Report: Israeli soldiers burned Quran during nighttime arrest in occupied Jayyous

Oct 27, 2010

Philip Weiss 

Doug Whitmore of Kansas City is a former member of Christian Peacemaker Teams who served in Jayyous in the occupied West Bank. Earlier today he received the following email from a friend in Jayyous. In passing it along, he removed the young man’s name out of concern that he would suffer reprisal from the Israelis. I have corrected some spelling errors in the note.

Dear Friends:

Last night at 1:30 big number of Israeli military come to the village, and they attack three houses and arrested three people from the village. The first one is Wajde Baida. He is close friend to me, he work in house building and computer programs, they entered his house by a very bad way, they broke the door and go inside and they search all the houses and they destroyed the things in his house like computer, TV, and his brother he wake up with guns in his head so when he saw that because he was sleeping he get lost for a while. And this the second time for him to be arrested.

The second one Ismaile Baida he work with agriculture organization. They inter his house and search all the house also and they scared the children there and the bad thing also they do burn al Quran in his house and threw it away. This the second time also for him to be arrested.

The third one he work in the Palestinian police in Ramallah and they do the same thing is his house and he was injured by the Israel army in his hand so he cant move it any more.

Life in Jayyous still so complicated and hard for people, there is no freedom, no peace. I don’t know when we will have our small right in the life.

Whitmore’s wife Andy adds: It happens all the time, the arrests. It happened when Doug was there, it happens every minute somewhere. They don’t need a reason. Sometimes, Doug thought, the soldiers just got bored. This from a week ago, for example (10/20): “Last week the Israeli army was in the village and they arrested a young person he study in the university. And on [date deleted] was my birthday but I dont celebrate it , because my best birthday will be when I see Palestine is free and we have our freedom and our right in the life.”

Dear John Dennis: Here’s what a progressive campaign stance on Israel/Palestine looks like

Oct 27, 2010

Matthew Taylor 

I posted criticism of congressional candidate John Dennis‘ stance on Israel/Palestine. Dennis, who is running a libertarian, Republican, anti-war challenge to Nancy Pelosi, responded. My response:

Dear John Dennis,

I don’t think I misrepresented your statements about Israel. It’s true that I didn’t quote your comment about “not [being] a fan” of foreign aid in a general sense, and instead I supplied a link to the video (at 4:40) so people could hear your full remarks about “how to handle U.S.-Israeli relations in the likely event that foreign aid for Israel continues.” (“Likely” is an understatement!) In the video, you say that the U.S. shouldn’t criticize anything Israel does with U.S. aid, and you say that Israel should be able to build unlimited settlements/colonies without U.S. criticism.

You said you wanted to clarify, and you wish I’d asked you to do so. Fair enough. Here are my questions:

1. In the “likely event” that the U.S. continues to supply military aid to Israel as you say, what would Israel have to do with our military aid to merit criticism? How about stealing and ethnically cleansing Palestinian land, building illegal colonies, violating the Geneva Conventions, committing war crimes, violating the U.S. Arms Export Control Act, and/or building U.S.-funded roads only Jewish colonizers are allowed to drive on? Israel has done all of those actions with U.S. support for decades. I’d be happy to provide sources/references to verify these facts.

2. What is your position on the Gaza war of ’08-09 in which Israel killed hundreds of civilians, including more than 300 children? Why should the U.S. not criticize Israel for using U.S.-supplied arms to oppress and dispossess the Palestinian people? What makes Israel so special that it doesn’t deserve criticism for using U.S. taxpayer-funded weapons to commit horrific, illegal crimes against a civilian population?

3. You say you “would like for nothing more than the people in the Middle East to live in peace.” Great, I’m glad you want to see it happen. But what kind of peace are we driving toward — the peace that results from Israel conquering Palestinian land and crushing all resistance, or the peace of equality and coexistence? I hope you support the latter. While you say you are for peace, you also say the U.S. shouldn’t criticize Israeli settlements. The settlements (colonies) are the primary engine Israel uses to steal Palestinian land, and thereby make any kind of equitable peace impossible. How do you reconcile your desire for peace with not criticizing Israel’s settlements/colonies, or are you open to taking a new position in opposition to the settlements?

4. You might say, “I want peace but that’s not the U.S.’ job.” Have you heard that U.S. military experts have stated that an acceptable outcome on Israel/Palestine is a vital national security interest, given that U.S. support for Israel’s project of conquest has endangered American lives? Further, Osama bin Laden stated in one of his tapes (assuming the tapes are authentic) that 9/11 was partially motivated by U.S. support for Israel’s project of conquest. Given this pressing national security interest, what would you have the U.S. do to bring about an acceptable outcome?

5. Do you favor equality between Israelis and Palestinians, as a principle? Many Israeli and American politicians favor Israeli Jewish ethnic/racial/religious superiority over Palestinians, as a principle.

6. In the video of your remarks, you complimented Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu (Bibi) as a tough, smart guy who’s committed to peace. Are you aware of the following three facts about this tough guy: a) Bibi bragged about destroying the Oslo Process in a private conversation with settlers that was recently made public, b) In the same private conversation, Bibi bragged about how easy it is to manipulate and control U.S. foreign policy to favor Israel, c) Bibi has blessed the construction of illegal, land-stealing colonies/settlements, both during the so-called settlement freeze (not an actual freeze, it turns out) and now that the so-called freeze is over. Do you maintain your support for Bibi in light of these facts?

John, you are running on an anti-war platform, embraced by progressives. I don’t want my remarks to be pure armchair challenges. I want to help you to develop an effective policy. Here’s a shorthand suggestion for a progressive policy on Israel/Palestine:

A) If U.S. aid continues to Israel, then it should not be in the form of military aid, but instead should fund programs that promote equality, reconciliation, healing, integration, and so on between Israelis and Palestinians, with equality being the most important principle;

B) Similarly, no military aid of any kind should be available to Israel until and unless Israel agrees to abide by international law, relevant U.N. resolutions, and all U.S. laws governing arms exports (although A above is far preferable);

C) The U.S. should immediately remove itself as the mediator between Israelis and Palestinians given the U.S. track record of favoring Israel and “being Israel’s lawyer”, and request that a truly neutral third party be the mediator (I’m a professional mediator, and absolutely neutrality is rule number one);

D) The U.S. should take responsibility for the fact that its past military aid has contributed substantially to the dispossession of the Palestinian people, and make amends for this in both word and deed, including material reparations;

E) As a national security imperative, and also because it’s the right thing to do, the U.S. should apply massive pressure to Israel to achieve a just, equitable, agreeable-to-all parties resolution based on the fundamental principle of equality.

Final question: Do you agree with points A-E, and will you make them part of your new and revised platform toward Israel/Palestine? If not, why not?

Hoping you will take a progressive stance on this deeply important matter!

I greatly appreciate your thoughtful engagement with this deeply important matter. 

P.S. – The fact that you aren’t willing to guarantee Israel that the U.S. would go to war on its behalf is positive, although a small step toward a truly progressive policy.

Thank you for your time and consideration,

Matthew A. Taylor, Jewish, American, Taxpayer

Goldberg regrets his story linking Saddam to al-Qaeda but says ‘everybody’ got it wrong

Oct 27, 2010

Philip Weiss 

The Jewish Journal’s Danielle Berrin interviews the most powerful Jewish journalist in America. Nay, the world! First the bullying excerpt, then the excerpt where he bullies the world. Emphases mine. Commenters will supply the subtext:

Goldberg was raised in an assimilated middle-class home in a mixed neighborhood on Long Island. Both of his parents were teachers and union loyalists, inculcating their son with left-leaning liberal politics but not much in the way of a religious education. Instead, Goldberg forged his Jewish identity in response to some schoolyard anti-Semitism whose traumas left him longing for the so-called muscle Judaism represented by Zionism.

