Archive | May 14th, 2013

Ahmadinejad: ‘Palestine will one day be liberated’

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By JPOST.COM STAFF
Iranian  president to US  university  students: US  should "stop supporting the Zionist regime," dialogue with IsraHell won't solve problems.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Photo: REUTERS/Morteza Nikoubazl
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said he believes “Palestine will one day be liberated,” saying the Iranian government believes it is the Palestinians’ right to establish a state, speaking with university students in New York on Wednesday.

It would be better for the United States, he added, to “stop supporting the Zionist regime,” the official Iranian IRNA news agency reported.

Entering dialogue with Israel, Ahmadinejad added, would not solve the Palestinians’s problems. He was referring to US President Barack Obama’s speech at the United Nations Wednesday, in which he said that only negotiations could lead to the establishment of a Palestinian state.

Israel itself, he claimed, was established “in a bid to extend dominance over the Middle East.”

Addressing the Arab Spring and changes taking place throughout the Middle East, the Iranian president told students and teaching staff of several universities that recent events are a response to US hegemonic policies.

Middle Eastern nations, he said, are fed up with the “bullying” policies of the West.

Several days earlier, in an interview with American journalist Charlie Rose, Ahmadinejad also addressed the American hikers who were subsequently released from Iranian prison.

Asked about the case, Ahmadinejad said that he “would like to see all prisoners released,” especially political prisoners.

Questioned whether that statement applies to political prisoners in Iran, he denied that the Islamic Republic has any political prisoners, saying the state’s law doesn’t allow for it.

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7 million Palestinian refugees since Palestinian Nakba

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Al Qassam website- Ramallah- More than 7 million Palestinian refugees, uprooted from their homes and lands since the Palestinian Nakba (the usurpation of Palestine), are still hoping to return to their homeland, and reject the notion of land swaps.Many of the Palestinian families who fled Palestine still hold keys to their homes after being forced to leave their lands and homes at gunpoint. 

MP Mona Mansour stressed the right of return for all Palestinian refugees who were forcibly expelled from their historical lands. She confirmed her total rejection of the notion of land swaps, warning of its seriousness on the Palestinian cause.

Dr Abdel Sattar Qassem Professor of Political studies confirmed that Nakba anniversary highlights the Palestinian refugees’ adherence to their right of return despite their difficult living conditions in refugee camps.

The refugee Ahmed Abu Saada from Jalazoun refugee camp confirmed that the Palestinian right of return will never be compromised. Resistance is the only reliable option to return to our homeland, he stressed.

The Palestinian expert in settlements affairs Khalil Tufkaji expressed his rejection to the idea of land swaps, saying that it legalizes the Israeli settlement and prevents the territorial contiguity of the Palestinian desired state.

The Palestinian right of return is a sacred right inherited by successive generations and no one is entitled to compromise it, the refugee, Hamdan Khamis from the Askar refugee camp east of Nablus said.

In 1948, nearly 714 thousand Palestinians were forcibly displaced from the homes and ended up in various internal and external refugee camps.

Millions of refugees are still displaced in various refugee camps as Israel continues to deny their internationally-guaranteed Right of Return to their homes.

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Revealed: Military emails show that NO U.S. sailors witnessed Osama bin Laden’s secret burial at sea

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  • Emails describe how Osama bin Laden’s body was washed, wrapped in a white sheet and slid into the sea after religious remarks in Arabic
  • Defense Department says it cannot find any images or videos of bin Laden’s aboard USS Carl Vinson 
  • Pentagon failed to produce autopsy report, death certificate or results of DNA tests
  • Military officials referred to bin Laden’s body as ‘package’ in coded missives 
  • Release of emails mark first public disclosure of information about bin Laden’s May 1, 2011 death

By DAILY MAIL REPORTER

 

Enemy No 1: Internal emails released by the Defense Department show that no U.S. sailors witnessed Osama bin Laden's burial at sea aboard USS Carl Vinson Enemy No 1: Internal emails released by the Defense Department show that no U.S. sailors witnessed Osama bin Laden’s burial at sea aboard USS Carl Vinson

Internal emails among U.S. military officers indicate that no American sailors watched Osama bin Laden’s burial at sea from the USS Carl Vinson, and traditional Islamic procedures were followed during the secret ceremony.

The emails, obtained by The Associated Press through the Freedom of Information Act, are heavily blacked out, but are the first public disclosure of government information about the al-Qaida leader’s death. The emails were released Wednesday by the Defense Department.

Bin Laden was killed on May 1, 2011, by a Navy SEAL team that assaulted his compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan.

One email stamped secret and sent on May 2 by a senior Navy officer briefly describes how bin Laden’s body was washed, wrapped in a white sheet, and then placed in a weighted bag.

According to another message from the Vinson’s public affairs officer, only a small group of the ship’s leadership was informed of the burial.

‘Traditional procedures for Islamic burial was followed,’ the May 2 email from Rear Adm. Charles Gaouette reads. ‘The deceased’s body was washed (ablution) then placed in a white sheet. The body was placed in a weighted bag.

