Jazz singer Cassandra Wilson cancels Israeli show out of ‘a desire to support Palestinians’ civil rights’

ActivismIsrael/PalestineMiddle East
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Cassandra Wilson cancels Holon concert, joining artistic boycott of Israel

Wilson, an American jazz singer known for her unmistakably husky voice, had been scheduled to perform at the Holon International Women’s Festival.
Popular Protests / BDS / Activism

BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — Palestinian demonstrators marched toward a Bethlehem checkpoint on Tuesday, before being stopped by Palestinian security forces. Dozens of university students carrying Palestinian flags set off from Bethlehem University towards the Israeli military checkpoint next to Rachel’s Tomb in the west of the city, protesting the situation of hunger-striking prisoner Khader Adnan.
HEBRON (Ma’an) — The Palestine Polytechnic University student council said Tuesday they had called a strike of all classes until further notice. The students said in a statement that the Hebron-district university had failed to take their demands seriously and were stalling on solutions. 

2013 Budget: ‘Difficult Cuts’ for Americans, Jackpot for Israel, Josh Ruebner
Speaking before students at Northern Virginia Community College on February 13, President Obama unveiled his 2013 budget request, in which he proposed “some difficult cuts that, frankly, I wouldn’t normally make if they weren’t absolutely necessary. But they are.” These budget cuts are unavoidable, the President argued, because “the truth is we’re going to have to make some tough choices in order to put this country back on a more sustainable fiscal path.” In a sad commentary on the misplaced priorities of the Obama Administration, however, these “tough choices” will affect the delivery of basic services to U.S. citizens while the Israeli military hits the jackpot at taxpayer expense.

Pro-Palestinian organizations from different European countries intend to hold a meeting on Tuesday to discuss the arrangements to be made for the global march towards occupied Jerusalem.


Rally Tomorrow to Support Olympia Food Co-op!
Responding to the Palestinian call for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel, the Olympia Food Co-op voted in July 2010 to boycott Israeli products until Israel ends the occupation, respects Palestinian human rights, and complies with international law. Pro-Israel forces responded by filing a lawsuit against the Co-op in September of last year. The lawsuit alleges the Co-op’s board acted beyond the scope of its authority and committed procedural violations in enacting the boycott.


University of Regina Students Union joins the global movement of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions!
statement via Students Against Israeli Apartheid – Regina Photo: Palestinian refugee youth in Aida refugee camp in the West Bank, Palestine. Students Against Israeli Apartheid – Regina (SAIA) is pleased to announce that a motion was passed at the University of Regina Student Union AGM to support the Palestinian call for boycotts, divestments and sanctions (BDS) as […]


Open letter from North American organizations
Take a strong, unequivocal stance against Israel’s treatment of Palestinians. New York, NY, February 21 2012 – More than 20 organizations representing human rights activists and artists around the United States and Canada are calling on the Batsheva Dance Company to cut all ties to the Brand Israel campaign and take a stand against the Israeli government’s violations of Palestinian rights.

Abunimah to speak at Brandeis
One of the strongest responses I had to my recent trip to Israel and Palestine is the necessity of converting American Jews to Palestinian solidarity work as a Jewish necessity, so as to end apartheid in our name in a peaceful manner. Here is the news from the Brandeis chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine…

Racism / Discrimination

Zahalka: “Lieberman’s Statements Reveal Israel’s Racist Nature” Arab Member of Knesset (MK), Jamal Zahalka, of the National Democratic Assembly, strongly denounced the statements of Israeli Foreign Minister, Avigdor Lieberman, who attacked Arab members of Knesset, and stated that “they turned their parties into representatives of terrorist groups at the Knesset”.

On Sunday, Hanin Zoabi, a Palestinian member of Knesset, was escorted by Israeli military as she visited Hebron (Al-Khalil in Arabic). The clip surfaced on YouTube.com over the weekend, and was shared throughout the right-wing blogosphere.  In the video, the camera follows Zoabi walking through the street where she is mobbed by hard-line settlers who yell “terrorist” and “traitor” at her.
Jerusalem’s favorite football team has hiring policies reminiscent of Apartheid and Jim Crow.

