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  • La pacification de Zabadani et ses conséquences sur le Liban - Scarlett HADDAD - L’Orient-Le Jour
    https://www.lorientlejour.com/article/1048533/la-pacification-de-zabadani-et-ses-consequences-sur-le-liban.html

    Depuis l’exécution de l’accord sur les quatre localités en Syrie (Madaya-Zabadani-Kfarya et Foua) et en particulier depuis la pacification de la région de Zabadani entre Damas et la frontière libanaise, les yeux sont tournés vers les jurds de Ersal et de Ras Baalbeck. Depuis samedi, l’armée libanaise effectue d’ailleurs des opérations régulières dans le secteur, la dernière en date ayant eu lieu dans la nuit de lundi à mardi et fait de nombreux morts chez les combattants adverses. Ces opérations sont considérées comme préventives et elles visent à empêcher les groupes armés, refoulés de la région de Zabadani, de se diriger vers le jurd de Ersal et ses environs.

    Dans la plus grande discrétion et sans attendre les commentaires politiques, l’armée est donc en train d’exécuter un plan de sécurisation de la frontière au niveau de la Békaa-Nord. Mais, selon une source militaire, la poursuite de l’exécution de ce plan reste tributaire des développements en Syrie, concernant notamment les prochaines étapes de l’accord dit des quatre localités. Cet accord a été conclu entre l’armée syrienne et les groupes rebelles sous l’égide de la Russie et du Qatar. En effet, après des mois de négociations indirectes, des Qataris pris en otages en 2015 (dont des membres de la famille régnante) ont été relâchés, et, en même temps, les combattants et leurs familles ont pu être évacués de Madaya et de Zabadani, simultanément à un processus identique à Foua et Kfarya.

  • Help comes with dangerous strings for Syrian Druze town
    http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2017/04/syria-druze-golan-heights-regime-opposition-israel.html

    Hadar, a Druze town with a population of 10,000, according to local officials, has a unique story. Nestled on the Syrian face of Jabal al-Sheikh, Hadar directly faces the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, where the Shouting Valley separates it by just a few hundred meters from the Israeli-occupied Druze town of Majdal Shams. A few hundred meters up Jabal al-Sheikh, perched on its peak, sits one of Israel’s largest military intelligence stations. It carefully monitors all activity in the Golan on one side and in Lebanon’s Shebaa and beyond on the other.

    Hadar’s other neighbors are armed groups belonging to both the Jordanian-backed Southern Front and the al-Qaeda affiliate Jabhat al-Nusra, now also known as Jabhat Fatah al-Sham. Between them, they control the villages and the remaining mountaintops overlooking Hadar.

    Read more: http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2017/04/syria-druze-golan-heights-regime-opposition-israel.html#ixzz4fL8n6v1b

  • Report: Trump plans to cut foreign aid across world - but increase aid to Palestinians

    WASHINGTON - Internal State Department documents that were published on Monday by Foreign Policy magazine show that while the Trump administration is preparing major cuts in U.S. foreign aid all across the world, one of the few areas where the administration actually wants to increase spending is the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and Gaza.
    The documents are an internal budget plan that seems in line with the administration’s stated goal of a deep cut of more than a third of the State Department and USAID’s total budget. They show major cuts in foreign aid to numerous countries in all continents, but a small rise of 4.6% in foreign aid to the West Bank and Gaza, which would go up to $215 million for the 2018 fiscal year.
    In addition to these territories, other places in the Middle East that would see increased aid spending are Syria, Iraq and Libya, which will all see hundreds of millions of dollars invested should the budget proposal gets approved. All other countries in the Middle East that appear in the document, however, will suffer severe cuts in aid.
    The document proposes a 47.4% cut to Egypt’s aid - a surprising policy in light of the warm and friendly way in which Trump has treated Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sissi. It also proposed a 21% cut to foreign aid to Jordan, whose leader, King Abdullah, is the only world leader to have been invited to meet the president twice since his inauguration.

    WASHINGTON - Internal State Department documents that were published on Monday by Foreign Policy magazine show that while the Trump administration is preparing major cuts in U.S. foreign aid all across the world, one of the few areas where the administration actually wants to increase spending is the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and Gaza.
    The documents are an internal budget plan that seems in line with the administration’s stated goal of a deep cut of more than a third of the State Department and USAID’s total budget. They show major cuts in foreign aid to numerous countries in all continents, but a small rise of 4.6% in foreign aid to the West Bank and Gaza, which would go up to $215 million for the 2018 fiscal year.
    In addition to these territories, other places in the Middle East that would see increased aid spending are Syria, Iraq and Libya, which will all see hundreds of millions of dollars invested should the budget proposal gets approved. All other countries in the Middle East that appear in the document, however, will suffer severe cuts in aid.
    The document proposes a 47.4% cut to Egypt’s aid - a surprising policy in light of the warm and friendly way in which Trump has treated Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sissi. It also proposed a 21% cut to foreign aid to Jordan, whose leader, King Abdullah, is the only world leader to have been invited to meet the president twice since his inauguration.

    #Egypte #Palestine #Etats-Unis #aide

  • Is Saudi Arabia really willing to normalize ties with Iraq?
    http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2017/04/better-saudi-iraqi-ties-faced-by-growing-iranian-influence.html

    On March 23, Iraq’s Foreign Ministry had leaked that Riyadh had promised to resume direct flights between the two countries and cancel the debt Iraq had incurred in waging the Iraq-Iran War. A week later, however, on March 30, the Saudi Press Agency tweeted a quote from the Saudi Foreign Ministry denying that the government intended to cancel Iraq’s $30 billion deb

  • Pence’s visit to Indonesia another strike in internal White House battle over Islam

    Pence praised Indonesia’s ’moderate Islam’ as ’an inspiration to the world,’ but others in Trump’s administration still see all Muslims as a threat

    Amir Tibon Apr 22, 2017
    read more: http://www.haaretz.com/us-news/.premium-1.784940

    Vice President Mike Pence became this week the first senior figure from the Trump White House to visit a Muslim country. As part of his tour in Southeast Asia, that was focused mostly on the crisis in the Korean peninsula, Pence stopped in Indonesia, the largest Muslim nation in the world, which is home to approximately 250 million people. 
    During his visit to Jakarta, the country’s capital, Pence made a statement that under previous U.S. administrations probably wouldn’t have been filed as more than a footnote, but in the Trump era, immediately made headlines and raised some eyebrows. “As the largest majority Muslim country, Indonesia’s tradition of moderate Islam, frankly, is an inspiration to the world,” Pence declared. He added that the United States commends Indonesia and its people “for the great inspiration that Indonesia provides to the world.”
    Indonesia is indeed a Muslim country led by moderate and democratically elected leadership. Its president, Joko Widodo, was elected in 2014, and was presented in news reports at the time as an “Indonesian version” of Barack Obama. Indonesia is also an important trade partner for the United States and has the largest navy in Southeast Asia. All of these factors can explain why Pence found it important to flatter his hosts in Jakarta this week. But the fact that he chose to specifically speak about the importance of moderate Islam was what made it into the news reports. 
    The reason is obvious: during his election campaign last year, Pence’s boss, Donald Trump, made statements and promises that ignored any kind of differentiation between various movements and groups in the Muslim world. Trump talked about banning all Muslims from entering the United States, without exception, and in March 2016 he said in an interview to CNN that “Islam hates us. There is tremendous hate there.” 
    Trump also assembled around him a number of key advisers with strong anti-Muslim opinions. Michael Flynn, his first choice for the position of National Security Adviser, claimed that Islam wasn’t truly a religion, but rather a political ideology that must be defeated. He also said radical Islamism was like cancer “inside the body of 1.7 billion people” - suggesting that every Muslim person in the world was “infected” by it.

    #Islam #Etats-Unis

  • Anti-settlements resolution in Mass could be ’last straw’ for many Dems, warns party boss in AIPAC’s pocket

    http://mondoweiss.net/2017/04/settlements-resolution-massachusetts

    This is good news. The Massachusetts Democratic Party is getting involved in the Israel/Palestine issue, with rival resolutions that are already dividing the state committee.

    Writes Shira Schoenberg at Mass Live:

    Democratic State Committeewoman Carol Coakley, of Millis, introduced a resolution, which will be voted on by the State Committee later this month, condemning Israeli settlements as “obstacles to peace” and urging Massachusetts’ members of Congress to oppose the settlements.

    James Segel, a former aide to Congressman Barney Frank, at a public hearing on Wednesday introduced an alternative resolution urging support for a two-state solution and acknowledging that there are many impediments to peace — including both Israeli settlement expansion and Palestinian incitement and terrorism.

    Longtime Democratic Party boss/treasurer Steve Grossman, who also headed the Israel lobby group AIPAC, is upset that anyone would take a stance against settlements:

    “I think passage of the Coakley resolution would be deeply divisive at a time when Democrats should be working on common shared principles and values, and I think it would harm the Democratic Party,” warned Steve Grossman, a former state Democratic Party chairman and a lifetime member of the Democratic State Committee who previously led the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, a national pro-Israel lobby.

    Here’s the Globe’s panicky report, which gives Grossman paragraph after paragraph to sound off:

    State Democratic Party heavyweights are sounding a red alert against a provocative proposal for their state committee to declare opposition to Israeli settlements in the West Bank without specifically mentioning Palestinian violence, a step some top leaders fear would lead to an exodus of Democratic voters…

    Grossman… said it feeds a “one-sided blame game,” which is playing out across college campuses and in pockets of the “progressive wing of the Democratic Party,” and would send a disturbing message to many Democratic activists.

    “A lot of people would read about it and would read the language and say: ‘Frankly, that’s the last straw. This is not a place I feel comfortable any longer,’ ” Grossman said.

    “Many would see it as an attempt to drive a rhetorical stake through Israel’s heart and lay the blame — not part of the blame, but virtually the exclusive blame — for the failure of the peace process at Israel’s door, to the exclusion of any responsibility by Palestinians,” he said.

    Here’s that resolution. Very mild! We affirm our support for longstanding US policy, from Johnson to Obama, that settlements “are an obstacle to peace.”

    #Israël #colonies #Etats-Unis

  • INTERVIEW – Henry Laurens : « Les Palestiniens ont pour eux le droit mais n’ont pas la force » | Middle East Eye
    http://www.middleeasteye.net/fr/reportages/interview-henry-laurens-les-palestiniens-ont-pour-eux-le-droit-mais-n
    http://www.middleeasteye.net/sites/default/files/PalestinianHomeDemolitionEastJerusalem.AFP_.jpg

    il y a la réalité du terrain et celle des conférences internationales, que ce soit à Astana ou à Genève. Sur le terrain pullulent les milices, qu’elles soient d’un côté ou de l’autre. Le régime de Bachar al-Assad n’est plus qu’un agrégat de milices. Il ne se fait pas respecter par telle milice qui contrôle telle sous-région ou telle autre. Du côté de la révolution syrienne, se trouvent les Kurdes, les islamistes, des milices locales aussi. Il n’y a pas d’autorité centralisée qui pourrait imposer que les armes cessent. C’est ce qui est inquiétant d’ailleurs sur la longue durée.

    #syrie

  • Les messages du Hezbollah et... ceux de l’État - Scarlett HADDAD - L’Orient-Le Jour
    https://www.lorientlejour.com/article/1047888/les-messages-du-hezbollah-et-ceux-de-letat.html

    En exposant pour la première fois un de ses chefs militaires aux caméras des médias, le Hezbollah a voulu montrer son assurance sur le fait que les Israéliens ne sont pas en mesure de se lancer dans une nouvelle aventure militaire au Liban. D’ailleurs, toutes les explications fournies par ce cadre ont montré que les préparatifs israéliens de l’autre côté de la frontière sont des préparatifs défensifs et non pas offensifs. De plus, l’ampleur des détails fournis par le résistant dans son exposé des mesures israéliennes de protection des colonies proches de la frontière était destinée à montrer à la fois aux Libanais et aux Israéliens que le parti de Hassan Nasrallah sait parfaitement et minutieusement ce que préparent les Israéliens. Il était tellement sûr de ses informations qu’il n’hésitait pas à les divulguer en toute clarté devant les caméras, à un vol d’oiseau des armes israéliennes.

