Israel begins work on 600 new homes in West Bank settlements

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And other news from Today in Palestine:

Settlers/ Land, Property, Resource Theft & Destruction/Ethnic Cleansing   
Israeli ministers back new Jerusalem bill
TEL AVIV (Ma’an) — Israel’s Ministerial Committee on Legislation on Sunday backed a bill to define Jerusalem as a national priority area, Israeli press reported.  Among other financial benefits, the proposal would give priority to construction in Jerusalem, including in occupied East Jerusalem, the Israeli news site Ynet said. Further, the bill’s creators said it would lead to an increase in the number of Jews in East Jerusalem, which Palestinians seek as the capital of their state, Ynet reported.

New units to be built in East Jerusalem
Palestinian officials said Israel’s announcement of construction of 240 new units in East Jerusalem was a further blow to renewed peace talks.  Israel’s Housing Ministry announced Oct. 15 that among 3,500 tenders throughout Israel, 240 were approved for units in Ramot and Pisgat Ze’ev, in northeastern Jerusalem, the Israeli daily Ha’aretz reported.  “The Netanyahu government is determined to thwart any chance of resuming direct negotiations,” Sa’eb Erekat, the top Palestinian negotiator said in response.

Five east J’lem Arab homes get illegal building notices
Municipality says the notifications “are completely standard administrative duties,” not demolition orders. The Jerusalem municipality posted court notices on five apartments in the Al Bustan neighborhood of Silwan in east Jerusalem on Sunday afternoon. According to a municipality spokesman, the court notices were not demolition orders, but rather typical administrative decisions to notify residents that they will be summoned to a court hearing about illegal construction on their apartments.

Israel issues 7 stop work orders in Bethlehem area
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — Israel’s Civil Administration issued seven stop work orders to home and barn owners in the Bethlehem district village of Al-Maniya.  One of the homeowners concerned, Na’eem Muhammad Rashayda, said the structures in question are unfinished and are being built on land categorized as Area C, under full Israeli planning control.

Israelis ‘building 600 new homes in West Bank’
Work has begun on up to 600 new homes in West Bank settlements since Israel lifted its curb on such construction, a senior settler official said.

Violent clashes in Bustan zone following Israeli threats to raze homes
Violent clashes broke out in Al-Bustan neighborhood in occupied Jerusalem after a large number of Israeli troops and policemen handed some citizens demolition orders issued against their homes.

Clashes erupt again in flashpoint Jerusalem district (AFP)
AFP – Palestinian youths and Israeli police clashed on Sunday in a flashpoint east Jerusalem neighbourhood after city officials served home demolition orders on residents, witnesses said.*

Extremists Settlers Assualt Arab Students In Safad
On Friday midnight, a group of extremist settlers hurled stones at students dorms, at the Academics College of Safad, in the Galilee.

Settlers Attack Dozens of Protestors, Spray Them With Wastewater
A group of fundamentalist Jewish settlers attacked on Saturday a group of nonviolent protestors who demanded Israel to reopen the Al Shuhada Street, in the southern West Bank city of Hebron. The settlers hurled stones at the protestors and sprayed them with waste-water.

Settlers Flood Palestinian Village With Sewage, Palestine Monitor
Beit Ummar is just one of hundreds of villages in Palestine under constant harassment from Israeli settlers. They have suffered the loss of their land, limited access to their own water supply, rocks smashing their windows, midnight arrests, tear gas, rubber bullets, and daily Israeli military aggression. The most recent insult: settlers’ feaces covering the vineyards of Beit Ummar.

Gaza’s Greek Orthodox Church
Roman Catholic Bishops, following a meeting in the Vatican, have urged Israel to stop displacing Palestinians, saying that religion is not a basis for settlement building. The Bishops were attending a summit on the plight of Christians in the Middle East. The statement will strike a chord in Gaza, which has one of the oldest Christian communities – the Greek Orthodox Church. It is just one of several Christian communities in the Gaza Strip that are less obvious than their counterparts in Jerusalem and the West Bank. Al Jazeera’s Nadim Baba reports from Gaza.

Children the New Target in Silwan Ethnic Cleansing Campaign, Palestine Monitor
“I asked them to give me a minute to wake him up. But they didn’t wait, they came in and took him”, said Mahmoud Mansour as he explained how the Israeli police arrested his son. Mahmoud is the father of 12-year-old Imran Mahmoud, the boy who was caught on video being forcefully hit by the car of David Beeri, head of the settler organization, Elad, in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan. Less than ten days after Imran was critically injured by the hit-and-run, the Jerusalem police arrested him on charges of throwing stones.

Otherwise occupied / Travels with an uncle;  Raja Shehadeh: An attempt to revive landscape, names and social contacts, Amira Hass
On the plane on my way back from Istanbul, an acquaintance surprised me when he asked, in the midst of our chat, “And do you have a second passport?” The question, he explained, was the result of our shared fear of a deterioration in the political situation whose outcome is difficult to imagine.

