Saturday, August 22, 2015
AN IMPORTANT PROGRAM!
Friday, August 21, 2015
بصدد المشروع الوطني الفلسطيني
في غياب مشروع وطني فلسطيني يحشد الشعب من أجل أهداف محددة في هذه المرحلة، وأهداف أخرى طويلة المدى تتفق عليها مجمل الحركة الوطنية، وفي ظل الأوضاع العربية الراهنة المتمثلة بتحول الثورات المدنية من أجل الحرية والعدالة إلى اقتتال أهلي بفعل القمع وغيره، برزت في أوساط الشعب الفلسطيني ظواهر مصادرها الرئيسيية الغضب والإحباط، والأهم منه الحس الشعبي الفلسطيني بضرورة الحفاظ على القضية حية. هنا مصدر عمليات المقاومة الفردية، هنا أيضا تحويل قضايا إلى معارك يشارك فيها الفلسطينيون على وسائل التواصل. ثمة إحساس باحتمال الضياع والتبدد والتشتت، إذا لم يجتمع الناس على رفض التسليم بالوضع القائم عبر موضوع ما، وعمل نضالي ما، من هنا محاولة للحفاظ على عمل جماعي تضامني ما في أمور مثل إضرابات الاسرى وغيرها.
كل ما يجري يؤشر إلى ضرورة تجديد الحديث عن المشروع الوطني الفلسطيني. ولا أقصد هنا الحلول المطروحة للصراع، فلا توجد حلول في هذه المرحلة... المطروح حاليا هو مستقبل المشروع الوطني الفلسطيني.
هذا كلام موجه للشباب!!
The world cannot afford the apathy and resignation it is demonstrating in the face of bloodshed in Syria and the broader region - civilians deserve protection
Last Sunday’s bombing by the Syrian government of a busy marketplace in the town of Douma, killing at least 112 of its own citizens, was one of deadliest attacks in an ever-more-devastating conflict. The four strikes came during the busy midday period, as if to maximize destruction. Once again, we were confronted with haunting images of rooms filled with the bodies of the victims, many of them children, being prepared for burial.
Almost exactly 20 years ago, a similarly brutal bombing of a marketplace during the Bosnian war changed the course of that conflict. On 28 August, 1995, during its siege of the city of Sarajevo, forces of the breakaway Republika Srpska fired 5 mortar shells into the Markale market, killing 43 and wounding 75.
The horror and outrage generated by that attack - the second on the Markale market, following a 5 February, 1994 strike that killed 68 - unified much of the international community into action. Several of the main Serbian officers implicated in the two market shellings, including Generals Stanislav Galic, Dragomir Milosevic, and Momcilo Perisic, were later tried by the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia for their role in the market shellings. Galic was sentenced to life in prison for crimes against humanity during the siege of Sarajevo.
Sadly, it seems unlikely that the horror of the latest market attack in Douma will bring about any effective international response. The attack received widespread media coverage, but faded almost immediately. Instead of becoming a game changer like the Markale market killings, Douma seems destined to become yet another grim marker in a conflict drowning in so many grim markers that even those who follow it closely have trouble remembering them all. In the meanwhile, the civilian population of Syria continues to suffer and die, almost bereft of any hope out of this ever-more brutal conflict.
Let’s be honest. Most of the world is looking away from what is happening in Syria. They no longer read the latest horror news stories, and zone out when Syria comes up in the TV news. Most news organizations are well aware of this so are reporting less on Syria. Syria and much of the Middle East seems like a place of endless, irresolvable conflict, a graveyard of failed attempts to stop the bloodshed.
But that apathy and resignation to failure is a response the world cannot afford when it comes to the crisis in Syria, and the broader region. The consequences of a further meltdown of the Middle East cannot easily be contained to the region, as is clearly evident from the spreading insecurity and instability, the increasing refugee flows out of the region, and the growing threat posed by ISIS-inspired attacks.
Human rights and the laws of war
It is high time to focus on protecting civilians and ending the widespread atrocities that fuel this conflict. It is encouraging that the UN special envoy for Syria, Staffan De Mistura, has become increasingly vocal in condemning violations of the laws of war such as the Douma market bombing.
