donderdag 24 juli 2008
Last update - 09:20 23/07/2008
Hezbollah chief to UN: Ready to swap more prisoners with Israel
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Tuesday released details of a letter he received from Hassan Nasrallah, in which the Hezbollah leader expressed willingness to carry out further prisoner swaps with Israel and outlined his group's conditions for future deals.
The letter was dated July 7, a week before Hezbollah returned the bodies of captured Israeli soldiers Eldad Regev and Ehud Goldwasser, in return for five Lebanese militants and the bodies of 197 militants buried in Israel.
Last week the leader of the Lebanese guerrilla group made a rare public appearance in Beirut to welcome the five prisoners released from captivity in Israel as part of the July 16 swap.
Israel is due to release Palestinian prisoners in the future as a gesture to the UN secretary-general. Nasrallah said he had written to Ban asking him to use his good offices to see that move implemented.
In a letter to the current president of the UN Security Council, Vietnamese Ambassador Le Lunong Minh, Ban said that Nasrallah "declared his readiness for participation in the remaining humanitarian cases of Israeli MIA (missing in action) of the 1980s."
But Ban said Nasrallah was "conditioning his positive attitude to the nature and extent of Israeli humanitarian moves on behalf of Palestinian and Arab victims."
Ban quoted Nasrallah's letter saying the Hezbollah chief informed him that further prisoner releases by Israel should "be adequate to the high level of government commitment to the Secretary-General of the United Nations and to the importance of results achieved under the UN facilitation."
In other direct quotes from Nasrallah's July 7 letter, Ban said he referred to "the high number of innocent victims caused by the war of 2006," adding that he considered it "as a minimum requirement that the releases comprise a maximum number of minors, women and elderly people being held in...detention.""
These cases "go into the hundreds" according to non-governmental organizations, Ban quoted Nasrallah's letter as saying.
These must be resolved immediately in order to secure Hezbollah's support in other humanitarian cases, Nasrallah wrote to Ban.
Under last week's deal arranged by a UN-appointed German mediator, Israel also returned the bodies of eight Hezbollah fighters slain in the 2006 war between Israel and Hezbollah, as well as those of four Palestinians, including Dalal Mughrabi, a woman guerrilla who led a 1978 raid on Israel.
In his letter, Ban said: "I strongly commend Israel's readiness to engage in another release of Palestinian detainees and welcome Hezbollah's willingness in principle to further contribute to the solution of the humanitarian cases.
Ban said he hoped the next releases lead to "further humanitarian moves."
Released Lebanese Terrorist Samir Al-Quntar Vows to Fight Under Hizbullah:
Allah Willing, I Will Kill More Israelis
Following are excerpts from TV programs with released Lebanese terrorist Samir Al-Quntar, which aired on various TV channels in July 2008.
To view this clip on MEMRI TV, visit
Al-Manar TV, July 16, 2008
Samir Al-Quntar: "The weapon of a position that has been turned into a culture builds the homeland of the resistance. It has become the culture of the generations that will realize the dream of annihilating that plundering entity. Allow me to commemorate a great legendary commander, the martyred hero and mujahid 'Imad Mughniya. I would like to say just one thing: Hajj 'Imad, we will only be worthy of the blood you sacrificed when we force this enemy to long for your times." [...]
"At this time yesterday, I was in the hands of the enemies. This time yesterday, I was still in their hands. But right now, there is nothing I'd like more than to face them again. I ask Allah to make this happen very soon. Whoever thinks that the liberation of the Shaba' Farms of the Lebanese lands can bring an end to this conflict is deluded. Take my word for it. Even if we let them be, they will not let us be." [...]
Al-Jadid TV, July 18, 2008
Samir Al-Quntar: "There is a disease in this region called 'the state of Israel,' which we refer to as 'the plundering entity.' If we do not put an end to this disease, it will follow us, even if we flee to the end of the world. So it's better to get rid of it." [...]
Al-Manar TV, July 17, 2008
Samir Al-Quntar: "If we consider the history of the conflict... When you read books written by the Zionists about the wars of 1967, 1948, and 1973, you feel that no value was attributed to the lives of the Arabs. Arab soldiers would fall, others would go missing in action... There was a kind of disdain for their lives. This was evident in the lack of seriousness in dealing with cases of Egyptians, Lebanese, and others who went missing in action in the conflict with the plundering entity.
"Hizbullah, however, has been searching for missing people - martyred or alive. They had no reason to carry out a capturing operation for my sake other than their belief in the value of human life. I remember that Secretary-General [Nasrallah] once said: 'If Samir Al-Quntar is in prison, it means Lebanon in its entirety is in prison.' This reflects the value of human life...
"Today, everybody talks about human rights, democracy, and modern development... Human rights begin here - in caring for the individual in society. The individual is everything. To be honest, we used to envy our enemy - how it would go to the end of the world in order to retrieve a body, and how it was ready to go all the way to free one of its captured soldiers. Today, Allah be praised, we have the resistance, which retrieves the bodies of the martyrs, and every single prisoner. It does not leave prisoners in jail or bodies in the hands of the enemies." [...]
