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New Knesset bill, ‘Regulation of the Bedouin settlement in the Negev’ seeks to turn Bedouin dispossession into law

ActivismIsrael/PalestineMiddle EastUS Politics
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Bill will turn Bedouin dispossession into Israeli law
A new bill seeks to turn the controversial Prawer Plan into Israeli law. If the Knesset passes the legislation, it will pave the way for Israel to step up its efforts to disposess the Negev’s Bedouin and relocate them to impoverished townships. This bill has gone totally ignored by both local and international media.

Palestinians escort lost soldier out of village
Combatant loses sight of fellow soldiers during routine operational activity near Ramallah, later returns unharmed. IDF launched inquiry.,7340,L-4184193,00.html

Land Theft / Land Theft & Destruction /  Restriction of Movement / Apartheid / Refugees

Jerusalem Municipality Forces Arab Resident to Demolish Own Shop
JERUSALEM, February 2, 2012 (WAFA) – The Israeli municipality of West Jerusalem forced a Palestinian shop owner in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan to demolish his own shop or face major financial and punitive consequences, Wadi Hilweh Information Center said Thursday. It said Akram Abbasi demolished his shop on Wednesday after he received a threat from the municipality that if he does not demolish it himself and remove the rubble, the municipality will do it for him and force him to pay costs. The municipality said Abbasi did not have a permit to build the shop. Palestinians say they build without permits because the municipality does not give permits to Arab residents.

IOF soldiers blast part of Palestinian home, summon its owner
Israeli occupation forces (IOF) blasted part of the home of a Palestinian citizen in Yatta town, south of Al-Khalil, and broke many of its furniture at dawn Thursday.

Israel to Open New Police Station in Occupied East Jerusalem
The Jerusalem Post, an Israeli daily, reported via their website on Tuesday that the State of Israel intends to open a new police station at the Mount of Olives, in occupied East Jerusalem.

IOA confiscates 431 dunums of cultivated land in Nahalin village
The Israeli occupation authority (IOA) has confiscated 431 dunums of cultivated land in Nahalin village to the west of Bethlehem.

New demolition notices delivered by the Jerusalem Municipality
On the morning of Wednesday, 1 February, the Jerusalem Municipality, supported by Israeli forces, raided the neighborhoods of Ein Al Louzeh and Karm al Shiekh in Silwan and delivered new demolition notices. This raid led to confrontations with local residents due to the provocative behavior of the Israeli forces that attacked Hamoodeh abd al Razak and his brother, spraying them with tear gas.

OCHA: 1, 100 Palestinians, mostly children, displaced by Israel in 2011
The UN office for the coordination of humanitarian affairs (OCHA) said about 1, 100 Palestinians, over half of them children, were forcibly displaced after Israel demolished their homes in 2011.

Public Security Minister and the Jerusalem police chief tour Silwan under extreme security precautions
The Israeli Authority closed all of the entrances to Silwan and set up checkpoints while the Public Security Minister, Yitzhak Ahronovitch, and the chief of police in Jerusalem, Niso Shahaq, toured Silwan. They were received by David Bairy, the chairman of the settlement association ELAD, who apparently proposed the establishment of new police stations, most likely one in the settlement compound “Givatee Parking.”Silwan residents view the tour as a preliminary step before more formal discussions begin on 13 February. The police and ELAD enjoy a strong, well established relationship. Recently, the police allowed ELAD to turn an old police building into a residential settlement. In exchange, ELAD agreed to build a new police compound near the Ma’ale Adumim settlement that is also built on land confiscated from residents of East Jerusalem . At the end of the 90- minute tour, the convoy continued to the Mount of Olives, the rumored site of another proposed police compound.

Israel has closed 120 Palestinian institutions in Jerusalem since 1967
A Palestinian human rights organisation has revealed that the Israeli occupation authorities have closed more than 120 Palestinian institutions in Jerusalem since it completed its occupation of the city in 1967. Around 88 were closed down completely, while the others had to transfer their operations from occupied Jerusalem to the occupied West Bank. In a press statement, the Almakdasi Foundation said that the Israeli authorities have now closed-down the Islamic Club and Salwan Charity Foundation for a period of 30 days under the pretext of them receiving funding from Hamas and conducting activities on its behalf. This is despite the fact that both foundations have appropriate licences and Salwan presented evidence to prove its independence.

Top Likud minister: Peace will not come by uprooting Jews from their homes
Speaking at West Bank settlement, Education Minister Gideon Sa’ar says withdrawal from Gaza Strip ‘did not improve or elevate Israel’s status, nor did it help achieve peace and security.’

