zaterdag 27 juni 2009

Mizrahi Joden als vergeten vluchtelingen

Israel Bonan is een Amerikaanse Jood van Egyptische afkomst, die ik heb leren kennen als een bedachtzame en intelligente man. In onderstaand opiniestuk reageert hij op een andere Sefardische (Mizrahi) Jood, over de kwestie van de verdrijving van Joden uit de Arabische wereld die vooral na de oprichting van Israël hun land verlieten. Anders dan de Palestijnse vluchtelingen willen velen van hen zich niet als slachtoffer definiëren en wijzen het etiket 'vluchteling' af. Dat maakt het makkelijker voor antizionisten en andere Arabische apologeten om te beweren dat zij ofwel vrijwillig vertrokken ofwel direct of indirect door Israëls toedoen werden verjaagd uit wat voorheen een paradijs van vreedzame en harmonieuze co-existentie zou zijn geweest.
Please post comments at the Web Log:

I would like to respond to "Why Jews left Arab Lands" a Progressive Sephardic view by David Shasha.

Allow me to briefly introduce myself. My name is Israel Bonan, I am a Mizrahi Jew. I was born in Cairo, Egypt in the mid 1940s. I was expelled from Egypt in 1967, and left with a torn shirt on my back, and a pair of mangled glasses, broken intentionally, on my face, and with very little else.

I am considered by any descriptive measure, a bona fide "refugee", a designation echoed by the United Nation High Commissioner of Refugees UNHCR, on behalf of the more than 800,000 displaced Mizrahi Jews fleeing the Arab countries (expressed twice, in 1957 and subsequently in 1967). I currently reside in the Boston area in the US.

I have been familiar with Mr. Shasha's views for quite sometimes now, and I find it disquieting that his positions, which run contrary to the factual history of the era and the conventional wisdom of the Mizrahi community, or as he prefers to call us "the Arab Jews", are taken as representative, when they are not.

It never ceases to amaze me, that Mr. Shasha who likes to refer to himself as an Arab Jew, though born in the US, has such a meager understanding, of the history of the era and about what constitutes a refugee or to dwell with any depth about their lot. Be that as it may.

I find that Mr. Shasha's logic and the common thread in his writings, have always consisted of three major assertions; making his discourse monotonously predictable and invariably repetitive.

One, life was always rosy for the Jews living in Arab lands and Israel's creation, as a cataclysmic watershed event, is the only cause for disrupting such an idyllic life.

Two, Israel as a product of an Ashkenazi culture, that is European by nature, has always suppressed, repressed and maligned the Mizrahi community and treated them as second class citizens; though they do represent, according to Shasha, the most effective group to undertake any peace initiative and dialog with the Arabs, having shared their culture, albeit without the author postulating any specific ideas as to the who, the why, the what, the when or for that matter, the how.

Finally, and he shares that notion with his counterpart (and much quoted resource in his writings) Professor Yehuda Shenhav; that it is unconscionable nay, immoral, to compare the plight of the Mizrahi Jews with that of the Palestinian Refugees.

Once again in the cited article, he did not disappoint, neither did he deviate from his usual template, but merely continued his revisionist approach to the Mizrahi historical narrative.

Extremism by its very nature does not allow for a tempered view of events or for cogent reflective analysis. The end result is always black or white; so regardless of how carefully and temperately Mr. Shasha seems to preface his views, the end result is always the same … black or white, all or nothing.

It is strange to note that in Mr. Shasha's attempt at historical fairness and balance, he used the following 26 words, in an article of more than 3300 words: :

Some arrived of their own free will; others arrived against their will. Some lived comfortably and securely in Arab lands; others suffered from fear and oppression.

That was the extent of defining what really happened to the Mizrahi Jews in an article titled: "Why the Jews left Arab lands," and you know what, Mr. Shasha is right!! Now if we can only take those 26 words and flesh them out a bit more with the historical facts of the matter, we get a totally different unfolding narrative that is not steeped in demonizing a country or a refugee class, or in cataclysmically defining some watershed events while glossing over others.

I took pains to chronicle my own personal Exodus ordeal, in "A Personal Exodus Story" after more than 35 years of silence. Shasha wrote:

It is curious that in a world that has largely ignored the voices of Arab Jews, the few we hear are filled with anger, resentment and hostility toward Arabs.

I invite Mr. Shasha to read it and to tell me, how much hate he can attribute to me vis-à-vis my Egyptian tormentors or Arabs in general, after reading it. By my accounting, none; yet I will let him be the judge. It is not hate, nor rancor or anger that motivates us to speak out as the "Forgotten Refugees". It is done out of fairness not retribution, it is about justice after having our human rights trampled upon and above all to record our own history that should not be denied us.

In a co-authored article with Dr. Rami Mangoubi titled: "Zionism for the ages", we rebutted the first two of Shasha's stated positions and in my article titled: "The Banana Jews" I took Professor Shenhav to task in rebuttal to his article "Hitching a ride on the magic carpet" about the third topic you both share.

In a nutshell, and again I happen to agree with Mr. Shasha, the Jews of Egypt participated fully and in greater proportion to their numbers in all aspects of life in Egypt; they more than made their mark on the cultural and economic landscape of the country. Where we disagreed with David Shasha, is that he chose the watershed event of the creation of the State of Israel as the turning point without which life in Egypt (and ergo the rest of the Arab countries) would have remained idyllic.

Idyllic indeed, when law after law (as far back as 1869), before even Zionism was spoken of, was enacted to limit access to citizenship for the Jews of Egypt in the country of our birth, through successive Nationality decrees and laws (of 1929).

>> Continued here: The Mizrahi Jews: The Forgotten Refugees

Original content is Copyright by the author 2009. Posted at ZioNation-Zionism and Israel Web Log, where your intelligent and constructive comments are welcome. Disributed by ZNN list. Subscribe by sending a message to Please forward by e-mail with this notice, cite this article and link to it. Other uses by permission only.


In 'terreurcompetitie' met Hamas pocht Fatah over lynchen Israelische soldaten in 2000

Het is, zoals vaker gezegd, een wonder dat dergelijke opruiing en verheerlijking van geweld tegen Israel niet leidt tot meer (pogingen tot) aanslagen. Het is ook zeer verwonderlijk dat er zo weinig kritiek uit westerse kringen te horen is op deze praktijken. Waarom wordt dit niet in harde bewoordingen veroordeeld, net zoals Israelisch geweld en nederzettingen? Bevorderlijk voor vrede is het allerminst. Pas wanneer beide kanten de ander als mensen van vlees en bloed gaan zien, met legitieme grieven en aspiraties en een band met het land, heeft vrede een kans. Maar terwijl Lieberman hard wordt aangevallen op zijn anti-Arabische uitspraken, blijft het stil wat betreft deze opruiing aan Palestijnse kant.
June 25, 2009
Palestinian Media Watch
Fatah boasts about lynch murder
of two Israeli soldiers in 2000

by Itamar Marcus and Barbara Crook 


As PMW reported earlier this week, PA (Fatah) TV marked the second anniversary of the Hamas takeover of Gaza by broadcasting a public Fatah event that focuses on vilifying Hamas. One part of this performance features a graphic video of Hamas members brutally beating a Fatah member in Gaza.

