Vandals have tried to set a mosque on fire and scrawled graffiti on the walls for the second time in two days.
Friday morning, December 9th, my friend and I set out to experience a West Bank protest. It was a first for both of us, seeing as I have Arabic class every Friday, and he lives in Tel Aviv. As protest virgins, we had no idea what to expect. What did a confrontation look like? How do people protest? How would the soldiers react? I’d heard tales of people dodging tear gas canisters and running from the Israeli Defense Force (IDF). After four months of living in Bethlehem, I wanted to experience it for myself.
Fifteen years ago I was Mustafa Tamimi. Two months before that it was a relative who had his skull smashed by an explosive bullet from an Israeli sniper. Later that same week another neighbor lost his eye. Before and since then, the same situation has been repeating itself again and again: an armored jeep, a soldier armed to teeth, a tiny figure of mere flesh and bones, and a stone smeared with blood on the side of the road. That’s the saga of Palestine. That’s our tale, full of injustice and oppression, whose hero struts and frets and whoever gets in his way is doomed. But we get in his way anyway.
Lawless Israeli Oppression in Palestine: Shooting Mustafa Tamimi at Point Blank Range, Stephen Lendman
On December 9, al-Nabi Saleh village residents protested peacefully against settlers stealing their land. At point blank range, an Israeli soldier fired a tear-gas canister directly at Mustafa Tamimi’s head, killing him. On December 10, thousands of Palestinians protested against his cold-blooded murder. Tamimi was the 20th Palestinian killed this way in the past eight years, besides many more by other means, especially in Gaza.
20 NGOs demand int’l quartet to end demolition of Palestinian homes
20 international non-governmental organizations strongly condemned Israel for escalating its demolition of Palestinian homes especially during 2011.
Occupation authorities continue home demolition policy in the Negev
IOF troops on Wednesday morning raided the villages of Beir Hadag and al-Sharkeyya in the Negev in 1948-occupied Palestine accompanied by large bulldozers and razed a number of Palestinian homes.
The collective punishment of Silwan
The people of Silwan deal with the collective punishment of living under Israeli occupation on a daily basis, possibly the most common example being the issue of traffic in the village. While Israeli settlers and their private guards drive with impunity and break traffic regulations without recourse, a suffocating system of police-manned flying checkpoints monitor and restrict the movement of Palestinian drivers. Checkpoints are used as a means of issuing tickets for alleged traffic violations to Palestinian drivers, as well as a site of constant harassment and provocation. This week a local youth reported being told by a police officer at a traffic checkpoint to “go to Gaza if you don’t like it here.” Despite a large body of documentation and testimonies from Palestinian citizens of Silwan attesting to the misdeeds of the Israeli forces, settlers and their guard squads, Palestinian complaints to Israeli authorities and regulation bodies are dismissed as a rule.
Local youth and Israeli soldiers injured; six youth arrested
Israeli forces arrested 6 Palestinian youth between 14 and 20 years of age during a clash between Palestinians and Israeli soldiers near Damascus Gate on Sunday, 11 December. Several women and children were also assaulted by Israeli forces, leaving two women and one child with head injuries. Eyewitnesses state that 4 Israeli troops also sustained bruises. Witnesses claim that clashes were sparked when a soldier assaulted a 12-year old Palestinian child in Sultan Sulaiman Street in East Jerusalem. When local youths attempted to intervene, fights erupted between them and Israeli soldiers. The violence escalated when backup troops arrived, who started beating youths and passers-by with batons. Three Palestinian residents sustained head injures as a result.
Israeli forces storm homes in Shuafat and Old City
Israeli forces stormed two Palestinian families’ homes in East Jerusalem on Saturday night, 10 December. The Khayat family home in the Old City was raided and the Abed home in Shuafat camp, with one arrested and one summoned for investigation. The Old City home of Kamal al-Khayat and his family was raided earlier in the evening and searched extensively by armed forces. Photos and other belongings of their 22-year old son, Ibrahim, were confiscated. Israeli forces used sniffer dogs and turned off the building’s power supply during the raid. No search warrant was shown to the family. Ibrahim Khayat was then arrested and taken to the Russian compound. He was released some hours later and is expected to be summoned for further investigation. The house of Ahmad Hasan Abed’s family was then stormed in Shuafat. Sniffer dogs were also let loose in the house. Abed’s 25-year old son Ghasan was summoned to attend investigation on 11 December in Nabi Yaob police station.
