Land, property theft & destruction / Ethnic cleansing / Threats to Palestine culture and history
On the same morning when an official from the ICA, Israeli Civil Administration, promised to “pardon” the demolition orders of the solar panels in Imneizil, a village at the southern border of the West Bank, a new demolition order was delivered to the village on 21 November. Two representatives from ICA showed up at the school in Imneizel and handed over a demolition order that commanded the immediate cessation of restroom construction at the school.
Al-Walajeh, a Village Soon Surrounded
Aaron Rotenberg – PNN – “After years of land confiscation and housing demolitions, the fate the residents of al-Walaja have to look forward to is the complete encircling of their village by the wall.”
Yishai calls for Israeli presence in Joseph’s Tomb
Interior minister visits holy site in Nablus together with 1,500 Jewish worshippers, says ‘Tomb belongs to us and we must resume full control’.
The Lebanese public discourse is saturated with negative representations of Palestinians. Rarely do Palestinian refugees get to speak their mind of how they in return view the Lebanese, as people and parties.
IDF prepares for possible Gaza op
Gaza Division holds contingency exercise ahead of possible offensive in Strip. Drill tests operational range of Engineering Corps’ D9 bulldozers.
(Jerusalem) – The newly-appointed Israeli military commander in the West Bank should end the military’s hands-off approach to settler attacks against Palestinians and Palestinian property, Human Rights Watch said today. Human Rights Watch also called on the new commander to end the use of excessive force by security forces against Palestinians responding to settler attacks.
Israeli Settlers Attack Palestinians with Impunity, Stephen Lendman
Palestinians are doubly cursed. Israel’s military attacks them regularly. During the past week alone, Israeli air strikes killed four Gazans, wounding another 14. Al-Nabi Saleh village residents participating in a peaceful demonstration were assaulted. Two injuries were reported, including a child. Israel’s navy arrested three Palestinian fishermen, confiscating their boats. Their security forces conducted 91 incursions (13 a day on average) into Palestinian communities, arresting 14 civilians. One injury was reported. Israeli security forces raided homes of recently released Palestinian prisoners. They were ordered to appear for questioning to harass and perhaps re-incarcerate them.
Political Detainees / Other Prisoner News
IOF kidnap 11 Palestinians today in Jenin and Nablus
The Israeli occupation forces (IOF) kidnapped Tuesday morning 11 Palestinian citizens, most of them during violent raids on homes, in Jenin and Nablus cities.
Two Young Men Arrested in Beit Ommar Army Raid
At 1:30am in the morning November 23rd, 2011, Yousef Mohammad Kamel Za’aqiq (21) and Haidar Falah Abu Maria (24) were arrested from their homes. The two young men were taken to Gush Etzion, no reasons were given for the arrest. As part of the Israeli apartheid strategy to suppress the Palestinian non-violent peace activism, several arrests and other forms of harassment of the residents of Beit Ommar have occurred this autumn.
Detention of female journalist extended
The Israeli court in Jerusalem on Monday extended the detention of Palestinian journalist Isra’a Salhab till next Friday for further interrogation.
P.A. Ready To Submit The Detainees’ File To The Hague
Palestinian Minister of Detainees, Issa Qaraqe’, stated that all preparations to present the file of the Palestinian detainees, held by Israel, to the International Court at The Hague, were concluded and the case will be presented to the court soon.
MK: Israel discriminates against Palestinian citizens in jail
RAMALLAH (Ma’an) — Knesset member Ibrahim Sarsour on Wednesday said Israel discriminated against citizens of Palestinian origin in jail. Sarsour said Palestinian citizens of Israel were not given the same rights as other citizens in jail, yet they were usually excluded from prisoner swap agreements because Israel considered them a domestic matter.
Massive march tomorrow to demand release of political detainees in W. Bank
The association of Muslim youth along with the family committee of political detainees invited the Palestinian people to take part in the 22nd march against political arrest in the West Bank.
A love story, a Palestinian story, Lina al-Sharif
In April, we were officially engaged. But I had still not yet met Mohammed in person. From April to September, our chats were often cut by the electricity outages, bad Internet connection and the Israeli siege on Gaza. Hearing the ghastly stories of Rafah crossing, the continuous closures and the difficulty of going out and in Gaza, made us more determined to meet. But there were times when I used to tell Mohammed: “being engaged to a Palestinian is a pain, isn’t?” To which he would answer: “I love you all the more because you are a Palestinian.” That answer was enough for me to stand the days, weeks and months of talking on Skype.
