Thaer Halahla and Bilal Thiab in serious condition after 63 days on hunger strike

Administrative Detention / Hunger Strikers / Prisoner News
Israel renews MP’s administrative detention
GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — An Israeli military court on Tuesday renewed the administrative detention of lawmaker Hassan Yousef for a further six months, his colleagues told Ma’an. Yousef, an MP for the Hamas-affiliated Change and Reform Bloc, was detained on Nov. 1, 2011 with his son from his home in Beituniya, near Ramallah. Ofer military court renewed his detention without charge for the second time on Tuesday, the Islamic deputies office said. Yousef left jail in August in a move which saw Israel release 770 Israeli and Palestinian detainees. He was sentenced to a six-year term for “membership of a terrorist organization,” and freed after two years in jail. Over 300 Palestinians are held in administrative detention in Israeli prisons, using laws dating back to the British Mandate period. Some 27 Palestinian lawmakers are in jail, 24 of them held without charge, according to latest figures from prisoners group Addameer.
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=481371
 

Islamic Jihad: Any deaths will mean an end to the truce
Islamic Jihad held the Israeli occupation authorities responsible for the lives of prisoners on hunger strike in its prisons, warning that any deaths between the strikers will mean end of the Truce.
http://www.palestine-info.co.uk/En/default.aspx?xyz=U6Qq7k%2bcOd87MDI46m9rUxJEpMO%2bi1s7mlArNLv8M48dzubBxFx%2b0lBDdVtPW84oe%2brPC2PHQiKHPOAG47ZiaGaC6nhYwuWEU0WB6itUd%2bfd10nclwBacADOMbcVHa9RilsTF%2fNGXlM%3d

Israeli prison doctor fears for lives of four hunger-striking Palestinians
Some 2,000 Palestinian prisoners have been on hunger strike since April 17 to protest Israeli detention policies and conditions in Israeli prisons.
http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/israeli-prison-doctor-fears-for-lives-of-four-hunger-striking-palestinians-1.427551?localLinksEnabled=false
 

PHR-Israel Warns Of Deteriorating Condition of Two Striking Detainees
Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) – Israel Branch, warned that the health condition of Thaer Halahla and Bilal Thiab, who entered their 63rd day of hunger strike is causing grave concern, adding that both detainees suffer from an acute decrease of muscle tone and are bedridden, which puts them under dual threat; muscle atrophy and Thrombophilia, which can lead to a fatal blood clot.
http://www.imemc.org/article/63392

Concern grows for prisoners on 63-day hunger-strike
GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — After 63 days on hunger-strike, two Palestinian prisoners face severe health deterioration and are at risk of death, lawyers said Tuesday. Bilal Diab, 27, from Jenin, and Thaer Halahla, 33, from Hebron, have been transferred to an Israeli hospital in a serious condition, their lawyer Jamal Khatib told Ma’an. Israel’s Supreme Court will hear their case on Thursday, he said, after an appeal against their detention without charge was rejected by an Israeli military court last week. Meanwhile, negotiations with Israeli authorities are ongoing, but Khatib has received no response to his demand they are freed immediately, he added.
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=481288

Hunger striker Ghazi Kenan transferred to hospital

The administration of Gilboa jail has transferred Jerusalemite prisoner Ghazi Kenan to Ramle prison hospital on Sunday after his health seriously deteriorated following 13 days of hunger strike.

http://www.palestine-info.co.uk/En/default.aspx?xyz=U6Qq7k%2bcOd87MDI46m9rUxJEpMO%2bi1s7K6yFZopzLfY%2bsAmspTFroP9mYqzFyHPu3bjXT0XTex5PV7K%2bQBIDiSpt2%2bOYLt8CzNCuW%2fk9uYl5fYc2Xsjw4hpzVPDjX%2bxgo6fiD%2bEnhgQ%3d

Ahmad Sa’adat Solitary Confinement Prisoner #1
Ahmad Sa’adat is the General Secretary of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) and a member of the Palestinian Legislative Council. He was born in the West Bank town of Al Bireh in 1953, the son of a refugee family who were expelled from their home in the village of Deir Tarif, near Ramleh, in 1948. Mr Sa’adat is a math teacher by training and the father of four children. He has been involved in the Palestinian national movement since 1967, when he became active in the student movement. Prior to his detention in 2006, he was held as political prisoner in Israeli jails on numerous occasions which total a period of ten years in all.

http://www.middleeastmonitor.org.uk/resources/palestinian-prisoners/solitary-confinement-prisoners/3687-ahmad-saadat-solitary-confinement-prisoner-1
 
Comrade Dr. Maher Taher, member of the Political Bureau of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and leader of its branch in exile, said on Sunday April 30 that the life of Comrade Ahmad Sa’adat, General Secretary of the PFLP, is in danger. Taher noted that Sa’adat had been transferred to Ramleh prison hospital after 13 days on hunger strike alongside thousands of his fellow prisoners to confront the rule of terror by the occupation authorities. Taher saluted the brave and steadfast prisoners and affirmed that the occupation bears full responsibility for the life of the General Secretary, and the lives of thousands of prisoners bravely fighting the battle of the empty stomachs, and warned the occupation of the consequences of its oppression.
http://pflp.ps/english/2012/04/taher-occupation-is-responsible-for-the-life-of-saadat/

Detainee Rami Suleiman: Prisoners Are determined to continue the strike
Rami Issam Suleiman said from his isolation cell in Jalama prison in a letter to Ahrar Center that the Captives are determined to continue the strike until their demands are met.

http://www.palestine-info.co.uk/En/default.aspx?xyz=U6Qq7k%2bcOd87MDI46m9rUxJEpMO%2bi1s7lLPWEpoiJb91sbmgb%2bjHpmGz8BtkLMHWG%2fDifh7xmYqWy0vgVDuVctV0ZQZuI3DuRkCJ8TAlVKZ9M6xyCsT8RxI32bpUlTkz5eMBByK7t3c%3d


Ihsanoglu calls for world pressures on Israel to release Palestinian captives

Secretary General of the OIC Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu has urged the world community and human rights organizations to pressure Israel into accepting demands of the Palestinian prisoners.

http://www.palestine-info.co.uk/En/default.aspx?xyz=U6Qq7k%2bcOd87MDI46m9rUxJEpMO%2bi1s7nVVWGjJMYPXJJMuyBKgiWWNdlR5RT7CH4hTapwmOFlOsqQMeajlTNr5WdMJundGZQk8QWkoveKgMuP%2fh%2bot%2fB7G1prNM6%2bvQSOAFcw6qm%2fs%3d

Mass Palestinian prisoner hunger strike reminiscent of the first Intifada, Allison Deger
Now in its second week, a mass hunger strike is spreading across Israeli prisons with some 2,000 Palestinians protesting for their basic rights: an end to solitary confinement and imprisonment without charge, and access to education, media and family visits. And while prisoners in the Karameh (dignity) hunger strike have yet to achieve their goals, after 14 days without food, they have successfully mobilized Palestinian society and pressured Israeli authorities—in ways that are reminiscent of the first Intifada.

