Saturday 24 March 2012

"Looks like you just have to be the ‘right' terrorist organization to hold a fancy party in the US Congress!"


"...Those supporters, many of them paid, include Giuliani, Rendell, Vermont Governor Howard Dean, Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz. John Lewis (D-GA), former FBI Director Louis Freeh, former Sen. Robert Torricelli, former Rep. Patrick Kennedy, former National Security Advisor Gen. James Jones, former Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Richard Myers, former White House Chief of Staff Andy Card, retired Gen. Wesley Clark, former Rep. Lee Hamilton, former CIA Director Porter Goss, senior advisor to the Romney campaign Mitchell Reiss, retired Gen. Anthony Zinni, and former Sen. Evan Bayh.
Congressional aides attended the event on Thursday in the hearing room both out of curiosity and hunger for free food. But multiple aides told The Cable the event was bizarre, even by Congressional standards.
"Looks like you just have to be the ‘right' terrorist organization to hold a fancy party in the halls and hearing rooms of Congress," one House aide told The Cable. "Hope everyone who ate their kabobs doesn't get hit with material support subpoenas."

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian  
The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this Blog!

Ali Abunimah & Gilad Atzmon at the OK Corral

by Roger Tucker
Saturday, March 24th, 2012

The recent open letter GrantingNo Quarter: A Call for the Disavowal of the Racism and Antisemitism of Gilad Atzmon, apparently written by Ali Abunimah, has come as a shock to many people, including yours truly. Not only have the Zionists colonized Palestine and subjected them to a permanent campaign of genocide, but as anyone who has been paying attention knows, they have colonized the Western democracies, turning them into obedient puppets. Now it appears that they have also colonized the Palestine Solidarity movement.

At the end of this essay are links to a number of responses supporting Atzmon and what he stands for. These cover the ground pretty well, but I’d like to add a critical look at the language used by Abunimah et al and some of the notions underlying such terminology. I’ll start with the title itself, which begins with the curious phrase “Granting No Quarter.” The phrase is familiar to anyone who has read books or seen films based on British naval warfare set in the 18th or early 19th centuries. – this is as extreme as it gets. This from a group of mostly Palestinian supporters of the Palestinian struggle against Israel in opposition to another such supporter. That is sufficiently mind-boggling in itself, but Ali Abunimah, and I would assume at least some of his fellow signatories, are also supporters of One Democratic State as the solution to the basic conflict in the Middle East, as is Atzmon. Some fundamental and portentous difference, beyond a mere dispute about strategy or tactics, must be responsible for such a total and uncompromising attack on a seemingly close ally. It allows for no debate, no compromise – no quarter offered or accepted.

Some observers have implied that Ali & Co. have actually gone over to the enemy, or may have been Zionist agents from day one, and that the Jewish members of these Solidarity groups are acting as their handlers. For the sake of argument, I’m going to assume that is not so, that they are perfectly sincere in considering themselves loyal to the Palestinian cause as they conceive it.

Looking at the signatories of the Letter we find some successful academics, Abunimah and Massad being the most prominent. They have prospered as unofficially sanctioned spokesmen for the Palestinian cause in the US and have no incentive to rock the boat. If they presented any perceived danger to tribal Jewry, they would likely find themselves on the street, as has happened to a number of academics, many of them Jewish, who have dared to challenge the predominant Jewish narrative. This points to a simple motivation based on economic and professional self-interest, but I believe there’s more to it than that.

“Race is a classification system used to categorize humans into large and distinct populations or groups by heritable phenotypic characteristics, geographic ancestry, physical appearance, and ethnicity.” So begins the Wikipedia page on the subject. Race is a broad brush that covers just about any typology that attempts to divide humanity into distinct groups according to such criteria. All such attempts have very fuzzy edges. “Racism is the belief that inherent different traits in human racial groups justify discrimination. In the modern English language, the term “racism” is used predominantly as a pejorative epithet. It is applied especially to the practice or advocacy of racial discrimination of a pernicious nature (i.e., which harms particular groups of people).” The accusation of racism has typically been a characteristic of leftist critiques of systems that practice discrimination against members of relatively powerless minorities. The accusation of racism against Zionist Jews is a curious exception. This particular group is far from being powerless. More to the point, there has been an obvious racist component within Jewish culture from the very beginning. Just take a look at the Old Testament, let alone the blatant contempt for the “goyim” (non-Jews) found in the Talmud. The dehumanization of “the Other” is a very old and characteristically Jewish pattern. For tribal Jews and their allies, the “shabbas goyim,” to bandy about the term “racism” is hypocrisy of the highest order. (“The term shabbos goy refers to a non-Jew who performs duties that Jewish law forbids a Jew from performing on the Sabbath.” – wikipedia) What I am getting at is that Ali Abunimah et al are arguably shabbas goyim, non-Jewish elements of the currently dominant political force in the Western world that James Petras refers to as the Zionist Power Configuration (JPC).


This term is the most powerful weapon in the tribal Jewish verbal armory. To be labeled antisemitic is akin to having been labeled a heretic by the Holy Roman Inquisition. It might not invite torture and burning at the stake, but they will set about ruining your life. It is purportedly a special case of racism, whereby the Jewish people are cast as the eternal victims of racial prejudice. I defer to a Jewish thinker on this subject:

“If this hostility, even aversion, had only been shown towards the Jews at one period and in one country, it would be easy to unravel the limited causes of this anger, but this race has been on the contrary an object of hatred to all the peoples among whom it has established itself. It must be therefore, since the enemies of the Jews belonged to the most diverse races, since they lived in countries very distant from each other, since they were ruled by very different laws, governed by opposite principles, since they had neither the same morals, nor the same customs, since they were animated by unlike dispositions which did not permit them to judge of anything in the same way, it must be therefore that the general cause of anti-Semitism has always resided in Israel itself and not in those who have fought against Israel.” ~ Statement regarding the expulsions of Jews, by noted Jewish author Bernard Lazare in “L’antisémitisme, son histoire et ses causes,”published in 1894.

As a number of people have pointed out, there is another problem with the use of the word antisemitism. “Semite” is a linguistic term denoting peoples who speak semitic languages. Israelis are not semites in spite of the fact that they speak Hebrew ((it’s an adopted language of far too recent a vintage). The Zionists who created Israel and still run it are descended from the Khazars, linguistically a “Turko-finnic” people. The vast majority of semites speak Arabic as their native language, making tribal Jewry, particularly the Israelis, the only people in the world who are truly “antisemitic” – and they are virulently antisemitic.