As a teenager, he voraciously consumed Zionist literature by Theodor Herzl, Max Nordau and Vladimir Jabotinsky, and chose to go to a socialist Zionist camp in the Catskills, where summer games like “Warsaw Ghetto Uprising” and “Siege of Jerusalem” were imbued with historic seriousness.

Following his parents’ divorce and an aimless year at the University of Pennsylvania, Goldberg moved to Israel, where he remained for the next several years, living on a kibbutz and serving in the army. Guarding Palestinian prisoners — many of whom were terrorists or would-be terrorists — might have bolstered his hawkish side….

…a 2002 piece he wrote for The New Yorker, in which he claimed to have found evidence linking Saddam Hussein to al-Qaeda…. was widely interpreted as an endorsement for the Iraq war, which, on some level, Goldberg regrets. He now admits having been wrong about Hussein’s pursuit of weapons of mass destruction “like everybody else…”

Thanks to Jeff Blankfort. P.S. When will the New Yorker express its regrets for delivering the slop? Don’t hold your breath. P.P.S. I went to public schools in gritty sections of Baltimore a few years before Goldberg in middle-class L.I. I experienced some schoolyard anti-Semitism. Remind me– some day I must show you the scars and relate the traumas.

Sheikh Jarrah activists confront Jerusalem mayor over the ‘ethnic cleansing’ of Silwan

Oct 27, 2010

Adam Horowitz

The ADL’s ‘top ten’ list is consistent with its history of muzzling dissent on Israel at all costs

Oct 27, 2010

Alaa Milbes 

Recently, the Anti-Defamation League came out with a statement placing Students for Justice in Palestine on its top 10 anti-Israel organizations in the United States. As ADL has a history of spying and attempting to crush pro-Palestine, anti-apartheid activists working on issues of justice and civil rights, we are honored to be on a list with prominent civil rights organizations such as the Muslim American Society and Jewish Voice for Peace among others.The ADL was established in 1913 as a response to anti-Jewish bigotry in the United States. In 1993, the San Francisco police raided an ADL office after discovering a police officer had provided the organization with information on American citizens supporting the Palestinian cause and those opposing South African apartheid. The ADL’s Roy Bullock, an undercover investigator, held records consisting of information on 77 Arab organizations and nearly 647 leftist and anti-apartheid organizations.
Rather than being a civil rights organization that defends the rights of Jews and other minorities, the ADL has a reputation for stifling debate regarding Israel’s “Jewish” democracy. The top 10 list simply reinforces this concern. The ADL blindly supports the Israeli government in its endeavors, including many that flagrantly discriminate against Palestinians.
Domineering moves, including blacklists, are increasingly viewed by peace advocates as badges of honor. Rebecca Vilkomerson, executive director of Jewish Voice for Peace, expressed her pleasure at being targeted: “We’re growing, we’re very organized and we’re effective…There was something perversely pleasing about being included on the ADL list.”

“The status quo crowd knows that its power is waning as American Jews have come to the understanding that defending the occupation is no act of friendship to Israel. It is precisely the opposite and that those who are first to call others “anti-Israel” have helped perpetuate policies that would be Israel’s undoing. The lobby is terrified. And so it resorts to McCarthyism, which historically is the last resort of those who are losing. It didn’t work for Joe McCarthy. It won’t work for them.”

In fact, the ADL has created a reputation for itself, as a criticizer of highly respected human rights workers, scholars and political figures. The ADL even went after Archbishop Desmond Tutu, the esteemed South African anti-apartheid campaigner, when he was appointed by the United Nations Human Rights Council to head a fact-finding mission to Gaza. Astonishingly, the organization even criticized Nelson Mandela’s African National Congress in the 1980s because of Israel’s close friendship with apartheid South Africa.

In its blind and staunch support of Israel, the ADL has found itself increasingly defending the indefensible. Organizational support for some discriminated-against minority groups does not exonerate the ADL for its heavy-handed defense of the Israeli state as a “Jewish and democratic state.” The hypocrisy of such a position is obvious. The ADL would never, thankfully, support the United States as a white and Christian state nor have the temerity to then call such a construction a democracy. Yet this is precisely what it asks for Israel.
Just days ago, Rupert Murdoch was honored by the ADL for his supposed support of Israel and commitment to fighting anti-Semitism. Yet by honoring the CEO of News Corp, parent company of Fox News, the ADL is fairly openly supporting demagogues such as Glenn Beck who is given plenty of space to promote hate against various peoples, including immigrants and Palestinians.
Having emerged from the Western colonial era, save in Palestine, university students look to the example of predecessors who fought South African apartheid and Jim Crow discrimination in the American South. In both instances, student movements were a main driving force in ending racist governing structures.
The ADL knows SJP’s potential to end a racist and colonial system enforced on the Palestinian people. Placement on the “top 10 list” is only a sign that student movements have the potential to change government policies. Our opposition to Israeli policy continues to resonate with people around the world who are shocked and dismayed at Israel’s ongoing flouting of international law and the right of Palestinians to freedom and fundamental human rights. The ADL’s discriminatory take on Israel/Palestine is entirely antiquated; the outlook of students with SJP who promote equal rights for Palestinians and Jews in the region surely represents the future.

Alaa Milbes is a graduate student at Columbia University in the department of Middle Eastern, South Asian, and African studies, and she is a member of Students for Justice in Palestine.


Abu Ben Tzahali

Oct 27, 2010

Ira Glunts 

Abu Ben Tzahali (may our tribe release!)
Awoke one day from a deep nap of peace,
And saw, within the daylight in his room,
Making it rich, and like a desert in bloom,
An Editor writing in a book of gold:

Exceeding success made Ben Tzahali bold,
And to the Presence in the room he said,
“What writest thou?” The Vision raised its head,
And with a look so fit and grand
Answered, “The names who too much love the Land.”
And is mine one?” said Abu. “Nay, not so,”
Replied the Vision. Abu spoke more low,
But cheerily still; and said, “I pray thee, then,
Write my son who beats up grown men.”
The Vision wrote, and vanished. The next night
It came again with a great wakening light,
And showed the names whose love of Land were stressed,
And, lo! Ben Tzahali’s name led all the rest!
Dedicated to Ethan Bronner and Bill Keller of The New York Times.

An open letter to Hebrew University

Oct 27, 2010

Zehra Hirji 

It has been brought to my attention that Professor Maya Kahanoff was recently let go from The Rothberg International School at Hebrew University on the grounds of her personal politics; it was made clear that her lifetime of knowledge on peace and understanding were no longer welcome at your university.

As a student who was also made to feel unwelcome at The Hebrew University, I find this news incredibly painful, as Maya Kahanoff was a source of inspiration to everyone who met her; she personally touched me and completely transformed my educational experience at your institution. As someone stereotyped as the enemy, a Muslim of Arab descent, I came to Hebrew University to defy this image and to seek genuine understanding and friendship across the divide.

The Hebrew University has a reputation as one of the foremost institutions in the world on international law and intellectual thought, and was founded on the ideals of progressivism by such brilliant minds such as Albert Einstein and other great leaders. However, instead of encountering this vision of intelligence and greatness, I was met with professors who likened Arabs to animals and stripped them of their humanity.

I was met with professors who claimed that genetics and DNA were responsible for making Arabs violent and other traces of racism that I did not even realize were still prevalent in “academic” discourse today.

