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  • Inside the clandestine world of Israel’s ’BDS-busting’ ministry

    The Strategic Affairs Ministry’s leaders see themselves as the heads of a commando unit, gathering and disseminating information about ’supporters of the delegitimization of Israel’ – and they prefer their actions be kept secret.
    By Uri Blau Mar 26, 2017
    read more: http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-1.779434

    The Haaretz report that Minister Gilad Erdan wants to set up a database of Israeli citizens who support the BDS movement has led to questions about the boundaries of freedom of expression and the government’s use of its resources to surveille people of differing opinions. The report also shone a light on the Strategic Affairs Ministry, which Erdan heads, and cast doubt about its ambiguous activities and goals.
    >> Get all updates on Israel and the Jewish World: Download our free App, and Subscribe >>
    Now, through official documents, Haaretz reveals some elements of the ministry’s clandestine activities, whereby even its location is a secret, described only as “greater Tel Aviv.” Its internal terminology comes from the world of espionage and security; its leading figures appear to see themselves as the heads of a public affairs commando unit engaged in multiple fronts, gathering and disseminating information about people they define as “supporters of the delegitimization of Israel.”
    That definition does not necessarily include only supporters of BDS, but intentional ambiguity remains, alongside campaigns and public diplomacy activities against these individuals in Israel and abroad.

    Israeli Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan. Olivier Fitoussi
    “If you want to win the campaign you have to do it with a great deal of ambiguity," the ministry’s director general, Sima Vaknin-Gil, who is a former IDF chief censor, explained to a Knesset panel recently. “The way I worked with military issues like Hezbollah or terror funds or Syria or any other country against which I conducted a campaign as an intelligence officer – we didn’t tell the other side what we intended to do; we left it ambiguous.”
    The ministry spends tens of millions of shekels on cooperative efforts with the Histadrut labor federation, the Jewish Agency and various nongovernmental organizations in training representatives of the “true pluralistic face” of Israel in various forums.

    The Strategic Affairs Ministry was established mainly as a consolation prize for ministers when the need arose to pad them with a semi-security portfolio during the formation of governing coalitions, and has taken on various forms. It was founded in 2006 as a portfolio tailored to Avigdor Lieberman. It was dismantled two years later and reestablished in 2009 in a different format. Under each ministry it was given new meaning and content.

    Strategic Affairs Ministry Director General Sima Vaknin. Alon Ron
    During Lieberman’s tenure, its authority was defined mainly as “thwarting the Iranian nuclear program.” In addition, Nativ, which maintained contact with Jews in Eastern Europe during the Cold War and encouraged aliyah, came under its aegis. Then, under Moshe Ya’alon (2009-2013), the ministry focused on “Palestinian incitement” as well as the Iranian threat. During the term of Yuval Steinitz (2013-2015), the ministry was unified with the Intelligence Affairs Ministry into the “Intelligence Ministry.” In May 2015, it was once again separated out and given to Erdan, incorporating the Public Diplomacy Ministry, which had been removed from the Prime Minister’s Office.
    A harsh state comptroller’s report in 2016 concerning the “diplomatic-media struggle against the boycott movement and manifestations of anti-Semitism abroad,” noted that the transfer of authority to fight BDS from the Foreign Ministry to the Strategic Affairs Ministry was damaging to the powers of the Foreign Ministry and created unnecessary duplication that paralyzed government action in that area, as Barak Ravid reported extensively at the time.
    According to the comptroller, after years of contention and mutual entrenchment, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had given in to pressure and shifted more powers for fighting BDS from the Foreign Ministry to the Strategic Affairs Ministry, together with major funding.
    In October 2015, the security cabinet finally gave the Strategic Affairs Ministry responsibility to “guide, coordinate and integrate the activities of all the ministers and the government and of civil entities in Israel and abroad on the subject of the struggle against attempts to delegitimize Israel and the boycott movement.”
    Nevertheless, tensions with the Foreign Ministry remained. The reason for this might also be a difference in approach. According to the comptroller’s report, the Foreign Ministry’s strategy of action against BDS “focuses on expanding dialogue with individuals, bodies, organizations, corporations and institutions abroad” – i.e., dialogue – as opposed to surveillance and more aggressive public diplomacy activities by the Strategic Affairs Ministry.

    Tzahi Gavrieli. Tomer Appelbaum

  • Egypt Zamalek FC’s hardcore fans: The journey of the Ultras White Knights | MadaMasr

    It has been 10 years since the Ultras White Knights (UWK), an association of hardcore fans of Zamalek Football Club, was founded. Though they are of varying ages and come from different social classes and education, they are united in their unwavering support for their team.

    The UWK have remained committed, despite the team’s financial and administrative problems over the last decade, proving their loyalty to the white-flagged club time and time again, even in defeat.

    They have been determined to attend matches in large numbers and well-organized formations, even at training sessions. This support is summed up in their renowned slogan, “We will remain loyal.”

    The bond that binds them runs deeper than a love for football. The UWK are also known for the role they played in Egypt’s January 2011 revolution, when they were a key part of confrontations with police, marches and sit-ins, with their well rehearsed chants and songs. Their participation on the front lines of clashes with security forces on the Friday of Rage (January 28, 2011) and in the battle of Mohamed Mahmoud (November 2011) is particularly remembered.

    Since then, there has been a level of mutual hostility between the ultras and Egypt’s security forces. This has been exacerbated by several events, including the deaths of 72 Ultras Ahlawy, fans of Ahly Football Club, in the northern Suez canal city of Port Said on February 1, 2012, during a deadly stadium riot that many say was prolonged or even sparked by security forces, and resulted in the suspension of football matches or matches with no spectators.

    After matches resumed and fans were permitted to attend games again, another bloody incident took place at Cairo’s Air Force Defense Stadium on February 8, 2015, when 20 Zamalek Football Club fans were killed. Security officials accused the UWK of being responsible for these deaths and arrested several members.

    In fact, over the past six years, security forces have imprisoned around 250 ultras, and in May 2015, ultras organizations were banned by the state.

    Egyptian media has also portrayed ultras associations in a negative light, disseminating false information on them and capitalizing on their insistence to not give media interviews.

    “Ultra” in Latin means over and above, and members describe themselves as being “brothers in blood.”

    The ultras commemorate members who have been imprisoned or killed over the years, immortalizing them in pictures, chants and songs. The UWK have released three albums of these songs to commemorate their martyrs: “Zamalek is the Life,” “Voice of the Knights” and “February 8.”

  • What’s behind Hezbollah’s safe zone project in Syria’s Qalamoun?

    In a report published by The New Arab on Feb. 10, a Hezbollah official declared Hezbollah’s plan to establish a safe zone in Qalamoun, where Syrian refugees could soon be relocated from neighboring Lebanon.

    The first draft of the deal proposed 24 terms to be negotiated between Hezbollah and a militia in Qalamoun known as Saraya Ahl al-Sham. Syrian journalist Ahmad al-Quasir, who has been following the situation closely, recently told Al-Monitor that Saraya Ahl al-Sham was established by local opposition forces in 2015 and is linked to the Free Syrian Army (FSA).

    Under the initial terms of the agreement, Hezbollah and Syrian regime forces would vacate the areas of Qalamoun where Saraya Ahl al-Sham is present. Saraya Ahl al-Sham would also create local committees responsible for the administration and policing of their communities.

    Read more: http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2017/03/lebanon-hezbollah-deal-syria-qalamoun-return-refugees.html#ixzz4cBY4TeYy


    IN HIS MEMOIR, the Israeli journalist Hirsh Goodman described how he returned home from the Six Day War in June 1967 to hear the country’s founding father and first prime minister, David Ben Gurion, speak on the radio. “Israel, he said, better rid itself of the territories and their Arab population as soon as possible,” recalled Goodman. “If it did not Israel would soon become an apartheid state.”

    Goodman was born and raised in apartheid-era South Africa. “That phrase, ‘Israel will become an apartheid state,’ resonated with me,” Goodman wrote. “In a flash I understood what he was saying.”

    In a flash. Yet fifty years later, despite an entrenched and ongoing occupation, Israel’s defenders angrily reject any invocation of the A-word. [...]

    [...] To mention the grotesque crime of apartheid in the same sentence as the democratic state of Israel, they claim, is “slander”, a “smear”, a “despicable” and “blatant lie”, a shameful act of “Israel-bashing” and a “new form of anti-Semitism.”

    So what, I wonder, does that make Ben Gurion? Dishonest or despicable? How about Yitzhak Rabin, who told a TV journalist in 1976 during the first of his two terms as Israel’s prime minister, “I don’t think it’s possible to contain over the long term, if we don’t want to get to apartheid, a million and a half [more] Arabs inside a Jewish state”? Was he also engaged in a smear campaign against the nation he led?

    In recent years, two more former Israeli premiers, Ehud Olmert and Ehud Barak, have echoed their illustrious predecessors’ warnings. Olmert has predicted that “if the two-state solution collapses, and we face a South African-style struggle for equal voting rights, then the State of Israel is finished” while Barak has declared that “if this bloc of millions of Palestinians cannot vote, that will be an apartheid state.”

    Are they Israel bashers, too?

    #Israel #Israël

  • An internal review of the Muslim Brotherhood: Reform, militancy or politics? | MadaMasr

    The Mohamed Kamal wing of the Muslim Brotherhood issued a report on Tuesday in which it took stock of the organization’s wider policies and strategic decisions in the leadup to the January 2011 revolution and the role it played afterwards. However, what is at stake in the document remains unclear, due to difficulty in situating calls for reform within a political wing that has urged an end to the Brotherhood’s policy of non-violence. Does the document represent a change in course, or is it simply a means to gain support from a political base?

    The post-2013 faction of the Islamist group, which follows the tenets articulated by Guidance Bureau member Mohamed Kamal, who was killed by security forces in October, presented the document titled “Assessment Before Vision: A Look Back at the Past,” as the first step in its plan to formulate a holistic political and organizational vision. The report interrogates the Muslim Brotherhood’s relationship to the 2011 revolution and the state, the absence of clear political priorities and contradictions among the group and the Freedom and Justice Party it birthed.

