Rabbis say don’t rent to Arabs, Israeli forces surround mosque, more scrap collectors shot

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And more news from Today in Palestine:

Settlers/ Land, Property, Resource Theft & Destruction/Ethnic Cleansing
Statistics: Israel razed about 1, 000 Palestinian homes in Jerusalem in 10 years
Statistics published by the land research center stated that Israel have demolished 995 Palestinian homes and displaced 5, 783 individualsin occupied Jerusalem since the start of 2000.

Ayalon denies that settlement freeze is Israeli obligation 
Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon discussed this week’s South American recognition of a Palestinian state, and a West Bank settlement freeze on Army Radio Tuesday morning.  Responding to Chief Palestinian Authority Negotiator Saeb Erekat’s declaration earlier on the program that a settlement freeze is an Israeli obligation, Ayalon retorted that it is a Palestinian condition. He noted that in the past, negotiations have taken place as life (building) went on [in the West Bank].

Expansionist ‘NYT’ keeps annexing Golan Heights, Philip Weiss
Last February the New York Times had to correct an article filed by Isabel Kershner:  Correction: February 13, 2010:  Because of an editing error, the dateline of the Ghajar Journal article on Feb. 3, about the uncertain future of the residents of Ghajar, a far-flung village that straddles the border convergence of Israel, Lebanon and Syria, misstated the location of the village. It is Ghajar, Golan Heights — not Ghajar, Israel.  Today in the Times, again Isabel Kershner:  Israel, with its hot summers and paucity of rain, is prone to brush fires. A recent fire in the Golan Heights that burned for more than a day and scorched several thousand acres was set off by hikers who burned their toilet paper.  P.S. Kershner is an Israeli married to an Israeli. The other member of the Jerusalem bureau has a son in the Israeli army– his induction led a Palestinian correspondent to quit the Times. Maybe the NYT needs a little more detachment from the, er, Israeli narrative?

Activism/Solidarity/Boycott, Divestment & Sanctions
Jimmy Carter and Desmond Tutu call for release of Palestinian
(CNN) — Jimmy Carter and Desmond Tutu are urging the Israeli military to release a Palestinian activist who is still imprisoned even though he has already served his prison sentence.  Abdallah Abu Rahmah, 39, was convicted of incitement for organizing weekly demonstrations in the West Bank village of Bil’in against what Israel calls its security barrier and Palestinians call an apartheid separation wall.

Palestinian protest leader’s case sparks scrutiny (AP)
AP – The tiny courtroom at an Israeli army base was packed with European diplomats, straining to follow proceedings in Hebrew and Arabic through translators whispering into their ears.

20 diplomats at hearing of anti-wall activist
RAMALLAH (Ma’an) — Twenty diplomats attended a military court on Monday to hear an appeal to extend the sentence of non-violent protest leader Abdallah Abu Rahmah, the Popular Struggle Coordination Committee said.  Abu Rahmah was due to be released on 18 November, having served a 12-month sentence. The anti-wall activist was convicted of incitement and organizing illegal demonstrations for his role in Bil’in’s campaign against the construction of Israel’s wall on its lands.

British Consul General Heads European Diplomats Attending Bil’in’s Abdallah Abu Rahmah’s Appeal, Joseph Dana
The UK’s Consul General in Jerusalem attended the appeal hearing in the case of Abdallah Abu Rahmah at the Ofer Military Court of Appeals today, along with many other European diplomats. Former US president Jimmy Carter and The Elders issued a statement calling for Abu Rahmah’s immediate release earlier today.

#BDS: New South Wales Greens embrace BDS
At its State Delegates Council meeting held on the weekend in Sydney, the NSW Greens unanimously endorsed the following proposal: That the Greens NSW call upon all Australians and the Australian government to boycott Israeli goods, trading and military arrangements, and sporting, cultural and academic events as a contribution to the struggle to end Israel’s occupation and colonisation of Palestinian territory, the siege of Gaza and imprisonment of 1.5 million people, and Israel’s institution of a system of apartheid, by endorsing the following actions:  1. condemning Israel’s apartheid and occupation policies;  2. censuring Israel’s violations of the human rights of Palestinians and its failure to abide by international law; 3. halting any military cooperation or trade with Israel; 4. refraining from participation in any form of sporting event, academic and cultural cooperation, collaboration or joint projects with Israeli institutions or teams except those that publicly oppose Israel’s apartheid and occupation policies;  5. advocating a comprehensive boycott of Israeli institutions at national and international levels, including suspension of all forms of funding and subsidies to these institutions; and  6. supporting and promoting the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign against Israel.

