Today in Palestine: 3 14-year-old boys arrested while walking near wall

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And other news from Today in Palestine:

Land and Property Theft and Destruction/Ethnic Cleansing

Israel demolishes more villages and houses
Jerusalem, August 3, (Pal Telegraph) A large force of Israeli army supported by bulldozers and special units raided today several unrecognized villages in the Negev region south of the occupied territories of 1948, and proceeded to demolish dozens of homes and the displacement of a large number of the families who own these homes.  Israeli bulldozers began demolition of unrecognized villages of ‘Dimona’’, ‘Ser’, ‘Abu Salb’ and ‘Hawasheleh’.  The Israeli bulldozers are scheduled to keep on invading many of the unrecognized villages in the Negev throughout the day and everyday according to sources in the Israeli Ministry of interior affairs, for the demolition of more houses and removal of the tents.

Army vandalism in Hebron: soldiers destroy family’s well in Wad Lerus
Yesterday morning (2 August 2010) a group of Israeli soldiers, reportedly drunk, used two bulldozers to destroy a well that belonged to a family living in Wad Lerus, Hebron.  Several ISM activists went out to talk to members of the Al Jaabel family in Wad Lerus, close to the Kyriat Arba settlement in Hebron, yesterday afternoon.

40 New Settlement Units Approved For East Jerusalem
Israel, on Monday, approved construction of forty new settlement housing units in the Pisgat Ze’ev settlement in occupied East Jerusalem.

Israel agrees new settlement homes
New homes to be built in east Jerusalem settlement as push for direct talks continues.

Israel approves new east Jerusalem apartments (AP)
AP – Israeli municipal officials have approved the building of 40 apartments in a Jewish neighborhood in Jerusalem’s disputed eastern sector.*

Erekat demands action over Jerusalem settlements
Bethlehem – Ma’an – As international pressure mounts on Palestinians to resume direct talks, chief PLO negotiator Saeb Erekat appealed for the same pressure to be applied on Israel to end its "brutal policies."  “At a time when world leaders passionately call for direct talks, I call on them to exert the same level of passion to preventing Israel from continuing its colonization process in the occupied Palestinian territory, particularly in East Jerusalem,” Erekat said.

Update from the ‘Tent of Nations’, Ben White
In late May, I wrote a piece about the Nassar family’s ‘Tent of Nations’ project outside Bethlehem, and the demolition orders that had been issued by the Israeli occupation forces. I have just got back from a visit to Palestine and was able to visit the land, and get an update from Daoud.  I’d arrived by myself, and as I walked up the access track towards the land, I saw that there were four Israeli soldiers standing next to a tree along the way. As I neared, they moved across the track and stopped me. They asked for my passport and what I was ‘doing in Israel’. I told them I was coming to see my friend, and I walked on.

Solidarity/Activism/Boycott, Sanctions & Divestment
U.S. group launches campaign against West Bank settlement construction
Americans for Peace Now urges U.S. citizens to record short videos in which they will explain how settlement construction could negatively Israel’s U.S. image.

Push begins to send US boat to Gaza, Philip Weiss
On Thursday this week, the group that is planning a US boat to Gaza is having a sunset cruise in New York harbor to raise money. The plans have touched a nerve, and there is a lot of excitement about the boat (the evolved Times ledeblog has covered it) and the cheap seats are almost sold out. Look at the list of people who are behind the US boat. Phyllis Bennis, Leslie Cagan, the Corries, Russell Banks, Anna Baltzer, Rashid Khalidi, Donna Nevel, Felice Gelman, Michael Ratner, Michael Smith, Judy Walker, Alice Walker, Rebecca Vilkomerson, Iara Lee. Good people.

The Only Democracy? summer vacation: enjoy some boycott music
I keep meaning to make a mix tape of the ever growing “cultural intifada” of artists refusing to perform in Israel, maybe including a Meg Ryan film clip?  In the mean time, here’s where Gorillaz went after refusing to play in Israel. While Syria certainly has its own injustices, it sounds like an inspriing event.

Violence and Aggression (also see Lebanon)
Israeli forces fire on Gaza workers, injuring 1
Gaza – Ma’an – A young Gaza man was injured by Israeli fire east of Beit Hanoun on Tuesday, reportedly while he was gathering cement aggregates from the border area.  Medical services coordinator for the de facto government Adham Abu Salmiyeh identified the man as 22-year-old Bilal Ibrahim Obeid, saying he was hit in the shoulder and was moderately injured.