Israeli talk show host probed for describing Leftists and Arabs as ‘anti-Semites’ and ‘Nazis’
Broadcasting regulator looking into radio show hosted by Yoarm Sheftel, a criminal lawyer who represented, among others, Nazi war criminal John Demjanjuk.

Land Theft / Ethnic Cleansing / Apartheid / Occupation / Refugees
‘Israel should annex 60% of Area C’
Former Yesha Council Head Naftali Bennett says Israel should take unilateral action to protect its West Bank interests; suggests Egypt annex Gaza Strip.

IOA confiscates 30 dunums of Palestinian land in Yatta
The Israeli occupation authority (IOA) has decided to expropriate 30 dunums of Palestinian cultivated land to the east of Yatta village south of Al-Khalil.

Villagers: Israeli forces bulldoze olive trees on Hebron land
HEBRON (Ma’an) — Israeli forces bulldozed olive trees on village land in Hebron overnight Wednesday, villagers told Ma’an. Locals said that bulldozers and military jeeps arrived in the village of Surif at dawn and began digging up land in order to confiscate it. The land belongs to villagers Isaac al-Qadi and Muhammad Ghneimat. (This version corrects that Israeli forces bulldozed olive trees on village land, and did not plant olive trees in Surif village as previously stated)

IOA authorizes building of 500 new housing units in West Bank
The Israeli occupation authority (IOA) has endorsed the building of 500 new settlement units in Shilo settlement in the area between Ramallah and Nablus in the West Bank.

Israeli bulldozers damage wheat fields in the Negev
Bulldozers of the land of Israel department leveled Palestinian wheat and barley fields in the Negev region, the Israeli radio said on Wednesday.

IDF Demolishes the Villages of Saadet Tha’lah and Ar Rakeez, in South Hebron Hills
At-Tuwani – On February 15th 2012, the Israeli Army demolished five buildings in the Palestinian village of Saadet Tha’lah and destroyed a water tank and tore down 50 trees in the Palestinian village of Ar Rakeez.

HEBRON (Ma’an) – Israeli security on Tuesday prevented dozens of settlers from rebuilding an illegal outpost near Kiryat Arba east of Hebron in the southern West Bank. The outpost, Mitzpe Avihai was evacuated earlier in February.  Coordinator of a local coalition Youths Against Settlements in Hebron Issa Amr told Ma’an that the settlers have been trying to build the outpost since 2007 as an expansion to the nearby Kiryat Arba and Kharsina settlements. This expansion, he added, will separate Baqaa and Buera neighborhoods of Hebron from the city. 
JERUSALEM (IPS) – After a recent Israeli high court decision allowed Israeli companies to maintain quarrying and mining activities in the occupied West Bank, human rights activists say the decision has opened the door to Israel’s pillaging of other Palestinian resources. “On its face, the new rule allows the occupier to make endless use of the variety of objects found in the occupied territory,” the Israeli human rights group Yesh Din stated. “To pump its water sources, to transfer its archaeological artifacts to elsewhere outside the territory, to use areas within it for garbage disposal, to sell public real estate, and more.”
Yet the U.S. continues to applaud and fund every Israeli action: Israeli settlements not ‘constructive’ says U.S.

WASHINGTON — The United States said Wednesday that Israel’s settlement activity was not “constructive” for Middle East peace after a committee approved a plan for 500 new homes in the northern West Bank. An Israeli committee legalized the outpost of Shvut Rachel, which had been unauthorized. Officials said the committee gave legal status to around 195 existing homes and gave the go-ahead for some 500 new ones. State Department spokesman Mark Toner said he was not familiar with the latest approval of settlements but reiterated that the United States opposes such moves. “We don’t believe it’s in any way constructive to getting both sides back to the negotiating table,” Toner told reporters. “We want to see clearly a comprehensive settlement that delineates borders and resolves many of these issues,” Toner said.


EU’s Ashton criticizes Israel for approval of ‘illegal’ settlement homes
In statement, High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs says Israeli, Palestinians must refrain from ‘provocative actions which undermine the prospects for continuing the dialogue.’