Activism/Solidarity/Boycott, Divestment & Sanctions
‘PA minister hindering boycott of settlements’ goods
Palestinian Society for Consumer Protection blames National Economy Minister Hassan Abu Libda for giving vendors irregular permits to carry settlement-produced goods.,7340,L-3973879,00.html

Popular committee: 3 hurt in Bil’in rally
RAMALLAH (Ma’an) — The Popular Committee Against the Wall in Bil’in said Friday that three were injured, including a child, during its weekly anti-wall demonstration, a statement read.  Those injured had inhaled tear gas fired by Israeli forces, the statement read. Demonstrates condemned Israeli policy and the persecution of anti-wall activists, notably Abdullah Abu Rahma and Adeeb Abu Rahma.

Predawn Raids in Beit Ummar, Palestine Monitor
“They came in five jeeps,” said Mous Abu Maria, the organiser of the Beit Ummar weekly protest. “Then they started to push the door.”  The Israeli troops woke Abu Maria up at 3 am this morning. When Abu Maria opened his door, the soldiers demanded the IDs of him and his wife, and then told the family to evacuate the house. Abu Maria protested in the pre-dawn cold – his seven month old daughter Refe was sick.  “We don’t care,” the military commander said. “Get out of the house.”

TheElders join weekly protest against Palestinian evictions in East Jerusalem’s #SheikhJarrah neighbourhood

Dozens hurt at Ramallah-area demonstrations
RAMALLAH (Ma’an) — Israeli forces dispersed two protests in the West Bank village of Nil’in and Al-Mas’ara on Friday.  A 65-year-old French activist was shot in the head with a stun grenade, onlookers in Al-Mas’ara said.  There were also reports of arrests but they could not be immediately confirmed.

People made sick with tear gas at An-Nabi Saleh; Al Ma’asara; Bil’in
Today in the village of An-Nabi Salah, the weekly non-violent demonstration took place against the illegal settlement Hamish. Unlike other villages taking part in non-violent resistance, many women, young girls and children participate in the protest. Today, there was a child demonstration. A commemoration also took place in order to remember the massacre during the second Intifada in a village where the children went to school.

Weekly anti-Wall Protest Update
Oct 23, 2010– The weekly anti-Wall protests took place across the West Bank, with an escalation of repression by the Occupation Forces, particularly arrests, during the annual olive harvest.

Weekly Repression Update 18-25 October 2010

Miriam Margolyes goes to Palestine
Much loved Jewish actress and ActionAid Ambassador Miriam Margolyes recently visited ActionAid projects in the West Bank.  Miriam has been an ActionAid supporter for over 20 years and is dedicated to seeing both sides of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Her Jewish heritage encouraged her to look deeper into the issues in the Middle East and 15 years ago, she went to Palestine for the first time.

Police repress convergence on UK weapons factory
As Israeli warplanes flew over Gaza on 13 October, activists converged on Brighton, United Kingdom for the annual mass action against the local EDO/ITT factory that produces components used in weapons by the Israeli Air Force, amongst others, to devastating effect.

It was my hope that I would never have to write this post. My public silence on the issue at hand until now was my way of protecting the image of a man so great, a man who has been the inspiration to millions of activists throughout the world.  I tried to keep to myself what I am about to tell you all, hoping it would never happen. But, it is happening, it’s official, Pete Seeger will be taking part in a Virtual Rally For A better Middle East. The event is sponsored by an organisation known as the Arava Institute. One of the major players is the Jewish National Fund.

#BDS: Guns N’ Roses: An Opportunity to Untie your Hands
Dear Guns N’ Roses,  The Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) was dismayed to read reports that you are considering performing in Israel later this year [1].  PACBI, supported by an overwhelming majority of Palestinian civil society and, in particular, by almost the entire community of Palestinian cultural workers [2], views such a performance in Israel as a form of complicity in whitewashing Israel’s occupation, apartheid and war crimes.  More importantly, your upcoming performance would violate the appeal of the Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement [3] which urges people of conscience throughout the world to isolate Israel until it ends its colonial and apartheid oppression of the Palestinian people, as was done to the apartheid regime in South Africa.

Legal Memorandum by Professor Karma Nabulsi on Israel’s Accession to the OECD
Memorandum presented by Dr Karma Nabulsi, University of Oxford, to OECD member-states about their legal obligations during Israel’s accession process (May 2010)   Dr Karma Nabulsi is Fellow of St Edmund Hall and lecturer at Oxford University

A Collection of Videos from Palestine

Siege (Gaza & West Bank)/Rights Violations/Restriction of Movement
Israeli military prevents UN from building new schools in Gaza; 40,000 students without schools
Nearly two years after the devastating Israeli invasion of Gaza that left 1400 dead and over 30,000 families without homes, many of the schools that were destroyed in the invasion have yet to be rebuilt. Now a United Nations effort to rebuild schools in Gaza has been cut short by the Israeli military, which refuses to give the UN permission to build several schools.

Breaking The Siege: A Promise, Palestine Monitor
150 vehicles and $5 million of aid successfully entered Gaza on Thursday, without the tragic cost of the May Flotilla. Viva Palestina’s Amena Saleem told us that organisers are delighted with the outcome, but disappointed with the Egyptian authorities.

