‘If Jesus were to come this year, Bethlehem would be closed’

ActivismIsrael/PalestineUS Politics
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‘If Jesus were to come this year, Bethlehem would be closed’
A strip of settlements built on what was northern Bethlehem threatens to cut the city off from its historic twin, Jerusalem. If Joseph and Mary were making their way to Bethlehem today, the Christmas story would be a little different, says Father Ibrahim Shomali, a parish priest in the town. The couple would struggle to get into the city, let alone find a hotel room. ”If Jesus were to come this year, Bethlehem would be closed,” says the priest of Bethlehem’s Beit Jala parish. “He would either have to be born at a checkpoint or at the separation wall. Mary and Joseph would have needed Israeli permission – or to have been tourists. ”This really is the big problem for Palestinians in Bethlehem: what will happen when they close us off completely?”


Land, Property Theft & Destruction / Ethnic Cleansing / Apartheid / Refugees

Today, Three Accounts of Property Destruction in the West Bank
The occupation forces washed away a number of water wells, throne room and agricultural land in the area known as “Thahr al Suboh” in Kufur al Deik village in Salfit. The occupation has done this several times before within the same area, which is an agricultural relief operation project funded by the Dutch government.
A group of settlers also uprooted 30 olive trees belong to Osama Alsamamra and wrote hostile slogans to the Arabs, in al-Samou’ village in the Hebron district.
As well, and for the thirty-third time, the occupation forces demolished Araqib village in the Negev within the territory of Palestine 1948. Aziz Sayah said that the forces snatched them out while eating their lunch and started demolishing. Despite demolishing for the 33rd time the people of Araqib remain steadfast and will continue to be for as long as our people stand with us.


Expert: Israeli scheme to displace thousands of Palestinians in Al-Khalil
The IOA has expropriated thousands of dunums of Palestinian land to the south and east of Al-Khalil at trivial security pretexts, Abdul Hadi Hantash, an expert in settlement, warned on Tuesday.

Settlement expert warns of Israeli plan to displace thousands more Palestinians
An expert on settlement issues has warned of an Israeli plan which will displace thousands of Palestinian citizens from 20 towns and villages near Hebron in the occupied West Bank. Abdul Hadi Hantash has told the Palestinian media that the Israeli authorities have confiscated thousands of acres of land south and east of Hebron on what he says are very flimsy security grounds. The occupation authorities have also established a number of settlements on the confiscated land, including Ammon, Susiya and Carmel. These have expanded quickly and are the focus for the establishment of smaller satellite settlements. 


Israeli government “bows” to settler pressure
Last week, following reports that Israeli forces were planning to evacuate and demolish Ramat Gilad, an illegal oupost located in the West Bank, Jewish settlers rioted. They hurled stones at Palestinians’ cars and threw a cinderblock into a military jeep. 

Farming on land that has become almost impossible to farm is now daily reality for 62 year old Naeem El Laham, also known as Abu Mohammed. Together with his wife, 6 sons, 5 daughters and grandchildren he lives on his farm west of Khan Yunis. “Our farming land stretches out over 2 dunums. My sons help me with the work on the land, just like I helped out my father on the land when I was younger,” says Abu Mohammed. On his land he has small palm trees, beehives, 6 sheep, some olive trees, and a few vegetable plants. At first glance this looks like any small farm. It is only when you take a closer look at the plants and hear the story of Abu Mohammed, that you realize this farm is under serious threat.

Every Tuesday there is a demonstration against the occupation and the Israeli imposed no go zone that surrounds Gaza, stealing much of Gaza’s best farmland.  Today, it was unseasonably warm, it felt almost like summer.  We started our march from in front of the destroyed buildings Beit Hanoun Agricultural College.  Music played over a megaphone as we marched down the road into the no go zone.  As we got closer to the no go zone the music stopped, it got quiet.  Usually, when the music starts the chanting begins, but not today.  Everyone seemed to be lost in thought, perhaps pondering the green that has recently appeared in the no go zone.  The bulldozers haven’t come for many weeks to kill all life in the no go zones.  Perhaps they were remembering the olive trees, and orange groves that used to be here.  Perhaps they were thinking of the families that used to live in the destroyed houses that we were walking by.  Perhaps they were thinking of the houses that no longer exist, the houses that have been completely erased by the Israeli bulldozers.