    #Egypte #Frèresmusulmans

  • Voyage au Liban, terre de paradoxes - iReMMO

    Le Liban fascine au-delà de ses seules frontières. C’est aussi le pays des idées reçues : ancienne « Suisse du Moyen-Orient », ou pays ravagé par une terrible guerre civile confessionnelle (1975-1990). C’est en effet une terre de paradoxes. Beyrouth demeure une capitale attractive et dynamique, un pôle des arts et de la culture au Moyen-Orient, au pluralisme intellectuel et politique indéniable : et pourtant, le Liban souffre aussi des conséquences du conflit syrien depuis 2011, entre afflux massif de réfugiés et instabilité sécuritaire. La guerre avec Israël n’est jamais loin – notamment au sud-Liban. Société civile, mouvements sociaux, revendications écologiques témoignent du dynamisme extraordinaire de sa jeunesse : mais le poids des structures confessionnelles, religieuses et politiques pèse également sur une population souffrant d’une détérioration de la situation économique.

    Ce sont ces réalités que l’iReMMO et Hasamélis vous proposent de découvrir, au cours de son voyage géopolitique : rencontres avec des représentants libanais des principaux partis politiques, avec la société civile comme avec des intellectuels et journalistes, mais également discussions avec les associations défendant les droits des réfugiés palestiniens et syriens au Liban, se conjugueront avec la découverte du patrimoine historique libanais, du Nord au Sud du Liban.

  • La circulation des productions culturelles - Chapitre 2. D’Al Jazeera à Al Mayadeen : la réinvention d’un journalisme militant ? - Centre Jacques-Berque

    Pour Al Mayadeen, ce journalisme militant est celui d’un néo-tiers-mondisme affirmé, établissant des diagonales entre Téhéran, La Havane, et Beyrouth, réactivant une opposition « nord-sud » chère aux années 1950 et 1960. Ce discours néo-tiers-mondiste, Al Jazeera n’y était pas hostile par le passé : elle oscillait entre dénonciation des régimes arabes et opposition aux politiques américaines et israéliennes dans la région tout au long des années 2000. Les révolutions arabes, de Tunis à Damas, en passant par Bahreïn, ont cependant découplé la question démocratique de la question néo-tiers-mondiste, Al Jazeera assumant la première, Al Mayadeen la seconde. Toutefois, les deux chaînes se rejoignent encore dans la production d’un journalisme militant, alors même qu’elles sont toutes deux des fruits de la globalisation médiatique.

  • Rejeter les attaques visant à étouffer toute critique de la politique israélienne
    AFPS, le 21 mars 2017

    voilà qu’on apprend que la commission des libertés au Parlement européen est saisie d’une proposition visant à caractériser l’antisémitisme en fonction de la référence à Israël. Exemples d’antisémitisme : « Les manifestations [de haine des Juifs] peuvent inclure le fait de viser l’Etat d’Israël, conçu comme une collectivité juive » … ou « Accuser des citoyens juifs d’être plus loyaux à Israël (…) qu’aux intérêts de leur propre pays » … ou encore « Nier au peuple juif son droit à l’auto-détermination, par exemple en déclarant que l’existence d’un Etat d’Israël est une entreprise raciste »... Caractérisations imprécises qui ouvrent grande la voie à toutes sortes de dérives et d’amalgames.

    Je crois me souvenir que cette stratégie a déjà été mise en oeuvre, au moins en Grande Bretagne et auprès de l’ONU. C’est dangereux... à suivre...

    #antisémitisme #antisionisme #Palestine #censure #Liberté_d'expression #Europe

  • Hamas looks to rebrand internationally with new policy document

    Raed Enairat, a professor of political science at An-Najah National University in Nablus and head of the Contemporary Center for Studies and Policy Analysis, told Al-Monitor that based on what he had gather from leaks, “The Hamas document is not a ticket for Hamas to join the international community, but it is perhaps a step on the path toward breaking out of its isolation. Before allowing Hamas access to its ranks, the international community will have basic demands, such as Hamas recognizing Israel. This would mean that it is still too early for Hamas to replace the Palestine Liberation Organization as the representative of the Palestinian people in regional and international forums and that the document will not speed up this process.”

    Also based on leaks about the document, Haaretz correspondent Jack Khoury wrote March 8 that it will stress that peaceful popular struggle against Israel is a legitimate approach, along with armed struggle, a move that could facilitate the movement’s contacts with the international community.

    In a March 15 article for the Arabi 21 website, Jordanian political writer Majed Abu Dyak wrote that he had obtained a copy of the document that includes Hamas agreeing to the establishment of a Palestinian state within the 1967 borders as an interim solution to the conflict with Israel, but without acknowledging the legitimacy of Israeli sovereignty over the land of historic Palestine (that is, recognizing Israel) or waiving refugees’ right to return. If accurate, it would appear that Hamas’ end goal remains Palestinian rule over all of pre-1948 Palestine.

    A senior Hamas leader who requested anonymity revealed some procedural details to Al-Monitor, stating, “Hamas began work on the document two years ago. The document has been submitted to the movement’s governing bodies, the political bureau and Shura Council. Legal and political parties inside Hamas are currently editing the document and translating it from Arabic into French and English. Hamas’ current head, Khaled Meshaal, will be presenting the document in late March or early April.”

    Read more: http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2017/03/hamas-to-release-soon-new-policy-document-expressing-stances.html#ixzz4b

  • In Syria, Iran sees necessary war

    The story of the Iranian decision to intervene in Syria has been a question for many, mainly with regard to how the decision was taken and whether a plan was in place from day one. Filling out the picture is the account of former Iranian member of parliament Esmail Kowsari — a former commander in the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) — who told the semi-official Fars News Agency in November 2013 how Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah had gone to Ayatollah Khamenei with fears that Assad would be toppled. Kowsari said that Nasrallah, nine months after the Syrian war started, had concluded that the situation was bad and was almost over. Nasrallah was quoted as saying, "Along with some officials, we went to the [supreme] leader and told him our thoughts. After we finished speaking, he said: ‘No, that is not the case. We must just do our duty. If we do our duty, Assad and Syria will be stable.’”

    The Iranian military source confirmed this account to Al-Monitor, adding, “When Nasrallah returned to Beirut, he met the [Hezbollah] Shura Council and told it about the [supreme] leader’s point of view; he asked them to prepare their plans. At the same time, Ayatollah Khamenei started meeting the leadership of the IRGC and asked it to put together their views and road map for how this conflict could end.” The Iranian source elaborated that Khamenei had two main concerns: preserving the weapons pipeline to Lebanon and keeping the holy shrines in Syria safe. The source said the two main leaders chosen to ensure that these objectives were met were Nasrallah and IRGC Quds Force commander Qasem Soleimani.

    Read more: http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2017/03/iran-syria-intervention-hamedani-quds-force-memoir.html#ixzz4bqbYOwl8

  • What are Israel’s Liberman, Fatah’s Dahlan plotting?

    The one Israeli leader who Dahlan is interested to engage with is Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman. Dahlan and Liberman know each other for many years and share the same language of crude force. According to the official, Dahlan is ready to test the defense minister’s alleged pragmatism and possibly negotiate with him on the basis of his plan for territorial and population exchange, as well as the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative.

    The official noted that some elements in Liberman’s plan could possibly serve as the basis for a two-state solution. The way Dahlan interprets the plan, a framework for a two-state solution should include elements such as advocating two independent states; that the scope and territory of the Palestinian state be equal in size to the West Bank and Gaza; that in most areas the border could be the 1967 lines; that land swaps for the Palestinian state could include some pre-1967 Israeli territory (Dahlan estimates that such land swaps could reinforce Palestinian society cohesion); and that East Jerusalem, with its Palestinian population, would come under Palestinian sovereignty.

    Evidently, Dahlan would consider these elements only as a basis for negotiations, together with all of the elements of the Arab Peace Initiative. With Liberman, Dahlan could actually agree to negotiate with an Israeli right-wing partner. This is a point he would impress upon the United States, the support of which he may need one day. Given the volatility of the PA and Egypt’s shifting approach — which according to Palestinian press reports is adopting nowadays a more lenient approach vis-a-vis Hamas — this scenario is a possibility to be considered.

    Read more: http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2017/03/israel-palestinians-fatah-mohammed-dahlan-avigdor-liberman.html#ixzz4bqa

  • The role Russia played in the Israel-Syria missile clash
    Syria’s missile fire at Israeli warplanes may indicate that Assad and his Russian protectors are not fully coordinated.

    Anshel Pfeffer Mar 19, 2017
    read more: http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-1.777965

    Over the six years of the Syrian war, dozens of airstrikes carried out against Hezbollah targets there have been ascribed to Israel. Until now the government has refused to acknowledge or deny them. Both Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman have stated publicly that Israel does attack in Syria to defend its strategic interests – in other words, preventing Hezbollah obtaining “balance-breaking” weapons for its arsenal in Lebanon. The attacks that took place early Friday were the first to be confirmed officially by the Israel Defense Forces spokesperson. While it remains unclear what the target or targets were – was it a Hezbollah convoy, a weapons factory or storage, and whether a senior Hezbollah commander was killed in the airstrike as some reports in the Arab media have claimed – a series of important questions arise from the little information that has been published.
    >> With missile fire, Assad is trying to change the rules of the game | Analysis <<
    First, why has Israel changed its policy and suddenly acknowledged an attack? Syria’s air-defense forces launched a long-range missile in an attempt to shoot down Israel’s fighter-jets. The missile was fired much too late to endanger the planes, but could have fallen on civilian areas within Israel and was therefore intercepted by an Arrow 2 missile. The loud explosion which was heard as far as Jerusalem and the missile parts that fell in Jordan meant that some explanation had to be given. But a statement on the missile intercept would have been sufficient. The decision to take responsibility for the attacks as well would have been made by the prime minister and may have been made for other reasons. 
    Exactly a week before the attacks, Netanyahu was in Moscow discussing Syria with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Few details have emerged regarding what was said in the meeting but Netanyahu said before and after that he made it clear that Israel would not agree to Iranian military presence in Syria, or that of Iran’s proxies, now that the civil war in the country seems to be winding down and Syrian President Bashar Assad’s rule has been preserved.
    Whether or not this demand was met with a receptive audience, Netanyahu returned to Jerusalem with the impression that Putin takes Israel’s concerns seriously. An attack carried out by Israeli warplanes flying over Syria (and not using standoff missiles from afar as happened in other strikes recently) may be an indication that there is an understanding with Russia over Israeli operations within the area that Russia protects with its own air-defense systems.
    Friday’s strikes resemble closely the pattern of the attack in December 2015 on a Damascus suburb in which nine operatives working for Iran were killed, including Samir Kuntar, the murderer of an Israeli family who had been released by Israel in a prisoner exchange in 2008 and was believed to be planning new cross-border raids. That strike took place just three days after Netanyahu and Putin had spoken by telephone and was the first to be carried out after Russia had placed an air-defense shield over large areas of Syria, including its capital.

