Saturday, February 7, 2009

Hooray for Cyprus - enforcing sanctions against Iran

Remember that the US navy intercepted an Iranian ship (this one?) but let it go.
Last update - 18:17 07/02/2009       
UN: Cargo of Iranian ship seized en route to Gaza violates resolution 1747
By The Associated Press

The sanctions department of the United Nations Security Council on Saturday informed Cyprus that the cargo of the Iranian ship seized en route to Gaza in late January violates UNSC resolution 1747, which forbids the trafficking of weapons with Iran.
The ship will not be returned to Iran, Cypriot officials said Saturday, but they refused to say what exactly was found onboard the boat or whether the cargo contravened UN resolutions.
Cyprus inspected the Monchegorsk twice after it arrivedafter it arrived Jan. 29 under suspicion of ferrying weapons from Iran to Hamas fighters in Gaza. The U.S. military stopped the ship last month in the Red Sea, and said it found artillery shells and other arms aboard. But it could not legally detain the ship, which continued to Port Said, Egypt, and then to Cyprus.
Authorities will decide what to do with the cargo once they have finished searching the ship, Cyprus' President Dimitris Christofias said, without
saying how long that could take.
One option could be to confiscate the cargo, the president said. But Cyprus has ruled out sending the shipment back to Iran, Christofias' adviser George Iacovou said Saturday, according to state-run CyBC radio.
Christofias said Cyprus had received clear guidance from the UN Security Council Sanctions Committee on whether the cargo breached sanctions barring Iran from sending arms abroad, but he refused to give any details or say what was advised.
The Cyprus-flagged ship is now anchored off the port of Limassol under tight security.
Cyprus is also consulting with the UN Security Council on the issue, government spokesman Stefanos Stefanou said.
"The Cyprus Republic will do what it must do and will decide very soon," Stefanou told a news briefing.

Friday, February 6, 2009

UN suspends aid to Gaza following Hamas theft

Press Release
East Jerusalem
06 Feb 2009




Jerusalem (UNRWA): The United Nations Relief and Works Agency, UNRWA, has suspended all imports of aid into the Gaza Strip following the confiscation of hundreds of tons of food aid.

During the night of 05 Feb 10 truckloads of flour and rice were taken from the Palestinian side of the Kerem Shalom Crossing into Gaza. They had been  imported from Egypt for collection by UNRWA today. The food was taken away by trucks contracted by the Ministry of Social Affairs. Two hundred metric tones of rice and one hundred metric tons of flour were taken.

UNRWA's suspension of imports will remain in effect until the aid is returned and the Agency is given credible assurances from the Hamas government in Gaza that there will be no repeat of these thefts.

This is the second incident in 3 days, on Tuesday 03 Feb, three thousand five hundred blankets and over four hundred food parcels were taken at gun point from a distribution store in Beach Camp, Gaza. UNRWA has demanded the return of this aid as well


For more information please contact:
Christopher Gunness
UNRWA Spokesperson
Mobile: +972-(0)54-240-2659
Office: +972-(0)2-589-0267

Sami Mshasha
UNRWA Arabic Spokesperson
Mobile: +972-(0)54-216-8295
Office: +972 (0)2-589-0724

Isabel de la Cruz
Public Information Officer
(m) 054 240 2630

Hamas, Hezbollah & their Molochian Divine Victories

Hamas, Hezbollah & their Molochian Divine Victories
By: Elias Bejjani*
February 06/09
In Arabic contemporary history, there are four disastrous, pointless, destructive, and Don Quixote wars:
In 1967 President Jamal Abdel Nasser led the Egyptians to a suicide war with Israel.
In 2003 Iraq's president Saddam Hussein's delusions of grandiose and stubbornness provided the USA with the needed pretext to invade and Liberate his country.

In 2006 Sheik Hassan Nasrallah, General Secretary for the Terrorist Shiite militia provoked Israel after his men crossed the Lebanese-Israeli border to kill and kidnap a number of Israeli soldiers. Israel responded by a massive military assault on Lebanon lasted for 30 day.
In 2008 Khaled Meshaal, the overall leader of Hamas replicated Nasrallah's uncalculated provocations and instigated a catastrophic war with Israel, Its cost tothe Palestinians in the Gaza Strip was 1350 dead, more then 6000 injured and three billion dollars of loses.

The common denominators among these four wars were its precipitators (Nasser, Saddam, Nasrallah, Meshaal), fatal delusional over valued religious believes, faked self-inflated ego, dire military miscalculations, mere detachment from reality, failure in predicting the consequences, deadly demagoguism, recklessness in valuing their peoples' lives, generosity in providing innocent human sacrifice in self-inflicted massacres and holocausts one after the other and by the end of each war alleging divine victories.

It is worth mentioning that Nasser did not carry religious tags or claim divinity triumphs in any of his humiliating losing wars, although some of his over zealous followers saw in him a God. Meanwhile Saddam envisaged himself as a prophet with a holy mission to save his people, and Nasrallah with Meshaal have far excelled in their fantasies of holiness claiming against all odds, facts, loses and defeats, that their wars' outcome were all divine victories.

