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What it takes to throw away garbage in Occupied Palestine

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The people who live in Qalandiyah and Kfar Akeb, who are residents of Jerusalem but on the other side of the security fence, sometimes have to walk many kilometers to throw out their household garbage on the other side of the Qalandiyah checkpoint. Despite the municipality’s statement that cleanup projects and garbage pickup are plentiful in the neighborhoods, which are home to tens of thousands of people, the garbage piles up. One solution residents have hit on is to throw it out on the Israeli side of the Qalandiyah checkpoint. However, as one resident, Ahmad Sub Laban, discovered, this is sometimes easier said than done.
Ethnic Cleansing / Destruction of Land / Apartheid

Israeli authorities raze Araqib village in Negev for 36th time
The Israeli authorities continued their demolition streak in the Negev, occupied since 1948, and razed two houses in Laqiya village and the entire village of Araqib for the 36th time.

Janba and Bir Al-Ad villagers receive demolition orders
The Israeli occupation forces stormed Janba and Bir Al-Ad villages south of Al-Khalil city and handed most of the Palestinian families there demolition notices issued against their homes.

Israeli occupation forces (IOF) entered northern Gaza on Wednesday and closed the Beit Hanun (Erez) crossing during the operation, local sources said.

Israeli Settlers Uproot and Take 100 Olive Trees Owned By Palestinian Farmers
Palestinian farmers, from the southern West Bank villages of Al Khadier and Beit Iskaria, announced that a group of settlers stormed on Thursday morning their lands uprooted 100 young olive trees and took it all away.

IOF soldiers serve demolition notices in Jordan Valley
IOF soldiers served demolition notices to the owners of two houses in the Jordan Valley and told them they should evict their homes within three days because of their proximity to IOF barracks.

The people who live in Qalandiyah and Kfar Akeb, who are residents of Jerusalem but on the other side of the security fence, sometimes have to walk many kilometers to throw out their household garbage on the other side of the Qalandiyah checkpoint. Despite the municipality’s statement that cleanup projects and garbage pickup are plentiful in the neighborhoods, which are home to tens of thousands of people, the garge piles up. One solution residents have hit on is to throw it out on the Israeli side of the Qalandiyah checkpoint. However, as one resident, Ahmad Sub Laban, discovered, this is sometimes easier said than done.

Stop the Wall: World Bank acknowledges failures in Red Sea – Dead Sea Channel project
The Palestinian Stop the Wall Campaign welcomes the fact that the World Bank management has acknowledged the concerns raised by the Stop the Wall Campaign, the Palestinian Farmers Union and the Global Initiative for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights in their Inspection Request  to the World Bank regarding the Dead Sea Water Conveyance Study Program as “legitimate”.  However, we deplore that the same decision expresses an insufficient interest in addressing these concerns and ask the donor countries to stop funding this project in order to reach a just and sustainable alternative.

Palestine submits 20 heritage sites to UNESCO
The Palestinians are poised to submit the names of 20 sites in Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza for addition to UNESCO’s list of World Heritage sites, an official said on Thursday. “Within the next few days, we will submit a tentative list of 20 sites to be added to the list,” Omar Awadallah, head of the UN department at the Palestinian foreign ministry, told AFP. Palestine was accepted as a full member state of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation last year, despite objections from Israel and the United States, who have refused to recognize the state.

Hate Crimes / Violence and Aggression against Palestinians
Medics: Israeli forces kill Palestinian near Hebron
HEBRON (Ma’an) — Israeli soldiers shot and killed a Palestinian man in the southern West Bank on Thursday, medical officials in the village of Yatta told Ma’an. An Israeli military spokesman did not immediately return a call seeking comment.
Jerusalem graffiti targets Arabs, Christians
Vandals scrawled anti-Arab and anti-Christian slogans in Hebrew on a monastery compound and a school in Jerusalem overnight, Israeli police said on Tuesday.