Al-Jadid TV, July 21, 2008
Sheikh 'Atallah Hamoud, head of the Lebanese Society for Prisoners and Released Prisoners: "This is a gift from the Islamic resistance to the liberated hero, Lt.-Col. Samir Al-Quntar. Mujahideen like Samir Al-Quntar and his brothers do not care about themselves, because they have dedicated themselves to the resistance, the cause, and the homeland."
Narrator: "The special gift from the resistance merged with the words of Al-Quntar, who vowed that his gun would play a role in avenging the blood of the martyrs."
Samir Al-Quntar: "This is the most beautiful gift, except for freedom itself. I'd like to salute the Islamic resistance and Secretary-General Nasrallah for their trust. First, this is the Islamic resistance's way of reaffirming their faith in me as a fighter. Second, this gun will play a role, Allah willing, in avenging the blood of 'Imad Mughaniya." [...]
Future TV, July 22, 2008
Samir Al-Quntar: "If you are asking whether I killed Israelis - I did, Allah be praised."
Interviewer: "Including children?"
Samir Al-Quntar: "No. I am proud of this, and Allah willing, I will get the chance to kill more Israelis. As for the children, that's another story. A girl was killed during the operation, in the crossfire. In all the operations that involved capturing Israeli hostages, the hostages were killed by the bullets of the Israeli forces. In the operation of Dalal Al-Maghrabi, the [Israelis] fired like crazy on the bus, and killed a large number of Jewish hostages. In the Ma'alot operation, hostages were taken at a high school. [The Israelis] used anti-tank missiles to storm the school, killing many. The same thing happened in my operation. When we fired at them, in response to their fire, they began shooting in our direction like crazy. They are the ones who killed the hostages."
Interviewer: "What did you study [while in prison]?"
Samir Al-Quntar: "Social studies and humanities."
Interviewer: "Did you complete your master's degree?"
Samir Al-Quntar: "No. I tried and took six courses, but they stopped it, saying it was forbidden. Other brothers completed their master's degree, but they prevented me personally from doing so, for reasons unknown to me."
Interviewer: "Are you considering completing your master's?"
Samir Al-Quntar: "No. Allah willing, I will do a different one."
Interviewer: "In what?"
Samir Al-Quntar: "A master's degree in resistance."
Interviewer: "What form will it take?"
Samir Al-Quntar: "Military..."
Interviewer: "So Samir Al-Quntar is declaring tonight that..."
Samir Al-Quntar: "I've already declared this."
Interviewer: "You declared that you would be a member of the resistance, but today you are declaring that you will be a resistance fighter, and that you will carry out military missions for the resistance."
Samir Al-Quntar: "Without the slightest doubt."
Interviewer: "The Islamic resistance?"
Samir Al-Quntar: "Yes."
Interviewer: "Is that a done deal?"
Samir Al-Quntar: "Absolutely, absolutely, absolutely. I say it three times."[...]
Al-Jazeera TV, July 19, 2008
Samir Al-Quntar: "At 02:00, they asked us to prepare for departure. When we left, the Israeli media filled the corridor, taking pictures of us. They wanted us to wear clothes that they brought over. These clothes were so ridiculous that anybody seeing us wearing them would burst into laughter, no matter what."
Interviewer: "What kind of clothes?"
Samir Al-Quntar: "Long underwear..."
Interviewer: "Do you mean pajamas?"
Samir Al-Quntar: "If only they were pajamas... I asked the brothers to wait. I called the man in charge over and said to him: We will not go out in these clothes. I gave them back to him. He said it was not his decision, and I said: So call off the deal. I said: Call off the deal. We are returning to our cells. He said to me: You've waited 30 years, and now you want to call off the deal over this? I said to him: Yes. They started making calls, and then the warden came. I said to him: I want you to call off the deal immediately. We are returning to our cells. He had told me there was a decision that we must wear these clothes. I told him that we have maintained our honor for 30 years, and we refuse to be humiliated in the last half hour. When they realized we were serious about this, they started making calls, and eventually, they backed down. Then we left in a long convoy..."
Interviewer: "So you defeated them even at the last minute."
Samir Al-Quntar: "Yes."
Interviewer: "To the best of your knowledge, who made the decision to assassinate you?"
Samir Al-Quntar: "The decision was made by a senior officer, who was the head of the research division of military intelligence. His name is Amos Gilad. Today he is a very influential advisor, and his decisions are passed easily in the Defense Ministry - the Zionist Ministry of War. He made the decision, and I think it has political backing. As for me, I vow to make them pay the price for my martyrdom in advance."
Interviewer: "Brother Samir, we would like to celebrate your birthday with you. You deserve even more than this. I think that 11,000 prisoners - if they can see this program now - are celebrating your birthday with you. Happy birthday, brother Samir."
Samir Al-Quntar: "Thank you."
Interviewer: "Go ahead... There is a picture here... If the camera can show this... Let's cut it... Does the camera show this clearly or not? We have a picture here... This is the sword of the Arabs, Samir. Don't cut the picture, cut on the side."
Samir Al-Quntar: "Here's Abu Qassam [Marwan Barghouti]."
Interviewer: "Marwan is here."