http://mondoweiss.net/2012/05/mass-palestinian-prisoner-hunger-strike-reminiscent-of-the-first-intifada.html

Land Theft & Destruction / Ethnic Cleansing / Occupation / Refugees

38% increase in Palestinians displaced by Israel in 2012
Aternative Information Center – Israel has forcibly displaced at least 487 Palestinians in the West Bank and East Jerusalem since the beginning of 2012, a 38% increase over the same period in 2011.
http://www.kibush.co.il/show_file.asp?num=52761

UN OCHA: Settlements in Palestinian Residential Areas in East Jerusalem – April 2012
UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, Occupied Palestinian Territory – The establishment of settlements in the heart of Palestinian neighborhoods commonly entails the forced eviction and displacement of Palestinians. Beit Hanina, a Palestinian suburb in the northern part of East Jerusalem, has most recently become the target for such settlement activities, which include a plan to build around 60 new housing units for settlers.
http://www.ochaopt.org/documents/ocha_opt_ej_settlements_factSheet_april_2012_english.pdf 

Israel’s Civil Administration orders Palestinians to uproot 1,000 young olive trees in nature reserve
Residents of Deir Istiya village say they plan to fight the order in court, arguing that it violates their right to work privately owned land.
http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/israel-s-civil-administration-orders-palestinians-to-uproot-1-000-young-olive-trees-in-nature-reserve-1.427401?localLinksEnabled=false

Israel pushes plan for 1,100 E.Jerusalem hotel rooms
JERUSALEM — Israel has approved a further stage in plans to build 1,100 new hotel rooms in a settlement neighbourhood of annexed east Jerusalem, Israeli officials confirmed on Tuesday. The hotel rooms are slated for construction in Givat HaMatos, an as-yet unbuilt neighbourhood on the southern flank of east Jerusalem, near the West Bank city of Bethlehem. “The plans were presented to the Jerusalem district planning committee five years ago and approved for deposit then,” interior ministry spokeswoman Efrat Orbach told AFP. “The publication of the deposit was done now by the project initiator, the Israel Land Authority. The current stage includes advertising in newspapers and affording 60 days for objections,” she said.
http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5grH-NjHI2bJzuAuOGhKg9B21JZAQ?docId=CNG.1def0ba4c89e271895bffc90db26980f.681

Municipality Crews Hand Silwan Residents Demolition Orders
JERUSALEM, May 1, 2012 (WAFA) – Crews from the Israeli municipality of West Jerusalem accompanied by police and border guards Tuesday handed several residents in al-Bustan area of the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan house demolition notices, according to a local activist. Fakhri Abu Diab, head of the Committee for the Defense of Silwan, said the police sealed off the area as municipality crews handed several shops and homes demolition orders. Residents clashed with the police throwing rocks and empty glass bottles at them. Police fired acoustic bombs and tear gas canisters at the Palestinians. The municipality aims to demolish the entire al-Bustan area, which has about 88 buildings housing about 1600 Palestinians, in order to build a park on its ruins.

http://english.wafa.ps/index.php?action=detail&id=19709

Settlers Destroy 100 Olive Trees near Ramallah
RAMALLAH, May 1, 2012 (WAFA) – Israeli settlers destroyed around 100 olive trees in a private Palestinian land near Bitillo, a village west of Ramallah, Tuesday reported local farmers. They said they discovered dozens of olive trees completely destroyed upon arrival to their land, located near Nahliel settlement in the northwest of Ramallah. This is the fourth time Israeli settlers destroy trees in the area within few months, raising the total number of destroyed olives trees to 400.
http://english.wafa.ps/index.php?action=detail&id=19710

Israel demolishes building, electricity near Qalqiliya
QALQILIYA (Ma’an) — Israeli authorities demolished a house and 13 electricity poles near Qalqiliya on Tuesday, locals told Ma’an. The building, which was still under construction, lies at the entrance of Izbat At-Tabib village and belongs to Zidan Yaser Tabib, residents said. Forces also removed 13 electricity poles used by neighboring Nabi Elyas village to power a water well, residents said. Last week local director of the UN’s humanitarian agency Ramesh Rajasingham warned that more than 1,500 Palestinians have lost their homes as a result of demolitions and evictions since the beginning of 2011. Palestinians can only build on one percent of the Israeli-controlled zone Area C in the West Bank, most of which is already built up, while settlements continue to expand in the same zone, the UN says.

http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=481329
 

Living under threat
“Some children put toys or clothes in their school bags instead of textbooks,” Ms. Zayad said, “in case their house is knocked down while they are at school… A 9-year-old girl told her mother not to worry, that she was going to look for a tent so the family would not be left under the cold rain.”
http://www.unicef.org/infobycountry/oPt_62318.html  

In a phone interview given on Sunday, April 29, the head of Qasra’s Village Council, Abdel Azim Wadi, stated that a group of Jewish settlers began bulldozing land owned by Palestinian citizens from the village of Qasra, south of Nablus, in an attempt to seize the land.  ”The [Palestinian] citizens headed to the targeted area and stopped the bulldozer being used by the settlers in their aggression,” Wadi added. “An Israeli police contingent came to the area and separated the Palestinian citizens and Jewish settlers.
 
Boots on the ground: Israel wants hikers with guns to visit renamed hilltops in West Bank, Annie Robbins
Israel’s defense ministry chose to distribute hiking books to over 20,000 members of bereaved families as a memorial gift ahead of Memorial and Independence day celebrations.
 
Siege on Gaza
PalFest-Gaza waiting for permits from Egypt
The Palestine Festival of Literature (5th—9th May) is set to take place in Gaza for the first time, though organisers said they had yet to receive a response from the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs to a request for travel permits to the area. PalFest is planning to bring a group of writers, educators and artists through the Rafah crossing from Egypt to perform free public events, run workshops with students and meet civil society leaders in Gaza. However while the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs was scheduled to respond to PalFest’s request for visas for Gaza on 29th April, the festival has yet to receive a response.
http://www.thebookseller.com/news/palfest-set-gaza.html

Humanitarian Crisis Continues in Gaza

Dr. Mads Gilbert: The siege of Gaza continues to make life unbearable.
http://therealnews.com/t2/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=31&Itemid=74&jumival=8204  

Tunisian activists head to Gaza Strip
A Tunisian group of 21 pro-Palestinian human rights activists has headed to the besieged Gaza Strip to express support for the Palestinian cause, Press TV reports.
http://www.presstv.ir/detail/238953.html

Ansar 2 Convoy To Head To Gaza May 14
Head of the Artery Of Life Committee in Jordan, Engineer Wael As-Saqqa, stated that all preparations and documentations have been concluded for the Ansar 2 solidarity convoy that will be heading to the Gaza Strip through Egypt on May 14.

