0LCCC ENGLISH DAILY
Bible Quotation For Today/Saved in Order to Do Good
Titus 03/Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good, to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and always to be gentle toward everyone. At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life. This is a trustworthy saying. And I want you to stress these things, so that those who have trusted in God may be careful to devote themselves to doing what is good. These things are excellent and profitable for everyone. But avoid foolish controversies and genealogies and arguments and quarrels about the law, because these are unprofitable and useless. Warn a divisive person once, and then warn them a second time. After that, have nothing to do with them. You may be sure that such people are warped and sinful; they are self-condemned. As soon as I send Artemas or Tychicus to you, do your best to come to me at Nicopolis, because I have decided to winter there. Do everything you can to help Zenas the lawyer and Apollos on their way and see that they have everything they need. Our people must learn to devote themselves to doing what is good, in order to provide for urgent needs and not live unproductive lives. Everyone with me sends you greetings. Greet those who love us in the faith. Grace be with you all.
Latest analysis, editorials from miscellaneous sources published on December
An Arab Prince Denounces Islamism/Daniel Pipes/The Washington Times/December 11/14
The Illusion of American Naivety/Eyad Abu Shakra/Asharq Al Awsat/December 11/14
Is Chicago more dangerous than Riyadh/Abdulrahman al-Rashed /Al Arabiya/December 11/14
Lebanese Related News published on December 11-12/14
STL Hears Testimony on Telecommunications Data Row
Jreij: Arsal Servicemen Kidnappers Exploiting Lebanese Media to Blackmail State
French Parliament to Form Committee to Follow up on Lebanon's Security, Refugee Needs
Lebanon sets deadline for Druze villagers to evacuate occupied homes
Residents of northeast border town 'trapped by fear'
Lebanon ministers vow to protect local dairy farmers
Lebanon Justice Minister vows to fight 'dangerous' corruption
Ahmad Hariri inspects battered North Lebanon neighborhood
Geagea offers condolences to Palestinians over minister's death
A Garden Blooms on Sidon's Former 'Trash Mountain'
Army Rejects Arsal Blockade, Says Measures Imposed on its Outskirts
Lebanon Information Minister asks media to respect hostage file
Israeli Military Sees No Hizbullah Reaction to Syria Strike, Mulls 'Cooperation' with Lebanese Army
Presidential Vacuum to Hit Army Command, ISF
Deadline set for Druze to quit occupied homes
Berri Warns Israel 'Stealing' Lebanon's Gas, Nazarian Calls for Action
Report: ISIL to Release Hostage ahead of Holidays as Goodwill Gesture
Eichhorst Says Lebanon at 'Crossroads,' Presidential Polls 'Urgent'
Jreij: Arsal Servicemen Kidnappers Exploiting Lebanese Media to Blackmail State
Assortment of Drugs Hidden in Mop Handle Seized in Qobbeh Prison
Fugitive Arrested at Arsal Camp as Aid Enters Town after Roads Reopened
Pro-Fattoush Gunmen Assault al-Jadeed Crew, Zahle Municipality Member
Tensions in Taamir after Clash between ISF Intelligence Agents, Resistance Brigades
Miscellaneous Reports And News published on
Houthis take control of Sana’a air defenses: military sources
Saudi Arabia moves closer to reopening Baghdad embassy
China’s mainly Muslim region to ban veiled robes
Ireland approves resolution urging recognition of Palestine
U.S. closes Bagram prison, says no more detainees held in Afghanistan
Al-Qaeda in Yemen blames U.S. for death of hostages in raid
'Stronger than ever' jihadis kill 5,042 in a month
Palestinians mourn official as Israel braces for unrest
Palestinian autopsy reveals minister died from heart attack
Saudi arrests 3 over Dane shooting, link to ISIS
Turkish actress attacked for interpreting for Pope
NATO chief hails Gulf role in fighting extremists
Jihad Watch Site Posts For Wednesday
Islamic jihadis murdered seven people every hour in November 2014
Was French hostage swapped for detained jihadists?
Palestinian” superhero “Gaza Man” takes on the Jews
UK: Muslim 19-year-old charged with two terrorism offenses
Islamic State poaches international aid for Syrians
Senate torture report is propaganda bonanza for Islamic jihadists
Iran launches “We Love Fighting Israel” campaign
Pakistani family slaughtered in honor killing
Mass polygamy in UK Muslim community – claim
Pakistan: School textbooks promote violent jihad
Raymond Ibrahim: Islam — Built on the Blood of (Christian Child) Martyrs
Tensions in Taamir after Clash between
ISF Intelligence Agents, Resistance Brigades
Naharnet/The Sidon area of Taamir Ain el-Hilweh witnessed Thursday an exchange of gunfire between a member of the Hizbullah-affiliated Resistance Brigades and agents from the Intelligence Bureau of the Internal Security Forces, which soon erupted into armed clashes and prompted the bureau to dispatch a unit from its commando Task Force to the southern city. “As a unit from the Intelligence Bureau raided the shop of Abbas D., his son Mohammed, who is a member of the Resistance Brigades, opened fire at them,” state-run National News Agency reported. “The agents responded in kind and the army immediately carried out a broad deployment in the area in order to contain the clash and pursue the shooter,” NNA added. After a brief lull, gunfire renewed in the neighborhood in the evening as the sound of a blast echoed in the area. Al-Jadeed TV said the explosion might have resulted from a hand grenade as MTV said the sound came from “an RPG fired into the air by the Resistance Brigades during the raids that were carried out by the ISF Intelligence Bureau.”
According to NNA, bureau agents managed to arrest Resistance Brigades member Mahmoud Adnan Ahmed, “who was one of those involved in the shooting.”Meanwhile, the Joint Palestinian Force at the Ain el-Hilweh Palestinian refugee camp “took strict security measures to prevent the entry of any fugitive fleeing the security forces,” the agency reported. The decision to create the Resistance Brigades was taken in 1997 by Hizbullah's leadership. The group at the time comprised Lebanese young men who wanted to fight the Israeli occupation of southern Lebanon without having to officially join Hizbullah. However, the Brigades were not dissolved after the Israeli army withdrew from southern Lebanon in 2000 and they reportedly took part in the fighting against Islamist cleric Ahmed al-Asir's group in the Sidon suburb of Abra in 2013. On December 3, Interior Minister Nouhad al-Mashnouq announced that the security plan that got underway months ago will also be implemented against the members of the Hizbullah-linked group, which he described as a group of “sedition, divisions and conflict.”
French Parliament to Form Committee to
Follow up on Lebanon's Security, Refugee Needs
Naharnet/France informed on Thursday Prime Minister Tammam Salam that it will form a parliamentary committee aimed at following up on Lebanon's needs. Salam revealed: “Speaker Claude Bartolone informed me that a high-ranking parliamentary committee will be formed to follow up on Lebanon's military and Syrian refugee needs.” He made his remarks during his ongoing visit to France that he kicked off on Wednesday. The premier had declared at the start of his visit that the government is in “great need” of international aid to help it in supporting the burden of nearly 1.5 million Syrian refugees. Salam continued his trip to Paris on Thursday by visiting the Arab World Institute. On Friday, the prime minister is scheduled to meet with French President Francois Hollande and PM Manuel Valls.
