Israeli forces attempt to arrest 2-1/2-year-old Palestinian

ActivismIsrael/PalestineMiddle EastUS Politics
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Israeli forces attempt to arrest 2-year-old Palestinian child, Linah Alsaafin
Mo’men Shtayeh probably owns a John Cena shirt, the WWE wrestler who the Palestinian kids hero worship, their shrill voices echoing in neighborhood streets of Cena’s catchphrase, “You can’t see me!” accompanied with waving a hand in front of their faces. Mo’men Shtayeh has seen and knows too much. There is a chance—nay, a probability— that due to witnessing the Israeli army’s brutality and severe oppression in his village of Kufr Qaddoum, Mo’men might have grown up to be a warmongering Islamist (or perversely, a Tea Partier). Mo’men Shtayeh represents a threat to the security of the Israeli racist occupying state. Apparently, it is well known that due to his savvy nature, Mo’men has been involved in drawing up specialized blue prints to attack enemy bases. So it all makes perfect sense that the most moral army in the world, the Israeli Defense Forces, the 4th strongest army, the upholders of the beacon of democracy and godly light, tried to arrest Mo’men on Monday, April 2nd. The thing is, Mo’men is two-and-a-half years old.

Ethnic Cleansing / Land Theft & Destruction / Theft of Resources / Refugees / Exile

New Tenders in Har Homa C Aiming at the Two States Solution
It seems to me that Netanyahu decided really to kill the two states solution. He continues with his plan to bloc between Bethlehem and the southern Palestinian neighborhoods of East Jerusalem so that no Palestinian capital will be able to be established in East Jerusalem. Today (4/4/12) Tenders for 800 housing units were issued in Har Homa C, and another 72  in Har Homa B.

Israel Plans Theft of 10% More West Bank Land, Stephen Lendman
Israel occupies Gaza, East Jerusalem, and the West Bank illegally. Its settlements, closed military zones, tourist sites, and commercial areas control over 40% of the West Bank, including its most valued resource rich parts – notably water. Its expanding settlements steal more. When completed, its Separation Wall will control about 12% of the West Bank. In 2004, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruled it illegal.

Uprooting 30,000 Bedouin in Israel, Neve Gordon
‘It is not every day that a government decides to relocate almost half a per cent of its population in a programme of forced urbanisation,’ Rawia Aburabia asserted, adding that ‘this is precisely what Prawer wants to do.’ The meeting, which was attempting to coordinate various actions against the Prawer Plan, had just ended, and Rawia, an outspoken Bedouin leader who works for the Association for Civil Rights in Israel, was clearly upset. She realised that the possibility of changing the course of events was extremely unlikely and that, at the end of the day, the government would uproot 30,000 Negev Bedouin and put them in townships. This would result in an end to their rural way of life and would ultimately deprive them of their livelihood and land rights.

Settlers pitch tent near Machpelah house
Settlers who claim they are rightful owners of Hebron property say they will remain in tent until allowed to reenter home.,7340,L-4213103,00.html

Israel’s Finance Minister: Financial assistance to settlements grew significantly during my term
Yuval Steinitz says ministry had to compensate for construction freeze and ‘discrimination’ against settlements due to international pressure.

Lieberman: IDF eviction of Hebron settlers could threaten stability of Netanyahu coalition
Foreign Minister criticizes conduct of Defense Minister Ehud Barak; says Yisrael Beiteinu has made decisive efforts to keep coalition together.

Palestinians deny sale of Machpelah house
Palestinian family who lived in contested Hebron property says it never sold it to anyone; settlers forged ownership papers.,7340,L-4212149,00.html

Palestinians, leftists try to take over Hebron house
Security forces evacuate 20 Palestinians, left-wing activists from house located one kilometer from Machpelah house. Palestinians: We have permit from Civil Administration.,7340,L-4212724,00.html

Army Constructs Outpost On Mt. Olive
Fkahri Abu Thiab of the Wadi Hilweh Information Center in Silwan, in occupied East Jerusalem, stated that Israeli soldiers have concluded the establishment of an outpost near the “Seven Arches Hotel” on Mount Olive, in occupied East Jerusalem, the Palestine News & Info Agency, WAFA, reported.

Israel causes $66 million worth of damage to EU-funded aid projects, Charlotte Silver
new report by the European Commission indicates that 82 humanitarian aid projects that it funded in the West Bank and Gaza Strip were destroyed or damaged by Israeli military attacks between 2001-2011.

‘Prawer Plan’ to uproot Bedouins shows folly of the phrase ‘democratic Israel’, Alex Kane
Peter Beinart’s pro-settlement boycott article in the New York Times has rightly been critiqued from the left for ignoring the fact that “Israel is only a ‘genuine democracy’ for its Jewish citizens,” as Adam Horowitz put it . A close look at the Israeli government’s Prawer Plan, which calls for the forced relocation of tens of thousands of citizens of Israel, further shows why the notion of a “democratic Israel” is a farce.

Kifl Hares and the Settler Partying
Kifl Hares is a Palestinian village in the northern West Bank, located six kilometers west of Salfit and 18km south of Nablus in the Salfit Governorate, northwest of the illegal Israeli settlement of Ariel.

Look How Unequally Water Is Divided In The Middle East
IsraelTHE southern provinces on Lebanon’s border with Israel fare worse than the rest of the country by most measures. Water is one thing in short supply. Swathes of fertile farming land sit idle. Officials say the lack of water is partly to blame for the region’s underdevelopment. While Lebanon as a whole has water in abundance, the south’s rivers are shared with Israel which gets the lion’s share. This is nothing new, but a new study has sketched out the extent of the imbalance for the first time.

UNRWA deletes 169,000 Palestinian refugees from its records
The organisation for Palestinian refugees and their right of return, Thabet, has expressed grave concern that the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) has deleted 169,000 refugees from its records for 2011. Thabet condemned the move. In a statement sent to Quds Press, the organisation explained that the statistics at the beginning of 2011 noted the details of 4,797,724 registered refugees, whereas the records for 2010 had included 4,966,664. The details of 168,940 registered refugees are missing. Thabet said, “The names of 19,219 refugees from Lebanon, 9,024 refugees from Syria, 19,886 refugees from Jordan, 211 refugees from Gaza and 121,023 refugees from the West Bank have been removed.”

