Settlers torch West Bank mosque, second attack in two days

Israel/PalestineMiddle EastUS Politics
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New attack on mosque in West Bank
Vandals have tried to set a mosque on fire and scrawled graffiti on the walls for the second time in two days.
Mustafa Tamimi
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — The Egyptian ambassador to the Palestinian Authority expressed Cairo’s condemnation Wednesday of attacks targeting protesters.  Yasser Othman was speaking during a visit to Nabi Saleh to extend his condolences to the family of Mustafa Tamimi.  He said Egypt stood in solidarity with the village and considered it a model of resolve against settlements. 
JERUSALEM — EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton on Tuesday condemned the disproportionate use of force by Israeli troops after the death of a Palestinian who was hit in the face with a tear gas canister. Mustafa Abdelrazek al-Tamimi was critically wounded during a weekly demonstration in the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh on Friday after being struck by an Israeli tear gas canister fired at close range. He was evacuated to an Israeli hospital but died the next day of his wounds. “The High Representative deeply regrets the tragic death of Mustafa Tamimi from the village of Nabi Saleh,” Ashton’s office said in a statement received in Jerusalem. “Mr Tamimi was protesting against the systematic expropriation of the village’s land and water spring by the inhabitants of the settlement of Halamish,” said the statement.

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.

I was Mustafa Tamimi, Refaat Alareer
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.
Land, Property Theft & Destruction / Ethnic Cleansing / Apartheid / Refugees
International human rights organizations have accused Israeli authorities of escalating operations to destroy Palestinian property over the past year. They asserted that “When compared to 2010, [the occupation had] doubled the pace of home demolitions and destruction of wells.” In a joint statement signed by over twenty human rights organizations including Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and Oxfam, they stated that “Jewish settler violence against Palestinians has increased since 2011 and Israel has accelerated the expansion of settlements.”

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.

“From the 1970′s until today, the Israelis used to demolish our tents and houses but not to deport us”  says Abu Hamis, a member of the Jahalin Bedouin tribe . “We used to rebuild our places but the new policy which they are adopting is that they want to not only demolish the houses, but to deport us from the area.” Abu Hamis lives in the tinyvillageof Khan Al-Ahmar, located in the arid, rocky East Jerusalem periphery where steep mountain slopes plummet to the Jordan Valley and the Dead Sea.  The Israeli settlement of Ma’ale Adumim, considered illegal under international law, is visible on the hill above the village.  The settlement is currently home to around 35,000 people; however,Israel has plans to expand it to create a city of 100,000.

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.
Muhammed Salman Abu Rashad, 45, Amna Abu Rashad, 31, and their nine children live in the Jabalia refugee camp, one of the most densely populated areas on earth. The family represent just 11 of the 1.1 million refugees who make up the vast majority of Gaza’s population of approximately 1.7 million people. According to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), Jabalia is the largest of Gaza’s eight refugee camps and is home to around 110,000 registered refugees in an area of only 1.4 square kilometres; unsurprisingly, the camp is infamous  for its overcrowding.  Israel’s illegal closure policy, first used to isolate the Gaza Strip in 1991, has been particularly devastating on the residents of Jabalia camp, who, like Muhammed Abu Rashad, previously relied on jobs within Israel to support their families. Since the beginning of the complete closure of Gaza in 2007, the now-unemployed residents have been forced to rely on UNRWA aid to survive.
The deputy head of the Islamic Movement in the 1948-Occupied Territories (Israel) has said that Israel’s current targeting of the Palestinians in the Negev is “part of the displacement scheme which has been ongoing since the Nakba (catastrophe) of 1948”. According to Sheikh Kamal Al Khatib, Israel aims to “empty the Negev of its indigenous people and replace them with Jews”. This policy is part of the overall Judaisation of the area initiated by Israeli President Shimon Peres. Sheikh Al Khatib told the media that the Palestinians “are the legitimate owners of the land, and their presence preceded Israel’s existence by thousands of years”. He added that even the villages which the Israelis say are “unrecognised”, are each “more than 200 years old”.
Israeli Regime and Settler Violence Against Palestinians
This morning at the Eretz border in Beit Hanoun, Israeli soldiers shot a 14-year-old boy, Nedal Khaleel Hamdan. We went to the hospital to meet him. We found him sitting on the bed with his left shoulder bandaged, surrounded by his family. Nedal was collecting metal along with other boys in an area near the border. Often young people his age collect metal, then sell it to earn some money and help their families as well. At about 8:30 in the morning, Israeli soldiers started shooting at them; Nedal and the other fled, but while they were running Nedal was hit in the shoulder by a bullet.

