And more news from Today in Palestine:
Settlers/ Land, Property, Resource Theft & Destruction/Ethnic Cleansing
Half of Israeli Arabs to become citizens of Palestinian state: Israeli FM
JERUSALEM, Dec. 23 (Xinhua) — Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman claims that at least half of Israel’s Arab residents would likely end up as citizens of the future Palestinian state, following territorial and population swaps as part of a possible peace agreement to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
U.S. criticizes PA bid to take settlement construction to UN
Foreign Ministry and the Prime Minister’s Bureau continue talks with members of the Security Council in an attempt to thwart the resolution.
Israeli settlers building 100 illegal homes: NGO (AFP)
AFP – Israeli settlers have illegally begun work on at least 100 homes in the occupied West Bank since the end of a freeze on settlement construction, Israel’s Peace Now movement said on Thursday.
Villagers watch settlement homes multiply
NABLUS (Ma’an) — West Bank monitors said settlers in the northern region set up 20 new mobile units on the outskirts of the illegal settlements of Eli and Shilo, across from the village of Qaryut. The report came from PA officials as Israeli newspapers announced the number of new homes approved for construction on occupied lands reached 13,000 since the end of the building freeze on September 26.
Israeli Bedouin village razed for the 8th time
RAMALLAH: The Israeli Lands Administration (ILA) inspectors backed by large police forces on Thursday demolished the unrecognized Bedouin village of Al-Araqib for the eighth time in recent months.
13 Homeless After Home Demolition in Ras al Ahmud
Tuesday, Israeli authorities demolished a Palestinian home in Ras al Ahmud, East Jerusalem. ISM activists interviewed family members left homeless by the senseless demolition. On December 19, 2010, Israeli soldiers entered the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Ras al Ahmud and left a demolition notice on the window of a Palestinian home. The families inside were faced with a wrenching decision: demolish their own home and pay a fine of 60,000 shekels or refuse and watch as soldiers demolish their house and punish them with a fine of 120,000 shekels. Soldiers showed up outside with a bulldozer. Finally, on December 21, they tore down their own house.
Israeli military to expel Jerusalem Arab from city (AFP)
AFP – The Israeli military has ordered an east Jerusalem Palestinian out of the city for four months for allegedly organising protests against Israeli settlement there, the army and media said on Thursday.
Help Silwan Resident Adnan Gheith Stay in Jerusalem, Joseph Dana
From Mohammed Khatib, Director of Popular Struggle Coordination Committee, I know the Occupation in and out – I lived under it my entire life, but even I cannot imagine being in Adnan Gheith’s position. I don’t want to believe that something like this is possible, and I want to do all I can to stop what israel is trying to do to him.
Yitzhar settlers blamed for attack on farmers
NABLUS (Ma’an) — Officials from the northern West Bank village of Madama accused settlers from the neighboring Israeli colony of Yitzhar of attacking a group of farmers ploughing lands near the settlement fence on Thursday morning. Hasan Zeyadeh, member of the Madma village council, said the farmers were on lands south of the village when a group of religious Jews approached them, throwing rocks and shouting abuses, and telling them to leave the area.
J’lem: Hundreds gather supporting W.Bank construction
Right wing activists fill Zion Square at rally saying “Yes to building, no to making concessions”; issue of identity of Jewish state also raised. Hundreds of people took part in a demonstration taking place Thursday evening at Zion Square in Jerusalem in support of settlement construction in the West Bank. Right wing activists, among others, expressed opposition to a renewal of the settlement freeze, under the banner of the event titled “Yes to building, no to making concessions.”
Rediscovering Holy Land sites
A number of churches in the West Bank have remained hidden from view, which Palestinians blame on Israel’s monopoly over tourism. Called the forgotten churches, the Christian sites are not found on most operated tours of the Holy Land. But some operators are trying to change that. Christian pilgrims are now able to get a look at some of the previously hidden historical sites. Al Jazeera’s Nour Odeh reports.