The leaders of Hamas, and Hezbollah, as well as Iran's Mullahs and Syria's Baathists rulers are all with no doubt divine in their sadism, cruelty, worship for power and influence, and deception, but only in accordance with the doctrine and rituals of "The Deity Moloch." Apparently this is the God they actually worship, affiliate to, and offer on his alters their own people as sacrifices.

Who is the "God Moloch"?
According to history books and religious references, "Moloch" was a well known notorious Phoenician Deity to whom child sacrifices were made throughout the ancient Middle East. Moloch's worship was the sacrifice of children, and the usual expression for describing that sacrifice was "to pass through the fire," a rite carried out after the victims had been put to death. This ritual was popular in ancient Phoenician Carthage.
Moloch was represented as a huge bronze statue with the head of a bull. The statue was hollow, and inside there burned a fire which colored the Moloch a glowing red. Children were placed on the hands of the statue. Through an ingenious system the hands were raised to the mouth (as if Moloch were eating) and the children fell into the fire where they were consumed by the flames. The people gathered before the Moloch were dancing on the sounds of flutes and tambourines to drown out the screams of the victims.

With the criteria of reason, reality, facts, logic, science, statistics, and actual loses that the above mentioned four so called divine wars caused, one can not, but attribute and link them with their precipitators to the God Moloch's atheist doctrine and rituals. While the Phoenician worshippers of Moloch in Sidon, Tyre, and Carthage obscured the screams of their burning children whom they offered to this Deity through dancing on loud sounds of flutes and tambourines, the four Arabic leaders and their supporters resorted to media facilities to cover up, camouflage and hide the miseries, sufferings and pains they inflicted on their own people in Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon and Gaza.

Ahmed Said, the disreputable head of the Egyptian "Saout Al Arab Radio Station" defeated and destroyed the Israeli troops in 1967 from behind his studio microphone through empty rhetoric fabrications and lies, while the Israelis were on the outskirts of Cairo. Mohammed Saeed al-Sahaf, Sadam Hussien's Minister of Information assured the Iraqis in 2003, that Saddam's mighty army will bury the Western occupiers, and Saddam will,withGod's blessings, be triumphant, while the American troops were entering Saddam's palace in Baghdad, and Saddam on the run hiding in a den 12 feet under ground.
Hezbollah's television, radio station, and owned newspapers, backed by all Syrian and Iranian media facilities played in the Hezbollah-Israeli 2006 thirty days war Ahmad Saied's and Mohammed Saeed al-Sahaf, role in deceiving and forging facts. The same scenario of camouflage was applied during the recent Israeli-Gaza war. Hezbollah claimed "Divine Victory" in 2006, while Lebanon and the Lebanese suffered horrible human and material loses. The whole country was devastated on all levels and in all domains.

Hamas with the same delusional and fundamentalism mentality and doctrine claimed also "Divine Victory" while reliable reports from Gaza confirmed the death of 1335, with more than 5000 injured, the destruction of 20 thousand homes and buildings, and damages that exceeds the amount of 3 billion dollars. Meanwhile the Israeli army's loses were only 13 dead and about 70 wounded.

Despite the heavy Palestinian losses, Hezbollah, Syria and Iran hailed the Hamas "Divine Victory". Nasrallah, Syria's president Bachar Assad and Iran's president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. all called Hama's leader Khaled Meshaal and congratulated him on the so called "Divine Victory."
One wonders what are the standards for winning and for losing in the eyes and minds of Hezbollah, Hamas, Syria and Iran?
No doubt, these are standards that fulfill God Moloch's doctrine and rituals. The Lebanese as well as the Palestinians were offered by Hamas and Hezbollah on Moloch's alter.
One wonders if these "Molochian" leaders, are actually connected to reality, sanity and the realization regardingthe magnitude of the devastating losses that they with cold blood and numbed conscience inflicted on their own people and countries?
By human standards of logic, facts, reasoning, consequences and sanity, the "Molochian" leaders in Lebanon, Gaza, Syria and Iran are detached from reality and hunted by the plague of grandiose delusions. (A delusion is a false psychotic idea or belief that does not match the reality, powers, influence or capabilities of the person. A delusion can't be corrected by reasoning, logic or proof. The deluded person detaches himself from reality and lives in castles of fantasies)
For those "Molochians" and in particular for Hamas and Hezbollah leaders, and as we have learned from the outcome of their two recent disastrous wars, the criteria for what is a victory, a divine one, and what is a defeat is very simple, but bizarre and completely derailed from the norms; For them they are divinely winners and victorious if they personally are not killed and remain in power, no matter how many thousands of their people are slaughtered, injured, and crippled, or what is the magnitude of the material loses or destruction.

