zaterdag 14 februari 2009

Assad's toespraak over de Zionistische Entiteit in Syrisch school curriculum

Met dit land moet Israel vrede sluiten? Aan dit land moet Israel land teruggeven? Volgens een recent bericht stonden Israel en Syrië op het punt te beginnen met directe vredesonderhandelingen toen de oorlog in Gaza uitbrak. Dit soort tirades spelen rechts in Israel, dat tegen vrede met Syrië is, ongelofelijk in de kaart.

MEMRI: Special Dispatch | No. 2243 | February 13, 2009
Assad's Speech on 'Terrorist Zionist Entity' To Become Part of Syrian School Curriculum

At the Second Islamic Conference of Ministers in Charge of Childhood, held February 3, 2009 in Khartoum, Syrian Education Minister Dr. 'Ali Sa'd announced that the concept of the" terrorist Zionist entity," presented by Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad in his speech at the January 16, 2009 Doha summit, would be incorporated into the Syrian school curriculum. In that speech, Assad accused Israel of perpetrating another Nazi holocaust in Gaza, claiming that the spilling of Arab blood since the establishment of Israel was intended to bring about a purely Jewish state. Assad also called to instill in the future Arab generations the principle "an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth," to ensure that they would never forget or forgive Israel's actions.

Following are excerpts from statements by Syrian Education Minister Dr. 'Ali Sa'd and by other Syrian and Arab officials, as well as excerpts from Assad's speech at the Doha summit.

Syrian Education Minister: Assad's Message Must Be Transmitted to Future Generations
At the conference, which was attended by representatives of 36 Arab and Islamic countries, Syrian Education Minister Dr. 'Ali Sa'd said: "The Syrian Education Ministry regards the strategic concepts and ideas presented by President Bashar Al-Assad at the emergency summit on Gaza as [an outline for a] work plan."

He added that at a meeting held by the ministry, attended by all elements in charge of developing the Syrian curriculum and textbooks, it had been decided to incorporate these concepts and ideas into the new curriculum and books, in order to inculcate them in "the generations that would build the nation's future," and thereby teach them that "the Zionist entity is a terrorist entity."

Sa'd stressed that if the expressions "We will not forget and not forgive" and "terrorist entity" (as a label for Israel) appeared in Syrian textbooks, it would "create awareness about [the nature of] this entity, and constitute immeasurable support for resistance in the [battle]field." Sa'd also stated that President Assad and his wife had a personal interest in education and concern for this issue, and that they intended to "equip the nation's [future] generations with the knowledge, ideology, values, and abilities [necessary] to meet the needs of the [country's] renewed development."(1)

It should be noted that the Khartoum conference adopted the Syrian delegation's recommendation to term Israel a "terrorist entity" in textbooks and in the media.(2)

At a reception for the delegations attending the Arab Youth Conference, held February 3-6, 2009 in Syria, Ba'th Party National Deputy Secretary Muhammad Sa'id Bkheitan announced that Syria "saw the Arab youth as the nation's hope for strengthening the endeavor of construction, progress, and support for the enterprise of resistance to occupation and aggression."

Several delegation heads likewise expressed their appreciation for "the role played by Syria in strengthening the culture of resistance and steadfastness," and the conference proposed "to inculcate the culture of resistance as a culture of an Arab generation that believes in the power of life, aspires to freedom, and opposes the culture of defeatism."(3)

Assad: "Israel - The Most Dangerous [Brand of] Nazism in the Modern Era"
In his speech at the January 16, 2009 Doha summit on Gaza, Assad declared: "The starting point of our decisions today will be our support for the people of Gaza in the face of the new Nazi holocaust [perpetrated by] Israel... [However, our understanding] will not be complete unless we realize that the problem lies not only in the occupation per se, but in the nature of the enemy we are facing.

"This enemy has established itself through slaughter, sustained itself through plunder and destruction, and anchored its future in genocide. This is an enemy who speaks only the language of blood, and hence understands only the language of blood. The spilling of Arab blood since Israel's establishment is regarded by Israel's leaders as the fuel needed to [power] the machine [designed] to create a purely Jewish state. [This state] will become possible only after the non-Jews are expelled from Palestine and those remaining are exterminated.

"It follows that the [current] Gaza events are not merely a response to [Hamas'] missiles - [because] had missiles not existed, the [Israelis] would have invented them and fired them [themselves] as an excuse [for their aggression]. Rather, [the Gaza offensive] is a link in the long chain [of actions] aimed at creating the Palestine of their dreams, which they presume to portray as a country without a people.

"There must be legal measures so that Israel stands trial - despite our lack of faith in the relevant international institutions - so that it will be written in the annals of history that [the Israelis] are not only racists but [represent] the most dangerous brand of Nazism in the modern era.

"Oh brothers, we are a nation of peace, and our national, Arab, and human moral values are anchored in peace. Likewise, we have tried to forget the massacres of Deir Yassin, Kafr Qassem, Jenin, Qana - both the first and the second - and many others perpetrated by Israel against the Arabs. But Israel insists on reminding us of the truth about itself. We have a very good memory. [and] we promise them that we will continue to remember.

"But, more importantly, we will ensure that our sons remember too. We will preserve for them the pictures of the Gaza children, with their open wounds oozing blood on their toys. We will tell them about the martyrs, the bereaved [families], the widows, and the cripples. We will teach them that 'Allah favors and loves the strong believer over the weak one,' [and to uphold these principles:] 'an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth'; 'he who started the fight is guilty'; and what was taken by force will only be reclaimed by force.

"We will explain to them that those who do not remember the past forfeit the future as well. On the walls of their rooms, we will hang posters exhorting every Arab child who is born into this world 'Do Not Forget' - so that when he grows up, he will say to them, 'No, I will neither forget nor forgive'."(4)

"For Every Arab Child Killed, Dozens of Resistance Fighters Are Born"
"I stress [to the Israelis] that the war crimes they are committing will bring them nothing but generations of Arabs imbued with [even] deeper hatred for Israel. The [Arabs'] strength and determination will grow faster than [Israel's] arsenal, and the power [of their determination] will be more lethal. This means that for every Arab child killed, dozens of resistance fighters are born - thus, [the Israelis] are digging the graves of their children and grandchildren with their own hands.

"Today, they have an opportunity to plant the seeds of the future they want - for better or for worse. Later, they will no longer be able to determine what harvest [they will reap]. They have sowed blood and will reap nothing but [blood]. And when the seedling grows, it will be much bigger than the seed from which it sprang."(5)

(1) Al-Ba'th (Syria), February 3, 2009.
(2) Teshreen (Syria), February 5, 2009.
(3) Al-Thawra (Syria), February 6, 2009.
(4) Al-Ba'th (Syria), January 17, 2009.
(5) Al-Ba'th (Syria), January 17, 2009.

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Hamas klaar om Shalit te ruilen

Een deal waarbij Israel 1.000-1.500 gevangenen vrijlaat voor Shalit is niet alleen slecht voor Israel maar ook voor Abbas en Fatah.
Het is bovendien de vraag of de nieuwe regering zich straks gebonden zal voelen aan een overeenkomst die een demissionaire en onpopulaire regering er nog even op het laatst heeft doorgejast.
Last update - 12:20 13/02/2009
Hamas said ready to sign deal on Shalit release
By Haaretz Service and News Agencies
Hamas is prepared to sign a deal next week for the release of abducted Israel Defense Forces soldier Gilad Shalit as part of a long-term truce agreement between Israel and the Gaza Strip, the Arabic daily Al-Hayat reported on Friday.

According to the report, Hamas will cement the truce within the next few days and finalize the deal to free Shalit by Wednesday.

Palestinian sources told Al-Hayat that Shalit, who was captured by Hamas-allied militants in a 2006 cross-border raid from Gaza into southern Israel, would be freed in exchange for 1,000 Palestinians jailed in Israel.
According to the report, the deal would include the release of women and children, as well as a number of Palestinian lawmakers and ministers.

Egypt has been trying to broker a prisoner exchange between Israel and Hamas, which is holding Shalit. Cairo's negotiator, Omar Suleiman, told the Egyptian newspaper Al-Ahram on Friday that Israel is refusing to allow iron, aluminum and cement into the Gaza Strip until the deal for Shalit's release has been reached.