Another part criticizes and mocks Hamas for the decrease in its terror operations against Israel, glorifies Fatah terror, and ends with Fatah boasting that they "arrested two soldiers in Ramallah," a reference to the October 2000 lynching of two Israeli reservists.
In this scene actors portray a Hamas teacher and student supporters of Fatah and Hamas, debating which movement is greater. Significantly, the competition between Fatah and Hamas supporters is based not on who has built more Palestinian infrastructures, nor on who has promoted peace, but rather on who can take credit for more terror.
The debate ends when a Fatah student trumps Hamas's boast of having kidnapped Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit by mentioning the "arrest of two Israeli soldiers in Ramallah" by the PA-Fatah. This alludes to the lynching and gruesome murder of two Israeli reservist soldiers who accidentally entered the Palestinian Authority-controlled city in October 2000. While the picture of a Palestinian celebrating the killing by waving his bloody hands to the mob horrified the world, the murder remains a source of pride for Fatah.
[Note: Seated in the front row at the event are Fatah leaders, including Muhammad Dahlan, former head of PA security; Kadura Faras, head of the PA Prisoners' Association; Nasser Al-Qidwa, former PA Minister of Foreign Affairs;  Samir Al-Mashharawi, senior Fatah official; and others.]
Click here to view the "terror competition" between Fatah and Hamas  

The following is a transcript of the act:

Fatah student taunts Hamas:  "Since Hamas seized power, we haven't heard of any Martyrdom operation [suicide-bombing]."
Hamas teacher:  "It's called 'fighter's rest'."
Fatah student:    "A Hamas fighter needs rest, but a Fatah fighter doesn't need rest?!"
Hamas teacher:   "Every fighter has the right to rest."
Fatah student:      "Why is it that when Fatah stops fighting, you [Hamas] say they're cowards, but when Hamas stops fighting, you say it's 'fighters' rest'?"
Hamas teacher: "I don't know much about resistance [terror] and fighters..."
Fatah student:   "The first shot was fired by the PLO; the first Jihad was carried out by the PLO [audience applauds], with all the other factions - but Hamas always opposed.
Hamas student:   "What do you say about Hamas having kidnapped the [Israeli] soldier Shalit [still held hostage - Ed.]?"
Hamas teacher: "Ahaaa!"
Student: "By Allah, it's good."
Hamas student: "Did Fatah ever capture a soldier?!"
Fatah student: "It was the [other] brigades who captured him [Shalit] and sold him to you [Hamas]. It's a deal that you [Hamas] made for your own benefit, not for the [Palestinian] people's benefit.   [Applause]
Fatah student:    Remember, in Ramallah the [PA-Fatah] police arrested two soldiers - have you forgotten, teacher?!" [A reference to the lynching in Ramallah in October 2000- Ed.]

[PATV June 17, 2009]


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PMW | King George 59 | Jerusalem | Israel

vrijdag 26 juni 2009

Zogenaamde vrienden van Israel

The best pro-Palestinian propaganda has been supplied by over-zealous and injudicious Israel advocates. Articles and blogs that are disrespectful and racist, insist that Barack Obama's policy is "silly" or worse, that he is a Muslim practicing Taqiyya and as bad as Ahmadinejad, posters of Obama with a Kaffiyeh, calls to assassinate Mahmoud Abbas. All these serve the enemies of Israel well and are amplified and rebroadcast many times by all the usual culprits.
Aldus Ami Isseroff in onderstaande blog. Ook ik erger me geregeld aan de soms extreme stellingnames in artikelen van mensen die zich als sympathisanten van Israel opwerpen. Men omarmt Wilders, noemt ieder gematigd geluid 'appeasement', en waarschuwt continu voor het gevaar van de islam. Wat heeft dat met Israel en het zionisme te maken? Deze mensen leveren de beste munitie aan de vijanden van Israel. Zij helpen hen om zionisme gelijk te stellen aan racisme, agressie en expansionisme.

Israelis and supporters of Israel are angry over Barack Obama's treatment of Israel. A poll shows that only 6% of Jewish Israelis think that Obama is pro-Israel, about 50% think he is pro-Palestinian, and 36% think he is neutral.

Despite Obama's talk about the "unbreakable bond" between Israel and the United States, it appears to Israelis that he and his administration are going out of their way to snub Israel and to isolate Israel as an "obstacle to peace." Obama did not stop in Israel on his recent trip to the Middle East. Obama administration policies seem to exert pressure unilaterally on Israel. The administration offers no solution to the problem of Hamas domination in Gaza other than encouraging Palestinian unity and pressuring Israel to reward Hamas by opening Gaza to importation of cement and other materials that will allow them to rebuild their underground bunkers. Obama did not ask Palestinians to give up their demands for right of return, nor did he confront their refusal to recognize the right of the Jewish people to self determination. Obama did not even try to bring off the symbolic gesture of getting Red Cross visitation rights for kidnapped soldier Gilead Schalit, let alone getting him freed.

All the pressure is on Israel, and it is exerted in often ugly and in-your-face ways by administration officials, especially the supposedly pro-Israel Hillary Clinton. If Barack Obama is trying to project an image of "even handedness" in order to win over Muslim and Arab opinion, he certainly succeeded in Israel. Whether or not he succeeded in the Arab and Muslim worlds remains to be seen. Is it likely Muslims will forgive American bombing of civilians in Afghanistan if Israel implements a settlement freeze, or that al-Qaeda will approve of democracy, gay marriage, teaching of evolution and Bikinis if Israel gives up Jerusalem?

The Israeli government has done its best to minimize the rift, because it understands the full and ominous implications of a break with the United States. The rift is exaggerated by media that are not too sympathetic to Israel and always eager to report a fight. It is exploited by anti-Zionists. But those who are contributing most to the problem, needlessly, are certain self-appointed Israel advocates. Israelis and their Zionist supporters abroad are angry. But being angry does not justify losing your cool, being rude, or stooping to racist ad hominem attacks. That sort of performance should be left to people like Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Hassan Nasrallah.

Palestinians and their supporters have always been anxious to drive a wedge between Israel and the United States, and they are exploiting the current rift in an effort to break the "unbreakable" bond. It is working. About 49% of American voters call themselves pro-Israel, down from 69% last September, according to a poll. A lot of this lost of popularity is regrettably due to supporters of Israel who have lost their cool, and to advocacy or 'Hasbara,' that hurts.

The best pro-Palestinian propaganda has been supplied by over-zealous and injudicious Israel advocates. Articles and blogs that are disrespectful and racist, insist that Barack Obama's policy is "silly" or worse, that he is a Muslim practicing Taqiyya and as bad as Ahmadinejad, posters of Obama with a Kaffiyeh, calls to assassinate Mahmoud Abbas. All these serve the enemies of Israel well and are amplified and rebroadcast many times by all the usual culprits. What possible purpose could be served by all this vile, vicious, hysterical, baseless racist ranting? Will that convince America or the world that Israelis and Zionists are reasonable and peaceful people, friends of America? The piece de resistance was created by anti-Zionist Jews who filmed drunken, ignorant, American Jewish students in a Jerusalem bar, cussing out Obama and Arabs, insisting that Obama is ineligible to be president. The "expert" who offered this opinion did not know who Benjamin Netanyahu is.

Original content is Copyright by the author 2009. Posted at ZioNation-Zionism and Israel Web Log, where your intelligent and constructive comments are welcome. Disributed by ZNN list. Subscribe by sending a message to Please forward by e-mail with this notice, cite this article and link to it. Other uses by permission only.


Nog maar 10 bemande checkpoints binnen Westoever

Dit artikel toont aan dat veel van wat over de Westoever wordt geschreven simpelweg onzin is. Uit onderdachte bron - Haaretz- wordt gemeld dat er slechts 10 bemande checkpoints over zijn op de Westoever, en de controles daar nauwelijks nog vertraging voor de Palestijnen opleveren. Juist onder de veel verguisde regering Netanjahoe zijn de checkpoints in versneld tempo verwijderd, om zo het dagelijkse leven van de Palestijnen te verbeteren. Natuurlijk speelt druk van de VS hierin een rol, maar ook de verbeterde veiligheidssituatie waardoor minder strikte controles nodig zijn. Tot nu toe vertaalt de onvrede van de Palestijnen met bijvoorbeeld de speech van Natanjahoe - waarbij nota bene PA onderhandelaar Erekat met een derde intifada dreigde - zich niet in meer (pogingen tot) aanslagen. De opruiende retoriek in door de PA gecontroleerde media en tijdens vrijdag gebeden heeft evenmin tot een hernieuwde geweldsgolf geleid. De PA speelt wat dat betreft echter wel met vuur, want een flinke 'gelukte' aanslag en de checkpoints zijn er weer.


Last update - 22:44 24/06/2009
Israel removes dozens of West Bank roadblocks
By Amos Harel and Avi Issacharoff

Recent weeks have seen a dramatic change in Israel's roadblock policy in the West Bank. Right under the nose of the right-wing government of Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israel Defense Forces has lifted some of the main, permanent roadblocks in the West Bank, which have played a central role in restricting the movement of Palestinians, mostly between the main Palestinian cities.

The decision of the defense establishment to ease Palestinian travel very much reflects the steps the Palestinian Authority security forces have taken against the Hamas and Islamic Jihad terrorist infrastructure in the West Bank. American pressure and demands the Palestinians be allowed to move freely in areas where there is no security risk are also a factor.

Currently, there are only 10 manned roadblocks within the West Bank (excluding those linking the territories with Israel), and searches are not carried out at every one of them. A year and a half ago, there were 35 manned roadblocks in operation.

