Israeli theater actors refuse to perform at new cultural center in West Bank settlement

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And other news from Today in Palestine:

Land and Property Theft and Destruction/Ethnic Cleansing
Palestinians: Freeze must include East Jerusalem, Akiva Eldar
The Palestinian Authority has told the U.S. administration that an Israeli commitment to continuing the freeze on settlement construction must include East Jerusalem.  During preparatory talks ahead of the summit due in Washington next week, the Palestinians made it clear they refuse to accept any softer formula on the building freeze. They expect that even after the September 26 deadline, when the 10-month moratorium ends, the United States will support their demand to continue the ban on all construction outside the Green Line, including in the settlement blocs.

Al-Araqib residents fear fourth demolition
Jerusalem – On the eve of the start of Ramadan last week, Israeli police demolished the Bedouin village of al-Araqib in the Negev desert. It was the third time within two weeks that the village had been razed.  Unfazed, the Bedouin villagers immediately began rebuilding.  “We have already put back up some twenty of our huts, and we’re putting up more every day — despite the fast,” village leader Sheikh Sayyah Abu Drim told IPS when reached by telephone a week after the last police action.  “We have nowhere else to go,” said the Sheikh. More than forty families live in al-Araqib.

Under cover of darkness, Ta’ayush activists expose the stealing of more Palestinian land, Joseph Dana
Ta’ayush activists have uncovered information that the Southern West Bank settlement of Susya is illegal stealing Palestinian land to increase the production of their Carmel Wine. Last week, under cover of darkness, a group of Jerusalem activists went to explore the vineyards. What they found was that many settlers are in fact stealing land in order to produce wine. This is nothing new however it is important to keep pressure on the settler groups through the dissemination of video and press about their illegal actions. Below is a video of their journey from Jerusalem. While the video is not full of the same type of action as the Friday demonstration videos, it is amazing to see how much work Israel in the middle of the night. Most of the illegal settlement construction, the stealing of land and the creation of the Separation Wall happens in the darkness. What does this country have to hid?

Solidarity/Activism/Boycott, Sanctions & Divestment
EU slams Israel’s verdict on Palestinian activist (AP)
AP – The European Union’s top diplomat has slammed Israel for convicting a Palestinian activist who leads protests against the West Bank separation barrier.*

Church boycott calls ring louder
The world’s churches have long been one of the battlegrounds of the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement. With the strengthening of the BDS movement, a number of churches across the globe have seen the boycott of Israeli and Israeli settlement goods hotting up, and recent weeks have witnessed some notable victories.

Canadian postal union joins Gaza flotilla
TORONTO (JTA) — The Canadian Union of Postal Workers has joined a coalition of Muslim, Arab and human rights groups that plans on taking a boat to Gaza this autumn.  "Canadian civil society has a responsibility to fight the illegal Israeli blockade of Gaza and to expose the Canadian government’s unjustified support for Israel," the coalition, which calls itself Canada Boat Gaza, said in a statement on its website. "The time has come to send a Canadian boat to challenge the blockade of Gaza, in coordination with similar international efforts."

Eyewitness to the Gaza Siege
"When they brought us into port, they asked, ‘Why did you want to enter Israel illegally," recalled Ann Wright. "We said, ‘We did not want to come here. You boarded us seventy miles offshore in international waters and outside your self-declared security zone. We did not want to come to Israel. You kidnapped us and brought us here.’"  Wright, a Honolulu resident, former U.S. Army colonel and diplomat who resigned her diplomatic post to protest the U.S. invasion in Iraq, was in Hilo to give a talk about her experiences on an international aid convoy that attempted to break through the Israeli blockade of Gaza last May. The six ships were boarded and captured by Israeli commandos, then taken to the Israeli port of Ashdod. During the assault, nine flotilla participants aboard the Turkish ferry Mavi Marmara were killed and approximately 50 were reported injured.

Hip-Hop Intifada Internationalized!
We received the following charming note along with this guest post submission: Peace. I hope you will publish this on your website. For this is soo much better then some of the trash you publish on it anyways.

The Politics of economics: The boycott on Israel is expanding
The decision made on Monday by the Norwegian oil fund to divest from Africa Israel and Danya Cebus on the grounds that they are involved in illegal construction in the territories, is only the latest in a long series of decisions by governmental and private companies in Europe to boycott Israeli companies for political reasons.

Israeli theater actors refuse to perform at new West Bank cultural center
Leading settler responds to refusal by Yousef Sweid and Rami Heuberger by saying that ‘Israel is much stronger than such boycotts.’

