dinsdag 31 augustus 2010

Israelische rabbi Ovadia Yosef hoopt dat God slechte Abbas zal neerslaan

 
Onderstaand bericht verscheen vandaag in zo ongeveer alle kranten, soms zelfs op de voorpagina, zoals bij de NRC. Die krant voegde daar gelijk aan toe dat hierdoor het nieuwe vredesoverleg onder druk staat. Dit in schril contrast met de berichtgeving over Arabische en Palestijnse opruiing tegen Joden, christenen, het Westen, Israel en de VS, die namelijk in het Westen bijna volledig wordt genegeerd.
 
Men negeert de vele uitspraken van geestelijken die met de Palestijnse Autoriteit zijn verbonden die hier zeker niet voor onderdoen. Bovendien brachten president Abbas en premier Fayyad vorige week de laatste eer aan een van de planners van de aanslag op de Israelische Olympische ploeg in 1972 in Munchen. Hij werd in door de PA gecontroleerde kranten en door PA functionarissen als een held beschreven. Ook de terroriste Dalal Mughrabi, die achter een van de wreedste aanslagen in Israel zat, wordt alom geëerd door de PA, en onder andere een plein in Ramallah, een zomerkamp, een meisjesschool, en vakantieparken zijn naar haar vernoemd. Zij zat achter een buskaping in 1978 waarbij meer dan tien kinderen omkwamen, en in totaal 37 Israelische burgers de dood vonden. Zij wordt door de PA tegenover kinderen als rolmodel geprezen. 
Op PA TV zijn fimpjes te zien waarin een kind zegt dat ze trots is op haar moeder die zich heeft opgeblazen in Israel en haar pad wil volgen.
 
Erekats veroordeling is natuurlijk nogal hypocriet: als hij werkelijk vrede wil, laat hij dan aan de balk in zijn eigen oog werken en de ophitsing in eigen media en moskeeën aanpakken.
 
 
RP
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The Jerusalem Post
Ovadia Yosef: 'Abbas is evil, may the Lord strike him down'
By JPOST.COM STAFF
08/29/2010 09:16


Four days before opening of peace talks in Washington, Shas spiritual leader calls Palestinians evil, prays for death to PA president; Yehuda Avidan defends rabbi's comments.

http://www.jpost.com/Israel/Article.aspx?id=186323


Shas spiritual leader Rabbi Ovadia Yosef called Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas "an evil hater of Israel" in his weekly sermon on Saturday.

After mentioning the traditional New Year's wish of "may those who hate us be finished," Yosef reportedly said that God should send a plague to Abbas and the Palestinians, and they should be finished.

Four days before the opening of new negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians, Yosef also wished death on the Palestinian nation and prayed that "the Lord strike them down."

Shas veteran Yehuda Avidan responded by saying that anyone who knows Yosef knows that there is no one who wants and seeks peace more than him. Avidan explained that the rabbi sees the Palestinians as Israel's enemies but wants there to be peace.

Until now Yosef has steered clear of commenting on anything related to diplomatic negotiations. At the end of the 1980s Yosef ruled that the country should seek peace, even at the price of painful concessions, given the supremacy of the Jewish value of 'pikuakh nefesh' (saving of life).

Last year, Yosef attacked the secular education system, saying that some secular people were "fools" who behave like "animals." Giving a sermon on kiddush customs (the blessing over wine), Yosef said that while Torah students and synagogue goers knew how to make kiddush, "there are some who studied in secular schools like foolish fools - they don't know what a kiddush is and then eat like animals." He has since said that people who send their children to learn in secular schools will suffer punishment in this world and the next.

In 2009 Yosef also caused an uproar after arguing that those murdered in the Holocaust were a reincarnation of sinners from past generations.

Heibel in Hebron herkauwd (IMO blog)

 

Heibel in Hebron herkauwd

IMO Blog, 28-8-2010


Gisteren zond Netwerk een behoorlijk
eenzijdige reportage uit over Hebron, en het verzet tegen de kolonisten die steeds meer gebied zouden inpikken. De reportage draaide om de vredesactivist Shaul, zelf ex-soldaat ook nog eens religieus dus extra overtuigend. Voor hem was het plaatje zwart-wit en dat perspectief nam Netwerk volledig over: de kolonisten zijn de slechteriken, die met steun van het Israëlische leger de arme onschuldige Palestijnse bevolking terroriseren en doelbewust verdrijven. De reportage was al twee jaar oud, maar Netwerk vond hem blijkbaar zo goed dat hij werd herhaald.


De reportage gaf daarbij nauwelijks enige achtergrond informatie of perspectief, en was soms ronduit misleidend. Zo werd gesuggereerd dat de Joden pas 40 jaar geleden naar Hebron kwamen om er te bidden in de Machpela, de graven van de aartsvaderen. Daarmee werd de honderden jaren oude geschiedenis van de Joden in Hebron ontkend, en de
bloedige verdrijvingen van de Joodse gemeenschap in 1929 en 1936. Zij hebben dus niet alleen religieuze maar ook historische wortels in de stad, die net zo goed van hun is als van de Arabieren.

De haat en de onwil om vreedzaam samen te leven zit aan beide kanten, en er zijn net zoveel Arabieren te vinden die alle Joden weg willen, niet alleen uit Hebron maar uit heel Israël, als er kolonisten zijn die alle Arabieren daar weg willen hebben. Helaas had de reportage geen enkele aandacht voor de haat aan Arabische zijde, en de vele aanslagen en schietpartijen die overduidelijk bedoeld waren om de Joden uit de stad te verdrijven. In 2002 zijn 13 Joden in Hebron doodgeschoten na het shabbat gebed.

Zo ontstaat het overbekende eenzijdige beeld van de Palestijnen als onschuldige slachtoffers die zelf geen enkel aandeel hebben in hun lot, en de Israëli's als wrede daders. Het is jammer dat Netwerk aan deze eenzijdige beeldvorming meewerkt in plaats van een genuanceerder plaatje te laten zien, en het is verbluffend dat men een dergelijke reportage twee jaar later nog eens herhaalt. Inmiddels is de situatie in Hebron verbeterd, zijn de Arabische winkeltjes (gedeeltelijk) weer open en de checkpoints verdwenen maar daarover werd niets gemeld.

In de reportage zien we kolonisten die een vreedzame demonstratie gewelddadig verstoren, en Shaul en de cameraploeg van Netwerk belagen. Wat je niet ziet is dat die wekelijkse demonstraties, direct voor de huizen van de kolonisten, ook bedreigend overkomen, en niet alle vredesactivisten en Arabieren die meedoen even vreedzaam zijn. Van beide kanten hitst men elkaar op en ziet de ander slechts nog als vijand, als het kwaad. Stel je voor dat er wekelijks voor je huis gedemonstreerd wordt door mensen die vinden dat je daar op moet rotten omdat het jouw land niet is en je op 'gestolen' grond woont. Daarbij wordt geschreeuwd, als je naar buiten wilt wordt je uitgescholden of met stenen bekogeld.

