IOF troops accompanied by planning official Monday afternoon raided the Hamma hamlet in the northern Jordan valley and gave notice to the residents that the hamlet will be demolished.
Friday Protests: “We are all Musatafa Tamimi“
“Despite killings, arrests and repression, we will continue” In the series of repression practiced by the occupation forces on the popular weekly demonstrations against the apartheid wall and settlements, occupation forces arrested and wounded dozens during the weekly demonstrations in the West Bank. In Bilin, the occupation forces faced the protesters with sound and tear gas bombs and shot metal bullets covered with rubber, which caused dozens of suffocation cases and injured 20-year-old photojournalist Iyas Abo Rahme.
Destruction of Waqf: The Grave Offences of the Israeli State
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has denounced the recent rash of desecration and vandalism of mosques and Muslim cemeteries. But the destruction of Muslim religious properties in Israel is in fact institutionalized and has a long history.
Silwan residents fear crackdown over Christmas
Residents of Silwan have spoken out against what they call “conspiracies” against the village in the lead up to the Christian holiday of Christmas and New Year celebrations. Many fear that the religious holiday will provide another pretext for Israeli authorities to implement measures limiting the freedom of movement of Silwan’s Palestinians. A charged atmosphere has pervaded the area, with Israeli police and military enforcing a draconian network of checkpoints, allowing them to monitor residents’ movements and issue vast numbers of traffic fines.
Lebanese law allows all foreigners to own property and assets in Lebanon. But if you are a Palestinian refugee, you need to look for clever ways to keep the property of your parents.
Memories of the First Intifada, Linah Alsaafin
I interviewed my strong wonderful mother in response to #Intifada1
. "We lived in a state of normalization. We had settlers coming to buy from Palestinian grocery stores. It was like we accepted the occupation. The occupation would always take and take and take, but there wasn't a strong enough reaction from the Palestinians. That is, until the intifada happened."
Jewish colonists have attacked 96 Holy Muslim and Christian sacred sites in the West Bank and 46 sacred sites in Occupied East Jerusalem since the beginning of the year. Ramallah: Jewish colonists have attacked 96 Holy Muslim and Christian sacred sites in the West Bank and 46 sacred sites in Occupied East Jerusalem since the beginning of the year. According to the Palestinian Ministry of Islamic Affairs, the colonists have left behind racist and threatening messages after vandalising Palestinian property
Detainees & Other Prisoner News
IOF soldiers detain 8 Palestinians including a young man and his sister
Israeli occupation forces (IOF) rounded up eight Palestinian civilians on Tuesday including a young man and his sister in Duma village, south of Nablus, Tadamun foundation for human rights said.
Troops Kidnap Three Palestinians In Jenin
Israeli soldiers kidnapped, on Tuesday at dawn, three Palestinians in the Jenin refugee camp, in Jenin city, in the northern part of the West Bank, and took them to an unknown destination. Soldiers also invaded a number of nearby towns.
Youth arrested in dawn raid
Israeli forces arrested Mahmoud al-Ragabi, 21, from Baten al-Hawa neighborhood in Silwan in the early hours of Thursday, 15 December. The arrest is the latest in a Silwan-wide campaign of youth arrests and fearmongering. An Israeli military jeep was also seen terrorizing young children in Bir Ayyub district of Silwan as they played football at a playground. A Molotov cocktail was then thrown at Beit Yonatan settlement later that night.
Ad-Dameer Denounces Daily Arrests In Shu’fat Refugee Camp
The Ad-Dameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association denounced the Israeli Army for the daily kidnappings of children and youth at the Shu’fat refugee camp, in occupied East Jerusalem, adding that the army kidnapped more than 21 youths, including 11 children in the last 15 days.
Our last Villages Group post reported the demolition of structures, including homes and a mosque, in the Palestinian village of Al-Mufaqara (also known as Umm-Faqra) in southern West Bank. The destruction was perpetrated on November 24 by Israeli civilian contractors (see here for a brief report in Ha’aretz). They were hired by the deceptively named “Civil Administration” – an arm of Israel’s military Occupation apparatus which poses as a legitimate governing body. The name “Civil Administration” was invented deliberately in the 1980′s by then-defense minister Ariel Sharon, in order to confuse and confound people about this body’s true nature. Its main business these days seems to be to harass, refuse permits, and eventually destroy property belonging to Palestinians, in order to “clear” them out of West Bank areas that Israel wants to eventually annex. The civilian contractors and deceptively-named “Civil Administration” thugs were accompanied by ordinary IDF soldiers. As can be seen in the video below, throughout the demolition neither contractors, nor CA thugs, nor IDF soldiers, acted or looked like people under any form of threat or duress. That did not stop them from arresting and carting off two female Palestinian youth: 21-year-old Sausan Hamamdeh and her 17-year-old cousin Amal. Some of the events around and immediately after their arrest are in the video, around minutes 1:30-3:00. The video was filmed by Guy Batavia, activist with Ta’ayush and Rabbis for Human Rights.