Veolia whitewashes illegal light rail project
Last week the Israeli daily Haaretz reported that the consortium holding the contract to the controversial Jerusalem light rail project surveyed city residents on whether they would feel comfortable sharing rail service with Palestinians. The bad publicity around the survey — described as racist by even members of the Israeli government — is an ironic turn of events. Adri Nieuwhof reports for The Electronic Intifada.

Haifa University students prepare to rally against leftist teachers
Students at Haifa University reportedly prepared a list of "Pro-Palestinian" professors and a group of activists were preparing a boycott campaign targeting their classes and lectures., Israel’s Hebrew Language daily newspaper Ma’ariv said a campaign began on Tuesday, targeting 20 lecturers from the sociology and political science departments who they said "participate in demonstrations against Israeli troops and the Israeli government" or who have publicly spoken out against them.

‘McCarthyism’ Rises in Israel, Jerrold Kessel and Pierre Klochendler
JERUSALEM, Aug 26, 2010 (IPS) – Rightwing Israeli groups financially supported by Jewish and fundamentalist Christian groups from abroad are on a campaign to undermine free thought in Israeli universities. Collaterally, a move is under way by right-wing parties in the Knesset, Israel’s parliament, to limit the freedom of action of civil and human rights-minded NGOs.

Israel‘s Arab Helpers
Journalists said assaulted by PA forces in anti-talks rally
RAMALLAH (Ma’an) – The administration at the Government-affiliated Watan TV station condemned a Wednesday police incident in which they said a network cameraman was assaulted.  A statement from the organization said Khalid Milham and his colleague Aysar Al-Barghouthi were assaulted and their equipment confiscated as they filmed an event that was quashed by PA police as an illegal rally.

PA forces raid meeting as dissent grows
Palestinian Authority forces today forcibly dispersed a meeting organized by Palestinian parties opposed to the Palestine Liberation Organization’s scheduled direct talks with Israel. The meeting was held at the same time as a conference in Gaza City, where officials of various Palestinian parties also discussed their opposition to the PLO’s plans for direct talks.

Tennenbaum’s kidnapper recruiting for Hezbollah
Palestinian Authority security apparatus arrests dozens of young adults on suspicion of being tied to Nasrallah’s organization. Man organizing recruitment believed to be Kais Obeid, who kidnapped Israeli businessman to Lebanon,7340,L-3943850,00.html

PA arrests dozens of Hamas, Islamic Jihad militants in West Bank
Hamas arrests in Gaza Islamic Jihad militants during mission to free a Gazan believed to have been abducted by the Islamic Jihad men.

The Siege (Gaza & West Bank)/Humanitarian/Restriction of Movement/Human Rights/Racism
Weekly Report On Israeli Human Rights Violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (19 -25 August 2010)

Gaza supplies dip as week ends
GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — A single Gaza crossing was opened for the transport of commercial goods, fuel and supplies for the Palestinian Energy Authority on Thursday, an official said.  Chairman of the Goods Coordination Committee for Gaza crossings Raed Fattouh said the southernmost crossing at Kerem Shalom was set to be opened partially for an expected 180-190 truckloads of goods.  Three of the trucks would be filled with steel columns and spare parts for the maintenance of the power plant and electricity grid, and limited amounts of cooking gas and industrial diesel would also be pumped in.

Former Bethlehem mayor denied Jerusalem access
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — Former Bethlehem mayor Salah Ta’mari was denied permission from Israeli officials for medical treatment for a persistent heart condition, the Fatah member said.  The official told Ma’an that he applied one week earlier and was refused, noting that Israeli officials at the Civil Administration office cited security concerns for the denial.  Two years earlier, Ta’mari requested a permit and was refused, but President Mahmoud Abbas intervened and secured him a permit, at which time he went into Jerusalem for heart surgery.  Ta’mari said he was denied despite having all of his medical papers and doctors recommendations in order.

Gaza power plant reopens after Hamas does deal (AFP)
AFP – The Gaza Strip’s sole power plant resumed generating on Wednesday after the territory’s Hamas rulers reached agreement on fuel payments to the rival Palestinian Authority, both sides said.*

The Stink of Control
Sewage thickens the waters of the once pristine Zomar river in northwestern West Bank. With no nearby treatment plants, sludge like this coats the lands, poisoning wells and aquifers, polluting fields and infecting children.  “There is no real life there – it is just waste water,” said Iyad Aburdeieneh, Palestinian Deputy Director of Friends of the Earth Middle East.  Called The Alexander in Israel, the rancid Zomar is not unique in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT). Twenty-five million cubic meters of untreated sewage – or five Zomar rivers – leak into the West Bank’s environment every year, according to the World Bank.

