evicted by Israel’s highest court. He cannot solve the problem legally. “Juden Raus!” (“Jews Out” in German) is being heard again, but this time the offensive words are uttered by the highest Jewish court. How big must be the settlers’ crimes in order to have achieved this shameful situation! Yet, Netanyahu is resourceful and manipulative. Reports from the government’s meeting after the court decision claim that Netanyahu is planning to deploy Israel’s secret weapon against the High Court. For the second time in its history, Israel is planning to legislate a retroactive law. Israel’s Nazis and Nazi Collaborators Punishment Law (Hok Le’Asiat Din BaNatzim) from August 1, 1950, enables the execution of Nazis; its maximal punishment has been applied twice, but carried out only once. Between 1950 and 1961, this law was used to prosecute 29 Jewish Holocaust survivors alleged to have been Nazi collaborators. The first and only time it was used to execute a person, was in the Adolf Eichmann case. He was illegally kidnapped by Mossad from Argentina in 1960 and two years later was hanged. The second instance was the horrific persecution of John Demjanjuk (see Western Psikhushka Killed Demjanjuk), in which it became clear Israel knew it was prosecuting the wrong man. What makes this law special from a legal point of view is that it is retroactive and extraterritorial, since the State of Israel didn’t exist during WWII. Moreover, the alleged crimes were neither committed in Israel nor against Israeli citizens.

An ex post facto law (Latin for “after the fact”), or retroactive law, is a law that retroactively changes the legal consequences of actions committed prior to the enactment of the law. Ex post facto laws are expressly forbidden by the United States Constitution, though some countries accept them. These laws cannot be accepted as fair practice, regardless of the justifications used for their approval. Simply, how can one protect himself against a law that has not been legislated yet? States applying this horror assume people have the power of precognition (Israel publicly assumed to possess such powers, (see Minority Report: IDF arrests Palestinian prisoner released in Shalit swap). Thus, the Nazis and Nazi Collaborators Punishment Law cannot be accepted as a legitimate law, especially due to its geopolitical consequences. If we accept this, we will be forced also to accept a Laotian law sentencing Americans chewing bubble-gum in Honduras to death (no offense intended to any of these nations). Now, Netanyahu wants to do that again, by legislating a law that will transform the illegal purchase of land in Beit El into legal, rendering the court decision obsolete.

There is no doubt everything is unacceptable in this case: the land deal, the settlers’ actions, the government behavior in court, and now the possible legislation of another retroactive law. Mr. Netanyahu, we are entitled to live under a legitimate legal system, with no secret laws, with no retroactive laws, and with no extraterritorial laws. We are entitled to live in a society that respects its own laws, and that its laws are used for the benefit of its citizens not for the benefit of organized crime. You and yours are unable to provide that, thus, at least, let us tell you three words: Raus! Raus! Raus!
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“The Most Beautiful Promise” Is Fulfilled, People Return Home with Dignity

Siraj Kobeissy

July 12, 2006... Hizbullah resistance fighters kidnapped two "Israeli" soldiers... Two days later, the Zionist entity declared war on Lebanon.

Thousands of civilians martyred, while thousands others lost their houses to the vicious attacks.

"For the sake of the resistance," you would hear the people of Lebanon say.

Hizbullah Secretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah vowed that all demolished houses, especially in the Beirut southern suburb, will be "rebuilt", even more beautiful than they were.

May 24, 2007 was the launch of WAAD (Promise) Project, whose main goal was to rebuild what the enemy razed in the Beirut southern suburb.

5 years later, all buildings were standing tall with bride; WAAD had fulfilled its promise indeed, and its project was finalized. At a ceremony dubbed "The Most Beautiful Promise", the project was officially handed to its rightful owners.

268 buildings, including 4000 residential apartments and around 1700 shops, were rebuilt at different stages.

Media representative at the WAAD project, Rajaa al-Husseini, told that the buildings were finalized in February (2012). However; WAAD also managed to rebuild the infrastructure and roads surrounding all "rebuilt" facilities, that it why they hadn't been concluded until now, she added.
To stress the quality and accuracy in WAAD's work, al-Husseini asserted that all rebuilt firms have a 1 year warrantee, that WAAD would take responsibility to amend any flaw in the building.

Ahmad Qaik, a resident at the rebuilt "Shurah" building in the suburb's area, renowned formerly as the "security square", expressed gratitude to WAAD for restoring the area's normal life.
"It was a blessing from Allah Almighty that people returned to their homes quickly," he stated in an interview with

"Hizbullah, and the WAAD Project were trustworthy and they held the responsibility of what some countries are unable to fulfill. The people and owners of these buildings thank the WAAD Project, and thank Hizbullah Secretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, for this divine achievement," he went on to say.

Men, women, children, and elderly took part in the finalizing ceremony.

Also present at the event were official Lebanese and foreign representatives from different parties, who came to take part in the historic moment.

Among the figures was Loyalty to the Resistance Bloc Member Ali Fayyad, who asserted the success of WAAD in reinstating what "Israel" crushed.

