Argentina, Uruguay recognize Palestine within its 1967 borders

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And other news from Today in Palestine:

Settlers/ Land, Property, Resource Theft & Destruction/Ethnic Cleansing
Israel FM: No reason for settlement freeze
LJUBLJANA (AFP) – Israel sees no reason to reimpose a freeze on settlement construction in the West Bank after an initial moratorium failed to break the deadlock in the peace process, its foreign minister said Monday.  “I do not see any reason to extend this moratorium. After 10 months of moratorium, we are still in a deadlock. We do not see any benefit,” Avigdor Lieberman told a news conference with his Slovenian counterpart Samuel Zbogar.

Israel Approves The Construction Of 846 Settlement Units In Jerusalem
A report prepared and published by the National Bureau For Protecting the Land and Countering Settlements, revealed that the Israeli government approved the construction of 846 units in Jewish settlements in occupied East Jerusalem.

Israel to build 130 new housing units in O. Jerusalem
Hours after the IOA declared its intention to build more than 652 housing units in Pisgat Ze’ev settlement last week, it approved a plan to build 130 other units in Gilo settlement.

Activism/Solidarity/Boycott, Divestment & Sanctions
Mass-mirroring Wikileaks
Wikileaks is currently under heavy attack. In order to make it impossible to ever fully remove Wikileaks from the Internet, we need your help. if you have a unix-based server which is hosting a website on the Internet and you want to give wikileaks some of your hosting resources, you can help!

Hundreds of WikiLeaks Mirror Sites Appear
The United States urged Switzerland not to provide safe haven for the site’s founder, who was accepting donations to a bank account there.

Defend WikiLeaks – Boycott Amazon
A spontaneous movement to boycott, the online retailer, has taken off in response to the company’s decision to kick WikiLeaks off its servers. We at unequivocally endorse this effort. In spite of attempts by some to claim the company was subjected to a threat “at gunpoint,” in reality, no one put a gun to Amazon’s head. They were more than happy to join the attack on WikiLeaks, as their statement made all too clear:

Organizer of Ni’ilin’s Popular Committee and Two Other Members Released From Jail, Joseph Dana
The members of the Popular Committee had been held in military jails for the past ten and half months on trumped up charges designed to crush the unarmed resistance in Ni’ilin. The village held a massive celebration in their honor as they returned home.

In Argentina workers’ movements, community radios take up BDS
November saw a flurry of BDS activities in Argentina, where workers from the recovered factories, along with the global umbrella organization for community radio, committed to active support of the 2005 Palestinian BDS call.  Workers in the recovered factories in Argentina pledged to support the BDS call. These workers are part of a larger movement in Argentina that began in 2000 during Argentina’s economic crisis. At that time, the first workers resisted eviction from their places of work, and with the bankruptcy and flight of the management, took upon themselves the duties of production, administration and marketing. Since 2001, 205 factories around Argentina have been reclaimed by the workers.

Open the Al-Bweira Roads, from US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation
Upper Hudson Peace Action is asking members of the US Campaign to pick up their pens and phones to help open the road to the West Bank town of Al-Bweira. This is one more step in our effort to end the Israeli occupation of Palestine.

Happy holidays, Philip Weiss
From a friend. These cards are available at If Americans Knew.

#BDS: Campaign materials
As part of the campaign ”Israel is occupying Palestine, I boycott” campaign material is made available to the Belgo-Palestinian Association. Feel free to contact us if you need it!

#BDS: Reports on BDS and Caterpillar weaponized bulldozers
The Israeli press is reporting that Caterpillar is withholding the delivery of tens of D9 bulldozers—valued at $50 million—to the Israeli military.(1) These are weaponized bulldozers that are used to illegally destroy homes and orchards of Palestinian families. And they are the very same bulldozers as the one that killed a 23-year-old American peace activist named Rachel Corrie seven years ago when she tried to protect the home of the Nasrallah family in Gaza.

Joseph Dana on New Media and the Truth in Israel & Palestine
Reporter Joseph Dana recently did this interview, on GRITtv with Laura Flanders, on how social media are giving Palestinians the ability to tell their stories to their world. He also talks about Wikileaks and the nonviolent resistance on the ground in Palestine.

Flotilla Support for Gaza
On May 28 (three days before Israel’s high seas massacre), Haaretz writers Jack Khoury and Yuval Azoulay headlined, “Hamas: Flotilla shows whole world opposes Gaza siege,” saying:  Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh said “if Israel behave(s) like pirates and attack(s) the international Freedom Flotilla carrying 10,000 tons of (humanitarian) aid for Gaza, then the Palestinians will have won. The flotilla’s message is clear and it will reach the entire world.”

Fundraising drive off to a great start – please help us keep it going!
Just a quick update on our current fund raising drive. We are off to our best start ever! You can follow the progress in the graphic to the right, but we’ve already raised over $8,000, which means thanks to our generous matching fund we’ve raised $16,000.

Message to Vieux Farka Touré: Colonialism is colonialism, whether it happens in West Africa or Palestine, Shireen Tawil
I was greatly disappointed to learn that Vieux Farka Touré performed last week at the Tel Aviv Opera House on November 26, 2010.  The son of the late, world-renowned Malian guitarist and singer Ali Farka Touré, Vieux Farka Touré has gained prominence in the international music world in recent years as one of Africa’s leading musicians.  His eponymous debut album was released in 2006, and he has since released three albums and performed at the 2010 World Cup in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Abuse of Palestinian Children
B’Tselem: Jerusalemite children tortured by Israeli interrogators
B’Tselem said in a report that Palestinian children in Silwan town, occupied Jerusalem, were severely tortured at the hands of Israeli interrogators.