French NGO says Hamas stole equipment
GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — The French organization Help Doctors operating a clinic in Gaza said that members of the Hamas government security forces seized the remainder of its equipments on Monday.  The seizure came one week after the organization said Gaza government police entered the clinic and began confiscating supplies.

Mitri Ghounam: ‘When you have finished your wall, you will have finished me’
Mitri Ghounam’s land can be accessed only via a metal gate and fenced off road. The house is surrounded on three sides by either a concrete wall or a metal fence. Beyond the fence there appears to be a construction site. Although the machinery is quiet today because works are stopped for the weekend, one can only imagine the noise that must come from it during the rest of the week.  Mitri sits under grapevines hosting us with lemonade and water, a relief from a very hot day. Behind him sits a statute of the Virgin Mary that over looks a fountain, St. George killing the serpent stands over his family home.

For Gaza Tailors, Market is Flooded, External Markets Are Banned
What happens to industry when you open a market to consumer products but restrict raw materials and ban export? What doesn’t happen is economic recovery.  The Israeli cabinet decision to ease the closure on the Gaza Strip did not change the sweeping ban on Gaza exports. While industrial raw materials were allowed into Gaza beginning in July, the limited capacity of the crossings meant only small quantities entered (raw materials were 4% of the total amount of goods that entered in July), while at the same time Israeli-made consumer products, no longer banned, flooded the market. The combination does not bode well for manufacturers in particular and the economy in general, as evidenced by the story of Jihad Abu Dan, aged 22, married and the father of two, whose family owns a textile factory in the northern Gaza Strip town of Beit Lahiya. His father was a textile worker who built a two-story factory that spans an area of 1,500 m², meant to support the extended family.

Violence (Past and Present)/Provocations
Armed settler guards attack mosque in Wadi Hilweh, shots fired at Palestinian residents
Violence has swept through Wadi Hilweh again as Israeli settler security guards attempted to storm the neighborhood mosque last night, in what marks the third time such an attack has been launched on the local religious site. Settler guards fired live ammunition at Palestinian residents in the ensuing clashes that erupted.

Israel closes Ibrahimi mosque for 10 days, prevents Muslims and lets Israelis in
Hebron, August 26, (Pal Telegraph) Israeli Occupation authorities announced yesterday that it will fully open the Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron before the Israeli settlers in the holy month of Ramadan, on the occasion of the Jewish "forgiveness" Day, in reference to fully close the campus before the Muslim worshipers.  Israel Radio said that the Israeli army allowed the opening of the Mosque’s campus round the clock during the period of ten days starting with the Jewish New Year and ending with the Day of Atonement (Forgiveness Day).  Israeli Radio added that the decision was made in response to the request filed by the Local Council of Kiryat Arba settlement.

Israeli settlers try to seize lands in Jerusalem
Jerusalem, August 26, (Pal Telegraph) Local sources said that a number of Israeli settlers tried to storm the mosque named Eein-Silwan East of Jerusalem, and broke the locks of the mosque, but Palestinian young men stood up to this attack and besieged the Israeli settlers in the yard.  The sources added that Israeli soldiers intervened by throwing gas and sound bombs in addition to rubber bullets to keep the young Palestinians and Israeli settlers out of the courtyard of the mosque, causing no injuries.

IOF raids a mosque in Hebron
Hebron, August 26, (Pal Telegraph) Israeli occupation forces raided at dawn today the “Hamza” mosque in the town of “Seir”, east of Hebron in the West Bank.  Security sources said that the Israeli occupation forces raided the mosque in the early dawn, and searched and tampered with its contents, and searched a number of houses in the town of “Seir”.  Sources pointed out that the Israeli occupation forces raided the Ras Al-Jura area towns of Nuba, Seir, Halhoul, Samoa and Al-Thahereyah without reported arrests. In the Old City of Hebron, Israeli soldiers detained six inspectors from the Municipality of Hebron for two hours, before releasing them.

Palestinians clash with settlers, Border Police in East Jerusalem
Arab Silwan residents say settlers, taking a shortcut to a spring, tried to break down a mosque gate; settlers: We don’t know what happened.

Hebron massacre remembered
Palestinian’s flock to Hebron city to mark Ramadan in defiance of Israel’s restriction.

Israel raids Hebron, arrests 3
Hebron, August 26, (Pal Telegraph) Israeli occupation forces arrested today three people after raiding their homes in the village of “Baq’a”, east of Hebron in the West Bank.  According to local sources the Israeli occupation forces arrested both Ahed Hisham Mustafa Jaber and his brother Muhannad Mahmoud Mohammed Mustafa Jaber and transferred them to an unknown destination.  Citizen Samer Nayef Rajaby was also admitted to Hebron Govermental hospitl as a result of injury and bruises after being attacked by Israeli soldiers near the Ibrahimi Mosque.  In Arroub camp north of Hebron, sporadic clashes took place between young Palestinians and the Israeli occupation soldiers there who fired rubber bullets and gas and sound bombs on those young Palestinians.