Israel Arrests Children Walking Near West Bank Separation Wall
At 12pm on Monday August 2nd, three children who had been walking near the wall in Bil’in village where arrested by Israeli soldiers. The three 14-year-old friends Moatasem Ali Mansor, Majde Burnat, and Mohamad Abu Rahmah often take walks near the wall. Today they were detained by soldiers behind the wall for three hours. While behind the wall their families tried to negotiate for their release to no avail. They were then arrested and taken away in an army ambulance. This happened three hours ago, and no ones knows where they have been taken yet. Soldiers claim that the boys were throwing stones.

Israeli forces arrest 11 Palestinians in West Bank
RAMALLAH: Israeli forces operating in West Bank cities arrested 11 Palestinians, according to Israeli and Palestinian security sources.  Palestinian sources said that three Palestinians were arrested in Nablus, one in Ramallah, six in the Bethlehem area and one in Hebron. They added that all were arrested after meticulous house search operations.  Israeli security sources told the Army Radio that the detainees were wanted by the Israeli intelligence agency Shin Bet and were taken to unknown locations for questioning.

Rights group condemns wave of political arrests
Bethlehem – Ma’an – The Palestinian Authority is waging a campaign of politically-motivated arrests in the West Bank, the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights alleged Monday.  According to PCHR investigations, human rights activist Islam Hamed Khadayer, 35, was interrogated for seven hours at the General Intelligence Service headquarters in Nablus on Saturday. On his return home, PA Preventative Security Service officers arrested him. The detainee is the son of a Palestinian Legislative Council member.  The same day, Nasser Hamed Khadayer, 33, and his brother Ahmed, 28, were summoned to GIS headquarters. Ahmed, a journalist who also researches prisoners’ affairs, was immediately taken to Jnaid prison. Nasser has been summoned to GIS headquarters every day since. A third brother, Hatem Hamed Khdayer, 38, a Sharia judge, has been summoned to appear at the headquarters on Tuesday, PCHR reported.

The Siege (Gaza & West Bank)/Humanitarian and Human Rights/Restriction of Movement
Industrial Fuel – Needs Vs. Supply – July 4 – July 31

Goods – Needs Vs. Supply – July 4 – July 31

In the midst of Gaza’s calamity lies an opportunity
Beyond the most obvious hardships brought about by the Gaza blockade, there is another less commonly discussed environmental calamity in the making that could have terrible long-term implications. According to the United Nations Environment Program, the blockade on the Strip is causing severe water shortages and preventing farmers from tilling their land, leading to environmental damage that could take decades to repair.

UAE Red Crescent takes anticancer drugs to Gaza
WAM GAZA, Aug 02nd, 2010 (WAM) — Representatives of the Palestinian Red Crescent Society (PRCS) in Gaza received today medical supplies sent by the UAE Red Crescent Authority to Gaza hospitals The convoy carrying the several life saving medicines had started to arrive in Gaza via the Rafah crossing.  The PRCS will distribute ten tons of medical supplies to various hospitals and healthcare centres in Gaza, according to the needs of each of them.

War Crimes
Case of 14-year-old used as a human shield submitted to the UN for investigation
[Ramallah, 3 August 2010] – On 3 August 2010, DCI-Palestine submitted a case involving the use of a child as a human shield to the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture for further investigation.  DCI-Palestine has received credible evidence that on 16 April 2010, a 14-year-old boy was used as a human shield by units of the Israeli army whilst conducting operations in the village of Beit Ummar, near Hebron, in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. It is alleged that two soldiers forced the boy to walk in front of them in an attempt to shield the soldiers from stones being thrown during clashes with local Palestinian youths. The boy was subsequently tied, blindfolded and beaten, before being released several hours later, without charge. Part of the incident was photographed and reported in Ma’an News.

Jordan has ‘proof’ Aqaba rocket fired from Egypt (AFP)
AFP – Jordan has proof a Grad-type rocket that struck its port city of Aqaba killing a taxi driver and wounding five other people was fired from Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula, a senior official told AFP on Tuesday.*

US calls rocket attacks on Israel, Jordan ‘deplorable’ (AFP)
AFP – The United States on Monday called rocket attacks that hit Israel and Jordan "deplorable," and said the actions seemed designed to sabotage plans to revive direct Palestinian-Israeli peace talks.*

MESS Report / World Jihad targeting Jordan and Egypt, not just Israel
Concern over possible missile strikes or major terror attacks has spurred the Jordanians to closer security collaboration with Israel.