Siege/Rights Violations/Restriction of Movement
Medic: Israeli policies to blame for Gaza health woes
STOCKHOLM (AFP) – The head of an award-winning group of Israeli medics said Monday the health woes of Palestinians in Gaza and Arab Bedouins living in Israel were the direct consequence of government policies.  As her group “Physicians for Human Rights Israel” prepared to receive the annual Right Livelihood Award in Stockholm, Ruchama Marton said the causes of health problems were often political in nature.

Rafah crossing to close Tuesday
GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — Gaza’s crossings committee announced the Rafah crossing on the Strip’s border with Egypt will close Tuesday for the Islamic new year.  Crossings officials said the closure would apply in both directions.

2 crossings operate, Gaza imports at 36%
GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — The southernmost Gaza crossing Kerem Shalom and the bulk goods Karni crossing in the northern Strip were announced open for imports on Monday, Palestinian liaison official Raed Fattouh said.  Fattouh said he was informed early in the morning that 150 to 160 truckloads of goods and 20 new cars would be allowed through the Kerem Shalom crossing, in addition to limited quantities of domestic-use gas and industrial-grade diesel.

Racism and Discrimination
Fire suspects’ mother: They were in school
Police arrest two Usfiya brothers, aged 14 and 16, on suspicion of negligence which caused Carmel blaze. Relatives: Police have no proof they started the fire.,7340,L-3994226,00.html

Carmel blaze is not the only thing burning Israel from the inside
In Israel, 53 percent of the Jewish majority now wants the government to encourage the emigration of Israeli Arabs. It’s worth looking at that again: An absolute majority of those defined as Jews in Israel want government action to bring about “ethnic cleansing” in the state. A third reading of this finding will aggravate the chill that should run down the spine of Israel’s democracy. Twenty years after Kahanism was deemed illegal, 65 years after the racist tragedy in the heart of Europe, most Jewish hearts in Israel pulsate in sync: Kahane was right!

Israeli forces kill two Palestinians east of Gaza
Occupied Jerusalem: Israeli forces killed two armed Palestinians as they approached the boundary fence of a kibbutz east of Gaza, military radio reported on Thursday.  The Israeli military opened fire on the men as they approached the Kfar Aza kibbutz, east of the northern Gaza Strip, the report said. The forces recovered the bodies of the two men and found weapons and explosive devices on them, the report said, without specifying whether the men were killed inside Gaza or Israeli territory.

Detainees (Israeli and PA)
Minister: Israel detained 423 Palestinians last month
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — Israeli forces detained 423 Palestinians, including 80 children in the month of November Palestinian Authority Minister of Prisoners Affairs Issa Qaraqe said Monday.  Qaraqe said most of these arrests took place when Palestinians attempted to fight off Israeli settlers who encroached on West Bank land.  He was speaking during a visit to the Hebron home of Nasser Theeb Meswada, 42, who was recently released after seven years in Israeli prisons.

Six Palestinians Arrested During Israeli Army Raids
A series of Israeli military raids that were held during Sunday night and Monday morning in the area of Ramallah, concluded with six Palestinian residents detained, PNN reported.

Hamas: PA security detained 8 supporters
HEBRON (Ma’an) — Hamas officials in the West Bank accused the Palestinian Authority security services of detaining eight party supporters during spot checks and raids overnight.  The Islamist movement said Monday that the detentions, which it alleged were politically motivated and unfairly targeted members, occurred in the West Bank districts of Nablus, Jenin, and Qalqiliya, all in the north.

Dweik, Hamas MPs join solidarity sit-in with Jericho detainees on hunger strike
Dr. Aziz Dweik and other Hamas MPs in the West Bank joined the solidarity sit-in organized by relatives of detainees in the PA Jericho jail who went on hunger strike nine days ago.

Families of hunger strikers in PA jails met with Dr. Barghouthi
The families of the six Palestinian hungers strikers imprisoned by the Palestinian authority met with Dr. Mustafa Al-Barghouthi and handed him a special file related to the detention of their sons.

PA transfers six hunger strikers from Jericho solitary jail to other prisons
The families of the six Palestinian detainees who went on hunger strike in Jericho prison said the PA transferred their isolated sons from this jail to other prisons in different West Bank areas.

HRW urges PA to release West Bank blogger
JERUSALEM (Ma’an) — Human Rights Watch on Sunday urged the Palestinian Authority to release a blogger detained over his religious opinions.  PA intelligence officers arrested Walid Hasayin on 31 October at an internet cafe in the West Bank city of Qalqiliya.  Ahmad Mbayyad, the head of the PA’s military judiciary, told HRW that Hasayin was suspected of posting online messages criticizing Islam and other religions.

AP Exclusive: Jailed Palestinian atheist apologizes 
JERUSALEM — A Palestinian atheist jailed for more than a month for sharing his views in a blog has apologized for offending Muslims, in a step he hopes will lead to his release.  International rights groups have criticized his arrest as a demonstration of the limits on free speech under the Western-backed Palestinian Authority.  The 26-year-old, Walid Husayin, apologized in a letter to his family and sought forgiveness for what he called his “stupidity.”

