and other news from Today in Palestine:
Land and Property Theft and Destruction/Ethnic Cleansing
Israel expands 2 settlements ahead of direct talks with Palestinians
RAMALLAH, Aug. 30 (Xinhua) — Three days before the direct peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians are officially launched in Washington on Thursday, a Palestinian official revealed on Monday that Israel began to expand two Jewish settlements in the West Bank. The Palestinian state-run news agency Wafa has quoted Ghassan Daghlas, the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) official, who is in charge of the Jewish settlement file in northern West Bank, as saying that the expansion have begun in the settlements of Elon Moreh and Giv’at Gilad north of Nablus.
Rabbi Yosef gives PM breathing space on building freeze
Shas spiritual leader supports quiet continuation of settlement building freeze as Netanyahu travels to US to kickoff negotiations; values peace with Palestinians despite recent inflammatory remarks.
Israeli settlements to be determining issue in peace talks
The building of new Israeli settlements on Palestinian territory will be one of the key and determining issues in upcoming peace talks that will be held in the US capital Washington DC. Israel has been criticised by all sides, including the US, for its illegal construction of thousands of new homes, which have been separated by an imposing wall. Nour Odeh reports from the Palestinian village of Al-Walajeh in the West Bank, where many are suffering from the unlawful settelements. [August 30, 2010]
6 families ordered to vacate homes for demolition
NABLUS (Ma’an) — Israeli forces on Monday told six Palestinian families in the Nablus district their homes would be demolished and ordered them to vacate within 48 hours, an official said. The families were from Um Ar-Rashash, near Duma village, Palestinian Authority settlement affairs officer Ghassan Doughlas said.
A fortnight of injustice in Sheikh Jarrah
The past two weeks in Sheikh Jarrah have seen a resurgence of settler harassment and violence against the local Palestinians – beyond low intensity abuse that is the norm. Verbal sparring and abusive exchanges were sparked when a young settler entered the occupied Al-Ghawe house on August 16th. The teenager then went to the top of house and hoisted a huge Israeli flag up on the roof, next to the oversized menorah, a deliberate act of provocation intended to insult the evicted Palestinian family further.
Solidarity/Activism/Boycott, Sanctions & Divestment
Invitation: Mass demonstration "No direct bilateral negotiations under the conditions set by the US and Israel"
August 31st, 2010– The coordination committee formed in opposition to the direct negotiations held under conditions set by the US and Israel calls on all political forces and Palestinians to join a mass demonstration.
When: Wednesday, September 1 2010
Where: al-Manara Square, Ramallah
When: 11.00 am
"Solidarity tastes different inside prison", Ameer Makhoul
"My human dignity, basic human rights and constitutional rights are suffering from basic violations. I still have no permit to meet my lawyers without being recorded." The Electronic Intifada publishes an edited excerpt from a 7 August 2010 letter written by Ameer Makhoul from Israeli prison.
Catalonian Youth Advocate Palestine Via Music
Nablus – PNN exclusive – a group of Catalonian youth currently visiting the Palestinian territory have taken the responsibility to advocate the Palestinian cause using a number of methods among them music. The group visit is organized by Solidarity with Palestine from Barcelona, an organization that is specialized in advocacy work for the Palestinian cause. The organization advocacy work is done by organizing tours to Catalonian musical groups visiting schools, workshops, and art galleries and movies, Ashraf Ayoup, an organizer for the organization told PNN.
MK Oron: Artists have a right not to perform in West Bank settlements
300 demonstrators gathered outside Habima Theater in Tel Aviv to protest the theater’s decision to stage performances in the West Bank settlement of Ariel.
Actor’s West Bank boycott gets boost from 150 academics and artists
Men and women of letters lend their support to artists that announced their intention to boycott Ariel cultural center.
Should people boycott Israel? Pt2 with Omar Barghouti
The Siege (Gaza & West Bank)/Humanitarian/Restriction of Movement/Human Rights/Racism
Goods – Needs Vs. Supply – Aug 1 – Aug 28
Industrial Fuel – Needs Vs. Supply – Aug 1 – Aug 28
PA Health Ministry to send fuel to Gaza hospitals
RAMALLAH (Ma’an) — The Palestinian Authority Health Ministry said Monday it would provide fuel to hospitals in Gaza. Gaza’s sole power station shut down earlier this month due to lack of fuel leading the Strip’s hospitals to declare a state of emergency. Director of Gaza City’s Dar Ash-Shifa Hospital Hussein Ashour said Monday that lives were at risk due to fuel shortages in the Strip. The hospital had only 16,000 liters of fuel left, Ashour said, adding that generators consume 7,000 liters daily. In the event of a power cut, the hospital would be unable to power the intensive care ward, operating rooms, dialysis wards, the cardiac unit or oxygen suppliers, he said.
