Today in Palestine: Palestinian attacked for talking to a Jew

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And other news from Today in Palestine:

Land and Property Theft and Destruction/Ethnic Cleansing

Israeli forces demolish Palestinian homes, shops
Ramallah – Ma’an – Israeli authorities have demolished eight structures belonging to Palestinians in a residential area northwest of Ramallah in the occupied West Bank.  Al-Gharbi mayor Ghassan Abu Salem said more than a dozen military vehicles carrying armed soldiers arrived mid-morning Wednesday with military equipment to carry out the demolitions.  "They immediately began tearing down the structures," Abu Salem said. "They were homes and shops right on the main street, but the army said they were illegally built in ‘Area C’," which falls under Israeli control.

Israel demolishes fruit stands in Jenin
Jenin, July 22, (Pal Telegraph) Israeli occupying forces demolished today 10 fruit stands near a checkpoint considered as the only crossing of Jenin to the occupied Palestinian lands of 1948, a few days after giving of their owners notices of demolition.  Witnesses said: "The bulldozers swept the fruit stands on the street of Jenin – Nazareth near the crossing north of the city under the pretext of its proximity to the checkpoint.  Mahmoud Abu Farha,  a community activist in the village, said that the Israeli militant bulldozers demolished those fruit stands under the protection of Israeli soldiers who ransacked its contents and confiscated some of them.

Israeli forces destroy stables north of Jenin
Jenin – Ma’an – Israeli forces tore down 10 animal stables in the northern West Bank on Wednesday, onlookers said.  Witnesses told Ma’an that Israeli bulldozers accompanied by military personnel took down the structures south of the Al-Jalama checkpoint in the Jenin district and destroyed a row of fruit and vegetable stands nearby.

Solidarity/Activism/Boycott, Sanctions & Divestment

Criminalization of Popular Struggle Continued; Abdallah Abu Rahmah Sentenced
Abdallah Abu Rahmah’s first trial from 2005 had reached conclusion yesterday, with his sentencing to two months of imprisonment and a six months suspended sentence for participating and organizing demonstrations and for walking the streets of his village during a curfew designed to prevent a demonstration. A verdict in Abu Rahmah’s main case for which he is already in jail since December is expected soon.   

Israel releases British rapper detained at airport
Bethlehem – Ma’an – Israeli airport authorities have released a British-Iraqi rapper who was held for half a day at Ben Gurion International Airport, the musician’s fan page reported Wednesday.  Lowkey was detained Tuesday upon arrival in Tel Aviv en route to play a number of concerts and hold a series of musical workshops in refugee camps in the West Bank as part of the Hip Hop Bus Tour, composed of members from the Existence is Resistance, The South West Youth Collaborative, and the University of Hip Hop Chicago.

TIAA-CREF divestment campaign finds strong support among shareholders, Adam Horowitz
At the meeting, those who have retirement accounts with the company can stand up and speak. We had a designated speaker delivering the postcards to TIAA-CREF management, and we knew a few other people, mostly professors and teachers, would get up and ask that their money not be invested in companies that profit from discrimination, death, and destruction, and push hope and peace ever further away.  But what happened was extraordinary. First 5, then 10, then 14 people, then more got up, one after another, to speak from the heart about why TIAA CREF must not profit from Israel’s occupation. These people weren’t just JVP members, but included TIAA-CREF shareholders attending the meeting for entirely different reasons, who were spontaneously moved to speak in support of our campaign.  Not a single person spoke to defend Israel’s occupation. Not one.In response, TIAA-CREF corporate leadership asked to meet with JVP, and they had their first direct talks today. JVP says the fund will respond if they hear from enough people, especially plan participants. You can find the petition to sign here.  Watch video here.

TIAA-CREF is the most ambitious divestment campaign yet, Pamela Olson
On July 9, 2004, the International Court of Justice found Israel’s Wall built on occupied Palestinian land to be illegal under international law. Israel disregarded the Court’s decision and continued to build wherever it pleased. It was one of Israel’s many violations of international law that the international community failed to enforce, and it was the last straw.  A year later, on July 9, 2005, Palestinian civil society called for the international community—individuals, organizations, companies, and governments—to boycott, divest from, and sanction Israel until it complies with international law and universal principles of human rights, believing it to be a powerful form of non-violent resistance to injustice.