To protect civilized communities all over the world from the dangers of such hazardous leaders, those of them who are psychotic ought to be certified and hospitalized against their will, and those others who are sane and committing such atrocities need to be arrested, charged and put on trial. Such lunatic leaders and politician must be contained.

Meanwhile those individuals who support the "Molochians," or keep a blind eye on their conduct of heresy, or are intimidated and do no stand for them, are all indirectly responsible and partners in all the damages they inflict on humanity. In Lebanon the proverb says: "He who do not witness for what is just is a silent devil".
Leaders can not continue to be so unless there are peoplewhom they can lead. Accordingly it is the duty of each and every one of us to see that such "Molochian" individuals are not supported and not given any chance to lead or have any role in any country's decision making process.

*Elias Bejjani
Canadian-Lebanese Human Rights activist, journalist and political commentator
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Thursday, February 5, 2009

Norm Geras on Israel's "War Crimes": One-Eyed in Gaza

From Norm Geras (condensed version)

One-Eyed in Gaza

This is a post about war crimes in Gaza and the widespread public outrage over them directed at Israel... 
 Since it is a long post, I begin by providing a brief map of what is to follow.

In Part 1 I present a sample of the angry public reaction to Israel's alleged war crimes in Gaza, as gathered mostly from the British liberal press. In Part 2 I consider the source of this anger, pointing to what may be thought to be the most likely one - the great and visible suffering caused by Israel's recent military action. I argue that the hypothesis that this was the cause of outrage against Israel is not decisively rebutted by a standard argumentative move made by Israel's defenders: namely, that if Israel was guilty of war crimes, then so too was Hamas, for sending rockets against Sderot and other civilian centres. In Part 3 I go on to show that the claim that anger at Israel was due, or mainly due, to the suffering caused by its military action is open to question nonetheless. If we are examining this issue under the rubric of responsibility for war crimes, then public outrage about them is skewed when directed, as it widely has been, exclusively at Israel. In Part 4 I draw three conclusions from what has gone before. The first of these concerns the implication of the attitudes explored here for the future progress of international law. The second bears on the present condition of the Western liberal-left. And the third is about the alarming worldwide growth of anti-Semitism.

Part 1: Israel Accused.

I have waited till now to set out my thoughts on this subject, because when the air was thick with fury and denunciation, charge, counter-charge and denial, the chances of being calmly heard were small. Perhaps they still are. In any case, no one who was paying attention to the recent conflict in Gaza will have missed the fury and the denunciation.

Every day during that conflict the list of Israel's accusers lengthened. An international group of lawyers and jurists were to 'ask the International Criminal Court to probe alleged "war crimes" committed by Israel during its offensive in the Gaza Strip'. An editorial in the medical journal The Lancet held Israel responsible for 'large and indiscriminate human atrocities'. In the House of Commons an MP called Israel's leadership 'mass murderers and war criminals'.


Part 2: The suffering of the Palestinians.

That, then, gives an idea of the furious reaction to Israel's invasion of Gaza. And I think I may say without fear of contradiction that it would be easy to extend the above sample with many more such expressions of opinion. It is enough for my purpose, however. The most obvious answer to the question why there was such anger at Israel is that it was a natural response to so many Palestinian deaths, to the sight of so much suffering. One reaction here by defenders of Israel has been to say that the IDF's assault on Gaza was a response to the thousands of rockets targeted on Israeli population centres, and that the firing of these rockets is itself a war crime, without any question. To protest, selectively, at Israel's war crimes and not at those committed by Hamas betokens the influence of other impulses than concern about human suffering.

There is a short answer to this. It was exemplified in a post by another CiF blogger, who wrote (in the context of war crimes liability):

It is true that Israel has suffered from Hamas rocket attacks. Insofar as these attacks indiscriminately target civilian areas, Hamas would be guilty of war crimes under the Geneva Conventions of 1949. Yet, in the past eight years, Palestinian rockets fired from Gaza have killed around 20 people in southern Israel. Israel's response is neither necessary nor proportionate.

At the time of writing, after 23 days of bombardment, more than 1,300 Palestinians have been killed by Israel, including 410 children and 104 women, while 5,300 are seriously injured, of whom 1,855 are children and 795 women.

The same point was made a few days later by Martin Bell, though in his case not as part of a discussion of war crimes, but in criticizing the BBC for declining to broadcast the Disasters Emergency Committee appeal. He said:

There may be some who believe that the suffering of the people of Gaza was balanced, and even justified, by the damage and casualties caused by Hamas rockets in southern Israel. But when the ratio of dead between one side and the other stands at more than a hundred to one (excluding the IDF soldiers killed by friendly fire), the arithmetic tends to undermine the argument.

People might be outraged at Israel's war crimes (real or alleged), therefore, yet less exercised by those for which Hamas was responsible in targeting rockets on Israeli civilians, just because of the disparity of suffering in the two cases.


The outrage against Israel, then, is straightforwardly explained. It is due to the scale of death and suffering that Israel's war crimes in Gaza have brought about. There is no puzzle here.

