Archive for November 2007

Peace Corps Morocco is seeking 12 Language and Cultural Facilitators (LCF)

November 30, 2007

POSITION : Language and Cultural Facilitator
DUTY STATION : Rabat/Other rural areas in Morocco
DATE OF ENTRY ON DUTY : March 1, 2008
DATE OF COMPLETION : Last week of May, 2008
SALARY LEVEL : 200 Dhs per day. Food, lodging and transportation are provided by Peace Corps.
DEADLINE FOR APPLICATIONS : January 18, 2008

Peace Corps Morocco is seeking 12 Language and Cultural Facilitators (LCF) who will be responsible for facilitating the Peace Corps Morocco Volunteers’ learning in Tamazight or Tashelheet and Moroccan culture

Position Summary :

PRE SERVICE TRAINING Language Cross Culture Facilitator works to develop basic communicative language skills among Peace Corps Trainees during an intensive training program. The LCF works closely with a small group of Trainees throughout the duration of Pre Service Training. S/he conducts language-training classes, within the Peace Corps Competency-based curriculum framework, and effectively uses a variety of language training techniques, methodologies, and activities. The LCF is responsible for the implementation and monitoring of daily language classes, as well as the community assignments of the trainees. S/he acts as a resource person and provides written feedback in the evaluation of the training program and the overall assessment of Trainees’ performance.

Job Description

– Ensure excellent preparation and self-readiness before going to class and integrates all components in the content of his/her sessions. 
– Implement lesson plans based on acquisition of specific language competencies that trainees should achieve. 
– Make appropriate changes based on feedback received and learning needs of the Trainees 
–  Evaluate the language materials based on feedback from Trainees and own experience. 
–  Be available outside “classroom” hours to assist with additional language learning activities, including individual tutorials, other learning options and conferences with Trainees. 
– Identify specific training techniques that correspond to the trainees’ learning styles. 
– Prepare and submit weekly, mid-term and final reports to the Pre Service Training director. 
– Provide regular and consistent feedback to Trainees concerning their language acquisition and performance. 
– Utilize community-based activities to enhance language instruction. 
– Act as an interpreter and translator, as needed. 
– Participate in the compiling, storing and documenting of language training materials. 
– Maintain social and professional relationships with all the training team. 
– Maintain a professional and positive public image with the training staff, Trainees and the local community to ensure the proper implementation of Pre Service Training. 
– Observe professional code of ethics in regard to Trainees, Staff and the community.

MINIMUM QUALIFICATIONS REQUIRED AND PROVEN EXPERIENCE IN THE FOLLOWING :

–  University degree in English/ or native like fluency in English 
– Adult teaching experience and ability to teach Moroccan culture 
– Ability to teach Tamazight or Tashelheet to Adult Americans 
– Ability to work independently and be part of a team 
– Strong interpersonal and communication skills 
–  Basic computer skills including word processing, excel, internet, and e-mail 
– Moroccan Citizenship For consideration, all applicants must submit a Resume (CV) together with a Cover Letter stating in detail how their education and experience fulfills the requirements of the position. Submitted material must address each listed requirement. Both Cover Letter and Resume (CV) must be type written and in English and either mailed or personally delivered to :

Illi Hakim ( hilli@ma.peacecorps.gov)
2, Rue Abou Marouane Essadi, Agdal
Rabat, 10100
Tel. : 037 68 37 80

Applicants selected for interviews will be notified by telephone and/or email

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Morocco, model for cultural diversity (international colloquium).

November 30, 2007

touria-jabrane-994.jpgParticipants in the international colloquium on dialogue of civilizations underlined, here Friday, the Moroccan experience in the field of cultural diversity respect. They also highlighted, at the opening session of this meeting, the importance of dialogue between cultures in order to clear up misunderstandings, adding that rejecting the idea of “watertight separations between religions” and advocating the “life together”, is a necessity of inter-religious dialogue.

The chairman of the Arab world institute in Paris, Dominique Baudis, stressed, in his address, the need for all actors to “recognize the right to be different to engage into a dialogue based on equality and reciprocity, to respect each other.” He called for a dialogue, which takes into account characteristics of each nation, adding that “intercultural dialogue should include religion as well.”

Moroccan minister of culture, Touriya Jabrane Kraytife, for her part, said that there is no clash between civilizations and cultures; it is rather “a fight between people who do not understand the essence of values differences.” “We need to draw up a world charter on citizenship to teach the rising generations the values of belonging to this world”, she said.

According to France’s ambassador to Morocco, Jean François Thibaut “Morocco constitutes, for several countries of the region, a useful reference, a case that is worth reflection concerning dialogue between civilizations.”
http://www.map.ma/eng/sections/culture/morocco_model_for_c/view

The Fez Appeal : LIVING TOGETHER

We, delegates, representing multiple countries from the Arab world, Africa, Europe, Asia, and the Americas, meeting at the International Conference on ‘Civilizations and Cultural Diversity; What dialogue for what alliance?’, organized by the city of Fez and the CMIESI, under the high patronage of His Majesty the King Mohammed VI of Morocco, from the 23rd to the 25th of November 2007 in Fes, land of co-existence, interculturalism, and permanent dialogue which, in 2008, will celebrate the 1200 years since its founding.

– Firmly attached to the values and universal principles, embodied by the resolutions of the United Nations, of UNESCO of the OCI and of the OIF, in relation to Dialogue and Alliance between Civilizations, and the preservation of Cultural Diversity.

– Aware of our responsibility and our duty that concerns us all regarding the futur of humanity, confronted by new challenges, uncertainties and threats, which are revealed through intolerance, the return of racial and religious discrimination, violence and obscurantisms, injustices and inqualities, the weakening of the rule of law; no civilization, culture, nor even any religion, are spared.

– Following rich debate and the exchange of varying points of view during the course of this conference; We have decided to address this appeal to the international community and to all human consciences for LIVING TOGETHER:

Morocco counts over 2,300 HIV/AIDS cases

November 30, 2007

AIDS prevalence in Morocco up to June 30 is estimated at 2,306 cases, 39% of which are women, revealed, here on Wednesday, a study presented at a planning workshop on AIDS. The study showed that people under 40 are the most concerned by AIDS with 42% of cases documented among people aged between 30 and 39 and 23% among those between 15 and 29.

Participants to this three-day meeting stressed the need to expand partnerships at the local and the regional level to facilitate the implementation of Morocco’s 2007-2011 national strategy to fight AIDS. They, however, noted that such a task requires to acquire a thorough knowledge of the social, economic and cultural contexts and on the current epidemiological situation so as to adapt the national strategy to fight AIDS to regional and local realities.

This meeting aims, among other things, at developing a thorough regional intersectoral plan to fight AIDS, define results in terms of providing health care to the people infected and examine the positive sides and the weaknesses in terms of fighting AIDS.

Since the first case of AIDS appeared in 1986, Morocco has progressively introduced a series of measures and countless provisions to cope with the spread of the epidemic. It has recently implemented a USD 47Mn national strategy to raise the awareness of over a million persons, mainly high-risk populations, create 150,000 screening centers and provide medical assistance to 4,000 people by 2011.
http://www.map.ma/eng/sections/social/morocco_counts_over_1/view

PIC OF THE DAY

November 30, 2007

amsoldierinmosque.jpgamsoldierinmosque22.jpgamsoldierinmosque2.jpg

PRESIDENT SIGNS DOCUMENT EFFECTIVELY MAKING IRAQ A COLONY OF THE U.S.

November 28, 2007

I’m not sure that I’ve read a more sickening document than the one that was released by the White House yesterday entitled ‘Declaration of Principles for a Long-Term Relationship of Cooperation and Friendship Between the Republic of Iraq and the United States of America’. Encapsulated in this document is the geo-political reality of what the Bush/Cheney administration and their neoconservative and Likudnik supporters had set out to achieve since the day George W. Bush became President of the US.

Far from ‘liberating’ the Iraqi people from the ‘yoke of tyranny’ for them to become a ‘free and democratic’ model to which all other Middle Eastern states could aspire, which was the propaganda and rhetoric used by the neoconservatives that convinced the Coalition of the Willing that Iraq was a ‘noble and righteous cause’, the declaration instead condemns Iraq to an endless occupation designed to enhance the power of the elite puppets of Iraq, and to ensure that Iraq’s resources remain firmly under American control and enriching American controlled oil companies. In short, the document is the instrument by which Iraq has effectively become a colony of the US.

There are several iniquitous points made in the document that betray the real intent of the administration but, in particular, point five of the second principle relating to ‘the economic sphere’ which says: “Facilitating and encouraging the flow of foreign investments to Iraq, especially American investments, to contribute to the reconstruction and rebuilding of Iraq,” and point eight which says: “Supporting the Republic of Iraq to obtain positive and preferential trading conditions for Iraq within the global marketplace including accession to the World Trade Organization and most favored nation status with the United States,” says it all.

Iraq’s puppet leaders have signed over Iraq to the US.

http://mparent7777-2.blogspot.com/2007/11/bush-just-made-iraq-aa-american-colony.html

A Picture is Worth Thousand Words

November 28, 2007

aa.jpgana1.jpg

look at the suits, the ties and the handshake…..