Yair Lapid: Jerusalem belongs only to the people of Israel
Budding politician, shy to expose his views in the media, has been more forthcoming in correspondences on his official Facebook page.

Sabra’s Longing to Return
In Sabra, misery is never ending and suffering is eternal. Death has its own meaning. Pain has a number of synonyms. The home of resistance and immortality, unyielding, and defiant, Sabra, to me, is simply Palestine. I walked its dark and hallow streets. Immediately, I realized that I am amongst great martyrs and eternal freedom fighters. Blood, struggle, and the scars of war tell the tale of the place. Sabra’s daily life is a poem addressed to the sons and daughters of the forgotten Palestine. They greet you with a smile, and in their eyes you sense genuine warmth. They share with you to whatever they have. Even if it’s only scraps. Sighs have crept into the dreams of the Sabra children. They see nothing but the fight to return. The games the play are those of faraway Palestine. The trail of return is through the nozzle of a rifle.I went in with fear and respect. I went out longing to return.

Medics: Israeli tanks open fire on northern Gaza
GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — Israeli tanks opened fired on the northern Gaza Strip on Thursday, medics said. No injuries were reported as tanks opened fire at a crowd of people in Beit Hanoun, medical sources told Ma’an. Six projectiles were fired at southern Israel from the Gaza Strip on Wednesday with no reported injuries. The projectiles landed in the Shaar Hanegev regional council at around 9 p.m., Israeli news site Ynet reported.

Israeli warplanes blast targets in northern Gaza
Israeli warplanes blasted targets in Beit Hanun, north of the Gaza Strip, at dawn Thursday with no casualties reported, local sources said.

Palestinian man injured after being shot by Israeli police
TEL AVIV, Israel (Ma’an) — A Palestinian man was injured on Thursday night after being shot by a policeman in the central Israeli city of Rehovot. Police said they noticed a man acting suspiciously in the streets and opened fire on the suspect when he tried to run away from them, Haaretz’s Hebrew language site reported. The man sustained injuries to his foot and was taken to hospital.

Political Detainees
Document – Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories: Palestinian hunger striker’s life at risk: Khader Adnan
Khader Adnan has been on hunger strike since 18 December 2011 in protest against his a dministrative detention , a procedure which the Israeli authorities use to detain individual s indefinitely without charge or trial . Israeli soldiers arrested Khader Adnan from his house in Arrabe village in the occupied West Bank on 17 December 2011 and transferred him to Kishon detention centre in Israel for interrogation. He reported being beaten and ill-treated during his arrest and interrogation. According to his lawyers, Khader Adnan announced a hunger strike after the first day of interrogation in protest against his ill-treatment and the conditions of his detention. He was moved to Ramleh prison hospital on 30 December 2011 after his health deteriorated as a result of his hunger strike. He has lost a significant amount of weight, as he is only accepting water. The organization Physicians for Human Rights has warned that his life is at risk.
Physicians for Human Rights – Israel reported on 29 January that Khader ‘Adnan, has been on hunger strike since 18 December 2011. Thirty-four year old ‘Adnan, from the village of ‘Araba near Jenin, was detained on 17 December 2011 and placed in administrative detention. ‘Adnan is on the hunger strike in protest against his administrative detention and the manner in which he was arrested and interrogated. According to PHR, “his condition is life-threatening.”

Khader Adnan Mohammad Musa: Israeli Prisoner of Conscience
In 1948, brute force established Israel. In 1967, militarized occupation of one-fifth of former Palestine followed. An entire people suffer. Collective punishment is official policy. So are torture, violence, land theft, apartheid, injustice, and other forms of state-sponsored terror. They include imprisoning Palestinians for wanting to live free on their own land in their own country. As a result, since June 1967, over 750,000 Palestinians have been imprisoned.

IOA renews administrative custody of MP, extends detention of journalist
The Israeli occupation authority (IOA) renewed the administrative detention, without charge, of Hamas MP Mohammed Jamal Al-Natshe for six months for the second time running.

 Sa’eed Sarhan was freed from Al Ramlah prison at noon on 31 January after the Central Court ruled that the police evidence presented against him was insufficient. Silwan residents expressed joy at his released and a large crowd gathered to welcome him home. Sa’eed Sarhan spent 9 months in prison. The prosecution tried to convince the court to expel Sa’eed from Silwan, but the judge ruled to release him.Sa’eed said to Silwanic site, “Today I’m out of the Israeli prisons not because of the justice of the Israeli courts because true justice would have given me no single hour in prison. This exposes the Israeli practices in the town of Silwan, and the judge who determined my innocence is also an Israeli who acted nine months too late. There are many people who were put in the prison oppressively.”Muhammad Mahmoud, Sa’eed’s lawyer said, “The Israeli prosecution made extraordinary efforts to falsify the charges against him which made me think that he would spend many years in prison, but thank God that he is now with his family.