http://www.imemc.org/article/63397

Why are Gaza children being robbed of fun this summer?, Said Saleem
EI 30 Apr — Living in besieged Gaza, nothing gives us greater joy than watching our kids play football, jump on a trampoline, fly a kite or go to the beach. However, this year the UN agency for Palestine refugees (UNRWA) decided to cancel the Summer Games, a vital source of happiness for children in Gaza, an estimated 250,000 of whom participated in the fifth annual Summer Games last year. The reason given for the cancellation was the shortage of funds. Was this a political or a financial step?
http://electronicintifada.net/content/why-are-gaza-children-being-robbed-fun-summer/11225
 
Violence Against Palestinians / Attacks on Protests / Raids / Arson
Report: “Five Killed, 285 Kidnapped In April”
The International Solidarity Foundation for Human Rights (Tadamon) reported that Israeli soldiers shot and killed five Palestinians, including a 4 year old child, and kidnapped more than 285 Palestinians in April.
http://www.imemc.org/article/63396

Witnesses: Journalists trapped under Israeli fire in south Gaza
GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — Israeli military vehicles opened fire on a border area in the southern Gaza Strip on Tuesday, trapping journalists at the scene, witnesses said. Ten military vehicles crossed several hundred meters into Gaza, east of Khan Younis, firing towards houses and farmlands, residents said. A crew of journalists took cover for over an hour during the fire on Khuzaa, they told Ma’an. No injuries were reported, but locals said crops in the area were burned. An Israeli army spokeswoman said she was looking into the incident.
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=481353
 

Four Injured After Being Attacked By Soldiers Invading Their Home
Palestinian medical sources reported that four Palestinians were wounded, on Monday night at midnight, after Israeli soldiers broke into their home, pepper-sprayed them and violently struck them, in the Qalandia refugee camp, north of occupied East Jerusalem.
http://www.imemc.org/article/63393

IOF troops assault residents of the old city of al-Khalil
IOF troops, on Monday evening, beat up a number of Palestinian residents in the old city of al-Khalil in the southern West Bank.
http://www.palestine-info.co.uk/En/default.aspx?xyz=U6Qq7k%2bcOd87MDI46m9rUxJEpMO%2bi1s7Dd4zsWFFN%2fldceIIxzWCzFw%2fFGMIzUDVfMZc9xXjiYCC%2fstE4OQ%2bTO3yGKzVzxRIvqn2AK5XHK8nUaD9EN9DOnYL%2f4c6zyMzdI1AVorq%2bkA%3d

Protesters injured by army fire outside Ofer Prison
PNN – Israeli soldiers used tear gas, rubber coated steel bullets and stun grenades against Palestinians holding a protest outside Ofer prison, Ramallh, in support of hunger striking prisoners. So far two injuries are reported, one protester hit in the head and another – an old man – injured in both legs. Both have been taken to hospital.
http://english.pnn.ps/index.php/nonviolence/1530-injuries-obtained-in-protest-outside-ofer-prison-ramallah

The Israeli Forces attack and assault the prisoners’ families
Saturday evening, the Israeli forces attacked and assaulted Sarhan’s family members outside of Court, the family were waiting for the sentence of their arrested relatives who were arrested early morning at the same day, The Israeli forces attacked and arrested 11 people, 10 of them are members of the Sarhan’s family and 3 of them are minors. At this incident Ya’cub Sarhan was moved to Hadasa Hospital after he got injured at just for checking on his family members, the police said he was injured as a result of” the fight” and he was transferred to the hospital only after the Lawyer Muhammad Mahmood insisted that he needs an immediate treatment.
http://silwanic.net/?p=26131

PCHR Condemns Continued Attacks Against Gaza Fishermen
The Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) condemns continued Israeli attacks against Palestinian fishermen in the Gaza Strip, and expresses concerns of the latest of attacks, as Israeli naval troops have arrested 6 fishermen and confiscated their fishing boat and equipment.

 

IOF troops raid northern Gaza
Israeli occupation forces (IOF) mounting a number of armored vehicles briefly entered northern Gaza Strip on Monday morning.

 
Yitzhar settlers attack schoolchildren in Urif
Urif is a Palestinian town in the Nablus Governorate of the northern occupied West Bank, located thirteen kilometres South of Nablus. The town has a population of just under 3000 inhabitants and is overlooked by the illegal Israeli colony of Yitzhar. Last week on Sunday, April 22, Urif’s boys’ school was attacked by mask-wearing settlers supported by four Israeli Occupation Force (IOF) soldiers who used tear-gas, sound bombs, and live ammunition against unarmed Palestinian children. The settlers were led by the head of security for the Yitzhar colony, a man suspected in the murder of a resident of Urif in 2004, a murder that nobody has yet been charged with. He continues to lead brutal assaults against the civilian population of six Palestinian towns in the lands surrounding Yitzhar: Burin, Huwara, Madma, Assria Al-Kalibya, Ein Nabous, and Urif … The village of Urif is a mere 1500 meters away from the Israeli colony, and since 2000, over 2200 dunams have been stolen by the nearby settlement. In addition, four thousand olive trees cultivated by the village have been uprooted or burnt by settlers in the past four years.
http://palsolidarity.org/2012/04/yitzhar-settlers-attack-school-children-in-urif/

Israelis Raid Areas in Khan Younis
KHAN YOUNIS, May 1, 2012 (WAFA) – Israeli forces Tuesday raided al-Farahin area, east of Khan Younis in the south of the Gaza Strip, and opened fire at Palestinian homes in the area, according to local sources. They said five Israeli tanks and four bulldozers raided the area and razed agricultural land causing serious damage to crops. Residents in the area said they fear the Israeli military may destroy their agricultural land, which form the only source of livelihood for them in light of the 7-year-long Israeli blockade on the Gaza Strip.
http://english.wafa.ps/index.php?action=detail&id=19704

Report: Vandals torch Palestinian prisoners tent in Israel
TEL AVIV, Israel (Ma’an) — A tent set up in solidarity with Palestinian prisoners in an Israeli town was torched over the weekend, Israeli media reported. The protest tent was erected by residents in Palestinian town Tira, in central Israel, to support some 2,000 Palestinians jailed in Israel who launched a mass hunger-strike in recent weeks, the Israeli news site Ynet said. Late Saturday, unknown assailants burned down the structure, protest organizers told Ynet, vowing to re-erect the tent.

http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=481366

We Remember
 
This year marks the 67th anniversary of the massacre at Deir Yassin, one of the most appalling crimes carried out by the Jewish Irgun and Stern gangs in Palestine. 
 