Jihadville

November 28, 2007

t-11.jpg

What is it about one Moroccan city, and/or its people, that appears to be producing a growing and deadly list of ready-to-explode jihadists?

The New York Times Magazine goes into great detail, finds a few vague answers and tosses out a whole lot of theories. Still there is interesting information and insight to be found :

What, then, caused them to embrace violent jihad? In a city flooded with televised images of civilians dying in Iraq, the forces of politics and religion surely weighed on these men’s lives. For some of them, public outrage merged with personal grievance.

Yet individual experiences and ideological convictions can only explain so much. Increasingly, terrorism analysts have focused on the importance of social milieu. Some stress that terrorists are not simply loners, overcome by a militant cause. They are more likely to radicalize together with others who share the same passions and afflictions and daily routines. As the story of Jamaa Mezuak suggests, the turn to violence is seldom made alone. Terrorists don’t simply die for a cause, Scott Atran, an anthropologist who studies terrorism, told me. “They die for each other.”

The question of what drives someone to terrorism has given rise to a cottage industry of theories since Sept. 11. None may fully explain what happened in Jamaa Mezuak: why some of its young men chose to become terrorists when most have not. The notion that poverty is to blame has been debunked again and again. And while religious extremism can feed militancy, many experts prefer to emphasize the anger generated by political conflicts, like the war in Iraq or the Arab-Israeli struggle.Many may sympathize with a cause, but few ever turn to violence. Marc Sageman, a psychiatrist and former C.I.A. case officer, holds that people prone to terrorism share a sequence of experiences, which he outlines in his forthcoming book, “Leaderless Jihad.”

They feel a sense of moral outrage that is interpreted in a specific way (the war in Iraq, for example, is interpreted as a war on Islam); that outrage resonates with the person’s own experiences (Muslims in Germany or Britain who feel marginalized might identify with the suffering of Iraqis); and finally, that outrage is channeled into action.

This process, Sageman told me, is rarely a solitary one. He and a growing number of law-enforcement officials and analysts argue that group dynamics play a key role in radicalization. While ideology may inspire terrorists, they say, it takes intimate social forces to push people to action. Friends embolden one another to act in ways they might not on their own. This might be called the peer-pressure theory of terrorism. Experts in the field refer to it as the BOG, for bunch of guys (or GOG, for group of guys). “Terrorism is really a collective decision, not an individual one,” said Sageman, who coined the theory. “It’s about kinship and friendship.”

Jihadi groups, like most social circles, tend to rely on frequent, sustained interaction, Sageman told me. People are drawn together by a common activity, like soccer, or by a common set of circumstances, like prison. Often they meet in the temporary spaces born of immigration.

In groups predisposed to violence, there is often a shared grievance around which members first rally. In the case of urban American gangs, the grievance could be police brutality. For the Hamburg cell behind 9/11, it was the war in Chechnya.Law-enforcement agencies have begun changing their approach to counterterrorism in tandem with their heightened awareness of the role that groups play. Investigators in Europe, Canada and the United States are now conducting surveillance of suspects for longer periods of time, in part to observe the full breadth of their social networks.

The horrors and inhumanity of what has happened in Iraq is poisoning the minds of millions of young people across the planet, not just in Morocco. A miniscule number are choosing violence as their way of unleashing vengeance, or evening scores.

But the West is clearly losing the battle of the mind when young men in Morocco can look to television and see for themselves the untold destruction and death unleashed by the illegal invasion and occupation of Iraq and feel driven to seek revenge, and all that can be done is to increase surveillance on groups of young men who may or may not be plotting terror attacks.

In the New York Times Magazine story, young Moroccan men are quoted as saying that President Bush is the “biggest terrorist in the world.” They say this, apparently, because they’ve seen on TV what has happened to the people of Iraq, and Afghanistan.

Bush’s nickname of being “The World’s Greatest Terrorist” is seen at marches and rallies all over the planet.

War is Terror, and Terror is most certainly War.

Osama Bin Laden’s calls to jihad would be next to worthless without the wars of President Bush to supply the imagery and horror stories that rots so many souls, and helps to poison so many minds.

The wars feed the terrorism, and the terrorism feeds the wars.

Hopefully it won’t take another generation to end this circle of violence and inhumanity.

the knights

November 28, 2007

The following is a list of the heads of delegation  participating in the Annapolis Conference:

Description Delegation Title of Head of Delegation Name
Parties Israel Prime Minister Ehud Olmert
Palestinian Authority President Mahmud Abbas
Quartet United States President George W. Bush
EU Commission Commissioner for External Relations and European Neighbourhood Policy Benita Ferrero-Waldner
EU High Rep High Representative for Common Foreign and Security Policy, Secretary General of the Council of the European Union Javier Solana
EU President (Portugal) Minister of State and of Foreign Affairs Luis Amado
Russia Minister for Foreign Affairs Sergey V. Lavrov
UNSYG Secretary General Ban Ki-moon
Quartet Representative Middle East Envoy Tony Blair
Arab League Follow-up Committee Algeria Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Mourad Medelci
Bahrain Minister of Foreign Affairs Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa
Egypt Minister of Foreign Affairs Ahmed Aboul Gheit
Jordan Minister of Foreign Affairs Salaheddin Al-Bashir
Lebanon Minister of Culture Tarek Mitri
Morocco Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation Taieb Fassi Fihri
Qatar Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Ahmed bin Abdulla Al-Mahmoud
Saudi Arabia Minister of Foreign Affairs Saud Al-Faisal
Sudan Ambassador John Ukec
Syria Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Fayssal Mekdad
Tunisia Minister of Foreign Affairs Abdelwahab Abdallah
Yemen Minister of Foreign Affairs and Minister of Expatriate Affairs Abu Bakr al-Qirbi
Arab League SYG Secretary General Amre Moussa
G-8, P-5 Canada Minister of Foreign Affairs Maxime Bernier
China Minister of Foreign Affairs Yang Jiechi
France Minister of Foreign and European Affairs Bernard Kouchner
Germany Minister of Foreign Affairs Frank-Walter Steinmeier
Italy Vice President of the Council of Ministers and Minister of Foreign Affairs Massimo D’Alema
Japan Special Envoy for the Middle East Tatsuo Arima
United Kingdom Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs David Miliband
Others AustriaBrazil Minister of Foreign AffairsMinister of State for External Relations Ursula PlassnikCelso Luiz Nunes Amorim
Denmark Minister for Foreign Affairs Per Stig Moeller
Greece Minister of Foreign Affairs Dora Bakoyannis
India Minister of Science and Technology and Earth Sciences Shri Kapil Sibal
Indonesia Minister of Foreign Affairs Noer Hassan Wirajuda
Malaysia Minister of Foreign Affairs Syed Hamid bin Syed Jaafar Albar
Mauritania Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation Mohamed Saleck Ould Mohamed Lemine
Mexico Under Secretary Lourdes Aranda
Netherlands Minister for European Affairs Frans Timmermans
Norway Minister of Foreign Affairs Jonas Gahr Store
OIC Secretary General Ekemelddin Ihsanoglu
Oman Minister Responsible for Foreign Affairs Yusuf bin Alawi bin Abdulla
Pakistan Foreign Secretary Riaz Mohammad Khan
Poland Minister of Foreign Affairs Radoslaw Sikorski
Senegal Senior Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Cheikh Tidiane Gadio
Slovenia Minister of Foreign Affairs Dimitrij Rupel
South Africa Minister of Foreign Affairs Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma
Spain Minister of Foreign Affairs Miguel Angel Moratinos
Sweden Minister of Foreign Affairs Carl Bildt
Turkey Minister of Foreign Affairs and Chief EU Negotiator Ali Babacan
United Arab Emirates Minister of Foreign Affairs Abdulla bin Zayed Al Nahayan
Vatican (Holy See) Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs, Special Envoy Pietro Parolin
Observers IMF Managing Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn
World Bank President Robert Zoellick

Annapolis Joint Understanding

By Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, read by President George W. Bush, November 27, 2007

PRESIDENT BUSH: The representatives of the government of the state of Israel and the Palestinian Liberation Organization, represented respective by Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, and President Mahmoud Abbas in his capacity as Chairman of the PLO Executive Committee and President of the Palestinian Authority, have convened in Annapolis, Maryland, under the auspices of President George W. Bush of the United States of America, and with the support of the participants of this international conference, having concluded the following joint understanding.We express our determination to bring an end to bloodshed, suffering and decades of conflict between our peoples; to usher in a new era of peace, based on freedom, security, justice, dignity, respect and mutual recognition; to propagate a culture of peace and nonviolence; to confront terrorism and incitement, whether committed by Palestinians or Israelis. In furtherance of the goal of two states, Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace and security, we agree to immediately launch good-faith bilateral negotiations in order to conclude a peace treaty, resolving all outstanding issues, including all core issues without exception, as specified in previous agreements.We agree to engage in vigorous, ongoing and continuous negotiations, and shall make every effort to conclude an agreement before the end of 2008. For this purpose, a steering committee, led jointly by the head of the delegation of each party, will meet continuously, as agreed. The steering committee will develop a joint work plan and establish and oversee the work of negotiations teams to address all issues, to be headed by one lead representative from each party. The first session of the steering committee will be held on 12 December 2007.President Abbas and Prime Minister Olmert will continue to meet on a bi-weekly basis to follow up the negotiations in order to offer all necessary assistance for their advancement.The parties also commit to immediately implement their respective obligations under the performance-based road map to a permanent two-state solution to the Israel-Palestinian conflict, issued by the Quartet on 30 April 2003 — this is called the road map — and agree to form an American, Palestinian and Israeli mechanism, led by the United States, to follow up on the implementation of the road map.