‘A military officer read prepared religious remarks, which were translated into Arabic by a native speaker. After the words were complete, the body was placed on a prepared flat board, tipped up, whereupon the deceased’s body slid into the sea.’

Final destination: Bin Laden's body was taken to an unknown location aboard USS Carl Vinson and dropped into the sea, but the Defense Department says that it cannot find any images showing the terrorist mastermind's remains on the ship Final destination: Bin Laden’s body was taken to an unknown location aboard USS Carl Vinson and dropped into the sea, but the Defense Department says that it cannot find any images showing the terrorist mastermind’s remains on the ship.

Fallen mastermind: In this undated file image from video seized from bin Laden's walled compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, the al Qaeda leader watches TVFallen mastermind: In this undated file image from video seized from bin Laden’s walled compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, the al Qaeda leader watches TV

Stronghold: Members of the anti-terrorism squad are seen surrounding the compound where bin Laden was killed by Navy SEAL Team 6 in Abbottabad May 4, 2011Stronghold: Members of the anti-terrorism squad are seen surrounding the compound where bin Laden was killed by Navy SEAL Team 6 in Abbottabad May 4, 2011

The email also included a cryptic reference to the intense secrecy surrounding the mission.

‘The paucity of documentary evidence in our possession is a reflection of the emphasis placed on operational security during the execution of this phase of the operation,’ Gaouette’s message reads.

Long-awaited news: U.S. President Barack Obama is pictured after announcing live on television the death of Osama bin Laden from the East Room of the White House in Washington May 1, 2011Long-awaited news: U.S. President Barack Obama is pictured after announcing live on television the death of Osama bin Laden from the East Room of the White House in Washington May 1, 2011

Recipients of the email included Adm. Mike Mullen, then the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Gen. James Mattis, the top officer at U.S. Central Command. Mullen retired from the military in September 2011.

Earlier, Gaouette, then the deputy commander of the Navy’s Fifth Fleet, and another officer used code words to discuss whether the helicopters carrying the SEALs and bin Laden’s body had arrived on the Vinson.

‘Any news on the package for us?’ he asked Rear Adm. Samuel Perez, commander of the carrier strike group that included the Vinson.

‘FEDEX delivered the package,’ Perez responded. ‘Both trucks are safely enroute home base.’

Although the Obama administration has pledged to be the most transparent in American history, it is keeping a tight hold on materials related to the bin Laden raid.

In a response to separate requests from the AP for information about the mission, the Defense Department said in March that it could not locate any photographs or video taken during the raid or showing bin Laden’s body. It also said it could not find any images of bin Laden’s body on the Vinson.

The Pentagon also said it could not find any death certificate, autopsy report or results of DNA identification tests for bin Laden, or any pre-raid materials discussing how the government planned to dispose of bin Laden’s body if he were killed.

Historic moment: In this May 1, 2011, image, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden receive an update on the bin Laden mission in the Situation Room Historic moment: In this May 1, 2011, image, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden receive an update on the bin Laden mission in the Situation Room

The Defense Department also refused to confirm or deny the existence of helicopter maintenance logs and reports about the performance of military gear used in the raid.

One of the stealth helicopters that carried the SEALs to Abbottabad crashed during the mission and its wreckage was left behind. People who lived near bin Laden’s compound took photos of the disabled chopper.

The CIA, which ran the bin Laden raid and has special legal authority to keep information from ever being made public, has not responded to AP’s request for records about the mission.

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Yeshiva Rabbi admits he Sexually abused boy at Camp

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Three days into trial, Yosef Kolko changes plea to guilty after other accusers come forward

By  
Yosef Kolko, right, walks with an unidentified man, near the Ocean County Courthouse in Toms River, NJ, Thursday, May 9, 2013, during a break in his trial on sexual assault charges. (photo credit: AP Photo/Mel Evans)

Yosef Kolko, right, walks with an unidentified man, near the Ocean County Courthouse in Toms River, NJ, Thursday, May 9, 2013, during a break in his trial on sexual assault charges. (photo credit: AP Photo/Mel Evans)

Rabbi Yoself Kolko, 36, shifted uncomfortably on the stand as he pleaded guilty to aggravated sexual assault, attempted aggravated sex assault, sexual assault and child endangerment. The abuse occurred from August 2008 to February 2009. It ranged from fondling to oral sex and stopped when the boy told his father, who confronted Kolko.

The change in plea came after the prosecutor’s office was contacted Friday by a representative for a woman who said she had been a victim of Kolko and a man who said he had a victim, Senior Assistant Prosecutor Laura Pierro said.

The case may be a watershed for the prosecutor’s office and the Orthodox Jewish community in Lakewood, which has in the past been reluctant to bring criminal matters to civil authorities, preferring instead to handle them through rabbinical courts and senior rabbis.

“I’m hoping that it’s going to open the doors” to others in the community cooperating with authorities, Pierro said in an interview after the plea. “We broke ground with this case.”

Prosecutors said they would not pursue the other two cases.

Kolko’s bail was revoked, and he was ordered to undergo psychiatric evaluation before sentencing.