Illegal Detention
 
IDF forces operating in the West Bank overnight apprehended 23 Palestinians wanted for questioning by security forces. The men were taken in for further interrogation
 

IOF soldiers arrest six Palestinians, beat up a child
Israeli occupation forces (IOF) rounded up six Palestinians in Al-Khalil and beat up a 10-year-old child in the city on Monday, local sources said.

http://www.palestine-info.co.uk/En/default.aspx?xyz=U6Qq7k%2bcOd87MDI46m9rUxJEpMO%2bi1s7KGc2J56uc83b1hoVrA2k%2bHjQvSiPUmPcAfE0RzRWHYAuya8c1H5DO5zBk%2bfCXBjRm1%2fA3a9o6VK4sghEh3GQZatnVi2Tl2N0M2Uup5suhdI%3d

Two young children arrested in Silwan
Alaa G’eth, 12 years old, was arrested. In the past Alaa was hit by a settler’s car. Also T’aer Karaen was arrested near Ein Silwan at Wadi Hilwa.  The atmosphere in Silwan is tensed, especially after The Israeli forces set up a border on the entrance of Wadi Hilwa, harassing the locals.

http://silwanic.net/?p=26141

Soldiers Abduct 9 Residents Near Nablus
Israeli soldiers abducted, on Tuesday at dawn, nine Palestinians from Burin village, south of the northern West Bank city of Nablus.

http://www.imemc.org/article/63395

Activism / Solidarity / BDS
WATCH / U.S. students walk out of Israeli ambassador’s lecture
Students at George Washington University disrupt talk by Michael Oren, hold up signs reading ‘Oren supports colonialism,’ and ‘What are you going to do with 30 billion?’
http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/watch-u-s-students-walk-out-of-israeli-ambassador-s-lecture-1.427480?localLinksEnabled=false
 
The Palestinian political prisoners have become a symbol of steadfastness and unbreakable determination to stand up for freedom and justice. Counting on nothing more than their own imprisoned bodies and their free spirits, their hunger strikes have already been able to raise awareness and mobilize people across Palestine and the world.
 
On Saturday, April 28th, the grassroots Palestinian Anti-Apartheid Wall campaign organized mass march in Jayyous Village (Qalqilya district) in solidarity with the Palestinian prisoners, some 2500 of whom are on hunger strike since April 17. The prisoners entered this mass hunger strike in order to fight  the Israeli policy of administrative detention [detention without trial] and other violations of their human rights, which the occupation forces practice against them, such as the banning of family visits.
 
Palestinian women gather at a spring that was once theirs, to discuss the future of the spring and their community.
 

Resheq calls to expand the boycott of Israeli goods campaign
– Member of Political Bureau Hamas, Ezzat Resheq called to expand the boycott Zionist products campaign, especially those produced in the settlements built on Palestinian lands in occupied West Bank.

http://www.palestine-info.co.uk/En/default.aspx?xyz=U6Qq7k%2bcOd87MDI46m9rUxJEpMO%2bi1s7bQDLm6FSG1ww9a24XZrtwhDE4P3F%2fMBVnG4AVywyHdCZW%2b%2bVp92Ak7OuBcvIhVHpBeT0GeZQmC%2buj3v8hUt9VCUJA4R%2bUIWjQd%2bBbcJzDPA%3d

Update from Tampa on Methodist Divestment Vote
US Campaign National Organizer Anna Baltzer and Steering Committee member Sydney Levy write from Tampa where they provide an upbeat assessment of the impending vote of the United Methodist Church resolution on divestment from companies profiting from Israeli military occupation.

http://blog.endtheoccupation.org/2012/05/update-from-tampa-on-methodist.html
 

Justice requires action to stop subjugation of Palestinians, Desmond Tutu
A quarter-century ago I barnstormed around the United States encouraging Americans, particularly students, to press for divestment from South Africa. Today, regrettably, the time has come for similar action to force an end to Israel’s long-standing occupation of Palestinian territory and refusal to extend equal rights to Palestinian citizens who suffer from some 35 discriminatory laws. I have reached this conclusion slowly and painfully. I am aware that many of our Jewish brothers and sisters who were so instrumental in the fight against South African apartheid are not yet ready to reckon with the apartheid nature of Israel and its current government. And I am enormously concerned that raising this issue will cause heartache to some in the Jewish community with whom I have worked closely and successfully for decades. But I cannot ignore the Palestinian suffering I have witnessed, nor the voices of those courageous Jews troubled by Israel’s discriminatory course. Within the past few days, some 1,200 American rabbis signed a letter — timed to coincide with resolutions considered by the United Methodist Church and the Presbyterian Church (USA) — urging Christians not “to selectively divest from certain companies whose products are used by Israel.” They argue that a “one-sided approach” on divestment resolutions, even the selective divestment from companies profiting from the occupation proposed by the Methodists and Presbyterians, “damages the relationship between Jews and Christians that has been nurtured for decades.”

 http://www.tampabay.com/opinion/columns/justice-requires-action-to-stop-subjugation-of-palestinians/1227722
 
The push for divestment continues as the Methodist General Conference enters its second week, Anna Baltzer and Sydney Levy
At this moment, the United Methodist Church (UMC) is holding its General Conference in Tampa, Florida. About one thousand delegates are considering whether to divest from companies that profit from the Israeli occupation. We are talking about companies with a solid track record of human rights violations: Caterpillar, Motorola Solutions, and Hewlett-Packard. Caterpillar produces the bulldozers that have been responsible for the demolition of innumerable Palestinian homes and the uprooting of full orchards. Motorola Solutions produces equipment used to maintain surveillance systems around Israeli settlements, checkpoints, and military camps in the West Bank. Hewlett-Packard provides on-going support and maintenance to a biometric ID system installed in Israeli checkpoints in the West Bank which deprive Palestinians of the freedom of movement in their own land and allows the Israeli military occupation to grant or deny special privileges to the civilians under its control. 
http://mondoweiss.net/2012/04/the-push-for-divestment-continues-as-the-methodist-general-conference-enters-its-second-week.html
 
When United Methodist delegates gather as a plenary to vote on church policies this week, two petitions will be presented that reflect opposing approaches to helping Palestinians. The first is the approach Palestinian Christians themselves have asked for: divestment from companies that support the occupation. The second, re-written by the Financial Administration Committee, calls only for the church to explore peacemaking strategies, including investment in Palestine, and “prayerfully consider advocating” that companies in which it invests sign the “Ruggie Principles” on human rights. There is no requirement for any party to take any action.
 
Anti
“In order to stop the Flytilla, arbitrary Israeli methods were imported into Europe”
Olivia Zיmor – EuroPalestine – Due to the government of Israel`s determination to prevent activists from getting to Ben Gurion Airport, an Air France hostess found herself forced to ask a female passenger if she is Jewish, in order to know whether she can be allowed to board the plane; businessmen and diplomats were refused access to the plane because they were neither Israeli nor Jewish. (Note: text begins in French, followed by English).
http://5cp.r.mailjet.com/gjc.html?a=E3Qm6&b=dFCLfUoJ&emai
 
One hundred and forty-eight US college professors signed a letter objecting to an advertisement in The New York Times by notorious racist David Horowitz naming indvidual faculty members at several US colleges and accusing them of inciting murder of Jewish children, and likening the movement to boycott Israel (BDS) to Nazism.
 
The Lebanese government has said it will look into the legality of a “Lebanese society” at an American university hosting a joint event with an Israeli one. The Lebanese Social Club (LSC) at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) is organizing a charity fundraiser with the Israeli Leadership Council “for the disenfranchised children of Israel and Lebanon.” The group is part of the Lebanese Collegiate Network (LCN), which Al-Akhbar revealed earlier this month is heavily sponsored by the CIA, leading to claims that it was little more than a recruitment center for the American spy network.
 