Lees verder op IMO:
Heibel in Hebron herkauwd

 

De woorden van rabbi Ovadia Yosef en de berg haat uit de Arabische wereld

 
Het soort dingen dat rabbi Ovadia Yosef pas zei en alle kranten hier haalde, worden dagelijks door islamitische geestelijken geuit tegenover Joden en christenen, en in media in Arabische staten zijn dagelijks opruiiende artikelen te vinden vol haat tegenover het Westen, Israel en Joden. Daarvoor hebben de media nauwelijks aandacht, om wel groots uit te pakken nu de - volgens Barry Rubin - seniele 90 jarige Yosef zijn haat voor de Palestijnen de vrije loop laat. Hij heeft daar wel een verklaring voor:
 
In response to readers' requests for the reasons why such "double standards" are so prevelant, here's a brief summary in no particular order:

a. Fear of Islamist violence;
b. Fear of colleagues' or the elite's ridicule as being racist, Islamophobic, etc, with a negative effect on their career and reputation. They can thus shiver with fright (this also applies to point a) but portray themselves as courageous simultaneously;
c. Hope for profit (financial, electoral);
d. Belief that national interests are best met by flattering those who might otherwise (that's the theory any way) enemies who will then become friends or at least not attack them;
e. Fear of their own people who they think are bigoted yahoos who if not held back would massacre all the Muslims around. Thus, the crazed racists must be lied to in order to soothe them into unconsciousness.
f. Dislike of their own societies and systems which they view them as inferior to those of others. this includes an element of romanticism and masochism. A belief that attacking your own people, nation, religion, system is noble but to do so to any other is an unforgiveable sin.
g. Hope (wrong) that if they feed the Islamists other victims (Israel, Lebanon) that will satisfy the appetite for conquest.
h. The following definition of racism: If you criticize anyone of any other nationality for any reason whatsoever, that makes you a racist.
i. The following definition of Islamophobia: If you criticize anyone who is a Muslim or any Muslim belief or action this makes you a dreadful bigot.
 
De lieve vrede willen bewaren met de grote moslim minderheden in Europa zal zeker een rol spelen, en de neiging het Westen als dader en machtig te zien, tegenover een zwakke Arabische wereld die altijd de speelbal van Westers imperialisme zou zijn geweest. Ik denk daarnaast dat door een combinatie van factoren er een bepaald paradigma is ontstaan, waarin de islam als een in principe onschuldige religie wordt beschouwd, waarin hooguit de extremisten het verpesten voor de grote gematigde minderheid. Daartegenover staat het paradigma van Wilders, dat de islam ziet als een agressieve politieke ideologie die uit is op werelddominantie. Geen aantrekkelijk beeld, en bovendien ook zo ongenuanceerd en daarmee ver van de werkelijkheid dat het niet door een meerderheid wordt gedeeld.
 
Het is moeilijk beide zaken te verenigen: het vele extremisme dat uit de Arabische wereld en islamitische landen komt en het vreedzame samenleven dat een overgrote meerderheid van de moslims in Europa doet. Ook in Arabische staten verbazen toeristen zich vaak over de warmte en gastvrijheid, en zien ze dat vrouwen er niet allemaal in een hoekje zitten weg te kwijnen, dat mensen humor hebben en de eigen regering fel wordt bekritiseerd, kortom: dat het niet zo zwart-wit is als het soms wordt voorgesteld. Mensen geloven liever het ene paradigma of het andere, en lezen de media die daarbij horen (aanhangers van Wilders moeten het vooral van internet hebben). De media op hun beurt houden ook graag aan hun paradigma vast, omdat hun lezers dat zo willen en omdat het veilig is en omdat ze, inderdaad, de lieve vrede willen bewaren of juist het vuurtje nog wat opstoken.
 
RP
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RubinReports 

What Threatens Peace: A Mountain of Hate or A Few Nasty Words?

Posted: 30 Aug 2010 09:05 AM PDT

 
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By Barry Rubin

About twenty-five years ago I had my great success in affecting mass media coverage of the Middle East in one newspaper for one day. I had been complaining to a New York Times correspondent, who was briefly covering the Middle East beat, about the incitement, hatred, and extremism that appeared daily in the Arabic media was never mentioned in its Western counterpart.

To his credit, he came over to my office. I took a big desk and spread over it a couple of dozen issues of the Foreign Broadcast Information Service (FBIS), a publication with which, in those pre-paperless days, I had filled whole bookcases. If you've never heard of FBIS it was a daily publication from the U.S. Department of Commerce that came out in different colored editions for each region of the world. All it did was translate radio and television programs along with some important speeches. Using or not using FBIS, for me, marked the difference between a serious researcher and a dilettante.

One after the other I showed him examples of the lies, the hatred, the calls for Israel's destruction, the screams for blood and murder, the slanders against America that appeared in the most prestigious and widely circulated and official of Arabic-language publications. Impressed, he actually wrote an article on it that appeared on the front page.

That happened once. And this was in the days when journalistic standards meant something and newspapers actually focused on publishing the news rather than ideological guidance to direct people toward believing the proper things.

Day after day throughout the Arabic-speaking world, Iran, Pakistan, and beyond, in schools and mosques, in the speeches of leaders and oppositionists, in mass media, hatred of Jews and Christians, of the West and America, rises into the air. This structural hatred has consequences. The best single sentence I've heard on this comes from a Saudi woman who wrote that what the big Usama bin Ladin did, the little Usama bin Ladin learned in the Saudi schools.

This massive system of hatred and extremism—known to everyone who lives in the Middle East—is largely kept hidden from the West. Why?

One reason is fear of the Islamists. In editing the two-volume Guide to Islamist Movements--a study of Islamist movements, leaders, ideas, and activities in 55 countries—I often met with the refusal of scholars to write chapters due to fear. In one case, I appealed to a professor in a small European country that he was merely being asked to write an objective scholarly overview, not to take any political positions or make any recommendations. He responded: "The local Islamists don't look at things that way."

Another reason is fear of their colleagues. To report on the hatred of others leads to accusations of being oneself a hater.

These are, of course, two major reasons why the Western media and politicians so downplay the issue of incitement and extremism among Muslims. But there is one more: the belief that their own people are so stupid and bigoted that they will respond to being told the truth by massive anti-Muslim pogroms. These elites believe that a public that accepts without murmur the construction of thousands of mosques is horribly intolerant because it objects to one being built at the site of the World Trade Center attack by a radical group with shadowy financing.

We don't have reliable studies of what goes on in North American mosques because academics and journalists won't do much beyond repeating what Muslim groups say. But we do know from infiltrators (sometimes with video tapes) or moderate Muslims that the incidence of radicalism and antisemitism among imams and activists is high. Recently, an outspoken moderate Muslim told me that he was unwelcome in all of his cities mosques. Asked to name mosques dominated by a moderate viewpoint, he could only come up with one, in a city hundreds of miles away from him.

A few years ago, I was at a secret conference on a tiny Mediterranean island. When I brought up the issue of incitement to murder Israelis in a conference, a high-ranking Palestinian (today a member of the Palestinian Authority cabinet) made a speech about how incitement was a terrible problem on both sides (not true, of course) and how he proposed a joint commission to investigate this issue. The audience applauded.

Immediately afterward, without illusions but because it seemed a neat thing to do, I went up to him and proposed that he and I form such a commission. He laughed in my face. Of course, there was not the slightest interest in doing so.

There is remarkably little hatred and bigotry in Israeli society. Of course, one can find it without doubt, but given what this country has been through it is, I repeat, remarkably small. It is not sanctioned in the mass media or the schools or in the overwhelmingly vast majority of religious institutions.

This brings us to Rabbi Ovadia Yosef. A few days ago, in a sermon, Yosef
reportedly said that Palestinian Authority (PA) leader Mahmoud Abbas, "and all these evil people should perish from this world….God should strike them with a plague, them and these Palestinians."