His attorney, Michael Bachner, said Kolko was “extremely remorseful,” apologizes to the victim and hopes after treatment “to return to society as a benefit to it.”

The plea came after only three of the prosecution’s eight witnesses testified. The senior rabbi the father approached was due to testify, as were other members of the insular community who were expected to shed light on internal workings of Lakewood’s Orthodox population and how such allegations were handled inside it.

When Judge Francis R. Hodgson asked Kolko if he had received any promises or was threatened or coerced in exchange for his plea, Kolko answered softly that there were things that were “not part of the court system.”

Bachner would not comment on Kolko’s statement.

The victim’s father had initially wanted the case handled within the Orthodox community, asking a senior rabbi to help ensure that Kolko stay away from children and go to therapy. In mid-2009, the father decided to take the case to authorities.

The Associated Press generally does not identify accusers in sex-crime cases and is not naming the father to protect the son’s identity.

Testifying last week, the father said he went to prosecutors because he felt the case was not being handled appropriately. Kolko was still teaching and planning to work at the summer camp where he met the boy.

“I was more concerned that he was still at his jobs,” the father said Thursday. “And I felt that children are being endangered.”

The father acknowledged it is not common for members of the Orthodox community to take cases like this to law enforcement.

Prosecutors had said the boy’s family was ostracized by the community for pursuing the case in state court. The boy’s father, a prominent rabbi, lost his job and the family moved to Michigan.

“There certainly were members of the community who remain outspoken against what the father did on behalf of his son,” Pierro said. “I can tell you that there are many more whom are perhaps silently or not as openly are swelled with pride that he took this rather historic step.”

The boy, who was 11 and 12 when the abuse took place, testified last week, describing a series of encounters with the rabbi, including molestation and oral sex.

The boy, now 16, said he was uncomfortable but wanted to remain close to Kolko because they were friends and the boy had no other companions in school.

Pierro commended the boy’s and his father’s bravery.

Prosecutor Joseph Coronato said that in “securing justice for the victim,” prosecutors “have proven our ability to successfully intercede on their community’s behalf, affording them the same protections under the law we so tirelessly apply to all Ocean County’s citizens.”

“We will make every effort to assure this is a major step toward a continuing relationship with Ocean County’s religious communities,” he said.

Kolko faced a maximum penalty of 50 years in prison and a $650,000 fine, but the judge said he will likely cap one count at 15 years and run sentences on any other counts concurrently.

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New Zio-NATO Puppet formed

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The new grouping, called the Union of Syrian Democrats, includes heavyweight activists such as Michel Kilo, a Christian writer and human rights activist.

A group of prominent Syrian activists who favor a civil, democratic state have formed a new opposition group, a member said Tuesday, in a further fragmentation of President Bashar al-Assad’s opponents.

The new grouping, called the Union of Syrian Democrats, includes heavyweight activists such as Michel Kilo, a Christian writer and human rights activist.

It appears to be an attempt to counterbalance the influence of the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood inside the National Coalition, the country’s main opposition bloc.

The 250 “members of the group, who come from different political streams, are united on the principal of democracy,” one of its members, Kamal Labwani, told AFP.

He declined to say directly that the group intended to challenge the Brotherhood’s influence, but said it would focus on creating a civil state.

“If the Muslim Brotherhood are opposed to the construction of a civil state, this group is directed against them. If they support this project, they are our allies,” he said.

“Our problem with the Muslim Brotherhood is that they say one thing and do another… they say they want a civil state, but in practice, they don’t.”

The Muslim Brotherhood is the best organized of the groups arrayed in opposition to President Assad’s regime.

But it has been criticized by activists for trying to dominate the opposition, boosted by the support of Qatar.

The group rejects the accusations, but they have only grown since the election of Ghassan Hitto, reportedly the Brotherhood choice, to the post of rebel prime minister.

The Syrian Brotherhood has also been accused of being controlled by Islamist extremeists.

“It is not true that extremists are in charge of liberated lands,” their leader Mohammad Riad Shakfa said at a press conference in Istanbul in April. “The land … belongs to a united front of the opposition.”

Speaking in Arabic, he added: “As far as I know, there is no extremism in Syria.”

The new opposition group, launched in Cairo, will hold a series of meetings in coming months to discuss their structure.

The new grouping, called the Union of Syrian Democrats, includes heavyweight Zio-NATO activists such as Michel Kilo, a Christian writer and human rights activist.

A group of prominent Syrian activists who favor a civil, democratic state have formed a new opposition group, a member said Tuesday, in a further fragmentation of President Bashar al-Assad’s opponents.

The new grouping, called the Union of Syrian Democrats, includes heavyweight activists such as Michel Kilo, a Christian writer and human rights activist.

It appears to be an attempt to counterbalance the influence of the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood inside the National Coalition, the country’s main opposition bloc.

The 250 “members of the group, who come from different political streams, are united on the principal of democracy,” one of its members, Kamal Labwani, told AFP.

He declined to say directly that the group intended to challenge the Brotherhood’s influence, but said it would focus on creating a civil state.

