ISIS vows to defeat Hamas in Gaza


I would say taking cue from Turkey/Qatar and Brotherhood. Rehmat forgot that Brotherhood collaborated with USA at least since 1953. 

President Eisenhower meets with Islamic scholars, including Said Ramadan

He ignored that Hamas Aknaf Beyt Almakdis opened the gates of Yarmouk to Nusra



Taking cue from Hillary Clinton, the ISIS has declared Gaza-ruling Islamic resistance Hamas a threat to Islam for taking help from Iran and Syria – two enemies of Israel.

Gazzan Abu Azzam, ISIS leader in a recent video message, thanks to Jewish RitaKatz, has urged all practicing Muslims living in Gaza Strip to rise against ‘apostate’ Hamas. He called Hamas ‘tyrant’ by equating it with two anti-Israel resistance groups; Syrian president Assad and Lebanese Islamic Resistance Hizbullah.

He explained: “The Islamic State has its eyes set on Jerusalem and is getting closer day after day to Al-Aqsa Mosque along the path paved by Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi and Sheikh Osama Bin Laden.”

The Zionist scrip writer forgot that Osama bin Laden collaborated with CIA all his life and never threatened the Zionist regime occupying Jerusalem. So was Takfiri Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi.

A message to the tyrants of Hamas, you are nothing in our reckoning. You, Fatah and all the secularists, we count you as nothing. Allah willing, we shall uproot the state of the Jews. You are nothing but froth that will be gone as we move in. Allah willing, Gaza will be governed by Shariah despite you,” he continued.

Does the idiot know that the Jewish army, claimed to be world’s fourth strongest military force has failed to destroy Hamas since the later took power in Gaza in 2006. Furthermore, Jewish writer, Donald Neff claimed in March 2015 thatHamas has a nuclear bomb!

Hamas worships the idol of democracy other than God. By God, there are idols that are being worshipped apart from Allah just as in the time of Prophet Abraham, peace be upon him. By Allah, we shall punish you severely if you persist on this apostasy and disgrace. But if you believe in Allah alone, then you are our beloved ones and our brothers,” Abu Gazzan said.

If my memory serves me right – even Netanyahu has never accused Hamas of worshipping idols. History tell us that people worshipped idols during the times of all Biblical prophets who came after Abraham. The Jews worshipped idols (Holy Golden Calf) even when prophet Moses was alive.

Towards the end of the video and following the invitation made by the Gazan members of ISIS to Hamas to revert to the true Islamic faith, a number of Gazan ISIS members gathered together and renewed their pledge to “to listen and obey” the Caliphate Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi.

The mention of Caliph Al-Baghdadi is the stone which killed the Israeli dogbehind the video. Sheikh Al-Baghdadi (born as Simon Elliot) is a Crypto Jew and Israeli Mossad agent. He received military training in Israel.

ISIS threatens to fight Hamas in Gaza! The video is another Israelipropaganda crap to convince its European and American allies that Hamas like ISIS and Al-Qaeda are all enemies of the west. In fact ISIS, Al-Qaeda, Boko Haram and al-Shabaab are all American created terrorist.

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The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Blog!





Via in Gaza

May 18, 2015, Counter Punch

-Eric Draitser

Last week, millions around the world marked the 67th anniversary of the Nakba – literally “the disaster” or “the catastrophe” in Arabic – commemorating the seizure of Palestinian land and transformation of historic Palestine into modern Israel. Naturally, there is little ambiguity among pro-Palestine activists that the Nakba represents the opening salvo in the ongoing war perpetrated by Israel and Zionism against the people of Palestine; it is the continuing war of gradual (and not so gradual) erasure of Palestinian culture, Palestinian ethnic identity, and Palestinian collective memory. The weapons in this war range from Israeli bombs, to Zionist propaganda that seeks to dehumanize the Palestinian people, robbing them of both their agency and their humanity, their land and their livelihoods.

But these facts are only controversial when facing the barrage of pro-Israeli propaganda either in the media, or as parroted by liberal Zionists whose humanity and compassion somehow does not extend to a tiny strip of land called Gaza, or the disjointed and disfigured territory known as the West Bank. Indeed, most people of conscience have come to see the self-evident injustice of the Nakba and the occupation; they recognize the apartheid and continuing oppression of the Palestinian people, correctly believing this struggle to be one of the great injustices of the contemporary world.

However, there is another Nakba, another catastrophe, that is ongoing today that even many pro-Palestinian voices fail (or choose not) to see – the war on Syria, Iraq, and indeed much of the region. For while 1948 saw the destruction of whole villages, extermination of families, displacement of millions, and the stealing of land throughout Palestine, so too have the last few years seen a similar phenomenon in Syria and Iraq. But while the rape of Palestine is a cause around which millions all over the world can unite, the war on Syria and Iraq has left much of the international movement divided. Many even today refuse to see this continuing war as even a war at all; it is “sectarian conflict,” it is “merely a proxy war,” and many argue that “all sides should be condemned.” But is this really true? Or, are these merely the empty platitudes of intellectual and moral cowards who prefer to stick with just Palestine because Syria and Iraq are “not their issue”?

Hezbollah, Syria, and Historical Memory

While there are many proverbial ostriches with their heads in the sand, there are forces in the region who have taken a stand with their brothers and sisters in Syria, chief among them Hassan Nasrallah and the Hezbollah organization. Hezbollah has been fighting side by side with the Syrian Arab Army on the ground in Syria since at least early 2013, and has won strategically significant military victories countless times in the intervening months. Perhaps even more striking however is the intellectual fervor with which Nasrallah and Hezbollah have defended the very concept of resistance to Saudi/Qatari-sponsored wahhabi (takfiri) extremism espoused by the Al Qaeda-affiliated al Nusra Front, ISIS, and the myriad other foreign-sponsored terror organizations waging war on Syria and Iraq.

In a widely disseminated speech given by Nasrallah marking both the 67th anniversary of the Nakba and the significant victory by allied Hezbollah and Syrian military forces in the mountains of Qalamoun on the Syria-Lebanon border, Nasrallah noted that:

While we mark the Nakba of the Palestinian people, we are also dealing with a new Nakba and that is the scheme by ISIS and its supporters who are trying to divide the Ummah [nation]…we have to study the causes of [the] Nakba and identify the responsibilities in order for the contemporary generations to learn from the past experience, which included the noble stances of the mujahidin and the martyrs and comprised those who betrayed their Ummah [nation] for the sake of private interests.

Nasrallah, always a powerful and charismatic speaker, here strikes a powerful note in drawing a direct parallel between the Nakba of 67 years ago, and that of today. Not only does his statement imply the similarity of many of the outcomes – displacement of millions, ethnic cleansing, mass killings – it also makes a qualitative comparison between the two, noting both tacitly, and at times overtly, that the Western-backed, Gulf-sponsored war on Syria, Iraq, and the whole region is connected to a powerful, international imperial project designed to remake the region in the interests of colonial powers.

And of course, on a human level, does one really doubt that the Zionist terrorist groups-cum-death squads such as Irgun (led by Ze’ev Jabotinsky) and Lehi (led by Avraham Stern) which massacred men, women and children and drove Palestinians from their ancestral lands were substantively different from the ISIS and Nusra death squads of today which perpetrate similar crimes against Christians, Alawites, Sunnis, and Shia Muslims throughout Syria and Iraq? Certainly the victims of either group would argue that such crimes cannot be seen as anything other than comparable. And so, seen in this way, Nasrallah’s relativism in regards to the Nakba of 1948 and that of today is clearly and undeniably apt.

Nasrallah’s claim that this new war is “trying to divide the Ummah” is critical to understanding both the importance of Hezbollah’s involvement in it, and the significance of the war for the Arab world, particularly in the Syrian theater. Not only does he articulate the fundamental understanding that the sectarian nature of the conflict is not some logical outgrowth, but rather is an integral part of its character and the agenda of those that support it, but he also makes plain both the practical and symbolic importance of Syria to the broader anti-imperialist, anti-colonial project.

For decades, Syria has stood as a model of a multicultural, multiethnic, multi-religious secular nation in a region full of chauvinist, ethnic supremacist regimes such as those in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain, Israel, and elsewhere. It is a country where sectarian divides, though very real, were almost never problematic, and where national solidarity, patriotism and allegiance to the nation stood above any religious sectarian differences. Syria represented a triumph of what once was called Arab nationalism and Arab socialism, despite the fact that many self-proclaimed socialists today are quick to denigrate its accomplishments in that regard. Syria stands for progress in many ways: respect for the rights of women and minorities, equality under the law, and religious tolerance. Chief among its tremendous accomplishments has been the continued defense of, and legal protections for, Palestinian victims of the Nakba and their descendants.

In this way, Hezbollah and the Syrian government are natural allies. Both have stood defiant against Israel while many of their fellow Arab states (Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, etc.) have sought accommodation with Tel Aviv for material benefit. Both Hezbollah and Syria have refused to abandon the Palestinian cause, with the former having taken on and defeated Israel on the battlefield, and the latter providing political, economic, and diplomatic support to Palestine and Palestinians, both within and without its borders.

From this perspective, it is essential to see the current war against US-NATO-GCC-Turkey-Israel sponsored terrorists as both a new Nakba, and a continuation of a decades-long struggle. As Nasrallah correctly pointed out, “We faced a Nakba then, we face a new and more dangerous one now.”

The Politics of Nakbas, New and Old

The inescapable connections between what could be called the historical and contemporary Nakbas are myriad. From the way in which each served the political agenda of the Western imperial establishment, to the impact that each has had on the map and political, social, and cultural character of the region, both events have served to fundamentally transform the Middle East, and the entire Arab world. However, in examining these far reaching impacts, one cannot help but be struck by the politics manifested today by all the interested parties. Indeed, it is the politics of today’s Nakba that, in many ways, complicates any understanding of both the importance of the historical Nakba, and that of the Nakba of today.

An examination of the key players in 1948 reveals that, much to the chagrin of those ostensible allies of the Palestinians and of oppressed peoples, the players are by and large the same, thereby giving credence to Nasrallah’s “Two Nakbas” construction. For in 1948, in the wake of the Holocaust and World War II, it was the United States, France, and Britain who created the State of Israel out of the sands and hills of Palestine, thereby leading to one of recent history’s deepest, and still bleeding, wounds. These same imperial powers have been the main instigators of the contemporary Nakba, providing weaponstrainingfinancial and diplomatic support to terrorist groups in the war on Syria which, along with the criminal US war in Iraq, lead directly to the creation and expansion of ISIS. In this way, the ultimate responsibility for both Nakbas rests at the feet of Washington, London, and Paris (to say nothing of Riyadh, Doha, Ankara, and Tel Aviv).

Perhaps, in this light, one can begin to see that the Nakba narrative is, in effect, a colonial narrative, and that the war raging in Syria and Iraq today is merely a new chapter in the history of Western colonialism – or neo-colonialism, as it were – in the Arab world. With its lucrative energy reserves, strategic location, and historical and politico-religious significance, the Middle East remains one of the shining jewels of the imperial crown.

And yet, despite all these connections, despite the obvious and painfully self-evident continuity of these struggles, many pro-Palestinian elements still choose to see the historical Nakba in a vacuum, opting instead to side with the oppressors and colonial lackeys in the conflict today.

Hamas, despite its reputation (fair or unfair) as a resistance force and bastion of anti-imperialism, has repeatedly sided with the Muslim Brotherhood and its patron Qatar, as well as Saudi Arabia – Hamas having shifted their allegiance away from Syria, Hezbollah and Iran, and toward the US proxy monarchies of the Gulf. As Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh stated in 2012, “I salute the heroic people of Syria who are striving for freedom, democracy and reform.”

Indeed, despite the support for Palestinian liberation provided by Damascus, Hamas opportunistically allied with the satraps of Western imperialism believing, with some justification at the time, that the tide had turned against Assad and Syria, and that they would benefit most from being on the winning end of the war. But of course, that is not what happened, and the steadfastness of Syrian resistance to the international war against them has led many in the Palestinian political establishment to question that decision of a few years ago.

While it may be understandable, Hamas’s betrayal of their Syrian and Hezbollah brothers has not gone unnoticed. As Syrian President Assad defiantly explained in 2013,

This was not the first time they had betrayed us. It happened before in 2007 and 2009. Their history is one of treachery and betrayal… [I wish] someone would persuade them to return to being a resistance movement [but it’s doubtful]…Hamas has sided against Syria from day one. They have made their choice.”

Although Iran has recently attempted to restore relations with Hamas for their political interests, it seems that what relationship there may have been between Hamas and Damascus and Tehran is a thing of the past.

And this is precisely the problem. Hamas’s failure to overcome the sectarian allegiances and political opportunism of their ostensible Muslim Brotherhood and Qatari friends has left them, in many ways, politically isolated. For while Riyadh, Doha, and Ankara shed crocodile tears over the plight of the Palestinian people, these are the same countries falling over themselves to do business with Israel and serve the Western imperial system in whatever way they can. Seen from this perspective, the victims of the historical Nakba have, through political miscalculation and betrayal by their political elites, estranged themselves from the victims of the contemporary Nakba. Moreover, they have burned the bridge that linked them with the forces of resistance in the region.

Of course, no analysis of this issue would be complete without an obligatory public denunciation of the “pro-Palestinian” groups that have done yeoman’s service for the Empire in its war on Syria and Iraq. From NGOs and centers of online and grassroots activism, to the allegedly anti-imperialist media outlets, the international campaign against Syria, Hezbollah, Iraq and Iran has been seemingly a force of nature. While no one should be surprised that Al Jazeera, a news outlet bankrolled by the Qatari royal family, would be the leading edge of anti-Syria propaganda, some might be surprised to find that other pseudo-alternative outlets have joined in the imperialist disinformation campaign. These same outlets that claim to stand for truth and justice in Palestine eagerly cheerlead the war on Syria. Such duplicity serves to illustrate the political crisis that has befallen the Resistance movement and those who support Palestinian liberation.

To see the Palestinian victims of the Nakba and its ongoing effects in a political vacuum is to do a disservice to the spirit of the Resistance. To allow the imperialists to divide the movement along sectarian lines – make no mistake, this is true for many who support Palestine but call for Syria’s destruction – is to provide aid and comfort to the enemy. To separate the two Nakbas and deem one legitimate while the other illegitimate is to expose oneself as the greatest of hypocrites.

Naturally, such conclusions will not be met with applause by many. This writer, like others who have made similar comments, will likely receive angry emails and abusive tweets. But this is a small price to pay for speaking the truth when many others seem afraid or unwilling to do so. It is an infinitesimally small price to pay when one considers the countless sons and daughters of Syria, Iraq, and Lebanon who have spilled their blood to save their families, their homes, their people.

This writer believes it essential to place Palestine in the broadest regional and historical context, and to proclaim loudly that there can be no liberation of Palestine without a regional and international alliance and realignment, so that the divide is no longer sectarian but ideological. Either the Palestinian leadership is allied with the forces of anti-colonial, anti-imperialist struggle, or they are in league with the forces of reaction and subservience to Empire. In this existential struggle, there can be no middle ground. There can be no separation between the historical and contemporary Nakbas. In this tale of two Nakbas, there is only one acceptable outcome: victory, justice, liberation.

Eric Draitser is the founder of and host of Counterpunch Radio. He is an independent geopolitical analyst based in New York City. You can reach him at

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The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Blog!

Palestinians, Syrians mark 67th Nakba Day

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian   

The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Blog!

Today in Palestine! ~ Friday, 15 May 2015

Violence / Raids / Clashes / Suppression of protests / Arrests

Israeli forces shoot 3 children, detain 6 near Ramallah

RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 14 May — Israeli forces injured three Palestinian children with live fire during severe clashes that erupted between soldiers and school students in the Jabal al-Tawil neighborhood of al-Bireh in the occupied West Bank Thursday, witnesses said. The injured children were taken to a hospital for treatment, while Israeli forces detained six Palestinian children, all under 10 years of age, and took them to the nearby Psagot settlement, locals told Ma‘an. Israeli forces had reportedly set up an ambush for the students prior to the clashes, locals added … Palestinian children routinely come under live fire and excessive force from Israeli forces, according to children’s rights group Defense for Children International- Palestine.Israeli forces shot and injured at least 30 children across the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem since the beginning of this year as of March 24, 2015, DCIP reported. While Israeli military regulation permits the use of live ammunition when a direct mortal threat exists, the DCIP found no evidence that any of the children injured in 2015 thus far posed such a threat to Israeli forces or settlers.

Palestinian youth injured during clashes in Bethlehem

BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 14 May — A Palestinian youth was injured with a rubber-coated steel bullet during clashes with Israeli soldiers at the northern entrance ofBethlehem on Thursday. Medical sources said that a youth was injured in the leg by Israeli soldiers before he was detained and taken to an unidentified location during clashes in the Rachel Tomb’s area in Bethlehem. Violent clashes erupted between youths and Israeli soldiers near the northern entrance of Bethlehem as youths threw rocks and Molotov cocktails at an Israeli military tower. Israeli soldiers responded with live fire, rubber-coated steel bullets and tear gas … The incident came ahead of Nakba Day, when Palestinians commemorate the exodus of hundreds of thousands of people who fled or were expelled from their homes during Israel’s creation.

Israeli forces open fire on Nakba Day protests
NABLUS (AFP) 16 May — Israeli soldiers fired tear gas, rubber and live bullets at Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip on Friday, wounding at least 21 people, medics and security sources said. Clashes took place near Ramallah and farther north in Nablus, after a new Israeli cabinet took office and as Palestinians marked 67 years since the Nakba, or “catastrophe,” that befell them when Israel was established in 1948. At a demonstration outside Ofer military prison near the West Bank administrative center of Ramallah, dozens of protesters stoned soldiers who responded with tear gas and rubber bullets, an AFP correspondent said. Medics said seven Palestinians were wounded. In separate clashes in the northern West Bank city of Nablus, rubber bullets and live fire by soldiers wounded at least 10 Palestinians, security sources and witnesses said. The Israeli army confirmed the clashes, but denied that live rounds were fired. More than 1,000 settlers from nearby Jewish settlements were bused into the city to visit Joseph’s Tomb early in the day, and soldiers blocked off roads leading to the pilgrimage site, Palestinian witnesses and security sources said. Palestinians protested, some throwing stones, before clashes with the army erupted …
In Gaza, which is still recovering nine months after last summer’s devastating war between Israel and de facto rulers Hamas, Israeli troops on the border fired live rounds at Nakba Day protesters, wounding four, the enclave’s interior ministry medical spokesperson said. Three demonstrators were hit at a demonstration staged by dozens of people near the border fence east of Gaza City, and a fourth was shot at a similar protest near Khan Younis in the south, Ashraf al-Qudra said. The Israeli army said it had fired at the “lower extremities” of five people who approached the border fence, after warning them not to come any closer. Under Israel’s blockade of the coastal territory, Gaza residents are not allowed within 100 meters (yards) of the border fence on foot, or 300 meters in a vehicle. Israeli soldiers often fire at Palestinians who come closer. The protests were significantly smaller than the main demonstration in Gaza City, which was attended by 2,000 people, an AFP correspondent said.

