Oct 20, 2010
Barack Obama, at Cairo University, June 4, 2009. Speech was titled “A New Beginning:”
At the same time, Israelis must acknowledge that just as Israel’s right to exist cannot be denied, neither can Palestine’s. The United States does not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlements. (Applause.) This construction violates previous agreements and undermines efforts to achieve peace. It is time for these settlements to stop. (Applause.)
AP tonight, Karin Laub reporting:
Israeli settlers have begun building new homes at an extraordinary pace since the government lifted its moratorium on West Bank housing starts — almost 550 in three weeks, more than four times faster than the last two years.
And many homes are going up in areas that under practically any peace scenario would become part of a Palestinian state, a trend that could doom U.S.-brokered peace talks
Politico’s Laura Rozen reports:
“They’re really upset,” one Washington Middle East hand in close contact with administration officials said Tuesday. “At the end of the day, they made this incredibly good faith effort to keep Bibi at the table.” And Bibi proved as yet unwilling to budge.
“’We put our asses on the line,’” the sense of dismay among the U.S. Middle East team at Netanyahu’s rejection of the U.S. package was described. “’We worked with your defense minister and gave you this amazing deal, all the cover you needed to extend the freeze. And you not only rejected it, but put forward a counterproposal [demanding Palestinian recognition of Israel as a Jewish state] pandering to the right and a stalling tactic.’”
Ayed Morrar, the moral giant of Budrus
Oct 20, 2010
All 1500 residents are heroes in the documentary film Budrus, named for their West Bank Palestinian village, as are the international and Israeli solidarity activists who joined their nonviolent protests against the military occupation back in 2003-04. But one person stands out: Ayed Morrar, a thoughtful, quiet man who leads with calm courage and by example.
Ayed, now in his late 40s, has been in the Palestinian freedom struggle his entire life; he spent 6 years in Israeli prisons and another 3 on the run. He and his 4 brothers have not been able to all get together for years; at least one of them is always jailed or in hiding. His courageous and outspoken teenage daughter Iltezam, a future doctor, is also a convincing presence in the film.
Budrus is located near the “border” with Israel, and the so-called “security wall” was planned to amputate the village from some of its lands and uproot its ancient olive groves. (The film’s only real weakness is that it does not explain that so much of the separation wall is on Palestinian territory as part of further land-grabbing, not for “security;” you see Israeli colonies/settlements in the distance, but they are never explained.)
The filmmaker Julia Bacha shows us the courage of the villagers as they nonviolently confront heavily armed Israeli border police and yellow Caterpillar bulldozers – a perverse kind of product placement the American company’s publicity department is surely regretting. At first, the protesters are only men, but then Ayed’s daughter insists that women should also be allowed to join in. Then likeable internationalists and sympathetic Israelis also show up to help. In one memorable scene, a little boy, no more than 4 or 5 years old, is wearing a tee-shirt that reads BDS and smiling.
The film makes absolutely clear that without the outsiders, and the accompanying press coverage, the Israeli military would have been even more violent. In the end, the Israelis crack down anyway, using live ammunition against Palestinian teenagers who are throwing stones despite Ayed’s pleading.
The Israelis have their say in the film, including a woman border policeman and an army spokesman who has an accent that could be from Cleveland or Milwaukee, but they are deaf to their own arrogance and their testimony only strengthens the Palestinian case. After 10 months of protest, Israel does change the route of the security wall, sparing most of Budrus’s olive groves.
The film is showing in New York City until October 28, and should hopefully continue into wide circulation.
public sculpture in Israel… uh, really?
Oct 20, 2010
Jewish settlers, returned to the land of the bible, burn a girls school and beat farmers trying to harvest olives
Oct 20, 2010
and other news from Today in Palestine:
Settlers/Land, property & resource theft and destruction/Ethnic cleansing
Settlers torch, vandalize Nablus school
NABLUS (Ma’an) — A group of Israeli settlers broke into an all girls’ school in the Nablus district village of As-Sawiya on Wednesday, setting fire to its storehouse containing furniture and unused sports equipment, the headmistress said. Maysoon Sawalha said the school’s cleaning woman arrived to find the lock on the main door broken as well as that of the storehouse, with all its contents torched.
Palestinian school set on fire, vandalized with ‘regards from the hills’ graffiti
Incident appears to be the latest action in the ‘price tag’ campaign of extremist settlers.
Settlers suspected of assaulting farmers
NABLUS (Ma’an) — A number of Palestinian farmers were “brutally beaten” as they harvested olives in the northern West Bank village of Burin in Nablus on Monday by extremist settlers, locals said. Witnesses told Ma’an that one of the farmers, Munir Qadus, sustained several cuts and bruises in the assault and was transferred to hospital. They added that after beating the farmer, the suspects stole his harvested olives. They also said Ismail Qadus was detained by Israeli forces. An Israeli military spokeswoman said she would look into the report. Earlier on Wednesday, settlers were suspected of setting fire to a school in the same district.
3500 Olive Trees Victimized by Settler Crimes in Past Week
Ramallah – PNN – The PLO International Relations Department warned of a war by Israeli settlers against olive trees, saying that in the past few days over 3500 trees had been burned or destroyed across the West Bank. Image The department said in a press statement that settlers had unprecedented power over Palestinian land, having recently attacked the northern villages of Urta, Tel, and Burin, as well as the surrounding areas of Nablus, Salfit, Ramallah, Bethlehem, Hebron, Jenin, and Qalqiliya. They burned trees and stole crops, preventing farmers from reaching their lands near the wall. The statement said the settlers were working in concert with the army, who facilitated their entry into Palestinian fields and pursued those who try to defend them. According to local and international statistics, there are more than 10 million olive trees in Palestine, comprising about 938,000 dunums of land. A dunum is about a quarter of an acre. About 24 million tons of olive oil are produced in a good year, though less has been produced in recent years. The wall runs through these lands, separating about 40,000 dunums and preventing landowners from reaching them. In the past year, settlers have destroyed about 13 million trees, most of them olive trees.
