Category: Palestine Written by Syarif Hidayat and edited by Ismet Rauf
Al-Quds (Jerusalem), 21 Jumadil Akhir 1435/21 April, 2014 (MINA) - The Palestinian Football Association (PFA) is seeking a FIFA ban on their Israeli occupation counterparts after years of seeing football flounder under occupation, according to ALRAY, Palestinian Media Agency report quoted by Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA).
But would such a move solve anything? Israel currently illegally occupies the West Bank, East Jerusalem and exerts a blockade on the Gaza Strip. It makes working at the PFA quite difficult. Restrictions on players moving in, out and between the Palestinian territories are among the many problems it faces while trying to develop the sport under occupation. This is in addition to the reported shooting of young footballers by Israeli occupation security forces.
FIFA recognises the problem and set up a task force last year with the aim of signing an agreement by both and getting the issue resolved ahead of this June’s FIFA Congress in Sao Paolo. But if the deal does not meet expectations, the PFA plans to launch an audacious bid to get Israel expelled from FIFA.
“If the Israeli occupation is unwilling to budge from its racist policies and if all the good efforts of FIFA, UEFA, and the AFC fail, we will find ourselves compelled to put the matter to the congress,” PFA Chairman Jibril Rajoub told Al Jazeera.
Despite the threat, the Israelis believe things are moving forward. An Israel Football Association (IFA) spokesperson confirmed to Al Jazeera that ‘the IFA deals in full cooperation with FIFA on the topic and in the last few months, there has been an improvement in the work relations’.
For the PFA, Israel’s expulsion is not their aim, just a last resort. But the fact that there are talks of that happening suggests how far from reaching an agreements both sides are. But would getting Israel expelled fix any of PFA’s problems?
Since this is a security matter, negotiation with the football association will not work. Only threats and pressure will force the Israeli government to take action, according to Uzi Dann, Haaretz's international sports editor.
In addition to the restrictions of player movements, coaches and officials face the same problems, according to the PFA, with Israel’s security forces accusing the Palestinians of using football to hide the movement of weapons and militants.
There is also the issue of player safety - earlier this year, two young Palestinian players were reportedly shot in the feet by Israeli security forces. Their football career ended there.
The PFA also alleges that Israel constantly interferes in bids to set up international friendlies.
While an expulsion may not improve these conditions, it might be the only way to bring a change, according to Uzi Dann, the international sports editor of Haaretz, an Israel newspaper, who told Al Jazeera that the move will not ‘benefit Palestine in the short term’.
“It won’t solve the movement problem right away,” Dann said. “From my experience, only threats and pressure can solve this problem. Since this is a security matter, negotiation with the football association will not work. Only threats and pressure will force the Israeli government to take action.
"They don’t take the matter seriously right now but they will once the expulsion is on the horizon.”
At the core of this dispute is the issue surrounding the right to play the game. Occupation heavily impedes this. But if the Palestinians get Israel expelled, it will be the Israel players who suffer. Dann believes that although that would be unfair, it is perhaps necessary.
“It won’t be fair on the players and it would make mass outrage in Israel. But sometimes, the way to get something done is to punish people.”
Room to flourish
There is also the view that the only way for Palestinian football to flourish is through political liberation and a FIFA expulsion is big a step towards that.
That’s the position of Omar Barghouti, a Palestinian human rights activist and co-founder of the BDS movement, which pushes for boycotts, divestment and sanctions against Israel.
He told Al Jazeera that ‘expelling Israel from FIFA, as well as from international academic, cultural and economic associations, effectively shatters their criminal impunity and contributes to the Palestinian struggle for freedom, justice and equality’.
Barghouti likens the situation to an Apartheid South Africa, which was banned from FIFA in 1961, and that ‘international isolation, especially in sports, was a key factor in ending Apartheid’ and having the country reinstated.
It is unclear what will happen between now and the FIFA congress - which opens on June 10. FIFA President Sepp Blatter is due in the Middle East to meet major political figures on both sides to conjure up a deal. The Palestinians are unlikely to be holding their breath and a push for the expulsion seems likely.
