Wednesday, 5 June 2013

South African organisations call for Israel to be excluded from diamond processing

Human rights groups, trade unions and several other major civil society organisations have called for the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme to exclude Israel. The international diamond regulatory body is meeting in South Africa and is chaired currently by Pretoria's former ambassador to Washington, Mr Welile Nhlapo.

Organisations including South Africa's National Union of Mineworkers (NUM); the country's largest trade union federation, COSATU; the SACP; YCL; South African Students Congress (SASCO); Congress of South African Students (COSAS), the Coalition for a Free Palestine and BDS South Africa are behind the call.

A statement issued at a press conference held at COSATU's Head Office in Johannesburg pointed out that the KPCS presents an opportunity for South African officials to show "moral vision and political leadership" by excluding Israel. "The billions of dollars' worth of diamonds exported via Israel are," said the coalition, "a major source of revenue for the Israeli military, which stands accused of war crimes." Such a move would have local benefits too, it added, by "bringing home" many lucrative diamond processing jobs to South Africa. Income from diamond processing carried out in Israel also, alleges the coalition, helps to develop military hardware such as pilotless drones. more

50 Israeli university students storm Al-Aqsa mosque

On Wednesday 5th June, Al-Aqsa Organization for Waqf (trust) and Heritage said that a group of 50 Israeli University students stormed Al-Aqsa Mosque from Bab al-Magharbeh and toured in the mosque's yards, under the protection of Israeli police.

The organization said in a press statement that Israeli students stormed the mosque accompanied by a guide who was lecturing about the place using a map. The mosque's guards asked the guide to take down the map but he refused and then a group of Muslim worshipers started to chant "Allahu Akbar" (God is the Greatest) and more members of the Israeli police arrived to the place to prevent any possible clashes. more

Jordan Islamist delegation enters Gaza via tunnels

EL-ARISH, Egypt (Ma'an) -- A delegation of Jordanian politicians entered the Gaza Strip this week via smuggling tunnels under the Egypt-Gaza border, Egyptian security officials said Wednesday.

Members from Jordan's Islamist Freedom and Justice party spent two days in Gaza, and reportedly met with Hamas officials.

A senior Egyptian security official told Ma'an that the delegation would have been allowed to travel to Gaza via the Rafah crossing, but instead chose to enter via smuggling tunnels in order to keep the visit a secret from the Jordanian government. more