Abunimah invokes this term, specifically “settler-colonialism,” as characterizing the nature of the Zionist invasion of Palestine. They claim that Atzmon rejects this characterization. Actually, all he does is point out that settler-colonialism has traditionally referred to efforts of European powers to install a permanent presence of their nationals in countries they wish to control. In all such cases, except Israel, there is a mother country that the settlers can rely on to finance and support their efforts. This is different from the case of the Jewish State, in which that role has been played by world Jewry in the diaspora. It’s a non-issue, really, except that once again Abunimah is misusing language to make his argument.


Race, as we mentioned above, is a clumsy, inaccurate and misleading way of looking at the distinguishing characteristics of people that we attempt to lump together in identifiable groups. There’s a much better way of separating out what Atzmon calls “collectives.” This is by looking at characteristic ways of thinking, speaking and behaving, which together pretty much determine who we are. These distinctions are cultural. And this is where the already shaky limb that Ali is clinging to breaks and he tumbles into complete nonsense. Ali doesn’t mention culture in his letter, but take a look at this, Ali Abunimah attacking Gilad Atzmon at the Stuttgart One State conference (Dec 2010.

“Jewish Culture.. doesn’t explain anything at all.” This remark is not only absurd – it would be like saying that slavery had nothing to do with the Civil War, or that the playing of the pipes has nothing to do with their Celtic origin, or that the French drink wine merely as a matter of personal choice, etc. , etc. (one could make a parlor game out of this) – he is so intent on demonizing Atzmon that he abandons any shred of intellectual integrity. Perhaps he secretly believes in “Intelligent Design?”

The notion of race is based on genetic differences, which determine our physical being. Genetic evolution in the human race more or less ceased some 5,000 years ago. Culture, on the other hand, is memetic. Memes are patterns that we inherit from our environment, starting when we are children with our families and continuing as we get older to to the notions, norms and attitudes prevalent in our societies. Culture is far and away the most significant causal factor in how we manifest in the world.

What makes memetic (cultural) evolution possible and far more rapid than through genetic mutations is that we have the ability to change our minds based on new information, or seeing things in a new way. To do so requires curiosity, an open mind and considerable humbleness. This is what the word “freedom” means in its fullest sense. Many people become rigid and inflexible in their views, including far too many academics. As Eric Hoffer, the great longshoreman philosopher put it in his book ‘The True Believer,’ “In times of change learners inherit the earth; while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists.”

Identity politics

This term, frequently used by Atzmon, is the crux of the matter. If you will indulge me, click on Us vs. Them: On the Meaning of Fascism. It is about identity politics and how this phenomenon tends to evolve into fascism. Atzmon is absolutely correct in making it central to his investigation. He stresses that it is intellectually dishonest to attempt to discuss Zionism and Israel without reference to “Jewishness.” Zionism was a specifically Jewish endeavor to create a Jewish state. What could be more obvious? If you leave out the “Jewish” part there isn’t much left, is there? The point is too obvious to belabor, but Abunimah attempts to do just that. Atzmon, in the grand tradition of intellectual inquiry, has committed himself to trying to understand the whole complex picture, which centers around the question of what “Jewish” and “Jewishness” mean. Abunimah cries foul and invokes the taboo that has been the mainstay of Zionist propaganda from day one. You can’t talk about “Jews.” You can’t talk about “Jewishness.” Otherwise you are “racist,” “antisemitic.” A circular, absurd argument. I guess it might upset somebody, most likely “The Wandering Guess Who.” (There is a very intriguing piece from an unlikely source, a recent issue of the New York Times. The author has some very intiguing things to say about tribal identities. Click on Forget the Money, Follow the Sacredness.)

I am Jewish, Atzmon is Jewish (whether he likes it or not – sorry, Gilad, but it’s a friendly dig), and so are many of his supporters. I don’t want anyone telling me that I can’t look at what that means. It is one of my fondest hopes that a great many Jews honestly consider the question “who am I?”. As long as the answer is “I’m a Jew, first and foremost” we are in for a lot more trouble. If the answer is “I’m first of all a human being and the rest is secondary” then there will be grounds for optimism. If enough Jews have the courage to look in the mirror and ask this fundamental question, we could easily solve the most pressing problem facing the world today, because, like it or not, tribal Jewry currently holds all the cards. Without at least the tacit support of most Jews they wouldn’t be able to play their game any longer.

Political Correctness

We are now going to address what I believe to be the primary motivations behind Abunimah’s extraordinary attack on Atzmon. A number of political fashions arose out of postmodernism, such as multi-culturalism, radical feminism and gay and lesbian activism, for example. In all cases, these fashions endorse various flavors of identity politics, These particular ideas were actually pioneered within the 60’s counter-culture, but the postmodernist academics turned them upside down. Instead of being inspired by a sense of our common humanity, we were inundated by all sorts of identity politics, all with narratives that, under the new dispensation, couldn’t be challenged without confronting the enforcement arm of the new orthodoxy – political correctness. All of this grew out of the Marxist culture that had previously been the fashion on the Left, but needed a new intellectual basis after the reaction to the horrors of Stalinism and Maoism, and eventually the fall of the Soviet Union. Ergo, postmodernism and its progeny provided continuity and a new lease on life.

In keeping with the tradition of Marxism-Leninism, the neo-Marxists needed to instill monolithic party discipline. After all, there can be only one vanguard of the proletariat. The new ideology of identity politics developed the strategy of political correctness to enforce its monopoly over discourse. This is not confined to the groves of Academe – the ADL and similar Zionist institutions actively enforce the orthodoxy. And, just as an aside, Jews continued to make up a large proportion of both the party leadership and the party faithful, just as Bolshevism was largely a Jewish project. Although the thought police concern themselves with decrying any perceived denigration of a number of tribal groups, by other academics particularly, there is no question that the one and only Sacred Cow is the Jewish Tribe. Casting aspersions on black people, gays or women, for example, will get you a serious dressing down, but any reference to Jews or Jewishness that isn’t flattering might well cost you your livelihood, or worse.

To sum up, the attacks on Gilad Atzmon and Ken O’Keefe reveal an organized attempt to silence independent voices within the Palestinian support community.

Many moons ago I was in the US Army. As it was peacetime, the only enemy in sight was the Army itself. We fought to a draw. There are many of us who don’t like to take orders, least of all from  the PC thought police. This an attempted political coup, actually, much like the successful efforts of the Bolsheviks (which means “majority,” although they were a small minority – quite Orwellian, actually) against the Mensheviks. But it isn’t going to work, because Atzmon and O’Keefe aren’t interested in power or being part of an organized movement. They are truly independent people taking a personal stand against a great evil, and they take their stand on behalf of all of suffering mankind, not just the Palestinians. Their efforts are prompted by the plight of the Palestinians, but like Gandhi, ML King and Mandela, they serve an even higher purpose, that of justice, wisdom, compassion and peace.