  • Le Figaro - À Saint-Brevin, les migrants honnis puis acceptés

    Quand Le Figaro découvre que, malgré ses campagnes de haine, les migrants sont bien acceptés dans les villes de province

    http://premium.lefigaro.fr/actualite-france/2017/04/20/01016-20170420ARTFIG00328--saint-brevin-les-migrants-honnis-puis-ac

    LES OUBLIÉS DE LA CAMPAGNE (6/6) - Après avoir suscité une tempête d’émotions au Pays de Retz, le séjour de 47 demandeurs d’asile, qui ont passé six mois sur place, est jugé positif par les habitants.
    De notre envoyée spéciale à Saint-Brevin
     » Découvrez l’intégralité de notre série au fur et à mesure de sa publication

    Il est environ midi, le soleil tape et une douce brise glisse dans l’air marin de Saint-Brevin-Les-Pins, petite bourgade du Pays de Retz, située sur les bords de l’océan Atlantique à deux pas de l’estuaire de la Loire. Sayid Nasir, jeune Afghan de 29 ans, qui n’avait jamais vu la mer, dit que c’est la chose qui l’a le plus frappé à son arrivée au Centre de vacances d’EDF, où il a été accueilli en octobre pour six mois avec 47 autres migrants. « J’ai aimé la mer, la chambre confortable et aussi la gentillesse des habitants ! Je suis reconnaissant à Saint-Brevin », nous confiait-il il y a quelques jours, alors que le centre d’aide et d’orientation (CAO) mis en place s’apprêtait à fermer, conformément aux engagements de l’État et de l’organisation Trajets, qui a supervisé le séjour brévinois des migrants. Sayid, qui a quitté l’Afghanistan en septembre 2015 pour la Belgique avant de passer en France, espérait pouvoir gagner la Grande-Bretagne mais s’est retrouvé bloqué dans la fameuse « jungle » de Calais. Quand le gigantesque camp qui avait crû dans le chaos depuis des années, suscitant une véritable levée de boucliers des habitants de la ville, a été fermé, l’État a réparti des milliers de demandeurs d’asile à travers les communes de l’Hexagone. Saint-Brevin a hérité d’Afghans, d’Érythréens et de Soudanais venant de zones de guerre.
    Sayid, un garçon aux yeux noirs originaire de la province de Kunduz, qui parle bien anglais et voudrait faire des études de science politique, dit qu’il a fui son pays parce que « c’était devenu trop dangereux ». Il évoque le danger mortel des talibans qui a mis toute sa famille sur les routes. « Le fait de refuser de porter une barbe et de s’habiller en pantalon et en tee-shirt est un gros risque. J’aime ma patrie, si je l’ai quittée c’est qu’il n’était pas possible de rester. Ma famille me manque chaque minute », soupire-t-il, inquiet, vu qu’il n’a toujours pas de réponse à sa demande de papiers. « De quoi est fait le futur ? », s’interroge-t-il, sombre malgré ses sourires. Des tourments qui pourraient remplir des livres, mais que les habitants de Saint-Brevin n’étaient pas préparés à embrasser et à comprendre.
    Tempête d’émotions
    « 70 migrants pour 13.000 habitants, c’est dangereux, parmi eux il ne doit pas y avoir seulement des enfants de Marie mais des voyous »
    Maxime Boulanger, porte-parole d’un comité antimigrants
    Quand au mois d’octobre 2016, les Brévinois apprennent que le camp de Calais va fermer et que 50 à 70 migrants vont arriver sous peu au centre de vacances d’EDF, dans le quartier de Saint-Brevin l’Océan, une tempête d’émotions se met à courir sur la station balnéaire, qui s’étonne de l’absence totale de concertation. « 70 migrants pour 13.000 habitants, c’est dangereux, parmi eux il ne doit pas y avoir seulement des enfants de Marie mais des voyous », déclare alors Maxime Boulanger, qui devient porte-parole d’un comité antimigrants. Un commerçant brévinois confie à Ouest-Franceque « ça pourrait faire peur aux gens qui voudraient venir en vacances ». D’autres craignent une chute de l’immobilier. L’association d’habitants opposée à leur installation va bientôt rassembler quelque 400 signatures pour le camp du refus, suscitant en réaction la mise sur pied d’une « association des Brévinois atterrés » qui se prononce en faveur du contingent de migrants. Un soir, peu avant leur arrivée, des coups de feu sont tirés contre le bâtiment d’EDF, un acte qui plonge la ville dans la consternation. « Je peux comprendre les craintes mais la violence est inadmissible », réagit le préfet de Loire-Atlantique, Henri-Michel Comet. « Il y a des sentiments d’inquiétude, de peur mais aussi d’empathie. Je pense que les esprits vont se calmer », affirme pour sa part le maire (divers droite) Yannick Haury, tout en reconnaissant « avoir été mis devant le fait accompli ».
    Jean-Pierre dit que toute une petite communauté s’est formée pour aider ces arrivants exotiques et que la fête de départ a été « émouvante »
    Irène Petiteau, la directrice de l’Association Trajets, qui a été chargée de toute l’opération d’installation et de gestion du centre, me confie six mois plus tard « ne pas avoir bougé d’un pouce son dispositif » malgré cette tourmente initiale. « On avait des procédures déjà testées et on les a suivies. Les gens se sont nourris de rumeurs. Nous savions qu’il n’y avait aucun danger », dit-elle. À la suite des coups de feu, Trajets a dû engager un vigile pour la nuit. Mais l’association s’est surtout occupée de mobiliser quelque 300 bénévoles qui ont donné de leur temps pour assurer des cours de français, l’intendance des repas et maintes sorties pour les 47 migrants, notamment au Mémorial de Caen et sur les plages du Débarquement. Pascal Théault, entraîneur de l’équipe de foot de Caen, a proposé des entraînements. « Au début j’avais moi-même des inquiétudes. Mais quand j’ai vu l’appel au bénévolat, j’ai décidé d’aller voir », raconte Jean-Pierre Tavec, un ancien instituteur brévinois à la retraite qui a donné des cours de français. « Je me suis dit : qu’est-ce qu’on fait ? On les accueille ou on les remet à l’eau ? » Jean-Pierre dit que toute une petite communauté s’est formée pour aider ces arrivants exotiques et que la fête de départ a été « émouvante ». L’instituteur s’inquiète toutefois pour la suite. Il dit que les migrants sont loin d’être au bout de leurs peines. La plupart vont atterrir dans de nouveaux centres d’accueil, qui n’ont pas tous le côté estival et chaleureux de Saint-Brevin. « Parviendront-ils à s’intégrer ? Pourraient-ils glisser sur la mauvaise pente », s’inquiète-t-il.

  • Israël-Palestine, imbrication des mémoires opprimées | Dominique Vidal
    http://orientxxi.info/lu-vu-entendu/udi-aloni-maitre-cineaste-des-memoires,1812

    Aujourd’hui 19 avril sort dans plusieurs salles à Paris et en régions Jonction 48, du cinéaste israélo-américain Udi Aloni. C’est la dernière étape d’une déjà longue carrière, jalonnée d’œuvres majeures, dont un chef d’œuvre : Forgiveness. Au cœur de l’univers du maître, l’imbrication des mémoires opprimées. David, jeune Américano-Israélien, adossé à un arbre, regarde immobile et les yeux hagards la cour de l’hôpital psychiatrique. Pas n’importe lequel : destiné aux survivants de la Shoah, Kfar Shaul se situe sur les (...) Source : Orient XXI

  • Israel fighting to stop FIFA from suspending settlement soccer teams -
    Move against six teams initiated by Palestinians, backed by FIFA panel; Israelis pessimistic

    Barak Ravid Apr 20, 2017
    read more: http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-1.784442

    Israel is increasingly concerned that when the FIFA Congress holds its annual meeting in another four weeks, the international soccer federation will decide to suspend six Israeli soccer teams based in West Bank settlements.
    Consequently, ambassadors in dozens of capitals worldwide have been ordered to work with officials of their host countries to foil the move.
    An official involved in the issue said that two weeks ago, Israel learned that Palestinian Football Association President Jibril Rajoub had asked to put the issue of the settlement teams on the agenda of both the FIFA Council, which will meet in Manama, Bahrain on May 9, and the FIFA Congress, which will meet in the same city on May 10 and 11.
    On Tuesday, the Foreign Ministry sent a cable to dozens of Israeli embassies instructing embassy staffers to try to persuade their host countries to remove the issue from FIFA’s agenda or ensure that no vote on it takes place. But the official said Israel must be prepared for the worst-case scenario, in which a vote does take place. If so, Israel’s chances of winning are negligible.
    “Our growing assessment is that the FIFA Congress is liable to make a decision on suspending six Israeli teams that play over the Green Line, or even on suspending Israel from FIFA,” the cable said. “We urge you to contact your countries’ representatives on the FIFA Council as soon as possible to obtain their support for Israel’s position, which rejects mixing politics with sport and calls for reaching an agreed solution between the parties ... and to thwart an anti-Israel decision if it is brought before the council.”

    #BDS #Israel #Palestine

  • Barghouti’s N.Y. Times article met by Israeli ritual of diversion and denial -

    Comparing article to terror attack and suggesting sanctions against the Times, as Michael Oren did, is more damaging to Israel’s image

    Chemi Shalev Apr 19, 2017
    read more: http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/1.784060

    At the end of his opinion piece in the New York Times about the Palestinian prisoners’ strike, Marwan Barghouti was originally described as “a Palestinian leader and parliamentarian.” After 24 hours of outrage and condemnation, an editor’s note conceded that further context was needed, pointing out that Barghouti had been convicted on “five counts of murder and membership in a terrorist organization.” News of the clarification spread like wildfire on social media. It was described in glowing terms as yet another historic victory of good over evil and of the Jewish people over its eternal enemies.
    It was another example of the time-tested Israeli ritual of accentuating the insignificant at the expense of the essence, the results of which are well known in advance. First you manufacture righteous indignation over a minor fault in an article or the problematic identity of its writer, then you assault the newspaper or media that publicized it and cast doubt on its motives, then you demand to know how this was even possible and who will pay the price. In this way, the Israeli public is absolved of the need to actually contend with the gist of the article or public utterance, in this case Barghouti’s claims that he was physically tortured, that almost a million Palestinians have been detained over the years, that their conviction rate in the Israeli military court system is absurdly high, whether it’s really wise to hold as many as 6,500 security prisoners in custody at one time and so on.
    The guiding principle of this perpetual war waged by Israel and its supporters against the so-called hostile press - to paraphrase a legendary John Cleese episode about a visit by German visitors to Fawlty Towers - is “Don’t mention the occupation!” After one spends so much energy on protestations and exclamations of how unthinkable, how outrageous and how dare they, there’s very little enthusiasm left to consider eternal control over another people or the malignant status quo that many Israelis view as the best of all possible worlds or how is it even possible that someone who is defined by former Israeli Ambassador and current deputy minister Michael Oren as a terrorist and a murderer on a par with Dylann Roof, who killed nine African American worshippers in a church in Charleston, is considered by many people around the world, including those at the New York Times, as an authentic leader whose words should be read and heard.
    In an interview with IDF Radio on Tuesday, Oren put the ingenious diversionary strategy on full display. He described Barghouti’s op-ed as nothing less than a “media terror attack.” To this he added a pinch of conspiracy theory with a dash of anti-Semitism by claiming that the Times purposely published Barghouti’s article on Passover, so that Israeli and Jewish leaders wouldn’t have time to react. Then he approvingly cited the wise words of his new oracle, Donald Trump, describing the publication of the article and its content as “fake news.” And for his grand finale, Oren intimated that the proper Zionist response would be to close down the Times’ Israel office, no less.
    In this way, anyone who wants to address Barghouti’s claims substantively, even if it’s to criticize them, is seen as collaborating with a terrorist and enabling terror. It’s the same system by which anti-occupation groups such as Breaking the Silence are tarred as traitorous, backstabbing informants so that no one dares consider the actual testimonies they present about the hardships of occupation and the immorality of forcing the IDF to police the West Bank. What’s hilarious, however, is that so many Israelis and Jews are convinced that articles such as the one written by Barghouti, which most readers probably view as yet another tedious polemic about an intractable Middle East conflict, somehow causes more harm to Israel’s image than a senior government official who compares a news article to a terror attack and who recommends closing down the offices of the most widely respected news organization in the world, a la Putin or Erdogan.

