Posted by: Sammi Ibrahem
Chair of West Midland PSC

Dear All,

This message contains mainly the ‘Today in Palestine’ summaries. Clicking on any of them opens the full report.  But if you do no more than glance at the summaries, you will learn more than you would have known without reading them.  If you are restricted in time, then read at least the items under human rights.  There you will learn, among other things, that the Israeli military accidentally killed a 66 year old man who was sleeping in bed when shot with 13 bullets to head and upper part of the body.  The army apologizes.  That, unfortunately, won’t bring him back to life.

Two items that I did not see in the ‘Today in Palestine’ are (1) about a propaganda war between pro Israel forces in the San Francisco Bay Area and anti occupation forces there, and (2) a description by an Israeli pilot of his sensations when dropping a one-ton bomb on an apartment building to catch one man, but killing a total of 14 in the process, one of whom was not related to the target and who was 9 months pregnant with her 12th child.  They precede the Today in Palestine summaries.

In addition to all of this, an Israeli soldier was killed this evening in an operation on Gaza.



From: Jess Ghannam

Date: January 6, 2011

Subject: [PSN] For Bay Area Folks-StandWithUs BART ads to take aim at ‘Palestinian terrorism

Reply-To: [email protected]

StandWithUs BART ads to take aim at ‘Palestinian terrorism’

January 6, 2011 | by

The pro-Israel national organization StandWithUs announced Jan. 6 that it is launching a new ad campaign, placing posters in six BART stations.

The posters have received BART approval and will go up in the Berkeley, 12th Street/Oakland, MacArthur, Civic Center, Balboa Park and Embarcadero BART stations starting Jan. 17, a StandWitUs spokesperson said.

Dubbed “Say Yes to Peace,” the campaign has been launched, organizers said, to counter a recent poster campaign co-sponsored by Jewish Voice for Peace, a group often critical of Israel. Those posters, still on display at three BART stations (according to the StandWithUs release), depicted Palestinian and Israel fathers with their young children, along with the headings “Be on our side: We are on the side of peace and justice” and “End U.S. military aid to Israel.”

The StandWithUs posters feature the image of a masked terrorist with the heading “Stop Palestinian Terrorism.” Below that, there is a photo of Palestinian and Israeli children at an annual Palestinian-Israeli children’s soccer game, and the heading “Teach Peace” with the address for a new website.

“The anti-Israel ad confuses and deceives the public,” Roz Rothstein, StandWithUs CEO, said in the press release. “It declares it represents the side of ‘peace and justice’ and shows happy pictures of an Israeli father and a Palestinian father with their little sons. These images and words appeal to all people of good will. But the real message is that Israel is the obstacle to peace and that the U.S. should stop all financial assistance to Israel. The ad tries to hide the real obstacles-Hamas, Palestinian terrorism, and decades of anti-Israel, anti-Jewish hate education. We cannot let this message, with its deceptive, velvet-gloved rhetoric, influence unsuspecting commuters who may not know the facts. Our ads will provide the needed facts.”

Last month, StandWithUs allied with other pro-Israel groups to persuade Seattle’s Metro Transit to reject proposed bus ads that StandWithUs viewed as anti-Israel.



January 07, 2011

Israeli pilot describes ‘good strike’ that killed 15 Gazans in 2002

A crewman involved in the assassination of Hamas military leader Salah Shehadeh recently spoke with students about the controversial incident.

By Amira Hass

The airmen who bombed the home of a Hamas military leader in 2002 did not know or did not want to know the identity of their target before the strike, according to T., one of the crewmen directly involved, who spoke recently with students at a secular yeshiva in Tel Aviv.

The July 22 bombing of the home of Salah Shehadeh, who had headed Hamas’ military wing, in the densely populated Daraj neighborhood of Gaza City, killed a total of 15 people, including Shehadeh and his assistant. The other victims included eight children (ranging in age from less than a year to 14 years old‏) and three women.

Haaretz acquired a recording of the discussion held with T. at the BINA Center in Tel Aviv, and for the first time is reporting testimony from one of the direct perpetrators of the assassination.

On December 19, 2010, T. participated in a discussion titled “The Limits of Obedience,” part of a series called “The Military in a Democratic State,” held jointly by the yeshiva and the IDF Staff and Command School.

After preparing and training for a number of days, T. said, “They authorized the takeoff… We took off from the Hatzor airbase. It takes two minutes from Hatzor to Gaza … flight time. Two minutes after takeoff we are told ‘go and wait over the sea.’

“That means west, a great deal out, in the dark, so that there is no noise,” T. continued. “This [kind of] person can smell planes, can hear them coming and escape… So we wait over the sea for 50 minutes. Then they tell us: ‘approval for strike.’ I say ‘fantastic.’

“You must have seen the movies … that’s what it looks like. We move east, then west, strike, the house goes down, collapses … We don’t see anything around … at that height you cannot see very much. I have a television screen when I look at the target. I strike using night vision, land and wait for the base commander…

“[He] tells me that it was Salah Shehadeh, and I say ‘good,’” T. said. “I have no idea who or what he’s talking about. We carried out a good strike, alpha − that’s what it’s called in air force talk − and that’s it. [After that] we went to sleep.

“The next day, actually the same day, they tell us that the strike killed Salah Shehadeh, his wife, his daughter, his son and others… The commander of the pilots called us all in for a talk about ethics, the first one I’d ever heard about…”

During the discussion in Tel Aviv, T. asked the teenagers, who are themselves, preparing for their military service, the following question: “Had I known that 14 other people were with him … what should I have done?”