Attention progressives for Palestine: Rep. Alan Grayson wants to hear from you
Rep. Grayson penned an article for Huffington Post today, Looking For Your Ideas and Advice, and created a website where he wants the progressive community to write to him with their ideas about anything from peace to the economy. He will be forwarding all comments to the Progressive Caucus’ two new leaders Reps. Keith Ellison and Raul Grijalva.  Though Rep. Grayson portrays himself as a progressive, on Palestine he is anything but.  Rep. Grayson will be leaving Congress in January, but it’s still important that we take this opportunity to let him know exactly where the rest of the progressive anti-war community that elected him stands on these issues and to let the new leaders of the Progressive Caucus know that Progressive Except for Palestine is not the direction we want them to take.

Celebrate five years of successes in the Quebec BDS movement!

Video | The rise of Palestinian protest rap
Don Duncan travels to the West Bank and Syria to talk to Palestinian musicians who are finding their political voices through rap music.

City councilors to Adidas: Boycott Jerusalem Marathon
Opposition wants race out of east J’lem: “A marathon doesn’t bring Jews, Arabs together. This is just an aggressive move,” Meretz councilman says.  Three Jerusalem City Council members from the opposition sent a warning letter last week to sports apparel company Adidas, one of the major sponsors of the International Jerusalem Marathon, calling on the company to withdraw its sponsorship of the race if the municipality did not remove east Jerusalem segments from the route.  “There’s no reason why it needs to go through the eastern part of the city,” said City Councilman Pepe Alalu (Meretz), who heads the opposition. “A marathon does not bring Jews and Arabs together. This is just an aggressive move.”

Anti-Muslim European MPs tour West Bank settlements
Austrian opposition leader Heinz-Christian Strache says after what was done to Diaspora Jewry the Europeans are responsible for the Jewish people.

Siege/Rights Violations/Restriction of Movement
Goods – Needs Vs. Supply – Nov 7 – Dec 4

Gaza bakeries to close down next week
GAZA, (PIC)– Palestinian officials warned on Monday of complete stoppage of bakeries in the Gaza Strip by next week after wheat supplied through Israeli-controlled commercial crossings ran out of stock. Importers of wheat said that the wheat crisis was the result of the new Israeli procedure of cutting down the days during which wheat is allowed into the Strip.

Galloway Announces More Aid Bound to Gaza
Former British M.P. George Galloway promised, publicly, that new humanitarian aid convoys would be sent next year via land, air, and sea to the Gaza Strip to break the four-year long Israeli blockade, the Palestinian Information Center reported.

Racism and Discrimination
Top rabbis move to forbid renting homes to Arabs, say ‘Israel belongs to Jews’
Dozens of Israel’s municipal chief rabbis signed on to the ruling, which comes just months after the chief rabbi of Safed initiated a call urging Jews to refrain from renting or selling apartments to non-Jews.

New Israeli laws threaten Palestinian civil society
A bill recently proposed in Israel’s parliament, the Knesset, requires organizations to pledge loyalty to Israel as “Jewish and democratic.” The legislation continues threatens the existence of civil society organizations working for Palestinian rights within Israel.

Witnesses: Israeli forces surround mosque
QALQILIA (Ma’an) – Israeli forces surrounded a mosque south of the West Bank city of Qalqiliya on Monday, witnesses said.  Three military jeeps arrived the Beit Amin mosque and refused to allow those inside to leave, onlookers said.  Soldiers questioned worshipers and checked their identity cards, locals said, adding that intelligence officers were also present.  An Israeli military spokeswoman said she would look into the report.

Saturday, December 4th, Israeli forces opened fired at and injured two Palestinian “scrap collectors” near the Beit Hanoun (Erez) border crossing while they were collecting rubble and stones. Guilty of having just approached the “buffer-zone”, an illegally restricted “no-go area” along the whole border between the Gaza Strip and Israel, they have been hit in Palestinian land, though it is no longer accessible for Palestinians since the longstanding Israeli imposition and enforcement by live ammunition of the ban on entry into what constitutes about 17% of the total Gaza’s territory.

Israeli Troops Detain a Couple in Hebron and Issue Stop-Work Notices in Nahalin
A Palestinian couple was arrested, on Tuesday, after Israeli troops searched their house in Hebron. The Israeli military also ordered Palestinian laborers to stop working in the village of Nahalin, PNN reported.

Report: Israel kidnapped last month 100 Palestinians in Al-Khalil
The Palestinian prisoner society said that the Israeli occupation forces kidnapped last November in Al-Khalil city about 100 Palestinians including three women, nine children, and seven patients.

Researcher says detainees used in medical experiments
GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — Former detainee and researcher Abdul-Nasser Farwana said Monday that Israel performs medical experiments on Palestinians held in Israeli detention centers., Speaking at a workshop in Algeria, Farwana said more than 5,000 experiments had been performed in Israeli jails, and that this number was increasing.

Mother of hunger striker says her son in very serious health condition
The mother of prisoner Majd Obeid, one of the six hunger strikers in West Bank jails, said that the health condition of her son is extremely bad and deteriorating everyday.

Ahrar lashes out at IOA for renewing detention of female captive
A Palestinian human rights center lashed out at the Israeli occupation authority (IOA) for renewing the administrative detention of Kifah Jibril only few hours before her release date.