Unison says it objects to lessons in conflict resolution by Professor Moty Cristal as it ‘supports the Palestinian people’. A National Health Service workshop due to be led by an Israeli expert on negotiation, conflict resolution and crisis intervention has been cancelled after union objections. Professor Moty Cristal had been invited to lead a session for managers and union officials in Manchester next week, entitled The Role of Negotiation in Dealing With Conflict, run by the Manchester Mental Health and Social Care Trust. But on Friday he received an email from the workshop organisers cancelling the event after pressure from the trade union Unison.
 
Apartheid apologists respond to BDS with fake concern for Palestinians, Ben White

Following the Co-Op decision to boycott four Israeli suppliers, Israel’s apologists have responded with an ‘argument’ of unintentional hilarity: that BDS harms the Palestinians it claims to help.
http://electronicintifada.net/blogs/ben-white/apartheid-apologists-respond-bds-fake-concern-palestinians

May Day in Palestine

Herak Shababi Mustakil (Indpendent Youth Movement) calls on our people and Arab nation and the free people of the world to be victorious for the dignity and freedom of our prisoners and demands that the palestinian, Arab and international trade unions to actively participate in the victory to the prisoners in the Zionist occupation prisons program.
http://www.stopthewall.org/2012/04/30/herak-shababi-mustakil-statement-1st-may

On International Workers Day, Thousands March In Nablus
Thousands of Palestinians marched on Tuesday, May 1, marking the International Workers Day, in the northern West Bank city of Nablus, demanding the government to implement the “Minimum Wage Law” that is meant to prevent the financial abuse of workers.

http://www.imemc.org/article/63398

PCBS: Women one-fifth of Palestinian workforce
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — Men’s participation in the labor force is four times higher than women’s in the West Bank and Gaza, the Central Bureau of Statistics said Monday. At 19 percent, women’s workforce participation is slightly higher in the West Bank than in Gaza where it stands at 12 percent, according to the survey released to mark Labor Day. Women are also paid less than men. In 2011, the average daily wage was 60 shekels ($15.91) for women but 71 shekels ($18.82) for men. Palestinians in Gaza earned an average daily wage of 47 shekels ($12.46) compared with 78 shekels ($20.68) in the West Bank.
http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=481199

Report: Two Thirds of Palestinian Prisoners are Workers
GAZA, May 1, 2012 (WAFA) – Around two thirds of the Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails are workers, according to a report published on Tuesday. Abdul Nasser Ferwaneh, a researcher specialized in prisoners’ affairs, said in a report marking International Labor Day that more than half of the Israeli arrests of Palestinians since 1967 targeted workers. Israeli forces did not only arrest workers who were directly involved in the struggle against the Israeli occupation, but detained thousands of workers on the way to their jobs, under the pretext of not having a permit to enter and work in Israel, added Ferwaneh. He noted that the arrests aimed to pressure and extort workers to collaborate with the Israeli army in exchange of issuing working permits. Thousands of ex-detainee workers in the Gaza Strip are now unemployed due to the difficult economic conditions in Gaza and suffer from health problems due to years of imprisonment, added the report. It urged financial support for the ex-detainee workers.

http://english.wafa.ps/index.php?action=detail&id=19705

 
Israeli Racism & Discrimination
 

Israeli-born Islamist to resume his anti-discrimination campaign
Sheik Raed Saleh plans to organize Arab Israelis against what he sees as systematic discrimination. Israel considers him extremely dangerous.

 
How an informal process of decision making keeps Ashkenazi men at the top, while women, Arabs and Mizrahim are denied their fair share of power and resources.
 
South Tel Aviv residents protest refugees’ presence
Residents of Shapira neighborhood hold demonstration, decide to create security squads in wake of recent firebomb attack.

 
Political Developments & Other News
 

Israel says inclusion on UN list ‘absurd’
Israel’s Foreign Ministry has criticized a U.N. statement that places the country on a list of nations it says are moving to further restrict advocacy and rights groups.

Palestinian leader, speaking to Tunisian parliament, calls on Netanyahu to halt construction in settlements, return to talks.
http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/abbas-i-choose-netanyahu-as-my-partner-for-peace-1.427423?localLinksEnabled=false

Palestinian TV station sued as journalists fear media crackdown
Websites have been closed and Wattan TV is facing court after it investigated alleged corruption linked to the Palestinian Authority. An independent Palestinian television station is facing a potentially crippling court case next week amid growing evidence of a clampdown by the Palestinian Authority on freedom of expression and journalists critical of its activities. Wattan TV is being sued for $1m (£600,000) over an investigation into alleged corruption at a Palestinian university. It claimed that the son of a senior PA official was offered a place at the university despite having failed to meet academic requirements. The station, which says it has evidence to support its allegations, fears that some of its executives could face prison sentences and that freedom of speech in the Palestinian territories will be curtailed.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/may/01/palestinian-tv-station-sued-media-crackdown
 
Analysis / Op-ed
 
Editor’s Note: United Methodist Kairos Response sent out a email today saying that the divestment resolution will be considered by the conference plenary tomorrow. You will be watch live here. In 2004, the end of one of my first journeys to the Israeli-occupied West Bank, I endured a shocking experience at Ben-Gurion airport near Tel Aviv. I never imagined that Israeli security forces would abuse a 79-year-old Holocaust survivor, but they held me for five hours and strip-searched and cavity-searched every part of my naked body. The only shame these security officials expressed was to turn their badges around so that I could not know their names. The only conceivable purpose for this gross violation of my bodily integrity was to humiliate and terrify me. But it had just the opposite effect. It made me more determined to speak out against abuses by the Israeli government and military.
http://mondoweiss.net/2012/04/ending-israels-occupation-is-the-only-way-to-truly-invest-in-palestine.html

Israeli writers’ festival to preview speeches in bid to ban political content
Opening speakers must show their speeches to management in advance – in an effort to avoid a repeat of a 2010 speech that criticized Israel.
http://www.haaretz.com/news/national/israeli-writers-festival-to-preview-speeches-in-bid-to-ban-political-content-1.427410?localLinksEnabled=false

Jerusalem writers fest requires speakers to submit speeches for review in effort to avoid criticism of Israel, Eleanor Kilroy
From the luxurious hilltop conference halls of Mishkenot Sha’ananim in West Jerusalem, guests at the forthcoming 3rd International Writers Festival in Jerusalem will have a clear view of the separation wall and illegally annexed occupied East Jerusalem, including Silwan. In Silwan, armed Jewish settlers, Israeli police and ‘security personnel’ appropriate Palestinian homes in contravention of the Fourth Geneva Convention, detaining and terrorizing tens of thousands of residents, including young children snatched from their beds in the middle of the night. Today, crews from the Israeli Jerusalem municipality, accompanied by police and border guards, handed several residents house demolition notices. Any mention of these facts in a speech would have to pass the festival censors, however.

