11-year-old child beaten in pro-prisoner march

ActivismIsrael/PalestineMiddle East
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And other news from Today in Palestine:

Israeli occupation forces severely beat an 11-year-old child while participating in a peaceful march in Ma’sara village, south of Bethlehem, on Friday in solidarity with Palestinian prisoners.

Land Theft & Destruction / Refugees

Settlers uproot olive trees near Yatta
Zionist settlers uprooted, on Friday, about 100 olive trees near the town of Yatta, in al-Khalil city southern the occupied West Bank, and ejected the land’s owners.

Bill would legalize Jewish construction on privately-owned Palestinian land at Migron and other outposts.  Right-wing MKs are expected to introduce a number of bills supporting construction in West Bank settlements and unauthorized outposts when the Knesset returns from its spring recess in about two weeks.
Since June 1967, Israel maintained total domination over Occupied Palestine. Lawlessly, it includes controlling essential resources, air space, Gaza’s coastal waters, borders, who’s allowed to cross them, political, economic, and financial activities, internal movement, public assembly and speech, Palestine’s population registry, private property by seizures or demolition, and, of course, land.

Palestinian couple gets West Bank wedding
Maha Surougi and Thaer Qasem have lived their entire lives in Syria’s largest Palestinian refugee camp on the outskirts of Damascus.


“Mama, will Baba Roumieh visit us in Shatila camp?”
Beirut–It’s official according to the Vatican. Pope Benedict XVI will visit Lebanon from the 14th to the 16th September, in just five months’ time. By coincidence or design, the Pontiff’s visit will coincide with the International commemoration of the 30thAnniversary of the Sabra-Shatila Massacre during which Christian militia, facilitated by nearby Israeli troops who had sealed the Palestinian refugee camp, slaughtered more than 3000 unarmed civilians on site—approximately 25 per cent of whom were fellow Lebanese. If the Pontiff accepts the invitation of  Maronite Patriarch Bechara Rai  and stays during his visit in Bkerki, the seat of the Patriarchy, he may or may not be informed that he will sleep close to one of the burial pits where bodies from the 1982 massacre were trucked from Shatila camp.

Violence / Raids

Three injured by Israeli forces in non-violent anti-Wall demonstrations
Israeli troops attacked the weekly Friday protests held in six Palestinian towns and villages. In addition to dozens of demonstrators suffering the effects of tear gas inhalation, three protesters were moderately wounded by steel-coated rubber bullets and tear gas canisters.

11-year-old child beaten in pro-prisoners march
Israeli occupation forces (IOF) severely beat an 11-year-old child while participating in a peaceful march in Ma’sara village, south of Bethlehem, on Friday in solidarity with Palestinian prisoners.

Jewish settlers assault Palestinian woman
Jewish settlers attacked a Palestinian woman to the east of Yatta, south of Al-Khalil, on Friday evening using sharp tools, her brother said.


Jewish settlers assault an old man and his son
Jewish settlers from Kiryat Arba settlement in Al-Khalil attacked an old man and his son while farming their land in Al-Khalil, the son told the PIC reporter on Saturday.

Israeli forces raid West Bank civil defense office
QALQILIYA (Ma’an) — Israeli forces raided the headquarters of the civil defense forces in a northern West Bank town on Friday evening, officers told Ma’an. Israeli soldiers questioned two officers in Azzun, east of Qalqiliya, over stone-throwing at Israeli vehicles near the town’s main road, they said. An Israeli army spokeswoman said forces investigated two suspects in Azzun after a firebomb was hurled at a junction near the town. The Qalqiliya district command of the civil defense forces condemned the raid as violation of international treaties which protect public emergency services.


IDF failed to investigate why soldier killed Palestinian
Rashad Shwakha, 28, father of a 10-month-old girl, was fatally injured and died in a Jerusalem hospital six days later.

Siege on Gaza

Ministry of Health: Unprecedented low level of medicines in Gaza stores
Dr. Ashraf Al-Qudra, the spokesman for the Health Ministry in Gaza, has warned of a new and unprecedented drop in the ministry’s stores of medicine.


Stuffed animals on display at Gaza zoo
Most of the residents on display at the Dream Park El Janoob Zoo in Gaza are stuffed animals since live ones are too costly to feed or import. Msnbc.com’s Dara Brown reports.

