And other news from Today in Palestine:
Settlers/ Land, Property, Resource Theft & Destruction/Ethnic Cleansing
Israeli army demolishes 12 West Bank homes, strikes on Gaza
RAMALLAH / GAZA, Dec. 8 (Xinhua) — The Israeli army Wednesday demolished 12 Palestinian houses and a school in a village near the northern West Bank city of Nablus, residents and security sources said. The residents said that the Israeli army bulldozers demolished 12 Palestinian-owned houses in the village of Kherbet Tana, allegedly saying the constructions were illegally built.
OCHA: Israel razed 12 homes in O. Jerusalem during one week
The UN office for the coordination of humanitarian affairs said that Israel demolished 12 Palestinian homes in occupied Jerusalem from 24 to 30 November at the pretext of unlicensed construction.
2 Dec. ’10: New settler enclaves in East Jerusalem
On 23 and 24 November 2010, settler organizations took control of two houses in Palestinian neighborhoods in East Jerusalem. In the first case, the Qara’in family, 14 persons, were evicted from their home, which is located next to the UN compound in Jabal Mukabber. The eviction was carried out in accordance with court order and with police assistance. The building had been purchased by a foreign company that is registered in the Cocos Islands and is represented in Israel by David Be’eri, one of the heads of the Elad settlers’ organization, even though some of the owners of the property contend that the transaction was made without their knowledge and approval. Settlers have taken over another house in the village.
Israeli Army Razes West Bank Village
The Israeli military bulldozed Tana village early on Wednesday near the city of Hebron, Press TV reported.
Israeli forces demolish school near Nablus
NABLUS (Ma’an) — Israeli forces demolished a number Palestinian buildings near the West Bank city of Nablus Wednesday, including a Palestinian Authority school, officials said. Ghassan Doughlas, the official in charge of monitoring settlements in the northern West Bank, said Israeli military vehicles raided Tana area, seven kilometers from the village of Beit Furik and declared it a closed military zone before demolishing buildings, including an under-construction three classroom school.
Israel carries out demolitions in village east of Nablus
The Israeli occupation forces (IOF) demolished Wednesday morning agricultural buildings and a school under construction and removed tents in Tana village, east of Nablus city.
3 Bethlehem homes threatened with demolition
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — Israeli forces handed three stop-work orders to residents of Bethlehem on Tuesday, local officials said. Usama Shakarneh, deputy mayor of Nahalin village, said authorities handed notifications claiming three homes lacked licenses. The mayor said the homes belonged to three local families.
IOA deports MP Abu Tir to the West Bank
An Israeli court decided on Wednesday to deport Jerusalemite MP Mohammed Abu Tir from his native hometown of occupied Jerusalem to the West Bank.
US fails in settlements freeze bid
The US suspends efforts to persuade Israel on settlement building freeze.
Israel’s east Jerusalem policy threatens peace: EU (AFP)
AFP – Israel’s policies in occupied east Jerusalem are harming the prospect of the Palestinians having their future capital there, which “seriously endangers” a two-state solution, the EU said on Tuesday.
Military presence prolongs state of tension in Silwan
The Wadi Hilweh district of Silwan has witnessed a heightened and sustained presence of both Israeli police and settler guards, creating an atmosphere of tension and state of alert in the East Jerusalem village. Such circumstances have been ongoing since the murder of Silwan resident Samer Sarhan on 22 September 2010, who was shot dead by a settler guard in the village. The ensuing clashes triggered a Israeli crackdown on local resistance, highlighting the clear collusion between the armed guards of Israeli settlements in Silwan and the Israeli police and military. Sarhan’s death was not the only crime committed by settler guards in Silwan in recent months. Resident Mazen Ouda was shot in the foot with live ammunition by a settler guard on 2 June this year during clashes in the village.
Activism/Solidarity/Boycott, Divestment & Sanctions
Hearing begins in case of Palestinian non-violent protest organizer
Abdullah Abu Rahme was brought to an Israeli court Monday, after completing a one year prison sentence for ‘incitement’ due to his role organizing non-violent weekly demonstrations against the Wall. Israeli authorities are attempting to extend his sentence indefinitely without charges, a policy known as ‘administrative detention’, which is considered a violation of international law, but is common practice by Israeli military courts.
Only 48 Hours Until Country-Wide BDS Day of Action!
This year, what better way to honor International Human Rights Day than to join with others around the country to say NO to investment in Occupation & Apartheid! If you haven’t already, it’s not too late to join this initiative by Jewish Voice for Peace to tell financial company TIAA-CREF to divest from Caterpillar, Motorola, and other companies profiting from Israeli violations of Palestinian rights. Organizers in more than 20 cities around the country are mobilizing to bring their voices to local TIAA-CREF offices in the form of petitions, face-to-face meetings, and demonstrations. If you haven’t already, register here to join with others in your area already taking part. You can find more general information about the campaign, a step-by-step guide, and a sample petition here. This Friday, join the chorus of voices telling TIAA-CREF we will not stand for profiting from Occupation & Apartheid!
Beit Ommar returns to its roots
Palestinians in the occupied West Bank village of Beit Ommar are returning to older models of organizing against the Israeli occupation. These organizers are employing strategies of resistance made famous during the first intifada in order to overcome stagnation and division within Palestinian society. Mousa Abu Maria of the Palestine Solidarity Project analyzes.