Gisha: Is the Closure of the Gaza Strip Really for Security Reasons?
GIsha- PNN- head of today’s testimony by Maj. Gen. Eitan Dangot, the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories, Gisha sent a letter to The Turkel Public Commission to Examine the Israeli May attack on the aid ships bound for Gaza. Gisha letter reveals that the closure of Gaza was not imposed only for security reasons but also in order to wage "economic warfare" against the Gaza Strip. The Turkel Committee is an inquiry set up by Israel to investigate the Israeli navy attack on Gaza flotilla on May which left nine aid workers dead and 54 others injured. The Committee also investigate the Blockade of Gaza. It is led by Israeli retired Supreme Court Judge Jacob Turkel. The two other members of the panel are professor of international law Shabtai Rosenne, and military expert Amos Horev. The probe will be overseen by two International observers: Northern Irish former First Minister William David Trimble, and Canadian former military judge Ken Watkin.
Mother of sick 3-year-old stranded in Gaza
HEBRON (Ma’an) — The father of a 3-year-old girl suffering from cerebral atrophy is appealing for his wife and sons to be allowed to leave Gaza and return to the family home in the West Bank. Osama Rasras, from Beit Ummar near Hebron, said his three children travelled with their mother to Gaza to visit his wife’s sick father. Israeli authorities would not allow them to leave for 18 months, during which time Dalal could not access medical treatment.
Palestinian student says denied travel at Allenby
RAMALLAH (Ma’an) – Israeli authorities on Tuesday prevented a Palestinian student from exiting the West Bank at the Allenby Bridge, as he was en route to Cyprus to continue his studies, the young man said. The Ramallah resident said it was the second time he had tried to cross the bridge and return to the Near East University in Cyprus, and the second time he was denied permission to cross out of the West Bank. Not permitted to travel out of the Tel Aviv or the now-defunct Gaza airports, Ala Idreis said he was on his way to the Queen Aliya International Airport in Amman.
Life Amid The Ruins: Gazans Still Feel Under Siege
In the Gaza Strip, many homes remain in ruins after Israel’s military incursion at the end of 2008 crippled the territory. The war destroyed thousands of buildings, but the Israeli government won’t allow construction materials in even though there is a dire need.
Students from Gaza: Disregarded Victims of Israel’s Siege of the Gaza Strip – A Report on Israel’s Prevention of Gazan Students from Studying at the West Bank Universities
The Palestinian National Authority’s (PNA) educational system is an integrated national system that has been designed to meet the educational needs of Palestinian students in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt). Accordingly, the various Palestinian universities have, over the years, developed particular specializations. Thus, specializations that are available in the Gaza Strip may not be available in West Bank universities and vice versa. The close geographical proximity of the Gaza Strip and the West Bank has always facilitated the education system in the oPt. In the absence of Israeli movement and access barriers, Gazan students can, for example, reach a university in Ramallah City in the West Bank by car in approximately one hour. As some major fields of study are not available in Gazan universities, thousands of Gazan students, particularly those who seek to obtain post-graduate degrees in medicine, dentistry, veterinary studies, radiology, medical engineering, environment protection, law and democracy, and human rights used to travel to the West Bank to study there.
Egypt banned Hamas pilgrims, party says
GAZA (Ma’an) — Hamas accused Egyptian security services Monday of obstructing the travel of pilgrims affiliated with the party to Mecca. The Islamist party said it was "puzzled" by Egypt’s decision to prevent Hamas-affiliated pilgrims from passing through the country to reach Saudi Arabia, noting that the only route available to pilgrims is via the Rafah crossing on Egypt’s border.
Stuck inside of Cairo with the Gaza blues again, Susan Johnson
And here I sit in Cairo, exhausted and disappointed. I have been denied entrance to Gaza twice! I’m amazed I’m not angry and ready to give up, even though I’m discouraged. My trip began August 24 with my flight from JFK being delayed for two hours. Arrival in Cairo though three hours late was simple; purchasing a visa, exchanging money, processing through passport control, collecting bags, walking out of the terminal into the blast of Egyptian heat and relief upon seeing "Susan Johnson" in the midst of the driver’s signs.