Pro-Fattoush Gunmen Assault al-Jadeed
Crew, Zahle Municipality Member
Naharnet /Two al-Jadeed TV journalists and a member of the Zahle Municipality were assaulted Thursday by gunmen loyal to MP Nicolas Fattoush and his brother Pierre during the filming of a TV report on the construction of a controversial cement factory.
"The colleagues Yumna Fawaz and Saad Ayyad were beaten up, threatened with weapons and detained by bodyguards loyal to Pierre Fattoush in Zahle,” al-Jadeed TV said. It noted that Pierre is a brother of MP Nicolas Fattoush. The two journalists were “filming an investigative report at the al-Fayda Bridge in the Zahle plain,” al-Jadeed added. It said a controversial cement factory is being constructed in the area. The guards of the company “intercepted the two colleagues and prevented them from completing their mission before they detained them in a room and threatened them with weapons,” al-Jadeed said. “An army force and an Internal Security Forces unit arrived on the scene once they knew of the incident,” the TV network added.
In a telephone call with al-Jadeed, Fawaz said: “Colleague Saad Ayyad and I have been assaulted by young men from the Fattoush family. “We are currently doing well and we're under the protection of the security forces,” she added. The journalist clarified that she had visited the area two times in the past with the aim of preparing for the report. Fawaz noted that she met with the factory owner, Pierre Fattoush, during her first visit, adding that “today's visit was aimed at obtaining footage of the site and conducting interviews with the residents and the municipality.” “We met a number of residents who are opposed to the project and as we were filming on the site, two young men loyal to Mr. Fattoush arrived and starting taking pictures of us and of our car's license plate,” Fawaz added. “At that point, I called Fattoush and informed him of what's happening and he claimed that he was not aware of it,” the reporter said. A man sent by Fattoush and a municipality member then arrived on the scene. “I told them that we will film the site and as I started doing my stand-up, three cars containing gunmen arrived and they pointed their weapons at us before detaining us and intimidating us for a period of around 20 minutes,” Fawaz added. The armed men fled the scene as army troops arrived, she said.
“They threatened to kill me and said they had an order to murder us. They encircled me, seized my phone and beat me up,” al-Jadeed cameraman Ayyad said. Zahle Municipality member Samir Mallou meanwhile told al-Jadeed that “entire Zahle rejects this project,” noting that he was also assaulted by the gunmen during the same incident. “Some of them pointed their weapons at me and asked me to get in one of their cars, apparently with the aim of kidnapping me,” Mallou added. He described the controversial plan to construct a cement factory as a “disaster” for the city. “We give everyone licenses to build factories that benefit Zahle, not factories that would harm it,” Mallou said. Voice of Lebanon radio (100.5) reported that the head of the municipality also inspected the scene in the wake of the incident.
“No one enjoys a cover in the area and army units will stage massive raids to arrest the perpetrators, who numbered between 15 and 20 gunmen,” the radio station quoted sources as saying.
It later reported that “30 army vehicles entered Zahle in search of gunmen loyal to MP Nicolas Fattoush.” The radio network said the armed men sought refuge at offices belonging to the lawmaker near his house in Zahle.
“None of the gunmen has not been arrested until the moment,” MTV reported in the evening. But Interior Minister Nouhad al-Mashnouq told al-Jadeed that the raids would continue until security forces arrest the perpetrators and “identify those who sent them.”
Justice Minister Ashraf Rifi for his part followed up on the case, asking Bekaa Prosecutor Farid Kallas to “expand the investigations in order to unveil the circumstances and penalize the culprits.”Rifi stressed “keenness on the freedom of journalism” and his rejection of “any attack on journalists performing their journalistic duties.”The incident was also condemned by former minister Elias Skaff, head of the Zahle-based Popular Bloc movement. “This barbaric attack was perpetrated by an armed militia loyal to the Fattoush family and this is not the first incident, as the Fattoush family are accustomed to threatening people, assaulting them and abusing their influence to execute projects that violate the law and the general ethics,” Skaff added. The ex-minister had on Thursday morning met Industry Minister Hussein al-Hajj Hassan to discuss with him the issue of the controversial cement factory.
Jreij: Arsal Servicemen Kidnappers
Exploiting Lebanese Media to Blackmail State
Naharnet /Information Minister Ramzi Jreij noted on Thursday that the media is offering the kidnappers of the Arsal captives too much airtime, “which is allowing them to blackmail the state and the victims' families.”He said during a press conference: “The terrorists are exploiting the media to terrorize the people and they should therefore be kept away from the spotlight.”“The media is obligated to confront the media war being waged by the takfiris against Lebanon,” he added. “Some media institutions have transformed into outlets for the kidnappers,” he lamented. Jreij therefore stressed that “we are in need of unifying our ranks and rejecting disputes.” He noted that several violations of sound media practices have been committed, stating: “Media freedom should be practiced under the rule of law.”“I have requested that the media halt sectarian incitement in their reporting of the kidnapping,” Jreij revealed. “I will not hesitate to take legal measures against any violations,” he warned. “I call on the media to adhere to national and professional standards in reporting the news related to the captives,” remarked the information minister. In August, number of policemen and soldiers were kidnapped from the northeastern border town of Arsal by Islamists from Syria. Four of them have since been executed, a few were released, while the rest remain held by the extremists from the Islamic State and al-Qaida-affiliated al-Nusra Front. The families of the captives have repeatedly accused the state of not exerting enough efforts to release them. Media speculation over the fate of the captives and the negotiations over their release have sparked confusion in the case, increasing the frustration of the families.
STL Hears Testimony on Telecommunications Data Row
Naharnet /The Special Tribunal for Lebanon heard on Thursday the controversy on telecommunications data that erupted in the aftermath of the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri in February 2005. MP Marwan Hamadeh, who is the first politician to appear in court as a witness in the in absentia trial of five Hizbullah members, provided answers during the cross-examination of defense counsel Vincent Courcelle-Labrousse. He admitted that when as telecom minister he “took the lid off the provision of data according to the agreement signed with the Lebanese government” he was no longer following the issue. The U.N. commission investigating Hariri's murder in a suicide car bombing on the Beirut seafront had examined telecom data, which later the STL Prosecution based its circumstantial evidence on. “I think we should have brought here all the files of the ministry of telecommunications so that we could have a complete and not a selected view,” said Hamadeh. “The lawyer is trying to imply that I was on a one man show in this operation,” he added.
But defense counsel Courcelle-Labrousse replied: “Had I had the documents I would have displayed them. The prosecution is refusing to disclose them to me.” Hamadeh accused successive telecom ministers of blocking the telecom data from the international investigators.
