Land Theft / Destruction / Apartheid / Refugees
ICAHD News: Displacement Report Released, Summer Rebuilding Camp Announced
House demolitions and forced evictions are among Israel’s most heinous practices in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT). In 2011, a record year of displacement, a total of 622 Palestinian structures were demolished by Israeli authorities, of which 36% (or 222) were family homes; the remainder were livelihood-related (including water storage and agricultural structures), resulting in 1,094 people displaced, almost double the number for 2010. The Jordan Valley sustained the largest number of demolitions (32% of total structures demolished, 40% of residential structures demolished, 37% of people displaced), with 199 structures demolished and 401 people displaced.
Seventy-Six Acres of Lands Confiscated in Bethlehem
On Thursday, Palestinian families were shocked by the decision to confiscate seventy-six acres of land to the benefit of the Jerusalem Municipality. The land lays behind the Annexation Wall in al-Khass village, in the eastern part of the West Bank city of Bethlehem, the Palestinian news agency, Ma’an reported.
Security Council to Discuss Jerusalem, Settlements, says Official
RAMALLAH, January 19, 2012 (WAFA) – The United Nations Security Council will hold a public session on January 24 to discuss Israeli settlements and policy in occupied East Jerusalem, Palestine’s Permanent Observer to the United Nations Riyad Mansour said Thursday. He told Voice of Palestine radio that the Security Council’s meeting was arranged to discuss a report by UN Under Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs Valerie Amos on the Israeli settlements, the situation in the old city of Jerusalem and the bypass roads Israel is building for settlers in the West Bank. Mansour noted that the Arab and European interventions revolved around settlement activities and their detrimental impact on the political process. He pointed out that the European Union recommended in its last report to take punitive measures against the settlers, a decision which will be adopted in Brussels next month.
Senior IDF officer: Migron outpost demolition would harm stability
Outpost is due to be evacuated by end of March according to High Court ruling, but officer says evacuation might ‘blur the distinction’ between inhabitants and more extremist settlers.
Three Arab Students Exiled from Jerusalem for Seven Days
The Arabs48 news website reported on Wednesday that three Arab students, studying at the Engineering Academy in occupied Jerusalem, have received police warrants exiling them from the city for seven days after they called for a boycott of a speech by Israeli President, Shimon Peres.
Dutch lawmaker incites Israel to build more colonies, violate international law, Ali Abunimah
A Dutch lawmaker is calling on Israel to continue building Jewish-only colonies in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, including eastern Jerusalem, in violation of international law.
Israeli Tanks Open Fire on Northern Gaza
On Thursday, the Israeli army fired several shells at farmlands in Beit Hanoun, in the northern part of the Gaza strip, the Palestinian news agency, Ma’an, reported.
Israeli undercover agents wound 3 Palestinians in Aiswayia
Israeli undercover agents stormed Aisawiya village in occupied Jerusalem and fired at civilians, wounding three young men, and detained two children.
Operation Dove: Israeli army fails to protect Palestinian children
According to a new report released by Operation Dove, Israeli authorities have been increasingly intransigent in their obligation to protect Palestinian children from settler violence in the South Hebron Hills this school year. The mandatory Israeli military escort that is supposed to ensure that Palestinian children arrive to school safely failed to walk with the children 95% of the time since the school year began in September. Soldiers and police also behaved aggressively towards Palestinians, forcing a pregnant women to spend 30 minutes at a flying checkpoint, for example, and aided settler harassment of Palestinians.
Sultan says Zionists burnt his house in Ohio state
Head of Jerusalem committee at the international union of Muslim scholars Salah Sultan accused the Zionists of burning his house in the US, noting that the police have failed to identify the culprits.
Israeli undercover agents detain 2 children in Aiswayia
Israeli undercover agents stormed Aisawiya village in occupied Jerusalem and fired at civilians, wounding three young men, and detained two children.
IOF soldiers detain seven Palestinians
Israeli occupation forces (IOF) rounded up seven Palestinian citizens in the West Bank at dawn Thursday and stormed homes in Al-Khalil.
Israeli forces detain 3 men near Gaza airport
GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — Israeli forces detained three Palestinians on Thursday by the disused Gaza airport near Rafah, the Israeli army and locals said. Witnesses told Ma’an that special Israeli forces detained Akram and Ismail al-Soufi near the Yasser Arafat International Airport in southern Gaza. An Israeli army spokesman said that early Thursday three men attempted to cross into Israel and were arrested by soldiers. A fragmentation grenade was found amongst their belongings, he said. All suspects were detained for questioning.
10 years in prison: Free Ahmad Sa’adat now
Fight Back News Service is circulating the following statement from the Campaign to Free Ahmad Sa’adat. Ahmad Sa’adat, the General Secretary of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, is a political prisoner who is being held in an Israeli jail.
Waging liberation in and outside Israel’s prison walls, Ameer Makhoul
The official Palestinian position on the release of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails serves to undermine their cause, which is a central component of the Palestinian people’s liberation struggle, comments Ameer Makhoul from Gilboa prison.
Gaza / West Bank: Investigate Attacks on Rights Defenders
(Jerusalem) – Hamas and the Palestinian Authority (PA) should investigate recent brutal attacks against human rights defenders in Gaza and the West Bank and hold those responsible to account, Human Rights Watch said today.
Israel Readies for Possible Offensive Against Gaza
Israeli daily, The Jerusalem Post, reported that the General Staff of the Israeli Army had instructed the Southern-Command to take all measures to be ready for the possibility of a large-scale offensive against the Gaza Strip, which could take place in the coming months.
UN: Gaza blockade – collective punishment
UN releases annual report on humanitarian conditions in Palestinian territories, asserting that food, sanitation and economic straits are dire due to ‘Israeli occupation’
Power authority: The occupation and the PA behind Gaza power crisis
The authority of power and natural resources said the power crisis in Gaza is not only caused by the Israeli occupation, but also by the de facto government in Ramallah.
Egypt Red Crescent sends aid to Gaza
RAMALLAH (Ma’an) — Egypt’s Red Crescent on Wednesday announced it would donate food and medicine to refugees in Gaza. Rice, flour, sunflower oil and medicine will be channeled through the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, the Red Crescent said in a statement.
Palestinian artist ‘creates’ Gaza metro
Palestinian artist Mohamed Abusal erects red metro signs across the besieged Gaza strip, creating an imaginary metro line that goes all way through the Rafah border.
War on Gaza
18 January 2009: The Abu Rujailah family
[The following is narrative twenty-two, within a series of twenty-three narratives, to mark the third anniversary of “Operation Cast Lead.” A new post will be released each day, marking the incident that happened on the same date three years ago. The narratives are developed by the Palestinian Center for Human Rights.]
BDS / Solidarity / Activism
The badly kept secret of Israel’s trade throughout the Muslim world
There’s a good chance that Iran’s computer systems, the electricity in Indonesian PM’s office and the body armor protecting Saudi soldiers came from Israel.
‘Corporate Watch’ publishes guide on targeting Israeli apartheid, Allison Deger
Corporate Watch has published a BDS handbook for activists, Targeting Israeli Apartheid, breaking down successful BDS campaigns and profiling occupation profiteers. The 368-page guide focuses, in three sections, on the Israeli economy, case studies of specific companies profiting off of the occupation, and British corporate complicity in Israeli militarism. Each section includes a “What’s next,” sub-heading, which provides boycotters with practical directional advice.
Lara Fabian cancels Lebanon tour after BDS campaign
Belgian singer Lara Fabian announced via Facebook on Thursday that she has cancelled her February concert in Lebanon after pro-Palestinian activists campaigned against her visit. Fabian wrote in a “Love Letter” to her “Lebanese friends” that she “won’t sing under threats” nor “deal with hatred.” The self-confessed pro-Zionist Belgian artist said she “believe(s) in tolerance, generosity and truth” and said Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel (BDS) activists were “living with hatred because they weren’t loved enough.”
Racism / Discrimination
Immigration Ministry withheld information about murders in Israel’s Ethiopian community
Ministry commissions study in effort to understand the circumstances leading to murders in the Ethiopian immigrant community so that steps could be taken to prevent them.
Latest Hasbara Meme: BLACKWASHING, Richard Silverstein
You’ve heard of pinkwashing, greenwashing–now “blackwashing” joins the cast of pro-Israel hasbara communities exploited in order to combat the major criticisms of Israeli policy toward the Palestinians. Pinkwashing is the effort to promote Israel to the gay community in order to point out the homophobia of Arab culture and nations. Greenwashing is the attempt by environmental groups like Jewish National Fund to point to Israel’s alleged sensitivity to environmental issues (excluding of course its heinous treatment of Negev Bedouins whose communities are being bulldozed by the Israeli government in collaboration with JNF). Now blackwashing is the rage.
‘Fatah, Hamas meet for unity talks’
The Palestinian factions of Hamas and Fatah have reportedly met in the Egyptian capital of Cairo to remove obstacles in the way of the process of their reconciliation.
AP – President Barack Obama pledged Tuesday to cooperate closely with Jordan, a key ally in the Middle East, in order to push Israel and the Palestinians to negotiate a peace accord in a “serious fashion,” even as a fresh attempt at talks shows little signs of progress.
Israel army: PA stops Israelis entering Nablus
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — Palestinian Authority security forces stopped four Israeli citizens entering Nablus in the occupied West Bank early Wednesday, an Israeli military official said. The four, identified as civilians, were transferred to Israeli police, an army spokeswoman told Ma’an. It was in coordination with Israel’s Civil Administration, she added.
Fayyad calls for national debate on PA financial crisis
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad on Wednesday called for a national debate on the financial situation facing the West Bank-based government. “We want to help everyone. We do not want theories, we want practical solutions, our people need social and economic security and we are working hard to get rid of the occupation and everyone should help us to obtain our goal,” Fayyad told Ma’an TV. Fayyad stressed that the financial polices adopted by the Palestinian Authority were based on a “pragmatic approach” to meeting the needs of the people while balancing existing economic policies with new ones.
Tibi: Martyrdom most noble value
During speech in Ramallah, Arab-Israeli MK says shahids ‘symbol of Palestinian homeland’; claims he was not referring to suicide bombers.
‘MK Zoabi met with Hamas officials’
IDF rain on Hamas offices in Tulkarem yield photos of Balad MK with top Hamas officials. ‘We don’t consider Hamas to be a terror organization,’ she tells Ynet.
Abbas Thanks Thailand for Recognizing Palestine
RAMALLAH, January 19, 2012 (WAFA) – President Mahmoud Abbas Thursday thanked Thailand for recognizing Palestinian, making the Southeast Asian country the first country to recognize Palestine this year. The Permanent Mission of Thailand to the United Nations in New York announced in an official letter on Tuesday that its government “has officially recognized the state of Palestine and has initiated the process to establish and formalize diplomatic relations with the state of Palestine at the earliest opportunity.”
Israeli “hacker” threatens to “harm” people “regardless of religion, creed or gender”, Ali Abunimah
Israel’s Ynet website has published an article supposedly by an Israeli hacker named “Yoni” (last name not given) which threatens a “war” in response to a Saudi hacker who disrupted several Israeli websites in recent weeks in what is has been described “as a tit-for-tat exchange of posturing, threats of mass credit card exposures, and denial-of-service attacks.”
Palestine women’s ministry staff go on hunger strike
Ramallah: Women employees at the Palestinian Women’s Affairs Ministry are on a “hunger strike till death” to protest against corruption and harassment. The hunger strike was announced on Tuesday by the women who gathered near the graveyard of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat in Ramallah. “The situation is grave as the women have received threats to be shot in their legs. Ministry authorities have vowed not to let the employees in the offices,” a statement by the striking women said. The statement said Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad had pledged to solve the problem but so far has not taken any steps.
Other Mideast News
IRAQ: Upsurge in violence prompts people to contemplate leaving
BAGHDAD 19 January 2012 (IRIN) – Suicide attacks, assassinations and bombings in Iraq have claimed the lives of at least 265 people and injured hundreds of others since 18 December, the date the USA withdrew all but 200 of its troops from the country, according to the health and interior ministries.
Iraqi gunmen kill village chief and his sons
Gunmen killed a village chief and his three sons when they burst into his home just south of Baghdad on Wednesday before fleeing, Iraqi security and medical officials said. Just after midnight, the armed men entered the home of Mohammed Dwaiyeh, the chief of Albu Osaj village, and gunned him and three of his sons down and wounded another, an interior ministry official said.
Sunni-backed leader: Crisis tearing Iraq apart (AP)
AP – Iraq needs new leaders to prevent the country from disintegrating, the leader of the main Sunni-backed bloc said Wednesday, reflecting the severity of a sectarian political battle in the Shiite-led government, accompanied by violence, just a month after the exit of U.S. forces.
Bahrain: Activists defy ban on downtown protest (AP)
AP – Witnesses say Bahraini riot police have chased anti-government protesters out of the center of the island kingdom’s capital.
Bahraini authorities attack protesters in capital: opposition
Bahraini security forces attacked hundreds of protesters in the capital Manama on Wednesday, despite opposition claims that they had followed due process to organize the rally. The rally was organized under the slogan “No to Tyranny, Yes to Democracy,” and comes after weeks of protests against the autocratic rulers of the Gulf state. Videos and pictures on the internet showed security forces attacking the protesters who gathered in Manama with tear gas, stun grenades and rubber bullets, none of which can be independently verified.
The Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI) – also known as the Bassiouni Commission in reference to its chair, Cherif Bassiouni, has been heavily criticized and questions have been raised about its independence given that it was established by Bahraini authorities. Bassiouni is thought to have violated rules of professional conduct by issuing “political edicts” in the media after his report was released. Such comments violated the investigative mission he was assigned to carry out and undermined his professionalism and objectivity.
Saudis hold anti-regime demo in Qatif
Saudi protesters have taken to the streets in the Qatif region of the Eastern Province, waging yet another protest rally against the ruling Al Saud family, Press TV reports.
Russia will block sanctions, intervention in Syria
Russia will veto any UN Security Council moves to impose sanctions on Syria, or endorse foreign military intervention in the strife-ridden country, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Wednesday. “For us, the red line is fairly clearly drawn. We will not support any sanctions,” Lavrov told reporters, complaining that Western powers had already introduced measures against Damascus without consulting Russia or China. Lavrov indicated that Russia would use its UN Security Council veto to block any proposals for military intervention in Syria, following a suggestion by Qatari Emir Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani to send in Arab troops. “We will hardly be able to prevent (force) if someone really wants to do something like that. But let that be on their own initiative and rest on their conscience.” “They will not receive any mandate from the UN Security Council,” he said.
Fighting lull in Syrian town of Zabadani
Fighting subsided in a rebel-held Syrian town on Wednesday after a fragile ceasefire took hold between Syrian army forces and rebels, opposition sources and residents said. But many wonder how long the truce will hold. “Everyone is waiting to see if the tanks will pull out, but there is intermittent tank fire on the edges of the town and on nearby farmland,” Abu Assad al-Khair, a retired public servant, told Reuters by phone from Zabadani, a town of 40,000 near the Lebanese border. “It seems it is covering fire to enable them to pull out several armored vehicles and tanks that the rebels had hit or destroyed,” he added. There was no immediate comment from the Syrian authorities and state media have not mentioned the alleged Zabadani ceasefire or the five days of fighting that preceded it. Tight Syrian media restrictions make it difficult to verify events on the ground.
Syria releases prominent opposition activists
Syrian authorities have released a number of prominent opposition activists in the last 48 hours, including rights activist Najati Tayyara and movie producer Nidal Hassan, opposition and government news agencies confirmed. Mazen Darwich of the Syrian Center for Media and Freedom of Expression spoke to Tayyara’s family on Tuesday, who confirmed the release of the prominent writer. “He (Tayyara) was released along with a few others, including Dr Ali Melhem,” Darwich said.
Egypt: Dismantle Tools of Repression
(New York) – Egypt’s newly elected parliament should urgently reform the arsenal of laws used by the Mubarak government to restrict freedoms, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today outlining priority areas for legislative and institutional reform. These laws were used to curb free expression and criticism of government, limit association and assembly, detain people indefinitely without charge, and shield an abusive police force from accountability.
Former Egyptian president’s defence team says army was in charge of security bore responsibility for protesters’ deaths.
Turkish report: Israel aiding Kurdish rebels
Intelligence officials claim Israeli drones collected data that helped Kurdish rebels set up training bases in Syria-Turkey border, Today’s Zaman reports.
Panetta: U.S. prepared for Hormuz Strait action
The United States is “fully prepared” for any confrontation with Iran over the strategic Strait of Hormuz, but hopes a dispute would be resolved peacefully, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said Wednesday. “We obviously always continue to make preparations to be prepared for any contingency, but we are not making any special steps… because we’re fully prepared to deal with that situation now,” Panetta told reporters. Tehran threatened to close the strait — a chokepoint for one-fifth of the world’s traded oil — late last month, in the event of a military strike or severe tightening of international sanctions over its disputed nuclear program. Washington is beefing up its naval presence in waters just outside the Gulf in response to the threats. “We have always maintained a very strong presence in that region. We have a Navy fleet located there,” Panetta said.
Iran plays down Hormuz threat, seeks talks
Iran played down its threat of closing the Strait of Hormuz, but warned neighboring states against getting in a “dangerous position,” Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi said on Thursday. Speaking in Ankara, Salehi said Iran had never tried to block the strait, referring to previous threats from Tehran that it would close the vital oil transit route if sanctions on its oil exports intensify.
‘EU agrees in principle on Iran oil ban’
The European Union has reportedly agreed in principle to freeze the assets of the Central Bank of Iran in line with new sanctions the 27-nation bloc plans to impose on the country’s crude exports.
Could Israel live with a nuclear Iran? A gaming exercise suggests yes.
Israeli intelligence experts role-played Iran in a simulation exploring the ‘day after’ scenario if Iran were to launch a nuclear explosive test. The results suggest war would not break out immediately.
The myth of an isolated Iran
D.C.’s aggressive sanctions are really about protecting the dollar and undermining China.
Time to quieten the war drums with Iran, Rami G. Khouri
The number of events and tensions revolving around Iran and its multifaceted relations with its immediate neighbors and its antagonists further afield in the U.S., Israel and some Western countries is becoming numerous and complex. Indeed, two things are becoming quite clear. First, the chances are much greater that we might witness an unintended misstep that triggers an armed confrontation, a regional Armageddon-type conflict, and a global energy and economic catastrophe. And second, those same reasons suggest that the many elements in the political arena could easily provide entry into some kind of negotiated agreement that calms things down for many years to come.
How Iran Could Whip the United States and Israel Without Firing a Single Shot, Mark R. Crovelli
The conflict between the United States, Israel and Iran has absolutely nothing to do with nuclear power or nuclear weapons. Instead, the pointless conflict is all about cold, hard political power in the Middle East, with the Israelis hoping to secure a vice-like grip on the region.
TIME FOR THE (INTELLECTUALLY INDEFENSIBLE) CASE TO ATTACK IRAN?
Our colleague Eric Brill has produced a detailed analysis of John Yoo’s recent article, “An Unavoidable Challenge—Now is the Time to Make the Case for Military Action Against Iran,” which we are pleased to publish below.
Analysis / Op-ed
Arab-American high school student video targets US backing for killings of Palestinian children, Ira Glunts
The more optimistic commenters and contributors to this site have said often that the young people of this country will take the lead in exposing the pernicious relationship between the U.S. and Israeli governments. I am a doubter, but seeing the work of Amirah Nasir and Jesse Lieberfeld is making me think that as the late great New York Met manager Casey Stengel used to say about the Amazin’ Mets, “we will build the team with the youth of America.”
US Congress stomps on Palestinian ‘Sesame Street’ but funds Israeli version, Philip Weiss
The U.S. lawmaker who ordered the hold on funding, Ros-Lehtinen, says that the U.S. should not support Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who asked the United Nations to recognize an independent state of Palestine. She said Abbas should be negotiating the matter with Israel instead. “By providing the Palestinians with $2.5 billion over the last 5 years, the U.S. has only rewarded and reinforced their bad behavior,” she said. The U.S. did give $200 million in direct aid to the Palestinian Authority last year; it’s the funding for non-government organizations that’s on hold. Last month, Congress released $40 million of those funds. But with health care, infrastructure and other programs waiting for money, it’s doubtful that the Palestinian Sesame Street will get a piece of the pie. While Congress has turned off the tap for Palestinian Sesame Street, the U.S. is helping to support a new season of Israeli Sesame Street. The State Department awarded $750,000 to an Israeli nonprofit to team up with the Israeli show and develop classroom activities.
Room for Jews Only in Israel’s ‘Villa in the Jungle’, Jonathan Cook – Nazareth
The wheel is turning full circle. Last week the Israeli parliament updated a 59-year-old law originally intended to prevent hundreds of thousands of Palestinian refugees from returning to the homes and lands from which they had been expelled as Israel was established. The purpose of the draconian 1954 Prevention of Infiltration Law was to lock up any Palestinian who managed to slip past the snipers guarding the new state’s borders. Israel believed only savage punishment and deterrence could ensure it maintained the overwhelming Jewish majority it had recently created through a campaign of ethnic cleansing.
Unlawful, Unresolved: Israeli Settlers in Foreign Land, Graham Peebles
Violence, abuse, non-accountability, hate, such is communal living today within the occupied West Bank, where some 518,974 colonisers sit within 200 illegal settlements. According to Noam Chomsky, ”The settlements cover over 42% of the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT), not counting the Jordon valley, which they are taking over.” Estimates of colonisation vary from the 42% reported by Chomsky and B’Tselem to that of Human Rights Watch who at 60% set the figure even higher. Around half a million ‘settlers’ - more accurately, colonisers – now squat upon Palestinian soil, huddled within walled encampments upon stolen land, branded blue and white. Noisily perching upon hilltops, rooms with a view, or flourishing in verdant valleys, these settlements creep shamefully throughout the West Bank and the sacred city of Jerusalem.
CPDS: Gaza Youth Discuss Zionist Role in US Elections, Yousef M. Aljamal, Gaza
For the second week in row, the Center for Political Development Studies [CPDS] holds a video link on the role of Zionist lobby in US election. Ali Abunimah, the founder of The Electronic Intifada joined Gaza activists via Skype and emphasized the reasons of this “unshakable” relation between Israel and the US, which is known to Palestinians more than any other nation in the world.
Which is Worse Israeli Enemy? Hezbollah, Hamas or Haaretz? Haaretz, Says Bibi, Richard Silverstein
Of all the enemies facing the State of Israel, or more specifically Bibi Netanyahu (but why distinguish between the two–aren’t they identical?), who do you think he would single out as the most dangerous: Hamas, Hezbollah, Iran, Turkey? None of the above. His worst enemies are two newspapers. Two “extreme leftist” newspapers to be sure, but newspapers nonetheless. Apparently, words are more powerful than Qassams and Shihabs.
Secret National Security Council Panel ‘Nominates’ U.S. Citizens, Foreign Militants for Murder, Richard Silverstein
Last October, Reuters published news about a secret U.S. government panel which “nominated” militants for murder or capture, including U.S. citizens like Anwar al-Awlaki. The story peered into the opaque process by which a government bureaucracy decides to take a human life. And it was disturbing…