Dozens injured in Silwad and Beitunia, near Ramallah
IMEMC/Agencies 16 May — Israeli soldiers invaded, on Friday afternoon, Silwad and Betunia towns, near the central West Bank city of Ramallah, and attacked dozens of Palestinians marking the Nakba Day. The Palestine TV has reported that several military vehicles invaded the southern area of Silwad town, and clashed with dozens of local youths. The soldiers fired dozens of gas bombs, concussion grenades, rubber-coated metal bullets, and several rounds of live ammunition. Medical sources said ten Palestinians suffered the effects of tear gas inhalation, and received treatment by local medics. During the clashes, a number of youths hurled Molotov cocktails on the invading soldiers, while the army also fired the “Tutu” live ammunition on the protestors.  The Tutu live rounds cause larger bodily harm, and were outlawed by an Israeli court in 2001, but the army continues to use them. Israeli sources said a number of soldiers were mildly injured during the clashes with local youths in the town, while a few soldiers received treatment for the effects of tear gas inhalation, after the protesters managed to throw back some of the gas bombs fired at them.
In addition, clashes took place in Betunia nearby town, after the soldiers invaded it, and attacked local protesters marking the Nakba, and marking the first anniversary of the deaths of Nadim Nuwwara and Mohammad Abu Thaher, who were killed by Israeli army fire on May 15 2014. The soldiers fired dozens of gas bombs, in addition to rubber-coated metal bullets and live rounds, while local youths hurled stones and empty bottles on the soldiers; several Palestinians suffered the effects of tear gas inhalation.

Israeli forces chase 5-year-old with skunk water

QALQILIYA (Ma‘an) 16 May — Amateur photographer Ahmad Nazzal captured Israeli forces spraying “Skunk” water at a Palestinian child during the Kafr Qaddum weekly march in the occupied West Bank on Friday. Five-year-old Muhammad Riyad appears standing in front of Israeli forces wearing a Palestinian keffiyeh before the forces began chasing him with Skunk water, the boy eventually falling to the ground. The foul-smelling liquid has been used by the Israeli military as a form of non-lethal crowd control since at least 2008  and can leave individuals and homes smelling like feces and garbage for weeks. Skunk water was developed by Israeli company Odortec Ltd. in conjunction with the Israel Police and is generally sprayed from specially designed trucks up to a range of 30-40 meters, according to Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem. An Israeli army spokesperson has reported that Skunk contains “organic material and has been approved for use by the Israeli Ministry of the Environment and the Chief IDF Medical Officer,” however exact contents of the rancid liquid have been contested, B’Tselem says. The rights group documented regular use of Skunk water by Israeli forces, and has accused the forces of using the substance as collective punishment, citing instances of Israeli security forces driving Skunk trucks down the streets of villages known for active demonstrations while spraying the substance into residents’ homes.

Hundreds of unarmed demonstrators confront live fire at Kafr Qaddum on Nakba Day

[with photos] KAFR QADDUM, Occupied Palestine (ISM, Huwarra Team) 15 May — Today (Friday, 15th of May), during the Nakba day demonstration in Kafr Qaddum, four young men were shot with live ammunition in their legs. One of the men got a serious bone fracture. Apart from the live ammunition being shot from all directions, Israeli forces fired several rounds of rubber coated steel bullets, tear gas and stun grenades. Throughout the protest, the Israeli military forces used a skunk truck to force the demonstrators back from reaching the closed road; closed since 2002 due to the building of the settlement Kedumim. ISMers in the demonstration saw houses and gardens being sprayed, and a boy as young as four crying, covered in the noxious chemical skunk ‘water’. Before the prayer had started, which end usually marks the beginning of the demonstration, soldiers attacked the gathered crowd with the chemical-laced water from the skunk truck. About 200 protesters marched up towards the closed road and were chanting words of freedom. 67 years later, the Nakba is still going on.

Israeli forces suppress Bil‘in weekly march on Nakba Day
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 16 May — Dozens of activists suffered from excessive tear gas inhalation as Israeli forces violently dispersed participants in the Bil‘in weekly march, as at least 21 people were injured across the West Bank and Gaza Strip Friday. Palestinian, Israeli, and international activists participated in the march which started from the center of the village, raising Palestinian flags and signs marking the anniversary of the Nakba. Palestinians across the world commemorate the Nakba every year on May 15, this year marking 67 years since an estimated 760,000 Palestinians fled or were expelled from their homes in during the establishment of the state of Israel in 1948. Last year Israeli forces shot and killed two unarmed Palestinian teenagers during a rally marking the 66th anniversary of the Nakba outside of the Ofer detention center near Ramallah.
For Palestinians living within Israel, commemoration of the Nakba also comes at a price. The 2011 “Nakba Law,” Amendment No. 40 to the Israeli Budgets Foundations Law, authorizes the Finance Minister to reduce state funding to an institution if it holds an activity commemorating “Israel’s Independence Day or the day on which the state was established as a day of mourning,” according to Israeli legal center Adalah. The center argues the law “causes major harm to the principle of equality and the rights of Arab citizens to preserve their history and culture. The law deprives Arab citizens of their right to commemorate the Nabka, an integral part of their history.”

VIDEO: Security camera captures Gush Etzion vehicular attack
Ynet 15 May by Itay Blumenthal, Yoav Zitun — Security footage [10 seconds] from the scene of the vehicular attack outside Alon Shvut on Thursday, which left four people wounded, shows the terrorist driving his car at high speed and ramming into two of the victims. After hitting the pedestrians who were waiting at a bus stop outside the Gush Etzion settlement, the car is seen speeding away … The IDF set up roadblocks and searched for the perpetrators in the Halhul area and in villages north of Hebron. Kfir Brigade troops arrested the suspected driver minutes after the attack.  The Shin Bet said Thursday evening it arrested the suspected driver, 22-year-old Muhammad al-Rafahiya from Hebron, who was released a year ago from Israeli prison after serving time for offenses of rock-throwing and carrying of cold weapons.In his initial interrogation, al-Rafahiya admitted to committing the attack and said he was operating to hurt Israelis out of nationalistic motives. The Shin Bet said they were looking into the possibility that “incitement online and on Facebook cause him to commit the attack, similar to previous lone attackers.” At around 1:15 pm, a black vehicle drove at high speed heading east on a road outside Alon Shvut and then veered sideways onto a hitchhiking station, hitting a group of people waiting for the bus.,7340,L-4657675,00.html

Israeli settlers throw stones at Palestinian vehicles near Nablus
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 14 May — Israeli settlers on Thursday pelted Palestinian cars with stones on a main road near the illegal Yitzhar settlement in Nablus, a Palestinian official said. Ghassan Daghlas, who monitors settlement activity in the northern West Bank, told Ma‘an that dozens of settlers threw stones at vehicles, while others set fire to land in the village of Burin south of Nablus.  Israeli forces closed the Huwwara checkpoint both ways following the incidents. In 2014, there were 324 incidents of settler violence against Palestinians in the occupied West Bank, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.


Gaza officials: 70 hurt as Israel ordnance explodes
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 14 May — Dozens of Palestinians were injured in a large explosion in the northern Gaza Strip on Thursday, witnesses and medics said. Medical sources said at least 70 Palestinians were injured. Fifteen of those were taken to al-Shifa hospital for treatment as a result of the explosion. The Palestinian ministry of interior said the explosion happened during the dismantling of an unexploded F16 rocket left by the Israeli army. Ambulances rushed toward the scene of the blast in the al-Atatra neighborhood of Gaza City, with black smoke plumes visible from a distance. Locals reported that the blast caused an electricity blackout in the area.

3 Palestinians in Gaza shot, injured in Nakba Day protest
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 15 May — Three Palestinians were injured by live fire during a Nakba Day demonstration in the Gaza Strip on Friday, witnesses said. Locals told Ma’an that Israeli soldiers opened fire on peaceful demonstrators east of Gaza City, hitting three men in the legs. Dozens of Palestinians were taking part in the march to commemorate the 67th anniversary of the mass displacement of Palestinians during Israel’s creation.

Soldiers open fire on farmers and fishers in Gaza
IMEMC/Agencies 16 May — Israeli soldiers opened fire, on Saturday morning, on Palestinian farmers in their own lands, east of the al-Maghazi refugee camp, in central Gaza, while navy ships opened fire on fishing boats in southern Gaza. Media sources said several soldiers and armored military vehicles advanced close to the border fence, and fired rounds of live ammunition on the farmers, and on a number of Palestinian shepherds. The attack did not lead to casualties, but the residents had to leave the area fearing addition Israeli fire, and escalation.
In addition, Israeli navy ships fired dozens of live rounds targeting a number of Palestinian fishing boats in Gaza waters, close to the Khan Younis shore, in the southern part of the coastal region. The attack caused property damage but no injuries; the fishers sailed back to shore to avoid further navy fire.

Gaza-bound Freedom Flotilla III banned by Israel
World Bulletin 14 May — Israel will not allow unauthorized boats to enter its territorial waters, a Foreign Ministry spokesman said Monday as a trawler left Sweden Sunday intending to break the legal naval blockade of Gaza, the Jerusalem Post reported. A Swedish boat, named Marianne of Gothenburg, announced it set off from Sweden, to take part in the flotilla, several days ago. The boat is named after Marianne Skoog, a veteran member of the Swedish Palestine Solidarity movement, who died in May 2014. Foreign Ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nachshon described the action as “unnecessary provocation”. He added: “If the so-called helpful Gaza flotillas were really interested in the welfare of the population in Gaza, they would send their aid via Israel.” … The Ship to Gaza organization is calling for an immediate end to the naval blockade of Gaza; opening of the Gaza Port; and secure passage for Palestinians between the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. In 2010, Israeli commandos attacked the Freedom Flotilla II when it entered Gaza’s territorial waters, killing ten people on board.

Gaza: The Nakba in the eyes of the old and young
Middle East Monitor 14 May —  EXCLUSIVE IMAGES Palestinians in Gaza remember the Nakba Images from our photographer in the Gaza Strip, Mohammed Asad.

[with VIDEO] Even in Gaza, you can’t have a film festival without a red carpet
+972 Blog 14 May by Avi Blecherman — The human rights film festival sends a message that Gaza is not just a strip of flattened homes, poverty and militants, as the media tends to portray it, says one of the organizers. ‘The people of Gaza are human beings, who love life, who seek peace, and who want to go to the movies, to live normal lives.’ —  While Israeli entertainment reporters have been busy covering the DocAviv documentary film festival in Tel Aviv in recent days, nearby, another rather exceptional film festival came to a close Thursday evening in the Shujaiyeh neighborhood of Gaza City — a festival dedicated entirely to films about human rights … I spoke with festival organizer Saud Aburamadan, a veteran journalist and resident of Gaza on Thursday …  The image of the red carpet with destroyed homes on both sides is spine-tingling. Who walked down it? Well, you can’t have a film festival without a red carpet. We took that symbol and made it work for the our reality here in Gaza. For us, red is first and foremost the the color of so much blood that was spilled here this summer. The blood of women, men and children. There was a family in Shujaiyeh, the al-Hilu family, which lost 11 people in a bombing, most of them women and children. Usually the people walking down the red carpet at a film festival are VIPs. Here, we laid down the 70-meter red carpet on one of the main roads that leads to where we screened the films, a road that has nothing but destroyed homes. We invited all of the residents to walk down the red carpet to the premiere. It was our way of saying that each and every one of them is important.

Gazans scavenge for food, recyclables
GAZA CITY (Al-Monitor) 13 May by Rasha Abou Jalal — In light of the dire economic conditions generated by the Israeli siege, Gazans search for food to eat and recyclables to sell — At sunrise, Wael Naim starts his arduous task of sifting through piles of waste in Gaza City, looking for anything that can be recycled. His efforts are a major source of support for his five-member family. Naim, 14, who is the oldest child in his family, told Al-Monitor, “My father used to work in contracting, but he stopped working more than half a year ago due to the recent Israeli war on Gaza, which destroyed the concrete factory that he used to work in. Israel also restricted the entry of cement into Gaza. So now I have a responsibility and look for [ways to make a living].” He said that he searches the piles of garbage for anything that he can sell, such as plastic, copper and iron, to factories and blacksmiths that recycle them into products such as water drums, as well as nuts and bolts made of copper and iron, which are used as machine spare parts. “I stop work at sunset and make about 20 Israeli shekels (about $5) a day, which I give in full to my father. He buys cheap bread and food for my family, as this amount doesn’t even buy half a kilogram [1 pound] of meat,” Naim added.

Pregnant Gaza woman blocked from joining husband in Australia
EI 15 May by Patrick O. Strickland — Mohammed Suliman does not know if he will be able to attend the birth of his first child. His wife Layla has been blocked from leaving Gaza to join him in the Australian city of Adelaide. Their baby is due in August. “We are racing against the clock,” Mohammed said this week, adding that he is focused on trying to get Layla out of Gaza. “So far there has been no progress, so I’m very worried,” he added. “Once she becomes seven months pregnant, she won’t be able to travel.” Mohammed left Gaza through the Erez crossing between Gaza and present-day Israel in late March. Despite having an Australian visa and having paid national health insurance in Australia, Layla was denied exit by the Israeli authorities. Granted a full scholarship to a PhD program in Adelaide University, Mohammed was a couple of months late for his classes by the time he arrived. He had made numerous attempts to leave Gaza before eventually succeeding in doing so. Tight restrictions have been placed by Israel on the number of Palestinians passing through Erez. The Rafah crossing that separates Gaza from Egypt has been completely closed — with some rare exceptions — since the last week of October 2014.

Bill introduced to Knesset to cancel 2005 disengagement from Gaza
JP Updates 14 May by Eliyahu Berkowitz — The last elections brought many surprises, so it should be anticipated that even more surprises are in store. MK Betsalel Smotrich (Bayit Yehudi/Tkuma) presented a new bill to cancel the disengagement law that led to Israel’s withdrawal from Gush Katif, Gaza, in 2005. The bill was submitted to the Knesset Secretariat but wasn’t discussed even in a preliminary reading. It would cancel the laws pertaining to the disengagement which prohibit the entry and stay in the areas evacuated under the program, and the elimination of the rights of those who lived in them. The sections dealing with compensation and rehabilitation of deportees will be left standing. “Today it is clear to all that the expulsion from Gush Katif and northern Samaria was a foolish mortal blow to Zionism and the settlement, and brought about the Hamas takeover of the Gaza Strip and the difficult security situation,” said Smotrich. “It’s time to fix it, and not just through words”.

Ongoing land, property theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Memories of the Nakba / Discrimination

Israel issues tenders to build 85 settlement units in West Bank, 1.500 hotel rooms in Jerusalem
JERUSALEM (WAFA) 14 May – The Israeli Ministry of Housing Thursday issued tenders for the construction of 85 new housing units in a west bank settlement, in addition to 1,500 hotel rooms in occupied East Jerusalem. The ministry published tenders for the construction of 85 new housing units in the West Bank illegal settlement of Giv’at Ze’ev to the north of Jerusalem, in addition to tenders for the construction of 1500 hotel rooms in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Jabal al-Mukabber. The ministry also issued tenders for future settlement construction plans in a 10-dunum plot of land located near the palace of the British high commissioner in Jabal al-Mukabber area.

Israeli demolition plan for Bedouin villages sparks outcry
UMM AL-HIRAN, Israel (AP) 14 May by Daniel Estrin — Israelis are once again locked in a bitter settlement dispute with their Arab neighbors, but this time the conflict is not unfolding in the West Bank, but in Israel’s southern desert. After years of legal battles, Israel’s Supreme Court last week cleared the way for the government to uproot the nearly 60-year-old Bedouin Arab village of Umm al-Hiran, a dusty hill of ramshackle dwellings without proper electricity or water hookups, and in its place build “Hiran,” a new community seemingly catering to Jews that is expected to feature a hotel and country club … The Supreme Court says authorities should consider giving some villagers discounted plots of land in the new development, but the villagers believe a large Bedouin population wouldn’t be tolerated there. A group of religious Jewish families with ties to the West Bank settlement movement are living in a temporary encampment in a nearby forest waiting to move to the future Hiran … Villagers say they want to maintain their rural lifestyle, and they demand the government officially recognize their villages and hook them up to the national water system and power grid …  Arab activists are gearing up to fight the planned evacuation, whose date has not been announced. The leader of a newly invigorated Arab party in parliament recently marched from Bedouin country to Jerusalem in support of the unrecognized villages, and Arab activists say they are considering renewing the street protests waged two years ago that led the government to table a large-scale Bedouin resettlement plan … Israel’s more than 200,000 Bedouins are the poorest members of the country’s Arab minority, which also includes Christian and Muslim urban communities.

Forced to leave grapes on the vine: the open wounds of May 1948
EI 14 May by Rami Almeghari — Each May brings painful memories for some of the oldest Palestinians. Musallam Younis Musallam was among those displaced in May 1948 and never allowed to return home. Musallam grew up in the village of al-Batani al-Sharqi, about 30 kilometers from Gaza. In May 1948, it came under attack from Zionist forces. The almost 6,000 residents were forced to flee and the village was totally destroyed. Musallam, then 28 years old, traveled to Maghazi in Gaza, which now hosts a camp for Palestinian refugees. “Whenever we popped out, the corn branches, where we were hiding, struck our faces,” Musallam told the author of a new book. “We carried our luggage on a donkey and myself, my mother, father and brothers, walked out of the village. We heard that the Egyptian forces were about to come to defend al-Batani al-Sharqi. But they did not come.” Titled I am from there and I have memories, the as yet unpublished book recalls what the people of al-Batani al-Sharqi endured during the Nakba (Arabic for catastrophe), the 1948 ethnic cleansing of Palestine. It is the result of two years of work by the author Ghazi Misleh, a Maghazi resident.