Gaza Human Rights Watchdogs not Meeting Ban Ki-moon
Gaza, (–Human rights activists and associations excused for not accepting an invitation to meet the U.N. undersecretary Ban K-moon coming Thursday. Many of the activists invited favored not to attend Ki-moon and participate in the meeting for the way the U.N. selected them. Chairman of Al-Mizan human rights association Isam Yusuf said he is sorry for not accepting moon’s invitation since it does not extend to several officials bodies concerned such as the representatives of agriculture and health sectors and the spokespersons for the Palestinian captives in the Israeli jails or the Palestinian refugees.

Palestinians throw shoes at UN chief’s convoy
Gazans express their anger at Ban Ki-moon’s refusal to meet with the families of prisoners held in Israeli jails.

20 cars, 270 truckloads of goods to enter Gaza
GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — Israeli authorities on Thursday opened the Kerem Shalom crossing to allow 20 cars and 270 truckloads of commercial and agricultural goods into the Gaza Strip. One truck of flowers was allowed to be exported from the coastal enclave, Palestinian border crossing official Raed Fattouh told Ma’an. The southernmost border crossing is the only operating entry point for commercial goods and humanitarian aid into the coastal enclave, which is home to more than 1.65 million Palestinians.

Gazans protest slow pace of reconciliation talks
GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — Dozens of people in the Gaza Strip took to the streets on Wednesday night to protest the slow progress of reconciliation talks. Protesters banged empty cooking pots in a protest aimed at pressuring officials to speed up the process of national unity. Spokesman for the campaign Shamekh Badra said the protest was a success due to the wide participation of diverse sectors of society. The campaign, entitled “Loyalty to martyrs by ending the split,” called on both Fatah and Hamas officials to speed up reconciliation in order to end the suffering of the Palestinian people.

Palestinian children’s drawings find sanctuary at Swat
After being blocked by Jewish lobbyists in Oakland, California, an exhibit of drawings by Palestinian children in the Gaza Strip will be coming to Swarthmore on April 6. The project’s originator and organizer, Susan Johnson, met with the Students for Peace and Justice in Palestine (SPJP) on Monday night to discuss the specifics of their collaboration effort.  The drawings were collected by Johnson herself, who, in 2009, visited the Gaza Strip, a Palestinian territory that borders Egypt and Israel and is home to approximately 1.5 million people. Operation Cast Lead, a three-week bombing and invasion of the Gaza Strip by Israel that took place in early 2009, resulted in the death of around 1,300 Palestinians and caused enormous and largely irreversible destruction (to the regional economy and infrastructure). Johnson and her group visited centers, where they were shown drawings made by Gaza’s children as part of an art therapy program that dealt with the trauma sustained during these three weeks of invasion.

Protest / Activism / BDS 

Palestinians urge international community to join Global March to Jerusalem
The recent Arab uprisings throughout the Middle East and North Africa have proven that the Arab people are no longer willing to tolerate oppression and tyranny. They send a strong message to Western hegemonic powers and their oppressive regional allies that a new wave of nonviolent civil resistance will ultimately prevail over injustice and occupation. In addition, the Arab uprisings also send an important message to all people of the world that armed resistance is no longer the only option for pursuing change.

BDS proposal wins big at Occupy Oakland
Participants of the Occupy Oakland movement voted to back the Palestinian-led boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement during a regular general assembly (GA) meeting Wednesday evening at Oscar Grant plaza. In a near-unanimous passage of the proposal by 135 people voting yes, 12 abstentions, and 1 no vote, Occupy Oakland vowed to stand with the BDS movement. Palestine solidarity activists with Intifada Tent, one of many mainstay groups at Occupy Oakland, tweeted after the vote in the GA…
BDS is Nazism and Omar Barghouti is Hitler says UPenn professor in shocking smear, Ali Abunimah
In the latest shot against the upcoming boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) conference at the University of Pennsylvania next weekend, the movement is being openly compared to Nazism.