Israeli troops entered the northern Gaza Strip on Wednesday morning, sealing the Erez border crossing between the territory and Israel, Hamas officials said. ”Occupation forces moved into the northern Gaza Strip and began bulldozing work and closed the Erez crossing to travelers,” a statement from the Hamas interior ministry said. Witnesses told AFP that two Israeli bulldozers accompanied by three tanks had moved into the area and were operating in fields there. The Israeli military had no immediate comment on the report, and the Israeli civil administration responsible for the Erez border crossing said it had no information on its reported closure. An official at the crossing told AFP that it had opened late, but was now operating normally.

Israeli Army Threatens Observers in Hebron with Arrest, Death
Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) have been threatened with arrest and death by the Israeli army’s Golani Brigade since publication of the CPT report, Under Attack: Golani Brigade’s war on the Palestinian population of Al-Khalil (Hebron). The report documents the recent escalation of human rights abuse in Al Khalil. These threats are an attempt to prevent CPT and other international organizations from continuing to document ongoing human rights abuses, including violence and harassment, committed by soldiers against the civilian population of Al Khalil.

Hana Shalabi
Despite Her Deteriorating Condition,Shalabi Continues Her Hunger-strike
Palestinian political detainee, Hana’ Ash-Shalabi, 30, is ongoing with her hunger-strike for the 22nd day in a row, rejecting her illegal administrative detention, and demanding her immediate and unconditional release.

Shalabi’s mother: My daughter is dying in prison
JENIN (Ma’an) — As the world marks International Women’s Day, the mother of hunger-striking detainee Hana Shalabi appealed to the international community to save her daughter. “I demand that the world stands by her now. My daughter is dying in prison. We are also dying here. This is my appeal to the world,” Badiya Shalabi told Al-Haq human rights organization. Hana Shalabi has been on hunger strike since Israeli forces detained her from her home in the northern West Bank on Feb. 16. She was beaten, blindfolded and forcibly strip-searched and assaulted by a male Israeli soldier, the Palestinian Council of Human Rights Organizations said.

VIDEO: Hana al-Shalabi’s mother speaks out about her daughter’s hunger strike and her own, Ali Abunimah
The mother of Hana al-Shalabi, the Palestinian woman who has been on hunger strike since 16 February when she was violently seized from her home by Israeli occupation forces, has spoken out in a video interview.


Hana al-Shalabi: 20 days of hunger strike while world looks away from Israel’s abuses, Ali Abunimah
While almost the entire US Congress genuflected to Israel and its supposed “democracy” at the annual AIPAC convention in Washington this week, victims of Israel’s political repression, including Hana al-Shalabi who is on day 20 of her hunger strike, languished in its prisons ignored by world media.

Palestinian rallies mark Women’s Day
Palestinian women rallied across Gaza and the West Bank on International Women’s Day on Thursday, calling for the release of a female prisoner on hunger strike in an Israeli jail.

Illegal Arrests / Prisoners
Israel ‘detains 13-year-old’ in Nablus
NABLUS (Ma’an) — Israeli forces on Thursday detained a 13-year-old boy from Nablus in the northern West Bank, relatives said. Muhammad al-Tanji Abu Thira was taken to Majedo prison in Israel, his mother Latifa told Ma’an. Latifa is a former detainee who was freed in the October prisoner swap agreement between Israeli and Hamas. An Israeli military spokeswoman did not immediately return a call seeking comment.
On Wednesday at dawn Israeli soldiers arrested twelve Palestinians from the districts of Nablus, Qalqilia, Ramallah, Bethlehem and Hebron in the West Bank. Troops entered several cities, towns, villages and refugee camps during the night arrests and searched dozens of homes. In several cases the soldiers also forced the residents out of their homes and interrogated a number youths.In addition Israeli forces seized 15 vehicles in Barta’a al-Sharqiya, a village northwest of Jenin on Wednesday.Tawfiq Kabaha, head of the village council, says that the forces stormed the village at dawn, raided the village’s market area and its industrial zone and seized 15 vehicles.On Tuesday March 6, 17 Palestinians, including four teenagers, were arrested.