Emphasizing respect for human rights and the laws of war during a conflict as brutal as the Syrian civil war may seem like pie in the sky, but it is in fact a fundamental building block toward ending the armed conflicts raging in the region. The only way out of the vortex of nihilistic violence is to establish a society where everyone - regardless of ethnicity, religion or political views - feels secure and has reasonable hope for a better future for themselves and their children.
One very concrete way to assist those affected by the Syrian conflict is for the Security Council to act on its own resolutions calling for indiscriminate attacks to stop. The Security Council should impose an arms embargo on the Syrian government and other warring parties committing systematic and widespread abuses, and it should refer the situation to the International Criminal Court so that those responsible for crimes like this week’s strikes on Douma fear ending behind the dock. The monitoring and attribution system put in place by the Security Council to establish responsibility for any chemical weapons attacks in Syria should be expanded to monitor and establish responsibility for all indiscriminate attacks in the conflict. Finally, the Security Council should impose targeted sanctions on the individuals responsible for serious violations of the laws of war, putting them on notice that they will be held accountable for their crimes.
Other countries should also provide fleeing Syrians with the safe refuge they deserve outside their brutalized country. Instead of using alarmist language about the “swarms” of migrants - as Prime Minister David Cameron of the UK recently characterized the situation - overwhelming Europe, Europe and the rest of the world should accept their legal and moral obligation toward those who are forced to flee their homes because of violent conflict or mass abuses, and create a fair and accessible asylum system that shares this responsibility equitably across nations.
Europe, let alone the world, is not being overwhelmed by refugees. Yes, the world is facing an unprecedented crisis of flight and displacement, caused by the conflicts the international community has failed to resolve, or in some cases had a direct role in creating. The number of asylum seekers arriving in Europe - 138,000 Syrians in all of Europe in 2014 - pales in comparison with the burden carried by neighboring countries: in Lebanon alone over 1.1 million Syrians have sought refuge.
It is simply shameful for Europe, Australia, the United States, and other countries to refuse to shoulder their collective responsibility to assist people in desperate need, to force them to risk their lives to make it to Europe, and all too often to live in horrible conditions once they do make it into Fortress Europe.
The complexity of the conflict in Syria is no excuse to look away. Civilians in Douma like other civilians caught in conflict, be they in Sarajevo, Gaza, the Negev or Baghdad, deserve protection. There may not be an easy solution to each conflict, but there are always measures that can reduce civilian suffering.
International leaders need to remember that 20 years ago, the abuses in the Balkans also seemed impossible to end. And yet today, some of the main perpetrators of those atrocities are behind bars for their crimes. The scars of the Balkan wars have not all healed, and 20 years later many remain unable to return home. But the bloodshed has ended, and many have returned to their ordinary lives.
The conflicts in Syria and the broader Middle East are of a scale far vaster than the Balkan wars, granted. But so are the consequences of an international failure to bring the crimes to an end. As with 20 years ago in the Balkans, a much more determined international effort is needed.
Khaled Meshaal's confirmation of Hamas-Israel talks comes days after an official Israeli denial
By David Hearst
By David Hearst
Thursday, August 20, 2015
THE ARABS WILL REMAIN IN THEIR CHAINS.......
FOR ANOTHER 100 YEARS (AT LEAST)........
THE "FRIENDS" IN THE WEST WILL SEE TO THAT!
Repeated Strikes on Douma Kill At Least 112
(New York) – The United Nations Security Council should impose an arms embargo on the Syrian government following the government’s repeated air attacks on Douma’s popular markets and residential areas on August 16, 2015. The attacks killed at least 112 people, whom witnesses and first responders described as overwhelmingly civilian.
The Syrian air force conducted four airstrikes within minutes of one another on the main street vendor markets in Douma, the most populous town in besieged eastern Ghouta, an area under the control of opposition armed groups. Human Rights Watch spoke to four witnesses who said that there were no military targets nearby and that the nearest base or combatant front line was at least two kilometers away. Syrian authorities did not comment directly on the strikes other than to criticize the UN envoy, Staffan de Mistura, who had called the strikes on Douma “devastating” and “unacceptable.”