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

Rawabi developer Masri helps deepen Israel’s grip on West BankBashar Masri, the Palestinian businessman and CEO of the company that is developing the Rawabi luxury real estate project in the occupied West Bank, appears to be actively helping Israel deepen its hold on the Palestinian economy despite his earlier claims that he is trying to help end this relationship.  On 30 December, The Electronic Intifada reported that the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions National Committee (BNC) in Palestine had expressed serious concerns following reports that a dozen Israeli companies have been contracted to take part in the construction of Rawabi, billed as the “first planned Palestinian city” (“Role of Israeli firms raises boycott concerns about Rawabi”).

Photostory: home demolitions in Lydd
On 13 December 2010, Israeli bulldozers, flanked by hundreds of municipal, riot squad and border police forces, demolished seven homes belonging to the Abu Eid family in Lydd, a city a few miles east of Tel Aviv. Photographer Oren Ziv documented the demolition.

Israel slates 15 Jericho homes for demolition
JERICHO (Ma’an) — Israeli authorities delivered 15 demolition orders to farmers in the Ad-Dweik Al-Foqa area north of Jericho on Thursday, marking the second day such orders were handed out in the West Bank.  Director of Agriculture in Jericho Omar Al-Bsharat said in a statement that the demolition orders were part of a larger plan to evacuate the northern Jericho area, saying farmers had noted an increase in the number of patrols in the area ahead of the demolition orders.
Olive trees uprooted; villagers say setters behind vandalism
NABLUS (Ma’an) — More than 100 small olive trees were uprooted from outside of Qasra village in the northern West Bank, with villagers saying settlers were behind the vandalism.  Palestinian official in charge of settlement watch in the north Ghassan Daghlas said villagers reported to him seeing several men wearing skullcaps who they identified as settlers, pulling out the young trees on lands belonging to one of the village residents.  Abed Ar-Razeq Daoud Abdllah Auda had planted the field three months earlier, some five dunums of lands, with olive trees. Villagers had gathered to help the farmer, whose lands abut the nearby settlement outpost known as Esta. 
Jericho teacher says settler car attempted to run down students
JERICHO (Ma’an) — A settler car with five passengers was seen careening toward a group of three school girls on their way to school in the northern Jericho governorate on Thursday.  Headmistress of the An-Nuwei’ma Girls School, in the village where the girls live, said the car veered toward the children in what appeared to be an attempted hit-and-run. Mrs Rasha An-Natsha said the girls ran out of harms way in time and were unhurt.
Murder of Non Violent Activist Jawaher Abu Rahmah

Jawaher Abu Rahma’s CT scan report from Shafey Diagnostic Centre 
Palestine Red Crescent emergency case form
Jawaher Abu Rahma’s hospital report from the Palestinian Medical Complex
Bil’in to commemorate killed demonstrator
[Popular Struggle] The people of Bil’in will be joined by women from across the West Bank and by Israeli women organizations in commemorating Jawaher Abu Rahmah who was killed by tear-gas last week.
What: Demonstration in memory of Jawaher Abu Rahmah
Where: The village of Bil’in, west of Ramallah
When: Tomorrow, Friday, January 7th, 2011 at 12:30 PM

For Jawaher Abu Rahma: As one sleeps, another wakes up. As one dies, a whole generation is born, Mohammed Rabah Suliman
The tragic death of the Palestinian protester Jawaher Abu Rahma in Bil’in left all of us grieving very deeply as we sat helpless, leafing through the news stories of her sad death. That, in fact, was not an extraordinary incident to me, but rather a new episode in the long series of events that show that Palestinians embody the essence of what sacrifice means. As one sleeps, another wakes up. As one dies, a whole generation is born.

Skeptical ‘Washington Post’ report on teargassing death is written by reporter said to have served in Israeli army, Philip Weiss
Well here’s Joel Greenberg, writing for the Washington Post as a “special correspondent” on the Jawaher Abu Rahmah killing. The thrust of the piece is that the claimed cause of death is questionable. First two sentences and last one…

The Ethan Bronner-Isabel Kershner Israeli propaganda machine, As`ad Abukhalil

This has become a pattern in the New York Times.  Israeli terrorists kill and maim Arabs and the New York Times barely report on the story.  Yet, some unnamed Israeli military propagandists calls in New York Times correspondents for a lengthy propaganda statement which is printed in full in a lengthy article in the New York Times.  Of course, the New York Times barely reported on the murder of Jawahir Abu Rahmi but it found it necessary to devote more than half a page for Israeli military propagandists to peddle their lies:

“The woman’s relatives, village leaders and staff members at the hospital in Ramallah where she was treated said that she was fatally sickened by tear gas fired on Friday by Israeli forces during the weekly protest against Israel’s separation barrier in the Palestinian village of Bilin. Her mother said she and her daughter, Jawaher Abu Rahmah, were watching the protest from a distance when a cloud of tear gas wafted their way, causing her daughter to collapse.  But Israeli military officials, who insisted on anonymity while their investigation was continuing, told various journalists and bloggers that they had never heard of tear gas killing anyone in the open, and raised the possibility that she had some pre-existing ailment that, alone or compounded by the tear gas, caused her death.”