22 Feb. 2012: State allows al-Haq Director to go abroad for first time in 6 years
Joint statement by Adalah, The Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI), B’Tselem, Gisha, Physicians for Human Rights, The Public Committee Against Torture in Israel, Rabbis for Human Rights, Yesh Din: Israel’s Supreme Court today (February 22) will hear a petition filed by Shawan Jabarin, General Director of the human rights organization Al-Haq, against a travel ban that, based on classified information, has prevented him from leaving the West Bank for the past six years.

Despite arbitrary travel ban, Israel to permit Palestinian human rights defender to meet UN expert in Geneva, Ali Abunimah
Shawan Jabarin, director of human rights group Al-Haq, is to be allowed to travel to Geneva for a meeting with the UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression, for the first time since Israel imposed a travel ban on him six years ago.


Municipality creates garbage dump inside Bab Alsbat cemetery next to lion Gate in the Old City
Large quantities of waste are being piled by the Jerusalem Municipality inside the Islamic cemetery (Bab Alsbat) next to Lions Gate in the old city, in a move that has upset and offended the City’s thousands of Muslim inhabitants. The Lions Gate, which lies close to the sacred Al-Aqsa Mosque, is now awash with the overpowering stench of accumulated garbage. One resident stated that the Jerusalem Municipality “is unashamedly discriminatory in its practices. They not only use a sacred place as a rubbish dump, they even burn the rubbish here, inside a holy place  the Bab Alasbat cemetery . Why has UNESCO not tried to stop the Municipality?” A resident Christian priest of the Old City told Silwanic that he considered the Municipality’s actions unlawful, and encouraging of racist in Jerusalem.

Because of the efforts by Palestine solidarity activists to expose the colonization project of the Jewish National Fund, 2012 could perhaps be the organization’s last year holding charity status in the UK.

Villagers demand access to their road
Last Friday, Kufr Qaddoum saw hundreds of local youth and men pour into the main road of the village to demand that the Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) reopen the road that directly links the village to Nablus.


When it is illegal to use your front door: Freedom of movement in Al Khalil
Al-Khalil (Hebron) is a divided city. As a result of the Oslo agreements negotiated in the 1990s – the people of Al Khalil  became familiar with two new terms – H1 and H2. H1 refers to 80% of the city, which is officially under control of the Palestinian Authority, while H2 makes up the remaining 20% and falls under full Israeli military control.  In area H2 Palestinians are daily exposed to human rights violations to an extent that can hardly be overestated. Israel severely restricts Palestinian freedom of movement in H2 in the name of  ”separation,” but in practice this is a policy of segregation.

Palestinians expelled from their homes, blotted out by occupation; their native land pillaged and possessed. Israel’s occupation of Palestine has created a myriad of damage to Palestinian society – from denying Palestinians their right of return to destroying entire villages, ethnically cleansing the land of its indigenous inhabitants, so that Israeli settlements can take their place, so that cities carrying Arab names can be dismantled and forgotten.
Violence & Aggression

IOF soldiers killed 21 Palestinians in West Bank in 2011 including 4 children
The international Tadamun foundation for human rights said that the Israeli occupation forces haad killed 21 Palestinians in the West Bank in the course of 2011 including four children and a woman.


Tragic death of injured Gazan man near Ofer prison
An injured Palestinian man from Gaza has died after was forced to leave an Israeli hospital in Jerusalem and dumped near Ofer military prison in the West Bank by Israeli forces. Omar Jebreen, from the Rafah district of Gaza, came to Israel seeking employment, and was taken to hospital when he had an accident. When hospital staff realized that the man in their care was Palestinian, he was turned over to police, despite his critical medical condition. When police were unable to ascertain the man’s identity, he was taken to Makaby checkpoint, where military officers refused to let Jebreen pass. He was then taken to Highway 45 between Atroot and Ofer military prison and thrown from the car. By this time night had fallen, and Jebreen would lie there for two days before passing away. Jebreen’s brother stated that “if they were going to refuse him treatment, why didn’t they bring him back to Gaza?”

Jewish settlers and troops defile Aqsa Mosque, attack Muslim worshipers
Several groups of extremist Jewish settlers under police protection desecrated the Aqsa Mosque on Thursday morning, while Israeli soldiers prevented hundreds of Palestinians from entering the Mosque.
It appears that a growing band of Israeli messianic settlers have banded together to orchestrate a crisis on the Temple Mount.  Their ultimate goal seems to be taking Jewish control over the sacred ground, including two of the holiest sites in Islam, the Dome of the Rock and Al-Aqsa Mosque.