Bahar: Shalit remains in captivity until ‘honorable’ deal reached
GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — Captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit will remain in captivity until an honorable prisoner swap deal is finalized, deputy speaker of the Palestinian Legislative Council Ahmad Bahar said Tuesday.  Speaking during an international Arab forum on prisoners in Algeria, Bahar urged Palestinian resistance factions to capture more Israeli soldiers in order to force Israel to release all Palestinian political prisoners held in Israel.

Gaza brigade claims projectile fired toward Israel
GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — The armed wing of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine claimed responsibility for firing a projectile into southern Israel on Monday.  In a statement, the Abu Ali Mustapha Brigades said the projectile marked the anniversary of the PFLP’s establishment, and that the militant wing would continue to oppose Israel’s occupation.  An Israeli military spokeswoman said a projectile launched from Gaza landed in the Ashkelon Regional Council, and that no injuries were reported.  In a separate incident, militants fired a Rocket-Propelled Grenade towards an army force stationed near the Gaza border on Monday, an army spokeswoman said.

Hamas: PA forces detain 21 affiliates
TULKAREM (Ma’an) — Hamas officials in the West Bank accused the Palestinian Authority’s security services of detaining 21 of the movement’s supporters, a statement released Tuesday said.  The statement explained that the detainees were from the Jenin, Nablus, and Tulkarem districts in the northern West Bank as well as Hebron and Bethlehem in the south.  Hamas officials said they believed the detentions were politically motivated.

Daily Roundup: Six Detained in Ramallah, Hamas Kidnaps Doctors
Bethlehem – PNN – In a series of overnight raids continuing until Monday morning, Israeli troops detained six Palestinian citizens throughout the Ramallah governorate. Meanwhile, sources in the Northern Gaza Strip report that a Hamas militia abducted three doctors on Sunday evening.  Local sources in Ramallah said the Israeli military conducted the raids in the middle of the night and left before daylight, leaving the detained Palestinians currently unidentifiable.  In Northern Gaza, eyewitnesses said the Hamas militia kidnapped Umya Asaf, Karem Eid, and Abed Halwa and took them to an unidentified location.

PCHR Condemns Shutdown of Peaceful Assembly and Arrest of 16 Participants by the Palestinian Police
The Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) condemns the shutdown of a peaceful assembly and the arrest of 16 participants by the Palestinian police. The peaceful assembly was held by a number of young people protesting against the Attorney General in Gaza’s decision to close Sharek Youth Forum.

Political Developments
Diplomatic battle on recognizing Palestinian state on 1967 borders begins
RAMALLAH, Dec. 7 (Xinhua) — The Palestinians have been recently intensifying their efforts to attract the international recognition of an independent Palestinian state on the territories occupied by Israel in 1967 and have managed to gain the recognition of Brazil and Argentina.  The latest activity was Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ request from Turkey to recognize the Palestinian state. Palestinian officials expect that more Latin American countries, such as Uruguay and Peru as well as some European countries will soon make their declaration of recognizing the future Palestinian state.
Recognition of Palestinian state isolates Israel, U.S.: PLO official
RAMALLAH, Dec. 7 (Xinhua) — The more countries recognize a Palestinian statehood on the lands Israel has occupied in 1967, the more the U.S. and Israeli position “gets isolated,” a Palestinian official said Tuesday.  Hanan Ashrawi, a member of Palestine Liberation Organization ( PLO)’s Executive Committee, made the remarks a day after Argentina recognized a future Palestinian state. On Dec. 3, Brazil also sent a letter to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, recognizing a Palestinian state alongside Israel.

Erdogan pledges support for ’67 state
ANKARA, Turkey (Ma’an) — President Mahmoud Abbas visited Turkish Prime Minister Recep Erdogan in his Ankara home on Sunday, to discuss developments in the peace negotiations between Palestinian and Israeli negotiators.  Following the meeting, Ambassador of Palestine to Turkey Nabil Ma’roof told the official PA news agency WAFA that Erdogan pledged to support a bid for the establishment of a Palestinian state on the 1967 borders. The official said he would speak with the leaders of all those nations with which Turkey had diplomatic relations.

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.

Argentina: Palestine is free and independent state (AP)
AP – Argentina announced Monday that it recognizes Palestine as a free and independent state within its 1967 borders, a step it said reflects frustration at the slow progress of peace talks with Israel.

Israel blasts Argentina recognition of independent Palestine
JERUSALEM (AFP) – Israel on Monday described as “regrettable” a decision by Argentina to recognize a “free and independent” Palestinian state within the 1967 borders, just days after a similar move by Brazil.  “This regrettable decision will not help at all to change the situation between Israel and the Palestinians,” foreign ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor told AFP.