Israel to raze more 220 graves in Islamic cemetery of Mamanullah
Palestinian minister of religious affairs Taleb Abu Sha’ar warned that the Israeli municipal council in occupied Jerusalem intends to demolish more 220 graves in Mamanullah cemetery soon.
Palestinian homes in Deir Ballut due to be demolished over `lack of permits`
ARIJ – The military government`s legislation, designed to fit with Israeli strategic aims rather than the Palestinian population`s needs, makes the obtaining of permits very difficult. As a result, a growing number of Deir Ballut villagers is doomed to a life of uncertainty in the shadow of the bulldozers which can show up at any moment. The Applied Research Institute in East Jerusalem assembled detailed information.
Bill: Owners must pay for razing of illegal homes
Knesset set to pass law forcing transgressors to pay for demolitions, but exempts West Bank residents.
Israel stops Palestinian digging in Salfit
RAMALLAH (Ma’an) — A Palestinian farmer said Wednesday that Israel’s Civil Administration ordered him to stop his digging work in the Deir Istiya village in the northern West Bank district of Salfit. Hussein Zeidan said Civil Administration forces seized a vehicle used for digging and stopped workers from approaching the area until he provided them with proof of land ownership. The land in question lies close to the Revava settlement. A spokesman for the Civil Administration did not immediately return a phone call seeking comment.
Palestinians deny seeking UN resolution to evict settlements
A Palestinian official denied Tuesday seeking a UN Security Council resolution to force Israel to evacuate Jewish settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. The official, Jamal Muhissen, said that the Palestinians seek an international recognition of a state within the 1967 borderlines, with East Jerusalem as its capital. As renewed peace talk hit an impasse, the Palestinian leadership is waiting for the expiration of an Arab-given chance to Israel to stop building settlements within one month.
Activism/Solidarity/Boycott, Sanctions & Divestment
‘Manufactured’ Israeli Charges Against Former Yale Professor Dismissed
(BETHLEHEM) – After a third trip to Ofer military compound near Ramallah on October 18, 2010, and much expenses in terms of time and money, I am pleased to report that my trial based on manufactured charges by Israeli police was dismissed by the military judge. It was partially observed by Tamar and Aya, Israeli women of conscience who report regularly from the West Bank (see mahsanmilim.com. It was a manufactured “traffic violation” but in reality it was for “driving while being Palestinian” and even though both the policewoman and the prosecutor both lied and tried to twist the facts, the judge was decent enough to see through this. (see: Israel Does Not Give Peace a Chance – Tim King Salem-News.com and An Encounter with Israeli ‘Police’ – Mazin Qumsiyeh Salem-News.com)
‘US Boat to Gaza’ to join efforts from Switzerland, Turkey, Greece, Ireland, Norway, Italy, Sweden, Malaysia & the Netherlands to form the Freedom Flotilla II in March 2011
We are writing with an exciting update report on the plan to send a U.S.-flagged ship as part of the next Freedom Flotilla sailing to break the Israeli blockade of Gaza. Representatives from the US BOAT TO GAZA have just returned from Geneva where an important meeting took place with representatives from Switzerland, Turkey, Greece, Ireland, Norway, Italy, Sweden, Malaysia, the Netherlands and The Free Gaza Movement. US TO GAZA has joined the steering committee of the Freedom Flotilla II and we are now deeply involved as part of the international team planning for the next mission which will be leaving at the end of March 2011. First, about the timing: after much discussion, the decision was made by the international group to wait until Spring of 2011 to sail. This is in response to the outpouring of people who want to join this effort from more countries, to have more boats and more of civil society participating. The international movement is growing and voices of condemnation against illegal Israeli policies are stronger now than ever before.
New Gaza peace flotilla to have up to 20 boats: organisers (AFP)
AFP – Aid groups planning a second peace flotilla to Gaza hope to send at least twice the number of boats as took part in the first ill-fated attempt in May, they announced Tuesday.
Dutch Company Face Criminal Charges For Building Separation Wall, Palestine Monitor
Human rights group Al-Haq have initiated criminal proceedings against a Dutch construction company for supplying equipment used to build the Separation wall and settlements. A complaint has been lodged with the state prosecutor, who pending the results of a police raid on Riwal’s headquarters in Holland, may pursue criminal convictions.
Guns N’ Roses: An Opportunity to Untie your Hands An Open Letter from PACBI
Dear Guns N’ Roses, The Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) was dismayed to read reports that you are considering performing in Israel later this year . PACBI, supported by an overwhelming majority of Palestinian civil society and, in particular, by almost the entire community of Palestinian cultural workers , views such a performance in Israel as a form of complicity in whitewashing Israel’s occupation, apartheid and war crimes. More importantly, your upcoming performance would violate the appeal of the Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement  which urges people of conscience throughout the world to isolate Israel until it ends its colonial and apartheid oppression of the Palestinian people, as was done to the apartheid regime in South Africa.
Tell Georgia State University to end its relationship with the Israeli police force
US Campaign member group Movement to End Israeli Apartheid-Georgia (MEIAG) needs your help to demand Georgia State University shut down its Georgia International Law Enforcement Exchange (GILEE) program.
Harvard student government condemns Peretz fund and calls for an investigation on the decision to honor him
Harvard’s Undergraduate Council voted overwhelmingly yesterday in favor of a bill calling on President Drew Faust “to establish a commission of concerned faculty, students and administrators to investigate” the decision to honor Martin Peretz. The Undergraduate Council is the representative body of Harvard’s more than 6,700 undergraduate students. The “Student Response to Peretz Fund Act,” passed by a vote of 26-7-4, was presented to the student government by the Harvard Islamic Society, the Black Students Association, Latinas Unidas, the Society of Arab Students and the Progressive Jewish Alliance.