“If the Muslim Brotherhood are opposed to the construction of a civil state, this group is directed against them. If they support this project, they are our allies,” he said.

“Our problem with the Muslim Brotherhood is that they say one thing and do another… they say they want a civil state, but in practice, they don’t.”

The Muslim Brotherhood is the best organized of the groups arrayed in opposition to President Assad’s regime.

But it has been criticized by activists for trying to dominate the opposition, boosted by the support of Qatar.

The group rejects the accusations, but they have only grown since the election of Ghassan Hitto, reportedly the Brotherhood choice, to the post of rebel prime minister.

The Syrian Brotherhood has also been accused of being controlled by Islamist extremeists.

“It is not true that extremists are in charge of liberated lands,” their leader Mohammad Riad Shakfa said at a press conference in Istanbul in April. “The land … belongs to a united front of the opposition.”

Speaking in Arabic, he added: “As far as I know, there is no extremism in Syria.”

The new opposition group, launched in Cairo, will hold a series of meetings in coming months to discuss their structure.

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ICC prosecutor opens initial probe into Gaza flotilla

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THE HAGUE (AFP) — The International Criminal Court has opened a preliminary probe into Israel’s deadly raid on a Gaza-bound flotilla in 2010, the prosecutor’s office said Tuesday. 

“My office will be conducting a preliminary examination in order to establish whether the criteria for opening an investigation are met,” Fatou Bensouda said in a statement issued from the court based in The Hague.

Nine Turkish nationals were killed when Israeli commandos staged a botched pre-dawn raid on a six-ship flotilla seeking to bust Israel’s naval blockade of the Gaza Strip on May 31, 2010.

Bensouda said she had met Istanbul-based lawyers who are acting for the government of the Comoros, which referred the case to her office.

The ship on which the activists sailed was registered in the Indian Ocean island country, which has been a state party to the ICC since 2006.

“After careful analysis of all available information, I shall make a determination that will be made public in due course,” Bensouda said.

Israel imposed its blockade on Gaza in 2006 after militants there seized an Israeli soldier, who was eventually freed in 2011 in a trade for 1,000 Palestinian prisoners held by Israel.

The blockade was strengthened in 2007, when the Islamist Hamas movement took control of Gaza, then eased somewhat following an international outcry over the killing of the Turkish activists.

The maritime assault severely wrecked relations between the former regional allies, with Ankara demanding a formal apology and compensation for the families of the raid victims, as well as the lifting of the blockade.

Bensouda’s office receive numerous requests every year for probes into alleged crimes like genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.

According to the Rome Statute, the court’s founding document, prosecutors may now gather initial information about the case.

If Bensouda believes she had enough evidence, she may then approach judges for the go-ahead to open a full investigation which could lead to a future trial.

Prosecutors are also busy with initial probes in several other countries like Afghanistan, Colombia and Nigeria, but so far no decision whether to ask judges for permission to open full investigations had been made following these investigations.

Established in 2002, the ICC is the world’s only permanent independent tribunal, set up to try the world’s worst crimes.

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Pope Benedict Comes Out as Dirty Gay

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Pope-PinkHat

Pope Benedict XVI announced today that he has resigned his papacy because he is gay and “could no longer live a lie.”

In a statement released to Italian news media the 85-year-old departing pontiff says he is relieved to be coming out after eight decades in the closet and urged the Catholic Church and other faiths to accept homosexuality as a natural part of God’s creation.

“Like many gay Catholics, I have been forced for too long to choose between my faith and my identity,” the statement reads. “My profound love for my beloved church compelled me to lie to myself and to my fellow believers about a basic component of my humanity.

“I deeply regret that deception. I have not been honest with the Church, and for that reason I decided that I could not continue my role as leader of the world’s one billion Catholics.

“Now that I have been liberated of this secret, I wish to express my belief that homosexuals are equal in the eyes of God. I beseech the Catholic Church to reconsider its ban on gay clergy and become a leading force in the struggle for gay rights.”

Gay the Pray Away

Pope Benedict XVI announced his resignation on Feb. 11, becoming the first pontiff since the Middle Ages to resign his post. His stated reason was to retire before the ravages of old age left him unable to complete his duties.

Yet rumors have been swirling in Rome since the announcement that the decision instead had something to do with homosexuality at the Church’s highest levels.

There have been newspaper reports of a secret “gay conclave” within the Vatican that visited local prostitutes and was thereafter blackmailed.

But there has been no indication that the scandal touched the pope himself, and today’s news has come as a surprise to most following the story.

Benedict resigns his papacy today, and will technically cease his duties as pope at 8 p.m. Central European Time. It had been anticipated that he would continue on as a “Pope Emeritus,” but given the Church’s ban on homosexuality his future role is now unclear.

Say it Ain’t So Joe

Reaction to the Pope’s statement has ranged from shock to excitement to despair. Some conservative figures in the Catholic Church have even expressed outrage at the move, suggesting Benedict should have remained in the closet.

“Look everyone knows that the only people who sign up for a lifetime of living in all-male dormitories with no possibility of marriage are gay men,” says Phyllis Gates, a conservative Catholic blogger. “But why did he have to actually say it? Denial was working so well for us.”