I would leave it there, but I want to make an appeal to Ali Abunimah et al to reconsider their views on this matter. When I got involved in One State advocacy more than ten years ago, I realized that we needed to operate under a big tent. After all, we are a small, relatively powerless group of people, up against the most powerful and ruthless fascist endeavor in history. At the very least, we need to accommodate one another even if some people have some views that rub us the wrong way. So I would like to invite Ali Abunimah, Joseph Massad, my friend Haidar Eid and all the others to check their guns at the door and rejoin the rest of us involved in the greatest struggle of our time.

Supporters of Atzmon have written a flurry of responses to Abunimah’s letter. Here are links to some of them:
Needless to say, Atzmon and O’Keefe have had something to say about it as well:
A Response to Ali Abunimah & Co., by Gilad Atzmon
Gilad wrote to his list:
“It seems as if in spite of a very well orchestrated Jewish campaign, truth and justice prevailed, a lot thanks to you out there. There is a simple basic fact my detractors fail to
grasp. I am not a politician, I do not seek power. I am an artist, I search for beauty and justice. And as it happens both are out there available for us.”
It appears that the same people who are trying to excommunicate Atzmon are also after Ken O’Keefe, which is really disgusting. There aren’t that many real heroes in this world, but O’Keefe is certainly one of them.
Thought Police within the so-called ‘Palestine Solidarity Movement’, by Ken O’Keefe

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian  
The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this Blog!

Booby-trapped Car Dismantled in Aleppo, Terrorists Attack Oil Pipeline in Deir Ezzor

Mar 24, 2012

ALEPPO, (SANA)-The military engineering units on Saturday dismantled a booby-trapped car with a fake registration plate near the Agricultural School in the Youth Housing Project in Aleppo province.
A source in the province told SANA reporter that the car included 6 explosive devices, two of them weighed 20 kg each, while the other four weighed 1 kg each, in addition to four fire extinguishers to increase pressure and power of explosion.

The source added that an automatic timer and a remote detonating device was used to booby trap the explosive devices.

20120324-183741.jpgCitizen Ammar Khalifeh who informed the authorities about the car said he saw the car blocking the way, and when he asked about the owner of the car, a man told me that the car belonged to no one, so he looked inside the car and found that dynamite are placed close to the brakes. After that he informed the authorities.

The source pointed out that only ten minutes separated the arrival of the engineering units and the time set for explosion.

Armed Terrorist Group Attacks Gas Pipeline between al-Jabseh and Homs

An armed terrorist group attacked on Saturday a gas pipeline between al-Jabseh Gas factory and Homs city which provides the Azotic Fertilizer factory and al-Zara electricity generating plant in Homs.

The terrorist group detonated an explosive device in the pipeline at Bir al-Jouf area, 50 kms to the north of Deir Ezzor city, leading to leakage of 700,000 cubic meters of gas.

An official source at the Petroleum Ministry told SANA that the pipeline belongs to the Syrian Gas Company, adding that maintenance process will take 72 hours in order to fix the pipeline.

On March 21, an armed terrorist group detonated an oil pipeline near Ein Ali area that belongs to al-Furat Oil Company.

Two Terrorists Killed While Planting Explosive Charge on Main Road in Idleb

Two terrorists were killed in the blast of an explosive device while they were planting it on the main road north of Saraqeb city in Idleb.

Well-informed sources told SANA reporter that the explosive device exploded while terrorists were trying to plant it on the main road to target transport vehicles, citizens and law-enforcement patrols.

F. Allafi/H. Said/Ghossoun
River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian  
The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this Blog!

Palestinian Prisoners on a General Hunger Strike in Israeli Dungeons

Today, 24.03.2012, Palestinian prisoners in Israeli dungeons joined in a general one-day hunger strike against the policies of isolation, medical negligence, the prohibition of family visits and against the arbitrary so-called administrative detention.

The strike, which is part of a wide-scale struggle programme is also in solidarity with Palestinian detainee Hana’ Ash-Shalabi who is today on her 38th day of open-ended hunger strike against administrative detention. Further strike steps include a general strike on Wednesday and Saturday of next week. An escalation in the type and range of protests is expected during April 2012.

On the evening of Friday 23.03.2012, Palestinian hunger striker and administrative detainee Tha’ir Halahleh was transferred to prison hospital after his health deteriorated. Halahleh has been on hunger strike for 23 days, in protest administrative detention and in solidarity with fellow administrative detainee and hunger striker Hana’ Ash-Shalabi. His lawyer said that despite his deteriorating health condition, Halahleh refuses to stop his hunger strike and will continue the struggle against his arbitrary and illegal detention. Currently, there are at least 25 Palestinian prisoners on hungers strike protesting administrative detention, the inhumane treatment inside Israeli dungeons, medical negligence and isolation. They are divided into 3 groups:

1. Hunger strikers against the arbitrary so-called administrative detention: The illegal policy of administrative detention allows the Israeli military to hold Palestinian prisoners indefinitely without charge or trial. Israeli prison authority uses administrative detention as prolonged detention, and in some cases Palestinian detainees are held captive without charge or trial for 5 or even 10 years.

2. Hunger strikers in solidarity with Hana’ Ash-Shalabi and against administrative detention.

3. Hunger strikers demanding that Palestinian prisoners be treated as POW and as freedom fighters: International affirms the right of peoples to defend themselves against foreign invasion. UN Resolutions such as UN Res. 2787 of 1971 affirms the “legality of the people’s struggle for self-determination and liberation from colonial and foreign domination and alien subjugation”… “the inalienable rights of … the Palestinian people, to freedom, equality and self-determination, and the legitimacy of their struggles to restore those rights. [It is] man’s basic human right to fight for the self-determination of his people under colonial and foreign domination.”[1] Accordingly, these hunger strikers demand that Palestinians held captive by the Israeli occupation be treated as POW.

Hana’ Ash-Shalabi is today on her 38th day of open-ended hunger strike against administrative detention

source: google images
Hana’ Ash-Shalabi, 29 years old, was kidnapped from her home in Burqin, Jenin on 16.02.2012 and has been ordered in administrative detention for 6 months. This is not the first time for Hana’: she had been in administrative detention for 6 executive times since 14.03.2009, and was released in October 2011 in the latest prisoner exchange deal after spending 2 and a half years in Israeli detention without charge or trial. Through her hunger-strike, Hana’ is protesting against her illegal detention and to demand an end to the policy of administrative detention.

