Sunday, February 27, 2011

Time to end US fear of the Muslim Brotherhood


http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/feb/03/us-fear-muslim-brotherhood?CMP=twt_fd

Barack Obama must accept the Muslim Brotherhood is likely to be part of Egypt's post-Mubarak government

Richard Bulliet

When chaos in Cairo gives way to a resumption of government, the United States will face a crucial test. For three decades American policymakers have vilified the Islamic Republic of Iran. Likewise they have supported the oppression of Islamist parties and leaders by the likes of Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali in Tunisia and Hosni Mubarak in Egypt. They must now bring themselves to accept the reality of an Egypt in which the Muslim Brotherhood plays an important role in government.

The spectre of Iran overhangs the Egyptian crisis, the Iran of Ayatollah Khomeini's bearded visage, frustrated street protests, nuclear ambition and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's denunciations of Israel. But this is the wrong Iran. The right comparison is with the Iran of 1979-1980, which saw Cairo-like street demonstrations topple a dictator and endorse a makeshift revolutionary government. And which saw the Carter administration invite the ailing shah and his family to seek refuge over here.

No one today is suggesting that President Barack Obama should grant asylum to Mubarak and his family, much less bar a new Egyptian government from recovering assets it may think the ousted leader is absconding with. But imagine the outrage such an invitation would produce on the Egyptian street. The United States does not oppose the aspirations of the Egyptian people, but a single misstep could reverse this perception overnight.

For three decades the United States has supported Mubarak, albeit while occasionally tut-tutting his heavy-handed rule. Now Egyptians want to know where America stands. So far, the administration's pronouncements have lagged behind the unfolding events. The White House is not urging Mubarak to leave even though it is clear to everyone in the world that the Egyptian people want him gone.

Washington's reluctance to embrace a post-Mubarak Egypt reflects gratitude for his past support of American policies in the Middle East. But even more a fear that the Muslim Brotherhood will somehow emerge as the dominant force in a new Egypt. Yet it was precisely America's decision to cushion the shah's fall and defy popular demands that he be held responsible for his autocratic rule that led to the debacle of the Iranian hostage crisis.

There is no way of knowing how Iranian-American relations would have developed if America's diplomats had not been held prisoner for 444 days. But that highly dramatised rebuke of American policy was clearly the tipping point in America's demonisation of the Islamic Republic, and vice versa. And it paved the way for America's support, first tacit and later overt, for Saddam Hussein's invasion of Iran.

The Obama administration needs to open its mind to the likelihood that the Muslim Brotherhood will be part of Egypt's post-Mubarak government. The Brotherhood has long formed the primary opposition to Egypt's dictatorship, and its members permeate Egyptian society from top to bottom. For them not to play a central role now would simply set the stage for continuing uncertainty, renewed oppression and future conflict.

In Iran, ignorance of Islamist political forces led the United States to overestimate the secular leadership and overreact to the emergence of a religious leadership. In Egypt, the secular opposition, ill-formed and inexperienced, is being touted as the main hope for a transition to free elections. Yet free elections will certainly confer legitimacy on the Brotherhood and award them a substantial bloc of parliamentary seats.

Carter-era policymakers knew little about Khomeini and the forces he represented. Analysts know a good deal more about the Muslim Brotherhood today. They know that it is not a stalking horse for al-Qaida and that it demands a pluralist democratic state rather than an Islamic Republic. The fear remains, however, that an Egyptian government responsive to Brotherhood pressure may turn its back on Egypt's long-standing collaboration with Israel.

This fear is not unrealistic, but the United States cannot afford to condition its acquiescence in a new Egyptian government on pledges of warm relations with Israel and opposition to Palestinian militancy.

Israel and the United States will always be friends, but losing Egypt's friendship would begin the unravelling of a half-century of American policy in the Middle East.