Activism/Solidarity/Boycott, Divestment & Sanctions
Army Raids the House of a Popular Committee Member in Beit Ummar Using Live Ammunition
Soldiers from the Karmei Tzur settlement/military base invaded a civilian house this afternoon in Beit Ummar using live ammunition and sound bombs. During the raid, woman and children were injured as the soldiers harassed one of the Popular Committee leaders of the village.
Israeli Military Attacks Women, Children, Wedding During Beit Ommar Invasion
Thursday, December 23, at 3:00 in the afternoon, Israeli soldiers entered Beit Ommar from the Karmei Tsur settlement. Without reason, they invaded the home of Ibrahim Abu Maria, member of the National Committee of Beit Ommar. His home is near the Karmei Tsur settlement and the area where non-violent demonstrations organized by the National Committee and the Palestine Solidarity Project begin every Saturday. Today, soldiers burst into the home, insisting on occupying the roof. When Ibrahim’s wife, Fadwa Arrar, refused access and attempted to shield her small children, aged 11 and 6, she was viciously attacked by soldiers, who beat her about the face and head. Her neighbor, Mona Abu Maria, heard the home invasion and came over to assist her and her family. An Israeli soldier threw a sound grenade which exploded on her arm.
Christmas Eve Protest in al Walaja
Dec 23, 2010– The day before Christmas, Palestinians from the Bethlehem district will gather in the village al Walajah to demonstrate against the Wall and settlements that threaten to encircle the village and turn it into an open air prison. With the destruction of land currently occurring, protest organizers hope to bring the plight of al Walaja, and the Bethlehem district as a whole, to the attention of world during this holiday season.
Five still held for blocking bulldozers in al Walaja
Dec 23, 2010– Yesterday morning, residents of the village of al Walaja blocked Occupation bulldozers clearing a path for the Wall. In response, soldiers attacked the protestors and arrested eight Palestinians, among them youth and activists with the popular resistance.
FBI Expands Probe into Antiwar Activists
The FBI’s probe into antiwar activists is growing. In September, FBI agents raided the homes and offices of activists in Chicago and Minneapolis. Subpoenas that were withdrawn have been reactivated, and a new subpoena was served to a Palestinian solidarity activist in Chicago. We speak with two of the people targeted and two former FBI agents. [includes rush transcript]
Beit Jala parish boycotts controversial patriarch
Beit Jala’s Greek Orthodox community was protesting the participation of church patriarchs and officials in a ceremony organized by Israel’s Ministry of Tourism, which marked the re-paving and renovations to religious sites in the occupied West Bank. Church communities saw the move as a sign of continued cooperation between the patriarchy and Israel. One year ago, the Greek Orthodox Church leased land to Israeli developers for the expansion of Israeli-only settlements on lands occupied by Israel in 1967.
#BDS: International companies consider ending operations in West Bank settlement
A number of international companies are now considering closing down their branches in Israeli settlements in the West Bank, in what seems to be the growing momentum of the boycott movement. “Some of these companies were closed due to pressure exerted by the EU,” said Israeli newspaper Maariv on Wednesday. The newspaper noted that Mul-T-Lock, a locks manufacturer, was the first to shut its branches in Israeli settlements, as a result of a boycott on its settlement-produced goods.
St. Louis Palestine Solidarity Committee, “WMG, Motorola, and YouTube: Censoring Palestinian Solidarity Flash Mob Video”
YouTube took down a Motorola boycott flash mob video, in deference to WMG’s copyright claim. But parodies of songs are protected under Campbell v. Acuff-Rose. Furthermore, while it is unclear how WMG has any interest in the copyright, WMG’s relationship with Motorola is well known.
Buying into Occupation and War: The implications of military ties between South America and Israel
Israeli military exports to South America have been on the rise in the recent years. Brazil is gearing up to become the gateway for Israeli military technology and companies. Israel continues to be a top supplier of the Colombian military. Ecuador, while not having extensive military ties with Israel, has recently purchased drone aircraft. Chile, already a buyer of Israeli arms, also has expressed interest in similar drone technology.
