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Saturday, April 13, 2013

Arab media roundup: Egyptian Jewish leader dies, Hamas upset over women's clothing, PLO freaks out over Baird visit

Woman leader of Egypt's disappearing Jewish community dies:
The leader of Egypt’s dwindling and aging Jewish community, known for her tireless work preserving synagogues and a once-sprawling Jewish cemetery, died Saturday at the age of 82.

Carmen Weinstein will be buried on Thursday in the Bassatine cemetery she herself worked to save since 1978. It is the only Jewish cemetery left in Cairo and is the largest in Egypt.

The transformation of Bassatine mirrors the dramatic changes Egypt has undergone as its population skyrocketed and poverty grew. Named in Arabic after its gardens, the cemetery is now a slum of tightly-packed redbrick apartment buildings that house thousands of poor Egyptians after waves of migration from villages in southern Egypt.

Parts of Bassatine were turned into a garbage dump, while another area was seized by antiquities’ officials. Weinstein was able to preserve a small area as a Jewish cemetery.

Hamas cracks down on women's clothing stores:
Hamas officials Saturday prevented men in the Gaza Strip from working in stores that sell women's clothing, as well as the display of women's clothing in front of shops, said residents of the sector.

A witness stated that verbal altercations occurred between members of Hamas and a number of dealers and sellers of women's apparel in the Jabalya refugee camp while trying to impose these new edicts.
Christian school gates torched in Gaza City:
Arsonists set fire to the main gates of a Christian school in Gaza City on Saturday, witnesses said.

Unidentified assailants set fire to the entrance of the Holy Family School in the early hours of Saturday, with no injuries reported.
Unnamed Arab "dignitaries" sign petition demanding Britain apologize for Balfour Declaration (from Hamas media):

220 Palestinian, Arab, and international personalities signed a memorandum demanding the UK to apologize for the Balfour Declaration.

The International Campaign to demand Britain to apologize for the Balfour Declaration said in a press statement on Thursday that the signing of the memo took place during a conference held in Cairo from April 4 to 6, in the presence of a group of dignitaries from around the Arab and Muslim world.

The campaign added that the signatories to the petition were parliamentarians, scholars, academics, journalists, politicians, researchers, heads of associations, doctors, engineers and writers, from different Arab, Islamic and Western countries.

International Campaign to demand Britain to apologize for the Balfour Declaration has been officially launched in London on January 19 during an academic conference organized by the Palestinian Return Center.

The campaign aims to collect one million signatures within five years to be submitted to the British government to demand it to apologize to the Palestinian people for the Balfour Declaration.
Erekat freaks over Baird visit
The PLO lodged an official complaint with Canada on Friday after its foreign minister attended a meeting with an Israeli leader in East Jerusalem.

John Baird broke a widely observed diplomatic taboo when he met with Israeli Justice Minister Tzipi Livni at her office in East Jerusalem, which Israel occupied in 1967.

Such meetings are normally avoided by visiting diplomats over concerns they could be seen as legitimizing Israel's annexation of the city's eastern sector.

In the complaint, obtained by Ma'an, a senior PLO official blasted the move.

"Your recent meeting with Israeli officials in East Jerusalem has the effect of attempting to legitimize the illegal situation on the ground and may be deemed as aiding, abetting or otherwise assisting illegal Israeli policies," Saeb Erekat wrote in the message to Canada's representative office.

"As such, Canada’s actions are tantamount to complicity in ongoing Israeli violations of the international laws of war. ... these violations are being (perpetrated) not only against the State of Palestine and the Palestinian people, but against the international community as a whole."

In London, Baird rejected criticism over the visit.

“I’m just not interested in getting into the semantic argument about whether you have a meeting with one person on one side of the street (and) it’s OK, and you have a meeting on the other side of street and it’s not,” he told reporters covering the G8 summit, according to the National Post newspaper.
The Justice Ministry is two blocks from the Green Line.

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