and other news from Today in Palestine:
Land and Property Theft and Destruction/Ethnic Cleansing
Israel won’t extend settlement freeze ahead of direct negotiations
The Israeli cabinet will not vote on extending a partial freeze in West Bank settlement construction before the start of the peace talks in Washington on September 2, a senior cabinet minister told Reuters on Sunday, a decision that could threaten to derail a recently re-launched peace process.
Abbas: Obama knows West Bank building will ruin talks
Hours before leaving for Washington for peace talks, Palestinian president says he notified US, international officials that Israel will bear sole and full responsibility should talks collapse due to settlement building. ‘Israel’s security can’t continue to be excuse for continued occupation,’ he says.
Abbas: No peace talks with settlement building (AP)
AP – Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas warned Sunday that he will not back down from his threat to pull out of new peace talks with Israel if it resumes construction in West Bank settlements.
Abbas: Israel to bear sole responsibility for talks collapse due to building
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said that direct talks with Israel will be based on the Mideast Quartet’s demand, as he puts it, to end the 1967 occupation, including in east Jerusalem.
The Purpose Of Israel’s Settlements Is To Be Difficult To Remove
I had to read Fred Barnes’ new Weekly Standard piece “In Defense of Settlers” a few times to be sure that Fred wasn’t actually putting us on. It appears he isn’t. Things go awry beginning with the very first paragraph, in which Barnes writes, “When direct talks begin next week between Israelis and Palestinians, the fate of Jewish settlers in the West Bank — tens of thousands of them — will be a major issue in the negotiations. But the settlers themselves won’t be part of the discussion.”
For Arabs in Israel, a house is not a home
Three representatives of Hamas have been forced to seek sanctuary at the Red Cross compound in East Jerusalem — charged not with terrorism, but with “disloyalty” to the state. Edward Platt on a strange case of exile inside Israel.
Photos of expulsion plastered to Jewish Nat’l Fund wall reveal a society in crisis, Philip Weiss
Something that made me feel great today: a report from Israel that activists have plastered the sides of the Jewish National Fund building, the organization that for over a century has bought up land for Jews, with photographs of JNF’s work: the recent destruction of the Bedouin village of Al-Arakib. Here is the original Hebrew report, with photos of the Al-Arakib pictures on the side of the JNF building in Tel Aviv. Here is the report from Haaretz.
Solidarity/Activism/Boycott, Sanctions & Divestment
Two international activists arrested and five injured at Ma’sara demonstration
August 29th, 2010– The weekly protest commemorated nine years since the assassinated by Israel of the Palestinian leader Abu Ali Mustafa as well as the 23rd anniversary of the assassination of the Palestinian political cartoonist Naji al-Ali.
Facing jail, the unarmed activist who dared to take on Israel
Donald Macintyre–The protest by Lady Ashton, who was yesterday accused by Israel`s foreign ministry of "interfering" in the country`s judicial process, follows mounting concern by Western diplomats over the severity of measures taken by Israeli security forces against the mainly rural protests. Officials from several European countries, including Britain, were present for the verdict in the Ofer military court on Monday.
Irish groups to buy ship for new Gaza aid flotilla
DUBLIN, Aug 30 (Reuters) – Pro-Palestinian groups in Ireland launched a fundraising drive on Monday to buy a ship for a second attempt to breach Israel’s sea blockade of Gaza. The Irish Ship to Gaza campaign aims to send between 30 and 50 Irish people, including public figures, journalists and activists, to join a flotilla taking aid to people in the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip.
50 set to join Gaza aid flotilla
Up to 50 Irish campaigners are expected to join a coalition of pro-Palestinian supporters on a second aid flotilla to Gaza, it has been revealed. Seven groups have come together to bring public figures, members of the media and activists on cargo ships and passenger boats in late autumn. Campaigners say the sea mission is a second attempt to end the four year-long Israeli blockade of Gaza.
Palestinian traders clear shops of settlement goods
RAMALLAH (Ma’an) — Palestinian traders have submitted 25,000 applications for a Dignity medal to certify their compliance with the government ban on trading in settlement produce, an official said Sunday. National Dignity Fund director Omer Qabaha said 8,000 traders have already received the medal, following inspections to check their stores are free of settlement goods.