Hunger Striking Detainees
1600 Palestinian political prisoners, held by Israel, declared they will be starting an open-ended hunger strike on April 17th in protest to their illegal detention, and demanding basic rights. Palestinian Minister of Detainees in the West Bank, Issa Qaraqe’, stated that the situation of the detainees in Israeli prisons is very difficult, and dangerous, especially amidst the ongoing Israeli violations and attacks against them. 

Shalalde on hunger strike in PA jail
Mohammed Shalade has gone on hunger strike in the Palestinian Authority’s intelligence prison in Al-Khalil since Thursday protesting his incarceration, his mother said.

Detainees / Political Arrests

PA security services arrest dozens in al-Khalil
PA security services launched, yesterday, a wide arrest and summons campaign against dozens of Hams supporters in al-Khalil southern West Bank.

IOF soldiers arrest Palestinian young man
Israeli occupation forces (IOF) arrested a Palestinian young man at a roadblock between Yatta village and Al-Khalil after stopping his motorbike, eyewitnesses said.

Popular Protests / Activism / Solidarity
On Saturday, April 14, 2012, Palestinian, Israeli and international activists joined the weekly demonstration in Beit Ommar, by the separation fence between Beit Ommar and the settlement Karmei Tsur. Karmei Tsur settlement is illegal according to the Geneva Convention and is built on stolen Palestinian land. The fence is preventing the Palestinians to enter their land.

Massive march in Jenin in support of hunger strikers
A massive march hit the streets of Kufr Ra’ee village, south of Jenin, after the Friday congregation demanding the immediate release of hunger striker Bilal Dhiab.


Sit-in planned in Moscow in solidarity with Palestinian prisoners
Russian youth groups plan a sit-in rally in solidarity with Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails in “Krasnopresnenskaya Zastava” square in Moscow on Saturday to mark the Palestinian prisoners’ day.


World Muslim scholars, resistance factions call for day of hunger strike
The union of world Muslim scholars and Palestinian resistance factions in Gaza have called for a single day hunger strike on Monday in solidarity with Palestinian prisoners.


Israeli police on alert for fly-in
Police say hundreds of officers are deployed at Israel’s main airport to detain activists flying in to protest Israel’s occupation of Palestinian areas.

LONDON (Ma’an) — British airline Jet2.com has canceled the flight tickets of three women from the UK planning to travel to the occupied West Bank, British media reported Friday. Earlier, Germany’s national airline Lufthansa canceled dozens of passengers who are signed up join a program visiting the West Bank which begins Sunday, organizers said.
Fury after Lufthansa cancels activists’ flights to Israel
A German airline has been criticized after it banned dozens of activists from flying to Israel this weekend as part of a campaign to highlight the restrictions in movement to and from the occupied territories. Lufthansa canceled the tickets of tens of people scheduled to fly to Tel Aviv on Sunday as part of a mass fly-in dubbed “Welcome to Palestine,” organizers said on Friday.

Conflicting Jewish reactions to “Welcome to Palestine 2012”
The Welcome to Palestine 2012 campaign has triggered a number of reactions among Jewish groups.


Israel’s ‘welcome letter’ to ‘flytilla’ activists
In letter to pro-Palestinian activists, Israel says ‘You could have chosen to protest Syrian regime’s daily savagery, but instead you chose to protest against Israel, the Middle East’s sole democracy’.


Fly-in activists instructed to protest at int’l airports
Pro-Palestinian activists instructed to arrive at international airports en route to Israel despite airline bans; told not to start riots.

Minister: ‘Flytilla’ activists expected to arrive Saturday night
Internal Security Minister Aharonovitch satisfied with foreign airlines that canceled tickets of pro-Palestinian activists, but expects some will arrive in Israel as early as Saturday night.


Scottish activists fly off to Palestine, to the sound of bagpipes and choir
Sofiah MacLeod – Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign – at Waverley Station, Edinburgh`s main train terminal, a supportive crowd gathered along with pipers and a choir, to give a send-off to Scottish activists flying off tonight. From the exprience of those who did it before, saying the word “Palestine” at the passport control can result in being immediately put in handcuffs and leg-irons and taken to Givon Prison.