Relatives of released hunger-striker travel to Gaza
GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — The family of deported former prisoner Hana Shalabi arrived in the Gaza Strip on Wednesday to visit her in hospital, after she spent 43 days on hunger strike in jail.  Shalabi’s mother, father, and uncle traveled to the coastal strip via the Rafah crossing with Egypt, and visited Shalabi in Al-Quds hospital in Gaza City, a Ma’an correspondent said. Shalabi, 29, is from Burqin village in the northern West Bank. She arrived in the Gaza Strip on Sunday under a deal to end her hunger strike protesting Israel’s administrative detention policy.

Syria War Triggers Rifts in Palestinian Camps in Lebanon
The camps are becoming “more and more of a battlefield” between those who are for or against the Assad regime in Syria.
Gaza Siege

Palestinian Authority supplies fuel to Gaza
Fuel began arriving in Gaza on Wednesday as per a new deal between the territory’s Hamas government and the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank, an official said. “Tanks of fuel holding 45,000 liters each entered through the Kerem Shalom crossing this morning,” Raed Futuh, the coordinator on the Palestinian side of the crossing, told AFP. “We’re expecting about 430,000 liters of industrial fuel for the electricity plant today,” he added.

Abu Salmiya: Palestinian patients in Gaza in danger of death
Palestinian patients in the Gaza Strip are in danger of death due to the continued power crisis in the enclave for the second month running, Adham Abu Salmiya said.

Israeli Violence and Raids

Video: Israeli Army Invades and Closes University Community Media Center
For the second time in two months, the Israeli authorities have invaded, searched and prevented the functioning of Al-Quds University’s Institute of Modern Media. This time, they prevented skype contact for an event taking place simultaneously in Jerusalem and Ramallah. Today, at 12:55 pm local time, plain clothes police arrived at the offices of the Institute of Modern Media, at Al-Quds University, in the old city of Jerusalem. University faculty and students and invited guests had gathered at the location to launch Hona Al-Quds (“Jerusalem is Here” an online multi-media community network focusing on Jerusalem. After mingling with the guests for about fifteen minutes, without any warning, the police locked the office doors, shutting some guest inside and some outside, ransacked the offices, and collected the identification documents of all those inside the building. The building was by that time surrounded by soldiers. They presented those outside with an order in Hebrew, signed by the Israeli Minister for Internal Security, forbidding the launch event on the grounds that it was a “PA” event, i.e. organized by the Palestinian Authority. This was despite the fact that Honaalquds is clearly a part of Al-Quds University, since 1996, recognized as an independent NGO by the Israeli authorities. The Israelis arrested two Al-Quds University employees: Adel Ruished, Administrative Director of Jerusalem Affairs, and Mohannad Izheman, University security guard. Since then, Mr Izheman has been released with a summons to return tomorrow and Mr Ruished is being held at the central Israeli police station.

Israeli forces raid Kafr Qaddum
QALQILIYA (Ma’an) — Israeli forces raided the northern West Bank village of Kafr Qaddum before dawn on Thursday and detained locals and two police officers, witnesses said. Witnesses said soldiers detained police officers Thaer Shteiwi, 38, and Riyad Shteiwi, 38, and 18 other residents including four minors. An Israeli army spokesman said 10 villagers were detained and taken for security questioning. Locals told Ma’an that soldiers ransacked several homes during the raid and stole jewelry worth 8000 Jordanian dinars ($11,200) from Ata Shteiwi’s home.

Investigate death, injuries from live firing during Land Day demonstrations in Gaza
B’Tselem wrote to the Military Police and the Military Advocate General Corps requesting they launch a Military Police Investigation into the death of a Palestinian demonstrator and the wounding of dozens of others when live ammunition was used against protesters during a Land Day demonstration in the Gaza Strip on Friday, 30 March 2012.

Group leaks EU report on Israeli settler violence suppressed by Dutch government, Ali Abunimah
A European Union report on Israeli settler attacks against Palestinians, that was suppressed at the insistence of Dutch foreign minister Uri Rosenthal, has been published today by a nongovernmental group.

Illegal Arrests by Israel and the PA / Administrative Detainees / Prisoner News

Israeli forces attempt to arrest 2-year-old Palestinian child, Linah Alsaafin
Mo’men Shtayeh probably owns a John Cena shirt, the WWE wrestler who the Palestinian kids hero worship, their shrill voices echoing in neighborhood streets of Cena’s catchphrase, “You can’t see me!” accompanied with waving a hand in front of their faces. Mo’men Shtayeh has seen and knows too much. There is a chance—nay, a probability— that due to witnessing the Israeli army’s brutality and severe oppression in his village of Kufr Qaddoum, Mo’men might have grown up to be a warmongering Islamist (or perversely, a Tea Partier). Mo’men Shtayeh represents a threat to the security of the Israeli racist occupying state. Apparently, it is well known that due to his savvy nature, Mo’men has been involved in drawing up specialized blue prints to attack enemy bases. So it all makes perfect sense that the most moral army in the world, the Israeli Defense Forces, the 4th strongest army, the upholders of the beacon of democracy and godly light, tried to arrest Mo’men on Monday, April 2nd. The thing is, Mo’men is two-and-a-half years old.

IOF soldiers arrested 38 Palestinians in Nablus in March including 11 children
The Israeli occupation forces (IOF) arrested 38 Palestinians in Nablus province in March including 11 children, the Tadamoun foundation for human rights, said in a statement on Thursday.

IOF soldiers arrest 20 Palestinians in Qalqilia village

Israeli occupation forces (IOF) stormed the village of Kafr Kaddoum in Qalqilia and rounded up 20 Palestinian citizens, local sources said.

Quds Press calls on Israel to release its West Bank correspondent
Quds Press International News Agency has expressed its gravest concern over the fate of its West Bank correspondent, Muhammad Anwar Muna, after he was detained by the Israeli occupation forces yesterday. On Tuesday, Israeli forces raided the home of Mr Muna in the eastern suburb of Nablus and arrested him. A release from Quds Press condemned what it described as an ‘outrageous’ and unjustified act of aggression against the freedom of expression and the intimidation of the journalist’s family. The Agency’s statement added that it held the Israeli authorities responsible for the safety and wellbeing of its journalist, who it says is renowned for his professionalism.  It called for his immediate release.