SHOULD PEOPLE BOYCOTT ISRAEL?: Omar Barghouti explains the aims of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement
"Once winter’s over, the sun will shine"
When Israel’s construction of the wall began in their village May 2008, the people of Nilin embarked on a campaign of unarmed grassroots resistance against the theft of their land. They have followed a philosophy of direct action, cutting through the electronic fence and razor wire on an almost weekly basis. Jody McIntyre interviewed Mohammed Amireh, a leader of the Nilin Popular Committee Against the Wall and Settlements for The Electronic Intifada.
Art as resistance: "Against the Wall" reviewed
London-based journalist and photographer William Parry’s Against the Wall serves as both a political and aesthetic document, perhaps exemplifying the German philosopher Walter Benjamin’s famous thesis that "[t]here is no document of culture that is not at the same time a document of barbarism."
Amira Hass / Who’s suppressing opposition rallies in Ramallah?
They carried photos of Abbas, but the PA president’s office says he had nothing to do with the hundreds of young men who prevented an opposition conference from taking place in Ramallah.
Censorship in Ramallah mini-republic-under-occupation
A reader who does not want to be identified sent me this–he/she fears retribution. "You might be interested to know that the Arabic translation of the recent book\interview with George Habash (Al-Thawriyyun la Yamutun Abadan, published by Dar A-Ssaki 2009) is possibly censored in the Palestinian Authority. While I was reading the copy I bought in Ramallah I discovered that page 258 was all blank. I thought it was normal since it was surely a bootleg edition. But when I found a copy from a street vendor in Jerusalem I opened on page 258 which did exist in this one; it was the only page where Habash refers to the Palestinian Authority and the corruption there (Israel, of course, did not bother to censor it; by the way, it happens quite often that Palestinians in West Bank ask Palestinian Jerusalemites or Palestinians 48, who are under direct Israeli occupation, to bring them books the PA prohibit in its territories)."
Netanyahu: Israel won’t fund boycott efforts from within
Prime Minister slams boycott staged by theater personnel, who refuse to take part in performances in the West Bank settlement of Ariel.
Israeli universities condemn ‘witch hunt’ by right-wing groups
In a joint statement released by Israel’s largest and most prominent universities, the academic leadership challenged a foreign-funded campaign to undermine academic freedom in the name of Zionism, led by radical Israeli rightists and Christian fundamentalists.
The Siege (Gaza & West Bank)/Humanitarian/Restriction of Movement/Human Rights/Racism
Gaza worker killed in tunnel collapse
GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — A 16-year-old worker was killed Sunday when a tunnel under the border between Egypt and the southern Gaza Strip collapsed, a medical official said. Abed Al-Latif Abu Tuyur was taken to Abu Yousef Al-Najjar Hospital, Gaza Health Ministry emergency chief Muawiya Hassanein said. Since Israel and Egypt imposed a blockade on Gaza, the tunnels have transferred goods, construction material and food into the Strip, providing a lifeline to residents. Israel says they are also used to transfer weapons.
Israel refuses to lift ban on family unification
Jerusalem-born Firas al-Maraghi has been holding a hunger strike outside the Israeli embassy in Berlin, Germany, since 26 July, protesting a decision by the Israeli government to prevent his newborn daughter from being registered as a Jerusalem resident. Al-Maraghi, who is married to a German citizen, temporarily moved to Berlin to accompany his wife as she completed her doctoral thesis, and was informed by the Israeli embassy that the couple’s daughter, Zeinab, would not be granted the identification and residency papers needed to live in their home when the family moved back to Jerusalem.
Hamas delivers 1 million shekels to poor families
GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — Hamas officials in Rafah said Monday they distributed one million shekels among the poorest families in the southern Gaza Strip district, a statement read. Hamas said it was able to hand out thousands of food parcels, financial aid and iftar meals to the families under the One Body campaign, which was donated by party members. The Islamist movement thanked its supporters for the success of the campaign and vowed continued support for families in need to strengthen Palestinian steadfastness "in the face of the siege."
IOF opens fire towards fishermen in Rafah
Gaza, August 29, (Pal Telegraph) Israeli gunboats stationed off the coast of Rafah, southern Gaza Strip, opened fire towards Rafah shores using its heavy machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades against Palestinian fishing boats without reported casualties among fishermen.