Women Prepare to Set Sail Past Israel
BEIRUT, Jul 22, 2010 (IPS) – The ‘Maryam’, an all-female Lebanese aid ship, currently docked in the northern Lebanese port of Tripoli, is getting ready to set sail for Gaza in the next few days. The ship, which aims to break Israel’s siege on the Palestinian territory, will carry about 50 aid workers, including some U.S. nuns keen to deliver aid to the long-suffering women and children of Gaza.

‘Famous athletes on next flotilla’
Organizers of ‘Freedom Flotilla 2’ reportedly in talks with leading athletes to take part in sail against Gaza blockade. Potential participants include Spanish national soccer team captain Iker Casillas, tennis star Rafael Nadal.,7340,L-3923476,00.html

Gaza flotilla has roots in pro-Palestinian group (AP)
AP – The stream of ships heading to Gaza in defiance of Israel’s blockade reflects the success of a pro-Palestinian group that’s been creatively confronting Israel for years. High on victory, they are flush with new volunteers.*

Pro-Palestinian group sees its struggle as ‘Vietnam of our day’

Activists of the International Solidarity Movement have been feeling a sense of victory of late, flush with volunteers keen on breaking Israel’s blockade of the Gaza Strip.

Indian Call for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel
All signs indicate that Israel is starting to take seriously the threat of Palestine solidarity activists, the types of people brushed off for so long by media and policymakers as marginal and irrelevant. Now, Israel is moving towards the criminal prosecution of those who advocate Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) as tools to press Israeli compliance with international law and norms in its Apartheid rule and occupation of the Palestinian people. As Indian writers and artists call for a boycott of Israel, it is clearly becoming a global movement.

PA sets deadline for banning settlement goods
Ramallah – Ma’an – The Palestinian Authority Ministry of Economy in Ramallah announced 31 July as the deadline for merchants to clear their shops of settlement goods or face legal action.  The law prohibiting the sale and purchase of settlement goods was issued by President Mahmoud Abbas on 26 April 2010, with a penalty of two to five years in prison and a fine of no less than 10,000 Jordanian dinars or a combination of the two according to offense.

Rebuilding a Demolished Palestinian Home,  Ellen Davidson
Rubble covers the tile floor at the site of the demolished home we are beginning to rebuild in the East Jerusalem section of Anata, a Palestinian town divided between occupied "East" Jerusalem and the occupied West Bank.  Activists from the United States, Britain, Germany, and Iran, reinforced daily by local Palestinian and Israeli activists, have gathered here for the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions‘ eighth annual summer rebuilding camp.  They will spend two weeks rebuilding a Palestinian home that has been destroyed by the Israeli authorities.

The story of a people’s resistance told in "Budrus"
Director Julia Bacha pieces together a lovely film exploring the evolution of the West Bank village of Budrus’ resistance to Israel’s wall, and its reclaiming of its destiny. Jimmy Johnson reviews for The Electronic Intifada.

Silencing Dissent
Israel launches campaign to halt Lebanon Gaza-bound flotilla
Foreign Ministry instructs Israeli ambassadors to ask senior American, UN, EU and Egyptian officials to pressure Syria and Lebanon to stop latest planned flotilla from sailing from Lebanon to Gaza.

Israeli parliament passes first of three readings illegalizing boycott activism or advocacy

Violence and Aggression
Palestinian shot dead near settlement
Nablus – Ma’an – A Palestinian man was killed and a second injured by Israeli gunfire in the occupied West Bank on Thursday morning, Palestinian security officials said.  They told Ma’an that an Israeli force opened fire on the two at 4:30 a.m. at the entrance of the illegal Barqan settlement in the Salfit district, killing one man while the second was injured.

‘Arab man attacked for talking to Jewish girl’
Twenty-three year old rushed to hospital unconscious after being beaten with heavy metal object at Tiberias gas station, sustaining serious injuries. Suspect yet to be apprehended.,7340,L-3923576,00.html

The Siege (Gaza & West Bank)/Humanitarian and Human Rights/Restriction of Movement
6 tunnel workers survive collapse
Gaza – Ma’an – Six workers survived a tunnel collapse Wednesday in Gaza, medics said.  Rescue teams lost contact with the trapped workers inside a tunnel along the Egypt-Gaza border in Rafah but were later able to help them navigate out, chief of ambulance and emergency services Muawiya Hassanein said.  Gaza officials have noted a drop in residents working in the tunnel industry, attributed to Israel’s slight ease of its four-year blockade that saw coriander and other products enter for the first time in years.