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    It was unlikely then, back in December 2015 and on Friday, that Israel would have attacked in Syria, within Russia’s zone of operations, if it thought the Kremlin would react with anger. The fact that it was the Syrian army which launched a missile against Israel’s warplanes, while there are much more advanced Russian air-defense systems deployed nearby, ostensibly to protect the regime, could also indicate that Assad and his Russian protectors are not fully coordinated. Assad is aware that Putin is discussing his country’s future with other world leaders, including Netanyahu. His belated attempt to shoot down Israeli planes could be a sign of frustration at his impotence to control both his destiny and his airspace.

  • Palestinians urge EU to stop holding official meetings with Israel in #Jerusalem

    While European representatives serving in Israel avoid holding official meetings or tours beyond the Green Line in Jerusalem, they often visit the Foreign Ministry and other government ministries in the western part of the city. This despite the fact that Europe doesn’t recognize West Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and doesn’t have an official mission there.

    Moreover, annual EU reports have carried a recommendation to hold all meetings with senior Israeli officials outside Jerusalem, but it wasn’t acted on. Diplomatic sources estimate that the letter seeks to prepare the ground for the possible transfer of the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem. By raising the demand, the Palestinians want to equate West Jerusalem to East Jerusalem.

    #UE #Europe #complicité #Israël

  • Michel Warschawski : « Il y a une civilisation judéo-musulmane »

    1896 : un journaliste austro-hongrois publie L’État des Juifs et ancre l’idéologie sioniste naissante : la création d’un foyer national juif afin d’enrayer l’antisémitisme. 1922 : la Palestine compte 760 000 Arabes et 84 000 Juifs — ce qui n’empêche pas les militants sionistes de reprendre en chœur l’affirmation de quelque romancier anglais : « Un peuple sans terre qui revient à une terre sans peuple . » 1947 : au lendemain de la Seconde Guerre mondiale, l’ONU vote le partage de la Palestine, sous mandat britannique depuis deux décennies. 1948 : l’État d’Israël naît officiellement et s’en remet à « l’Éternel Tout-Puissant » ; les Arabes, refusant d’être colonisés, prennent les armes afin de défendre leurs terres — c’est la débâcle pour les Palestiniens : nettoyage ethnique, villages rasés, massacres, 800 000 exilés. La suite est connue : la Palestine continue d’être dominée, entre une bande de Gaza régulièrement bombardée et une Cisjordanie encerclée par un mur de séparation et quadrillée de colonies. La résistance — non-violente ou armée — se poursuit, qu’elle soit civile, islamiste, laïque ou socialiste. En Israël, des voix s’élèvent pour tourner la page de l’occupation : celle de l’essayiste Michel Warschawski, fondateur du Centre d’information alternative, à Jérusalem, et fils du grand-rabbin de Strasbourg, mérite une attention particulière. Nous revenons avec lui sur cette tradition dissidente .

  • On his first visit to the Middle East, Trump’s envoy Jason Greenblatt surprises everyone

    Greenblatt leaped effortlessly from a Palestinian refugee camp to meeting settler leaders, making positive impressions on all, along with a clear message: Trump’s serious about peace, and Israel ought to be too.

    Barak Ravid Mar 17, 2017
    read more: http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-1.777881

    Jason Greenblatt’s Twitter account was the best show in town this week. Anyone following his tweets might have thought he wasn’t the U.S. envoy for the peace process, but the Energizer bunny. 
    Greenblatt didn’t rest for a moment during his four days here. He bounced from Jerusalem, to Ramallah, to Jericho, to Bethlehem, to Amman and back to Jerusalem. After every meeting, he tweeted pictures and updates.
    On the eve of his visit, the New York Times published an article describing him scornfully as a man with no diplomatic experience who landed his job almost by chance. But Greenblatt proved this week that even if he lacks the experience of veterans of the peace industry in America, he is blessed with sharp instincts, seriousness, common sense and a great deal of personal charm and emotional intelligence. Everyone on the Israeli side who met with Greenblatt this week, on both the right and the left, as well as everyone on the Palestinian side, had a positive impression.
    “Greenblatt is a serious, honest envoy,” tweeted MK Tzipi Livni (Zionist Union) after meeting him. “There’s no doubt President Trump is committed to peace, and that’s good news. It won’t be easy – but there’s hope.”
    On his first visit to the region as Trump’s envoy, Greenblatt came mainly to listen and learn. Alongside his meetings with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, he held a great many meetings with segments of the population that until now most U.S. envoys had passed over. 
    He surprised many on the Palestinian side by meeting with residents of the Jalazun refugee camp near Ramallah, and surprised others on the Israeli side by meeting with two mayors of settlements, Oded Revivi and Yossi Dagan. He met with Palestinian and Israeli students, with residents of the Gaza Strip, with senior Jewish, Christian and Muslim clerics.
    skip - blattjalazone

    Wednesday night, Greenblatt took a tour of Jerusalem’s Old City. One stop on the tour was Yeshivat HaKotel, from which he tweeted a picture of the Western Wall and the Temple Mount. Five minutes later, he visited the house of a Palestinian resident of Jerusalem and tweeted a picture of the same holy sites from a different angle.
    “Peace and coexistence are not just possible in this extraordinary city, they exist already and have for centuries,” he added in a follow-up tweet.
    The message Greenblatt reiterated against and again, to both Israelis and Palestinians, was that President Donald Trump is very serious when he talks about his desire to make “the ultimate deal” and that Israeli-Palestinian peace is very high on his priority list. Opposition leader Isaac Herzog (Zionist Union) said after meeting with Greenblatt that he got the impression Trump was very committed to this issue and plans to launch a serious diplomatic process. A senior minister in the ruling Likud party got the same impression.

  • In precedent-setting ruling, Israel’s top court recognizes East Jerusalem Arabs as ’native-born residents’

    Over 14,000 Arabs have had their residency rights revoked since 1967 because they were absent from Jerusalem for more than 7 years. Court ruling challenges practice that treated them like immigrants in their own city.

    Nir Hasson Mar 16, 2017
    read more: http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-1.777750

    In a precedent-setting ruling, High Court justices have ordered the Interior Ministry to restore the residency rights of a Palestinian man born in East Jerusalem who was denied permission to live in the city after being away for many years.
    The ruling challenges a ministry policy of denying residency to many Palestinians born in the city once they’re away for more than seven years.
    A three-justice panel ruled that residents of East Jerusalem “have a strong affinity” to the city which must be taken into consideration with respect to residency rights.
    With the annexation of East Jerusalem by Israel in 1967, Palestinians did not receive Israeli citizenship but the status of permanent residents, entitling them to freedom of movement. In effect, the state has treated them as immigrants rather than native-born residents. 
    Since 1967 the Interior Ministry has denied the status of more than 14,000 Palestinians from East Jerusalem citing various reasons. It has been ministry practice, backed by a previous court ruling, to regard Palestinian residency in the city as having “expired” once the person is gone for more than seven years.

  • Table ronde : Cartographie du vécu et de l’imaginé - Association France Palestine Solidarité

    ARTISTE(S) ET COLLABORATEUR(S) : Marwan Rechmaoui, Youri Cayron et Romain Rivalan

    Rencontre avec l’artiste libanais Marwan Rechmaoui et les artistes français basés à Marseille Youri Cayron et Romain Rivalan, autour des « cartographies du vécu et de l’imaginaire ». Où il sera notamment question de la série UNRWA de Marwan Rechmaoui, inspirée d’un projet lancé par une ONG afin de créer une « Palestine virtuelle » reliant les communautés vivant dans cinq camps de réfugiés palestiniens au Liban.

    L’artiste Marwan Rechmaoui est né en 1964 à Beyrouth (Liban). Une ville dont, au fil de ses travaux, il révèle la géographie sociale et politique extrêmement complexe. Il utilise des matériaux industriels comme le béton, le caoutchouc, le goudron et le verre, pour créer des œuvres monumentales. Son travail a été présenté lors d’expositions au Liban et à l’étranger, notamment au Musée Granet d’Aix-en-Provence (2013), la Serpentine Gallery de Londres (2012), la Saatchi Gallery de Londres (2009), le Centre Paul Klee de Berne (2009), la Biennale de Sharjah (2005)…

    #cartographie #art #imaginaire #palestine

  • Report details divisions in Lebanon Baath Party, amid storming of HQ in Beirut | The Mideastwire Blog

    On March 15, the Lebanon Debate website carried the following report: “The piece of news on members of the Arab Socialist Baath Party raiding the party’s headquarters in Ras al-Nabeh just went by unnoticed. More than fifty armed men invaded the headquarters, occupied it and remained there for three days. Still, the security forces did not act or ask any questions on how this large number of armed men, most of which were Syrian nationals, managed to enter an area within the capital, Beirut, as per Baath sources who spoke to Lebanon Debate. The incident was deemed a political matter, one that can be solved through a consensus within the party, which has been suffering from an internal division for months now!

    “The division started when the party’s official, Naaman Shalak, objected to the course of action that has been followed recently to unify the party and that led to holding an exceptional regional conference, which resulted in MP Assem Kanso winning the post of Regional Secretary. Shalak rejected that and asked armed men to invade the headquarters and seize them by force. This story represents the version of the sources affiliated to the winning side. It is contested by the version presented by the opposing side, which accuses the earlier side of “disloyalty and monopolizing the party’s decision making process by “deifying” one man alone and no one else!”

  • The dishonest nature of court’s hijab decision | The National
    H A Hellyer

    The topic of Islamophobia is a live one, especially on the European continent and North America. It has been for years, but there is a renewed resurgence of anti-Muslim bigotry – and it shows no signs of abating. Indeed, current indications would imply that it is becoming institutionalised. A few years ago, that kind of assessment might have been condemned as fearmongering. Today, however, it is quite undeniable – because western political leaders are leading with the rhetoric, and western institutions are taking their cues. That will make it more difficult to roll it back.

    When it comes to political rhetoric, we have already seen that numerous political figures in the United States and many parts of Europe have pushed the envelope in terms of anti-Muslim bigotry. It used to be a type of bombast limited to marginal figures on the far-right, but it has now become mainstream.

    Following recent anti-Muslim statements by Geert Wilders in the Netherlands, a member of the US Congress offered his explicit support to the Dutch politician’s outrageous declarations. Steve King, a Republican congressman, has openly said he would like to see “an America that’s just so homogeneous that we look a lot the same”. A few years ago, it might have been unthinkable that it would be possible to express such blatant racism and intolerance so publicly – not any more.