But look again. In order to see why this explanation of public outrage at Israel is problematic and unbalanced, you must look, not at the war crimes committed by Hamas from Gaza, but at the war crimes committed by Hamas in Gaza. To this I now turn.

Part 3: The war crimes of Hamas.

If you look in the direction I have just suggested, what you see is that Hamas have been fighting in a way that endangers civilians - and I mean Palestinian, not Israeli, civilians. Those with a genuine concern for human rights have not failed to notice this. Thus, in calling for an 'impartial international investigation into allegations of serious violations of the laws of war' in the Gaza conflict, Human Rights Watch referred upfront to violations 'by Israel and Hamas'; it called - as none of the voices I have surveyed above, and the general chorus of which they are but a small sample, did - for an investigation into 'alleged violations by both sides'.

This is a matter of some importance. For it begins from a reality of the conflict which Israel's accusers have preferred to overlook, namely, that the commission of war crimes, so far from being incidental to the way Hamas fights, is integral to it; Hamas fights from within the civilian population it purports to, and to some degree does, politically represent. It fights so that its enemy, Israel, can only with maximum difficulty hit military targets - Hamas fighters or weapons or installations - without at the same time endangering Palestinian civilians. Israel is obliged, nonetheless, by the laws of war to take every step it reasonably can not to jeopardize these lives. My point is not to acquit it of that responsibility. It is, though, to emphasize that Hamas has exactly the same responsibility, one which it flouts by the very methods of self-defence it uses, methods putting 'its own' civilians at risk and leading to regular violations of the laws of war.

How could the angry chorus denouncing Israel, and only Israel, have missed this? It is unambiguous in the laws of war what Hamas's responsibilities are. Article 28 of the Fourth Geneva Convention states:

The presence of a protected person may not be used to render certain points or areas immune from military operations.

Article 51/7 of the Protocol Additional to the Geneva Conventions (adopted in June 1977) specifies:

The presence or movements of the civilian population or individual civilians shall not be used to render certain points or areas immune from military operations, in particular in attempts to shield military objectives from attacks or to shield, favour or impede military operations. The Parties to the conflict shall not direct the movement of the civilian population or individual civilians in order to attempt to shield military objectives from attacks or to shield military operations.

Does Hamas respect these constraints? The evidence from press reports suggests that they do not. As in Part 1, I offer merely a sample of such evidence here. There are reports like this one (also here and here) of Hamas using houses occupied by civilians as cover from which to fire on Israeli troops:

Palestinian civilians have accused Hamas of forcing them to stay in homes from which gunmen shot at Israeli soldiers during the recent hostilities in Gaza, the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera reported Thursday.

And there are reports of their using civilian facilities for the launching of rockets:

Every day, the Hamas rocket teams sneak through the fire and fury of Gaza to launching sites concealed in tunnels, trucks, rooftops and courtyards of schools and mosques.

In similar vein, there's this from the New York Times, quoting a 'man close to Hamas':

They have more experience and they have training from Syria and Iran. They helped them rethink their strategy. They fired rockets in between the houses and covered the alleys with sheets so they could set the rockets up in five minutes without the planes seeing them. The moment they fired, they escaped, and they are very quick.

Then there's the forcible use of farms as rocket launching sites:

Members of a Gaza family whose farm was turned into a "fortress" by Hamas fighters have reported that they were helpless to stop Hamas from using them as human shields.


[H]e went on to blame Hamas fighters for causing his predicament. Israeli soldiers had bulldozed his orchard of orange and olive trees, he said. "The Israelis destroyed my orchards because Hamas was using the cover to shoot rockets.

"I asked them to stop once and was told they would shoot me in the legs as an Israeli collaborator if I asked again."

And ambulances (also here):

Palestinian civilians living in Gaza during the three-week war with Israel have spoken of the challenge of being caught between Hamas and Israeli soldiers as the radical Islamic movement that controls the Gaza strip attempted to hijack ambulances.

And hospitals.

How, I repeat, could the angry chorus denouncing Israel, and only Israel, have missed this? It is not some arcane mystery but information available to anyone who wants it. Irwin Cotler, a former Canadian justice minister and professor of law at McGill University, calls the fighting tactics of Hamas a case study in the violation of international humanitarian law:

A second war crime is when Hamas attacks [from within] civilian areas and civilian structures, whether it be an apartment building, a mosque or a hospital, in order to be immune from a response from Israel... Civilians are protected persons, and civilian areas are protected areas. Any use of a civilian infrastructure to launch bombs is itself a war crime.

Colonel Richard Kemp, who has been a senior military adviser to the Cabinet Office, says:

Hamas deploys suicide attackers including women and children, and rigs up schools and houses with booby-trap explosives. Its leaders knew as a matter of certainty this would lead to civilian casualties if there was a ground battle. Virtually every aspect of its operations is illegal under international humanitarian law - 'war crimes' in the emotive language usually reserved for the Israelis.

