and other news from Today in Palestine:
Land, property & resources theft and destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Deportation / Settlers
Israeli settlers seize 20 dunums near Nablus
Nablus, December 26, (Pal Telegraph) – Israeli settlers from Shilo settlement seized on Sunday 20 dunums from Khrba Sera, in the south of eastern area of Nablus. The official of the settlement file in the West Bank, Ghasan Deglis, said that numbers of Israeli settlers are in the seized area and plowing the land. In the same context, Deglis said that three bulldozers are bulldozing lands near Barkh settlement in Eraq Boren in Nablus.
Jerusalem mayor holds off eviction of settlers from East Jerusalem home
18:53 26 Dec – Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat announced Sunday evening that the eviction of settlers from the contentious Beit Yonatan, an apartment building built illegally by Jewish settlers in East Jerusalem, will be postponed. The decision was made after settlers agreed not to press for the eviction of a Palestinian family living in a nearby building, which housed a Yemenite synagogue until the 1948 War of Independence.
Israeli court rejects settlers’ bid to postpone eviction of East Jerusalem home
14:10 26 Dec – Border Police stationed across East Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan; many anticipate long-waited evacuation of illegally constructed building of Beit Yonatan … It appears that at the same time that Jewish occupants are evicted from Beit Yonatan, police intend also to evict dozens of Palestinians from a nearby building so that it can be turned over to Jews. It is thought that such a move could spark violence in the neighborhood. This second building was constructed in the 19th century. It once housed the Ohel Shlomo synagogue, which served a small congregation of Yemenite Jews who lived in Silwan until the neighborhood came under Jordanian control in the 1948 War of Independence. For the past 50 years, it has been home to members of the extended Abu Nab family. They enlarged the structure, which now contains six apartments.
Fear and unrest in Silwan as soldiers surround village
26 Dec (ISM and SilwanIC) Since early this morning, Israeli forces have been surrounding the village of Silwan, creating fear among the villagers that a Palestinian family will be evicted. A new wave of unrest has overcome Silwan in the past few days, with two houses demolished on Christmas day, and clashes sweeping through the village on Friday after a young Palestinian was shot with a rubber bullet. The Silwan Information Center claims to have received exclusive information that an Israeli court has approved the eviction of a Palestinian family, in order to resettle the soon-to-be evicted settlers of the Beit Yonatan Settlement. Israeli courts have ordered that the Beit Yonatan settlement be evicted, so authorities are attempting to take over the Abu Nab on the grounds that it was once the site of a Yemenite Synagogue.
Barkat: Seal Arab home along with Beit Yonatan
23:57 25 Dec – Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat announced Saturday that the evacuation of a Jewish building in the east Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan known as Beit Yonatan will only be carried out parallel to the evacuation of the Arab Abu-Nab home – located in what was a Yemenite synagogue in the 1940’s. A statement issued Saturday evening says the mayor is relieving himself of all responsibility for Beit Yonatan, placing it instead on the Ateret Cohanim movement which housed the Jewish residents there.
Israel set to build and market 5,000 units in occupied East Jerusalem, West Bank
…Lawyer Qais Yousef Nasser, a specialist in Construction and Planning Laws, stated that the Israeli Housing Ministry sold in 2010 more than 1,400 units in settlements in occupied East Jerusalem and the West Bank, and that these units were mainly sold in Homat Shmoel settlement, Maaleh Adumim settlement block, and Pisgat Zeev. Nasser added that the ministry is planning to market 594 units in Pisgat Zeev, and that 11 units were sold last year. 1,280 units are being marketed in Homat Shomel and 301 units of them were sold.
Israeli banishment of Fatah man from Jerusalem stayed
JERUSALEM (Ma’an) — An Israeli High Court decision stayed the banishment of a Fatah official from Jerusalem on Sunday, after an earlier appeal was denied and an order to leave the city by 5p.m. was handed down that morning. Jerusalem affairs official with Fatah, Hatem Abdul Qader told Ma’an on Sunday night that a temporarily order was issued preventing the banishment of Fatah leader Adana Gheith from his home town of Silwan in East Jerusalem.