Settler guard squad stirs clashes in Ein al-Louzeh
Confrontations erupted in Ein al-Louzeh between residents and Israeli forces and settler guard squads on Monday night, 20 February. Clashes broke out when a settler guard squad on patrol provoked a reaction from local youth, triggering a crackdown on the entire neighborhood by Israeli forces.


Settler Violence: Broken Glass on Shuhada Street
Five years ago Abed Seder’s wife, Kefah, was shot five times in the chest by Israeli soldiers as she went onto her roof to check her water tank. She was 23 years old and left three sons motherless. He tells me his sons are afraid to go on the roof, which overlooks the illegal Zionist settlement of Beit Hadassah. To an international community, Abed’s struggle is one of trauma and loss, but he tells it with shockingly familiar regularity.


A local youth was beaten and arrested by Israeli forces on the evening of 20 February in Ras al-Amoud, after confrontations erupted. Faris Abu Nab was shot by Israeli forces with a tazer and heavily beaten before he was taken to the police station.

Political Detainees
Palestinian teens spend 3 months in Israeli jail due to cops’ false reports
Border policemen who charged the teens with throwing a fire bomb gave were apparently ‘helped’ by investigators.
GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — Israeli forces detained five people who were reportedly approaching the border fence near Rafah, southern Gaza.  Marwan Ahmad al-Soufi, Abdullah Muhammad al-Soufi, Ashraf al-Soufi, Muhammad Abu Athra, and Saddam Abu Athra were named as those arrested, Ma’an’s correspondent said. An Israeli army spokesman had no reports of the arrests in Gaza, but said that six people had been detained in the West Bank overnight Tuesday.

Troops kidnap A Former Detainee, His Wife And Daughter
Palestinian security sources reported that Israeli soldiers kidnapped, on Wednesday at night, former political prisoner, Majdi Al-Ajouly, in addition to his wife and underage daughter, in Foqeen village, near the northern West Bank city of Tulkarem.


Israeli policemen arrest 18 Palestinians over Aqsa incidents
Israeli policemen arrested 18 Palestinians for involvement in the recent Aqsa demonstrations, the Hebrew radio said on Wednesday.


Inmates decide to boycott Israel courts
Hundreds of Palestinian detainees, imprisoned in Israeli jails without charge or trial under so-called administrative detention, have decided to boycott Israeli military courts in an effort to battle their imprisonment.


Israeli troops storm Negev jail
Heavy armed Israeli soldiers stormed ward 7 in the Negev desert prison assisted by dogs and assaulted prisoners on Tuesday evening.

Tadamun: Israeli jailers transfer two ill brothers to Ramla jail
The international Tadamun (solidarity) society for human rights said two brothers in serious medical condition were transferred from the 1948 occupied land to the hospital of Ramla prison.


Israeli Prison’s Authority Move 120 Prisoners To Unknown Location
One day after the deal between the Palestinian Prisoner Khader Adnan who ended his hunger-strike after 66 days, the Israeli prisons’ administration transferred approximately 120 prisoners from Negev Desert Prison to an unknown location.

Khader Adnan

Israeli decision to release Palestinian detainee in April ‘insufficient’
The Israeli authorities’ decision to release a Palestinian detainee by mid-April is insufficient, Amnesty International said amid reports that he has agreed to end his 66-day hunger strike. The organization has urged Israel to release Khader Adnan immediately to allow him to receive urgent medical treatment. The 33-year-old baker – allegedly affiliated with the Islamic Jihad movement – is at immediate risk of death after more than 10 weeks on hunger strike.  “A deal which will see Khader Adnan released on 17 April unless significant new evidence emerges is insufficient when he needs urgent medical treatment to save his life now,” said Philip Luther, Amnesty International’s Interim Director for the Middle East and North Africa.


