UN panel’s report: Israel must withdraw all settlers from West Bank

UN panel’s report: Israel must withdraw all settlers from West Bank


Ahmad Gharabli / AFP – Getty Images

A Palestinian activist fixes a flag near a proposed new encampment in the West Bank on Jan 20.


By Alastair Jamieson, Staff writer, NBC News

Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank violate Palestinian human rights and must be withdrawn, United Nations investigators said Thursday — a move described by observers as “unprecedented.”

An international report by the U.N. Human Rights Council said Israel is “committing serious breaches of its obligations under the right to self-determination and under humanitarian law.”

All settlers must begin to withdraw from the occupied territories, the report said. It echoed the earlier claim of Palestinians that the the practices of settlers could be considered possible war crimes by the International Criminal Court.

Israel, which did not cooperate with the investigation, dismissed the document as “biased” and said it would “only hamper efforts to find a sustainable solution to the Israel-Palestinian conflict.”

Is There A Dividing Line Between “Militant Islamists” and Islamic Terrorists?

AMMAN (Reuters) – A Jordanian Muslim preacher who encourages a flow of militants to Syriapredicts an eventual showdown between Islamists and secular rebel groups should President Bashar al-Assad fall.

Mohammed Shalabi, better known as Abu Sayyaf, said Islamist fighters with groups such as the Nusra Front, which the United States lists as a terrorist organization, had refused offers to join the rebelFree Syrian Army in return for pay and weapons.

If Assad is overthrown, he told Reuters, the Free Syrian Army, or elements within it ideologically hostile to the Nusra Front, would immediately order Islamist groups to disarm.

“Then there will be a confrontation between us and losses will rise, but I don’t want to pre-empt events,” he said.

Abu Sayyaf is a marked man, who has spent 10 years behind bars for militant activities including a plot to attack U.S. troops in Jordan, but seems unconcerned about surveillance.

Interviewed in his car outside the state security court in Amman this week, the Salafi jihadi leader said the Jordanian authorities were trying to stop young militants from crossing the border to join the battle against Assad’s forces.

“We have sat with the security forces and asked them what harm would come if they let us go to Syria freely,” said Abu Sayyaf, 46, a burly man with a flowing beard, dressed like a tribesman in a red chequered headdress and a white robe.

“You tell us we are troublesome, so let us get killed in Syria, leave us to meet our fate in this inferno,” he said he had told Jordanian intelligence officers when they called him in to ask him to restrain fighters bent on travelling to Syria.

“What they fear is that these youths will return like the ‘Afghan Arabs’ did. They fear they would come back one day and declare jihad and fight here,” he declared.

He was alluding to Arab militants who combated Soviet forces occupying Afghanistan in the 1980s, some of them members of Osama bin Laden’s al Qaeda network, which was supported at the time by the United States, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan.

Abu Sayyaf, based in the volatile desert city of Maan, 160 km (100 miles) south of Amman, where he was involved in clashes with security forces in 2002, said at least 350 Jordanians were now fighting in Syria and nearly 25 had been “martyred”.

About 50 had been detained in Jordan before they could reach Syria and some were now facing trial at the state security court – although he said the authorities had softened their treatment of militants since Arab uprisings erupted two years ago.


Jordanian officials say the army and security forces are doing their best to control the porous 370-km (230-mile) frontier. “We don’t allow any weapons or fighters to cross from Jordan,” Information Minister Samih al-Maaytah told Reuters.

“We don’t take sides in Syria or interfere there,” he said. “At the same time it is evident that any control by extremist groups in Syria is a worry for the region and for Jordan.”

Maayteh recalled suicide bombings of hotels in Amman that killed 70 people in 2005, attacks claimed by Al Qaeda in Iraq, then led by a Jordanian Islamist, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.

Abu Sayyaf said Jordanian efforts to tighten border control after Syrian rebels captured some frontier areas had reduced the inflow of militants to Syria in the last four months.

“We don’t have an organization that sends youths in an organized way,” he said, adding that most entered Syria with the help of established drug smugglers in return for money.

Abu Sayyaf, juggling constantly ringing mobile phones, denied any direct ties between al Qaeda and the Nusra Front, which has emerged as one of the strongest rebel units in Syria.

“Trust me, there is no organizational link between al Qaeda and the Nusra Front, though they share the same views and methods,” he said, adding that these were based on the Koran.

He defended al Qaeda attacks such as those in the United States on September 11, 2001 as justified responses to Western or Israeli incursions into Muslim lands, and hinted that France could also become a target for its recent intervention in Mali.

“It’s France that has come to Mali, we did not go to your home territory,” he said of the French-led military action to regain control of northern Mali from Islamist militants.

Abu Sayyaf criticized Jordan’s King Abdullah for warning last week about the danger of a “new Taliban” arising in Syria, saying this reflected concerns of his Western allies about al Qaeda, which only masked worries about “true Islam”.

