Ethnic Cleansing / Land and Resource Theft & Destruction / Refugees & Occupation
Israel admits it revoked residency rights of quarter million Palestinians since 1967
Many of those prevented from returning were students or young professionals, working aboard to support their families.
Israeli MK, AIPAC behind Senate bid to cut total number of Palestinian refugees
Newly passed amendment requires State Department to specify how many of the 5 million Palestinians who receive aid from the UN are refugees who were personally displaced from their homes in 1948, and how many are their descendants.
Spain Condemns Israeli Decision to Expand Settlements
MADRID, June 12, 2012 (WAFA) – The Spanish government condemned in a statement published Tuesday an Israeli government decision to build hundreds of housing units in illegal West Bank settlements. The statement by the Spanish foreign ministry said that all of the West Bank settlements are illegal under international law, contradict Israeli commitments and obligations toward the international community and contribute to complicating chance of reaching a peace agreement. It considered settlement activity as a new obstacle to the re-lunching of negotiations between the Palestinians and Israel that will allow the reaching of a just, comprehensive and lasting peace in the Middle East with two states coexisting side by side in peace and security.
Israel Demolishes A Home, Structures, In Jerusalem
Palestinian sources reported that Israeli soldiers demolished, on Tuesday at dawn, a Palestinian building in Beit Hanina neighborhood, north of occupied East Jerusalem. The army also demolished sheds and structures In Jabal Al-Mokabbir.
Israel issues stop work, demolition orders for 2 homes, tent in South Hebron Hills
On Sunday morning officials from Israel’s District Coordination Office (DCO) delivered 3 stop work and demolition orders to two houses and one tent in the South Hebron village of Khirbit al-Mufaqara. The homes were being built as part of an international campaign to support the residents of this village, who are threatened with displacement by the Israeli authorities, by building brick homes.
IOA threatens the demolition of 15 Palestinian buildings near Yatta
The Israeli occupation authority (IOA) has threatened to demolish 15 buildings near Yatta, in Al-Khalil province, at the pretext of lack of construction permits.
Israeli authorities ‘demolish Jerusalem farm complex’
JERUSALEM (Ma’an) — Israeli authorities demolished a complex of sheep barns in an East Jerusalem neighborhood on Tuesday morning, a local rights group said. Bulldozers tore down the 700-square-meter steel buildings belonging to Aziz Jamil Jaabees in the al-Salaa neighborhood in Jabal al-Mukabbir, the Jerusalem Center for Social and Economic Rights said. The family of 10 was ordered to pay a 50,000 shekel ($12,800) demolition fee, the center added, noting that 20 tons of barley were also destroyed in the incident.
IOF planning to build watchtower south of Al-Khalil
The Israeli occupation army is planning to build a military watchtower near Kharsa village to the south of Al-Khalil, local sources said.
Settler organization granted control over spring in East Jerusalem
Opponents say decision by zoning board is another way of imposing Israeli control over Palestinian resources.
Israeli forces order Hebron village demolished after settler case
HEBRON (Ma’an) — Israeli forces on Tuesday handed a southern West Bank village demolition orders for each of its 50 buildings, a week after Israeli authorities agreed to halt all construction in the area in response to a petition filed by a settler group. Susiya village, in the south Hebron hills, has three days to appeal the decision before their village is demolished, resident Nasser Nawaja told Ma’an.
Large Judaisation building project approved
The Israeli-led municipality in Jerusalem has approved a plan to construct a large building near to Ein Silwan Mosque in the middle of the occupied Jerusalem suburb of Silwan, Al-Aqsa Foundation for Endowment and Heritage said on Monday. The District Committee for Planning and Building will oversee the project on the ¾-acre site, which is being financed by the Elad settlement group. According to Al-Aqsa Foundation, the proposed building is going to be used as a “museum, underground water pools and a visiting centre for religious purposes”. It is part of Israel’s Judaisation policy for occupied Jerusalem which also plans the establishment of a series of buildings with “Biblical” links in and around Wadi Al-Hilwa district, just metres away from the Old City’s Maghrebi Gate, and other parts of the occupied city. This was approved by the Israeli government three months ago. Israel has allocated NIS2m (around £330,000) for the project, which will be built on land confiscated from its Palestinian owner, Mr. Musa Al-Abbasi, under the “Law of Absentee Property”.
Jerusalem Municipality approves plan to build Jewish Museum center in Silwan
The Israeli District Committee for Planning and Building in Jerusalem approved, on Monday, a plan to establish a new settler building over three dunums in Silwan.
Ulpana residents against PM’s eviction plan
Government, settlers fear ‘another Amona’ during evacuation of five homes built on private Palestinian land, ‘negotiating around the clock’ to strike deal. The conditions: Compensation, written guarantee to build 300 housing units in Beit El.
Israeli policies blocking aid to Palestinians
Israeli restrictions on construction and movement of goods and people in the West Bank are hampering much-needed infrastructure projects for Palestinians, many of which are financed by Germany. In early 2009, an unusual Israeli initiative helped fulfill a basic humanitarian need in the impoverished Palestinian village of Susya – access to electricity. For years, residents of the hills south of Hebron had lived in darkness, cut off from the power grid and reliable energy supplies. Using funds provided by the German foreign ministry, the Israeli organization Comet-ME (Community, Energy and Technology in the Middle East) installed solar panels and wind turbines in the area, helping make life bearable for farmers and shepherds in Susya. Many of them live in mountain caves, tents or tin huts and are considered some of the poorest residents of the West Bank.
Israel restricts movement of Palestinians in Ramallah
Ramallah, June 10 (Petra) — Israeli occupation soldiers on Sunday restricted movement of dozens of Palestinian citizens at a military checkpoint, which was set up at the entrance of Nabi Saleh Village, north of Ramallah. Eyewitnesses said that vehicles, arriving from northern villages piled-up at the checkpoint waiting for permission to enter Ramallah. They added that the Israeli soldiers used to install the checkpoint during the morning and the evening hours over the past few weeks to restrict movement of workers and students.
Peruvian Reporter Angry at Israeli Desecration of Religious Sites
RAMALLAH, June 11, 2012 (WAFA) – Peruvian reporter Susana Diaz Monday expressed anger at Israeli army raids against religious sites, mainly the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem and the Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron. Diaz, media director at the official Peruvian newspaper El-Peruano, arrived for the first time in Palestine to attend WAFA’s 40 years anniversary celebrations and visited, along with other international visitors, the cities of Bethlehem, Hebron and Jericho. Diaz acknowledged what she described as “intense difficulties” Palestinians face daily from the Israeli occupation, making special reference to the Apartheid Wall that “imprisons everyone.”
Apartheid Wall: 10 years of existence
Under the slogan ‘Annexation Wall: Ten Years Too Long’, the Palestinian NGO for the protection of human rights Al Haq launched a month-long campaign to reignite the debate on the Apartheid Wall between Israel and the West Bank. “The campaign is an occasion to talk about the fact that ten years later the Wall is still here and Israel continues to build,” explains Shawan Jabareen, director general of Al Haq. Thanks to the publication of a booklet detailing the impact of the barrier on the Palestinian people, a photo exhibition, and the launch of a website packed with testimonies, interactive maps, advocacy actions and statistics, Al Haq wants to bring the Wall back on the agenda of the international community, in addition to mobilizing civil society to demand its dismantlement.
Vatican refuses to recognize Israeli occupation of east Jerusalem
The Vatican’s position “is unchanged” on the annexation of east Jerusalem, a Holy See negotiator said Tuesday, amid concern among Palestinian officials about possible concessions. “The Holy See’s position has not changed,” negotiator Ettore Balestrero told the Vatican Radio after biannual talks between Israel and the Holy See on the status of Catholic Church property. The comments came in response to recent concern among Palestinian officials that the Vatican was reportedly preparing to accept the application of Israeli law on Catholic Church properties in east Jerusalem.