‘We have cancelled your booking’ — the criminalization of travel to the West Bank is laid bare to the world, Laura Durkay

This Sunday, I was planning to fly to Tel Aviv with up to 1,500 other participants in Welcome to Palestine 2012, a peaceful initiative of travel and solidarity with Palestinians in the West Bank. We had an invitation from over 25 civil society groups across the West Bank. We had the blessing of the mayor of Bethlehem. Our plansconsisted of such terroristic activities as laying the cornerstone of a kindergarten, repairing damaged wells, and planting olive trees.
Israel will not stand idly by as thousands of activists prepare to arrive on Sunday; it will not miss an opportunity to look ridiculous in the eyes of the world.
Racism and Discrimination

Blatant Zionist racism
“This conversation was a great help to me in understanding the Muslim Arab mindset and culture. Facts are not really so important to them. They can be made up or even changed as needed.”  ”It is unrealistic, in my opinion, to believe that we can turn the Arabs into a society that truly embraces western concepts and values – like facts and sticking to truth.”

Political Developments / Other News

Ron Paul Backs Jerusalem as Location of Israeli Embassy
“How would we like it if some other nation said ‘We decided to recognize New York City as your capital instead, so we will build our embassy there?'”

RAMALLAH, Palestinian Territories — The Palestinians on Thursday expressed frustration over the peace Quartet’s latest statement and insisted the settlement issue was central to resolving the conflict with Israel. Top officials from the Middle East Quartet, representing the European Union, United States, Russia and United Nations, met Wednesday in Washington to address ways of hauling the two parties back to direct talks which ran aground 18 months ago. But the meeting ended with a bland statement urging both sides to focus on “positive efforts” to bring about a resumption of direct talks. Speaking to AFP, senior Palestinian official Nimr Hammad said the statement should have been “stronger and more assertive.”


Abbas dismisses idea of dismantling PA

TOKYO (Ma’an) — President Mahmoud Abbas on Saturday dismissed the idea of dismantling the Palestinian Authority, during an interview with Japanese media. ”Where do the writers of such reports get their ideas and information from,” Abbas replied when asked by Japanese media about the proposal raised in a US magazine. Yossi Beilin, one of the authors of the Oslo Accords, made the appeal in Foreign Policy magazine. 
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — Tamil activists on Friday urged President Mahmoud Abbas to address alleged war crimes by Sri Lankan authorities on his upcoming visit to the country. Abbas is due to arrive in Sri Lanka on Sunday as part of an international tour including Japan and the Maldives.  Sri Lankan president Mahinda Rajapaksa is a vocal supporter of Palestinians, and Palestine’s envoy to the country said earlier the leaders would sign a number of agreements during the trip to improve bilateral relations.
Analysis / Op-ed / Human Interest
“Our souls are not devastated, we are hanging on” On the 7th November 2011, founder of the Palestinian Cultural Enlightenment (Tanwer) and lecturer at the An- Najah University, Dr. Yousef Abdul Haq, was arrested from his home at two o’clock in the morning. Dr. Yousef is in his 70’s and his health has suffered from mental strain and poor prison conditions. Well known for his calm and peaceful nature, Dr. Yousef’s daughter insists that her father “will always support his people by telling the truth: a lot of people  are living in poverty because they are  under occupation. If my father tells the truth, eventually everyone will understand.”

When My Partner Went to Jail
In December, 2007, I said goodbye to my then fiance (now husband), and left Palestine for a trip home to the United States. I hugged him goodbye in the streets of Jerusalem, where he had entered illegally to see me off. It was the last hug I gave him for a year and a half. I, too, was in a relationship with an activist, a man committed to justice and liberation. He just happened to be Palestinian. 

Ali Shabaan is a familiar name. Assaf Abu Rahhal is an unfamiliar name. Shabaan was killed by Syrian troops days ago and the story was covered in the international media. Abu Rahhal was killed by Israeli occupation troops in 2010, and his story was not covered by international (or even Arab) media.
Why are Palestinians paying for Germany’s sins?, Susan Abulhawa
While Palestinians continue to be robbed of their land, heritage and human rights to atone for Germany’s sins, Germany unreservedly supports Israel.
Jimmy Johnson’s ironic report on a Zionist propaganda event at Wayne State University, which was protested by student activists.
Who are the Palestinians? In this compelling book of interviews, Arthur Neslen reaches beyond journalistic clichés to let a wide variety of Palestinians answer the question for themselves. Beginning in the present with Bisan and Abud, two traumatized children from Jenin’s refugee camp, the book’s narrative arcs backwards through the generations to come full circle with two elderly refugees from villages that the children were named after. Along the way, Neslen recounts a history of land, resistance, dispossession, exile and trauma.
In his new book, The Crisis of Zionism, Peter Beinart stops well short of accepting a Palestinian right of return or repudiating the idea that Jews are sovereign in a state where fully a fifth of its citizens are non-Jews.

