Archive for November, 2011

Erdogan affirms Gaza visit


Al Qassam website – Turkish premier Recep Erdogan on Tuesday affirmed intention to visit the Gaza Strip later this month.

Turkish media quoted Erdogan as telling reporters before leaving on a visit for Northern Cyprus that given appropriate circumstances he would consider visiting Gaza.

He pointed out that the Turkish foreign ministry was currently preparing for the visit and that his visit would depend on such preparations.

The Turkish deputy premier said earlier that Erdogan would visit Egypt after visiting northern Cyprus, adding that the visit would take place on 23rd July or within ten days.

Source: Ezzedeen al-Qassam Brigades – Information Office.


Hamas condemns Israel’s piracy


Al Qassam website – Hamas has strongly condemned ”the international piracy” against the pro-Palestinian activists on board the French Dignite – Al-Karama boat, which set out to challenge Israel’s siege of the Gaza Strip.

An Israeli army spokesperson has announced that Israeli naval forces intercepted the yacht on Tuesday as it neared the Gaza coast.

The force claimed the boat had weapons on board, which the passengers have denied altogether.

Israeli Radio said the interception took place without incidents reported.

Hamas said in a statement that ensued: ”The Zionist occupier’s continuance in preventing the supporters and humanitarian aid from arriving to the besieged Gaza Strip and its attacks on them will not stop the solidarity campaigns with the Palestinian people, but will increase the determination and work until the siege and injustice on our people in occupied Palestine is lifted”.

Hamas emphasized the need for continued siege-busting campaigns and called on human rights groups not to surrender to Israeli pressure and to help expose Israel’s practices and prosecute its leaders in the international courts.

Dr. Ahmed Bahar, the deputy speaker of the Palestinian Legislative Council, also condemned the attack, adding that the Israeli government was responsible for the safety of the Dignite’s 17 passengers, who were taken to the Israeli Ashdod port and detained.

He added that the act contravened the most basic human rights principles and international law.

Discussing the next step to be taken, Bahar called on Arab and Muslim organizations to lead a rights movement in facing Israel’s acts by filing legal complaints with all international courts.

In a separate statement, the popular committee against the siege on Gaza blamed world silence for Israel’s continued attacks on pro-Palestinian activists who come from abroad.

Another statement by Hamas leader Ismail Radwan calls the boat takeover a war crime.

Radwan called on the international community to act urgently to preserve the safety of the pro-Palestinian activists who were on board and allow the Dignite to be released to the Gaza Strip.

Source: Ezzedeen al-Qassam Brigades – Information Office.

Rights group: Release of Raed Salah a ‘victory for justice’

Tuesday 19/07/2011

BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — A European human rights NGO has welcomed the release of Sheikh Raed Salah after 3 weeks in British detention.

The chairman of UFree Mohammad Ramdan on Monday called the release a “victory for justice” and said Salah’s arrest had tarnished the reputation of Britain’s justice system.

UFree believes he was arrested following a campaign of lies and smears against him by the pro-Israeli right wing press in the UK, Ramdan added.

“We understand that Sheikh Salah’s lawyers will now take action against journalists who have spread unfounded rumors against the Sheikh to clear his name.”

Sheikh Raed Salah’s arrest has been widely condemned by sections of Palestinian and Arab society.

UFree is an independent European-wide human rights network set up to defend the rights of Palestinian prisoners and detainees.

Source: Ma’an News Agency.

Hezbollah warns Israel over gas fields

Mon Jul 18, 2011

Lebanon’s resistance movement Hezbollah has warned Israel against violating Lebanese sovereignty by exploring disputed waters in the Mediterranean Sea for offshore gas fields.

“The Israeli enemy cannot drill a single meter in these waters to search for gas and oil if the zone is disputed,” said Mohammed Raad, head of the Hezbollah parliamentary bloc, AFP reported on Sunday.

Raad added that the Lebanese government, where Hezbollah holds the majority, will restore the sovereignty of their waters in their entirety.

The controversy over the eastern Mediterranean gas deposits has intensified since July 12 when Tel Aviv approved a map of Israel’s proposed maritime borders with Lebanon.

Last week, Lebanese Foreign Minister Adnan Mansour stated that the maritime frontier as proposed by Israel, which cuts through Lebanon’s economic zone, threatened regional security.

Israel has long been trying to develop several large offshore natural gas fields in the hope that, by exploiting them, it could turn into an energy exporter.

Some of the natural gas fields are shared with Cyprus.

Meanwhile, Gebran Bassil, Lebanon’s minister of energy and water, has also stressed that Beirut will not abandon its maritime rights, voicing serious concerns about Israeli “violations of (Lebanese) waters, territory and airspace, and … oil rights.”