Israel arrests two members of Palestinian Tanzim militia
Steven Anbatawai and Wazir Isa arrested in joint raid by IDF, Shin Bet and police north of Nablus.

Political/Flotilla Developments
Report: Top US officials to arrive ahead of talks
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — Two senior US officials were due to arrive in Israel on Wednesday to begin preliminary negotiations ahead of next week’s peace summit in Washington, Israeli media reported.  Daniel Shapiro, a member of the National Security Council for Israel and the near East, and David Hale, deputy to Middle East envoy George Mitchell, will both meet with chief PLO negotiator Saeb Erekat, Israeli daily Haaretz reported.  The two will also meet with Isaac Molho, an adviser to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and head of the Israeli negotiating team.

Palestinians warn Israel peace talks could be quickly derailed (The Christian Science Monitor)
The Christian Science Monitor – For more than a year, the Palestinians insisted on an Israeli settlement freeze as a precondition to entering direct talks with Israel. But recently they dropped their demand, paving the way for the first direct peace talks with the Israelis since early 2009.*

Abbas: Direct negotiations historic opportunity
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said that renewing direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians was an "historic opportunity" to achieve peace.  Abbas, who spoke during a diplomatic reception ceremony in Ramallah, urged the Israeli government "not to miss out on this historic opportunity." He also stressed that the demand to freeze the construction in settlements came from the international community as a whole. (AFP),7340,L-3944046,00.html

Abbas: Negotiations despite opposition
RAMALLAH (Ma’an) — President Mahmoud Abbas said he would go to negotiations in Washington next week despite heavy opposition to the resumption of peace talks with Israel.  Speaking at an iftar meal honoring religious figures and diplomatic officials in Palestine, Abbas said he hoped Israeli negotiators would grasp what he termed the "current opportunity to achieve peace."

PA Claims US Threatened to Withdraw Aid
Palestinian Authority officials claim that the United States threatened PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas with ending financial aid if he did not agree to direct negotiations with Israel.

Abbas’ Position Isn’t as Weak as It May Appear, George S. Hishmeh – Washington, D.C.
Palestinians will begin heading home a year from now to reclaim property in their homeland, which they have not seen for 62 years since the state of Israel was established there. They will be welcomed at the border by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman and thousands of cheering Israelis.  Much to their joy, the Palestinians will discover that Lieberman has relinquished his house in a colony on the West Bank, which Israel has occupied since the 1967 Arab-Israeli war. But they will have to wait and see whether their own homes, in Haifa or Nazareth for example, will still be standing, along with their traditional lemon, olive and fig trees and grape vines, which their parents have longed to see since the beginning of their tortuous exile in neighbouring Arab countries and elsewhere.

WEST BANK: Anti-negotiations conference broken up
Crowds started to arrive at the Protestant church hall in downtown Ramallah in the West Bank shortly after midday Wednesday to attend an anti-negotiations conference. They were responding to a call by local Palestinian leaders opposed to plans by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to start direct negotiations with Israel before the latter halts all settlement activities in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.  To the surprise of the attendees, dozens of young Palestinians, believed to be members of Abbas’ Fatah movement and his security forces, moved in waving pictures of Abbas and chanting his name, disrupting the meeting even before it had started.  Their entrance and the disruption was clearly premeditated, according to the organizers of the conference, and their purpose was to make sure the conference will not be held. When the organizers, mainly leaders of left-wing Palestinian factions, realized that it would be impossible to proceed with their conference, they took to the streets of Ramallah in a protest march and to let the public know their views on the negotiations.  Palestinian police intervened to stop the march, charging that the protestors did not have a permit. Stunned by the developments, the organizers of the conference, some of them members of the Palestine Liberation Organization’s executive committee, which on Friday voted to start direct negotiations with Israel on Sept. 2 in ceremonies to be held in Washington, then took their meeting to a local TV station, where they held a news conference.

Military Advocate General: Gaza blockade entirely legal
Brig. Gen. Avichai Mendelblit to panel probing May 31 Gaza flotilla raid: No one in the IDF would think to violate international law.

Turkish officials: We’re committed to preserving friendly Israel ties
Turkish diplomat visiting U.S. tells Turkish paper Gaza flotilla raid bears no ill effect on Turkey’s attitude toward Israel or Jews, only Israel’s gov’t.