Abbas: Jordan Valley vital to Palestinian interests
RAMALLAH (Ma’an) — President Mahmoud Abbas said Tuesday that Israel’s claims in the Jordan Valley were based on economic interests, not security concerns. Abbas said the Jordan Valley is of industrial, agricultural and touristic importance to the Palestinian Authority, and the government will not accept any meter less than its 37 kilometers along the Dead Sea.
Five years into the Gaza closure: Increased Access Abroad, Continued Separation from West Bank and Israel
Gisha – Five years after Israel closed Gaza`s crossings in the wake of the Hamas takeover (June 14, 2007), Gaza has been somewhat re-opened to access abroad, but sweeping restrictions on movement to Israel and the West Bank remain nearly unchanged. As a result, the prospect of economic recovery is limited, and the integrity of the Palestinian territory, considered a cornerstone of a “two-state solution”, is compromised in ways that will be difficult to reverse.
Demands to increase numbers of travelers through Rafah crossing
The General Administration of Crossings and Borders (GACB) called on the Egyptian side on Rafah border to regard the Palestinian people’s conditions in light of the increasing passenger numbers.
Gaza family ask Queen Elizabeth to remove “blood diamond”
Gaza family, victims of Israeli war crimes, appeal to Queen Elizabeth II to remove “blood diamond” The Sammoni family in Gaza have issued an appeal to the Queen to remove the Steinmetz Forevermark Jubilee Diamond which De Beers put on display in the Tower of London to mark the Queen’s Jubilee. Twenty nine members of the Sammoni family were killed by the Givati Brigade of the Israeli army during the Israeli assault on Gaza called Operation Cast Lead in December 2008 – January 2009. The Steinmetz diamond company has “adopted” a Unit of the Givati Brigade which it funded and supported during the attack on Gaza.
Violence and Aggression
Soldiers Invade Gaza
Israeli soldiers, supported by four armored military vehicles, and five armored bulldozers, invaded on Monday afternoon, an area Southeast of Gaza City, opened fire at random, and uprooted farmlands.
WATCH: IDF officer throws stones, shoots at Palestinian protesters, Noam Sheizaf
The video below was taken by Palestinian photographer Bilal Tamimi in Nabi Saleh on June 1, 2012. I received it from the spokeswoman for the Popular Struggle Coordination Committee, an umbrella organization for various local unarmed resistance initiatives in the West Bank (like the ones in Bil’in, Ni’lin and many other places). The video was taken during the weekly unarmed protest in the Nabi Saleh. It clearly shows an IDF officer throwing stones and shooting at two Palestinian stone throwers. The delay between the shots and their sound can be explained by the fact that the photographer is standing on an opposite hill. You can see the dust rise next to the Palestinians, from the bullets fired at around 1:20, and again later in slow motion. According to local testimonies, the officer was shooting live ammunition (that’s what the video seems to indicate as well). I will update this post later with an IDF spokesperson response, if and when I get one.
IDF shooting Palestinians on an average day in Palestine, Antony Loewenstein
Day in and day out, this is what Israel does in the West Bank; abuses, attacks and humiliaties Palestinians for the act of resisting occupation.
Vandals slash tires, spray racist graffiti in East Jerusalem neighborhood
One car in the Shuafat neighborhood sprayed with the word ‘Ulpana,’ the part of the Beit El settlement where the High Court has ordered homes demolished
Settler Attacks in Retaliation for Regulation Bill Failure
Eight cars belonging to Palestinians were flattened by settlers on Sunday night in Shuafat, Jerusalem.
IOF arrests two Palestinian sisters on returning from the Ukraine
Israeli occupation forces (IOF) arrested two Palestinian students on their return from the Ukraine where they studied medicine, their father said.
IOF soldiers round up 12 Palestinians
Israeli occupation forces (IOF) rounded up 12 Palestinians in various West Bank areas at dawn Tuesday in a large-scale military operation.
Israel Arrests Eight Palestinians in West Bank
RAMALLAH, June 12, 2012 (WAFA) – Israeli forces Tuesday arrested eight Palestinians from the West Bank, two of them sisters arrested as they crossed Allenby Bridge with Jordan, according to Palestinian security sources. Israeli authorities at Allenby Bridge arrested Yasmin Tamimi, 23, and her sister Zeina, 22, from the southern West Bank city of Hebron, as they were returning home coming from the Ukraine, where the two are studying medicine, said the sources. No reason was given for the arrest. Israeli forces stormed the West Bank village of Tel, southwest of Nablus, raided and searched several houses, and arrested three Palestinians, said the sources. A large military force stormed Deir al-Ghosoon, north of Tulkarem, and arrested three Palestinians, including the town’s former mayor Khaled Alyan.
Popular Committee Member Arrested at Beit Ommar Demonstration On Saturday, June 9th, 2012, protesters from Beit Ommar – alongside Israeli and international activists – held a demonstration against the illegal Karmei Tsur settlement, built on stolen Beit Ommar land. Over 50 Israeli soldiers attempted to stop the demonstration from reaching Palestinian land near the settlement, declaring the area a ‘closed military zone’. Around 30 protesters were met with excessive violence, with one member of the Popular Committee being forced to the ground and repeatedly kicked. Two arrests were made: Yousef Abu Maria (age 38), the spokesperson of the Beit Ommar Popular Committee, and an Israeli activist. Both were taken to a police station in the Kiryat Arba settlement, but released later that day, with a 1000 shekel bail charge for Yousef Abu Maria.
The occupation arrests citizens and hand interrogation notices in Al-Khalil
The IOF arrested on Sunday citizens from Beit Awa town southwest of Al-Khalil in the occupied West Bank, and handed a liberated prisoner an interrogation notice.
PA security forces wage an arrest and summons campaign in Tulkarem
The Palestinian security forces launched a new arrest and summons campaign against four of Hamas cadres and supporters in Tulkarem and Al-Khalil while they summoned others for interrogation.
IOF soldiers arrest ex-prisoner who served 17 years in jail
The Israeli occupation forces (IOF) arrested ex-prisoner Jamil Misk from his home in downtown Al-Khalil at dawn Tuesday, the Asra center for studies said.
Lawyer: Al-Sarsak is still on hunger strike
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — Mahmoud al-Sarsak is on his 86th day of hunger strike but is drinking milk to prolong his life until his court hearing Thursday, his lawyer said Tuesday. Mohammad Jabarein told Ma’an that Israeli prison officials called him to visit al-Sarsak urgently Sunday because he was in danger of dying. Al-Sarsak was briefly hospitalized that afternoon.
Family unsure over fate of Palestinian hunger striker
The family of a Palestinian hunger striker have said they are awaiting confirmation that he has ended his protest, after the Israeli Prison Service declared he had abandoned it. “(Mahmud) Sarsak ended his hunger strike,” IPS spokeswoman Sivan Weizman said, adding he had taken the decision to end his fast after consulting his lawyer and the prison administration. But Sarsak’s family in Gaza, as well as the Palestinian Prisoners’ Club in Ramallah, said they were yet to be told that the strike was over. “We don’t know if Mahmoud is dead or alive. We don’t know anything about Mahmoud at the moment. I last spoke to him around 3 months ago before his detainment,” Imad Sarsak, Mahmoud’s brother, told Al-Akhbar.
Mahmoud al-Sarsak reaches 88th day on hunger strike
The Palestinian footballer Mahmoud al-Sarsak has reached his 88th day of continual hunger strike in protest at being held in an Israeli prison for the past three years without charge. Al-Sarsak was a student in his third year of a computer programming course when he was arrested on July 22nd 2009 at the Beit Hanoun [Eretz] border crossing while on his way to the West Bank. He played football for the Rafah Services Club and the Palestinian national team. Lawyers visiting al-Sarsak have confirmed that matters have developed and that his state of health is much more serious than was imagined previously. He has been made aware of these developments.