“Bombing a market full of shoppers and vendors in broad daylight shows the Syrian government’s appalling disregard for civilians,” said Nadim Houry, deputy Middle East director. “This latest carnage is another reminder – if any was still needed – of the urgent need for the Security Council to act on its previous resolutions and take steps to stop indiscriminate attacks.”
Witnesses and first responders told Human Rights Watch that the four airstrikes hit the crowded markets, known locally as the al-Hal, al-Houboub, and al-Ghanam markets, at about noon. All three markets are within 500 meters of one another. Two first responders described a chaotic scene, with the dead and injured scattered on the streets. They said they found about 70 bodies and large numbers of wounded as they arrived. About five minutes after the four airstrikes, government forces fired mortars and rockets into the area, killing six more people, the witnesses said.
Later that afternoon, airstrikes hit a residential area in Douma known as Masaken, or Abed al-Raouf. One Masaken resident told Human Rights Watch that the strikes killed at least 30 people and that government forces opened fire later in the day on those trying to bury relatives in the cemetery. “We had to run 400 meters to the cemetery under the sniper’s bullets to bury my cousin,” he said. “On our way back, mortars started falling again and two people were injured from shrapnel while burying the victims. They do not even want us to bury our martyrs.”
The Douma Local Council reported that the August 16 attacks killed a total of 112 and injured 550 civilians, 40 percent of them children, as well as 8 women. The Unified Medical Office of Douma, which coordinates medical care in the area, reported that doctors performed 116 surgeries on the wounded, including 9 amputations.
These were not the first midday attacks on busy markets in eastern Ghouta. Amnesty International investigated air strikes on the market in Hamouria on January 25 shortly after Friday prayers that it said killed more than 40 civilians, and on the market of Kafr Batna on February 5 at about 1 p.m. that it said killed 45 civilians.
According to the Violations Documentation Center in Syria (VDC), a local monitoring group, government aerial and shelling attacks killed at least 462 civilians and 16 fighters in eastern Ghouta between January and June.
Armed groups operating in eastern Ghouta have also indiscriminately shelled civilians living in nearby government-held territory. A March Human Rights Watch reportdocuments indiscriminate shelling of residential areas and markets by armed groups and called on the Security Council to impose a suspension of all military assistance to parties implicated in widespread or systematic violations.
The latest flare-up between government forces and armed groups in eastern Ghouta began on August 12, when armed groups launched mortar shells on several areas in Damascus hours ahead of a visit by the Iranian foreign minister, Mohammad Zarif, killing 11 civilians, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported. Shortly afterward, government warplanes unleashed a wave of airstrikes on several opposition-held suburbs of the capital, including Douma, killing 37, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported.
On February 22, 2014, the Security Council demanded “that all parties immediately cease all attacks against civilians, as well as the indiscriminate employment of weapons in populated areas, including shelling and aerial bombardment,” in its resolution 2139. On August 17, one day after the Ghouta attacks, the Security Council issued a presidential statement reiterating its demands that all parties cease attacks against civilians as well as any indiscriminate use of weapons in populated areas.
UN Security Council members, including Russia, which has shielded the Syrian government from sanctions and accountability, should take immediate steps to enforce that demand, Human Rights Watch said. In addition to an arms embargo, the Security Council should apply the same level of scrutiny it has put in place for chemical attacks to all indiscriminate attacks by monitoring these attacks, attributing responsibility for them, and sanctioning those responsible. The Security Council should also refer the situation in Syria to the International Criminal Court.
The Security Council should also demand that the government lift the unlawful siege on eastern Ghouta, which restricts civilians, the wounded, and the sick from being able to leave the area and impedes the delivery of humanitarian and medical assistance and goods needed for survival.
“How many more lives will be lost before the Security Council enforces its own words?” Houry said. “The Security Council should bring the same commitment to ending indiscriminate strikes on civilians as it has to chemical attacks.”