Archive for October 20th, 2011

Israel, Turkey lock horns over flotilla

Sat Jul 9, 2011

Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak has once again rejected Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s conditions for the normalization of diplomatic relations.

“Israel did not commit any crime,” he said in an interview with Israel’s Channel 1 television on Friday night, the Israeli daily Haaretz reported.

He made the remarks after Erdogan said earlier on Friday that Israel must apologize for the killing of nine Turkish pro-Palestinian activists last year.

On May 31, 2010, Israeli commandos attacked the first Freedom Flotilla in international waters in the Mediterranean Sea, killing nine Turkish citizens on board the Turkish-flagged M.V. Mavi Marmara and injuring about 50 other people who were part of the team on the six-ship convoy.

Israeli troops also forced the ships to dock at an Israeli port and detained all those on board.

During a speech to the Turkish parliament, Erdogan also said Tel Aviv should lift its four-year blockade of Gaza and pay compensation to the victims of the flotilla attack.

However, the Israeli defense minister said he expected the UN inquiry to vindicate Israel’s actions.

“The Palmer commission will say that Israel acted according to international law. The blockade is legal, stopping the ships is legal, the use of force in these circumstances is justified,” Barak said.

On Thursday, an Israeli official said that a UN report on Israel’s flotilla attack would be published on July 27.

Source: PressTV.

Jordanians call for ouster of PM Bakhit

Jul 8, 2011

AMMAN: Jordanians demonstrated on Friday for the fifth week in a row in several cities calling for the resignation of Prime Minister Marouf Bakhit’s government, the dissolution of the lower house of parliament and taking serious moves to punish corrupt officials, witnesses said.

Hundreds of protesters took to the streets after Friday prayers in the city of Tafileh, 180 km south of Amman, to press their demand for Bakhit’s ouster.

They issued a statement rejecting last week’s reshuffle of Bakhit’s cabinet as a fresh evidence of the government’s “weak will” to carry out the needed political reforms and a move designed to “kill the public mobility.”

“The decision-makers have to stop their procrastination, piracy and the cover-up they provide for corrupts,” the statement said.

In the reshuffle, Bakhit appointed nine new ministers, including replacements for the ministers of the Interior, Justice and Health who resigned in connection with the fleeing of the convicted tycoon Khalid Shahin.

Shahin, who was serving a three-year jail term when he fled to London on Feb. 25, is now in Frankfurt under the pretext of seeking medical treatment that he says he could not find locally.

Jordanian authorities said they were in contact with the German government seeking to ensure Shahin’s extradition to Jordan.

Scores of activists demonstrated for the first time in the city of Mafraq, 50 km east of Amman, urging King Abdallah to sack the cabinet and dissolve the House of Representatives. They also called for Bakhit’s trial over his role in the so-called 2007 casino deal, when his government then allowed a London-based investor to build a casino on the eastern shore of the Dead Sea.

Samir Rifai, who succeeded Bakhit as premier, sought to annul the agreement in 2008, contending that it harmed Jordan’s interests and involved taboos because Islamic teachings prohibit gambling.

The lower house voted recently to clear Bakhit of wrongdoings, but implicated former Tourism Minister Osama Dabbas.

Source: Arab News.

Haniyeh praises Gaza flytilla campaign

Sat Jul 9, 2011

Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh has praised the activists who started the Gaza ‘flytilla’ campaign to support Palestinians living under Israeli occupation.

“More than 66 flights originated from different European cities to go to Al-Lod (Ben Gurion) airport to support the steadfastness of the Palestinian people, and to say no to the Zionist occupation,” he told a crowd gathered at a mosque in Gaza City on Friday, AP reported.

Israeli police detained 69 activists upon their arrival at Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion Airport on Friday. A total of 25 other activists were also denied entry into Israel.

Four of the 69 activists have been deported to their home countries and the rest have been sent to detention facilities, the Israeli daily Haaretz reported.

The activists were part of the pro-Palestinian Welcome to Palestine campaign, which has been organizing the flytilla to Israel.

The effort is meant to be a complement to the Gaza Freedom Flotilla II, a convoy of ships organized by activists to deliver humanitarian supplies to the 1.5 million residents of the Gaza Strip.

The 10-ship humanitarian flotilla was scheduled to leave Greek ports for the coastal enclave in early July, with the goal of breaking Israel’s blockade of the impoverished territory.

However, the flotilla was prohibited from leaving the ports after the Greek government made a sudden decision to impose a blanket ban on the departure of any vessels destined for Gaza.

Source: PressTV.