This statement instantly became a global story. It will no doubt be used to delegitimize Israel. Yosef's statement was also quickly condemned by the U.S. State Department in words that invite derision: "These remarks are not only deeply offensive, but incitement such as this hurts the cause of peace."

Of course, Yosef's statement should be condemned and no one in Israel will do anything other than condemn it. Yet as a left-of-center Israeli intellectual once put it, we have our Kahanes--referring to the extremist hater Meir Kahane--but most of the other side's leaders are Kahanes.
What Yosef uttered, however, is a curse, not a political program. It is a call for the divine being to act, not for humans to commit terrorism. No one will praise what he said; no one will take up this as instructions to carry out violence. Ten years ago, in the midst of a massive wave of terrorism, Yosef made a parallel statement.

It is worth mentioning, which the news reports didn't, that Yosef is currently 90 years old. The progress of senility has been clear for him during the last decade. His role in Israel has been a fascinating one. He led Sephardic Jewry to demand religious equality. He practically created a whole new Sephardic system of worship and worldview. Sadly and ironically, it imitated the more rigid Ashkenazic Haredim (European-origin Orthodox) rather than the traditionally more flexible Sephardic religious style.

Yosef also created Shas, a party which might be best thought of as a patronage group for the poorest and mainly Moroccan-origin Sephardim. Think of it as being like an old, corrupt Democratic big-city machine that provides goods and services for its constituents in return for their votes and a cut of the money. By putting them into a very bad educational system which downplays worldly skills in favor of religious ones, Shas is not doing its followers a big favor.

But Shas cannot be classified as much of the Western media portrays it, as merely a "right-wing" party. During the 1990s' peace process, for example, Shas and Yosef advocated trading territory for peace on the religious basis of saving lives. Even now, the Shas position, for example, is that buildings should only be constructed in the limited number of settlements just across the pre-1967 border that Israel wants to claim. The party is thus supporting turning over the vast majority of the West Bank to a Palestinian state, presuming (which is doubtful) that the PA ever make Israel a good and serious offer in exchange.

What makes Crowley's statement a joke, of course, is that the U.S. government ignores the avalanche, tsunami, tidal wave, or whatever weather-related metaphor you want, of hatred, incitement to murder, delegitimization with an aim toward genocide, and actual terrorist violence that daily spews out against Israel, and also against America itself and the Western world.

During the dozen years since the signing of the Israel-PLO agreement in 1993, it is virtually impossible to find a single--and I do mean, even just one--statement in Arabic by a PA, PLO, or Fatah leader (don't even mention Hamas) calling for peace, recognition, conciliation, or empathy wit Israel. In contrast, there are thousands of statements rejecting Israel's existence, calling for armed struggle, urging children to become terrorists, insisting that one day the Palestinians will achieve total victory and eradicate Israel, and demonizing Israelis. Here's just one rather typical
example.

Consider the above paragraph. That is not a statement of my politics but of unfortunate facts. And notice I said Arabic directed to their own people, not English directed to the Western suckers.
Will the U.S. State Department condemn this statement made the same day by a PA government minister standing next to Mahmoud Abbas himself? PA Minister of Religious Affairs Mahmoud al-Habbash in his Friday sermon said that unless Israel "returns" Jerusalem to the Palestinians "its owners" there would be war. While not as categorically vicious as Yosef's remarks that is a far more credible and inciteful threat of violence which, in addition, comes from an official government source.

Or how about these
three programs on official PA television teaching children that all of Israel is Palestine and thus Israel should be wiped out? Or Abbas's personal participation in a ceremony honoring one of the terrorists who murdered Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics? Or the PA naming a city square after a suicide bomber who killed Israeli civilians? Or official PA textbooks demonizing Israel and calling for its destruction? One could go on with such examples for many pages as has indeed been done in this report.

These words and the organizing efforts designed to implement them have immense consequences. They explain why millions of Muslims take such extreme stances in supporting revolutionary Islamism. They explain September 11 and the London subway bombing; thousands of acts of terrorism; the PA's political inability and refusal to make peace; the transformation of the Gaza Strip into a mini-state with a genocidal agenda; the seizure of Lebanon by Islamist forces that will once again carry that country into war; and the horrors in Iraq; and the expansion of Iranian influence; and the driving of Christians out of Iraq and Gaza; and the murder of tens of thousands of Muslims by radical Islamists in Algeria and elsewhere; and the decapitation of Buddhist peasants in southern Thailand, and the murder of Christians in the Philippines, Nigeria, and Indonesia; and far more.

All of these things hurt the cause of peace--Let me put it plainly: They make peace impossible--but are not fully taken into account by Western policy or spoken of in the universities because their power requires real courage to do so. Yet it is precisely because of their power and thus the threat they pose that they must be exposed and fought against.

Abraham talked the divine being into sparing Sodom and Gomorrah if only he could find ten righteous people there. Today, Israel and Western societies are condemned as evil when one finds only a handful of non-righteous there. What of the societies where there are millions of bigots and haters calling for blood and murder? Millions who, by current Western definitions, are racists? That is the difference between individual evil, which will never vanish from this earth, and structurally approved evil maintained by political and ideological systems that must be changed.

What we need to do is to proclaim that all men are created equal but that some societies and world views are proven to be more stable, free, materially successful , and all-around preferable to others. True, one attribute of such societies is that they have a much higher level of tolerance toward others. But if that's so then it is clear that these societies--even if marching under the banners of preserving multiculturalism and Political Correcntess!--must combat the threat from those states, movements, and ideologies that extoll the destruction of liberty, preach intolerance, and are full of violently implemented hatred and lies.

PS: In response to readers' requests for the reasons why such "double standards" are so prevelant, here's a brief summary in no particular order:

a. Fear of Islamist violence;
b. Fear of colleagues' or the elite's ridicule as being racist, Islamophobic, etc, with a negative effect on their career and reputation. They can thus shiver with fright (this also applies to point a) but portray themselves as courageous simultaneously;
c. Hope for profit (financial, electoral);
d. Belief that national interests are best met by flattering those who might otherwise (that's the theory any way) enemies who will then become friends or at least not attack them;
e. Fear of their own people who they think are bigoted yahoos who if not held back would massacre all the Muslims around. Thus, the crazed racists must be lied to in order to soothe them into unconsciousness.
f. Dislike of their own societies and systems which they view them as inferior to those of others. this includes an element of romanticism and masochism. A belief that attacking your own people, nation, religion, system is noble but to do so to any other is an unforgiveable sin.
g. Hope (wrong) that if they feed the Islamists other victims (Israel, Lebanon) that will satisfy the appetite for conquest.
h. The following definition of racism: If you criticize anyone of any other nationality for any reason whatsoever, that makes you a racist.
i. The following definition of Islamophobia: If you criticize anyone who is a Muslim or any Muslim belief or action this makes you a dreadful bigot.
 
=================
Barry Rubin is director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center and editor of the Middle East Review of International Affairs (MERIA) Journal. His latest books are The Israel-Arab Reader (seventh edition), The Long War for Freedom: The Arab Struggle for Democracy in the Middle East (Wiley), and The Truth About Syria (Palgrave-Macmillan). The website of the GLORIA Center is at
http://www.gloria-center.org and of his blog, Rubin Reports, at http://www.rubinreports.blogspot.com .

maandag 30 augustus 2010

Syrie mengt zich ook in de instabiele situatie van Libanon en wijst Israel aan als oorzaak.

Het is bekend dat Syrie beschuldigd werd van de moord op Hariri.

