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  • HOME/NEWS/VIDEOS/EVENTS/CAMPAIGNS/PUBLICATIONS/DONATE/SHOP/ABOUTUS Visitournewwebsite WWW.AQSA.ORG.UK AQSA NEWS QUARTERLY FREE WWW.AQSA.ORG.UK ISSUE 46 MARCH 2011 Friends of Al-Aqsa newspaper since 1997 On 18 February the UN Security Council met to vote on a Resolution condemning all illegal Israeli settlements. There are 15 member states in the Security Council and 14 voted in favour of the Resolution, including Brit- ain and France, while the US was the only state to vote against it. As the US is one of the permanent members of the Security Council, they have a veto power which they can use to effectively kill off any Resolutions. They used this veto to en- sure the Resolution would not be passed, despite every other state present voting in favour of it. Palestinians responded with anger and called for a ‘Day of Rage’ against US complicity in the occupa- tion against them. The US justified its decision by claiming that although the settlements were illegal, the Resolution would harm chances of peace talks. However, such explanations are only seen as paltry ex- cuses by Palestinians who witnessed the US only a few months ago attempt to bribe Israel to the tune of billions of dollars in a bid to convince them to preserve a shambolic peace process. Israel refused to comply. Further to this, the re- lease by Aljazeera and the Guardian of the Palestine Papers has shown the real- ity behind the failed peace talks. The Papers revealed that despite being offered more of Jerusalem by the Fatah leadership than ever before, Israel was not inter- ested in negotiating. Continued on page 3. US vetoes UN Resolution on illegal settlements Comments Ismail Patel and Ramzy Baroud Page 14 My trip to Palestine The Journey of a Lifetime Review ‘The Promise’ Page 16 Israel attacks Gaza: 1 dead, 12 injured 2 Turkey publishes report on Freedom Flotilla attack 4 Page 17 Inside... Many around the globe could not have foreseen how an uprising in one small North-African state would lead to the biggest mass revolution seen in our time. The Tunisian people’s struggle and victory acted as a beacon for other states existing under brutal auto- cratic regimes. Egypt and Libya followed, and fur- ther unrest has been seen across much of the Mid- dle East and North-Africa stretching from Morocco in the west, to Jordan in the east, Iran in the north and Yemen in the south. In the centre of all this, the Occupation of Palestin- ian land continues. While governments around the world have swiftly condemned other brutal military dictators, many are asking when Israel’s military occupation will be brought to an end. The Middle East Revolution Special Feature The Israeli Army will cash in on Egypt’s upheavals Jonathan Cook • Page 6 Palestine papers betrayed by their own leaders Fashion from Palestine Silk Thread Martyres Long Live Palestine! Lowkey The draft Resolution stated: “Israel, as the occupying power, immediately and completely ceases all settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem and that it fully respect its legal obligations in this regard.” Israeli military operation in Gaza Strip ● Palestinians react with anger as the US vetoes a draft UN Security Council Resolution calling for Israel to end its illegal settlement building ● All 14 other Security Council members vote in favour of the Resolution ● Veto reflects US bias towards Israel Page 2 Page 5 Page 8
  • INSIDE PALESTINE 02 AQSA NEWS | ISSUE 46 / MARCH 2011 Palestine Papers reveal betrayal by their own leaders The leaked Palestine Pa- pers have shown the depth of betrayal by the Fatah leadership of the Palestinian people and their long strug- gle for freedom. The Papers consist of 1,300 documents leaked by the Aljazeera me- dia group. The Papers revealed that the Palestinian Author- ity (PA) offered the Israelis more concessions than the Palestinian people would ever be expected to approve including compromising the Right of Return for refugees and the dismantling of ille- gal settlements. One of the key revela- tions was that Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erekat (who has since resigned) offered to give away most of Occupied East Jerusalem in a meeting in 2008. Meeting with Tzipi Livni he said: “It is no secret that on our map we proposed we are offer- ing you the biggest Yerusha- layim (the Hebrew word for Jerusalem) in history.” The Palestinian negotia- tors further suggested that the Al-Aqsa Haram al-Sharif be given to an international supervisory body, thus re- moving it completely from historic Palestinian control. The compromises have resultedingreatersuspicion of the PA from their own people, as they have con- tradicted international law, Palestinian national aspira- tions, Arab consensus, and even the declared official position of the PA itself. The PA has responded by attacking Aljazeera for what they called fabrications and lies, and taking things out of context. The Aljazeera of- fices in Ramallah were also attacked by Fatah support- ers who accuse the channel of acting in collusion with Israel. Israel has played down the significance of the revelations. ‘Mary and Joseph would have been stopped at a checkpoint’ Artists recreated a live nativity scene presented in front of Israel’s Separation barrier where a puzzled Mary and Joseph stand in wonder at the great wall blocking their entry into Bethlehem. In recent years the tight restrictions on entry into Bethlehem has devastated tourism in the town and restricted many Christian worshippers from entry to the holy sites. Tour- ists often wait up to 90 min- utes at checkpoints before being allowed in. Due to the unpredictability of whether entry into Bethlehem will be granted by Israeli guards, many tour operators have had to remove Bethlehem from itineraries. Christmas 2010 did however show a remarkable recovery with visitor numbers increasing by 60%. Holocaust survivor criticised by extreme Rabbi A courageous 89-year- old Holocaust survivor by the name of Eli Tzvieli has come under attack from ex- treme Rabbi’s after renting rooms to three Arab-Israeli students. Tzvieli has been threatened with having his house burned down and had noticesonhisdoordenounc- ing him as a traitor to Juda- ism. However, he continues to defend his tenants: “They are nice boys… People tend to generalise and it’s wrong. Because we suffered from anti-Semitism, we should not act like anti-Semites.” The number of Rabbi’s now expressing extremist views against Arabs is increasing; however, Tzvieli continues to say that he will not bow to the pressure and the views he holds are not amongst the minority. Israel attacks Gaza: 1 dead, 12 injured On February 23rd, Is- rael launched an attack on Gaza injuring 13 people, one of whom later died. The attack was led by F-16 war planes and attack helicop- ters. Prior to this, an Israeli tank moved into Gaza and in the ensuing gun battle, Israeli soldiers killed one Palestinian and injured an- other two. Later the same day, a rocket was launched from Gaza into Israel. It caused no injuries. Israel then launched its air attack, claiming it was in response to the rocket attack, with- out mentioning its earlier incursion into Gaza. Despite the Palestinian deaths, the attack drew little media attention reflecting the disproportionate reporting of Israeli and Palestinian violence and deaths in the media.
  • INSIDE PALESTINE ISSUE 46 / MARCH 2011 | AQSA NEWS 03 Jerusalem roof top occupation Arab Residents in Jeru- salem’s Silwan District have faced months of harassment from Israeli soldiers includ- ing the occupation of all or parts of their homes. The roof of the building in which Jerusalem resident Abu Ramuz and several families live has been occupied by soldiers since August 2010. The roofs of buildings are usually used for laundry and drying clothes. Since the army has been there, the families have been forced to wash clothes in the stair well and are strictly forbid- den from going on the roof. The occupation of this building alone is affecting 69 people who live within it. Abu Ramuz has described how the soldiers spend all night playing on the roof disturbing the sleep of those in the building, many of whom are children who need to wake up early for school. When the soldiers have been confronted about the noise, they reportedly told the residents to move if they were not happy. Despite the impact it is having on the family, the oc- cupationoftheroofhasbeen approved by the Israeli Min- istry of Defence. The fami- lies are now trying to appeal the decision so that they can resume normal lives. The number of Arab homes being targetted this way has steadily increased. Six years of peaceful protests and violent deaths Palestinians and inter- national solidarity activists held a large demonstration in the occupied West Bank village of Bil’in in February in “celebration of six years of struggle against the wall and the occupation.” The people of Bil’in have been organizing weekly peace- ful demonstrations for six years, since the construc- tion of Israel’s separation wall began. The wall was used as a guise for further annexing village land for il- legal settlements. The protests have been regularly attacked by the Israeli military, whose soldiers have used tear gas projectiles, rubber- coated steel bullets, live ammunition and chemical sprays. Several Palestinian residents of Bilin have been killed during these dem- onstrations, most recently Jawaher Abu Rahmah, who died following excessive tear gas inhalation during a protest in January. Despite the use of ex- cessive force by the Israeli army, residents of Bilin con- tinue with their peaceful protests against the further theft of their land. ‘Separate and unequal’ Palestinians and Israelis A report by Human Rights Watch has slammed Israel for its treatment of Palestinians in the oc- cupied West Bank. The re- port consists of a series of case studies that compare Israel’s treatment of Jew- ish settlements to nearby Palestinian communities throughout the West Bank, including East Jerusalem. The findings show that a two-tier system of laws, rules, and services are being applied by Israel to- wards the two populations in areas in the West Bank under its exclusive con- trol. Preferential services, development, and benefits are given to Jewish settlers while at the same time Pal- estinians have harsh con- ditions imposed on them. The Report highlights how Israeli practices ap- pear to be intended to pro- mote life in the settlements while in many instances stifling growth in Pales- tinian communities and even forcibly displacing Palestinian residents. Such different treatment, on the basis of race, ethnicity, and national origin violates the fundamental prohibition against discrimination under human rights law. Israel continues to seek to justify such discrimination and oppression as neces- sary for ‘security’ reasons. However, this argument has long since been dis- credited. To view the full report, visit www.hrw.org Israel’s $1.6 million new media warriors Israel’s latest offensive is a $1.6 million invest- ment in ‘media warriors’ who will be trained to use social media websites and tools in order to spread pro- Israeli