IOF raids houses in Bethlehem
Bethlehem, August 29, 2010 (Pal Telegraph) – Israeli occupation forces raided Sunday number of houses in the city of Bethlehem in the occupied West Bank. Security sources said that the occupation forces raided a house in Al-Shwawra village while notified other to visit the Israeli intelligence for questioning. The occupation forces raided Taqua town and stayed in it for hours, the sources added. The sources confirmed that Israeli occupation forces raided Hosan and Bter towns and searched number of houses.
Jerusalem teenager says constantly harassed by police
JERUSALEM (Ma’an) — A 17-year-old resident of occupied East Jerusalem, who was detained Sunday, said he faces constant harassment from Israeli police. Na’im Al-Banna, from Silwan, said he was with friends when police detained him and and took him to a police station in the city. He was searched and questioned, and released later the same day.
Brigade: Clashes after bulldozers enter south Gaza
GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — The Fatah-affiliated Al-Aqsa Brigades said violent clashes followed an Israeli military incursion east of Rafah, southern Gaza, overnight Sunday, a leader said. Abdul Muntaser Omar said the entering force was attempting to bulldoze land in the An-Nahda neighborhood. Brigade members and Israeli forces exchanged fire, forcing the troops to retreat, he added.
Jerusalem man charged with contacting Hamas
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — A Palestinian resident of East Jerusalem has been indicted for contacting Hamas operatives during his studies in Cyprus, reportedly agreeing to gather intelligence on Israel, Israeli media reported Monday. The indictment, filed by the Jerusalem District Prosecution, said Ahmad Awad, 22, became acquainted with two Hamas-affiliated people from Gaza, with one, identified as Hamad Asham, introducing him to the Jerusalem Muslim Brotherhood, Israeli news site Ynet reported.
IOF detains 2 Palestinians in Hebron
Hebron, August 29, 2010 (Pal Telegraph) – Israeli occupation forces raided Sunday Dora and Al-Zahria in the city of Hebron in the occupied West Bank where they detained two Palestinians, local sources reported. Security sources said that the occupation forces raided number of houses in Al-Zahria and detained Eyad Al-Jabrin. Besides, they detained Reyad Harbyat after raiding his house in Dora. The occupation forces searched number of houses and stayed in the city till the early hours of today, the sources added. The sources confirmed that Israeli occupation forces searched the houses of Husian Amro’s sons in Dorah. Israeli forces raid the West Bank cities on a daily basis under the pretext of searching for what they call “wanted Palestinians”.
Hebron: IOF detains 2 Palestinians
Hebron, August 30, 2010 (Pal Telegraph) – Israeli occupation forces raided Monday Saer village in the city of Hebron in the occupied West Bank where they detained two Palestinians, local sources reported. Security sources said that the occupation forces raided the house of Zedan Al-Frokh and then detained him. Besides, they detained Eyad Mojahed after raiding other areas in the city. The occupation forces roamed the city and notified other three citizens to visit the Israeli intelligence for questioning, the sources added. The sources confirmed that Israeli occupation forces raided Bait Amra and Kraz villages in south of Hebron.
40% of Jenin prison population denied family visits
The IPA is fully denying more than 40% of the Jenin prison population the right to family visits against 30% who are denied partial visits, the Palestinian Prisoner Society reported.
Palestinian rivals crack down harder on opponents (AP)
AP – The rival Palestinian governments in the West Bank and Gaza Strip have clamped down harder on opponents and critics in recent months — deepening a nasty split that could prevent Palestinian statehood even if peace talks with Israel kicking off this week succeed against long odds.
Abbas is a man in exile, even among his own
The Palestinian president appears increasingly out of touch with his own people for accepting a US invitation for direct talks with Israel in Washington.
Fayyad: PA will be prepared to establish state in a year
Palestinian PM says second year of his plan will focus on separation of powers, transparency, strengthening rule of law, fighting corruption; calls on public to back necessary measures before establishment of ‘our own state’.
Arab League chief doubts US-led talks will succeed
BLED, Slovenia: Arab League chief Amr Moussa said on Sunday he had little hope that direct peace talks between Israel and Palestine, which are due to start on Thursday, will be successful. He also said he will not seek re-election as secretary general of the Arab League after his second mandate expires in March.
Jordan’s Islamists condemn direct Palestinian-Israeli negotiations
AMMAN, Aug. 30 (Xinhua) – Jordan’s Islamic Action Front (IAF) on Monday urged the Arab states to withdraw the Arab Peace Initiative, which offers Israel normal ties with the Arabs, ahead of direct Palestinian-Israeli talks scheduled to start in Washington on Thursday. In a statement posted on its website, the IAF, the political arm of Muslim Brotherhood, called for giving up negotiations and urged the Arab regimes to withdraw the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative, describing it as "useless."