Samir Al-Quntar: "Abu Qassam is here with Ahmad Sa'dat. That's our prison warden..."
Interviewer: "This one?"
Samir Al-Quntar: "Yes."
Interviewer: "What is the warden's name?"
Samir Al-Quntar: "His name is... Never mind."
Interviewer: "This is when you were released. Here you are with Wafiq Safa."
Samir Al-Quntar: "Yes, this is Wafiq Safa. This is the most beautiful picture - with Hassan Nasrallah. This is the most beautiful picture. There cannot be anything more beautiful. Me and the secretary-general - the most beautiful picture of me ever taken."
The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) is an independent, non-profit organization that translates and analyzes the media of the Middle East. Copies of articles and documents cited, as well as background information, are available on request.
MEMRI holds copyrights on all translations. Materials may only be used with proper attribution.
P.O. Box 27837, Washington, DC 20038-7837
Phone: (202) 955-9070
Fax: (202) 955-9077
Dozens of ultra-Orthodox Jews assault two Palestinians in Jerusalem Tuesday evening; 'people in yeshiva were yelling: murder the Jews who protect Arabs,' says Jewish man who saved lynch victims' lives
by Roi Mandel
Published: 07.22.08, 23:08 / Israel News
"Blood was boiling, and these crazy people almost killed me," the Jewish man told Ynet. The police are looking into the incident and searching for the attackers.
According to eyewitness testimonies, an angry mob stormed the backyard of a home located near a Jerusalem yeshiva. The family at the home was sitting shiva at the time after a relative died.
"Suddenly, while we were sitting shiva because my father-in-law passed away, two Palestinians stormed into the house bleeding and bruised, following by an angry mob," the Jewish man, who asked that his name not be published, told Ynet. "Dozens of ultra-Orthodox from the nearby yeshiva entered the backyard and severely beat up the two Palestinians, while we, still shocked, were trying to break it up and protect the Palestinians."
'Murder the Jews who protect Arabs'
"Two ultra-Orthodox guys from the yeshiva's balcony yelled: 'Murder the Jews who protect Arabs,'" the man said. "The two Arabs told us that they had a dispute with the Orthodox owner of a nearby store. After they argued, the masses arrived and started beating them up. We waited a few minutes for things to relax, and then my son and I took them out to a nearby alley, so they can go home."
However, a mob then again came out of the yeshiva and started chasing the two Palestinians.
"They caught them and beat them up terribly," the Jewish man said. "My son and I were quick to protect them with our bodies…then, two Orthodox men arrived and one told us: 'You're saving Arabs?' they pulled out knives. I managed to grab the arm of one of them, yet the second one cut my stomach."
The man said that at this point the mob began dispersing in panic. Large police forces were meanwhile called to the scene.
"It was a mad scuffle…crazy people who are calling themselves 'religious' almost killed the two Palestinians and me. I was unwilling to see anyone being killed – I was educated against violence and to protect any person. Fortunately I'm a strong man, but had I been stabbed one centimeter higher or lower, this would have ended in murder."
'Instead of helping us, he helped them'
A student in a nearby yeshiva told Ynet: "We saw the incident and some of the people chanted against the Jewish guy, who instead of helping the Jews being beaten up helped the Arabs, and even beat up Jews…instead of helping us, he helped them."
"As far as we know, one of the Arabs had a dispute with the store owner and started beating up people," the yeshiva student said. "When people who arrived at the site started fighting him, more Arabs joined in and assaulted Jews."
Rabbi Yitzhak Batzri, who leads the nearby yeshiva, said the Jewish attackers did not come from his institute, "because there are no young guys here, only older people. It is possible that some of the attackers entered our yeshiva compound during the riot, because it is open to anyone."
The rabbi also proceeded to harshly condemn the Jewish attackers.
"This is a very grave incident. No man must hurt innocents, either Arabs or Jews," he said. "This is against Jewish law. I really hope that they find those who took part in the brawl and bring the attackers to justice."
During the first half of the year, the Shin Bet security service arrested 71 Palestinians from East Jerusalem suspected of being involved in attacks, compared to 37 such arrests during the entire year of 2007.
Libanon wil dierbaren terug van Syrië
BEIROET - Nu de Libanese gevangenen uit Israël zijn teruggekeerd, wordt de roep in Libanon om de vrijlating van de gedetineerden uit Syrische gevangenissen ook steeds luider.
,,Hassoun was bijna achttien toen hij in 1982 werd opgepakt. Al die tijd hebben we hem niet gezien of gesproken,'' vertelt Amin Hassoun, zijn vader. Hij weet niet of zijn zoon nog in leven is. ,,We hebben duizenden brieven gestuurd, enorme bedragen uitgegeven en allerlei politici bestookt maar we hebben tot nu toe niets van hem vernomen,'' vervolgt Hassoun terwijl zijn vrouw in tranen uitbarst.
Syrië maakte jarenlang de dienst uit in het kleinere buurland Libanon. Mensen van verschillende religies en allerlei politieke achtergronden kwamen in die tijd in Syrische gevangenissen terecht - meestal zonder enige vorm van proces.
