Amal Hamamdeh, photo by Efrat Nakash
As reported here, during home demolitions in the cave-dweller village of Mufakarah, two young women who resisted nonviolently were arrested and charged with “assaulting soldiers” under the Israeli Occupation’s draconian martial law. The older of the two, Sausan Hamamdeh, reached a plea bargain in December resulting in a fine. When reporting on that development, we were fairly confident that her 17-year-old cousin Amal Hamamdeh would see her charges dropped. After all, she just tried to hand Sausan a water bottle to wash her pepper-sprayed eyes, and when soldiers interfered some water were spilled on them. We were wrong.
Attacks on Palestinians defending their land / Land Theft / Destruction / Apartheid / Refugees
What happened on the 10th of January in Jericho
I would like to thank all of you who stand with us, who have showed amazing support these past three days and demanded our immediate release from Israeli military jail. I hope that we will be able to free Omar Dar Ayoub from Nabi Saleh soon, as well. Although Omar was arrested together with the other four of us on Wednesday, only a short time after finally having been released from military jail as part of the “prisoner swap”, Omar, alone, was remanded until Sunday. We need Omar out NOW, together with all political prisoners.
Whether Settlers have construction permits or not, they continue with new construction as they are not held legally accountable and are not threatened with housing demolition. Moreover, settlers turn the Palestinians’ public buildings into dumps for their trash as is the case in Wadi Hilweh, Silwan. A group of settlers living in Wadi Hilweh had a permit to repair one of their roofs however; they instead expanded their construction to reach 120 square meters . Settlers also got a permit for a 165 sq. m. addition, including a kitchen and a bathroom, to an existing building in the neighborhood of Wadi Hilweh. At the same time, Palestinian residents of Silwan are completely prohibited from building.A Palestinian who owned a house that has been demolished stated that “the settlers manipulate the laws of occupation conspiring with the Jerusalem Municipality; hence Wadi Hilweh is considered a green area where construction is forbidden. The Jerusalem Municipality issues construction permits to build additional kitchens and bathrooms on huge areas fit to build castles; on the other hand I am deprived of building one room on a 9 meter area.” He added, “if I leave a rubbish sack in the street the Municipality employees will come accompanied with Israeli troops and hand me a ticket; isn’t this discrimination by itself?”
Settlement Construction Causing the Slow Demise of the Two-State Solution
A tour of several European Capitals by the Palestinian President has given several politicians a sterner voice. This is welcome at a time when the two-state solution is steadily slipping through the fingers of the world leaders, and will soon be out of reach completely; at least through the medium of negotiations and peace. There is always war of course, which must be avoided at all costs.
Jewish settlers assaulted a Palestinian shepherd in the northern Jordan Valley and threatened other shepherds against bringing their sheep for grazing near the Maskiot settlement in that area.
Jewish settlers burn the car of Palestinian woman
Jewish settlers torched the car of a Palestinian woman in Tal Al-Rumaida suburb in downtown Al-Khalil on Sunday, local sources said.
Palestinian family goes on hunger strike to protest settler violence
According to the Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT), Hana Abu Haikel has gone on hunger strike on behalf of her family to protest both settler violence and the Israeli army’s failure to stop settler attacks on Palestinians and their property. CPT reports that the Abu Haikel family has filed 500 complaints against settlers and have received no response from Israeli authorities.
Ad-Dameer, the Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association, issued a press release denouncing the Palestinian Security Forces for arresting and attacking a Palestinian youth on Sunday, for participating in a non-violent protest denouncing the Palestinian-Israeli talks in Amman.
Human rights advocate stabbed in Gaza
GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — A human rights advocate was stabbed by unknown assailants in Gaza City after receiving threats over his authorship of an article critical of Palestinian resistance movements. Mahmoud Abu Rahma, international relations director at Gaza-based Al Mezan Center for Human Rights, was attacked by masked men and stabbed multiple times while walking back from his brother’s house on Friday night, he told Ma’an on Tuesday. He received 12 stitches in a Gaza hospital and is recovering from his wounds.
Israeli forces ‘detain 12′ in Qalqiliya village
QALQILIYA (Ma’an) — Israeli forces detained 12 people in Qalqiliya village Azzun on Monday, a detainees group said. Qalqiliya detainees society said in a statement that four people were later released, and told the group they were badly beaten by the soldiers. Among the group detained were children and recently-released prisoners, the society said, condemning the detentions as “unacceptable and against human rights.” An Israeli army spokesman said forces detained nine people in Azzun.