Turkey officials discuss Gaza flotilla, Iran nukes on U.S. visit
Visit comes after the U.S. denied a report stating it had warned Turkey strained ties with Israel, support of Iran could hinder a significant arms deal between Washington and Ankara.

Other News
Hamas mourns death of Muslim Brotherhood founder
GAZA CITY (Ma’an) – Hamas members in Rafah announced the death of Muslim Brotherhood official Hajj Lutfi Al-Hums, 81, in Rafah on Thursday. The group said Al-Hums was considered a founder of the Muslim Brotherhood movement, now a central party in Egypt and influential throughout the region. A statement said prayers for his soul would be offered in the Al-Hudna Mosque in Rafah city.Hajj Lutfi was born in 1929 in Yibna village southwest of Ramla, and was expelled from there on 4 June 1949 by Jewish forces. From Yibna, Al-Hums traveled to Gaza.

Netanyahu wants Shin Bet protection for 15 years after leaving office
Under the existing rules, the Shin Bet would provide the prime minister with security for only five years after he leaves office.

Amnesty Int’l Finland: Israel scum state
The head of Amnesty International’s Finnish branch, Frank Johansson, told The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday that he stands by his statement that Israel is a “scum state.”

Pro-Israel group claims IRS persecution
A hawkish pro-Israel group today filed a lawsuit against the Commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service containing the explosive allegation that the IRS is devoting special scrutiny to pro-Israel groups whose policies conflict with that of the administration.

Israeli education ministry approves new ‘whites-only’ settlement school
Several months ago, a religious school in the illegal Israeli settlement of Immanuel was criticized for segregating white Jewish students from non-white Jewish students in classes.

A Few Non-Jews Are Human Beings: Chief Rabbi of Hebron
There are some honorable people among the goyim. A few, but they exist. I think that even in Hebron there are a few who are human beings – which doesn’t mean I’m saying they shouldn’t all be sent to Saudi Arabia. They should all be sent to Saudi Arabia!"

West Bank rabbis: Only Jews to renovate Joseph’s Tomb
Following Ynet report on plans for Palestinians to restore tomb’s compound, group of Samaria rabbis sends strident letter against plan, claiming it gives PA de facto ownership of site.,7340,L-3943656,00.html

Military prosecution: Israel under a moral blockade
Military prosecution cites international public opinion as grounds for arrest in hearing of Nahal Haredi soldiers suspected of being photographed pointing a weapon at handcuffed Palestinian.,7340,L-3944076,00.html

Gay teen kidnapped by family: They threatened to kill me
Nineteen-year-old drag queen says was beaten, kidnapped twice by relatives who want to ‘set him back on right path’.,7340,L-3943931,00.html

Israel offers Intel $110 million for commitment to stay in the country
Intel plans to expand its plant in Kiryat Gat at an investment of $2.7 billion, initially requesting a $400 million government grant.

Analysis/Opinion/Human Interest
The NS interview with Haneen Zoabi
What is it like being a Palestinian in Israel?
Israel did everything it could to make us forget our history: controlling education and the media, putting us in a ghetto, preventing us from having normal relations with the Arab world and visiting our families in Syria and Lebanon. 
Are Arab members of parliament treated differently?
Of course. The state treats all Jews and Palestinians differently. Israel doesn’t recognise us as the owners of this homeland. The theory is that we have equal civil rights, but the practice is very far from this.

Don’t Look Too Excited about Negotiations!
We swear that we didn’t alter this photo released by the State Department from Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s and Special Envoy for Middle East Peace George Mitchell’s press briefing on August 20 announcing the resumption of direct Israeli-Palestinian negotiations.  Yikes! They look about as happy as two people being led to the guillotine. Can you just sense their enthusiasm and excitement for yet another round of more process, less peace? If the two of them can’t get jazzed, then it looks like it’s a foregone conclusion that the September 2 negotiations will be just as much of a photo-op–nothing more, nothing less–than President Bush’s belated attempt at peacemaking at Annapolis in 2007.

The ‘real agenda’ of the BBC’s Jane Corbin, who calls herself a ‘Journalist’
On August 19, the Israeli consulate in New York tweeted: #BBC “Panorama” presents arguably the most complete & thorough account of the #Flotilla.  The documentary has not received much endorsement elsewhere. Instead there have been loud protests of bias, especially among those aboard the Mavi Marmara, the largest vessel in the Gaza-bound aid flotilla that Israeli commandos raided on May 31, killing nine activists.

The ‘memoricide’ of Palestine, Matthew Taylor
In a little-noted decision, a few weeks ago Netanyahu’s government extended by an additional twenty years Israel’s classification of sensitive documents. It is suspected that these documents tell the story of the the ethnic cleansing of Palestine in far more detail than currently declassified documents.