Abu Obaida: “Resistance Liberated 20% Of The Detainees”
Abu Obaida, spokesperson of the Al Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of the Hamas movement, stated that the Palestinian resistance managed to liberate 20% of the detainees imprisoned by Israel, and will remain committed to securing the release of all detainees.
Palestinians originally hoped that Marwan Barghouti, compared by some to former South African prisoner-turned-president Nelson Mandela, would be included in a prisoner swap finalized today.
Nader el Masri feels the loneliness of a long distance runner.
The 32-year-old 5,000 metre specialist is the fastest man in Gaza but he has few places to train and few people to train with. "I have a coach but there's nobody at my level in Gaza," says Nader. "I have to do most of my training sessions on my own." And the facilities in Gaza are far from great. There is not a single tartan track in the Palestinian territory and Nader does much of his training on the pot-holed cinder track that loops around the football stadium in Gaza City.
The other alternative is the beach which stretches along the length of Gaza's Mediterranean coastline.
On Monday 19 December 2011, the Permanent Military Court in Gaza held the ninth session in Gaza City to consider the case relating to the death of the Italian solidarity activist, Vittorio Arrigoni. Lawyers from the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) attended the session in their capacity as legal representatives of the Arrigoni family.
Solidarity, Activism & BDS
Egyptian TV presenter fired after refusing interview with Israeli Embassy
Cairo - Yasmine Geoushi, an Egyptian TV presenter and journalist for Al-Tahrir newspaper, was shocked when she was informed by the owner of the Egyptian January 25 TV, Mohammad Jawhar, that she had lost her job. Geoushi believes her "position on the subject of establishing natural relations with the Zionist state" is the main reason behind her firing. Last August, Geoushi refused to host the Israeli foreign affairs spokesperson during the channel's coverage of the events at the Israeli Embassy in Cairo.
In blow to Israel, French BDS activists acquitted of crime in calling for boycott, Ali Abunimah
Twelve French activists from a group called Boycott 68 have been acquitted on charges of “inciting discrimination and racial hatred” for calling on French shoppers to boycott Israeli goods.
Third Annual BDS Conference Highlights Progress, Challenges
PNN - Michael Dean was the most optimistic, arguing that BDS is a huge success in Europe and that "by keeping up the momentum, we are close to closing the European market to Israel.” Adam Horowitz gave a bleaker picture from the United States, stating that the US BDS campaign has little financial support compared to the pro-Israel organizations and that anyway the United States, unlike Europe, does not have many consumer products from Israel.
link to english.pnn.ps
Large numbers of international activists plan to Tel Aviv as part of the Welcome to Palestine 2012 initiative to assert the right of Palestinians in the occupied West Bank to receive visitors.
We Will Not Be Silent
, the artists/activists who designed the U.S. Boat to Gaza
T-Shirts, is now selling 35 new designs to the We Will Not Be Silent t-shirt/language project. Designs include a shirt which says PALESTINE
on the front and a list of human rights on the back, and shirts with the worlds SOLIDARITY, LOVE, and FREEDOM
TEHRAN -- The second edition of the International Arts Festival of Resistance was brought to an end on Monday paying tribute to the martyr Rumah al-Hassani from Gaza. The young Palestinian artist was martyred in an Israeli air raid that targeted central Gaza strip in September, only a short time after he had submitted his painting to the festival organizers in Iran. The closing ceremony was held at the Iranian Academy of Arts (IAA) and attended by Basij Commander Mohammadreza Naqdi, IAA Director Ali Mo’allem Damghani, and several other artists and officials.
French clothing firm Lacoste censors, expels Palestinian artist Larissa Sansour from prestigious contest, Ali Abunimah
The high-end French clothing chain Lacoste has demanded the removal of work by Palestinian artist Larissa Sansour from the shortlist for the €25,000 Lacoste Elysee Prize that is awarded by the Swiss Musee de l’Elysee with sponsorship from the firm.