Moreover, the defense establishment has allowed several hundred Palestinian businessmen, holders of BMC (Businessman Card) permits, free access to Israel. However, the UN's Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs says its data shows there are 630 different obstacles and roadblocks in place throughout the West Bank.

A week ago the DCO roadblock (set up by the Civil Administration) was removed from the way heading into Jericho from the south. This gives the city's residents free access to all parts of the West Bank. The lifting of the roadblock to Jericho also allows access to the city to Israelis who might want to visit the casino there.

Twenty days ago the DCO roadblock to the eastern entrance to Qalqiliyah was removed, and the Einav roadblock east of Tul Karm was also lifted. In its place there are soldiers but they do not check Palestinian vehicles but only cars with Israeli license plates to prevent Israeli citizens from entering Palestinian towns.

At the roadblock of Shavei Shomron, on the exit from Jenin to Nablus, checks on Palestinian vehicles are no longer being carried out.

In essence, Palestinians from the main cities can now travel in the northern West Bank without any security checks.

The roadblocks surrounding Nablus, a city that had been under complete siege, have now all been lifted. Several months ago the roadblocks to the west and east of the city were dismantled, and two weeks ago the northern and southern roadblocks were also lifted.

Soldiers where the Nablus roadblocks stood prevent cars with Israelis from entering the city during the week, but Israeli Arabs are allowed into the city on Friday and Saturday.

The soldiers are also under orders to carry our random checks of Palestinian vehicles.

On a trip to Ramallah, Palestinians will be checked at the Za'atra roadblock, which is south of Hawara, but Palestinian eyewitnesses said there are no delays. This is the only roadblock in the northern West Bank where checks of Palestinian vehicles are still being carried out. On average, a trip between Ramallah to Jenin takes 90 minutes, while several months ago it took hours.

Last week the Aatra (Bir Zeit) roadblock north of Ramallah was lifted. Between Ramallah and the southern West Bank, Hebron and Bethlehem, the Jaba roadblock is still in operation at the Adam-La Ram junction. Palestinians told Haaretz there are still random checks on cars, but Israeli security sources said only Israeli vehicles are subjected to checks to avoid accidental entry of Israeli citizens into unauthorized Palestinian areas.

Haaretz was told "the matter will be taken care of" by security sources.

The Wadi Nar roadblock, located northeast of Bethlehem, remains manned, and random checks of vehicles are carried out. Residents of Hebron, in the southern West Bank, wishing to travel north to Jenin, will be stopped at two roadblocks for random checks, and the delays are not long.

The decision to lift the roadblocks was made by the commander of the Judean and Samaria Division, Brigadier General Noam Tivon, along with Brigadier General Yoav Mordechai, commander of the Civial Administration. Mordechai and Tivon will meet with their Palestinian counterparts today at the PA's headquarters in Bethlehem.

The dismantling of the roadblocks may have begun under while Ehud Olmert was prime minister, but the pace was significantly slower than it is today. The World Bank, the international community and the Americans demanded that Israel take substantive action to improve the lot of the Palestinians in the West Bank.

The World Bank stressed in each of its recent reports that only a substantive change in the roadblock situation and easing of restrictions on movement between Palestinian cities would enable economic growth in the PA.

The lifting of the roadblocks is being done with the authorization of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Ehud Barak, the Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi and with the blessing of the Shin Bet.

On a number of occasions Netanyahu has said that he is in a position to take action to improve the day-to-day life of Palestinians in the West Bank in a way that would significantly better the economic conditions in the area.

Both Netanyahu and Barak believe that ultimately they will have no choice but to evacuate the outposts in line with American demands. While that evacuation will be met by reaction from the right wing, lifting roadblocks does not bear a significant domestic political price if there are no terrorist attacks as a result of the easing of restrictions.

Moreover, the good relations between Netanyahu and Barak has enabled the prime minister to rally the defense minister in support of removing roadblocks, while the bad blood between Olmert and Barak blocked progress on the issue.

The latest easing of travel for the Palestinians allows Israel to claim it is meeting its promises to lift restrictions and is contributing to the bettering of the Palestinian economy.

An Israeli security source told Haaretz that "the improved security situation in the West Bank permitted the lifting of the roadblocks. "When there is law and order, [and] there are no armed [Palestinians] in the streets and efforts are made to prevent terrorism, then there is no need for roadblocks," said the source.

Fatah en Hamas arresteren over en weer elkaars leden

Fatah en Hamas arresteren nog steeds over en weer elkaars leden, waarbij moeilijk uit te maken is of het om reële wetsovertredingen gaat of om elkaar dwars te zitten. Die vraag heeft ook iets academisch: als Hamas de persvrijheid in Gaza beknot is een krantenredactie al snel in overtreding, en voor Israel en veel Westerse landen die de PA steunen en waarmee ze samenwerkt is Hamas een verboden terroristische organisatie; de PA zou terrorisme bestrijden, en als Hamaslid ben je daaraan al snel op de één of andere manier medeplichtig.

Factional arrests dim unity prospects
Date: 24 / 06 / 2009  Time:  14:25

Nablus - Ma'an - Prospects for unity dimmed further Wednesday as PA forces detained the Hamas-affiliated deputy mayor of Nablus and 40 more party affiliates during raids in the West Bank, while de facto government forces shut down another newspaper in the Gaza Strip and detained its chief editor.

The factional arrests follow the announcement of Hamas members that they would not longer participate in the committee charged by Egypt to sort out conciliation matters including that of politically motivated arrests.

Eyewitnesses in Nablus said several officers with the Palestinian Authority (PA)'s general Palestinian intelligence forces stormed the municipal council offices and detained Deputy Mayor of Nablus Dr Hafith Shahin. Local sources said he was transferred to the Juneid detention center in Nablus, though security officials refused to confirm or deny the story, or comment on the arrest in any way.

Shahin, along with his son, was detained on 28 July 2008 by Palestinian Authority (PA) forces, and was held for two days.

The Hamas movement in the West Bank released a statement Wednesday accusing PA forces of detaining more than 100 members of the movement over the past 24-hours, while simultaneously denying that Hamas security forces detain people for political reasons.

Hamas published 40 names of the movements supporters allegedly detained by the PA security services overnight Tuesday, adding them to a list of 64 released Tuesday afternoon.

The frenzy of arrests came two days after the PA announced it would start releasing jailed Hamas supporters excluding those who represent a threat to public security. On Friday the PA released 20 Hamas members in the West Bank, which Hamas called "meaningless."

De facto government arrests

Tuesday night de facto government forces shut down the offices of the As-Subeh (The Morning) newspaper and detained its Chief Editor Sari Al-Qudweh in an evening raid.

The Palestinian journalists' union condemned the detention in a Wednesday statement saying the home and office of Al-Qudweh were raided, and his papers and computer confiscated before the editor was detained.

The union called on all media and rights institutions to intervene and demand the immediate release of Al-Qudweh.

Journalists should not be the target of political conflicts, the union's statement said, and reminded the governments in the West Bank and Gaza that Al-Qudweh is not the only journalist who has been targeted in recent months.

While calling for the release of Al-Qudweh and the re-opening of As-Subeh in Gaza, the union also called on caretaker government officials in Ramallah to make sure the local newspapers "Palestine" and "Ar-Risala" (The letter) were also permitted to start circulating their publications in the West Bank.

Gaza detainees imprisoned for "criminal reasons"

A delegation from the international Red Cross visited on Wednesday detainees held by the de facto government's Internal Security forces in the Gaza Strip. Following the visit, Hamas declared that all detainees in the Strip were held for criminal charges, and no one was held for political affiliation.

The issue of politically-motivated arrests is a major point of contention between Hamas and Fatah, which dominates the PA in the West Bank. The arrests could threaten talks [about] a Hamas-Fatah unity deal, which are scheduled to resume ahead of a 7 July deadline set by the mediating party, Egypt.

***Updated 15:26 Bethlehem time

donderdag 25 juni 2009

MO deskundigen over de oproer in Iran

With the wounds of Israel's war on Gaza still open, many Arabs are particularly stunned that the indifference with which Palestinians deaths were received has turned into an international solidarity campaign for Iranians throwing rocks at their oppressors and shouting "we have become Palestine."
Het is natuurlijk juist heel opvallend dat in tegenstelling tot Israelisch geweld, het Iraanse geweld tegen de eigen bevolking zo weinig emoties en woede onder Arabieren en moslims lijkt op te roepen. Dat Arabische regimes niet happig zijn op onrust, en daarom een afwachtende houding aannemen tegenover de situatie in Iran is begrijpelijk, maar waarom gaan Arabieren niet de straat op uit solidariteit met hun islamitische broeders in Iran? De Iraanse bevolking is helaas niet 'Palestina' geworden; was dat het geval, dan konden zij op de steun van de Arabische massa's wereldwijd rekenen.