Settlers set Palestinian cars on fire in the northern West Bank
Jewish settlers set fire to three Palestinian cars on Tuesday night and Wednesday morning in different part of the Nablus and Salfit districts in the northern West Bank.
On Wednesday, Israeli right-wing settler youth continued attacking property and holy sites for the third straight day, while Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak told the Army Radio that he considered the recent attacks to be the work of “Jewish terrorists”.
Israel takes steps to curb settler violence
PM approves measures to crack down on violent ultra-nationalist settlers after mosque vandalism and attack on soldiers.
Palestinian Released Under Swap-Deal Believed To Have Known Shalit’s Location
Cleared for publication Tuesday; in September 2007, undercover forces of the Israeli Army kidnapped a resident identified as Mohawish Al-Qadi, from Rafah, in the southern part of the Gaza Strip. After his capture, Hamas changed the location where Gilad Shalit, was being held.
GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — Israeli forces entered northern Gaza near Erez crossing on Thursday morning, witnesses and the army said. Locals told Ma’an bulldozers dug up land and opened fire toward but no injuries were reported. An Israeli military spokesman said soldiers were conducting “routine activity” in the area but said he was not familiar with any shooting. On Wednesday, Israeli forces shot a man east of Gaza City.
Palestinian students give Gaza a voice at Qatar forum
Palestinian students overcame great challenges and navigated a stifling blockade to be able to attend a forum in Qatar
Activists shut down normalization conference in Jerusalem
Jerusalem activists successfully had the Ambassador Hotel cancel their hosting of events in the planned Israeli Palestinian Confederation Conference on Tuesday, 13 December. The conference, organized by Jerusalem University director Dr. Sari Nsaibeh and former Israeli foreign affairs minister Shlomo Bena’mi, was to see the election for the parliament and a chairman for the so-called Israeli- Palestinian Confederation. Protesters gathered outside the hotel to condemn the process of normalization of the occupation promoted by the conference, amidst the collapse of the peace process, continuing settlement construction and the confiscation of Palestinian land. Conference events taking place in Beit Jalah and Haifa over the next few days have promoted a false illusion of Palestine already being liberated and contributed to the normalization of the Israeli occupation. One demonstrator commented that “how would such a confederation even be possible under the occupation?” The management of the Ambassador Hotel announced their decision to cancel the conference events in a printed statement posted at the hotel’s entrance. A hotel manager stated that “we have been manipulated by the conference organizers, who did not reveal to us its real purposes. We refuse to take part in their attempts to veil the reality of Palestinian suffering.”
Israeli Blood Diamonds Campaign Conference Call, December 18th, 9am PST
Join US Campaign member group Palestine Action Group- Corvallis for a conference call about the Boycott Israeli Blood Diamonds Campaign, this Sunday, December 18 with Sean Clinton from Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign.
BDS Update: BDS Unites East and West
Just in case there was an iota of doubt left in your mind, Israel was officially declared an apartheid state during a session of the Russell Tribunal on Palestine in Cape Town on 7 November. Among depositions, the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights in Gaza cited the Fourth Geneva Convention and the 2002 Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court which prohibits “the transfer, directly or indirectly, by the Occupying Power of parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies.”
NAZARETH ILLIT, Israel (AFP) — The mayor of a Jewish suburb of Nazareth sparked outrage on Wednesday after refusing to allow Christmas trees to be placed in town squares, calling them provocative. Predominantly Jewish Nazareth Illit, or Upper Nazareth, is adjacent to Nazareth, where Christians believe Jesus spent much of his life. It has a sizable Arab Christian minority, as does mostly Muslim Nazareth itself.
Israeli democracy watch: proposed muezzin law
The public and international unrest over antidemocratic legislation in Israel is making an impact on the political arena. Sunday, December 11, 2011 Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was forced to withdraw his support for a law that would ban mosques from using loudspeaker systems for the call to prayer.
Israeli democracy watch: new bill to force companies to invest in West Bank
On Wednesday, December 7, 2011, Chairman of the National Union party, Knesset Member Yaakov Katz, proposed a bill calling for the dismantling of Israeli companies that boycott certain areas, such as the the illegally occupied West Bank, or that do not supply goods and services to those places.