The Israeli right’s secret strategy to promote ‘Greater Israel’, Shalom Boguslavsky
Introducing Moshe Klughaft: Forbes magazine has crowned him the second most influential strategic consultant in Israel, and one of the 300 most influential young adults. He is the man behind the campaigns against the New Israel Fund, both the one by Im Tirzu and the Arab Gas campaign. Obviously, all links between the two campaigns have been denied. Later on we’ll see just why such denial is one of the cornerstones of the system.

Don’t forget ‘The Atlantic’’s pieties about who destroyed Palestine, Matthew Taylor
Some around here are just shocked, shocked at the transparently pro-Israel propaganda masquerading as journalism in The Atlantic… but it seems to me this pub has been a tool of Israel’s Ministry of Disinformation for years.  For instance, let’s go back to David Samuels’ September 2005 cover story about how Yasser Arafat (and not Zionist militias/the U.S.-backed Israeli military) somehow "destroyed" Palestine.

Police: 6 Sunni fighters killed in ambush in Iraq (AP)

AP – Insurgents killed six members of a government-allied Sunni militia in an ambush northeast of Baghdad on Thursday, police said, offering no respite to a nation still reeling from a spate of attacks on police and soldiers a day earlier that left at least 56 dead.*

Wednesday: 86 Iraqis Killed, 371 Wounded
A two-hour long, apparently coordinated attack against Iraq’s fragile security forces took place across the country, leaving no region untouched. At least 86 Iraqis were killed and 371 more were wounded in the attacks. The bloodiest attacks took place in relatively quiet Kut and in the capital. Meanwhile, a member of the Iraqiya list, which won the most seats in parliament, called for an emergency session to discuss today’s development.

Wave of Iraq suicide bombings target police
A wave of Iraq suicide bombings and other attacks largely targeted the police on Wednesday, leaving at least 41 Iraqis dead in 7 different provinces. A poll shows that a majority of Iraqis say the US is withdrawing combat troops too soon.

Iraq arrests 15 suspects in Wednesday blasts
Iraqi security Forces arrested 15 suspects on account of Wednesday’s bombings, a police source reported. Baghdad Operations Command Forces cracked down on Thursday dawn Al Melhaniya neighborhood in Al Amel District, southern Baghdad.

‘Sons of Iraq’ feel betrayed by motherland (AFP)
AFP – The Sunni Arab militiamen who sided with American soldiers against Al-Qaeda during Iraq’s brutal insurgency fear the exit of thousands of US troops will herald a surge in bloody revenge attacks against them.*

Who cares about the average Iraqi? | Sazan Mandalawi
Iraqis are suffering huge physical and psychological pain, but nothing changes as politicians just fight among themselves.  As a proofreader in a news agency in Iraq’s Kurdistan region I feel like a doctor, but the type of patients I indirectly meet every day are average Iraqis. Unlike a doctor I cannot cure their illnesses or prescribe medication but I have managed to identify the cause of their psychological illnesses.

Hizbullah, foreign minister unaware of Sadr’s ‘plans’
BEIRUT: Lebanon’s foreign minister and Hizbullah have said neither was informed of Iraqi cleric and political leader Muqtada al-Sadr’s intention to relocate to Beirut. Sources from the Foreign Ministry told pan Arab-daily Ash-Sharq al-Awsat newspaper they were neither informed by Iraqi authorities nor by Sadr himself of such an intention.

US military aid cut would strengthen Hizbullah; Move would erode American credibility, drive LAF toward United States’ foes
PRAGUE/BEIRUT: While some US congressmen are pushing to cut $100 million in military assistance budgeted for Lebanon over fears of Israel’s security and Hizbullah’s leading role here, slashing the aid would only make Hizbullah stronger, drive the army toward US rivals and erode US credibility here, a number of analysts told The Daily Star on Wednesday.  The issue erupted in Congress after an August 3 incident in Adaysseh near the Lebanese-Israeli border, where Israel’s cutting down of a tree sparked a firefight which killed two Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) soldiers, a Lebanese journalist, and an Israeli officer. Some US lawmakers voiced objections to the aid on the grounds that US weapons could wind up being used by the LAF against Israel, the closest US ally in the region.

Israeli Intelligence Infiltrated Throughout Lebanese Government, Wayne Madsen  
WMR has learned from its Lebanese intelligence sources that the Lebanese government is coming to realize that Israeli intelligence penetration of all political groups in the country is worse than originally believed.  Israel’s Mossad, once content on penetrating the Christian and Druze parties in the country, has now thoroughly infiltrated the top echelons of Sunni and Shi’a parties, as well. Recently, Lebanon charged retired General Fayez Karam, a senior member of retired General Michel Aoun’s Free Patriotic Movement, which is allied with Hezbollah, with spying for Mossad.