June 23, 2009, 3:22 pm

The Arab World Reacts (or Doesn't)
President Obama on Tuesday denounced the Iranian government's crackdown on protesters, saying that the rest of the world is "appalled and outraged." That view is shared by many in the Middle East, though reaction throughout the region is varied, ranging from silence from Hezbollah and the Palestinians to frustration that the United States has not been more vocal in its support of the Iranian protesters.

We asked some Middle East experts for their thoughts on the regional reaction.

Insult to Injury

Rime Allaf, a Syrian writer, is an international consultant and an associate fellow at Chatham House in London. She blogs at Mosaics.

It has practically become the norm for Arab people and the regimes that rule over them to have different reactions to big events happening in the region. This is also the case with Iran, but in very different ways.

For the most part, unelected regimes first watched, with unmistakable satisfaction, the self-claimed righteousness of their hated rival disintegrate in full view of their people and the world. Having always branded itself as being more democratic, popular and especially more legitimate than any Arab regime could ever be, the founders of the Islamic Republic were now openly challenged and exposed as frauds.

Arabs are subdued in their reactions to Iranian's turmoil, wondering why their own struggles have been ignored by the West.

This schadenfreude comes to a tentative halt, however, with the regimes' collective allergy to popular movements demanding freedom, especially peaceful ones in which every move and every cry is instantly transmitted in this era of digital communication. In each Arab country, people and regimes are surely wondering: Could this happen here? Is the courage of these young Iranians an incentive to follow, or does the Islamic regime's repression curb enthusiasm for freedom?

Images like the distressing video immortalizing Neda Agha-Soltan as she lay dying in Tehran, inexplicably murdered, have also triggered conflicting emotions and sad questions on whether she died in vain. With so many people not actively espousing the position of any side, reluctant to shake a status quo, which, for all its problems, remains safer than the alternatives seen from Iraq to Afghanistan, the burden of experience is heavy. Dissent of any kind — even mild civil disobedience — has been brutally repressed throughout the Arab world replete with its own religious rulings, kangaroo courts and sham elections.

To add insult to injury, not only has people's self-determination never received the backing of the international community, it has also been suppressed with the blessing of the world's superpowers, eager to keep friendly regimes in power.

This is perhaps why Arab reactions to Iranians' turmoil have been somewhat subdued. If the Iranians are so strongly supported in their quest for freedom, they wonder, why have Arabs' own struggles been ignored, their own suffering been dismissed and their own Nedas been nameless? Why were Arabs' own cries invoking God incessantly reported, in English, as calls to "Allah" in a perceived attempt to further alienate them, as if they believed in a different god, while Iranian cries of "Allahu akbar" have been correctly translated as "God is great" and repeated in unison by twitterers around the world?

With the wounds of Israel's war on Gaza still open, many Arabs are particularly stunned that the indifference with which Palestinians deaths were received has turned into an international solidarity campaign for Iranians throwing rocks at their oppressors and shouting "we have become Palestine."

For all the similarities joining the fate of Arab and Iranian people, the general occidental approach, including by mainstream news media and now by social media outlets, has been to differentiate between them. But if anyone can empathize with Iran's frustrated youth, it is those who continue to live nearby with broken dreams, stifled by oppressive regimes that, with minor exceptions, need not worry about international condemnation. While the Arab and Iranian people continue to share aspirations, some regimes remain more equal than others.

Palestinians Know Nothing Will Change

Ronen Bergman, a correspondent for Yedioth Ahronoth, an Israeli daily, is the author of "The Secret War With Iran."

In Tehran the earth is shaking, but in the Arab world there has been no public official response to the post-elections riots. Bernard Lewis, the renowned orientalist, told me on Monday that this is because Arab governments are concerned about backing the wrong horse.

By contrast, debate is lively in the Arab media and on Arab-language Web sites. But there is one exception: the Palestinians seem almost indifferent to what is going on in Iran. This may seem surprising. After all, the Iranian regime is a major supporter of Palestinian hardliners, providing funding, training and weapons, particularly to Hamas and Islamic Jihad, both of whom owe their ability to confront Israel to direct Iranian support. But surfing the major Palestinian Web sites at noon today (Tuesday, Tel Aviv time), reveals very little interest in what is happening in the streets of Tehran.

Radical groups realize that 'reformist' or not, Iran's government will seek to destroy Israel.

The most prominent Palestinian to have publicly expressed an opinion on the events is a former Israeli Knesset member, Azmi Bishara, who fled Israel and is wanted for questioning for allegedly spying for Hezbollah.

In an op-ed piece earlier this week in Al Jazeera, Bishara concluded that the events in Iran reflect the views of middle-class Iranians, not those of the majority of the population. And to the extent that Iran becomes more westernized, he stated, this process will result from an ideological clash within the regime itself.

Bishara did not say a word about how all of this might affect the Palestinians. Even when his piece was copied to Hamas's most active forum, Paldf, it did not give rise to a discussion on what the impact on the Palestinians would be.

Perhaps this is because the Palestinians realize that what happens in Iran — short of a complete overhaul of the regime, which is highly unlikely — is not going to have an effect on the support they receive from the Revolutionary Guards and the Ministry of Intelligence. This is contrary to the view of much the Western media, which sees the events in Iran as a sign of an impending regime change.

The turmoil in Tehran, as far as the Palestinians are concerned, is a dispute between rival political factions; it does not concern them, and it does not interest them.

The Iranian governmental entities in charge of exporting the Islamic revolution will continue to do so under a reformist government just as they do now and just as they did in the past when the reformist Mohammad Khatami was in office. One way or another, the Iranian regime will keep stoking the flames of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Why Hezbollah Is Quiet

Nicholas Blanford is the Beirut-based correspondent for The Christian Science Monitor and The Times of London.

Lebanon's Hezbollah is keeping generally silent on the post-election turmoil in Iran, but one can be certain that the emerging power struggle between Iran's clerical rulers is under close scrutiny from Beirut.

Of greater concern for Hezbollah is the emerging power struggle among Iran's top clerical rulers.

Hezbollah's structural ideology is rooted in "wilayet al-faqih," or the rule of the jurisprudent. It is the system of governance developed by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the godfather of Iran's 1979 Islamic revolution, in which supreme authority, political and religious, is invested in one man. Hezbollah answers to the supreme leader in Iran, presently Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, not the state itself, which is why the identity of the president is largely immaterial to the Lebanese party.

Although it maintains a careful neutrality in public, Hezbollah prefers Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as president of Iran. Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, Hezbollah's secretary-general, sent a warm note of congratulations to Mr. Ahmadinejad, saying his electoral victory represents "a great hope to all the mujahideen [strugglers] and resistance who are fighting against the forces of oppression and occupation."

For Hezbollah, Mr. Ahmadinejad's confrontational stance helps sustain the popular struggle against Israel and the West. Indeed, the differences between Mr. Ahmadinejad and his challenger, Mir Hossein Mussavi, have little bearing on Hezbollah because those differences are centered on domestic rather than foreign policy issues.

Of greater concern for Hezbollah is the emerging power struggle among Iran's top clerical rulers, which could have consequences for the status of the supreme leader.

Hezbollah receives tens of millions of dollars each year from charitable institutions and private funds under the control of Ayatollah Khamenei. Combined with the party's own extensive funding network, Iranian patronage, which includes arms transfers and training, has enabled Hezbollah to become a political and military powerhouse in Lebanon.

In his only comment on the unrest, Sheik Nasrallah struck a confident tone last week, saying that "Iran is under the authority of the wali al-faqih and will pass through this crisis."

But Hezbollah can be forgiven for feeling a little uneasy the longer the crisis remains unresolved.

Weakening Hawkish Elements

Daoud Kuttab is a Palestinian journalist and a former professor of journalism at Princeton University.

No matter how the standoff in Iran ends up, two things have become clear. The power of digital technology can override analog government efforts of suppression, and the shakeup in Iran has weakened a host of hawkish elements in the region.