PA security: ‘Atheist’ blogger kept in jail for own safety
RAMALLAH (AFP) – A young Palestinian blogger jailed for posting “blasphemous” remarks online is being kept in jail over fears he will be killed by his family, security sources said on Monday.  Walid al-Husseini, 26, was arrested in the northern West Bank city of Qalqilya at the end of October for “blasphemy against the prophet and the Koran” for posts on his blog and on the social networking site, Facebook. “It is impossible to release him because we are afraid he will be killed by his family,” a security source in Qalqilya told AFP, adding that relatives had disowned Husseini after his arrest.

Political Developments
Argentina Recognizes Palestine Within its 1967 Borders
After Brazil’s decision to recognize a Palestinian state within the 1967 borders, the President of Argentina, Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, confirmed, on Sunday, that she would also recognize an independent Palestine with the same parameters.

Argentina, Uruguay to recognize Palestine (AFP)
AFP – Argentina and Uruguay said Monday they were joining Brazil in recognizing an independent Palestinian state, earning an immediate sharp rebuke from Israel and causing unease in the United States.*

Palestinians bet to grab international recognition of state with 1967 borders
RAMALLAH, Dec. 4 (Xinhua) — Facing the stalled peace talks with Israel, Palestinian politicians and observers believe that an international recognition of an independent Palestinian state on the 1967 borders would be a powerful start to grab a worldwide recognition.  “The recent Brazilian declaration to recognize the establishment of an independent Palestinian state is a very big step. We consider this step a start to get more recognition from the world’s countries of the independent Palestinian state,” chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat told Xinhua on Saturday.

Hamas says waiting for Fatah to call meeting
GAZA (Ma’an) — Hamas official Salah Al-Bardawil said Sunday it was up to Fatah to initiate the next meeting in Damascus to discuss national unity.  Despite several meetings in the Syrian capital, the rival factions have so far failed to reach agreement on security issues, said to be stalling Hamas signing the Egyptian-mediated unity paper.

PFLP: Gambling on US endangers Palestinians
GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — The Palestinian government in Ramallah’s willingness to rely on the United States as a broker for Middle East peace was dangerous and harmed the Palestinian cause, the Palestinian Front for the Liberation of Palestine said Saturday.  The leftist Palestinian faction said in a statement that the PA should take the issue to the UN and demand the implementation of relevant resolutions based on international legitimacy rather than continue with “absurd” peace talks.

Arabs should not ‘close door’ to US efforts: Egypt FM (AFP)
AFP – Arab states believe US efforts to save direct Israeli-Palestinian peace talks should be given more time to succeed, Egypt’s Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit said here Monday.*

Another Dahlan coup?
From BBC monitoring service:  ”A Palestinian leader close to Fatah has revealed new details of what has become known in the Fatah milieu as the “Dahlan case,” the incessant accusations against him for being the architect of a comprehensive plan to control Fatah and succeed Mahmud Abbas as president.  Two weeks after the Palestinian Information Centre disclosed the content of the plan sent by Fatah Central Committee [CC] member Muhammad Dahlan to the US Administration, which contains security proposals to topple the Palestinian government in Gaza and to control the Gaza Strip, the source related to our correspondent the existence of a connection between the abovementioned security document and the developments within Fatah, after Dahlan and other Fatah leaders, including CC member Nasir al-Qudwah, appeared before a commission of inquiry set up by the PNA presidency and headed by Fatah leader Abu-Mahir Ghunaym. The source explained that the investigation of Dahlan and a number of Fatah leaders followed on the heels of Al-Qudwah’s harsh criticism of Mahmud Abbas, which was published in The Wall Street Journal and was later confirmed to be instigated by Dahlan.   Yet, the most serious thing that the sources disclosed goes beyond disagreements and verbal criticisms to practical action on the ground that Dahlan and a number of leaders supporting him are preparing. The source revealed that the US Administration received a letter from Muhammad Dahlan, Nasir al-Qudwah, Sultan Abu-al-Aynayn, and Tawfiq al-Tirawi stating that “Abbas is now unable to make peace but we are able to, and that he must be substituted by a personality that has the ability to achieve this.” Moreover, and as proof of the seriousness of the offer, the letter suggests assigning the Interior Ministry in the Fayyad government to Dahlan and pledges to regain control of the Gaza Strip from Hamas according to the plan sent earlier. The source also noted that the US response has not arrived yet.  According to the source, the recent letter coincided with the rise in the pace of alignments within Fatah between a group supporting Dahlan and another comprising historic leader who oppose him, especially after the return of large numbers of Dahlan’s supporters to Palestine after their exit from the Gaza Strip in the aftermath of the decisive military action that was carried out by Hamas.”  PS Source: Palestinian Information Centre website in Arabic 21 Nov 10

Netanyahu Thanks Abbas For Palestinian Firefighters Help
Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, received on Friday a phone call from Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, for sending Palestinian firefighters to help in controlling the fires in the north of the country.

What did Egypt and Jordan do when Lebanon was under attack by Israel
“Responding to an appeal by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for help, Bulgaria and Jordan sent firefighters; Cyprus, Greece, Russia and the United States dispatched aircraft to ferry water and chemical retardant; Britain sent helicopters; and additional assistance came from Spain, Azerbaijan, Romania and Egypt, government officials said.