propaganda on the web. This ‘new media war’ is intended to off-set the growing international out- rage against Israeli military assaults against unarmed civilians, whether in Gaza, in Lebanon or on the high seas where they attacked the Freedom Flotilla in May 2010. Nasser Rego, the Inter- national Relations Coordi- nator at I’lam, the Media Center for Arab Palestin- ians in Israel, explained: “The media has I think the tremendous power to influ- ence how society sees itself, how it interprets its reality.” According to Rego, the Israeli media’s portrayal of Palestinian citizens of Israel has a palpable impact on the community, which ac- counts for 20 percent of the population. “I think what it does is it dehumanizes Pal- estinians and the commu- nity [and portrays them as] being interlopers or being these people that come from the outside. Then it seems almost justifiable to treat them or deal with them in a way that’s reflective of that coverage. So to continue to deny them their rights as human beings; their basic civil rights; and to continue to press with the policy of home demolitions.” celebration of six years of struggle against the wall and the occupation “ “ Continued from front page Following the vote, the Palestinian Permanent Observer to the UN Riyad Mansour stated that the Se- curity Council had failed to “uphold its responsibilities.” He went on to say: “Our overarching goal remains to bring an end to the Israeli colonization and occupation of our land and its destruc- tion of the two-State solu- tion…We fear, however, that the message sent today may be one that only encourages further Israeli intransigence and impunity.” The Resolution was co-sponsored by over 120 other countries, reflecting the massive international will in favour of it. It was intended to urge the par- ties to continue their ne- gotiations and peace talks and overcome the current stale-mate. Palestinians are refusing to resume talks un- til Israel puts its words into action by freezing all illegal settlement building. This is the first time the US has used its veto power since the election of Barak Obama, and it is expected to lead to greater distrust of the US on Arab streets and question its credibility as a mediator in peace efforts. DONATEONLINE-WWW.AQSA.ORG.UK/DONATE MAKEAONEOFFPAYMENT ANNUALMEMBERSHIP REGULARMONTHLYPAYMENTS View slide
  • GLOBAL NEWS 04 AQSA NEWS | ISSUE 46 / MARCH 2011 Britain upgrades Palestine status The Palestinian del- egation in London is to become a diplomatic mis- sion following a decision by Foreign Secretary William Hague to confer diplomatic status. The announcement was made on March 8th just ahead of Mahmoud Abbas’ visit the country. This step brings Britain into line with several other European countries. While the only real changes of this move will be procedural, it has been welcomed by Palestin- ians who view it as a step closer to statehood. Turkey publishes report on Freedom Flotilla Attack Following the May 2010 Israeli attack on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla, Turkey published the findings of its own investigation in February 2011. Nine Turk- ish citizens (one of whom held dual Turkish/US citi- zenship) were killed by Is- raeli commandoes as they boarded the aid ship firing live weapons. The Report was pre- pared by the Turkish National Commission of Inquiry and has been submitted to the Panel of Inquiry set up by the UN Secretary-General. The Report called the Israeli blockade of Gaza illegal, and listed 70 passengers from a host of countries as wounded with one remain- ing in a coma. The report refuted Is- raeli claims that weapons were on board the ship, stating categorically that the ship had been inspect- ed for security, immigra- tion and customs purposes. It goes on to describe the military attack on the ship, and states that once the Israeli forces took over the vessel, instead of exercising caution and restraint, they continued to brutalize and terrorise the passengers; abusing them physically, verbally and psychologi- cally. The passengers were beaten, kicked, elbowed, punched, deprived of food and water, handcuffed, left exposed to sun, sprayed with sea-water for hours, and denied toilet access. Abuse against passen- gers was reported to have continued while they were in the Israeli prison and when they were leaving. Passengers who arrived at the airport exhausted by the ordeal were again taunted, paraded as terror- ists and enemies, verbally abused, spat on, bullied, pushed around and man- handled. Many believed this was done in order to provoke a response which was then used as an excuse by some Israeli officers to severely beat any pas- senger who resisted, while other officers stood in front to ensure no one could wit- ness the attack. Following the inter- national outcry, when the bodies of the deceased were returned to Turkey, they were not accompa- nied by any medical or autopsy notes. Most of the passengers’ belongings were never returned. The Mavi Marmara itself was returned to Turkey after 66 days, but Israel delib- erately attempted to wipe all evidence of the attack, by thoroughly scrubbing down the ship, washing away all blood stains, re- pairing all bullet holes, and repainting the interior. All CCTV equipment was de- stroyed, and the captain’s log, computer hardware and ship documents were all missing. The report concluded that Israel had broken numerous provisions of international law which began with its illegal attack on the ship. Further to this, the ill-treatment of the pas- sengers was said to breach the Convention against Torture. Turkey has repeatedly asked Israel to officially apologize and pay compen- sation for all the loss and damages caused by its ille- galattack.Israelhasrefused to issue such an apology. Ian McEwan and Israel’s great injustice British author Ian McEwan was in Jerusalem to receive the Jerusalem prize for literature, saying “a great and self-evident injustice hangs in the air”. He used his speech to draw attention to the abuses being commit- ted against Palestinians as well as laying some blame on Palestinian factions for violence. He described Je- rusalem as the most intense place he had ever set foot in but went on to say that he was “deeply, deeply touched to be awarded this honour that recognises writing which promotes the idea of the freedom of the indi- vidual in society”. EU to recognise Palestine Alongside the large number of South American countrieswhohavenowrec- ognised a Palestinian state, the EU has stated that it too will recognise Palestine, “when appropriate”. The statement came following calls from Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas to recognise Palestine based on the 1967 borders. Edinburgh Council: ‘No’ to Veolia Scottish campaigners are celebrating success after Edinburgh Council rejected an attempt by French mul- tinational company Veolia to take control of various public services in the city. Other local authorities such as Swansea and Dublin have already distanced them- selves from Veolia, which provides transport to illegal Israeli settlements. Council leaders heard from lead- ing law firms, who warned that granting the contract to Veolia could mean exposing themselves to legal action due to supporting a compa- ny whose actions are clearly in violation of international law. View slide
  • GLOBAL NEWS ISSUE 46 / MARCH 2011 | AQSA NEWS 05 Silk Thread Martyrs - Fashion from Palestine During London Fashion week, Palestinian fashion designer Omar Joseph Nasser-Khoury ditched the catwalk and displayed his 22 piece collection at the Qattan Foundation’s Mo- saic Rooms. The exhibition, titled the ‘Silk Thread Mar- tyres’ contained a collection of 22 unique garments, with the screening of a short video he scripted, designed and produced to reflect the enigmatic theme of the ex- hibition. While it may seem pecu- liar to many, the inspiration for his designs comes from the plight of the Palestinian people. He uses exquisite embroidery techniques to produce a radical rework- ing of Palestinian tradition going back to hand-crafted styles. “The daily fashion that people wear in Pales- tine has become corrupted by global trends; machine work doesn’t reflect Pal- estinian identity. Average people would be wearing the same thing as in Europe. I want to re-establish the visual identity of garments in Palestine,” says Omar Joseph. He pursued a career in fashion as he felt the indus- try was missing an authen- tic Palestinian voice. His unconventional approach to Fashion Week shows that he is remaining faithful to his root and providing Palestin- ians with something to be proud of. Attempted arrest of Lieberman Israel’shard-lineForeign MinisterAvigdorLieberman faced an embarrassing situ- ation when an Irish journal- ist attempted a citizen’s arrest outside a meeting of the EU-Israel Association Council in Brussels. David Cronin is reported to have said: “Mr Lieberman, this is a citizen’s arrest. You are charged with the crime of apartheid. Please accompa- ny me to the nearest police station.” Cronin had previ- ously attempted to arrest Tony Blair. The arrest did not take place and the journalist was escorted away from the building by security guards while he yelled ‘Free Pales- tine’.Croninisnostrangerto the Israel/Palestine conflict and is the author of a new book on EU-Israel relations. He has recently returned from a tour of Israel and the Occupied Territories. Former European leaders call for tougher Israel stance At the end of 2010, former European leaders, including former Presi- dents, Prime Ministers, Foreign Ministers and European Commissioners, wrote a letter to EU Presi- dent Van Rompuy and High Representative Catherine Ashton, in which they called on the EU to adopt a more pro-active stance in respect of the Israel - Palestinian conflict. They also called for Israel to be “held accountable for its actions.” Parliamentary delegation visits West Bank A parliamentary delega- tion organised by Friends of Al Aqsa and the Middle East Monitor (MEMO) vis- ited the troubled hotspots in the Occupied Territories in November 2010. The delegation met and heard stories from Palestinians, as well as members of political parties, in addition to visit- ing areas such as Silwan in Jerusalem where at least 88 Palestinian homes are sub- ject to demolition orders. Several British MP’s attend- ed, in addition to journalists from the local press and the Guardian. Dutch support Palestinian farmers A Dutch government program to support Pales- tinian farmers has meant that for the second year, Israel has approved the export of strawberries and carnations from the Gaza Strip. Approval for a limited number of vegetables re- mained pending. 700 tons of fruit and 30 million stems were expected to leave the strip. However, delays in 2009 meant that of the 40 million stems which left Gaza, only half reached their destination, with 25 million flowers being fed to live- stock after perishing due to the delay. The number of ex- ports permitted by Israel is still minimal and the Israeli- imposed blockade has left the economy of the impov- erished Gaza Strip in dire straits. Unless the blockade is lifted, the economy stands no chance of recovery.