"I think that the WAAD Project has completely succeeded in rebuilding all ruins destroyed by the "Israelis". I think this has great indications because Resistance Leader Sayyed Nasrallah promised our people that he will build it more beautiful, and he fulfilled his promise," MP Fayyad noted.

"This is one of the resistance's historic achievements, and we will remain in the service of our people, to help them progress," he further told

"Thanks for the WAAD Project, the people will appreciate what Hizbullah and the Islamic Republic in Iran did to help rebuild their homes and normal life," MP Fayyad reiterated.

Flags were waved and slogans were bannered as resistance chants filled the air.

General Director of WAAD Project, Engineer Hassan Jeshi, on his part spoke to the crowd to express gratitude for their cooperation and patience throughout the tough task to reconstruct semi-demolished and totally-demolished buildings.

The people hailed the achievement, and praised the project's "globally" unprecedented success.

There is always a stamp that ratifies a project or agreement, and with the appearance of Hizbullah Secretary General His Eminence Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, the WAAD Project was sealed.

Sayyed Nasrallah: The Time has Come When We Remain and They Disappear
With his words of glory, he announced the conclusion of the project, as he called it, "The triumph of steadfastness", and praised all efforts by organizers and residents, who made this accomplishment possible.

Almost six years after the "divine victory", the "divine promise" prevails with a spirit of resistance to even spiritually and morally defeat the "Israeli" enemy.

The people of Lebanon refuse to surrender and accept any trounce. They remain invincible in their land and homes, to prove to themselves and the world; they are not afraid to prove their loyalty to their country; Lebanon.

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Sayyed Nasrallah: The Time has Come When We Remain and They Disappear

Batoul Wehbe

Hezbollah Tel Aviv-Dahiyeh equation

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.

Victory of Reconstruction

Waed projectSayyed Nasrallah payed tribute to Hezbollah martyrs who fell during July 2006 war and said "we are celebrating today the victory of reconstruction over the war of destruction."

Concernig the process of reconstruction, Sayyed Nasrallah said: "Before the end of the war, I contacted our brothers in Iran and told them about our decision to rebuild what was destroyed by the enemy. Imam Sayyed Ali Khamenei and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad generously accepted funding the reconstruction so we started directly after the end of the war." "The Lebanese state is the one responsible for seeking funds from abroad for the reconstruction, but in Lebanon there is a crisis in state institutions because of corruption and bureaucracy," His eminence said adding: "We are grateful to any Arab country which provided money to the people, and special thanks to the people and President of Iran because without Iran's money we couldn't have reached this accomplishment speedily".

Nahr al-Bared Should Be Rebuilt

Sayyed Nasrallah touched upon Palestine and urged Arab countries to aid the people of Gaza and help them in reconstruction while expressing solidarity with the Palestinian hunger strikers in Israeli prisons. "I call upon Arab governments to take a momentous stand towards the prisoners and refer this issue to the UN security council and not just focus on Syria. We may have differences in opinions on Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Bahrain, or Egypt, but we all agree on Palestine."

"We reject any change that would make the Palestinians in Lebanon a community as part of any deal and we demand they take all their rights as refugees.. We must rebuild the Nahr al-Bared camp, because it symbolizes the right of return and the Palestinian cause which should not be neglected and forgetten."

Al-Khalifa Pushing towards Confrontations

Concerning the Bahraini issue, Hezbollah's secretary general rebuffed the claims that say Hezbollah is pushing toward violence in Bahrain as "lies" and "delusions". "We do not and will not do so. We believe and support what the leadership of the Bahraini opposition, led by Ayatollah Sheikh Issa Qassem, believes in by insisting on peaceful movement. Ultimately Al-Khalifa can not afford to ignore this movement and Allah will make for those faithful who are keen on their unity a way out," Sayyed Nasrallah said adding that the Bahraini Regime is the one pushing towards escalation and confrontations.

He also indicated that the ongoing popular movement in Bahrain reflects many of the steadfastness and patience, faith and endurance despite harm they are facing.

Syria Should Not Descend to Iraq-Like Abyss

The secretary general condemned the terrorist attacks that hit Damascus and surcased the alleges of some satellite channels and opposition figures who accused the Syrian regime of carrying out the attacks. "It's funny that some accused the Syrian regime of being behind the terrorist attacks. How come a security system sends suicide bombers - if it has suicide bombers - and booby-trapped cars to destroy its intelligence and security centers. It's illogical."

"We are becoming increasingly convinced that there are some who want the downfall of Syria and that only because they want to get rid of the main supporter of Palestine and the resistance in Lebanon," His eminence pointed out.

Sayyed Nasrallah warned that the same hand that destroyed Iraq and committed massacres there is now seeking to destroy Syria and drag it to descend into Iraq-like abyss.

Concerning Syria's parliamentary elections, He said: "Elections were held in poor conditions, however the participation rate was higher than that in some European countries, Latin America or some Arab countries." "The Syrian people are before two approaches: reforms and dealing with things in a political way, or being under the destructive mind and hand as well as parties who are ready to provide weapons, money and suicide bombers ..."