Suleiman also said that Egypt has rejected Israel's offer to release jailed Palestinian residents of the West Bank into the Gaza Strip, insisting that they be returned to their homes.

Cairo will meet next week with Israel over Hamas' response to the Egyptian truce proposal, the negotiator added.

According to Suleiman, there are still four obstacles preventing the deal from being finalized: ongoing Qassam fire, the construction of a barrier between Gaza and Israel, Hamas' commitment to observe the truce, and the halt of weapons smuggling into the Gaza Strip.

Suleiman also said that Egypt was prepared to work with the new Israeli government, regardless of its leader, but warned that any attack on Gaza would harm Cairo-Jerusalem relations.

Meanwhile, another Egyptian newspaper reported that Hamas has rejected a Qatari offer of $400 million dollar in exchange for Shalit.

The Egyptian report of an imminent deal on Shalit's release contradicts statement made Thursday night by Hamas deputy chief Moussa Abu Marzouk.

In an interview with the Egyptian news agency MENA, Abu Marzouk confirmed that the Islamic militant group has agreed to a long-term truce with Israel and said Cairo, which has been mediating between Hamas and Israel, would announce the truce within two days of consultations with other Palestinian factions.

However, Abu Marzouk said that a deal for Shalit's release would be negotiated later. He also told the agency that under the Egyptian-brokered deal, Israel will reopen six border crossings with the strip.

Earlier Thursday, Hamas said that the sides had come to an agreement in most of the issues which had been stalling the truce. "Most of the obstacles that prevented us from reaching an agreement were resolved and an announcement of a deal is expected," said Taher al-Nono, a member of Hamas's negotiating team in Cairo.

Nono said the agreement would ensure the end of all violence in the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip and the opening of the territory's border crossings.

Israel had no comment on the reports.

Terms of Egyptian truce proposal

According to the Egyptian proposal, a declaration of an 18-month ceasefire would be followed by an exchange of prisoners, the opening of Gaza's border crossings and reconciliation talks between rival Palestinian factions.

It would take the place of a shaky January 18 truce that ended Israel's 22-day military offensive in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip in which more than 1,300 Palestinians were killed.

Israel's envoy to the talks, senior defence official Amos Gilad, is expected to return to Cairo, possibly on Saturday night.

These are the components of the proposed deal, according to Western diplomats and Palestinian officials:

Gaza-Egypt crossings
Egypt would open the Rafah border crossings with Gaza under the auspices of international monitors and border guards who would report to Western-backed Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, Hamas' rival. Turkey may also send a force to oversee the functioning of Rafah, Gaza's only passage to the outside world that does not go through Israel.

The Hamas Islamist group, which beat Abbas's secular Fatah faction in a 2006 election and seized control of the Gaza Strip 18 months later, has been vague on whether it would cede control of the Gaza side of the crossing to Abbas' security forces.

Gaza-Israel crossings
Israel would open border crossings with the Gaza Strip, but it is unclear how soon and under what conditions. Outgoing Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has hinged a full opening of the crossings on the release of Shalit.

Olmert has also refused to offer Hamas guarantees that the passages will stay open.

Israel has insisted that certain materials be barred from entry because they could be used to make rockets, fortifications or explosives. These include certain types of steel piping and chemicals used in agriculture, Israeli defense officials said.

Hamas officials say they have demanded more details about what would be excluded from entering the impoverished enclave, which will require massive amounts of steel, cement and other commercial goods to rebuild after the war.

Prisoner swap
Israeli and Palestinian officials have sent mixed signals about the status of prisoner swap talks. Hamas has demanded that Israel free 1,400 Palestinian prisoners in exchange for Shalit. Diplomats said Israel would free closer to 1,000.

Buffer zone
A 300-meter wide buffer zone would be established along Gaza's border with Israel, from which militants would be barred. Israel initially proposed a zone 500 to 800 meters wide.

Bewegingsvrijdheid voor Palestijnen op Westoever verruimd

Het is natuurlijk mooi dat Israel meer roadblocks gaat verwijderen, maar het zal het effect van 1000 vrijgekomen Hamas politici en terroristen niet ongedaan maken. Een deel van die mensen komt van de Westoever en zal daarnaartoe terugkeren, en dat zal, zowel psychisch alsook fysiek, de beweging een flinke boost geven. Voor Abbas en het gematigde Palestijnse leiderschap is de op handen zijnde deal tussen Israel en Hamas dan ook bepaald niet gunstig.

IDF to ease movement for Palestinians in W. Bank
In an effort to bolster PA President Mahmoud Abbas ahead of a possible prisoner swap with Hamas, the IDF on Thursday announced a series of goodwill gestures it will make to strengthen the Palestinian security forces in the West Bank.

On Thursday, Defense Minister Ehud Barak met with Quartet envoy Tony Blair and presented him with the list of restrictions Israel plans to ease in the coming days.

At least one main dirt roadblock near Hebron will be lifted. A second dirt roadblock near Ramallah was planned to be lifted but will not for the time being due an increase in shooting attacks in the area.

Last month, an Israeli was seriously wounded in a drive-by shooting near Ramallah.

On Tuesday, The Jerusalem Post reported that Israel was considering implementing a list of goodwill gestures to help Abbas out of concern that trading many Hamas security prisoners for St.-Sgt. Gilad Schalit would undermine the PA president's regime. In 2008, the IDF lifted more than 140 roadblocks in the West Bank.

OC Central Command Maj.-Gen. Gadi Shamni informed his Palestinian counterparts of the new measures during a meeting late Wednesday night. Shamni announced that the IDF was also permitting the opening of 12 new PA police stations in Area B, where Israeli has security control and the Palestinian have civil control under the Oslo Accords.

The IDF is also issuing special travel permits for PA security commanders and other VIPs that will allow them to pass through checkpoints. Palestinians who are allowed into Israel for medical treatments or study in Israeli medical schools will receive six-month permits instead of the three-month permits they received until now.

On the economic level, the IDF announced that it will begin allowing Israeli Arabs into Nablus on weekends. Israeli Arabs are already allowed into Jenin and have been instrumental in increasing the economic activity in the city.

Volgens Israel waren doden Gaza voor tweederde terroristen

Als er in totaal 1,134 Palestijnen zijn gedood, waarvan 673 strijders en 288 burgers, wat waren die overige 213 dan? En als de cijfers zo precies zijn, duidt dat erop dat men lijsten van namen heeft. Door die vrij te geven zijn de cijfers controleerbaar en kunnen die tegenover de claims van de Palestijnen en de VN worden gezet. Nu blijft het bij verschillende claims die niet te verifiëren zijn.

Israel: Two-thirds of Palestinians killed in Gaza fighting were terrorists
By Amos Harel, Haaretz Correspondent
Last update - 02:35 13/02/2009

Israel says that about two-thirds of the Palestinians who were killed in the Gaza fighting were members of terror organizations who took part in the fighting, Channel 2 News reported Thursday.

These include the Hamas police cadets who were killed in an Israeli air strike at the beginning of the operation.

Channel 2 cited a report issued by Military Intelligence and the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories, listing 1,134 Palestinian fatalities, 673 of which belonged to Hamas and other groups.

Only 288 were innocent civilians, the report says.

The Palestinians reported 1,330 fatalities but did not submit their names.

vrijdag 13 februari 2009

Amnesty International beschuldigt Hamas van elimineren tegenstanders

Eindelijk heeft ook Amnesty International aandacht voor de oorlogsmisdaden van Hamas, waardoor ook de media er enige aandacht aan besteden. Er is nog altijd nauwelijks aandacht voor het misbruiken van de eigen burgerbevolking als schild door Hamas, ondanks het vele bewijs dat daarvan voorhanden is, zoals luchtfoto's, video's en ook uitspraken van Palestijnen daarover. Het cynische gebruik van ziekenhuizen, ambulances en moskeeën door Hamas wordt nog steeds genegeerd.