As it this was not enough, Kershner had to re-argue the case of Muhammad Ad-Durrah:  “Israel first apologized for the death of the boy, Muhammad al-Dura, then concluded he had probably been killed by Palestinian fire. Some critics even charged that the whole episode had been staged.”  Who are those critics, o Ms. Isabel Kershner, who charged that the whole episode was staged?  Was blood staged? Was the funeral of Durrah staged?  Was the grief of his family staged too for the cameras? 
Forward: Israeli army doctors warned in ‘03 that CS gas in high concentrations could kill, Philip Weiss
Angry Arab points out that the New York Times has become a propaganda machine on the teargassing killing:  “the New York Times barely reported on the murder of Jawahir Abu Rahmi but it found it necessary to devote more than half a page for Israeli military propagandists to peddle their lies.”

Activism/Solidarity/Boycott, Divestment & Sanctions

No break in tear-gas for West Bank protests
RAMALLAH (Ma’an) — Israeli forces blocked off the entrances to the central West Bank village of Bil’in on Friday, ahead of a protest that drew hundreds, after a call to mourn the death of a local woman who suffered tear-gas inhalation and died the week before.  Jawaher Abu Rahma, 36, was watching the protest on 31 December 2010, inhaled tear-gas and collapsed. Israeli military officials, after first accusing Palestinian protesters of lying about the circumstances of her death, initiated a full investigation into the incident. 
Adnan Ghaith released on bail
Al-Bustan Popular Committee member Adnan Ghaith was released today following his appearance in the Jerusalem Magistrates Court. Ghaith was arrested yesterday by Israeli forces and appeared in court this morning, where the judge denied the prosecutor’s request of 6 days house arrest and 5000 NIS bail. It was ruled that Ghaith be released with no conditions of house arrest, at a bail of 2500 NIS. Ghaith has been fighting a lengthy legal battle with Israeli authorities, in the lead up to the commencement of the order on 12 January that will ban Ghaith from the Jerusalem area for a period of 4 months.
Silwan activist re-arrested hours after release ordered
JERUSALEM (Ma’an) — Silwan activist, Jawad Siyam, was re-arrested by Israeli police on Friday morning, an hour and a half after a judge ordered his release from jail, supporters said.  Siyan is the Director of the Wad Hilweh Information Center in Silwan. He was detained on Wednesday and had his one-day sentence extended by another 48 hours.  According to Israeli watchdog group checkpointwatch, police submitted “confidential evidents” to the judge, that were not shown to the suspect and his lawyer.
Silwanic director Jawad Siyam’s appeal rejected
Wadi Hilweh Information Center director Jawad Siyam’s appeal was rejected by the Jerusalem Central Court today. The court has given the Jerusalem police until 11am tomorrow, 7 January, to produce clear evidence in support of the assault charges laid against him. If the assault cannot be satisfactorily proved to the court, Siyam will be released tomorrow. Police laid another, classified, charge against Siyam during his case in the Jerusalem Magistrates Court yesterday. Details of this charge have not been made available to Siyam or his legal counsel.
Boston says: Break the Siege of Gaza!
In this video, Bostonians creatively demonstrate against the siege of Gaza by acting it out as part of Boston’s First Night celebrations, also on the two-year anniversary of Operation “Cast Lead.” Note particularly the dialogue at time index 2:38, where passersby are asked for their views on US military aid to Israel.
Machsom Watch: Probe MK Ben-Ari for incitement
Human rights organization calls on attorney general to launch criminal investigation against National Union MK who called to ‘persecute leftist traitors’.,7340,L-4010150,00.html
#BDS: Peer’s non-appearance a win for BDS campaign in New Zealand
The failure of Israeli tennis player Shahar Peer to appear at the ASB tennis classic in Auckland this week is a significant victory for the BDS (Boycott Divestment and Sanctions) campaign against apartheid Israel.  Despite being the subject of protest in 2009 and 2010 Peer was adamant she would to return to Auckland. She told media last year she was keen to come back. We expected her to enter the tournament at the last minute to avoid early publicity and controversy.  However it seems she was unwilling to face further protests in New Zealand which could have led to greater pressure for her expulsion from other tournaments. Following protests in Auckland in 2009 Peer was banned from a Dubai tournament a short time later. Further high-profile protests here would have increased this pressure.
#BDS: Open Letter to Jon Bon Jovi: This one should go out to the Palestinians!*
“It is with great disappointment that the undersigned organizations learned of your scheduled performance in Israel set for 2011 as part of your “Circle Tour” [1].  Given that Israel is involved in grave violations of international law and human rights, particularly as indicated in the UN Goldstone Report, we urge you to cancel this gig until the time comes when Israel is in compliance with its obligations under international law and fully respects Palestinian rights.
#BDS: Rally for Gaza on Tuesday 18 January 2011, 7pm, Conway Hall, Holborn, London
“On the second anniversary of the end of Operation Cast Lead activists will gather for a rally to discuss campaigning activities to break the siege on Gaza.  Initial speakers include: Sir Gerald Kaufman MP; Dr. Ghada Karmi; Jody McIntyre; Rev Garth Hewitt, Amos Trust; Sarah Colborne, PSC, and will be chaired by Hugh Lanning, Deputy General Secretary of PCS and Chair of PSC. More speakers will be announced over the next few days – check the PSC website for details!”
#BDS: Saturday, March 19, 2011: Day of Action to Resist the War Machine!
March 19 is the 8th anniversary of the invasion and occupation of Iraq. Iraq today remains occupied by 50,000 U.S. soldiers and tens of thousands of foreign mercenaries.  The war in Afghanistan is raging. The U.S. is invading and bombing Pakistan. The U.S. is financing endless atrocities against the people of Palestine, relentlessly threatening Iran and bringing Korea to the brink of a new war.  While the United States will spend $1 trillion for war, occupation and weapons in 2011, 30 million people in the United States remain unemployed or severely underemployed, and cuts in education, housing and healthcare are imposing a huge toll on the people.

#BDS: ‘We have to go on the offensive against boycotts’
Jewish Federations’ CEO Jerry Silverman speaks to the ‘Post’ during a whirlwind visit.  The Jewish Federations of North America, the largest Jewish fund-raising network in the world, is joining the fight against anti-Israel boycotts, JFNA CEO Jerry Silverman said in an interview in Jerusalem on Tuesday.  Silverman – who was on a whirlwind 48-hour visit to Israel – spoke about the Israel Action Network that his group recently founded, in collaboration with the Jewish Council for Public Action, with the aim of countering the Palestine Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign.

As Activists Plan Protest for 9th Anniv. of Guantanamo, Former Gitmo Commander Subpoenaed In Spain Over Prisoner Torture
Protests are planned at the White House next week to mark the ninth anniversary of the first transfer of foreign prisoners to the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Meanwhile, The Center for Constitutional Rights filed a request Thursday asking a Spanish court to subpoena the former commander officer at Guantanamo Bay, Major General Geoffrey Miller over the alleged torture of four Guantanamo prisoners. Last month, the CCR also asked another Spanish judge to prosecute six former Bush administration officials who authored the legal memos authorizing the torture of foreign prisoners.

Human Rights/Humanitarian Issues/Siege/Refugees

Border guards bar infant from Jlem medical treatment
JERICHO (Ma’an) — Israeli soldiers deployed at the Zaytoun checkpoint east of Jerusalem turned away a mother and child with a medical permit to enter the city, on the grounds that the 18-month-old child was not her legitimate son.  Soldiers told Umm Mohammed that her son Mohammad Kahlil Abu Dahuk was in fact a Gaza resident, and could not enter Jerusalem for treatment at the Makassed Hospital, where he was referred for blood work.  Umm Mohammed is a West Bank resident living in Jericho, where her infant son was being treated for a blood disorder at the Jericho Government Hospital. 
HRW Demands Criminal Investigation Into Death Of 20 y.o Palestinian Patient Denied Permit By Israel
Human Rights Watch and other organizations have demanded a Criminal Investigation into the death of a 20 Year-Old Palestinian patient who was denied a permit by Israeli Authorities tolLeave Gaza. The Israeli authorities insisted that an unconscious patient appear for questioning by the Israel Security Agency; the patient died in Gaza while waiting for a response.
Weekly Report On Israeli Human Rights Violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (30 Dec. 2010 – 05 Jan. 2011)
Statement by the EU High Representative Catherine Ashton on the occasion of her visit to the Middle East
Catherine Ashton, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice President of the Commission visited Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT) on 5 and 6 January. During her visit in Israel she spoke to Prime Minister Netanyahu and met with Foreign Minister Liberman, Defense Minister Barak and Kadima party leader Tzipi Livni. In the OPT she met with President Abbas and Prime Minister Fayyad. She also visited Bethlehem, including the Aida Camp and the Church of the Nativity. This was her first official trip abroad in 2011.
Warning of new West Bank controls
The United Nations says it is increasingly concerned that Israel is about to tighten access restrictions to the occupied West Bank.
Palestinian refugees in Brazil live in miserable condition
Hundreds of Palestinian refugees forced out of their homes in war-torn Iraq and settled eventually in Brazil have complained of the miserable conditions they and their families are experiencing.
Coca Cola, P&G, Westinghouse, Philip Morris, Hewlett Packard wanted to open Gaza border. But they’re chopped liver, Philip Weiss
A friend has reminded me of why I believe in the Israel lobby. If per Chomsky and the materialists, it’s corporations that drive policy, then how come several big American corporations bitch about the Gaza blockade and nothing happens. What about this 2006 leaked State Department cable on all the corporations that were upset with the blockade.

It’s Christmas Again, and Still No Way to Bethlehem, Eva Bartlett
GAZA CITY, Jan 6, 2011 (IPS) – “We try to be happy and celebrate with our families during Christmas, but the atmosphere is not cheery as in other parts of the world,” says Hossam Tawwil. And as around Christmas on Dec. 25, so for Orthodox Christians preparing to celebrate Christmas Jan. 7.

Haj Omar al-Qawsmi, Palestinian Civilian killed in bed by IOF

Hebron civilian killed in error by Israeli troops (AFP)
AFP – Israeli troops in Hebron shot dead an elderly Palestinian civilian on Friday in a case of mistaken identity as they searched for a Hamas prisoner released a day earlier. 
13 IOF bullets penetrated the head and heart of an elderly Palestinian man
Haj Omar al-Qawsmi, 65 years, was asleep in his bed at 4:15 Friday morning when IOF troops quietly sneaked into his flat and riddled his head and upper body with 13 bullets.
Palestinian killed in Israeli raid
Family says soldiers mistakenly shot dead sleeping man during hunt for a Hamas fighter released from Palestinian jail.
Hebron man’s wife: Punish troops who shot him
IDF probing death of 65-year-old Amr Qawasme, claiming soldiers opened fire due to suspicious movement. His wife rejects explanation, tells Ynet: ‘They are lying, he was asleep when they killed him.’ Division commander: Such tragic events happen.,7340,L-4010384,00.html
Palestinian killed during IDF detention
Amr Qawasme, 65, shot to death for unknown reason as soldiers raid house in Hebron area. ‘They put their hand to my mouth and a rifle to my head,’ man’s wife says. ‘I asked them, ‘What did you do?’ They asked me to shut up.’ Central Command chief orders investigation into incident.,7340,L-4010289,00.html
IDF says it regrets killing civilian in Hebron raid, but defends operation
IDF raided Hebron to re-arrest Hamas members, including senior member who assisted man who planned 2008 suicide bombing in Dimona.