http://mondoweiss.net/2012/05/jerusalem-writers-fest-requires-speakers-to-submit-speeches-for-review-in-effort-to-avoid-criticism-of-israel.html

Back to Square One
Israeli Supreme Court Justice Salim Joubran, an Arab citizen, recently set off a controversy when he stood – but did not sing – as the Israeli anthem was played at a court ceremony. For the far right, his silence was an act of betrayal. The chairman of the Knesset’s Constitution Law and Justice Committee, Knesset member David Rotem, demanded his dismissal. Israel’s Palestinian citizens, meanwhile, fêted Joubran – the court’s only Arab – for his subtle defiance of a prominent state symbol. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, defended the Justice – in a way. He voiced understanding for why Joubran, as an Arab, would remain silent as his colleagues sang of their “yearning Jewish heart.” But it didn’t seem to occur to Netanyahu that the state’s anthem should also speak to the aspirations of its Palestinian citizens, so they might want to join the chorus.
http://english.al-akhbar.com/content/back-square-one?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+AlAkhbarEnglish+%28Al+Akhbar+English%29
 

 
Imagine if China, for one reason or another suddenly replaced or supplanted the United States as Israel’s main diplomatic, financial and military supporter. That the Chinese then provided Israel with all it required to continue the occupation and usurpation of Palestine and to further consolidate its illegal undertakings…What would we then make of  American journalists or writers who then incessantly never fail to remind us of the culpable Chinese support for Israeli criminality while simultaneously totally ignoring, possibly even whitewashing the 40 years when the United States was Israel’s main supporter?
 
In America, Israel, Europe and elsewhere, supporting Palestinian rights publicly is dangerous. In September 2010, FBI agents raided homes of Chicago and Minneapolis human rights activists. Two Chicagoans affected said 20 FBI agents ransacked their home. They and others had computers, cell phones, and other personal belongings taken. They weren’t terrorists. They committed no crimes. Most supported the Freedom Road Socialist Organization. It publishes a newsletter called Fight Back.
 

Degrees of Incarceration

When I started shooting for what would become Degrees of Incarceration in 2003, I had no idea that it would entail anything more than a day’s work. I showed up with a camera because a dear friend and colleague asked if I had a day to document a youth play about prisons. I ended up spending the night (leaving Bethlehem by public transportation after 4pm was impractical, my new friends told me) and then regularly returning to the youth center that organized the play.
 
Bahrain
Bahrain denies entry to Euro MP Gomes
Bahrain has denied entry to a member of the European parliament who the opposition said wanted to check on the situation of jailed hunger striker Abdulhadi al-Khawaja and other political prisoners.
http://news.yahoo.com/bahrain-denies-entry-euro-mp-gomes-075147662.html
 
Bahrain’s police are beating and torturing detainees, including minors, despite public commitments to end torture and police impunity.
http://www.hrw.org/news/2012/04/29/bahrain-police-brutality-despite-reform-pledges

Bahrain police ‘still torturing’
Bahrain’s police continue to beat and torture detainees, including minors, according to a report by campaign group Human Rights Watch.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-17887731#sa-ns_mchannel=rss&ns_source=PublicRSS20-sa

Bahraini MP survives assasination attempt after democracy call
A leading Sunni Bahraini MP has survived an assassination attempt, just days after calling for the country’s rulers to stand aside and introduce democracy. A gym owned by MP Osama al-Tamimi was peppered with bullets on Saturday evening, only hours after he had left the building. Last week Tamimi called for Sheikh Khalifa bin Salman al-Khalifa, Bahrain’s ruler for four decades, to stand aside, and he said the attack was political motivated. “This was a message to anyone trying to touch on this subject,” al-Tamimi told Bloomberg.
http://english.al-akhbar.com/content/bahraini-mp-survives-assasination-attempt-after-democracy-call?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+AlAkhbarEnglish+%28Al+Akhbar+English%29

Khawaja to continue hunger strike
The imprisoned Bahraini human rights and political activist, Abdulhadi al-Khawaja, tells the BBC that he will continue his 84-day hunger strike.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-17908449#sa-ns_mchannel=rss&ns_source=PublicRSS20-sa
 
A Bahraini court has announced that prominent activist Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja and 13 opposition activists jailed for their role in anti-government protests last year will be granted an appeal, prompting Amnesty International to renew its call for their immediate release. The appeal will take place in a civil court. The sentences imposed on Al-Khawaja and 20 other activists, seven of them tried in absentia, have however not been quashed. Fourteen of the activists, including Al-Khawaja, might all remain in custody for the duration of their appeal, except for one.

http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/bahrain-urged-release-al-khawaja-appeal-activists-announced-2012-04-30-1

Top Bahrain activist wins retrial
Top Bahrain activist Abdulhadi al-Khawaja – jailed for life by a military court and on hunger strike – is to get a retrial in a civil court.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-17891251#sa-ns_mchannel=rss&ns_source=PublicRSS20-sa

Bahraini activist to remain in jail until retrial
A man on hunger strike in Bahrain for more than 80 days is to be given a retrial, on charges of plotting to overthrow the government. But Abdulhadi al-Khawaja and 20 others will have to stay in jail until then. Charles Stratford reports.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0dZz5ViXnWg&feature=youtube_gdata

Jailed Bahraini Activists Get Appeal, But U.S.-Backed Regime’s Abuses Continue Unabated
Bahrain has granted appeals for 21 people accused of trying to overthrow the U.S.-backed monarchy after the Arab Spring protests began last last year. The prisoners include human rights leader Abdulhadi Alkhawaja, who is on the 82nd day of his hunger strike. “We’ve seen this before, where if there’s enough international pressure, they’ll send the case back to court and then try to buy as much time as possible … until the international community, to some extent, loses interest in following up with the case,” says Alkhawaja’s daugher, Maryam Alkhawaja. “These are people that should have never been arrested or imprisoned, to begin with, and they should have been released.” She notes much of the evidence used in the military courts was gained from confessions extracted under torture. We also speak with Human Rights Watch’s Joe Stork, editor of a new report that finds Bahrain’s police continue to beat and torture detainees, including minors. [includes rush transcript]
http://www.democracynow.org/2012/4/30/jailed_bahraini_activists_get_re_trial

Wife: Bahrain hunger striker fed against his will
The wife of a jailed Bahraini hunger striker was granted her first visit in two weeks Sunday, then accused authorities of using feeding tubes and other life-saving measures on her husband against his will. Bahrain denied that.
http://news.yahoo.com/wife-bahrain-hunger-striker-fed-against-160051633.html

Bahrain hunger striker not ‘force-fed’: hospital
Bahrain’s military hospital said on Sunday that hunger striker Abdulhadi al-Khawaja has not been “force-fed” as claimed by members of his family.
http://news.yahoo.com/bahrain-hunger-striker-emerges-uprising-idol-165302950.html