FIFPro: release Mahmoud Sarsak from prison
FIFPro, the voice of all professional footballers in the world, demands that Mahmoud Sarsak be released from prison. The Palestinian national team player has been imprisoned by the Israeli government for three years without any trial. On 22 July 2009 Sarsak – who lives in Rafah in the Gaza Strip – was arrested at a checkpoint when he was on his way to the West Bank for a match with his national team. He was interrogated for thirty days and then imprisoned without any trial or a precise legal charge. Family and friends are not allowed to visit him. They do not know why he is being detained for already nearly three years. According to the Israeli government he is an illegal combatant and therefore they can imprison him indefinitely.
Cantona, FIFA join pressure on Israel, as hunger striker Mahmoud Sarsak determined to reach freedom or death, Ali Abunimah
Eric Cantona, FIFA join international pressure on Israel to free Mahmoud Sarsak as the footballer’s life remains in grave danger and his hunger strike continues.
Prisoner Samer Barq continues his hunger strike
The captive Samer Barq continued his open hunger strike to protest the ongoing administrative detention against him by the occupation authorities.
Minors in detention
As of March 2012, there are approximately 200 Palestinian minors aged 12-18 in Israeli prisons. Minors have more difficulty than adults in dealing with the law enforcement system. The separation from their families, the interrogation, the punishment – all are much more intense and have more significant and longer term impact on the lives of minors. Thus, most judicial systems in the world, including Israel’s, have created separate enforcement systems for minors. Yet Israel’s military law enforcement system, where Palestinian minors are tried and sentenced, treats minors as if they were adults, and apart from a few aspects does not acknowledge that they have rights by virtue of being minors.
Detention, Imprisonment of Palestinians
A hunger strike by about 1,550 Palestinians in Israeli prisons ended with an agreement on 14 May, in which Israel committed to meeting some of the prisoners’ demands in exchange for security guarantees. “If this agreement is implemented, it means a great victory for us and for human rights,” Aber Issa Zakarni, the wife of Abadallah Zakarni, an imprisoned member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) in Jenin, northern West Bank, told IRIN. “But I am also scared. In the end everything might just stay the same.” As of May, about 4,500 Palestinian prisoners were being held in Israeli prisons, with 308 under so-called “administrative detention”, without being charged or put on trial. Another 453 Palestinians from the Gaza Strip are detained. one of them without charge or trial, similar to “administrative” detainees, but based on another law. Such detentions without charge lay at the heart of the hunger strike, which also demanded an end to solitary confinement and better conditions for family visits.
Family committee of political prisoners demands their release from PA jails
The family committee of political prisoners demanded the Palestinian authority to release hunger strikers Abdullah Al-Aker and Mahmoud Oweiwi from its jails.
Israeli court extends administrative detention of Hamas official Abu Aoun
The international Tadamun society for human rights said an Israeli military court extended the administration detention of senior Hamas official Nazih Abu Aoun and prisoner Dawoud Rawajba.
Captive Jerbouni refused medical treatment while shackled
Prisoner Lena Jerboni (37 years) chose to return to her cell in Hasharon prison, despite her deteriorating health condition to get rid of the handcuffs that shackle her hands all the day in hospital.
Palestinian female prisoners protest medical neglect
Palestinian female prisoners in the Israeli Sharon jail have affirmed that they were boycotting the prison’s clinic out of protest at medical neglect.
Liberated prisoner held and tortured in Israeli jail
Ex-prisoner Iyad Abu Fanoun, who was released in the prisoners’ exchange deal, was recaptured and tortured in Israeli detention, Tadamun foundation for human rights said on Sunday.
Israel using tents to accommodate Palestinian prisoners
A human rights organisation has reported that the Israeli prison administration is due to move so many Palestinian prisoners to and from Megiddo Detention Centre that they will be accommodated in tents. In a statement issued on Monday, June11, the International Solidarity Foundation for Human Rights said that around 250 prisoners from the north and south of the country will be moved soon to Megiddo. The authorities will reopen section 7 of the prison, which is tented accommodation, to hold administrative detainees and those with less than three months of their sentence left.
BDS / Activism
London activists protest G4S abuses, complicity in Israeli occupation, Asa Winstanley
Palestine solidarity activists on Thursday protested the annual general meeting of G4S, the massive British-Danish private security company heavily invested in Israel and its colonial West Bank settlements.
In new assault, Israel group’s US front asks City of Los Angeles to sue professor for criticizing Israel, Ali Abunimah
In a new assault on free speech, the US front for Israeli group Shurat Hadin is asking the City Attorney of Los Angeles to sue California State University, Northridge mathematics professor David Klein. The Global Frontier Justice Center claims that Klein is “misusing” state resources by using his university-hosted personal website to express critical opinions and calls for the academic boycott of Israel. The Global Frontier Justice Center made the request after California Attorney General Kamala Harris rejected a similar request last month saying that there was no evidence Klein had done anything wrong.
‘We Are All Hana Shalabi’ activists join protest at British Consulate in Jerusalem
Over 20 students from the ‘We Are All Hana Shalabi’ campaign in Scotland joined Palestinian activists today in a protest against the complicity of the British government in Israel’s apartheid regime. The demonstration was held specifically to highlight the cases of Palestinian hunger strikers Mahmoud Sarsak (84 days) , Akram Al-Rehwai (60 days) and Samer Al-Barq (23 days). Palestinian national footballer Sarsak and Rekhawi are in a ‘very severe’ condition according to Anat Litvin from Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) Israel and in danger of imminent death.
Racism and Discrimination
Human Rights Watch slams Israel migrant law
JERUSALEM — Human Rights Watch on Sunday urged Israel to repeal or amend a law that allows migrants to be detained without charge for up to three years, calling it a violation of “basic rights.” The New York-based group said the new law “punishes asylum seekers for irregularly crossing into Israel, in violation of their basic rights.” “Subjecting irregular border-crossers to potential indefinite detention without charge or access to legal representation would violate the prohibition against arbitrary detention under international human rights law,” it said.
Israel speeds up work on detention center for African migrants in South
Plan to keep migrants away from and out of the cities was triggered by a recent spate of protests and attacks against African migrants in Israel, particularly in southern Tel Aviv.
Israel arrests 213 immigrants in mass round-up
Israel’s immigration police have arrested 213 people, more than half of them from South Sudan, in a series of raids aimed at rounding up and deporting illegal immigrants, officials said on Tuesday.
Women and children rounded up as Israel expels Africans
Israeli authorities on Monday rounded up dozens of African migrants slated for deportation, most of them from South Sudan, as the government weighs tough penalties against Israelis who help illegal aliens. The Population and Migration Authority said in a statement that officers arrested 45 migrants from South Sudan, along with three Nigerians, two Ghanaians, two Chinese, one from Ivory Coast, one from the Philippines and one whose nationality is being checked.
Africans fear more violence as Knesset members incite racism in Tel Aviv, Mya Guarnieri
Violence against Africans in Israel — and inflammatory rhetoric by Israeli parliamentarians — is nothing new, and is on the rise.
Desire for ‘Jewish state’ fuels Israeli xenophobia
Israeli Knesset member Danny Danon of the ruling Likud Party, who is chairperson of a xenophobic organisation called Deportation Now, recently spoke at a rally inciting the xenophobic riots in Tel Aviv. He said of foreigners, mainly African migrants and refugees: ‘The infiltrators are a national plague and we must deport them immediately before it’s too late. The Sudanese can go back to Sudan and the rest should be deported to other countries in Africa and eastern Europe.’