Netanyahu: Terror groups are trying to thwart Mideast peace
PM’s comments to Egypt’s Mubarak, Jordan’s Abdullah come after rockets land in Eilat, Aqaba, killing one Jordanian citizen.

Political/Other Developments
U.S.: Failure to advance peace talks will have consequences
State Dept. official reiterates Washington denial of reported threat to cut ties with the PA if Abbas failed to upgrade existing indirect peace negotiations.

US insists now is the ‘right time’ for direct Mideast talks (AFP)
AFP – The United States said Monday now is the right time for Palestinians and Israelis to resume direct negotiations, warning there would be consequences if they failed to do so.*

PLO: no direct talks before Israel freezes settlement
RAMALLAH, Aug. 2 (Xinhua) — The Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) ruled out going for direct talks with Israel before the latter halts settlement construction and set terms of reference of negotiations, a PLO official said Monday.  "Setting timetable, terms of reference and freezing settlement activity are the ‘sole guarantee’ for resuming direct talks with Israel," Yasser Abed Rabbo, a PLO official, told reporters following a meeting of the organization’s executive committee in Ramallah.

Israel makes no obligations to U.S. for start of direct talks with Palestinians: PM
JERUSALEM, Aug. 2 (Xinhua) — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told his cabinet members that he made no obligations to the United States in his recent meeting with President Barack Obama for possible direct talks with the Palestinians, sources told Xinhua on Monday.  Addressing his cabinet ministers at a weekly session on Sunday, he estimated that direct talks with the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) could begin within two weeks.

Mubarak, Netanyahu talk on phone to complete last discussions
CAIRO, Aug. 2 (Xinhua) — Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak on Monday received a phone call from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as a continuation of consultations between the two sides last month, Egypt’s official MENA news agency reported.  The brief report did not give more details.  On July 18, Mubarak held discussions with Netanyahu, as well as U.S. peace envoy George Mitchell and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas respectively, to discuss the peace process in the region

U.S. heavily involved in organizing U.N. flotilla probe
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today announced a new international panel to oversee investigations into the Gaza flotilla incident, a decision that came after heavy U.S. involvement and with the support of the Israeli government.  The four-member panel will be led by the former prime minister of New Zealand, Geoffrey Palmer, and the outgoing president of Colombia, Álvaro Uribe. Turkey and Israel will each appoint one member in the coming days, both expected to be high-level diplomats or judicial officials.  It will meet on Aug. 10 and issue its first report in September. U.S. representative to the U.N. Susan Rice issued a statement Monday praising the panel and clearly defining its limits.

Head of UN panel: Gaza flotilla probe will be ‘challenging’
Former New Zealand premier Geoffrey Palmer says issue is very sensitive one; stresses need to maintain a sense of detachment.

Turkey summons Israeli envoy over Barak’s comments
Ambassador called in after defense minister expresses concern over appointment of new Turkish spy chief, dubs him ‘supporter of Iran’.,7340,L-3929575,00.html

Other News
Report: Turkey could host advanced U.S. radar to confront Iran missile threat
American close to agreement that could make Ankara a vital link in a cross-European chain of anti-missile systems.

Sentence in Israel rape by deception case delayed (AP)
AP – Israel’s Supreme Court has delayed the imprisonment of a Palestinian man convicted of rape by deception.*

Gaza flotilla activist: IDF returned my bag, but not my belongings
Swedish author Henning Mankell, one of the passengers on May’s Turkish-sponsored flotilla to Gaza, has finally had the knapsack Israeli forces confiscated after the raid returned to him – and claims that most of what was inside it has disappeared.  Mankell told Haaretz that last Friday, he was summoned to the Gothenburg office of the Turkish airline he flew and given his bag, which had been sent from Istanbul by IHH, the organization that sponsored the ships. But most of his own belongings had disappeared, he claimed, and instead, he found women’s clothing inside.