But lost it well and truly has been on many of Israel's denouncers, all those who have been able to see only war crimes committed by Israel but, on the very same field of battle, none of the crimes of Hamas. That suggests a different hypothesis is needed as to what has been the cause of public outrage over Gaza. It is not so much human suffering as such but human suffering in so far as Israel was responsible for it. The identical human suffering in so far as Hamas has been responsible for it - to this the denouncers seem to have been rendered blind. For it is no longer now a matter of weighing numbers of deaths and magnitude of suffering caused by Hamas's rockets in Israel against the suffering caused by Israel in Gaza. No, what we are looking at is a quantity of suffering in Gaza for which Hamas as well as Israel is responsible. By its methods of fighting Hamas virtually ensures that any military reaction from Israel will incur civilian casualties. I have already said that under the laws of war this does not clear Israel of the obligation not to deliberately target civilians or to put them recklessly in jeopardy. However, that obligation, of which Israel's one-sided critics are so well aware, rests just as squarely on the heads of Hamas, who regularly disregard it; and yet those critics somehow fail to see the obligation on the other side of the conflict or else lose their voices when it comes to saying something about its consistent violation.

It might be said here in defence of the one-sided critics that their stand is motivated by a belief that Hamas's cause is a just one whereas Israel's is not. It's not a view I share, but I'll let that pass because it isn't relevant to the issue. The laws of war, and the requirements of ius in bello (governing how one fights), oblige not only those whose cause is, putatively, unjust but also those presumed to have justice on their side. The silence over the crimes of Hamas that have brought death and disaster on the Palestinians in Gaza - just as Israel's military campaign has - is the silence of rank prejudice. Twinned with a vocal outrage against Israel, it tells us that it is not only a concern for human suffering that has been at work; a plain political animus is also present, funnelling the outrage in one direction only.


In the outpouring of hatred towards Israel today, it scarcely matters what part of it is impelled by a pre-existing hostility towards Jews as such and what part by a groundless feeling that the Jewish state is especially vicious among the nations of the world and to be obsessed about accordingly. Both are forms of anti-Semitism. The old poison is once again among us.

Read the whole thing here: One-Eyed in Gaza


See how a strong Muslim strikes

Legitimate criticism of Israel?
The [Jews] say: We are the second most powerful force on the face of the Earth. And America keeps supporting them – may Allah blow up all of them. The EU supports them with all its might – may Allah annihilate its leaders.
See how a strong Muslim strikes:
Then, Hamza landed a blow, which cut his hand and shoulder, and split his chest down to the navel, until his lung was exposed. See what bravery. See how a strong Muslim strikes. He landed a blow that cut his hand and his shoulder, and all the way to his navel, exposing his lung. A single blow of the sword, and he went straight to Hell.
Following are excerpts from an address by Egyptian cleric Muhammad Al-Zughbi, which aired on Al-Rahma TV on January 12, 2009:
Muhammad Al-Zughbi: The accursed Europe stood by the accused Jews, as is its custom. The pulverized United States – I pray that Allah destroys it and saves the Muslims from it – stood by these [Jews]. Today, it sent them over 40,000 tons of weapons, bullets, mortars, and missile launchers. Yes, they sent them crushing weapons. They sent them bombs.
[In the Battle of Uhud,] Abu Shaiba challenged [the Muslims] to a duel. He was such a champion that even the Muslims nicknamed him "the Ram of the Battalion." The Ram of the Battalion – he was strong. He was one of the Qureish horsemen. He cried: Who dares to fight me? Hamza stepped up against him. See what self-confidence! He placed his trust in Allah. They exchanged two blows. Then, Hamza landed a blow, which cut his hand and shoulder, and split his chest down to the navel, until his lung was exposed. See what bravery. See how a strong Muslim strikes. He landed a blow that cut his hand and his shoulder, and all the way to his navel, exposing his lung. A single blow of the sword, and he went straight to Hell. .
There was a strong man from among the polytheists, who was finishing off any wounded Muslims he saw. He would look for the wounded, cut off their heads, and mutilate their bodies. Whenever he found a wounded man, he would kill him. He would kill him! Not only that, but he would mutilate their bodies. Abu Dujana approached him. The polytheist was like a mule. A big jackass – like that accursed, shoe-stricken, big jackass from the White House, the one with the two big ears. A Jackass. A big jackass. Or like that lowlife [Olmert], who slaughters the Palestinians, who faces 13 corruption charges, including one for sexual harassment. May Allah curse him and all his supporters.
The big jackass came up to him. Al-Zubeir says: [Al-Dujana] was small, but the other one was a real mule. He was like all those Jewish and American mules. Zubeir said: I followed them to see what they were doing. They exchanged two blows. Abu Dujana deflected the blow with his shield. Then Abu Dujana jumped on him and finished him off. He killed him on the spot.
Zubeir said: I kept following him. I saw him turn towards a horseman, who was tearing Muslims to pieces. He crept up behind him, but as he was about to bring his sword down on his neck, he suddenly heard loud wailing of women. You know how it goes... He was surprised, so he lifted his sword rather than bring it down on the man's neck. It turned out it was a woman – Hind bint Utbah, the wife of Abu Sufyan. She was slaughtering Muslims, sowing death among them. Hamza said: No, the sword of the Prophet is too lofty to be used to kill a woman. By Allah, I will never do it. I will never strike a woman with the sword of the Prophet.
The Jewish dogs should learn moral values from us. He defeated this woman, who slaughtered Muslims and mutilated their bodies, but he refused to kill a woman with the sword of the Prophet – not a woman or a child. Have these dogs learnt this lesson? They slaughter women and children, and the other dogs keep sending them weapons. May Allah finish all of them off. May Allah destroy them completely.
The [Jews] say: We are the second most powerful force on the face of the Earth. And America keeps supporting them – may Allah blow up all of them. The EU supports them with all its might – may Allah annihilate its leaders.

