Archive for February 11th, 2012

Gazans go on hunger strike to support Palestinian detainee

Sat Feb 11, 2012

Dozens of Gazans have gone on hunger strike to protest the illegal detention of a Palestinian prisoner who has himself been on hunger strike for nearly two months.

They announced the hunger strike at Friday Prayers in front of the office of the International committee of the Red Cross in Gaza.

The action is in solidarity with Palestinian prisoner Khader Adnan who has been on hunger strike in an Israeli jail for 55 days, a protest action he began a day after he was arrested in his home near the West Bank city of Jenin by a group of armed Israeli security personnel.

Adnan is protesting administrative detention, in which prisoners can be detained indefinitely without trial or charge.

According to Israeli human rights group B’Tselem, in 2011 there was a sharp increase in the number of Palestinian administrative detainees held by Israel, from 219 in January to 307 in December.

Prisoners’ rights advocates have called on the international community to stop Israeli violations of prisoners’ rights and save Adnan from imminent death.

Palestinian detainees in Israeli jails have warned that they will go on a hunger strike next Sunday unless Adnan is released.

According to prisoner advocacy groups, there are at least 6,000 Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails, many of whom are being held without charge or the opportunity to face trial.

Source: PressTV.

Libya expels Syrian diplomats


The Libyan foreign ministry gave Syrian diplomats 72 hours to leave the country, the official LANA news agency reported on Thursday (February 9th).

In Mauritania, protestors gathered Thursday outside the Syrian embassy in Nouakchott to demand the expulsion of the ambassador and express support for anti-regime demonstrators in Syria, AFP reported.

Source: Magharebia.

Russia kills Syrian children, anti-Russia rallies held across the country

10 February 2012

Explosions have rocked Syria’s commercial capital, Aleppo, with Alawite state media reporting attacks on a military intelligence building and a security forces headquarters.

Syrian state television said two explosions had taken place on Friday morning and blamed the attack on “armed terrorist gangs.”

The broadcaster quoted the Asad’s health ministry as saying that 28 people were killed and 235 wounded, including soldiers as and civilians.

“The number of casualties from the two car bombs in Aleppo has risen to 28 dead and 235 wounded,” the ministry said.

Mangled, bloodied bodies as well as severed limbs lay on the pavement outside the targeted buildings, as shown in live footage on Syrian Alawite television. It said one of the blasts targeted a military intelligence center and the other a security forces building.

Arif al-Hummoud, a commander of the Free Syrian Army, a name used by various armed groups, said that opposition fighters had carried out an attack but was not responsible for the bombings.

“A group from the Free Syrian Army attacked a branch of the military security and a security unit in Aleppo with only RPGs and light weapons,” he said.

The General Commission of the Syrian Revolution, an opposition group, said that the attacks were “staged by the regime,” in a statement emailed to the AFP news agency.

The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said 30 people had been killed in explosions in the neighborhoods of Sakhur and Marjeh and the Dawar el-Basel roundabout.

Meanwhile, demonstrations were held in cities across Syria on what activists called, “Russia is killing our children” Friday, in response to Russia and China vetoing a UN Security Council resolution last week.

In the flashpoint city of Homs, activists reported that Russian-made tanks were massing outside opposition neighborhoods, a week after government forces started continuously shelling the city.

Activists feared a major assault.

“The army seems determined to conquer the opposition neighborhoods – the Free Syria Army and some other armed opposition groups have been in control of those streets for some weeks now,” an activist said.

Al Jazeera’s Jane Ferguson reports from Homs, where some in the Alawite minority have joined the uprising

The activists said that while shelling stopped on Friday morning, the areas were “besieged by the army and people are calling for blood and bread”.

“Very little food is left and little medical aid is being provided to them”.

During lulls in the shelling, loudspeakers were used to call for blood donations and medical supplies, residents said.

Human Rights Watch (HRW), the New York-based organization, said in a report on Thursday that makeshift hospitals in besieged opposition areas of Homs were overflowing with dead and wounded from government bombardments and snipers.

Medical supplies are running out, at least three field hospitals have been hit and people are bleeding to death as it is too dangerous for rescuers to bring them to safety, HRW said.

The rights watchdog said since the military operation against opposition neighborhoods was launched on Friday night, government forces had fired hundreds of shells and mortar bombs, killing more than 300 people and wounding hundreds more, including women and children.

Source: Agencies
Kavkaz Center

Source: Kavkaz Center.

Syrians against Russia. Thousands of people take to streets

10 February 2012

Supporters of the Syrian opposition took on Friday to the streets of several cities to protest against Russia’s support for the ruling Alawite regime of Syria, according to media outlets.

Referring to the organizers of the rally, media outlets report that it is held under the slogan “Russia is killing our children”, tens of thousands of people are attending it.

Video footages are posted online, which show the bodies of Muslim children killed by the Alawite militants of al-Assad. The Syrians have emphasized that Russia is behind the killings of their children.

On Friday, the King of Saudi Arabia criticized the position of Russia in the UN Security Council

According to King Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz, the Russian and Chinese diplomats have undermined the level international confidence in the United Nations.