The parties further commit to continue the implementation of the ongoing obligations of the road map until they reach a peace treaty. The United States will monitor and judge the fulfillment of the commitment of both sides of the road map. Unless otherwise agreed by the parties, implementation of the future peace treaty will be subject to the implementation of the road map, as judged by the United States.

Congratulations for your strong leadership. (Applause.)

The Palestinian people are blessed with many gifts and talents. They want the opportunity to use those gifts to better their own lives and build a better future for their children. They want the dignity that comes with sovereignty and independence. They want justice and equality under the rule of law. They want freedom from violence and fear.

The people of Israel have just aspirations, as well. They want their children to be able to ride a bus or to go to school without fear of suicide bombers. They want an end to rocket attacks and constant threats of assault. They want their nation to be recognized and welcomed in the region where they live.

Today, Palestinians and Israelis each understand that helping the other to realize their aspirations is key to realizing their own aspirations — and both require an independent, democratic, viable Palestinian state. Such a state will provide Palestinians with the chance to lead lives of freedom and purpose and dignity. Such a state will help provide the Israelis with something they have been seeking for generations: to live in peace with their neighbors.

Achieving this goal is not going to be easy — if it were easy, it would have happened a long time ago. To achieve freedom and peace, both Israelis and Palestinians will have to make tough choices. Both sides are sober about the work ahead, but having spent time with their leaders, they are ready to take on the tough issues. As Prime Minister Olmert recently put it, “We will avoid none of [the historic questions], we will not run from discussing any of them.” As President Abbas has said: “I believe that there is an opportunity not only for us but for the Israelis, too. We have a historic and important opportunity that we must benefit from.” It is with that spirit that we concluded — that they concluded this statement I just read.

Our purpose here in Annapolis is not to conclude an agreement. Rather, it is to launch negotiations between the Israelis and the Palestinians. For the rest of us, our job is to encourage the parties in this effort — and to give them the support they need to succeed.

In light of recent developments, some have suggested that now is not the right time to pursue peace. I disagree. I believe now is precisely the right time to begin these negotiations — for a number of reasons:

First, the time is right because Palestinians and Israelis have leaders who are determined to achieve peace. President Abbas seeks to fulfill his people’s aspirations for statehood, dignity and security. President Abbas understands that a Palestinian state will not be born of terror, and that terrorism is the enemy standing in the way of a state. He and Prime Minister Fayyad have both declared, without hesitation, that they are opposed to terrorism and committed to peace. They’re committed to turning these declarations into actions on the ground to combat terror.

The emergence of responsible Palestinian leaders has given Israeli leaders the confidence they need to reach out to the Palestinians in true partnership. Prime Minister Olmert has expressed his understanding of the suffering and indignities felt by the Palestinian people. He’s made clear that the security of Israel will be enhanced by the establishment of a responsible, democratic Palestinian state. With leaders of courage and conviction on both sides, now is the time to come together and seek the peace that both sides desire.

Second, the time is right because a battle is underway for the future of the Middle East — and we must not cede victory to the extremists. With their violent actions and contempt for human life, the extremists are seeking to impose a dark vision on the Palestinian people — a vision that feeds on hopelessness and despair to sow chaos in the Holy Land. If this vision prevails, the future of the region will be endless terror, endless war, and endless suffering.

Standing against this dark vision are President Abbas and his government. They are offering the Palestinian people an alternative vision for the future — a vision of peace, a homeland of their own, and a better life. If responsible Palestinian leaders can deliver on this vision, they will deal the forces of extremism a devastating blow. And when liberty takes root in the rocky soil of the West Bank and Gaza, it will inspire millions across the Middle East who want their societies built on freedom and peace and hope.

By contrast, if Palestinian reformers cannot deliver on this hopeful vision, then the forces of extremism and terror will be strengthened, a generation of Palestinians could be lost to the extremists, and the Middle East will grow in despair. We cannot allow this to happen. Now is the time to show Palestinians that their dream of a free and independent state can be achieved at the table of peace — and that the terror and violence preached by Palestinian extremists is the greatest obstacle to a Palestinian state.

Third, the time is right because the world understands the urgency of supporting these negotiations. We appreciate that representatives from so many governments and international institutions have come to join us here in Annapolis — especially the Arab world. We’re here because we recognize what is at stake. We are here because we each have a vital role to play in helping Palestinians forge the institutions of a free society. We’re here because we understand that the success of these efforts to achieve peace between Israelis and Palestinians will have an impact far beyond the Holy Land.

These are the reasons we’ve gathered here in Annapolis. And now we begin the difficult work of freedom and peace. The United States is proud to host this meeting — and we reaffirm the path to peace set out in the road map. Yet in the end, the outcome of the negotiations they launch here depends on the Israelis and Palestinians themselves. America will do everything in our power to support their quest for peace, but we cannot achieve it for them. The success of these efforts will require that all parties show patience and flexibility — and meet their responsibilities.

For these negotiations to succeed, the Palestinians must do their part. They must show the world they understand that while the borders of a Palestinian state are important, the nature of a Palestinian state is just as important. They must demonstrate that a Palestinian state will create opportunity for all its citizens, and govern justly, and dismantle the infrastructure of terror. They must show that a Palestinian state will accept its responsibility, and have the capability to be a source of stability and peace — for its own citizens, for the people of Israel, and for the whole region.

The Israelis must do their part. They must show the world that they are ready to begin — to bring an end to the occupation that began in 1967 through a negotiated settlement. This settlement will establish Palestine as a Palestinian homeland, just as Israel is a homeland for the Jewish people. Israel must demonstrate its support for the creation of a prosperous and successful Palestinian state by removing unauthorized outposts, ending settlement expansion, and finding other ways for the Palestinian Authority to exercise its responsibilities without compromising Israel’s security.

Arab states also have a vital role to play. Relaunching the Arab League initiative and the Arab League’s support for today’s conference are positive steps. All Arab states should show their strong support for the government of President Abbas — and provide needed assistance to the Palestinian Authority. Arab states should also reach out to Israel, work toward the normalization of relations, and demonstrate in both word and deed that they believe that Israel and its people have a permanent home in the Middle East. These are vital steps toward the comprehensive peace that we all seek.

Finally, the international community has important responsibilities. Prime Minister Fayyad is finalizing a plan to increase openness and transparency and accountability throughout Palestinian society — and he needs the resources and support from the international community. With strong backing from those gathered here, the Palestinian government can build the free institutions that will support a free Palestinian state.

The United States will help Palestinian leaders build these free institutions — and the United States will keep its commitment to the security of Israel as a Jewish state and homeland for the Jewish people.

The United States strongly feels that these efforts will yield the peace that we want — and that is why we will continue to support the Lebanese people. We believe democracy brings peace. And democracy in Lebanon is vital, as well, for the peace in the Middle East. Lebanese people are in the process of electing a president. That decision is for the Lebanese people to make — and they must be able to do so free from outside interference and intimidation. As they embark on this process, the people of Lebanon can know that the American people stand with them — and we look forward to the day when the people of Lebanon can enjoy the blessings of liberty without fear of violence or coercion.

The task begun here at Annapolis will be difficult. This is the beginning of the process, not the end of it — and no doubt a lot of work remains to be done. Yet the parties can approach this work with confidence. The time is right. The cause is just. And with hard effort, I know they can succeed.

President Abbas and Prime Minister Olmert, I pledge to devote my effort during my time as President to do all I can to help you achieve this ambitious goal. I give you my personal commitment to support your work with the resources and resolve of the American government. I believe a day is coming when freedom will yield the peace we desire. And the land that is holy to so many will see the light of peace.

The day is coming when Palestinians will enjoy the blessings that freedom brings — and all Israelis will enjoy the security they deserve. That day is coming. The day is coming when the terrorists and extremists who threaten the Israeli and Palestinian people will be marginalized and eventually defeated. And when that day comes, future generations will look to the work we began here at Annapolis. They will give thanks to the leaders who gathered on the banks of the Chesapeake for their vision, their wisdom and courage to choose a future of freedom and peace.

Thanks for coming. May God bless their work. (Applause.)

END 11:22 A.M. EST

NOTE: Bush uses word “occupation” referring to Israel’s control of Palestine…….no comment!

Iran: The uninvited guest at peace summit

November 28, 2007

By Kaveh L Afrasiabi

Tuesday’s Arab-Israeli peace summit in Annapolis, Maryland, is supposed to be about resolving long-standing Palestinian issues, the Golan Heights, and other contentious matters. But, increasingly, it is framed in the United States and Israeli media as a dual-purpose conference, the other being the containment of Iran.Thus, an editorial in the Jerusalem Post writes that “the process that Annapolis seeks to launch will be inherently conditional on Western success against the Iranian challenge … The idea that holding an Arab-Israeli peace summit would be a setback for Iran is a valid one.” The more liberal Ha’aretz went even further by stating the goal of the Annapolis conference to be the formation of a “global coalition against Iran”.