  • SPECIAL FEATURE 06 AQSA NEWS | ISSUE 46 / MARCH 2011 The Israeli Army will cash in on Egypt’s upheavals By Jonathan Cook Israel has been indulg- ing in a sustained bout of fear-mongering since the Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak was toppled in February. The ostensible aim has been to warn the international community that the lengthy ‘cold peace’ between the two countries is on the verge of collapse. In reality, the peace treaty signed three dec- ades ago is in no danger for the forseeable future. The Egyptian and Israeli armies have too much of a vested interest in its continuation, whatever political reforms occur in Egypt. And if the Egyptian po- litical system really does open up, which is still far from sure, the Israeli mili- tary may actually be a ben- eficiary - if for all the wrong reasons. The main value of the 1979 Camp David treaty to the Israeli leadership has been three decades of calm on Israel’s south-western flank.That,inturn,hasfreed the army to concentrate on more pressing goals, such as its intermittent forays north to sow sectarian discord in Lebanon, its belligerent posturing towards first Iraq and now Iran in the east, and its campaign to contain and dispossess the Palestin- ians under its rule. Last week, Benjamin Netanyahu, the prime minister, compared a post- Mubarak Egypt with Iran, saying Israel was “prepar- ing for the worst”. Likewise, Gabi Ashkenazi, the depart- ing chief of staff, stated that Israel was braced for the peace treaty’s cancellation as the “moderate camp” weakened. Officially, Tel Aviv’s concern is that, should the treaty be revoked, Israel will have to redirect much of its martial energy to prepar- ing for potential hostilities with its neighbour, the most populous Arab state. Israel’s anxious declarations about the peace treaty, however, are largely self-serving. Since Mubarak’s ousting on February 11, Israeli politicians and generals have warned that democracy for Egypt is bound to empower the country’s Islamists, supposedly bent on Israel’s destruction. Peace has reigned between Israel and Egypt because it is so strongly in the interests of both militaries. That is not about to change while the Egyptian and Israeli general staffs maintain their pre-eminent roles as the praetorian guards of their countries’ respective political systems. Today’s close ties between the Israeli and Egyptian armies are a far cry from the earlier era of Gamal Abdel Nasser, who galvanised Arab national- ism in an attempt to defeat Israel, or his successor, An- war Sadat, who almost led the Arab world to victory against the Israeli army in 1973. Since the signing of the 1979 agreement, Washing- ton has bought off the hawks on each side with massive military subsidies under- written by the American taxpayer. The US has been happy to bankroll an accord that strengthens Israel, its useful Middle Eastern ally, and buys the acquiescence of Egypt, the Arab state best placed to resist the current regional order. Egyptian protesters opposed to President Hosni Mubarak pray in Tahrir Square
  • SPECIAL FEATURE ISSUE 46 / MARCH 2011 | AQSA NEWS 07 The Egyptian army receives $1.3 billion in annual military aid, making it the second largest recipient after Israel, which gets more than twice as much. In addition, military hardware has been lavished on the Israeli army, making it possibly the fourth strongest in the world -- an astonishing situation for a country of only seven million. The generosity has continued despite the US financial crisis, and includes Washington’s effective do- nation last year to Israel of two dozen of the next-gen- eration F-35 stealth fighter jet as part of its pledge to maintain Israel’s “techno- logical edge” over its rivals in the region. Three decades of Ameri- can money thrown at the two armies have made each a key player in their respec- tive economies - as well as encouraging a culture of corruption in the senior ranks. In Egypt’s case, large sections of the economy are controlled by retired gener- als, from electrical goods andconstructioncompanies to the production of olive oil and medicines. The army is reported to own about a third of the country’s as- sets. The Israeli army’s eco- nomic stake is less ostenta- tious but no less significant. Its officers retire in their early forties on full pen- sions, and then cash in on their “security know-how”. Second careers in arms dealing, military consultan- cies or sinecures in Israel’s booming homeland security exports are all but guaran- teed. Ehud Barak, a former chief of staff and the cur- rent Defence Minister, made millions of dollars from his security consultancy in a few years out of politics, for example. Corruption, endemic in Israel’s political culture, has rapidly seeped into the mili- tary. Some of it is visible, as demonstrated this month with the passing over of a series of candidates for the vacant post of chief of staff because of the skeletons in their closets. Some is not: current investigations into dubious activities by Mr Ashkenazi and his family are subject to heavy report- ing restrictions. Israeli hawks, however, are right to be concerned - on other grounds - about the “threat” of political reform in Egypt. Although greater democracy will not under- mine the peace agreement, it may liberate Egyptians to press for a proper regional peace deal, one that takes account of Palestinian in- terests as the Camp David accord was supposed to do. Not least, in a freer Egypt, the army will no longer be in a position to play Robin to Israel’s Bat- man in Gaza. Its continuing role in the strangulation of the tiny enclave would likely come to an end. But in such a climate, the Israeli military still has much to gain. As Israeli analyst Aluf Benn has ob- served, Israel will use the Middle East’s upheavals to highlight to the US that it is Washington’s only reliable ally - the so-called “villa in the jungle”. Its show of anxiety is also designed to remind the US that a jit- tery Israel is more likely to engage in unpredictable military adventures. The remedy, of course, is even greater American donations. And for that reason, if no other, the fear- mongering from Tel Aviv is not about to end. Both armies are revered by their countrymen. Should that change in Egypt over coming months, the army is too strong - thanks to the US - to be effectively challenged by the protesters. Jonathan Cook is a writer and journalist based in Nazareth, Israel. His latest books are Israel and the Clash of Civilisations: Iraq, Iran and the Plan to Remake the Middle East (Pluto Press) and Disappearing Palestine: Israel’s Experiments in Human Despair (Zed Books). This article first appeared in PalestineChronicle.com. Pro-government protesters clash with anti-government protesters outside the National Museum near Tahrir square in Cairo FORALLTHELATESTNEWSREGARDINGPALESTINE,LOGONTOWWW.AQSA.ORG.UK/NEWS HOME/NEWS/VIDEOS/EVENTS/CAMPAIGNS/PUBLICATIONS/DONATE/SHOP/ABOUTUS
  • INTERVIEW 08 AQSA NEWS | ISSUE 46 / MARCH 2011 Long Live Palestine | FoA meets rapper Lowkey What made you write your track ‘Long Live Palestine’? Operation Cast Lead inspired me to write the song. I wrote it originally as just a poem and it sprung to a song from that. But it was also because I felt very strongly about the injustice imposed on the Palestinian people. This was my effort articulating the nation of Palestine. So what sort of response did you get from the political message? Really really positive. It created a lot of popularity, a lot more than I ever expect- ed. And in fact at that point it was my most successful popular song. Do you think music or art can be used to bridge the gap between Israelis and Palestinians? I think that it’s not about bridging the gap between Israelis and Palestinians but it is about fully discrediting and dissolving the idea of Zionism. I think music can do that, is doing that and will do that. And it’s not just music really, we’re fight- ing for public perception and the view the rest of the world holds. Have you visited Palestine and if so what was your ex- perience like? I have been twice to the West Bank and once reached Gaza. I think in the West Bank the most impor- tant thing that I witnessed was the colonization, and the continuous building of settlements - over half a million illegal Israeli settlers are on the West Bank. That represents the expansion of the state of Israel. In Gaza you have a siege and the isolation of the peo- ple. You have fear in Israel. Israeli society is breeding human beings that are so scared they would shoot at their own shadows. The problem with Zionism is that it’s so unjust, that ul- timately even those that benefit from that injustice are so scared and so fearful of losing their position and privilege. What shocked me mainly were the settlers. In Hebron it’s just sick. Hebron is like Zionism in its purest form. If we have a British passport, we have far more opportunities and freedom in terms of coming and go- ing. When they look at the British passport they’re looking at the country that gave the land to them, so the British passport is quite a good security blanket when travelling the world but specifically when travelling to Palestine. What advice would you give to young people who have a talent and hope to use it to make a positive change in people’s attitude where issues such as Palestine are concerned? Try and be your best, and it’s a struggle – I am still struggling every day. An art- ist struggles through their whole life to find the voice which is true to them. A way of expressing themselves which is 100% true to them – which is what I am trying to do and that’s what I’d advise anyone else trying to get started in this. Free yourself 100% and don’t copy what you think is successful and works. Just speak about what’s on your mind and in your heart. In terms of making a positive change, you have to really want the change. I want to make a difference and make a change more than anything else in this world. If the driving force of your life and your music is self-glorification, well then ultimately you’re headed down a path which wont make you happy. Lowkey is best known for his chart topping hits which usu- ally carry political messages. He first came into the Pales- tine campaign circuits when he released his track ‘Long Live Palestine’ which he has performed at numerous dem- onstrations. Born to an Iraqi family, Lowkey’s real name is Kareem Dennis and he is a 25 year old artist and peace activist. We caught up with him when at Leicester’s De Montfort University where he was in- vited to speak. £137,000 We’ve raised by PHONE or ONLINE £265,000 ...but WE STILL NEED Children in Gaza need Clean Drinking Water. 6 water purification units will provide 250,000 children with clean drinking water. PLEASE DONATE NOW www.humanappeal.org.uk0161 225 0225 We’ve raised £190,000 ...but WE STILL NEED £210,000 Lowkey with DeMontfort University Palestine Society