Siege (Gaza & West Bank)/Rights Violations/Restriction of Movement
Carter in Syria: Israel must fully lift Gaza blockade
Former U.S. President meets with Syrian President Assad and Hamas politburo chief Meshal in Damascus.
Jimmy Carter says Palestinians live in a ‘cage’ (AP)
AP – Former President Jimmy Carter said Tuesday that Palestinians are “living in a cage” in Gaza and that the militant group Hamas must be included in all major efforts for peace.
Earning a Living in No Man’s Land, Mel Frykberg
EREZ BORDER CROSSING, Northern Gaza, Oct 19, 2010 (IPS) – Crossing through the metal-caged tunnel that leads from the Israeli side of the border into northern Gaza towards the Palestinian checkpoint, several groups of young Palestinian men and boys can be seen scavenging through piles of rubble.
Food insecurities plagues poverty-stricken Gaza Strip
GAZA, Oct. 16 (Xinhua) — At the beginning of every month, Sobheya Bakroun, a tall, brown-skinned woman goes to an aid distribution center in Gaza run by the World Food Program (WFP) to get food for her 15-member family to survive. Sobheya has become a breadwinner since she got divorced. Her brother, the only man in her family, lost his job six years ago and has been suffering from diabetes for two years.
“The priority is to return and remain”
The Electronic Intifada contributor Jillian Kestler-D’Amours spoke with Hassan Jabareen, the founder and director general of Adalah, the Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, about Israel’s new loyalty oath and what it means for Palestinian citizens of Israel.
Occupation affects every aspect of olive oil production
London, UK (IRIN) – The first day of the Palestinian olive harvest officially began on 15 October, and Rani Ali and his family — like hundreds of others — were out among their olive trees, starting to bring in what looks to be a good harvest.
Racism & Discrimination
Safed Rabbis urge Jews to refrain from renting apartments to Arabs
Rabbis’ letter says renting properties to Arabs would deflate value of homes as well as those in neighborhood.
MK Zoabi slams minister over ‘cultural superiority’
Internal Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch says prevention of honor killings is achieved through change in culture, sparks outrage of Balad Knesset member.
Palestinian workers in 1-day strike at Israeli factory
TULKAREM (Ma’an) — Palestinian workers went on strike Tuesday at an Israeli factory that has refused to pay them minimum wage. Seventy-two workers at the Soul Or factory in the Tulkarem district stopped work and demanded that the factory administration implement an Israeli labor law, passed in early 2008, requiring that Palestinians be paid minimum wage.
Israeli-Arabs fear for their future
Arab citizens say they feel increasingly unwelcome in Israel and fear forced transfer to a new Palestinian state. Like other Arab citizens of Israel, Leyla Ahmoud is anxious about her future. A young mother of two girls with another on the way, Ahmoud says recent moves by the Israeli government are making it increasingly obvious that the Arabs are not welcome in their own country. “I feel like my life is not in my hands,” said 24-year-old Ahmoud, who lives in Umm al-Fahm, a mountain-ridge town of some 43,000 inhabitants in northern Israel. “The government decides how I live and where I live. We exist in fear, from one day to the next.”
The Return of Kahane, Palestine Monitor
Perhaps no one in the world wields as much power as Avigdor Lieberman. In Israeli coalition politics, he is a kingmaker. In the current peace talks, he is a deal-breaker. In the Middle East, he exemplifies Zionist bigotry. In world diplomacy, his belligerence destabilizes a fragile region.
Justice Minister: I’ll quit if loyalty oath applies only to non-Jews
Only 56 of 120 MKs say they support the bill requiring all citizens to pledge allegiance to Israel as a Jewish and democratic state.
Palestinian old man wounded in IOF shooting
A 65-year-old Palestinian man was shot and wounded by the Israeli occupation forces (IOF) east of Rafah city, south of the Gaza Strip, on Wednesday morning, medical sources reported.
Israili Military Invades Ethna near Hebron
Israeli soldiers invaded, on Wednesday morning, the town of Ethna, north-west of Hebron and searched the house of Abed al-Qaisi and many other houses.
Clashes Reported East of Khan Younis, Gaza
Palestinian sources reported, Wednesday morning, that clashes took place between Palestinian fighters and Israeli soldiers near the Kissufim Israeli military post, east of Khan Younis, in the southern part of the Gaza Strip.
Israeli court extends detention of Palestinian teen
HEBRON (Ma’an) — The Ofar military court extended the detention of Sayel Abu Quweider, 15, from Hebron, for another 10 days. His lawyer, prisoners society advocate Elia Theodory, said the military prosecution is inflexible and has refused to release Abu Quweider on bail because Israeli soldiers say they saw him throwing stones. Israeli soldiers detained the boy in the Ar-Ras neighborhood of Hebron last month.
Israeli Police Assault and Arrest Mahmoud Rwidy of Silwan
Today Israeli police beat and arrested Mahmoud Rwidy, a 40-year-old resident of the Silwan Spring area in Wadi Hilweh, while he was away with his son to visit the doctor. Eyewitnesses confirm that police fired pepper spray heavily and directly at Mahmoud Rwidy, and that they then beat and arrested him.
Two Detainees Start Their Twenty-Fifth Year in Israeli Jails
The Palestinian national committee for supporting detainees stated, on Wednesday, that two detainees, Ibraheeb A’layan, 45, detained on October 10th,1986 and Sameer Abu Ne’mehn, 50, detained on October 20th,1986, both from Jerusalem, have entered their twenty-fifth year in Israeli jails.
Prison Destroyed His Dreams: Ma’moun Dar Issa, Victim of Three Dark Years
Maysa Abu Ghazala – Jerusalem – PNN/Exclusive – “For three years, it destroyed my dreams,” said Ma’moun Dar Issa of al-Khader, near Bethlehem. “I was getting ready to go to my wedding party. I had just completed my vocational education.”