As anti-BDS attacks mount, students feel unsafe but U of Penn President maintains shameful silence, Ali Abunimah
Yesterday I wrote to University of Pennsylvania President Amy Gutmann, asking her to condemn a vile and inflammatory attack by Professor Ruben Gur on the University’s own students. Gur likened those participating in this weekend’s conference on boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) (at which I will speak) to Nazis, and Omar Barghouti to Hitler. The unchecked inflammatory rhetoric by opponents of the conference, especially Professor Gur, is making students and conference participants feel unsafe. Most disturbingly, Gur singled out Jewish students and speakers, calling them “capos” at Nazi extermination camps. “Capo” or “kapo” is the term for a concentration or death camp inmate who collaborated with the Nazis.

The BDS movement grows in Italy
Over the weekend of January 21-22, the third national meeting of the BDS movement (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) against Israel was held in Bologna, Italy. Roughly 80 activists from over 20 Italian cities representing groups, associations and political parties throughout Italy participated. The scope of the meeting was to evaluate the progress of ongoing campaigns, establish strategic objectives and shared work methods, exchange information between the various Italian groups working on BDS and reassess organizational aspects of the BDS movement in Italy.

Short history of BDS in France
As 2012 begins, a French activist looks at the short history of the French BDS movement, which mobilized in the wake of the Israeli assalt on Gaza, Operation Cast Lead.

French campaigns to intensify efforts in support of Palestine
French pro-Palestinian organizations and figures promised to intensify their events and activities in solidarity with Palestine and Gaza people.

BDS Update: Peaceful Blitzkreig and Israeli Counter Attacks
The Third Annual BDS Conference opened 17 December at Hebron’s Children’s Happiness Centre, “to expand Palestinian civil society’s active implementation of BDS that is deeply rooted in the Palestinian struggle.” European BNC coordinator Michael Deas affirmed, “BDS is now the main framework for solidarity. We are very close to closing the European market to Israel.”

Thank You Lara
Lara Fabian was forced to cancel a concert planned for Valentine’s Day in Lebanon after activists launched a campaign against the singer due to recently surfaced surfaced of her at a pro-Israeli banquet.

Lara Fabian Out of Lebanon: Lessons Learned
The success of boycott activists in preventing a pro-Israel pop singer from performing a Valentine’s Day concert in Lebanon despite accusations of “cultural terrorism” and heated debates on Facebook may change the way boycott is advocated and legally protected in the country.


The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) is playing a leading role in the escalating debate over the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement and this week’s pro-BDS conference at the University of Pennyslvania. Over at the organization’s “Access ADL” blog, the ADL has begun to publish what they call are highlights from “five of the most anti-Israel individuals scheduled to speak at the conference.” But they completely miss the mark in their attack on Helena Cobban, and instead attribute a quote to Cobban that she says she never said and for which there is no evidence of.

Professor petitions NC Supreme Court
After criticizing Israel’s treatment of Palestinians and US policies towards Israel-Palestine, Dr. Terri Ginsberg lost her tenure track position at North Carolina State University. The following Open Letter will be sent with signatures to the Supreme Court of North Carolina and to North Carolina State University (NCSU) Chancellor Randy Woodson.
Racism / Discrimination
Israel: High Court Rulings Undermine Human Rights
Recent decisions by Israel’s high court aim to legitimize clear violations of Israel’s international legal obligations. In one decision, the court disregarded international law prohibiting discrimination, and in another, it ignored international law on the use of resources in an occupied territory. Israel should annul a law preventing Israeli citizens from living with their Palestinian spouses and end policies that permit private Israeli companies to strip rocks and other construction materials from quarries in the occupied West Bank for their own economic gain.

The Israeli Supreme Court’s Decision in the Citizenship Law Case HCJ 466/07, MK Zahava Galon v. The Attorney General, et al.
Raneen, a thirty-six-year-old Palestinian citizen of Israel, is married to thirty-nine-year-old Hatem, a Palestinian from the West Bank. They have been living together in the north of Israel since getting married in 1999, and have three children. They lead a normal family life, with one glaring exception: Hatem has only a temporary residency permit that allows him to stay in Israel for one year. The Interior Ministry has total discretion over whether or not to issue and renew his permit. When Hatem’s current permit expires, he may not be granted another. In such case he may be forced to separate from his family. This is the harsh reality created by Israel’s Citizenship and Entry into Israel Law.

Racism Report: Africans in Israel, Adam Horowitz
This report demonstrates that Israel continues to ignore its international obligations towards asylum seekers and refugees and that various laws, policies and practices are racially discriminatory at their basis against this vulnerable population.

