Abbas UN Speech: A Bombshell or a Sound BombBy Abdel Bari Atwan As the Palestinian flag was ceremoniously raised for the first time outside the UN Headquarters in New York, Palestinian President Abbas took to the rostrum for his annual address. He surprised everyone by using the occasion to tear up the Oslo accords, despite American pressure and Israeli threats, offering a robust description of Israeli war crimes and describing Palestine as a State under occupation. He said that the PA would no longer co-operate on security with Israel, stressing that Israel ‘must assume fully all its responsibility as an occupying power.’
“Our patience for a long time has come to an end,” Abbas told the U.N. General Assembly. “Israel has left us no choice but to insist that we will not remain the only ones committed to the implementation of those agreements while Israel continuously violates them……..
“Is it not time to end the racist, terrorist, colonialist settlement of our land, which is enjoying the two-state solution?” he asked. “Is it not time for the longest occupation in history, suffocating our people, to come to an end?”
It remains to be seen what the practical outcomes of this dramatic new stance will be. Abbas is still in New York but it possible that the Israelis will refuse to allow him back into Ramallah or besiege him in his headquarters there as they did the late martyr, Yasser Arafat, in retaliation for his having sparked the second intifada.
Palestinian opinion is divided as to the seriousness of Abbas’s stance. There are those who say that this is a diplomatic manoeuvre designed to up the international pressure on Israel to adopt a less confrontational stance and deal with the illegal settlements issue; others, however, are adamant that Abbas means business and will implement his decision upon his return to Ramallah if, indeed, he is not prevented by Israel.President Abbas talked about Palestinian national unity and resistance; if he is really serious he deserves all possible support and assistance, but if these are empty threats – like all his previous threats – then this so-called bombshell will be no more than a sound-bomb. We hope this is not the case but if it is then Abbas has to resign. Abbas’s words were the words that the Palestinian people demand him to say and they came 15 years too late but it is better that they have finally been spoken than never at all. If these words are translated into action on the ground then President Abbas has booked his place in history, and erased his many mistakes. This is our hope and the hope of the vast majority of the Palestinian people.
Bee Gees- Immortality
Every year, 20 Jordanian women are killed because of “family honor.” In 2011, societal pressure forced Jordan’s parliament to backtrack on amending Article 76 of the temporary penal code whereby “the use of mitigating reasons for assault crimes” would have been abolished. This article protects the perpetrators of honor crimes who often benefit from mitigating reasons and avoid receiving a deterring punishment.
A 2011 study titled “Cultural and Legal Discrimination Against Jordanian Girls” polled the country’s main population centers (the capital Amman, Zarqa, Irbid, Mafraq, Aqaba and Karak) and found that 80.9% of parents believe that protecting the female equates to protecting the family’s honor. Among those polled, 55% believed that a woman should be accompanied by her brother when she is outside the house; 66% are opposed to women having the same rights as a men of the same age with regard to being unaccompanied outside the house; 49% are opposed to a female child playing outside the house; and 29% say that all women should get married regardless of their education. According to the study, 29% of those polled said their convictions emanate from traditions, 25.1% said their convictions emanate from personal attitudes, 16% attributed their convictions to societal factors and 15.5% to religion.
Kingdom fourth best Arab country for women — survey
LONDON — Jordan is the fourth best country in the Arab world to be a woman, a poll of gender experts showed on Tuesday.
The Kingdom scored 58.218 points, ahead of Qatar, Tunisia and Algeria.
Comoros, where women hold 20 per cent of ministerial positions and where wives generally keep land or the home after divorce, came on top, followed by Oman and Kuwait.
The poll by Thomson Reuters’ philanthropic arm surveyed 336 gender experts in August and September in 21 Arab League states and Syria, which was a founding member of the Arab League but was suspended in 2011.
Questions were based on provisions of the UN Convention to Eliminate All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), which 19 Arab states have signed or ratified.
The poll assessed violence against women, reproductive rights, treatment of women within the family, their integration into society and attitudes towards a woman’s role in politics and the economy.
Experts were asked to respond to statements and rate the importance of factors affecting women’s rights across the six categories. Their responses were converted into scores, which were averaged to create a ranking.
Egypt is the worst country in the Arab world to be a woman, according to the poll, citing sexual harassment, high rates of female genital mutilation and a surge in violence.