Hamas whacking internal opposition - Palestinian democracy in action

'Islamist group forces in Gaza engaged in campaign of abductions, deliberate and unlawful killings, torture and death threats against those they accuse of collaborating with Israel,' human rights group says
AFP - Ynet
Published:  02.10.09, 15:29
Amnesty International on Tuesday accused Hamas of waging a campaign to kill or maim scores of Palestinian opponents in the Gaza Strip since the end of December.
The human rights group said in a report that at least two dozen men have been shot dead by gunmen from the Palestinian militia that governs the Gaza Strip since December 27.

"Scores of others have been shot in the legs, knee-capped or inflicted with other injuries intended to cause severe disability, subjected to severe beatings ... or otherwise tortured or ill-treated," it added.

"Hamas forces and militias in the Gaza Strip have engaged in a campaign of abductions, deliberate and unlawful killings, torture and death threats against those they accuse of 'collaborating' with Israel, as well as opponents and critics," the report said.

The victims included members of Palestinian Authority security forces and members of Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas' Fatah party, Amnesty said.

The campaign began shortly after the beginning of the three-week Israeli military offensive in the Gaza Strip on December 27 and continued after the ceasefire on January 18, according to Amnesty.

'Perpetrators did not conceal their weapons'
Palestinian human rights groups and victims first made such accusations at the end of last month, saying the Hamas rulers of Gaza were persecuting members of the rival Fatah movement to quash any opposition.

Taher al Nunu, a spokesman for Hamas, denied the charges at the time, dismissing them as "lies spread by Ramallah," where Abbas and the Palestinian Authority are based.
Amnesty International said the targets included former detainees who were accused by Hamas of collaboration with Israel after escaping from Gaza's central prison when it was bombed by Israeli forces on December 28.

Some were shot dead in hospitals where they were being treated for injuries suffered during the bombing raid, sometimes in front of distraught relatives, according to the testimony gathered by the human rights group.

"The perpetrators of these attacks did not conceal their weapons or keep a low profile, but, on the contrary, behaved in a carefree and confident - almost ostentatious - manner," the report noted.
Amnesty said there was "no doubt" that the victims were abducted, killed, shot and tortured by Hamas security forces and armed militias, adding that the evidence was "incontrovertible."

It called on the "Hamas de facto administration" to immediately end the campaign, accept an independent and impartial investigation and guarantee that victims and witnesses would not be targeted.

Palestijnen moeten hun vredeskansen grijpen en met Hamas afrekenen

De notie dat de VS en de EU een oplossing moeten opleggen aan Israel en de Palestijnen is populair en wijd verbreid. Edwin Bennatan legt uit waarom dat volgens hem niet alleen geen goed idee is, maar ook onnodig.
Het volgende lijkt zijn these tegen te spreken:
With a right-wing government led by Benjamin Netanyahu, it is highly unlikely that the current peace deal will remain on the table or that meaningful negotiations will be resumed anytime soon.
Dat ligt echter volgens Bennatan aan het feit dat de Palestijnen voor de zoveelste keer een vredesvoorstel hebben verworpen.
Hamas must be brought to book for havoc they have sown

Hamas must be brought to book for havoc they have sown


Mon, Feb 09, 2009

OPINION: Israelis are fed up with the Palestinians' inability to take Yes for an answer, writes EDWIN BENNATAN.

THE RENOWNED physicist Wolfgang Pauli, who was known for his colourful objections to incorrect or sloppy thinking, was once asked for his opinion of a paper written by a young student. "This is not right," declared Pauli. "It's not even wrong."

Some arguments are so blatantly flawed that they do not even deserve being called wrong. Such is Lara Marlowe's simplistic view of the Israel-Palestinian conflict (Opinion and Analysis, February 3rd) in which she proposes that the US and the EU impose a solution on the two sides. "The UN should flood the Gaza Strip with blue helmets," she suggests, "who would prevent Hamas firing rockets."

She continues: "The most maddening thing about the conflict is that there is such an obvious solution, as there was in Northern Ireland."

First, the Middle East is not Northern Ireland. Cambridge historians John Bew and Martyn Frampton have stated in a recent report that although it has become "fashionable to look to the lessons of the peace process in Northern Ireland as holding insights for other areas of conflict, simplistic comparisons may be unhelpful".

While the aims of the IRA posed no "existential threat" to the British, they argue, "the objectives of Hamas require the destruction of the state of Israel". The researchers also maintain that while the IRA's political goals were local, Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip, is part of a global Islamist movement.

Second, Israel has already experienced the impotence of UN forces when, in 1967, UN peacekeepers were swiftly removed from the Egypt-Israel border in response to the first demand from Egypt's president Gamal Abdul Nasser, who then proceeded to mass his army on the border, which led to the Six Day War. Israel has no reason to believe that the UN would act differently today.

And as for the notion that the US and the EU should impose a solution to the conflict, Marlowe seems to have a mental picture of two brawling children whose parents need to send them off to bed with no supper until they learn to behave.

Israel is not the 30th or 20th strongest force in the world; it is one of the most powerful forces (which it needed to become to survive in a tough neighbourhood), and it will never accept an imposed arrangement that it believes would imperil its very existence. Israel is not facing just Hamas, or even just the Palestinians. The situation in the Middle East is more complex than that.

As Bew and Frampton have noted, Israel is facing a global Islamist movement in which Iran plays a leading role, and which also includes Hizbullah and the Muslim Brotherhood who are fighting to overthrow the relatively moderate pro-western governments in Egypt, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia. Marlowe needs to understand this before she offers her simplistic proposals.

Marlowe is also apparently unaware that the Palestinians have been offered a two-state solution, which they have repeatedly rejected. As far back as 1947, the Palestinians rejected UN Resolution 181 on the partitioning of British Mandate Palestine into two states, one Jewish and one Arab (the Jews of Palestine accepted the UN partition plan).

More recently, the Palestinians rejected US president Bill Clinton's proposal in 2000 at Camp David for a Palestinian state in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, which included the removal of Jewish settlements. Amin al-Mahdy reported in the Arabic daily newspaper Al-Hayathow Yasser Arafat, in an interview two years later, lamented his mistake in rejecting the peace offer.

Al-Mahdy wrote: "Arafat has admitted his mistake in refusing Clinton's proposals. But what he should have explained was why he refused, why it was wrong, and why it took him two years to realise it. Now the situation has deteriorated to a degree that goes beyond the mistake of rejecting the Clinton peace plan. That rejection was part of a tragic cycle of mistakes that involved resorting to violence and a direct alliance with the Islamic political groups before the negotiations.

"This tragic cycle of mistakes overthrew the idea of peaceful negotiations and did a lot to bring down the Israeli left and the peace movement."

Six years after the Palestinians rejected Clinton's proposals the Israeli peace camp regained its ground and returned to power in the 2006 elections. Peace negotiations with the Palestinians resumed, and additional details of the peace deal were ironed out (Palestinian control of Arab east Jerusalem, compensation for Palestinian refugees, and land swaps of territory in Israel proper in exchange for 4 per cent of the West Bank adjacent to the Israel border).

But again the Palestinian leadership rejected the deal that their negotiating team had worked out with the Israelis, and which offered them virtually everything they had been demanding (other than the destruction of Israel).

The latest barrages of cross-border rockets from Gaza into southern Israel, and the war that followed, have all but ended the current attempts at peace. To be blunt, the Israeli public is fed up with the Palestinians' inability to take Yes for an answer, and is expected once again to shift to the right at tomorrow's elections.

With a right-wing government led by Benjamin Netanyahu, it is highly unlikely that the current peace deal will remain on the table or that meaningful negotiations will be resumed anytime soon.

So where does this leave Lara Marlowe's analysis? She is clearly unaware of the history of this long and sad conflict, and seems to be preoccupied with baseless rumours and innuendos that serve no useful purpose.

But Egypt's president Hosni Mubarak got it right a few days ago in his address in honour of Egypt's national police force day. It is the responsibility of the Palestinian people, he said, to settle the score with Hamas for the pain and the destruction it has caused them.

If the Palestinians took Mubarak's advice that would be a welcome step towards peace.