Israeli forces abduct 3 Palestinians in Jenin area
Israeli forces invaded the Jenin refugee camp and the city of Jenin, in the northern West Bank, on Monday morning and abducted one Palestinian. Separately, two Palestinian men were taken from the Jenin checkpoint later in the day for alleged possession of weapons.
Prisoner society: Palestinian detainees still denied proper medical treatment
The Palestinian prisoner society said the Israeli prison administrations persist in not providing Palestinian jailed patients with the appropriate medical treatment.
Palestinian premier Ismail Haneyya received in his office in Gaza city on Monday members of the Miles of Smiles 8 aid convoy that carried medical and humanitarian assistance to the Gaza population.
Blockade dictates types of flowers grown in Gaza, Mohammed Omer
Israel’s ongoing blockade has suffocated countless export industries and continues to dictate the types of crops grown in Gaza, including flowers.
Gaza Shiites Claim Hamas Persecution
Masked Hamas police beat and detained members of the Gaza Strip’s tiny Shiite community during a religious commemoration last week, a follower and local rights groups said Tuesday, accusing their Islamist rulers of religious intolerance. It was the first claim of harassment by a group of Shiite worshippers against the territory’s mainstream rulers, who are Sunni Muslims. Hamas officials, who have close ties with Shiite Iran, denied the allegations.
2009 War on Gaza
17 January 2009 – The Al Ashqar family
“Madleen refuses to sleep by herself; she will only sleep in her parent’s room” says Nujoud, “she’s afraid to be by herself at all. The other day we were in the garden and I asked her to go to the bedroom to bring something. She refused to go without me.”
’0xOmar’ demands Israeli apology
Saudi hacker says ‘Nightmare’ group capable of targeting any Israeli website, demands deputy FM retract ‘death threat.’ Ayalon: We won’t be intimidated, threatened or silenced.
Protest rallies waiting for Netanyahu in the Netherlands
Palestinian activists in the Netherlands called for protest rallies against the visit of Israeli premier Benjamin Netanyahu to Amsterdam.
Palestinians for Dignity: Saeb Erekat, Go Home
Under the pouring rain, Palestinians for the first time took part in a protest right in front of the Palestinian Authority compound Al-Muqata’a, which has become to symbolize, as one of the more lavish foreign funded state-building projects, an illusion of authority under the Israeli occupation. In her article describing the PA’s spatial organization of state structures, Linda Tabar quotes an official who describes the Muqata’a as an image “of grandeur that creates the impression we have a state.”
Tonight, Palestinian street artists struck again – as they had promised to do – this time in southern Jerusalem, or more specifically “in Talpiot, an Israeli commercial area, built on Palestinian land of Baqaa and Beit Safafa.”
Sundance Film Festival to feature doc on system of control in longest-running occupation
The Sundance Film Festival begins later this week in Utah. How exciting to get the announcement that the film fest has picked up Praxis Films’ The Law in These Parts.
Activists call for British musician to boycott Israel
Israeli activists who have answered Palestinian civil society’s call for boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) on Israel have issued the following letter, asking British musician James Blake to cancel his scheduled performance in Tel Aviv on January 27. They also point out that the planned show will take place not far from the Gaza Strip, which is under a cruel and illegal blockade, as well as Silwan, where Israeli forces abduct children from their beds at night…
Globe theatre defends hosting controversial Israeli company
Campaigners criticise programming of Habima’s Merchant of Venice over company’s record of playing Israeli settlements. Shakespeare’s Globe has defended programming an Israeli theatre company that has faced criticism for performing to “exclusively Israeli audiences” in West Bank settlements. Habima Theatre, which was founded in Moscow in 1913 with the express hope of performing in Israel in Hebrew, is scheduled to perform as part of the theatre’s Globe to Globe festival – part of the World Shakespeare festival and Cultural Olympiad.
Last July, B’Tselem published a report titled, “No Minor Matter: Violation of the Rights of Palestinian Minors by Israel on Suspicion of Stone-Throwing.” It discussed their abusive treatment. From 2005 through 2010, “at least 835 Palestinian minors were arrested” and faced military court trials for alleged stone-throwing. Thirty-four were aged 12 – 13, 255 aged 14 – 15, and 546 aged 16 -17. All except one were convicted. Due process and judicial fairness were denied. In violation of international law, Israel treats children like adults. Some aged 10 or younger are arrested, intimidated, tortured, or otherwise abused.
Tibi’s limerick on MK Michaeli’s ‘plumbing’ earns him suspension
Knesset Ethics Committee suspends MK from Knesset activity for one week after he makes ‘ hurtful, humiliating’ speech with ‘chauvinist sexual connotations.’ Tibi says he is being punished because he is Arab.