Level of US role in peace talks key to success: experts (AFP)
AFP – The Obama administration will relaunch direct Israeli-Palestinian peace talks next week, ready to intervene as needed in what analysts hope will mean unprecedented US engagement and pressure.
Security tops Israeli-Palestinian talks
Security, is one of the key issues for Israel in the upcoming peace talks. Binyamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister has already said Israel’s security demands will come first before any discussions on borders and final status issues. Among Israel’s security concerns is the Jordan valley. This is an area that was occupied in 1967 and is meant to be part of a future Palestinian state. Israel, however, wants to maintain a military presence in the Jordan Valley to make sure it remains a buffer zone protecting Israel from any external threat. It insists that any future Palestinian state must be ‘demilitarized’ which raises the question for whom will the Palestinian state be providing security Palestinians or Israelis? Al Jazeera’s Nisreen El-Shamayleh reports from the West Bank.
UN investigators to probe Gaza flotilla raid (AFP)
AFP – A UN human rights inquiry into Israel’s deadly raid on a Gaza-bound aid flotilla started on Monday a probe in Jordan where investigators interviewed four Jordanian activists.
Israel’s Mossad chief urged to clarify agency’s role in flotilla raid
JERUSALEM, Aug. 29 (Xinhua) — A commission probing an Israeli naval raid on a Gaza-bound flotilla wants Israel’s Mossad ( intelligence) chief to detail any involvement in the military operation, an official statement said on Sunday. The Turkel Commission, an independent public commission set up to investigate the commando raid on May 31 which killed nine pro- Palestinian Turkish activists, has already heard testimony of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Ehud Barak and top Israel Defense Forces officials concerning the decision-making process that preceded the raid.
Despite Israeli protests, Russia won’t halt arms sale to Syria
Haaretz reported on Friday that PM Benjamin Netanyahu had asked Russian PM Vladimir Putin to cancel the sale of long-range surface-to-sea cruise missiles to the Syrian Army.
Intended chief-of-staff must be investigated
Maj. Gen. Galant’s appointment as IDF chief of staff must be preceded by an investigation of his responsibility for suspected violations of human rights during Operation Cast Lead in the Gaza Strip, which he commanded as GOC Southern Command.
U.S.: Rabbi’s ‘offensive’ remarks harm peace efforts
U.S. State Department spokesman Philip J. Crowley condemns Rabbi Ovadia Yosef’s ‘inflammatory’ statement that all Palestinians should perish.
Foreign legalists to defend Israel abroad?
Foreign Ministry conference attended by 170 legal experts from 32 countries aims to fight de-legitimization against Jewish state.
Palestinians prepare to battle ‘Zionist editing’ on Wikipedia
Association of Palestinian Journalists chairman calls on Palestinians to prepare for ‘PR war’ on Israel.
"An American businessman who travels often to the Persian Gulf (where he removes his kippah) recently told me that leaders of the ruling families in the oil empires are setting their sights on Israel with great desire to cooperate with the Jewish State. Jewish brains and Arab money – what could be better?" Yes, Arabs don’t have brains, only Israelis are born with them.
Siun and Philip Munger say FDL has offered a platform for criticism of Israel, Philip Weiss
My post yesterday on Firedoglake suppressing criticism of Israel has hit a nerve; even neocon Eli Lake has commented on it. I’m going to respond later but in the meantime, I wanted to post two sharply-critical comments that we’ve received from two longtime contributors to FDL, the blogger Siun and the composer Philip Munger. Their responses are in the comment thread, but this is an important conversation on the left (as Alex Kane notes); and it feels right to highlight these criticisms from the FDL community. On a defensive note, I’d add that Jane Hamsher, FDL’s founder, has been tweeting that I’ve been in favor of McCarthyite tactics. That’s not me. She is referring to a post by Jack Ross about blacklists. Yes I like Jack’s independent mind, which mingles anti-Zionism and libertarianism; and we post a lot of stuff I don’t personally agree with but find interesting.