Memory (on Nakba Day) / Mariam Barghouti
15 May — “It was my 18th birthday. I had gone to get a haircut because we were expecting visitors. There was a bombing at Jaffa clock sq. and I stole my brother’s bike and cycled like never before. It was the area my father worked. I went and the bombing had turned my father into broken limbs.” My grandfather told me as he held tears back. Palestinian men don’t cry he used to say.  “It was a Zionist bombing. And there was baba…one arm in a corner and the rest of his body in another. It was January 4th, so it was cold. I remember seeing a jacket. And I held my father’s dismembered body.” Now in his late 80’s, sido can still recall every gruesome detail. “That, sweetheart, is the story of thousands of Palestinians. It is our story then, and it is or story now.” I sat on my grandfather’s couch as he told and re-told me stories of Jaffa pre-1948. Always emphasizing the scent of the mountains, the air and the touch of the soil “Our sweat and blood is in the soil, we are its children, sido.” He would say. As his memory slowly begins to fail, sometimes mixing up his grandchildren, he can still tell you the stories of Palestine in perfect detail. Explaining every flower prick and the scorching rays of the Summer heat in July. Such recollection acts as the burden and savior of Palestinians. The stories etched within our memories, sliding off the tongues of our forefathers. It is within that memory we find pain, and within that memory we implement our existence.

Decades of neglect leave East Jerusalem mired in poverty, violence
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 14 May by Charlie Hoyle — Decades of chronic under-funding, discriminatory planning rights, and unequal access to services have left the Palestinian community in Jerusalem mired in poverty, according to statistics published by a civil rights group, with youths subject to increased police brutality and arrests since last summer’s demonstrations in the city.  Statistics released this week by the Association for Civil Rights in Israel paint a devastating picture of neglect, urban blight and underdevelopment in East Jerusalem, the historic heart of Palestinian life, all a result of nearly five decades of Israeli policies, with over 75 percent of Palestinians living below the poverty line compared to the national Israeli average of 21.8 percent. The group released the statistics — taken from the Jerusalem Municipality, Israeli Police, the Central Bureau of Statistics, and other official agencies — to coincide with Jerusalem Day, a largely right-wing Israeli national holiday to celebrate the “liberation” and “reunification” of the city following what is internationally recognized as the illegal occupation of East Jerusalem in 1967.

Prisoners / Court actions

Khader Adnan on 10th day of open hunger strike
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 14 May — Prisoner Khader Adnan, 37, entered his 10th day of an open hunger strike on Thursday to demand the end to his administrative detention by Israel. The prisoner, who is affiliated with Islamic Jihad, sent a letter to Gaza-based organization the Muhjat al-Quds Association calling on Palestinians to support him in his battle of “freedom, pride, and dignity.” His major goal is to prevent Israel from tarnishing the achievement of prisoners who secured their freedom by going on hunger strikes in the past, only to be rearrested by military forces. Adnan was detained on July 8, 2014 and sentenced to administrative detention for the 10th time in his life. In 2012, Adnan’s 66-day hunger strike in an Israeli prison in 2012 inspired hundreds of prisoners to take on Israel’s policy of holding detainees without charge.

Israeli military court rejects life term for Palestinian who killed soldier
Haaretz 15 May by Chaim Levinson — A military court Thursday rejected the state’s request that it return Nael Barghouti, a prisoner released in the 2011 exchange for abducted soldier Gilad Shalit, to prison for life. Barghouti, a Fatah member, was originally arrested in 1978 and sentenced to life for killing an Israeli soldier. He was the longest-serving prisoner to be freed in the Shalit deal. In June 2014, he was rearrested, along with 59 other Palestinians freed in the Shalit deal, after Hamaskidnapped three Israeli teens in the West Bank. The military prosecution then asked the court to reinstate his original life sentence, arguing that he had violated the terms of his release — in part by agreeing to become a minister in the Fatah-Hamas unity government and by taking part in activities organized by Hamas’ student union. His lawyer, Merav Khoury, countered that Barghouti was not a Hamas member and had merely been invited to lecture about his experiences in jail. On Monday, the Ofer Military Court refused to return him to jail for life, instead sentencing him to two and a half years in prison.

Will Israelis filmed killing Palestinian teen on Nakba Day get away with murder?
EI 14 May by Olivia Watson — On 15 May 2014, an Israeli Border Police officer took aim at Nadim Nuwara and pulled the trigger of his M16 rifle. The live bullet struck Nuwara, 17, in the chest and exited through his back, killing him at the scene. CCTV cameras captured the shooting, allowing for detailed forensic video, sound and spatial analysis to be used to identify Nuwara’s killer. Despite seemingly clear evidence, systemic impunity for Israeli military violence continues to be an obstacle to justice for Palestinian families living under prolonged military occupation like the Nuwaras. Nuwara’s death appears to be the direct consequence of a de facto policy pursued by the Israeli military that permits the use of live ammunition, even against children, with almost complete impunity. The families of those killed are left to live with this injustice … Ben Deri, the Israeli Border Police officer arrested in connection with Nuwara’s killing, is under house arrest, awaiting trial on a charge of manslaughter. The fact that Deri has been charged at all is a token, yet positive, development given the systemic impunity. Israel’s track record suggests that any sentence imposed will fail to match the severity of the crime as a plea agreement will likely preclude a trial and result in little, if any, prison time.

Palestinian refugees — Syria, Jordan, Iraq

Besieged students in Syria allowed out to take exams
BEIRUT (AFP) 15 May — At least 150 Palestinian students from a besieged refugee camp south of Damascus have been allowed to leave the camp to sit their school exams in the Syrian capital. Carrying backpacks and suitcases and accompanied by their teachers, the students walked three kilometres (two miles) Thursday from Yarmuk to rebel-held Yalda, which has been calm since a 2014 ceasefire. “I’m happy I’ll take my exams, but I’ll also be able to see my family outside Yarmuk who I haven’t seen in a long time,” said Fadi. The students were driven from Yalda into Damascus, where on Sunday they will sit national curriculum examinations. A young Palestinian girl waiting to begin the trek told AFP she was scared. “I don’t want to leave my mother in the camp, but I have to go because I can’t take the test here,” she said. Teachers had petitioned a Palestinian official in Damascus to allow students to take their exams there, as those administered in the camp are not recognised by the state, an AFP correspondent in Yarmuk said.

Trapped in Dubai airport: the father and son who had nowhere to go
The Guardian 15 May by Patrick Kingsley — …But the experiences of Wael al-Sahlee are all too real: until finally being deported on Thursday evening, the 41-year-old Palestinian-Syrian refugee and his nine-year-old son, Montasser, were stuck in Dubai airport for a fortnight … During the Syrian civil war, Yarmouk became caught up in the fighting, and Sahlee and his wife, Nisrene, began to use their home to treat the wounded. For his efforts, Sahlee was arrested, and some of his friends were tortured to death. So on his release in late 2012, he and his family fled to Jordan, which soon closed its border to Palestinians for fear of diluting the Jordanian population. Life was hard in Jordan. Like many Palestinians, Sahlee was not allowed to work, and so endured more than two years of purgatory. Eventually his family decided the only chance of a stable future would be for him and Montasser to take a smugglers’ boat to Europe from Libya. Nisrene explained: “If we had enough money we would have all gone – we had the idea that if we died, at least we could have died altogether. But we only had enough money for them.”

The never-ending Nakba
Northern Jordan (Counterpunch) 13-15 May by Johnny Barber — …While rockets from Gaza garners some attention, other Palestinian refugees suffer in complete isolation. Just a 5-kilometer drive from Jerash, the beautifully preserved remnants of a once wealthy Roman city, is Jerash Camp. Known locally as Gaza Camp, it was established in 1968 as a temporary camp to house 11,500 refugees fleeing Gaza during the 6-Day War. Many of the refugees were refugees for a 2nd time, having originally fled Beersheba during the Nakba in 1948. The refugees from Gaza were not granted Jordanian papers. The situation facing those in Gaza Camp is the most difficult of the 2 million Palestinian refugees in Jordan today. Now home to an estimated 30,000 people, the camp sits on less than .75 sq. kilometers of land. The sewage system is an above-ground channel system that cannot contain the volume of waste, which flows down the alleyways and streets, the only space where children can play. The UN itself estimates that 75% of the houses are uninhabitable — some still have the original cancer-causing asbestos and corrugated tin sheeting provided for roofing in 1968. The refugees are denied support by the Jordanian government. Electricity and water are supplied to the camp at cost. Internet connections are not available. There are no pharmacies in the camp, and only one health clinic administered by UNRWA. The residents of Gaza Camp cannot access public health care. They cannot open bank accounts or purchase land.

Photo essay: Continually displaced, Palestinian refugees spend Nakba Day in Iraqi IDP camp

15 May by Abed Al Qaisi — Baharka IDP camp, Iraq, holds over 1,000 displaced Iraqi families. However in one small section, 18 Palestinian refugee families currently reside. Their displacement began 67 years ago with the Nakba, and has continued to 2015 – all the families have fled from ISIS within the last year. For some of the older Palestinian refugees this is their fifth refugee camp in their lifetime, for the younger generation it is their first. For all however, the plight of being a Palestinian refugee doesn’t appear to have an end in sight.

Other news

PCHR Weekly Report on Israeli human rights violations in the oPt  (7-13 May 2015)
Shootings During the reporting period, Israeli forces wounded 18 Palestinian civilians, including 4 children and 3 photojournalists, in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Eleven civilians were wounded in the West Bank, 9 of whom, including 2 children and 3 photojournalists, were wounded during peaceful protests, while the other 7 ones, including a child and 4 fishermen, were wounded in the Gaza Strip … In the Gaza Strip, on 08 May 2015, a 17-year-old child sustained a serious wound to the head as Israeli forces stationed along the border fence, northwest of al-Sayafa area in the north of the Gaza Strip, opened fire at a group of youngsters who were present near the said fence.  On 09 May 2015, 2 farmers sustained shrapnel wounds when Israeli forces stationed along the border fence opened fire at some farmers and workers who were 300-500 meters away from the said fence in the north of the Gaza Strip. In the context of targeting fishermen, Israeli forces opened fire several times at fishermen. As a result, 4 fishermen were wounded, 2 others were arrested and fishing equipment and nets were damaged. These attacks coincided with the sardine season that starts in May until mid-June. Fishermen wait for this season to compensate their losses due to Israeli attacks against them. Incursions During the reporting period, Israeli forces conducted at least 58 military incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank. During these incursions, Israeli forces arrested at least 20 Palestinians, including 5 children. They also arrested a civilian in the Gaza Strip…. Full, detailed Report here

67 torches light the streets of Ramallah
IMEMC/Agencies 15 May — A march was organized Thursday evening in Ramallah, where 67 torches, 67 keys, 67 Palestinian flags and 67 black flags were held high in remembrance of Nakba 1948. The streets were packed with people surrounding the demonstrators, who made their way through central Ramallah in circles from Arafat square to Al-Manara and back, according to the Palestinian News Network (PNN).  The march was carefully choreographed with Palestinian and Nakba flags in the front followed by a uniformed orchestra in the centre and torches rearmost … The Commission also held a march on Wednesday from the tomb of late Palestinian President Yasser Arafat to Arafat Square where a central ceremony was held and Arab Idol star Haythem Khaleily was giving a concert. On Friday, sirens of mourning will be blared at 12 pm as an expression of mourning on the losses of the Palestinian people. In addition, a march will be launched near the Apartheid Wall in Nelain town, near Ramallah.

Abbas calls on Palestinian Christians to ‘stay with us’
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 16 May — In the run-up to Pope Francis’ canonization of two Palestinian nuns, President Mahmoud Abbas praises Palestinian Christians for the “distinctive dimension” their community and history gives to the Palestinian struggle. “On this holy occasion we would like to express appreciation to our Palestinian Christian brothers for their steadfastness and effective contribution to building the Palestinian nation, and we call upon them to stay with us and not to be easily swept by the tide of migration,” Abbas said in a statement Saturday. St. Marie Alphonsine Ghattas from Jerusalem and St. Mariam Bawardy from Ibilin village in the Galilee are to be canonized Sunday at the Vatican’s St. Peter’s square … Abbas said in the statement that recognition of Palestinian Christians by the Pope “emphasizes our unity, and affirms our determination to build a sovereign, independent and free Palestine based on the principles of equal citizenship and the values of spirituality and sublime humanity.”

Hamas-Fatah divide cripples Palestinian judiciary
GAZA CITY 14 May by Hazem Balousha — Since Hamas’ takeover in 2007, the Gaza Strip has been governed pursuant to a legal and legislative system completely separate from that of the West Bank. The reconciliation agreement signed between Fatah and Hamas in April 2014 and the subsequent formation of the Rami Hamdallah-led Palestinian unity government formed in June 2014 failed to unify the legal and legislative systems of Gaza and the West Bank, where new laws continue to be separately and independently drafted. After its takeover of the Gaza Strip — which caused a significant disruption in the work of the Gaza judiciary and courts — Hamas established in 2007 a Supreme Judicial Council and a Public Prosecutor’s Office, and appointed a special prosecutor, Ismail Jaber, who was replaced two years later, completely separating them from their counterparts in the West Bank. Hamas’ Change and Reform bloc within the Legislative Council holds separate meetings in Gaza and has so far drafted 50 laws that only apply to the Gaza Strip. President Mahmoud Abbas has issued more than 100 decrees that have solely been implemented in the West Bank following the split from Gaza in 2007, when the Legislative Council — in which Hamas won an overwhelming majority during the 2006 general elections — was stripped of its authority.

PA uncovers Hamas cell in Hebron planning attacks on Israel
JPost 15 May — A Palestinian Authority security official said Friday that the PA’s security services uncovered and arrested a Hamas cell near Hebron in the West Bank. The official told Israel Radio on Friday that the group was planning attacks meant to take place in Israel.  Palestinian police were first alerted to the cell after a report was received of people preparing explosives inside an apartment. Five members of the cell were then arrested.  The report said that cell members were in the early stages of preparing the necessary materials to make an explosive device and a search of the house did not find any completed explosives. The official  said that Palestinian security forces have arrested other Hamas military cells in Hebron, Kalkilya [Qalqliliya], Nablus and Jenin since the beginning of the year.

West Bank biogas is big success for Bedouin community
ANERA 11 May — “Sheer bliss.” That’s how Naser Qadous, ANERA’s agricultural projects manager, described Natheera Al-Asad’s joy upon witnessing the blue flames emerge from the portable gas burner for the first time. “Natheera was skeptical about the entire project up until that moment,” explains Naser. “The surprise on her face was indescribable.” The West Bank biogas project is one of ANERA’s many agriculture projects that allow for self-sustainability and economic developmentin marginalized communities. The biogas digesters, designed and implemented by ANERA engineers, provide a renewable source of energy at no cost because all that’s required is animal waste. Rural families in Palestine often have livestock that can easily provide the fuel. The unique project has been introduced into the northern West Bank community of Al Maleh and also into the homes of 15 impoverished families in Gaza.

Palestinian surgeons perform rare operation at Hebron hospital
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 14 May – Palestinian surgeons at Alia public hospital in Hebron in the southern West Bank on Wednesday successfully repaired a very uncommon skull deformity of a baby. Dr. Imad Rashid, the neurosurgeon who performed the operation, confirmed to Ma‘an the rarity of the case, highlighting that he and his team removed a deformity three times the size of the infant’s skull. The baby has completely recovered, he added. “The surgery is a source of pride given the limited equipment we have,” said director of Alia Hospital Dr. Walid Zalloum, boasting of the skillful surgeons and nurses the hospital has.

Obama says Israel-Palestinian two-state solution ‘vital for peace’
WASHINGTON (Reuters) 15 May — U.S. President Barack Obama said on Thursday he continues to believe a two-state solution for Israel and the Palestinians was “absolutely vital” for achieving Middle East peace. Obama said he believed the two-state option was also the best for the long-term security of Israel. He acknowledged the prospect of a peace accord “seems distant now,” noting that a number of members of the new Israeli government did not share the view that a two-state solution was viable.

US to contribute $20 million in support of UNRWA
JERUSALEM (WAFA) 14 May – The United States announced Thursday a new $20 million aid contribution to the United Nations Relief & Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), said the UNRWA in a press release. The UNRWA noted in its press release that the new early financial contribution is intended to ensure that it can continue providing education, health, relief and social services that meet the basic human needs of Palestine refugees in Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, the West Bank and Gaza. It further noted that this contribution was provided earlier than planned in view of delayed anticipated income from other sources and the lack of UNRWA cash reserves. The imminent funding shortfall  would have impacted the Agency’s ability to provide critical humanitarian assistance to Palestine refugee communities, said the release.

Mayor of Paris signs historic cooperation agreement with Bethlehem
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 14 May — The mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, on Wednesday undertook a historic visit to Bethlehem, where she signed two major partnership agreements with mayor of the city, Vera Baboun, to improve water networks in the biblical town. “The municipal council of Paris is aware of the hardships the Palestinian people face, especially in Bethlehem, but we admire very much their spirit of determination and the positive attitude to life,” Hidalgo told Ma’an. The strategic agreements signed between Bethlehem and Paris will help improve water networks in the city and mitigate the negative impact of the Israeli separation wall on Bethlehem’s natural development. Hidalgo confirmed that the municipal council of Paris would also help develop the tourism sector in Bethlehem to help create work opportunities for young men and women.

FIFA chief Blatter seeks Israeli concession in Palestine dispute
ZURICH (AFP) 16 May — FIFA leader Sepp Blatter said Friday he hopes to head off a Palestinian call for a vote to expel Israel from football’s governing body but that Israel must make a concession. Blatter said he will meet Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas next Wednesday and Thursday in a bid to end what he called his biggest “challenge.” The Palestinians have sought a vote at the FIFA Congress on May 29 claiming abuse of Palestinian footballers by Israel. Blatter has made it clear he opposes the vote but that “a solution is only a realistic proposition when those who are privileged are prepared to concede something and contribute to equality.” The onus in this respect is on Israel with its outstanding infrastructure, fully functioning professional league and economic context,” Blatter wrote in his weekly column for a FIFA magazine. In an interview with a small group of reporters including AFP, Blatter said Israel should make it easier for Palestinian and foreign footballers and sports equipment to get in and out of the occupied territories. He added that Netanyahu “would not receive the FIFA delegation if he is not ready to make some concessions, I am sure.”