Proportional System the Best

Turning to internal affairs, Sayyed Nasrallah stressed the need that Lebanon's parliamentary elections should take place on time hinting that the elections campaigns have already started. He called for further dialogue on the electoral law and that each one should present his idea and discuss it without clinging to his decision.

Sayyed Nasrallah also said that regardless of the elections law that would be adopted in the country, Hezbollah could ensure representation in Parliament. But His eminence voiced support to an elections law based on proportional representation and said the Proportional representation system was the best in this regard, because it doesn't negate anyone, but eliminates the unilateralism among sects and provides the best means of national representation.

We understand the Progressive Socialist Party leader Walid Jumblatt's concerns but Al-Mustaqbal (Future) Movement insists on unilateralism to dominate the Sunni sect, Sayyed Nasrallah said. "The Future bloc uses May 7 clashes in parliamentary elections campaign because it doesn't have a national project. It flares Sunni-Shiite sedition to keep on the unilateralism in the Sunni sect".
The Hezbollah leader urged that May 7 clashes not be used to incite sectarian strife whether by Shiites or Sunnis through internet websites or pages.

"We accept to resort to the parliamentary elections, we did not and will not resort to arms," Sayyed Nasrallah said adding that the weapons that would affect elections are the individual and small weapons which all Lebanese have and not Hezbollah's heavy weapons and rockets.

Source: Al-Manar Website
11-05-2012 - 12:19 Last updated 12-05-2012 - 00:55

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Beirut’s Southern Suburbs Rise from the Ashes of War

A Lebanese man smokes a waterpipe as he watches earth moving equipment remove the rubble of a building which was destroyed during the conflict between Israel and Lebanon's Hizbollah, in Beirut southern suburbs, September 18, 2006. (photo by REUTERS/Jamal Saidi)
By:Zainab Yaghi posted on Friday, May 11, 2012
Tomorrow [May 11, 2012], Beirut’s southern suburb of Dahieh will mark what residents there like to call the “third victory,” after the May 2000 liberation and the July 2006 war. The Waad Foundation, which is owned by [Hezbollah-run real-estate foundation] Jihad al-Bina, has completed reconstructing what was destroyed in Dahieh during the July 2006 war. Hezbollah’s secretary-general Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah had fought back against the “Dahieh Doctrine” — an Israeli military doctrine introduced during the 2006 war designed to break morale by targeting civilian infrastructure in asymmetric urban warfare — in a speech given on August 14, 2009. That day, he declared, “If Israel bombs Dahieh, we will bomb Tel-Aviv.”

About this Article

During the July 2006 war between Israel and Hezbollah, Beirut’s southern suburbs suffered heavy destruction. The Waad Foundation is nearing the completion of its reconstruction plan in which $400 million and 4,000 workers reconstructed over 270 buildings. Zainab Yaghi reports on the reconstruction and explores some of its criticisms by residents.
Publisher: As-Safir (Lebanon)
Original Title:
270 Buildings for $400 Million: The Southern Suburbs Erases the Effects of the July [War]
Author: Zainab Yaghi
Published on: Thursday, May 10, 2012
Translated On: Friday, May 11, 2012
Translator: Rani Geha
Categories : Lebanon Reports / Studies Economy
In May 2000, the month that witnessed Israel’s withdrawal from the south, Hezbollah decided to hold a celebration on Shura Street. That particular street holds symbolic significance for the party since it was the former location of the Shura Council, in which Hezbollah is a member. It was also the primary “secure sector” in Dahieh. That “secure sector” was completely destroyed during the war, and now, five years later, it has been completely rebuilt. Nasrallah is expected to passionately address Dahieh’s inhabitants, feeding off of the emotions stirred by the restoration of what was destroyed during the war.
It is not an exaggeration to say that Waad completed the reconstruction quickly in comparison with some of the other reconstruction projects in Lebanon, which have proven capable of taking many more years. After criticism was directed at Hezbollah of overstepping the government and taking control of the reconstruction process, it has been revealed that even until today, the government has not fully compensated Dahieh’s inhabitants. The homes in Dahieh could have shared the same fate with those destroyed during the civil war, whose owners are still slowly being compensated 22 years later.
Hezbollah leaders have repeatedly insisted that reconstruction would be completed regardless of compensation delays or nonpayments. Hezbollah’s opponents have said that since Hezbollah was the cause of the destruction, it is natural that they should be responsible for the reconstruction. However, this logic should then also apply to everyone, because the destruction in Lebanon was the result of wars fought by multiple parties and factions. The various sides should rebuild what they destroyed, and it is not for the government to compensate the people.
What's most important is that all the buildings that were destroyed in Dahieh have been rebuilt in a way that maintains the pre-2006 social fabric. This is not what happened in downtown Beirut, where the area’s social and physical composition was completely altered in the reconstruction following the civil war.

