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Archive for March 11th, 2008

West Sahara – the Forgotten Consensus

Posted by Henric C. Jensen on March 11, 2008


The International Community recognizes their right to self-determination, and has done so since the mid 1960’s. Still 160000 Sahrawis live under deplorable conditions in refugee camps in Algeria. Why? West Saharan territorial waters are extremely rich in fish, and Morocco have several lucrative trade agreements with a large number of World Nations, including the US, EU and Russia…if Morroco let West Sahara become independent, Morocco would loose a large, if not MAJOR source of income. So the Sahrawis are kept in oppression.

As the previous king of Morocco put it: “Human rights cease to exist at the borders of Western Sahara.” Morocco has occupied the territory for 32 years.”

Interview with Rabab Amidane, Western Sahara citizen and Human Rights Activist

The legal status of the territory and the question of its sovereignty remains unresolved; the territory is contested between Morocco and Polisario Front. It is considered a non self-governed territory by the United Nations.

The government of Morocco is a formally constitutional monarchy under Mohammed VI with a bicameral parliament. The last elections to the lower house were deemed reasonably free and fair by international observers. Certain powers such as the capacity to appoint the government and to dissolve parliament remain in the hands of the monarch. The Morocco-controlled parts of Western Sahara are divided into several provinces treated as integral parts of the kingdom. The Moroccan government heavily subsidizes the Saharan provinces under its control with cut-rate fuel and related subsidies, to appease nationalist dissent and attract immigrants – or settlers – from loyalist Sahrawi and other communities in Morocco proper.

The exiled government of the self-proclaimed Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR) is a form of single-party parliamentary and presidential system, but according to its constitution, this will be changed into a multi-party system at the achievement of independence. It is presently based at the Tindouf refugee camps in Algeria, which it controls. It also claims to control the part of Western Sahara to the east of the Moroccan Wall, as the Free Zone. This area is more or less unpopulated and the Moroccan government views it as a no-man’s land patrolled by UN troops.

The Western Sahara conflict has resulted in severe human rights abuses, most notably the displacement of tens of thousands of Sahrawi civilians from the country, the expulsion of tens of thousands of Moroccan civilians by the Algerian government from Algeria, and numerous casualties of war and repression.

During the war years (1975-91), both sides accused each other of targeting civilians. Moroccan claims of Polisario terrorism has generally little to no support abroad, with the USA, EU and UN all refusing to include the group on their lists of terrorist organizations. Polisario leaders maintain that they are ideologically opposed to terrorism, and insist that collective punishment and forced disappearances among Sahrawi civilians should be considered state terrorism on the part of Morocco. Both Morocco and the Polisario additionally accuse each other of violating the human rights of the populations under their control, in the Moroccan-controlled parts of Western Sahara and the Tindouf refugee camps in Algeria, respectively. Morocco and organizations such as France Libertés consider Algeria to be directly responsible for any crimes committed on its territory, and accuse the country of having been directly involved in such violations.

Human rights in Western Sahara – Wikipedia Main Article

Posted in African Politics, Refugees | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

Silly Babies

Posted by Henric C. Jensen on March 11, 2008


Israel is demanding that a formal calm with Hamas be preceded by a 30-day “feeling the pulse” period, the London-based daily Al-Quds al-Arabi reported Tuesday.

According to the newspaper, the demand was presented to Egyptian officials by Amos Gilad, who heads the Defense Ministry’s Diplomatic-Security Bureau.

The report quoted a “senior Palestinian source” as saying that if the 30-day period proves successful, Israel will assent to the Egyptian calm initiative, including the cessation of ground and air attacks in the Gaza Strip and refraining from retaliating for the terror attack at the Mercaz Harav Yeshiva last week.

Hamas spokesman in Gaza, Aiman Taha, told Al-Hayyat that the organizations still maintains that the calm should be mutual, simultaneous and all-inclusive. He said that Hamas’s conditions included extending the calm to the West Bank, opening the border passes and ceasing assassination of Palestinian targets.

I must say I do not understand why this is so hard to agree to. Just stop fighting for 30 days, don’t do anything that will lead to violence on either side…

It’s not even a unilateral deal, it’s bilateral thing, no-one is loosing face… and still they can’t do it. Silly Babies.

