Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Israel distributed falsified video about Hamas beating civilians back into their houses

A few days ago far rightist Zionist sites like "'The Allgemeiner'' and similarly rightist blogs carried a video that showed Hamas police chasing civilians in the streets of Gaza. The suggestion was made that it showed how Hamas prevented people, who had been warned by Israel of an imminent strike and wanted to flee, from leaving their houses. That was also what the subtitle of the video said: "Hamas members brutally beating civilians of Gaza who leave their homes following IDF warning".
My attention was drawn to the video some time after it was tweeted by Esther Voet, director of the local Dutch Israel lobby called "CIDI'', and found its way to Facebook pages. Unfortunately, however, for the believers of hasbara, the video is a clear fake. It has been put together by an Israeli entity called ''IsareMedia'', from  images taken from a German documentary by Doku Channel, which was broadcasted  two years ago. The beating actually had to do with differences of opinion about religion.
I first show the Israeli fake version:

 And next part 4 of the German original from 2012 (which can be found here on Youtube in 5 parts). The similarity is clear, from about 3' 50'' minute in the film.

The above video was actually by no means the only one of a kind. Another one which ''showed'' how Hamas  was using children as a human shield, had earlier been unmasked by blogger Ali Abunimah of The Electronic Intifada. He showed  the video had been shot  in Syria. There will probably be others as well. 

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

At least 160 killed so far in fighting in Tripoli and Benghazi

Black plumes of smoke is seen in the vicinity of Camp Thunderbolt, after clashes between militants, former rebel fighters and government forces in Benghazi July 27, 2014. . REUTERS/Esam Omran Al-Fetori
Black smoke over Benghazi after clashes between militants, former rebel fighters and government forces. (Photo Rreuters, 27 July)

Libyan forces on Tuesday battled Islamist militants with rockets and warplanes for control of an army base in the eastern city of Benghazi after at least 30 people were killed in overnight fighting. Intense fighting in Benghazi, Libya's second city, and battles between rival militias in the capital Tripoli have pushed Libya deeper into chaos after two weeks of the fiercest violence since the 2011 civil war ousted Muammar Gaddafi. So far, at least 160 people have died during the clashes in the two cities, according to the Libyan health ministry.
Three years after Gaddafi's fall, Libya has failed to control ex-rebel militias who refuse to disband and who are threatening the unity of the country. The extent of the hostilities has increased worries that Libya is sliding towards becoming a failed state.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Gaza 2014: ''If you'd looked your victim in the eye...''

This is just too terrible, there is only room here for tears and helpless rage.
Or maybe these words by Mahmoud Darwish

To a Killer:
If you had looked your victim in the eye,
perhaps you’d have remembered your mother in the gas chamber,
perhaps you’d have changed your mind
and set yourself free from the logic of the gun.
This is no way to claim your ‘real identity’.
            *                      *                      *
To another Killer:
If you’d left that unborn child
thirty more days in his mother’s womb
just think what could have happened:
the occupation over, this child
would have forgotten the siege,
would grow up healthy and strong,
studying Asia’s ancient history 
next to one of your daughters at college,
where maybe they’d fall in love,
and have a little girl, a Jewess by birth.
Look what you’ve done!
You’ve made your own daughter a widow,
you’ve turned your own granddaughter into an orphan!
See how you’ve ruined your family-to-come!
Look how you’ve killed three birds with one bullet!

Mahmoud Darwish (from the poem A State of Siege)

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Time out

I'm sorry. I'am on a vacation and on the move during a week. Till the 24th of July there will be very little blogging if at all. After that I hope to see all of you again.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Nadine Gordimer, writer and outspoken critic of Apartheid, 1923-2014