African refugees struggle to survive in Israel
Who are the Eritrean and Sudanese refugees that will be effected by Israel’s Prevention of Infiltration Law, which passed last month? What did they face in their home countries and what do they struggle with now?

Testimony provided to Civil Service Commission investigators thus far appears to provide a solid evidentiary basis for the allegation that Natan Eshel, the prime minister’s bureau chief, sexually harassed a subordinate named R. for a lengthy period, officials familiar with the investigation said on Wednesday. 

Political Developments / Diplomacy / Other News

Israel asks U.S. to prod Palestinians to continue peace talks

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday asked U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to press Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to continue the talks with Israel that began last month in Amman. The Prime Minister’s Office said that the conversation with Clinton lasted 45 minutes, and quoted Netanyahu as saying, “Israel is interested in continuous talks with the Palestinians while preserving the security interests of Israeli citizens.”
Abbas: “We Seek Real, Comprehensive Peace”
On Wednesday evening, Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas, stated during a press conference, held in Ramallah, with the United Nations Secretary-General, Ban ki-moon, that the Palestinian leadership seeks a comprehensive peace agreement with Israel, but will not accept to hold talks while Tel Aviv continues its settlement activities in the occupied territories.

Mishaal-Abbas meeting postponed
The meeting between political bureau chairman of Hamas Khaled Mishaal and PA chief and Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas was postponed to an indefinite date.

Resheq: Closure of my Facebook page “arbitrary”
Political bureau member of Hamas Ezzet Al-Resheq has lashed out at the Facebook administration for closing his personal page on the social network.

Ghannouchi’s statement on Voice of Israel radio, in which he said that “the future of Tunisian-Israeli relations is dependent on solving the Palestinian cause,” is still subject to both confirmations and denials. 


Bahraini Regime Forces Kill Two Elders in Tear Gas Attack
Bahraini regime forces fired poisonous tear gas, killing two elderly protesters in two separate attacks.

Bahraini detainees on hunger strike to protest torture
A leading Bahraini activist has disputed claims by the country’s interior ministry that the hunger strikes in the country’s jails are subsiding. On Sunday 14 leading political prisoners began refusing food after reporting systematic abuses in Bahrain’s jails, including beatings, torture and the use of tear gas. Since then the number of confirmed strikers had risen to nearly 200, with detainees demanding fair access to legal proceedings and respect for human rights.


Al-Qaida claims attack on Iraqi government center (AP)
AP – An al-Qaida front group in Iraq claimed responsibility for a bloody attack on a government compound in the Islamist militants’ former stronghold west of Baghdad last month and vowed more attacks on the Shiite-led government as it tries to make up with its Sunni-backed members.*

Hashemi Guards Arrested As Iraqiya Returns to Parliament
As Iraqiya lawmakers returned to parliament today, the Interior Ministry announced the arrest of 16 Hashemi bodyguards they have connected to terrorist acts. Fortunately, reports of violence were light today. At least two Iraqis were killed and 13 more were wounded across the country.

Iraq to host Arab summit on March 29
The Iraqi capital is to host the next regular Arab summit on March 29, the Arab League assistant secretary general, Ahmed ben Hilli, announced on Wednesday in Baghdad.

Iraq executes 17 after U.N. rebuke (Reuters)
Reuters – Iraq executed 17 people on Wednesday, days after U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay criticized Baghdad for carrying out a large number of executions and questioned the fairness of its judicial proceedings.*

Why we should be furious the Haditha massacre Marines got no jail time, Roqayah Chamseddine
Orwellian-style agitprop; this best describes the latest article written by James Joyner for The Atlantic on the Haditha massacre, which refers to the event in which 24 unarmed Iraqi men, women and children were killed by a group of United States Marines in 2005 in the city of Haditha, in the western Iraqi province of Al Anbar.


On Thursday, the Senate Banking Committee will officially start work on a new sanctions bill against Iran, and senators are set to add even more sanctions to the bill as it goes through the legislative process — including measures that directly target President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Iran doubles defense budget amid rising tensions
Iran plans to more than double military spending over the coming 12 months, according to an annual budget proposal by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad presented to parliament on Thursday. “In the area of defense, there is a 127 percent increase,” Ahmadinejad said in his statement to lawmakers. Iran’s official defense budget for the current fiscal year – which ends in mid-March – is around US$12 billion, on top of which parliament has authorized a US$3 billion extension.


This is terrorism: Israel sets up elite command unit to strike behind `enemy` lines
Kim Sengupta – The Independent – “The unit, headed by Major General Shai Avital, a former head of an elite reconnaissance squad, was ordered by the head of Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) to focus on undercover work.”