Gunter Grass, German Guilt, and We’re the Ones Who Pay, Susan Abulhawa
No matter who you are, no matter what greatness you’ve achieved in your life or what gifts you’ve given to the rest of humanity, if you criticize Israel, you must expect to become persona non grata. You should expect an utter onslaught of attacks. Otherwise rational and decent people will, one by one, genuflect and sign onto the stupid clichés and tiresome accusations that question your character, integrity and even sanity. You will be called an anti-Semite, or a self-hating Jew if you happen to be Jewish.  The Holocaust will be invoked.  You’ll be reminded of Hitler and Himmler and Goebbles and perhaps likened to Nazis, or Capos if you’re Jewish. You’ll be accused explicitly or implicitly of secretly supporting the genocide of Jews and having a deep seeded desire for it.


Good for Gunter!, Stuart Littlewood
Can’t say I’m crazy about the German Nobel laureate’s poetry. Much is lost in translation, of course. But the sentiment expressed in ‘What Must Be Said’ is spot-on. And now that the dust has settled we can marvel at how the avalanche of outraged squawks and screeches sent the needle clean off the Richter Scale of Zionist paranoia. Brave Gunter Grass should wear the insults like a badge of honour. The Jewish Chronicle reported Israel’s prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu as saying: “His [Gunter’s] declarations are ignorant and shameful and every honest person in this world must condemn them.” What constitutes an “honest person” in Netanyahu’s eyes? Does he know any?


On anti-Semitism, war crimes, and old poets, Lillian Rosengarten
Silence in the face of apartheid is unbearable. We can no longer remain silent nor turn our backs and pretend ignorance to a gruesome occupation of stolen land, the cruelest collective punishment in the open-air sewer prison where Palestinians once lived in peace. The situation has deteriorated as we observe Jewish settlers who spew their hate with such revulsion and racism on Palestinian families, it makes my stomach turn. The United States and Europe (by example, I insist) remain silent, thus complicit, not daring to criticize the holier than thou state of Israel for fear of being called anti-Semite.


(Brussels) – Abdulhadi al-Khawaja, a long-time human rights defender, is on the verge of death because he refuses to accept that he should spend the rest of his life in a Bahraini prison because he led peaceful protests for political reform. Late last month Bahrain’s King Hamad said the government had implemented the recommendations of the independent commission headed by the renowned Egyptian international law professor, Cherif Bassiouni, which looked into serious rights violations in the government’s crackdown against pro-democracy protesters a year ago. If that were true Al-Khawaja would be free today. The commission said that the government should void all military court convictions for exercising the rights to free speech and peaceful assembly. This the government refuses to do, in part because it would mean freeing al-Khawaja and others like him.

Prominent human rights activist Abdulhadi Alkhawaja called his family, and said that his health deteriorated last night and he was informed by doctors that he might go into a coma. He was given IV, which has kept him conscious but weak. His family and lawyer are still not allowed to visit him. His wife said he was allowed just a brief call in exchange that he will drink little water.

Boy among several people wounded when police opened fire as thousands joined funeral procession, opposition group says.


Bahraini forces attack mourners
Saudi-backed Bahraini forces have clashed with anti-government protesters after the funeral of a slain journalist outside Manama.


Bahrain Grand Prix cleared despite safety fears
The Bahrain Grand Prix will go ahead next week as planned, Formula One bosses declared on Friday, despite fears it could be targeted by violent anti-government demonstrations.


Bahraini youth vow ‘three days of rage’ during Formula 1 
The governing body of Formula 1 has confirmed that the Bahrain Grand Prix will continue as planned. Continued unrest and concerns about human rights violations had led to speculation that the race scheduled for April 22 would be called off. Ala’a Shehabi speaks to Al Jazeera from Manama about his conversation with Formula 1 Chief Bernie Ecclestone and the Bahraini youth who have promised “three days of rage” during the event.