Mayor: Settlers open fire at Palestinian farmers
NABLUS (Ma’an) — A village mayor in Salfit said Tuesday that 10 armed Israeli settlers opened fire at three Palestinian teenagers as they tended to their land in Deir Istiya. Village Mayor Nathmi Salman said Yousef Muhammad Al-Qaysi, 17, Sharaf Dawoud Ubeid, 18, and Udayy Azzam Ubeid, 18, were all tending to their land at 7:40 a.m. on the northern side of the village when mounted settlers rode past and fired on them. No injuries or damage were reported in the incident he said, adding that the village is in close proximity to the illegal West Bank settlement of Immanuel, which were built on lands owned by village residents.
Israeli forces invade Rafah; clashes reported
Late Sunday night, Israeli tanks, bulldozers and armored vehicles invaded the southern Gaza Strip, east of Rafah, and began bulldozing land in the An-Nahda neighborhood.
East Jerusalem neighborhood attacked by Israeli soldiers; at least 4 detained
The Silwan neighborhood, which has been the site of an Israeli municipal plan to rid the neighborhood of its Palestinian residents, came under fire once again on Monday when Israeli forces invaded to abduct Palestinians that they claim took part in clashes with settlers last Thursday.
Detainees’ mothers plan sit-in at Red Cross HQ
GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — The Detainees’ Mothers Committee said Monday that it will spend a night in front the International Committee of the Red Cross’ headquarters in Gaza City to protest Israel’s policy of barring Strip residents from visiting detainees, a member said. Mother of detained Ibrahim Baroud said the sit-in will be held a day before Eid begins, the Muslim holiday marking the end of the fasting month of Ramadan, which is expected around 10 September. Rafat Hamdounah, the head of the Detainees’ Studies Center, said dozens of mothers will join the sit-in to "express their condemnation of the Israeli Administration’s treatment of them and their sons," a statement read. Hamdounah called for organizations to support the sit-in and for the media to widely cover the issue.
Mideast talks reopen under tough conditions (AP)
AP – The U.S. relaunches Israeli-Palestinian talks this week, its third push over the past decade to solve one of the world’s most intractable conflicts — and this time under some of the most difficult conditions yet.
U.S. anticipates ‘vigorous process’ between Israel, Palestinians
Washington officials and analysts express cautious optimism about direct peace negotiations, but cast doubt on one-year framework.
Israel PM assures right wing ahead of Washington summit (AFP)
AFP – Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tried to reassure his right-wing Likud bloc in Israel’s ruling coalition on Monday he would not bow to territorial concessions in peace talks with the Palestinians.
Abbas, Barak held secret meeting in Jordan (AFP)
AFP – Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas and Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak have met secretly in Amman ahead of Middle East peace talks that start in Washington this week, Israeli media reported on Tuesday.
Sha’ath to accompany Abbas to Washington
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — Fatah Central Committee member Nabil Sha’ath will accompany President Mahmoud Abbas to Washington, the official announced on Tuesday in Ramallah during a meeting on Israel’s settlement policy. Sha’ath is expected to be among a small handful of officials traveling to the American capital for a short series of peace talks, the first face-to-face meetings in more than 20 months. The peace-talk delegate made the announcement in parallel with a news conference accusing Israel of only partially implementing its 10-month settlement freeze in the West Bank.
Palestinian PM Salam Fayyad signals make or break for two-state solution
Talks in Washington – the first direct negotiations between Israel and Palestine for 20 months – ‘can and must’ succeed, says PM. The Palestinian prime minister, Salam Fayyad, warned today that a "moment of reckoning" was approaching as Israel and the Palestinian Authority prepare to embark this week on their first direct negotiations for 20 months. Setting out his second-year plans to build the institutions and framework of a Palestinian state – which the US wants complete in 12 months – Fayyad said the talks "can and must" succeed or the chances of a two-state solution to the conflict would fade.
Fayyad says self-sufficient economy PA’s next goal
RAMALLAH (Ma’an) — A year into his two-year plan to build a Palestinian state, Prime Minister Salam Fayyad says the next goal is be a self-sufficient economy. Speaking at a presentation marking the midway point of his plan, Fayyad said recent growth was a result of foreign aid, but aid-dependency must be reduced to build an economy that can support statehood.