Holiday Caroling Protest in Front of Lev Leviev’s New York Store
Sing parody carols to boycott Israeli apartheid, Saturday, December 18th, 1:00 – 3:00 pm @ LEVIEV Jewelry Store: 700 Madison Avenue, between 62nd and 63rd. The international Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel continues to grow and achieve successes. Following a global boycott campaign, Leviev’s company Africa Israel made an ambiguous statement that it had no plans to build more settlements. But another Leviev company, Leader, continues to build the Zufim settlement on Jayyous’ land, and Leviev’s support for human rights abuses in the diamond industry in Angola continues.
#BDS: Palestinian protest disrupts fencing event in Spain
Pro-Palestinian protestors interrupt junior fencing competition in Burgos, chanting anti-Israeli slogans. ‘I was shaking the whole competition, it was very scary,’ Israeli teen athlete Irina Levin says. The Junior Fencing World Cup in Burgos, Spain turned into a political arena this past weekend when 12 pro-Palestinian protestors stormed the bleachers during a match between Israeland Spain, shouting anti-Israeli slogans and wielding anti-Israel signs. The protestors yelled “Killers of Palestinians” at the young fencers, and their signs called for a boycott of Israel.
‘End Military Aid to Israel’ campaign comes to BART, Henry Norr
Two months after ads calling for an end to U.S. military aid to Israel went up in Chicago Transit Authority stations, a similar campaign began this week in the Bay Area. Inspired by the work of the Chicago-area Committee for a Just Peace in Israel and Palestine (CJPIP), the Bay Area initiative was launched by the Northern California Friends of Sabeel, the local branch of a national group that supports the Palestinian Christian liberation theology movement. The Bay Area chapters of Jewish Voice for Peace and American Muslims for Palestine quickly signed on as co-sponsors. The ads, currently posted in three heavily trafficked stations – 12th Street Oakland, Downtown Berkeley, and San Francisco Civic Center – are virtually identical to those the CJPIP ran in Chicago, and they refer commuters to the same website: www.TwoPeoplesOneFuture.org. The sponsors hope to launch a broader campaign to bring the message to more Bay Area commuters in the coming year. Donate to support expansion of the campaign here.
Another silent walk-out in protest of Israel’s PR campaign, Christopher Clark
On December 2nd, an event entitled “Overcoming Terror: A True Story” was set to take place on the University of Massachusetts campus in Amherst, Massachusetts. It was sponsored by the Student Alliance for Israel (SAFI) and the University of Massachusetts Hillel House. IDF Sergeant Kenny Sachs was the orator, an on-call speaker for Israeli propaganda groups Upstart Activist and Divestment Watch. Though the topic of discussion happened in Gaza, the event description never named Palestinians. Instead, “terrorists” was the term used to describe those who “attacked” Sergeant Sachs at the Erez checkpoint in northern Gaza. The rest of the description being a muddled account of a shootout between Sachs and aforementioned “terrorists” in an attempt to create the center periphery story of Sachs losing his ability to play basketball after being shot in the leg. He said, “That was one of the hardest things I’ve ever heard.”
Halfway there! Please help us meet our matching fund goal in December.. Philip Weiss and Adam Horowitz
We are halfway to our goal in our current fund raising drive. Thank you! It only took us five days to raise the first $10,000 – by far our best start ever. We’re hoping to raise another $10,000 in order to meet the $20,000 matching fund challenge presented to us by a very generous donor. Please help us reach our goal and give today!
The Electronic Intifada Campaign: Help keep our reporting strong in 2011
To remain a strong, independent publication and an educational resource for the Palestine solidarity and justice movement, The Electronic Intifada needs the support of its readers and friends. Please make a contribution today.
#BDS: My Experience at Oasis Food Market, Oakland CA: What a Pleasant Surprise!
When asked that question, the store manager, an Arab from Yemen, explained that the only products in the store imported through “Israel” are those manufactured in 1948 Palestine. Not only that, the store is keen on labeling those products with a sign that says: “Products of Palestine” as shown below…
As a lame duck, Grayson, do you think you could just quack once for Corrie, Henochowicz and Dogan?, Susie Kneedler
YesterdaySeham posted about an appeal by Florida Congressman Alan Grayson at Huffpo to hear from the grassroots so as to reinvigorate the Democratic Party. Susie Kneedler sent Grayson, who was defeated last month, a letter.
Mavi Marmara Returns to Istanbul Ahead of Leading New Gaza Flotilla
The Turkish ship the Mavi Marmara, on which nine activists were killed on the May 31 Flotilla Massacre, is returning to Istanbul on the anniversary of ‘Operation Cast Lead’. In a ceremony organised by the Humanitarian Relief Foundation (IHH), politicians, activists and survivors will gather to mourn the losses on the flotilla and in Gaza, while reiterating their commitment to ending Israel’s illegal policies.
Peace group denied permission to operate Chabad-like stand at Ben-Gurion airport
Artists Without Walls wanted to set up stand managed by Jews and Arabs ‘who would be open to dialogue with passengers about coexistence.’
Abuse of Palestinian Children
Voices from the Occupation
Belal (16) was shot in his left leg whilst collecting building material in the Gaza Strip, about 600 metres from the border fence with Israel.
On the hunting of Palestinian children and re-education at the Ofer prison, Ofra Ben Artzi
On 15 November 2010 the IDF spokesman issued the following news flash: “During the night IDF forces in the Judea and Samaria area and in the Jordan Valley arrested 11 wanted persons.” A routine announcement that is published nearly every morning, but it does not receive much attention, because whom does it interest? And if among those 11 wanted persons there were some children who were pulled from their beds in the middle of their dreams at midnight, seized by soldiers of an elite brigade in front of their terrified parents; handcuffed, blindfolded and then put into a military vehicle that took them to an ISA (Shin Bet) interrogation facility, does anybody really care?