Cnaan Advertising has refused to place ads featuring women on buses for several years, claiming they are not worth its while because ultra-Orthodox extremists vandalize the buses.
Political Developments / Diplomacy / Other News
Hamas calls for forming Arab army to liberate O. Jerusalem
The Hamas department of refugee affairs urged Palestinian premier Ismail Haneyya to work on forming an Arab army to liberate the occupied Islamic city of Jerusalem.
GAZA CITY (Ma’an) -- Eight Palestinian political factions have walked out of a reconciliation meeting meant to represent all parties after being told they could not participate because they were not part of the PLO.
GAZA CITY (Ma’an) -- Palestinian factions are scheduled to meet Tuesday mid-morning in Cairo to discuss the reconciliation deal signed in May, a Hamas official said. Ismail Radwan told Ma'an that among other issues, the parties will discuss the formation of an elections committee, the reactivation of the Palestinian Legislative Council, forming a unity government, the reconciliation committee and trust building procedures for a temporary leadership meeting.
NEW YORK (Ma’an) -- The UN General Assembly adopted on Monday a draft resolution on the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination, according to Palestinian ambassador to the UN Riyad Mansour. The resolution, says Mansour, was adopted by a vote of 182 in favor to seven against (Canada, Israel, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, Palau and the US), with three abstentions (Cameroon, South Sudan, and Tonga).
Ramallah: The Palestinian Liberation Organisation (PLO) is currently reviewing whether to halt security coordination with Israel and downgrade the PLO's ties with Israel taking into account stalled peace negotiations and the undermining of the political atmosphere, said a top PLO official. Speaking to Gulf News, Wasel Abu Yousuf, a member of the PLO Executive Committee, said that walking away from the security agreement with Israel remained an option that was being seriously discussed. "This is the current Palestinian move as the Israeli government stalled the peace process and completely locked the political horizon," he said.
The former Director General of Israel's secret service, Mossad, has evaded arrest during a visit to the Republic of Guinea. Shabtai Shavit was in the country to meet President Alpha Condé and hold talks with government officials. According to the Hebrew newspaper Maariv, an arrest warrant was issued for Shavit on charges of cooperating with opposition groups. There was a coup attempt against Condé in July this year. Shavit's contacts in the country warned him about the warrant and he was able to evade arrest and disappear just before his scheduled meeting with the president. The Maariv report claimed that the ex-Mossad head was in Guinea to provide advice "of an unknown nature" to the country's government.
UN envoy demands 'Palestinian steak'
Israeli Ambassador Prosor, Palestinian Observer Mansour put on one-time stand-up show during UN gala dinner.
Moncef Marzouk tells chief Tunisian rabbi that Jews are full citizens; Tunisia ousted longtime dictator Ben Ali in first of Arab Spring revolution.
Global arms suppliers must halt the transfer of small arms, ammunition and other repressive equipment to the Egyptian military and security forces, Amnesty International said today after the army again violently dispersed protests in Cairo. The organization condemned the excessive use of force against protesters and called for a cessation of all transfers of small arms, light weapons and related munitions and equipment to Egypt, as well as a halt to all internal security equipment that could be used to violently suppress human rights, such as tear gas, rubber and plastic bullets and armoured vehicles. “It can no longer be considered acceptable to supply the Egyptian army with the types of weaponry, munitions and other equipment that are being used to help carry out the brutal acts we have seen used against protesters,” said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International.
An Egyptian pipeline carrying gas to Israel and Jordan was bombed on Sunday, the 10th such attack this year, but no fire erupted because the line that runs through North Sinai was already disabled, a security source said. The blast took place in an area five km (three miles) south of the Mediterranean coastal town of al-Arish. “The attack was carried out using remote-controlled explosives by unidentified assailants who arrived at the scene using four-wheel-drive vehicles,” the source said. No group has claimed responsibility for the series of pipeline attacks since a popular uprising toppled Mubarak in February. One attack took place just before he was ousted.
Egyptian Islamists: We'll negotiate with Israel
Spokesman for Salafi movement's Al-Nour party says nothing preventing talks with Israel, but senior party members claim no final decision reached: 'Peace treaty must be respected after reexamination'.
Dawn raid in Tahrir Square amid clashes
Witnesses report sound of heavy gunfire as police and soldiers charge hundreds of people gathered in Cairo protest hub.