Barghouthi: Abbas should reconsider talks
RAMALLAH (Ma’an) — Palestinian lawmaker Mustafa Barghouthi said Monday that any concessions made by Palestinians in negotiations would only embolden Israel. Speaking at a press conference in Ramallah, Barghouthi urged President Mahmoud Abbas to reconsider his decision to engage in direct talks, set to resume Thursday in Washington after a 20-month hiatus.
Diana Buttu: direct talks bound to fail
As US officials arrived in Jerusalem last week to meet with Palestinian Authority and Israeli government officials, The Electronic Intifada interviewed Ramallah-based lawyer and former PLO advisor Diana Buttu about this week’s US-brokered direct talks between the two parties.
Poll: Palestinians back negotiations with Israel
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — Two-thirds of Palestinians are in favor of either direct or indirect negotiations with Israel, the results of a new poll released Monday finds. The Palestinian Center for Public Opinion surveyed over 1,000 Palestinians from the West Bank, occupied East Jerusalem and Gaza earlier this month, ahead of the resumption of direct talks in Washington on 2 September.
Palestinians skeptical of new round of peace talks
Mahmoud Abbas is risking his political future in agreeing to the talks. After a string of failed negotiations and with continued settlement building in the West Bank, less than 25% of Palestinians predict success. As Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas prepares to embark down a well-trod path of peace talks — a road he’s spent a career helping to pave — the pragmatic leader is risking his political future in what some predict could be his last trip to the negotiating table.
UN probe of Gaza flotilla talks to Israeli-Arab MK (AP)
AP – An Israeli-Arab lawmaker said Tuesday she told U.N. investigators probing Israel’s deadly raid on an aid flotilla bound for the Gaza Strip that its commandos were on a mission to kill.
Arab MK Zuabi: IDF boarded Gaza flotilla ships with intent to kill
Zuabi testified before UN panel probing Israeli naval commando raid that left nine Turkish citizens dead on May 31.
Court asked to protect Zoabi’s rights
Labor’s Cabel, former MKs say High Court petition motivated by love of democracy.
Comptroller: IDF officers lack training
State comptroller’s report on appointments of army’s senior officers reveals grim picture.
Arab-Israeli suspected of security offenses
Umm al-Fahm resident suspected of jeopardizing national security, gag order placed on investigation’s details.
How To Kill Goyim And Influence People: Leading Israeli Rabbis Defend Manual for For Killing Non-Jews, Max Blumenthal
When I went into the Jewish religious book emporium, Pomeranz, in central Jerusalem to inquire about the availability of a book called Torat Ha’Melech, or the King’s Torah, a commotion immediately ensued. “Are you sure you want it?” the owner, M. Pomeranz, asked me half-jokingly. “The Shabak [Israel’s internal security service] is going to want a word with you if you do.” As customers stopped browsing and began to stare in my direction, Pomeranz pointed to a security camera affixed to a wall. “See that?” he told me. “It goes straight to the Shabak!”
Rabbinate provides address for couples whose Judaism is contested
Marriage registrars appointed to tackle problems faced by couples whose Judaism is under question. Itim: State trying to evade finding appropriate solution to problem.
PLO urges Yale president to speak out on ‘anti-Arab hate-mongering’ conference
Last week we reported on a disgraceful 3-day conference at Yale that described criticism of Israel as anti-Semitism. Today Maen Rashid Areikat, the PLO Representative to the United States, sent a letter to Yale President Richard C. Levin, objecting to the conference. It follows
Hamas headband? Fatah keychain? Gaza Strip gift shop has it all
Gaza Strip’s Chairman Arafat Gift Shop sells souvenirs that span the Palestinian political spectrum, even if there are no visitors to buy them.
Abbas faces a mission impossible
High hopes are placed on the long-stalled Palestinian-Israeli peace talks that resume in Washington this week. United States President Barack Obama desperately needs a success story in the Middle East, and so does Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s unwillingness and Abbas’ likely inability to deliver spell failure.
Direct talks will fail – is that what the US is planning on?, Tony Karon
There is more chance of Saddam Hussein’s elusive weapons of mass destruction suddenly turning up in Iraq than there is of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Mahmoud Abbas agreeing on the terms for a two-state solution in Washington this week. That does not mean the direct talks being orchestrated by President Barack Obama are pointless. On the contrary, they represent a moment of truth, not for the Israelis or the Palestinians, but for Mr Obama, who is creating a crisis by forcing irreconcilable differences between the two sides onto the table. The question now becomes, what is Washington prepared to do once the Israelis and Palestinians fail to agree.