  • UPDATE FROM FRIENDS OF AL AQSA ISSUE 46 / MARCH 2011 | AQSA NEWS 09 After months of hard work and wide consulta- tion, our new website is now up and running. A special thanks goes out to all those who have worked hard to ensure it became a reality. We hope the web- site will provide a source of information and facts for everyone out there. We also welcome articles, stories, videos and images from you to help make this an interactive and dynamic website led by its users. This edition of Aqsa News covers a range of is- sues. Major events taking place in the Middle East are likely to change the political landscape of the region and have an impact on the peace process. FOA has continued to call for dialogue between the Is- raelis and the Palestinians on a fair and even negoti- ating platform. Since our last issue, Al Jazeera leaked the ‘Palestine Papers’ which revealed that while Mah- moud Abbas and Fatah were willing to relinquish many Palestinian rights, Israel was not prepared to sign any peace deal. While these papers reveal that Fatah cannot be trusted to represent the Palestin- ian people and safeguard Masjid Al-Aqsa, it also reflects the fact that Israel wants total control of all of Mandate Palestine. While the rest of the Middle East is attempt- ing to break away from autocratic rulers who have been subjugating the masses over the decades, unfortunately the situa- tion in Palestine remains the same. The people in Gaza are still under siege and the West Bank is now being policed by Fatah on behalf of the Israelis. May 2011 marks an- other anniversary of the Palestinian Nakba. FOA will hold several events during the month to mark it including a national lobby of Parliament of 11 May. We urge you all to get involved. The believers are but brothers, so make settlement between your brothers. And fear Allah that you may receive mercy. Volunteer of the month Friends of Al-Aqsa only achieves success through the grace of God (Allah swt) and the hard work of our volunteers. There are many volunteers who’s courage and dedication knows no bounds. We have introduced a volunteer of the month award to recognize these valued contributions. Nourin, Coventry Nourin has volunteered for Friends of Al-Aqsa for five years. She started distributing materials including the newspapers and leaflets. She then continued her hard work running stalls for FoA at every event in her locality, raising thousands of pounds over the years. What makes Nourin’s dedication stand out is that during her years as a volunteer she has been pregnant twice and gave birth to two of her three children. This did not impede her efforts at all. She was also physically ill and required a Cornea transplant from which added complications meant further hospital stays. Despite all the pressures she has faced over the years, we can always rely on Nourin to get in touch whenever new merchandise is out so that she can start selling it in her locality. Nourin’s dedication is an example which leaves the rest of us humbled. She has labored on despite the stress and turmoil she has faced personally, and her dedication makes the title of ‘Volunteer of the Month’ the least we can honor her with. In January, FoA Glasgow held a conference and din- ner to mark the anniversary of the War on Gaza where Israeli attacks killed over 1400 people. The confer- ence titled ‘Gaza in 60 Minutes’ was attended by a cross section of the commu- nity and speakers included George Galloway and Ismail Patel. Sahira Dar, one of the Coordinators of the all- female team was pleased with the event and the new team and sends the follow- ing message. “The event organised by the Glasgow branch of FoA needed a female perspec- tive and so we rose to the challenge. We hope every- one will welcome “the girls” and pray that we are stead- fast in our endeavours and remain a humble yet strong part of Friends of Al-Aqsa in the fight for Palestinian freedom. The speakers at the con- ference were inspirational and brought home the mes- sage that we all need to understand the conflict and the extent of the oppression on the Palestinians. Ismail Patel delivered a powerful message to the audience urging them to support the work of Friends of Al-Aqsa and become a united voice of Truth. Through the story of Salah ad Din’s conquest of Jerusalem and the de- scription of his relationship with his nemesis, Richard the Lionheart, he captured our hearts. As members of Friends of Al-Aqsa, we left with a sense of purpose - the dream of a peaceful Jerusalem for all Muslims, Christians and Jews. The day ended with a fabulous dinner after the conference, attended by our guest speakers, various lo- cal activists and educational organisations as well as our respected Imams, which the girls were congratulated on organising. We presented a uniformed front (literally!) and hope to make this the first of our many endeav- ours together. Finally, thank you to Rajnaara for our first training session which concluded the day and apologies for talking too much! Glaswegians are not renowned for their retiring nature.” Upcoming events 11 May 2011 Join us for the Lobby of Parliament Day FOA and other solidarity groups will hold a national lobby for Palestine Lobbying is an attempt to influence politicians on specific issues by providing them with information and facts. FOA want you to con- tact your MP and arrange to meet them between 12pm and 6pm on 11th May 2011 to encourage them to sup- port Palestine. Please book a day off if you need to as it is important we lobby as many MPs as possible. We are encouraging anyone who has a Palestine badge, t-shirt or wrist band to wear it into Parliament to draw attention to the lobby for Palestine. If you would like to order one you can visit FOA’s online shop at www.aqsa.org.uk. There will be a brief- ing paper online soon and there will be briefing ses- sions available on the day so you will have plenty of help planning for your meeting. Please email shamiul@aqsa.org.uk if you are meeting your MP. Friends of Al-Aqsa will launch its annual ‘Boycott Israeli Dates’ campaign in May 2011. Supported by a dozen organisations includ- ing the PSC, and thousands of individuals across the country, the campaign hopes to build on last year’s success. Shamiul Joarder, who is heading up the campaign for Friends of Al-Aqsa, stated: “Last year we saw a stag- gering response to our cam- paign and this year we are going to make it bigger and better to ensure the boycott of Israeli dates is talked about in every household Muslim during Ramadan.” Israeli settlers in illegal settlements make profits of millions of dollars from the sale of dates in Europe. Thesedatesareproducedon stolen land from which Pal- estinians have been evicted, yet made to work on for paltry wages. Settlements in the Jordan valley neigh- bour Palestinian communi- ties living in abject poverty. The boycott of Israeli dates sends a clear message that people in Britain will not support such injustice. While the boycott grows, people are also being en- couraged to purchase Fair Trade Palestinian dates, which are often very expen- sive due to Israeli restric- tions on the export of Pales- tinian produce. Despite the added cost, Zaytoun, which imports and supplies Pal- estinian produce in Britain, has stated that demand is now higher than ever. For more information on the availability of Palestinian produce including olive oil, dates, almonds, and soap, please visit: www.zaytoun.org Palestinian dates can also be purchased from Friends of Al-Aqsa. To order, see ‘Merchandise’ page - 10/11 Check the Label - Boycott Israeli Dates Join FoA today! For just £10 a year, support the Free Palestine campaign. Send an email to info@aqsa.org.uk and we will send you a direct debit form to set up your membership. Donate You can make one-off donations: 1. Online - through Paypal to payments@aqsa.org.uk (via our web-site) 2. By cheque, made payable to ‘Friends of Al-Aqsa’, to PO BOX 5127, Leicester, LE2 0DT 3. By direct bank transfer: Friends of Al-Aqsa, Sort Code 08-92-99, Account No. 65158078, The Cooperative Bank, Southway, WN8 6VT ► FoA Glasgow Branch welcomes its first all-female team of volunteers! TheImportanceofJerusalem andMasjidAl-AqsatoMuslims ToregisterforthisFREEeventpleaseemailyournametolondon@aqsa.org.uk DATE:Sunday8thMay2011 VENUE:FriendsHouse,Euston
  • MERCHANDISE 10 AQSA NEWS | ISSUE 46 / MARCH 2011 1 3 2 16 15 14 13 12 11 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 17 18 20 19 21 23 22 from £8 £1 £2.50 from £19 from £19 £1.50 £1.50 £1.50 £1.50 £5 £2.50 £2 £1 £3 FREE £1.50 £1.50 £2 £5 £151,000 FREE £6 £3 £10 24
  • MERCHANDISE ISSUE 46 / MARCH 2011 | AQSA NEWS 11 PALESTINE FOOTBALL SHIRT WHITE £10 PALESTINE FOOTBALL SHIRTBLACK £10 PALESTINE FOOTBALL SHIRTS NOW ALSO AVAILABLE IN BLACK SHOW YOUR SUPPORT FOR PALESTINE - ORDER TODAY AND SPREAD THE WORD ORDER FORM 3534 33 3231 302928272625 36 1. Palestinian Medjoul Dates Medium 4kg box £32.00 | 1kg box £8.00 Large 4kg box £35.00 | 1kg box £9.00 Jumbo 4kg box £38.00 | 1kg box £10.00 2. Wristband £1.00 3. Bracelet (Small / Large) £2.50 4. Dome of the Rock model 5. Al Aqsa Mosque model Small £19.00 Small £19.00 Medium £39.00 Medium £39.00 Large £99.00 Large £99.00 6. Al Aqsa Mosque badge £1.50 7. Flag badge £1.50 8. Map badge £1.50 9. Palestine / Union Jack badge £1.50 10. T-Shirt (XL / L) £5.00 11. Glass with Dome keyring £2.50 12. Map keyring £2.00 13. Metal Al Aqsa keyring £1.00 14. Flag £3.00 15. Ribbon badge FREE 16. Crazy Bandz £1.50 17. Dome of the Rock - 3D Model £3.00 18. Car Hanger £1.50 19. Long Scarf £2.00 20. Square Scarf £5.00 21. Carrier bags (1,000) £15.00 22. Leaflets (Set of 20) FREE 23. Set of 8 Posters £6.00 24. Free | Palestine T-Shirt (S / M / L / XL) £10.00 25. A History of Palestinian Resistance £5.95 26. Palestine - Beginner’s Guide £9.95 27. Virtues of Jerusalem £5.95 28. Madina to Jerusalem £5.95 OFFER: All 4 of the above £20.00 29. Al-Isra’wa Al-Mi’raj £7.95 30. Women in Islam £7.95 31. Forty Ahadith FREE 32. Dome of the Rock FREE 33. History of Palestine for children £4.99 34. Activity book £3.00 35. Colouring book £2.00 Please put the quantity in the boxes next to the item(s) you wish to purchase. Where it requires to state the size you want to order, please circle. TOTAL COST: £________________ (Please add 10% of the total cost to cover postage expenses) I enclose a cheque of £________________ (Please make all cheques payable to Friends of Al-Aqsa) Name: _____________________________________________ Address: ___________________________________________ __________________________________________________ ____________________________ Postcode: ______________ Tel:________________________________________________ E-mail:_____________________________________________ Friends of Al-Aqsa, P.O Box 5127, Leicester, LE2 0WU 0116 212 5441 | www.aqsa.org.uk | info@aqsa.org.uk 36. Football Shirts White (XXS / XS / S / M / L / XL) £10.00 Black (S / M / L / XL) £10.00 £1.50 £5.95 £9.95 £5.95 £5.95 £7.95 £7.95 FREE FREE £4.99 £3 £2
