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Monday, January 23, 2012

Israeli settlers reject Netanyahu's request to evacuate largest outpost in West Bank

  • Published 01:48 23.01.12
  • Latest update 01:48 23.01.12

PM asks Migron settlers to voluntarily evacuate the outpost and receive support to establish a community on nearby state land in return.

By Barak Ravid and Chaim Levinson 

The ongoing controversy about the evacuation of the Migron outpost hit a new high Sunday, as settlers angrily rejected a compromise proposal offered by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Netanyahu asked the Migron settlers to voluntarily evacuate the outpost and receive in return support to establish a community on nearby state land. The settlers rejected the proposal and demanded that Netanyahu authorize the Migron outpost's settlement by legislation. They threatened that a Migron evacuation would cost Netanyahu his job, because the national religious public will not tolerate a forcible evacuation of the outpost.

migron - Haaretz - August 3 2011 The West Bank outpost of Migron.
Photo by: Haaretz

At Sunday's cabinet session, Netanyahu evinced support for the compromise formula forged by Minister Benny Begin. "The High Court of Justice has ruled that Migron must be evacuated by March 31," said Netanyahu. "The government wants to carry out the court's decision, in a fashion that involves consent and is peaceful."
Netanyahu told cabinet ministers that under the compromise formula, a new Migron will be built on state lands on an "authorized, planned basis." It will not be on private Palestinian land.

"The government calls on Migron residents to agree to this proposed compromise, and thereby allow the government to turn soon to the court and ask for this compromise arrangement to be approved," Netanyahu stated. "This is a good proposal which does not solve all the problems, but is sufficiently substantive and can solve the Migron issue."

Netanyahu's comments came a week ahead of Likud primaries, in which he vies against right-wing hawk Moshe Feiglin. Likud regulars have been pressuring Netanyahu, asking that the Migron evacuation be bypassed. Opponents of a Migron evacuation included Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin, Culture and Sport Minister Limor Livnat and Minister Yuli Edelstein. This ministerial trio, along with a number of Likud MKs, entreat Netanyahu to solve the Migron issue via a legislative move that would retroactively authorize the outpost and essentially appropriate the land from Palestinian owners in exchange for a compensation payment.

The government's compromise proposal was first brought to the settlers by Begin a few weeks ago, as Haaretz reported in early January. Under Begin's proposal, the state would establish a new settlement on state-owned land, on the same mountain whose summit currently holds the Migron outpost. After the new settlement's establishment, Migron residents would receive the land without the issuance of a tender offer, and they would build homes out of their own funds.

The proposal borrows heavily from a 2007 Migron proposal offer, under which the state would have removed the outpost to a nearby area. The settlers eventually rejected this compromise formula.
Sunday, Migron settlers rejected the new compromise formula. They demand that the government engage "a real clarification" of the land's status. They say that the land never belonged to Palestinians, and that they have deeds attesting to their own purchase of some of the land. These claims were rejected in the past by the Civil Administration.

Migron settlers add that should it turn out that the land is owned by a Palestinian individual or group, the way to solve the impasse is to provide compensation payments.

The settlers are dissatisfied with Begin's handling of the issue, saying that he never really engaged in a dialogue with them. Instead, the settlers say, Begin basically delivered the proposal formula as a dictate.

Underscoring this discontent, Avi Roeh, head of the Binyamin regional council, sent a public letter to Netanyahu demanding that Begin be relieved of responsibilities for dealing with the Migron issue.

The Begin compromise has over the past month stirred internal disputes among settlers. Members of the Yesha settler council support the compromise. Settlement activist Ze'ev Hever, who supports the compromise, informed government ministers that some of the Migron residents are prepared to evacuate, and predicated that compromise opponents will eventually relent.

On the other hand, Roeh is leading opposition to the compromise, together with Likud activists on the West Bank. These opponents view the Begin proposal as a slippery slope that could lead to the evacuation of other outposts.