Israeli Violence

Palestinian Worker Wounded By Army Fire In Gaza
Palestinian medical sources reported Wednesday that a Palestinian worker, 19 years old, was shot and wounded by Israeli army fire in the northern part of the Gaza Strip.


The Oliva sailed from Gaza Seaport at 8:15 am. The Palestinian captain and two international observers from CPS staff were on boardAt 8:45 am Oliva reached four hasakas in the north of the Strip, about 2.2 nautical miles off shore (31° 35.40N / 034° 26.29E). At 9:20 am the crew sighted an Israelis navy vessel moving toward the four hasakas and Oliva at a high rate of speed. The four hasakas and Oliva started to move toward the coast. The Israeli navy vessel continued to run after the hasakas and Oliva reaching 1.5 nautical miles off shore (31° 34.68N / 034° 26.49E) and then hanging back.

Settlers Attack Child In Jerusalem, Clashes Reported
Eyewitnesses in occupied East Jerusalem reported Thursday that a group of extremist Israeli settlers attacked a Palestinian child in Al Wad neighborhood, in the Old City, leading to clashes between the residents and the settlers. Injuries and arrests were reported.


Jewish settlers storm the Aqsa Mosque
Three groups of Jewish settlers in the early hours of Thursday morning stormed the Aqsa Mosque through the Maghareba Gate which is closed to Muslims.


Soldiers let settlers assault Palestinian demonstrators
Beit Ummar residents demonstrated on their land by the Carmei Tzur settlement. Soldiers enabled settlers to attack them from within a buffer strip surrounding the settlement.


Direct Shooting in Nabi Saleh in 2011 – collection of footage
Footage depicting members of the Israeli security forces firing tear-gas canisters directly at protesters in a-Nabi Saleh. This footage was filmed by B’Tselem field staff and volunteers during May and June 2011 and was sent to the Israeli military authorities to alert them to this ongoing and dangerous practice, which is illegal under the military’s own regulations.

An IDF deserter, Eden Natan-Zada opened fire on a bus in Shfaram in 2005, killing four people and was subsequently beaten to death by an angry crowd.

Israeli settlers frequently attack Palestinians; now, the settlers are turning on the Israeli army.

Detainees & Other Prisoner News

IOF troops round up 17 Palestinian citizens
Israeli occupation forces rounded up 17 Palestinian citizens in different West Bank areas and occupied Jerusalem on Thursday in the biggest such campaign in weeks.


Jenin Refugee Camp Targeted with High Number of Arrests
Eight Palestinians were arrested in pre dawn raids during a large scale incursion by the Israeli military on Thursday in the Jenin Refugee Camp. Over 30 arrests have been made in the camp in the last month.


IOF soldiers round up 4 Palestinians, assault paramedic
Israeli occupation forces arrested four Palestinian citizens in the West Bank on Wednesday, three of them in Al-Khalil, and assaulted a Palestinian paramedic while on duty.

Former Legislator Sentenced To Three Months
The Palestinian Prisoners Society (PPS) reported that the Israeli “Ofer” Military Court sentenced, Thursday, former legislator, Husam Khader, to three months under administrative detention without charges filed against him. 


Family committee says political arrests still ongoing even with national talks
The family committee of political prisoners said the Palestinian authority security apparatuses still carry out arbitrary detention campaigns despite the national reconciliation meetings.

And between March 2010 and October 2011, 28 children have been shot at along the border fence between Israel and the Gaza strip while gathering building materials or working by the fence. These are the findings of the Palestine Section of Defence for Children International (DCI), a non-governmental child rights organisation and member of the International General Assembly of DCI. DCI-Palestine was established in 1992 and works towards the vision of creating “a Palestinian community fit for all children”.