Wife beating in Islam explained

December 24, 2008 Clip No. 2006

Egyptian cleric Galal Al-Khatib Explains Wife-Beating in Islam

Following are excerpts from a sermon by Egyptian cleric Galal Al-Khatib, which aired on Al-Rahma TV on December 24, 2008.

Galal Al-Khatib: One of the husband's rights is to discipline his wife if she is disobedient. What does the word "disobedience" mean? Disobedience is to leave the house without the husband's permission, to refuse to obey the husband in bed, to speak to the husband impolitely, or to do the opposite of what he likes. All these are forms of disobedience. Religious law has instated several measures of disciplining a disobedient wife. These measures must be followed consecutively. You cannot jump to the third measure before despairing of the second, and you cannot jump to the second before despairing of the first. The order must be followed. The first measure for reforming a disobedient wife is to admonish her. The husband should talk to her gently, reminding her of God, and reminding her that if she wants to enter Paradise, she must obey him. He must tell her that by pleasing her husband, she pleases God, and that his rights supersede the rights of her parents.


Okay, if admonishing doesn't work, the next measure is "banishment." Some say that the wife should be banished from his bed, while others say he should refrain from having sex with her, although I do not agree with the latter view, because having sex is one of the rights of the husband, so how can he discipline her by depriving himself of sex? It's enough if he refrains from smiling and saying nice things to her, and instead, he gives her the cold shoulder, but he has the right to have sex with her, even during banishment.

Okay, he's tried admonishing, he's tried banishment – but nothing. Her emotions are numb, and she says: Good riddance. So what is the next measure? "...and beat them." Beating. The Prophet Muhammad said that the beatings should be light, and that one should avoid the face, or the sensitive areas, which might lead to broken bones, or might leave a mark that would spoil her beauty, whether on her face or anywhere on her body. Beatings that draw blood, or break bones, or leave a scar, a black mark on the skin, or any obvious mark, which would make people know that she was harshly beaten – this is forbidden.

How should the beatings go? Maybe a light slap on her shoulder, or maybe a not-so-light pinch, or a kind of gentle shove. He should make her feel that he wants to reform her, and let her know that he is displeased with her. It is like saying: None of the measures that work with sensitive people work with you. A word would be enough for any wife with lofty morals, but with you, words do not help. Then he attempts a new direction, appealing to her femininity and emotions, by making her feel that he doesn't want her or love her. When this doesn't work, he says to her: With you, I have reached a stage which is only appropriate for inhumane people – the stage of beating.

Beating is one of the punishments of religious law. What kind of people are beaten? Virgin adulterers, both men and women, are beaten as a means of discipline. Who else is beaten? A person who committed an offense and was sentenced by the judge to beatings. Who else is beaten? Someone who committed a crime. By beating his wife, the husband is saying: You've committed a grave sin that merits beatings.