Four Iran MPs plan Gaza trip: reports (AFP)
AFP – Four Iranian lawmakers plan to make a trip to the blockaded Gaza Strip next week by travelling through Egypt, state news agency IRNA reported on Wednesday.*

Brazil donates $14 million for Gaza reconstruction

Ramallah – Ma’an – Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva signed a decision granting $14 million for Gaza reconstruction efforts, Palestinian officials announced.  During a visit to Brazil, a Fatah delegation headed by Central Committee member Nabil Sha’ath met with da Silva, who applauded President da Silva’s positions toward Palestine.   “The question of Palestine runs in the blood vessels of every Brazilian. I will continue to fight for a just peace leading to establishment of an independent Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital,” the president was quoted as saying.

Thousands of Palestinians still stranded on banks of the Allenby Bridge
The Palestinians were either travelling to Jordan or entering the West Bank from the bridge, which connects Jordan to Jericho of the West Bank.

Israel expels 178 Palestinians lacking permits
Jerusalem – Ma’an – Israeli forces detained 178 Palestinians on Thursday morning for residing in Israel without a permit, security sources said.  Palestinians from the West Bank and Gaza are required to apply to Israel to gain work, study, family visitation, or religious worship permits, a process rights groups say is discriminatory.

War Criminals
Powerful rebuke of SA Chief Rabbi over Goldstone
The great, strongly anti-Apartheid South African journo Allister Sparks has penned a powerful rebuke of his country’s Chief Rabbi, Warren Goldstein, over the latter’s strongly expressed criticism of Constitutional Court member Richard Goldstone, and Goldstone’s role in heading the UN’s fact-finding mission for Gaza.

IDF to Goldstone: We don’t have to promise not to hurt civilians
Second response to UN report includes list of rules of engagement that were altered. Many officers outraged, say report is exaggerated, unnecessary apology that will tie military’s hands in future.,7340,L-3923421,00.html

Rights group: Israel shielding war criminals
Bethlehem – Ma’an – Israel’s latest report to the UN on the 2008-09 Gaza war, which details Israel’s response to allegations of international law violations, proves that Israel has failed to fulfill its international obligations, a Palestinian human rights organization said Thursday.  The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights said in a statement that Israel’s report, Gaza Operation Investigations: Second Update, "serves to highlight the inadequacies inherent in Israel’s investigative system" and demonstrates the flaws in Israel’s accountability system.

Political/Other Developments
Palestinian, Israel envoys talk past each other on peace (AFP)
AFP – Palestinian and Israeli envoys talked past each other in the UN Security Council Wednesday on prospects for resuming direct Middle East peace talks under US sponsorship.*

Hamas: US blocking unity deal
Gaza – Ma’an – US intervention in the region has made a unity deal between rival factions Fatah and Hamas "difficult now and in the near future," the Islamist movement said Wednesday.  Ismail Radwan told Ma’an radio that "American intervention in the region, the issue of indirect talks, banning residents from receiving passports, and besieging them in Gaza" have all stalled efforts to ratify a reconciliation deal.  The spokesman said Hamas was "ready" to sign a deal but said the "continued imposed policies on the ground" is stalling efforts.

Abbas warns Fatah to get organized or die (Reuters)
Reuters – Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has warned the Fatah party he leads that its days are numbered unless it puts its house in order.*

Palestinians say Israel wants to impose peace
Palestinian envoy to UN says total settlement freeze ‘essential’ before direct negotiations are launched. Israeli ambassador urges international community to prevent Lebanese ships from trying to sail to Gaza.,7340,L-3923365,00.html

Abbas signals will resist U.S. pressure for talks
* Abbas says to continue indirect talks until September
* Arab League committee to convene next week

When Rape is Actually Racist Zionism

Israeli Arab in rape racism row
An Israeli Arab who had consensual sex with a woman who thought he was a Jew is convicted of ‘rape by deception’ in Israel.