Things may unravel nevertheless. The Arab world has been poised for a massive restructuring for decades. But apprehension about future uncertainty affords no basis for trying to sustain a crumbling status quo. The time has come to help Mubarak leave, persuade Egypt's generals to allow a democratic civilian government to emerge and put our anxiety about the Muslim Brotherhood on hold.

Regardless of American ideological preferences and our popular Islamophobia, Islamist political parties are destined to play a significant role in the transition to democracy in the Arab world.

They deserve an opportunity to show how they can compete, and possibly govern, in a pluralistic electoral system. Obama should make this clear.

• © 2011 Richard Bulliet – distributed by Agence Global



Why It is a good idea for India to loose the world cup

World Cup is underway. Already, the hype around the event must tire the
neutral observer.

Cricket, the only sport — apart from Sumo wrestling — that allows you to
have a 38-inch waistline and underarm biceps.

As Indians play it, this is a game that is biologically meant for
overfed, horizontally inclined police constables whose idea of heaven is
a charpoy in a field of fried potatoes.

India go into the event, believing they have got the best chance ever.
They have always been good at conning themselves. Every World Cup year
sees the billion-strong population auto-suggesting itself into the role
of a world champion, only to be trundled out of reckoning at various
stages of the event.

Perhaps that is to be expected in a country which is good at pretending
Bombay is the Hong Kong of the future and Gurgaon is India's answer to
Shanghai. It is all of a piece. Deception comes to us naturally, which
is probably why Gandhiji set so much store by truth. He knew the value
of reality check in a delusional society.

To make our favourite fantasy seem real, we have our tricks. The name of
one such trick is Sachin Tendulkar. We keep harping about Tendulkar,
because our fantasy — world championship — rides on him. Indeed, the
reason Sachin Tendulkar is a demigod is that his genius vindicates our
aspirations to grandeur. He is the sole truth in our fond lie.

Our talent for self-delusion is not exclusive to cricket, of course.
It ties in with our other abstract sources of good feelings like
democracy and Bollywood.

Cricket, democracy and Bollywood are the institutions that define
India as we perceive it. You will notice, however, that none of these
has delivered results in proportion to the compulsively celebratory halo
we accord it.

The Indian team contests the 2011 edition of the World Cup under the
leadership of MS Dhoni, and it features batsmen like Sachin Tendulkar,
Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, Yuvraj Singh, Virat Kohli, Suresh Raina
and Yusuf Pathan.

Together they look like a team of invincible mutant ninjas in blue who
will bat on for aeons, hitting up millions of runs, supplying good
feelings in inexhaustible quantities — at least on paper.

But the Indian side always looked good on paper, from Vinoo Mankad's
days to Pataudi's to Gavaskar's to Tendulkar's. Think of all the tons of
dreary centuries they all hit up as if the nation's destiny depended on
it, though of course it did not.

The dull fact is cricket is just another sport. If you pumped the same
money and gave it the same attention, football would have had its IPL by
now. Or kabadi. Or pretty much anything. But cricket it is for us,
simply because it suits our flabby flesh and slothful spirit.

Dhoni's side looks better than any other Indian XI; possibly because we
see them most of the time filtered through the ever present camera lens.
We watch them play their fanciest shots in ads for elixir-like soft
drinks and gleaming cars that run on rusty technologies. And when they
get out of the studios and fail on the ground, we hardly register it,
because the ecosystem of cricket is one of triumph. We are unable to
associate cricket with failure.

There may be only 11 players in the team. But just about every Indian
is a cricket pundit. Every second Indian is a historian of the sport.
Every third Indian feels he is a possible replacement for Sachin
Tendulkar: sitting in his couch before the TV, the Indian knows exactly
where Tendulkar is going wrong: the high back lift! faulty follow up!!

But for all his cruelly unsolicited expertise, India has won the world
cup just once. That fact stares us in our face. Only we choose not to
see it. That solo triumph was in 1983, before Sahara, Pepsi or Sharad
Pawar actually had little to do with it. That is another way of saying
that perhaps wining the World Cup has little to do with money.