Resistance Floats: Canadian boat to break the blockade on Gaza
MONTREAL — Just months after the Israeli Defense Forces raided a humanitarian flotilla headed to Gaza and killed nine international activists on the Mavi Marmara, a team of Canadians is gathering funds and passengers for their own Gaza-bound boat, departing from the Mediterranean as soon as December.
Seattle nixes bus ads decrying Israeli war crimes, Philip Weiss
I got the news from the Jewish Federation, in an email a friend passed along: Dear [—] Thanks to the efforts of the Jewish Federation, and our partners at the American Jewish Committee, the Anti-Defamation League, and StandWithUs NW – as well as the many supporters and concerned citizens in the community who contacted elected officials and Metro representatives – we are pleased to share that the County Executive and Metro have announced an interim policy that will not allow non-commercial advertising on buses. In short, there will be no anti-Israel ads appearing on Seattle buses.
Siege/Rights Violations/Restriction of Movement
Helping the children of Gaza, two years on
Two years after “Operation Cast Lead” and Gaza’s residents, more than half of whom are under 18, are still feeling the effects of that devastating conflict. UNRWA has continued to educate more than 200,000 children and provide them with vital psycho-social support and recreational activities.
Rights group highlights Gaza closure
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights has released a new report on the “Illegal Closure of the Gaza Strip: Collective Punishment of the Civilian Population.” The closure was imposed following Hamas’ takeover in 2007. This form of closure has been continuously applied to the so-called “hostile entity,” cutting off 1.7 million individuals from the outside world. Gazans are not allowed to travel, with few exceptions mainly for humanitarian reasons. Egypt has largely enforced the closure, though it and Israel have lifted certain restrictions in recent months.
Asian activists seeking to bring relief to besieged Gaza arrive in Lebanon
BEIRUT: A delegation of Asian activists from 17 nations arrived Thursday in Lebanon to pick up local supporters in the latest bid to bring relief to besieged Gaza. At a news conference the activists said their aim was to support a lifting of the siege on Gaza and promote boycott efforts aimed at pressuring Israel. Indian national Bushreddine Mohammad Ali, the director of the Asian delegation, told reporters that “our aim is to entirely liberate Palestine, break the siege on Gaza and boycott Israel’s economy.”
In Bethlehem, shepherds watching their flocks by night are a dying breed
Jewish settlements, Israeli army checkpoints, closed military zones and the separation wall make them an increasing rarity. If an “angel of the Lord” were to appear in the sky over Bethlehem today, there would be scarcely any shepherds keeping watch over their flocks to witness the scene. Spending nights and days in the fields herding sheep has become an almost impossible task for the fast-diminishing community of shepherds in this biblical Palestinian town.
In Bethlehem tourism is reborn, but only for a few
Artists have made a tidy sum depicting an imaginary scene where a pregnant Mary and Joseph are puzzled by Israel’s separation wall blocking their entry into Bethlehem.
Gaza victimized by double standard, Ann Wright
As a long swath of Israel’s coast was consumed by a raging fire earlier this month that killed more than 40 people, the world quickly came to Israel’s aid. The Europeans sent planes and equipment, and the Americans helped, too. New York’s renowned fire department shipped much-needed retardant to the Eastern Mediterranean, and even the fire brigades of Egypt, Jordan and the Palestinians sent help to their one-time enemies and current occupiers, respectively. The Turkish government joined the outpouring of help, despite Israel’s May 31, 2010, attack on a Turkish-flagged ship in an international flotilla heading to Gaza with humanitarian aid and the murder of nine of its citizens (including one dual American-Turkish citizen) by Israeli commandos in international waters.
Racism and Discrimination
Tibi: This is most racist Knesset ever
MK Levin proud of success at preventing Arab MK’s equal opportunities bill from being discussed, but following Ynet report decides to allow debate.
Arabs flee home due to racist threats
Four Muslims, Druze forced out of rented flat in Tel Aviv after neighbors, who say rabbi told them Arabs must leave, vandalize their home and threaten to attach explosives to their car. ‘I felt humiliated by hatred,’ says Abbas, who served in IDF. But residents claim Arabs were less than neighborly: ‘At night we are afraid to walk around neighborhood,’ says one woman.