IOF soldiers arrest 6 Palestinians following Al-Khalil confrontations
Israeli occupation forces (IOF) arrested six Palestinians in Jabal Jawher in Al-Khalil city on Tuesday night after confrontations.


Hamas MPs demand international intervention in favor of Palestinian prisoners
Hamas MPs in the West Bank took part in a rally in front of the Red Cross offices in El-Bireh city demanding greater solidarity with Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails.

Gaza health ministry: Hospital stock severely depleted
The Palestinian ministry of health warned that the pharmaceutical crisis in the besieged Gaza Strip has aggravated very badly threatening the lives of all patients.

Patients rally outside Egyptian embassy to demand quick solution to power crisis

A number of Palestinian patients from the besieged Gaza Strip appealed to the Egyptian authorities to swiftly supply Gaza power plant with fuel.

GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — Israeli authorities will close Kerem Shalom crossing on the Gaza border for the Jewish holiday Purim, Palestinian officials said. Liaison official Raed Fattouh told Ma’an the crossing will close on Thursday and reopen Sunday. Kerem Shalom is the only operating terminal for goods to enter Gaza on the Israeli border.
From the window overlooking the pier of Gaza’s humble port, you can see nothing at night but two lamp posts barely lighting the space underneath. Every once in a while, even the two lights are extinguished and total darkness takes over. You stare into the night, you hear the waves but you don’t see anything. There is no moon. Only dark clouds pouring out their inexhaustible load of rain.
Activism / Solidarity / BDS
Palestinian Women
In honor International Women’s Day, the above is a compilation of photographs capturing Palestinian women at checkpoints, in demonstrations, at the forefront of nonviolent resistance protests, “hungry for dignity”, all the while superimposed by their valuable individuality in society as mothers, wives, daughters, and sisters.

Palestinians march in solidarity with female hunger striker
Hundreds of Palestinians marked International Women’s Day by marching in solidarity with 22-day female hunger striker Hana Shalabi on Thursday. Shalabi has been refusing food since she was arrested in a violent late-night raid on her house on February 16. Several hundred women marched to the Qalandia checkpoint between Jerusalem and Ramallah on Wednesday, calling for Israel to end its segregation and recognize Palestinian rights. Israeli troops attempted to disperse them using “The Screamer,” a device that emits high-pitched sound waves which can cause deafening. The protesters sang the Palestinian national anthem in solidarity, but the all-female peaceful march was eventually broken up after Israeli forces fired tear gas and water at the crowd.

National Advocacy Director Josh Ruebner launches the US Campaign’s first-ever policy paper, entitled “U.S. Military Aid to Israel: Policy Implication & Options” in this briefing at the Palestine Center. 
On 11 March, 1976, the Israeli regime published its expropriation plan to confiscate Palestinians’ lands in order to further expand their illegal settlements and build military training camps. Quite interestingly, on 29 March, they also imposed a curfew in a bid to stop Palestinians from voicing their anger over the confiscation of their lands.  However, on 30 March, Palestinian activists called for protests and people took part in demonstrations. Israeli regime’s forces killed at least 6 people and wounded over 100 Palestinians. Hundreds of Palestinians were also arrested. The rally outside Israel’s embassy in London is quite symbolic given the bigger picture that the establishment of the Zionist state could have been impossible without Arthur Balfour, Britain’s foreign secretary from 1916 to 1919.

Israeli apartheid week kicks off in South Africa
The cultural week against the Israeli apartheid regime in occupied Palestine was launched in more than 13 South African cities in the context of global activities and events.

This past Saturday, some 20 members of Students for Justice in Palestine held a protest on the Brandeis University campus outside a party organized by the Brandeis Zionist Alliance. The title of the party was Tel Aviv Club Night and it marked the end of Israeli Peace Week. Israel Peace Week is the “Pro-Israel” response to Israeli Apartheid Week. It is an international initiative of Zionist organizations, including propaganda organizations such as Stand With Us and Hasbara Fellowships – an affiliate of the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The week aimed to show a “more positive” picture of Israel, and by doing so to counter arguments that Israel is an apartheid state.