Haredi press praises kids’ deportation
Jewish magazines say ‘Israel’s Jewish character’ endangered by foreign kids granted citizenship.,7340,L-3929021,00.html

IDF refuses to recruit intersexed haredi man
Jerusalem resident who was born with both male, female genitalia files petition against Defense Ministry claiming that despite his high motivation to enlist, serve in combat duty army refuses to recruit him. ‘I want to fulfill my civic duty,’ he says.,7340,L-3929003,00.html

Analysis/Opinion/Human Interest
Kill an Arab, any Arab, is longstanding and unquestioned policy, David Samel
So Israel’s rule of engagement is that any incident of violence directed at Israel from an Arab community may be answered by a lethal attack on an official of that community, regardless of whether there is any suspicion of the official’s personal responsibility for the act against Israel. The idea is that the leadership of a community is not only “responsible . . . for maintaining calm” among the entire populace, but that any random official could pay with his life for a breach of calm that he neither planned, carried out, or was aware of.  Let us imagine Palestinians employing the same rule.  If an IDF soldier, or a settler, committed a single aggressive act against a Palestinian, even if there were no resulting injuries, Hamas would be entitled to assassinate any IDF officer (and perhaps any Israeli official – the Minister of Transportation, or Education?) for failure to prevent the attack. Practically, of course, such retaliation is unthinkable, due to the overwhelming imbalance of power. Palestinians simply do not have the capability of killing any Israeli target. But the question here is one of law and morality, and random assassination of an Israeli official or even IDF officer for a settler’s attack would be indefensible.

James Zogby: Arabs Don’t Care About Palestine? Don’t Bet on It
There are bad polls, and then there are bad interpretations of polls. Putting them together (i.e. a bad interpretation of a bad poll) can create a mess of misinformation, which is exactly what the New York Times gave us this morning.  Prominently featured on the op-ed page was a piece, "The Palestinians, Alone" by Efraim Karsh (an Israeli-born professor at King’s College, London).

Lo, another Israel apologist on the NYT op-ed page!, Philip Weiss
The staying power of neocons is amazing. Here is Efraim Karsh, the man who denied the Nakba, who wrote that Palestinians were "driven" out in 1948 by their own leaders, is on the Op Ed page of the NYT today, writing that there are no reasonable Palestinians.  Koozie summarizes: "Article states that an online poll of Arabs shows that 70-something percent of them aren’t interested in the Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, which the author than uses as a launching point to argue that Arabs are not, and never really have been, interested in the Palestinians’ plight.  It’s an interesting little trick.  One can make the more convincing argument that Arab society still cares very deeply about the Palestinians and that the Arab society is perhaps a little better at acknowledging b.s. (and we can all agree that the Peace Talks have delivered nothing but hot air) than Americans are and so have decided not to waste another iota of energy or time on what is in essence a diplomatic diversion.  Was it ee Cummings who wrote the line ‘there is some shit I will not eat?’”

Another Remarkably Stupid NYT Op Ed on the Mideast, Tony Karon
Okay, I don’t have much time here, it’s recycling night — and the New York Times seems to revel in recycling really tired Israeli PR lines. Today, it’s Ephraim Karsh trotting out a mish-mash of misrepresentations and tar-balls of wishful thinking to make the case that the Arab world has abandoned the Palestinians, and now that they’re on their own, they’re more likely to surrender to Israel’s terms at the peace table. The evidence for this claim, first and foremost, is an unscientific survey by an Arab news organization that found that ” a staggering 71 percent of the Arabic respondents have no interest in the Palestinian-Israeli peace talks”. Uh, Ephraim, buddy — you may not know this, but the percentage of Palestinians that have no interest in those peace talks is probably higher. Nobody outside the Netanyahu-AIPAC echo chamber believes anything will come of such talks as long as the U.S. declines to force the issue with Israel. That’s hardly the same thing as saying the Arabs have tired of the Palestinians; on the contrary, most surveys of Arab opinion find the Israeli-Palestinian conflict remains their primary foreign policy concern. Arabs tiring of the Palestinians is wishful thinking.

Hateful Ground Zero Hypocrisy, Peter Beinart
The Anti-Defamation League’s opposition to building a mosque at the site of the 9/11 attacks betrays its own founding principles. Peter Beinart on the Jewish group’s Muslim double standard.