Female journalist in PA jail carried to hospital
Palestinian journalist Esmat Abdulkhaleq, who has been held in PA custody for a week, was rushed to hospital after her health deteriorated.

CPJ condemns arrest of Palestinian journalists
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — The Committee to Protect Journalists on Wednesday condemned the Palestinian Authority’s recent arrest of journalists who challenged the government, calling it “anti-press” behavior. “It is ironic that Palestinian leaders, who for years have benefited from independent media coverage, should now try to stifle their own critical journalists,” said CPJ deputy director Robert Mahoney. “The Palestinian Authority should stop muzzling journalists and scouring social media posts looking for critics to punish.” Yousef al-Shayeb, of the Jordanian daily Al-Ghad, was held for a week before a court ordered his release on bail. Tariq Khamis, of Zaman press, was briefly held for questioning about a separate case.

What happens when a Palestinian journalist dares criticize the Palestinian Authority?, Amira Hass
Palestinian journalist Yusuf Al-Shayeb dared raise suspicions of corruption at the PA’s mission in France. Now he languishes in a Ramallah cell.

Captives on hunger strike transferred to solitary
As a punishment for his hunger strike, the Prison Administration transferred him two days ago from the Zionist Megiddo Prison to solitary confinement and fined him NIS 1,000 for each day of strike. 
MP Beitawi dies in hospital after IOA refused his travel abroad for treatment
MP Hamed Al-Beitawi died in Makased hospital in occupied Jerusalem on Wednesday after the Israeli occupation authority refused to allow him travel for medical treatment in Jordan.

IOA renews administrative detention of Hamas MP
The Israeli occupation authority (IOA) on Tuesday renewed the administrative detention of Al-Khalil MP Hatem Qufaisha for six months.

19 year old released from prison
Yousef Abu Hashem was yesterday released after six months in prison. He was arrested in October 2011, in the middle of the night by brutal soldiers with dogs, most likely because of his active participation during demonstrations in Beit Ommar. Yesterday he was back with his own family and friends. The car he was riding in joined a cortege of cars with flags and fireworks waiting for him two hundred meters inside Beit Ommar. They continued up the main street with noise from fireworks, shouting and car horns, then doing a lap of honor up-town before driving down towards the house of the young man’s family.

Solidarity / Activism / Popular Protests

International symposium on Palestinian prisoners held in Gaza
An international symposium on the thousands of Palestinians still detained in Israeli jails has been held in Gaza. The event was attended by European parliamentarians, human rights activists and journalists, in addition to Arab experts on prisoners’ affairs. The European Network for the Defence of Palestinian Prisoners’ Rights, which organised the symposium, said that the European delegation was joined by other international researchers specialising in the law, detention and torture. The agenda included discussions on Palestinian political prisoners and detainees, the arrest of MPs, the detention of children and women, the physical and psychological torture of Palestinian prisoners, and the international movement for solidarity with the prisoners.

Pro-Palestinian groups plan April 15 mass arrival in Israel
‘More than 1,000 activists with European and other passports intend to fly to Israel’s Ben-Gurion Airport for a Land Day event,’ organizer tells Haaretz.

Swedish activists plan new Gaza convoy
‘Ship to Gaza Sweden’ says will launch aid convoy by year’s end in protest of blockade imposed on Strip,7340,L-4212065,00.html

AICafe 5.4: Resistance from within with Israeli activist Sahar Vardi
Please join us at the AICafe on Thursday 5 April at 8.00 p.m. for a presentation and discussion about Resistance from Within with Israeli activist Sahar Vardi.

Anti-Zionist rabbis visit southern Lebanon, following invitations from pro-Palestinian activists. 

BDS / Anti-BDS

Palestinian Appeal: Boycott INjustice Conference at Hebrew U!
The Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) urges international legal scholars and professionals to boycott the Minerva Jerusalem Conference on Transitional Justice.

“Sí, se puede!” : Palestinian civil society salutes US Chicano/[email protected] youth for their principled stand in support of BDS
At the 19th annual national conference of M.E.Ch.A. (Movímíento Estudíantíl Chí[email protected] de Aztlán), the largest association of [email protected] youth in the US, chapter leaders voted by a landslide decision to endorse the global call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) on Israel, due to its military occupation and settlement of Palestine. 

Antony Lowenstein lecture at Sydney’s Israeli Apartheid Week 2012

BDS Update: Israel’s Ides of March, Eric Walberg – Cairo
Israeli land confiscations accelerated in the 1970s and led Palestinians to organise the first coordinated demonstrations in the Occupied Territories on 30 March 1976, during which 6 Palestinians were killed. This date has been marked ever since as “Land Day”. The secret Interior Ministry Koenig Memorandum, written shortly after the 1976 Land Day rallies, called for “diluting existing Arab population concentrations” to “ensure the long-term Jewish national interests”. This officially marked the implementation of Ben Gurion’s plans of ethnic cleansing to make Israel a de facto Jewish state. Treatment of native Arab Muslims and Christians ever since merely confirms this policy, with forced Jewish loyalty oaths and second class services and laws for non-Jews.

Armed Resistance

Rocket From Sinai Lands in Israel
JERUSALEM — At least one rocket fired from the Sinai Peninsula in Egypt struck the southern Israeli resort city of Eilat overnight, causing alarm but no injuries, police officials said on Thursday. Residents reported hearing several explosions shortly after midnight, and bomb-disposal experts located one rocket that fell in an open area close to buildings in a residential neighborhood.

Racism and Discrimination

Teenagers abuse refugee, film act
Five teenagers suspected of savagely beating refugee in abandoned Jaffa house. Video of act found on one of the suspects’ cell phone.,7340,L-4212868,00.html

In an exclusive holiday interview, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu blames ‘monopolies and cartels’ – and government – for the increases in food prices.

Other News and Developments

ICC Prosecutor statement: Fears over justice for Gaza victims
A “dangerous” statement by the office of International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutor that it cannot consider allegations of crimes committed during the 2008-9 Gaza conflict means Palestinian and Israeli victims seem likely to be denied justice, Amnesty International said. The Office of the Prosecutor today said that it cannot consider allegations of crimes committed during the conflict unless the relevant UN bodies or ICC states parties determine that the Palestinian Authority is a state. “This dangerous decision opens the ICC to accusations of political bias and is inconsistent with the independence of the ICC. It also breaches the Rome Statute which clearly states that such matters should be considered by the institution’s judges,” said Marek Marczyński, Head of Amnesty International’s International Justice campaign.

