How Barack Obama learned to love Israel, Ali Abunimah
I first met Democratic presidential hopeful Senator Barack Obama almost ten years ago when, as my representative in the Illinois state senate, he came to speak at the University of Chicago. He impressed me as progressive, intelligent and charismatic. I distinctly remember thinking ‘if only a man of this calibre could become president one day.’ On Friday Obama gave a speech to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) in Chicago. It had been much anticipated in American Jewish political circles which buzzed about his intensive efforts to woo wealthy pro-Israel campaign donors who up to now have generally leaned towards his main rival Senator Hillary Clinton.
NBC News has learned that the Democratic Party will reinstate the language recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Republicans — including the Romney campaign — criticized President Obama and the Democrats after it was discovered this language had been omitted in the Democratic Party’s platform This will all be changed on the floor today, NBC has learned, and it will probably mean just simply reinstating the 2008 language.
US Democrats divided over ‘undivided Jerusalem’
In a strange turn of events, the Democratic platform was updated today to include the stance that Jersusalem should be the ‘undivided capital of Israel’. During the vote, it was clear that many in the party did not agree with the statement but the resolution passed anyway in a rare display of inner-party strife. Al Jazeera’s Patty Culhane reports from the convention.
link to www.youtube.com
Three votes and boos as convention chairman LA Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa pushes through platform amendment after public backlash.
Did Democratic delegates just vote down Obama bid to pander to AIPAC on Jerusalem?, Ali Abunimah
A must-see video seems to show the Democratic National Convention rejecting an Obama-inspired amendment to pander to Israel over Jerusalem.
link to electronicintifada.net
Romney and Pro-Israel Dems attack party platform, but insider says AIPAC reviewed platform language and had no problem, Adam Horowitz
This story has turned into one the mini-controversies of the Democratic convention to this point. Last night the Free Beacon ran with a story that AIPAC had not been consulted on the final Democratic Party platform and had advocated for the party to retain language referring to Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
link to mondoweiss.net
Changes between the 2008 Democratic Party platform’s language on Israel and the 2012 version were due to a deliberate effort to refocus the platform toward President Barack Obama’s policies, two officials directly involved in its drafting process told The Cable. Leading pro-Israel groups such as AIPAC were heavily involved in the platform-drafting process, saw final language of the draft platform, and told platform drafters they were satisfied with it, both officials said. Certain parts of the pro-Israel community are up in arms this week over the fact that the latest version of the platform doesn’t include certain passages from the previous version, such as language affirming that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel, specific mentions of the terrorist group Hamas, and language spelling out the party’s position that Palestinian refugees would be settled outside of Israel as part of any comprehensive arrangement to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Congressmen insist Democratic Party is staunchly pro-Israel despite omission; anti-Israeli activists stage mock checkpoint in front of AIPAC event on margins of Democratic National Convention.
The Democratic Platform has three paragraphs on the Middle East: two of them deal with Israel and partly says this: “President Obama and the Democratic Party maintain an unshakable commitment to Israel’s security. A strong and secure Israel is vital to the United States not simply because we share strategic interests, but also because we share common values. For this reason, despite budgetary constraints, the President has worked with Congress to increase security assistance to Israel every single year since taking office, providing nearly $10 billion in the past three years. The administration has also worked to ensure Israel’s qualitative military edge in the region. And we have deepened defense cooperation – including funding the Iron Dome system – to help Israel address its most pressing threats, including the growing danger posed by rockets and missiles emanating from the Gaza Strip, Lebanon, Syria, and Iran. The President’s consistent support for Israel’s right to defend itself and his steadfast opposition to any attempt to delegitimize Israel on the world stage are further evidence of our enduring commitment to Israel’s security.” And the last paragraph–the only one that does not deal with Israel–says this: “Elsewhere in the region, President Obama is committed to maintaining robust security cooperation with Gulf Cooperation Council states and our other partners aimed at deterring aggression, checking Iran’s destabilizing activities, ensuring the free flow of commerce essential to the global economy, and building a regional security architecture to counter terrorism, proliferation, ballistic missiles, piracy, and other common threats
.” This is the true stance of the US in the Middle East: it is Israel and then the Gulf dictatorships. And you dare wonder “why they hate us”?
Land Theft and Destruction / Ethnic Cleansing / Apartheid / Refugees
The Israeli occupation authorities have completed the apartheid wall around Jerusalem, cutting it off from its West Bank hinterland. The final 130km section brings the total length of the illegal wall to 784 km. The city is now ringed by electrified wire and cement blocks to a height of 5-6m on three sides, while the fourth is plagued with illegal settlements, which are in the process of being connected to others outside the city by a light railway system. According to the head of the General Committee for the Defence of Palestinian Land, the Israelis have confiscated the remaining areas of West Jerusalem and erased all barriers between the western and eastern sectors of the city. “They have also confiscated land in the Jordan Valley, including Maale Adumim settlement, and reached the Dead Sea,” said Abdul-Hadi Hantash. “To the south, Jerusalem is blocked by a settlement belt.” The idea, said Hantash, is to separate Jerusalem from the occupied West Bank to create “facts on the ground, which poses huge questions about the future of Palestinians living inside the Israeli barriers, inside the city, as well as the future of their land.” Around 120,000 Palestinians have been displaced from the city of their birth by the Israelis as a result of these measures, he added. The Israelis encourage illegal Jewish settlers to move in when Palestinians are evicted and forced out of Jerusalem. Hantash called for Islamic and Arab counter-measures to save the city of Jerusalem from the hands of the Israelis and their brutal occupation, and give support to the Palestinians as they struggle to hold on to their land.
House demolitions and forced displacments in Area C
Israeli bulldozers entered the Palestinian village of Zenuta in the South Hebron Hills Tuesday morning and demolished water cisterns, residential dwellings, and sheep stables, devastating the small community of only 7 families. In total, 4 water cisterns, 2 caves, 2 houses, and 6 stables were destroyed. Zenuta is a small village of 7 families with a herd of 400 sheep. The army destroyed the houses of 2 families, each with 7children, as well as 6 stables holding sheep. Perhaps most devastating of all in a region starved for water, the army bulldozed the village’s cisterns, holding water collected from winter rains. The cisterns cost NIS 15,000 each, an incredible toll amounting to about a year and half’s wages for the average Palestinian worker in the area.
link to palsolidarity.org
There is a frightening article at +972 about an extremist national-religious social movement whose influence is on the rise in Israel. They are being recieved with open arms by much of the government apparatus. They are call themselves Regavim. Their goal is to promote “a Jewish Zionist agenda for the State of Israel” but what that agenda amounts to is the expulsion of the Palestinian population from what they consider to be Jewish Land.
NABLUS (Ma’an) — A group of settlers destroyed dozens of olive trees in a Nablus village on Wednesday, a PA official said. Ghassan Doughlas, who monitors settlement activity in the northern West Bank, told Ma’an that settlers from Yitzhar settlement destroyed dozens of trees in the south Nablus village of Burin. In 2011, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs reported that settler attacks had increased by 50 percent on the previous year. The Nablus district of the West Bank experienced the majority of settler violence throughout the year.
JERICHO (Ma’an) — An Israeli settler on Wednesday torched bales of wheat and alfalfa in Ein al-Duyuk north of Jericho, witnesses said. The agricultural produce belonged to Suleiman Zayid, who lives in a Bedouin community in Ein al-Duyuk. The settler, from the nearby Mevo’ot Jericho settlement set fire to 37 bales at Zayid’s farm, an onlooker told Ma’an. A committee from the Palestinian Authority Ministry of Agriculture has visited the farm to assess the damage.
Beit Ommar Greenhouses Destroyed by Settlers
The Center for Freedom and Justice has been working with local farmers to develop Palestinian land in Area C. As part of our strategy we have started a land rehabilitation program called “The Greenhouse Project”. The project aims to protect Palestinian land from further confiscation by encouraging local farmers to keep working in close proximity to nearby Israeli settlements, despite the daily harassment by settlers. It also aims to generate substantial income for local farmers; growing crops in greenhouses allows them to produce more than one vegetable crop each year, helping to offset the economic burden placed on them by the occupation.
Israel hands over old vegetable market in Hebron to illegal Jewish settlers
An Israeli ministerial committee has decided to hand over Hebron’s old vegetable market to the Hebron Settlement Council. The decision has been condemned by the Palestinian-run Hebron Rehabilitation Committee which warned of the repercussions on geographic, demographic, political and economic levels. The committee issued a press release pointing out that the decision comes in the context of the Israeli settler scheme to Judaise the old city of Hebron, reinforce the Jewish settlers’ presence therein, and evict indigenous inhabitants after seizing their properties illegally. It warned that the decision aims at the complete elimination of any political or legal possibility of reopening the wholesale vegetable market, which is considered to be the main commercial centre in Hebron, and restoring the properties to their Palestinian owners.
IOF confiscate water tanks in Jordan Valley
Israeli occupation forces launched yesterday an extensive campaign to confiscate water tanks belonging to Bedouin families in the northern Jordan Valley.
Palestinian Refugees from Syria Lost and ‘Betrayed’, Ramzy Baroud
The official position of Arab nations is unambiguous: solidarity with Palestine is paramount. But facts on the ground point to a disturbingly different reality, one in which Palestinians are mistreated beyond any rational justification in various Arab countries. The worst-fated among them are stateless refugees, who have for decades been granted only precarious legal status. In times of crisis thee refugees have repeatedly found themselves in a state of legal and political limbo.
SHATILA, Lebanon: A few hours after their arrival in Lebanon, Nayef and his family were already crowding outside the entryway to their new building, seeking some space. Their doorway had no door, there was no electricity, and the six relatives would be sharing two rooms with four others. Having exchanged the Homs Palestinian refugee camp for Beirut’s Shatila that day, Nayef was juggling his youngest son and a cigarette, he and his wife Rima surprisingly calm after a trip he reported had only “some danger.” More than 3,000 Palestinian refugees from Syria have approached Lebanon’s branch of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency since the Syrian conflict began some 17 months ago, and according to UNRWA the number “has been steadily rising.”
Palestinian Killed In Gaza Tunnel, One Injured
Palestinian medical sources in the Gaza Strip reported that one resident was killed, on Tuesday evening, and another resident was injured in a tunnel collapse accident, near the Salah ad-Din Gate, south of Rafah, in the southern part of the coastal region.
Occupation prevents Gazan child’s travel for treatment
Israeli occupation authorities (IOA) have refused to allow a Palestinian child, Nour al-Shami, to enter the territories occupied in 1948, Dr. Ashraf Kodra, Health ministry spokesman, confirmed.
The aquifer that provides water to the Gaza Strip may become unusable within four years and irreversibly damaged by 2020 unless pumping stops and major infrastructure upgrades are made, the United Nations said. “Today, 90 percent of the water from the aquifer isn’t safe for drinking without treatment,” the UN report said about the seaside enclave between Egypt and Israel where 1.6 million people live amid a blockade restricting the movement of goods.
Availability of clean water is “limited for most Gazans” and if desalination and wastewater treatment investments aren’t stepped up, the UN expects Gaza’s power, living and sanitation conditions to worsen, it said in an Aug. 27 report.
GAZA CITY (Ma’an) – Prime minister of the Hamas-run Gaza government Ismail Haniyeh on Tuesday gave directives to his interior ministry to monitor Gaza’s border with Egypt. As he presided over the first meeting of his new cabinet, Haniyeh called upon Egyptian president Muhammad Mursi to facilitate the entry of fuel from Qatar into the coastal enclave, to speed up efforts to open a duty-free area between Egypt and Gaza, and to help end the siege on the strip.
A Salafi militant group operating in Gaza said on Wednesday that Hamas authorities have detained 20 of its members in a crackdown on rocket fire on southern Israel. The little-known group – the Mujahadeen Shura Council of Jerusalem – posted word of the sweep on its website on Wednesday. It said its members were rounded up this week “to prevent rocket fire from Gaza.” The crackdown is the first in more than a year on ultraconservative Salafi groups operating in Gaza. Hamas currently is believed to be interested in avoiding a conflict with Israel over rocket fire.
It was 57 days since my latest bid for a temporary residency permit in Egypt. So I called the Mugamma, the vast 1940s building in downtown Cairo that handles these matters, to see what was happening. “Hello Mr. Sawi, has the temporary residence permit been approved yet?” I asked an officer at the Mugamma’s press center. “No Mr. Rami, we have still not got a response from the authorities concerned. I am really very sorry to tell you this as I know you have waited long enough and truly I do not know what to say to you.” This conversation took place on 30 August. It was the last in a series of phone calls and face-to-face meetings with the press center, which has been dealing with my application, since I arrived in Cairo on 2 July. I have been in Egypt to accompany my wife, Um Munir, who is being treated for a serious medical condition.
Three Palestinians Killed By Israeli Missiles In Central Gaza
Palestinian medical sources reported that three Palestinians were killed, and a fourth resident was wounded, late on Wednesday at night, when the Israeli Air Force fired missiles into an area east of the Al-Boreij refugee camp, in central Gaza.
Vandals torched the wooden door of a monastery near Jerusalem on Tuesday and pro-settler graffiti daubed in Hebrew was discovered on the building’s stone walls, Israeli police said. ”Police have opened a special investigation into the incident,” Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said of the arson that occurred at the Latrun Monastery. Rosenfeld said the name of an unauthorized settler outpost evacuated this week, called “Migron” and the words “Jesus is a monkey” were also scrawled at the holy site located inside Israel but not far from the occupied West Bank.
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — The Palestinian Authority on Tuesday called on Israel to act against an arson attack on a Jerusalem-area monastery and to bring those responsible to justice. Vandals torched the wooden door of the Latrun Monastery and pro-settler graffiti daubed in Hebrew was discovered on the building’s stone walls, Israeli police say. ”The Israeli government must take responsibility for the continuous settler violence towards religious sites. Several mosques have been attacked in recent months, but little or no action taken,” a statement from the Palestinian Government Media Center said.
Tear gas attack on Yabad town, residents suffocate
A number of Palestinian civilians suffered from suffocation when an Israeli military force attacked their homes suddenly in Yabad town near Jenin city on Monday evening.
Israeli Justice: Attacks against Nonviolent Foreign Activists
In remembering the courage of nonviolent peace activist Rachel Corrie who died after being run over by an Israeli army bulldozer while protesting the unlawful demolition of Palestinian homes, the below is a partial list compiled by the Institute for Middle East Understanding (IMEU) of nonviolent foreign activists and others who have been seriously injured or killed while protesting against the theft of Palestinian land and resources by Israeli forces in recent years.
Illegal Arrests / Prisoner News
Israeli soldiers kidnapped, on Tuesday at night, a young Palestinian woman, 18, and her 12-year-old brother, in Tal Romedia neighborhood in the center of the southern West Bank city of Hebron. Several Residents were kidnapped in an invasion to the West Bank village of Kufr Qaddoum.
IOF detain school teacher, seize their vehicle east of Yatta
The Israeli occupation forces (IOF) detained on Wednesday morning a number of Janba school teachers east of Yatta town and siezed their vehicle.
NABLUS (Ma’an) — Israeli forces arrested 16 people overnight Tuesday in the West Bank, locals and Israel’s army said. Locals in Nablus told Ma’an that Israeli soldiers raided the area and detained five men overnight. Muhammad Sadeq al-Foula, Ayman Basim al-Foula, Amir al-Amoudi, Muhammad al-Zarba and George Awwad were named as those detained. Awwad, from the village of Awarta, is the brother of Hakim, 18, who was found guilty of stabbing to death five members of a family in a settlement last year. Locals in Hebron said that Sundus Hisham al-Azzah, 18, and her brother Ahmad, 12, were arrested in Tel Rumeida by soldiers. An Israeli army spokeswoman said that seven people were arrested in Nablus, five in the Hebron district, two in Qalandia, one in Tubas and one in Jenin.
QALQILIYA (Ma’an) — Israeli forces arrested fourteen people overnight Monday, locals and Israel’s army said. Israeli forces raided the Qalqiliya village of Kafr Qaddum at around 2 a.m. and arrested Moayad Eshteiwi, 55, Awos Amer, 23, Ahmad Amer, 23, Muhammad Amer, 24 and Wassim Eshteiwi, 24, locals told Ma’an. An Israeli army spokesman said five people were arrested in Kafr Qaddum, four people in the Ramallah area, three in Hebron, one in Qabitiya, Jenin and one in Tulkarem. Locals in Yabad, Jenin, said Israeli military vehicles entered the village overnight and fired tear gas at residents. One woman was hospitalized by the gas while several children reportedly vomited after inhaling the fumes, locals told Ma’an. Soldiers also set up a checkpoint at the entrance to village and briefly arrested and blindfolded several young men before releasing them, locals added.
GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — Israeli forces arrested three teenagers on Tuesday near the separation fence in the central Gaza Strip, a human rights group said. Saed Abed al-Qader Wardeh, 16, Amed Raed Hussein Khalil Abu Khater, 15, and Muhammad Hassan Ali al-Tawil, 16, were arrested by Israeli forces near the security fence east of al-Bureij refugee camp, Al Mezan Center for Human Rights said. The teenagers were taken to a nearby detention center, the group said. An Israeli army spokesman said he was not familiar with the incident.
Israel freed Hamas lawmaker Mohammed Abu Tir on Wednesday after holding him prisoner without charge for a year, the Islamist Palestinian movement reported. Abu Tir, a lawmaker for Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem, was first arrested in June 2010 and expelled to the occupied West Bank the following December after he refused to leave east Jerusalem despite an Israeli interior ministry order revoking his residency permit over his ties to Hamas. Then last September the Israeli military arrested him at his temporary residence in Kufr Aqab, a neighborhood near the Palestinian city of Ramallah, according to Hamas officials.
The administrative detention of Palestinian writer and thinker Ahmed Qatamesh was renewed for a fourth time on September 5, 2012 by an occupation military court. Qatamesh was arrested on April 21, 2011 and his detention has been extended four times to date. This is not his first time in Israeli jails – he was arrested in 1992 and held for 100 days under severe torture, an experience detailed in his memoir, “I Shall Not Wear Your Tarboush.” When no incriminating evidence or confession was forthcoming, Qatamesh was placed in administrative detention without charge or trial, renewed repeatedly for nearly six years until his release in 1998. He is one of the longest-held Palestinian prisoners in administrative detention. Amnesty International, which also denounced his earlier detention in the mid-1990s, recognizes Ahmed Qatamesh as a prisoner of conscience and calls for his release.
Old prisoners: PA neglects prisoners’ issue
Old prisoners in occupation prisons accused the PA leadership of neglecting the prisoners’ issue and giving false promises about their release.
Three Palestinian prisoners return to their families tomorrow
Ahrar center for prisoner studies and human rights said the Israeli occupation would release on Thursday three Palestinian prisoners including a senior Hamas figure.link to www.palestine-info.co.uk
Israeli Racism / Discrimination
Girl from Philippines was left outside monastery as baby, adopted by Palestinian family. Authorities who recently detained girl’s biological mother decide to deport her; ‘I’d die before having her taken from me,’ says Palestinian mother
JERUSALEM (Reuters) — Israel ruled out entry on Wednesday for 20 Africans who have camped on its desert border with Egypt for almost a week, part of a crackdown on migrants who walk across the porous frontier. About 60,000 Africans have come into Israel through the Egyptian Sinai in recent years. Israel says the vast majority are illegal job seekers, disputing arguments by humanitarian agencies that they should be considered for asylum.
BDS / Solidarity / Activism
Lebanon’s Mashrou’ Leila cancels on Chili Peppers after latter refuses Israel boycott call
Internationally acclaimed Lebanese group Mashrou’ Leila has will not open for Red Hot Chili Peppers in Beirut, after a boycott call.
Tunisia to host the largest conference supporting Palestinian prisoners
Tunisian capital is scheduled to host the biggest international conference in support of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails, next November, under the auspices of President Moncef Marzouki.
Comrade Jamil Mizher, member of the Central Committee of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, said that the Palestinian street is rising in a real popular movement to confront poverty, rising prices, unemployment and economic deterioration in the West Bank and Gaza, calling for those responsible to be held accountable for the economic crisis and act to ensure Palestinians can live with dignity. Mizher said that the case of Ehab Abu Nada who set himself afire in Gaza in his despair at unemployment reflects the severe strain faced by Palestinians due to poverty and unemployment, as do the protests taking place throughout the West Bank in response to regressive tax increases and rising prices. He also noted the fundamental responsibility of the occupation – and the Palestinian Authority – for this economic crisis, saying that it demonstrates the failure of the Authorities in Palestine to both confront the occupation and support the steadfastness of the people.