  • Hizbollah’s Syria Conundrum | Crisis Group

    Hizbollah has also gained from its relationship with Russia, which arose from the latter’s 2015 intervention. It has been a vital partner on the ground, an elite fighting force without which Russian airstrikes would have been much less effective. It has been able to enhance its military and tactical expertise by a combat alliance, for the first time, with a global power. Yet, the relationship is fraught, as Moscow, a secular power wary of Islamist radicalism and favouring a strong Syrian state and army, has its own agenda in Syria, which is starting to diverge from Iran’s and Hizbollah’s, now that the regime’s immediate survival seems assured.

    Hizbollah has its own agenda, so needs its own political strategy. Along with most other players, it continues to bank on hard power. This can only prolong the conflict and encourage radicalisation on all sides. Defeat of non-jihadist rebels would help swell jihadist ranks and remove a credible opponent that could negotiate a settlement and enforce a deal. Hizbollah may feel emboldened by Iranian and Russian support and their joint 2016 victory in Aleppo and favour efforts to gain more ground. Taking and holding territory in the face of a morphing insurgency and a hostile population will become increasingly costly in blood and treasure, however, and may prevent the party from extricating itself at all.

  • Netanyahu expects to reach deal with U.S. on restrained settlement construction -

    ’There’s no blank check from Trump for construction in the settlements and that was known from the first minute he entered the White House,’ says Israeli official.

    Barak Ravid Mar 15, 2017
    read more: http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-1.777320

    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expects to reach understandings with the United States within a few weeks on curbing construction in the settlements, according to an Israeli official.
    Although the understandings with U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration are likely to include Israeli willingness to impose significant restrictions on construction in West Bank settlements, the Prime Minister’s Bureau believes that this will not weaken the coalition.
    “There’s no blank check from Trump for construction in the settlements and that was known from the first minute he entered the White House,” said the official, who is involved in contacts between Israel and the United States on the subject. “We are looking for the common denominator with the Americans that will allow construction on the one hand, and on the other promote with the Trump administration diplomatic moves in many areas.”

    Israeli-U.S. negotiations on restraining settlements.
    Netanyahu met on Monday evening for more than five hours with American envoy Jason Greenblatt. Israel’s ambassador to the United States, Ron Dermer, was present for most of the meeting and the most significant part of the conversation dealt with the attempt to formulate understandings on construction in the settlements.
    Netanyahu and Greenblatt are expected to meet again this week before the envoy leaves the country.
    Speaking at a Tuesday press conference at his office, Netanyahu described his conversations with Greenblatt as “good and thorough.” Netanyahu added: “I can’t say that we finished or summed things up; we are in a process, but a process of true and sincere dialogue in the positive meaning of the word. It is not yet open to the press.”

    #colonies #Israël #Palestine #Etats-Unis

  • Egypt-Fatah tensions come to a head at Cairo airport

    A Palestinian politician in Gaza and a close associate of Dahlan told Al-Monitor on condition of anonymity, “Egypt was very offended by Rajoub’s recent meetings with Fatah leaders in the West Bank. He even attacked Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi. This angered many Egyptian officials who were offended. The deportation was a prelude to completely eliminate his chances of becoming head of the PA, as Egyptians can now veto Rajoub’s plan to become Abbas’ successor.”

    Egypt does not hide its desire to play a key role in choosing Abbas’ successor. This was made clear in August 2016, when Egypt made the first move toward achieving reconciliation between Dahlan and Abbas, but the latter continues to reject and exclude Dahlan from any opportunity to succeed him, thus angering Egypt.

    Rajoub’s deportation from Egypt reverberated in Israel. Writing in Haaretz on March 6, author Jack Khoury said Rajoub’s deportation was due to Sisi’s anger toward Abbas for rejecting Sisi’s initiative, announced in May 2016, to hold a regional conference in Cairo with the participation of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu alongside Arab leaders.

    Read more: http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2017/03/egypt-deny-entry-palestinian-fatah-official-abbas-dahlan.html#ixzz4bI7gu

  • How ’complete’ is normalization between Russia, Turkey?

    The presidents of Russia and Turkey say their recent meeting in Moscow produced encouraging results in diplomatic, trade and economic sectors and paved the way for further bilateral cooperation. The event was of special importance, as it marked the resumption of the High-Level Russian-Turkish Cooperation Council meetings for the first time since Turkey downed a Russian jet in late 2015.

    Read more: http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2017/03/russia-turkey-normalization-process-erdogan-putin-syria.html#ixzz4bHoLZe

    Probably the thorniest issue of dealing with the Kurds remains a “hidden agenda” and neither leader, rather expectedly, voiced any specifics. In a conversation with Al-Monitor, Russia’s Middle East experts were almost unanimous in their assessment of Erdogan’s major objective: to put an end to what Ankara calls a Federation of Northern Syria, a territory under Kurdish control. Referring to his sources in the Russian Foreign Ministry, a notable Russian specialist on the region, speaking on condition of anonymity, mentioned that there is an understanding that despite the pressure from Erdogan, cutting ties with Kurds is not in Russia’s interests.

    “If Moscow abandons the Kurds now, it will reinforce America’s position. They [the US] have already secured some of northwest Syria with their own military infrastructure. It will also allow Turkey to seize further control of the Syrian territory.”

    Ironically, the day after the meeting, Russian media outlets were racking their brains over what to make of the reported news that Turkey cut ferry services with Crimea, virtually halting the delivery of Turkish goods and food to the peninsula. The major storyline seems to be that Ankara is trying to trade some political preferences for the West, showcasing that it has a card to play in what has become a sensitive point between Russia and the West.

    Commenting on the presidents’ meeting and the news on what some are calling “the Crimea blockade,” a Russian-Turkey watcher close to the Kremlin told Al-Monitor, “The current trend is definitely toward a warming of the relations because both objectively need each other. But it’s still early to talk about a comprehensive partnership.”

    #Turquie #Russie #Kurdes

  • The Israelis who cultivate connections to Europe’s fascists

    Misguided right-wing Israelis have convinced themselves that anyone who spouts hatred about Muslims is their ally.

    Nitzan Horowitz Mar 14, 2017
    read more: http://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-1.777027

    It’s not only the most sought-after Purim costume, it’s an epidemic. On Wednesday, the Netherlands holds its general election. Why do we even care? Because of the “Dutch Trump,” another politician with a filthy mouth, bleached platinum-blond hair and an Islamophobe to boot – in short, a political hit. Oh, and he’s a “great friend of Israel,” of course.
    The truth is, Geert Wilders should be collecting royalties from U.S. President Donald Trump. Wilders was there first, and he co-owns the copyright for this new, loud, dirty politics that’s sweeping the world. And after its resounding success in the United States, Wilders now hopes to cash in. But even if he doesn’t head the next government, he’s succeeded in dominating the election campaign. He’s also had a pan-European effect: French National Front leader Marine Le Pen is a pussycat compared to him.
    Impassioned citizens across the continent are urging their politicians to “be more like Wilders.” What fun it is to proclaim, without shame, “There are too many Moroccans here.” How liberating it is to say whatever comes into your head, like “Mohammed is a pedophile.” Inciting hatred? Neo-Nazi behavior? What do you mean? We certainly aren’t Nazis! After all, Wilders only declared that “Mosques are Nazi temples,” and that the Koran is a Nazi work “like ‘Mein Kampf,’” which is why its distribution should be prohibited.
    Overall, the Netherlands is in good shape. Growth is up, unemployment is down, investors are streaming in and the standard of living is one of the highest in the world. What’s wrong? Immigration? Note to the demagogues here and there: the real reason for immigration is not imaginary European liberalism. The Dutch simply have fewer children, natural growth is low, and so it needs immigrants to do the hard jobs and to shore up the collapsing pension systems of an aging continent. Even with the immigrants, population growth in the Netherlands is very limited – 0.4 percent last year, compared to 2 percent annually in Israel, for example. Those are the facts. Naturally, Wilders – like many in the Netherlands – knows this.
    By the way, he’s the last person who should be opening his mouth about immigrants. His mother is from Indonesia, his father fled Germany and his wife is from Hungary. But he’s not your typical racist and xenophobe. He’s “just” against Muslims, who in his eyes are all murderous soldiers of jihad.
    So, you may ask, is there no risk of terrorist infiltration or a danger of immigrant groups being radicalized from within? Of course there is. Whoever ignores the danger of Islamic extremism and the phenomena that have already hit Europe is a fool, or worse. But the danger posed by Wilders and his ilk is greater. Wilders is the biggest collaborator to Islamic radicals fighting against integration. He and his sweeping, racist generalizations, dripping with poisonous hatred and incitement, are pushing more and more alienated young people into the arms of the extremists.

  • A worthy sacrifice for a Judeo-Samarian
    Amira Hass Mar 09, 2017 1:47 AM

    The demolitions of Palestinian structures are easy prey. The horns of the altar shout: More. Harder. Bigger. It is not enough to destroy, people must be evicted, driven out, uprooted.

    While you recite Emmanuel Levinas and boast of his being Jewish, and while you prepare the list of guests to invite to celebrate our passing from bondage to freedom, the Jewish high priest sharpens his knife. And while you update the anti-Semitism index with another shattered tombstone and read out poetry on Friday nights in Ashkenazi and Sephardi style, your smug faces are reflected in the gleaming blade. And while you beam with joy at the cleverness of the grandson and youngest daughter and book seats for a show in London, the blade moves closer to the neck of the victim tied on the altar in Amona.

    How can we appease you, Judeo-Samarian, how can we placate your wrath, god of vengeance, if not by destroying 10 times more and by the falsehood of symmetry. Kalansua. Umm al-Hiran. Issawiya. Beit Hanina. Jabal Mukkaber. But Moloch is not satiated. The demolitions there are easy prey. The horns of the altar shout: More. Harder. Bigger.

    The knife moves closer and closer, the blade is shining, the saliva is dripping. It is not enough to destroy, people must be evicted, driven out, uprooted. Moloch wants to see the children wet themselves at night, the women waking up in alarm, the shepherds impoverished and selling their goats to pay the court fee, the old men imagining the army loading them on trucks, while you board a plane for a trek in Chile.

    The newspaper reported: The Civil Administration converted the stop-work orders into demolition orders for some 150 structures in the Jahalin community in Khan al-Ahmar (the village whose school is made of tires). The newspaper also reported: The Civil Administration wants to gather all the Bedouin and settle them permanently on Area C in two or three townships. It also said: According to Israel’s laws these structures are illegal.