In lieu of the Begin compromise, hard-line right-wing activists support a bill proposed by MK Zevulun Orlev, under which, after four years of residence in an outpost established on private land, settlers would be allowed to remain and compensations would be relayed to the owners. Migron settlers relayed Sunday that "for some time we have been proposing an array of compromise solutions that would avoid the destruction of this community, and the removal of more than 50 families. Out of respect for the law and the judicial system, we call for a real dialogue with the prime minister and his advisers, so as to work out solutions that will be acceptable to jurists and the High Court."

Israel's legal 'abuse' of Arab minority is undemocratic

  • Published 03:38 23.01.12
  • Latest update 03:38 23.01.12

The call for international public opinion to raise its voice completes the struggle of the democratic forces here. This will make it clear to all that the right-wing establishment in Israel has crossed a line in the direction of apartheid.

By Oudeh Basharat

It is difficult to compare the democratic State of Israel to a dark dictatorship. Nevertheless, they have one thing in common: People don't sleep well at night under either regime.

In dictatorships, they fear a revolution on the part of the majority, and in Israeli democracy they do not stop studying the graphs of the birth rate among Arabs, in case the demographic balance is upset.

And there is another commonality: Both groups of the population are oppressed. In a dark dictatorship, the minority oppresses the majority while in Israel, the regime which is supported by an ethnic majority that oppresses the minority. 

For 63 years, Israel has not stopped abusing its perfectly pleasant minority, and all of this is completely legal. Every dunam that has been expropriated was approved in the Knesset, every house that was destroyed was sanctified by a court. Local governments in Arab areas are discriminated against in their budgets on the basis of ministerial procedure. All of this is able to take place because the representatives of the ethnic majority are in control in the Knesset, the government offices, the economic institutions and the legal system.

Thus, and also as a result of the demographic phobia, another chapter was written this month in the attempt to harass the minority. The Citizenship Law prohibits Palestinians from living with their Israeli spouses within Israel proper. So, in the guise of an innocent "regulation," women are separated from their husbands and children from their parents, and their lives are turned into an ongoing nightmare.

In the enlightened world, a regulation of this sort would have been thrown out immediately. In Israel it gets the blessing of the Supreme Court of the ethnic majority. The Supreme Court, which is supposed to be the court of last resort for the downtrodden, has left the Arabs without succor. And the Arabs who have learned from their long years of suffering, say: "If your judges deprive you, then to whom can you complain?"

To whom will the Arab citizens complain when the liberal flank - Yair Lapid, Tzipi Livni and Shelly Yachimovich - do not say a word in the face of this injustice, while the right-wing jumps for joy at the suffering of the Arabs?

Meanwhile, the children want to grow up. They cannot wait until the weather is fair. And with the intoxicating smell of the Arab Spring, another arena for struggle is growing - the international arena, with all its institutions. But a hypocritical cry will issue forth from the majority, as if the Arabs are undermining the country's right to existence. No, the Arabs are merely complaining about the right of the majority to abuse them.

No regime has the right to oppress part of its residents, whether it is a corrupt dictatorship or a blooming democracy. But like an abusive husband who forbids his wife to go to the police because one does not air dirty laundry in public, so Israel would like its Arab citizens to behave. Let the laundry smell inside.

And there are people who hope that the minority will move to another apartment because of the smell. The ones who are invited to move to another apartment are those who are disturbed by the crying of a newborn baby, whether it is Arab or Jewish. An Arab baby that is born is not the product of a conspiracy. An Arab baby, like a Jewish baby, is a blessing.

It is important to note that the expression "ethnic majority" is a rough generalization, since many Jews are courageous partners to the struggle against racism. The call for international public opinion to raise its voice completes the struggle of the democratic forces here. This will make it clear to all that the right-wing establishment in Israel has crossed a line in the direction of apartheid.

When Menachem Begin was prime minister, there were intellectuals who pinned their hopes, in vain, on the American administration restraining him. Like then, we cannot wait for salvation to come from the White House. Only the enlightened public opinion of the world can help. And that is for the benefit of the entire family, including those members who on the face of it are not deprived.