A jolt? More on Brazil’s decision to recognize Palestine, Léa Park
In a letter sent to Mahmoud Abbas by Brazilian President Luiz Inåcio Lula da Silva, the Brazilian government has declared its recognition of a Palestinian State along the 1967 armistice lines.  The Brazilian Ministry of Foreign Affairs posted the announcement in both Portuguese and English on its website yesterday.

Who does and doesn’t recognize Palestine: map

Hamas court orders execution of ‘collaborator’
GAZA CITY (AFP) – A Gaza military court has convicted three men of collaborating with Israel, sentencing one to death and two more to prison terms, the Hamas interior ministry said on Monday.  “The military court handed down a death sentence against one collaborator with the occupation, and prison terms of seven years and three years for two other collaborators,” the ministry said in a statement.

Barak: U.S. put settlement freeze talks on hold due to WikiLeaks
Knesset committee members say defense minister’s explanation that Obama administration was dealing with other issues is just an excuse to cover up Israel’s bad foreign policy.

Abbas says dissolution of PNA not an option
ANKARA, Dec. 6 (Xinhua) — Visiting Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said Monday that the Palestinians did not consider dissolving the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) an option as no demands for such an act had been voiced.  Abbas told a joint press conference with Turkish President Abdullah Gul that he would press for other states to recognize an independent Palestinian state if peace talks with Israel collapse, the semi-official Anatolia news agency reported.

Israel-Turkey diplomatic crisis nears its end
Turkish sources say two rounds of talks between Israeli, Turkish officials have been ‘very positive’; Israel has agreed in principle to apologize and pay compensation for the Gaza flotilla incident.

PA anti-corruption unit says files received daily
RAMALLAH (Ma’an) -The Palestinian Authority Anti-Corruption Commission receives daily complaints over corruption, commission head Rafiq Natsheh said Monday.  The commission is studying the complaints and some files have been transferred to a court established in November, Natsheh told reporters at a press briefing.

Cables: US fails to stop Hamas arms flow
WASHINGTON (AFP) — US diplomats play a major role in trying to prevent arms from reaching world hotspots, but cables released to The New York Times show an uphill battle against the likes of Iran, Syria and North Korea.  In one cable given to the paper by WikiLeaks, Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad is reprimanded for supplying sophisticated weapons to the Shiite movement Hezbollah one week after providing assurances he would not.

WikiLeaks: Israel weapons manufacturer listed as site vital to U.S. interests
U.S. cable names Haifa weapons development facility as imperative to U.S. security interests due to its role in creating materials for sophisticated cluster bombs.

WikiLeaks cables: Sudan warned to block Iranian arms bound for Gaza
The US has worked discreetly to block the supply of Iranian and Syrian weapons to the Palestinian movement Hamas and Lebanon’s Hezbollah, pressuring Arab governments not to co-operate – in many cases where the requests were based on secret intelligence provided by Israel.

US embassy cables: Anti-Palestinian chants mar Jordanian soccer match
1. (S) Summary: Anti-Palestinian hooliganism and slogans denigrating the Palestinian origins of both the Queen and the Crown Prince led to the cancellation of a July 17 soccer game between the rival Faisali and Wahdat clubs, who traditionally represent the East Banker and Palestinian communities, respectively. Matches between the two teams have a long history of violence, but the specific digs at the royal family marked a new low. The clubs have been fined and their fans publicly chastised, yet official media reporting and commentary has been noticeably thin. The game exposed the growing rift between East Bankers and Palestinians in Jordan. The King’s silence on the event is noteworthy, as is a reluctance among our contacts to discuss the issue. End Summary.

Other News
7,000 workers join picket line in Ramallah
RAMALLAH (Ma’an) — Around 7,000 striking workers joined a picket line in Ramallah on Monday to protest new legislation proposed by the Palestinian Authority.  Employees of ministries, official institutions and banks joined a strike organized by Palestinian trade unions over legislation related to taxes, retirement and end of service benefits, health insurance and unions’ work. The PA has submitted the amendments to President Mahmoud Abbas for approval.

Investors set sights on Ramallah
As daily trading volumes at the Palestine Stock Exchange increase since its launch in 1995 from thirty thousand dollars to up to 5 million dollars, it is attracting international investors. The investment opportunities appear lucrative as, for the first time in 15 years, the Palestine Exchange will offer shares to the public. Al Jazeera’s Nour Odeh reports from Nablus, on the signifiance of all this financial activity.

Jonathan Pollard’s divorcee flown to Israel
Ann Pollard brought to Israel by government initiative due to dire financial, medical state. ‘We have moral, humanitarian obligation to her,’ says Prime Minister Netanyahu.

Israel embroiled in Maltese power-station scandal
Former PM Ehud Olmert accused of working on behalf of an Israeli firm and pressuring the Maltese government over a tender for a new power plant on the Mediterranean island.

Palestine Tourism Hitting Records with Female Minister
As a place it is also blessed by many holy places, geographical diversities and even extra ordinary sites. History, heritage, and denominational mosaics are also part of the whole destination. Occupation is one huge set back but on the other hand there is a power resisting this negative player in the Palestinian tourism Industry. She is a Lady Minister…Dr. Khouloud Deibes.