    The newspaper didn’t report that these are laws of evil and wickedness, which discriminate between one person’s blood and another’s, between one person’s child and another’s. These laws that have evicted the Jahalin time and again, restricted them, and allowed the children of Adumim who came dozens of years later to build and prosper. And now they have their eye on the Bedouin’s little huts as well.

    The newspaper will report: On Thursday the state prosecution will respond to the village of Sussia’s petition against the state’s intent to uproot it for the fourth or fifth time. It will probably say: The state insists on going ahead with its plan. The master plan the villagers proposed is unacceptable. The newspaper has already reported: The state knows it’s better for Sussia residents to move to a place near their brethren in the city of Yatta, with their power and water. The school will be close, and this proximity will empower the women. In secret ink it will say: Jews need living space and a view that’s cleansed of Arabs and a pleasant breeze blowing between the rocks and the vineyards, and this land will be only for us and our seed.

    This fact, too, wasn’t written in the newspaper: As a prelude to carrying out the court’s order – tearing down the Amona houses that were built in good faith and a pure soul on the enemy’s land – it was agreed and decided to sacrifice the Khan al-Ahmar community on the altar. Only its complete destruction will be accepted as a worthy offering.

    And on the way, we’ll teach the Supreme Court judges another lesson. Granted, they have never intervened to thwart our holy determination to deny the Bedouin water and power and building rights. But the judges have also ruled that houses should not be demolished as long as there’s no alternative. Now we’ll show them that it’s possible to destroy and uproot even without an alternative.

    Sussia and Khan al-Ahmar have become symbols of the struggle against the laws of wickedness, a subject of international interest and statements against forced uprooting, which is a war crime. When these communities are defeated and destroyed and torn out, we’ll prove that the world is good only at making statements.

    We will then find time for all the other communities we aim to wipe out. Arab a-Ramadin, Abu Qubeita, Khalet Hamad, Khatib on Hizme and dozens of other families and communities, for whom the knives are being sharpened. While you’re hurrying to a concert.

  • British royal family may visit Israel to mark Balfour Declaration centenary - Israel News - Haaretz.com

    The British royal family may visit Israel in an official capacity later this year, on the 100th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration, according to British media reports.

    Quand Israël et la Grande-Bretagne célèbrent le traumatisme historique des Palestiniens
    16 février 2017
    par Samah Jabr

  • إفراج متأخر عن الدقامسة لم يمنع الأردنيين من الاحتفالات الواسعة : ليلة ليلاء في اربد وتهاني بعد الخبر.. الأمن نقل “البطل” سرّا وسلمه للمحافظ.. وتحذيرات للحكومة للحفاظ على سلامته.. | رأي اليوم

    Décidée dans la plus grande discrétion et effective à la fin du week-end, à une heure du matin, les manifestations de joie et les commentaires qui ont accompagné la libération du "héros" (c’est le terme souvent employé) jordanien devrait inciter les partisans d’une normalisation accélérée avec Israël à réfléchir. Il avait été emprisonné pour le meurtre de 7 Israéliennes en 1997.

    #jordanie #israël

  • Disagreement between Egypt, Palestine over proposed amendment to Arab Peace Initiative | MadaMasr


    Disagreement seems to be brewing within the Arab League this week between the delegates of Egypt and Palestine in light of a proposed amendment to the wording of the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative (also known as the Saudi Initiative) pertaining to Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian West Bank and other territories.

    While there have been denials regarding any official disagreement on the Arab League’s 15 year-old resolution, sources have confirmed that Egypt’s proposed amendments this week were rejected by the Palestinian delegation. These sources claimed that the Egyptian delegation aimed to open a debate to further develop the Arab Peace Initiative, a proposal which was supported by the Secretary-General of the League and Egypt’s former foreign minister, Ahmed Aboul Gheit.

    In his comments to reporters at the conclusion of the Arab foreign ministers’ meeting in Cairo on Tuesday, Aboul Gheit spoke of the need to consider “new ideas with which to resolve the crises in the region.” However, the meeting’s closing statement mentioned the adherence of state-parties to the Arab Peace Initiative without amendments to it.

  • An Arab-free Knesset - Haaretz Editorial
    It is outrageous to demand that the elected representatives of Israel’s non-Jewish minority swear loyalty to the ’Jewish state.’

    Haaretz Editorial Mar 12, 2017
    read more: http://www.haaretz.com/opinion/editorial/1.776614

    This morning, a few days after Likud MK Miki Zohar proposed annexing the West Bank without giving Palestinians the right to vote, the Ministerial Committee for Legislation is scheduled to discuss a bill that could harm the right of Arabs who are citizens of Israel to vote and to run for office. The proposed amendment to the Basic Law on the Knesset would add to the oath of office sworn by Knesset members — “to be loyal to the State of Israel” — the phrase “as a Jewish and democratic state, in accordance with the spirit of the Declaration of Independence, to preserve and to respect it symbols.”
    It is not by chance that the preamble to the draft law contains no mention of the purpose of the change. After all, it is obvious that no declaration of loyalty has the power to increase loyalty to the state. At best, the bill will cause hatred, anger and rebellion of Israel’s Arab minority. At worst it will reduce this community’s participation in the electoral process, thus dealing a mortal blow to Israeli democracy. From this it follows that the aim of the draft law is not to solve a problem, but rather to spark outrage and to impinge on the right of Arabs to vote and to run for office.
    For a large portion of Arab Knesset members, the oath’s revised version requires them to be untrue to themselves: For years, the term “Jewish state” means exclusion and discrimination. Even if it’s possible for a national home for Jews to exist here in the framework of a Jewish and democratic state in which all citizens enjoy complete equality, that is not the situation in practice. That being the case, it is outrageous to demand that the elected representatives of Israel’s non-Jewish minority swear loyalty to the “Jewish state.”
    In addition, since the interpretation of the concept “Jewish and democratic” is so controversial, there may also be Jews who are not willing to swear loyalty to it. If “Jewish state” might also include religious content, then what about atheists who call for absolute separation between religion and state? Other communities, such as ultra-Orthodox Jews, might not identify with the concept “Jewish and democratic.”
    President Reuven Rivlin, in his “four tribes” address to the Herzliya Conference in June 2015, said that we must accept that non-Zionists are a part of Israel, that the definition of a national home for the Jewish people in a Jewish and democratic state is a definition of Zionism, and that we cannot force all citizens to be Zionist against their will. In a democratic state, everyone has full freedom of conscience and no one is forced to swear loyalty as a condition for participating in the game of democracy and exercising the right to be elected. The frequent attempts to pass such laws only send a message of insecurity, as if Israel’s Jewish and democratic identity were in doubt.
    It is unwise to create a problem where none exists. The oath sworn by Knesset members today, of “loyalty to the State of Israel,” is sufficient. The government must reject the legislative proposal and stop passing laws whose sole purpose is to sow hatred and cause provocation.

    #apartheid #racism

  • Sara Grira : À propos de Nike et du hijab… et du féminisme orientaliste – Culture et politique arabes


  • For first time, Hamas prepared to accept pre-1967 borders for Palestinian state -
    Hamas soon expected to approve document summarizing the organization’s political and strategic positions, including declaring its independence from any outside party such as the Muslim Brotherhood.

    Jack Khoury Mar 09, 2017
    read more: http://www.haaretz.com/middle-east-news/palestinians/1.775939

    Hamas is formulating a new outline of its policies, which will reportedly include an acceptance in principle of Palestine within the 1967 borders but not a recognition of Israel. According to reports, the document will also state that the organization was not a part of the Muslim Brotherhood.
    According to the London-based Asharq al-Awsat newspaper, sources in Hamas say that officials from the organization’s political bureau, Chairman Khaled Meshal and his deputy Ismail Haniyeh, as well as other officials from the military and political leadership, were involved in formulating and amending the document, which is still being worked on. Final approval is expected at the end of this month or early next month, when the Hamas internal elections for the political bureau and Shura Council conclude.
    >> Get all updates on Israel and the Palestinians: Download our free App, and Subscribe >>
    The report says the document will make clear that Hamas is an independent organization not tied to the Muslim Brotherhood, and this will help it in its contacts with the Egyptian authorities who are demanding that Hamas be fully disconnected from the Muslim Brotherhood, which is banned in Egypt.
    Hamas officials believe acceptance of the principle of a Palestinian state with the 1967 borders will help it break the boycott from foreign countries and international organizations.

    Sources in Hamas say that the document will define the fight against Israel as a fight against the occupation and not against Jews, whereas the organization’s platform that was passed 29 years ago defined Hamas as an extension of the Muslim Brotherhood in Palestine, defined the Palestinian issue as a religious issue and said that the struggle was against the Jews.

    An official with the political wing of Hamas in Gaza told Haaretz that the document that will be approved in the coming weeks will not present new positions, but will summarize positions and principles that came up over the last few years, in the talks for reconciliation and understandings with the other various Palestinian factions, and in the talks with Egypt and other Arab countries.
    “Anyone who has followed the statements of Khaled Meshal and the Hamas leaders will not find anything different, but in light of the major changes that have occurred in the region and within the Palestinian arena, Hamas has formulated this document to stand as an ID card for the movement and its principles,” the official said.
    Last month, Hamas completed its internal elections in Gaza, including the election of Yahya Sinwar as Hamas head in Gaza, and by early next month should complete its election process abroad. In the West Bank, it is not certain there will be such an election, due to organizational difficulties presented by Israel and the Palestinian Authority.
    Haniyeh is widely expected to be elected head of the political bureau in place of Meshal who is stepping down, and Hamas will try to present an agenda that will help its standing in relation to the international community and Arab countries, chiefly Egypt.
    At this stage it is not clear how much Hamas wants to end its rift with Fatah and the Palestinian Authority, but it is possible that its agreement to a Palestinian state in the 1967 borders and defining the fight against the occupation in terms of a popular resistance alongside the military struggle, could serve as a basis for national agreement with the other factions, especially Fatah.

  • #Sahara : la #Tunisie face à la rivalité algéro-marocaine

    Craignant de se fâcher avec son voisin algérien ou de provoquer une crise avec le #Maroc, la Tunisie maintient une « neutralité positive » sur la question du #Sahara_occidental. Ce sujet oppose Alger et Rabat depuis le milieu des années 1970 et constitue l’un des principaux facteurs de blocage du regroupement régional symbolisé par l’Union du #Maghreb arabe.