Other Violence/Aggression/War Crimes

Israeli army carries out three airstrikes on Gaza
GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — Israeli war planes carried out three airstrikes on targets across the Gaza Strip early Friday morning, with medics saying none were reported injured.  Rafah residents said they heard two rounds of shells launched near the As-Salam neighborhood, with others reporting that they say F15 fighter jets flying low over the area shortly before the bomb blasts were heard. 
Israel’s killing zone in Gaza
Young men moved up and down the rows of plastic seats with brass coffee pots and tiny ceramic cups and platters of dates in the mourning tent as Ahmed Qudaih spoke about how the Israeli military had just murdered his 19-year-old brother Hassan in the village’s borderlands.


Projectile lands in Israel as Hamas calls for retaliation
GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — Israeli military officials reported the launch of a homemade projectile from Gaza into Israeli territory Friday afternoon, less than an hour after a protest in Gaza City saw Hamas leaders call for resistance factions to “take revenge” for the death of a Hebron man.  None were reported injured by the projectile fire.


Israeli occupation kidnaps five Palestinians hours after being released from PA
IOF troops kidnapped, Friday at dawn, five Palestinian men from the southern West Bank city of al-Khalil, only hours after being released from PA jails.. 
Fatah: PA warned of consequences for released Hamas men
RAMALLAH (Ma’an) — Leading West Bank party Fatah denounced the arrest of Hamas men detained in a deadly arrest raid in Hebron overnight, following their release from PA custody the day before.  A statement from the party said the PA had been clear with Hamas, and had warned that the men could be arrested by the Israeli military.
Hamas blames PNA for Hebron raid
GAZA, Jan. 7 (Xinhua) — Gaza-ruling Islamic Hamas movement held the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) responsible for the Israeli detention of five of its members in the West Bank on Friday.  The Israeli army arrested the five in a raid in Hebron city, a day after Palestinian President Mamoud Abbas ordered their release from a PNA prison. A 60-year-old Palestinian was killed by Israeli fire in the raid.  Sami Abu Zuhri, a Hamas spokesman in Gaza, said that the PNA must stop “political” detention of Hamas members in the West Bank and release all prisoners of this category.
Abbas orders Hamas hunger strikers freed (AFP)
AFP – Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas on Thursday ordered the release of six Hamas prisoners who had been on hunger strike, a Palestinian security spokesman said.
Scores of Palestinians detained in Israeli clampdown
RAMALLAH: Israeli security forces on Thursday arrested 13 Palestinians in West Bank cities and 33 Palestinian workers in the southern Israeli city of Ashdod, Palestinian and Israeli sources said.
Detainees’ parents protest in Bethlehem
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — The parents of Palestinians detained in Israel held a demonstration in Bethlehem on Thursday, calling for an end to the harsh treatment their sons and daughter face in detention facilities.  The local Detainees Center held the rally, gathering parents with Fatah officials to a sit-in.
Palestinian attorney accused of helping Gaza captives in occupation jails
The Israeli central court held a hearing to listen to the testimonies offered by the military prosecutor in the case of Palestinian attorney Shirin al-Issawi and her brothers Madhat and Raafat.

Political Developments

Report: Chile recognizes independent Palestinian state
Chilean President Sebastian Pinera’s announcement preceded by official recognition of Palestine by Ecuador, Bolivia, Brazil, Argentina, and Uruguay.
PA seeks UN vote next week on resolution condemning West Bank settlements
Whether or not U.S. will support the resolution remains unclear; U.S. previously said resolution wont bring two sides closer to peace deal.

This explains why Dahlan is now under attack by PA gang: Zionist masters are not pleased with him, As`ad Abukhalil
Elliott Abrams opines:  “People like Dahlan and other former Arafat cronies, raised with the corruption and disarray of Arafat’s satrapy, have no role and no future in the PA.”  So a Zionist fanatic in Washington, DC gets to decide who should and who should not have a role in the PA.  That of course is accurate: the PA serves US and Israeli masters, and not the Palestinian cause.  Oh, by the way: Abrams lists Spanish and French as his two languages on his c.v.  I guess Spanish and French qualify to be an expert on the Arab world–provided you are a Zionist fanatic like him.
Mubarak to Bibi: Threats against Hamas threaten region
During Sharm el-Sheikh meeting, Egyptian leader tells Netanyahu Israel must rethink its policy, initiate ‘concrete steps’ to jumpstart peace talks.,7340,L-4010115,00.html
Pressure Mounts on Security Council to Rein in Israel
UNITED NATIONS, Jan 6, 2011 (IPS) – Calls are growing for a swift international response to the situation in the Middle East, as Israel continues to build new settlements in Palestinian territories with increased military actions against civilians.
Outgoing Mossad chief: Iran won’t have nuclear capability before 2015
Meir Dagan tells Knesset committee that Iran’s nuclear program has been set back several years after a series of malfunctions.