No matter, if the history of the Indian sport has a Before and After
date, it is 1983; the year of the leather. That is the miracle year
Indians want to relive. The event whose re-enactment will make us at
peace with our selves and the world at large. Everything else is a
rehearsal to that fantasy. It is as if the World Cup is some holy grail,
whose quest must be passed on from generation to generation.

Well, this writer does not subscribe to that view. He is hoping the
Indian team loses again, so we get real once for all, and get on with
the day before it hits us for a six.

Al Aqsa Foundation Newsletter (25/02/2011)



Al Aqsa Foundation of South Africa :: Al Aqsa Foundation Newsletter (25/02/2011)
Palestinians injured in Gaza airstrike

24/02/2011

 

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Thursday's Israeli airstrike in Gaza
 

 

An Israeli airstrike targeted southern Gaza late Thursday, moderately injuring two Palestinians in an attack on a vehicle in the city of Rafah.

The injured were taken by ambulance to the Abu Najjar hospital, said Adham Abu Salmiya, a spokesman for the Gaza medical services.

At least one of the victims was still in the vehicle, which was on fire after sustaining four direct strikes, witnesses said. Residents of Khan Younis confirmed hearing four distinct explosions around the time of the attack.

Witnesses said the vehicle belonged to the government in Gaza.

Read more...

Thousands rally for change in West Bank

25/02/2011

 

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Palestinians rally against US policy toward Israeli settlements, in the West Bank city of Bethlehem, Feb. 23, 2011. About 2,000 Palestinians turned out to protest an American veto in UN Security Council against a draft resolution condemning settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories. [MaanImages/Luay Sababa]
 

 

Palestinians rallied Thursday in the center of Ramallah protesting against both the state of internal political disunity and the Oslo Accords with Israel, leading to brief skirmishes between the sides.

About 1,500 protesters took to the main streets of the city carrying flags and banners and calling for unity and liberation. Protesters represented every faction, among them Hamas, Fatah, and the leftist parties.

Khalida Jarrar, a Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine lawmaker, said it was time to "wipe this page from our history."

Rally organizer Hassen Faraj said the “Palestinian youth want to convey a clear message on the necessity of ending division and to return to unity, enough with division.”

He added: "We must return to unity. We're too complacent with the division. If we unite, we could confront the Israeli occupation and restore our rights and stand behind our leadership."

Read more...

Understanding the Issue of Palestinian Prisoners in Israel

23 February 2011

 

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Thousands of Palestinians are imprisoned in Israeli jails
 

 

Journalists, newspapers, editors and mainstream media outlets differ in their definition of the term "Palestinian prisoners."  Some in Israel and the United States consider them killers with blood on their hands; while others consider them terrorists best kept in jails under Israeli monitoring, in case they leave they will attack again!  Yet, others perceive them as freedom fighters. Fighters who fought in the quest of freedom and emancipation from the manacles of Israeli occupation and organized state terrorism.

Examining the issue of Palestinian refugees, we could easily come to know that they are freedom fighters regardless of accusations or reasons for imprisonment. Most of these prisoners are captives for expressing their views, obviously for political reasons.

But there are some prisoners who were jailed for opening fire on Israeli soldiers when those soldiers invaded their towns and villages, and storm their homes. Those Palestinian prisoners open fire when their brothers, sisters and families are attacked, wounded or killed by Israeli soldiers or radical Jewish settlers. Apparently, the feeling of oppression and injustice are the key motives for those prisoners to resist and fight back. They were not only victims of those Israeli soldiers, but a legacy of a history in which their fathers and grandfathers were killed or kicked out by force from their own homeland to replace them with European Jewish Migrants!

Read more...





Tale of Two Cities !!!!

This is  Lahore  in   Pakistan:


And this is Dewsbury in England
Baffling, isn't it?!

Engineer responsible for making the personal computers possible.