However for Rick Santorum, one of America’s most prominent anti-gay Catholic politicians, denial is still alive and well.

“I don’t believe him,” Santorum says from his home in Washington, D.C. “Homosexual activists have clearly compromised Pope Benedict through blackmail or brainwashing or some sort of queer subterfuge.

“He’s not gay. He can’t be gay. That’s just not possible. He’s just pretending for some reason. And it’s my job to figure out what that reason is.”

Pride and Joy

While Santorum is looking for evidence of a gay conspiracy, however, LGBT activists are celebrating the Pope’s pro-gay rights message.

“It’s heartening to see a leading person in the Catholic Church finally take a stand for equality,” says Chad Griffin, president of the Human Rights Campaign. “The church has hitherto been one of the most powerful anti-gay rights organizations in the world.

“Although it’s a shame that he was forced out because of his orientation, we’re all hoping that Pope Benedict’s words of tolerance will resonate with people of faith around the world.”

Gay Catholic blogger Andrew Sullivan, who speculated yesterday about a homosexual relationship between Pope Benedict and his personal aide, was phlegmatic towards the news.

“I wish I could take some credit, but honestly anyone could have predicted this. No women, fabulous hats, and Prada shoes? This is the gayest institution in the world.”

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For Palestinians, the Nakba is not History

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By;Sammi Ibrahem, Sr
” … Palestinians today mark 64 years since the Nakba (catastrophe). They are not commemorating a historical event that has long passed, or a sad moment in their past. Many of the Palestinian people are living the reality of the Nakba today. The pain of the open wound has not healed.

Sixty-four years after the Nakba, Palestinians still have no state and no equality. Refugee camps still exist all over the world and a majority of Palestinians live in the diaspora. Against their will, the Nakba divided the Palestinian people between Palestine and diaspora, between Gaza and the West Bank, between those who hold a refugee identification card and who don’t.

The Nakba has a dual meaning today. On one hand, it is about the hundreds of villages that were razed in 1948 and the hundreds of thousands of refugees who lost their homes. I remember taking a group to Qubeibeh, a Palestinian village on the outskirts of Hebron. Qubeibeh was destroyed in 1948. On the trip, I asked two Palestinians who lived there before the war to join us. They walked around the destroyed village telling the stories of each house, each family, the gossip of the town, funny and sad anecdotes. The tears streaming down their faces were tears of longing and passion, about loss and love … ”

The Nakba has a dual meaning today. On one hand, it is about the hundreds of villages that were razed in 1948 and the hundreds of thousands of refugees who lost their homes. On the other hand, Palestinians continue to suffer the Nakba daily – the separation of families, continuous confiscations of land and settlements choking every Palestinian village and town.

Palestinians today mark 64 years since the Nakba (catastrophe). They are not commemorating a historical event that has long passed, or a sad moment in their past. Many of the Palestinian people are living the reality of the Nakba today. The pain of the open wound has not healed.

Sixty-four years after the Nakba, Palestinians still have no state and no equality. Refugee camps still exist all over the world and a majority of Palestinians live in the diaspora. Against their will, the Nakba divided the Palestinian people between Palestine and diaspora, between Gaza and the West Bank, between those who hold a refugee identification card and who don’t.

The Nakba has a dual meaning today. On one hand, it is about the hundreds of villages that were razed in 1948 and the hundreds of thousands of refugees who lost their homes. I remember taking a group to Qubeibeh, a Palestinian village on the outskirts of Hebron. Qubeibeh was destroyed in 1948. On the trip, I asked two Palestinians who lived there before the war to join us. They walked around the destroyed village telling the stories of each house, each family, the gossip of the town, funny and sad anecdotes. The tears streaming down their faces were tears of longing and passion, about loss and love.

However, this is only one aspect of the Nakba. Palestinians today feel that the Nakba didn’t end in ’48. They suffer the Nakba daily – the separation of families, continuous confiscations of land and the settlements choking every Palestinian village and town.

The Nakba is the present as much as it is the past. To my parents who built their house in Bethany, which is five kilometers outside Jerusalem, the Nakba is as real today as it was 64 years ago. But my parents aren’t allowed to live in their house if they want to keep their Jerusalem ID. They must rent an apartment in Jerusalem. Yet the Ma’aleh Adumim settlement is walking distance from my parent’s home in Bethany. It is perfectly “legal” for Israeli Jews to live there, but not for my parents. Every time my father travels through checkpoints to water the garden he planted and to take care of the empty house – while not being allowed to spend a night there –  he relives the Nakba again. When my aunt, who was born in Jerusalem but lives in Hebron, cannot come and visit us in Jerusalem because she is a “West Banker,” we live the Nakba again.

This year, Nakba commemoration is no different than in previous years. Despite many Israeli historians whose research shows that the Nakba is not a figment of the Palestinian imagination, but a real tragedy, many Israelis prefer to ignore it or not believe it. They prefer to cover their eyes and close their ears when it comes to the Palestinian story, the Palestinian pain and the Palestinian narrative.