There’s an ugly volk vibe in this racist Tel Aviv rally against miscegenation and integration, Philip Weiss
Here’s a friend’s video from a demonstration in a Tel Aviv neighborhood called Bat Yam three nights back, against relationships between Palestinians and Jews, and against Palestinians living in certain neighborhoods. Notice how many of the racists are young.
Supporters of rabbis’ letter: We’re not racists
Rightists gather in Jerusalem’s Zion Square to express support for call to ban sale or rental of property to Arabs; organizers distribute religious edict banning negotiations on West Bank territories: ‘PM conducting talks with Hussein Obama’s emissaries’.
OECD urges Israel to fund new Arab college in Nazareth
Organization’s report claims that investing in higher education in the Arab community would carry mid-term and long-term benefits for the economy.
Twilight zone / The long road to treatment, Gideon Levy
Sonia and Osama Rasras encountered many obstacles – and much help – in their campaign to get their daughter medical treatment. But the battle is far from over.
Austrian Jews chide Likud MK for meeting far-right leader
President of Austria’s Jewish community complains to Netanyahu, charging that the meeting is a ‘stab in the back.’
Lieberman tells associates: No IDF conversion bill, no state budget
Controversial bill threatens to damage Netanyahu’s delicate relations with the Haredi parties in his government.
As phones go dead, East Jerusalem residents lament Bezeq service
The lines were cut after three routers were vandalized twice in the neighborhoods of Beit Hanina and Shoafat.
Israeli gunboats fire at Palestinian fishing boats
Israeli gunboats opened heavy machinegun fire at Palestinian fishing boats off the southern Gaza Strip coast of Rafah on Wednesday night, press sources reported.
Medics: Israel gunfire injures 4 on Gaza border
GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — Israeli gunfire injured four Palestinian workers early Thursday in the Gaza Strip, medical officials said. Medical services spokesman Adham Abu Salmiya said a 14-year-old boy was seriously injured in the head while collecting stone aggregates. A 22-year-old shepherd was seriously injured by shots to the back, the medics said.
Palestinian medic: Israel kills Gaza shepherd
GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip — A Palestinian medic says the Israeli army shot and killed a shepherd near Gaza’s border with Israel. Adham Abu Salmia said the man was leading his goats in an open area near Gaza’s Erez border crossing with Israel Thursday when he was shot. He died later in hospital. Another man with him was wounded. The Israeli army said Gaza militants use the area to attack Israelis, so it allows no one to enter. It says soldiers fired warning shots at two men before shooting them in the lower body. Violence has escalated in recent weeks on Gaza’s borders. Israel says the ruling Hamas militant group recently fired a tank-piercing missile for the first time. The army says it is deploying technology that can shoot down incoming projectiles before they hit.
Two Palestinians critically injured in IOF shooting in Al-Khalil
Two Palestinian citizens were critically injured on Thursday morning in Al-Khalil city at the hands of the Israeli occupation forces (IOF), witnesses reported.
Detainees (Held by Israel & Hamas)
Three Arrested Near Jenin in Morning Raid
On Thursday morning, Israeli troops invaded an area near the northern West Bank city of Jenin, and kidnapped three Palestinians, the Palestine News Network reported.
New legislation on the detention of “security” suspects
The Israeli Knesset passed a new law on 20 December authorizing the Israeli police to hold “security” detainees for 48 hours without access to a lawyer. The detention period may be extended to 6 days before they must be brought before a judge or granted access to a lawyer. “Security” detainees are those classified by police as those detained on suspicion of posing threat to the security of the Israeli state. By law, the Supreme Court has the right to accept or deny an extension request, which must in turn be approved by the legal counsel of the Israeli government.
Prisoners Group Brings Relief Behind Bars
Over 10,000 Palestinians are suffering human rights abuses in Israeli jails, many of whom have not been convicted of any crime. A grass-roots initiative is aiming to provide representation to forgotten detainees.