Karl Marx said that a people which oppresses another people cannot be free. This is also for the benefit of the ethnic majority which is entitled once and for all to sleep well, without nightmares about demography, and which is entitled to be a people that is free from abusing Arabs.

The Palestinian children – alone and bewildered – in Israel's Al Jalame jail

Special report: Israel's military justice system is accused of mistreating Palestinian children arrested for throwing stones
Palestinian children locked up in solitary confinement by Israel. Link to this video
  The room is barely wider than the thin, dirty mattress that covers the floor. Behind a low concrete wall is a squat toilet, the stench from which has no escape in the windowless room. The rough concrete walls deter idle leaning; the constant overhead light inhibits sleep. The delivery of food through a low slit in the door is the only way of marking time, dividing day from night.

This is Cell 36, deep within Al Jalame prison in northern Israel. It is one of a handful of cells where Palestinian children are locked in solitary confinement for days or even weeks. One 16-year-old claimed that he had been kept in Cell 36 for 65 days.

The only escape is to the interrogation room where children are shackled, by hands and feet, to a chair while being questioned, sometimes for hours.

Most are accused of throwing stones at soldiers or settlers; some, of flinging molotov cocktails; a few, of more serious offences such as links to militant organisations or using weapons. They are also pumped for information about the activities and sympathies of their classmates, relatives and neighbours.

At the beginning, nearly all deny the accusations. Most say they are threatened; some report physical violence. Verbal abuse – "You're a dog, a son of a whore" – is common. Many are exhausted from sleep deprivation. Day after day they are fettered to the chair, then returned to solitary confinement. In the end, many sign confessions that they later say were coerced.

These claims and descriptions come from affidavits given by minors to an international human rights organisation and from interviews conducted by the Guardian. Other cells in Al Jalame and Petah Tikva prisons are also used for solitary confinement, but Cell 36 is the one cited most often in these testimonies.
Between 500 and 700 Palestinian children are arrested by Israeli soldiers each year, mostly accused of throwing stones. Since 2008, Defence for Children International (DCI) has collected sworn testimonies from 426 minors detained in Israel's military justice system.

Their statements show a pattern of night-time arrests, hands bound with plastic ties, blindfolding, physical and verbal abuse, and threats. About 9% of all those giving affidavits say they were kept in solitary confinement, although there has been a marked increase to 22% in the past six months.

Few parents are told where their children have been taken. Minors are rarely questioned in the presence of a parent, and rarely see a lawyer before or during initial interrogation. Most are detained inside Israel, making family visits very difficult.

Human rights organisations say these patterns of treatment – which are corroborated by a separate study, No Minor Matter, conducted by an Israeli group, B'Tselem – violate the international convention on the rights of the child, which Israel has ratified, and the fourth Geneva convention.

Most children maintain they are innocent of the crimes of which they are accused, despite confessions and guilty pleas, said Gerard Horton of DCI. But, he added, guilt or innocence was not an issue with regard to their treatment.

"We're not saying offences aren't committed – we're saying children have legal rights. Regardless of what they're accused of, they should not be arrested in the middle of the night in terrifying raids, they should not be painfully tied up and blindfolded sometimes for hours on end, they should be informed of the right to silence and they should be entitled to have a parent present during questioning."

Mohammad Shabrawi from the West Bank town of Tulkarm was arrested last January, aged 16, at about 2.30am. "Four soldiers entered my bedroom and said you must come with us. They didn't say why, they didn't tell me or my parents anything," he told the Guardian.

Handcuffed with a plastic tie and blindfolded, he thinks he was first taken to an Israeli settlement, where he was made to kneel – still cuffed and blindfolded – for an hour on an asphalt road in the freezing dead of night. A second journey ended at about 8am at Al Jalame detention centre, also known as Kishon prison, amid fields close to the Nazareth to Haifa road.