5,700 Residential and Commercial Units

Waad’s director Hassan al-Jishi said that 270 buildings in Dahieh were completely destroyed. Waad has reconstructed 239 of them, and financially and technically contributed to rebuilding 19 more after their owners expressed their wishes to reconstruct them themselves. The owners of 12 other buildings that were occupied by long-time renters decided not to reconstruct them. Every long-time renter was compensated with 25 million Lebanese pounds from the Fund for the Displaced, and $10,000 to $15,000 more from Waad — depending on the apartment’s surface area — in order to assist them in buying new apartments. Some used their compensation money to build a house in the south instead.
The new buildings, on which construction began in June 2007, comprise 5,700 residential and commercial units. The first building was completed in 2008; 66 buildings were completed in 2009; 94 in 2010, when the old-time renters issue was resolved; and 100 buildings in 2011. At the end of February 2012, the last seven buildings were completed. Waad will be following up on the problems facing the apartment owners for another year.
The total cost of the reconstruction amounted to $400 million. The funds took the form of cash, donations and grants for construction materials. On the other hand, the total compensation paid out by the government was about $213.9 million, of which $133.9 million was paid from the Fund for the Displaced. Some $80 million in compensation funds are still outstanding. The issue of reinforcing the buildings adjacent to those that collapsed was not part of the government compensation plan, which led Jihad al-Bina to undertake the project at a cost of nearly $7 million.
The government has paid 33.5% of the total project cost so far. About two months ago, the government approved an additional 175 billion Lebanese pounds ($117 million) to complete its compensation program in Dahieh, the south of Lebanon and the Bekaa Valley region. However, that money has not yet reached the Higher Relief Council, the Fund for the Displaced or the Council of the South.

4,000 Workers During Peak Periods

According to al-Jishi, the reconstruction operation faced many arduous challenges due to the fact that no empty land was available. Dahieh is a densely populated area, with only some narrow empty spaces. He said that the number of workers during the reconstruction project — from construction workers to engineers, metallurgists, carpenters and electricians — reached 4,000 during peak periods. This required major coordination efforts with the municipalities to facilitate the movement of trucks carrying building materials.
Waad also faced some administrative challenges for some of the buildings that had to be resolved without burdening their owners with the cost. For example, the Hassan Complex, which Israel destroyed in the war’s final day, constituted eight buildings over an area of 4,500 square meters. Five buildings were then constructed on the original land, and Waad bought 4,000 square meters of adjacent land to build the remaining three buildings.
It was discovered that one of the buildings, which included 19 apartments, was under a bank lien and its owner was bankrupt. Waad had to buy the land under lien before starting construction. Elsewhere, Waad completely removed an illegal building that a trader built on a parking lot located between two other buildings he owned. The foundation compensated the seven apartment owners that lived in the illegal building.
As is common with any construction project, Waad received many complaints. There were rumors that cheap floor tiles were used in some apartments, but al-Jishi asserted that all the floor tiles were from Turkish and Portuguese manufacturing firms. There were also many complaints that the sizes of the apartments had been reduced. Al-Jishi responded to this by stating that the apartments were the same size as before, with some modifications in the interior plans, except for one building on Abbas al-Musawi Street which was significantly reduced because the old building was illegally encroaching onto the street. Those apartments shrank from 160 to 135 square meters, but their owners were compensated by a dollar amount which exceeded the value of the difference in surface area.
A number of residents complained that some apartment owners seized the water tanks that were placed in the buildings. Al-Jishi explained that all of the water tanks were given to the heads of the building committees, and they were responsible for them.
Many of the destroyed buildings were old and beyond their usable age. Thus, modern specifications and services were added to the new buildings, such as earthquake resistance, locations for electric generators, artesian wells, government installations for drinking water, fire extinguishers, two-door elevators, outer double walls and porcelain-coated water heaters that are resistant to the country’s hard water.
Additional underground car garages able to accommodate 9,000 cars were built through the construction of additional basement levels or through the purchase of previously existing basements. All of the garage floors were coated with granite.
The roads have been rehabilitated in cooperation with the Council for Development and Reconstruction. They were also connected to the electrical grid in cooperation with Électricité Du Liban, the water grid in cooperation with the water authority of Beirut and Mount Lebanon, and phone lines in cooperation with Ogero. The roads are expected to be completed in the next few days. Trees have been planted on the sidewalks and commercial shops in Shura Street have matching curtains to give the street a harmonious appearance.
The reconstruction project involved 23 contractors and 50 engineering companies, while seven companies supervised the implementation.
Since it was a great experience, the Waad Foundation decided to document the process. Waad engineers and workers are writing reports about their involvement and those reports will be collected in one volume. Waad has also decided to prepare a major workshop in the coming months to discuss the post-war reconstruction experience. Foreign, Arab and Lebanese engineers and experts are expected to take part in the workshop.

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Israel: Profile of a Police State

by Stephen Lendman

Police states are defined by lawlessness, injustice, and contempt for democratic values.
Merriam Webster calls them “political unit(s) characterized by repressive governmental control of political, economic, and social life usually by an arbitrary exercise of power by police and especially secret police in place of regular operation of administrative and judicial organs of the government according to publicly known legal procedures.”