Hundreds of ultra-Orthodox Protesters Block Roads, Throw Stones in Beit Shemesh
Religious “Haredi” Jews clashed on Sunday with Israeli Policemen in Beit Shemesh, a city in central Israel that has in recent weeks become the flashpoint for conflict between secular/moderate majority, and minority of conservative religious Jews.
JERUSALEM — An Israeli attorney who defended an accused Nazi-era war criminal has joined the legal team of the disgraced former president, Moshe Katsav, an associate of the lawyer said Sunday. Yoram Sheftel will help Katsav in a last attempt to overturn a rape conviction that sent him to prison last month, courts officials said. Tal Malik, an attorney at Sheftel’s law firm, confirmed he would help defend Katsav.
Senior Hamas analyst praises Hamas leader for passing organization reigns to next generation of leaders.
AP – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu charged Monday that the Palestinians have no interest in restarting peace negotiations, suggesting that newly resumed contacts between the sides are producing little progress.
Jordan’s Abdullah: Israel realizes need to revive Mideast peace talks immediately
In interview with Washington Post, Jordanian King says ‘cautiously optimistic’ about progress in recent low-level talks, adding Israel must choose between ‘apartheid’ and democracy.
AP – Insurgents attacked a checkpoint in western Iraq on Tuesday, killing five policemen, police and hospital officials said.
Iraqi Shi’ites Targets of New Violence: 24 Killed, 42 Wounded
At least 24 Iraqis were killed and 42 more were wounded in attacks across the country. The worst two took place in predominantly Shi’ite neighborhoods, intensifying fears of a new sectarian war.
The Neediest Cases: Iraqi Refugees Find Hardships in Brooklyn
Zahra Nahim and Fawzi Hasab fled Baghdad when their sons were killed and have struggled in America with illness, language and poverty.
Corruption in Iraq: ‘Your son is being tortured. He will die if you don’t pay’
Ghaith Abdul-Ahad reports from Baghdad where families of innocent detainees face extortion from corrupt officials. The walls of Um Hussein’s living room in Baghdad are hung with the portraits of her missing sons. There are four of them, and each picture frame is decorated with plastic roses and green ribbons as an improvised wreath for the dead. Um Hussein had six children. Her eldest son was killed by Sunni insurgents in 2005, when they took control of the neighbourhood. Three of her remaining sons were kidnapped by a Shia militia group when they left the neighbourhood to find work. They were never seen again.
Mubarak trial adjourned until Wednesday
Adjournment comes hours after defence lawyer for former president said Mubarak was “clean and could do no wrong”.
Tunisian ex-PM says Ben Ali wanted to kill protestors
LE KEF, Tunisia — Tunisia’s ex-prime minister Mohamed Ghannouchi told a tribunal Monday that toppled strongman Zine El Abidine Ben Ali had wanted to kill at least 1,000 protestors demanding his exit. Ghannouchi appeared as a witness in the trial probing manslaughter charges against Ben Ali and his key aides, held in Le Kef, some 170 kilometres (106 miles) north-west of the capital Tunis. The military tribunal is looking into the shootings of protestors in the central-west towns of Thala and Kasserine where 22 demonstrators were killed.
Saudi Arabian Gay Man Arrested For Using Facebook To Meet Men
As British prime minister, David Cameron visits Saudi Arabia today, activists report the plight of a man arrested by the religious police who may face corporal punishment. Activists are concerned for the safety of a 30-year-old man arrested by the religious police in Saudi Arabia for using Facebook to date other men.
Rick Perry: Turkey is being ruled by what many perceive to be Islamic terrorists
Vying for the support of South Carolina’s Republicans at the latest Republican debate, the Texan governor calls for zeroing out the foreign aid the U.S. provides the NATO member.
Saudi Arabia and Iran spar over oil embargo
Saudi oil minister dismisses Iranian threat to block Strait of Hormuz in case of international oil embargo on Tehran.
Iran tells Gulf states not to lift oil output
Country’s OPEC envoy threatens “consequences” if neighbouring states make up for oil shortfall caused by sanctions.
Reports of Mossad role in assasination shine light on Israeli hypocrisy, Alex Kane
Reports that the Israeli Mossad were behind the recent assassination of an Iranian scientist continue to be published. Israeli media today is full of articles summarizing a Sunday Times (UK) report that gave details of the Mossad operation in Tehran.
Leveretts: False flag in Iranian hit likely disguises U.S., Philip Weiss
Flynt and Hillary Mann Leverett say it’s likely that the killing of the Iranian scientist was carried out by an Iranian extremist group, Jundallah, with the support of the U.S. government.