While these professors destroyed the last traces of my faith in humanity, it was upon meeting Professor Maya Kahanoff in her peacebuilding seminar that I realized my decision to attend The Hebrew University was the right one, that mutual respect and understanding truly were attainable, that my faith in humanity could be restored, and that education is the answer for achieving peace. The Hebrew University could in fact live up to its foundational vision.

Maya Kahanoff is the living embodiment of tolerance. She was my teacher at the exact moment when she was celebrating her daughter’s induction into the Israeli Defense Forces. As a proud mother, with a daughter in the army, Maya was making the utmost sacrifice to the politics of her nation. But as a teacher, she eloquently preached understanding and tolerance: a daily struggle for the soul of her nation.

It was Maya Kahanoff who pointed out to me, that nowhere in the world were there more peace activists than in Israel, and nowhere in the world were there more citizens advocating on behalf of the rights of their alleged enemy. It was Maya Kahanoff who helped me understand that even in the most intractable of conflicts hope in our shared humanity should never be retracted. And while those other racist and hurtful professors continue to spew their hateful speech at your institution, it was Maya Kahanoff that was fired.

I simply cannot articulate in words how devastating this news is and the loss that will be incurred by all future students seeking knowledge at The Hebrew University. The solution to this conflict, if ever there was one, will begin and end with education. The role of Hebrew University in stifling this avenue to peace will be a mark of shame for the rest of its history, severely undermining the principles upon which it was founded. I cannot begin to express my grief and my sorrow for the loss in which your university has self-inflicted.


Zehra Hirji

The Rothberg International School 2009
Harvard University 2010

Zehra Hirji blogs at Where in the World is Zehra

Israeli siege kept baby girl from leukemia treatment

Oct 27, 2010


and other news from Today in Palestine:

Settlers/ Land, Property, Resource Theft & Destruction/Ethnic Cleansing

UN envoy demands Israel act against settler attacks
UN Mieast peace coordinator ‘appalled at acts of destruction of olive trees and farmlands, desecration of mosques and violence against civilians’.

Jewish settlement construction increases, report says
An Israeli human rights group says that building illegal Jewish settlements on Palestinian land has increased four-fold since the partial freeze on new building ended last month.  Nearly half a million Jews live in more than 100 settlements built since Israel’s 1967 occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem. They are held to be illegal under international law, although Israel disputes this.  Many of those who help to build the settlements are Palestinian labourers who say they cannot get such well-paid jobs elsewhere.
Demolitions Continue in ‘Aissawiya, Provoking Popular Anger
Jerusalem – PNN – Widespread demolitions continued in the occupied central Jerusalem neighborhood of ‘Aissawiya as bulldozers followed Israeli soldiers from house to house and popular rage spread. A Wafa reporter in Jerusalem said the demolitions covered the districts of Barkiyat, Mu’rshat, and Istinadiya and affected the following citizens: Sheikh Riyad, ‘Aissawiya, Ra’ed Abu Riyala, Issa Saleh Khalil Nasir, Ziad Issa Nasir, Mazen Issa Nasir, Isma’il Issa Nasir, Issa Muhammad Nasir, Samir Nasir, and Issa Naisir.  Ra’ed Abu Riyala al-‘Assawoui, a member of the Fatah Organizational Committee and one of the landowners, said the soldiers told him they had issued a demolition notice a month ago. He said this was a flimsy argument that soldiers used every time they removed Palestinians from their lands.
Israeli Soldiers Confiscate Heavy Equipment During Invasion of Beit Fajjar
Kamel Hamash, head of the local council, confirmed on Wednesday morning, that a number of Israeli army soldiers confiscated a bulldozer and other equipment belonging to a citizen from the region of Khelat Heja, near Beit Fajjar, east of Bethlehem.

Israeli Soldiers Confiscate Heavy Equipment During Invasion of Beit Fajjar

Israel expands West Bank settlement
NABLUS (Ma’an) — Israel is expanding a settlement in the northern West Bank district of Nablus, Ma’an has learned.  Shvut Rachel Alt. 804, part of the Mateh Binyamin Regional Council, was built on Palestinian land in the Jalud village.  The village’s total area is some 16,000 dunums. Settlers have confiscated about 80 percent of the land to expand six settlements, residents say.
Report: 99 per cent of separation wall built on ’67 occupied land
Arab League warns the separation wall will devour fertile farmland in Qalqiliya, within framework of systematic plan to take control of Palestine’s most fertile and strategically important lands.
Two sides of the Wall in Bil’in, Hamde Abu Rahme
I went on a tour to photograph the Apartheid Wall that was built on the territory of the Palestinian village of Bil’in, located in the West Bank.  After a ruling of the highest Israeli Court, the path of which the first wall had been built had to be changed and now the Israel has to build a new wall: the new wall is a set of concrete cubes ranging in length up to eight meters tall. The old wall was an electric fence with barbed wire which would send an electric shock at the slightest touch. This first wall was set up by Israel on Palestinian land and has been extremely dangerous (in some cases deadly), not only to human beings but also to animals and other wildlife. Many animals lost their lives after running into the fence and being instantly electrocuted.
Activism/Solidarity/Boycott, Divestment & Sanctions

Palestinian Political Prisoner Ameer Makhoul to the World Education Forum Palestine
Brothers and sisters in the Palestinian National Committee of the World Education Forum My greetings and yearning to you all, First, I send you my warmest greetings and appreciation for all your efforts in preparation for the World Education Forum in Palestine. It is an honor for Palestine to host this forum, accompanied by such notable international mobilization and solidarity. However, it is also an honor for the World Education forum to be hosted by Palestine.