    #Palestine #Israel #Barghouti

  • Hezbollah’s No. 2: US strike on Syria mere ‘muscle flexing’
    http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2017/04/lebanon-hezbollah-syria-war-israel-us-military-strikes.html

    Al-Monitor: That means that Hezbollah is not planning on creating a “new resistance front” in the Golan Heights?

    Qassem: The question of the Golan Heights concerns the people of the Golan and Syria. If the people there decide to start a resistance or a similar action, this would be their call and the call of people working on the ground. But we do not want to discuss Hezbollah’s position in this regard.

    Al-Monitor: A recent report by the International Crisis Group said that Hezbollah’s alliance with President Bashar al-Assad has become a burden, and the party is now seen as a Shiite militia. What do you think of this statement?

    Qassem: Hezbollah is a resistance fighting to bring down the Israeli project and is now fighting [in Syria] to put an end to the new takfiri project, which emanates from the Israeli plan. When we fight, we cooperate with all concerned parties, be they Sunnis, nationalists, secularists, Christians or any other national affiliations, according to the place, time and circumstances. Therefore, Hezbollah is a resistance project, and everyone knows that. Hezbollah’s network of contacts, be it in the Lebanese or Syrian arena, or anywhere it is needed, goes beyond sects and factions. These inaccurate reports have no weight on the ground and are only part of the political media lobbying to harm Hezbollah, but they are ineffective.

    Read more: http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2017/04/lebanon-hezbollah-syria-war-israel-us-military-strikes.html#ixzz4eaxKbZ7

  • Russia, the friend of our enemies

    In Washington it’s becoming clear that the West’s real enemy in the Middle East is Iran, which wields power in Lebanon and Syria and is now trying for Yemen

    Moshe Arens Apr 18, 2017
    read more: http://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-1.783861

    An enemy of our enemies is our friend, and a friend of our enemies is presumably our enemy. So what should we make of Vladimir Putin, an enemy of the Islamic State, which is an enemy of Israel, but who is also a friend of Iran, Hezbollah and Syria, who are also enemies of Israel? Has Putin made the wrong choice?
    Sergey Lavrov, Javad Zarif and Walid Moallem, the foreign ministers of Russia, Iran, and Syria, sit in Moscow coordinating their positions, claiming the charge that Bashar Assad’s forces used chemical warfare on Syrian civilians is a complete fabrication, despite the incontrovertible evidence to the contrary. Putin no doubt knows the truth but has put his money on the Syrian president – who is allied with Iran – and has decided to stick with him for the time being. Presumably he is still counting on Assad to defeat his adversaries with the help of Moscow and Tehran, thus maintaining Russia’s military presence and influence in Syria. He has continued good relations with Israel, and yet backs forces that are pledged to Israel’s destruction. How has it come to this pass?
    At least part of the answer is the attempts by ISIS, that zany radical Islamist group, to set up a caliphate spanning parts of Iraq and Syria, as well as the organization’s success with making inroads into Libya and Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula and spreading terror aimed at “nonbelievers” throughout the world. A worthy enemy for sure. A broad coalition has been formed to fight ISIS, and Assad insists he is a member of that coalition. Assad the terrorist is fighting terrorists and insists that he deserves the world’s sympathy and support. Putin, intent on fighting the Islamic State, has decided to help Assad “fight terrorism.”
    U.S. President Donald Trump began going down the same path. At first he saw no need to replace Assad, since he was presumably fighting ISIS, the common enemy. In the profusion of “enemies” taking part in the bloody war in Syria, ISIS looked like the worst of the lot. But militarily, it turned out that it was also among the easiest to defeat. There was no need to ally oneself with Assad to accomplish that aim. If you fight alongside Assad, as the Russians are doing, you find yourself fighting alongside Hezbollah, which is financed, trained and equipped by Iran. Iranian militias are taking part in the fighting against ISIS in Mosul. How do you solve this puzzle?
    Trump seems to have found his way out of this labyrinth by condemning Assad for using chemical weapons against civilians and sending him a message via 59 Tomahawks to make sure he and everyone else knows that he means business. Assad’s latest chemical attack against his own citizens dispelled any illusions people may have had about him – and his allies. Maybe the message will be coming through in Moscow as well.

  • With Palestinian prisoner strike, Barghouti challenges Abbas’ leadership
    Will a Palestinian hunger strike rain on Trump’s peace plans?

    Amos Harel Apr 18, 2017
    read more: http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-1.783911

    The hunger strike that nearly 1,200 Palestinian security prisoners in Israel began on Monday is expected to ratchet up the tensions between Israel and the Palestinians in the coming days. If complications occur and the strike lasts for an extended time, it is liable to take over the security and diplomatic agenda at a time when U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration is declaring its intention to restart the peace process.
    >> Get all updates on Israel, Trump and the Palestinians: Download our free App, and Subscribe >>
    However, like another crisis that escalated in recent days over the supply of electricity to the Gaza Strip, it appears that the background to the strike has to do with intra-Palestinian power struggles as much as it has to do with the struggle against Israel.
    The hunger strike is basically the initiative of a single person, Marwan Barghouti, the highest-ranking Fatah prisoner in Israel. The media attention from a prolonged strike will serve him in his moves vis-à-vis the Palestinian Authority leadership, which is officially supporting the strike but in actuality is concerned about any outcome that could advance the standing of the imprisoned leader, who is not especially liked by President Mahmoud Abbas and his people. Barghouti already took credit for an initial success on Monday with an Op-Ed in The New York Times. (For some reason, the editors of the newspaper omitted from the publication the reason Barghouti is in prison: He was arrested and tried in 2002 for dispatching terrorists to carry out attacks at the height of the second intifada in which five Israeli civilians were killed. The piece has since been amended with an editor’s note amid a wave of heavy criticism.)

    #Palestine #Barghouti #grèvedelafaim

  • What did Tillerson’s Russia trip achieve?

    http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2017/04/tillerson-lavrov-russia-meeting.html

    ❝Moscow also seized the moment of direct contact with the top US diplomat to clarify its own positions. On Syria, the departure of President Bashar al-Assad was and remains a non-starter for Russia. What neither Lavrov nor Putin would probably say to Tillerson, but do expect him to understand, is that Russia has invested so much into Syria now, politically and militarily, that Moscow’s primary concern is less about Assad than about the principle, power and prestige of maintaining its position. Hence, any plan that might move Moscow from this standing would have to involve some face-saving mechanism that the Kremlin could package as a win-win internationally, and as a “decision made in Russia’s best interest” domestically.

    So far, the US vision has been to get Russia on board by offering Moscow an opportunity to “play a constructive role in the humanitarian and political catastrophe in the Middle East.” That approach misses a critical point in Russian political psychology: The Kremlin believes it has already stepped up as a constructive player to counter the increasingly destructive forces unleashed by the United States. This belief — no matter how uncomfortably it sits with anyone — is not entirely groundless. Many players in the region perceive Russia in this capacity, even if it’s just for their own political reasons.

    A senior Russian diplomat speaking with Al-Monitor not for attribution said: “[Russia] stepping aside from Assad would mean, among other things, an ultimate win for the US regime-change policy. It would indicate that no matter how long you resist this policy, you’ll be made to surrender. That’s a serious red line in Russia’s foreign policy thinking, the one that President Putin cannot afford to be crossed — not for all the tea in China, or should I say, a chocolate cake in Mar-a-Lago?”

    Therefore, Tillerson’s statement on the importance of Assad’s departure in a “structural, organized manner” is seen in Moscow as a positive outcome. It leaves open the prospect of returning to the political process that was underway for several months before the gas attack and the airstrikes.

    However, it might be much more difficult to achieve now, as the parties focus on reinforcing their respective and contradictory narratives. Reports of US intelligence intercepting communications between Syrian military and chemical experts about preparations for a sarin nerve gas attack in Idlib are a powerful argument for the audience that shares the “American narrative” — as Moscow sees it. However, it is producing counternarratives on the Russian side. One such narrative, according to the Russian Defense Ministry, suggests that of all “12 facilities that stored Syrian chemical weapons, 10 were destroyed in the timeline between 2013 and 2016 under the watch of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons … [while] the remaining two compounds are out of reach for the Syrian government since they are located in the territory controlled by the so-called opposition.”

    Also, as Putin’s press secretary, Dmitry Peskov, put it: “The recitation of mantras on the necessity of Assad’s departure” won’t budge Moscow’s position an inch, nor will it help with a political solution to the Syria crisis. On the contrary, it will only reinforce Russia’s position on Assad. So far, Moscow has been operating on the principle of presumed innocence and calling for an “unbiased probe” into the Syria attack. To Russia, a refusal to have such an investigation would show that the case against Assad is being pursued for political rather than humanitarian reasons.

    Remarkably, a recent Mir interview with Putin indicates Moscow hasn’t reached a concrete conclusion on exactly who perpetrated the attacks. Putin’s statement that it could have been the Syrian opposition or the Islamic State (IS) is based primarily on the opposition’s hope of saving itself in a losing battle and on previous IS chemical attacks in Iraq. On factual grounds, however, Russia’s arguments look as shaky as the West’s “confidence” that Assad did it. Yet this state of affairs leaves enough space for US-Russia cooperation on investigating the case, if only inspired by a solid political will.

    Though it seems counterintuitive, Russia’s veto of the UN resolution on Syria proposed by the United States, the UK and France hours after the Tillerson-Lavrov press conference is an important sign of Russia’s commitment to work with the United States. Deputy Russian UN Ambassador Vladimir Safronkov explained the veto by saying the resolution assigned guilt “before an independent and objective investigation” could be conducted.

    However, Russia probably had decided to veto the resolution even before Tillerson and Lavrov met, to give itself more time to think through the negotiation results. Moscow wanted to come up with a fresh proposal at the UN that would reflect a more engaging approach for both US and Russian interests. Hence came Safronkov’s heated and scandalous lashing out against British diplomat Matthew Rycroft, whom he accused of trying to derail a potential agreement on Syria and Assad’s fate that Moscow had hoped to reach with Washington. "Don’t you dare insult Russia!” he said at the UN Security Council meeting April 12.

    Rycroft had accused Moscow of supporting Assad’s “murderous, barbaric” regime.

    In general, the visit left a feeling in Moscow that the initiatives Lavrov and Tillerson discussed will face intense scrutiny in Washington. The confrontational rhetoric flying from both capitals will remain prevalent. But the parties have articulated a need and agreed on some — though not many — concrete steps toward managing the situation. It’s not likely to lead to a “great-power alliance” or help both parties accomplish much together. But it might be just what’s needed to take the two back from the brink of a direct military clash and spare the world even more uncertainty. Given the current circumstances, this might be the most comfortable paradigm for the bilateral relations — at least until Putin and Trump meet face to face.