Official: Israel may ‘have to’ target civilians in Lebanon
TEL AVIV (AFP) 14 May — A senior Israeli military intelligence official said Wednesday Israel would likely “have to” target civilian areas in Lebanon in a future confrontation with Hezbollah, given its distribution of weapons sites. In a briefing to foreign journalists at the defense ministry in Tel Aviv, the official also warned of a heightened threat of conflict on Israel’s borders in the next two years as a result of “escalation” in the region. The official’s warning came after a Hezbollah attack killed two Israeli soldiers and a UN peacekeeper in January 2015, raising fears of another all-out war. Hezbollah had launched the attack shortly after an Israeli strike in the occupied Golan Heights killed six Hezbollah members including a commander and son of the group’s deceased military leader … The army official warned that in a future conflict with Hezbollah, Israel would “have to” target civilian areas. He said Hezbollah currently possesses more than 100,000 rockets hidden in civilian areas in Lebanese villages that could hit northern Israel, including “hundreds” which could reach anywhere in the Jewish state.”Each (village) is a military stronghold. Next time we have a war with Hezbollah, we will have to attack each one of these targets, and we hope the population will not be there,” he said. Israel is still reeling from a report by an Israeli army veterans NGO Breaking the Silence earlier this month, in which members of Israeli forces gave testimony that the military acted with complete disregard for civilian casualties during last summer’s offense on the Gaza Strip.

Life in a refugee camp – New Askar, Nablus
[with photos] NEW ASKAR, Nablus, Occupied Palestine (ISM, Huwarra Team) 11 May — New Askar refugee camp is situated north-east of Nablus in the Askar area. It was created in 1965 to accommodate the increased number of refugees who were living in (old) Askar Camp that was established in 1950 after hundreds of thousands of Palestinians were forced from their homes in the Nakba. This ethnic cleansing of 1948 was part of the creation of Israel. The camp has since grown to a total of 6.000 people living on an area of 0.5 km 2. This high density creates both a claustrophobic and at times a dangerous environment. Located in Area C, under full Israeli control, it does not have the status of a refugee camp. This means that if the occupation was to end and refugees were able to return to their hometowns, those living in New Askar would not be given this right. They cannot take part in the elections of Nablus municipality either. Instead, the camp has its own internal government and elections take place every two years. All political parties, except for Hamas, are represented and currently there are nine elected men and two women. But although the camp has a good level of self-organisation, many problems remain unsolved; one of the main ones being drugs. The camp is plagued with drug dealers and as it is located in Area C, there is no presence of Palestinian police. The camp is also open to  local settlers, Israeli soldiers and Samaritans to come and buy whatever they want. Another issue is health. Until 2007, there were no public services and even today they are extremely limited.

The Nakba: Israel’s catastrophe / Vacy Vlazna
Palestine Chronicle 12 May —  “By military force, the Jewish forces conquered 78% of Palestine in 1948 and depopulated 675 towns and villages, leaving only 15% of its Palestinian citizens under the rule of the Jewish forces. This area of Palestine was called Israel.” — Salman Abu Sitta — The Palestinian Nakba is a catastrophe for the Jewish colonists and their descendants: it transformed the once decent surviving victims of European anti-Semitism and the Holocaust into terrorists, killers, thieves, racists, and liars – into the mirror image of their persecutors. And the same perverted brush tainted the UN and Western governments as collaborators of the sickest and most sadistic society in the world … Today is Nakba Day, as was yesterday and all days back to the 1922 British Mandate with its broken legal obligations to hold Palestine in trust until independence. Daily, the Zionist war crimes of illegal demolitions, evictions and squatting in Palestinian homes occur. The imposed torture of fear, stress and loss [on] the Palestinian families is unimaginably cruel.

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian   

The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Blog!

Whats going on in Yarmouk?

الى حد ما ؟ | مخيم اليرموك الى اين ؟ انور رجا ~ نضال زغبور| #الفضائية_السورية

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian   

The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Blog!

An Ode to Said El-Said by Stanley L. Cohen

I love Said. He’s everything that’s good and decent and kind-and so much more. he’s the laughter of a toddler who’s just learned to run; the panic of young lovers who race to remake the bed as parents return home early; the broad grin that intoxicates us when the rare and sweet aroma of justice fills the room and gives us hope. Said is all things to all good people– those that are and those that aspire to be.

He’s been with us since the beginning of time and will smile down on us long after the last meteor shower has found its mark and we are gone. Palestinian by birth, humane by trade, and free by choice Said is a Muslim, a Christian, a Jew and none of the above. While many march in lockstep to the beat of the safe, quick and easy, Said has journeyed long and hard to rear his beloved family, to raise our voice and to lift our spirits. Even now in his final days with us Said speaks with determination and no regrets; sorry only that when a free independent Palestine, a State for the stateless, arrives, he will not be here to rejoice in person. For Said, resistance is much more than a mere chant and BDS not a choice. They are sacred covenants which speak for eleven million of his Nation and the many who came before. Said’s journey will end far too soon where it all began, where its always been- with Palestine. Like all Palestinians, young and old, those past and yet to come, he was at Deir Yassin when genocide rained down as the world slept and the trail of tears began. He’s walked the blood stained roads of Jenin and Tulkarim and those of a hundred other Palestinian villages brutalized or laid to waste for no reason but their existence. He has known the hardscrabble streets of refugee camps that stretch from the destruction of Yarmouk to the time-tested despair of Sabra-Shatilla. To Said, the coastline of Gaza offers little safety but in its resistance comes boundless pride and dignity. Said has wept at the side of age-old olive trees ravaged by the same evil that has demolished the Bedouin village of Al-Araqib time and time again. In Quds, he is every young boy, stone in hand, who by his resistance honors the key still worn around his great grandmother’s neck. He is the detained uncharged hunger striker who will not eat so long as his Nation is starved day after day after day. Yes, Said is Palestine-proud, resilient and eternal. It was, it is and it will always be. I have been truly blessed to know many great women and men- a first among equals, Said is one of them. His has been a life of warmth, wonder and wisdom and I will miss him sorely. If compassion is to be our currency, Said is richest of all; If humanity is to be our light then he is the sun that shines through the darkest of all nights to lead us to safety; If greatness is to be measured by the size of one’s heart, Said is truly among our giants. To be blue is all too easy at this time, but it can steal our breath and leave us speechless. So smile, shout out and give thanks for Said- that rare man, that wondrous gift. Have no fear, he lives on wherever women and men of conscience and principle fight for truth and justice. My brother, thank you for your friendship, your inspiration, your unwavering support and strength. I have no idea where you’re going Said, but if I am very, very fortunate one day I will go there too. Until we meet again . .. . Up the Rebels

———————————-Stanley L. Cohen

(For those unfamiliar with Said, he is a long time presence, and will remain so in our hearts, minds and actions, in social media [Twitter  ] and a dedicated activist in the struggle to free his homeland, Palestine.  He is a friend to, and beloved by, thousands.  Said recently let it be known that he has come to the end of his battle with cancer and will soon leave us, physically.  Learning of this, Stanley (well known as a devoted activist in his own right) composed this deeply beautiful homage to his dear friend, Said.  Said’s friends and family in social media will honour him with the hash-tag #SaidLives and we will continue to nurture the many seeds of hope and strength he has sown for the children of Palestine throughout his life…Stanley’s heart-felt expression, above, provides a true attest to the special being that is Said.  Said has stated he will close his Twitter account when it is time. Before that time, we do what we can to surround him with love. Please use the hash-tag along with us.  //MDP/Mala114)

PFLP G.Command: On Yarmouk, Palestinian Unity and the War on Uprooted Palestinians

هنا دمشق | انور رجا | المنار

الرفيق ابوجهاد طلال يؤكد الاستمرار في تحرير مخيم اليرموك

 احمد جبريل ابوجهاد في كلمة للتاريخ – برنامج دومينو السياسة على الفضائية الاخبارية السورية

الجزء الثاني مقابلة الامين العام للجبهة الشعبية القيادة العامة احمد جبريل في دومينو السياسة

مقابلة الامين العام للجبهة الشعبية لتحرير فلسطين القيادة العامة احمد جبريل حول مخيم اليرموك

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian   

The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Blog!


by Paul Larudee, Dissident Voice

There are many illusions about what is happening to the Yarmouk district of Damascus and its Palestinian refugee population. The district was originally set aside in 1957 for Palestinian refugees already living there, whom Israel had expelled from their homes in 1948, with periodic additional populations thereafter. Today it is home to around one million Syrians and Palestinians, of whom the Palestinians number roughly 170,000. Palestinians in Syria have all the rights of Syrian citizens except voting, and in Yarmouk their homes are indistinguishable from those of the Syrian residents.

Starting in 2012, armed elements trying to overthrow the Assad government gained a foothold in Yarmouk. Most Palestinians disapproved, since this violated the traditional exchange of Syrian hospitality for Palestinian neutrality. However, there was no consensus among Palestinians to forcibly expel the intruders.

By June, 2013, the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) had established a siege on the camp in order to prevent further encroachment toward the center of Damascus, which already receives a daily dose of random mortar attacks. (Three landed just outside my hotel in April, 2014, one killing three people.) Most of the population fled, until only 18,000 remained by October, 2013, according to Fateh leader Abbas Zaki, as reported to Ma’an News. Many thousands are now living outside the camp, in shelter provided by the Syrian government and Syrian humanitarian aid organizations.

In April, 2014 I visited a school that had been converted to living quarters for Yarmouk refugees. The accommodations were immensely crowded and by no means comfortable, a consequence of having to provide for nearly 8 million displaced people in government areas, doubling the normal population for those areas. Nevertheless, food is being provided, as well as education and health services.

Until Daesh (ISIS or the Islamic State) entered the camp on April 1, 2015, the figure of 18,000 residents continued to be reported consistently for the next year and a half despite a siege that cut off electricity and water and reduced the availability of essential food and medical supplies. More than a hundred civilians are reported to have died of starvation or lack of medical treatment during those eighteen months. Who are the remaining civilians and why are they refusing to evacuate to outside shelter like so many others?

Local humanitarian relief supervisors report (personal communication) that some of them are not from Yarmouk and some are not Palestinian. They include the families of Syrian and foreign fighters that are trying to overthrow the Syrian government by force of arms, and some of them came from districts adjacent to Yarmouk, such as the Daesh stronghold of Hajar al-Aswad. It is hard to know how many are being forcibly prevented from leaving by the armed groups in the camp and how many choose not to leave because they are afraid of the potential consequences.

Some might be considered “human shields”, used by the fighters to deter attacks against them. But they might equally be concerned about becoming “human hostages” if they leave, i.e. of being used to pressure fighters to surrender. The motivations can be complex, but no evidence has been presented to show that the Syrian government is preventing civilians from leaving the camp. In fact, 90% of the population has already left.

Is the Syrian government preventing the distribution of food and medicine in the camp?

Siege is one of the most common military strategies of the SAA. Typically, the army lays siege to an area and prevents food, medicine and of course arms from entering, to the extent possible. On the other hand it welcomes evacuation of civilians, and provides humanitarian aid to those who leave.

The objective is to remove the civilians from the area as much as possible and then attack the enemy or provoke surrender, sometimes with amnesty as an inducement. This is classic military strategy, though hard on the civilians, as usual.

In the case of Yarmouk, there is another dimension to the siege. The Syrian government has a long-standing agreement with the Palestinian governing council of the camp that it will not enterwithout their request. However, the council has never made such a request and the Syrian authorities have never asked for permission. This agreement still holds, although Palestinian forces defending the camp against Daesh have recently formed a joint command and are coordinating their efforts with the Syrian military, which has been providing artillery and aerial support. In addition, the army has been attacking areas adjacent to Yarmouk that are Daesh strongholds, in order to impede their access to Yarmouk and prevent resupply to Daesh forces in the camp.

There is no indication that the SAA is preventing humanitarian aid from being distributed in Yarmouk. Despite the siege, it has allowed the stockpiling of supplies on the edge of the camp and it has permitted civilians from inside to collect and distribute the aid. However, the government wants the civilians to leave, not to introduce additional persons into the camp, so it is reluctant to allow outsiders to enter, especially in consideration of the fact that they have no means of assuring their safety. Nevertheless, it has permitted humanitarian NGOs, including UNRWA, to distribute aid roughly half the time.

The result has been a modest but insufficient flow of aid to camp residents until Daesh captured much of the area. In the fighting to defend the camp and retake the Daesh-occuped areas, it has been much too dangerous for anyone to undertake aid distribution, with horrific consequences on the remaining civilians. As a result, the number of civilian residents has probably dropped to less than half of the 18,000 initial estimate, despite their qualms about evacuating.

Has the Syrian military been using barrel bombs on Yarmouk?

There is no recorded use of barrel bombs in Yarmouk before the entry of Daesh in late March, 2015. Their use in April, 2015 is confirmed, although the number of casualties due to such ordnance is astonishingly small. One or possibly two barrel bombs appear to have been dropped on the street outside the Palestine Hospital in the camp, but with no reported casualties. Higher numbers have been mentioned, but without evidence.

During the heaviest fighting, the Syrian Air Force (SAAF) has used both conventional bombs delivered by jet aircraft and “barrel” bombs in the Daesh stronghold of Hajar al-Aswad and the adjacent part of Yarmouk. Residents report hearing dozens of explosions, but it is unclear how many were in Yarmouk, how many casualties there may have been and how many were civilians. A total of 18 civilian casualties were counted in all of Yarmouk during a week of intensive fighting at the beginning of April, but none have been attributed to the barrel bombs and it is uncertain who is responsible for the killings.

Does the Syrian army massacre civilians?

One of the main complaints against barrel bombs and the tactics of the SAA is that they cause massive civilian casualties. There is no doubt that disproportionate numbers of civilian casualties have occurred on specific occasions. Overall, however, the number of civilians killed by government forces and loyalists is less than the number of casualties in the fighting forces themselves, possibly as low as two combatants for each civilian. Not since World War One has this been the case for US forces.

As for the “barrel bombs”, the claims of their use against civilians and their exaggerated savagery do not hold up. Like any bomb, they are made of high explosives, sometimes with projectiles added. In this respect they are no different from many types of explosive ordnance used in military forces throughout the world. They are designed for destruction, including destruction of life.

The complaints against them are that a) they are by nature indiscriminate and hit unintended targets and b) they are almost invariably used against civilians. The first is patently untrue. Conventional bombs are usually delivered by fighter-bombers at high speed and often in proximity to the target. In Syrian and other engagements, the speed of delivery offers protection from ground fire. Such speed also reduces accuracy, but the relative proximity to the target compensates substantially for this disadvantage.

Barrel bombs are usually deployed from relatively a greater height that is out of range of ground fire. However, they are dropped from stationary helicopters, which provides greater accuracy that compensates for the height disadvantage. There are few if any reports of barrel bombs failing to hit their intended target (although occasionally the selected target might be the result of poor intelligence).

It has been reported that thousands of barrel bombs have been used by the SAAF since 2012, when they were first deployed, and that there have been thousands of casualties from such weapons. Unfortunately, little more is known except for anecdotal cases. Although some bombs have resulted in only material destruction, others have caused two dozen or more casualties. The available data do not provide much statistical help, such as the average number of casualties per use. Is it more or less than for convention bombs or for US drone weapons, for example? How many of the casualties are civilians and how many combatants? We do not know, but the overall civilian casualty rate remains unusually low compared to most other conflicts in the past century.

What seems clear is that the western press, governments and NGOs have treated barrel bombs as the devil’s weapon. The reason seems to be that while conventional bombs are capable of inflicting just as much damage and loss of life (and are being used extensively by the Ukrainian government), western arsenals do not contain barrel bombs. If these weapons can be sufficiently vilified as a weapon type rather than by their manner of use, Syrian military forces can be blamed for inhumane weaponry without the taint falling upon nations that use different weapons, even ones that are equally or more destructive. Oddly enough, the inhumane DIME and white phosphorous weapons used in Gaza did not provoke equal condemnation, even though the ratio of Israeli military to civilian casualties has been as much as 100 times higher than for the Syrian military.

Why, then, are Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Chris Gunness of UNRWA, and most western press agencies condemning the Syrian government for the use of barrel bombs, for starving camp residents, and for preventing residents from leaving? Palestinians and their supporters are accustomed to false and biased reporting on the subject of Palestine. They know that the western media work overtime to protect Israel. That is their agenda. Do they think that these agencies are unbiased with respect to Syria?

The west, Israel, the Gulf monarchies, Turkey and many sycophants and puppets of western powers have made abundantly clear that they intend to overthrow the Syrian government, in violation of the UN Charter and other international law prohibiting wars of aggression, and against Syrian national sovereignty. AI, HRW, and other human rights imperialists have never once recognized these facts vis-à-vis Syria. In fact, they have supported the west’s illegal push for regime change.

Is it not also clear that western institutions and media are distorting their coverage of Syria in order to promote this goal? Apparently not, even to persons who should know better and are accustomed to seeing such distortions in the reporting on Palestine.

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River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian   

The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Blog!

«حماس ـ القسّام» و«حماس ـ بيت المقدس» ثنائية المقاومة والإرهاب!

«حماس ـ القسّام» و«حماس ـ بيت المقدس» ثنائية المقاومة والإرهاب

خالد العبّود

أمين سرّ مجلس الشعب السوري

حدّثتكم طويلاً عن «حماس»، وتحديداً عن علاقتها بالحاصل في «سيناء» ودورها في مصر منذ بداية أحداث ما سُمّي «بالربيع العربي»، إضافة إلى دورها الذي كان واضحاً جداً في أحداث سورية، ثمّ إلى موقفها من السلطة الجديدة في مصر، فهي حتى اللحظة تعتبر أنّ الحاصل في مصر «انقلاباً على الشرعية»، في الآن الذي ترفض فيه أن يتحدّث أحد عن شرعيتها!