Students react to University of Ottawa threat to cancel Israel Apartheid Week event, Ali Abunimah
Students at the University of Ottawa say that the campus administration threatened to cancel an 8 March panel discussion they are scheduled to hold as part of Ottawa’s Israeli Apartheid. Meanwhile, at Carleton University, also in Ottawa, students found their posters defaced with slogans such as “This is where the Holocaust began.”

Sunday, March 4th was an action-packed day for Occupy AIPAC. From the early hours of the morning, protesters occupied the streets surrounding the convention center to greet conference attendees with signs, chants, artwork, song and dance, and in several instances, attempts to start a dialogue. Despite several hostile encounters with both AIPAC conference attendees and police officers, Occupy AIPAC seemed to only pick up momentum as the day progressed. In what was perhaps the most moving part of the day, protesters shared their personal stories and thoughts about Israel’s crimes over a loud microphone directly in front of the convention center’s main doors, undoubtedly heard by all in the vicinity. Although their words may have fallen on mostly deaf ears, they certainly made it known that unlike the U.S. administration, many Americans are far from willing to welcome AIPAC with open arms.
Construction on 250-acre facility to commence in two weeks; refugees would live at center for up to three years.
Political Developments in the Region

Abbas Agrees To Head Interim Government
The Executive Committee of the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) announced Wednesday that president Mahmoud Abbas agreed to be the head of the upcoming interim Palestinian government for a few months, until new elections are prepared and held.

Fatah leader: There is no peace process
Member of the Central committee in Fatah Mohammed Eshtiye has said that the Palestinian Authority does not want to deceive itself, its people, and the world by saying that there is a peace process.

Top administration source says Obama instructed Defense Secretary to work with Defense Minister Barak, to give all due consideration to the request for purchasing GBU-28 bombs, advanced refueling aircraft.

US will ensure Israel’s “military superiority”: Panetta
The United States will ensure Israel retains “military superiority” over its adversaries as the country faces the potential threat of a nuclear-armed Iran, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said Tuesday. ”This is an ironclad pledge which says that the United States will provide whatever support is necessary for Israel to maintain military superiority over any state or coalition of states, as well as non-state actors,” Panetta told the top pro-Israel lobby in Washington, AIPAC.


Panetta: When all else fails, the U.S. will act against Iran
Speaking at the AIPAC conference in Washington, U.S. Secretary of Defense says Israel, United States are stronger when they ‘work together’ to ensure Israel’s security.


‘Israel infantry force enters Lebanon’
An Israeli infantry force has illegally entered Lebanon, while Israeli reconnaissance planes again violated the country’s airspace.

JERUSALEM — Israel says it is “surprised” by a decision by India’s defense ministry to ban a leading Israeli weapons manufacturer from bidding on Indian defense contracts for the next decade. India announced on Tuesday it was blacklisting Israel Military Industries Ltd. and five other firms from India, Switzerland, Russia and Singapore, over allegations of bribing an Indian official to win contracts.
Analysis / Op-ed

Redefining Our Relationship to A People’s Struggle, Ramzy Baroud
(Based on talks delivered by Ramzy Baroud at Israeli Apartheid Week conferences in Edmonton and Calgary, Alberta, Canada – March 5, 6 2012). In the Winter 2012 Edition of Palestine News – published by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign in the UK – and more specifically on page 5, there is a photo of an old man. With a white beard, gray, traditional jalabiya, a black belt and an old blue jacket, he could be any Palestinian’s grandfather. In the photo, the man holds broken branches of his olive trees, maliciously destroyed by Jewish settlers in the village of Qusra, in the West Bank. The old man’s name was not provided. He could be Mohammed, George or Ali. A Muslim or a Christian. His village, Qusra is located south of Nablus, but that too matters little. It could be a village bordering Jerusalem, Ramallah, or Jenin.