Violence / Incursions
Video: Israeli troops kill Gaza fighters
Two members of the al-Quds Brigades, the military wing of Islamic Jihad, were killed when Israeli soldiers opened fire in the Gaza Strip. The Israeli army said that the men were planting explosives near the border, close to Khan Younis, on Sunday morning. Israel has launched multiple air raids aimed at what they say are Hamas facilities over the past week. Hamas’s military wing has accused Israel of “playing with fire”.Fighters in Gaza have fired back at Israel, with about 30 rocket attacks into southern Israel over the past few weeks. Al Jazeera’s Sherine Tadros reports on tensions before second anniversary of Israel’s war on Gaza
Hebronites hospitalized by Israeli forces
HEBRON (Ma’an) — Two Palestinians were taken to a Jerusalem hospital by Israeli forces after being injured in their car as they passed an Israeli military vehicle, local security sources said. The men were reportedly fired on in the Wad Al-Ghrus area north of Heron on Wednesday night. Officials identified them as Ismail Saleh Ali Aj-Ja’bari, who sustained a head wound, and Muhammad Amer Subhi Aj-Ja’bari who was injured in the shoulder.
Violent confrontation at Nablus checkpoint
NABLUS (Ma’an) — A Nablus man was strangled with a radio wire by Israeli soldiers, witnesses said, while Israeli officials said he attempted to stab an officer, prompting his arrest and the temporary detention of two others on Sunday. A witness, standing near the scene at the Tappuah checkpoint south of Nablus, said he observed a violent and unprovoked attack against his friend Bilal Hassan, 20.
Fisherman injured by Israeli fire in northern Gaza
GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — A Gaza fisherman was shot twice, once in each foot, and collected by medics from the northern Gaza shore on Saturday, witnesses said. Medical services spokesman Adham Abu Selmieyah confirmed that medics transported a 25-year-old fisherman, identified only as AZ, to the Kamal Udwan Hospital for treatment.
Clashes in southern Gaza as border heats up
GAZA CITY — Islamic Jihad’s military wing the Al-Quds Brigades said Sunday that two of its fighters were killed following what a statement described as “fierce clashes” with Israeli forces the southern district village of Khuza’a east of Khan Younis.
Welcome to Gaza / Max Ajl
Has anything changed here? Nothing has changed. My friends, many of them younger than I am, are a year older. Today I went to the martyr’s tent in Beit Lehiya. The shepherd who had died was freshly married. His child had been born two days before. His father said, “I am open,” indicating a line running along his sternum. The young man who had died had been his oldest son, leaving three brothers and two sisters. My friends working here, and the statistics, say that these murders, even more, the injuries, have been incessant since I left at the end of July. Incessant, and nearly banal, and marked in the West by a thundering silence—the silence of a racism that roars at the death of a Jewish Israeli and does not even bother to shrug at the death of a Bedouin living with his sheep, amidst the soil that’s dry from the rains which still, at end of December, have not come.
Several sites raided by the Israeli army in Jenin, West Bank
Jenin, Dec 26, (Pal Telegraph) -The Israeli occupation forces raided Sunday several sites in Jenin and erected a military checkpoint at the entrance of Al-Yamoun town, in the west of Jenin, in the occupied West Bank. Security sources said to WAFA news agency that the Israeli army broke into Em –Eltoot, Elmoghair villages and Jalqamous town spreading its forces in the streets of the targeted area. Security sources added that the Israeli army raided Al-Mtllah village south eastern of Jenin, fired light bomb, and erected a military checkpoint at the entrance of Al-Yamoun town where the civilians’ vehicles were stopped and checked accurately without detentions were reported.
800 Israeli troops raid flashpoint section of Nafha prison
GAZA, (PIC)– 800 Israeli troops raided Sunday the 11 section of the Israeli Nafha prison, the Wa’id prisoners society said, adding that the move was the most recent of a string of attacks amid rising administrative aggression in the facility. “During the night raid, the prisoners were directly assaulted and all 12 of the section’s cells were emptied, and the detainees were taken to old, abandoned sections which are missing the bare necessities of life. They remained there for 48 hours, suffering the cold desert weather.” The Wa’id society called the attack unprecedented
Sabr: IOF troops storm Negev prison, confiscate captives’ winter clothes
24 Dec – Gaza, (PIC)– The National Supreme Committee for supporting Palestinian captives in Israeli jails said on Thursday that the Israeli occupation troops stormed the Negev desert jail and wreaked havoc on it before confiscating coats and winter clothes of Palestinian captives there … The jail is located in the desert of Negev, which is known for its extreme cold climate during winter.