At first, “the system was unblocked for the provision of the database,” said Hamadeh. “But after the government of Mr. (Fouad) Saniora resigned (in June 2008), new ministers of telecommunications started putting conditions and barriers to the provision of this data to the commission and then the prosecutor,” added the lawmaker. He said the ministers were members of the Free Patriotic Movement allied with Hizbullah. On Wednesday, another defense lawyer claimed there had been frequent meetings between Hariri and Hizbullah chief Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, who had formed a parliamentary committee to set the stage for a Sunni-Shiite alliance that was set to be announced in 2005. Hamadeh revealed to the court that Hariri had met with Nasrallah about a month before the Valentine’s Day assassination. The two officials had regular contacts ahead of the 2005 parliamentary elections, the lawmaker said. Hamadeh also revealed that Nasrallah told him in a secret meeting in either April or May 2005 that he “did not know” if Syria was behind his Oct. 1 assassination attempt.
An Arab Prince Denounces Islamism
Daniel Pipes/The Washington Times
December 11, 2014
In a remarkable but thus-far unnoticed address on Dec. 5, Salman bin Hamad Al-Khalifa, the crown prince of Bahrain (an island kingdom in the Persian Gulf and home to the U.S. Navy's Fifth Fleet), candidly analyzed the Islamist enemy and suggested important ways to fight it.Bahrain's Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad Al-Khalifa on Dec. 5, discussing the enemy's identity. He has much to teach Westerners (starting with his hapless UK counterpart, Crown Prince Charles), if only we would listen. Yes, some Western leaders speak about confronting the Islamist ideology, but the majority avoids this issue by resorting to euphemism, obfuscation, and cowardice. Most frustrating are those leaders (like Tony Blair) who deliver powerful speeches without follow-through.
Tony Blair gave fine speeches on Islamism as British prime minister but did not followed up on them. Prince Salman, 45 and widely acknowledged to be the Bahraini royal family's principal reformer, opens his remarks by addressing the inaccuracy of the phrase, "War on Terror." The time has come, he says "for us to get rid of" a term that dates back to 9/11. "It is a bit misleading, it is not the entirety and the totality of our conflict" but merely a "tool" and a tactic.
He goes on in flawless English to place the current conflict in historical context: "If I think back in the last century, we faced a very different foe. We faced communism and we faced it together. But when we faced communism we understood it as an ideology. Terrorism is not an ideology." He notes that "we are not only fighting terrorists, we are fighting theocrats." As Salman uses this term, theocrats are men "placed at the top of a religious ideology who [have] the power by religious edict to strip someone … of their hereafter – and use [religious power] for political gains." They are also tyrants, isolationists, and misogynists who will need to be fought "for a very long time." He scorns them for being "very much like the seventeenth century" and having "no place in our modern twenty-first" century.
He urges us "to discard the term 'War on Terror' and focus instead on the real threat, which is the rise of these evil theocracies"; to this end, he proposes to replace "War on Terror" with his formulation: a "War on Theocrats." This concept, he hopes, will make it possible to "start to put together the military, social, and political – and maybe even economic – policies in a holistic manner to counter this, as we did with communism." In perhaps the outstanding line of the speech, he states that "it is the ideology itself that must be combatted. It must be named, it must be shamed, it must be contained, and eventually it must be defeated."
So far, perfect. But Salman avoids the bitter reality that the "twisted" and "barbaric" ideology he describes is specifically Islamic and the theocrats are all Muslim: "this war that we are engaged in cannot be against Islam, … Christianity, … Judaism, … Buddhism." So, when naming this ideology, Salman dithers and generalizes. He proffers an inept neologism ("theo-crism"), then harkens back to World War II for "fascist theocracy." He implicitly rejects "Islamism," saying he does not want a "debate about certain political parties, whether they're Islamist or not."I submit that Islamism is precisely the term he seeks for the enemy ideology; and we are engaged in a "War on Islamism." Salman understands the problem well –the transformation of Islam into a totalitarian ideology. But he seeks refuge in the pretense that Christianity, Judaism, and Buddhism all share this affliction. Better that he – and other forthright Muslims – accept the ineluctable reality that Islam alone contains a totalitarian temptation.
On the positive side, Salman's remarks fit into a growing trend among Muslim politicians directly to confront the Islamist danger. Two recent examples:
In an important conceptual breakthrough, the nearby United Arab Emirates government has placed the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and many other non-violent groups on its terrorism list on the grounds that they engage in incitement, funding, and the other precursors of terrorism. The government of Egypt issued an INTERPOL arrest bulletin for Yusuf al-Qaradawi, 88, the hugely influential spiritual leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, for "incitement and assistance to commit intentional murder, helping … prisoners to escape, arson, vandalism and theft." The Egyptian government put out an arrest warrant for the Muslim Brotherhood's deep thinker, Yusuf al-Qaradawi.
This new tendency has great importance. As I often say, radical Islam is the problem and moderate Islam is the solution. Now, we may add another influential leader, indeed a crown prince, to the ranks of those Muslims who wish to find a solution.
Mr. Pipes (DanielPipes.org) is president of the Middle East Forum. © 2014 by Daniel Pipes. All rights reserved.
Israeli Military Sees No Hizbullah
Reaction to Syria Strike, Mulls 'Cooperation' with Lebanese Army
Naharnet/Israel doesn't expect a Syrian or Lebanese response to an airstrike in Syria attributed to Israel earlier this week since they are too tied up with that country's bloody civil war and can't afford to open another front, a senior Israeli military officer said Wednesday.
The officer said Hizbullah fighters had the capability, but not the motivation, at this time to harm Israel and there was no "logic" to picking a fight with Israel while it was knee-deep in battling a Sunni insurgency. "I don't see any reason why in 2015 Hizbullah will turn to Israel, there is no logic to that way of thinking," he said in a briefing with reporters at military headquarters. "But if you are talking about capacity and the IDF (Israeli Defense Forces) should be ready to deal with any capability of any one of its enemies. The capability of Hizbullah is growing every year."He spoke on condition of anonymity according to military guidelines. The Syrian military says Israeli warplanes struck near Damascus' international airport Sunday, as well as outside a town close to the Lebanese border.
Since Syria's conflict began in March 2011, Israel has carried out several airstrikes in Syria that have targeted sophisticated weapons systems, including Russian-made anti-aircraft missiles and Iranian-made missiles, believed to be destined for Hizbullah, with whom Israel battled in an intense month-long war in 2006. Sunday's strike looked to be of similar nature. Israel has tried to stay out of the war in neighboring Syria, but it has repeatedly threatened to take military action to prevent Syria from transferring sophisticated weapons to its ally Hizbullah. As is its practice, Israel neither confirmed nor denied the most recent report. But Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon cryptically warned Tuesday that Israel "will not allow red lines to be crossed that endanger Israel's security."