Na de moord op ex-premier Rafik Hariri, begin 2005, werden de Syrische troepen tijdens de Cederrevolutie gedwongen het land te verlaten. De banden met Syrië bleven echter sterk en het gevangenenvraagstuk werd nooit opgelost.
,,Wij denken dat het om zo'n zeshonderd mensen gaat. Lang niet alle gevallen zijn bekend en ongetwijfeld zijn veel van hen inmiddels overleden,'' zegt Ghazi Aad, oprichter van Solide, de organisatie die opkomt voor de families van de gevangenen in Syrië.
Er is één lichtpuntje: Syrië ontkende tot nu toe altijd het bestaan van Libanese gevangenen. Minister Muallem erkende bij zijn bezoek voor het eerst dat dit een probleem is dat oplossing behoeft.
Senior officials in the U.S. State Department, including Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, have repeatedly complained to Israel recently over relatively minor Palestinian issues that it would have ignored until a few months ago, Israeli officials say.
Complaints about settlement construction or army operations that kill Palestinian civilians have always been the norm. But Israeli officials are worried by the State Department's new tendency to intervene in a much broader range of issues.
One such case occurred two weeks ago, when the daughter of Palestinian parliamentarian Hanan Ashrawi sought to visit Israel. At one time, she had lived in East Jerusalem and had permanent resident status, but after several years of living in the United States, her residency had lapsed.
She therefore asked the State Department to intervene, which resulted in Israel giving her a laissez-passer to come here and arrange her status. However, she was warned at Ben-Gurion Airport that she had two weeks to do so.
Via her mother, a personal friend of Rice, the younger Ashrawi complained to the State Department again over this dictum. Within minutes, Israeli sources said, Assistant Secretary of State David Welch had phoned senior Israeli officials to demand they intervene. The surprised Israelis responded that these procedures are required by law.
Another case was Washington's demand that 10 Gazan Fulbright scholars be allowed to enter Israel for visa interviews at the U.S. consulate in East Jerusalem. However, Israel refused, saying they had been blacklisted for security reasons.
Rice personally intervened. In addition, an Israeli official said, the consulate leaked the story to the New York Times to embarrass Israel.
Israel suggested that the interviews be conducted at the Erez border crossing with Gaza, and Washington eventually agreed. Now, the students are waiting for the consulate to approve their visas.
Yet another case involved an eviction order issued to an East Jerusalem family over nonpayment of rent. Officials from the U.S. consulate visited the family and sent a telegram to Washington, and the State Department demanded that Israel prevent the eviction. The stunned Israelis responded that the eviction had been upheld by the High Court of Justice. Moreover, they said, this was an internal affair.
A senior Israeli official said that the person behind this growing American criticism is the U.S. consul in Jerusalem, Jacob Wallace. "Every week, he receives dozens of complaints from Palestinians and transfers them to Washington without examination," the official said. "He's really inflaming the atmosphere, causing public relations damage to Israel and even may damage our relations with the U.S."
An embassy spokesman responded that the embassy considers its relationship with the Foreign Ministry "excellent."
Shalit's return is not a primary strategic challenge for Israel. Israel has a clear responsibility to bring him home, but it also has a more important commitment to protect its citizens from rocket and mortar fire, because an entire region and tens of thousands of people are suffering from these attacks and the terror they bring. And the state is responsible for defending them.
Hamas' control of Gaza, and not Shalit's abduction, which is one of its consequences, is the strategic challenge facing Israel. There is no easy answer to this challenge, which is characterized by an extremist group committed to Israel's destruction only a stone's throw from Israeli population centers. It also includes the never-ending attacks on Israeli towns, and the links between Hamas and Iran - and its threats.
The press, and in particular the electronic media, has a clear tendency to personalize the situation and turn it into a heart-rending story. Matters of principle and reality attract less attention than another interview with family members or their supporters. The deterioration of the debate over a difficult strategic issue to the level of a soap opera is worrying and outrageous. After all, it is clear that plucking away time after time on the strings of the families' distress only strengthens Hamas: Every appearance of a family member on television - and it makes no difference what they say - is another victory for Hamas' brutal tactics of extortion. The family members should think about this.
It is clear that Israel has no simple answer to the Hamas government in Gaza; the continued flip-flops on the opening of the Gaza border crossings is the evidence. This is a long-term challenge based on the Palestinian movement's failure to establish a single legitimate political apparatus capable of speaking in the name of the Palestinian people. The Palestinian failure to build a nation has serious consequences for Israel and the chances for peace. All this has disappeared from public discussion due to the focus on Gilad Shalit, which makes it difficult for the cabinet to formulate an overall strategy on Hamas.
The continued efforts to free Shalit must be integrated into the general strategy for dealing with Hamas. In the first stage we must change the rules of the game. Like many other observers, I am not familiar with the details of the negotiations. But it is clear that the way Israel entered the talks was a mistake. It is still not too late to change the rules governing the negotiations. The talks to free Shalit are being managed as if they relate to the fates of members of a Jewish community in the Diaspora threatened by a pogrom and not in a sovereign state. Israel must announce that it will not continue with negotiations until the Red Cross visits Shalit and reports on his situation.