Dat gaf aanleiding tot zo veel commotie in Libanon dat Syrie zich uit Libanon moest terugtrekken.

Inmiddels wordt ook Hezbollah van betrokkenheid van de moord op Hariri beschuldigd.

Dat zorgt voor veel spanning in Libanon.

Zowel Syrie (Assad) als Saoedi-Arabie (koning Abdullah) hebben zich al gemeld in Libanon om de situatie te stabiliseren.      

Tot nu toe is die situatie alleen maar verder verslechterd.

Syrie heeft natuurlijk boter op zijn hoofd en ziet een nieuwe bui hangen voor zijn jarenlange inmenging in Libanon.

Daarom heeft Assad zich opnieuw gemeld in Libanon.

Natuurlijk probeert hij een gemeenschappelijke vijand verantwoordelijk te stellen voor de onstane situatie

En dus komt Assad Libanon verzekeren van zijn hulp tegen dat slechte Israel.

MS

 

Ynet 29/8/10

 

Assad vows to defend Lebanon

Syrian president meets Lebanese Prime Minister Hariri in Damascus, expresses his determination to maintain Lebanon's strength, national unity. 'We must continue in the path of calm and dialogue to solve the problems in Lebanon,' he states

Roee Nahmias

Published: 

08.30.10, 14:56

Syrian President Bashar Assad said Sunday evening that his country "must support the resistance movement in a way which will maintain Lebanon's strength and defend it against external dangers threatening its security and stability."

 

The Syrian leader spoke during a meeting with Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri, who is visiting Damascus.

 

Official Syrian news agency SANA reported that the two discussed the "excellent" bilateral relations between their two countries, "which emphasize the depth of the historic ties between the two brother nations, as well as the future horizons for tightening the cooperation between the countries in all areas," the two leaders said in a joint statement.

The two leaders expressed their determination to continue coordinating in order to maintain the joint interests of both countries. President Assad stressed that "we must continue in the path of calm and dialogue in order to solve the problems in Lebanon and strengthen the national agreement."

 

The two also discussed the "positive echoes" of Assad's historic visit to Lebanon with Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz last month.

 

The visit was aimed at calming the tensions in Lebanon ahead of the indictment expected to be filed with an international tribunal in regards to the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.

 

The Lebanese prime minister added that the "historic visit of President Assad and the Saudi king to Lebanon stresses their determination to help Lebanon's national unity."

 

 

zondag 29 augustus 2010

Volgende zet in opvoeren spanning tussen Israel en Libanon

Na de clash tussen het Libanese leger en Israel, door Libanon geforceerd, en na de beschuldigingen van Nasrallah dat Israel achter de moord op Hariri zit, is er weer een nieuw item:

Israel zou Libanon bespionnneren via luchtballonnen.

Nu lijkt het vrij eenvoudig zo`n ballon naar beneden te halen en te controleren wat daar in zit.

Maar dat gaat zo maar niet volgens Libanon. Het neerhalen van de ballon zou wapenopslagplaatsen (van Hezbollah) verraden.    

En Libanon gaat verder: die ballonnen zijn tegen de VN-resolutie na de oorlog in 2006, waarin het Israel verboden werd te spionneren boven Libanon middels vliegtuigen.

Echter: In die zelfde resolutie staat ook dat Hezbollah moet ontwapenen en dus zijn die opslagplaatsen ook illegaal!

En om het ongemoeid laten van die ballonnen verder te verklaren vertelt Libanon dat de fotoapparatuur aan boord zichzelf vernietigt, dus heeft neerhalen geen zin.

Maar niet neerhalen van de ballonnen laat de apparatuur in tact,waardoor Libanon Israel gewoon zou laten spionneren.

En dat maakt dat dit bericht gewoon in de strategie van Hezbollah past om de aandacht op Israel als agressor te vestigen en de aandacht van de zeer instabiele situatie in Libanon ten gevolge van het Hariri-tribunaal af te leiden.

Waarschijnlijk hebben we hier te maken met het volgende “broodje-aap” van Hezbollah en wachten we af wat ze hierna weer verzinnen in de publiciteitscampagne om aandacht af te leiden van een gevaarlijke destabiliserende situatie in Libanon.

 

MS

 

 

Ynet 29/08/10

Lebanese army: Israel using espionage balloons

Hot air balloons equipped with cameras, self-destruction mechanisms, being used by Israel to collect intelligence on Lebanon, army claims. Arab media report balloons seen over Baalbek, eastern mountain ridge, but military expert says firing back would reveal location of weapons

Roee Nahmias

Published: 

08.29.10, 09:41

The Lebanese army is claiming that Israel has begun using a new tool to collect intelligence above Lebanon's skies – hot air balloons equipped with cameras, transmission capabilities and self-destruction mechanisms. The charges follow an escalation between Israel and Lebanon's army, which reached a new low in the recent border skirmish.

 

According to reports in Arab media, "Bombardier" hot air balloons were spotted over Baalbek, the villages of Nahla and Younin and the east Lebanon mountain ridge. A military expert told London-based al-Sharq al-Awsat that firing at the balloons would be problematic, because it would reveal the location of weapons caches.

 

A statement released by the Lebanese army over the weekend said that on Thursday, at 7:40 pm, "espionage balloons" were seen over east Lebanon. "This is a new violation of Lebanese sovereignty," the statement said.

 

On Friday, Lebanese newspaper al-Liwa reported that Israel indirectly warned the Lebanese army that the IDF could annihilate it within four hours. According to the report, Frederick Hof, a senior advisor to US Mideast envoy East George Mitchell, told Lebanese army commander Jean Kahwajim that should his army initiate additional fire exchanges with Israel, the IDF would operate its contingency plan and respond harshly.

 

The report further quoted Mitchell's aide as telling the Lebanese commander that Israel had decided to carry out a plan "which would completely destroy the Lebanese army's bases, centers and offices within four hours."

 

Lieutenant-Colonel (res.) Dov Harari was killed in the border skirmish earlier this month and another officer was seriously injured. Firing began when IDF forces entered a border enclave in order to uproot a tree. Lebanon later blamed Israel for violating UN Resolution 1701, but a UNIFIL report later ruled that the tree was on the Israeli side of the border.

 

vrijdag 27 augustus 2010

Libanon in wankel evenwicht

De macht van Hezbollah is voor Libanon een groot gevaar.

De bewapende bendes vormen een steeds meer voorkomend beeld en ruzies worden met behulp van wapens beslecht.

De spanning loopt zichtbaar op nu Hezbollah door het Hariri-tribunaal vervolgd zal worden.

In 2008 kostte het 80 levens toen Hezbollah zich bedreigd voelde.

Deze week waren er minder doden te betreuren.

Maar de oorzaak kan Hezbollah dit keer niet wegnemen.

Het Hariri-tribunaal gaat gewoon door.

Libanon dreigt steeds meer instabiel te worden met alle gevolgen van dien.

 


Haaretz 26/8/10

Lebanon moves to address widespread use of weapons

By ASSOCIATED PRESS 
08/26/2010 11:55


Committee formed to confront problem following clashes; headed by Prime Minister Hariri.

 

BEIRUT — Lebanon moved to address the widespread possession and use of weapons in the country Wednesday after Shiite and Sunni groups used machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades in a deadly, hours-long street battle that was the worst clash in Beirut since 2008.