Universal declaration against besieging nations issued in Gaza
A galaxy of lawmakers from Islamic, Arab and European countries issued on Tuesday evening “the universal declaration against besieging nations” during a ceremony held in the Gaza Strip.
Tarzan and Arab: Gaza-Based Filmmakers Look for First Feature Funding
You probably haven’t heard of Tarzan and Arab, identical twin brothers from Gaza who, until recently, had never done what you likely do on a regular basis: go to the movies. There are no cinemas in the Hamas-controlled Gaza, something that makes the twins’s story that much more amazing. Tarzan and Arab — real names: Ahmed and Mohamed Abu Nasser — are aspiring filmmakers who have already won awards for their short film. “As artists we are restricted by living in a conservative and tough community,” said Arab to the Guardian UK in August. “Let’s be realistic. Our life is under siege, under control. People don’t have time for art. They spend all their time looking for crumbs. They say, ‘What use is art? Art will not give you bread.’”
Solidarity / Activism / Boycott, Divestment & Sanctions
Activists to sue Minnnesota for investments that fund Israeli occupation
The following was published today on Mondoweiss.net by organizers with our coalition member group, Minnesota Break the Bonds, regarding their landmark suit against the State of Minnesota for illegally investing in Israel bonds. The US Campaign is very encouraged to see this emerging and brilliant form of grassroots divestment activism, and hopes that someday soon all 22 U.S. states currently invested in Israel bonds will have been shaken by similar campaigns.
The growing success of the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign internationally has Israel’s US supporters panicked. In response to the surging momentum of BDS, pro-Israel groups have launched “Buy Israel Week,” which will run Nov. 28 to Dec. 4. The initiative, with counts BDS target Ahava as one of its sponsors, isfrantically being promoted as a way to counteract the BDS movement and those that “work to undermine Israel’s right to exist.”
One year ago, Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) at DePaul University launched a campaign to remove Sabra Hummus from campus shelves after confirming that Sabra’s parent company, the Strauss Group, provides material and financial aid to the Israeli military. Although a vote by the student body overwhelmingly supported the divestment campaign, the university’s administration ultimately chose to continue selling the product. Earlier this school year, however, the university introduced an alternative hummus brand that appears to imply that DePaul is in fact inching towards socially-responsible investment.
Are the Freedom Rides a detour for the struggle?, Linah Alsaafin
Last week, six courageous Palestinians attempted to defy racism, segregation and apartheid by boarding Jewish settler-only buses in the hopes of reaching Jerusalem, a city off limits to Palestinians in the West Bank. However, the symbolic, media-friendly act — and its debatable relevance to the average Palestinian — begs some important questions.
Josh Ruebner, “Support Today’s Freedom Riders by Ending U.S. Support for Israeli Apartheid”
Fired by the same drive for dignity and pride, six Palestinian nonviolent activists boarded last week an Israeli settler bus to draw the world’s attention to the segregated transportation systems and apartheid conditions they endure living under Israel’s brutal 44-year military occupation of the Palestinian West Bank and East Jerusalem. Channeling Frederick Douglass, spokesperson Hurriyeh Ziadah asserted, “Our rights will not voluntarily be handed to us, so we are heading out to demand them.” . . . For the benefit of 650,000 Israeli settlers living in Israel’s illegal settlements in these occupied Palestinian territories, Israel has constructed — in violation of international law — a vast, alternative infrastructure of roads and bus lines from which 2.5 million Palestinians are all but effectively banned. . . . A 2010 report by the Applied Research Institute of Jerusalem found that one-third of roads funded and built by the U.S. Agency for International Development reflect Israel’s priorities for constructing an inferior and segregated transportation system for Palestinians.
Scott Kennedy, Presente!
It was with great sadness that the US Campaign family learned this weekend, during our semi-annual Steering Committee meeting, of the loss of our good friend Scott Kennedy. Having seen Scott just recently at our 10th Annual National Organizers’ Conference, it is such a shock and terrible loss to us all to suddenly realize that we will no longer benefit from his passion, wisdom, and commitment.
American Jews for a Just Peace Announces 2012 Delegation to Israel/PalestineStart the New Year off in Israel/Palestine! US Campaign coalition member group American Jews for a Just Peace has been organizing delegations to Israel/Palestine since 2003. Their next delegation to Israel/Palestine is scheduled for January 1 – 15, 2012. Please see their announcement below.