It is worth remembering that Hamas is also under pressure to present its accomplishments: It is demanding the release of hundreds of prisoners. An unequivocal demand to receive reliable and credible information through a visit of Red Cross representatives would increase the pressure on Hamas. Instead, Israel is being dragged onto Hamas' home turf and has agreed to discuss the criteria for releasing prisoners - whether with or without "blood on their hands."
However, separating the negotiations on Gilad Shalit from other issues, such as opening the crossings, gives Hamas the upper hand. A discussion of the problems as a whole would put Hamas in a position that reduces the importance of the Shalit abduction. The cabinet has failed in its current tactics. The fact is that Shalit has still not returned. The cabinet, which fears public opinion and the reactions of the families and their supporters, is negotiating more or less along the lines dictated by Hamas.
The way Israel deals with the strategic challenge of Hamas has effects far beyond Gilad Shalit's personal fate. The cabinet must have the courage to tell the public this, and the family, too, despite all the pain. After all, the state sends its soldiers off to battle knowing the risks to their lives. It is critical to understand that policy is set by the state, not the families.
woensdag 23 juli 2008
At least 16 people were wounded when the East Jerusalem resident drove the vehicle off the contruction site and down a main road, yards from where U.S. presidential hopeful Barack Obama was due to stay Tuesday night.
the right hand side," the driver of the bus, who was not identified, told Channel 10 TV.
Palestinian Centre for Human Rights
Security Chaos and Proliferation of Weapons
Misuse of Weapons by Armed Groups and Security Personnel
22 July 2008
Member of the 'Izziddin al-Qassam Brigades Killed and two injured, Including a Child, by Bomb in Gaza
According to investigations conducted by PCHR, at approximately 01:00 on Tuesday, 22 July, Khalil Ibrahim Jundiya (30), a member of the 'Izziddin al-Qassam Brigades, was killed, and 14 year old Hamza Ahmed Jundiya injured, along with an unidentified adult, whilst the three of them were handling the bomb.
The 'Izziddin al-Qassam Brigades later issued a statement mourning the death of Khalil Ibrahim Jundiya, indicating that he was killed as a result of 'a mistake' whilst handling a weapon.
PCHR remains gravely concerned about the increasing number of casualties resulting from the continuing misuse of weapons in the OPT. The Centre calls upon the authorities to take necessary steps to ensure the non-recurrence of such incidents, and to provide protection for all Palestinian civilians.
For more information please call PCHR office in Gaza, Gaza Strip, on +972 8
2824776 - 2825893
PCHR, 29 Omer El Mukhtar St., El Remal, PO Box 1328 Gaza, Gaza Strip.
E-mail: email@example.com, Webpage http://www.pchrgaza.org
If you got this forwarded and you want to subscribe, send mail to
and write "subscribe" in the subject line.
The 550-prisoner difference can be chalked up to semantics: Hamas is describing the 1,000 deal as a two-phase transaction, with the additional 550 set to be released two months after the first batch. Israel describes its agreement to release the 550 inmates as "a goodwill gesture toward the Palestinian Authority."
"Lebanon celebrates 'Victory.' Heads of state and the leadership of Hezbollah are welcoming the return of Samir Kuntar, a murderer who smashed the skull of a four-year-old girl, Einat, with his bare hands and the butt of his rifle and then shot her father in cold blood and never expressed regret.
...May murderers rejoice no more. May the spirit of defenders in a just war remain proud.
Lebanon will yet be ashamed; a shame, which will be necessary for it to exist properly:"
President Peres - Jerusalem, 16 July 2008
That was then.
But, as expected, today President Peres declined to express his disappointment that "moderate" Mahmoud Abbas (known also by his nom de guerre "Abu Mazen") praised the release last week of murderer Kuntar.
"Gilad must be released, as well as the Palestinian prisoners" says Mahmoud Abbas. In fact, as far as he is concerned, if the terrorist tractor driver had survived the attack today, "moderate" Abbas would insist he also be released.]
PRESIDENT OF ISRAEL SPOKESPERSON'S OFFICE
PRESIDENT SHIMON PERES MEETS WITH PALESTINIAN AUTHORITY PRESIDENT ABU MAZEN
During the meeting, news was received of the terrorist attack in the center of Jerusalem. President Peres' Military Secretary, Brig.-Gen. Hasson Hasson briefed President Peres and PA President Abu Mazen on the attack. The latter said that it was a sad event and added that he condemns all terrorist activities.
After their meeting, the two leaders spoke to the media and strongly condemned the attack.
PA President Abu Mazen said: "I condemn the attack and, as always, adamantly oppose all terrorist activities. I wish to send, from here, to the injured, wishes for a speedy recovery."
President Peres said: "Israel will not accept terrorist attacks as part of its routine life. The security forces will take all the necessary steps to protect the safety of the citizens of Jerusalem."