© 2009 The Irish Times


Langdurig staakt-het-vuren Israel-Hamas over 2 dagen bekendgemaakt

En wat als de nieuwe regering het daar straks helemaal niet mee eens is?? In Nederland mag een demissionair kabinet geen grote beslissingen meer nemen, maar in Israel werkt dat blijkbaar iets anders.... Het maakt de kans dat het staakt-het-vuren standhoudt er niet groter op.
Last update - 23:58 12/02/2009
Hamas: Egypt to announce Gaza truce in 2 days
By The Associated Press

The official Egyptian news agency is reporting that a top Hamas leader says the militant group has agreed to a long-term truce deal with Israel over the Gaza Strip.

Moussa Abu Marzouk told MENA that Egypt would announce the truce in two days after consulting with other Palestinian factions.

It was unclear whether Israel had already agreed to truce.
Marzouk told the agency that under the Egyptian-brokered deal Israel will reopen six border crossings with the Strip.

Egypt is trying to mediate a truce deal between Hamas and Israel to solidify a cease-fire that ended Israel's devastating 22-day offensive in Gaza in mid January.

Earlier on Thursday, Hamas said a truce agreement with Israel on the Gaza Strip would most likely be announced in the next three days.

"Most of the obstacles that prevented us from reaching an agreement were resolved and an announcement of a deal is expected within three days," said Taher al-Nono, a member of Hamas's negotiating team in Cairo.

Nono said the agreement would ensure the end of all violence in the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip and the opening of the territory's border crossings.

Hamas demands any Gaza truce include full opening of its borders. Israel wants guarantees Hamas will be prevented from smuggling weapons into Gaza.

Earlier on Thursday, MENA said Hamas' strongman from Gaza, Mahmoud Zahar, and deputy chief Moussa Abu Marzouk from the group's Damascus branch were taking part in the negotiations in the Egyptian capital.

Egyptian intelligence chief Gen. Omar Suleiman has been trying to broker a more solid cease-fire following Israel's 22-day offensive in Gaza last month, which was launced in aim to bring Hamas's rocket firing into southern Israel to a halt.

Definitieve verkiezingsuitslag Israel: Kadima 28, Likoed 27, Yisrael Beiteinu 15, Labor 13 zetels

Ondanks het feit dat Livni nu definitief heeft gewonnen lijken haar kansen op het premierschap niet erg groot, omdat Shas en Yisrael Beitenu waarschijnlijk voor een coalitie met Netanjahoe zullen kiezen als zij daarvoor in ruil een aantrekkelijke post in zijn regering kunnen krijgen. Informateurs kennen ze in Israel geloof ik niet; alle partijen spreken tegenover president Peres hun voorkeur uit over wie een regering mag samenstellen, waarna diegene daarmee direct aan de slag gaat.
Last update - 23:33 12/02/2009

Final election results: Kadima 28 seats, Likud 27, Yisrael Beiteinu 15
By Shahar Ilan, Haaretz Correspondent, and Haaretz Service

Click here for exclusive Haaretz coverage of the elections in Israel

Members of Israel's central elections committee said on Thursday the apportionment of Knesset seats would remain as is following the final tally of Israel Defense Forces soldiers' ballots.

Kadima led by Tzipi Livni captured the largest number of Knesset seats - 28 - edging the Likud's 27 seats. Yisrael Beiteinu made history on Tuesday, becoming the third-largest party in the Knesset with 15 seats. The Labor Party finished with a disappointing 13 seats; Shas with 11; United Torah Judaism won five seats; the National Union captured four; United Arab List - Ta'al - four; Hadash - three; Meretz - three; Balad - three; and Bayit Hayehudi ("The Jewish Home") - three.

The results of Tuesday's election were finalized Thursday after the votes of IDF soldiers were tallied. It was thought these additional ballots could nab Yisrael Beiteinu or the Likud party another Knesset seat, which would have put Likud and Kadima on equal standing in terms of Knesset representation.

Knesset seats are allocated after a party's votes are divided by 120, the number of parliament seats. About 28,000 votes are required per seat. Parties must garner at least 2 percent of the vote to be represented in parliament. The party closest to approaching the 2 percent minimum, the Green Movement-Meimad, is not expected to make the cut, as it would need more than 40,000 additional votes.

Excess voting arrangements allow parties with more than the necessary minimum to enter parliament, but less than the votes needed to nab an extra seat, to allocate "excess" votes to an allied party.

The military vote was not expected to nab Meretz a fourth seat. Zahava Gal-On, one of the Knesset's most highly-regarded lawmakers, is fourth on the Knesset list. President Shimon Peres will not begin consulting with the parties over the formation of a new coalition until next Wednesday, when the election results are officially published.

Kadima, Likud declare victory after final tally

Whoever thought that the announcement of the final election results would put an end to the bickering over which party emerged the winner - and which should form the next governing coalition - was mistaken.

After tallying the ballots cast by soldiers, the physically challenged, and diplomats from abroad, the central election committee confirmed that the apportionment of Knesset seats would remain as was announced on election night.

"Tonight the campaign led by Bibi (nickname of Likud chairman Benjamin Netanyahu) and the wheeler-dealers of the Likud aimed at stealing power and the will of the voter in Israel must come to an end," read a statement released by Kadima minutes after the official results were announced.

Kadima repeated its call for Netanyahu to join a national unity government with Tzipi Livni serving as prime minister. "With the completion of the vote count Kadima won and it is the largest party," the party statement read. "Netanyahu must accede to Tzipi Livni's call and join a centrist national unity government headed by her."

Likud officials responded to Kadima's statement with scorn. "Kadima's statement is pathetic and shows that it continues to spin some imagined reality instead of recognizing a political reality in accordance with the voter's verdict," a Likud communiqué read. "An absolute majority of Israelis wants Netanyahu as prime minister and clearly rejected Kadima's way which has failed."

IDF soldaat veroordeeld voor schietincident in Hebron

Nu al  die anderen nog, kun je cynischerwijze denken, maar feit is dat het leger dergelijke incidenten wel degelijk serieus neemt.
Soldier who fired gunshots in Hebron to be jailed,7340,L-3670656,00.html
(VIDEO) Corporal Nahum Ben-Yaakov of Givati Brigade arrested after Ynet publishes video showing him threatening, firing in air during clash between settlers, Palestinians. Plea bargain states soldier to serve five months in prison
Hanan Greenberg - Ynet
Published:  02.12.09, 09:35
VIDEO - An Israel Defense Forces soldier, who fired gunshots in the air during a clash between settlers and Palestinians near the West Bank Jewish settlement of Kiryat Arba adjoining the city of Hebron, will serve five and a half months in prison, according to a plea bargain which will be presented to the court in the coming days.

"The soldier's actions were severe, so the punishment must deter all those holding weapons in their hands," a military source involved in the affair said Thursday.
The incident, first reported by Ynet, took place during a clash which broke out last November in a wadi between Kiryat Arba and Hebron. Corporal Nahum Ben-Yaakov of the Givati Brigade, who lives in the area, was off duty at the time but was caught into the scene of the riot.
He was documented with a video camera firing in the area at least twice with his military weapon. He was arrested after the video was released by the B'Tselem human rights organization.

The soldier's trial has been taking place at the Southern Command's military court for the past two months. The Judges' panel is headed by Lieutenant Colonel Orly Markman.

Ynet has learned that the sides held a series of discussions recently, which resulted in a plea bargain. The deal reveals that Ben-Yaakov faces an older indictment for the possession of weapons. According to the agreement, the two affairs will be united to one indictment which will be summed up to five and a half months in prison.

After the shooting incident, sources in the IDF said that the soldier had no reason to fire the shots as no one's life was in danger during the clash.
Illegal use of weapon
The military source refused to detail the Hebron incident's part in the punishment, but hinted that the military prosecution viewed Ben-Yaakov's actions as an illegal use of weapons.
"IDF soldiers holding weapons must always remember the rules and use them only when their life is in danger or when they were specifically instructed to do so. This did not happen in the current affair," the source said.
As part of the plea deal, the soldier will be convicted for the possession of military property, as claimed in the older indictment. He will also be convicted of illegal using weapons and of making threats, as claimed in the latest indictment.
The soldier's lawyer, Attorney Chai Haber, refused to comment on the content of the expected deal.
"We'll present the agreement in the next court session," said Habre. "My client did not fire at anyone, and this can be seen in the documentation of the event, when other members of the security forces also fired in the air during the clash. The plea bargain does include an older indictment filed against my client, but I cannot elaborate."
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donderdag 12 februari 2009

25.000 bloemen uit Gaza naar Europa

Geen bommen maar blommen uit Gaza. Is daar werkelijk een verzoek van Maxime Verhagen voor nodig?