Power trumps rights. Crackdowns enforce social control. Arrests, imprisonment, torture, and abuse are commonplace. Murder is committed with impunity. State terror is policy.

Palestinians understand well. They’ve suffered horrifically for decades. Legitimate resistance is called terrorism. Nonetheless, they persist.

Courageous prison hunger strikers define them. They vow to keep struggling for justice. On May 9, hundreds of family members, supporters, and human rights activists protested in front of the UN’s Ramallah office.

The international body has done nothing to help. Demonstrators chanted “(w)e don’t want wheat or bread. We want the liberation of detainees.” They demand UN officials intervene for justice.

Released hunger striker Khader Adnan called “surrounding the UN office….a daring move that aims at sending the detainees’ message to the world.” It’s also a “move that sheds light on the suffering of the political prisoners.”

After weeks of protest actions, Israel began negotiating. Ahrar Center for Detainees Studies head Fuad Al Khoffash called it “cheap bargaining.”

Israel offers easily reversed concessions. Prisoners are released, then harassed and rearrested. Promises are made, then broken. Israel doesn’t negotiate. It demands and wants things its way. Since 1967, Palestinians were denied all rights. Militarized occupation assures none.

Al Khoffash called Israel’s move a maneuver. At issue is subverting unity and breaking the spirit of detainees. They chose “dignity over food.” They won’t tolerate manipulation. They’ve been through this before. Harshness masquerades as concessions. Those made are then broken.

On May 7, Israel’s High Court spurned justice. In response to an urgent appeal to save Bilal Diab and Thaer Halahleh, they ruled let ‘em die. On May 10, both men reached hunger strike day 73.
They face imminent death. Neither committed crimes. They’re wrongfully imprisoned. So are thousands of other Palestinians.

Israel’s High Court won’t intervene. Reasons given are spurious. Right-wing justices work cooperatively with Netanyahu hard-liners. Palestinians behind or outside prison walls don’t have a chance.

On May 8, Physicians for Human Rights-Israel (PHR-I) established a hunger striker “situation room.” Plans call for round the clock operation and cooperative efforts to “to gather and distribute any relevant information and to enable a public campaign for supporting the demands by the prisoners to respect their human rights.”

PHR-I will provide information for family members, their attorneys, doctors, and local as well as international human rights organizations and activists. Local and foreign diplomats will be kept informed. So will national and international media, as well as the public.
PHR-I listed prisoner demands. They include:
  1. Ending punitive isolation.
  2. Stopping the practice of imprisoning Palestinians in Israel. Doing so violates international law.
  3. Renewing family visits for Gazan detainees denied them for six years.
  4. Renewing them for West Bank and East Jerusalem prisoners whose families were denied visitation rights.
  5. Providing proper medical care, including access to independent physicians and civilian hospitalization when serious medical conditions exist.
  6. Terminating daily punitive, violent cell and strip searches. Usually done late at night, sleep is disrupted one or more times.
  7. Ending strip searches for visiting family members.
  8. Terminating shackling prisoners during family and attorney visits, as well as when hospitalized for medical care.
  9. Fulfilling prisoners’ right to education.
  10. Ending all severe, disproportional punishments.
  11. Ending violations of other basic rights, including attorney visits during ongoing investigations and restricting judicial oversight.
PHR-I “supports the prisoners’ struggle and their demand for a full respect of their human rights. We are acting on several levels in order to make sure that the prisoners’ rights are maintained in the course of the hunger strike.”

“PHR is making a significant effort to treat and represent people whose medical condition is the worst, and whose right to health and appropriate treatment is being violated behind prison walls.”

Nearly one-third of uncharged Palestinian administrative detainees have been held from six months to a year. Another third endured one to two years of incarceration.

Thirteen have been imprisoned from two to four years, and another two for over four and half years UNCHARGED. Israel can hold them forever in limbo harshness.

Nearly all Israeli prison facilities are within its borders. Incarcerating Palestinians there violates international law. Holding them anywhere spurns it. They’re innocent. They committed no crimes. Free societies don’t govern this way. Police states do. On issues affecting Palestinians, Israel is one of the worst.

Israel’s High Court Affirms State of Emergency Conditions

On May 8, the High Court rejected an Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) petition. At issue is canceling an official state of emergency in force since May 1948 after Israel’s war of independence.
In 1992, the Knesset passed Basic Law: The Government which created an outer limit to the state of emergency for one year reserves the right for unlimited renewals.

Each government took full advantage despite no justification whatever. Israel hasn’t been attacked for nearly 40 years. Yet a virtual state of war exists.

As a result, authorities maintain unconstitutional police state powers. Draconian harshness is enforced. Freedoms are restricted or denied, including expression, labor and property rights.

The court ruled “Israel is a normal country that isn’t normal.” The statement defies logic. Falsely, the decision said Israel “essentially fulfills its mandate as a Jewish and democratic state.”