The only way to know whether it will achieve anything or not might be to try it. What is for sure, however, is that no country would enjoy the humiliation of being red carded from the beautiful game. (T/E01/IR)
Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA)
Last Updated on Monday, 21 April 2014 13:23
Category: Indonesia Written by Widi Kusnadi and Edited by Syarif Hidayat
Jakarta , 21 Jumadil Akhir 1435/21 April , 2014 (MINA) - Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty M. Natalegawa said Indonesian government is always committed to give aid to the refugees wherever they come from.
"Let us not dwell on terminologies let us extend assistance to those who need it, not because they fall under a certain category, but simply because they are fellow human beings, " Marty said in the opening of an International Workshop on the Protection of Irregular Movement at Sea, Jakarta, Monday.
The workshop was held in line with the rampant smuggling and human trafficking, and for those the asylum seekers who flee their home countries because of war and unstable situation.
The International Workshop starting from 21 to 22 April 2014 was held in Jakarta as a result of collaboration between Indonesian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the United Nation for High Commissioner Refugee (UNHCR).
Marty also said Indonesia will take steps as its commitment to pursue coordinated joint action under four pillars of cooperation that includes prevention, early detection, protection and prosecution to address the case.
On August 20, 2013, The UN refugee agency (UNHCR) has hailed the Jakarta Declaration, a pledge by 13 countries in the Asia-Pacific region to address the growing challenge of irregular movements that are costing hundreds of lives at sea every year.
UNHCR and the International Organization for Migration joined ministers and senior officials from Afghanistan, Australia, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, New Zealand, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, Sri Lanka and Thailand at the half-day Special Conference on the Irregular Movement of Persons. The Jakarta Declaration was endorsed unanimously at the end of the conference.
Since its inception in 2002, the Bali Process on People Smuggling, Trafficking in Persons and Related Transnational Crime (Bali Process) has effectively raised regional awareness of the consequences of people smuggling, human trafficking and related transnational crime, and developed and implemented strategies and practical cooperation in response.
More than 45 members, including the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC), as well as a number of observer countries and international agencies participate in this voluntary forum. (L/P04/E01)
Mi'raj Islamic News Agency ( MINA )
Last Updated on Monday, 21 April 2014 13:03
Category: Opinion Written by Syarif Hidayat and edited by Ismet Rauf
HOW TO SOLVE MH370 MYSTERY? ANWAR: “GIVE ME A SECOND”, NAJIB: “HE IS ILLOGICAL”
by Syarif Hidayat
After more than one month, the mysterious disappearance of Malaysia Airlines' (MAS) Flight MH370 and until today remains the main story in the Malaysian and world newspapers, news portals and television. It has also become a source or some kind of a trigger for hot debates between Malaysian Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak and Malaysian opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim. They rapped each other.
According to Bernama report, Datuk Seri Najib rapped a statement by an opposition leader who claimed he could solve the mystery of the missing Malaysia Airlines (MAS) flight MH370 in one second. He said the disappearance of the flight MH370 had entered its 39th day and needed the support of countries within and outside the region due to the complexity (of the search) and its unprecedented challenges.
"The remark of the opposition leader is illogical and regarded the people of Malaysia as stupid," he said at the monthly meeting of the Finance Ministry here, today. On April 5, a Chinese newspaper published an interview by the Southern Weekly magazine with opposition chief Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim which quoted him as saying that if he were the Prime Minister, he would take one second to solve the issue of the missing MH370.
The flight MH370 with 239 people took off on March 8 from the KL International Airport at 12.41am and went off the radar screens an hour later while flying over the South China Sea. The aircraft should have landed in Beijing, China at 6.30am on the same day.
The mission to find the aircraft involved numerous countries, initially in the South China Sea and later - after the aircraft was detected diverting from its original route - along two corridors, namely, the northern corridor from the borders of Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan until northern Thailand and the southern corridor from Indonesia to the Southern Indian Ocean.