Israeli Soldiers Continue Their Facebook Displays
The Israeli Walla News website published on Sunday several pictures published by Israeli soldiers on Facebook showing “memories” while humiliating Palestinians during the war on Gaza.  The Website said that the pictures show Palestinian detainees in degrading positions as the soldiers posed next to them.  The pictures were taken inside Palestinian homes that were broken into by Israeli soldiers in the Gaza Strip.  One of the pictures shows two soldiers pointing their guns at the head of a bound and blindfolded Palestinian, another picture shows a soldiers writing “We will be back” and drawing the star of David at the wall of a Palestinian home.  A third picture shows a soldier carrying his gun near a Palestinian woman inside her kitchen.

Photos show Israeli troops abusing Palestinians
JERUSALEM (AP) — A group of Israeli reservists critical of the military’s treatment of Palestinians has released new photos that appear to show Israeli soldiers abusing Palestinians.  One picture shows a soldier holding an assault rifle to the head of a blindfolded Palestinian man. Another shows a soldier spray painting “Be right back” on the wall of a Gaza home.  Breaking the Silence said Monday it published the pictures on its Facebook page to rebut the military’s contention that improper conduct by soldiers is an aberration.  It was impossible to confirm the authenticity of the photos, but they resemble others that have surfaced in recent months. The military said it knew of the photos but had no immediate reaction.

First Day Of School For Bedouin Children In Bamboo Schoolhouse
It is the first day at school for the Palestinian Bedouin children of the Jahalin community, in the Judean Desert. But this year is different: they’ll be studying in a schoolhouse made of bamboo.

Israeli Injustice System
IDF prosecutors chided for using testimony of mentally disabled Palestinian witness
Account by young man puts resident of Palestinian West Bank village of Na’alin behind bars for nine months for a crime he did not commit.

Violence, Aggression and Detainees
Safed clash stirs fear among Arab students
Police boosts security following weekend incident between haredim, Arabs. ‘Several female students asked if it was safe to go to school,’ says Arab students’ representative at city’s Academic College.,7340,L-3974260,00.html

Israeli Troops Invade Hebron & Neighboring Towns
On Monday mornin, the Israeli military invaded the towns of al-Samu’, Halhol, Beit al-Rosh, Sa’er, Beit Kahel and the al-Fawar Refugee Camp near Hebron, in the southern West Bank. The military conducted inspections of Palestinian vehicles and demanded identity cards of all passengers, apparently in search of persons who were ‘wanted’ by the military.

Israeli Military Abducts 4 Palestinians, Burns The Holy Quran In Qalqilya
In monday morning, Israeli soldiers burned and tore up the holy Quran, during the invasion of the town of Jayyus, east of Qalqilya,and kidnapped 3 palestinians, 2 of whom work in the institutions of the Palestinian’s Authority.

Army Abducts Two Palestinians, Invade Homes In Hebron
On Saturday morning, the Israeli army kidnapped two Palestinians in Beit Ummar town, north of Hebron, and broke into houses of members of the National Committee Against Settlements.

Relatives: 3 detained in Qalqiliya
QALQILIYA (Ma’an) — Israeli forces detained three Palestinians from the Jayyus village in the northern West Bank district of Qalqiliya on Monday morning, relatives said.  Relatives said The forces also detained Wajdi Hussein Bayda, 30, and Khaled Jamil Salim, 31, were both detained from the village after Israeli forces raided the area.  The 11-year-old daughter of the third Palestinian detained, Ismail Bayda, 31, said troops entered the family home at 1 a.m., and that she saw forces blindfold her father then lead him away.

1 detained from checkpoint
JENIN (Ma’an) — Israeli forces detained Muhammad Hammam Younis Samoudi, 20, from Jenin, while he was passing the Huwwara checkpoint south of Nablus.

IOA refuses to release Palestinian prisoner after serving his term
The Israeli occupation authority (IOA) is refusing to release Palestinian prisoner Shadi Abul Hussein despite ending his seven-year sentence on 31/8/2010, a Palestinian human rights group said.

Court Decides To Keep Sa’adat in Solitary Confinement For an Additional Six Months
An Israeli court decided to keep the imprisoned Secretary-General of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) in solitary confinement for an additional six months. Ahmad Sa’adat will remain in solitary confinement until April 21, 2011.

War Criminals
Bulldozer driver testimony underscores lack of transparency in Corrie trial
Haifa, Israel – The bulldozer driver who struck and killed Rachel Corrie in March 2003, in Rafah, Gaza, testified for the first time Thursday in the civil lawsuit filed by the Corrie family against the state of Israel, but did so under extraordinary protective measures that continue to underscore the lack of transparency in the investigation as well as the trial process.