Bahrain Grand Prix sparks web anger
Social media users in the Arab world are urging a boycott of the Bahrain Formula 1 race – due to be held on 22 April – in anger at the ongoing crackdown on protesters in the Gulf island.

“A new video showing Bahrain police officers assisting in the looting of a supermarket demonstrates the continuing culture of impunity among the country’s security forces despite claims of reform by the government, said activist group Bahrain Watch on Friday.   The video (), posted on the YouTube account of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights, was recorded on the evening of Tuesday, April 10 by closed-circuit surveillance cameras inside a supermarket in the neigbourhood of Nuwaidrat. The video shows a mob enter, vandalize, and loot the store, which belongs to the “24 Hour Market” chain. Several minutes into the video, uniformed police enter the market and motion to looters to leave before filming the destruction with their own cameras.  Police do not attempt to stop the perpetrators or make any arrests. Furthermore, officers are also seen taking part in the looting and vandalism themselves: one breaks a shop window (5:15), and another walks out of the market with a bottle of water (4:50). Towards the end of the episode, an officer indicates the location of one of the store’s surveillance camera to a looter (6:11), who smashes it as the video ends.

In the Kingdom of Tear Gas
The talk of Bahrain at present is talk — the possible renewal of dialogue between the government and the opposition — but the reality is that street protests, after simmering in outlying villages for months, have begun to heat up in the capital of Manama.

Bahrain Update
From Angry Arab chief Bahrain correspondent: “You will notice that the Obama Administrations policy towards Bahrain is getting progressively worse. You already posted about the US embassy visiting an injured policemen. Well this week 7 policemen were attacked (wonder why) and the US embassy decided to visit the Prime Minister himself to express concern over the attack. Also look at the white house’s latest statement on Bahrain. 


Nearly 40% of Egyptians undecided ahead of vote

Nearly 40 percent of Egyptian voters are undecided less than six weeks before the first presidential election since the ouster of veteran strongman Hosni Mubarak, a poll published on Saturday found. A full 38 percent of respondents said they had yet to make up their minds which of the 23 candidates to vote for in the May 23-24 first round, the poll published by the independent daily Al-Masry al-Yom found.


10 Egyptian presidential hopefuls barred from race
Egypt’s election commission disqualified 10 presidential hopefuls, including Hosni Mubarak’s former spy chief and key Islamists, from running Saturday in a surprise decision that threatened to upend an already tumultuous race and plunge the Arab world’s most populous nation into a new political crisis.

On Friday, Tahrir Square hosted its first protest in two months, as Islamist parties pulled together to organize a large rally. The once cooperative relationship between the Islamist parties and the Supreme Council of Armed Forces (SCAF) was forgotten as the square filled with a chorus of anti-SCAF slogans.


Egypt ex-VP: I joined race to stop religious state
Hosni Mubarak’s former spy chief said in comments published Thursday that he decided to run for president to prevent Islamists from turning Egypt into a “religious state,” and warned that the country would be internationally isolated if one of them won the presidency.


The Brotherhood vs. Suleiman
Egypt’s parliament voted yesterday to amend the law on political participation to ban high-ranking members of the former regime from running in the presidential elections. The amendment would disqualify Omar Suleiman and Ahmad Shafiq, but will certainly be challenged in court. Today the Muslim Brotherhood has called for a “Defending the Revolution” rally in Tahrir that is really a protest against Suleiman’s candidacy. Many youth and protest groups are not participating, though — they’re holding their own rally later this month. The MB is reaping the mistrust it has sowed over the last year. They didn’t seem to think the revolution needed any defending when kids were getting maimed and shot and young women dragged across the ground and jumped up and down on by soldiers earlier this year.  

The government in Tehran has announced that it has halted oil exports to Greece and Spain, and confirmed that it is looking into taking similar action against Italy and Germany. These steps come ahead of a US and Western oil embargo set to be implemented against Iran on the 1st of July. According to the Thursday edition of the Arab-Iranian newspaper, Kayhan, Iran described the decision to impose the embargo as a ‘failure’, asserting that it will backfire as oil is an indispensable strategic commodity in light of the economic crisis devastating the Euro Zone. Moreover, the faltering economic situation in the US has pushed Washington to lift sanctions in 11 countries which target institutions that contribute to the export of Iranian oil.