25,000 flowers to be exported from Gaza to Europe
(Communicated by the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories Spokesman)
11th February, 2009

In the first time in over a year, and at the request of the Dutch Government, Israel has approved and will facilitate the export of 25,000 carnations from Gaza to the European market. The flowers will be shipped tomorrow morning (Thursday12/2/2009) via Kerem Shalom cargo terminal and are scheduled to arrive in Europe by Valentines Day.

Links in Israel heeft een zware klap gehad bij de verkiezingen

Het valt me op dat Kadima door de een als (centrum-)rechtse partij wordt aangemerkt en door de ander bij het linkse blok wordt gerekend (dat ook met Kadima nog geen meerderheid heeft). Kadima begon als afspliting van de 'linkervleugel' van de rechtse Likoed, hoewel oprichter Sharon moeilijk als links te kwalificeren valt, maar aangevuld met Labor leden waaronder de huidige president Peres, die ik toch zeker niet rechts zou kunnen noemen. Een middenpartij lijkt mij dus de beste kwalificatie. Naar Israelische verhoudingen is links vooral een partij die vrede door een compromis met de Palestijnen nastreeft, en ik geloof dat Kadima dat oprecht doet.
Livni slaagde er in september vooral niet in om een nieuwe coalitie te vormen, omdat zij erop stond dat met de Palestijnen over Jeruzalem moest kunnen worden onderhandeld. Als zij ook nu daaraan vast houdt, lijkt het me nagenoeg onmogelijk dat ze nu wel een coalitie gevormd krijgt....

Meretz chairman: Left suffered harsh blow
MK Chaim Oron says despite election failure, his party 'will continue to serve as a key element in establishment of social-democratic Zionist Left'
Eli Senyor - YNET

Merger with new leftist movement fails miserably: Meretz Chairman Chaim Oron said Tuesday night following the publication of TV exit polls that "the Left suffered a harsh blow".

According to the polls, the left-wing party will only have four representatives in the next Knesset.

Oron promised that his party would continue to be a key element in the political arena in a bid to hold a dialogue with different sectors of Israeli society.

Meretz had hoped that its merger with the new left-wing movement would help the party gain at least six Knesset seats. According to Channel 1 exit poll the party got five seats, while all other polls predicted it would settle for only four.

"Based on the energies which I saw today as well, and the forces existing within us, we must overcome the difficult feeling we are experiencing this evening. We won't be annihilated," Oron stated, promising that Meretz will continue to be "a key element in the establishment of a Zionist dovish and humanistic Social-Democratic Left in the State of Israel. This vacuum has not been filled in these elections."

Labor lost these elections

Oron added, "The fact that what is perceived as the leftist camp - Labor and Meretz - and those groups which did not cross the threshold, reached less than 20 Knesset seats, must switch on a red light for all of us.

"First of all, however, this fact must create a commitment of each and every one of us to do what the Israeli Left needs so much. Out of a desire to hold dialogue with different sectors of Israeli society; out of a desire to say clearly that the State of Israel is not divided between Kadima and the Likud, between Lieberman and the National Union."

The other side of the leftist camp which Oron referred to was also disappointed by the election results. Senior Labor Party members responded to the exit polls, which gave the party between 13 to 14 seats, by stating that "the public has spoken."

Education Minister Yuli Tamir and MKs Ophir Pines-Paz and Shelly Yacimovich all agreed that the voters sent them a message that the party must sit in the opposition.

Yacimovich said, "This is a democratic decision which is very difficult for us. The people have spoken. We will sit in the opposition courageously and reestablish ourselves as a peace-seeking social-Democratic party."

Pines-Paz added that "something very serious happened to us - we paid a heavy price. Labor lost these elections, and it must self-examine itself."

(Satire:) Nieuwe Joods-Zionistische Provocatie

In de Arabische (en ook de Nederlandse) pers wordt de Israelische 'ruk naar rechts' gehekeld. Maar in de Arabische wereld zelf valt er niet veel te kiezen......

An egregious provocation of the Jew Zionist Tel-Aviv regime occurred on February 10, 2009. All right thinking progressive peoples should be organizing protests. All progressive nations such as Libya and Saudi Arabia should be initiating a severe security council reprimand.

For the eighteenth time in their history, the apartheid Tel-Aviv regime has held free elections, a clear affront to right thinking Arab peoples everywhere, and otherwise nearly unheard of in the Middle East. Did not the clarion voice of progressivism in the Middle East, the Saudi Arab News, rightly protest that the Zionist elections would not bring peace? In Saudi Arabia of course, there is no danger of any such heretical practice of elections.

Imagine the horror of right thinking Arab peoples: In Israel, the communist party is allowed to run alongside Zionist parties, and the communists are not the most radical. Most of the parties have female candidates, and most support the teaching of evolution as well as rights for homosexuals. Such horrors are unheard of in well run countries like Saudi Arabia of course.

In Syria, Omr Jaftali asks in Tishreen, "Which new extremist will be elected?" Syrians have no such uncertainty of course. They know precisely which extremist will be elected, because only one extremist is ever running, and he always gets well over 90% of the vote. There is no election night tension in Syria.

In Egypt, where any party can run as long as they agree with the government, media are likewise justifiably outraged. Who can blame them? The Jew Zionists of the Tel-Aviv government insist on holding this embarrassing rite of elections, contrary to all customs in the Middle East. Over 30 parties competed in the elections, and not one of them has its own army! Between all the Israeli parties, there is not a single armed faction or assault rifle. The closest thing to that was an old cache of arms from the Israel War of Independence discovered in Kibbutz Nirim not long ago.

The right-thinking Hamas, democratically chosen by the Palestinian people after throwing a sufficient number of them off tall buildings in Gaza, use a different procedure for deciding issues. Hamas has recently killed tens of opposition figures in Gaza according to Amnesty International. There is no problem deciding which extremist will run the government in Gaza.

Arab world commentators are excited because a party that wants to deny citizenship to disloyal Arab citizens might get as much as 15% of the vote in Israel. Arab countries have no such problems. Disloyal citizens are hanged or in some cases gassed en masse. Most Arab countries expelled their Jewish population, loyal or not, a long time ago. Non-Muslims cannot be citizens at all in Saudi Arabia, and they cannot even enter the city of Mecca. In Egypt, candidates sympathetic to the Muslim Brotherhood got about 20% of the vote in the last elections. The Muslim Brotherhood wants to establish a Caliphate throughout the world and make Islam the state religion everywhere. They are not considered an extremist party of course, not by any means.

There was a serious violation of democratic decorum during this Zionist provocation. A candidate of a right-wing party was barred from exercising his right to oversee elections in Um-el-Fahm, after Arab demonstrators created a violent mob scene.

These elections are a sinister Zionist propaganda coup to gain sympathy with the West - clearly planned by the Israel Lobby. Palestine Solidarity Movement, Jewish Voice for Peace and all the other right-thinking and progressive forces should urge President Obama, the EU and the UN to institute a Secular Arab Palestinian Democracy in occupied Palestine, similar to the flourishing democracies in Gaza, Syria, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Iran and Libya, and eliminate this blot on the almost perfect Human Rights Record of the Middle East. Perfectly awful, that is.

Ami Isseroff

Kadima en Likoed houden beide coalitiebesprekingen met Yisrael Beiteinu

Livni en Netanjahoe claimen beiden de overwinning, en zijn beiden al begonnen met coalitiebesprekingen. Dat betekent dat partijen als Shas en Yisrael Beiteinu Livni en Netanjahoe handig tegen elkaar uit kunnen spelen, en maximale concessies in de wacht kunnen slepen.