The Courtroom Security Fence, Palestine Monitor
HAIFA: Journalists, lawyers, and human rights activists were blocked from entering the Haifa courtroom yesterday. From behind a “make-shift curtain,” the driver who killed Rachel Corrie repeatedly contradicted his earlier testimony and affidavit.  Attorney Hussein Abu Hussein holding the photograph contradicting key witness testimony: “The more we hear their witnesses the more we are getting that someone is trying to white wash what happened.”  “He was lying,” Hussein Abu Hussein said. “The more we hear their witnesses the more we are getting that someone is trying to white wash what happened.”  Abu Hussein stood on the sixth floor of the Haifa courthouse, in front of his clients Cindy, Sarah and Craig Corrie. Seven years ago, their fourth family member was killed under the blade of a massive military bulldozer in the Gaza Strip. They hired Abu Hussein to represent them in a civil suit to uncover the truth of Rachel Corrie’s death.

‘Even if the Israelis confess, I don’t expect any justice from them’
Maysa Samouni, whose husband Tawfiq, 21, was killed and baby daughter Jumana, now two, was injured in the building struck by missiles on 5 January, 2009, was unmoved yesterday by the progress of the investigation into the attack.

Gaza flotilla was ‘Turkish provocation’, Livni tells enquiry
Turkey exploitation of a diplomatic vacuum was behind the decision to launch aid convoy raided by Israel, opposition leader says.

Dayan: Stop probing troops for Cast Lead
Maj-Gen says soldiers who forced boy to open bags thought to contain explosives are ‘not criminals’,7340,L-3974487,00.html

Israel’s Arab Helpers
IDF planning for potential PA ban on West Bank raids
While officially the PA is responsible for security in the cities defined as Area A in the Oslo agreements the IDF carry out arrest raids there almost every night.

PA security militias transfer detainees to underground cells in Jericho prison
Ex-detainees released recently said that dozens of Palestinian prisoners was transferred by the Palestinian authority’s security apparatuses to underground cells in Jericho prison.

Hamas MPs in Jenin call on Abbas to release ex-detainees in Israeli jails
Hamas lawmakers in Jenin appealed to Mahmoud Abbas to immediately release ex-detainees Alaa Abu Khadeer and Firas Jarrar from his jails.

Hamas slams PA officers for visiting Rabin center in Tel Aviv
Hamas strongly denounced PA security officers for visiting Rabin center in Tel Aviv, saying the security apparatuses in the West Bank stooped to a serious level in its relations with Israel.

Palestinians in Europe: Abbas should be stripped of powers
Palestinians in Europe said Mahmoud Abbas should be stripped of powers over statements he made announcing plans to back down on rights of Palestinians in return for state based on 1967 borders.

Egypt arrests 55 Sudanese migrants en route to Israel
Migrants were found in the back of a truck, which was stopped in a tunnel connecting Egypt’s mainland with the Sinai Peninsula.

Hamas, Learning From the Occupiers
Gaza govt to raze ‘illegal structures’
GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — The Gaza government announced Monday that it has given directives to its interior ministry to raze what it has termed illegal structures on public lands and enforce previous orders to arrest those trading the land.  Head of the ministry’s land department Ibrahim Radwan said those in violation of the order had been given a deadline which has now expired and that officers would maintain permanent checkpoints, supported by police, on public lands to prevent “any violation.”

Political Developments
Report: Mash’al says ready to accept 2 states
TEL AVIV, Israel (Ma’an) — Hamas chief Khaled Mash’al says his group is willing to accept any peace agreement achieved between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, as long as it enjoys a Palestinian consensus, Israeli media reported Thursday.  In an interview with Newsweek magazine, which was not online late Thursday, Mash’al reportedly predicted that the inception of a Palestinian state was not something that could happen in the foreseeable future, and urged Washington to “hear from us directly.”

Israel can’t use Bible to justify claims, Mideast synod says
(JTA) – A meeting of Mideast bishops declared that Israel cannot use the Bible to justify territorial claims to land in Israel.  The final statement of the two-week Synod of Bishops of the Middle East in Rome that ended Saturday blamed Israel for the conflict between the Jewish state and the Palestinians.  It rejected the use of the biblical position of the Promised Land to justify Jewish settlement of the West Bank.  “Recourse to theological and biblical positions which use the Word of God to wrongly justify injustices is not acceptable,” the bishops said.

Israel slams ‘political attacks’ by Catholic bishops
JERUSALEM — Israel on Sunday slammed critical remarks made by Middle East Catholic bishops after a meeting chaired by Pope Benedict XVI as “political attacks” on the Jewish state.  “We express our disappointment that this important synod has become a forum for political attacks on Israel in the best history of Arab propaganda,” Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon said in a statement.  “The synod was hijacked by an anti-Israel majority,” he added.

Deputy FM: Anti-Israel bishops have hijacked the Vatican
Pope Benedict XVI and Middle East bishops demand that Israel accept U.N. resolutions calling for an end to its occupation of Arab lands.