The City of Christmas Celebrates with Trees, Ornaments, Lights, and Sweets
Bethlehem – Hiba Lama – PNN/Exclusive – On the first day of December, a bevy of trees, ornaments, sweets, lights, and gifts come together to announce the beginning of the Christmas season. Like every year here in Bethlehem, visitors from all around the world come to commemorate the birth of Jesus Christ with songs, feasts, and festivals.  The Bethlehem Christmas Market Streets are brightened with all manner of lights and decorations throughout the three cities of Bethlehem, Beit Sahour, and Beit Jala. Stores display Santa Claus toys, chocolate treats, and decorated Christmas trees. Small children wait for Christmas Eve and the anticipated visit of Santa Claus bearing the gifts they told him they wanted.

US mediation monopoly collapsing, Sam Bahour
The United States is at a crossroads in its mediation of Middle East peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians. The Obama administration can no longer walk on the Israeli side of the line–which is exactly where the US has been since Israel’s creation–while continuing to pay lip service to the illusion of walking on the thin line of fair mediation. Unfortunately, neither the US, nor anyone in the Palestinian leadership for that matter, has proposed anything beyond brushing the dust off already-failed initiatives and placing the burden for progress on the need for more Palestinian concessions; concessions that do not exist.

Inconceivable! The US mainstream media on Israel back in 1952, Cecilie Surasky
Hat tip to Pulse Media and M. Shahid Alam for uncovering this fascinating tidbit from Time magazine, 1952, announcing the selection of newly elected Iranian prime minister Mohammed Mossadegh as Person of the Year for 1951. This sobering analysis is striking because of the way in which it speaks from the perspective of Arabs. It’s exactly the kind of analysis we simply don’t see anymore in the MSM (mainstream media) here in the United States, thanks, in no small part, to the growth of the Israel lobby which has obscured not just Israel’s responsibility, but even more damning, the United States’.

What’s J Street Doing Meeting With Israeli Officials On BDS?, Alex Kane
The lobby group J Street has a somewhat muddled policy on the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement.  An interview in which their executive director says that he’s meeting with the Israeli Foreign Ministry on “how to address” the movement adds to the confusion.

Akiva Eldar / Europe doesn’t delegitimize Israel, only the occupation
Massive foreign aid in battling the Carmel fire proves what former kibbutz volunteer and current Norwegian Ambassador Svein Sevje has always known: Europe doesn’t delegitimize Israel, only the occupation.

The Carmel wildfire is burning all illusions in Israel
Over the last four days, more than 12,300 acres have burned in the Mount Carmel area or northern Israel, a devastating swath of destruction in a country the size of New Jersey. While the cause of the fire has not been established, it has laid bare the myths of Israel’s foundation.

The intellectual dishonesty of Benny Morris: Blame the Palestinians, always, Matthew Taylor
Slog through Benny Morris’ latest screed about who’s to blame for the collapse of the two state solution at your own risk… It’s like a ride on a quadruple loop roller coaster. The twists and turns of the rampant intellectual dishonesty, complete with the requisite comparison of “dealing with the Palestinians is like appeasing Hitler,” will leave your stomach in your throat.

Hasbara at Work: Oren Promotes Fantasies, Ira Glunts
Three years ago I heard the American-born Israeli Michael B. Oren promoting his new book Power, Faith and Fantasy:  America in the Middle East, 1776 to the Present at a university near my home in upstate New York. Oren is a tall, good looking man who radiated a quiet confidence. His book had the truly fanciful goal of showing that the intense American involvement in the Middle East and especially our engagement with the idea of a renewal of Jewish sovereignty in the region was not a recent development. Oren claimed that both the Zionist idea and the friction between Americans and Muslims is an important and persistent narrative thread running through American history from very early times. For instance, he describes the military confrontations of a young American republic with the Barbary pirates as the first battles in what we now call the “War on Terror.” My own conclusion after reading his book, was that Oren’s role as a conservative Israeli think-tanker had completely subsumed any desire he may have had to be an honest American historian. I assumed that he believed that this was a good career move for someone for someone who simultaneously lived in Israel and taught at Yale University. At that point this apparently mild-mannered, obviously intelligent scholar seemed harmless enough. Of course, it was impossible to have known then that Oren would become Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s ambassador to the United States.

Obama’s Policy of Appeasement in Israel
Even those familiar with the long and shameful history of America’s appeasement of Israel were taken aback by the Obama administration’s extraordinary offer to Netanyahu.

From the Pages of Time: Truths about US and Israel, M. Shahid Alam
Was there ever a time when a leading organ of the US media could speak the unvarnished truth about the links between the United States and Israel?  Consider this quote from Time magazine of January 1952, embedded in an article that explained its choice of Mohammed Mossadegh as its Person of the Year for 1951. It had no compliments for Mossadegh, the man who was spearheading his country’s bid to take back its oil resources from the British-owned Anglo-Iranian Oil Company. No surprise there.