Read the report (pdf
) for yourself and sign the petition
asking UC President Yudof to table the report. Learn more about the history of anti-Palestinian censorship at the University of California here
link to mondoweiss.net
California urges campuses to “crack down” on criticisms of Israel, As’ad AbuKhalil
“Last month, the California State Assembly passed a resolution urging state educational institutions to more aggressively crack down on criticism of the State of Israel on campuses, which the resolution defines as “anti-Semitism.” The anti-democratic resolution is the latest step in the broader campaign to stifle and suppress dissent on California’s increasingly volatile campuses. The California State Assembly is the lower house of the state legislature, consisting of 80 members. The resolution—H.R. 35: “Relative to anti-Semitism”—was passed by a vote of 66 to 80, including a majority of both Republicans and Democrats in the Assembly.“
Politics of Power: Burying Truth through Resolutions, William A. Cook
‘In any war between the civilized man and the savage, support the civilized man. Support Israel Defeat Jihad.’ –(Pamela Geller, San Francisco ad campaign). The California Assembly’s resolution passed on August 23, 2012, HR 35, purports to condemn “anti-Semitism” in public post-secondary institutions of higher learning by denying expression of opinions or statements that might be construed as expressing hatred of the Jewish people or critical of the state of Israel. Pamela Geller’s ad campaign quoted above, and placed in public vehicles in the city of San Francisco, expresses an opinion that demeans a group of people who are unquestionably Semitic by blood and language, yet would not be protected by the Assembly resolution since the term as defined is based upon the European Union’s definition that is exclusive, protecting Jews only.
link to palestinechronicle.com
In closed-door meeting with Abbas, Jordan’s king assures the Palestinian president that the Palestinian right to statehood remains a priority for Jordan.
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — President Mahmoud Abbas met with Jordan’s King Abdullah in Amman on Wednesday, the official PA news agency reported. Abbas and the Jordanian King discussed bilateral relations and the latest political developments in the region, Wafa said. The president updated King Abdullah on the most recent Israeli violations against the Palestinian people.
Abbas To Meet Morsi In Cairo
Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas, will be arriving in Cairo on Wednesday evening for a two-day visit that will include a meeting with the newly elected Egyptian President, Mohammad Morsi, and Arab Foreign Ministers.
Abbas Arrives In Cairo, Holds Talks With Security Officials
Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas, arrived in Cairo, on Wednesday evening, to attend talks held by the Arab Follow-up Committee. Abbas held talks with Egypt’s acting security chief and a number of security officials.
Arafat judges seek West Bank trip
French judges investigating the death of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat are seeking to travel to Ramallah to probe allegations he was poisoned.
Hamas has begun a training program for diplomats in the Gaza Strip where it rules, a senior official of the Islamist group said, raising the spectre of divisions in the Palestinian national movement spreading to its representation abroad.
GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — Palestinian factions in Gaza will meet on Tuesday to discuss national reconciliation, Popular Struggle Front leader Mahmoud Zak said. The faction leader told Ma’an that all parties, with the exception of Fatah and Hamas, will hold a meeting to discuss national reconciliation in order to end the state of division. Reconciliation is vital in order to put pressure on Israel to end its illegal occupation, Zak said. Hamas and Fatah signed an Egyptian-brokered reconciliation agreement in May 2011 to end four years of divided governments in the Gaza Strip and West Bank, but its implementation has repeatedly broken down.
Minister Uzi Landau calls on Netanyahu to launch an investigation and for all participants to undergo polygraph tests.
WASHINGTON, Sept. 4, 2012 – U.S. and Israeli forces will team up this fall for Austere Challenge 12, a major exercise that provides important training for the defense of both nations, Pentagon Press Secretary George Little said here today. The Israeli defense ministry requested the bilateral, ballistic missile defense exercise be moved from May to late fall, and the drill remains the largest of its kind between the nations, Little said. “The exercise has not changed in scope and will include the same types of systems as planned,” he said. “All deployed systems will be fully operational with their associated operators, including the missile interceptors.” The United States will have fewer personnel in the exercise than originally planned because of other operations already scheduled in the same timeframe, Little said. The press secretary added that the bonds between U.S. and Israeli forces are as strong as ever. “As the minister of defense, Ehud Barak, has repeatedly said, the U.S.-Israel defense relationship is stronger than it has ever been, and we couldn’t agree more,” he said. “This exercise is a tangible sign of our mutual trust and defense of our two nations.”
IDF Chief of Staff Lieutenant-General Benny Gantz said Wednesday that “the Navy may be the smallest corps, but it’s the branch that allows Israel to act with precision, quietly and safely in any point in the Middle East.” Gantz made the statements at a Haifa Navy cadets course graduation ceremony. Defense Minister Ehud Barak, who also attended the event, added that the “IDF stands strong, ready and willing to act in Israel’s defense at any time and any geographical distance.”
Haaretz analyst Anshel Pfeffer says that, intent on being re-elected, the U.S. president needs to remind voters that Israel has his back.