  • FUN AND GAMES 12 AQSA NEWS | ISSUE 46 / MARCH 2011 COMPETITION WIN!£20ARGOSVOUCHER! Sendyouranswerswithyourname,ageandaddressto:FriendsofAlAqsa,P.OBox 5127,Leicester,LE20WU.Youcanalsoemailusyouranswersto:info@aqsa.org.uk, pleaseput‘Competition’asthesubjectheading.Deadline:30thApril2011.GoodLuck! WORDSEARCH 12 years old or under? O mankind! We created you from a single (pair) of a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, that ye may know (and learn from) each other (not that ye may despise (each other). Verily the most honoured of you in the sight of Allah is (he who is) the most righteous of you. And Allah has full knowledge and is well acquainted (with all things). [Quran 49:13] Abdullah ibn Umar  reports that the Prophet  said, “There will be migration upon migration. The best of the inhabitants of the earth will reside where Prophet Ibrahim  migrated (Jerusalem).” [Sunan Abu Dawud] Qur’an and Hadeeth Adam Angels Anger Bow Earth Forgiveness Hawa Iblis Paradise Pride Tree Subject to terms & conditions. E&OE. IN THE MIDLANDS
  • FUN AND GAMES ISSUE 46 / MARCH 2011 | AQSA NEWS 13 Setting up a Palestinian Society If you would be interested in setting up a Palestine Society at your College / University but would like more advice or help, feel free to contact Friends of Al Aqsa by emailing info@aqsa.org.uk and we can put you in touch with the right people! Students; Zainab, Saffiya, Nadeem and Umar in conjunction with Ally at De Monfort University, Leicester recently decided to set up a Palestinian Society. Here we interviewed one of them to see exactly how it’s done… Tell us a little about yourself My name is Zainab and I’m 19 years old. I’m currently a second year student at De Monfort University, studying science. Why did you decide to set up a Society at the University? Personally from a young age I have worked closely with FoA with members of my family and have been very passionate about Palestine and the conflict surrounding it. The other members of the team as well as me also felt that at De Monfort University not much was being done to raise awareness of the issue of Palestine on campus. With there being so many students we felt it would be a great opportunity to find ways to broaden their knowledge on the issue and for those students who already knew what was going on it would provide a path for them to get more involved in campaigning. So once you decided to set up the Society, what was the first thing you did? Well to set up a society the following all need to be established: Nominate or vote for four main committee members – the president. Secetary, health and safety officer and treasurer. I approached some of my friends who I knew felt strongly about the topic too and asked if they were interested. If anybody else is wanting to do the same you need your committee members to be people you know you can work well with, and you can trust and rely on! Background research We visited the ‘sports clubs and society’s’ department in the students union and they advised us on how to go about setting up a society. We were told we’d need a minimum of 20 members in order to become official (other universities may vary) so we got to work straight away on collecting a list of names. Official paperwork Once this was done we went back to the office and they gave us a form to fill in requiring details such as names and contact details of the four committee members, what roles we would each be taking on and also our society’s aims and what kind of things we planned to do. We handed the form back in and from then on we were an official society! Awareness After that is was just a case of getting people to sign up, so we stood outside the students’ union building for a few days and approached passers by - asking them to join. What are your aims and aspirations for the Society? The main aims are to raise awareness on campus and to hopefully in the future set up some ongoing projects with a university we have twinned with in Palestine (An-Najah, Nablus, West Bank) and also raise money! As a Society, what sorts of events / literature do you host or produce for the public? So far we have held 3 events... They were all talks , the biggest hosting Lowkey, Jody McIntyre and Dr Dahlia Wasfi. We had over 300 people attend... An amazing response!!! We have twinned with a university in the West Bank called An-Najah in Nablus and the university are funding a trip for 6/7 people to visit in April. Hopefully we can establish good links with the university from this and assess what resources they need and where they could use help. We haven’t produced any literature yet but this could be a possibility in the future... Perhaps a newsletter or something along those lines. As for leaflets and information on Palestine for the public, FoA have been happy to provide us with these for our events. What advice would you give to those who want to set up a Society in their college or university? You need a good secure group of committee members you can trust and rely on and who obviously have a passion for the subject. Advertise through friends and by setting up a Facebook page- its the quickest and cheapest way to contact a lot of people. Organise talks for people to come and listen to by people who have visited Palestine or people who can help motivate students to get involved. Don’t ever get put off by any bad opinions people may have... Continue to persevere! Answer to last editions puzzle SUDOKU Can you make each column, each row and each of the nine sub-grids that make up this puzzle contain the numbers 1 to 9? Try your luck - but don’t pull your hair out! OVER POPULATION IS UNDEREIGHTEENFIFTY THREE %THE PALESTINIANOF Ages 13-18? Here’s a competition for you! Palestine Facts Tile Puzzle Unscramble the following facts on Palestine by placing the tiles in the correct order. Send us your answers and you could be a winner! Answer: _____________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________ THE TWO THOUSAND AND SEVEN ON JUNEBLOCKADEFOURTEENTHBEGAN ISRAELION GAZA THE AVERAGE THAN THEWATERISRAELIFOUR MOREGETS TIMES PALESTINIAN AVERAGE 1 2 3 Answer: _____________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________ Answer: _____________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________ FOLLOWFRIENDSOFALAQSAONFACEBOOK/TWITTER/RSS GOONWWW.AQSA.ORG.UKANDENTERYOUREMAILTOSIGNUPFOROURNEWSLETTER
  • COMMENTS 14 AQSA NEWS | ISSUE 46 / MARCH 2011 ‘From the Gulf to the Ocean’: the Middle East is changing Ramzy Baroud In recent months, Is- rael’s tactics to discredit legitimate protestors have targetted human rights activists within Israel and abroad. Human rights groups in Israel will now face scrutiny following the formation of a government-approved parliamentary committee to investigate Israeli organiza- tions which criticize Israel’s occupation of the West Bank andGazaStrip.Thus,instead of tackling legitimate hu- man rights concerns, Israel seeks to delegitimize those leveling the charges, despite the masses of evidence to support their claims. Israel is also promot- ing and consolidating the Zionist narrative in the UK, using intimidation and guilt against those challenging Israel’s oc- cupation, human rights abuses and its expansion- ist aspirations. Two leading Israeli or- ganizations with close links to the government, the Reut Institute and the Jerusalem Centre for Public Affairs, both warned recently that London was becoming a center for anti-Israel activ- ity culminating, they claim, in a rise of anti-Semitism because British Muslim-led organizations are being given free rein. Reut boasts on its web- site that is seeks to provide long-term strategic support to Israeli leaders and deci- sion-makers, hardly making it an independent observer. It published a report on London in November titled “Building a Political Fire- wall against the Assault on Israel’s Legitimacy,” which claimed that London is the “Mecca of Delegitimization” and a key player in all major recent “delegitimization” campaigns concerning Is- rael. “Delegitimization” is the term coined by the Reut In- stitute last year to describe a whole variety of activities by Palestinian and solidarity activists who call for Israel to end its occupation, abide by international law and re- spect the human rights of all Palestinians. Reut’s report on London was followed by another from the Jerusalem Centre for Public Affairs which spared virtually no organi- zation in London connected to the anti-war movement from the accusation of being “delegitimizers.” Common to both of these reports was the la- beling of British Muslim organizations as “Islamist,” drawing on their ancestral and religious links to imply they had ties with Iran, Hiz- ballah and Hamas, and thus present an existential threat to the democratic West. By drawing such spurious links, Israel and its apolo- gists hope to demonize Brit- ish citizens and score easy political gains by appealing to Islamophobia and fear. Thisspinhasbeenquick- ly picked up by Israel’s aco- lytes in the UK media. On 29 December 2010, The Times reported the ludicrous and baseless accusations by the Israeli defense ministry that the London-based Palestine Return Centre was involved in “terror-related activities” and served as a front for Hamas. Writing in The Sunday Telegraph a few days earlier, Andrew Gilligan bemoaned that the Charity Commis- sion, the UK’s charity watch- dog, has lost its bite when it concluded that it “found no evidence of irregular or improper use of the Char- ity’s funds” in reference to separate accusations made in the Telegraph against another British Charity -- Muslim Aid. Thus, by failing to follow Israel’s lead and implicate innocent charities like Mus- lim Aid, Gilligan, rather like Israel, chose to demonize those who fail to toe the line. We should take pride in the fact that the Charities Com- mission acts independently, rather than succumbing to political pressure to with- draw charitable status. While the fear of “Islam- ism” is being pumped in the veins of one arm of the na- tion, the other arm is being injected with the false idea that anti-Zionism equals an- ti-Semitism. That is a point contested by, among others, many British Jewish indi- viduals and organizations who stand in solidarity with Palestinians in calling for an end to Israel’s occupa- tion and other human rights abuses. Resorting to accusing Israel’s critics of “anti- Semitism” is an old tactic that is being revived with new zeal in an attempt to intimidate into silence those calling for an end to Israel’s impunity and exceptionalism. What Zionists fail to understand is that the Free Palestine movement has permeated across all sections of British society and religious affiliation is incidental. Israel’s divide- and-rule tactics have not