‘Ha’aretz’ article in Hebrew suggests that racism is inherent in Zionism, Philip Weiss
There is a great piece up at the Haaretz Hebrew site by Yonatan Mandel, a researcher in the Department of Politics and Government in Beersheba and the Van Leer Institute in Jerusalem. Sol Salbe of the Middle East News Service, Melbourne Australia, translated it, and Ofer Neiman sent it along. My excerpt involves the Ulpana Hill controversy, in which West Bank settlers are facing eviction because their homes were built on Palestinian land.
Other News and Developments
Ghannoushi: Arab Spring liberated the people and will liberate Jerusalem
Sheikh Rashid Ghannoushi confirmed that during his visit to Egypt, he met the Egyptian political forces and the former presidential candidates and discussed the Palestinian issue.
Former Israeli official: U.S. suspects Jonathan Pollard was not only Israeli spy operating on American soil
Former ambassador to Washington Itamar Rabinovich tell Israel Radio that 25 years later, U.S. is still using Pollard to punish Israel.
On visit to Washington, Peres to present Obama with signed petition for Jonathan Pollard’s release
Israeli President to be awarded the Medal of Freedom by U.S. President; intends to discuss fate of convicted Israeli spy and nuclear talks with Iran.
Did the Obama Admin. Intentionally Exclude Israel from a Major Counterterrorism Conference?
An Israeli newspaper is reporting that the U.S. blocked Israel’s participation in a meeting of the State Department’s flagship counterterrorism project, the Global Counterterrorism Forum (GCTF). Considering Israel’s vast experience in fighting terror as a result of its frequent targeting by Palestinian terrorism, it’s surprising that Israel would be excluded from the meeting which took place on Friday in Istanbul.
Resheq praises Turkey for preventing the entity from participating in GCTF
Member of the Political Bureau of Hamas, Izzat Resheq, praised the success of the Turkish government to prevent the Zionist entity from participating in the GCTF hosted by Istanbul last Friday.
‘White House believes Benjamin Netanyahu prefers Romney’
New Yorker magazine uncovers Obama’s foreign policy plans for a potential second term: ‘He won’t get personally involved in the peace process unless he is certain Netanyahu wants a deal.’
A look at Israel’s mass evacuation plan
Ministers to discuss plan for evacuation of hundreds of thousands of Israelis to Eilat, Arava area in case of missile attack.
Knesset to mark Armenian genocide, day before release of Gaza flotilla report
Recognition of Armenian genocide perpetrated by Turkey comes alongside Turkish lawsuit against senior Israeli officials involved in IDF raid on the Gaza-bound ship, the Mavi Marmara.
Fatah has secret $39 million bank account in Jordan, says Arafat’s ‘moneyman’
Yasser Arafat’s former financial adviser, who was recently found guilty of embezzlement and sentenced in absentia, has revealed that Fatah has a secret bank account in Jordan with a balance of $39 million.
Abbas son says to sue US magazine over wealth claims
RAMALLAH (Ma’an) — Yasser Abbas, the eldest of President Mahmoud Abbas, said Monday evening he was preparing a legal case against a US magazine who last week reported on his business interests. The Foreign Policy report examined Yasser and his brother Tariq’s leadership of a number of Palestinian companies, in light of the recent corruption allegations by Muhammad Rashid, former adviser to late President Yasser Arafat. Rashid, who was convicted by a PA court of embezzlement last week, recently threatened to reveal financial corruption amongst the current Palestinian leadership.
Five Palestinian athletes to fly their flag at the London 2012 Olympics
Five Palestinian athletes are getting ready to take part in the 2012 London Olympic Games, to be held on July 27. The five athletes are currently training outside the Palestinian territories in various countries.
Analysis / Op-ed
Israel and Palestine: International Law Updates
This brief report provides information related to three recent developments in international law related to Israel and Palestine: The International Criminal Court Prosecutor’s decision as to whether Palestine qualifies as a state for purposes of accepting the court’s jurisdiction; UNESCO’s granting of membership to Palestine; and Ongoing investigations concerning Operation Cast Lead.
Mahmoud Abbas: Negotiating Palestinian State Away, Houssam Kanafani
There had been no indications that the Palestinian Authority (PA) intends to forfeit its bid for statehood at the UN. But signs of this suddenly emerged during Mahmoud Abbas’s visit to Paris, where he announced the end of ‘the dream.’
A non-member state: what’s next?
President Mahmoud Abbas has warned that if all attempts to return to the negotiating table fail then the Palestinian Authority will approach the UN General Assembly seeking recognition as a non-member state. He cited Switzerland and the Vatican State as examples of such states. Of course, if Palestine is recognised as a state, and admitted to the UN as an observer, albeit a non-member, then the conflict with the Israeli occupation becomes a clash over borders between two states. In the words of senior Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat, the end result would be a “country under occupation”, and not “occupied territories”. However, such rational thought from Erekat should not actually apply to the case of Palestine. When Germany invaded and occupied France it set up a collaborating government, as did the US in Vietnam. The Israelis, though, are a group of people who have occupied Palestine and displaced the indigenous people under a dubious pretext.
Hamas curiously awaits elections in Egypt
GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — As Egypt prepares for a run-off presidential contest this week, Hamas is banking on the success of the Muslim Brotherhood candidate Mohamed Mursi, experts say. Gaza political analyst Mukheimar Abu Saada said that a Mursi victory against former Mubarak premier Ahmed Shafiq will be put to good use by Hamas. “Hamas will use Mursi to try and impose its stipulations regarding the upcoming unity government, and if he does not win, Hamas will be in a weaker position,” Abu Saada told Ma’an.
Palestinian footballer fighting for his life is not a story, but Netanyahu’s football injury is, Ira Glunts
While news is scarce about the health condition of Palestinian footballer, Mahmoud Sarsak, who has been on an 88-day hunger strike, ironically there are numerous reports about the Israeli PM pulling a tendon during a staged football event for an upcoming travel documentary. Middle East Online is reporting that Mahmoud Sarsak is now negotiating with the Israeli authorities who have agreed to his release. The web news site claims that Sarsak is demanding that he be given a release date in writing. Sarsak is said to have previously rejected a proposal of exile to Norway. Earlier AFP reported that the Israeli Prison Service (IPS) announced today that Sarsak had ended his hunger strike, but gave no further details. The prisoner’s family in Gaza reacted to the report by denying that the footballer had agreed to end his fast.
Double standard: ‘NYT’ covered Israeli hunger strikers after 4 days, Philip Weiss
Mahmoud Sarsak has been on hunger strike for 12 weeks to protest the fact that he was arrested three years ago and has never been charged. He is at death’s door, his supporters are issuing international pleas for action, and there are rumors of a deal going forward to save his life, and save Israel the political cost of his death in custody.
Why has there been no ‘Palestinian spring’? One word: Oslo, Ben White
The 1993 accords turned the Palestinian struggle from one of resisting Israeli colonialism into occupation management. Ever since the uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt began a regional earthquake 18 months ago, commentators have wondered about the absence of a “Palestinian spring”. Attempting to explain this is useful, since it also helps to shed light on key problems with the now-comatose peace process. To some extent, the question “Why no Palestinian spring?” can be answered with one word: Oslo. The Oslo accords, signed in 1993, established a paradigm where the Palestinian struggle for return and decolonisation was turned into a facade of sovereignty, piecemeal concessions and occupation management.
For love of money, not Israel: Will Obama cave in to Israel’s demands to free spy Jonathan Pollard?, Ali Abunimah
Will President Obama cave in to Israeli demands that he free Jonathan Pollard, the ex-US naval intelligence officer convicted of spying for Israel against the United States 27 years ago?
Should we call it apartheid?, Omar Baddar
Among informed and honest observers, there is no dispute that Israel is imposing a separate and grossly unequal system of ethnic discrimination on the Palestinians, most blatantly in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT). Setting aside the complex system of discrimination within Israel itself, one cannot look at the separate road systems in the OPT, the unequal distribution of water, the systematic denial of Palestinian building permits while Israel expands illegal settlements, and so on, and fail to see that that this is, indeed and by definition, apartheid.