Following an analysis of satellite data of a United Kingdom satellite telecommunication company, Inmarsat and the Air Accident Investigation Branch summarised that flight MH370 flew along the southern corridor and its last position was in the middle of the Indian Ocean, west of Perth.
On March 24, Najib announced that flight MH370 ended in the southern Indian Ocean. The head of the Joint Agency Coordination Centre, Air Chief Marshal (Retired) Angus Houston today said nine military aircraft, two public aircraft and 11 ships helped in the mission to look for MH370. Furthermore, the Australian Maritime Security Authority planned to conduct an air search involving 62,063 square kilometres and the location of the target was 2,170km northwest of Perth.
Anwar raps Najib
Opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim criticised the Prime Minister for manipulating his statement of solving the MH370 crisis in a second.
Anwar (pic, right) said Datuk Seri Najib Razak was swift in retorting his statement but did not display such agility in handling the MH370 crisis.
“Najib did not answer the issues which have arisen due to the disappearance of MH370,” Anwar told a press conference today.
“But he appears to be nimble when replying to my claim that the tragedy could be resolved in a second.”
Anwar explained that the remark, which was translated from the Chinese language, was completely different to what had been reported by the media.
“In the original Chinese language text, I said it would take a second to carry out the necessary enforcement to guarantee national security,” he said.
He then denied issuing any statement that he would resolve the MH370 crisis in a second if he was prime minister.
“Najib twisted my statement and lied by misinterpreting my statement,” Anwar said. Ever since Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 disappeared on March 8 with 12 crew members and 227 passengers, Najib has not taken any questions from the media. “Instead, Najib preferred to hand over the responsibility to his cousin, acting Transport Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein,” Anwar said.
Are foreign media abusing freedom?
Norshazlina Nor'azman, Sin Chew in an article titled “MH370: Are foreign media abusing freedom?” published in www.bernama.com write Till today the mysterious disappearance of Malaysia Airlines' (MAS) Flight MH370 remains the main story in the newspapers, news portals and television. Both the local and foreign media, provided wide coverage from day one up to the present search in the south of Indian Ocean.
They have been trying their best to outdo one another in reporting on the latest developments on the jetliner carrying 239 passengers and crew that went missing on March 8 while en route to Beijing from Kuala Lumpur.
Nonetheless, some of the foreign media went overboard by painting a negative picture on Malaysia especially through the lopsided and speculative reports.
Malaysians could only read, listen and watch in anguish many of the news reports especially by the foreign media that was critical of the of the airline, its crew and the country's leaders. As the days passed more stories that were spiteful appeared and one good example would be the US based Fox News Channel's news that linked Capt Zaharie Ahmad Shah and his co-pilot Fariq Ab Hamid with terrorism, sabotage and hijacking.
While search and rescue efforts were still on, CNN's security analyst Peter Bergen prematurely concluded that the plane's disappearance had something to do with terrorism or pilot suicide. Britain's tabloid the Daily Mail even went further in its speculation that Capt Zaharie had sabotaged the plane as he was unhappy with the Appeal Court's decision hours earlier on de facto opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim over a sodomy charge.
The Daily Mail too in another article stated that Capt Zahari went into recluse several weeks before the tragedy, indirectly pointing that he could be behind the plane's disappearance. And there was this news carried by the foreign media that a Chinese national Liu Guiqui, the mother to one of the passengers on the ill-fated flight, was manhandled by police after she gate crashed into the press conference room. The misreporting was so appalling that Liu herself found it fit to rubbish the report in an interview with China Central Television (CCTV).
Soon after Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak announced that based on satellite ping analysis flight MH370 had ended in the Indian Ocean, CNN hit out at MAS' for informing the fate of the passengers to the families through SMS. The report drew public wrath on MAS that had made all attempts to communicate directly with the next of kin and made the company appear as if it was totally irresponsible. And the list of wrong reporting or unsubstantiated speculations and claims on MH370 continues.