After a routine medical check, Shabrawi was taken to Cell 36. He spent 17 days in solitary, apart from interrogations, there and in a similar cell, No 37, he said. "I was lonely, frightened all the time and I needed someone to talk with. I was choked from being alone. I was desperate to meet anyone, speak to anyone … I was so bored that when I was out [of the cell] and saw the police, they were talking in Hebrew and I don't speak Hebrew, but I was nodding as though I understood. I was desperate to speak."

During interrogation, he was shackled. "They cursed me and threatened to arrest my family if I didn't confess," he said. He first saw a lawyer 20 days after his arrest, he said, and was charged after 25 days. "They accused me of many things," he said, adding that none of them were true.

Eventually Shabrawi confessed to membership of a banned organisation and was sentenced to 45 days. Since his release, he said, he was "now afraid of the army, afraid of being arrested." His mother said he had become withdrawn.

Ezz ad-Deen Ali Qadi from Ramallah, who was 17 when he was arrested last January, described similar treatment during arrest and detention. He says he was held in solitary confinement at Al Jalame for 17 days in cells 36, 37 and 38.

"I would start repeating the interrogators' questions to myself, asking myself is it true what they are accusing me of," he told the Guardian. "You feel the pressure of the cell. Then you think about your family, and you feel you are going to lose your future. You are under huge stress."

His treatment during questioning depended on the mood of his interrogators, he said. "If he is in a good mood, sometimes he allows you to sit on a chair without handcuffs. Or he may force you to sit on a small chair with an iron hoop behind it. Then he attaches your hands to the ring, and your legs to the chair legs. Sometimes you stay like that for four hours. It is painful.

"Sometimes they make fun of you. They ask if you want water, and if you say yes they bring it, but then the interrogator drinks it."

Ali Qadi did not see his parents during the 51 days he was detained before trial, he said, and was only allowed to see a lawyer after 10 days. He was accused of throwing stones and planning military operations, and after confessing was sentenced to six months in prison.The Guardian has affidavits from five other juveniles who said they were detained in solitary confinement in Al Jalame and Petah Tikva. All confessed after interrogation.

"Solitary confinement breaks the spirit of a child," said Horton. "Children say that after a week or so of this treatment, they confess simply to get out of the cell."

The Israeli security agency (ISA) – also known as Shin Bet – told the Guardian: "No one questioned, including minors, is kept alone in a cell as a punitive measure or in order to obtain a confession."

The Israeli prison service did not respond to a specific question about solitary confinement, saying only "the incarceration of prisoners…is subject to legal examination".

Juvenile detainees also allege harsh interrogation methods. The Guardian interviewed the father of a minor serving a 23-month term for throwing rocks at vehicles. Ali Odwan, from Azzun, said his son Yahir, who was 14 when he was arrested, was given electric shocks by a Taser while under interrogation.

"I visited my son in jail. I saw marks from electric shocks on both his arms, they were visible from behind the glass. I asked him if it was from electric shocks, he just nodded. He was afraid someone was listening,"
Odwan said.

DCI has affidavits from three minors accused of throwing stones who claim they were given electric shocks under interrogation in 2010.

Another Azzun youngster, Sameer Saher, was 13 when he was arrested at 2am. "A soldier held me upside down and took me to a window and said: 'I want to throw you from the window.' They beat me on the legs, stomach, face," he said.

His interrogators accused him of stone-throwing and demanded the names of friends who had also thrown stones. He was released without charge about 17 hours after his arrest. Now, he said, he has difficulty sleeping for fear "they will come at night and arrest me".

In response to questions about alleged ill-treatment, including electric shocks, the ISA said: "The claims that Palestinian minors were subject to interrogation techniques that include beatings, prolonged periods in handcuffs, threats, kicks, verbal abuse, humiliation, isolation and prevention of sleep are utterly baseless … Investigators act in accordance with the law and unequivocal guidelines which forbid such actions."

The Guardian has also seen rare audiovisual recordings of the interrogations of two boys, aged 14 and 15, from the village of Nabi Saleh, the scene of weekly protests against nearby settlers. Both are visibly exhausted after being arrested in the middle of the night. Their interrogations, which begin at about 9.30am, last four and five hours.