The Israeli military invaded southern Lebanon in July 2006 with the intention of eliminating the resistance movement. The invasion, also known as the 33-Day War, killed about 1,200 Lebanese, most of them civilians.

Hezbollah, however, inflicted heavy losses on the Israeli forces and Tel Aviv was compelled to withdraw without having achieved any of its objectives.

Israel violates Lebanese airspace on an almost daily basis, claiming the flights serve surveillance purposes.

Lebanon’s government, the Hezbollah resistance movement, and the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon, known as UNIFIL, have repeatedly condemned the overflights, saying they are in clear violation of the country’s sovereignty and the UN Resolution 1701, which calls on Tel Aviv to respect Beirut’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.

Source: PressTV.

Jordanians protest govt. brutality

Sun Jul 17, 2011

Dozens of Jordanians protest the government’s recent brutality against the journalists, who were trying to cover anti-regime rallies.

The protesters, who consisted of journalists and human rights activists, staged a sit-in in the capital, Amman, on Sunday, Xinhua reported.

They voiced outrage at the police brutality against scores of journalists during anti-government demonstrations on Friday.

At least ten people were injured during the crackdown with witnesses saying that some of the assaulted journalists had suffered bruises and fractures.

The Jordan Press Association, who joined the expression of objection, said it would file lawsuits against those involved in the assault.

Tareq Momani, the association’s president said that the reporters were only “doing their job.”

Emboldened by the revolutions in the Middle East and North Africa, Jordanians have been staging sporadic popular protests since January.

During the Friday rallies, they repeated their demand for the resignation of the prime minister, dissolution of the parliament and implementation of political and economic reforms.

Source: PressTV.

Syrian forces surround border town

ALBOKAMAL, Syria, July 18 (UPI) — Syrian security forces were poised to begin a major military operation to quash dissent in an eastern town where dozens of soldiers defected, residents said.

At least 1,000 troops, some backed by tanks, surrounded Albokamal, near the Iraqi border Monday in an “explosive” situation, the pro-government private daily newspaper al-Watan reported.

The army was “preparing to intervene,” the newspaper said, but Syrian authorities feared fierce resistance among insurgents who could “easily find logistical and political support.”

Until now, the military largely stayed out of Albokamal and Deir el-Zour, a city of more than 500,000 on the Euphrates River, also near Iraq, out of fear its presence could ignite tribal anger against the government, The New York Times reported.

The tribes wield great influence and have relations with tribes in Iraq, the Times said.

“I expect the regime to send more troops to seize the city and punish those soldiers who defected,” an Albokamal resident who arrived in Damascus Sunday told the U.S. newspaper. “It will be a big mistake to let the army enter our city.”

The troops arrived a day after security forces and armed plainclothes men killed five protesters in Albokamal, including a 14-year-old boy.

The killings brought thousands of angry residents into the streets, overwhelming the security forces, the Times said, and video posted on YouTube indicated.

Residents of Hama told the BBC Monday that 50 protesters arrested recently have been freed and government offices have reopened.

The city has been under opposition control since the security forces withdrew in June. Activists have lifted their checkpoints and let businesses reopen in return for a halt to raids.

In Homs, sectarian violence was reported over the weekend.

The Observatory for Human Rights told the BBC a pro-regime militia attacked a Sunni Muslim neighborhood, killing 30 people, after the mutilated corpses of three Alawites, members of President Bashar Assad’s sect, were found.

Human rights activists say at least 1,400 protesters were killed in the Assad regime’s crackdown on dissent since March and more than 12,000 people were still detained, most without being charged.

The government disputes death toll and blames the unrest on Islamist extremists, accusing them of killing hundreds of soldiers and other security forces.

Source: United Press International (UPI).

Jordan riot police held over Amman clashes

17 July 2011

The Jordanian authorities have detained four police officers on suspicion of using excessive force against pro-democracy protesters and journalists.

Friday saw baton-wielding police officers clash with dozens of demonstrators trying to set up a protest camp in the center of the capital Amman.

At least 15 people were injured in the confrontation.

Among them were several photographers and journalists.

This has led to claims that police targeted reporters to stop them covering the protest.

About 100 journalists held a protest in Amman on Sunday to condemn the police action.

Police spokesman Lt Col Mohamed al-Khatib said an investigation was under way to determine whether policemen had broken the law. He said more officers could be arrested.

The Jordan Press Association has said it plans to sue the country’s police department.

Jordan, in common with Arab nations across the Middle East, has seen the recent emergence of a protest movement demanding political and economic reforms, and an end to corruption.

Source: British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC).