Jonathan Pollak sentenced to 3 months in prison; tells judge ‘I’ll go to prison with my head held high’

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And other news from Today in Palestine:

Settlers/ Land, Property, Resource Theft & Destruction/Ethnic Cleansing
Settlers torch fields near Nablus
NABLUS (Ma’an) — Local officials in Madama village, south of Nablus, said Monday that dozens Israeli settlers from the nearby Yitzhar settlement were behind the torching of agricultural lands and an attack on a farmer.  Village council member Hasan Ziyada said locals counted 37 settlers in all, in four separate groups, harassing farmers in the Ein Ash-Sha’ira area to the south of the village.

PA lightens ban on working in settlements to ease Palestinian unemployment
Figures show number of Palestinians employed in settlements has increased to nearly 35,000; PA legislation barring employment there would be an economic blow to Palestinian population.

Some 7,000 Palestinians immigrate annually
Some 7,000 Palestinians immigrate each year, most of them youths, Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS) said in a report on Monday.  Between 2005 and 2009, some 23,000 Palestinians left the Gaza Strip and the West Bank to seek work, education and better life, the report said.  One third of the immigrants age between 15 and 29. They prefer going to Jordan, Gulf countries and the United States.  More than four million Palestinians live in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, according to an earlier report by the PCBS.

Activism/Solidarity/Boycott, Divestment & Sanctions
Weekly Anti-Wall Protest Update
Dec 27, 2010– Protests against the Wall this week commemorated Christmas, and most featured several Santas. Occupation forces, not moved by the Christmas spirit, responded to the demonstrations with force. In addition to gassing protestors, soldiers shot one demonstrator with rubber bullets 13 times in an Nabi Saleh.

Second prison term for conscientious objector Ajuad Zidan
CO Ajuad Zidan, 18, from the town of Beit Jann, a Palestinian member of the Druze religious community, was sentenced to 20 days of imprisonment on 14 Dec for his refusal to enlist in the Israeli military. This is his second term in prison …  Members of the Druze community, unlike most other Palestinian citizens of Israel, are conscripted into the Israeli army. Explaining his refusal to enlist Ajuad Zidan stated to the press that “the loneliness of the prison cell is one thousand times better than standing in front of my people while pointing a gun at them, or imposing a curfew on them”.

Israeli activist Jonathan Pollak sentenced to 3 months in prison; tells judge “I’ll go to prison with my head held high”
27 Dec – …Tel Aviv Magistrates court judge Yitzhak Yitzhak convicted Pollak of illegal assembly for his participation in a January 2008 Critical Mass ride against the siege on Gaza and then sentenced him to three months imprisonment that will begin on January 11th, 2011. Pollak was the only one detained at the said protest, and was accused of doing nothing other than riding his bicycle in the same manner as the rest of the protesters. The conviction activates an older three-month suspended sentence, imposed on Pollak in a previous trial for protesting the construction of the Separation Barrier.

Israeli activist sentenced to 3 months in prison for protesting Gaza war, ibn Ezra by Joseph Dana
Of all the criminals involved with the 2008 Gaza war, an Israeli leftist will be going to jail for riding his bike against the war in Tel Aviv. Tel Aviv Magistrates court judge Yitzhak Yitzhak convicted Israeli leftist Jonathan Pollak of illegal assembly for his participation in a January 2008 Critical Mass ride against the siege on Gaza and then sentenced him to three months imprisonment that will begin on January 11th, 2011. Pollak was the only one detained at the said protest, and was accused of doing nothing other than riding his bicycle in the same manner as the rest of the protesters. The conviction activates an older three-month suspended sentence imposed on Pollak in a previous trial for protesting the construction of the Separation Barrier. An additional three month prison term was also imposed for the current conviction, which will be served concurrently. His imprisonment is part of a clear strategy of silencing dissent in the Israeli left.

Beatings and Intimidation in the West Bank, Joseph Dana
On Friday, I was detained by Border Police officers in Nabi Saleh along with another Israeli. We were handcuffed behind our backs, thrown to the ground and beaten. The other Israeli was beaten much worse than I. His head was smashed against the ground and he was kicked repeatedly in the stomach. All of this happened in front a Palestinian Btselem photographer who captured the whole thing on video. After the beating, we were then detained and held in a Jerusalem prison for thirty hours. This story is only unique because it happen to Jews.

Protest in Seattle over controversial bus ads
On the day controversial anti-Israel bus ads were intended to appear, they didn’t, but the group behind them did, staging a protest in downtown Seattle.  About 70 protestors, some of their faces hidden by white masks streaked with red tears, marched to a drumbeat through downtown Seattle on the anniversary of Israel’s 2008 offensive against Gaza.

Gallery Patrons Ejected Over Gaza Flotilla T-Shirts, ROBERT MACKEY
Four activists were forced to leave an art gallery in New York this month for wearing T-shirts promoting an effort to include an American boat in the next blockade-challenging Gaza flotilla.  The incident came on the final day of an exhibition at the Gagosian Gallery called “Next Year in Jerusalem,” featuring pieces by the German artist Anselm Kiefer on the subject of Nazi Germany and the Holocaust.  The T-shirts worn by the activists repeated the show’s title, which is borrowed from a Jewish prayer, in English, Hebrew and Arabic, on the front and said “U.S. Boat to Gaza” and “The Audacity of Hope” on the back. (As The Lede explained in a previous post, the American activists plan to call their boat the Audacity of Hope, echoing the title of a book by President Obama.)

Human Rights/Refugees/Racism & Discrimination
Report: Shin Bet tortures prisoners, denies access to lawyers
According to report, the Shin Bet utilizes interrogation methods that run contrary to international law, Israeli laws and Israeli commitments to avoid such methods.

Al Mezan Center for Human Rights: Gaza Patients Access to Medical Treatment Abroad
The Gaza Strip constitutes an integral part of the territory occupied by Israel in 1967. Therefore, as Israel maintains effective control over the Strip it represents an occupying power and must uphold its legal obligations in its treatment of the population, including ensuring and facilitating effective access to medical treatment for patients. However, facts on the ground indicate that the practice is only the opposite.

Al Mezan Center for Human Rights: Rubble and Scrap Collectors – Deliberate Attacks and Lack of Protection
This fact sheet focuses on the Israeli attacks on Palestinian civilians collecting rubble and scraps of destroyed structures near the border between Gaza and Israel.  In June 2007 Israel tightened its siege on the Gaza Strip and in September 2007 it proclaimed Gaza as a hostile entity and imposed a full blockade on the territory. The blockade is collective punishment of Gaza’s population and under its regime Israel has prevented goods items and reduced the volume of other items it allows into the Strip. Along with other essential items, a full ban on the entry of construction materials including iron, cement, and gravel was put in place.

Palestinian refugees in Italy face bleak future
RIACE, Italy: One year after landing in the south of Italy, as part of a program aimed at resettling Palestinian refugees, 32-year-old Samih says so far his main achievement has been obtaining a driving license. The program, the first of its kind in Italy, aims to resettle 186 Palestinian refugees in the two small Calabria towns of Riace and Caulonia but is proving to be a struggle for Italian authorities.

Outrage continues over Israeli rabbis’ racist decree
BAT YAM (IPS) – Emotions are running high in this working class town on the Mediterranean adjacent to Tel Aviv, the Israeli metropolis that has long been the symbol of liberal laissez-faire Israel. Principally, anti-Arab emotions: racism is on the march.

Top rabbi unveils parts of proposed compromise on renting to Arabs
Rabbi Haim Druckman’s proposal is a response to letter signed by dozens of rabbis that renting to Arabs violates Jewish law.

Israel and the Palestinian Minority,Mtanes Shihadeh
Israel does not always reveal the limitations it places on the liberty and scope of political activity of Palestinians in Israel. At times, limitations are concealed in universal wording ostensibly covering the entire population.

A time to protest
No clear response from prominent advocates of the left creates a dangerous vacuum in the face of racist incitement.

Israeli gunboats attack Palestinian fishermen
Israeli navy boats opened heavy machinegun fire at Palestinian fishing boats off the coast of Khan Younis and Rafah, south of the Gaza Strip, on Sunday night.

Right wing MK visit sparks Silwan clashes
JERUSALEM (Ma’an) — With orders for the evacuation of an illegal settler home in Silwan pending, right wing MKs and an accompanying delegation entered the East Jerusalem neighborhood in a show of support.  Officials from the area’s Wad Helwa Information Center said the MKs were from the orthodox Shas party, and were accompanied by a heightened police presence in the sector, which saw streets cut off, checkpoints erected and tensions rise.

Silwan: Toddler hit by police car during clashes
JERUSALEM (Ma’an) – An Israeli police patrol car hit a five-year-old Palestinian girl while on rounds of the Wadi Hilweh neighborhood of Silwan on Sunday, locals said, causing light injuries that sent the child to hospital.  According to Wad Hilweh Information Center, the incident followed fierce clashes between Palestinian teenagers and Israeli forces.

Youth arrested in massive dawn raid on Silwan
Israeli police stormed Silwan in a dawn raid this morning, arresting at least 5 children. At least 3 of those arrested are reported to be boys aged 11, 13 and 14 years. Large forces of police raided the homes of the boys, who were seized and transferred to a Jerusalem police station. A high presence of police currently remains in Silwan.

Six Fishermen Kidnapped Near Israeli Shore
Israeli military sources reported on Monday at night that six Palestinian fishermen were detained by the Navy after their approached an Israeli shore close to the northern part of the Gaza Strip.

Assaulted brothers released by Israeli court
The Israeli Magistrates Court released detained brothers Firas and Annan Shweiki today on a bail of 1000 NIS each. Firas, 25, and Annan, 15, were assaulted and subsequently arrested by Israeli special forces yesterday in the Wadi Hilweh district of Silwan.

IOF soldiers round up ten Palestinian citizens
Israeli occupation forces (IOF) rounded up ten Palestinian citizens in various West Bank areas at dawn Monday at the pretext of being wanted for questioning.

Palestinian prisoners of Assabea to go on hunger strike in protest at violations
Ahrar center for the prisoners’ studies and human rights said that the Palestinian prisoners in Assabea prison on Monday may go on hunger strike in protest at their inhumane incarceration conditions.

Israel’s Arab Helpers
Ramallah militias detain 11 Hamas supporters
Security militias loyal to the Ramallah authority of Mahmoud Abbas rounded up 11 Hamas supporters in the districts of Nablus, Tulkarem, Jenin, and Bethlehem on Monday.

Egypt builds watchtowers along Gaza border
GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — Egyptian authorities began to build new 30-meter tall watch towers along the Gaza border at a distance of 80 meters apart, in what officials said was part of an effort to keep the Sinai secure.

Egypt Uncovers Weapons In Sinai
Egypt announced that its security forces located a large weapons storage facility in the Sinai Desert, and stated that the weapons were meant to be smuggled into the Gaza Strip.

War Crimes
Rallies in Gaza mark war anniversary
GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — At least 1,000 people attended a rally organized by the Islamic Jihad movement, chanting for continued “resistance” against Israel as Jabaliya residents, in an area just north of Gaza City, marked the anniversary of the start of Israel’s last war on Gaza.  Mourners gathered at the entrance of Ezbat Abed Rabu, a neighborhood almost obliterated during the bombing two years earlier, and were dozens of homes remain flattened, with owners unable to rebuild as the economy flat lines and building materials remain unattainable due to the Israeli blockade.

Palestinians still await reconstructing homes as Gaza war marks 2nd anniversary
GAZA, Dec. 27 (Xinhua) — On Dec. 27 of 2008, Israel launched the 22-day deadly “Cast Lead” operation in the Gaza Strip, during which intensive airstrikes and ground operations left severe ruins and destruction, in addition to killing more than 1,400 Palestinians.  Two months after the war ended, the world’s donors pledged 7 billion U.S. dollars to reconstruct the Gaza Strip. But although two whole years have passed, the Gazans are still waiting for the reconstruction of their homes with hopes that become dimmer and dimmer as time goes by.

‘Operation Cast Lead’ – Two years on
DCI-Palestine is releasing the stories of all 352 children killed during the war. These compelling stories bear witness to those events.

Take Action: Two Years after “Cast Lead,” Obama Administration must hold Israel accountable
Two years ago today Israel launched a horrific attack, codenamed “Operation Cast Lead,” against the 1.5 million besieged people of the Palestinian Gaza Strip.  In an all-out, 22-day assault that shocked the conscience of millions around the globe, Israel killed approximately 1,400 Palestinians, most of whom were civilians [1].

Rights group: two years after Gaza war, Israel not held accountable
Gaza City – Two years after its three-week offensive in Gaza, the deadliest in 43 years of occupation, Israel has still not been held accountable for alleged war crimes committed in the campaign, a Palestinian rights group charged Monday.  ‘This offensive, the single most brutal event in the history of the occupation, was characterized by systematic violations of international law,’ said the Gaza-based Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) on the second anniversary of the start of the war.

Gaza families recall horror two years after Israel’s assault
Between 27 December 2008 and 18 January 2009, Israel used its formidable military arsenal to wage all out war against a territory whose destitute population is made up largely of refugees. More than 1,400 people were killed, including almost four hundred children. Two years later, Rami Almeghari speaks with Gazans who witnessed Israel’s invasion.

The Gaza massacre and the struggle for justice
The Gaza massacre, which Israel launched two years ago today, did not end on 18 January 2009, but continues. It was not only a massacre of human bodies, but of the truth and of justice. Only our actions can help bring it to an end. Ali Abunimah comments for The Electronic Intifada.

Two Years after the Massacre: A Letter from Gaza, Various Authors – Gaza, Palestine
We the Palestinians of the besieged Gaza Strip, on this day, two years on from Israel’s genocidal attack on our families, our houses, our roads, our factories and our schools, are saying enough inaction, enough discussion, enough waiting – the time is now to hold Israel to account for its ongoing crimes against us. On the 27th of December 2008, Israel began an indiscriminate bombardment of the Gaza Strip. The assault lasted 22 days, killing 1,417 Palestinians, 352 of them children, according to main-stream Human Rights Organizations. For a staggering 528 hours, Israeli Occupation Forces let loose their US-supplied F15s, F16s, Merkava Tanks, internationally prohibited White Phosphorous, and bombed and invaded the small Palestinian coastal enclave that is home to 1.5 million, of whom 800,000 are children and over 80 percent UN registered refugees. Around 5,300 remain permanently wounded.

Gaza Two Years Later: As bombs fell, I read Darwish by candlelight, Sameeha Elwan
“I want to survive” –I unconsciously replied to my big brother’s question. He did not expect such an answer to his inquiry on what I wanted him to get me from the supermarket before it gets dark, before hell would break again that night as it usually did every night at the same time. He laughed, bitterly. I did not.

Gaza Two Years Later: A little girl, Rawan Yaghi
Editors’ note: The following is the first entry in a series we’re running called Gaza Two Years Later. We have asked Gazan bloggers and writers to reflect on the two-year anniversary of the Israeli attack on Gaza in the winter of 2008/09.You can read the entire series here.

After two years, war looming in Gaza
GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — Two years have passed since Israel’s war on the Gaza Strip, and the people are still bleeding. Its homes have not been reconstructed yet, while young and old continue to hear the thunder of Israeli tanks, and the whizzing of missiles as the detonate in fields and government police stations.  But despite this, despite the continued blockade, and despite the latest threats by Israeli generals to launch another “Operation Cast Lead” against Gaza, we have not fallen to our knees.

Remembering Cast Lead and Israeli PR Equations
Today marks the two-year anniversary of the start of Israel’s Operation Cast Lead in Gaza, a 22-day onslaught in which Palestinian civilians perished at a rate of approximately 400: 1 vis-à-vis their Israeli counterparts. I happened to be in Argentina during this particular conflict and was thus able to monitor how well the Israeli embassy and Jewish organizations in Buenos Aires complied with the orders from acting Israeli Prime Minister Tzipi Livni, who had called for an intensified global public relations campaign in order to counteract the fact that “[u]nfortunately, some of the world’s decision makers are swayed by public opinion and the media”. In response to a march in Buenos Aires in support of the Palestinians being slaughtered in Gaza, a pro-Israel “counter-march” was promptly organized. Defying the traditional definition of “march”, it consisted of a closed-to-the-public meeting at the AMIA Jewish cultural association—site of a deadly bombing in 1994, the alleged Iranian perpetration of which Israel insists on passing off as fact, presumably in order to justify a disproportionate response at some point in the future. Parts of the meeting were televised, such as the speech by Israeli ambassador to Argentina Daniel Gazit in which he claimed that, had the IDF done even one-fourth or one-eighth of what the world had accused it of doing in Gaza, the war would have been won in a day.

Hamas calls for prosecuting traitors for betraying their people
The Hamas Movement called, on the second anniversary of the Israeli war on Gaza, for bringing to court everyone who betrayed the Palestinian people and their national cause.

The U.N. Flotilla Report Goes Down the Media’s Black Hole, Alex Kane
The return of the Turkish Mavi Marmara to Istanbul and efforts to end the Israeli-Turkish diplomatic chill has produced a number of media reports that mention the May 31 Gaza-bound aid flotilla.  But news outlets are continuing to frame the events aboard the flotilla ambivalently, and there is a media blackout of mentioning the one independent report on the Israeli raid that has been released.

Political Developments
Wikileaks: State Department Lied, Denying Dubai Asked for Assistance in Tracking Mossad Assassins
On February 25, 2010, State Department spokesperson Philip Crowley lied when he told a press conference that he wasn’t aware of any request from Dubai for assistance in tracking the Mossad killers of Mahmoud al-Mabouh.  To those who say that Wikileaks hasn’t told us anything we didn’t already know–think again.  Wikileaks has just released a February 24, 2010 cable in which the embassy relays the specific credit card numbers used by 14 of the 27 known Mossad suspects to State with a request for assistance from authorities investigating the killing, and confirms that the UAE foreign minister made the exact same request directly to Secretary Clinton on February 23rd:

Israeli ambassador to Cairo flees to Israel after discovering Mossad spy ring
an Egyptian newspaper said Israel’s ambassador Isaac Levanon left Cairo immediately after the Egyptian authority discovered a Mossad spy ring and pointed out to his involvement in this case.

Jordan Islamists urge Palestinians to quit talks
AMMAN: Jordan’s powerful Islamist opposition urged the Palestinian Authority yesterday to “completely abandon” peace talks with Israel, calling for jihad against the Jewish state. “We demand that the Palestinian Authority completely abandon negotiations, which only provide cover and time for Israel to seize more land and evict more people,” the Islamist Action Front (IAF) said on its website.

Britain risks Israeli anger by extending diplomatic recognition to Palestinians
Britain is expected to risk Israeli protests by upgrading the status of the Palestinians’ diplomatic representation in London in response to the progress made in state-building preparations by its leadership in the West Bank.

Israel silent as more countries recognize independent Palestinian state
JERUSALEM, Dec. 27 (Xinhua) — After the breakdown of direct Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations in September and the inability of the U.S. administration to restart them, the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) has advanced its policy of asking countries around the world for their recognition of an independent Palestinian state.  So far five South American countries, namely Argentine, Brazil, Bolivia, Uruguay and Paraguay, have offered letters announcing their intention to recognize an independent Palestinian state in 2011, regardless of the outcome of the currently frozen negotiations.

Israel mulls stopping wave of Palestinian statehood recognition
JERUSALEM, Dec. 27 (Xinhua) — In the wake of recent announcements by several Latin American countries that declared recognition of a Palestinian state, Israel is attempting to prevent Chile and Mexico from following suit.  Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu conversed with Chilean President Sebastian Pinera last week, asking that he refrain from announcing recognition of Palestinian statehood. Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon had relayed a message to that effect to his Mexican counterpart, Lourdes Aranda, local Hebrew-daily Ma’ariv reported Monday.

Netanyahu: Talks with Palestinians could result in interim peace agreement
In interview with Channel 10, prime minister says an interim agreement might be reached with the Palestinians if solutions can’t be found on issues like Jerusalem and refugees.

Netanyahu ‘interim’ deal blasted by Palestinians
JERUSALEM (AFP) – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Monday that an “interim agreement” with the Palestinians could be a solution if efforts to clinch a comprehensive peace accord fail.  But his suggestion was swiftly rejected by the Palestinians who insisted on an overall agreement that would take into account the fate of Palestinian refugees and the thorny issue of Jerusalem.  “There could be an situation in which talks with the Palestinians hit a brick wall over the issues of Jerusalem and the right of return (of refugees), and in that case the result would be an interim agreement,” Netanyahu said in an interview on Channel 10 private television.

Israel rules out apology to Turkey
Israeli prime minister says he is prepared to express only “regret” to Turkey for loss of life in Gaza flotilla raid.

Israel’s Lieberman tweaks Turkey. Is he flanking Netanyahu?
Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman criticized Turkey in an apparent attempt to outflank Prime Minister Netanyahu on the right and pick up support from hardline nationalists disillusioned with the peace process.

Lieberman’s big mouth shows how ineffective a foreign minister he is, Akiva Eldar
Lieberman’s unbridled attack against Turkey contradicted the government’s official position and looks like an attempt to cover the failure of his foreign policy.

Change and Reform bloc denounces Canada’s decision to place Hamas on terror list
The Change and Reform Bloc denounced Sunday Canada for adding Hamas to the terrorist organizations list, calling the move partiality towards Israel and denial of the people’s democratic choice.

Lieberman: Israeli government cannot agree on peace plan
But clearly, the Palestinians are to blame for negotiations’ failure. Even before the administration’s peace effort collapsed, speakers for Israel were pulling the old “Arab Rejectionism” card to defend Jerusalem’s decision to prefer settlements over talks. Prime Minister Netanyahu wanted a Palestinian state, they explained, but Abu Mazen refused to negotiate.

Other News
Netanyahu’s media adviser quits after tense year and a half
Only 18 months into the job, Nir Hefetz becomes third Netanyahu aide to quit this week, joining a political adviser and personal aide.

Mysterious suicide at Ayalon prison
Unidentified man held in solitary confinement hung himself some two weeks ago; unusually, Prison Service refrained from issuing official statement.,7340,L-4005299,00.html

Israel’s damage to ‘American interests is incalculable’ — Shlaim in ‘The Hill’ of all places, Philip Weiss
Oh my, The Hill is getting religion. Avi Shlaim on the Israel lobby. He doesn’t even live here, but he understands what’s going on. Notice the arguments that realists Chas Freeman and Mearsheimer & Walt and Desch and McConnell have all made before Shlaim. The English left has no difficulty seeing the problem; it is the American left that is incapable of the most vital task before it, making neoconservative a dirty word. And it can’t do this work because there are neocons in the family.

Four cases against Israeli democracy, Jesse Bacon
While I was away on vacation, four cases of the continuing slow death of Israeli democracy occurred. Taken together, they represent a good spectrum of the responses to democracy activists by Israel, all negative.  First, Matan Cohen, Israeli-American activist, member of Young, Jewish, and Proud, and one of the people behind the push for divestment at Hampshire College. He attempted to return home as he often does. He was taken aside on December 17 by Israeli security’s “Jewish division” and accused of “hostile terrorist activities,” ie nonviolent organizing.

Squaring the Circle? Britain and the De-Legitimisation of Israel, Salim Alam – London
After passing through heavy security requiring IDs, questions about organizational and political affiliation and how far they had travelled, about 200 people gathered in a synagogue in Bayswater London to attend a key-note UK Pro-Israel meeting on how to counter the ‘de-legitimisation’ of Israel.  The audience was very largely composed of senior citizens and the late middle-aged. There were few young people.

‘Delegitimization’ is now the lobby’s greatest fear, Philip Weiss
Notice that the American Jewish Committee went to Israel and met with Netanyahu for an hour and the head of the AJC comes out thundering about the delegitimization of Israel. This is what’s hurting them more than anything: the transformation of Israel’s image by what process? By its critics doing their utmost to reveal the truth about the country’s behavior to the world…(thanks to Jeff Blankfort) AJC’s David Harris reflects the desperation.

Are Palestinians not Jerusalem residents, too?
According to any measure – the potential for violence, the mutual hatred, the different needs – if it’s desirable to separate students from the Haredi residents of Mea She’arim, how much more should the activist group Ateret Cohanim be separated from the Palestinian residents of Silwan?

The Antisemitism to Come? Hardly, Susan Abulhawa
Bernard-Henri Levy, the French pop star of philosophy and intellectual elitism, authored an essay that featured my novel, Mornings in Jenin, as one of three distressing developments that led him to ask “is there no end to the demonization of Israel?”

An irrelevant House, Nadia Hijab
Some members of the United States House of Representatives may not know too much about international affairs, but they certainly know what they don’t like: a Palestinian state that is not fully supported and endorsed by Israel in direct negotiations.

Peace on Earth, Even in Palestine,  Mazin Qumsiyeh
It has been some 130 years since the first European Jewish settlement was established with the explicit aim of taking over the country. The few thousand native Palestinian (Arab) Jews did not support Zionism. Christians and Muslims resisted it over the decades mostly by non-violent popular resistance as I detailed in my just released book “Popular Resistance in Palestine: A history of Hope and Empowerment”. This popular resistance included at least 15 waves of uprisings called intifada’s in the past few decades. The results of both the violent colonial settler activity and the resistance to it have been mixed.

Report: New Espionage Devices Dismantled, Suspected Spies Arrested
27/12/2010 The Lebanese army intelligence has reportedly dismantled espionage devices in the area of Tawmat Niha in the Shouf mountains and arrested three suspected spies.  An Nahar daily said Monday that the army dismantled the equipment in cooperation with Hezbollah. However, no official statement was made pending further investigation. Other media reports said the newly discovered devices allow Israel to monitor the Bekaa valley and coastal areas from Sidon all the way to Jbeil.  Earlier in the month, the army said it dismantled two espionage devices that Israel had placed on top of Mount Sannine, northeast of Beirut, and the Barouk Mountain, east of the capital.  On the suspected Mossad agents, An Nahar said one of those arrested last week was from the Sheikh family and had recently arrived to Lebanon from Canada. He reportedly visits Lebanon frequently.

Retired judge: Defense of Tribunal unprecedented
BEIRUT: Retired judge Salim Jreisati said Monday that the recent media appearance of top judges from the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) to defend the court constituted a precedent. Jreisati said in remarks published by al-Intiqad website Monday that the media appearance was in response to the joint conference he held with Hizbullah MP Mohammed Raad.

Monday: 24 Iraqis Killed, 66 Wounded
At least 24 Iraqis were killed and 66 more were wounded in new violence. The worst attack occurred in Anbar province where, as Awakening Council members abandon their security role, attacks have resumed after a relatively peaceful spell. Also, Kitaeb Hezbollah warned of attacks if U.S. troops fail to withdraw at the end of next year.

Wikileaks/U.S. and other world news
WikiLeaks founder baffled by sex assault claims
ONE of the women claiming she was sexually assaulted by Julian Assange took a “trophy photo” of him lying naked in her bed, he says.

Julian Assange: Man of the Decade
This week will end 2010, the capstone year on a decade of profound change and turmoil and bloodshed – of moral and political lows, of war and ever-elusive peace, of rapidly degrading individual freedoms in favor of national and global “security.”

US Kills 24 People In Pakistan
At least 25 people were killed in three U.S. drone strikes launched on Monday in Pakistan’s northwest tribal area of North Waziristan, reported local media.

Gibbs: Indefinite Terrorist Detentions Regrettable, Politico
White House press secretary Robert Gibbs says it’s unfortunate that some terrorist suspects at Guantanamo Bay need to be held indefinitely without trial.

Counter-terror ‘expert’ tells cops: Kill militant Muslims, ‘including children’
A counter-terrorism consultant told a meeting of law enforcement officials that the way to combat militant Muslims is to “kill them … including the children,” says a news report.  Walid Shoebat, a self-described “former PLO terrorist” who “now speaks out for USA and Israel,” reportedly made the comment at a speech during a conference of the International Counter-Terrorism Officers Association in Las Vegas this past October, according to the Huffington Post’s Chip Berlet.

Rare earth metals mine is key to US control over hi-tech future
It’s a deep pit in the Mojave desert. But it could hold the key to America challenging China’s technological domination of the 21st century.

Egypt to hold presidential election in September 2011
Gamal Mubarak, son of current Egypt President Hosni Mubarak, says the ruling party will meet by July to choose its candidate.

ElBaradei: Mubarak enjoys imperial powers
In Washington Post op-ed, former IAEA chief accuses Egyptian government of holding fraudulent and farcical election, repressing democracy.,7340,L-4005062,00.html

Kuwait extends activist’s detention
Prominent law professor is charged with “undermining status” of country’s emir.

‘Brighten Your Christmas’ Drugs Seized in Dubai
DUBAI (AFP) – Dubai customs said on Sunday it has seized marijuana and cocaine smuggled in Christmas cards bearing the message, “This brings a special wish your way to brighten up your Christmas day.”

Iran hangs ‘Mossad spy’
Ali Akbar Siadat found guilty of links with Mossad for six years, passing info on Revolutionary Guard missiles. Second man also sentenced.,7340,L-4005443,00.html

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