Steve Jobs Steve           Wozniak Apple Founders

In 1976, Steve Wozniak & Steve Jobs along with Ronal Wayne formed Apple Computers Inc. to sell the Apple I computer designed & hand-built solely by Steve Wozniak. Steve Wozniak was the main engineering force behind Apple in its early days and his advanced designs led to revolution in personal computing. In short, he is the engineer responsible for making the personal computers possible.

Al Aqsa Foundation Newsletter (18/02/2011)


Al Aqsa Foundation of South Africa :: Al Aqsa Foundation Newsletter (18/02/2011)
Israeli forces storm several houses in Jenin, detain Palestinians

17 February 2011

 

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Israeli raids in Jenin

 

Israeli forces carried out Thursday at dawn raid operations in Zabuba village in the west of Jenin and searched a number of civilian houses near Israeli Salem camp.

Witnesses said “ Israeli soldiers broke into several houses and drove out their inhabitants in the cold and rain.”

Israeli forces erected a military checkpoint at the entrance of the village adding that occupation troops stormed today Qabatiya town, roamed the streets, and deployed their soldiers between Al-Zababda and Qabatiya towns .

Read more...

Gaza unemployment rate at 45%

11/02/2011

 

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UNRWA says Gaza unemployment stands at 45%
 

 

The unemployment rate in Gaza has continued to climb in 2011, reaching 45.4%, UNRWA spokesman Chris Gunness told reporters in Gaza City on Wednesday.

At a news conference for the UN Relief and Works Agency, Gunness warned that the increasing unemployment was a sign of a hugely fragile Gaza economy, which he described as on the "brink of collapse."

Israel's continued siege on the coastal enclave, Gunness warned, would push the economy over the edge.

Since Israel announced its "ease" on restrictions, during the second quarter of 2010, unemployment in Gaza rose from 44.3 percent to 45.4 percent, UN numbers showed.

Such high unemployment, the official said, meant "people have less money in their pockets and more despair," adding a caution, that despair in Gaza would give no boost to a peace process when it got back on track. 

Read more...

IPA fails to treat prisoner for a year and a half

17/02/2011

 

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Reports of neglect for ill Palestinian prisoners

 

The Israeli prison authority (IPA) has rejected a year and a half of requests by a Palestinian captive for treatment, the Tadhamon (Solidarity) international human rights foundation said.

Mohammed Adnan Abu Haddaf, 27, has for one and a half years been suffering from rheumatoid, a sickness characterized with inflammation of the joints accompanied by severe pains during movement.

Refusing to have a doctor examine him, the IPA has instead given him varied painkillers claiming that his turn for treatment has not yet come, said Tadhamon researcher Ahmed al-Beitawi.

Read more...

Palestinian families barred from visiting detainees before being strip searched

27/01/2011

 

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Palestinian women visiting detainees are required to be strip searched

 

Some families of Palestinian prisoners said they are deprived of visiting their sons in Israeli jails before they accept to be strip searched by soldiers.

Fatima Mahmoud, a mother of prisoner from Nablus city, said the Israeli soldiers order the visiting mothers, sisters or daughters to enter a room and ask them to remove their clothes if they want to visit their kinsmen.

She added the women always reject the strip search, and thus they have to leave without seeing their relatives.

The families appealed to human rights organizations to pressure the Israeli occupation authority (IOA) to stop the policy of strip search at checkpoints and jails.

Read more...



Al Aqsa Foundation Newsletter (28/01/2011)



Al Aqsa Foundation of South Africa :: Al Aqsa Foundation Newsletter (28/01/2011)
South Africa rejects Livni arrest call

19 Jan 2011

 

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Livni was Israel's foreign minister during the country's war on Gaza [EPA]
 

 

An application by two South African groups for the arrest of Tzipi Livni, the former Israeli foreign minister, who was due to vist the country later this week, has been turned down by the South African police's special investigation division.