Palestinians in Lebanon - Exploited and unwelcome guests

Palestinian Arabs in Lebanon have a status slightly worse than that of dogs. Nonetheless, no UN resolutions are ever passed regarding the violation of Palestinian rights by the evil Lebanese, and the Palestinians are exploited to aid the Lebanese economy. Theoretically, they are not allowed to work. In fact, they do work - without social benefits and without any protection against exploitation, a convenient situation for some.
Palestinians pump up Lebanese economy - study
Despite employment obstacles, refugee community doesn't burden state's social safety net
By Dalila Mahdawi
Daily Star staff
Tuesday, February 03, 2009
Palestinians pump up Lebanese economy - study
BEIRUT: Despite facing severe work restrictions, most Palestinian refugee households have at least one family member who is employed, constitute 10 per cent of all private consumption in Lebanon, and do not burden the Lebanese welfare system, a recent report has found.
The Najdeh (Welfare) Association, a Palestinian nongovernmental organization (NGO), published the report examining the contributions of Palestinian refugees to the Lebanese economy in January with funding from aid agencies Diakonia and Christian Aid, as part of its "right to work" campaign.
The study is the result of a survey of 1,500 households in eight refugee camps across Lebanon and a number of focus group discussions, and assesses the income of Palestinian refugees, challenges to and perceptions of work, and their contribution to the Lebanese economy. According to Najdeh, the study "constitutes a paradigm shift in research on Palestinian refugees in Lebanon from examining employability to examining the contribution to the economy of the host country Lebanon."
Under Lebanese law, Palestinian refugees are barred from all but the most menial occupations. Nonetheless, the report found one third of the individuals sampled worked, 91.1 of households had a member who worked, and roughly 40 per cent were searching for work. Only 1.7 per cent of those surveyed had work permits, a fact the report said "renders the Palestinian refugee labor force invisible in official statistics" and exacerbates their socioeconomic marginalization.
Najdeh also found there was "disequilibrium in the contribution to the workforce among men and women typical to the region: women constitute only 20 per cent of those who work between ages 15 to 64 years." No change to this disequilibrium had occurred since a similar report was published a decade ago, the report said.
Some 31.1 per cent of men of working age (defined as 15-64 years old) were not currently in employment, compared to 83.2 per cent of women in the same age group. More women were found to work between the ages of 40-44 and 55-65, the report found, because "women go to work after their children grow up" in line with their traditional gender role as homemakers, or because elder women "have already been involved in the workforce since their youth."
Most men, meanwhile, worked when they were younger, between the ages of 25 and 29, and 35-39, in keeping with their time-honored gender role as breadwinner. However, significantly more men of working age were illiterate compared to their women counterparts. "This phenomenon may be considered a crude indicator of school dropouts," Najdeh said.
Most Palestinian men and women worked in the private service sector, with men working predominantly in construction, industry, transport and agriculture. More women, meanwhile, were employed in the NGO sector or by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). Because of "limited work opportunities for Palestinian refugees outside" their camps, most of the men and women surveyed were found to work within or on the peripheries of the camps.
Perhaps surprisingly, the report found that a greater proportion (67 per cent) of employed women worked full-time, compared to 62 per cent of men, who more often engaged "in seasonal, occasional and other work patterns." Furthermore, more employed women (48.6 per cent) were employed by an establishment, whereas 49.6 per cent of men worked for an "individual employer." Men were also more likely to stop working due to health problems.
Most men (59.6 per cent) and women (55.1 per cent) said they were "somewhat satisfied" with their current work environment, but "twice the proportion of women express being 'very satisfied' with health and safety conditions at work" compared to men (21.7 and 10.8 per cent respectively). This may be because more men engage in occupations with greater safety hazards, stated the report.
The majority of both men and women expressed dissatisfaction with their low income levels, the report added. Median monthly wages were $260-266 for men and $188-200 for women. An overwhelming majority (84 per cent) of Palestinian households furthermore believed there were no work prospects for their children in Lebanon, a perspective perhaps compounded by the fact the median monthly household income of Palestinian refugees had declined from $260-266.7 in 2007 to $108-112 "during the first half of 2008." In addition, 54.9 per cent of households said they were supported financially by remittances from emigrant family members.
Individuals living with chronic illness constituted 16 per cent of the sample population in the report, 6.5 per cent of whom attributed their illness to occupation; 4.3 per cent of those with disabilities likewise attributed their disability to occupation. The report emphasized the difficulties these individuals faced, as because they are not legally supposed to work, they cannot claim insurance from UNRWA for occupational injuries. Consequently, "patients suffering from occupational injuries and their aftermath are vulnerable to financial as well as health-related catastrophes."
Although Palestinian refugees cannot legally contribute much to the Lebanese economy through employment, the sheer amount of them living in the country (more than 400,000) means they count for 10 per cent ($352 million) of all private consumption in Lebanon. Food, healthcare and rent constitute their top spending priorities.
The report also found that despite a 60-year presence in Lebanon and extreme vulnerability as a group, Palestinian refugees "do not appear to have constituted a burden on the safety net system provided by the Lebanese welfare system." The report stated UNRWA, NGOs and faith-based organizations represented the primary safety net for the Palestinian refugee community.
Palestinians also contributed to "invigorating" the areas surrounding their camps by creating low-cost markets for low-income and other marginalized communities in Lebanon. The "Sabra, Ein el-Hilweh and Nahr al-Bared camp markets are recognized as major informal economic hubs for the poor," said the report, adding that the destruction of Nahr al-Bared during the battles of 2007 had "resulted in a gap in the Akkar" region in northern Lebanon for such communities.
Concluding the report, Najdeh spoke of the importance of granting Palestinian refugees the right to work and called for "implementing a formal economic strategic partnership between the Lebanese economic community and the Palestinian refugee economic community." Najdeh also recommended allowing highly trained professionals to work in the Lebanese market "when needed," and forming a dialogue committee between the Lebanese and Palestinian economic communities. "This would enable Palestinian refugees to work more effectively toward their own welfare and the development of the country hosting them," said the report.

