And other news from Today in Palestine
Land theft and destruction/Ethnic cleansing
Israel to demolish 3 houses in Nablus
Nablus, July 7, 2010 (Pal Telegraph) – Israeli authorities delivered demolition warrants to Palestinian residents in Barqa village north of Hebron in the West Bank, notifying them of their intention to demolish their homes. “Israeli forces notified the Palestinian citizens of demolishing their homes under the pretext of building without permission” Ghasan Diglis, the Palestinian official of settlement file in north of West Bank, said. He said that the Palestinian families have been living at the house to be demolished for ten years, adding that they are owned by the two brothers Mahmoud and Helal Hiji and Hejaz Reda.
Clashes Reported In Wadi Ara As Israeli Bulldozers Demolish Arab Home
Bulldozers belonging to the Israeli Ministry of Interior, supported by dozens of armored military vehicles and police cars, demolished on Wednesday at dawn the home of No’man Abu Salem from Ara village in the Northern Triangle area.
My state is giving up on me
The state is planning to lay a gas pipeline, Route 6 and a railway track on Druze lands in the Jezreel Valley.
Holy Christian pilgrimage site could become a shopping mall
Some believe that during her pregnancy Mary, Jesus’ mom, drank from the Ein Karem spring, the holy water of which is currently polluted.
Exposed: The truth about Israel’s land grab in the West Bank
Jewish settlers, who claim a divine right to the whole of Israel, now control more than 42 per cent of the occupied West Bank, representing a powerful obstacle to the creation of a Palestinian state, a new report has revealed.
Lieberman Says Israel Won’t Extend Settlement Freeze
July 6 (Bloomberg) — Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said there was “no chance” Israel will extend a partial freeze on West Bank construction. “It is important that direct talks resume and the government supports this but will not agree to pay for this,” Lieberman said in comments sent from Helsinki by text message. His remarks came as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu prepares for talks in Washington with President Barack Obama later today.
Americans for Peace Now to Obama: Extend settlement freeze
Ahead of PM Netanyahu’s White House meeting with U.S. President Obama, Americans for Peace Now deliver petition to Obama with nearly 16,000 signatures calling for extension of settlement freeze.
Solidarity/Activism/Boycott, Sanctions and Divestment
Hollywood stars snub film festival: Meg Ryan, Dustin Hoffman snub J’lem Festival over ‘Mavi Marmara’
Hollywood actors Meg Ryan and Dustin Hoffman backed out of attending this year’s annual Jerusalem Film Festival, which is set to kick off this coming Thursday, following the international outcry over Israel’s attack on a Turkish-led flotilla that attempted to break the Gaza blockade on May 31, The Jerusalem Post learned Monday. According to Cinematheque associate director Yigal Molad Hayo, while neither gave the political climate as a direct reason for canceling their participation in the festival, “it became quite clear that this was the reason,” he said.
Dockworkers at Indian port boycott Israeli ships
Dockworkers at the major Indian port of Cochin are refusing to unload Israeli cargo in protest of Israel’s siege of the Gaza Strip. According to the Indian communist publication People’s Democracy, "The boycott began on June 17 on receipt of information that cargo unloaded at Colombo Port [Sri Lanka] from Israeli ship m/v Zim Livorno 16 was bound to arrive at Cochin Port in a feeder vessel." "On June 23, trade unions held a joint protest rally in Cochin Port near the office of Zim Integrated Shipping Services (India) Pvt Ltd – the Israeli shipping line," the report added. At the demonstration, labor leaders denounced Israel’s attack on a Gaza-bound aid flotilla in May which left nine people dead. Representatives of several trade unions—including those aligned with both left and right wing parties— joined the demonstration. The port of Cochin, in the state of Kerala, is one of the biggest ports in India. The Chochin dockworkers join workers at ports in Sweden, South Africa, and other countries who have refused to unload Israeli cargo. Calls for boycotts against Israel intensified in the wake of the flotilla raid. On June 20th, dockworkers in Oakland, California, refused to unload an Israeli cargo ship after protesters picketed at the dock.
Boycott the International Geographical Union’s regional conference in Tel Aviv!
Today, a month after the massacre of nine human rights activists in international waters aboard a flotilla carrying aid and supplies sailing to break the four-year closure of the Gaza Strip, we call once again upon the International Geographical Union to take a courageous and principled stand and cancel its Tel Aviv conference.
