The Middle East English Language Press: What they are saying

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Iranian Culture Minister: International Qods Day to be held in 57 Islamic countries this year

TEHRAN: Culture and Islamic Guidance Minister said here Monday upon Iran’s proposal and OIC’s approval, as of this year International Qods Day rallies would be held simultaneously at entire 57 Islamic countries on last Friday of fasting moth of Ramadan. Seyyed Mohammad Hosseini who was speaking Monday night at Islamic Republic of Iran News Network (IRINN) TV’s “Two Half Hours” announcing the news added, “Also based on a proposal by the Islamic Republic of Iran and the approval of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), it was agreed that the 10th OIC Summit would be held in Tehran in the year 2013. According to the culture and Islamic guidance minister, also in order to support the oppressed Palestinian nation and to confront the moves made by the enemies of Islam in their Islamophobia and anti-Islamic propagations, an internet TV network would be launched with the collaboration of the Islamic countries and Iran is a member of its Executive Committee. The annual anti-Zionist day of protest was conceived originally by the late leader of Iran’s Islamic Revolution and founder of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Ayatollah Rouhollah Khomeini (P). In August 1979, the year of the Revolution, in solidarity with the Palestinians, Khomeini declared the liberation of Jerusalem a religious duty to all Muslims. He stated, “I invite Muslims all over the globe to consecrate the last Friday of the holy month of Ramadan as Al-Qods Day and to proclaim the international solidarity of Muslims in support of the legitimate rights of the Muslim people of Palestine. For many years, I have been notifying the Muslims of the danger posed by the usurper Israel which today has intensified its savage attacks against the Palestinian brothers and sisters, and which, in the south of Lebanon in particular, is continually bombing Palestinian homes in the hope of crushing the Palestinian struggle. I ask all the Muslims of the world and the Muslim governments to join together to sever the hand of this usurper and its supporters. I call on all the Muslims of the world to select as Al-Qods Day the last Friday in the holy month of Ramadan – which is itself a determining period and can also be the determiner of the Palestinian people’s fate – and through a ceremony demonstrating the solidarity of Muslims world-wide, announce their support for the legitimate rights of the Muslim people. I ask God Almighty for the victory of the Muslims over the infidels. - IRNA, Iran, April, 23 2012.

Jordan sees influx of unaccompanied Syrian children

AMMAN: Dozens of Syrians were injured when Syrian military forces ambushed a group attempting to cross into Jordan late Saturday as part of a new military campaign targeting refugees, according to security sources and relief workers. A Jordanian military source stationed in the border region said Syrian military forces opened fire on hundreds of civilians attempting to cross into the Kingdom illegally late Saturday, injuring dozens. Al Kitab and Sunna Society, one of the major charity organisations providing assistance to displaced Syrians in the north, confirmed that 180 families had entered Jordan between late Saturday and early Sunday, many of them suffering from bullet wounds and third-degree burns. Security personnel transferred the injured to government hospitals in Ramtha and the surrounding area, where one of them was pronounced dead on arrival, the military source added. Relief workers say Ramtha witnessed an influx of unaccompanied Syrian children on Sunday, sparking fears that their parents and relatives had been either arrested or killed in Saturday’s attack…Saturday’s attack came amid a recent increase in the number of Syrians arriving in Jordan, at a pace aid agencies say has reached some 500 per day. – Jordan Times, April 23, 2012.

New Brotherhood candidate pitched into Egypt race. Candidate says will seek hardline Islamist voters

CAIRO: The Muslim Brotherhood’s new presidential candidate, pitched into the race after its first choice was disqualified, promised yesterday to govern in coalition and to steady Egypt after more than a year of political turmoil. Mohamed Mursi, 59, the head of the Brotherhood’s political party, said he would seek the votes of ultra-conservative Muslims after a popular hardline Salafi candidate was barred too, but he promised to be a president for all Egyptians. The quietly spoken engineer is trying to make up ground after Khairat Al-Shater, a millionaire businessman and top Brotherhood strategist, was blocked from running because of a conviction handed down in President Hosni Mubarak’s era when the Islamist group was banned.- Kuwait Times, April, 23, 2012.