Tunisian aid convoy to arrive in Gaza tomorrow
The Tunisian aid convoy, Al-Ahrar, is due to fly from Tunis-Carthage airport to Egypt on Thursday before heading to the besieged Gaza Strip to deliver humanitarian aid.


Christmas, take II

Last Monday we put up a post about the narrowed criteria for allowing Christians to travel out of the Gaza Strip over Christmas this year, which the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) called “easings”. Adv. Nomi Heger, director of Gisha’s Legal Department, wrote a letter to the Ministry of Defense raising questions about the narrowing of criteria. We can’t tell whether the letter had its intended effect or whether it was our short post on the subject, or perhaps the security establishment’s goodwill, but it appears that COGAT has retreated. The age criterion, which was set this year at allowing travel for those over 46 and under 16, was restored to last year’s age range of over 35 and under 16.

Discrimination / Racism / Repression 
Most military court cases do not go to trial; they are resolved in plea bargains with the prosecutor or through guilty pleas.
Israel debates muffling call to prayer 
Israeli legislators are considering a controversial law that would ban mosques from using loudspeakers to call worshippers to prayer. A handful of European countries have similar laws in place and this latest proposal has sparked similar mixed reactions. The bill’s supporters say the amplified call to prayer is noise pollution, but critics say the proposed law is racist. Al Jazeera’s Cal Perry reports from Jaffa.

Tel Aviv University accused of spying on student activists
Talila Nesher – Haaretz – Tel Aviv University has called on lecturers to turn in students who carried out protest activities on campus last week. Students and lecturers accused the university of resorting to “secret police” methods and oppressing legal social protest on campus.


One of three performances of ‘Moti Halamotai,’ geared to children from the age of 4, is to be presented with gender-segregated seating and is being publicized as such.
The ORT school network says the matter will be investigated and if an apology is in order it will be issued.

EI exclusive: UK charity with Mossad links secretly denounced anti-Zionist Jews to government, Asa Winstanley
An influential UK charity denounced Jewish critics of Israel in secret reports to the government earlier this year, The Electronic Intifada has learned.

Speaking at conference marking 20 years since the onset of Israel’s constitutional enterprise, Justice Dorit Beinish says recent bills seem to change Israel’s basic principles.
Solidarity, Activism
Jenin refugee camp has recently suffered a higher number of arrests than usual. Over thirty arrests have been made in the past month. On the night of December 19th alone, at least eight new arrests were made during a major Israeli military invasion of the refugee camp. Among the people arrested were three members of The Freedom Theatre, a cultural centre for children and youth. 
The Musée de L’Elysée in Lausanne, Switzerland has suspended the 2011 Lacoste Elysée Prize, a presitigious international photography contest, over the sponsor’s decision to expel Palestinian artist Larissa Sansour. The following press release was issued by the museum.
Earlier today, I wrote about the scandalous expulsion of Palestinian artist Larissa Sansour from the prestigious Lacoste Elysée Prize shortlist at the request of Lacoste, the high-end French fashion company that sponsors the contest. Sansour, who was born in Jerusalem, said in a press release that Lacoste wanted her out because she was too “too pro-Palestinian.

Flash Mob Tells Bed Bath & Beyond: “Stop Selling Illegal Israeli Settlement Products!”
The three groups involved in this action – CODEPINK, 14 Friends of Palestine, and Keep Hope Alive — are all coalition members of the US Campaign, which offers its exclusive flash mob resources here.

End Aid / Support to Israel

Will the Holy Cow of Aid to Israel Survive the Dull Blade of Across-the-Board Budget Cuts?
Another budget battle has ended as Congress has agreed to fund the government through next fall including a record-breaking $3.075 billion in military aid to Israel.  At the same time though, the failure of the super committee to come up with a deficit reduction plan will trigger across-the-board budget cuts in 2013, including a loss of $250 million per year in military aid to Israel.  As our National Advocacy Director Josh Ruebner writes, this is the time for Congress to review U.S. policy towards Israel, a policy which the United States cannot afford “morally, politically or financially.” Military aid to Israel makes the average American taxpayer complicit in Israel’s human rights abuses as well as takes away resources from funding the projects Americans need at home, including providing affordable housing and primary healthcare. 