Human Rights Volunteers Needed in Palestine
Since 2002, the International Women’s Peace Service in Palestine (IWPS-Palestine) has been documenting and non-violently intervening in human rights abuses carried out by the Israeli military and Israeli settlers in the Occupied West Bank against the Palestinian civilian population. We are the only all women team of internationals working in the Occupied West Bank and we are currently looking for new volunteers to join us on the ground in Palestine.
Violence and Aggression
Israeli armed boats open fire at fishing boats in Rafah
Gaza, July 7, 2010 (Pal Telegraph) – Israeli armed boats shelled and opened fire today at Palestinian fishing boats in Rafah waters, local sources reported. Local sources reported that Israeli boats were chasing Palestinian boats and opened fire at them, no injuries were reported. Two days ago, Israeli armed boats opened fire at Gazan fishermen which injured Alam Baker while he was finishing. Israeli gunboats stationed in the waters of Gaza target Palestinian fishing boats on a daily basis, claiming that they sail beyond the allowed distance of three miles.
Israel conducts limited incursion in Gaza
Gaza, July 7, (Pal Telegraph) Several Israeli militant vehicles broke into the farms of citizens east of the town of “Beit Hanoun” in the northern Gaza Strip. According to eyewitnesses, four bulldozers, accompanied by four tanks penetrated a distance of 200 meters near the site of 16 amid heavy smoke to cover their advancement.
Soldiers, Policemen, Carried Out 50 Attacks In Jerusalem in June
The Land Research Center In Jerusalem reported that Israeli soldiers and policemen conducted 50 documented attacks against the Palestinian residents of occupied East Jerusalem, and their property, during the month of June.
The Siege (Gaza & West Bank)/Humanitarian and Human Rights/Restriction of Movement
PCHR Response to Publication of New Israeli List of Items Banned from Entry to Gaza
On Sunday, 4 July 2010 the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs published two lists, detailing items not permitted to enter the Gaza Strip and those used for construction, which may only be imported and utilized under the supervision of the United Nations. The response from the international community and diplomatic representatives, including the Quartet’s Envoy to the Middle East, Tony Blair, to the Israeli decision has been overwhelmingly positive. The Israeli government’s switch from a list detailing only the items that are allowed for import to the Gaza Strip to a list of items that are not permitted has been perceived as a positive step, the assumption being that all items not on the list will be allowed to enter Gaza. In this context, the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) wishes to reaffirm its position on the illegal Israeli-imposed blockade of the Gaza Strip.
OPT: The Impact of the Barrier on Health – Special Focus, July 2010
Because of the extensive humanitarian impact of the Barrier, OCHA has been monitoring and reporting on affected Palestinian communities in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, since 2003. The current update summarises the main findings of this research, while outlining developments since the last Barrier report, issued on the occasion of the fifth anniversary of the ICJ opinion in July 2009. This year, in conjunction with the World Health Organization (WHO), the update will focus on the impact of the Barrier on health, in particular patient and staff access to the specialized medical facilities only available in East Jerusalem.
German Parliament Demands End to Gaza Blockade, July 6, 2010
Germany’s Parliament has passed a cross-party motion demanding that Israel end its blockade of the Gaza Strip., In the joint motion passed July 1, five mainstream parties said the isolation of Gaza was not in Israel’s security interests. The text also decried weapons smuggling into Gaza and rocket attacks against Israel, and said they, too, must be stopped., Joining in what has been described as a rare show of united criticism of Israel in Germany were the conservative Christian Democratic Union party of Chancellor Angela Merkel; its Bavarian sister party, the Christian Social Union; the center-right Free Democratic Party, which is in the governing coalition; the opposition Social Democratic Party; and the Green Party.
5 EU states call for end to Gaza siege
Five European countries have called for the implementation of the United Nations Security Council resolution which calls for the blockade of the Gaza Strip to be lifted.
Gaza besieged, The Economist
Israel to allow newspapers into Gaza
Gaza – Ma’an – The Israeli military will allow newspapers into the Gaza Strip starting Wednesday morning, Ma’an has learned. The Israeli government recently informed the Palestinian Authority Ministry of Civil Affairs in Ramallah that it has removed three newspapers from its once-secret list of items with dual-use designation, goods which the army maintains could be used for military purposes by Palestinian militant groups like Hamas’ armed wing.