Foxman Really Outdoes Himself on Mosque Issue
Whatever diminishing credibility the Anti-Defamation League retains as a fighter against discrimination and bigotry against minority groups was shed today with the ADL’s announcement that it opposes the construction of the proposed Islamic Center two blocks from “Ground Zero” in downtown Manhattan.

South Africa’s lessons for Gaza
The Palestinian national movement has overlooked this question: does the Gaza Strip resemble the racist Bantustans of apartheid South Africa? During the apartheid era, South Africa’s black population was kept in isolation and without political and civil rights. Is Gaza similar? The answer is yes and no. Haidar Eid analyzes.

Book review: Israel and apartheid S. Africa’s "Unspoken Alliance"

In The Unspoken Alliance: Israel’s Secret Relationship with Apartheid South Africa, historian and Foreign Affairs editor Sasha Polakow-Suransky explores the rise and fall of the Cold War-era alliance between Israel and apartheid South Africa. Jimmy Johnson reviews for The Electronic Intifada.

Globalisation – A Palestinian Context, Jamil Salman – Amman
Despite the recent surge in studies criticising the effects of globalisation and, by extension, the World Trade Organisation, Palestinian officials have remained steadfast in their desire to expose the economy to the effects of globalisation. To some, membership at the WTO has become the next integral step in not only ending economic depression, but achieving Palestinian statehood. This is in part due to the major deficiencies regarding the shared Customs Union with Israel.

Young Palestinians With Cameras, Shooting Back, DON DUNCAN
Every Friday, the slingshot-wielding boys, or shabab, of the West Bank village of Ni’lin protest at Israel’s separation wall, which has deprived the village of 750 acres of farmland. But among the shabab are other youngsters with a different weapon – video cameras.
For the past three years, Btselem, the Israeli human rights NGO, has provided cameras and training to young Palestinians as part of its camera distribution project, to collect video evidence of abuses and misconduct by the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) and Israeli settlers in the West Bank. There are 150 such cameras all over the West Bank and Gaza, and most of the footage captured – 1,500 hours so far – ends on the floor-to-ceiling archive shelves of the Jerusalem office of Yoav Gross, who directs the NGO’s video project.

Playing Soccer in Gaza, Andrew Ford
You’re watching your kid play soccer. It’s a chilly weekend morning and you may be upset at the lost sleep involved in getting up and getting him there. The grass is green and the net, goal posts, striping are new and unscarred from previous play; their maintenance secured through a school district budget that generally passes grudging voter approval every two years. You see the mix of parents, some of them groggy, some of them slightly too excited by the impending competition. And it’s all incredibly normal.

Monday: 14 Iraqis Killed, 36 Wounded
Despite indications of a surge in violence, U.S. President Barack Obama promised to end U.S. combat operations on schedule this month and shift the Iraq mission to civilian and diplomatic efforts. Still, at least 14 Iraqis were killed and 36 more were wounded in new violence. Meanwhile, Kuwait marked the 20th anniversary of the country’s invasion by Iraqi troops and start of the first Gulf War. Also, Saudi Arabia is welcoming the opportunity to strengthen relations with Iraq and reign in Iran’s influence in the region.

Unknown gunmen bomb policeman house
Three people were killed in Fallujah including a woman while three others were wounded due to the bombing of a policeman’s house.  Unknown gunmen detonated bombs around the house of the policeman in Al Karma region, eastern Fallujah, killing him, his wife and his two-year old daughter while his three sons were wounded, a security source told Alsumaria News.  Two people were killed and four others were wounded in a bomb explosion at a bus station in Al Shorta Al Rabiaa region, police said.  The Presidential Palaces compound at the Green Zone was subject to missile attack on Sunday night. Helicopters hovered above the incident site while no casualties were confirmed.

Maliki says impasse over Iraqi govt not his fault (Reuters)
Reuters – Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki said on Monday his desire to serve a second term as prime minister was not holding up the formation of a new government and asked Iraqis to have patience.*

Former Saddam official sentenced to death (AFP)
AFP – A senior official in the Baath Party of now-executed dictator Saddam Hussein was sentenced to death for the draining of the country’s marshlands in the 1990s, the Iraqi court that tried him said on Tuesday.*

Iraqi paper sued for one billion dollars over bribes story (AFP)
AFP – An Iraqi newspaper is facing a one billion dollar lawsuit from a key Kurdish party it alleged had taken kickbacks on oil deals with neighbouring Iran, a press freedom group said on Monday.*