In their statements to the media at the beginning of their meeting, President Peres said:
"This is a meeting of yearning for peace and of hope. We worked together 15 years ago in order to promote the peace process, each one on behalf of his people, each one with his problems. Fifteen years ago, the relationship of the Palestinian Authority towards Israel was that of terrorism and today it is a one of understanding and dialogue. Israel was then split and divided in everything concerning the recognition of the Palestinian Authority and today, there is full consensus between right and left regarding the right of two states for two peoples. There is no doubt that even today there are many problems on the path to full peace, mainly the issue of boundaries, the issues of Jerusalem and the settlements, but there is no alternative to peace. In the 15 years that have passed, six governments have changed in Israel but the wish for peace has not changed, the wish for peace of the people of Israel has not been extinguished. Also our hearts in Israel are full of pain. If you ask me today which issue most saddens and oppresses the Israeli people, it is the fate of one soldier, of Gilad Shalit. Perhaps to the world this does seems neither logical nor proportional but it is definitely in proportion to the values we hold - respect for human life and the return home of our sons. As the President who represents the widest consensus in Israel, I have come to tell you from this platform that the State of Israel yearns for peace and is determined to achieve peace. We will all live here forever. Everyone who tries to move his fellow being harms history and makes a mistake."
PA President Abu Mazen said: "60 years of conflict is too much! The years during which we worked together for peace and the belief that you, Mr. Peres, are a man of true peace gives me hope that eventually we will succeed in achieving peace. There is a need to put an end to the conflict. At present we are conducting negotiations around all the complicated issues, including the final stages in the negotiations. I am not hiding the difficulties, the fact that we are concerned about the policy of the settlements and the entries into the Palestinian cities but, at the same time, we are aiming to overcome the obstacles and we are discussing around the negotiation table the issues of Jerusalem, the refugees, the water and the boundaries in a cooperative spirit, in a spirit of wanting to live alongside our neighbors forever.
We trust you, your belief in peace and your joint commitment to two states which will live together in security, in peace and in stability. I am in favor of quiet in Gaza and in the West Bank. We are against the firing of rockets, against the attacks and killing of innocent citizens. The killing of an innocent person is a crime which cannot be pardoned. Gilad must be released, as well as the Palestinian prisoners, so as to enable the two peoples to feel hope. President Bush promised that by the end of the year the negotiations would be concluded. I hope that this will be so. We are in a marathon against time in order to ensure this."
Office of the President
IMRA - Independent Media Review and Analysis
dinsdag 22 juli 2008
Als het goed is staat het volgende artikel vandaag in het Friesch Dagblad.
Aan onderbuikgevoelens die je in online commentaren tegenkomt kun je volgens mij bepaalde tendensen in de publieke opinie aflezen. Als die veronderstelling juist is viert de haat tegen Joden ( en moslims ) in Nederland momenteel hoogtij. Op de website van de Telegraaf kom je regelmatig juweeltjes van onversneden antisemitisme niet zelden in foutrijk, allo- en autochtoon Nederlands tegen. Onlangs ontlokte de onthoofding van het wassen beeld van Adolf Hitler in Berlijn de Duits-Joodse schrijver Henryk Broder de cynische opmerking: "Eindelijk is een aanslag op Hitler geslaagd". Die uitspraak was voor een Telegraaflezer voldoende reden om te schrijven: "De Israeliers van nu zijn erger als de nazi's van toen, hopelijk zullen dit jaar meer aanslagen van Palestijnen tegen Israel slagen voor hun onmenselijke beleid in het midden oosten tov andere volkeren". Ene 'Gerrit' uit Amsterdam schreef: "Holocaust wordt overdreven, tuurlijk is het niet fijn dat ze mensen vergasde maar ze hebben echt geen miljoenen mensen de dood in gejaagd (behalve veel soldaten zijn gesneuveld)".
Het zou me niet verbazen als dezelfde lezers bij andere gelegenheden juist weer moslims op de korrel nemen. Extreem-rechtse Europeanen delen hun jodenhaat met Islamisten en linkse extremisten, net zo goed als ze hun islamofobie gemeen hebben met ultra-rechtse sympathisanten van Israël. Israël begaat onrecht tegen de Palestijnen, onrecht dat in veel gevallen onnodig en niet te rechtvaardigen is. Om dat vast te stellen hoef je Israël of de Joden geen kwaad hart toe te dragen. Toch vraag ik me altijd af of de 'solidariteit' van veel Nederlanders met de arme Palestijnen net zo groot en oprecht zou zijn als die Palestijnen in 'het' conflict tegenover een niet-joodse tegenstander stonden. Die vraag zal nooit beantwoord kunnen worden, tenzij God verhoede Israëls talrijke vijanden ooit hun zin krijgen.
Op de website van NRC Handelsblad kon men vorige week discussiëren over de teruggave van geroofde oorlogskunst aan ( Joodse ) erfgenamen. Dat die krant een minder populistisch medium is dan de Telegraaf kon je misschien aflezen aan het ietwat correctere Nederlands van de feedbackers, maar de haat en de nijd die er tegen Joden en tegen Israël werden gespuid waren er niet minder om. Vergelijkingen tussen Israël en Nazi-Duitsland, en termen als "holocaust-industrie", de "ware aard" van Joden, "ongebreidelde hebzucht", vlogen je om de oren. Het lijkt wel alsof je alleen bij Joden slechte trekjes tegenkomt als er geld en advocaten in het spel zijn. Slechts een enkele lezer verwees naar de andere kant van dit verhaal. Een journalist die zich uitgebreid met dit onderwerp heeft beziggehouden zegt over die andere kant in mijn binnenkort te verschijnen boek: " het is en blijft een schande dat banken, verzekeraars, de Nederlandse overheid, bijna een half miljard Euro hebben gejat. En dat ze altijd gedacht hebben: 'Laat maar zitten.' [ ] Ze hebben hier met enthousiasme de zolders leeggehaald, de boedels meegenomen en de boel gejat. En het vervolgens na de oorlog niet teruggegeven".