‘Iran to up gas exports via new pipeline’
Iran’s ambassador to Dushanbe says the Islamic Republic is planning to export gas to Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and China via a new pipeline.


Iran and world powers begin nuclear talks
Istanbul meeting brings negotiators back to table more than a year since previous talks collapsed without agreement.

US-Israel Deal to Demand Qom Closure Threatens Nuclear Talks, Gareth Porter
The Barack Obama administration has adopted a demand in the negotiations with Iran beginning Saturday that its Fordow enrichment facility must be shut down and eventually dismantled based on an understanding with Israel that risks the collapse of the negotiations.
The Iranian authorities must quash a court ruling sentencing a Tehran woman to four and a half years in prison based on her peaceful human rights activities, Amnesty International said today.  On 4 April, the Revolutionary Court notified Mansoureh Behkish’s lawyers that she had been sentenced on charges of “propaganda against the system” and “gathering and colluding with intent to harm national security” for her work with the group the Mothers of Laleh Park – formerly known as the “Mourning Mothers”.
The vast majority of the Arab public does not believe that Iran poses a threat to the “security of the Arab homeland.” Only 5 percent of respondents named Iran as a source of threat, versus 22 percent who named the U.S. The first place was reserved for Israel, which 51 percent of respondents named as a threat to Arab national security.”   ”Arab societies differed modestly in their answers: The largest percentage viewing Iran as a threat was reported in Lebanon and Jordan (10 percent) and the lowest (1 percent or less) was reported in Egypt, Tunisia, Algeria, Mauritania, and the Sudan. Even when respondents were asked about the state that poses the greatest threat to their particular country, the pattern held: Iran (7 percent), U.S. (14 percent), and Israel (35 percent). Interestingly, while Saudi Arabia is often cited as the primary Arab state in support of belligerence against Iran, the data indicate that this view doesn’t seem to extend to its public. In the Saudi Arabian sample, only 8 percent believed that Iran presents a threat — a lower percentage even than that which viewed the U.S. as a source of threat (13 percent).
It’s a policy fierce enough to cause great suffering among Iranians  — and possibly in the long run among Americans, too.  It might, in the  end, even deeply harm the global economy and yet, history tells us, it  will fail on its own.  Economic war led by Washington (and encouraged by  Israel) will not take down the Iranian government or bring it to the  bargaining table on its knees ready to surrender its nuclear program.   It might, however, lead to actual armed conflict with incalculable  consequences.   
Since Mike Wallace passed away we’ve run a few pieces highlighting his coverage of Israel/Palestine. But not all of his work was exemplary. From Nima Shirazi’s March 2010 piece entitled, “ ‘Néjàd Vu, All Over Again: The Media, Pretext, Context, & 9/11“:  In early August 2006, Iranian President Ahmadinejad was interviewed on the CBS program 60 Minutes by veteran journalist Mike Wallace. A heavily-edited, hour-long version of the discussion, featuring overdubbed narration by Wallace, was broadcast nationally. In response to Wallace’s question about Ahmadinejad’s supposed proposal to “wipe Israel off the map” (which Wallace claimed the Iranian President had “said time and again”), Ahmadinejad replied, “I think that the Israeli government is a fabricated government.” Wallace then editorialized (via post-production voice-over) that this “fabrication” of Israel followed the Holocaust, “which [Ahmadinejad]’s said may also have been fabricated,” and continued, “Last December, Ahmadinejad said the Europeans had created a myth of the Holocaust.”

Gunmen kill seven Shi’ite pilgrims in Iraq ambushes
BAGHDAD (Reuters) – Armed men killed seven Shi’ite pilgrims in ambushes on Friday, police and hospital sources said, in the latest attacks to highlight underlying sectarian and ethnic tensions in Iraq. Political tensions in the country have been high since U.S. troops withdrew in December, when Shi’ite Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki’s government moved against two top Sunni officials – seeking the arrest of Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi and the removal of Deputy Prime Minister Saleh al-Mutlaq.

Six police killed in Iraq attacks
Gunmen ambushed a police patrol in northern Iraq on Thursday, killing two policemen and three civilians, while a bomb in central Iraq killed an eight-year-old girl, security officials said.