succeeded in breaking the will of a brutalized Pales- tinian population, and they will not work against the solidarity movement in the UK either. While continuing to build illegal colonies on Palestinian land and sub- jugating millions through routine, brutal violence and killing; Israel insists that it always be presented as peaceful, reasonable, Now that the Egyptian people have finally wres- tled their freedom from the hands of a very stubborn regime, accolades to the revolution are pouring in from all directions. Even those who initially sided with Hosni Mubarak’s re- gime, or favored a neutral position, have now changed their tune. “Arabs celebrate from the Gulf to the Ocean,” pro- claimed a headline on Al JazeeraTV.Thephrase“from the Gulf to the Ocean” is not a haphazard geographical reference, but very much a geopolitical one. Ever since former Egyptian president Anwar Sadat defied the will of the Arab collective and chose a self-serving (and according to popular Arab opinion, disgraceful) exit for his country from what was until then the ‘Arab-Israeli conflict’, the above phrase functioned only as an empty slogan. Saddat’s signing of the Camp David treaty in 1979 had effectively mar- ginalized the most commit- ted Arab country from a conflict that was previously defined by Egypt’s involve- ment. It thus left Israel’s weaker Arab foes as easy targets for uneven wars, and in a perpetual state of defeat and humiliation. Mubarak’s impor- tance to Israel and the US stemmed from the fact that he guarded Israeli gainsforthepitifulpriceof $1.8 billion a year. Most of this went to fulfill military contracts, upgrade military hardware and subsidize US military expertise aimed at ‘modernizing’ the Egyptian army. Israel, of course, was given almost double that amount and was promised, through a separate agree- ment with the US, a military edge against its foes, Egypt included. But Mubarak gained much more than hard cash. His greatest gains were related to US foreign policy in the region. While the US violated the sovereignty of various Arab countries, Mubarak’s regime was left largely unscathed. Free from any effective resistance at home, and any serious criti- cism from abroad, members of Egypt’s ruling National Democratic Party used the lack of accountability to ac- cumulate unprecedented wealth, at the expense of 40 percent of Egypt’s 84 mil- lion people who lived below the poverty line. The ruling party had indeed become a club for millionaires. All this mattered little to Washington, whose poli- cies have only verified Lord Palmerston’s assertion that “there are no permanent al- lies… only permanent inter- ests”. Ironically, it was also Washington that jumped on the opportunity to chase Mubarak - but not his re- gime - out of power. Soon after Mubarak’s newly ap- pointed vice president read the short statement of Mu- barak’s departure, Obama elatedly read his own state- ment. When he announced that the Egyptian people would settle for nothing less than ‘genuine democracy’, he sounded like one of the guys in the Tahrir square in Cairo, not the leader of the very country that had de- fended Mubarak’s reign and defined the former presi- dent as a ‘moderate’ and a good friend. “No permanent allies,” indeed. It was also this very Obama - now using po- etic language to describe Egypt’s popular revolution - who chose Egypt in June 2009 to deliver his recon- ciliatory speech to Arabs and Muslims everywhere. Cairo was chosen because Mubarak had been a most faithful friend to the US and Israel. He had rallied the Ar- abs against Iraq in 1990. He had taken a stance against the Lebanese resistance in 2006. And he had champi- oned Israel’s ‘security’ by sealing off the Gaza bor- der, resulting in the loss of thousands of Palestinian lives. To justify keeping the border shut, Mubarak had cited the Rafah Agreement of 2005, claiming that open- ing the border could harm Palestinian sovereignty somehow. As it turned out, Egypt under Mubarak was fully involved in suf- focating Palestinian de- mocracy, destroying any resistance to Israel and ensuring the success of the Israeli siege. According to Wikileaks, Omar Suleiman, until re- cently Egypt’s Intelligence Chief, had, in 2005, made a promise to Amos Gilad, head of the Israeli Defense Ministry’s Diplomatic Secu- rity Bureau: “There will be no elections (in Palestine) in January. We will take care of it.” When this promise could not be kept, and Hamas was elected to power, Suleiman invited the Israeli army to enter into Egyptian territo- ries to secure the siege on Gaza. The CIA was also al- lowed to torture ‘terrorists- suspects’ under the super- vision of Mubarak’s goons, Suleiman in particular. It is important here to note that during nearly three weeks of Egyptian protests, the US pushed for a smooth and peaceful transition of power - from Mubarak to Suleiman. The determination of the Egyptian people, how- ever, forced all such plans to be aborted. The schemers will continue to scheme, of course, but their options are quickly running out. When Overcoming Israel’s attempts to discredit protest Ismail Patel
  • ISSUE 46 / MARCH 2011 | AQSA NEWS 15 humane, compassionate and magnanimous. These virtues are extolled and celebrated in Judaism, as in many other religions, but they are not ones that have ever been practiced by Is- rael toward Palestinians. There is no doubt that at present Israel has the sympathy of the UK gov- ernment. But the public is more and more aware of the realities and it is doubtful that the Zionist offensive can silence British people’s sense of justice. The British sense of justice will overcome at- tempts by the Zionist lobby of equating anti-Semitism with illegal Zionist occupa- tion and practices in West Bank and Gaza Strip. These tactics are intended to di- vide people from each other and to sow sectarianism and fear. We mustn’t allow them to succeed. Ismail Patel is chair of FoA and author of several books including Pales- tine: Beginner’s Guide and Madina to Jerusalem: Encounters with the Byzantine Empire. Egyptians said they wanted to change the ‘regime’, they really meant it. The Egyptian revolution has shown the world that democracy and freedom in the Arab world needs no military funding, no political doctrines, no Great Middle East Democracy Projects, and no foreign invasions or foreign-backed military coups. It only needs ordi- nary people to unearth their own, innate and extraordi- nary strength. The Egyp- tian revolution has finally restored the power back to the people, a collective experience that many of us will always remember, with pride, and some will always fear, for good reason. Ramzy Baroud (www. ramzybaroud.net) is an in- ternationally-syndicated columnist and the editor of PalestineChronicle.com. HislatestbookisMyFather Was a Freedom Fighter: Gaza’s Untold Story (Pluto Press, London), available on Amazon.com. Book Review | Bassam Abu Sharif was described as the ‘face of ter- ror’ and the ‘most notorious terrorist’ in the 1960s and 70s when he advanced the cause of the PFLP (Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine). In 1972, a bomb placed in a book sent to him left him severely disabled. Subsequently, he aban- doned the use of violence and aligned himself with Yasser Arafat, eventually becoming one of his closest advisors and an architect of the peace plan. In this indis- pensable personal memoir, Abu Sharif presents a first hand account of all the ma- jor events in the Middle East over the last 30 years; from the wars in 1967 and 1982 to the 1993 Oslo accords and Arafat’s death in 2004. Throughout, he reflects on his relationship with Arafat, his role and methodology and how this affected the Palestinian cause. Abu Sharif narrates key details of events and sum- mits and in particular how Arafat was betrayed by two people.Firstly,inSeptember 1973, by Egyptian President Anwar Sadat, and secondly, by President Reagan. Abu Sharif played a crucial role in representing Arafat at an international level. In 1983, he travelled to India and met with Prime Minister Indira Gandhi who was a good friend of Arafat. In somewhat contrast to the current Indian policy, she said to him, “Do not forgot to tell him that India loves him”. (p.136) What is most interesting andrevealinginthisaccount is how the 1993 Oslo accord was reached and the role of Abu Sharif in the process. In 1988, he convinced Arafat to launch a comprehensive political peace initiative and started to draft the docu- ment at Arafat’s instruction. However, Arafat wanted Abu Sharif to publish the document under his name to test the waters. In what became known as the “Abu Sharif” document, it attract- ed international attention. This instigated official dip- lomatic contact from many European countries includ- ing Germany, France and Britain. There is no doubt that the Abu Sharif docu- ment opened doors which were previously closed. In chapter 34, the author describes the historical trip of Arafat and Yitzhak Rabin to Washington D.C. in 1993 where they shook hands and signed the agreement. He described the doubt that plagued Arafat regarding Israel’s sincerity. Abu Sharif was the one who made the final ar- rangements for Arafat to be airlifted to Paris when he was ill and kissed his hand as he was taken away. This was to be the last glimpse of this heroic President, leav- ing Abu Sharif to lament that the world will never be a same place. Smile Zone Dental, Watergates Building, Suite 3, 109 Coleman Road, Leicester LE5 4LE 0116 276 4693 www.smilezonedental.co.uk info@smilezonedental.co.uk Dedicated to your smile Dr. Yusuf Haffejee BDS We provide the following treatments: (Please go on our website for more information) Lumineers Teeth whitening Dental implants Invisalign Snap-on smile Crown and bridges Porcelain veneers Root canal treatments White fillings 26 March 1979 – Israel and Egypt sign a Peace Treaty On this day in 1979, Egypt and Israel ended 30 years of war by entering a new era of peace. Egypt was the first neighbouring state to begin negotiating with Israel. The Agreement was signed in Washington and the two leaders at the time, Anwar Sadat and Menachem Begin shook hands on the Whitehouse lawn with President Jimmy Carter looking on. The Peace agreement was met with angry pro- tests from the Arab world, including the Palestinians who viewed this as a be- trayal of them and their cause. President Sadat was also accused heavily of be- traying his own people by entering the agreement. The Arab hostility was ex- plained by the fact that Is- rael was still behaving like a belligerent state. It had established itself on Pal- estinian land, and created hundreds of thousands of refugees and great misery. The 1967 war was also in recent memory, in which further land became occu- pied by Israel. Israel had agreed to withdraw its troops from the Sinai Peninsula in re- turn for Egypt recognizing the state of Israel. It took two years for all the Israeli troops to pull out of the Sinai area, only for Israel to then invade Lebanon a few months later. In History... Arafat and the dream of Palestine, An Insider’s Account By Bassam Abu Sharif, Palgrave Macmillan (2009), ISBN 978-230608016, pp 288, RRP £14.99 Reviewed by Yusuf Shabbir, University of Manchester The full review of this book is available at www.aqsa.org.uk under ‘Book reviews’ WECATERFORAHUGELYDIVERSEAUDIENCE-SO WHETHERYOUARENEWTOTHESUBJECTOFPALESTINE, ORHAVEHADALOTOFEXPERIENCEANDEXPOSURETO IT,YOUAREBOUNDTOFINDSOMETHINGWITHINOUR LITERATURETHATINTERESTSYOU TOCHECKOUTOURFULLRANGEOFPUBLICATIONS VISITOURNEWWEBSITE WWW.AQSA.ORG.UK/PUBLICATIONS