Posted in Israel/Palestine | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

Hamas Haunting Ashkelon

Posted by Henric C. Jensen on March 11, 2008


JERUSALEM (AP) – Palestinian militants in Gaza have launched a rocket at the Israeli city of Ashkelon a short time after Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert left the area.Israeli police say the rocket landed in an open area just south of the city. Nobody was hurt.The rocket fire came during a lull in fighting between Israel and Hamas militants. Intense violence had left three Israelis and 120 Palestinians dead, including dozens of civilians.Israel pulled its forces out of Gaza last week and militants scaled back their rocket fire. Egypt has been serving as a mediator between Israel and Hamas rulers, but both sides have denied there was an official cease-fire in place.

There has been no claim of responsibility from Gaza for the rocket fire. But Israel says it holds Hamas responsible, since it controls Gaza.

If it’s Kassam, Katushya or something else fired from Hamas controlled territory, it’s Hamas, who else would want to try and kill Israelis?

Posted in Israel/Palestine | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

Palestinian Perspective

Posted by Henric C. Jensen on March 11, 2008


MAHMOUD QALAJA, 20, STUDENT, GAZA CITY

“It’s miserable, the Israelis have killed 118 people so far. Yesterday [Sunday], they killed a neighbour of mine, he was 15 and was playing football in the street.

They suddenly attacked a house near where he was playing. One of the shells hit him, I saw it happening about 100 metres away from me.

Six others in the area also died and some of his friends were injured.

I am staying at home now. I was supposed to go and study in Amsterdam, but I haven’t been able to leave. I had visas for January and February and I’m still here.

I am not politically active. But I do want to live in peace without any trouble. We are in a political war.

Hamas are the only ones fighting the occupation – they are the cause of this invasion. They are the ones to blame.

On the other hand [Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud] Abbas has been shaking hands with [Israeli Prime Minister Ehud] Olmert – at the same time Olmert is giving orders to kill us.

Abbas gave the Israelis the chance to invade Gaza because of the divisions between Hamas and Fatah.

We, the people, are the victims. I think Israelis and Palestinians are all exhausted by the bloodshed.”

This guys isn’t blaming the Israelis. He isn’t specifying “people”. A moderate Palestinian. Interesting that the Anti-Israelis don’t support this guy instead of Hamas and Hezbollah. I suppose they don’t want peace.

Posted in Israel/Palestine | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

Media Examples of Virulence…

Posted by Henric C. Jensen on March 11, 2008


Israel, pull no punches in Gaza

Journalist: Richard Chesnoff

Gaza’s Islamic rocket war against Israel is a growing threat. No third party is going to send a proxy force to control Gaza – not the U.S., not NATO.

And while there are clear dangers in the Israeli Army reoccupying the Gaza Strip en force, it increasingly looks like the only way to cleanse Gaza of the terrorist slime that controls it.

Israel withdrew from Gaza with hopes that it might become a shining light of Palestinian independence. Instead, it’s a beacon of bedlam.

Why should Israel have to supply electricity, fuel and other basics to a terror state determined to destroy it? Let Egypt and other Arab states worry about Gaza. Failing that, consider cutting a 10-mile deep trench around the benighted Gaza Strip and pushing it out to sea.

Now, it might be that one is angry, but that kind of verbal attacks leveled at the Palestinian Militants/Terrorists doesn’t do anything to give an objective picture of the events. Yes, it’s an opinion piece, I realize that, but claiming that the rockets being launched from inside Gaza at Israel are “Islamic” is not an opinion, that’s a prejudice and Islamophobic to boot. Suggesting that the entire Palestinian population of Gaza should be pushed into the sea because of the doings of what is still a minority of Palestinians, is no better than suggesting that every Jew in Israel be pushed into the sea. Richard Chesnoff, could do well to think about that.

Police is refusing to pass on the body of the terrorist who murdered eight pupils at the Mercaz Harav Yeshiva last week to his family, Army Radio reported Monday. According to the report, police said they would only release the body if the family promises to hold a “humble” funeral with few participants.

The body was due to be released on Sunday, but the police against it, arguing that there were too many mourners gathered at the family home, in violation of an earlier agreement with the family.

On Sunday afternoon, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert held consultations with officials regarding the mourning tent erected at the home of the terrorist’s family.

From the National Insurance Institute (NII) inquiry it emerged that the killer’s parents were not entitled to benefit payments for their son’s death. The NII also decided to withhold burial assistance.

That is sure to make tension go away… “a humble funeral”. Now, I can well imagine that the Police has convinced themselves that they want few participants to avoid any clashes and other security risks, but honestly I doubt that to be more than a simple gloss-over.