Bomb kills one, wounds 14 in Iraq: sources
4 others wounded on Saturday when a sticky bomb exploded near a vegetable market in Iraq’s mainly Sunni Salahuddin province, local security and hospital sources said. The explosion occurred in the town of Baiji, home to Iraq’s biggest oil refinery, 180 km (112 miles) north of Baghdad, the sources said. A source in the Salahuddin operations command said the bomb had been attached to a vegetable cart belonging to a police officer who worked at the market when he was off duty.


Iraq political blocs accuse PM of dictatorship
Key political factions accused the premier of moving towards a dictatorship with the arrest of Iraq’s electoral commission chief, a charge the prime minister denied on Saturday.

Iraq: Sadrists And Kurds Denounce Election Commission Arrests
Both the Sadrists and Kurds have come out against the arrests of two election commission officials who were picked up on corruption charges this week. Meanwhile, at least 13 Iraqis were killed and 28 more were wounded in the latest violence.


Iraq probes possible Arab summit corruption
The Iraqi parliament is investigating possible corruption in preparations for the Arab summit which Baghdad hosted in March at a cost of hundreds of millions of dollars, an MP said Saturday.


Robert Fisk: The Baghdad street of books that refuses to die
Saad Tahr Hussein rushes me through the narrow alleyway towards Mutanabbi Street, where the concrete wall in front of the central bank hems in the pedestrians. About a thousand Iraqis briefly see – or don’t notice – the sly shade of a Brit as he stumbles down the alley. Then, in the square where the statue of old Marouf al-Rasafi, poet and history-debunker under British colonial rule, glares at the crowds, we turn left into the street of books.

The final part of this series goes back to when the groundwork was laid in order to build the system of death. For the fractured framework of a new Iraq to exist, the old state structure had to be destroyed.
This year was no different than previous ones. Mother are still waiting for news, any news, concerning the destiny of their children. They stood in unity with aged photos of their then young offsprings in their now wrinkled hands. A bohemian art display depicts the stains of the 15 year civil war. The bus that sparked the whole ordeal was also on display. Another bus, a reincarnation of the previous, was parked on the demarcation line in Beirut, filled with historical books that stand as a witness to the atrocities committed.
The biggest of the Lebanese Civil War’s open wounds is the one concerning the disappeared. Thousands of families do not know the fate of their relatives who disappeared at different stages of the conflict.

It was Tuesday 17 June 1982 at 5am when Mariam al-Saeedi’s life and that of her family was turned upside down. Al-Saeedi’s son went missing during clashes between a group from his political party, on one hand, and the Israeli army and collaborating Lebanese militias, on the other.

Al-Akhbar visited General Michel Aoun for a day, not to talk about contentious political issues like the squandering of public funds or even his relations with certain political parties, but to peek into his day-to-day life, the fate of his political movement, and his legacy.
Syrian troops, rebels step up attacks, killing 9
Syrian troops and rebel gunmen carried out attacks across Syria on Saturday, killing at least nine people in a surge of violence that threatened a U.N.-brokered cease-fire. The bloodshed came as the U.N. Security Council considered whether to send the first wave of military observers to monitor the fragile truce between the two sides.

Syria: First Round of a Ceasefire

The Syrian crisis is reaching a point similar to what Lebanon witnessed in the first few months of its long civil war. The period known as the “two-year war” included numerous Arab and international initiatives.  The Vatican was there with Cardinal Paolo Bertoli, followed by Monsignor Mario Brini; the French with Maurice Couve de Murville then Georges Gorse; the Americans with Dean Brown; the Arab League with its General Secretary Mahmoud Riad; and finally the United Nations Secretary General Kurt Waldheim.

Syrians want ceasefire to hold but fear it will fail
Syrians voiced hope that a UN-backed ceasefire that came into force Thursday would last, but expressed fear that the government and the rebels were unlikely to commit for good.

UN approves Syria ceasefire monitors 
The first group of 30 United Nations monitors is expected to arrive in Syria shortly, after the security council unanimously approved their mission. Their role will be to check on the ceasefire as part of the peace plan put forward by UN envoy Kofi Annan. The fighting was supposed to stop last Thursday – but activists have reported more violence and more killing. Al Jazeera’s Kristen Saloomey reports from the UN headquarters in New York City.
The UN Security Council moved on Thursday to authorize the deployment of unarmed monitors to Syria in a bid to rehabilitate a ceasefire under threat from continued violence in the country. Both Syrian government and opposition sources traded accusations of further violence, with Syria’s official news agency, SANA, reporting on the assassination of an officer in Jaramana, Damascus countryside, as well as a Baath Party official in the southern city of Deraa.