Tehran: No place for Israel, U.S. with strong Iran, Iraq

TEHRAN: Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki met Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad Sunday at the start of a two-day visit to boost relations between their Muslim states. “If Tehran and Baghdad are strong, the region will have no place for the United States and the Zionist regime,” Ahmadinejad said, quoted by state news agency IRNA, in reference to Tehran’s arch-foe Israel. He said there was “no limit to the strengthening of political, economic and cultural ties” between them. Such moves would serve to “boost stability and security in the region,” chimed in Maliki, who also held talks with parliament speaker Ali Larijani. The visit notably comes ahead of a May 23 meeting to be hosted in Baghdad between Iran and the P5+1 group of world powers on Tehran’s disputed nuclear program. The mission underlines the current good ties between the two Shiite-dominated administrations – a far cry from the war in the 1980s when Baghdad was run by Saddam Hussein and his Sunni-led government. – The Daily Star, Lebanon, April 23, 2012.

Ship suspected of carrying arms intercepted in Turkey

Turkey has intercepted a vessel in the Mediterranean suspected of carrying weapons and ammunition to Syria, a diplomatic source said yesterday. “We received information that the vessel has a cargo of arms and ammunition headed for Syria,” the source said on condition of anonymity, adding that Turkish authorities would search the vessel. The Antigua and Barbuda flagged Atlantic Cruiser which anchored off the coast of Iskenderun port yesterday morning belongs to a German company. The search of its cargo was delayed until this morning due to stormy weather, the Anatolia news agency reported. The German shipping firm denied allegations on Monday that its vessel was carrying Iranian arms to Syria, violating EU sanctions against the Damascus regime. German news weekly Der Spiegel reported at the weekend that the Atlantic Cruiser, owned by German company Bockstiegel but chartered by a Ukrainian firm, had been stopped on the high seas with Iranian weapons on board. – Gulf News, Qatar, April 19, 2012.

Israel not welcome at NATO summit: Turkey

ISTANBUL: Turkey has refused to allow Israel to take part in a NATO summit next month because the Jewish state has not apologized for the 2010 killing of Turkish activists in a raid on a ship taking aid to Palestinians, a Turkish official said yesterday. Relations between the regional powers deteriorated sharply after Israeli commandos raided the Mavi Marmara aid vessel in May 2010 to enforce a naval blockade of the Gaza Strip and killed nine Turks in clashes with activists. Last September, Turkey expelled Israel’s envoy and froze military cooperation after a UN report on the raid failed to prompt an apology from Israel. “We did not give our consent on that issue,” a Turkish official told Reuters when asked if Turkey was blocking Israel’s participation in a NATO summit in Chicago on May 20-21. He said Turkey was still seeking an official apology and compensation for the victims of the Mavi Marmara raid. “NATO is an alliance and even though Israel is not a member its attendance means … positive dialogue with NATO and all its members and without sorting this issue out we deem it not appropriate for Israel to be around,” the official said.Turkish media reported that some NATO members had sought Israel’s participation in the summit as part of the alliance’s partnership cooperation program, designed to strengthen relations with non-member countries. Israel is a member of the Mediterranean Dialogue, a NATO outreach program, along with six other non-NATO countries.- Arab News, Saudi Arabia, April 23, 2012.

Palestinian doubts 2-state solution

ABU DIS, West Bank:  With gloom deepening over prospects for peace, a leading Palestinian is suggesting they might drop the “two-state solution” that has underpinned two decades of negotiations, aiming for Israel and a Palestinian state next to each other. Instead, Palestinians might seek a multi-ethnic state covering all of historic Palestine — including today’s Israel, said former Prime Minister Ahmed Qureia in an interview at his office in this West Bank town. Deriding what remains of the peace process as “no more than a waste of time,” Qureia condemned the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for settling the occupied West Bank with Jews and blocking Palestinian access to their hoped-for capital in Jerusalem. “If this is the policy, I think it is a big lie to talk about the two-state solution,” said Qureia. “They are killing the opportunity of two-state solution. If it dies … there are other choices. “One state is one of the choices.” Qureia is subtly aligning himself with a narrative that turns the standard Israeli-Palestinian discourse, with its focus on Palestinian victimization, on its head: Israel may need an end to its occupation of Palestinian lands more urgently than the Palestinians do, to avoid being overwhelmed by sheer numbers of Arabs. He is the highest ranking Palestinian to articulate a view that is increasingly heard behind closed Palestinian doors: despite the privations of the occupation, time is oddly on their side, and Israel is shooting itself in the foot with its settlements and stalling. – Khallej Times, UAR, April 23, 2012.


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