People of the world unite to unoccupy Jerusalem, Noura Khouri
A two-day conference of the international committee for the “Global March to Jerusalem” in Amman concluded last week – with member committees, representing more than 60 countries present. The head of the Jordanian committee taking part in the meeting, Abdullah Obeidat, said that “trade unions and opposition parties decided to support the march and participate in defence of the holy city and Palestinian families in the occupied territories.”


AIPAC: The writing is on the wall, Sydney Levy
Since we announced on Monday our outrage at the sudden cancellation of our mobile ad, carrying our message to the AIPAC Policy Conference, we have received many expressions of support as well as some suggestions as to what to do next. Some recommended that we rent alternative vehicles, others that we sue the rental company. There were other intriguing creative suggestions as well.

Yossi Klein Halevi has a piece up at The New Republic on Obama’s detestation of Netanyahu and how it skews his policy against Israel. Writes a friend: Many falsehoods. That the settlement freeze fell through because of Palestinian recalcitrance; that Iranian dissidents in 2009 chanted en masse “Obama, are you with us or against us?” No dissident quoted in the U.S. ever said such a thing, but leaders of the dissidents did say that Obama’s stance was correct; that nothing but harm could come of American posturing and denunciation, given our history with Iran.
I used to be shy about talking about Jewish money in the election process. But Sheldon Adelson has liberated us all. Commentary’s Jonathan Tobin agrees that Jewish money is an issue, even if it makes Jews “cringe.” He says 1/3 of Democratic money, when the estimates have actually been closer to half or more– 60 percent, from the Washington Post.

Obama Plays Dangerous Game, Offers Israel Bunker Busters Needed for Iran Attack

Barack Obama is playing a very dangerous game regarding Iran.  He speaks to Israeli leaders like Bibi Netanyahu and his pro-Israel supporters in Aipac like an Iran hawk, placating them with suitably hawkish rhetoric.  While the very next day, he tells a White House press conference those who lobby for war that “this is not a game.”  He added, in a deliberate rebuff both to the Republican right and Netanyahu himself, that Iran doesn’t have a nuclear weapon and isn’t likely to get one for some time.

Hillary was interviewed by Scott Horton on Antiwar Radio today, you can listen to it here, to discuss Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s visit to Washington and the various public statements, by Netanyahu and President Obama associated with the visit.


Economist 6 Mar — DURING his meeting with Barack Obama on Monday, Bibi Netanyahu said Israel “must have the ability always to defend itself, by itself, against any threat.” … News flash: Israel is not master of its fate. It’s not terribly surprising that a country with less than 8m inhabitants is not master of its fate. Switzerland, Sweden, Serbia and Portugal are not masters of their fates. These days, many countries with populations of 100m or more can hardly be said to be masters of their fates. Britain and China aren’t masters of their fates, and even the world’s overwhelmingly largest economy, the United States, isn’t really master of its fate.But Israel has even less control over its own destiny than Portugal or Britain do. The main reason is that, unlike those countries, Israel refuses to give up its empire.  


Bahraini activist’s heath deteriorates
Human rights activists have warned about the deteriorating health of Jailed Bahraini activist Abdul Hadi al-Khawaja, who is on hunger strike.

We, the undersigned human rights organizations, would like to thank you for your 28 February 2012 letters and your offer of assistance with arranging our upcoming visits to the Kingdom of Bahrain. At the same time, we must object to the conditions placed on our visits, in particular the extremely short timeframe. The five-business-day limit appears to be arbitrary and will greatly impede our ability to monitor and research human rights developments.

Bahraini Kangaroo Court Trials, Stephen Lendman
A new Human Rights Watch (HRW) report discussed sham show trials in Bahrain titled, “No Justice in Bahrain.” The Bahrain Center for Human Rights said hundreds of unfair, politically motivated trials were conducted for months. Innocent victims were convicted. Before trial, they were arrested, imprisoned and brutally tortured. They’ll endure years more brutality. It’s largely unreported by Western media scoundrels, especially American ones suppressing unpleasant truths. Last March, King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa assumed emergency powers. Field Marshall Khalifa bin Ahmad Al Khalifs, Bahrain Defense Force commander, issued sweeping regulations governing public order.