Robert Worth’s definitions
"Hezbollah, the Shiite movement that is committed to Israel’s destruction."  I mean, if that is the case, why would not Worth identifies Israel as the "Jewish state that is committed to the destruction of Hizbullah, Hamas, PFLP, and various other Arab organizations and Iran as well?  Or the destructive urges of Israel can’t be reported because that would reflect negatively on the image of the terrorist Israeli state?

Iran seeks to produce its own nuclear fuel
Iran submits proposal to Russia to produce nuclear fuel for the Bushehr nuclear power plant and any future facilities built in the country, Iran’s state media reports.

U.S. and Other World News
After Katrina, New Orleans Cops Were Told They Could Shoot Looters
In the chaotic days after Hurricane Katrina, an order circulated among New Orleans police authorizing officers to shoot looters, according to present and former members of the department.

ACLU Report: Spying on Free Speech Nearly At Cold War Level
Political spying is nearly as bad now as it was during the Cold War. The ACLU reports that Americans are harrassed and under surveillance for exercising their First Amendment rights.

WikiLeaks releases CIA memo on U.S. terror recruits
* New WikiLeaks release follows U.S. Afghan war documents
* CIA plays down report by "Red Cell" analysts
* Report eyes fallout if US seen as exporter of terrorism

‘Secret’ CIA memo on WikiLeaks is not very revelatory
It considers what might happen if other nations viewed the U.S. as an ‘exporter of terrorism.’  The latest U.S. government document posted by WikiLeaks is marked "secret," but it contains no new revelations, startling or otherwise.,0,7574693.story

Sweden to continue Assange inquiry
Eva Finne said she had questioned the woman who had filed the rape complaint and decided that there were no grounds to suspect Assange of any type of crime, but that she was still examining the molestation claim brought by a different lady.

In Pictures: Pakistan drowns in misery

Egypt announces site of its first planned nuclear power plant
Hassan Younis, the Egyptian minister of electricity, said the decision is meant to prioritize national interests and gives a big boost to the Egyptian nuclear program.

Afghans protest against Spanish after deadly shooting; Hundreds of men try to overrun NATO base following officer’s killing
HERAT, Afghanistan: Hundreds of angry Afghans tried to storm a small NATO base in the far northwest Wednesday after a shootout left three Spaniards and an Afghan police trainee dead, officials said.  The Afghan policeman killed two Spanish paramilitary police officers and a Spanish interpreter during a training session at the base in the province of Badghis before he was himself shot dead, Afghan and Spanish authorities said.  Hundreds of Afghan men then tried to overrun the Spanish-administered base in protest at the killing of the local officer, in an incident that left more than two dozen men injured, police and doctors said.

Mohammed Zia Salehi, Top Karzai Aide, Appears To Have Been On CIA Payroll For Years
KABUL, Afghanistan — The aide to President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan at the center of a politically sensitive corruption investigation is being paid by the Central Intelligence Agency, according to Afghan and American officials.  Mohammed Zia Salehi, the chief of administration for the National Security Council, appears to have been on the payroll for many years, according to officials in Kabul and Washington. It is unclear exactly what Mr. Salehi does in exchange for his money, whether providing information to the spy agency, advancing American views inside the presidential palace, or both.

Marines likely to stay in Afghanistan for years
It will likely be a few years before Afghanistan is secure enough for the U.S. Marines to leave, Commandant Gen. James Conway said Tuesday, adding his voice to a growing chorus of military leaders warning of a long fight ahead.

Poison gas hits Afghan schoolgirls
At least 70 students and teachers at an all girls school in Kabul, Afghanistan’s capital, have been sickened by an unknown gas that spread through classrooms. School authorities evacuated everyone from the building and many of the girls were taken to hospitals. It is still not clear who is behind the incident, but there is suspicion that the Taliban, who has opposed sending girls to schools, is responsible. Hoda Abdel-Hamid reports from Kabul on what has become a part of a pattern of attacks on schoolgirls in the country. [August 25, 2010]

Saudi store breaks taboo with female cashiers
RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s leading supermarket chain has broken the country’s strict taboo on women working in public with a pilot program of female cashiers, a company official said.  Panda hypermarkets has put 16 Saudi women to work at one store in the Red Sea city of Jeddah as a test, in a country where Islamic conservatives have prevented women from working in gender-mixed environments.  “The women, compared to men, are really hard workers,” Panda spokesman Tarik Ismail told AFP.