The Palestine Solidarity Alliance (PSA) and the Media Review Network (MRN) had called for Livni's arrest and prosecution for alleged war crimes over the role she played in Israel's war on Gaza during the end of 2008 and the beginning of 2009.

B'Tselem, an Israeli human rights group, found that 1,387 Palestinians were killed in the war on Gaza, including 773 civilians, 330 combatants, 248 policemen and 36 people whom the group was unable to classify as combatants or non-combatants.

Thirteen Israelis died during Israel's "Operation Cast Lead" offensive.

'Insufficient grounds'

Read more...

Israel digs tunnel near Al-Aqsa

Jan 25, 2011

 

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Israel digs a tunnel near the western wall of Masjid Al Aqsa
 

 

The Israeli Antiquities Authority (IAA) on Tuesday said it has completed an archaeological dig of a tunnel under the walls of Jerusalem's Old City, not far from the Al-Aqsa Mosque Complex.

The authority said that the 600 meters long tunnel links the City of David in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan with the Archaeological Park & Davidson Center, which is located near the Western Wall of Al-Aqsa Mosque complex. The City of David is an archaeological site run by rightist Jewish occupiers.

The IAA said that the tunnel was uncovered during excavations conducted by its teams over the past few months. It added that the tunnel will enable visitors to cross under the walls of Jerusalem's Old City.

Israeli sources said that the digging had been going on for seven years and was delayed for about a year by order of the Israeli High Court of Justice, after Palestinian residents in Silwan filed a petition claiming the dig was damaging their homes.

Read more...

Palestinian families barred from visiting detainees before being strip searched

27/01/2011

 

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Palestinian women visiting detainees are required to be strip searched

 

Some families of Palestinian prisoners said they are deprived of visiting their sons in Israeli jails before they accept to be strip searched by soldiers.

Fatima Mahmoud, a mother of prisoner from Nablus city, said the Israeli soldiers order the visiting mothers, sisters or daughters to enter a room and ask them to remove their clothes if they want to visit their kinsmen.

She added the women always reject the strip search, and thus they have to leave without seeing their relatives.

The families appealed to human rights organizations to pressure the Israeli occupation authority (IOA) to stop the policy of strip search at checkpoints and jails.

Read more...


About Us
The Al Aqsa Foundation of South Africa (AFSA) is a religious, non-political, charitable organisation registered with the Department for Social Development (NPO 023-268), and aims at providing for the religious, cultural and social needs of the poor and needy Palestinians living within the West Bank, Gaza, Lebanon and Jordan.

The Foundation is run by an Executive Manager who reports to and is supervised by a Board of Trustees from various parts of South Africa.
Read more...

Aims and Objectives
  • To extend a helping hand to the poor and needy of Palestine to try and improve the quality of their lives
  • To create an awareness on Palestine and keep the Southern African community informed about the various projects within the occupied territories
  • To support projects that will provide essential medical, educational, religious and social services
  • To provide moral and financial support for orphans, widows and needy families
  • To establish self sufficient projects and programmes in order to stimulate job creation and income generation to needy communities
  • To support and maintain projects surrounding the upkeep of sacred Muslim sites, especially Al Haram Al Sharif, which contains Masjid Al Aqsa and the Dome of the Rock
Read more...

The Children of Palestine

The Al Aqsa Foundation of South Africa warmly invites you to a dinner and lecture program with our visiting guests of honour from the Orphan Care Society, Bayt Laham (West Bank, Palestine):                                                                                                                   

    1) Sister Muna Najajra and,
    2) Dr.  Nael Abdel Rahman                                                                                                                                  Image

The program includes a three course meal along with firsthand accounts of the experiences of orphaned children growing up within an occupation and being subjected to near daily atrocities. The Orphan Care Society is one of the many independent NGO's that works with the Al Aqsa Foundation in order to facilitate our Orphan Sponsorship Program.