For Jerusalem, True Devotion, Joharah Baker for MIFTAH
This was the first Friday in Ramadan that I happened to see the Qalandiya checkpoint in the early morning hours and I was shocked at the scene in front of me. On my way to the Allenby Bridge for a short trip abroad, I was already on the West Bank side of the crossing but needed to go around it towards the Jericho road. As soon as the taxi approached the Qalandiya refugee camp about half a kilometer away from the actual checkpoint, the traffic began to pile up. Literally dozens of buses were lined up on the side of the roads filled with determined and faithful Muslims who most likely showed up at the crack of dawn for a chance to reach the coveted Al Aqsa Mosque for Friday Ramadan prayers. At the actual checkpoint – which Israeli soldiers close off completely to traffic on Fridays in the holy month – there were even more people. Throngs of men, women and children stood under the hot sun, parcels in hand and waited for Israeli soldiers barring the way to let them through.
Israel Today Is Tomorrow’s South Africa
By: Mitri I. Musleh – The mind boggling events in the Middle East are unfolding at a faster rate than the speeding bullet. To better comprehend such events, one must critically view and analyze every political behavior concerning peace or war in the Middle East. The United States, the Quartet and the European Union ‘EU’ have decided that the Palestinians and the Israelis must hold direct talks on September 2, 2010 and within one year, should conclude their discussion with the proposed Two-State solution, Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace and harmony.
Worst show on TV
"His attitude is patently patronizing — he is distributing largess from the donor-supported Palestinian Authority in the occupied West Bank, to the poor Palestinian refugees in Lebanon. [They are definitely poor — a bill was passed in the Lebanese Parliament only last week, that finally allowed Palestinian refugees who have in Lebanon for over 30 years or more to be able to seek work, although they have no residency status and no official papers.] The money comes from the Palestine Investment Fund [!]. Tonight’s episode was filmed in Beddawi refugee camp. One lady said she was from “Bared” — and the journalist quickly asks her if she was from Nahr al-Bared, which was in part destroyed during a Lebanese Army assault several years ago on militants who were said to be part of a group called “Fatah al-Islam”, which the Palestinian representative in Lebanon quickly denounced. That lady said that she and her large family were still being sheltered in a garage. “What can we do?”, she asked plaintively."
Personal Reflections About Kairos Document
By: Maria C. Khoury, Ed. D. – Palestinian Christian leaders have issued the timely Kairos Palestine Document calling on Churches around the world “to say a word of truth and to take a position of truth with regard to Israel’s occupation of Palestinian land.” (www.kairospalestine.ps). My most personal thoughts about the Kairos Document is that it immediately reflects the continued steadfastness witness of the Christian community in the land of the Mother Church. It gives our Christian voice a spiritual and psychological renewal to have finalized such a document promoting peace, justice and reconciliation.
Palestine Betrayed – Book Review, Jim Miles
Palestine Betrayed. Efraim Karsh. Yale University Press, London, 2010. Was Palestine betrayed? Of course it was, by the British, the United States, France, the League of Nations, the United Nations, the remnants of the Ottoman empire, all of the regional Arab countries, and by certain elites and powerful of Palestine itself. Efraim Karsh makes the latter two the main if not the sole responsible for the nakba – the disaster – that occurred in 1947-48 with the announced partition of Palestine followed by the declaration of the state of Israel. “Palestine Betrayed,” as portrayed by Karsh, is the story of the connivances of the Arab leaders in the region along with the elites of Palestine while the Jewish population continually offered peace and coexistence with their brethren and encouraged them to stay in their villages and towns to become partners in the new state enterprise.
Report: Hezbollah, Syria to join forces in future clash with Israel
Kuwait’s al-Rai daily says Lebanon-based group, Syrian army have created a joint military command, dividing potential war fronts.
Hariri: State won’t be intimidated
BEIRUT: Prime Minister Saad Hariri stressed Sunday that threats of strife would not intimidate the state from assuming its responsibilities in preserving the country’s national security. Later Sunday, Hariri left for Damascus following an invitation by President Bashar Assad to attend a souhour meal in the Syrian capital.
LEBANON: Palestinians still dissatisfied despite labour law changes
BEIRUT Monday, August 30, 2010 (IRIN) – Recent amendments to Lebanese law grant work permits to Palestinians in the private sector, and some welfare benefits, and are an important step in the right direction, according to the UN’s agency for Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA), but many Palestinians say they fall short of what they had hoped for.
Sunday: 7 Iraqis Killed, 18 Wounded
Although the country is expecting an increase in violence this week, so far it has been relatively quiet. Today, at least seven Iraqis were killed and 18 more were wounded in light violence. Other news from Iraq dealt with formation of the new government, the aftermath of the drawdown and the huge waste of resources on the part of the United States.