West Bank medical chief: Gaza cops detained workers
NABLUS (Ma’an) — General Director of the military medical services in Nablus Khalil An-Naqib said Sunday that police in the Gaza Strip detained two of his employees, who had been working in hospitals. According to An-Naqib, Yousef Sa’ad and Ahmad A’wadallah refused to work in hospitals taken over by the Hamas government, and were detained Tuesday when they again refused to work with institutions run by the Islamist party.
UN: Israel, Hamas seeking to reduce recent Gaza tension
Rocket and mortar fire from the Gaza Strip have increased in recent weeks in the run-up to the second anniversary of Israel’s winter 2008-09 offensive against Hamas.
IOF soldier admits killing Gaza civilian woman
Palestine, December 23, (Pal Telegraph) – The Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported that a soldier in the Givati Brigade, in the Israeli occupation army, called S. admitted that he shot a woman carrying a white flag in the upper body. About half an hour later, S. then told the Military Police, the company commander arrived and S. was stunned by his response. “He told me, in front of everyone, ‘You’re a cold-blooded murderer, you’ll go to hell,'” S. said. “When I tried to tell him, ‘But those were your orders,’ he told me, ‘Shut up. You won’t remain in my company.” the newspaper added. S. related that, during Cast Lead, after shouting suddenly erupted nearby, his platoon commander ordered him to the lookout post. He saw seven people approaching – “I don’t remember a white flag. And then the shooting began,” S. said, the newspaper reported.
Israel threatens scorched earth policy in any future Lebanon war
The Israeli army might resort to scorched earth policy in any future military confrontation with the Lebanese Hizbullah party militias, an Israeli army source said.
Rezqa: Israel boosting military presence to justify future strikes on Gaza
Dr. Yousef Rezqa said Wednesday that Israel is aiming by its recent boost of military presence around the Gaza Strip to produce enough media justifications to continue assassinating Gazans by air.
Funding government proving tough: Hamas (AFP)
AFP – Gaza’s Hamas-run government admitted on Thursday it is finding it hard to come up with the 25 million dollars a month it needs to fund its budget.
Hamas suspends reconciliation talks with Fatah
DAMASCUS, Dec. 23 (Xinhua) — Damascus-based senior Hamas official Musa Abu Marzouq declared Thursday that Hamas has decided to suspend reconciliation talks with its Palestinian secular rival Fatah, Hamas official website reported. “There will not be any meeting with Fatah as long as it continues ignoring Hamas’ prisoners who are in hunger strike,” Abu Marzouq said.
Dahlan: Investigation to clear up ‘misunderstanding’
RAMALLAH (Ma’an) — Sources close to the Fatah Central Committee confirmed reports that prominent member Muhammad Dahlan was being investigated, but would not confirm the nature of the accusations being probed. On Saturday, Israeli daily newspaper Haaretz published a report saying that the Palestinian Authority had questioned men who admitted they were hired by Dahlan to start a militia in the West Bank.
Uruguay plans to recognize Palestinian state
Joining Argentina, Brazil and Bolivia, Uraguay Foreign Minister Luis Almagro says his country is studying implications of decision with regard to international law.
Mitchell: Lack of U.S. involvement in Mideast could lead to outbreak of violence
U.S. envoy tells a Maine television network that no president would stand by and let the Mideast conflict erupt as it would not be in America’s strategic interests.
Palestinian delegate to U.S.
Congress shouldn’t interfere in Mideast peace process: Maen Rashid Areikat: Israelis and Palestinians, not the U.S. Congress, will decide the future of the conflict; parents of Rachel Corrie receive award at event marking International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People.
Democrats up in arms over hints of reduced aid for Israel
Democrats are blasting the prospect that a GOP-led House of Representatives might trim aid to Israel or consider it separately from the rest of the foreign aid budget.