Iranian nuclear bomb a matter of political will: US spy chief
Iran is keeping open its option to develop a nuclear weapon, but US intelligence agencies do not know whether it will eventually decide to build one, the US intelligence chief said on Tuesday. New US sanctions imposed over Iran’s nuclear program were likely to have a greater impact than previous ones, but were not expected to lead to the downfall of Tehran’s leadership, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said in prepared testimony on the annual worldwide threat assessment for the Senate intelligence committee.

Dempsey Told Israelis US Won’t Join Their War on Iran, Gareth Porter
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey told Israeli leaders Jan. 20 that the United States would not participate in a war against Iran begun by Israel without prior agreement from Washington, according to accounts from well-placed senior military officers.Dempsey’s warning, conveyed to both Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Israeli Defense Minister […]

No Exit in the Persian Gulf?, Tom Engelhardt
When it comes to U.S. policy toward Iran, irony is the name of the game. Where to begin? The increasingly fierce sanctions that the Obama administration is seeking to impose on that country’s oil business will undoubtedly cause further problems for its economy and further pain to ordinary Iranians.

The Sound of One Hand Clapping:The U.S. Tries Too Hard to Fear-Monger about Iran, Nima Shirazi
With Defense Secretary Leon Panetta’s recent admission, alongside Israel’s similar, near simultaneous, acknowledgement, that Iran is indeed not – I repeat, NOT – building nuclear weapons and has not even made any decision to do so, it seems certain sectors are doing their best to keep those war drums beating and public hysteria over Iran at a fever-pitch.  The fact that Clapper – a longtime favored colleague of Robert Gates – would use the bogus Saudi-Mexican-Iranian-Used Car Dealer assassination plot to reach the conclusion that Iranian leaders “have changed their calculus and are now more willing to conduct an attack in the United States in response to real or perceived U.S. actions that threaten the regime” is not only absurd but dangerous.


UN debates removal of Syrian president

Security Council convenes in New York over draft resolution calling for Bashar al-Assad to hand power to deputy.
Russian holds firm against military intervention in Syria
U.N. diplomats say they have made progress on a Security Council resolution, but challenges remain. About 70 more deaths are reported in Syria. As diplomats attempted to craft a compromise, Russia remained firm Wednesday in its pledge to veto any U.N. Security Council resolution that could open the door for international military intervention in Syria.,0,1368187.story

Russia official says Moscow will not stop sale of weapons to Syria
Moscow has been one of Syria’s most powerful allies – along with Iran – as Syria tries to crush the revolt against President Bashar Assad.

Iran Warns Citizens to Avoid Bus Trips to Syria
The warning came after Iran’s government confirmed reports that 11 Iranian citizens, whom it described as pilgrims, had been kidnapped last week while visiting Syria.

A video opened a view on the pitched battles raging between Syrian government soldiers and rebel forces.

Fears of Syrian civil war grow as violence escalates
Violence in Syria appears to be worsening with at least 31 people killed on Wednesday in clashes between the Syrian army and rebels, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said. The bloodiest battle took place in the al-Safsafa neighborhood of Homs, with 15 regular soldiers and eight civilians reportedly killed, according to the UK-based Observatory. Six rebel fighters were also said to have been killed in clashes in the town of Wadi Bardi on the outskirts of Damascus.

A severe shortage of oil and petroleum products has brought Syria’s political and security crisis home to Aleppo, the country’s second largest city and economic powerhouse.

Other Mideast News

Saudi Arabia: Christians Arrested at Private Prayer
Thirty five Ethiopian Christians are awaiting deportation from Saudi Arabia for “illicit mingling,” after police arrested them when they raided a private prayer gathering in Jeddah in mid-December, 2011. Of those arrested, 29 were women. They were subjected to arbitrary body cavity searches in custody, three of the Ethiopians told Human Rights Watch.

Ahead of the annual rally to commemorate the assassination of former Lebanese PM Rafik Hariri, Lebanon’s March 14 alliance is busy drawing up plans for a comeback after being forced from government last year. The parties and politicians who make up the March 14 coalition have been preoccupied with the business of producing documents. After the experience of the past seven years, the current opposition is finding that the best course of political action often involves gathering their thoughts and recording them on paper. 

Analysis / Op-ed

How the Occupation Became Legal
Eyal Press – The New York Review of Books – Surprisingly little is known about the legal apparatus that has enabled and structured the occupation. Filmed in nine days but based on years of archival research, The Law in These Parts aims to expose it. Even before the 1967 Six-Day War, the film reveals, officers in the army’s legal corps drew up guidelines for a separate system of laws that could be applied to territory under IDF control, rules they were convinced could strike a balance between order and justice.