Turkish PM says Israel must ‘clear blood’ to mend ties
ANKARA (AFP) – Turkey’s prime minister insisted Sunday on an Israeli apology and compensation over a deadly raid on a Gaza-bound aid ship in May as the only way to mend bilateral ties, Anatolia news agency reported.  His remarks followed media speculation that the crisis between the one-time allies might thaw in the wake of Turkey’s dispatch of two helicopters to help fight a devastating forest fire in northern Israel, which claimed 41 lives.

Other News
Turkey and Israel Set to Restore Relations
Turkish and Israeli diplomats met in Geneva on Sunday, and discussed repairing relations between the two countries cooled since after Israeli military raid on the Gaza flotilla last May, Ha’aretz said.

Settlements hold key to Israel’s survival: Dutch MP (AFP)
AFP – Israel must keep on building settlements in the occupied West Bank to defend itself against the forces of Islam out to destroy the Jewish state, visiting ultra-rightwing Dutch MP Geert Wilders said.*

Sectarian views of Hizbullah and Hamas
I don’t have much time to write about this poll but a few points only.  1) How is it sectarian when Sunnis in Lebanon have the same unfavorable views of Hamas as they do of Hizbullah?  It must mean it is political. 2) It is clear that you can’t extrapolate from the Sunnis of Lebanon to the Sunnis of the Arab world. 3) There is no factor considered in terms of the general tendency in closed and repressive society for people polled to identify with the views of the government, especially when many of those polls by Gallup and Pew are conducted face-to-face (and even phone polls can be intimidating because people fear their governments are calling).

Poet Najwan Darwish Reads for New York City Crowds
New York City – PNN – Americans and Palestinians alike thronged to the Alwan Center of the Arts in New York City to hear the Palestinian poet Najwan Darwish read a selection of his work on Sunday.  Barnard College Literature Professor and critic Bashir Abu Mana said after the reading, “Najwan Darwish’s poems present the struggle of Palestinian life in a personal voice. His poetry…represents the face of reality.”  “What surprised me about in his poetry was his consistency in form and artistry while still being able to capture reality as he sees it,” said Abu Mana.

State Dep’t reporters continue to be rambunctious about Israel announcing 625 new houses for Jews, Philip Weiss
The other day we picked up a State Department press conference in which reporters were bluntly questioning ass’t secretary PJ Crowley about the United States covering for Israeli intransigence and colonization. Well those reporters continued to ask questions on Thursday, the words “double standard” were hurled, when the Obama administration failed to say a word of condemnation of further East Jerusalem settlement. From the State Department.

Wikileaks II: the special relationship
“QME” is short-hand for the “qualitative military edge,” or America’s posture of making sure that Israel’s weaponry remains more advanced than that which it sells to the Gulf States and especially Saudi Arabia. Note especially that “Israel does not expect that all QME decisions will breaks in its favor”: why not? Is Chaim Saban having cigarette breaks when the Pentagon and Obama are discussing which weapons systems they’re going to ship to Saudi Arabia in return for the oil profits Saudi Arabia reaps from  jacked-up oil prices, a constant regressive tax on the American working class?

Meet Moshe Soprano, Philip Weiss
I try to give the people what they want (I’ve been a news guy most of my life), and a lot of people are talking about the cable on Wikileaks from Tel Aviv a year ago about all the organized crime in Israel, and the fears of that o.c. spreading to the U.S. (because after all we’re joined at the hip). Raimondo loves the cable.  A couple more responses.

Putting out fires. Or not, Akiva Eldar
The Carmel fire destroyed another layer of the myth that the State of the Jews is a military-technological superpower that should not be trifled with.

“GOD-TV” evangelical Christian channel funds Israeli ethnic cleansing
Despite the fact that it was the seventh demolition since last July, this time the destruction of the Bedouin village of Al-Arakib in the Israeli Negev was different. The demolition was different because this time Christian evangelists from the United States and England were involved. GOD-TV justifies this contribution by citing the book of Isaiah.

An Israeli and a Palestinian meet at the separation fence – on the U.S.-Mexico border, Amira Hass
If passed, a decade-old bill will allow the naturalization of young Latino-Americans in the U.S. Republicans oppose it, so does Fox News. But the U.S. Army is in favor.

Julian Assange: Wanted by the Empire, Dead or Alive, ALEXANDER COCKBURN
The American airwaves quiver with the screams of parlor assassins howling for Julian Assange’s head. Jonah Goldberg, contributor to the National Review, asks in his syndicated column, “Why wasn’t Assange garroted in his hotel room years ago?” Sarah Palin wants him hunted down and brought to justice, saying: “He is an anti-American operative with blood on his hands.”
Assange can survive these theatrical blusters. A tougher question is how he will fare at the hands of the US government, which is hopping mad. The US attorney general, Eric Holder,  has announced that the Justice Department and Pentagon are conducting “an active, ongoing criminal investigation” into the latest Assange-facilitated leak under Washington’s Espionage Act.
Asked how the US could prosecute Assange, a non-US citizen, Holder said, “Let me be clear. This is not saber-rattling,” and vowed “to swiftly close the gaps in current US legislation…”

Israel supporters using Wikileaks to promote attack on Iran are ignoring Arab public opinion, Antony Loewenstein
Sever Plocker, a columnist for Yediot Aharonot, recently wrote with pride and some sadness that, “At least on the Iranian issue — and apparently on more than a few other matters — the leaders of the world, including the Arab world, think as we do [the Israelis], but are ashamed to admit it”.  Benjamin Netanyahu has praised the Wikileaks cable dump as vindication of his government’s bellicose pronouncements over Tehran. The Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg has written likewise.