The Iranian people, a majority of whom are young, have discovered, developed and perfected every possible available means of communications. All the attempts by a brutal regime, like the one currently in power in Iran, have proved incapable of totally and completely gag ging their own population from being heard.

The shakeup of the Iranian regime and the defeat of Hezbollah in Lebanon have dealt a blow to radical voices in the Middle East.

The happenings in the streets of Tehran and the angry reaction of a big percentage of the population have proved that the regime's policies have been dealt a heavy blow outside the country as well. Whether Ahmadinejad returns or not, whoever is seen as running the Islamic Republic of Iran has little choice but to show a little humility and a lot less rhetorical radicalism in international affairs.

President Obama's extended hand to Muslims and Arabs, along with the defeat of Hezbollah in Lebanon and the shakeup of the Iranian regime, have dealt a severe blow to radical and hawkish voices in this part of the world. Syria has already stated its willingness to restart the indirect talks (through Turkey) that it suspended with Israel. Hamas is also speaking in a much more moderate voice, welcoming Jimmy Carter last week and talking of a Palestinian state within the 1967 border.

VN Mensenrechtenraad schrapt aandacht voor Congo

None of that made any impression on the UN Human Rights Council. The 11th session, which ended on Friday, June 19th, dedicated six hours to Israel-bashing, under the agenda item known as the "human rights situation in Palestine and other occupied Arab territories." By comparison it spent one minute on the Democratic Republic of the Congo - to remove the DRC from its focus altogether.
Voor de VN Mensenrechtenraad zijn sommige landen iets gelijker dan andere.....
Wanneer Israel zoals gewoonlijk urenlang wordt veroordeeld en van de meest extreme en absurde zaken beschuldigd, ligt daar niet een betrokkenheid en compassie voor de Palestijnen aan ten grondslag, maar een politieke motivatie: Joden hebben in tegenstelling tot Arabieren geen recht op een staat.
For Immediate Release:
June 23, 2009
Contact:  Anne Bayefsky

EYEontheUN Alert

The UN's "reformed" Human Rights Council Abandons Human Rights in the Democratic Republic of the Congo

On June 18th, 2009 the Human Rights Council President announced that the Council "has decided in a closed meeting to discontinue consideration of the situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo." This marks the first time in 15 years that the UN's lead human rights body has wiped the horrific range of human rights abuses in the DRC off its investigative agenda.

Consideration of human rights abuses in the DRC had been taking place under a behind-closed-doors procedure which permits the Council to consider "consistent patterns of gross and reliably attested violations of human rights."

After announcing the abandonment of DRC human rights victims, the Council President also imposed a gag order and required all Council members not "to make any reference in public to the confidential decision and material concerning the DRC."

Terminating the behind-the-scenes investigation of human rights abuses in the DRC was the final blow in a series of steps taken by the UN's lead human rights body to save the state violator and ignore its victims. In 1994 the Council's predecessor, the UN Human Rights Commission, established the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the DRC. In 2004 it downgraded the position to that of "Independent expert to provide assistance to the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo in the field of human rights". In 2006, the newly-created Council renewed the position temporarily pending a review of Commission investigatory positions. In March of 2008 it discontinued the position of Independent Expert. This left no UN public investigation (or light of day) on egregious violations in the DRC. With its latest move, even closed door pressure on the DRC is gone.

In reality, the human rights situation in the DRC remains grave. According to the [US] State Department Human Rights Report on the DRC released this year:

"In all areas of the country the government's human rights record remained poor, and security forces continued to act with impunity throughout the year, committing many serious abuses including unlawful killings, disappearances, torture, and rape. Security forces also engaged in arbitrary arrests and detention. Harsh and life-threatening conditions in prison and detention facilities, prolonged pretrial detention, lack of an independent and effective judiciary, and arbitrary interference with privacy, family, and home also remained serious problems. Security forces retained child soldiers and compelled forced labor by civilians. Members of the security forces also continued to abuse and threaten journalists, contributing to a decline in freedom of the press...Discrimination against women and ethnic minorities, trafficking in persons, child labor, and lack of protection of workers' rights continued to be pervasive throughout the country...Armed groups continued to commit numerous, serious abuses - some of which may have constituted war crimes - including unlawful killings, disappearances, and torture. They also recruited and retained child soldiers, compelled forced labor, and committed widespread crimes of sexual violence and other possible war crimes."

None of that made any impression on the UN Human Rights Council. The 11th session, which ended on Friday, June 19th, dedicated six hours to Israel-bashing, under the agenda item known as the "human rights situation in Palestine and other occupied Arab territories." By comparison it spent one minute on the Democratic Republic of the Congo - to remove the DRC from its focus altogether.

For more United Nations coverage see

EYEontheUN monitors the UN direct from UN Headquarters in New York. EYEontheUN brings to light the real UN record on the key threats to democracy, human rights, and peace and security in our time. EYEontheUN provides a unique information base for the re-evaluation of priorities and directions for modern-day democratic societies.

Hamas sluit krant in Gaza en sluit hoofdredacteur op

Hamas, het 'democratisch gekozen regime in Gaza' zoals linkse politici en 'vredesactivisten' blijven beweren, neemt het met democratische waarden niet zo nauw. Niet alleen martelt men (vermeende) Fatah leden, ook worden haar onwelgevallige kranten en journalisten bedreigd. Dit is niet de eerste keer dat een krant wordt gedwongen te sluiten.
De facto government shuts down Gaza newspaper, detains chief editor
Date: 24 / 06 / 2009  Time:  14:44

Ramallah - Ma'an - De facto government forces shut down the offices of the As-Subeh (The Morning) newspaper and detained its Chief Editor Sari Al-Qudweh in an evening raid Tuesday.

The Palestinian journalists' union condemned the detention in a Wednesday statement saying the home and office of Al-Qudweh were raided, and his papers and computer confiscated before the editor was detained.

The union called on all media and rights institutions to intervene and demand the immediate release of Al-Qudweh.

Journalists should not be the target of political conflicts, the union's statement said, and reminded the governments in the West Bank and Gaza that Al-Qudweh is not the only journalist who has been targeted in recent months.

While calling for the release of Al-Qudweh and the re-opening of As-Subeh in Gaza, the union also called on caretaker government officials in Ramallah to make sure the local newspapers "Palestine" and "Ar-Risala" (The letter) were also permitted to start circulating their publications in the West Bank.

woensdag 24 juni 2009

Enquete in VS over erkening Israel en vredeskansen

Bij enquetes is altijd de vraag hoe de vragen geformuleerd zijn. De actuele kwestie is of de Palestijnen Israel expliciet als Joodse staat moeten erkennen. Bij onderstaande opiniepeiling lijkt dat niet zo geformuleerd te zijn. Het kennisniveau van Amerikanen betreffende internationale kwesties is zo mogelijk nog beroerder dan in Europa. Des te meer hangt af van een eventuele inleiding of toelichting bij de vragen door de enqueteurs.

Last update - 20:34 23/06/2009
Poll: Most Americans think Palestinians must recognize Israel's right to exist
By Natasha Mozgovaya, Haaretz Correspondent, and Haaretz Service
Eighty-one percent of American voters agree that Palestinian leaders must recognize Israel's right to exist as part of a Middle East peace agreement, according to a new survey by U.S. polling company Rasmussen Reports published Tuesday.
The national telephone survey found that just seven percent disagree that recognition of Israel should be a requirement for peace, while 12 percent are not sure.
But only 27 percent believe it is somewhat likely that Palestinian leaders will agree to recognize Israel's right to exist, the poll found.
There is less support from American voters for requiring Israel to accept the creation of a Palestinian state. Fifty-seven percent of voters say Israel should be required to do so as part of a regional peace agreement, and 20 percent oppose such a requirement.
Forty-eight percent of respondents to the Rasmussen poll said U.S. President Barack Obama's Middle Eastern policy is about right, but 35% said he is not supportive enough of Israel and 10% said he is too supportive.
Obama has called on Israel and the Palestinians to acknowledge each other's existence, while also pushing Israel to freeze settlement construction in the West Bank.
Following Obama's June 4 speech to the Muslim world in Cairo, 32% of American voters now think that relationship will improve in the next year, while 28% believe it will get worse, according to the poll.
Forty-nine percent of respondents said the United States should help Israel if it decides to attack Iran over the latter's nuclear weapon facilities.