Her health is rapidly deteriorating and she is in critical condition: Her blood pressure is very low, salt concentration in her blood is very high which affects her kidneys and causes her extreme pain at night. Her heart beats are weak and irregular, she suffers from a sharp pain in the chest, severe dehydration and dizziness, and cannot stand up.

In the letter she confirmed that despite her suffering, she will continue the struggle. She was transferred to hospital, where was locked up in a small isolated cell surrounded by occupation soldiers who ate in front of her to force her into breaking her hunger strike. The Israeli prison authority has punished Hana’ for refusing to break her hunger strike by denying her family visits for a month.

Kifah Hattab is today on his 27th day of open-ended hunger strike demanding to be treated as POW

source: google images

Kifah Hattab, 51 years old from Tulkarim, has been held captive in Israeli dungeons since 04.06.2003. He refuses to acknowledge Israeli military prison orders and on 26.02.2012 started a second open-ended hunger strike to demand Israeli prison authority respect humanitarian and international law and treat Palestinian prisoners as “Prisoners of War”.

He is fined 250 shekels per day for every day he refuses to attend the daily prisoner count.

On 17.04.2011 Hattab went on a hunger strike in protest of his captivity and to demand that Israeli prison authority treat him as a POW. His hunger strike lasted 20 days, during which he was punished with isolation.

Bilal Thiab and Tha’ir Halahleh are today on their 23th day of open-ended hunger strike against administrative detention

source: google images
On 01.03.2012, administrative detainees Bilal Thiab, 26 years old from Jenin, and Tha’ir Halahleh, 25 years old from Hebron, held captive in An-Naqab prison, started an open-ended hunger strike in solidarity with Hana’ Ash-Shalabi and against their administrative detention.

Bilal was detained several times, spending a total of 7 years in Israeli jails, and one year in administrative detention, which has been recently renewed.

Tha’ir was detained several times, spending a total of 9 years in Israeli dungeons, 4 of them in administrative detention.

Murad Malayshah and Islam Al-Shu’aybe are today on their 21st day of open-ended hunger strike against administrative detention

On 03.03.2012, Murad Malayshah from Jenin and Islam Shu’aybe from Salfit, both held captive in Shatta jail, started a hunger strike in solidarity with Hana’ Ash-Shalabi and against administrative detention. Both were detained several times by Israeli occupation forces. On 15.03.2012, Malayshah’s administrative detention was renewed for another 7 months.

Tariq Qa’dan and Tha’ir Daraghmeh are today on their 20th day of open-ended hunger strike against administrative detention

Palestinian detainees Tariq Qa’dan from ‘Arrabeh and Tha’ir Daraghmeh from Tubas, who are held captive in Al-Jalameh interrogation centre, are on their 20th day of an open-ended hunger strike in solidarity with Hana’ Ash-Shalabi and against administrative detention.

Hasan Safadi, Mohammad Abu ‘Arab and Omar Shallal are today on their 19th day of open-ended hunger strike against administrative detention

Hasan Safadi, © google images
On 05.03.2012, administrative detainees Hasan Safadi, 34 years old from Nablus, Mohammad Abu ‘Arab, 23 years old from Balata refugee camp, and Omar Shallal from Nablus started an open-ended hunger strike.

Both Hasan Safadi and Mohammad Abu ‘Arab have been held in renewed administrative detention.

Abu ‘Arab was detained in August 2010 for one year, and hours before his release he was placed under administrative detention. Since then, his detention has been renewed for the 3rd consecutive time without trial or charge.

10 detainees are today on their 18th day of open-ended hunger strike

On 06.03.2012, 10 Palestinian detainees held captive in Majiddo prison started an open-ended hunger strike in solidarity with Hana’ Ash-Shalabi and to protest administrative detention: Ayman Tbeishah from Dura, Salih A. Kmeil from Qabatia, Salih S. Kmeil from Qabatia, Bilal Kmeil from Qabatia, Murad Fashafshah from Jaba’, Adib Al-Qut from Jenin, Mohammad ‘Abushi from Jenin, Fayez Ash-Shayeb from Jenin, ‘Asif Abu Al-Rub from Jenin, Samir Abu Khaznah from Tulkarim.

Ahmad Haj Ali is today on his 11th day of open-ended hunger strike against administrative detention

© google images
72 year old Ahmad Haj Ali, the eldest administrative detainee held captive in Israeli dungeons, has also joined the struggle against administrative detention and is today on his 11th day of hunger strike.

Al-Haj Ali, who is one of 27 members of the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) held captive by Israel, has been in a renewed administrative detention in Majiddo dungeon since 9 months.
Al-Haj Ali suffers from various ailments including diabetes and heart problems.

Thabit Nassar is today on his 10th day of open-ended hunger strike against administrative detention

© google images
Palestinian prisoner Thabit Nassar, fom Madama, is today on hunger strike for the 10th day in solidarity with fellow detainee Hana’ Ash-Shalabi and in protest of the arbitrary so-called administrative detention.

Nassaer, who is currently held captive in Majiddo prison, was detained several times and spent a total of 9 years in Israeli captivity, 7 of which as an administrative detainee without charge or trial.

At one time, the administrative detention for Nassar was renewed 10 consecutive times without charge or trial.

Mohammad At-Taj is today on his 8th day of open-ended hunger strike demanding to be treated as POW

© google images
Palestinian prisoner Mohammad At-Taj, 44 years from Tubas, is on his 8th day of hunger strike. Similar to fellow prisoner Kifah Hattab, At-Taj is demanding Israeli prison authority to treat him as a prisoner of war (POW).

At-Taj was sentenced to 18 years in Israeli captivity.

He has been in isolation in Majiddo since his hunger strike, before recently being transferred to Shatta prison, where he continues his hunger strike.

Ahmad Saqer is today on his 6th day of open-ended hunger strike against administrative detention

On 18.03.2012, administrative detainee Ahmad Nabhan Saqer, 47 years old, started an open-ended hunger strike in protest of the arbitrary so-called administrative detention. Saqer is the longest serving administrative detainee and has been locked up behind Zionist bars without charge or trial since 28.11.2008.

Currently there are 4700 Palestinian prisoners held captive in Israeli dungeons, including 185 children, 9 female prisoners, 322 administrative detainees and 27 MPs.

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian  
The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this Blog!