Richard Falk: No issue needs more open debate than moral and political cost of I/P policy (going back to USS, Annie Robbins
On June 8th the eminent legal scholar Richard Falk gave this speech at St. Mark’s Episcopal Cathedral in Seattle. Falk is the former UN Special Rapporteur for Human Rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, and he is a professor of international law at Princeton University, and a visiting professor at the University of California, Santa Barbara. It is impossible to summon the power of this speech with an excerpt. Here is my partial transcript.
Why Shakespeare is … Palestinian
Our series celebrating the World Shakespeare festival continues with a piece exploring how no other writers seems as switched-on to the violent complexity of life in the present-day Middle East.
Can Zionism Fool All of the People All of the Time?, Tariq Shadid
The Israeli colonization of Palestine continues unabated, and the political show that protects and enables it has become a boring and repetitive charade. At the same time, it serves to feed the agendas, wallets and speeches of politicians and others who like to pretend that they believe in a ‘negotiated solution’. It doesn’t take a genius to see how this deceptive game works, but it may be helpful to those whose eyes are filled with the sand that routinely gets sprinkled into them by Zionist spin doctors and their supporters around the world, to have the scenario spelled out in a clear and unambiguous way.
‘Social Justice’ Requires an End to Occupation
The demonstration of June 9 marking 45 years of Occupation connects the struggle against the Occupation with the struggle for social justice, sharpening the debate over whether the “social” should be linked to the “political.” Last summer’s protests were careful to distinguish between the two. In the protests’ virtual world, it was permissible to talk only of “social” issues. To avoid any “political” stain, the protest leaders wrapped themselves in Israeli flags and concluded the vigils with Hatikva, Israel’s national anthem, in a show of consensual patriotism. (In Israel, “political” refers to anything concerned with Israel’s relations to the Palestinians or the Arab world – Ed.)
I Condemn, Do You?, Asad AbuKhalil
There are rules for discourse in the US, particularly if you are an academic, and more particularly if you espouse views that are moderately or sharply different from the stance of the US government. If you are dealing with the Middle East, the rules apply more rigidly. You are to preface and conclude your remarks by condemnation. You are always reminded that when you disagree with the US position on foreign policy, you do so at your own peril. The intellectual and political intimidation is not so subtle. It is rather universal and widespread.
The Human Cost of the War on Terror: Body Counts, M. Reza Pirbhai
In the early days of the ‘War on Terror,’ US General Tommy Franks declared, “We don’t do body counts.” He was referring, of course, to the dead of Afghanistan. That the names of 9/11 victims have been appropriately written in stone, only makes it doubly striking that the war waged in their names generates little interest on non-US or NATO civilian deaths. In fact, a war now in its 11th year, comprising the invasion and occupation of two countries, as well as the ongoing bombing of at least three more, has not produced any holistic studies on its direct and indirect casualties.
Bahrain: Activist Detained for Twitter Comments
(Beirut) – Bahraini authorities should immediately release the human rights activist Nabeel Rajab and drop all charges based on his public discussion of political issues. Authorities have repeatedly issued summonses for him to go in for questioning in the past few months, detained him from May 5 to May 28, 2012, and detained him again on June 6 for statements he made on Twitter calling for the Prime Minister to step down, and discussing his visit to a village outside of Manama.
Bahraini boy describes arrest and dentention
11-year-old accused of “joining an illegal gathering” tells Al Jazeera how he was chased down while playing in street.
Bahrain releases 11-year-old on parole
Bahraini authorities released an 11-year-old child on Monday over three weeks after he was arrested for allegedly participating in an illegal gathering. Ali Hassan was arrested last month, with police claiming he was burning tires at a roadblock. His family have dismissed the accusations, claiming that Ali was only playing with his friends. Mehsen Al-Alawi, Hassan’s lawyer, told Al-Akhbar that a not guilty plea was presented before the court, but the child was released on parole.
Boy, 11, detained in Bahrain crackdown, rights groups say
(CNN) — An 11-year-old boy has been detained by Bahraini authorities for nearly a month for allegedly participating in an “illegal gathering” and for burning tires, an arrest that human rights groups say comes amid the country’s continued crackdown on anti-government protesters. Rights groups on Saturday demanded the release of the boy, Ali Hasan, following news that Bahrain’s Juvenile Court ordered the youth moved from a jail to a juvenile detention facility.
Bahraini elderly woman dies of inhaling toxic tear gas
An 80-year-old Bahraini woman has died due to inhalation of tear gas fired by the Manama regime forces. Reports did not indicate the exact date and place of the death of the Bahraini woman. The elderly woman is the latest victim of tear gas fired by regime forces against anti-government demonstrations in the country over the past weeks. On Saturday, regime forces once again used tear gas against anti-regime demonstrators in the capital, Manama. Meanwhile, witnesses said a number of protesters were injured when Bahraini police attacked protesters in several other towns in Bahrain on June 8. Bahraini demonstrators hold King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa responsible for the death of protesters during the popular uprising that began in February 2011.
Bahrain’s Women Doctors Tell of Assault, Threats and Torture
“Either you cooperate and say whatever we want and we’ll treat you like a human, or you get stubborn and we beat you like a donkey.” These words were spoken to Dr Fatima Haji, a 32-year-old Bahraini doctor who was last year convicted of incitement to overthrow the Bahraini monarchy for helping injured protestors during the uprising of February 2011. Masked men had forcibly removed her from her home, seized her personal belongings and driven her to an unknown location. There, she was interrogated by strangers – her face pounded by their fists until she tasted blood. She was beaten with a hose and shocked with electric prods, then forced to behave like an animal while her interrogators humiliated her for their own amusement. Men blew in her mouth, whispered in her ear, and threatened to rape her. She was made to stand on her feet for hours.
Facing prison for treating Bahrain’s wounded, Rula Al Saffar
This week, I expect to hear if I will be going to prison for 15 years. The verdict on my appeal, as well as those of 19 other medics convicted in a sham Bahraini military trial last year, is due on Thursday. The Bahraini regime targeted us for treating protesters who were injured in democracy protests. I lived and worked in the United States for many years, some spent studying at Widener University in Chester. It’s where I learned to volunteer, and last year, when demonstrations erupted in Bahrain, that’s what I did. Salmaniya Medical Complex, the country’s main public hospital, was overwhelmed by protesters hurt by regime forces, so I went to the emergency room to help treat them. Several weeks later, on entering a government office, I was blindfolded and handcuffed. Over five months of detention, I was beaten, electrocuted, and sexually harassed. Then I was convicted. All just for doing my job.
Upcoming Medics Appeal Verdict Will Test Bahrain’s Commitment to Human Rights Reform
Washington, DC – Human Rights First today said that this coming Thursday’s verdict in the appeal of 20 medics sentenced to long prison terms by the Bahrain military court for treating protestors injured in last year’s uprising is a telling moment in testing the Bahrain authorities’ commitment to true human rights reform. “These medics were sentenced to long jail terms just for doing their job and fulfilling their obligations under the Hippocratic Oath,” said Human Rights First’s Brian Dooley, who has monitored the medics’ cases since it began. “The authorities in Bahrain have has an opportunity on Thursday to demonstrate a commitment to human rights and to show the world they are serious about correcting errors made in the past. They must not let it slip by.”
Salah Alshayeb: One of the Overlooked Victims of Bahrain’s Revolution
Most international attention on the Bahrain crackdown on human rights has focused on a relatively small number of cases – the prominent dissidents jailed for long terms, those tortured to death in custody, the medics targeted for treating injured protestors., Thousands more have been largely ignored by the media – those who were arrested, mistreated and then released without charge, or those who were dismissed from their jobs for perceived association with the pro-democracy protests.