Siege/Rights Violations/Restriction of Movement
EU parliament delegation expresses shock over conditions in Gaza
BRUSSELS, Dec 7 (KUNA) — A delegation from the European Parliament which recently visited the Palestinian territories has expressed its shock over ongoing deprivations suffered by the people in Gaza. 750,000 people continue to need food aid from UNRWA; 300,000 of them are in abject poverty. Schools are still denied building material, the 8-member EP delegation said in a statement here Tuesday. The EU parliamentarians said that in order for the living conditions of people in Gaza to improve, the Israeli siege must be lifted, and normal economic and business activities must be allowed to start again, with no restrictions on exports and imports.
Erdogan: Israeli siege on Gaza must end
Recep Tayyep Erdogan, the Turkish Prime Minister, has urged Tuesday the Zionist entity to lift the five-year old siege on Gaza, reiterating his governments conditions.
‘For Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, receiving medical treatment is highly problematic and involves numerous obstacles. Sometimes patients are forced to opt out of treatment altogether’
A little sadistic game is being played. How much pressure must this ghetto experience before Gaza (75% of which is women and children) will grow to love Israel and overthrow Hamas? Report from Physicians for Human Rights-Israel: “The Beaten Track – Obstacles Facing Gaza Patients in Need of Medical Care“
Israel Reduces Wheat Supply to the Gaza Strip
The Israeli authorities have reduced the amounts of wheat allowed into the Gaza Strip. According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), lower quantities of wheat grain and animal feed have been allowed to enter Gaza during the past few months. Between January and May 2010 the 64,237 tons were allowed to enter Gaza through a special conveyer belt at Karni Crossing. Since June 2010, the Israeli authorities allowed only 48,609 tons into Gaza.
Israel allows more exports from Gaza to West Bank and abroad
Security cabinet approves move in bid to ease the lives of the population in Gaza; government believes ‘steps will have positive impact on Israel’s international stance.’
Hamas: Increasing Gaza’s export won’t change facts on ground
GAZA, Dec. 8 (Xinhua) — Islamic Hamas movement on Wednesday said Israel’s decision to expand export from Gaza doesn’t change the situation on the ground. “This is an attempt to cover the real continuation of the blockade,” Ayman Taha, a spokesman for Hamas, told Xinhua, minutes after the Israeli Security Cabinet approved to let more goods go out from the Hamas-controlled territory.
Al Jazeera Children’s Channel and UNRWA sign groundbreaking online learning agreement
Al Jazeera Children’s Channel today concluded an agreement with the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) that will give unique learning opportunities to hundreds of thousands of Palestinian children across the Middle East.
Racism and Discrimination
MK Tibi: Skinhead rabbis vs. Arabs
During Knesset session, Arab lawmakers slam ruling against selling or renting apartments to non-Jews. MK El Sana calls rabbis ‘scum of the earth.’ President Peres: Ban ‘an ethical crisis’.
Yediot’s legal editor cites Nuremberg Laws, Eichmann trial, in critique of new Rabbinical ruling
In 1834, a clothes salesman in London refused to sell an article of clothing to a customer. The refusal stemmed from the fact that the buyer was “just a Jew.”The Jewish buyer sued the salesman, but the court in the Timothy case supported the salesman. It was not a just trial, but the judge employed a sacred principle, the freedom of contracts, according to which a person can choose with whom he wants to enter into a contract and whom he does not. This sanctity was a disgrace and a refuge for ugly prejudice. The court’s non-intervention only supplied ammunition to the strong and violent versus the human and the weak, and the usual outcome of giving “freedom to wolves,” as Prof. Isaiah Berlin put it, is “death for sheep.” Since then, the sanctity of the freedom of contracts has been made subject to the demand of good faith. It can no longer serve as a refuge for racists. In the Israeli ruling in the case of Naamne vs. Kibbutz Kalia, Judge Miriam Mizrahi ruled that one cannot rely on freedom of contracts to prevent Arabs from entering a water park.
Report: “Three Killed, 35 Wounded, By Army Fire In November”
A report on Israeli attacks against the Palestinians in November revealed that soldiers killed three Palestinians, and wounded 35, amidst ongoing soldier and settler violations against the Palestinians in the occupied territories.
Israeli warplanes blast targets in southern Gaza
Israeli warplanes launched two raids on Khan Younis and Rafah, south of the Gaza Strip, at dawn Wednesday inflicting material damage and wounding a youth, local sources reported.
Medics: 3 injured by Israeli shelling in Gaza
GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — Israeli tank shelling injured three Palestinians Wednesday east of Gaza City, medics said. The three hurt in the incident, near the Karni crossing, were not identified. An Israeli military spokesman said that “an IDF force fired tank rounds toward a number of suspicious individuals who approached the security fence in the northern Gaza Strip.
