Last month Israeli Agriculture Minister Shalom Simhon and Efi Stenzler, head of the Jewish National Fund, returned from a visit to Manitoba with an agreement to share expertise. Manitoba experts will teach Israel about water conservation and Israeli experts will instruct Manitobans about water purification.
Water is a major source of contention between Israel on the one hand and the Palestinians and other Arabs on the other. Water has been diverted from the Jordan River by Israel, Jordan, and Syria, leaving it little better than a sewage ditch. Water levels have been falling dangerously in all Israeli aquifers, in the Sea of Galilee, and in the Dead Sea. Palestinians, who already find themselves critically short of water, complain that Israelis are wasteful.
Canadian stuck in Sudan
|Son of Abousfian Abdelrazik|
When the Canadian government was pressed to get him back, it argued that it could not issue a travel document as he had no way of returning. No airline would take him, it said, because the U.S. put him on a U.N. list of supposed al-Qaeda operatives. If there were a way for him to come back, then a travel document would be issued, explained Foreign Affairs.
Well, Abdelrazik’s lawyer Yavar Hameed called the government’s bluff. He arranged with Etihad Airway to take him to Canada on a flight leaving Khartoum on September 15. Surprise! With three weeks’ notice, Foreign Affairs was still not prepared to issue a travel document. Canada continues to leave him to rot in Khartoum.
No verdict on airline bomb plot
Three British Muslims were convicted on September 8 of conspiracy to murder in a plot to bomb various targets in Britain, including Heathrow Airport. The jury found Abdulla Ahmed Ali, Assam Sarwar, and Tamvir Hussain guilty by a vote of 10 to 2. However, they were unable to reach a verdict on four other accused men and cleared an eighth. They were also unable to agree on a verdict on charges that the men were planning to blow up airplanes in flight.
The prosecution claimed that the accused planned suicide bombings of scheduled passenger flights of Air Canada, United Airlines, and American Airlines en route to Montreal, Toronto, San Francisco, Washington, New York, and Chicago. The government is considering a retrial on the airline bombing conspiracy charge and on the charges against the men for whom no verdict could be reached.
Hizbullah suspected of planning attacks in Canada
A reporter for Ha’aretz alleges that a terror cell has been tracking crew members of El Al airlines in Toronto. He claims that the would-be terrorists were spotted in the Sheraton Centre Hotel, where some flight crew members stay.
Israeli intelligence believes that Hizbullah wants to attack Israeli targets around the world to avenge the killing of Imad Muhgniyeh, one of their leaders. American intelligence sources have told U.S. television that Hizbullah has been collecting information on potential targets in Canada.
In 2002, a gunman killed two El Al passengers at Los Angeles International Airport before being killed himself by Israeli security. Then, in 2005, seven Dutch young people were arrested for planning an attack on an El Al plane. In 2006, Germany arrested six persons accused of planning to blow up an El Al plane, and the Swiss reported uncovering a similar plan that same year.
Suicides in Lebanon
According to Human Rights Watch (HRW), more than one foreign domestic worker a week commits suicide in Lebanon, because of maltreatment. Nadim Houry, of the Beirut office of HRW, calls on the authorities to guarantee domestic workers the right to change employers at will, the right to communicate with friends and relatives, and the right to earn a wage.
He said that the Lebanese authorities and the embassies of the countries supplying the domestics need to look into what is driving these women to kill themselves or to die in falling from tall buildings while attempting to flee.
HRW found in interviewing the foreign embassies’ personnel and friends of the deceased that the reasons for suicide are forced confinement, excessive workload, abuse by employers, and financial pressures. It charges that in investigations of suicides the police accept the word of the employer without checking with neighbors and acquaintances, and in cases where a woman survives a fall, she is questioned without the aid of an interpreter. The bulk of the foreign domestics come from Sri Lanka, the Philippines and Ethiopia.
In April, HRW began a campaign called “Put yourself in her shoes,” to encourage employers to treat domestics more fairly. It claims that there are as many as 200,000 foreign domestics employed in Lebanon.
Rachel Corrie does Ottawa
In an article in the Toronto Star, their Middle East correspondent Oakland Ross reported on an interview with Yehuda Shaul, head of “Breaking the Silence,” an organization that collects testimony from former Israeli soldiers about what they and their comrades in arms have done in the Occupied Territories.
Shaul used to provide tours of Hebron, but because of the violent reaction of Jewish settlers the army forbade him from continuing these. Hebron is home to many extremist settlers, in a largely Palestinian area, protected by Israeli soldiers. He is taking the refusal to the Israeli Supreme Court.
As an example of the dirty work, he spoke of what happens when a suspicious package is seen. They stop a Palestinian man and make him open the package. He would be fortunate if it did not blow up. For another, for training about how to take people into custody, rookies are ordered to enter a house chosen more or less at random, wake everyone up, and take a man away, later simply releasing him.
According to Shaul, “If you want to occupy, it’s dirty.”
Muslim organization supports socialists
The Canadian Islamic Congress, Canada’s largest Muslim organization, has sent an editorial to the media from its president Mohamed Elmasry. The editorial endorses the socialist New Democratic Party (NDP) in the current electoral campaign. The vote is to take place on October 14.
Elmasry points to NDP opposition to continuing military activity in Afghanistan and NDP support for minority rights and social programs.