The AIC is proud to present Sumoud (Steadfast)- the 1st film on Al Araqib
Sumoud (‘Steadfast’ in Arabic) is the first and only documentary, to date, focusing exclusively on al-Araqib, a Bedouin village that Israeli authorities destroyed 30 times in the span of one year.
The AIC is proud to present Sheikh Jarrah- Palestinian struggle for East Jerusalem
The AIC is proud to present the short documentary film Sheikh Jarrah- Palestinian struggle for East Jerusalem. Sheikh Jarrah tells the stories of the Palestinian families who were evicted from their East Jerusalem homes
Rabbi Meir Hirsch is an Orthodox Jew, a rabbi, and an anti-Zionist. A member of the small group Neturei Karta, which objects to the state of Israel on religious grounds, Rabbi Hirsch calls himself a “Jewish-Palestinian.” Here, he speaks with the Alternative Information Center
Political Developments / Diplomacy
Palestinian membership threatening UNESCO programs (AP)
AP – The Palestinians can raise their flag alongside those of 194 full-fledged nations at UNESCO after signing a document Wednesday finally giving them a voice within the vast U.N. system — bringing pride across the Arab world yet hobbling the agency’s pro-democracy projects around the globe.
Hamas, Fatah delegations in Cairo for Abbas-Mishaal meeting
Head of the Palestinian studies center Ibrahim Al-Dirawi has said that the Hamas and Fatah delegations had arrived in Cairo in preparation for the meeting between Mahmoud Abbas and Khaled Mishaal.
‘Fatah-Hamas gov’t won’t see a dime’
Foreign Minister Lieberman says Israel won’t recognize, negotiate with Palestinian unity government unless it accepts Quartet conditions.
Ban calls on PM to hand over Palestinian money
UN chief calls on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to hand over tax payments owed to Palestinian Authority, stop settlement activity.
Quartet urges Israel to release Palestinian funds
The international diplomatic Quartet on Wednesday called on theIsraeli government to release “without delay” tax revenues due to the Palestinian Authority which it is withholding. “I continue to call on the Israeli government to release the clearance revenues it is withholding from the Palestinian Authority without delay and resume their transfer on a regular basis,” a statement from Quartet Middle East envoy Tony Blair said.
Haneyya: The Israeli occupation lives in isolation
Palestinian premier Ismail Haneyya said that the Israeli occupation started to live in international isolation and the frequent visits made by dignitaries to the besieged Gaza Strip confirmed that.
The Israel you won’t read about in the New York Times
Minister: Another political murder possible
During Knesset debate on ‘price tag’ acts, internal security minister says fear of political assassination applies to ‘entire political spectrum’.
Livni: Israel heading towards dictatorship
Opposition chairwoman blasts Coalition over libel bill, legislation meant to ‘constrict democracy.’ MK Mofaz: Bills reminiscent of ’1984′.
Anat Kam begins serving prison sentence
Young woman convicted of espionage, stealing classified IDF files begins serving four and a half year sentence at Neve Tirza Women’s Prison.
The Israeli ex-settler at the center of Occupy Wall Street
Kobi Skolnick, an ex-settler and Chabadnik turned non-Observant Israeli, is in NYC fighting for a better future – one where money doesn’t comfort the rich while burdening the poor.
Ron Paul: Why does Israel need our help?
During foreign policy debate, republican presidential candidate says would not back Israeli strike on Iran. Romney: My first foreign trip as president will be to Israel to show we care about them.
CNN hands over Republican foreign policy debate to neocon cabal, Max Blumenthal
When Republican primary candidates debate foreign policy issues tonight, CNN’s Wolf Blitzer (a former researcher for AIPAC) will mouth questions provided to him by the Heritage Foundation and the American Enterprise Institute (AEI). While the Heritage Foundation is well known as the outsourced brain of Republicans in Congress and serves as a hothouse for right-wing GOP domestic policies, AEI’s participation in the debate is even more problematic.
Symbolic trial convicts Bush, Blair for Iraq war (AP)
AP – A tribunal formed by Malaysia’s former leader has convicted former President George W. Bush and Britain’s ex-prime minister Tony Blair at a symbolic trial for “crimes against peace” in Iraq.