UN Security Council still at odds over Syria
Council fails to vote on resolution to send advance observer mission into country as Russia objects to US-drafted text.

A Russian news agency reported on Friday that Moscow had decided to keep a warship on patrol off Syria for the foreseeable future, but a military source said Russia’s naval presence in the eastern Mediterranean had “nothing to do” with Syria. The conflicting signals came during a fragile ceasefire in Syria, which buys Russian weapons and has been shielded from UN Security Council condemnation over its bloody clampdown on its opponents by Russian vetoes.

The Syrian Army’s outlaw Executions
Jack Serle writes at the Bureau of Investigative Journalism: Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International have published eight formal reports on Syrian human rights violations since the rebellion began. These have appeared alongside almost daily statements and calls for action over the abuses meted out on civilians. And yet the violence has continued for more than a year. Compiled from interviews with more than 30 witnesses, Human Rights Watch’s report In Cold Blood documents the summary and extrajudicial executions of at least 101 people from the end of 2011 to March this year.

UN and Arab League Special Envoy to Syria Kofi Annan and the Syrian foreign ministry recently aimed to reach a consensus on common standards to begin implementation of the six-point peace plan. The focus in this period will be stopping the fighting and a “cessation of armed violence…with an effective United Nations supervision mechanism.”

Syria and the Usual Suspects
The usual suspects are at it again — doing their damnedest to escalate a war they have no intention of either fighting in or paying for themselves, and to involve you in it. US Senators John McCain (R-AZ) and Joe Lieberman (of the “Connecticut for Lieberman” Party, in which the ordering of names conveys his boundless sense of personal entitlement) visited Turkey this week for a photo opp with officers of the “Free Syrian Army” and to grandstand for further US intervention in Syria’s year-long “civil” war.

Calm Before Greater Storm in Syria, Stephen Lendman
Previous articles stressed Washington’s longstanding regime change plans in Syria. Independent sovereign states aren’t tolerated. Replacing them with pro-Western ones is policy. All means are used. They include punishing sanctions, color revolutions, violent coups, subversion, cyberwar, targeted assassinations, armed insurgencies, and war if other methods failed.

Other Arab & World News

Amnesty joins calls to free Saudi ‘hunger striker’
Amnesty International on Friday called for the release of a human rights activist who has reportedly been on hunger strike in a Saudi jail for five weeks.

 “CNN contributor salutes Marines for urinating on dead Afghans (AUDIO)”
“The video of American marines urinating on the corpses of Afghan civilians has prompted worldwide outrage, condemnation from the White House and the opening of a federal investigation. CNN’s Dana Loesch thinks the whole thing is pretty cool, though.  Loesch, the 33-year-old CNN contributor hired last year to offer political analysis for the coming election, is already giving the network their money’s worth. Speaking during her own syndicated radio program on Thursday, Loesch discussed the just-surfaced video that shows four Marines urinating on the corpses of slain Afghans, presumed to be civilians. Her own insight seems to be a bit more harsh than the commentary that others are offering.  “I’d drop trou and do it too,” Loesch told listeners during the January 12 broadcast of The Dana Show. “I want a million ‘cool points’ for these guys. Is that harsh to say?” she asked.  Loesch, who says she was a liberal until the September 11 terrorist attack, added that she had no problem with the act of desecration. “Come on people, this is a war,” she said. On the contrary, even those responsible for continuously waging the deadly operation in Afghanistan have condemned the act portrayed in the video and all the men involved.”

Slight rise in U.S. military sex assault cases
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The number of sexual assault cases reported to U.S. military authorities edged up last year, with most involving a member of the armed forces attacking another, the Pentagon said in an annual report released on Friday. The 3,192 cases in 2011 amounted to a 1 percent increase over the 3,158 reported in 2010. Some 56 percent of the cases involved one service member attacking another, 26 percent a member of the military attacking a civilian, 6 percent a civilian attacking a service member and 12 percent an unidentified person attacking a service member, the report said.


One Response

  1. Fredblogs
    April 16, 2012, 2:58 pm

    Yeah, that rings true, multiple, full grown soldiers “severely beat him” and he had “moderate injuries”. He probably hurt himself when he fell off the armored vehicle.

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