Other News

F-35 production frozen due to cutbacks
Major budget cuts in Pentagon, estimated at $78 billion, won’t affect delivery of 20 stealth jets to Israel from 2015 to 2017.,7340,L-4010268,00.html 
Palestinian girl makes waves as a fisherwoman in Gaza
For one Palestinian girl in Gaza, traditional gender roles matter less than feeding her family – made possible by becoming a fisherwoman.

Female Israeli activist could be sent to prison for praying at Wailing Wall
An Israeli activist who defied orthodox Jewish custom by leading a group of women in open prayer at Jerusalem’s Wailing Wall has been told to expect years in prison for breaching the peace.


Our Story, Dr. Mustafa Barghouthi
The story of the Palestinian people; the history, the present, the future. By Dr. Mustafa barghouti who was born in Jerusalem in 1954, Dr Barghouti is a leader of the Palestinian National Initiative founded in 2002 and a member of Palestinian Legislative Council as well as a former Minister of Information in the unity government in 2007.  “if those who suffered during the Holocaust and died would come back to life, I am sure they will be today supportive of the Palestinian rights, because they would not accept injustice that they were also subjected to.” Dr. Barghouti. 
In Ajami and Mas’ha, evidence of the continuing Nakba, Alex Kane
Ramallah, West Bank–The Palestinian catastrophe, the Nakba of 1948, never really ended. What has happened since then, as Yehouda Shenhav, an Israeli sociologist and the author of Bounded by the Green Line, puts it, is a “continuation of the [1948] war by other means.” There are continuous effort by Israel to displace Palestinians of their land all over the occupied territories and inside Israel.

Jeffrey Goldberg’s ignorance, As`ad Abukhalil
“In recent blog posts titled “The Mossad Did It”, he implies that believing Mossad would bomb targets in Egypt in order to raise ethnic tension is so far afield that only an anti-Semite could possibly believe it. But of course, the historical record is filled with examples of precisely this thing, of which the Lavon Affair was one of the most famous. In 1954, Israel was worried about Egypt’s relatively strong relationship with the US, and so decided to bomb American and British targets in Egypt and try to undermine the US-Egyptian relationship. Of course, the whole psychotic effort failed miserably, earning the euphemism “The Unfortunate Affair”, but not due to lack of effort or intention. Given such an ugly history, Goldberg’s innuendos speak only of his ignorance and ideological attachments, not anti-Semitism.”
Why does Israel ban Gazans from recycling?, Hani Almadhoun
A little over a year ago when I was visiting my family in Gaza, driving all the way from the southern tip of this narrow strip to the northern tip, “About an hour’s drive”, it was hard to imagine all the news Gaza received for being such a tiny piece of land. But throughout the drive on Salah Aldeen Road, one could not help but notice piles and piles of scrap metal stored in huge warehouses on the road. Anyone visiting Gaza can tell you those scrap metal piles cannot be missed.
Carlo Strenger: Israel’s Paranoid and Vicious Circles
The rise of racism and xenophobia in Israel has been a favorite topic for pundits in recent weeks, and for good reason. Is hatred turning on an imagined enemy?
Peace, not process, Daoud Kuttab
The United States should stop pushing for the resumption of the Palestinian-Israeli peace process. Doing so might be the best way to achieve peace – a paradox that reflects the huge gap between a peace process and achieving genuine peace.  Make no mistake: this is not a call to arms or an appeal for a violent uprising. Peace between the conflicting parties east of the Mediterranean and west of the Jordan river can and must be achieved through negotiations. But if one party is more interested in a process than in the need for peace, something must be wrong.
The Other Side of the Wall
PULSE recently published a series of photographs of photojournalist William Parry’s Christmastime project in London: projecting images of Israel’s apartheid wall in Bethlehem onto edifices in the British capital. (View the images in three separate sets herehere, and here).  Parry has now written a piece entitled “The writing on the other side of the wall” forNew Left Project, which begins by mentioning that in November “it was reported that a US-based group called Artists 4 Israel (A4I), modestly calling themselves ‘New York’s finest urban artists’, had attempted to enter Bethlehem to paint over some of the ‘anti-Israeli’ graffiti that appears on Israel’s illegal separation wall”.
Palestinians and another deadline… that is not sacred?, Oraib Rantawi
The Palestinian leadership has begun to speak about this coming September as the month of the three appointments or deadlines; for the end of the year of negotiations approved by Washington, the Quartet and the international community; the end of the “two year” period designated by the caretaker government to build state institutions under the occupation; and the moment for the enforcement of “Obama’s promise” to see Palestine become a state member of the UN General Assembly.
How I became a human smuggler, Alice Rothchild
I have to confess, we were not prepared. We were not even aware of the white-faced American mostly Jewish privileged skin in which we were living. Our bus left the tiny village of Mas’ha, heading past Ariel to the municipality of Tel Aviv-Jaffo, or Jaffa as our Palestinian friends say. We had a yellow license plate, the seats were comfortable and the seat belts functional. Life was good.
HABIBI, the first fiction feature set in Gaza in 15 years
“Habibi,” a story of forbidden love, is the first fiction feature set in Gaza in over 15 years. Two students in the West Bank are forced to return home to Gaza, where their love defies tradition. To reach his lover, Qays grafittis poetry across town.  The full Arabic title is “Habibi Rasak Kharban,” which literally translates as “darling, something’s wrong with your head.” The film is a modern re-telling of the ancient romance, “Majnun Layla,” which dates back to 7th century Arabia. I incorporate into this film the body of poetry attributed to the man who, according to legend, went crazy out of love for Layla.

Sanchez’s PR man said Palestinians have no claim to Jerusalem, Steve Horn
The other day this site mentioned Rick Sanchez’s kowtowing to the lobby in the aftermath of his on-air blow-up on CNN that sent him packing in October 2010. Sanchez hired a new PR guy by the name of Ronn Torossian, who, and here the original piece cited his Wikipedia entry, “is a big (right wing) Israel supporter who has handled Girls Gone Wild,” as well as various other far right-wing Israeli organizations.  There’s more to the story.  Torossian, as spotlighted by a great article published in Haaretz in August of 2009, is also the main PR guy behind the contrived messaging that accompanies allBirthright Israel trips.  Interestingly, the article mentions that many Jews, when they found out Torossian was behind the Birthright Israel messaging machine, became deeply disturbed and there was actually an uproar.

Arabs and Whiskey, As`ad Abukhalil
This occurred to me yesterday.  Western journalists in the Middle East are uniformly impressed with Arabs who drink whiskey for some reason, especially if they are Muslims or Muslim-born.  They seem to think it is a sign that an Arab can achieve a measure of civilized manners and behavior.  And I also notice that some Arabs like to impress Western journalists by drinking whiskey.  Those who drink single malt–and I still don’t know what that means despite detailed explanation from dear friend Joseph–are put on a pedestal and promoted as ideal types for Arabs.  By the way, Saddam enjoyed drinking whiskey.
Rami El-Amine, “Racist Rage: Islamophobia, the Tea Party, and Endless War”
Suddenly, we were told, the US was facing a “growing domestic terror threat.” Every major news outlet had special coverage of this “new threat” and Congress held hearings on it. . . . Salon’s Glenn Greenwald explained that “The coordinated campaign to hype the alleged ‘growing domestic Muslim threat’ at exactly the time we are escalating our conventional war in Afghanistan and our covert Predator war in Pakistan” was part of a cycle behind the “war on terror”: “(1) Interfere in the Muslim world; (2) Provoke increased anti-American sentiment and fuel terrorism as a result of step 1; (3) Point to the increased anti-American sentiment and terrorism as a reason we need to escalate our interference and aggression in the Muslim world. Return to step 1.” . . . However, most of the cases held up as examples of the spread of homegrown terror were nothing more than entrapment. They involved paid FBI informants who essentially pushed for and facilitated the crimes.
Enough Already: Close Gitmo, Frida Berrigan
Remember way back when? President Barack Obama promised to close the Guantánamo prison, restore the United States’ moral standing, and end the practice of torture. It was two years ago. In January 2009, as one of his first acts as president, Obama signed an executive order that committed the United States to closing the prison within a year and ending the practice of torture.


Israel Violated of Lebanon’s Sovereignty 7,000 Times in 2010
Lebanon Foreign Minister Ali Shami uncovered in remarks published Thursday by the Kuwaiti daily al-Anbaa that Israel had committed 7,000 violations of Lebanese sovereignty in 2010.”Concerns in Lebanon today are due to Israeli intervention,” Shami said. Shami, nonetheless, voiced optimism over reaching a solution to the Lebanon crisis by Syria and Saudi Arabia. 
Controversy in Lebanon over property sales (AFP)
AFP – A draft law calling for a 15-year ban on property sales between Lebanese Christians and Muslims has sparked controversy, with many saying it is aimed at stemming the sale of Christian land to Hezbollah supporters.


Police: Iraqi family slain in predawn attack (AP)
AP – Police say unidentified gunmen have killed a family of five in a predawn attack on a home northeast of the Iraqi capital. 
Thursday: 1 Iraqi Killed, 1 Wounded
A huge military parade in Baghdad marked the 90th anniversary of the founding of Iraq’s army, but other than the arrests of a number of suspects, the day was very peaceful security-wise. Only was person was reported killed, while another wounded. Meanwhile, the Pentagon ordered the largest budget cuts since before the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks in New York City; the drawdown of troops in Iraq should help keep costs down.
Moqtada al-Sadr should not be above the law | Hayder al-Khoei
The fact Sadr was not arrested for his part in my father’s murder says a lot about the government’s claimed dedication to integrity.  Moqtada al-Sadr has finally returned to Najaf after almost four years of self-imposed exile. Senior Sadrists claimed that the reason he left Iraq was to continue his theological studies in Iran. However, there was another thorny issue behind his absence: Sadr is still wanted by the Iraqi judiciary for his alleged involvement in my father’s murder eight years ago.

U.S. and other world news

Clinton to visit Arab allies in Gulf as “Iran fears” intensify
The Obama administration is sending Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton to the Gulf region this weekend to shore up relations with U.S. allies there as fears about Iran’s nuclear program mount.
U.S. Teenager Tortured in Kuwait and Barred Re-entry Into the U.S., Glenn Greenwald
Mohamed traveled on an American passport and had valid visas for all the countries he visited. He has never been arrested nor — until two weeks ago — was he ever involved with law enforcement in any way, including the entire time he lived in the U.S.
Amnesty International: Rep. King Unfit to Chair Homeland Security Committee
By Tom Parker, Policy Director for Terrorism, Counterterrorism and Human Rights.  Yesterday, with the opening of the 112th Congress, Representative Peter King (R-NY) succeeded Rep. Bennie G. Thompson (D-MI) as the Chair of the House Homeland Security Committee.  In the past few weeks Congressman King, no stranger to exaggerated sensationalism, has attracted a great deal of media attention for labeling Wikileaks a terrorist organization (a stretch by any definition of the term) and calling for the prosecution of the New York Times under the Espionage Act.