Iraqis say war "not ending" despite U.S. drawdown (Reuters)
Reuters – President Barack Obama’s message this weekend that Iraq would "chart its own course" may have been welcome news for war-weary Americans, but it has fueled anxieties about the future among Iraqis.
Iraq army to remain dependent on US
While the combat troops have pulled out of Iraq, the country’s army will continue to depend on the US military for training and maintenance. Rebuilding its military from scratch, Iraq has also been purchasing sophisticated American weapons, a dramatic departure from Saddam Hussein’s soviet-era equipment. Thus even after full withdrawal, an enduring relationship will likely lock the Iraqis and the Americans in a long-term partnership Al Jazeera’s Rawya Rageh reports from Iraq.
ANALYSIS-Iraq no pushover in regional power struggle
* Iraq more robust, but still prone to foreign meddling
* Iran can’t call all the shots even as U.S. combat ops end
* Turkey emerges as counterweight, champions Sunni inclusion
Ashour: Al Iraqiya might boycott the government
Al Iraqiya List advisor Hani Ashour affirmed in a statement to Alsumaria that all options are possible before the list including boycotting the government if no agreement is reached on Al Iraqiya’s right to form the government.
Baghdad slams ‘illegal’ RWE gas deal with Iraqi Kurds (AFP)
AFP – Iraq on Sunday slammed as "illegal" an agreement between its autonomous Kurdistan region and the German energy firm RWE that is expected to help supply the planned Nabucco gas pipeline to Europe.
‘Every Corner in the Region Is Frightened
Ayad Allawi: Iraq’s former and possibly future prime minister, discusses the withdrawal of US troops, the power struggle in Baghdad and the "very high possibility" of a new war in the Middle East.
As U.S. withdraws, Iraqis still live in crisis (Reuters)
Reuters – Kareem Hassan Abboud’s family of seven share a two room house in a makeshift squatter camp in the mainly Shi’ite district of Chukook in northwestern Baghdad. Sewage muddies the dirt road outside.
Inside Iraq – Pulling out of Iraq
The withdrawal of the US combat troops has begun and by the end of August there will be fewer than 50,000 US troops in Iraq. But is their mission accomplished?
Politicians blamed for growing Iraq unrest
The official end of US combat operations in Iraq is fast approaching. On August 31, troops hand over control of Iraq’s internal security to local forces. But violence remains a concern, after national elections failed to create a unified government. Al Jazeera’s Mike Hanna reports from Baghdad.
Iraqi Shiites suffer from violent sectarianism
The second of a five-part series Mixed neighbourhoods in which Shiites once lived are now a thing of the past.
Iraq’s troubled young hearts
A decimated healthcare system cannot meet the need for pediatric heart surgery. In all the waiting list is above 20,000.
Iraq recovers 90 percent of US computers: customs (AFP)
AFP – Iraq’s top customs official on Sunday said 90 percent of a multi-million dollar batch of US-purchased computers destined for schoolchildren but allegedly sold off on the cheap had been recovered.
The sculptures made out of Iraqi weapons
Zahim Jehad is doing his bit to get rid of weapons in Iraq. So why is he in trouble with the authorities? On a blistering day last month, Zahim Jehad was fossicking around a scrap yard in Basra amid hundreds of live artillery shells. After photographing rusting rounds he took the pictures to Iraq’s environment ministry, buoyed by hope he could once again start transforming the lethal relics into sculptures.
Cost of Iraq’s ‘new era’
The US government has said that the change of military strategy in Iraq is a "new era" for the country. Operation Iraqi Freedom will become Operation New Dawn from Wednesday. This means fewer soldiers in the country, but more diplomats who will be living in the world’s biggest embassy in Baghdad. The embassy stretches across 2km and and 104 acres of land – six times the size of the UN headquarters and bigger than the Vatican. Along with four new regional offices it will house nearly 2,500 diplomats, protected by as many as 7,000 private security guards. For travel anywhere outside of the embassy, the diplomats have a new fleet of armoured cars, trucks and special aircraft. All this will cost the US $2.5bn next year, over and above the costs of maintaining a military force of 50,000 American soldiers. Al Jazeera’s Mike Hanna reports.