«حماس» التي كانت واضحة في موقفها إلى جانب «الحمديْن» في قطر، وإلى جانب «أردوغان» العثماني وهو يؤكد أنّه: «سوف يصلّي في الجامع الأموي»، بعد أن يسقط «النظام في سورية»، كذلك بالنسبة لتحالفها المطلق مع نظام «الإخوان المصري» بقيادة «مرسي»، الذي كان حاقداً على سورية، يؤكد الموقع الذي وضعت «حماس» نفسها فيه، وهو ما جعلها بالمعنى السياسي وعلى مستوى الرأس، أن تكون في صفّ ما سمّي بالنسق الداعم «للربيع العربي»، حيث كانت حاضرة من خلال جماعات تابعة لها على الأرض نفّذت ما كان مطلوباً منها، إن كان على مستوى دورها الميداني في مصر خلال الأحداث الأولى أو من خلال دورها اللاحق لأحداث «سيناء» وتوابعها، كما أنّه كان واضحاً أنّ هناك دوراً ميدانياً لها في أحداث سورية، في أكثر من مكان وأكثر من موقع، حيث كان يعوّل عليها في شكل كبير، خصوصاً أنّ أدواتها على الأرض كانت جزءاً من بنية المكان ومكوّناً من مكونات الواقع، في ظلّ تركيبة سورية كانت تعتبر «حاضنة» للمقاومة.

غير أنّ هناك شيئاً مختلفاً كان يحصل خلال أكثر من عدوان على غزّة، فقد كانت «حماس» في غزّة شيئاً آخر، «حماس» التي كانت حاضرة من خلال «كتائب القسام» والتي كانت تقاتل في وجه العدوان الصهيوني، نراها في سورية تقاتل من مكّنها كي تكون حاضرة وقويّة في غزّة في وجه الاحتلال وملحقاته، حيث انخرطت سياسياً وعسكرياً وأمنيّاً من أجل إسقاط الدولة السورية، حتى بدا واضحاً أخيراً أنّ هناك فصيلاً مستقلاً كان يعمل تحت سلطة «حماس» وهو ما دعي بـ «أكناف بيت المقدس»!

الحقيقة أنّ أحداً لم يستطع أن يحلّ لغز «حماس»، في الداخل مقاومة بقيادة ذكية كانت واضحة في مواقفها خلال العدوان على غزة، أدت أداء فذّاً ورائعاً، إلى جانب فصائل فلسطينية لم تصب بما أصيبت به «حماس»، فهي في الداخل الفلسطيني مقاومة بالغة راشدة قادرة على قراءة الواقع موضوعيّاً وحقيقيّاً، مدركة أبعاد الصراع الرئيسية، عارفة متقيدة بخطوط واضحة ملتزمة بعناوين استراتيجية عالية وكبيرة، في حين أنّها في مواقع خارج غزة ليست كذلك، فهي «حماس» التي تمتهن الإرهاب والقتل، والتي تمارس مراهقة فكرية وسياسية غير القادرة على قراءة شيء في شكل موضوعي وحقيقي، الغارقة في أوهام وعناوين مذهبية متخلفة، وهي غير قادرة على فهم الجزء اليسير ممّا هو حاصل بين موقفها على مستوى الداخل الغزاوي وموقفها على مستوى الخارج.

«حماس» بهذا المعنى لم تكن لغزاً كما بدا للبعض، وإنما كانت «حماس» المزدوجة، «حماس» التي لم يكن بمقدورها أن تلعب دوراً واحداً من هذين الدورين، فهي في الداخل الفلسطيني من خلال ضلعها العسكري «كتائب القسّام» حركة مقاومة فذّة، ومن خلال ضلعها العسكري «أكناف بيت المقدس» في الخارج حركة إرهابية بامتياز، لكنّه ليس من المعقول أن يكون الرأس واحداً لهذين الضلعين، بمعنى أن من يعطي الأوامر في غزّة أو يقود «حماس القسّام» لا يمكن أن يكون هو نفسه الذي يقود «حماس بيت المقدس»، إذ أنّ هناك شيئاً ليس طبيعيّاً أو موضوعيّاً إذا أخذنا بمقولة أن القيادة واحدة وأن الرأس واحد.

«حماس القسّام» في الداخل الغزاوي كانت أولوية بالنسبة لمحور المقاومة، ولم تكن كذلك خارج غزّة، غير أنّ التحالف الصاعد على مستوى المنطقة والإقليم والذي كان «الإخوان المسلمون» جزء منه أراد أن يوجد البديل عن «حماس القسّام»، كون أنّ «حماس القسّام» فصيل متماسك جدّاً، أخذت به أياد أمينة، وسلّحته رؤوس قادرة على المناورة والالتفاف جيّداً، وليس بالإمكان هزيمته أمنيّاً، علماً أنّ هناك محاولات حصلت بهذا السياق خلال السنوات القليلة الماضية، وهي جملة اغتيالات لقيادات أمنية في «حماس» كانت تشكل «ضباط ارتباط» هم جزء من خريطة تماسك «حماس القسّام».

إنّ «القوّة البديلة» عن «حماس القسّام»، كانت رئيسية أساسية من أجل دور «حماس» القادم والصاعد، والتي هي جزء من تحالف العدوان، أو ما سمي «بالربيع العربي»، غير أنّ هذه القوة الجديدة كان مطلوباً منها دور جديد مختلف عن دور «حماس القسّام»، حيث كان مطلوباً منها أن تكون في مواجهة الجيشين «المصري والسوري»، بدلاً من أن تكون في مواجهة «جيش الاحتلال الصهيوني»!

إن الاستخبارات «القطرية الإسرائيلية» سارعت إلى العمل على تشكيل هذا البديل، في كلّ من مصر وسورية، ووضعته في مواجهة كلّ من الجيشين، في الآن الذي كانت فيه قوات الاحتلال الصهيوني تشنّ عدوانين كبيرين على غزّة بغية التخلص من «حماس القسّام»، لاختصار «حماس» الصاعدة عسكرياً بما سمّي بـ «أكناف بيت المقدس»!

استخبارات حلف المقاومة كانت تدرك أبعاد المعركة الأمنية على «حماس» وكانت تخوضها ببسالة هائلة، فهي تعلم أنّ أوّل مسمار في نعش «حماس القسّام» سيكون من خلال انشقاقها عن «الجسد الحمساوي التاريخي»، وبالتالي كان لا بدّ من الإبقاء على هذا الجسد مع التركيز على هزيمة «حماس بيت المقدس»، والإبقاء على «حماس القسّام» قوية متعافية بعيدة عن أيادي القيادات السياسية الإخوانية في «حماس»، وهو ما نجحت به تماماً!.

من هنا أرى أنّ الواقع يتطلب تعاوناً استخباراتياً «سوريّاً مصريّاً إيرانيّاً» لمكافحة «إرهاب حماس»، وهو إرهاب استخباراتي «إسرائيلي قطري»، لا يمكن أن يواجه إلا بهذا المعنى وهذا الفهم الذي نؤكد عليه.

لو أنّ «الإخوان المسلمين» في مصر نجحوا في بقائهم على رأس السلطة، كما أنّ «الإخوان المسلمين» في سورية نجحوا في الوصول إلى السلطة، لكانت «حماس بيت المقدس» القوة البديلة الأساسية عن «حماس القسّام»، ولكنّا رأينا «حماس الإخوانية» هي رئيسية المشهد، لكنّها قولاً واحداً لن تكون غزّة عاصمة حضورها!


River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian   

The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Blog!

President Assad’s Interview with Swedish Expressen News

Posted on April 18, 2015 by Alexandra Valiente



Damascus, SANA – President Bashar al-Assad described in an interview with the Swedish ExpressenNewspaper  the outcomes of Moscow talks as a breakthrough and said that the UN envoy’s Aleppo plan, which is supported by the government, was spoiled by external intervention, renewing his warning that the terrorism imported to Syria will “bite” its backers whenever it has the chance.

He also called on Sweden to influence the EU to lift the economic sanctions imposed on the Syrian people.

The following is full text of the interview:

Question 1: Mr. President, I would like to offer my most sincere thanks on behalf of Expressen for giving us this interview. Thank you so much. While we are sitting here, doing this interview, the terrorist organization ISIS and even al-Nusra is overrunning al-Yarmouk refugee camp. At the same time, al-Nusra is controlling the Syrian-Jordanian border and have taken control over Idleb. How serious would you describe the situation now?

President Assad: Whenever you talk about terrorism, it’s always serious, because it’s always dangerous, anytime, anywhere, no matter how. That’s what you always say about terrorism, and it is not related directly to the example you have mentioned, because this is only a manifestation of terrorism. It’s a long process that started years ago even before the crisis in Syria. Terrorism is serious and dangerous because it doesn’t have borders, it doesn’t have limits. It could hit anywhere, it’s not a domestic issue. It’s not even regional; it’s global, that’s why it’s always dangerous. In our case, it’s more dangerous, let’s say, the situation is worse not only because of the military situation that you have mentioned in your question. Actually because this time it was having a political umbrella by many countries, many leaders, many officials, but mainly in the West. Many of those officials didn’t see the reality at the very beginning. It’s more dangerous this time because we don’t have international law, and you don’t have the effective international organization that would protect a country from another country that uses the terrorists as a proxy to destroy another country. That’s what’s happening in Syria. So, I’ll say yes, it is dangerous, but at the same time, it’s reversible. As long as it’s reversible, it’s not too late to deal with it. It’s going to be more serious with the time when the terrorists indoctrinate the hearts and minds of people.

Question 2: But they are overrunning more areas in Syria. Are the Syrian forces and army weakened?

President Assad: That’s the natural, normal repercussion of any war. Any war weakens any army, no matter how strong, no matter how modern. It undermines and weakens every society, in every aspect of the word; the economy, the society, let’s say, the morals, and of course the army as part of this society. That’s normal.

Question 3: But is the army weaker than before? Because last year, we could see win-win effect from your side, from the army’s side, you overrunning more areas, more control over al-Qalamoun and other areas, but now, they have control over Idleb, as an example.

President Assad: It’s not related to that issue, whether it’s stronger or weaker. As I said, any war undermines any army, that’s the natural course of events. But in your case, when you look at the context of the war for the last four years, you have ups and downs. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, and that depends on many criteria, some of them related to domestic, internal and military criteria, or factors, let’s say, which is more precise. Some of them are related to how much support the terrorists have. For example, the recent example that you mentioned about Idleb, the main factor was the huge support that came through Turkey; logistic support, and military support, and of course financial support that came through Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

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Question 4: Is it information, or is it an opinion?

President Assad: Information, everything, they were like one army; the terrorists, al-Nusra Front which is part of al-Qaeda, and the Turkish government or institutions or intelligence, were like one army in that battle, so it doesn’t depend on the weakening of our army. It depended more on how much support the terrorists have from Turkey.

Question 5: Turkey and Qatar and Saudi Arabia, they had an agenda four years ago. Did it change? Did they change that agenda?

President Assad: First of all, they’re not independent countries, so they won’t have their own agenda. Sometimes they have their own narrow-minded behavior or vengeful behavior or hateful behavior that’s been used by others’ agenda, let’s be frank here, sometimes the United States. So, we cannot say that they have their own agenda, but they haven’t changed. They still support the same terrorists, because this behavior is not related to the crisis in Syria. They supported the terrorists in Afghanistan, they supported the Wahhabi ideology, the extremism that led to terrorism recently in Europe, for decades, and now they are supporting the same ideology and the same factions under different labels and names in Syria. So, there’s nothing to change because this is their natural behavior.

Question 6: Which ideology you mean?

President Assad: The Wahhabi ideology, which forms the foundation for every terrorism in the world. No terrorist acts for the last decades in the Middle East and in the world happened without this ideology. Every terrorist bases his doctrine on the Wahhabi ideology.

Question 7: Wahhabi ideology, it’s linked to 9-11 and all the terrorist groups. Doesn’t the United States know about that link between Wahhabi ideology and terrorists? But they continue to support Saudi Arabia.

President Assad: This is a very important question, because the United States in the 1980s called the same groups of al-Qaeda and Taliban, in Afghanistan, they called them holy fighters, and that’s what president Bush described them as, holy fighters. And then, after the 11th of September 2001, they called them terrorists. The problem with the United States and of course some Western officials is that they think you can use terrorism as a card in your pocket, as a political card. Actually, terrorism is like a scorpion; whenever it has the chance, it will bite. So, they know, but they didn’t estimate how dangerous terrorism is to be used as a political card.

Question 8: Mr. President, the official Syrian delegation and part of the opposition have recently met in Moscow. Are there any effective results of that meeting?

President Assad: Actually, yes. We can say yes, because this meeting was the first time to reach – because you know we had many dialogues before – this is the first time to reach an agreement upon some of the principles that could make the foundation for the next dialogue between the Syrians. We haven’t finalized it yet, because the schedule of that meeting was very comprehensive, so four days wasn’t enough. Actually, two days, it was four days, but two days between the government and the other opposition representatives. It wasn’t enough to finalize the schedule, but because when you have a breakthrough, even if it’s a partial breakthrough, it means that the next meeting will be promising in reaching a full agreement about what are the principles of Syrian dialogue that will bring a Syrian, let’s say, solution to the conflict.

Question 9: It’s very important, what you say, Mr. President, because the United Nations’ Syria Envoy, Mr. Staffan de Mistura, he’s planning a series of consultations to begin in May or June to assess the chance of finding a common ground between the main states with an interest in the conflict. What do you think about it?

President Assad: Actually, I agree with de Mistura about this point, because if we want to look at the conflict in Syria as only an internal conflict between Syrian factions, that’s not realistic and that’s not objective. Actually, the problem is not very complicated, but it became complicated because of external intervention, and any plan you want to execute in Syria today in order to solve the problem – and that’s what he faced in his plan towards Aleppo – it will be spoiled by external intervention. That’s what happened in Aleppo, when the Turks told the factions, the terrorists they support and supervise, to refuse to cooperate with de Mistura, so I think he’s aware that if he couldn’t convince these countries to stop supporting the terrorists and let the Syrians solve their problem, he will not succeed.

Question 10: What is your opinion about de Mistura’s efforts?

President Assad: We discussed with him the plan for Aleppo, and it comes in line with our efforts in making reconciliations in different areas in Syria. This is where we succeeded, and this is where you could make things better, when you have people going back to their normality, when the government gives them amnesty and they turn in their armaments, and so on.  So, his plan for Aleppo comes in line with the same principle of reconciliation, so we supported it from the very beginning, and we still support his efforts in that regard.

Question 11: Mr. President, Sweden is the only country in Europe that grants permanent rights of stay for people that flee the war in Syria. What has that meant, and how do you view Sweden’s policy?

President Assad: In that regard or in general?

Question 12: In that regard, that’s right.

President Assad: I think that’s something that’s appreciated around the world, not only in our country, and this humanitarian stand of Sweden is appreciated regarding different conflicts, including the Syrian one. So, this is a good thing to do, to give people refuge, but if you ask the Syrian people who fled from Syria “what do you want?” They don’t want to flee Syria because of the war; they want to end that war. That’s their aim, that’s our aim. So, I think if you give people refuge, it is good, but the best is to help them in going back to their country. How? I think Sweden is an important country in the EU. It can play a major role in lifting the sanctions, because many of the Syrians who went to Sweden or any other country, didn’t only leave because of the terrorist acts; they left because of the embargo, because they have no way for living, they want the basics for their daily livelihood. Because of the embargo, they had to leave Syria, so lifting the embargo that has affected every single Syrian person and at the same time banning any European country from giving an umbrella to terrorists under different names, whether they call it peaceful opposition, whether they call it moderate opposition. It’s been very clear today, it’s been proved, that this opposition that they used to support is the same al-Nusra and al-Qaeda and Muslim Brotherhood. Third one is to make pressure over countries that support terrorists and prevent any plan of peace in Syria, like the one that you mentioned, of Mr. de Mistura, to be implemented in Syria, mainly Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Turkey. So I think this is the best help and humanitarian help on the political title that Sweden could offer to the Syrian people.

Question 13: Embargo and war, and millions of refugees or people who fled from the country. This has been described as the worst refugee crisis since World War II. How big of a responsibility, Mr. President, do you have for this situation?

President Assad: I think to compare between what’s happening in Syria, even from a humanitarian point of view, and what happened in World War II, I think it’s kind of a huge exaggeration. We cannot compare, for political reasons. But regardless of this exaggeration, we have millions of people who are displaced from their areas to other areas because of the terrorist acts, and that’s a huge burden. Actually, so far, we bear the major brunt of the crisis. You hear a lot of fuss about what the international organizations and what they call themselves “friends of Syria” spend money and give support and donations to the Syrians. Actually, if you want to have just a glimpse of what we are doing, for example in 2014, last year, all those countries and organizations offered in the food sector 22% of what we offer as a country during the war. That’s a huge difference, which is 1 to 5.

Question 14: Inside the country?

President Assad: Inside Syria, yes. Regarding the healthcare sector, it was 1 to 18 in our favor. So actually, we are bearing the brunt. Besides that, we’re still paying salaries, sending vaccines to the children, offering and providing the basic requirements for the hospitals in the areas that are under the control of the terrorists. So, we are still running the country and bearing the brunt.

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Question 15: According to SAPO, the Swedish intelligence agency, returning jihadists – there are many here in Syria now – returning jihadists are the biggest domestic threat in Sweden today. Do you agree?

President Assad: I wouldn’t look at terrorism as domestic or as regional. As I said, it’s global. So, if you want to look at Sweden as part of Europe or part of the Scandinavian group of European countries, you have to take into consideration that the most dangerous leaders of ISIS in our region are Scandinavian.

Question 16: This is information?

President Assad: Yes, it’s information. That’s what we have as information. So, you cannot separate this group of countries or Sweden from Europe. As long as you have terrorism growing in different European countries, Sweden cannot be safe. As long as the backyard of Europe, especially the Mediterranean and Northern Africa is in chaos and full of terrorists, Europe cannot be safe. So, yes I agree that it is a primary or prime threat, but you cannot call it domestic, but it’s a threat.

Question 17: Has Sweden asked you to share information about these ISIS fighters or other jihadists?

President Assad: No, there’s no contact between our intelligence agencies.

Question 18: Mr. President, in December 2010, Taimour Abdulwahab, a Swedish terrorist who was trained in Iraq and Syria, carried out a suicide attack in Stockholm. Recently, the same scenario in Paris, Charlie Hebdo, and even Copenhagen. Do you think Western countries will face the same scenario in the future?