IDF resumes use of prohibited tear gas canisters
The canisters, which are used to disperse demonstrations in the West Bank, have been responsible for serious injuries and at least one death
Supplement to Haaretz Expose on High-Velocity Tear Gas Projectiles, Joseph Dana
Haaretz is reporting today something which has been known for weeks, the IDF has illegally reintroduced high-velocity tear gas canisters to their arsenal of weapons used to crush weekly Palestinian non-violent demonstrations in the West Bank. This is in violation of the IDF’s own directives that such tear gas canisters should not be used in West Bank demonstrations. Manufactured and sold to the Israeli military by Combined Systems Inc., a United States company based in Jamestown, Pennsylvania, the tear gas projectiles have been responsible for countless injuries, destruction of property and one death. According to the company’s subsidiary website, the projectiles are not meant for use in open-air crowd control situations, but rather as indoor barricade penetrators. On April 17th, 2009, Bil’in resident Bassem Abu Rahmah was killed as a result of being hit in the chest with a high velocity tear-gas projectile. On March 13th, 2009, American citizen Tristan Anderson suffered numerous condensed fractures to the skull above the right eye socket after being struck with a high velocity tear-gas projectile during a demonstration in Ni’ilin. He suffered extensive brain tissue damage and is now paralyzed for life.
Detainees (held by Israelis and the PA)
PFLP member detained in raid on Nablus village
Nablus – Ma’an – Israeli forces arrested a member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine after raiding his home in Beit Furik, east of the West Bank city of Nablus, on Wednesday. Locals told Ma’an that Israeli soldiers arrested Hakim Abed Al-Baset Hanani, after raiding his home. Soldiers entered the house at 2 a.m. and searched it before arresting Hanini, they said.
Israeli police detain Palestinian fleeing checkpoint
HEBRON (Ma’an) — Israeli police detained a Palestinian driver Wednesday after he sped through a checkpoint and they opened fire toward his vehicle near Hebron in the occupied West Bank, officials said.
Hamas: PA detains 7 party members
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — Palestinian security forces recently detained seven Hamas members in the West Bank, the party said Wednesday. Hamas said in a statement that Palestinian Authority forces made the arrests in Nablus, Tulkarem, and Salfit. Hamas officials in the West Bank accused the PA security services of detaining 21 of the movement’s supporters, a separate statement released Tuesday said. The statement explained that those 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.
Israeli-Palestinian talks hit a new wall, sparking calls for a US peace plan
Argentina and Brazil have formally recognized a Palestinian state, and the US has given up on securing a new settlement freeze to restart Israeli-Palestinian talks.
US opposes S. American moves to recognize Palestinian state (AFP)
AFP – The United States on Tuesday opposed moves by Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay to recognize an independent Palestinian state, saying such recognition is “counter-productive” to achieving Middle East peace.
Abbas: Turkey Will Broker More International Recognitions
Ankara – PNN – Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said on Monday that the Palestinian Authority (PA) requested help from Turkey in getting recognition from other countries for an independent state along the 1967 boundaries. Earlier on Monday, Argentine president Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner announced her country’s official recognition of independent Palestine along the ’67 borders, following on the heels of a similar announcement by Brazil. Uruguay said it would follow suit in 2011.
France, First in Europe to Recognize Independent Palestine
France declared it will recognize a free and independent Palestinian state based on the 1967 borders, a Press TV report said.
Gulf Leaders Support P.A. Position On Settlements
Leaders of the Arab Gulf stated that they support the stance of the Palestinian Authority of Mahmoud Abbas in the West Bank regarding not holding talks with Israel until it halts its settlement activities in the occupied territories.
Palestinians seek unilateral statehood recognition (AP)
AP – The Palestinians’ Plan B — an alternative to the elusive peace deal with Israel — is gradually taking shape: convince as many countries as possible to recognize a Palestinian state in the West Bank, Gaza and east Jerusalem, and use that to lobby the United States not to veto recognition by the U.N. Security Council.
Palestinians question U.S. ability to forge Middle East peace
Top Abbas aide Abed Rabbo: How can the U.S. make Israel accept a fair peace solution when it couldn’t even make Israel limit its settlement activities?
PLO: US failed, we’ll turn to UN
Palestinians enraged by announcement on failure of talks aimed at resuming settlement construction freeze, alongside promise to resume indirect negotiations. ‘Instead of declaring Israel responsible, the Americans are giving the Israelis an opportunity to waste more time,’ says Yasser Abed Rabbo.
Egypt: World should push toward establishment of Palestinian state
Egyptian FM Ahmed Aboul Gheit says discussions should shift to an ‘endgame’ for Palestinian settlement due to the failure of U.S.-brokered talks.
Kadima MK Mofaz: Israel should seek an interim agreement with the Palestinians
Mofaz began his tenure as chairman of Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee after previously serving as IDF chief of staff and defense minister.
Former ambassador: US must talk to Hamas
GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — A former US official met with Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh in Gaza Wednesday, after calling on America to end its policy of refusing to speak with the Islamist Hamas movement. Mark Hambley, the former US ambassador to Qatar and Lebanon, told a group of journalists before his meeting with Haniyeh: “We should have been talking to Hamas for the past three years. The difficulty is that we’ve put Hamas in the same category as groups that we have grievances against.”
Lieberman associate: Turkey should compensate Israel
Defiant message: Apologizing to Turkey over flotilla incident would mark capitulation to terror, close associate of Foreign Minister Lieberman says; Turkey is the one that should apologize, pay compensation, he says.
Israel to Turkey: Admit IDF raid on Gaza flotilla had no malicious intent
Request is part of the latest Israeli-Turkish discussions aimed at ending their diplomatic crisis, which focus on an Israeli apology in exchange for return of Turkish envoy to Tel Aviv.