Egyptians protest against beatings of women
Thousands rally in Cairo to denounce military's attacks, as Hillary Clinton denounces "systematic degradation of women".
Egyptian Military Kills 14 Protesters, Attacks Journalists in Brutal Crackdown in Tahrir Square
A new wave of violence in Cairo’s Tahrir Square began Friday when one of several hundred peaceful protesters staging a sit-in outside the parliament building was reportedly detained and beaten by troops. Up to 14 people have now been killed and hundreds injured over the last three days of clashes. A video uploaded Sunday on YouTube has circulated widely and provoked outrage at the extent of police brutality. It shows a young woman being dragged and beaten by military police. The top half of her body is bare, her blue bra exposed. Her abaya, or robe, has been ripped off and surrounds her upper body, showing that she was wearing a hijab. "When this [woman was beaten and disrobed] happened, there was probably much more video evidence of people being brutally beaten down, but they’re not available, because the army, right after that raid, entered the offices of most media outlets surrounding the square and confiscated equipment," says Democracy Now! correspondent Sharif Abdel Kouddous, reporting from Cairo. Kouddous says the military confiscated two of his cameras, and he also saw them take cameras from Al Jazeera reporters. "This was a clampdown on information, on trying to prevent these kinds of pictures from emerging." The police attacks have overshadowed the first parliamentary elections since former president Hosni Mubarak was ousted in February. [includes rush transcript]
link to www.democracynow.org
Following latest round of violence and state repression of protesters, nineteen political groups issue calls for million-man Tahrir Square demo on Friday to protest ongoing SCAF rule. Nineteen different political and cultural movements released a statement on Monday calling for a million-man march in Cairo’s Tahrir Square on Friday, 23 December, to protest military rule. The various groups are urging all factions to set aside their political differences and rally under the single slogan, “Down with military rule.” The statement stressed that the aim of the proposed Friday demonstration was to “regain the nation’s honour,” which had been tarnished by the military following the February departure of longstanding president Hosni Mubarak.
Egypt Politicians and New MP's to Begin Sit-In Against State Repression
Prominent political personalities and newly elected members of parliament plan sit-in to demand immediate halt of violence against protesters - and speedy transition to civilian rule. A host of prominent Egyptian political forces and figures announced plans on Monday to stage an open-ended sit-in before Cairo’s Supreme Judiciary Court to demand an immediate cessation of violence against anti-government protesters.
In this video, Ghada recounts details about being tortured by the Egyptian army as well as specifics regarding their behavior and tactics. The account includes disturbing details, including descriptions of what she witnessed while in captivity.
Security forces accused of targeting journalists trying to expose state violence in Egypt, SCAF statements deliberately stir mistrust and misinformation. As violence has grown in Egypt, the media has faced increasing risks and dangers. Journalists, photographers and filmmakers have been beaten, arrested, and had equipment confiscated. Many expected the January 25 Revolution to grant journalists more freedom to do their jobs, however, in fact their jobs have become more difficult and more dangerous than ever before.
Military council member lauds 'self-restraint' of security personnel outside Cabinet, warns of foreign plots to derail democratic transition. Deputy Defence Minister and Supreme Council of the Armed Forces member Adel Emara described soldiers who attacked protesters in downtown Cairo in recent days as “heroes” at a Monday press conference. At the conference, convened in the aftermath of a violent security crackdown on a three-week-long anti-government sit-in in front of the Cabinet building in downtown Cairo, Emara also spoke of a “systematic plan to ruin Egypt” and “prevent the peaceful transition to a democratic system.” He also described anti-government protesters as “saboteurs.”
Image of unknown woman beaten by Egypt's military echoes around world, Ahdaf Soueif
The arrest and brutal treatment of this young woman reminds us that the revolution is far from over. The woman is young, and slim, and fair. She lies on her back surrounded by four soldiers, two of whom are dragging her by the arms raised above her head. She's unresisting – maybe she's fainted; we can't tell because we can't see her face. She's wearing blue jeans and trainers. But her top half is bare: we can see her torso, her tummy, her blue bra, her bare delicate arms. Surrounding this top half, forming a kind of black halo around it, is the abaya, the robe she was wearing that has been ripped off and that tells us that she was wearing a hijab.
Other Mideast and World News
The Bahrain authorities must release a prominent activist dragged away along the ground in handcuffs from a peaceful protest, Amnesty International said today. Blogger and activist Zainab al-Khawaja, whose father and husband are both in prison in the aftermath of popular protests this year, has been charged with taking part in an illegal public gathering, showing contempt of the regime and assaulting a police officer.