Shady Companies With Ties to Israel Wiretap the U.S. for the NSA
Army General Keith Alexander, the director of the NSA, is having a busy year — hopping around the country, cutting ribbons at secret bases and bringing to life the agency’s greatly expanded eavesdropping network. In January he dedicated the new $358 million CAPT Joseph J. Rochefort Building at NSA Hawaii, and in March he unveiled the 604,000-square-foot John Whitelaw Building at NSA Georgia. Designed to house about 4,000 earphone-clad intercept operators, analysts and other specialists, many of them employed by private contractors, it will have a 2,800-square-foot fitness center open 24/7, 47 conference rooms and VTCs, and “22 caves,” according to an NSA brochure from the event. No television news cameras were allowed within two miles of the ceremony.

German Nobel laureate Guenter Grass’ new poem: Nuclear Israel is a threat to world peace
Grass publishes a poem criticizing Israel’s role in the Israel-Iran conflict; the poem, called ‘What must be said’ will be published in newspapers around the world on Wednesday.

Israel’s Netanyahu to meet Palestinian PM Fayyad
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will meet next week with Palestinian prime minister Salam Fayyad, Israeli and Palestinian officials said on Wednesday.

Abbas to accuse Netanyahu government of undermining Palestinian Authority

Barak Ravid – Haaretz – According to both Israeli and Palestinian sources, an envoy headed by Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad will deliver the letter, which places responsibility for the freeze in negotiations on Israel, during a meeting with Netanyahu over the Passover holiday.

Israeli Parallel Universe: ‘Arabs should accept responsibility for Jewish refugees’

Deputy FM Daniel Ayalon urges Arab world to acknowledge historic liability for displacing Jews who once lived in Arab nations; creating Palestinian refugee problem by warring with Israel.,7340,L-4212139,00.html

Israeli, Palestinian negotiators meet in Jordan
Amman’s Foreign Ministry says Yitzhak Molcho, Saeb Erekat resume preliminary peace talks in effort to break deadlock.,7340,L-4213067,00.html

Jordan’s crown prince holds secret visit to Temple Mount
King Abdullah’s eldest son escorted around Temple Mount by Israeli security forces, may also visit Cave of Patriarchs.,7340,L-4212637,00.html

Analysis / Op-ed / Human Interest

The Arab spring has shaken Arab TV’s credibility,  Ali Hashem
Their biased coverage is undermining viewers’ faith in the Middle Eastern satellite channels that sprang up in the 1990s and 2000s. Twenty-two years ago my father, a Lebanese immigrant in Sierra Leone, bought a huge satellite dish with tens of channels to replace the radio that we had used to listen to the BBC’s Arabic service. I was only 10 at the time but I remember people gathering at our place to see CNN’s coverage of Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait. People always saw CNN as representing America, but still they wanted to know what was happening. This continued with the US-led intervention to liberate Kuwait.

The Decline of Political Islam in the Arab World, Asad AbuKhalil
After more than one year of political transformation in the Arab world, it is not premature to declare the beginning of decline of the Arab Islamists.

Dear Abu Mazen: End This Farce!
Do not hesitate for a moment! Do not accept the request of President Obama, who merely wants to be left undisturbed before election day. Do not let Prime Minister Netanyahu hide behind the fig leaf of the Palestinian Authority — impose upon him, once again, the responsibility for the fate of 4 million Palestinians. Remain as the head of the Palestine Liberation Organization, which will give you the authority to lead the political negotiations if and when they resume.
But for the sake of your own people, and for the sake of peace, you cannot let this farce continue.
“ICC was a hoax from the start”: How the rules were broken to deny justice to Israel’s victims in Gaza, Ali Abunimah
The International Criminal Court (ICC) “was a hoax from the start.” So said Michael Mandel, a professor at Osgoode Hall Law School at York University in Toronto, in response to the ICC Prosecutor’s shocking decision yesterday to refuse jurisdiction over Gaza war crimes without even referring the matter to judges.

ICC Office of the Prosecutor decides not to open investigations into situation of Palestine.  The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) issued a statement Wednesday expressing its extreme disappointment following the decision by the Office of the Prosecutor at the International Criminal Court (ICC) not to open an investigation on the situation in Palestine.  
ICC Absolves Israeli Lawlessness, Steve Lendman
Established by the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC) on July 1, 2002, it’s mandated to prosecute individuals for genocide and aggression, as well as crimes or war and against humanity. Instead, it functions solely as an imperial tool. It supports wealth and power. It targets independent states Washington and other Western nations oppose. In the process, it lets America and rogue NATO powers get away with murder.
My local MP, Henry Bellingham, is a Foreign Office minister whose responsibilities include the United Nations, the International Criminal Court and conflict resolution. I take this to mean he’s tasked with keeping the British Government on the straight-and-narrow as regards international law, with ensuring dutiful conformity with the UN’s Charter and numerous resolutions, with saving our warmongering hotheads from the calaboose in The Hague, and with treading the path of peace at all times.
The IDF calls it ‘the escalation of means’. That is: the use of all the Alfa (riot control measures) in the arsenal.  They also call it ‘non-lethal weapons’. The first are the stun grenades; one of these non-lethal grenades landed less than half a meter away from me. It wasn’t a “direct shot”. Afterwards, it was time for the rubber bullets, which are also a “non-lethal weapon” that had killed not once and not twice before, and that on that day had injured tens of those participating in the demonstration. Then the gas grenades came. And as finale, for pudding, they brought in the worst of them all, ‘Skunk’. 

