Egypt’s New Anti-Muslim Brotherhood Militia
Friday, May 10, 2013 | Ashraf Ramelah
Egypt’s Black Bloc grew out of a struggle for liberation from an authoritarian system, only after non-violent civil efforts had failed. Not to be confused with America’s Black Bloc, which is friend to likes of the Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt’s Black Bloc is an enemy to their country’s new Islamist rulers and fights for democracy and legitimate government.
Clad in black garb and ski masks, the faceless and nameless Black Bloc soldiers lock arms to create a human shield in defense of pro-freedom protesters — the Black Bloc’s number-one priority — in the streets and squares of Egypt. Experts in martial arts and ostensibly military-trained, Black Bloc warriors only recently surfaced in Egypt to safeguard fellow freedom-fighters from their arch-enemies, the foes of democracy: President Mohammed Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood-Hamas gangs.
Originating out of a plan to protect women protesters from sexual assault, this huge band of men and women numbering in the thousands (the exact number is not known) form a dedicated and determined corps of combatants divided into local groups of 30-50 individuals.
The secret members of the “elite” Black Bloc guard first appeared in the streets of Cairo this January, when revolutionaries commemorated their two-year anniversary with protests in Tahrir Square. Now everywhere the Egyptian opposition stages protests, the rank-and-file Black Bloc, whose leaders remain unknown to them, dutifully move in to police the area on behalf of fellow protesters.
Deemed “terrorists” and “outlaws” by the Morsi regime, the shadowy Zorro-like heroes refer to their network as the “United Ghosts Revolution” and represent a just cause in the ongoing rebellion against Egypt’s Islamist government. The Black Bloc mission is to ensure that no more assaults, kidnappings, and torture occur from Morsi’s security forces [the Muslim Brotherhood militia] and so-called law enforcement. Many Black Bloc members carry firearms, most likely acquired through the illegal networks smuggling weapons from Libya and Gaza.
If the best defense is a good offense, the forceful Black Bloc has aggressively expanded its scope beyond the scene of gathered protesters and their protection. With a physical presence in more than eight cities across Egypt, the anonymous soldiers have claimed responsibility for ransacking at least eight separate Muslim Brotherhood Freedom and Justice Party offices.
At first, the shrouded Black Bloc raised fears; the public saw them as terrorists. This wrong impression, however, was soon dispelled as their image as guardians took shape. Appearing first in the social media, the Black Bloc now has the moral support of more than 57,000 Facebook members for the purpose of countering Islamic supremacy and brutality.
Their core concern is to facilitate the pursuit of Western-style democracy. Its members claim no affiliation with existing political parties, as the group states that it “aims only to stand against the Muslim Brotherhood and any group exploiting religion to achieve political goals.” Their challenge to the Muslim Brotherhood has prompted a new crackdown by President Morsi and his Prime Minister, Hasham Kandil. The state now targets opposition protesters who wear black, tracking those who do and conducting investigations. By mid-February, Morsi began arresting members of Black Bloc and its sympathizers.
Running under the banner of “Allah, Country, Revolution,” the “outlaws” have been accused by Islamists of having Israeli backing and connections to Western funding.
In keeping with their mission statement, Egypt’s Black Bloc members claim they have nothing against state institutions per se, “but against control by a particular system, the supremacy of a certain group.” They further contend that “the best thing is to hit the existing system and its economy by sabotaging the system’s institutions and not ones belonging to the public.”
Ashraf Ramelah is on the Advisory Board of SION (Stop Islamization of Nations) and president of Voice of the Copts, a human rights organization. In 2010, VOTC sued the Mubarak regime, which refused to change the religious ID card of a Muslim convert to Christianity.
Galilee Christian Village Celebrates Jubilee
Thursday, May 09, 2013 | Ryan Jones
NES AMMIM – This small, vibrant village founded by European Christians in Israel’s tranquil Galilee region is celebrating its 50th anniversary. The name Nes Ammim is a reference to Isaiah 11:12 and God’s promise to raise a “banner to the nations.” While most interpret the prophet to be speaking of Israel itself, these Christians have their own banner to plant.
“The goal of those who founded Nes Ammim was to start a fresh chapter in Jewish-Christian relations by standing in solidarity with the young state of Israel,” said Pleus Blom, Nes Ammim’s general manager who left a successful banking career in the Netherlands to pursue this work.
Also among the founders was Shlomo Bezeq, an Israeli pioneer of the kibbutz movement who saw the value in planting a Christian village dedicated to reconciliation in the heart of the young Jewish state. But there were many Jews who resisted the idea.
The full article appears in the current issue of Israel Today Magazine.
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Palestinian official longs to nuke Israel
Thursday, May 09, 2013 | Israel Today Staff
There is a very good reason for Israel taking the Iran nuclear threat so seriously. There are a lot of people in this region, many of them holding positions of authority, who would like nothing more than to use a nuclear weapon against Israel, the consequences be damned.
One such figure admitted as much in an interview with Lebanese TV last week.
“I swear that if we had a nuke, we’d have used it this very morning,” said Jibril Rajoub, Deputy Secretary of the Fatah Central Committee and Chairman of the Palestinian Authority Olympic Committee.
Rajoub explained that the Palestinian Authority only continues to play this “negotiating game” with Israel because it currently lacks the military strength to defeat the Jewish state.
This revelation validates one of Israel’s chief concerns in the peace process - that in the absence of actually being educated for peace and coexistence, the inhabitants of an independent Palestinian state will, as a first order of business, work toward acquiring the military means to engage in renewed warfare against Israel.
In his previous role as head of Palestinian police and security adviser to former Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, Rajoub was widely praised as a “moderate” by Western leaders.
[Thanks to Palestinian Media Watch for translation of Rajoub’s television appearance.]
Jordan wants to boot Israeli ambassador
Thursday, May 09, 2013 | Israel Today Staff
Jordan’s parliament on Wednesday voted unanimously to eject Israeli Ambassador Daniel Nevo over this week’s arrest of Jerusalem Mufti Sheikh Muhammed Hussein. Jordan technically exercises religious control over the Temple Mount, though Palestinian Authority-appointed officials have been effectively been running the show for over a decade.
Jordanian Interior Minister Hussein Mahalia summoned Nevo to express his country’s severe condemnation of the mufti’s detention.
Israel arrested the mufti on Tuesday for his role in inciting violence against Israeli police stationed at the holy site. The police officers were attacked because they had tried to quiet a Muslim youth who was loudly hurling insults at Jewish visitors.
Israeli President Shimon Peres sent a message to Jordan stressing Israel’s commitment to the peace treaty between the two nations and to freedom of religion in Jerusalem.
The Jordanian outburst over what amounted to Israel slapping the mufti on the wrist is par for the course. At the same time, these self-declared defenders of religious freedom think it perfectly acceptable to deny Jews and Christians the right to pray at the Temple Mount, the most holy site in the world for Jews and many Christians.