The veto right used by Moscow and Beijing, according to King, was an unfavorable step.

Russia and China for the second time blocked the Security Council resolution on Syria. This led to criticism not only of the West, but also a number of Arab countries.

Meanwhile, the Syrian opposition has made it clear that if they win Syria will expel Russia from the country. A few days ago, it was reported that the opposition of Syria has actually declared jihad on Russia, which supports the Assad’s regime.

“… We remembered it and declare the Jihad against you. We know perfectly well that Russia’s regime pays no attention to people’s lives, as in Chechnya, Afghanistan, Prague, Budapest, Georgia and Russia itself, where 800,000 people die each year …”, says the statement of the Syrian National Council.

Later the Syrian opposition confirmed its words by actions and seized the Russian embassy in Libyan capital of Tripoli.

In addition, massive and well-coordinated actions on attacking on a number of embassies inside and outside Syria had been organized.

It is to be recalled that Arab activists began in the popular social website a campaign, calling to boycott products made in China and Russia. This initiative stems from the fact that Moscow and Beijing vetoed a UN Security Council resolution against Syria, which was designed to punish Damascus for the ongoing carnage in the country and human rights violations.

Besides appeals voiced in several Arab countries calling to boycott the Russian and Chinese products have been supported by the Union of Arab Intellectuals.

In a statement, the Union urged Arab companies, Arab importers and purchasers to boycott Chinese and Russian goods and services, as well as to stop the cooperation with these countries in the cultural sphere.

Department of Monitoring
Kavkaz Center

Source: Kavkaz Center.

Palestinian prisoner on 55th day of hunger strike

Feb 9, 2012

JERUSALEM: In a high-stakes gamble, an imprisoned member of a Palestinian militant group has waged a hunger strike for almost two months, trying to draw attention to Israel’s military justice system and its treatment of detainees who can be held without charge for lengthy periods.

Khader Adnan, 33, has refused food for 55 days, making his hunger strike the longest ever waged by a Palestinian detainee. With his condition rapidly deteriorating, Israeli authorities, who consider him a terrorist, are nonetheless scrambling to keep him alive. His death could turn the previously obscure Adnan into a Palestinian hero and set off new violence.

Adnan, a member of the armed group Islamic Jihad, has lost 60 pounds (27 kilograms) and now weighs about 140 pounds (63 kilograms). His skin is discolored, his hair has fallen out, he cannot walk, and he has been shackled to his bed, said lawyers and his wife Randa, who have seen him in a series of Israeli hospitals.

He is drinking water that is occasionally enhanced with electrolytes and vitamins he needs to keep him alive. His condition is considered severe.

The protest could not only cost Adnan his life but could also have political implications.

Islamic Jihad, an Iranian-backed militant group that has killed dozens of Israelis in suicide bombings and other attacks, has vowed to punish Israel if Adnan dies. The group could fire rockets into Israel from its stronghold in the Gaza Strip, where it has recently built up a powerful arsenal of new weapons.

Adnan was a spokesman for Islamic Jihad in the West Bank. It isn’t known if he directly participated in attacks on Israelis, and officials would not say what he is suspected of.

Adnan is being held under a policy known as “administrative detention,” said his lawyer, Tamar Peleg-Sryck. The system allows Israel to hold suspected militants without charge based on secret information that is not shared with lawyers. It is generally used in cases deemed high-risk.

Adnan is being held under guard at an Israeli hospital, and prison officials say they are watching his condition closely. The prison service declined comment Thursday, but officials have said in the past that they have permission to force feed Adnan if necessary.

Adnan’s lawyers appealed the detention order Thursday at a special hearing in the hospital, said Mahmoud Hassan, one of his lawyers. There was no ruling and the judge could take a week to give his decision.

Hassan, who works for the prisoners’ advocacy group Addameer, said he was barred from discussing specifics of the hearing. But he said Adnan attended the hearing in a wheelchair, his hands and feet in shackles. He spoke with difficulty and vowed to continue his hunger strike.

Adnan is only allowing doctors from the Israel branch of Physicians for Human Rights and the International Committee of the Red Cross to check on his condition. Neither group would comment.

The case has generated widespread support in Palestinian society.

Small demonstrations in support of Adnan have been held in the West Bank and Gaza Strip in recent days. Followers exchange updates on Twitter, and Facebook users have changed their profile pictures to that of a bearded Adnan.

Adnan believes his imprisonment, and the events leading to his detention, have robbed him of his dignity, according to his wife and lawyers.

“My husband tells me, ‘I am striking against humiliation,’” said Randa Adnan. “His determination is strong, even though he resembles a man who has stepped away from life.”

Adnan began his hunger strike shortly after he was arrested in a raid on his home on Dec. 17 in the northern West Bank village of Arabeh.

Adnan claims soldiers made sexual innuendoes about his wife and mocked his Muslim faith. He also says Israeli agents beat him during interrogations, tied him in painful positions to a chair, ripped hair out of his beard and wiped dirt on his face. Israeli officials have not commented on those allegations.