"Anyone who tries to arm our enemies should know that we can go anywhere, anytime, in any way, in order to foil his plans. We will not compromise on this," he said, without addressing the airstrike directly. The Israeli military officer also said Wednesday that the Jewish state is mulling the possibility of starting “undeclared cooperation” with the Lebanese army against the extremist Islamist groups that are operating in the region. Tel Aviv is “contemplating the possibility of engaging in undeclared cooperation with the Lebanese army against the Sunni extremist groups despite the official state of war between the two countries,” the official said. “The U.S.-led international coalition has gathered forces and parties that have an interest in fighting the common enemy, and accordingly Israel is also seeking to expand its security ties with Egypt, Jordan and the Palestinian Authority,” he added.Associated Press
Lebanon sets deadline for Druze
villagers to evacuate occupied homes
Dec. 11, 2014/The Daily Star
BEIRUT: Lebanon's Ministry of the Displaced set April 5 as the deadline for residents of the Mount Lebanon village of Brih to evacuate homes belonging to Christians who were forced to flee during the 1975-1990 Civil War as part of an ongoing reconciliation effort.
"In light of the many complaints with regards to occupied houses by Brih residents in several areas ... the ministry decided to set April 5, 2015, as the final day for people occupying houses to evacuate and hand them over to their rightful owners,” Minister Alice Shabtini said in a statement Thursday. She added that the ministry would inform people who were forced to flee their homes in Brih to visit the ministry to settle their cases and receive compensation. “The ministry has resolved issues preventing some from returning to Brih and has given compensation to the residents to rebuild their destroyed and damaged homes,” the decision said. Brih was originally inhabited by both Christians and Druze, but many Christians fled during the 1983 clashes with militias of the predominantly Druze Progressive Socialist Party (PSP) during the civil war.Former Maronite Patriarch Nasrallah Butros Sfeir made a historic trip to the mountainous region in 2001, initiating reconciliation efforts there. Maronite Patriarch Beshara Rai and then-President Michel Sleiman held a ceremony earlier this year in Brih, along with PSP leader Walid Jumblatt, to celebrate the final steps for the reconciliation plan, which would allow Christians to return and claim their property and houses.
Residents of northeast border town
'trapped by fear'
Dec. 11, 2014 /The Daily Star
BEIRUT: Lebanon's northeastern border town of Arsal is not technically under siege, but residents consider themselves to be trapped by fear of being assaulted or kidnapped by the angry relatives of a slain policeman if they attempt to leave their village, security sources told The Daily Star Thursday. “The road from Arsal to the interior (Bekaa) is open, but the people of Arsal are anxious and fear being attacked and kidnapped on the road in Labweh and Bazzalieh. That is why they consider themselves under siege,” the sources said.
“Until the residents of Bazzalieh announce frankly and clearly that they will not target the people of Arsal, the latter will remain blockaded by their fear,” the sources added. Daily newspaper Al-Joumhouria quoted an Army official as saying in comments published Thursday that all roads leading to the town, which had witnessed fierce battles between the Army and jihadi militants from Syria four months ago, are open and “constantly patrolled by Army to ensure the security of residents and prevent any harm to which they might be exposed.”The official stressed that the Army has merely blocked the mountain paths to the town’s outskirts, which might be used by jihadi gunmen holed up in the rugged mountainous area on the porous border with Syria. “No road linking Arsal with the Bekaa was closed and Arsal’s residents can exist and enter the town freely,” he said. The source blamed occasional threats made against Arsal and its people on the tribal mentality prevailing in the region and the sectarian tensions exacerbated by the war raging in Syria. “The Army will always work on easing tensions in the area and will not allow having any Lebanese town under siege, or starting a war between villages,” the source said.
Former Prime Minister Saad Hariri charged Wednesday that a siege was imposed on Arsal by relatives and supporters of policeman Ali Bazzal, who was killed last week by Nusra Front militants during his captivity.
He said the government should also work towards defusing tensions between rival towns, in reference to the predominately Sunni Arsal and the mostly Shiite nearby villages of Labweh and Bazzalieh.
Masked gunmen, suspected to be relatives of the ill-fated policeman, had set up road blocks and checkpoints on the roads leading from Labweh and Bazzalieh to Arsal in the wake of the killing to prevent Arsal residents from leaving.
The Bazzal family announced its measures during a news conference Saturday, describing Syrians living in Arsal as “a bunch of terrorists, takfiris and not refugees."The Lebanese Army has beefed up its presence on the outskirts of Arsal, where militants from ISIS and Nusra Front are still holding 25 servicemen hostage since abducting them during a five-day battle with the Army in August.
Presidential Vacuum to Hit Army
Naharnet/The crises gripping Lebanon due to the ongoing vacuum at the Baabda Palace are expected to increase with the near end of the tenure of Army Commander General Jean Qahwaji and Internal Security Forces chief Brig. Gen. Ibrahim Basbous.
According to al-Akhbar newspaper the tenure of Basbous ends in June, while Qahwaji's two-year extended term ends in September. Observers expressed fear over the matter amid the presidential vacuum as the extension of the two high-ranking security officials or the appointment of their successors requires the signature of the president or the 24 cabinet ministers. The cabinet assumes the executive tasks of the president as stated by the constitution until a new head of state is elected. The presidential post has been empty since May 25, when former President Michel Suleiman's term ended. However, if the cabinet failed to extend the tenure of the two security officials or appoint their successors then Higher Defense Council chief General Mohammed Kheir would become the acting Army commander instead Army Chief of Staff Maj. Gen. Walid Salman, who would retire before the end of Qahwaji's term. While Brigadier Nabil Mazloum would become the acting ISF chief.