Bahraini royal sectarianism against `Alawites
E. sent me this message: “Traveled to Bahrain a couple of days ago for a conference. Was held at the airport for more than 3 hours (I have an american passport bas born in Palestine), several others (French and Brits mainly) were held for about the same time. Apparently they have new rules regarding visa on arrival and they will be going away with it soon. Everyone will be required to apply for visa prior to arrival at a Bahraini embassy. A group of 6 Brits were denied entry and sent back to London. I was asked about my work, asked about how I got the passport, and they wanted to see my business card. Eventually I was let into Bahrain. But the wait and the manner through which they handled us is very similar to the way the zionist thugs treat Palestinians at check points and border crossings.  Taxi drivers are not shy talking about the situation in Bahrain once they find out I’m Palestinian. Things are somehow quite in Manama but there are daily demos in the villages around Manama. They feel that things will hit Manama again.  Anyway, in today’s paper, Akhbal Al-Khaleej, last page had this cartoon (I’m attaching it is as well) showing a Saddam Hussain figure, I guess they wanted to show Bashar but got their men mixed up, with the word alawite on his arm pushing a roller against people with the caption “Ethnic Cleansing in Syria”. Ya3ni of all people to complain about ethnic cleansing and discrimination, the Bahrainis got to do it, they got some nerve!!!”
Saudi Arabia
Female protester killed in Saudi Arabia
A female student in Saudi Arabia has been killed during an anti-government protest rally in the southwestern city of Abha, Asir province.

Fifty injured in attack on Saudi student protest: report
Over 50 female Saudi students were injured when security guards and Saudi police attacked a peaceful protest in a university, a local newspaper has claimed. The 1,000-strong all-women protest, which was calling for an end to corruption and ill-treatment at the King Khaled University (KKU) in Abha, was attacked on Wednesday by security services wielding batons, the Al Watan newspaper said. The students had begun a protest on Tuesday to criticize the university management for allowing the campus to deteriorate and against ongoing corruption in the country.

Opposition condemns government after broadcaster reveals documents said to show links between Swedish firm and Riyadh.

Saudi winter
“At the same time the authorities try to minimise discussion of economic problems. Three young Saudi film-makers were arrested in October for making a short film about poverty in the kingdom and posting it online. Some news organisations were banned from reporting the recent case of a Saudi man attempting to sell his son on Facebook to raise money for the rest of his family. The authorities like to point out that incomes are rising. According to the Brookings Institution’s annual MetroMonitor report, the Washington-based think-tank’s ranking of global cities by economic performance, the only city worldwide to outperform the kingdom’s two largest last year was Shanghai. Riyadh recorded a 7.8% rise in incomes. But not all problems are economic. Public anger is mounting at the religious police poking their noses into private lives. Activists for women’s rights are calling loudly for better treatment and internet scribes are testing the limits of free speech.”

Obama rules out unilateral U.S. military action on Syria
President Obama says he is not prepared to send U.S. forces to try to stop the carnage in Syria or to help oust Bashar Assad, as some Republicans in Congress have urged. President Obama on Tuesday ruled out a unilateral U.S. military campaign to support the beleaguered rebels in Syria, calling such an operation “much more complicated” than the NATO-led air war launched to help protect civilians during the civil war in Libya last year.