‘German GQ’ gets a political story American media have ignored: Palestinian youth, Allison Deger
“Hidden from the news cycle of endless peace negotiations and fears of impeding violence in the region, non-aligned political activists are perfecting forms of civil disobedience,” writes Joseph Dana for the April 2012 issue of German GQ magazine. Dana continues, the new youth movement believes these demonstrations “will form the backbone of the next chapter in the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians.” For his article, titled “Spring in Palestine,” Dana tagged along in the West Bank with Palestinian activists Diana Alzeer and Fadi Quran. Alzeer is a Ramallah-based organizer with a devoted Twitter following under the handle @ManaraRam and Fadi Quran (@FadiQuran) is the Stanford graduate who is best known for participating in the Palestinian Freedom Rides with the long-time Palestinian human rights advocate, Huwaida Araf.
The extreme left is whoever endeavors toward a single state – the plundering settlers, the establishment that embraces them and the majority of Israelis, who do not lift a finger to stop them. 

What Marwan Barghouti Really Means to Palestinians,  Ramzy Baroud
Last week Marwan Barghouti, the prominent Palestinian political prisoner and Fatah leader, called on Palestinians to launch a ‘large-scale popular resistance’ which would ‘serve the cause of our people.’ The message was widely disseminated as it coincided with Land Day, an event that has unified Palestinians since March 1976. Its meaning has morphed through the years to represent the collective grievances shared by most Palestinians, including dispossession from their land as a result of Israeli occupation.  Barghouti is also a unifying figure among Palestinians. Even at the height of the Hamas-Fatah clashes in 2007, he insisted on unity and shunned factionalism. It is no secret that Barghouti is still a very popular figure in Fatah, to the displeasure of various Fatah leaders, not least Mahmoud Abbas, who heads both the Palestinian Authority and Fatah.. Throughout its indirect prisoners exchange talks with Israel, Hamas insisted on Barghouti’s release. Israel, which had officially charged and imprisoned Barghouti in 2004 for five alleged counts of murder – but more likely because of his leading role in the Second Palestinian Intifada – insisted otherwise.

Palestinian Hunger Strikers for Justice, Stephen Lendman
Hana Shalabi’s ordeal highlights what many others endured previously and dozens do now. Only they know the physical and emotional toll. Who else understands the willingness to die for justice? Who’ll suffer and risk it? Who’ll challenge an implacable foe unconcerned if they live or die? Hana, Khader Adnan, and many others risk everything to live free. They confront injustice courageously for it. They’re willing to die without it. What greater sacrifice than that! What better reason to lend support and honor them. Thousands of Hanas and Khaders rot in Israeli gulags. Recovering from his ordeal, Israel promised to free Khader on April 17, Palestinian Prisoners Day. More on it below. Free or in prison, tormenting Khader won’t end. Nor will Hana’s ordeal or other Palestinians persecuted by Israel’s racist oppression.

Shebab vs the Wall at the Erez Crossing, Johnny Barber
On March 30, 1976, the Palestinian people declared a general strike and demonstrated against the Israeli confiscation of thousands of acres of land in the Galilee. The Israeli’s responded with violence, killing six unarmed Palestinian demonstrators and injuring hundreds. Every year Land Day is commemorated in Palestine in remembrance of those who would rise up to protect their land. On this Land Day, I was at Erez Crossing. Several hundred youth had managed to find their way around the Hamas policemen blocking the roads leading to Erez. At the crossing, they moved to within two hundred yards of the Israeli gate. There they found their path blocked by rows of concertina wire across the road. The shabab set fire to tires in the roadway and threw stones towards the Israeli wall, most falling into the roadway, well short of their target. Intermittently and without warning, the Israeli occupation forces open fire on the stone throwers. Each volley consists of one to three shots, and with each volley, young men fall. Others immediately retrieve them. Dozens of youth mob the wounded. Somehow they manage to carry them through the crowd and load them onto motorcycles where they are ferried to the Palestinian side of the crossing to waiting ambulances.

Leading sociologist says ‘the enemy’ includes ‘disloyal’ individualistic young Jews who push human rights, Philip Weiss
A year ago, an Israeli wrote a piece for Commentary asking whether young rabbinical students are turning on Israel, and last week J Street held an educators’ panel about rabbinical students, and by extension young Jews, questioning Israel. I wanted to pass along the following excerpts of the discussion because you will see how important “loyalty” to Israel is within the American Jewish community. Steven Cohen is the leading sociologist of changes in American Jewish attitudes towards Israel. And here he speaks of human-rights-oriented Jews as “disloyal” individualistic crazy enemies of the Jewish collective– meshugayim (I think; pardon my bad Yiddish).

Only 20% of American Jews Believe Israel is Important Part of Jewish Identity, Richard Silverstein
The news from the American Jewish community isn’t good as far as Israel is concerned (that is, if Israel even cares).  The Public Religion Research Institute, whose board chair is Rabbi David Saperstein, has conducted a wide-ranging survey (full report) of attitudes toward Jewish identity and Israel among American Jews.  If you’re a leader of the affiliated community or an Israeli who believes the Diaspora plays an important role related to Israel, then the news will be disturbing.  This poll follows on a ground-breaking one published by the dean of Jewish demographers, Steven Cohen, in 2007, Beyond Distancing.  I’ll be comparing these polls below to determine if there’s been a progression between the results of the earlier survey and the current one.

The First Amendment Does Not Apply To Israel, MJ Rosenberg
It would be funny if it wasn’t so creepy. An author or journalist can write anything he wants about the United States — or, in fact, about any foreign country — without causing legions of critics to question the propriety of his doing so. That is, unless the subject of the author’s work is Israel. Think about it. Books have accused FDR of having advance knowledge of Pearl Harbor while others argue that the U.S. government — in the form of the FBI, CIA or even Vice President Lyndon Johnson — had President Kennedy killed. In other words, books that accuse U.S. presidents and U.S. government agencies of high treason are okay. This is America, and authors, journalists and bloggers can write what they like. (So long as it isn’t libelous.)

Tear Gas in the Morning, Adam Horowitz
This is a motion comic pitch for the graphic novel Tear Gas in the Morning: A Story of Nonviolent Resistance. Tear Gas in the Morning is the story of Barbara Silverman, a Jewish-American artist volunteering as an activist and human rights worker in the West Bank. The story is loosely based around the authors’ own personal experiences and the experiences of real life Palestinians, Israelis and international volunteers. The story takes place primarily in the West Bank cities of Hebron and Ramallah. As in Art Spiegelman’s Maus, the nationality of the characters in Tear Gas in the Morning is key to understanding the story. Taking a cue from Mr. Spiegelman, we have decided to color Israelis blue, Palestinians red and foreigners purple.