Bahrain police fire tear gas after funeral
AP - Police in Bahrain on Sunday fired tear gas at thousands of demonstrators chanting anti-government slogans after the funeral of an elderly man who witnesses say died from tear gas inhalation.
Alwaleed bin Talal and his investment firm seal the deal with the micro-blogging site after months of negotiations.
Hezbollah denies US money laundering charges (AP)
AP - Hezbollah's deputy leader has rejected as "unjust" U.S. accusations of the militant group's involvement in a money laundering scheme and drugs trafficking.
Arrest warrant issued for Iraqi deputy
An arrest warrant has been issued for Iraq's Sunni vice president. Tareq Al-Hashimi is suspected of being part of a bomb plot to kill the country's Shia PM. The US has expressed concern about the situation, as Omar al-Saleh reports.
Maliki acting "like Saddam": Sunni bloc leader (Reuters)
Reuters - Iraq's Nuri al-Maliki is acting like Saddam Hussein in trying to silence opposition and he risks provoking a new fightback against dictatorship, one of Maliki's predecessors as prime minister said on Tuesday.
Iraq's Sunni VP denies charges he ran hit squad (AP)
AP - Iraq's Sunni vice president denied charges he ran a hit squad that killed government officials during the nation's wave of sectarian bloodletting, accusing the Shiite-led government Tuesday of waging a campaign of persecution.
As a British solider explained the intricate nature of an air defense system, couples in the background walked together, pausing to try out the Lockheed Martin Javelin fire-and-forget shoulder missiles. An old woman cautiously rode a T3 police scooter, with a uniformed Kuwaiti officer in tow making sure she didn’t fall.
One year after Tunisian vegetable seller Mohamed Bouazizi set himself alight, Tunisia’s uprising is billed as the most successful of the Arab revolts. Weekend festivities celebrating the first anniversary of Bouazizi's act were mixed with high hopes of change despite fears of a return of dictatorship in different forms.
One year after the outbreak of the Tunisian Uprising, Mohamed Bouazizi is celebrated in Sidi Bouzid. A hero, a martyr, and the face of the Arab Spring, his resting place is frequented by visitors paying their respect. As such, Sidi Bouzid celebrated the annual passing of one of it’s own sons while the country at large celebrated the memory of the man that brought on a new dawn.
Iran alleges that detained American-Iranian man received special training and served at U.S. military bases in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Panetta: Iran can assemble bomb in year or less
Defense secretary tells '60 Minutes' US will take 'whatever steps necessary' to prevent Tehran from acquiring nuclear arms.
Bradley Manning Faces Life Sentence, While Criminals WikiLeaks Exposed Have Suffered No Consequences - Glenn Greenwald
We speak with constitutional lawyer and Salon.com blogger Glenn Greenwald about the military pretrial hearing now underway for alleged U.S. Army whistleblower Bradley Manning, who has been accused of releasing classified U.S. documents to WikiLeaks. Greenwald comments on the possible strategy being put forth by Manning’s defense. "All the Manning [tribunal] hearings have been shrouded in secrecy," Greenwald says, noting there may be more transparency in Guantánamo detainee hearings than there has been for the Manning tribunal. "Presumably, his lawyer believes that one of the best ways that they have to keep him out of prison for the next six decades is to argue that he had diminished capacity by virtue of emotional distress over the gender struggles that he had over his sexual orientation being in a military that had a policy of banning those who were openly gay. And so, part of this emotional distress that they’re raising is designed to say that he should be excused from his actions because they were not the byproduct of full choice," says Greenwald, who is openly gay and has been writing extensively about this aspect of Manning’s case. "He is—and I don’t blame him at all—trying to do whatever he can to avoid having his life destroyed, either being killed by the state or locked up in a cage for the rest of his life."