My husband, Khadar Adnan, has shed light on Israel’s disregard for human rights, Randa Musa
Through his own suffering, Khadar has helped expose the plight of Palestinians held under ‘administrative detention’ by Israel. The name of my husband, Khadar Adnan, has now become known across the world. Four months ago he was unknown outside our homeland, Palestine. His hunger strike of 66 days has transformed him into a global figure and a shining symbol of my people’s struggle. Our life was turned upside down on 17 December 2011 when Israeli troops raided our home in Araba village, south of Jenin, in the occupied West Bank. It was about 3am when they broke down the doors and stormed into our house. The havoc they wreaked will always remain etched on the minds of our two daughters, Ma’ali, aged four, and Baysan, one-and-a-half years old. I would not be surprised if even our unborn baby will also be affected. Such was the trauma that accompanied the Israeli raid.


MK Tibi: Adnan came out a winner
MK Ahmad Tibi says Palestinian detainee’s imprisonment was unjust, lauds deal that brought end to Adnan’s hunger strike.

“I hereby assert that I am confronting the occupiers not for my own sake as an individual, but for the sake of thousands of prisoners who are being deprived of their simplest human rights while the world and international community look on,” Sheikh Khader Adnan wrote from the bed that Israeli soldiers chained him to in the Ramleh prison hospital on 11 February. “It is time the international community and the UN support prisoners and force the State of Israel to respect international human rights and stop treating prisoners as if they were not humans.” (Ma’an News Agency, “Hunger-striking prisoner not backing down,” 11 February 2012) As we mark the 65th day of an ongoing hunger strike by Sheikh Khader Adnan, whose struggle has inspired millions and infused the Palestinian national and solidarity movements with new energy, we must reflect on his call to the world and prepare a meaningful international strategy to support Palestinian prisoners’ struggle for freedom, justice, and equality.
Letter: End Israeli policy of jail without charge
We welcome the decision of Khader Adnan to end his hunger strike against Israel’s inhuman practice of “administrative detention” (Israel agrees release deal for Palestinian hunger striker, 22 February). His hunger strike was a desperate measure meant to draw attention to Israel’s violations of international law by routinely abducting Palestinians and holding them without charge or being notified of the reason for their detention. 

Palestinian political prisoner Khader Adnan ended his 65 day hunger strike in an Israeli prison last night, after Israeli authorities made a deal that he would be released in April at the end of his current term. There are a few conditions that might allow Israel to break the deal, like if it unearths any new evidence against him. One learns never fully to trust that outcomes will occur as promised.  Nevertheless, this is a tremendously hopeful moment for Adnan and all Palestinian prisoners.
The Palestinian prisoners’ movement will never forget Khader Adnan. Its history will record that his “battle of the empty intestines,” as Palestinians refer to prisoners’ open hunger strike, lasted the longest. Adnan was able to do what hasn’t been done in a long time. His story turned the cause of Palestinian political prisoners in Israeli jails into major headlines. It also shed much needed light on the practice of administrative detention that allows Israel to detain Palestinians indefinitely without charges or trial. 

Saving Khader Adnan’s Life Saves Our Own Soul
The world watches as tragedy unfolds beneath its gaze as Khader Asnan enters his sixty-third day as a hunger striker in an Israeli prison being held under an administrative detention order without trial, without charges, and without any indication of the evidence against him. From the outset of his brutal arrest by scores of soldiers, featuring blindfolding, cuffing, and physical roughness in the middle of the night, a gratuitous ritual enacted in the presence of his wife and young daughters, Khader Adnan has been subject to the sort of inhumane and degrading treatment that is totally unlawful and inexcusable, and an assault on our moral justification. At present, approximately three hundred other Palestinians are being held in administrative detention, and Mr. Adnan has indicated that his protest is also on their behalf, and indeed against the practice of administrative detention itself.



Why Israel freed Khader Adnan, Paul Mutter
Khader Adnan will reportedly be released in April, assuming no new evidence is introduced to uphold the assessment that he is a high-risk threat as a member of Islamic Jihad. He has ended his hunger strike after his lawyers and the High Court of Justice worked out this arrangement.