Nadine  Gordimer
 Nadine Gordimer, South Africa's ''first lady of letters'' and a laureate of the Nobel prize for Literature has died at the age of 90.
Gordimer wrote 15 novels as well as several volumes of short stories, non-fiction and other works. The South African Mail and Guardian mentions that she was published in 40 languages around the world.
  “She cared most deeply about South Africa, its culture, its people, and its on-going struggle to realise its new democracy, '' Her family bsais in a statement.''Her proudest days were not only when she was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1991, but also when she testified at the Delmas Trial in 1986, to contribute to saving the lives of 22 ANC members.''
Gordimer was an unwavering critic of apartheid and an outspoken advocate of black majority rule, the Guardian and Mail writes. Her fiction, which she saw as part of the struggle against apartheid, documented the havoc that institutionalised racism wrought on private lives. Three of her works were banned by the government for varying periods because of their outspoken messages.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Kurds take over oil fields near Kirkuk, row with Maliki deepens

Bai Hassan production facility near Kirkuk. (Photo EPA)

Kurdish forces seized two oilfields in northern Iraq and took over operations from a state-run oil company on Friday, while Kurdish politicians formally suspended their participation in Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's government.
The moves escalated a feud between the Shi'ite-led central government and the autonomous Kurdish region.
The Kurdish forces took over production facilities at the Bai Hassan and Kirkuk oilfields near the city of Kirkuk, the oil ministry in Baghdad said. It called on the Kurds to withdraw immediately to avoid "dire consequences".

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Horror in Gaza-city as a house for the handicapped is destroyed without warning

Embedded image permalink

The body of 38 year old Suha Abu Saada, a disabled woman, killed in an Israeli air attack that hit a shelter for disabled adults, has been pieced together in the morgue. (Photo Ayman Mohieldin via Twitter).

A story by AFP, via Ma'an News: 
Twenty-year-old Palestinian Sally Saqr lies in a hospital bed in Gaza's Shifa hospital with burns that have turned her cheeks an angry pink beneath her ventilation tube. She survived an Israeli strike in the early hours of Saturday morning that hit a care home for Palestinians with special needs.Two of her fellow residents were not so lucky. Thirty-year-old Ola Washahi and 47-year-old Suha Abu Saada were killed when the rocket slammed into the home, destroying it.The two women's body parts were still being pulled from the rubble hours later, causing initial confusion over whether another person had been killed.
The facility's director, Jamila Alaywa, is unable to contain her fury as she describes the tragedy that has befallen the center she set up in 1994. "Both Ola and Suha had severe mental and physical handicaps, and had been living at the center since it was founded," she told AFP. The building in northern Gaza's Beit Lahiya housed 13 residents, including some who were on weekend visits at their family homes when the strike hit. Five residents and a helper were inside, screaming in terror as the building collapsed around them.
"They didn't understand what was happening and they were so frightened," Alaywa said. "They fired the rocket and it hit us without any warning. There was no warning strike with an empty rocket," she said.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Wave of arrests among Israeli Palestinians reaches 378 people in Galilea and the Negev

The protests in Israels Palestinian areas continue. Hundreds protested on Wednesday 9 July in Nazareth against the ongoing killing of Palestinians in Gaza. (Photo Arab 48)

The number of  Israeli Palestinians, the Palestinians inside Israel proper, whom Isarel has arrested  in relation to a wave of demonstrations and clashes in East-Jerusalem and about all of Israels Arab cities, towns has risen to 370, the site Arab 48 reports. Of these 44 were arrested overnight or in the course of today,  Thursday. As I, the writer of the blog, heard from arrests that are not mentioned in the report, it is possible that the number is even higher than 378.
The ''demonstrations of anger'' in the Palestinian areas started on 5 July (link in Dutch) in East-Jerusalem, as a protest against the murder on the boy Muhammad Abu Khdeir and the situation of the Palestinians in general. They quickly spread out to the cities and towns in what Israel calls the ''Triangle'' and the north of Galilea. Later on also the Bedouin areas in the Negev joined in the protests.   
On 7 July  the site Arab 48  reported that Israel arrested 110 Palestinians across Israel, among whom were Murad Haddad of the politburo of the Balad (Tagammu) party and Rajaa Aghbariyye, the secretary-general of the Abnaa al-Balad (Sons/daughters of the Land) Movement (Aghbariyye later on got a week house arrest).
Now the same site reports that the number of people arrested as off today has risen to 378. Of these 122 were arrested in the Jerusalem area (including 28 minors) , 63 in the Negev (including 11 who are under 18), 122 in the north of Galilea (including 29 minors), and 81 in what the site calls the Sahel, which includes the Wadi Ara (here the number of minors is seven).
The wave of arrests is unprecedented among the Palestinian population, at least since 2000 when thousands of them demonstrated against the harsh way Israel reacted to the Second intifada and Israel killed 13 of them in a demonstration in Umm al Fahm. Arab 48 mentions that a number of the 378 detainees are in several stages of procedures that the state brought against them.