Berichten over vrijlating Shalit ontkend; commissie stelt richtlijnen op voor gevangenenruil

Als de nieuwe richtlijnen voor gevangenenruil straks zijn vastgesteld, moet men wel een kopietje naar Hamas sturen. Die kan dan inschatten of het nog loont om Israeli's te ontvoeren en uit te ruilen. Wordt het een soort legeskostenverordening? Per levende, gezonde soldaat 500 Palestijnse gevangenen, waarvan 50 van het zwaar-terroristische kaliber? Per dode soldaat slechts 100 Palestijnen, alleen lichte gevallen? Hangt aan ontvoerde burgers straks een hoger of juist lager prijskaartje dan aan soldaten? Zijn bombardementen bij de prijs inbegrepen?
Van het jarenlange gesteggel over Shalit en de eindeloze lijst vrij te laten Palestijnen kun je wel cynisch worden.
Hamas, Israel deny Schalit release rumor Staff , THE JERUSALEM POST
Hamas and Israeli officials on Tuesday evening both denied a report by the Palestinian Ma'an news agency that captured IDF soldier Gilad Schalit would be transferred to Egypt in a matter of hours. Later Tuesday, the news agency updated the report, taking out the time frame but still claiming that Schalit's release was imminent.

The report, quoting unnamed Egyptian sources, cited an unscheduled visit to Tel Aviv by Egyptian general Muhammad Ibrahim, saying he had made the trip to discuss prisoner swap arrangements to be made after Schalit's transfer to Egypt.

According to Palestinian reports, Israel had conveyed a message to Hamas through former US president Jimmy Carter in which Jerusalem expressed willingness to release most of the prisoners that Hamas is demanding be released in exchange for Schalit.

"Israel is awaiting the letter of reply from Gilad Schalit to the letter transferred to him by his parents, Noam and Aviva, in order to verify that he is still alive," Palestinian sources said. "Afterwards Israel will agree to advance the negotiations for Schalit's release and end the affair."

The sources claimed that the Israeli government was eager to see Schalit return and had therefore agreed to release many of the prisoners on the list, including senior Hamas members.

The Jerusalem Post could not independently confirm the report.

Meanwhile, former Supreme Court president Meir Shamgar denied reports that a committee set up by Defense Minister Ehud Barak had set a new price tag for future prisoner exchanges.

Tuesday's report in Yediot Aharonot claimed that the committee, formed by Barak in the wake of the 2008 prisoner exchange with Hizbullah to set guidelines in the event of future abductions, had recommended that Israel refrain from releasing large numbers of prisoners in exchange for abductees, and avoid releasing live prisoners in exchange for bodies.

While Shamgar did not rule out such a conclusion, he told Army Radio that no decision had yet been made.

"Until now, all of the committee members have avoided publicizing anything to anyone, and I don't want to comment on what was said in the [Yediot] story - we have yet to make up our minds and we have yet to file a report," he said.

Shamgar added that any recommendations made by the committee would not affect a deal for the release of Schalit and would only pertain to future cases.

The committee is chaired by Israel Prize-winning ethicist Asa Kasher and also includes former Defense Ministry director-general Amos Yaron.

Olmert bood Abbas 93% Westoever en 6% compensatie

"It's very sad. He was serious, I have to say," Erekat said.

Vindt de Palestijnse onderhandelaar het droevig dat een wanhopige Olmert zoveel concessies wilde doen, en zelfs de soevereiniteit over de Joodse heiligdommen in Jeruzalem wilde delen? Of vindt hij het droevig dat Olmert zo weinig aanbood, nauwelijks meer dan Barak 8 jaar eerder? Of vindt hij het droevig dat de Palestijnen dit genereuze aanbod wéér afwezen, de zoveelste kans die ze lieten lopen?
Ondanks de Annapolis 'deadline' van eind 2008, was de PA van september tot december aan het dubben over hun antwoord op dit voorstel, en tsja, toen gooide de Gaza Oorlog roet in de onderhandelingen. Het is erg droevig.
Haaretz Tue., June 23, 2009
Last update - 10:55 23/06/2009 
Olmert offered to withdraw from 93% of West Bank
By Aluf Benn and Barak Ravid

Former prime minister Ehud Olmert offered Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas that the Holy Basin area of Jerusalem would be under no sovereignty at all and administered by a joint committee of Saudis, Jordanians, Israelis, Palestinians and Americans, the former prime minister told Newsweek magazine in an interview in the current issue.

The proposal to internationalize the Holy Basin was intended to achieve a breakthrough in the negotiations around the issues of sovereignity over holy sites in Jerusalem, the issue which had reportedly caused the breakdown of the Camp David talks in July 2000.

Olmert's proposal implies Israeli willingness to give up sovereignity over the Temple Mount, the Old City and the Mount of Olives. The offer appears to contradict Olmert's promise to Shas never to negotiate over Jerusalem and was never revealed to the Israeli public while he was in office. However, Newsweek notes the offer was made in September 2008, when Olmert was heading a transition government and had already resigned from his post, rendering coalition considerations irrelevant.

Olmert also told Newsweek he suggested to Abbas Israel would withdraw from 93.5 to 93.7 per cent of the West Bank, compensating the Palestinians with territory equivalent to 5.8 per cent of the West Bank, and allow for direct crossing between the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

He stressed he rejected Palestinian demands to realize the right of return, and instead offered a "humanitarian gesture" of accepting a small number of Palestinian refugees, "smaller than the Palestinians wanted, a very, very limited number."

Olmert's offer was confirmed to Newsweek by Saeb Erekat, the chief Palestinian negotiator. "It's very sad. He was serious, I have to say," Erekat said. He said that he and Abbas began preparing a response, but within a few months the Gaza war erupted, and Olmert had left office.

Olmert spoke to Newsweek's Kevin Peraino shortly before leaving for New York for prostrate cancer treatment.

Palestijnse enquete: meerderheid optimistisch over verzoening Hamas-Fatah

1. Fatah 29.3%
2. Hamas 17.5%
3. Unaffiliated nationalists 6.1%
4. Unaffiliated Islamists 3.8%
5. Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) 3%
6. Islamic Jihad 2.2%
7. The Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP) 1%
8. Palestinian National Initiative (PNI - Al-Mubadara) 1.6%
9. Palestinian People's Party (PPP) 1%
10. None of the political parties 34.2%
Zoals iedere poll laat ook deze een veel hogere steun voor Fatah dan Hamas zien. Het is dus niet zo dat Hamas er alleen maar populairder op wordt door de blokkade van Gaza en de Gaza oorlog van afgelopen januari. Wat vreemd is is dat er geen grote derde partij ontstaat als alternatief voor hen die de corruptie van Fatah beu zijn maar zich ook niet tot Hamas aangetrokken voelen.

Ma'an Poll: 61% of Palestinians optimistic about Hamas-Fatah unity
Date: 17 / 06 / 2009  Time:  12:15

Bethlehem - Ma'an Exclusive - Sixty-one percent of Palestinians are optimistic about Hamas-Fatah reconciliation and 70% say they will vote in elections scheduled for next year, according to a new opinion poll commissioned by Ma'an.

The poll was carried out, in partnership with the Palestinian Center for Research and Cultural Dialogue (PCRD), in anticipation of the upcoming Palestinian reconciliation talks in Cairo in July. The poll shows that, even in the aftermath of the Israeli attack on Gaza, a form of optimism prevails in the Palestinian street.

With a sample size of 1360 adults (850 in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, 510 in Gaza), the poll posed questions about a wide range of issues including democracy in Palestinian society, good governance, political issues, and media. The survey was carried out from 12-14 March 2009.

The poll showed that 48% of respondents believe that the most important feature of democracy is the ability to change the government through elections. Twenty-nine percent said that "freedom to criticize rulers" is the second most important feature of democracy.

In addition:

. 22.0% of the respondents believe that the status of democracy in Palestine
is good, whereas 45.0% believe the opposite.

. When asked on the relationship between democracy and religion, 19.0% believe the two are contradictory, whereas 36.5% believe they are conciliatory, 18.5% complementary. 26% believe there is no relationship between them.

The poll also asked Palestinians their views on elections and the political system:

. 45% of the respondents reveal that the mixed system (proportional representation and constituencies) is the best electoral system in Palestine as opposed to 21.0% who believe that the proportional representation is the best electoral system.
. 70% of the respondents say they will cast their ballot in the next elections.
. 60% believe that the next elections will be impartial.
. 61% say they are optimistic regarding the intra-Palestinian dialogue in Cairo.