Israeli army detains 2 Palestinians in Bethlehem
Bethlehem, Dec 26, (Pal Telegraph) – Israeli occupation forces detained Sunday two Palestinians from Bait Fogar town, south Bethlehem, WAFA news agency reported. The Israeli army raided the area amid intensive security procedures spreading its soldiers in the streets and on the main entrances. Through the attack, the Israeli army broke into civilian houses, conducted accurate inspections; then two Palestinians were detained one of them is Ahmed Taqtqa, 17, and the other is Mahmoud Faisal Thawabta, 21.
Activism / Solidarity / Boycott, Divestment & Sanctions
Soldiers attack a nonviolent protest in Hebron
Israeli soldiers attacked on Saturday evening a nonviolent protest organized by the Youth Coalition Against Settlements in Hebron, in the southern part of the West Bank. Dozens of Israeli and International peace activists participated in the protest. At least four Palestinians and three internationals were wounded after being violently assaulted by the army, and three international activists were detained … This week’s protest was held at the eastern entrance of the Al Shuhada Street, in the Old City. The street was closed by the army several years ago leading to the closure of dozens of Palestinian stores. Only Jewish settlers are allowed to use the street.
French activists arrested at West Bank protest
JERUSALEM (AFP) — Nine French activists were arrested on Sunday during a pro-Palestinian demonstration at a major Israeli checkpoint in the West Bank, police and protest organizers said … A spokesman for the French EuroPalestine activist group said nine French citizens were arrested at the demonstration. A Palestinian detained at the protest was later released, he said. On Saturday, another French activist, Layli Ben Saffi, was arrested by the Israeli military during a protest against Israeli settler activity in the West Bank city of Hebron. He was released on Saturday evening. Some 70 members of the EuroPalestine group have spent the last week in the Palestinian territories on an observer mission, a group spokesman said. The president of the organization, Olivia Zemor, was deported last Wednesday “on the recommendation of the security services,” after being detained at Ben Gurion upon arrival.
First step for the joint struggle in Silwan, E. Jerusalem / Mairav Zonszein
(with video of 24 Dec Silwan protest) What happens before and after an Israeli-Palestinian protest can teach us a lot about the challenge of building trust and the hard work needed in the joint struggle against decades of occupation and segregation … While the Israeli government and settler organizations continue to imbue hatred, intolerance and aggression in Palestinian East Jerusalem, the activists on both sides who take to the streets are building the trust from the bottom up. Here is just one example (photo): The Palestinian girl did not plan to come to the protest, but rather saw it happening from her window, spotted the Israeli girl and decided to come down and join the procession.
Thousands gather in Turkey to greet ship at center of Gaza flotilla raid
Thousands of pro-Palestinian activists gathered Sunday at a port in Istanbul to welcome back a Turkish-flagged ship that was the scene of bloodshed during an Israeli raid on a Gaza-bound aid flotilla in May. The Mavi Marmara, on which nine Turkish activists were killed and several Israel Defense Forces soldiers were wounded, underwent repairs at a Mediterranean port in the wake of the commando raid.
Former Israeli flotilla passenger speaks at Marmara rally
Dror Feiler delivers speech during mass rally to mark homecoming of Mavi Marmara ship to Istanbul port. ‘We are here together – Jews, Christians, Arabs against blockade, this is not about religion, but about human rights,’ he says
Hamas on alert for Asia One aid ship
…Hamas-affiliated news site the Palestine Information Center said the proclaimed arrival of the ship, which set out from the Syrian port town of Latakia, prompted the Israeli navy to go on alert. The report said Israeli officials feared that the convoy would change course and attempt to dock in Gaza City instead of Egypt, further down the coast … According to organizers, the convoy carries 1,00 tons of aid, as well as 180 Muslim, Christian, and Buddhist activists from India, Pakistan, Indonesia, Malaysia, Afghanistan, the Philippines, Bahrain, Iran, Jordan, and Lebanon. There are 18 women on board, officials said … “Arrival time is not set yet,” said Ahmad Yousif explaining that arrival is dependent on Egypt’s directives.