Lieberman’s aides: Apologizing to Turkey means surrendering to terror
Officials close to the foreign minister slam Netanyahu’s push for an agreement with Turkey that would end the diplomatic crisis between the two countries.
ADL: Rescind all Helen Thomas honors
Jewish group calls on journalism schools, professional organizations to no longer recognize former White House correspondent after she ‘clearly, unequivocally revealed herself as a vulgar anti-Semite’ in remarks to Arab American group.
Palestinians back regional firefighting force (AFP)
AFP – Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas on Wednesday said he supported proposals for a regional firefighting unit after 42 people died in Israel’s worst-ever blaze last week.
The Charade of Israeli-Palestinian Talks, Noam Chomsky
The focus on settlement expansion, and Washington’s groveling, are not the only farcical elements of the current negotiations. The very structure is a charade.
Giving Up On Israel?, Andrew Sullivan
It appears the Obama administration has thrown in the towel in trying to get Netanyahu to agree to a new moratorium on settlements in the West Bank. That presumably means none of the promised goodies either. Now what? Clinton is due to speak at Brookings on Friday, when the next step may be announced. I favor an end to aid for Israel because a) Israel doesn’t need it and b) we need the money and c) it doesn’t seem sensible to me to keep rewarding an ally that refuses to offer minimal cooperation. I also favor the US laying out its own preferred solution, perhaps as a way to recognize a Palestinian state in the UN, whatever Netanyahu wants. He has had his chance to frame a deal. Now it’s time for the US to assert its own interests and goals.
Jim-Crow Journalism: Were there really no Palestinian analysts available for latest NYT article?, Philip Weiss
Earlier today I posted Noam Chomsky’s insight that American intellectual culture has complete contempt for Arab public opinion. Well, the New York Times’s Mark Landler interviewed Dan Kurtzer, Yigal Palmor, Dan Levy, David Makovsky about their opinions on the Obama administration’s failure to get anything from Netanyahu on the so-called settlement freeze.
Israel First: Discrediting Rule of Law in Britain, Stuart Littlewood – London
Professor Richard Falk put it most eloquently: ‘The idea of Nuremberg after World War Two was that crimes against the peace, crimes against humanity and war crimes are also offences against the whole of international society…’ The law that was applied to surviving German criminals of World War Two would not be respected unless those who sat in judgment upheld it in relation to their own behaviour. The UN Special Rapporteur was speaking in London at a parliamentary briefing on Universal Jurisdiction, the principles of which the British government intends to undermine for the benefit of its Israeli friends.
The Palestinian People Have Rights too, Dr. Abdel-Qader Yassine
If there is one thing a Palestinian cannot understand, or If he did understand cannot forgive, it is the apathy and hypocrisy with which governments in the ‘Free World’, especially in the United States, react towards issues of right and wrong in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. Indeed, questions of morals and of justice seem to have no relevance, and policy appears in most cases to be determined solely by considerations of what one party only to the conflict might agree to, or at least not protest about.
Where Exactly can we Live?, Joharah Baker for MIFTAH
Let’s presume the majority of Israel’s government and people are not of the opinion of some other more radical elements in that society who call for the transfer of Palestinians outside the country [preferably to Jordan]. Let’s say the majority of Israelis still believe in “peace” – and I use this word loosely, and a settlement – even more loosely – with the Palestinians. If this majority believes the Palestinians should be able to live on land it can call its own, then the question that arises in light of circumstances that point to the contrary, is where exactly are these Palestinians allowed to live?
Edward Said Memorial Lecture
Sixth Annual Edward Said Memorial Lecture organized by the Dept. of English and Comparative Literature
Climate Change Threatens To Eliminate Half Of Israel’s Allies
Marshall Islands is one of the four reliable “No” votes usually registered against UN resolutions condemning Israeli human rights violations. Along with the United States, Micronesia, and Solomon Islands, the latter two expected to be flooded at later stages in the firs half of this century.
Sidetracked in the West Bank, Joseph Dana
A couple of hours before Shabbat descended upon the rugged hills of the West Bank a group of Israelis were hiking in a small patch of trees near Ramalah. They hiked quickly and barely stopped to discuss the beauty of the surrounding nature. Occasionally, their unofficial leader (the one who know the trail) would stop and point out a beautiful vista or note how the hill tops formed perfect concentric circles.The smell of wild growing herbs filled their noses as they moved closer to their destination. They reached a road separating a small group of Palestinian tents and the village of Nabi Saleh. The Israelis were on their way to join Nabi Saleh’s weekly demonstration against the confiscation of its agricultural lands by the Jewish settlement of Halamish. The demonstration had started a few hours before their arrival and the Israeli army had sealed the village. This was done to keep Israelis from joining the demonstration which would offset the army’s ability to use force against the unarmed civilians demonstrating. Despite the checkpoints at all entrances, this group of activists were able to join the demonstration because of their knowledge of the patterns of army behaviour in these demonstrations.
Check out this Gaza quiz presented by the UK’s Council for the Advancement of Arab-British Understanding (CAABU). The site keeps getting “suspended” for some reason but it was sound at the time I typed this.
The Art of Glass-Blowing in Hebron, Palestine Monitor
Once upon a time, Hebron was a busy town for glass-blowers. In the old city’s Al-Kazazin quarter (Kazazin meaning ‘people who make glass’), three families operated 14 glass factories. Today, there are only two of them left, run by the Natsheh family. The first Intifada, combined with the affluence of cheap goods from China and the rise in oil prices forced the majority of glass shop owners out of business. Both remaining factories have relocated to the entrance of the city, because tourists are sometimes fearful to go too deep into the old city.