Egypt’s Foreign Minister Mohammed Amr has warned that arming rebel fighters in Syria would lead to a civil war, his ministry said on Wednesday. Arming the ill-equipped rebels would “lead to an escalation in the military conflict and spark a civil war in Syria”, Amr said, according to a statement issued by his ministry. Egypt distanced itself from oil-rich Gulf monarchies, such as Qatar and regional powerhouse Saudi Arabia, that have spoken in favor of arming the rebels. Gulf states see an opportunity to weaken Iran’s influence in the region by ousting Assad, a key Iranian ally, and destroying Syria’s status as a regional rival in the Arab world.
US President Barack Obama said it was inevitable Syrian President Bashar Assad will leave office, as Washington prepared to strengthen its support for Syria’s opposition groups, according to media reports. ”Ultimately this dictator will fall,” Obama said at a news conference in Washington on Tuesday, adding that it was not a question of if, but when Assad would be forced out. But he opposed a call by US Senator John McCain, who lost to Obama in the 2008 presidential election, for the United States to lead an international effort to protect population centers in Syria with air strikes on Assad’s forces.
China’s envoy to Syria told Assad’s government to stop the violence and help the United Nations and the International Committee of the Red Cross send aid to strife-hit areas, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said on Thursday. Ministry spokesman Liu Weimin said the envoy also promoted mediation between the Syrian government and opposition groups. The trip by envoy Li Huaxin appears to be the latest Chinese initiative to press for a peaceful resolution to the conflict. “He urged the Syrian government to stop the violence immediately, actively cooperate with the UN and ICRC to ease the humanitarian situation, in particular in Homs,” Liu said, summarizing Li’s talks with Syrian officials this week.

Homs ‘devastated’ – UN aid chief
The UN’s aid chief says parts of the Syrian city of Homs have been “completely devastated”, after a brief visit to the bombed district of Baba Amr.

A Syrian Red Crescent team entered the battered Baba Amr rebel district of Homs city in central Syria on Wednesday, a spokeswoman from the International Committee of the Red Cross said. The team “entered Baba Amr this afternoon,” Carla Haddad told AFP, adding that she had no further details. The ICRC has been negotiating for days to deliver aid to district.

Syrians cross to Lebanon to escape violence
As Assad repeats pledge to fight “terrorists”, UN says up to 2,000 people have fled to Lebanon to escape his crackdown.

Syrian Christians worry about life after Bashar Assad
They fear civil war and revenge attacks if President Bashar Assad falls, an anxiety fed by the sectarian violence seen in Egypt and Iraq. For 40 years, Um Michael has found comfort and serenity amid the soaring pillars and ancient icons of St. Mary’s Greek Orthodox cathedral.


WikiLeaks “USAF Strategic Studies Group: Special Operations Forces Are ‘Already on the Ground,’ Training the ‘Free Syrian Army'”
I spent most of the afternoon at the Pentagon with the USAF strategic studies group — guys who spend their time trying to understand and explain to the USAF chief the big picture in areas where they’re operating in. It was just myself and four other guys at the Lieutenant Colonel level, including one French and one British representative who are liaising with the US currently out of DC. They wanted to grill me on the strategic picture on Syria, so after that I got to grill them on the military picture. There is still a very low level of understanding of what is actually at stake in Syria, what’s the strategic interest there, the Turkish role, the Iranian role, etc. After a couple hours of talking, they said without saying that SOF teams (presumably from US, UK, France, Jordan, Turkey) are already on the ground focused on recce missions and training opposition forces. One Air Force intel guy (US) said very carefully that there isn’t much of a Free Syrian Army to train right now anyway, but all the operations being done now are being done out of ‘prudence.’ The way it was put to me was, ‘look at this way — the level of information known on Syrian OrBat this month is the best it’s been since 2001.’

Al Jazeera reporter resigns over “biased” Syria coverage
Al Jazeera Arabic’s Beirut correspondent, Ali Hashem, resigned on Tuesday after leaked emails revealed his frustrations over the news channel’s coverage of Syria, according to a source within the television network. Hashem’s resignation comes weeks after pro-Assad hackers leaked emails that revealed the dismay among Al Jazeera’s staff over its “biased and unprofessional” coverage of the Syrian uprising. “Hashem’s misgivings are clear and well-known, and are no longer a secret to anyone,” the source, wishing to remain anonymous, said.


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