Arab ‘rape by deceit’ conviction in Israel defended
The crime of rape generally refers to non-consensual sexual intercourse. But an Israeli court has jailed an Arab man in the country for 18 months for "rape by deception" after having consensual sex with an Israeli woman. Sabbar Kashur had falsely introduced himself to the woman as a Jewish bachelor looking for a long-term relationship before they had sex. The woman accused him of rape after finding out he was Arab. Merav Mor, a director of resource development at the Association of Rape Crisis Centers in Israel, defended the court sentencing in an interview with Al Jazeera. Speaking from Tel Aviv, she said that the sex between the two was not consensual because Kashur gave the woman false information. [July 21, 2010]

Israeli Court Calls Lying for Sex Rape, ROBERT MACKEY
A married Arab man who lied to a Jewish woman to get her to sleep with him — telling her that he was a single Jew interested in a long-term relationship — was convicted of rape in a Jerusalem court on Tuesday for the consensual sex the couple engaged in two years ago.

He impersonated a human, Gideon Levy
Now the respected judges have to be asked: If the man was really Dudu posing as Sabbar, a Jew pretending to be an Arab so he could sleep with an Arab woman, would he then be convicted of rape? And do the eminent judges understand the social and racist meaning of their florid verdict? Don`t they realize that their verdict has the uncomfortable smell of racial purity, of "don`t touch our daughters"? That it expresses the yearning of the extensive segments of society that would like to ban sexual relations between Arabs and Jews?

Racist patriarchy in Israel
This is an example of racist patriarchy. A man, Sabbar Kashur, has been imprisoned for doing nothing more than having consensual sex with a woman, whose name has not been disclosed. Both parties were of age, and no one alleges that the transaction took place without consent. Initially, this was not clear, as the original complaint suggested that there had been some coercion. But as the woman’s testimony in the course of the trial made clear, the only crime that the Kashur, now convicted of rape, committed was to have allowed the woman to believe that he was Jewish, when in fact he was an Arab. He did not even actively perpetrate a deceit, merely chatted the woman up and didn’t say "by the way, I am an Arab". And that has earned him 18 months in prison, on the basis of a plea bargain. Judge Tzvi Segal explained…

In Israel, Miscegenation Equals Rape
WASHINGTON – July 21 – On Monday, Sabbar Kashur, a young Palestinian man from East Jerusalem, was sentenced to 18 months in prison for something called “rape by deception.” Apparently, Mr. Kashur had consensual sex with a Jewish Israeli woman after assuring her that he was also Jewish. When she found out that he had lied to her, she went to the police.  Imagine living in a society where you can say, “I wish I had never slept with you. I’m going to the cops.” Only it’s not funny because Sabbar Kashur will probably go to jail for a year and a half. Meanwhile, efforts to combat actual sexual violence are undermined by a cynical distortion of the term rape. The real crime here, of course, is miscegenation.

Petty Apartheid – Israeli style
Its amazing how hard Israel is trying to copy Apartheid South Africa.  Now an Israeli court has basically enacted a Zionist version of what used to be known in Apartheid South Africa as "Petty Apartheid".

Other News
Gaza smugglers breach Egyptian barrier
Egyptian security official says underground steel wall built to prevent smuggling via Gaza Strip border breached hundreds of times; AP footage shows Palestinian cutting through barrier with blow torch. Smugglers say wall was never a serious obstacle.,7340,L-3923797,00.html

Yossi Melman / Iron Dome may not be as effective as the IDF thinks
Officials painted a rosy picture of the missile defense system after the recent successful test, but a number of unaddressed issues may shoot down their optimism.

Iron Dome a ‘historic’ success, but can it protect all of Israel?
The U.S. Congress passed Obama’s initiative to provide Israel with a $205 million grant to procure Iron Dome batteries, but defense experts say more funding is needed.