  • MY TRIP TO PALESTINE 16 AQSA NEWS | ISSUE 46 / MARCH 2011 The Journey of a Lifetime Years ago I stumbled across a page promoting trips to Palestine for volun- teers to participate in olive tree planting. It seemed the perfect chance to do some- thing hands-on to help the cause that I’ve been pas- sionate about since child- hood. It would also mean that I could visit Masjid al Aqsa. After a lot of planning, this year I went off on a trip that was the best experience of my life. My friend and I flew directly to Tel Aviv in case the Jordanian border closed due to the current tensions around the Middle East countries. We were not too shocked at being detained, interrogated and “security checked” for 3.5 hours upon arrival at “Paranoia Central” AKA Ben Gurion Airport. Once released from the airport we took a shared taxi through Jerusalem to the Gilo300 Checkpoint in Bethlehem. One minute we were in the advanced world of Tel Aviv and West Jeru- salem - their roads lined with lush green trees or tall fancy buildings and monu- ments. The next minute we were in a run-down third world country with bleak buildings, worn-out cars and unkempt roads. It was as though we had actually stepped back in time. We went with the Joint Advocacy Initiative (JAI) who arranged for me and my friend Parvin to stay with a wonderful Palestin- ian family in Beit Sahour. Our group of fifty interna- tionals covered people of a range of nationalities and ages. Myself, Parvin and one other were the only Muslim Internationals and we were welcomed by the locals all over the West Bank with ex- tra warmth and kindness! We visited different farmers and planted trees with them and their fami- lies on their private land. At Almost every planting session, we encountered soldiers and even illegal settlers. On one occasion soldiers uprooted a few of our trees right in front of us and frustratingly 300 of the 1800 trees we planted were uprooted in February 2011. This reflects how difficult it is for Palestinian farmers to farm on their own land. My experiences on this trip were profound. No amount of reading or tel- evision could have prepared me for what I saw with my own eyes. I saw first hand the trials and tribulations farmers face when their trees are uprooted and their land snatched overnight for the sake of the ugly apart- heid wall. I heard about the blatant crimes against Palestinian children and adults in Israeli prisons; I saw the hardships of those living in refugee camps and even those just trying to do something as mundane as getting to work or school and being humiliated by the IDF or settlers; it was all very heavy on the heart and often filled many of us with anger and tears, even more-so because the warm, hospitable and incredibly dignified Palestinians told their tales with such calm and patience and somehow without hatred as if this had all become normal. What I will never forget from this trip is how despite their rights being violated and everything in their world being completely ab- normal and restricted, the Palestinians we met all took their role as hosts so seri- ously and looked after us so beautifully. My host family and many of our Palestinian friends look in awe at the glistening golden dome of the Kub- batas Sakhra from the hills of Bethlehem because they are prevented from going to Jerusalem. Many have not in their lifetime ever been. I, as a foreigner living amongst them in their homes, was able to go to al Quds and pray in both masajid with- out restriction. Nothing can explain the mixed feeling of the joy and grief this caused especially on my first trip to the Haram Shareef. Palestine is their home and they have no choice but to endure the illegal occupa- tion. A tiny taste of that pain can spur us on to do what- ever we can to help them achieve peace. We need to wake up ourselves and stand firm against injustice and oppression so that we can help to free Palestine. The olive tree planting programme was arranged by the Joint Advocacy Initia- tive and Alternative Tourism Group. See www.jai-pal.org ASH-SHIFA LOCAL AND ONLINE ISLAMIC STORE 263 ST SAVIOURS ROAD, LEICESTER www.ashshifa.co.uk | 0116 2104146 NEW ARRIVALS CHECK ONLINE NOW FREE DELIVERY ANYWHERE IN U.KGO ONLINE OR VISIT THE STORE Stockists of Islamic wear for all ages A large selection of books, multimedia and kitaabs We also have perfumes, children’s toys and gift ideas for special occasions Meeting the Hebron Rehabilitation Commit- tee filled me with humil- ity and respect – they do a tremendous amount of work to help Palestinians who are subjected to dai- ly attack from the most extreme batch of radical illegal Israeli settlers. During every step of our journey we were reminded to join in the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions campaign to help free Palestine! Salma Ibrahim
  • ISSUE 46 / MARCH 2011 | AQSA NEWS 17 Review ‘The Promise’D u r i n g J a n u a r y and Febru- ary 2011, Channel 4 aired a four part series called ‘The Promise’. Directed by Jewish film- maker Peter Kosminsky, the programme has attracted wide-spread praise and some criticism for its daring and accurate portrayal of the end of the British Man- date of Palestine and the present reality of Israel as a military state. The Promise begins in England where gap-year student Erin discovers the diaries of her grandfather Len, a fictitious character who served in Mandate Palestine between the end of the Second World War and 1948. Erin then travels to the region and re-traces his footsteps in modern Israel and the Occupied Territories. The programme follows the story of Erin and Len in parallel. The director spent 8 years researching the his- tory before the film was complete in order to ensure an accurate portrayal of the reality in 1940’s Mandate Palestine. In various inter- views he stated that his re- search revealed how British soldiers were hugely sym- pathetic to the immigrant Jews arriving in Palestine after the Second World War, mainly due to what they witnessed when they liber- ated concentration camps. The programme includes some original footage show- ing emaciated corpses and other horrific scenes. As the Jewish com- munity established itself in Palestine however, the British soldiers became less sympathetic as the actions of the new immigrant com- munity included attacking soldiers and the deliberate sabotage of their missions. Recreated scenes such as the bombing of the King David Hotel and the hanging of two British soldiers were based on photographic evi- dence depicting the events. Kosminsky made the film for a British audience and as such, his character Erin reflected the aver- age young Brit with little idea about the conflict. Her blunders during her stay in present day Israel portrayed the lack of knowledge about the past and present which many Brits would no doubt identify with. The simple act of inviting an Arab-Israeli into the home of her Jewish- Israeli hosts created tension that she could not under- stand nor foresee. However, this simple scene reflected the deep set divisions which exist in Israeli society. The characters in the programme included Is- raelis and Palestinians, and it was filmed on site in Israel and the Occupied Territories. Although Erin’s character opened as a dis- interested observer, by the end she was consumed in the conflict in modern day Israel/Palestine. The Promise is compel- ling viewing, and it provides an accurate portrayal of the circumstances which sur- rounded the loss of Pales- tine and the establishment of the state of Israel, and the present reality where neither side has ever really experienced peace since 1948. It is not a simplistic or over-generalized narrative, and provides for the deep complexities which exist on both sides. The Promise is available to purchase on DVD. Universal Jurisdiction Following months of campaigning against changes to Universal Jurisdiction (UJ) laws, it is likely that the changes will take place. The amendments to the pro- cedure for obtaining an arrest warrant against a suspected War Criminal mean that the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) will now have to consent before an arrest warrant can be issued. At present the proce- dure requires an applica- tion to be submitted to the City of Westminster Magistrates Court and if the District Judge is satis- fied that there is substan- tial evidence against the accused, he can issue an arrest warrant. The right to bring a private pros- ecution for a criminal of- fence is one of the oldest and most fundamental rights we have and this is now being eroded. What are the likely consequences of Reform? The reforms pro- posed mean there is a higher likelihood of po- litical influence in UJ de- cision making. With the proposed reform the DPP can allow political factors to influence the decision. The judiciary will not be able to act independ- ently going against a fundamental tenant of our Constitution. In ad- dition, the likely delays to the issue of an arrest warrant following the new procedure means that suspects will be able to enter and leave the UK for short trips without being detected. Most of the pressure for a change in the law emanated from Israeli politicians. This move by our government gives these politicians who are suspected of committing war crimes the green light to enter and leave the UK at will with no fear of being brought to account for their crimes. By Monjur Kamali