Other News
JTA: Cantor proposes separating Israel aid from foreign ops budget
House Republican Whip Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Virginia) tells JTA in an interview that should Republicans take the House of Representatives next month, he would propose separating U..S. aid to Israel from the foreign operations budget, which the GOP may vote to defund:  A Republican Congress would seek to remove funding for Israel from the foreign operations budget, a GOP leader said. U.S. Rep. Eric Cantor, the Republican whip and the only Jewish Republican in the House of Representatives, told JTA that a GOP-led House would seek to defund nations that do not share U.S. interests, even if it meant rejecting the president’s foreign operations budget. Cantor, of Virginia, said he wants to protect funding for Israel should that situation arise. “Part of the dilemma is that Israel has been put in the overall foreign aid looping,” he said when asked about the increasing tendency of Republicans in recent years to vote against foreign operations appropriations. “I’m hoping we can see some kind of separation in terms of tax dollars going to Israel.”

U.S. firm to build Israeli troop carrier
JERUSALEM, Oct. 24 (Xinhua) — Israel’s Defense Ministry has awarded the U.S. arms and aerospace giant General Dynamics a contract to build some 600 Namer (leopard in Hebrew) armored personnel carriers (APC) over the next eight years, the Jerusalem Post newspaper reported Sunday.  The blocky-looking turretless vehicle is based on the Merkava MK4 tank chassis. It was developed after the 2006 Lebanon War, and, after numerous deadly Hezbollah Sagger anti-tank rocket attacks against the Israeli troops, who were then ferried in older, more lightly-armored, Vietnam-era M-113 APCs, the report said.

Foxman: US must stop Palestinians from declaring state
Anti-Defamation League head says “pipe dream” of declaring statehood without making concessions or sacrifices must be given up.

Saudi prince: Israel is America’s sewer in Mideast
Riyadh’s former ambassador to Washington accuses Obama Administration of ‘failing to curb brutal Israeli policy of collective punishment, arbitrary arrests and killings’.,7340,L-3974268,00.html

History students fight to use textbook presenting both Israeli and Palestinian narratives
Sha’ar Hanegev High students demand to meet head of the Education Ministry’s pedagogical secretariat who banned the school from using the book.

‘We yeshiva students barely study’
Special: In courageous monologue, young haredi man reveals truth behind yeshiva student stipends. ‘The State gives us funds, so why should anyone work? The seculars’ money is ruining our society’.,7340,L-3974053,00.html

Rise in Arab National Service volunteers
Directorate says six times more Arabs joined service in past five years, despite leaders’ objections.,7340,L-3974580,00.html

Analysis/Opinion/Human Interest
Sabotage: Netanyahu’s New Bag of Tricks, George S. Hishmeh
While all the world was watching, silently, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has by all measures managed to sabotage the U.S. – sponsored ‘peace talks’ with the Palestinians, led by Mahmoud Abbas, president of the Palestinian Authority.  Although most governments and many international organizations, particularly the United Nations, seemed handcuffed, the right-wing Israeli government has meanwhile lost significant support at home and abroad for its extremist views and subsequent shortsightedness.

Forget the Details, its all about the Land, Joharah Baker for MIFTAH
The Palestinian-Israeli conflict may seem unbelievably complicated to most – an endless web of historical narratives, emotional claims and bitter pasts – but it all comes down to a simple premise: the Palestinian-Israeli conflict is about land, plain and simple. Israel wants the rest of it and the Palestinians won’t go down without a fight in trying to keep the tiny sliver that remains. All of Israel’s hair-splitting in between – insistence on a Jewish state, more security at its borders, the threat of Hamas in Gaza – these are all minor details that divert attention away from its main goal, which is grabbing as much Palestinian land as possible before a final settlement is reached.

Chas Freeman, II, Max Ajl
A couple days ago I pointed out that Chas Freeman’s much-circulated Tufts speech, when parsed carefully, still endorsed an embrace of empire. An embrace of empire when the global North overlaps with “white” people and its victim, the global South, are “brown” people means that the latter group will die and suffer. I concluded perhaps too vehemently that a policy that inexorably leads to the murder of brown people is “racist.” But Gabriel Ash of Jews Sans Frontieres very helpfully pointed out that the terms need clarification. Chas Freeman is not a bigot. He does not run around spitting at Arabs, supporting anti-miscegenation laws, or garbed in a white-hooded cloak. He is of American Indian ancestry. He probably is very lightly, if at all, prejudiced in his personal life. I’m sure he considers African-Americans worthy of full citizenship in America, doesn’t like the Minute Men carrying out vigilante border-keeping on the US-Mexico frontier, and supports affirmative action. He is not, as Gabriel pointed out, afflicted with “racism, the theory and conscious belief of racial superiority, exclusivity and primacy, and the practices that follow intentionally from applying these beliefs.” Instead, he almost certainly accepts “racism, a system of assumptions, habits of mind, knowledge, etc., that supports unequal relations of power between racially constructed groups and that helps to both naturalize and invisibilize the domination of one group over another.”

It’s the Occupation, Stupid, Robert A. Pape
Extensive research into the causes of suicide terrorism proves Islam isn’t to blame — the root of the problem is foreign military occupations.