War Criminals Supporting Each Other:  Sri Lankan ambassador: We back Israel’s war on terror
Donald Perera, who served as Sri Lankan chief of staff during offensive that ended in Tamil rebels’ surrender after more than 30 years, is enjoying a change of pace in Israel. In interview with Yedioth Ahronoth, he recalls seeing body of rebel leader Prabhakaran, says IDF needs public’s support to successfully eradicate terror. ‘Citizens must realize struggle will exact a heavy price,’ he adds.,7340,L-3923309,00.html

Environmentalists urge closure of Jordan River baptism site over poor water quality
FoEME says Israel, Syria and Jordan are diverting 98% the Jordan and are discharging untreated sewage, agricultural run-off, saline water and fish pond effluent into it.

Egypt paper: Israel spreading lies about Mubarak’s health’

Editorial in Egypt’s state-run al-Gumhuriyya newspaper says Mubarak in good health, accuses Israel of spreading rumors ‘to evade its commitment to peace’.,7340,L-3923628,00.html

Analysis/Opinion/Human Interest
Robert Fisk: Why Jordan is occupied by Palestinians
Just opposite the Al-Quds restaurant in central Amman is a dull, grey-stone building spattered with old bullet holes. In 1970, this was where the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine staged one of their last stands against King Hussein’s loyal Bedouin troops. In the resulting bloodbath, the "Black September" of Palestinian history, the Palestinian "fedayeen" were finally driven from Amman, their "state within a state" shifting from Jordan to Lebanon.

Non-violence or surrender, Hasan Abu Nimah
One major item on Israel’s menu for agreeing to talk to its enemies has always been "renunciation of violence".  Under Yasser Arafat, the PLO had to commit to renouncing violence, in addition, of course, to other harsh conditions, before it qualified to exit Israel’s rejection list.  Among the many other conditions put by the so-called international community to Hamas nowadays is "renunciation of violence". Because Hamas has refused so far to meet such a condition, it remains boycotted by almost every state regionally and internationally, including Arab states.  Currently Hamas is not engaging in any form of anti-Israel violence. In fact, the organisation that controls Gaza is strictly observing a unilateral ceasefire with Israel despite the siege and the sporadic Israeli air raids often killing innocent people and destroying private property. Hamas is now often blamed by its Fateh opponents for preventing other resistance groups from attacking Israel.

Is Israel an asset or a liability? Satloff vs. Freeman
The Washington Institute for Near East Policy’s Robert Satloff and the Middle East Policy Council’s Chas W. Freeman, Jr., squared off Tuesday at the Nixon Center to debate whether Israel is really a strategic asset or a strategic liability for the United States. Here are some excerpts.

Challenging the Jewish National Fund
As owner of 13 percent of land in Israel, and the organization that appoints the largest number of people to the Israel Lands Authority board of directors (6 out of 13), the Jewish National Fund is the central pillar of Israel’s regime over land. Hazem Jamjoum analyzes.

Israel lobby targets another CNN correspondent, Philip Weiss
Another sign of despair, that the battle is now joined inside the castle gates: Israel lobby group Camera is taking on CNN senior Jerusalem correspondent Ben Wedeman, trying to do to him what was done to Octavia Nasr.

Loewenstein and Abunimah on GritTV
I was interviewed yesterday on leading independent American television show GritTV alongside Ali Abunimah. We discussed the “peace process”, Palestine, BDS, the role of Barack Obama and the importance of the web.

Beyond a ’strategic liability’–the special relationship has made the U.S. ugly, Scott McConnell
I received one of the coveted invitations to Tuesday’s Nixon Center’s debate between Chas Freeman and Robert Satloff over whether Israel is or is not an American strategic asset. It was a sign of the intense interest in the topic (and perhaps too in Chas Freeman) that, in the dog days of summer, it looked to be the most popular Nixon Center luncheon of the year. The guest list seemed almost scientifically balanced: in apparently equal number were representatives from the sturdy Arabist Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, and several more or less like-minded organizations, as well as from AIPAC, the ADL, the JTA. But with one exception, the audience was exceedingly polite throughout.

New battleline: ‘Tablet’ calls 4 ‘anti-Israel’ blogs ‘agents of influence’, Philip Weiss
Tablet ran a piece today on 4 "anti-Israel" bloggers who are allegedly mainstreaming anti-Semitism so as to gin up the traffic numbers of "media companies": Steve Walt, Andrew Sullivan, Glenn Greenwald and me. Exalted company! The piece says that all four are Jew-baiters and "agents of influence," and none is quoted– though commenters on a couple of the sites are, and Jeffrey Goldberg, too, saying that Walt is trying to marginalize Jews from American life. A truly vicious charge about a guy who I’m told has promoted diversity at every turn.