In Bahrain, the spark behind Pearl Revolution still glows
ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates – A little over a year ago, hundreds of thousands of people in Bahrain were coming together nightly to demand democratic reforms from the monarchs who have ruled this tiny country for decades. The Pearl Revolution, as it was called, sought to emulate the Arab Spring uprisings that were sprouting throughout the region and would lead to the toppling of dictators in Egypt, Libya and Yemen. Today, the traffic circle in the capital of Manama known as Pearl Square, where many pro-democracy rallies were held, is guarded by police and ringed with barbed wire. The protesters are gone, crushed by police and troops sent by fellow monarchs in Saudi Arabia. Critics of the regime are now being jailed unjustly, says Amnesty International. “The situation is worsening; we are turning into a military state,” says activist Yehia Hadid, who lives in exile in Lebanon.
‘They want to kill me’ in prison, Mubarak says as his health worsens
Egypt’s ousted president Hosni Mubarak, now serving a life sentence over protester killings, said the authorities “want to kill” him in jail as his health deteriorated, his lawyer told AFP on Monday. “He says: ‘They want to kill me. Save me, Mr. Farid, find me a solution,” said Farid al-Deeb, his chief lawyer in the murder and corruption trial which ended this month with his sentencing.
And the Emmy goes to: Doctors use defibrillator on Egypt’s Mubarak
Doctors used a defibrillator twice on Hosni Mubarak Monday when they could not find a pulse, the latest health crisis for the ousted Egyptian president since he was sentenced to life and moved to a prison hospital nine days ago, security officials said.
Egypt: Investigate attacks on women protesters
The Egyptian authorities must immediately launch an investigation into reports of sexual harassment and assaults against women protesters during a demonstration in Cairo, Amnesty International said today. A group of activists calling for an end to sexual harassment of women protesters were reportedly groped and punched by a mob of men as they marched across Tahrir Square on Friday. The assault comes amid increasing reports of sexual harassment against women protesters in Egypt. “These women stood up to demand an end to sexual harassment. What they got was intimidation and sexual assault,” said Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa, Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui.
Sabbahi to Tunisia’s Ghannouchi: There is defamation campaign against me
Former presidential candidate Hamdeen Sabbahi told Tunisian Ennahda Party head Rachid Ghannouchi that the Muslim Brotherhood and its presidential candidate Mohamed Morsy have organized a defamation campaign against him. During a meeting with Ghannouchi at the headquarters of his presidential campaign, Sabbahi confirmed that he is not backing Morsy or Ahmed Shafiq in the runoff election on 16 and 17 June. Sabbahi lauded the Tunisian revolution and the Ennahda Party for not monopolizing power after the revolution. Ghannouchi asserted the importance of nationalist-Islamic cooperation in Egypt, adding that it is Egypt’s destiny to lead the Arab and Islamic nations. He also confirmed that Egypt and Tunisia both need a collaborative rule in which no party monopolizes power.
Shafiq wins 100% of votes cast by Egyptians in Israel
Voter tells Ynet: ‘On one hand, I don’t want to see the liar Morsi turn Egypt into Afghanistan. On the other, Shafiq is indeed a good man, but he’s from the old regime and behaves like Mubarak’.
Morsy dominates expat vote in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Qatar
Muslim Brotherhood presidential candidate Mohamed Morsy dominated expatriate runoff-round voting in the Gulf nations of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Qatar, taking in 127,587 votes to his opponent Ahmed Shafiq’s 29,287, according to an online statement from Morsy’s campaign. Mahmoud Auf, the Egyptian ambassador to Riyadh, was quoted in state-owned news agency MENA as saying Morsy won 74,070 votes in the capital to just 7,778 for Shafiq. He added that 92,255 Egyptian expatriates voted in the runoff round of the presidential poll, noting 614 of those votes were invalid and 6,750 excluded. The Morsy campaign statement went on to say that its candidate got 38,739 votes in Kuwait, while Shafiq took 18,382. In Qatar, the statement said, Morsy won 14,678 votes and Shafiq 3,127. Earlier in the month, the Egyptian Foreign Ministry said around 310,000 Egyptian expatriates voted in the runoff.
No MKs wanted to meet Egyptians, so Lieberman chose the less qualified
Egyptian delegation will be headed by the founder of the liberal Reform and Development Party, MP Mohammed Anwar Esmat al-Sadat, the nephew of former Egyptian President Anwar Sadat.
Egypt election boycott gains momentum
The movement to skip Egypt’s presidential runoff election highlights voters’ displeasure over their ballot options. CAIRO — A movement to boycott this week’s runoff presidential election is gaining momentum, threatening Egypt’s restive transition to democracy and revealing a sharpening disdain by voters over the choice between a conservative Islamist and a holdover from the old guard.
Egypt’s liberals quit constitutional meeting
Accusing Islamists of trying to take seats allocated to secular parties, liberals walk out of a constitutional meeting.
Photo Essay: Remembering Khaled Said
June 6, 2012 marked the second anniversary of Khaled Said’s brutal beating death at the hands of Egyptian policemen. In honor of the day, a commemorative protest was held in Khaled’s hometown of Alexandria, Egypt, where graffiti depictions of his image were plastered on innumerable city streets. Khaled was a simple man who went to the internet café beneath his house one day never to return. After being taken by his brother with a mobile phone at the morgue, the picture of Khaled’s deformed face went viral, becoming one of many factors that sparked the Egyptian Revolution. The signs of torture, which were obvious from the post-mortem image, contrasted sourly with official claims he had died trying to swallow a bag of drugs. Khaled represented a normal young Egyptian man. He was neither a political activist nor a member of the Muslim Brotherhood or any other religious organization. Many claim that Khaled was targeted because he had incriminating footage on his mobile phone of police splitting drug money with criminals.
Movie Review: ‘Tahrir: Liberation Square,’ Chronicles 2011 Cairo Protests
“Tahrir: Liberation Square” plunges into the crowds of demonstrators in Cairo in January 2011 during the days leading up to the fall of Hosni Mubarak.
Egypt Poised for Tahrir III
If the elections of May 23/24 would have been for a proportional parliament the pro-Tahrir forces with some 40% of the electorate behind them had emerged as the strongest force. Actually that is a big step ahead compared to the parliamentary elections of last autumn. The run off will be, nevertheless, between the two other players of the power triangle: namely the old regime backed by the army and the Muslim Brotherhood (MB). The Tahrir will have to rely on taking to the street. The recent acquittal of Mubarak sons and police generals poor fresh fuel into the fire. Huge popular mobilisations are possible.
Romney aide to Haaretz: After he’s elected, Iran will see there’s a new sheriff in town
Former ambassador Richard Williamson says U.S. Republican candidate will make military threats against Tehran credible, arm Syria’s rebels, and visit Israel before going anywhere else.
Islamic world must have nuclear weapons, says Iran
Iran is now telling the world that in order to confront aggression from America and Israel, it must have nuclear weapons.
World powers cannot bully us: Iran
“The only path” for world powers holding talks with Iran on its nuclear activities is to accept Tehran’s position as they cannot be bullied into submission, a top military representative for the country’s supreme leader said on Sunday, according to the Mehr news agency. “Unfortunately, the P5+1 logic, especially that of America, is of bullying, which is in no way acceptable to our people and officials,” said Ali Saeedi, a senior figure in Iran’s powerful Revolutionary Guards who acts as agent for supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
US waives sanctions over Iran oil
The US exempts seven countries, including India and South Korea, from economic sanctions in return for cutting their imports of Iranian oil.
US exempts Turkey from Iran sanctions
Turkey’s exemption from US financial sanctions because it cut purchases of Iranian oil is limited to 180 days, starting from June 11, a US diplomat said on Tuesday. The diplomat told reporters that Turkey’s Halkbank will be able to make Turkish refiner Tupras’ payments for crude oil to the Iranian Central Bank during this 180 day period. US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on Monday the US would exempt India, South Korea, Turkey and four other countries from financial sanctions because they have significantly cut purchases of Iranian oil.