Neither is told of their legal right to remain silent, and both are repeatedly asked leading questions, including whether named people have incited them to throw stones. At one point, as one boy rests his head on the table, the interrogator flicks at him, shouting: "Lift your head, you." During the other boy's interrogation, one questioner repeatedly slams a clenched fist into his own palm in a threatening gesture. The boy breaks down in tears, saying he was due to take an exam at school that morning. "They're going to fail me, I'm going to lose the year," he sobs.

In neither case was a lawyer present during their interrogation.

Israeli military law has been applied in the West Bank since Israel occupied the territory more than 44 years ago. Since then, more than 700,000 Palestinian men, women and children have been detained under military orders.
Under military order 1651, the age of criminal responsibility is 12 years, and children under the age of 14 face a maximum of six months in prison.

However, children aged 14 and 15 could, in theory, be sentenced up to 20 years for throwing an object at a moving vehicle with the intent to harm. In practice, most sentences range between two weeks and 10 months, according to DCI.

In September 2009, a special juvenile military court was established. It sits at Ofer, a military prison outside Jerusalem, twice a week. Minors are brought into court in leg shackles and handcuffs, wearing brown prison uniforms. The proceedings are in Hebrew with intermittent translation provided by Arabic-speaking soldiers.
The Israeli prison service told the Guardian that the use of restraints in public places was permitted in cases where "there is reasonable concern that the prisoner will escape, cause damage to property or body, or will damage evidence or try to dispose of evidence".

The Guardian witnessed a case this month in which two boys, aged 15 and 17, admitted entering Israel illegally, throwing molotov cocktails and stones, starting a fire which caused extensive damage, and vandalising property. The prosecution asked for a sentence to reflect the defendants' "nationalistic motives" and to act as a deterrent.

The older boy was sentenced to 33 months in jail; the younger one, 26 months. Both were sentenced to an additional 24 months suspended and were fined 10,000 shekels (£1,700). Failure to pay the fine would mean an additional 10 months in prison.

Several British parliamentary delegations have witnessed child hearings at Ofer over the past year. Alf Dubs reported back to the House of Lords last May, saying: "We saw a 14-year-old and a 15-year-old, one of them in tears, both looking absolutely bewildered … I do not believe this process of humiliation represents justice. I believe that the way in which these young people are treated is in itself an obstacle to the achievement by Israel of a peaceful relationship with the Palestinian people."

Lisa Nandy, MP for Wigan, who witnessed the trial of a shackled 14-year-old at Ofer last month, found the experience distressing. "In five minutes he had been found guilty of stone-throwing and was sentenced to nine months. It was shocking to see a child being put through this process. It's difficult to see how a [political] solution can be reached when young people are being treated in this manner. They end up with very little hope for their future and very angry about their treatment."

Horton said a guilty plea was "the quickest way to get out of the system". If the children say their confession was coerced, "that provides them with a legal defence – but because they're denied bail they will remain in detention longer than if they had simply pleaded guilty".

An expert opinion written by Graciela Carmon, a child psychiatrist and member of Physicians for Human Rights, in May 2011, said that children were particularly vulnerable to providing a false confession under coercion.

"Although some detainees understand that providing a confession, despite their innocence, will have negative repercussions in the future, they nevertheless confess as the immediate mental and/or physical anguish they feel overrides the future implications, whatever they may be."

Nearly all the cases documented by DCI ended in a guilty plea and about three-quarters of the convicted minors were transferred to prisons inside Israel. This contravenes article 76 of the fourth Geneva convention, which requires children and adults in occupied territories to be detained within the territory.

The Israeli defence forces (IDF), responsible for arrests in the West Bank and the military judicial system said last month that the military judicial system was "underpinned by a commitment to ensure the rights of the accused, judicial impartiality and an emphasis on practising international legal norms in incredibly dangerous and complex situations".