The Information Ministry announced the formation of a committee headed by Prime Minister Saad Hariri to come up with proposals for confronting the problem, a day after the fighting in a residential neighborhood of Beirut killed three members of the Shiite Hizbullah group and a follower of the conservative Sunni al-Ahbash group.

The announcement touches on one of Lebanon's most enduring problems: private, well-armed militias that operate outside the control of the central government.

Hizbullah, the country's most powerful military force, maintains its own massive arsenal even though the group is now part of the government. At the end of Lebanon's 1975-1990 civil war, Hizbullah was the only group allowed to retain its weapons as protection against Israel.

Nevertheless, many other groups held onto their weapons too and in recent years have been amassing more arms.

"Lebanon has always been a very volatile society," said Rami Khouri, director of the Issam Fares Institute of Public Policy and International Affairs at the American University of Beirut. "There are a lot of arms around. The central government never really had a monopoly on arms."

Khouri said it is too early to gauge the significance of the new committee.

The government has announced such plans before, to little effect.

Witnesses told The Associated Press that Tuesday's fighting was touched off by a traffic dispute outside a mosque that escalated dramatically when local gunmen gathered reinforcements.

Tensions between the Shiite and Sunni communities have been running high recently amid reports that Hizbullah members will be indicted in the 2005 assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, once the country's top Sunni politician and father of the current prime minister.

Abdul Qadir al-Fakhani, a spokesman for al-Ahbash, said his group was meeting with Hizbullah and the Lebanese army on Wednesday to ensure the situation does not flare up again.

The two groups issued a joint statement late Tuesday saying the incident resulted from a "personal dispute and has no political or sectarian background."

Nadim Houry, the Beirut director at Human Rights Watch, said Lebanon is caught in a "cycle of impunity" in such a heavily armed society.

"None of the gunmen is ever brought to justice. ... That is the real tragedy here," he said. "Gunmen are still above the law — and the civil war ended 20 years ago."



On Wednesday morning, cleaning crews were sweeping the chunks of concrete that had been blown off the mosque by bullets and grenades. At least one gunman holding an AK-47 assault rifle had taken up position in a building across from the mosque.

The fighting was the worst clash in Beirut since May 2008, when Hizbullah gunmen swept through Sunni neighborhoods after the pro-Western government tried to dismantle the group's telecommunications network.

More than 80 people were killed in the 2008 violence, pushing the country to the brink of civil war.

 

 

 

donderdag 26 augustus 2010

Israel en het vredesproces

In Israel vindt jaarlijks de Herzliya-Conferentie plaats.

Belangrijke politieke wereldleiders, maar ook wetenschappers, komen bijeen om met elkaar problemen te bespreken.

Hier onder staat de redevoering die Tony Blair, de speciale gezant van Het Kwartet (VN, USA, Rusland en EU), dit jaar hield.

Hij wijst op een zeer belangrijk probleem: de toenemende neiging Israel te deligitimeren zelfs onbewust.  

Hij noemt in dit kader vijf belangrijke zaken:

1                    Probeer de problematiek  ook steeds vanuit Israelisch oogpunt te bekijken. Kijk naar de bedreigingen, zie wat er echt gebeurt.

2                    Erken dat er vrede wordt nagestreefd door Israel. Zowel in het recente verleden door Livni en Olmert als nu doordat Nethanjahoe instemt met het directe vredesoverleg.

3                    Er kan pas sprake zijn van succes bij vredesonderhandelingen als alle finale aspecten aan bod komen en op tafel liggen. De voorstellen vormen de lakmoesproef.  

4                    Opkomst van de economie en ontwikkeling van de Palestijnen, verbeterde omstandigheden ,herstel van eer en trots .zoals in Jenin’

5                    Wijs erop dat Israel een echte democratie is met een fugerende rechtspraak en vrije pers.

 

MS

 

 

Tony Blair welcomes re-start of direct peace talks during Herzliya speech

Tuesday, Aug 24, 2010 in Office of Tony BlairOffice of the Quartet Representative

Speech by the Quartet Representative Tony Blair, Herzliya, 24th August 2010

CHECK AGAINST DELIVERY

There are two forms of de-legitimisation. One is traditional, obvious and from the quarters it emanates, expected. It is easier to deal with. This is attack from those who openly question Israel’s right to exist. It is easier to deal with, because it is so clear. When the President of Iran says he wants Israel wiped off the face of the map, we all know where we are. This is not to minimise the threat of course. It remains and is profound. It is just to say that were this the only form of de-legitimisation, it wouldn’t warrant a conference of analysis; simply a course of action.

The other form is more insidious, harder to spot, harder to anticipate and harder to deal with, because many of those engaging in it, will fiercely deny they are doing so. It is this form that is in danger of growing, and whose impact is potentially highly threatening, in part because it isn’t obvious.

I would define in it this way: it is a conscious or often unconscious resistance, sometimes bordering on refusal, to accept Israel has a legitimate point of view.  Note that I say refusal to accept Israel has a legitimate point of view. I’m not saying refusal to agree with it. People are perfectly entitled to agree or not; but rather an unwillingness to listen to the other side, to acknowledge that Israel has a point, to embrace the notion that this is a complex matter that requires understanding of the other way of looking at it.

The challenge is that this often does not come from ill-intentioned people; but well-intentioned. They would dispute vigorously such a characterisation of their mindset. They would point to the injustice of Palestinian suffering, acts of the Israeli Government or army which are unjustifiable and they would say, rightly, that you cannot say that to criticise Israel is to de-legitimise it.  Such minds are often to be found in the west. They will say they advocate a two state solution and they will point to that as proof positive that they accept Israel’s existence fully.

The problem is that though this is true in theory, in practice they wear Nelson’s eye patch when they lift the telescope of scrutiny to the Israeli case. In a very real sense, they don’t see it.

So, for example, on Gaza they won’t accept that Israel might have a right to search vessels bringing cargo into Gaza, given that even this year over 100 rockets have been fired from that territory into Israel Leave aside the multiple investigations relating to the flotilla, upon which there will naturally be heated debate. I mean a refusal to accept that, however handled, no Israeli government could be indifferent to the possibility of weapons  and missiles being brought into Gaza.

I often have a conversation about the West Bank which goes like this. Someone says:  Israel must lift the occupation. I reply: I agree but it has to be sure that when it does so, there will be security and a Palestinian force capable of preventing terrorism. They say: so you’re supporting occupation. I say: I’m not: I’m simply pointing out that if Hamas, with an unchanged position on Israel, were running the West Bank, Israel would have a perfectly legitimate right to be concerned about it’s security.

A constant conversation I have with some, by no means all, of my European colleagues is to argue to them: don’t apply rules to the Government of Israel that you would never dream of applying to your own country. In any of our nations, if there were people firing rockets, committing acts of terrorism and living next door to us, our public opinion would go crazy.  And any political leader who took the line that we shouldn’t get too excited about it, wouldn’t last long as a political leader. This is a democracy. Israel lost 1000 citizens to terrorism in the intifada. That equates in UK population terms to 10,000. I remember the bomb attacks from Republican terrorism in the 1970’s. There weren’t many arguing for a policy of phlegmatic calm.

So the issue of de-legitimisation is not simply about an overt denial of the State of Israel. It is the application of prejudice in not allowing that Israel has a point of view that should be listened to.

One thing I state repeatedly in interviews about Gaza – despite disagreeing with the previous policy on it – is to say to western media outlets: just at least comprehend why Israel feels as it does. In 2005 it got out of Gaza i.e. ceased occupying it, took over 7000 settlers with it and in return got rockets and terror attacks. Now I know all the counter-arguments about the unilateral nature of the withdrawal, the 2005 Access and Movement agreement and the closure of the crossings. But the fact remains: there is another point of view and you can’t describe it as illegitimate.