Last update - 00:08 12/02/2009
Election aftermath
Wooed by Kadima and Likud, Lieberman agrees to more talks with Livni
By Lily Galili, Haaretz Correspondent, Haaretz Service and Agencies

After an inconclusive general election Tuesday seemed likely to send Israel into political limbo, Kadima leader Tzipi Livni met with Yisrael Beiteinu head Avigdor Lieberman in Jerusalem on Wednesday in a bid to build a coalition.

Kadima won 28 of 120 Knesset seats in Tuesday's vote, putting it narrowly ahead of the rightist Likud, which garnered 27 seats. Both Livni and Likud chairman Benjamin Netanyahu claimed victory Tuesday night, each arguing the right to form and lead the next government. The two parties began intensive efforts Wednesday to form rival coalitions.
The far-right Yisrael Beiteinu came in third place, winning 15 seats with its anti-Arab, anti-religious platform, and securing the position of kingmaker in the formation of the next government. The once dominant Labor, led by Ehud Barak, came a dismal fourth with 13 seats.

Livni told Lieberman on Wednesday that the people had made their choice for the next prime minister, and it was her that they had chosen.

She said that now was the time for unity, and for the Yisrael Beiteinu leader to advance his agenda. The pair agreed to hold further talks.

Speaking before the meeting, Livni vowed to fight to become the next prime minister.

"The people chose me in droves. I feel a great responsibility to translate the power that has been given to me into action, to advance the country and to unify the people," said Livni from her Tel Aviv home.

Kadima's narrow lead makes it uncertain whether Livni will be able to put together the 61-seat bloc needed to form a government. Netanyahu has a better chance of forging a coalition because of gains by right-wing parties, his natural allies.

Early Wednesday, Lieberman said he was leaving his options open, indicating he could jump either way. Yisrael Beiteinu was to convene later Wednesday to discuss its coalition options.

The outgoing coalition chairman, Kadima MK Yoel Hasson, said Wednesday morning that a team would begin negotiations immediately in order to forge a Livni-led coalition.

Netanyahu, meanwhile, was also due to meet Wednesday afternoon with Lieberman, after talks with Shas leader Eli Yishai, whose ultra-Orthodox party received 11 seats.

Yishai on Wednesday morning told Army Radio that, "We committed ourselves before the election to recommend Benjamin Netanyahu to the president. The people's choice is a rightist government. This, of course, doesn't rule anything out."

The Shas leader was referring to President Shimon Peres legal obligation to consult with all the parties as to who they prefer as prime minister, after which whoever is recommended by more Knesset members is given the nod. Hence if the religious and rightist parties all recommend Netanyahu, he would get first crack at forming a government.

Peres will meet next week with party leaders to hear their recommendations, and around February 20 expects to assign the task, presidential spokeswoman Ayelet Frisch said.

Yisrael Beiteinu sources: We won't rule out joining coalition with Shas

Sources in Yisrael Beiteinu said Wednesday their party was not ruling out joining a coalition that included Shas. The announcement came despite Lieberman's pledge Tuesday that he would not forget Shas' attacks on his party and himself.

On Saturday night Shas spiritual leader Rabbi Ovadia Yosef said that, "Whoever votes for Lieberman gives strength to Satan."

Should the two rightist parties succeed in putting their antagonism behind them, Netanyahu would likely find coalition-building significantly easier.

"We aren't making an ultimatum," said a senior Yisrael Beiteinu official. "It also doesn't matter from our point of view that Bibi's first meeting is actually with Shas. Everything depends on the fundamentals."

Although most of the ballots were counted by Wednesday morning, the final results may not be known until Thursday afternoon, when election officials finish counting the soldiers' votes and other absentee ballots.

There are about 150,000 eligible absentee voters, so if the race remains close their votes could be decisive. In past elections, the soldiers' vote has often leaned rightward.

Palestijnen boycotten Israelische ziekenhuizen

Wat Israel doet is nooit goed. Palestijnse patienten opnemen, Arabische partijen aan de verkiezingen laten deelnemen of voor de Arabische bevolking een vrijwillig civiel jaar als alternatief voor de militaire dienstplicht die zij niet hoeven te volgen instellen - het is allemaal zionistische propaganda en slechts bedoeld om de Arabieren te bedonderen, te verzwakken, hen hun afkomst te doen verloochenen of wat al niet.
Dit is de duivelse zionistische filosofie van de oncologische afdeling van het Hadassah ziekenhuis:
"Twenty percent of our patients are Palestinians, and we have one common enemy: cancer. The rest is immaterial. The question now is how to get those patients back into our care."

Palestinians Dyring to Boycott Israel

New York Times, 10-02-2009
JERUSALEM — Scores of Palestinian patients being treated in Israeli hospitals, a rare bright spot of coexistence here, are being sent home because the Palestinian Authority has stopped paying for their treatment, partly in anger over the war in Gaza.
Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem says that for the past week, no payments have come in and Palestinians whose children it is treating have been instructed by Palestinian health officials to place them in facilities in the West Bank, Jordan or Egypt.
"Suddenly we have had 57 patients dropped from our rolls," said Dr. Michael Weintraub, director of pediatric hematology, oncology and bone marrow transplantation at Hadassah. "We have been bombarded by frantic parents. This is a political decision taken on the backs of patients."
The Palestinian health minister, Fathi Abu Moghli, said he was examining the entire referral procedure because he was tired of adding to what he called Israel's "oil well," meaning the payments for Palestinian patient care. In particular, he said, he had no desire to see the wounded from the Gaza war receive Israeli care.
"We already pay $7 million a month to Israeli hospitals," he said in a telephone interview. "Since the first day of the Gaza aggression, I said that I will not send to my occupier my injured people in order for him to make propaganda at my expense, and then pay him for it."
An Israeli clinic set up with great fanfare on the Israeli-Gaza border the day the war ended, Jan. 18, has already closed, since both Hamas, which governs Gaza, and the Palestinian Authority essentially boycotted it. The Palestinian Authority pays for much of its citizens' care in Israel from its budget.
Israel has long pointed to its medical care of Palestinians as an example of its advanced skills and humanitarianism. Palestinians generally are eager to gain the benefit, but are also resentful. As relations have chilled, each side has accused the other of political manipulation.
Dr. Abu Moghli said that with 24 hospitals in Gaza and the West Bank, there was no reason for so many Palestinian patients to go automatically to Israeli facilities, which he said were much more expensive and contributed to a culture of dependency.
"We can't pay our government salaries this month, but at the same time I have to pay Israeli hospitals so much," he said. "The Israelis have refused to reduce their costs."
Israeli doctors and nonprofit groups support having the Palestinians provide more care for their own people, but say that the gap with Israel in quality remains huge, and that the Palestinian Authority is making a mistake that could cost lives.
"Cutting it in one day makes no sense," said Ron Pundak, director general of the Peres Center for Peace, which sponsors care for 1,000 Palestinian children a year in Israeli hospitals and training for 40 Palestinian doctors. "Such a move needs to be coordinated, but dialogue with the Palestinian Authority has been much harder since the war."
Anan Dahmi, a salesman from the West Bank city of Tulkarm, said he had been told by the Palestinian Health Ministry last week that his 4-year-old son, Aous, had to stop going to Hadassah Hospital for follow-up treatments after a bone marrow transplant there a year ago, and should be taken instead to a Palestinian or Jordanian hospital.
Mr. Dahmi said that his 6-year-old daughter had died from the same disorder because he had not gotten her to Hadassah quickly enough, and that now he was deeply worried about his son.
"I don't know how I am going to manage," he said by telephone. "I don't want to lose my son the way I lost my daughter."
Hadassah officials say that removing Aous from their care could endanger his life, because his medical requirements are strict and specific and there is not yet a pediatric oncology facility in the Palestinian areas (one in East Jerusalem is due to start functioning, with Israeli help, in the coming year).
They add that while the cost of care is much higher in Israel than in the West Bank, Palestinians are not charged the higher rates for foreigners but those for Israelis — which are much lower than rates in the United States or Western Europe. In addition, they say, there are subsidies from foreign governments, charities and the hospital itself.
"The cure rate for childhood cancer is about 80 percent, but only in the first world," Dr. Weintraub, of Hadassah, said. "It costs between $50,000 and $100,000 here. It costs four times that in the U.S."
He added that the relationship between an Israeli hospital in Jerusalem and patients in the West Bank was like that between a hospital in El Paso and patients on the Mexican side of the border.
"People in the third world want first-world care just like we do," he said. "If they live in Malawi, they have no hope for it. But if they live 10 minutes from Hadassah, they will do everything they can to get admitted. And we are happy to take them. There are no politics in our wards. Twenty percent of our patients are Palestinians, and we have one common enemy: cancer. The rest is immaterial. The question now is how to get those patients back into our care."