Similarly, in the US a number of pundits have painted Annapolis as a “means of sorts of cementing a coalition against Iran and its allies”, to paraphrase Tamar Cofman Wittes of the Saban Center for Middle East Policy. According to Cofman and a host of media pundits paraded on American television news programs, Annapolis is President George W Bush’s wakeup call to the world on the “Iran threat”.

It comes as little surprise, then, that the US military in Iraq has quickly pinned on “Iran-backed militias” the responsibility for the recent explosion at Baghdad’s pet market which killed more than a dozen people – call it pre-Annapolis fuel for “blaming Iran”.

Interestingly, a powerful Iraqi politician, Abdul Aziz al-Hakim, head of the Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council, has questioned the US’s accusations against Iran, asking the US to “offer more proof” of Iran’s alleged role in inciting violence in Iraq. That is a fair request, particularly since both the US and Iran are now poised to hold their fourth round of direct, bilateral talks on Iraqi security. And, per the US military’s own admission, there has been a substantial reduction of violence in Baghdad and elsewhere in Iraq, suggesting a more cooperative role on Iran’s part.

Lest we forget, the Iraq Study Group report closely linked the fate of Iraq with the Arab-Israeli peace process and, in hindsight, a fruitless conference in Annapolis, that is, one that would be exploited by the US and Israel to deflect attention from the core issues by focusing on Iran, will likely have negative ramifications for Iraq’s security. That is, it will embolden the anti-US forces that are in the retreat mode as a result of the US’s “surge” policy.

In other words, a new surge in anti-US activities can be expected if the Annapolis summit fails to produce any tangible results – as predicted by Iran’s leaders as well as the leaders of the so-called “rejectionist camp”, including Hamas and the Islamic Jihad in Palestine, but not so Syria, which has opted for a high-level presence at Annapolis at the last minute.

According to the Jerusalem Post, “The more the US focuses on its unfolding confrontation with Iran, the more it is argued that weaning Syria away from the axis with Iran can be a very effective tool in waging that confrontation.” Syria has leveraged its spoiler role for Annapolis’ inclusion of the Golan Heights on its agenda. This in turn has prompted some Israeli politicians to consider prioritizing the “Syria track” over the “Palestine track” at the summit.

But, Israel and the US do not call all the shots at the conference and Syria in particular, which has participated in a number of summits and conferences in the past in pursuit of regaining its territories in Israel’s hands, can increase the diplomatic pressure on Israel in Annapolis. And so can other states of the Arab League, such as Egypt and Saudi Arabia, that have made clear their unwillingness to go along with the Bush administration’s division of the Middle East into “moderate” versus “radical” camps.

The big question, then, is to what extent the Arab participants at Annapolis will be successful in repelling the US-Israeli map of action against “Iran-led extremism”, which has a clear nuclear dimension, aimed at taking advantage of the Arab world’s fears of an Iranian bomb? Another question is what kind of concessions does Israel have to make on the Arab front to make gains at the Iran front? Will Israel go as far as appeasing Syria, to wrest Damascus away from Tehran at his critical juncture in the Iran nuclear crisis?

Already counting on Syria’s participation as a mini-victory against Iran, Israel and the US are simultaneously aware of the possibility for a similar mini-victory for Iran in the event the conference does not yield any tangible results, and thus confirm Iran’s loud predictions of its failure. Intent on depriving Iran of that opportunity, the US and Israel will need more than a compliant media to sell the image of a successful conference; substantive progress on the Arab-Israeli plate must be demonstrated, otherwise the net result will be a publicity success for Iran and Hamas.

Iran’s calculations and counter-measures
According to a Tehran University political science professor, the reason Tehran is highly skeptical about the results of the Annapolis conference is that “all the principal participants are weak. You have a lame-duck president in the White House who completely forgot the Palestinian issue for seven years, a weak Israeli prime minister [Ehud Olmert] and an even weaker Palestinian leader [President Mahmoud Abbas], who does not lead more than a minority of Palestinians. How is a durable breakthrough possible under these conditions when the principal participants are not powerful enough to make the necessary concessions? Can Olmert stop the illegal settlements or order their removal from the Palestinian lands? The answer is no.”

Such sentiments can be found aplenty in Iran, prompting President Mahmud Ahmadinejad to echo the sentiment of Hamas leaders, who are highly critical of those Arab leaders participating at Annapolis, by stating: “Attending the conference shows a lack of political intelligence. The name of those who give concessions to the Zionist occupiers by attending will not be remembered for goodness.”

Iran’s Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki, on the other hand, has stated, “The end result of all these conferences leads to a further erosion of Palestinian rights.” Mottaki has been touring the Gulf Cooperation Council states and has been delighted that Sultan Qabus of Oman in particular has praised the latest International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) report on Iran’s nuclear program as “successful” and has supported Iran’s nuclear rights.

As with Ahmadinejad’s participation in last week’s Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries summit in Saudi Arabia, the purpose of Mottaki’s diplomatic tour of the region is to provide a counter-reference to the efforts of the US and its European allies to depict Iran negatively, that is, as a nuclear weapons proliferator in breach of United Nations Security Council resolutions that is determined to dominate the region.

From Iran’s vantage point, the hidden agenda of the Annapolis summit is to cause a regional isolation of Iran and to escalate the pressures on it over the key nuclear issue, warranting certain policy adjustments on Tehran’s part, especially on the nuclear issue.

Annapolis summit and Iran’s nuclear crisis
Many Tehran political analysts are in agreement that if Tehran is not careful, the US and Israel will exploit the Annapolis summit to undermine Iran’s position in the ongoing nuclear standoff, by 
inflicting a public relations coup against Iran depicted as “extremist” and out of step with mainstream Middle East.

Any overt linkage of this summit with Iran has its own perils, potentially backfiring on the US and Israel, showing them to be not serious on the core Palestinian issues and, as Tehran has put it, pursuing “their own interests and objectives”. On the other hand, a soft linkage, whereby Syria’s pro-Iran proclivity can be chipped away and Iran’s international standing suffers, has its own dividends.

“Iran should follow the strategy of avoiding confrontation,” writes a Tehran analyst, Ibrahim Motaghi. After all, the latest IAEA report, despite its minor shortcomings, has been rightly viewed by Tehran as a timely plus, enhancing its hands in the nuclear negotiations and weakening those of the US. Yet, the Annapolis summit and the likely negative spins against Iran around it are aimed at eroding Iran’s nuclear gains and facilitating US-led coercive diplomacy at the UN and beyond.

But, one wonders if, indeed, this is a wise policy on the US’s part, which has been relatively blind to what another Tehran analyst, Elias Hazrati, has termed as “substantial reduction of radical and offensive positions in Iran’s foreign policy during the past few months”. In his “The road for compromise with Tehran is open”, Hazrati has, however, placed disproportionate blame, for lack of adequate progress in resolving the nuclear crisis, on the government of Ahmadinejad, without adequately taking into consideration the US’s schizophrenic, contradictory, approach that, as in the run-ups to the Annapolis summit, fuels the very Iranian radicalism that it purports to disfavor. This it does by falsely accusing Iran in Iraq and ignoring the impressive results of Iran-IAEA cooperation in a relatively short time.

“We are committed that the IAEA’s next report will be even more positive,” Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi told the French paper Le Monde. According to Araghchi, Iran and France are now engaged in a “real discussion” over Lebanon, and Iran is prepared to take confidence-building steps on the nuclear issue.

Closing the ‘confidence gap’


“The work plan agreed by the secretariat and Iran in August, in which Iran has finally committed itself to address the outstanding issues relevant to its nuclear activities, is proceeding according to schedule,” IAEA’s director General, Mohamad ElBaradei informed the IAEA’s board of governors last week. Iranian officials, on the other hand, have revealed that the IAEA has formally closed its investigation of two lingering issues, that is, the history of P-1 and P-2 centrifuges, and uranium metals, in letters sent to Iran.
The problem, however, is that whereas ElBaradei has reported “good progress” on Iran-IAEA cooperation, this has not had any impact on the US-led road to tougher UN sanctions on Iran, except perhaps small speed bumps. China, which balked at participating at the last “Five plus One” meeting on Iran (the Security Council’s permanent members plus Germany) , is now under pressure to go along with tougher sanctions, as is Germany, which like China has much to lose in lucrative business with Iran as a result of a sanctions regime.

But, again, a major problem for the US’s Iran policy is none other than the IAEA itself, whose findings, of the absence of any military diversion, etc, serve Iran’s purpose of rallying the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), comprising the majority of UN member states, behind its cause, in light of the NAM’s resolution at the recent IAEA meeting that warned against the meddling influence of “certain governments” in the IAEA’s relations with Iran.

Iran’s ambassador to the United Arab Emirates, Hamid Reza Assefi, has aptly stated: “Initially the American were referring to ElBaradei’s reports, but now that ElBaradei and his team at the agency have had sufficient opportunity to do their own investigations, the Americans reject them and claim that this report is not acceptable.”