‘Refugees invisible to Israeli law’
New report questions Israel asylum, refugee policies; says only 17 out of 43,000 asylum seekers have been granted refugee status since 2008.
“America remains deeply and permanently committed to Israel’s peace and security. It is a commitment for this president and this Administration. It spans generations. It spans political parties. It is not negotiable. And it never will be,” Rice will say. ”From the moment he took office, President Obama’s guidance has been clear: to strengthen and deepen that commitment. He has been clear all along that our special relationship with Israel is deeply rooted in our common interests and our common values.” ”That’s why we’ve increased cooperation between our militaries to unprecedented levels. That’s why, even in these tough fiscal times, we’ve increased foreign military financing to record levels. That’s why we’ve also included additional support for the lifesaving Iron Dome anti-rocket system — which saw action just days ago in defense of innocent Israelis who live near the Gaza frontier.”
Bodyguard of Palestinian commander ‘killed in Lebanon’
BEIRUT (Ma’an) — The bodyguard of a top Palestinian commander was shot dead on Wednesday in a refugee camp in southern Lebanon, a local official told Lebanese media. “At around 10:00 p.m., a masked gunman shot and killed Ashraf Qadiri at his shop here in the Ain al-Hilweh camp,” Munir Maqdah, in charge of security at the camp near Saida, told Now Lebanon. Qadiri was a bodyguard for Mohammed Abdel Hamid Issa, alias “Al-Lino,” the head of Palestinian party Fatah’s police force in Ain al-Hilweh, according to the Beirut-based news site. The shooting was the second such incident targeting one of Issa’s bodyguards, Now said.
“The Arab People Have Woken Up”: Yemeni Activist Tawakkol Karman Accepts Nobel Peace Prize
The 2011 Nobel Peace Prize was presented this weekend to three women for “their non-violent struggle for the safety of women and for women’s rights to full participation in peace-building work.” Democracy Now! aired highlights on Monday of the acceptance speeches of Liberian activist Leymah Gbowee and Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the first democratically elected female head of state on the African continent. Today we complete our coverage with the acceptance speech of Tawakkol Karman from Yemen, the first Arab woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize, as well as its youngest winner to date. Karman, a 32-year-old mother of three and an outspoken journalist and activist, has agitated for press freedoms and staged weekly sit-ins to demand the release of political prisoners from jail. She founded Women Journalists Without Chains and has played a leading part in the struggle for women’s rights and for democracy in Yemen. Most recently, she has led rallies in the protests against the rule of the longstanding U.S. ally, President Ali Abdullah Saleh. “The Arab world is today witnessing the birth of a new world, which tyrants and unjust rulers strive to oppose. But in the end, this new world will inevitably emerge,” Karman says. “Our oppressed people have revolted, declaring the emergence of a new dawn in which the sovereignty of the people, and their invincible will, will prevail. The people have decided to break free and walk in the footsteps of civilized free people of the world.”
Bahrain police crack down on march outside capital (AP)
AP – Bahraini security forces used tear gas and stun grenades to try to disperse hundreds of anti-government protesters attempting to march along a highway leading to the island kingdom’s capital Thursday.
Syrian troops ‘ordered to shoot to kill’
Human Rights Watch report accuses dozens of officials and commanders over crackdown, based on defectors’ testimonies.
Falluja Is Left Wounded by War
A broken city shifts its anger and frustration from the United States to the Shiite-led government in Baghdad.
Marines’ Haditha Interviews Found in Iraqi Junkyard
Interviews with Marines about the 2005 Haditha killings were among reams of classified documents destined to become an attendant’s kindling in Baghdad.
The CIA in Lebanon is going into damage control after Hezbollah recently exposed more details about alleged CIA activities. Many are, however, asking why Hezbollah went public with such valuable information.
Hezbollah: It is Possible to Fix the “Mistake” of Releasing Israeli Spies
The Lebanese appeals court attorney general Said Mirza expressed “shock” at the decision taken by a Lebanese military court last week to release four people convicted of collaborating with Israel. But Hezbollah got the message straight away. Hezbollah’s MP Nawwar Sahili and its Coordination and Liaison Unit chief, Wafiq Safa, visited judge Mirza at his office on Tuesday to understand what happened. However both left the meeting without making a statement. They also met with justice minister Shakib Kortbawi for the same reason and left without making a statement yet again.