The History of the Palestinian Captive Movement Hunger Strike and the Story of Khader Adnan
Open hunger strike or what is known as “The Battle of empty Intestines”, is the detainee’s refrain from eating all varieties and forms of food in the reach of the prisoners with the exception of water and a pinch of salt, a step that is rarely used by the prisoners; since this move is considered the most dangerous and hardest step used by detainees because of its serious- physical and psychological risks – for prisoners and in some cases, it led to the martyrdom of a number of them starting with the martyr Abdel Qader Abu Elfahm, who died in 11/7/1970, during the hunger strike of Ashkelon prison, the martyr Rasem Abu Elhalawah and Rasem Ali Jaafari, who were martyred on 24/7/1980 during the hunger strike of Nafha prison, the martyr Mahmoud Fritkh who was martyred during the hunger strike of Junaid prison in 1984, and the martyr Hussein Nemr Obaidat who was martyred in 14/10/1992 during the hunger strike of Ashkelon prison.

A worst case scenario could lead to a stop in vital services for about 100 newborn babies.(Ali Jadallah / APA images)
GAZA CITY (IRIN) – An energy crisis is currently hitting the Gaza Strip’s public services hard and could lead to a severe humanitarian crisis if a sustainable solution is not found soon. “If the power plant does not resume its work in the next days, some hospitals will be left without electricity,” said Mahmud Daher, officer-in-charge of the World Health Organization in Gaza. Gaza’s only power plant was forced to shut down on 14 February due to a lack of fuel, which has previously been imported in amounts of up to one million liters a day from Egypt.

2011: Year of Israeli Violence in Gaza Strip
According to data gathered by the Gaza City based human rights organization Al Mezan, during 2011 the Israeli army killed at least 114 Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, of whom 15 were children and 2 women. During this same year, some 470 Palestinians were injured, of whom 120 were children and 35 women.

American Politics

Obama to speak at AIPAC before Netanyahu meeting
President Barack Obama will deliver remarks at the AIPAC conference March 4, one day before he sits down with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the White House, a reprise of the difficult meeting they held there last year. ”We are pleased to announce that the president will address this year’s annual AIPAC policy conference in Washington, D.C., on Sunday March 4. The president welcomes this opportunity to speak to the strengths of the special bonds between Israel and the United States,” White House spokesman Jay Carney said Tuesday.

American Jewish billionaire businessman says his support of Newt Gingrich is based on more than just his staunch support for Israel.
Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich may be slipping in the polls, but he will deliver a speech at the annual American Israel Public Affairs Committee policy conference in Washington, a spokesman for AIPAC confirmed today.
Other News

Report: Israeli envoy in Cairo demands better security
Al-Hayat newspaper reports Ambassador Yaakov Amitai asked Egyptian authorities to tighten his staff’s security in wake of recent terror attacks.


Bahrain police disperse march with water cannon (Reuters)
Reuters – Bahraini police used water cannon and tear gas to break up a march chanting anti-government slogans after a funeral Monday, while protesters were arrested for approaching a roundabout at the center of an uprising last year.


Bahrainis gather outside UN office
Thousands of Bahrainis have gathered outside the United Nations headquarters in the capital, Manama, to demand the immediate release of the country’s top human rights activist.

In the alleys of Manama, a Bahraini police commander yelled at me that I had been disrespectful, as the other policemen dragged the young man away.  The woman who had tried to protect him with her arms and her body sobbed.  The youth was certain to be beaten, likely tortured.  She thanked me, though I felt I had failed. 

Silence as Bahraini children are stabbed and gassed
by Tighe Barry As part of an observer delegation in Bahrain with the peace group Code Pink, I visited the village of Bani Jamrah with local Bahraini human rights activists. In one of the many horrific cases we heard, a 17-year-old boy Hasan, his friend and his 8-year-old brother left their home to go to […]

Bahraini troops attack mourners
Saudi-backed Bahraini forces have attacked demonstrators, who were mourning for an anti-regime protester killed by regime forces last week, east of the capital Manama.
Britain arms Bahrain despite crackdown
The UK government has continued selling weaponry to the Bahraini regime irrespective of continuing political oppression in the tiny Persian Gulf Island.
Touring Tyranny in Bahrain
On the long flight to the Gulf Kingdom of Bahrain on Feb. 10, I had been studying the Lonely Planet guide to the region in order to be able to explain at the airport, if needed, that I had come as a tourist.
John Timoney is the former Miami police chief well known for orchestrating brutal crackdowns on protests in Miami and Philadelphia- instances with rampant police abuse, violence, and blatant disregard for freedom of expression. It should be of great concern that the Kingdom of Bahrain has brought Timoney and John Yates, former assistant commissioner of Britain’s Metropolitan Police, to “reform” Bahrain’s security forces.  Since assuming his new position, Timoney has claimed that Bahrain has been reforming it brutal police.