Larijani: Iran ready for nuclear talks
As the US expresses optimism about future talks on Iran’s nuclear program, Iranian Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani says Tehran has never refused nuclear talks, Press TV reported.
Maariv: Israeli a significant importer (and re-exporter) of Iranian goods
This is a fairly wide-raging, if shallow, review. I found the section the section describing a botched attempt by an Israeli company to re-export Iranian marble to the US interesting. Particularly insightful was the justification for an Israeli double standard on this issue, as articulated by Danny Catarivas, head of the Division of Foreign Trade and International Relations in the Manufacturers Association of Israel.
MJ Rosenberg: Pro-Bombing Iran Is Anti-Israel
In his Atlantic piece designed to elicit an Obama endorsement of an Israeli attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities, Jeff Goldberg undermines his case by realistically predicting what the effects of an attack would be. He predicts thousands of deaths – not only Iranians but also many Israelis and probably Americans. Oil prices would skyrocket, Jews in the diaspora would come under attack, the United States would be embroiled in the worst Middle East crisis ever, and Israel would become the "leper of nations." Pretty horrible.
Afghans protest killing of civilians
Over 500 protesters condemned the killing of two Afghan civilians by mercenaries in the region, a Press TV correspondent reported on Saturday.
The Listening Post – Reporting the Afghan war
This week on The Listening Post – reporting the Afghan war: Time magazine’s shocking cover story walks the thin line between editorial and editorialising. And we lay out the pros and the cons of embedded journalism coming to us from the battlefields of Afghanistan.
U.S. and Other World News
Who is watching you?
Spy satellite use in the U.S. : Video report.
Saudis demand government jobs in rare protest
RIYADH: Some 200 unemployed Saudi university graduates staged a rare protest in the capital Riyadh demanding the Gulf Arab state give them jobs, Saudi media said on Sunday. Saudi Arabia, the world’s biggest oil exporter, is an absolute monarchy that has no elected parliament and usually does not tolerate public displays of dissent.
Saudi judge scraps dissident’s lawsuit over detention
RIYADH: A judge on Saturday threw out a dissident’s lawsuit over his three-and-a-half-year detention without trial, saying the government had finally filed its charges against the pro-democracy activist.
Jordanians battle teen marriage
Women rights activists in Jordan are trying to overturn a legal clause which allows girls as young as 15 to be married off. They say the teenage brides are missing out on education, and many suffer the consequences for the rest of their lives. Al Jazeera’s Nisreen El-Shamayleh reports from Amman, the Jordanian capital.
In Egypt, more people call for civil instead of religious marriage
Controversial cases in Egypt have spotlighted a legal system that leaves regulation of marriage and divorce to religious institutions, limiting individuals’ freedom to make personal decisions.
Gadhafi gives lesson on Islam to young Italian women in Rome
Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi gave a lesson on Islam and copies of the Koran to a few hundred young Italian women on Sunday as he arrived in Rome to mark a friendship treaty with Italy. It was the second time the Libyan leader – who travels with female bodyguards and fancies himself a self-styled feminist – had staged such an event for Italian women, who were recruited by a modeling agency and paid an undisclosed sum to attend. Michela, who asked that her last name not be used, told Associated Press Television News that three of the participants converted to Islam on the spot. “It was a really beautiful meeting and went very well,” she said. “He is very easygoing and he gave us a copy of the Koran. Three girls converted themselves to Islam during the ceremony. It was a beautiful event.”
Silencing Spencer: Taqiyya and Kitman are part of Judeo-Christian Belief
Part of the grandiose anti-Muslim conspiracy theory espoused by Islamophobes today includes the idea that Muslims are, in the words of Robert Spencer, involved in “large scale deception campaigns today.” Spencer dedicates chapter 6 of his book The
Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades) to convince his readers that Islamic law allows for and even encourages lying “if it fosters the growth of Islam.” In this manner, moderate Muslim-Americans are cast away as “stealth jihadists”, who are simply using deception to further their belligerent faith. Any Muslim who says otherwise is accused of lying. When moderate Muslims express their peaceful views, these are dismissed as “deception campaigns.” On the other hand, when extremist and fundamentalist Muslims express their belligerent views, these are accepted as being “real Islam.”