Qatar funds health and education in Jerusalem
Jerusalem – Ma’an – Minister for Jerusalem affairs Hatem Abdul Qader received financial aid from Qatar Tuesday to fund projects in Jerusalem. Qader said the money was transferred following his meeting with the Qatari ambassador in Amman on Sunday. The aid will be focused on supporting health and education sectors.
PA minister banned from entering Israel
An un-dated archive photo of Qaraque with the family of Palestinian man serving, a life sentence in an Israeli prison. [MaanImages], Bethlehem – Ma’an – PA Minister of Prisoners Affairs Issa Qaraqe was denied entry into Israel on Tuesday and stripped of his VIP card permitting him to cross Israeli military checkpoints without harassment., The minister told Ma’an that he was en route to a meeting in Nazareth with a follow-up committee on the cases of Palestinian prisoners in Israel who hold Israeli ID cards when he was detained.
Family of Gaza war victims doubt Israeli justice
An Israeli soldier has been charged with manslaughter in an Israeli court for the deaths of two Palestinian women during Israe’s war on Gaza. Majda Abu Hajaj and her 64-year-old mother were shot dead while carrying white flags they made out of bed sheets near their homes after the Israeli army forced the women to leave their house. But the victims’ relatives say they have have no faith in Israel’s justice system, especially since it has taken 18 months for the case to be filed in court. It is the first time an Israeli soldier has been charged with killing a civilian during the war, in which more than 1,400 Palestinians were killed. [July 6, 2010]
Amira Hass / In Gaza, Cast Lead felt like a war on civilians
IDF investigation of Gaza war crimes, including point-blank killing of civilians in front of their families, has yielded a scapegoat.
Report on long-term effects of Israeli white phosphorus
In a recent report into the white phosphorous used by Israel in its 2008-9 assault on the Gaza Strip, Italian experts have warned of the adverse long term effects of the three thousand five hundred shells that were dropped indiscriminately. In particular, the report addresses the impact of this weapon, the use of which against civilians is prohibited under international law. The immediate effects of white phosphorous on human beings are well documented. When white phosphorous explodes it burns at high temperatures until deprived of oxygen and when it lands on skin it will eat through muscle and into the bone. According to Amnesty International, during the war on Gaza, white phosphorous was the cause of horrific burns and suffocation which left dozens dead and wounded.
Israel to file 2nd Goldstone response
Conclusions drawn from IDF probes on Operation Cast Lead prompt another response to UN.
Despite U.S. misgivings, UN Gaza flotilla probe to begin
Former International Criminal Court president Philippe Kirsch to head committee investigating deaths of nine Turkish citizens in clash with Israeli naval commandos.
Israel keeping flotilla ships until inquiry ends (AP)
AP – Israel says it will hold on to the six ships that sought to break an Israeli blockade of Gaza at least until it completes its investigation into a deadly raid on one of the vessels.
The Israeli raid of the Freedom flotilla
Israel’s Arab Helpers
U.A.E ambassador endorses striking Iran nuclear sites
‘It’s a cost-benefit analysis: There will be economic consequences, as well as protesting and rioting, but we cannot live with a nuclear Iran.’
Political Developments… Amreeka, Amreeka
Abbas wants more ‘trust-building’ steps
Palestinian spokesman says more progress needed in proximity talks before direct talks begin.
Report: Secret document affirms U.S.-Israel nuclear partnership
According to Army Radio, the U.S. has reportedly pledged to sell Israel materials used to produce electricity, as well as nuclear technology and other supplies.
‘Obama’s support of Israel’s nuclear ambiguity unprecedented’
Netanyahu’s entourage pleased with Obama’s warning against attempts to single out Israel over undeclared nuclear program, claim that Jewish state has ‘unique security requirements.’ Officials: Direct talks with PA within weeks.