Bahraini royal media
Look at this sample of the media of the House of Khalifah in Bahrain.  They accuse a Palestinian activist who showed her support for the people of Bahrain, Huwayda `Arraf, of activism in “sexual deviance” (their bigoted reference to homosexuality), and another activist of being married to an Israeli.  Being married to an Israeli? The Bahraini royal family considers that a vice when the entire time and energy of House of Khalifa is devoted to prostrating to Israel and its representatives around the world. 


Al Jazeera’s Bahrain documentary wins award
Shouting in the Dark, which follows the unravelling of the Bahraini uprising, receives prestigious George Polk Award.

State Department says failure of UN nuclear watchdog mission to Tehran a ‘disappointment’; White House spokesman chides Iran over lack of progress in talks.
British Foreign Secretary William Hague warned Israel on Sunday that it would not be “wise” to attack Iran over its disputed nuclear program, urging Tel Aviv to give the diplomatic route a chance to succeed. Speaking in the wake of heightened tensions between Iran and Israel in recent weeks, in which both sides have accused the other of assassination attempts on their citizens, Hague said it was important to focus on restarting dialogue. ”I don’t think the wise thing at this moment is for Israel to launch a military attack on Iran,” he told the BBC.

Iraq attacks kill 60, raise sectarian fears (Reuters)
Reuters – Simultaneous early morning attacks on mostly Shi’ite targets across Iraq killed at least 60 people and wounded dozens on Thursday in one of the bloodiest days of violence since U.S. troops pulled out in mid-December.


Haditha deaths marine discharged
Former Sgt Frank Wuterich, the only man convicted over the killing of 24 Iraqis in Haditha in 2005, is discharged from the US military.

Saudi Arabia
Amnesty demands Saudi Arabia release peaceful protester
Amnesty International has called for the immediate release of a Saudi teacher arrested almost a year ago after arriving at the site of a planned anti-government demonstration that never took place. In a statement released late Wednesday, Amnesty said the trial of Khaled al-Johani, which took place Wednesday, was “utterly unwarranted” calling on authorities to release him “immediately and unconditionally.”
Protest erupts in eastern Saudi Arabia
A fresh anti-government protest rally has broken out in Awamiyah in Saudi Arabia’s restive Eastern Province despite heavy crackdowns by regime forces.
A secret meeting was held between members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) in Riyadh last month to discuss Saudi Arabia’s concerns over the “smuggling of Iranian arms to Hezbollah by sea,” according to an article published on February 15 in the German newspaper, Die Welt. The article stated that “the faltering of Syria, and Iran’s attempt to procure other ways to smuggle weapons to Hezbollah prompted a perturbed Saudi Arabia to hold a secret meeting with other members of the GCC in the capital, Riyadh, on January 18.”

Saudi Arabia: Trial of Riyadh protester ‘utterly unwarranted’
The trial before a state security court of a Saudi Arabian school teacher arrested nearly a year ago after he arrived to demonstrate on the “Day of Rage” in Riyadh is an affront to his basic rights, Amnesty International said today.  Khaled al-Johani stood trial today before the Specialized Criminal Court in Riyadh, a tribunal set up in 2008 to try detainees held on terrorism-related charges. The court adjourned his case until early April.  “Khaled al-Johani shouldn’t be standing trial in any court for peacefully exercising his rights to freedom of expression and assembly,” said Philip Luther, Interim Director of Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Programme. 


Saudi journalist faces trial over tweets
Is religion too taboo for social media? We’ll discuss a case of so-called “Twitter blasphemy” in Saudi Arabia.


Ghastly Images Flow From Shattered City of Homs, Syria
During the sustained Syrian Army assault on Homs, videos of the violence are offering a stunningly vivid picture, sometimes live or at least in real time, of life in the city.


Hurt reporter asks to leave Syria
Edith Bouvier, the French journalist wounded in an attack on the Syrian city of Homs on Wednesday, says she needs urgent medical attention and asks to be evacuated.