Maureen Murphy: The FBI raids and subpoenas are best understood as backlash aimed at silencing our successful movement
The following is a statement given by Maureen Murphy at a press conference on Thursday, December 23 about the government’s ongoing intimidation of anti-war and solidarity activism in the Midwest. Murphy is one of several activists with the Palestine Solidarity Group who have been subpoenaed, and one of several individuals across the city of Chicago and the Twin Cities who are being targeted for Palestine solidarity activism. For more information, and to get involved, see http://www.stopfbi.net/.
Siege / Restriction of movement / Rights violations
Sweet peppers leave Gaza for first time since ’07
GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — “The first shipment of Gaza sweet peppers together with strawberries and carnations is on its way to Europe,” a Dutch statement announced on Sunday, following long efforts to expand the list of goods permitted for export from the coastal enclave. The 11 loads of goods, grown as part of a Dutch initiative to support cash crop farmers in Gaza, left the area through the only open crossing terminal, Kerem Shalom, as the bulk goods crossing remained closed, officials said.
Israel, Hamas turn up rhetoric on Gaza war anniversary
JERUSALEM (AFP) — Following clashes that killed two on the Gaza border, and reports from Israel that factions launched two projectiles into the Eshkol region, on Sunday, the anniversary of the start of Israel’s last war on the coastal region, both sides said they were prepared for another round of bloodletting.
Report: Mossad chief to apologize to Britain
Tamir Pardo, who is set to take over the role of Mossad chief this week, will apologize to the British government for the agency’s use of fraudulent passports in carrying out its assassination of Hamas commander Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in January, the Telegraph reported Saturday. Paraguay’s Foreign Minister Hector Lacognata gave a spring 2011 deadline for the country’s recognition of a Palestinian state on the lands occupied by Israel in 1967.
Paraguay to recognize Palestinian state in ’11
RAMALLAH (Ma’an) — Joining a growing number of South American nations to support a unilateral declaration of Palestinian statehood, Paraguay said it plans to recognize an independent Palestinian state next year, Palestinian officials told reporters on Sunday.
MK: World may recognize Palestine soon
JERUSALEM (AFP) — In spite of stalled peace talks, the “entire world” could recognize a Palestinian state within a year, a dovish Israeli cabinet minister warned Sunday, urging the resumption of negotiations. The comments from Industry and Trade Minister Benjamin Ben Eliezer come after Ecuador formally recognized Palestine as an independent state on Friday, following the lead of other South American countries … “I would not be surprised if within a year the entire world, even the US, recognizes a Palestinian state, then we will have to explain how this happened,” Ben Eliezer told reporters ahead of the weekly cabinet meeting.
Deputy FM: The state of Facebook is more real than Palestine
In his personal blog, Daniel Ayalon criticizes Latin American countries for their ‘irresponsible’ recognition of a Palestinian state.
Lieberman: The Turks are liars, PA is illegitimate, and Netanyahu is unrealistic
Foreign Minister slams PM’s attempt to achieve peace with PA within a year, says Palestinians will always find a reason not to sign peace deal and calls Turkey’s demand for apology ‘chutzpah.’ Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman unleashed a string of vitriol Sunday attacking Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, calling the Turks liars, and labeling the Palestinian Authority as illegitimate. At a conference of Foreign Ministry diplomats, Lieberman said that it would be impossible for Israel’s governing coalition to consolidate a unified foreign policy acceptable to each member.
Israel’s Arab helpers
Egypt: Attacks on Israel will not be launched from Sinai
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) – An Egyptian security source in the northern Sinai Peninsula denied Israeli claims that Hamas is using the area for the production and storage of weapons that will be aimed toward Israel. The source told the London-based Ash-Sharq Al-Awsat on Sunday morning, that “Egypt’s strict security measures at the borders with the Gaza Strip prevents storage of fighting equipment in Sinai.”
PA returns to Israel stolen military vehicle, weapons, and hands over five Palestinians
As part of the ongoing security cooperation between Israel and the Palestinian Authority of President Mahmoud Abbas in the West Bank, the Palestinian Authority returned to Israel a military vehicle and weapons, and also handed Israel five Palestinians believed to be involved in the issue … Last Tuesday, Israel announced that a Land Rover military jeep was stolen and that the jeep had gas bombs, grenades and fast response military equipment.