Hamas MP released after 4 years in prison
JERICHO (Ma’an) — Israeli authorities on Tuesday released a Hamas-affiliated lawmaker who served 54 months in prison. Ali Rumanin of Jericho was seized in 2006 as a bargaining chip following the capture of an Israeli soldier in Gaza. Without accusing them of involvement, Israel arrested 45 Hamas lawmakers in the aftermath of the abduction in June 2006.
PA Intelligence head in Al-Khalil brags about using torture in W. Bank jails
Director of the intelligence Mahmoud Hamdan proudly admitted that the security apparatuses in the West Bank use torture against prisoners, describing it as a policy that cannot be dispensed with.
Fatah declines Hamas invitation to hold reconciliation talks in Gaza
Senior Hamas official Dr. Salah Al Bardawil said Fatah refused Hamas’s proposal to hold a meeting aimed at achieving Palestinian reconciliation in the Gaza Strip.
12 injured in blast at Qassam training site
GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — Twelve Palestinians, including five children and three women, were injured in an explosion at a training site of Hamas’ military wing the Al-Qassam Brigades on Wednesday in Rafah, southern Gaza. Locals said a “huge explosion” occurred in the Tel As-Sultan neighborhood, causing damage to residents’ windows. Ambulances and civil defense crews deployed at the scene to transfer the injured to the Abu Yousef An-Najjar Hospital in Rafah city, Gaza medical services spokesman Adham Abu Silmiyya said, describing their injuries as slight.
Last rapper in Gaza struggles to make voice heard
Sponsors, studio owners and party organisers shun Mothafar Assar’s Street Band Rappers due to Hamas disapproval.
Rachel Corrie case: Israeli soldier to testify anonymously
Family criticises decision to allow soldier who drove bulldozer that killed daughter to give evidence from behind screen. The Israeli soldier at the controls of a bulldozer that crushed to death 23-year-old Rachel Corrie in Gaza in March 2003 is due to give evidence tomorrow in the civil lawsuit brought by the American activist’s family. However the judge hearing the case in Haifa has ruled that, for security reasons, the soldier can testify anonymously from behind a screen, denying Cindy and Craig Corrie the opportunity to face the man who directly caused their daughter’s death.
Fatah: Syria humiliated us
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — Fatah said it delayed a meeting with Hamas in Damascus on Wednesday to discuss a unity deal because “Syria humiliated us” at a recent Arab League summit, Nabil Sha’ath told Ma’an. “Hamas has nothing to do with postponing the meeting, but it would be difficult for us to send a delegation to Damascus after the Syrians humiliated us in their speech at the Sirtre summit,” Sha’ath said.
Abbas suspends PFLP financial allocations
Mahmoud Abbas has ordered the suspension of the financial monthly allocation of the Popular Front of the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) cashed by the Palestinian national fund, PFLP sources said.
Israelis, Palestinians agree not to embarrass Obama before midterm elections
JERUSALEM — The Obama administration has secured pledges from senior Mideast leaders to continue their fitful peace negotiations until after next month’s U.S. midterm elections, largely to avoid handing the Obama administration an embarrassing diplomatic setback before the Nov. 2 elections. Israeli and Palestinian officials told McClatchy Tuesday that efforts to reach a compromise would continue until at least Nov. 3, a move they said “served the current American government.” “The time frame we are following has been designed around the elections in America,” said a senior member of the Palestinian negotiating team. “We have been asked not to issue announcements that could embarrass negotiation officials.”
Holding pattern: Middle East peace track at impasse until after midterms
Behind the scenes, the Obama administration is still absorbing the fact that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has to date rejected a proposed American compromise package that would have offered various security and other assurances to Israel in exchange for a 60-day renewal of a partial West Bank settlement freeze that expired last month. The American team is said to be frustrated and upset at Netanyahu’s dismissal to date of the package, which was drafted by the NSC’s Dennis Ross in close consultation with Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak and Israeli negotiator Yitzhak Molho.
Assad: Israel not capable, not willing to achieve peace
Bashar Al-Assad has charged that Israel was not willing and was not capable of achieving peace, adding that only just and comprehensive peace is capable of achieving stability in the region.
Israel’s U.S. ambassador: No one will dictate Israel’s borders
Michael Oren speaks at event marking 25 years since establishment of Free Trade agreement between Israel and the U.S.
Report: German mediator back in Gaza
Despite repeated denials by Hamas, Kuwaiti media insists Gerhard Conrad visited Strip in attempt to propel Shalit talks.
Canada denies arrest of suspect in Dubai assassination
Dubai police chief says Canadian official informed him of the arrest in July, though Ottawa officials say the claim is ‘baseless’, the Canadian daily The Globe and Mail reports.
Mossad chief may stay on during sensitive period
Agreement would preserve stability in top security service hierarchy ahead of a sensitive period in terms of peace talks with the Palestinians and effort to stop Iran’s nuclear program.
Uproar at Tel Hai College: Nakba marked on calendar
Students return identity cards after finding out college calendar marks Palestinian commemoration days. ‘What’s next? Will they mark Six-Day War as national occupation day?’ One of them asks.
Call to stem Rabin memorials causes storm in Labor Party
MK Einat Wilf suggests focusing on pre-murder euphoria, says party should cancel yearly rally and remove former premier’s photo from Kneset hall.
Anonymous ‘Free Yigal Amir’ posts sent to politicos’ Facebook accounts
The inflamed political tensions surrounding the 15th anniversary of Yitzhak Rabin’s assassination are seeping into social networking sites.
Akko: ‘Kahane was right’ on Rabin monument
Police estimate graffiti wasn’t sprayed by residents of northern city; mayor denounces ‘this cowardly act’ .