Rosen: ‘rogue apartheid Jewish state is not viable in current form’, Philip Weiss
Nir Rosen, to Scott Horton, on the costs of the Iraq war:  As for America’s security posture, I don’t think the Middle East should be viewed through the prism of alleged American “interests.” And I don’t think imposing its will on weaker countries increases American security. Even the weak find ways to resist. America is more insecure when it creates more enemies it didn’t need to have and meddles with the internal affairs of other countries. Certainly the Middle East was more stable before the war. America’s security posture in the Middle East involves colonial and post-colonial relations. American influence there is embattled and changing. The war in Iraq may come to be seen as a turning point, part of a decline in American influence in the region. But there are other things happening at the same time. The Saudi regime is unsustainable and the Egyptian regime is disintegrating. These two countries are pillars of the American regional architecture. And the third pillar, Israel, is not viable in its current form as an increasingly rogue apartheid Jewish state. Finally, the American military is exhausted and losing its conventional skills after nearly ten years of occupation while the power of asymmetrical tactics against a conventional behemoth has been demonstrated.

Can I Be on Abe Foxman’s Hit List?
Students for Justice in Palestine, Jewish Voice for Peace, and others are on the defensive now that the hate-monger Abe Foxman and his Anti-Defamation League have listed them as anti-Israel.  The groups respond with all the right comments about the plight of the Palestinians. These groups represent a wide collective of Jewish and non-Jewish pro-human rights groups. They recognize the Nakba (ethnic cleansing of Palestinians between 1947-49), the apartheid wall, and BDS (boycott, divestment, sanctions). But like many on the ‘left’, they’re afraid to stand up to the more powerful (like ADL, AIPAC, Democratic Party, etc.) and say ‘Screw You’.

The Legacy of Mubarak, Ali Younes
Mohammad Hosni Mubarak, former Air Force General became president of Egypt after the assassination of President Mohammad Anwar Al Sadat by Muslim extremists on 6 October 1981. President Mubarak, as a result, became the longest serving president of Egypt since Mohammad Ali Pasha, who ruled Egypt from 1805-1849.

One on One – Clovis Maksoud
The veteran diplomat and scholar discusses life in the center of Arab regional politics and East-West issues.

Hariri hails Catholic bishops’ call to end Israeli occupation
Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri hailed Sunday a call by Catholic bishops for the international community to end the Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands, while Israeli officials reacted angrily to the appeal. The “participation [of Christian thinkers] in challenging the Zionist project is a necessity for Muslims not to be left alone in this confrontation.

ITU decries Israeli breaches of Lebanese telecom sector
BEIRUT: The press office of Telecommunications Minister Charbel Nahhas issued a statement over the weekend about the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) conference condemning Israel’s violation of Lebanon’s telecoms sector, saying that the sector has been and is still being subjected to Israeli interference, reported As-Safir newspaper over the weekend.

Sunday: 6 Iraqis Killed, 21 Wounded
The Iraqi Supreme Court ordered parliament to reconvene despite the failure of party leaders to form the new government. Meanwhile, six Iraqis were killed and 21 more were wounded in and near Mosul. Oddly, no other reports surfaced.

Iraq ‘exaggerates and politicizes’ its oil wealth
Iraq’s bragging about its oil riches, future production and plans cannot be taken seriously, according to a former oil minister.  Isam al-Jalabi, an oil expert with international status, urged the Iraqi government to stop politicizing its oil wealth and tell Iraqis the truth about its oil plans.  “You (the government) should stop politicizing oil and gas contracts … your (oil and gas projects) are not worth the paper they are written on. Your projects have no economic feasibility and are promoted merely for political purposes,” Jalabi said in an interview.\2010-10-21\kurd.htm

Iraqi leaders not following US advice on gov’t:?
American influence has so dwindled in Iraq over the last several months that Iraqi lawmakers and political leaders say they no longer follow Washington’s advice for forming a government.

Iran, Iraq leaders discuss boosting ties (AFP)
AFP – Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad telephoned his Iraqi counterpart Jalal Talabani and discussed boosting relations between the two neighbours, state media reported on Monday.*

Iran’s role in Iraq
The leaked documents reveal Iran’s extensive role in Iraq, with thousands of reports of Tehran funding and suppling Shia militias. Many of these reports implicate members of Iran’s intelligence services, accusing them of building bombs and even manning checkpoints in Baghdad.

US State Dept. will hire another 7,000 security contractors in Iraq
Corbin stated that State Department will hire another 7,000 security contractors once Congress comes through with a 2011 budget, in which State Department has requested USD 2.6 billion for operations in Iraq.

Drug and Alcohol Abuse Growing in Iraqi Forces
With insurgents still a threat in Iraq and American forces about to leave, growing numbers of Iraqi soldiers and police officers are becoming dependent on alcohol and drugs.

Frost over the World – Iyad Allawi
The former Iraqi president and leader of the coalition that narrowly won the parliamentary elections held in March joins Sir David from Baghdad to talk about the ongoing electoral deadlock in his country.

Baghdad to investigate role of Blackwater in deaths
The Iraqi government says that it will investigate whether employees of the Blackwater security company were involved in hitherto undisclosed killings that emerged from the Wikileaks documents.