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.

There have been six torchings in the West Bank and Israel in the past two years—but not a single indictment. Dan Ephron reports.
Photograph depicts chairman of an organization dedicated to bolstering Jewish presence in Jerusalem running over 2 Palestinian youths who were hurling stones at him.
Israelis are only outraged when settlers attack Jews
Barak Calls Vandals “Jewish Terrorists” As Right-wingers Clash With Police In Jerusalem
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”.

Prime minister approved measures including issuing administrative detention orders for Jewish extremists responsible for recent attacks on IDF soldiers, other targets.
Yitzhar resident ‘warns’ soldiers not to take certain actions that may prevent evacuations, such as spreading nails on roads or damaging engines.

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.

BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — An attack on a Palestinian holy site in Jerusalem gave some Israelis pause Wednesday, after right-wing activists brought to home the tactics more often employed in the occupied West Bank.  After stepping up acts of vandalism and even attacking an army base, an extremist minority of Jewish Israelis has sparked condemnation from across the country’s political spectrum. 

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. 

“I see my situation as a cowboy film, like the wild west” says Hani Jaber, showing ISM a poster, written in Arabic saying: ‘Wanted:  if anyone has any information about the whereabouts of the killer Hani Jaber, please call us on this number and you will receive a reward.’ The number goes through to an answer machine where the message instructs callers to leave a phone number, promising to guarantee confidentiality and to pay good money.  Other leaflets have been handed out showing pictures of Jaber and other recently released prisoners, offering rewards for information and leaflets for soldiers so that they can alert settlers if Hani passes through a checkpoint.  Reports in the Israeli media suggest that the reward is $100,000 for information on Hani’s whereabouts.

Israeli military enters northern Gaza
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.

Gaza health ministry appeals for urgent dialysis filters

The Palestinian ministry of health in Gaza made an urgent appeal on Tuesday to all health and humanitarian organizations to help provide kidney units in Gaza hospitals with dialysis filters 5 and 6.

The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) expresses concern over the extreme shortage of medicines in the Gaza Strip hospitals. PCHR warns of the potential catastrophic repercussions on the health of the Gaza Strip population, especially patients who suffer from renal failure due to the shortage in blood filters used in dialysis.
RAFAH, Egypt (Ma’an) — Egyptian authorities on Wednesday deported 17 Palestinians who were in the country illegally, Egyptian security sources said. Security officials at the Rafah border between Egypt and Gaza told Ma’an that 17 Palestinians were detained on the road to Cairo and sent back to Gaza.  In some cases, the migrants’ visas had expired while others had entered Egypt through underground tunnels, the officials said. 
GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — The government in the Gaza Strip reiterated Tuesday that no Palestinian factions based in the enclave were involved in August’s attack on Eilat in southern Israel.  Interior Ministry spokesman Ihab Ghussein was responding to speculation on Israeli websites that said Israel had determined it was 12 Bedouins who carried out the operation. His ministry had reiterated repeatedly that there was no evidence to support the allegation that anyone in Gaza was responsible, despite the Israeli army’s initial claims it was the Popular Resistance Committees.

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
Solidarity / Activism / Boycott, Divestment & Sanctions

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.”

#IsraelKills: Activists take to Twitter to protest Tamimi death, Allison Deger

Yesterday morning from 11 to noon, Jerusalem time, activists launched a Twitter campaign using the hashtag #Israelkills. The campaign, started by a small group of anonymous Palestinian activists and journalists, called on activists across the world to participate by tweeting the #IsraelKills hashtag.  The response was impressive, with over 5,000 tweets in under 24 hours.


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. 


Berkeley Jewish Student Union labels J Street chapter ‘anti-Israel’, Allison Deger

On November 16, the Berkeley Jewish Student Union (JSU), voted against accepting  JStreetU as an official member of the student union. JStreetU, an affiliate of J Street, had been active on-campus for approximately a year-and-a-half.

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.”

Israeli Repression
Nazareth suburb’s mayor: Christmas trees ‘provocative’
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.,7340,L-4162216,00.html
Political Developments / Diplomacy / Other News

Jewish conference to honor Susan Rice
“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.”

Gideon Sa’ar says strengthening of radical Islam in region and PA’s conduct should cause Israel to question establishment of Palestinian state.