Date: Friday 20th November 2009
Venue: Karachi Restaurant Conference Hall (47 Bree Street, Fordsburg. Opposite the Oriental Plaza)
Time: 19h00
Tickets: R150 per person


Information:

  • All proceeds from the evening will go towards the orphans at the Orphan Care Society.
  • Fully segregated seating for males and females.
  • Secure parking available at the Oriental Plaza.
  • Salaah facilities available

For tickets or information please call our offices on 011 830 2671 or email us
Read more...



Al Aqsa Foundation Newsletter (17/01/2011)


Al Aqsa Foundation of South Africa :: Al Aqsa Foundation Newsletter (17/01/2011)
Jewish settlers desecrate Yaffa mosque under police protection

16/01/2011

 

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Jewish settlers desecrated a mosque in Yaffa
 

 

Jewish settlers desecrated a Yaffa mosque Saturday evening during an aggressive march that was apparently coordinated with police.

The settlers crowded round and stoned the Nuzha mosque after roaming the occupied city's streets waving Israeli flags and shouting "Death to Arabs", Palestinian sources said.

Israeli police did not move a muscle until worshipers inside the mosque began to confront the attackers, the sources added. Police were present to prevent clashes.

The settlers attacked a Palestinian child on the same street of the incident in plain view of police.

The mosque's imam Sheikh Suleiman Satl threatened to respond if attacks continued. He held police responsible for the incident.

Source: PIC

Read more...

Israeli court sentences Jerusalemite child to one year behind bars

16/01/2011

 

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Palestinian children detained by the Israeli forces
 

 

An Israeli court on Sunday sentenced a 15-year-old Palestinian boy in occupied Jerusalem to one year imprisonment for throwing stones at Israeli occupation police.

Local sources said that the Magistrate Court in Maskobeh turned down a request by lawyer of the child Motez Al-Rajabi, from Silwan town in occupied Jerusalem, to release him on bail.

The sources said that the child's charge was throwing stones at Israeli policemen during the recent disturbances in Silwan.

Tens of Jerusalemite children have been thrown into Israeli jails in 2010 for the same charge.

Source: PIC

Read more...

Radio: Massive Jerusalem settlement project

16/01/2011

 

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A new settlement is about to be authorised in Gilo according to Israeli radio
 

 

A massive new construction project of at least 1,400 homes is about to be authorized in a settlement neighborhood in occupied East Jerusalem, Israeli military radio reported Sunday.

The homes will be built in the settlement of Gilo, near Bethlehem, and are expected to be given the green light by the district planning commission in coming days, the report said

Speaking on the radio, municipal councillors confirmed the project, which was denounced by leftwingers but hailed by the right.

"There is no doubt that a green light for these constructions will deal a knockout blow to the peace process with the Palestinians," said Jerusalem city councillor Meir Margalit of the leftwing Meretz party.

Peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians have deadlocked over the issue of settlement in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem.

Read more...


About Us
The Al Aqsa Foundation of South Africa (AFSA) is a religious, non-political, charitable organisation registered with the Department for Social Development (NPO 023-268), and aims at providing for the religious, cultural and social needs of the poor and needy Palestinians living within the West Bank, Gaza, Lebanon and Jordan.

The Foundation is run by an Executive Manager who reports to and is supervised by a Board of Trustees from various parts of South Africa.
Read more...

Aims and Objectives
  • To extend a helping hand to the poor and needy of Palestine to try and improve the quality of their lives
  • To create an awareness on Palestine and keep the Southern African community informed about the various projects within the occupied territories
  • To support projects that will provide essential medical, educational, religious and social services
  • To provide moral and financial support for orphans, widows and needy families
  • To establish self sufficient projects and programmes in order to stimulate job creation and income generation to needy communities
  • To support and maintain projects surrounding the upkeep of sacred Muslim sites, especially Al Haram Al Sharif, which contains Masjid Al Aqsa and the Dome of the Rock
Read more...