The ISA said its employees acted in accordance with the law, and detainees were given the full rights for which they were eligible, including the right to legal counsel and visits by the Red Cross. "The ISA categorically denies all claims with regard to the interrogation of minors. In fact, the complete opposite is true – the ISA guidelines grant minors special protections needed because of their age."

Mark Regev, spokesman for the Israeli prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, told the Guardian: "If detainees believe they have been mistreated, especially in the case of minors … it's very important that these people, or people representing them, come forward and raise these issues. The test of a democracy is how you treat people incarcerated, people in jail, and especially so with minors."

Stone-throwing, he added, was a dangerous activity that had resulted in the deaths of an Israeli father and his infant son last year.

"Rock-throwing, throwing molotov cocktails and other forms of violence is unacceptable, and the security authorities have to bring it to an end when it happens."

Human rights groups are concerned about the long-term impact of detention on Palestinian minors. Some children initially exhibit a degree of bravado, believing it to be a rite of passage, said Horton. "But when you sit with them for an hour or so, under this veneer of bravado are children who are fairly traumatised." Many of them, he said, never want to see another soldier or go near a checkpoint. Does he think the system works as a deterrent? "Yes, I think it does."

According to Nader Abu Amsha, the director of the YMCA in Beit Sahour, near Bethlehem, which runs a rehabilitation programme for juveniles, "families think that when the child is released, it's the end of the problem. We tell them this is the beginning".

Following detention many children exhibit symptoms of trauma: nightmares, mistrust of others, fear of the future, feelings of helplessness and worthlessness, obsessive compulsive behaviour, bedwetting, aggression, withdrawal and lack of motivation.

The Israeli authorities should consider the long-term effects, said Abu Amsha. "They don't give attention to how this might continue the vicious cycle of violence, of how this might increase hatred. These children come out of this process with a lot of anger. Some of them feel the need for revenge.

"You see children who are totally broken. It's painful to see the pain of these children, to see how much they are squeezed by the Israeli system."

'Netanyahu violates intl. justice'

Sun Jan 22, 2012 10:48AM GMT
Former Dutch Prime Minister Dries Van Agt
Former Dutch Prime Minister Dries Van Agt says Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “bears the responsibility for numberless infringements of international justice.”

Van Agt made the remarks in an open letter to the Dutch Foreign Minister Uri Rosenthal and in reaction to Netanyahu's upcoming visit to the Netherlands.

“Israel has also violated as series of international treaties it signed up for. The Geneva Convention paragraph on the protection of civilians in wartime is one example, but there are many others, like the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the UN Convention against Torture,” a part of his letter read.

The former politician called on the Dutch government and parliament to criticize the Israeli premier for “continuing and accelerating the building of settlements” on the West Bank and in East al-Quds (Jerusalem).

Israel is carrying out settlement activities in the occupied territories, especially in East al-Quds (Jerusalem), despite international calls to stop such activities.

The international community considers all settlements built in the occupied West Bank as illegal.

The Dutch official also suggested the foreign minister to bring Netanyahu to justice at the international court of justice in the Hague “where he might explain why he is flouting the court's ruling on the Wall, also called the separation barrier.”

“Let us welcome Mr. Netanyahu and offer him an opportunity to communicate with people from outside the Binnenhof. He, and others, might learn something,” the letter said sarcastically.


Republican National Committee Endorses Elimination of Palestine from Middle East

Not only does Newt Gingrich believe there’s no such thing as a Palestinian people, the Republican National Committee does as well.  That mean that 20 years of bipartisan agreement between political parties and the foreign policy of presidents both Republican and Democratic, has been overturned by a resolution passed by the RNC last week.  Mitchell Plitnick reports that a nice, blond-haired white Christian Republican lady from South Carolina has dipped her toe in the deep waters of U.S. Middle East policy and suddenly become expert enough at it to topple long-term consensus.  Here’s what Cindy Costa came up with as the Party’s new approach:
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the members of this body support Israel in their natural and God-given right of self-governance and self-defense upon their own lands, recognizing that Israel is neither an attacking force nor an occupier of the lands of others; and that peace can be afforded the region only through a united Israel governed under one law for all people.
You’ll notice a number of things about this piece of pro-Israel brilliance: Palestine?  Nowhere to be found.  Two states?  Ditto.  Occupation? Ditto.  Mitchell is right in noting that it essentially posits a one-state solution.  The only thing it doesn’t do is decide what to do with the millions of Palestinians living in what used to be known, before the Republicans did away with it, the Occupied Territories.  Do you expel them outright or merely force them to live in an apartheid state?

