Category: Palestine Written by Arif Asy'ari and edited by Widi Kusnadi
Betlehem, 20 Jumadil Akhir 1435/20 April 2014 (MINA) – An Israeli media on Saturday released the new weapon, which is remote-controlled and shoots “skunk” water (putrid-smelling liquid), began operating over the last month.
According to the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit, the weapon can also fire tear gas, among other crowd-dispersal means.
In the past month, Palestinian residents of Bethlehem began noticing the new weapon perched on top of the separation wall in an area near where most of the protests against the occupation and the barrier take place, as 972mag.com reported and quoted by MINA as reporting.
According to participants in last week’s Palestine Marathon, the new camera-equipped weapon moved on its axis and followed them as they passed by it during their run.
One rumor that came up in conversations among Palestinians on social media outlets stated that the weapon was the same one that was installed on the walls separating Israel from Gaza.
According to a photojournalist working in the occupied territories, soldiers often use live ammunition against protests near the guard tower in that specific portion of the wall. However, a source in the army told +972 that the weapon will be used exclusively for crowd-dispersal means and will be controlled by the Border Police.
In response to an inquiry by +972, the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit stated that the weapon is “part of our means for riot dispersal in Judea and Samaria. The weapon is remote controlled and has the ability to fire water, tear gas grenades, etc..
It is important to state that it does not fire live ammunition. Israeli security forces act in various ways in order to maintain order in the area, while avoiding harming innocents.” The unit refrained from responding to questions about the reason for installing the system, and whether there are any plans to use the weapon in more areas across the separation barrier.
Bethlehem is a Palestinian city located in the central West Bank, neighboring south Jerusalem, with a population of about 25,000 people. It is the capital of the Bethlehem Governorate of the Palestinian Authority. The economy is primarily tourist-driven
Bethlehem has a Muslim majority, but is also home to one of the largest Palestinian Christian communities. Bethlehem's chief economic sector is tourism which peaks during the Christmas season when Christian pilgrims throng to the Church of the Nativity. Bethlehem has over thirty hotels and three hundred handicraft work shops. Rachel's Tomb, an important Jewish holy site, is located at the northern entrance of Bethlehem.(T/P015/P04)
Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA)
Last Updated on Sunday, 20 April 2014 20:23
Category: Europe Written by Widi Kusnadi and edited by Syarif Hidayat
Berlin, 20 Jumadil Akhir 1435/20 April 2014 (MINA) - Thousands of German people on Saturday have taken to the streets to protest against the country’s warmongering policies.
The annual traditional rallies known as the “Easter (or Aldermaston) marches” were held in more than 30 cities across Germany.
Shouting slogans such as, "We are against war", the protesters in the capital, Berlin, also slammed NATO’s troop deployments in Europ, according to Press TV report quoted by Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA).
These rallies have been established since the 1960s to support freedom movements all over the world.
Starting as a protest against atomic weapons, the Easter marches became popular during the Cold War and mainly focused on the deployments of troops on German territories.
The participants in the rallies strongly criticized Germany, the world’s third largest weapon exporter, over its arms exports.
An anti-war group called “No War Berlin” demanded the dismantling of companies such as Rheinmetall, ThyssenKrupp, Airbus Group and Krauss-Maffei Wegmann, which profit from wars.
Participants in this year’s demonstrations also expressed their great concern over the escalating situation in Ukraine and tensions between Western powers and Russia.
Relations between Western powers and Moscow became tense after the Crimean territory declared independence from Ukraine and formally applied to become part of Russia following a referendum on March 16, in which almost 97 percent of the participants voted for rejoining Russia, with a turnout of over 83 percent.
On March 21, Putin signed into law documents that officially made the Black Sea peninsula part of the Russian Federation despite condemnation from the West and the new Ukrainian government.
The move sparked angry reactions from the United States and the European Union, both imposing sanctions against a number of Russian officials and authorities in Crimea. (T/P04/E01)
Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA)
Last Updated on Sunday, 20 April 2014 11:42
Category: America Written by Widi Kusnadi and edited by Syarif Hidayat
Washington, 20 Jumadil Akhir 1435/20 April 2014 (MINA) - American intelligence officials are opposing the Israelis program to travel to the country as tourists for 90 days without having to apply for a visa.
Pro-Israeli politicians in the US have been trying to put in place a visa waiver program that will allow them. An Israeli newspaper reported on Saturday that Washington is opposed to ease visa restrictions for Israelis for concerns that the relaxation would increase the risk of Israeli spying in the US.