Netanyahu: World blames Palestinians
JERUSALEM, Dec. 23 (UPI) — The world is starting to realize it’s the Palestinians, not the Israelis, obstructing Mideast peace, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said Thursday. Palestinian officials refuse to move ahead with the peace process due to Iranian pressure and tensions within the Fatah political party, Netanyahu told a group of Russian-speaking journalists. His remarks were reported by Israel Radio. The world also understands the nuclear arming of Iran is the Middle East’s main problem now, not the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Israel Radio quoted Netanyahu as telling the journalists.
Netanyahu: World starting to understand that Israel is not obstacle to Mideast peace
Prime minister blames lack of progress in peace process on Iran’s influence as well as internal divisions within Fatah.
Syrian security detains local spy operating for Israel
DAMASCUS, Dec. 23 (Xinhua) — Syrian authorities recently have arrested a prominent Syrian security official on charge of espionage for Israel, local Damascus Press news website reported on Thursday. Syrian security could arrest the spy through coordination with Egyptian security which has provided Damascus with information about a spy ring operating in eavesdropping on Syria’s telecommunication for Israel’s favor, the report quoted Egyptian sources as saying. The Syrian authority will uncover soon the results of investigation with the arrested official, according to the report.
Nazareth suburb’s mayor: Christmas trees ‘provocative’
NAZARETH ILLIT, Israel (AFP) — The mayor of a Jewish suburb of Nazareth sparked outrage on Wednesday after refusing to allow Christmas trees to be placed in town squares, calling them provocative. Predominantly Jewish Nazareth Illit, or Upper Nazareth, is adjacent to Nazareth, where Christians believe Jesus spent much of his life. It has a sizable Arab Christian minority, as does mostly Muslim Nazareth itself.
Anger after Nazareth suburb bans Christmas tree
BETHLEHEM, West Bank (Ma’an) — Christmas festivities in the Holy Land focus on the West Bank town of Bethlehem, where Christians believe Jesus was born and the Palestinian Authority hosts annual celebrations. Israel’s government highlights events in Nazareth, a predominantly Palestinian city in Israel where Jesus is believed to have spent much of his life growing up with his mother Mary and her husband Joseph.
The Unexpected Sound of Christmas: Palestinians and the Bagpipe
Bethlehem – PNN – To an outsider, Palestinian culture can be recalled with a few recognizable motifs: the keffiyeh, the olive tree, a plate of hummus, or a Darwish poem. On the other hand, bagpipes must be definitively, categorically Scottish. But it is the bagpipes that Palestinian scout troupes play throughout the year—many in Bethlehem training for the scouts’ annual procession into Manger Square on Christmas day—and it is this tradition that unwraps new understandings of Palestinian culture and the instrument itself.
Haaretz journalist doubles as anti-“delegitimization” operative
Haaretz has an international reputation as Israel’s most liberal and reliable newspaper. But The Electronic Intifada has discovered that one of the newspaper’s regularly-featured reporters, Cnaan Liphshiz, used his news reports for the publication to promote the agenda of an extreme pro-Israel group with which he was also employed. Ali Abunimah reports.
With rape verdict looming, most Israelis believe former president Katsav is guilty
Poll shows 57 percent of secular people believe Katsav is guilty as opposed to 26 percent of Orthodox and ultra-Orthodox people.
Chief rabbis: Fight ‘abortion epidemic’
Metzger, Amar instruct local rabbis to discuss abortion prohibition, calling it ‘murder of souls’. Israel’s Chief Rabbis Yona Metzger and Shlomo Amar on Monday called on all Israeli rabbis to fight the “abortion epidemic in our country.” Just as in previous years, the chief rabbis sent a letter to rabbis all across Israel instructing them to “bring up the Exodus Torah reading during their sermon on Saturday regarding the “biblical prohibition to kill fetuses in their mothers’ intestines.”
Former Gaza settlers seek to join the kibbutz movement
The families, most of whom were evicted from Atzmona and Kfar Darom say they ‘do not hold a grudge’ against the movement for supporting the disengagement.