I understand that it is hard to learn about the narrative of ”your enemy” and the suffering of that enemy, especially if it is due to your country’s practices. I remember having to walk this uncomfortable path and learn about the Israeli and Jewish narrative. At first everything in me rejected the idea and refused to sympathize. However, if peace is ever to be realized between the Palestinians and the Israelis, this must happen. Dr. Sami Adwan, Dr. Dan Bar-on and Dr. Eyal Naveh have undertaken the breakthrough work of presenting the two narratives in a joint book published recently, titled “Side by side.” The importance of recognizing the story of the other is crucial to any real peace. This is true for both Israelis and Palestinians.

However, the reality paints a different picture. The Israeli government not only ignores Palestinian history, but is also trying to force Palestinians to forget their own narrative, by forbidding commemoration of the Nakba. Are they so ignorant that they believe a law can strip a person of his identity, memories and passions?  Jews who came to Palestine  boasted about their longing for the “holy land” for thousands of years. How can such people ignore the longing and love of the land of many Palestinians who lived on that land just 64 years ago, many of whom cannot even visit anymore?

The justification I hear about why Israel ignores the Nakba is an interesting one. They claim that Nakba commemoration is about hating Jews. I have heard it over and over again. So, I quote the Palestinian poet Mahmound Darwish, who wrote about the Nakba extensively. When accused of hating Jews he said:

The accusation is that I hate Jews.
It’s not comfortable that they show me as a devil
and an enemy of Israel.
I am not a lover of Israel, of course.
I have no reason to be.But I don’t hate Jews

I will continue to humanize even the enemy
The first teacher who taught me Hebrew was a Jew.
The first love affair in my life was with a Jewish girl.
The first judge who sent me to prison was a Jewish woman.
So from the beginning, I didn’t see Jews as devils or angels,
but as human beings.

While Nakba day is about mourning the destruction of historical Palestine and facing a continued unjust reality, it is also about the future. The Palestinians on this day look ahead and try to figure out a way for Nakba Day to become about the past and not the present. We cannot change the past, but we can make tomorrow different. Nakba Day is also about finding a way to bring peace to a people that lived in catastrophe and long for peace, freedom and security.

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Zionist Puppets Attacks Against Lebanese Alawites Deepen Fears

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Lebanese Sunni gunmen opposed to the Syrian regime head to join comrades in Bab al-Tabbaneh during clashes with Alawite pro-Syrian regime supporters.

Lebanese members of the Syrian leader’s Alawite sect fear their tiny community will be a casualty of the civil war raging in the neighboring country.

Already, Sunni Muslim extremists have stoned a school bus, vandalized stores and beaten or stabbed a number of men in a wave of attacks against Lebanese Alawites, stoking fears of even more violence should Syrian President Bashar Assad be removed from power.

In one particularly humiliating case, angry Sunnis tied a rope around an Alawite man’s neck and dragged him around the streets of Tripoli.

“The Alawites are being subjected to an organized campaign that aims to eliminate them on all levels,” said Ali Feddah, a prominent member of Lebanon’s Arab Democratic Party, which is mainly Alawite.

Feddah spoke to The Associated Press in his office in Tripoli’s predominantly Alawite neighborhood of Jabal Mohsen. Sitting next to a picture of Assad, he said the Alawites face an “existential threat,” mainly because of extremist Sunni incitement against them.

His words echo the sentiments of many Alawites, who have long enjoyed privileges in Syria under Assad family rule and now fear for their future. The tiny community in Lebanon, which has long been a Syrian client state, has also benefited from Assad’s rule, particularly during Syria’s three-decade hold on its smaller neighbor that ended in 2005.

The Alawite sect, an offshoot of Shiite Islam, represents little more than 10 percent of the population in Syria and about 2 percent in Lebanon. Before their ascent in the mid-20th century, the Alawites were impoverished and marginalized, largely confined to the mountains of the province of Latakia on the Mediterranean coast.

Under the French mandate, the Alawites were granted an autonomous territory stretching in a band along the coast from the Lebanese border to the Turkish border. It lasted a few years until 1937, when their state was incorporated into modern-day Syria.

After the 1963 coup that brought the Baath Party to power in Damascus, Alawites began consolidating their presence in the Syrian government and armed forces.

The uprising against Assad’s rule that began in March 2011 quickly became an outlet for long-suppressed grievances, mostly by poor Sunnis from marginalized areas. It has since escalated into an outright civil war.

Many of the rebels trying to overthrow Assad today say they want to replace his government with an Islamic state.

The war, now in its third year, has turned increasingly sectarian with countless cases of tit-for-tat slayings between Sunnis and Alawites. Sunni rebels are often seen in videos posted online referring to Alawites as dogs and heretics.

Abu Bilal al-Homsi, an activist in the central Syrian city of Homs who has links with several rebel groups, said the Assad regime has carried out massacres against Sunnis. He points to waves of sectarian killings this month, allegedly carried out by pro-government Alawite gunmen in the coastal towns of Banias and Bayda. More than 100 civilians were killed in the attacks.