This is then hugely heightened by the way things are reported. Here the televisual images – whether in Lebanon, Gaza or indeed any field of conflict – in Afghanistan for example, are so shocking that they tend to overwhelm debate about how or why conflict began. Because Israel – like the US or the UK – has superior force and because in such situations the horrible tragedy is that the innocent die – these images arouse anger, sympathy and a disgust that at one level is completely understandable but at another obscures the difficult choices nations like ours face, when they come under attack.

The combination of all of this is curious disjunction of perception. I spend large amounts of time in Israel, and outside of it in different parts of the world. To those outside, Israel is regularly perceived as arrogant, overbearing and aggressive. To Israelis, there is a sense that the world is isolating it unfairly and perversely refusing to see they too have a right to have their voice heard. Hence this conference.

The issue is how to respond. First, there is a clear and vital principle that needs to be established: to criticise is not per se to de-legitimise. The fact is there are plenty of Israeli and Jewish voices that passionately disagree with Israeli policy. I am a friend of Israel and openly avow it.  I have plenty of criticisms. De-legitimisation is qualitatively different. It can seem the same sometimes. But it isn’t. The one is valid. The other is not. Friends of Israel should be the first to make the distinction.

Having done that, however, we should highlight the fact that de-legitimisation is happening, and be vigilant and vigorous about identifying and countering the instances of it. This needn’t be done stridently. But it should be done insistently. The aim: not to make people agree necessarily with Israel’s point of view; but to insist they listen to it and persuade them at least to the position of understanding. Where there is incitement, expose it. Where there is a one-sided account, argue the other side. Always have a voice out there – and not just the politicians – but the voices of the people. And do it systematically and with unity.

Second, Israel should always be a staunch and unremitting advocate and actor for peace. What I mean by this is not that it should simply be for peace; it should advocate it and act to achieve it. Tzipi Livni’s and Ehud Olmert’s negotiations under the previous Israeli Government and previous US administration, were an immensely important part of showing to the world that whatever else they might say, they had to accept that the Government of Israel was genuinely trying to bring about peace. The re-start of the direct negotiations to be launched next week is important in itself; important because it shows that PM Netanyahu on behalf of the new Government of Israel is an advocate for peace; important because, with a l year time frame being indicated, it shows that there is a sincere yearning on the part of the people of Israel to live in an enduring and honourable peace with their Palestinian neighbours. I know some are cynical. I know some say it’s all for show. I reject that view. I think if Israel can receive 
real and effective guarantees about its security, then it is willing and ready to include a negotiation for a viable, independent Palestinian state. This is a brave decision by the PM and the right one.

Third, there will be no successful negotiation unless all the final status issues are on the table. I’m not going to try to negotiate solutions here and now. That is for later. We can think creatively and constructively. Indeed we must do so. But proposals on these issues will be a litmus test of seriousness.

Which brings me to a fourth point. A crucial response to de-legitimisation is to deal with the legitimate criticism. What is it? Let me answer based on my experience. It is that we can and should do more and more quickly to improve the daily lives of Palestinians. Now there has been real progress here in the past year. We should deepen it. I am a convinced persuader for the bottom up approach – I continue to believe that no top-down negotiation will work without it. I also think we have visible empirical evidence to support it: the improvements in Jenin and the opening of the Jalameh crossing to Israeli Arabs; changes to A & M in response to the hugely improved capability of the PA on security; the very successful PIC in Bethlehem that yielded hundreds of millions of dollars of investment; the modus operandi with the new department under DPM Shalom that has resulted in significant gains; and I hope in time a new approach to tourism and to development for Palestinians in Area C.

Such change does not only lead to improvements to Palestinian lives.  It also deals with what is the most potent fuel – especially in Arab media – of hatred against Israel. That is the idea that Palestinians suffer not injustice alone; but a form of humiliation. Dignity is a very important concept.  Consistent with security, Israel should be constantly looking for ways to compensate for the indignity which inevitably results from the security measures taken and should seek to avoid any unnecessary indignities.

I was pleased and heartened when the Government changed policy on Gaza. The truth is you can justify restrictions in Gaza taken for reasons of security. But with a Gazan population, half of whom is under the age of 18 and 300,000 of whom are under the age of 4, security is the only arguable basis upon which to put such restrictions. Of course Gilad Shalit should be released immediately. His detention is a profound denial of human rights, as is the way he is being treated. But a policy based on threats to Israel’s security is the only one its friends can defend.

This leads me to my final point. It is our collective duty – yours and mine – to argue vigorously against the de-legitimisation of Israel. It is also our collective duty to arm ourselves with an argument and a narrative we can defend and with which we can answer the case against Israel, with pride and confidence.

Let me tell you why I am a passionate believer in Israel. This is a democracy. It’s Parliament is vibrant. Its politics is, well, not notably restrained, let’s say. Its press is free. Its people have rights and they are enforced. I had an argument with a friend about Israel. I said to them: ‘ok let’s assume you are charged with a crime you didn’t commit and the penalty is 20 years in prison.  And you’re a critic of the Government. Tell me: under which country’s legal system, in this region, would you prefer to be tried?’ He struggled for a bit and then said: ‘that’s not the point.’ ‘But it is’ I replied.

Look around the world about what we admire about the Jewish people: their contribution to art, culture, literature, music, business and philanthropy. It’s a spirit that is identifiable, open and rather wonderful.  Whatever bigotry is, it is the opposite of it.  It is a free spirit. On holiday I read the new biography of Einstein.  Having in early life taken not much interest in the issue, he became an ardent supporter of Israel. But look at the character of the Israel he supported: like Einstein himself – a free thinker, a rebellious thinker even, but one supremely attuned to the future.

That is the Israel people like me support. So guard it; keep it. I am a religious person myself. But the society I want to live in, is one that treats me no better as a result; makes my view one amongst many; and pursues science, technology and progress with vigour and without prejudice. The best answer to the de-legitimisation of Israel lies in the character of Israel itself and in the openness, fair-mindedness and creativity of ordinary Israelis. That character and those people built the State of Israel. They remain it’s guardians. They are why to de-legitimise Israel is not only an affront to Israelis but to all who share the values of a free human spirit.

Thank you.

 

 

PA en Abbas eren overleden terrorist die bloedblad München plande


Een van de planners van de gijzeling en moord op de Israelische atleten tijdens de Olympische Spelen in München in 1972 is onlangs overleden. Hij kreeg, naar goed Palestijns gebruik, een officiële staatsbegrafenis en werd alom bejubeld als held en martelaar. President Abbas, premier Fayyad en andere 'gematigde' PA en Fatah leiders waren aanwezig om hem de laatste eer te bewijzen.
 
Uit een officiële PA krant:
 
Everyone knows that Amin Al-Hindi was one of the stars who sparkled at one of the stormiest points on the international level - the operation that was carried out at the [Olympics] sports stadium in Munich, Germany, in 1972. That was just one of many shining stations."
"The Palestinian leadership, along with President Mahmoud Abbas, parted yesterday from the body of the Fatah leader and fighter patriot Amin Al-Hindi. This was at an imposing official military funeral that was held at the [PA] headquarters to bid farewell to the Shahid (Martyr)...
 