PA intelligence threatens top Hamas officials, members with exile from Palestine
RAMALLAH, (PIC)– The Palestinian authority’s intelligence apparatus summoned and threatened dozens of Hamas officials and members that they would be exiled from occupied Palestine. Hamas sources said that PA intelligence officers told 50 Hamas officials and members that they would receive a form to fill out and they have to select the country they would be expelled to.
US may delay aid for Israel’s anti-rocket system due to budget woes
American aid to Israel for developing and buying additional Iron Dome anti-rocket batteries might be delayed for at least a few months due to President Barack Obama’s difficulties in pushing next year’s budget through Congress. The delay will mean a long wait before the weapons can be bought from Rafael Advanced Defense Systems.
Asylum seekers trying to reach Israel are being trapped and tortured in Sinai
Physicians for Human Rights carried out interviews with over 150 refugees who did manage to enter Israel and whose accounts paint a picture of severe violence endured over the course of their journey.
Steinitz advisor equates Russian olim with infiltrators
During Tel Aviv forum, Dr. Avi Simchon says immigrants from former Soviet republics came to Israel ‘for financial reasons, not to be part of Jewish nation’; he tell Ynet comments ‘distorted’ … Simchon went as far as comparing immigrants from former Soviet republics to African migrants who enter Israel illegally, saying, “If we accept these 450,000 olim, why should we not allow the tens of thousands of infiltrators from Africa to undergo an accelerated conversion process?”
Islamists deny arrival of Syrian, Iranian officials in Gaza
GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — Hamas’ Al-Qasam Brigades and Islamic Jihad militants the Al-Quds Brigades denied reports Thursday that weapons experts had arrived from Syria and Iran to train the armed units of the Islamist organizations. Spokesman for Al-Qasam Abu Obeidah said reports in the Israeli press were “baseless and untrue” in both the details and generalities, and called the reports a poor justification for a new war on Gaza.
100 couples tie knot at mass wedding in Gaza
A total of 200 citizens of the Gaza Strip got married at a mass wedding organized by the Palestinian Islamic Jihad movement on Saturday. The event gave poor newlyweds the chance to save money on their wedding and political organizations, which footed the bill, the chance to show publicly they care about the younger generation.
Render unto Caesaria / Ran Shapira
Archaeological authorities are trying to repair the astonishing amount of damage to the ancient Herodian city before another storm strikes and compounds the devastation
Analysis / Opinion
Defining Israel by what it is not / Gideon Levy
No to Arabs, no to Jews, no to the world; no to foreigners and no to settlement freezes; no to the bomb and no to the peace initiatives; no to ending the siege and no to Syria. That’s a frighteningly thin vocabulary – a one-word national dictionary. Among the overabundance of “no,” the word “yes” has disappeared. Sixty-two years after its establishment, nobody knows where the state is headed. What does it want? What are its leaders and citizens seeking? What sort of state would we like to see?
DADT repeal exposes Israel’s discriminatory policies / Philip Weiss
For several nights this week Chris Matthews was thrilled by the repeal of Don’t ask/don’t tell, and he many times repeated the idea that Catholics and Jews had “assimilated” into American society when they had served in World War II and the rest of society saw what they were willing to do for their fellow citizens. Now gays too will be fully assimilated, he said. And every time he said it I reflected that Palestinians are not drafted into the Israeli army. They can serve, I am told; and the Druze are drafted. But by and large, young men and women from the 20 percent Palestinian Israeli population do not serve and aren’t wanted either. This is rationalized because they wouldn’t want to serve in forces fighting other Arabic-speaking people– slaughtering children in Gaza. And on Israel’s part, they would be regarded as a potential fifth column. But why constitute a society in such a way that you can’t trust such a sizable minority in the army? How can such a society last?
Is Judaism a race? Ask Israelis / Zvi Bar’el
Can Israeli racism be eliminated through law, trial and punishment, or is it already part of the Israeli identity?