All eyes are now set on the upcoming meeting of the European Union’s foreign policy chief, Javier Solana, and Iran’s nuclear negotiator, Saeed Jalili, scheduled in London on November 30. Solana has told the press that he has been given “complete authority” by the Five plus One to negotiate with Iran “regarding a long-term agreement”. That means the US, too, and, henceforth, it is important to see how the US’s delegation of authority to Solana will or will not intersect with its, and Israel’s, map of action with regard to Iran.

Certainly, the summit diplomacy of both the US and Israel with respect to Iran has the potential to digress substantially from the course of action presently contemplated by Solana, that is, the “dual suspension” of sanctions and Iran’s enrichment program. Lest we forget, the last time Solana and the Iranians met, the reaction of US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was to denigrate it as “unimportant”. Is the US willing to revise its traditional antipathy toward the Solana channel now? For now all the vital signs do not suggest a positive answer to this question.

“Jalili will propose new ideas to Solana,” Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson has announced and, for his part, Jalili has told a press conference in Tehran that “confidence-building is a two-way road”, calling on the UN Security Council to show a “positive reaction to ElBaradei’s report”.

As for the less than positive aspects of ElBaradei’s report, such as his criticism that Iran has been acting “reactively” rather than “proactively”, Iran’s envoy to the IAEA, Ali-Asghar Soltanieh, has effectively debunked this criticism by pointing out that per the IAEA-Iran workplan, “The nature of the ‘workplan’ is such that we should first receive the questions and then respond. This is not a negative way of thinking, but a practical method.”

With respect to El Baradei’s request from Iran to implement the intrusive Additional Protocol of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), [1] the head of Iran’s atomic energy organization, Gholamreza Aghzadeh, has called it “premature”. Iran halted its voluntary adoption of the Additional Protocol in reaction to the IAEA’s dispatch of Iran’s dossier to the UN, and the re-adoption of this protocol now serves as an ace in Iran’s nuclear diplomacy, particularly with respect to Europe, which is somewhat at odds with the US on the latter’s “zero-sum” insistence on the complete halt of Iran’s sensitive nuclear work.

By leaving the door for future compliance with the IAEA’s demand with respect to the Additional Protocol, Iran now has the unique chance of gaining on the issue of suspension, Suspension is legally problematic given the absence of treaty constraints warranting a long-term suspension of Iran’s nuclear fuel work under the articles of the NPT, particularly since the UN resolutions on Iran fail to specify the duration of the requested suspension.

Despite such egregious shortcomings of the UN resolutions, the US and France and Britain continue to refer to them and demand their full compliance by Iran as if they contain a comprehensive resolution of the substantive issues of the Iran nuclear crisis; the fact is they do not.

Only by resorting to bad-faith negotiations, misinterpreting the “suspensions” as “termination”, as Britain’s ambassador to the UN, John Sawers, has done, can this strategy possibly succeed. [2] Iranians are, however, too proud and politically savvy to fall into such a trap. Cognizant of the structural limits and constraints of the UN Security Council initiatives against them, the Iranians are more and more seriously pondering the pros and cons of Solana’s “dual suspension” proposal. This could be at minor variance with ElBaradei’s “double suspension” preceding it, simply by not scaling the two ramparts equally, ie, suspension of sanctions may become permanent after only a temporary suspension of Iran’s confidence-building suspension of uranium enrichment and reprocessing activities.

In conclusion, the potential for a successful resolution of the Iran nuclear crisis has now gained unprecedented momentum and erasing that momentum by a “peace conference” is also a distinct possibility that, hopefully, will be avoided by the triumph of reason and a peace mindset at the Annapolis summit.

Notes
1. Interestingly, in his oral report at the IAEA meeting, ElBaradei admitted that the report’s reference to his agency’s “diminishing” knowledge of Iran’s nuclear program due to the lack of implementation of Additional Protocol is not necessarily an Iran-specific problem but rather a more widespread problem with the numerous states that have yet to adopt this protocol: “However, as with all states that do not have an Additional Protocol in force, we are unable to provide credible assurance about the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities,” ElBaradei stated.
2. For more on this, see the author’s
Iran, nuclear challenges The Iranian Journal of International Affairs, Spring 2007.Kaveh L Afrasiabi, PhD, is the author of After Khomeini: New Directions in Iran’s Foreign Policy (Westview Press) and co-author of “Negotiating Iran’s Nuclear Populism”, Brown Journal of World Affairs, Volume XII, Issue 2, Summer 2005, with Mustafa Kibaroglu. He also wrote “Keeping Iran’s nuclear potential latent”, Harvard International Review, and is author of Iran’s Nuclear Program: Debating Facts Versus Fiction.

“Deus le volt! – God wills it!”

November 28, 2007

On Novemeber 27,1095 Pope Urban II launched 200 years of the Crusades at the Council of Clermont, France.In one of history’s most powerful speeches ,he urged the knights and noblemen to win back the Holy Land, to face their sins, and called upon those present to save their souls and become “Soldiers of Christ.” 912 ( 911+1) years later, The Annapolis Peace Conference was held on November 27 (911)in The State of Maryland( the land of Mary).Strange , isn’t it ? OR IS IT JUST A HISTORICAL COINCIDENCE? If you recall what President Roosevelt ‘s statement that in politics nothing happens by chance and that if anything happens by chance, it is just because they want it to happen that way,it seems to me that a nuclear war(crusades) is about to break out in the Persian Gulf and in the Middle East in general …

The Israeli newspaper, Ha’aretz, was right in pointing out that  the goal of the Annapolis conference was the formation of a “global coalition against Iran”. Stay tunned…..more coming

Hope or Scepticism ?

November 27, 2007

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                                      © 2007 – Ben Heine

Touria Majdouline: a Moroccan poet

November 25, 2007

majdouline.jpgTouria Majdouline was born in 1960 in Settat, and is currently a teacher of Arabic in Oujda, Morocco, where she lives.

One cannot approach modern Moroccan poetry without mentioning Touria Majdouline. She has succeeded in carving out a poetic space entirely her own in the cultural scene of Morocco. The peculiarity of her poetry resides in its unpretentious style, which thrives on simple but skillful representations of reality. Her tone is quiet and discreet, but hides a remarkable bravery and boldness underneath.
The speakers in her poems display a certain weariness of being, that is reminiscent in some ways of the poetry of reclusive American poet Emily Dickinson – although Majdouline’s attitude to social life is very different. She is a highly active social co-worker, and president of the important Albadil Alijtimai association (‘the social alternative’), which promotes the integration of children and young people into Morocco’s social and cultural milieu. She is also a member of the union of Moroccan writers, the House of Poetry in Morocco, and a founding member of the UNESCO association for creative women of the Mediterranean.
 

A MOROCCAN JAIL

November 25, 2007

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Could This Be Madeleine In Morocco.??

November 25, 2007

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Madeleine is not in Morocco….Why should she be here? British and Spanish detectives are wasting their time looking for here here in Morocco.They should focus their attention on Satanists who sacrifice blonde kids in their satanic rituals …..Haven’t they known that Jehovah Witnesses were holding a meeting in Portugal where Madeleine was  kidnapped? what makes this little innocent girl special?(her eye,maybe)

THOUSANDS OF ENGLISH KIDS DISAPPEAR EACH YEAR WITHOUT LEAVING A TRACE AND NO ONE SEEM TO BOTHER OR CARE ABOUT THEM…..

a song i love so much to listen to whenever i am unhappy

November 25, 2007

ALA LBAL(you’re on my mind) : Mohamed abdou and assalah

an underground oasis in Saudi Arabia

November 25, 2007

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                  unbelievable but true!!

Eminem: White America (censored)

November 25, 2007

EXODUS….EXODUS…EXODUS

November 25, 2007

exodusexodusexodus

the jews want to milk arabs dry and they do not hide it…What do Andre Azoulay, king Mohamed VI’s advisor, Robert Assaraf, Serge Berduggo and Serfaty think ?As for me, i have no comment to make…

Forgotten refugeesEffort under way to focus on Jews of Arab lands
by Eric Fingerhut Staff Writer

Most everyone knows that Israel’s creation in 1948 led many Palestinian Arabs to flee to refugee camps.

Much less is known about another refugee group: Jews who fled Arab lands. An effort is under way to heighten their visibility.

On Wednesday of last week, one of those Jewish refugees told her story to a group of about two dozen local synagogue and Jewish agency represenatives brought together by the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington. And leaders of a group representing such refugees said that they want the Jewish refugee issue to be part of the agenda in future Middle East peace talks.

Those attending were urged to return to their synagogue and plan a program on the issue sometime in the next couple of months. They received a packet of materials to facilitate planning such an activity.

“The broader Jewish community has no idea” about this issue, said JCRC executive director Ron Halber. “As we educate ourselves about it,” he said, “then we can go” to the wider community.

In 1948, some 856,000 Jews lived in Arab countries, according to Justice for Jews in Middle East Countries executive director Stanley Urman. Twenty years later, that number was just 72,600, and by 2001 only 7,800 (with 5,700 of that number in one country, Morocco.)