  • BOYCOTT, DIVESTMENT AND SANCTIONS 18 AQSA NEWS | ISSUE 46 / MARCH 2011 Devastating floods in Pakistan in 2010 have affected more than 20 million people. Shattering communities throughout the country, the floods killed more than 1,900 people. At least 1.8 million homes were damaged or destroyed, rendering countless homeless. UWT has embarked upon a project which will involve the reconstruction of 2000 homes spread across 20 villages. The cost of each house is £2000 Please help make a difference and donate generously. 351 Derby Street, | Bolton, BL3 6LR, Tel/Fax: 01204 383 732 | E: info@uwt.org Registered Charity No. 1000851 Donations Line 0800 4 0800 11 The Prophet (saw) has said: “He who alleviates the suffering of a brother out of the sufferings of the world,Allah would alleviate his suffering from the sufferings of the Day of Resurrection.” [Muslim] PLEASE HELP HOUSE THE NEEDY Omar Barghouti 1. What are the latest developments within the BDS movements? The cultural developments have picked up tremen- dously. Many major artists are boycotting Israel, or at least heeding our call not to perform or exhibit in Israel. We are also spreading be- yond Europe and the West. The BDS is now reaching south Asia - we had a BDS conference in India. We are planning a BDS conference in Latin America. Of course we have achieved tremen- dous success amongst trade unions, churches and other groups. 2. Do you think Israel is feeling its impact already? Absolutely, they are feeling it. The Israeli parliament the Knesset is discussing how to criminalize the BDS. They call BDS a strategic threat, that is liable to be- come an existential threat, which shows that they are terrified of the prospects of this campaign because it promotes International law and human rights. BDS is asking for Palestinian rights under international law to be upheld and this is some- thing very difficult for Israel to counter. 3. What can the average person on the street do to support the campaigns? It depends where that per- son is. If the person is in an institutiontheycanpressure it to withdraw from invest- ing in companies profiting from Israel’s occupations. As a consumer they can boy- cott Israeli products. If they are in the trade unions they can pressure their trade union, if they are a student they can pressure their stu- dent council, professor and so on. It really depends on where you are, you can be very creative in how to ap- ply BDS to a group of people and we have seen a lot of different campaigns. We are a bunch of conscientious citizens who have come together and succeeded in even convincing banks to withdraw their investment in Israel’s economy. So it can happen when there’s a will! 4. What arethenext stages in the campaign plan? We are branching out from the West, so it becomes glo- bal in the true sense of the word. To reach countries such as India, Argentina, Brazil, and others - those are growing economies that have deep relations with Israel, and have complicity. Therefore we are trying to end the complicity every- where in the world 5. What would you say to someone who is sceptical about BDS and whether or not it actually works? Read the book and let me know after you’ve finished it whether or not you are still sceptical. Friends of Al Aqsa recently caught up with Omar Barghouti, who is the author of the new book 'Boycott Divestment and Sanctions', Haymarket Books, 2011, £11.99. Kashif Iqbal interviewed him after his book launch in London and this is what he had to say. About Yaffa Dates Friends of Al-Aqsa are stocking Yaffa Palestinian Medjoul dates To order go to page 10-11 Supplied by Sinokrot - one of the largest companies in Palestine specializing in the production of foodstuffs including dates, pickles and confectionery. Sinokrot is a Palestinian company that employs 500 permanent staff as well as 300 seasonal staff. This is a purely Palestinian company that sources all its goods from the occupied Palestin- ian territories and uses Pal- estinian labour. The dates come from farmers in Jericho Israeli occupation policies make exporting dates hard for Palestinians. These dif- ficulties are not faced by Is- raeli exporters as a different set of export rules apply to them. This makes it difficult tocompetewithIsraeligoods on price as well as quality. These factors make Pales- tinian goods more expen- sive than Israeli products because: ● Israeli farmers are subsi- dized by the state. Palestin- ian farmers have no such support. ● Europe has awarded Israel preferential trade agree- ments, while it charges Palestinians higher import taxes. ● Before Palestinians can export their produce, Israel uses ‘security’ pretexts to impose strict regulations, including scanning of all produce. This means that the conditions which they need to be kept in, including low temperatures, are not adhered to. This can mean the produce is then of a lower quality. These facts reflect how the Israeli occupation is deliberately making trade and export impossible for Palestinians, while Israel trades freely with the world. Youth Exchange Programme An International Summer Work Camp, ‘Global Palestine’, will take place at An-Najah University in Nablus. September 6th to 20th, 2011 For more information: http://tinyurl.com/32hkrxq For an application form contact: youthexchange@najah.edu or zajel.camp@gmail.com
  • ISSUE 46 / MARCH 2011 | AQSA NEWS 19 REGISTRATION FORM Name:____________________________ _________________________________ Address: __________________________ _________________________________ _________________ Postcode:________ E-mail : ___________________________ _________________________________ Tel: _______________________ Age:___ If under 18, please state the name of the accompanying adult: _________________________________ Please return this form to: Friends of Al-Aqsa, P.O Box 5127, Leicester, LE2 0WU. Tel: 0116 212 5441 Alternatively, e-mail these details to us at info@aqsa.org.uk and we will send out your pack Sponsored WalkSponsored WalkSunday 29th May 2011 FriendsofAlAqsa Dovedale, Derbyshire A 15 km SponsoredWalk (Estimated time to complete - 4 hours) Or An 8km SponsoredWalk for families (Estimated time to complete - 2 hours) To help raise funds for Friends of Al-Aqsa To register your interest contact us now: E: info@aqsa.org.uk |T: 0116 2125441 For more details please visit: www.aqsa.org.uk SPONSORED WALK - SUNDAY 29TH MAY 2011 REGISTER TODAY Tents and Wells destroyed in the West Bank The West Bank city of Al-Khalil was attacked by the Israeli army in February who destroyed 12 tents and 2 wells, one of which dated back to the Roman era. Maxwell Gaylard, the UN Humanitarian Coordinator for the occupied Palestinian territory, said: "It is difficult to understand the reasoning behind the destruction of basic rain water collection systems, some of them very old, which serve marginal- ized rural and herder Pales- tinian communities where water is already scarce and where drought is an ever- present threat." Video footage of soldiers photographing children in the middle of the night Volunteers of Israeli rights group B’Tselem man- aged to film soldiers enter- ing Palestinian homes in Nabi Saleh at night to pho- tograph youngsters from the village. The footage was aired on Israeli TV and showed the soldiers enter the homes and demand that every child and youth over the age of 10 be wakened. They then photograph the minors and leave. B’Tselem reported at least four incur- sions of this kind during January 2011. The army uses the photographs to identify minors who throw stones during the regular Fri- day demonstrations in the village. Soldiers then return to their homes at night and arrest them. The footage also shows the arrest of a 14-year-old youth on 23 January 2011. The soldiers refused to enable his parents to ac- company him and treated them rudely. The youth was interrogated without his parents present and was kept in detention for at least 3 weeks. ‘Death to Arabs’ Racism has become en- demic in Israel’s younger generations. Classroom stresses for teachers include dealing with overt racism against Arabs and Palestin- ians. In one recorded case, an Israeli student wrote ‘death to Arabs’ in a civics test. Israeli teachers have called on their government to intervene to stop the spread of overt xenophobia. Shocking abuses against children In a shocking exposure of Israel’s repeated viola- tions of international law in their treatment of child prisoners, Defence for Chil- dren International - Pales- tine Section have asked the UN Special Rapporteurs: on torture; on the independ- ence of judges and lawyers; and on arbitrary detention; to ensure that an independ- ent international inquiry investigates Israel’s abuses of child prisoners. They are seeking investigations of all credible cases of torture, with perpetrators being brought to justice, and in- sist that all child prisoners must be interrogated with audio- visual recording in the presence of a lawyer or family member.
  • AQSA NEWS 20 | ISSUE 46 / MARCH 2011 SupportInterpal’sMedicalAidProject Helpusprovideessentialmedicalcare Ring us today on 0208 961 9993 or visit us at www.interpal.org to make your donation. PO BOX 53389, London, NW10 6WT | TEL 020 8961 9993 | FAX 020 8965 6065 | info@interpal.org | www.interpal.org | Reg. Charity No. 1040094 If you wish to make a donation, please do not hesitate to contact a representative from one of our regional branches: Bradford 01274 656985 | Manchester 0161 227 9922 | Birmingham 0121 772 7148 | London 020 8961 9993 Palestinian athlete runs personal best in borrowed shoes A Palestinian athlete ran a personal best at the Asian Games in Guangzhou, China, despite having to borrow a pairofrunningspikesfroma Qatari friend. Poor facilities in Gaza means that Nader al- Masri trains on the roads of Gaza and running spikes are not available due to a lack of appropriate materials. El-Masri was impressed by facilities in Guangzhou, and hopes that one day such in- frastructure will be built in Palestine. In the meantime, the athlete wishes to train in neighbouring countries where facilities are better, in preparation for the London Olympics. Al-Aqsa dig to continue Four years ago Israel suspended digging at the al- Maghreb gate leading into the al-Aqsa complex after a waveofprotestsbyPalestin- ians and other Muslim com- munities around the world. The digging and building of a concrete ramp into the complex was opposed as Palestinians believe this will facilitate the entry of armoured vehicles into the sacred complex. In early March, Israel announced that it would resume the dig and the building work, and many expect that this will spark further unrest. Settlers attack with impunity, protected by army According to local sourc- es, a large group of armed Israeli settlers invaded Qus- ra village, near the city of Nablus in the northern West Bank on Monday 7 March. They began uprooting olive trees, throwing stones and firing live ammunition at Palestinian farmers. Pales- tinian youth threw stones at the settlers, and the Is- raeli army then attacked the youth with live ammunition, injuring ten, three seriously. This attack is just the latest in a series of recent violations by Israeli settlers, who uprooted 500 olive trees from village in one week and vowed to attack and “remove” Palestinians from their ancestral home. The settlers want to expand their illegal Israeli settle- ment located on village land. According to eyewit- nesses, the army did not attempt to apprehend or ar- rest any of the settlers who provoked the incident. VISITOURONLINESTORETODAY WWW.AQSA.ORG.UK/SHOP £10 Mention that you are a constituent and you would like to discuss issues related to Palestine Email shamiul@aqsa.org.uk once you have contacted your MP