“Newt Gingrich puts Israel interests first” – Kristin Szremski
Our Steering Committee member Kristin Szremski writes that Newt Gingrich is forwarding a Zionist agenda at the expense of Americans. In trying to “out-Romney” Romney, and align himself to the pro-Israel element, the potential GOP frontrunner is not only selling off the values and safety of the United States for his shot in the Oval Office — and still failing to impress the pro-Israel Jewish voters he was trying to court — he’s also inflaming tensions in the Middle East, where U.S. neutrality and integrity are already is viewed with suspicion and hostility. He’s proven he does not care about the people whom he’d be sworn to protect as President. 


Ahmad Tibi Schools Eric Cantor
Member of Knesset Ahmad Tibi has vigorusly criticized House Majority Leader Eric Cantor in his hometown Richmond Times-Dispatch.  Please make your online comments and send your letters to the editor today, particularly those of you in Richmond or in the district of Michele Bachmann or Newt Gingrich’s old district. Those two presidential candidates also came in for heavy criticism.

Political Developments / Diplomacy / Other News

Militant Hamas moves to join PLO umbrella (AP)
AP – The rival Palestinian factions Fatah and Hamas took an important step toward reconciliation on Thursday, announcing plans for the Islamic militants to join the umbrella group that has overseen two decades of on-and-off peace talks with Israel.


State Department spokeswoman says ‘shouting from the rooftops of the UNSC is not going to change the situation on the ground.’
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — Israel has sent messages to some countries that President Mahmoud Abbas is not its partner and it is thus looking for alternative security and economy options, a PLO official said Tuesday.  Saeb Erekat said Israel hoped to destroy the Palestinian Authority and the peace process.  He added that Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, was working to convert the PA’s purpose into a security function while paying salaries in order to keep the situation calm in the occupied territories.
DAMASCUS (Ma’an) – Hamas on Tuesday denied reports disseminated by official Syrian news that its chief in exile Khalid Mashaal has criticized Islamic cleric Yousif al-Qaradawi over his remarks about the situation in Syria. In a statement, the movement said “the alleged remarks were made up and baseless.”  The website of Syria’s General Organization of Radio and TV on Tuesday quoted Mashaal expressing disappointment at al-Qaradawi urging the Syrian people to revolt against the Syrian regime. 

‘MK Barakeh traveled overseas for PA’
Foreign Ministry files formal complaint against Hadash Chairman Mohammad Barakeh for allegedly representing Ramallah on official visit to Poland.


Flotilla case closed: Zoabi won’t be charged
Attorney general decides to end investigation against Israeli nationals who participated in Gaza-bound flotilla that ended with lethal raid.

Israel nixes multimillion defense deal with Turkey
Jerusalem calls off $141 milliion deal with Ankara over fears that Turkey could hand over cutting-edge equipment to hostile parties, officials say.

Extreme right-wing religious party, Eretz Yisrael Shelanu, launching campaign, saying they seek to warn current government against evacuating settlements.
Other Mideast
Beirut’s media reports man convicted of aiding Israel sentences to sever years of prison and hard labor, but escapes death penalty

Egypt: Prosecute Sexual Assaults on Protesters
There is an escalating pattern of physical attacks by Egyptian military and police officers against women and male protesters, journalists, and activists in Cairo, some of which are sexual in nature. News reports and images of protesters in Cairo being stripped, beaten, and dragged through the street in the past several days are just the latest incidents.