Iran must not execute five Arab minority prisoners
The Iranian authorities must immediately overturn the death sentences of five members of Iran’s Ahwazi Arab minority who were tried unfairly and may face imminent public execution, Amnesty International said after the prisoners were moved to an unknown location at the weekend. The men were transferred out of the general section of Karoun Prison in the south-western city of Ahvaz on Saturday, prompting concerns their death sentences may be about to be carried out. The group includes three brothers, Abd al-Rahman Heidari, Taha Heidari and Jamshid Heidari, their cousin Mansour Heidari and Amir Muawi.
Israel lobby group Iran180 “sodomizes” Ahmadinejad effigy with nuke at San Francisco Pride, Benjamin Doherty
On Friday, Maya Mikdashi posted on Jadaliyya a photo from Flickr from the 2011 San Francisco Pride parade. “Crowds cheer as a blow-up doll of Iranian President Ahmadinejad gets raped/sodomized with a nuke by a dungeon master.” The original photo on Flickr carried the title “Ahmadinejad Getting Fucked in the Ass with a Nuclear Weapon.”
Pro-Israel Lobby Uses Sexual Humiliation, Gay Pornography in Anti-Iran Propaganda War, Richard Silverstein
Ben Doherty published an illuminating report at Electronic Intifada about a new initiative by the American Jewish pro-Israel lobby to smear Iran. There are so many that it wouldn’t be newsworthy but for the fact that this new group, Iran180, created under the auspices of the New York Jewish Community Relations Council, is using sexual humiliation and abuse as a political tool smearing Iran’s president.
Cleric and Politician Unhurt in Attacks; 4 Other Iraqis Killed
At least four Iraqis were killed and six more were wounded in light violence. A Kurdish cleric and an Iraqiya party official were the targets of two more attacks that only produced material damages.
Six killed, 38 wounded in Iraq mortar attack
BAGHDAD (Reuters) – Two mortar bombs struck a square filled with Shi’ite Muslim pilgrims in Iraq’s capital Baghdad on Sunday, killing at least six people and wounding 38, police and hospital sources said. Although overall violence in Iraq has dropped, Sunni Islamist insurgents with links to al Qaeda are still capable of lethal attacks and hit Shi’ite targets to stir up the kind of sectarian pressure that almost led to civil war in 2006-2007. Sectarian tensions have been high in Iraq since the withdrawal of U.S.
Mortar attack kills Iraqi pilgrims
Two mortar bombs struck a square filled with Shia Muslim pilgrims in Iraq’s capital Baghdad on Sunday, killing at least six people and wounding 38, police and hospital sources said. Although overall violence in Iraq has dropped significantly, Islamist insurgents with links to al-Qaeda are still capable of lethal attacks and often hit Shia targets to stir up the kind of sectarian pressure that almost led to civil war in 2006-2007.
Iraq: The Terrible State Murder of Abed Hamid Hamoud
Shocking details have emerged from an impeccable source (not named for obvious reasons) of the execution on Thursday, June 7, in Baghdad, of Abed Hamid Hamoud, President Saddam Hussein’s former personal secretary and aide. Mr Hamoud, fourth on America’s 2003 asinine, juvenile playing card list of Iraq’s sovereign government, has been held in jail since June 2003, after being arrested by US occupying forces. He was sentenced to death in October 2010 with former Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Tareq Aziz and former intelligence chief Sadoun Shakir, heightening fears for their imminent execution. “What you have not heard”, states the commentator, “is that (Mr Hamoud) was led to his execution whilst under the impression that he was going for a medical check up. The Iraqi government didn’t even notify his family or relatives or make arrangements with them to deliver his body.”
Israel admits Hezbollah can hit Tel Aviv
Israel will be forced to evacuate the entire population of Tel Aviv if it is hit by missiles, including those from Lebanese resistance group Hezbollah, the commander in charge of Israel’s central region has said. Colonel Adam Zusman, chief of the Home Front Command in Israel’s Gush Dan region, which encompasses the city of Tel Aviv and its environs, said an attack on the center of the country would force massive evacuations. “In case of a missile attack on the center of Israel, especially unconventional, the population from Tel Aviv and other cities will be evacuated and relocated in other areas of the country,” Zusman told AFP in an interview. “Massive evacuations will take place in case of unconventional attacks and if buildings are destroyed by a missile.” When Israel bombed Lebanon in 2006, retaliatory Hezbollah missiles were able to hit targets in northern Israel but did not effect the city of Tel Aviv.
Lebanese Foil Israeli Plan at Wazzani Area
Hundreds of Lebanese citizens thwarted the Zionist enemy’s scheme which aimed at keeping hikers away from the area of the Wazzani River through practicing daily provocations and building new military posts.
Lebanese National Dialogue: Toning Down the Opposition
The 11th round of national dialogue held on Monday ended with an agreement on keeping the Syrian crisis out of Lebanese affairs, despite calls to the contrary by the March 14 forces.
Lebanese Women in Gaza: No Way Home
Lebanese women married to Palestinians and living in Gaza face difficulties in returning to Lebanon for visits, including the difficulty of obtaining visas for their children.
Lebanon – Syria
Miqati: We Won’t Allow Arms Smuggling
Prime Minister Najib Miqati said on Tuesday that the Lebanese government was keen to distance the country from the Syrian crisis, stressing the authorities would not allow the arms smuggling along the border.
Abducted Lebanese man returns from Syria
A Lebanese man kidnapped in Syria has been handed over to Lebanese military, the National News Agency confirmed on Tuesday. Muhammad Sleiman Al-Ahmad had been detained by unknown forces on the weekend, as a series of tit-for-tat abductions intensified in northern Lebanon and Syria. The abductions have taken on a sectarian element, with Sunni militias taking Alawis and vice versa, increasing concerns that the Syria crisis was slipping over the border into Lebanon. Al-Ahmad was returned to Lebanon on Tuesday afternoon and was due to be returned to his family later in the day.
Fresh Syria-related kidnappings in northern Lebanon
At least seven Lebanese and Syrian citizens have been kidnapped in northern Lebanon near the border with Syria in recent days, the first such reported abductions fueled by tensions over the uprising in Syria that have spilled into its small neighbor. Residents said on Monday the abductions started on Saturday when a hardline Sunni Lebanese supporter of the Syrian revolt against President Bashar Assad was kidnapped by Lebanese Alawis. A string of tit-for-tat abductions along sectarian lines followed over the weekend, they said.
Kidnapping of `Alawites in North Lebanon
You did not read about this at all. So the Syrian regime kidnapped a Lebanese guy presumably involved in arms smuggling to Syria, and the Lebanese “pro-Western” Hariri and Salafite gangs, went on a rampage and kidnapped various `Alawites at random to pressure the regime to release the guy.
Rival Lebanese politicians agree to Syria dissociation
Rival leaders in Lebanon agreed on Monday that the country must not become a base for smuggling arms and insurgents into Syria while rejecting the idea of a buffer zone between the two countries. The political leaders agreed to keep “Lebanon from turning into a proxy of regional and international conflicts,” according to a statement issued by President Michel Sleiman’s office following a National Dialogue meeting. Sleiman had urged the resumption of the talks, suspended for the past 18 months, in light of deadly sectarian clashes linked to the uprising in neighboring Syria.