DAMASCUS (Ma’an) — The Russian ambassador to Syria condemned on Tuesday the increasing rhetoric against President Mahmoud Abbas, a local PLO official in Damascus said. Azamat Kulmukhametov said Israeli foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman’s recent comments about Abbas represented “not a state policy, but a gang policy,” PLO official Anwar al-Hadi said.
FM: Israel can’t be seen as Mideast’s mistress forever
Yisrael Beiteinu’s chair says ‘Israel can’t be the Mideast mistress everybody enjoys, but no one actually wants to be involved with’; blasts PA for ‘encouraging terror’
On eve of his visit to Jerusalem and Ramallah, Jonas Gahr Store says international community must consider how to relate to the import of goods that are produced in the settlements, ‘which we consider illegal according to international law.’
(Reuters) – The United Nations UNCTAD agency issued a gloomy outlook for the Palestinian economy on Wednesday, arguing that tougher Israeli policies and settlement expansion were pushing the occupied territories and Gaza deeper into poverty. The situation had been aggravated in 2011 by a sharp drop in foreign aid, which for years provided a vital support, dimming any hope for an upswing even in the longer term, a report from the trade and development body said. ”(Israeli) restrictions on movement, faltering aid flows, a paralysed private sector and a chronic fiscal crisis cloud the horizons,” UNCTAD declared. Amid persistent high unemployment, it added, “one in two Palestinians is classified as poor.” The report, for an UNCTAD meeting in Geneva later this month, said the impact of the Israeli occupation since 1968 on the productive base of the Palestinian economy, and especially its once-flourishing agriculture, “has been devastating.”
A Palestinian man tried to set himself alight in front of protesters in the central West Bank city of Ramallah Wednesday, onlookers told the Ma’an news agency. Protesters stopped the man just as he was about set himself and his six-year-old daughter on fire at Manara Square in the center of Ramallah, witnesses said. Police officers arrived at the scene shortly after and detained him. Hasan Qahwaji is in his 30s and is originally from Gaza. Locals said his daughter suffers from cancer and that Qahwaji is unable to pay for her treatment. The incident is the latest in a string of self-immolation attempts in occupied Palestine over the last week. Khaled Abu Rabee, 42, doused himself in gasoline Tuesday after entering the municipality building in Dura, Hebron, but a security guard prevented him from setting the petrol alight. On Thursday, Ehab Abu Nada, 18, poured petrol on himself before setting himself alight near the Shifa hospital in Gaza City. He died on Monday, according to medical officials. All three incidents occurred as Palestinians joined protests across the West Bank and G
Palestinian Security Lieutenant Shot Dead In Jenin
Palestinian security sources in Jenin, in the northern part of the West Bank, reported that Lieutenant Hisham Ar-Rikh, deputy head of the Palestinian Preventative Security Forces, was shot and killed by unknown gunmen in the city.
Occupation threatens to cut off West Bank electricity
The Israeli energy minister Uzi Landau threatened to cut off power to Palestinian villages in the occupied West Bank due to PA’s failure to pay funds due to the Israel Electric Corporation (IEC).
HEBRON (Ma’an) — A mass protest took place in Hebron on Tuesday against the rising cost of living, a Ma’an correspondent said. Dozens of taxis, bulldozers and public vehicles traveled from south to central Hebron to protest the rising cost of fuel. Hundreds of protesters joined the demonstration in the city center against the rising price of basic commodities. Locals said Israeli forces detained five people on a bypass road during the protest, including one journalist. An Israeli army spokeswoman had no initial reports of any arrests in Hebron.
HEBRON (Ma’an) — Photos of Palestinian Authority prime minister Salam Fayyad were burned at a Hebron protest against the high cost of living, a Ma’an correspondent reported.
“In the southern city of Hebron, streets were closed and hundreds of people burned an effigy of Fayyad with an Israeli flag above it, an AFP photographer said. In Ramallah, seat of the presidency and the Palestinian government, traffic was held up for about 15 minutes as several dozen protesters chanted “Fayyad get out!” echoing slogans of last year’s Arab Spring protests
Jenin’s trade unions warn Fayyad’ government against popular explosion
The General Federation of Trade Unions in Jenin warned Fayyad’s government that the deteriorating economic conditions will lead to a social unrest.