He is also protesting his administrative detention.

Israeli military courts can order the detentions for up to six months and renew the orders indefinitely. Suspects have been held as long as three years at a time without charge, according to Israeli human rights groups.

Israel says the practice is necessary in cases of dangerous militants because airing the evidence would risk exposing its network of Palestinian informants. But critics say the system is open to abuse because it is not transparent.

Peleg-Sryck, the attorney, said there are currently 309 administrative detainees in Israeli jails. A prison spokeswoman was unable to verify that number.

Israel’s military justice system in the West Bank, set up after Israel captured the territory in the 1967 Mideast war, has come under scrutiny in unexpected quarters in recent weeks.

A film examining the system, “The Law in These Parts,” by Raanan Alexandrowicz was awarded the best international documentary by the Sundance Film Festival jury in Utah this year.

Based on interviews with former military judges, it portrays the system as a tool to justify Israel’s treatment of Palestinians. It showed how military judges who are supposed to be independent adjudicators faced the problem of trying suspects considered their enemies.

About 95 percent of Palestinian suspects in 2010 were convicted of at least one charge against them, according to a military court report.

Administrative detention prisoners represent a tiny fraction of the estimated 4,200 Palestinians held in Israel, many who are doing time for charges ranging from throwing stones at Israeli soldiers to killing Israeli civilians.

Palestinian society venerates the prisoners, overlooking their crimes and viewing them as freedom fighters.

The second longest hunger strike in Palestinian history was by a woman who refused food for 43 days before she was released in 1997.

The late Mohandas K. Gandhi popularized the hunger strike as a protest tool during the Indian independence movement in the 1940s. Another famous case was that of Bobby Sands, an Irish Republican Army activist who along with nine other inmates starved to death in a 1981 hunger strike in a British prison.

In recent years, dissidents in Venezuela and Cuba have died of hunger strikes.


Daniel Estrin in Jerusalem and Mohammed Daraghmeh in Ramallah contributed to this report.

Source: Arab News.

Tunisia’s top leader rejects recognition of Israel

Fri Feb 10, 2012

The leader of Tunisia’s Islamic party of al-Nahda, Rashed Ghannouchi, has officially announced that his country will never recognize Israel.

Ghannouchi said that there is no dispute between Islamic movements in the African state over the issue of Palestine, Tunisia’s media reported.

He also rejected speculations that Tunisia might adopt a secular governing system like the one ruling Turkey.

Israel enjoyed close ties with Tunisia under the rule of the US-backed former dictator, Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, who ruled the country for 23 years.

However, anti-Israeli sentiments have been growing since the country’s popular revolution, which began in late 2010 and resulted in the ouster of Ben Ali’s regime.

The al-Nahda party won the majority of the seats in the assembly last October, months after the removal of the despotic regime.

Self-immolation on December 17, 2010 of Mohamed Bouazizi, an unemployed man frustrated with poverty, sparked mass protests, which grew into the revolution.

The revolution marked the initiation of the wave of Islamic Awakening throughout North Africa and the Middle East and led to political change in Egypt and Libya.

Source: PressTV.

Three injured in pro-, anti-Assad clashes in Lebanon

WARNING: Article contains propaganda!

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Fri Feb 10, 2012

At least three people have been injured after groups supporting and opposing the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad clashed in the northern Lebanese city of Tripoli.

According to Lebanese sources, pro- and anti-Assad groups exchanged fire in the rival neighborhoods of Bab al-Tabbaneh and Jabal Mohsen on Friday shortly after an anti-Assad rally was held in Tripoli.

The army had deployed in the area earlier in the day but retreated

Two of the injured are reported to be soldiers, while the third is a passerby.

“There is a heavy armed presence and shooting in the Sunni Muslim neighborhood of Bab al-Tebbaneh and the Alawite neighborhood of Jabal Mohsen,” a security official said on condition of anonymity.

Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati has told the head of the army to “take necessary measures to halt these events” in the city.

Syrian President Assad, who is fighting an armed insurgency against his government, enjoys the support of the Alawite community.

Syria has been experiencing unrest since mid-March and many people have lost their lives in the violence. The West and the Syrian opposition accuse the government of killing protesters. But Damascus blames ”outlaws, saboteurs and armed terrorist groups” for the unrest, insisting that it is being orchestrated from abroad.

Source: PressTV.

Israelis continue general strike over salaries

Fri Feb 10, 2012

The general strike in Israel has entered its third day after negotiations between labor representatives and Israeli authorities failed.

A spokesman for the Histadrut labor federation said on Friday that the two sides have not yet reached an agreement.

Representatives of the labor federation and the finance ministry failed late Thursday to resolve the dispute over the rights of contract workers, who have lower salaries than their full-time colleagues, few benefits and can be fired without notice.

The sides will meet later in the day in the office of Histadrut chief Ofer Eini for another round of talks.

The Ben Gurion international airport and Israel’s harbors will remain open, while employees of office buildings and banks continue the open-ended strike.

The strike, called by the trade union Histadrut, has paralyzed Israel’s public sector and shut down transportation.

Source: PressTV.