“We will completely wipe out the Alawite sect,” said al-Homsi, who does not use his real name because of fear of government reprisals. “There will be no Alawites in Syria. The young and the old will be punished.”

Bassam al-Dada, an official in the rebels’ Free Syrian Army, disagrees with al-Homsi. “The Alawites have nothing to do with Bashar’s crimes,” he said.

The U.N. estimates that more than 70,000 people have been killed in the war. Human Rights activists say most of them are Sunnis, but Alawites have also paid a heavy price. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Tuesday the group has documented the names of more than 35,000 Alawites who have died, most of them soldiers and pro-Assad militiamen.

“Their losses statistically are very high. There is a lot of resentment in Alawite regions,” said Hilal Khashan, political science professor at the American University in Beirut.

The tensions in Syria are playing out in Lebanon, which is sharply split along sectarian lines and has recently seen repeated bouts of street fighting related to the war across the border.

Northern Lebanon, in particular, is a potential powder keg. It has a strong Sunni population but also has pockets of Alawites.

The Alawites live mainly in Jabal Mohsen, a hilly district where posters of Assad and his father and predecessor, the late Hafez Assad, decorate the streets.

For years, residents of Jabal Mohsen have traded short bouts of automatic weapons fire and volleys of rocket-propelled grenades with residents of the mainly Sunni Bab Tabbaneh neighborhood.

The two districts in Tripoli are separated by a roadway named Syria Street.

The clashes have become more frequent since Syria’s uprising began – and so have the targeted attacks.

Ali, an unemployed 25-year-old Alawite from Jabal Mohsen, says he has not been to Sunni neighborhoods of Tripoli for more than a year after he was beaten up in the central Tal neighborhood.

Ali, who declined to give his full name for fear of reprisals, described how he was intercepted by a man who ran toward him, grabbed him by the neck and tried to choke him as he shouted: “Are you from the Jabal?”

He said he denied he was an Alawite and was eventually saved by a Sunni man who knew him.

Last month, a bus carrying school children was attacked on the edge of Jabal Mohsen by a group of extremists who pelted it with rocks for several minutes before troops intervened.

“Since then, all school buses from Jabal Mohsen are accompanied by troops,” Feddah said.

Residents say several men have been stabbed and beaten up in the past few weeks. Several shops in Jabal Mohsen were set on fire, their fronts seen shuttered on a recent visit.

Earlier this month, bearded extremists grabbed a Syrian man in Tripoli, beat him up and stripped him to the waist before tying a rope around his neck and parading him through the streets. “I am an Alawite shabih,” they wrote on his bare chest, in reference to widely feared pro-Assad militiamen who fight alongside soldiers in Syria.

In Syria, thousands of Alawites have left their homes in war-shattered cities such as Homs, for the relative safety of the overwhelmingly Alawite provinces of Tartous and Latakia.

Syrian opponents of Assad say Alawite fighters are trying to carve out a breakaway enclave in the country’s mountainous Alawite heartland by driving out local Sunnis. They say recent killings in overwhelmingly Sunni villages close to Alawite communities are meant to lay the groundwork.

Earlier this month, regime forces from nearby Alawite areas were blamed for killing dozens of civilians in Banias and Bayda, two Sunni communities in western Syria. The violence bore a closer resemblance to two reported mass killings last year in Houla and Qubeir, Sunni villages surrounded by Alawite towns in central Syria.

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu told Turkey’s Hurriyet newspaper that having failed to control the entire country, Assad was now executing his “plan B” – which involves opening up an Alawite corridor between central Syria and Lebanon and driving Sunnis away from the area.

“There is an effort to cleanse the region,” Davutoglu said in the interview, published last week. “This will cause turmoil in Lebanon too. It could cause a culture of revenge.”

Posted in LebanonComments Off on Zionist Puppets Attacks Against Lebanese Alawites Deepen Fears

Turkish Intelligence Informed Syrians of Plan to Assassinate Assad – Erdogan Not Satisfied with Int’l Pressure on Syria!

NOVANEWS
Satisfied with Int’l Pressure on Syria!
Israa Al-Fass

TRANSLATED BY: Sara Taha

Well-informed Syrian sources revealed that Turkish officials told their Syrian counterparts that the Americans had set a plan to assassinate Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad.
The source told Al-Manar website that the Syrians were informed about this US plan since March this year.
Al-Assad’s fall is a great gain to America

\"\"The source also said that officials in the US administration had tackled the importance of liquidating Al-Assad.

“Eliot Abrams, the US National Security Advisor, has published an article on the 24th of November in the Foreign Policy magazine, in which he talked about the assassination, considering it one of the major possible ways to end Al-Assad regime,” it added.

Abrams stated in his article that “The end of the Assad regime would be a great gain for the United States… it is host to Hamas and other Palestinian groups, Iran\’s only Arab ally, the route through which Iran arms Hezbollah,” and indicated that Al-Assad’s regime had a big role in assisting the camp opposed to the US occupation in Iraq as well as a complicit in the killing and injuring of many American soldiers.