Jewish, yes, although 20% of its population is Muslim. Democratic, no. Israel mocks democracy. Arabs have no rights. Even Jewish ones are compromised.

Israel “is not normal,” the court held, “in that its existential threats have yet to be quelled….the battle against terror continues, and apparently will continue for the foreseeable future.”

Israel’s only threats are those it invents to impose occupation harshness, attack neighboring states, and threaten other nonbelligerent ones like Iran.

Stop the Wall Activists Targeted

On May 8 at 1:30AM, Stop the Wall (STW) activists issued an “Action alert: STW office raided by Israeli military,” saying:

Ten armored jeeps, dozens of security forces, and intelligence agents surrounded and raided STW’s Ramallah offices. Their property was confiscated. Seized were two laptops, three hard drives, and 10 memory cards with files and photos.

Authorities also took “archival material relating to the work that (STW) does in opposition to Israel’s apartheid wall and the attack on Palestinian human rights that the wall and” settlements represent.
“This is a renewed attack upon Palestinian civil society and their struggle against the physical and psychological oppression, land confiscation and ethnic cleansing policies of the Israel.”

The raid coincided with High Court injustice condemning Bilal and Thaer to death. At issue is quashing resistance before further traction is gained, behind and outside prison walls.

Earlier, STW activists were harassed, raided, and terrorized. Today they say they’re stronger than ever. They have global support. Word spreads. STW urges supporters tell others, demand their governments intervene, and “(l)et Israel know that walls cannot isolate anybody!”

A Final Comment

On May 8, the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD) issued an “Urgent Alert: Imminent Displacement Risk in the Jerusalem Periphery,” saying:

Palestinian residences in the West Bank’s Area C (east of Jerusalem) face “looming threat of immediate demolition.” Those threatened “include EU-funded residential structures provided in response to previous demolitions in the area.”

Mostly Bedouin communities are affected. They’re targeted for ethnic cleansing to provide land for Israeli residential and commercial development.

Communities were told “they have no option but to leave.” It’s part of a larger scheme to steal all valued Judea and Samaria land. Total Judaization is planned. Arabs aren’t wanted. Those unwilling to leave will be forced out.

Areas most affected include Jerusalem’s periphery, the Jordan Valley, and south Hebron Hills. Israel wants Palestinians excluded. Eviction orders are issued. Private property is confiscated. Residents have lived there for decades, some for generations. International law is violated.

Israel’s Civil Administration (ICA) falsely claims Palestinian structures were built illegally. It also calls Area C sovereign Israeli territory. It comprises over 60% of the West Bank. It contains valued water resources. Israel wants Palestinians denied them, including on their own private property.

Since 1997, ICAHD courageously resisted lawless Israeli demolitions. It also addresses land theft, settlement expansions, Jews-only by-pass roads, apartheid “closure” and “separation” policies, destroying Palestinian fruit and olive trees, the Separation Wall, besieged Gaza, and other vital issues.
It opposes Israel’s lawless occupation and repression of Palestinians wanting to live free, on their own land, in their own country peacefully. It’s their sovereign right.

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Foreign-Led Blast Might Be A Turning Point for Syria

Smoke rises from the wreckage of mangled vehicles at the site of an explosion in Damascus May 10, 2012. Dozens of people were killed or wounded in two "terrorist explosions" which struck a southern district of the Syrian capital Damascus, state television said. (photo by REUTERS/Sana/Handout )

By: Sateh Noureddine posted on Friday, May 11, 2012

Every civil war includes at least one big incident — either a murder, an explosion or a raid — that constitutes a sharp turning point for the war's context and balance of power. The Lebanese, Palestinian , Iraqi, Yemeni and Libyan experiences are ridden with examples of such events that changed entire states and communities.

About this Article

The Syrian regime’s reaction to the bombings that shook Damascus on May 10 was much more diligently thought-out than the opposition's. writes Sateh Noureddine. The blast bore all the hallmarks of an externally-planned Al-Qaeda attack. For both sides to admit the presence of a third-party belligerent would be a positive step in the conflict.
Publisher: As-Safir (Lebanon)
Original Title:
Massacre from Outside the Conflict
Author: Sateh NoureddinePublished on: Friday, May 11, 2012
Translated On: Friday, May 11, 2012
Translator: Sami-Joe Abboud
Categories : Syria Analysis & Opinion Security
The horrific massacre that hit Damascus on May 10 is yet another example of this kind of event, and will go down in history as an important part of the Syrian civil war. In fact, the incident moved Syria from a stage of clashes between belligerents — characterized by a deadlock — to one of comprehensive elimination, often led by a third party that is willing to interfere. This third party often seeks to assert itself at the front lines of the confrontation, and, consequently, take a central role at any negotiation table.

The horrific bombings that hit the Syrian capital are unprecedented. They cannot be attributed to the non-violent opposition, or to the opposition armed with light weapons that is taking part in skirmishes with the army or security forces. Nor can they be attributed to the regime, as have claimed some of its opponents who were apparently caught off guard by the extraordinary incident. In fact, the damage this has caused to the regime is the most severe since the beginning of the crisis.