    MAXIM A. SUCHKOV
    Editor, Russia-Mideast 
    Maxim A. Suchkov, PhD is the Editor of Al-Monitor’s Russia-Mideast coverage as well as an expert of the Russian International Affairs Council. He is also an Associate Professor of International Relations and Deputy Director for Research at the School of International Relations, Pyatigorsk State University based in the North Caucasus, Russia. Formerly he was a Fulbright visiting fellow at Georgetown University (2010-11) and New York University (2015). He is the author of the “Essays on Russian Foreign Policy in the Caucasus and the Middle East.” On Twitter: @Max_A_Suchkov

    #Russie #Syrie #Etats-Unis

  • 700 Palestinian prisoners held in Israel declare mass hunger strike -

    Thousands of Palestinian prisoners have threatened hunger strike over past several weeks in campaign spearheaded by imprisoned Fatah leader Marwan Barghouti

    Yaniv Kubovich and Jack Khoury Apr 16, 2017 1
    read more: http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/1.783772

    700 Palestinian prisoners currently held in Israel announced the start of a indefinite hunger strike in prisons on Sunday, according to a statement released by Israel’s Prison Service. Imprisoned Fatah official Marwan Barghouti spearheaded the campaign, though Hamas and Islamic Jihad prisoners held at Hadarim prison will join the campaign largely associated with Fatah.
    The hunger strike is expected to expand Monday morning, with over 2,000 prisoners participating. Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah announced his support of the strike, as did leaders of Hamas in the Gaza Strip.
    Nearly 2,900 Palestinian prisoners jailed in Israel and affiliated with Fatah have threatened to launch a hunger strike over the past several weeks. Barghouti, the campaign’s organizer, has often been floated as a possible successor to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
    The fate of more than 5,000 Palestinian prisoners in Israel, whose number has grown considerably in the past 18 months due to the wave of stabbing and car-ramming attacks (the “lone-wolf intifada”), affects nearly every family in the territories. A hunger strike, if it is widely observed and well managed, could immediately turn up the heat in the Israeli-Palestinian arena. If down the road a threat to the strikers’ lives develops, it could lead to another wave of violence.
    The April 17 date was originally chosen with an eye on the start of Ramadan, which is toward the end of May. A full hunger strike during Ramadan, when Palestinians fast by day and break their fasts at night, could be religiously problematic. Setting a potential strike period of a little over a month will allow the struggle against Israel to escalate, but also limits it in time so as to prevent a total loss of control. It also marks the annual Palestinian prisoners day anniversary.

    #Palestine #Prisonniers #Israël

  • Leaks : #NSA Penetrated Mideast Banking Networks — News from Antiwar.com
    http://news.antiwar.com/2017/04/14/leaks-nsa-penetrated-mideast-banking-networks
    http://news.antiwar.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/04/somalia.jpg

    The leaks provided information showing that #SWIFT bureau in the Middle East, EastNet, made some very poor security choices, which would’ve allowed the NSA to easily attack essentially all of the banks on the network, as soon as they had compromised the first one.

    #Hacking, mon œil : tous les gens placés à la tête des banques centrales arabes le sont par les #Etats-Unis.

    #banksters

  • Egypte : une #révolte pour le #pain – CONTRETEMPS
    http://www.contretemps.eu/egypte-revolte-pain

    Le 6 mars 2017, des centaines d’habitant·e·s sont descendus dans les rues de diverses localités et villes en Haute-Egypte et dans le delta du Nil, après que le ministère de l’Approvisionnement a réduit leur ration subventionnée de pain baladi (connu sous le nom de pita, base de l’alimentation en Egypte). Le lendemain, des milliers de personnes protestaient dans 17 districts dans tout le pays. A Alexandrie, des manifestant·e·s ont bloqué pendant plus de quatre heures une route principale à l’entrée d’un port important, alors que les résidents populaires de la banlieue d’Imbaba à Gizeh [sur la rive gauche du Nil, face à la vieille ville du Caire] bloquaient la route de l’aéroport. Ailleurs, des femmes de la ville de Dissouk, dans le delta du Nil, ont organisé un sit-in bruyant sur les rails de la gare local, en scandant « Un, deux, où est le pain ? » et en appelant au renversement du gouvernement du président [ex-maréchal] Abdel Fattah El-Sissi. [1] Le hashtag arabe #Supply_Intifada n’a pas tardé à se répandre sur le Twitter égyptien. Pour tenter de couper court à d’autres mobilisations, le gouvernement égyptien – qui prend appui sur l’armée – s’est dépêché de rétablir l’accès au pain des habitants. Il a promis d’augmenter la ration dans les régions où il y avait eu des protestations.

  • Forget Iran. Is the fertility rate the real threat to Israel’s existence? -

    Israel could be home to 36 million people by 2050, according to some forecasts. Prof. Alon Tal explains why irresponsible government policies have created a ticking time bomb, and why the state has to get out of its citizens’ bedrooms

    Netta Ahituv Apr 15, 2017
    read more: http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-1.783515

    During its 68 years of existence, Israel has changed from a sparsely populated country to one of the most densely populated in the Western world. That is how Prof. Alon Tal, chairman of Tel Aviv University’s public policy department, opens his latest book, “The Land is Full: Addressing Overpopulation in Israel” (Yale University Press).
    Israel’s population density, he writes, is 1,000 percent higher than the OECD average. Conservative forecasts say that Israel will have 23 million inhabitants by 2050. Less conservative forecasts predict 36 million inhabitants by then. And well before then, in 2030, Israel will have doubled the population it has today.
    Reading this book is like reading a dystopian novel. I thought about my children growing up in such a cruel, crowded place and I was afraid.
    Tal says he wrote the book because of his three daughters. “I’m a diehard Zionist and I want them to continue living in Israel,” he explains. Even though his book is pessimistic and frightening, Tal, surprisingly, describes himself as an optimist. “I’ll tell you why. Our society has a taboo about not bringing children into the world – everyone feels they have to have children. But we’re a developed country, in which it’s relatively easy to break taboos.
    “Over the last 10 years, society’s attitude toward the gay community has changed completely. Society threw out one of the hardest taboos to get rid of and entered a much healthier phase. With regard to childbirth, too, if we tell the truth I think we’ll get there. The very fact that a conversation is happening is important. Ultimately, we’re a pragmatic people.”

  • Egypt-Saudi Arabia Handshake between king and president points to waning tensions | MadaMasr

    http://www.madamasr.com/en/2017/04/13/feature/politics/handshake-between-king-and-president-points-to-waning-tensions

    Some signals suggest a possible de-escalation between Egypt and Saudi Arabia, whose usually tight relations have recently witnessed turbulence.

    The Jordan Arab Summit, held on March 29, saw the leaders of both countries, President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and King Salman bin Abdulaziz, meet and shake hands, while their respective ministers of foreign affairs agreed to set up a “committee for political follow-up.”

    Meanwhile, earlier in February, King Salman visited the Egyptian wing at the Jenaderiyah cultural festival, in what was interpreted as a gesture of restoring relations.

    One of the latest points of contention between the two countries concerns the Red Sea islands of Tiran and Sanafir, which Egypt ceded sovereignty over in April 2016, following an agreement between the two governments. However, the Egyptian Supreme Administrative Court ruled on January 16 against the agreement, declaring the islands Egyptian. The court argued that the Egyptian government failed to submit documents in support of Saudi sovereignty.

    But the legal contest didn’t stop here. On April 2, a court of urgent matters annulled the supreme court’s ruling. Parliament took a decisive step forward on April 10, one day after Coptic Christian churches in Alexandria and Tanta were bombed in attacks claimed by the Province of Sinai. In its first session after the bombings, Parliament referred the case to its legislative and constitutional affairs committee, where it will undergo a preliminary vote before a final vote takes place in the general assembly. It is a development aligned with what officials have said in closed quarters for some time. 

    “Saudi Arabia has reassurances from Cairo that it will receive the two islands in any case. But it also blames Cairo for managing this issue poorly,” says an Egyptian official working at the General Secretariat of the Arab League, who spoke to Mada Masr on condition of anonymity.

  • Mélenchon et l’Orient compliqué par Denis Sieffert | Politis

    http://www.politis.fr/articles/2017/04/melenchon-et-lorient-complique-36673
    https://static.politis.fr/medias/articles/2017/04/melenchon-et-lorient-complique-36673/thumbnail_large-36673.jpg

    Bien entendu, je ne crois pas que Jean-Luc Mélenchon ait de la « sympathie » pour Poutine, mais il emprunte son discours, et c’est bien trop. Cela dit, je partage son inquiétude après la réaction de Donald Trump, non pas tant d’ailleurs en raison de l’acte lui-même (la Syrie, hélas, en a vu d’autres depuis six ans) que du caractère impulsif qu’il révèle. On attendra cependant pour en juger. Si l’opération n’est suivie d’aucun effort diplomatique visant à favoriser une transition politique, on pourra crier à l’esbroufe.

    Il est probable que la tragédie syrienne ne déterminera pas le vote des électeurs français. Et puis, dans cet Orient décidément compliqué dont parlait de Gaulle, un autre dossier historique nous réconcilie avec Mélenchon. C’est le conflit israélo-palestinien. En regard des frilosités de Benoît Hamon, qui s’est récemment déclaré hostile au mouvement Boycott, désinvestissement, sanctions (BDS), le candidat de la France insoumise ne mégote pas son engagement. On est d’ailleurs frappé par la symétrie des situations : veto russe d’un côté, pour permettre à Assad de massacrer à loisir ; veto américain de l’autre, encourageant Israël à coloniser jusqu’à obsolescence les Territoires palestiniens. Cette symétrie mortifère devrait nous prémunir contre toutes les formes d’inconditionnalité. « Guérissez de cette manie d’attendre d’un homme une perfection qu’il ne peut pas avoir », a lancé joliment Mélenchon à la foule qui scandait son nom à Marseille. Pour notre part, nous sommes guéris.

    #Syrie #Palestine #electionprésidentielle #Mélenchon

  • Australia is in danger - Opinion - Israel News
    The state Down Under recently revoked the visa of a noted Palestinian activist - the long arm of Israel is most apparent
    Amira Hass Apr 12, 2017 4
    read more: http://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-1.782881

    Why is the Australian government afraid of Bassem Tamimi, a Palestinian from the village Nabi Saleh? Last Wednesday, Australia’s Department of Immigration and Border Protection revoked the entry visa it had given him a day earlier.

    Tamimi, who with other popular resistance activists in his village and across the West Bank have managed to focus international attention on the evils of the Israeli occupation, was invited by a left-wing organization and some pro-Palestinian groups to hold a series of lectures and meetings in Australia. No less than Tamimi, they were shocked by the hysterical revocation of his visa. As expected, pro-occupation and pro-expulsion websites were delighted.

    The revocation document, posted on the website of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), says “the [immigration] department has recently been made aware of information that indicates there is a risk that members of the public will react adversely to Mr. Tamimi’s presence in Australia regarding his views of the ongoing political tensions in the Middle East. his presence in Australia would or might pose a risk to the good order of the Australian community.”

    Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Vladimir Putin couldn’t have better formulated the rationale for silencing any opposition voice. What Tamimi has to say is displeasing to some anonymous parties, it says in Australian. Between the lines: These elements could run wild trying to silence him or disrupt events he participates in, and the Australian authorities would be helpless to confront them due to their power (political, financial, physical, or all of these combined). In other words, he constitutes a risk because others will abuse their power in order to silence him.