Also, 29.3% of the respondents said they support Fatah, compared to 17.5% who said they support Hamas. 34.2% said they support none of the political parties.

Support for the political factions broke down as follows:

1. Fatah 29.3%
2. Hamas 17.5%
3. Unaffiliated nationalists 6.1%
4. Unaffiliated Islamists 3.8%
5. Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) 3%
6. Islamic Jihad 2.2%
7. The Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP) 1%
8. Palestinian National Initiative (PNI - Al-Mubadara) 1.6%
9. Palestinian People's Party (PPP) 1%
10. None of the political parties 34.2%

The poll also showed a high degree of support for increased transparency in the Palestinian political system. For example, 75.0% believe that candidates in the next elections are obliged to disclose the financial resources used to pay for their campaign. 58% believe that it is their right to have access to the annual budget of the Palestinian government.

A near majority of 46.3% said they had heard or learned about people who bribed Palestinian officials in exchange for services; 50.7% said they had not.

Only 9.8% said civil society groups play a large role in monitoring the Palestinian Authority and holding it accountable, compared to 30.4% who believe that these groups play a small or very small role regarding this matter.

Regarding media, Al-Jazeera was the most-watched television news source (55%), followed by followed by Al-Arabiya (11%) Hamas' Al-Aqsa (10%), and the PA's Palestine TV (9% ).

Among the respondents, 96% have a telephone, 57% live in a households with a computer, 32% have internet, 73% have a radio, 93% have a satellite dish, and 26% have an antenna for local TV stations.

The poll also addressed Ma'an's reach as a news network.

. 22.9% state that they have already listened to Maan radio network.

. Ma'an's website is the most browsed sites among 15 international and local sites (68%) followed by that of Al-Jazeera (58%), then Al-Quds daily newspaper site (55%). These percentages include those who said they browse these sites to a very high degree, to a high degree, and to a moderate degree.

. 73% of those who use the internet in Palestine browse Ma'an's website.

. 94% of those who browse Ma'an's website state that its form and content either highly appropriate or appropriate.

. 63% of the respondents who browse Ma'an website believe it is unaffiliated to a political party, whereas 23% believe the opposite, and 15% do not know.

dinsdag 23 juni 2009

Khameinei ziet Zionistische media achter protest verkiezingen Iran

Zie ook de nieuwsberichten en commentaren over Iran op de nieuwsblog van Ami Isseroff & co:
Ami's eigen commentaar op MidEast Web Log:
En de gevatte cartoon op DryBones:

Khameinei - Zionist Radio Trying to Change the Meaning of Iranian election

Peres should not hold his breath until the Iranian regime falls, but this statement Khameinei is surely entertaining:
"These divisions come from the Zionist radio and the bad British radio trying to change the meaning of the election," Khamenei said.
Jun. 21, 2009 Staff , THE JERUSALEM POST
President Shimon Peres on Sunday expressed hope that the Iranian leadership would "disappear" before the Islamic republic makes use of its enriched Uranium, saying it was more important to fight the Iranian regime than the country's nuclear program.
"The struggle against the leaders of the Iranian regime is more important than [the struggle against] the bombs," Peres said, speaking at the Jewish Agency assembly in Jerusalem.
The president also attacked Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who has hinted that Israel and the US were behind the pro-Mousavi riots in Teheran.
"How dare he claim that we demanded that the Iranian people head to the streets and risk their lives?" Army Radio quoted Peres as saying.
Also Sunday, Iran's Parliament reiterated warnings sounded by Khamenei in which he said that leaders of the US, UK, France and Germany must not to interfere in the country's internal affairs, threatening that Iran would respond to such meddling "in other fields."
Iranian parliament speaker Ali Larijani directed a message at US President Barack Obama, saying that he "showed the deceitful meaning of change too soon."
According to Iran's ISNA news agency, Larijani called for the National Security and Foreign Policy Commission of the Iranian Parliament to revise relations with the US, UK, France and Germany.
In his speech Friday, Khamenei blamed the United States, Britain and "other enemies" for fomenting unrest. He said Iran would not see a second revolution like those which transformed the countries of the former Soviet Union.
"These divisions come from the Zionist radio and the bad British radio trying to change the meaning of the election," Khamenei said.
He said the election outcome was a vindication of the Islamic republic and an earthquake for its enemies. "If the people did not trust in the system they would not participate in it," he said. "Iran's enemies are targeting the beliefs and trust of the people."

Fayad: "binnen 2 jaar een Palestijnse staat"

Er zou heel misschien een Palestijnse staat kunnen komen als de Palestijnse Autoriteit niet alleen om meer druk op Israel vraagt, maar vooral ook zelf aan de slag gaat en zich flexibel opstelt. Erken Israel als Joodse staat, erken dat een onbeperkt 'recht op terugkeer' niet reëel is, erken dat ook de Joden een historische band met het land en met Jeruzalem hebben, en vraag vervolgens van Israel te stoppen met bouwen in de nederzettingen en te erkennen dat Jeruzalem ook voor de Palestijnen belangrijk is.

The Jerusalem Post
Jun 22, 2009 19:21 | Updated Jun 22, 2009 19:34
Fayad: Palestinian state within 2 years

A Palestinian state can be created within two years, Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salaam Fayad said on Monday.

Speaking in Abu Dis, Fayad called on his people to pull together and "roll up their sleeves" in order to make sure that all the institutions necessary for a state are in place "by the end of next year, or at the latest, in two years."

The PA prime minister refused to back down from the Palestinian stance that there would be no peace negotiations with Israel until a West Bank settlement freeze.

Fayad also called upon the world to exert pressure on Israel to cease settlement activity and stop the Gaza blockade.

Last week in the US, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said Israel's settlements were not an obstacle to achieving peace, adding that Israel was ready to engage in peace talks with the Palestinians without preconditions.

Visiting New York after his trip to Washington DC, where he maintained Israel's opposition to a settlement freeze, Lieberman also downplayed the issue as a potential thorn in the relationship between Israel and the United States.

Palestijnse Autoriteit gaat honderden Hamas leden vrijlaten

Het volgende is natuurlijk volkomen absurd:
They added that Abbas's move was also aimed at sending a message to the US and Israel to the effect that the PA leadership is deeply disappointed by Washington's failure to force the Israeli government to stop construction in the settlements and accept the two-state solution unconditionally
De Israelische regering is de afgelopen tijd stevig onder druk gezet door de VS, maar Abbas is het duidelijk nooit genoeg. Israel moet onvoorwaardelijk alle Palestijnse eisen inwilligen, en de VS moet het daartoe dwingen, anders zal Abbas niet meewerken. Daar komt de houding van Abbas op neer. Als Abbas denkt dat de veiligheid op de Westoever gediend is met de vrijlating van honderden Hamas activisten, moet hij dat vooral doen, maar dan vervolgens niet verbaasd zijn als het Israelische leger weigert allerlei steden aan de PA over te dragen.
Je begint je zo langzamaan af te vragen of een eenheidsregering zoveel slechter zal zijn als het huidige 'gematigde' leiderschap van de PA. Legitimering van een terroristische organisatie door met zo'n regering te gaan praten is natuurlijk nooit een goed idee.

The Jerusalem Post
Jun 22, 2009 18:12 | Updated Jun 22, 2009 19:03
PA to free hundreds of Hamas detainees

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has decided to release hundreds of Hamas detainees who are being held without trial in various PA-controlled prisons in the West Bank, Palestinian officials here said on Monday.

The decision is aimed at paving the way for the resumption of reconciliation talks between Abbas's Fatah faction and Hamas, the officials said.

They added that Abbas's move was also aimed at sending a message to the US and Israel to the effect that the PA leadership is deeply disappointed by Washington's failure to force the Israeli government to stop construction in the settlements and accept the two-state solution unconditionally.

Azzam al-Ahmed, a top Fatah legislator closely associated with Abbas, said that Abbas has instructed the PA security forces in the West Bank to start releasing Hamas detainees in the coming days.

He said the instructions also related to those detainees who were arrested for security offences, on condition that they don't pose a threat to public order and security.

Ahmed, who served as a member of the Fatah delegation during the previous sessions of reconciliation talks with Hamas, confirmed that the decision was linked to Abbas's desire to patch up his differences with Hamas.

The Egyptian-sponsored reconciliation talks were called off due to Hamas's insistence that Abbas's security forces stop arresting its supporters in the West Bank and release some 700 detainees who are being held without trial.