Hizbullah in the New York Times: drugs and car salesman
Regarding the front page article in the New York Times. I will say this right at the outset: I don’t know anything about the finances or intelligence work of secret organizations. They people who know, don’t know, and the people who talk are paid or unpaid propagandists for the Government of Israel. Remember this. There is absolutely nothing convincing in the New York Times article. Let me also say: the US government officials are here proud of themselves that they blew the cover on Hizbullah’s drug activities but they are too ignorant to know that the case received barely any coverage in the Arabic press. This is a US obsession and not an Arab obsession (the “war on drugs”, that is–the “morality” or immorality of it, does not travel across cultures. Also, the case against the bank was revealed just after the fall of Sa`d Hariri cabinet: so the political motives of the US were underlined in few articles on the matter in Lebanon. Thirdly, the guys of the bank are known to be close to Amal and NOT to Hizbullah. But those differences mean nothing to the propagandists of Israel. Who cares about facts when the motives are serving Israel.
Saudi crackdown takes on sectarian character
Saudi Arabia’s Shia pay price for rulers’ fears about Iran.
Burqa ban: Canada prohibits Muslim veil in citizenship ceremonies
Canada’s ban follows those of France, Tunisia, Turkey, and Syria, and is meant to ensure that those taking the oath of citizenship are actually reciting the oath.
West seeks Saudi Arabia’s help on Iran oil sanctions
The U.S. and its allies hope the kingdom will boost output to prevent oil prices from climbing as they pressure Iran on its nuclear program. In a new effort to persuade Iran to halt its nuclear program, the Obama administration and its European allies are asking Saudi Arabia to help them squeeze Iran’s vital oil sector without driving up world energy prices and damaging the global economy.
Last week began with former AIPAC flack Josh Block accusing writers at two progressive think tanks in Washington of advancing the “new” anti-Semitism, conflating their criticisms of Israeli policies with straightforward Jew-hatred.
Obama to Palestine: Drop dead, Phil Weiss
Hillary Clinton speaking yesterday, at the International Engagement Conference on South Sudan, the new state recognized in a partition of Sudan. There is widespread conflict along the new border.
Newt’s New York visit for funds was about Israel, Alex Kane
Newt Gingrich’s jaunt to New York early this month was well–covered in the media, but one crucial aspect went unexplored: the Israel lobby angle. But good reporting from The Jewish Week’s Adam Dickter makes clear that Gingrich came to New York looking for right-wing Jewish campaign donors who are hardline supporters of Israel.
The Simon Wiesenthal Center will unveil its list of top 10 “anti-Israel/anti-Semitic slurs” today. The list includes a lot of anti-Semitism but also charges that Israel is genocidal.
Top Arab Revolution Stories the US Media Ignored, Juan Cole
Long time human rights activist Moncef Marzouki became Tunisia’s president this week. Tunisians wept, at the idea that this principled man, forced into exile by the dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, should now himself tread the official red carpet as president of his country. Marzouki is an admirer of Mahatma Gandhi and a secularist. Some 40 members of parliament, on the left, boycotted the vote that made him interim president, on the grounds that he had compromised too much with the Muslim fundamentalist party, al-Nahda, which has about 40 percent of seats in parliament and which has formed the government. But given that it is the largest party in parliament, al-Nahda was going to form the government one way or another, and would always need secular allies. It is unclear what those who cast blank ballots expect to happen; it isn’t as if al-Nahda can be kept out of the government. Marzouki’s pragmatism is what is needed if the country is going to move to democracy.
James Zogby: “I Was Invited”
James Zogby, the poster boy for all that’s wrong for what passes as an “Arab Lobby” in Washington DC, has pursued a comfortable, air-conditioned career as the self-appointed spokesperson for the Arab-American community. An unprincipled, career opportunist pursuing petty ambitions and false prestige, this cheap political prostitute for the State Department (which organizes most of his appearances in the Arab world) and the Arab oil-Sheiks of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates maintains a busy social calendar which he wants us to believe is a sign of Arab-American political empowerment. The following are a few entries that establish a pattern we have discovered in his writings and talks.