The regime’s reaction to the massacres was immeasurably better than the behavior and rhetoric of the opposition.

Aside from the words of those officials who have thus far lumped all of the regime’s opponents into the same bundle, leveling accusations against all of them simultaneously, the authorities’ official accusations against the terrorists removes a brick from the wall of the civil war. Hopefully, this can set the stage for some discussions related to understanding the other’s point of view instead of working to eradicate and provoke it, as has been the case since March of 2011.

This would help fight an imminent threat that has the power to wreak havoc on everyone without exception — be they from the moderate or militant loyalists, peaceful or armed opponents. These groups, who have for some incomprehensible and unjustified reason thus far refrained from asking God to take mercy on the civilian victims, somehow found the guts to condemn this mass murder.

The incident is so serious that it requires diligence from the opposition before the regime, especially considering that this time, more than any other, the blasts bore all the hallmarks of an attack aimed at stopping both sides from taking such an initiative.

To accuse Al-Qaeda now, as opposed to any of its affiliated networks, is no longer a distortion of the truth. It can no longer be called a move to assist the perpetrator, nor can it be called a random accusation. The decision to carry out these blasts came either from Afghanistan or Pakistan, unlike the previous bombings probably carried out by local Syrian Islamist organizations to underscore their loyalty to the Afghan leadership.

The massacre is too big to be tolerated. It is too dangerous to be called part of the open conflict between the regime and an opposition, which lost further credibility and legitimacy on May 10.
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NSA’s Jewish Spy Masters

 After the World Wars, a group of Intelligence services formed an agreement to fight communism and share intelligence and to help security. As part of this agreement a global communication monitoring system was established. Using all the members they could monitor all communications on the planet. This was gradually expanded and eventually became the Echelon system. With its main centres being:

8200 Herzliya Israel
GCHQ Cheltenham/Bude UK
NSA Maryland USA

The Special Relationship

But who runs Echelon? Echelon is run by a joint alliance of countries Canada, America, New Zealand, Australia, Israel & Britian. AKA CAZAIB.

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by Jonathon Blakeley
Friday, May 11th, 2012

Friday, 11 May 2012

Muslim Brotherhood and The Presidential Campaign in Egypt

Yusuf Fernandez

Muslim BrotherhoodTens of thousands of Egyptians filled Cairo´s Tahrir Square on April 13to protest against the disqualification of 10 candidates by a panel of Mubarak-era judges. The demonstrators demanded an immediate transfer of power from the military junta to the Parliament.

The opponents to the military rule who filled the Square denounced the generals´ efforts to abort a handover of power. During their tenure, more than 100 people have been killed in crackdowns on protests. Thousands of civilians have been detained and tried in military courts in this last year.

The latest blow to Egyptians´ aspirations was the Supreme Presidential Electoral Comission (SPEC)´s move, which eliminated from the race the top candidate from each political bloc. The Salafist candidate, Hazem Abu Ismail, was disqualified allegedly because his mother had the US citizenship. Ismail contested the claim as false, but the Egyptian foreign and interior ministries along with the US State Department pointed out that Abu Ismail’s mother had received a US passport before she died.

This move left the Salafists, whose main party Al-Nour obtained almost 30% of votes in the parliamentary elections, without any candidate who could support their views. The commission also disqualified Omar Suleiman, the former head of the Egyptian intelligence service and vice-president under ousted dictator Hosni Mubarak’s rule. However, Minister Ahmed Shafiq, a former prime minister during Mubarak´s time, was allowed to become a candidate.

Khairat Al-Shatir
The Muslim Brotherhood´s top candidate, Khairat el-Shater, was also disqualified because he was a political prisoner under Mubarak. Al-Shater was arrested with other leading members of the Brotherhood in 2006, when the Mubarak regime launched an offensive against “Islamist businessmen”. A military court sentenced him to 7 years in prison. He was allegedly accused of money laundering, providing students with weapons and funding “illegal” group. He was released by the SCAF soon after it took power, reportedly for health reasons. Al-Shater´s lawyers claimed that he received a full pardon, which covered all charges against him. However, the SPEC turned down the appeals submitted by the disqualified candidates.

The SPEC is made up by a group of judges appointed by the SCAF. Its president, Farouk Sultan, is a former army officer and judge in the military court system. Some commentators hold the position that the SPEC took its decision to disqualify the candidates on behalf of the SCAF junta, which wanted in particular to get rid of Al-Shater.

Al-Shater, a businessman and former banker, represents the economic interests of the Brotherhood. He is the owner of a business empire; his economic platform sought to attract more foreign investment and further privatize and liberalize the Egyptian economy. The military saw his economic programme as a potential threat to its economic interests. The army controls large parts of the country´s economy. Recently, SCAF said that it would “fight to defend our projects”.