Obama says bond with Israel ‘unbreakable’
Barack Obama, the US president, and Binyamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, have played down reports of a rift in their relationship, singing each other’s praises as they met at the White House. Obama reiterated his commitment to the security of Israel, calling the bond between the two countries "unbreakable". The leaders also vowed to bring about face-to-face talks between Israelis and Palestinians, but gave no details about how and when that would happen. Al Jazeera’s Patty Culhane reports. (July 07, 2010)
US and Israel put on show of unity
The leaders of the US and Israel have put on a show of unity at a White House meeting, playing down suggestions of a growing rift between the allies. Barack Obama, the US president, and Binyamin Netanyahu, Israeli prime minister, sought to portray warm relations on Tuesday, declaring after a White House meeting that any talk of a rift was unfounded. Obama reiterated that the US-Israeli bond was unbreakable.
Obama denies any Israel, US rift (AFP)
AFP – US President Barack Obama said he hoped for direct Middle East peace talks to start before the end of September, as he and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu denied reports of a rift.
Israel trumpets new era in US ties after summit (AFP)
AFP – Israel on Wednesday hailed a new chapter of warm ties with the White House after an upbeat summit between the United States and Israeli leaders which was big on backslapping but short on detail.
US pushes direct Middle East talks
Obama tells Netanyahu he wants talks to take place before settlement freeze expires.
Rothman: U.S.-Israel Alliance in Better Shape Than Before
Today, modern Israel faces some of the toughest challenges it has encountered in its 62-year history. Chief among them is Iran’s threat to the Jewish state’s very existence. But — especially in the past several months — there has been progress in defending against, deterring and preventing Iran from fulfilling that evil objective.
ANALYSIS / Obama trying carrot, not stick, on Netanyahu
Netanyahu got off easy in Washington: He left strengthened by Obama and without having to make any real concessions.
Democracy Now: After U.S. Praise for Netanyahu’s "Restraint", Israeli Journalist Amira Hass Asks Obama to Imagine Life as Palestinian Under Occupation
Meeting at the White House, President Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu emphasized the "unbreakable" bond between Israel and the United States. Despite ongoing Israeli settlement expansion, roadblocks, closures and the attack on the Gaza-bound aid flotilla, Obama said he thinks Israel "has shown restraint." The meeting came on the heels of a decision by the Israeli military prosecutor to take disciplinary and legal action in four separate cases from Israel’s 22-day assault on Gaza last year. We speak to veteran Israeli journalist Amira Hass.
MJ Rosenberg: Obama Yields to Bibi, Plus Me vs. Petraeus
President Obama’s love-in (transcript here) with Prime Minister Netanyahu today demonstrates that the adage that "politics stops at the water’s edge" does not apply to the Middle East. The President invited Netanyahu to Washington to get relations back on course (i.e., make AIPAC happy) as we go into the critical fundraising quarter for the November elections.
Obama and Netanyahu All Smiles, Jim Lobe
Insisting that the bond between their two nations was “unbreakable,” U.S. President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu emerged all smiles from their long-awaited White House meeting Tuesday. Speaking before reporters, the two men, whose last encounter in March appeared to confirm a crisis in bilateral ties, lavished compliments on each other.
Gaza court issues death sentence
Gaza – Ma’an – Gaza’s Central Court handed down a death sentence on Tuesday morning, following the conviction of an An-Nuseirat refugee camp man for the murder of a child. Nine-year-old Ahmad Mussa Faraj-Allah, also from An-Nuseirat camp, was found dead in a plastic bag in November, with his hands and feet bound. An autopsy revealed that Ahmad was struck over the head with a sharp tool, and sustained a second blow behind his left ear.
4 days left for collaborators to surrender
Gaza Interior Minister Fathi Hammad warned collaborators Tuesday they have four days left to hand themselves in. The Gaza government announced a two-month amnesty in May for Palestinian agents in Gaza working with Israeli intelligence. The government said collaborators who handed themselves in would face no penalty, and would be guaranteed privacy and secrecy.
Fayyad sends group to help sexual harassment case
Bethlehem – Ma’an – Prime Minister Salam Fayyad has sent a team of mediators to assist in a case of three Palestinian women allegedly sexually harassed by an Israeli hospital worker in Jerusalem, Israeli media reported Wednesday. According to the Hebrew-language daily Maariv, the delegation was sent to meet with the Bikur Cholim Hospital administration to request that the unnamed member of staff be relieved from his position. Fayyad said he would closely monitor the case and offer support.
Too absurd for words: Abbas eyes Nobel Peace Prize
Diplomatic sources in Oslo say Palestinian president’s associates trying to convince Norwegian committee members to grant him prestigious award.