    #Australie #Palestine #Israël

  • Russia ’furious’ with Assad over gas attack

    http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2017/04/russia-us-chemical-weapons-attack-assad-putin-tillerson.html
    http://images.al-monitor.com/almpics/2017/04/GettyImages-664852180.jpg/GettyImages-664852180.jpg

    WASHINGTON — Privately, Russian officials are furious with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad for a suspected April 4 chemical weapons attack in Idlib province that killed over 80 people, Russia analysts said. They see it as threatening to sabotage the potential for US-Russia rapprochement ahead of US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s first visit to Moscow this week.

    Syria’s alleged chemical weapons attack in Idlib province has threatened to sabotage potential US-Russia rapprochement, and Russia is privately furious with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
    Author Laura Rozen Posted April 10, 2017

    But Russia is also confused by what it perceives as contradictory statements from various top Trump Cabinet officials on whether US policy is shifting to demand Assad’s ouster, to what degree does the United States think Russia is culpable for Assad’s behavior, and more broadly, who from the administration speaks for Donald Trump, they said.

    “Assad committed suicide here,” Michael Kofman, a Russia military expert with the Kennan Institute, told Al-Monitor in an interview April 10. Russia “will never forgive him for this.”

    The suspected April 4 nerve gas attack on rebel-held Khan Sheikhoun that killed over 80 people, many of them children, “is a complete disaster” for Russia, Kofman said. “It destroyed the legacy of the 2013 deal [to remove Syria’s chemical weapons] that both countries [the United States and Russia] certified. So it made liars of both of us.”

    He noted, “It provided all the ammunition to sabotage rapprochement between the United States and Russia. Look at the atmospherics. It caused public embarrassment. [Russian President Vladimir] Putin has to swallow US cruise missile strikes. Notice he has not defended Assad. It looks bad for Russia.”

    Kofman added, “It demonstrates … in terms of Putin being a power broker … that the Russian role is very aspirational. It prevented him from doing this.”

    “The Russians weren’t happy about what happened,” Nikolas Gvosdev, a Russia expert and professor at the US Naval War College, told Al-Monitor, referring to the April 4 chemical weapons attack. “They don’t like unpredictability … when things happen that throw what they are planning off course.”

    “The Russians don’t like to be surprised,” Gvosdev added. “They don’t like … [to be made to] look like they can’t enforce agreements or don’t have as much influence over Assad as they were suggesting.”

    Trump discussed Syria during a phone call with British Prime Minister Theresa May on April 10, and according to the British readout, the two leaders said they saw an opportunity to press Russia to break its alliance with Assad.❞
    #Russie #Syrie #armeschimiques

  • Un retour au calme reste tributaire du résultat des négociations avec Fateh el-islam - L’Orient-Le Jour
    https://www.lorientlejour.com/article/1045966/un-retour-au-calme-reste-tributaire-du-resultat-des-negociations-avec

    Le Fateh reste intransigeant et assure que l’option militaire reste maintenue jusqu’à en finir avec les îlots d’insécurité dans le camp. Il exige notamment que Bilal Badr, le chef de Fateh el-islam, qui avait ouvert le feu vendredi contre les combattants du comité conjoint de sécurité, se rende aux autorités libanaises. Cette condition a été solennellement confirmée par le commandement politique des forces nationales et islamiques du camp, au nom duquel Fathi Abou el-Ardat s’est exprimé, au terme d’une réunion qu’il a tenue hier dans l’après-midi. Celui-ci n’accepte pas moins qu’une reddition de Badr. Il exige parallèlement un déploiement de la force conjointe de sécurité dans tout le camp, notamment dans le quartier de Tiri, fief du chef de Fateh el-islam, et une dissolution de ce groupe terroriste qui doit remettre ses armes à la force commune.
    Il a été décidé d’accorder un délai de six heures à Bilal Badr pour répondre. Le porte-parole de Esbat el-Ansar, le secrétaire général des Forces islamiques du camp, un représentant du Hamas et deux autres de Jund el-Cham, Haytham Chaabi et Rami Ward, ont été chargés de communiquer ces conditions à des proches de Badr, Oussama Chehabi et Mohammad Arefi, tous deux membres des Jeunes musulmans, un groupe intégriste, qui ont accepté ces conditions.
    Haytham Chaabi et Rami Ward devaient à leur tour rencontrer Bilal Badr qui a cependant refusé de se rendre, mais a accepté de « disparaître ». Il a fait savoir au commandement palestinien, par le biais de ses médiateurs, qu’il acceptait un déploiement des combattants de la force commune à Tiri, et qu’il ne s’opposait à la participation d’aucune faction, mais qu’il refusait de se rendre ou de livrer ses hommes à la force commune. Il a assuré que lui et ses partisans étaient prêts à « se retirer et disparaître ». Le commandement du Fateh et les factions palestiniennes ont promis de répondre à leur tour à ces conditions.

  • Les tiraillements interpartisans bouleversent la donne - Nada MERHI - L’Orient-Le Jour
    https://www.lorientlejour.com/article/1045965/les-tiraillements-interpartisans-bouleversent-la-donne.html

    Appuyé par Nakabati, un mouvement proche de Beyrouth Madinati, ainsi que par le Parti socialiste progressiste (PSP), les Kataëb et le Renouveau démocratique, Jad Tabet a remporté la bataille au terme d’une longue journée électorale, avec 4 079 voix contre 4 058 (soit un écart de vingt et une voix) accordées à Paul Najm, candidat du Courant patriotique libre (CPL) et président de la liste consensuelle des partis CPL, courant du Futur, mouvement Amal et Hezbollah, auxquels s’est rejoint in extremis le parti des FL au terme de longues discussions entre les FL et le courant du Futur qui se sont prolongées tard dans la nuit de vendredi à samedi. Pierre Geara (candidat indépendant appuyé par le PNL) a obtenu de son côté 1 082 voix.

    Que s’est-il donc passé au cours de cette journée électorale ? Selon une source bien informée, « la bataille était très politisée ». Détaillant les raisons ayant mené à ces résultats, elle indique que le PSP a, dès le départ, appuyé la candidature de Jad Tabet et concentré ses forces sur cette candidature. Elle rappelle que la relation entre le mouvement Amal et le CPL n’a jamais été bonne, et, par conséquent, le vote chiite en faveur de Paul Najm a été à son plus faible taux. Toujours selon cette source, il existe un fort mécontentement au sein du courant du Futur concernant la gestion du parti, qui s’est traduit lors des élections municipales par le nombre de votes accordés à Beyrouth Madinati et samedi par les voix accordées au candidat de Nakabati.

  • Not Just for the Sake of Syrians, but for Our Sake

    Precisely the Arabs in Israel, who are fighting discrimination and oppression, must not stutter when it comes to the injustices perpetrated across the border

    Odeh Bisharat Apr 10, 2017 12:16 AM
    read more: http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-1.782651

    What can the Arabs in Israel do for their Syrian brethren? They have no army, no diplomatic clout, no logistical capabilities that could allow them to offer civilian support. The only thing that remains is moral support – words. “You have neither horses nor treasure to give … so let the words rejoice if circumstances be grim,” said the poet Al-Mutanabbi. But the Arab leadership in Israel has failed in the realm of words as well.
    The truth is that even if the Arabs in Israel manage to give verbal support to Syria’s citizens, that will not change the balance of power at all between U.S. President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin, or between Syrian President Bashar Assad’s murderers and the fanatics backed by Qatar. In the situation we’re in, the battle over what position should be taken toward Syria is a battle over the moral image of Arab society in Israel, over its attitude toward the terrible massacre going on across the border.
    >> Israeli Arab party fails to condemn Assad’s gas attack in Syria, slams U.S. strikes <<
    And if in the hard days of the chemical-weapons assault on Khan Sheikhoun almost none of the leaders of Arab society in Israel saw fit to condemn the Syrian regime, that’s cause for concern. Even those who did condemn it, by the way, did so weakly, to the point where it could not be said whether the statements were condemnation or commentary.
    Condemnation of Assad produces furious responses from his supporters, as if he were Mother Theresa, censured out of nowhere. But Assad was part of a bloody regime even before the appearance of ISIS and the Nusra Front. On June 26, 1980, when Hafez Assad waited on the steps of the presidential palace to welcome an African guest, two bombs were thrown at him, miraculously missing their target. Revenge was quick to follow. The next day, June 27, at dawn, a group of some 60 soldiers, led by Muin Nassif, deputy of Rifaat Assad, the president’s brother, boarded helicopters and flew to the Tadmor Prison in the heart of the desert. There, the soldiers broke up into smaller groups and opened fire on the prisoners locked in their cells. Five hundred prisoners were murdered in cold blood. That story appears in Patrick Seale’s biography of the senior Assad.

    #Syria #Palestine #Israel

  • Loi électorale : ultimes négociations en Conseil des ministres lundi - Scarlett HADDAD - L’Orient-Le Jour
    https://www.lorientlejour.com/article/1045728/loi-electorale-ultimes-negociations-en-conseildes-ministres-lundi.htm

    Actuellement, les projets présentés par Gebran Bassil sont les seuls discutés sur la table et ils se heurtent essentiellement à l’opposition du tandem chiite Amal-Hezbollah qui veulent une loi basée sur le mode de la proportionnelle intégrale, quitte à être plus coulants sur le découpage des circonscriptions. Dans l’optique du Hezbollah, le contexte est actuellement favorable à l’adoption d’une loi basée sur ce mode de scrutin, qui permet la représentation au Parlement du plus large éventail de forces politiques, de toutes les communautés. Ce qui devrait être de nature à consolider la stabilité du pays puisqu’il n’y aurait plus d’exclus et, en même temps, l’hégémonie d’une partie sur une confession serait atténuée (y compris chez les chiites). De leur côté, les Forces libanaises veulent à tout prix une loi mixte qui introduise un peu de proportionnelle, mais reste essentiellement basée sur le système majoritaire. Le projet de Gebran Bassil peut leur convenir. Après maintes hésitations, le courant du Futur a fini par accepter l’idée d’introduire la proportionnelle dans la loi électorale, à condition de ne pas perdre trop de députés. Ayant actuellement un bloc parlementaire de 35 députés, il a déclaré dans le cadre des négociations qu’il n’acceptera pas une loi qui lui assurerait moins que 27 députés. Plus précisément, il refuse de perdre des sièges sunnites, alors que c’est justement ce que veut le Hezbollah. C’est un peu la même situation chez le leader druze Walid Joumblatt, qui ne veut pas que son bloc comprenne moins de 11 parlementaires et il veut continuer à être celui qui choisit les druzes.

  • Will Israel be a casualty of U.S.-Russian tension after Trump’s missile attack? - Syria - Haaretz
    http://www.haaretz.com/middle-east-news/syria/.premium-1.782265

    Putin might want to prove that an attack on Russia’s ally has implications for America’s ally. But Israel needs coordination with Russia over Syria’s skies

    Zvi Bar’el Apr 08, 2017 7:30 AM
     
    Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, shakes hands with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during their meeting in the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, Wednesday, Nov. 20, 2013. AP
    Analysis Syria strike marks complete turnaround in Trump’s policy
    Analysis Trump challenges Putin with first Western punishment for Assad’s massacres since start of Syria war
    Russia: U.S. strike in Syria ’one step away from military clashes with Russia’
    A military strike was warranted but the likelihood was low − so U.S. President Donald Trump surprised everyone, as usual. Russian President Valdimir Putin was furious, Syrian President Bashar Assad screamed, but the 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles fired by the USS Ross and USS Porter weren’t just another tug-of-war or show of strength.
    >> Get all updates on Trump, Israel and the Middle East: Download our free App, and Subscribe >>
    Without a UN Security Council resolution and without exhausting diplomatic chatter, the U.S. strike on the air force base near Homs slapped Assad and Putin in the face, sending a message to many other countries along the way.
    The military response was preceded by a foreign-policy revolution in which Trump announced that Assad can no longer be part of the solution. Only a few days earlier, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, announced that Assad’s removal was no longer an American priority.
    Did American priorities change as a result of the chemical weapons attack on the town of Khan Sheikhoun near Idlib, and will Trump now work to bring down Assad? Not yet. Will Trump renew the military aid to the rebel militias so they can fight the regime? Far from it.