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.
EU nations are equally split on the notion of supporting a bid for full UN membership, which Israel, with the United States’ support, strongly opposes.
She would have condemned more harshly if the comments were made about Jews: Clinton: Gingrich’s comments on Palestinians ‘unhelpful’
Former House Speaker Gingrich stirred controversy after he called the Palestinians an ‘invented’ people, during an interview with the Jewish Channel.
Central Bureau of Statistics survey of 3,300 Israeli elementary, middle and high schools found that only 75% to 85% teach most core subjects, with ultra-Orthodox schools bringing down the numbers.
Goel Ratzon’s 17 wives and 38 children received over NIS 3.4 million in aid through Social Affairs Ministry, far more than usually given abused women who leave their homes.
Other Mideast / World News

“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.

FALLUJAH, Iraq — Hundreds of Iraqis set alight US and Israeli flags on Wednesday as they celebrated the impending pullout of American forces from the country in the former insurgent bastion of Fallujah. Shouting slogans in support of the “resistance,” the demonstrators held up banners and placards inscribed with phrases like, “Now we are free” and “Fallujah is the flame of the resistance.” Surrounded by the Iraqi army, demonstrators carried posters bearing photos of apparent insurgents, faces covered and carrying weapons.

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.


Gaddafi’s daughter seeks probe into his death

Aisha Gaddafi asks the International Criminal Court whether the former Libyan leader’s killing is under investigation.

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.


The Obama administration came out publicly and privately against the Menendez-Kirk Iran sanctions amendmentbefore it was tweaked by a conference committee. But does it support the new sanctions language now that it has emerged from conference? That remains a secret.

Panetta: Drone campaign over Iran to continue

Defense secretary tells Fox News drone missions over Islamic Republic ‘have to be protected’; warns Iranian influence in Iraq won’t end after US pullout.

Bill aimed at expanding U.S. sanctions against Iranian regime, passed by a vote of 410 to 11, includes targeting of Central Bank of Iran.
Drones over Iran seemed bad enough, but drones over a family farm in North Dakota? Because of six purloined cows? That’s the stunning story broken by the Los Angeles Times Sunday: in the plain states as elsewhere, local police forces have taken to calling in the drones, turning these creepy neo-spying craft on United States citizens living on United States soil.
Saudi Arabia’s Prince Turki al-Faisal warned on Monday that an attack on Iran would have “cataclysmic” consequences on the region, the Saudi online daily Arab News reported. Faisal was addressing academics when he highlighted the dangers of an attack on Iran over its nuclear program, instead calling for a nuclear and weapons of mass destruction (WMD) free zone in the Middle East.

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.

Analysis / Op-ed
The “New Anti-Semitism” Smear Is Getting Old, Max Blumenthal
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 wellcovered 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.

Is Josh Block still flacking for Aipac? The Washington Post reports that two Beltway think tanks with which Josh Block is associated may cut ties with him after he singlehandedly initiated a witch hunt against a group of progressive foreign policy bloggers associated with Media Matters and Center for American Progress.  Block and his most recent previous employer, Aipac, are known for their attack-dog style of pro-Israel lobbying.  In this case, he was pursuing an ideological vendetta against Eric Alterman, Matt Duss, Eli Clifton and M.J. Rosenberg, known for their critical perspective on U.S. policy in the Israeli-Arab conflict.  Among other charges, Block accused M.J. Rosenberg of raising the dual loyalty canard through use of the term “Israel Firster.”  He also claimed some of the arguments were anti-Israel and “borderline anti-Semitic.”

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.


16 Responses

  1. Cliff
    December 15, 2011, 11:18 am


    That should be the meme.

    “Settlers torch mosque, attack IDF base.”


    “Mustafa Tamimi protests on his own land, in his own village against the OCCUPYING COLONIAL ARMY.”

    Gets shot at point-blank range in the FACE with a tear gas canister.

  2. seafoid
    December 15, 2011, 11:49 am

    I wonder how long it will be before “Price tag” appears spray-painted on synagogues in the West.

    Judaism vs Islam is a very bad idea.

    • yourstruly
      December 15, 2011, 1:03 pm

      would there have been judaism &/or christianity against islam had there not been the one about a land without a people for a people without a land? not that lie itself, the land theft that was to follow.