Egypt imposes biometric visas on EU officials in tit-for-tat move
The Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has decided to impose biometric visas on diplomats and citizens of EU countries in response to the implementation of similar visa requirements for North African citizens, including Egyptians, visiting Europe. Foreign Ministry spokesman Amr Roshdy said that as from 15 January 2012 all holders of diplomatic and private passports who work in EU-member state embassies in Egypt will be required to obtain biometric visas from Egyptian embassies and consulates in their home countries. This means that applicants will have to go in person to be photographed and submit their fingerprints for the database, which will be used to identify applicants when they arrive in Egypt.


Egypt: Female Protesters Beaten With Metal Poles
Shocking images revealing the brutality of Egypt’s armed forces in quelling protests caused outrage around the world.


Photos of Women’s March Against Military Rule
[A day after soldiers brutally attacked and stripped a woman protestor in Tahrir Square in Cairo, thousands of women and men marched on 20 December from Tahrir Square to the Journalists' Syndicate and back to condemn the violence. Sarah Carr reports in Al Masry Al Youm that, "There was pervasive anger against the army, with frequent chants for the SCAF to leave power... 'Tantawi is the supreme commander of harassment and violation of honor,' one placard read. ... 'They know that we participated as much as men in the revolution. But we’re not scared,' Hadia Mohamed said. Thirty-six-year-old Nariman Youssef agreed. 'The main thing is to show that we’re not afraid. They can kill us, hit us, beat us on our heads but we’re getting stronger.'"]

The horrors of the past week, in which the Egyptian military forces continued to deploy absurd levels of unceasing violence against unarmed revolutionaries, in humiliating, massacring and altogether terrorizing the Egyptian people, are punctuated not only with the SCAF’s [Supreme Council of the Armed Forces'] beyond-Orwellian and sinister propaganda machine, which daily astounds us with its unapologetic and rampant insistence upon imposing the deathly arm of junta rule, but are also punctuated louder and louder with the deafening silence of the international ‘community’ that continues to tolerate – indeed, go out of its way to legitimize – the status quo, in which the most strategic and most lucratively-funded client state of the US in the region devolves into a hotbed of naked fascism. The 1.3 billion dollars taken from overworked and underpaid American taxpayers and annually awarded by the US to the state of Egypt are distinctly responsible for the bloodshed, pain and trauma exacted upon us by the SCAF and its repressive apparati.

Syria imposes death penalty for arming “terrorists” as death toll soars
A new law introduced this week imposing the death penalty on anyone arming “terrorists” is only likely to worsen the bloodshed in Syria, Amnesty International warned today as the number of people killed this week soared. In one of the deadliest weeks since pro-reform protests began, some 170 people – including around 70 army defectors – were reported to have been killed when government forces attacked the village of Kafr Awaid in the north-western province of Idlib. Dozens of military personnel are also reported to have been killed in Syria.

Arab League monitors arrive in Syria
Activists report more deaths, hours before arrival of advance observer delegation in accordance with peace plan.
‘Massacre’ in Syrian opposition stronghold 
About 200 people have been killed by Syrian security forces who launched an offensive against defected troops in the northwestern opposition stronghold of Idlib. The latest fighting has prompted the Syrian opposition to call for an emergency meeting of the Arab League. The Syrian National Council also wants an emergency UN Security Council session to discuss what they call the Assad regime’s massacres. Al Jazeera’s Zeina Khodr reports.


Iranian technicians ‘abducted’ in Syria
Iranian embassy in Damascus said five engineers were working on a power plant project in Homs, a center of the uprising.


81 Iraqis Killed As Maliki Targets Next Political Victim
A coordinated series of bombings shattered the peace in Baghdad, shortly after Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki ratcheted up tensions between his government and Sunni politicians. Despite international calls for prudence, Maliki is now targeting another senior Sunni politician for harassment. At least 81 Iraqis were killed and 184 more wounded in today’s carnage.


Tariq al-Hashimi says he will only stand trial in Kurdish region as prime minister calls for his return to Baghdad.

Iraqi Leader, Maliki, Threatens to Abandon Power-Sharing
Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki told Kurdish leaders there would be “problems” if they do not turn over a vice president who has been accused of assassinations.