Protests intensify in Alexandria
Egypt is just five days from what was meant to be a milestone — the first parliamentary elections since the fall of President Hosni Mubarak. But a growing standoff is threatening to derail the entire process, as protesters continue to take to the streets demanding the military government step down. In Alexandria, the demonstrations are becoming increasingly violent. Al Jazeera’s Rawya Rageh reports from Alexandria
There has been little respite in the streets around Tahrir Square since violence began on Saturday. Central Security Force riot police continue to fight running battles with groups of young men on the front lines, firing tear gas and cartridge rounds against the protesters’ rocks and petrol bombs. A brief cease fire brokered by religious scholars from al-Azhar University brought a short lull to the fighting on Wednesday afternoon, and army soldiers moved in to separate the two sides, backed by armoured personnel carriers. But the ceasefire was shattered when riot police fired a barrage of tear gas over the soldiers’ heads, throwing Mohamed Mahmoud Street – the focal point of the fighting – into chaos. Al Jazeera’s Sherine Tadros reports from Cairo.
Egyptian protesters continue to fill Cairo’s central Tahrir Square over the ruling military council’s refusal to immediately transfer power to a civilian government. In a televised address on Tuesday, the head of Egypt’s military council, Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, said he has accepted the prime minister’s resignation and that the military is ready to relinquish power if Egyptians call for that in a referendum. But protests only intensified after Tantawi’s speech and security forces unleashed a barrage of tear gas. Over the past five days at least 38 people have been killed, thousands injured, and at least 15 journalists attacked as Egypt has witnessed the largest protests since the fall of Hosni Mubarak. Kouddous has been on the ground reporting from in Egypt since the revolution began in January. “[Tantawi] essentially offered some minor concessions that were not demanded by any of the protesters in Tahrir,” says Democracy Now! correspondent Sharif Abdel Kouddous reporting from Cairo. “Many compared the speech to Mubarak’s second speech on February 1st where he made some kinds of concessions and used this kind of the tone in the hope of ending the revolution. But the response then and the response now were very similar. … But the response then and the response now were very similar. Tahrir yesterday was packed with people, really a massive, massive protest. And after the speech ended, you heard this huge reverberation from the crowd, this huge echo of Irhal, which means ‘‘leave.’”
UN condemns Egypt protest deaths
UN human rights chief Navi Pillay condemns “excessive use of force” by Egypt’s security forces as clashes erupt again between protesters and police.
Egypt: Protesters’ Blood on the Military Leadership’s Hands
Egypt’s military rulers should immediately order riot police to stop using excessive force against protesters and to reduce their presence in the areas surrounding Tahrir Square to a level that allows for the maintenance of security while permitting free assembly. Riot police and military officers have shot live ammunition and rubber bullets into the crowd, beaten protesters and otherwise used excessive force in the demonstrations that began in Cairo on November 19, 2011, according to numerous accounts from witnesses.
An Egyptian activist says that the U.S. is still providing the teargas the Egyptian military has been using to crackdown on protesters this week. Khalid Abdalla, who has also starred in movies such as The Kite Runner, United 93 and Green Zone, told CBS News Wednesday that he had recently seen U.S.-made teargas canisters in Cairo’s Tahrir Square. “In terms outside — if you are talking about financial aid and things like that, all of that is going to the military,” Abdalla explained. “The U.S. government, the British government — of which, I am a citizen of Britain — you know, European governments, all over the world Western governments are supporting this military.”
Egyptian Revolution Enters New Phase As Thousands Brave Violence to Protest Military Rule
Activists in Egypt are holding their fourth day of massive demonstrations to demand an end to military rule and a transition to a civilian government. The protests continue amidst a massive crackdown and an offer to resign from Egypt’s interim cabinet. Reports from Cairo’s main morgue said at least 33 people have been killed and more than 1,500 wounded in the military government’s crackdown. The turmoil comes as Egypt is scheduled to begin holding parliamentary elections on Monday. “I can’t see how a legitimate election can take place when you have such state-sponsored brutality happening in the heart of the capital city of the country,” says Democracy Now! correspondent Sharif Abdel Kouddous, who joins us for an update from Cairo. “What many Egyptians have been seeing over these past 10 months has been that the revolution has been abused and stolen and deformed, and that the military council in Egypt has really not lived up to any of its promises in this transitional period, from human rights abuses to just their complete grip on power.”