Why are there No Hammers on the Bus?, Joharah Baker for MIFTAH    
On my way home the other day in one of the larger Ramallah-Jerusalem buses, I noticed something that had apparently slipped passed me before. Plastered on some of the large windows of the bus were transparent stickers with red writing and a drawing of a hammer on broken glass – "In case of emergency, break glass" it said. Instinctively, my eye immediately searched for the hammer depicted on the sticker. But instead of finding it, I saw empty red holsters sitting lonely, without their host, screwed pointlessly on the panels between the windows.

Who’s Aiding Judaisation?, Nicola Nasser
Since 1860, when the American Jewish tycoon Judah Touro donated $60,000 — a fortune for that time — towards the construction of the first Jewish settlement outside the old walls of Jerusalem, public and private American funds have aided the creation and territorial expansion of Israel. Israel today is the foremost recipient of US aid. According to a USAID green paper, between 1946 and 2008 Israel has received more aid than Russia, India, Egypt and Iraq. In fact, the US has poured more money into Israel than it did into the Marshall Plan for the reconstruction of Europe after World War II. However, a recent New York Times article adds a new dimension to the story. On 5 July, the Times reported that, over the last decade more than 40 American groups have collected more than $200 million in tax-deductible gifts for Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, indicating that the US Treasury is effectively aiding and abetting illegal settlement expansion and the Judaisation of Jerusalem.

Redundant but Dangerous Language, Ramzy Baroud
Each time Israel fails to keep its ‘side of the bargain’, the Palestinian Authority responds with the same redundant language. The cycle has become so utterly predictable that one wonders why the Palestinian Authority officials even bothers protesting Israeli action. They must be well aware that their cries, genuine or otherwise, will only fall on deaf ears. They know that their complaints could not possible contribute to a paradigm shift in Israel’s behavior, or the US position on it.

So much collaboration, so little time
Housies™ (that’s a new term I just coined to conveniently refer to “House Arabs and House Muslims”) are usually prompt to voice their opinions regarding non-urgent matters, petty issues and non-newsworthy news. Behold the examples:  Without missing a beat and in spite of limited resources, ADC promptly expresses solidarity with other communities. For instance, it condemned an attack on a Holocaust museum the same day it occurred. “The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC), the nation‘s largest Arab-American civil and human rights organization, is appalled by the shooting that took place earlier today at the US Holocaust Memorial Museum.” ADC also gave Ann Coulter a scolding within a mere 24 hours of her anti-Semitic remarks on CNBC.

Gunmen kill 4 in northern Iraq drive-by shooting (AP)
AP – Police say gunmen have killed four people in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul where insurgents remain active.*

Iraq car bomb kills 30 (AFP)
AFP – A car bomb killed 30 people and wounded 46 near a mosque in a predominantly Shiite area of the mixed city of Baquba, north of the Iraqi capital Baghdad, on Wednesday, security officials said.*

Wednesday: 16 Iraqis Killed, 32 Wounded
At least 16 Iraqis were killed 32 more were wounded in various attacks across the country. The worst violence collapsed a building in Diyala province, which has suffered several attacks in the last few days.

Car bomb kills 13 at market in Iraq’s Diyala province (Reuters)
Reuters – A car bomb exploded in a crowded market near the city of Baquba in Iraq’s northern Diyala province Wednesday, killing at least 13 people and wounding 26 others, police said.*

Fallujah children’s ‘genetic damage’

Cancer, leukaemia and infant mortality are all increasing in the Iraqi town of Fallujah, which saw fierce fighting between US forces and Sunni insurgents.

Qadisiyah Smoking Ban Meets Opposition
Residents say officials should prioritise services rather than anti-smoking initiative.

Restive Iraqi Province to Censure Clerics
Diyala authorities introduce controversial rules to rein in incendiary sermons.