Bahraini Forces Arrest Al-Wefaq Leader, Activist, 13-Year-Old Boy
Bahraini security forces arrested the leader of Al-Wefaq party Hadi al-Moussawi and the human rights activist Youssef Al-Mahafetha as they headed to participate in a protest.
http://www.almanar.com.lb/english/adetails.php?eid=54139&cid=23&fromval=1

 
Egypt
 

The popular commitment to Palestine and against Israel in Egypt is powerful, because it is based not only on a sense of justice and humanitarianism but also on an emotive sense of shared identity and fraternity in the struggle against a common threat. Indeed Egypt’s 2011 revolution built on the foundations of four decades of spontaneous popular protest and activism, in which anti-Zionism and Palestine were consistently present, crossing class and religious divides. This rich tradition will further democratize the political scene between the authorities and contenders for power in Egypt, despite the retrenchment of the military and security forces’ positions in the latter months of 2011. Indeed, as the year came to a close, protesters were firmly focused on challenging the military council, yet the Sinai gas pipeline was blown up for the tenth time, and the new Israeli ambassador in Cairo reported for duty without an embassy, as all efforts to find a new landlord had so far failed.

 
In a wide-ranging interview with TheMarker, Benjamin Ben-Eliezer says ties with Egypt must be maintained at all costs.
 

Israel ready to swap 63 Egyptian prisoners for its convicted spy
Israel is willing to carry out a prisoner exchange with Egypt, in which 63 Egyptians would be swapped for one Israeli prisoner convicted of spying for Israel, Egypt Independent reported on Sunday.

 
Ex-Arab League boss vows reform, dismisses Mubarak link
CAIRO (Reuters) – The 75-year-old former head of the Arab League has vowed to serve just one four-year term if elected Egypt’s president, but Amr Moussa’s Islamist rivals, who see him as a relic from Hosni Mubarak’s era, say he doesn’t even deserve that long. Moussa, who became popular with ordinary Egyptians as head of the Cairo-based League, is tipped as a front-runner in next month’s election. Many Egyptians fondly remember how he regularly slammed Israeli policies and in 2003 warned against the U.S-led invasion of Iraq, saying it would “open the gates of hell”.
Egypt military rulers ‘vow’ cabinet reshuffle
The parliament speaker says he was promised by the military council to announce a reshuffle within 48 hours.
http://www.aljazeera.com/news/middleeast/2012/04/2012429222951926413.html
 
Egypt Versus Saudi Arabia: New Rules, Asad AbuKhalil
For months during the Egyptian uprising, Thomas Friedman assured his (Zionist) readers that the Egyptian uprising has no foreign policy goals whatsoever. He probably was trying to allay the fears of Israelis. (Only recently, Thomas Friedman sneakily switched positions and said that the only issue that matters in the next presidential election in Egypt will be foreign policy and the state of relations with Israel). 
 
Iran
Ehud Olmert: U.S., not Israel should lead possible strike on Iran
In interview with CNN, former PM says military option should be the last resort, one supported by the Washington and the international community.
http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/ehud-olmert-u-s-not-israel-should-lead-possible-strike-on-iran-1.427487?localLinksEnabled=false
 
The U.S. Air Force is quietly assembling the world’s most powerful air-to-air fighting team at bases near Iran. – The Raptor-Eagle team has been honing special tactics for clearing the air of Iranian fighters in the event of war.
Chances of Iran Strike Receding, U.S. Officials Say
With the revival of talks — which went unexpectedly well — and domestic differences arising in Israel, the odds of imminent conflict have decreased, experts and American officials say.
http://feeds.nytimes.com/click.phdo?i=2a4742b21df5396da4cb6d200f0d4073
 
Israel’s defense minister warned Monday that as long as Iran poses a threat to Israel with its nuclear program, all options are on the table, a reference to a possible Israeli attack.

http://news.yahoo.com/israeli-defense-minister-talks-tough-iran-173137978.html

 
Iraq
Mother and children stabbed to death in Baghdad
Baghdad violence left six people dead on Monday, including a mother and her three children who were stabbed to death in their home, officials said. A mother, her 13-year-old boy, and two girls aged five and seven were stabbed to death in the east Baghdad neighborhood of Kamaliyah on Monday morning, security and medical officials said. The family’s father, who works at the ministry of health, had already left for his office.
http://english.al-akhbar.com/content/mother-and-children-stabbed-death-baghdad?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+AlAkhbarEnglish+%28Al+Akhbar+English%29

Iraq violence kills seven: officials
Violence killed seven people in Iraq on Monday, including a mother and her three children who were stabbed to death in their home and an army major killed by a bomb, officials said.
http://news.yahoo.com/baghdad-violence-leaves-six-dead-150931216.html

Iraq to get first F-16 jets in early 2014: official
BAGHDAD (Reuters) – Iraq will receive the first 24 of 36 F-16 fighter jets it has ordered from the United States at the beginning of 2014, a senior official told Reuters on Sunday. Under deposed dictator Saddam Hussein, Iraq’s air force was one of the largest in the region with hundreds of mainly Soviet-designed jets. Its military was disbanded after the U.S.-led invasion in 2003. Last July, Prime Minister Nuri Al-Maliki doubled the number of warplanes Iraq had initially planned to buy to strengthen an air force neglected during a protracted period when the country relied on U.S. air support.
http://news.yahoo.com/iraq-first-f-16-jets-early-2014-official-162045673.html

Kurds Approve Heavy Weapons For Themselves, Baghdad Says No
Just days after the Kurdish Regional Government called on the United States to cancel an order of fighter jets headed to Iraq, the K.R.G. approved for its own use all types of weapons. Baghdad quickly warned the Kurds that their possession of tanks and warplanes is against the Iraqi constitution. Meanwhile, new violence at least three Iraqis killed and 17 more wounded.
http://original.antiwar.com/updates/2012/04/29/kurds-approve-heavy-weapons-for-themselves-baghdad-says-no/

Trial of Iraq’s fugitive Sunni VP to open Thursday
Iraq’s Supreme Judicial Council said Monday the terror trial of the country’s fugitive Sunni vice president will begin Thursday.
http://news.yahoo.com/trial-iraqs-fugitive-sunni-vp-open-thursday-140453183.html

U.S. funds may have helped Iraq insurgents: watchdog
Some U.S. commanders believe funds available for relief and reconstruction during the country’s war in Iraq may have ended up benefiting insurgents, a report released by a U.S. watchdog said.
http://english.alarabiya.net/articles/2012/05/01/211408.html

Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia: Abolish Terrorism Court
Saudi Arabia should abolish the Specialized Criminal Court, set up in 2008 to try terrorism cases, but increasingly used to try peaceful dissidents and rights activists on politicized charges and in proceedings that violate the right to a fair trial. In April, it sentenced two people to prison for their peaceful activism, and the trials of at least four others are ongoing, in violation of their rights to freedom of expression.
http://www.hrw.org/news/2012/04/27/saudi-arabia-abolish-terrorism-court