The nonchalant, flippant, and nostalgic judges who put the occupation on legal footing, Scott Roth
I was fortunate enough to see “The Law in These Parts”, by Ra’anan Alexandrovicz at The Sundance Film Festival. It was, to put it mildly, a searing indictment of Israeli behavior on several fronts. The film sets out to examine how the legal groundwork (under Israeli law) for the occupation was conceived and put into practical use. The revelations aren’t pretty.

The BBC censors the word “Palestine”
This press release from the Palestine Campaign beggars belief… PRESS RELEASE: for immediate release: 31st January 2012 * *BBC Trust rules in favour of censoring ‘Palestine’ The BBC has admitted it was ‘overcautious’ in editing the word ‘Palestine’ from an artist’s performance on Radio 1Xtra and has said it is ‘looking to learn’ from the way it handled the situation. However, in a ruling released today (31/01/12), the BBC Trust said the final content that was broadcast on the Charlie Sloth Hip Hop M1X – a music programme – was not biased and therefore did not breach its editorial guidelines.

The BBC Censors its own Report on Tunisia’s Jews Saying “No” to Israel, Alan Hart
There was a moment in a report from Tunisia by the BBC’s Wyre Davies when I could not stop myself laughing. I was listening to it on the Corporation’s generally excellent World Service radio. (In my view this particular BBC service is generally excellent because unlike all other BBC news and current affairs outlets, radio and tv, it often reflects some of the truth about what is happening in and over Palestine that became Israel).

Romney’s battle in FL was to show Adelson he is OK on Israel –TNR, Philip Weiss
Your Israel lobby at work. Noam Scheiber reports at the New Republic that Romney’s big goal in Florida was to convince Sheldon Adelson to drop Newt (whom he and his wife have given $10 million) and come over to his side. So Sheldon Adelson is the prize. I remind you that Adelson has said all he cares about is being a good citizen of Israel, he regrets wearing the American uniform, and he wants the U.S. to attack Iran because of his fears for Israel.

Media Tell State Department: The Emperor Has No Clothes
When it comes to the so-called Israeli-Palestinian “peace process,” the State Department daily press briefings have truly degenerated into a farce in which the mainstream media refuses to believe any longer.  Take, for example, yesterday’s briefing, during which a succession of members of the media poked holes in the logic of the United States saying for the umpteenth time that Israeli settlement activity is “unhelpful” yet refusing to even consider any “consequences” for Israel’s repeated and flagrant disregard of U.S. policy concerns.

AIPAC met quietly with Dem thinktank to deplore writings critical of Israel, and took its leaders to Israel, Philip Weiss
Ron Kampeas has a good wrapup report on the CAP bloggers affair, the writers at the Democratic-Party-linked thinktank who were targeted by a smear campaign because they were critical of Israel. Kampeas concludes that the public attack on the writers was so over-the-top that it hurt the accuser, Josh Block, an Israel lobbyist formerly with the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC).

How Congress is crushing Palestine
Laila El-Haddad – Gaza Mom – “Congress’s policies aimed at, what exactly? Punishing the PA for its statehood bid? For attempting to reconcile with Hamas? Or simply in deference to Israel, their masters?”

Mossad chief held secret talks in DC with top U.S. officials, Annie Robbins
The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence met yesterday for the annual Worldwide Threat Assessment. And it was broadcast live. Haaretz reports “cursory comments” made by Senator Dianne Feinstein and General David Petraeus indicate they recently met with Mossad chief Tamir Pardo in Washington.

Is Israel a failed state? asks ‘American Conservative’, Philip Weiss
The American Conservative is fabulous. It has a piece on Israel as a failed state, by Noah Millman. It is broaching a question that the New York Times and Washington Post will get around to in another five years, I guess. Millman observes that Palestinians have never reconciled themselves to the idea of a Jewish state– and gosh, doesn’t their opinion matter?