Hoge bloedarmoede onder kinderen in Gaza is hoax

Onlangs kreeg ik een mail van een zogenaamde vredesorganisatie die vermeldde dat Gazaanse kinderen vanwege de Israelische blokkade lijden aan bloedarmoede. Ami Isseroff besloot de zaak te onderzoeken en kwam tot opzienbarende conclusies.

Childhood anemia in Gaza?

Anemia rates and high infant mortality among children in Gaza are cited by NGOs and UN agencies as evidence of a humanitarian crisis caused by the "Gaza siege." Examination of the actual data however shows that anemia rates have probably not changed much in Gaza and the West Bank since 1990, that childhood anemia is endemic among Palestinians outside of the occupied territories, and that higher anemia rates are found in other parts of the world. Infant mortality rates have declined slightly since 2000 and are less than infant mortality rates in Turkey, Syria and Egypt.

A UNICEF announcement of April 2008 which has been widely cited as evidence of the humanitarian crisis caused by the Israeli "siege," actually states that the situation is little changed since 2000. This suggests that there is no acute humanitarian crisis at all in Gaza as regards child health care and nutrition, relative to other parts of the world, and certainly no crisis caused by Israeli measures taken in recent years. Judging from these data, the Gaza "humanitarian crisis" appears to be a hoax. Health statistics have been deliberately and cynically manipulated for political purposes.

In 2002, widely quoted and quite alarming figures supposedly showed that about 19% of Gaza and West Bank children suffered from anemia, attributed to the malevolence of the cruel Zionists by diverse sources (for example see and By 2008, headlines were claiming anemia rates of 50% or more.

Enquete: 31% van Europeanen geeft Joden schuld van financiële crisis

Antisemitisme is diep verankerd in Europa, en komt steeds sterker naar boven. De militaire operaties van Israel, de financiële crisis, andere crises, het zijn allemaal aanleidingen voor het naar buiten komen van een dieper liggend sentiment dat nooit geheel afwezig is geweest. Dit is iets om ons niet alleen voor te schamen, maar ook actie op te ondernemen.

Last update - 05:49 11/02/2009
Poll: 31% of Europeans blame Jews for global financial crisis
By Natasha Mozgovaya, Haaretz Correspsondent, and Haaretz Service
A recent survey conducted by the Anti-Defamation League found that anti-Semitic attitudes in seven European countries have worsened due to the global financial crisis and Israel's military actions against the Palestinians.
Some 31 percent of adults polled blame Jews in the financial industry for the economic meltdown, while 58 percent of respondents admitted that their opinion of Jews has worsened due to their criticism of Israel.
The ADL, a Jewish-American organization polled 3,500 adults - 500 each in Austria, France, Hungary, Poland, Germany, Spain and the United Kingdom - between December 1, 2008 and January 13, 2009.
According to the survey, 40 percent of polled Europeans believe that Jews have an over-abundance of power in the business world. More than half of the respondents in Hungary, Spain and Poland agreed with this statement. These numbers were 7 percent higher in Hungary, 6 percent higher in Poland and 5 percent higher in France than those recorded in the ADL's 2007 survey.
Nearly half of the respondents in each of the countries said that Jews were more loyal to Israel than to their home country. Twenty-three percent said that their opinion of Jews was influenced by Israel's military and political activities.
Another 44 percent of respondents said it was "probably true" that Jews reference the Holocaust too much, while 23% said that they still blame Jews for the death of Jesus.
"This poll confirms that anti-Semitism remains alive and well in the minds of many Europeans," said Abe Foxman, the National Director of Anti-Defamation League. "In the wake of the global financial crisis, the strong belief of excessive Jewish influence on business and finance is especially worrisome."
Late last year, the ADL reported a major upsurge in the number of anti-Semitic postings on the Internet relating to the financial crisis engulfing the United States.
The Jewish-American organization cited hundreds of posts regarding the bankrupt investment bank Lehman Brothers and other institutions affected by the subprime mortgage crisis.
The messages railed against Jews in general, with some charging that Jews control the U.S. government and finance as part of a "Jew world order" and therefore are to blame for the economic turmoil.
The arrest of Wall Street financier Bernard Madoff, who allegedly swindled $50 billion from investors, prompted an outpouring of anti-Semitic comments on mainstream and extremist Web sites, according to the ADL.
The ADL said some of the posts on the highly trafficked sites spread conspiracy theories about Jews stealing money to benefit Israel and suggest that, "Only Jews could perpetrate a fraud on such a scale."
These and other anti-Jewish tropes about Jews and money have appeared on popular blogs devoted to finance, in comment sections of mainstream news outlets and in banter among users of Internet discussion groups, according to the ADL.
"Jews are always a convenient scapegoat in times of crisis, but the Madoff scandal and the fact that so many of the defrauded investors are Jewish has created a perfect storm for the anti-Semites," Foxman said last year, following news of the Internet hate messages.

woensdag 11 februari 2009

Pas volgende week wijst Peres formateur aan

De vraag wie de nieuwe premier van Israel wordt zal pas volgende week definitief worden beantwoord, en dat hoeft niet per definitie de grootste partij te zijn.

Peres awaits IDF votes, to meet factions only next week
Formal results available only Thursday, after count of soldiers' votes. President to decide only next week who will bear responsibility of forming coalition
Attila Somfalvi - YNET
Although exit poll results are in, President Shimon Peres will only meet with Knesset factions at the beginning of next week in order to determine which party head will lead the formation of a new government coalition.

The full count of votes - including those of foreign representatives and soldiers - is expected to be completed no earlier than Thursday afternoon. As such, Peres announced that discussions as to who should lead coalition-building would only begin next week.

According to Israeli law, the creation of a coalition government is granted to the head of the faction who has the greatest chance of forming a coalition - in other words, the one with the greatest chance of securing positive support from other factions.

Given this fact, it is unclear from exit polls which party leader should be given this task. While Kadima Chairwoman Tzipi Livni appears to have won the elections (securing 28 to 30 mandates, according to various polls,) Likud Chairman Benjamin Netanyahu lags behind by only two mandates.

More importantly, the exit polls show that right-wing parties will secure over 61 mandates - thus easily allowing for the potential creation of a right-wing coalition.

Moreover, Livni has a troubled history with coalition construction. In October, after winning the Kadima primaries held pursuant to Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's resignation, Livni tried and failed to set up a coalition government, leading to the call for early elections.

Bradley Burston over Israelische verkiezingen: roterend premierschap?

Roterend premierschap is in het verleden geen groot succes gebleken. Het is echter de vraag hoe makkelijk Livni of Netanjahoe onder de ander als premier zullen kunnen dienen.
Will Livni, Netanyahu settle for rotation, sharing premiership?
By Bradley Burston
Israel Elections


Will Livni, Netanyahu settle for rotation, sharing premiership?- 2 A.M.

Three hours after the polls closed Tuesday night, the campaign for prime minister abruptly began in earnest, with Benjamin Netanyahu and Tzipi Livni squaring off in a battle for the right to form the next government, and perhaps, an agreement to sharen the premiership in a rotation agreement.

First out of the gate was Benjamin Netanyahu [see following post]. Then Livni took the stage before a gathering of Kadima activists and candidates, declaring that her party had won the trust of the people, and would seek to head a unity government.

Netanyahu was clearly the object of her address, which could also be seen as an indirect plea for a rotation agreement, in which the Likud chief could serve for an initial period of perhaps a year or longer, with Livni then taking over.