Regina Waldman was among those ultimately forced to leave her home in Libya.

Addressing the gathering at Magen David Sephardic Congregation in Rockville, she said that while she was growing up, Jews, who weren’t allowed to leave the country were “tolerated, but didn’t have human rights.”

To illustrate, she recalled a school lesson when she was 6 years old. A teacher asked the students, “If you have 10 Jews and you kill five of them, how many are left?”

At the time of the Six Day War, rioting broke out in the streets of Libya. The then-19-year-old was taken into hiding by a British Christian, she recalled. A few weeks later, Libya expelled all its Jews, taking their property. She said that she and her family barely made it out alive ‹ they had boarded a bus and soon realized the driver was going to set the vehicle on fire, but the same Brit who had hidden Waldman rescued the family.

Following the Sept. 11 attacks in this country, Waldman decided that “maybe I should tell my story” and founded the organization Jews Indigenous to the Middle East and North Africa, or JIMENA, to educate the public.

She pointed out that she has spoken on college campuses with hostile environments toward Israel and is effective, because “it is hard to look at an eyewitness and deny the story.”

Waldman was in town last Thursday to testify, along with other advocates, before the Congressional Human Rights Caucus on the issue.

At that hearing, JTA reported, Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-Fla.), who has traveled extensively in the Middle East, including to Israel, pointed out that the U.N. General Assembly since 1947 “has adopted 681 resolutions on the Middle East conflict, including 101 resolutions on Palestinian refugees. During that same time period, there were no U.N. resolutions, nor any recognition or assistance from the international community for Jewish and other refugees from Arab countries.”

Urman, meanwhile, told the JCRC gathering that his organization had “one simple mission”: Every time Palestinian refugees are mentioned, there should be a corresponding acknowledgement of Jewish refugees.

“It breaks the exclusivity” and “levels the playing field,” he said, adding that “we cannot allow a second injustice” by recognizing “the rights of one population and not another.”

The issue “is not about money,” he said, and Jewish refugees, unlike the Palestinians, are not interested in returning to their old homes in Arab countries.

Yet, he didn’t say that money would be refused, nor was he specific about what Jewish refugees from Arab countries want ‹ other than for their story to be told.

“It is not up to us to decide, it is up to Israel” and its interlocutors to determine “whatever rights will be available,” he said. “We don’t demand specific rights, we just demand recognition.”

Embassy of Israel spokesperson David Siegel said that “Israel attaches great importance” to the issue, noting that laws passed in 2002 and 2003 called for Israelis from Arab lands to register their property claims with the government for the purpose of future restitution.

“Justice and equity for those forced to flee from Arab states who subsequently made their homes in Israel” is a subject that “should be on the [diplomatic] agenda,” said Siegel.

Urman’s organization is also seeking to “register” as many Jews from Arab lands as possible, so that the group has a database of names with which to back up its awareness efforts. Registration forms are available on the group’s Web site, http://www.justiceforjews.com.

Bethesda’s Leo Rennert, attending the meeting as a representative of Ohr Kodesh Congregation in Chevy Chase, said his synagogue would definitely be following up ‹ preparing a fact sheet about the issues for congregants, as well as programs for the congregation and possibly for religious school students as well.

Rennert said he felt the Jewish refugee issue would resonate among the wider Jewish community because “it goes to the very essence of the history of Israel and how it’s misrepresented” by others.

“These people’s histories have been swept under the rug,” he noted, and yet there were more Jewish refugees from Arab lands than Palestinian refugees from Israel ‹ according to figures provided by Justice for Jews in Arab countries, there were 130,000 more.

But Beth Allen of the District, who was representing Washington Hebrew Congregation, said that while she believes the issue is a valid one, she hoped that the Jewish refugees would develop a sharper message.

“I feel like they need a statement of purpose,” she said. “They don’t have a clear mission statement,” noting that it seemed like the group was hesitant to state exactly what its goals were.

Interviewed Monday, Allen, 27, said she had passed information along to her synagogue’s rabbis, but she was unsure if the matter would engage the younger sector of the Jewish community.

Younger Jews have forged a connection with the Holocaust because of the many living survivors and other artifacts from the era, she said, but was uncertain that they would be able to develop the same sort of empathy for such an unfamiliar group.

http://www.washingtonjewishweek.com/main.asp?SectionID=4&subsectionID=4&articleID=7469

Group Spotlights Jews Who Left Arab Lands

Published: November 5, 2007

UNITED NATIONS, Nov. 2 — With assertions of the rights of Palestinians to reclaim land in Israel expected to arise at an planned Middle East peace conference in Annapolis, Md., a Jewish advocacy group has scheduled a meeting in New York on Monday to call attention to people it terms “forgotten refugees.”

The organizing group, Justice for Jews from Arab Countries, says it is referring to the more than 850,000 Jews who left their homes in Arab lands after the declaration of the state of Israel in 1948.

“This did not occur by happenstance, as is sometimes said,” said Stanley A. Urman, executive director of the group, a five-year-old New-York-based organization. “In fact, we have found evidence that there was collusion among the Arab nations to persecute and exploit their Jewish populations.”

To back the claim, the group has reproduced copies of a draft law composed by the Arab League in 1947 that called for measures to be taken against Jews living in Arab countries. The proposals range from imprisonment, confiscation of assets and forced induction into Arab armies to beatings, officially incited acts of violence and pogroms.

Subsequent legislation and discriminatory decrees enacted by Arab governments against Jews were “strikingly similar” to the actions laid out in the draft law, Mr. Urman said.

In January 1948, the World Jewish Congress submitted a memo with the text of the draft to the United Nations Economic and Social Council. It accompanied the submission with a warning that “all Jews residing in the Near and Middle East face extreme and imminent danger.”

At a meeting two months later, however, Charles Malik, the Lebanese ambassador and president of the council, succeeded in a parliamentary maneuver that ended consideration of the memo. Though the event drew news coverage at the time, it has apparently gone unnoticed since.

The Arab League draft law had been drawn up in response to the Nov. 29, 1947, vote in the General Assembly to partition Palestine into two states, one Arab and one Jewish.

With the creation of the state of Israel in 1948, the status of Jews in Arab countries changed dramatically, because most of those countries either declared war on Israel or supported the war to destroy the new state.

The group cites United Nations figures showing that 856,000 Jewish residents left Arab countries in 1948.

“This was not just a forced exodus, it was a forgotten exodus,” said Irwin Cotler, a former Canadian minister of justice who is scheduled to be the main speaker at Monday’s program to open the campaign on behalf of the Jewish refugees.

For that reason, he said, the main goal of the campaign was to raise public awareness rather than to seek compensation. “It’s not about the money, it’s about the other components of redress, recognition, remembrance and acknowledgment of the wrongs committed,” he said.

He said that a particular focus of the campaign would be the United Nations, where Palestinian concerns got regular attention and Israel was frequently the object of condemning resolutions. “The U.N. has participated in expunging this experience from the Mideast narrative and from the U.N. narrative,” Mr. Cotler said.

The campaign is aimed at assuring that mention of Jewish refugees is included in future General Assembly and Human Rights Council resolutions and commemorations.

The next opportunity would be Nov. 29, the 60th anniversary of the partition vote, which is officially recognized by the United Nations as the International Day of Solidarity With the Palestinian People.

The United Nations says that 711,000 Palestinians left Israel-controlled territory in 1948 and 1949 and that today, along with their descendants, the number of Palestinian refugees is at least four million.

“There is mention, as there should be, of Palestinian refugees, but no mention of Jewish refugees,” Mr. Cotler said of the annual commemoration.

Another objective is to push for early passage of resolutions introduced in the United States Senate and House that say that any explicit reference to Palestinian refugees in any official document must be matched by a similar explicit reference to Jewish and other refugees.

The American-sponsored peace conference in Annapolis is planned to take place before the end of the year to address core issues of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict like borders, the status of Jerusalem and the Palestinian refugees.

“We want to have this meeting now, in advance of the Annapolis conference, to ensure that this issue is front and center in the international awareness as it should be,” Mr. Urman said.

Daniel Carmon, an ambassador at the Israeli mission, said that while there ought to be a change in attitude at the United Nations, no one expected it to occur soon.

“This has not been forgotten because it does not exist,” he said. “It is a reflection of the dynamic at the U.N.”

Mr. Cotler said a change in perception would help bring the region’s antagonists together.