Lebanon lodges complaint with UN over Israeli spying devices
SIDON: Lebanon lodged over the weekend a complaint with the United Nations over spying devices installed by Israel on Lebanese territories.  “Lebanon has filed today a complaint against Israel before the Security Council via its permanent mission at the United Nations in New York, after its [Israeli] troops remotely detonated Friday spying devices that Israel had planted in Lebanon,” said a statement by Lebanon’s Foreign Ministry Saturday.

Lebanon told allies of Hezbollah’s secret network, WikiLeaks shows
Cable exposes deep regional and international concerns about volatile situation in Lebanon following 2006 war.

Lebanon ‘gave Israel army tips’
Defence minister offered advice to Israel in 2008 on how to defeat Hezbollah, WikiLeaks documents show.

Wikileaks: Hezbollah Rockets Cover All of Israel
Gareth Porter: Balance of forces in Middle East has changed with Hezbollah able to “cover entire territory of Israel” with rockets.

Saad Hariri: “The Iraq [invasion] was unnecessary. [Invading] Iran is necessary.”
WikiLeaks have had something for everyone. ….. Supporters of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad rejoiced over the cable in which a British official opined that he had actually won the rigged June 2009 presidential election……. Ahmadinejad’s supporters also overlooked another leaked cable in which an American diplomat reported that a source had told him that it was Mir Hossein Mousavi who had won the election with 26 million votes, which only goes to show that neither of the two cables should be taken seriously……….Arab leaders have privately been urging the United States to stage a military attack on Iran. These are the same leaders that time and again have publicly proclaimed that they oppose such an attack, which demonstrates both their utter dishonesty toward their own citizens and the fact that they are well aware that, as unpopular as Ahmadinejad is at home, he enjoys wide popularity in the Islamic world due to his intransigence toward Israel. …..Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri is quoted in an August 2006 cable arguing that the “Iraq [invasion] was unnecessary. [Invading] Iran is necessary.” Of course, the American mainstream media did not mention that Hariri called for defense ties with Iran during his recent trip to the country… Mubarak said that none will accept a nuclear Iran, ‘we are all terrified.’

WikiLeaks: Hariri fears next Israel war would kill pro-West camp
BEIRUT, Lebanon (AFP) — Lebanon’s Prime Minister Saad Hariri told a top US diplomat he feared another war with Israel would mean the “death” of his pro-Western alliance, leaked cables showed Monday.  A document reportedly obtained by whistleblowing website WikiLeaks and published on the website of local daily Al-Akhbar quoted Hariri as saying he believed Shiite militant group Hezbollah, which fought a deadly war with the Jewish state in 2006, would rise again should there be another round of violence.

Charles Rizk to Jeffrey Feltman: ‘I am trying to delay the release of the four generals due to the “devastating impact their release would have on March 14 morale”
“… The STL, as well as the initial United Nations International Independent Investigation Committee (UNIIIC) probe, is mentioned on numerous occasions in cables seen by The Daily Star.  Some will fuel claims that the STL is politicized. In a cable dated July 6, 2007, Minister of Justice Charles Rizk appeared to ask Feltman to pass on Lebanon’s preferred choice of tribunal judges.  “Rizk would like us to whisper quietly to UN officials which four are Lebanon’s preferred choices out of the twelve judicial nominations,” it read.  Rizk reportedly told Feltman that he was trying to delay the release of the four Lebanese generals held in connection with the assassination, due to the “devastating impact their release would have on March 14 morale.”  In a cable dated June 20, 2006, UNIIIC Commissioner Serge Bremmertz reportedly expressed concerns that evidence against the jailed generals was not strong enough to justify their continued detention. ….”

Wikileaks [25]: “Saudi MOI: ‘…Concerned about funds flowing to Hizballah from the Saudi Shi’a community
SUBJECT: SAUDI INTERIOR MINISTRY BRIEFS SPECIAL ADVISOR HOLBROOKE AND TREASURY DAS GLASER ON TERRORISM FINANCE.  (SBU) Special Advisor Ambassador Richard Holbrooke and Treasury DAS Glaser were briefed on Saudi terror finance efforts at a May 16 meeting with Interior Ministry (MOI) officials at the Security Forces Officers Club in Riyadh. Holbrooke also received a briefing on Saudi counterterrorism strategies:….. 6. (C) MOI Senior Advisor Major General Dr. Sa’ad al-Jabri said… Hajj was still “a vacuum in our security,” he admitted. Another problem was money going to Hizballah from Saudi Shiites. The Saudis’ focus had been on funds from Sunni sources, but they needed to focus on the Shi’a too, Dr. Sa’ad said.  (C) Holbrooke noted that Pakistan was also a center for terrorist financing through Islamic charities and asked whether the Saudis were monitoring the large Pakistani community in Saudi Arabia, and whether the Saudis were consulting with the governments of Pakistan, India, and Bangladesh about the issue.  8. (C) Holbrooke asked whether the Taliban still found support in Saudi Arabia….. Holbrooke asked about Iran, and Dr. Sa’ad replied that in the Saudi view, Iran was a “serious contributor”…

The new Walid Jumblat, As`ad Abukhalil
“Jumblatt expresses gratitude that Syria re-established order at the end of the Lebanese civil war and suggests that Syria’s military may need to take over the country again if Hezbollah is indicted by an international tribunal investigating the killing of former Lebanese prime minister Rafiq al-Hariri and the country deteriorates into sectarian strife.  ”It seems that, well, we cannot govern ourselves by ourselves,” Jumblatt said. “Lebanon is not a nation. It’s a bunch of tribes.