Journalists killed in Syria shelling on Homs
British Marie Colvin and French Remi Ochlik killed in deadly assault on city as activists warn of humanitarian crisis.

Following the trend of breaking away from state-controlled unions, opposition journalists in Syria take one step toward competing with the official press syndicate.
Foreign Intervention in Syria? A Debate with Joshua Landis and Karam Nachar
With estimates of well over 5,000 deaths, the uprising in Syria is believed to be the Arab Spring’s bloodiest conflict to date. As the toll mounts, calls are growing for the international community to intervene by arming rebels fighting the Assad regime and even direct military intervention. We host a debate on the merits and pitfalls of foreign intervention in Syria with two guests. “I’m not opposed to helping the opposition. The problem right now is that we are not sure who to arm,” says Joshua Landis, director of the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma and editor of “Syria Comment,” a daily online newsletter on Syrian politics. We’re also joined by Karam Nachar, a cyber-activist and Ph.D. candidate at Princeton University working with Syrian protesters via social media platforms. “There is a humanitarian disaster unfolding on the ground,” Nachar says. “[The world has] a moral responsibility to protect the Syrian people.” 

Analysis / Op-ed

Will Palestinians see a unity government? 
We discuss the already emerging problems surrounding Palestinians’ Hamas-Fatah unity agreement.


In Memory of Mahmoud Darwish
by Manash Bhattacharjee  I learnt from your poems how To wait upon death And how waiting is a game as Treacherous as death.   I learnt from you how the root Of waiting is grasped in despair And that there is no despair More deceitful than hope.

Weir criticizes lack of diversity in NYT’s Jerusalem appointments,  Philip Weiss
A couple years ago I did a post lamenting the fact that so many of the folks covering Israel and Palestine for American papers were Jewish, and some critics accused me of anti-Semitism. Well the issue doesn’t go away. Below are two responses to the hiring of Judi Rudoren as the next New York Times bureau chief in Jerusalem that fasten on to her Jewishness from different points of view.

When Netanyahu Crossed the Line
The bombing of an Israeli embassy car in Delhi threatens India’s diplomatic maneuvers between Israel and Iran, and has put India’s discreetly nurtured ties with Israel since 1992 through a severe test. Those who are attracted to Israel’s depiction of Iran as a terrorist threat to world peace would do well to read historian Mark Perry’s account, revealing that Israel is recruiting, and collaborating with, terrorist groups in a secret war with Iran. That low-level conflict is spreading. Israel’s latest reaction should be seen in the light of Perry’s revelations.


Jordan Is Not Palestine, Neither Is Qatar, Sam Bahour
Hamas, the Palestinian ‘Islamic Resistance Movement,’ is on the move. Hamas is leaving Syria, where it has been based until now, making a pit stop in Jordan to mend affairs with King Abdullah II, declaring non-violent resistance as the preferred mode of struggle against Israeli occupation, signing (yet another) reconciliation agreement with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, and lastly, planning to relocate its headquarters to the State of Qatar. All of this has happened in the span of a few weeks.

Searching for the Arab Spring in Ramallah

A year has passed since Arab youth took to the streets demanding freedom and dignity, unleashing a long-awaited revolution. As authoritarian regimes fell in Tunisia and Libya, were shaken in Egypt, and are struggling fiercely in Yemen and Syria, I went searching for the Arab Spring in Ramallah, looking for the reverberations of the Arab uprisings on Palestine. Euphoria as much as apprehension accompanied me as I looked for the promise of a revolution devoid of any grand ideology, a revolution about freedom and rights, inclusive of everybody—Christians and Muslims, Islamists and liberals, young and old—if only for a short while.



2 Responses

  1. Bill in Maryland
    February 23, 2012, 12:30 pm

    Not only was Cassandra Wilson scheduled to perform at the Holon concert, she was the headliner, as proudly touted by the Brand Israel folks.

    Predictably Cassandra Wilson is getting slammed as an anti-Semite and racist on Twitter for her principled choice, but she defends herself here.

  2. Woody Tanaka
    February 23, 2012, 5:23 pm

    Good for Cassandra Wilson. Never let up. Not for one second, until the end of the occupation, should any Israeli anywhere no be aware of his pariah status. They must all feel they bear a mark of Cain until they stop their evil ways.

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