Antisemitisme en nee, ik bedoel hiermee niet de kritiek op Israël, die kritiek is vaak legitiem, ik onderschrijf haar grotendeels heeft zijn wortels onder andere in afgunst, angst, en schuld en wrevel over de eigen tekortkomingen van de antisemitiet. Wanneer Europeanen vergelijkingen maken tussen Israël en Nazi-Duitsland is dat niet alleen maar een gevolg van hun totale gebrek aan kennis over zowel het Israëlisch-Palestijnse conflict als de Tweede Wereldoorlog. Veel mensen haten Israël en de Joden ook doodgewoon omdat dat land en dat volk hen aan het donkerste hoofdstuk uit de recente Europese geschiedenis blijven herinneren. Die herinnering brengt schuldgevoelens met zich mee. De meeste Europeanen hebben de jaren 1933-45 niet bewust meegemaakt, en figuren als Dries van Agt kunnen nog zo vaak beweren dat zulke schuldgevoelens misplaatst zijn, dat maakt die gevoelens niet minder sterk ( of de Joden meer geliefd ).
Ook een dreigende aanval op Iran roept veel anti-joodse en anti-Israëlische reacties op, zoals deze: "Hopelijk zullen alle moslims zich achter Iran scharen en zal Iran Israel er flink van langsgeven ". Veel mensen soms dezelfde mensen die het voor 'de' Islam in hun broek doen schijnen te denken dat de wereld a better place zou zijn zonder Israël: zonder dat rotland zullen de moslims zich rustig houden, zullen de Joden een minder grote mond hebben, zal de prijs voor een vat olie niet meer zo idioot hoog zijn, en kan Europa het donkerste hoofdstuk uit zijn geschiedenis langzaam maar zeker eindelijk eens gaan vergeten. Het zou goed zijn als de jodenhaters die door angst voor 'de Islam' worden geleid zich realiseerden dat Israël en de Joden op de lange lijst van potentiële en legitieme slachtoffers van de diverse Islamitische extremisten slechts een of twee plaatsen hoger staan dan alle andere westerlingen. Triest genoeg bezetten gematigde en andersdenkende moslims op die lijst de eerste plaats.
De eerlijkheid gebiedt hier te benadrukken dat er ook online commentatoren zijn die zich beklagen over de haat, de kortzichtigheid en het onbenul van hen die Israël en de Joden beschimpen en vervloeken. Bovendien is er een groot contrast tussen wat ik vaak online lees en wat ik bijvoorbeeld hoorde van 'gewone' Nederlanders tijdens ons gedwongen verblijf in Nederland precies twee jaar geleden. Ik hoop dan ook van ganser harte dat twee van de begin dit jaar door mij geïnterviewde personen één Joods, de ander niet-joods, beiden hebben bewust 'de' oorlog meegemaakt ongelijk hadden toen ze me vertelden dat er in Nederland voor Joden geen toekomst meer is.
Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah helped his followers celebrate the prisoner swap. Israeli's were busy mourning.
It didn't take long for the critics to find their voices. On the afternoon of the same day that Israel sent five Lebanese militants -- the brutal murderer of a four-year-old Israeli girl among them -- and the bodies of 199 Arab fighters to Lebanon in exchange for the bodies of two Israeli soldiers, many slammed the deal for encouraging hostage taking.
Hizbullah won't rule out more abductions
Jul. 19, 2008 JPost.com Staff , THE JERUSALEM POST
"I won't speak about this issue, because it has to do with military activity in the struggle with Israel and with the question of whether this confrontation will demand such an action," Kassem said in an interview to Qatari newspaper Al-Arab. "These are details which will become known in the future. We no longer have a 'prisoner file' but one cannot say what future developments will be."
Kassem added that Hizbullah was in a state of war with Israel, which he said was still occupying the Shaba Farms, the village of Ghajar and the Kfar Shuba hills. "Israel continues to infiltrate Lebanese airspace and thus poses a real threat," he said.
The leader said that Hizbullah's prisoner exchange deal with Israel had "opened the door" for the Palestinians to demand a high price for the release of kidnapped IDF soldier Gilad Schalit, who is being held by Hamas in the Gaza Strip.