PA security officials said the massive crackdown on Hamas supporters was part of a pre-emptive measure aimed at foiling the Islamic movement's attempt to topple the PA regime in the West Bank

Fatah and Hamas negotiators have been invited to another round of talks in the Egyptian capital on July 7.

A PA official here told The Jerusalem Post that the Egyptians were planning to impose an agreement on the two parties if they did not end their differences in the next few weeks.

"General Omar Suleiman is very serious about forcing the two sides to sign an agreement over the formation of a Palestinian unity government," the official said, referring to Egypt's General Intelligence Chief, who has been personally supervising the talks.

Ibrahim Abu al-Naja, a senior Fatah representative from the Gaza Strip who has also been involved in the reconciliation talks with Hamas, revealed that, on the instructions of Abbas, more than 20 Hamas detainees had already been released over the weekend.

"Fatah is prepared to do many things for the sake of achieving national unity," he said. "The divisions have seriously harmed the higher interests of our people."

A special legal committee established by Abbas has begun reviewing the cases of the Hamas detainees as a first step toward setting them free, another PA official told the Post. He said that the committee's job was to recommend which detainees would be released and when.

Ashraf Juma'ah, a Fatah legislator, called on Hamas to respond to Abbas's "goodwill gesture" by releasing Fatah detainees held in its prisons in the Gaza Strip.

Juma'ah praised Abbas's decision as "bold and wise," saying its main objective is to create a better atmosphere for resuming the reconciliation talks between Hamas and Fatah.

"We urge Hamas to reciprocate by releasing all the Fatah detainees, including senior Fatah officials, from its prisons," he said, noting that some of the detainees had been tortured. "We also hope that both sides will end the campaign of incitement against each other."

Hamas officials responded to Abbas's initiative with skepticism, pointing out that this was not the first time that the PA leader had promised to release Hamas detainees.

"We want to see deeds, not words," said Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri. "It's premature to judge Abbas regarding his claim that he will release political detainees."

Abu Zuhri claimed that in the past, the PA security forces refused to obey Abbas's orders to free Hamas detainees.

Sources close to Hamas told the Post that Abbas's decision was aimed at "distracting attention" from the continued campaign against Hamas supporters in the West Bank. The sources said that in the past 48 hours alone, security forces loyal to Abbas arrested 39 Hamas supporters, including 15 elected members of municipal councils, five school teachers, two civil engineers, two university students and two imams.

Salah Bardaweel, member of the Hamas delegation to the reconciliation talks with Fatah, condemned the campaign as a "crime" and an "obstacle" to achieving national unity. He said that Abbas's latest decision, if implemented, would be a "good step" toward ending schism on the Palestinian arena.

maandag 22 juni 2009

Fatah politieagent uit Gaza wil asiel in Israel

Dit soort tegenstrijdigheden zijn niet ongewoon in Israel en de Palestijnse gebieden. Tijdens de coup van Hamas in 2007 vluchtten vele Fatah activisten de grens over naar Israel.

Gazan officer, fearing for his life, asks to stay in Israeli detention
PA loyalist who escaped Hamas by infiltrating Israel, turning himself in asks court not to send him back
Aviad Glickman - YNET
A Palestinian police officer detained in Israel is demanding that the High Court of Justice give him refuge as he claims his life may be at risk if he is forced to return to the Gaza Strip.

The 24-year-old, a resident of Gaza who was arrested for infiltrating the border with Israel, is scheduled to be released from prison early next week but filed a petition Sunday asking that an order be issued allowing him to remain in Israel.

He says he has appealed to a committee managed by the Defense Ministry, which handles appeals from Palestinians at risk from Palestinian organizations, but that he had not yet received a response.

The former police officer says he became a wanted man when Hamas performed its hostile takeover of Gaza in 2007, along with his brother and father, because the three were seen as loyal to the Palestinian Authority.

The man says he turned himself in to the IDF after being attacked and shot by Hamas operatives. In order to do so he crossed the border into Israel illegally, and was thereafter brought to court and sentenced to one year in prison.

However after reviewing his case a parole committee decided to release him early. He then asked to be released into the West Bank and not Gaza, but despite a number of urgent calls by his attorney he has not yet received a reply to his request.

The officer is now asking to be allowed to stay in Israel or, as an alternative, to be granted residency in the West Bank. He is also demanding that the court prevent the state from transferring him to Gaza until a solution is found

Israelische wijn

Wijn is in Israel, zowel vergeleken met wijn hier als met sterke drank daar, relatief duur. Daarom heb ik voornamelijk het goedkope spul leren kennen, en dat is geen feest. Wijn is echter in opkomst en dat zal ook de prijs steeds verder doen drukken, zeker van de niet-koshere wijn.
Ancient land, new wines
Copyright 2009 Houston Chronicle
June 20, 2009, 2:38AM
Inside a candlelit room at a west Houston Italian restaurant, the Israeli government sought to change Israel's international image with help from one of the world's oldest industries: wine — glasses and glasses of wine.

The government recently teamed up with its wine industry and U.S. importers to promote the beverages made from grapes grown on the land immortalized by biblical figures Noah, Samson, and David and Goliath.
These days, Israel is known more for conflict and tension than for its wines, local Israeli government officials said.
"Israeli wine can help rebrand Israel," said wine importer Richard Shaffer, who is working with the government by hosting wine-tasting parties.
Wine production began in Israel millennia ago, Shaffer said, peppering his wine dinner speech with biblical references.
In the last quarter-century, wine experts have rediscovered Israel, a promised land with less than two dozen wineries. Today more than 200 dot the nation's landscape, said Shaffer, the owner of the Chicago area's Israeli Wine Direct, which works with Israel's boutique wineries.
The government's promotional campaign that sponsors wine tastings across the nation may have already helped Israel's wine exports to the U.S. because they increased to 150,200 cases last year from 146,500 cases in 2007, according to De-partment of Commerce numbers.
That comes at a time when the global recession and a weakening of the U.S. dollar contributed to a 5 percent decrease in U.S. imports of all wines by volume last year, compared with 2007.
Israel sold $12 million worth of wine to the U.S. last year, up from $11 million in 2007, according to the Israeli government.
Touting the quality
Educating consumers that quality wine can hail from Israel is an obstacle.
"It's just funny you had never heard of Israeli wines before," said Carol Hunton, who attended a four-course dinner paired with Israeli wines Tuesday at Carmelo's.
She described the Pelter Trio 2006 paired with the rigatoni with porcini mushrooms and veal ragu dish as rich and soft.
"We in the restaurant business are always looking for something new, something to bring to our customers," said the restaurant's owner, Carmelo Mauro, who hails from Sicily.
Local wine critic Denman Moody tried eight Israeli wines during a breakfast at Carmelo's.
"They were all surprisingly good," he said, describing a Pelter Sauvignon Blanc 2007 as not like drinking grapefruit juice, but more in between the flavors of tropical fruits and peaches.
Not all kosher
Another obstacle Israel faces in growing the industry is convincing consumers and shopkeepers that not all Israeli wine is kosher.
Kosher wines must be made under the supervision of a rabbi, contain only kosher ingredients and processed using equipment certified by a rabbi.
No preservatives or artificial colors can be added to the wine, among other restrictions.
They are typically served during Jewish holidays but are snubbed by some wine aficionados.
"Some people even refer to it as vinegar," said Roee Madai, the consul for economic affairs at the Israeli government's Houston office.
Something different

Savvy wine drinkers are fatigued by yet another wine from California, Argentina or Chile, Madai said.
"Israel for them is something unique, niche, sexy," Madai said.
As Israeli wines become more popular, promoters hope retailers will showcase Israeli wines by country, much like Italian, French and South African wines have their own shelves at stores.
Roberto Fleischer, president of Houston's Fleischer International Trading, stopped by the The Tasting Room in Uptown Park recently to try Israeli wines. He's considering distribut- ing some of the wines lo-cally.
"I think it's a very good niche for us," he said.
Some good, some not
Web designer Fred Sodergren was already familiar with some Israeli wines after a recent trip to Israel.
"I had some bad wines, and I had some very good wines," she said during the event at The Tasting Room.
One of the wines served at that event was the Flam Classico 2006 made by Gilad Flam and his brother, the second generation of their family to make wine.
"We are giving the world a different taste with our wine," said Flam, from his home winery between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.