Whole Yemeni province of Amran now in the hand of the Houthis


Fighters from the Shiite Houthi militants have taken control of a northwestern Yemeni province after weeks of clashes against the military. The death toll over the last three weeks topped 320.The top military commander was killed by the Houthis after his camp was ambushed.
Top leaders in the pro Muslim Brotherhood Islah party have called its members to withdraw from the government. Following days of intense fighting in Amran, the regional capital city of the northern Yemeni province of Amran, Houthis fighters managed all odds to gain the upper hand, sending thousands of civilians to flee the war zone.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Egypt heading for price hikes after sudden cuts in subsidies of fuel and electricity

El-Sisi meeting
Egypt's president El-Sisi talking to the editors in chief (Al-Ahram) 

Egypt's President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi says the sudden move to increase fuel prices is a "must" to face the debt plaguing the country, Al-Ahram's Arabic website reported on Sunday. The increase in fuel and electricity prices, issued late on Friday, comes after El-Sisi ratified Egypt's annual budget with energy subsidies in mind.
The new budget managed to trim the country’s deficit by LE48 billion to register LE240 billion – or 10 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) – featuring a LE44 billion cut in energy subsidies.
In a meeting with the editors-in-chief of Egypt's most prominent newspapers on Sunday, the former military chief described a now-or-never situation, arguing that these economic decisions have to be made, despite public opinion, instead of letting the country drown in debt estimated at LE3 trillion.
The government's announcement on Friday triggered fears over likely consequent price hikes on goods and services. The highest increases are in some of the most commonly used petroleum products, ones that will have a direct effect on the cost of transportation of food and goods as well as public transportation, namely diesel and 80-octane gasoline.

Fifth day of protests in Kuwait against arrest of oppostion leader

An image made available by the Kuwaiti Interior Ministry on July 4, 2014, shows supporters of Kuwaiti opposition leader and former parliament member Musallam Al Barrak as they protest late on July 2, 2014 in Kuwait City. AFP Photo
Photo of an earlier day of protest in Kuwait City against the arrest of Al-Barrak (AFP/The National)

Kuwait riot police on Sunday fired tear gas and stun grenades to disperse hundreds of opposition protesters who were demanding the release of a detained opposition leader.Witnesses said riot police in armoured vehicles fired tear gas and stun grenades at the protesters as soon as they marched toward a courts complex in the capital Kuwait City, forcing them to flee.
Police chased them into narrow streets of Kuwait City markets to ensure they do not reach the courts complex, where opposition leader Musallam Al Barrak is scheduled to face trial on Monday.
The interior ministry said a number of protesters had been held while rights activist Mohammad Al Humaidi said around 30 people were arrested. Activists said a number of protesters were wounded with at least one of them hospitalised. It was the fifth night of violence in Kuwait sparked by the arrest of Al Barrak, a former MP.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Barzani determined to hold referendum about Kurdish independence

Kurdish president Massoud Barzani Thursday called on the Kurdish parliament to set a date for the autonomous region's independence vote,  despite Iraqi leadership's discouragement earlier this week, according to Al Arabiya News. Barzani also called on the Kurdish Regional Government "to form an independent electoral commission to carry out a referendum in the Kurdistan region and determine the way forward."
Barzani blames the current crisis in Iraq as the handiwork of Iraq's PM Maliki (File Archive/AFP)
At the same time Barzani said that Kurdistan's Peshmerga forces would maintain their presence in the disputed areas of Kirkuk, Nineveh and Diyalah that have fallen outside the control of Baghdad over the past month.
Iraq's Prime Minister Nouri Al Maliki had sharply criticized the Kurdish plans.