  • Turkey, US, Russia stage surprise tripartite regional security meeting in Antalya - INTERNATIONAL


    The top soldiers of Turkey, the United States and Russia came together in Antalya in a first of its kind tripartite summit, the Turkish military has stated, highlighting developments in Syria and Iraq as top issues of the agenda. 

    In a written statement issued by the office of the Chief of General Staff, Turkish Chief of General Staff Gen. Hulusi Akar, U.S. Chief of General Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford and Russian Chief of General Staff Gen. Valery Gerasimov met in Antalya. 

    Sources said the meeting began early on March 7 and is expected to continue through the day. Pictures distributed by the Turkish army feature the three top soldiers sitting side by side. 

    The top soldiers of the three countries held bilateral meetings in recent months, particularly on security issues in Syria and Iraq, but have never met in a three-way meeting.  

    The statement said they discussed security issues concerning Syria and Iraq, without further elaborating. The meeting comes as Turkey presses both Russia and the U.S. to cease cooperation with the Syrian Democratic Union Party (PYD) for defeating the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

    Raqqa ops possible with coordination

    Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım hinted about a military-to-military meeting between the three countries in an interview with the private broadcaster A Haber late on March 6. 

    “There is no point in doing an operation [on Raqqa] without coordinating with Russia and the U.S. It would be futile and the consequences may become more complicated. For that, there are military, technical negotiations going on,” Yıldırım said.

    He recalled Turkey’s proposal for a joint operation on Raqqa on the condition that the PYD will be excluded but stressed that Washington has not yet replied to Ankara.   

    “We have conveyed our offer to the U.S. There has not been a formal response yet. So it would not be right to say ‘they have other plans’ just by taking what has been written about the issue into account. But we will not be anywhere there are terrorist organizations. It is that clear,” Yıldırım added.

    ‘PYD to east of Euphrates’ 

    Yıldırım said Turkey’s main purpose in possible operations toward Manbij, al-Bab or other parts of Syria is to push the PYD and its armed wing, the People’s Protection Units (YPG), to the east of the Euphrates River. “It is quite natural that there would be Syrian elements there after it is provided. Because it is Syrian territory,” he said. 

    “It can be the U.S. or it can be Russia. We are saying, if it is desired, we can make a triple mechanism with Russia, the U.S. and Turkey,” he said.

    “When terrorist groups like the PYD and the YPG are completely cleared, same as we did in Jarablus with the Euphrates Shield operation, or in al-Rai, Dabiq and as we have started to do in al-Bab, Syrians will come and settle there. Life will go back to normal,” he added.

  • Basil al-Araj assassinated by Israeli occupation forces after PA imprisonment and months in hiding | Samidoun: Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network

    l-Araj, a writer and activist involved in a wide array of Palestinian grassroots struggles for liberation, was among the Palestinian youth dedicated to reviving the Palestinian national liberation movement. One of six Palestinian youth released from Palestinian Authority prisons after nearly six months of detention when they launched a hunger strike, Al-Araj and other youth had been seized in April in what was touted as a victory for security coordination between the PA and Israel. While they were imprisoned by the PA, they were subject to torture and ill-treatment by PA security forces.

    After their hunger strike and widespread attention to their case, including protests after reports of their torture, secured their release, four of the youth – Mohammed al-Salameen, Seif al-Idrissi, Haitham Siyaj, and Mohammed Harb – have been seized by Israeli occupation forces. All four have been ordered to administrative detention, imprisonment without charge or trial.

  • La liberté de s’exprimer sur Israël en butte à des attaques dans les universités britanniques
    The Guardian, le 27 février 2017

    Signatures (plus de 200 profs britanniques): Prof Jonathan Rosenhead, Prof Conor Gearty, Prof Malcolm Levitt, Tom Hickey, Prof Dorothy Griffiths, Prof Moshé Machover, Sir Iain Chalmers, Prof Steven Rose, Prof Gilbert Achcar, Prof Penny Green, Prof Bill Bowring, Mike Cushman, Jim Zacune, Dr Jethro Butler, Dr Rashmi Varma, Dr John Moore, Dr Nour Ali, Prof Richard Hudson, Dr Tony Whelan, Dr Dina Matar, Prof Marian Hobson, Prof Tony Sudbery, Prof John Weeks, Prof Graham Dunn, Dr Toni Wright, Dr Rinella Cere, Prof Ian Parker, Dr Marina Carter, Dr Shirin M Rai, Andy Wynne, Prof David Pegg, Prof Erica Burman, Dr Nicola Pratt, Prof Joanna Bornat, Prof Richard Seaford, Dr Linda Milbourne, Dr Julian Saurin, Dr Nadia Naser-Najjab, Prof Elizabeth Dore, Prof Colin Eden, Dr Neil Davidson, Jaime Peschiera, Catherine Cobham, Prof Haim Bresheeth, Dr Uriel Orlow, Dr Saladin Meckled-Garcia, Dr Abdul B Shaikh, Dr Mark Leopold, Prof Michael Donmall, Prof Hamish Cunningham, Prof David Johnson, Dr Reem Abou-El-Fadl, Dr Luke Cooper, Prof Peter Gurney, Dr Adi Kuntsman, Prof Matthew Beaumont, Dr Teodora Todorova, Prof Natalie Fenton, Prof Richard Bornat, Dr Jeremy Landor, Dr John Chalcraft, Milly Williamson, David Mabb, Dr Judit Druks, Dr Charlie McGuire, Dr Gholam Khiabany, Glynn Kirkham, Dr Deirdre O’Neill, Dr Gavin Williams, Prof Marsha Rosengarten, Dr Debra Benita Shaw, Dr João Florêncio, Prof Stephen Keen, Dr Anandi Ramamurthy, Dr Thomas Mills, Dr Don Crewe, Prof Robert Wintemute, Andy Gossett, Prof Mark Boylan, Angela Mansi, Dr Paul Taylor, Tim Martin, Keith Hammond, Karolin Hijazi, Dr Kevin Hearty, Prof Daniel Katz, Dr Richard Pitt, Prof Ray Bush, Prof Glenn Bowman, Prof Craig Brandist, Prof Virinder S Kalra, Dr Yasmeen Narayan, Prof Michael Edwards, John Gilmore-Kavanagh, Prof Nadje Al-Ali, Prof Mick Dumper, Graham Topley, Dr Shuruq Naguib, Prof David Whyte, Peter Collins, Dr Andrew Chitty, Prof David Mond, Prof Leon Tikly, Dr Subir Sinha, Dr Mark Berry, Dr Gajendra Singh, Prof Elizabeth Cowie, Dr Richard Lane, Prof Martin Parker, Dr Aboobaker Dangor, Dr Siân Adiseshiah, Prof Dennis Leech, Dr Owen Clayton, Dr John Cowley, Prof Mona Baker, Dr Navtej Purewal, Prof Mica Nava, Prof Joy Townsend, Dr Alex Bellem, Dr Nat Queen, Gareth Dale, Prof Yosefa Loshitzky, Dr Rudi Lutz, Dr Oliver Smith, Tim Kelly, Prof Laleh Khalili, Prof Aneez Esmail, Fazila Bhimji, Prof Hilary Rose, Dr Brian Tweedale, Prof Julian Petley, Prof Richard Hyman, Dr Paul Watt, Nisha Kapoor, Prof Julian Townshend, Prof Roy Maartens, Dr Anna Bernard, Prof Martha Mundy, Prof Martin Atkinson, Dr Claude Baesens, Dr Marijn Nieuwenhuis, Dr Emma Heywood, Dr Matthew Malek, Prof Anthony Milton, Dr Paul O’Connell, Prof Malcolm Povey, Dr Jason Hickel, Dr Jo Littler, Prof Rosalind Galt, Prof Suleiman Shark, Dr Paula James, Dr Linda Pickard, Pat Devine, Dr Jennifer Fortune, Prof Chris Roberts, Dr Les Levidow, Dr Carlo Morelli, Prof David Byrne, Dr Nicholas Cimini, Prof John Smith, Prof Arshin Adib-Moghaddam, Dr Peter J King, Prof Bill Brewer, Prof Patrick Williams, Prof Daphne Hampson, Dr Wolfgang Deckers, Cliff Jones, Prof Luis Pérez-González, Prof Patrick Ainley, Dr Paul Kelemen, Prof Dee Reynolds, Dr Enam Al-Wer, Prof Hugh Starkey, Dr Anna Fisk, Prof Linda Clarke, Prof Klim McPherson, Cathy Malone, Prof Graham Dawson, Prof Colin Green, Prof Clément Mouhot, Prof S Sayyid, Prof William Raban, Prof Peter Hallward, Prof Chris Rust, Prof Benita Parry, Prof Andrew Spencer, Prof Philip Marfleet, Prof Frank Land, Dr Peter E Jones, Dr Nicholas Thoburn, Tom Webster, Dr Khursheed Wadia, Dr Philip Gilligan, Dr Lucy Michael, Prof Steve Hall, Prof Steve Keen, Dr David S Moon, Prof Ken Jones, Dr Karen F Evans, Dr Jim Crowther, Prof Alison Phipps, Dr Uri Horesh, Dr Clair Doloriert, Giles Bailey, Prof Murray Fraser, Prof Stephen Huggett, Dr Gabriela Saldanha, Prof Cahal McLaughlin, Ian Pace, Prof Philip Wadler, Dr Hanem El-Farahaty, Dr Anne Alexander, Dr Robert Boyce, Dr Patricia McManus, Prof Mathias Urban, Dr Naomi Woodspring, Prof David Wield, Prof Moin A Saleem, Dr Phil Edwards, Dr Jason Hart, Dr Sharon Kivland, Dr Rahul Rao, Prof Ailsa Land, Dr Lee Grieveson, Dr Paul Bagguley, Dr Rosalind Temple, Dr Karima Laachir, Dr Youcef Djerbib, Dr Sarah Perrigo, Bernard Sufrin, Prof James Dickins, John Burnett, Prof Des Freedman, Dr David Seddon, Prof Steve Tombs, Prof Louisa Sadler, Dr Leon Sealey-Huggins, Dr Rashné Limki, Dr Guy Standing, Dr Arianne Shahvisi, Prof Neil Smith, Myriam Salama-Carr, Dr Graham Smith, Dr Peter Fletcher

    #Palestine #Grande-Bretagne #Liberté_d'expression #Liberté_académique #Universités #Semaine_contre_l'apartheid_israélien #Israeli_Apartheid_Week #BDS #Boycott_universitaire

  • Islamophobie : du déni à la reconnaissance | jef klak

    La plasticité de l’idéologie dominante
    Par Abdellali Hajjat & Marwan Mohammed

    À l’heure où agiter les épouvantails de groupuscules extrémistes permet d’oublier les causes des conflits mondiaux et de conforter le rôle protecteur de l’État, tout en ratissant des voix fondées sur la peur et le racisme, l’analyse de l’habitus islamophobe des gouvernants et des médias semble un réflexe salutaire. Dans ce texte écrit en juillet 2014, et dans le prolongement de leur ouvrage Islamophobie – Comment les élites fabriquent le « problème musulman » et de l’entretien qu’ils ont accordé à Jef Klak, Abdellali Hajjat et Marwan Mohammed font le bilan de la reconnaissance d’un racisme institutionnel fondé sur les options religieuses et les origines convenues. Alors que les agressions contre des musulmans se sont multipliées ces derniers mois et que les pratiquants de l’islam sont enjoints de lever publiquement le soupçon structurel qui pèse sur eux, les deux sociologues se penchent ici sur les tribulations du concept d’islamophobie pour mieux en saisir les enjeux.


