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Palestinian anger at university construction on Islamic cemetery

MEMO | August 29, 2012

A Palestinian educational institution in Israel has called for a demonstration on Thursday in front of Sheikh Mo’nes Cemetery in Tel-Aviv to protest at what it says is “the violation” of those buried there. Israeli construction company Solel Bonei has started to bulldoze the cemetery to prepare the ground to build student halls of residence for Tel-Aviv University.

Iqraa Educational Institution has criticised the university’s project an act that violates human rights and academic principles. “How can students, Muslims or Jews, trust the university’s academic credentials when it is prepared to violate the sanctity of the dead?” it said in a press statement.

Researcher Ahmed Tobasi from Al-Tadamun Human Rights Organisation discovered the plans about a month ago. This led to a demonstration at the beginning of August organised by Al-Aqsa Foundation for Islamic Endowments and Heritage. The head of the Islamic Movement in Israel, Sheikh Raed Salah, joined many Palestinian activists in the protest. “The cemetery is being reduced in size from 20 acres to just 1.5 acres,” he said.

According to Sheikh Raed, Tel-Aviv University itself was originally built on the land of the Islamic cemetery after razing hundreds of graves and throwing out the bones of the dead. “Today, the university shows its determination to violate human rights by deciding to extend its premises at the expense of the remaining cemetery land.” It is absolutely shameful to teach students about human rights while you violate them, the Sheikh added.

The head of student activities at Iqraa, Mohammed Farhan, also criticised the university: “Its construction work in the cemetery violates its academic message and has aroused the anger of many international academic institutions.” The university, he pointed out, criticised the academic boycott by international universities but today had proved that it is far removed from academic and human values and is thus deserving of boycott action.

Farhan said that students will continue to protest against the university’s desecration of the Muslim cemetery. “Tel Aviv University has to respect the rights and feelings of the Arab students study therein.”

A lawyer acting on behalf of Al-Aqsa Foundation, Mohammed Ighbareyah, submitted a petition last week to the Israeli High Court demanding a court order to stop the construction. He described the work as a “dangerous escalation against Islamic sites which constitutes a severe violation of human rights by a university which considers itself remarkable among world academic institutions”. Legal efforts will continue, he said, until the construction of the students’ halls on the land of the Islamic cemetery is stopped.

August 29, 2012 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Solidarity and Activism | , , , , , | 1 Comment

U.S. is the Worst Police State in the World – By the Numbers

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford | August 29, 2012

When U.S. corporate media operatives use the term “police state,” they invariably mean some other country. Even the so-called “liberal” media, from Democracy Now to the MSNBC menagerie, cannot bring themselves to say “police state” and the “United States” without putting the qualifying words “like” or “becoming” in the middle. The U.S. is behaving “like” a police state, they say, or the U.S. is in danger of “becoming” a police state. But it is never a police state. Since these privileged speakers and writers are not themselves in prison – because what they write and say represents no actual danger to the state – they conclude that a U.S. police state does not, at this time, exist.

Considering the sheer size and social penetration of its police and imprisonment apparatus, the United States is not only a police state, but the biggest police state in the world, by far: the police state against whose dimensions all other police systems on Earth must be measured.

By now, even the most insulated, xenophobic American knows that the U.S. incarcerates more people than any country in the world. He might not know that 25 percent of prison inmates in the world are locked up in the U.S., or that African Americans comprise one out of every eight of the planet’s prisoners. But, he is probably aware that America is number one in the prisons business. He probably approves. God bless the police state.

For the American media, including lots of media that claim to be of the Left, it is axiomatic that China is a police state. And maybe, by some standards, it is. But, according to United Nations figures, China is 87th in the world in the proportion of its people who are imprisoned. China is a billion people bigger than the United States – more than four times the population – yet U.S. prisons house in excess of 600,000 more people than China does. The Chinese prison population is just 70 percent of the American Gulag. That’s quite interesting because, non-whites make up about 70 percent of U.S. prisons. That means, the Black, brown, yellow and red populations of U.S. prisons number roughly the same as all of China’s incarcerated persons. Let me emphasize that: The American People of Color Gulag is as large as the entire prison population of China, a country of nearly 1.4 billion people.

However, police states must be measured by conditions behind the bars, as well as raw numbers of inmates. And, by that standard, the American Gulag is even more monstrous.

Civilized people now recognize that solitary confinement is a form of torture. The United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture, Juan Mendez, reports that solitary confinement beyond 15 days at a stretch crosses the line of torture, yet, as Al Jazeera recently reported, it is typical for hundred of thousands of U.S. prisoners to spend 30 or 60 days in solitary at a stretch. Twenty thousand are held in perpetual isolation in so-called supermax prisons – that is, they exist in a perpetual state of torture. Studies now show that, all told, 80,000 U.S. prisoners are locked up in solitary on any given day.That’s as many tortured people as the entire prison system of Germany, or of England, Scotland and Wales, combined.