Scenario # 2: Killing Al-Assad

The source confirmed the information previously revealed by former Lebanese Minister Michel Samaha in his interview on Al-Manar TV, in which he talked about a French-Qatari plan to assassinate president Al-Assad, adding that the plan’s source was the US but the execution was French and Qatari.

He further quoted an American delegation that visited Syria earlier as saying that “the American Administration was working on three scenarios, and the events that have been taking place fall under scenario number 3 which speaks about stimulating the public.”

“There are two other scenarios: The first is a blitzkrieg and the second is killing the president,” the source added. “The situation would turn into a disaster if such scenarios were implemented, and a civil war would erupt; this is probably their intention,” he elaborated.

Noureddine: Targeting Syria is a target to the regime’s method

For his part, Lebanese journalist and expert in Turkish affairs Dr. Mohammad Noureddine said these information were most likely true if they were delivered to the Syrians before April 10, because back then the relations between the two countries were good.

\"\"In an interview with Al-Manar Website, Dr. Noureddine pointed out to Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Devotuglo’s statement that he made in a press conference on the 5th of November, in which he anticipated a military coup d’etat in Syria, saying: “We are also in this region, and out intelligence in very strong.”

The Turkish affairs analyst added that “the Turks have this approach, they are seeking it and working on it day and night.”

“We have witnessed escalation by the Arab League that has reached the extent of suspending Syria’s AL membership and imposing economic sanctions on it… this is because the military option is off the table as it is ineffective,” Dr. Noureddine said.

He further said that the coming phase was full of political and economic pressures accompanied with support to any movement that intends to ouster the regime from the inside, Dr. Noureddine also clarified that the Turks have revealed this in a statement by their foreign minister who announced that his country had deliberated with the AL before releasing the latest decision on suspending Syria.

“They are still coordinating on all future steps that will be taken with regards to Syria,” he added.

As he considered that the Arab stance was a relief to Turkey for they have found a partner in their enmity to the Syrian regime, Noureddine stated: “It is obvious that the crisis in Syria is not related to reforms… for after the Arab, French, and Turkish stances, it is obvious that the target is the regime’s method, and all the systems related to it, like Iran and Hezbollah. Bringing Syria down means brining all these systems down, and that is not easy, unless an unpredicted issue occurred.”

The regional scene indicates wars

Dr. Noureddine’s analysis can be argued. Prominent Arab Journalist Abdul Bari Atwan (from the Al-Quds Al-Arabi daily) considers that the region today is in front of a fierce regional war that could change the political as well as the demographic map.

He considered that “this war’s goal is to change two regimes that are still in the resisting system,” indicating Syria and Iran.

In an article he published in Arabic, Atwan stated that “the Arab foreign ministers’ decision, which was taken in a rush, opens the door for foreign military interference in Syria under the pretext of protecting the Syrian people. In the past 20 years, the Arab League‘s role has been restricted to providing an Arab cover up, regardless of its legitimacy or not, for such interventions. This role started in Iraq, then in Libya, and Syria seems to be the third station… and only God and the US know who will be the fourth one.”

This same analysis was made by Lebanese political analyst Nasri As-Sayegh who considered that “the regional scene indicates nightmares of war.”

In an article he published in Arabic on the Lebanese As-Safir newspaper under the headline “who comes first… the Syrian Revolution or the Lebanese Resistance” As-Sayegh stated:

– A sectarian civil war in Syria.
– A fierce war against the regime by armed forces protected by regional powers and armed by international ones.
– Political war that could require some kind of security and military intervention, accompanied by an economic siege.
– The transfer of war from inside Syria to the region: Lebanon will likely be part of that, in its South and North, and the UNIFIL’s stance will be divided in accordance to the stance of each brigade’s country.
– Violence will expand until it reaches the Gulf which is significantly affected by anti-nuclear Iran statements.

Erdogan Not Satisfied with Int’l Pressure on Syria!

Local Editor It seems that the Turkish Prime Minister is not satisfied the pressure of the international community on Syria.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan criticized on Thursday the international community for what he called the “muted” criticism of Syria, saying more would be heard if the country had richer oil resources.

“The world may not be following Syria with sufficient care and sensitivity because it is not a wealthy country in terms of energy resources,” Erdogan told an energy forum in Istanbul.

“Syria may not be drawing attention as much as Libya because it does not have sufficient oil resources,” said Erdogan.

“The silence and unresponsiveness of those who have an appetite for Libya to the massacres in Syria is creating irreparable wounds in the conscience of humanity,” he said.

On Wednesday, the Arab League moved a step closer to imposing economic sanctions on Syria and signaled it was running out of patience with President Bashar Assad.

For its part, France withdrew its ambassador from Syria and Foreign Minister Alain Juppe said Paris was working with the Arab League on a draft UN resolution.

Last weekend, the AL suspend Syria from the league, giving the international community new momentum to step further pressure on Damascus.

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Posted in Syria, TurkeyComments Off on Turkish Intelligence Informed Syrians of Plan to Assassinate Assad – Erdogan Not Satisfied with Int’l Pressure on Syria!

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