WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING
A mid-week review for August 19, 2009.
A dyad worth watching: Belarus and Venezuela (with Iran’s blessing)
Development of multidimensional relations with Venezuela is one of the priority directions of the Belarusian foreign policy, Viktar Sheiman, the special aide to Alyaksandr Lukashenka and the co-chairman of the joint Belarusian-Venezuelan high level commission, said opening a commission session, Interfax reports. “The recent years have seen a dynamic development of the Belarusian-Venezuelan relations, a strategic alliance of Belarus and Venezuela has been created,” Sheiman said.
According to the aide to Lukashenka, “the understanding between the leadership of the two countries, joint efforts of Belarusian and Venezuelan ministries, enterprises, and organizations enhance our strategic alliance.”
Sheiman noted: “Big projects and cooperation in the finance, investment, science, and humanities are being implemented” within the frames of the Belarusian-Venezuelan cooperation.”
Venezuelan vice president Ramon Carrizales, who arrived in Minsk for the session of the joint commission, said the relations between the two countries had reached a strategic level.
“The relations demonstrate successive development in industry and food production,” the Venezuelan vice president noted. He added that “Our president (Hugo Chavez) orients us that we not just buy goods but accept new technologies.”
“By this we also fulfil the demand of president Lukashenka who said there must be any restrictions in presenting technologies (Belarusian technologies to Venezuela),” Ramon Carrizales said.
“The relations between the presidents make us to look for way to deepen our cooperation,” the vice president of Venezuela remarked.
Hugo Chavez is expected to visit Belarus in September. – Charter ’97, August 18, 2009.
Swedish paper accuses the Israeli Army of killing Palestinians for their organs
A reporter writing for Aftonbladet, the Swedish newspaper, said that Israeli soldiers kidnapped and killed Palestinian youths to trade their organs. Israel’s Foreign Ministry denied the report and said it is a clear example of the efforts to demonize Israel.
The reporter, Donald Boström, said that Levy Rosenbaum, a resident of Brooklyn, is involved in the human organ trafficking.
He stated that nearly half of kidney transplants conducted in Israel since 2000 were illegally purchased from Latin America, Turkey and Eastern Europe.
The reporter also claimed that Israel’s Foreign Ministry is aware of the illegal trade but acted against it.
Rosenbaum was arrested in July after he told an undercover FBI agent that he is a “match maker”, the agent was taping him while posing as a customer. Later on, Rabbis and elected officials were arrested in New Jersey for human organ trafficking.
Rosenbaum said that he buys bodies from poor families in Israel for $10.000 and would then sell the organs to patients in the United States for $160.000.
In its report Aftonbladet claimed that Israel is the only Western state that does not condemn illegal organ trade, and fails to take any legal action against the doctors and persons involved in it.
It added that several Palestinian youths were kidnapped from their villages and towns in the Middle of the night and that they were killed, dismembered and buried.
The reporter added that he knew about the illegal trade from UN employees while he was conducting interviews for a book he was preparing in the occupied West Bank. – The Muslim News (UK). August 19, 2009.
Ed. note: According to the above photo credited to Donald Boström, the photo is allegedly of Bilal Achmed Ghanain age 19, who Boström reports, was shot and abducted by Israeli soldiers on May 13 , 1992. Boström says, the body was returned [to the Palestinians] sewn together from the stomach to the neck. Boström, in his article, quotes unnamed Palestinian sources as saying, “Our sons are used as spare body parts.” Boström remarks that it is time to shed light on this macabre activity on what is going on and what has passed in the Israeli occupied territories since the intifada started.
Fatah elects Jew-turned-Muslim
The Fatah movement of Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas has elected an Israeli Jew-turned-Muslim to one of its governing bodies for the first time in the secular nationalist movement’s half-century history. Uri Davis, a sociology professor at the Palestinian Al-Quds University on the edge of Arab East Jerusalem, was elected to the movement’s Revolutionary Council, official results released after a 10-day-long party congress showed.
The academic, now aged 66, has long advocated a secular democratic state in all of historic Palestine, rejecting the Zionist project of a Jewish state in part or all of the Holy Land that has been supported by the vast majority of his fellow citizens.
“I hold Israeli and British passports but I consider myself Palestinian above all else,” Davis told Fatah delegates at the party’s first congress on Palestinian soil and its first since the launch of the Middle East process in 1991.
The academic added that he wanted to represent within Fatah’s 120-member Revolutionary Council the “hundreds of non-Arab sympathizers who have supported the Palestinian cause.” – The Daily Star, Lebanon, August 17, 2009.
Iran: Protestors alleging rape in detention told to provide four witnesses as proof
A new twist on the Qur’anically prescribed requirement of four witnesses (4:15, 24:4, 24:6, and 24:13) to “prove” a sexual offense. So many aspects of Sharia, including this one, are illogical and unjust when followed conventionally, but as such, they also provide ample opportunities for additional, imaginative forms of abuse by corrupt, unaccountable authorities.
It is an abomination. How is a woman to get four witnesses in a prison to document a rape? It is an absurd enough requirement in any other situation, but in a prison setting it nothing short of obscene. Women can effectively be dealt with at the whim of any male without any real legal recourse. The four witnesses rule is designed to make it essentially impossible to take any action against a male perpetrator. Also, we have seen how a charge of adultery against a female can be advanced without such stringent evidence. Islam seems to take misogyny to a whole new level. – Jihad Watch, August 18, 2009.