Hisham Kamal, a volunteer doctor in a field hospital in Cairo’s Tahrir Square, has been working since Saturday, when riot police first cracked down on a small crowd that had camped overnight. Protesters did not want to seek treatment in public hospitals, fearing that police or army troops would arrest them, Kamal told Al Jazeera.
Al Jazeera’s Sherine Tadros reports from Tahrir Square, where activists have set up mobile clinics to treat those injured from teargas, bullet injuries or beatings by security forces.
The Lede Blog: 3 Americans Arrested in Cairo
Three students at the American University in Cairo were arrested and accused of participating in violent protests in the Egyptian capital, the university said on Tuesday.
EGYPT: Rule of law under siege
CAIRO 22 November 2011 (IRIN) – Demonstrations in Cairo’s Tahrir square against Egypt's interim military rulers have reportedly left at least 33 people dead and more than 1,500 injured since they began on 19 November.
Military said to agree to “national salvation government” to make way for transfer of power to civilian government.
Egypt protesters reject military concessions
Thousands remain in Cairo’s Tahrir Square despite chairman of ruling military council pledging faster transfer of power.
Inside Story – Egyptian military’s quandary
Loosing popular support, or giving into revloution demands and loosing their empire? With guests: Mona Makram-Ebeid, Ahmed Salah, and Talaat Mosallam.
Parties Mull Two Week Postponement of Parliamentary Elections
Egypt’s major political parties may be about to ask SCAF to put off the Parliamentary elections due to start Monday, by two weeks. A number of major political parties are discussing calling on the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) to postpone the first round of the Egyptian parliamentary elections for two weeks, sources close to the consultation told Ahram Online. Al-Wafd Party had floated a similar suggestion in a public statement yesterday.
“This is the state of relations now. There is no real diplomacy, just shuttling back and forth and talks at a bare minimum,” said an official from Israel’s foreign ministry, who spoke anonymously because he was not authorized to speak on the issue. “At least we still have relations.” Perhaps not for long. Officials said they are quietly preparing for what they called a “complete break” in diplomatic ties with Egypt. That would mark a dangerous downturn in Israel’s relations with its neighbors unequalled in the past three decades. “Our peace treaty with Egypt was the backbone of our diplomatic relations with the Arab world,” said former ambassador Eli Shaked. Even as events were unfolding Tuesday in Egypt, where the military government offered to step down in July, a concession thought unlikely to satisfy the tens of thousands of demonstrators who crowded into Tahrir Square, Israeli officials were considering it likely that whatever eventually happens there will bode ill for Israel.”
The war in Tahrir Square is all about one thing – the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces has no intention of giving up power. As I write, the cabinet of Egypt’s prime minister, Essam Sharaf, brought in amid much hope, but emasculated by the military and so now discredited – has resigned – and we are getting conflicting reports about whether the Supreme Council for the Armed Forces (Scaf), the de facto president of Egypt, has accepted their resignation.
Tantawi: Muzzling the Revived Spirit of Tahrir
In a televised speech eerily reminiscent in form and content to those made by Mubarak before his ouster, head of Egypt’s ruling military council Muhammad Tantawi did little to address the fears and demands of hundreds of thousands of Egyptian who took to the streets over the last few days in what many saw as a revival of the spirit of the January 25 revolution.
Egypt: Down with Military Rule
After five days of mass protests against Egypt’s military rulers, at least 50 have died under a hail of tear gas, rubber bullets and alleged live fire; the cabinet has resigned; and late Tuesday, Field Marshal Tantawi offered a referendum to immediately transfer power to a civilian authority. But perhaps the most vivid images witnessed in Tahrir Square over the past days have been the determination of protesters in the face of brutality.
Egypt’s Democracy Challenges: Military Today, Economy Tomorrow, Hasan Afif El-Hasan
The Egyptian people aspire to fulfill their needs for individual emancipation, self assertion, the legitimate pursuit of their interests and the establishment of state institutions that enhance these interests. They expect democratic institutions to multiply opportunities and challenge the inherited discrimination that is based on race, religion and political orientation.
What’s next for Egypt?
A roundup of Egypt analysis after the mass protests – and harsh crackdown – around Tahrir Square over the past few days. Some democracy supporters advocate delaying next week’s elections.