Lebanon Justice Minister vows to fight 'dangerous' corruption
The Daily Star/Dec. 11, 2014
BEIRUT: Justice Minister Ashraf Rifi said Thursday that rampant government corruption posed a directly threat to citizens and deprived them of the nation’s resources, adding he would exert all efforts to combat the phenomenon. “Corruption deprives society of the state's resources,” Rifi said in a statement, commemorating International Anti-Corruption Day, which was two days ago. "It threatens our food, water and medicine, limits the ability of the public sector to offer services and the judiciary’s ability to protect our rights as it also limits the ability of the security agencies to guarantee our safety.” Earlier this month, Transparency International's 2013 Corruption Perceptions Index ranked Lebanon’s public sector 127 among the most corrupt countries. Rifi called on citizens who work in public office to confront this “danger” he said destabilized societies. “The road to combating corruption is long and difficult but we will exert all efforts to strengthen it and translate it into a reform initiative that could strengthen transparency and accountability in administration and public money,” Rifi said. “Fighting corruption and building a strong and fair state have to be parallel and all efforts should be exerted in that regard. It should be a joint responsibility between the public and private sectors as well as civil society in which politicians shoud bear responsibili
Lebanon ministers vow to protect local dairy farmers
Dec. 11, 2014/The Daily Star/BEIRUT: Lebanon's ministers of agriculture and health pledged Thursday to protect local dairy farmers after the demand for milk sunk following the closure of several labneh factories. “No one can intimidate small producers of milk, or the state,” Health Minister Wael Abu Faour announced in a joint press conference with Agriculture Minister Akram Chehayeb. “Greed is forbidden,” he added. Faour’s statement came after local farmers in eastern Lebanon began staging protests to condemn the sudden drop in milk prices from LL 1,100 per liter to around LL 700. The decrease resulted from the shutting down of over half a dozen dairy factories that violated food safety standards, which decreased the demand for milk. The farmers had said that the production cost for one liter of milk was LL 900. Chehayeb and Abu Faour pledged to push the price back up to 1,100, warning the dairy factories against engaging in any illegal activities. “After meeting with the dairy farmers and the health minister, we have agreed to meet next Monday to fix the prices at LL 1,100,” Chehayeb said, promising to prevent the dairy farmers from suffering any harm. The news conference also touched on the food safety campaign that Abu Faour launched one month ago, during which he named, shamed and shut down establishments across the country selling contaminated food. Abu Faour said tests have found that four major mills in Beirut violated food safety regulations. He identified the mills as the Industrial Company of the Middle East, the Dawra Mill, Al-Barakeh Mill and Loubnan al-Haditha Mill.
Chehayeb also revealed that some violating factories that produce tahini and halawi (halva) have been given until the end of the month to address their violations. He also said samples were taken from 100 chicken farms, and their results will be out in six or seven weeks.
Lebanon Information Minister asks media to respect hostage file
The Daily Star/Dec. 11, 2014
BEIRUT: Information Minister Ramzi Joreige pleaded Thurday for the media to stop digging into the secret hostage negotiations and publishing leaked details about the case, threatening legal actions against those who do not comply. “The negotiations of the captive servicemen must be carried out in extreme discretion to ensure the safety of the hostages,” Joreige told a news conference after meeting with media publishers at his ministry. “Disclosing [details] weakens the bargaining power [of the government] and harms civil peace.” He added: “I call on all media to limit themselves to coverage and not comment on news concerning the servicemen to protect the greater good of the country,” Joreige said, warning that he will not hesitate to take violators to court. “Lebanese law, and the penal law in particular, condemn such behavior, which could be interpreted as exposing Lebanon to hostile attacks, weakening the nationalist sentiment or inciting tensions that threaten civil peace and public safety,” the minister said. Militants belonging to ISIS and the Nusra Front are still holding around 25 Army soldiers and policemen on the outskirts of the northeastern town of Arsal. The jihadis abducted more than 30 servicemen during a five-day battle with the Army in August. They have since released eight and killed four. The secrecy surrounding negotiations for their release has drawn the ire of the hostages' families, who have been camped outside the Grand Serail in Downtown Beirut for two months to pressure the government to speed up talks.
Ahmad Hariri inspects battered North Lebanon neighborhood
The Daily Star/Dec. 11, 2014
BEIRUT: Future Movement Secretary General Ahmad Hariri visited Thursday an impoverished neighborhood in the northern city of Tripoli where he met with residents and inspected recent renovations to areas affected by the fierce clashes between the Army and Islamist militants. Hariri’s visit to Bab al-Tabbaneh in Lebanon's second city aimed to look into projects to be funded through a $20 million grant pledged by his brother, former Prime Minister Saad Hariri, to areas damaged by the October clashes.
The Lebanese government had also pledged $20 million to the area. "The goal of my visit is to communicate with the residents and listen to their demands. I want them to tell us what pains them and listen to them directly and not through a mediator,” Hariri said on a two-day visit. “Let us work together with them to lift deprivation from Bab al-Tabbaneh and other areas.”In October, soldiers came under attack from militants stationed in Bab al-Tabbaneh, sparking four days of clashes in the Tripoli which spread to other areas of the north. The clashes heavily damaged residential buildings and markets and forced many families to flee their homes. Bab al-Tabbaneh had also engaged in heavy Syria-related clashes with the neighborhood of Jabal Mohsen over the last three years. But a security plan launched in June halted the routine rounds of fighting. “I commend the wisdom and the conscience of Bab al-Tabbaneh residents. Despite media campaigns improperly portraying the area as a safe haven for terrorism, the reality was that Bab al-Tabbaneh residents were the ones who offered sacrifices for Tripoli and Lebanon as a whole,” Hariri said. “They suffered through years of violent rounds of clashes and they were the people of moderation and we are proud of them.”He also spoke about the case of detainees from Tripoli who residents claim were randomly rounded up by the Army following the clashes, saying the judiciary was looking into each case separately and would do its best to release them. Hariri first visited the Hara al-Barraneye in Tripoli where the residents warmly welcomed the official and then moved to Qibbeh where residents organized a small festival. He also met with some local officials in the city, assuring them that the Future Movement was not in competition with other politicians over Tripoli. Hariri said Tripoli residents had always adopted the ideology of his late father, former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, and that they deserved more than the party could offer.
'Stronger than ever' jihadis kill
5,042 in a month
Agence France Presse/Dec. 11, 2014/LONDON: Jihadi attacks around the world in November killed a total of 5,042 people, showing Islamist extremism is "stronger than ever" despite Al-Qaeda's declining role, a new study published Thursday said. There were 664 attacks in 14 countries during the month, according to the joint report by the BBC World Service and the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation (ICSR) at King's College London. The research found ISIS jihadis in Iraq and Syria were responsible for around half of the violence - 308 attacks responsible for 2,206 deaths. "The data makes it clear that jihadist and Al-Qaeda are no longer one and the same," the report said. It said that 60 percent of the killing was done by groups with no formal association with Al-Qaeda, pointing to "an increasingly ambitious, complex, sophisticated and far-reaching movement." "It seems obvious that the jihadist movement ... (is) stronger than ever and that countering (it) will be a generational challenge," the research said. The worst-affected country was Iraq - where deaths accounted for around a third of the monthly total - followed by Nigeria, Afghanistan and Syria. The study is the first of its kind and could not be compared to previous monthly statistics.
Geagea offers condolences to
Palestinians over minister's death
Dec. 11, 2014/The Daily Star
BEIRUT: Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea, once an arch foe of Palestinian groups in the country, offered condolences Thursday over the death of a West Bank minister who died after being choked and beaten by Israeli police Wednesday. “It is with deep sadness that I have received the news about the death of Minister Ziad Abu Ein,” Geagea said in a statement addressed to the Palestinian Authority and people. “I [offer] the most earnest feelings of condolence and sympathy over this ordeal.” Geagea’s condolence letter appears to be in line with recent conciliatory efforts between his party, which was seen as being allied with Israel during the 1975-1990 civil war, and Palestinians. Enmity between the Lebanese Forces and Palestinian armed factions dates back to the early days of the war. It reached its peak after the 1982 Sabra-Shatila massacre carried out by Israeli-backed Christian militiamen who killed around 2,000 mostly civilians inside the Palestinian camps. Lebanese Christian parties have never acknowledged their involvement in the massacre.