Poland to extradite alleged Mossad agent to Germany
Warsaw court rules Israeli named ‘Uri Brodsky’, suspected of issuing forged passport used by assassins of senior Hamas figure in Dubai, to be tried in Berlin.
Guns belonging to Israel PM’s security detail ‘missing’
NEW YORK (AFP) – Four guns went missing and were believed to have been stolen from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s security detail after American Airlines lost luggage containing the weapons, NBC reported. It said the Glock 9mm guns had been placed in checked baggage — as security protocol dictates — at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport and were supposed to be placed on a flight to Washington for Israeli agents assigned to Netanyahu, who was meeting President Barack Obama on Tuesday.
Rise in IDF suicides
Since start of year, 19 soldiers put end to own lives after decline in suicide numbers in recent years.
Senator Pressures NRC to Clear NUMEC President of Illegal Uranium Diversions to Israel – IRmep
BusinessWire – The office of Senator Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania attempted to obtain a statement from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission according to documents newly released under the Freedom of Information Act. On August 27, 2009, Arlen Specter wrote to Rebecca Schmidt asking that the NRC "issue a formal public statement confirming that he [constituent Zalman Shapiro] was not involved in any activities related to the diversion of uranium to Israel."
Israeli economic growth: How it went wrong
The State of the Nation report on Israeli society, economics and policy is in places an alarming read, and not just because of what it reveals about the extent of poverty, economic inequality and Israel’s abysmal education system.
Patrick Cockburn: American politicians face domestic constraints to talking tough with Israel
are usually preceded by speculation that the US leader will finally demand that Israel stop expanding settlements in the West Bank, displacing Palestinians in East Jerusalem and embarrassing the US by misjudged military actions. Before yesterday’s White House encounter there were particularly loud criticisms of Israel from the US security establishment. The influential commentator Dr Anthony Cordesman of the Centre for Strategic and International Studies said that America’s commitment to Israel’s security "does not justify or excuse actions by an Israeli government that unnecessarily makes Israel a strategic liability when it should remain an asset".
American Opinion On Israel – And The Congress’s, Andrew Sullivan
What accounts for this extraordinary discrepancy between the views of Americans and the views of the congressmen who allegedly represent them?
Does Israel Make Us Safer?, Thaddeus Russell
Israel just announced it has loosened Gaza blockade rules to allow in consumer goods and Turkey is demanding an apology for the flotilla raid. As Obama and Netanyahu await tomorrow’s meeting, historian Thaddeus Russell argues that it’s time to ask if the country makes Americans safer—even if the answer makes everyone very uncomfortable.
ISRAEL, PALESTINE AFTER THE FLOTILLA : Change is in the wind
The deaths in the Gaza Freedom flotilla, more than decisions by the United Nations or several big powers, have forced Israel to loosen its blockade of the 1.5 million beleaguered Palestinians. The incident represents a tipping point toward substantial change for the Palestinians, Israelis and perhaps the Middle East in general. – Jack A Smith (Jul 7, ’10) This is the first article in a two-part report.
The deceptive rhetoric of "Invest for Peace"
The boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement is gaining significant momentum cross the United States and Europe, including at US campuses. In response, opposition to the movement is devising new ways to divert attention from efforts to hold Israel accountable for its violations of international law and flagrant abuses of Palestinian human rights. Charlotte Silver comments for The Electronic Intifada.
The ‘Times’ finally covers settler funding in the US, but there is still much to tell, Adam Horowitz
The New York Times has finally covered a story that has been sitting under its nose for years – the tax-exempt fund raising Israeli settlers are doing in the U.S. In an expansive article in today’s paper, three reporters combine to tell a familiar story of how nonprofit organizations are raising money in the US to help build settlements and in some cases arm settlers themselves.
Memo to American Jews: Discover the Nakba, Alex Kane
In today’s New York Times piece on how American charities are funding the settlement enterprise in Israel, Hadassah Marcus, the president of a group called the Central Fund of Israel, is quoted as saying that her group is “not a funnel. We’re trying to build a land. All we’re doing is going back to our home.” I’m sure Marcus, who lives on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, truly believes that what she would call “Judea and Samaria,” biblical-era names for the occupied West Bank, is really her “home.” Except that it’s not, because there are Palestinians living on that land who have lived in historic Palestine for generations and generations.