1932 is already here / Daniel Blatman
A non-Jew who fled Germany ahead of the Nazi occupation would certainly recall those hard days in his homeland if he were to visit Bat Yam, Safed, Bnei Brak or south Tel Aviv today … The wild propagandists of the right like MK Michael Ben Ari (National Union ) do not hesitate to use imagery and explanations taken from the anti-Semitic lexicon of Europe: Foreigners spread disease and take Jewish women; black refugees are violent criminals who endanger public safety. This horrific propaganda is terrifying poor population groups who are already living with an infinite number of problems of survival. And the people who espouse this propaganda are persuading themselves that keeping foreigners out and racial separation produce hope for a solution to their problems.
Israel’s favorite war song / Ahmed Yousef
Israeli strategists covet the concept of Islamic fundamentalism. It is a convenient, all-encompassing tag easily applied to any bearded man, veiled woman or critic of Western politics who happens to be Muslim. The label has deftly been used to paint a poisoned picture of Islamism in Palestine, and distort Hamas’ policies as those of an extreme faction akin to Al-Qaeda or Taliban – a useful reference given the West’s concerted efforts to neutralize those militants.
A dangerous silence / Yehuda Ben Meir
…Those who think that the world will forget about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict are living with illusions. Israel is on a slippery slope leading who knows where. In the absence of a peace process and a real Israeli diplomatic initiative, the diplomatic siege on the country will continue to tighten. Companies are already moving their plants from Jewish settlements in Judea and Samaria because they find it difficult to export their products. It’s not a case of a single dramatic event, but a long-term disastrous process.
Racist Jews to the fore / Jerrold Kessel and Pierre Klochendler
BAT YAM, Dec 25, 2010 (IPS) – Emotions are running high in this working class town on the Mediterranean adjacent to Tel Aviv, the Israeli metropolis that has long been the symbol of liberal laissez-faire Israel. Principally, anti-Arab emotions: Racism is on the march … Noah Flug, head of the International Association of Holocaust Survivors, told IPS he was shocked by the content of the rabbis’ letter, saying it recalled the Nazis banning of Jews from living alongside other Germans.
Downfall of the Jewish dream of a safe homeland / Lillian Rosengarten
…Hans Lebrecht, a former human rights activist and journalist now in his 90’s, taught me the truth about Israel’s human rights abuses to Palestinians, the insatiable hunger for land not theirs and the racism towards Sephardic Jews and Bedoins. I was shocked out of my love for the Kibbutzim and the idea of a democratic, safe Israeli homeland. How could they have built Socialist style communal living on someone else’s land? It did not make sense. I am now fifteen years later accustomed to feeling torment as I pursue the question of Palestinian liberation and the abuses perpetrated by the Israeli State.
Remnick: I can’t take the occupation anymore, Jesus / Philip Weiss
Didi Remez at Coteret has picked up part of an interview in Hebrew at Yediot in which David Remnick, the editor of the New Yorker magazine, shows how intolerable the occupation is becoming to American Jews. Remnick echoes the theme of the liberal Zionists I cited the other day: they are flipped out by Netanyahu’s intransigence and are getting ready to flip the bird to Israel: “Do you see a certain change in the US Jewish community? “A new generation of Jews is growing up in the US. Their relationship with Israel is becoming less patient and more problematic
Saturday: 1 Iraqi killed, 10 wounded
While Christians quietly observed Christmas, at least one of their fellow Iraqis was killed in light violence. Another 10 were wounded. In Mosul, a bomb wounded three people, including two civilians. A civilian was mistakenly killed by soldiers after they thought he fired upon them. An Islamic State of Iraq suspect was captured. In Baghdad, two soldiers were wounded when gunmen attacked a Bayaa checkpoint. A blast in Kadhimiya wounded four people, including a civilian.
Female MPs slam under-representation in Iraq
BAGHDAD (AFP) – Female MPs, both religious and secular, have slammed the under-representation of women in Iraqi institutions, especially government, sparking public soul-searching by male parliamentarians.
Iraq to activate Kurd foreign oil deals: minister
CAIRO (AFP) – Iraq will recognise contracts which the government of its Kurdish north has signed with foreign oil companies, the country’s new oil minister, Abdulkarim al-Luaybi, said on Saturday.
Iraqi Christians join Christmas worship in France
PARIS (AFP) – Iraqi Christians who survived the deadly storming of a Baghdad church attended a special Christmas mass on Sunday in France, where they were evacuated following the attack.