Friedman: Lunatics in Israeli cabinet
Renowned New York Times journalist says Jewish state behaving like spoiled child, ‘feels no compunction about spurning an American request for longer settlement freeze after billions and billions of dollars in US aid’.
IDF to block Facebook, Gmail to prevent ‘gifts for Hamas’
List of popular websites to be blocked on army bases, offices, to avoid inadvertent leaks of classified information.
PA ready to start construction of West Bank international airport
$340 million project would be built on 8-square-kilometer plot of land east of Jerusalem in the West Bank.
Israel eyes US trade pact with Palestinians
WASHINGTON – Israel hopes a US-backed initiative that helped it expand trade and economic ties with Egypt and Jordan could be part of a peace deal with the Palestinians, a top Israeli official said on Tuesday. “We would like to do that with the Palestinians as well, OK? I hope that this year would be a year of breakthrough, then we would be delighted to do that with them,” Israeli Trade and Industry Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer told Reuters after a speech at the US Chamber of Commerce. The comment came as the outlook for US-brokered peace talks aimed at reaching a deal to create a Palestinian state alongside Israel remained very much in doubt.
For Palestinian snake charmer pythons ‘part of family’ (AFP)
AFP – A lot of fathers would prefer their two-year-old daughters not to ride a giant Burmese python down the street like a pony — but not Jamal Amwasi of Ramallah.
US: The dishonest broker, Avi ShlaimDespite high expectation for Barack Obama, the US president has not convinced Israel to cease settlement construction.
Palestine: The latest Middle East security state?
On recent trip to Ramallah, I spoke with a senior Fatah official and former Palestinian Authority minister about the state of negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians. Consistent with most other Israelis and Palestinians who I’d met, he was not particularly optimistic. The conversation turned to the advances in security and economic development in the West Bank under the widely hailed leadership of Prime Minister Salaam Fayyad. I asked whether progress on political reform had tracked at all with the progress in those other areas. After acknowledging the vastly improved security (demonstrated most definitively by the depth of cooperation between Israeli occupation authorities and Palestinian security forces) and economic growth (which is real, despite being donor driven, and thus unsustainable), the official dispatched my question with a flick of his cigarette. “Political reform?” he smiled. “It’s a joke.”
Two state idea is over because U.S. was ‘repeatedly diddled by a client state’, Philip Weiss
This morning on his WNYC show, Brian Lehrer expressed some impatience with the Palestinian refusal to come to the table without any Israeli shift re settlements. Maen Rashid Areikat, the Palestinian rep to the U.S., pointed out that negotiations have masked a continuous colonization of the territory on which Palestinians are supposed to make a state (on 1/5 of the original land of Palestine) and that these neighborhoods in East Jerusalem that Lehrer described as Israeli are illegally occupied. I wonder why these inequities are not as obvious as the nose on Netanyahu’s face, and disturbing to American liberals.
Israel lobby group urges State Department to begin undercover manipulation of Palestinian websites, Philip Weiss
A new report by the Israel lobbyist org Foundation for the Defense of Democracies (with help from the Dershowitz Group) monitored Palestinians’ use of the internet and found that Palestinians speak freely on internet forums, without “manipulation.” And these Palestinians believe that the two-state solution is dead and are generally opposed to the peace negotiations that the Obama administration is conducting, to the point that the authors of the report recommend that the Obama administration should basically forget about the negotiations and… start manipulating the online forums!
Brian Lehrer’s evenhandedness disappears when it comes to Israeli violence, Philip Weiss
Yesterday, Brian Lehrer, the popular liberal talkshow host on New York’s public radio station, had religious scholar Karen Armstrong on to talk about different religious traditions. At the end of the segment, Lehrer said, in so many words, But doesn’t Islam have to deal with the issue of violence? Isn’t violent jihad sanctioned by a large percentage of Muslims worldwide? In a word: Isn’t violence inherent to the practice of Islam?
New tourism law shows the more the Israeli narrative gets challenged, the greater need there is to enforce it, Elinor Amit
A proposal for a new law has been submitted to the Israeli parliament which states that only Israeli citizens would be permitted to serve as tour guides in Israel (does “Israel” includes the occupied territories? That’s not clear from the law), when the tour involves non-Israeli citizens. In essence, this law would put hundreds of East Jerusalemite tour guides out of work. The sponsors of the law explained their motivation and I think it speaks for itself.
Abulhawa: ‘As Palestinians, we are facing our own extinction’, Susan Abulhawa
The other day at the Boston Book Festival, novelist Susan Abulhawa did what few have achieved over the years, and reduced Alan Dershowitz to a small pile of feathers. She did so by sticking to the truth of her own experience, keeping calm under his assaults, pointing out the infantile character of his insults, and even twitting him for his constant interruptions. He must be afraid of what I have to say, she said. And just what did she have to say? Abulhawa, the author of Mornings in Jenin, recounted the ordeal of the occupation in a forthright manner. Here are the author’s opening remarks at that discussion:
How many lies can Alan Dershowitz tell in 60 seconds?, David Samel
How many lies can Alan Dershowitz tell in 60 seconds? There have been several posts concerning the recent debate between Dershowitz and Susan Abulhawa at the recent Boston Book Festival. Many have noted the dramatic contrast between the calm Abulhawa and the manic Dershowitz. A full dissection of Dershowitz’s falsehoods over the full hour of video would be too time-consuming, but let’s take a look at a single minute of his rantings, from about 34:15 to 35:15.
first they ignore you, then they ignore you, then they ignore you, then they melt down like Dershowitz, Philip Weiss
The Wall Street Journal page is attacking Breaking the Silence. Wow. Paul Gigot carrying the heavy water for the Israel lobby, as the tradition holds. Still: why do they care about some little frikkin veterans’ group in Israel? Yes why. Because the debate is changing on them fast fast. We’re massing in the hills.