Iraqi mothers take up arms in county’s wild west (AFP)
AFP – Sporting a long blue dress and white headscarf, Umm Omar barely blinks as she whips out a pistol in her garden. For her, the gun is a necessary evil to protect her young family.*

Kuwait: The class of 1990
On August 2, 1990, the Iraqi army invaded the emirate of Kuwait, which Saddam Hussein, the then Iraqi president, had declared Iraq’s 19th province. At the end of the school year of 1990, students in an international school in Kuwait said their final farewells as they headed off for the summer holidays. Many of them would never meet again. Twenty years on, Al Jazeera’s Nashwa Nasreldin returns to Kuwait to find out what happened to her friends and the school during the war that separated them.

Lebanese, Israeli troops exchange fire at border
Lebanese and Israeli Army troops exchanged fire along the Blue Line Tuesday morning in clashes that injured at least two, security officials said. The incident erupted in the southern village of Adaysseh, where Lebanese Army soldiers fired warning shots at a nearby Israeli patrol, who responded with rocket salvos.

Al-Akhbar correspondent, `Assaf Bu Rahhal, died from wounds caused by indiscriminate Israeli shelling over South Lebanon.

Deaths in Israel-Lebanon clash
At least three Lebanese soldiers and one journalist killed in exchange of gunfire along tense border.

Report: Israeli soldiers injured in Aadaiseh clashes
Bethlehem – Ma’an – Several Israeli soldiers were wounded in clashes along the Lebanon-Israel border following an exchange of fire in the Aadaiseh village Tuesday, Lebanese security officials said.  An unnamed security official said several Israeli soldiers had been wounded and that Israel was using loudspeakers urging a ceasefire in order to remove those who were hurt Agence France-Presse reported.  Israel has not confirmed the number of casualties to its forces.

4 Lebanese Martyred, 1 Israeli Officer Killed in Odeisseh Clashes
03/08/2010 Four Lebanese were martyred on Tuesday and five others were injured in the Israeli aggression along the Occupied Palestinian- Lebanese border.  Israeli occupation troops exchanged fire on Tuesday with the Lebanese soldiers along the Odeisseh southern village, sparking clashes that left three Lebanese army soldiers and one journalist martyred. The journalist was identified as Assaf Bou Rahhal working for Al-Akhbar daily.  Al-Manar correspondent Ali Shoaib was also lightly injured in the clashes.  Al-Manar TV quoted a security official as saying that a high ranking Israeli officer was killed in the shelling and the occupation forces were trying to pull him out of the Lebanese territories. Another occupation soldier was injured and he is in a critical situation.
"The Israelis fired four shells (from a tank) that fell near a Lebanese army position on the outskirts of the village of Odeisseh and the Lebanese army fired back," a security official in the area told AFP, adding that two houses were damaged by the rockets.

Lebanese president: Stand up to Israel
Michel Suleiman vows to stand up to Israel ‘at any price,’ says Israel violated UN resolution.,7340,L-3929584,00.html

Report: Lebanon army colonel arrested on suspicion of spying for Israel
Latest in wave of arrests sparks fears in Beirut that Israeli intelligence has extensively penetrated the country’s communications infrastructure.

Israelis mull war on multiple fronts as STL indictment looms
BEIRUT: The Israeli Security Cabinet discussed Monday the prospects of an upcoming war on the Lebanese, Syrian and Gaza fronts in anticipation of tensions on the Lebanese domestic scene, Israeli media reported.  The Israeli reports said an impending indictment by the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) against Hizbullah members in former Lebanese Premier Rafik Hariri’s murder could push the group to take action that would instigate strife in Lebanon, forcing Israel to react to protect its interests.

New Israel-Lebanon war likely to be more violent, destructive: ICG
BEIRUT: A new Israeli-Lebanon conflict is likely to be far more violent, inflict greater damage to civilian and government infrastructure and lead to the direct embroilment of other regional actors, warned a new report released Monday by the International Crisis Group (ICG), the leading conflict-resolution think tank.  A new conflict will also likely affect greater parts of the country, especially the Bekaa Valley, and will not be isolated to the south or the Shiite areas of Beirut which were systematically targeted in 2006, said the report entitled “Drums of War: Israel and the ‘Axis of Resistance.’”