Discriminatory laws and a spike in trafficking also contributed to Egypt’s place at the bottom of a ranking of 22 Arab states, the Thomson Reuters Foundation survey found.
Despite hopes that women would be one of the prime beneficiaries of the Arab Spring, they have instead been some of the biggest losers, as the revolts have brought conflict, instability, displacement and a rise in Islamist groups in many parts of the region, experts said.
“We removed the Mubarak from our presidential palace, but we still have to remove the Mubarak who lives in our minds and in our bedrooms,” Egyptian columnist Mona Eltahawy said, referring to Egypt’s toppled dictator, Hosni Mubarak.
“As the miserable poll results show, we women need a double revolution, one against the various dictators who’ve ruined our countries and the other against a toxic mix of culture and religion that ruin our lives as women.”
The foundation’s third annual women’s rights poll gives a comprehensive snapshot of the state of women’s rights in the Arab world three years after the events of 2011 and as Syria’s conflict threatens further regional upheaval.
Iraq ranked second-worst after Egypt, followed by Saudi Arabia, Syria and Yemen.
Egypt scored badly in almost all categories.
A UN report on women in April said 99.3 per cent of women and girls are subjected to sexual harassment in Egypt.
Human Rights Watch reported that 91 women were raped or sexually assaulted in public in Tahrir Square in June as anti-Mohamed Morsi protests heated up.
“There are whole villages on the outskirts of Cairo and elsewhere where the bulk of economic activity is based on trafficking in women and forced marriages,” said Zahra Radwan, Middle East and North Africa programme officer for the Global Fund for Women, a US-based rights group.
Female genital mutilation is endemic in Egypt, where 91 per cent of women and girls — 27.2 million in all — are subjected to cutting, according to UNICEF. Only Djibouti has a higher rate, with 93 per cent of women and girls cut.
In Iraq, women’s freedoms have regressed since the US-led 2003 invasion and overthrow of Saddam Hussein, the poll showed.
Domestic abuse and prostitution have increased, illiteracy has soared and up to 10 per cent of women — or 1.6 million — have been left widowed and vulnerable, according to Refugees International.
In Saudi Arabia, ranked third worst, experts noted some advances. S. Arabia remains the only country that bans female drivers but cautious reforms pushed by King Abdullah have given women more employment opportunities and a greater public voice.
Since January, 30 women have been appointed in the 150-member shura council, but the council has no legislative or budgetary powers.
Saudi Arabia’s guardianship system forbids women from working, travelling abroad, opening a bank account or enrolling in higher education without permission from a male relative.
Syria’s civil war has had a devastating impact on women at home and in refugee camps across borders, where they are vulnerable to trafficking, forced and child marriage and sexual violence, experts said.
Rights groups say forces loyal to President Bashar Assad have targeted women with rape and torture, while hardline Islamists have stripped them of rights in rebel-held territory.
The poll highlighted a mixed picture for women’s rights in other Arab Spring countries.
In Yemen, ranked fifth worst, women protested side-by-side with men during the 2011 revolution and there is a 30 per cent quota for women in a national dialogue conference convened to discuss constitutional reforms.
But they face an uphill struggle for rights in a largely conservative country where child marriage is common.
In Libya, ranked 14th for women’s rights, experts voiced concern over the spread of armed militias and a rise in kidnapping, extortion, random arrests and physical abuse of women.
In Tunisia, ranked best among Arab Spring nations, women hold 27 per cent of seats in national parliament and contraception is legal, but polygamy is spreading and inheritance laws are biased towards males.
Along with Syria, all Arab League member states except Somalia and Sudan have signed or ratified CEDAW.
In the absence of full statehood recognition for the Palestinian territories, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas symbolically endorsed the convention on behalf of the Palestinian Authority.
But protection offered by CEDAW is superficial, experts said. Signatories may raise reservations against any article that contradicts Sharia (Islamic law), a country’s family code, personal status laws or any piece of national legislation.
Annoucer in a fit of laughter
عمان الأردنية ترحب بكم
صحيفة عمان الأردنية تناشد الشركات والمؤسسات ايجاد فرص عمل لابنائنا الشباب الأردنيين لأنهم جيل المستقبل وسنبقى نناشد ونناشد من هذا المنبر الحر على رفض الواسطة والمحسوبية ،
توفر فرص عمل في قطاع المولات
Abdel Bari Atwan
Assad’s Surprise Moscow Visit Changes Everything
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad paid a surprise visit to Moscow on Tuesday where he held talks with Vladimir Putin. This demonstrated the Syrian Presidents increased confidence that he on course to resume his place on the world stage and Moscow’s commitment to keeping him in office – at least for the time being.