‘Haaretz’ author says that Diaspora Jews have dual loyalty, Philip Weiss
You’d never see this in the New York Times, alas. Because dual loyalty is an antisemitic canard, right? In Haaretz, intern Bianca Ambrosio says the obvious, that Jews in Italy have dual loyalty, acting politically out of concern for Israel. (Me, I don’t say Jews, I say Zionists).
Who are the real prisoners?, Dr. Bouthaina Shaaban
When I asked in my previous article, “Until when this conspiracy of silence?” concerning more than 11,000 Palestinian prisoners kidnapped from their homes by Israeli intelligence officers, and suffering the cruelest torture at the hands of sadist jailers in Israeli prisons, I wanted to say that Western silence regarding this brutality was only because the victims are Arabs. But the responses of some Arab bloggers to my article reminded me of a more dangerous silence, the silence of Arab people. It is more dangerous because it indicates a collapse of thought and identity. When a Palestinian youth sacrifices his life to prevent the demolition of a house in the Salwan neighborhood in Jerusalem, and when an unarmed Palestinian girl faces the Israeli military oppression machine on her own, they do so because both of them believe in their land, their nation and their duty toward both, not only toward their families and villages, but also toward Palestine.
Israel’s Longstanding Middle East Plan, Steve Lendman
In 1982, Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs senior advisor Oded Yinon published a revealing document for regional conquest and dominance. Still relevant today, it’s titled “A Strategy for Israel in the 1980s, translated, edited, and retitled “The Zionist Plan for the Middle East” by distinguished Professor Israel Shahak (1933 – 2001), longtime activist, analyst, and outspoken Israeli critic.
JNF caught with its hands on the tillers
This is great news. First there was a letter in The Guardian calling on Ed Miliband to distance himself from the ethnic cleansers of the Jewish National Fund. Then there was a letter from the JNF completely misrepresenting what the JNF exists for. Now there are two letters in The Guardian exposing the JNF’s denial. Now read on.
Guilty of being Muslim: A review of ‘Entrapped’, Anthony Alessandrini
The new documentary “Entrapped,” which was aired as a special report by Democracy Now! on October 6 and is due to be released on DVD by Big Noise Films, is that rare documentary that not only informs us about an issue, but in doing so, actually transforms our understanding of this issue.
12 Israeli jets violate Lebanon airspace
The Lebanese army says 12 Israeli fighter jets have entered the country’s airspace in violation of the international law. The army said in a statement on Tuesday that the jets flew over several areas in southern Lebanon, including the city of Sidon, a Press TV correspondent in Beirut reported. The overflights contravene United Nations Security Council Resolution 1701, which obliges Israel to keep out of Lebanon’s airspace. Israel, however, violates Lebanon’s airspace on an almost daily basis, claiming they serve surveillance purposes. According to evidence submitted to the UN by the Lebanese government, Israel has breached the provisions of the resolution on more than 7,000 occasions by violating Lebanon’s airspace, territorial waters, and border.
Hezbollah slams UN ‘interference’ in Lebanese affairs (AFP)
AFP – Lebanon’s Shiite Hezbollah movement Wednesday accused the United Nations of interfering in Lebanese affairs, days after the world body warned tension in the country could affect the entire region.
The Saker’s Q&A with “Lebanese Christian” about Hezbollah-Christian relations
Today it is my real pleasure to submit to you the text of a Q&A I have had with “Lebanese Christian”. One of the most misunderstood aspects of the socio-political reality of Lebanon is the fact that Hezbollah is very open to Christians as long as they are real Lebanese patriots and not proxies for Israel and the USA. I asked “Lebanese Christian” to comment on some of the aspects of the relationship between Christians and Hezbollah and he kindly agreed to reply to my question, for which I am deeply grateful to him.
16 people wounded in Mansour District blasts
15 people were wounded in a roadside bomb explosion in Al Mansour District in Baghdad, a source from the Interior Ministry reported. Another roadside bomb in Al Mansour District wounded a civilian, the source said.
Tuesday: 19 Iraqis Killed; 25 Iraqis, 15 Iranians Wounded
Today’s attacks concentrated on police personnel, but one also came close to harming the United Nation’s top envoy to Iraq. At least 19 Iraqis were killed and 25 more were wounded in those and other attacks. As many as 15 Iranian pilgrims were injured as well. Also, an Iraqi general says he will investigate claims that journalists are still being beaten by security personnel.
IED kills Sahwa fighter, injures 5 in Baghdad
One Sahwa fighter was killed and four others were wounded Tuesday in a bomb explosion in Baghdad, a police source said.
Top UN official survives bomb blast after meeting Iraq’s Sistani
Ad Melkert, the top UN official in Iraq, was unhurt after a roadside bomb following a meeting with Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani. An Iraqi policeman was killed in the blast.
Iran tells Iraqi prime minister ‘get rid of America’
“The Iraqi nation is vigilant and aggressors cannot dominate this country again,” Mr Khamenei told Mr Maliki, according to a statement put out by his office. “May God get rid of America in Iraq so that its people’s problems are solved.”
Priests marrying helps Christianity in Iraq: bishop (AFP)
AFP – Allowing priests to marry has contributed to the survival of the Christian faith in Iraq, said Lebanese Bishop Guy-Paul Noujaim Tuesday, on the sidelines of a Middle East synod at the Vatican.
Abuse Of Temporary Marriages Flourishes In Iraq
The practice, a way of having a “legitimate affair,” was banned during Saddam Hussein’s reign but returned after the American invasion. Some say there’s a right way to do the muta’a marriage but others claim rampant misuse.