The world will be a much safer place when American Jews stop believing these 4 bad ideas, Philip Weiss
1. America’s not safe for us. (Look around, pal; we have complete freedom here)
2. We need a place to land when things get too hot in Brooklyn. (See #1; and so you warehouse a country in the Middle East– and the people who were born there can’t even move there.)
3. Israel depends for its safety on our unending support. (The opposite is true. Israel and the wonderful Jews who live there will survive only if they learn to live with their neighbors.)
4. We’re smarter than other people. (I guess it was true once. No longer. See beliefs 1, 2, and 3. Young Jews are now learning to argue that Jim Crow is a beautiful thing. Lord Acton said power corrupts, and our tradition of intelligence is dissolving under the weight of power.)
Stealth Resolutions by Congress, Philip Giraldi
Most Americans have a negative perception of Congress. It is not hard to figure out why when one learns that most congressmen spend much of their time raising money so they can be reelected. I for one am not bothered by that aspect of the legislative experience because I believe that if they are out pursuing money they are keeping out of trouble, except when they are simultaneously raising the cash illegally and concealing large packages of it in their freezers.
Obama’s Indecisiveness Defines His Presidency, Ramzy Baroud
He may still possess the poise of a confident leader and an eloquent intellectual, but the presidency of Barack Obama is now suffering its most difficult phase to date. Certainly, Obama cannot solely be blamed for all the factors that have stifled his country’s chances of recovery from the failures of the Bush era. But the man who promised the moon has now extended the abhorrent and morally unjustifiable tax cuts for America’s wealthiest class. The “sweeping” $858 billion tax bill was signed into law on December 17. It includes an $801 billion package of tax cuts, extending Bush’s tax break for the rich for two more years – at a time when the majority of Americans are reeling under the weight of a failing economy and persistently high unemployment.
Freedom of the Press in the Arab World, Abdel-Qader Yassine
Coming from the land where two thousand years ago, four men named John, Matthew, Mark and Luke exercised a form of journalism never equalled since, I begin with the quotation: “Know ye the Truth and Truth shall make thee free.” Indeed, those three words: Knowledge, Truth, and Freedom, are interrelated concepts crucial to the understanding of our topic.
Lebanon PM: I will stand by Hezbollah if Hariri tribunal convicts resistance
Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri said on Tuesday that Lebanon will ask the United Nations to halt the probe of an international tribunal into the 2005 assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, the Lebanese newspaper a-Diar reported on Wednesday.
Thursday: 3 Iraqis Killed, 10 Wounded
At least three Iraqis were killed and 10 more were wounded in light violence. The sparse amount of reports trickling out of Iraq are likely due to the combination of Muslim and Christian holidays this month.
Iraqi general gunned down in Baghdad (AFP)
AFP – Gunmen using silenced weapons have killed three people in Baghdad, including an Iraqi brigadier general, and wounded two others, the defence and interior ministries said on Thursday.
Iraqi city struggles to understand student’s slaying
Witnesses say a 14-year-old boy in Najaf was beaten to death by classmates who styled themselves after toughs on a popular TV show. Elders bemoan a popular culture of violence. The 14-year-old boy, Ali, had refused to give up his stationery to the teenage bullies, witnesses said, so the youths waited for him after school. They gripped pencils, protractors and rocks. Instead of just beating him up, they allegedly proceeded to kill him as dozens of classmates watched.
Southern Iraqi city eyes break from Baghdad (AP)
AP – Over a recent dinner, two friends — both local businessmen — dished over a simmering topic in Iraq’s oil-rich port city: whether to boost Basra’s future by partially breaking away from the federal government in Baghdad.
Iraq refugees in Syria wait years for fresh start
DAMASCUS: Oshana Khamo is one of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis who have taken refuge in Syria from the violence at home and have been kept waiting for years to be resettled elsewhere to start a new life. He recalls how the UN’s High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) summoned him in 2009 to sort out the formalities of his moving to Germany.
Women press for more jobs in new Iraqi cabinet (Reuters)
Reuters – Iraq’s female lawmakers and rights advocates said they will push hard for jobs in Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki’s unfinished cabinet, after he named only one woman to the inner circle of his new government.