President Assad: Actually, everything that happened in Europe, and I mean terrorist attacks, we warned from at the very beginning of the crisis, and I said Syria is a fault line, when you mess with this fault line you will have the echoes and repercussions in different areas, not only in our area, even in Europe. At that time, they said the Syrian president is threatening. Actually, I wasn’t threatening; I was describing what’s going to happen. It doesn’t take a genius because that’s the context of events that happened many times in our region, and we have experience with those kinds of terrorists for more than 50 years now. They didn’t listen, so what happened was warned of before, and what we saw in France, in Charlie Hebdo, the suicide attempts in Copenhagen, in London, in Spain, ten years ago, this is only the tip of the iceberg; terrorism is a huge mountain. It’s not isolated events. When you have those isolated events, you have to know that you have a big mountain under the sea that you don’t see. So, yes, I expect, as long as you have this mountain, and as long as many European officials are still adulating countries like Saudi Arabia and Qatar just for their money and selling their values and allowing the Wahhabi dark ideology to infiltrate and be instilled in some communities in Europe, we have to expect more attacks in that regard.

Question 19: What is the most effective way to deal with terrorism?

President Assad: First of all, terrorism is not a war. First of all, it’s a state of mind, it’s a culture, so you have to deal with this culture. You have to deal with it in an ideological way, and that implicates the education and the culture. Second, those terrorists exploit the poor people. You have to deal with poverty, so economic growth is very important, development. Third, you have to deal with the political issue that’s being used by these terrorists in order to indoctrinate those youths or children in solving the political problems in our region, for example the peace issue was one of the primary reasons for those terrorists to recruit terrorists.

Question 20: Which peace? You mean the peace process?

President Assad: I mean between the Arabs and the Israelis. Solving this problem, because this is one of the reasons to having desperation, you have to deal with the desperation of those youths who wanted to go and die to go to heaven to have a better life. That’s how they think. So, you have to deal with these desperations. The last measure is exchanging information between the intelligence. War is only to defend yourself against terrorism. You cannot go and attack terrorism by war, you can only defend yourself if they use military means, so that’s how we can defend against terrorism.

Question 21: Mr. President, ISIS has asked its supporters from around the world to come to Syria and Iraq to populate their so-called caliphate. How do you see the future for ISIS?

President Assad: I don’t think that ISIS so far has any real incubator in our society. Let me talk about Syria first. I cannot talk on behalf of other societies in our region, because when you talk about ISIS it’s not a Syrian issue now; Syrian, Iraqi, Lebanese, Libyan, in Egypt, in many areas they have it. But regarding Syria, they don’t have the incubator, so if you want to talk about the short term, ISIS doesn’t have a future, but in the midterm, in the long term, when they indoctrinate the hearts and minds of the people, especially the youths and children. This area will have only one future; al-Qaeda future, which is ISIS, al-Nusra, and Muslim Brotherhood, and this is going to be your backyard, I mean the European backyard.

Question 22: In the middle and long term, it’s very dangerous.

President Assad: Of course it is, because you can take procedures against many things, but ideology you cannot control.  When it is instilled, it’s very difficult to get rid of. So, when it’s instilled, this is the only future of the region.

Question 23: ISIS and al-Nusra, they get help, they receive support from outside, you said Turkey, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and like that, but so does your side too. You have Hezbollah fighting for you. Do you need Hezbollah here in Syria?

President Assad: As a Swedish citizen, you don’t accept anyone to tell you or to draw comparison between Taimour Abdulwahab, for example, as a terrorist, and your government, no matter whether you agree with your government or oppose your government. The same for Charlie Hebdo, terrorists and the French government, you cannot make comparison. So, we don’t accept as Syrians to have comparison between the state and the terrorist organizations. Our mission is to help the country, to defend the citizens, while I don’t think this is the role of ISIS or al-Nusra or the Muslim Brotherhood. Their role, actually, is only to kill people and terrorize them. So, you cannot make a comparison. Second, as a government, we have the right to ask for support from any state or organization or any entity that will help us in our war against terrorism. Third, because when I said terrorism cannot be a domestic issue, and this is wrong to look at it as a domestic issue, the good thing is to have cooperation with different powers in the region. For example, we had cooperation between the Syrians and the Iraqis even before the rise of ISIS recently during the summer of last year in Mosul. Before that we had good cooperation, intelligence and even military, for one reason; because the Iraqis were aware that the terrorism in Syria could spill over to Iraq, and that’s what happened in Mosul. The same is with the Lebanese. So, Hezbollah is aware that terrorism in Syria means terrorism in Lebanon. Chaos here means chaos there, so this kind of regional cooperation is very important for all of us.

Question 24: Mr. President, once again you are accused for having used chemical weapons in Syria. Two sets of tests carried out for The Times and medical charities reveal that your forces chlorine and cyanide, according to The Times and even Amnesty International, I think. What do you have to say about it?

President Assad: We always said this is propaganda against Syria from the very first day, to demonize the president to demonize the state, in order to bring the hearts and minds of the Syrian people toward their agenda. That didn’t work, and if you want to compare this propaganda to what is happening now in the West regarding Ukraine, it’s nearly the same; demonizing Putin and telling and forging, a lot of videos and things that only tell the public opinion in the West lies. This is reality. Western people should be aware about this. That doesn’t mean we don’t have mistakes, we don’t have something wrong or something bad going on, but at the end, this media propaganda doesn’t reflect the reality in our region. So, talking about the chemical weapons, they didn’t have a single evidence regarding this, and even the numbers that are being published by many European organizations as part of that propaganda were varied from 200 victims to 1,400 victims. It means it’s not objective, it’s not precise, and so far there’s no evidence that those people were killed because of this attack. The only evidence that we have when the committee came from the United Nations, it proved that the sarin gas was used in that area, but they couldn’t tell how and by whom, so they just keep accusing Syria of that. That’s not realistic, because if you want to use WMDs, you don’t kill a few hundreds; you kill tens of thousands of people, and that’s beside the capital, it will affect everyone. So, many stories regarding this issue are not correct. Second, we are the party who asked the United Nations to send a delegation to verify this allegation.

Question 25: You still do that?

President Assad: We did, Syria did. Syria asked the United Nations, not any other country. When there was proof that terrorists used it in the north of Syria, they didn’t try to verify it. They didn’t mention it. So it’s part of the political agenda against Syria.

Question 26: As you know there are many serious allegations against your government, about human rights abuses committed by your side. How much do you know about torture in your prisons here?

President Assad: When you talk about torture we have to differentiate between policy of torture and individual incidents that happen by any individual. When you talk about a policy of torture, the closest example is what happened in Guantanamo. In Guantanamo, there was a policy of torture by the American administration that was endorsed by president Bush and by his minister of defense and the rest of the administration. With Syria we never had under any circumstances such a policy. If you have any breach of law, torture, revenge, whatever, it could be an individual incident that the one who committed should be held accountable for. So, that’s what could happen anywhere in the world, like any other crime.

Question 27: Can Amnesty International or Red Cross visit your prisons here?

President Assad: We had many reporters and many organizations that came to Syria, but if you want to mention a certain name to come and visit, that depends on the kind of cooperation a certain organization and our government and that depends on the credibility of the organization. But in principle, many organizations and entities can visit our prisons.

Question 28: Mr. President, I have covered the war in Syria for the last four years. I met different groups and activists who were involved in the conflict. I even met soldiers from your army here. Some of those activists are actually not Islamists. I have been told that they fight for freedom. What would you like to say to them?

President Assad: We never said every fighter is an Islamist. We know that. But they are prevailing now, the terrorists, ISIS and al-Nusra, but if you want to talk about freedom, freedom is a natural instinct in every human since our ancestor Adam, and this is a divine thing for anyone to ask for, so it’s going to be illogical and unrealistic and against the nature of the Earth and the people to be against freedom. But we have to ask a few simple questions. Is killing people part of that freedom? Is destroying schools and banning children from going to schools part of that freedom? Destroying the infrastructure, electricity, communications, sanitation system, beheading, dismemberment of victims. Is that freedom? I think the answer to that question is very clear to everyone regardless of their culture. So, we support anyone who works to get more freedom, but in an institutional way, under the constitution of that country, not by violence and terrorism and destroying the country. There’s no relation between that and freedom.

Question 29: They blame even the Syrian army for the same things, as in killing and like that.

President Assad: They have to prove. I mean, the army has been fighting for four years. How can you withstand a war against so many countries, great countries and rich countries, while you kill your people? How could you have the support of your people? That’s impossible. That’s against reality, I mean, that’s unpalatable.

Question 30: If you could turn back the time to 2011 and the start of the crisis, what would you, with the benefit of hindsight, have done differently?

President Assad: We have to go to the basics first. I mean, the two things that we adopted in the very beginning: fight the terrorists, and at the same make dialogue, and we started dialogue during the first year, a few months after the beginning of the conflicts in Syria. We invited everyone to the table to make dialogue, and we cooperated with every initiative that came from the United Nations, from the Arab League, and from any other country, regardless of the credibility of that initiative, just in order not to leave any stone unturned and not to give anyone the excuse that they didn’t do this or didn’t do that. So, we tried everything. So, I don’t think anyone could say that we should have gone in a different way, whether regarding the dialogue or fighting terrorism. These are the main pillars of our policy since the beginning of the problem. Now, any policy needs execution and implementation. In implementation, you always have mistakes and that’s natural. So, to talk about doing things differently, it could be about the details sometimes, but I don’t think now the Syrians would say we don’t want to make dialogue or we don’t want to fight terrorism.

Question 31: Mr. President, Sweden has just had a diplomatic quarrel with Saudi Arabia. What is you analysis of the crisis between Sweden and Saudi Arabia?

President Assad: Whenever you want to discuss any relation between any two countries, the first question is what are the commonalities. What are the shared values between the two countries? In that case, between Sweden and Saudi Arabia, I would ask very simply: the shared values, is it about the political system, or the democracy, or the elections, or the human rights, or women rights, where they don’t have the right even to drive a car, or is it the beheading in public squares, or flogging the people because they write their opinion on Twitter or any social networking site publically? Is that the shared values? As long as you don’t have those shared values, we expect this kind of quarrel. There’s only one way to not have it: either to adulate to the Saudis for their money, or to sell your values that you are proud of to them for their petrodollars. As long as you stick to your values, you have to expect this kind of quarrel.

Question 32: You’re not surprised?

President Assad: No, not all. Actually, many were surprised maybe by the positive Swedish position, because what we got used to in Europe is to have officials in Europe only adulate the Saudis, talking about democracy in Syria for example, while their best friends are the Saudis, a medieval state, so this is a double standard. So, we were surprised by the one standard in Sweden, to be frank, but we are surprised positively.

Question 33: You mean that Syria and Sweden, for example, have more common values than Saudi Arabia and Sweden?

President Assad: I don’t want to exaggerate and say we have the same level of system, because we have our own society, our own circumstances, but Syria was at least on the way to democracy, at least we had a parliament for more than eight decades now. Women are in the parliament since that time, they have the right of election, again, since the beginning of the last century. You cannot compare Syria with Saudi Arabia. But we are on the way toward more democracy, and that’s a natural process. Democracy is not a prescription, it’s not only laws and decrees. Actually, it’s a long process. It’s a social and legislative process at the same time. So, we are moving in that way, while Saudi Arabia never knew anything about this word. They never moved, they never tried to understand it, they don’t accept it as a principle. So, that’s the comparison I would like to talk about if you want to talk about Saudi Arabia, Sweden, and Syria.

Question 34: Very important thing you said now, Syria is or was on the way to more democracy. Didn’t the West understand that before the war?

President Assad: Many in the West understood this, but actually at the beginning of the crisis they were led by the Qatari propaganda, the Saudi propaganda and intelligence, so some of them knew, and some didn’t, they were deceived by what they heard from those countries, but they knew that before the crisis we were moving in that regard. But the problem with the West is that they look at democracy as a goal. It’s not the goal; it’s the process. The goal is prosperity. Democracy is a tool to reach that prosperity, and we are using that tool and moving in that regard. So, it takes time, and that’s natural.

Question 35: Still?

President Assad: Now, in the crisis, the priority to the Syrian people is survival now, because it’s an existential threat to the Syrian people. When you talk about terrorism, it’s an existential threat. So, people first think about their safety and the safety of the country. How can you have democracy while you don’t have life first? You need life first, you need safety, you need security, then you can talk about democracy. You cannot reverse things.

Question 36: What’s your advice to Sweden, regarding the Saudi Arabia and Sweden quarrel?

President Assad: We would like to see in every country in the world, but mainly in the West – we got used to it using double standards – we would like to see everyone stick to their values like Sweden, and we would like to see Sweden stick to its values, because in those values you have your interests as a Swedish citizen, and in your values we have interests, as a developing country. We have the same interests in those values, while when you have double standards, you don’t get your interests as you want and you’re going to pay the price, so that’s the only advice. We want them to stick to their values.

Question 37: Back to Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia tried recently to apply its censorship policy on the local media and even state television in Lebanon, and even TV stations here in Syria. Is Saudi Arabia a key power in the world today? In Sweden, Lebanon, Syria, everywhere?

President Assad: When you want to talk about a country that’s a key power you have to look at the geopolitical position of that country. Second, the history of that country. Third, it needs to be independent. If it’s not independent, it cannot be a key power. Fourth, you have to look at the heritage. When you look at the history, you look at the heritage. What is the heritage of this country? Let’s go back only a few decades: supporting terrorists in Afghanistan, and creating a problem whose price we still pay till today in Afghanistan and Pakistan and now the rest of the world, Algeria in the 1990s, now Syria, Libya, the same ideology. This is their heritage; beheading, dark ideology, and so on. This is the only heritage that they offered, and recently the aggression against Yemen, killing the poor people, destroying their infrastructure, food factories, airports, Yemen is a very poor country. What do you get when you attack the public property?  It’s not Huthi or any other one, it’s the public, the general public. So, this is the heritage of Saudi Arabia. What would we expect from such a country? I wouldn’t call a country that destabilizes its region as a key power. It can be a key power when you play a role in stabilizing your region. When you want to destabilize, any terrorist can destabilize anywhere. We cannot call terrorists, as individuals or organizations or states, as key powers. I wouldn’t call them key powers.

Question 38: Before the war in Yemen, Saudi Arabia, according to you, your government, was supporting still supporting terrorists organizations here in Syria. Now Saudi Arabia is officially involved in the war in Yemen. How do you read this scene?

President Assad: I just talked about it. When you attack a country illegally, you don’t have any mandate from the Security Council because there’s no threat to the security in the world or in the region. So, to launch such a war is just an aggression. That’s how we look at it. It’s an aggression, it’s going to create more animosity between the Yemeni people and the Saudi people for no reason. They live beside each other. When you create this animosity, you’re talking about generations of animosity. It’s not one year or two years and so on. So, it’s going to create more instability in our region and all our countries are going to pay the price of that conflict, especially as Saudi Arabia always uses the divisive discourse in any political plan, and since the 1980s they only used the sectarian context, which is very dangerous in our region, to talk about sectarian conflict or to promote or to incite or to stoke the fire of any sectarian conflict.

Question 39: What do you think about the future of Saudi Arabia, now when they are officially involved in a war in Yemen?

President Assad: In brief, and it’s not only regarding the war in Yemen, it’s related to the whole behavior of Saudi Arabia for decades now. Whenever you adopt hateful, vengeful behavior, when you harbor extremism and terrorism, all these things can hurt others anywhere in the world, but in the end it will destroy its carrier. It will destroy it.

Question 40: It will destroy Saudi Arabia?

President Assad: Terrorism, extremism, vengeful and hateful behavior will destroy it, so yes.

Question 41: Will it be a divided country?

President Assad: Nobody knows how, but it will destroy it. How? Nobody knows. You have many scenarios. So, I wouldn’t foretell how, but the end result is destruction.

Question 42: Mr. President, the war in Syria has entered its fifth year. We talked about Idleb now and about the border between Jordan and Syria and other areas. How much of the territory of Syria do you actually control? We heard a number, 10% of the country.

President Assad: This is not realistic, I mean the number, otherwise you wouldn’t be here in Damascus city with me, and you would be doing the interview with the opposition leader who would be in charge of the country, so that’s not realistic. But again, I mean, we cannot look at it regarding those numbers, whether it’s fifty or sixty or seventy. First of all this is not a traditional war, not a war between two regular armies and the first one makes an incursion in the land of the second army. Actually, it’s untraditional war where terrorists can fill the vacuum wherever there is no army or security in Syria, and you know you cannot be, I mean as an army, you cannot be everywhere in every part of Syria. So, wherever there is no army, they can exist. But at the same time, every war, nearly every war the army has launched, or nearly every battle in this world, it gained the territory, but again, the terrorists would go to another place. So, in this kind of war, the question since the beginning of the crisis, what was it about? When it started as a propaganda outside Syria and later as terrorist attacks. The main goal was to gain the hearts and minds of the Syrian people, because this is the only way to get rid of this government or this state or this president. This is where they failed. So far, I think they failed because the Syrian people were aware about what is going on. Many of them now support the government against the terrorists and against the external intervention. So, so far I would say that the majority of the Syrian people support their government, and that is the kind of control that you could talk about.

Question 43: The Iraqi army collapsed when ISIS attacked last summer in Mosul. You know that, Mr. President, and the Syrian army is of much higher quality. Why have you not recaptured Raqqa for example from ISIS? Why just air attacks?

President Assad: Because when you have such a war, such a vicious war, terrorists supported by tens of countries around the world, and terrorists coming as recruits from over 100 countries to Syria, and you have anyway a small country, limited resources, you have to put a list of priorities based on military criteria. Otherwise, you will be distracted in your war in every place in Syria, and actually you won’t win any battles. So, you put the priorities, and the final of this list of priorities is to recapture every part of Syria, whether a big city or small village, whether an empty place or an inhabited place, and Raqqa will be one of the main cities that we’re going to capture, but it’s just a matter of time regarding this list I’m talking about.

Question 44: Let me ask another question first. How do you describe the relation between Syria and Iran today?

President Assad: The same relation that we could have described 35 years ago since the Islamic revolution in Iran in 1979, when Syria stood by that revolution, supported it while many countries, but mainly the West and the Gulf states, stood against it, then later Saddam Hussein attacked Iran and we supported Iran. Now, Iran supports Syria. So, it’s a mutual support which is actually an alliance. So, it’s an alliance. That’s how I can describe it.

Question 45: Some critics say that you have sold your country to Iran, and that you would not survive without the help of Iran and Hezbollah. Is it true?