Obama Prepares to Authorize Indefinite Detention of U.S. Citizens for First Time Since McCarthy Era - Glenn Greenwald on NDAA
The $662 billion National Defense Authorization Act passed by Congress last week includes controversial provisions that could usher in a radical expansion of indefinite detention under the U.S. government by authorizing the military to jail anyone it considers a terrorism suspect anywhere in the world without charge or trial. "Congress, with the Democrats in control of the Senate and a Democratic president, is about to enact into law the first bill that will say that the military and the United States government do have this power," says Glenn Greenwald, Salon.com blogger and constitutional law attorney. "It’s muddled whether it applies to U.S. citizens on U.S. soil, but it’s clearly indefinite detention, and there’s a very strong case to make that it includes U.S. citizens, as well, which, as we know, the Obama administration already claims anyway, and that’s what makes it so dangerous." [includes rush transcript]
Renowned torture enthusiast
and perennial Israel apologist
Alan Dershowitz is in Tel Aviv this week attending an annual business conference sponsored by Globes and, as usual, has been busy equivocating for Israeli espionage
,defending war criminals, and warmongering about Iran
. During a speech he delivered on Sunday December 11, Dershowitz opined
, "Israel has the right morally and legally to strike Iran just as it did on[the Osirak nuclear facility] in Iraq in 1981." This is not a new line for the famous attorney who has worked tirelessly to acquit both aspiring
murderers and war criminals
- and millionaires
- child rape. In April 2010, Dershowitz wrote
, "I am asserting, in unqualified terms, that Israel has an absolute right -- legally, morally, politically -- to take such an action if it deems it necessary to protect its citizens from a threatened nuclear attack." Even as far back as 2005, he told
The Jerusalem Post, "Legally and morally both Israel and the United States would have the right to launch preemptive strikes against Iran’s nuclear program. Recall that leading Iranian mullahs have indicated that Iran would use its nuclear capacity to kill three million Jews. I also believe that targeted assassinations of criminals who are illegally building weapons of mass destruction, can, under certain circumstances, be justified morally. I think the legal case would be much harder to make."
link to www.wideasleepinamerica.com
Joe Klein is great. Full stop. He hated the Vietnam war and then he hated the Iraq war and had more courage than any other journalist in the mainstream, to nail it back in '03 as a war for Israel's security. He says it again here. And Klein is a liberal Zionist! He understands the importance of Ron Paul, who NPR says is at the top of the latest Iowa polls. Why? Because he's antiwar!
One thing you have to say about Israeli torturers, you can’t keep a good one down. I reported here
some time ago about one Doron Zahavi aka Captain George, an infamous commander of the IDF intelligence unit 504. Until my report, his real name was secret and no publication has reported it. I was delighted to bring his brutal acts into the public light and attach a real name to the torturer. Zahavi and his boys specialized in “interrogating” (i.e. torturing) foreign security suspects captured by the IDF abroad.
Israeli vs Palestinian Right to Protest
Lia Tarachansky reports for The Real News from Tel Aviv on the Israeli right to protest–which according to Benjamin Netanyahu is one of the reasons Israel is an example for “the entire democratic world”–versus the Palestinian lack thereof. RIP Mustafa Tamimi.
This is an important
article by Ibrahim al-Amin, who has been quietly and coolly articulating a pragmatic program for political reform and historic reconciliation in Syria. For those who are listening, al-Amin argues against support for the regime’s repression. It has been killing. It has also seen its security forces killed, one of the many tactics chosen by the opposition that has contributed to the violence of the crackdown. Al-Amin says what should have been clear for months: the prostituted Syrian National Council is not a serious force for progressive change in Syria and has been linked tightly to the capitalist counterrevolution from the outset: France, America, Turkey, and the Gulf Countries. Internal forces calling for dialogue alongside serious reform have seen their voices drowned out by those calling hoarsely for outside intervention and, heaped on top of those calls, the Assad regime’s unproductively blinkered reaction to requests for reform – as though the combination of authoritarianism and creeping neoliberalism in Syria hasn’t produced social disquiet over the past decade.
Pioneer Bloggers in the Gulf Arab States, Sultan Al-Qassemi
Long before Facebook updates and 140-character tweets, a number of cyber activists defined the landscape of non-government led opinion in the Gulf Arab states. In less than a decade, a group of bloggers—many of whom have never met—has paved the way for the emergence of the “other opinion” that was and continues to be largely missing from the government controlled Gulf Arab media. The shake-up to traditional media that these blogging pioneers caused was no less significant than what Al Jazeera’s arrival did to the moribund government-controlled television channels of the Arab world.
Not only has Ibish’s strategy of presenting himself as a defender of Arabs and Muslims by taking on the lunatic fringe failed, it has also contributed to legitimizing the mainstream racists and extremists. It’s Ibish’s friends, collaborators, co-authors, partners in “peace”, and ATFP gala keynote speakers that are most troubling for the Arab and Muslim communities, not Manji and the other assorted nuts.