Book review: pocket-sized volume deflates Canada’s "peacemaker" myth
In his latest book, Canada and Israel: Building Apartheid, Yves Engler contends that Canada’s lopsided support for Israel is neither a shift nor the product of current government policy but goes as far back as Zionism itself. Hicham Safieddine reviews for The Electronic Intifada.
The Zionist attack on the Free Gaza Flotilla
Black Panther Party veterans Malik Raheem from New Orleans and Kiilu Nyasha, who was active in both the East and West Coasts, meet up at a demonstration in San Francisco. Kiilu is wearing her keffiyeh, the scarf that symbolizes Palestinian resistance. The vicious, premeditated and illegal attack on the six-boat Freedom Flotilla by Israeli Zionists on May 31 in international waters left nine humanitarians shot dead – one of whom was an American citizen – and over 40 wounded on the Turkish ship, Mavi Marmara, as well as many others traumatized and injured from being badly beaten, jailed and/or hospitalized.
The Book That Obama and Netanyahu Must Read, By George S. Hishmeh – Washington, D.C.
It was my intention while cruising the Danube River, which is disappointingly muddy and not blue as Mozart claimed, for two weeks last month aboard a comfortable Viking boat with my wife that my attention would be mainly focused on the World Soccer Cup and the beautiful countryside and its rich history. Regrettably my over 100 fellow passengers, mostly American and a few New Zealanders and Canadians, hardly watched the matches except for the two engaging Maltese couples who were eager for me to unearth the Arabic roots of their vocabulary which has been abundantly influenced by the rise of Islam and the Ottoman empire hundreds of years ago. I was also glad that the few news channels on the boat did not have much to report on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict which has occupied my long career in journalism.
Israel & Apartheid South Africa: my interview with Sasha Polakow-Suransky
Sasha Polakow-Suransky, a senior editor at Foreign Affairs, poured through 7,000 pages of never-before-seen classified South African documents while researching his book, Israel’s Secret Relationship with Apartheid South Africa. In it, he relays the minutes and details of conversations between top level officials on both sides that shed light on the extent and nature of Israel’s cooperation with and enabling of South Africa’s Apartheid regime, both in military and non-military matters. It was a relationship that benefited both sides: South Africa acquired vital components from Israel to help advance its nuclear programme, while sharing their knowledge and components with Israel as it pursued its own nuclear ambitions.
New booklet reveals Muslim acts of heroism during Holocaust
LONDON – A new publication highlighting Muslim acts of heroism during the Holocaust will be published on Wednesday, chronicling the role played by Muslims who defended Jews during World War II. The 34-page booklet, titled “The Role of Righteous Muslim Persons,” was initiated by Faith Matters, a Leeds-based interfaith organization that works toward reducing extremism and fostering social cohesion in the UK. The aim of the booklet is to inform religious communities and the general public about the littleknown stories of courageous Muslims who stood up against injustice, protecting Jews during the Holocaust.
Tuesday: 2 Iraqis Killed, 3 Wounded
Although there were several important stories concerning Iraq today, reports of violence were sparse. An upcoming Shi’ite holiday could be the cause of the reduction in those news items. At least two Iraqis were killed and three more were wounded in attacks.
Three killed, 25 wounded in Iraq pilgrimage attacks (Reuters)
Reuters – Bombs and mortar rounds killed three Shi’ite pilgrims and wounded 25 others on Tuesday as they made their way to a shrine in northern Baghdad to commemorate the death of a medieval Shi’ite holy man.
Iraq: Militants blow up police homes killing 3 (AP)
AP – Militants targeted the homes of Iraq’s security forces west of Baghdad on Wednesday, blowing them up and killing three family members despite heightened security around the capital for a Shiite religious occasion.
Iraq: Sources Close to al-Maliki Confirm Agreement with Allawi
High level sources have informed Asharq Al-Awsat that Nuri al-Maliki’s State of Law coalition has sent a delegation to the National Iraqi Alliance that is led by Ammar al-Hakim to inform it that it may withdraw from its alliance in order to form a new alliance with Iyad Allawi’s Iraqiya bloc.