Wary of Iran, Saudis seek progress on Gulf union
DUBAI (Reuters) – Wary of Iran and regional protest movements, Gulf Arab states are pushing ahead with plans for a political union that would involve joint foreign and defense policies, the Saudi foreign minister said in a speech at the weekend. The comments by Prince Saud al-Faisal come two weeks ahead of a summit of U.S.-aligned Gulf leaders in Riyadh that will review an outline for such a union after Saudi King Abdullah first floated the idea last December.
http://news.yahoo.com/wary-iran-saudis-seek-progress-gulf-union-190907812.html

Syria

UN observer chief urges end to Syria violence
Norwegian Major General Robert Mood calls on all sides to cease hostilities as he arrives in Damascus.
http://www.aljazeera.com/news/middleeast/2012/04/201242915164560517.html

Syrian activists: at least 7 killed in village
Syrian forces fired mortar shells at a farming village in the country’s north Tuesday, killing at least seven people, many from the same family, according to activists.
http://news.yahoo.com/syrian-activists-least-7-killed-village-104821291.html

Twenty-three die in Syria attacks
Activists report that 23 people, including nine from one family and 12 soldiers, have been killed in separate attacks in Syria.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-17906618#sa-ns_mchannel=rss&ns_source=PublicRSS20-sa

Lebanon skier ‘hit by gunfire from Syria’
One person was wounded when a group of skiers on Mount Hermon in southeast Lebanon came under machinegun fire from across the border with Syria on Monday, a security official said.
http://news.yahoo.com/lebanon-skier-hit-gunfire-syria-132324400.html

Syrian bombings kill nine, injure 100 more in Idlib
A pair of deadly explosions rocked the northern Syrian city, damaging state security buildings.
http://rss.csmonitor.com/%7Er/feeds/world/%7E3/-KcjXnkKNAM/Syrian-bombings-kill-nine-injure-100-more-in-Idlib

Judge releases Syrian activist Yara Sammas on bail

Syrian anti-regime activist Yara Shammas, who faces the death penalty for “belonging to a secret organization,” was released on bail on Monday pending trial, said the director of the Syrian Centre for Legal Studies and Research.
http://english.alarabiya.net/articles/2012/04/30/211286.html
 
Syrian rebels fighting to topple President Bashar al-Assad say they are shifting tactics towards homemade bombs, hoping to even the odds between their outgunned forces and his powerful army. A series of deadly blasts in the past week suggests they are getting better at it. Suicide bombs, booby-trapped cars and roadside explosions, including blasts in Idlib on Monday and the capital Damascus last week, have rocked the Arab state. 
 
Middle East commentator discusses Syria violence 
The Syrian government has been blaming al-Qaeda for Monday’s attacks in Idlib and Damascus. Rami Khoury, director of Issam Fares Institute for Public Policy and International Affairs in Beirut, tells Al Jazeera: “There are probably some al-Qaeda inspired terrorists groups who are operating in Syria. “Some of them came from Iraq and Afghanistan. They have been operating for many years in Syria but the Syrian government had them under control. It is possible that some of them have resurfaced again.”
After Daraa; Syrian Art Today
In less than a year, much of the Damascus art scene has been brought to a standstill by events surrounding the Syrian uprising. Some artists continue to reside in Syria and are producing with apparent impetus—others mirror their efforts but have relocated to neighboring Arab states. Although limited, recent activity among the city’s commercial and non-profit art spaces includes impromptu organizing, as a few remaining galleries support a small network of artists and cultural practitioners through makeshift residencies.
http://www.jadaliyya.com/pages/index/5205/after-daraa;-syrian-art-today

Other Mideast & World News

Afghan protesters accuse NATO of killing 4 children
Hundreds of Afghan demonstrators on Tuesday accused US-ledNATO troops of killing four children during clashes with insurgentsin a southern Afghan town, officials and witnesses said. The protesters, who were carrying the bodies of four children aged eight to 12, blocked the Kabul-Kandahar highway and chanted anti-US slogans, they said. A spokesman for NATO’s International Security Assistance Force(ISAF), Lt-Commander Brian Badura, said initial reports suggested that the children were killed by insurgent fire.
http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2012/05/01/afghan-protesters-accuse-nato-of-killing-4-children/
 
US defends drone use for targeted killing 
The debate over the legality of the CIA’s use of drones to kill suspected terrorists in foreign lands. Al Jazeera’s White House correspondent, Patty Culhane reports from Washington.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iK3aG_Z7zTQ&feature=youtube_gdata

Romney wants to Fight Whole Muslim World, not Concentrate on Bin Laden, Juan Cole
Mitt Romney said Monday that of course he would have taken out Bin Laden and that ‘even Jimmy Carter would have made that call.’ Since Jimmy Carter ordered a brave and risky but failed military mission into Iran, that was a cheap shot on the part of someone who has never had anything to do with the military. Moreover, Jimmy Carter made peace between Egypt and Israel and played a major role in reducing the number of Africans stricken by the Guinea worm from 3.5 million to 1,100. So Romney, who has mainly been sending our jobs overseas, isn’t good enough to shine Carter’s shoes.

http://www.juancole.com/2012/05/romney-wants-to-fight-whole-muslim-world-not-concentrate-on-bin-laden.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+juancole%2Fymbn+%28Informed+Comment%29
 
Jordan: Publisher, Journalist Charged in State Security Court
The charges by Jordan’s military prosecutor against a journalist and publisher of a news website apparently violate their free speech rights. The two were charged on April 23, 2012, with “subverting the system of government” for an article concerning the king’s supposed intervention in a corruption investigation.
http://www.hrw.org/news/2012/04/25/jordan-publisher-journalist-charged-state-security-court

Eyewitness to a Libyan massacre
Survivors of a Libyan prison massacre tell their story.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-17873163#sa-ns_mchannel=rss&ns_source=PublicRSS20-sa

Capitalism and Class in the Gulf Arab States, Adam Hanieh
[This review was originally published in the most recent issue of Arab Studies Journal. For more information on the issue, or to subscribe to ASJ, click here.] What if capitalists in a particular country could draw on a reserve army of semi-skilled labor that includes hundreds of millions of noncitizens whom they could import, hire, fire and expel at will, without worrying about laws, regulations, and collective action? What if they could perfect labor market segmentation to a degree whereby only one social class—capital—reproduces itself, but another—labor—never does? What if, asks Adam Hanieh in his new book, Capitalism and Class in the Gulf Arab States, the economies of the Gulf Arab states should not be conceptualized as underdeveloped, semi-feudal economies that happen to sit on stupendous sources of wealth that they either squander or distribute to local constituencies in return for political loyalty? Hanieh’s groundbreaking book argues that we should not view the Gulf Arab states as anomalies in the worldwide economy. Instead, he claims, the story of twentieth-century capitalism could not be told without recounting their central role: the “global economy is part of the actual essence of the Gulf itself—the development of the global ‘appears’ through the development of the Gulf” (16).
http://www.jadaliyya.com/pages/index/5296/capitalism-and-class-in-the-gulf-arab-states

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