Islam in America
Exhibit seeks to reshape view of Muslim heritage with history of advances
ISTANBUL (AP) — For generations, the lore of “One Thousand and One Nights’’ helped shape Western notions about Muslim culture. The collection of tales described an exotic world of harems and flying carpets, Sinbad and monsters, Aladdin and the jinn, Ali Baba and the 40 thieves. Now an exhibition about innovation in Muslim civilization seeks to highlight what organizers say is an overshadowed period of history, a “Golden Age’’ in which advances in engineering, medicine, and architecture laid groundwork for Western progress from the Renaissance until modern times.
There is no struggle between Islam and America, imam says
Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf says opposition to the plan to build an interfaith centre near Ground Zero was being led by a “tiny, vociferous minority".
N.Y. imam: Ground Zero mosque debate spurred by nearing U.S. vote
Feisal Abdul Rauf Rauf compares plight of U.S. Muslims to past religious-based prejudices and attacks against Jews and Roman Catholic immigrants.
Rev. Wright criticizes those who think Obama is Muslim
The comment by Jeremiah Wright, Barack Obama’s former pastor, comes in the wake of a recent poll that found 18 percent of Americans incorrectly believe that Obama is a Muslim.
Obama: Muslim Rumors Not A Concern (VIDEO)
NEW ORLEANS (Associated Press) – President Barack Obama said Sunday he isn’t worried about a recent poll showing that nearly one-fifth of Americans believe he is a Muslim. "The facts are the facts," said Obama, who is a Christian. In an interview broadcast on "NBC Nightly News," the president blamed the confusion over his religious beliefs on "a network of misinformation that in a new media era can get churned out there constantly."
‘Arson’ at Tennessee mosque site
‘Successful’ attempt at terrorizing Muslim community takes mosque controversy ‘to whole new level,’ mosque spokeswoman says A fire started Saturday morning at the site of a controversial mosque expansion in a Nashville suburb is being ruled an arson, CBS affiliate WTVF reports.
How moderate Muslims in Africa view NYC mosque debate
Senegal is a critical junction for US dialogue with the Muslim world. Reaction there to the NYC mosque debate has potentially far-reaching implications for the battle against Al Qaeda.
Tea Party Reveals Real Reason Behind Mosque Opposition Frenzy
Privately, however, there seems to be little such confusion. The reasons there are given clearly, and it turns out it is precisely what many of us have argued all along: opposition organizers are motivated by an ideological belief that "Islam is evil and must be stopped; America is Judeo-Christian."
Anti-mosque sentiment rages far from Ground Zero, Glenn Greenwald
One of the most under-reported political stories is the increasingly vehement, nationwide movement — far from Ground Zero — to oppose new mosques and Islamic community centers. These ugly campaigns are found across the country, in every region, and extend far beyond the warped extremists who are doing things such as sponsoring "Burn a Quran Day."
The Muslim Mosque New York City
The precise location in New York City of a new community center that includes a Muslim mosque is becoming an important national campaign issue for the Republican Party as the Nov. 2 Congressional and state election draws closer. GOP politicians, their Tea Party warriors and the right wing in general are livid about plans to situate the facility two blocks from where the twin towers of the World Trade Center were destroyed in a terrorist attack nine years ago this Sept. 11. This calculated Republican tantrum over an essentially trivial placement of an Islamic-associated community center seems to have hoodwinked a majority of Americans — over 60% — into opposing a project intended to improve relations between different faiths in the U.S., and “in particular between the Muslim world and the United States,” according to its backers.
Could Ground-Zero Mosque’s Backers Be Worse Than AIPAC’s?, Grant Smith
Former American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) staffer M.J. Rosenberg told the Israel lobby to “pull the plug” on activities fanning the “anti-Muslim explosion that has seized this country over the past month.” The former insider charges organizations such as AIPAC, the Anti-Defamation League, the American Jewish Committee, and assorted neocon outfits with having “set the stage” for hysteria by demonizing Muslims in the name of “advancing their Middle East Agenda.” This strategy has been decades in the making.
America’s Holy Crusade against the Muslim World, Michel Chossudovsky
We have reached a decisive transition in the evolution of US military doctrine. The "Global War on Terrorism" (GWOT) directed against Al Qaeda launched in the wake of 9/11 is evolving towards a full-fledged "war of religion", a "holy crusade" directed against the Muslim World. US military dogma and war propaganda under the Bush administration, was predicated on combating Islamic fundamentalism rather than targeting Muslims. "This is not a war between the West and Islam, but .. a war against terrorism." So-called "Good Muslims" are to be distinguished from "Bad Muslims":