‘Bullied’ but not surrendering; US may have forced the PA to the negotiating table but Palestinians will not submit, Lamis Andoni
The resumption of direct talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA) will allow Barack Obama to have his day presiding over the launch of another series of futile negotiations and, in providing an opportunity for Binyamin Netanyahu to assert his unwavering commitment to Israel’s colonial policies, will earn the Israeli prime minister further bragging rights.
What to Read About the "Direct Talks" (and why you should still be pessimistic), Stephen M. Walt
President Obama is hosting a dinner for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Sept. 1, in order to kick off the new round of direct talks between Israeli and Palestinian negotiators. As regular readers know, I don’t think this effort will go anywhere, because the two sides are too far apart and because the Obama administration won’t have the political will to push them towards the necessary compromises.
Obama sets himself up for failure on peace talks, Josh Ruebner
Speaking before State Department personnel on his third day in office, President Obama stated it would be his administration’s policy to “actively and aggressively seek a lasting peace between Israel and the Palestinians, as well as Israel and its Arab neighbors.” During his first eight months in office, Obama pursued this goal by repeatedly calling on Israel to freeze its settlement of Palestinian land to set the right tone for a resumption of Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations. In the face of Israeli intransigence, however, he made an abrupt volte face on the sidelines of last fall’s U.N. General Assembly session, declaring, “It is past time to talk about starting negotiations — it is time to move forward,” even while ongoing Israeli colonization of Palestinian land made the ostensible goal of these negotiations — a two-state resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict —increasingly unlikely.
A poisoned process holds little hope, David Gardner
As the caravans of Middle East peace negotiators rumble into Washington next week for the umpteenth time, the pervasive cynicism and sense of deja vu all over again is overwhelming – and with good reason.
Too Early to Write-off New Israel-Palestine Talks?
In his article in the Globe and Mail, Aluf Benn asks is it “Too Early to Write-off the New Israel-Palestine Talks”? Too early to write-off direct talks? Please! Representatives for these “direct talks” on the Palestinian side in a sense do not even exist: Abbas’s election mandate timed out a year ago, and he stays in office under emergency measures – i.e, he has absolutely no democratic legitimacy. But even poor Abbas, a kind of Palestinian “step’n’fetch it” figure if ever there was one, wanted nothing to do with such talks while Israel continued stealing land. The American administration browbeat him for months, threatening him with loss of all aid, into attending.
Back on TV due to popular demand…. ‘The Peace Industry’, Joseph Glatzer
The Nobel Prize award winning show, "The Peace Industry" comes back for its 19th season on September 2nd, after an almost 2 year hiatus. It is one of the longest running and most popular shows in TV history.
NYT Op-Ed offers tiresome dichotomy of good Zionists vs bad religious settlers, Matthew Taylor
Gadi Taub’s NYT oped on the coming negotiations is so problematic, ahistorical, Israeli-centric, and rife with elisions, it reads like… well… a lot of other stuff cluttering the pages and electrons of said publication. It leads off with the rhetorical question, "Will Israel remain a Zionist state?" – as if this is the most important issue to be tackled at the talks. Not "Will the systematic and willful oppression and dispossession of the Palestinian people finally come to an end?" (Which all sane observers are doubtful will be the result.) Then he sets up the Zionist left’s desperate, tiresome good guys vs. bad guys frame: the pious seculars vs. the evil religious nuts.
Rocket Redux, the Israeli fiction, David Samel
A few months ago, I authored a post on the fiction that when Israel withdrew from two decades of military occupation of southern Lebanon in 2000, Hezbollah responded with thousands of rockets rained down on Israeli communities. At the time, I cited false statements to that effect made by Michael Oren in a NY Times op-ed and Ethan Bronner in a Times article (links provided in that post). Unsurprisingly, Bibi Netanyahu has now joined in, quoted in today’s Ha’aretz:
Army details Israeli airspace violations
BEIRUT: The Lebanese Army command detailing violations of Lebanese airspace by Israeli drones on Monday. A statement said at 7:30 am on Monday an Israeli reconnaissance plane violated Lebanese airspace over the southern village of Rmeish, and then flew over the towns of Riaq, Baalbeck, Hermel, and south Lebanon.
Israeli Activity Near Lebanon Border; Mizrahi Predicts Major War Next Year
31/08/2010 The Israeli daily Maariv reported Monday that the Israeli army will deploy the “Kfir” infantry brigade to the border with Lebanon further north. Maariv said that the security situation in the West Bank, where the brigade has been operating for the past 20 years, has improved and other army units will replace the “Kfir” Brigade which will be sent to the north. The daily added that the move comes in line with the strategic vision of General Avi Mizrahi, the commander of the central region, to improve the performance of the brigade. Mizrahi has given his orders to the “Kfir” brigade to move out of the West Bank next year to take part in the “major war” expected in the north, Maariv reported. It added that the infantry brigade will hold drills in a medium simulating Lebanon and Syria and that all exercises will include armored and artillery units. “Combatants will take part in operational activities next year on the northern border,” the Israeli daily said.
Hariri: ‘Security has no sectarian, religious identity’
BEIRUT: Prime Minister Saad Hariri said Monday that the capital, like the rest of Lebanese territories, should never for any reason be above the rule of law and the state’s authority in imposing its sovereignty and preserving security.
UN votes to keep peacekeepers on Israel-Lebanon border until 2011
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said the presence of UNIFIL remains critical following the incident on August 3, during which Lebanese and Israeli forces exchanged fire.
Families of the lost seek answers; laws against forced disappearance sought
BEIRUT: The relatives of victims kidnapped during the 1970-1990 Civil War or the long years of Israeli or Syrian occupation gathered on Monday to protest continued secrecy over the disappearances. Wearing plastic expressionless masks to hide their faces as a symbol of the indifference shown to the disappeared by the authorities, the families joined with the Khiam Rehabilitation Center for Victims of Torture (KRC) and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to call for national governments to prevent future abductions and help in confirming the fate of the missing.
Authorities arrest suspect in murder of Egyptian
BEIRUT: An man was arrested on the Syrian-Lebanese borders on suspicion of being involved in the murder of an Egyptian national.The NNA reported Monday that Ahmad A. was arrested by members of the General Security at the Bukaia border crossing while returning back to Lebanon from Syria.
Israel Threatens War with Lebanon, Stephen Lendman
Palestine is belligerently occupied. Threats continue against Iran and Syria as well as Lebanon, specifically Hezbollah, elected partner in the nation’s unity government, bogusly designated a US State Department Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO), what Israel also calls it, repeating veiled and overt warnings, suggesting violence or an impending attack.
Monday: 8 Iraqis Killed, 10 Wounded
At least eight Iraqis were killed and 10 more were wounded in light violence as Iraq prepares for the official end of U.S. military operations. U.S. Vice President Joe Biden arrived in Baghdad to officiate at handover ceremonies.
At least one killed in bomb attack in Iraq’s Mosul
At least one civilian was killed and 12 others were wounded on Sunday in a coordinated cart bomb and hand grenades attacks in the city of Mosul, the capital of Nineveh province, a provincial police source said.
Policemen attack journalist’s home in Baghdad
Policemen fired on the Baghdad home of the head of the Iraqi Press Agency, Haydar Hassoun Al-Fizaa, on 27 August, injuring his wife and other relatives, before searching the premises and damaging furniture. The attack on Al-Fazaa’s home in the east Baghdad neighbourhood of Al-Shaab was carried by police officers travelling in seven interior ministry vehicles. With the help of neighbours, Al-Fizaa was able to take his badly-injured wife to hospital. Other members of the family were also hospitalised. Officials said the police had not known that Al-Fizaa owned the house and carried out the raid on the basis of information that a hostage was being held there. They also claimed that no shots were fired during the operation.
Mysterious killings spread panic in Iraq
Iraqis say a postelection political deadlock has given free rein to terrorists, but no one knows who they are or how they choose their victims. It has been a month now and still there are no answers. There is just a father gripping the photographs of his son.
Iraq Shiite leader sees end to political impasse ‘in days’ (AFP)
AFP – An Iraqi Shiite leader, Ammar al-Hakim, said on Monday the long-delayed formation of a new government could be resolved within days but refused to be drawn on the name of the next prime minister.
An Iraqi Mother Finds Her Eldest Son, Where She Least Wants To
An Iraqi family’s journey from morgue to cemetery.
For Iraqis, Victims of War Are So Much More Than Numbers, By ANTHONY SHADID
A quest to confirm the death of a loved one — a son, husband, father and brother — took years, along with courage and luck.