Aoun: There’s Global Conspiracy to Destabilize Lebanon
04/12/2010 The head of the Change and Reform parliamentary bloc MP Michel Aoun on Saturday warned that there was a global conspiracy to destabilize Lebanon and accused the international community of seeking to create a clash between Hezbollah and the Special Tribunal for Lebanon.  “Let them tell us why there is a Court that wants to condemn Hezbollah, and then there are media leaks for the benefit of Hezbollah. Why?” Aoun wondered.  “The truth is this: There is an international conspiracy to destabilize Lebanon,” Aoun told a student delegation representing the victorious alliance from the Lebanese American University (LAU).  “That is why they do not want to refer the false witnesses’ issue to the Court because this would lead to the truth,” he concluded.

Leaked memos reveal unprecedented look into how US views Lebanon
BEIRUT: Investigators working for the UN probe into the death of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri fought with “insane” procedural constraints which may have damaged its operational capacity, leaked diplomatic cables claimed.  Intercepted confidential US Embassy correspondences – seen exclusively by The Daily Star – paint a picture of an investigation plagued by bureaucracy, poor management and staff shortages.  The Daily Star has obtained a tranche of cables sent from the US Embassy in Beirut to the US State Department over a period of several years. They reveal allegations of political duplicity, external meddling in domestic affairs and scathing assessments of both Lebanese and international officials.

Siniora: Office attack will not spur change in policy
SIDON: Former Prime Minister Fouad Siniora said over the weekend that an attack on his office near the southern coastal city of Sidon would not drive him to change his “principles.”

Al-Akhbar and Wikileaks, As`ad Abukhalil
This I can report to you because many of you have been asking me.  Yes, those documents that are being released by Al-Akhbar are Wikileaks from a larger collection (and more, much more are to follow).  Al-Akhbar has been acting very responsibly toward those documents: handling them with care and caution and showing concern for the lives of people (innocent people) involved.  Al-Akhbar has decided to go over them all again to redact what potentially could pose danger to lives of innocent people.  They will release them today at 3:00PM (Beirut Time).  Al-Akhbar will post a note to readers on Monday to explain their policies on the documents.  The political class of March 14 is stunned and very nervous: the release of the documents has been most embarrassing for them all, and for their masters in UAE and Saudi Arabia.  There political chatter has suddenly softened on the part of Prince Muqrin puppets in Beirut (in one Wikileak document, Fu’ad Sanyurah interrupts a meeting with US officials to take a call from Prince Muqrin and then another one from Prince Bandar).   In the handling of the newspaper, the paper is as independent as it has been since its founding.

Angry Arab: New York Times Distorts Politics of Lebanese Newspaper, Alex Kane
I don’t blog much about events in Lebanon because I haven’t read enough about the country nor have I been there, but I just wanted to highlight an example of the New York Times‘ distorted coverage of the Middle East on an issue other than Israel/Palestine, where their reporting is usually quite bad.

Noah Feldman learns about Lebanon (and about Al-Akhbar) from Hariri reporters, As`ad Abukhalil
Look at this racist, Noah Feldman (who does not believe that Arabs act rationally), only managed to talk to one side in Lebanon:  ”I discussed the rise of Hezbollah with Hanin Ghaddar, the managing editor of Now Lebanon…”  He did not mention that Now Hariri is a propaganda outlet for Hariri family.  And here he dares to talk about Al-Akhbar (a man who writes about Ghazzali and other Islamic theologians based on the translation of their work in English–at least in his last book which I had reviewed here–see below):  ”The cultural page of Hezbollah’s newspaper, Al-Akhbar, features articles about Jorge Luis Borges and photographs of women in tank tops and jeans—hardly the stuff of stereotypical Islamist propaganda. Hezbollah affiliates not only write reviews of the latest art shows, some of them actually participate in arts events organized by the leading secular-minded curators of Beirut.”  A man who does not read Arabic and is pleased with himself because he studied Arabic–we know what a few years of Arabic would do to your fluency in the language.  It is obvious that his few days visit to Lebanon relied on the briefings by the likes of Now Hariri reporters and editors.  No one in Lebanon except the Hariri family refers to Al-Akhbar as “Hezbollah’s newspaper.”  But Feldman is really really that ignorant.  It is not that he is dumb–that is another matter–but he is really genuinely ignorant about his subject matter. When I read Feldman about Islamic law, I really sincerely miss every classical Orientalist who ever wrote about Islam.  He is that ignorant.  Tell that ignorant visitor to Beirut that Hizbullah does not support gay rights–which the newspaper supports–unless he believes that Hizbullah is now a feminist organization which advocates gay and lesbian rights.   But what do you expect from a guy who learns about Lebanon from reporters at the most vulgar propaganda outlet, known as Now Lebanon.  I mean, all those who know about Lebanon talk about that site but only to mock it and mock its coverage.  This is a site that was founded by `Uqab Saqr–for potato’s sake. Enough said.