Until this week Assad had not left Syria since the civil war erupted in 2011, the general feeling being that if he left Damascus he might never return either putting himself in exile or because there would be a ‘palace coup’ against him.
The Kremlin website made it clear that the visit was at the personal invitation of President Putin – few in Syria would have the appetite for a confrontation with Putin, however great their ambition.
Assad has yet to receive an invitation to visit from another Arab country or any Western ones. Even if he did he might think twice because his plane could be intercepted or shot down… in this case Russia gave him protection. The visit took place in complete secrecy and was not announced until the day after when Assad was safely back in Syria.
There has been much speculation as to what was discussed in Moscow but many believe the future of the Syrian regime and the nature of any political transition and the future of President Assad himself were all on the agenda.
It is my view that the visit itself with all its implications – given the timing – was the purpose and sent strong messages to the international community and Assad’s many enemies.
The Russian President wanted to underscore his solid commitment to Assad and his regime, and his willingness to continue fighting alongside him in the face of all opposition factions. This in turn is a forceful message to the Syrian people and the army.
We do not believe that Assad’s many opponents will be happy with this turn of events – indeed it will have come as a major shock to them , and most of them, will be happy with this visit that formed a major shock, especially as it came after concessions by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Adel Al-jubeir, the Saudi Foreign Minister who both intimated that they would tolerate a short transition period during which Assad would remain in power.
Turkey and its Arab and Western allies have had almost five years to overthrow the Syrian regime, and they have applied political embargos and financial and military support, but they all failed spectacularly in this task. Now it can only be an even harder task now that Putin has put all its weight and his political and military might behind the Syrian regime and its President.
No one could have foreseen how the Syrian crisis would turn out. The armed opposition had the upper hand at the outset but the situation has been turned upside down and the Russian intervention may escalate. It was announced that three Russian soldiers have been killed on the ground where no American soldier dares set foot apparently, probably as a result of having fared so badly in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The kremlin revealed that it briefed Turkey on Assad’s visit after he had left. Ahmet Davutoğlu, Turkish Prime, told reporters today that his country’s position had not changed and that Assad has lost ‘all legitimacy’; he added that he wished Assad had stayed in Moscow… but something of a stalemate has been broken with this visit and the question now is where will the Syrian President visit next?
Nobody would believe it might be Ankara or Riyadh but really nothing surprises us these days.
Jordan’s public sector seen more corrupt this year — report
AMMAN — Jordan’s public sector is perceived to be more corrupt than last year, graft watchdog Transparency International (TI) said in a statement on Tuesday, as the Kingdom scored 45 points on the Corruption Perception Index (CPI) 2013, compared with 48 in 2012.
Jordan ranked 66 among the 177 countries surveyed, compared with 58 last year.
Two-thirds of the countries surveyed scored below 50, on a scale from 0, perceived to be highly corrupt, to 100, perceived to be very clean.
The Berlin-based non-profit group said the result indicates the world has a “serious, worldwide corruption problem” that needs to be addressed.
The UAE is perceived to be the cleanest in the MENA region, while Sudan is seen to be the most corrupt.
The CPI saw Jordan’s regional ranking drop to the sixth among Arab countries compared to the fourth last year, after Oman and Saudi Arabia gained on the Kingdom.
According to the graft index, Afghanistan, North Korea and Somalia are seen as the world’s most corrupt countries while Denmark and New Zealand are nearly squeaky-clean.
The most widely used indicator of corruption in political parties, police, justice systems and civil services worldwide, the CPI is a composite index of surveys and assessments of corruption collected from independent institutions.
The nature of corruption makes it impossible to measure meaningfully, says TI, which leads the group to collect data from institutions like the World Bank, African Development Bank, Economist Intelligence Unit, Bertelsmann Foundation, Freedom House and others.
Among countries that have slipped the most on CPI 2013 are war-torn Syria, Libya and Mali.
In a statement on its website, TI said the world urgently needs a renewed effort to crack down on money laundering, clean up political finance, pursue the return of stolen assets and build more transparent public institutions.
Bee Gees :To love somebody
From Our Own Correspondent
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