Fearful Iraqis scrambling to buy weapons
BAGHDAD – Four days after his brother was slain in a Baghdad robbery this month, Muntather Shaker borrowed $1,500 and bought a pistol. He carries it in his back pocket, sleeps with it under his pillow and is ready to use it to defend his family.
Inside Story – Leaving Iraq
As the US completes its combat troop drawdown from Iraq, domestic security forces are put to the test. A suicide attack against army recruits on Tuesday, in which 63 pople were killed, raised concerns about the Iraqi security forces’ ability to take care of its own, let alone the safety of ordinary Iraqis. Are Iraqi security forces up to the job? What is their security strategy, if there is one at all?
Iraqis fear bleak future
Barack Obama, the US president, said in a message this weekend that Iraq would "chart its own course" as US combat operations come to an end. This may have been welcome news for war-weary Americans, but it has fuelled anxieties about the future among Iraqis. Meeting the August 31 deadline allows Obama to say he is fulfilling a pledge to end the war launched by George Bush, his predecessor, seven years ago. However, some 50,000 US troops will remain until the end of 2011 to advise Iraqi security forces in combat missions and protect US interests – in what Washington is calling an "advisory and support" role. But the failure of Iraqi leaders to form a new government almost six months after elections, and persistent attacks by insurgents, have done little to instill confidence among Iraqis. Overall violence in Iraq has fallen sharply since the peak in 2006-07 of the sectarian killings unleashed after the 2003 US-led invasion, but levels of violence remain high. Al Jazeera’s Mike Hanna reports from Baghdad on Iraqis who are left wondering what the future will bring.
Iraq war: Inquiry launched into Iraqi boy’s disappearance from UK base
The British government has ordered an urgent inquiry into the disappearance of an injured Iraqi child who has not been seen since being placed in the care of UK military medics in 2003. In one of the most bewildering episodes of the Iraq occupation, Memmon Salam al-Maliki, an 11-year-old boy, disappeared within days of being taken to a British base after he was wounded while playing with unexploded munitions. Although his injuries appeared not to be life-threatening, his family have not seen him since.
At summer school, Iraqi refugees in Syria try to catch up
Displaced by war, children of Iraqi refugees enter ambitious programs to help compensate for missed school and the mental stresses of war. But Iraqi enrollment in Syrian schools has dropped 30 percent in the past year.
Serving in Iraq Killed my Faith in God
The destruction I saw made me question everything I had previously thought about religion.
Why Moqtada Haunts the White House
There will be plenty spirits of Iraq policy past, present and future crowding the dais tonight as the President announces a “successful” transition and “a promise kept” for the drawdown of American troops from Iraq. There’s George W. and Dick Cheney and their ghoulish courtiers – Donald Rumsfeld and his number two Paul Wolfowitz, not to mention coalition provisional authority viceroy L. Paul Bremer and Douglas Feith, all who dragged the country into Iraq and then botched it irreparably.
What Is the US Legacy in Iraq?, PATRICK COCKBURN
A few days after the US announced that it had withdrawn its last combat brigade from Iraq, the local branch of al-Qa’ida staged a show of strength, killing or wounding 300 people in attacks across the country. Its suicide bombers drove vehicles packed with explosives into police stations or military convoys from Mosul in the north to Basra in the south. The continuing ferocious violence in Iraq, where most days more people die by bomb and bullet than in Afghanistan, is leading to questions about its stability once US forces finally withdraw by the end of next year.
Iran ex-prosecutor suspended over prison deaths
TEHRAN: Tehran’s notorious former prosecutor Saeed Mortazavi and two judges have been suspended over the prison deaths of three anti-government protesters, Iranian newspapers reported on Monday, quoting MPs.
Obama Resists Pressure for Red Line on Iran’s Nuclear Capability, Gareth Porter
IPS — President Barack Obama’s refusal in a White House briefing earlier this month to announce a “red line” in regard to the Iran nuclear programme represented another in a series of rebuffs of pressure from Defence Secretary Robert Gates for statement that the United States will not accept its existing stocks of low enriched uranium.
U.S. and Other World News
Entire US-Mexico border to be guarded by Predator drones
The launch of a fourth Predator drone Wednesday will mean the entire US-Mexico border is now patrolled by the unmanned aircraft.