The report said that the intelligence officials have told Congress that allowing Israelis into the US without visa could harm the country’s national security, Press TV quoted by Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA) as reporting.
The Homeland Security Department and the State Department have also conveyed these concerns to legislators on the House Judiciary Committee, which is the Congressional panel with jurisdiction on the issue of visas.
However, pro-Israel lobbying groups in Washington are still pushing Congress to approve the US-Israel Strategic Partnership Act, which includes the visa waiver program clause.
The Israeli spying has become a sensitive issue in the United States, especially since the arrest of Jonathan Pollard and the fallout over his case.
Pollard, a former US Navy analyst, was arrested in 1985 for providing Israel thousands of classified American documents.
In 1987, a US court sentenced him for life in prison. Washington has so far rejected repeated Israeli appeals for his freedom.(T/P04/…)
Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA)
Last Updated on Sunday, 20 April 2014 11:48
Category: Africa Written by Rudi H and edited by Widi Kusnadi
Boda, Central Africa, 20 Jumadil Akhir 1435/20 April 2014 (MINA) - In normal times, the rickety wooden bridges at each end of the red-dirt main street in Boda were gateways to shops and a bustling market in the diamond-mining town in Central African Republic (CAR).
Today, they mark the fine line between life and death for hundreds of Muslims living under siege, encircled by Christian "anti-balaka" militia fighters bent on chasing out the country’s Muslims. “We live in a prison,” said Adou Kone, a tailor. “Everything is blocked, nothing comes in. It’s very expensive to buy food ... Our life is at a critical stage.”
Boda illustrates the chaos that has gripped Central African Republic since late 2012 when a battle for political power degenerated into clashes between Muslims and Christians that have forced about 1 million people from their homes, Saudi Gazette quoted by Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA) as reporting.
If they stray beyond either bridge, Muslims in Boda say they would be killed, like thousands of other victims of tit-for-tat violence that continues despite the deployment of French and African peacekeepers.
French flags hang from some shacks and a handful of French armored vehicles sporadically patrol the town, 115 km west of the capital Bangui. In the Muslim neighborhood, a banner praises French troops — recognition that their plight would have been far worse without the deployment.
The crisis abruptly ended a proud history of Muslims living in harmony alongside the majority Christian population and has prompted warnings of genocide in the former French colony. “We can wait for 10 years for them to leave — and if they don’t leave, we will still be there, holding our positions,” said Captain Dopani Firmin, the "anti-balaka" chief in Boda.
“We cannot accept to live together with Muslims, long-term,” Firmin said. “It’s our right to kill Muslims.”
In a sign of the mounting sectarian violence, fighters from the Muslim Seleka rebels shot dead the priest of the northern town of Paoua, a church official in Bangui said on Friday. The attack came two days after Seleka gunmen briefly kidnapped the bishop of the nearby town of Bossangoa.
Virtually all Muslims have fled Bangui since Seleka, who seized power in March 2013, were forced to step aside in January. The United Nations has since reported a “cleansing” of Muslims from the country’s west.
The United Nations Security Council this month authorised a 12,000-strong UN peacekeeping mission to be deployed in September, recognition that 6,000 peacekeepers from the African peacekeeping force (MISCA) and France’s 2,000-strong Sangaris force had failed to stamp their authority on the country.
But the operation will take time to roll out and assaults on Muslims in Boda and elsewhere are taking a heavy toll. “While we await the deployment on Sept. 15, it is essential that we reinforce MISCA and Sangaris, whose numbers are insufficient to stabilize this country,” Abdou Dieng, UN Humanitarian Coordinator in CAR, told a news conference.
The United Nations says over half the population of 4.5 million people needs humanitarian aid but donors have provided less than 30 percent of the $550 million needed for emergency relief. Dieng said attacks on aid workers outside Bangui had also complicated the delivery of aid, amid fears the impending rainy season would worsen disease and malnutrition.
The UN refugee agency warned this week that the conflict was getting neither the attention nor the aid needed to save lives, and the operation risked going broke.
While they have failed to restore order, the African peacekeeping mission, MISCA, and the French force, Sangaris, are escorting Muslims to safety, mostly in neighbouring Chad.
“If the Muslims want to leave, MISCA and Sangaris can escort them. There’s no problem ... we won’t kill them,” said Simbona Guy Copain, a spokesman for the Christian community in Boda. “All that we want is their departure.” (T/P09/P04).
Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA)
Last Updated on Sunday, 20 April 2014 10:50