Iraqis respond to WikiLeaks files
The official reaction from the Iraqi government to the release of WikiLeaks files about the country has been measured in tone. But many members of the Iraqi public say the leaked documents reflect what they had long suspected was the truth. Rawya Rageh reports from Baghdad.

What did the US think of Nouri al-Maliki?
The leaked documents allege that Iraqi prime minister Nouri al-Maliki operated a “detention squad,” a group of Iraqi army soldiers responsible for rounding up his political opponents. They also reveal that US troops worried he would be perceived as using his position for sectarian power grabs, and show him as a frequent target for assassination attempts.

Leaked Iraq war files portray weak, divided nation (AP)
AP – The enormous cache of secret war logs disclosed by the WikiLeaks website paints a picture of an Iraq burdened by persistent sectarian tension and meddling neighbors, suggesting that the country could drift into chaos once U.S. forces leave.*

Files show al-Qaeda’s grip on Iraq
Leaked documents show how al-Qaeda arrived in Iraq after the US military overthrew Saddam’s government.

Brit soldier ‘killed Iraq girl aged eight as she played’
A British soldier shot dead an eight-year-old Iraqi girl as she played in the street, it was claimed yesterday.  The explosive allegation was made at a press conference about the secret “war logs” from the US military released by the whistleblowing Wikileaks website. Lawyer Phil Shiner said the murder happened while soldiers were handing out sweets to children.

Iraq war logs: Operation Steel Curtain and its 25 ignored civilian casualties
Military trumpeted Husaybah campaign as victory over foreign fighters but didn’t mention the innocents lying in the rubble.  In press releases and other public statements on their major offensives in Iraq, US officials consistently downplayed the numbers of civilians they killed – or denied killing any at all. The secret reports from the frontline that form the bulk of the leaked war logs routinely follow this policy, giving totals of EKIA (enemy killed in action) but providing no evidence of attempts to check whether the bodies are those of insurgents or unarmed civilians.

Iraq war logs: Battle for Samarra killed dozens of innocent people
Blow-by-blow files say nothing about 48 or more civilians killed in Operation Baton Rouge against insurgent strongholds.  Laden with heavy weaponry the AC-130 gunships were ready, the 1st Squadron of the 4th Cavalry was poised for attack and, sitting in front of their computer screens, US intelligence officers were about to record an extraordinary blow-by-blow account of the biggest US offensive since the invasion of Iraq in March 2003.

Iraq war logs: Apache attack’s child victims speak out
Cockpit video of gunship attack that killed 19 and gravely injured two children was first major leak of Iraq war material.  On a hot July day in 2007, taxi driver Salah Mutasher Toman swept his two young children into the passenger seat of his white minivan. He bade his brother, Sabah Toman, farewell and started making his way home, a short drive across the neighbourhood, through militia-held territory.  The area had echoed with explosions that morning. A fight had been brewing. But that was nothing new in Baghdad during that particular bloody summer. Salah planned on bunkering down with his family for the day to ride out the routine of heat and violence. He didn’t get further than 400 metres before his van was blown apart by a hovering American helicopter. Salah died, along with six other people in his van. His son Sajad and daughter Duah were gravely wounded.

Rights lawyer comments on torture claims
Arsalan Iftikhar, an international human rights lawyer, talks to Al Jazeera about WikiLeak’s revelation that US forces in Iraq turned a blind eye to prisoner abuse. He says the US is beyond the reach of any external repercussions because it’s not a signatory to the Rome treaty which formed the International Criminal Court.

Torture, killing, children shot – and how the US tried to keep it all quiet
The largest leak in history reveals the true extent of the bloodshed unleashed by the decision to go to war in Iraq – and adds at least 15,000 to its death toll.

Kucinich on WikiLeaks: ‘American people have a right to know’
from Headlines by Muriel Kane
Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) responded to the WikiLeaks release on Friday with a statement saying, “We need a true accounting of the war in Iraq. The American people have a right to know how many innocent civilians were killed in a war based on lies.” “We must remember that the Iraqi people are still grieving […]

Amnesty International:  USA must investigate detainee abuse claims in Wikileaks files
Amnesty International calls on the USA to investigate how much US officials knew about the torture of detainees held by Iraqi security forces after new evidence emerged in files released by the Wikileaks organization.  Amnesty International today called on the USA to investigate how much US officials knew about the torture and other ill-treatment of detainees held by Iraqi security forces after new evidence emerged in files released by the Wikileaks organization on Friday.

Spiegel: WikiLeaks logs may reveal war crimes
In its early analysis of the Iraq war logs released by whistleblower site WikiLeaks on Friday, the German paper Der Spiegel pointed to several accounts of what it calls “dubious attacks” by US Apache helicopters that may have amounted to war crimes.

WikiLeaks Exposes Rumsfeld’s Lies (The Daily Beast)
The Daily Beast – Recent revelations by Wikileaks show how top American leaders lied, knowingly, to the American public, to American troops, and to the world. Ellen Knickmeyer on the carnage she saw as Baghdad bureau chief.*

The Secret Iraq Files
It is the biggest leak of military secrets ever. Al Jazeera has obtained access to almost 400,000 classified American documents. Torture, claims of murder at the checkpoint – revelations that make a mockery of the rules of combat. This special programme reveals the truth about the war in Iraq.