If that is not a police state, then no such thing exists on planet Earth.

Glen Ford can be contacted at Glen.Ford@BlackAgendaReport.com.

August 29, 2012 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Subjugation - Torture, Timeless or most popular | , | 6 Comments

Mursi visit to China builds “strategic” ties

Al Akhbar | August 29, 2012

Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping said the visit Egypt’s leader to Beijing “will increase mutual understanding and trust” between the two countries, local media reported on Wednesday.

Xi’s remarks came during a meeting with Egyptian President Mohammed Mursi, who arrived in China on Tuesday for a three-day state visit.

Mursi held talks with his Chinese counterpart, Hu Jintao, on Tuesday.

Mursi’s visit to China, a rising global power, comes ahead of a scheduled visit to the United States, the key ally of former Egyptian leader Hosni Mubarak.

The Egyptian leader is said to have put Chinese investments high on the agenda of the talks, as a means to inject much needed cash into Egypt’s ailing economy, as well as lessen Cairo’s dependence on US aid.

Mursi reportedly suggested increasing Egypt-China flights from two per week to ten, and requested that China build a high speed train route between Cairo and Alexandria.

According to Xinhua, Mursi called Egypt-China ties “strategic” in the meeting and commended the traditional friendship.

He described his talks with Hu as being “of significance for consolidating Egyptian-Chinese strategic relations.”

“I, along with the delegation of ministers, officials and investors, convey to you and all Chinese leaders and your people all respect and appreciation for your civilization and your pioneer experience in the modern age,” Mursi said.

Chinese news agency Xinhua reported Xi as affirming the visit “would inject new impetus into bilateral relations and will open a new chapter in the friendship between Egypt and China.”

Xi said that the development of Sino-Egyptian relations is due to both being developing countries that “share common goals of maintaining state sovereignty and social stability.”

He cited other common interests as “the promotion of peace and stability in the region and all over the world.”

In an interview last Monday with Reuters news agency, Mursi stated he will seek solutions to the Syrian issue with Chinese leaders. China, along with Iran and Russia, is one of the prominent supporters of Bashar al-Assad’s regime in Syria.

Following his visit to China, President Mursi will make a quick visit to the Iranian capital, Tehran, on Thursday where he will formally hand over chairmanship of the Non-Aligned Movement to Iran’s President Ahmadinejad.

(Xinhua, UPI, Al-Akhbar)

August 29, 2012 Posted by | Economics | , , , , , | Comments Off on Mursi visit to China builds “strategic” ties

Israel angered over IAEA vote on nuclear arsenal

Press TV – August 29, 2012

Israel has become infuriated by a fresh initiative of Arab member states of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) which seeks to launch a global campaign to slam Israel’s possession of nuclear stockpile.

The motion tabled by 17 Arab IAEA members has been submitted to a preparatory commission to be put to vote at the Agency’s September meeting which is to be attended by 154 countries, the Associated Press reported on Tuesday.

The initiative is widely expected to be ratified, as it enjoys the support of Muslim countries as well as other states critical of Israel’s stance on Palestine, the report said.

Israel’s Ambassador to the IAEA Ehud Azoulay, has censured the initiative, saying the Arab nations have no moral right to point fingers.

Tel Aviv has also repeated its allegations against Iran’s nuclear energy program and claimed that the new motion seeks to distract attention from Iran’s nuclear case at the IAEA.

US President Barack Obama Administration had initially supported the plan but later condemned the initiative Under Israel’s duress, which is the sole possessor of nuclear weapons in the Middle East.

Defending the Arab initiative, Jordan’s Ambassador to IAEA Makram Queisi argued that Israel has been exposing the Middle East “to nuclear risks and threatening peace” by continuing its secretive military nuclear program.

He lashed out at Tel Aviv for thwarting “all initiatives to free the region of the Middle East of weapons of mass destruction, and in particular of nuclear weapons.”

Since Israel began building its Dimona plutonium- and uranium-processing facility in the Negev Desert in 1958, it is believed to have secretly manufactured hundreds of nuclear warheads, becoming the Middle East’s sole possessor of nuclear weapons.

Enjoying Washington’s support, however, Tel Aviv has steadily refused to either declare the nuclear arsenal or join the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

This is while the US, Israel, and some of their allies accuse Tehran of pursuing military objectives in its nuclear energy program and have used the false accusation as pretext to impose international and unilateral sanctions against Iran and to call for military attack on the country.

Iran argues that as a signatory to the NPT and a member of the IAEA, it has the right to acquire and develop nuclear technology for peaceful purposes, while promising a crushing response to any possible attack on its nuclear facilities.

August 29, 2012 Posted by | Militarism, Progressive Hypocrite | , , , , , | 3 Comments