Sectarian Tensions in Iraq Reach Crisis State
Kurdistan Regional President Massoud Barzani called on Iraqi politicians to hold a “crisis summit” to discuss recent events surrounding Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s harassment of several Sunni politicians. Meanwhile, at least eight Iraqis were killed and 16 more were wounded in new attacks.


In Exiting Iraq, U.S. Military Discards Trove of Found Documents on 2005 Haditha Massacre of Iraqis
As the U.S. military leaves Iraq, the New York Times has recovered hundreds of pages of documents detailing internal interrogations of U.S. Marines over the 2005 Haditha massacre of Iraqi civilians. The documents, many marked “secret,” were found among scores of other classified material at a junkyard outside Baghdad as an attendant used them as fuel to cook his dinner. The documents reveal testimony of Marines describing killing civilians on a regular basis. “In some ways, this is one of the most grotesque episodes of the entire war in Iraq. And I’m afraid to say, this is part of our legacy,” says Time magazine contributor Tim McGirk, who first broke the story of Haditha in 2006. It was November 19, 2005, when a U.S. military convoy of four vehicles driving through Haditha was hit by a roadside bomb, killing Lance Corporal Miguel Terrazas. The next night, Marines burst into several homes in the neighborhood, killing 24 Iraqis, including a 76-year-old man and women and children who were still in their night clothes when they died. “Nobody is behind bars for this,” McGirk notes. Charges from the episode were dropped against six of the accused Marines, one was acquitted, and the final case is set to go to trial next year. [includes rush transcript]


At War Blog: Lens: Iraqi Photographers Captured the Costs of War
Nearly nine years of war in Iraq have produced a growing cadre of world-class, homegrown Iraqi news photographers. The Lens blog shares the stories of five of them.

U.N. rights head: Bahrain failing to punish abuses (Reuters)
Reuters – The United Nation’s top human rights official said on Wednesday Bahrain was failing to prosecute security forces who tortured people during anti-government protests in February and was still using excessive force against civilians.

10 Iranian shipping companies and a shipping executive added to black list that freezes their assets in U.S. jurisdictions and bars Americans from doing business with them.

UAE bloggers on trial for speaking out online 
The UAE says it wants democracy, so why has it put five bloggers on trial for demanding political reform?

UAE strips six of citizenship
Security concerns cited, although those affected say they are being unjustly targeted for their political views.

Bradley Manning’s Defense Strategy on Display as Military Prosecutors Rest Case in Pretrial Hearing

The pretrial military hearing for accused Army whistleblower Private Bradley Manning has entered its sixth day. Prosecutors have finished laying out their case, and today the defense witnesses are expected to testify. Manning has been imprisoned for the past 19 months for allegedly leaking classified videos and diplomatic U.S. cables to the website WikiLeaks. On Monday, military prosecutors claimed they had discovered what they believe is email correspondence between Manning and WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange. If convicted, Manning could face life in prison, possibly death. We get an update from Ed Pilkington, a correspondent for The Guardian, which has been blogging about the hearing since it began last Friday. “[The defense is] claiming … that Manning has not been given the right to a fair pretrial hearing, because we think they’re only likely to be able to call three witnesses. Now that’s in addition to 10 witnesses they shared with the prosecution, but it’s still a tiny number compared with the total of 48 that Manning’s lawyer, David Coombs, asked for,” Pilkington says. “And if, by contrast, the defense is only allowedto call three of its own witnesses, that looks pretty unequal to me.” [includes rush transcript]

In Shariah, Gingrich Sees Mortal Threat to U.S.
Long before running for president, Newt Gingrich was the most prominent American politician to embrace the idea that Shariah poses a major threat to the United States.