Shiite pilgrims stream into Baghdad amid high security (AFP)
AFP – Tens of thousands of Shiite worshippers streamed into the Iraqi capital on Wednesday amid heightened security for a major pilgrimage, a day after six people were killed in a string of attacks.
Iraqi civilians who allege torture by UK troops demand inquiry
100 Iraqi civilians detained and allegedly tortured by British troops embarked upon campaign to secure a public inquiry. As David Cameron announced the details of an inquiry into the UK’s role in rendition and torture, more than 100 Iraqi civilians who were detained and allegedly tortured by British troops embarked upon the first round of their campaign to secure a public inquiry into the orders and policies that governed their treatment.
Breaking the cycle: Iraqi refugee students in Syria need help to go back to school
DAMASCUS, Syrian Arab Republic, 6 July 2010 – Lulls in conversation with 16-year-old Iraqi refugee Gailan are soon filled with the gentle inhale-exhale of sleep. Outside, the Damascus streets are silent, except for the shuffling of those woken early by the intense morning heat. Gailan has just worked a 16-hour shift in a textile factory. He snatches sleep as his two sisters ready themselves for school. Both girls have been studying since dawn – determined to capitalize on the opportunities offered to Iraqis by a strained Syrian education system.
Egypt to open two consulates in Iraq – FM
CAIRO: Egypt, whose head of mission in Baghdad was killed in 2005, is to open two consulates in Iraq, Foreign Minister Ahmad Abou al-Gheit announced on Tuesday.He told reporters that President Hosni Mubarak has approved the opening of an Egyptian consulate in the northern city of Arbil and another in the port city of Basra, southern Iraq.
Hundreds of thousands mourn Lebanon’s Fadlallah (Reuters)
Reuters – Lebanon’s Grand Ayatollah Sayyed Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah was buried on Tuesday, mourned by hundreds of thousands who paid homage to an early mentor of Hezbollah who became one of Shi’ite Islam’s highest authorities.
Pictures of the Funeral
Fadlallah was Lebanon’s man in full
Grand Ayatollah Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah, Lebanon’s most influential Shiite Muslim leader who died in Beirut this past weekend, was a marja, or a source of emulation for Shiites, during his lifetime – just about the highest achievement a human being can attain in this world.
Condolences continue to pour in after Fadlallah’s death
BEIRUT: For the third day in a row on Tuesday, local and international figures voiced their sorrow over the death of one of Shiite Islam’s highest religious authorities, Grand Ayatollah Mohammad Hussein Fadlallah. Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea offered his condolences to the Shiite sect and to all the Lebanese, and hoped Fadlallah would remain a symbol of dialogue and moderation
Patriarch Sfeir Boycotts Ayatollah Fadlullah’s Funeral, Doesn’t Give Condolences
07/07/2010 It is hard to understand how politics in Lebanon mingle with religion, personal interests, and in many cases intolerance.
When Ayatollah Sayyed Mohamad Hussein Fadlullah was pronounced dead, representatives from countries, parties, and associations as well as high level politicians, diplomats, and religious figures gathered at the Hassanein Mosque to offer condolences to the family of a man who became known for his openness, tolerance, knowledge, and dialogue. Shiite, Sunni, Druze, Christian, religious, non-religious figures expressed deep regret at the loss of Ayatollah Fadlullah.
Assad, Ahmadinejad, Erdogan planning visits to Beirut
BEIRUT: Lebanon is to witness a flurry of diplomatic visits in the upcoming period, the Central News Agency (CNA) reported on Tuesday. The CNA on Tuesday quoted ministerial sources saying a number of top Arab and regional officials have expressed to Lebanon their desire to schedule visits to Beirut.
Israeli commander warns tensions on Lebanon border likely to flare in September
BEIRUT: Commander of the Israeli Army Gabi Ashkenazi said on Tuesday that while the situation of the border with Lebanon was currently calm, it was likely to escalate in September in light of tensions between Hizbullah and the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), several media reports said Tuesday.
U.S. and other World News
EU expands "safety" ban on Iran Air flights
The European Commission said on Tuesday it was extending a flight ban to include more aircraft from Iran Air.
China balks at new US sanctions
China warned other nations Tuesday against taking unilateral actions against Iran’s nuclear programme outside newly passed UN sanctions and denounced the United States for making such moves.