Two rare statements about Iran-Hezbollah relations: Ali Akbar Velayati, advisor to the Supreme Leader Khamenei, admits Iran fully supports Hezbollah. Sheikh Naim Qassem, Hezbollah’s deputy secretary general, says Hezbollah derives legitimacy for its activities from Khamenei.
The significance of Sheikh Naim Qassem’s remarks is his admission that Hezbollah receives its political instructions from Iran, despite the fact that Hezbollah is not only a terrorist organization but also a Lebanese political party represented in the Lebanese Parliament which is actively pursuing to the right to veto any decision made by the Lebanese government. He again made it plain that Hezbollah needed the authorization of the Iranian leadership to carry out any matter of principle, including waging war, firing rockets and suicide bombing attacks. He claimed that the Iranian leadership did not enter into details regarding how its instructions were carried out, but in our assessment, there is no doubt that the Iranians have both the ability and tools to keep the heat turned up, should Iran decide to do so, on Israel’s northern border. – Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center, (Israel). August 10, 2009.
Bosnia: Mufti calls to incorporate Sharia law into constitution
Bosnia’s Muslim spiritual leader, Reiss-ul-Ulema Mustafa Ceric, has drawn strong criticism from moderate Muslims and from Bosnian Serbs, after he called for Islamic Sharia law to be incorporated into the Bosnian constitution.
Ceric made the controversial suggestion when he conducted Bosnia’s first Sharia mass wedding on Saturday in the central city of Zenica. Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi reportedly paid for the weddings for the 20 couples and some 500 guests.
“In this exceptional place, in the exceptional city of Zenica, we are witnessing a magnificent event,” Ceric said. “I hope this is only the beginning and that we will have many such occasions in the years to come,” he added.
Ceric is no stranger to controversy, and his pronouncements often trigger a heated reaction. – Islam in Europe, August 18, 2009.
Iran pushes for ban on strikes on atomic plants
A senior Iranian nuclear official says Tehran is pressing for the United Nations nuclear watchdog to ban military strikes against atomic installations around the world, state television has reported.
But Iran’s envoy to the International Atomic Energy Agency, Ali Asghar Soltanieh, denied saying Tehran was ready to hold talks with the West on its atomic drive ”without preconditions”, it was reported.
”No comments or interview with TV networks has been made on nuclear talks or conditions,” he was quoted as saying.
The channel had earlier quoted Mr Soltanieh as saying: ”Negotiations without preconditions is Iran’s main stance on the nuclear issue.’
However, Mr Soltanieh said he had referred to a letter he sent to the agency calling for the UN watchdog’s meeting in September to approve an Iranian initiative to prohibit armed attacks on nuclear installations around the globe.
”The only issue that was raised was to ban threats and attacks on the world’s nuclear installations because it is an international issue,” he said. – Sydney Morning Herald, August 20, 2009.
Hamas rejects elections, Arab normalization with Israel
The Islamic Hamas movement rejected on Wednesday participation in Palestinian elections early next year unless a reconciliation deal is reached with rival Fatah party.
Hamas sources in Gaza stressed that the movement would never go to legislative and presidential elections on Jan. 25 before signing a reconciliation deal that ends the current internal rift.
“Ending the file of political prisoners in the West Bank, and reaching a reconciliation agreement are conditions for holding the elections on time. Otherwise, the idea will be rejected for sure,” the sources told Xinhua.
Hamas accused its bitter rival, Fatah party, of preparing for the elections instead of engaging itself in reconciliation efforts, because they “thought that the results of the elections would definitely in their favor.”
Hamas sources said the recent separate talks, which a senior Egyptian security delegation held in the last couple of days with Fatah and Hamas leaders in both Ramallah and Damascus, “were not fruitful.”
“Hamas expressed its position before the Egyptian officials that August 25 must be the date for signing a reconciliation agreement and not just a continuation of ill and fruitless dialogue,” said the sources.. – Xinhua, August 19, 2009.
Study: Militancy on the rise in U.S.
An institutional inquiry into militia growth in the United States points to mounting activities on the part of armed groups amidst economic and state problems.
A new report published by the non-profit US legal firm, Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), identifies the ailing economy and a ’moderate’ Democrat president of African descent as the root causes for the increasing dissent which has led to the mushrooming sprout of armed bands and hate crimes across the country.
Researchers within the organization have voiced concern about the ’record high’ campaigns on the sales of guns and ammunitions along with the appearance of new mediums of communication such as the Internet and other means of telecommunication.
The SPLC report adds that militant groups have stepped up their efforts in order to recruit individuals who are on the brink of performing violent acts.
The Alabama-based rights group has pinpointed the Midwest, Pacific Northwest and the Deep South as the key locations of ’terror’ activists whose efforts might bring about further attacks on state buildings and offices.
The SPLC researchers say they have tracked 50 new armed groups over the past few months alone.
The US President Barack Obama vowed to uproot active hate groups and other armed gangs upon the assumption of power earlier this year.
Over 700 active hate groups exist across the US. – Voltairenet.org
(Photo credits: Chavez- rferl.org; Sweden- Donald Boström; Davis- cosmos.ucc.ie; Ceric- sheikyermami.com; U.S. militancy- voltairenet.org)
For a selection of abridged topics originally published in jewishinfoNews, click here