From Papa AMR to Toulouse ... The story of the French Alliance with Al-Qaeda ...

I don't know why he killed him, the could have waited another day and caught him alive.....but somebody wanted him dead.
محمد مراح This is the impression of a French ex-military personal in an interview with him on the events in France this week and the professional assassinations that killed three servicemen from Maghreb origin and four Jews in a school near Toulouse in the South of the country.
Away from political statements of the French President and the electoral exploitation of this crime commited by those who never shot a bullet in Palestine. It must be remembered that Muhammad MRAH and his companions-in-arms are the new allies of France, Sarkozy and Juppe. They ruled Libya with French help in the Security Council and its aircraft in the sky. There communities receive full French care. Tens of it were sent to change the regime in Syria, the Libyan way. It is not a secret in areas in France where Salafi mosques exists Dozens went for Jihad in Syria.
These groups and these mosques currently enjoy a Qatari Gold Sponsorship at both financial and political levels, where hundreds of millions poured on these mosques to attract followers and political patronage while France provide political and legal protection aimed at disturbing the Algerian authorities because Algerian community constitute the largest number of of Muslims in France, and it is likely that Muhammad MRAH himself was a draft "Mujahid" for Syria before getting out of the context of the Alliance for reasons to be known when future Wikileaks documents are released.

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian  
The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this Blog!

Assad Defies Expectations, His days are not numbered, May Hold Out for Years

"Yes, Assad (A pain in their kneck) will go one day (THEY HOPE). However, it is not yet known if his departure will be bloody or bloodless."

Assad Defies Expectations, May Hold Out for Years

Author: Mehmet Ali Birand
Published on: Friday, Mar 16, 2012
Translated On: Friday, Mar 23, 2012
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has proven that he is not a leader that can be toppled in a couple of months. He has played his cards well and managed to turn the situation in his favor.
He made use of the support offered by the Iran-Russia-China trio, and to a certain degree he has managed to control the internal opposition and external pressure facing his regime. Assad’s other significant gain has been the domestic loyalty he has been able to generate. This owes to the fact that the opposition has remained fragmented and unable to move in a united fashion, thereby scaring off external assistance. Assad’s internal support finds its roots in the country’s Kurdish and Christian communities, who fear a radical Islamist takeover were Assad to fall. They cannot overcome their doubts, and they therefore see Assad as the "lesser of evils.” This has relaxed some of the pressure on the Syrian government.

UN-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan and CIA chief David Petraeus came to Ankara for a reason. Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan receives calls from European capitals asking, “What are you planning to do?” Turkey is still the key country for the Syrian crisis both in terms of its geography and the interest it has in the crisis, together with the attitude it has adopted toward Syria.

However, those who want Assad out with Turkey in first place are in a tough spot. The Syrian opposition has turned out to be more fragmented than expected. Unable to instill confidence, it has not received the arms and financial support it needs to effectively confront the regime. Therefore, Assad is slowly eradicating the internal opposition, taking back the cities it has occupied one by one. Its fifth-largest such operation is about to be concluded, which means that very soon there will be no pockets of resistance left.

But then what? It is a very difficult situation for Assad and there will be no rest for his regime. He will have to run a country that is constantly boiling, a country whose neighbors will try to instigate conflict and smuggle weapons in. Before, we gave him a few months in office. Now, it is a few more years. Ankara finds itself in a corner Turkey does not want to be seen deposing a neighboring country’s government. Hence, our reluctance to arm and finance the opposition, an attitude for which the opposition forces have harshly criticized us. Washington wants to use Turkish territory, but it doesn’t know which opposition faction to aid. The US wants the opposition groups to unite but they have thus far been unable to do so.

There are now efforts to form a "new approach, but it is not clear what this is going to be or how this is going to end. We face a long road ahead.

Yes, Assad will go one day. However, it is not yet known if his departure will be bloody or bloodless.

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Sarkozy, Arab Leaders Concerned over Senussi Arrest

Local Editor

senussi and gaddafiLast week, Mauritanian authorities arrested Abdullah Senussi, the former spy chief of Muammar Gaddafi and his black box who holds most of the dictator’s secrets.

Many Western and Arab leaders have been concerned that Mauritania would extradite Senussi to Libya, whose new regime had pledge to hold trial for him.

On the top of these leaders, French President Nicolas Sarkozy, whose country called for the extradition of Senussi to Paris.

France wants to try Senussi for his reported involvement in the attack against the UTA DC10 in 1989, the attack that killed 170, including 54 French.

However, the real reason behind Sarkozy’s concern over Senussi is because the former spy chief knows details how Libya has fund the presidential campaign of French president in 2007.

gaddafi and sarkozySenussi also holds information about Gaddafi’s ties with other western countries, the thing that would harm these western and Arab leaders.

Senussi “knows the secrets of all the dirty deals”, including the assassination plot hatched by Gaddafi’s regime, the London-based daily al-Quds al-Arabi quoted an expert in the Libyan issues as saying.

It is thought that Senussi is now arrested at the headquarters of the Mauritanian security institution in Nouakchott.

Mauritania had arrested Senussi, who is also Gaddafi’s son in law, after he spent for weeks in Morocco, a high-ranking western official said.

However, Mustapha Khalfi, Minister of Communication in Rabat, confirmed that Morocco didn’t know about Senussi’s existence, adding that the former spy chief entered to the country with faked passport.

For its part, Reuters news agency said that Senussi was looking for a safe haven when he traveled to Mauritania, but he was ambushed by the French and Mauritanian intelligence.

Senussi, 62, is also reportedly known to be the one who plotted major attacks like Lockerbie, airlane blast that killed about 270 people, in addition to other conspiracies against Arabic and African countries, including the assassination bid of the Saudi then heir apparent Prince Abdullah Bin Abdul-Aziz.

Al-Quds al-Arabi also quoted an Arabic intelligence official as saying that Gaddafi’s son in law “is the only witness for financial corruption and other deals that comprise many countries and leaders including France”.

Source: Newspapers
24-03-2012 - 17:20 Last updated 24-03-2012 - 17:20

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Tel Aviv in the Heart of Beirut Arab University

Local Editor

"Tel Aviv in the Heart of Beirut Arab University (BAU)"; this is how a " report" commenced. The report added that the news is not a joke, but it "gives BAU students an opportunity to work in the Zionist entity's capital Tel Aviv."

On this level, the video report indicated that "by the university principal's office, and on all floors of all faculties, a colorful poster is hung, listing the names of many capitals including Prague, New York, Geneva, Singapore, Moscow, and Tel Aviv."
This poster calls on students to apply for jobs in the Zionist entity, which was established on the ruins of Palestine and the displacements of its people, the report added.

