Archive | General Mideast News

Jordan to Host “World’s Largest Refugee Camp”

As violence in Syria continues, the al-Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan is on pace to become the largest in the world.

Jordan’s al-Zaatari refugee camp is currently home to 160,000 Syrian refugees (Dahr Jamail/Al Jazeera)

Amman, Jordan – Al-Zaatari refugee camp near Jordan’s northern border with Syria is the second largest refugee camp in the world. On days when violence in Syria worsens, between 2,000-4,000 Syrians flood into Zaatari, and the stories they tell are horrific.

“Things are happening in Syria that our minds couldn’t even imagine,” 65-year-old Nada Salim Abdullah, who has been in the camp four months, told Al Jazeera. “People were being captured and they were slaughtering them like chickens.”

Abdullah, who fled his home in Deraa with his family, spoke of atrocities committed by forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad. Other refugees told Al Jazeera of atrocities carried out by opposition forces.

Nearly half a million Syrian refugees have crossed into Jordan since the conflict began, and according to Jordan’s interior ministry, the Zaatari camp is now the fifth largest population centre in the country.

Continue Reading →

Continue Reading

Murdoch’s Ambitions in the Middle East

With his media empire under fire in the west, NewsCorp chief eyes the Middle East market.

Rupert Murdoch's NewsCorp scandal is sending shock waves across the UK, as protesters reject the mogul's denial of responsibility for criminal behaviour within his empire (GALLO/GETTY)

Embroiled in a scandal that has global implications, Rupert Murdoch’s media empire is under fire due to the ongoing fallout resulting from the News of the World scandal.

But while News Corp remains under heavy scrutiny in the UK, US, and the rest of the West, the launch of Abu Dhabi-based Arabic language news channel Sky News Arabia is still on track.

For someone interested in assisting in starting a television network with a planned initial reach of 50 million viewers across the Middle East, Murdoch has an interesting perspective on regional issues that affect the would-be consumers of the new Arabic channel.

“My own perspective is simple”, Murdoch told the Anti-Defamation League on December 13, 2010. “We live in a world where there is an ongoing war against the Jews.”

Murdoch emphasised “the importance of good relations between Israel and the United States”, stating: “Some believe that if America wants to gain credibility in the Muslim world and advance the cause of peace, Washington needs to put some distance between itself and Israel. My view is the opposite.”

Continue Reading →

Continue Reading

Israel Expands Its Borders Into Europe

Recent clampdowns on Palestinian solidarity activists underscore Israel’s ability to outsource its security operations.

French police at Charles de Gaulle airport, where several airlines stopped dozens of Palestinian solidarity activists heading for a 'fly-in' protest in Israel from boarding planes in Paris (REUTERS)

On July 11, Israel announced it was not interested in having the United Nations become involved as a mediator in its maritime border issues with Lebanon.

But when it comes to recruiting other countries to assist in the enforcement of its naval blockade of Gaza, or having international airlines deny entry to passengers destined to the occupied territories from flying, Israel is keen to have other countries help.

In 2010, Israel faced the worst kind of media exposure when its military raided the Mavi Marmara, shooting dead nine activists and wounding 40 others, evoking global condemnation and a beginning a tectonic shift in its relations with Turkey.

Rather than risking direct confrontation with activists taking part the recent Freedom Flotilla II, or the ”Flytilla” of activists who attempted to fly into Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion airport, Israel instead chose another strategy that has proven quite effective.

Continue Reading →

Continue Reading

Israel’s No Fly Zone

While it is the lawful right of a country to prohibit air passengers from entering, the move remains controversial.

Israel has effectively managed to keep most 'flytilla' activists from boarding their flights to Tel Aviv (GALLO/GETTY)

The majority of an estimated 600 Tel Aviv-bound pro-Palestine activists intending to arrive on Friday, July 8 as part of the “Welcome to Palestine” movement have not been allowed to board their flights at originating airports.

The activists, approximately half of which are French nationals, were destined for the West Bank town of Bethlehem. The campaign name “flytilla”, is in reference to a parallel maritime protest flotilla, most of which was never allowed to leave Greek ports from which the ships were to sail.

According to activists involved in the action, the main goal was to show the injustice and human rights violations imposed on Palestinian community by Israel.

Nearly 100 activists were not allowed to board their Lufthansa Air flights at Charles de Galle airport in Paris on Friday morning.

“We came this morning at 4:30 am to get our 6:30 am flight,” Satina, an activist who asked that only her first name be used, told Al Jazeera, “When we arrived and wanted to check in, they told us to go to another check in point, where there they told us they could not check us in. We grouped together and asked why, but they didn’t give us anything in writing.”

Continue Reading →

Continue Reading