At the heart of the debate over the settlements there was always this question: Whose side are we on – that of the Palestinian subjects of the occupation, or that of the state that oppresses them? 

The Gaza Kitchen cookbook recaptures lost history through food
Grilled sea bream, sour plums and citrus fruits were once the staples of the Gazan diet. In the evenings, families would gather around a plate of fried fish stuffed with dill, accompanied with fragrant, chilli-spiced rice. Now, the daily struggle to put food on the table has forced many Gazans to reinvent their cuisine.


As of the last few days, Mr. AlKhawaja has given up glucose and thus has been hospitalized due to a significant deterioration in his health. Doctors have told his family they expect him to fall asleep into a permanent coma. The Bahraini authorities refuse to acknowledge the severity of Mr. AlKhawaja’s case. More than 50 rights groups have called for his release, yet there has been no response from the government.

Bahraini activist Abdulhadi Alkhawaja has been on a hunger strike for nearly 2 months to protest against the human rights violations of the Bahraini government, including his own life sentence for his role in the pro-democracy movement in Bahrain. The people of Bahrain are suffering and the U.S. has the power to do something. America shouldn’t pick and choose when to support human rights movements based on our own economic interests. Tell Secretary Clinton to ask the Bahraini government to free Abdulhadi Alkhawaja and all the political prisoners in Bahrain! Time is running out for Abdulhadi – act now before it’s too late!

Bahrain transfers hunger striker to prison clinic
An imprisoned Bahraini human rights activist, who has been on a hunger strike for more than 50 days has been moved to a prison clinic for medical observation and care, authorities said Wednesday.

Bahrainis Voice Support for Hunger Striker
Bahrainis staged rallies across the country to express their support of the human rights activists, who has been in Al Khalifa’s prison for months.

Bahrainis hold demos for jailed activist
Bahraini protesters have taken to the streets in several towns and villages across the country to express solidarity with prominent human rights activist Abdulhadi al-Khawaja held in prison, Press TV reports.

After being held at Cairo’s main airport for hours, celebrated Bahraini human rights worker Maryam Al-Khawaja makes downtown conference to relate continued abuses of protesters by the island state’s government.

Bahrain arrests two female activists
Bahraini regime forces have arrested two female activists participating in a demonstration to show solidarity with prominent human rights activist Abdulhadi al-Khawaja in the capital, Manama, Press TV reports.

Bahrain economy battered from inside and out
Prices in the capital city of Manama have risen sharply, partly due to the state of the world economy, but also as a result of the current political instability in Bahrain. Experts have said the world financial crisis in 2007 and 2008, the recent European monetary crisis, and the internal political troubles of 2011 have battered the Bahraini economy. Banks are seeking mergers in order to survive, and the industrial sector has declined by 26.7 per cent, according to a March 2012 report.. Al Jazeera’s Mohammad Vall reports from Manama.

Bahrain’s government must stop killing its people, and listen to them, Ali Alaswad

We in al-Wefaq want only a genuinely democratic constitutional monarchy built on dialogue, not weapons. When 100,000 or more people take to the streets in protest, governments in most parts of the world would see it as a sign that they need to change course – especially in a country with only about 600,000 citizens. But Bahrain is no ordinary country. Its prime minister, Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa, has been in office for more than 40 years and his nephew, King Hamad, insists there is no opposition as such: “We only have people with different views… and now they are talking with their brothers.”

Bahrain culture minister: Critics ‘not real men’
Bahrain’s culture minister is facing demands for her dismissal after calling conservative lawmakers ‘not real men’ for opposing an annual arts festival under way in Manana.

Over the past weeks, as violence is escalating in Bahrain ahead of the F1 Grand Prix, journalists and F1 fans have expressed doubts regarding the CEO of Formula One Management’s claims saying that there is no problem in Bahrain., During the Bahrain Grand Prix media lunch in London last week Bernie Ecclestone said that the media were responsible for spreading false information and compared street battles happening everyday in the Kingdom to hooliganism., Journalist Joe Saward wrote a piece on his blog titled “Worrying developments in Bahrain” where he expresses his concerns regarding the upcoming race considering the situation in Bahrain. A 22-year-old citizen journalist was shot dead on Friday., His piece has received more than 60 comments, most of them from fans saying that considering the recent developments in the island the race should be cancelled.
Bahrain Update
From Angry Arab chief Bahrain correspondent:  ”I’m starting to think that there is no way that the royal family will release AbdulHadi AlKhawaja even though it would be the sane thing for them to do (even from their warped perspective), since having him die (and frankly thats whats going to happen at this point – he’s been on a hunger strike for 55 days I believe) isn’t going to help stability wise especially a few weeks before their beloved Formula One race begins (something I never really cared for from the beginning – how about using that money to actually build the country’s infrastructure like create a good public transportation system). [continues]


Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood tries to woo US support
With PowerPoint presentations and political promises, Egypt’s influential Muslim Brotherhood made its US diplomatic debut this week hoping to persuade Washington that the Islamist group is not a threat to its interests or Israel.  A delegation from the Freedom and Justice Party (FJP), the political wing of the once-banned Islamist movement, has been making the Washington rounds, talking to officials and think tank experts about their growing role as Egypt heads toward presidential elections.

Egyptian government trying to locate American NGO workers
The Egyptian government has asked the U.S. Justice Department to locate and inform American NGO workers that their criminal trials begin in Cairo next week. “The embassy has transmitted a request for judicial assistance to the U.S. government to locate and identify the defendants and notify them of the scheduled date and place of the court hearing on April 10 in Cairo,” a senior Egyptian official told The Cable. “This request is based on an Egypt-U.S. Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty.”

Egypt sends Christian student to jail for insulting Islam
An Egyptian court on Wednesday sentenced a 17-year-old Christian student to three years in jail for publishing cartoons on his Facebook page that mocked Islam and the Prophet Mohammad, actions that sparked sectarian violence. Gamal Abdou Massoud was also accused of distributing some of his cartoons to his school friends in a village in the southern city of Assiut, home to a large Christian population and the hometown of the late Coptic Orthodox Pope Shenouda.