“I know this may sound Pollyannaish, but I believe that if we allow people to understand the truth of what occurred, then they will be able to recognize the other,” he said. “Right now the other is being demonized.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/11/05/world/middleeast/05nations.html?ex=1352005200&en=93fd256f53c21587&ei=5124&partner=permalink&exprod=permalink

Bolton’s Book on Western Sahara

November 25, 2007

23/11/2007

By: John Bolton

Western Sahara issue

Excerpts verbatim from Bolton’s book: “Surrender Is Not an Option: Defending America At The United Nations And Abroad” By John Bolton Chapter 2: Exile and Return———————————pag. 45

[…] I also had the opportunity to work pro bono for the United Nations during 1997-2001. Kofi Annan asked Jim Baker to become his personal envoy to help resolve the long-standing dispute over the future of the Western Sahara, a former Spanish colony on the west coast of Africa where a guerilla war had been festering for over twenty years. Baker’s mission was to bring about a referendum the UN Security Council had resolved to hold in 1991 to determine whether the Western Sahara would be annexed by Morocco, which had held de facto control of the territory since 1975, or achieve independence. Despite baker’s leadership and our strenuous efforts to get the disputing parties to agree on the voting rules for the referendum, we did not succeed and the Western Sahara matter was still pending when I arrived in NewYork in August 2005. Fortunately, the 2000 Florida recount, although at times it seemed liked guerilla warfare, did not last as long as the dispute over the Western Sahara. By mid-December 2000, although somewhat delayed by the length of the election dispute, the Bush Transition Team turned its full attention to the new administration’s staffing and policies. And so did I.

Chapter 7: Arriving At the UN———————pag. 198

[…] Another important formality was presenting my credentials to Secretary General (SG) Kofi Annan, which I did the day after arriving in New York. Annan had just had shoulder surgery, his arm was in a sling, and he seemed very unanimated, perhaps due to his medication. Before the inevitable picture taking for the press, we traded stories about the Western Sahara, a problem still unresolved even after fifteen years with a UN peacekeeping force there. […]

——————–
Chapter 9: As Good As It Gets: The Security Council—-pags. 246-47
[…] I opened my mentioning that the last time I had been in the informal consultations room was when I’d accompanied Jim Baker, reporting on the 1997 Houston Accords on the Western Sahara. One of my goals, I suggested, might be finally to bring the long-running peacekeeping operation to a close by actually holding the referendum on the future status of Western Sahara that it had been established to undertake. There was laughter around the room, which turned out to be justified, since the fifteen-year-old effort was still struggling along unchanged when I left sixteen months later.
———————————-

Chapter 13: Darfur and the Weakness of UN Peacekeeping in Africa.
pags. 367-69
[…]
Western Sahara

Because of my work in Bush 41 and then with Jim Baker on the Western Sahara, I had a particular interest in trying to wrap up this fifteen-year-old peacekeeping operation, and in giving the residents of the territory the referendum on its future status they had long been promised. Morocco initially agreed to a referendum – that was, after all, what the “R” in MINURSO, the Spanish acronym for “Mission of the United Nations for the Referendum in Western Sahara,” stood for –but consistently blocked taking the steps necessary to conduct it, such as voter identification and registration. This was a clear example of the limitations of UN peacekeeping, which Sudan’s government was demonstrating contemporaneously in Darfur, namely that there simply was no chance of success if any of the actual parties to a dispute dug in their heels and refused to cooperate. In that sense, at least with respect to UN operations directly affecting them, almost every UN member has a kind of veto, not just the Security Council’s Perm Five. This is undoubtedly why the UN so often resembles the League of Nations in its achievements.
I met repeatedly in 2005-6 with the perm reps of Algeria and Morocco, both of whose countries were quite satisfied with the status quo in the territory, but for essentially opposite reasons. Morocco is in possession of almost all of the Western Sahara, happy to keep it that way, and expecting that de facto control will morph into de jure control over time, giving it both territorial breadth consistent with its historical concept of the “proper” size of Morocco and access to possible natural resources and fishing rights. Morocco’s alternative to a referendum was “autonomy” for the territory, which meant effectively keeping it under Moroccan control. Algeria, the main supporter for the POLISARIO (the political and military vehicle for the Sahrawi rebellion), tens of thousands of whose refugees lived in camps near Tindouf in south western Algeria, liked having the threat of POLISARIO action against Morocco, but found the threat more useful than the actual prospect of renewed hostilities. In fact, unresolved tensions between Morocco and Algeria, unrelated to the Western Sahara, were a major factor in the dispute, not that anyone talked about them very much. Peter van Walsum, a retired senior Dutch diplomat with extensive UN experience as a former perm rep, and Baker’s replacement as the SG’s personal envoy for the Western Sahara, tried repeatedly in 2005 to see if any Council member, especially the United States, planned to pressure Morocco to adhere to its many commitments to hold a referendum. He found that none were willing, except Algeria, which of course Morocco would ignore. One of the high points of my tenure at the UN came when van Walsum briefed the Security Council on April 25, 2006, explaining that “international legality” (the World Court having rejected Morocco’s claim of sovereignty over the Western Sahara) was in conflict with “political reality” (Morocco’s control over almost all of the territory), and that the Council had to find a compromise. Although many countries could not conceive of a conflict, let alone a “compromise” where “international legality” might give way to mere “political reality,” I was delighted that someone had at least spoken the unspeakable, even though his logic cut against the Sahrawi position. If only others were as forthright as van Walsum. Since it was clear that Morocco had no intention of ever allowing a referendum, there was no point in a UN mission to conduct one. Instead, and typically of the UN, MINURSO seemed well on the way to acquiring a near-perpetual existence because no one could figure out what to do with it. Accordingly, consistent with my fundamental notion that the Security Council should try to find a real solution to the underlying problem, I suggested terminating MINURSO and releasing the Sahrawis from the cease-fire they had agreed to in exchange for the promise of a referendum. If Morocco didn’t like that prospect, then let it get serious about allowing a referendum. If not, then the Council should admit its failure and get out, or at least not become another part of the problem by locking in a status quo that could go on indefinitely. Otherwise, MINURSO seemed a perfect example of costly UN peacekeeping operations that were not promoting resolutions to conflicts, but prolonging or even complicating them. The biggest obstacle to my approach was, as usual, the State bureaucracy, joined unusually by the NSC’s Elliot Abrams. They accepted Morocco’s line that independence for the Western Sahara – which nearly everyone thought the Sahrawis would choose in a genuinely free and fair referendum- would destabilize Morocco and risk a takeover by extreme Islamicists. This was why the administration had rejected the last “Baker Plan” in 2004, and why Baker finally resigned as the SG’s personal envoy after eight years of trying to resolve the issue. I wondered what had happened to the Bush administration’s support for “democracy” in the broader Middle East, but there was no doubt here that stability for King Mohammed VI trumped self-determination. In practice, it meant that State was always open to plans for “autonomy” for Western Sahara, which Morocco, at regular intervals, promised to produce, and invariably never did, at least not until after long delays. I engaged in a number of frustrating and unsuccessful efforts to find support for the referendum elsewhere in the U.S. government, but failing to do so, Abrams and I agreed to convene a meeting at State on June 19, 2006, to see if he and I could come up with a common strategy. If so, we knew that the bureaucracy, having no alternative ideas, would endorse it. I explained my view to the meeting, which had over thirty attendees, which was that MINURSO had failed in its central mission to conduct a referendum and was now actually an obstacle to Morocco and Algeria dealing with each other and the continuing fact of tens of thousands of Sahrawi refugees; that in the absence of someone with Jim Baker’s status, the UN had essentially no political role to play; and that Morocco was never going to agree to a referendum where independence was a real option. Abrams stressed stability in Morocco, but said if Morocco came out with a “true” autonomy plan, he could support terminating MINURSO. I still thought the reverse was true, namely that neither Morocco nor Algeria would get serious until they saw MINURSO about to disappear, and I never believed that Morocco would tolerate “true” autonomy. Nonetheless, during this one-hour meeting, we had stretched the limits of bureaucracy about as far as we could, and I made at least some progress on the idea that eliminating MINURSO would not impede the search for a solution, but might actually be the only way to achieve one. Other than Abrams and me, all of the representatives from the rest of the bureaucracy wanted to defend the status quo. At this rate, of course, MINURSO would have perpetual life, and this was the United States that couldn’t figure out what it wanted to do, let alone the UN !In fact, in March 2007 Morocco promulgated yet another “autonomy” plan, with no provision for a referendum, and the Sahrawis rejected it yet again. This could well go on forever. The Security Council has gone back to sleep.

Morocco for sale

November 25, 2007
MOROCCO In a move expected to generate over US$700 million for the national budget, Morocco plans to privatise seven public companies in 2008, Aujourd’hui Le Maroc reported on Thursday.

The revenue will be reportedly allocated to the Hassan II Economic and Social Development Fund and for strengthening the state budget. The privatisations include majority stakes in Société Nationale de Commercialisation de Semences (SONACOS), Complexe Textile de Fès (COTEF), Société Commerciale de Charbon et Bois (SOCOCHARBO), Briqueterie et Tuilerie Nord Africaine (BNTA), 50% of Société Cherifienne des Sels (SCS) and all of pharmaceutical laboratory Biopharma and Société de Sel de Mohammedia (SSM).

Between 1993 and 2006 Morocco received more than US$10 billion through privatisation.

 

Flirting for France: Newly-divorced Sarkozy’s ‘close and loving relationship’ with the blonde TV star in a low-cut blouse

November 24, 2007

By PETER ALLEN

She is arguably the most beautiful star of French television and, until a few weeks ago, was one half of a hugely glamorous power couple presenting cutting-edge documentaries and heavyweight political interviews.

But now, Laurence Ferrari has announced her divorce from Thomas Hugues, her journalist husband of 14 years, amid rumours that she has formed a ‘close and loving relationship’ with France’s bachelor president Nicolas Sarkozy.