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — Children protested after school on Wednesday against the rising cost of living in Beit Jala near Bethlehem in the southern West Bank. Marching along Beit Jala’s main street, the school children chanted and carried posters asking who would provide for them as the prices of basic goods rise in the West Bank. The young protesters also carried cooking pots and Palestinian flags. ”My father can’t provide our domestic requirements; neither can he pay my and my siblings’ school expenses. We are carrying empty pans to indicate that we don’t have food at home to put in the cooking pans,” one of the pupils told Ma’an. Police officers deployed to the area to divert traffic around the protest. In a second day of protests, demonstrators rallied in cities across the West Bank on Wednesday against rising prices.
CAIRO (Ma’an) — President Mahmoud Abbas said Wednesday that the “Palestinian Spring” had begun, as Palestinians took to the streets across the West Bank in protest over rising prices. ”The Palestinian spring has begun, and we are in line with what the people say and what they want,” Abbas said, addressing a meeting of Arab League foreign ministers in Cairo. The president said the protesters’ demands to reduce costs of basic goods and for regular payment of salaries were “right and fair.” ”Hunger is disloyal,” Abbas said, quoting a Palestinian proverb reflecting that hungry people thought only of their need for food. “We are trying to do what we can do to reduce prices.”
RAMALLAH (Ma’an) — The Palestinian High Court on Tuesday ruled in favor of a group of teachers claiming wrongful dismissal by the Palestinian Authority over political affiliation, a Ma’an correspondent said. The court ruled that all teachers should be reinstated to their former jobs, overturning a decision by the PA’s Ministry of Education. In May, the case was referred to the highest judicial authority in the West Bank.
World Economic Forum’s report says Israel slipped 10 spots in quality of math, science education; ‘If not addressed, poor educational quality could undermine Israel’s innovation-driven competitiveness’.
Far from everything is known about Dagan’s career. Two reporters for Yediot Ahronot, Yigal Sarna and Anat Tal-Shir, once investigated a story that, before Israel’s 1982 invasion of Lebanon, which was aimed at rooting out Yasir Arafat and the Palestinian Liberation Organization, Dagan led a secret unit across the border whose mission was to instigate terrorist events that would justify an incursion. Military censor killed the story, Sarna told me. Dagan acknowledges the censorship but denies the thrust of the story.
Analysis / Op-ed / Human Interest
The Israeli Government is racing against time in a bid to put the finishing touches on its plan to annex and Judaize East Jerusalem. Palestinians represent roughly 58 per cent of the residents of East Jerusalem today. The Israeli plans in place aim to decrease the percentage of Palestinians in East Jerusalem to about 10 percent.
Palestinian Options at the UN, Fadi Elhusseini – Ankara
As we are in September approaching the annual United Nations general debate, for the second consecutive year, the Palestinian bid for the recognition of the State of Palestine appears to be one of the most dialectical topics. Palestinian Foreign Minister Riad Malki said that they will not submit the application in September, but at a later stage. Analysts believe that such delay was aimed at eschewing any repercussions from an expected confrontation with Obama’s administration, and thereby the voting can be performed after the US elections. Nabil Abu Rudeina, spokesman for Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas, said the date would be decided next week when Abbas meets the Arab League in Cairo.
Hamas: An Islamist party tries to regain its luster
Living conditions in Gaza have deteriorated under Hamas rule, potentially leaving the Islamist militant group on the hook for rampant unemployment and other societal problems.
Australian papers cover atrocities documented by Israeli soldiers group, but Aussie Jewish orgs blindly deny the reports
The responses by the Jewish establishment are nothing short of meaningless intolerance. And paranoia. Increasingly the reality of Israeli crimes are entering the mainstream and all they can do is bleat about propaganda and Israeli morality. Fewer and fewer people believe this in 2012. The Breaking the Silence comments are interesting and strong though personally I’d rather the defence of Zionism wasn’t in there. Regardless, it’s an important organisation and challenges the concept, still laughably used by Israel defenders, that the IDF is the “most moral army in the world.”
Why aid projects in Palestine are doomed to fail, Jeremy Wildeman
In my ten years of work in the aid sector in Palestine, I found there were two key problems that when combined made the delivery of effective aid nearly impossible: Israel’s control of the borders and the major donors prioritizing their relationship with Israel. This leaves well-meaning aid workers and organizations in a difficult place, fearful of upsetting either Israel or its donor allies, because that could result in their being barred entry at the border, or losing funding for their projects and jobs.