Julian Assange in the Honey Trap, How they snared him, Justin Raimondo
Anyone who doubts the unmitigated evil of the US government and its international enablers has only to look at the disgraceful persecution of Julian Assange to see Washington’s brazen malevolence in full flower. As the WikiLeaks web site continues to release daily examples of US incompetence, bullying, venality, and corruption, the response from the Imperial City has been a coordinated campaign of lies, smears, and what can only be described as utter filth.
WikiLeaks cables: Saudis proposed Arab force to invade Lebanon
Foreign minister wanted US, Nato and UN backing for offensive to end Iranian-backed Hezbollah’s siege of government. Saudi Arabia proposed creating an Arab force backed by US and Nato air and sea power to intervene in Lebanon two years ago and destroy Iranian-backed Hezbollah, according to a US diplomatic cable released by WikiLeaks. The plan would have sparked a proxy battle between the US and its allies against Iran, fought in one of the most volatile regions of the world. The Saudi plan was never enacted but reflects the anxiety of Saudi Arabia – as well as the US – about growing Iranian influence in Lebanon and elsewhere in the Middle East.
Sanyruah has thus far supported two invasions of Lebanon (one that took place in 2006 and another that never materialized)
“Satterfield asked what support this concept had from Siniora and from other Arab states. Saud responded that “Siniora strongly supports,” but that only Jordan and Egypt “as well as Arab League SYG Moussa” were aware of the proposal, lest premature surfacing result in its demise.“
Walid Jumblat on Wikileaks
Walid Jumblat confirmed the authenticity of Wikileaks. In fact, I can report to you that Hizbullah–hoping to spare its new lousy ally embarrassment–asked him last week to issue denials of his statements in Wikileaks and he refused (telling Hizbullah privately that “we had said even worse things”). He told As-Safir today: ”I won’t deny what was attributed to me personally (in Wikileaks) because I was in [a state of] alienation that made me use expressions or comments that are contrary to the national and patriotic heritage and now I have returned to my real, natural and historic position.“
Arrests over Hariri’s killing against the law: cables
Four Lebanese generals who were held in prison over the killing of Rafik Hariri were detained without a legal basis, according to a report given by U.N. investigator to U.S. diplomats three years before they were freed, a Lebanon-based newspaper reported on Monday.
Karma Khayyat’s report
New TV aired a report on the Hariri assassination by Karma Khayyat, who has been following the Hariri investigation and has followed many ignored leads in the case. Her last documentary from a few days ago, included an important detailed refutation of the telecommunication theory that would implicate Hizbullah. Khayyat wondered sarcastically why Hizbullah–so obsessed with secrecy–would ask the ostensible assassins to register the cellphones with their own names.
About the so-called “independent” Hariri tribunal
“Rizk said the U.S. can help by directing Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad to ask the UN SYG to impress upon Bellemare the importance of his role as prosecutor for the Tribunal. (C) Rizk pointed out that Bellemare should not be disassociating UNIIIC from the detention of the four generals suspected of involvement in Rafiq Hariri’s assassination because the blame then falls squarely on XXXXXXXXXXXX“ PS Could xxxxxxxx be Israel?
IDF chief reported: Hezbollah was involved in attack on Israeli convoy in Jordan
WikiLeaks cables reveal that Israel had information that Hezbollah was involved in attack as a response to the assassination of Hezbollah commander Imad Mughniyeh.
Typical ignorance of Arabic and the Middle East in the New York Times
“a billboard promoting Hezbollah“. In fact, the billboard is promoting Saraya Al-Muqawamah which is a brigade of volunteers in the Lebanese resistance against Israel who are NOT members of Hizbullah.
Tuesday: 3 Iraqis Killed, 18 Wounded
At least three Iraqis were killed and 18 more were wounded in violence that mostly occurred in the capital. Meanwhile, Iraqiya leader Ayad Allawi warned that “power sharing is not happening” and threatened to quit the new government unless meaningful change happens.
Bombs kill 3 Iraqis, wound 7 Iranians near Baghdad (AP)
AP – A car bomb outside a restaurant killed three people north of Baghdad on Wednesday, while a roadside bomb wounded seven Iranian pilgrims on a bus traveling to an important Shiite religious festival, officials said.
More than 80 Christian families displaced from Baghdad
Iraq’s Immigration and Displaced Directorate in Dahuk Province announced that it has received more than 80 Christian families displaced from Baghdad and Mosul in fear of armed attacks. The Directorate expects more families to move soon.
No safe haven for displaced Iraqis
More than seven years after the United States and United Kingdom-led invasion of Iraq, millions of displaced Iraqis have nowhere to go. For the overwhelming majority of refugees and internally displaced persons, displacement is not a one-off trauma. Rather, it is a continuous state of flight for most uprooted Iraqis.
Iraq’s education ministry bans theatre & music classes
The Iraqi Ministry of Education has banned theatre and music classes in Baghdad’s Fine Arts Institute, and ordered the removal of statues showcased at the entrance of the institute without explaining the move, but some of the students mull religious reasons as the real motive. “Prohibiting theatre and music in the institute for its so called “violation” of religion is only an individual opinion touted by some people hailing from religious parties, but it is contradictory to the opinion of most religious clerics and scholars,” said Dhaya al-Shakarchi, a writer and a politicians, told Alarabiya.net.