Iran proposes Baghdad as nuclear talks venue
BAGHDAD (Reuters) – Iran has approached Baghdad to host forthcoming talks with six world powers over its disputed nuclear program, Iraq said on Wednesday, apparently departing from plans for an Istanbul meeting following Iranian frictions with Turkey. Iranian media quoted Iranian foreign minister Ali Akbar Salehi as saying the talks could take place in Baghdad or China.

‘India cannot join US-led bans on Iran’
An international relations professor says New Delhi has good ties with Tehran based on shared trade and security interests, making it difficult for India to join the US-led sanctions against Iran.

Iran to double power exports to Turkey
An Iranian Energy Ministry official says the country will increase electricity exports to neighboring Turkey by twofold in the next two months.

Khamenei: scale of world panic shows Iran’s importance
Iran’s supreme leader hailed the ongoing crisis surrounding the country’s nuclear program on Wednesday, saying it showed the importance of Iran in the world. Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said the global powers were trying to destroy Iran, and had supplied Iraq with chemical weapons to bring down the Islamic Republic but all attempts had failed, he said.

Scoop: Israeli Iran Attack to Coincide With Next Israeli Election, Richard Silverstein
A senior Likud politician told my confidential Israeli source that Bibi Netanyahu has decided to delay an Israeli attack on Iran until some weeks or possibly months before the next scheduled Israeli election.  That will happen by October 2013 unless Bibi determines he wants to go to the nation earlier. This is the strategy that Menachem Begin followed in attacking Saddam’s Osirak nuclear plant.  There was a national election scheduled in 1981.  He launched an attack beforehand, it succeeded, and he squeaked by with a victory which might never have happened had he not attacked.


Car bomb kills five in Iraq: officials
A car bomb apparently targeting a local police chief killed five people and wounded 10 in central Iraq on Wednesday morning, police and medical officials said.

Bomb kills TV presenter in central Iraq: spokesman
A “sticky bomb” killed a television presenter working for a local station in Salaheddin province of central Iraq, a provincial spokesman said on Tuesday.

Fugitive Iraqi VP arrives in Saudi Arabia
Tariq al-Hashemi, accused of running death squads against Iraqi Shia officials, leaves Qatar for Saudi Arabia.

More Sunni Arrests Reported As Qatar Rejects Demands To Return Hashemi
Reports are surfacing that an adviser to Parliament Speaker Osama Nujaifi has been arrested on terrorism charges. At least eight Iraqis were killed and three more were wounded in various attacks.

Landmines blocking Iraq’s development: UN
Landmines and unexploded ordinance are inhibiting development in Iraq, one of countries worst-affected by such explosives worldwide, a United Nations factsheet released on Wednesday said. “Years of war and internal conflict have left a dangerous legacy of landmines and unexploded ordnance (UXO). The widespread contamination is one of the largest in the world,” the Iraq factsheet said. “Contaminated sites cover an estimated 1,730 square kilometres and affect around 1.6 million people in over 1,600 communities,” it added.

Shiites, Sunnis in post-US Iraq: separate, unequal
Now that U.S. forces are gone, Iraq’s ruling Shiites are moving quickly to keep the two Muslim sects separate — and unequal.

Blackwater Videos Show Guards In Iraq Firing Weapons ‘Enthusiastically’

Vehicles Hitting Civilians: One video shows a contractor randomly and “enthusiastically” firing an AK-47 from the turret of an armored vehicle and another shows a private guard yelling obscenities at passers-by and other armored cars smashing into civilian vehicles.


Geagea was almost to Die, If It Weren’t for the Rose
In a press conference Wednesday, Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea said he had been the victim of an assassination attempt.

UN urges Lebanon to investigate maid death
Alem Dechasa, an Ethiopian national working as a housemaid in Lebanon, committed suicide after being beaten in Beirut.

Nasrallah on Palestine, Syria, Bahrain and Lebanon
The Speech delivered by Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah during the inauguration ceremony of Sayyeda Zeinab – the daughter of Imam Ali (Peace be upon them) – Complex in Bir Al Abed in Beirut’s Southern Suburbs on March 30, 2012 which  coincided with the anniversary of her birthday.

Saudi Arabia

The US rewards Arab reformers
“The United States has recently stepped up arms sales to gulf nations, including a $30 billion sale of 154 F-15 fighter jets to Saudi Arabia and a nearly $2 billion one to provide the United Arab Emirates with one of the most sophisticated antimissile systems.  The gulf council, dominated by Saudi Arabia, has become more active beyond its borders. Qatar and the U.A.E. sent combat aircraft to the Mediterranean last year as part of the intervention against Libya, while Bahrain and the U.A.E. have forces in Afghanistan.  That has made the United States eager to work even more closely with the nations as a group. At the same time, however, the gulf nations are some of the least democratic in the world. Last year, the gulf council dispatched a military force to Bahrain to support that government’s suppression of popular protests, brushing aside American criticism. (Critics of the Obama administration’s policy in Bahrain argue that the United States, which bases its Fifth Fleet there, did not itself press the country hard enough to end a brutal crackdown.)”

Saudi Arabia rules out sending women athletes to London
The head of the Saudi Olympic Committee has ruled out sending women athletes from the ultra-conservative kingdom to the London Olympics this summer, local dailies reported on Thursday. Prince Nawaf bin Faisal said, however, that Saudi women taking part on their own are free to do so and the kingdom’s Olympic authority would “only help in ensuring that their participation does not violate the Islamic sharia law.”


Fierce fighting near Damascus ahead of truce
Fierce clashes between Syrian forces and rebels erupted near Damascus Thursday, monitors said, as Washington slammed an “intensification” of violence against regime opponents ahead of an agreed truce.

Dozens reported killed in Syria violence
Days before the April 10 deadline for Syria to abide by a United Nations-backed peace plan, 54 people were reported killed across the country. Just days before the deadline for Syria to abide by a United Nations-backed peace plan, 54 people were reported killed across the country Wednesday, including 25 in the city of Homs as shelling and sniper fire there continued.

VIDEO: Syrian violence goes on despite talks
Kofi Annan’s spokesman says a UN team are due to arrive in Damascus within the next 48 hours as violence continues across Syria.