But Geagea and other Christian leaders have denounced in recent years the Israel's wars on Gaza. In Thursday’s condolence letter, Geagea expressed his support to the “Palestinian cause,” saying the struggle for a Palestinian state will carry on as long as people like Abu Ein sacrifice their blood for its sake. “Condemnations are not enough anymore, because the Palestinians’ bleeding wound cannot be healed without the announcement of an independent Palestinian state,” he said. The Amal Movement, which also led fierce clashes against Palestinian factions during the civil war, also offered its condolences over the minister's death in a statement Wednesday. Abu Ein was stopped by Israeli police who grabbed him by the neck and shook him and as he led a peaceful protest to plant olive trees in an occupied West Bank village. Witnesses also said one of the Israeli soldiers hit Abu Ein on the chest with the butt of his rifle. Abu Ein died in an ambulance on the way to the hospital. He was the head of the Committee of Resistance Against the Wall and Settlements, and a member of Fatah’s Revolutionary Council. An official medical report by the Palestinian Health Ministry stated that Abu Ein’s death resulted from the physical attack by the occupation forces, and was not a natural death as Israeli authorities are claiming.
Terrorists are willing to sacrifice
Abdulrahman Al-Rashed/ASharq Al Awsat
Thursday, 11 Dec, 2014
The arrest of Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi’s ex-wife and daughter in Lebanon led some to think that this would be the weapon that would finally bring the most famous terrorist in the world to his knees.
However, instead of the terrorists releasing the Lebanese soldiers and policemen they abducted earlier this year, things took a turn for the worse. More of the hostages were killed, Qatar withdrew its offer to mediate, and some figures called for taking women and children hostage in response to the actions of the Al-Nusra Front and the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
It has now emerged that the Lebanese authorities ruined a covert operation as a result of political rivalries. The arrested woman is of no value when it comes to ensuring the release of the hostages, as she and Baghdadi have been divorced for years—i.e. before he took over ISIS. Therefore, she cannot be a means to pressure Baghdadi, and her arrest rather thwarted the Lebanese security forces’ plan and lost them what may be one of their most important sources of information.
Lebanese Interior Minister Nuhad Al-Mashnouq voiced his anger regarding the issue but used neutral statements to express himself. He said that arresting the women provoked terrorists and threatened the safety of the hostages. Truth be told, arresting Baghdadi’s former wife, his daughter, and the wife of ISIS commander Abu Ali Al-Shishani ruined the chance to carry out a successful surveillance operation that could have exposed ISIS plans, and this is a major political folly.
The only information detectives can glean from these women concerns the history of ISIS figure—just their history. Terrorists don’t care much about the human cost of their actions, or women’s dignity, because to them anything is worth sacrificing for the sake of their cause.
On the other hand, terrorists’ families have always been put under surveillance, but this is not useful when it comes to blackmail operations and cannot be made use of politically. This is why the family members of Osama bin Laden—the slain Al-Qaeda leader—were able to return home without any retribution from Iran, Pakistan and Syria. Baghdadi will not give up anything in exchange for the release of a family member, and would rather use the situation to prove his loyalty to the organization and his willingness to sacrifice even those closest to him.
The pain felt by the loved ones of the abducted Lebanese soldiers and policemen families who are at the center of ongoing political and media battles in Lebanon is understandable. But, unfortunately, who cares about the fate of a few people in a country where more than a quarter of a million have been killed over the last few decades? It’s a huge tragedy in which small details are often lost and overlooked.
I think Hezbollah needs to seriously reconsider its involvement in Syria and that of other different parts of Lebanese society, whether military or civilian. It should try to comprehend the size of the problem it creates and its possible duration, as it may be protracted. After the Syrians, it is the people of Lebanon who are paying the highest price, unlike the Turks and Jordanians, who are not a direct party to the conflict, and nor are the Iranians. Iraqis are part of the war because Iraq itself is a battlefield and it’s not possible to separate between Iraq and Syria.
Lebanon’s problem lies in Hezbollah’s involvement in the Syrian war, which comes as a result of its desire to fight alongside the Syrian regime. As an unfortunate consequence, Lebanon has become part of the battlefield.
The Lebanese people must realize that their problem is not with the terrorist Al-Nusra Front and ISIS, but with Hezbollah, because it insists on involving itself in the Syrian war and even brags about this. It’s therefore inevitable that fighting will be transferred into Lebanon, and it will not stop at the line we see drawn today in blood
The Illusion of American Naivety
Eyad Abu Shakra/Asharq Al Awsat
Thursday, 11 Dec, 2014
In my youth I sometimes heard and read somewhat racist jokes, and watched movies and TV series that created and underlined certain stereotypes about the peoples of the world, all the while being well aware of how Arabs were themselves being stereotyped, especially in the West. In those days the most widespread stereotype of Americans was that they were naive and spontaneous, the French moody and short-tempered, the British sly, polite, and coldly reserved, the Germans serious, rigidly disciplined and over-efficient, and the Russians crude and strictly obedient.
Sure enough, I later discovered these were often nothing but caricatures, and that it was absolutely wrong to generalize about people in this way. For example, in Germany I have met men and women whose warmth and kindness have made them close friends. In the UK, where I have lived for more than 36 years, I have met many who are neither sly nor cold.
Well what about the Americans? Of course, as the old saying goes, “there is no smoke without fire,” but Americans’ alleged naivety has not prevented public figures generally accused of being naïve from reaching the highest office, like Presidents George W. Bush, Ronald Reagan and Gerald Ford, to name a few. Those who understand how sophisticated the American political system truly is realize that it would be impossible for someone with limited intelligence to reach the top. Even when a less than formidable talent does succeed, he or she would have been deemed the best representative or spokesperson for powerful behind the scenes players. This, in fact, is further proof the institutions are far more powerful than individuals.
Last Sunday, US Secretary of State John Kerry was a guest of the Saban Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution in Washington DC. Kerry gave an interesting speech in which he pointed out to the growing possibilities of wide ranging regional co-operation in the Middle East in the fight against extremism and terrorism, cooperation that includes Israel and several Arab countries.
Kerry said: “We are seeing the potential of the emergence of a new regional alignment, with little in common but a shared aversion to extremists,” alluding really to only to Sunni Muslim extremists. He specifically named some GCC states, and hoped that sometime soon the above-mentioned alignment would also include Israel, the Palestinians, Jordan, and Egypt. He also expressed his happiness about the advances the “international coalition” is making against ISIS militarily, financially, and theologically, with its religious claims facing growing criticism.
The Saban Center was founded by Haim Saban, an Egypt-born Israeli-American businessman, and most of Kerry’s audience last Sunday was pro-Israel. Thus, in his speech Kerry was trying to reassure his audience about the future, underline the Obama administration’s prudence and its full commitment to confronting extremism and terrorism, and subsequently inform Israel’s supporters that there were indeed “moderate” Arab and Muslim partners willing to make peace with Israel.