WikiLeaks Iraq War Logs Expose U.S.-Backed Iraqi Torture, 15,000 More Civilian Deaths, and Contractors Run Amok
The online whistleblower WikiLeaks has released some 390,000 classified U.S. documents on the Iraq War — the largest intelligence leak in U.S. history and the greatest internal account of any war on public record. The disclosure provides a trove of new evidence on the violence, torture, and suffering that has befallen Iraq since the 2003 U.S. invasion. Despite U.S. government claims to the contrary, the war logs show the Pentagon kept tallies of civilian deaths in Iraq. The group Iraq Body Count says the files contain evidence of an additional 15,000 previously unknown Iraqi civilian casualties. The number is likely far higher as the war logs omit many instances where U.S. forces killed Iraqi civilians, including the U.S. assault on Fallujah in 2004. The war logs also show the U.S. imposed a formal policy to ignore human rights abuses committed by the Iraqi military. Under an order known as “Frago 242” issued in June 2004, coalition troops were barred from investigating any violations committed by Iraqi troops against other Iraqis. Hundreds of cases of killings, torture, and rape at the hands of the Iraqi troops were ignored. To help analyze the documents, we hold a round table discussion with three guests including David Leigh, the investigations editor at The Guardian newspaper of London, and investigative journalists Pratap Chatterjee and Nir Rosen.

Frago 242, Justin Raimondo
The biggest US security breach in our history, carried off by WikiLeaks, reveals a wealth of information – hundreds of thousands of field reports, the raw material collected by the US military on the ground in Iraq. It will be quite a while before the “gems” are mined from this treasure trove, but initially the one that stands out as the jewel in the crown is the revelation of “Frago 242” – an order from high up in the US military command instructing officers not to investigate reports of torture and other human rights violations by their Iraqi allies. As the Guardian, one of the media outlets given privileged access to the database prior to its general release, reports.

Lieberman orders ‘day after’ plans for tackling nuclear Iran
While government remains committed to prevention, contingency plan hints Israel may be losing faith in the world’s ability to halt Tehran’s atomic program – either diplomatically or by force.

US to check whether Venezuela-Iran deals violate sanctions
The United States will be vigilant of the deals made between Venezuela and Iran to make sure that they do not violate sanctions against Tehran, US State Department spokesman Philip Crowley, said on Thursday.

Bolivian president to visit Iran
TEHRAN, Oct. 24 (Xinhua) — Bolivian President Juan Evo Morales will arrive in Iran on Sunday evening for a four-day visit, the semi-official ISNA news agency reported on Sunday.  Morales is expected to fly to northwestern city of Tabriz on Monday to visit some industrial units, and will officially meet with his Iranian counterpart Mahmoud Ahmadinejad at the presidential office on Tuesday.

Armenian prime minister to visit Iran on ties
TEHRAN, Oct. 24 (Xinhua) — Armenian Prime Minister Tigran Sarkisyan will visit Tehran on Monday with a trade delegation, the semi-official ISNA news agency reported on Sunday.  Officially invited by Iranian First Vice President Mohammad Reza Rahimi, Sarkisyan led a trade delegation from Armenian Chamber of Commerce to attend a economic conference in Tehran, Iranian ambassador to Yerevan Ali Saghaian told ISNA.

Inside Story – Cutting ties with Iran?
With countries following the sanctions and others dragging their feet, what impact are the sanctions having on the economies of Iran’s trading partners? And are the sanctions designed to drag Iran back to the negotiating table?

U.S. and other world news
How Paul Wolfowitz Authorized Human Experimentation at Guantánamo, Andy Worthington
Last week, Truthout published an important article by Jason Leopold, Truthout’s Deputy Managing Editor, and psychologist and blogger Jeffrey Kaye, revealing, for the first time, a secret memorandum dated March 25, 2002, approved by deputy defense secretary Paul Wolfowitz, which authorized human experimentation on detainees in the “War on Terror.” The release of the memo followed some little-noticed maneuvering in Congress in December 2001, when the requirement of “informed consent” in any experimentation by the Defense Department (introduced in 1972) was quietly dropped.

Filipinos aim to give US army the boot
Some 3,000 United States Marines are currently in the Philippines for joint training exercises with their Filipino counterparts amid mounting opposition calls to scrap a controversial bilateral military pact.

Islam in the West
Anti-Muslim crusaders make millions spreading fear
Steven Emerson has 3,390,000 reasons to fear Muslims.  That’s how many dollars Emerson’s for-profit company — Washington-based SAE Productions — collected in 2008 for researching alleged ties between American Muslims and overseas terrorism. The payment came from the Investigative Project on Terrorism Foundation, a nonprofit charity Emerson also founded, which solicits money by telling donors they’re in imminent danger from Muslims.

‘Surfing rabbi’ rallies with British anti-Islam group outside Israel embassy
Rabbi Nachum Shifren is running for state senate under the Tea Party banner and is is considered a long shot to represent west Los Angeles in the California senate.


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