Abusing media freedom
The media reports were obviously unfair and lacked integrity, and what more when it was the wanton abuse of freedom of the press. A lecturer at the Universiti Teknologi MARA's (UiTM) campus in Shah Alam, Associate Professor Dr Ismail Sualman noted that the foreign media had a tendency to sensationalise the missing flight MH370.
The lecturer with the Communications and Media Studies faculty noted that the foreign media were ready to overstep the journalistic ethics boundary all in the name of so called transparency. He opined that much of dramatic speculation and theories were to get the scoop, to enhance the circulations and ratings without bothering of their implications.
"If this is all about the freedom of the media, that its nonsense! These media are totally irresponsible and unethical as they are ever ready to spin stories knowing well they are not true."There is no point in clamouring for the freedom of the press when they cannot provide fair and true coverage," he said to Bernama.
This should not be happening
Media speculations are harmful not only for the next of kin's emotion but also diverts the attention of the investigators, and search and rescue teams though their stories are just based on assumptions. Ismail noted that the media often gets their facts wrong and were quick to point fingers without checking further.
He also found it shocking that a renowned news network like CNN could get its facts wrong like Kuala Lumpur in Indonesia and that the Malaysian prime minister's name is Najib Rahman. "Mistakes like this coming from the so called credible news network are unbelievable and shocking... they are just no more than spin doctors," he said.
Malaysia doing its best
Whatever said and done by the media, the fact remains that Malaysia has given utmost priority to the welfare and the feelings of the family members of crew and passengers, something that cannot be seen elsewhere in such tragedies.
"This is unlike in the foreign countries, the government only emphasizes on search and rescue mission beforehand, before looking into the family's welfare. "I feel Malaysia is really good in this aspect," he said.
Despite the unwelcome remarks from the foreign media and some next of kin, Malaysia took everything in humility and continued to seek a closure over the MH370 episode.
Actively deflecting criticisms
Meanwhile, he said that the local media has to be proactive in refuting the negative and inaccurate reports issued by the foreign media.The move is highly pertinent in preserving the nation's image, apart from disseminating credible information over the incident. "The local media has to work harder in uniting the Malaysians across the political divide and provide full moral support for the leaders in facing testing times like this," he said. (T/E01/IR)
Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA)
Last Updated on Monday, 21 April 2014 00:30
Category: Middle East Written by Nidiya, Rina and edited by Syarif Hidayat
Gaza, 20 Jumadil Akhir 1435/20 April 2014 (MINA) - Head of Fatah reconciliation delegation Azzam al-Ahmad has revealed that he is going to head a Palestinian Authority (PA) delegation to the Gaza Strip next week to discuss reconciliation with Hamas officials.
Al-Ahmad reaffirmed what PA President has previously described Hamas as "an inseparable part of the Palestinians nation," according to Middle East Monitor (MEMO) report quoted by Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA).
In wake of his meeting with the Board of Trustees of Arab and International Relations (BTAIR) on Thursday in Amman, Al-Ahmad denied the intervention of non-Arab mediators in the internal Palestinian division. He hopes that his delegation would help ending it.
Regarding Palestinian-Israeli talks, he said that the PA is waiting until April 29 in order to take the appropriate decisions. He said that Abbas had informed the BTAIR members about the latest on the Palestinian issue, including the Israeli aggressions on Jerusalem and the peace talks.
Furthermore, Al-Ahmad reiterated that the Palestinian side will not compromise Palestinians' rights and principles, as well as the peace process based on international legitimacy and the two-state solution.
Al-Ahmad also reiterated Palestinian refusal to recognise Israel as a Jewish state and insisted on resolving the issue of Palestinian refugees based on UN resolution 194 and the Arab Peace Initiative.
The head of Fatah parliamentary bloc called on the BTAIR to support Palestinian position in international organisations. (T/Nidiya/P03/E01)
Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA)
Last Updated on Sunday, 20 April 2014 22:40