  • The privilege and responsibility of Jewish ’Whiteness’ -
    We white Jews have the choice of navigating our lives without ever having to grapple with our racial identities and our place in a racially hierarchical system. A university class gave us this chance.

    Josh Rosenbaum Mar 02, 2017
    read more: http://www.haaretz.com/opinion/1.774853

    I have been hesitant to respond to a recent op-ed in Haaretz (“What Happens When a Tulane Student Queries Jews’ ‘Whiteness’”), since Carly is my friend, but I feel since she chose a public forum for this opinion, it warrants a public response.
    I too am a Jewish student who took this class, and I believe my experiences directly contradict her conclusions. Critical Race Theory was one of the most thought-provoking, engaging, and inclusive classes I have ever been in. Our professor did not demand a monolithic view of race and racism, and I never once heard a thoughtful opinion rejected out of hand.
    When our professor asked, “What’s a Jew?” he did not do so in a way that challenged our history of victimhood to oppression and genocide. He did not do so in a way that negated the real experience of anti-Semitism today. He did not do so in a way that belittled the faith or questioned its validity. He did so in an attempt to open our eyes to the very real ways in which white Jews (i.e. the ones he was discussing, as opposed to Mizrahi Jews or Jews of color), like Carly and I, have been incorporated into a racially hierarchical system. He did so in a way that exposed the very real ways in which we benefit from institutionalized white supremacy and anti-blackness in the United States. This is, as she says, how he sees it “in his eyes.”
    But he is using his eyes to see the truth—that we are safe: on this campus, in this country, and at least comparatively speaking, in this world. She writes that “today more than ever Jewish people grapple with their racial identity,” but this simply is not true. Like all white people, we are granted the unfathomable privilege of navigating our lives without ever grappling with our racial identities, should we choose not to. But we should. This classroom offered us one place to do just that, led by a brilliant and empathetic scholar.
    Anti-Semitism exists, and when demonstrated, we should fight against it with as much rigor and passion as any injustice. I’ll be there with Carly at the front lines. But as white American Jews, we face a choice of feigning an oppressed identity that flies in the face of our actual structural positioning or expressing genuine solidarity with people of color. We cannot have it both ways. Deepening our analyses of our own positioning allows us to serve as stronger, more informed allies.
    I believe her when she says she wants to learn. But learning needs to start with listening. Listening must preempt, and then fuel, dialogue. She discusses her “desire to learn, study, expand my views and test [her] knowledge,” but I do not believe this desire is what she displayed in her article.

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    Our professor gave us the opportunity to do exactly these things, but she did not like the answers. She writes that she “punctuate every lecture with a raised hand,” but maybe instead it’s time to punctuate every lecture with an open ear and an open mind.
    As current Tulane University President Michael A. Fitts emphasized, “while we stand ready to enter into respectful debate with others, Tulane will never cease to defend the principles of non-discrimination, mutual respect and open inquiry upon which our university, our country and the international community of scholars are built. ”
    I’ll hold you to it, Carly.
    Josh Rosenbaum is junior at Tulane University studying Political Science and Gender and Sexuality Studies. He is a senator in the Undergraduate Student Government.

    Josh Rosenbaum
    Haaretz Contributor

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  • Malheureusement, le nouveau gouvernement du Liban s’est enfin mis au travail :

    La justice libanaise a ordonné samedi l’interdiction de la diffusion d’un clip vidéo de la chanteuse pop libanaise Myriam Klink, après avoir estimé qu’il porte atteinte aux bonnes mœurs, rapporte l’Agence nationale d’information (Ani, officielle).

    Le ministre de l’Information, Melhem Riachi, était entré en contact vendredi soir avec son collègue à la Justice, Salim Jreissati, lui demandant de « prendre les mesures nécessaires ».

  • Cinéma. Hiam Abbass contre le poids des traditions | L’Humanité

    Dans vos films, il est question du statut des femmes dans la société. Pourquoi récuser toute démarche féministe  ?

    Hiam AbbassRéalisatrice et comédienneHiam Abbass Ce n’est pas ma démarche, même si je n’ai rien contre le féminisme et les féministes. On me propose des rôles de femmes complexes avec lesquels je peux changer quelque chose, qui me permettent d’explorer ces personnages. Il n’y a pas une séparation hommes-femmes dans la vie. Je n’entre pas dans cette pensée. Dans ­Héritage, je n’ai pas voulu parler du combat de la femme, mais de l’individu sous l’emprise de la tradition. C’est vrai que la femme subit plus que l’homme la tradition. Mais je retrace des trajectoires d’êtres humains avec des désirs qu’ils concrétisent.


    Pas très convaincu par la bande-annonce, mais Hiam Abbas est une grande dame. Merci à l’Huma de ne pas ooublier la #palestine

  • TdG | Le désespoir des réfugiés de la guerre du Yémen : « Ici, on meurt peu à peu »


    Camp de Markazi, 50°C à l’ombre. Ils ont réussi à fuir les bombes qui pleuvent sur leur pays. Mais à Djibouti, les réfugiés du conflit pleurent leur vie d’avant.

  • Baisse de la tension entre Israéliens et Libanais : chercher les Russes ? - Scarlett HADDAD - L’Orient-Le Jour

    Il y a près de deux semaines, le Liban semblait à la veille d’une nouvelle agression israélienne. Le président de la République et le secrétaire général du Hezbollah ont d’ailleurs tour à tour, chacun à sa manière et selon sa fonction, haussé le ton pour transmettre aux Israéliens le message suivant : toute nouvelle agression contre le Liban aura de graves conséquences sur l’intérieur israélien. En expliquant à une chaîne égyptienne que les armes du Hezbollah s’inscrivent dans le cadre d’une stratégie de défense nationale, le chef de l’État a aussi voulu montrer aux Israéliens que toute attaque contre cette formation est une agression contre tout le Liban et sera donc considérée comme un acte de guerre. De même, Hassan Nasrallah a expliqué que si le Liban était attaqué, le Hezbollah pourrait envoyer des missiles non seulement à Haïfa où se trouvent les dépôts d’ammonium, mais aussi à Dimona (au sud d’Israël) où se trouvent les installations nucléaires israéliennes. Immédiatement, le ton israélien est descendu d’un cran et les risques d’une attaque semblent soudain moins grands.

    Selon une source militaire, les déclarations musclées du chef de l’État et du secrétaire général du Hezbollah ont donc largement contribué à calmer les velléités belliqueuses des dirigeants israéliens. Mais ces derniers n’ont pas renoncé, pour autant, à toute idée de porter un coup au parti chiite. La possibilité qui est le plus souvent évoquée parle de raids aériens contre des positions du Hezbollah le long de la frontière libano-syrienne, ou alors dans la région syrienne limitrophe du Liban, où le Hezbollah est présent.

  • Israel loves wars - and does nothing to prevent them -

    There’s no other way to read the state comptroller’s report on the 2014 Gaza war and there’s no more important conclusion that arises from it.

    Gideon Levy Mar 02, 2017
    read more: http://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-1.774709

    Israel loves wars. Needs them. Does nothing to prevent them, and sometimes instigates them. There is no other way to read the state comptroller’s report on the 2014 Gaza war, and there is no more important conclusion that arises from it.
    All the rest – the tunnels, the National Security Council, the cabinet and the intelligence – are trifles, nothing more than efforts to distract us from the main thing. The main thing is that Israel wants war. It rejected all the alternative, without discussing them, without interest in them, to fulfill its desire.
    Israel wanted wars in the past as well. Since the 1948 war, all its wars could have been avoided. They were clearly wars of choice, although most of them were of no use and a few of them caused irreparable damage. Israel usually initiated them, sometimes wars were forced on it, but even then, they could have been avoided, like in 1973. Some of the wars ended the careers of those who started them, and yet, time after time Israel chooses war as the first and preferred option. It is doubtful that a rational explanation can be found for the phenomenon, but the fact is, every time Israel goes to war it receives sweeping, automatic and blind support in public opinion and the media. Thus not only the government and the army love war, all of Israel loves war.
    This is proven by the fact that committees of investigation publish almost identical reports after every war – the report on the Gaza war is almost plagiarized from the Winograd Commission report after the 2006 Second Lebanon War. (“The war was embarked on hastily and irresponsibly.”) When nothing is learned and everything is forgotten, it’s clear that something strong is pulling Israel to war.
    That’s also the way it was in the summer of Operation Protective Edge, when there was no reason at all for war. And that’s the way it will be in the next war, which looms ahead. What a pity that the “red alert” in the south on Tuesday was a false alarm. It was almost the opportunity to strike a disproportionate blow on Gaza, the way Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman and Israel love, the kind that drags Israel down to the next war.