    Donald Trump after U.S. missiles strike Assad regime airbase in Syria, April 7, 2017JIM WATSON/AFP
    >> Read top analyses on U.S. strike in Syria: Trump challenges Putin, punishes Assad for first time | Russia, Iran, denounce strike, Saudi Arabia praises it | Trump’s move could backfire | Trump’s 48-hour policy turnaround <<
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    The American attack also provides no answers to the tactical questions. The Tomahawk missiles didn’t hit the warehouses where Assad’s chemical weapons may be stored, but rather the air force base where the planes that dropped the weapons took off.
    It’s possible the chemical weapons are still safely stored away. The logic behind the attack on the air force base is understandable, but does it hint that Trump won’t hesitate to attack the person who gave the order and the president who gave the initial approval? For now the answers aren’t clear.
    Trump did on a large scale what Israel has been doing on a smaller scale when it attacked weapons convoys leaving Syria for Hezbollah. Unless Washington decides to surprise us once again, it won’t return to being a power on the Syrian front, it won’t steal the show from Russia. Diplomatic efforts, as far as there are any, will be made without active American participation.
    So the immediate and important achievement for Trump is an American political one: He tarred and feathered Barack Obama and proved to the Americans that his United States isn’t chicken. Trump, who demanded that Obama receive Congress’ approval before attacking Syria in 2013, has now painted Congress into a corner, too. Who would dare criticize the attack, even if it wasn’t based on “the proper procedures,” and even though the United States didn’t face a clear and present danger?

    U.S. envoy to the UN Nikki Haley holds photographs of victims during a UN Security Council meeting on Syria, April 5, 2017. SHANNON STAPLETON/REUTERS
    The question is whether as a result of the American cruise missile attack, Russia and Syria will opt for a war of revenge in order to prove that the attack didn’t change anything in their military strategy against the rebels and the civilian population. They don’t feel they need chemical weapons to continuously and effectively bomb Idlib and its suburbs. They don’t need to make the entire world man the moral barricades if good results can be achieved through legitimate violence, as has been going on for six years.
    Such a decision is in the hands of Putin, who despite recent rifts with Assad is still committed to stand alongside the Syrian president against the American attack. This isn’t just defending a friend but preserving Russia’s honor. As recently as Thursday, Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Russia’s support for Assad was unconditional and “it is not correct to say that Moscow can convince Mr. Assad to do whatever is wanted in Moscow.” But the Kremlin has said such things before, every time Russia has been blamed for Assad’s murderous behavior.
    Read Russia’s response to the attack very carefully. Peskov called it “aggression against a sovereign state in violation of the norms of international law and on a made-up up pretext.” He didn’t embrace Assad and didn’t describe the attack as one that harmed an ally. And he didn’t directly attack Trump − just as Trump didn’t hold Putin responsible for the original chemical weapons attack.
    It seems that despite the loud talk, which included a Russian warning about U.S.-Russian relations, neither country is keen to give Assad the ability to upset the balance between the two superpowers.
    The only practical step taken so far by Russia − suspending aerial coordination between the countries over Syria based on the understandings signed in October 2015 − could turn out a double-edged sword if coalition planes start running into Russian ones. It’s still not clear if this suspension includes the coordination with Israel, which isn’t part of the Russian understandings with the United States.
    But Putin is angry about Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s comments about Assad, and might want to prove to Trump that an attack on Russia’s ally has implications for America’s ally. So he could freeze or cancel the agreements with Israel regarding attacks inside Syria.
    This would mean the war in Syria puts Israel in the diplomatic crossfire too, not just the military one. It could find itself in a conflict between Trump’s policies and its needs for coordination with Russia.

    Zvi Bar’el
    Haaretz Correspondent

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  • Italy accuses 10 of killing Regeni, removes 16 officials from list of suspects | MadaMasr

    http://www.madamasr.com/en/2017/04/05/feature/politics/italy-accuses-10-of-killing-regeni-removes-16-officials-from-list-of-suspe

    The identification by Italian investigators of an initial list of defendants accused of the 2016 killing of Italian student Guilio Regeni in Egypt marks a critical development in the case. An initial list of 26 names was pared down to 10 politicians and officials.

    Regeni’s mother, Paola Deffendi, revealed in a press conference on Monday at the Italian Senate that the family now knows who killed their son after torturing him, as well as where the crime took place. Alessandra Ballerini, the family lawyer, also said at the presser that Regeni was killed in an area that falls under the control of an Egyptian security apparatus.

    An Italian government source, speaking to Mada Masr on condition of anonymity, revealed that Italian investigators prepared a list of 26 figures whom evidence implicates in the killing of Regeni.

    “In order to preserve the relations between the two countries, names of politicians and officials working in sovereign executive bodies have been removed from the list,” the source said. “The responsibility of some of them is limited to knowledge of the crime, given their positions. We also removed names of those who intervened in the case after Regeni’s death.”

    #Egypte #répression #regeni #Italie

  • Grand reportage audio - Survivre entre deux feux dans le Nord-Sinaï
    RFI Par François Hume-Ferkatadji | Diffusion : lundi 3 avril 2017
    http://www.rfi.fr/emission/20170403-egypte-nord-sinai-survivre-terrorisme-affrontements-insurges-islamistes

    Depuis 3 ans et demi, le Nord-Sinaï égyptien, à la frontière avec Gaza et Israël, est le théâtre de violents affrontements entre insurgés islamistes et forces de sécurité égyptiennes. Depuis que l’armée a destitué le président islamiste Mohamed Morsi, en juillet 2013, les rebelles ultraradicaux visent la police et l’armée, faisant des centaines de morts. En novembre 2014, l’organisation jihadiste Ansar Beit el-Maqdis, a prêté allégeance au groupe Etat islamique devenant ainsi « Province du Sinaï ».
    L’armée égyptienne annonce pratiquement quotidiennement avoir tué des « takfiristes », plusieurs plus de 700 auraient été tués depuis le début du conflit.
    Au milieu de ces violences : les civils. Depuis peu, ils ont décidé de faire entendre leur voix. Ils souffrent d’une situation devenue insupportable : aux menaces et à la terreur imposées par les membres du groupe Etat islamique, s’ajoutent de très dures restrictions imposées par l’armée : couvre-feu, déplacements forcés de population, pénuries en tous genres… quand ce n’est pas des exécutions extrajudiciaires, et des arrestations arbitraires. Pour décrire la situation au Nord Sinaï, les habitants parlent désormais d’un terrorisme islamiste contre un terrorisme d’Etat.

    #Nord-Sinaï_égyptien #Al_Arish

  • Stop the quiet transfer - Haaretz Editorial

    Israel must cease the imbecilic trend toward uprooting Palestinian communities in the West Bank, one of the most shocking aspects of the occupation.
    read more: http://www.haaretz.com/opinion/editorial/1.781518

  • Dismissed Fatah leader rules out reconciliation with Abbas
    http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2017/04/fatah-dimissed-leader-dahlan-abbas-weak-elections.html

    In April 2016, Dahlan established the Democratic Reformist Current within Fatah, which includes a large number of Fatah leaders who oppose Abbas’ policies. He also has a growing network of regional and international relations in some Arab and Western countries. The dismissed leader sees himself a potential successor of Abbas in the political scene.

    The text of the interview follows:

    Al-Monitor: What is the latest development on your disagreement with President Abbas? Were reconciliation attempts between you stalled? How do you respond to the allegations that you are providing your supporters in the West Bank with money and weapons to destabilize Abbas’ authority there?

    Dahlan: There are no reconciliation efforts for the time being. Abu Mazen [Abbas] has rejected all bona fide efforts, and the issue of reconciling with him, for me, is in the past now. But me and my colleagues in the Fatah Democratic Reformist Current will keep working to preserve Fatah’s national positions regarding Jerusalem and the return of refugees. These issues are supported by Hamas and most factions of the PLO, and they may also be supported by the large majority of the Palestinian people. We are getting ready for the next stage that will witness comprehensive parliamentary and presidential elections, since Abu Mazen’s position today is weakened and he lost legitimacy. He is unable to pass political solutions affecting the rights of our Palestinian people as he lost the popular cover, legitimacy and support.

    Read more: http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2017/04/fatah-dimissed-leader-dahlan-abbas-weak-elections.html#ixzz4dNUfqvs6

  • New Hamas charter holds contradictory views on establishment of Palestinian state
    http://www.maannews.com/Content.aspx?id=776241

    GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — While a draft version of Hamas’ new charter which leaked on Sunday evening raised questions over whether the movement would explicitly accept a Palestinian state along pre-1967 borders, the document will make clear that ‘our rivalry is with the occupation who occupied our land,’ Hamas official Ahmad Yousif told Ma’an on Sunday.
    The text of the new agenda — which is to revise the Hamas charter for the first time since it was declared in 1988 — was leaked by Lebanese news site Al-Mayadeen.
    Shortly after it was leaked, Yousif confirmed to Al-Mayadeen that the document was indeed Hamas’ new charter, which would officially be released in the coming days.
    While Point 19 of the charter mentions “the creation of an independent and sovereign Palestinian state along June 4, 1967 lines, with the return of refugees and displaced persons to their homes,” the document does not explicitly accept a Palestinian state based on the borders, and goes on to reject “any alternative to the liberation of Palestine completely from its sea to its river,” referring to the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River.
    The section also states that Hamas “will not relinquish any part of the land of Palestine, no matter what the reasons, circumstances, and pressures could be, and no matter how long occupation may continue."
    Yousif explained in an interview with Al-Mayadeen that “Hamas accepted an independent Palestinian state based on the 1967 borders as a matter of preserving Palestinian consensus,” however stressing that Hamas would maintain their right to armed resistance — a point reiterated multiple times in the draft charter.
    Yousif confirmed to Ma’an on Sunday evening that the new charter continues to “legitimize all types of resistance and struggle against occupation.”
    Contrary to reports in Israeli media, the new charter will not officially recognize a state of Israel, Yousif said. “The charter does not recognize the Israeli occupation or breach our irrecoverable principles.”
    Palestine, according to the Hamas’ definition, ‘is one inseparable region and is the homeland of the Palestinian people.”
    “The fact that the Palestinian people were expelled from their land and displaced through the creation of the Zionist entity does not annul the Palestinian people’s right to all of their land, nor does that establish a legitimate right for the usurper Zionist entity to have this land,’ the charter asserts.
    Meanwhile, the charter will also notably differentiate between “the Jews as a People of the Book and as followers of a religion on one hand, and the occupation and the Zionist project on the other hand,” affirming that “Hamas does not view the conflict with the Zionist project as a conflict with the Jews because of their religion.”
    “Our rivalry is with the occupation who occupied our land," Yousif affirmed.
    He said that a number of amendments were made to the charter “in response to criticism of Hamas over anti-Semitism, racism, and other issues viewed as violations under international law."
    He also stressed that the documented was prepared “as a reaction to ongoing Israeli aggression and the confrontations between the occupation and the stone children," referring to Palestinian children who throw stones at Israeli forces as a form of resistance and face up to 20 years in military prison for the act.
    The new Hamas’ charter applauds “Western entities,” as well as Arab and Muslim countries, who show solidarity with the Palestinian people, Yousif said, adding that the he expects Hamas will be regarded in a more positive light by “several countries, especially in Europe,” after the charter is officially released.
    The new charter also ‘includes a positive attitude toward the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), and considers it as a national umbrella for all the Palestinian people.’
    Point 27 of the leaked text defines the PLO as the ‘national framework for the Palestinian people inside Palestine and abroad.’
    However, the charter calls for the redevelopment and restructuring of the PLO, based on democratic principles, in order to “guarantee the participation of all” Palestinians, “in a way that preserves Palestinian rights."