Demonstrators call for expelling Israeli ambassador from Jordan
AMMAN, Oct. 26 (Xinhua) — Dozens of Jordanians on Tuesday staged sit-ins near the Israeli embassy in Amman, calling for annulling the peace treaty with Israel.  During the sit-in, which took place near Al Kaluti Mosque, demonstrators called for expelling the Israeli ambassador and urged people to boycott Israeli products.  “The Wadi Araba Peace treaty represents a recognition of Israel, ” Secretary General of the Islamic Action Front (IAF) Hamzah Mansour said during the demonstration organized by the Jordanian Higher Executive Committee for Defending the Homeland and Confronting Normalization.
Jerusalem Activists Confront Mayor Nir Barkat, Joseph Dana
Nir Barkat, the secular and dangerous mayor of Jerusalem, was forced to confront direct action protest during a recent art gala in Jerusalem. Jerusalem activists from the Sheikh Jarrah Solidarity movement confronted the mayor with questions regarding his policy of ethnic cleansing in Silwan and Shiekh Jarrah. In the following video of the event, Barkat’s smug reaction is not as surprising as the utter silence of those citizens attending the art gala around him. The silence of Jerusalem’s residents to the policy of discrimination, racism and occupation to Palestinian citizens of the city is shocking.
Tutu begs singers to call off Israel tour
Desmond Tutu has urged the Cape Town Opera to call off its tour of Israel “until both Israeli and Palestinian opera lovers have equal opportunity and unfettered access to performances”.
No Justice, No Chickpeas: Philly activists go ‘Gaga’ to spread hummus boycott, Adam Horowitz
Philly BDS, a coalition of Muslim, Jewish, and Christian, and Arab organizations, recently initiated a boycott campaign against Sabra and Tribe hummus products because of their connection to human rights abuses of Palestinians.  Coalition member Hannah Schwarzschild explains:  As a customer and a Jew, I hope that Fresh Grocer will heed the concerns of it’s community members and consider ceasing to distribute these products. Not only would this a be a huge step toward supporting the human rights of Palestinians and working for a more just and peaceful Middle East, it would also serve to educate the community about the power of our consumer choices.”
#BDS: Presbyterian Mission Network Joins BDS Movement
Presbyterian Mission Network Joins BDS Movement, Calls for Boycotts on goods from Illegal Israeli Settlements.  CHICAGO, October 25—In response to a call to action from the Christians of the Holy Land, The Israel/Palestine Mission Network (IPMN) of the Presbyterian Church (USA) [PC(USA)] voted at its annual meeting to join the international boycott of goods produced in illegal Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT).
8th Week against the Apartheid Wall, November 9 – 16 2010
Sep 1, 2010– Eight years into the construction of the Apartheid Wall, over 60% has already been built to ghettoize communities, threatening over 260,000 people with displacement and stealing land and water resources.
Technion: Structures of Oppression
Why McGill & Concordia Universities must sever their links with Technion University October 2010 report download full document Photo: Window in Palestinian home smashed by Israeli military bullet. McGill and Concordia universities maintain bi-lateral exchange programs with the Technion University in Israel.
Who Profits? – Financing the Israeli Occupation
Israeli banks provide the financial infrastructure for all activities of companies, governmental agencies and individuals in the continuing occupation of Palestine and the Syrian Golan Heights. The services provided by the banks support and sustain these activities. Additionally, as this report shows, it is evident that the banks are well aware of the types and whereabouts of the activity that is being carried out with their financial assistance.
How Much Money is Needed to Stop the BDS Movement?, Alex Kane
$6 million dollars:  enough to combat a largely grassroots, bottom-up and growing boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement targeting Israel?  That’s what the Jewish Federations of North America and the Jewish Council for Public Affairs are hoping.
Siege/Rights Violations/Restriction of Movement/Racism & Discrimination
Israeli Siege Kept Baby Girl From Leukemia Treatment
Nasma Abu Lasheen died on 16 October, 2010 from treatable leukemia, 155 kilometres from adequate medical facilities. She had spent most of her two years sick, ferried around Gaza and Israel between blood tests, treatments and doctors in six different hospitals.  Her family had celebrated her second birthday in Gaza City, waiting on permission from Israel to continue the chemical treatment. By the time it came, Nasma was too weak to move. Her tragedy is the story of hospitals, doctors, clinics and medicine under siege.
Open Gaza’s gates,  Amira Hass
When residents from Hebron, Nazareth and foreign countries travel to the Khan Yunis coast, or visit a cultural center north of the Al-Shatti refugee camp, their illusions about the wonders of the religious-totalitarian regime will evaporate.
Negev councilor cuts off 4,000 Bedouin’s water supply
The water was turned back on Tuesday afternoon, by order of the Be’er Sheva District Court, pending a hearing set for tomorrow
Israel lifts study ban for 5 jailed students
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — Lawyers for Palestinian detainees at an Israeli prison said Tuesday that five prisoners will be allowed to complete university studies, after they were initially banned.  Twenty other prisoners will not be allowed to continue studying. They were prevented from completing coursework on “security” grounds, according to a statement from the detainees center.

Gazans missing out on school
In Gaza, 40,000 students have been unable to start school this year because there are not enough buildings to accomodate them. The United Nations Relief and Works Agency says the Palestinian territory needs at least 100 new schools but there is simply not enough construction material available because of Israel’s blockade of the territory. Al Jazeera’s Nadim Baba reports from Gaza. [October 27, 2010]

Al-Awda Launches New Palestinian Childrens’s Rights Campaign
Ramallah – PNN – Al-Awda, the Palestine Right to Return Coalition, just launched a new program that will focus on Palestinian children’s rights that have been detained by Israel, as well as advocate for the immediate release of the children.  Al-Awda is an American non-profit organization that has mainly worked for the Palestinian right to return.  According to their website they are “a broad-based, non-partisan, democratic and charitable organization of grassroots activist and students committed to comprehensive public education of the rights of all Palestinian refugees to return to their property in accordance with International Law.”
Knesset committee approves controversial bill allowing towns to reject residents
Israeli Arab MKs al-Sana and Tibi walk out on committee discussion, calling it a ‘criminal law’ aiming to prevent Arabs from joining Israeli towns.

Arabs: Jaffa housing benefits for reservists ‘discriminatory’
Residents of Jaffa’s Ajami neighborhood angered by apartment benefits for reserve soldiers, claim housing shortage for local residents not addressed,7340,L-3975377,00.html

Settler network promotes racist comics to bring Meir Kahane to a new generation of Israelis, Adam Horowitz
The following comic celebrating the life of Meir Kahane appeared last week on an Israeli website called the Israel News Network, which is associated with Arutz Sheva and the settler movement. Kahane was the founder of the fascist Jewish Defense League and the Kach movement, which was barred in Israel for promoting racism, and his ideology has been influential in Israel where he was a longtime proponent of forcing Palestinian citizens of Israel out of the country. The comic has been translated byDena Shunra.
Violence & Aggression

Israeli Occupation Gunboats Attack Palestinain Fishermen in Gaza
In Wednesday at dawn, Israeli gunboats opened fire at fishing boats off the shoreline in the southern part of the Gaza Strip.

Israeli Police Car Kills Palestinian Child
Israeli sources reported that on Tuesday night, a Palestinian boy from the town of Yatta, south of Hebron, was killed by an Israeli police car that ran over him in the town of Ashdod, in the southern part of Israel.

Israeli Police Car Kills Palestinian Child

IOF soldiers open indiscriminate fire at Husan homes
Israeli occupation forces (IOF) mounting six armored vehicles on Tuesday afternoon stormed the village of Husan, west of Bethlehem, and fired rubber bullets and gas bombs at citizens’ homes.
Report: Islamic Jihad man killed in Gaza
Palestinians say al-Quds Brigades member, 29, hit by IDF tank shell. Earlier, mortar shell explodes in western Negev; no injuries reported.,7340,L-3975779,00.html
Clashes erupt at Israel march
Violence between police and Palestinian-Israeli protesters angered by a march by a right-wing Jewish group.
In photos: Aftermath of an Israeli raid
The daughter of one of three Palestinians detained by Israeli forces in Qalqiliya on Monday morning holds up a copy of a Qur’an, which the family says troops burned after raiding the family home. An Israeli military spokeswoman told Ma’an that neither the Civil Administration nor the army had received a complaint about the burning of the Muslim holy book, but confirmed two detentions in the northern West Bank district.

Israeli Army Ransacks Homes; Detains Palestinians in Nablus
The Palestinian News Agency Ma’an, reported on Wednesday that the Israeli army detained five Palestinians from the villages of Madama and Beta in the southern part of Nablus.

Israeli court mulls jail time for Fatah official
JERUSALEM (Ma’an) — An Israeli court on Wednesday delayed the sentencing of a Fatah official accused of violating a ban on entering the Al-Aqsa mosque compound in occupied East Jerusalem.  The lawyer for Jerusalem affairs chief Hatem Abdel Qader asked for the session to be delayed after prosecutors demanded the official’s imprisonment. Jawad Boulous said the decision would be unprecedented, and would signal a personal vendetta against Abdel Qader.
War Criminals

Israeli flotilla probe ‘a sham’, Sherine Tadros
Turkel Schmerkel. For the past few days I’ve had the delightful task of hanging around the Yitzhak Rabin Guest House in West Jerusalem. I was covering the latest round of questioning by (Israeli) judges, appointed by the (Israeli) government to examine the legality of their deadly raid on the Gaza-bound aid ship last May. The inquiry is called the Turkel Commission, named after retired Justice Turkel – the big chief.  Now, I could tell you how, at various points, I saw every member of the panel fall asleep during the testimonies.
Israel’s Arab Helpers

Hamas: PA arrests 7 West Bank supporters
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — Hamas said on Wednesday that Palestinian Authority security forces arrested seven of the movement’s members in the West Bank.  Hamas said in a statement that PA forces continued what they called a campaign of arrests against the group, detaining members in the Jericho, Nablus, Jerusalem and Tubas districts.