In ’07, Gingrich blamed Israel for Palestinian conditions, Philip Weiss
Seems like both Barack Obama and Newt Gingrich have moved relentlessly right on the Palestinian issue. (Yes, and why?) Here’s some more data. Tablet’s Jacob Sugarman reports that one of Obama’s rabbis on Israel/Palestine issue is, god help us, Ed Koch:

New Texts Out Now: Ben White, Palestinians in Israel: Segregation, Discrimination and Democracy
Ben White: I wanted to write something that would accessibly describe the policies of segregation and discrimination that Palestinian citizens in Israel have experienced since 1948. Many people, even those who are engaged with Palestine/Israel to some extent, are unaware of the ways in which the Palestinian minority has been systematically marginalized in ways that go far beyond the “complaints of inequality” that surface in the mainstream media on occasion. This is more than popular prejudice; we are talking systematic discrimination in key areas of state policy such as immigration, citizenship, housing, planning, and budgets. So, for example, since 1948, over seven hundred Jewish communities have been established in Israel’s pre-1967 borders (that is, not including West Bank settlements). Yet in the same period, not one new city, town, or village for the Palestinian minority has been created, with the exception of seven townships made for forcibly displaced Bedouin in the Negev. The state’s approach towards its own citizens mirrors the pattern we see in the occupied West Bank: Jewish housing and construction is privileged in parallel with Palestinian housing and land ownership being targeted for demolitions, bureaucratic obstacles, and fragmentation.

Is Israel on the Road to “Self-destruction”?, Alan Hart
One very well informed and courageous Israeli who thinks the answer is “Yes” is Merav Michaeli, a radio and television presenter who also writes for Ha’aretz. She is completely without fear when it comes to telling it like it is. On 2 January this year, for example, she wrote: “The Israeli government doesn’t want peace. There’s nothing new in that. It has been the proven way since the establishment of the state.”

Grandstanding and Betrayal — Shalita Camp, Lebanon
In the US, it would be a difficult task to find even more revolting and groveling intellectual “half-men” to borrow a phrase from Syria’s beleaguered President Bashar Assad than Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich during their recent “debate” in Jacksonville Florida. While a high percentage of Republican Jewish voters will go to the polls in this winner-take-all primary, Mitt and Newt are also pondering their national fundraising networks as they gratuitously misrepresented history and betrayed their claimed religious and moral beliefs. Romney repeated his screed that President Obama “threw Israel under the bus” by following international law, seven UN Security Council Resolutions and world opinion by designating the pre-1967 borders as the starting point for peace talks. He also complained that America’s President “disrespected” Israel’s Prime Minister Netanyahu when Obama spoke recently at the UN and mentioned in passing illegal Israeli settlement building but did not discuss retaliatory rockets being fired from Gaza into occupied Palestinian territory.

New documentary presents shallow view of Arafat, Sarah Irving
A new documentary on Yasser Arafat accesses big-name Palestinian figures but wastes an opportunity to provide an in-depth look at the late leader.

In interview of Muslim Brotherhood leader, NPR repeatedly asks about Israel’s security, Philip Weiss
I’m a fan of the anthropological term “culturally-bound.” I think everyone is culturally-bound, and everyone has an obligation to struggle against the bindings. Though yes I tend to focus here on privileged Americans like myself. Well, last week Robert Siegel of National Public Radio interviewed Amr Darrag, a leader of a Muslim Brotherhood-aligned political party in Egypt, about policies favored by Islamists. And you should read his last eight questions below– but Siegel seemed to me to be culturally-bound in his nagging apprehension about Israeli security and his concerns about the role of women in Egypt.

Why American ‘democracy promotion’ rings hollow in the Middle East, Mark Weisbrot
Egypt’s crackdown on Republican and Democratic organisations is hardly surprising: they’re widely seen as stooges of US empire. I have to laugh when I see the International Republican Institute (IRI) described by the international media as an “organization that promotes democracy” (in this case, on NPR). The IRI is in the news lately because Egypt’s military government has put some of its members on a “no-fly” list and thereby trapped them in the country, facing investigation and possible trial. I am wondering just how credulous these journalists and editors are: if I were to describe the Center for Economic and Policy Research as “a magical organization that transforms scrap metal into gold”, would that become CEPR’s standard description in the news?

Ikhras Shoe Of The Month Award Winner – January 2012
Ikhras is pleased to announce the winner of the Muntadhar Zaidi Shoe of the Month Award for this January, 2012 is Imam Feisal Abdul-Rauf.  Speaking during his visit to occupied Palestine Feisal Abdul Rauf,  a self-declared supporter of Israel,  called on Muslims world wide to follow in his own foot steps and take a pilgrimage to the Zionist entity.


One Response

  1. Bumblebye
    February 3, 2012, 12:23 pm

    Palestinians escort lost soldier out of village.
    Doesn’t that show, quite explicitly, the *lack* of hate?

    (Aside of course, from the IOF incompetence!)

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