Kassem said Hizbullah had yet to exact revenge for the assassination of military commander Imad Mughnyieh in February, and hinted that this would happen when certain "circumstances" are right.
maandag 21 juli 2008
Deze week is bij uitgeverij Aspekt mijn eerste boek uitgekomen: Israel en ik - Vijftien bekende Nederlanders over hun verhouding met een zestigjarige. Op de achterflap staat het volgende ( ik kan het niet mooier en compacter zeggen, mede omdat ik deze tekst zelf geschreven heb ):
De staat Israël vierde in mei 2008 zijn zestigste verjaardag. Ter gelegenheid daarvan interviewde Bert de Bruin, in samenwerking met het Centrum Informatie en Documentatie Israël (CIDI), vijftien personen – schrijvers, journalisten, politici en andere prominente Nederlanders – over hun band met Israël. Het resultaat is een serie boeiende en openhartige verhalen, waarin naast kritiek en bezorgdheid vooral oprechte betrokkenheid bij het wel en wee van de Joodse staat naar voren komt. Dit boek maakt duidelijk dat voor veel Nederlanders Israël "meer dan zomaar een land op de aardbol" is. Geïnterviewd werden: Barbara Barend, Frits Bolkestein, Bernard Bot, Samira Bouchibti, Jessica Durlacher, Elsbeth Etty, Bloeme Evers-Emden, Assad Jaber, Nausicaa Marbe, Dana Nechushtan, Karel Ornstein, Daniel de Ridder, André Rouvoet, Jacques Wallage, en Jan van Zanen. Ronny Naftaniel, directeur van CIDI, schreef het voorwoord.
Het ISBN van dit boek is 9789059117280. Je kunt het voor zover ik weet bij alle erkende boekhandels in Nederland ( en ook op bij Bol en Proxis, of bijvoorbeeld bij NRC Handelsblad, ook al staat daar dat het nog niet verschenen is ) kopen of bestellen. De prijs van het boek is 17,95 Euro. Om met Herman Berkien te spreken: "Het kost wel een paar centen, maar je hebt er wel wat voor!". Ik moet het boek zelf nog ontvangen, de Israelische post werkt niet zo snel, maar iedereen die het in handen heeft gehad is erg onder de indruk, en alle geinterviewden waren zeer te spreken over de manier waarop ik hun verhaal heb weergegeven. Dat het verder inhoudelijk wel snor zat ( boeiend, ontroerend en leuk, gevarieerde meningen en inzichten, leest als een trein ) was mij natuurlijk al bekend. Ik zou zeggen: kopen en lezen! En zegt of blogt het voort! Als het goed is vindt er begin september in Amsterdam een officiele boekpresentatie plaats, in de vorm van een paneldiscussie/mini-symposium, met als werktitel Israel, Nederland, en Europa: Dynamische perspectieven. Daarvoor zal ik naar Nederland komen. Naast een viertal deskundigen zullen ook alle geinterviewde personen voor die bijeenkomst worden uitgenodigd. Ik verwacht er ook een aantal DBI lezers tegen te zullen komen.
Bert de Bruin, donderdag 17 juli 2008
The Cultural Heritage Organization news agency quoted him as saying that even during the eight-year war against Iraq, Iran just defended itself against the military invasion by former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein.
De vraag is, in hoeverre de starre houding van Hamas met de recente gevangenenruil met Hezbollah te maken heeft, of gewoon een gevolg is van het feit dat Hamas zo onredelijk is, of beiden? Het is zeker niet de eerste keer dat de als gematigd geldende Haniyeh zich in dergelijke bewoordingen uitlaat:
In an aggressive tone, Haniyeh told the crowd in Gaza that Hamas will not give in on "any issue" related to the release of Shalit.
Hamas will insist on the release of prisoners who were sentenced to life in prison. He concluded his speech by shouting "Jerusalem is ours, Gaza, Haifa, Jaffa, all of them are ours."
Helaas ontsnapt dat altijd aan de aandacht van de Nederlandse media, in tegenstelling tot agressieve uitspraken van Israëlische politici.
Last update - 00:00 20/07/2008
Hamas: Shalit talks on hold, Israel not meeting truce terms
By Avi Issacharoff, Haaretz Correspondent, and Agencies
The source told Haaretz it is unlikely a Hamas delegation will depart for Cairo where renewed talks on a possible exchange deal would take place under an Egyptian aegis.
However, despite the charges directed at Israel, Palestinian sources believe Hamas isn't willing to be flexible about Shalit at this time due to the recent prisoner swap with Hezbollah.
The same sources noted that the release of Samir Kuntar has led Hamas to the conclusion that the radical Islamic organization should stick to its demands, which includes the release of 1,000 prisoners, many of whom were sentenced to life in prison for their role in suicide bomb attacks.
At a political rally in the Gaza Strip on Saturday, Ismail Haniyeh, who was prime minister in a Hamas-led Palestinian government, called on Interior Minister Said Sayam, to issue Samir Kuntar a diplomatic passport.
In an aggressive tone, Haniyeh told the crowd in Gaza that Hamas will not give in on "any issue" related to the release of Shalit.
Hamas will insist on the release of prisoners who were sentenced to life in prison. He concluded his speech by shouting "Jerusalem is ours, Gaza, Haifa, Jaffa, all of them are ours."
Meanwhile, a member of Fatah was shot and killed early in the northern Gaza Strip on Saturday morning, after his home came under attack by militants.
Witnesses said that gunmen attacked the house of Abdel Salam Abu Taqia, 23, near Jabaliya refugee camp and killed him.
Hours later, Hamas announced the murderer was arrested, and claimed the incident was motivated by family differences.