Noah Feldman, As`ad Abukhalil
The last I needed is for Noah Feldman to write about Beirut.  I had written about this man before: someone who said before congress that people in the Middle East don’t often act rationally.   Look what he said here in the Wall Street Journal:  ”Hezbollah provoked Israel into a war by crossing the border to kidnap two Israeli soldiers.”  I guess that French resistance also provoked Hitler by running a campaign of assassinations that targeted not only Nazi collaborators but often their wives and children.

Noah Feldman gets the pulse of the Lebanese public, As`ad Abukhalil
Look at his contacts in Lebanon who educate him about Lebanon: “To check this theory, I spoke to Mohamed Choucair, the president of the Federation of Chambers of Commerce of Lebanon and the CEO of Patchi chocolates, the region’s largest candy manufacturer. We were sitting in the cigar bar of Le Gray hotel near Martyrs’ Square with Paula Yacoubian, Beirut’s answer to Oprah Winfrey, and her husband, Moafac Harb, formerly the news director of the U.S.-government-funded Arabic television network Alhurra.”  He did not even say that Shuqayr (not Shuqayr–a professor of Islamic law who does not know the rules of Arabic transliteration) is a lackey of Hariri family.  And he does not say that Yacoubian is a TV reporter on Hariri TV and that no one–except someone who does not know a thing about Lebanon and who can’t watch Arabic TV– would say that she is comparable to Oprah.

Cultural Ministry website in Lebanon hacked: shows news of attacks on Syrian workers in Lebanon
Attacks on Syrian workers featured on the website of Cultural Ministry in Lebanon.

Sunday: 5 Iraqis Killed, 5 Wounded
Iraq was remarkably quiet today even though security officials said that foreign fighters have been entering Iraq and could be behind some of the notable attacks in recent months. At least five Iraqis were killed and five more were wounded in light violence. Among the casualties was an elderly Christian couple.

Iraq: Gunmen kill elderly Christian couple inside their Baghdad home
Attackers gunned down an elderly Christian couple late Sunday inside their Baghdad home, the latest in a string of religious-rooted violence that has spurred international outcry and a full-court press for justice from Iraqi authorities.

More foreign fighters seen slipping back into Iraq (AP)
AP – Intelligence officials say foreign fighters have been slipping back into Iraq in larger numbers recently and may have been behind some of the most devastating attacks this year, reviving a threat the U.S. military believed had been almost entirely eradicated.*

Zebari rebuffs clemency calls for Aziz as Frattini visits Iraq
BAGHDAD: Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari rebuffed a call for clemency against the execution for Saddam-era minister Tareq Aziz that was made by his visiting Italian counterpart Franco Frattini Sunday.

Iraq considers Riyadh regime a bigger threat than Iran
Senior figures in the Iraqi government view Saudi Arabia as a greater threat to their country’s security than Iran, according to WikiLeaks’ latest release.

US cable describes controversial Saddam execution (AFP)
AFP – A newly-leaked US diplomatic cable describes in detail the circumstances of Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein’s execution, from guards telling him to “go to hell” to officials taking mobile phone pictures.*

Life A Bitter Struggle for Displaced Iraqi Female Heads of Households Returning Home
Food, lack of work and health care remain the major obstacles to recovery among displaced Iraqi female heads of households who have returned home, says IOM.  In its latest survey on displacement in Iraq with a special focus on female-headed households, IOM assessed 1,355 displaced families headed by a woman which have returned to their former homes.

Iraqi school for Roma is basic, but gives hope (AFP)
AFP – It might look modest, but the tent that acts as a class room and the car that doubles as an office are, for the Roma who attend lessons there, the first school of its kind in Iraqi Kurdistan.*

U.S. and other world news
“Republicans in the Senate are telling AIPAC “don’t you dare.”
AIPAC,.. is afraid of defying right-wing Republicans in the Senate. Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ), in particular, is telling AIPAC “don’t you dare.” His reason is simple: Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has ordered Republicans to block anything the President submits to the Senate except, of course, tax cuts for millionaires. That includes START.  (The good news is that Kyl may come around and then AIPAC can too.) The case that START is critical to Israel is impossible to dispute. In a letter to AIPAC, Senators Carl Levin (D-MI) and Chuck Schumer (D-NY) explain that there is one gigantic factor that should matter more to the so-called pro-Israel lobby than pleasing Republicans: Iran. Rejecting the treaty will probably cause Russia to abandon the US-led effort to prevent Iran from getting nuclear weapons.

Mosque shuns FBI informant
Muslims took out restraining order against an FBI agent sent to spy on them. The agent is suing his former handlers.

Hunt for WikiLeaks founder Assange appears ‘politically motivated,’ says lawyer
LONDON: The pursuit of WikiLeaks’ founder Julian Assange appears to have “political motivations,” his lawyer said Sunday, as the elusive boss of the whistle-blowing website is wanted on sex assault allegations.