Perhaps the truce on Wednesday afternoon was a last-ditch attempt to quell the violence in Tahrir, thought some hopefuls, while most remained skeptical of the sudden ceasefire between policemen and protesters on the fourth day of violence that the side-streets off Tahrir square have experienced. The latter had suspected a trap, or at best a temporary lull after which the violence would resume afresh.
Bahrain protests flare after two deaths
Protests erupted in Bahrain on Wednesday after a man was struck and killed by a police car, the second to have died in similar circumstances in a number of days, according to activists.The man, Abdelnabi Kadhim Aaqil, died instantly when a security forces vehicle smashed into his vehicle in the town of Aali, outside the capital Manama, locals said. The death sparked protests in Aali, with the police firing tear gas and beating protesters.Witnesses said riot police in 4×4 vehicles sped through the streets of Aali in pursuit of dozens of teenagers, before seizing one and beating him with batons as helicopters circled overhead. On Saturday, a 16-year-old, Ali Youssef Baddah, was run over at a protest by a police car, according to residents and human rights groups. The Bahrain state news agency claimed that the police car lost control after it slipped on oil in the road.
AJE exclusive footage of Bahraini security forces
In this footage exclusive to Al Jazeera English, security forces are seen firing tear gas at a group of women and protesters. Later the women are carried out of a home, some of them clearly injured.
Bahrain report released, Opposition skeptical
An investigation into Bahrain’s crackdown on protesters in March revealed on Wednesday that security forces had used excessive force and torture, with King Hamad Al-Khalifa urging reform. The Bassiouni Commission, headed by Egyptian American Mahmoud Cherif Bassiouni, also urged authorities to re-examine the sentences given to individuals imprisoned for the upheaval. The panel was formed and funded by Bahrain’s government five months ago to investigate alleged crimes committed against civilians during the pro-democracy protests that swept the country back in February and March.
Report Details Excessive Force Used Against Bahrain Protests
Security forces used torture and forced confessions against detainees during Bahrain’s sweeping crackdown on anti-government protests over the summer, according to a new report.
Al Jazeera speaks to President of Bahrain Centre for Human Rights about BICI report
In comments to Al Jazeera, Rajab said violence is continuing in Bahrain and that the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI) report is unlikely to cause a drastic shift in the Gulf kingdom’s handling of on-going protests. Rajab also went on to say that the abuse against protesters being investigated was likely dictated from top ministries and not just a few policemen.
Al Jazeera speaks to Al Wefaq’s Matar Matar
Al Jazeera’s Tony Harris speaks to Matar Matar, former opposition MP with the Al Wefaq party. Speaking from the Bahraini capital, Matar says the specifics of the report and whether the opposition agrees with it or not, are not important. Instead, Matar says what is important is how the findings of the report are used to bring about change in the Gulf kingdom.
What is the BICI?
In June, following months of protests, Bahrain’s King, Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, appointed a commission to find out whether his security forces committed crimes or violated human rights. Reporting from Manama, Al Jazeera’s Mohammed Vall looks at the six internationally renowned foreign legal experts who comprise the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI).
“Bahrain’s Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI) will publish Wednesday the findings of its three month investigation into violations of human rights. In utter insensitivity to the victims, the panel of government-appointed international law experts will hand over their report to the King of Bahrain at a “launch party” at his palace. Apparently the head of the king’s Royal Court, one of the notorious hardliners in the ruling family who had a hand in the state’s repression, sees this occasion as some kind of celebration. Much fanfare is expected, and invitations have been sent directly to the doorsteps of journalists and international NGOs, after locking them out of the country, if not throwing them out over the past eight months. Meanwhile, local NGOs like the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights, that has been the strongest advocate of victims, has been kept off the invitation list. Critics’ skepticism towards the commission largely stems from the way it was established, through a unilateral decision by the King, reinforcing the key problem of authoritarianism in the country. No consultations of any sort over the decision to establish the commission, its functions, its mandate, the terms of reference or selection of commissioners took place; not with the victims nor with civil society organizations.“
What Bassioni did not say about Bahrain
Angry Arab chief Bahrain correspondent sent me this: ”Since you will be soon hearing what Bassiouni did say in his speech I will tell you what he didn’t say:
- he did not call for an immediate prisoner release and the dropping of all charges
- he did not hold any higher level officials (let alone King, Prime Minister, Khalid Bin Ahmed and Khalifa Bin Ahmed) responsible for any of the violations
- no mention of a systemic state policy to crush the demonstrations
- no mention of the most issue the military occupying the hospital
The King gave a speech after. Speech was pre-written. Again I will tell you what he did not say:
- immediate release of prisoners and the dropping of all charges”.