Turkey says PKK attacks may harm ties with Iraq and U.S. (Reuters)
Reuters – Turkey’s military and civilian leaders signaled growing frustration with the United States and Iraq Tuesday over their role in the fight against Kurdish rebels after a new attack on a Turkish base killed 15.
MESS Report / Mubarak’s health seriously deteriorating, possibly from cancer
Gamal Mubarak, the Egyptian president’s youngest son, is considered a near shoo-in to inherit his father’s mantle in the event that the elder Mubarak does not seek another term as president.
NATO kills 5 Afghan soldiers in mistaken airstrike
The ‘friendly fire’ deaths spur an apology from Gen. David Petraeus and are strongly condemned by Afghanistan officials, who note: ‘This is not the first time.’ Elsewhere, three U.S. soldiers die Tuesday in a roadside bombing. Gen. David H. Petraeus on Wednesday marked an early and unwelcome milestone in his tenure as commander of Western forces here: apologizing after his troops accidentally killed five Afghan soldiers.
"I Saw Them Taking the Bullets Out of the Body of My Daughter"; McChrystal Probe of Special Forces Killings Excluded Key Eyewitnesses, GARETH PORTER and AHMAD WALID FAZLY
The follow-up investigation of a botched Special Operations Forces (SOF) raid in Gardez Feb. 12 that killed two government officials and three women, ordered by Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal Apr. 5, was ostensibly aimed at reconciling divergent Afghan and U.S. accounts of what happened during and after the raid. That implied that the U.S. investigators would finally do what they had failed to do in the original investigation – interview the eyewitnesses. But three eyewitnesses who had claimed to see U.S. troops digging bullets of the bodies of three women told IPS they were never contacted by U.S. investigators.
US Cuts Aid After Millions Siphoned Off to Dubai
Billions of dollars are being secreted out of Kabul to help well-connected Afghans buy luxury villas in Dubai. Amid concerns that the money could be the result of corruption, American politicians have temporarily cut off aid to the Afghan government.
Seymour Hersh on Journalism, Afghanistan and Iraq
UO Channel — Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist Seymour Hersh discusses journalism in the US in the atmosphere of a declining economy and the growing popularity of blogs and other unconventional mediums as news sources.
Rupert Murdoch takes stake in rival to al-Jazeera
A company headed by the Saudi billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal says it plans to launch a new Arabic television news channel in partnership with Rupert Murdoch’s Fox network. The prince said the Kingdom Holding company’s 24-hour channel "will be an addition and alternative" for Arab viewers. It will compete with al-Arabiya and al-Jazeera. He named the veteran Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi as chief of the new network, but did not say when it would begin broadcasting. Alwaleed, who owns the giant Rotana Group, was ranked last year by Forbes as the world’s 19th wealthiest person.
Roadblocks to Damascus, Frederick Deknatel
The weekend before Memorial Day, Senator John Kerry visited Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in Damascus—his third such trip as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and second in as many months. He was there, by all accounts, to defuse tensions and clarify Syria’s response to Israel’s unconfirmed accusations, echoed by the United States, that Syria had delivered Scud missiles to its Lebanese ally Hezbollah.
Inside Story – France: Banning the veil
France moves closer to banning the full face veil. Supporters claim the covering of the face is a security threat, an insult to women’s dignity, and a threat to a secular constitution. Opponents say the move is a restriction on the freedom of expression and a breach of human rights. Would the law isolate Muslims rather than integrate them into the French society?
France set to vote on face veil ban
France’s parliament is set to vote on a proposed legislation banning the wearing of Islamic face veils in public places. If passed, prospective punishments for those violating the law include imprisonment and a hefty fine. Violators of the ban may also be forced to take educational classes on how to be a proper French citizen in a country home to five million Muslims. Rights groups have criticised the bill for being demeaning and stifling freedom of expression. Al Jazeera’s Laurence Lee reports. [July 6, 2010]
Princess Hijab’s Paris art
A "graffiti artist" in Paris has been going around the city incognito late at night and painting face veils over models displayed in posters and billboards. The woman, who calls herself "Princess Hijab", says the so-called "hijab-ising" of the models is just art and not a religious statement. Al Jazeera followed her one night. [July 6, 2010]
Tunisia to jail sick journalist
A court in Tunisia upholds a four-year prison sentence for a journalist who had covered violent protests.