President Assad: If I wanted to adopt this principle, to be ready to sell my country, I would have sold it to the United States, maybe to Israel, maybe to Saudi Arabia, because many countries since the independence of Syria wanted to control Syria for geopolitical reasons. So, if I wanted to sell, I would sell it to the United States first. So, as long as I don’t sell it to anyone, I wouldn’t sell it to Iran. This is first. Second, Iran never tried to control my country. Never. And the Syrian people, by nature, they won’t accept anyone to control their country. So, when Iran supports Syria, that doesn’t mean it controls, doesn’t mean it tries to impose what it wants on the Syrian government. What you say, we couldn’t survive without Iran and Hezbollah, this is a hypothetical question for one reason: sometimes small support in a big war will lead you to bigger results, in any war or any conflict, will give big results. So, whether this support is small or big, it has given a result, we cannot deny this, and their position, supporting Syria, was vital for us. But how was it without their support is difficult to tell. It must have been more difficult, but that doesn’t mean that we couldn’t survive.

Question 46: How much influence does Iran have in Syria?

President Assad: It’s about how we look at the word “influence,” because influence could be positive and it could be negative. If you want to talk about the influence of France and Germany in Europe, it’s very clear, because one of them is a political power and the other one is an economic power. Iran is an important country to our region. It’s a big country, it’s a developed country, proportionally, at least. But that influence, I would look at it in a positive way, because Iran is a country that seeks to have more stability, for its interests. Any country has interests. So, it is influential, but in a positive way.

Question 47: I understand that Iran is an important country to Syria, but do you need help from Hezbollah?

President Assad: Again, for the same reason that I just mentioned, even small help could have a big impact. This is one reason. But regarding Hezbollah in particular, Hezbollah has good experience in untraditional war. So, in this kind of untraditional war, this kind of help is not quantitative help; it’s qualitative help, and sometimes you need that kind of quality that will have good impact and strong impact in our war. So, it’s not about the size of Hezbollah, if you want to compare it to the size of the Syrian army, it’s small, but the kind of war and the kind of experience that they have, they could have a strong impact.

Question 48: It’s well-known now that Hezbollah is in Syria. How much control do you have over them?

President Assad: Every party that fights besides the Syrian army – because you know we have Syrian fighters who are not in the army but who support the army – every faction who fights with the army is working under the leadership of our army, so they don’t work, they don’t have their own battle, or their front, or their own decision. All the battles are under the Syrian army, so we don’t have any problems.

Question 49: You had Khaled Meshaal, he was in Syria for 11-12 years, I think, he stayed in Syria. Now he left Syria to Qatar. The relation between Hamas and Syria wasn’t so well during the war. How is the relation today?

President Assad: There is no relation at all on the formal level or on the popular level. I think now, recently the events in Yarmouk Camp have proved that part of Hamas, which is basically a Muslim Brotherhood organization, supports al-Nusra Front within Yarmouk.

Question 50: They’re supporting a terrorist group?

President Assad: Yes, they work together. Part of them, they work with al-Nusra. That’s why the leadership of Hamas is in Qatar now, calling to help their faction after ISIS attacked al-Nusra and Hamas faction, to ask the other secular Palestinian organizations to help their members.

Question 51: So Hamas in Syria, they’re history today, the relation.

President Assad: I think so, I don’t think the Syrian people will trust them anymore.

Question 52: Mr. President, let us talk about the United States and Ayn al-Arab. The United States is now attacking ISIS from the air. Actually, they are supporting you. How do you describe the military cooperation between you and the United States who is supposed to be your enemy?

President Assad: My enemy, first of all, is the terrorists. Second, there’s no cooperation between Syria and the American army.

Question 53: Indirectly?

President Assad: Definitely no cooperation, although we are making air raids in the same area, sometimes in the same places exactly.

Question 54: Not even coordination?

President Assad: No, no coordination. But I will tell you maybe part of this, let’s say, coincidence, this attack anyway, because the first part of the question that they support us, let’s say nominally, on paper, yes. In reality, no, because if you want a kind of comparison, the average of air raids of the alliance that’s been made by 60 countries, some of them great countries, is much less than the air raids of a small country like Syria. So, for example, sometimes they make less than ten or more than ten air raids a day, while sometimes we make more than 100 a day, sometimes. So, sometimes it’s more than tenfold.

Question 55: Attacking the same place, the same area?

President Assad: The same area, let’s say, in general. So, this is not realistic, I mean, if you want to say are they serious? That’s the question that we raise here: are they serious in fighting terrorists?

Question 56: Are they serious?

President Assad: Because they’re not serious, they cannot help us. That’s the simple conclusion. If they are serious, maybe we could have discussed that question more seriously, that yes, there is some help, there is some influence. It took them four months to liberate a small city, like what you call Kobani in your media. A similar city would take two to three weeks by our army. So, there’s something wrong about their plan. So, actually no, they didn’t help, and in reality ISIS and al-Nusra are expanding nonstop in different countries now. So, if you want to talk about success or help, where is it? We don’t find it so far.

Question 57: But they don’t have permission to fly over Syria.

President Assad: No, it’s illegal. We said publically that this illegal and they don’t have permission.

Question 58: Mr. President, how do you view the future of Syria?

President Assad: Despite all the pain and destruction and bloodshed, every cloud has a silver lining, so we have to look at the white spot in the dark image. This crisis will make every Syrian rethink the weak points that we used to have in our society. For example, many fanatics didn’t see the thin line between being fanatic and being extremist. Many people didn’t see the thin line between extremist and terrorist. So that will push the whole society to shift more toward moderation, although I’m talking about a moderate society, but in every moderate society you have extreme and fanatic corners and spots. So, I think that will push our society to cherish what we had during our history as moderation and as integration, as different colors of the Syrian spectrum. So, from that side, I see it as a good side to build society. Rebuilding the country is not a problem, any country could be rebuilt later, but the main challenge is how to purify the next generation that saw these atrocities from the debris of what they saw psychologically and morally. That is the challenge, I think. I’m not pessimistic. I mean, if we get rid of the terrorists, I’m not pessimistic about the future of Syria.

Question 59: You’re talking about rebuilding the country. Who will pay for that?

President Assad: First of all, the country itself, and when you have the first projects start, the wheel of economy will move forward, and this is where it can generate its financial resources for itself. Second, the countries which supported the Syrian people with investments, like Russia, like China, like Iran, and many others. Third, every country and its investors that didn’t involve themselves or weren’t involved in shedding Syrian blood.

Question 60: In the last four years, I traveled all over the country, from Darra to Lattakia, to everywhere. It seems for me mission impossible to rebuild the country. Is it possible?

President Assad: No, it’s not impossible, because many countries have been destroyed in different crises like wars, like earthquakes, and so on. No, rebuilding the infrastructure, rebuilding the buildings, the concrete, is not something difficult. It’s not a big challenge. The most important challenge is to rebuild the human.

Question 61: That’s what I wanted to ask you about. I visited many houses in Syria, families and like that, and I think that each home in Syria is affected by the war. Children, men, women, elderly people, etc. They need help to rebuild themselves. What can you do? What can the world do to help them?

President Assad: We already started. We don’t have to wait till the end of the war to help those families. We already started helping them by grants, donations, loans, and other special services towards those bereaved families. You have of course different cases, different scenarios, so we already started this. But the most important part of any support is the moral support, how the society and the government embrace those families who lost dear members whether by coincidence or lost them during the fight against terrorists, in the army or the police or by supporting the army or the police directly. So this is the most important, and that’s I think what the Syrian society offered to those families, and that’s why we could withstand for four years, and as you said we are into the fifth year now.

Question 62: You’re talking about the Syrian society. How much is the Syrian society divided today?

President Assad: If the society is divided, automatically the country will be divided. Without this division, there are no such borders to divide a country, only the people can divide it, and it could be divided when you have these clear lines between sects or religions or ethnicities. Now, if you look at the society now in the safe areas, where you have many displaced people coming from place to place, living with each other. You look at the whole spectrum of the Syrian society living together. If you have real division, they wouldn’t live with each other.

Question 63: So, the country isn’t divided today?

President Assad: No, it’s not divided. There’s a big difference, and this is one of the wrong terms that’s been used in the media in the West: that there’s a civil war in Syria. There’s no civil war. Civil war should be based on sectarian or ethnic or certain clear lines. It’s not civil war, it’s a war between society and the terrorists. This is the real war, actually, in Syria. So, otherwise, they wouldn’t live with each other, and you can go and see that with your eyes, see all the spectrum, with no exception. When I say all, I don’t like to use the absolute word, but this is absolute that all the spectrum lives with each other, so it’s still the same. Actually, I would say that this homogeneity today is much stronger than before the war, because of the war, because as I said earlier, the Syrian people learned many lessons from that war. They are closer to each other than before the war.

Question 64: Mr. President, I think few people wish today to be in your place. It’s a very huge responsibility for Syria, what’s happening in Syria. Do you ever wish you could have stayed in London, working as an eye specialist instead?

President Assad: Of course, when I became an eye doctor, which is something I liked, I wanted to be a doctor because I like that profession and that sector. But at the end, I didn’t have my own clinic, I worked in the public sector, and my plan was to stay in the public sector. Actually, I moved from a public sector to a wider public sector, and you know the public sector is about how much you help the public. That’s self evident. So, the same principle with a little bit of a different method. So, there’s no big difference. If I stayed in London – actually I was a doctor in Syria before I became a doctor in London, because I worked here for three years. So, I think you mean to stay as a doctor. So, for me now, I don’t look backwards. The most important thing for me is how much I can help the public in Syria.

Question 65: But what do you miss most from your time in London?

President Assad: We’re talking about a different age, I was young. Maybe I miss youth. But actually, at that time when I used to live in London, when you go to a developed country, you go to specialize there, to get the knowledge, and because you get the knowledge there and you live there, you have to cherish this relation with that country as a country that gives you knowledge in order to develop your country. So, the background, the unconscious feeling toward that country is that country is helping me. You miss now, as Britain and France are the spearhead against Syria, you miss that feeling, that those countries want to help the Syrian people, not to kill them. That is what you miss.

Question 66: Mr. President, you are not only president and a doctor; you are a father. How do you explain to your children what is happening in Syria?

President Assad: Actually, in transparency, because they live in this society, they live with their colleagues at school, they watch different channels, they use the internet to see different kinds of opinions and atrocities at the same time, so you have to be fully transparent to explain to them what is going on. But the most important part of this dialogue is to focus on the values. The values in our society are not taken for granted anymore because of the situation that we’ve been living in. I mean, when they see killing, you have to focus more on the well-being, on the good will of that child. When they see terrorists that don’t accepts the others, that all the others should be killed because they don’t have the same ideology, you have to focus more on the value of accepting the other regardless of his ideology or affiliation. So, these things are the most important part of the dialogue in such a crisis between a father and mother and their children

Question 67: Do the children ask questions about the war?

President Assad: This is a daily dialogue, I think, in every house in Syria. This is our life now. The crisis is our life. The life of the youths, the children, the elderly, and everyone.

Question 68: We know Mr. President that you have lost friends and even relatives in this war. How has that affected you?

President Assad: Like any other family in the Middle East that would always be emotional, and the relation between the members of the family and the relatives and the friends are warm relations, warm links, so any loss will affect you deeply with sadness, but at the same time that will incite you to think more about how can you protect the threatened life in Syria now, that will incite you to think practically about what can you do from your position to help the rest of the Syrians, because the same feeling that I’m suffering from, millions of Syrians are suffering from the same feeling. That could be an important incentive for you to help the rest of the Syrians.

Question 69: Mr. President, what does it take, short of a miracle, to stop the war?

President Assad: First of all, stop the intervention from the outside, and I said earlier that our problem is not very complicated. The solution is very clear, but it’s more complicated because of external intervention. Stop it, stop the flow of terrorism and terrorists coming from Turkey by Saudi Arabia and Qatar with the help of Erdogan himself, stop the flowing of armaments and money to them, stop giving any umbrella to the terrorists by the West under any titles, moderate or any other one. This is where the Syrian problem will be solved in a few months. It will not take long.

Journalist: Thank you, Mr. President.

French version of the interview


مسائية #الركز_الاخباري | مقابلة الرئيس الاسد مع القناة 2 الفرنسية | #الفضائية_السورية

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In Gaza

Given the immense amount of lies and war-mongering prevalent not only in the corporate media/MSM but also amongst Palestine supporters who either unknowingly have got the story of Yarmouk wrong or, worse, are collaborating with the war-mongerers against Syria, and thus against Palestine… I’ve collated some important articles for anyone who is genuinely interested in understanding what is happening in the Yarmouk district of Damascus and how this came to be. Additionally, one excellent investigative article details the situation of Palestinians in Syria and their involvement or not in the “crisis” (read: imperialist-zionist-fat gulf war against Syria).


***Stealing Palestine: Who dragged Palestinians into Syria’s conflict?, Nov 10, 2014, Sharmine Narwani,

Divided PLO unable to manage Yarmouk crisis–Tim Anderson, Apr 13, 2015, Professor Tim Anderson [on In Gaza for those without FB]

ISIS Begins Withdrawal From Yarmouk Camp, Apr 17, 2015, Al Masdar News

Palestinian official: Syria undergoes foreign aggression, keeping silent is treachery, Apr 14, 2015, Al Masdar News

The crisis in Yarmouk camp after the invasion of ISIS, Amal Asfour, Apr 11, 2015, PFLP

Evidence of Mossad-Israel hand in Yarmouk incidents comes to light, Apr 9, 2015, News 786

Yarmouk: The Truth, by Moe Salhi, April 9, 2015, The Wall Will Fall

Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO): “Syrian leadership deals with Yarmouk Camp with sensitivity, any decision will be jointly made”, Apr 10, 2015, SANA

-“Evacuation of refugees from ‪#‎Yarmouk‬ by the ‪#‎SAA‬ into safe areas held by the ‪#‎Syrian_Government‬“, Apr 8, Collated Articles, In Gaza

The Deal in Yarmouk: End of the Tragedy or Empty Words?, Feb 12, 2014, al Akhbar

Palestinian official: Up to 5,000 food packages entered al-Yarmouk camp, Feb 5, 2014, Sana

Starving in Syria: Palestinian refugees die in rebel-held camp, Feb 1, 2014,, VIDEO

‘We want to go out!’: 18,000 starving inside Syrian refugee camp, Feb 1, 2014,

Aid reaches besieged Yarmouk refugee camp in Damascus, Jan 18, 2014, DW

Palestinian minister says Syria rebels blocking Yarmuk aid, Jan 14, 2014, AFP

There is no Palestinian issue for Syrian rebels, Nov 10, 2013, Nadezhda Kevorkova

Palestinian fighters take on Syrian militants at Yarmouk camp, Jul 21, 2013, Press TV, VIDEO

Syria: Civilians Come Under Fire From Rebels, May 15, 2013, Sky News

Respect human life and rights in Yarmouk refugee camp, SSM


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ISIL Terrorists Withdraw from Yarmouk Camp, Southern Damascus

Local Editor
ISILWell-informed sources told Al-Manar that ISIL terrorists withdrew from Yarmouk Palestinian camp, which lies in southern Damascus, and moved to the area of al-Hajar al-Aswad.

ISIL withdrawal followed fierce clashes with its opponents in the camp during the last few weeks.

ISIL militants stormed the camp on April 1, apparently in tandem with rivals from the al-Qaeda-linked al-Nusra Front, even though the two groups have fought bloody battles against each other in other parts of Syria.

Source: Al-Manar Website

16-04-2015 – 21:01 Last updated 16-04-2015 – 21:01

Complete Report from Yarmouk Camp: ISIS’ on the Defensive in the South

Apr 11, 2015, Al Masdar News

The Palestinian resistance forces in the Yarmouk Camp have recently banded together to take on the Islamic State of Iraq and Al-Sham (ISIS) in order to prevent them from taking full control over this district in southern Damascus.

On Friday, the Palestinian resistance took the offensive for the second straight day in Yarmouk Camp, attacking ISIS at the Palestine Street axis on the border of Al-Tadamon – they were able to secure 70 percent of Palestine Street as a result of their offensive.

Leading the offensive in eastern Yarmouk was the Palestine Liberation Army (PLA), who is currently on the frontlines against ISIS near Libya Street and the School District Street; if they’re able to take the latter street, they will have control of 75 percent of the district.

However, despite the offensive to retake the Yarmouk Camp, the Palestinian resistance is surprisingly at a disadvantage in the southern quarter of this district due to the  vast network of tunnels that were created by the Free Syrian Army during their 2012 offensive to capture it.

According to a Palestinian source from the Jarmana Camp, many of the ISIS fighters have utilized these tunnels to transport supplies to their embattled fighters on the frontlines, as the tunnels provide cover from the persistent air raids launched by the Syrian Arab Air Force (SAAF).

The source further added that many of the ISIS fighters at Yarmouk Camp have fought inside the district before; usually with the FSA and their Islamist allies.

Members of Fatah Al-Intifada have reported that the remaining number of civilians inside the Yarmouk is as low as 7,000 and as high as 15,000 people.

Currently, the Palestinian forces control approximately 60 percent of the Yarmouk District.

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Palestinian factions, alongside SAA and united against Daesh, entered in Yarmuk, condemned PLO climb-down on situation in Yarmouk


Palestinians in Syria unite to defend Yarmouk against ISIL

Palestinians living in Syria have joined other Palestinian factions in their fight against the Daesh (ISIL-ISIS Takfiri terrorists) in the Yarmouk refugee camp in southern Damascus.

(PressTV) ~ Palestinians from different refugee camps in war-torn Syria have been reporting to the offices of Palestinian factions in order to volunteer in the fight against ISIL.


Tayseer Mousa, a member of the Palestinian Fatah al-Intifada Group, said the group’s offices are packed with people volunteering to join the efforts to defend Yarmouk. He added that some have been helping in fighting while others have been building barriers.

The volunteers are fighting the ISIL terrorists, who stormed Yarmouk on 1 April 2015.


On April 11, the head of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), Pierre Krahenbuhl, announced that the group was heading to Syria on an “urgent mission” to discuss delivering assistance to civilians trapped in the refugee camp, after voicing concerns for some 18,000 Palestinians, including 3,500 children.

Yarmouk was once home to 160,000 Syrians and Palestinians. However, it has turned into a ghost town as a result of the violent attacks by anti-government militants over the past four years of tumult in Syria.

The camp, which is one of six Palestinian refugee camps in Syria, is of significance as it hosts the headquarters of the main Palestinian factions.