In short, Kerry was talking to his home crowd. The problem with what he said, however, was that it ignored several important points.
First, the majority of the Arab countries have supported the Oslo Agreement reached by the late Yasser Arafat with the then Israeli leadership while stressing that such peace must be genuine and comprehensive, not just the submission sought by Israeli hawks like those in Likud. The only regional countries that have outbid Arafat and accused the Palestinian Authority of treason are Iran and Syria, i.e. the same countries Washington have always accused of promoting and supporting terrorism.
Second, the regional player which continues to insist on establishing “Eretz Yisrael” is the Likud leadership in Israel. The Likud Party’s leader, Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu, is now exploiting the “extremist” Sunni Muslim and Iran-backed Hamas and Islamic Jihad by putting the issue of the establishing Israel as an exclusively Jewish state at the heart of his campaign for the upcoming elections, while Washington remains curiously silent.
Thirdly, in spite of the fact that Washington knows all about Iran’s long history of involvement in acts of terrorism in the Middle East, the Obama administration has chosen Iran as an ally, betrayed the popular uprising of the Syrian people, and turned against its former “moderate” allies such as ex-presidents Hosni Mubarak of Egypt and Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali of Tunisia, who have paid a heavy price for being America’s friends.
Fourth, Kerry’s speech may be in line with America’s previous well-intentioned policies in the Middle East since Camp David, but this is not enough by itself. Many of these policies were indeed well-intentioned; certainly Jimmy Carter’s were. However, Kerry’s speech ignored that peace can only be built on a solid foundation of trust. In the absence of trust, there is no chance of peace between the Israelis and Palestinians, any talk of alignments or common visions between Arabs, Israelis, and Iranians becomes a travesty, while the notion of “friendship” between the US and the Arabs is nothing but a myth.
This week, the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) annual summit was attended by representatives of countries that have long thought of themselves as friends of America. It was held against a background of strong belief in the Arab world, particularly in the GCC countries, that President Obama has found new friends. Just as Washington disregarded the interests and credibility of Arab “moderates” through its unconditional support of whoever governs Israel, the present administration is now pushing the whole region to accept Iranian hegemony under the pretext of fighting extremist and takfirist terrorists.
I will stick my neck out and say that Obama’s strategy is not naive at all, but rather the product of major miscalculations, because the only credible force capable of confronting and defeating ISIS and similar organizations are the moderate Sunni Arabs who have never felt the need to take up arms against the rest of the world. Today, these miscalculations may however push the moderate Sunni Arabs to kill or be killed.
Is Chicago more dangerous than Riyadh?
Abdulrahman al-Rashed /Al Arabiya
Thursday, 11 December 2014
It is the height of contradiction to be a Saudi, a Kuwaiti or an Egyptian and worry that your children who are studying or working in the United States or Europe may turn into extremists who desire to join organizations like al-Qaeda and the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
This strange paradox is not abnormal if we are to follow up on the status of exchange students in foreign countries and of those who emigrated to live in the West. Fears that a Saudi student may turn into an extremist while studying at a university in Chicago or Birmingham is perhaps more well-founded than fears that a student in the university of Umm al-Qura in Makkah or in the Imam Muhammad ibn Saud Islamic University in Riyadh or al-Azhar university in Cairo may do the same. This is, of course, a hypothesis and it doesn't yet mean that we're confronting a phenomenon. However there's general political and social worry. Saudi cultural attaché in the United States Doctor Mohammed al-Issa reflected this worry as he urged Saudi students there to avoid extremist circles and suspicious groups. There is concern over those who move to a completely different society than theirs as they become completely responsible for themselves and for their character development in a society that more scope for freedoms. However, and despite this freedom, plurality and individualism, people in these societies arm themselves with a culture which protects them from dangerous risks like getting involved in violent groups.
Early youth is an experimental and character building phase. It's not strange for a student to travel to the U.S. with long hair and return from there with a thick beard as he goes through several intellectual changes as a result of his presence in an atmosphere that's very different than that in which he was raised in - an atmosphere of individual responsibility, independence and freedoms. Some of the most important characteristics of studying in a foreign country are learning outside one's local support systems, trying things, making decisions, building character, depending on one's self and co-existing with others. These are all positive characteristics in addition to the qualitative education one was sent abroad to acquire.
“It's not strange for a student to travel to the U.S. with long hair and return from there with a thick beard”
It only becomes worrying when the individual cannot deal with this new phase and thus fails to understand and distinguish danger. This is where one may commit the mistake of falling into prohibitions like drug addiction or joining an extremist group that believes in violence.
As to how this may happen, it's linked to the atmosphere of freedoms, and it requires a long perios of education on how to stay within the limits of order. The Saudi society mostly has consistent traditions and ideas while the west is free with less dominance of traditions. The former is conservative while the latter is open. There's a difference between what's conservative and what's extremist as some people confuse the two together and get mixed up. American universities don't push their students towards extremism in anyway whatsoever, however they grants them freedom of thinking and associoation and a space for independent activities and this is behind the boom of extremist organizations we've known since the 1970's - Baathist, nationalistic and Islamist groups developed and grew in American and European university campuses a lot more than they did in those of Arab universities. There's no problem in students practicing their rights and interests but the challenge lies in their insufficient understanding of liberal culture and this is why concepts become unclear to them. For example, freedom to them may mean the right for violent partisanship without taking into consideration the concept of individual responsibility and social co-existence.
Muslim immigrants seem to suffer from this problem more than students who are busy with their educational commitments and who temporarily stay outside their country as they return home after finishing their education.
A news story published this week in the U.S. shows the problem between the two different cultures. Zarin and Shafi Khan are a Muslim American couple of Indian origin being interrogated in Chicago. They have succeeded at protecting their children from social deviance by banning T.V. and monitoring the internet but one day they woke up to FBI agents knocking on their front door with a search warrant after three of their children were arrested in the airport as they tried to go to Turkey to join ISIS in Syria's ar-Raqqah. The parents were shocked when after 30 years of their immigration from India, they realized that they failed at understanding the possible threats posed on their children. They feared the western culture in their own neighborhood, however they realized that harm came from across the borders. It turned out that their oldest son who's 19 years old, their daughter who's 17 years old and their third son who's 16 years old were the victim of a man who goes by the name Abu Qa'qa. Abu Qa'qa misled all three via the internet on their mobile phones at a time when the father thought he was smart by monitoring his children's internet activity on the home computer. Abu Qa'qa convinced them that there's an Islamic state and that they must go to Syria and he gave the daughter the name Umm al-Bara. She said she was not going to Syria to fight but to marry one of the fighters! All this real drama took place in a Chicago suburb under the nose of the father whose fear for his children centered on porn sites and television programs! We think Pakistan or Saudi Arabia can be more dangerous for youths at a time when the intellectual problem we Muslims suffer from transcends borders.