After knowing the decision of the Electoral Comission, Al-Shatir accused the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) of not being serious about the handover of power. He also said that the military junta was “looking for a figure that it can control from behind the scenes,” “We vow to defend the revolution and to overthrow the rest of Mubarak’s regime and to cleanse establishments and institutions that support the old regime”, he added.

However, the Brotherhood and its political wing, the Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) announced they are still in the competition for the presidency of the Republic. Their second candidate, Mohamed Mursi, said that he would adopt the same approach and programme of Al Shater. In a statement issued by the Brotherhood and the FJP, they reiterated that they have “a comprehensive renaissance project for Egypt that covers all fields and sectors, and is capable of taking Egypt to safety shores of stability, security and prosperity.”

The Commission´s decision to ban Al-Shater from running for president is a further indication of a growing conflict between the ruling military and the Brotherhood. Although Mursi is still in the race, he is less popular than Al-Shater and his possibilities of winning the election are also very few.

Initially, the Brotherhood supported the SCAF´s move to take over the power. The Brotherhood and the Salafists then supported a law issued by the generals in March 2011 banning strikes and protests and backed virtually all the SCAF’s decisions. However, after its victory in the parliamentary elections, the Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) and the Brotherhood have taken a more confrontational stance towards the SCAF junta.

The reason of this new approach is that their outrage for the SCAF´s refusal to remove the interim government headed by Kamal Ganzouri and replace it with another national unity government, as the new parliament has demanded. They claim that SCAF is unwilling to give up power and seeks to continue ruling the country. The newly elected parliament remains largely powerless.

Division among the revolutionaries

Muslim BrotherhoodOn the other hand, the division between its “Islamist” and “secularist” sectors within the revolutionary camp is getting worse and worse. The first contentious issue was the criteria and methods for selecting the 100 members of the comission charged with drafting the new constitution. When the Islamist parliamentary majority demanded 72 of the 100 seats, liberals withdrew and accused them of being deliberately exclusionist. Later, they lawsuit it what froze all activities of the commission.

In the recent protests, including the above-mentioned one in Tahrir Square, demonstrators voiced more division than unity, with many liberals and Salafists accusing the Brotherhood of being more focused on its own political interests than on increasing pressure on the military. Ahmed Said, leader of the liberal Free Egyptians Party, said that it was obvious that the Brotherhood resorted to Tahrir to polish its revolutionary image and serve its own interests.

“The Brotherhood's leaders left us alone in many earlier confrontations in which we were the first to call for the removal of the present cabinet led by Prime Minister Kamal El-Ganzouri, and were critical of SCAF,” claimed Said. “We would need a clear apology first before we can consider having confidence in the Brotherhood after its repeated failed promises.” 
Amr Moussa: "Arab League decided to suspend Libya's membership!"

The second controversy was triggered by the Brotherhood's decision to field a presidential candidate, breaking the pledge they had repeated for more than a year.

The decision caused dismay in political circles, especially among the secularists and the SCAF.

It was seen as further evidence that the Muslim Brotherhood wanted to “monopolise power”. However, the Muslim Brotherhood rejected these claims by saying that in the most democratic countries the president of the republic and the parliament are usually in the hands of the same party.

However, prospects are not very positive for the Brotherhood. According to a poll by Al Ahram, it will be independent Abdel Moneim Abul Futuh who will become the successful Islamic candidate who will compete with the other favourite candidate, former secretary-general of the Arab League Amr Moussa, for the presidency in the second round of the presidential elections in June.

Al-Manar is not responsible for the content of the comments. All opinions expressed are those of the posters not Al-Manar’s or its staff. Al-Manar reserves the right to exclude comments that contain expressions falling beyond the bounds of decency.

Source: Al-Manar Website
11-05-2012 - 16:07 Last updated 11-05-2012 - 16:09

Egyptian Candidates Debate: Peace Treaty with Israel to be Revised

Local Editor

Egypt’s hopeful presidential candidates have made the first televised presidential debate in Egypt’s history strongly criticizing Israel and calling it as an enemy to the Egyptian nation.

Abul Fotouh, Amr MoussaThe two front-runners in Egypt's presidential election were Amr Moussa, a former foreign minister and Arab League chief, and Abdel Moneim Abul Fotouh. The debate, which was aired on two private Egyptian television channels, ONTV and Dream, lasted for nearly four hours late into the night on Thursday.

The two traded accusations against each other but both agreed the country's 1979 “peace treaty” with the Israeli occupation had to be revised though not annulled.

Abul Fotouh, Amr Moussa"Israel is an enemy, an entity established on occupying the land and threatening our security,” former leading member of Muslim Brotherhood Abul Fotouh said. "An entity that has 200 nuclear warheads, has a vast amount of reinforcements on the pretext of security, an entity that stands against international resolutions and rejects the return of the Palestinian people's rights," he was quoted as saying by AP.

Moussa also expressed similar views against the Zionist entity. "Most of our people consider it [Israel] an enemy, most of our people don't agree with it and don't trust the peace with it. This is true," Moussa said.

Egyptian polls have suggested that Moussa and Abul Fotouh are the leading contenders in the May 23-24 polls.
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