What Obama Must Do about Palestine, Israel, James Gundun – Washington, D.C.
The acting president of the Palestinian National Authority (PA) chose an appropriate setting to issue his latest impassioned plea. Himself in political limbo, running on the fumes of an expired term, Mahmoud Abbas was on hand in Ramallah to lay the cornerstone of the new presidential headquarters. The four-story complex will replace Yasser Arafat’s British-era Mukataa within 18 months – just like U.S. mediated negotiations could use an overhaul.

Breakthrough: Fear into Compassion – Book Review, George Polley
(Breakthrough: Transforming Fear Into Compassion, a new perspective on the Israel-Palestine conflict. Insight Press, Albuquerque, NM, November 2010. Paperback.)  Richard Forer is a certified practitioner of the Meir Schneider Self-Healing Method.  I met Richard Forer during a conversation he was having with a blogger about the Israeli-Palestinian situation. Learning that he had just finished writing a book about it, I asked him to let me know when the book was published, which he did. It arrived in the mail about a week ago. It is one of the most powerful books on the subject I have read to date.

The Sad Loss of National Dignity, Rami G. Khouri
It is sad and shocking — pitiful, even, in many cases — how Arab leaders are portrayed in the U.S. State Department cables released by WikiLeaks earlier this week.

Glenn Greenwald on the Arrest of Julian Assange and the U.S. “War on Wikileaks”
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been arrested in London on an international warrant to face sex crime allegations in Sweden. Assange is expected to face a hasty extradition process to Sweden. We speak with Glenn Greenwald, constitutional attorney and blogger at Salon.com. Greenwald says: “Whatever you think of Wikileaks, they have not been charged with a crime. They have been removed from the internet, their funds have been frozen, politicians have called for their murder. This is a war over control of the internet, which is a way for citizens to bond to gather to demand accountability from world’s most powerful people.”

Al-Jazeera is not the emir of Qatar’s poodle, Mark Seddon
We are becoming used to WikiLeaks reports of cables from US diplomats being immediately accepted as factual statements, rather than opinion based on encounters – the latest being the leaked communiqués from the US ambassador to Qatar, Joseph LeBaron.

Vichy Britain: The Truth Exposed by WikiLeaks, Neil Clark
The WikiLeaks disclosures reveal, the one-time rulers of the world have been reduced to the status of arch-crawlers to American imperial power.

Parvez Sharma: The Gray Lady Wears Islamophobia on Her Sleeve
I often defend The New York Times to Muslim friends elsewhere who don’t trust it. Now, I am not so sure. I wonder if I am the only one to notice a recent lapse of judgment.

Israeli drones buzz over Lebanon skies
Three Israeli reconnaissance planes have penetrated Lebanese airspace and flown over parts of the country in flagrant violation of a UN Security Council resolution.

Hezbollah ‘has 50,000 rockets’ (AFP)
AFP – US officials believe the militant group Hezbollah has acquired an arsenal of some 50,000 rockets and missiles, raising fears of an enlarged conflict with Israel, the New York Times reported on Tuesday.

Embassy supplied Al-Manar shareholder names to US – cable
BEIRUT: The US Embassy in Lebanon is alleged to have provided Washington with the names of shareholders in Al-Manar television in a bid to weaken popular support for Hizbullah by designating those with a stake in the channel as “terrorist-related,” The Daily Star can reveal. A confidential US diplomatic cable – obtained by whistle-blowing website WikiLeaks and seen exclusively by The Daily Star.

Wikileaks: Bellemare “has no case” against Syria

STL Amendments Confirm Tribunal Illegal, Unjust
“This is the weakest tribunal in history in terms of law and procedures,” Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah said in his latest speech, referring to the Special Tribunal for Lebanon. “This is a legislative and executive authority that does as it pleases and amends laws and regulations whenever it wants to. It is really odd how such power had been given to this tribunal,” his eminence pointed out.  That’s it. The Judges of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon had met in a plenary session from 8 to 11 November 2010 to consider, among other issues, proposed amendments to the Rules of Procedure and Evidence (RPE).

Berri Accuses March 14 of Crippling Gov’t; Geagea Hits Back
06/12/2010 Lebanon’s Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri accused on Monday the March 14 bloc of paralyzing the national-unity government, stressing that the ball was in the court of President Michel Sleiman and Prime Minister Saad Hariri, urging them to immediately call for a cabinet session.  Speaking to Lebanese daily As-Safir, Berri dismissed accusations that the national opposition was crippling the government. “March 14 is the one that bears a direct and clear responsibility for crippling the government,” Berri said, noting that Prime Minister Saad Hariri’s insistence not to hold a cabinet session if the opposition wants a vote on the false witnesses’ issue has crippled the cabinet.  Hariri “has informed the President that he refuses to vote in Cabinet to forward the false witnesses’ issue to the Judicial Council and threatened to withdraw from any meeting that supports the option of voting, thus crippling the cabinet due to his stance,” the Speaker revealed.