Palestinian Popular Front in al-Yarmouk Camp

Palestinian factions’ alliance condemns PLO climb-down on situation in Yarmouk

(SANA/Manar al-Frieh/Manal Ismael) ~ The Palestinian Factions’ Alliance condemned on Sunday the contradictory statements of the Palestine Liberation Organization(PLO) about the latest events in Yarmouk Camp and the alliance retracting earlier statements about its coordination with Syrian government in the fight against ISIS.

Secretary of the Palestinian Factions Alliance Khaled Abdul-Majeed said in a statement that the alliance “was surprised by the PLO statement in Ramallah announcing its rejection of being a part of any armed struggle in the camp,” considering it a “despicable retraction from what has been agreed.”

He hinted that the PLO leadership received calls from regional powers which exerted pressure on the organization to backtrack from earlier stances while Hamas movement announced itself out of any military operation that targets the Camp.

The PLO withdrawing its stance prompted the alliance factions to coordinate with the Syrian government to defend the camp with logistical support from the Syrian Arab Army which is chasing ISIS members in the areas close to the camp, he added.

Member of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) Ahmad Majdalani said during a press conference held few days ago in Damascus that coordination and cooperation will continue between the Syrian and the Palestinians who will take joint decisions to recover the camp from terrorists.

Two weeks ago, terrorists from ISIS had overrun Yarmouk camp aided by “Jabhat al-Nusra” to commit more crimes against residents.


Palestinian Forces Enter Yarmuk Camp to Fight against ISIL

(FarsNews) ~ Palestinian forces entered Syria’s Yarmuk refugee camp which has been under attack by the Takfiri terrorists of the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL) for the last several days.

The media center of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) announced that a number of its forces have entered the camp and plan to retake it from the terrorists.

Other news sources also reported that hundreds of fighters of the Palestinian Fath movement residing in Lebanon have come to Syria to defend the Yarmuk camp against the ISIL.

The development came after a group of 14 Palestinian Arab factions announced in recent days that they backed a joint military operation with the Syrian government to expel the ISIL terrorists from the Yarmuk neighborhood in South of Damascus.

After a meeting of the factions in the Syrian capital, Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) official Ahmed Majdalani said the groups supported a coordinated military effort in the camp.

The factions support “a security solution that will be carried out in partnership with the Syrian state and will have as its priority maintaining the security of citizens,” said PLO official Ahmed Majdalani.

“We agreed that there would be permanent cooperation with the Syrian leadership and the formation of a joint operations room with Syrian government forces and the Palestinian factions that have a significant presence in the camp or around it.”

Majdalani added that Palestinian Arab forces would work in an “integrated” fashion “with the Syrian state to clear the camp of terrorists.”

Also, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called for action to prevent a massacre of Palestinian refugees in Syria’s Yarmuk camp, just after all Palestinian factions agreed with the Syrian government to use military force to expel ISIL terrorists from the camp.

“What is unfolding in Yarmuk is unacceptable,” Ban told reporters at UN headquarters on Thursday. “We simply cannot stand by and watch a massacre unfold.”

The ISIL terrorists stormed the refugee camp and took over large parts of it just days ago, according to Palestinian and Syrian officials, creating what humanitarian groups have called a crisis in an already desperate situation for civilians living there.


Fars News
Submitted by Cem Ertür
The real SyrianFreePress.NETwork at

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Ziad Fadel

By: Radioyaran

Why is the Yarmouk camp suffering? The true reasons, not western propaganda

April 11, 2015 radioyaran Syria

Reading through western (and probably Gulf states) media these days one could think that Syrian President Assad and “his” army (otherwise known as the Syrian Arab Army) from one day to the next simply decided to destroy the Yarmouk refugee camp and kill its Palestinian inhabitants through a siege and bombardment.
The same sources go as far as claiming that the recent take over of the mostly abandoned camp through the IS militia even serves Assads interests.
The silly and easily refutable fairy tale of Assad secretly collaborating with IS is achieving sort of an “evergreen” status among many of the above mentioned media:

It´s time to shed some light on what has been going on in the Yarmouk camp since the beginning of the Syrian civil war.

Whenever western media reports of any places being shelled in Syria the impression is created that this can only have been the work of the Syrian Army. This is an early case of such shelling hitting the Yarmouk camp:
“Two mortar shells struck the camp in the early hours of Thursday from the nearby Tadamun distinct. The Syrian government said armed “terrorists” were behind the carnage…An alleged opposition battalion, Saif Al-Islam, reportedly claimed responsibility for the attack, saying that the Palestinians in Yarmouk camp are in support of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s government.”

So, at first the rebels attacked the camp claiming that it´s Palestinians are “guilty” by being supporters of Assad. Then they infiltrated the camp and began “arming sympathetic Palestinians to fight a pro-Assad faction in a Palestinian enclave in Damascus“.
It is clear that the rebels, the so called “moderates” of the FSA brought trouble to the camp:
“Residents at Yarmouk…said gunmen had been seen in the streets and some people kidnapped in recent days, eight of whom had been killed. It was not clear who was responsible.

A bomb exploded on Wednesday under the car of a Syrian army colonel in Yarmouk, although he was not in the vehicle, the opposition Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said. A Syrian rebel commander claimed responsibility, calling it a “gift to Jibril’s people which will be followed by others”.”

Another resident confirms the assertion regarding the FSA being the harbinger of problems, devastation and suffering:
“Muhammad Tamim and Iptisam and their two adult children fled their home not far from the Palestinian Yarmouk camp in Damascus four months ago. Their parents and three elder children are still there.

“As soon as the FSA enters an area, the combat units follow and engage in action.  There’s no way we can live in the middle of a battlefield. Syria is headed towards a catastrophe,” said Muhammad”

As early as January 2013, foreign fighters were seen in the camp hiding among civilians in order to attack the Syrian forces:
“Foreign nationals are using the Palestinian refugee camp of Yarmouk in Damascus as a base to fight the Syrian government, a former adviser to late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat said Saturday.

“We’re calling committees in the camp and people there told us that foreigners are shooting at anyone that moves,” Bassam Abu Sharif told Palestine’s Ma’an news agency.

“They’re using the camp and the people of the camp as shields to attack government forces.””

Another report from the same time (and more than 2 years ago from now) mentions the presence of Al Qaedas Syrian affiliate, Jabhat al Nusra (Nusra Front):
“Some fleeing Palestinians refugees at the Maznaa crossing mention that they fear that al-Qeada affiliates are taking over Yarmouk camp and want to establish an Islamic emirate…But there are sections where the Al Nusra Front is very much in control and are actively setting up social service centers and training bases for arriving recruits from a number of countries as well as, regrettably, some Palestinians…”

A further confirmation from January 2013: “Nusra was at the forefront of fighting in that city’s Yarmouk district.”

Accusing the Syrian Army of systematically starving the Yarmouk camp people are misleading. Due to its vicinity to the center of Damascus and the heavy presence of Al Nusra and other radical groups the Syrian Army has cordoned off the northern entrance to the camp, while the rebels control the southern entrance and the adjacent districts such as Tadamon or Hajar al Aswad. Yarmouk is thus a huge risk factor for the government. Under such circumstances every army has to take strict measures to minimize the danger of attacks, infiltration and weapons smuggling into the capitals inner ring.
Nevertheless the Syrian Army has on several occasions evacuated people from Yarmouk to safe areas and attempted to bring in aid convois which was prevented and sabotaged by the REBELs:
“The convoy was cleared to proceed beyond the checkpoint and the Syrian authorities provided a bulldozer to go ahead to clear the road of debris, earth mounds and other obstructions.

The bulldozer was fired upon, hit by direct gunfire and forced to withdraw, though with no casualties. Thereafter, bursts of gunfire, including machine-gun fire, erupted close to the trucks and UNRWA vehicles, suggesting a firefight.

Also, one mortar exploded very close to the convoy. The convoy withdrew at this point following the advice of the security escort and returned safely to Damascus.”

The strategic geographic position of the camp is highlighted again here:
“The Islamist armed groups of the opposition saw the camp as the Syrian government’s Achilles’ heel and nothing else, a prize-catch in their desperate quest to “conquer” Damascus; the perfect springboard for their intended “jihad” against the regime’s main stronghold, practically putting a target on the camp’s back and turning its entire refugee population into a huge block of human shields held hostage to the flick of these groups’ military whims…The armed opposition’s all-guns-blazing infiltration into, and subsequent control over Yarmouk in late 2012 has plunged its Palestinian refugees headfirst into the throes of the Syrian war; transforming the largest Palestinian refugee camp in Syria into a “hostile territory” for the Syrian Army…For the Al-Nusra front and other Islamist fighting militias; taking control over the camp was primarily a matter of scoring territorial advances against the “infidel” regime, it constituted the closest front they’ll ever manage to get to Damascus, only this “pyrrhic victory” has had the camp caught in a tight militaristic death-grip where foreign backed insurgents are wreaking doomed havoc inside the camp (including looting, arbitrary seizure of properties and taking on human shields), and the Syrian army is giving the area the full “military-zone” treatment; imposing a full-fledged siege on most parts of the camp, particularly its northern entrance which connects directly to Damascus. ”

The same article raises a valid question: Why are the militants inside the camp well-armed and well-fed and apparently not suffering from hunger and thirst while the civilians have been dying?
“the curious fact remains that while the civilian population is suffering the lashes of hunger, thirst and dwindling medical supplies, militants inside the camp appear to be largely unaffected by the siege. On the contrary these groups seem to be well-armed, fully weaponized (at least to the extent that

enables them to retain full military control over the majority of the camp despite the ongoing siege) and on multiple occasions have even instigated clashes and firefights with the Syrian army.

This begs the question: what prevents these militants from using their own supply routes and active ammunition channels to soften the impact of the regime-imposed siege on the civilian population inside the camp, keeping in mind that areas bordering Yarmouk from its southern entrance are controlled by the “rebels” themselves? “

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Yesterday, sensible Palestinians working for the PLO announced their willingness to work with the Syrian Army to rid the Yarmouk Camp of the pestilence of ISIS.  And it’s not just ISIS, it’s also Alqaeda/Nusra which allowed ISIS to enter the camp in the first place.

That Palestinian was Ahmad Majdalaani, who was sent to Damascus ostensibly to give the Syrian government the permission it needed to invade the camp and expel the plague-carrying rats.  Almost immediately after Majdalaani told reporters he was on board and, therefore, so was the PLO, the Palestinian rodents in Ramallah issued a communique dispelling any talk of cooperation with the Syrian government in liberating the camp.

The reasons for the PLO’s contrariety and countermanding were given as follows:  the Palestinians will not involve themselves in the conflict in Syria and will remain neutral.

This incredible proof of the sectarian nature of the PLO’s leadership is now a matter of record.  The treason is open and notorious.  The PLO will not involve itself in a fight against the savages of ISIS or Alqaeda even if it means bringing relief to the besieged and oppressed Palestinian people in the Yarmouk Camp.  Let the PLO know this:  The Palestinian people are not so stupid they can’t smell a rat.  And this may be the end of this rat named Mahmoud ‘Abbaas because the real reason he is betraying the Palestinians is his working with those who help ISIS and Alqaeda AND those parties are the Zionist Abomination, the Pygmy Kingdom of Jordan, the Muslim Brotherhood terrorist state of Turkey and the usual gang of idiots in NATO.  This is treason at its highest. ‘Abbaas must be arrested and executed immediately. More

Qatar lends PA $100m to pay salaries

Thursday, 09 April 2015 09:26

Mahmud Abbas (C) walking with Qatar's Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani

Palestinian Mahmoud Abbas (centre left) walking with Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al-Thani (centre right) following his arrival in Doha

devilThe Palestinian Authority announced yesterday that it had received a $100 million loan from Qatar to help pay the salaries of civil servants in the light of continuing Israeli freeze of PA tax revenues.

In a statement, the government said that the money would be also be used to alleviate the ongoing economic crisis in the Palestinian territories.

The statement also said that this Qatari loan came as part of the efforts of PA President Mahmoud Abbas, who is visiting the Gulf state seeking to get Arabic and international support for the Palestinians.

Israel collects taxes on behalf of the PA but suspended payments of some $130 million collected in January to protest against moves by the Palestinians to join the International Criminal Court (ICC).

Palestinian membership of the ICC started on 1 April, opening the way for possible law suits against Israel for war crimes.

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Exclusive: Yarmuk camp has become death trap for Palestinian refugees

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UN Agency Demand End to Yarmouk Fighting

The United Nations has expressed concerns over the deterioration of the situation in the Palestinian refugee camp of Yarmouk near the Syrian capital, Damascus, as intense clashes continue between Palestinian armed factions and the ISIL Takfiri terrorists.


“Never has the hour been more desperate in the Palestine refugee camp of Yarmouk, in Damascus,” read a press release circulated by the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) on Sunday. “We demand that all parties exercise maximum restraint and abide by their obligations under international law to protect civilians.”

UNRWA called on concerned States to urgently exercise their authority and influence in order to end the fighting in Yarmouk for the sake of civilian lives and to alleviate human suffering. Meanwhile,

humanitarian access had to be increased and secure conditions established under which the agency would be able to deliver life-saving humanitarian assistance and civilians could be evacuated.

The agency said that the international community, including UN bodies, should be seized of the “critical situation” without delay and should ensure that all civilians are protected in accordance with the UN charter and international law.

The ISIL militants stormed the camp on April 1, apparently in tandem with rivals from the al-Qaeda-linked al-Nusra Front, even though the two groups have fought bloody battles against each other in other parts of Syria.

The UN says nearly 18,000 civilians, including a large number of children, are caught in Yarmouk. Over 90 percent of the camp is now under ISIL control.

“Men, women and children – Syrians and Palestinians alike – are cowering in their battered homes in profound fear, desperate for security, food and water, deeply concerned by the grave perils that may yet come, as hostilities continue,” said UNRWA’s press release.

Source: Agencies

06-04-2015 – 12:00 Last updated 06-04-2015 – 12:00

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Ziad Fadel 

DAMASCUS:  The Yarmouk Camp was a suburb of Damascus which had all the comforts and facilities of a modern city until the infestation by NATO-supported rodents from Al-Qaeda (Nusra).  Some good news has been coming out recently.  One item was the dissolution of the Anfaal organization and its subsequent absorption into the government-sanctioned Popular Defense Committees.  But, today,  even more good news came out:  The Syrian Army executed a perfect assault on Nusra positions here and killed 2 of the most important leaders:

Muhammad Al-Fawraani (a/k/a Abu Jihaad. Rat leader and field commander)

Muhammad Al-Shaykh (Mufti of the Canonical Council, professional know-nothing and child molester. A/k/a Abu Ameen)

Another 10 rodents were killed but have not been identified.  With these vermin now bathing in the waters of the Styx River, Nusra has been losing an enormous number of leaders if you’ve been following SyrPer.


Kafr Batnaa:  A factory for IEDs and rockets was discovered and destroyed.  In so doing, the SAA killed 6 rats:

Ridhaa Al-Taweel

Faarooq Muhammad Al-Ustaa

Muhammad Khaalid ‘Abduh Abu-Al-‘Alaayaa

‘Imaad Habeeb Al-Ghazaali

The other 2 were not identified.


Irbeen:  At the Al-‘Uthmaan Mosque, 3 rats down.  No names.


Baalaa Village:  8 rodents killed in firefight with SAA.  Large stores of weapons siezed.


Daarayyaa:  2 killed east of the Sukayna Shrine.

الجيش السوري يبدأ المرحلة الثانية من عمليات القصير

Hawsh Al-Faarra Farms:  3 vehicles, one of which was a pickup with 23mm cannon destroyed.


Fighting also in Bayt Sahm and Al-Marja.




Rasm Marta’ Al-Furss:  Northeast of the city, completely liberated with 68 IEDs and mines neutralized or dismantled.


Tal Al-Asfar:  SAA reportedly pursuing Nusra rodents all the way to the Jordanian border.

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Humanitarian Aid Delivery Resumes to Syria’s Yarmouk Camp

Local Editor

Aid distribution in the terrorist-besieged Yarmouk Camp neighborhood resumed Thursday after a three-month interruption.

The neighborhood, which is located in southern Damascus city, came under the terrorist organizations’ siege in late 2012, and since then the delivery of humanitarian aid has been repeatedly suspended under incessant attempts by terrorists to disrupt it.

The recent of those attempts, which often included shooting and firing shells on residents at aid distribution sites, caused the process to be suspended for the past three months before it was resumed yesterday.

Anwar Abdul-Hadi, Director of the Political Bureau of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) in Damascus, announced the resumption of aid distribution in the neighborhood, which is home to Palestinian refugees and Syrian citizens.

Fully assisted and facilitated by the Syrian government all along, aid delivery has been carried out by the PLO and the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA).

Speaking to SANA, Abdul-Hadi expressed his thanks to the Syrian government for the facilitations that helped put the aid distribution process back on track, and to the UNRWA for its assistance to the besieged Palestinian refugees.

A new “safe” distribution site has been set up to enable the resumption of aid delivery, which “took great efforts,” said Abdul-Hadi.

Up to 500 packages containing food supplies were successfully distributed yesterday, and the process is scheduled to continue in the coming days, according to Abdul-Hadi.

The number of food packages distributed last year in the camp reached 55,000, while packages containing medical supplies reached 11,000.

Source: Agencies

06-03-2015 – 16:35 Last updated 06-03-2015 – 16:35

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Mass crowd in Yarmouk demanding departure of terrorists

SYRIA 360°


Damascus, SANA

Hundreds of al-Yarmouk camp residents gathered at the entrance of the camp demanding the exit of terrorists to enable the locals to return to their houses.

The participants condemned the crimes committed by terrorists and stressed that terrorists are tools of the U.S. – Zionist hostile schemes in Syria and the region.

Head of the Reconciliation Committee in the camp Sheikh Mohammad al-Omari said the purpose of the gathering is reminding the public opinion of the tragedies of the Palestinians and Syrians who used to live here, adding that the true jihad should be against those who occupied the Arab lands and denied the Palestinians their right to return to their houses.

Head of al-Yarmouk branch of al-Baath Arab Socialist Party said the gathering stresses that forcing the locals to leave their houses is part of the conspiracy against Syria and the Palestinian cause, adding that the terrorists have proved that they are connected to foreign agendas and do not want the suffering of the locals ended.

Mohammad Nassr/Manal Ismael

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