"The university's students resented the poster, saying that their university was established by former Egyptian Leader Jamal Abdel Nasser, who refused to negotiate, hold peace, or acknowledge [the existence of] "Israel"," the report asserted.

Also, the report iterated that the BAU violated the law to boycott "Israel", although it was one of the victims of the "Israeli" invasion of Beirut in 1982.
"However, has the BAU become a center for normalization in light of the political tremors in Egypt?" the report further wondered.

Source:, Translated and Edited by

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Iran’s nuclear hoax is good for US and Israel

An Israeli minister gloated recently that Israeli propaganda of Iran’s nuclear program being ‘existential threat’ has diverted world’s attention from Israel-Palestinian conflict. He was proven right during Obama-Bibi White House meeting on March 5, when both men only talked about Iran and Obama did not raise the illegal Jewish settlement as he did during his last year meeting with Benji Netanyahu.
2012 being US election year, Bibi, has recreated his role as the ‘kingmaker’. US media had reported that Obama offered Bibi additional military aid (Israel receives $3 billion worth military aid each year) if Bibi promise not to ruin Obama’s victory by attacking Iran before November 3 presidential election.
The terrorist panic has boosted Israel’s airport monitoring (ICTS) business ten-fold. This monitoring system existed at all four US airports from where the so-called ’19 hijackers’ boarded the planes involved in 9/11. Israeli army personnel are involved in training security services in the US, Britain, India, Spain, Thailands, Burma, Azerbaijan, Afghanistan, etc. in ‘counter-terrorism’, a technique they have perfected by terrorizing Native Muslim and Christian Palestinians.

However, the fear of a future nuclear Iran has some negetive effects too. On March 19, 2012 – Israeli daily Arutz Sheva reported: “Renowned rabbi Rabbi Aharon Yehuda Leib Shteinman spoke this Saturday night regarding recent developments in Israel, where many great rabbis have fallen ill. Among those known to be seriously ill are Rabbi Yosef Shalom Elyashiv, Rabbi Chaim Pinchas Scheinberg, and Rabbi Yaakov Yosef. Rabbi Shteinman linked the spate of illnesses among Jewish leaders to foreign affairs – specifically, to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Iran’s nuclear program“.

Iranian nuclear hoax has given a big boost to US arms industry. US has been able to sell tens of billions of sophisticate arms to oil rich pro-West absolute rulers who have no regard for democratic institutions or human rights when it comes to their subjects or western interests in the region.

The US (68.5%), Russia, Britain, Italy, France and Israel are world’s top ‘merchants of death’.

According to Stockholm International Peace Research Institute latest report – the world’s top five arms importers are India (10%), South Korea (6%), China (5%), Pakistan (5%) and Singapore (4%). Worldwide, arms trade is worth $45-60 billion. Most of these sales are to former western colonies.
The next beneficiaries of war fear have always been American politicians while the suckers being the US taxpayers. Israeli leaders know how to exploit America’s political landscape. Through Jewish lobby groups, Israel funds the corrupt politicians who pledge absolute loyaty to Israel. These politicians in return make sure Israel receive the lion share of US foreign aid (46%). Israel uses a small portion of the US aid to buy the politician next time. And this vicious circle has been running for decades.

Early this month, Petagon conducted a war simulation based on an alone Israeli attack on Iran. The results were very troubling. It showed that the war will trigger a very strong Iranian retaliation which could be disastrous for both Israel and Washington’s Arab allies.

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'Armed gangs serve Saudi-Israeli agenda in Syria'

'Armed gangs serve Saudi-Israeli agenda in Syria'

Interview with Mohsen Saleh, professor at the Lebanese University.

March 23, 2012

Syria has been scene of armed rebellion for almost over a year, where West and Saudi backed gangs do terrorist acts in order to destabilize the legitimate government of Bashar al-Assad.

A prominent professor believes that the Persian Gulf kingdoms and monarchies such as Saudi Arabia and Qatar along with their Western allies have realized that they cannot play the Benghazi scenario in Syria because the Syrian government is backed by its own people and that is their reason to put tough sanctions on the country and “press the regime economically and politically”.

Press TV has conducted an interview with the professor of the Lebanese university; Mohsen Saleh to further discuss the issue of the foreign created and foreign backed havoc in the crisis hit country.

The program also provides opinions of two additional guests, political Analyst Waddah al-Khatib from the Syrian capital city of Damascus and also the political analyst; Jihad Mouraccadah from the Lebanese capital city of Beirut.

What follows is a rough transcription of the interview.

Press TV: What do you think Dr. Saleh? Do you think that it is more like a war of two sides, both terrorizing the other?

Saleh: No, First of all we should define the situation in Syria. There is a regime and there are super powers in the world and there are regional powers who tried to topple this regime.

This regime collects and of course [is] supported by the majority of the Syrians by the military institutions and by the business and economic institutions in Syria. This regime has been stable for a long time and the Americans and the Israelis and some of the Arabs; they are pro-change as far as these changes serves their agenda in the region.

Especially in terms of the acknowledgement of the Israeli existence. And that is what the regime in Syria refused to do so and supported the resistance movements in Lebanon and in Palestine.

That would get us the signal that they are going to continue; the United States and the Western powers and some of the Arab countries especially Qatar and Saudi Arabia who declared overtly that they are going to support these gangs until they topple the regime.

The regime proved solidly that he [it] is strong enough to defend the country and the political agenda and the Syrians and that is why since they could not achieve their goals, the Western powers and the Saudis; they resorted to this damaging and terrorists acts in Syria, in Damascus and in Aleppo.

Press TV: Do you think that there is a contradiction?

Saleh: Probably they are going to continue to do this. They do not want a political solution as far as the regime preserves its identity in this conflict in the Middle East.

[In reply to Mouraccadeh]: Who does not want that? The Americans and the Israelis and Qatar and Saudi Arabia.

[In reply to Mouraccadeh]: It is a joke. The regime wants to show to its people that it can protect them and that is not what the terrorists want. The Riad Mousa al-Asaad, [the commander of the Free Syrian Army] what so-called the free army promised the Syrians to do these terrorist acts.

Two weeks ago told the reporters and the people of it.

[In reply to Jihad Mouraccadeh] No, they are defending the people. In Homs they are defending the people in Syria and the others, they are avenging from Damascus and Aleppo.