En dat moet Israel het vertrouwen geven dat men pijnlijke concessies kan doen aan de Palestijnen, en dat de vrede dichterbij zal brengen?
 
RP
----------
 
PA and Abbas honor
terrorist planner
of Olympics massacre

http://palwatch.org/main.aspx?fi=157&doc_id=2901

by Itamar Marcus and Barbara Crook

 
On Sept. 5, 1972, eight members of the Palestinian terror organization Black September broke into the athletes' village at the Munich Olympics. They kidnapped and ultimately murdered 11 Israeli athletes and coaches.

After Amin Al-Hindi, one of the senior planners of the terror operation, died this week, the Palestinian Authority glorified him and his terror attack. The official PA daily described his participation in the Olympic massacre, saying he was "one of the stars who sparkled... at the sports stadium in Munich." The attack itself was referred to as "just one of many shining stations" in his life.

The PA daily reports that Chairman Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Salam Fayyad were at the funeral, where "a red carpet was laid out for the arrival of the body, and the military band played the final farewell melody."

The following are three articles in the official PA daily, describing the honoring of the terrorist who planned the Olympic massacre: 

"On Wednesday I felt sad to the point of choking, because my friend Amin Al-Hindi, a national leader with a full resume, returned to Gaza to be buried in its ground...
Amin Al-Hindi, gentle as a morning breeze, was strong inside and as unyielding as granite rock. Perhaps this quality - the power raging beneath the calm surface - is what turned him into one of the prominent members of Fatah in Germany, and led him in the direction of the difficult tasks which require quiet people of this sort, who don't like tumult and who make full use of all the wisdom, imagination and planning [ability] that Allah has given them for the purpose of completing their difficult tasks...
Everyone knows that Amin Al-Hindi was one of the stars who sparkled at one of the stormiest points on the international level - the operation that was carried out at the [Olympics] sports stadium in Munich, Germany, in 1972. That was just one of many shining stations."
[Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Aug. 20,2010]

"Secretary General of the President's office, Al-Tayeb Abd Al-Rahim, delivered a speech in which he praised the good qualities of the deceased. He stressed that the loss of Al-Hindi is a great loss to the Palestinian people, who have lost a prominent national leader.
Abd Al-Rahim noted that the deceased had been taught by the founders of the Palestinian dream, and was a member of the founding generation of the [Palestinian] revolutionary movement... The Secretary General of the Presidential office said: 'We shall continue in the path of the Shahid (Martyr) Yasser Arafat and his fellow Shahids, such as Amin Al-Hindi, until the realization of the dream of establishing an independent Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital.'"
[Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Aug. 19, 2010]

"The Palestinian leadership, along with President Mahmoud Abbas, parted yesterday from the body of the Fatah leader and fighter patriot Amin Al-Hindi. This was at an imposing official military funeral that was held at the [PA] headquarters to bid farewell to the Shahid (Martyr)...
Present at the headquarters for the farewell ceremony and for the official military funeral, along with the President [Abbas], were Prime Minister Dr. Salam Fayyad; Secretary General of the Presidential office, Al-Tayeb Abd Al-Rahim; members of the PLO Executive Council and of the Fatah Central Committee; several ministers, commanders of security forces, senior civic and military personnel, as well as relatives of the deceased.
The body of Al-Hindi, which was wrapped in shrouds, arrived draped with the Palestinian flag and was borne on the shoulders of his [metaphorical] sons - officers of the Guard of Honor at the presidential headquarters. A red carpet was laid out for the arrival of the body, and the military band played the final farewell melody. A squad from the Guard of Honor fired 21 shots. President Abbas and the participants at the funeral cast a final parting look at the body, and laid wreaths. Afterwards, the President and those present read the opening sura [of the Quran] for the elevation of his pure soul."
[Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Aug. 19, 2010]


PMW | King George 59 | Jerusalem | Israel
 

woensdag 25 augustus 2010

Arabisch wordt verplicht vak op Israelische scholen

 
Een goed initiatief uit Israel, dus zal het de kranten wel niet halen. Door Arabisch te leren worden mogelijk vooroordelen beslecht en leren de scholieren dat niet alleen hun talen, maar ook hun religie en situatie meer overeenkomsten vertonen dan men dacht.
 
RP


hat tip: Israned
================

Arabic studies to become compulsory in Israeli schools
Beginning this year as pilot initiative in 170 public and religious-public schools in northern Israel, the scheme will eventually be adopted extend across the country.
 
 
A new government program will see Arabic language classes made compulsory in Israel's schools, starting from the fifth grade.

Beginning this year as pilot initiative in 170 public and religious-public schools in northern Israel, the scheme will eventually be adopted extend across the country.

Until now, Israeli students had the option of learning Arabic to fulfill a requirement to study a second language in grades seven to ten. Other options were Russian, French, or Amharic.

But a marked increase in demand from students for matriculation (Bagrut) studies in Arabic has led education officials to rethink the curriculum. The change expected to draw dozens of Arabic teachers into the school system.

"We live in a country that has two official languages," Dr. Shlomo Alon, Head of Arabic and Islam Education in the Ministry of Education, told the 'Walla' news website. "Studying Arabic will promote tolerance and convey a message of acceptance."

According to Alon, the Ministry of Education is interested in recognizing all of the state's citizens and providing opportunities for Arab teachers within Israeli education.

"The state aspires to complete equality of citizenship. We will not deal with conflicts based on cultural identity," he said
 

dinsdag 24 augustus 2010

In het M-O neemt alleen in Israel het aantal christenen toe.

 
In Time van deze week staat een overzicht van het aantal moslims in het Westen.

 

·      VS:        van de 305,5 miljoen inwoners is      2,5 miljoen moslim

·      Duitsland:   van de 82 miljoen inwoners is      3,2-3,4 miljoen moslim

·      Frankrijk:    van de 65 miljoen inwoners is      5,5 miljoen moslim

·      Engeland:   van de 62 miljoen inwoners is      2,4 miljoen moslim

·      Spanje:       van de 46 miljoen inwoners is      800.000 moslim

·      Canada:      van de 34 miljoen inwoners is     1 miljoen moslim.

 

Deze aantallen nemen gestaag toe.

Vergelijk dit met het aantal christenen in het Midden-Oosten en je ziet dramatische verschillen.

Waar in het Westen het aantal moslims stijgt, daalt het aantal christenen in het Midden-Oosten heel snel, alleen in Israel neemt het aantal christenen toe.