“So when the king spoke about this al Qaeda danger, it’s because they consider true Islam as the danger because if it arrives it will uproot these regimes and enforce Islam.”

However, he said that just as al Qaeda’s aims in Afghanistan were once aligned with those of the West during the Cold War, Islamist militants shared a Western interest in Assad’s removal.

“Because the removal of the regime matters to us, if the Americans or the British or any party helps us to get rid of this regime, we don’t have a problem.”

(Editing by Giles Elgood)

Japan PM Intends To Alter American-Imposed Pacifist Constitution To Allow Use of Military Forces


“Article 9. Aspiring sincerely to an international peace based on justice and order, the Japanese people forever renounce war as a sovereign right of the nation and the threat or use of force as means of settling international disputes.
In order to accomplish the aim of the preceding paragraph, land, sea, and air forces, as well as other war potential, will never be maintained. The right of belligerency of the state will not be recognized.”

Abe says he intends to change constitution

By Kyoko Hasegawa

Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force ships Kurama (R) and Hyuga (L) off Sagami Bay, Japan, on October 14, 2012AFP


Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told lawmakers Thursday he intends to change the post-WWII constitution that imposed pacifism on Japan, in a move likely to stir suspicion in China and beyond.

Abe, who was elected in December, has long harbored ambitions to re-write a document critics say hampers effective self defense, but supporters say is a bulwark against the militarism that blighted Asia last century.

“I will start with amending Article 96 of the constitution,” Abe told upper house lawmakers, referring to a clause stipulating that amendments require a two-thirds majority in the Diet.

In the run-up to polls, Abe said he wanted to study the possibility of altering the constitution’s definition of Japan’s armed forces.

The well-funded and well-equipped military—one of the world’s most technologically-advanced—is referred to as the Self-Defense Forces, and barred from taking aggressive action.

Abe said before the election that he would look into making the SDF a full-fledged military, but the suggestion sets alarm bells ringing in Asian countries subject to Japan’s brutal military adventurism of the past.

U.S. occupying forces imposed the constitution on Japan in the aftermath of World War II, but its war-renouncing Article Nine became part of the fabric of national life, engendering a pacifism that remains dear to many Japanese.

Retiree Kazuo Shimamura said Japan’s suffering in WWII, including from two atomic bombs, was reason enough not to change.

“I want the constitution to stay as it is to prevent new wars from happening,” he said.

But critics say a pledge that “land, sea, and air forces, as well as other war potential, will never be maintained” ties Tokyo’s hands at a time of growing regional unease and amid a sovereignty spat with China.

“Japan’s next generation will have to face all sorts of problems,” 60-year-old Nobuyuki Shimane said. “We have to take our destiny in our hands and change the status of the army to protect our territorial sovereignty.”

Abe told the Diet he wants to set up a Japanese version of Washington’s National Security Council, tasked with the gathering and analysis of information.

“It is unavoidable that we strengthen Japan’s security arrangements to protect our national interest and ensure the safety of our people in the increasingly complex international situation,” he said.

Japan and China have butted diplomatic heads repeatedly over the last half-year over a disputed island chain in the East China Sea.

Tokyo views Beijing’s military build up with suspicion and says its vast trading partner should be more transparent about what it spends on its increasingly mighty forces and to what end, something Abe Thursday said was a “common concern” for the entire region.

Since coming to power, Abe, whose father was a World War II cabinet member and later prime minister, has been on a bridge-building mission to South East Asia, looking to shore up alliances with capitals disquieted by Beijing’s rise.

In December, Manila—which has a separate territorial row with Beijing—said it favored a re-armed Japan that could act as a counterbalance to China.

Tetsuro Kato, professor of politics at Waseda University, said any change would represent a significant shift for a generation that embraced post-war democracy, adding it would also prove problematic abroad.

“South Korean newspapers, especially, focused on Abe’s plans for constitutional reform during the election campaign,” he said.

Constitutional amendments in Japan require a two-thirds majority of lawmakers in both houses, and must be ratified by a referendum, where they can pass with a simple majority of those voting.

The LDP and its coalition partner New Komeito have a more-than two-thirds majority in the lower house, but the dovish junior party is wary about amendments.

The less powerful upper house is controlled by no single party, but elections for half of the seats there must be held later this year.

Shoichi Koseki, a constitutional history expert at Dokkyo University, said lowering the bar for amendments could create instability, allowing the constitution to change with every new government.

“Many countries require large majorities for this,” he said, pointing to the tough amendment protocols in the United States as an example.

International Condemnation of Zionist Bombing of Damascus Research Center

Arab and international condemnation of the Israeli aggression on the research center in Syria: blatant aggression and unacceptable violation of the Charter of the United Nations



research centers in Syria

(SANA) –

Russia expressed its grave concern about the Israeli aircraft broke the Syrian airspace and bombed a scientific research centers in Syria, saying that this is an unacceptable violation of the Charter of the United Nations.

The Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement today, “Moscow has received with deep concern the news of Israeli air raid on sites in Syria near Damascus, adding that if this information is correct, we will be in front of attacks are not justified on the territory of a sovereign state what is a gross violation of the Charter of the United Nations whatever the justifications. “

The statement went on to say, “to take rapid action to clarify the situation in all its details … and call again to stop any form of violence in Syria and the lack of external interference and the start of national dialogue Syrian Geneva on the basis of a statement.”

Mansour: convicted and calls from Arab firm stance to confront it by all legitimate means

Minister condemned the Lebanese Foreign Affairs and Emigrants Adnan Mansour strongly yesterday on the Israeli aggression a scientific research centers in Syria and the fact in Jmraiya area Rural Damascus, pointing out that it constitutes a flagrant aggression.

Mansour said in a statement today that “this aggression once again confirms the fact the course Israeli terrorist since 1948 until today and the threat of a permanent threat to peace and security Arab” and “is requires us as Arabs to have a firm stance to confront him with all legitimate means.”

In this connection, Mansour stressed that the de facto peace that Israel wants to impose will not find its way to the region and will provide them with security and peace that seeks him.

Arab League: violation violates the United Nations Charter and the violation of international conventions and charters

Also condemned the General Secretariat of the League of Arab States breach the Israeli enemy of the Syrian air yesterday and bombed airplanes scientific center in the area Jmraiya Rural Damascus, which resulted in the death and injury of a number of Syrian citizens and bring about the destruction of a large Taul established and accessories, describing it as “aggression brutal.”

Secretariat condemned in a press statement today this blatant Israeli aggression and considered a flagrant violation of the territory and sovereignty of an Arab state and contrary to the Charter of the United Nations and the norms of international law and a violation of international agreements and conventions and Security Council resolutions relevant.

And demanded the Secretariat in its statement the international community to shoulder its responsibilities and put an end to the persistence of “Israel” in their attacks on Arab states confirmed that the international community’s silence for the bombing, “Israel” to sites Syria in the past encouraged to proceed with the new aggression untapped situations where the feet of this criminal act.

Secretariat also stressed the need to hold Israel fully responsible for the results of aggression and the right of Syria in the defense of its territory and sovereignty and “to seek full compensation resulting from human and material losses” caused by this aggression.

Israeli Warplanes Killed Syrians Somewhere, Overnight

[The Zionist press is reporting it as bombing a weapons convoy of trucks going to Hezbollah, consisting of S-17 SAM systems.  Agence France Presse is hinting that it might have been carrying those chemical weapons, thus clearly across Obama’s “red lines.”  None of us can know for certain what Israeli warplanes struck overnight, but everyone agrees that they bombed something in Syria.]

Army Command: Israeli enemy warplanes penetrated our airspace at dawn today and bombed a scientific research centers in Jmraiya Rural Damascus



Damascus, (SANA) –

Said the General Command of the Armed Forces said in a statement that after he mocked Israel in cooperation with hostile states for the Syrian people tools at home to hit the vital sites and military selected in the Syrian state in an attempt to curtail the supportive role of the resistance and legitimate rights in the region and after that succeeded those tools, especially the gangs and movements obscurantism in targeting some of these sites from the media air defense and points other vital for nearly two years and failed to hit a lot of them penetrated Israeli warplanes our airspace at dawn today and bombed directly a scientific research centers responsible for raising the level of resistance and self-defense in the district Jmraiya Brief Damascus after the terrorist groups made several unsuccessful attempts over the months the Log and Capture the site.

The statement that Israeli warplanes had infiltrated from the North Heights Mount Hermon height low and below the radar and went to the area Jmraiya Rural Damascus, where is located a subsidiary of Scientific Research Center and carried out aggression blatant bombing site caused the occurrence of material damage and the destruction of the building in addition to the center develop mechanisms adjacent parking garage which led to the martyrdom of two workers at the site and wounding five others before it withdraws hostile aircraft in the same way that infiltration .. And therefore no truth reported by some media that Israeli aircraft targeted a convoy was traveling from Syria to Lebanon, but General Command confirms that Israeli aircraft targeted a facility for scientific research in flagrant breach of the rule and Syrian airspace.

The statement said: From the above it is clear to everyone now that Israel is the engine and the beneficiary and the executor sometimes what is happening from terrorist acts targeting Syria and its people resistant and it shares some of states supporting terrorism, led by Turkey and Qatar.

The statement added: that the General Command of the Armed Forces Reaffirming that this attack blatant added to the history of entity Israeli occupation term of aggression and criminality against Arabs and Muslims and put across the Syrian government this Israeli arrogance and aggression dangerous to Syrian sovereignty draw the international community stresses that such criminal acts will not weaken Syria and its role will not discourage Syrians continue to support the resistance movements and the just Arab causes, particularly the Palestinian issue.