[In reply to Jihad Mouraccadeh]: [Do] You know why these explosions only hit Syria in Damascus and Aleppo, because these people, these terrorists try to avenge from these people; because they did not participate with them and [with] the so-called revolution or uprising.

That is why.

Press TV: Would you agree that the West does not want to cold war with Russia and China?

Saleh: That is one aspect, the other aspect is that the problem with these people in the Persian Gulf; they talked clearly with supporting the opposition and they said that we should arm these people and so and so.

The Westerners and the Americans, they always in their statements; they are vague. That is why the difference between the two teams influencing the situation and now the Americans and the Westerners; they are talking about a political solution.

Press TV: And they are reluctant to send the arms.

Saleh: The Arabs, the Saudi Arabia especially and Qatar; they cannot retreat from their statements.

They said they wanted to. They promised what so-called the free army to support them in arms and money and they are paying every day, they are paying millions of dollars and probably now billions of dollars by now.

The issue now is that Syria is strong. Syria as a regime, as a government and not fragile as they thought. They bet on this, that this regime is fragile and they can do this.

Press TV: so it s not neutralized?

Saleh: No, the issue is that the regime and the government [have] proved that they are strong. That is why the Europeans and the Americans now they do not want any military work on the borders.

They could not find another Benghazi, NATO would go to this Benghazi because in Homs or in Daraa or in other places, they could not find -really-- a space in order to stay. That is why they retreat.

Now they are going to press the regime politically and economically, that is why they take all sizes of sanctions and boycotting the Syrians and the central bank and the companies there in Syria.

And I guess [that] they have a problem, they cannot continue; that is why in April or in other months to come, they cannot influence the regime because this regime is strong by its people and by its army.

I repeat, they are able to continue with the support of Russia and China, more than half of the world with the Syrian regime and the government, China and Russia and India and Brazil and Venezuela and Iran and the Arab people, most of them I have read many articles to the Egyptians today.

[In reply to Jihad Mouraccadeh]: No, no, no, no. that is what the media, that is what Al-Jazeera and AL-Arabia [say].

When you watch these two channels you think [that] the [Syrian] regime is going to fall tomorrow.

You watch deficit channels of deceiving eyes and ideas.

[In reply to Jihad Mouraccadeh]: If the Syrians are with the opposition, then the opposition would be powerful.

The weakness of the opposition proved that this opposition and its supporters are weak because the regime and the government are strong enough to defend their selves.


"Palestine is the heart of Arab countries" - Hiyam Naour ______________________________________________________
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Across the Middle East, Christians Faced with Turmoil


Naeim GiladiRead the story of Naeim Giladi, an Israeli agent operating in Iraq in the late 1940’s, a part  of what the first prime minister of Israel called "cruel Zionism." ....Jews from Islamic lands did not emigrate force them to leave, Jews killed Jews... About 125,000 Jews left Iraq for Israel in the late 1940s and into 1952, most because they had been lied to and put into a panic by what I came to learn were Zionist bombs. But my mother and father were among the 6,000 who did not go to Israel.

Geagea, a Mossad agent, "was suspected of bombing the Maronite Catholic church of Saydet Najat in Jounieh, in which tens of worshipers were killed in 1994. The judges could not convict him "for insufficient evidence" Geagea was sentenced to death for his assassination crimes, and the sentence was later reduced to lifetime in prison.

"The sudden multiplication by such bloody attacks on Christians in Muslim countries (Iraq, Egypt, Sudan...ect) has all the marks of Mossad's false flag operations. Only haplessly ignorant people would believe that Muslims have suddenly, out of the blue, developed hatred of Christians, and are bent on killing them and destroying their churches which they have protected for centuries." - Nahida

"Israeli press reported this evening that French gunman Mohamed Merah had been on a trip to Israel in the past.

According to the report, Merah's passport had Israeli stamps in it. The purpose of his visit is unknown. Israeli analysts suspect he was either trying to visit the Palestinian territories or preparing for a terror attack.
However, I won’t rule out the possibility that Merah was actually trained by Israeli forces. Marah may have conducted a false flag operation. By way of deception is, after all, the Mossad’s motto." - Gilad Atzmon,

Across the Middle East, Christians Faced with Turmoil

Iraqi priest Raymond Moussalli attends a mass at Chaldean Catholic church in Amman December 22, 2011 (photo by REUTERS/Ali Jarekji)

Lebanese Christian politicians are looking at the changes in the region - or what has come to be known as the Arab Spring - with great concern. They are calling upon their supporters to carefully observe the situation in neighboring Arab countries [where Islamists have come to power], and to take it as a salutary lesson for the Lebanese Christians. [In the Arab World], Christianity has undergone a demographic decline in recent decades. Several political, economic and social factors have turned Christians into [latter-day] Native Americans, forced to hole up and defend their dwindling strongholds. Christians had pinned their hopes on an Arab Spring based on Arab identity; thus the purely Islamic tidal wave that has come to characterize the Spring has been alarming to the Christians of the region.

About this Article

Christians across the Arab World have looked on with apprehension as inter-sectarian violence persists and minorities remain underrepresented in elected government. The Christian communities in some countries have emigrated from the region, while others have remained, demanding greater autonomy and a larger political role, writes Claire Chakar.
Publisher: As-Safir (Lebanon)
Original Title:
Christians are Bleeding from Turkey to Egypt: Has the time of Dhimmitude returned?
Author: Claire Chakar
Published on: Monday, Feb 20, 2012
Translated On: Tuesday, Feb 21, 2012
Translator: Sahar Ghoussoub
Categories:Culture & Society Analysis & Opinion Regional
From Palestine, Iraq and Turkey, to Lebanon, Egypt and soon Syria, the Christian presence [in the Middle East] continues to deteriorate. Turkey was first to witness a Christian [displacement]. More than a million Christians were displaced in the early 20th century, and now there only are approximately 100,000 Armenian and Syriac [Christians] left in Turkey. Today, this Christian minority is represented by one single MP, who won his seat in parliament through a Kurdish electoral list.

In recent years, with the revival of the dream of Ottoman expansion [in Turkey], Ankara has been making "symbolic" attempts - characterized by a certain openness - to make amends for the "guilt" it feels for having displaced Christians. Some describe these attempts "systematic," as Turkey is preparing to host an expanded meeting of all Middle Eastern Patriarchs to discuss religious pluralism. Within this context, it is being rumored that one Patriarch commented that Syrian Christians would be welcomed into Turkey if Bashar al-Assad's regime was to fall.