Political Developments

Erekat: Settlers have Israeli authorities’ full cooperation
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — PLO chief negotiator Saeb Erekat “strongly condemned” on Wednesday a flood of raw sewage that destroyed a Palestinian olive grove in the near the northern West Bank city of Nablus, which Israeli settlers are suspected of perpetrating.  Residents in the village of Deir Al-Hatab said 660 olive trees were poisoned by the sewage by runoff from a factory in the illegal Elon Moreh settlement on Tuesday.

UN backs Palestinians plans for statehood by August
“All int’l players now in agreement that the Palestinians ready for statehood at any point in the near future,” UN official Serry tells Fayyad.
Israel sees no movement in talks with Palestinians until after U.S. midterms
JERUSALEM, Oct. 26 (Xinhua) — Contacts between Israel and the Palestinians will not resume until after the U.S. congressional elections in November, sources in Israeli prime minister’s office said Tuesday.  Meanwhile, contacts between Israel and the United States over the possibility of renewing talks continue, against a backdrop of an American demand that Israel freeze settlement construction for an additional two months.
Israel says prisoner exchange talks ongoing
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — Talks between Israel and Hamas over the release of hundreds of Palestinian prisoners in exchange for an Israeli soldier are ongoing, a spokesman for Israeli President Shimon Peres said Tuesday.  Ofer Gendelman told Ma’an radio that the position of Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s government had not changed, but contacts with Hamas and behind-the-scenes phone calls were continuing in hopes of reaching a deal.  
Hamas denies talks ongoing over Shalit deal
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — Hamas rebuffed comments Tuesday evening by an Israeli official that talks to secure a captured Israeli soldier in exchange for Palestinian prisoners were ongoing.  Hamas leader Salah Al-Bardawil told Ma’an the reports were “totally untrue” and that Israel’s comments were meant to “reassure the Israelis that they are working to release Gilad Shalit.”
In West Bank, Hamas beaten down, but not out (Reuters)
Reuters – For more than three years, the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank has tried to crush the Islamist movement Hamas.*
Other News

Report: Israel planned explosion at Iranian missile site
An explosion that killed 18 members of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard on October 12 was ordered by the Mossad, French newspaper Le Figaro suggested on Monday.

Police on high alert in Arab town Umm al-Fahm ahead of extreme rightist march
Marchers to wave Israeli flags and march near Islamic Movement offices in the city to protest the participation of a prominent leader of the movement in last May’s Gaza-bound flotilla.
Kahane supporters: We’ll destroy ‘Ishmael state’
During memorial service on 20th anniversary of Kach leader’s death, Rabbi Yisrael Ariel says, ‘If Ishmael state is established – we will destroy it. Suspected ‘Jewish terrorist’ Haim Pearlman also participates. His wife declares: ‘Kahane’ is not a dirty word,7340,L-3975518,00.html
Israeli Arab eyes plea bargain over Hezbollah spying charges
Political activist Ameer Makhoul seeks to avoid heavy jail sentence for espionage by admitting to lesser charges.
Shin Bet grills Haaretz reporter Uri Blau over leaked IDF papers
Blau, who returned to Israel from London this week, spends nearly 10 hours at police’s International Investigations headquarters.
Sabah Denies Ayalon’s Criticism: Vatican Meeting Was Not “Hijacked”
Jerusalem – PNN – Latin Patriarch Michel Sabah of Jerusalem rebuffed criticism by Israel’s Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon that a recent meeting of bishops in the Vatican had been “hijacked by enemies of the Jewish state.”  Latin Patriarch Michel Sabah of Jerusalem.   Ayalon’s statement continued that his government was “disappointed that the Synod had turned into a forum for launching political attacks on Israel and Arab propaganda.”  Sabah defended the meeting, telling Al-Quds newspaper that, “The meeting was for all bishops in the Middle East to look at the needs of Palestinians and the political, social, and economic conditions they live under. The group looked at the relationship between Christianity and Islam and we found what we needed to do.”
Poll: Abbas enjoys support of young Palestinians
Bethlehem, West Bank – Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah party counts on the support of many young Palestinians in the West Bank, according to an opinion poll published Tuesday.  If elections were held today, nearly 40 per cent of young Palestinians would vote for the secular-leaning Fatah, compared to under 10 per cent for its rival Hamas, a radical Islamist movement.  The poll conducted by the Bethlehem-based Palestinian Centre for Research and Cultural Dialogue (PCRD), with Germany’s Hanns Seidel Foundation, questioned 1,000 Palestinians aged 18 to 30 in the West Bank earlier this month.
Will the Academy give an Oscar to a notorious anti-Semite?
Hollywood’s Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences intends to award iconic French-Swiss filmmaker Jean Luc Godard with an honorary Oscar.  [What earned him the anti-Semitic smear is his pro-Palestinian film, “The Palestinians” and his famous aversion to Hollywood and its inner workings..He also said things (in his very typical un- PC manner) that some Jews in the cinema industry, understandably may have disliked, but to label him anti-Semitic is quite a stretch..]
Analysis/Opinion/Human Interest

Will Fatah choose reconciliation or collaboration?
Clashes between the main Palestinian movements Hamas and Fatah date back to the late 1980s when Hamas was officially founded and the early 1990s when Fatah took control of the Palestinian Authority, newly established under the 1993 Oslo accords. Raja Abdulhaq comments.