It’s a nice way of kicking the family in the groin and humiliate them. Oh, sure they raised him, and something they must have passed on – if nothing else a basic idea that taking lives is acceptable. Regardless, that doesn’t justify humiliating his family, even if all male members were somehow involved, which I honestly doubt that they were. A few cousins perhaps, but certainly not his mother and sister. It seems that basically all male members of his family are held in custody by the police, so why deprive his mother and sister of the comfort it gives to have a real funeral?

Let me remind of the Prophet Hezekiel 18:4 “Behold, all souls are Mine. As the soul of the father, also the soul of the son, they are Mine. The soul that sins, it shall die.”

Ala Abu Dhaim is dead, he has paid and rightly so. To make his family pay for his crime is wrong.

Posted in Israel/Palestine | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

Where are they going?

Posted by Henric C. Jensen on March 11, 2008


Bethlehem, West Bank – Fadi al-Amour and his friends – high school seniors – spent more time last week on the street than in class. Every day, they marched on Rachel’s Tomb, guarded by Israeli soldiers, and, along with hundreds of other young Palestinians, pelted the nearest symbol of Israeli power with rocks and Molotov cocktails.

“We were implementing what our leaders in the prisons tell us we should be doing. Even Marwan Barghouthi has warned that this is where we’re going: the third intifada,” says Mr. Amour, mentioning the Fatah figure jailed by Israel in 2002 for his role in the last intifada, which lasted from 2000 to 2004.

From Gaza rocket strikes and West Bank riots to a deadly shooting inside Jerusalem late last week, many Palestinians are saying – or perhaps hoping – that these incidents of violence will spark a new, much broader conflict with Israel.

Those who are encouraging a further escalation say it’s overdue. Others, including many who remember the misery of past intifadas, worry that this will just drag the Palestinian cause down a dead-end street.

Intifada

“There might be an escalation in the coming weeks and months, and an escalation has already been going on in Gaza in recent weeks and months,” says Ali Jarbawi, a political scientist at Birzeit University, near Ramallah.

But, he says, there might be a danger in rushing to label the events of the last few weeks as the start of another intifada. “People are feeling a sense of despair. They’re frustrated by the [new Israeli-Palestinian negotiations] leading nowhere, and [by] the internal situation between Hamas and Fatah,” he says. “But I don’t see that translating into a concrete, continuous event, which I think is something that defines an intifada. Let’s wait and see.”

Escalation?!! Ok. My wife just said: “I didn’t know the Second Intifada had ended…?!” I have to agree with her. It sounds a bit sensationalist to start talking about a Third Intifada, when the Second is still going on. But then, media has a big part in the conflict’s more virulent elements.

JERUSALEM — The government of Israel said Sunday that it had approved the construction of hundreds of homes in a West Bank settlement north of Jerusalem, a move that could further complicate a peace effort already hobbled by violence.

Givat Zeev settlement

The announcement slightly eased pressure on Prime Minister Ehud Olmert from the right wing in his government, particularly after a Palestinian resident of East Jerusalem fatally shot eight students, most of them teenagers, at a prestigious Jewish seminary in western Jerusalem on Thursday.

But the move occurred days before an American envoy, Lt. Gen. William M. Fraser III, was expected to arrive in the region for the first three-party meeting with Israelis and Palestinians on fulfillment of obligations under the 2003 peace plan called the road map.

The plan calls for the Palestinians to halt all violence and for the Israelis to cease all settlement construction, including building meant to accommodate “natural growth.”

Dumb move, Olmert, dumb move. However, being the Prime Minister of Israel cannot be easy. Trying to please both the Right and the Left and the Palestinians. But if he can get the Extremist Settlers to stop their “out-posting”. The word “out-post” is some thing you have in war, along the enemy border, to keep an eye on them – it’s no place to bring your wives and children. Why not just call it un-authorized settlement? That at least would be true.

I am sure all of this is a journalist’s wet dream. Blood, gore, conflict and violence sell news papers and videos, raise the ratings and make a lot of people, including the journalists, rich. So of course it all has to be described as colorful as possible.

Why is it that media is not reporting about the regular Palestinians, Arabs and Israelis, who all go about their lives in a normal fashion. Sure building Settlements is a dumb and illegal idea, but at the same time it creates jobs – the two guys, in the picture of Givat Zeev, are Arabs, who feed their families building those Settlements. Would they have the same opportunity in Palestine? I am not too sure about that. So, every coin has two sides, which one you see is just as much up to you as to chance.

Posted in Israel/Palestine | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

 
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