Palestinians mourn official as Israel braces for unrest
Hossam Ezzedine| Agence France Presse
Dec. 11, 2014
RAMALLAH: Thousands of Palestinians gathered Thursday to mourn a senior official who died in a confrontation with Israeli troops, as the army sent reinforcements to the West Bank and braced for unrest. The Palestinian leadership blamed Israel for the "killing" of 55-year-old Ziad Abu Ein, as tensions threatened to boil over into another round of violence in the occupied territories. Officials and onlookers streamed into the Ramallah headquarters of president Mahmoud Abbas in the late morning, ahead of a planned funeral procession to a nearby cemetery, an AFP correspondent said. Uniformed Palestinians carried Abu Ein's coffin, draped in a Palestinian flag, into the courtyard, as nationalist songs blared and mourners chanted "Revenge!" and "Your blood will not be spilled in vain!"
Schools were closed in a day of mourning and posters of Abu Ein were plastered on walls throughout the West Bank city. A short distance away, additional Israeli troops and border guards were being deployed in anticipation of clashes with mourners and protesters, an army spokeswoman said, especially given the cemetery's proximity to the Jewish settlement of Psagot. Abu Ein died Wednesday after a confrontation with Israeli soldiers during a protest march against settlements by some 300 Palestinians who intended to plant olive trees as a symbolic act, an AFP photographer said. Troops fired tear gas, three soldiers grabbed Abu Ein and he was struck in the chest during the confrontation. Videos circulating online showed the soldiers pushing Abu Ein firmly in the chest and neck.
He collapsed and was treated by an Israeli army doctor, but died later in hospital.
"After hearing the results of the post-mortem, the Palestinian government holds Israel fully responsible for the killing of Ziad Abu Ein," government spokesman Ihab Bseiso told reporters in Ramallah on Thursday. A Palestinian minister said the post-mortem, which was carried out by a Palestinian, an Israeli and Jordanian doctors, had shown that Abu Ein was killed by the actions of Israeli troops. "The reason for the death of Abu Ein was his being hit by (Israeli) occupation troops and because of the heavy use of tear gas," Palestinian civil affairs minister Hussein al-Sheikh told AFP.Sheikh said Israeli forces had prevented Abu Ein from getting to a hospital quickly enough to save his life. Israel's health ministry said the death was caused by a "blockage of the coronary artery" which "could have been caused by stress," adding that Abu Ein suffered from poor health including heart disease. The incident prompted Abbas to threaten measures in response. "All options are open for discussion and implementation," Abbas told an emergency session of the Palestinian leadership late Wednesday, amid speculation that crucial security cooperation with Israel could be shelved. Islamist movement Hamas, rivals of Abbas's West Bank administration and de facto rulers of the Gaza Strip, urged the Palestinian Authority (PA) to cease security coordination immediately.
Israel's government urged calm, with Defence Minister Moshe Yaalon expressing regret for the death and saying a military inquiry had been launched. "Security stability is important for both sides," he said. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sent a message through one of his aides to Abbas in which he "pointed to the need to calm the situation and act responsibly," his office said. The death of Abu Ein, who was a former PA deputy minister and was responsible for dealing with the settlement issue, follows months of tensions between Israelis and Palestinians and a wave of unrest in the West Bank and Arab east Jerusalem. Israelis are on edge after "hit-and-run" car attacks by Palestinians that killed five people, as well as an assault last month that saw two Palestinians burst into a Jerusalem synagogue, leaving four rabbis and a policeman dead. The tensions have been heightened by Israeli announcements of new settlement construction in east Jerusalem and the West Bank.
Palestinian autopsy reveals minister
died from heart attack
Latest Update: 12.11.14/ Israel News
Palestinian-led autopsy of Ziad Abu Ein congruent with Israeli claims, says he died from stress-induced heart attack, but say attack, lack of medical care at fault; Israeli doctor: His heart was already functioning at less than 80%.
Israeli and Palestinian medical officials seemed to agree on the results of the autopsy of the Palestinian minister who died after being shoved and grabbed by the neck by an Israeli policeman at a West Bank protest, but issued conflicting interpretations Thursday.
Abu Ein, a Palestinian Authority cabinet minister, collapsed and died in the afternoon hours of Wednesday. Now a Palestinian-led autopsy claims his cause of death was a stress-induced heart attack.
The report, being led by Palestinian, Jordanian and Israeli pathologists, said the death was caused by blockage in the coronary artery, and said there were signs of light internal bleeding and localized pressure on the neck, at least according to the Israeli version of the report published by the Health Minixtry
The deceased suffered from heart disease, and there was evidence that plaque buildup were clogging more than 80% of his blood vessels, as well as signs that he had suffered heart attacks in the past.
The Palestinian government issued a statement after its meeting, blaming Israel for the "murder" of Abu Ein. "After publication of the results, we can say that Israel is responsible for the murder of Abu Ein," the government said.
Initially, Hussein al-Sheikh, a top Palestinian official, told Reuters that Jordanian and Palestinian doctors involved in the late night examination of the body said Ziad Abu Ein, 55, had died from being struck, inhaling tear gas and not receiving prompt medical attention.
However, Dr. Hen Kugel, the Israeli doctor who took part in the autopsy, told Ynet that the report was not final and that they were awaiting on the return of some tests, however "we know what happended there – he died from a heart attack. He had significant blockage of the arteries and his heart was in bad shape. When they grabbed his neck it caused massive stress which led to bleeding and then full blockage which is what killed him."
"There is no disagreement with the Palestinians about this, the only thing we still need to find out about is wounding to his front teeth, tongue and windpipe. These could be a result of resuscitation attempts or an attack as the Palestinians claim, but it doesn’t matter, he died because of his heart and stress," Dr. Kugel said.
Abu Ain's funeral took place Thursday in the West Bank city of Ramallah and Israel has reinforced its forces in the area with two battalions of soldiers and two companies of border police in preparation.
Over 50 Palestinians rioted in Turmus Iya in the West Bank, where Abu's Ein altercation with IDF took place, as hundreds attended his funeral in Ramallah. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas laid a reef on his coffin.
Abbas called Abu Ain the victim of a "clear crime" and a "barbaric act Wednesday." He decreed three days of mourning for the minister, whose portfolio included organizing protests against Israeli settlements and the West Bank separation barrier.
Abbas held up a photo of the Israeli officer grabbing Abu Ain's throat. Palestinians circulated the photo on social media under the hashtag #ICantBreathe – drawing a link to the chokehold killing of an unarmed black man by a white police officer in New York.
At the time of the event, palestinian sources claimed the minister, who reportedly suffered from an unspecified illness and which could have played a role in his death, had been hit in the chest by the butt of a soldier's gun, and then collapsed. However the circumstances of his death remain unclear, and the possibility is being examined that the minister suffered a heart attack.