An Egyptian ‘Mother Teresa’
Most people have heard of Mother Teresa, the Christian nun who spent her life helping the poor and needy in the slums of India. As the world marks one hundred years since her birth, Al Jazeera is looking at people around the world who have devoted their lives to helping others. One of those unsung heroes is a 91-year-old Egyptian women from Alexandria. Inaya Essafti works to empower women by teaching them how to read. Al Jazeera’s Ayman Mohyeldin has her story.

Is the United States in Danger of Collapse?, Stephen M. Walt
Earlier this summer I mentioned that I was reading Jared Diamond’s Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed, and I promised to sum up the insights that I had gleaned from it. The book is well-worth reading — if not quite on a par with his earlier Guns, Germs, and Steel — and you’ll learn an enormous amount about a diverse set of past societies and the range of scientific knowledge (geology, botany, forensic archaeology, etc.) that is enabling us to understand why they prospered and/or declined.

Islam in America
New York: "Religions for Peace" Reject Planned "International Burn a Quran Day"
Riyadh, Asharq Al-Awsat – The Secretary General for the New York-based World Conference of Religions for Peace [WCRP], and which is the largest international coalition of representatives of international religions in the world, rejected the public call made by a Church in the state of Florida for an "International Burn a Quran Day" on the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, saying that this was a dangerous act to deliberately insult what is holy to the Muslims.

Residents cheer as Kentucky town rejects mosque
For Mayfield’s zoning board, it was about parking spaces. For the 250 residents of this western Kentucky town who reportedly cheered when the zoning board rejected a building permit for a new mosque, it was clearly about something else.  On Tuesday night, the Mayfield Board of Zoning Adjustment rejected a request from a local Somali group to build a mosque along the city’s East Broadway, a strip of commercial and industrial properties. According to the Louisville Courier-Journal, the board rejected the mosque application because of concerns there wouldn’t be enough parking in the area. (The area in question is pictured on the right.)

Muslim Cab Driver Attacked In New York City
A New York City taxi cab driver was reportedly stabbed on Monday night by a customer riding in his vehicle after being questioned about his religious beliefs. According to NY1, police say the passenger in the backseat of the cab asked the 43-year-old driver, "Are you Muslim?" After the driver responded affirmatively, the passenger wielded a knife and cut the driver’s neck.

Colleague of NYC Taxi Driver Stabbed in Anti-Muslim Attack Describes What Happened
A New York City taxi driver was stabbed multiple times Tuesday after a drunken passenger determined he is a Muslim. The victim, Ahmed Sharif, was slashed across his face, neck and hands. Sharif says the suspect, Michael Enright, had asked him several questions about his religion, including whether he’s a Muslim and observing Ramadan. Bhairavi Desai of the New York Taxi Workers Alliance spoke with Sharif at his hospital bed. She describes what he said happened.

9/11 Families, Others Rally In Support Of Park51 Islamic Center
NEW YORK — The planned mosque and Islamic center blocks from ground zero got a new boost Wednesday from a coalition of supporters that includes families of Sept. 11 victims.  New York Neighbors for American Values rallied for the first time at a municipal building near ground zero.

Anti-Mosque Coalition’s Website Owned By Neo-Conservative Islamophobe Frank Gaffney
The Coalition to Honor Ground Zero, appears to be funded by a major neo-conservative advocacy group, with deep-pocketed donors, and extensive connections to the conservative establishment.

Maddow: Fox News Made Me Cover Mosque Story, ‘Maybe’ I’ll Get Married
Rachel Maddow says she didn’t want to cover the controversy over the proposed Islamic cultural center near Ground Zero, but Fox News left her no choice.

House of prayer near Ground Zero? Yes!, Padraic O’Hare
A mosque – like a church or a synagogue or an ashram – is a house of prayer.  We need more mosques – as well as churches, synagogues and ashrams – at Ground Zero; in Bay Ridge in my beloved hometown of Brooklyn; on Staten Island, and all over! We need them to bring prayer to that place as a way of bringing healing there. Like the mosque here in Boston, at which the Center for the Study of Jewish-Christian-Muslims Relations of Merrimack College (a small Catholic and Augustinian college) recently – intentionally, pointedly, and proudly – announced and introduced the recipient of a major new award for scholarship – the Goldziher Prize – which promotes reverence, understanding and willingness to collaborate in works of justice and peace between Jews and Muslims. The prize is named after Ignac Goldziher, a Hungarian Jew and leading 19th century scholar who revered Islam and who validated Islamic studies in the universities of Europe.

Jon Soltz: The Muslim Community Center Debate — Continuing Our Duty
When we signed up for service, we swore to uphold the Constitution. Some have tried to claim that the construction of the community center at its currently planned site is "anti-America." We don’t believe that to the be case, at all.

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