 

 

MS

~~~~~~~~~~

 

 

The Christian Communities Throughout the Middle East - A Review

 

 

·      The Christian community in Israel

 

·     The main elements

 

·      The Israeli Christian Arab community is perceived to this day by the Christian world as one of the most important Christian communities in the world. Since Christianity originated in the Land of Israel, the community is considered to be the true followers of the emissaries of the Christian religion for the past 2,000 years. The community has undertaken the mission of serving the general population in many fields, including education, medicine and society. Members of the community have always acted to promote humanitarian values and peace among the various communities that make up the ethnic mosaic in Israel. These values are based on mutual respect, accepting the differences in other ethnic communities and viewing them in a positive light, as a source of social enrichment and not as a threat; and instilling values of justice and peace. It is this philosophy that has given the Christian Arab community its special nature, in Israel and throughout the Middle East, and perhaps even beyond. Recently, there has been a political leadership crisis in the Christian community, leading it to lose its dominant role among the minorities in Israel. Nevertheless, one of the Christian religious leaders, Archbishop Elias Shakur, head of the Greek-Catholic Melkite Church, plays a positive role in the relations between the various religions and communities in Israel and is a major partner in interfaith dialogues.

 

·      Since the establishment of the State, the Christian population has produced local and national leadership whose nationalist positions have been identified with the Palestinian struggle, a natural result of the political environment. The national leadership, through parties such as Rakah and independent parties such as al-Tajammu, has taken an anti-Israel line; for example, former MK Azmi Bishara preferred to leave the country rather than face charges of treason against the State and assisting Hezbollah during the last war in the north. Leadership arose on the local level but did not exhibit any particular predominance.

 

·      The Christian population of Israel, which constitutes about 2% of the total population, was estimated at about 125,000 people in 2009, an increase of almost 2,000 from the previous year, with an additional 29,000 foreigners. The natural growth rate is now 2.1%. The largest segment of the Christian population, over 50%, is the Greek-Catholic Melkite community. The second largest segment, 35%, is the Greek Orthodox community. The remaining communities are the Latin, Maronite, Anglican Lutheran, Armenian, Syrian, Ethiopian Coptic and others.

 

·      The Christian population, a minority within a minority, suffers more than a little from the Islamic majority. In 1948, the Christians constituted the majority in Nazareth and in various villages, but that changed with the beginning of the Muslim migration to the Christian villages. The worsening relations between the Muslims and the Christians as well as demographic changes have heightened the Christians' sense of insecurity and their desire to leave the country.  In Nazareth, which is sacred to Christians, the Christian majority has become the minority.

 

·      The governments of Israel have supported the Christian communities and encouraged them to remain in Israel. In disputes with the Muslims, the state has backed the Christians; for example, it prevented the construction of the Shihab al-Din Mosque near the Church of the Annunciation in Nazareth.

 

·      Aside from the tensions with other communities and minorities, the population complains of inequality and unemployment among its educated members. In recent years, there has been an initiative by young Christians to volunteer for the IDF and the police and, simultaneously, a sizable integration into public administration (government ministries).

 

·      Pope Benedict XVI, who visited Israel in May 2009, met with the heads of the local Catholic Church and called upon them to continue their presence in the Holy Land.

 

 

·      Breakdown of the Christian population in the Middle East

 

·      Christians now constitute only 5% of all residents of the Middle East and the percentage has declined over the years. The largest Christian community in the Middle East is in Egypt: 8 million Copts who belong to the Orthodox Church. In comparison, in Lebanon up to the end of the 1940s, the Christian community constituted the majority, but today they are a minority of 30% of the population.

 

·      Breakdown of the Christian communities in Middle East countries )end of 2007 unless otherwise indicated):

 

 

·      Country

·      Percentage of Christians in the population

·      Number of Christian residents

·      Total population

·      1

·      Lebanon 

·      30%

·      1,290,000

·      4,300,000

·      2

·      Kuwait

·      15%

·      345,000

·      2,300,000

·      3

·      Egypt

·      11%

·      7,832,000

·      71,200,000

·      4

·      Qatar

·      10%

·      61,800

·      618,000

·      5

·      Syria

·      10%

·      1,720,000

·      17,200,000

·      6

·      Bahrain

·      9%

·      60,300

·      670,000

·      7

·      United Arab Emirates

·      7%

·      240,000

·      3,500,000

·      8

·      Iraq (estimate – 2009)

·      2.5%

·      600,000

·      23,600,000

·      9

·      Saudi Arabia

·      4%

·      960,000

·      24,000,000

·      10

·      Oman

·      4%

·      104,000

·      2,600,000

·      11

·      Jordan

·      4%

·      212,000

·      5,300,000

·      12

·      Israel - (Central Bureau of Statistics 2009)

·      2.1%

125,000 + 29,000 foreign workers

Jerusalem:

10,000 [15,000]

·      7,500,000

·      13

·      Judea, Samaria, and Gaza (2009)

·      2%

Gaza: 2,500 [4,000]

Judea and Samaria:

50,000 [70,000]

Total ~54,000

·       

·      3,100,000

·      14

·      Yemen

·      1%

·      186,000

·      18,600,000

·      15

·      Iran (estimate)

·      1%

·      656,000

·      65,600,000

·      16

·      Turkey

·      1%

·      673,000

·      67,300,000

 

 

·      Christians in the Arab world

 

·      The Christian community in the Arab world today comprises over 13.5 million people. Lately, Christians have been emigrating from Arab countries and the size of the community is declining every day. Below are examples from several countries:

 

·      In Iraq the population has suffered and continues to suffer from severe harassment and murders. This has created massive pressure to emigrate. Before the war the local Christian population was 1.2 million people while today the population has dwindled to barely 600,000. Iraqi Christians have emigrated to the West, to Australia and to Jordan.

 

·      In Egypt there are about 8 million Copts who belong to the Orthodox Church. This population has suffered in the past and continues to suffer from severe harassment by the extremist Islamic movements, and restrictions imposed on them by the government in everything connected with building houses of worship for the Coptic community in Egypt.

 

·      Last Christmas Eve (2009), six Copts were murdered by extremist Muslims on the pretext that Coptic youths had raped a young Muslim woman. As a result, the Muslims wreaked revenge on the Coptic community. This was not the only such occurrence in Egypt. Over the years many Copts have been murdered for religious reasons, which has caused part of the Coptic community to emigrate from Egypt for religious as well as economic reasons - lack of jobs for the local Coptic community.

 

·      In Lebanon, the land of the Catholic Maronites, this population numbers 1.3 million residents. It suffered for years from harassment by Muslims and today the Christian majority has dwindled and become a minority, while the Shi'ites have become the majority. The Christian population has suffered, past and present, from ethnic and religious harassment on the part of the local population. History shows that even back in the 19th century this population suffered greatly, and during the civil war, it suffered from the Palestinians and the local Muslims.

 

·      At the end of the civil war, the local government stabilized and there is a reasonable sense of security that enables the Christians to continue to live there. This has slowed the large waves of emigration, and many emigrants have returned to Lebanon. However, violent events such as the wars in the north and the strengthening of Hezbollah have caused the local Christian population to consider the option of emigration.

 

·      The preeminent religious figure in Lebanon is the Patriarch Mar Nasrallah Boutros Sfeir. In the recent political crises, he was a very decisive factor in the struggles between the Shi'ite Muslims and the Maronite Christians. His power was particularly strengthened after the murder of Lebanese Prime Minister Hariri - the  Sunni and Christian majority defeated the Shi'ite parties in the last two elections. This helped to strengthen the local Christians to some extent.

 

·      In Jordan the Christian population, which is estimated at 220,000 people, is considered a stable and strong population. The Hashemite regime supports and assists the Christian population, allowing it to hold its religious ceremonies undisturbed. The regime also tries to develop religious tourism ventures in the area of the Jordan River, which increases the traffic of Christian pilgrims to Jordan. Additionally, the Jordanian administration maintains warm and friendly relations with the heads of the churches, particularly the Latin Catholic Patriarch Fuad Tuwal, who is a member of the Hashemite royal family and the senior Catholic clergyman in the region.

 

·      In Syria the size of the Christian population is estimated at around 1.75 million people, living with a degree of stability and without religious persecution. The Alawi regime supports and assists the Christian communities, which enables their lives to continue in Syria.

 

·      The Greek Catholic Patriarch Laham, who is domiciled in Damascus, is the senior Christian figure of the Catholic Church in Syria.

 

  

 

·      Mr. Ashley Perry

·      Deputy Foreign Minister's Office

·      Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs