9 August 2014

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TMI

PAS spiritual leader Datuk Seri Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat has distanced himself from the party’s Shura Council decision endorsing embattled Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim to continue as Selangor menteri besar – making it harder to define the Islamist party’s stand on the issue.

The former Kelantan menteri besar also said he left the meeting deliberating the matter about 30 minutes after it had started as he was not feeling well.

“I attended the meeting for a short while. I left before the decision was made. The Shura Council secretary came to my house later, after Maghrib and explained the decision,” Nik Aziz told reporters at a Hari Raya open house in Kota Baru late on Thursday, indicating that he had not participated and given his views on the matter at the meeting.

Nik Aziz made these comments coincidentally when the Shura Council released its statement on Thursday, but his views on the matter were somehow overlooked by the media.

However, an audio clip of Nik Aziz’s view on the matter is now being circulated on YouTube and among party faithful in several blogs, including in http://www.malaysiawaves.net/

Nik Aziz added that he had been trying to keep out of the political manoeuvring taking place in Selangor that appears to have divided the ruling Pakatan Rakyat (PR) coalition.

“Politics in Selangor, I have said it before, even Kelantan I am willing to let go, why should I interfere in Selangor? The Kelantan that I treated like my own son, the state that I care most about, I was willing to give to someone else. Why should I take care of Selangor? The people of Selangor should know how to take care of their own state,” he was quoted as having said on Thursday.

Since Nik Aziz’s statement and the Shura Council’s stance were released at the same time, many assumed that he was in agreement with the council’s decision.

Based on the audio clip, Nik Aziz appeared to distance himself from the decision, saying he only attended the meeting for about half an hour and left because he was unwell.

“I was not there long. I left before the decision was made. The secretary of the meeting came to my house to inform me the outcome of the meeting,” he said, explaining his signature on the statement along with that of his deputy, Datuk Dr Haron Din.

Yesterday, opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrhaim said PKR was not bound by the decision of the PAS Shura Council, which he added did not have all the facts on the issue.

He said he would furnish additional details and information on the matter.

“PAS cannot make a decision on behalf of PKR. In solidarity with Pakatan Rakyat, we respect their views,” Anwar had told reporters at the party headquarters in Petaling Jaya.

PKR has said it wants party president Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail to replace Khalid as the menteri besar but PAS senior leaders have publicly said that they did not see the need to replace Khalid.

PAS has now scheduled August 17 to decide whether Dr Wan Azizah should take over from Khalid, a week after the original meeting on the matter.

The PKR leadership is to meet today on the latest developments while DAP has scheduled a meeting tomorrow on the matter, ahead of a PR leadership council meeting late tomorrow.

PKR has also scheduled a disciplinary board meeting with Khalid this evening but the Selangor menteri besar has asked for August 15 to explain his reasons to remain in office until the next general election.

The PR coalition has 44 seats in the 56-seat assembly with DAP and PAS having 15 each while PKR has 14 seats. The other 12 is with Umno, which surprisingly endorsed Khalid to keep his job.

9 August 2014

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Haaretz

Reporters who covered “Operation Protective Edge” in Gaza dismiss Israeli accusations of giving Hamas an easy ride.

On Wednesday night Benjamin Netanyahu briefed the foreign press, summing up four weeks of warfare in Gaza. “Now that the members of the press are leaving Gaza and are no longer subjected to Hamas restrictions and intimidation,” he said,” I expect we will see even more documentation of Hamas terrorists hiding behind the civilian population, exploiting civilian targets. I think it’s very important for the truth to come out.”

The prime minister’s voice betrayed no rancor but his words masked a deep frustration in his office over what one adviser called “a conspiracy of silence” by the foreign correspondents reporting from Gaza for the past month. “They have remained silent over how no one digs too deep into the Hamas side or into how they use civilians as human shields,” the adviser said. “That’s how they get an opportunity to cover Gaza, and it creates an imbalanced picture, which is bad for Israel. We should be trying to expose that.”

Netanyahu’s expectations have yet to be fulfilled. Of the 710 foreign journalists who crossed into Gaza during Operation Protective Edge, only a handful have claimed they were intimidated by Hamas or produced hitherto unpublished footage of rockets being fired from civilian areas, such as the pictures filmed by Indian channel NDTV, which were shown at the Netanyahu briefing. Maybe such footage will still emerge — all the foreign correspondents interviewed for this piece insisted that it doesn’t exist, and not because they wouldn’t have liked to obtain such pictures.

“It’s a phony controversy,” said one reporter who spent three weeks in Gaza and, like most who were interviewed, asked to remain anonymous. “This is a post-facto attempt to claim the media’s biased and Netanyahu [is] therefore infallibly right.”

Elusive Rockets

But how could Hamas and other Palestinian organizations launch 2,657 rockets and mortar shells from Gaza, Israeli officials ask, and only NDTV reporter Sreenivasan Jain captured a launcher on film? Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor says he can’t believe “how veteran war photographers couldn’t capture even one launch team, a single Hamas fighter on a barricade, the kind of exclusive photo they routinely risk their neck for.”

“What nonsense,” says one senior correspondent based in Israel. “The fact that NDTV succeeded proves nothing; it was an almost unbelievable opportunity. There are places which are just too dangerous and a photographer has to first protect himself.”

“I didn’t see a rocket at point of launch,” says one European photographer who left Gaza a few days ago, “but I did see a lot in the air, and those pictures were published. If I had a chance I would have photographed launchers, but they were well hidden. Israel, with all its sensors and drones, didn’t find them all.”

“You couldn’t tell exactly where a rocket was being launched from,” says an American reporter. ”Often they were hundreds of yards away, although you could hear the launch and see the contrails. We didn’t hesitate to mention the general area in our reports, but that didn’t necessarily add much.”

“There are always some gung-ho photojournalists who would go to any front line, no matter how dangerous,” says Anne Barnard, the New York Times Beirut bureau chief, who spent two weeks reporting from Gaza. “But that requires essentially an informal embed with the militants, to even be able to locate them without getting caught in crossfire on the way. Our team in Gaza noted frequently in stories that Hamas operates in urban areas and from farm fields. We mentioned witnessing specific rocket launches in numerous stories, witnessing the rocket going up from some distance away, that is. But in two weeks I never saw a rocket crew; for obvious reasons, to avoid getting a hit by Israeli strikes, they try not to be seen.”

Missing in Action

The elusive rocket launchers are only one detail in the Israeli criticism. Where were the Hamas attackers throughout the operation? Why are pictures of uniformed and armed fighters totally absent from the coverage?

“I described the few Hamas fighters I saw in my pieces,” says one veteran war reporter, “but there were so few of them. It reminded me a lot of Lebanon in 2006, where you didn’t really see Hezbollah fighters even right at the border. Except for one chance encounter with a mortar team who looked embarrassed to be spotted. It was the same in Iraq, too, in the 2003 insurgency. Most of the time the fighters were invisible and dangerous.”

Reporter after reporter returning from Gaza has spoken of how, with the notable exception of spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri, Hamas fighters melted away during the warfare, even abandoning their regular checkpoint at the entrance to the Strip from Erez, so no one was checking the journalists’ passports.

“Members of the political wing could only very occasionally be found or talked to,“ says Barnard. “This was frustrating because, of course, there are many questions they should be asked, not just to respond to Israeli allegations but to evaluate their performance on their own terms and those of Palestinians in Gaza: Are their strategy and tactics effective? Do they believe they have popular support for their conduct of the conflict and the decisions they made? How do they respond to people who complain that they went into hiding and left ordinary people who had no choice about the fact that their neighbor was in Hamas to be targets?”

The New York Times came in for specific criticism from pro-Israel advocates who focused on the seeming failure of its star photographer, Tyler Hicks, to capture any militants in his camera lens.

“Tyler saw some guys come out of a hole in the side of a building in Shujaiyeh during the brief cease-fire on July 20,” recalls Barnard. “They were without guns but making gestures to say no photos. I put that in the story. Tyler also took pictures of at least one Hamas member being buried, but again funerals were harder to access than usual because they were held quickly and without much fanfare and [with] few mourners because of the danger. You could understand why they stayed out of sight: Israel appeared to be defining Hamas targets very broadly, to include any member of the Hamas administered police, government, etc. They may have felt that they would be targets, and so would the reporters they were talking to. We certainly were concerned about that ourselves.”

“There’s been a lot of talk about Hamas preventing us from seeing them,” says another correspondent with extensive experience in covering Middle East wars. “But the fact is that the areas they were fighting in were just too dangerous. If I had tried to report from Shujaiyeh during the fighting, I would probably have got killed. Hamas isn’t a regular army: When they leave the fighting areas, they don’t wear uniforms or carry guns.”

None of this impresses the Foreign Ministry’s Palmor. “The fact remains [that] we didn’t see anywhere pictures of fighters carrying weapons or launching rockets. There were humanitarian cease-fires when they were free to walk around without being attacked. Why didn’t they try to photo them then? I don’t think anyone was in Hamas’s pay. That’s why the question mark is so large. We know Hamas were trying very hard to hide, not just for their security but for propaganda purposes. We have heard of reporters who said they weren’t allowed near fighters and were threatened. But this is the A-Team of the war-reporting profession. How did Hamas succeed so completely?”

Press Freedom

This is perhaps the biggest bone of contention that Israeli spokesmen have with the foreign media corps: Why won’t they acknowledge they were being pressured and monitored by Hamas? All but a few journalists deny there was any such pressure.

“I wasn’t intimidated at any point,” says one seasoned war reporter. “I didn’t feel Hamas were a threat to my welfare any more than Israeli bombings. I’m aware some people had problems, but nothing beyond what you would expect covering a conflict. Hamas’s levels of intimidation weren’t any worse than what you occasionally experience at the hands of the IDF, which didn’t allow access to fighting for most of the conflict either. As a rule no armed forces permit you to broadcast militarily sensitive information.”

If anything, most reporters are complaining that Hamas seemed to make little effort to engage with the media. “How could there be Hamas censorship if there was no Hamas to be seen?” says one exasperated reporter.

“The American military, and many others including Israel, imposes limits on embedded reporters under which you cannot reveal troop movements, weapons locations and other info that could compromise ‘operational security,’” says another experienced correspondent. “There was no such official restriction from Hamas because there was no embed and almost no contact. Hamas did not complain about anything to anyone on our team.”

In a few cases, journalists who tweeted on their personal Twitter accounts about seeing rockets launched from specific areas deleted the tweets after other Twitter users complained. Most of these complaints seem to have come, though, from local residents who were worried that they would lead to Israeli strikes. “I heard that Hamas officials made inquiries about a reporter who tweeted about rocket launches,” says one journalist, “but it seemed they were asking to see if she was really a reporter and not a spy.”

In another case, a number of reporters have said off the record that Hamas officials summoned one photographer and warned him that they would confiscate his camera if he didn’t delete a certain picture. There are also reports of fighters brandishing rifles to prevent photographers from taking their picture, but all the reporters insist these were isolated cases.

“Look, no one is claiming for one moment that Hamas is an enlightened organization that believes in freedom of the press,” says one reporter who has been visiting Gaza for years. “I don’t think I have to mention that fact in every report I make. But at least over the last month, they were simply too busy fighting to bother themselves very much with the media.”

Government officials are convinced that the great majority of foreign journalists are simply too embarrassed to admit that they worked under Hamas monitoring. “It’s clear that they were being intimidated and had to face abnormal pressure,” says one spokesman. “We know of specific cases in which they were harassed and menaced.”

“I can’t really judge them,” says another senior press official. “It is extremely difficult with Hamas in your hotel lobby and in the corridor.”

Asymmetric Journalism

“Israel wants reporters to write about the conflict as it conceived it, as a security problem framed by the IDF,” says one reporter with 30 years experience in hot spots worldwide. “Most journalists chose to report it from the point of view of [the] humanitarian impact of conflict, which is what war reporters actually usually do. They’re not writing like defense correspondents. I personally chose not to speak to Hamas mouthpieces because I hold Hamas propaganda in as much contempt as that of Netanyahu.”

“In all conflicts, reporters are loath to ‘serve’ either side by revealing information that could lead to a specific strike in real time,” says the New York Times’s Barnard. “Even information that could be seen as having led to a specific strike.

“First of all, that could endanger all reporters by making them be seen as spies. But beyond that, we are observers, not participants. We don’t want to be the reason that, say, a bomb was dropped. What if it killed a bystander? So let’s say I had seen a rocket launch from a specific building in Gaza, which I did not, I would not have reported it in real time, by my own choice. For one thing I wouldn’t want the return strike to come while I was standing there. That said, I also assume the Israeli military has better ways than reporters’ tweets to know where rockets are launched from. But I would, and did, report launches that we saw, in stories a few hours later.”

“Much of the criticism from the government, and groups monitoring the [coverage,] is from people who don’t understand the real role of the media. They just want to see which side ‘wins’ in each report,” says a another journalist in Gaza. “Our job isn’t to give out points, and this isn’t a game. The great majority of our readers simply rely on us to explain what is happening here.”

But Israeli spokesmen find it hard to accept such a view of the reporters’ role in Gaza. “Their entire objective seems to be to supply pictures of dead babies and blood,” says one. “Not context.” Another spokesman echoes him, saying that “when it gets down to pictures of dead children, then Israel can’t win because we don’t have any. That’s the fact of life.”

Many reporters, especially those belonging to large news organizations that had reporters and teams on both sides of the conflict, dispute these claims.

“There’s an asymmetry here, not just in the warfare but also in the coverage,” says one bureau chief. “You can’t cover an organized army and a guerrilla group in the same way, and it’s pointless to try. You have to find the correct proportions in each report and news package, and I believe we did a good job of that.”

Not all the Israeli officials share the criticism. Nitzan Chen, director-general of the Government Press Office, says that “you can’t judge the correspondents without having been in their place. At the end of the day they also have families and want to get home in one piece. Their job isn’t to do [PR] for Israel; they don’t work for us. All in all, I think the coverage was relatively balanced.”

On the other side are some correspondents who accept at least a bit of the Israeli criticism.

“Looking back, I should have at least tried to report a bit more about the Hamas fighters and still plan to,” says one reporter still in Gaza.

“There was just so much work around the civilian casualties and the destruction that it swamped us. Going to home after destroyed home, where multiple family members were killed, was just too shocking, even for those who had covered Syria. The civilian angle took up nearly all the attention, but the Hamas angle should have got more coverage, especially the fact [that] they were fighting with so much greater tenacity and discipline than in 2009 and, to judge by the Israeli strikes, had hidden weapons in private homes and mosques. That should have been covered better, but there was just so much death all around.”

8 August 2014

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TMI

How does one become the head of a government? And when one does, does one forget the people who supported you and voted you into public office?

Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim (pic), the beleaguered incumbent Selangor Menteri Besar, believes that state government matters are separate from the party and he does not need to explain his actions to the party or rather, he is beyond the party’s scrutiny.

So, who is he answerable to? To the state ruler? To the people who elected him directly in Port Klang or to the people who voted for his Pakatan Rakyat (PR) coalition or to those who had confidence in him as menteri besar?

When he was the prime minister, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad had always stressed that he was only in that office because he was the Umno president. He owed his position as PM to his his party and that was why he had to take cognisance of the party’s views in running the country.

Obviously, Khalid does not think the same way.

In a three-page reply addressed to the PKR disciplinary board chairman Datuk Dr Tan Kee Kwong, which was posted on the Selangorku website, Khalid said the board’s show cause letter had asked him to give detailed explanations on five issues.

They include the water restructuring deal in Selangor, MB’s new allowance, tax increase on business licenses, the proposed Kidex expressway and the Bank Islam out-of-court settlement issue.

“The five additional issues which have been raised were discussed by the state government committee which has the executive power to administer Selangor.

“The PKR disciplinary board only has the authority to decide on any transgressions related to the party and not state administrative issues,” Khalid said in his reply, which his political secretary submitted to the party this morning.

This is where Khalid is wrong.

He is answerable to his party because he is the MB by virtue of the support and confidence of his party. The party leadership now has no confidence in him, hence the crisis enveloping the state government.

As a public official, he is also answerable to the voters and that is why he has to make public the out-of-court settlement with Bank Islam. If he had lost the case, Khalid could be a bankrupt and lose his Port Klang state seat and be out of the Selangor Menteri Besar’s job in a flash.

He obviously does not view the situation that way. What would his options be if PKR goes ahead and sacks him? What would his options be if his executive councillors resign?

And, who put him where he is today? At the very least, he should listen to those who put him in public office, supported his job, and end this sorry spectacle of a leader ignoring his own people.

8 August 2014

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TMI

The PAS Shura Council is not privy to all the details on the Selangor menteri besar (MB) tussle, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said today, after the council announced its support for Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim to remain as MB.

The opposition leader said while he respected the decision of the council to retain Khalid, it needed to be briefed on certain facts.

“I feel that there are issues that we need to explain to them (the Shura Council) that they are not privy to before this.

“And Khalid is not only a leader in Keadilan and a menteri besar but also a friend and like family to me, so I don’t want this to  prolong or cross unethical boundaries,” he said at a press conference today.

He also called on PKR members to stick to the facts and the interests of the party when debating the MB issue, and nothing beyond that.

When asked about a comment that Khalid’s refusal to relinquish his MB post is similar  to his refusal to resign from the Cabinet in 1998, Anwar said that it was not the same, as the issue of transition of leadership and the ‘Kajang move’  was not new and had been discussed and decided since January 15 this year.

He added that although Khalid had said that he was not fully supportive of the Kajang move, he was elections director for the Kajang by-election.

“There were umpteen meetings between PR leaders and also with Khalid, so I don’ t think it is correct to equate that rancorous exchange in 1998 with the position now and the issues raised.

“At the right time, if compelled, I will explain, but for now the public needs to know that we have observed the process of the transition of the MB post through many meetings, counseling and advice over the last six months,” he said.

Anwar said the the Selangor MB issue would be the focus of the PKR central leadership council tomorrow, but added that he could not say for sure if they would announce a decision after the meeting.

On whether Selangor PKR lawmakers were told to sign a statutory declaration pledging support for Datuk Seri Wan Azizah Wan Ismail as MB, he said that it was only a suggestion at this point and a decision on that would be made later at a more suitable time.

6 August 2014

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Foreign Policy

By: Jimmy Carter, Mary Robinson

Ending this war in Gaza begins with recognizing Hamas as a legitimate political actor.

Israelis and Palestinians are still burying their loved ones as Gaza’s third war in six years continues. Since July 8, when this war began, more than 1,600 Palestinian and 65 Israeli lives have been sacrificed. Many in the world are heartbroken in the powerless certainty that more will die, that more are being killed every hour.

This tragedy results from the deliberate obstruction of a promising move toward peace in the region, when a reconciliation agreement among the Palestinian factions was announced in April. This was a major concession by Hamas, in opening Gaza to joint control under a technocratic government that did not include any Hamas members. The new government also pledged to adopt the three basic principles demanded by the Middle East Quartet comprised of the United Nations, the United States, the European Union, and Russia: nonviolence, recognition of Israel, and adherence to past agreements. Tragically, Israel rejected this opportunity for peace and has succeeded in preventing the new government’s deployment in Gaza.

Two factors are necessary to make Palestinian unity possible. First, there must be at least a partial lifting of the 7-year-old sanctions and blockade that isolate the 1.8 million people in Gaza. There must also be an opportunity for the teachers, police, and welfare and health workers on the Hamas payroll to be paid. These necessary requirements for a human standard of living continue to be denied. Instead, Israel blocked Qatar’s offer to provide funds to pay civil servants’ salaries, and access to and from Gaza has been further tightened by Egypt and Israel.

There is no humane or legal justification for the way the Israeli Defense Forces are conducting this war. Israeli bombs, missiles, and artillery have pulverized large parts of Gaza, including thousands of homes, schools, and hospitals. More than 250,000 people have been displaced from their homes in Gaza. Hundreds of Palestinian noncombatants have been killed. Much of Gaza has lost access to water and electricity completely. This is a humanitarian catastrophe.

There is never an excuse for deliberate attacks on civilians in conflict. These are war crimes. This is true for both sides. Hamas’s indiscriminate targeting of Israeli civilians is equally unacceptable. However, three Israeli civilians have been killed by Palestinian rockets, while an overwhelming majority of the 1,600 Palestinians killed have been civilians, including more than 330 children. The need for international judicial proceedings to investigate and end these violations of international law should be taken very seriously.

The U.N. Security Council should focus on what can be done to limit the potential use of force by both sides. It should vote for a resolution recognizing the inhumane conditions in Gaza and mandate an end to the siege. That resolution could also acknowledge the need for international monitors who can report on movements into and out of Gaza as well as cease-fire violations. It should then enshrine strict measures to prevent the smuggling of weapons into Gaza. Early discussions have already taken place. The Elders, an international group of elder statesmen of which we are a part, hope these discussions will continue and reach fruition.

At the Palestinians’ request, the Swiss government is considering convening an international conference of the signatory states of the Geneva Conventions, which enshrine the humanitarian laws of warfare. This could pressure Israel and Hamas into observing their duties under international law to protect civilian populations. We sincerely hope all states — especially those in the West, with the greatest power — attend and live up to their obligations to uphold the Fourth Geneva Convention, which governs the treatment of populations in occupied territory.

Unity between Fatah and Hamas is currently stronger than it has been for many years. As Elders, we believe this is one of the most encouraging developments in recent years and welcome it warmly. This presents an opportunity for the Palestinian Authority to reassume control over Gaza — an essential first step towards Israel and Egypt lifting the blockade.

The Palestinian Authority cannot manage the task of administering Gaza on its own. It will need the prompt return of the EU Border Assistance Mission, an international effort to help monitor border crossings that was launched in 2005 and suspended in 2007. EU High Representative Catherine Ashton has already offered to reinstate the program, covering not only Rafah but all of Gaza’s crossings. Egypt and Israel would, in turn, cooperate with international monitors to be deployed in Gaza and along its borders, backed by a U.N. Security Council mandate to protect civilian populations. A valuable precedent for trust-building between Egypt and Israel is the international peacekeeping force operating in the Sinai, mandated by the peace treaty signed by the two countries in 1979.

The international community’s initial goal should be the full restoration of the free movement of people and goods to and from Gaza through Israel, Egypt, and the sea. Concurrently, the United States and EU should recognize that Hamas is not just a military but also a political force. Hamas cannot be wished away, nor will it cooperate in its own demise. Only by recognizing its legitimacy as a political actor — one that represents a substantial portion of the Palestinian people — can the West begin to provide the right incentives for Hamas to lay down its weapons. Ever since the internationally monitored 2006 elections that brought Hamas to power in Palestine, the West’s approach has manifestly contributed to the opposite result.

Ultimately, however, lasting peace depends on the creation of a Palestinian state next to Israel.

Leaders in Israel, Palestine, and the world’s major powers should believe that policy changes are within reach that would move Israelis and Palestinians closer to a day when the skies over the Holy Land can forever fall silent.

6 August 2014

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Ynet

In op-ed written for Foreign Policy, former US president accuses Israel of ‘deliberate attacks on civilians’ saying there was ‘no humane or legal justification for the way the IDF are conducting this war.’

Former US president Jimmy Carter has called on the United States and EU to recognize Hamas as “not just a military but also a political force” in an op-ed written for Foreign Policy on Monday.

“Hamas cannot be wished away, nor will it cooperate in its own demise. Only by recognizing its legitimacy as a political actor – one that represents a substantial portion of the Palestinian people – can the West begin to provide the right incentives for Hamas to lay down its weapons,” Carter writes.

In his op-ed, the former president accuses Israel of “deliberate attacks on civilians,” saying these are war crimes.

“There is no humane or legal justification for the way the Israeli Defense Forces are conducting this war. Israeli bombs, missiles, and artillery have pulverized large parts of Gaza, including thousands of homes, schools, and hospitals. More than 250,000 people have been displaced from their homes in Gaza. Hundreds of Palestinian noncombatants have been killed. Much of Gaza has lost access to water and electricity completely. This is a humanitarian catastrophe,” he writes.

While he does lay the blame on Hamas for doing the same – indiscriminately targeting Israeli civilians – he draws a comparison between the number of casualties on both sides.

“However, three Israeli civilians have been killed by Palestinian rockets, while an overwhelming majority of the 1,600 Palestinians killed have been civilians, including more than 330 children. The need for international judicial proceedings to investigate and end these violations of international law should be taken very seriously,” he asserts.

Carter pledges his support to the Palestinian unity government, calling it “one of the most encouraging developments in recent years.”

Carter also urges the UN Security Council to vote on a resolution “recognizing the inhumane conditions in Gaza and mandate an end to the siege.”

He stipulates the need for international monitors to control Gaza’s border crossings, as well as report on ceasefire violations, calling for the reinstatement of the EU Border Assistance Mission that was launched in 2005 and suspended in 2007, when Hamas took over the Gaza Strip after a Palestinian civil war.

6 August 2014

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In These Time

By: Noam Chomsky

‘We have no dignity, no pride; we are just soft targets, and we are very cheap. Either this situation really improves or it is better to just die.’

Amid all the horrors unfolding in the latest Israeli offensive in Gaza, Israel’s goal is simple: quiet-for-quiet, a return to the norm.

For the West Bank, the norm is that Israel continues its illegal construction of settlements and infrastructure so that it can integrate into Israel whatever might be of value, meanwhile consigning Palestinians to unviable cantons and subjecting them to repression and violence.

For Gaza, the norm is a miserable existence under a cruel and destructive siege that Israel administers to permit bare survival but nothing more.

The latest Israeli rampage was set off by the brutal murder of three Israeli boys from a settler community in the occupied West Bank. A month before, two Palestinian boys were shot dead in the West Bank city of Ramallah. That elicited little attention, which is understandable, since it is routine.

“The institutionalized disregard for Palestinian life in the West helps explain not only why Palestinians resort to violence,” Middle East analyst Mouin Rabbani reports, “but also Israel’s latest assault on the Gaza Strip.”

In an interview, human rights lawyer Raji Sourani, who has remained in Gaza through years of Israeli brutality and terror, said, “The most common sentence I heard when people began to talk about cease-fire: Everybody says it’s better for all of us to die and not go back to the situation we used to have before this war. We don’t want that again. We have no dignity, no pride; we are just soft targets, and we are very cheap. Either this situation really improves or it is better to just die. I am talking about intellectuals, academics, ordinary people: Everybody is saying that.”

In January 2006, Palestinians committed a major crime: They voted the wrong way in a carefully monitored free election, handing control of Parliament to Hamas.

The media constantly intone that Hamas is dedicated to the destruction of Israel. In reality, Hamas leaders have repeatedly made it clear that Hamas would accept a two-state settlement in accord with the international consensus that has been blocked by the U.S. and Israel for 40 years.

In contrast, Israel is dedicated to the destruction of Palestine, apart from some occasional meaningless words, and is implementing that commitment.

The crime of the Palestinians in January 2006 was punished at once. The U.S. and Israel, with Europe shamefully trailing behind, imposed harsh sanctions on the errant population and Israel stepped up its violence.

The U.S. and Israel quickly initiated plans for a military coup to overthrow the elected government. When Hamas had the effrontery to foil the plans, the Israeli assaults and the siege became far more severe.

There should be no need to review again the dismal record since. The relentless siege and savage attacks are punctuated by episodes of “mowing the lawn,” to borrow Israel’s cheery expression for its periodic exercises in shooting fish in a pond as part of what it calls a “war of defense.”

Once the lawn is mowed and the desperate population seeks to rebuild somehow from the devastation and the murders, there is a cease-fire agreement. The most recent cease-fire was established after Israel’s October 2012 assault, called Operation Pillar of Defense.

Though Israel maintained its siege, Hamas observed the cease-fire, as Israel concedes. Matters changed in April of this year when Fatah and Hamas forged a unity agreement that established a new government of technocrats unaffiliated with either party.

Israel was naturally furious, all the more so when even the Obama administration joined the West in signaling approval. The unity agreement not only undercuts Israel’s claim that it cannot negotiate with a divided Palestine but also threatens the long-term goal of dividing Gaza from the West Bank and pursuing its destructive policies in both regions.

Something had to be done, and an occasion arose on June 12, when the three Israeli boys were murdered in the West Bank. Early on, the Netanyahu government knew that they were dead, but pretended otherwise, which provided the opportunity to launch a rampage in the West Bank, targeting Hamas.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu claimed to have certain knowledge that Hamas was responsible. That too was a lie.

One of Israel’s leading authorities on Hamas, Shlomi Eldar, reported almost at once that the killers very likely came from a dissident clan in Hebron that has long been a thorn in the side of Hamas. Eldar added that “I’m sure they didn’t get any green light from the leadership of Hamas, they just thought it was the right time to act.”

The 18-day rampage after the kidnapping, however, succeeded in undermining the feared unity government, and sharply increasing Israeli repression. Israel also conducted dozens of attacks in Gaza, killing five Hamas members on July 7.

Hamas finally reacted with its first rockets in 19 months, providing Israel with the pretext for Operation Protective Edge on July 8.

By July 31, around 1,400 Palestinians had been killed, mostly civilians, including hundreds of women and children. And three Israeli civilians. Large areas of Gaza had been turned into rubble. Four hospitals had been attacked, each another war crime.

Israeli officials laud the humanity of what it calls “the most moral army in the world,” which informs residents that their homes will be bombed. The practice is “sadism, sanctimoniously disguising itself as mercy,” in the words of Israeli journalist Amira Hass: “A recorded message demanding hundreds of thousands of people leave their already targeted homes, for another place, equally dangerous, 10 kilometers away.”

In fact, there is no place in the prison of Gaza safe from Israeli sadism, which may even exceed the terrible crimes of Operation Cast Lead in 2008 to 2009.

The hideous revelations elicited the usual reaction from the most moral president in the world, Barack Obama: great sympathy for Israelis, bitter condemnation of Hamas and calls for moderation on both sides.

When the current attacks are called off, Israel hopes to be free to pursue its criminal policies in the occupied territories without interference, and with the U.S. support it has enjoyed in the past.

Gazans will be free to return to the norm in their Israeli-run prison, while in the West Bank, Palestinians can watch in peace as Israel dismantles what remains of their possessions.

That is the likely outcome if the U.S. maintains its decisive and virtually unilateral support for Israeli crimes and its rejection of the long-standing international consensus on diplomatic settlement. But the future will be quite different if the U.S. withdraws that support.

In that case it would be possible to move toward the “enduring solution” in Gaza that U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry called for, eliciting hysterical condemnation in Israel because the phrase could be interpreted as calling for an end to Israel’s siege and regular attacks. And—horror of horrors—the phrase might even be interpreted as calling for implementation of international law in the rest of the occupied territories.

Forty years ago Israel made the fateful decision to choose expansion over security, rejecting a full peace treaty offered by Egypt in return for evacuation from the occupied Egyptian Sinai, where Israel was initiating extensive settlement and development projects. Israel has adhered to that policy ever since.

If the U.S. decided to join the world, the impact would be great. Over and over, Israel has abandoned cherished plans when Washington has so demanded. Such are the relations of power between them.

Furthermore, Israel by now has little recourse, after having adopted policies that turned it from a country that was greatly admired to one that is feared and despised, policies it is pursuing with blind determination today in its march toward moral deterioration and possible ultimate destruction.

Could U.S. policy change? It’s not impossible. Public opinion has shifted considerably in recent years, particularly among the young, and it cannot be completely ignored.

For some years there has been a good basis for public demands that Washington observe its own laws and cut off military aid to Israel. U.S. law requires that “no security assistance may be provided to any country the government of which engages in a consistent pattern of gross violations of internationally recognized human rights.”

Israel most certainly is guilty of this consistent pattern, and has been for many years.

Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont, author of this provision of the law, has brought up its potential applicability to Israel in specific cases, and with a well-conducted educational, organizational and activist effort such initiatives could be pursued successively.

That could have a very significant impact in itself, while also providing a springboard for further actions to compel Washington to become part of “the international community” and to observe international law and norms.

Nothing could be more significant for the tragic Palestinian victims of many years of violence and repression.

6 August 2014

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The Hill

Israel’s military offensive in Gaza and the mounting toll of civilian casualties has become a divisive issue in Hollywood as well as in Washington.

Film, music and sports celebrities have stepped up their criticism of Israeli military strikes, which have led to the deaths of more than 1,800 Palestinians.

Actor John Cusack over the weekend re-tweeted an article comparing conditions in Gaza to those in Soweto, a black township in South Africa, during apartheid.

Cusack, who starred in “High Fidelity” and “Bullets Over Broadway,” also declared on Twitter, “Mass bombing of civilians is wrong no matter who does it – ok?”

Actors Javier Bardem and Penélope Cruz signed a letter published in a Spanish newspaper that denounced the Israeli offensive as “genocide.”

Mark Ruffalo, who played the Hulk in “The Avengers,” has used Twitter to highlight the destruction of the el-Wafa hospital in Gaza and called “blowing up” hospitals something he thought “all human beings could agree was off limits.”

Actress Mia Farrow questioned why Israeli forces are bombing homes in Gaza while claiming a primary objective of their campaign is to shut down tunnels used by Hamas fighters. She has suggested the offensive will spawn more violence.

“What is Israel’s long-term plan for Gaza? They can’t kill everyone. Those who survive can never forget. They will want to be martyrs,” she wrote on Twitter.

Jonathan Demme, who won an Oscar for directing “Silence of the Lambs,” has spoken up for Palestinians caught in Israeli air strikes.

“I don’t see this as being politics or statehood for Palestine or Hamas,” Demme told The Associated Press. “I think it’s about taking innocent lives and the destruction of a culture. … I’ve never been ashamed of my pacifist point of view of things at any time since I became a card-carrying hippie back in the ’60s.”

Singer-songwriter John Legend said he was “so sick of watching our secretary of State have to grovel so hard to tell Israel how much he loves them while Israeli cabinet sh—ts on him.”

Rob Schneider, a veteran of “Saturday Night Live” who went on to play Deuce Bigalow, tweeted, “To not be outraged at the killing of children is to risk your very soul. #Gaza.”

Members of Congress have generally been quick to back Israel’s war as justified, and the Obama administration has repeatedly underlined Israel’s right to defend itself.

Still, there has been some sharp criticism in recent days from the Obama administration over Israeli strikes that have killed civilians.

On Sunday, the State Department issued a statement criticizing as “disgraceful” an Israeli strike outside a United Nations-operated school and shelter that killed 10 Palestinians.

President Obama, who has received campaign contributions from many of the stars criticizing Israel’s actions, said Friday that “innocent civilians in Gaza caught in the crossfire have to weigh on our conscience.”

Many of the celebrities who have criticized the military offensive in Gaza have given campaign contributions to Democrats, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, which tracks fundraising.

Other celebrities have defended Israel’s actions and slammed fellow stars who have suggested Israel has shown little regard for civilian casualties.

Jon Voight slammed Bardem and Cruz in a guest column for the Hollywood Reporter.

“I am heartsick that people like Penélope Cruz and Javier Bardem could incite anti-Semitism all over the world and are oblivious to the damage they have caused,” he wrote.

“You should hang hour heads in shame,” he added. “You should all come forth with deep regrets for what you did and ask forgiveness from the suffering people in Israel.”

Bardem and Cruz, who are married, have backed off their public criticism since it was published.

Bardem said his decision to sign the letter was “solely meant as a plea for peace.”

“Destruction and hatred only generate more hatred and destruction,” he added.

Cruz conceded, “I’m not an expert on the situation” and said her only wish in signing it was “the hope that there will be peace in both Israel and Gaza.”

Charlie Barrett, the founder of The Barrett Company, a publicity firm based in Los Angeles that represents television and motion picture industry clients, said celebrities who weigh in on Gaza won’t likely see any negative impact on their careers.

“If a film producer wants to cast someone in a film, I don’t think they think so much about their politics, they think about the kind of artist they are,” he said.

Barrett said the publicity from speaking out on Gaza or another highly charged political issue does not have any benefit but it likely doesn’t cause damage either.

“I don’t think it’s good probably, from what I’ve read and heard but I frankly don’t know of any case where someone’s career was destroyed by their politics or something they may believe in,” he said.

Schneider, however, tweeted on Monday that he suspects some powerful Hollywood players might want to retaliate against actors and directors who have spoken out against the military campaign.

“Jon Voight is proof that Hollywood is always ready to start a new Blacklist!” he wrote.

6 August 2014

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TMI

The refusal of Khalid Ibrahim to tender his resignation as Menteri Besar of Selangor is disobedience to the express direction of his political party, PKR, and is without precedent.  Malaysia’s system of parliamentary democracy from Merdeka has been based on political parties, or, more accurately, coalitions.  The Alliance coalition comprising Umno, MCA and MIC representing the 3 principal races negotiated independence, and became the governing coalition in 1957.  In 1974, the Alliance transformed into the Barisan Nasional (“BN”), which is now a 14 party coalition.

In the early decades of independence, the opposition parties were fragmented, disunited and never presented an alternative coalition to BN for the Malaysian electorate to choose.  Whether it was PMIP (as PAS used to be known).  DAP, the Labour Front or the PPP, multiple candidates stood for general elections to the benefit of BN.  The establishment of the Pakatan coalition and the decision to field a single candidate in every constituency on the Pakatan platform nationwide meant that both in GE12 and GE13 Malaysian voters had, in effect, a choice of 2 coalitions.  It is now accepted that Pakatan can become the federal government of the day.

In GE13, 1,744,620 votes were cast for the 56 seats in the Selangor State Legislative Assembly.  Out of that total, 1,050,664 (60.22%) votes went to Pakatan, while 693,956 (39.78%) were cast for BN.  Pakatan won 44 seats, and Umno secured 12 seats.  No other BN component party won a seat in Selangor in May 2013.  The 60% support for Pakatan in Selangor was well over the 52% it received nationally.  But more significantly, very few of the 1 million odd votes who voted for Pakatan in Selangor voted for any individual candidate.  Neither did many vote because Khalid was going to be returned as menteri besar.  Instead, the vast majority voted for the Pakatan coalition.  That is the political reality surrounding the Khalid problem.

Just like voters of Selangor did not vote for Khalid to become menteri besar in 2008 or 2013, the political reality is that voters have no say in his dismissal from office.  Thus, the 6 Prime Ministers and all the Menteri Besar in all the states of Malaysia have been nominated by their party, and some likewise removed.  The Westminster system that we follow is not presidential in nature, and personalities are not critical.  Can one imagine any Umno Menteri Besar refusing to obey his political masters if they directed him to resign.  It would be unthinkable.

Even the once mighty Harun Idris was removed by Umno as Selangor menteri besar in the mid-1970s.  Umno changed its menteri besar in Terengganu as recently as May 2014, with Razif Rahman replacing Ahmad Said.  Removal from political office by one’s own political party across the democratic world is never rational, but is an occupational hazard:  remember Margaret Thatcher, Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard.

However, the sad fact is that party discipline does not seem to exist in PKR.  The 3 line whip system, which is essential for a proper running of a parliamentary democracy system, obviously does not operate with them.  Anwar Ibrahim and other senior PKR leaders realized very quickly after GE13 that they had erred in re-appointing Khalid for a second term.  Rather than just removing Khalid, as Umno and any other self-respecting political party would have done, the very complex “Kajang move” was set in motion.  When Anwar was announced as the Kajang candidate with the objective of replacing Khalid as Menteri Besar, Umno was spooked.  The prison sentence imposed by the Court of Appeal disqualified Anwar.  That explains the candidacy of Wan Azizah.

If Khalid expects to stave off a motion of no confidence in the Selangor State Assembly, he would have to rely on the 12 Umno votes and all the 15 PAS votes.  With his vote, a tie would ensue.  But that would signal the end of Khalid’s political career because he would be expelled from PKR, and would become either an independent member or a member of Umno or PAS.  PAS has intimated that it will finally decide on its position on Khalid on Sunday, 10th August.  PAS has a straight-forward choice:  Khalid or Pakatan, that is, an individual or a political coalition.  PAS should remember that the voters of Selangor elected the Pakatan coalition, and pushing the state to snap polls just 15 months after GE13 is not in the interests of Selangor and its electorate.

In any event, Umno as a wily, experienced political party may not be happy to go to bed with PAS and Khalid.  Any pact between PAS and Umno cannot be limited to Selangor; instead, it will have national repercussions.  Umno is aware of such baggage.  The 1974-78 partnership between Umno and PAS had left scars on both sides of the divide.  Finally, one must not assume that all the 15 PAS Assemblymen will take a united position on Khalid, and public factions in PAS may emerge.

The golden rule in politics is that a leader who has lost the confidence of his political party must resign.  Khalid can thus avoid all these eventualities if he behaved honorably and resigned.  It is still not too late to save his reputation.

5 August 2014

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KENYATAAN MEDIA
5 OGOS 2014

Pakatan tidak akan berkompromi pada prinsip-prinsip dasar

Banyak telah diperkatakan semenjak beberapa minggu lalu akan kemungkinan pecahnya Pakatan Rakyat akibat pergeseran di antara PKR dan PAS berkenaan dengan pilihan calon Menteri Besar Selangor.

Ingin saya menegaskan bahawa Pakatan Rakyat tidak akan berpecah semata-mata kerana pilihan calon Menteri Besar. Sebaliknya, PR boleh dan akan hanya berpecah sekiranya ada parti komponennya yang sanggup berkompromi dalam prinsip-prinsip dasar seperti kewibawaan, ketelusan dan kebertanggungjawaban di dalam pengurusan kerajaan.

Atas prinsip-prinsip inilah Pakatan Rakyat dizahirkan sebagai sebuah kerajaan alternatif untuk rakyat. Prinsip-prinsip ini juga telah dicabuli oleh kerajaan BN ketika ianya berkuasa pada lima dekad yang lalu.

Keputusan PRU ke-12 pada 8 Mac 2008 telah menunjukkan dengan jelas bahawa perjuangan PR yang berpaksikan di atas prinsip-prinsip ini telah diterima baik oleh rakyat yang rata-ratanya mengharapkan sebuah kerajaan yang bersih, berprinsip dan bersungguh-sungguh dalam membela kepentingan rakyat.

Dalam usaha murni ini, gabungan Pakatan bersama dengan semua yang menyokong usaha ini telah bersama-sama menggembleng tenaga pada PRU ke-13 dalam menghadapi cabaran amat hebat untuk terus memberikan harapan kepada rakyat Malaysia. Usaha kita tidak sia-sia, kerana kita telah memenangi jiwa dan minda majoriti pengundi Malaysia walaupun kita dihalang daripada membentuk sebuah kerajaan.

Perkara penting yang perlu difahami adalah sebuah pakatan pembangkang yang kuat telah berjaya menekan kerajaan untuk menjadi lebih bertanggungjawab dan mengekang sebahagian daripada keborosan mereka. Bagaimanapun, perjuangan untuk sebuah kerajaan yang benar-benar bersih dan telus masih perlu diteruskan.

Kekuatan ini tidak boleh dibina atas dasar keinginan dan impian semata, lebih bahaya lagi sekiraya kekuatan ini dilandaskan dengan perasaan curiga, dendam dan irihati. Ianya perlu dibina atas iltizam dan kenyakinan, dan inilah kekuatan yang telah mendorong rakan kongsi PR untuk berjuang bersama-sama pada PRU 13 yang lalu.

Justeru, kita perlu menyatukan kekuatan ini untuk terus kekal bersama dan terus menolak sebarang percubaan untuk memecahbelahkan kita. Setiap parti di dalam gabungan ini wajib menghormati sebarang keputusan yang dicapai selepas rundingan bersama. Kegagalan untuk menghormati dan menunaikan kewajipan ini bakal memaksa kita membuat beberapa keputusan yang sukar.
Persefahaman akan hak lantikan MB Selangor telahpun wujud di kalangan pimpinan PR, sepertimana PKR juga telah bersetuju akan hak parti-parti lain dalam membuat keputusan yang sama di negeri-negeri lain. Persefahaman ini wajib dipatuhi.

Kita yakin bahawa isu MB Selangor ini akan diselesaikan dengan baik sesuai dengan semangat Pakatan Rakyat, samada diselesaikan melalui proses peralihan yang lancar, undi tidak percaya mahupun pilihanraya. Namun begitu, tidak ada sebarang keperluan untuk mengadakan pilihanraya kerana Barisan hanya ada 12 kerusi di kalangan 56 kerusi DUN dan PRU-13 hanya diadakan kira-kira 15 bulan yang lalu.

Walaubagaimanapun, sekiranya pilihanraya terpaksa dilakukan, Pakatan telah bersedia untuk menghadapi para pengundi dan berkeyakinan penuh bahawa rakyat Selangor akan sekali lagi menyokong kita.

Kita juga bimbang akan nada perkauman dan perpecahan yang disuarakan oleh segelintir pimpinan kecil Pakatan yang jelasnya mencabuli nilai-nilai asas PR. Kami berpendapat bahawa tindakan disiplin yang sewajarnya perlu diambil ke atas golongan ini.
Rakyat perlu diyakinkan bahawa sekiranya beberapa keputusan sukar perlu dibuat, ianya akan dibuat hanya setelah mengambilkira kepentingan rakyat dan dibuat untuk maslahah atau kepentingan rakyat. Samada kita hilang sokongan akibat pendirian yang kita ambil, kita akan terus beristiqamah dan komited dengan matlamat untuk membentuk Malaysia yang lebih adil, bebas korupsi dan benar-benar demokratik.

Jaminan kita adalah bahawa kita tidak akan sesekali menyimpang daripada nilai-nilai asas dan kita akan terus memastikan kepentingan rakyat tetap didahulukan.

Kita yakin dan percaya bahawa peristiwa ini akan terus mematangkan dan memperkasakan kita. Rakyat telah menaruh kepercayaan kepada kita dan kita wajib memastikan kita wajar dipercayai dan kepercayaan rakyat jangan kita khianati.
Walau apapun yang bakal berlaku, Pakatan, bersandarkan tekad rakyat, akan terus bertahan! Insya Allah!

ANWAR IBRAHIM

5 August 2014

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PRESS STATEMENT
5 AUGUST 2014

Pakatan will never compromise on core principles

Much has been said over the past weeks on the possible break-up of Pakatan Rakyat particularly on account of the friction between PKR and PAS over the choice of Menteri Besar for Selangor.

Let me reiterate my position: Pakatan Rakyat will not break up because of the choice of MB but it can and it will break up if any of its component parties compromises on its core principles, of integrity, transparency and accountability in government.

It was on these principles that Pakatan Rakyat was formed to provide an alternative choice of government for the people, the very principles that the BN government have violated for the past five decades of power.

Indeed the results of the 12th GE on March 8, 2008 showed beyond the shadow of a doubt that Pakatan’s struggle anchored on those principles resonated with the people and their yearning for a government that is clean, principled and dedicated to the interests of all citizens.

In this great effort, all in the Pakatan coalition as well as those supportive of our efforts worked tirelessly together in the 13th GE, against tremendous odds, to give hope to the people of Malaysia. All our efforts have not been in vain; we won the hearts and minds of the majority of the Malaysian voters although we were prevented from forming Government.

But what is of the greatest importance is that a strong opposition has forced the government to be more accountable and restrained some of their excesses, although the fight for a truly clean, transparent government is far from over.
This strength cannot be built on whims and fancies, let alone mistrust, grudge or envy. It was built on commitment and conviction and it was this strength that propelled the coalition partners to fight side by side in GE13.

The coalition must therefore consolidate this strength to remain together and resist all attempts to break it apart. Each member party of the coalition must therefore respect collective decisions made after consultation. Failure to respect and honour this principle of adherence may warrant some difficult decisions to be made.

The Pakatan Rakyat leadership had an understanding as to whose call it was to appoint the MB for Selangor, just as we have respected the right of other parties to make that decision in other states. That understanding must be adhered to.
We are confident that the Selangor MB issue will be resolved amicably in the true Pakatan spirit; either through a smooth transition, a vote of no-confidence or even if snap elections is called. There are no objective reasons for such an election, given that Barisan has only 12 seats in the 56 member House, and the GE13 was held just 15 months ago.
Nonetheless, if snap elections are called despite these critical facts, Pakatan is ready to face the electorate, and are confident that the rakyat of Selangor will again support us.

We are equally concerned at the divisive and racist tone by some minor Pakatan leaders that completely violate the core values of our coalition. We believe the appropriate disciplinary action should be directed against such members.
The rakyat must be left in no doubt that if tough decisions have to be made, they will be made in the best interests of the rakyat and for the sake of the rakyat. Whether or not we lose support for the stand we take, we will be forever committed to the goal of a just, corruption-free and truly democratic Malaysia.
What we can assure is that we will NEVER deviate from our core values and we will always put the interests of the rakyat first.

We are certain that we will emerge stronger from these events. The rakyat have put their trust in us, and we will ensure that we are worthy of that trust.

Whatever happens, Pakatan, whose bedrock is the will of the people, will endure! Insya Allah!

ANWAR IBRAHIM

4 August 2014

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PRESS RELEASE

4 AUGUST 2014

Gag Order On Banknote Bribery Case Shocking

The recent gag order prohibiting mention of Asian government officials who may have been offered bribes is both unprecedented and shocking.

Apart from violating a fundamental principle of press freedom, the suppression order also runs counter to the practice of good governance which, among other things, prescribes transparency in dealings among public officials and accountability for their actions.

We fail to see how such a prohibition would advance the cause of good governance aside from serving to protect certain vested interests. In this regard, the continued pursuance by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade of the gag order must be seen as condoning corruption in high places.

Not only has the Australian public a right to know but considering that it may involve ‘no less than 3 generations of Malaysian Prime Ministers’, the people of Malaysia too have legitimate expectations that all relevant facts and details be made known in the most transparent manner possible.

ANWAR IBRAHIM

Read more: Australia bans reporting of multi-nation corruption case involving Malaysia, Indonesia and Vietnam https://wikileaks.org/aus-suppression-order/

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