Union-Busting in Iraq, SHERWOOD ROSS
It is only in comic books and Hollywood movies that America’s superheroes exist to defend the underdog. In practice, the armies of America have fanned out around the globe to show they are the willing servants of the corporate overdog. As Noam Chomsky writes in his book “Imperial Ambitions” (Metropolitan), “You can almost predict (U.S.) policy by that simple principle: Does it help rich people or does it help the general population? And from that you can virtually deduce what’s going to happen.” There is no more disgraceful example than Iraq.
And the Winner is … Muqtada, Pepe Escobar
Western media have often spun that Iran masterminded a sort of coup d’etat in Baghdad. It’s much more subtle than that.
Kurds are Iraq’s kingmakers
In Iraq’s current political stalemate, it is the Kurds that hold the power to determine the country’s direction.
Iraq’s gas profitability could be very far off
LONDON: Investors in Iraq’s huge gas reserves will have to be very patient if they want healthy profits after Wednesday’s natural-gas auction. The short term is dominated by security problems and political deadlock. Combined with uncertain local demand and slim margins because of plentiful global gas supply, the challenges are expected to deter big bids.
Children of Iraqi Insurgents Face Uncertain Future
Unregistered children are denied citizenship, meaning they have no right to basic services. The widows of insurgent fighters in Diyala province are demanding that the government acknowledge the hundreds of children whose fathers died leaving them without Iraqi citizenship.
US, Israel agree Iran prime threat to Mideast
The United States and Israel on Monday said Iran is among the “greatest challenges” to stability in the Middle East and reaffirmed their commitment to preventing the country from developing nuclear weapons.
Iran to try ‘US spy suspects’
Americans detained near border with northern Iraq will be charged with espionage and entering the country illegally.
U.S. Other Mideast/World News
Obama expands his Islamophobia to include Sikhs as well
The White House team which visited India last month ruled out Obama wearing the traditional scarf on his head. Indian officials were informally told that Obama wearing a headscarf to visit the Golden Temple may convey an image of him appearing to be a Muslim. This is one misinterpretation Obama’s advisors did not want at any cost, given the political sensitivities over this issue in the US. It’s hard to imagine anything more insulting to his hosts than this. But of course Obama had absolutely no qualms about wearing a religiously-mandated head-covering when he visited the Wailing Wail, holy to Jews, in Israeli-occupied East Jerusalem as part of his pandering to US Zionists and other racists when he was running for president, as the photo above from his July 2008 visit to Israel and occupied Jerusalem shows (The Guardian). This is only the latest in a long line of incidents of Obama pandering to Islamophobia rather than standing up to it. During that same election campaign visit to Israel and Jordan, Obama aides were instructed not to wear green clothing, as that is supposedly the color of Islam. Also during the campaign two Muslim women enthusiastically attending an Obama rally were required to move out of camera shot, so that the Post Racial candidate would not be pictured with them.
“… Israel supporters should vote Republican!..”
“… So, count 54 Democrats for Hamas and 78 Republicans for Israel. ….Democrats are somewhat evenly split on Israel, but Republicans favor it by a 5-to-1 ratio. A consensus exists that the two parties are growing farther apart over time. Pro-Israel, conservative Jeff Jacoby of the Boston Globe finds that “the old political consensus that brought Republicans and Democrats together in support of the Middle East’s only flourishing democracy is breaking down.” Anti-Israel, left-wing James Zogby of the Arab American Institute agrees, writing that “traditional U.S. policy toward the Israeli-Palestinian conflict does not have bipartisan backing.” Thanks to changes in the Democratic party, Israel has become a partisan issue in American politics, an unwelcome development for it. In late March 2010, during a nadir of U.S.-Israel relations, Janine Zacharia wrote in the Washington Post that some Israelis expect their prime minister to “search for ways to buy time until the midterm U.S. elections [of November 2010] in hopes that Obama would lose support and that more pro-Israel Republicans would be elected.” That an Israeli leader is thought to stall for fewer congressional Democrats confirms the changes outlined here. It also provides guidance for voters.”
U.S. Pushes to Ease Technical Obstacles to Wiretapping
They want to increase legal incentives and penalties aimed at pushing carriers like Verizon, AT&T, and Comcast to ensure that any network changes will not disrupt their ability to conduct wiretaps.
Britain says it’s still US ‘wingman’ despite defense budget cuts
Britain’s sharp defense budget cuts target 8 percent of the military’s $59 billion budget. Prime Minister David Cameron called President Obama to reassure him that the UK would remain a ‘first rate’ military power.
Extracts from David Hicks’ memoir, Guantanamo Bay
My Journey : We are publishing three extracts from Hicks’ book, Guantanamo Bay: My Journey which is available from today.
To prison anyway — despite acquittal?
U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan — the judge in the first trial in a federal civilian court of Guantanamo Bay prisoner Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani (charged with grave acts of terrorism) — has shocked President Obama and his puppet Attorney General, Eric Holder. Judge Kaplan prohibited the testimony in the case of a key prosecution witness, Hussein Abebe.
U.S. Trying to “Kill Its Way Out” of Afghan War?, David Martin
Air strikes in Afghanistan are up 50 per cent and now Defense Secretary Gates has ordered a second aircraft carrier, the USS Lincoln, into the fight. Two carriers operating off the coast of Pakistan means about 120 aircraft available for missions over Afghanistan. And that’s not counting U.S. Air Force missions flown out of Bagram and Kandahar.
Afghan leader says prisoner killed in NATO custody
Afghan President Hamid Karzai has ordered an investigation into the killing of an Afghan detainee held by NATO-led troops in a Taliban stronghold in the volatile south of the country, his office said on Tuesday.
NATO aircraft breach Pakistani airspace once again
NATO’s aircraft breached Pakistani airspace once again Tuesday morning at Pakistan- Afghanistan border town Torkham in the northwest of Pakistan, local media reported.
Taliban Influence Grows in North
The Taliban’s influence in northern Afghanistan has expanded in recent months from a few hotspots to much of the region, as insurgents respond to the U.S.-led coalition’s surge in the south by seizing new ground in areas once considered secure.