It’s not Netanyahu who’s paralyzed, it’s Obama, Philip Weiss
Ari Shavit did a piece in Haaretz last week asking, What is paralyzing Netanyahu? Why isn’t he acting, when the Arab peace initiative is about to expire and Europe is turning its back on Israel, and Obama wants him to act… David Bromwich’s smart response:  Netanyahu is not “paralyzed,” merely waiting. For what? The American election result. If the Republicans win a convincing majority, he’ll give up all pretense of listening to Obama. If the Democrats hold on to a majority, he will continue the pretense with a degree more responsiveness, for a few months. By then, the posturing for 2012 will have begun, and the pressure of popular and bought opinion against Obama’s negotiations will increase. Since the president did so little when he had a majority and personal popularity to use as leverage, Netanyahu trusts he won’t do more when the majority is narrow or non-existent and popular opinion has swung against him.
News Analysis: What does Netanyahu’s new plan imply?
JERUSALEM, Oct. 26 (Xinhua) — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is preparing to launch a new plan to restart negotiations with the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), according to reports by the Israeli newspaper Ma’ariv.  The plan will consist of two stages: a total freeze on construction in Jewish settlements on the West Bank for three months, followed by a partial or controlled freeze for an additional nine months.  The goal of the new plan is to restart peace talks with the Palestinians that came to an end in early October after Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas refused to continue negotiations citing Israel’s refusal to freeze settlement construction.
Kramer says that the Persian Gulf is ‘as crucial to American security as Lake Michigan’, Philip Weiss
Can you trust someone’s judgment if every time they talk about the Middle East they refer to it as “the Levant?” I don’t think so. Sandbox author Martin Kramer is not just pretentious, but scary and Israel-centric. Here he is interviewed by fellow neoc Michael Totten arguing that the only way to achieve peace in Israel and Palestine is to take out Iran. Of course once we do that, there’ll be some other threat that arises and comes first.
Kufur Qassim, Rachel Corrie and premeditated forgetfulness, Hatim Kanaaneh
Hussain Abu-Hussain, the Corries’ lawyer, thought his was a depressing profession. I sought to cheer him up by pointing out the dismal case of the oncology specialty in medicine. It didn’t seem to work; he had spent the whole day trying in vain to trick witnesses of the murder of the late ISM volunteer into telling the truth. But the relevant portions of those witnesses’ memory were hermitically sealed behind an impermeable wall of forgetfulness. Limited in my scope of knowledge and understanding to the field of medicine, I am intrigued by the mystery of what effective mind-altering drugs the Israeli Defense Forces have at their disposal to wipe out selective segments of their soldiers’ recall and to effect such precise lacuna of brain damage.
Israel is Relieved Not to be The Only War Criminal, Gideon Levy
The voice of joy, the voice of rejoicing is heard in Israel: The Americans and British have also committed for war crimes, not only us.
How Do Fascists Creep into Power?, Lillian Rosengarten
Uri Avneri’s always powerful observations raise the most profound question. How can it happen, the lure of Fascism that oozes into the fabric of societies with the promise of a better life? There are always those who are not vulnerable to the language of temptation, the racist rhetoric that tears a society apart. These heroes become freedom fighters. An example is Hans Lebrecht, my father’s first cousin who was an active resistance fighter in World War 11, a noted Communist activist and supporter and writer for Gush Shalom. He was my mentor and beloved friend. Now in his 90’s he resides at Kibbutz Beit-Oren. I cannot visit him for I am not allowed to return to Israel because I have dissented against their injustice to Palestinians. Here is a still timely quote from “JewishFriends of Palestine Gateway, by Hans.
In the End, Only One Way to See It, Michael Khaled for MIFTAH
I came to the Holy Land thinking I could find some type of middle ground and lodge myself there. As a Palestinian-American, I am equipped with the knowledge, cultural awareness and communication skills to show a Western audience the unvarnished truth behind the conflict. I try not to get emotionally involved with the political issues and “stay above” the fray. As a trained journalist, that is what I was taught.  Yet I recently watched a Palestinian friend get into a political discussion with an Israeli security guard on the way to the dorms at Hebrew University in Jerusalem. My friend is a fiery artist from the north with Israeli citizenship, and the guard, an imposing Sephardic Jew of Moroccan descent.
The Remaining Option for the Palestinians, George S. Hishmeh – Washington, D.C.
Over 70 years ago, agitating European Zionist leaders were offered by Britain, who then ruled Palestine, about 20 percent of the Arab country to establish a state there, a partition they accepted in principle but then demanded more land. This offer was made behind Palestinians backs.  Ten years later, the United Nations approved the partition plan which gave Palestinian Jews 55 percent of the country, although they hardly owned five percent of the land, while the Palestinian Arabs would retain 45 percent. The Palestinians, backed by the Arab states, rejected the plan and resolved to win it back.
The political line of Israeli papers (a reader’s guide)
Maariv and Yedioth Ahronoth showing the same headline (photo: yossi gurvitz)Newspapers in Israel have always been of great importance. One of the first things early Zionists did in Palestine was to create their own Hebrew papers. Every major political faction had its own publication, usually a national daily. Even today, with the decline of printed journalism, papers are still widely read, especially among opinion makers.  The Hebrew papers raise issues and frame political questions; Knesset members often quote news items and op-eds during Knesset debates, and Knesset committees conduct debates on issues exposed by the printed media. It is worth noting that Israel has never had strong local daily papers, so the printed media always tended to deal with national questions of diplomacy, politics and security, and less with local issues such as crime and local policies. So if you want to understand Israeli society and Israeli politics, you need to understand Hebrew printed media.
An Apartheid Distinction
I was at the border, a British national with an Arab name on my way into Palestine-Israel. The Jordanians were suspicious but not at all intimidating. It felt more like an unexpected cup of tea with an avuncular officer (which it was) than an interrogation. I learnt about Abu Tariq’s children and he learned about my reasons for crossing, my travels, and my career. He noted everything down before shaking my hand.  The bus through no-man’s land was full of Palestinian-Israelis, descendants of the remnant not driven out in 1948 – those the Israelis call ‘Arab-Israelis’, as if they were recent immigrants from Kuwait or Algeria. The sun bubbled the box of our bus. It was airless and sweaty inside.
An Apartheid Distinction
Gaza, Mohammed and My Mother – Book Review,  Elana Golden
My Father was a Freedom Fighter is a page-turner though I read it in small bites, the way you would eat a rich chocolate cake. It is a great read not only for those interested in the Israel/Palestine conflict but for anyone who loves books about family, courage, hope and resilience. For while clearly illustrating the trajectory of the long and complex history of the conflict – My Father was a Freedom Fighter tells a story of survival that is beyond this particular conflict. It is a personal story told through the keen eye of Ramzy Baroud, it reads like a novel, and is universal in its tone, its humanity, its psychology.
The Chosen Peoples – Book Review,  Jim Miles
A work on studying chosen peoples needs to be approached with some kind of trepidation when one knows that they themselves are not chosen. If for nothing else, it is impossible to rationally argue against faith in biblical ‘chosenness.’ However, if one accepts the underlying premise that other people believe in their being chosen then the idea of chosenness can be worked with. This appears to be what the authors of this new book “The Chosen Peoples” attempt to examine.
Ashcroft’s Immunity and the Obama Administration, LAWRENCE DAVIDSON
One of the cases the Supreme Court of the United States will take up in its 2011 session is Ashcroft vs. al-Kidd. John Ashcroft was the Attorney General under President George Bush Jr. In that capacity he appears to have knowingly violated the U.S. Constitution (as well as periodically forced his employees to listen to his horrendous singing voice). Abdullah al-Kidd is a Muslim American citizen who Ashcroft illegally ordered detained through the illicit use of a material witness warrant. Kidd was one of 70 detained in this manner. He was picked up at Dulles International Airport after the FBI lied to a judge in order to get the warrant for his seizure. Al-Kidd was subsequently held for long periods in a security cell where the lights never went out.

Debkafile: Riyadh Pressing PM Saad Hariri to Step Down
26/10/2010 In a sudden U-turn, Saudi Arabia has called on Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri to step down to pave the way for a pro-Syrian government, Israeli military intelligence website Debkafile reported.  The Saudis demanded Monday for Hariri to immediately step down and make way for an administration dominated by pro-Syrian ministers and Hezbollah, Debkafile quoted its Middle East and Beirut sources as saying.  The resignation call comes days after Hariri told US Deputy Secretary of State Jeffrey Feltman that he was under Saudi pressure to leave office and that he was about to give into the Saudi king’s demand, the Israeli site noted.  Debkafile’s sources, however, predicted that a pro-Syrian PM in Lebanon would annul the Special Tribunal for Lebanpn and blame the killing of former Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri on Israel – which would ignite a war between Lebanon and Israel.  Meanwhile, sources close to Hariri denied to pan-Arab daily Asharq Al-Awsat that he has any plans to resign or withdraw from office, stressing that such step would result in a “critical power vacuum.”  The sources, who spoke to the Arab daily on the condition of anonymity, stressed that Hariri “does not regret any positive step he has taken towards Syria because he has done so in the belief in joint Syrian – Lebanese relations.” The source added that Hariri “believes that what he has begun is correct and he will continue with this and not back away from it, and if this does stop – as is the case now – he will learn lessons from this.