Hizballah, Development, and the Political Economy of Pain: For Syria, What is “Left” (Part 3-Final), Bassam Haddad
[This is a third part in a series under the title of “For Syria, What is Left?” The first two parts can be accessed (1) here and (2) here. Arabic Translations can be found (1) here and (2) here.]. The enormity of the unfolding tragedy in Syria will dwarf the content of the analysis below. I have been waiting for the right time to complete this series, but matters kept getting worse, and we are now looking into the abyss. But this is not an article about what is happening in Syria today; rather, it is about some of the discursive battles among parts of the political “Left” on the question of the Syrian uprising and its implications. I would like to submit my apologies in advance regarding what may seem like cold calculations to some readers. My position regarding the brutality of the Syrian regime historically and today, as well as the sentiment behind the uprisings and, later, some of its deeply problematic turns, has been made clear in previous writings (here and elsewhere), especially regarding my opposition to foreign military intervention. I will not dwell on these matters below. Also, there will be no mention of names (which, admittedly, comes at the expense of this piece’s credibility, but not its tenor).
UN puts Syria on list for killing children
A U.N. report released Monday includes Syrian government forces and their allied “shabiha” militias for the first time on a list of 52 governments and armed groups that recruit, kill or sexually attack children in armed conflicts.
UN observers confirm Syria aerial attacks
Monitors and joint envoy Annan cite increasing use of helicopter gunships, mortars and tanks against opposition areas.
Ten killed as Syrian troops pound Deir Ezzor: NGO
Syrian forces pounded a neighbourhood of the eastern city of Deir Ezzor with mortar fire on Tuesday, killing 10 civilians including a young girl, a monitoring group said.
Syrian troops renew shelling of Homs; 38 killed
Syrian government forces pounded parts of central Homs province Sunday in a renewed push to regain control of rebel-held territories, and activists said at least 38 people were killed by shelling there over the past 24 hours.
The Lede Blog: Video From Syrian City Under Bombardment
A live video stream opened a window onto the heavy fighting in the embattled Syrian city of Homs
Syrian Security Forces Killed in Clashes With Rebels
Six Syrian soldiers were killed and another 26 were buried with official ceremonies, as attacks by rebels across the country increased the pressure on President Bashar al-Assad’s army.
UN observers in Syria attacked by crowds, shot at
The United Nations says members of its observer team in Syria were attacked by angry crowds as they tried to reach an embattled mountain village near President Bashar Assad’s hometown. The vehicles also were later shot at.
Vatican: Christians expelled from war-torn Syrian town
BEIRUT — Much of the Christian population of the besieged Syrian city of Qusair has abandoned the town after an “ultimatum” from the rebel military chief there, reports Agenzia Fides, the official Vatican news agency. The ultimatum expired Thursday, the agency reported, adding that most of the city’s 10,000 Christians have fled the city, situated in the battleground province of Homs. “Some mosques in the city have relaunched the message, announcing from the minarets: ‘Christians must leave Quasir,’ ” read the report from the Vatican agency, which has sought to document the parlous plight of Syria’s ancient Christian community.
A German press account of Hula massacre
“The prime German daily, the center-right Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, has a new report (in German) about the Houla massacre. The author is Rainer Hermann who studied and speaks Arabic, Turkish and Farsi. Hermann also has a PhD in economics and wrote his thesis about the modern Syrian social history. He currently lives in Abu Dhabi and has been reporting from the Middle East for over 22 years. What follows is my translation of the relevant parts of his report, which is datelined from Damascus, about the Houla massacre.
‘Dozens of Kuwaiti jihadists’ join different nationalities to enlist in Free Syrian Army
Dozens of Kuwaitis “jihadists” have crossed the Turkish border into Syria to support the Free Syrian Army’s (FSA) fight against the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, a Kuwaiti news report stated on Sunday.
AUDIO: Syria: ‘Harrowing’ stories of refugees
The International Development minister Alan Duncan has said he has heard “harrowing” and “heartbreaking” stories from Syrian refugees.
Opposition chief urges Assad to hand power to vice president
The new leader of Syria’s exiled opposition called Monday on embattled President Bashar al-Assad to transfer power to his deputy Faruq al-Shara, the Anatolia news agency reported.
Assad retains control of Syria chemical arms: Israel
JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israel believes there is no immediate risk of Syria’s chemical weapons falling into the hands of militants, a senior minister said on Tuesday, despite its growing worries about fighting there which has prompted Israeli calls for outside military intervention. “At this stage, the Syrian regime has firm control over the chemical weapons arsenal, but there are al Qaeda elements in Syria and therefore we are maintaining close scrutiny,” Vice Prime Minister Moshe Yaalon, a former armed forces chief, said.
Fire in Syria (I): Preparations on the Turkish and Lebanese Borders, Ibrahim al-Amin
Syria and the wider region are witnessing preparations for a phase that can be described as critical. The international and regional contexts reveal the severity of the upcoming battle, not just in Syria but in all the countries of Bilad al-Sham (the Levant), spreading to the remaining Arab countries and the whole region.
Fire in Syria (II): The Regime’s Response, Ibrahim al-Amin
The disarray amongst the Syrian opposition is all-pervading. The factions are at political loggerheads, trading charges of treason and incompetence. Their preoccupation with meaningless media appearances persists, amid reports of embezzlement of “the revolution’s funds.” The foreign capitals and supposed “think-tanks” that have been striving to unify the Syrian opposition meanwhile voice growing exasperation at the elusiveness of their task.
Syria Alternatives (I): Man Cannot Live by Guns Alone
Since the start of the Syrian uprising, influential groups have emerged on the ground which have been eclipsed in the media by the high-profile exile politicians who enjoy international backing.
Syrian Crisis: Three’s a Crowd, Amal Saad-Ghorayeb
The conflict in Syria has recast the political fault lines in the Mideast. Divisions that were once demarcated by ideology and religion, are today centered around the issue of overthrowing the Assad government. Arab leftists, nationalists and Islamists are now divided between and amongst themselves over the Syrian question, and have borne yet another quasi-movement, the anti-interventionist “third-way” camp. Third-wayers, comprised of intellectuals and activists from academia, the mainstream media and NGOs, support elements in the home-grown opposition, reject the Syrian National Council (SNC) on account of its US-NATO-Israeli-Arab backing, and reject the Assad leadership on account of its repression of dissent and its alleged worthlessness to the Resistance project.
Other World News
Justices Reject Guantánamo Detainees’ Appeal
Human rights groups said the cases presented questions about whether an earlier ruling giving detainees a right to challenge their imprisonment was being followed.
NATO to only bomb Afghan civilians “as last resort”
NATO has issued orders to restrict air strikes on insurgents hiding in residential homes in Afghanistan after an allied raid that left up to 18 civilians dead, a top US general said Monday. The head of the coalition force, General John Allen, handed down “guidance that we will not employ aerial-delivered munitions on a civilian dwelling, unless, of course, it is the last resort, and it is, in fact, to ensure the defense of our soldiers,” Lieutenant General Curtis Scaparrotti, deputy commander of US forces, told reporters via video link from Kabul.
British convoy in Libya hit by rocket
A British diplomatic convoy was hit by a rocket-propelled grenade in the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi on Monday, wounding one person, security and diplomatic sources said. An AFP journalist saw a white armored vehicle with a diplomatic plate parked outside the British consulate in Benghazi. There was blood on the front passenger seat, he said. One person was wounded when the vehicle was hit by a rocket-propelled grenade, security sources said.
After Gaddafi, Libya splits into disparate militia zones
The rebel strongholds of Benghazi, Misrata and Zintan have become increasingly independent of Tripoli’s new regime.
Zintan holds tight to ‘prize’ Saif al-Islam
Fighters in the western mountain town of Zintan have refused to give up Saif al-Islam, the most prominent son of slain ruler Muammar Gaddafi, saying his secrets are too important to risk. On Sunday, Zintanis detained an International Criminal Court lawyer who was visiting Saif al-Islam for allegedly trying to deliver letters to him. They say the letters, which she hid in her clothing, posed a danger to Libya’s national security. Zintan’s leaders say their people sacrificed many lives for the revolution that ended Gaddafi’s rule, and that Saif al-Islam has information that could implicate Libya’s interim leaders and foreign countries in wrong doing. Al Jazeera’s Omar al-Saleh reports from Zintan.