Video shows Papuans being tortured
A graphic and disturbing video shows a Papuan man being poked in the genitals with a fiery stick as he is interrogated by a group of men who appear to be members of Indonesia’s security services.
Islam in the West
O’Reilly: ‘There is a Muslim problem in the world’
Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly is doubling down on his claim that “Muslims killed us on 9/11” which caused two co-hosts on ABC’s The View to walk off the set last week. The Fox News host opened his interview with Deepak Chopra Tuesday by saying, “You must be horrified by me.” “Don’t walk out on me,” joked Chopra. “I believe there is a Muslim problem in the world,” announced O’Reilly. “I think we should acknowledge it and try to solve it.”
3 Jews showed this video last night at NYU, challenging Zionism
Oct 20, 2010
Three years ago a Palestinian friend sauntered down Broadway and said, I have only one goal in life, I want to end Zionism. I was shocked that a person would say something like that, I thought he must be a violent revolutionary. Well a lot has changed, and last night I went to an event at NYU where three Jews sat at the front of the room and said their goal is to end Zionism inside Jewish life and thought. The biggest battle field is still between powerful American Jews’ ears; and I know these young people are the vanguard and the Zionist brand is over.
Theodor Herzl died in 1904 running from one European court to another, the Nakba happened in 1948, they dropped white phosphorus on the refugees in Gaza in 2008. I don’t see why a young Jew would embrace the brand if he saw what I saw at NYU last night.
The three Jews were Micha Kurz, Max Blumenthal and Joseph Dana. When Saba Quraishi, a member of the audience, said that she didn’t understand why her well-educated Jewish friends were so quiet when she sent them links about the Gaza slaughter or the Mavi Marmara– “what is this magic brainwashing?” –Max Blumenthal said the “sclerotic Jewish establishment” is facing “impending collapse,” Abe Foxman and David Harris and Malcolm Hoenlein are “embalmed characters” who do not speak for young Jews. And Joseph Dana said that American Jewish identity is constructed on two faraway poles that have nothing to do with American life, Israel and the Holocaust.
Joseph Dana is a scholar of Jewish history. He has degrees from the Hebrew University and a university in Budapest, Herzl’s town. All that learning has made him an activist. For the next month or so, he will be touring the country selling tshirts for Anarchists Against the Wall, and talking to people about the Jewish history unfolding right now in Israel and Palestine with Jews reaching out across a deep divide to support brave Palestinian nonviolent resisters. The most important thing Dana thought he could do was to show the video above. That was his purpose last night, to talk about the Palestinian civil society movement that resists the occupation of their land, and the Israeli and international support for that movement. Oh lift them up.
The room was hot and it had gone on 2 hours when he showed the video. I don’t think I’ve seen a more powerful video about the Israel/Palestine conflict. You just have to watch it. It’s from the Bilin demo, back in August of 2008. Shot by Yisrael Puterman, an old Israeli guy.
Dana said the man in the video, Adeeb Abu Rahma, is a father of 9, and a few weeks after the video above, the Israeli security forces came to Adeeb Abu Rahma’s house in Ramallah and arrested him, and he hasn’t been out since.
When you see the video, you’ll understand why they did that. And you’ll understand what a Jewish democracy looks like to Palestinians.
You just have to watch Adeeb Abu Rahma. The amazing part is about 4 minutes in. I won’t even try and quote him. He’s talking Hebrew, Joseph Dana explained to us, talking the soldiers’ language. I may put this video up every day till everyone sees it. J Street should be showing this guy, B’nai Jeshrun should be showing this guy, Beth Elohim in Brooklyn and Rabbi Andy Bachman should be showing this guy to American Jews to see what we have perpetuated in Palestine out of our weak lame selfish Jewish identity–
and to see the nobility and great spirit that oppression has brought out in Palestinians.
“They ask where the Palestinian Gandhi is,” Dana said. “This is the Gandhi. There are many like him, sitting in jail.”
I felt the earth move
Oct 20, 2010
How would it feel if god really came down from the mountain, if you weren’t doing ecstasy or a 10-day wheatgrass fast but were just sitting at your kitchen table reading the newspaper and god appeared? I think like this. Tom Friedman writes in the Times today that Israel is behaving like a spoiled child. The only problem is, I don’t think god knows how to write, or even how to think.
He’s not a thinker really, god. There isn’t a fresh idea in here, anything that qualifies as an insight. Nothing for instance about American Jewish life, which is the reason Israel can act this way. But then Friedman is the deity of American Jewish life, so he can’t very well write about it. God doesn’t write about himself, that would be unlordly, and it turns out god thinks about just what we thought he thinks about, saving the “Jewish democracy” and about humoring a right wing foreign leader’s concerns about maintaining his all-Jewish governing coalition… Same old god….
here’s another stubborn fact: Israel today really is behaving like a spoiled child.
Please spare me the nonsense that President Obama is anti-Israel. …At the same time, Obama believed — what a majority of Israelis believe — that Israel can’t remain a Jewish democracy in the long run if it continues to control 2.5 million Palestinians in the West Bank.
… I know this is a crazy, radical idea — when America asks Israel to do something that in no way touches on its vital security but would actually enhance it, there is only one right answer: “Yes.” It is a measure of how spoiled Israel has become that after billions and billions of dollars in U.S. aid and 300,000 settlers already ensconced in the West Bank, Israel feels no compunction about spurning an American request for a longer settlement freeze — the only purpose of which is to help the United States help Israel reach a secure peace with the Palestinians. Just one time you would like Israel to say, “You know, Mr. President, we’re dubious that a continued settlement freeze will have an impact. But you think it will, so, let’s test it. This one’s for you.”
Yes, I know, Netanyahu says that if he did that then the far right-wingers in his cabinet would walk out.