Who is responsible?
I mean, an element of elementary logic would be in order here provided the elements of audacious double standards are discarded.  If Syria is responsible (and blamed) for arming Hizbullah, surely the US should be held responsible (and blamed) for arming Israel with far deadlier weapons than all Middle East countries combined.

US foreign policy is based on racism
Just look at this sentence in this Wikileaks  report on Hizbullah’s military capabilities:  ”damage and psychological terror Hizballah rockets caused in northern Israel during the 2006 war.”  Notice that the word “terrorized” in a war that killed far more Lebanese civilians than Israeli civilians is reserved to the people on one side of the border only.  The entire course of US foreign policy toward the Arab-Israeli conflict and toward the Middle East in general is based on the premise that there is one people (the Israelis) which is superior and valuable, and another (the Arabs) which is inferior and cheap and expendable and whose deaths is of no political value whatsoever.  That is the crux of the policy, in fact.

Monday: 4 Iraqis Killed, 7 Wounded
At least four Iraqis were killed and seven more were wounded in light violence. Meanwhile, Iraqis need between two and three million new homes built for them by 2016 but there has been little progress toward that goal. Nor has there been much development in the formation of a new government either, even though fears that Iraqiya leader Ayad Allawi will be completely shut out of negotiations are growing. Also, the wife of a man holding dual British-Iraqi citizenship and held in Iraq without charges for the last year has renewed her pleas for help in releasing the man.

Bombs kill 2 children near their home in Iraq (AP)
AP – A police spokesman says two young children have been killed by a bomb planted near their home in eastern Iraq.

Gunmen attacks scattered all over Iraq
Unknown gunmen killed head of Al Rashid municipal council as they opened fire using muted weapons on the civilian car he was driving late at night on Monday. In Al Sheala, western Baghdad, unknown gunmen killed a Police Lieutenant in a drive-by shooting.

Threats of attacks during Ashura in Iraq
Iraqi security forces found provocative flyers in a neighborhood in eastern Baaquba threatening to target worshippers observing Muharram rituals, a police source from Diyala Province said.

Allawi threatens to quit Iraqi government: report (AFP)
AFP – Iyad Allawi, who won the most votes in Iraq’s elections, threatened to quit a power-sharing government in an interview with Britain’s Times newspaper on Tuesday.

US warns of aid cuts if Sadr bloc takes certain Iraqi ministries (The Christian Science Monitor)
The Christian Science Monitor – The US is warning that it could cut substantial funding to Iraq’s Health, Education, and Transport ministries if the anti-American Sadr bloc is given those cabinet posts in a new government being formed by Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.

Journalists Decry Iraq’s Biased Media
They say the politicisation of the country’s press is undermining independent journalism. Journalists are warning that the increasingly partisan nature of the Iraqi press is suppressing fair and impartial media coverage of politics.

IRAQ: Displaced women still struggle for survival
BAGHDAD Tuesday, December 07, 2010 (IRIN) – Displaced Iraqi female-headed families who have returned home are still experiencing major livelihood challenges, says the International Organization for Migration (IOM).

IRAQ: Displaced women still struggle for survival
BAGHDAD, 7 December 2010 (IRIN) – Displaced Iraqi female-headed families who have returned home are still experiencing major livelihood challenges, says the International Organization for Migration (IOM).  An IOM survey of 1,355 female-headed displaced families who have returned to their places of origin found that 74 percent are struggling to secure adequate nutrition for their families.  Delays in receiving subsidized government food rations or lack of some food items in the rations force women to buy food with whatever money they have, adding to their struggle, the report, issued on 3 December, states.  The survey also found that health problems and social norms had prevented nearly 40 percent of them from finding jobs. Of those who are able to work, 71 percent are unemployed.  About 40 percent of those surveyed said they depended on relatives, neighbours, NGOs and religious groups to meet their needs. And more than 25 percent had a family member with chronic disease while one in four lacked access to healthcare.

U.S. and other world news
Tension grows between Calif. Muslims, FBI after informant infiltrates mosque
L Monteilh has gone public, revealing secret FBI methods and charging that his “handlers” trained him to entrap Muslims as he infiltrated their mosques, homes and businesses. He is now suing the FBI.

Wikileaks New Site

Reading WikiLeaks a criminal offense, military warns soldiers
The Department of Defense and other government agencies are warning their employees that accessing the documents released by WikiLeaks is a criminal offense and could result in their computers being “sanitized.” An anonymous tipster told Gawker that “the Army’s unclassified, NIPRNET network in Iraq has blocked every major news website because of the Wikileaks issue.”

Swiss bank closes WikiLeaks account
Bank account for whistleblowing website is frozen, the latest in a string of setbacks including disconnected servers.