Assange Accuser Worked with US-Funded, CIA-Tied Anti-Castro Group
Julian Assange’s chief accuser in Sweden has a significant history of work with anti-Castro groups, at least one of which is US funded and openly supported by a former CIA agent convicted in the mass murder of seventy three Cubans on an airliner he was involved in blowing up.

US tries to keep troops in Iraq away from WikiLeaks (AFP)
AFP – The US military in Iraq is trying to prevent soldiers from viewing WikiLeaks documents and has posted a web advisory suggesting they could be breaking the law, a spokeswoman said on Saturday.*

Assange threatens to release ‘poison pill’ if arrested or killed
There is a new threat from the founder of the whistleblower website WikiLeaks.  Julian Assange will release a “poison pill” that contains a “deluge” of secret information if he is killed, arrested or his website is permanently shut down, Daily Mail reports.  “Due to recent attacks on our infrastructure, we’ve decided to make sure everyone can reach our content. As part of this process we’re releasing archived copy of all files we ever released,” WikiLeaks said in a message on its site.

Senate GOP leader: WikiLeaks head a ‘terrorist’
Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell is calling the founder of the online site WikiLeaks a “high-tech terrorist” for releasing classified material from the U.S. government.

House of Saud reacts to Wikileaks
Prince Turki Al-Faysal (close friend of Bin Laden and of Mullah Omar) calls for the beheading of those who are releasing Wikileaks.

Julian Assange’s lawyers say they are being watched
Lawyers representing the WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange, say that they have been surveilled by members of the security services and have accused the US state department of behaving “inappropriately” by failing to respect attorney-client protocol.

Reporters Sans Frontières statement on WikiLeaks
This is the first time we have seen an attempt at the international community level to censor a website dedicated to the principle of transparency.

Ron Paul: ‘What we need is more WikiLeaks’
Popular Texas Republican Congressman Ron Paul is no stranger to breaking with his party, but in a recent television appearance the libertarian-leaning Rep. went even further than any member of Congress in defending whistleblower website WikiLeaks.

US forced to shake up embassies around the world after WikiLeaks revelations
Battered by a scandal which seems to provide a fresh wave of embarrassment with each passing day, the US government is being forced to undertake a major reshuffle of the embassy staff, military personnel and intelligence operatives whose work has been laid bare by the whistle-blowing website WikiLeaks.

State Department To Columbia University Students: DO NOT Discuss WikiLeaks On Facebook, Twitter
Talking about WikiLeaks on Facebook or Twitter could endanger your job prospects, a State Department official warned students at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs this week.  An email from SIPA’s Office of Career Services went out Tuesday afternoon with a caution from the official, an alumnus of the school. Students who will be applying for jobs in the federal government could jeopardize their prospects by posting links to WikiLeaks online, or even by discussing the leaked documents on social networking sites, the official was quoted as saying.

“In addition, Arab rulers, despite all the weapons their states have bought from America and elsewhere, again find themselves exposed to their own people as impotent to handle a serious regional problem. They appear totally dependent on the United States, a country that is deeply unpopular among Arabs for its policies in the region, to take care of it for them.”

US believes Al Jazeera is ‘propaganda tool of Qatar’
The United States government thinks the broadcaster Al Jazeera is being used as a propaganda tool by the government of Qatar to help to advance its agenda on the international stage, according to a memo published by WikiLeaks yesterday.

Al Jazeera rejects leaked US claims
Al Jazeera says the leaked US cables about the network is very far from the truth.

US embassy cables: Saudis praise American strike against al-Qaida in Yemen

US cables: Yemen offered US ‘open door’ to attack al-Qaida on its soil
Dispatches reveal president’s secret deal to let US launch missile attacks on Aqap, but claim it as Yemen’s own work.

Former Aussie PM asked US to be prepared to ‘use force’ against China
Wikileaks: The former PM, who is also Australia’s current Foreign Affairs minister, reportedly maintained that deploying force should be an option ‘if everything goes wrong’ with regards to the communist state.

In wake of WikiLeaks, Iran tells Gulf Arabs: We’re not a threat to Mideast
Iran FM tries to lower tensions with Gulf Arab leaders after a WikiLeaks cable reported they are worried about Tehran’s nuclear program.

Cat and mouse: Iranian foreign minister shakes hands with senior U.S. official… but dodges Hillary Clinton, Josh Rogin
MANAMA, Bahrain—U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton tried to speak with Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki twice on Friday, pursuing him both inside and outside the gala dinner here at the Ritz Carlton in Manama. But Mottaki deliberately avoided contact with her both times.  “If he comes to the dinner, I’ll probably see him. But he doesn’t talk to me,” Clinton told The Cable in our exclusive interview just hours before the event.

A resurgent Syria alarms U.S., Israel
BEIRUT — Syria’s fresh interference in Lebanon and its increasingly sophisticated weapons shipments to Hezbollah have alarmed American officials and prompted Israel’s military to consider a strike against a Syrian weapons depot that supplies the Lebanese militia group, U.S. and Israeli officials.

US government on elections in Egypt and Iran
Egypt:  “When State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley was asked on Tuesday what would be the administration’s “next step,” he said only that “we will continue to raise our concerns where appropriate...”  Iran:  “The White House said human rights “are a matter of moral and pragmatic necessity for the United States” and the United States “will always stand with those in Iran who aspire to have their voices heard.”

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