Syrian opposition will never defeat Assad’s army: Russia
Syria’s opposition will never defeat President Bashar Assad’s army even if it is “armed to the teeth,” Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov was quoted as saying on Wednesday. “It is clear as day that even if the Syrian opposition is armed to the teeth, it will not be able to defeat the government’s army,” Lavrov said while on a visit to the ex-Soviet nation of Azerbaijan according to Interfax. “Instead, there will be carnage that lasts many, many years – mutual destruction,” said Lavrov.

Russia warns the West not to arm Syria’s rebel fighters
Russia yesterday claimed the West was undermining the work of international peace envoy Kofi Annan, warning Britain and her allies not to arm Syria’s rebels as a deadline for implementing an international peace plan approaches.
Red Crescent warehouse burned down in Homs
Syria’s Red Crescent distribution center in the city of Homs, a hotbed of unrest that was crushed last month, was burned to the ground on Wednesday, a spokesman confirmed. There were conflicting reports about what caused the fire, with activists saying the building burst into flames after shelling on the neighborhood of Qarabees. However other sources said unknown saboteurs set fire to the building, which had been a warehouse for a government company before being donated to the Red Crescent as an aid distribution center.

Syrian refugees flood to Jordan
Hundreds of Syrians are flooding into neighbouring Jordan on a daily basis, with estimates of over 135,000 Syrians now in the neighbouring country. Nisreen El Shamayleh reports from Ramtha, Jordan.

Syria: Unrest Affecting Entire Communities
As Ramisyah Ali El-Zaabi fled across the Syrian border – scaling a dirt wall, crawling under a fence and dropping to the ground amid gunfire – her eight-month-old daughter slept. Afraid that her cries might draw attention, El-Zaabi fed her baby a pill to knock her out before she, her husband and four of their children set out on a 2.5-hour trek across the desert to reach the Syrian border and cross over into Jordan. “God saved us from death,” she told IRIN from a run-down, overcrowded guesthouse in the northern Jordanian border town of Remtha, where she arrived at 2am with two suitcases and effectively no money.

Surprise Video Changes Syria “Timeline”, Sharmine Narwani
Of all the myths obstructing the honest portrayal of events in Syria this past year, none has been more fiercely guarded by regime-change advocates than this one stark falsehood: Myth – the Syrian regime has only been shooting unarmed, peaceful protestors until very recently when opposition groups finally decided to arm themselves in self-defense.

Bad Losers’ Conference: Syrians Pay the Price, Jeremy Salt – Ankara
The ‘Friends of Syria’ conference in Istanbul ended with a pledge of qualified support for the Annan plan while agreeing on concrete measures to undermine it. Saudi Arabia and other gulf states are going to stump up the money to turn the so-called Free Syrian Army into a fully-fledged mercenary army. Saudi Arabia and Qatar had previously said that they intended to  spend millions of dollars arming the ‘rebels’ and at the ‘Friends of Syria’ conference, the US,  Britain and the gulf states agreed to spend millions more on  providing the armed groups with unspecified ‘humanitarian’ assistance and ‘communications equipment’. The gulf states are also hoping their money will lure Syrian soldiers into defecting.

Other Mideast & World News

Jordan: Pro-reformists detained for “insulting” the King must be released
A  law which allows the Jordanian authorities to detain activists on the basis of “insulting the king” must be repealed, Amnesty International said after 30 to 40 apparently peaceful protesters were detained in Amman. At least 13 people remain in custody in the wake of the weekend protests against the detention of half a dozen pro-reform activists. Four activists have been held for nearly a month and are now facing charges of ‘insulting’ the king amid a growing crackdown on freedom of expression.

Next Great Depression? MIT researchers predict ‘global economic collapse’ by 2030

A new study from researchers at Jay W. Forrester’s institute at MIT says that the world could suffer from “global economic collapse” and “precipitous population decline” if people continue to consume the world’s resources at the current pace. Smithsonian Magazine writes that Australian physicist Graham Turner says “the world is on track for disaster” and that current evidence coincides with a famous, and in some quarters, infamous, academic report from 1972 entitled, “The Limits to Growth.” Produced for a group called The Club of Rome, the study’s researchers created a computing model to forecast different scenarios based on the current models of population growth and global resource consumption. The study also took into account different levels of agricultural productivity, birth control and environmental protection efforts. Twelve million copies of the report were produced and distributed in 37 different languages.

Maddow relays censored memo on CIA ‘war crimes’ during Bush Administration
MSNBC host Rachel Maddow on Wednesday night explained a legal memo that advised the Bush Administration that so-called enhanced interrogation techniques were torture and therefore illegal. Wired reporter Spencer Ackerman obtained the memo, written by State Department counselor Philip Zelikow, through a Freedom on Information Act request.


FBI Surveillance Today: Bay Area Agents Used “Community Outreach” to Gather Intelligence on Muslims
The American Civil Liberties Union has released new records showing the FBI’s San Francisco division collected information on Muslim religious activities protected by the Constitution. The FBI is banned by law from keeping records on people’s religious practices unless there is a clear law enforcement purpose. But the ACLU said documents show the FBI violated that law by using so-called “community outreach” to procure and store information about religious beliefs, practices and otherwise innocent activities of Muslim community members. This is just the latest revelation in a long-string of surveillance tactics used by the FBI and other agencies to monitor Muslims post-9/11. The ACLU is now calling on the Inspector General to launch an investigation into the violation of the Privacy Act. We speak with Mike German, the ACLU’s National Security Policy counsel. From 1988 to 2004 he served as an FBI agent specializing in domestic counterterrorism.


3 Responses

  1. Les
    April 5, 2012, 1:42 pm

    US drones kill even younger Muslim terrorists.

  2. NickJOCW
    April 5, 2012, 6:03 pm

    The harassment of the two and a half year old is just plain eerie. Nature has endowed the human race, and many other mammals, with an innate affection for, and instinct to protect, the very young, an instinct so powerful it is evoked even for species likely to present a danger when mature. To learn to override that can’t be easy. Is there any evidence to suggest these soldiers may be stoned?

  3. yourstruly
    April 5, 2012, 7:37 pm

    a global economic collapse by 2030 causing a precipitous population decline. wow! it’s nevil shutes’ “on the beach” only in slow motion. how long before people decide what the heck, it’s all over anyway so why not take up this or that life-risking “sport?” wait a second, isn’t this what “hunger games” is about, wetting the appetite of young america for an every day is a fight for survival world, nothing one can do about it so might as well enjoy it?

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