My chief Bahraini correspondent sent me her reaction to Shadid’s article (I generally agree with her critique–I was most upset by the placement of a picture of a Shi`ite religious ritual which takes place once a year in the article. Why was that chosen to represent an article on a political protest? And the portrayal of the crown prince is rather pathetic. You would have thought he was a political prisoner who suffered at the hand of royal torturers. And the coverage of Bassioni is rather too fawning: Bassioni’s appointment is evidence of a US decision to whitewash the crimes. Bassionis has consistently served as an arm of US foreign policy. Go search and see if Bassioni has been vocal about Israeli crimes for example). Here are the comments of Angry Arab’s chief Bahrain correspondent: “I was dissapointed by this article by Anthony Shadid. He seems to respect Bassiouni and keeps repeating that he is an international expert on human rights. Why is he forgetting that the Commission was appointed by the King and is operating under the premise that the King and the high level members of the ruling family are innocent? Why is it when it comes to Bahrain, the “truth remains elusive”? Why is Bahrain more “challenging” than “Libya, Yogoslavia, Afghanistan, and Iraq”? Why with Bahrain must we ask “is it possible to reveal, let alone agree on the truth”? Is it because Bahrain is a western supported monarchy that is part of the GCC? But the best part of the article is tha arrogance displayed by Bassiouni, who Shadid fails to criticize (also let’s not forget that the commission continues to supposedly maintain a policy of not speaking to the media when it keeps speaking to the media left and right.” Bassiouni’s arrogance is best displayed here: “It is not that they went and destroyed St Peter,” said Mr Bassiouni, who had an academic’s zest for intellectual give and take that is not always suited to the reserve of diplomacy. But he added, “If these places meant something to them, and thet felt that they were their religious places, the government should of respected that.” Oh spare us your sympathy Bassiouni. Apparently shia mosques are not at the same level as St. Peter’s. No “they didn’t feel they were their religious places.” They are their religious places. And no the government shouldn’t have just “respected that.” They should stop their systemic discrimination against shia beliefs. [continues]
Saudi Arabia: Lengthy sentences for reformists a worrying development
Lengthy prison sentences given to 16 men, among them prominent advocates of reform who had tried to set up a human rights association in Saudi Arabia, are a worrying development, Amnesty International said today. According to reports, prison sentences handed out by the Specialized Criminal Court in Riyadh on Tuesday ranged from five to 30 years.
Trial in Saudi Arabia: not a word in the New York Times
“A court in Saudi Arabia sentenced 17 men to prison sentences of up to 30 years on Tuesday for sedition and other offences, a lawyer for some of the defendants said. ”Myself, their families and judges whom we know on the bench are all shocked,” defence lawyer Bassim Alim told Reuters. He added that the judge had promised a written verdict in two to three weeks, at which time a 30-day window for lodging appeals would be open to the accused – who have been described by Amnesty International as proponents of peaceful reform. Justice Ministry spokesmen were not available for comment. Most of the group of activists, academics and lawyers were detained in 2007 after they met in the Red Sea port city of Jeddah to discuss potential political change in Saudi Arabia, an absolute monarchy governed by a strict form of Islamic law. Amnesty International described the men in its 2011 annual report as “advocates of peaceful political reform”. They were charged, among other crimes, with attempting to seize power, incitement against the king, financing terrorism, electronic crimes, money laundering and trying to set up a political party, Alim said before the sentencing.” But I recommend that you read the Arabic text. They list a whole range of accusations and offenses and just in case this does not stick in Western capitals–it will of course–they throw in links with Al-Qa`idah.
Yemen leader in Saudi Arabia for power-transfer deal
Ali Abdullah Saleh, the president of Yemen, has arrived in Saudi Arabia to sign a power-transfer deal brokered by the six-member Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC), the country’s state television has reported. The plan put forward last spring by the GCC countries offers Saleh and his relatives immunity from prosecution if he hands over power to his deputy, Abdrabuh Mansur Hadi, the vice president. Signing the deal would effectively bring an end to Saleh’s 33-year rule. Al Jazeera reports.
Tear gas fired and live ammunition shot into the air to disperse protesters in the town of Kasserine.