US memo: Israel bombed Syrian reactor
Cable leaked to WikiLeaks website, but yet to be published, is first and detailed confirmation of attack on Syrian nuclear facility. Document, revealed by Yedioth Ahronoth, was sent by then-Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to US representatives worldwide.
Assange is holding dirt on Israel because western newspapers didn’t want to publish it
This is what Walt and Mearsheimer said about the Israel lobby, it acts to protect Israel in the press. I am guessing Assange is referring to the New York Times, among other publications.
Assange promises info on Mabhouh, Lebanon War
WikiLeaks has barely begun to scratch surface of information it has on Israel, says founder.
Leaks show Indonesia military abuse
Memos revealed by WikiLeaks show US diplomats aware of extensive corruption and rights violations in West Papua.
UN Special Rapporteur on Wikileaks and the Promotion and Protection to Freedom of Opinion and Expression
The right to access to information protects the right of every person to access public information and to know what governments are doing on their behalf. – Without the protection of this right, it is impossible for citizens to know the truth
UN probes Manning’s jail treatment
Special rapporteur on torture looking into claims that US soldier suspected of feeding WikiLeaks is being mistreated.
Bradley Manning contradicts official accounts of his confinement
In a recent interview, the soldier accused of leaking documents to secrets website WikiLeaks disputed an official account of the conditions of his confinement. US Army Private First Class Bradley Manning told Firedoglake’s David House that claims that he is allowed exercise, proper bedding and access to news are simply untrue.
Daphne Eviatar: Bradley Manning’s Confinement Conditions Are ‘Not Customary’
Manning is held in maximum custody, alone in a six by 12 feet cell. He is not allowed sheets or pillows to sleep with. If he tries to do sit-ups, guards stop him. He’s also said to be a threat to himself. His lawyer says that’s a ruse.
Assange: US press should fear being targeted
WASHINGTON (AFP) – WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange said Wednesday that a US government effort to prosecute him should serve as a warning to journalists in the United States. Assange, in an interview with the MSNBC television network, said there has been a “quite deliberate attempt to split off our organization from the First Amendment protections that are afforded to all publishers.” The WikiLeaks founder said he considers himself a journalist and “we all have to stick together to resist this sort of reinterpretation of the First Amendment,” which guarantees the right to free speech.
Assange: ‘High chance’ I’d be killed ‘Jack Ruby-style’ in US prison
WikiLeaks chief Julian Assange said in an interview published Thursday there was a “high chance” he would be killed in a US jail if he were to be extradited from Britain on espionage charges., The Australian is on bail in Britain fighting a bid by Sweden to extradite him over sex assault claims, but Washington is believed to be considering how to indict him over the leaking of thousands of US diplomatic cables.
U.S. and other world news
Terje Roed Larsen (tool of US and House of Saud–who loves private jets of Hariri)
“The Norwegian newspaper Bergens Tidende reported on the 20th of December from Wikileaks document a report aboutt a private dinner with the American ambassador to Lebanon in August 2006. At the dinner, Norwegian Terje Roed Larsen told the ambassador that none of the possible candidates to take over the UN secretary general were acceptable. He said that the only person who should get the job was himself. And asked for US support. The ambassador described Roed Larsens ambitions with a solid dose of sarcasm. And then added in the cable: Roed Larsen went on to say «And if Prince Zaid of Jordan becomes the front-runner, then the U.S. should demand that Prince Zaid «have a ticket,» with – you guessed it, readers – Larsen as Deputy SYG,» It has to be added here that several years later, Mona Juul, Roed Larsen’s wife, broke the usual code of conduct for diplomats by openly criticizing Ban Ki-Moon, the man who got the job of UN secretary general instead of her husband and as the following document from the unforum point out, the written critique may not have been her work, but rather Roed Larsen’s handiwork.” From the hometown Norwegian newspaper of Larsen–translation by Michael.
Empire – Hollywood: The Pentagon calls the shots
Hollywood and the war machine: A look at the Pentagon’s influence on the film industry.