Now that the Republicans have endorsed the one-state solution, maybe we should all stop pining for the days of two-states and start devising what sort of Israel should exist in the context of this “united Israel.”  Certainly not the one Mrs. Costa imagines, in which there either are no Palestinians or they exist somewhere at the margins of society.  No, all Palestinians must be given full equality, rights and citizenship within this grand unitary state of Israel.  We also must face the prospect that these Palestinian Arabs will likely outnumber Jews within a relatively short period of time.  They might indeed eventually assume political control in a coalition with or even without Jewish support.

The rights of the minority will be protected in that event by a constitution (hopefully), so Jews needn’t worry about their rights being trampled as Jews did to Palestinians when the former were in the majority.  Thus we have to put it to the Netanyahus and RNCs of the world: what type of Israel do you want?  One that eventually will have a Palestinian majority?  Or one that will exist alongside Palestine and possibly have the opportunity to retain a Jewish majority for a much longer period of time (I’m articulating this according to their perspective and values)?

The wording of the full resolution, which can be read at Plitnick’s blog, is a paean to Christian Zionist theology, waxing eloquent about Israel’s God-given right to all the territory granted to Abraham in the Bible.  It even quotes Scripture to seal the deal.  The only thing it doesn’t do is specify how many Jews will be killed before the Rapture in order to ensure the Second Coming of Jesus Christ back to the Holy Land.

 This entry was posted on Friday, January 20th, 2012 at 1:57 AM and is filed under Mideast Peace, Politics & Society. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

Zaher Birawi: Global march to Jerusalem a public global movement to demand the freedom of Jerusalem


The International Committee of the Global March towards Jerusalem declared at the conclusion of its conference in Beirut, the date of the Global March to Jerusalem: Friday, 30th March 2012.

In a press release that was issued after the end of the conference, they declared an agreement on the program of the escalating public global movement which will end up in the crawling of hundreds of thousands of Arab and international supporters through the neighboring countries and into Israel to participate in the peaceful demonstration, that demands to free Jerusalem and to stop all the Judaization measures that the Israeli forces carry out in the city immediately.

At the same time, the report confirmed that this global public movement is peaceful, and asked the neighboring Arab countries to facilitate the mission of the international supporters and the rest of the Arab nations who aim to shed light on the dangerous Zionist measures against the city and its people.

The conference was attended by a lot of representatives of international committees from different parts of the world; Europe, America, Asia and Africa, in addition to the representatives of the public forces in the Arab world, the neighboring countries and Palestine. They discussed and agreed on the movement plans and the activities set to take place in different countries all over the world. They also confirmed, through the final speeches made at the conference by the delegates, the complete seriousness of starting arrangements to guarantee the success of this global march.

Zaher Al-Birawi, the official spokesman and member of the executive committee of the Global March to Jerusalem, said that the meeting reflected an honest desire and great determination that the international representatives have, to make a move for the situation in Jerusalem, and put an end to the racist, Zionist procedures carried out by the Israeli forces. Birawi also confirmed that people all over the world would not stay silent anymore watching the Israeli forces’ actions against Jerusalem, its sacred places and its people, and that it would take actions dictated by the human conscience.

He also added that the march will be the start of a public global movement to demand the freedom of Jerusalem. He also said that it is time for Israel to listen to people and understand the message that the Arab Spring is trying to convey, that the will of the people cannot be ignored, and that people will state it clearly on March 30th; that they want to end the occupation and to free Jerusalem and Palestine.