      • Charon
        December 15, 2011, 4:34 pm

        Christianity yes, Judaism probably not. Not saying they were ‘best buds’ but if you look at how Muslims spread Islam across North Africa all the way to Spain, you’ll also find Sephardi Jews among them. When the Crusaders took over Jerusalem, they fought against Jews and Muslims. Jews may have been second class citizens, but it’s nothing compared to how the Catholic Church would have treated them during the dark ages and inquisition.

        Most ‘Judaism against Islam’ happened in the past 100 years and really is Zionism’s fault. The whole ‘biblical enemies’ thing is a modern creation, invented history.

      • seafoid
        December 15, 2011, 5:19 pm

        Yes. Islam took in Spain’s Jews when Europe disowned them.
        Zionism is so short sighted.

        Super article on shi’ism with this nugget

        “He writes that while a culture may fancy itself “secular,” “its sacred memories are nevertheless busy thinking its ideas and populating its dreams.” ”

        Israeli Judaism’s ideas and dreams are full of European nightmares.

      • Avi_G.
        December 15, 2011, 6:29 pm

        Most ‘Judaism against Islam’ happened in the past 100 years and really is Zionism’s fault. The whole ‘biblical enemies’ thing is a modern creation, invented history.

        Zionism is chalk full of invented history and historical revisionism.

        For example, historically, the mass suicide at Masada was seen as a shameful act and a sin. Along came Zionism and since the 1930s had glorified the event. So today, Israel holds official ceremonies at the site, including military swearing-in ceremonies —Sheinit, Metsada Lo Tipol, Masada will not fall again.

      • seafoid
        December 16, 2011, 3:42 am


        The Masada thing is nuts. Presumably they needed a lot of content for their manufactured history and someone though Masada would work.

  3. Kathleen
    December 15, 2011, 12:53 pm

    thanks for all of these links

    Check out what Prof Cole has to say about

    Israel to defend its Military from Israelis

    Posted on 12/15/2011 by Juan

    Coddling violent fanatics who attack and steal from Palestinians might just backfire on the Right wing Likud government. What? It already has?

  4. Chu
    December 15, 2011, 2:09 pm

    If the state of Israel cannot control the scum population of their state, how do they expect to be hailed a democracy and beacon of light in the Middle East? That was a joke – the beacon of light part…

    Fact is, the the state apparatus wants what the settlers want. So of course no settler will be brought in on serious charges.

    • Charon
      December 15, 2011, 4:50 pm

      It there any other occupation in the world where the occupying power’s people come in and illegally set up outposts to live? Israel officially doesn’t condone it, but neither do they seriously condemn it. That makes them responsible. Even many ‘official’ settlements have similar origins to the illegal outposts. The difference is they usually asked for permission. G-d isn’t a real estate agent either. Consensus by a minority religion is outweighed by majority consensus of the rest of the world.

      • seafoid
        December 15, 2011, 5:22 pm

        Maybe Tibet.

        I think the Israeli govt position is put the head in the sand and cross the fingers and hope it will all work out like it always has in the past. They know a confrontation with the settlers will be a massive conflgration so they just try to avoid it. Maybe some of those rabbis with all that experience in family disputes could have seen this coming.

      • Avi_G.
        December 15, 2011, 5:53 pm

        Israel officially doesn’t condone it

        Quite the contrary, Charon.

        As a matter of fact and policy, Israel has well-established processes by which it approves plans for new colonies and appropriates land from Palestinian ownership to the colonies.

  5. Mooser
    December 15, 2011, 5:01 pm

    Wow, when Israelis set out to “humanise the other”, “Make better wheels”, and “change attitudes” they don’t mess around, huh?
    I can’t understand why Witty (the “peacemaker”) hasn’t shown up to rub our faces in this wonderful display of “liberal Zionism”

  6. eljay
    December 15, 2011, 5:43 pm

    >> I can’t understand why Witty (the “peacemaker”) hasn’t shown up to rub our faces in this wonderful display of “liberal Zionism”

    My guess is that he’s busy either:
    – holding his nose; or
    – employing “personal spiritual discipline” to help him accept and justify Israeli violence, immorality and injustice.

  7. yourstruly
    December 15, 2011, 10:26 pm

    the barbarity of these jewish settlers
    because they can
    who’s responsible for these crimes?
    the perpetrators, of course, along with those who know but remain silent and do nothing about it

  8. Cliff
    December 16, 2011, 12:14 pm

    Dick hasn’t graced us with his verbal acrobatics. Not one word on Mustafa’s murder.

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