The pair have been spotted enjoying candlelit meals, and Miss Ferrari, 41, is a frequent visitor to the Elysee Palace,Mr Sarkozy’s official residence in Paris.

The blonde enjoyed a one-on-one live interview with Mr Sarkozy, 52, in March – when he was running for the presidency before his electoral triumph in May – and the “incredible chemistry between the two” was apparent to many TV observers.

“They were both flirting for France,” said a source at Canal Plus, the TV channel where Miss Ferrari works.

“Laurence wore a low-cut black blouse and Sarkozy loved every minute of it. They got on like a house on fire and have been seeing each other ever since. Both are single people, so they have every right to enjoy each other’s company.

“They appear to have a close and loving relationship. Laurence would make a fantastic first lady. Sarkozy is a very lucky man.”

Sources in Morocco say Miss Ferrari was even spotted at the president’s hotel in Marrakesh during a private trip to North Africa earlier this month.

Yet although there is overwhelming evidence that Mr Sarkozy and Miss Ferrari are now dating, the notoriously cautious French media has been reluctant to report details.

The country has strict privacy laws, and Mr Sarkozy is known to have got at least one editor sacked for publishing pictures of his ex-wife, Cecilia, cavorting with a lover in New York.

And when Mr Sarkozy had an affair with journalist Anna Fulda two years ago she was moved from her usual beat covering his UMP party for Le Figaro newspaper, so there would be no conflict of interest.

Instead, it has been left to the Belgian, Swiss and even Moroccan Press to report the fledgling romance, with French websites following up the reports on a daily basis.

Mr Sarkozy and Cecilia divorced last month after she said she no longer wanted to be France’s first lady.

Cecilia is said to have moved to London to get away from the media spotlight in her home country. And she has admitted an affair with Moroccan-born public relations man Richard Attias while she was still married to Mr Sarkozy.

Mr Sarkozy has been married twice, and has three sons and two step-daughters.

Miss Ferrari, meanwhile, is said to be obsessed by public life and loves the limelight.

A politician’s daughter, she completed a Press officer’s diploma in Lyon in the mid- Eighties, before studying politics at the Sorbonne University. Between 2000 and 2006 she presented the Seven To Eight TV show with Hugues, the father of their two children, Baptiste, 13, and Laetitia, 11.

“Ferrari and Hugues were the Ken and Barbie of French television, so seeing them split up has come as a huge shock to everyone,” said the Canal Plus source.

“They announced their divorce on a TV listings website this week, which indicates how professionally driven they are.”

The divorcees run their own production company, Story Box Press, and the source added: “Amazingly they’re still going to be working together on some television projects.”

Mr Sarkozy is known for his love of designer goods and one political source in Paris said: “It’s typical of Sarko to grab himself a trophy girlfriend called Ferrari.”

Neither Miss Ferrari nor Mr Hugues would discuss their divorce. An Elysee Palace spokesman said Mr Sarkozy’s personal life was “not open for discussion”.

sarkozy cecilia nicolas

The President’s women: Nicolas Sarkozy with his ex-wife Cecilia

American pedophile arrested in Marrakech

November 24, 2007

An American pedophile has been arrested by the Moroccan police at Marrakech airport. The police found pictures of naked Moroccan kids in his luggage.

gay marriage in Morocco

November 24, 2007


Homosexuality has always existed in Morocco, but until recently it was a taboo, a hchouma(shame)and something practised between very closed doors…I remember that many years ago when Nourredine Ayouch dared publish a reportage about Moroccan gays in his magazine -kalima-(the word), the magazine was banned from circulation and the journalistts harrassed..Now the Moroccan authorities put on plastic eyes and behave as homosexuality is something that tolerated, accepted and even publicized…
The gay who has recently got married and celebrated his marriage with music , dancing and drinking alcohol , as you will see in the video below, is a famous figure in the small ,conservative city of KSAR EL KEBIR ( THE PARADOX HERE IS THE MAYOR OF THE CITY IS AN ISLAMIST AND MEMBER OF THE PJD ( the Moroccan islamic party ).He is a bootleger and a notorious gay but ,well, as long as he is not a devout moslem, everything is fine with him….The dying moroccan economy needs him to boost gay tourism in a region known for its poverty…

What does Islam say about homosexuals?

Sheik Yousuf Al-Qaradhawi: Homosexuals Should Be Punished Like Fornicators But Their Harm Is Less When Not Done in Public

Following are excerpts from an interview with Dr. Yousuf Al-Qaradhawi, which aired on Al-Jazeera TV on June 5, 2006.

Yousuf Al-Qaradhawi: Kerry, who ran against Bush, was supported by homosexuals and nudists. But it was Bush who won [the elections], because he is Christian, right-wing, tenacious, and unyielding. In other words, the religious overcame the perverted. So we cannot blame all Americans and Westerners.

But unfortunately, because the Westerners – Americans and others – want to flatter these people on account of the elections, a disaster occurs. In order to succeed and win the elections, he flatters these people, rather than saying to them: No, you are sinning against yourselves, against society, and against humanity. This is forbidden. Instead of leveling with them, people flatter them to win their votes. This is the disaster that has befallen humanity.

[…]

Interviewer: How should a homosexual or a lesbian be punished? We mentioned the story of the people of Sodom and how Allah punished them, but how should someone who commits this abomination be punished today?

Yousuf Al-Qaradhawi: The same punishment as any sexual pervert – the same as the fornicator.

[…]

The schools of thought disagree about the punishment. Some say they should be punished like fornicators, and then we distinguish between married and unmarried men, and between married and unmarried women. Some say both should be punished the same way. Some say we should throw them from a high place, like God did with the people of Sodom. Some say we should burn them, and so on. There is disagreement.

[…]

The important thing is to treat this act as a crime.

Interviewer: There is an issue that some people may find strange. If homosexuals and lesbians belong to the same category – an inclination towards the same sex – why are there different punishments for men and women, for homosexuals and lesbians?

Yousuf Al-Qaradhawi: A punishment for who?

Interviewer: For homosexuals and lesbians – the punishment for a woman who favors women, and for a man who favors men.

Yousuf Al-Qaradhawi: Lesbianism is not as bad as homosexuality, in practical terms.

[…]

Interviewer: Should a man be punished for having homosexual tendencies?

Yousuf Al-Qaradhawi: Yes, he should.

Interviewer: Or maybe he should be punished only for committing this sin?

Yousuf Al-Qaradhawi: He should be punished just like a fornicator. What is fornication? It is a sexual perversion. A perversion cannot possibly be innate.

[…]

Interviewer: Some Arab authors have begun to discuss this openly, in newspapers and in their books. Homosexual characters appear in some Arab films. In addition, homosexuals gather in public, and show up at parties in a loathsome manner.

Yousuf Al-Qaradhawi: Not in all countries, only a few…

Interviewer: In many Arab countries.

Yousuf Al-Qaradhawi: Perhaps you in Morocco have that…

Interviewer: Not only in Morocco. Also in other countries, which I won’t mention.

What is the position of Islamic law on this public display?

Yousuf Al-Qaradhawi: This is the calamity of societies. When sin and abomination are concealed, they don’t cause much harm.

[…]

But the calamity becomes widespread, when it stops being a secret and becomes public.

[…]

We are not hostile towards these people. On the contrary, we pity them. But we do not want to give them an opportunity, like the Westerners, who consider this a normal phenomenon, and it has become widespread, I’m sad to say.

http://www.memritv.org/clip_transcript/en/1170.htm

UPDATED: 

Ksar El Kebir ceremony linked to charlatanism, Interior Minister

Preliminary investigations showed, so far, that the ceremony which took place on November 18-19 in the northern city of Ksar El Kebir is related to charlatanism rather than a wedding ceremony between sexual perverts, Moroccan Minister of Interior, Chakib Benmoussa said on Thursday.

     Speaking before the Interior, Decentralization and Infrastructure commission of the House of Representatives, Mr. Benmoussa insisted that “regardless of any media and political exploitation of this event, it is worth mentioning that the preliminary investigations showed this ceremony was linked to pure charlatanism-related rituals.”

   According to a press release of Ksar El Kebir’s public prosecutor, a delinquent, with a criminal record, held a Gnawa-style party to which he invited several people, some of whom were dressed like women. The host intended to “fulfill a vision” in which a woman came to him and asked him to dress like her and offer a present to Saint “Sayed Al Madloum” (man endowed with supernatural powers).

    Up to now, no elements confirmed that the incident was a wedding ceremony between sexual perverts as reported by some locals, he said, stressing that, “pending the final conclusions of the probe, the collected data shows the incident is rather a personal party marked by rituals of charlatanism held at a regular basis by the people involved.”

    Six suspects were arrested in relation with this case and will be brought before justice soon. On Monday, the Public prosecutor of Ksar El Kebir’s first instance court decided to bring before justice the people involved in this party and ordered the seizure of all material that can reveal the nature of the party.

    Following this ceremony, media have reported that more than 600 people took to the street in the city of Ksar El Kebir, chanting slogans criticizing the couple’s audacity to hold a gay wedding in the open.