Click here for exclusive Haaretz coverage of the elections in Israel

Saying that there had been a resurgence of division into camps, with a particular emphasis on the "national camp" of the right, she said "The Land of Israel does not belong to the right, just as peace does not belong to the left."

Livni said the people of Israel had made their determination and that they had chosen Kadima. "And now all that is left is to honor the people of Israel and to join a unity government headed by us, with parties to the right of kadima and to the left of Kadima."

Netanyahu finally launches PM bid in earnest - 3 hours after polls close. 1:00 A.M. Wednesday

Benjamin Netanyahu, a taut smile welcoming cheers hailing him as Israel's next leader, gave no ground. "With the help of the Almighty, I will stand at the head of the next government," Netanyahu told a crowd of Likud party activists at the Tel Aviv fairgrounds, the raucous home field of the center-right party.

Netanyahu, who had remained oddly quiet throught the campaign, vowed to begin Wednesday morning to put together a coalition that was both broad and stable, a hint at an attempt to court a hesitant Kadima and Labor into a coalition that might well be anchored by a large number of rightist factions.

A measure of the difficulty Netanyahu may face came early on, as he lauded the high voter turnout of a wide range of Israelis. At his mention of the left, the crowd booed loudly.

The Likud chief turned aside the predictions that Kadima rival [and onetime Likud colleague] Tzipi Livni had beaten him in the race for the largest number of Knesset seats.

"The people in Israel have spoken in a clear manner," he declared. "The camp of the right, with the Likud at its head, has scored a clear victory," and will enjoy a certain majority in the Knesset, he said,

In an oblique nod to Barack Obama, he concluded "The people want change."

"Our way has triumphed. Our way will lead the people."

A blow to Netanyahu, but right holds out hope for ruling bloc. 10:02

The exit poll predictions showing Tzipi Livni scoring an upset come-from-behind victory in Tuesday's election, represent a considerable blow to Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu, the campaign-long frontrunner.

Nonetheless, the right is holding out hope that its strength as a bloc will grant it first chance at forming a ruling coalition, to take office in about a month.

The predicted results, if they stand up in the actual vote count and in the later tallies of soldiers' votes, would be a stunning mirror-echo of Netanyahu's triumphant 1996 run for the premiership, in which he overcame a 20 percentage point deficit in opinion polls to edge incumbent Shimon Peres.

It will fall to Peres, as president, to make the decision on whether to ask Livni or Netanyahu to try to form the government. Netanyahu's task would likely be numerically easier, as he could rely on right-leaning parties for 63-64 Knesset votes, clearing the 61 needed for approval.

But initial indications showed that Livni could field a broad coalition anchored by Kadima's 29-30 seats, the Likud's 27, and the 13 expected to be held by the center-left Labor. The coalition, which could stand with or without the votes of Avigdor Lieberman's Yisrael Beiteinu, could also reach out to a number of other parties, including the ultra-Orthodox Shas and United Torah Judaism.

The Israeli electorate appeared to indicate a leaning toward centrism, granting unexpected support to both Kadima and the center-right Likud. The high-profile momentum of Lieberman's Yisrael Beiteinu and its campaign of strident confrontation with Arab parties seems to have flagged somewhat at the finish. Lieberman had hoped to gain as many as 21 seats, but the predictions granted him 15.

Both the radical Arab Balad faction and the ultra-rightist National Union had relatively poor showings. Balad may not have enough votes to enter the Knesset at all, and the National Union may have only three seats.

Overall, the left, while not surprised by the results, seemed nonetheless stunned by its poor performance. Despite substantial public approval of Labor leader and Defense Minister Ehud Barak's handling of the recent war in Gaza, his party, once the unchallenged dominant force in Israeli politics, gained only 13 seats, by far an all-time low.

The leftist Meretz sank to just four seats, and is likely to undergo a major overhaul in the wake of the election. Environmental parties, which had splintered the green vote, were unable to win any seats.

Offsetting the 15 seats gained by Lieberman - and owing much to Lieberman's campaign against them - were the resurgent Arab parties, which had worried that their constituents would stay home in a protest vote over the war. Instead, they came out in substantial numbers, netting Arab parties from seven to as many as 10 seats.

Israel awaits its verdict: Extremism v. Centrism 8:40 P.M.
This election was supposed to be about leadership and good government, then it was supposed to be about the economy. After that it was supposed to be about Iran, then it was supposed to be about the war.

As it turned out, it's an election about extremism, Arab and Jewish. It is a referendum about Israel's future, and, no less, its troubled present.

Israelis by the millions are waiting tonight to hear their own verdict about themselves. In a battle between extremism and centrism, they are waiting to learn how polarized they are, how vexed, how disillusioned, how alienated, how furious.

The election may not change Israel's history, but it may change the ways Israelis see themselves.

The markers will be clear:

- How many Knesset seats go to Avigdor Lieberman's Yisrael Beiteinu party, with its thinly veiled message of racism and xenophobia.

- How many seats go to Balad, by far the most radical of the Arab parties.

Its founding leader, Azmi Bishara, is in exile abroad. Israeli police confirmed in 2007 that he is suspected treason and espionage, for allegedly having aided Hezbollah in its rocket attacks on Israel during the Second Lebanon War in July and August 2006.

- How many seats go to the National Union, in some ways the opposite number of Balad on the Israeli political spectrum. The National Union openly embraces disciples of the slain rightist radical Rabbi Meir Kahane.

The number three candidate on the National Union list, Michael Ben-Ari, was quoted recently as calling himself a Kahane disciple, declaring that Israeli Arabs should be expelled to places like Venezuela and Turkey. Ben-Ari was also quoted as saying that IDF soldiers were obligated to refuse orders to evacuate settlements.

- To what extent the public presses for a broad centrist coalition, incorporating as many moderate MKs as possible, rather than a bloc of the right.

Kadima aan kop met meer dan 90% stemmen geteld

De Haaretz website bevat tevens een interactief overzicht van de getelde stemmen dat steeds ge-update wordt.
Tegen de voorspellingen en de peilingen in, heeft Kadima waarschijnlijk de meeste zetels gehaald, maar morgen worden de stemmen van de soldaten pas geteld en dit kan de uitslag nog veranderen. Het lukte Livni eerder niet om een coalitie te vormen, en met de nieuwe rechtsere zetelverdeling zal dat niet perse gemakkelijker zijn. De Arbeidspartij kiest met zijn zware verlies waarschijnlijk voor de oppositie, waarmee Livni dus twee rechtse partijen, waarschijnlijk Likoed en Shas of Yisrael Beiteinu in een coalitie zal moeten opnemen.
Last update - 04:16 11/02/2009
With over 90 percent of votes counted, Kadima leads Likud 28 to 27 seats
By Haaretz Service
With 88 percent of the votes counted, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni's Kadima Party is in first place with 28 of the Knesset's 120 seats, with Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud Party following closely behind with 27 seats.

As the vote progresses, Labor stands at 13 seats, while Avigdor Lieberman's Yisrael Beitenu party is expected to garner 15 seats. 

Exit polls by Israel's three main television stations on Tuesday night came to the same conclusion with Kadima as the leader and Likud coming a narrow second.

Channel 1, Channel 2 and Channel 10 polling of voters as they left the ballot box all pointed to victory for Kadima, headed by Tzipi Livni.

Despite the poll results, it is not certain that Livni will be able to muster the 61-seat coalition needed to form a government. The elections were called when she failed to achieve this goal following the resignation of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert late last year.

If the exit polls are correct, the right-wing bloc, led by Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu, will comprise 63-64 seats, while the center-left bloc, headed by Livni, will take 56-57 seats. This means that a win in the polls does not necessarily mean that the next government will have a center-left bent. 

The Channel 1 poll gave Kadima 30 seats, Likud 28 seats, and Labor 13 seats. Yisrael Beiteinu is predicted to win 14 seats, according to the poll.

According to the Channel 2 poll, Kadima will hold 29 seats, Likud will take 27 seats and Labor 13 seats. Yisrael Beiteinu will have 15 seats in the new Knesset.

The Channel 10 poll indicated that Likud will take 28 seats, Kadima will hold 30 seats and Labor 13 seats. Yisrael Beiteinu will have 15 seats.