Analysis / Op-ed

Israel’s image tanks as it slowly loses support of US media and Europe, Alex Kane

The Reut Institute, an Israeli government-linked think tank, had it exactly right when it recently stated that Israel needs “to harness the support of liberal and progressive circles.” The problem for the institute, and the Israeli government, though, is that the reverse is happening. Israel’s image is tanking, slow as the process is. Israel’s tanking image in “liberal and progressive circles” is freaking the likes of Jeffrey Goldberg out, who has been hard at work recently policing the discourse on Israel.
They teach terrorism in their schools. They have textbooks that say, ‘If there are 13 Jews and nine Jews are killed, how many Jews are left?’ We pay for those textbooks through our aid money. It’s fundamentally time for somebody to have the guts to stand up and say, enough lying about the Middle East.

Susan Youssef’s Habibi, a Gaza feature film a decade in the making, wins major award, Ali Abunimah

Susan Youssef’s new feature film Habibi has won the award for Best Arab Feature Film at the 8th Dubai International Film Festival.

Holy Land Betrayed: Our Unchristian Government, Stuart Littlewood
Prime minister David Cameron has told Britain: ‘We are a Christian country and we should not be afraid to say so.’ He was speaking on the occasion of the 400th anniversary of the King James version of the Bible which, he said, had helped to give Britain a set of values and morals that make us what we are today. And Cameron doesn’t accept the argument about the church not getting involved in politics.  “To me, Christianity, faith, religion, the Church and the Bible are all inherently involved in politics because so many political questions are moral questions.” True, but can our churchmen ‘do politics’? They perpetually fail to get a result even on the Church’s ‘home turf’, the Holy Land.

Ron Paul is at last having his moment. The Washington Post says ”Rep. Ron Paul has become a serious force with the potential to upend the nomination fight and remain a factor throughout next year’s general-election campaign.” The Post cites Paul’s appeal to young voters across party lines, though it ignores his antiwar views.
The US-installed system of sectarian political representation is coming home to roost in Iraq. Secular parties and coalitions seem to be disintegrating while hawkish political posturing is becoming the norm.
It did not take long for the Iraqi prime minister, Nouri al-Maliki, to revert to type. It did not take long for the Iraqi prime minister, Nouri al-Maliki, to revert to type. On the day the last US combat troops left the country, he turned against his vice-president Tariq al-Hashimi, accusing him of what he has himself long been suspected of – ordering the bombings and assassinations of his political opponents. Mr Hashimi was not just a leading Sunni Muslim in a Shia-dominated government. He was the linchpin of the political deal stitched together by the US last year, under which the Iraqiya coalition, which won the largest number of votes in the last election, agreed to participate in government.


5 Responses

  1. Avi_G.
    December 22, 2011, 3:11 pm

    When fascism first takes a foothold, marginal groups are first targeted. Historically, that marginal group was the Palestinians, well before the inception of Israel.

    Slowly but surely, fascism crept to include other groups. In recent years, that fascism has come to encompass the Jewish majority in the state.

    So now, the faux liberals in Israel are outraged at segregated buses for Jewish men and women.

    Last week, the head of security at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, sent an e-mail to all professors and administrators asking them to identify students in a video in which said students were seen protesting the increase in tuition and various housing fees.

    The students were mostly Jewish Israelis and one of the professors who received the e-mail wrote a harsh and critical letter to that head of security.

    Gideon Levy yesterday mocked the faux liberals who for more than 60 years remained silent, but who suddenly awakened when the state’s fascist practices targeted the Jewish majority.

    The slide into the abyss continues.

  2. Memphis
    December 22, 2011, 4:48 pm

    GReat Headline.

    It reminds me of a political cartoon a I saw where jesus an co where on mules and they were trying get into bethlehem but were prevented by the wall

    I would love to find that cartoon again

  3. Kate
    December 23, 2011, 11:36 am

    Memphis, go to Google Images and look for “O little town of Bethlehem cartoon”

    Several of the best Bethlehem cartoons are listed – the one I think you want is the second one, next to the one about the Magi stymied by the Wall. You can either just download the image as is, or go to the website it’s on – find the image by clicking on “Christianity” in the list on the right side of the page and scroll down to #9. Then click on “O little town of Bethlehem alternative card”

    More Bethlehem cartoons interspersed with other things, as you scroll down the page.

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