Swiss bank freezes WikiLeaks founder’s legal defense fund
Below: UK authorities prepare to arrest Assange Over €31,000 set aside for the legal defense of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange has been frozen by the Swiss bank PostFinance, which said that Assange had given false information in creating the account.

Hackers take down website of bank that froze WikiLeaks funds
Hackers take down website of bank that froze WikiLeaks fundsA group of Internet activists calling themselves Operation Payback have taken credit for shutting down the website of a bank that earlier Monday froze funds belonging to WikiLeaks.  Announcing its successful hack on a Twitter account, the group declared, “We will fire at anyone that tries to censor WikiLeaks.”  Earlier in the day, Swiss bank PostFinance issued a statement announcing that it had frozen 31,000 euro ($41,000 US) in an account set up as a legal defense fund for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange arrested in London on rape charges
The arrest, on rape charges from Sweden, comes after Julian Assange warned that WikiLeaks could release key US cables if anything ‘happened’ to him.

WikiLeaks vows to keep operating after Assange turns himself in to police
Swedish prosecutors issued the arrest order for the Australian whistleblower who is wanted in Sweden on suspicion of committing sexual crimes.

WikiLeaks releases list of sites ‘vital to US national security’
A list of facilities around the world whose loss would “critically impact” America’s ability to defend itself has been published by WikiLeaks, triggering anger in the US because of fears it could help terrorists identify potential targets for attack.

View Critical infrastructure sites in Canada
Among the cables released Sunday was a list of critical infrastructure sites outside the United States that the Americans regard as vital to their interests.

WikiLeaks: Egypt considering nuclear arms if Iran gets them
US cable: States in the region “terrified” of a nuclear Iran; head of Egypt’s intelligence service offers assistance in taking on Iran.  CAIRO — Egypt’s president would consider turning his country into a nuclear power if Iran acquired atomic weapons, leaked US diplomatic cables revealed.  A cable from May 2008, one of hundreds of secret diplomatic documents released by the WikiLeaks website over the past week, described how President Hosni Mubarak told a US Congressional delegation that everyone in the region was “terrified” of a nuclear Iran.

Gulf war cries over Iran exaggerated
The United States media spin on leaked diplomatic cables in the Persian Gulf is that Arab rulers are as eager for military action against Iran as the Israelis. But this is based on a highly selective reading of the relevant documents that WikiLeaks has provided.

Iran: Resistance is the only thing Israel understands
ATHENS (AFP) – Resistance is the only thing Israel understands, Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said Monday during a visit to Greece.  “History has shown that Israel understands no language other than resistance,” Mottaki told a press conference on the sidelines of his two-day visit to Athens for talks with Greek leaders.

US ‘how to’ guide on talking to Iran – in 1979 – emerges from WikiLeaks
A WikiLeaks cable written three months before the takeover of the US Embassy in Tehran is at times insightful and at times sweeping in its condescension about the ‘Persian psyche.’

Yemen diverted US counterrorism aid meant to tackle Al Qaeda, WikiLeaks reveals
A December 2009 cable, published by WikiLeaks, shows that Yemen deployed a US-funded counterterrorism unit to fight domestic rebels instead of Al Qaeda.

EU doubts Afghanistan success: WikiLeaks files
European Union President Herman Van Rompuy told the U.S. ambassador to Belgium, Howard Gutman, that the EU no longer believes in the success of the military mission in Afghanistan. Van Rompuy, a former Belgian prime minister, suggested European troops are still being deployed only to bow to what the United States wants.

Spike in Bagram prisoners
The number of prisoners, many of whom are believed to be Taliban members, in the US dentention centre in the Afghan city of Bagram has risen by 40 per cent since the beginning of the year. The increase of detainees came as US troops recently poured into the country in an effort to boost military operations. James Bays reports from Kabul, the Afghan capital. [December 6, 2010]

Saudi law professor held after article critical of monarchy
RIYADH: A Saudi law professor has been arrested after publishing an article on a website critical of the country’s ruling royal family, a human rights group said Monday.Mohammad al-Abdulkarim, was arrested at his home in Riyadh Sunday by four men, variously wearing civilian clothes and uniforms, according to the Human Rights First Society of Saudi Arabia (HRFS).

Abraham Serfaty: Political activist who fell foul of the French colonial authorities as well as Morocco’s authoritarian King Hassan II
Abraham Serfaty was a leading Moroccan Jewish dissident, who spent his life fighting for independence and democracy in his homeland, first against the French colonial rulers and then King Hassan II’s absolute monarchy.  His struggle against all forms of injustice cost him 22 months in hiding, 17 years imprisonment and 13 years in exile, but he succeeded in returning to Morocco a free citizen.

The Female Factor: ‘Miss Arab’ Competition Challenges Boundaries
The Miss Arab World 2010 contest aspires to embrace the conservative nature of Arab societies while still being, well, a beauty pageant.


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