Jumblatt makes amends with Emile Lahoud
BEIRUT: Progressive Socialist Party MP Walid Jumblatt attended on Monday a dinner banquet hosted by former President Emile Lahoud, once Jumblatt’s political foe.  The meeting comes after five years of broken ties and follows Jumblatt’s centrist political realignment since his withdrawal from the March 14 alliance after the June 2009 parliamentary elections.  The PSP leader was one of the major figures who opposed Lahoud’s re-election for a second term in 2004.

Baalbek Airdrop: Another Israeli Failure in July War Booklet
02/08/2010 It was the 22nd day of July war in 2006, Israeli occupation forces wanted  to recover its "dignity" which has been thrown away by the divine victory achieved by the resistance fighters "Mojahedeen". Israeli forces in that day made an air drop in the eastern Lebanon town of Baalbek, the operation lasted for six hours and ended up by the arrest of five Lebanese civilians.  An Israeli occupation helicopter dropped commando forces in Baalbek on the night of Tuesday, August 2. The force was discovered as it moved towards the hospital of "Dar al-Hikmah" and gunfights took place in the area for several hours. Another force was dropped by other helicopter in to extricate the commandos and provide backup to the occupation troops.  While gun battles were taking place, other force attacked the hospital and inspected the identification of everyone there. The soldiers arrested five Lebanese civilians. One of the arrested was named as Hasan Nasrallah whose name is like the name of Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah.

Lebanon awaits a verdict
A special tribunal set up to investigate the assassination of former Lebanese premier Rafik Hariri in 2005 is expected to reveal its findings soon amid a widespread belief that "rogue elements" of Hezbollah will be implicated. The situation is tense, although some people are comforted by the fact that Hezbollah is just too strong to be undermined. – Ramzy Baroud

"Lebanese author and academic Dr. As’ad Abu-Khalil has also argued that commentators have not properly placed Fadlallah in context, and pointed to the schools and orphanages he founded in Beirut and southern Lebanon. Amira Al Hussaini of Global Voices quotes Abu-Khalil’s post, saying "His [Fadlallah’s] relationship with Hizbullah is always misunderstood…he broke from Wilayat Al-Faqih…and developed a new liberal thinking especially on issues of personal status laws." He also "urged for a closer relationship between science and religion", which drew the ire of both Iran and Hizbullah."

Afghanistan shows signs of cracking
In fighting to “win” in Helmand or Kandahar provinces, we are fighting against the Pashtun people. This, in Galbraith’s view, is hopeless, and he is probably right. The same goes for regions bordering Pakistan, such as Paktia and Nangahar.

270 civilians killed in July in Afghanistan
‘Two hundred and seventy civilians were killed in different security incidents in July across the country which shows a 29 percent increase in comparison with the previous month,’ Xinhua quoted a spokesman for the interior ministry as saying.

Civilian killed by NATO soldiers in southern Afghanistan
An Afghan civilian was killed as he was trying to approach a NATO military base in southern Afghanistan, the alliance said Saturday.

A Civilian Casualty, Up Close, Kevin Sites
I try to imagine the incongruity of it all. You are riding in your car with your family and in one instant, by being in exactly the wrong place at the wrong time, your wife is now dead.

MIT graduate admits link in leak case
Says he met, exchanged e-mails with private accused of providing records, but denies role.

Witness says WikiLeaks investigators sought to limit disclosure
The computer expert also said the Army offered him cash to, in his word, "infiltrate" WikiLeaks. "I turned them down," he said. "I don’t want anything to do with this cloak-and-dagger stuff."

Daniel Ellsberg’s WikiLeaks wish list
Outlook asked Ellsberg for his wish list of documents to be leaked, declassified or otherwise made public, documents that could fundamentally alter public understanding of key national security issues and foreign policy debates. He outlines his selections and calls for congressional investigations.

The Wikileaks Afghan War Diary, MAXIMILLIAN FORTE
The release of Wikileaks’ acquired records from U.S. forces in Afghanistan on 25 July 2010, and the simultaneous deluge of reports from the three newspapers (Der Spiegel, The Guardian, and The New York Times) that had the records for a month in advance of their release, is without a doubt an event of major significance in our time. In this article I will outline some of the main reasons those opposed to the war in Afghanistan and to the policies of the U.S. state should celebrate this event and what it signifies. In the next article, however, I will discuss some of the very serious problems with these records and the way that Wikileaks released them, pointing to several issues that the established news media have failed to raise, and about which Wikileaks has not yet been questioned.