As US moves out of Iraq, Iranian business moves in
Even Green Zone starting to lose American flavor – BAGHDAD — In the heart of Baghdad’s Green Zone, just yards from the mighty fortress of the biggest US Embassy in the world, a small but symbolic challenge to America’s rapidly waning influence in Iraq is taking shape in the form of an Iranian ice cream parlor.
For many US troops, a last Christmas in Iraq
JOINT BASE BALAD, Iraq (Reuters) – Colonel Lance Kittleson is looking forward to spending Christmas with his family next year as U.S. troops withdraw from Iraq 7-1/2 years after the invasion that toppled Sunni dictator Saddam Hussein. Many of the U.S. troops left in Iraq can’t wait to get home.
Egypt hopes for quick accord on Saddam-era debt
BAGHDAD (AFP) – Egypt’s Foreign Minister Ahmed Abul Gheit said in Baghdad on Sunday that Cairo hopes for a quick accord with Iraq on the hundreds of millions of dollars of Saddam-era debt … Egypt has put the figure at double Iraq’s estimate of the amount.
Egypt: Mossad was behind Internet cable cut two years ago
CAIRO, (PIC)– Egyptian Supreme State Security disclosed investigations leading to Israeli foreign intelligence the Mossad being behind the break in an internet cable belonging to Egypt a few kilometers off Italian shores a year and a half back. Officials cited confessions from an Egyptian man accused of espionage in an Israeli spy network targeting Egypt.
The people of the year in the Middle East / Rannie Amiri
The 2010 Middle East People of the Year are: The Palestinians in Gaza, desperate to let the world know that nearly two years after the end of the 2008-2009 war, the cruel embargo on the territory persists; the siege by air, land and sea continues; and the impoverished population is still held captive in their land. The Bahraini Shia, the island’s indigent and marginalized majority… The Egyptians, who have suffocated under a repressive U.S.-backed regime that has governed by Emergency Law for 30 years and stifled the freedom of expression, assembly and press…The Iraqis, who endured seven years of occupation… .The Saudi Ismaili, Shia and Sufi Muslims, harassed, arrested and jailed for practicing their religion or demanding the right to do so… The Yemenis of Saada governorate, who became the malnourished “internally displaced” refugees caught in the country’s long civil war.
Saudi Grand Mufti criticizes Al Qaeda for disguising themselves as women
Abdulaziz Al Sheikh yesterday strongly criticized the Al Qaeda organizations, and particularly the phenomenon of Al Qaeda elements disguising themselves in women’s clothing in order to avoid detection, saying that this has “contributed to tarnishing the reputation of Muslims.”
Report: Iran passes death sentence on Israeli spy
(AP) Tehran’s chief prosecutor says the suspect’s identity is to be announced after approval of the verdict by Iran’s Supreme Court … Iran and Israel have been enemies since the 1979 Islamic revolution in Iran, and Tehran periodically announces arrest of people suspected of spying for Israel.
The power behind the throne? / Zvi Bar’el
Wherever she appears, Sheikha Mozah of Qatar, the emir’s wife, makes a splash. That includes helping persuade FIFA to award the 2022 World Cup to the tiny Gulf state … “We in Qatar are working to emphasize the highly influential historic role of women in the Arab peninsula. This role is not known in the Arab and Western world and is neglected by public opinion, the media and the intellectuals,” she said in an interview with the Saudi newspaper Al-Riyadh, after completing a historic three-day visit to the kingdom last March.
Obama’s liberty problem / Bill Quigley & Vince Warren
The right to liberty is one of the foundation rights of a free people. The idea that any US President can bypass Congress and bypass the Courts by issuing an Executive Order setting up a new legal system for indefinite detention of people should rightfully scare the hell out of the American people.
Video: Philip Giraldi on ‘spying on Americans’
The U.S. Government is reportedly building a vast domestic spying network to collect information on American Citizens. The Government is using the FBI, Military criminal investigators, state homeland security and local police to collect intelligence.
WikiLeaks founded Julian Assange promises 3,700 files on Israel
When will you publish the files related to Israel on your website? We will publish 3700 files and the source is the American embassy in Tel Aviv. Prime Minister Netanyahu was traveling to Paris to talk to the US ambassador there. You will see more information about that in six months.
Assange signs $1.5m book deal
WikiLeaks founder says money will pay for his defence, while a separate book by a WikiLeaks insider is also announced.