    #Hamas #Gaza #Palestine

  • « Wrap » ton hijab ! | Boucle Magazine
    https://www.bouclemagazine.com/2017/03/wrap-ton-hijab

    ❝On va mettre une chose au clair dès maintenant : je ne suis pas musulmane. Je suis Libanaise maronite, un courant chrétien oriental qui suit les rites de l’Église catholique avec un mélange de rites orthodoxes. Ceci dit, je me sens très proche du combat féministe de mes sœurs musulmanes et des inégalités qu’elles subissent.

    (...) Ce vidéoclip sur le hijab est là pour dénoncer, mais aussi ajouter une touche de légèreté dans les commentaires blessants et souvent insignifiants que reçoivent les hijabis. Elles sont ignorées dans certains combats féministes, elles sont mises de côté dans les discussions sur leurs propres droits. C’est injuste pour elles, pour nos sociétés qui ont tant à gagner de ces femmes-là. C’est injuste que la peur de l’autre, la peur constante, ne nous permette pas d’inclure celles qui sont différentes et qui veulent se joindre au combat.

    Alors que les commentaires fusent contre le hijab en dessous de la vidéo, un autre genre de commentaires apparaît aussi : des commentaires de personnes qui considèrent que Mona n’est pas une « bonne musulmane » parce qu’elle danse, qu’elle fait une chanson et qu’elle s’est complètement intégrée au sein de la culture dite « occidentale ». Mona, avec son hijab, sa belle bedaine de femme enceinte, sa condamnation des préjugés et des stéréotypes, sa poésie et ses paroles vindicatives, est la cible de tous.

    Je sais qu’elle est forte et qu’elle en rit, mais ça ne change pas le fait que ce n’est pas en attaquant quelqu’un qui veut changer et faire avancer le monde qu’on arrive à faire éliminer les préjugés sociaux et raciaux. Je trouve surtout que le vidéoclip et le rap de Mona sont une façon intelligente de s’approprier une musique qui a souvent été là pour dénoncer des situations d’oppression. Dans cet esprit, Mona fait preuve d’intersectionnalité intéressante sans tomber dans l’appropriation culturelle. Je lui lève mon chapeau et, surtout, j’admire profondément la voix qu’elle donne aux femmes musulmanes hijabis, une voix multidimensionnelle, multiculturelle et surtout féministe.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XOX9O_kVPeo

    Je sens qu’on va en causer... du #voile

  • After Trump request, Netanyahu formulating goodwill gestures toward Palestinians -

    At the meeting the security cabinet decided to curb settlement construction, Netanyahu told the ministers: We must not mislead the Americans, they are tracking every house in the settlements, including in East Jerusalem.

    Barak Ravid Apr 02, 2017
    read more: http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-1.780952

    The Trump administration is asking Israel to carry out a series of goodwill gestures toward the Palestinians, both in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the security cabinet last Thursday, when he announced plans to curb construction in the settlements. 
    These measures should have an immediate effect on the Palestinians’ economic situation, ministers and senior officials who attended the meeting told Haaretz.
    >> Get all updates on Israel, Trump and the Palestinians: Download our free App, and Subscribe >>
    During Thursday’s meeting, Netanyahu said several times that U.S. President Donald Trump is determined to advance the Israeli-Palestinian issue and for the two parties to reach an agreement, the sources said.
    >> Analysis: Israel’s most right-wing cabinet ever curbs settlement construction - but the settlers keep mum >>
    Netanyahu said he did not know exactly how Trump wants to make progress, but the prime minister stressed the importance of Israel demonstrating goodwill and not being seen as the one causing the U.S. initiative to fail.
    Three ministers and two senior government officials who participated in Thursday’s meeting, or who were updated on the details of it, briefed Haaretz on what happened behind the scenes during the nighttime discussions about contacts between the United States and Israel on the Palestinian issue.
    All five asked to remain anonymous because of the sensitivity of the matter, and also because it was a closed meeting.
    Netanyahu said he intends to agree to the American demands for additional goodwill steps in the West Bank and Gaza, with the potential for an immediate uptick for the Palestinian economy. He did not provide details about what moves would be taken, but a number of the ministers present understood that one possible step would include granting the Palestinians permission to build in Area C (some 60 percent of the West Bank, under full Israeli civil and security control).
    Education Minister Naftali Bennett, who has blocked previous efforts by Netanyahu to take similar actions, once more presented his reservations. Bennett said he expects that any actions Israel takes on the ground, and the goodwill gestures to the Palestinians, will not expand into moves with major foreign policy implications.

    The Beit Aryeh settlement, north of Ramallah, April 1, 2017. Netanyahu has pledged to curb settlement construction.THOMAS COEX/AFP
    The leader of the far-right Habayit Hayehudi party added that if Netanyahu does consider such moves, he expects the matter to be brought back to the security cabinet for a further discussion and approval.
    Netanyahu scheduled a meeting with the Israel Defense Forces’ Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories, Maj. Gen. Yoav Mordechai, and other officials, for Sunday, when they will attempt to put together the package of goodwill gestures and other steps.
    Even though the Prime Minister’s Office stated in recent days no limitations will exist on construction in the Jewish neighborhoods of Jerusalem situated over the Green Line, Netanyahu sounded less emphatic in the security cabinet meeting and hinted that there would not be full normalization on this issue.
    “There are no limitations on construction in Jerusalem, but we will need to act wisely,” he told ministers, hinting it’s possible that certain limitations may be imposed on building in the capital.
    In addition, Netanyahu informed the security cabinet a decision had been made to limit the activities of the highest-level planning committee of the IDF’s Civil Administration, which approves building plans for the settlements. Instead of meeting once a week, as was customary, the committee will now meet only once every three months.
    Netanyahu told the ministers that each of the committee’s meetings – during which decisions are made and then revealed about building plans for the settlements, even if they are only minor technical decisions – leads to media reports, which then causes friction and tension with the international community. Accumulating such plans and having them brought up for discussion only four times a year will limit the amount of global protest, added Netanyahu.
    At the same time, limiting the activities of the IDF’s planning committee could also have an influence on the number of plans approved, as well as the pace at which they advance.
    A senior member on the Yesha Council of settlements in the West Bank said fewer committee meetings would mean a slowdown in the planning process. It would be enough for Netanyahu or Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman to cancel just a single committee meeting for supposedly technical reasons in order to create a situation in which no plans are approved for a full six months.
    In a meeting of the heads of the coalition, Bennet turned to Netanyahu and said that the new policy on settlement construction will be tested by how it would be implemented. “I ask that after Passover a date would be set for the Supreme Planning Committee to convene in order to approve construction plans,” said the education minister. Netanyahu did not respond, but his chief of staff, Horowitz, said that he will check and will soon schedule a committee meeting.
    Netanyahu also told the ministers Thursday that stricter limitations and supervision will be imposed on construction in unauthorized outposts. It is assumed no further construction will be allowed in existing unauthorized outposts, and new ones will be removed shortly after they go up.

    Palestinian women in Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip, March 30, 2017. New goodwill gestures would aim to improve the Strip’s dire economic situation.SAID KHATIB/AFP
    Even though the new construction policy is not part of an agreement with the United States, or even part of the unofficial understandings with the White House, the Trump administration is following their implementation very closely, said Netanyahu.
    Israel must keep to its new policy of restraint and implement it strictly, without trying to deceive the Trump administration, because the Americans know about every house being built in the settlements, he added.
    At Sunday’s Likud ministerial meeting Monday morning, Horowitz, who manages communications with the White House on the issue of the settlements, said that originally the Americans had requested a complete freeze in construction. "It started from zero," Horowitz told the ministers. “The result we reached was much better.” Prime Minister Netanyahu said in response: “I won’t go into it here, but you don’t know how right he is.”

    #Israël #Palestine #Etats-Unis #colonisation

  • مصر : غضب في “القاهرة” بعد حكم محكمة “الأمور المستعجلة” بسعودية “تيران” و”صنافير” والضرب بقرار”الإدارية العليا” التاريخي “عرض الحائط”.. وتساؤلات عن دور لقاء السيسي – سلمان في إصدار الحكم؟ وقانونيون يصفون الحكم بـ “اللعبة” ويتهمون القضاء بتسييس القضية | رأي اليوم
    http://www.raialyoum.com/?p=649493

    Ca va faire hurler en Egypte : un tribunal d’urgence casse la décision, prise il y a deux mois, de la Haute Cour administrative et "confirme" que les deux îlots en mer Rouge de Tiran et Sanafir appartiennent bien à l’Arabie saoudite (ce qui en l’occurrence veut presque dire qu’ils sont aussi israéliens).

    Aucun rapport naturellement avec les discussions en tête à tête que le maréchal Sissi et le roi d’Arabie saoudite ont eu au dernier sommet arabe, il y a quelques jours.

  • Egypt’s health sector in the shadow of devaluation: All roads lead to ruin | MadaMasr
    http://www.madamasr.com/en/2017/03/24/feature/politics/egypts-health-sector-in-the-shadow-of-devaluation-all-roads-lead-to-ruin

    “After the Egyptian pound was floated, we had to make a choice: either increase the price of medicine or no longer provide it. We always face terrible choices,” says Mona Mina, the secretary general of the Doctors Syndicate.

    Sitting in her office at the Doctors Syndicate’s headquarters next to a desk scattered with documents that trace her many commitments and the scope of the syndicate’s work, Mina reflects on the government’s decision to raise the price of 2,010 pharmaceutical products after the November decision to liberalize the foreign exchange rate. Of the drugs included in the adjustment, 619 are used to treat chronic diseases. Parliamentary sources indicated at the beginning of March that the government’s legislation to introduce universal healthcare will not be referred to the House of Representatives before June.

    #Egypte #santé #austérité

  • Netanyahu announces policy of restrained settlement construction in ’show of good will’ to Trump

    Prime Minister informs ministers that while no formal understandings have been reached in talks with the White House, Israel will unilaterally limit new construction almost exclusively to already-developed areas of existing settlements.

    Barak Ravid Mar 31, 2017
    read more: http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-1.780641

    Israel will adopt a policy of limiting new construction in West Bank settlements to within the boundaries of areas that have already been built upon or in some specific cases precisely adjacent to them, Prime Minister Netanyahu said at a security cabinet meeting late Thursday night
    >> Get all updates on Israel, Trump and the Palestinians: Download our free App, and Subscribe >>
    A minister who was present at the meeting and requested to remain anonymous said Netanyahu informed the cabinet that despite several weeks of discussions on the issue, no understandings have yet been reached between Israel and the United States regarding settlement construction and that the differences between the sides remained unchanged.
    >>U.S. senator slams decision to build new settlement: ’Netanyahu not serious about two states’>>
    However, Netanyahu said he had decided to respond to U.S. President Donald Trump’s reservations regarding the settlements by unilaterally adopting a policy of restrained construction that will almost exclusively include building in already-developed areas of existing settlements to avoid appropriating new land or expanding the territory of established settlements.
    “There are no understandings with the Americans and this wasn’t agreed one with the administration, but rather these are restrictions that Israel is taking upon itself in response to the president’s request,” said the minister. “In any case, the ’payment’ to the Americans isn’t over.”