Heckling ‘birther’ disrupts Congress
WASHINGTON — A woman screaming that President Barack Obama was not legitimately elected to the White House disrupted a symbolic reading of the US Constitution in the House of Representatives on Thursday.  Capitol police removed the protester, who shouted “Except Obama! Except Obama! Help us Jesus!” as Democratic Representative Frank Pallone read the passage that spells out the requirements for becoming president.
Veteran reporter Helen Thomas returns to the press, with zero fanfare
When longtime White House reporter Helen Thomas came under rhetorical fire over comments critical of Israel, she apologized and immediately resigned her post as a columnist with Hearst Newspapers, ostensibly ending a legendary career in journalism that began some 69 years ago.
Diane Sawyer To Interview Donald Rumsfeld In Former Defense Secretary’s First TV Interview Since 1996
Diane Sawyer will talk to former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld in his first television interview since 2006 next month. The conversation is slated to begin airing on ABC’s “World News” on February 7, with segments also appearing on “Nightline” and “Good Morning America.”

Army’s “Spiritual Fitness” Test Comes Under Fire, Jason Leopold
An experimental, Army mental-health, fitness initiative designed by the same psychologist whose work heavily influenced the psychological aspects of the Bush administration’s torture program is under fire by civil rights groups and hundreds of active-duty soldiers.

Open Doors: stupid ranking, As`ad Abukhalil

Of course, this is a nutty Christian organization.  It presents its ranking of countries that most persecute Christians.  Its standards are as silly as Freedom House during the Cold War: when it used to give positive marks to countries with pro-US leanings regardless of the domestic oppression.  Similarly, this lists places a country with churches (Iran) below (or ahead of you list from the most repressive to least) Saudi Arabia, which allows no churches and no Christian symbols whatsoever.  Similarly, it places Bahrain ahead of Syria.  Oh, of course. Israel is not even on the list when it can be easily argued that repressive Syria is far better for the plight of Christians than Israel.

Batman’s French Muslim ally angers rightwing US bloggers
Batman has battled many enemies but now has to face the anger of rightwing US bloggers furious that the comic book caped crusader has recruited a Muslim to run his crime-fighting franchise in Paris. “The character’s name is Bilal Asselah and he is an Algerian Sunni Muslim and an immigrant that is physically fit and […] 
American funds and Israeli terrorism, As`ad Abukhalil
“American investigators, cooperating in a probe of the January assassination of a top Palestinian leader in Dubai, have identified a handful of U.S.-based companies believed to have been used to transfer money to suspects in the case, a finding that brings international authorities closer to identifying who funded the operation.
The findings show American authorities playing a bigger role in the investigation than previously revealed. The case is especially delicate for the U.S., because Dubai police have said their prime suspect in the case is Mossad, the intelligence service of Israel, a key U.S. ally.

Lies of the Israeli media: the story of the Mossad vulture, As`ad Abukhalil
I have received many links from readers about the alleged Saudi accusation of a vulture of spying for Israel.  I refused to post any link for suspicion that this was a regular lie and fabrication of the Israeli propaganda machine.  Today,  a western journalist in the Middle East, Rasmus, sent me this:  “I urge you to look closer at the story about the alleged spy-vulture. As far as I can find out, the original reports from Saudi media says NOTHING about the bird being in the custody of the Saudi security forces nor that they suspect it of having been trained by Mossad. It was just some villagers who got scared by the big bird with the weird transmitter, caught it and handed it over to the authorities (unspecified). All the rest is only to be found in the report from the rightwing Israeli paper Maariv which started the flood-wave of reports in Western media, all saying that Saudi intelligence has arrested a vulture on charges of espionage (or more plainly speaking: once again the stupid, anti-Semitic Arabs makes up wild claims). This story needs to be rebuked.” 
Thousands of Tunisia lawyers strike
The lawyers demand an end to beatings by police, following what they say is police brutality against protesters.
Tunisian rapper arrested after online protest song
Tunisian police have arrested a rap singer who released a song critical of government policies as protests against President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali’s rule shook the North African nation, his brother said on Friday.
Anger in Algeria
A second wave of rioting has rocked Algeria, where hundreds of protesters have fought running battles with riot police in the capital, Algiers. The violent protests come after growing anger among citizens about the rising cost of living and the lack of jobs. Al Jazeera’s Hashem Ahelbarra reports on the violence, which comes after similar protests in neighbouring Tunisia.
Egyptian police accused of torture
Family of a 31-year-old man arrested on Tuesday night say he died in hospital in Alexandria after torture by officers.
Egypt Muslims form human shields at churches
In a show of solidarity with Egypt’s beleaguered Christian community, some Muslims showed up at churches on Friday to act as human shields as Copts celebrate their Christmas after a New Year’s Day bombing killed 21.
Midnight mass in tense Egypt
Thousands of Coptic Christians have defied threats to their church in a bid to attend midnight mass in Egypt. For Copts, Friday marks Christmas Day, exactly a week after the tragic bomb blast in Alexandria that killed 23 people. The attack exposed the vulnerability of Christians in Egypt and evoked soul-searching across the nation. For many, what happened in Alexandria was not an isolated security incident. The community say it is symptomatic of wider political failures that have exacerbated the plight of the Coptic in Egypt. Al Jazeera’ Rawya Rageh reports from Cairo

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