Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Abbas condemns detention of Grand Mufti of Jerusalem

JERUSALEM (Ma'an) -- President Abbas on Wednesday slammed Israel's arrest of the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, a statement said.

Abbas "condemned the occupying Israeli authorities' detention of Jerusalem mufti Mohammed Hussein," his office said in a statement.

The president "demanded the Israeli government release the mufti immediately," and said "the arrest represents an audacious challenge to freedom of worship."

Israeli intelligence officers broke into the home of Sheikh Muhammad Hussein in the Jabal al-Mukabbir neighborhood of East Jerusalem and took him to the Russian Compound detention center, his office said.

"At 8.10 a.m. two vehicles from Israeli intelligence arrived at our house and detained my father, taking him to the Russian Compound detention center for interrogation," one of Sheikh Hussein's sons told Ma'an. more

Stephen Hawking joins academic boycott of Israel

Professor Stephen Hawking is backing the academic boycott of Israel by pulling out of a conference hosted by Israeli president Shimon Peres in Jerusalem as a protest at Israel's treatment of Palestinians.

Hawking, 71, the world-renowned theoretical physicist and Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at the University of Cambridge, had accepted an invitation to headline the fifth annual president's conference, Facing Tomorrow, in June, which features major international personalities, attracts thousands of participants and this year will celebrate Peres's 90th birthday.

Hawking is in very poor health, but last week he wrote a brief letter to the Israeli president to say he had changed his mind. He has not announced his decision publicly, but a statement published by the British Committee for the Universities of Palestine with Hawking's approval described it as "his independent decision to respect the boycott, based upon his knowledge of Palestine, and on the unanimous advice of his own academic contacts there".

Hawking's decision marks another victory in the campaign for boycott, divestment and sanctions targeting Israeli academic institutions. more

PA says visit of Islamic cleric to Gaza 'harmful'

BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- The Palestinian Authority said Tuesday that the upcoming visit of an Egyptian cleric to Gaza is "harmful" to the Palestinian people.

Sheikh Yousuf al-Qaradawi, an influential Islamic theologian based in Qatar, is expected to visit the Gaza Strip on Wednesday.

"The Palestinian Authority's position has been clear; each visit of political significance which gives legitimacy to Hamas' rule in Gaza is harmful to the Palestinian people and their interests," PA minister of endowment Mahmoud al-Habbash told Ma'an. more