Rights groups challenge Obama on targeted killings
WASHINGTON, Aug 30 (Reuters) – Civil liberties groups sued the Obama administration on Monday over a program they said illegally tries to kill U.S. citizens believed to be militants living abroad, like the anti-American cleric Anwar al-Awlaki. The American Civil Liberties Union and the Center for Constitutional Rights filed a lawsuit on behalf of Nasser al-Awlaki, the father of the Muslim cleric, arguing targeted killings violate the U.S. Constitution and international law.
Veterans’ group: CIA blocking lawsuit over experiments on troops
An advocacy group working on behalf of Vietnam veterans has asked a federal judge in California to sanction the CIA, saying the spy agency has been blocking efforts to uncover its role in alleged experiments on US soldiers from the 1950s to 1970s.
Mubarak signals Egypt succession by taking son to Washington
Gamal Mubarak, long presumed heir to the ageing president, will meet Israeli delegates to peace summit – and maybe even Netanyahu himself.
Imam Sadr and companions still alive in captivity of Libya, son tells news agency
BEIRUT: The son of disappeared Imam Musa Sadr has said his father and his companions is still alive in Libyan jails. Sadreddine Sadr told the state-run National News Agency (NNA) in an exclusive interview on Monday that his father Sadr, who disappeared during a visit to Libya in 1978, was still alive and being held captive by Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi.
Islam in America
Newsweek: Majority in GOP say Obama likely supports radical Muslim extremists
Majority in GOP say Obama likely supports radical Muslim extremistsIs President Obama secretly a radical Islamic fundamentalist here to impose a tribal system of law on the American public? Ask any Republican and there’s more than a 50 percent chance they’ll say "yes," if a recent Newsweek survey is to be believed. While the questionnaire, conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates, focused mainly on approval of the president, his party and their policies, poll-takers also focused on one particular issue of current public discussion: the president’s religion.
Andy Ostroy: Racist Maniac Stabs Muslim Cabbie — Is Republican Hate-Mongering Working?
Republican leaders today are doing exactly what George W. Bush did nine years ago when conflating al Qaeda terrorists with Saddam Hussein and Iraq, turning the masses against an easy scapegoat.
The Ground Zero Synagogue—Lebanon Becoming More American than America
Incidentally, July and August of 2006 only tell a small part of the story when it comes to Israeli aggression against Lebanon. There have been decades of invasion, devastation, and occupation which predated 2006. Several thousands of Lebanese have been killed at the hands of the Israeli Defense Force. Tens of billions of dollars of damage have been levied on the Lebanese infrastructure and private and public property courtesy of the IDF over the course of decades.
Letter to Cordoba Center on Behalf of a Former ‘Slave’
I. The three century old remains of 20,000 African men, women, children former slaves
were discovered after the clean up of the World Trace Center’s collapse.
II. Between twenty and thirty percent of all stolen Africans brought to America as slaves
were Muslim. A Letter on behalf of Cordova Center by one such “slave”
Handicapping Islamophobia, Scott McConnell
All of sudden two of the usually completely distinct spheres of my life are on the same highway, merging into the same lane. Two days ago my new golf friend Stephanie Wei posted this on her golf blog, calling out a woman golf luminary for posting Islamophobic comments on her facebook page. As I know her, Stephanie is not political, but no fan of bigots either. In the golf world her post was widely picked up. I wasn’t surprised, for there is no American sport whose top players are more Republican, and self-consciously Christian than the PGA tour. At the same time, golf has a (pretty well-deserved) self image as being a realm of fair play and decency in a fallen world. The issue of Islamophobia cuts right into that, teasing out all the contradictions and spinning them about.
FBI: No Probable Cause Required For Surveillance
The bitter controversy over the building of a Muslim community center and mosque near the site of the terrorist attacks in New York on Sept. 11, 2001, is sparking new fears of government snooping on Islamic holy places – which it now claims it can do without a warrant. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the Asian Law Caucus (ALC), and the San Francisco Bay Guardian newspaper, are suing the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in San Francisco over the agency’s failure to respond to a five-month-old request for information on its investigation of Bay Area Muslim groups.
“Sensitivity”: The New Islamophobia, Anthony Alessandrini
Alongside the unfolding of attacks upon the proposed Park51 community center in Lower Manhattan, as well as the attacks on other proposed Muslim community centers and mosques throughout the U.S. in recent months, comes the news that a growing number of Americans (especially conservative Republicans) believe that President Barack Obama is a “secret Muslim.” In the face of all this, it is hard not to conclude that, as Alex Pareene has recently put it, for many Americans, “Muslim” has come to mean “someone they dislike.”