Aoun: STL’s Objective is Undermining Stability, Not Maintaining Justice
Free Patriotic Movement leader MP Michel Aoun on Tuesday noted that “the objective of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon is undermining stability rather than maintaining justice,” adding that “the evidence is that many heads of state had died here (in Lebanon) before” with the United States remaining idle about their cases.
After the weekly meeting of the Change and Reform parliamentary bloc held in Rabiyeh, Aoun stressed that “the issue of the Judicial Council is clear, and everyone knows that the murder of ex-PM Rafik Hariri had been referred to the Judicial Council since the beginning.”
Lebanon’s Palestinian Civil Rights Campaign moves into the Christian heartland
Even though not even one work permit has been issued to one Palestinian in Lebanon since the August 17, 2010 “right to work” law passed in Parliament and even though Palestinians are still forbidden from owning a home, the cause of Palestine Civil Rights in Lebanon endures.  Leila El-Ali, executive director of Najdeh, a Palestinian advocacy group that has long campaigned for civil rights for refugees in Lebanon is pleased that the new law has at least provoked real debate among Lebanese about the plight of Palestinian refugees but agrees that it will have no impact on the ground.   “All of the professions – doctors, lawyers, engineers, pharmacists, academia – will remain closed to Palestinians,” she says. “There is no syndicate here that will admit Palestinian members. And to actually be allowed to work legally in other jobs, the new law says you need specific guarantees from your employer – things that in the end

Tuesday: 20 Iraqis Killed, 32 Wounded
At least 20 Iraqis were killed and 32 more were wounded in a series of attacks in the north. Among them was a jewelry heist in Kirkuk. Meanwhile, Tariq Aziz has been sentenced to death for his role in “persecuting Shi’ites” during the Saddam era.

Gunmen kill eight in Iraq gold market attack
BAGHDAD, Oct 26 (Reuters) – At least eight people were killed, including five policemen, when gunmen attacked a goldsmiths’ market in the northern Iraqi oil city of Kirkuk on Tuesday, police and hospital sources said.  Police said there were clashes between the armed men and security forces. Twelve people were wounded, including two policemen.
Baghdad bombs kill 3 in scattered violence (AP)
AP – A bomb blast Wednesday near a Sunni religious organization killed two security guards, police and hospital officials said.*
IRAQ: No work forces refugees into risky return
MADRID Wednesday, October 27, 2010 (IRIN) – It takes courage – or desperation – for an Iraqi refugee to return home, given the levels of violence in the country. But unable to support their families abroad, some are taking that decision.
Vatican urges Iraq to halt Aziz execution (AP)
AP – The Vatican has urged Iraq to not carry out the death sentence meted out to former Iraqi foreign minister Tariq Aziz and says it may intervene diplomatically to try to halt it.*
Tariq Aziz: a political life in pictures
Saddam Hussein’s former deputy has been sentenced to death by hanging by Iraq’s high tribunal over his role in the persecution of Shia parties.
Tariq Aziz and Iraq’s most-wanted deck of cards: where are the aces and kings now?
Top Saddam Hussein aide Tariq Aziz, sentenced to hang Tuesday, was one of 55 people featured in the notorious decks of playing cards handed out to American forces when they invaded Iraq. The cards featured the most-wanted members of Sadaam’s government. Aziz’s sentencing warrants a look at where those aces and kings are today.
Iraq calls time on Saddam’s sidekick
Former Iraqi deputy premier Tariq Aziz once said he would rather die than go to an American prison. On Tuesday, the “international face” of Saddam Hussein’s regime was sentenced to death over persecution of Islamic parties. Nuri al-Maliki, on the brink of sealing a deal to give him another four years as prime minister, apparently feels confident enough to act on something he has long dreamt of: revenge against Aziz. – Sami Moubayed
THE ROVING EYE : Aziz’s story will remain untold
Maliki and his Shi’ite Da’wa party had a score to settle with Aziz, and they will believe justice has now been done. Everyone else loses badly because Aziz is arguably the only person on Earth who could tell the real story, bit by juicy bit, about the rolling, decades-long American dirty game in Iraq. – Pepe Escobar

‘US troops beheaded Iraqi detainee’
American forces decapitated an Iraqi last year on the order of their higher-up, show recently-exposed US military documents.

US: Enemies searching WikiLeaks Iraq papers (AP)
AP – The Pentagon’s No. 2 official says that U.S. enemies already are mining data released this week in a trove of Iraq war documents for ways to harm the American military.*
WikiLeaks has more US war files, Pentagon says
WASHINGTON, Oct 26 (Reuters) – WikiLeaks, which already has made public nearly 500,000 classified U.S. files on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, has more U.S. documents for possible release than it has stated, the Pentagon said on Tuesday.  The massive WikiLeaks disclosures of leaked documents have been the largest in U.S. military history, and Pentagon officials are saying that more files may follow.  The whistle-blowing organization has publicly acknowledged it has some 15,000 more documents on the war in Afghanistan that it has threatened to release, along with an Afghanistan video file, the Pentagon noted.
WikiLeaks Founder Julian Assange on Iraq War Logs, “Tabloid Journalism” and Why WikiLeaks Is “Under Siege”
In an extended interview, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange discusses the release of nearly 400,000 classified US military records on the war in Iraq, the biggest intelligence leak in US history. The disclosure provides a trove of new evidence on the number of civilian casualties, violence, torture and suffering that has befallen Iraq since the 2003 US-led invasion. While the Obama administration is defending the US military’s record in Iraq, the allegations in the documents have sparked worldwide condemnation. Assange also confirmed that threats by the Pentagon would not stop WikiLeaks from releasing additional military documents related to the war in Afghanistan.
The Wikileaks release of the Iraq War Logs on Friday has rightly aroused great interest. There has been excellent coverage in English by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism (apparently sort of a British version of ProPublica in the US), Aljazeera, and the Guardian. The New York Times also had coverage, some of which was useful, but, as so often with the Times, their presentation was too influenced by official US military perspectives.  Much of the attention has focused upon reports of over 1,000 incidents of torture and detainee abuse by Iraqi government soldiers and police witnessed or reported to US troops. Rather than investigate or take action against Iraqi torturers, US troops were ordered to turn a blind eye to these abuses. In addition to ignoring the torture by Iraqi forces, the US was further complicit in that US forces knowingly turned over prisoners to Iraqi units known and expected to torture.  The United Nations Special Rapporteur for Torture has called upon the US to investigate these torture claims. The British Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has also called for an investigation.
U.S. and other world news

Tea Party backing Candidate Who Allegedly Shot Unarmed Iraqis 60 Times
A Tea Party-backed candidate who allegedly murdered two unarmed Iraqis could win a seat in the House of Representatives.