In a tweet that was later deleted, the Jewish National Fund says Bedouins in unrecognized villages are “living on someone’s land illegally.” The JNF has been taking part in evacuations of Palestinians in East Jerusalem and in foresting actions aimed at preventing the Bedouin from accessing their lands; last month, a JNF board member resigned, citing “violation of human rights” by the organization.
Government Press Office doing PR for the settler movement
It seems that every state agency in Israel is becoming a tool in the effort to further colonize the West Bank and deepen the control over the lives of Palestinians. Soon after the government reached an internal “deal” with the settler movement that would keep the families who settled in a so-called “illegal” outpost on the ground, the Government Press Office – once in charge of handling press cards and other bureaucratic duties – is now engaging in propaganda efforts on behalf of the settlers.
Is AIPAC Persuading Americans to Break the Law?, Clive Hambidge
Habituation writes James Austin M.D ‘means that repeated stimuli yield a decreasing response.’ Conversely and importantly he goes on, ‘Sensitization implies that responses increase when stronger stimuli are repeated.’ For in this understanding, ‘we are addressing the basis of the freshness of vision of the artist or poet; focusing on the possible ways to relieve the depressed person held in the grip of a dreary grey world’, or indeed a Nation, Palestine, gripped by the dreary politics “free of law” of an increasingly violent Israel. Moreover, “some people habituate consistently; others do not.” (Austin). It is crucial then that we, the right minded, faced with propaganda “habitually” spewed forth by the State, organs of the State and influencers of the State like American Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) to become “Enmeshed in a propaganda system of awesome effectiveness.” (Chomsky), in “locutions” pernicious and with a distinct narrative of organized violence, sucking us into the undertow of American Israeli hegemony, that we ask this simple question if “There is an intimate interdependence of intellect and morals. Given the equality of two intellects-which form the most reliable judgments, the good, or the bad hearted?” (Emerson). Having answered this satisfactorily, to know then “by our public force can we share and know the nature of things” (Emerson) we thereby free ourselves from the propagandists, and come upon this aphorism: it’s the law stupid! For “the law is the basis of the human mind. In us, it is inspiration; out there in Nature we see its fatal strength. We call it the moral sentiment” (Emerson).
[Ikhras Note: Unsurprisingly alleged comedian Dean Obeidallah has failed to digest the irony of someone that launches a career as a nominal Muslim Arab on the far fringe of American pop culture dismissing the dedicated work of an American solidarity activist because she doesn't share an Arab-Islamic heritage. Ethnicity is a chance of birth and religious persuasion is a personal choice. You don’t have to be a Palestinian, an Arab, or a Muslim to recognize and be part of the struggle against Zionism and injustice in Palestine. Our universal human values should lead all of us to accept and promote a shared global responsibility for fighting against injustice, racism, ethnic cleansing, occupation, imperialism, and war wherever it may exist. In this special guest submission ikhras friend Tammy Obeidallah shares her personal experience with Obeidallah and makes it clear that Palestine is not a punch line for aspiring American comedians, it is a morally compelling cause that has enlisted people of conscience from all backgrounds.]
Think about this for a moment. The average Australian citizen barely hears about the Zionist lobby except when it’s whinging about supposed anti-Semitism and suggesting an acclaimed British TV compares Jews to Nazis. The hyperbole of these Jews would be laughable if it didn’t seriously frame all us Jews as victims. And Israel, of course, is the eternal angel, bravely fighting for its existence by occupying Palestinians and using white phosphorous on civilians in Gaza.
Rick Santorum Views on the Middle East, Ali Younes
In town hall meeting during campaign stop in Greenville, South Carolina, last Saturday, Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum said to me, in response to my questions, that he supports attacking Iran with missiles, rockets and other weapons in order to stop it from developing nuclear weapons. On the issue of Palestinian -Israeli conflict he added that the issue is an internal Israeli matter and that Israel can do whatever it wants and no one should interfere in their internal affairs. Ostensibly, Santorum does not hide his ultra conservative views when it comes to the US foreign policy particularly over Iran and Israel. He in the same breath argued to the crowed why they should not elect a moderate, a reference to presidential candidate Mitt Romney when they vote in the primary later this week.
I don’t think I will ever forget 2006. It was the year in which Hezbollah, and other courageous Lebanese fighters, survived and resisted a brutal Israeli attack on Lebanon. After 34 days, the idea, which entrenched itself since 1967, that Israel has a formidable and unbeatable army shattered. Hezbollah’s ‘victory’ encouraged many to look at Israel in a different light, one that illuminates the country as weak, incompetent, panicky and can be defeated. The importance of this event on the collective consciousness and confidence of the Arab public should never be underestimated.