Iraqi maqam emerges as casualty of modernity and war (AFP)
AFP – Performing before a half-empty room at Baghdad’s Alwiyah Club, Taha Gharib is conscious that the music he has passionately played for decades — traditional Iraqi maqam — is dying.
U.S. and other world news
US judge blocks Awlaki killing case
Judge dismisses lawsuit to prevent US from targeting Anwar al-Awlaki, the US-born, Yemen-based cleric linked to plots.
U.S. may seek extradition of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange
Assange could face espionage and other charges, but prosecutors would face a 1st Amendment test. Angry over the bombardment of leaks of classified material, top Obama administration officials are considering filing an extradition request to have WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange face criminal charges, possibly for espionage.
WikiLeaks founder denied bail in UK
Julian Assange is remanded in custody after appearing in a London court on an extradition warrant.
Attorney: WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange Endangered by Bail Denial in London; Still No Charges Filed in Sweden
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange will remain in custody until at least December 14th, when a British court will take up a Swedish request for extradition. Assange hasn’t been charged with a crime but is wanted for questioning in Sweden on allegations of unlawful sexual contact with two women. Assange has maintained his innocence and called the case a political witch-hunt that has intensified with WikiLeaks’ release of secret U.S. diplomatic cables. We speak with his attorney, Jennifer Robinson.
Don’t shoot messenger for revealing uncomfortable truths, Julian Assange
WIKILEAKS deserves protection, not threats and attacks.
Australia vows to back Assange
SYDNEY — Australian diplomats will support detained WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd vowed Wednesday, even after Assange accused Canberra of “disgraceful pandering” to his foes. Australia’s consul-general to Britain has already spoken to Assange, arrested in London Tuesday on a warrant seeking his extradition to Sweden on sex assault charges, while diplomats attended his court hearing, officials said. “We have confirmed that we’ll provide (consular support), as we’d do for all Australian citizens,” Rudd said a day after his boss Prime Minister Julia Gillard branded WikiLeaks’ publication of leaked diplomatic cables “grossly irresponsible.”
Lieberman suggests media outlets could be prosecuted over WikiLeaks stories
Can the US government prosecute media outlets that reported on the WikiLeaks cables? According to Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT), the answer is maybe. Following the release of thousands of documents by government watchdog WikiLeaks, Lieberman told the The New York Times that he wanted to use “all legal means” against the website.
State to host celebration of digital information openness
Before the WikiLeaks crisis, the State Department began a new initiative called “21st Century Statecraft“, which includes a drive to expand openness and combat government censorship in cyberspace. As part of that initiative, the State Department announced on Tuesday that it will host UNESCO’s World Press Freedom Day event in 2011, meant to champion the free flow of information on the Internet. The event will be held at the Newseum in Washington from May 1 to 3, and the theme will be “21st Century Media: New Frontiers, New Barriers.”
U.S. to Host World Press Freedom Day in 2011
New media has empowered citizens around the world to report on their circumstances, express opinions on world events, and exchange information in environments sometimes hostile to such exercises of individuals’ right to freedom of expression.
MasterCard, Visa shut down electronic donations to WikiLeaks
EXCLUSIVE UPDATE: Mobile payments firm Xipwire, Inc. steps up to aid WikiLeaks The Philadelphia, PA-based mobile payments firm Xipwire, Inc. said Tuesday that it would act as an intermediary for WikiLeaks after the world’s largest credit card providers halted all electronic donations to the non-profit media outlet.
MasterCard site partially frozen by hackers in WikiLeaks ‘revenge’
‘Operation: Payback’ hacks into MasterCard site over payment network’s decision to cease taking donations to WikiLeaks
Chomsky, Singer declare support for WikiLeaks’ Assange
Two distinguished scholars and activists, Noam Chomsky and Peter Singer, signed an open letter to the Prime Minister of Australia on Tuesday, urging the government to condemn calls for Australian citizen and WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to be assassinated.
US embassy cables: Strains show in Iran-Syria ties
The successive visits of three high-level Iranian officials to Damascus in early December appear at first glance to reaffirm strong Iranian-Syrian security ties and other forms of bilateral cooperation, but they may, in fact, mask deepening rifts over Iraq, Yemen, and the possibility of war with Israel. Syrian observers suggest the a shifting balance of power between Iran and Syria. The Iranian government, challenged domestically by anti-regime protests and abroad by building pressure over its nuclear program, has sought Syria’s help just when Syria has begun to enjoy other strategic options, such as its relations with Turkey and Saudi Arabia. Asad’s government proved willing to host the visits, sign a defense MOU, and allow Hamas Politburo Chief Khaled Meshaal to visit Tehran, all the while continuing close cooperation with Iranian security services and Hizballah operatives. But Asad reportedly resisted Iranian arguments for closer bilateral coordination in Iraq and Yemen and flatly rejected being drawn into a war between Iran and Israel. End Summary.
Iran’s negotiator speaks with Al Jazeera
Al Jazeera’s Nazanine Moshiri speaks with Saeed Jalili, Iran’s leading negotiator, who explains his country’s refusal to talk about stopping its enrichment of uranium at the January meeting on its nuclear programme.
Ahmadinejad: lift sanctions to boost Iran nuclear talks
The first round of talks on Iran’s nuclear program in 14 months yielded defiance from Tehran, frustration from the P5+1 countries, and an agreement to meet again in Istanbul in January.