Although the Iranian Constitution is Islamic, it nevertheless respects diversity. It provides for an official [parliamentary] quota for religious minorities (Armenians and Assyrians are both represented by two deputies). However, the prevailing Islamic atmosphere in the Persian country has [led most Christians to leave]. There are no more than 200,000 Armenians and perhaps 40,000 Assyrians left practicing the Christian religion in Iran.

The most painful blow to the Christian presence [in the Middle East] took place in Iraq - the land of the Babylonian, Assyrian and Chaldean cultures, and formerly home to over 1.5 million Christians. These Christians have clung to their lands throughout centuries of invasions into Iraq - from the days of Genghis Khan through the era of the Ba’athist regime, and during the fall of the central authority when the American disaster struck. Around 400,000 to 500,000 Christians are still living in the Mesopotamia. Iraqi Christians are distributed between Baghdad, where around 150,000 Christians reside, the Ninewah, which is home to the largest Christian presence (around 250, 000 Christians) and northern Iraq or Kurdistan, where around 12,000 Christians live.

One of the principal reasons behind the decline of the Christian presence in Iraq is that these groups did not choose to bear arms as many had. Iraqi Christians were also left without any external support to defend and preserve their rights; immigration was their only recourse. Furthermore, Christian leaders failed to develop a draft law on which they could base their rights. Christians in Iraq fell victim to the wars of “others”

Christians who have come to make up about 5% of the Iraqi population (the Iraqi authorities claim that this number is closer to 3%), managed to win five out of 325 parliamentary seats in the latest elections. This number is in accordance of the quota granted to them by the Constitution, although it is not representative of their numerical presence.

To make matters worse, some observers believe that the central authority does not see Christians as partners in the country, looking upon them instead as mere "guests," while it should instead have defended their cause given their sharp demographic decline. However, this has not been the case. Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki made a spontaneous statement describing them [simply] as the "Christian Community" in one of his correspondences. This is overwhelming evidence of the superior feelings harbored by Iraqis, and of the fact that they look down on their fellow Christian citizens. However, it should be noted that Maliki apologized for [this statement].

The Kurds seek to turn [Iraqi] Kurdistan into the ideal model for addressing minorities. So far, they have taken the right steps. The deputy prime minister and the minister of finance are both Christian, not to mention that Christians are represented by five MPs in the Kurdish Parliament. Additionally, authorities have taken steps to "normalize" the Christian presence through a certain cultural renaissance taking place in Ankawa [a suburb of the Iraqi Kurdish city of Erbil], and allowing for the revival of the Syriac language among other measures. Kurdish authorities have also welcomed and accommodated those displaced Christians coming from Baghdad and other governorates.

However, these measurements failed to prevent some Muslim groups from burning down more than 50 stores and hotels owned by Christians in December 2011, under the pretext that they were selling alcohol. This wave of violence came to be known as the "Battle of Zakho."

Christian leaders have been deliberating over the future of their followers. Some prefer to follow in the footsteps of other segments of the Iraqi society, demanding greater levels of autonomy as the country tends towards federalism. The leaders are demanding that the province of Ninewah (where half of the population is Christian, and the rest are a mix of Sabians, Yazidis and Mandaens) be granted a certain degree of anatomy. This proposal, however, has failed to generate a Christian consensus.

According to observers following the displacement of Iraqi Christians, most Iraqi Christians who have chosen to leave have chosen Europe, the United States or Australia as a destination. Meanwhile, more than 120,000 Iraqi Christians left for Syria at the beginning of the Iraqi crisis as part of the one million Iraqi refugees living there.

Additionally, more than 10,000 Iraqi Christians left for Lebanon. This number has declined to around 6,000 given the dire economic and social conditions in Lebanon due to the lack of formal care and the reluctance of [Lebanese] Christian forces to preserve their rights. This is not to mention the limited capacities of the Church in Lebanon. However, it has been said that at some point authorities will provide care to these Iraqi families and pave the way for their resettlement in an attempt to improve the demographic balance in Lebanon.

In the land of the Pharaohs, where the revolution ostensibly produced a democratic Spring, Copts who make up 6 to 10% of the Egyptian population according to the contrasting estimates, have not yet been able to taste freedom. The sectarian spirit sweeping across Egypt has pushed some Copts to cry out for the days of [toppled president] Hosni Mubarak. In the new parliament, the Copts are represented by only five MPs, one of whom one his seat off of an Islamic list. Afterwards, the central authorities appointed four MPs out of respect for the official quota. The Christian voice was stifled against the backdrop the electoral divisions that took place between segments of the overwhelmingly Muslim population. The Christian participation rate in the elections was very low, underscoring the frustration which has begun to creep among the Copts.

In Syria, Christians make up about 10% of the population and include Roman Orthodox Christians, Roman Catholics, Armenians and Chaldeans. These groups together amount to less than two million people. The Ba’ath regime [in Syria] witnessed a Christian exodus - albeit limited - due to the [tough] economic situation and restrictions on public freedoms. One should note that although there are no official quotas for Christians given the state’s secular identity, religious freedoms are protected in Syria.

According to Habib Afram, the head of the Syriac League, Christians are not afraid, for their faith is strong. However, they are concerned about the repercussions of the events taking place in the region. They fear that the experiences of Iraq and Lebanon - which took place against the backdrop of a civil war - could play out again [in their own lands].

These concerns haunt the Syrian Christians, and have only been exacerbated by the death of more than 200 Christians in Homs as the result of the destructive violence in that area, where the only victims have been civilians.

[Syrian] Christians have been sounding the alarm; but they still have faith in the their land and have not deserted it. For this reason, the crisis in Syria has yet to result in a significant Christian exodus. There are reports that some affluent Syrian families have sought the opinion of Lebanese Christians leaders about Lebanon’s ability to accommodate displaced Syrian Christians. However, no answer has been forthcoming.

Christians' rights in the Arab and Islamic world should not be "limited to freely practicing religious rites; they should also be able to participate, like other communities, in the political process," said Habib Afram.

Recently, Christian groups have been seeking security and stability, especially in Syria, which has witnessed a serious [increase] in religious violence (the bombing of the Saidnaya Convent and the death of Father Basil Nassar). These events are aggravating the fears of Syrian Christians. The Syrian opposition, on the other hand, is faced by an even greater challenge: To secure the fate of the Christian minority, as the world, the Vatican specifically, remains silent in the face of these developments. Guarantees of their future have yet to be provided to Christians. Therefore, the survival of Christians in their own land lies in the hands of their partners, and especially in the hands of the emerging regimes, which are supposedly acting according to newly [embrace principles] of citizenship and equality. According to Afram, all of this remains just talk.
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