Anti-war protester hurls shoes at ex-Australian prime minister John Howard on live TV
‘That’s for the Iraqi dead!’ Mr Gray shouted as he flung the shoes during the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s live Q&A programme. The shoes missed their target and Mr Gray was escorted from the studio.
Convicted Student Adnan Mirza Maintains Innocence in Latest Case of Alleged FBI Entrapment
Adnan Mirza, a Pakistani citizen who came to the United States on a student visa, has been sentenced to 15 years in prison without parole after being convicted of conspiring to provide material support to the Taliban and for unlawfully possessing firearms. While federal officials hailed the verdict, Adnan’s friends and supporters say he is innocent and that he was set up and framed by an undercover FBI informant. We spoke to Adnan last week, one day before his sentencing.
UK interrogation training manuals on detainees: ‘Get them naked’
British military manuals leaked to The Guardian and used to train interrogators in techniques involving humiliation, disorientation, exhaustion and fear may violate international laws. The training manuals describe a number of interrogation techniques used to “pressure” detainees. Some of these techniques include enforced nakedness, sensory deprivation, humiliating cavity searches, and stress positions.
Stryker unit sought to defend killing at heart of Afghan murder probe
Three days after they killed an Afghan cleric named Mullah Adahdad, members of a U.S. Army platoon returned to his village. Tribal elders had complained to Army officers that the cleric had been unarmed and that the May 2 shooting was a setup.
Whitman Would Only Appoint Judges Who Support The Death Penalty
Republican gubernatorial nominee Meg Whitman would not appoint judges who oppose the death penalty, her campaign spokeswoman said Monday.  The capital-punishment litmus test comes as Whitman, who is trailing in the polls despite spending more than $140 million of her own money on her campaign, sought to gain an edge with time running out before election day.
Emir of Qatar: ‘The US should re-engage with Iran’
Israelis “have the most dangerous weapons,” Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani claims interview; says US can’t use Qatari base to attack Iran.
Human Rights Watch:  Saudi Arabia: Stop Execution of Domestic Worker
(New York) – King Abdullah and Interior Minister Prince Naif should halt the execution of Rizana Nafeek, a Sri Lankan domestic worker convicted of killing a child in her care when she was 17, Human Rights Watch said today. Saudi Arabia is one of only three countries worldwide known to have executed individuals in the past two years for crimes committed when they were children.
Acclaimed Indian Author Arundhati Roy Faces Arrest for Questioning India’s Claim on Kashmir
The award-winning Indian author Arundhati Roy is facing possible arrest in India on sedition charges after publicly advocating for Kashmir independence and challenging India’s claim that Kashmir is an “integral part of India.” If charged and convicted of sedition, Roy could face up to life in prison.
Arundhati Roy Responds to Threat of Arrest for Sedition
Kashmir, Oct. 26—I write this from Srinagar, Kashmir. This morning’s papers say that I may be arrested on charges of sedition for what I have said at recent public meetings on Kashmir. I said what millions of people here say every day. I said what I, as well as other commentators have written and said for years. Anybody who cares to read the transcripts of my speeches will see that they were fundamentally a call for justice. I spoke about justice for the people of Kashmir who live under one of the most brutal military occupations in the world; for Kashmiri Pandits who live out the tragedy of having been driven out of their homeland; for Dalit soldiers killed in Kashmir whose graves I visited on garbage heaps in their villages in Cuddalore; for the Indian poor who pay the price of this occupation in material ways and who are now learning to live in the terror of what is becoming a police state.
Egypt opposition members arrested
Scores of Muslim Brotherhood members detained in Alexandria for placing “inappropriate” posters ahead of November poll.
Anti-Muslim Sentiment Not Limited to Europe, Alex Kane
The Washington Post reports on how “anti-Muslim feelings” are “propel[ling] [the] right wing in Europe.”  When will we see similar stories coming out about the U.S.?  The Tea Party is a right-wing movement that has come into prominence, in part, by stoking fear of Muslims and the non-existent “creeping sharia” law that is about to be imposed on the United States.
A Mosque Grows in Brooklyn, Alex Kane
When a mosque and Islamic community center in Sheepshead Bay were formally proposed in the summer of 2009, the estimated 200 Muslim families living in the south Brooklyn neighborhood greeted the news happily. For many years, they’ve had to travel to mosques in Bensonhurst, Canarsie and Bay Ridge.  But the proposed three-story project at 2812 Voorhies Ave., which was approved Oct. 13 by the Department of Buildings, is now facing a storm of opposition, some of it from outside the community.  The main opposition group, a group of local residents called Bay People Inc., has mobilized since the beginning of this year to oppose the mosque for a number of reasons, including concerns over increased traffic, parking problems, noise and property values.

Noah Feldman says that those who seek to bring ‘pure justice’ to negotiations stand in the way of peace

Oct 27, 2010

Philip Weiss 

The other day Ibn Tufayl reported on a debate at Harvard Law School over the two-state solution or the one-state solution between eminent profs, Noah Feldman and Duncan Kennedy. A student who attended the debate and wishes to remain anonymous fills in:

During the Q & A, Kennedy stated what he wanted: above all, above talk of one-state versus two-state solutions, he wanted a sustained American Boycott and Divestment movement. Feldman responded with a claim that the BD(S) movement would be counter-productive, targeting and marginalizing those within Israel proper–e.g., Israeli intelligentsia–most sympathetic to Kennedy’s own claims.

Kennedy responded that the BD[S] movement was meant to sway American leaders first and foremost. And then for the first time he invoked the apartheid analogy, and alluded to a few specific ways in which apartheid is the case in Israel and Palestine today.

Feldman bristled. Almost jumping in on Kennedy, he responded with something like the following: he very much doesn’t like this analogy for the following reason, it shifts the attention from the facts on the ground and realistic policymaking to vaguer theoretical questions about the legitimacy of applying certain analogies, indeed, of applying analogies at all. The idealists– and this was one of his themes, the uselessness of bringing ideas of “pure justice” to the negotiations– who invoke the apartheid analogy aim to distract those of us interested in moving-on and installing peace as immediately as possible. In other words, in Feldman’s opinion, those who invoke “apartheid” vis-a-vis the issue are not really taking the issue seriously; the analogy is for those who “do not want to get anything done.”

My correspondent, who found Feldman to be “sly,” says that this is a rough re-creation of the gist of the disagreement, and anyone should feel free to correct him, including of course the principals. 

Cambridge debate on Israel is undermined by wily neocon (is that redundant?)

Oct 27, 2010

Philip Weiss 

An interesting PR battle over Israel in England is related by a friend:

Cambridge University’s Union Society held a debate last week with the motion “This House Believes that Israel is a Rogue State.” Because of the public relations stakes, the Israeli embassy actually dispatched two men to argue Israel’s side in the debate.

But bizarrely, the team of 3 arguing for the motion included, alongside Tony Blair’s sister-in-law, a neoconservative student who used his time to argue in defense of Israel. The student in question, Gabriel Latner, said that he had volunteered in the Israeli army, and he had lately interned with the hardcore neo-con think tank, Foundation for Defense of Democracies.

The debate worked out for Latner: the motion was defeated, 57 to 43 percent.

Some days later, the debate was reported on Ynet as “an important PR achievement in what could be considered one of Europe’s main anti-Israeli strongholds.” Ynet continued: 

Due to the preeminence of the hosting institution, the Israeli embassy in London decided to send representatives Ran Gidor, the embassy’s political advisor and a Cambridge graduate, and Shiraz Maher, a former radical Islamist that has become an enthusiastic Israel supporter.

The opposing side was represented by journalist and publicist Lauren Booth, the sister-in-law of former British Prime Minister Tony Blair….

The event took a sharp turn when a few students from the pro-Palestinian camp raised pro-Israeli arguments during the discussion. One of them told the audience that Israel gives political asylum to Darfuri refugees, while Egypt shoots them as they try to infiltrate the border, and that the Jewish State initiates internal probes over international violation, also noting Israel’s liberal policies vis-à-vis gay and lesbian rights. The student then pointed at Gidor and said, “Could you imagine China, Iran or even Britain sending a top diplomat to a discussion that defines Israel as a rogue state?”…

Israel’s Ambassador to London Ron Prosor said … that Israel will continue to dispatch representatives to any event that attempts to tarnish Israel’s reputation.

The PR victory claim is echoed by the Cambridge University Israel Society: “Unsurprisingly, much of the debate focused on Israel being an exceptional state. Israel’s commitment to political democracy and judicial accountability were frequently highlighted.”

Questions: Who arranged for Latner to speak for those proposing the motion? Did the Cambridge Union debating society compromise its impartiality by allowing itself to be used?

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