Afghanistan: It’s Even Worse Than You Thought, Haroon Siddiqui
The buckets-full of leaked documents on the war in Afghanistan have elicited three responses, all misguided.–siddiqui-afghanistan-it-s-even-worse-than-you-thought

Obama’s Afghan Formula, RALPH NADER
The war in Afghanistan is nearly nine years old—the longest in American history. After the U.S. quickly toppled the Taliban regime in October 2001, the Taliban, by all accounts, came back stronger and harsher enough to control now at least 30 percent of the country. During this time, U.S. casualties, armaments and expenditures are at record levels.  America’s overseas wars have different outcomes when they have no constitutional authority, no war tax, no draft, no regular on the ground press coverage, no Congressional oversight, no spending accountability and, importantly, no affirmative consent of the governed who are, apart from the military families, hardly noticing.

Do Disclosures of Atrocities Change Anything?, ALEXANDER COCKBURN
The hope of the brave soldier who sent 92,000 secret U.S.  documents to Wikileaks was that their disclosure  would prompt public revulsion and increasing political pressure on Obama to seek with all speed a diplomatic conclusion to this war.

U.S. and Other World News
Obama touts withdrawal in Iraq war. Does he sound like Bush? (The Christian Science Monitor)
The Christian Science Monitor – President Obama shifted his focus from domestic issues to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan Monday, marking a month that will see the end of the US combat role in Iraq.*

Ahmadinejad offers Obama debate
Iranian leader Mahmoud Ahmadinejad says he is willing to meet US President Barack Obama for "face-to-face" talks in front of the media.

Cluster bomb ban comes into effect
The United States, the world’s largest producer with the biggest stockpile of 800 million submunitions, has refused to sign the treaty so far, although it says it will ban the weapon from 2018.

Brazil’s President Offers Asylum to Woman Facing Stoning in Iran
In an about-face, President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva called on President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to send the woman convicted of adultery to Brazil.

Iran to reject Brazil offer on stoning case
Iran is likely to reject Brazil’s offer to give refuge to a woman convicted of adultery and initially sentenced to death by stoning, officials said today.

Egypt must drop charges against three activists
Amnesty International has urged the Egyptian authorities to drop all charges against two human rights activists and a blogger whose trial is expected to conclude on Saturday.  Amnesty International has urged the Egyptian authorities to drop all charges against two leading human rights activists and a well-known blogger whose trial is expected to conclude in Cairo on Saturday.  Gamal Eid, Ahmed Seif El-Islam Hamad and blogger Amr Gharbeia, a staff member at Amnesty International, are accused of "defamation", "the use of threats" and "misuse of communication tools".  The charges are connected to allegations made by a judge in 2007 that the two activists tried to extort money from him. Amr Gharbeia is charged with defaming the same judge on his blog.

Immigrant Maids Flee Lives of Abuse in Kuwait
Hundreds of maids who fled from their employers now sleep in improvised shelters in their countries’ embassies.

Defying tradition in Syria to serve as a full-time surrogate mother
Fawzia al-Thiab has left behind the idea of having children of her own to be a foster mother to orphans – more than 35 of them so far.

Riz Khan – Policing the world
The US has the most powerful military in the world and its forces are currently involved in conflicts in Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan. Many feel the only superpower in the world has an obligation to enforce and protect global peace and democracy. But critics argue US foreign policy is driven by its "military industrial complex" that promotes war – not peace. Does the US have any moral right to police the world?

Despite Iraq Withdrawal, Greater Mideast Not Looking Good, Jim Lobe, August 03, 2010
While President Barack Obama Monday touted the continuing U.S. military withdrawal from Iraq as a key marker in the success of his regional policies, the latest news from the Greater Middle East, as well as a new public opinion survey, is far less encouraging.  Not only was July the deadliest month for U.S. troops in Afghanistan since the Taliban’s ouster from power in late 2001, but the worst flooding in the critical frontier region of Afghanistan and neighboring Pakistan in 80 years threatens to undo what progress the central government in Islamabad has had over the past year in regaining control of the area from the Pakistani Taliban and laying the groundwork for a U.S.-backed development plan.

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