    >> Israel’s settlers are beginning to miss Obama | Analysis >>
    Another senior source who also requested to remain anonymous said Netanyahu told the cabinet ministers that out of consideration for Trump’s positions, Israel will take significant steps to reduce, in so much as possible, the expansion of existing settlement territory beyond already-developed areas and that this too would be significantly restricted to allow for the progress of a peace process.
    At the meeting, Netanyahu presented four main points outlining Israel’s new policy in the settlements:
    1. Israel will continue construction, when permissible, within previously developed areas.
    2. Where this is not permissible, Israel will allow construction in areas adjacent to those already developed.
    3. Where neither of these criteria are met, due to legal, security or topographical constraints, Israel will allow construction on the closest land possible to developed areas.
    4. Israel will not allow the creation of any new illegal outposts.
    A second minister who participated in the meeting said that Netanyahu said no understanding had been reached in the talks with the White House and that, in effect, the sides had decided “to agree to disagree.”
    However, Israel unilaterally agreed to adopt a policy that would take into consideration Trump’s concerns that continued construction in the settlements would expand its West Bank territory to a point that would prevent the creation of a Palestinian country in the future.
    “This isn’t an agreement with the Americans, but rather unilateral policy by the government of Israel,” said the second minister. “The Americans said that they don’t agree with construction in the settlements in any case, but that they can live with it and there won’t be an international crisis over every new home that’s built.”
    Netanyahu told the ministers in the meeting that he believes Israel should limit construction in a show of good will toward Trump.
    “This is a very friendly administration and we need to take his requests into consideration,” Netanyahu told the ministers. No vote was taken during the meeting, but all the ministers agreed to the policy of restrained construction and there were no arguments or conflicts between Netanyahu and any of the ministers.
    “This is moderate, reasonable policy,” said one of the cabinet ministers. “There’s no limit on the number of housing units and no distinction between the blocs and the solitary settlements. It will be possible to build, but in a gradual and measured way and without taking more and more hills.” 
    Netanyahu’s announcement of new policy came as the cabinet approved the construction of a new settlement for the first time in over 20 years, in part to house those evacuated from the illegal outpost of Amona in February. 
    A White House official told Haaretz that Netanyahu had informed the Trump administration that he intended to stand by his commitment to build this new settlement, but that a new policy would then be adopted that would restrict new construction in consideration of Trump’s concerns.
    Over the past few weeks, Netanyahu mostly kept the minister’s in the dark on the details of the talks with the American government and managed them with only his closest advisors. The only minister who was briefed was Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman, who had to know because the Civil Administration, which is responsible for planning and building in the settlements, is under his authority.
    Last week, Netanyahu’s senior advisors held four days of talks in Washington with U.S. envoy Jason Greenblatt and his team, but didn’t succeed in reaching a final understanding. However, in a joint statement released by the two sides at the end of the round of talks, they said that Israel is prepared, in principle, to restrict construction in the settlements in consideration of Trump’s desire to push forward with a peace process.
    Israel’s umbrella organization for settlers, the Yesha Council, responded to the news, but did not attack the decision. “In wake of the decision and despite some restrictions, the understandings reached between the governments of Israel and the U.S. administration permit the continued settlement construction in all the communities in Judea and Samaria, and even the establishment of a new settlement for the residents of Amona,” the council said.
    “The true test will be the immediate renewal of planning and development throughout the settlements. We will stand guard and work to make sure that the Israeli government will actualize this plan,” they said.

  • Al-Akhbar outraged over letter from a united front of “ex-presidents” on Hezbollah | The Mideastwire Blog
    https://mideastwire.wordpress.com/2017/03/28/al-akhbar-outraged-over-letter-from-a-united-front-of-ex-presidents-on-hezbollah/?fb_action_ids=1069128716526512&fb_action_types=news.publishe

    On March 28, the Al-Akhbar daily newspaper carried the following report: “Al-Akhbar learned that a new crisis has risen to the surface on the evening of the Arab summit as it turned out that former Presidents Amin Gemayel and Michel Suleiman and former PMs Fouad Siniora, Najib Mikati, and Tamam Salam, held a meeting that resulted in sending a letter to the president of the Arab summit that includes negative positions regarding Hezbollah.

    “According to the available information, this is a three page letter that carries the signature of all the meeting participants on each of the three papers. The letter stressed on “Lebanon’s respect of the Arab consensuses reached through the Arab League’s conferences” and that “Lebanon does not approve of Hezbollah’s interventions in Syria, Iraq, or Yemen.”

    “The officials went back to using the “wooden language” of the former President, Michel Suleiman, as they brought up the Baabda statement and the self-distancing policy. Interestingly, the statement failed to mention the Israeli offensives or the Israeli greed when it comes to the Lebanese gas and oil or the Israeli violations to the Lebanese sovereignty and the Israeli occupation of some Lebanese lands. The statement merely called for supporting Lebanon’s position regarding Israel. Naturally, the former presidents and PMs failed to mention the terrorist threat to Lebanon and they turned a blind eye to the fact that there are Lebanese lands that are occupied by terrorist groups in the barren areas of Ersal. The “official” letter nearly limited all of Lebanon’s problems to what it deemed the “illegal weapons.”

  • Discrimination

    “The demand of a Bedoun female teacher who wanted paid maternity leave”: quelle outrecuidance

    MoE reconfirms ban on periodic leave for ‘wage-tied’ Bedouns - Imams, Muezzins ordered to stick to official dress code - ARAB TIMES
    http://www.arabtimesonline.com/news/moe-reconfirms-ban-periodic-leave-wage-tied-bedouns-imams-muezzins-

    KUWAIT CITY, Jan 11: Ministry of Education has reconfirmed its ban on giving Bedoun employees any periodic vacations in line with the decision of Civil Service Commission (CSC) concerning vacations for those working under the clause of “wage in exchange for work”.

    In this regard, Director of Human Resources Department at the ministry Saud Al-Juwaiser sent a circular to the educational zone directors of all six governorates.

    The circular, which is based on CSC’s letter No. 2016035684, was issued on June 10, 2016 regarding the rights of those working on wage system for periodic vacations, maternity leave, Hajj leave and emergency leaves. It stressed that those working on wage system have no right to receive periodic vacations or similar leaves from work.

    Circular
    Al-Juwaiser sent this circular in response to the demand of a Bedoun female teacher who wanted paid maternity leave, and the discussion that followed regarding her rights as a Bedoun employee based on laws concerning children, disabled individuals and women and other laws.

  • ‘Equate bedoun, expats in jobs’ - ‘Grant rights on second contract basis’ - ARAB TIMES
    http://www.arabtimesonline.com/news/equate-bedoun-expats-jobs-grant-rights-second-contract-basis

    KUWAIT CITY, March 20: Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Anas Al-Saleh has issued a decision to equate Bedoun employees employed on wages the same way expatriates are employed on second contract basis, reports Al-Qabas daily. According to the decision, Bedoun employees will be entitled to all perks that are granted to expatriates, including the right for all leaves specified in the rules and regulations of the Civil Service Commission (CSC).

    This includes annual leave, sick leave, maternity leave, Hajj leave and other paid leaves. They will also be entitled to monetization of annual leave balance. This is a new dimension to the former situation whereby Bedoun employees were appointed based on wages. This means they were not entitled to allowances and other benefits after retirement. Bedouns can now be employed based on content of this decision, while nobody should seal the employment until they obtain civil ID card.

  • ‘80,000 of 110,000 Bedouns have no hope of getting Kuwaiti citizenship’ - They must correct their status: Maj-Gen Sheikh Mazen - ARAB TIMES
    http://www.arabtimesonline.com/news/80000-110000-bedouns-no-hope-getting-kuwaiti-citizenship-must-corre

    KUWAIT CITY, April 5 2016
    : Assistant Undersecretary for Citizenship and Passports Affairs at the Ministry of Interior Major-General Sheikh Mazen Al-Jarrah said 80,000 of the 110,000 Bedouns have no hope of getting the Kuwaiti citizenship, reports Al-Anba daily. He noted these people must correct their status at a time tremendous efforts have been exerted by the Kuwaiti authorities to close this file once and for all.

    Al-Jarrah added there are 32,000 Bedouns who may obtain the Kuwaiti citizenship but not necessarily, particularly with regards to those who have security restrictions. He stressed it is not possible to grant the Kuwaiti citizenship to those who are known to have cooperated with the aggressors putting at risk the security and safety of the State of Kuwait. Al-Jarrah went on to say those who have corrected their status will be given the privilege to sponsor themselves. He also spoke about Comoros which has offered to step in and solve the problem of Bedoun.

    This is in addition to another country, he said, which he did not identify but is expected to be done soon. Al-Jarrah explained the initiative taken by these two countries to solve the problem of the Bedoun does not mean 80,000 Bedoun will be deported to Comoros or another State, but these two countries shall only issue IDs and passports for these people.

    Al-Jarrah stressed there must be some kind of solution to the problem because Kuwait will not accept any pressure from either the US or elsewhere to grant Kuwaiti nationality to undeserving people. He reiterated granting citizenship is an indisputable sovereign issue.

    Aware
    Al-Jarrah added every Bedoun is fully aware of his/her origin, so people who hide their nationalities in the hope of getting the Kuwaiti nationality are mistaken because only people who deserve will be naturalized.

    Al-Jarrah affirmed that the Central System for Remedying the Status of Illegal Residents (CSRSIR) was established to find a mechanism to solve this issue in public interest and not as understood or imagined by some — to naturalize the Bedoun.

    Major-General Al-Jarrah said the General Department for Citizenship and Travel Documents put control on the issuance of passports under Article (17) to prevent such documents being abused. However, he said these passports are issued to people who actually need them.

    Al-Jarrah also rubbished rumors which have spread recently that those who are affiliated to Hezbollah will be deported. He added these rumors are baseless. However, he added, those who violate the residence laws are being deported on a daily basis. Kuwait, he said, welcomes all who seek to live in the country in peace without getting involved in political issues and remain committed to the law.

  • MoI proposes issuing passports to bedoun for one-time travel abroad - Senior officials against the idea - ARAB TIMES
    http://www.arabtimesonline.com/news/moi-proposes-issuing-passports-bedoun-one-time-travel-abroad-senior

    KUWAIT CITY, Jan 18: The Citizenship and Travel Documents Department affi liated to the Ministry of Interior is considering to put in place a new mechanism to issue travel documents or passports for bedoun for one-time travel to specifi c destinations, reports Al-Anba daily quoting security sources.

    The same sources said this comes following a decision to issue e-passports to citizens. The source added, the decision will help the bedoun to go overseas for medical treatment, study or perform umrah. According to some reliable sources, no coordination has been reached with some Arab and Asian countries to allow the bedoun holding such travel documents or passports to enter their countries since they are different from the e-passports.

    The source said the Interior Ministry and other senior offi cials are against the idea of issuing the bedoun the e-passports. However, the source said e-passports can still be issued to a limited category of bedoun such as those who are in dire need of travelling to Europe. The source added the e-passports will also be given for those bedoun who serve in the military and those are sent overseas for medical treatment at government expense.

  • 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
    http://www.madamasr.com/en/2017/03/22/panorama/u/zamalek-fcs-hardcore-fans-the-journey-of-the-ultras-white-knights

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

    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

  • TOP ISRAELIS HAVE WARNED OF #APARTHEID, SO WHY THE OUTRAGE AT A UN REPORT ?
    https://theintercept.com/2017/03/22/top-israelis-have-warned-of-apartheid-so-why-the-outrage-at-a-un-repor

    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
    http://www.madamasr.com/en/2017/03/22/feature/politics/an-internal-review-of-the-muslim-brotherhood-reform-militancy-or-politics

    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
    http://iremmo.org/rencontres/voyages-geopolitiques/voyage-liban-terre-de-paradoxes

    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.