Tunisia constituent body holds first session
Democratically elected assembly entrusted with recasting country’s political system, meets in palace outside Tunis.
Netanyahu calls for stronger sanctions on Iran than those imposed by U.S.
PM says Tehran’s nuclear ambitions must be curbed after IAEA report indicated that Iran had worked on designing a nuclear bomb.
Arabs and Iranian nuclear weapons
“The survey found little Iranian appeal as a political model, but it did reveal a decline in Arab enthusiasm for containing Iran as 64% now say that Iran has a right to its nuclear program, up from 53% last year.”
Turkish PM apologizes over 1930s killings of Kurds
Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s apology for mass killing evidently aims to embarrass Opposition.
Analysis / Op-ed
Israel and ‘Pinkwashing’, SARAH SCHULMAN
“IN dreams begin responsibilities,” wrote Yeats in 1914. These words resonate with lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people who have witnessed dramatic shifts in our relationship to power. After generations of sacrifice and organization, gay people in parts of the world have won protection from discrimination and relationship recognition. But these changes have given rise to a nefarious phenomenon: the co-opting of white gay people by anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim political forces in Western Europe and Israel. In the Netherlands, some Dutch gay people have been drawn to the messages of Geert Wilders, who inherited many followers of the assassinated anti-immigration gay leader Pim Fortuyn, and whose Party for Freedom is now the country’s third largest political party. In Norway, Anders Behring Breivik, the extremist who massacred 77 people in July, cited Bruce Bawer, a gay American writer critical of Muslim immigration, as an influence. The Guardian reported last year that the racist English Defense League had 115 members in its gay wing. The German Lesbian and Gay Federation has issued statements citing Muslim immigrants as enemies of gay people. These depictions of immigrants — usually Muslims of Arab, South Asian, Turkish or African origin — as “homophobic fanatics” opportunistically ignore the existence of Muslim gays and their allies within their communities. They also render invisible the role that fundamentalist Christians, the Roman Catholic Church and Orthodox Jews play in perpetuating fear and even hatred of gays. And that cynical message has now spread from its roots in European xenophobia to become a potent tool in the long-running Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Video: My talk in Brussels on self-determination and a ‘one-state solution’ in Palestine, Ali Abunimah
Last Saturday I spoke at conference titled “The One-State Solution versus The Two-State Solution,” organized by Palestina Solidaritiet, in Brussels.It was great to hear the other speakers, Lucas Catherine, Brigitte Herremans, Henri Wajnblum, who came from a range of political and solidarity backgrounds in Belgium. My session pitted me in a “debate” with Leila Shahid, the official representative of the PLO in Belgium. It became quite heated. The organizers may be planning to post video of the whole conference, however this YouTube shows only my 20 minute opening comments (in English).
Likud and the Rise of the Permanent Far-Right Majority, Richard Silverstein
What we’re seeing in Israeli politics and have seen since 2000, when the last Labor government ruled Israel, is the rise of a permanent far-right majority. Not a majority within the populace, but a ruling majority cobbled together from various right and farther right strands of Israeli nationalist discourse.
Wala’: The untrodden beauty of Palestine, Sameeha Elwan
Reading the title, her smile must have already found its way to her face, tears welling in her eyes with a Palestinian proud refusal to surrender to a burst of overwhelming emotions. Yet you could still ostensibly see the tears struggling around the green apple of her eyes just like every time she remembers that next year we might never meet again. Just like the first time it dawned upon her, upon me, this absolutely ridiculous fact that next year is going to bring us back to our 23-year separation.
Ribal Al-Assad: Tool of the West, Tammy Obeidallah
Most House Arabs are motivated by a desire for personal wealth, fame, acceptance from the West or perhaps all three. They are despicable sell-outs who undermine the struggles against Zionist occupation and broader Western imperialism. However, there are House Arabs with even more sinister intentions than simple self-indulgence. Enter Ribal Al-Assad, nephew of Bashar Al-Assad and son of Rifaat—notorious for his role in the regime in the early 1980’s—currently living in Mayfair, England and enjoying the support of the Saudi royal family. Ribal’s pet causes are promoting interfaith dialogue, a two-state solution for Palestine and vilifying Iran. In a May 2010 speech to London’s Rotary Club, he accused Iran of aiming to “create instability in the region by fueling conflict in Iraq, Lebanon, Gaza, Egypt and Afghanistan.”