    #Gaza #Israel #war

  • Ken Loach soutient une conférence controversée sur Israël
    Asa Winstanley, Electronic Intifada, 23 February 2017

    Le programme en pdf :

    #Palestine #Irlande #Conférence #Ken_Loach

  • Telling the Stories of Egypt’s Endangered Journalists | Mohammed Elshamy

    I was on a bus heading back to New York when I got news from Egypt that my brother Abdullah had been released from solitary confinement. I was so overwhelmed with joy, all I could do was scream hysterically. Then I realized: Our friend and colleague Shawkan wasn’t so lucky. I grew quiet, as the thought of Shawkan still imprisoned left me wondering. When would Shawkan and his family have their moment of relief and happiness? Source: Lens

  • Saïda en grève aujourd’hui contre les affrontements à Aïn el-Héloué - L’Orient-Le Jour

    Selon l’agence al-Markaziya, les combats ont opposé le Fateh, posté dans le secteur Barksat, aux islamistes de Isbat el-Ansar, postés à Safsaf, aux islamistes radicaux dirigés par Bilal Badr, positionnés à Tiré, aux partisans du général Mahmoud Issa, mieux connu sous le nom de Lino, installés dans la région des abattoirs (Maslakh), et aux Brigades des martyrs de Chatila, postés à Jabal Halib. Les tirs ont même débordé pour atteindre les quartiers voisins à Saïda, notamment la région de Sinik ou la rue de Hasbé, provoquant la panique des habitants, un incendie à proximité de la mosquée al-Farouk et des embouteillages monstres dans le secteur, vu que l’accès à certaines routes impraticables était interdit par les forces de l’ordre.

    Cette escalade a poussé de nombreux habitants à l’exode et les éléments armés à prendre le contrôle des ruelles du camp. Pour la seconde journée consécutive, les écoles et les commerces de Aïn el-Héloué ont fermé leurs portes, à l’instar de certains établissements situés dans les parages du camp. Les institutions de l’Unrwa, elles, ont interrompu les services à la population.

  • The Syrian war shakeout is changing the Mideast’s balance of power - Middle East News

    Turkey’s intervention has created a rift with Iran, Jordan-Syria ties are tightening and America’s absence could weaken the Saudis. The alliances emerging in Syria will determine the fate the region.

    Zvi Bar’el Feb 27, 2017 1
    read more: http://www.haaretz.com/middle-east-news/.premium-1.773974

    Secondary relationships born of the Syrian civil war could have a greater impact on the future of the country and the region than the war itself. While the warring parties are busy holding onto and expanding territorial gains, finding funds and arms and jockeying for position in future negotiations, the smaller players are crafting long-range strategies that will divide the region à la the 1916 Sykes-Picot Agreement.
    The secondary relationships are alliances and rivalries that developed between global powers such as Russia and the United States, and between local powers such as Iran, Turkey and Saudi Arabia. But the term is inaccurate in a sense because the Syrian war has long become a proxy war in which the payer of the bills dictates the military movements while changing proxies based on battlefield success.
    More importantly, the alliances between the sponsors and “their” militias create the balance of political forces between the powers. For example, Russia uses the Kurds in Syria as a bargaining chip against Turkey, whose cooperation with the Free Syrian Army creates a rift between Ankara and Tehran. Meanwhile, Jordan’s strikes on the Islamic State in southern Syria boost the Russian-Jordanian coalition and Jordan’s ties with the Assad regime − and everyone is looking ahead to "the day after.”
    The latest development puts Turkish-Iranian relations to the test. Speaking at the Munich Security Conference a week ago Sunday, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu called on Iran to stop threatening the region’s stability and security. The remark wasn’t only unusually blunt but also seemed to come from an American talking-points page. Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Ghasemi responded the next day, warning that while Turkey was an important neighbor, “there is a certain cap to our patience.”
    Tehran and Ankara are deeply divided over the Assad regime, and particularly over whether the Syrian president should stay on after a negotiated settlement. But these disagreements didn’t affect the two countries’ bilateral trade of some $10 billion a year.
    Iran was the first country to denounce the failed coup attempt in Turkey last July, and President Hassan Rohani is on track for a fourth visit to Ankara in April. Tehran and Ankara share an interest in preventing the establishment of an independent Kurdish region in Syria that could inspire the Kurds in Iran and Turkey.
    But Ankara and Tehran are each deeply suspicious of the other’s strategic ambitions. Turkey believes that Iran seeks to turn Iraq and Syria into Shi’ite states, while Iran is sure that Turkish President Recet Tayyip Erdogan dreams of reestablishing the Ottoman Empire.
    The Iranians were apprehensive about the liberation, by Turkish forces and the Free Syrian Army, of al-Bab, a city around 30 kilometers from Aleppo, even though the defeated party was the Islamic State. The Iranians were worried because control over al-Bab, whose liberation the Free Syrian Army announced Friday, opens up the route critical to retaking Raqqa, the Islamic State’s capital in Syria. Control over al-Bab is also key for taking control of the Iraq-Syria border, which Tehran views as critical.

    #syria #russia #iran

  • Rapports de force et contrôle du camp au cœur des affrontements de Aïn el-Heloué - Scarlett HADDAD - L’Orient-Le Jour

    Le Liban a suggéré de son côté le renforcement du Fateh (dont Mahmoud Abbas est le chef) au sein des camps pour lui permettre d’en prendre le contrôle, au détriment des autres factions, notamment celles qui sont proches ou affiliées aux mouvements radicaux islamistes. Ces formations constituent en effet des planques idéales pour les réseaux terroristes en leur fournissant un environnement favorable. Le président palestinien s’est déclaré favorable à cette idée et il a promis de faire de son mieux pour renforcer le Fateh à l’intérieur des camps, notamment à Aïn el-Heloué, sachant que celui-ci a longtemps constitué le principal fief de ce mouvement avant l’émergence des factions islamistes. Mais le problème auquel se heurte ce projet est qu’il y a une multitude de factions palestiniennes radicales à Aïn el-Heloué, qui depuis quelques années reçoivent plus de fonds que le Fateh. De plus, les divisions interpalestiniennes ont eu aussi un grand impact sur le Fateh lui-même qui est divisé à Aïn el-Heloué en plusieurs branches.

  • SyrianObserver.com: Al-Baath Brigades, New Militia of University Student Recruits

    mmar Saati, the head of the Students Union and a close friend of Maher Assad, is behind the idea of creating a number of al-Baath Brigades from university student recruits in Syria, well-informed sources told Zaman al-Wasl. These brigades are under the leadership of the Fifth Corps, a newly-formed Syrian regime militia.

    Al-Baath brigades were formed in the city of Homs by university students loyal to the Assad regime, the majority of whom belong to the Alawite sect, an offshoot of Shiite Islam.

    Saati has served as the head of the Students Union since 2004 and was appointed to the National Leadership in 2013. He married Luna al-Shibl, Bashar al-Assad’s media adviser.

    Al-Baath University sources in Homs told Zaman al-Wasl that the Students Union is currently overseeing the formation of the al-Baath Brigade in the central regions of Syria. The brigade’s headquarters will be based in Hama, and it will be in charge of several battalions of Homs University students.

    Sources also reported that the name of the leader of the brigade is Bassem Sudan.

    The leadership of al-Baath Battalions in Homs has recently announced that it will start admitting university student volunteers into al-Baath Brigade, which will fight under the leadership of the Fifth Corps. The 18-month contract exempts the members of the brigade from mandatory military service. Members will also receive a salary of $200 or more based on their qualifications.

    The Students Union specified the end of February as the deadline for submission of applications to the al-Baath Brigade, which is supported and funded by Russia.

    A university student told Zaman al-Wasl that Bassem Sudan, the leader of al-Baath Brigade, has promised not to send them to the front lines, that their duties would be confined to areas retaken by the regime, and that they would be protected by Russian air strikes.

  • Al-Akhbar describes UAE-Saudi conflict playing out in Yemen | The Mideastwire Blog

    Yes, it is from the Anti-KSA monarchy daily Al-Akhbar, but nevertheless an important piece about intra-GCC conflicts: UAE vs. Saudi Arabia, with the emphasis on the anti-Wahhabi aspect of the conflict. Translated today by our Mideastwire.com (for a free trial, email info@mideastwire.com).

    On February 21, the Al-Akhbar daily newspaper carried the following report: “The UAE views the southern and eastern governorates of Yemen as a new arena to enhance its religious, anti-Wahhabi methods… The competing between the “Gulf brothers” is not limited to the military authority, the economic weight and the political status. The competing exceeds all that to touch on the religious and spiritual leadership of the Muslims…

    “This is how the situation currently looks like between Saudi Arabia and the UAE. The history of the hostility between the two countries dates back to 1971, the year that saw the unification of the princedoms at the western coast of the Gulf. Back then, the Al-Nahyan family was worried since the Al-Saud family had crossed their eastern borders and were threatening the oil rich princedom of Abu Dhabi. Since that time, the UAE has been trying to demolish the self-proclaimed Saudi leadership of the Islamic world…

    “This strategy started to escalate following the September 11 events in light of the anger against Al-Riyadh felt at the level of the western public opinion. The UAE saw this as an excellent opportunity to pull the rug from under its neighbor’s feet and to enhance its own presence under the slogan of “moderation” and “confronting extremism…” The UAE worked on attracting sheikhs and scholars known for their “moderation” and their affiliation to Al-Azhar. The polarization reached a pinnacle in July 2014 upon the establishment of the “Muslim Council of Elders” in Abu Dhabi under Al-Azhar’s Sheikh Ahmad al-Tayeb…

    “The UAE is working today in South Yemen based on this same strategy… The available pieces of information indicate that Abu Dhabi’s agents are enticing the southern sheikhs to travel to Al-Azhar by securing all the necessary financial, physical, and logistical facilitations to them with the aim of restricting the Saudi-affiliated circles and preventing their ability to act on the religious call level…

  • Yahya Sinouar, le chef de l’espionnage du Hamas qui surveille Gaza | Middle East Eye

    Yahya Sinouar (55 ans), membre de l’aile armée du Hamas, a été élu lundi dernier à la tête du bureau politique de Gaza.

    Il a remplacé Ismaël Haniyeh, qui est considéré par beaucoup d’observateurs comme le successeur le plus probable du chef du Hamas en exil Khaled Meshaal.

    Yahya Sinouar, diplômé en arabe, est né dans le camp de réfugiés de Khan Younis, dans le sud de Gaza.

    Il a fondé le « Majd », l’un des services de renseignement du Hamas, et a été arrêté par Israël en 1988 pour « activité terroriste » et condamné à quatre peines d’emprisonnement à perpétuité.

    Sinouar a été libéré en octobre 2011 en vertu d’un accord visant à échanger plus de 1 000 prisonniers palestiniens contre la libération de Gilad Shalit, un soldat israélien capturé cinq ans plus tôt.

    Depuis sa libération, Sinouar travaille comme membre du bureau politique du Hamas à Gaza, menant des négociations pour l’échange de prisonniers avec Israël et organisant des réunions de réconciliation avec la faction rivale du Hamas, le Fatah.