Daily Star on Iran's Paranoia

The editorials of the Beirut Daily Star are not generally known for their Zionist sympathies, and they don't usually dare to speak out against Iran - that can be hazardous to your health in their neighborhood. Iranian behavior is of course predictable by anyone who understands what the Iranian regime is all about.
Thursday, February 05, 2009

Iran is currently celebrating its 30th birthday, with the passing of three decades since the nation's people succeeded in bringing down the monarchy of the US-backed shah and creating a government of their own. Yet despite having survived several external attempts to reverse the revolution, the Islamic Republic still behaves less like a confident, functional 30-year-old nation and more like a nervous teenage rebel fending off the authority figures in the United States and the United Nations Security Council.
Part of Iran's paranoid stance can be explained as the natural result of having been the openly declared target of a US campaign for regime change. But Iran's own delusions of persecution must also be counted among the reasons that the country has not yet assumed its rightful, respected place within the community of nations. While most Iranian leaders are typically experts in Islamic jurisprudence, few have demonstrated a solid understanding of the political workings of foreign states, and many appear to have been operating under the assumption that much of the outside world is waging a covert war against them. Most senior officials seem not to have noticed that the world around them - especially the United States - is rapidly changing course.
Many Iranians have reacted skeptically to US President Barack Hussein Obama's call to turn the page on the last three decades of sour relations between Washington and Tehran. But Obama's new stance was reinforced on Wednesday by Britain, China, France, Russia, the United States and Germany, who issued a joint statement voicing common commitment to seeking a diplomatic solution to the row over Iran's nuclear program. This softer tone marks a dramatic shift in style away from George W. Bush's "axis of evil" rhetoric, and could herald a significant change in substance as well.

The Iranians will need to adjust their own positions in order to adapt to a world with an America that is being reinvented each day that Obama is at the helm. The US president is widely popular around the world, and failing to respond to his challenges would risk allowing the Islamic Republic to be portrayed as the villain who seeks to thwart a sincere peacemaking mission. The best strategy for the Iranians would be to focus on the two arenas in which their country has most noticeably failed: public relations and diplomacy. Iran has never been able to successfully defend its controversial policies in the global arena, even though the country has arguably operated in accordance with international law. And although Iran is the most populous country in the Middle East, the country has so far been outfoxed by smaller, PR savvy nations that seek to demonize the Islamic Republic as a result of their own paranoia. The only way to change the current score is to join the PR and diplomacy game.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

WATCH: Peres remarks on Gaza at Davos

The second video is complete.
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan stormed off the stage at the World Economic Forum in Davos on Thursday, red-faced from verbally sparring with President Shimon Peres over the recent fighting in Gaza.

Erdogan was angry after being cut off by a panel moderator after listening to an impassioned monologue by Peres defending Israel's recent 22-day offensive against Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

Erdogan told Peres: "You are killing people."

Please note that no translation is provided for Erdogan's comments in the clip below.

A finger-pointing Peres told Erdogan at Thursday's panel that he would have done the same if rockets had been hitting Istanbul.

The Turkish prime minister asked the moderator, Washington Post columnist David Ignatius, to let him speak once more.

"Only a minute," Ignatius replied.

Erdogan said in Turkish that, "I remember two former prime ministers in your country who said they felt very happy when they were able to enter Palestine on tanks."

"I find it very sad that people applaud what you said. There have been many people killed. And I think that it is very wrong and it is not humanitarian," he said.

Ignatius said, "We can't start the debate again. We just don't have time."

Erdogan said, "Please let me finish." Ignatius responded: "We really do need to get people to dinner."

The Turkish premier then said, "Thank you very much. Thank you very much. Thank you very much. I don't think I will come back to Davos after this."

The confrontation saw Peres and Erdogan raise their voice shouting - highly unusual at the elite gathering of corporate and world leaders, which is usually marked by learned consensus seeking and polite dialogue. It showed how emotions remain frayed over Israel's offensive against Hamas that ended less than two weeks ago.

The packed audience at the Erdogan and Peres session, which included President Obama's close adviser Valerie Jarrett, appeared stunned.

Afterward, forum founder Klaus Schwab huddled with Erdogan in a corner of the Congress Center. A press conference with both men was scheduled for 8:30 p.m.

"I have know Shimon Peres for many years and I also know Erdogan. I have never seen Shimon Peres so passionate as he was today. I think he felt Israel was being attacked by so many in the international community. He felt isolated," said former Norwegian Prime Minister Kjell Magne Bondevik.

"I was very sad that Erdogan left. This was an expression of how difficult this situation is."

Amr Moussa, the former Egyptian foreign minister who now leads the Arab League, said Erdogan's action was understandable. "Mr. Erdogan said what he wanted to say and then he left. That's all. He was right." Of Israel, he said, "They don't listen."

Erdogan brushed past reporters outside the hall. His wife appeared upset. "All Peres said was a lie. It was unacceptable," she said, eyes glistening.

The second clip shows the entire discussion at Davos.