Iraq needs $7 billion to rebuild industry: minister (AFP)
AFP – Improved security is allowing Iraq to rebuild its shattered industry but up to seven billion dollars is needed to help the sector recover from years of war and sanctions, the industry minister told AFP.*

Britain’s Clegg says Iraq invasion was "illegal" (Reuters)
Reuters – Britain’s Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg described the 2003 invasion of Iraq as illegal on Wednesday, putting the new coalition government under pressure to clarity its position on the war.*

Sayyed Nasrallah Snatches Lebanon’s Attention Thursday Night
These are the words Lebanese newspapers and press outlets used a day after Hezbollah’s press confirmed that Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah will hold “an important press conference” on Thursday night at 8:30 (Beirut Time) at the Shahed school hall on the airport road.   It was reported that Hezbollah Secretary General will make a speech on July 25, followed by another address on July 30. But it seems that the events have been accelerating to a speed where his appearance on the Lebanese people today was indispensible.  Thursday newspapers were heavy with predictions and assumptions but all were on the main road, with minor differences.  As-Safir daily said that the Hezbollah secretary general will make a well-toned stance that could also include a “big surprise” for the Lebanese. It added he will unveil new information about the international tribunal and spy networks. As-Safir journalist Nabil Haytham wondered in his report where would the country go with an indictment against Hezbollah based on “false reports and witnesses”.

Five suspected Israel spies reportedly flee Lebanon
Rasan al-Jud, a former senior officer in the Lebanese Army, is thought to have escaped to Germany by commercial plane; security forces looking for four others who disappeared.

‘Lebanon to file UN complaint over alleged Israel espionage’
Lebanese media reports Beirut compiling comprehensive report on Israel’s alleged clandestine involvement in a state-owned telecom company.

Lebanon sentenced to death as Israel ‘spy’ (AFP)
AFP – A Lebanese military court on Wednesday sentenced a former school principal to death on charges of spying for Israel in 2008, a judicial official told AFP.*

Nasrallah, Jumblatt discuss furor over spies for Israel, Special Tribunal
BEIRUT: Hizbullah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah met Progressive Socialist Party leader MP Walid Jumblatt to discuss the latest political developments, particularly the ongoing debate over the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) investigating former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri’s assassination, a statement said Wednesday.

Lebanon allows work permits for Palestinians
The Lebanese government has amended one of its labor laws to allow Palestinians to work in areas previously forbidden to them.

Iran Says Scientist Was a Double Agent
The Iranian government claimed Wednesday that Shahram Amiri was sent to provide false information to American intelligence — a story they’re making in a TV movie.

Iran Tells Lawmakers to Respond to Fuel Sanctions
Iran’s parliament approved a law yesterday calling on the government to retaliate against any countries that inspect the Islamic state’s ships and aircraft or refuse to provide fuel to its aircraft as part of foreign sanctions, the semi-official Fars news agency reported.

U.S. Revamps Its ‘Muddle East’ Policy
The foreign policy team of US President Barack Obama is undertaking a reassessment of its policy all over the Middle East, including Israel. No one has made or will make a public declaration about such a change, but a reassessment is nonetheless under way, and we can already detect the first products of this rethinking of policy.  The policy of keeping a distance from Israel, of picking fights with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, led nowhere. There was a nominal freeze of construction in the settlements. The settlement freeze was not important in the first place and Mr Obama has decided, as you could tell during his latest meeting with Netanyahu, not to make it the central issue anymore.

U.S. and other World News
Woman allegedly mocked during airport strip search
She said the women made her bend over a table, open her legs, and squat and cough. They asked her personal questions, like when she last had sex, Flynn said.

Gingrich: ‘No Mosque’
NEW YORK — Former U.S. House speaker Newt Gingrich on Wednesday announced his opposition to a planned mosque near ground zero, becoming the latest Republican leader to place the project on the national political stage.  In a statement posted on his website, Gingrich, a potential 2012 presidential contender, said flatly, "No mosque." And he criticized Muslim leaders for suggesting the mosque’s opponents are religiously intolerant.

Muslims in France feel the sting of discrimination
The relatively uncommon burka is just one of the issues making things tense. ‘It’s like the Jew before,’ one businessman says of the prejudice. ‘It’s dangerous.’,0,7443646.story?track=rss&utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+latimes%2Fmiddleeast+%28L.A.+Times+-+Middle+East%29

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