I am sure that Iran is nervous“
Egypt had sent a clear message to Iran that if they interfere in Egypt, Egypt will interfere in Iran,” noted the cable, adding that the Egyptian official said his country had trained agents for that purpose.” Wow. I am sure that would stir trouble. I am sure it would be so easy for Egypt to interfere in other countries’ affairs. You see Husni Mubarak is so popular in the region, and his policies–especially his alliance with Netanyahu–are so popular that citizens of countries in the region are way too eager to do the bidding of Husni and Jamal Mubarak.
US embassy cables: Saudi youth ‘frolic under princely protection’
Summary: Behind the facade of Wahabi conservatism in the streets, the underground nightlife for Jeddah’s elite youth is thriving and throbbing. The full range of worldly temptations and vices are available — alcohol, drugs, sex — but strictly behind closed doors. This freedom to indulge carnal pursuits is possible merely because the religious police keep their distance when parties include the presence or patronage of a Saudi royal and his circle of loyal attendants, such as a Halloween event attended by ConGenOffs on October 29. Over the past few years, the increased conservatism of Saudi Arabia’s external society has pushed the nightlife and party scene in Jeddah even further underground. End summary.
WikiLeaks cables: Saudi princes throw parties boasting drink, drugs and sex
Royals flout puritanical laws to throw parties for young elite while religious police are forced to turn a blind eye. In what may prove a particularly incendiary cable, US diplomats describe a world of sex, drugs and rock’n’roll behind the official pieties of Saudi Arabian royalty. Jeddah consulate officials described an underground Halloween party, thrown last year by a member of the royal family, which broke all the country’s Islamic taboos. Liquor and prostitutes were present in abundance, according to leaked dispatches, behind the heavily-guarded villa gates.
Prince `Azzuz (who spent millions trying to get the attention of Yasmeen Bleeth)
“During a visit to the US Embassy in November for a visa in preparation for the King’s UNGA and White House summit meetings, XXXXXXXXXXXX told press officer that while MBC is owned by King Fahd’s brother-in-law (the non-royal Waleed bin Ibrahim al-Ibrahim), fifty percent of the profits of the MBC empire go to King Fahd’s youngest son (and al-Ibrahim’s maternal nephew) Abdulaziz bin Fahd. XXXXXXXXXXXX on issues relating to al-Arabiya and other MBC channels. When asked if the thirty-something prince was interested only in the profits of the station, or if he also took an active role in the ideological direction of al-Arabiya, XXXXXXXXXXXX whispered with a grimace, Both.“
Robert Fisk: Qatar’s the star – and washington is worried
Despite the leaked US diplomatic reports on Qatar and their claim that it is a major source of “terrorist” funding, Washington would do well not to mess with the Emir, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani.
WikiLeaks cables: Tunisia blocks site reporting ‘hatred’ of first lady
US embassy warns Tunisian anger over corruption and unemployment, as well as ‘intense dislike’ for president’s wife, threaten country’s stability Zine el Abidine Ben Ali and his wife, Leila Trabelsi.
‘Syria refused to join war against Israel’
According to diplomatic cable, Iranian officials asked Damascus to help them fight Jewish state in case of war but were turned down.
Redaction in Wikileaks
Amer wrote me this (I cite with his permission): ”Wikileaks does not always hide the sources and names well, here, they removed the name of the US informant in Syria, but at one place, they forget to cover his name “h…” (a.. h..?). Lucky for him Syrian Mukhabarat are not competent, otherwise, someone called H…would have died in Damascus tonight. I’ve seen that problem with other documents.” PS I can report to you that Al-Akhbar has worked very hard in redaction to protect individuals mentioned in documents (they for example redacted names of Iraqi translators with US troops whose names appeared in requests for immigration visas and such).
US role in Palestine is ‘perfect symbol’ for recruiting Islamic terrorists –US Embassy in Algeria, Philip Weiss
“After the latest Algiers bombings” is the title of a December 2007 cable from the U.S. Embassy in Algeria following two December 11 bombings of government and U.N. buildings in Algiers that killed dozens and shook the government. AQIM is Al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb. I picked this up from Justin Elliott. Excerpt: The Al-Qaida in Iraq network, which already has ties to jihadi groups in Algeria, has strong influence on AQIM elements. … The AQIM videos strongly resemble videos from Iraq in terms of the music, Quranic citations and filming of hits on enemy targets they show. They strongly pitch the alleged American wrongdoings in Iraq and Palestine to recruit men to join AQIM….
Bahrain: End Harassment of Prominent Rights Defender
(Washington, DC) – The Bahraini government should order security forces to stop harassing Nabeel Rajab, president of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights, and return any information illegally copied from his laptop computer and mobile phone, Human Rights Watch said today.
Two-third Afghans want Taliban’s return: Poll
The poll released Monday also shows that Afghan confidence in US military operations to secure the country is dropping while Afghan support for the insurgency is rising.
Poll paints a bleak picture for the West in Afghanistan
Big majorities want Hamid Karzai’s government to negotiate with the Taliban, regard corruption as endemic and believe Afghan government officials are pocketing much of the billions earmarked for aid and development.
Species at Yemen island face threat
Climate change talks in Mexico seem to be heading nowhere, with a legally binding deal on reducing carbon emissions, looking highly unlikely. It’s disappointing news for scientists trying to save some of the world’s rarest flora and fauna. Like this one: the dragon’s blood tree. It’s home is an isolated island. Part of the Yemeni territory, Socotra is described as the most alien-looking place on earth. Al Jazeera’s Hashem Ahelbarra explains why its indigenous species are now in danger of being wiped out.